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ain't nobody takin my baby

Chapter Text

This is a series of drabbles/short stories involving the characters from the original fic Lover Not a Fighter But I’ll Fight for what I Love. Please read that story first in order to understand the background and references used in this one.

 

Thank you!

Chapter Text

Taehyung collapsed onto the couch with an exhausted sigh.

 

“He’s down.”

 

Relieved and excited sounds echoed around him as his friends grinned, settling back into their seats comfortably.

 

“Alright,” Hobi said excitedly, leaning over to change the setting on the tv. “Conjuring 2 or The Strangers?”

 

“The Conjuring 2 isn’t even scary,” Seokjin protested, settling onto the carpet with a bowl of popcorn. He placed it between him and Namjoon, eliciting a grateful smile from the younger as he wound his arm around his boyfriend’s shoulder. Seokjin rested his head on the other’s chest and popped a kernel into his mouth. “How about Annabelle?”

 

“I don’t like doll movies,” Jimin protested. The younger snuggled into his boyfriend’s chest, arms wrapped tightly around his waist as he leaned into his side. “They’re too creepy. I get nightmares.”

 

“Same,” Yoongi echoed, running his fingers absentmindedly through Jimin’s hair.

 

Hobi threw a disbelieving look back at the mint-haired man. “You told me last week Chucky was one of your all time fav—”

 

“He doesn’t like them anymore because Jimin doesn’t like them,” Namjoon interjected with an eye roll. He smirked at his friend. “Same reason his favorite color all of a sudden changed to blue, even though it’s been black his whole life.”

 

Yoongi glared at him. “Says the guy who pretends to like omelets because Jin hyung makes them for you every morning, when I know for a fact you fucking hate eggs.”

 

Namjoon turned bright red, while Seokjin whipped towards him with a scandalized gasp.

 

“You hate eggs?” he demanded. “Why didn’t you tell me!”

 

Namjoon glowered at Yoongi. “Thanks a lot.”

 

Yoongi only grinned, earning a handful of popcorn thrown in his direction.

 

“Alright, alright,” Hobi interrupted, cutting in before Yoongi could get off the couch and tackle the younger. “We get it, everyone here is whipped for their boyfriends. Can we pick a goddamn movie already?”

 

Jimin giggled. “Hobi hyung, feeling a little grumpy because Jisoo couldn’t make it tonight?”

 

Hobi threw Jimin an irritated look. “ First of all—”

 

“How about The Strangers?” Taehyung interrupted quickly, not wanting another fight to erupt. “I’m in the mood for a thriller.”

 

Seokjin hummed in agreement, turning to pass the bowl up towards those seated on the couch. “I’m with Tae. Plus, ghost movies get sort of repetitive.”

 

“Strangers it is,” Hobi said firmly. He turned to set up the movie as everyone let out their last minute chatters before having to succumb to silence.

 

“Jimin, you’re hogging all the blanket—”

 

“You have Bigfoot feet, Tae, jeez—”

 

“Jin, you know Yoongi hyung was joking. I love your eggs—”

 

“Don’t start with me right now, Joon. Honesty is the foundation of a healthy relationship, I cannot believe you’ve been lying to me—”

 

“Ow! What the fuck, kid!”

 

“Sorry, Yoongi hyung. I meant to kick Jimin.”

 

“What the hell, rude!”

 

“Yeah, well, you’re not sharing —”

 

“Ssh!” Hobi turned towards them with a frustrated expression, frowning. “I’m not playing it until you guys shut the hell up.”

 

A round of muttered apologizes and grunts echoed the room.

 

Yoongi nodded at Hobi. “Go ahead.”

 

He had just been about to press the play button, the tv screen frozen on the opening credits, when a soft, sleepy voice shattered the silence.  

 

“T...TaeTae?”

 

Five heads whipped around, none of them quite so fast as Taehyung’s.

 

“Kookie?” He immediately rose to his feet, the blanket pooling around his ankles as he stood. “Baby, what are you doing up?”

 

Jungkook stood in the dimly lit doorway of the living room, expression still drowsy and shoulders slumped. One hand rubbed cutely at his eye while the other clutched his stuffed bunny, and Taehyung’s heart clenched at the adorable sight.

 

“Hey, bun,” he said softly, crossing the floor to crouch in front of the younger. He brushed a stray clump of hair out of his eyes, biting back a smile at the cute way his bangs were still mussed from sleep. “I thought you were asleep, hm?”

 

“Kookie wanted...water,” Jungkook mumbled softly, voice thick with drowsiness. “B-but TaeTae was gone.” He frowned then, hand lowering as a pout tugged at his lips. “Kookie was all alone,” he added accusingly.

 

Taehyung winced, guilt creeping up his spine.

 

“I’m sorry, baby,” he sighed ruefully. “I didn’t meant to leave you alone. Come on, let’s go back to bed, alright?”

 

But Jungkook ignored the latter part of the statement. Instead, he stood on his tiptoes, craning his neck to peer around the elder’s shoulder into the room behind them.

 

“Hyungies are all here?” Taehyung watched with a sinking feeling as the younger’s eyebrows furrowed, a flicker of betrayal crossing his features. “W-why...why wasn’t Kookie invited?”

 

“Oh, honey, no,” Seokjin said quickly. The elder kicked aside the blanket covering his and Namjoon’s legs, quickly crossing the distance to where the younger male stood.

 

“We weren’t leaving you out on purpose, Kookie,” he said gently, pinching his cheek comfortingly. Jungkook made a face at the action and ducked away, to which Seokjin smiled ruefully. “You were asleep. That’s all.”

 

The rest of the men exchanged guilty looks behind him. The truth, of course, was exactly the opposite. They’d waited for the younger to fall asleep so they could watch a horror movie.

 

A conclusion even Jungkook wasn’t dumb enough to not come to.

 

He peered around Taehyung’s arm at the way Yoongi was cuddling Jimin, the huge bowl of popcorn on Namjoon’s lap, and the pile of blankets surrounding the group of friends.

 

His eyes were damp when he looked back at Taehyung.

 

“T...TaeTae,” he whispered. He clutched the stuffed rabbit in his arms tighter against his chest. “Was Kookie naughty?”

 

Taehyung’s heart sank.

 

“Oh, Kookie, no ,” he said softly. His hands came up to cup the younger’s face, frowning at the sight of the pout forming on his lips. “Baby, we just didn’t want to disturb you, okay? You’re not being punished. We just didn’t want to wake you, I promise.”

 

“T-then can I watch, too?” The younger perked up slightly as he offered the suggestion, looking hopefully at Taehyung.

 

Taehyung bit his lip. “I don’t think so, baby. It’s past your bedtime.”

 

The smile slipped off Jungkook's face as quickly as it had appeared.

 

“That’s not fair!” he whined. “Hyungies get to stay up!”

 

There were few things Jungkook could really do that Taehyung found annoying as opposed to adorable. The elder was definitely whipped for him to the point where even his brattier tendencies were only found mildly amusing.

 

But if there was one thing Taehyung found extremely irritating, it was when Jungkook stomped his foot.

 

As Jungkook brought it down stubbornly for the first time, he felt his patience begin to thin.

 

“Kookie, how about I take you back to bed?” he suggested gently. “I’ll stay with you until you fall asleep, alright?”

 

“No,” Jungkook huffed. His foot came down again, lips tugged into a fierce pout. “Kookie wants to stay up with hyungies!”

 

Taehyung felt his jaw clench slightly. “It’s too late right now,” he said, keeping his tone painfully controlled. “Besides, you won’t like the movie, okay? It’s not Disney.”

 

Jungkook frowned. “So?”

 

Somebody cleared their throat behind Taehyung.

 

“We could change the movie?” Jimin suggested. “It’s not that big a deal, we can watch this one later—”

 

“Yay!” Jungkook said brightly, expression lighting up.

 

“No,” Taehyung interjected sharply, jaw clenching. “You’re going back to bed. Let’s go.”

 

Jungkook’s smile faded, jaw falling open. “B-but that’s not fair!” he insisted. His chin trembled with an overexaggerated pout. “Jiminie hyungie said I could stay—”

 

“And I’m saying you can’t,” Taehyung snapped.“You know how grumpy you get if you stay up late. Now stop whining, and let’s go.”

 

Jungkook’s eyes narrowed. “Nuh uh. Kookie’s staying .”

 

Taehyung felt something tightening in his chest, like a rubber band seconds away from snapping.

 

“Excuse me?” he said, voice low.

 

“Kookie’s staying ,” Jungkook huffed. “TaeTae’s being a meanie. Kookie wants to watch, too —”

 

“Tae, it’s really not that big a deal,” Seokjin said, looking awkwardly between the two. “He can stay for a few minutes. He’ll probably end up falling asleep, anyways—”

 

“See?” Jungkook stuck his tongue out petulantly. “Hyungies want Kookie here.”

 

Taehyung took a deep breath and counted to ten in his head.

 

His voice was dark when he spoke, teeth grit.

 

“I’m going to count to three, and you’re going to follow me into our room, Jeon Jungkook. Do you understand?”

 

Jungkook’s face flushed angrily.

 

“That’s not fair!” he whined. His foot came down once.

 

Taehyung could have sworn he could feel his eye twitch. “One.”

 

“Jinnie hyungie!” The younger turned towards Seokjin, who blanched. “Tell TaeTae he’s being a meanie!”

 

“Uh.” The elder rubbed the back of his neck, inwardly flinching at the thought of angering Taehyung. “You should, um, listen to your hyung, Kookie.”

 

Jungkook frowned. “But hyungie !”

 

Taehyung pinched the bridge of his nose, inhaling deeply. “Two.”

 

Jungkook stomped his foot again. “TaeTae!”

 

Taehyung growled.

 

Stop stomping your foot at me,” he hissed.

 

Someone in the room coughed awkwardly.

 

The elder didn’t get mad often, least of all towards Jungkook—but when he did, it wasn’t something anyone liked to see.

 

Jungkook, however, didn’t seem the least bit scared of the consequences.

 

He whined, stomping his foot again. “I don’t wanna sleep! ‘M not tired anymore!”

 

When Taehyung snapped, it wasn’t violent. It wasn’t explosive or eruptive—it was smooth, calculated. Cold.

 

In one, brisk motion, he grabbed Jungkook by the arm and pulled him to his feet. Even in his angriest states he kept his grip light enough not to hurt the younger—just tight enough to let him know exactly what he’d gotten himself into.

 

Jungkook let out a startled gasp as he was swept off his feet, dropping his stuffed toy.

 

“Gloss!” He whimpered, obvious distress leaking into the words as he turned towards Taehyung. “Wait, TaeTae—”

 

“I’ll come back for her later,” Taehyung said stiffly, eyes straight ahead as he continued walking down the hall.

 

“What?” Jungkook looked at him wide-eyed, alarm swimming in them. “But Kookie needs her—”

 

“Inside.”

 

Taehyung placed the younger just a little too roughly onto his feet. He nearly stumbled, catching himself in time and looking up at the elder with a scandalized expression.

 

“That was mean,” he whined.

 

Taehyung crossed his arms. “Get into the room please, Jungkook.”

 

Jungkook frowned, eyebrows furrowing. “W...why is TaeTae calling Kookie that?”

 

He seemed genuinely confused. Taehyung rarely, if ever, referred to the younger without some sort of pet name or endearing monicker, and it didn’t often sink in to Jungkook that the elder was genuinely upset with him unless he was called by his full name.

 

“Because I’m upset with you,” Taehyung said sharply. “Now please, get inside.”

 

Jungkook’s lips parted, seemingly stunned. “Why is TaeTae upset!”

 

Taehyung glared at him. “Because you’re being a brat, Jungkook.”

 

The younger flinched, drawing away as if he’d been burned.

 

His eyes flickered with genuine hurt, tears brimming the edges. “T-that’s not nice,” he said softly, voice shaky.

 

Taehyung shook his head. “Neither was interrupting all of us. Or acting up with me in front of all your hyungs. Or stomping your foot, repeatedly , when you know how rude and disrespectful that is.”

 

Jungkook’s cheeks flames, real anger sparking in his expression. “Well, TaeTae’s being a jerk !”

 

Something in Taehyung snapped. He’d never yelled at the youngner, never genuinely raised his voice at him.

 

But he took a step forward, voice ripping out of his throat with a growl behind it, so full of rage he almost didn’t recognize it himself.

 

Get inside!

 

Jungkook’s face turned bright red. He looked shocked, but his eyes swam with thinly veiled hurt.

 

Instantly, Taehyung’s chest clenched with regret. The anger was starting to fade after having shouted at the younger, and it was slowly being replaced with guilt.

 

He was just about to open his mouth when Jungkook suddenly screamed something right back.

 

“I-I hate you!”

 

Taehyung froze.

 

There was a split second of silence, where Jungkook sort of just stood there like a deer in headlights. You could see the gears in his brain working slowly, coming to the realization of what he’d just said.

 

Taehyung swallowed hard, his expression stony. Brushing past the younger, he made his way silently into the room without another word.

 

Jungkook stood outside in the hall for a minute, shocked. Bewildered as to what had just happened.

 

And more than anything, terrified.

 

They’d never argued before—not like this. Sure, they had a few minor disagreements like any couple. But this ?

 

His stomach churned uneasily.

 

“H- hyungie .” He burst into tears without warning, blindly making his way back down the hall and into the living room. He didn’t care which hyung he made it to first, as long as one of them was there.

 

It turned out to be his brother that caught him as he flew into the couch, arms quickly wrapping around his sobbing figure with ease.

 

“Kook,” Yoongi sighed quietly. “What’d you have to go and say that for?”

 

Jungkook sobbed harder. “I-I didn’t mean to—Kookie didn’t mean to, it j-just came out—”

 

“Tae was pretty nasty, too,” Jimin said quietly, frowning as he ran a hand soothingly through the weeping boy’s hair. “I mean come on, we all heard him scream. He didn’t have to yell like that.”

 

“Jungkook could have been more respectful, though,” Seokjin sighed tiredly. “Tae loves him, but he can only take so much. He already puts up with a lot. He’s human, too.”

 

“K-Kookie didn’t mean it,” Jungkook insisted tearfully, looking up at his brother with a tear-streaked face. “He doesn’t hate TaeTae, he doesn’t—h-he could never hate him—”

 

“I know, Kook,” Yoongi said patiently. “I know you don’t, okay? And Taehyung knows it, too. Just give him some time.”

 

“Why don’t you sleep with us tonight, sweetheart?” Jimin suggested, voice gentle. “We can have a sleepover. Okay? Doesn’t that sound fun?”

 

The suggestion made Jungkook’s heart clench.

 

“B-but Kookie sleeps with TaeTae,” he whispered brokenly, blinking back another set of waterworks. “He always does. Always .”

 

Jimin bit his lip. “Do you want to go sleep with him, then?”

 

The younger’s mind flashed back to the flash of hurt that had crossed the elder’s face when he’d yelled at him—and the way he’d brushed so roughly past him, not even glancing backwards.

 

He sniffed and shook his head silently.

 

Yoongi frowned. “Then you should spend the night with us, Kook. Where else are you gonna go?”

 

Jungkook hung his head, sniffling miserably. “B-but I can't sleep without TaeTae.”

 

Jimin looked at Yoongi over the younger’s ducked head, expression serious. “Maybe I should go talk to him.”

 

Yoongi growled, hand running absentmindedly up and down his brother’s spine comfortingly. “Maybe I should go talk to him. Fucking teach him a lesson for the way he acted. That’s not how you talk to anyone , much less Kook—”

 

“We’re not going to assign blame,” Jimin interrupted firmly. “ Or take sides. This isn’t our argument, alright?”

 

Yoongi looked down at Jungkook, who was clinging to him while holding back another set of sobs, face bright pink and tear strained.

 

“I beg to differ,” he said flatly. “Feels sort of personal.”

 

Jimin rolled his eyes, standing up. “I’m going to go talk to him. Chances are if Kook can’t sleep without him, he probably feels the same way.”

 

Jungkook lifted his head abruptly, eyes wide. “Can Kookie come?”

 

“Uh, let me talk to him first, sweetheart,” Jimin said carefully. He reached out to ruffle the younger’s hair. “We’ll figure this out, yeah? Don’t cry.”

 

Jungkook sniffled cutely, rubbing one eye with his hand. “Sorry,” he mumbled.

 

“Nothing to be sorry about,” Yoongi responded gruffly. He gently tugged the younger’s hand back down into his lap, wiping away any remaining traces of tears with his own hand. “How about we watch a movie while we wait?”

 

The younger perked up slightly. “Disney?”

 

Hobi pulled the previous movie out of the player. “Lucky for us, I had a few Disney backups prerecorded.” He winked at Jungkook, grinning. “Just in case.”

 

While Hobi began playing Cinderella, Seokjin wrapped the younger in a fluffy blanket, and Namjoon placed the bowl of popcorn on his lap.

 

Jungkook leaned back into Yoongi’s arms, sighing softly.

 

“Thank you, hyungies,” he said quietly, bringing the blanket up to his chin. “Kookie’s sorry for ruining movie night.”

 

The friends all cooed, flocking to the couch. A tangle of arms reached out to ruffle the younger’s hair, pinch his cheeks, pat his head.

 

“You didn’t ruin anything, Kookie,” Seokjin reassured, smiling. “To be honest with you, I didn’t want to watch a scary movie anyways.”

 

“Me, neither,” Namjoon said, grinning. “So in a way, you sort of saved us.”

 

Jungkook giggled into the blanket. “Really?”

 

Yoongi ruffled his hair affectionately. “Really.”

 

Back down the hall, Jimin was knocking on Taehyung and Jungkook’s bedroom door for the third time. He waited another few seconds before deciding enough was enough.

 

Lips pressed together, he turned the doorknob and stepped inside.

 

Taehyung was nowhere to be found in the room. Jimin’s eyebrows furrowed before landing on the closed bathroom door.

 

“Tae?” He took a hesitant step forward. “You in there?”

 

There was a scuffle on the other end. Something thumped against the door, and Jimin jumped in surprise.

 

“Are you okay? Do you need me to come in?”

 

A beat of silence passed.

 

Finally, the door creaked open and Taehyung stepped out.

 

The first thing Jimin noticed was that he wasn’t wearing a shirt. He appeared to have been changing, having shed his pants for a pair of boxers, and not had the chance to slip on a shirt quite yet.

 

The second thing he noticed was that he’d been crying.

 

Jimin’s heart immediately melted.

 

“Aw, Tae,” he sighed.

 

His friend scowled at the floor, trying in vain to hide his flushed cheeks and tear stained face. “What do you want?”

 

Jimin swallowed. “To talk.”

 

Taehyung shook his head and scoffed, already turning back around to head into the bathroom. “I don’t feel like talking.”

 

“Don’t be mad, Tae. Kook didn’t mean it,” Jimin continued. He grabbed the door before his friend could close it, taking a step inside right behind him. “He’s outside crying because he feels so bad.”

 

“I’m not mad,” Taehyung said stiffly. He wasn’t even looking at the other male, staring stoically into the mirror as he washed his face.

 

Jimin frowned. “You seem pretty upset.”

 

The water rushed on, far harder than necessary. “You seem to have all the answers, Jimin,” his friend replied flatly. “I don’t know what you came in here to talk to me about.”

 

“Don’t be like that,” Jimin snapped, glaring at him. “Listen, you both said things you regret, okay? What’s the big deal? Just apologize and move on—”

 

“All I did was yell at him a little,” Taehyung snapped, whirling on him so suddenly Jimin flinched. “And I was going to apologize right after I did it, because I felt so bad. But I didn’t even get the chance , because he fucking told me he hated me. What type of—I mean, who says that? Even in an argument. I’m just—”

 

He cut himself off abruptly, clenching his jaw and facing the sink again angrily.

 

Jimin was quiet for a minute.

 

“This is your guys’ first real fight,” he said quietly, sighing.  “He didn’t know how to react to you yelling at him. You’ve never done it before.”

 

Taehyung sighed, too, running a hand wearily over his face. He turned the sink off but didn’t move, glaring now at the counter.

 

“I don’t even know why I shouted,” he finally muttered. His voice was leaden with exhaustion. “I just...shit. I mean, how was that his first instinct?” He finally turned towards Jimin, who’s heart clenched at the genuine hurt on his friend’s expression. “His gut reaction was to tell me he hated me, Minnie. That’s—I just—” He shook his head again, seemingly unable to form the words.

 

“He didn’t mean it, Tae,” Jimin said softly, wanting so badly to reach out and hug him. “You know that. He loves you more than anything in the world. He won’t even sleep without you.”

 

A muscle in Taehyung’s jaw flexed. “I...I don’t know if we should sleep together tonight.”

 

Jimin’s lips parted. “...Seriously?”

 

His friend looked wearily at him, eyes brimming with sadness. “I don't wanna fight again.”

 

Jimin didn’t care anymore, consequences be damned. He took a step forward and enveloped his friend in a tight hug.

 

For a moment, Taehyung didn’t move a muscle.

 

When he finally hugged him back, it was tight. He didn’t say anything, but Jimin could feel him shaking from the effort of keeping his tears in.

 

“This is what couples do, Tae,” he said quietly. “I know it’s scary. But Yoongi and I fight all the time. Jin hyung and Namjoon, too. Even Hobi and Jisoo.” He pulled back slightly. “This isn’t the end of the world. Just...just talk to him. Please?”

 

Taehyung swallowed hard. He dropped his arms, staring stonefaced at the ground.

 

There was a pause, before he ran a hand through his hair, sighing.

 

“Okay,” he finally muttered. “Fine. Fine, just... bring him in.”

 

Jimin squeezed his shoulder once gratefully. “Thank you,” he said softly. “It’ll be fine, you’ll see.”

 

And in a way, it was fine for the time being. Because when Jimin went back to the living room, Jungkook was fast asleep on the couch.

 

Yoongi handed him to his boyfriend, looking exhausted himself. “Tae feeling okay?”

 

“He’ll be alright,” Jimin responded wearily. He hitched the sleeping younger up into his arms, nearly stumbling under the weight.

 

When Taehyung opened the door, he instinctively reached over to grab Jungkook.

 

Even asleep, the younger wrapped himself around Taehyung like a koala. His cheek rested on the elder’s shoulder, a content sigh parting his lips subconsciously.

 

Taehyung’s expression softened as he looked down at him, and Jimin felt relief course through him.

 

They’d be alright.

 

***

 

When Jungkook woke up, it took him a moment to remember the events of last night.

 

As he slowly recalled the memories, his half-asleep gaze wandered the room for the sight of his hyung.

 

He frowned when he couldn’t find him.

 

Inexplicable panic hit him, and he suddenly felt his chest tighten. What if Taehyung had left? What if he was so upset over last night that he’d run away, and left Jungkook alone forever?

 

Tears sprung to his eyes.

 

Tripping over the mess of blankets tangled around his legs, he flung himself off the bed and threw open the bedroom door.

 

“TaeTae? T-TaeTae!”

 

Someone called his name, but he barely heard them. It wasn’t his hyung, where was his hyung?

 

A short sob slipped out of his mouth, despite his best efforts to keep it in.

 

TaeTae !”

 

Desperation was beginning to drown the words, his voice climbing in pitch as he ran into the living room. Namjoon and Hobi hyung looked at him in surprise, eyes wide with alarm at his obviously hysterical state.

 

“Kook?” Hobi’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion. “Kid, Tae is—”

 

“H-he’s g- gone ,” Jungkook sobbed. “He l- left .”

 

The elders immediately jumped to their feet as he suddenly threw himself onto the ground. It was a full blown tantrum, hands and feet hitting the ground as he bawled, sadness and anger coursing through him and making him want to scream louder than ever before.

 

“Jesus,” someone muttered. “Where’s Jimin? Tell him to bring Tae in here.”

 

“They’re literally just in the kitchen. Kook, stop , you’re gonna hurt yourself—”

 

Jungkook yanked his hand out of someone’s grip, blinking blindly through his tears.

 

“I-I want TaeTae ,” he sobbed. “Tell h-him to come h- home , tell him—”

 

“Kookie?”

 

He choked on a sob, breath catching in his throat, and looked up.

 

Taehyung stood in the doorway, looking bewildered at the scene before him.

 

There was a split second of silence before Jungkook launched himself across the room and jumped into his arms.

 

“W-w-wh—” Sobs interrupted any chances of a coherent thought forming. Jungkook was hugging him so hard it was almost painful, but Taehyung didn’t say anything about it.

 

“Bunny,” he said carefully, the words holding question marks. He curled his fingers into the younger's hair, holding him tightly against his chest. “Baby, you’re shaking. What is it? What’s wrong?”

 

“W... why ,” Jungkook finally managed to choke out. He pulled his head up to gaze tearfully up at him, eyes huge and full of hurt. “W-why’d you leave . K-Kookie’s sorry, he doesn’t hate you. He loves you, promise, loves you so much—”

 

Taehyung felt his features soften as understanding hit.

 

“Oh, Kookie,” he sighed softly. “I shouldn’t have let you wake up alone after a fight. You probably freaked out, huh? I’m so sorry, baby.”

 

Jungkook buried his face back into his shoulder, shaking his head fiercely. “I-it’s not okay , it’s n- not . Y-you can’t just go , t-that’s not—”

 

“I know,” Taehyung murmured. “I know, Kookie. I’m sorry, baby. Just take a deep breath for me, alright?”

 

Jungkook’s fingers were digging into his shoulder blades with a force that almost hurt. He whimpered against the elder, body trembling against his.

 

Jimin, Namjoon And Hobi stood in the doorway watching the scene with soft smiles, exchanging relieved glances with each other.

 

“Why don’t you sit him down?” Jimin suggested gently. “I’ll go get some water.” He threw a blatant look towards the rest of the men gathered in the room, dragging them outside with him as he left.

 

Taehyung hummed, arms tightening around the younger. “Kookie? Baby? Do you mind if I move us to the couch?”

 

Jungkook didn’t respond, his cries quieting down into sniffling. His face was still hidden in the elder’s shoulder.

 

In a few quick, cautious movements, Taehyung managed to maneuver them onto the couch. Jungkook clung to him the entire time like a baby koala, arms wound tightly around his neck and legs wrapped around his hips.

 

He whimpered when they sat down, somehow pressing even tighter against his chest.

 

“I’m not going anywhere, Kookie,” Taehyung sighed, rubbing his back gently. “You don’t have to cling to me, baby. I’m not leaving again.”

 

Jungkook was quiet for a moment, even his sniffling silent.

 

After a second, he lifted his head again.

 

“...I-I thought you left forever,” he whispered brokenly. “Kookie thought TaeTae left forever .”

 

Taehyung stilled.

 

Jungkook ,” he whispered fiercely, leaning his forehead against the younger’s. “Kookie, no . I would never leave my baby.”

 

“B-but Kookie was so mean to TaeTae,” the younger whimpered, sniffling. He rubbed at his eyes, looking close to tears again. “I’m sorry, TaeTae, I didn’t mean to be so bad—”

 

“You weren’t,” Taehyung insisted firmly. “You weren’t bad at all. We both got a little out of hand last night, okay? It happens sometimes. Couples fight.”

 

Jungkook whimpered in his lap, looking distraught. “I-I don’t like fighting,” he whispered brokenly. “Kookie doesn’t wanna fight with TaeTae.”

 

Warmth bloomed in Taehyung’s chest, and he leaned forward to rest his forehead against the younger’s.

 

“I don’t like fighting, either,” he sighed quietly. “Let’s not do that again, yeah? It wasn’t very fun.”

 

“Nuh uh,” Jungkook agreed, sniffling. “It’s wasn’t fun at all .” He hesitated for a moment, lifting a pair of watery eyes towards the elder. “I...I’m sorry for not listening,” he said quietly, a small frown of remorse tugging at his lips. “And stomping my foot.”

 

Taehyung grimaced. “I’m sorry for calling you a brat and yelling at you, baby.”

 

Jungkook glared at him. “That wasn’t nice. Kookie’s not a brat. That’s a mean word.”

 

Taehyung finally gave a smile. He felt physically lighter, the weight of last night’s regrets lifted off at last.

 

“You’re right,” he said. “It is a mean word. I think I deserve a timeout, don’t you?”

 

The words made the younger’s face light up. “Really?” he gasped.

 

Taehyung grinned. “After breakfast, I’ll go in timeout for ten minutes. Sound good?”

 

“Yeah!” Jungkook said eagerly. His smile softened then, eyes glittering with warmth. “Only five minutes, though. ‘Cause Kookie’s not mad anymore.”

 

He pressed a kiss to Taehyung’s cheek before resting his head on his shoulder with a content sigh, hugging him tightly. “Where did TaeTae go?”

 

Taehyung laughed softly. “I was making you breakfast. To apologize for last night.”

 

Jungkook perked up, expression brightening comically. “Pancakes?”

 

Taehyung grinned. “What else?”

 

“With whipped cream?” the younger squealed.

 

Taehyung’s affirmative nod earned him a huge kiss, excitement causing the younger to practically bound off his lap. He tugged the elder’s arm toward the kitchen, bouncing on the balls of his feet.

 

“Come on, let’s go! Before Joonie hyungie eats them all!”

 

Just a few steps away in the kitchen, Namjoon glared at his friends as they all burst out laughing at the statement.

 

“It was one time—”

 

“Ssh, they’re coming! Get your ear off the door , Hobi—”

 

“I’m going, I’m going —”

 

“Does this mean we have to watch another Disney movie tonight? I’m going to kill myself if I have to see Moana one more time—”

 

“Dude, the whole house heard you blasting the tracks in your shower last week.”

 

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. For your information, I only listen to rap, asshole—”

 

“Twice does not qualify as rap, man—”

 

They have rappers, don’t they—”

 

Chapter Text

Jungkook clung to Taehyung, burying his face in the elder’s chest.

 

Noo ,” he whined, voice muffled. “Don’t go, TaeTae. Please .”

 

Taehyung sighed, hugging the younger back briefly before making an effort to pry him off. Jungkook’s fingers curled into the fabric of his shirt, a loud whine of protest parting his lips.

 

“Kookie will die,” he said fiercely, gazing up at the elder with wide eyes. “Die from being all alone.”

 

Taehyung bit back an amused smile at the younger’s melodramatics. “Baby, you’re not going to be all alone,” he said gently. “Remember? There’s going to be a babysitter with you.”

 

Jungkook huffed indignantly at that, arms falling to his sides as he finally pulled away from the elder’s body.

 

“Kookie's not a baby,” he scoffed, frowning. “He doesn’t need a babysitter.”

 

“But then Kookie won’t be all alone,” Taehyung said, raising an eyebrow. “There’ll be someone else, right? So he can’t die from being all alone.”

 

Jungkook glared at him.

 

“She’s really nice, honey,” Taehyung murmured gently. He moved his hand to stroke the hair out of the younger’s eyes, allowing his fingers to run over his bottom lip softly before it fell back against his side. “You’ll like her, okay? And TaeTae will make it up to you when he gets back.”

 

Jungkook’s cheeks flushed as the elder ran his thumb over his bottom lip.

 

“Special cuddles?” he said, perking up.

 

Taehyung laughed softly. “Sure. Lots of special cuddles.”

 

“Is special cuddles a codeword for sex?” Jimin stage-whispered loudly in the direction of his own boyfriend, Yoongi. The two stood patiently by the doorway while they waited for the two youngest members to say their goodbyes.

 

Yoongi scowled, looking annoyed. “Should I be concerned that Tae is bribing my little brother with sexual favors?”

 

Jimin scoffed. “I bribe you with sexual favors. You only agreed to get me those earrings last week because I blew you.”

 

“There are some things we whisper ,” Seokjin hissed, brushing quickly past the two and into the hallway outside. “I’m going to go wait in the car before my ears start bleeding.”

 

Yoongi snorted as the door slammed shut. “What’s he complaining about? I had to listen to him and Joon fuck for three hours straight last time he came home from a mission. Did you know Joon’s a screamer?”

 

“Okay, I’m going to the car, too,” Jimin said quickly, cheeks flushing. “Jeez, Yoongi.”

 

The elder looked unfazed. “What?”

 

Back in the living room, Taehyung was making progress with Jungkook. He’d sat the younger down on his lap on the couch, humming comfortingly as he clung to him like a baby koala.

 

“It’s just two days, honey,” Taehyung whispered, stroking his hair. “I’ll call as often as I can, alright?”

 

Jungkook wasn’t screaming or whining anymore, but sadness radiated from him like a heater. He sniffled against the elder’s shirt.

 

“Promise?” His voice was tiny, barely audible.

 

“Pinky promise.” Taehyung squeezed him, hugging him tight against his chest. His own stomach was tense with nerves. He’d never been away from the younger for more than a day—and even then, he came home at night.

 

He wouldn’t say it to Jungkook because he didn’t want to make him more anxious than he already was, but Taehyung was just as terrified as the younger was.

 

There was a sharp knocking on the doorway that made his head jerk up, thoughts pushed aside.

 

Yoongi rapped his knuckles impatiently on the wooden doorframe. “Come on, kid,” he grunted. “The sitter's here. Time to go.”

 

Jungkook whined softly against him, the sound sending vibrations up his chest. Taehyung sighed.

 

“Kookie, you want to go meet Jane?” he said gently. “She’s waiting for you.”

 

The younger didn’t respond. Taehyung looked up helplessly at Yoongi, who merely glared at him.

 

The mint-hired man made a gesture at someone standing in the hallway out of Taehyung’s line of vision. Before he could react, a pretty blonde-haired girl had stepped into the living room.

 

She immediately crossed over towards the two of them, crouching in front of the couch before Jungkook.

 

“Kookie?” Taehyung rubbed his back, smiling apologetically at the girl. “Come on, sweetheart. This isn’t very polite. She just wants to say hi, honey.”

 

Jungkook whimpered. “Don’t wanna .”

 

Taehyung looked sheepishly at Jane. “I’m sorry. He’s a little upset about me leaving.”

 

“It’s completely understandable,” she responded sweetly. “If you don’t mind, can I try something?”

 

“Of course.” Taehyung watched as Jane reached into the backpack she’d brought with her and unearthed a cotton candy blue teddy bear. Immediately, his eyes widened. He knew right away Jungkook would love the toy.

 

“Genius,” he breathed softly. His head turned back towards the younger in his lap. “Jungkookie, look what Jane Unnie brought for you!”

 

Unsurprisingly, Jungkook was very easily lured out by any mention of gifts. He lifted his head out of Taehyung’s chest and peeked over his shoulder hesitantly.

 

Taehyung watched with a sense of relief as his eyes widened.

 

“T-that’s...for me?” He looked once at Taehyung, then back at the toy. His gaze never seemed to land on the girl holding it.

 

Jane sent Taehyung an amused smile. “It is. It’s nice to meet you, Jungkook.”

 

Finally, the younger registered there was a hand attached to the animal he’d been so fixated on. His eyebrows furrowed cutely as he did a onceover of the girl, seemingly satisfied with her cute and clean appearance.

 

His nose scrunched, the way it did whenever he was thinking about something. “...Who are you?”

 

Jane smiled. “I’m Jane Unnie, Kookie. I’m going to be taking care of you for the next two days while your hyungs are gone. We’ll have lots of fun!”

 

Jungkook’s eyes floated back down onto the stuffed bear. “Do you have more stuffies?”

 

Taehyung facepalmed, but the sitter only laughed.

 

“He’s cute,” she chuckled, handing the toy over to Jungkook. Taehyung watched him grab it greedily and pull it to his chest, expression lighting up. “Do you have any last minute reminders I should know? Before you leave.”

 

“Uh.” Taehyung mouthed silently at Yoongi, asking him to come over and watch Jungkook while he directed Jane around the house. Luckily, the younger was too enraptured in the soft fur of his new toy to protest when Taehyung gently eased him off of his lap and onto the couch.

 

“Right, so I told you most of the stuff you need to know over the phone,” Taehyung said seriously, Jane brushing off her skirt as she stood up. “You’ve worked with Littles before, yeah?”

 

Jane nodded. “Lots of times. I try to treat them as I would any child.”

 

“Good,” Taehyung said, sighing. “That’s good. Okay, so...um, lunch and dinner for two days are on the fridge, top shelf. For breakfast he usually eats cereal, but if he picks a type with too much sugar he can’t have any candy the rest of the day. It’s a good idea to play with him right after breakfast because it’s when he’s usually the most hyper, but you can always put a Disney movie on if you get tired. But not too much tv, okay? Uh...he likes to nap sometimes after lunch. Fuck, what else...oh—”

 

The sound of a horn blasting angrily from outside cut him off. Yoongi sighed from his spot on the couch.

 

“Kid, we gotta go,” he snapped. “Come on already. This is her job, she’ll be fine.”

 

Jane smiled reassuringly at Taehyung. “Really, hyung-nim. You don’t have to worry.”

 

Taehyung smiled sheepishly in return. “I know, I’m sorry. Force of habit, I guess. Do you have any questions for me?”

 

The girl cocked her head thoughtfully, humming contemplatively. “Only one, really. What do you recommend for punishment if he acts out?”

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows furrowed. “What?  Oh, well...Jungkook doesn’t really act out. He’s sweet, he likes praise. He shouldn’t give you trouble.”

 

Jane pressed her lips together. “Right, but if he does?”

 

“He won’t .” Taehyung couldn’t help the sudden sharpness his tone had taken on, but he didn’t feel bad for it. “He hardly ever misbehaves. And if he does, you can give him a short timeout and wait for me to come home. I’ll deal with it then. Alright?”

 

He couldn’t help but feel like Jane’s smile had turned a little sour, but she kept it glued to her face nonetheless. “Of course.”

 

A cold feeling snaked down Taehyung’s spine. His stomach suddenly felt tighter, and he couldn’t pinpoint exactly why.

 

“You have my cell number?” he double-checked.

 

Jane didn’t give him any more reasons to feel anxious or unnerved, the perfect guest the rest of the time they spoke. Taehyung tried as quickly as he could to rush through any other instructions he could remember, and no more alarming questions came up.

 

Jungkook cried again when they left, but Taehyung felt a little better seeing him hide his face in the fabric of Jane’s shirt. If he was comfortable with her already, there was nothing to be concerned about? Right?

 

The elder leaned back in the car seat as Namjoon revved the engine.

 

So why couldn’t he shake the unsettling feeling in his gut?

 

***

 

“And who’s that one?”

 

Jane pointed at one of the dwarves on the screen, looking at Jungkook expectantly with a smile.

 

“That’s Sleepy!” Jungkook grinned back. His words came out a bit muffled around the half-chewed mouthful of cereal in his mouth, some milk dripping down his chin.

 

Jane’s smile stiffened slightly. “What did we say about talking with your mouth full?”

 

The younger made a face, swallowing. “Sorry,” he giggled.

 

Jane chose not to respond, but she didn’t look amused. “Okay,” she continued, tone still light and cheerful. “What about this one?”

 

“Grumpy!” Jungkook giggled. “Does Unnie really not know the dwarves?”

 

“Mm, I guess not,” Jane laughed. “And the princess...who was she, again? Sleeping Beauty?”

 

“Snow White, silly!” Jungkook looked at her with sparkling eyes, amused by the antics. “She’s right there on the screen, Unnie! Unpause, look!”

 

“We’ll unpause after you finish your breakfast, Jungkook,” she said firmly, smile glued in place. “You’re almost done.”

 

Jungkook laid a hand on his stomach, groaning cutely with contentment. “Kookie’s full.”

 

For some reason, the statement made Jane frown. “You still have half a bowl left.”

 

“But it’s the second bowl,” Jungkook corrected sweetly, smiling. “I’m all full now.”

 

Jane’s lips puckered. “Jungkook, you should finish all the food you’re given. It’s impolite to leave so much leftover.”

 

The younger’s smile faltered, his eyebrows furrowing. “What? But...TaeTae always says to tell him when I’m full—”

 

“Yes, but finishing your food is more important,” she interrupted firmly. “Come on, go ahead. It’s just a few more bites.”

 

Jungkook stared down at the relatively full bowl in his lap. He bit his lip and put another spoonful into his mouth, the action of swallowing making his gut tense.

 

“Unnie, my tummy’s gonna burst,” he whined.

 

Jane sighed. “That’s fine. I suppose we’ll just sit here and stare at the screen until you finish.”

 

“Wh…” Jungkook gazed at the paused tv screen, lower lip jutting out. “That’s not fair , though. I’m full .”

 

“Jungkook, do you normally talk back to your hyungs this way?” she snapped suddenly, eyes ablaze.

 

Jungkook shrank under the sharp gaze, feeling shame unfurl in his gut at the obvious disappointment in her tone.

 

“No,” he muttered quietly. “Kookie’s a good boy.”

 

“Well, a good boy does as he’s told,” she said firmly. “Now finish up. Once you’re done, you can wash your bowl and then I’ll play the movie. Alright?”

 

The statement caused his lips to part in surprise. “Oh. Um, Jiminie hyungie says I’m not supposed to wash stuff myself. ‘Cause one time—”

 

“Really, Jungkook?” The younger’s words died on his tongue as her angry expression returned. “Talking back again ? What did I just say?”

 

The younger boy chose not to respond this time, too scared he’d be scolded again. He was confused, and a little scared. Why was he getting yelled at for things that weren’t bad?

 

Silence seemed to be the best response, as Jane appeared to take it as agreement. She gave a thin smile in his direction, but it felt meaner than any frown Jungkook had ever seen.

 

He finished the rest of his cereal slowly. His stomach ached at the action, but he didn’t say anything again. He didn’t like getting scolded.

 

“Unnie, I’m all done,” he said quietly.

 

Jane clapped her hands briefly, smile appearing genuine this time. “Good job, Jungkook! See, I knew you could do it.”

 

He gave a small smile in return. Maybe he really had just been being disobedient. Leaving food on his plate was rude, right? One time he’d been scolded by Seokjin hyung for not finishing all his rice.

 

But this felt different. His tummy felt tight and uncomfortable when he stood up, and he bit his lip at the sensation.

 

Hesitation crept in against as he stared down at the bowl in his hands. He really wasn’t supposed to wash the dishes by himself….

 

But Jane was looking at him with that angry smile again. “Is something wrong, Jungkook?”

 

He swallowed, mouth dry.

 

“No,” he mumbled. “C-can Unnie help me wash the bowl? Please?”

 

Jane raised an eyebrow. “You can’t do it yourself?”

 

His fingers tightened on the dish. “I-I...maybe. But—”

 

“I’ll be right out here, Jungkook,” she interrupted sternly. “It’s just one dish. It should only take a minute, right?”

 

“...Right.” Right. She was right, of course. It was just one dish. He was overreacting. His hyungs were just overprotective and liked to baby him, after all. He could probably easily do this on his own.

 

And so he ignored the bad feeling in his chest, and he walked slowly into the kitchen.

 

He’d seen his hyungs do this a hundred times. First, he turned on the water, making sure it was warm. Then—

 

“Ow!” Jungkook yanked his hand back out from underneath the stream, tears immediately springing to his eyes. It burned .

 

He waited for Jane to come, to help him and maybe even kiss his now aching hand.

 

But she didn’t. Jungkook blinked back the tears, sniffling when nobody came.

 

He resigned himself to ignore the stinging area of skin. Gritting his teeth, he reached over the sink for the sponge he’d seen Jimin use before.

 

Luckily, it was already covered in soap. (A relief, because he had no idea where the dish soap was kept.)

 

After making sure the water was much colder, he quickly swept the surface bowl with suds and rinsed it, followed by the spoon. A small smile grew on his face as he worked. This was easy.

 

And it would have been perfectly simple, if he hadn’t made a tiny mistake at the very end.

 

He didn’t know where he was supposed to put the dishes after they were all clean. Feeling like the counter was probably the safest place, Jungkook perched the bowl right on the slippery edge—

 

—And watched it slide right off and topple onto the floor.

 

He let out a small cry of shock at the loud sound of the dish shattering. Glass shards went flying everywhere, luckily avoiding his feet.

 

“U-Unnie!” he cried out, the tears returning full force. His face flushed at the sight of a sea of glass scattered around his feet. How was he supposed to leave?

 

More fear clenched at his chest. Why wasn’t Jane coming?

 

“Unnie, Jane Unnie, please—”

 

Finally, the sound of footsteps had him whimpering with relief.

 

“Jungkook, what was that sou—oh my gosh!”

 

Jane’s mouth fell open when she stepped into the kitchen. Jungkook watched as a terrifying flash of rage crossed her features, lips curling into a snarl.

 

“Jeon Jungkook!” she yelled. “Look what you did!”

 

Jungkook was staring at her, speechless. He’d felt the blood drain from his face when she’d screamed, and now he could feel it returning full force as his skin grew warm.

 

“I-I’m s-sorry,” he whispered shakily, tears leaking out of the corners of his eyes. “K-Kookie isn’t s-supposed to wash d-dishes—”

 

“So you broke it instead?” She glared at Jungkook, and the younger whimpered at the accusation and expression both.

 

“No,” he whined. “I-it fell , it was an accident, promise—”

 

“You’re such a naughty boy, Jungkook,” she continued, voice scathing. “That’s it, you’re going in timeout.”

 

Jungkook’s jaw fell open. “What? B-but it was an accident —”

 

Jane, who was wearing thick-soled shoes and didn’t seem to mind stepping on glass, was all of a sudden stomping right over to him. Jungkook let out another whimper as her hands closed tightly around his wrist, tugging him out of the kitchen.

 

“Stand in this corner,” she demanded coldly. The younger allowed himself to be positioned in the corner of the living room, shoulders jerked around until he was facing the wall.

 

Tears streamed down his cheeks. “H-how long?” he whispered.

 

“As long as it takes for me to clean up the glass,” Jane snapped. “God, what were you thinking? It’s all over the floor, Jungkook.”

 

He leaned his forehead against the wall, shame and sadness uncurling inside of his gut like a ribbon. “But...I-I’m sorry —”

 

“Not another word,” she snapped. “Just stand there and think about what you’ve done.”

 

Jungkook’s shoulders trembled with suppressed tears. He merely nodded, not trusting his voice to keep from bursting into sobs if he tried speaking.

 

He could hear the sound of Jane finally walking away. The tears turned to a slower trickle as he waited patiently, feet starting to ache from not being allowed to move.

 

How long did it take to clean up glass? Jungkook swallowed, whimpering. His tummy still hurt, and now so did his feet. He wanted his hyungs. He wanted his TaeTae.

 

And that’s when he heard it.

 

The tv was on.

 

Bewildered, he slowly turned around. Was he allowed to leave?

 

Jane was sitting on the couch, remote in hand as she flipped right past Snow White. Jungkook couldn’t stop himself from letting out a cry of protest. His movie .

 

The sitter turned her head at the sound, and her lips immediately pulled into a frown at the sight of Jungkook’s shocked face.

 

“Did I say you could turn around, Jungkook?” she said sharply.

 

Jungkook sniffled, eyes darting to the kitchen doorway briefly. “U-Unnie said...after the g-glass was clean—”

 

“Yes, well, that only took a few minutes,” she responded sternly. “I want you to stay there for at least ten more minutes. Do you understand?”

 

Jungkook’s jaw dropped. “ Ten ? But that’s—”

 

“One more word and it becomes twenty.” Jane’s eyes flashed darkly. “Do you want to keep going?”

 

A whimper fell past his lips. Jungkook turned back around, sniffling. “TaeTae,” he whispered softly. His lower lip trembled.

 

Time clicked by slower than ever. Jungkook’s legs were starting to feel like there were pins and needles jabbing into his legs. He leaned forward against the wall, confusion tightening his chest. He never had timeouts this long. And for something that was an accident ?

 

His thoughts were interrupted at the sound of Jane sighing loudly.

 

“Okay, Jungkook. You can come sit down now.”

 

The younger turned around slowly, biting his lip. Jane wasn’t even looking at him. Her gaze was focused on her phone, busy typing away something.

 

Hesitantly, Jungkook walked over to the couch. He reached for his teddy bear, perched on one of the cushions, and immediately hugged it to his chest.

 

“Kookie’s sorry, Unnie,” he whispered.

 

Jane glanced up briefly. “Huh? Oh, it’s fine, Jungkook. You want to watch your movie now?”

 

The younger's eyebrows pulled together in puzzlement as she changed the channel before turning her attention right back to her phone.

 

Jungkook sank back into the cushions, full of confusion. Why wasn’t he being praised? He’d completed his punishment like a good boy. His hyungs always cuddled and praised him afterwards, always made sure he understood why what he’d done was wrong.

 

But Jane wasn’t even looking at him, let alone talking to or cuddling him. A sad pout tugged on his lips as he slumped lower on the couch.  

 

Fortunately, nothing served to be as good of a distraction as Disney. His worries slipped away soon enough as he became immersed in the movie, followed by another one right afterwards.

 

Frozen was just coming to an end when Jane’s phone rang. Jungkook was barely paying attention, seeing as she’d been on the device the entire time, until she said something that made him immediately sit upright.

 

“Oh, hello, Taehyung hyung-nim!”

 

Jungkook gasped, eyes lighting up. “TaeTae?” He scooted closer to Jane, tugging on her sleeve. “Can Kookie talk? Please!”

 

Jane wasn’t even looking at him. “Uh huh. Of course! Yes, don’t worry.” She paused for a moment. “Ah, he’s right here.”

 

Jungkook practically squealed when she handed the phone to him, grabbing onto it quickly and pressing it against his ear.

 

“TaeTae?”

 

His favorite hyung’s voice flooded over him like a warm blanket. “ Kookie . How’s my baby, huh?”

 

Jungkook nearly sobbed with relief. “Kookie misses you, TaeTae. Come home.”

 

“Aigoo, baby, I wish I could.” His hyung’s voice was full of ache. “I miss you so much too. It’s just one more day, though. I’ll be home tomorrow afternoon.”

 

Jungkook whined, clutching the stuffed animal tighter to his chest. “But that’s so long .”

 

Taehyung’s throaty chuckle echoed through the phone. “It’s just one more day, Kookie. You can wait that long, can’t you? And you have Jane to keep you company! You’re not alone.”

 

The younger chewed on his lower lip at the mention of the sitter. He stared at the carpet, wondering if he should tell Taehyung how mean and unfair Jane actually was.

 

But…

 

He sighed. He didn’t want his hyung to think he was acting up, or being naughty.

 

“Yeah,” he finally muttered, pouting. “Jane Unnie is...nice.”

 

“Good, honey.” Taehyung’s voice obviously reflected the relief he was feeling. “I’m glad you like her. Can you give the phone back to her?”

 

Jungkook nodded before remembering the action couldn’t be seen. “Okay,” he said quietly. “Bye, TaeTae. Love you.”

 

“I love you, Kookie,” was the soft response. “I’ll call again before bedtime, okay?”

 

Jane took the phone from him before he got the chance to respond. Jungkook let out a whine of protest at the action, expression crumpling.

 

“Wait, I-I wasn’t finished —”

 

“Is that all, hyung-nim?” Jane ignored his whined, voice cheerful as she pulled the phone back to her ear. “Mmhm. Of course! Alright, thank you so much. Yes, of course, we’ll talk soon. Goodbye!”

 

Jungkook’s hands fell in defeat as he watched her pocket the phone. “I-I wanted to say bye one more time—”

 

“Aish, Jungkook.” Jane sighed, looking at him sternly. “Can you please stop being so childish? He’s going to call back in just a few hours.”

 

He felt his shoulders slump, immediately lowering his head. “Okay,” he mumbled. “Sorry.”

 

Jane turned the movie back on, shaking her head.

 

But it was difficult to refocus on the screen. He wasn’t used to watching so much tv for such a long time.

 

“Unnie?” he said hesitantly. “Can we, um...play? Maybe?”

 

“Hm?” Jane’s attention was back on her phone. She didn’t even glance up, smirking at something on the tiny screen.

 

Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed. “Can we play? Kookie has lots of toys. We could play with stuffies…or hide and seek. Or tag! Or—”

 

Jungkook .” Jane huffed, her bangs flyings momentarily off her forehead with the angry action. “Be quiet. I’m talking to someone. You’re being very rude.”

 

Jungkook’s voice died in his throat. He blinked slowly, letting out a breath he hadn’t even realized he’d been holding.

 

He just nodded, turning back to face the tv silently.

 

The fur of the teddy bear tickled his chin as he rested his head on it, sighing.

 

He missed his hyungs.

 

***

 

The rest of the day passed relatively uneventfully. Jungkook found himself spending one of the loneliest days he’d ever had, playing quietly with his stuffies in a corner most of the time while Jane kept herself distracted texting friends.

 

He didn’t talk much. He had never liked being scolded or punished, and he’d quickly caught on after the morning’s events that his sitter was apparently a fan of both. So he kept to himself.

 

In short, he was a good boy.

 

It was nearing dinner time when Jane finally showed some of the friendliness again that she’d possessed for a brief time during breakfast.

 

“Kookie, do you want to help me prepare dinner?” A smile accompanied the question, and it wasn’t one of those mean smiles that made his chest tighten. No, this was a genuinely kind gesture.

 

Jungkook practically jumped off the floor at the offer. “Yeah!” he gasped, eyes lighting up. “Kookie helps Jiminie and Jinnie hyungie sometimes!”

 

“Alright,” Jane chuckled. “Although, there’s really not much to do. Your hyungs prepared lunchboxes for you. But you can help me set the table, okay?”

 

It was a menial task, but the younger was willing to take anything at this point. So he helped set the table and helped warm up the food. He followed every order he was given without protest.

 

He was determined to show what a good boy he was.

 

And it was all going so well, until Jane did the one thing he’d been hoping— praying —she wouldn’t do.

 

After placing his meal in front of him at the table, the older girl uttered the words he’d been dreading, but expecting.

 

“I’m going to go eat in the living room, okay? You sit in here so you don’t make a mess.”

 

Jungkook immediately panicked, jerking forward in his chair with a cry of protest.

 

“What? N-no, please,” he whined.

 

Jane looked at him with a mixture of surprise and irritation. “What’s wrong?”

 

“Can’t Unnie...eat in here?” he asked cautiously, biting his lip. “Or Kookie will be all alone.”

 

“Don’t be silly. You won’t be alone,” Jane scoffed. “I’m right outside. I want to eat on the couch.”

 

“I-I can eat on the couch too,” Jungkook said quickly.

 

“No, you’ll make a mess,” was the cold reply. Jane was glaring at him now, her plate still in hand as she stood over the table. “You’re a big boy, Jungkook. You should be able to eat by yourself.”

 

Jungkook was near tears, feeling so angry and upset about this whole situation. He didn’t even think about what he said next, it just slipped out.

 

“But it’s Unnie’s job,” he whined, stomping his foot under the table. “You have to!”

 

He knew the moment the words left his mouth that it was the wrong thing to say.

 

Jane’s face darkened, like a storm cloud had passed.

 

“It’s my job ?” She slammed her plate onto the table abruptly, making Jungkook jump at the loud and sudden action. “I have to?”

 

Jungkook shrank in his seat, fear prickling his spine at the terrifying expression on her face.

 

“Kookie didn’t mean i-in a bad way,” he whispered weakly, trying to backpeddle. “H-he just meant—”

 

“How dare you think you have the right to tell me what my own job is?” Jane slammed her palm onto the table, making the wooden furniture rattle with the slap.

 

Jungkook flinched. “S- sorry —”

 

“If you don’t want to eat by yourself, that’s fine,” she snapped. With a single quick movement, she’d scooped up the plate in front of him and turned to drop it into the sink. “Then don’t eat at all. You’re going to bed without dinner. That’s your punishment for being so disrespectful.”

 

The younger boy stared in absolute shock as his dinner was turned to mush, Jane turning the water on full blast with a clenched jaw.

 

“W-what…” Horror curled in his gut. This was wrong. That wasn’t a punishment . He had to eat .

 

Tears spring to his eyes as he turned desperately the face the elder, hoping his expression and voice gave away how upset he was.

 

“U-Unnie, that’s bad ,” he said shakily. “K-Kookie has to eat—”

 

“You just had breakfast a few hours ago Jungkook,” she interrupted coldly. “You’re not going to starve. This will just teach you not to be rude to your elders. Do you understand?

 

He stared at her, unable to come up with a response.

 

Jane seemed to take it as a sign of complacency. She hummed sternly, picking her own plate back up again.

 

“Good.” The girl nodded in the direction of the doorway. “Come on, then. Let’s get you ready for bed.”

 

Jungkook’s gut felt like there was a rock sitting at the bottom, heavy and unbearable. He stood up slowly, following the elder out of the room like a robot.

 

The younger paused at the entrance to his bedroom, knowing she was waiting for him to go inside.

 

“But...TaeTae is supposed to call,” he said softly, voice wavering with the threat of tears. He wanted to talk to his TaeTae— needed to talk to him. He needed to hear his voice, needed to hear that everything would be okay.

 

Jane didn’t seem to care for his concerns. She only pressed her lips together in annoyance, clearly losing her patience.

 

“When he calls, I’ll tell him you went to bed,” she said stiffly. “Maybe I’ll tell him what a naughty boy you’ve been.”

 

His heart leapt into his throat.

 

“No!” he gasped, immediately whirling onto the elder and grabbing his arm. “Please, don’t tell TaeTae!”

 

The tears had started to fall at this point, and he was powerless to stop them. He couldn’t have his favorite hyung thinking he was a bad boy. He wasn’t, he was good . It wasn’t fair.

 

Jane seemed unimpressed by the show of hysterics. She pulled her arm from his grip rather roughly, huffing.

 

“I’ll think about it,” she responded curtly. “For now, you need to get into bed. Before I decide I should tell him. Okay?”

 

“Okay,” Jungkook whimpered, rubbing at his eyes with the palm of his hand. “Kookie will go to bed. G-goodnight, Unnie.”

 

She pressed her lips together. “Goodnight, Jungkook.”

 

He considered asking one more time for her not to say anything to Taehyung, but she left before he could muster up the courage. Jungkook stood there for a moment, utterly exhausted from the day’s events.

 

He thought about how he’d now have to go to sleep without his hyung beside him, how he wouldn’t even have anyone to cuddle. His chin trembled with the threat of tears.

 

Needless to say, it was a long night.

 

***

 

The next morning Jungkook woke up with his stomach grumbling almost painfully. He sleepily washed his face and brushed his teeth before making his way to the kitchen.

 

“Unnie?” A quick look into the living room revealed Jane was still asleep on the couch. Jungkook’s stomach rumbled again, the consequences of not having eaten dinner from the night before becoming more evident.

 

But the thought of possibly breaking another dish was terrifying. He’d have to not only get a bowl out, but pour both the cereal and milk into it. What if he dropped the jug of milk? The whole thing spilling would take ages to clean up. He knew Jane would be furious.

 

He gritted his teeth, trying hard to ignore his cramping gut, and forced himself to walk out of the kitchen and into the living room. Once there, he turned on the tv, making sure the volume was low.

 

A sigh parted his lips. His hyungs would be home soon.

 

That was the only thing keeping him together at this point.

 

At some point his empty stomach and the low volume of the tv combined lulled him into sleep. He didn’t know how much time passed, but he woke up to a blanket over him, body stretched out across the couch with a pillow under his head.

 

He blinked slowly, bewildered. The living room had obviously been cleaned, with any crumbs or stuffies that had been lying around meticulously removed.

 

“Jungkook, you’re awake!” Jane stepped out of the kitchen with a huge smile. For once she wasn’t holding her phone. In fact, she was holding a tray of—were those cookies?

 

Jungkook felt his lips part, but nothing came out. Was he dreaming?

 

“You looked so uncomfortable on the floor,” the girl continued cheerfully, “I just moved you onto the couch. Your hyungs should be home soon! We don’t want them to think you spent the night on the floor, do we?”

 

The younger immediately perked up at the mention of his hyungs. “Really? Where are they?”

 

“They should be here any minute,” Jane said, her smile suddenly feeling a lot faker. “I made cookies. Would you like one?”

 

The mention of food brought back the reminder of his rumbling stomach. He nodded, jumping off the couch.  

 

He was sitting at the table with a half-eaten cookie in one hand and a glass of milk in front of him when the doorbell rang.

 

Jungkook nearly choked on the bite in his mouth.

 

He could hear Jane opening the door, her overly friendly voice greeting someone.

 

And he heard it.

 

That familiar, deep voice.

 

“...the car. Yeah.” Taehyung laughed at something he couldn’t hear, and the sound washed over him like water to a dry plant. Jungkook nearly cried with relief, immediately dropping the cookie in his hand.

 

He jumped out of his chair and ran out of the kitchen, through the living room, and into the foyer.

 

He didn’t even look at Taehyung’s face before throwing himself at the elder. “ TaeTae !” Strong arms wrapped around him as he clung to the elder. He could cry, he was so happy.

 

Aigoo , Kookie.” His hyung’s voice was clearly amused at how hard the younger was hugging him, but he made no effort to pull him off. A hand moved to the back of his head, stroking the hair there gently. “How’s my baby, huh? Did you miss hyung?”

 

“So much,” Jungkook sobbed, pulling back to look desperately up at the elder. He hadn’t even realized he was crying until Taehyung lifted a hand to wipe away the tears, his eyebrows pulled together in concern.

 

“Ssh, honey, why are you crying?” he murmured, eyes full of concern. “What’s wrong?”

 

Jungkook opened his mouth—and then he felt a hand clamp down onto his shoulder just a little too hard.

 

His cheeks flushed as Jane stepped closer to him, smile still glued to her face. “He just really missed you, hyung-nim,” she said brightly. “But he was a very good boy the entire time. Never misbehaved once.”

 

Jungkook’s mouth fell open, eyes widening. “...Huh?”

 

Jane looked at him with that cold smile. Her eyes flashed with something he couldn’t quite understand. “Yes, you were. A super good boy, Jungkookie.”

 

“That’s what I like to hear,” Taehyung said. He pinched one of Jungkook’s cheeks teasingly, a small smile playing his lips. “Kookie’s always a good boy. Aren’t you, baby?”

 

The younger’s mouth suddenly felt dry. He swallowed, nodding silently.

 

He buried his face in Taehyung’s stomach as the elder continued speaking to Jane, chewing on his lip. Why hadn’t she told him the truth?

 

His gut clenched uncomfortably as they moved into the living room. His hyung seemed to be tired, and he clearly didn’t have the energy to socialize as much as he usually might have—for which Jungkook was grateful, considering it led to him paying Jane and telling her she could leave rather quickly.

 

Jimin and Yoongi were walking in as she made her way towards the door.

 

“Thank you for having me, hyung-nims,” she said politely, bowing to them.

 

“It was nice meeting you, Jane,” Jimin responded, smiling. “I hope Jungkook didn’t give you too much trouble.”

 

“No trouble at all,” she said easily, smiling back. “I hope you’ll think of me if you ever need help again.”

 

From the living room, Jungkook flinched. He played it off by quickly pressing his face into Taehyung’s chest, distracting him.

 

“Mm, you want to go take a nap, honey?” Taehyung said, voice thick with exhaustion. “We can cuddle.”

 

Jungkook pressed harder against the elder’s side, face buried in his shirt. He shrugged.

 

A hand ran gently through his hair. “You seem tired, bun. Didn’t get much sleep last night?”

 

“Kookie missed hyungies,” Jungkook said softly.

 

It was only partially true. Another large factor of his sleeplessness had been a result of his aching stomach—a consequence of being sent to bed without dinner.

 

But he didn’t tell Taehyung that. He didn’t want to admit he’d been punished, because then he would have to admit that he had talked back and been disrespectful.

 

He didn’t want any of his hyungs thinking of him as a bad boy.

 

One by one, the rest of them trickled into the house. With each entrance Jungkook felt his spirits lifting a little bit. Hobi ruffled his hair on the way in, Jimin excitedly showed him a cute present he’d bought him, Seokjin pinched his cheek, Namjoon patted his head, and Yoongi plopped down onto the couch beside them.

 

“Fuck, I’m exhausted,” he groaned. The elder leaned back into the couch, kicking his legs up onto the coffee table.

 

“Namjoon and Jin hyung are warming up the food,” Jimin said tiredly, standing up and stretching. “We can all take a nap afterwards.”

 

Taehyung smiled at Jungkook. “Why don’t we put on a movie while we wait? You wanna watch Disney, bun?”

 

The thought of spending another minute in front of the television sent an almost physical bolt of alarm through the younger.

 

He jerked forward in the elder’s arms, eyes widening. “No! No tv!”

 

Yoongi and Jimin’s eyebrows lifted, while Taehyung looked startled.

 

“...Okay,” he said slowly. His eyes narrowed slightly, suspicion flickering in them. “Did you break the tv or something?”

 

“No,” Jungkook replied quickly. He bit his lip, hesitating. “I...Kookie just watched a lot. He doesn’t wanna watch anymore.”

 

“Oh.” Taehyung frowned, the suspicion replaced with annoyance. “I told Jane not to let you watch too much. How many movies did you watch?”

 

Jungkook was chewing on his lip now, so hard he could taste traces of blood. “Uh...three? O-or four, maybe, I dunno—”

 

What ?” Jimin and Yoongi both sprung forward, alarm making their expressions match.

 

Anger had taken over Taehyung’s features, eyes sparking, and his voice boiled with outrage when he spoke.

 

“That’s ridiculous,” he snapped. “I specifically told her not to let you watch too much. Four ?”

 

Jungkook shrank back at the anger in his tone.

 

“S-sorry,” he said softly, feeling tears spring to his eyes.

 

Taehyung’s features immediately melted. “Oh, baby, no .” He cupped the younger’s face, pressing a kiss to his nose reassuringly. “I’m not mad at you. It’s not your fault she didn’t follow instructions.”

 

Jungkook’s chest clenched. If only his hyung knew he hadn’t followed instructions, either.

 

Seokjin’s voice broke through the air before he could respond, for which he was grateful. He hadn’t known what he would have said, anyways.  

 

Taehyung kept their fingers laced tightly together as they all took their seats in the kitchen, tugging him onto his lap. Jungkook melted against the touches, so grateful for the tiny physical reassurances.

 

The food smelled and looked amazing. For one of the first times in months, Jungkook wound up feeding himself instead of waiting to be fed, so eager to eat after having been starving for hours.

 

Yoongi was giving him strange looks, and he caught Taehyung frowning once or twice.

 

Just a few minutes in, he ended up chewing a bite of lamb so little before swallowing that he nearly choked.

 

“Jungkook!” Taehyung jerked forward, pounding the younger's back as he fell into a coughing fit.

 

The younger’s face was bright red when he finally felt the piece of meat dislodge itself. He cleared his throat, a few tears slipping down his cheeks from having coughed so hard.

 

All of his hyungs were staring at him with alarm and panic etched across their faces.

 

“Are you okay, Kookie?” Jimin’s lips were tugged down, eyes shining with concern. “Does it still hurt?”

 

“Was it too spicy?” Seokjin asked, looking guilty.

 

“No,” Jungkook said quickly, feeling embarrassed. He looked at Taehyung with a pout. “Kookie j-just chewed really quickly.”

 

Taehyung frowned, wiping the younger’s mouth with a napkin. “Slow down, baby. Your food’s not going anywhere.”

 

“Yeah, kid,” Yoongi added. “When’s the last time you ate?”

 

Jungkook’s cheeks flushed. He sank back against Taehyung, shoulders slumping.

 

Yoongi’s eyebrows furrowed at the lack of response. “Jungkook?”

 

Jimin had placed his fork down, looking hesitant. “Kookie? When...when is the last time you ate something, sweetheart?”

 

Jungkook fidgeted, turning around suddenly in Taehyung’s lap so that he was straddling him. He hid his face in the elder’s shirt, whining.

 

Taehyung’s fingers curled into his hair. “Baby? Why aren’t you answering?”

 

There was a soft clatter of utensils, all of the elders giving each other concerned looks.

 

Taehyung’s voice was soft when he spoke, coaxing. It matched the gentle stroking of his fingers, and Jungkook felt his resolve melting away.

 

“Y...yesterday,” he mumbled quietly. “Kookie had cereal.”

 

Taehyung’s hand stilled its motions in his hair. “You ate yesterday morning ?”

 

A round of mutters circled the table.

 

“What about lunch?” Jimin pressed, voice shocked. “Dinner? Breakfast this morning?”

 

Jungkook sniffed. “I…”

 

One of Taehyung’s hands lifted to rub comfortingly up and down the younger’s arm. “Bun, what happened?”

 

He finally lifted his head. Taehyung’s heart clenched at the sight of his tearful expression, eyes large and watery as he gazed up at him.

 

“W-well…Kookie had a lot of cereal in the morning,” the younger said, sniffling. “He felt full after one bowl, but Jane Unnie made him finish the second bowl, too. So then Kookie wasn’t hungry for lunch.”

 

Yoongi growled. “What a shit sitter. We’re never hiring her again.”

 

“What about dinner?” Seokjin pressed, frowning. “If you skipped lunch you must have been starving later.”

 

Jungkook looked at Taehyung, and his stomach churned uneasily.

 

“I...I got punished,” he whimpered. His hands came up to cling onto the elder’s shoulders, remorse leaking into each word. “Kookie was naughty, s-so...so Unnie made him go to bed without dinner.”

 

What ?”

 

To say Taehyung snapped would be an understatement. Jungkook felt him physically jerk forward with the force of his yell, and his face turned dark with rage.

 

“I’m going to fucking kill her,” he snarled. “That is not a punishment. She doesn’t get to decide shit like that. She doesn’t get to starve you.”

 

Jungkook whimpered, hanging his head. “I-I’m sorry—Kookie was b-bad, he talked back—”

 

“No, Jungkook,” Jimin said sharply. “You didn’t do anything wrong, do you understand me? And even if you did, sending you to bed without dinner is never the right way to punish someone.”

 

“That’s not okay,” Seokjin said coldly, expression livid. “And you didn’t have breakfast this morning, either?”

 

Jungkook blinked tearfully up at Taehyung. “S-she was sleeping. Kookie didn’t wanna wake her up...c-cause she’s scary. A-she gave me a really long timeout cause I broke a glass—but it wasn’t even Kookie’s fault , cause he told her he’s not supposed to wash stuff—he told her—”

 

“Hobi, please tell me you have this bitch’s address,” Yoongi growled, eyes blazing. “I might not be able to touch her, but I can burn her fucking house down.”

 

“Does she have a car?” Namjoon muttered. “I’m about to arrange for an accident. I swear to god, she’s never coming back here again—”

 

Jungkook’s whimpers increased, a few tears slipping down his cheeks. He rested his forehead on Taehyung’s shoulder, fingers curling into the fabric of his shirt.

 

“P-please don’t leave Kookie with her again,” he begged. “I-I’ll be good, TaeTae, I will—please—”

 

Taehyung’s face fell. The others watched guilt and hurt war for control over his expression, eyes swimming with regret.

 

“Fuck,” he whispered. “Baby, I’m so sorry. I would never have left you if I’d known, bun. Never . I’m so, so sorry.”

 

“We all are,” Jimin said softly. He stared sadly at the younger, heart clenching. “We feel so bad, Kookie.”

 

“We’re never leaving you again,” Yoongi said firmly.

 

“Never,” Hobi muttered, shaking his head. “Can’t fucking trust anyone these days.

 

The younger sniffed. “C…can we go to bed, TaeTae?”

 

Taehyung’s arms tightened protectively around the younger. “Of course, bun.”

 

“Finish feeding him first,” Seokjin said quietly. “He barely had a few bites.”

 

Taehyung shifted the younger in his lap, hand coming to rest gently on his back. “We’re gonna finish eating first, Kookie. Okay?”

 

Jungkook nodded faintly. He opened his mouth cutely, waiting for the elder to feed him. Taehyung resisted the urge to coo at the adorable sight, feeling the corners of his mouth twitching upwards.

 

The rest of the meal passed quickly. All the friends stood up as Taehyung lifted Jungkook out of his chair, trailing behind the pair into the living room and down the hall.

 

Taehyung paused outside their bedroom door, raising an eyebrow. “Uh...everything alright, you guys?”

 

Jimin looked guiltily at Jungkook, who had his cheek resting on Taehyung’s shoulder and was blinking cutely up at them.

 

“We feel bad,” he said softly. He reached a hand out to stroke the younger’s hair, almost like he was petting him. “Our poor Kookie.”

 

“We didn’t even leave him with a phone or a way of reaching out to us,” Yoongi sighed regretfully.

 

“We really fucked up,” Hobi said quietly. “It’s supposed to be our job to protect the kid. Not let him get hurt.”

 

Taehyung’s heart swelled with pride for his hyungs. He felt guilty, as well, but seeing that they all took responsibility made him feel like he wasn’t alone in his urge to protect the youngest.

 

“I have an idea,” he said, smiling faintly.

 

Less than ten minutes later all seven of them were somehow squished onto the king sized bed in Taehyung and Jungkook’s room. Cusses and groans filled the room as the friends shuffled and fidgeted to fight for more comfortable positions.

 

Jungkook was the only one grinning. The bunny-toothed smile never seemed to leave his face, giggles erupting out of his chest every few seconds as he listened to his hyungs argue.

 

“Hobi, fucking take the blanket from me one more time, I dare you—”

 

“Which one of you isn’t wearing underwear ?”

 

“Fucking move over , oh my god—”

 

Taehyung couldn’t help but smile at the sight of a clearly very entertained Jungkook.

 

“Having fun, bunny?” he teased, dropping a kiss onto the younger’s nose.

 

“Yuh huh!” Jungkook giggled. His doelike eyes shined as he lifted them to Taehyung, cheeks flushed happily. “Hyungies are funny.”

 

In the background, Hobi let out a startled gasp.

 

“Namjoon, you shave your legs ?”

 

“S-stop playing footsies with me!”

 

Taehyung pressed his lips together to keep from smiling. “They sure are, baby.”

 

Jungkook smiled, pressing closer to the elder’s chest. He let out a soft sigh, the sound filled with contentment.

 

“Thank you for sleeping with Kookie, hyungies.”

 

The words were said softly, yet somehow they were heard over the loud banter that filled the air. A momentary hush fell over the bed before Seokjin spoke up, voice just as gentle in response.

 

“Anytime, Kookie,” he murmured. “You know, me missed you a lot when we were gone.”

 

Jungkook’s cheeks flushed at the comment. “Really?”

 

“Really,” Jimin piped in, smiling. “It felt so strange without you there. Like the most important member of the gang was missing.”

 

Jungkook’s grin widened. “Wow! More important than Hobi hyungie?”

 

Hobi’s smile turned into a grimace. “Do I live simply to be bullied?”

 

Snorts and chuckles filled the air.

 

“Okay, you guys,” Taehyung’s announced. “I’m turning off the light now.”

 

As darkness blanketed the room, seven pairs of arms tugged their significant others closer, the occasional stroke or hug reaching out to tightly embrace Jungkook.

 

Taehyung rested his chin on the crown of the younger’s hair, the soft strands tickling him.

 

“Goodnight, baby,” he sighed softly. “I love you so much.”

 

“Love you, TaeT—”

 

“Goodnight, Jungkookie!”

 

“Night, Kook.”

 

“Sweet dreams, sweetheart!”

 

“Goodnight, kid.”

 

“Night, Kookie.”

 

Jungkook giggled at the round of enthusiastic greetings, grin widening when Taehyung rolled his eyes.

 

“Goodnight, hyungies,” he said sweetly. “Love you!”

 

Five rounds of “Love you!”’s chorused back.

 

The smile stayed glued to Jungkook’s face when he craned his neck upwards to press his lips sweetly to Taehyung’s.

 

“Goodnight, TaeTae,” he whispered against the elder’s lips. “Kookie loves you the most.”

 

Taehyung smiled. His hand slipped beneath the blanket, easily finding the younger’s hand amidst the tangle of limbs surrounding them.

 

“We’re never leaving our baby alone again,” he promised, lacing their fingers tightly together. “From now on it’s just us, okay?”

 

Jungkook sighed happily again, cheek squished against the elder’s chest. “Perfect.”

Chapter Text

“TaeTae, I...K-Kookie has something to tell you.”

 

Taehyung looked up from his phone, surprise coursing through him at the sight of a teary-eyed Jungkook sitting on the edge of their bed.

 

“Baby,” he cooed softly, gaze warm as he frowned. He reached his arms out to the younger, who immediately crawled forward into the embrace, already sniffling. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

 

“TaeTae’s gonna be m-mad,” Jungkook whimpered, head buried in the elder’s shoulder. “H-he’s gonna hate Kookie.”

 

Taehyung felt concern wash over him. “Bunny, I could never,” he said gently, lifting a hand to stroke the back of the younger’s hair. “I could never hate you.”

 

Jungkook lifted his head at that, eyes wide and glassy with tears. He sniffed, nose and cheeks already red, as he gazed pleadingly up at the elder.

 

“W...what if Kookie did something bad?” he said, voice so tiny it was barely audible.

 

Taehyung hesitated, lips pressing together. He wanted to reassure the younger that he wasn’t in trouble, but he knew it wasn’t a promise he could make without knowing exactly what he had done.

 

“It...depends,” he finally said. “But no matter what you did, I wouldn’t hate you, baby. I might be upset or disappointed, but I won’t yell. Alright? Does that make you feel better?”

 

Jungkook’s face was completely crumpled by this point, clearly on the verge of a meltdown.

 

“No, y-you should yell,” he said desperately, fingers clinging to the front of the elder’s shirt. “Y-you have to yell at Kookie, b-because it was really naughty , what he did. It was really bad and TaeTae should yell—”

 

“Okay, ssh, alright.” Taehyung soothed the younger’s senseless ramble, completely bemused at this point. What could Jungkook have possibly done that warranted this much guilt?

 

Jungkook wasn’t crying, but he was obviously distressed. Taehyung continued running his fingers gently through the younger’s hair, trying to comfort him while he seemed to be gathering the courage to say what he needed to.

 

He finally looked up again, one finger aimlessly tracing patterns on Taehyung’s chest.

 

“R-remember...when w-we had special cuddles...last time?” he started, voice soft and full of remorse.

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows immediately pulled together, anxiety flickering in his chest.

 

“Yeah, of course,” he said slowly. “I didn’t hurt you, baby, did I? If I did—”

 

“No, no!” Jungkook said quickly. He pressed a brief kiss to the elder’s jaw, frowning. “TaeTae never hurts Kookie. Promise.”

 

“Oh.” Taehyung let out a breath of relief, feeling a weight lift off his chest. He stroked Jungkook’s cheek with his thumb, smiling faintly. “Good. That’s good.”

 

Jungkook bit his lower lip, looking nervous again. “Well...remember how...how Kookie was dressed really nice and stuff when TaeTae came in? And he was really excited and stuff?”

 

Taehyung’s mind flashed back to the vivid memory of the night from last week. Of course he remembered. It wasn’t every day he walked into their bedroom to have a lingerie-clad Jungkook practically pounce on him, cheeks flush and eyes sparkling with excitement.

 

“I remember,” he said after a pause.

 

Jungkook was chewing on his lip now, the action almost looking like it hurt. “Well...b-before TaeTae came in...Kookie, uh—” He blushed fiercely, his entire face growing warm. “He did something.”

 

Taehyung leaned back slightly, hesitation creeping up his spine. “What did you do, Kookie?”

 

“Kookie...sort of—” Jungkook’s hands came up to cover his face, voice coming out muffled but he words still clear as day. “...he set up a camera.”

 

Taehyung’s lips parted, but no words came out.

 

He sat back, stunned.

 

Jungkook peeked at him between his fingers. He swallowed visibly at the elder’s lack of a response, a low whine slipping past his lips.

 

“K-Kookie just wanted to see ,” he whimpered, hands falling back into his lap. “He wanted to watch it when...when he missed TaeTae, sometimes. But I-I’m sorry , hyungie, it was bad. Kookie s-should have told TaeTae before.”

 

Taehyung still hadn’t said anything.

 

Jungkook was starting to grow more desperate, clearly unnerved by the complete lack of reaction.

 

“Kookie tried to watch it b-but he didn’t ,” he continued, growing tearful again. “H-he felt bad, because T-TaeTae didn’t know and i-it felt naughty—”

 

“Stop.”

 

His mouth snapped shut. He looked at Taehyung with a gulp, shoulders shrinking at the expressionless face the elder had suddenly taken on.

 

He bit his lip again, hard.

 

Taehyung pressed his lips together. He was quiet again.

 

Jungkook squirmed, not at all a fan of the silence. “Hyungie—”

 

“Do you still have it?”

 

Jungkook’s words died on his tongue.

 

He blinked slowly at the elder. “It...it’s in the camera,” he said hesitantly.

 

Taehyung hummed. “The video camera Namjoon got you for your birthday?”

 

The younger winced, head lowering shamefully. “Yeah,” he said softly.

 

“Hm.” Taehyung was quiet again for a moment, expression unreadable.

 

Jungkook swallowed, squirming closer to the elder. He wrapped his arms tightly around Taehyung, whining like a puppy against his stomach.

 

“You can have it,” he whispered. “TaeTae can have it. Kookie doesn’t want it anymore.”

 

Finally, Taehyung sighed.

 

He felt the elder place a hand on his head, and he looked up with a hopeful pout.

 

“Jungkook,” Taehyung started carefully, noticing the younger’s frown at the lack of a pet name. “What you did was wrong.”

 

His shoulders slumped. He felt tears spring to his eyes again, expression falling.

 

“I’m sorry ,” he said desperately. “TaeTae—”

 

“Let me finish,” Taehyung said firmly. Jungkook pressed his lips together, whimpering.

 

He fixed the younger with a stern look, jaw slightly clenched.

 

“You should never, never do something like that without the other person’s permission,” he said firmly. “That’s extremely bad. It’s unfair to the person, and it’s not the right thing to do. Do you understand?”

 

Jungkook hung his head shamefully, cheeks flushed and lashes spiked with unshed tears. He gave no response.

 

Taehyung pressed his lips together. “Do you understand, Jungkook?” he repeated, tone just a little sharper.

 

The younger flinched, nodding quickly.

 

“Words, Kook.”

 

“...yes,” he whispered. He still wasn’t looking at Taehyung, eyes trained on the bedsheets as he obviously fought back tears, chin trembling from the effort.

 

Taehyung sighed, feeling his expression soften slightly.

 

“That said,” he continued gently, “ I personally am not mad. Not because what you did was okay, but because I just don’t mind being recorded. That still doesn’t make it right , though. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

 

Jungkook stared blankly at him.

 

“TaeTae’s...not mad?” he repeated slowly, genuine confusion trailing the words.

 

“No,” Taehyung said gently, smiling faintly. “I’m not. If you want to record us next time, just tell me, okay? I’m fine with it.”

 

The younger’s mouth fell open. “Wh— really ?”

 

“Yeah,” Taehyung laughed. “It’s not a big deal to me, bun. I know you won’t ever show it to anyone else.”

 

“N-no, Kookie won’t!” Jungkook gasped, lunging forward with bright eyes. “He’ll watch it only by himself—pinky promise!”

 

Taehyung dropped a kiss on his nose. “I feel like I should still punish you for doing it without asking, though.”

 

“No,” the younger whined. He tugged the elder’s shirt cutely, pouting up at him. “Kookie’s good! He didn’t know it was bad.”

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow. “You knew better, bun. You’re not as innocent as you act.”

 

Jungkook glared at him, the expression more adorable than it was angry. “Am so .”

 

“Okay,” Taehyung laughed, shaking his head. “Fine. No spanks, then. Timeout?”

 

Jungkook groaned, flopping dramatically backwards onto the bed. “But Kookie said sorry !”

 

Taehyung tapped his knee impatiently, standing up. “Come on. Ten minutes, let’s go.”

 

It took a few minutes of coaxing, as well as an abundance of grumbling on the younger’s end, but Jungkook eventually accepted his punishment quietly and obediently.

 

When the ten minutes were up, he jumped into Taehyung’s arms and wrapped his legs around his waist.

 

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled into the elder’s neck, kissing the skin there. “Kookie didn’t mean to do a bad thing.”

 

“I know, bunny,” Taehyung replied softly, smiling. He curled his fingers into the younger’s hair. “I have an idea. How about when I get home tomorrow night, we make another video?” He pulled back with a wicked grin. “A much better one.”

 

Jungkook’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. “ Really ?” he gasped.

 

Taehyung kissed his nose. “Really. Are you gonna dress up nice and pretty for hyung, baby?”

 

Pink flushed the younger's cheeks, doing nothing to dull the way his eyes glimmered with excitement. “Yuh huh!”

 

He grinned his familiar bunny-toothed grin, and Taehyung’s heart soared.

 

Needless to say, he was plenty excited for tomorrow night.

Chapter Text

It happened so quickly that nobody really understood until they heard Jimin’s panicked shouts.

 

The orange-haired man had been playing with Jungkook in the backyard. The new Kkangpae household was nothing short of a mansion, with a backyard that consisted of a few dozen acres of lands and winding pathways that snaked through beautiful gardens.

 

Jimin and Jungkook were playing hide and seek tag, a combination of two of the younger’s favorite games that consisted of one of them hiding, then running away once they were found. It was a game that involved a lot sprinting and tackling each other.

 

Which, of course, was exactly why Taehyung hated it.

 

“I’m gonna get ya!”

 

Taehyung hissed through his teeth as Jungkook raced by, practically nothing but a blur of giggles and the floating fabric of his skirt.

 

“Never!” he giggled. He threw a quick glance behind his shoulder at Jimin, who was already advancing back upon him, hands raised in a manner as if to grab him.

 

“I’m gonna get you, Jungkookie!” Jimin laughed, eyes glittering mischievously. “You can’t run away forever!”

 

“Uh huh! Can so!” Jungkook stuck his tongue out petulantly before turning on his heel and streaking behind a bush, disappearing into a thick swath of well-trimmed trees.

 

Jimin grinned, hands falling to his sides. “I’m coming after you!” he called out.

 

“Please, please be careful,” Taehyung groaned, rubbing his forehead. “Stay off the sidewalks, at least. He could slip—”

 

“Don’t be such a mom,” Jimin retorted, rolling his eyes. “We’re keeping to the grass, okay?”

 

As his friend followed after the youngest, Seokjin plopped onto the wicker chair beside Taehyung.

 

“Lemonade?”

 

Taehyung glanced at the cold glass being offered to him, accepting it with a grateful smile. It must have appeared strained, despite his best efforts, because Seokjin looked at him knowingly.

 

“They’ll be fine,” his friend reassured him. “You’re forgetting that Kook grew up in the most dangerous household in the country, possibly the world. Now he’s playing in a gated backyard with one of his hyungs. This is nothing.”

 

“That’s...not at all reassuring, thank you,” Taehyung replied with a sigh. He took a sip of the drink, taking pleasure in the coolness of the liquid as it slid smoothly down his throat.

 

Seokjin hummed, placing the pitcher in his hands onto the small table between them. “Should we call them over? They’re probably thirsty.”

 

Taehyung nodded affirmatively, placing his own glass beside him before lifting a hand to cup around his mouth. “Kookie! Jimin, lemonade!”

 

There was a short pause before the bushes rustled again, and Jimin appeared with a cheerful Jungkook trailing behind him. He was smiling cutely, bunny-toothed grin fully emergent as he held a pair of cupped hands out eagerly.

 

“TaeTae, look!” he said excitedly, eyes bright. “It’s a ladybug!”

 

Taehyung winced as the younger began half-running towards him, barely watching his step as he gazed eagerly down at the tiny insect in his hands.

 

“Kookie, watch your st—”

 

“Oh no!” The younger’s smile morphed into a deep frown as he suddenly dropped his arms to his sides, pouting. “She flew away.”

 

“We can catch more,” Jimin reassured him, nudging his side gently. “Let’s go get some lemonade first.”

 

“Okay.” The pout disappeared as an idea lit Jungkook’s face. “Race you, hyungie!”

 

Jimin didn’t even have a chance to respond before the younger had jumped forward, feet pounding the pavement. He was a good runner. Quick, smooth. Fast.

 

It was a total misstep that caused him to stumble.

 

Taehyung watched as if it were happening in slow motion. He watched Jungkook trip on his own feet and fall. He watched his leg twist just as he began tipping forward, and he watched him land with the entire weight of his body on top of the oddly angled limb.

 

More than watching, he heard the sickening snap that pierced the ar.

 

Jimin’s mouth immediately fell open with a panicked scream. It was the noise that drove Taehyung out of his frozen state, and suddenly he was lunging out of his chair and dropping to his knees in front of the terrifyingly silent younger.

 

“Kookie? Jungkook, look at me.”

 

Jungkook’s face was deathly pale, down to his chalk white lips. It was as if all the blood had drained from him.

 

He wasn’t speaking, and Taehyung found fear gripping his heart in a way he hadn’t felt since he’d found the younger unconscious in Bangtan, nearly a year and a half ago.

 

“Jungkook,” he said fiercely. His hands came up to up his face, stroking the soft skin reassuringly, if not somewhat desperately. “Baby, can you say something for me? Please?”

 

Seokjin swallowed hard, already half-walking backwards as he spoke hurriedly. “I-I’m gonna call an ambulance.”

 

Taehyung barely heard him. “Baby,” he said desperately. “Come on—”

 

“I...I can’t feel—” Jungkook cut himself off, tears unexpectedly brimming his eyes. “TaeTae, I-I can’t feel my leg.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes flickered towards the mentioned limb. Something cold snaked down his spine at the sight of the twisted angle of the younger’s knee, barely visible beneath the fabric of his dirt-covered skirt.

 

He didn’t allow his gaze to linger long, not wanting to risk Jungkook following his line of sight and panicking at the horrific image of his own leg.

 

“It’s barely a scratch, bun,” he said. His voice was oddly calm for someone who felt about three seconds from losing the contents of his stomach, and he saw Jimin cast him an aghast look at the blatant lie.

 

He ignored his friend, smiling reassuringly at a now crying Jungkook. He swiped a tear away with his thumb, tasking softly. “Aigoo, my baby is crying? Over a little bump?”

 

Jungkook sniffed, wiping his nose. “I-it’s starting to hurt,” he whimpered. “Kookie’s brave. H-he is , but i-it hurts, TaeTae—”

 

“Ssh, I know, bunny.” Taehyung pressed a kiss to his nose briefly, panic clenching his chest. He forced his voice to remain level, trying not to give away even the faintest hint of anxiety he was feeling. “I think we should go to the doctor, hm? Just for a quick look.”

 

“No,” Jungkook said, and it was the first word that sounded shaky. Some of the color was slowly beginning to return to his face, and his cheeks began flushing with the threat of more tears. “No, I-I don’t like the doctor—”

 

“I know, baby,” Taehyung murmured, stroking the bangs out of the younger’s watery eyes. “But he’s going to make sure you’re perfect, that’s all. He’ll give you a nice pretty bandaid for your knee. Don’t you want that? Remember the Ariel one you got last time?”

 

Jungkook let out a short sob.

 

“N-no, Kookie doesn’t—I-I don’t care—don’t wanna g-go to the d-doctor, please—”

 

Taehyung’s heart absolutely broke at the sight of him suddenly bursting into tears, because for once he knew they were warranted. Pain twisted his features, and each sob felt like a stab to the elder’s gut.

 

“My baby,” he whispered. He pressed his lips to the crown of his head, the soft strands tickling his chin as the younger trembled beneath him in his arms.

 

Jimin stood by watching the scene with an equally heartbroken expression.

 

Seokjin returned with a somber look, hand gripping a cold glass of water.

 

“Ambulance is on its way,” he announced quietly. “Here, I brought water. Give him some so he doesn’t go into shock.”

 

Taehyung accepted the glass carefully, lifting it to the younger's lips as he brought it back down.

 

“Take a sip for me, bun?” he said softly. “It’s water.”

 

Jungkook complied willingly, gulping half the contents before making a sound of protest. Taehyung immediately pulled the glass away, murmuring praises to the younger as he placed it on the ground.

 

Some of the color had returned to Jungkook’s face, and as he seemed to be slipping out of shock, more realization of his situation was beginning to set in.

 

“T-TaeTae, is it...broken?” His eyes were wide and glassy when he posed the question, looking at the elder with an expression that begged him to deny the truth.

 

Taehyung grimaced. “I don’t know, baby. But everything is gonna be fine, okay? You don’t have any reason to be nervous. Yeah? My brave boy.”

 

He ran his fingers through the younger's hair as he spoke, voice soft and sweet. Jungkook relaxed somewhat at the tender actions, still looking unsure but far less panicked.

 

Jimin had disappeared throughout the small moment, and he returned suddenly with an item in his arms.

 

“Kookie, look who I brought!”

 

Jungkook sniffed, arms reaching out for the familiar stuffed elephant. “Elephanty?”

 

“And Lily.” Jimin crouched down, handing him the two toys with a smile.

 

Jungkook hugged them tightly to his chest, chin tucked into the soft fur of their heads. He had just opened his mouth to say something, when the distant sound of sirens pierced the air.

 

Taehyung cursed under his breath when the younger's eyes widened.

 

“T-that’s not the doctor.” The younger looked at him frantically, fear and panic filling his eyes. “TaeTae, no, K-Kookie doesn’t wanna go—”

 

“I’m gonna bring the paramedics around to the back,” Seokjin muttered.

 

Jimin rubbed the younger's back, murmuring softly to him.

 

“It’ll be okay, Kookie,” he said gently. “We're all gonna be with you, yeah? And TaeTae is gonna sit with you the whole time in the ambulance. You’re never gonna be by yourself, honey.”

 

“Plus, ambulances are so cool!” Taehyung added energetically. “Think about that, bunny! You’re gonna get to ride in one. Wah, so lucky.”

 

Jimin nodded. “I’m very jealous.”

 

Jungkook sniffed, grip on Elephanty tightening. “R...really?”

 

“Of course!” Taehyung ran a hand over the younger’s cheek, caressing the soft skin soothingly. “Only super special boys get to ride in ambulances, did you know that?”

 

And super cute ones,” Jimin teased, ruffling Jungkook’s hair.

 

The younger swallowed hard. His gaze drifted towards the side of the house, where they could see Seokjin beginning to round the sidewalk with three men in tow.

 

Jungkook’s eyes brimmed with a fresh set of tears. “P-police?”

 

Taehyung turned to see a cop following the small group, and he groaned internally.

 

“He’s here to protect our little baby,” Jimin said quickly. “Look, Kookie, you’re so special you get your own police officer! How cool, huh?”

 

Jungkook shook his head, crying again as he tossed the stuffed animals aside and turned to bury his face against Taehyung. The elder sighed, looking at Jimin, who shrugged helplessly.

 

“Well, who do we have here?”

 

A kind-looking blond-haired man crouched down onto the ground, placing a large black duffel bag beside them. His partner stood by, scanning the odd angle of Jungkook’s leg and frowning.

 

Taehyung watched him turn to the cop and say something quietly, and the two of them left abruptly.

 

“They’re bringing a stretcher,” Seokjin said quietly to him. His expression was worried. “And a temporary brace. He said it looks broken.”

 

Taehyung didn’t respond, too busy wincing as Jungkook's nails dug painfully into his waist. He was hugging the elder tightly, trying to squirm away from the stranger next to him.

 

“What’s his name?” The paramedic didn’t seem to mind the younger’s obvious distress, more than likely used to these types of situations.

 

“Jungkook,” Taehyung responded, sighing. He rubbed the younger’s back soothingly, his free hand curling into the hair at the back of his head. “He really doesn’t like strangers. And I think he’s in a lot of pain right now, so he’s not in the best mood.”

 

“Well, that’s no fun,” the man said brightly, clearly speaking to Jungkook more so than Taehyung. “Hey—Jungkook, is it? Do you mind if I check out your leg?”

 

Jungkook whimpered. He didn’t lift his head, shaking it fiercely from its spot hidden in Taehyung’s embrace.

 

Taehyung looked apologetically at the man.

 

He only smiled, however. “It’s fine. The doctors at the hospital will be the ones to really check him over. I just wanted to make sure there are no other injuries.”

 

“Hey, Kookie?” Jimin leaned forward, voice soft and coaxing. “Does anything else hurt, honey? Can you tell us if it does?”

 

Taehyung hummed, arms loosening their vicelike grip. “Kook, I need you to tell the nice man if anything else feels funny, baby. He’s going to help you. Okay?”

 

There was a pause, before Jungkook mumbled something. Taehyung rubbed his back encouragingly. “What was that, bun?”

 

He lifted his head slightly off the elder’s chest. Taehyung watched him blink through tears at the paramedic, sniffling, face flushed.  

 

“J...just my leg.”

 

The man smiled. “Ah, I’m sorry to hear that. Is it a sharp pain, or does it feel like like a dull throb?”

 

Jungkook looked helplessly at Taehyung, who smiled understandingly.

 

“Does it feel like something is stabbing you? Like a needle?” he asked gently.

 

Jungkook shook his head hesitantly, glancing unsurely back at the stranger. “It...it did before. But now it feels weird.”

 

“Ah, I see.” The man continued smiling. “Does your chest hurt at all?”

 

Jungkook shook his head again. Taehyung reached for his hand, lacing their fingers together tightly.

 

“Do you mind if I give you a quick check up, Jungkook?” The paramedic reached for the duffel bag, the friendly expression never wavering. “I’ll be sure to explain everything I’m doing, okay? If you don’t like the way anything sounds, you’re more than welcome to tell me to stop. Sound good?”

 

Jungkook looked at Taehyung helplessly, whimpering. “K-Kookie doesn’t know—”

 

“We’ll go slow,” Taehyung reassured him firmly. “You tell me if you don’t like anything and I’ll stop it right away. Don’t worry, baby.”

 

The paramedic was adjusting a device in his hands, lifting what looked like a cloth cuff up to Jungkook’s upper arm. “I just need to take your blood pressure, Jungkook. All we have to do is slide this over your arm and it’s going to tighten a little bit. You might feel some pressure, but I promise it won’t hurt. Is that alright?”

 

Jungkook’s hand squeezed Taehyung’s as he nodded nervously.

 

The first few seconds passed unceremoniously, but as the device began tightening around the younger’s bicep, he let out a distressed whine.

 

“T-TaeTae,” he whimpered. “I-it’s starting to hurt—”

 

“All done!” The man slid the cuff off with record breaking speed, and Jungkook let out a shaky breath. He looked up at the stranger distrustfully, frowning.

 

“You said it wouldn’t hurt,” he whined.

 

“My apologies,” the man said honestly, smiling. “But his blood pressure is fine,” he added, glancing at Taehyung. “A little high, but that’s normal after a stressful injury like this.”

 

“You did so good, Jungkookie!” Jimin cheered, grinning. “The bravest boy, hm?”

 

Jungkook mumbled something, head leaning back into Taehyung’s chest.

 

“We’re almost done,” the paramedic said. “I just want to look you over super quickly for any other bumps or bruises. Do you mind if I lift your shirt for a moment?”

 

Jungkook’s fingers immediately tightened in Taehyung’s.

 

“You can’t,” he said, frowning. “Only TaeTae can do that.”

 

Taehyung squeezed his hand reassuringly. “The doctor has to do it sometimes, too, Kookie. Remember? When we had your checkup last time and he looked you over?”

 

“That tickled,” Jungkook recalled, frown deepening. “And he hit Kookie’s knee . With a hammer.”

 

The paramedic, to his credit, managed to remain strictly professional, while Taehyung had to resist facepalming.

 

“I promise I won’t hit your knee,” he said, smiling genuinely. “Although it might tickle a little. I just want to make sure nothing else is broken or bothering you.”

 

Taehyung hummed affirmatively, free hand still running absentmindedly through the younger’s hair. “Kookie? Can you give the nice man permission?”

 

Jungkook let out a reluctant sigh. “Okay,” he mumbled.

 

The paramedic made quick work of lifting the younger's shirt and running his fingers over his ribcage. He was efficient, as well as strictly professional.

 

“Does this hurt?” he prodded the younger's abdomen gently, and Jungkook shook his head obediently.

 

“This?”

 

“Nuh uh.”

 

“How about this?”

 

“That tickles .”

 

He pulled away with a friendly smile, quickly tugging his shirt back over the exposed skin. “Well, Jungkook. It looks like you’re perfectly fine aside from the leg, so that’s great news.”

 

“Just in time.” The other paramedic was approaching, holding a stretcher at one end that the cop helped prop onto the ground.

 

Jungkook’s eyes widened almost comically at the sight of the device. “What is that ?”

 

Taehyung bit his lip, hesitating. “It’s like a bed, expect you’re gonna be carried on it. Doesn’t that sound fun?”

 

“No.” Jungkook’s chin trembled. “I-I, TaeTae—I wanna go inside—I-I don’t wanna do this—”

 

“It won’t hurt,” the second paramedic said gently. He’d crouched down beside his partner, smile just as friendly and kind. “We’re going to lift you onto it so quickly you won’t even have to let go of your hyung’s hand. Okay?”

 

Taehyung squeezed the younger’s hand reassuringly. “You hear that? It’ll be super duper quick, bun. And I’ll be right here.”

 

One of them pulled out a bulky looking brace. “We’re going to put this around your leg, okay? We’ll try not to move the bone too much, it’s just to stabilize it while we lift you—”

 

“I-I don’t want to,” Jungkook sobbed, and the tears started. “P-please, TaeTae, no—”

 

“Sir, could you please hold him still?” One of the men looked almost apologetically at Taehyung upon the request. “I’m sorry, but if he moves too much he could further displace the bone.”

 

“Kookie, baby,” Taehyung said. His voice almost broke when he watched the younger cry harder, sobs shaking his shoulders as he hunched forward. “Please don’t cry, bunny. It’s not going to hurt, I promise —”

 

“N- no ,” Jungkook sobbed. He clutched the elder’s shirt, hands trembling as he took in a shaky breath. “No, please, I-I’m scared —”

 

“Hold him still, please. We’re going to brace it.”

 

Jungkook flinched as a pair of hands touched his knee for the first time, the blood draining from his face.

 

“S- stop !” He jerked back, not moving the injured limb but kicking out with the other one. One of the paramedics barely dodged the kick, and Taehyung hissed through his teeth.

 

“I’m so sorry,” he said quickly. “Jimin, Seokjin? A little help ?”

 

Jimin and Seokjin rushed forward. The friends looked a little pale, but they set their jaws and moved to grab the younger’s hands.

 

Jungkook jerked away from them, panicked. “No, d-don’t touch—go a way —”

 

“Kookie, honey,” Taehyung said quickly, trying his hardest to keep his voice soothing despite the bubbling anxiety threatening to burst from his chest. “We need you to stay still , baby, just for a sec—”

 

No , no—”

 

“Can one of you please hold his hips down?”

 

Taehyung's heart sank. “Kookie, please stop moving,” he begged. He didn’t want to hold the younger down like a prisoner, the mere thought made his stomach tighten uncomfortably.

 

But Jungkook seemed to be sinking further and further into headspace, and all he could do was cry hysterically, trying to writhe away from the many pairs of hands attempting to calm his struggling.

 

Forced to ignore the way it made his throat close up, Taehyung leaned over and pinned the younger’s hips down.

 

The action made his legs still for a moment, despite the strangled sob Jungkook let out.

 

“T-TaeTae, no ,” he cried. “P-please, no—“”

 

“I know, I know,” Taehyung said miserably. He wanted so badly to reach out and stroke he younger’s hair, to hold him against his chest and soothe the tears, but he couldn’t.

 

They all watched with grim expressions as the paramedics worked quickly, lifting the leg and gently setting the brace around it.

 

Jungkook flinched numerous times, dry sobs falling past his lips every time they moved the limb.

 

“I-it hurts,” he sobbed. “It hurts , TaeTae, please—”

 

“Ssh, I know, baby,” Taehyung whispered. “We’re almost done. Ssh, doing so good.”

 

“We’re going to lift him now. It should only take a moment, but please try to refrain from letting him move too much.”

 

The stretcher was placed a few inches from the ground, and Jimin flinched as Jungkook struggled to yank his hand out of his grip.

 

The paramedics moved onto either side of Jungkook, both placing their hands underneath his thighs.

 

“I’ll need one of you to lift him from the shoulders. Straight up and then take a step to the side, don't jostle him.”

 

Ow ,” Jungkook whined. He sobbed, struggling and turning to look up at Taehyung with a pleading expression, face covered in tears. “They’re hurting Kookie, TaeTae, it hurts , please—”

 

He cut himself off with a startled shriek, eyes flying wide open as he was suddenly lifted a foot off the ground. Pain crippled his expression, betrayal spilling over in the form of even more tears.

 

“Sorry, sorry,” Jimin hissed, looking like he was the one in pain. It took less than five seconds to move the younger onto the stretcher, at which point the paramedics lifted the legs of the device and unlocked the wheels.

 

“We can have one person with him in the ambulance, but no more than that,” one of them said. He looked at Taehyung.

 

Seokjin stroked the younger’s hair off of his forehead, the strands matted with sweat. “Kookie, Tae’s coming with you, okay? You wanna hold his hand?”

 

Jungkook’s face was flushed bright pink, features crumpled. “I-it hurts —”

 

Taehyung pressed a kiss to his forehead. He’d been avoiding the action since the paramedics had arrived, not wanting to invite any awkwardness in case the strangers happened to disapprove of homosexuals.

 

But he couldn’t find it in himself to care anymore. He laced their fingers together and kissed the younger’s hand, as well, voice gentle and sweet.

 

“I’m right here, bun,” he said softly. “I’m not going anywhere. I know it hurts, I know. But I’m gonna be right here the whole time, okay?”

 

Jungkook sniffed miserably. “W...where’s hyungie?” he whispered, voice shaky.

 

“I’ll call him in the car,” Jimin said, half speaking to Taehyung and half responding to Jungkook. “He’s in Osaka right now with Hobi and Namjoon. They can take the chopper straight to the hospital and meet us there.”

 

Jungkook whimpered. “TaeTae, d-don’t go—”

 

“Not going anywhere,” Taehyung said firmly. “I’m right here, bun.” He emphasized the statement with a squeeze of their entwined hands, and Jungkook let out a shaky breath at the comforting action.

 

The paramedics wheeled the stretcher around the front of the house. Taehyung had some trouble climbing in alongside them when they lifted the device onto the back of the ambulance, but he stayed true to his word and kept their hands held the entire time.

 

Jungkook wasn’t crying anymore, but it was obvious he was in a lot of pain. The man who’d taken his blood pressure stayed in the back with them, while his partner climbed into the front. He turned to Taehyung while he was in the middle of stroking the younger’s hair and murmuring gently to him, telling him how brave he was and how well he was doing.

 

“We can give him something for the pain,” the man offered. “It isn’t uncommon with an injury like this.”

 

Taehyung bit his lip. He wasn’t a fan of morphine, having had too many personal experiences with the drug in a less than positive way.

 

But Jungkook looked absolutely miserable—and this was a medical professional in the back of an ambulance, not a Bangtan henchman in an abandoned basement.

 

He sighed.

 

“Kookie,” he said, voice gentle, “there’s a medicine you can take to make your leg hurt a little less. It might make you sleepy, but the pain will go away for a while. Do you want that, baby?”

 

Jungkook sniffled, nodding immediately. “Please,” he begged, eyes wide and shiny with unshed tears. “It hurts, TaeTae. Kookie doesn’t like it.”

 

“Okay,” Taehyung said softly. He stroked the younger’s hair back. “Hold my hand, okay? You’re gonna feel a little sharp feeling on your wrist for just one second.”

 

Jungkook's nails dug into his palm so hard he was sure he’d be bleeding when the younger pulled away, but he didn’t say anything. Jungkook squeezed his eyes shut as the needle slipped into the skin.

 

“All done.” The man wiped the area with something, throwing Taehyung a smile. “He’ll be much calmer now, too.”

 

Taehyung chewed his bottom lip. “You didn’t give him too much, did you?”

 

“No, no,” the man reassured. “He may need more later on, but for now I gave him a relatively small dosage.”

 

“Good,” Taehyung breathed. He ran a hand soothingly up and down the younger's arm. “Feeling okay, Kookie?”

 

“Mmhm.” Jungkook sniffled, turning his face towards Taehyung. “Still hurts.”

 

“I know, bunny,” Taehyung said softly. He stroked his cheek. “I’m so proud of you, you know that? You’re so brave.”

 

Jungkook whimpered. “W...will TaeTae tell hyungie how brave Kookie was?”

 

“Aigoo, of course,” Taehyung cooed. “Yoongi is gonna be so proud of you, too, baby. I’m gonna tell him how you were so strong, and he’s gonna be super proud of you.”

 

“Good,” Jungkook mumbled. His eyes were starting to drop, features softening with exhaustion. “...’M tired, TaeTae.”

 

“That’s the effects of the morphine,” the paramedic explained helpfully.

 

“You can sleep, Kookie,” Taehyung said gently. “Go ahead and take a nap.”

 

Jungkook let out a soft sigh, lips barely parting for the noise to escape.

 

Taehyung kept stroking his hair even as he drifted off. The younger was unconscious by the time they made it to the hospital, asleep even when they rolled the stretcher out and brought him into the ER.

 

The rest was a blur.

 

***

 

Jungkook had minor surgery and was put into a cast. He’d need crutches for several weeks and physical therapy afterwards for a few months, but the doctors reassured them all that he’d be fine.

 

Besides, he was absolutely basking in all the attention being hospitalized brought him.

 

Kkangpae members were in out of the room for days after word of the incident spread. The younger was somewhat of a little brother to most of them, and it resulted in an endless entourage of stuffed animals and balloons being rolled in and out.

 

It wasn’t strictly Kkangpae, either. GD and Subo’s gangs paid multiple visits, as well as adults Jungkook had befriended that the others didn’t even know about.

 

“Who was that?” Taehyung asked, bemused as he watched an old lady walk out of the room.

 

“Grandma Polly!” Jungkook grinned wide, holding up the huge teddy bear he’d been gifted. “She works at the grocery store, silly.”

 

Taehyung looked at Yoongi in shock, who merely shook his head. “Don’t even ask. I’m pretty sure we brought him there, like, once.”

 

“Two times,” the younger corrected with a huff. “And Kookie told her she was pretty. She has nice skirts.”

 

Taehyung ruffled the younger’s hair, adoration warm in his chest. “You make friends with everyone, don’t you?”

 

“Speaking of.” Yoongi nodded towards the doorway, and Taehyung turned just in time to see GD walking into the room.

 

Or, more accurately, GD followed by three men whose arms were crammed with presents.

 

Taehyung winced as each one took turns dumping the pile on a chair beside the bed, Jungkook’s eyes practically bulging out of his head.

 

“Stuffies!” he gasped. “And toys! Thank you, GD hyungie!”

 

“You’re gonna spoil him even more than he already is,” Yoongi sighed, rubbing his forehead wearily as the younger made grabby hands in the direction of a particularly soft-looking stuffed horse.

 

GD bent over and grabbed the object of his affection, handing it to Jungkook with a smile.

 

“He deserves to be spoiled,” the elder gang leader chuckled. “I heard he was super brave when he got hurt. Isn’t that right, Jungkookie?”

 

“Yuh huh!” The younger nodded energetically, clutching the toy to his chest with a blasting grin. “Kookie was super brave. TaeTae said.”

 

“Very true,” Taehyung remarked, unable to stop himself from smiling, as well.

 

“Well, let me know if you ever decide to get into this line of business, kid.” GD grinned and  winked at Yoongi when his friend rolled his eyes. “We could use someone like you on the team.”

 

Jungkook’s face practically glowed at the compliment.

 

“TaeTae! Hyungie—did you hear that? Kookie’s gonna fight bad guys! Like hyungies do!” he said excitedly, eyes bright with excitement as he glanced back and forth between the two elders.

 

Taehyung blanched at the mere thought. Yoongi merely glared at GD, who grinned sheepishly.

 

“Guess who’s here!”

 

The announcement was followed by the entrance of Yugyeom, who proceeded to place a huge stuffed bear atop the monstrous pile already forming at the bedside.

 

“Yugy hyungie!” Jungkook practically squealed. He opened his arms to accept a tight hug from the elder, pulling back to the sight of a pouting GD.

 

“Yah, how come I didn’t get a hug?”

 

Jungkook giggled. “Sorry, hyungie. Kookie will hug you too!” He lifted his arms to emphasize the statement, giggling again when GD grinned and swooped in for an energetic embrace.

 

Yoongi grunted, standing from his seat and checking his phone. “Listen, if there’s enough people here for now I’m gonna head home and check on Jimin.”

 

“Can you tell him he really doesn’t need to go so overboard?” Taehyung sighed.

 

“What’s he doing?” Yugyeom asked curiously, raising an eyebrow.

 

“Baby proofing,” Yoongi said flatly.

 

There was a split second of silence before Yugyeom and GD burst into laughter.

 

“He’s terrified of Kookie getting hurt again,” Taehyung explained, smiling ruefully at the sight of the younger stroking the stuffed bear in his arms. “Him and Jin hyung have been rearranging all the furniture, putting rubber guards on anything with sharp edges.”

 

“And Joon and Hobi are carpeting any wooden floors,” Yoongi said wearily. “The house is a mess. We’ve had construction workers in and out the past week.”

 

“All this because he hurt his leg?” Yugyeom chuckled. “Don’t you guys think you might be going a little overboard?”

 

“I don’t think you are,” GD said. He smiled at Jungkook, expression fond. “We’ve got one maknae between the three biggest gangs in all of fucking South Korea. Gotta protect him.”

 

“You know he’s not yours , right?” Taehyung said dryly.

 

GD’s grin widened. “Jealous, kid?”

 

Jungkook looked up then, noticing the slight shift of tensions in the room.

 

“Hyungies, don’t fight,” he whined. He reached his hand out towards Taehyung, lacing their fingers together with an adorable bunny-toothed smile. “Everyone likes Kookie, so everyone can be friends!”

 

“Apparently that’s all it takes,” Yoongi said dryly.

 

Yugyeom and GD only laughed, while Taehyung shook his said, smiling bemusedly.

 

“Well, you’re right about one thing,” he said, bending over to drop a kiss on the younger’s forehead. “Everyone does like Kookie. Very much.”

 

Jungkook giggled, and all the men in the room cooed.

 

Apparently, that was all it took.

 

 

Chapter Text

In the middle of the night, Jungkook slipped out of his and Taehyung’s bedroom, making sure to close the door quietly behind him.

 

The hallway was dark, as it usually was at this time. The younger padded silently forward, making the descent downstairs and down another hallway.

 

It was a small blessing that their laundry room was relatively far away from the cluster of bedrooms in the house. Not only that, but the machines were state of the start and inexplicably silent.

 

It was the perfect setup for washing laundry at 1 am.

 

Jungkook hummed softly to himself as he flicked on the light. Taehyung’s clothes sat in a baby blue hamper by the door, and he picked it up with a quiet grunt.

 

The steps felt routine at this point. Methodically, the younger turned on the machine and dumped the clothes in. As warm water drenched the items, he poured two capfuls of detergent in before closing the lid and hopping atop the machine.

 

Satisfied, he pulled out the comic book he kept hidden under a box of fabric softeners and settled back against the wall, ready to wait out the next half an hour peacefully.

 

***

 

The next morning, Taehyung retrieved his clothes from the dryer.

 

He thought about how grateful he was to have a best friend like Jimin, who didn’t mind not only doing Jungkook’s laundry, but his as well. The orange-haired man seemed to be understanding of Taehyung’s busy schedule, what with gang duties and looking after Jungkook, and he always washed his clothes every week without a word of complaint.

 

As he buttoned up a cotton shirt, a pair of arms snaked around his waist, startling him out of the thought.

 

“Morning, TaeTae.” Jungkook kissed the back of his shoulders, arms tightening around his stomach.

 

“Morning, baby.” Taehyung turned and kissed the younger sweetly, lips soft and moving slow. Jungkook melted against him, a soft sigh parting his mouth at the tender action.

 

When Taehyung pulled away it was with a chuckle. He tapped the younger’s chin teasingly, grinning. “Sleep well?”

 

“Uh huh.” Jungkook smiled cutely, bunny teeth emerging. “Can we have breakfast?”

 

“We sure can.” The elder reached out and grabbed his hand, lacing their fingers together. “Waffles or pancakes?”

 

“Both!”

 

“Okay,” Taehyung chuckled. “Give me a minute to finish getting dressed.”

 

The younger obediently crawled onto his lap and straddled him as Taehyung sat on the edge of the bed to pull on a pair of socks.

 

He nuzzled his cheek on the elder’s shoulder. “TaeTae is so soft.”

 

Taehyung laughed softly, the action vibrating up his chest. “Thanks, bun. You can thank your Jimin hyung for doing my laundry so well.”

 

Jungkook hummed, rubbing his cheek back and forth on the fabric. “Okay. Kookie will later, but can we get waffles now?”

 

“And pancakes,” Taehyung reminded him, dropping a brief kiss on the younger's nose before standing up.

 

As they walked into the hall, Jungkook found himself hoping the elder wouldn’t say anything to Jimin about the laundry.

 

It might seem strange, but he liked washing his boyfriend’s clothes. It was really the only domestic thing they did—the only normal thing, so to speak.

 

In Jungkook’s opinion, it felt nice to be the one taking care of Taehyung for a change.

 

***

 

When the elders took Jungkook shopping, it was usually an all day outing. It was either Seokjin or Jimin that brought him, and it was an experience so draining that they tried to have it no more than once a month.

 

Therefore, it usually resulted in Jungkook trying to get everything he could out of the trip.

 

“Lollipops!”

 

“No, sweetheart. You already got chocolate. Only one type of candy, remember?”

 

Jungkook swung his feet, kicking off the shopping cart and landing briefly on the tiled floor before hopping back onto the thin metal rail at the bottom of the cart. “Push me, hyungie!”

 

Jimin bit back a smile, trying to school his features into a more stern expression. “Kookie, you’re too heavy for these carts. Get down before you hurt yourself.”

 

Jungkook hopped off with a pout. It lasted only seconds, however, as he proceeded to spot something across the aisle.

 

Gasping, the younger ran over and grabbed the colorful box on the shelf. “Jiminie hyungie! Look, it has a toy inside!”

 

“We already got cereal, sweetheart,” Jimin sighed. He pried the box gently from the younger's hands, going to place it back.

 

Jungkook’s lower lip trembled.

 

A beat of silence paused before Jimin grabbed the box back off the shelf and tossed it into the cart. “Fine. Don’t tell your Seokjin hyung, though. Our little secret, okay?”

 

The younger’s expression lit up. “Yay!”

 

Nearly an hour later, they were nearly done when Jimin pushed the cart up alongside the ramen aisle.

 

“Okay, Kookie. Plain or spicy?”

 

Jungkook leaned against the cart, humming thoughtfully to himself. He knew Taehyung preferred spicy noodles, but the elder usually went without them because he knew Jungkook didn’t like the flavor.

 

“Spicy!”

 

“Alrighty.” Jimin tossed a pack into the cart, glancing at the list in his hand. “Chocolate donuts or plain?”

 

“Plain!” Taehyung liked those better.

 

And so it went on. Jungkook dutifully recited his boyfriend’s favorites over his own, perfectly content to sacrifice his own preferences for once with the knowledge that the elder always did the same for him.

 

All in all, he’d consider it a successful shopping trip.

 

***

 

When they got home, the first thing the younger did was run into Hobi’s office and jump onto his boyfriend’s lap.

 

“TaeTae, look!” He held up the adorable stuffed rabbit Jimin had bought for him.

 

“How cute.” Taehyung smiled, running his fingers through the younger’s hair. He grabbed the younger’s thigh and gently hitched him up further onto his lap. “I thought you went grocery shopping, though?”

 

Jungkook smiled cutely. “And then to the toy store! Wanna see what else Kookie got?”

 

Taehyung threw a questioning look over the younger’s shoulder.

 

Hobi chuckled from his desk. “Go ahead, we’re all done here.”

 

The younger hopped lithely off his lap, grabbing his hand and tugging on his hand excitedly.

 

Jimin stood by sheepishly as Jungkook sat criss-crossed on the living room carpet and pulled out toy after toy. Taehyung felt his eyebrows lifting higher and higher, and he looked at his friend with a disbelieving look.

 

“It’s not my fault,” Jimin defended. “Have you seen his puppy dog eyes? He could get away with murder.”

 

“And he will one day, if you keep giving into him like this,” Taehyung said wearily, smiling absently at the younger as he held up the third stuffed bear in a row.

“Yeah, yeah,” he friend muttered. “Listen, the cook is coming in an hour. You want me to tell him to make the spicy ramen we bought?”

 

“We bought spicy ramen?” Taehyung’s eyes lit up noticeably. “Shit, I haven’t had that in ages.”

 

“So that’s a yes?” Jimin said, raising an eyebrow.

 

“I mean, if Kookie will eat it,” the elder added immediately.

 

“He chose it, so I’m sure he will,” his friend said. “I’ll let the cook know.”

 

Taehyung grinned, excitement obvious in his expression. He wasn’t looking at Jungkook, but if he had been, he would have noticed the way the younger made a face at the thought of eating spicy ramen.

 

He immediately hid the expression with the toy in his hands, however, resigning himself to acting like he enjoyed the meal.

 

After all, Taehyung ate plain ramen for him all the time.

 

It was the least he could do.

 

***

 

Sometimes, Taehyung had nightmares.

 

It wasn’t a common occurrence, nor was it something the elder was at all aware of.

 

He usually had no recollection of them when he woke up—but Jungkook knew.

 

He would sit up while the elder sweated profusely, curled into himself like a cat. Jungkook stroked his arms and back, voice soft and sad, gently coaxing him to calm down. Taehyung didn’t thrash out in what was necessarily a scary way, but it was enough to wake the younger up.

 

Sometimes it scared him enough to pull him out of headspace. Most of the time, though, he stayed little. He’d simply backhug the elder, chin resting on his shoulder, arms tight around him.

 

One night, Taehyung started crying in his sleep.

 

Jungkook slipped the elder’s shirt up slightly, running his hands soothingly up and down his back.

 

“It’s okay, TaeTae,” he whispered. His heart broke seeing the elder—someone who was usually so strong and protective—lose his barriers for once.

 

He knew that was part of the reason he never mentioned the nightmares to him. If Taehyung wanted to talk about it, he would. The elder didn’t like to be seen as vulnerable. He liked to be the protector, the caregiver. And typically, Jungkook was more than fine with that.

 

But sometimes, like tonight, he found the roles reversed.

 

Pulling him front his thoughts, Taehyung whimpered in his arms.

 

Jungkook kissed his shoulder. “It’s ok, TaeTae,” he said softly. “Kookie’s here.”

 

And he was. He wasn’t going anywhere.

 

He’d always be there.

Chapter Text

 

If you asked Jungkook, he would tell you that (aside from Taehyung), he loved all his hyungs equally. And it was the truth.

 

...Mostly.

 

The thing was, there was one hyung that he adored just the slightest bit more than the others—a certain orange-haired, bright-eyed elder who never failed to make him smile.

 

Jeon Jungkook had met Park Jimin six years ago in the boutique he worked at, and he still remembered every detail to this exact day.

 

As usual, his father had had the store shut down while Jungkook shopped. Only one employee was allowed inside (which would turn out to be Jimin) and a few Bangtan guards lined the inside and outside of the doors. Other than that, however, the two were alone.

 

Jimin had been briefed before being introduced to him. Someone had explained to him that despite the fact that Jungkook was nearly 15 years of age at the time, he acted around 7 years old.

 

At the time, there hadn’t been any mention of the younger’s affinity for feminine clothing.

 

Jimin would be the first to discover that.

 

“You don't like those either, huh, Jungkookie?”

 

The orange-haired man sighed as Jungkook shook his head, pouting petulantly. The younger tossed the pair of white skinny jeans he’d just tried on onto the ground.

 

The frustration must have been evident on his face, despite the fact that he was trying his best not to let it show. Jimin frowned as he watched him glare daggers in the direction of the discarded clothing, crossing his arms with a huff.

 

“Those are all the jeans we have,” the elder apologized gently. “Do you want to take a look at the tops, instead?”

 

Jungkook sighed, sinking lower into the couch he was seated on. “They’re too tight .”

 

Jimin‘s eyebrows furrowed. “The pants? They’re all your size, Kookie.”

 

“Yeah, but they’re tight .” Jungkook stomped his foot once, whining. “It doesn’t feel good, hyungie.”

 

Jimin placed the pile of clothing he’d been holding aside, and knelt down in front of the younger.

 

He reached for his hands, smile gentle, and looked at him with kind, shining eyes.

 

“Jungkook, be honest with me, okay?” The words were said hesitantly, but with a type of confidence behind them that stated the elder was sure of his own suspicions. “When you came in earlier, and I was talking with your guards, you...wandered away. You remember that? You walked into a different section of the store.”

 

The younger frowned, appearing genuinely confused. “Huh?”

 

Jimin smiled patiently. “You were looking at a sale we had. In the...girls’ section. Do you remember?”

 

Jungkook’s expression flickered at the statement, something akin to fear and panic sparking in his eyes. Without warning, he tried to tug his hands out of the elder’s. “What? N-no, Kookie was just looking—”

 

“Kookie, it’s okay.” Jimin squeezed his hands, voice so calm and reassuring. “It’s okay, yeah? I promise. You can trust me. Alright?”

 

And god, Jungkook wanted to.

 

He ached to.

 

He wanted so badly to trust someone. He wanted to tell someone. Wanted to tell them how he preferred the softness of cotton and silk to the roughness of jeans and khakis. About how sometimes he cut up his shirts and pulled them off his shoulders to see what he’d look like in the mirror, or butchered his shorts until they resembled skirts. Or maybe even how, at nights when he was alone in his room, he would wear nothing but a long T-shirt and pretend it was a dress.

 

But…

 

“I-it’s bad,” he whispered. His voice was shaking, and dampness sprung unexpectedly to his eyes. “It’s bad. I...Kookie’s a boy.”

 

Jimin had pressed his lips together at that. He didn’t seem dazed by the sudden arrival of tears or the statement itself, or even the admitted confession that was woven between the lines.

 

“You’re a very pretty boy, I’ll give you that,” he’d said gently. “But you know what, Kookie? I’m gonna tell you a secret. Okay?”

 

The younger sniffed, trying hard to keep the tears from falling. He nodded jerkily.

 

“Clothing doesn’t have a gender.” Jimin smiled when he said it, eyes warm and words even warmer. “Not really. People give it one, but the clothes themselves don’t really belong to boys or girls. Because, if you really think about it, girls wear pants, don’t they?”

 

Jungkook had frowned at that. He cocked his head to the side slightly, eyes bright and attentive.

 

“Uh huh,” he said slowly.

 

“And boys wear pink? And flowers? And earrings?” Jimin pressed, raising an eyebrow.

 

Jungkook perked up a little with each word. “Y-yeah.”

 

“So really, it doesn’t matter,” the elder said firmly, smiling. “We should all just wear whatever we want. Whatever makes us comfortable and happy . Do you understand?”

 

The younger swallowed hard.

 

“...Kookie thinks so,” he whispered.

 

Jimin stood up, dropping their entwined hands, and moved towards a pile of folded clothing on the couch beside them.

 

“I have two skirts here that might fit you,” he said, voice light. “Do you think you could tell me which one you like better? So I can get an idea of what else to pick out for you?”

 

Jungkook nodded, the action almost robotic. He felt like he wasn’t in control of his own body, as if he were running on autopilot.

 

“Do you like this?”

 

The elder held up a tight, leather, knee length skirt with silver beading running up the side.

 

Jungkook bit his lip, shaking his head.

 

Anxiety tightened his gut. This was wrong. These were girl's clothes, he shouldn’t even be looking at them. They weren’t for him, and besides, they were ugly—

 

“How about this?”

 

Oh.

 

Jimin smiled at the look of awe the younger's expression had suddenly taken on. His eyes widened to the size of saucers, fondness and admiration clear in them, lips parting with a soft gasp.

 

It was a baby pink miniskirt. The fabric was a blend of cotton and chiffon—soft with just a little bit of sheer. Innocence with a hint of something else.

 

It was beautiful.

 

“It’s so pretty,” Jungkook breathed.

 

Jimin’s smile widened. “Isn’t it? And there’s a top right here that’ll go perfectly with it...”

 

And before he knew it, Jungkook found himself standing in front of the mirror in the skirt and an oversized, fluffy white sweater. The sweater slipped off one of his shoulders in a way that he loved, exposing his collarbones. And the skirt—words couldn’t even explain how much he loved it. Loved the feeling of being so free, so soft and warm and happy.

 

He felt lighter .

 

“Wow,” he whispered. His eyes were glued to the mirror. He hadn’t taken them off since trying on the outfit, and Jimin stood by without a word, giving him time to soak in the moment.

 

A few minutes of silence passed before Jungkook made up his mind.

 

“Kookie wants to see more stuff like this,” he said determinedly. He held out his hand, a soft, shy smile curving his lips. “I-if hyungie wants to.”

 

“I would love to,” Jimin responded softly. He took his hand, squeezing their entwined fingers gently. “We’ll go through the whole store if you want.”

 

And they did. In that visit, and the next visit a week later, and the one after that.

 

The shopping trips grew more irregular over the years, but Jungkook never went longer than a month without seeing the elder. With each visit the younger's love and confidence for clothing grew stronger, and their friendship flourished alongside it.

 

Jungkook was going to be 22 soon, and to this day he felt like he owed a huge part of himself to Jimin. The man had been one of the most supportive, compassionate people he’d ever met—a rare constant in the mess that was his rocky, inconsistent life.

 

He knew he wanted to do something special for him—he just didn’t know what .

 

***

 

And so, without any real explanation as to why, the next morning, Seokjin found himself faced with an insistent Jungkook who was determined to bake a cake.

 

“Can I at least know why?” the elder pressed, standing on his tiptoes to pull out the bag of flour in the cabinet.

 

Jungkook watched him place item after item upon the counter. “Is this everything?”

 

“If you’re making a plain cake, yeah.” Seokjin looked at the younger with a frown. “What has you so focused you came out of headspace?”

 

“It’s a secret,” Jungkook muttered distractedly. “What if I wanna make chocolate? With strawberry jam?”

 

Seokjin cocked an eyebrow. “...Jimin’s favorite?”

 

The younger stared at him for a moment, seeming to process that he’d just given himself away.

 

“Fine, it’s for Jimin hyung,” Jungkook muttered, turning back to the counter. He grabbed the mixing bowl and pulled it towards himself, pouting. “But please don’t tell him. Don’t tell anyone , hyung. Please. It’s supposed to be a surprise.”

 

Seokjin leaned against the counter a few feet away, watching silently as the younger’s eyebrows furrowed in concentration while his gaze swept the crowded countertop.

 

“Are you sure you don’t want any help?” he asked hesitantly. “I can—”

 

“I’m sure,” Jungkook said firmly. “You can go, hyung. I promise I won’t turn on the stove without your permission, okay?”

 

Seokjin frowned slightly. “Okay. If you’re sure. I’ll be right outside, alright?”

 

“M’kay,” the younger muttered distractedly. He was already breaking eggs into a bowl, back turned to the elder.

 

Two and a half hours later, he was throwing out his third attempt.

 

He watched the sticky mixture slide into the garbage, feeling the inexplicable urge to cry.

 

He couldn’t believe how hard this was. Baking was supposed to be easy , wasn’t it? Seokjin hyung always claimed it relaxed him. But he didn’t feel relaxed. He felt more stressed than ever.

 

When Taehyung came into the kitchen, he was about three seconds from bursting into tears.

 

“Hey, bun.” The elder walked in and grabbed an apple off the bowl on the countertop. His gaze flickered over the mess on the countertop, and he raised an eyebrow. “What...um, what are you up to? Seokjin hyung told me you were baking something?”

 

Trying to,” Jungkook said, frustration evident in his voice. He hugged the elder with a sigh, burying his face in his shoulder. “It’s so hard , Tae.”

 

Taehyung rubbed his back, setting the apple aside. “You want some help?”

 

“Yes,” Jungkook said, pulling back to pout at the elder. “Everyone’s busy.”

 

“Jin told me he offered to help you, but you wanted to do it by yourself,” Taehyung countered, cocking an eyebrow.

 

Jungkook paused, chewing his lower lip. “Yeah, because it’s a secret. So you can’t ask questions if you help. Promise?”

 

The elder’s curiosity peaked, but he only nodded. “Sure. I’ll be a silent partner. Deal?”

 

The younger grinned. “Deal!”

 

Another hour later, the cake was out of the stove and they were decorating it. It hadn’t turned out exactly how Jungkook wanted, but he was trying hard not to let his frustration show.  

 

It was a little lopsided on one end, and the edges were a bit burnt. But he figured maybe it wouldn’t be noticeable after frosting it.

 

He whined as Taehyung tried in vain to take the spatula from him, giving the elder a wide-eyed pout.

 

“I can do it!” he insisted, frowning.

 

Taehyung bit his lip, withdrawing his arm and letting it fall to his side. “I know you can, baby. I just wanted to help.”

 

“I don’t need help,” Jungkook said confidently. He turned back to face the counter, spatula lifted. As Taehyung watched, unable to control the grimace taking over his face, the younger proceeded to shovel a huge pile of frosting out of the bowl in front of himself and plop it messily onto the top of the cake.

 

Taehyung sighed, rubbing at his temples. Frosting dripped down the sides and onto the counter. He could practically hear Seokjin’s yells already.

 

“All done!” Jungkook leaned back to admire to his work. Taehyung glanced around him to look at the cake, barely visible underneath the mountain of frosting and sprinkles that had been precariously perched atop it.

 

“Baby, you made a mess,” Taehyung sighed.

 

Jungkook turned to look at him with his mouth wide open. “I did not!” he huffed. His frown deepened. “That’s mean,” he added, looking affronted at the remark.

 

His heart sank a little. Did it really look that bad? Would Jimin even like it?

 

“Sorry,” Taehyung said ruefully, giving a halfhearted smile as he ruffled the younger’s hair, oblivious to his inner distress. “I meant the countertop, not the cake. Are you ready to help me clean up?”

 

“I would, but...do I have to? I have other stuff to do,” Jungkook mumbled. He still had to finish the card.

 

“What other stuff?” Taehyung said, frowning.

 

Jungkook dropped the spatula into the sink, sending flecks of frosting flying through the air. “It’s a secret.”

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow. “Just like the reason you’re making this cake is a secret? Kook, when are you going to tell me what’s going on?”

 

Jungkook suddenly wasn’t looking at him, far more interested in the tiled floor. “Tae, it’s a secret . I can’t tell you.”

 

As much as the elder wanted to pry, he decided to leave the younger to himself. He would tell him when he was ready.

 

“Alright, let’s wash your hands,” Taehyung said, gently guiding Jungkook towards the sink. He caged him in, chest pressed against the younger’s back as he turned on the sink and began pumping soap into his hands.

 

Jungkook pulled his hands out of his grasp with an irritated whine. “It’s too cold.”

 

“Is not,” Taehyung responded with a slight frown. “I’m touching it, too, Kook. It’s warm.”

 

Jungkook squirmed against his grip. “Then it’s too hot.”

 

Taehyung cocked an eyebrow, feeling a flare of irritation rise up in his chest. “Jungkook, stop being so difficult,” he scolded.

 

“Stop being so mean ,” the younger retorted, frustration evident in his voice. He couldn’t explain why he suddenly felt so irritated. The cake hadn’t turned out the way he wanted, and even though he knew it wasn’t Taehyung’s fault, he was starting to find himself growing annoyed with every word the elder said.

 

Taehyung turned off the faucet and moved back, allowing him room to wiggle away from the small space between the elder’s body and the counter.

 

“Dry your hands,” he reminded.

 

Jungkook was already on his way out of the kitchen. He wiped his palms quickly on the front of his clean shirt, causing Taehyung to hiss through his teeth.

 

“Yah, what are you doing!” he snapped, immediately moving forward and grabbing the younger’s wrists.

 

Ow ,” Jungkook whined. He yanked his hands away, expression scandalized as he glared up at the elder. “Hyung, that hurt .”

 

Taehyung looked at him in bafflement. “What? I barely touched you—”

 

“Just leave me alone .” Jungkook turned around with an indignant huff, shaking his head angrily as he ran into the living room.

 

“Jungkook? Kook, get back here!”

 

Confusion tightened Taehyung’s chest, mingling with concern. The younger didn’t normally become so bratty after a single remark, and accusing Taehyung of hurting him was more than just a little worrying.

 

He practically collided with a sturdy figure on his way out of the kitchen and into the living room, earning a grunt.

 

“Shit, watch where you’re going, Tae.” Seokjin brushed himself off with a grimace. He glanced up at Taehyung, raising an eyebrow at his frustrated expression. “What’s wrong?”

 

“I don’t know,” Taehyung replied, frustratedly running a hand through his hair. “Jungkook just got really mad at me for no reason and ran out.”

 

Seokjin frowned. “That’s weird. You know, he’s been acting strange all morning. Do you think it has something to do with his headspace? He hasn’t been big for this long in a while.”

 

“I don’t know,” Taehyung said honestly he chewed his lower lip, panic curling his gut. “Fuck. I hope not. It doesn’t seem like something serious, he’s just...touchy? I don’t know.”

 

“Stressed,” Seokjin supplied helpfully, his own eyebrows furrowed. “Yeah, I know what you mean. Do you think something could be worrying him?”

 

“Maybe. Whatever it is, I intend on finding out,” Taehyung sighed. He gave a weary smile in the elder’s direction. “Sorry for bothering you, hyung.”

 

“It wasn’t a bother,” Seokjin said, smiling. “And let me know if I can help.”

 

***

 

Jungkook was sitting in their room when Taehyung finally walked in, and to the elder’s surprise, he was crying.

 

Taehyung immediately knelt by the bed in front of him, expression softening.

 

“Aigoo, Kookie,” he whispered. “Why are you crying, bunny? What’s wrong?”

 

Jungkook covered his face with his hands. His shoulders were trembling, voice thick with tears when he spoke.

 

“I...I messed everything up.”

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows furrowed. “Okay,” he said patiently. “Can you tell me what you think you messed up? Because the cake looks amazing, baby, really—”

 

“No,” Jungkook half-sobbed, lifting his head without warning. “Not just the cake. Every thing. I-I made a card, too, but it didn’t look good—a-and I wanted to buy a present but everyone is too busy —and—”

 

“Slow down,” Taehyung said softly. He ran his palms over the younger’s thighs soothingly, voice quiet. “Jungkook, I think it’s time you told me what you’re up to, okay? It’s stressing you out, baby. I don’t like seeing you like this.”

 

The younger groaned, face still covered and the sound muffled by his palms. “It was supposed to be a secret .”

 

“You don’t have to be specific,” Taehyung said gently. “Just let me help. You’re obviously trying to plan a surprise for someone. You don’t have to tell me who, okay? How about I just help you out?”

 

“H...how?” the younger sniffed. He rubbed at his eyes.

 

“I’ll take you to buy something,” Taehyung replied gently. “And if you want, we’ll re-frost the cake. As for the card, I’ll help you decorate it, okay? Just the outside. I won’t read what you wrote.”

 

Jungkook looked at him, sniffling. “Y...you’d do that?”

 

Taehyung feigned offense. “Yah, of course I would. It’s okay if you’re not ready to tell me everything. I’ll still help my bunny.”

 

He emphasized the statement with a caress to the younger's cheek, and Jungkook leaned into the touch.

 

“Thank you,” he whispered. “This means a lot to me. I love you, Tae.”

 

Taehyung smiled. “I love you, too. Now let’s go, we have a cake to fix.”

 

***

 

That night, Jungkook stayed in the bedroom while everyone else ate dinner, taking the time to psych himself him up.

 

It was ridiculous. He wasn’t proposing , for god’s sake. This was Jimin . His hyung who would love anything he gave him, whether it be a cake or a rock. But he wanted so badly for this to go well. He needed to convey to the elder just how much gratitude and love he had for him.

 

So, taking one final deep breath to calm himself down, he walked into the kitchen.

 

“Hey, Kookie.” Namjoon immediately reached out to catch the younger’s wrist, smile friendly. “I was just asking Tae what was taking you so long.”

 

“Sit down, sweetheart. Your plate is by Taehyung’s,” Seokjin added.

 

“In a second.” Jungkook glanced at Taehyung, who immediately read the nervousness on his face and passed him an encouraging smile.

 

Namjoon’s hold on his wrist fell away, and a hush blanketed the room as they all watched the youngest move towards the fridge.

 

Jungkook pulled out the cake and walked it carefully over to Jimin’s seat, placing it gingerly down in front of him.

 

“Jiminie hyung,” he said softly, smiling hesitantly. “I, uh...made this for you.”

 

Jimin looked startled. Across the table, Yoongi raised his eyebrows, while Seokjin, Namjoon and Hobi leaned forward with interest.

 

Jungkook watched the orange-haired man’s lips part in surprise, a quiet gasp falling past them as he looked at the messily decorated dessert.

 

“Oh, Kookie,” he breathed. “It’s beautiful. That’s so sweet of you, but why did you go to the trouble? It’s not my birthday for another month and a half, sweetheart.”

 

Jungkook bit his lip, hands tugging nervously at the hem of his shirt. “I-I know. It’s..it’s for something else, though. A special day.”

 

Jimin’s eyebrows furrowed. “What day?”

 

“We...um, we met exactly six years ago today,” Jungkook said softly, smile softening. His chest felt warm with the memory, still perfectly able to picture the fondness in Jimin’s eyes as he watched him spin in the mirror to admire his first ever skirt. “In Japan, at the boutique. You helped me pick out my first skirt, remember? I just...I wanted to do something special for you, hyung.”

 

To say Jimin looked shocked was an understatement.

 

The remaining five elders sat back in their chairs, equally stunned. Taehyung saw Yoongi throw him a quizzical look across the table, as if to ask if he knew about this. He could only shrug, just as lost as everyone else.

 

“Oh my god.” Jimin looked utterly floored. “I’m—that’s—Kookie, oh my god . How did you remember something like that?”

 

“It was a really important day for me,” Jungkook responded quietly. “You were...sort the first person who ever really encouraged me to be myself. You were so supportive of everything I liked, and just—just so nice .”

 

Jimin covered his mouth with one hand, eyes growing shiny with tears. “Jungkook—”

 

“A-and I could have said all this stuff in headspace,” the younger continued quickly. “Or just told you normally, any other day, but—but I wanted to be big, so I could really tell you. Like, really , hyung. I wanted to explain just important you are. You mean so much to me. I love all my hyungs, but you—”

 

He cut himself off then, voice choking up. Taehyung resisted the urge to jump up and envelope him in a hug, not wanting to intrude upon the intimate moment.

 

Jimin shook his head, face crumpled. “Oh my god , Jungkookie, you’re making me cry .”

 

He pulled the younger into a hug without warning, one Jungkook melted easily into until he was practically seated on the elder’s lap.

 

“You’re such a sweetheart,” Jimin half-sobbed, fingers curling tightly into the back of the younger’s head. “Gosh, Kookie, you didn’t have to go and do all this.”

 

Jungkook sniffed, resting his cheek on the elder’s shoulder, arms wrapped tightly around him. “Thank you for being there for me for the past six years. F-for being so nice and kind and supportive.”

 

“Thank you,” Jimin responded softly, voice breaking a little. “Our sweet little maknae. We all love you so much, Kookie. You have the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met.”

 

“T-thanks.” The younger pulled back slightly, sniffling and smiling shyly. “It’s something I picked up from my favorite hyung.”

 

“Aigoo!” Jimin pinched his cheek, eyes bright and smile warm. “This kid, I swear.”

 

Jungkook’s smile widened at the action.

 

“What are we, dead?” Namjoon muttered.

 

“Is this because we don’t play with him that much anymore?” Seokjin added, glaring at Hobi. “This is your fault. I used to be his favorite back in Bangtan.”

 

Taehyung covered his mouth to hide a snicker, and Yoongi merely shook his head, an amused smirk playing his lips.

 

Jungkook’s eyes were slowly widening at their muttered statements, and a flash of guilt flickered across his expression. He was already leaning towards the elders, eyes brimming with sadness. “Hyungs, no! I love all you guys, I swear. Please don’t say that.”

 

Taehyung choked on a laugh at the way Seokjin’s expression changed at lightning speed.

 

“What? No, w-we were just kidding, Kookie,” he insisted quickly. “I know you do, sweetheart, I promise.”

 

“Yeah, it was just teasing,” Namjoon added firmly. “We know you love us, kid. We love you, too.”

 

“Very much,” Jimin said, smiling. “And I, for once, think we should cut this beautiful cake that you made. Don’t you think?”

 

“Yeah!” Jungkook perked up, climbing off the elder’s lap. “Tae helped, too.”

 

“Barely,” Taehyung chuckled, arms instinctively wrapping around the younger as he slid into his arms. “I mostly screwed things up. It might be a little burnt.”

 

“Did you ruin my pans?” Seokjin asked, voice dark as he glared at the younger.

 

Taehyung blanched. “I don’t know. Like, what do you mean by ruined?”

 

“Kim Taehyung, I swear —”

 

“Okay, can we just cut it? Does anybody have a knife?” Hobi interrupted quickly.

 

Jungkook made as if to move off Taehyung’s lap. “I’ll get it—”

 

No , oh my god—”

 

“Don’t even think about it.”

 

“Not so fast.”

 

Five pairs of arms immediately reached out to stop him, a useless action seeing as Taehyung tightened his grip on the younger’s waist, preventing him from moving.

 

Jungkook pouted. “But I’m not even little! I can hold a knife. I’m not a baby, hyungs.”

 

“You are, actually,” Taehyung corrected, smiling. He pressed a soft kiss the younger’s cheekbone. “You’re our baby.”

 

Jungkook’s face flushed at the comment. Jimin and Seokjin cooed, while Namjoon, Hobi and Yoongi rolled their eyes.

 

“So, like...are we cutting the cake, or…?”

 

“Can’t you wait, like, two seconds? Jeez, Joon, you ruined the moment.”

 

“They’re always having moments, okay? I’m hungry.”

 

“It’s not even technically your cake.”

 

“Well, it’s not yours, either, in that case—”

 

“They used my pans, actually, so technically, it is.”

 

“Yah, hyung, that’s reaching and you know it—”

 

Jimin sighed loudly. “So, no knife?”

 

Yoongi was rubbing his temples. “At this point I’d be happy if you cut it with a spoon.”

 

Jungkook gasped and looked at Taehyung, eyes wide. “We can do that? Ooh, then can I cut it!”

 

Jimin, Yoongi and Taehyung all exchanged glances, each one shrugging.

 

“Why not?” Taehyung half-laughed, shaking his head. “Does anyone have an extra spoon?”

 

“They’re in the dishwasher,” Hobi said, half-distracted by his plate.

 

Seokjin’s expression clouded over. “What? You were supposed to empty the dishwasher, Hobi.”

 

The elder blinked. “What? Since when?”

 

“Since yesterday . Oh my god, does anyone in this house do anything they’re supposed to? I swear —”

 

Taehyung sighed wearily. “Kookie, why don’t we put the cake away for now? Jimin can cut it when he gets the chance.”

 

“Okay,” Jungkook agreed easily. He smiled. “Did you like it, Jimin hyung?”

 

“I loved it, Kookie,” Jimin responded, smiling back. “Thank you so much. You’re so sweet to me. You know, sometimes I feel I’m dating the wrong brother.”

 

Yoongi looked appalled, nearly choking on the bite of food he’d taken. “Yah, what the hell!”

 

Taehyung bit back a smile, while Jungkook only giggled.

 

“Well, am I wrong? When have you ever made me a cake, Min Yoongi?”

 

“I bought you a bakery in Seoul, Jimin! How could you not remember that?”

 

“It’s about the sentiment , Yoons.”

 

“So, you’re telling me one cake is better than thirty. A day. For the rest of your life.”

 

“No, you dummy, I’m talking about sentiment. The time it takes to make a cake yourself versus—”

 

Thirty . A day . That’s like, six thousand cakes a year. You’re seriously telling me that’s not better?”

 

“Oh my god, why do I even try with you—”

 

Chapter Text

 

“Truth or dare, Jungkook?”

 

Yoongi looked expectantly at the younger, seated comfortably in between Taehyung’s legs. He screwed his face up in thought, clearly conflicted with the choices.

 

“Truth,” he finally said brightly.

 

Yoongi frowned, looking helplessly at Jimin. “Shit, I don’t have any good questions.”

 

The orange-haired man rolled his eyes at his boyfriend, turning to face Jungkook himself.

 

“Kookie,” he said enthusiastically, “who...is your favorite hyung?”

 

“Yah!” Yoongi hissed, snacking the man on the shoulder. “Don’t make him choose something like that!”

 

Jimin stuck his tongue out petulantly. “Why? Scared he’ll choose me?”

 

Namjoon snorted from beside him. “Please. I’ve known him longer, he’s going to choose me.”

 

“Yeah right,” Seokjin huffed. “Nobody’s dealt with the brat more than I have.”

 

“He’s my baby brother,” Yoongi scoffed. “I’m his role model, okay? I’m obviously the only choice—”

 

“TaeTae hyungie, duh. Next question!”

 

All four men’s jaw clamped shut as Jungkook energetically responded, oblivious to the reaction his own reply elicited.

 

Taehyung snickered, burying his face briefly into the younger's head and dropping a kiss onto the crown of his hair.  

 

“Dumb question,” he chuckled.

 

Jimin scowled. “Yeah, okay. We probably should have seen that one coming.”

 

“Whatever,” Yoongi muttered, glaring at Taehyung. “I’m a close second, so don’t be so smug, kid.”

 

Taehyung didn’t have a chance to respond as Jungkook began squirming in his arms, leaning forward to grab ahold of the bottle in the middle of the carpet.

 

“Kookie’s turn!” he said excitedly. He spun the bottle effortlessly, watching with wide eyes as it slowly came to a stop.

 

“Seokjin hyung,” Taehyung announced, almost laughing at the look of instant horror that gripped the elder’s features. “Truth or dare?”

 

“I guess dare,” the man sighed.

 

Namjoon nodded sagely beside him, his own expression one of personal remorse and trauma. He’d only just been a victim of one of Jungkook's ridiculous truths, being forced to describe in vivid detail the strangest color his poop had ever been.

 

“Good choice,” he mumbled.

 

“Hmm.” Jungkook leaned back into Taehyung’s arms, tapping his chin cutely as he thought. “ Hmm .”

 

Taehyung stroked his hair, laughing quietly as Seokjin visibly grew more and more nervous across from them.

 

“Scared, hyung?” he teased.

 

“Of Jeon Jungkook?” Seokjin asked, raising an eyebrow  “Yes. Extremely. Everyone should be, actually, because that boy is a well-disguised devil, Taehyung.”

 

Jungkook smiled innocently. “Nuh uh.”

 

The gang merely stared at him, unimpressed, while Taehyung burst into laughter.

 

“Ooh, ooh! Kookie has one!” The younger suddenly leaned forward, eyes wide with excitement. “Kookie dares Jinnie hyungie to wear his favorite skirt!”

 

“I don’t...have a favorite skirt?” Seokjin replied, frowning. “I don’t own any—oh. You meant yours.”

 

His protests were weak as Hobi pulled him to his feet, snickering. “We’ll be right back,” he announced gleefully.

 

“Don’t mess up his closet,” Taehyung warned, watching the leader drag a very reluctant Seokjin out of the room with him.

 

Jungkook grinned, clapping his hands cheerfully as he leaned back against Taehyung’s chest. “This is a fun game!”

 

Jimin shook his head, an amused smile tugging at his lips. “Well, it was supposed to be Jin hyung’s turn to ask the next question. Who wants to go for him?”

 

“I’ll do it,” Taehyung offered. He reached an arm around Jungkook, shifting the boy gently to the side in order to lean forward and grab the bottle on the carpet. His spin was just a little too hard, and the bottle moved wildly before coming to a stop.

 

It landed in between Jimin and Namjoon, making Jimin laugh.

 

“Go again,” his friend ordered.

 

Taehyung obliged. He was much gentler this time—and somehow the bottle still settled between the same two people.

 

Namjoon frowned. “Dude, careful. Three times and it doesn’t land on someone…”

 

“I know the rules,” Taehyung muttered. He was trying hard not to let his frustration show, feeling a small flare of panic rise in his chest.

 

If it landed between Jimin and Namjoon one more time, Taehyung would have to kiss the both of them.

 

Yoongi was glaring at him now, jaw clenched. “Get your shit together, kid.”

 

Jimin rolled his eyes. “Please. This is the most exciting thing that has happened the whole game.”

 

Taehyung ignored them. Holding his breath, he grabbed firmly ahold of the bottle and spun it one final time.

 

It went around in a circle once...twice...half of a third—

 

And landed smack in the center of Namjoon and Jimin.

 

Namjoon groaned, Jimin laughed, and Yoongi growled.

 

Taehyung felt the blood drain from his face.

 

“Guys,” he said weakly. “I can’t…” he looked down pointedly at Jungkook, who had been distracted all this time by the stuffed animal in his lap. The younger didn’t have any clue as to what was going on, but Taehyung knew that he wouldn’t take it well if he had to watch the elder kiss two of their hyungs right in front of him.

 

Jimin scoffed. “Oh, come on. He knows it’s just a game. Hey, Jungkookie?”

 

The younger glanced up, smiling cutely at the mention of his name. “Yeah?”

 

Jimin smiled back. “You wanna watch TaeTae do his dare?”

 

“Ooh, yeah!”  Jungkook scrambled to sit up, expression lighting up. His bunny teeth emerged as he grinned. “Can Kookie pick?”

 

“It’s actually already been picked, sweetheart.” The orange-haired man winked at Taehyung, who glowered at him in response.

 

“Jimin, this isn’t a good idea,” Yoongi muttered. His gaze was trained on Jungkook, and thinly veiled worry flickered in the elder’s irises.

 

“Yeah, Seokjin might not be happy,” Namjoon added, frowning.

 

Jimin was the one frowning now. “You guys are being so over dramatic. It’s a game . Seokjin’s not going to break up with you for giving Tae a peck on the mouth, Joon. Jesus.”

 

Namjoon pressed his lips together, choosing not to respond. His expression had darkened.

 

Jimin shook his head. “If it’s worrying everyone so much, I’ll go first. We’re not gonna make out, okay? If we’re playing the game we should play it right .”

 

Yoongi leaned back slightly, crossing his arms over his chest. “How much have you had to drink, babe?”

 

His boyfriend glared at him. “Fuck off.”

 

Jungkook fidgeted in Taehyung’s lap, turning to pout up at the elder. “TaeTae, bad words,” he whined.

 

Taehyung ran a hand absentmindedly over the younger’s hair. “I know, bun. Jimin, listen, I don’t think—”

 

His eyes widened as he looked up, a pair of lips suddenly pressed against his own. It was a brief moment, nothing more than a peck.

 

But Jungkook looked absolutely shellshocked when Jimin pulled away. His eyes were huge, lips parted in shock.

 

Taehyung himself simply sat there for a moment, frozen.

 

Jimin was sitting back down, looking annoyed. “See? It was two seconds. Told you it wasn’t a big deal.”

 

Jungkook shook his head slowly. “Wh...why…?” He couldn’t seem to form the question. His gaze shifted helplessly to Taehyung, who couldn’t seem to hide the guilt that twisted his features.

 

“I-it was just a dare, baby,” he explained helplessly.

 

“And it’s not over,” Jimin added. “Joon, your turn. Don’t be a pussy.”

 

Namjoon seemed to have been working himself up this entire time, and that final taunt was all it took to push him over the edge. While Taehyung was distracted trying to calm down a confused and upset Jungkook, his friend was already moving forward.

 

“Sorry,” he muttered quickly, right before pressing his lips quickly onto a startled Taehyung’s.

 

Three things happened at once.

 

First, Yoongi jumped up off the floor, muttering something angrily under his breath before leaving the room. His expression was hard to read, but Jimin immediately followed after him, telling him not to be so dramatic and insisting it was all just a game.

 

Second, Seokjin walked into the room with Hobi at the exact moment Namjoon was pulling away from Taehyung. The elder’s jaw fell open, a brief flash of hurt crossing his expression before he turned and fled the room as well. Namjoon immediately jumped up and ran after him, brushing past a bewildered Hobi.

 

Third, Jungkook burst into tears.

 

Taehyung reached out for him helplessly, feeling defeat sag his shoulders when the younger smacked his hands away.

 

“Kookie, baby—”

 

“W-why—kisses are s- special . TaeTae’s not s-supposed to do them with e- everyone —that’s n-not fair—”

 

“I know,” Taehyung insisted desperately. “It was just a game, baby, I didn’t—”

 

“Kookie doesn’t care ,” Jungkook snapped. He surprised them both by suddenly smacking Taehyung’s shoulder. It wasn’t a hard hit, but the elder flinched nonetheless. “T-that’s bad —we’re supposed to be in a r-relationship—”

 

“I’m—” He gritted his teeth. “Kookie, I’m sorry. I didn’t kiss them back , baby, I would never. It doesn’t even count, I swear—”

 

“That’s dumb !”

 

Without warning, the younger shoved his chest, hard. Taehyung blinked with surprise, a gasp parting his lips.

 

Jungkook looked livid, as livid as someone with a face that innocent could look.

 

“It does!” he huffed, eyes blazing. “It does count! TaeTae can’t kiss other people—other hyungies . It counts , it does—”

 

“Bunny,” Taehyung begged, right on the verge of tears. “I’m sorry . Please, just, come here—”

 

Jungkook had leapt off the carpet by this point. He ran into Hobi, throwing his arms around the elder and burying his face into his shoulder.

 

“H-hyungie, can Kookie go see Jisoo Unnie?” he pleaded, sniffling. “Please? Kookie doesn’t wanna see hyungies right now.”

 

Hobi’s expression was an equal part mixture of surprise and concern. He ran a hand comfortingly through the younger’s hair, frowning.

 

“Sure, Kook,” he said gently. “Let me give her a call and just make sure she’s home, okay?”

 

Jungkook nodded silently, face still hidden.

 

Taehyung looked at Hobi, pleading evident in his eyes. “Hyung...I swear, it was a dare.”

 

“I’m sure it was, kid,” Hobi sighed. “But it’s a little more complicated than that now, isn’t it?”

 

Taehyung’s response was to drop his head forward, covering his face with his hands.

 

They left without another word.

 

***

 

“And what else do we need from the store, Elephanty?”

 

Jungkook giggled at the faux high-pitched voice Jisoo had created for the Barbie doll in her hand.

 

“We need...um, lettuce!”

 

The older woman smiled at the cute voice the younger gave to the stuffed animal on his lap.

 

“What an adorable voice you have, Elephanty,” she cooed.

 

Jungkook’s smiled dimmed noticeably. “Well...his real voice is deep. But only TaeTae can do it,” he mumbled.

 

Jisoo glanced at Hobi, who sat a few feet away on the couch. He only shook his head, lips pursed.

 

She sighed. “Kookie, don’t you think it’s time you talked to your TaeTae hyung? I’m sure he misses you, honey.”

 

Jungkook frowned down at the carpet, eyebrows furrowed. “Kookie’s mad at him.”

 

Jisoo smiled slightly, unable to resist finding the younger adorable when he was angry.

 

“You know, Kookie,” she began, voice painfully casual, “sometimes I get really mad at your Hobi hyungie, too.”

 

Hobi choked on the piece of melon he’d been eating. He pounded his chest with a fist, cheeks flushing pink.

 

Jisoo bit back a laugh. Meanwhile, Jungkook looked intrigued.

 

“Really?” he asked, sounding a little disbelieving.

 

“Really,” Jisoo said, smiling. “Sometimes he calls other girls pretty, and that makes me feel bad. Because he shouldn’t do that, should he? Not when he’s in a relationship.”

 

“No!” Jungkook gasped. “That’s why Kookie’s mad at TaeTae! C-cause he can’t do that stuff with other hyungies when he’s in a relationship with Kookie.”

 

“I agree,” Jisoo said firmly. “But you know what?” Her smile softened. “I know he loves me a lot. So I try to forgive him, because sometimes he makes dumb mistakes. I know your Hobi hyung loves me more than anything— exactly the same way your TaeTae loves you.”

 

Jungkook pouted, shoulders slumping. “Maybe...but Kookie still thinks TaeTae should go in timeout. Cause he made Kookie cry, and that’s bad.”

 

“That I agree with,” Jisoo said, grinning. “Who would make such a cute little boy cry?”

 

Jungkook giggled at that, eyes shining happily when she reached out to tweak his nose teasingly.

 

When the younger left to use the bathroom just a few minutes later, Hobi gently tugged Jisoo onto his lap.

 

“What was all that about me calling other girls pretty?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. “As far as I know, I very much value my life and would never call another woman attractive in front of you.”

 

Jisoo rolled her eyes, lips twitching with a smile. “I know. I just needed to give him a story so he’d take my advice.”

 

“Hm.” Hobi brushed her long black hair off her neck, the soft strands tickling his fingers. “Maybe I should take a page out of Tae’s book, go kiss another girl. What about your friend Jennie? I’ve always thought she was kinda hot.”

 

Jisoo merely smiled. “Okay. Don’t worry about me, I have plenty of options. I mean, I could always call up GD, since he seemed pretty fond of me that one time we met—”

 

Hobi cut her off with a growl, fingers digging into her waist, and pulled her flush against his chest, smirking when she let out a little gasp at the abruptness of the action.

 

“Now, why would you go and say something like that? You know I’m the jealous type, beautiful,” he murmured, voice husky. He nipped at her ear, drawing out a soft moan  that made his grin widen.

 

“Jungkook’s...gonna be out any second,” Jisoo muttered breathlessly.

 

“Mm.” The elder pressed a kiss to the area before smacking her ass once, just a little too hard. Jisoo jumped, glaring at him as he pulled away.

 

“Hm, well, we gotta drive him back home soon, anyways,” the elder sighed. He dropped a kiss onto her neck, then gently placed her hair back over her shoulder. “But don’t think we’re done here.”

 

She had to bite her lip to keep from smirking, eyes glinting. “Sounds good to me.”

 

***

 

When they pulled up to the house, Jungkook sat in the car for a few minutes, chewing his bottom lip and hugging his stuffed elephant tightly to his chest.

 

Hobi turned off the engine, glancing back at the younger. His expression softened.

 

“Kookie, you don’t have to go in if you’re not ready yet,” he said gently. “We can always wait a little longer.”

 

“...No, I want to,” Jungkook mumbled quietly. He rested his chin atop the toy, pouting. “Um...Kookie’s just nervous.”

 

Hobi hesitated, thinking. “I have an idea. How about we start with the hyung you’re not mad at first, hm?”

 

Jungkook perked up at the suggestion. “Hyungie!”

 

Hobi grinned. “Alright. I’ll bring your brother out here.”

 

Jungkook opened the car door as the elder left, swinging his legs outside and waiting patiently. The house’s front door opened not moments later, and a familiar flash of mint hair caught his vision.

 

He grinned, genuine excitement bubbling up inside his stomach. It had only been a few hours, but he’d missed his older brother.

 

Yoongi smiled tiredly as he approached the car. “Hey, Kook.”

 

“Hi!” The younger leapt up into his arms without warning, eliciting a grunt of surprise as the elder stumbled backwards a step, nearly dropping him.

 

Yoongi chuckled lightly, hugging him back briefly before tapping his lower back. “Alright, kid. You gotta stop doing that to me without warning. You know hyung’s getting old.”

 

Jungkook grinned as he jumped off, picking up Elephanty from where he’d fallen on the sidewalk. “Kookie missed you, hyungie.”

 

The elder’s expression softened. “I missed you, too, kid,” he muttered gruffly. He reached out to ruffle the younger’s hair affectionately. “Everyone did.”

 

Jungkook’s smile dimmed faintly. “Well...Kookie’s still mad at Jiminie hyungie. And Joonie hyungie. And...and TaeTae.”

 

“I figured,” Yoongi sighed. “Well, you know they’re all really sorry about what happened, Kook. Especially Jimin. He feels like it’s all his fault.”

 

Jungkook shrugged, staring at his feet. He didn’t particularly care whose fault it was.

 

The elder realized as much, and he sighed again before extending a hand towards the younger.

 

Jungkook laced their fingers together, smiling gratefully. Yoongi smiled back.

 

The house was quiet when they went inside. Nobody was in the living room, but Jungkook followed Yoongi’s lead and allowed himself to be tugged gently into the second living room without question.

 

Namjoon and Seokjin were seated on the couch, heads ducked together and hands entwined as they watched something on the television. Jungkook instinctively pressed against Yoongi side when he saw them, feeling an irrational sense of panic flare up inside of him.

 

Yoongi frowned at the action, but he found himself taking a small step forward protectively. It was his instinct to shield the younger from anything that set him on edge.

 

Seokjin was the first to notice them, and his expression immediately grew sober, lips turning down seriously.

 

“Hey, Kookie,” he said softly.

 

Jungkook mumbled a quiet response.

 

Namjoon looked at Seokjin, guilt burning in his eyes.

 

“Jungkook?” he said hesitantly. “Can I...can I come over there for a sec?”

 

The younger was silent for a moment before giving a small, barely noticeable shrug.

 

Seokjin gave Namjoon an encouraging smile as he got up. Yoongi’s expression was far less friendly, the clench of his jaw making it clear that his friend only had one chance to make this right.

 

Namjoon stopped in front of them and ruffled Jungkook’s hair. “I’m really sorry, Kook,” he sighed. “It was a game, but that’s no excuse. Taehyung isn’t mine to kiss. I really stepped out of line. It’ll never happen again, okay?”

 

Jungkook felt a little lighter with the apology, and he glanced behind the elder at Seokjin, who was watching them intently.

 

“Did Jinnie hyungie punish you?” he asked seriously.

 

Namjoon’s cheeks flushed, and Seokjin burst into laughter behind them.

 

“...Uh, sure,” he finally muttered. “He...punished me.”

 

“Good,” Jungkook said firmly.

 

He turned towards Yoongi then, frowning seriously. “Hyungie, did you punish Jiminie hyungie?”

 

Yoongi rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. “Uh, Jimin’s been punishing himself enough for the both of us. Trust me.”

 

As if on cue, the orange-haired man walked into the room.

 

“Yoongi, Hobi says—oh.”

 

Four heads turned to face the doorway as he suddenly faltered in his steps, expression changing at the sight of Jungkook.

 

There was a split second of silence before he broke it.

 

Jimin had never been one to do things patiently or halfway. He believed in actions over words and emotion over logic, so he didn’t pause to ask if he could approach the younger or bother saying anything.

 

He rushed forward and enveloped Jungkook in a huge hug, and the younger let out a startled squeal at the action.

 

“Jimin—” Yoongi took a step forward, ready to pull them apart—until he noticed the twinkle in Jungkook’s eyes.

 

The younger hugged him back, sighing happily. He buried his face in the elder’s shoulder.

 

“Kookie, I am so sorry,” Jimin said fiercely. “I was drunk and I wasn’t thinking straight. And that’s not even an excuse. I shouldn’t have done that. I’m so sorry, sweetheart, really—”

 

“It’s okay,” the younger responded sweetly. He patted Jimin’s back. “Calm down, hyungie.”

 

Jimin let out a mix between a laugh and a sob. “I can’t believe you’re the one comforting me.”

 

Jungkook giggled. “Hyungie seems sad.”

 

Jimin smiled ruefully. “I was. But I’m much better now.” He pinched the younger’s cheek briefly, grinning when the gesture made him scowl. “You know, there’s one person who’s been feeling even worse than I have.”

 

Jungkook glanced at Yoongi, eyes begging for permission. “Can Kookie go?”

 

Yoongi patted his shoulder briefly. “Yeah. Go make up with him.” He paused, waiting until the younger was nearly out of the door before adding, “No special cuddles!”

 

Jimin rolled his eyes, smacking the elder lightly on the arm. “You can’t decide that. You don’t control his sex life.”

 

His boyfriend glared at him. “He shouldn’t have a sex life.”

 

“He’s a consenting 21 year old in a healthy and loving relationship,” Jimin fired back, raising an eyebrow challengingly. “I disagree.”

 

Yoongi made a face. “...Whatever,” he mumbled.

 

Down the hall, Jungkook waited nervously outside of his and Taehyung’s bedroom. He didn’t knock, simply waited a few moments to collect himself.

 

When he opened the door, Taehyung wasn’t in bed. He was seated at the desk in the corner of the dimly lit room, back facing him, shoulders hunched over whatever he was working on.

 

Jungkook’s heart clenched a little at the sight of him. It was scary how much even a few hours apart affected him. He couldn’t help but wonder if the elder felt the same way.

 

“TaeTae?” he said softly.

 

When Taehyung turned around, one look at him was enough to confirm that the withdrawal definitely seemed to work both ways.

 

Taehyung’s face was a little swollen, like he’d been crying for a long time. His nose was pink and as he turned his chair around, Jungkook caught sight of his desk—or, more accurately, the pile of tissues covering his desk.

 

He whimpered, never having had been a fan of seeing the elder cry.

 

TaeTae .” The elder caught him easily when he flew into his arms, wrapping around him tightly.

 

Taehyung’s chest moved with a heavy exhale. “Fuck.”

 

Jungkook sniffled, blinking back tears. “Bad word.”

 

Taehyung only shook his head, expression a mixture of sadness and remorse. “You can’t just leave like that, baby. I—fuck, I was going crazy.”

 

“Kookie told Hobi hyungie to call,” Jungkook sniffed. He wiped a tear off the elder’s cheek, guilt coiling in his gut. “Kookie was just a little sad.”

 

“I know you were,” Taehyung said seriously. He grabbed the younger’s wrist gently, holding the hand against his cheek. “But I was, too. It was a misunderstanding, Kookie. You can’t just go running off whenever you get upset. That’s not fair to me, either. Is it?”

 

Jungkook’s bottom lip jutted out, and he found himself staring at the ground. He hated that the elder was right.

 

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled after a moment.

 

Taehyung kissed the inside of his palm. “I know you are. I’m sorry, too. It was a stupid game and I’ll try to never let anything like that happen again. Alright?”

 

“Okay,” the younger mumbled. He shuffled forward to wrap himself around the elder completely, legs coming up to encircle his hips and arms looping around his neck.

 

“TaeTae’s mine,” he muttered, kissing a spot on the elder’s neck. “Jiminie hyungie and Joonie hyungie can’t have him.”

 

Taehyung chuckled halfheartedly. “Nobody’s trying to take me. Trust me, I don’t think Jin hyung or Yoongi hyung would be too happy if I tried to steal their boyfriends, either.”

 

Jungkook hummed. “Good. Every hyungie has his own boyfriend. Except Hobi hyungie, cause Jisoo Unnie’s a girl.”

 

“Sounds good to me,” Taehyung sighed, smiling. He pressed his lips against the younger’s neck, warmth blooming in his chest at the familiar weight of having him back on his lap, in his arms. “Shit, bunny. I missed you.”

 

“Kookie missed you, too,” Jungkook said softly. “But Jisoo Unnie was nice. She played with me and told me stories.”

 

“Yeah?” Taehyung ran his fingers almost instinctively through the younger’s hair, humming to himself. “I’m glad you had a good time. What type of stories did she tell you? Fairy tales?”

 

“Umm…” Jungkook screwed his features up thoughtfully. “Ooh, I know! She told Kookie sometimes she gets mad, cause Hobi hyungie calls other girls pretty!"

 

Taehyung blinked, his eyebrows furrowing. “I...what?”

 

Jungkook nodded energetically, looking excited to be sharing the news. “She told Kookie! And then when Kookie was in the bathroom they were having special cuddles on the couch. And—”

 

“Ah, that’s enough!” He hurriedly clamped a hand over the younger’s mouth, looking scandalized. “Jeez. Don’t they know better than to do stuff like that when you’re around?”

 

Jungkook was frowning at him when he pulled his hand away. “But all the hyungies do it. Last week Jinnie hyungie was yelling in the other room, so Kookie went in ‘cause he thought he might be hurt, but he was fine! Joonie hyungie was on his knees, though, and Kookie thinks maybe he was hurting Jinnie hyungie, ‘cause his mouth—”

 

“Oh my god !” Taehyung hissed, feeling his face grow warm. “We need to have a serious talk in this house about privacy and boundaries.”

 

Jungkook smiled innocently. “TaeTae should talk with hyungie. He told Kookie to tell you we can’t have special cuddles. Maybe he wants to talk to TaeTae about it!”

 

Taehyung’s lips parted. “Your...brother told you that?”

 

“Yuh huh!”

 

He took a deep breath and held it for a moment, before nodding decidedly. “We’re officially moving.”

 

Jungkook didn’t miss a beat, nor did he catch on to the obvious joke. Instead, his eyes lit up as he gasped. “Really? To a big big house?”

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow, smiling bemusedly. “This house already has four floors. How much bigger do you want it?”

 

The younger shrugged. “Well, there’s six hyungies...and Yugy hyungie needs a floor. Ooh, and Jisoo Unnie. A-and GD hyungie! And—”

 

Taehyung blanched, feeling his resolve shrivel with each cheerfully spoken word.

 

“Kookie, I meant we should move so we could get some privacy,” he said weakly.

 

Jungkook frowned. “That’s boring. Kookie would miss hyungies.”

 

The statement had Taehyung smiling, and he pinched his cheek fondly.

 

“Alright, I guess you’re right. So how many floors, then?”

 

“14!”

 

“...14?”

 

“Yeah! Oh, I’m sorry. 14, please .”

 

“...Just that easy, huh, baby? You say please and that’s it?”

 

“Uh huh! Ooh, and a pool.”

 

“Can you even swim, bun?”

 

“No, but Elephanty can! And he really wants a pool.”

 

“You want a pool for your stuffed elephant?”

 

“Yes, please!”

 

“...Fine.”

 

Yay ! Ooh, Kookie’s gonna tell hyungies!”

 

“Wait, Kook—”

 

But the younger had already turned his head towards the hallway, cupping a hand around his mouth to yell enthusiastically.

 

“Hyungies! TaeTae’s buying everyone a house!”

 

Through the open bedroom door, Taehyung could hear the rest of the gang’s bewildered, if not amused, comments.

 

“Yeah? Tell him to buy me a car while he’s at it.”

 

“Why? Do you can drive to Jisoo’s house and back?”

 

“At least I have my license, dick.”

 

“For the last time, the DMV instructors fucking have it out for me. I passed that last one, fair and square—”

 

Jungkook giggled, leaning back into Taehyung’s chest. “The first three floors can be just for TaeTae and Kookie.”

 

Taehyung smiled, chest warmth with contentment as he stroked the younger’s hair. “Sounds perfect.”

 

Chapter Text

His mom didn’t call often, so when she did, he knew something was always wrong.

 

In college, it had been to let him know his father was no longer going to be paying for his tuition. A few years ago, it was to tell him they had moved houses and to send any mail to the new address.

 

That morning was ten times worse than them all.

 

Taehyung had just gotten out of the shower, toweling his damp hair with one hand and scrolling through his phone aimlessly with the other as he stepped onto the wet tiles.

 

2 missed calls from Mom.

1 voicemail from Mom.

1 unread message from Mom.

 

His eyebrows immediately furrowed, a familiar sense of dread curling up in his gut. He opened the text first, which was just a short line telling him to check his voicemail.  

 

He clicked on the voicemail.

 

“Taehyung-ah...it’s your mother.”

 

Instinctively, his fingers gripped the phone a little tighter.

 

“Listen. Your grandmother is sick. The doctors don’t think she’s going to make it more than a few days.”

 

A lump formed in his throat.

 

“I’m sorry to tell you this way. Your father didn’t want to tell you at all, but you deserve to know. Give me a call if you want to talk.”

 

Beep.

 

He didn’t know how long he kept standing there. It was too long, that was for sure. But he suddenly couldn’t move his legs no matter how hard he tried—not that he was trying.

 

Someone knocked on the bathroom door.

 

“Tae, are you almost done?”

 

Your grandmother is sick.

 

His head pounded. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to force out the monotonous voice of his mother’s words.

 

Don’t think she’s going to make it more than a few days.

 

“Is everything okay? You’ve been in there for a while.”

 

I’m sorry.

 

The room was spinning.

 

There was a brief second of instinct that brought his body lurching forward as he felt bile burning at the back of his throat, just before a nauseating smell filled his nostrils.

 

He dimly heard the door open and somebody say something. A hand rubbed at his lower back, and he coughed harder.

 

“It’s okay, baby.” Jungkook pressed his lips to the shell of his ear, and god, it felt so good. He felt so cold, and Taehyung—Taehyung felt so hot . Like he was burning up.

 

He stopped throwing up after a few seconds, but neither of them moved. The tile was starting to send sharp, shooting pains up his knees from crouching naked in front of the toilet, save for a towel.

 

Still, he didn’t move.

 

It was Jungkook who went into action first. The younger rubbed at his shoulder, squeezing gently.

 

“Hyung, let’s get up, yeah?” His voice was soft. Coaxing. “I’ll help you.”

 

Taehyung barely registered being tugged to his feet, moving on autopilot as he was led gently to the sink.

 

“Taehyungie.” Jungkook cupped his face, looking at him. His expression brimmed with worry, seeing the unfocused look in the elder’s eyes. “Tae, we’re gonna wash your mouth. Okay? Can you do that?”

 

Your father didn’t want to tell you.

 

Something cold and angry reared its head. He clenched his jaw.

 

Of course he didn’t.

 

“Tae? Can you say something? Please.”

 

I’m sorry.

 

She wasn’t. They never were.

 

“Tae, please . You’re—you’re scaring me.”

 

He blinked.

 

All at once, the contents of the room came rushing back, like he’d been dunked headfirst into a pool and then yanked abruptly back out—and the first thing he saw when he emerged was Jungkook’s crumpled face.  

 

The younger looked like he was about to cry. Taehyung moved to hold his face gently, same as the younger had just been doing to him.

 

“Sorry.” His voice was hoarse, and he held back a wince at the sound of it.

 

Jungkook let out a shaky breath, eyes flickering with just a hint of relief. But the concern was still there.

 

“What is it? What’s wrong?” He move forward and ran his hands over the elder’s naked shoulders, moving close enough to press another brief kiss to his collarbone. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost, hyung.”

 

Taehyung inhaled for a moment, holding the breath. He didn’t say anything.  

 

Jungkook pulled back. His features were a lot calmer, a lot more sympathetic. “You can tell me later. Let’s just get you cleaned up, okay? Your mouth probably tastes bad right now.”

 

And Taehyung grimaced, nodded. Rinsed out his mouth and gargled with mouthwash, Jungkook standing beside him watchfully.

 

They sat on the edge of the bed a few moments later. Jungkook got up almost right away, moving to go rummage through the closet. Came up holding a shirt and pair of boxers.

 

Taehyung’s head was still pounding. He sighed, rubbing his temples, and allowed himself to fall back onto the bed.

 

“I can’t, Kook,” he muttered. “I’m tired. Just let me rest for a bit, yeah?”

 

Jungkook was quiet for a moment.

 

“No,” he finally said. He didn’t raise his voice, but the tone was much more firm. Taehyung raised an eyebrow as the younger appeared beside him, still holding the clothing. “You’re gonna catch a cold if you don’t change, hyung. Come on.”

 

Taehyung was silent for a minute, before he sat up with a sigh.

 

He allowed Jungkook to slip him out of his towel and gently tug the shirt over his head. He had to shift a bit to get the boxers on, and it honestly made his cheeks burn with embarrassment as how he was acting. Like he was a child who couldn’t dress himself.

 

It was as if Jungkook could read his mind, sense his discomfort. He kept peppering kisses everywhere as he moved, adjusting the shirt sleeve and dropping a kiss on the elder’s wrist, or fixing the bunched up waistband of the boxers and pressing his mouth to his hipbone briefly.

 

With every small gesture a little bit of Taehyung’s tension ebbed away.

 

“Come here,” he sighed once he was fully changed. He lifted his arm, an invitation for the younger to crawl beside him into the bed.

 

Jungkook hesitated. “You look tired. It’s okay, I can just sit outside for a little wh—”

 

“No, please.” Taehyung dropped his arm, shoulders sagging in defeat. “I need my baby.”

 

A small smile quirked the edges of the younger’s mouth before he moved forward, tucking himself into the elder’s side. Taehyung draped an arm around his shoulders and pulled him just a little too tightly against his body, but he didn’t say anything.

 

It was quiet for a little while. Taehyung kept his nose and mouth pressed into the crown of Jungkook’s hair, breathing in the scent of the younger’s strawberry shampoo. The soft strands tickled his chin in a familiar way, and he couldn’t pull away.

 

Jungkook listened to the sound of the elder’s breathing, waiting for it to even out a bit.

 

“How are you feeling?” he finally asked, voice soft.

 

Taehyung’s temples ached, his mother’s voice still a dull throb in the background.

 

Your grandmother is sick.

 

He sighed, strands of hair moving with the weight of his breath. “I’m fine.”

 

Jungkook shifted in his arms, turning to face him. “Hyung, please don’t lie. I’ve never seen you like that.”

 

He swallowed, guilt sharp in his gut. “Sorry,” he whispered. His fingers brushed aside a stray clump of hair as he looked at the younger, sighing. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

 

“It’s okay,” Jungkook whispered back. His eyes were wide, shining with concern. “I’m not upset. I just...talk to me? Please?”

 

Taehyung pressed his mouth against the younger’s temple—not a kiss, just needed to touch him.

 

Jungkook was quiet, let him do what he needed to do.

 

He kept himself pressed close when he finally spoke, lips moving against his skin.

 

“My...mother. Called me.”

 

The younger didn’t say anything.

 

Taehyung shifted. He moved his leg forward, kicking it over Jungkook’s legs and tangling their limbs together. He needed to be closer. Couldn't explain it, just needed to be touching him everywhere all at once.

 

“She—” His voice cracked, and it surprised him. But he kept going. “She said my grandmother’s sick.”

 

Jungkook didn’t move, but it was probably due to the fact that he was almost rendered immobile with the way the elder had wrapped himself around his body. He did sigh, his chest wavering with the action.

 

“Oh, Tae,” he said softly.

 

“We don’t talk,” Taehyung continued, voice quiet. Breaking on every other syllable, but he forced himself to keep going. “My parents disowned me when I came out during college. But my grandma—she was all I had. She always supported me.”

 

Jungkook tilted his chin forward to kiss the arm wound around his chest. “You don’t have to talk about this. I’ll understand.”

 

And he didn’t want to. Taehyung didn’t want to—but he couldn’t stop.

 

It was like a floodgate had opened, and he was powerless against the words bubbling out of his mouth, didn’t even really know where they were coming from, but they kept coming.

 

“I dropped out of college, you know,” he whispered. He swallowed hard, and the scent of strawberry was starting to fade.

 

He buried his nose into the soft strands, Jungkook shifting slightly in his arms. There was a brief moment of silence as the elder simply breathed, trying to calm the irrational thumping of his heartbeat as it slammed erratically onto his ribcage.

 

“I went for a fine arts degree,” he continued after a moment. The words were barely heard, both muffled by Jungkook’s hair and the fact that he was barely speaking above a whisper. But it was all he could do.

 

“I always sort of knew I was gay in highschool, but I didn’t really know until college. When I...had my first boyfriend. Then I knew.”

 

A pause. Another need to collect himself, to wonder how the fuck he was still alive when his heart was beating so wildly because were human hearts supposed go this fast.

 

“I told my parents during Christmas break, when I was home. They told me I was a disappointment of a son and they were disgusted by me—especially my father.”

 

Strawberry. Focus on the strawberry.

 

“The next semester my mom called to tell me they weren’t going to pay for my tuition anymore. They couldn’t support me, knowing...what I was.”

 

Jungkook made a sound, like a whimper caught in his throat. He was warm in his arms, and Taehyung tried to focus on that. Focus on the warmth.

 

“So I tried working a few deadend jobs to support myself, but it wasn’t enough. I was on the verge of dropping out when one of my friends showed me a way I could make money quick.”

 

The younger squirmed, gaining enough access from the almost vicelike hold he was in to be able to move his head into the elder’s chest. “Tae, you don’t have to—”

 

“It wasn’t...it’s not whatever you’re thinking,” he interrupted. He sighed. “I sold on the streets for a while.”

 

Jungkook was quiet.

 

“It was a side job. I was also training part time at a boxing gym, and the instructor and I became friends. So I took over for him, but I kept selling. It was good money, and I wasn’t hurting anyone.”

 

The younger sighed against him, his breath warm on the front of his shirt. “You never got in any trouble?”

 

Taehyung paused. “Not really. My college was in a nice part of Seoul. It was a university campus—rich kids with their daddys’ money. It was always pretty cut and dry.”

 

Jungkook made a sound. “You didn’t, like...try to find people, right? Like, they came to you?”

 

“No, I didn’t try to force anything on anyone, if that’s what you mean,” Taehyung said softly. He lowered his head into the younger’s hair once again, dropping a kiss there. “It’s not exactly a legal job, but I tried to do it as morally as possible. And the second I found something that paid better, I left.”

 

“Being my guard?” The question came with a lift of the head, the younger’s eyes lifting imploringly to his face. He seemed desperate for the story to take a positive turn now, to reach a more happy ending.

 

Taehyung almost smiled ruefully. “Almost. I worked as a bodyguard for a few years before Bangtan hired me. It’s not easy getting hired by your dad, you know. Had to build up my credentials.”

 

Jungkook’s eyes flickered with something akin to jealousy, lips turned down. “You worked with other littles?”

 

“Kids,” Taehyung corrected. “Most of the time. Sometimes really rich teenagers who were out of control. You were the first little I worked with.”

 

The younger looked like he was chewing the inside of his cheek, making a strange face. “What were the other kids you worked for like?”

 

Now Taehyung did smile, slightly. He could see where the conversation was going, and the thought had him amused. It wasn’t often that the younger grew protective or jealous, and the rare occurrences where it happened never failed to charm him.

 

“They were bratty,” he answered honestly. He lifted a hand to stroke at the younger’s hair, tingles shooting through his fingertips at the action. “Some of them were cute. I never stayed longer than a few months at any place, though.”

 

“What was the longest you ever stayed for?” Jungkook pressed, seemingly unsatisfied with the vague response.

 

Taehyung paused. “Seven months.”

 

The younger’s face fell. “Oh. That’s...long.”

 

“Mm.”

 

“...Was that with one of the cute ones?”

 

Taehyung laughed.

 

It felt good. Made him feel lighter, like the action lifted a little tension away with each tremble of his chest.

 

“Don’t laugh,” Jungkook whined. “I’m serious. Why’d you stay so long if they weren’t cute?”

 

“He was adorable, actually,” Taehyung chuckled. “He was also six.”

 

Jungkook’s cheeks turned a little pink. “Oh.”

 

Taehyung smiled, pressing his mouth against the younger’s temple. “Never met anyone cuter than you, bunny. Don’t worry.”

 

“Hm.” The younger didn’t seem satisfied. “What was his name?”

 

“The kid?”

 

“Uh huh.”

 

“Haneul.” Taehyung moved to run a hand up the younger’s side, pausing when he fidgeted against him.

 

“Why’d you leave?”

 

Taehyung sighed. “Because I wanted to work at Bangtan.”

 

Jungkook looked unimpressed by the response. “Why?”

 

“Because...I don’t know, it seemed interesting,” the elder said lamely. “I’d done my share of illegal shit, but never worked with a mafia before. I’ll be honest, it sounded cool.”

 

“Probably paid well,” Jungkook muttered, sounding bitter.

 

Taehyung laughed lightly. “Kookie, you know that my job was to care of you. Of course I was getting paid for it. It’s the reason I was hired.”

 

Jungkook moved, squirming in his arms, and lifted his head once more to look at him. His lips were pursed, eyes flashing with emotion.

 

“Be honest,” he said seriously. “At what point...at what point did it stop being a job for you?”

 

Taehyung hesitated. “Like, when did I stop getting paid?”

 

“No,” Jungkook said, frustration leaking into the words. “I mean, when did you stop caring about the money? And just...you know.” He trailed off with a mumble of the words, cheeks suddenly flaming.

 

“Stop caring about the money and start caring about you?” Taehyung supplied, voice soft. His expression was gentle, hand squeezing the younger’s hip comfortingly.

 

“Yeah,” Jungkook muttered.

 

He didn’t have to think about his response, but he was quiet for a while anyways. He listened to the younger breathing in his arms, his body still warm and his breath even warmer as it fanned out across his body.

 

“The day I got hired, I wanted to quit,” he said honestly. His voice was thoughtful, slow. He wanted to choose the words carefully.

 

“Why?” Jungkook whispered.

 

“It was...a lot,” the elder replied, sighing. “Bangtan was huge. There was so much to learn, and so many people. I just—I felt in over my head.”

 

He felt Jungkook swallowing. “Why didn’t you?”

 

Taehyung smiled at the memory. “Because I met you.”

 

The younger pouted at him. “Are you lying? Because—”

 

“I’m not,” Taehyung laughed. “I still remember everything about that day, you know. Walking into your room—which was a mess, by the way.”

 

Jungkook’s face flamed, and the pout slipped into a glare.

 

“And you were hiding underneath your blanket. Remember?”

 

The younger’s expression softened. “Yeah. You came in with Joon hyung.”

 

“Yeah,” Taehyung murmured, smiling wistfully. “You said we could be friends because you liked my hair.”

 

“Oh, yeah,” Jungkook giggled. “You had highlights back then.”

 

“Mmhm.” The elder ducked his head into the younger’s neck, nuzzling him. “God, you were so fucking cute. I remember going into the kitchen with Seokjin and Namjoon hyung while they explained about your headspace, and I was so nervous . I went home that night and searched up every article I could find on little space.”

 

“I didn’t know that,” Jungkook whispered. “You’ve never told me that before.”

 

“I didn’t want to fuck up,” Taehyung sighed. “I was terrified. Still am, you know. Every day. Scared I’ll do something, say something and just—just fuck everything up. Years of effort gone down the drain.”

 

“You could never,” Jungkook said softly. He kissed the elder’s wrist, lips soft. “You haven’t messed up yet, and I don’t care if you ever do. It’s okay to make mistakes sometimes, you know.”

 

“I know,” Taehyung muttered. “That doesn’t make it any less scary.”

 

“Yeah,” Jungkook murmured. “I know.”

 

A longer stretch of silence settled between them. It was comfortable, though. Warm. Jungkook melted against the elder’s chest, and Taehyung basked in the weight of the younger in his arms, of the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest and the scent of strawberries that still somehow lingered.

 

Jungkook broke the silence, his voice hesitant when he spoke.

 

“Do you think you’re going to go home?” he whispered. “To visit your grandmother.”

 

Taehyung swallowed. “I...I don’t know. I want to.”

 

The younger hummed thoughtfully. “If you decide to go…if you want me to come, I’ll go with you. And if you don’t, I’ll understand, too.”

 

“Thank you,” Taehyung murmured. He dropped a kiss onto his forehead, arms tightening their hold. “When did you get so mature, hm?”

 

“My boyfriend taught me a lot.” He smiled sleepily with the statement, fondness warm in his words.

 

“Aigoo.” Taehyung couldn’t stop the small smile that tugged at his lips. “He must be a lucky guy.”

 

“I think I’m luckier,” Jungkook said softly. He snuggled closer, head tucked against the elder’s chest as he murmured tiredly. “I think that we do pretty well, you know. Relationship-wise, I mean,” he sighed, eyes falling shut slowly. “It’s a lot to handle. What we have. But...I don’t know. It works.”

 

“It does,” Taehyung said softly. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

 

“Me, neither.” An ear-splitting yawn punctuated the statement, and the elder laughed gently.

 

“Go to sleep,” he murmured, stroking his hair. “I’ll be here when you wake up.”

 

“Wake we wake up,” Jungkook muttered, eyes already closed. “You should sleep, too.”

 

And the elder almost protested, but he found himself agreeing.

 

“Sure,” he said, pulling the slightly smaller body against his own. “Love you, bunny.”

 

“I love you, Tae.” A half-asleep kiss brushed his chin, missing his mouth.

 

He fell asleep smelling strawberries.

 

***

 

The next day, Taehyung went to visit his grandmother in Daegu. Jungkook didn’t go with him. He’d asked the elder if he wanted him to come, but Taehyung insisted he would be okay.

 

When he came home two days later, he went straight into their bedroom. Jungkook held him while he cried. Listened to him sob through stories of how the old woman had been so loved by everyone. About how she used to feed him every time he went over because he wasn’t chubby enough. About how she would save up her salary for weeks just to buy him a coat he really liked, because all the other boys in school had it.

 

And when night fell, Jungkook moved them to the living room couch so they could all hold him. Taehyung’s head rested on Seokjin's shoulder and Namjoon’s lap, he cried hardest in Jimin’s arms, and even accepted hugs from Yoongi and Hobi.

 

But at the end of it all, the two of them wound back up in bed, tangled in each other’s arms.

 

Jungkook never stopped hugging him, and Taehyung fell asleep to the younger whispering that he loved him in his ear, and that he’d always be there, and that everything would be okay.

 

And it would take a while. But eventually, it would be.

 

Chapter Text

 

Jungkook readjusted his tie for the sixth time, grimacing at his reflection in the mirror. He looked exactly as uncomfortable as he felt.

 

A pair of arms snaked their way around his waist, his boyfriend’s face joining his reflection as he rested his chin on his shoulder.

 

“Well, don’t you look handsome,” Taehyung teased, raising an eyebrow.

 

Jungkook sighed. “God, I hate pants. So, so much.”

 

“I know,” Taehyung said softly, squeezing him gently. “I’m sorry, bun. If it were up to me, I’d have no problem with you showing up in a dress or a skirt—”

 

“Don’t apologize,” Jungkook murmured. He turned in the elder’s arms, resting his palms flat on his chest and moving to press his lips reassuringly to his cheek. “This isn’t about me, okay? I’m here for you today, Tae. Whatever you need. Don’t worry about me. Alright?”

 

Taehyung smiled, the action tinged with sadness. “Thanks, baby,” he said softly.

 

They were headed to his grandmother’s funeral. It had been two days since her passing and the arrangements were finally settled.

 

Taehyung had relatively made his peace with everything after doing nothing but crying for the past few days. The elder was just ready to go pay his respects, even if it meant seeing his family for an entire day.

 

To be honest, his concerns were more on Jungkook.

 

He’d talked to the younger the day before, asking him if he was absolutely sure he wanted to come along.

 

“Of course I do.” Jungkook was wrapped around him at the time, cheek resting on his shoulder. “I wanna support my hyungie.”

 

Taehyung hesitated. “I…about that. If you do come,  baby—” He cut himself off, biting his lip. “I-I don’t want you to take this the wrong way.”

 

Jungkook lifted his head, eyebrows furrowing. “What is it?”

 

Taehyung brushed the younger’s hair out of his eyes, sighing. “I feel like such an asshole saying this, but you...you have to try not to slip into little space while we’re there, baby.”

 

Jungkook’s face fell.

 

“Fuck,” Taehyung hissed. He immediately cupped the younger’s face, hands warm against his cheeks. “I’m so sorry, Kookie. It’s just—ugh, my parents won’t get it, baby. They’re not the nicest people. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if they said something to you—”

 

“I-it’s okay,” Jungkook mumbled, eyes lowering. “It’s fine. I get it.”

 

“No,” Taehyung moaned. “Don’t look at me like that. I’m so sorry to put this on you. I know it’s not something you can control all the time. It isn’t fair of me to ask of you—”

 

“It’s okay,” Jungkook insisted, voice much more firm. He gave a strained smile. “Really, Tae. It’s alright. I can stay out of headspace for a few hours, I’ve done it before. It won’t kill me.”

 

Taehyung groaned, running a hand wearily over his face. “My fucking parents. If it were anyone else, I would never ask you to do this. But you don’t know how mean they can be, Kookie.”

 

“I get it,” Jungkook repeated, sighing. He ran his hands soothingly over the elder’s shoulders. “It’s fine , hyung. Really. Please stop worrying. I have control most of the time over getting into and out of headspace, okay? Don’t stress.”

 

And, for the most part, Jungkook was being honest. He could easily slip in and out of little space most days. Sure, certain things triggered him in a certain direction—for instance, getting scared, hurt, or sad usually made him slip if he wasn’t already feeling little. But he was counting on none of those emotions flaring up that day.

 

It’s not like he was going to a funeral or anything.

 

***

 

As the car pulled up outside a large graveyard, something tugged at his chest.

 

Taehyung was too busy looking out the window, gaze scanning the grass field for his relatives, to notice the strange look Jungkook’s expression had taken on.

 

The younger bit back a whimper, sitting on his hands when he felt his palms itching to reach out and grab the elder’s hand. In the back of his head, he felt like whining about not wanting to go outside into the field. It looked scary and lonely, and all of a sudden he didn’t want to be here anymore.

 

A more rational voice forced him back to reality. He was here for Taehyung. This wasn’t about him.

 

“Ready, bun?”

 

Taehyung was looking expectantly at him, one foot already out of the door.

 

Jungkook nodded, forcing a smile onto his face. “Yeah, of course.”

 

The grass was wet when they stepped outside, their shoes making squelching sounds on the mud. Jungkook wrinkled his nose, almost complaining out of instinct about how his nice shoes were dirty now.

 

However, the thought flew from his mind as Taehyung began walking forward without warning.

 

He frowned, jogging a little to catch up.

 

When they were side by side, the younger instinctively reached out to take his boyfriend’s hand. Taehyung’s eyes flickered down to his side where Jungkook was purposefully brushing their fingers together.

 

He looked up at the younger, who was staring patiently back at him as if expecting something.

 

“Oh.” Taehyung’s expression softened, guilt burning in his eyes. His steps faltered until they came to a stop, Jungkook pausing beside him. “Kookie,” he sighed, features twisting as if it pained him to speak, “...we can’t, um.” He ran his hands through his hair, looking frustrated. “We can’t...hold hands, baby. I’m—I’m so sorry.”

 

Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed. “What? Why not? You said I couldn’t be little, you didn’t say anything about—”

 

“I know,” Taehyung groaned, voice dripping with frustration. “I know. But, my parents…”

 

“Right.” Jungkook’s hand fell back to his side, unable to control the bitterness that lingered behind the word. “Got it.”

 

Taehyung looked heartbroken. “Baby—”

 

“Probably shouldn’t call me that, either,” the younger muttered. He brushed past him, starting to walk forward. “Your parents might hear.”

 

He heard the elder sigh behind him, but he made no move to console him. They merely walked in tense silence together towards the site of the funeral, joining the small group of people gathered in the middle of the field.

 

The ceremony itself was short. Taehyung didn’t cry, unsurprisingly. He probably didn’t have any bodily fluids left anymore after the past few days.

 

It was after the service was over, when people began getting out of their seats and walking around, that Jungkook felt the elder’s body begin to noticeably tense beside him.

 

He wasn’t really upset anymore. It was hard to stay mad, with the circumstances. So he nudged Taehyung’s hand, their fingertips brushing together briefly, and shot him a small smile.

 

“It’ll be okay,” he whispered.

 

Taehyung smiled back faintly in response. “Thanks.”

 

It was nothing big, but the elder’s shoulders visibly relaxed.

 

A few minutes passed by with a trickle of people coming up to Taehyung. Everyone seemed nice enough, most of them simply hugging him and marveling over how he’d grown before going on their way. Hardly anyone glanced twice at Jungkook, and he couldn’t help but feel a little relieved over it.

 

Taehyung was just bidding goodbye to a kindly woman wearing an oversized fur coat when his face paled.

 

Two people were approaching them, and it wasn’t hard to guess by the way the elder had completely frozen up who they were.

 

Jungkook moved slightly behind Taehyung, unable to stop himself from hiding a little. They had yet to approach and he was already terrified.

 

From what he could make out, the man was tall, broad-shouldered, and good looking. (It wasn’t hard to see where Taehyung got his looks.) The woman meanwhile, had a friendly enough face, but her eyes were dark—almost black.

 

They didn’t look happy.

 

“Taehyung-ah.”

 

Taehyung bowed his head as the two came to a stop a few feet in front of him. “Mom. Dad.”

 

The man’s jaw twitched. “You came.”

 

Something darkened noticeably in Taehyung’s expression. “Of course I came.”

 

His mother’s eyes flickered briefly over her son before landing almost immediately on Jungkook. “And you brought...company.”

 

Jungkook’s stomach churned as the man turned to look at him, as well. He bit his tongue, swallowing down a whimper.

 

In any other instance, Taehyung would have latched onto the younger’s discomfort and pulled him to his side, or laced their fingers together, or even just taken a step closer.

 

But the elder didn’t even look at him. His jaw clenched as he nodded, expression unreadable. “Yes, I did. This is Jeon Jungkook. I used to work for his father.”

 

Jungkook’s chest tightened. He felt like he’d been punched in the gut, and he couldn’t explain why. Was it the fact that he’d been introduced so coldly? Was it seeing Taehyung refer to him and act like he was a nobody?

 

His head hurt. He wanted a hug. He wanted to pout, or whine, or even stomp his foot at this point.

 

But Taehyung’s parents were still looking at him, and he had to smother every urge his body and mind were aching towards and instead force a strained smile.

 

“It’s a pleasure to meet you.” He bowed respectfully.

 

When he straightened up, the man was glaring at him as if he’d just spit on his feet.

 

“What relationship do you have with my son?” he demanded coldly.

 

Jungkook glanced quickly at Taehyung, who was opting to stare stiff-jawed at the ground as opposed to at him.

 

He swallowed, mouth suddenly dry. “I, uh...h-he used to work for my father.”

 

“You mentioned that,” the man said stiffly. “Used to. And yet you two clearly still keep in contact.”

 

Jungkook’s palms itched to hold onto something. A stuffed toy, a hand— anything .

 

“We’re...still good friends,” he said, voice full of fake enthusiasm as he smiled stiffly. Why wasn’t Taehyung saying anything?

 

“What does your father do?” the man inquired, head cocked, eyes attentive.

 

“He...ran a company.” Fuck, his entire body was sweating. Why were all these questions being directed at him?

 

“What company?”

 

“I...it, um—”

 

“How old are you?”

 

“Twent—”

 

“How long have you known him?”

 

“I-I don’t—”

 

“—Mr Kim?”

 

The man’s tirade of questions came to an abrupt halt at the sound of his name being called. He turned slightly, clearly recognizing the person who had addressed him.

 

“It was nice seeing you, son,” he said flatly, not even sparing Taehyung a look as he began to turn. “We’ll talk more at the wake.”

 

His wife followed obediently, and as suddenly as they’d come, they were gone.

 

For a few minutes, Jungkook could do nothing but stare at the space they had just been standing. He felt exhausted. Drained.

 

Angry.  

 

He whirled on Taehyung, chest tightening. “Why didn’t you say anything?” he hissed.

 

The elder finally looked at him. His expression was a mixture of guilt and sadness, looking smaller and more insecure in that moment than Jungkook had ever before seen him.

 

“I-I’m sorry, Kook,” he said desperately. “I don’t—I can’t speak around my dad. I don’t know what happens to me. I just—he makes me feel so fucking stupid and small. I clam up.”

 

“Then you should have told me before.” Jungkook could feel his face growing warm, tears threatening to brim over. “That was so embarrassing . I didn’t know what to say to anything they asked!”

 

“You did fine,” Taehyung said weakly, rubbing his temples. “He wasn’t listening to anything you said. Just trying to assert his fucking dominance. That’s why he kept cutting you off.”

 

Jungkook’s mind whirled. His gut clenched, and his fingers followed suit quickly after.

 

“I-I can’t do this alone, Tae,” he said, half-pleading. His voice nearly broke on the words as he looked at the elder, eyes damp. “You can’t—you can’t keep ignoring me while we’re here. It’s really hard for me to stay big as it is. We can’t hold hands, and that’s fine, I get it—b-but I’m so nervous on top of everything else, and—”

 

“I’m sorry,” Taehyung said, looking so sad. “I’m so sorry, Kookie. I-I’ll try. I wish I could do more—”

 

“Just try,” Jungkook said quietly. He sniffed, glad he hadn’t allowed any tears to fall. “Come on. We have to get to the wake.”

 

***

 

Somehow, the wake was even worse.

 

Apparently, Taehyung’s version of trying not to ignore him when he was standing right next him was to abandon his side completely. His father whisked him away within moments of them stepping through the door, and Jungkook was powerless to do anything except watch them go.

 

That had been nearly an hour ago.

 

Since then, he’d tried to make himself invisible in a corner of the room. It was harder than it should have been. For some reason, people kept looking oddly at him. He didn’t know if it was obvious he wasn’t meant to be there, or if he simply looked as uncomfortable as he felt. When the stares became too much to handle, he slipped into the kitchen.

 

He’d just drained a tall glass of water when Taehyung’s mother walked into the room.

 

His heart leapt into his throat.

 

“Jungkook-sshi.” The woman paused, lowering the tray in her hands onto the counter. “What are you doing here?”

 

“I-I was just getting water,” he stammered. He barely managed to set the glass back down with his suddenly trembling hands, silently thanking the universe when he didn’t drop it.

 

The woman was looking at him intensely. He wondered if she always stared at people with such a dark gaze, or if it was a speciality reserved for him.  

 

“I should get back to Taehyung,” he said weakly,  bowing quickly. “Excuse me—”

 

“Stay.”

 

He froze mid-step. “I’m...sorry?”

 

She smiled, and he was briefly reminded of Jane, the cruel babysitter with an even colder smile.

 

“I need some help folding these napkins,” she said amiably, setting a pile of the small rectangles in front of him. “You don’t mind, do you?”

 

His resolve withered away and shrank. “No, of course not,” he muttered, head bowing instinctively in respect.

 

She hummed her contentment.

 

It was silent for a while. Even so, Jungkook didn’t lower his guard, back still tense as he carefully folded each napkin.

 

She drifted in and out of the room, glancing at him whenever she reentered. That same cold smile quirked her lips each time, and each time Jungkook wanted to run away just a little more.

 

He didn’t bother hiding the sigh of relief that fell past his lips when he set aside the final napkin.

 

He was just about to make his escape when she walked back into the room, nearly crashing into him.

 

“Aigoo, careful!” Her hands flew to his shoulders, barely catching herself from stumbling.

 

“I-I’m so sorry,” he said quickly, face flaming. “I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

 

Her eyes sparked, but that smile never faltered. “You seem to be in a rush.”

 

He smiled weakly. “Nothing like that. I-I just finished the napkins, so—”

 

“Really? Let’s see.”

 

And then she was tugging him gently back into the kitchen, grip tight on his wrist.

 

He stood by silently, chewing his bottom lip, as she appraised the mediocre job. To his surprise, she seemed satisfied. “You did well, Jungkook-sshi. Thank you for your help.”

 

He bowed his head once again. “It was my pleasure,” he said politely, voice quiet. “Thank you for inviting me into your home. It’s very lovely.”

 

“Thank you.” A pause. “Although, I didn’t invite you. My son did.”

 

His heart crashed to a stop in his chest.

 

“O-of course,” he said weakly. “I didn’t mean to be disrespectful—”

 

“Jungkook-sshi,” she interrupted. She fixed him with a look as cold as her voice, and it finally seemed to match her eyes. “I want to ask you something, and I am only going to ask it once. I expect an honest answer.”

 

His knees were shaking. He barely managed a nod, feeling like he wanted to run and his feet were superglued to the floor.

 

“Are you a homeosexual?”

 

There was a beat of silence.

 

Jungkook tried to remember how to formulate words. He swallowed once, puzzled by how exceptionally dry his mouth was despite having drank an entire glass of water just minutes before.

 

“...Yes,” he finally whispered.

 

Disgust. That was the only word that could describe the look on her face, and it was enough to make bile pulsate at the base of his throat.

 

“Are you...in a relationship with my son?” she pressed, jaw clenched. She seemed to be steeling herself for a response.

 

Jungkook wanted to crawl into the sink and turn on the garbage disposal. His mind was screaming, screaming at him to get out of there—but the invisible glue underneath his feet wouldn’t let him budge.

 

“...No,” he managed to choke out. “No, I’m not.”

 

Her eyes narrowed. “Are you lying?”

 

It took every fiber of his being to control the shakiness of his voice. “No, ma’am.”

 

By some absolute miracle, her jaw unclenched ever so slightly.

 

“Good,” she said stiffly. “I’m very glad to hear that.”

 

His stomach churned.

 

Why didn’t she sound like she was done yet?

 

Sure enough, her back straightened and she suddenly looked him dead in the eye, lips pursed. “Jungkook-sshi, you seem like a nice boy,” she began.

 

Jungkook wondered idly how a compliment could feel so insulting.

 

“I will tell you this as a mother,” she continued, expression serious. “It is the same thing I’ve told my Taehyung. It seems perhaps his father and my own incessant lecturing may have finally worked on him, so my hope is I can share the same knowledge with you.” Her eyes sliced into him. “Jungkook, homosexuality is a sin.”

 

The floor might as well have disappeared.

 

He reached out, gripping onto the edge of the counter before he fell over. “M...ma’am—”

 

“I am sure someone must have told you this before,” she continued fiercely. “But you need to understand how true it is. Two men, romantically—it isn’t natural .”

 

Bile burned his mouth.

 

“I don’t know if this is just a fad, with you kids nowadays. But you need to understand what you are doing is wrong. Horribly, disgustingly wrong .”

 

He couldn’t stop the whimper that fell past his mouth. At this point it was a contest between his bodily functions—would he burst into tears or vomit first?

 

The woman smiled, in what she surely must have thought was a friendly way. To Jungkook, she looked like a panther about to devour its prey.

 

“I don’t want you to be upset,” she said firmly. “But it’s important you understand. The reality of the situation is, homosexuality will never be accepted. Not truly. Not by god, by society, or by anyone.” Their gazes locked. “Do you understand?”

 

She expected an answer. He gathered the last remaining bits of his strength and somehow mustered up a shaky response.

 

“Y-yes, ma’am,” he whispered.

 

“Good.” She picked up the pile of napkins then, and as Jungkook watched, opened the trashbin. “Please stay away from my son, Jungkook-sshi. I don’t want any negative influences on him.”

 

He didn’t respond. She didn’t give him a chance to, leaving right after the lid closed on the trash can and the pile of napkins he’d just meticulously folded.

 

Something in him snapped.

 

He stumbled his way into a bathroom, and it was there, locked in the first semblance of privacy he’d had since getting here, that he finally let himself break.

 

He didn’t even sit on the toilet seat or the edge of the tub, opting instead to curl up on the floor and burst into tears. His knees were pulled to his chest, face buried in them as he tried to somewhat muffle the shuddering cries ripping out of his chest.

 

It couldn’t have been more than thirty seconds before someone was knocking on the door.

 

Jungkook sobbed , pressing his face tighter into his knees. Why couldn’t they just leave him alone ?

 

“Jungkook?” Another knock. “Kookie, open the door. I can hear you in there.”

 

Taehyung.

 

No— TaeTae .

 

He made a hiccuping sound, a choked whimper catching in his throat as he stumbled to his feet and fumbled to unlock the door.

 

Taehyung barley had a chance to step inside before the younger threw himself against him. He was bawling, almost hysterically, his entire body shaking and shoulders trembling with the force of the cries.

 

“K-K-Kookie wants t-to g- go ,” he sobbed, shoving his face into the elder’s chest. “W-wanna go , TaeTae, I-I don’t l- like it h-here, wanna g-go—”

 

Taehyung cursed under his breath, using his foot to push the door closed behind them quickly, before moving them further into the bathroom.

 

He grabbed the younger by his thighs and gently hoisted him up, helping him sit on the counter by the sink.

 

Jungkook wouldn’t tear his arms away from the elder’s shoulders, wouldn’t budge his face an inch. He’d gotten the front of Taehyung’s shirt nearly soaked by this point, but neither one of them really cared.

 

“P- please ,” he begged breathlessly, voice raw from crying. “Please, TaeTae, please —”

 

“Ssh.” Taehyung hugged him gently, running one hand up and down his shaking back while the other settled on the back of his head. “Ssh, baby, don’t cry. Don’t cry, Kookie. It’s okay. You’re okay.”

 

Jungkook shook his head fiercely, fingers curling into the elder’s shoulder blades. “K-Kookie wants to go,” he whimpered. “Wanna g-go. P-please.”

 

“We’ll go, then.” Taehyung ran his fingers through the younger’s hair, guilt and sadness coursing through him when he noticed how badly he was still shaking. “We’ll go, Kookie. We’ll leave right now, okay?”

 

“I-I hate it here,” the younger sobbed, tear-streaked face finally emerging as he pulled away from the elder’s chest. His cheeks were flushed, eyes damp and overflowing with another round of unshed tears. “Kookie hates it, w-we have to go, we have to go now—”

 

“Okay,” Taehyung murmured. He pushed the bangs off the younger’s forehead, wincing at the way the sweaty strands were matted to the skin. He’d cried so hard he seemed physically exhausted, yet it was obvious he was nowhere near done.

 

Jungkook let out a choked whimper when the elder touched him, expression crumpled. “TaeTae, I-I need—c-can you p-please—”

 

“What, baby?” Taehyung framed the younger’s face, and Jungkook shivered visibly.

 

He was scooting forward on the counter, legs parting until Taehyung was standing in between them. “T-touch? Please?”

 

Taehyung pulled back slightly, looking scandalized. “What? Kookie, no. We can’t do that here—”

 

“Not that ,” Jungkook said desperately, a few tears slipping out in his neediness. “Kookie just wants to hug—j-just wanna hold hands, please—”

 

Understanding hit Taehyung slowly. He stared at the younger, frozen, as his mind churned, struggling to fit the pieces together as everything slowly started to make sense.

 

“Fuck,” he breathed. “Jungkook, have you been feeling little ever since we got here? Since I said we couldn’t hold hands?”

 

Jungkook nodded fiercely, featured twisted with another set of tears. “Kookie d-doesn’t like not touching—TaeTae l- left —and we didn’t hold hands, we a- always hold hands—”

 

Guilt burned inside Taehyung’s chest. He closed his eyes briefly, trying to take a deep breath.

 

“Jungkook, why didn’t you tell me?” he said desperately, feeling like he was a few seconds away from joining the younger in crying. “We could have gone home. You could have stayed in the car. I could have had you dropped off— anything . You’ve been struggling this whole time—”

 

“Cause you said n- not to,” Jungkook sobbed, rubbing his eyes aggressively with the palms of his hands. “TaeTae s-said—he said to be big . A-and he said not to t-touch, so Kookie—Kookie was b-big and he didn’t t-touch. But it’s hard , TaeTae, and Kookie didn’t feel good, a-and the woman—”

 

“The woman?” Taehyung interrupted sharply. “What woman?”

 

Jungkook was starting to hunch into himself, trying to curl back into a ball. Taehyung grabbed him by the shoulders as the younger attempted to lean forward and bury his face in his knees.

 

“Jungkook,” he said firmly. “Look at me. What woman?”

 

The younger straightened up, just barely, and stared  at him while blinking through his tears.

 

“I-in the kitchen,” he whimpered.

 

Taehyung had to hold himself back from growling. “What did she say to you?” he demanded.

 

Jungkook choked on another sob, shaking his head over and over. “K-Kookie doesn’t w-wanna say it again. It was m-mean, she was m- mean —”

 

“Please,” Taehyung said gently. He cupped the younger’s cheek, stroking away a tear with his thumb. “Tell me what she said, Kookie.”

 

The younger sniffed. His voice was soft when he spoke, barely audible.

 

He looked miserable. Heartbroken.

 

“S-she said it’s bad for Kookie to like TaeTae,” he said, voice tiny and broken. “And Kookie’s a bad boy, c-cause he loves TaeTae.”

 

Taehyung took a deep breath.

 

Counted to ten.

 

Took another breath.

 

Decided it wasn’t doing anything.

 

“Alright, baby. Thank you,” he muttered softly. “Thank you for telling me. We’re gonna leave now, okay? I’m going to call the driver and we can go in just a few minutes. Sound good?”

 

Jungkook shuddered, wrapping his legs around the elder’s hips and hugging him. “Okay,” he whispered. “Don’t go, TaeTae.”

 

“I’m not going anywhere,” Taehyung murmured. His fingers curled into the younger’s hair, holding him against his chest. “Not going anywhere, bun.”

 

***

 

It took a long time for things to get back to normal.

 

Yugyeom ended up scheduling more back to back sessions with the younger than he had in nearly a year. He spent hours a day with Jungkook, the two of them talking about god knows what, considering he barely said a word around Taehyung.

 

Yugyeom explained to Taehyung it had taken a huge emotional toll on the younger to be forced to stay out of his headspace, and the added impact of being confronted by the elder’s mother had simply shattered him.

 

Needless to say, Taehyung didn’t take it well.

 

He felt guilty, so fucking guilty . He’d been the one to ask the younger not to slip, not to touch him. To face his parents when he knew perfectly well they were the cruelest people on the planet.

 

It was all his fault.

 

About a week after the funeral was the first time Jungkook slipped out of headspace again.

 

Taehyung had nearly dropped his toothbrush when the younger came into the bathroom and wrapped him in a back hug, slightly deeper voice sighing, “Hey, hyung.”

 

He froze, foam still frothing on his lips.

 

Jungkook looked at his reflection in the mirror, giggling. “You should rinse your mouth out.”

 

Taehyung spit into the sink, wiping his lips roughly with the back of his hand. “You’re—you’re—”

 

“Mm.” Jungkook’s smile dimmed, waiting for him to turn around so he could hug him properly. He rested his cheek on the elder’s shoulder when he did, sighing against him. “I’m feeling better. It’s...it’s getting better.”

 

“Good,” Taehyung said quietly, feeling his features soften. “That’s...good.”

 

There was a pause. Jungkook lifted his head to look at him after a moment, his eyes shining imploringly. “Can we talk, hyung?” he said softly.

 

Taehyung’s gut clenched.

 

He tried to keep his face calm. “Sure.”

 

They made their way to the bed, Jungkook keeping their fingers laced together while they walked and while they sat.

 

He was the first to speak, his expression serious when he looked at Taehyung.

 

“Hyung, what happened at the funeral wasn’t your fault,” he said quietly, calmly. “You’ve been beating yourself up all week, and it needs to stop.”

 

Taehyung’s shoulders sagged. “But it was my fault. I made you—”

 

“No, you didn’t,” Jungkook interjected firmly. “You didn’t make me do anything. You asked me before we left if I could handle staying out of headspace, and I said I could. That was on me.”

 

“I wouldn’t let you touch me,” Taehyung countered miserably. “And I left you alone with my mother, the spawn of the devil.”

 

Jungkook almost smiled. “It’s okay. Really. She...didn’t say anything to me I haven’t heard before.”

 

Taehyung’s chest tightened.

 

“That doesn’t make it any better,” he whispered, eyes softening. He stroked the younger’s cheek with a thumb, sighing. “Yugyeom kept briefing me after each one of your sessions. He wouldn’t tell me anything specifically, but I got the gist of it.” He swallowed, hard. “You’ve been hurting, bunny.”

 

Jungkook smiled thinly. “We all hurt sometimes.”

 

Taehyung let his head drop forward, their foreheads resting against each other. “I fucked up.”

 

“Everyone fucks up sometimes,” Jungkook murmured. He grimaced as the curse word left his own mouth, and it almost made Taehyung smile.

 

He sighed instead, one hand coming up to curl his fingers into the hair at the back of the younger’s head.

 

“I’m sorry,” he finally said, swallowing again. His eyes met Jungkook’s, their faces close enough to feel the brush of his eyelashes when he blinked. “I’m never doing anything that forces you in or out of headspace ever again. I didn’t realizing how traumatizing it could be, baby. I’m so sorry.”

 

He was blinking back tears by the end of it, and Jungkook’s eyes shined as he looked at him.

 

“It’s okay,” he whispered. “We’re learning, Tae. Together. It’s okay, alright?”

 

He moved so that his nose brushed the elder’s, and the action sent tingles shooting down his chest. They both smiled a little.

 

“Let me make it up to you,” Taehyung murmured.

 

Jungkook pulled back a little, raising an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”

 

“I wanna take you back to Daegu,” Taehyung said softly. “Not to see my parents, but everything else. My hometown. There’s so much I want to show you, and—” He leaned forward, voice soft. “—you can be little. You can wear a skirt. We can hold hands. Kiss. Everything. I don’t care.”

 

Jungkook looked startled, eyes brimming with uncertainty. “But...but what if we see someone you know, or—”

 

“I don’t care,” Taehyung said firmly. “What are they going to do about it? Stare? Let them.” He ran a thumb over the younger’s bottom lip, smiling when the action when him smile. “They’re just jealous I have such a beautiful boy by my side.”

 

Jungkook’s expression softened. “Are you sure?”

 

“Positive,” Taehyung murmured. “I shouldn’t have made you pretend to be someone you’re not. I don’t want you to have to feel like you should hide yourself from people.” He found the younger’s hand, lacing their fingers together just a little too tightly. “You’re perfect exactly the way you are, Kookie. You have to know that.”

 

“I do,” Jungkook said softly, and he smiled. “I have a boyfriend who reminds me every day.”

 

***

 

Their trip, which was supposed to last only an extended weekend, ended up spanning the length of nearly two weeks.

 

Jungkook loved Daegu. Taehyung took him to parks, beaches, art museums and everything in between.

 

The younger’s favorite place to visit, however, was hands down dog cafes. He adored the decorations, the desserts—and most of all, the puppies.

 

“TaeTae, please can we get a puppy?”

 

Taehyung laughed, watching the younger squeal as another poodle joined the two already squirming on his lap.

 

“They’re so cute ,” Jungkook whined. He buried his nose in one of the fluffy creatures, giggling when it barked happily. “Look! TaeTae, please ?”

 

“Kookie, we talked about this,” Taehyung chuckled. He ran a hand over the soft fur of the beagle in his lap, watching it arch its spine and yip excitedly. “We can't bring any of them home. This is a dog cafe, baby. They’re here for everyone to play with.”

 

“But they’re so cute,” Jungkook whimpered. He hugged the poodle to his chest, peppering kisses on its faces. The puppy licked his nose excitedly, making the younger squeal again.

 

Taehyung grinned at the adorable sight.

 

“I know,” he chucked. “But they’re not ours to keep. And we only had two hours with them, which are almost up, so—”

 

Jungkook gasped, eyes widening in alarm. “No! But that’s so little!” He squeezed the poodle gently, resting his chin atop its head and pouting at Taehyung. “She’s gonna miss us. We can’t leave!”

 

Taehyung laughed softly. “How about this—when we get home, I’ll take you to a dog cafe in Seoul. Would you like that?”

 

“Yes!” Jungkook gasped. “Kookie wants to live here.”

 

The elder shook his head, chuckling. “Aigoo, but I’d miss you if you moved here.”

 

The younger’s bunny-teeth emerged as he smiled. “TaeTae can come too!”

 

“Hm.” The dog licked his nose, and his heart clenched as Jungkook laughed at the sight. “You know what, that sounds like a pretty good idea to me.”

 

Chapter Text

 

“Because they get soggy .”

 

“That doesn’t make sense .”

 

“It’s not fucking rocket science—”

 

“Yeah, because rocket science fucking makes sense —”

 

Taehyung groaned, grabbing his hair in frustration. “You guys have been arguing for ten minutes. Can you just make the food, or do I have to do it?”

 

Seokjin glared at his boyfriend. “Blame Joon. He’s the one questioning my cooking abilities.”

 

Namjoon scoffed. “I’m not questioning anything. All I said was that it would make more sense to put in fresh blueberries instead of frozen ones, and Jin lost his mind.”

 

“Because fresh ones make the pancakes soggy ,” Seokjin hissed, swatting the younger with the spatula in his hand. “Like I’ve explained to you five times .”

 

“It’s just dumb ,” Namjoon insisted. “The batter is literally a wet mixture. How can adding something to it make it soggy—”

 

“Oh my god,” Jimin exclaimed. The younger shoved them both aside roughly, standing between them and grabbing the spatula out of Seokjin’s hand. “Move. I’m taking over.”

 

Seokjin blinked in surprise. Taehyung sighed with relief, standing up from his seat at the table.

 

“Good,” he muttered. “Can I go wake up Kook?”

 

“Yup,” Jimin said briskly, already placing a pan on the stove. “Should be ready in five.”

 

Seokjin was pouting now as he watched Jimin efficiently pour the batter into the warm skillet, and the sight made Namjoon coo.

 

“Aw, hyung,” he said, wrapping his hands around the elder’s waist in a back hug. “Don’t worry. Everyone knows your pancakes are better.”

 

“Yeah, yeah,” Seokjin muttered. “Kiss ass.” But the blush on his cheeks was undeniable, and his lips quirked up ever so slightly at the edges.

 

Meanwhile, Taehyung was already down the hallway, slipping quietly into his and Jungkook’s bedroom.

 

He made his way over to the bed and took a seat on the younger’s side. Jungkook’s face was relatively hidden by the blanket, one closed eye and part of his forehead peeking out adorably from the makeshift cocoon.

 

Taehyung smiled at the sight. “Kookie,” he said softly, lifting a hand to brush the younger’s bangs back. “Time for breakfast, bunny.”

 

It was an almost instinctive action. He was used to running his hand through his hair, a gesture the younger found as reassuring as Taehyung did pleasant. It shouldn’t have been anything special.

 

Expect this time, when Taehyung’s palm brushed Jungkook’s skin briefly, he immediately stiffened.

 

He was burning up.

 

Taehyung inhaled sharply, pausing. He shifted forward, lifting his leg until he was properly situated on the bed.

 

Praying he’d somehow imagined it, he gently brushed back the younger’s hair and pressed his palm to his forehead.

 

“Fuck,” he muttered under his breath.

 

The elder moved even closer, leaning over until his lips were pressed to the younger’s temple, one hand grabbing the edge of the blanket.

 

“Jungkookie,” he murmured, voice coaxing. “Come on, baby. Time to get up.”

 

Jungkook snuffled, nose wrinkling as he rubbed it with the edge of the blanket. He had yet to make any attempt at opening his eyes, and it made Taehyung sigh.

 

“Bun, you gotta get up,” he said, tone a little more firm. He inched the blanket down to the younger’s stomach. “Come on.”

 

Jungkook finally opened his eyes, eyebrows furrowed as he blinked sleepily.

 

He barely glanced at Taehyung before his eyes slipped back shut. He let out a quiet moan, turning his face into the pillow. “...’m hot.”

 

Taehyung frowned. He leaned forward and tugged the blanket fully off the younger’s legs, pushing it aside.

 

“Better?” he said softly.

 

Jungkook whined, face tilting back up to face him. His eyes were still closed, but his lips now sported a tired pout.

 

“Feel icky, TaeTae,” he mumbled. His voice was heavy with exhaustion, the words thick in a way only a sore throat could make them.

 

“Aigoo,” Taehyung murmured. He kept brushing the younger’s bangs back, wanting to clip them away from the sweaty skin of his forehead. “My baby doesn’t feel well this morning, does he?”

 

“No,” Jungkook whined. “TaeTae, fix it. Don’t like it.”

 

Taehyung laughed quietly, unable to stop himself from feeling endeared by how cute his boyfriend was when he was sick.

 

“Did you play outside yesterday, Kookie?” he asked gently, fingers still stroking his hair.

 

Jungkook opened his eyes slowly. He blinked a few times, gaze slightly unfocused.

 

“Mmhm,” he mumbled. He shifted, body fidgeting in an attempt to kick away the blanket near him, the edge of which had been barely grazing his feet. “Kookie’s hot . I-it’s hot, TaeTae.”

 

“Let’s get this off,” Taehyung said softly. He slipped the younger’s shirt out of one arm, holding the limp limb up for him when he made no effort to move himself.

 

When he was shirtless, he crawled forward until his head was resting on Taehyung’s lap.

 

“Better,” he sighed, eyes slipping shut again. “Thank you.”

 

Taehyung smiled slightly, hand resuming its gentle stroking in his hair. “You never answered my question, baby. Did you play outside yesterday?”

 

Jungkook hummed.

 

“Is that a yes?”

 

Another hum.

 

“Was that before or after you took a shower?”

 

Silence.

 

“Was your hair wet?”

 

More silence.

 

Taehyung sighed. “Kookie, what have we said about that?”

 

Jungkook sniffed, eyes peeling open and swimming with regret. “That it makes you sick.”

 

Taehyung gave him an unimpressed look. “And what are you now?”

 

The younger made a face, a cross between a scowl and a grimace. “Sick.”

 

Taehyung tried to bite back a smile, but it won over in the end. “Cutie,” he chuckled, pinching his cheek briefly.

 

Jungkook wrinkled his nose at the action before groaning and kicking his legs petulantly. “But Kookie hates being sick.”

 

“Mm, nothing we can do about it now,” Taehyung sighed. “It’s Sunday, bun. The doctor’s office isn’t open.”

 

The younger looked scandalized. “Good. Don’t like the doctor.”

 

“Aish, brat,” Taehyung said fondly, smiling. “You need medicine. Don’t you want to get better?”

 

“Just wanna hug,” Jungkook mumbled. He buried his face against the elder’s stomach, looking like he was less than a few seconds from falling back asleep.

 

Taehyung squeezed him back briefly before gently patting the back of his head. “Bunny, you have to get up. We need to wash your face and get some food in you. Then you can go back to sleep. Okay?”

 

Jungkook mumbled something incoherent.

 

The elder smirked. “Don’t make me tickle you.”

 

The younger’s head shot up. “T-that’s cheating!” he whined, pouting.

 

Taehyung resisted the urge to press a kiss to his pursed lips. “Sometimes I have to cheat or you don’t listen.”

 

“No fair,” Jungkook whined. He listened, however, and slowly started to sit up. Taehyung braced his waist gently, keeping him upright once he’d straightened up.

 

The younger blinked a few times. “TaeTae, how come the room is spinning?”

 

Taehyung’s hands floated up to his shoulders, squeezing them gently. “I think you sat up too quickly, baby. How about I carry you to the bathroom?”

 

“Mmkay.” He was already leaning back against him, seemingly more than happy to be giving up control if it meant not having to move.

 

Taehyung carried him to the bathroom, where he propped him onto the counter facing him. Once he was seated, he stood between his knees and brushed the younger’s teeth, laughing at the sight of him staring blankly back with his jaw hanging slack and toothpaste foam dripping down his chin.

 

Once his mouth was clean, Taehyung turned to fill up the bath.

 

“Noo,” Jungkook whined, grabbing his shirt sleeve. “Don’t wanna bath.”

 

Taehyung pulled himself away gently. “You need one, bun. You’ll feel so much better afterwards. I promise.” He pressed a kiss to his nose. “Less icky.”

 

The younger made a face. “Do I have to?”

 

“Yup,” Taehyung said, popping the p. He hooked his fingers into the waistband of his boxers. “May I?”

 

Jungkook paused, looking contemplative. “If Kookie says no, he doesn’t have to take a bath.”

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow. “Clever.” He moved his hand away. “Except I can put you in the tub with them on too, if I have to, Smarty Pants.”

 

Jungkook glared at him, the action coming across as cute more than threatening. “Fine,” he muttered. He lifted his hips slightly off the counter, shimmying out of his boxers and allowing the fabric to puddle on the ground. When he was done, he held his arms out to be lifted off the counter.

 

Taehyung obliged, proceeding to carefully slip him into the warm water.

 

Jungkook hummed with contentment at the layer of bubbles that blanketed the surface. “It smells good.”

 

“I put vanilla oil in it,” Taehyung said absentmindedly, dipping a cloth into the water and lifting it to the younger’s face. He cupped his chin gently and turned him to face his direction before swiping the damp washcloth over his face and cheeks.

 

Jungkook giggled, squirming away from him. “That tickles.”

 

Taehyung smiled, lowering the cloth in favor of dropping a peck on his forehead. “Sorry. Get your hair wet for me? I’ll grab the shampoo.”

 

“Strawberry,” the younger reminded him, referring to his staple flavor. Taehyung reached for the right bottle and grabbed the conditioner beside it.

 

When he turned back, it was to the sight of Jungkook holding his cupped hands below his nose, eyebrows furrowed in concentration.

 

“What are you doing?” Taehyung said, raising an eyebrow.

 

“Smelling.” The younger dropped his hands to his sides, the water he’d been holding splashing back into the tub. “How come TaeTae doesn’t put the vanilla in every time?”

 

“Because then it wouldn’t be special,” Taehyung replied easily, uncapping the shampoo and squirting a sizable amount onto his hand. “Come here.”

 

Jungkook inched closer to the edge of the tub, allowing the elder to begin massaging his hair with the strawberry-scented liquid.

 

The bath finished unceremoniously, when Jungkook’s eyes starting to droop again and Taehyung deciding he was clean enough. He drained the tub and toweled the younger off before they made their way back out into the bedroom, where Jungkook sat on the edge of the bed while Taehyung opened up the closet doors.

 

“What do you wanna wear today, baby?” he hummed, digging through the endless hangers of skirts and sweaters.

 

“Pajamas,” Jungkook moaned, falling back onto the bed dramatically.

 

Taehyung almost scolded the younger to be serious, purely out of habit, before he paused.

 

“Huh.” Shaking his head, he returned the shirt he’d pulled out to its original place. “Alright.”

 

Jungkook sat up quickly. “Really?” He grabbed his head right away with a scowl, most likely having moved too fast. “Ow.”

 

“Careful,” Taehyung chuckled. He kicked the closet door closed, hands full of fabric. “These ones okay?”

 

He was holding a matching set of bunny-printed cotton pajamas, a brand new pair that still had the tags on it.

 

Jungkook gasped, eyes alight with excitement. “Yes! The bunny ones!”

 

“For my own little bunny,” Taehyung teased. Jungkook grinned as he set the clothing on the bed, helping him into the pants and buttoning up the flannel-styled shirt.

 

“How come Kookie gets to wear pajamas today?” Jungkook asked, looking all too excited to be dressed in the soft cotton set.

 

“Because you’re sick,” Taehyung said gently, tweaking his nose. “And cute. So you get to wear pajamas today.”

 

“Kookie likes being sick,” Jungkook said promptly, smiling. “TaeTae’s nice.”

 

“Yah, I’m always nice,” Taehyung faked gasped. “Now come on, stop distracting me. Let’s go get some food in you, yeah?” He made as if to lift the younger into his arms, but Jungkook squirmed away and jumped off the bed.

 

In response to his questioning look, the younger puffed out his cheeks. “I’m a bunny now. Bunnies hop.”

 

Taehyung watched, bewildered, as he proceeded to make as if he were playing hopscotch and bounce forward, nose scrunched up adorably.

 

He shook his head, smiling bemusedly. “Okay, then. Can you hop into the kitchen with me, bunny?”

 

“Yup!” Jungkook’s grin widened, two front teeth fully on display and eyes shining brightly. He almost resembled an actual rabbit.

 

It took a little longer than it should have to get to the kitchen, considering that the younger’s new technique made him a little slower than usual, but they made it there without any harm.

 

The moment they walked in, Jungkook flopped into a chair. His cheeks were flushed from exertion, and he pouted up at Taehyung, any traces of excitement from earlier vanishing.

 

“TaeTae, ‘m tired,” he whined.

 

Taehyung ruffled his hair. “Shouldn’t have hopped all the way over here, baby. You tired yourself out.”

 

Jungkook huffed, crossing his arms. “Kookie had to. He’s a bunny and bunnies hop.”

 

“Who’s a bunny?”

 

Jimin appeared suddenly, setting a plate stacked with pancakes in front of the two of them and looking curious.

 

Taehyung pulled an empty plate towards them, piling two pancakes onto it before reaching for the can of whipped cream. “Jungkook is. He’s also sick.”

 

Jimin gasped melodramatically. “He is ?”

 

The elder moved to stand beside Jungkook’s chair, brushing back his hair to press his palm against his forehead. His expression flickered with genuine concern when he did, looking at Taehyung with alarm.

 

“Tae, he’s burning up,” he said quietly.

 

“I know,” Taehyung sighed. He moved the plate he’d been making in front of Jungkook as he spoke. “I’m gonna give him some Tylenol after breakfast, but we can’t get him to the doctor’s until tomorrow.”

 

Jimin frowned. “Poor baby.”

 

Jungkook remained oblivious to their discussion, pouting down at his plate and the small dollop of whipped cream on it. “TaeTae, more whipped cream.”

 

Taehyung didn’t have a chance to respond before Jimin was leaning over and grabbing the can, finger poised to press the nozzle.

 

“Aigoo, give the baby however much whipped cream he wants,” he cooed. “He’s sick.”

 

Jungkook watched, eyes widening, as his pancakes practically disappeared beneath a pile of the fluffy white topping. He turned to look at Jimin with a huge grin. “Thanks, Jiminie hyungie!”

 

Jimin pinched one of his cheeks. “Anything for my Kookie.”

 

Taehyung rolled his eyes, watching the younger’s cheeks bulge as he shoveled a forkful into his mouth. “You’re going to give him early onset diabetes.”

 

Jungkook interrupted Jimin’s response, mouth half full. “Suh mill?”

 

They both stared at him. Taehyung grabbed a napkin and wiped the younger’s chin, biting back a smile. “Don’t speak with your mouth full, baby. We can’t understand you.”

 

Jungkook swallowed the bite obediently, taking a breath before repeating himself. “Some milk? Please.”

 

“I’ll get it,” Jimin said, already moving towards the refrigerator. “We’re almost out, so Yoongi will have to either eat his cereal dry or starve.”

 

“You’re a great boyfriend,” Taehyung said dryly. “Didn’t Seokjin and Namjoon hyung go out grocery shopping, anyways?”

 

“Yeah, but I doubt they’ll be back before he wakes up,” the orange-haired man said distractedly, busy pouring milk into a tall glass. “I’ll give them a call after breakfast and tell them to hurry.”

 

“Tell hyungies Kookie’s dying,” Jungkook said matter-of-factly, expression somber. “And they have to hurry or else he’ll be really sad.”

 

“Aish, that’ll definitely get them to move quick,” Jimin laughed. He set the glass in front of the younger. “What are you gonna do after breakfast, Kookie? Take a nap?”

 

Jungkook shrugged. “Maybe. Kookie’s wearing pajamas, so he can nap anytime he wants to today.”

 

Jimin laughed. “Oh, really?”

 

“Yup. Those are the rules. Right, TaeTae?”

 

Taehyung watched him take a sip of milk, a white mustache staining his upper lip, and he smiled fondly. “Yup. Those are the rules.”

 

“But ‘m not tired anymore,” the younger continued, pouting. His frown deepened as he added, “And I don’t wanna play.”

 

“How about we watch a movie?” Jimin suggested.

 

Jungkook glanced at Taehyung. “Kookie’s not s’posed to watch tv in the morning.”

 

Taehyung shrugged. “Well, you can’t exactly do much else, can you?”

 

The younger gasped. “Really?” He turned towards Jimin with a huge grin. “Can we watch Toy Story?”

 

“Sure,” Jimin chuckled. “Which one?”

 

Jungkook’s grin widened. “All of them!”

 

The two friends exchanged a grimace, to which the younger remained oblivious as he clapped his hands. “Yay!”

 

“You need to take some medicine first,” Taehyung reminded him gently. “Does your throat feel scratchy?”

 

“A little,” Jungkook replied innocently, his instinctive answer honest. He froze right after the words left his mouth, however, and held up his hands. “No! No, Kookie’s throat feels great!”

 

Jimin covered his mouth to hide a smile, while Taehyung gave the younger an unimpressed look.

 

“I know you don’t like cough syrup, baby,” he said, “but you have to take it so you get better. Just one spoon, yeah?”

 

“Noo.” Jungkook covered his face with his hands, whining loudly. “It tastes gross .”

 

Taehyung nodded at Jimin, who turned and began rummaging through the cabinets for the bottle of cough syrup.

 

Meanwhile, Jungkook began inching off his chair, not at all subtly glancing in Taehyung’s direction as he moved. He was just about to make a break for it when the elder grabbed his wrist.

 

He let out a yelp of surprise as he was tugged onto his boyfriend’s lap.

 

“Trying to escape?” the elder teased.

 

“TaeTae, please,” he whined, squirming. “It tastes so bad.”

 

“If you pinch your nose while you drink it, you can’t even taste it,” Jimin suggested. He held out the bottle and a spoon towards Taehyung, who accepted both.

 

Jungkook made a face. “No.”

 

Taehyung sighed. “Bunny, can you be a good boy for me? Please?”

 

The younger shook his head, lips clamped firmly together.

 

Jimin bit his lip. “What if we get you a present, Kookie? Would you like that?”

 

“Don’t bribe him,” Taehyung said, frowning. “Jungkook, come on. This is for your own good, baby. Just open your mouth. Please?”

 

“Nm mm.” A firm shake of the head.

 

“We’ll give you more whipped cream if you take the medicine,” Jimin offered. “You can eat it straight out of the can.”

 

“Nm mm.”

 

Taehyung sighed, quickly caving to the idea of bribery. “Candy?”

 

A head shake.

 

“A new stuffie?”

 

Silence.

 

“Um...a new skirt?”

 

More silence.

 

Jimin groaned. “At this point the only thing we haven’t offered him is your dumb special cuddles.”

 

Like a cat with ears, the younger visibly perked up. “Special cuddles?”

 

Taehyung stared incredulously at him. “Are you kidding?”

 

“Yah, the boy’s a deviant,” Jimin laughed.

 

“We’re not bribing him with sex,” Taehyung hissed. “Jungkook, no.”

 

Jungkook pouted. “No special cuddles?”

 

The elder felt his resolve waver at the adorable pout the younger was giving him, but he shook himself out of the reverie.

 

“No,” he said firmly. “You should take it because it’s what your hyungs are telling you to do, and because it’s good for you. Not because you want special cuddles.”

 

Jungkook’s bottom lip stuck out further. “Just kisses?” he offered, eyes bright and hopeful.

 

Taehyung blinked. “No. No, that’s—”

 

“Just one kiss?” Jungkook pursed his lips, tilting his head up towards the elder and batting his eyes.

 

Taehyung groaned. “He’s the devil.”

 

Jimin laughed. “He just knows you’re whipped.”

 

With a sigh, Taehyung lowered the spoon in his hand. “One kiss. One . And then you drink the cough syrup. Promise?”

 

The younger grinned. “Promise!”

 

He stopped the elder when he leaned forward, though, still smiling innocently when Taehyung gave him a confused frown.

 

Special kiss,” he clarified. “Promise?”

 

Jimin blushed. “I-uh, I think I’m going to go into the living room and...set up the movie.” He nearly knocked over a chair in his haste to leave, neither one of them paying him any attention.

 

Taehyung was frowning at Jungkook. “Kookie—”

 

“Pleeease?” The younger grabbed his shoulders, sticking his face closer and stretching the word out dramatically. “Just one time! Then Kookie will take the medicine, a-and listen to TaeTae for the rest of the day! Promise .”

 

The elder paused before sighing. “Fine,” he said grudgingly.

 

“Yay!” The younger barely let the word out before he was pressing his mouth against Taehyung’s, lips moving eagerly.

 

What he was referring to when he talked about a special kiss was an open-mouthed one, more specifically a make out session. The two rarely engaged in anything further than a few closed-mouth pecks when they were out of the privacy of their bedroom, which meant that making out was a rare occurrence unless sex was involved.

 

Taehyung would never admit it, but it was actually adorable how much the younger adored kissing. He was particularly a fan of heated, tongue-heavy moments that resulted in them both breathing hard, chests heaving.

 

So that’s exactly what Taehyung gave him.

 

Jungkook let out a whimper when he felt the elder’s hands move to grab his thighs. He hitched him further up his lap before moving his hands back to his ass.

 

The younger groaned when he felt him squeeze the plush muscle, his lips parting breathlessly.

 

Flames licked at Taehyung’s stomach. He growled and landed a sharp smack to one side, relishing I  the way the action elicited a startled squeal from Jungkook.

 

“Special enough for you, baby?” he murmured, voice growing heavier with lust. He nipped at the younger’s bottom lip, eliciting a breathless moan from him.

 

Jungkook shifted in his lap, tilting his neck to the side in an effort to expose more skin to the elder. Taehyung took the hint and ran his teeth gently over the area before sucking on the spot.

 

He felt Jungkook’s fingers digging into his shoulders, the younger sighing softly.

 

“Okay if I mark it?” the elder asked huskily, pausing before he went too far.

 

He nodded jerkily, eyes half-closed with drunken pleasure.

 

Taehyung went to work on a hickey, the flames that had started in his stomach now spreading through his chest as he listened to Jungkook’s soft sighs and sounds.

 

After a few moments he was straightening back up, one hand lifting to tug the younger’s face gently towards him.

 

He licked into his mouth, Jungkook’s lips parting willingly and easily. It was hot, heavy—nothing but their breaths mingling and tongues tangling as Taehyung held the back of his head still, taking complete control of the kiss.

 

When he finally pulled back, the air around them was even heavier.

 

Jungkook was panting and Taehyung himself was a little breathless. But the younger was a sight to behold, eyes unfocused and pupils blown wide.

 

He blinked at Taehyung, cheeks flushed.

 

There was a brief second of silence.

 

“M-medicine. Kookie will...will take the medicine now.”

 

Taehyung burst into laughter. “Oh, will you?”

 

The younger smiled sheepishly. “Uh huh.” He pecked Taehyung’s mouth, breath fanning out warmly over his lips when he laughed. “Love you, TaeTae.”

 

Taehyung rolled his eyes, but he couldn’t stop the smile that tugged at his lips. “Love you, too, bun. Now for that medicine…”

 

***

 

About half an hour later they were seated on the couch. Jungkook had his feet up with his head resting in Taehyung’s lap, a blanket tucked around his body after he’d complained of being cold a while ago.

 

Jimin walked into the room on the phone, saying something quickly to whoever was on the other end before holding the device out towards Jungkook.

 

“Kookie,” he said, crouching beside the couch and smiling gently. “It’s Seokjin hyung, honey. He wants to talk to you.”

 

Jungkook hummed sleepily. He’d started growing tired again after laying down for so long while Taehyung stroked his hair, and he made no move to lift his arm and accept the cellphone.

 

Taehyung pulled it out of Jimin’s grasp and pressed the screen, holding it up to Jungkook’s ear.

 

“Jin hyung, you’re on speaker,” he said loudly. “Kookie’s right here.”

 

Their older hyung’s voice crackled through the cellphone.

 

Jungkookie! My baby is sick? Aigoo, how did that happen?”

 

Taehyung and Jimin both winced at his yelling. Jungkook only blinked sleepily, an ear-splitting yawn stretching his jaw.

 

My poor maknae, he’s too fragile for this. Don’t worry, sweetheart, I’m on my way home. I’m going to make you lots and lots of soup, okay? You’re going to get better quickly.”

 

Jungkook hummed, drawing the blanket up to his chin. “Mm...okay, Jinnie hyungie,” he said softly, the words thick with drowsiness. “Love you.”

 

There was a pause.

 

Did he just—oh my god. Did you hear that? Tae, oh my god, you’ve been replaced. Suck it! Did you hear that?”

 

“I did, actually,” Taehyung said distractedly. He lowered the phone onto the couch, eyebrows furrowing with concern as he scanned the younger’s face.

 

Jungkook didn’t just look tired—he looked almost delirious.

 

“Jin hyung, I’m going to call you back,” he said quickly. The elder didn’t get a chance to respond before he hung up.

 

“Hey, Kookie?” His hands framed the younger’s face gently, wincing at the heat the soft skin was emitting. “How are you feeling, baby?”

 

“Good,” was the half-whispered response. “Floaty.”

 

Taehyung looked sharply at Jimin, who looked alarmed himself.

 

“How many spoons of cough syrup did you give him?” his friend demanded.

 

“Three,” Taehyung said defensively. “What the bottle says.”

 

“What the bot—Taehyung, the bottle says to take three a day ! Not in one sitting !” Jimin exclaimed. His eyes were huge as he looked frantically back down at Jungkook. “You drugged him!”

 

Taehyung’s jaw fell open. He followed Jimin’s gaze to Jungkook, taking in the glazed expression of his eyes and his more than usual flushed cheeks.

 

“Fuck,” he whispered, horrified. “Oh my god. Fuck , what do we do?”

 

Jungkook mumbled something, turning his head until he was facedown in Taehyung’s lap.

 

Jimin stared at him. “I mean, I think he’s just going to pass out. So...nothing?”

 

“Nothing?” Taehyung repeated. “Are you sure?”

 

As if to counter their theory, the younger suddenly turned back around and sat up with a sharp jerk, startling them both.

 

“Kookie loves you too, Jiminie hyungie,” he sang tiredly, smiling lopsidedly, eyes still half closed. “Don’t be sad! Kookie loves everyyyone.” He emphasized the point by spreading his arms wide, demonstrating just how much love he apparently possessed for everyone.

 

Jimin pressed his lips together. “I’d be a dick if I thought this was cute. Right?”

 

“Bad word!” Jungkook gasped. He shook his finger dramatically. “Bad words are naughty, hyungie. Be a good boy, or hyungie can get punished.”

 

Taehyung shook his head. “Kookie,” he said, trying to grab the younger’s shoulders and gently guide him back into a lying down position. “Come here—”

 

“Maybe TaeTae can punish Jiminie hyungie!” he continued. His eyes were wider now, bright with something that could only be described as a high. He leaned forward, grinning wide. “He’s really good.”

 

Taehyung face burned. “ Kookie —”

 

The younger cupped his hands around his mouth, as if he were about to tell a secret. When he spoke, however, the whisper was extremely staged and almost ridiculously loud, a giggle lingering behind the words.

 

“Wanna know a secret? Sometimes, Kookie is a bad boy on purpose.” He giggled. “He likes spanks.”

 

Jimin burst into laughter, while Taehyung nearly fell off the couch in his scramble to grab the younger and slap a hand over his mouth.

 

“Jungkook,” he hissed, face flaming. “Oh my god .”

 

The younger didn’t even try squirming out of his grip. Laughter shook his shoulders as the elder tugged him onto his lap, and he didn’t say anything even when Taehyung dropped his hand.

 

“Mm.” They watched him wrap his arms around Taehyung’s shoulders, nuzzling his cheek in the elder’s chest.

 

Taehyung groaned, running a hand over his face. “Holy shit.”

 

Jimin was snickering when he looked back up at him. “So, Tae. Are you gonna spank me or not?”

 

“Get away from me,” Taehyung groaned, kicking one leg out towards his friend. Jimin barely moved away in time, laughing loudly.

 

“I’m taking him to bed,” Taehyung sighed after a moment. “He needs to sleep this off.”

 

“TaeTae,” Jungkook mumbled sleepily. “...’m a bunny. Rawr.”

 

Jimin squealed. “Can I please just take one video of him—”

 

“No.”

 

Jungkook hiccuped. “My tummy hurts.” His nose wrinkled. “Bad tummy. That’s not very nice.”

 

“Oh my gosh, please ,” Jimin begged. “Tae, he is so freaking adorable, my heart is going to explode .”

 

Taehyung rolled his eyes, already climbing to his feet with the younger wrapped around him like a koala.

 

“You just wanna keep him all to yourself,” Jimin pouted, slumping onto the couch and crossing his arms.

 

“Yup, that’s exactly it,” Taehyung said dryly. “He needs sleep , Jimin.”

 

“He needs sleep, Jimin,” Jungkook mumbled, repeating the words with his eyes closed. He probably didn’t even realize he was doing it.

 

Taehyung looked pointedly down at the younger, as if to say, ‘ You see ?’

 

The orange-haired man frowned. “Yeah, whatever.”

 

Shaking his head, Taehyung hitched the younger into his arms properly, grunting. “Come on, Kookie. Time for a nap.”

 

“Bunnies don’t nap, silly.” The statement was punctuated with a huge yawn, making Taehyung chuckle.

 

“Well, this bunny does,” he said. “Let’s go. Say bye to Jimin hyung.”

 

“Bye to Jimin hyung,” the younger repeated obediently, the words slurred together drowsily.

 

Jimin groaned. “Goodbye, my sweet adorable angel ball of fluff that is the embodiment of everything pure in this world—”

 

“Dude, get away from him,” Taehyung grunted, picking up his pace as his friend began approaching them with grabby hands. Jimin came to a halt, pouting, and settled for an exaggerated wave.

 

“Bye, Kookie,” he cooed. “Have a good nap!”

 

It took a bit of effort on Taehyung’s part to make it down the hallway. He didn’t know if Jungkook just weighed more than usual or if he himself happened to be feeling exceptionally tired, but luckily they made it to the bedroom without any catastrophes.

 

“Alright, bun,” he sighed, gently lowering him onto the mattress. “Time for bed.”

 

Jungkook fingers caught a strand of his hair as he was pulling away. A dreamy smile floated to his lips. “TaeTae has pretty hair,” he murmured.

 

Taehyung smiled, gently taking hold of his wrist and placing it back by his side. “Thank you. Now, let’s go to sleep, hm? You want me to sing to you?”

 

“Sing? Kookie can sing.” The younger’s eyes fluttered as he struggled to keep them open. “Mary had a little lamb.”

 

“Aigoo, Jungkookie,” Taehyung laughed softly. “You’re so cute.”

 

Jungkook hummed, face shoved into the pillow. “Twinkle twinkle little star.”

 

“Okay, you can sing,” the elder relented. “You sing beautifully, alright? Now can we sleep?”

 

The younger made grabby hands in his direction. “Need a pillow.”

 

“Here.” Taehyung handed him his own pillow, not having planned on falling asleep anyways.

 

“No,” Jungkook whined. “TaeTae.”

 

The elder raised his eyebrows. “What—”

 

The younger was already crawling forward to place his head on Taehyung’s lap. He sighed, the sound full of contentment, when he’d accomplished the task.

 

“Nighty night, TaeTae,” he mumbled. “Sleepy time.”

 

“Sleepy time,” Taehyung confirmed with a soft laugh. His hand came up to tangle in the younger’s hair, stroking the strands gently.

 

He was snoring quietly within seconds.

 

***

 

Unsurprisingly, Taehyung had a fever a few days later.

 

“That’s what you get for making out with your boyfriend while he was sick,” Jimin snickered.

 

“Shut up,” the elder groaned. He wrapped the blanket tighter around himself, wanting nothing more than to build a cocoon from the soft material and shield himself from the outside world.

 

“No teasing TaeTae!” Jungkook glared at Jimin, hands flurrying to adjust the pillows underneath Taehyung’s head. “He’s sick. Hyungie has to be nice.”

 

“My bad,” Jimin chuckled. “So what are you and Tae going to do all day, Kookie?”

 

Jungkook’s face stretched with a grin, as if he’d been waiting for the question.

 

“Kookie’s gonna take care of TaeTae!” he said excitedly. “Like when TaeTae took care of Kookie when he was sick!”

 

“So he’s gonna drug you,” Jimin clarified, having to hold back another snort of laughter when his friend aimed a pillow weakly at his head.

 

“Leave me alone,” Taehyung groaned. He threw his head black against the pillow, eyes slipping shut. “Kookie, kick him out.”

 

Jimin was in the middle of scoffing at the ridiculous notion when he felt a hand rest on his shoulder. He turned to see Jungkook looking at him with a serious expression.

 

“Sorry, hyungie,” he said. “Kookie is TaeTae’s guard today. He says Jiminie hyungie has to go.”

 

Jimin’s mouth fell open.

 

Taehyung muffled his laughter into the blanket as his friend left willingly, shooting him a glare before the door closed.

 

“Yay!” Jungkook clapped his hands when the elder left. “Kookie’s a good guard.”

 

“He sure is,” Taehyung mumbled, smiling tiredly.

 

The younger crouched beside the bed, pressing a quick kiss to his nose. “Don’t worry, TaeTae. Kookie will guard you while you sleep!”

 

“That’s not necessary, baby,” the elder murmured.

 

He was too tired to disagree too much, however. And when he woke up, the rest of the gang would be fawning over videos of the youngest standing by the bedroom door like a bodyguard out of a bad movie, fully at attention and never once swaying.

 

Taehyung would scold him for standing in one place for so long, but later, he asked Seokjin to send him all the videos.

 

For, you know. Scientific purposes.

 

Chapter Text

“Uh...TaeTae?”

 

“Hm?” Taehyung didn’t look up from the pile of paperwork in front of him, merely humming at the younger to show he was listening.

 

Jungkook bit his lip. “Kookie wants to...talk. If TaeTae’s not busy.”

 

The elder glanced up. His gaze flickered over the way Jungkook was chewing his lips nervously, hands wringing the front of his shirt.

 

He set the pen in his hand down, turning the chair he was sitting in away from the desk slightly and patting his thigh. “Of course, baby. Come here.”

 

Jungkook tried to control the nervousness coiling in his gut as he took a seat on the elder’s lap, straddling him so that they were facing each other. He wondered if his boyfriend could tell how anxious he was.

 

He’d been wanting to talk to him for a long time about this, and the fact that he was finally going to bring it up felt almost surreal.

 

Taehyung ran his fingers comfortingly through his hair, and he relaxed a little at the familiar action.

 

“What’s up, bun?” he said softly. “Why do you look so nervous?”

 

Jungkook smiled sheepishly. Apparently he was more transparent than he thought.

 

“Um.” He bit his lip again, twisting the hem of his skirt nervously with his fingers. “C-can we...can we have special cuddles soon?”

 

Taehyung paused, before laughing gently.

 

“Of course we can,” he chuckled, tweaking the younger’s nose. “That can't be what you were so nervous about. We had special cuddles last week.”

 

“No…’s not that.” Jungkook swallowed, mouth suddenly dry, and his eyes casted themselves downwards. “K-Kookie, was, um...h-he was just wondering if, maybe, i-if TaeTae wants—” He took a deep breath, the words coming out shaky. “—sorry.”

 

Taehyung cupped his cheeks, thumb stroking the skin softly. “Take your time, baby,” he murmured.

 

Jungkook took another breath, holding it for a moment before exhaling heavily. “Can we, u-um...do d-different stuff?”

 

Taehyung was quiet, eyebrows furrowing. “I...sorry? What do you mean, baby?”

 

Jungkook wanted to groan. He didn’t want to explain it.

 

“Can we...c-cause we always do the same stuff,” he said quickly, cheeks flaming. “A-and Kookie likes it!” he rushed to add. “Just, um...h-he was just wondering, maybe—m-maybe we could do different stuff. T-this time.”

 

Taehyung’s lips parted. His eyes were unreadable, expression carefully neutral.

 

“Okay,” he said after a moment, voice thoughtful. “What type of stuff were you thinking?”

 

Jungkook swallowed. “I-I dunno. Whatever TaeTae wants.”

 

The elder raised an eyebrow. “Well, you must have some type of idea.”

 

A pause. Jungkook could have sworn his entire face, was on fire as he squirmed in his boyfriend’s lap, shaking his head quickly.

 

“No,” he muttered. “Kookie doesn’t.”

 

Taehyung seemed to fighting back a smile. “How about you’re honest, Kookie?” he said gently. “Because this is an important conversation, and I need you to be honest with me right now. Okay, baby?”

 

Jungkook wanted to cry at how sweet his boyfriend was. He nodded jerkily, suddenly feeling genuine tears prick his eyes.

 

It was like Taehyung had a sixth sense for it. He immediately positioned the younger a little higher up on his lap, grabbing the back of his thighs and hitching him up further to keep from falling.

 

“Bunny,” he cooed softly, burying his nose in Jungkook’s hair and peppering kisses on the crown of his head. “Don’t freak out. I just mean this is clearly important to you, so it’s important to me, too. Okay?”

 

Jungkook nodded, leaning closer into his chest, fingers curling into the fabric of the elder’s T-shirt.

 

He was quiet for a moment before mustering the courage to speak, and even then the words were barely audible.

 

“K-Kookie thought...m-maybe we could play with—” His face burned. “—with, um, t-toys.”

 

Taehyung waited patiently for him to stammer his way through the sentence. He didn’t seem to miss a beat when he’d finished, not even fazed by the request.

 

“Good job,” he said gently. “What type of toys were you thinking?”

 

Jungkook whined. “I-I dunno.”

 

“Alright,” Taehyung chuckled patiently. “I have an idea. Do you mind moving over a little, baby? Just onto my other leg—there you go. Thank you.”

 

Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed as he shifted slightly aside, and the elder suddenly lifted his laptop screen on the desk in front of him.

 

At the younger’s confused look, Taehyung clicked his tongue.

 

“I’m going to pull up some pictures of a few different toys,” he said, smiling. “And if you see one that looks interesting, I’ll explain how it works and what it does. Anything you really like I can order today and it’ll be here in a few days. Sound good?”

 

Jungkook blinked. “Wow. TaeTae’s so smart.”

 

He’d been so worried about having to explain what he wanted when he himself wasn’t even sure what he wanted, and in less than a minute his boyfriend had brilliantly found a way around the problem.

 

Without warning, he pressed a hard kiss to the elder’s mouth.

 

Taehyung was laughing when he pulled away, eyes sparkling. “What was that for?”

 

Jungkook smiled sheepishly. “Kookie loves you.”

 

The elder’s expression softened, a small smile of his own quirking his lips. “I love you, too,” he murmured, leaning forward to brush another kiss against the younger’s lips. “I’m glad you talked to me about this. Let’s get started, yeah?”

 

And they did. They spent a good two and a half hours scrolling through the internet. Jungkook surprised himself by the sheer amount of things that interested him, but Taehyung never once commented on it. He bought everything without complaint, a few items making his eyes spark hungrily.

 

It made Jungkook’s mouth drool a little.

 

He couldn’t wait for everything to arrive.

 

***

 

Over the course of the next few days, Jungkook  and Taehyung brought package after package into their bedroom. The elder suggested not opening any until they’d all arrived, and despite having initially agreed, Jungkook couldn’t help but grow more and more nervous with anticipation as the days progressed.

 

Finally, one day Taehyung placed a small box on the desk.

 

“This is the last one.”

 

Jungkook’s head snapped up. He jumped up from his spot on the floor where he’d been playing with stuffies, nearly stumbling over a few in his haste to reach the elder.

 

“R-really?” he said, practically vibrating with energy.

 

Taehyung laughed. “Yup. You wanna pull them all out now? We can decide which ones you want to use first.”

 

“All of them!” Jungkook said excitedly.

 

Taehyung winced. “Ah, I don’t think so, baby.” He picked up the box he’d just brought in, moving towards the direction of the bed. “Come on.”

 

They pulled out every parcel and box and laid them out on the floor. Before going any further, Jungkook carefully picked up his stuffies and placed them back on the bed, pausing before pulling the blanket over their eyes.

 

At Taehyung’s questioning look, he smiled sheepishly. “They’re still babies. They can’t see big boy toys.”

 

His boyfriend bit back a grin. “Gotcha.”

 

He took a seat beside the elder, legs crisscrossed, and folded his hands in his lap. “Kookie’s all ready!”

 

Taehyung shook his head, bemused. “You’re gonna be the death of me, Jungkook.”

 

The younger’s lips parted. “Why? Don’t die, TaeTae,” he said, pouting. “Kookie wants to play with the toys.”

 

His boyfriend laughed. “Yah, that’s the only reason you want me alive?”

 

Giggling, Jungkook climbed into his lap. “Sorry. Kookie would miss you, too.”

 

“Mmhm,” Taehyung said, smirking. “Real convincing.”

 

Without warning, he pulled the younger into a slow kiss, lips moving a little sensually for Jungkook’s liking. His teeth caught Jungkook’s bottom lip and tugged it gently, eliciting a soft whimper from him.

 

The younger squirmed, feeling his underwear growing tighter and groaning at the discomfort.

 

“T-toys,” he reminded Taehyung, breaking apart. He panted, trying to blink away the lust thrumming in his veins.

 

Taehyung’s face was a little flush, but he nodded at the reminder. “Right. Sorry,” he laughed. A sweet peck landed on Jungkook’s nose. “Got carried away.”

 

Jungkook smiled. “It’s okay. Can Kookie open one now? Please!”

 

“Sure,” Taehyung agreed easily. His eyes scanned the packages, seeming to be able to recognize the contents based on the various shapes or companies.

 

After a moment, he reached over and picked up a small, thin box. It looked like it could have held a necklace or a bracelet, and Jungkook’s heart jumped excitedly as he accepted it.

 

As he tore open the wrapping, Taehyung watched with his chin resting on his shoulder.

 

The elder’s voice was patient when he spoke, one hand resting on Jungkook’s waist.

 

“It’s a vibrator,” he explained quietly. “Here, press this button.”

 

His other hand drifted up to the younger’s wrist. Jungkook’s gaze followed his finger, hesitating before pushing the small button he seemed to be pointing at.

 

He let out a small gasp at the device began shaking in his hands, trembling gently.

 

“It tickles,” he said, surprised. He craned his neck to look at Taehyung. “Is it s’posed to do that?”

 

“Sometimes,” Taehyung said, chuckling. “If you press it again, the vibrations become a little harder. This is a small one, so it only has three settings. But there are others that can go higher.”

 

Obediently, Jungkook pushed the button. Sure enough, the vibrations grew a little more aggressive.

 

He couldn’t help but marvel at the feeling of the device stuttering on his palm. It felt... good .

 

Furrowing his eyebrows, he tried to remember what Taehyung had told him this particular toy did. It was hard. They’d looked at so many different ones, after all.

 

As usual, Taehyung seemed almost able to read his mind.

 

“This one goes inside you,” he explained softly. One hand traced the small toy, Jungkook’s lips parting as if in a trance as he listened to the elder’s voice grow a little huskier. “And then we’d turn it on. We can leave it in there while we do other stuff, or...um, fuck you with it.”

 

Jungkook’s face flushed instantly.

 

Taehyung laughed quietly. “Nervous?”

 

The younger made a face. “No,” he mumbled.

 

“Mm.” Without warning, Taehyung gently pulled the toy out of his hand and placed it back on the ground. Jungkook suddenly found himself facing the elder and a soft kiss being pressed to one cheek, then the other.

 

“You know you can still say no,” his boyfriend reminded him seriously, a faint smile tracing his lips. “Just because we bought them doesn’t mean we have to use all of them. Okay?”

 

Jungkook smiled. “Thank you,” he said softly.

 

Taehyung ran a thumb over his bottom lip. “You’re in control here, bunny. Whatever you say goes. Don’t forget that, yeah?”

 

And as suddenly as it had arrived, the nervousness dissipated in his gut like a balloon deflating. Jungkook pressed his face into the crook of his boyfriend’s shoulder, dropping kiss after kiss there in an effort to convey his gratefulness.

 

He didn’t have any reason to be anxious. Taehyung would take care of him.

 

And he did. As they continued to open package after package, there were a few Jungkook found himself staring at with hesitation. He realized he might have grown too excited while selecting the items, and a few of them genuinely scared him now that he was seeing them in person.

 

“K-Kookie doesn’t like this one,” he said quickly, shoving the monstrous dildo he’d just pulled out into Taehyung’s hands.

 

Taehyung’s expression never wavered. He placed the item back into its box, pushing it aside and away from the other opened ones.

 

“Good. It’s gone,” he said simply. An encouraging smile was passed in the younger’s direction. “Good job, bunny.”

 

Jungkook smiled shyly. “TaeTae can open the last one,” he said, pushing the final package in the elder’s direction.

 

Taehyung hummed. “You sure?”

 

At the younger’s nod, he began peeling back the tape. Briefly, the elder found himself wondering exactly what could be left. As far as he remembered, Jungkook had already unwrapped everything they’d ordered…

 

Except, of course.

 

As he stared at the contents of the box, something predatory curled in his gut.

 

Jungkook crawled forward on his hands and knees, neck craned to glimpse a peek. “What is it?”

 

Taehyung took a steadying breath. “It’s, um.” Rather than explain, he picked up the item, grip gentle, and lifted it to eye level.

 

Jungkook’s mouth fell open, eyes widening in awe.

 

“It’s so pretty,” he whispered. His eyes glittered.

 

The elder was holding up a dog collar. The one Jungkook had picked when they’d looked over options had been pink, specifically a baby pink with a bedazzled buckle in the center and small silver spikes running along the length of it.

 

Jungkook’s gaze looked a little glazed as he stared at the item. Taehyung was watching him carefully, biting his lip.

 

“Do you...wanna try it on?” he asked hesitantly.

 

The younger’s head snapped up. “Yeah!”

 

Taehyung couldn’t hide his surprise. “Really?”

 

Jungkook was nodding energetically as he moved forward, stopping and kneeling in front of Taehyung with his hands tucked under his legs. “Can TaeTae put it on?”

 

Taehyung’s mouth suddenly felt dry. “You...want me to?”

 

“Uh huh!” Jungkook smiled innocently, bunny-teeth emerging. “Tightly, please.”

 

Fuck.

 

Taehyung swallowed, hard. “Uh, y-yeah. Yeah, sure.”

 

Slowly, he unclasped the buckle, somehow keeping his hands from shaking. Jungkook tilted his head back slightly, similar to the way he would when asking for a hickey, and Taehyung was pretty sure his heart was going to crash to a stop in his chest soon.

 

He held his breath as he moved to secure the thick band around the younger’s throat. He kept it at the base, the buckle snug just below his adam’s apple.

 

Jungkook’s breath hitched as he felt the band tightening. A flush crept up his neck, the skin there turning warm against Taehyung’s fingers as he secured the collar firmly.

 

“Can you breathe?” he asked, moving back slightly.

 

Jungkook nodded, cheeks pink. “I-it feels nice,” he whispered. “Kookie likes it.”

 

Taehyung smiled slightly. “You look pretty, baby.”

 

And he did. The younger’s face was flushed a pretty pink, his pupils already blown wide with lust. The collar fit snugly around his throat and drew the gaze to the veins standing at attention, to the way his breathing had picked up just slightly.

 

To the way he was looking at Taehyung with a newfound hunger in his eyes.

 

The elder swallowed. “Um, why don’t we, uh—clean up.” He shook his head, trying to clear himself of the reverie he’d suddenly become immersed in.

 

Jungkook pouted. “Why?”

 

Taehyung stared at him, at his lips. Did they always look so full and soft?

 

He blinked. “Hm?”

 

A smile crept onto Jungkook’s face. “We can play right now,” he suggested, moving a little closer to the elder. His eyelashes fluttered, doe like eyes wider than usual as he smiled sweetly at Taehyung. “Kookie doesn’t mind.”

 

Somehow, Taehyung mustered up enough strength to pull away. “No. You, um...you have to eat dinner.” He managed a weak smile. “Gonna need your strength.”

 

Jungkook’s smile widened into a grin. “Okay!” He tilted his head. “Can Kookie keep the necklace on?”

 

“At dinner?” Taehyung repeated, dumbfounded.

 

The younger nodded eagerly. “I wanna show Jiminie hyungie!”

 

Taehyung blanched. “You—Jungkookie, you can’t show it to anybody. It’s...uh, is a private thing. Like the toys. Remember? We talked about that.”

 

Jungkook frowned. “TaeTae said the toys, not the necklace.”

 

“It’s a collar,” the elder corrected with a wince. “And it’s...you should wear it during special cuddles, bun. Only then. So it’s private. Do you understand?”

 

A dramatic pout began tugging down the younger’s lips now. “But Kookie doesn’t wanna take it off,” he whined. “TaeTae can’t make me!”

 

A raise of the eyebrow on Taehyung’s end. “Excuse me?”

 

Jungkook shrank a little, but his pout only deepened.

 

“Please?” he begged, switching tactics. His blinked up at Taehyung, batting his eyes a little. “Pretty please? Kookie can hide it!”

 

Taehyung sighed. “How are you supposed to hide it?”

 

And so, without any explanation, the rest of the gang found themselves eating dinner that night with Jungkook in a turtleneck.

 

Yoongi kept throwing them suspicious looks, while the rest of them just seemed confused.

 

“Kookie,” Seokjin finally said. “You know it’s the middle of summer, right?”

 

Jungkook shrugged, opening his mouth and happily accepting the spoonful Taehyung fed him.

 

“Kookie likes this sweater,” he said cheerfully.

 

“That’s good,” Jimin said, smiling. “But aren’t you hot, honey?”

 

Taehyung had had the same concern, but after the younger threw a fit and refused to take the collar off, he wasn’t left with many other options.

 

“Nope,” Jungkook said happily.

 

He looked at everyone surrounding the table then, pouting exaggeratedly. “It...it doesn’t look pretty?”

 

Like a spell, the older males immediately began tripping over themselves to reassure him otherwise.

 

“No, it looks beautiful —”

 

“You look so nice—”

 

“Like an angel—”

 

Jungkook giggled. “Yay! Thank you, hyungies.” He turned back to his food soon after, opening his mouth and waiting for another spoonful.

 

Taehyung watched the scene play out with a shake of his head.  

 

It really scared him sometimes how clever the younger was.

 

***

 

An hour later, Taehyung had changed into a pair of boxers and opted to sleep shirtless for the night. He kicked off his socks and collapsed on the bed, propping himself up on the pillows as he watched Jungkook get ready.

 

The younger first peeled off his sweater, looking a little relieved to be shedding the thick material. He proceeded to dig through the bottom of his closet for a particular item, finally pulling out a pair of white lace underwear.

 

Taehyung swallowed.

 

They were in for a long night.

 

***

 

“H-hyungie, please—”

 

Jungkook shuddered as Taehyung worked a hickey on his collarbone. The elder ignored the movement, unable to stop himself from tugging the soft skin a little with his teeth, his fingers digging into his boyfriend’s waist.

 

The younger shivered. “P- please —”

 

“What?” Taehyung finally pulled away, a little out of breath. His hair was messy from having been ducked against the younger’s chest for so long, bangs falling into his eyes. He smiled as Jungkook reached a hand out to brush back the strands, head moving to press a kiss to his wrist. “What is it, bun? What do you want?”

 

“Touch,” Jungkook wailed, expression crumpled. “Touch, down there .”

 

Taehyung spared a glance downwards. Sure enough, the younger’s panties were not only straining against his hardening cock, but the flimsy fabric was thoroughly soaked with precum.

 

“Mm, not a fan of foreplay?” the elder chuckled. He pressed an open-mouthed kiss to Jungkook’s shoulders, before working his way up to the younger’s neck, where he paused to suck a hickey on the sensitive area just above the thick collar he donned.

 

Jungkook wailed. “No, p- please .”

 

Deciding he’d teased the younger more than enough, Taehyung pulled back with a chuckle.

 

“Alright, baby,” he said, grinning. “Let’s get these panties off.”

 

Jungkook’s thighs were practically quivering with anticipation when Taehyung moved his hands over them. He let out a breathy whine, eyes fluttering shut.

 

Unlike his previous bout of playful teasing, the elder was quick to tug the garment off. He peppered a few kisses between the younger’s thighs, including the head of his weeping cock, before gently grabbing him by the ankles.

 

“Kookie, can you lift your legs up for me?” he asked.

 

Jungkook immediately obeyed, bending them as instructed until the backs of his feet were pressed against his asscheeks. The new position had his cock flopping down onto his stomach and cold air reaching his hole, both of which were sensations that made him whine.

 

“Good boy,” Taehyung praised. He moved to place a smaller pillow underneath the younger’s back, waiting for him to readjust slightly. “Comfortable?”

 

Jungkook nodded, his breathing a little quicker than before and cheeks flushed at the change in position.

 

“Okay,” Taehyung said, exhaling. “We’re gonna stretch you out first. Remember the rules?”

 

“Tell TaeTae if it hurts, if Kookie wants to stop, and if the good feeling is about to come,” the younger recited dutifully.

 

“Good job. Colors?”

 

“Red to stop and green to go.” Jungkook smiled brightly, eyes glittering with excitement. “Can we start now?”

 

“Eager little baby,” Taehyung chuckled. “Let me get the lube.”

 

He retrieved the bottle, warming it up between his hands. After their first time the elder always took care to make sure it was never too cold, knowing it made the experience more uncomfortable for Jungkook.

 

Once he’d rolled the bottle a few times in his hands, he squirted a medium amount on his hand and slicked a finger with the sticky substance.

 

“Ready, baby?” The tip of the digit brushed Jungkook’s puckered hole. The younger’s hips jerked slightly at the unexpected touch before stilling.

 

“Yes,” he breathed.

 

Taehyung pushed the first finger in with relative ease. They’d had sex a few days ago and the younger wasn’t nearly as tight as he could have been, making the job a little easier. Even so, Taehyung took care to pause every few seconds until he was knuckle deep.

 

He crooked the digit, smiling when Jungkook let out a small gasp. “Feel okay?”

 

“Mmhm,” the younger responded breathlessly.

 

He waited a few minutes, working the finger in and out a few times until he could feel the tense muscle starting to relax  a little.

 

“Ready for another?”

 

“Uh huh.”

 

Unsurprisingly, the second digit proved to be a bit more difficult. Jungkook’s thighs immediately tensed at the entry, a groan slipping out as Taehyung pushed his middle finger inside beside his index.

 

“Relax, baby,” he murmured, free hand stroking up and down the younger’s thigh. “You’re clenching. Relax for me.”

 

Jungkook closed his eyes, forehead wrinkling as he struggled to let out a deep breath. “S-sorry.”

 

“Don’t apologize,” Taehyung said softly. “I’m not gonna move them for a minute. Let you get used to it. Okay?”

 

The younger responded with a jerky nod, thankful for a moment to breathe.

 

Sure enough, he found himself easing up little by little as time ticked by. Taehyung kept a careful watch on his expression, waiting for the features to relax before crooking the digits.

 

Jungkook gasped, eyes flying open. “O-oh—”

 

“Prostate,” Taehyung reminded his gently. He twisted the fingers, pulling them out for a moment before pushing the digits back into the wet heat, angled to hit one particular spot.

 

Jungkook’s legs jerked. “T-TaeTae, y- yes —”

 

“Feel good?” Taehyung chuckled. He repeated the action once, twice, until Jungkook was a writhing mess.

 

The younger had the beginnings of tears forming in his eyes when Taehyung looked up again.

 

“S-stop,” he begged. “T-the good feeling.”

 

“Don’t come yet,” Taehyung reminded him firmly, stilling his hand. “Feeling okay, bunny?”

 

Jungkook groaned, throwing his head back against the pillows. “I-it’s—my tummy, TaeTae—g-gonna—”

 

“Ssh, okay.” Slowly, the elder pulled his fingers out, ignoring the whine Jungkook let out at the action. He was wiping the digits on a cloth when Jungkook made grabby hands at him, whimpering like he’d been wounded.

 

“T-TaeTae, ‘m e-empty,” he half-sobbed, distraught. “P-please—”

 

“I’ve got you, bunny,” Taehyung reassured him softly, thoroughly endeared by the younger’s desperation. “I’m gonna get the vibrator now. You remember that one? The one that shakes.”

 

Jungkook whimpered, blinking back tears. “D-don’t care, please—d-don’t like being empty—”

 

Taehyung bent over then, unable to resist pressing his lips to the younger’s. Jungkook melted into the kiss, his whimpers dying away as he grabbed the elder’s shoulders.

 

He pulled away to Jungkook trying to follow him, not a fan of the separation, and chuckled.

 

“I thought you wanted the vibrator, baby,” he teased.

 

The younger fell back against the pillows with a pout. “Kookie does .” He paused. “Wanna kiss too.”

 

“Later,” Taehyung promised, smiling at the scowl the word elicited.

 

His sour expression slipped away quickly when he felt more lube being poured on his opening. The younger’s hips jerked forward at the feeling, fingers twisting the sheets as anticipation kicked in.

 

He watched with eyes glued to every movement as Taehyung slicked lube onto the length of the vibrator.

 

A soundless gasp parted his lips when his boyfriend began pushing the toy into him, and his fingers  fisted the bedsheets so hard they almost ripped.

 

“O- oh ,” he moaned, eyes rolling back before fluttering shut. “Oh, T-TaeTae, a-ah—”

 

His hips were rolling back against the elder’s hand, trying to fuck the toy deeper in. Taehyung’s own boxers were growing tighter at the sight of his boyfriend panting and trying to fuck himself on the vibrator, face flushed and sweaty.

 

“Please,” he moaned desperately.

 

“Fuck,” Taehyung muttered hoarsely. His hand slipped beneath the waistband of his boxers, wincing at the precum leaking from his own cock. When he finally wrapped his hand around the aching length, a small grunt of relief fell past his lips.

 

Jungkook’s hips kicked forward, tears finally giving way as the vibrations continued to assault his sensitive hole.

 

“K-Kookie’s gonna c- come ,” he cried desperately, the words trembling almost as badly as his thighs. He looked tearfully at the elder, features twisted with pleading. “P-please, TaeTae, please—”

 

“Not yet, baby,” Taehyung groaned, slowly starting to jerk himself off. His free hand moved to the base of the toy, pushing the small button on the end of the vibrator.

 

Jungkook shrieked . His legs spasmed, kicking out on the bed as he clawed at the sheets, searching in vain for something to grab onto.

 

“Fuck, Kookie,” Taehyung groaned. “You look so pretty like this, baby.”

 

The younger’s stomach coiled with heat, both from the praise and his approaching orgasm. He sobbed. “TaeTae, p-please—”

 

The elder’s hand moved to grab the toy, and Jungkook nearly relaxed, thinking the vibrations would be turned off.

 

Instead, he began fucking him with it.

 

The younger writhed on the bed, pleasure and heat coursing through his lower torso. He groaned, the sound strangled, and shuddered as his boyfriend continued murmuring praises to him.

 

Without enough warning, his abdomen tensed.

 

“C-coming—!”

 

Streaks of white coated his stomach, a series of broken moans shuddering from his chest.

 

Taehyung growled, his hand moving out of his boxers as he shifted closer to the younger’s trembling body.  

 

“I didn’t say to come yet,” he growled.

 

Jungkook moaned tiredly. His hips continued to stutter with the effects of the vibrator, and his body was slowly starting to react to the sensation.

 

“T-too much,” he whined weakly. He shook his head, features twisting at the assault on his swollen opening. “TaeTae, too much, please—”

 

“Color, baby?”

 

The elder was stroking his cheek softly with one hand, voice gentle. Jungkook could barely see him through the tears swimming in his vision.

 

His cock, which had flopped softly back onto his stomach after coming, was starting to twitch again.  

 

He whimpered. “G-green.” His damp eyes floated towards the elder, trying to convey how desperately overstimulated he felt.

 

“Good boy,” Taehyung whispered. “I’m leaving it in there for a while, bunny, because you came without permission. Okay?”

 

A sob ripped out of Jungkook’s chest. He shook his head, thighs already aching from the constant trembling.

 

“No?” Taehyung frowned slightly, gaze serious. “You want me to take it out?”

 

Jungkook whined, shaking his head again. He didn’t want to stop. It hurt, but he didn’t want to stop.

 

He liked it.

 

Taehyung seemed to understand, something akin to amusement glinting in his eyes. “Okay, baby,” he murmured. “Tell me anytime you want to stop. Alright?”

 

And with that, he pulled out the toy completely before thrusting it back in.

 

Jungkook’s back arched up off the bed, a broken gasp punched out of him.

 

“Beautiful,” Taehyung murmured. “Taking it so well for me, baby. Just like that.”

 

Somewhere along the way Jungkook started sobbing again. But this time he reached for the elder, crying and shaking, desperate to be kissed, touched.

 

Taehyung’s tongue slipped out when he leaned over and slotted their mouths together. His hand came up to brush Jungkook’s cheeks, thumb running over a stray tear. He pulled back and licked the digit, tasting the saltiness and almost groaning.

 

Jungkook was staring up at him with his hair splayed around his head like a halo, cheeks flushed and tear stained, forehead sweaty. He’d never looked more beautiful.

 

Taehyung’s veins thrummed with lust.

 

“Such a pretty baby,” he practically growled. His hand floated to linger on the younger’s collar, one finger resting on the edge of the thick material. “Put your hand on my shoulder, bunny.”

 

Weakly, Jungkook complied.

 

“Tell me if this is okay,” the elder said lowly, voice husky.

 

He wedged his finger into the miniscule space between the collar and Jungkook’s neck, effectively tugging the band even tighter against his throat.

 

Jungkook’s breath was caught, lungs immediately giving in to the pressure against them. He looked up at the elder with wide eyes, panic clear in the blown pupils.

 

Right away, Taehyung moved his hand away.

 

“Too much?” he asked.

 

Jungkook’s toes were tingling. His chest felt tight, but it was a pleasant tightness.

 

“G-green,” he choked out. His voice was hoarse. The sound made Taehyung’s toes curl.

 

“Pinch my shoulder if it gets to be too much,” his boyfriend instructed. “Understand?”

 

A jerky nod. Jungkook’s other hand came up to rest on Taehyung’s waist, fingers digging a little too tightly into the flesh.

 

And then the pressure was back on his throat. Taehyung pulled the collar just enough for it to cut off his breath, just enough for his heart to start beating a little faster.

 

It felt electric .

 

His head was swimming, vision blurred in the rare moments he tried to keep his eyes open. The vibrator was still deep inside him, pressed right up against his prostate, and god it was so much but everything felt so good.

 

Taehyung released his grip on the collar, a heavy breath leaving Jungkook at the action.

 

The younger took in a deep breath before gasping, “W-wanna come.”

 

“Again?” Taehyung chuckled. “I haven’t even come once yet.”

 

Jungkook whined. “T-take it out. Want TaeTae.”

 

The elder groaned above him. “Fuck, baby.”

 

He was quick to slip off his boxers, one hand pumping his length as he moved to position himself lower on the bed. Jungkook’s legs were trembling from overstimulation, and he ran a hand comfortingly over them before grabbing the base of the vibrator.

 

Jungkook let out a long, low moan. His head was thrown back as the elder slowly pulled the toy out, lube dripping down his swollen opening.

 

He whimpered brokenly. “P-please.”

 

“I got you, baby,” Taehyung murmured. He lined himself up before pushing in slowly, eyes intent on the way the action made the younger’s expression twist.

 

Jungkook shivered when he was buried to the hilt. “M-more.”

 

“Fuck,” Taehyung growled. “You’re fucking perfect.” He began moving, a mixture of slow, languid grinding combined with sharp, deep thrusts that had his boyfriend sobbing again within moments, his cheeks bright pink.

 

He wanted to last, but he could feel himself getting closer to release. He leaned over and buried his face in Jungkook’s neck, kissing the hickeys he’d left there and relishing in the way the action made the younger shudder beneath him.

 

“C-come,” Jungkook begged tearfully. “Can Kookie—”

 

“I’m close,” Taehyung groaned. He leaned his forehead on the younger’s shoulder, his sweaty bangs sticking to the other’s sweaty skin. “Fuck, I’m—”

 

His hips stuttered, and he barely pulled out in time before coming. Jungkook followed within seconds, whimpering at the second orgasm.

 

They both laid there, panting.

 

Jungkook was the first to move, and his first action was a weak slap to the elder’s shoulder.

 

“Bad words,” he scolded. His voice was heavy with exhaustion, and he could barely keep his eyes open, yet the disappointment was clear in his tone. “TaeTae said so many bad words.”

 

Taehyung laughed breathlessly. “I’m sorry. I didn’t even realize.”

 

“Mm.” Jungkook hummed tiredly, eyes closed. “Kookie’s too sleepy to take a bath.”

 

“I’ll do all the work,” Taehyung said, smiling languidly. His own body ached, but it was with that pleasant muscle ache that came from a bout of strenuous sex.

 

Jungkook was already half-snoring when he managed to gather up the strength to peel himself away. He laughed at the way the younger immediately reacted to the loss of body warmth, frowning even if it was subconscious.

 

He was quick and gentle in cleaning them both up, changing the sheets, and finally tucking them both back into bed. Sleep wasn’t going to be hard to come by, and he was just on the verge of slipping off when a hand wound itself around his waist.

 

Jungkook pressed his cheek into his back.

 

“TaeTae didn’t take the necklace off,” he mumbled tiredly.

 

Taehyung hummed, finding his hand in the darkness and lacing their fingers together. “You wouldn’t let me. You kept swatting my hand away when I tried during the bath.”

 

Jungkook giggled, the sound half delirious with sleep. “Kookie likes it.”

 

A pause. Taehyung bit back a smile, pulling the younger’s arm a little tighter around himself. “I like it, too.”

 

“Night night, TaeTae,” the younger mumbled. “Love you.”

 

Taehyung drew the blanket higher up, tucking them both in.

 

“Goodnight, bunny. Love you, too.”

 

They fell asleep clinging to each other.

 

Chapter Text

 

It was 1 am, and Jungkook couldn’t sleep.

 

He blinked up at the ceiling. He’d been trying for a good two hours at this point, and he didn’t understand what was making it so difficult.

 

His stuffies were tickling his chin just the way he liked. Taehyung’s arm was a pleasant, familiar weight thrown across his stomach. The blanket was warm and the sheets were soft and so why the heck couldn’t he fall asleep.

 

“Taehyungie,” he whined, giving up any hopes of trying to solve the problem without waking the other male. His hand came up to shake the elder’s shoulder. “Tae, wake up.”

 

His boyfriend mumbled something incoherent before shoving his face further into the pillow.

 

Jungkook frowned. “Tae, wake uppp. Wake up. Tae, wake—”

 

“I’m up, I’m up .”

 

The elder peeled his eyes open with a groan, resting a hand on his forehead and sparing a quick glance at the alarm clock. “Kookie, it’s 1 am. What is it?”

 

The younger pouted. “I can’t sleep.”

 

Taehyung looked at him, eyebrows crinkling. “Why not?”

 

“Dunno,” Jungkook whimpered. “But ‘m so tired.”

 

“Mm.” The elder shifted, laying on his side with his cheek pressed against his hand. Their noses nearly brushed with the close distance, and Jungkook could almost count his eyelashes if he wanted.

 

The younger smiled faintly. “You’re pretty.”

 

A tired chuckle. “Not as pretty as you.”

 

“Mm.” Jungkook moved closer, humming contentedly. Their legs tangled beneath the blanket, an active effort on both their parts to get a little closer.

 

“Alright,” Taehyung said after a moment’s silence. “Have you tried closing your eyes?”

 

Jungkook gave him a dubious look. “You know, it didn’t occur to me.”

 

His boyfriend laughed gently. He stroked the younger’s cheek, thumb coming to a rest at the corner of his mouth.

 

“Want me to sing to you?”

 

A sheepish smile. “Maybe.”

 

4’ o clock was a soft song, even softer still when it was Taehyung singing it to him in a voice husky with exhaustion, still half asleep himself.

 

Jungkook stopped him when he shifted closer, nuzzling his cheek on the elder’s shoulder.

 

“...’s not helping,” he said softly. “I’m not falling asleep.” A small smile, looking up at him. “Just thinking about how perfect you are.”

 

Taehyung’s expression softened. “Aish, stop.”

 

“You are,” Jungkook sighed. He pulled back slightly to brush the elder’s hair with his fingers, admiring the softness of the strands as they parted. “Have I ever told you how much I love your hair, hyung?”

 

“Yes, but you were sick and delirious,” Taehyung teased.

 

Jungkook smiled. “Well, I love your hair.”

 

“Thank you.” Taehyung kissed him softly, barely brushing their lips together. “I love you .”

 

The younger waited for him to pull away before allowing his hand to drift down towards his cheek. “Know what else I love?”

 

The blanket shifted as Taehyung moved his legs slightly, taking Jungkook’s with him. Their knees knocked into each other awkwardly with the action. Neither one seemed to mind.

 

“What?”

 

Jungkook traced the lines of his boyfriend’s face, memorized by the sight of his own fingers running along the smooth skin.

 

“You have such pretty skin,” he sighed. “It’s like... caramel .”

 

Taehyung’s gaze was hooded as he stared back at him, eyes flickering to his lips just for a moment.

 

“I thought you wanted to sleep,” he said, smiling half heartedly.

 

“I do,” Jungkook replied. His own gaze dropped to the elder’s mouth. “I did.”

 

“Not now,” Taehyung said softly, looking like he had to shake himself from his own train of thought. “You’ll be tired in the morning.”

 

“We don’t have to have sex,” Jungkook muttered, almost rolling his eyes. “I never said that.”

 

A light touch brushed over his crotch, and he gasped.

 

“This says otherwise,” Taehyung teased.

 

“Bully,” Jungkook said, pouting.

 

“Sorry, baby.” He kissed him a little longer this time, a little more properly. Jungkook’s hand went to his shoulder before moving upwards, fingers curling into the hair at the back of the elder’s head.

 

They parted with another sigh, both at the same time and both sounds of contentment more than anything else.

 

Taehyung’s eyes were warm when he looked at Jungkook, cheek smushed against the pillow.

 

“I could stare at you all night,” the elder murmured.

 

Jungkook swallowed, inching a little closer. He could feel the breath of the other male fanning onto his face with each exhale.

 

“Same here,” he responded softly. “Did you know you have a mole on your nose? Right at the tip. It’s so cute.”

 

Taehyung grinned, the action tinged with tiredness and a little disbelief. “I’ve never looked that closely at myself.”

 

“I have,” Jungkook whispered, smiling back shyly.

 

“Hm.” A finger brushed the top of his cheekbone gently. “Well, you have a little scar right here. It’s not that noticeable.” His boyfriend’s eyes glittered. “I always thought it was sexy, though.”

 

“It’s from running into a sliding glass door,” Jungkook giggled. “Still sexy?”

 

“Very,” Taehyung confirmed, smiling back.

 

There was a lull, silence settling over them like a blanket. But it was comfortable. Taehyung’s arm wound a little tighter around Jungkook’s waist, pulling him gently against his body, and Jungkook wrapped both arms around the elder with a sigh.

 

“Is it possible to love someone this much? Like, my heart is gonna burst out of my chest and explode into confetti,” he said seriously.

 

Taehyung’s chest vibrated as he chuckled. “You’re especially sappy at 1 am,” he teased. “I’m taking notes.”

 

“It doesn’t make sense,” the younger moaned, almost sounding distraught. “You're hot. Okay? But then you’re also so soft .” His head tilted up, eyes narrowing cutely. “Are you sure you’re real?” he asked, voice playfully accusing.

 

Taehyung bit back an amused smile, gaze sparkling and expression full of adoration. “Pretty sure. I’d say at least seventy percent.”

 

Jungkook pouted. “You’re like a bear. All threatening and stuff on the outside, but secretly just really huggable.”

 

His head snuggled the elder’s chest, words muffled against the fabric of his shirt as he pressed a kiss there. “My Tae-bear.”

 

Taehyung stroked the back of his head, fingers curling into the hair there. “My Kookie bunny.”

 

Another gentle silence.

 

Taehyung shifted again, the blankets brushing Jungkook’s chin.

 

“You should sleep soon, baby. You’re gonna be exhausted in the morning.”

 

“I will,” Jungkook mumbled. “Tae, you love me, right?”

 

“It’s too late at night to be asking ridiculous questions,” the elder chided. He tilted the younger’s chin up, however, gaze smoldering.

 

“With all my heart,” was the soft response. His thumb brushed Jungkook’s bottom lip, and the younger shivered. “Now go to sleep, bun.”

 

“Okay,” he whispered. “I love you, too.” He smiled a little. “Tae-bear.”

 

His boyfriend kissed him then, slow and sweet.

 

And it did take him a little while to fall asleep, but he dreamt of nothing when he finally managed to. Maybe dreams were for those who wanted something more.

 

He already had everything he wanted.

Chapter Text

 

Yoongi was having a bad week.

 

It wasn’t uncommon. He was one of the main leaders of the biggest gang in South Korea—it was bound to happen, really. Stress was a huge factor of his job.

 

But there were a few days every once in a while where it felt like everything was simply going wrong.

 

Typically, his closest friends could spot it a mile off when he was in a mood. They all handled it differently. Namjoon and Hobi spoke to him strictly about business, Seokjin and Taehyung kept their distance for the most part, and Jimin was patient with him, with his short temper and curt remarks.

 

The only person that never quite got the message was Jungkook.

 

His little brother didn’t exactly catch on to subtlety. He never understood that “Not right now” meant “I don’t fucking want to.”

 

Usually, it didn’t bother Yoongi. He knew the younger’s mindset was different. He understood it—accepted it. Adored it, most of the time.

 

But, again. He was having a really bad week.

 

“Hyungie eee . Please? I’m bored .”

 

Yoongi found himself taking a deep, steadying breath. The third one he’d taken in the past five minutes.

 

“Jungkook, I said not right now,” he repeated stiffly. “Hyung’s busy.”

 

Jungkook frowned, flopping dramatically onto the chair beside him. “Hyungie’s always busy.”

 

At the moment, Yoongi was seated at the kitchen table with a few others. A mountain of paperwork littered the surface between them, hours of work still looming overheard like a storm cloud.

 

It was also Monday evening, and he had just returned from Seoul after a three day business trip that had resulted in less than six hours of sleep overall, two fistfights, and the main issue he’d gone to resolve never even coming to a solution.

 

To reiterate—a bad fucking week.

 

But Jungkook simply didn’t understand. He whined again, head hanging over the arm of the chair. “We can play hide and seek?”

 

Taehyung glanced up, gaze flickering towards Yoongi. He caught the clench of the elder’s jaw, the way his grip on a pen was just a little too hard.

 

“Kookie, we’re working right now,” he said, voice firm. “Why don’t you go play with Jiminie hyungie?”

 

“He’s in the bath,” Jungkook whined. “And Kookie wants to play with hyungie. He hasn’t seen him in years .”

 

Taehyung couldn’t help but smile a little at the exaggeration. “Don’t be dramatic. You saw him a few days ago.”

 

“That’s forever ,” Jungkook insisted. He turned his gaze back to Yoongi, smiling cutely. “Kookie missed you, hyungie.”

 

Yoongi glanced at the paper in his hand, having been trying in vain to reread the same line for the past two minutes. “Jungkook, please—”

 

“Can we pleeease play? Just for ten minutes!”

 

Yoongi took another deep breath. He doesn’t know any better.

 

“We can play with stuffies! O-or, if hyungie’s tired, we can watch a movie!”

 

It’s not his fault. He doesn’t know any better.

 

Taehyung frowned. “Kook, that’s enough.”

 

Jungkook pouted. “Jinnie hyungie? Can we play?”

 

Seokjin glanced up from the pile of work he’d been engrossed in, looking startled at the sudden inclusion to the conversation. “Huh? Oh—”

 

“Jungkook, none of us can play right now,” Yoongi said slowly, speaking through grit teeth. “For once, can’t you just go sit somewhere by yourself and be quiet?”

 

Taehyung frowned, glaring at the elder for the sharply spoken sentence. “Hey, hyung, don’t be rude—”

 

“Kookie can be quiet!” Jungkook insisted, interrupted him. He grinned up at his brother. “We can play the quiet game!”

 

“Perfect,” Seokjin said quickly, trying to ease the sudden tension that had taken a seat at the table. “In fact, I think that’s a game we should all play. How about we do that now?”

 

“Okay!” Like a switch flipped, Jungkook fell silent. He was still grinning, clearly pleased to finally be playing something.

 

Taehyung threw the younger an encouraging smile over the surface of the table, wishing they were closer together so he could hold his hand.

 

He settled back into the stack of papers in front of him, however, and soon enough any thoughts of Jungkook pretty much left his mind.

 

Even Yoongi seemed to relax a little, the stiffness of his shoulders subsiding slightly.

 

The silence broke less than ten minutes later when Jimin walked into the kitchen. The orange-haired man’s hair was damp, fresh out of the shower, and he walked in without a clue as to what the past thirty minutes had entitled.

 

“Hey, Kookie,” he said brightly, heading towards the fridge. He opened it without a glance at Yoongi, not noticing the way his fingers curled tightly around the file in his hand.

 

“Hi, Jiminie hyungie!” Jungkook jumped out of his seat, hopping onto the island in the middle of the room. He swung his legs, bright smile blinding the elder. “Guess what? Kookie was playing a game with hyungies!”

 

“Yeah?” Jimin raised an eyebrow, glancing at the stoic table of men a few feet from them.  “A...work game?”

 

“It was the quiet game,” Jungkook stated matter of factly.

 

Jimin glanced briefly at the tension coiled in his boyfriend’s stiff spine, a sense of understanding hitting slowly. “...Ah. I see.”

 

“But it was boring,” Jungkook continue, voice bright and energetic and just a little too loud. “Can we play something else?”

 

Taehyung glanced again at Yoongi. “Kookie, why don’t you guys go outside? The weather’s nice today.”

 

“That sounds fun,” Jimin said brightly. “Good idea, Tae. You wanna go play in the backyard, sweetheart?”

 

“But Jiminie hyungie just took a bath,” Jungkook said, frowning. “He’ll get dirty.”

 

“Oh, I don’t think—”

 

“Let’s play tag!”

 

Jimin hesitated. “Outside?”

 

“No, silly.” Jungkook jumped off the counter, grinning excitedly.  “Here!”

 

Without warning, he slapped the elder lightly on the arm before sprinting away. “Tag, you’re it!”

 

He circled the table, giggling when Seokjin pretended to put a leg out and nearly trip him as a joke. Taehyung stuck his cheek or for a kiss when he passed by, which he provided without hesitation.

 

When he stopped behind Yoongi, he was flushed and giggling.

 

“Hyungie, Jiminie hyungie’s so slow,” he teased. “Kookie’s not even trying.”

 

Jimin smiled, the action strained. “Kook, let’s go to the living room—”

 

“Ooh, what’s that?”

 

Without warning, Jungkook abruptly reached around Yoongi to grab at something. He was more than likely reaching for the half-eaten breakfast sandwich between Seokjin and his brother, but he never reached it.

 

Yoongi grabbed his wrist and shoved him just a little too roughly backwards. The younger stumbled, eyes widening. He opened his mouth to protest, a pout already forming, but was cut off before he got the chance to speak.

 

“For fuck’s sake , Jungkook!”

 

The younger’s eyes widened, both at the growled tone of the elder and the anger burning behind the words.

 

Taehyung stood up, chair scraping the floor as he pushed it out. “Yoongi hyung—”

 

“Do you have any idea how fucking annoying you are?” Yoongi whirled on the younger with the harshness of a speeding car. “Why can't you just listen ? For once in your life, why can’t you act your fucking age ?”

 

Jungkook took a small step back. He’d fallen silent, gaze lowering to the ground. In fact, he’d ducked his head completely, bangs falling forward to messily hide his face.

 

Taehyung snarled, face darkening with rage. “What the fuck are you—”

 

“I am so sick of him acting like a kid all the fucking time,” Yoongi growled, whirling instead on Taehyung. “He’s not a kid anymore. We all bust our asses in this house, in this gang, and he doesn’t do shit . All he does is whine and act cute, and I’m fucking tired of it.”

 

Jimin rushed over towards Jungkook, expression stiff.

 

“Come on, Kookie. Let’s go, you don’t have to listen to this,” he muttered, placing his hands on the younger’s shoulders and beginning to steer him out of the room.

 

Meanwhile, Taehyung ignored Seokjin’s quiet, calm voice telling him not to do anything rash. He grabbed Yoongi by the collar of his shirt, fisting the fabric, and shoved him against the wall—hard.

 

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” he growled, pure rage vibrating from each syllable. “Why hell fuck would you say something like that? Have you lost your goddamn mind?”

 

Yoongi glowered at him. “He pissed me off. Let go of me, kid.”

 

Anger crackled inside of Taehyung’s chest like a streak of lightning. “Fine,” he gritted out.

 

Without another word, he dropped his hold on the elder’s shirt, and punched him in the face.

 

Yoongi hadn’t taken more than a step before Taehyung proceeded to land the sharp left hook to the elder’s nose. He felt his knuckles connect perfectly with the bone, and the mint-haired man’s face twisted as pain exploded up the bridge of his face.

 

“What the fuck ,” he hissed, hunching over. Blood streamed from his nostrils.

 

Taehyung wiped his knuckles haphazardly on his pants, jaw clenched as he stared at the elder.

 

“You’re an asshole,” he said coldly. “Don’t fucking talk to Jungkook again until you get your shit together.”

 

Seokjin was holding a hand over his mouth, watching the scene in silence with wide eyes.

 

Taehyung didn’t spare a look back, making his way out of the room and down the hall into his bedroom. As he’d expected, Jungkook was sitting on the bed with Jimin, sobbing into the elder’s stomach.

 

Jimin bit his lip when he saw Taehyung approaching.

 

“Yoongi didn’t mean that,” he said quietly. He was stroking Jungkook’s hair, but his gaze was focused on Taehyung.

 

“Doesn’t matter,” Taehyung said stiffly. “He shouldn’t have said it. He crossed a line.”

 

“Yeah,” Jimin said, swallowing. “Yeah, he did.”

 

Taehyung sighed. “Kookie? Come here, baby.”

 

Jungkook sniffed, wordlessly holding his arms out towards the elder.

 

He crawled into Taehyung’s lap once he’d sat on the bed, and the elder hugged him tightly.

 

“I’m sorry you had to hear that, bun,” he sighed, kissing the top of his head. “Just so you know, you didn’t do anything wrong, okay? Your hyung was just in a bad mood and he said some mean things because of it.”

 

“But it’s not your fault,” Jimin repeated firmly. “And none of what he said was true. Do you understand, Kookie?”

 

Jungkook sniffled, face hidden in Taehyung’s stomach. “...Some of it was true,” he said softly. “Kookie’s annoying sometimes.”

 

Jimin and Taehyung exchanged a look.

 

“You see? This. This is why I broke your boyfriend’s nose,” Taehyung said bluntly.

 

Jimin rubbed his forehead wearily. “Kookie, you’re not annoying. Please don’t believe Yoongi. You know how he gets.”

 

Jungkook shrugged, cheek smushed against Taehyung’s shoulder as he moved. “It’s okay. Kookie knows he’s weird. H-he’s big, but he doesn’t act big—”

 

Stop ,” Taehyung interrupted fiercely. “Don’t you dare start with that. You know how I feel about you referring to yourself as weird. You are not weird, Jeon Jungkook. You are perfect. Do you hear me?”

 

Jungkook made a face. “Yes, because TaeTae’s yelling in my ear.”

 

Jimin suppressed a laugh at the unamused look on his friend’s face.

 

“Regardless,” Taehyung continued, voice firm, “promise me you won’t take any of the stupid shit your brother said to heart. Because none of it is true, okay? None of it.”

 

Jungkook shrugged, looking down at his lap with a small frown. “...Okay.”

 

Taehyung glared at him. “Wow, I’m so convinced.”

 

“Leave him alone,” Jimin sighed, standing up. “He says he’s fine, so don’t push it.”

 

Taehyung paused before nodding slightly. “Yeah, I guess.” He ran a thumb gently over the younger’s bottom lip, voice softening. “You feeling okay, baby?”

 

Jungkook smiled faintly. “Mmhm.”

 

“Want me to go hit Yoongi hyung again?”

 

The younger giggled. “No.”

 

Taehyung grinned at the sight of the smile. “Sure?”

 

Jungkook wrapped his arms back around his waist, leaning forward a soft sigh. “Sure. ‘M sleepy, TaeTae.”

 

Jimin ran a hand affectionately through the younger’s hair. “Guess that’s my cue to leave.”

 

“Give Yoongi my regards,” Taehyung said dryly, running a hand absentmindedly up and down Jungkook’s back as he spoke.

 

Jimin glared at him. “Did you actually break his nose?”

 

“You went to med school, didn’t you? Just set it for him.”

 

His friend let out a huffed breath of frustration. “It’s not that simple, Tae!”

 

Taehyung merely shrugged. “Tell him to watch the way he talks to my baby, then,” he muttered, stubbornly unapologetic as he continued humming to the boy in his lap.

 

Jungkook hid a smile at the words.

 

***

 

The next morning, Jungkook was up before Taehyung. That in itself was almost enough to set the elder on edge, but he tried to push any paranoid thoughts aside.

 

He made his way into the kitchen, but the feeling of inexplicable dread returned as he caught sight of Jungkook standing at the kitchen counter, pouring milk into a bowl.

 

“Morning, baby,” he said hesitantly. He took a few steps forward and backhugged the younger, resting his chin on his shoulder. “You need some help?”

 

“It’s just cereal,” Jungkook said brightly. “I got it. You want some?”

 

Taehyung swallowed, mouth dry. “I’m good. You’re, uh…big?”

 

Jungkook’s hand paused mid-pour, before setting the jug back onto the counter. “Uh huh.”

 

“Okay.” Taehyung was quiet for a moment, chewing his bottom lip. “You’re not usually big in the mornings.”

 

The sentiment went unsaid, but they both knew what he meant loud and clear. Jungkook tended to be stressed and quiet when he was big, and spent most of his time little so that he could be as carefree and energetic as the headspace allowed.

 

But Taehyung couldn’t push him. It was his choice, ultimately—something he knew and seemed to be talking full advantage of.

 

“I felt like it today,” he said in response. His tone remained cheerful, but it felt forced.

 

Taehyung sighed. “This wouldn’t have anything to do with what Yoongi said to you yesterday?”

 

“No, it wouldn’t,” Jungkook replied a little sharply. He shrugged Taehyung off of him, moving to set his bowl on the kitchen table. “I just felt like getting out of headspace for a while.”

 

“Okay,” Taehyung said simply. He took a seat at the table across from him, reaching out and grabbing his hand to lace their fingers together. “I’m sorry, bun. Wasn’t trying to be pushy. I was just making sure.”

 

Jungkook smiled faintly. “It’s okay. Aren’t you going to eat?”

 

Taehyung leaned back in his chair. “Nah, I’m not hungry.”

 

Jungkook opened his mouth to respond but was interrupted by the entrance of Jimin. The orange-haired man was yawning as he sleepily entered the room, rubbing at his eyes with one hand.

 

“Morning,” Taehyung said.

 

“Morning,” Jimin muttered. He opened the cabinet, pulling out the waffle mix and setting it on the countertop. “Ah, Kookie, don’t fill up on cereal. I was going to make waffles.”

 

“I’m fine, hyung,” the younger said quietly. “Please, just eat your own breakfast.”

 

Jimin nearly dropped the mixing bowl in his hands. His eyes widened, any remnants of sleep immediately wiped away.

 

“You’re...not little?”

 

The question was clearly directed towards Jungkook, yet he looked at Taehyung while asking it. His expression was dumbfounded.

 

“He felt big,” Taehyung said simply, shrugging.

 

Jimin’s eyebrows furrowed. “Okay. Uh, that’s fine, I guess. Sorry. Just surprised.” He turned hesitantly towards the counter. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat the food you like, right? I’ll make them, it’ll only take a few minutes—”

 

“No.” The elders turned in surprise at the firmness of the statement, raising their eyebrows.

 

Jungkook was staring down at his bowl, frowning. “I don’t want to be a bother. Please, just eat your food. Don’t worry about me, okay? I’m eating.”

 

Taehyung frowned at the choice was words. “You’re not a bother, Kookie. What are you talking about?”

 

It was quiet for a moment.

 

Finally, Jimin nodded slowly. “Alright, then,” he said quietly. “If you’re still hungry after the cereal, let me know, okay?”

 

Jungkook nodded. He didn’t look up.

 

Breakfast was quiet.

 

***

 

Hours had passed, and Jungkook was still big.

 

It hurt, because they all saw him struggling.

 

When Namjoon asked him what movie he wanted to watch, the younger stumbled over his response.

 

“Dis—u-uh. I don’t care.”

 

Taehyung frowned. “Disney? We can put on a Disney movie, if that’s what you want—”

 

“No! No.” Jungkook shook his head firmly, sinking into the couch with a pout. “Namjoon hyung can pick. You guys never pick the movie.”

 

Namjoon’s eyebrows furrowed. “Kook, it doesn’t matter to us—”

 

“It matters to me,” Jungkook said firmly. He looked at the elder pleadingly. “Please? We always watch what I want.”

 

Namjoon exchanged a look with Taehyung, hesitating before nodding. “Yeah, okay. I guess we’ll watch...whatever’s on, then.”

 

That turned out to be a documentary about whales, and Jungkook watched it silently with his head on Taehyung’s shoulder. Namjoon kept glancing back at him, frowning when he saw the younger's eyelids drooping from boredom.

 

But he never asked them to change it.

 

Around lunch time, Seokjin was in the kitchen. Two meals were usually made in the household—whatever was usually cooked, followed by a much more simplified version for Jungkook. There was a full time cook, but Seokjin shooed him away more often than not when he was home, preferring to do things his own way.

 

The elder was humming to himself, apron tied and knife in hand, when Jungkook slipped in.

 

“Hey, hyung.”

 

Seokjin jumped slightly. “Oh, Kookie. You scared me.” He turned, hand to his chest, smiling slightly. “What’s up?”

 

Jungkook was frowning at the assortment of vegetables on the chopping board. “What, um...what are you making?”

 

Surprise flickered through Seokjin at the realization that the younger wasn’t in his usual headspace. He tired not to let it show, however, forcing the smile to stay glued to his face.

 

“Lamb stew,” he replied cheerfully. “Don’t worry, these are going in a separate pot,” he chuckled, gesturing towards the small pile of carrots and onions. “Yours won’t have any vegetables you don’t like.”

 

Jungkook’s frown deepened. “You don’t have to do that, hyung.”

 

Seokjin waved him off. “What are you talking about? It’s no trouble, Kookie, I just put them in separate pots—”

 

“No, really.” The younger took a step forward, voice firm and expression serious. “Don’t. Just leave it, make me whatever you’re making for everybody.”

 

Seokjin’s eyebrows furrowed. “Why? I’ll make you what you like, Kookie. It’s not a big deal—”

 

“It is .” Jungkook surprised the elder by suddenly stepping forward and grabbing a handful of carrots. Before Seokjin could say anything, he turned and dropped them into the large pot on the stove.

 

“Don’t make more work for yourself just because of me,” he muttered. The younger was already leaving the room as he mumbled to himself, ignoring Seokjin. “Don’t bother.”

 

Half an hour later, Namjoon, Seokjin, Jimin and Taehyung sat there watching Jungkook look with badly disguised disgust at the bowl of stew in front of him.

 

“Kook, I can make you chicken nuggets,” Jimin offered. “You don’t have to eat the stew.”

 

The youngest wrinkled his nose at the bowl in front of him, but shook his head. “I’ll eat it,” he muttered.

 

Taehyung lifted his hand to reach for the spoon, only to jerk in surprise when Jungkook grabbed his wrist.

 

“I’ll feed myself,” he said quietly.

 

They all watched him eat a spoonful, mouth twitching and features pulled into a face. He didn’t say anything, however.

 

They all exchanged looks, but they didn’t say anything, either.

 

There was nothing they could say.

 

A little later, Jimin approached them with a new stuffed animal he’d bought while running errands downtown.

 

“Kookie, look what I found!” The orange-haired man crouched in front of the couch the younger was sitting on, grin wide. “You’ve been looking for a friend for Elephanty, haven’t you?”

 

It was true. Jungkook had been pressing Taehyung to find him another elephant toy, but they were hard to come by.

 

But now Jimin was holding out a soft-looking one with pastel pink fur, and Jungkook’s eyes had widened to the size of saucers.

 

“Wow...” Jungkook breathed.

 

Taehyung laced their fingers together. “Pretty. What should you say to Jiminie hyungie, baby?”

 

The words seemed to snap the younger out of his hypnotic state, and just like that, the expression of pure awe slipped away.

 

“Thanks...hyung,” he said. He didn’t reach for the toy, suddenly avoiding their gazes.  

 

Jimin frowned slightly. “You’re still big?”

 

“Yeah,” Jungkook sighed. The word sounded tired. Exhausted.

 

Taehyung’s heart broke.

 

“You gonna take the toy, bun?” he said quietly.

 

There was small pause of hesitation, before the younger reached out and cautiously accepted the item. He didn’t squeeze it to his chest as he normally would, instead letting it lamely sit on his lap, grip on it limp.

 

Jimin bit his lip. “What, um...what are you gonna name it?”

 

Jungkook’s eyes looked tired. He shook his head slightly, the action barely noticeable.

 

Taehyung swallowed hard. He ran a hand through the younger’s hair. “Kookie? You okay?”

 

“Mm.” Jungkook exhaled, letting his head fall back into the elder’s shoulder. “I’m just a little tired. Thank you, Jimin hyung. I’m sorry I’m not more excited.”

 

“It’s okay, Kookie,” Jimin said softly, expression holding traces of sadness.

 

Jungkook took a deep breath. “What time is it?”

 

“Two,” Taehyung replied. “Why?”

 

“Oh.” Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed. “This day feels long.”

 

Jimin and Taehyung exchanged a look.

 

“You’re usually much more active,” Jimin said softly. “If you want, we can play a game? Pass the time.”

 

Jungkook shook his head again, pressing his lips together. “No, it’s okay. You guys always spend time with me. You should...go do work, or something.”

 

“Yoongi and Hobi are out handling some business,” Taehyung responded. “And Namjoon and Seokjin hyung are working on some stuff in Hobi’s office. We’re free to do whatever you want, baby.”

 

“Plus, we want to,” Jimin added. He smiled. “We like spending time with you, Kookie.”

 

Jungkook bit his lip, staring down at the stuffed animal in his arms. “No, I already take up a lot of your guy’s time. You should—I dunno, rest or something.” He turned to look at Taehyung, smiling faintly. “Tae, you should go out with Jimin hyung. You guys never really get to do anything by yourself. I always end up tagging along.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes flashed. “Yah, that’s not true,” he snapped.

 

Jungkook sighed wearily. “I didn’t mean it in a bad way. Just...go have fun without me, or something.”

 

“I don’t want to,” Taehyung said sharply. “I like when you’re with me, Kook. That’s sort of what boyfriends do.”

 

“Yoongi hyung and Jimin hyung don’t spend all their time together,” the younger shot back. His expression flickered with something almost unreadable—something sad. “Neither do Namjoon hyung and Jin hyung. You only do it cause you have to.”

 

Something in Taehyung’s stomach clenched. “What? No, I don’t. Why would you say that?”

 

“Cause it’s true.” The younger slid off the couch, head down and voice mumbled as he turned to leave the room. “Yoongi hyung was right. You guys do so much for me, and I’m just annoying. I’m a nuisance, and I’m selfish. I take up all your time—”

 

“Hold it right there.” Jimin’s voice was scathing, fiercer than either of them had ever heard it. Jungkook turned to look at him almost subconsciously, eyes a little wide.

 

“You are not a nuisance,” the elder said hotly. “We happen to enjoy taking care of you. Yoy make this place feel more like a family, Kook. We all feel like brothers and parents and everything in between. How dare you ever have the nerve to assume we don’t love being caregivers just as much as you love being a little? What gives you that right?”

 

Jungkook shrank underneath the rant. “I...I didn’t—”

 

“Now, I am sorry for raising my voice,” Jimin continued, still just as fierce, “but I’m hurt that you’d think that way. I love you, okay? Namjoon, Seokjin and Hobi all love you. Your stupid brother loves you, he’s just an idiot who can’t control his temper. But don’t you dare try and tell me you’re annoying or undeserving of our attention, ever , when I know every single person who lives in this house adores you with every fiber of their being.”

 

Jungkook’s eyes were growing damp, and Taehyung reached out to pull him gently onto his lap before the waterworks could start.

 

“Don’t cry, bunny,” he said softly, pressing his lips into the crown of his hair. “But Jimin’s right. It’s no secret our lives are crazy.” He found the younger’s hand and laced their fingers together. “You make everything just a little easier.”

 

“Little Kookie is the only thing that brings a smile to our faces half the time,” Jimin added quietly. “We love you big, Jungkook. We love you little. We love you . All parts of you. We just want you to do what makes you happy.”

 

He tried his hardest to fight against it, but a sob fell past his lips. Jungkook turned his face into Taehyung’s neck, shoulders shaking.

 

Taehyung sighed. He held him, Jimin watching with sad eyes, and sat in silence.

 

The youngest peeled himself away after a few minutes, nose and cheeks red from crying.

 

“I-I need to talk to hyung,” he whispered shakily, eyes shining with tears. “Please. I know y-you guys are right, I know, but I need to talk t-to him—”

 

“I’ll call him right now,” Jimin said firmly.

 

Taehyung brushed the younger’s bangs out of his eyes. “Do you want me to stay in the room when you guys talk?” he asked softly.

 

Jungkook swallowed, sniffed, and shook his head.

 

Taehyung nodded. “Okay, baby. I’m gonna be right in the kitchen, though. You just shout if you need me, yeah? I’ll break his nose again if I have to.”

 

“Stop saying that,” Jimin hissed.

 

Taehyung ignored him.

 

Chapter Text

Yoongi did come home earlier than he was supposed to, at Jimin’s threat of taking the elder’s life if he didn’t. It still took a few hours, though, and the stretch of time left Jungkook a nervous mess by the time he arrived.

 

At the sound of the elder’s motorcycle pulling into the driveway, his fingers dug into Taehyung’s hand so hard he winced.

 

“I can stay, baby,” his boyfriend said, grimacing. “Really. You don’t have to do this alone.”

 

“No,” Jungkook said, chewing his bottom lip. “I have to. I, um...need to.”

 

Taehyung was quiet. “Okay. If you’re sure.”

 

The door unlocked. Jungkook’s breath hitched, and he cast a quick look at Taehyung. The elder held his hands up. “I’m going, I’m going.”

 

He pressed a firm kiss to the younger’s mouth first, lips lingering for a moment as he whispered against them. “Take your time, baby. I love you, yeah? I’ll always love you.”

 

Jungkook’s lips twitched with a small smile as he pulled away. “I love you, too.”

 

Taehyung left at the same time as Yoongi entered, and the younger felt himself visibly stiffen.

 

His brother didn’t look particularly emotional when he walked in. He didn’t really look at Jungkook at all, simply made his way towards the couch and sat down with a quiet sigh.

 

There was an uncomfortable stretch of silence.

 

“Say it,” Yoongi finally muttered.

 

Jungkook swallowed, mouth dry. “What...do you think I’m going to say?”

 

His brother finally looked up at him, and it startled the younger to see his eyes were damp.

 

“Say that you hate me,” Yoongi whispered. “That I’m a shitty brother. That you never want to talk to me again.”

 

“Hyung,” Jungkook whispered fervently, shock clenching his chest. “I-I don’t hate you. You’re not a bad brother.”

 

Yoongi hunched over, elbows resting on his knees, and clenched his hands into his hair. “Jungkook, I was horrible. The things I said—”

 

“Were horrible,” Jungkook interjected firmly. “That doesn’t make you horrible.”

 

Yoongi shook his head, running a hand tiredly over his face. “It’s the same fucking thing.”

 

Jungkook leaned back. He’d been sitting on the edge of the couch, and despite wanting to reach out and comfort his brother, he didn’t move forward. Instead, he drew his knees up and hugged them to his chest.

 

He rested his chin on his knees and stared at the carpet, thinking.

 

“Did you mean it?”

 

Silence.

 

Yoongi’s jaw clenched. He stared at the carpet, too, features stoney. “Kook—”

 

“Did you mean it, hyung?” Jungkook repeated firmly. “That you’re...sick of me acting like a kid all the time.” He chewed the inside of his cheek, tasting blood. “All I do is—is whine and act cute. And you’re tired of it. That’s what you said. Did you mean it?”

 

His brother closed his eyes.

 

“I need to know,” Jungkook whispered, voice shaking. “It’s okay if the answer is yes. It’s okay, I just—I need to know.”

 

They still weren’t looking at each other, couldn’t seem to make eye contact. Yoongi wasn’t looking at anything at all, actually, with his eyes still tightly closed and his hands coming up to cover his face.

 

“Of course not,” the elder groaned. “Of course I didn’t fucking mean it.”

 

Jungkook hugged his knees tighter, wished he could curl up into himself and disappear. “I don’t believe you.”

 

And his brother finally turned, finally dropped his hands away from his face and turned to look at him. He was crying, a few tears slipping down his cheeks as he clenched his jaw.

 

“Jungkook,” he said fiercely, “I didn’t . I say things I don’t mean when I’m angry, you know that. I was tired, and you were being annoying so I just snapped—”

 

“But I wasn’t being annoying,” Jungkook burst out, starting to cry himself. He looked tearfully at the elder, expression angry and words burning. “That’s what I’m always like. I’m always like that, so if you think that was annoying then you think I’m annoying. So you did mean it, then—”

 

No ,” Yoongi argued vehemently. “Me finding you annoying is very fucking different from me being sick of you. Everyone finds their siblings annoying, okay? It’s not because you act little, Jungkook. That has nothing to do with it. I find you just as annoying when you’re big.”

 

Jungkook glared at him. “I’m already crying.”

 

Yoongi laughed, the sound short. “I’m sorry. I’m just—do you get what I’m saying? You piss me off, Kookie, but so what? What little brother doesn’t drive their hyung crazy sometimes? I still love you.”

 

Jungkook sniffed, shaking his head and returning his gaze to the floor. “So it’s...nothing to do with me being little, then?” His voice had lost all of its previous fire, and now it sounded as small as he felt. “You don’t hate me...when I’m little?”

 

His brother’s expression softened. “I don’t hate you, ever. Least of all when you’re little, Kook.”

 

The younger swiped at his nose with his sleeve. “...Promise?”

 

Yoongi’s lips twitched with the ghost of a smile. “Swear to god.”

 

Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed with a petulant look. He was quiet for a moment, the tears on his cheeks drying.

 

“I’m sorry Tae broke your nose,” he mumbled.

 

Yoongi grimaced at the reminder. “I deserved it.”

 

Finally, a small smile lifted the younger’s lips. “Yeah. You did.”

 

Yoongi leaned forward, sighing. “I’m sorry, Kook. Jimin’s been texting me all day about how you’ve been forcing yourself to be big. Because of what I said.”

 

Jungkook’s pout deepened, eyes flickering with sadness. “I don’t want to be a nuisance. It’s—that’s always been my biggest fear with acting little. You guys all have to take care of me all of the time, and I just...I don’t want to be a burden.”

 

“You’re not,” Yoongi said softly. “We love taking care of you, Kook.”

 

“That’s what Jimin hyung said,” the younger sighed, sniffling. “But how am I supposed to know you guys aren’t just saying that to make me feel better?”

 

“Trust us,” Yoongi said firmly. “Jungkook, we love you. All of us. Yah, everyone has been freaking out all day because of how stressed you’ve been. We all just want you to be happy, Kook. Big, little—it doesn’t fucking matter, okay? Whatever makes you happy.”

 

The younger buried his face into his knees. “Tae makes me happy. You guys make me happy.”

 

Yoongi paused. “Being little…”

 

His brother sniffed, voice quiet. “...Makes me really happy.”

 

“Then don’t stop,” Yoongi sighed. “I’m sorry, Kookie. I fucked up, didn’t I?”

 

“No,” Jungkook mumbled. He lifted his head, looking at his brother. “It’s okay, hyung. I’m glad we talked about this.” He grimaced. “Even if you had to yell at me for the conversation to happen.”

 

It was Yoongi’s turn to wince. “I’m sorry. If it makes you feel better, Jimin yelled at me for two hours while he was fixing my nose.”

 

Jungkook smiled a little at the comment. “Does it still hurt?”

 

“Sort of.” His brother’s hands drifted over the area. “It would hurt less if Seokjin didn’t hide all our pain relieving cream.”

 

“Why did he do that?”

 

“...He said it was my punishment for yelling at his favorite maknae.”

 

Jungkook burst into laughter at that. “I’m the only maknae.”

 

“Therefore the favorite.” Yoongi smiled, eyes glinting. “I told you all your hyungs love you. They’ve all been cursing me out in the groupchat ever since last night, you know.”

 

“In the—you guys have a groupchat?” Jungkook practically pounced forward, any remnants of anger dissipating as his eyes widened to the size of saucers. “Without me?”

 

Yoongi froze. “Um...no.”

 

“Hyung!”

 

“Yah, brat, don’t yell at your hyung—”

 

“This is so unfair. I’m telling Tae on you guys.”

 

“...”

 

“Tae is apart of it, too?”

 

“...No?”

 

Jungkook’s jaw fell. “ Tae !”

 

True to his word, the elder had been waiting in the next room, one ear open while he talked with Jimin. At the sound of his name being yelled, they both looked at each in surprise for a split second before jumping up and into the room.

 

Jungkook glared at his boyfriend as he skidded inside.

 

“What? What is it?” The elder looked slightly frantic, gaze running quickly over his boyfriend for any cause for concern.

 

Jungkook’s face was flushed, clearly upset about something. “You guys have a groupchat without me?”

 

Taehyung blinked. “...What?”

 

“Don’t play dumb!” The younger jumped up, pout tugging at his lips. “I wanna see! How come I’m not apart of it?”

 

“It’s, um.” Taehyung glanced at Yoongi, who merely shrugged helplessly. “It’s for gang stuff, baby. You’re just gonna find it boring, really—”

 

Jungkook’s lower lip was starting to tremble. “I just wanna see,” he whined. “Please? Why can’t I see?”

 

Taehyung looked at Jimin, who was biting back a smile. “Honestly, just show him. It’ll be funny.”

 

Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Why would it be funny?

 

With a groan, Taehyung begrudgingly slipped his phone out of his pocket and unlocked it. They all watched as he muttered under his breath while scrolling through his messages, looking for the group.

 

He clicked it and handed the device to the younger, who grabbed it eagerly.

 

“Jungkookie’s Hyungies?” He read the title aloud slowly, a blush starting to form on his cheeks as his eyes skimmed the screen’s contents, scrolling up to read messages from the day before, a few days before, even a week old.

 

Three Days Ago

 

Seokjin: jungkookie looked so sweet today :(

 

Jimin: aigoo i know in his favorite skirt T_T

Jimin: he kept dancing around the house it was so cute ugh my heart

 

Yoongi: you guys baby him too much

 

Hobi: who bought him that skirt again, yoongi?

 

> Yoongi < left the chat.

 

Jimin: jkfjds stop bullying my boyfriend knobby knees

 

Hobi: so for future reference are you guys EVER gonna let that go or

 

Taehyung: yah

Taehyung: how come every time i open this chat its to all of you guys talking about jungkook

Taehyung: go fawn over your own boyfriends

 

>Jimin< added > Yoongi< into the chat.

 

Namjoon: tae, ill fawn over jin if you want

Namjoon: he has the plumpest lips ever gifted by god to a man <3

 

>Yoongi< left the chat.

 

Jungkook handed the phone back to Taehyung hurriedly. “You guys are weird,” he whined, face red as a tomato. “Why are there pictures of me sleeping in there?”

 

“Because you look so cute,” Jimin gushed, pressing a hand to his chest dramatically. “Did you see the one of you in your princess costume? It’s the group profile pic.”

 

Jungkook hid his face in Taehyung’s chest. “You’re all so embarrassing,” he whined.

 

Taehyung chuckled, rubbing the younger’s back soothingly. “We told you you wouldn’t want to see it.”

 

Yoongi stood up, reaching for Jimin’s hand and lacing their fingers together. “I told you, Kook. All your hyungs adore you.”

 

“Yeah,” Jungkook mumbled, making a face. “Maybe a little too much.”

 

“Rude,” Jimin said, frowning. “I happen to think it’s the perfect amount of love and appreciation for the world’s biggest baby boy.”

 

The younger’s face flushed all the way down to his neck, even the tips of his ears glowing red. “Stop,” he whined, face ducking back into Taehyung’s shirt. “I get it. I’m sorry for doubting you.”

 

“Good,” Jimin said firmly. “Now, if we’re done here,” he turned to Yoongi and raised an eyebrow, “can you please tell Seokjin you apologized to Kook so he’ll tell me where he hid the damn first aid kit?”

 

***

 

Later that day…

 

Jimin: jin hyung this is ridiculous

Jimin: what do you mean you cant find it

 

Seokjin: what do you mean what do i mean

Seokjin: idr where i put

 

Jimin: HOW CAN YOU NOT REMEMBER

Jimin: my poor yoonie’s nose :(

 

Namjoon: maybe next time he shouldnt piss off tae

 

Hobi: oof

Hobi: or yell at kookie

 

Namjoon: tea

 

Hobi: tea

 

Seokjin: tea

 

>Jimin< left the chat.

 

Chapter Text

“Taking it so well, Kookie, s-so—ah, f-fuck.”

 

Taehyung groaned, punctuating the sound with another languid roll of the hips. His boyfriend moaned beneath him, fingers twisting the sheets as the elder continued drilling into his swollen opening.

 

“S-such a good boy,” Taehyung panted. His head dipped forward, dropping a kiss on the sweaty skin of Jungkook’s shoulder.

 

Jungkook shuddered at the praise, his stomach warm from the words and tense from an approaching orgasm. His hips kicked forward to meet the elder’s thrusts, whimpering at the feeling of Taehyung’s cock brushing against his prostate.

 

“C-come,” he whined, desperation slipping into the words. “Come, TaeTae, p-please—”

 

“I’m almost there, baby boy,” Taehyung groaned. “Almost—f-fuck. Shit, almost—”

 

His back arched at the effort of one last, sharp thrust. Jungkook let out a yell at the sudden movement.

 

“Such a pretty little slut,” Taehyung muttered. His mouth moved against the younger’s collarbones. “So fucking desperate, baby. God.”

 

And Jungkook—Jungkook froze.

 

He suddenly couldn’t breathe, throat closing up without warning as his mind reeled.

 

Pretty little slut.

 

Little slut.

 

Slut.

 

The younger blinked quickly, rapidly, feeling tears starting to brim.

 

“R-red,” he choked out. A sob broke the word halfway through, and he barely managed to get it out again, feeling hysteria bubbling up his throat. “Red. Red, red—”

 

“Jungkook?”

 

Taehyung’s hands were framing his face, thumbs brushing away tears. “Jungkookie, look at me. Baby. Hey, look at me—”

 

The younger was was shaking his head, moving quickly and jerkily and unsure of what he was really even doing. “S-stop, red—”

 

“Hey, ssh. Ssh, it’s okay. It’s okay, baby. We stopped. We stopped, okay? I’ve got you. Red. I hear you. We’re done. Okay?”

 

Taehyung’s voice was soft, gentle. The words coaxing. He didn’t allow an ounce of the alarm he felt to taint his voice, staying calm in an effort to reassure the frantic younger falling apart beneath him.

 

Jungkook sobbed, blinking through his tears. “W-why—why did TaeTae say—” He choked on another sob. “S- slut . Kookie’s not—t-that’s, t-that’s not—”

 

“You’re not,” Taehyung whispered. He was still holding his face, still cupping the younger’s cheeks as he murmured to him. “Of course you’re not. Never. I’m so sorry, bunny. I didn’t mean that. Of course I didn’t mean that.”

 

Jungkook whimpered, trembling like a leaf. “ Not , ‘m not—”

 

“You’re not,” his boyfriend agreed firmly. “I hear you, Kookie. Okay, baby? I hear you.”

 

His head was still swimming. He couldn’t explain it, couldn’t understand himself why his chest felt like someone had placed it in a meat grinder.

 

He knew Taehyung hadn’t meant it. And yet he couldn’t shake it, couldn’t shake the horrifying idea that he wasn’t good enough all of a sudden. He wasn’t used to not being praised, to not being told he wasn’t perfect and good and precious.

 

He wasn’t a slut. He wasn’t .

 

The tears started all over again, and he was inconsolable. Taehyung steeled himself for another round, never moving an inch.

 

“Jungkookie. Baby boy. My soft, good, beautiful, kind baby bunny,” Taehyung whispered, eyes warm and sad. “You are so, so perfect, baby. You’re so perfect and pretty and amazing, I promise. I love you, yeah? Love you so much. You’re such a good boy, Jungkook. Always. Always my good boy, yeah?”

 

Each word, little by little, was like a bandage. He felt himself growing lighter through the whispered laundry list of praises, chest relaxing as the minutes ticked by. Slowly, it was getting easier to breathe.

 

He let out a whimper, feeling a stray tear slip its way out.

 

Taehyung’s thumb brushed it away.

 

He placed a soft, chaste kiss on the younger’s nose.

 

“My precious boy,” the elder whispered. “You’re doing so good, Kookie. Always do so good for me. Just take a deep breath, baby. Just like that.”

 

His chest wavered as he exhaled.

 

It still felt strange. He still felt dizzy, confused. Upset. He wanted to be held and left alone at the same time, wanted praise and warmth while simultaneously craving silence and solidarity.

 

But Taehyung’s gaze was so soft, and his words so gentle. And he was saying all the right things, all the things he hadn’t even known he needed to hear until each word was like a physical tug back into reality.

 

Back into the reality of their bedroom. Where their legs were tangled and the sheets were still messy, and their sweaty bodies were still pressed against each other.

 

Jungkook let out a long, shuddering sigh.

 

He was quiet for a long time.

 

“Say it again.”

 

They were barely whispered words but Taehyung heard them right away, and he felt his features soften.

 

“My baby,” he repeated quietly, thumbing at the younger’s bottom lip gently. “My good boy. So perfect and sweet, Kookie. So good. I love you.”

 

The younger sniffed, face crumpling. “N-not...not a—”

 

“No,” Taehyung said firmly. “Never.” He moved closer, lips pressed to the younger’s temple, sighing softly against the skin. “I’m so sorry, baby. You’re not...that word. Never have been. I’m sorry, yeah? It was my mistake. I don’t know why I said it, bunny. I didn’t mean it. I’m so sorry.”

 

Jungkook finally moved, arms coming up to wrap tightly around Taehyung’s shoulders. The elder felt relief wash over him at the action, instinctively moving just a little closer.

 

He ran his nose along the top of the younger’s cheekbone. “Doing so good, bunny. Deep breaths.”

 

Jungkook had his face ducked into the crook of the elder’s shoulder, and he seemed to be inhaling his scent. The familiar muskiness of his boyfriend was like a weight dragging him back to earth, back to Taehyung. He could feel his toes uncurling as the tension eased out slowly.

 

He shuddered. “I-I…” He sniffed. “S-sorry,” he whispered shakily, eyes still damp. “ ‘m sorry.”

 

“For what?” His boyfriend shook his head, pressing a kiss to the corner of his mouth. “Nothing to be sorry for.”

 

Jungkook closed his eyes. He was quiet again, and Taehyung followed suit. Didn’t push anything. Let him come back at his own pace, hands running soothingly up and down his arms, lips dropping the occasional comforting kiss every now and then on some part of his face.

 

When he opened his eyes again, he let out a long, shaky breath.

 

“...Water?”

 

Taehyung’s eyes glinted with badly hidden relief. “Of course, baby.”

 

He helped him sit up, brought the water bottle from their bedside table over, and tilted it to his lips. The liquid was like a physical blanket being draped over him. He felt stronger. Better.

 

Stupider.

 

Humiliation washed over him as the elder turned to place the bottle back.

 

Tears were pricking his eyes again, and he could see a flash of worry on Taehyung’s face when he realized.

 

“I-I’m sorry,” he practically sobbed. “I-I don’t know w-why—”

 

“Hey, hey.” His boyfriend moved closer, hands coming up to frame his face. “Kookie, stop. You don’t have to apologize.”

 

“It’s not even—I don’t even care ,” the younger moaned. He hunched over, dropping his face into his hands. “I don’t even care if you call me a slut. I-I don’t know why—” A shuddering inhale. “—w- why that happened.”

 

He looked up, blinking through tears at the elder, and grabbed blindly for his shirt. “I just felt bad ,” he whispered. “I-I felt so b-bad, like—I don’t—I-I can’t even explain . I don’t get it, I—”

 

“Stop,” Taehyung said. The words were soft, but his tone was firm. “Stop.”

 

Jungkook rubbed at his eyes, sniffling. “I’m so sorry.”

 

Taehyung sighed. “For what? Jungkookie, I’m not mad.”

 

The younger let out an involuntary whimper. “You should be. You looked so scared.”

 

“I was,” Taehyung said quietly, gaze soft. “But it wasn’t your fault. You were in headspace, bunny. Little and submissive.”

 

He gently pulled Jungkook’s hands away from rubbing his eyes, lacing their fingers together.

 

“You like praise, Kookie,” he said softly, looking at him seriously. “Especially when you’re little. And especially when you’re feeling subby.” A small, sad smile. “When I insulted you, it must have triggered something. It’s not your fault, baby. It’s mine.”

 

“No,” Jungkook gasped, immediately moving closer. “No, it isn’t. You didn’t know.”

 

Taehyung swallowed, remorse swimming in his eyes. “You’ve never responded well to degrading or insults. I don’t know why that slipped out. I don’t know what I was thinking—”

 

“You were in headspace, too,” Jungkook argued fiercely. He tugged their joined hands onto his lap. “You can’t just use that as an excuse for me. You were in dom headspace. Or...whatever.”

 

His boyfriend’s lips twitched with a smile. “That doesn’t excuse—”

 

“It does,” Jungkook said firmly.

 

Taehyung looked at him expressionlessly. He paused for a moment, before giving a faint nod.

 

“Okay,” he said softly. He squeezed the younger’s hands gently. “So it’s no one’s fault. A mistake. And now we know. Yeah?”

 

Jungkook’s shoulder sagged, exhaustion settling deep in his muscles like an ache. “Now we know.”

 

His boyfriend leaned over, kissed him softly. “And I wasn’t just saying those things to pull you out of headspace. You are my baby. My good, perfect, beautiful baby boy.”

 

“Shut up,” Jungkook mumbled, cheeks flushing. He tried to fight back a smile, but it won over in the end.

 

With a sigh, he moved to rest his head on the elder’s shoulder. “Thank you,” he whispered. “Love you, Tae.”

 

“Love you so much, bun,” his boyfriend murmured. “How are you feeling? Still thirsty?”

 

Jungkook hesitated. “I’m...um, actually sort of hungry.” He looked up sheepishly, smiling  

 

Taehyung laughed gently. “So am I.”

 

The smile morphed into a cautious grin. “Midnight dinner?”

 

“Sounds like a plan to me.”

 

***

 

The kitchen was unexpectedly cold, and Taehyung yelped when his bare feet were met with the freezing tile.

 

“Here.” Balancing himself on one leg, Jungkook slipped off a sock and held it out towards the elder.

 

“I’m not taking your socks,” the elder scoffed.

 

“Not socks.” Jungkook giggled. “Sock. We’ll both wear one. Both be half cold.”

 

Taehyung blinked. “That’s...the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” he laughed. But he found himself reaching out to grab the sock, and he slipped it on. They both grinned at each other, shivering slightly as one foot stayed bare on the icy tile.

 

Jungkook warmed up the stew they’d had for dinner, while Taehyung pulled out a few vegetables for a quick salad.

 

It probably wasn’t a good idea, eating such a large meal right before bed, but neither one seemed to care. Jungkook hummed to himself as he moved around the area, pulling bowls out of cupboards and spoons from drawers.

 

“What song is that?” Taehyung asked after a moment, having tried in vain for long enough to recognize the tune. He knew he knew it, but his mind seemed to be too tired to locate the information at the time.

 

Jungkook paused for a moment, about to pour a spoonful of stew into a bowl.

 

A small, almost bashful smile twitched his lips, and he ducked his head a little until his bangs fell into his eyes.

 

“Elvis Presley,” he said softly. His eyes lifted to the elder’s face, and they were warm. “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

 

Taehyung huffed out a laugh. “Cheesy.”

 

“It’s a good song,” Jungkook defended.

 

The elder was already moving forward, and he wrapped his arms around his waist, resting his chin on Jungkook’s shoulder.

 

“Wise men say,” he murmured. “Only fools rush in.”

 

The younger could feel his cheeks grow warm.

 

But he only smiled a little wider, and continued his pouring the stew into bowls, humming the rest of the tune as Taehyung continued to sing it softly into his ear.

 

“But I can’t help falling in love with you.”

 

Chapter Text

 

Ding dong.

 

Jungkook padded towards the foyer, socked feet quiet on the wooden floorboard.

 

Obedient to the many times he’d been told to do so before opening the door, he peeked through the peephole before unlocking it. The door swung open to reveal a somber looking GD standing on the front porch, hands in his pockets and expression serious.

 

The gang leader’s eyebrows lifted at the sight of the younger standing there and an easy grin immediately stretched his lips.

 

“Hey, Jungkookie!” He held out a hand for a high five, which Jungkook supplied with a giggle. “How you been doing, kid? Haven’t seen you in ages. Have you been behaving for your hyungs?”

 

“Uh huh,” Jungkook responded, smiling cutely. “Kookie’s always a good boy.”

 

“Good, glad to hear it.” GD smiled back. “Hey, is Hobi home? I wanted to ask him something real quick. I could have called, but I was nearby so I figured I’d drop in.”

 

“Um, he’s with Joonie hyungie and TaeTae,” Jungkook responded dutifully, ticking his fingers off one by one. “Doing work stuff. And hyungie and Jiminie hyungie are on a date. And Jinnie hyungie is s’posed to be playing with Kookie, but he’s tired so he took a nap.”

 

GD frowned as the younger concluded the summary with a shrug, hands dropping to his sides.

 

“You’re home alone?”

 

“Not alone.” Jungkook shook his head, waving aimlessly towards the fence surrounding the huge front yard. GD glanced briefly at the row of armed guarded lining the property, almost rolling his eyes at the sight. If there was one Kkangpae was known for, it was its protectiveness over their maknae.

 

“But alone, as in no one is with you?” he amended.

 

The younger paused thoughtfully before nodding. “Jinnie hyungie’s napping,” he repeated. The statement was punctuated with a slight pout, and the sight made GD’s heart clench.

 

“Hey, well, I have an idea,” he said brightly. “I’m not doing anything for the next few hours. Why don’t I take you out somewhere?” He grinned. “Shopping?”

 

Jungkook’s eyes widened, gasping. “Shopping?”

 

“If your hyungs are cool with it,” the gang leader added. “Can you call one of them and ask?”

 

The younger’s excited grin immediately slipped away. “Kookie doesn’t have a phone.”

 

“Hm.” GD furrowed his eyebrows thoughtfully before snapping his fingers. “I got it. I’ll text Hobi and let him know.”

 

“Yay!” Jungkook gasped. He bounced on his feet, eyes bright and bunny-toothed smile radiant. “GD hyungie’s the best !”

 

The elder tried to ignore the way his stomach fluttered a little at the compliment. He couldn’t resist the urge to reach out and ruffle the younger’s hair affectionately, laughing. “Go grab your coat. It’s chilly.”

 

“Okay!”

 

He gave the younger a few minutes to took slip inside and change. Jungkook decided almost immediately he wanted an entirely new outfit, and ended up tossing a mess of skirts and shirts onto the floor of his bedroom before settling on a decision.

 

In the end, he picked a soft white sweater paired with a cream colored jacket over it. He matched it with a light pink skirt and, after some debate and a reluctant sigh, a pair of white tights. (He’d already been scolded for wearing skirts when it was starting to get cold out, so he figured this was a good compromise.)

 

He left the mess of clothing scattered around the bedroom the way it was. After all, he was sure he’d have plenty of time to come home and clean it up before any of his hyungs got back.

 

GD was leaning against his car when the younger skipped his way down the front steps, scrolling through his phone. He pocketed the device at the sight of him, looking surprised.

 

“You changed?”

 

“Uh huh!” Jungkook gave a quick twirl, smiling. “Kookie was wearing a house skirt. This is a shopping skirt.”

 

GD scratched the back of his head. They looked the same to him, but he decided not to remark on it.

 

“Alright, kid,” he chuckled, holding the door open. “After you.”

 

Jungkook giggled at the gesture, sliding into the sleek sports car with practiced ease. He was pretty sure Jinnie hyung used to own one similar to the expensive model.

 

“Where are we going?” he asked, waiting patiently for GD to start the engine. His hands were folded neatly in his lap, seatbelt buckled and ankles crossed.

 

GD glanced at him and had to bite back a smile. “I was thinking the shopping center off main.”

 

Jungkook’s face lit up. “Ooh! The super duper big one!”

 

“Yeah, so you have to stick close,” GD warned firmly. “I’m going to have a few guards trailing us, too, if that’s okay.”

 

Jungkook shrugged. “TaeTae always does that.”

 

“Good,” GD said firmly. He grinned, winking. “Gotta protect the maknae.”

 

The younger only grinned in response.

 

***

 

Seokjin woke with a start, immediately clutching his throbbing cheek with a groan.

 

His gaze flickered upwards to land on a sheepish looking Namjoon, who smiled innocently. “I totally didn’t mean for that to hit you in the face.”

 

Seokjin glanced at the soda can by his feet and rolled his eyes. “Where did you mean for it to me?”

 

His boyfriend gasped in mock offense as he sat up and stretched, groaning.

 

“I didn’t mean for it to hit you at all,” Namjoon muttered, sidling up to him and wrapping his arms around the elder’s waist. “I was aiming for the trash can.”

 

“Your aim sucks,” Seokjin said, but there was no bite to insult. He hummed as Namjoon pressed their lips together, the fog of sleep lifting from his mind as his boyfriend dug his fingers into his waist.

 

“Hey, where—ugh, get a room.”

 

They pulled apart at the comment, Seokjin glaring at Taehyung where he stood in the doorway.

 

“We’re actually in a room,” he huffed. “ Our room. What do you want, Tae?”

 

The younger held his hands up in apology. “Sorry, sorry. Should’ve knocked.” He dropped his hands to his sides. “I was just wondering where you put Kook down. He’s not in our room.”

 

Seokjin stared at him. “What?”

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow. “You put him down for a nap, right? I assumed he was asleep because he didn’t jump on me when we all got home.”

 

A horrible feeling was starting to snake its way up the elder’s spine.

 

“He...didn’t?”

 

Taehyung’s eyes narrowed. “No. Hyung, why are you looking at me like that?”

 

“I…” Seokjin winced. “Oh my god, I fell asleep while he was watching tv. He’s not in the living room?”

 

“The—what the fuck, no .” Taehyung’s eyes immediately flashed, anger and worry warring for control as the younger spun on his heel right away. Seokjin and Namjoon weren’t far behind, and all three of them came to a stop inside the living room.

 

To elaborate, the empty living room.

 

“What the fuck?” Taehyung whirled on Seokjin, who clamped a hand over his mouth. The elder looked pale as he took in the still blaring television, rolling the credits to The Little Mermaid.

 

“He was right here,” he whispered. “Did you check all the rooms?”

 

“Yes,” Taehyung growled. “We’re checking again. All of us. Namjoon, get Hobi.”

 

“On it.” The elder grimaced, squeezing his boyfriend’s hand reassuringly. “It’ll be okay, Jin. We’ll find him. I’m sure he’s just hiding or something. Probably thinks it’s a game.”

 

“Right,” Seokjin replied shakily. “Yeah, I know. You’re probably right.”

 

A muscle in Taehyung’s jaw twitched as he worked it. “You better hope he’s right, hyung.”

 

***

 

Ooh , this one!”

 

Jungkook disappeared in a flutter of gasps and excited squealing, appearing a few feet away by a different clothing rack in the amount of time it took GD to blink.

 

The elder shook his head, shocked.

 

“How do you do that?” he grumbled, approaching the younger. “Fucking super speed or some shit.”

 

Jungkook lifted the piece that had caught his attention into his arms, ignoring the question. “Is this pretty?”

 

He held up the item to the gang leader, who stared at it, perplexed. “It’s...um, blue?”

 

Jungkook looked unimpressed. “Duh. Would Kookie look nice in it?”

 

He held the sweater against himself, humming thoughtfully.

 

“I think you look nice in everything,” GD suggested unhelpfully.

 

“Me too,” Jungkook agreed happily. He turned and placed the clothing into the arms of a shopping attendant that had been cursed to follow them for the past few hours. The mountain in his arms had grown to be so large he’d had to drop it off at the front of the store already—twice.

 

“Uh, don’t you think that’s enough shopping, Kookie?” GD sighed. “You’ve practically bought out the whole store, kid.”

 

Jungkook pouted. “But Kookie wanted to keep looking.”

 

“...yeah, okay.”

 

“Yay!”

 

The shopping attendant heaved a heavy sigh.

 

***

 

“Wasn’t in the laundry?”

 

“No.”

 

“Backyard.”

 

“No luck.”

 

“Attic.”

 

“...We have an attic?”

 

Taehyung groaned, resisting the urge to bang his head on the table. He settled for burying his face in his arms, folded atop the wooden surface, and muffled a loud scream of frustration.

 

Seokjin was crying. He stood in the corner of the kitchen, shoulders shaking as Namjoon rubbed his arm reassuringly.

 

“I’m sorry,” he repeated. “I swear, I had no idea something like would happen. I just fell asleep for a few minutes . I’m so sorry, Tae—”

 

“Jin, stop apologizing,” Hobi sighed. He ran a hand through his hair, glaring at the floor. “It’s not your fault. Could’ve happened to any one of us.”

 

“Our room is in shreds,” Taehyung muttered, running a hand over his face in exhaustion. “Fucking closet’s ripped apart. It looks like someone took him, guys.”

 

“Who?” Seokjin whispered, voice breaking. “Jeon’s dead.”

 

“Yeah, well we don’t exactly have a shortage of other enemies,” Hobi sighed. “I should call Yoongi.”

 

“And tell him what?” Namjoon snapped. “His brother’s missing and we don’t know a single fucking thing? We can’t call anyone until we have an idea of what’s going on.”

 

“There were no signs of a break in,” Taehyung continued stiffly, jaw clenched as he glared at the tabletop. “The front door was unlocked. How do we know he didn’t just walk out?”

 

“And go where?” Hobi said skeptically. “He can’t exactly drive.”

 

“Someone could have driven him.” Taehyung glanced up then, realization striking him. “ Wait . The guards at the entrance. Didn’t they see anything?”

 

“You're right,” Hobi gasped. “Shit, let’s go.”

 

***

 

All three of GD’s guards smiled at the sight of Jungkook messily licking his ice cream cone, chocolate smeared across his nose and chin as he attacked the treat he’d begged to get.

 

“Boss, he’s so cute,” Daesung groaned. “How come we don’t have a maknae?”

 

“Because all you fuckers are the same age,” GD griped. He handed a napkin to the younger, who blinked at it.

 

Someone behind them cooed.

 

GD cleared his throat. “Kook, you have ice cream on your face.”

 

“Oh.” Jungkook lowered the cone with a sheepish grin and accepted the napkin. It was his first time smiling widely in front of the group, and the reaction was well worth it.

 

Gasps littered the air.

 

“He looks like a bunny !”

 

“Fuck, my heart—”

 

“Oh my god, he’s so fucking adorable—”

 

Jungkook pouted. “Hyungies, no bad words!”

 

GD snickered at the horrified looks on his members’ faces.

 

“I’ll never curse again,” Top said quickly.

 

“Same. I won’t even sigh aggressively,” Taeyang said firmly.

 

The promises had Jungkook giggling. “You guys are silly,” he laughed.

 

Daesung clutched his chest. “Did you hear that? I’m silly .”

 

“He said all of us, for your information—”

 

“Yah, enough .”

 

Three mouths snapped shut at the sight of GD glaring at them. The members all pouted at their feet, heads lowering respectfully.

 

“You guys are annoying,” he muttered. “God, can you stop squealing like idiots for like, one second?”

 

Not noticing the tension, Jungkook suddenly reached across the table and tugged on GD’s sleeve.

 

He turned to see the remnants of a scoop of chocolate ice cream dripping down the younger’s shirt.

 

Jungkook’s eyes had brimmed over, and his bottom lip trembled as he looked at the elder. “K-Kookie didn’t m- mean to—”

 

“Don’t cry!” GD hissed hurriedly. He moved forward, grabbing a handful of napkins. “It’s okay, Kookie. It was just an accident, yeah? Accidents happen.”

 

“T-this is Kookie’s favorite sweater,” the younger hiccuped. His cheeks had flushed as a few tears began slipping down them, and there were audible sounds of shock that cluttered the air. “And now his icecream’s g- gone .”

 

“I’ll go buy some more,” Daesung said quickly.

 

“Buy two this time,” GD ordered. He smiled reassuringly at the sniffling younger. “Hey, see that? You can get more ice cream.”

 

Jungkook whimpered. “B-but my sweater—”

 

“Where’d you buy it?” GD asked gently.

 

The younger paused, eyebrows furrowing thoughtfully. “Uh...Jiminie hyungie got it in Japan.”

 

“Top?”

 

“On it.”

 

The member turned, phone already out and fingers flying as he texted someone, while Taeyang leaned over the table and ruffled Jungkook’s hair comfortingly.

 

“We’ll have a new one for you here in a few hours, kid,” he promised, smiling. “So no more crying. Okay?”

 

Jungkook’s lips parted. “Really?”

 

“Really,” GD said firmly. “So let’s turn that frown upside down, yeah?”

 

The younger let out a surprised laugh, amusement brightening his flushed expression. “Silly. Kookie can’t be upside down.”

 

“Aish, you’re right,” GD said after a dramatized pause. “You sure are smart, Kook.”

 

The compliment had the younger smiling shyly. “Kookie’s super smart,” he bragged softly. “TaeTae tells him so all the time.”

 

“Well, your TaeTae’s definitely right,” Taeyang chuckled. “Oh, look. Daesung's here with your ice cream.”

 

An excited yelp fell past the younger’s mouth at the announcement, and he practically jumped from his seat, making grabby hands towards the elder approaching him with two cones.

 

“I’ll hold this one,” Daesung said, keeping one in his hand as he handed another to Jungkook. He winked. “Just in case.”

 

A huge grin stretched the younger’s face. “Kookie gets two?”

 

“How about you finish one first?” GD chuckled.

 

Top appeared a few minutes later in the midst of them all laughing, conversation flowing comfortably between the gang members and the maknae.

 

“Found the sweater,” he announced, glancing at GD before smiling at Jungkook. “It was from a boutique in Osaka, right?”

 

Jungkook gasped, the cone in his hand teetering with the action. “Uh huh!”

 

“Had a guy fly out. It should be here by tonight.”

 

“Thank you, hyungie!” Jungkook lunged out of his seat to hug the elder.

 

His ice cream landed with an unceremonious splat on the ground as he leapt up, and he pulled apart from the hug with a sheepish expression.

 

“Um...oops?”

 

He gazed at the others with an innocent smile.

 

Daesung shook his head, extending the backup cone. “I’ll go get another two.”

 

***

 

“So you’re telling me a tatted guy with black hair and a nice car just walked up to the house and Jungkook...willingly went him?”

 

“...yes.”

 

Yoongi glared at Taehyung, who responded with an equally stoney-faced expression.

 

“You realize how fucking stupid that sounds.”

 

“I realize ,” Taehyung growled. “But that’s what the guards all said, hyung. Every single one of them said the guy talked to him for a few minutes and Jungkook went back inside, then they left. He looked happy—not like he was being threatened or blackmailed.”

 

“But that description could fit anyone,” Jimin said worriedly, biting his lip. “Every fucking gang member in South Korea has tattoos and a nice car.”

 

“Well, I guess we don’t have to worry if he looked happy, right?” Namjoon said hesitantly.

 

Four indignant expressions turned to glare at him.

 

“We always have to worry,” Yoongi snapped.

 

“We have no clue where the fuck he is,” Taehyung hissed. “How the fuck are we not supposed to worry?”

 

Namjoon shrank back, shoulders hunching. “Sorry,” he muttered. Seokjin wrapped an arm around his shoulders comfortingly.

 

Meanwhile, Hobi shook his head. “I’m gonna go call GD and Suho. Maybe one of their guys dropped by.”

 

Taehyung groaned as the elder left the room, covering his face with his hands.

 

He felt a hand rest on his shoulder.

 

“We’ll find him, Tae,” Jimin said softly. “Don’t stress, okay?”

 

“How can I not stress?” Taehyung moaned. He could feel his throat starting to close up with the threat of tears, and he gritted his teeth to prevent the action. “I have no idea where he is, Jimin.”

 

Just as quickly as the anger appeared, it dissipated, giving resolve to defeat. Taehyung slumped over onto the tabletop, covering his head with his arms.

 

“My baby,” he groaned. “He doesn’t even have a phone . Fuck—”

 

“If he starts crying, I’m leaving,” Yoongi muttered.

 

Jimin glared at his boyfriend, rubbing a hand over his friend’s back. “Be more considerate, Yoongi.”

 

Yoongi scoffed at him. “What? Crying isn’t going to find him, okay? We need to send out a search party, canvas the area—”

 

“Guys?”

 

Hobi stepped into the room, effectively cutting the others off. The gang leader’s face was flushed, features twisted into a strange expression.

 

“Did you find him?” Seokjin asked eagerly.

 

The elder rubbed the back of his neck. “Uh. Funny thing. You see, I went into my office to grab my work cell, which I left in my desk this morning. ‘Cause, you know, I’ve been trying to leave it at home when I go out on business, otherwise I get calls all day and it can be really annoying—”

 

“This story better be fucking going somewhere,” Yoongi cut off sharply.

 

Hobi winced. “GD...sort of texted me.” A pause. “Like, five hours ago.” Another pause. “...Saying he took Jungkook shopping.”

 

There was a split second of silence.

 

“You fucking idiot !” Yoongi exploded, eyes flashing with rage. “We’ve been running around like assholes looking for him, when you’ve had a text on your phone the whole fucking time—”

 

“Does it say where?”

 

Taehyung pushed his chair out, approaching the elder with a completely serious expression. “Did he give you an address?”

 

Hobi shook his head. “He said to call him, if I wanted.”

 

Wanted ?” Taehyung growled. “Give me the fucking phone.”

 

***

 

Jungkook couldn’t stop giggling as Top feigned tripping, pretending to fall dramatically onto the sidewalk before standing back up, brushing himself off, and repeating the act all over again.

 

Daesung rolled his eyes. “The fact that he finds you funny is ridiculous to me.”

 

Top stuck his tongue out. “The fact that he lets you touch him is ridiculous to me.”

 

“Hey, I resent that,” Taeyang said, frowning. “I’m touching him, too.”

 

The two were each holding one of the younger’s hands, keeping him sheltered between them as they walked. GD trailed behind while Top walked slightly ahead, keeping Jungkook amused with his childish antics.

 

“Top hyungie can hold Kookie’s hand, too,” Jungkook said. He’d caught enough of the conversation to be able to understand the elder seemed to be complaining about not touching him, so he dropped Daesung's hand and extended it towards the pink-haired man instead.

 

Top burst out laughing at the shocked look on Daesung's  face.

 

“Thanks, Jungkookie,” he snickered. He nudged his friend aside, taking his place beside the younger and lacing their fingers together.

 

“Hey!” Daesung pouted. “Kookie, what about me?”

 

“Oh.” Jungkook frowned. “Um.” He dropped Taeyang’s hand this time, reaching out towards Daesung.

 

Taeyang made a strangled gasping sound. “Kook! I thought we were friends!”

 

“We are!” Jungkook looked helplessly between the three elders, letting out a frustrated huff of air that blew his bangs momentarily off his forehead. “Kookie only has two hands!”

 

“Aish, leave him alone,” GD sighed. “You guys are so immature.”

 

In response, Top and Daesung stuck their tongues out at him. Their leader glared at them.

 

He looked like he was about to say something, but was cut off by the sound of his phone ringing.

 

Taking a quick glance at the contact before picking up, GD lifted the device to his ear.

 

“Hey, Hobi. Did you get my—”

 

“Your text?” An angry voice cut off, more a growl than anything else.

 

GD frowned. “Taehyung?”

 

Jungkook perked up, turning around immediately at the mention of his boyfriend. “TaeTae?”

 

“Who the fuck texts somebody that they’re taking a person out for the day?” Taehyung continued, voice livid as he spat into the phone. “You could have at least called. We’ve been going crazy looking for him—”

 

“Looking for him?” GD frowned. “Hey, I told you guys where he was. It’s not my fault Hobi doesn’t check his phone.”

 

“Who gave you permission?” Taehyung barreled on, hissing. “You don’t have the right to fucking drop by and just take him out, GD. That’s not okay.”

 

“He wanted to come with me,” GD defended, feeling his jaw clench. “He was alone. It’s not my fault you guys weren’t spending time with the kid. My guys love him. He’s having the time of his fucking life.”

 

Taehyung cursed under his breath. “You know what, just put him on.”

 

GD almost said no, purely out of spite, before forcing himself to remember this was technically the younger’s boyfriend and hyung.

 

Somewhat reluctantly, he lowered the phone from his ear. “Kook? It’s Taehyung.”

 

Jungkook lit up, already wide smile stretching even further as he turned and accepted the device.

 

“Hi, TaeTae!”

 

The line crackled as Taehyung let out a loud sigh. “Oh, fuck. Kookie. Thank god you’re okay.”

 

Jungkook frowned. “Bad word.”

 

In response, Taehyung muttered something under his breath, before loudly saying, “Jeon Jungkook, you are in so much trouble.”

 

The younger blinked, mouth dropping open. “Huh? Why ? Kookie didn’t do anything!”

 

“How could you leave without telling any of your hyungs where you were going?” Taehyung demanded. “Do you have any idea how worried we were? Jin hyung was crying , Jungkook. I was crying!”

 

Jungkook shrank at the rant, whining at the use of his full name. “Kookie didn’t mean to,” he mumbled, bottom lip sticking out petulantly. “He didn’t know it was bad. He just wanted to go shopping!”

 

Taehyung took a deep breath. “This is partly our fault. We should have gotten you a cellphone a long time ago. When you get home, that’s the first thing we’re doing.”

 

“Okay.” The younger sniffed, guilt coursing through him. “...TaeTae cried?”

 

His boyfriend sighed. The anger had faded from his voice, and he just sounded tired.

 

“I was worried,” he said quietly. “I thought someone took you, baby. We were all losing our minds.”

 

“Kookie was just shopping,” the younger repeated meekly, voice small. He paused, pouting. “He didn’t mean to make hyungies cry.”

 

“I know,” Taehyung said softly. “I’m sorry for yelling at you, bun. You didn’t know any better.”

 

He bit his lip. “...’m sorry, TaeTae,” he mumbled regretfully.

 

“It’s okay, bun. We’re not mad, okay? We were just worried.”

 

The thought of his hyungs becoming upset over something he’d done suddenly made his stomach twist, and the younger was hit with an abrupt ache to go back home.

 

“Can hyungie bring Kookie home?” he asked softly, looking at GD with a pleading expression. “Please.”

 

GD nodded immediately, eyebrows pulled together. “Of course, kid. The car’s right down the street.”

 

On the line, Taehyung cleared his throat. “Baby, you don’t have to come back right now if you don’t want to. If you’re having a good time—”

 

“No, Kookie wants to,” Jungkook interrupted, voice firm. He hesitated, smiling slightly. “He misses hyungies.”

 

Behind him, Daesung made an offended sound.

 

“What are we? Chopped liver?” he muttered.

 

Taeyang pouted. “I thought we really bonded with him.”

 

After Jungkook had handed the phone back to GD, he turned to see three men looking at him with affronted expressions.

 

“What about us?” Top had meant it to come out demanding, but the statement sounded more pouty that anything else. He crossed his arms.

 

“Yeah!” Daesung made a sad face. “Aren’t we your hyungs?”

 

Jungkook looked startled. “N-no, you are!” he insisted.

 

“Doesn’t sound like it,” Taeyang muttered. “You’re leaving us.”

 

“Kookie has to go home, though,” Jungkook said, chewing his lip. “Don’t be sad, hyungies. I can visit!”

 

Top whined. “It’s not the same!”

 

GD rolled his eyes, putting a hand protectively on the younger’s shoulder. “Yah, would you all leave him alone? Don’t make him feel bad.”

 

“We have to,” Daesung hissed, faux-whispering. “The plan is to guilt him into spending more time with us.”

 

Their leader gave them an unimpressed look.

 

“What?” Top scoffed. “It’s foolproof.”

 

“Jungkook, let’s go,” GD sighed. “Before I decide to start looking for a new crew.”

 

“Hey!” Taeyang protested.

 

“Say bye to everyone,” GD said, shaking his head.

 

Despite wanting to return to his house and his hyungs, the thought of leaving his new friends made the younger inexplicably sad. He felt his lower lip start to tremble as he looked at them, sniffling. “K-Kookie will miss hyungies.”

 

Daesung's eyes widened. “If he cries, there is nothing stopping me from crying!” he hissed.

 

“GD, take him, quick!” Taeyang hissed. “My face is gonna get swollen!”

 

Top rubbed at his eyes aggressively with his palms. “I can feel the tears forming, fuck—”

 

GD rubbed at his temples. “Okay, Kook. Since these idiots are humanly incapable of acting normal, let’s just go, yeah?”

 

“Bye, Kookie!” Taeyang said, giving him a sad smile and a wave as GD moved to tug the younger away.

 

“Bye!” Jungkook waved back. He was smiling as well, the action bittersweet. “Thank you for taking good care of me, hyungies!”

 

Before turning around, he gave a quick bow, before allowing GD to grab his hand and begin leading them towards the car.

 

The sound of sniffling broke the silence.

 

“My heart feels empty .”

 

“...fucking Kkangpae. Those bastards have no idea how lucky they are.”

 

***

 

GD hadn’t even opened his car door when the front door of the house was thrown open. Jungkook barely had time to step out onto the driveway before he was enveloped into a bone crushing hug.

 

“Jungkookie!” Jimin peppered kisses over the younger’s face, squeezing him hard enough to have him start squirming with discomfort. “Aigoo. Thank god you’re okay.”

 

“You can’t ever do that again,” Seokjin half-sobbed. He pushed aside Jimin to grab the younger into a hug of his own. His entire body was trembling as he clutched him to his chest, letting out a shaky breath. “God. You scared the living shit out of me.”

 

Jungkook decided to let them all do what they needed to do. They all seemed desperate to touch him in some way, to reassure themselves he was in fact in one piece.

 

One by one, he was passed around and smothered by each person. Even his brother hugged him, although he did pull away and smack him lightly on the head afterwards.

 

“Ow!” He pouted up at the elder, holding the back of his head. “Hyungie!”

 

“That’s for giving your hyung a stroke,” Yoongi said curtly. “I’m getting too old to be running after you all the time, brat.”

 

Jungkook’s pout deepened.

 

“Hey, I didn’t bring him back for you guys to abuse him,” GD said lightly. His smile was a little strained as he surveyed the scene, hands in pockets.

 

Yoongi’s hand clamped down just a little too tightly onto his brother’s shoulder. “Thanks for bringing him back,” he said, voice cold. His jaw clenched. “But we should probably talk about what happened.”

 

“Probably,” GD said, grimacing. “I’m sorry for taking him without your permission. I’m sure you were all going insane.” He glanced at Taehyung. “Some more than others.”

 

At the sight of his boyfriend, Jungkook sprung forward, immediately latching onto the elder.

 

He pressed their lips together without warning, fingers curling hard into the front of the elder’s shirt.

 

“Hm.” His nose brushed against Taehyung’s, who opened his eyes to see the younger smiling softly at him. “...‘m sorry for making you sad, TaeTae.”

 

Taehyung smiled back, arms tight around the other’s waist. “It’s okay, baby. Did you have a good time?”

 

“Uh huh!” Jungkook pulled back a little, looking around at everyone as he energetically recounted the events of the day. “Kookie went shopping! He bought lots of stuff. And then he had ice cream. It was really fun.”

 

“I’m glad you had a good time, Kook,” GD said, smiling. He glanced at Taehyung and Yoongi, suddenly looking a little hesitant. “Actually, if it’s okay with you guys, I was thinking maybe we could set up an afternoon once every few weeks for him to come spend with us. My guys really had a blast with him. I’m already getting texts about how much they miss him.”

 

Before Yoongi could open his mouth to respond, Taehyung interrupted.

 

“Why don’t we ask Jungkook?” he said. “He’d be the one going, after all. Should be up to him.”

 

Yoongi’s mouth snapped shut. He glanced at his brother for a moment.

 

“Hey, Kook? You wanna spend more time with GD?”

 

“And all your new friends,” Taehyung added, running a hand through the younger’s hair absentmindedly. “Maybe every other weekend?”

 

Jungkook gasped. “Yeah!” His eyes brightened at the suggestion, a grin stretching across his face. “Daesung hyungie is so nice! And Taeyang hyungie! And Top hyungie is really funny—”

 

“Wait a second.” Namjoon looked at Hobi in alarm. “Are we being replaced?”

 

Hobi shook his head quickly, looking a little bewildered himself. “What? No.” He paused. “No. Wait. What?”

 

“Tae,” Seokjin hissed. “We can’t let him spend more time with them! What if he starts to like them better than us?”

 

Taehyung scoffed. “We’re his hyungs. That won’t happen.”

 

Jimin pouted. “They’re his hyungs, too. I can’t handle hearing him call another group of guys hyungies. It hurts .”

 

“What do you want me to do?” Taehyung said wearily. “Tell him he’s not allowed to make friends because we’re all overprotective and jealous?”

 

“Yes, exactly,” Jimin snapped.

 

“Perfect. Do that,” Seokjin added firmly.

 

Taehyung glared at them.

 

“So it’s settled then?” GD asked, raising an eyebrow. “I’ll text the guys. They’ll be pumped, I’m sure.”

 

“Yay!” Jungkook clapped his hands. “Next time hyungies can buy Kookie three icecreams!”

 

All six members of Kkangpae looked at GD in surprise.

 

“You bought him three ice cream cones?” Seokjin said, disbelief coloring his voice.

 

“What? Oh, look at that, I’m getting a call.” GD began backing away, phone lifted to his ear and a sheepish smile on his face. “Anyways, it was great seeing you guys. Good talk. Ah, sorry for the confusion. Bye Kookie!”

 

With a final flustered breath, the elder slammed his car door shut and revved the engine.

 

Taehyung ran a hand tiredly down his face. “Kook, you’re not tired at all, are you?”

 

“Nope!”

 

Jimin groaned. “He’s gonna have a sugar high in a little while and be bouncing off the walls.”

 

“Freaking Yong gang fuckers,” Seokjin muttered under his breath. “We entrust then with the care of our beloved maknae and this is what they do?”

 

“I’m gonna give them a piece of my mind,” Hobi grumbled.

 

Jungkook shrugged, oblivious to the sudden tension that had risen in the group. “Let’s watch a movie!” he suggested eagerly.

 

“It’s 11 pm,” Yoongi said, frowning.

 

Jungkook pouted. “But...but Kookie wanted to spend time with hyungies!” His lower lip jutted out dramatically. “He missed them.”

 

It was enough to have all of them melting.

 

“Of course we can watch a movie—”

 

“Who cares if it’s late, anyways—”

 

“I’ll get the popcorn—”

 

Taehyung shook his head, trailing behind the group as they filed back into the house, his fingers laced with Jungkook’s.

 

It was almost sad how whipped they all were for him.  

 

***

 

Later that night…

 

> Daesung < sent a picture.

> Daesung < sent a picture.

> Daesung < sent a picture.

 

Jimin: STOP IT

Jimin: WE GET IT HE HAD A GOOD TIME WITH YOU GUYS

Jimin: stop rubbing it in

 

> Taeyang < sent a picture.

Taeyang: he has ice cream on his nose in this one

 

> Jimin < left the chat.

 

Yoongi: fuckers

Yoongi: first of all

Yoongi: dont bully jimin or ill fucking kill you

Yoongi: second

Yoongi: stop taking pictures of my brother

 

Top: ugh but hes so cute T_T

 

Seokjin: we know

Seokjin: we live with him

 

Seungri: oof if i didn’t know better id say kkangpae was jealous •_•

 

Hobi: nothing to be jealous over

Hobi: he’s literally *our* maknae

 

Namjoon: we have adorable pictures of him too

Namjoon: you guys arent special

 

Top: ill believe it when i see it

 

Daesung: ^

 

>Yoongi< added > Jimin< into the chat.

 

Jimin: YOU GUYS THIS IS A TRAP

Jimin: DONT SEND THEM ANYTHING

Jimin: THEYRE JUST GONNA SAVE ALL THE PICS

 

> Namjoon < sent an album > 78 Photos Attached<

> Hobi < sent an album > 65 Photos Attached<

> Seokjin < sent an album > 118 Photos Attached<

 

Yoongi: for fucks sake

 

Namjoon: fuck

Namjoon: FUCK

Namjoon: JIMIN YOU DUMBASS YOU SHOULD HAVE SAID THAT SOONER

 

Hobi: fuck

 

Seokjin: oops

 

Daesung: OH MY GGOD

 

Top: AGFHSPAJFKDS

 

Taeyang: AHHHHH

 

Jimin: FIND YOUR OWN FUCKING MAKNAE TO FAWN OVER

 

Daesung: that one pic of him with the flower crown

Daesung: ugh

Daesung: my skin is clear

 

Top: the ones with the puppy :(

Top: T_T

 

Seokjin: STOP

Seokjin: STOP LOOKING AT THEM

Seokjin: HES OURS

 

Taeyang: not anymore lmao

Taeyang: not on alternating Sundays ~*_*~

 

Daesung:  suck it

 

Jimin: if i add Tae into this group chat do you think he’ll yell at them or at us

 

Namjoon: us

 

Hobi: them

 

Top: all of us

 

Jimin: hmm

Jimin: idc as long as he yells at them

 

>Jimin< added > Taehyung< into the chat.

 

Seokjin: waiT

Seokjin: can he see the chat history

 

Taehyung: ...yup

Taehyung: the fuck

Taehyung: why the literal hell do you all have so many pics of jungkook

 

> Daesung < left the chat.

> Taeyang < left the chat.

> Top < left the chat.

 

Jimin: WHAT THE FUCK

Jimin: THOSE FUCKING PUSSIES

Jimin: WTF

 

Taehyung: ... ok

Taehyung: i was talking to everyone tho

 

> Jimin < left the chat.

> Namjoon < left the chat.

> Hobi < left the chat.

> Seokjin < left the chat.

 

Yoongi: i literally hate everyone

 

Taehyung: hyung

Taehyung: I can see you across the room

Taehyung: saving all the pictures everyone sent

 

> Yoongi < left the chat.

 

Chapter Text

 

Got Me Goin’ Psycho 

 

-Alternate Ending/Continuation to Lover Not A Fighter, But I’ll Fight for What I Love

 

Originally, I had written three endings to Lover Not a Fighter But I’ll Fight for What I Love. The darkest version involved major character death, drug use, torture, dubcon, and a few other extremely intense tags—as opposed to the relatively happy ending in the original.

 

I am going to be publishing this as an alternate ending/continuation to the story. It very well might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but please keep in mind this is an ALTERNATE ending. If you prefer, you don’t have to read it at all. Or you can read it, pretend it never happened, and continue to imagine the original ending as the way it was already resolved. 

 

This version is going to take the characters down a much darker path. I plan on releasing the first part soon. It will be a chaptered story, but the full length has yet to be determined. (More than likely, however, it will be close to the length of Lover not a Fighter.)

 

I hope this mock-sequel garners the same support as its predecessor, and, as always I encourage everyone to remember that even if a fic might not be particularly to their liking, never be rude. Some of you might appreciate this darker version, while others prefer the fluffy side of the characters. (In which case, to any who haven’t, I strongly recommend checking out Ain’t Nobody Takin My Baby, the drabble collection.)

 

Anyways, I am SO so excited to be writing with these characters again, developing new plot lines and exploring a different side of them. I can’t wait for this journey—and hope others feel the same!

 

-idkmanbts

Chapter Text

“Jungkook, are you sure about this?”

 

“Yup!”

 

“One hundred percent sure?”

 

“Uh huh!”

 

“But, like, are you really sure? Like, really ? Because—”

 

“Oh my god, Jin. Give it up .”

 

Seokjin glared at his boyfriend as he cut off his worried rant. Namjoon merely rolled his eyes, moving closer to the tv and grabbing the remote.

 

“You ready, Kook?” he asked, grinning.

 

Jungkook nodded excitedly, a matching grin spread on his face. “I’m so excited. Tae never lets me watch horror movies.”

 

“Because it’s a bad idea,” Seokjin mattered, sinking further into the couch with a huff. He crossed his arms, glaring at the back of his boyfriend’s head as he played the movie. “He’s not supposed to watch scary movies for a reason, Joon.”

 

“And that reason is that he’s usually little,” Namjoon fired back. “He’s big right now. And he said he wants to, so what’s the big deal?”

 

“Yeah!” Jungkook chimed in. He withered a little under Seokjin’s cold look, a sheepish smile stretching his lips. “Sorry, hyung. But we’ll turn it off if I can’t handle it. Promise!”

 

“Aish,” Seokjin sighed, running a hand wearily over his face. “You guys are both idiots. Fine, whatever. When this backfires, though, I’m not taking the blame. I’ve never been on the receiving end of one of Taehyung’s punches, but they look like they hurt.”

 

Jungkook rolled his eyes. “I won’t let him hit you, hyung.” He grinned. “Can’t let my most handsome hyungie’s face get damaged.”

 

Seokjin’s anger shriveled up and died with the compliment. “That’s right . I’ve raised you right.”

 

It was Namjoon’s turn to roll his eyes. “I’m starting it now.”

 

Jungkook let out an excited squeal. His hyungs couldn’t help but smile at the sound, finding it adorable.

 

As he leaned back into the couch cushion, the screen began playing out scenes of a family moving into a new house. It was a quaint farmhouse in the middle of a relatively quiet area. Right away, a few strange things started happening—drafts and chills, strange sounds, bad smells.

 

Jungkook wrinkled his nose at the boring dialogue and only somewhat startling jump scares.

 

This wasn’t even scary. Why did everyone make such a fuss about him not being allowed to watch them?

 

The screen panned to a little girl sleeping in her room. She had a stuffie clutched to her chest, and the sight made him smile faintly, burying his face in his own trusted stuffed elephant.

 

Suddenly, the little girl on the screen had her blanket yanked off her bed.

 

Jungkook yelped, nearly jumping off the couch.

 

Seokjin glanced at him. “You okay, Kookie?”

 

He blinked, eyes glued to the tv. “Huh? Y-yeah. Yeah, I just...um, wasn’t expecting that.”

 

The camera zoomed into a clawed hand underneath her bed. Jungkook bit Elephanty’s ear, trying to stifle a whimper. When did that get there?

 

Suddenly the closet was creaking open, and the younger could have sworn his heart crashed to a stop in his chest. How had the girl not woken up yet? Couldn’t she see there was a monster in her room?

 

Namjoon coughed into his arm. Seokjin shifted, yawning. Clearly neither one of them were as entranced as Jungkook.

 

Little by little, the monster’s clawed hand was inching its way out from underneath the bed. Any second now it was going to grab the girl’s leg…

 

An ear-piercing scream shattered the silence when, sure enough, her ankle was grabbed.

 

Jungkook followed suit with an equally as loud shriek of his own.

 

“T-turn it off!” He lunged into Seokjin’s lap, face burying instinctively the elder’s stomach. “Turn it off, turn it off, turn it off!”

 

The elder hissed, grabbing one of the couch pillows and throwing it at the back of Namjoon’s head. “Joon, you have the remote!”

 

“Fuck, sorry!” His boyfriend hurried to grab the device and flick the tv off.

 

The room fell abruptly silent, save for Jungkook’s quiet whimpering.

 

“Aigoo, Kookie,” Seokjin sighed. He stroked the younger’s hair. “You’re shaking.”

 

“TaeTae,” the younger whined, sniffling. “Please, w-want TaeTae.”

 

Seokjin’s mouth fell open as he looked at an equally shocked Namjoon.

 

“Did we... scare him back into little space?” Namjoon whispered.

 

“I think so,” Seokjin groaned. “Shit. That can’t be good.”

 

“Jinnie hyungie, please.” The younger lifted his head, chin trembling and eyes shining with the threat of tears. “T-the monster—”

 

“There’s no monster, Kookie,” Namjoon said quickly. “It was just a movie. You don’t have to be scared, okay?”

 

Jungkook shook his head, arms tightening around Seokjin. “No, i-it’s under the bed. And in the closet. There’s two . A-and they have claws—”

 

“Taehyung is actually going to murder us,” Namjoon groaned. “We traumatized him.”

 

“Would you shut up?” Seokjin hissed. He turned his attention back to the trembling younger, cupping his face gently and looking seriously at him. “Jungkookie, listen to me very carefully. There is no monster, okay? It was just a movie. Monsters aren’t real.”

 

Jungkook sniffed, eyes watery. “Uh huh. Are too.”

 

“No, sweetheart, they aren’t,” Seokjin said firmly. “I promise. I wouldn’t lie to you, would I?”

 

Hesitation flickered across the younger’s expression. “No,” he said unsurely.

 

“He wouldn’t,” Namjoon said firmly. “And neither would I. Listen to your hyungs, Kookie. We promise that there’s no monsters. Okay?”

 

Jungkook bit his lip. “If...if hyungies promise .”

 

“We do,” Seokjin said. “And I think that’s enough scary stuff for tonight, don’t you?” He grinned. “How about a Disney movie?”

 

“Yes!” the younger agreed enthusiastically, looking relieved. “Cinderella.”

 

“Cinderella it is,” Namjoon said, already turning back to face the tv. And that was that.

 

It was only after the movie was playing and the two elders were sitting on the couch, Jungkook cuddled comfortably between them, when Namjoon casually added something.

 

“Hey, Kookie,” he said nonchalantly. “How about we keep tonight a little secret between you and us?”

 

Seokjin threw him a look, which he responded to with a pointed expression of his own.

 

“Do you want Tae to murder us?” he hissed quietly.

 

Meanwhile, Jungkook looked confused at the suggestion. “How come?”

 

Seokjin hesitated, before giving a strained smile. “Well, we just don’t want you to get in trouble for watching a big boy movie. You know your Tae hyung can be protective sometimes.”

 

Jungkook’s lips parted in understanding. “Ohh.” He looked uncomfortable then, a frown forming. “Kookie’s not s’posed to have secrets from TaeTae, though.”

 

“That’s okay!” Namjoon added quickly. “It’s not a secret , really. Just...don’t talk about it. Okay?”

 

The younger looked utterly lost now. “Kookie thought that was a secret.”

 

“Maybe we should just tell Tae ourselves,” Seokjin groaned. “He’ll be less mad if we own up to it. Right?”

 

“What world are you living in?” Namjoon said, aghast. “We let Jungkook watch a horror movie. The same Jungkook that isn’t allowed to watch Clifford the Big Red Dog because Taehyung doesn’t want him to be scared of how big Clifford is.”

 

Seokjin paused before covering his face with his hands. “We’re dead.”

 

“No,” Jungkook protested, looking distraught. His eyebrows pulled together as he listened to their conversation, not fully understanding what they were talking about, but definitely catching enough to get the gist of it. “Hyungies can’t die,” he whined, turning to tug on Seokjin’s sleeve with a pout. “Kookie won’t tell TaeTae! He doesn’t want hyungies to get hurt.”

 

The elders exchanged a glance.

 

“Okay,” Namjoon said slowly, raising his eyebrows. “That works.”

 

“Thank you, Kookie,” Seokjin sighed, relief sagging his shoulders. “You have no idea how much this means to us.”

 

Jungkook merely smiled obliviously, bunny teeth emerging. “You’re welcome, hyungies!”

 

They both cooed, attacking him with hugs and eliciting a series of giggles. The rest of the movie passed uneventfully and it wasn’t long before they heard the front door unlocking.

 

“Hey.” Taehyung stepped in and closed the door behind himself, immediately pitching his voice to a whisper when he caught sight of Jungkook’s unconscious form. “Is he asleep?”

 

“Yup,” Seokjin whispered back, stroking the younger’s hair with a soft smile. “Passed out about twenty minutes into the movie.”

 

Taehyung glanced at the screen before scoffing lightly. “No wonder. He’s seen Cinderella like fifty times.”

 

“He picked it,” Namjoon said defensively.

 

Taehyung smiled. “Of course he did.” He crouched in front of the couch, gathering the younger into his arms carefully and straightening back up slowly to avoid waking him. “Did he eat dinner?”

 

“Everything on his plate,” Seokjin said, yawning widely. “How was your meeting?”

 

“Boring,” Taehyung responded, rolling his eyes. “GD doesn’t stop talking once you get him started. And him and Hobi in a room together, discussing weapon strategy? Fuck, I thought we were gonna be there all night.”

 

“Bad word,” came a sleepy mumble, the head on his shoulder moving.

 

All three men looked at Jungkook in surprise.

 

“Hey, you’re not asleep,” Taehyung teased. “Yah, what a little pretender.”

 

“Nuh uh,” Jungkook defended, sounding mildly offended through the drowsiness coating the words. “ Was asleep. Now ‘m not.”

 

“Well, it’s bedtime, anyways,” Taehyung chuckled. “Sorry for waking you up, bun. You wanna say goodnight to your hyungs? Thank them for taking such good care of you tonight?”

 

“Thank you hyungies,” the younger mumbled sleepily, eyes not even opening. “Kookie loves you.”

 

Seokjin clutched his chest dramatically. “My heart.”

 

Taehyung rolled his eyes. “We’re gonna go now. Thanks again, guys.” He spared them a quick smile before making his way out of the room, grip on the younger tangled around him tighter than usual to avoid him falling out of his arms.

 

When they reached the bedroom, he struggled to open the door but somehow managed, barely avoiding dropping Jungkook during the process of turning the doorknob.

 

He placed the younger on the bed with a heavy sigh.

 

After pulling the blanket up to his chin, pressing a kiss to his forehead, and tucking Elephanty under his arm, Taehyung turned towards the bathroom, ready to shower after a long day.

 

The sound of whimpering stopped him in his tracks.

 

“Kookie?” He turned to the sight of the younger looking near tears, blanket tugged up to cover everything but his eyes.

 

Taehyung was by his side in an instant. “Baby, what’s wrong?” he said softly, caressing his cheek with a hand. “Hm?”

 

Jungkook shook his head. “Y-you didn’t…” He trailed off with another shake of the head.

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows furrowed. “What is it?”

 

The younger lowered the blanket slightly, revealing flushed cheeks and the fact that he was nervously chewing his bottom lip.

 

“C-can TaeTae...check under the bed?” he whimpered.

 

Taehyung hesitated, confused. “Under the bed? Why, did you drop something?”

 

“No,” Jungkook whined. “That’s where the monsters are.”

 

“What?” The elder pulled back as if he’d been burned, genuinely startled at the statement. “Monsters? Since when?”

 

“They are ,” Jungkook whined with a huff. “They’re hiding. Please, TaeTae.”

 

“But wh—”

 

“They’re gonna eat Kookie. Please, please check, TaeTae? Pretty please!”

 

Taehyung couldn’t do much other than shake his head, already standing up. “Of course I’ll check, but I expect an explanation after.”

 

Jungkook was quiet as he watched the elder crouch onto his knees and look underneath the bed.

 

“Nothing,” he said, standing up and brushing off his pants. “Now.” He fixed the younger with a stern look. “Explain. Since when are you scared of monsters, mister?”

 

Jungkook only continued chewing his lip. “...TaeTae didn’t look in the closet.”

 

Taehyung’s jaw nearly fell open. “Wh—Jungkook, since when do you think a monster lives in the closet ?”

 

“It does ,” the younger insisted, chin trembling with the threat of tears. “It did in the movie!”

 

Silence.

 

Taehyung opened his mouth before closing it, trying to figure it exactly what to say.

 

“Jeon Jungkook.” He leveled him with a clenched jaw, expression serious. “Did you watch a scary movie?”

 

Jungkook shrank behind the blanket. “Um...nuh uh?”

 

Taehyung looked unimpressed. “Where were your hyungs when you watched it?”

 

“On the couch,” Jungkook said hesitantly. At the look of shock and anger that flashed across his boyfriend’s face, he scrambled to add, “B-but TaeTae can’t be mad! Kookie promised hyungies he wouldn’t tell, cause then TaeTae is gonna hurt them!”

 

“What?” Taehyung scoffed, genuinely bemused at the thought. “Hurt them?” Realization seemed to strike then, and his eyebrows furrowed in anger. “Wait, did you say they made you promise not to tell me?”

 

Jungkook whined. “It was s’posed to be a secret.”

 

“I’m—” The elder cut himself off with a shake of the head. “I can’t believe this. I can’t believe them . So not only did they let you watch a scary movie, they watched it with you— and they told you not to tell me about it afterwards. Is that right?”

 

“Don’t be mad,” Jungkook begged, looking like he was about to cry all over again. “TaeTae can’t be mad ‘cause then hyungies will know Kookie told!”

 

“Don’t be mad?” Taehyung’s eyes flashed. “I’m going to give them a piece of my—...you know what. Wait a second.”

 

He stopped himself short, thoughtfulness flickering across his features.

 

His eyes glittered with mischief as an idea hit.

 

He smirked. “I think I have an even better idea.”

 

***

 

The next morning at breakfast, the elder practiced his best worried expression as he sat down at the table.

 

“Morning,” Seokjin said tiredly. He lifted his coffee mug, glancing curiously at Taehyung over the rim. “Kook not up yet?”

 

“No,” Taehyung sighed. He raked his hands through his hair, putting on a frustrated front. “God, I could barely get him down last night.”

 

“Really?” The elder frowned, lowering his mug. “Why?”

 

“He was terrified,” Taehyung said, looking his friend dead in the eye. “Something about a monster?”

 

Next to him, Namjoon choked on his pancakes.

 

Meanwhile, Seokjin had visibly paled. “O-oh?” He gave a thin smile. “Huh. That’s strange.”

 

“Yeah,” Taehyung continued, exhaling heavily. “And it wasn’t the normal type of scared, either. He was crying and shaking. It was almost a full blown panic attack.”

 

Seokjin swallowed hard. His voice was tiny when he spoke, like it pained him to speak. “A-a panic attack?”

 

“Yeah. It was horrible , hyung. He was acting traumatized. Wouldn’t get off the bed, not even to use the bathroom.”

 

Namjoon looked like he was going to be sick. “The...um, bed?”

 

“Apparently that’s where the monsters were hiding,” Taehyung sighed. “God, he cried so hard he almost lost his voice.”

 

That was the last straw. Seokjin jumped up from the table, looking frantic and horrified, barely grabbing Namjoon by the wrist before yanking them both out of the room.

 

“WE BROKE OUR MAKNAE!”

 

Taehyung snickered as their yells echoed through the walls.

 

“Hyung, calm down—”

 

“NAMJOON, JUNGKOOK IS SUFFERING AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT. I TOLD YOU NOT TO PUT ON THAT STUPID MOVIE—”

 

“He said he was big, I thought he could handle it!”

 

“I AM LITERALLY GOING TO THROW MYSELF OFF OF A BUILDING —"

 

Pushing his chair out, Taehyung made his way into the living room and cleared his throat. He waited for both the elders to look at him before speaking.

 

“For future reference,” he said, half-smiling but completely serious, “even when Jungkook is big, I try to be careful with what he’s allowed to do. A lot of the stuff stays with him when he’s in headspace and it can affect him later on. I know you guys think I’m just overprotective—but it’s for good reason.”

 

Seokjin stared at him before bursting into tears. “I am so sorry, Tae. This is all our fault. I can’t believe he had a panic attack, all because of a movie —”

 

“He didn’t,” Taehyung said casually.

 

Seokjin stopped short. “He...what?”

 

Taehyung leveled them with an unimpressed look. “He didn’t have a panic attack. He was scared, but he got over it. Consider this a punishment.”

 

Namjoon’s jaw fell, while Seokjin looked absolutely lethal.

 

“You asshole !” he screamed, lunging forward. “You know how much I love that stupid kid, Tae—”

 

Laughing, Taehyung just barely managed to dodge his grip, running around to the other side of the couch.  

 

“Sorry,” he laughed. “But next time you guys have to tell me when stuff like this happens. None of this ‘don’t tell Taehyung’ bullshit. Okay?”

 

Namjoon ran a hand tiredly over his face. “Yeah, you’re right. We’re sorry.”

 

“I’m sorry, too,” Taehyung said immediately, biting back a smirk at the scowl Seokjin gave him. “Kook’s still asleep, if you wanna go wake him. I wasn’t kidding about that part.”

 

His friend glared at him before grumbling under his breath. “Of course I want to wake him, he’s the cutest thing in the world in the mornings.” He paused. “But I’m still mad at you.”

 

“Fair,” Taehyung said, watching him leave. He waited until the elder was in the doorway before stopping him. “Oh, and hyung?”

 

A cold smile briefly twitched his lips.

 

“Don’t ever pull something like that again.” He looked at Namjoon, as well. “I’m not fond of seeing him cry. Yeah?”

 

Namjoon swallowed. “Y-yeah.”

 

Just like that, the intimidating demeanor disappeared. Taehyung grinned brightly. “Great!”

 

They both watched him walk into the kitchen before gaping at each other.

 

Let’s babysit Jungkookie , you said,” Namjoon hissed. “ It’ll be fun , you said. Well, our lives are now being threatened. Are you having fun yet?”

 

Seokjin merely stared at the doorway Taehyung had just walked through. “How is it that he’s younger than us and I’m so scared of him?”

 

“I think I peed my pants a little,” Namjoon muttered, agreeing.

 

Seokjin shook his head. There was a brief lull of silence.

 

“Wanna come wake Kookie up with me?”

 

“Do you even have to ask? God, he looks like a fucking bunny when he wakes up. His cheeks are all pink—”

 

Yes , oh my god, and his nose twitches—”

 

“Fuck, and his hair is always messy! He looks so cute , I swear—”

 

“Shit, let’s go.”

 

“I’m coming, I’m coming.”

 

Chapter Text

 

Jungkook was wearing nail polish.

 

It was strange, because as far as Taehyung knew, there wasn’t a single bottle of nail polish in the entirety of Kkangpae’s six floors.

 

So when the younger cuddled between him and Jimin on the couch, stuffed elephant clutched in his messily colored dark blue nails, he cleared his throat.

 

“Hey, Kookie,” he said gently, voice kept painfully casual. “What, um...what’s that on your nails?

 

Jungkook had been tracing patterns absentmindedly onto his boyfriend’s thigh, eyes glued to the tv. He froze at Taehyung’s comment.

 

Jimin noticed, a slight frown twitching his lips. “They look nice, honey,” he added. “Very pretty.” He threw Taehyung a fierce look.

 

“Very pretty,” Taehyung echoed quickly. His hands moved to play with the younger’s hair, a gesture he knew they both found comforting. “I’m just wondering how you painted them, is all.”

 

Jungkook chewed his bottom lip. His cheeks were pink, and he hadn’t looked away from the tv yet, seemingly avoiding both their gazes.

 

“Um...I-I used a marker,” he mumbled. “From the coloring set.”

 

Taehyung was quiet for a moment. “Why dark blue?”

 

The younger’s cheeks flushed a little darker. “The others wouldn’t show up.”

 

“Ah.”

 

And that was it. The tv continued playing, and the younger relaxed after a few minutes of silence, more than happy to drop the topic.

 

***

 

The next morning, there was a row of nail polish bottles lined up on his dresser when he got out of the shower.

 

Jungkook’s lips parted in surprise. He took a hesitant step forward, eyes sweeping over the array of colors. There were six bottles of unique shades, and he reached for the small piece of paper tucked beneath one of them.

 

Baby pink. Because you’re my baby. -Tae

 

He swallowed, a smile twitching at his lips.

 

The next bottle was a bright yellow shade. The note next to it was written messily, a familiar handwriting he’d seen scratched across most of the paperwork in the house.

 

Tae said to pick out a nail polish color we think suits you. Well, our maknae is always so bright and full of sunshine! I thought it suited you to have nails that match :) Stay bright, Jungkookie. -Hobi

 

A soft laugh. He placed the note back in its place and picked up the third bottle, turning it in his fingers, surprised and delighted to see small specks of shimmer floating in the pastel blue liquid.

 

Soft with a little something special. Like you, Jungkookie. I hope you like it! <3 -Jimin

 

His could feel his throat starting to close with the threat of tears, but he forced himself to pick up the next one. It was a sheer green with bits of glitter swirling throughout.

 

Green is the color of the earth—of the universe, essentially. I think we all have a little bit of the universe within us, no? With the way the world moves around you, Kookie, sometimes it feels like our universe is in you. I hope you’ll feel comfortable wearing this outside. -Namjoon

 

A teardrop landed on the dresser. Jungkook scrubbed his eye, almost laughing at himself for crying. Namjoon hyung had always had a way with words.

 

The next color was a stunning, opaque red. His breath caught at the letter, hands shaking a little as he struggled to focus his teary gaze.

 

I think it takes a lot of confidence to pull off a color as bold as red. I couldn’t think of anyone who would wear it as well as our maknae, the bravest boy I know. -Jin hyung <3

 

He had to take a deep breath, setting the bottle back onto the dresser slowly.

 

When his gaze landed on the last bottle, he couldn’t help but let out a short laugh. Even if his brother hadn’t been the last person left, the color itself would have been a dead giveaway.

 

Matte black.

 

Because the world is a dark place, but you bring a little light into it, kid. (And if anyone says a word about you wearing nail polish, you come find me.) -Your Yoongi hyung

 

Jungkook haphazardly threw on clothing, not even bothering to dry his hair, before throwing open the bedroom door and racing out.

 

His hyungs were gathered in the kitchen, about to start breakfast, when he threw himself into the nearest seated one’s arms.

 

It ended up being Hobi, who let out a grunt before hugging him back slowly. “Uh, Kook? Everything okay?”

 

He pulled back, tears streaming down his cheeks. “You guys are so mean ,” he sobbed, scrubbing at his eyes. “Your dumb notes made me cry . Now my face is all puffy.”

 

Jimin laughed, eyes bright. “Aigoo, Kookie. You’re so cute.”

 

Jungkook turned to wrap Namjoon, who was sitting next to Hobi, in a fierce hug. “Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You're all the best hyungs in the world.”

 

Taehyung’s gaze was warm as he watched his boyfriend, a fond smile tugging his lips.

 

“Well, we have the best maknae in the world,” Seokjin said, grinning. “Don’t I get a hug?”

 

Jungkook laughed through his tears, rubbing at his eyes before hugging the elder tightly. He buried his face into his shoulder. “Thank you, hyung. I loved the red.”

 

“What about the black?” Yoongi complained. “It goes with everything. Don’t tell me it wasn’t the best choice.”

 

Jungkook pulled away, smiling, face flushed. “It was a great choice. Thank you, too, hyung.”

 

His gaze landed on Taehyung then, and he moved towards the elder and pressed his lips against his, hard.

 

“And thank you ,” he murmured, barely pulling away to whisper the words. “I love you so much, Tae. This meant so much to me.”

 

“Aish.” Taehyung’s hands moved to cup the younger’s face, eyes sparkling as he gazed gently back at him. “It was nothing, baby. We all love you. No matter what you want to do.” 

 

Jungkook sniffed, feeling another round of tears threatening as a lump formed in his throat. “I love you,” he said softly, leaning forward until their foreheads touched. “I don’t deserve you.”

 

Taehyung’s arms wound around his waist. “Yah, none of that. Come on, now.” He pressed his lips to a stray tear, brushing it away with a smile. “Finish your breakfast so we can go paint your nails, hm?”

 

“What color are you gonna wear first?” Jimin asked excitedly.

 

Jungkook smiled faintly, never looking away from his boyfriend’s soft gaze.

 

“Baby pink,” he said quietly. “Cause I’m his baby.”

 

Chapter Text

“...hyung?”

 

Taehyung turned in surprise, startled at the sound of the younger.

 

He placed the file of papers he’d been looking at back onto the desk, chair swiveling to face him.  

 

“What’s up, bunny?” A gentle smile lifted his lips, arms held out welcomingly. “Bored?”

 

“No.” Jungkook pouted, immediately accepting the open-armed invite and crawling into the elder’s lap. He proceeded to bury his face against Taehyung’s shoulder, sighing heavily.  

 

“You sure?” Taehyung stroked the hair on the back of his head, frowning. “Sounds like something’s wrong.”

 

Jungkook was quiet for a moment.

 

“Nothing's wrong,” he finally said, voice quiet. “Do you mind if I sit here while you work? I won’t bother you.”

 

“You never bother me,” Taehyung said softly.

 

The younger ended up staying seated in his lap for a solid hour before he yawned hugely, the action splitting his jaw wide open.

 

Taehyung laughed. “Sleepy?”

 

Jungkook nodded, looking tired. A quick glance at the clock made the elder frown.

 

“Well, no wonder. It’s way past your nap time, bun,” he scolded gently. He ran his fingers gently through the younger’s hair, humming quietly. “Come on. Let’s go put you down, hm?”

 

Jungkook was quiet for a moment. “...’m not little, though,” he said softly.

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows furrowed. “I know that, baby. But you still need a nap, don’t you?”

 

The younger frowned. He wasn’t meeting Taehyung’s eyes, choosing instead to pout down at the elder’s lap and fiddle with the hem of his shirt as he spoke.

 

“I...I can’t back into headspace, hyung.”

 

Jungkook mumbled the words so softly Taehyung barely heard him, having to lean forward to catch them.

 

When he realized what he had said, his lips parted in shock.

 

“What do you mean...you can’t get back in?” he asked hesitantly. The words were tinged with a barely-hidden layer of panic, one he was trying his absolute hardest to keep under control to avoid upsetting his boyfriend any more.

 

Jungkook’s pout deepened, and he finally looked up. His eyes were swimming with sadness, the sight hitting Taehyung like a punch to the chest.

 

“I-I’ve been trying for the past few hours,” he said desperately, voice teary. “Ever since breakfast I’ve been big. I don’t know why I slipped out, but—but I don’t like it. I didn’t even mean to, it just happened. I-I wanna be little.”

 

He was clearly holding back tears, unsuccessful by the end of the frantic rant. He buried his face into the elder’s shoulder, trembling.

 

“Please help,” he muttered weakly. “I’m not in the mood to be big. It doesn’t feel right.”

 

Taehyung’s heart broke. “Fuck, Kookie.” He hugged the younger tightly to his chest, resting his chin on top of his head with a sigh. “Why didn’t you come to me earlier?”

 

“I dunno.” Jungkook sniffed, face shoved against the fabric of the elder’s shirt. “This has never happened before,” he whined.

 

“Aigoo,” Taehyung murmured. “We’ll figure it out, okay? Don’t cry.”

 

The younger sniffed again, raising his head, and lifted his eyes imploringly to the elder’s. “Maybe...um, we can try a nap? That might work.”

 

“Good idea.” Taehyung smiled gently, hands carding through his hair. “Let’s start by getting you out of these clothes.”

 

They moved into their bedroom, Taehyung speaking gently to the younger as he slipped him out of his pants and into a favorite pair of cotton shorts, as well as one of the elder’s oversized T-shirts—a naptime favorite.

 

“You want Lily or Elephanty?”

 

Jungkook was perched gingerly on the edge of the bed, biting his lip. Taehyung approached him with the two stuffed animals in each hand, raising an eyebrow.

 

“Uh…” He frowned. “I dunno.”

 

Taehyung had to fight the urge to grimace. Usually the younger would eagerly pounce on one if not both toys.

 

“How about we go with Elephanty for today?” he suggested gently.

 

Jungkook sighed, crawling up onto the bed and plopping down with a groan. “This is so annoying .”

 

“I know, bun,” Taehyung sighed. He sat beside the younger, placing the stuffed animal in his arms and tugging the blanket up to his chin. Jungkook turned towards him and buried his head into the elder’s chest, wrapping his arms around him tightly.

 

He was quiet for a moment, letting his boyfriend stroke his hair soothingly.

 

“Sing to me?” he said quietly.

 

Taehyung hummed, fingers continuing their gentle pattern. “4 o clock?”

 

“Mm.”

 

So Taehyung did. He sang softly to him while stroking his hair, pulling him into a sweet slumber within a few minutes. Afterwards, he slipped out of the bed and into the hallway quietly, making his way to the living room with a deep frown.

 

His expression remained sour as he sat on the couch and pulled out a laptop, hunching over the device with full concentration.

 

“What’s up, loser?” Jimin plopped beside him sometime within the next half hour, leaning over his shoulder. “Work?”

 

The orange-haired man’s eyebrows slowly furrowed as he scanned the webpage Taehyung was scrolling through. “...How to get into little space?” He suddenly turned to his friend with wide eyes. “Oh my god. Tae , are you—”

 

No ,” Taehyung snapped, glaring at him. “It’s for Jungkook.”

 

Jimin relaxed. “Oh.” Bewilderment flickered across his expression. “Wait, what?”

 

“He can’t get back into headspace for some reason,” Taehyung sighed. He leaned back against the couch, running a hand through his hair in frustration. “Apparently he hasn’t been able to since breakfast, but he didn’t want to bother me.”

 

“That was hours ago,” Jimin said, frowning. “He must be so stressed, poor baby. This has never happened before, has it?”

 

“No,” Taehyung groaned. “I just put him down for a nap. We’re both hoping maybe he’ll wake up feeling little, but…” He bit his lip. “I don’t have a good feeling.”

 

Jimin placed a hand comfortingly on his friend’s shoulder. “It’ll be okay, Tae. I’ll help you—no, in fact, we’ll all help you.” He stood up, extending an arm towards the other with a determined expression on his face. “Come on. Let’s go find the others.”

 

A few minutes later, all six of them were seated in Hobi’s office wearing concerned looks.

 

“This doesn’t sound good,” Yoongi said, frown deep. He crossed his arms over his chest. “We should call Yugyeom.”

 

“I already did,” Taehyung sighed. “He’s out of town for a few days.”

 

“Have you tried anything other than a nap?” Seokjin asked. He leaned back against Hobi’s desk, expression serious.

 

“I gave him a stuffy and put him into a pair of his favorite pajamas. And sang to him.”

 

“And none of that worked?” Namjoon looked stumped.

 

“We should try putting on a Disney movie,” Hobi suggested.

 

“Or playing a game,” Jimin added. “I think anything he usually does when he’s little might help bring him back towards the headspace.”

 

“Right,” Yoongi agreed gruffly. “So, it’s settled then? We’ll all just treat him like we normally would.”

 

As a round of nods and agreements choruses the room, Taehyung leaned forward.

 

“And, you guys.” He looked at each of them one by one, pausing for emphasis. “Be nice, please. He’s already stressed and I don’t want us making him feel uncomfortable.”

 

“Tae, we got it,” Hobi said firmly. “We’re not idiots.”

 

Taehyung sighed, raking his fingers through his hair. “This might all be useless, anyways. For all we know, Kook might wake up in little space and we can all forget this whole thing.”

 

There was no such luck, however.

 

Jungkook trudged into the living room a few hours later with his blanket trailing behind him, expression sour and eyes tired.

 

Nobody said anything when he climbed onto the couch and buried himself into Taehyung's side, pulling the blanket up to his chin.

 

There was a moment of silence.

 

“Hey, Kookie.” Jimin was the first to speak, his voice soft. “How are you feeling?”

 

Jungkook grumbled something too quietly to hear, voice muffled through the blanket.

 

“What?”

 

He groaned, dropping the blanket and glaring at the elder. “I’m still big ,” he snapped.

 

The others exchanged a glance.

 

Taehyung frowned. “Tone.”

 

Jungkook sighed, shoving his face back into the elder’s side. “Sorry,” he muttered.

 

“It’s okay,” Jimin said softly.

 

Namjoon leaned forward, smiling. “Kookie, you wanna watch Cinderella?”

 

The younger sighed wearily. “I guess.”

 

The tv hummed to life, and Jungkook’s body visibly relaxed a little beside Taehyung’s. The elder began running his fingers through the younger’s hair, humming softly.

 

Half an hour passed in relative silence before Seokjin was walking out of the kitchen with a tray clutched in his hands.

 

“Hey, I made cookies,” he said brightly. The couch shifted as the elder sat down.

 

Jungkook lifted his head, eyes widening a little at the sight of the dessert. “I-I’m not supposed to have sweets before dinner.”

 

Taehyung’s hand searched for his, lacing their fingers together reassuringly. “That’s alright. You can have one, baby.”

 

Jungkook turned to him with even wider eyes. “Really?”

 

“Or two,” Seokjin said, winking. Taehyung rolled his eyes, but he didn’t say anything when the elder placed the plate on the younger’s lap, giving him access to however many he wanted to eat.

 

Jungkook was distracted as he munched on the cookies, curled up comfortably by his boyfriend while the movie continued to play. He seemed to be growing more focused on the film, the living room around him starting to drift away as Cinderella prepared for the ball.

 

Jimin left quietly a little later, returning in minutes with a familiar item in his hands.

 

“Kookie, Elephanty was all alone in his room,” the elder gasped. He placed the stuffed toy gently on the younger’s knees, frowning exaggeratedly. “I think I even heard him crying.”

 

Jungkook’s eyes fell away from the tv, landing on the elephant, and his eyebrows furrowed.

 

“Oh, no,” he said softly.

 

Jimin and Taehyung exchanged a look. It wasn’t the younger’s usual softer, slightly more high-pitched voice he used when in headspace—but it was getting closer.

 

Jungkook didn’t seem to notice their expressions, busy placing aside the plate of cookies and pulling Elephanty onto his lap.

 

“Can he watch with us?” he asked Taehyung, looking hesitant.

 

“Of course,” Taehyung said. “I don’t mind. Anyone else have any objections?”

 

“Hm, I think I might,” Hobi said casually. “To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about Elephanty.”

 

Jungkook looked startled. “What? Why?”

 

“He just…” The elder twirled his hand in the air. “Gives me weird vibes. You know?”

 

“You know, I think I know exactly what you mean,” Namjoon gasped, turning to his friend. “It’s the face, isn’t it?”

 

“What’s wrong with his face?” Jungkook asked, pulling the stuffed toy closer to himself protectively. He could feel the beginnings of a whine slipping through the words. “He has a nice face.”

 

“Mm, I don’t know,” Hobi said, screwing up his expression. “I can’t put my finger on it.”

 

Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed, and Taehyung could see a pout tugging at his lips. “You guys are being mean.” He turned to look at his boyfriend, biting his lip. “Elephanty doesn’t have a weird face...right?”

 

“No, of course not,” Taehyung said reassuringly. He brushed the younger’s hair gently. “Your hyungs are just joking, bunny.”

 

Jungkook slumped a little lower into the couch, the pout deepening. “...’s not a funny joke,” he mumbled.

 

The movie played on, and on the screen Cinderella was dancing blissfully with the prince.

 

On the couch, Jungkook was nibbling on another cookie.

 

He was getting so close , he could feel it. He felt warmer than he had all day, and part of him wanted to curl up with Taehyung and giggle at the mean but hilarious stepsisters, while another part of him wanted to whine at his hyungs for making fun of Elephanty. No matter what, no part of him wanted to stay big.

 

And yet—there he was. Still big.

 

He let out a sigh, and saw a few of the elders glance his way. It was obvious by the look in their eyes that they were concerned. It touched him, how badly they wanted him to be happy and comfortable. He almost felt guilty for making them worry.

 

“Bunny, I think that’s enough cookies for now.” Taehyung gently tugged the plate off the younger’s lap, smiling when he let out a sound of protest. “You’ve already had three, baby. That’s plenty.”

 

“But.” Jungkook widened his eyes, giving the elder a pleading look. “Jin hyung made them for me!”

 

“Not all for you,” Taehyung teased. “You were supposed to share.”

 

He lifted the plate a little, raising his voice. “Anyone else want one?”

 

Hobi reached out from his spot on the floor, followed by Namjoon. As the plate got passed around, Jimin was the last to hold it.

 

“Yoons, you want one?” The orange-haired man offered the dish to Yoongi, who reached out to accept.

 

It was a complete slip of the fingers on Jimin’s part. He let go just a touch early, assuming his boyfriend had a much stronger grip on the dish than he actually did.

 

The glass plate hit the ground with a shatter, and shards went flying.

 

Swears and grunts followed the room as those sitting on the floor immediately jumped away. Jungkook yelped, pulling his feet off the edge of the couch.

 

Yoongi was left cursing hotly under his breath, glaring at his ankle as he shifted on the couch, one hand reaching down to touch the wound gently.

 

He pulled his hand away to see his fingers coated with blood.

 

Jungkook froze as he looked at the crimson liquid, eyes huge.

 

“Y-you’re—” He glanced at his brother, features crumpling. “Hyungie’s bleeding .”

 

Yoongi let out a grunt as the younger climbed over Taehyung’s lap and threw himself onto his brother. He lifted the hand free of blood to awkwardly embrace him, grimacing over his shoulder at his friends.

 

Hobi threw him a huge thumbs up, while Seokjin cheered silently in an exaggerated manner.

 

Yoongi rolled his eyes, but even he couldn’t hide the relief that flickered through his eyes.

 

“Kook, I’m fine,” he said gruffly. “Come on, kid. Move back before you get blood on you.”

 

Jungkook immediately flinched away as if he’d been burned, nose wrinkling with disgust. “Ew.”

 

Taehyung laughed. “There’s my baby.”

 

Jungkook was pouting at his brother now, still looking at the injury with concern swimming in his eyes. “Hyungie, there’s a lot of blood.”

 

“Cute,” Jimin giggled, already moving forward to press a napkin to the wound. “He’ll be fine, Kookie. The cut’s not that deep.”

 

“Hyungie,” Jungkook said, frown deepening. “Do you need a hug?”

 

Taehyung wrapped the younger in a backhug, resting his chin on his shoulder and sighing. “TaeTae needs a hug.”

 

Jungkook giggled, turning around and pecking the elder on the lips. “Silly. TaeTae’s not hurt.”

 

“So I can’t get a hug now unless I’m hurt?” the elder gasped, feigning offense.

 

“Hug!” the younger exclaimed, dramatically throwing his arms around the elder’s shoulders. “There. Happy?”

 

Taehyung grinned. “Very.”

 

“Good.” Jungkook started to pull back when someone made an offended sound from the carpet. They both turned to see Hobi glaring at them, and Namjoon with an exaggerated pout stretching his lips.

 

“What about me?” Hobi whined. “I want a special Jungkookie hug, too!”

 

“And me!” Namjoon added quickly.

 

Jungkook blinked, large eyes sparkling as he laughed. “Hyungies—”

 

“If you’re just giving them out, I could use one, too,” Seokjin said, whining.

 

Jimin smoothed out the bandage he’d placed on Yoongi’s wound before straightening up. “Me, too. And mine comes first.” He opened his arms, grinning. “Because I love Kookie the most.”

 

Jungkook giggled before throwing himself into the elder’s arms. Jimin squeezed him back tightly, huffing out a laugh, before letting go. Jungkook moved to hug Seokjin before settling back into the couch and leaning his head on Taehyung’s shoulder.

 

Hobi’s mouth fell open. “Hey, what about us?”

 

Jungkook glared at the elder. “Hyungies made fun of Elephanty.”

 

Namjoon sputtered. “Wh—I—t-that was the plan! It was to get you back into headspace! You can’t be mad at us for that.”

 

The younger stuck his tongue out. “Can so. It was mean!”

 

Seokjin snickered. “It’s your fault for being such dumbasses. You could have tried to help by being extra nice, instead of bullies.”

 

“Excuse me, he slips the quickest when he’s crying,” Hobi huffed. “We were being smart. Way smarter than you with your dumb cookies!”

 

“My dumb cookies worked, didn’t they?”

 

“No, it was the plate holding your dumb cookies,” Jimin corrected. “Next time we need to help Kook slip, we should just punch Yoongi in the face.”

 

The mint-haired man glared at him. “You’re a horrible boyfriend, you know that?”

 

In response, Jimin blew him a kiss.

 

***

 

A little while later Jungkook was getting ready for bed, his usual routine, when a knock came at the bedroom door. He felt his eyebrows lift with surprise. Taehyung stepped out of the bathroom, looking a little startled himself.

 

“Who is it?”

 

“The fucking Loch Ness Monster. Who do you think it is?”

 

The elder rolled his eyes before walking over to the door and opening it. “Hyung, what are you doing here?”

 

Hobi brushed past him, followed by Namjoon. The two of them barreled directly towards Jungkook, who squealed in alarm and promptly yanked the blanket over his head.

 

“Nice try,” Namjoon laughed. He grabbed the edge of the blanket and tugged it down, revealing a messy-haired Jungkook staring wide-eyed back at the both of them.

 

“Hyungies?” he asked hesitantly.

 

“I demand a hug,” Hobi said firmly.

 

Jungkook blinked at him. “...Huh?”

 

From the doorway, Taehyung let out a weary sigh. “I’m going back into the bathroom. Jungkook, yell if you need me.”

 

The younger made a sound of distress in the back of his throat, eyes widening even more. “TaeTae!”

 

Taehyung waved his hand dismissively, already walking towards the bathroom. “They won’t hurt you. Just hug them.”

 

Jungkook’s jaw dropped open. “B-but—but Kookie’s mad at them!”

 

“We said sorry , though,” Namjoon whined.

 

“Yeah, Kook, come on.” Hobi picked up Elephanty from the pillow he’d been perched upon, hugging the stuffed toy dramatically. “I love Elephanty! See?”

 

“He’s very handsome,” Namjoon added, reaching over to pet the animal’s head. “Just like his owner.”

 

Jungkook let out a huff, crossing his arms. “Kookie’s not hugging hyungies.”

 

Hobi dropped Elephanty. “What the fuck, this is so unfair!”

 

“TaeTae, hyungies are saying bad words!”

 

Muffled through the bathroom door, they could dimly hear Taehyung scold the elders halfheartedly.

 

Namjoon whined. “Kookie, please? Just one hug? We can’t go to sleep if you’re mad at us!”

 

“We promise we’ll never make fun of Elephanty again.”

 

“Never.”

 

“We’re really sorry.”

 

“Really sorry!”

 

“Pleeeeaaa—”

 

Jungkook let out a groan, head dropping back onto his pillow. “ Fine ! Fine.”

 

With a pout, the younger hauled himself into a sitting position and reluctantly threw his arms around Hobi’s shoulders, followed by Namjoon’s. When he pulled back, both elders were grinning brightly at him.

 

He glared at them, but he couldn’t hide the way his face had flushed.

 

“Aw,” Hobi cooed, leaning forward and pinching the younger’s cheeks. “Looks like Kookie wanted to hug us, too!”

 

The younger squirmed away, batting his hand and making a face. “Nuh uh!”

 

“Face it, you hate being mad at us just as much as we hate it,” Namjoon teased.

 

Jungkook kept the glare for a beat longer before huffing again, the sound full of frustration, and burying his face in Hobi’s shoulder. He wound his arms around the elder’s waist with a hum, shrugging.

 

Hobi squealed. “Knew it!”

 

Namjoon’s grin was ear-splitting when he ruffled the younger’s hair affectionately. “We’re sorry again, Kookie. It was just a joke.”

 

“...’s okay,” Jungkook mumbled. His cheeks were bright pink as he hid his face in Hobi’s shoulder. “Kookie wanted to hug hyungies anyway.”

 

The bathroom door opened amidst another one of Hobi’s dramatic gasping sounds, and Taehyung stepped out. He glanced over the pile of red-faced, laughing males on the bed and raised an eyebrow.

 

“Um, what did you guys do? Why is his face all red?”

 

“Because he loves us,” Hobi cooed.

 

Jungkook’s face darkened with an even more noticeable blush. “Nuh uh,” he protested weakly.

 

“Yah, don’t make us give you tummy kisses,” Namjoon warned.

 

The younger scoffed. The sound of disbelief was enough to have the two elders exchange a look, before tackling Jungkook. The younger shrieked as they assaulted him, peppering his face and stomach with kisses as he dissolved into giggles.

 

Taehyung watched the scene with a resigned sigh. “Can you guys please get out of our room?”

 

Jungkook shrieked, the sound punctuated with an onslaught of breathless giggles. "S-stop—”

 

"Say you love us!"

 

"Say we're your favorite hyungs!"

 

"Y-you're my—ah—h-hyungies, p-please—”

 

"So that's a no? Are you guys just sleeping in here tonight, then, or..."

 

Chapter Text

 

“Hey guys, welcome back to my channel!”

 

Jungkook hummed happily, snuggling further down against his pillows and pulling the blanket up to his chin. The iPad in his lap continued to play the latest of many YouTube videos he’d been bingeing all afternoon.

 

“Today, I’m going to be pranking my boyfriend,” the girl on the screen giggled. “It’s a cheating prank!”

 

The younger’s eyes widened slightly at the statement. He’d seen a few cheating pranks floating around the site, but never gotten around to actually watching one before now.

 

The girl in the video finished setting up the camera and sat back, waiting for her boyfriend to come home. As the video played on, the man in question went from freaking out, to yelling, to crying.

 

Jungkook’s heart clenched. He buried his nose into the blanket, feeling his lips twitch with a smile. The boyfriend was so sweet. He seemed genuinely hurt, seemed to care about the girl so much.

 

At one point in the video, he’d growled out, “Let me fucking talk to this other guy! Who is he, huh?”

 

Jungkook couldn’t deny the way his stomach had flip-flopped at the statement. His thoughts drifted to Taehyung, and he realized belatedly that he hadn’t ever actually seen the elder jealous before. Of course, his boyfriend grew a little protective or clingy if he spent too much time with the other hyungs, but that was different. He’d never really gotten genuinely jealous —not in the hot, undeniably attractive way this youtuber’s boyfriend was.

 

He wondered if Taehyung would look just as hot if he thought Jungkook was cheating on him.

 

And that, really, was the birth of the bad idea.

 

***

 

Seeing as Jungkook didn’t have a YouTube channel, he naively decided any audience would do. In this case, his hyungs should work, right? After all, a successful prank needed people who found it funny.

 

With that thought process, the younger realized movie night would be as good a place as any. The gang tried to have a regularly scheduled one on Fridays, unless someone canceled early in the day. Seeing as it was almost noon and there hadn’t been any updates yet, he knew everyone would be attending tonight’s.

 

With the time and place and settled, Jungkook spent the next three hours watching videos for research and rehearsing his acting in front of the bathroom mirror.

 

To his surprise, he found himself slipping out of headspace somewhere along the process. It wasn’t too strange seeing as how excited he was getting, and he decided it was even better this way. The elder would probably take him more seriously, anyways.

 

He practically vibrated with excitement waiting for everyone to come home.

 

***

 

Taehyung reached out for the bag of popcorn Jimin was extending in his direction, deftly opening it and pouring the contents into the large bowl in front of him.

 

“How many more should I make?” his friend asked, pausing with one hand on the microwave. “That bag makes six.”

 

“Hobi hyung’s here tonight, so I’d say about six more,” Taehyung responded dryly.

 

“I heard that!” came a muffled, indignant shout from the living room.

 

Jimin laughed, already turning back around. “Got it. You can go ahead, Tae, Jungkookie’s probably waiting for you.”

 

At that, Taehyung faltered a little. He hesitated, bowl clutched in his hands, and paused less than a step away from the counter.

 

His friend noticed, turning back around to look at him strangely. “You okay?”

 

Taehyung bit his lip. “I…” He lowered the bowl onto the counter, sighing. “Okay. This is gonna sound so stupid, but has Jungkook seemed...I don’t know, off? Today?”

 

Jimin frowned, expression concentrated with thought. “No…? I mean, I haven’t really seen him much since I got home a few hours ago.”

 

“Exactly,” Taehyung said quickly. He leaned forward, eyes wide and focused. “He’s usually all over you, right? But he’s barely left his room since we got home.”

 

He saw a small flicker of agreement, followed closely by concern, flash across Jimin’s expression.

 

The orange haired man paused before shaking his head. “He’s probably just tired.”

 

Taehyung nodded, teeth digging a little harder into his bottom lip. “Yeah, probably. He—” The elder cut himself off, feeling his cheeks flush before mumbling, “—he, um...he didn’t kiss me when I got home.”

 

Jimin’s eyes softened. “Ah, Tae. I’m sure it’s nothing. Don’t worry yourself over it, you know he can be moody sometimes for no reason.”

 

“Yeah.” Taehyung sighed, picking the bowl up once again. “You’re probably right.”

 

He knew, however, as he walked into the living room, that his friend was just giving him the more optimistic version of things.

 

He couldn’t shake the feeling that something was really wrong.

 

***

 

Jungkook picked the movie, and for once, the younger’s more mature headspace had the elders allowing a non-Disney film.

 

It was the perfect segway into his plan.

 

“The Great Gatsby?” Namjoon winced at the choice, glancing up from the carpet to look at the younger with a disgruntled expression. “Really, Jungkookie?”

 

Jimin giggled, leaning into Yoongi’s side. “Aw, come on. It’s a good movie. Who cares if we’ve seen it a bunch of times?”

 

Seokjin nodded, smiling at the youngest. “Good choice, Kookie.”

 

“Thanks!” Jungkook said brightly, grinning.

 

Taehyung smiled slightly at the familiar expression. He lifted a hand to brush through the younger’s hair, to pull him gently onto his lap as they usually would while watching a movie.

 

Out of pure habit, Jungkook leaned into the touch. He forced himself to move against his instincts, however, and quickly flinched away.

 

He saw the surprise that flickered across Taehyung’s face, followed by a flash of hurt.

 

Jungkook tried to ignore the way his chest tightened at the expression.

 

Instead, he leaned back against the couch cushions as the movie began playing. After a short pause, he saw Taehyung cross his arms over his chest. The elder looked like he was trying to stay unbothered, but he wasn’t subtle with the way he kept glancing in his boyfriend’s direction, lips pulled into a confused frown.

 

Halfway into the movie, Jungkook began squirming.

 

He saw his brother glance in his direction. “You okay, Kook?”

 

Hobi yawned, hiding the action with his hand. “We can change the movie if you want,” he added, voice somewhat pleading.

 

Jungkook feigned hesitation, before shrugging. He saw Taehyung’s frown deepen, this time the elder’s eyebrows furrowing to match the concern.

 

“You love this movie, bun,” he said. His hand came up again, purely out of instinct, and Jungkook shifted away slightly on the couch.

 

He watched the elder drop the limb back into his lap, and this time his jaw tightened.

 

In response to his statement, Jungkook shrugged again. “It’s...it’s kind of dumb, isn’t it?”

 

“Yes,” Hobi groaned. “Thank god. Does that mean we can change it?”

 

Jimin was frowning in his direction, head lifting off Yoongi’s shoulder as he gazed at the younger. “Kookie, you used to be obsessed with Gatsby. What are you talking about?”

 

As six pairs of eyes landed on him, Jungkook felt anticipation prickle the hairs on the back of his neck.

 

Time to put his acting skills to the test.

 

“Well,” he began, voice still kept painfully hesitant, as if he didn’t want to be talking about this, “I don’t think it’s that big a deal that he has an affair with Daisy. I mean, not as much as everyone makes it out to be.”

 

Seokjin’s eyebrows furrowed. “The last time we watched this movie, you said it was horrible. And that cheating was cheating, even if they loved each other.”

 

Jungkook shrugged. “I guess I changed my mind.”

 

He could see Taehyung watching him out of the corner of his eye, but he knew the elder wasn’t going to pry. His boyfriend was too kind, too trustworthy. He would definitely have to be the one to start the conversation.

 

With a heavy sigh, he turned a little on the couch until he was facing the elder.

 

“Tae?” He didn’t have to fake the nervousness on his face this time, because real anxiety was starting to creep up his spine. “Um, actually. There’s...there’s a reason I changed my mind about the movie.”

 

Taehyung nodded slightly, as if he’d been expecting this. “Are you not feeling well, today bun? We can go to bed, no one will mind—”

 

“No, it’s not that,” Jungkook interrupted, just a little too quickly. He could feel sweat starting to prick his palms, and he fidgeted a little before letting out a slow breath. “I...I have to tell you something.”

 

The elder was starting to look a little unsure. Jungkook could see his eyes cloud with panic, noticed the little frown tugging at the edges of his mouth.

 

“Is everything okay, Kookie?” he asked softly.

 

Jungkook’s heart clenched. Of course he was worried about him. Of course he was only concerned for the other’s wellbeing instead of his own.

 

His heartbeat had really picked up. He was sort of starting to regret this whole idea, and really dreading the reaction Taehyung would have. But it felt almost too late, like he had no choice but to keep going.

 

So, with a hard swallow and his voice soft, he said, “I did something bad.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes flickered. He frowned faintly. “What’d you do, bun?”

 

Behind them, someone shifted on the couch. He saw Jimin shove impatiently at Yoongi’s shoulder, mouthing something that looked like he was saying they should leave. But his brother looked focused on what Jungkook was saying, his own eyes narrowed in concentration.

 

“I…” Jungkook bit his lip, and he could have sworn his heart was pounding in his throat instead of his chest with how difficult it had suddenly become to breathe. “This—this morning, I was really bored. And, um, lonely. So after everyone left, I...well, I called GD hyung.”

 

At the mention of the mafia leader’s name, he saw Taehyung’s expression falter with what looked like relief. “Oh. That’s fine, Jungkookie. You know I don’t mind if you hang out with—”

 

“Just listen,” Jungkook whispered. Taehyung trailed off.

 

The younger took another breath, trying to steady himself. “Well, he was acting really nice when he came over. And—and like I said, I was really lonely. Because you guys don’t all usually leave at the same time, you know? And I know there were guards here, but it wasn’t the same. So I guess I was just feeling—I-I don’t know. Sad, and GD was just really comforting, and he was there , and—”

 

“Jungkook,” Taehyung interrupted. His voice was soft, and his eyes were so, so sad, like he knew what was coming. “What happened?”

 

Any minute now, his heart was going to crash to a stop in his chest.

 

“We kissed,” he whispered.

 

Taehyung stared at him.

 

He couldn’t describe the elder’s expression. It didn’t just fall—it crumpled . He’d never seen so much hurt, so much betrayal and sadness.

 

He regretted it instantly. He wanted to take the words back as soon as they left his mouth, and he let out a whimper, feeling close to tears.

 

Behind him, everyone was silent. Seokjin looked pale, as if the blood had drained from his face, and Namjoon and Hobi seemed stunned speechless. Jimin had a hand pressed to his mouth like he was suppressing the urge to vomit.

 

Yoongi, however.

 

Yoongi looked mad.

 

“What do you mean you kissed ?” the elder demanded. His younger brother flinched, glancing at him with surprise.

 

Jungkook bit his lower lip. “It was—I don’t know, it was sort of an accident—”

 

“How do you accidentally kiss someone?” Yoongi hissed, voice hot. “Jeon Jungkook, what the fuck is wrong with you? You know better than that!”

 

Jungkook flinched, inhaling at the sharp words and hot anger in the elder’s voice. He glanced helplessly in Taehyung’s direction. His boyfriend still hadn’t said anything, and Jungkook felt absolutely disgusting. He felt bad , felt heartbroken and sad and stupid for thinking this was a good idea, that this was somehow going to be fun

 

“I’m sorry,” he said desperately, voice thick with the threat of tears. “It was just a p—”

 

“Sorry doesn’t change anything. I don’t understand. This isn’t like you,” Yoongi snapped.

 

Jungkook’s stomach sank. “Hyung, listen—”

 

“I’m so disappointed in you. I know you know better than—”

 

“But hyung —”

 

“Don’t.”

 

Jungkook stopped, lips still parted mid-sentence, and turned to look at Taehyung in surprise.

 

His boyfriend’s expression was hard to read, but he wasn’t looking at him. He was looking instead at Yoongi, and Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed when he realized he hadn’t been talking to him.

 

“Don’t yell at him,” he continued, voice soft. “It’s fine. Don’t...don’t yell.”

 

Jungkook’s jaw fell open.

 

Yoongi looked livid. “Don’t yell? What the fuck is wrong with you? I’m going to yell, what he did was wrong—”

 

“We don’t know all the facts yet,” Taehyung interjected sharply. He finally looked at Jungkook, and the younger’s heart ached at the badly concealed pain in his eyes. “Kookie. I’m...I’m not mad, okay? I’m just...confused.”

 

Jungkook sniffed, a few tears finally escaping and falling down his cheeks. “You’re not mad?” he asked, voice tiny.

 

“No,” his boyfriend sighed. And Taehyung—god, Taehyung . The elder moved closer and cupped his cheeks, trying to smile. It looked like the action pained him, tinged with so much hurt, but he was still trying , still acting like he was okay—

 

“Tae,” Jungkook whispered, feeling the tears pick up speed. His boyfriend was so good, so caring and perfect. And he’d gone and hurt him—for fun , for a prank of all things. Guilt curled tightly in his gut like a rock.

 

“Talk to me, Kookie,” the elder said softly. “What happened? Have you been feeling...neglected? Is that it? You had to go to someone else because I haven’t been spending enough time with you?”

 

Jungkook’s face fell. “ No . Oh my god, Tae, no. Listen—”

 

“Then what?” Taehyung’s eyes flickered painfully. “Just tell me what I did wrong, baby. Whatever it was, I’m sorry, okay?’

 

“Tae, stop —”

 

“And—and why GD?” The elder leaned back then, his hands falling to his sides. For the first time, something other than sadness crept into his expression. Anger. Jealousy.

 

Accusation.

 

“Do you have feelings for him?”

 

Jungkook’s lips parted, eyes widening. “ No . No, of course not. Listen to me, we didn’t even—”

 

“Just tell me the truth,” his boyfriend said, and it was almost a growl. His eyes flashed darkly. “You said you called him. Why him? Is this the first time something like this has happened between you two?”

 

It was all too much, too fast. Suddenly there were accusations upon accusations, and Jungkook was starting to think there was no way he would be able to come back from this, no way to do damage control—

 

“Of course I’ve never done it before,” he gasped. “Why would you even ask that? I love you —”

 

“You sure have a funny fucking way of showing it,” Taehyung hissed, a vein in his neck pulsing with the force behind the words.

 

Jungkook drew back sharply. He felt his cheeks flush, not used to being on the receiving end of a swear word from the elder. He saw Taehyung almost look guilty, before the emotion evaporated, quickly replaced with the same hurt from before.

 

“I just don’t understand what the fuck is going on,” he said. He sounded so helpless and confused. “Just— why ? Why? Everything was fine. It was good . We were fine, so why, all of a sudden—”

 

“It was a prank ,” Jungkook interrupted fiercely. “It was a dumb prank, oh my god, I was p-pranking y-you—”

 

And he burst into tears before he could get the rest of the sentence out.

 

Silence settled over the room, save for the sound of his sobbing. He covered his face with his hands, heard somebody let out a sigh of relief and another person swear under their breath. Remorse tightened his chest. All his hyungs were probably mad at him.

 

“I’m so sorry,” he hiccuped, voice muffled through his hands. “I’m so sorry , I didn’t know it would turn out like this. I didn’t think you’d get hurt . I-it looked so fun in the videos —”

 

Taehyung didn’t look like he was breathing. His face was hard to read, lips pressed together.

 

“A...prank?”

 

Jungkook nodded silently.

 

He didn’t look like he believed him.

 

“I swear,” the younger said urgently, moving closer and grabbing the elder’s hands. “It was a stupid idea I came up with after watching a bunch of youtube videos. I-I can show you the videos. You can call even GD if you want. It was just a prank, Tae, I swear—”

 

“I want to yell at you even more now,” Yoongi muttered.

 

Jungkook ignored him, looking tearfully at his boyfriend. “Please believe me,” he whispers. “I love you. I would never kiss someone else. I don’t even like hugging other people for too long. You know I only love you, I would never cheat, never—”

 

“Calm down,” Taehyung mumbled. He still hadn’t moved, but the elder closed his eyes and took a breath. He seemed to be calming down himself, cheeks slowly returning from their flushed state to their usual color.

 

“I’m never watching YouTube again,” Jungkook muttered weakly. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Tae. Please.”

 

“I believe you, christ.” His boyfriend finally moved, running a hand tiredly over his face. He looked exhausted. “I think I’m the first twenty something year old in Korea to have a stroke.”

 

Another minute passed before the elder finally dropped his hand, and he motioned for Jungkook to move closer. The tension melted from the younger’s shoulders at the action, and he quickly crawled into his lap before he could change his mind.

 

Taehyung ran his fingers through his hair, sighing. “What the hell were you thinking? God, Jungkook. I thought I was going to pass out or throw up. Or both.”

 

Jungkook whimpered, pressing his lips briefly to the elder’s jaw. His fingers curled tightly into the elder’s shirt as he squirmed in his lap, trying to press himself even closer to him. “I-I just wanted to make you jealous.”

 

Taehyung made a sound of disbelief. “ What ?”

 

“The guys in the videos looked hot,” the younger defended, voice whiny and pitiful. “I-I thought you’d look really sexy if you got jealous. But—but you just got sad , and then you were being so nice—and I felt so bad . It wasn’t fun at all . How come it looks so fun in the videos?”

 

“Most of those videos are fake, sweetheart,” Jimin sighed.

 

Jungkook pouted. “How was I supposed to know that?”

 

Taehyung shook his head. “If you wanted to make me jealous, you couldn’t have thought of another way? We could have...I don’t know. Role played or something. God, Jungkook.”

 

“I said sorry,” Jungkook whined.

 

“Well, thank god it was just a joke,” Seokjin sighed. The elder raked his fingers through his hair, looking like he’d just run a marathon. “I thought I was going to pass out. That was so intense.”

 

Namjoon shook his head. “I’m pretty sure Jin would break up with me if I pulled some shit like that.”

 

Seokjin laughed. “Probably.”

 

Alarm shot through Jungkook at the causal exchange.

 

Without warning, he clutched Taehyung’s shirt far too tightly, face jerking towards him with shock etched across the features.

 

“Don’t break up with me,” he gasped. He felt tears pricking at his eyes again. “Oh my god, please don’t break up with me. I-I was kidding. Hyungie, K-Kookie was just j-joking—”

 

He tucked his face back into the elder’s shoulder, a startled Taehyung not even having time to speak before he started trembling in his lap.

 

Everyone turned to glare at Namjoon.

 

“What?” he said sheepishly. “I said Jin would break up with me ! I didn’t say anything about Tae!”

 

“Dumbass,” Hobi chided.

 

Taehyung sighed, arms curling protectively around the shaking figure in his lap. “Kookie, baby. I’m not gonna break up with you. Stop crying, okay?”

 

“K-Kookie’s sorry,” the younger whispered, voice shaky and muffled as he kept his face hidden. “He was so mean, b-but don’t leave , TaeTae, please. K-Kookie will be better, p-promise—”

 

“Jungkookie, I’m not mad at you,” Taehyung murmured patiently. “I need you to calm down for me, bun. Okay? Take a deep breath.”

 

Jungkook sniffed. Paused.

 

“...TaeTae’s not leaving?”

 

“No,” Taehyung said, almost laughing. “I’m not going anywhere. You’re not getting rid of me that easily.”

 

“Kookie loves you,” the younger said fiercely. He blinked up at him, eyes sparkling with tears and nose red from crying. “So much. Okay, TaeTae?”

 

Taehyung couldn’t stop his lips from quirking up.

 

“Okay,” he said softly, smiling.

 

Jungkook’s face fell a little. “T-TaeTae has to say it back!” he whined.

 

“Fuck, I’m sorry,” his boyfriend laughed. “Love you, too, bun.” He pressed a kiss to the younger’s nose, chest vibrating with laughter. “You’re so silly, Kookie. What am I gonna do with you?”

 

“Love me!” the younger responded cheekily. He giggled when the elder rolled his eyes, hugging him and leaning forward to rest his cheek on his shoulder. “Can we watch a movie now?”

 

Seokjin moved to grab the remote. “I’m assuming that’s enough Gatsby for the night?”

 

“What do you wanna watch, Kookie?” Jimin asked, smiling.

 

“Please say Disney, please say Disney,” Hobi chanted not-so-quietly under his breath.

 

Jungkook blinked at the elder, cocking his head curiously. “Hobi hyungie can pick!”

 

Hobi blinked at the sudden shift of attention towards him, turning bright pink.

 

“U-uh.” He chuckled sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck. “...Fast and Furious?”

 

Jungkook made a face.

 

The elder let out a huff of breath. “Fine. I meant Cars, anyways.”

 

Namjoon burst into laughter. “You loser, oh my god.”

 

“It’s a good movie, asshole—”

 

Jungkook was busy clapping his hands. “Yay! Lightning McQueen!”

 

The younger turned to Taehyung after a moment while they were setting up the movie, expression serious. “TaeTae, when is Kookie gonna get a car?”

 

Taehyung blanched. “When you’re...um, 30.”

 

His boyfriend grimaced. “That’s so old!”

 

“Sorry, bun. You have to be old to drive. Those are the rules.”

 

“But—”

 

“Ssh! Some of us are trying to watch over here!”

 

“...Sorry, Hobi hyungie.”

 

Chapter Text

 

Taehyung’s first impression of Heechul was that he seemed shy.

 

Suho introduced the man as one his newest members in training. He was polite, bowing to Taehyung before keeping a respectful distance from him for the rest of the time they were there.

 

“He seems kinda scared of me,” Taehyung remarked. His eyes were trained on the man standing across the room as he sipped the glass of whiskey he’d just been poured.

 

“Ah, you’re sort of his idol,” Suho chuckled. He drained his own glass with practiced ease, tipping the contents in one swallow. “Should’ve seen the kid’s face when I told him we were meeting with Kkangpae. Practically shit his pants.”

 

Taehyung let out a startled laugh. “Seriously? It’s usually Yoongi or Hobi people look up to.”

 

Suho shrugged. “Your name’s just as big now, wouldn’t you say? Since Bangtan’s collapse and all.”

 

The almost nostalgic name sent prickles shooting up Taehyung’s spine. He kept the smile on his face, however—if a little stiff.

 

At some point, his and Heechul’s gazes locked. The man held his eyes for a split second before looking away, the tips of his ears glowing red. Taehyung couldn’t pinpoint whether it was with embarrassment or something else.

 

He emptied his glass and decided not to bother trying to guess, choosing instead to join Suho in getting a refill.

 

*

 

The next time they met, the man seemed to have worked up the nerve to come up to him.

 

Taehyung was standing by the door waiting for Yoongi to finish up a conversation. His phone was pulled out, texting Jungkook to let the younger know they’d be home soon, when he heard someone nervously clear their throat.

 

Heechul’s face flushed pink when Taehyung looked up.

 

“I-I’m sorry to bother you, Sunbaenim,” he stammered, bowing aggressively. “My name is Kim Heechul. I-I very much admire you, Sir.”

 

Taehyung pressed his lips together to keep from smiling at the man’s enthusiasm. “It’s nice to meet you. We met last time, though, didn’t we?”

 

Heechul's face flushed darker. “We did. I-I didn’t think you’d remember.”

 

“Of course I did,” Taehyung laughed. “Why wouldn’t I?”

 

The man’s smile seemed bashful. He ducked his head, voice sheepish. “Well, I am just a recruit, Sir. And you’re...Kim Taehyung, Sunbaenim.”

 

Taehyung tried to ignore the latter part of the statement. He’d never cared for his reputation, for the infamacy that came with nothing but a name.

 

“Well, I remember all the recruits I’m introduced to,” he replied easily. “And you can call me hyung, Heechul. Nobody here is particularly formal.”

 

As if to punctuate the statement, GD suddenly slung his arm around Taehyung’s shoulders. “Taehyung! How are you? Haven’t seen you at one of these things in a while.”

 

Heechul took a step back as Taehyung’s attention diverted onto the elder.

 

“Hey, hyung,” he said, greeting the gang leader with an apologetic grin. “Ah, Jungkook was sort of clingy the last few meetings. Hobi’s been giving me an earful for ditching, though, so I dragged myself to this one.”

 

GD raised an eyebrow.  “Hey, send him to my place next time,” the elder insisted. “Top and Daesung break out into rashes if they don’t play with the kid once a month.”

 

Taehyung burst out laughing. “Are they here? We haven’t met up in a while. Hey, you guys should come over.”

 

The conversation didn’t last much longer, but by the end of it, Heechul had disappeared. Taehyung swept the room for any signs of the other man, but he seemed to have left altogether.

 

*

 

The third time they met was the first time he noticed something was off.

 

He was walking to his car when the other stepped out from behind one of the ten sports cars parked in the lengthy driveway. Taehyung jumped.

 

“Fuck.” He placed a hand over his heart, feeling his pulse jump erratically at the scare. “Jeez, Heechul. You scared the shit out of me.”

 

“My apologies, Sunbaenim.” The man bowed as aggressively as usual. “Are you returning home?”

 

Taehyung frowned. “I was. Why? Does Suho need me?”

 

“No, Sunbaenim.”

 

Taehyung hesitated when he didn’t move. “Okay. Did... you need something?”

 

Heechul’s ears glowed red. He bit his lip, looking nervous. “I...I wanted to ask you for some advice. If that was okay.”

 

“Oh.” Taehyung blinked. “Um, sure. What is it?”

 

“It’s about fighting,” the man replied, rubbing the back of his neck. “Suho hyung thinks my skills really need work. You have an amazing reputation as a fighter, Sunbaenim, and I was hoping—”

 

“First of all, please stop calling me that,” Taehyung interrupted, sighing. “It makes me feel old. What are you, like two years younger than me?”

 

Heechul’s hand fell to his side. “Yes, Sir.”

 

Hyung ,” he corrected. He glanced at his phone, already lit up with another text. “And second, I really have to get going. My boyfriend’s waiting for me and I said I’d be home an hour ago.”

 

When he looked back up, Heechul’s expression had fallen.

 

“Oh,” he said quietly. “No, of course. I completely understand.” He bowed, the enthusiasm from before lacking in the action. “My apologies.”

 

Taehyung bit his lip, feeling guilt curl in his stomach at the sight of the other’s crestfallen face. He sighed.

 

“But I guess we could...meet up sometime,” he suggested hesitantly. “For a training session. If you want, I mean, I think I have an hour free tomorrow afternoon—”

 

“Yes!” Heechul’s eyes lit up, and he took a step forward without warning. “That sounds amazing!”

 

Taehyung backed up slightly, instinct making his hands rise protectively, palms up.

 

He smiled though, hoping the action wasn’t tinged with the discomfort he felt. “Great. Um, we can work the details out when I get home.”

 

Heechul’s cheeks flushed. “You—you, um, want my number?”

 

“Huh? Oh, well, I was just going to call Su—”

 

“Here!”

 

A phone was thrust aggressively into his hands. Taehyung resisted the urge to snap at him for the over-enthusiastic gesture, trying to remember that this was just an eager rookie who really looked up to him.

 

He kept the smile stiffly on his face, turning to slide into his car with a shake of his head.

 

As the driver pulled out of the driveway, he noticed Heechul hadn’t left yet. The man stood on the porch, watching his car back away, eyes glued to the vehicle with a huge grin stretching his face.

 

Taehyung sank in his seat, muttering under his breath for the driver to put the windows up.

 

*

 

Jungkook, as it turned out, was not a fan of losing him for another hour out of their already limited time together.

 

“I’m sorry, bunny,” Taehyung sighed, watching the younger cross his arms and pout. “I promised this new recruit that I’d help him train.”

 

“Why can’t someone else help him?” the younger whined. “We were supposed to have a date night!”

 

“We still are,” Taehyung promised. He ran his fingers through the younger’s hair, dropping a kiss on his forehead. “It shouldn’t take more than an hour. I promise.”

 

Jungkook bit his lip. “Can I come?” he asked, the words hesitant.

 

Taehyung opened his mouth to say no, the rejection one that had formed out of habit to the younger’s often ridiculous requests, but he paused.

 

“Actually, yeah,” he said after a moment. “Why not?”

 

Jungkook looked surprised, clearly having expected a refusal. “Really?” he gasped. “Ooh, yay! I’m gonna get to watch you fight!”

 

Taehyung bit back a smile. “You’re going to hate it. I get all sweaty and gross.”

 

“Sounds sexy,” the younger teased, eyes glittering as he leaned over to press a kiss to his mouth. “I just have to change. Then we can go, okay?”

 

“Sounds good,” Taehyung said, half-distracted. His attention was pulled to his phone, the device having had been vibrating nonstop in his pocket the past few minutes.

 

Heechul: good afternoon Sunbaenim!! I’m at the training center

Heechul: thank you again for helping me!!

Heechul: when will you be here?

 

Taehyung sighed.

 

Taehyung: it’s no problem

Taehyung: and ill be there soon

 

“I’m ready!”

 

Taehyung glanced up at the announcement, only to have a laugh startled out of him.

 

Jungkook frowned. “Why are you laughing?”

 

“What are you wearing?” Taehyung said, covering his grin with a hand.

 

His boyfriend’s pout deepened. “Gym clothes!”

 

“Baby, you’re wearing sweatpants underneath a skirt.”

 

“Well I can’t just not wear a skirt. I’m not a heathen , Tae.”

 

“Right, right. Of course not.”

 

They left soon after, and Jungkook grew more and more excited as they neared the training center. He glanced out the window as they pulled into a dark, foresty part of town, the car slowly descending a ramp lined with armed guards.

 

“Is it underground?” he whispered, eyes wide.

 

“Yes, it is,” Taehyung whispered back. “Why are we whispering?”

 

“I dunno,” Jungkook responded, giggling. “It’s like a movie.”

 

Taehyung grinned. He resisted the urge to pull the younger onto his lap and kiss him. His boyfriend was too adorable for his own good.

 

Once they’d parked, the driver opened the door for Jungkook, and the younger bowed hurriedly at the man before turning and looking back at Taehyung. “Hurry up!”

 

“What’s the rush?” Taehyung asked, climbing out himself.

 

“This can be your cardio,” the younger said cheekily. “Race ya!”

 

Taehyung’s jaw fell as he sprinted forward without warning. It took a moment for his mind to catch up, and he finally began jogging himself, laughing.

 

He caught up to Jungkook by the elevators, the younger’s face flushed pink and eyes sparkling as they stepped inside.

 

“Slow poke,” he teased, giggling. “You’re getting old, Tae.”

 

“And you’re getting sassy, brat,” Taehyung quipped back, raising an eyebrow. He took a step forward, pressing the younger against the wall as the elevator doors closed behind them. A grin stretched his lips as Jungkook’s face flushed darker at the action.

 

“Where’d all that confidence go, baby?” he hummed, ducking his head to nose against the younger’s jaw. Jungkook let out a shaky breath, hands coming up clutch at his shoulders. “Hm?”

 

“Tae,” he whined.

 

Taehyung’s hands floated down to his waist, fingers digging into the area. He ground his hips forward warningly, listening to Jungkook’s breath hitch.

 

“Sorry, what was that?”

 

Jungkook’s eyes fluttered closed. “ Tae . Please—”

 

The elevator doors opened with a ding, and Taehyung dropped his hands, stepping back.

 

“Looks like we’re here,” he said, grin widening at the aghast look Jungkook gave him. “Come on, baby.”

 

“You’re horrible ,” his boyfriend moaned. He followed behind dutifully, however, brushing down the front of his skirt with a huff.

 

Taehyung’s earlier trepidation returned as he spotted Heechul across the gym. The younger male was alone, on his phone, but he looked up as the elevators closed behind them.

 

“Hyung!” Heechul’s face lit up. He began jogging towards them, gaze trained on Taehyung and an excited smile stretching his face. “You came! Wow, I’m so—”

 

Without warning, the man slowed down. Taehyung watched his eyes fall onto Jungkook, who had stepped forward. The younger wasn’t looking at them, busy sweeping the training center and all its equipment with wide eyes.

 

“Wow,” he breathed. “This place is so cool!”

 

Taehyung smiled. He reached for Jungkook’s hand, drawing his attention as he laced their fingers together, and the younger turned to look at him.

 

“Heechul, this is my boyfriend, Jungkook,” he said. “Kookie, this is Heechul.”

 

“Hi!” the younger said cheerfully. He bowed neatly, smile bright when straightening up. “It’s nice to meet you, hyung.”

 

Heechul’s expression was hard to read. His eyes flickered down to their joined hands, irises dark when he looked back up.

 

“You can call me Sunbaenim, Jungkook-sshi,” he said coolly.

 

Jungkook’s smile faltered. The younger’s eyebrows furrowed, but he only hesitated for a moment before nodding. “Oh. Right. Um, I’m sorry. I just thought—”

 

“It’s alright,” Heechul interrupted. He turned to Taehyung then, who was looking at him incredulously. “Hyung, shouldn’t we get started?”

 

Taehyung frowned, but he nodded. It wasn’t his place to correct anyone’s honorifics, after all—even if it did rub him the wrong way.

 

“Kookie, you want to wait over there for a while? ” he suggested, running a thumb over the back of younger’s knuckles. His boyfriend smiled gratefully at him.

 

“Sure,” he said. “And you said Top hyung might come soon, right?”

 

“Yeah, he mentioned that he might. Wanna call him?”

 

“Please,” the younger said sweetly. Taehyung smiled as he handed him his phone, pressing a kiss to his nose before watching him walk off towards the side of the room, phone lifted to his ear.

 

When he turned back, Heechul’s expression was dark.

 

“If you’re all set, hyung, we can get started over here,” he said, turning to walk towards one of the mats on the ground. Taehyung wondered if he was imaging the stiffness the other’s tone had taken on.

 

Deciding to ignore it, he shrugged off his jacket and rolled his shoulders. “Fine with me. Have you stretched?”

 

“No, not yet.” Heechul looked at him with an expression that could only be described as accusatory. “I was waiting for you.”

 

Taehyung ignored the dig, although he couldn't hide the way his eyes flickered angrily. “Alright. Well, lay down on the mat. If your body’s not warmed up you’ll never be at your best.”

 

The younger did as instructed, and they spent a few minutes in awkward silence stretching. Taehyung kept close watch on Jungkook out of the corner of his eyes, ignoring the looks Heechul kept shooting him.

 

“Can you help me?”

 

He glanced at the younger man, who was staring back at him expectantly.

 

“Help you…” Taehyung’s eyebrows furrowed. “Stretch?”

 

“Yes,” Heechul said sweetly. He rolled his ankle, pulling the leg up towards his chest. The new angle brought attention to the man's rather fitted sweatpants—namely, the bulge stretching across the front of them. “I can’t really bend all that well, hyung.”

 

Taehyung felt his jaw clench. “I don’t usually help people stretch, Heechul. I’m sure you can pull it off yourself.”

 

The man tilted his head at him, blinking innocently. “Is something wrong?”

 

He gritted his teeth. “...No. Come on, let’s get started. We don’t have much time.”

 

Heechul jumped up, mouth stretching into a grin. “I know I keep saying it, but I really am so grateful you took time out of your day to help me.”

 

“And like I keep telling you, it’s no problem,” Taehyung sighed. “Alright. Let’s start with positions. Are you usually on the defensive line or do you lead?”

 

For a little while, everything was fine. Heechul wasn’t as bad a fighter as Taehyung had expected, and he lost himself in the normalcy of training as always.

 

There were little things that kept his guard up, though. Heechul wasn’t subtle—not in the way he held onto Taehyung’s hand a little too long when the elder was helping him up off the ground, not in the way he kept brushing the elder’s thigh or smirking at him or batting his eyes—

 

“You know I have a boyfriend, right?”

 

Taehyung hadn’t planned to say it, but the words bubbled out without any prompting.

 

The man started, clearly not having expected such a forward statement. Taehyung didn’t regret it, however, and he didn’t retract it. Just stared at the man, gaze level.

 

Heechul smiled tightly. “I know, hyung. It’s hard to forget when he’s just across the room.”

 

Jungkook was, in fact, occupied just a few dozen yards away. True to his word, Top had arrived with both Daesung and Taeyang in tow, and the three gang members were having the time of their lives messing around on the equipment with an enthusiastic, giggly maknae.

 

Taehyung’s gaze slid away from him back to a calm-looking Heechul. He frowned, eyebrows furrowing.

 

“I know you look up to me, Heechul,” he said, choosing the words carefully. “But you need to remember your boundaries. I’m here as a mentor to you—nothing more. Do you understand?”

 

“Of course, hyung.” Heechul bowed politely, words dripping with sweetness. “I never intended on making you uncomfortable in any way.”

 

Taehyung bit the inside of his cheek and nodded. “It’s...fine. I just wanted to make things clear.”

 

Heechul’s smile dripped honey. “Crystal.”

 

*

 

Jungkook giggled as Top and Daesung pretended to fake cry while waving goodbye. It was an act the elders tended to initiate whenever they dropped him off at home, although this time they were the ones leaving.

 

“Bye, Jungkookie!” Taeyang waved energetically, earning an equally excited gesture back.

 

“Bye, hyungs!” Jungkook smiled. Taehyung waited for the three gang members to finish their goodbyes before walking with them to the elevator, most likely giving a parting greeting of his own.

 

Jungkook hummed to himself as he turned and bent over, picking up one of the water bottles on the ground.

 

When he straightened up, it was to the sight of the man Taehyung had introduced him to earlier, standing far too close.

 

“S-Sunbaenim,” he said, trying to school his startled expression into an uneasy smile. “You scared me.”

 

The man didn’t look apologetic. He glanced Jungkook over from head to toe, the feeling sending a strange crawling sensation over his skin. He took a small step back.

 

“Jungkook, was it?” Heechul cocked his head, gaze critical.

 

The younger nodded slightly. “Yes.”

 

“So.” Heechul leaned against the water cooler. “How long have you and hyung been dating?”

 

Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed. He felt his fingers dig into his water bottle, confusion and a little bit of apprehension seeping in.

 

“Huh?”

 

Heechul stared at him, gaze level. “Taehyung and you. How long have you two been dating?”

 

“That’s, um...sort of private, Sunbae,” he said, the words hesitant.

 

Heechul’s lips were pressed together in an expression that could only be described as disdain. “Jungkook-sshi, I have to be honest. I don’t particularly understand what he sees in you.”

 

Jungkook’s mouth fell open.

 

Shock, hurt, and the first flares of defensiveness rose in the younger’s gut.

 

He tried to press down the familiar urge rising inside of him, a small voice whining at the back of his head for his boyfriend.

 

“That’s...our, um, relationship doesn’t really have anything to do with you.”

 

Heechul raised an eyebrow. “That’s not really any way to be speaking to your elder, Jungkook-sshi.”

 

He shrank back. He had to bite his tongue, had to resist the temptation to pout. He didn’t trust this man enough to slip into headspace but his mind screamed at him to do so, uncomfortable with the situation.

 

But he merely lowered his eyes, jaw clenched, and gave a small nod. “Sorry...Sunbae.”

 

Heechul hummed. “You never did answer the question. How long have you two been together?”

 

The younger’s spine stiffened. “A few years,” he muttered vaguely.

 

Heechul sounded surprised. “That long?”

 

He seemed almost disgusted at the thought, and it made Jungkook whimper. Why was he being so mean ?

 

“S-Sunbae,” he said softly. “I-if I did something to offend you—”

 

“You haven’t done anything, Jungkook-sshi,” the older man sighed. He didn’t sound like he was trying to be mean. He spoke matter of factly, as if the things he was saying were nothing but the truth. “To be honest, I think I’m just confused. Taehyung hyung is amazing. Everyone knows him as a fantastic fighter, a good person. He’s honestly amazing. And you’re just...you.”

 

Jungkook’s heart dropped into his stomach.

 

He couldn’t hold it back anymore. Something familiar inside of him snapped, expression crumpling, and a whine parted his lips without warning. He turned towards the elevators, away from Heechul.

 

“Tae Tae ,” he whimpered. The word broke on the second syllable, falling just short of a sob.

 

His boyfriend turned, the elevator doors closing just in time as he said goodbye to GD’s gang.

 

Jungkook shifted another step away from Heechul. “K-Kookie wants to go,” he said, voice shaky. “C-can we—can we go—”

 

He saw Taehyung’s eyebrows furrow when the elder realized he’d slipped. He was quick to come over, quicker still to cup his cheeks and press a kiss to his nose.

 

“Hey, bun,” he said softly. “What’s wrong?”

 

Jungkook sniffed, feeling tears prick his eyes. “I-I—” He shook his head rather than respond and shuffled closer, hiding his face in the elder’s shoulder.

 

Taehyung glanced at Heechul, frowning. “What happened?”

 

Heechul was looking at Jungkook with an unsure expression. “Nothing.”

 

Jungkook let out a sound at the statement, an indignant noise that was a cross between a huff and a hum. He lifted his head and finally looked at Heechul.

 

“Sunbae was mean ,” he said, eyes narrowing. He felt Taehyung’s arm tighten around his waist, and the physical reminder sent a surge of confidence through him. Taehyung wouldn’t let anyone hurt him.

 

Meanwhile, Heechul’s eyes had widened at the proclamation. “What? No, I wasn’t—”

 

“He said Kookie’s not good enough for TaeTae,” Jungkook continued with a pout, looking now at his boyfriend. He sniffed, eyes damp and sad. “That’s not true, hyungie. I-is it?”

 

“What? Of course not,” Taehyung hissed. The look he gave Heechul could slice metal, eyes flaming. “What the fuck? I thought I made myself explicitly clear, Heechul.”

 

“Hyung—”

 

“You do not speak to my boyfriend that way. Do you understand?”

 

Heechul’s cheeks flamed, embarrassment lowering his head. “I-I didn’t—”

 

“Fucking apologize ,” Taehyung growled.

 

The younger man swallowed hard. He hesitated before nodding slightly, turning towards Jungkook but keeping his eyes lowered.

 

“My apologies, Jungkook-sshi,” he muttered. “I didn’t mean to...offend you.”

 

Jungkook shrugged, lower lip jut out. He didn’t look at him, cheek pressed to Taehyung’s shoulder.

 

“You had no place speaking to him that way,” his boyfriend continued. His voice was calm, but the words burned with an anger that crackled through each syllable. Heechul’s skin had flushed right down to his neck. “ None .”

 

“Hyung, I—”

 

“That’s Sunbaenim to you,” Taehyung cut off sharply.

 

Heechul’s eyes widened, and Jungkook tried not to feel guilty for the sense of satisfaction that spread through his stomach.

 

“I-I’m sorry,” Heechul said weakly. “I genuinely didn’t mean to offend you. I just—you’re my idol, and—”

 

“And nothing. I’m done with this conversation,” Taehyung said flatly, jaw flexing. “We’re done here.” A pause, and his eyes darkened. “You can delete my number. I won’t be training with you again.”

 

Jungkook had to bite his lip to keep from smiling.

 

Meanwhile, Heechul gaped at them like a fish. Taehyung merely stared at him, and when it became clear he was finished speaking on the matter, the younger man bowed his head.

 

“Of course,” he muttered. “Whatever you say...Sunbae.”

 

Taehyung pressed his lips together, shaking his head, and turned his attention to the younger male in his arms. He ran his fingers through Jungkook’s hair, sighing. “Are you okay, bunny?”

 

“Uh huh.” The younger smiled a little at him. “Can we go now?”

 

“Yeah,” Taehyung murmured, smiling sheepishly back. “I owe someone a date, huh?”

 

His boyfriend grinned. “Yeah!”

 

*

 

They left to dinner shortly after. Jungkook stayed in headspace, his mood having improved times ten, and he bounced excitedly in Taehyung’s lap while they pulled out of the training center, gasping at the scenery outside.

 

Taehyung chuckled. He was glad to have the other distracted while he made a quick phone call, trying to keep his voice quiet.

 

“Hello, is this Gangam Bar?”

 

Yes, Sir ,” the voice on the line crackled. “ How may I help you?

 

On his lap, Jungkook gasped. “TaeTae, look! A bunny!” He pointed out the window at a small animal that scurried away too quickly for the elder to really notice.

 

Taehyung smiled absentmindedly, running his fingers through the younger’s hair as he turned back to the window and he returned to his phone call.

 

Sir? Hello?

 

“Sorry about that. My name is Kim. I made reservations at your restaurant tonight for 6?”

 

A pause.

 

Mr Kim Taehyung?

 

“Yes.”

 

Sir, you rented out the building for the night .”

 

“Yeah, about that.” Taehyung bit back a smile at the sight of Jungkook pressing his nose against the glass, giggling when his breath fanned out and fogged the window. “Unfortunately, I have to cancel. There’s been a change of plans. I’ll still pay you for your troubles, though.”

 

Of course, Sir. Would you like to reschedule ?”

 

“I’ll let you know. Sorry again for the inconvenience.”

 

Jungkook squirmed in his lap, craning his neck to grin cutely at the elder. “TaeTae, where are we going?”

 

He slipped his phone in his pocket, humming thoughtfully. “Where did you want to go, bun?” A teasing grin stretched his mouth. “Someplace fancy?”

 

Just as he’d predicted, his boyfriend made a face at the suggestion. “Ew.”

 

Taehyung chuckled, ruffling his hair. “I was just kidding, baby. I know you just want somewhere that serves chicken nuggets, am I right?”

 

Jungkook perked up. “Yeah!” He smiled sheepishly. “Is that okay?”

 

“That’s perfect,” Taehyung said, kissing his nose. “You’re perfect.”

 

His boyfriend’s grin widened. He wriggled closer, pressing himself against the elder’s chest, and kissed him softly.

 

“Perfect,” he giggled.

 

Chapter Text

 

Another clap of thunder ripped through the quiet room, and Taehyung flinched.

 

He drew the blanket up tighter around himself, shivering. It wasn’t cold in their room—but then, that wasn’t exactly why he was shivering.

 

As if on cue, the thunder shook the bed. Taehyung muffled a groan into the blanket, squeezing his eyes shut. It hadn’t actually shaken the bed, of course. He was imagining things. Thunder was a sound, it couldn’t hurt him.

 

A reminder that was getting harder and harder to believe as the grumbling noises grew in volume.

 

He had no idea how Jungkook was sleeping through this. He’d always known the younger was a heavy sleeper, but this was ridiculous. The sound was deafening. How could he not wake up?

 

He supposed some selfish part of him was sort of hoping his boyfriend would wake up, if only because it would provide him with a distraction. Perhaps some comfort.

 

But Jungkook had gone to bed late, and he needed his sleep. Besides, even if neither of those factors existed, Taehyung knew he would never wake up the younger himself. He prided himself too much on his independence. He was the one Jungkook went to for comfort—not the other way around.

 

Another clap of thunder rattled the window panes. Taehyung tried to count backwards from one hundred in his head and gave up at eighty-seven.

 

“Jungkook,” he whispered.

 

The younger didn’t budge. His face was hidden almost completely from view, nothing but a tuft of hair visible through a crack in the blanket.

 

Taehyung bit the inside of his cheek. What was he doing? He shouldn’t wake him. He could handle this on his own. He’d be fine—

 

The sky rumbled angrily, and he shuddered, all thoughts of independence flying from his mind.

 

“Jungkook,” he whispered fiercely, notes of desperation bleeding through the word. “Wake up. Please.”

 

Hesitantly, he shook the younger’s shoulder. It was the action that finally had his boyfriend making some type of movement, eyebrows furrowing and nose wrinkling before he slowly peeled open his eyes.

 

“Tae?” Jungkook blinked wearily at him, eyes struggling to adjust to the dimly lit room.

 

Taehyung bit his lip. “I-I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you up, I just—”

 

He yelped then as another sharp clap ripped through the air without warning. Jungkook started a little at the sound himself, but he didn’t seem scared. Instead, his gaze was focused on the elder.

 

His eyes widened when he took in the tense posture of his boyfriend, the way his shoulders were hunched and he clutched the blanket to himself for dear life.

 

“Tae,” he said gently, expression softening. “Hey, it’s okay. It’s just thunder.”

 

He moved closer, the blankets shifting between them. Taehyung let out an embarrassing sound, something halfway between a whine and a whimper, when Jungkook reached up to tug the blanket gently away from his face.

 

His boyfriend smile faintly. “TaeTae, it can’t hurt you,” he said softly. His eyes were warm, fingers gentle as they brushed the hair off his sweaty forehead. “There’s nothing to be scared of. Okay?”

 

A thunderous roar shook the house, right on cue.

 

Taehyung flinched hard, immediately moving forward to duck his face into the younger’s chest.

 

“Kookie,” he whimpered, trembling. “Fuck. I-I can’t. I hate it so much.”

 

“It’s okay,” Jungkook murmured. Taehyung felt a hand stroking through his hair, but the action did nothing to calm how badly he was shaking. “I know. Hey, I’m here, okay? I’m not going anywhere.”

 

The younger’s arms wound around his waist, pulling him closer against his body. Taehyung whimpered, feeling humiliation wash over him as Jungkook cradled him to his chest, holding him the way the elder usually held him, stroking his hair the way he usually stroked his.

 

“I’m sorry,” he muttered. “It’s so stupid, I know. I know it can’t hurt me, I do, it’s just—”

 

“It’s not stupid,” his boyfriend said immediately. “It’s totally normal. A lot of people have phobias. Don’t apologize.”

 

Taehyung shuddered as the room shook, pressing himself closer to the younger. “You should go back to sleep. It’s supposed to go on all night, I checked the weather—”

 

“Then we’ll stay like this all night,” Jungkook interrupted, voice firm. “It’s okay, alright? Don’t worry about it. I’m fine.”

 

“You need sleep—”

 

“I’m fine.” Jungkook pulled away a little then, shifting downwards on the bed until their faces were aligned. He smiled slightly, kissing the elder’s nose briefly. “Come on. Let’s talk.”

 

Taehyung looked at him incredulously. “It’s three am.”

 

“So?” The younger frowned as another loud sound shook the walls and Taehyung visibly cringed. He moved his feet beneath the blanket until he found the elder’s, and Taehyung’s eyes softened as he felt him tangle their legs together, a faint smile quirking the edges of his mouth. “Come on. Tell me your deepest darkest secrets.”

 

Taehyung laughed. “You already know everything.”

 

Jungkook pulled an exaggerated face. “Boring.”

 

A particularly loud clap had the perfume bottles on their dresser rattling, and Taehyung’s entire body stiffened. Jungkook saw him swallow hard, adam’s apple bobbing, and the smile slip off his face.

 

“I have an idea,” the younger said softly. He leaned over the elder to reach the bedside table, grabbing something quickly before laying back down.

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows pulled together as he watched him untangle a set of headphones. “I’ve tried listening to music before, Kookie. It doesn’t—”

 

“Ssh,” Jungkook scolded softly, focused on the phone. His face lit up from the screen, illuminated in the darkness of the room for a moment before he shifted to place it face down on the mattress.

 

“Here.” He held out a headphone towards Taehyung, who accepted it without complaint, and proceeded to tuck the other one into his own ear.

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows lifted at the music blasting into his eardrums.

 

“Bigbang?” He scoffed at the younger, who grinned back. “I thought you were going to put on a lullaby.”

 

“Gross, no. We’re gonna go through my Spotify playlist. I’m educating you, hyung. Your taste in music sucks.”

 

Taehyung gasped, mock offended. “Hey! I have some good music.”

 

“You have Lil Pump.”

 

“I have one song by him, are you ever gonna let that go—”

 

“Ssh! This is the best part, you’ll miss it.”

 

Close to half an hour later, the elder was curled against Jungkook’s chest, listening to Twice’s latest hit single with a soft, sleepy smile tugging at his lips.

 

“I’m telling you, they’re the best girl group,” Jungkook insisted, having been preaching passionately all the while about his favorite artists. “They grind like no one else. Comeback after comeback. Those girls can hustle.”

 

“This is a good song,” Taehyung said quietly. He paused to yawn before giving an affirmative nod to acknowledge he was still listening.

 

His boyfriend beamed. “Good! If you like this one, you’ll love the next one. You know Hyuna, right?”

 

“Mm.” Taehyung hummed in lieu of a response, eyes falling shut of their own accord.

 

“Well, let’s start with the basics. First off, she’s a queen, okay? Her first single—”

 

Somewhere along the way, real Jungkook melted into dream Jungkook, and dream Jungkook was much quieter. Taehyung dreamt of sleep and slept to dream, and there was no differentiating one from the other.

 

He woke up late and to an empty bed. Sitting up with a groan, a frown pulled at his lips at the lack of a boyfriend to kiss.

 

Jungkook opened the bathroom door less than a minute later, poking his head out with his toothbrush still in hand. “Hey, you’re up!”

 

“Hey. You’re too far,” Taehyung responded, smiling tiredly. He lifted his arms, beckoning the younger to give him a hug. His boyfriend rolled his eyes but was quick to jog over, grinning.

 

“Morning,” he said, the smile never slipping when he pressed their lips together.

 

“Morning,” Taehyung sighed, smiling back. His gaze was soft when Jungkook pulled away slightly. “Thank you for last night. I’m sorry for falling asleep on you.”

 

“It’s okay,” the younger laughed softly. “That was the point.” The smile lessened ever so slightly then as Jungkook fixed him with a more serious look, his eyes warm when he reached up to tuck a strand of hair behind the elder’s ear. “I’m glad you woke me up, Tae. Thank you for letting me help you.”

 

Taehyung swallowed. “Thank you for helping,” he responded quietly. “I’m glad you were there, Kookie. I don’t know how I would have gotten to sleep if you hadn’t woken up.”

 

“What are boyfriends for?” the younger teased. He pecked his lips once more before pulling away and patting the elder’s chest. “Now come on. Go wash your face and get dressed. After breakfast, I already know what we’re gonna do.”

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows lifted. “What?”

 

Jungkook pointed his toothbrush at him, brandishing it like a weapon.

 

“I wasn’t done educating you. You fell asleep before we got to the queen.”

 

“Hyuna? You showed me a song—”

 

“One song is nothing! By the time I’m done, you’re going to be a stan. I accept nothing less from the man I’m dating.”

 

Taehyung winced. “Can’t wait.”

 

“You’re reluctant now, but just you wait. Soon you’ll know the choreography to Lip and Hip. You’ll see.”

 

“...I don’t think so, Kook.”

 

“That’s what they all say in the beginning, hyung. That’s what they all say.”

 

Chapter Text

Please disregard this chapter. Thank you.

Chapter Text

 

I’ll be home really soon, bun !”

 

Taehyung’s voice was too loud, the words crackling over the line and making Jungkook wince.

 

“How come TaeTae’s shouting?” he pouted.

 

There was a pause, followed by another loud crackling sound. It sounded like heavy wind whipping into the speaker.

 

Sorry, baby ,” he yelled after a moment. “ We’re on the roof, there’s a helicopter about to land .”

 

Jungkook’s frown deepened. He didn’t particularly care about the details of whatever his boyfriend was up to. All he cared about was if he would be coming home that night.

 

“Promise TaeTae will come?” he pressed. “Before dinner?”

 

The wind picked up pace, his boyfriend’s voice rising to be heard over it. “ I promise, bun. Listen, I have to go now. I love you, okay ?”

 

“Love you, too!” Jungkook responded dutifully. He’d perked up reasonably at the promise, and the usual wave of sadness that hit him whenever they ended a phone call was significantly less impactful this time when the line beeped.

 

He leaned back and handed Seokjin the phone, the older man accepting it with a smile as he tucked the device into his back pocket. “What do you want to do while we wait for Tae, Kookie?”

 

The younger chewed the inside of his cheek thoughtfully.

 

“Kookie has a idea,” he said slowly. He smiled adorably, eyelashes batting for an added effect. “But, um, Jinnie hyungie might say no.”

 

Seokjin eyed him suspiciously. “Why would I do that?”

 

“Umm, maybe ‘cause it’s a little messy,” he replied honestly. “B-but Kookie can be clean!” he rushed to add. “Promise!”

 

Seokjin sighed, expression already weary. “I think we both already know you’re going to end up convincing me of whatever it is, aren’t you?”

 

Sure enough, ten minutes later the two of them were sitting cross legged on the kitchen floor, newspapers spread out across the tile on all sides of them within arm’s length. Seokjin was wearing his cooking apron, while Jungkook had been made to push his arms and head through a huge plastic bag.

 

“This is such a bad idea,” the elder muttered. He eyed the small vats of paint laid out between the two of them. “Jungkook, are you sure you have to paint something for him? Can’t you just buy him something?”

 

“That’s not special ,” Jungkook pouted. “Kookie’s gonna paint a family picture!”

 

Seokjin paused at that. He felt his eyebrows furrow as he watched the younger dip his brush into one of the colors, curiosity peaking. Was he going to draw Jeon? Bangtan?

 

Jungkook glanced at the elder after a minute, eyes widening.

 

“Hyungie, no peeking!” He leaned over his paper, one arm shielding the picture from Seokjin’s line of sight. “It’s a surprise .”

 

Seokjin gave a strained smile. “Ah, sorry, sweetheart.”

 

He turned back to his own paper and prayed silently his guesses would be wrong.

 

*

 

After they were finished and cleaned up (Seokjin had to give the younger a bath in order to get the paint out of his hair and—somehow—his ears ) Jungkook waited with his picture in hand by the front door. His eyes were alight with excitement, paper clutched tightly as he practically bounced on the balls of his feet.

 

Half an hour later, he’d moved to sitting on the couch. It was right by the entrance to the living room, directly in line of the front door. He would be ready to jump up into his boyfriend’s arms the moment he stepped through the door.

 

An hour from then, he’d moved into Jimin’s arms. His picture sat on the couch, long forgotten as he sniffled in the elder’s lap, face flushed with tears.

 

“I’m sorry, honey,” Jimin said softly. The elder ran his hands up and down his arms soothingly, voice full of remorse. “I know you really wanted to see him tonight.”

 

“H-he promised ,” Jungkook whispered. The words were muffled, the younger’s face pressed against his hyung’s shoulder. “He promised Kookie he w-would come before d- dinner .”

 

Jimin sighed, arms tightening protectively around the younger.

 

“Kookie made him a p- picture ,” Jungkook continued. His voice broke on the last word, a small sob falling past his lips. He whimpered, face moving down to duck into the elder’s chest.

 

“I know,” Jimin murmured. “I know, sweetheart. Ssh.”

 

He didn’t stop the younger from crying. He knew it would tire him out, and sure enough, Jungkook was sniffling against his shoulder in no time, voice thick with exhaustion as his eyes began slipping shut.

 

“Can Kookie sleep with Jiminie hyungie tonight?” he mumbled tiredly. His fingers clung to the elder’s shirt, as if afraid to let go. “Please?”

 

“Of course you can,” Jimin said softly. “I need to help Seokjin hyung clean up after dinner, though, honey. I can put you down now and come lay down with you later. Does that sound okay?”

 

“Mmhm.” Jungkook sniffled, cheek pressed against his shoulders and eyes already shut. “Thank you, Jiminie hyungie.”

 

“Anytime, Kookie,” Jimin whispered. “Come on.”

 

He put the younger down with relative ease, slipping him into a pair of pajamas and pulling the covers up over him on Yoongi’s side of the bed. (His boyfriend would just have to sleep on the floor.)

 

It was about two hours later that the front door opened. Seokjin and Jimin were talking quietly in the kitchen, but they both stiffened at the sound, exchanging a look.

 

“Hey.” Yoongi was the first to come in. He placed a kiss on top of Jimin’s head before collapsing into the chair beside him, sighing heavily. “Fuck. That was a long ass day.”

 

Namjoon hummed tiredly in agreement, arms winding around Seokjin in a backhug and his chin coming to rest on the elder’s shoulder. “I cannot wait to go to sleep.”

 

“I know,” Hobi groaned, stretching. “I’m fucking beat.” The gang leader dumped himself onto the chair beside Yoongi, a yawn splitting his jaw.

 

Taehyung was the last one to step into the room, exhaustion heavy in his shoulders.

 

“Hey, guys,” he sighed, running a hand through his hair. “Is Kookie down already?”

 

“He is,” Jimin replied stiffly. He glared at his friend, arms crossed. “In my room.”

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows furrowed. “What? Why?”

 

“Gee, I don’t know,” Seokjin snapped. “ Maybe it’s because you got him all excited by swearing you would be home in time for dinner and then completely flaked.”

 

“He was so excited to see you, Tae,” Jimin huffed. His eyes flashed angrily as he glared the man, lips pressed together with disapproval. “He fucking painted a picture of all of us for you.”

 

“He...what?” Taehyung seemed to visibly deflate, expression falling as his shoulders sagged.

 

Seokjin moved the paper that had been half-hidden by the fruit basket on the table forward. Namjoon, Hobi, Taehyung and Yoongi all craned their necks to look at it, and all they could do was stare.

 

It was a picture of the seven of them. Jungkook was clearly in the middle, represented as a badly drawn stick figure wearing a skirt and holding the hands of both the men on his sides. The left looked to be Taehyung, judging by the heart drawn above their joined hands. Beside him was Seokjin, whose name was written on his shirt, standing next to Namjoon. Holding Jungkook’s other hand was a mint-haired man that was obviously supposed to be Yoongi, joined with orange-haired Jimin who stood beside a leather-jacket wearing Hobi.

 

At the top, Jungkook had messily written Kookie’s Family is hyungies !

 

Taehyung’s lips parted, speechless.

 

“Fuck,” he said weakly. “I’m such an asshole. Oh my god.”

 

“Yup,” Jimin said, popping the p for emphasis.

 

Taehyung glared at him. “It’s not my fault , though. The helicopter took forever to get here, and I couldn’t fucking call him while we were in the air .”

 

“Maybe next time don’t make promises you can’t keep,” Seokjin suggested curtly, raising an eyebrow.

 

Taehyung pressed his lips together. His gaze stayed glued to the paper, chest tightening at the sight of the adorable picture. A few beats passed in awkward silence before he let out a heavy exhale.

 

“Minnie, please let me move him back into our room,” he finally said, glancing at his friend with a desperate expression. “I can’t sleep without him.”

 

Jimin huffed. “No way. Consider this a punishment. Next time, don’t promise him something if you can’t stick to it.”

 

“That’s not fair ,” Taehyung argued, frowning. “I didn’t know this was going to happen. I’ll be more careful next time, okay? Please. Just, come on—”

 

No , Tae. You need to think about your actions—”

 

“Think about my actions? What are you, my mother? Don’t you think I know I fucked up—”

 

“Oh, just let the kid move him,” Yoongi grunted.

 

Taehyung and Jimin both glanced at him incredulously, the argument dying off.

 

“What?” Jimin’s mouth fell open. “Yoongi, you should be on my side!”

 

The mint haired man rolled his eyes. “He made a mistake, Jimin. We all make them. Do you know how many times I’ve told you I’d be home at a certain time and then flaked?”

 

Jimin’s glower intensified. “I’m well aware, actually.”

 

Yoongi gave a rue smile. “It’s not an easy job, you know. Even harder when you’ve got people you care about waiting for you at home. Cut the kid a break.”

 

Taehyung swallowed, nodding empathetically in agreement. “Yeah, exactly. I swear I won’t do it again. I hate hurting him just as much as you guys hate seeing him hurt.”

 

Mixed emotions warred on Jimin’s face before he finally sighed. “Fine,” he muttered. “But you’re moving him. He’s freaking heavy.”

 

Taehyung let out a breath of relief. “Thank you.” He looked at Seokjin, then, when he added, “And I promise I’ll be more careful next time.”

 

“Good,” Seokjin said firmly. He gave a faint smile. “Now, go to sleep. You look exhausted.”

 

*

 

The next morning, Jungkook woke up confused.

 

He’d spent the night sleeping fitfully, never waking up fully but not completely satisfied with his dreams when he did manage to drift off.

 

The room was bright when he peeled open his eyes, daylight streaming in through the curtains and painting the ceiling in streaks. A tired yawn split his jaw and he hummed, eyes falling back shut of their accord.

 

“Morning, bun.”

 

The husky voice was accompanied by a familiar pair of arms snaking their way around his waist.

 

All at once, last night’s memories came rushing back.

 

Jungkook’s eyebrows knitted together. He let out an indignant sound, hands coming down to pry Taehyung’s off as he squirmed away.

 

His boyfriend let go easily, but he sat up at the action, a frown pulling at his lips. Remorse shined in his eyes. Jungkook didn’t look at him for too long, feeling his resolve waver at the guilt-ridden look, and instead turned his face back into his pillow with a huff.

 

“Go ‘way,” he mumbled, pouting. “Kookie’s mad at you.”

 

Taehyung sighed. “I know. And you have every right to be, bun. I’m so sorry for—”

 

No .” Jungkook turned then, the blanket falling away as he glared cutely at the elder. His hair was messed up on one side from sleep, bangs falling into his eyes in such a way that he had to blow them off his forehead angrily.

 

“TaeTae always says sorry,” he huffed. “He always makes Kookie sad and then he says sorry and then Kookie says it’s okay and then he does it again . And that’s not fair.”

 

Taehyung winced. His heart clenched at the accusation, knowing he deserved it.

 

“You’re right,” he said quietly, features soft. “You’re completely right.”

 

Jungkook’s pout deepened. He turned his head away with another huff, grabbing his stuffed elephant and hugging it to his chest petulantly.

 

“Sometimes I make mistakes, baby,” Taehyung whispered. “And I know I say sorry alot, but that’s because I am . I never mean to upset you. I love you so much, Kookie. You know that.”

 

The younger’s lower lip jut out. “Kookie knows,” he mumbled. “That doesn’t make it okay.”

 

Taehyung swallowed. “No, it doesn’t,” he said softly.

 

There was a pause. The elder shuffled, blankets dragging between them, and inched forward slightly.

 

“I saw your painting,” he said quietly. “It was beautiful.”

 

The younger picked at a piece of fuzz Elephanty’s head. “Kookie made it for TaeTae.”

 

Taehyung smiled a little. “I know. I actually made you something, too.”

 

That earned him a wary look. “Huh?”

 

Taehyung couldn’t stop his smile from stretching into an excited grin. He slipped off the bed, reaching towards the bedside table and pulling out the item he’d stashed carefully inside of it in the middle of the night after having moved Jungkook back into their room.

 

He handed it to the startled younger carefully.

 

“I’ve actually been working on it for a while,” he said softly. “I wasn’t sure when to give it to you. It wasn’t for a birthday or anything, just...I felt like making you something.”

 

Jungkook’s eyebrows had furrowed. He stared at the item in his hands, eyes flickering with curiosity.

 

“TaeTae wrote Kookie...a book?” he asked hesitantly.

 

“No,” Taehyung laughed. “Open it.”

 

The younger moved Elephanty gently aside, pulling what looked like a photo album closer to himself. He opened it carefully.

 

His lips parted soundlessly at the first page.

 

“Oh,” he breathed. His cheeks flushed immediately, features softening. The page had a picture of them on one of their first dates—a selfie Taehyung had taken all the way back at Bangtan. Jungkook’s cheek was pressed against the elder’s so hard it was smushed, and Taehyung’s mouth was open in a laugh.

 

He turned the page delicately, as if the picture was made of gold. The next one had several polaroids, collaged together with different dates and captions penned neatly in their borders.

 

Feb 19th. Ice skating. Jungkookie kept falling >_<

 

April 11th. Selfie! <3

 

March 3rd. Park date. :)

 

Jungkook could feel his eyes well up. He sniffed, cheeks warming, and lifted to turn the next page.

 

This one was a crowded mess of receipts and movie ticket stubs. His eyes scanned them, recognizing different restaurants they’d frequented over the years and a number of movies they’d seen.

 

“Hyungie,” he whispered, voice shaking. The album slipped off his lap as he moved forward, throwing his arms around his boyfriend’s neck. “TaeTae saved everything ? That’s so nice !”

 

Taehyung let out a breathless laugh, the sound faintly sounding relieved. “I didn’t know if you’d like it,” he said honestly, arms coming up to wind tightly around the younger. “It’s not super decorated or anything.” He smiled sheepishly. “I’m not an artist like you.”

 

Jungkook laughed, the sound thick with tears. “Kookie can put his painting in it,” he said, smiling shyly.

 

“Sounds perfect,” Taehyung said softly. He pressed a kiss to the younger’s nose, sighing. “I know it doesn’t make up for me being so flaky all the time. I’m going to work on that, bun. I promise.”

 

His boyfriend pressed a kiss to the corner of his mouth. “Okay,” he said, smiling. “Pinky promise this time,” he added teasingly.

 

Taehyung laughed. “Pinky promise.” They did the gesture sweetly, Taehyung kissing his lips instead of their entwined fingers as he usually would.

 

He pulled away to Jungkook craning his neck forward, trying to follow his mouth and pulling a chuckle from him.

 

“We have all day for that,” he teased.

 

The younger brightened. “TaeTae’s not working today?”

 

“Not today,” he said, smiling. “I’m spending the day with my bun. I have something super fun planned.”

 

Jungkook’s eyes sparkled with excitement. “What?”

 

*

 

An hour later they had both washed up, eaten breakfast, and were standing in the living room. The furniture had been covered with tarps while the floor was blanketed with newspapers.

 

Jungkook was dressed in an old tshirt and a pair of Taehyung’s boxers, while the elder was wearing clothes he’d been meaning to throw out anyways.

 

Meanwhile, Seokjin stood in the doorway with a pained expression. “This is the worst idea in the whole world. The whole world , Taehyung. Do you hear me?”

 

“This is gonna be so fun!” Jungkook giggled, ignoring the elder. He clapped his hands excitedly. “Finger painting!”

 

Seokjin groaned at the sight of the younger dipping his entire hand into a pot of blue paint. The vibrant color went flying as he pulled his fingers out far too energetically, a few splatters landing on the couch nearby.

 

Jungkook slapped his hand down on the canvas in front of him, giggling. “It’s cold. TaeTae, your turn!”

 

Taehyung swiped a few streaks of green across the paper before settling back. Jungkook seemed to disappear into his own world as he worked, hands quickly growing unrecognizable behind the layers of colors he was continuously dipping them in.

 

He watched with a fond smile, chuckling himself when the younger giggled, and moving to push a certain color towards him when he asked for it.

 

By the end of the hour long activity, they were both covered in paint.

 

Seokjin cursed silently under his breath as he tossed them towels from the doorway. “I’m not coming in there,” he muttered. “You’re going to have to clean it up yourself.”

 

Taehyung rolled his eyes, grabbing one of the towels and turning towards Jungkook. “ Okay , hyung. Hey, Kookie? Come here.”

 

The younger had had his back to him. At the sound of his name, he turned suddenly towards him with a mischievous expression.

 

He held up his hands to mimic a bear, fingers curling to resemble claws.

 

“TaeTae, ‘m a bear!” he announced, pulling a face. “Rawr!”

 

“Wah, scary,” Taehyung gasped. “Please don’t kill me!”

 

Jungkook giggled. He pounced on the elder, arms wrapping around his neck, and gently bit the side of his neck.

 

“Now TaeTae’s a bear, too,” he laughed. His eyes glittered as he pulled back, kissing the elder hard on the lips. “Hyungie has paint on his mouth!”

 

“I do?” Taehyung hummed thoughtfully. “That doesn’t seem fair. I think we should make it even, don’t you?”

 

He didn’t wait for a response before kissing the younger, mouth moving languid and slow. Jungkook sighed into the action, neck tilting to deepen the angle. He could feel the younger melt against his chest as he grew breathless, their mouths moving seamlessly in sync.

 

When they broke apart, a small streak of green was smeared across Jungkook’s chin.

 

Taehyung laughed. “I think we’re matching now.”

 

Jungkook’s responding grin was earsplitting. “Perfect!”

 

Taehyung kissed his nose softly. “Perfect.”

 

Chapter Text

“Oh, I’m sorry. Excuse me.”

 

The man turned, having brushed against Jungkook’s elbow, and gave a polite smile as he apologized to the younger.

 

Jungkook was quick to return the action, bunny teeth emerging. “Oh, it’s oka—”

 

“Watch where you’re going .”

 

The guard who’d been standing a few feet in front of them suddenly cut the younger off as he snapped at the passerby. The poor man flushed pink with fear, nodding quickly. He ducked his head into his scarf as he walked past briskly.

 

Jungkook frowned. “Hyungie,” he said, pouting. “Be nice!”

 

The guard turned around and bowed to the younger. “My apologies, Jungkook-sshi.”

 

As he spoke, another woman suddenly brushed the younger male’s elbow on her way past. The guard immediately bristled, turning towards her with a clenched jaw.

 

“Watch your step.”

 

“Hyungie!” Jungkook huffed. He glared at the man, although the action came off as cute far more than it did as threatening.

 

Taehyung laughed as the guard lowered his head in apology.

 

“Kookie, your guards just want to do a good job of taking care of you,” he explained gently, smiling. He squeezed the younger’s hand through his own gloved one, earning a squeeze back in response. “It’s your first time out in such a big crowd, you know. We all just want to make sure our little prince is safe.”

 

That was an understatement. When Taehyung had announced he planned on bringing Jungkook on a shopping trip around Christmas time, every single one of the sixty guards the maknae had on rotation had jumped up and insisted on coming along. With a lot of coaxing and convincing, he’d somehow talked the determined men down to a mere six—two in the front, one on either side of them, and two trailing behind.

 

Despite their good intentions, he could tell Jungkook was growing annoyed at how quick they were to jump to defend him. They’d already growled out warnings towards a handful of people who’d merely bumped into him, and Taehyung knew the younger male didn’t like being rude to anyone—especially strangers.

 

Trying to distract him, he gently tugged on their joined hands, swinging them in the small space between their bodies.

 

Jungkook smiled at the action. The younger’s cheeks were flushed pink, nose a matching pretty shade in the midst of the cold winter air. His bangs stuck out cutely beneath the light pink beanie Seokjin had jammed onto his head before leaving the front door, a few strands hanging in his sparkling brown eyes.

 

Without warning, Taehyung tugged them to a gentle stop, pausing in order to lean closer and press a lingering kiss to his lips. They were cold, but the action sent warmth shooting down to his toes.

 

When he pulled back, Jungkook’s cheeks had flushed darker. He giggled, reciprocating the gesture with a soft peck to the corner of his mouth. “Can we go to the toy store now?”

 

Taehyung grinned. “I don’t see why not.”

 

“Yay!” The excited squeal was accompanied by tugging on his hand, urging him forward. “The super duper big one!”

 

Internally, Taehyung winced at the reminder.

 

After weeks of begging on Jungkook’s part, they were headed to one of the biggest toy stores in the city of Seoul. It was a gigantic emporium with four floors, dedicated to nothing but the latest in children's toys and games. There was even a carousel inside.

 

The thought of so many people milling around made the elder’s stomach churn nervously, but he tried to push it aside.

 

It was actually relatively easy to do, because Jungkook’s excitement was contagious. He kept squealing, practically bouncing on his feet as they joined a large crowd of people around the entrance to the store.

 

“TaeTae, look! It’s Barbie!” The younger’s eyes widened as he caught sight of a woman dressed as the character nearby.

 

“Look, she’s taking pictures with people,” Taehyung said. He nudged the small of the younger’s back gently, voice coaxing. “Why don’t you get in line?”

 

Jungkook pressed harder against his side, gloved hands coming up to slip into his boyfriend’s pockets in an effort to pull him closer. “No,” he mumbled, voice edging on a whine. “She’s so pretty.”

 

“So?” Taehyung laughed softly. “She seems really nice, Kookie. Are you sure?”

 

The younger bit his lip. His eyes flickered back towards the woman, eyeing her cheerful grin and the way she hugged the little girl in front of her before posing for a picture.

 

“Okay,” he finally said. “But TaeTae has to come.”

 

“I was planning on it,” Taehyung teased. He gently pulled the younger’s hand out of his pocket and wound their fingers together. “Come on.”

 

Their guards shifted, parting for them as the couple made their way towards the short line in front of the woman.

 

As their turn grew closer, Jungkook began growing more restless. His grip tightened on Taehyung’s hand, tugging his lower lip between his teeth and chewing nervously.

 

When there was just one person left in front of them, the younger adjusted his beanie nervously. “D-does Kookie look okay?” he asked, glancing at Taehyung with wide eyes.

 

“You look perfect. She’ll love you,” his boyfriend reassured gently. He nodded his chin forwards. “I think you’re up now, bun.”

 

Jungkook’s gaze slid forward. Sure enough, Barbie was smiling brightly at him.

 

At the sight of him turning towards her, she pressed her well-manicured hands onto a pair of ridiculously blushed cheeks and gasped. “Well, who do we have here?”

 

Jungkook stared at her, already pink cheeks flushing even darker.

 

“N-nice to meet you,” he stammered out. He hadn’t let go of Taehyung’s hand yet, but the elder didn’t say anything, letting him move at his own pace.

 

Barbie tilted her head. Her smile widened, eyes sparkling behind a pair of bright blue contacts. “What’s your name, sweetheart?”

 

Jungkook swallowed. “J-Jungkook. But, but, um...m-my hyungies call me Kookie.”

 

“How cute!” Barbie clapped her hands. “Are you as sweet as your name, then?”

 

The statement had the younger smiling a little. “Uh huh,” he said shyly.

 

Taehyung had to press his lips together to keep from grinning like an idiot. His heart felt like it might burst with fondness as the younger finally let go of his hand and ventured forward. His responses to Barbie’s overenthusiastic chatter were definitely much more reserved, but he seemed to glow behind the blush on his face.

 

Finally, Barbie glanced at Taehyung. “And who’s this?”

 

Jungkook’s gaze flickered towards his boyfriend, as if suddenly remembering he was there.

 

“That’s TaeTae,” he said, smile much more familiar, much less shy when he looked at the elder.

 

Barbie, for all her airs of being a dumb blonde, seemed to understand.

 

“I see,” she giggled, winking at Taehyung. “Is he your Ken?”

 

Jungkook brightened at the analogy. “Uh huh!” He grinned at the character. “Is Ken here?”

 

“Oh, he’s out right now,” Barbie responded quickly, smile staying put. “But I’m sure he would have loved to meet you.”

 

Jungkook pouted at that, but he brightened when he caught sight of Taehyung slipping his phone of his coat pocket.

 

“Oh!” Some of the hesitance from before returned to his features. “Um, c-can Kookie get a picture? Please?”

 

“Of course,” Barbie exclaimed, gasping. “I was hoping you’d ask!”

 

Jungkook’s smile was blinding when they posed, peace sign pressed adorably to his cheek as he grinned. Taehyung took more than a few snaps, wanting to be sure he got at least one good one, before sliding the device back into his pocket.

 

“Okay, all set. What do you say, Kookie?”

 

Jungkook turned and gave a deep bow. Barbie looked a little surprised at the action, but her eyes were warm when he straightened up. “Thank you!”

 

“It was wonderful meeting you, Kookie,” she said softly, smiling. Her eyes lifted, meeting Taehyung’s. “Take care of your Ken.”

 

Jungkook’s hand slipped back into his. “Kookie will,” he promised. “Bye, Barbie!”

 

As they walked away, the younger waving enthusiastically, Taehyung wondered briefly why nobody in line behind them had complained about how long they had taken.

 

He turned to see two of their guards glaring daggers at the woman who’d been standing behind them, and quickly understood.

 

Shaking his head, he allowed Jungkook to drag him into the building.

 

*

 

Somehow, despite the real snow blanketing the streets outside, the inside of the huge store seemed even more festive. Fake snow glittered from every ceiling fixture and railing, bright Christmas packaging decorating the boxes of nearly every toy. There were men dressed as Santa on each floor, a line just as long as the one outside winding around the floor to meet him.

 

Jungkook was enraptured. His eyes looked like they would burst out of his head. He didn’t say anything while they toured the first floor, lips parted in silent awe as he seemed to take in everything.

 

It was when they stepped off the escalator onto the second floor that the younger’s jaw fell wide open.

 

“Stuffies!” he practically screamed.

 

A woman standing a few feet from them jumped, startled at the shriek. She turned, a dirty look already forming, but her gaze fell instead on one of the burly guards standing beside Jungkook. He looked back her, gaze level, and she quickly turned back around.

 

Taehyung only laughed, happy to see the younger’s energy return.

 

Floor to ceiling shelves expanded the length of the entire floor, each filled with an array of colorful animals. Jungkook dropped his boyfriend’s hand right away, eagerly moving towards one that had caught his eye.

 

“Kookie needs this one,” he said. He grabbed the fuzzy brown owl on the shelf, turning to show it excitedly to Taehyung. “Please?”

 

“Okay,” Taehyung agreed easily. He reached up to poke at the toy’s fake glasses, eyebrows furrowing. “Looks like this one’s glasses might be a little broken, though. Why don’t you get one from the back?”

 

It was as if he’d suggested the younger rip the toy’s head off. Jungkook’s eyes suddenly widened, and he yanked the animal away from his boyfriend like he’d burned it, pulling it protectively to his chest.

 

His expression was scandalized. “That’s so mean,” the younger huffed. “Kookie can’t leave him just cause he’s a little broken.”

 

Taehyung dropped his hand, startled. “Oh. That’s not what I meant, bun. I just thought you’d want one that was perfect, you know—”

 

“He is perfect,” Jungkook said firmly.

 

Taehyung bit the inside of his cheek, fighting back a smile. “Right. Got it. Sorry, baby.”

 

Jungkook turned then, surprising Taehyung when he gestured towards two of the guards standing nearby.

 

“Hyungies?” he said politely. “Is there a cart?”

 

One of the guards glanced behind himself, catching sight of a row of shopping carts lined up towards the far end of the room. “Would you like me to get one, Jungkook-sshi?”

 

“Yes, please,” Jungkook said sweetly. He smiled. “Can hyungies all get one?”

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow as all six men proceeded to wheel over shopping carts. He crossed his arms over his chest but remained silent, watching Jungkook carefully place the owl in the nearest cart.

 

The younger was quiet then as his gaze swept over the next row of animals, expression thoughtful. The animal he wanted seemed to be on the highest shelf, judging by the way he craned his neck back and pouted.

 

“Hyungie?” he pouted, eyes widening pleadingly at the guard behind him. The man moved forward immediately, hand poised.

 

“Which one, Jungkook-sshi?”

 

“That one!” Jungkook pointed in a rather general manner. “The one with the rip on his foot.”

 

Understanding slowly dawned on Taehyung as he watched the toy get pulled down and delivered into Jungkook’s eager arms.

 

He kissed the fuzzy head before placing it happily into the cart, right beside the owl.

 

“So are we rescuing all the injured toys now?” Taehyung asked with a sigh, already knowing the answer.

 

His boyfriend nodded with determination. “Everyone else is gonna leave them here, TaeTae. Just cause they’re not perfect! If Kookie doesn’t help them they’re gonna die all alone .”

 

He pouted, lower lip trembling dramatically. “Please, please can Kookie get them all? I-it’s not cause he wants a lot of toys, it’s cause he needs to save them! He has to, TaeTae. Please? Pleeease ?”

 

Taehyung ran a hand through his hair. He hesitated for only a moment before giving a short nod.  “I guess...if we’re saving them, then it’s fine.” He gave a rueful smile. “It’s only the right thing to do, after all.”

 

Jungkook’s expression was exuberant. He yelped, pressing a hard kiss to the elder’s mouth.

 

“Yay! Thank you, TaeTae’s the best!” he gasped.

 

Taehyung huffed out a laugh. “You’re only saying that because I’m the one with the credit card.”

 

Jungkook’s eyes glittered. “Maybe,” he teased.

 

“Yah.” Taehyung tweaked his nose gently. “Come on, we should get going if we want to be done before the store closes. If I’d have known we’d be going on such a big rescue mission we would have come earlier.”

 

“We can do it!” Jungkook raised a fist, making an adorable face. “Fighting!”

 

Taehyung laughed. The younger didn’t wait for a response before he was turning around and hopping onto the front of the nearest cart, gloved hands curling around the handle. “Push me, please,” he said, smiling at the guard.

 

The man glanced at Taehyung, as if asking for permission.

 

The elder stepped forward, stifling the flare of possessiveness that unfurled in his gut. “I got it.”

 

He placed his hands onto the handlebar on either side of his boyfriend, caging him in with his chest pressed to the younger’s back. Jungkook hummed, satisfied with the position.

 

“How about you point to the ones you want and the guards will get them down for you?” Taehyung suggested, pushing the cart forward slowly.

 

“Okay, that’s—ah, TaeTae, stop! Go back!”

 

Taehyung rolled the cart backwards, stopping in front of a shelf lined with ducks.

 

“His beak is broken!” Jungkook shrieked, genuine concern alight in his eyes as he gazed at the toy. It was a canary yellow duck, with a beak that was clearly crooked in comparison to the others.

 

“And—and his paw!” Jungkook whined, eyes landing on a bear with a slightly shorter left paw than his right one.

 

Two guards moved forward and dutifully placed both the animals in a cart.

 

Taehyung paused. “Can I move?”

 

“Slowly,” his boyfriend introduced, frowning. “Kookie has to look carefully or he’ll miss one.”

 

“Whatever you say, Prince Jungkook,” Taehyung said, the words tainted with a hint of sarcasm.

 

Jungkook turned and stuck his tongue out. “Kookie is a Prince. So TaeTae has to do everything he says.”

 

Taehyung should have probably felt the need to chastise the younger for the somewhat bratty remark, but his smile was far too mischievous for him to think he really believed what he was saying.

 

“Okay, Prince,” he teased. “Your wish is my command.”

 

*

 

An hour and a half—and sixty four stuffed animals—later, they were pushing the carts into line. Jungkook had hopped off the cart, squeezing Taehyung happily as he watched the checkout lady’s mouth fall in surprise.

 

“Do we have to wait in line?” he asked, gazing at the elder with a small pout forming. “Kookie wanted to ride the merry go round.”

 

Taehyung glanced at the row of overflowing carts and winced. “Yeah, this looks like it might take a while.”

 

He left three of the guards to handle everything and instructed them to call him when they were finished, and the couple parted off back towards the escalators with the remaining three following at a safe distance.

 

As they descended back onto the first floor, Jungkook slipped his glove off and slid it into his coat pocket before reaching for Taehyung’s hand. He wiggled his fingers when the elder glanced curiously at him, smiling.

 

“Kookie likes it when he can feel TaeTae’s hand,” he offered by way of explanation.

 

Taehyung’s chest tightened with warmth. He huffed out a laugh, then proceeded to gently unwind their joined hands in order to slip off his own glove. Jungkook giggled when he reached for his hand again, pulling him closer until he was pressed to his side.

 

“Love you,” he sighed happily.

 

“Love you, too, bun.” Taehyung pressed a kiss to his nose. Even indoors, the younger was still cold to the touch, the effects of having stood in the December air outside still taking their toll. “Hey, how about we get some hot chocolate later? Warm you up. That sound good?”

 

“Sure,” Jungkook agreed easily. He hardly seemed to be paying attention to the elder’s words, eyes already trained on the lit up festival ride across the room. “But merry go round first!”

 

“Slow down,” Taehyung chided lightly, watching him almost trip over himself in his eagerness.

 

The line was long. Taehyung kept the younger distracted, arms wound around his waist in a backhug as he pointed out the different festive decorations and twinkling lights around them. Jungkook cooed at the sight of a male toddler in a skirt, and Taehyung smiled at the sight himself. It was nice to see a little more open mindedness in Korea.

 

When the man at the front of the line called for their group to climb onboard, Jungkook surprised Taehyung by not letting go of his hand.

 

“I thought you were going to ride it alone?” Taehyung asked, surprised when the younger tried taking a step forward with their hands still joined.

 

Jungkook made a face. “That’s no fun. TaeTae has to come, too!”

 

“I was going to take a video, though,” Taehyung pouted.

 

Jungkook rolled his eyes. Too quickly for Taehyung for really figure out what he was doing, the younger slipped his hand into the elder’s pocket and pulled out his phone.

 

He turned and scanned the line for the men that had been trailing behind them.

 

“Hyungie!” The younger’s smile was almost too sweet as he approached one of them, eyelashes batting maybe a little too quickly. “Can hyungie please take a video of us while we ride the merry go round?” he asked. “Pretty please?”

 

The guard’s cheeks flushed a little at the honey dripping from the younger’s voice. “Oh. U-um, of course, Jungkook-sshi,” he muttered, head dipping into a quick bow. He accepted the phone and Jungkook jumped excitedly, clapping his hands.

 

“Yay! Thank you,” he sang.

 

Taehyung almost felt bad when he saw the man’s ears were glowing red.

 

Jungkook refused to sit by himself on the horse, which left no option for them other than the carriage that was behind the row of ceramic animals. It was a tight fit, but Jungkook didn’t seem to mind, earsplitting smile never wavering.

 

Taehyung wasn’t the biggest fan of carousels. He thought the music was migraine-inducing, the seats were uncomfortable, and the slow speed made him feel sort of nauseated.

 

But all the usual critiques seemed to slip away when the ride started and Jungkook turned him with the expression of a child on Christmas.

 

“Oh my god, it’s so pretty ,” the younger breathed. His voice was almost a whisper, as if he was letting the elder in on a secret. His fingers fumbled on the elder’s shirt and he gripped the fabric tightly, eyes alight as they turned slowly.

 

Taehyung had to admit it was beautiful. The lights blurred into a golden background, the crowd’s chatter softening and gentle music taking over the other sounds as they moved.

 

Jungkook’s eyes were sparkling, gazing outside at the room as they spun. For a moment, Taehyung watched him watch the world.

 

He supposed, in a way, he too was staring at his world.

 

“Kookie,” he said softly, breaking the younger out of his trance. Jungkook turned his head towards him at the sound of his name, humming inquisitively, and Taehyung didn’t waste another second before closing the distance between them.

 

The younger made a sound of surprise, but he was quick to relax into the kiss. His fingers loosened on Taehyung’s chest before sliding up to come to a rest on his shoulders.

 

Taehyung bit at his bottom lip gently, swallowing the breathy moan the action elicited. He took control quickly, tongue slipping into the younger’s mouth and fingers moving down to dig into his waist.

 

Somehow or other, Jungkook ended up in his lap.

 

He let out another shaky sigh when Taehyung broke the kiss, moving to mouth at his neck.

 

“H-hyungie,” he whispered. His eyes were closed, face pressed into the elder’s shoulder in an effort to hide how warm his skin was growing.

 

Taehyung bit the sensitive skin of his neck, gently grazing the area with his teeth. Jungkook moaned in his lap.

 

“Ssh,” he murmured. He pressed a soft kiss to the spot before lifting his head to do the same to the younger’s mouth. “Gotta be quiet, bun,” he whispered against his mouth. “Don’t want anyone to hear us.”

 

Jungkook’s breath hitched when he tugged at his bottom lip again, fingers digging almost painfully into his shoulders.

 

“T-TaeTae,” he said shakily. “The ride’s almost over.”

 

“Hm.” Taehyung pressed a kiss to the corner of his mouth, followed by his forehead, then his nose. “You’re right. And I promised someone hot chocolate, didn’t I?”

 

Jungkook’s face was flushed when he glared at him, looking far too cute. “Meanie.”

 

Taehyung feigned offense. “Meanie? What’d I do?”

 

Teasing meanie,” the younger corrected with a huff, pulling a face. He smoothed out his shirt, trying to adjust the wrinkles the elder had created from gripping the fabric too hard, and then adjusted his beanie.

 

The ride slowed to a stop and the younger jumped off, immediately making a beeline towards the guards.

 

“Can Kookie see the video?” he asked excitedly.

 

The guard’s face was bright red when he handed Jungkook the phone hurriedly, as if he was glad to be rid of it. Jungkook didn’t seem to notice, lifting the device a little so Taehyung could see when the elder came up behind him.

 

As they watched, Taehyung could feel a blush of his own rising and he suddenly understood why the man had looked so mortified. On the screen, him and Jungkook were hot and heavy, the younger straddling him as he worked a hickey onto his neck.

 

Unsurprisingly, he couldn’t really make eye contact with the guard when he muttered a thank you towards him. The man stared at the floor, too, when he mumbled back a response.

 

Jungkook, of course, was oblivious to the awkwardness as the video ended. “Aw, that was so cute!” He grinned at Taehyung. “See? Isn’t TaeTae glad Kookie made him ride it?”

 

“Guess you’re just always right, Prince,” Taehyung teased.

 

Jungkook hummed, satisfied with the response. His hand found the elder’s again. “Yup. Now it’s chocolate time!”

 

Taehyung glanced at his watch then, the expensive design glinting underneath the store’s lights. “Uh, actually, baby,” he said, voice hesitant, “it’s getting kind of late. What do you say we get it to go?”

 

The younger paused before nodding easily. “Okay. But when we go home, can we play with Kookie’s new stuffies?”

 

Taehyung tried to ignore the wave of tiredness that hit him at the thought, choosing instead to reach for the younger’s hand. “Sure, bun. Whatever you want.”

 

*

 

“What—and I cannot stress this enough—the actual fuck.”

 

Taehyung sighed. He stood beside Jimin, the two of them surveying what had once been their living room floor but was now nothing but a sea of stuffed animals.

 

Jimin nudged the nearest one with his foot, eyeing the uneven ribbon tied around its neck. “Is it just me, or is there something, like... off about all of them?”

 

“They’re rescues!” Jungkook announced happily from behind them. The two of them parted, stepping aside in the doorway in order to allow the younger into the room.

 

Jungkook had shed his coat and snow-covered boots for a different, much cozier outfit. It was a new, candy-cane red onesie with little reindeers printed on it. The younger looked straight out of a Christmas movie in it, his ruffled bangs hanging in a pair of wide, sparkling brown eyes.

 

He pounced onto the pile eagerly, patting the spot beside himself on the carpet. “Come on, Jiminie hyungie! Wanna help Kookie name them?”

 

Jimin pretended to think about it, scrunching his face up in thought. “I don’t know. You guys didn’t get me any hot chocolate…”

 

Jungkook’s smile immediately slipped into a pout. “Kookie said he was sorry! He really forgot, hyungie, swear . He’ll bring it next time. Pleeease ?”

 

“Well, gosh, you’ve worn me down,” Jimin sighed. He plopped onto the floor, picking up the nearest toy and placing it in his lap. “Who’s this?”

 

Jungkook stared at the stuffed penguin for a few seconds before nodding, as if having made a silent decision to himself.

 

“That’s Petunia,” he announced.

 

“Petunia the Penguin,” Taehyung hummed, lowering himself beside the younger. “I like it. Does she have any siblings?”

 

He .” Jungkook glared at him. “Petunia can be a boy’s name, too, TaeTae.”

 

Taehyung held his hands up defensively. “Sorry, sorry. I just assumed.”

 

“Wow, Tae,” Jimin scoffed. “Way to be close minded.”

 

Taehyung glared at him, but his friend only grinned back.

 

Jungkook reached for the bunny in front of his boyfriend’s knees next, pulling it closer to himself.

 

“This is Honey,” he announced. The younger lifted one of the cream colored rabbit’s paws and waved it. “She’s saying hi, TaeTae!”

 

“Very nice to meet you,” Taehyung said politely, giving a small bow of the head. Jungkook giggled.

 

“I think Honey would make a good option for Petunia’s girlfriend, Jungkookie,” Jimin said playfully. The elder wiggled his eyebrows. “He seems like he’d be into rabbits.”

 

Jungkook frowned at him. “Honey likes girls, Jiminie hyungie.”

 

Jimin’s lips parted soundlessly.

 

Taehyung burst into laughter. “Wow, Jimin,” he teased. “Way to be close mind —”

 

“Oh, shut up .”

 

By the time they were done, the two elders were completely exhausted. They’d met Ollie the puppy, who was a runaway from the streets of New York that had somehow ended up in Korea. Willa the octopus, who was the smartest animal in the ocean and had migrated to the land in order to attend college. Sunshine the kitten, who ran a charity for animals without tails, which was apparently a growing epidemic in the stuffed toy community.

 

Oh, and about sixty others.

 

Even Jungkook was starting to yawn by the end of it, blinking drowsily as he finally placed the last toy onto the carpet.

 

“Alright, bun,” Taehyung groaned, stifling a yawn himself. “I think that’s enough fun for today. Why don’t you pick one stuffie to sleep with for tonight, and the rest we’ll move to your playroom in the morning. Sound good?”

 

Jungkook pouted. “But Kookie can’t pick just one!”

 

Taehyung gave him a look, raising an eyebrow.

 

His pout deepened. “Fine,” he muttered.

 

Jimin dropped a kiss on the younger’s head as he stood up, stretching his arms. “I’m heading off to bed. Goodnight, Kookie. Love you. Night, Tae.”

 

“Night,” Taehyung said absentmindedly.

 

“Sleep tight, Jiminie hyungie!”

 

The younger was quiet as he surveyed the mess of stuffed animals before him, clearly taking his decision very seriously. Taehyung had an idea as to who he would choose, but he wasn’t one hundred percent sure.

 

He smiled when his guess was right. Jungkook tucked Honey into his arms, petting the bunny’s ears tenderly.

 

“Okay,” he said, smiling softly at the elder. “Kookie’s ready for bed.”

 

Taehyung ran his fingers through the younger’s hair. “But the important question is, is Honey ready for bed?”

 

“Are you, Honey?” Jungkook stared pensively at the bunny, hand still settled atop her soft ears. “You’re gonna get to sleep with TaeTae and Kookie tonight!”

 

When the animal didn’t respond, Taehyung realized the younger was waiting for him to speak for it. He panicked internally for a moment when the realization hit that he hadn’t ever voiced a girl stuffed animal before.

 

Clearing his throat, he pitched his voice as high as he could make it.

 

“That sounds fun!”

 

He had to hide a cringe after the words left his mouth.

 

Jungkook looked delighted, though. “She has such a pretty voice!” he cooed, eyes sparkling when he turned to lift them towards the elder.

 

Taehyung smiled tiredly. “She does. I think that’s enough talking for now, though, bun. You guys can chat when we’re in bed, alright? You still have to brush your teeth.”

 

Fifteen minutes later they were underneath the blankets. Elephanty was tucked under one of Jungkook’s arms and Lily under the other one, with Honey resting on his chest, fuzzy head tickling his chin.

 

As adorable as he looked, Taehyung couldn’t help but pout at the image. “How am I supposed to cuddle you with all these stuffies?”

 

Jungkook gave him a look. “It’s Honey’s first night, TaeTae. Kookie has to give her special attention,” he explained patiently, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

 

Taehyung sighed dramatically. “What a shame. I really wanted to continue what we started on the merry go round, but I guess you’re ri—”

 

Jungkook scrambled into a sitting position, the stuffed toys falling aside.

 

“Honey can sleep alone,” he said quickly. “She’s a big girl.”

 

Taehyung laughed as the younger climbed on top of him, laying out across his body. He rested his hands on his hips, their noses brushing when Jungkook craned his neck for a kiss.

 

“I was just teasing,” the elder mumbled in between kisses. “We can’t do anything tonight, bun. You need to sleep. It’s been a long day.”

 

“Prince Kookie says we can,” Jungkook mumbled back, nibbling on Taehyung’s bottom lip. “You have to listen to the prince, TaeTae. It’s the rules.”

 

Taehyung’s chest vibrated with stifled laughter. “I’ll give you points for creativity,” he laughed, squeezing the younger’s hips. “Nice try, bun.”

 

Jungkook pouted. “One more kiss.”

 

Rather than reply, the elder allowed him to connect their lips. It was sweet, slow—although much longer than usual. Every time Jungkook pulled back to breathe he did it as quickly as possible before reconnecting their mouths, soft little sighs leaving his lips, fingers curled into Taehyung’s tshirt.

 

Taehyung had to be the one to finally break it, grinning when the younger let out a noise of protest.

 

“Special cuddles?” he whined, expression pleading.

 

Taehyung gasped dramatically. “In front of Honey? Do you want her to think we can’t control ourselves?”

 

Jungkook turned slightly at that, glancing at the animals he’d discarded somewhat haphazardly.

 

“Fine,” he said after a moment, somewhat begrudgingly. He leaned over and righted Elephanty and Lily into sitting positions before pulling the bunny to his chest.

 

“Can she sleep with us?” he asked, smiling.

 

“Are you sleeping on top of me?” Taehyung asked, raising an eyebrow.

 

Jungkook cocked his head, as if he genuinely didn’t understand the question. “Uh huh.”

 

Taehyung let out a soft laugh. He brushed the younger’s bangs out of his eyes, neck craning forward for a moment to peck his nose.

 

“Fine with me,” he murmured. “As long as Honey doesn’t have any problems with it.” He didn’t wait for a response, immediately raising his pitch to mimic the bunny’s voice. “Fine with me!”

 

Jungkook giggled, nose scrunching adorably at the action.

 

“Silly,” he hummed, grin stretching his mouth. He shifted downwards a little, their legs tangling underneath the blanket, and rested his cheek on the elder’s chest. “Love you, TaeTae.”

 

“Love you, bun.” Taehyung stroked the hair on the back of his head.

 

Jungkook let out a sound of indignation, and the elder paused before realization hit.

 

“Ah, sorry,” he chuckled. “Love you, Prince.”

 

Jungkook’s body vibrated on top of his when he giggled, but he didn’t mind. In fact, he couldn't have pictured a better way to fall asleep.

 

Chapter Text

 

Black dots flooded his vision. Taehyung blinked rapidly, his friend’s face swimming in and out of sight.

 

He closed his eyes tightly, pain ricocheting up his abdomen.

 

“Jackson,” he whispered.

 

“Hyungie?”

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows furrowed. He felt his fingers shift in the blankets, curling into the sheets.

 

Jackson groaned. He slumped against the wall, arm wound weakly around his ribs. “You...you got shot, kid.”

 

Taehyung gritted his teeth. “So...did you,” He looked around blindly, wildly, at the sea of bodies littering the floor. “You...killed them all. All of—Jackson, y-you killed all of them—”

 

“Hyungie, wake up. Please, wake up—”

 

Jackson’s face was slowly turning gray, starting to lose all its color. “T-Taehyung, you gotta go—go now, while you s-still can—”

 

He cut himself off with a guttural cough. Blood sprayed the air, staining his lips.

 

A hand settled on his shoulder. Taehyung made a noise at the sudden contact, a sound in the back of his throat that sounded like a whimper trying to claw its way out.

 

“J-Jackson!” he sobbed.

 

He didn’t respond.

 

“Hyungie, wake up !”

 

He almost bit his tongue with how quickly he sat up, body soaked in sweat.

 

The room was dark, a stark contrast to the crimson blood and pale lips his memory had just been flooded with. It took him a minute to remember where he was, to even realize that he’d only been dreaming.

 

Jungkook was the first thing his bleary gaze managed to focus on. The younger was looking at him like a deer caught in the middle of the road, teary-eyed and trembling.

 

“T-TaeTae was crying,” he whimpered. “And shaking...a-and he hit Kookie when he tried to touch him—”

 

“Hit—I hit you?” Taehyung breathed. He could feel the blood drain from his face, horror seeping into his veins. “ What ?”

 

Jungkook sniffed, rubbing a palm to his eyes. “Not hard. B-but Kookie tried to wake you up, and y-you hit my h-hand away—”

 

“Oh, baby,” Taehyung whispered. He moved closer to the younger, hands coming to cup his cheeks. “Bun, fuck. I’m so sorry. I wasn’t awake all the way. I didn’t even realize, must have done it in my sleep—”

 

“Did TaeTae have a really scary dream?” Jungkook asked, throat moving as he swallowed. His eyes were damp, lashes spiked with tears when he looked at the elder. “He was crying really hard. Was it really scary? Is TaeTae okay?”

 

Taehyung ignored the way his chest tightened at the onslaught of questions. He tried not to think about the dream. Couldn’t.

 

“I’m fine, baby,” he forced out, giving a strained smile. His thumb swiped over a tear, lips twitching into a faint frown when Jungkook sniffled. “I’m sorry for scaring you. It was just a dream, yeah? I didn’t mean to wake you up.”

 

The younger moved forward, climbing onto his lap and wrapping himself around him. He pressed his face into Taehyung’s chest and gave a soft sigh.

 

“Is TaeTae sure?”

 

Jackson’s face flashed across his mind.

 

Jackson’s ashen, still, silent— dead —face.

 

He closed his eyes, fingers tightening momentarily in Jungkook’s hair. His boyfriend let out a sound of protest, neck twisting to look at him.

 

“Hyungie?” His eyes were bright with concern, eyebrows pulled together.

 

“Sorry,” he said, letting out a shaky breath. He loosened his grip, stroking the hair he’d been gripping too hard gently in an effort to make up for it. “Sorry. I—yeah, I’m fine. I’m good, bun.”

 

Jungkook was quiet, gaze searching his face.

 

“I’m good, baby,” he repeated, aiming for a firmer tone. His smile was strained, the action feeling bitter, tense. “I promise. You don’t have to worry, okay?”

 

Jungkook nodded faintly. “Okay,” he said, voice soft. “But Kookie...Kookie’s gonna get TaeTae water.”

 

“You don’t have to do that,” Taehyung protested, but the younger was already sliding off his lap, climbing off the bed quickly.

 

“Kookie wants to,” he said quietly. He slipped on a pair of fuzzy slippers by the door, shooting him a small smile. “Be right back, okay?”

 

“Okay,” Taehyung whispered, the word falling into a silent room.

 

The moment Jungkook left, he let out a breath so heavy it almost physically pained him.

 

“Jesus fuck,” he whispered. He ran his fingers through his hair, closing his eyes tightly. What the fuck was that? What the everliving fuck was that?

 

He hadn’t thought about Jackson in...god. He hadn’t thought about Jackson in forever .

 

His shoulders sagged at the thought.

 

He hadn’t, had he? Hadn’t thought about Jackson in months. Years, maybe. Not since the man had died.

 

And he’d been his friend . He’d been his friend who’d died protecting him, helping him escape. Yet here Taehyung was—playing house. Sitting a fucking mansion , millions of dollars in his bank account, round the clock guards at his beck and call—

 

His stomach lurched.

 

Jungkook found him headfirst in the toilet bowl, gagging violently with nothing coming out. It wasn’t his boyfriend who rushed towards him, though.

 

“Tae, what—oh, my god.”

 

Jimin’s hands were featherlight when he ran to crouch beside him, hovering over his shoulders without really touching him. “Hey. Hey, ssh. It’s okay.”

 

Taehyung groaned, pressing his eyes shut tight. He felt a few tears slip out and slide down his cheeks, warm on his flushed face. “Where did—h-how did you—”

 

“Jungkook came and got me,” his friend whispered. He ran a hand gently over Taehyung’s back, the gesture soothing. “Is everything okay?”

 

“...No.” Taehyung swallowed, moving away from the toilet. “No, everything’s not okay . I’m— fuck , Jimin, i-it’s not okay. It’s—”

 

“Hey, alright, ssh.”

 

Another pair of hands settled on him, this time in his hair, fingers stroking softly through the strands.

 

“Hyungie.” Jungkook’s lips were on his ear, not kissing him, just a gentle touch. “Don’t cry.”

 

Taehyung clenched his teeth. “Kookie, d-don’t—you’re wearing shorts, don’t sit on the ground, it’s cold—”

 

“Shut up,” Jimin said firmly. “I think we can all agree that’s the least of our worries right now.”

 

Taehyung shook his head, turning his face to press it into Jungkook’s chest. He felt his boyfriend’s arms circle him, touch protective and gentle and somehow strong and comforting all at the same time.

 

“I’m such a fucking piece of shit,” he whispered, the words shaking so badly it was a surprise they managed to claw their way out of his throat. “I’m so horrible, I-I—you don’t even know —”

 

“Stop,” Jimin said, eyebrows furrowed. “Tae, you just had a bad dream. Whatever happened—”

 

“I had a dream about Jackson,” Taehyung said softly.

 

Jimin fell silent.

 

Taehyung’s fingers curled into Jungkook’s shirt, far too tightly for what was probably comfortable for the younger. But he didn’t say anything—just held him closer.

 

“The day he died.” His throat hurt, but he forced himself to swallow, trying to ignore the way the action pained him. “He died because of me, and I—I haven’t even thought about him since that day. It was like my subconscious was trying to punish me or something. And it’s right , I’m such a fucking horrible person. He died for me , and I haven’t even done anything—don’t even care. I don’t even think about him. What type—what type of person does that?”

 

Jungkook and Jimin were quiet. They’d seemed to have come to some sort of silent agreement that they would let him speak for as long as he needed, listening to the rush of sobs and confessions without saying a word.

 

It was when Taehyung went back to pressing his face into Jungkook’s shoulder, trying through sheer willpower to get himself to stop crying, that his friend finally spoke up.

 

“Tae, you’re not a bad person,” he said softly. “Jackson died protecting you because he cared about you. He was a good person. You don’t owe him anything for that. He didn’t do it as a favor .”

 

“It’s fucked up,” Taehyung whispered, nosing Jungkook’s collarbone, trying to inhale the younger’s familiar scent in an effort to calm down. “ I’m fucked up.”

 

“You’re not,” Jimin said sharply. “You moved on with your life. It’s exactly what he would have wanted you to do.”

 

Jungkook was quiet, remaining still as Taehyung moved to press his face into the crook of his neck.

 

“Hyung,” he finally said, voice soft. “Jimin hyung is right. You’re a good person.”

 

Taehyung grimaced, pulling back to look at him. “You slipped out? Fuck, that’s my fault. You didn’t have—”

 

“No,” Jungkook interrupted firmly. “I did it myself.” His gaze was soft, hands coming up to cup the elder’s face gently. “Tae-bear, you’re the sweetest person I’ve ever met. You have such a good heart. You take of care of everyone around you.”

 

Taehyung’s chest tightened, throat following suit closely. “S-stop—”

 

“Jackson hyung did save you,” Jungkook continued firmly, “but he did it so you could live a good life. You have to think about it that way. Okay? You have to see the positive.”

 

“Jungkook’s right,” Jimin added quietly. “We’ve all had people sacrifice things for us, Tae. You have to live your life the best you can, otherwise their sacrifices were for nothing.”

 

Jungkook was gliding his nose along the elder’s jawline, dropping light kisses there every now and then comfortingly. Taehyung could feel his eyes fluttering shut, warmth spreading down his chest at the action.

 

“Tomorrow,” Jimin said, voice somewhat hesitant, “if you’d like, we can...visit his grave.”

 

Taehyung looked at him, heart crashing to a stop in his chest.

 

Jungkook glanced at Jimin. His expression was hard to read, but his eyes flickered with apprehension.

 

“Is that a good idea?” he asked, eyebrows furrowing.

 

“It might help get Tae some closure,” Jimin sighed. “It’s up to him.”

 

Taehyung hadn’t said anything yet. He was still, mind cycling almost too quickly to comprehend any real thoughts.

 

Jungkook pulled his fingers through the elder’s hair, pressing a kiss briefly, softly, to the corner of his mouth.

 

“Whatever you want, Tae,” he whispered. “If you think it’s something you need, we’ll both go with you. Or, if you want to go by yourself, that’s fine, too—”

 

“No.” Taehyung’s fingers curled into the younger’s shirt, eyes finally landing on him. He let out a long, shaky breath. “No. I don’t...I can’t go by myself. C-come with me, Kookie. Please.”

 

Jungkook’s features softened. “Of course,” he said softly.

 

A beat passed, Taehyung’s head falling back onto his boyfriend’s shoulder with a sigh.

 

“I think you two are good now,” Jimin said with a small smile. “Will you be okay if I go back to bed?”

 

“We’ll be fine,” Jungkook replied, giving him a soft smile in return. “Thank you, hyung. I’m sorry for waking you.”

 

“Sorry, Jiminie,” Taehyung sniffed.

 

“Aish, shut up, the both of you,” Jimin huffed. “It’s fine. I was about to wake up to kick Yoongi, anyways. He snores like a fricking gorilla.”

 

Taehyung let out a little laugh, as if the sound was startled out of him. Jungkook’s smile widened slightly at the sound.

 

They would be fine.

 

They had each other, and they’d get through it.

 

They always did.



Chapter Text

 

“Duck, duck —”

 

Taehyung groaned, sharp pain erupting up his face as Hobi’s knuckles connected with the bridge of his nose. He stumbled back, hands immediately lifting to cup the throbbing area.

 

“I said to duck,” Yoongi hissed. He moved forward onto the mats, kicking aside one of many sweat-drenched towels littering the area. “Let me see.”

 

Taehyung allowed his hands to fall, cringing as the elder gingerly tilted his head up.

 

“Broken,” he said briskly.

 

Hobi ,” Taehyung groaned.

 

“What?” Hobi was shaking his head as he pulled the straps off his boxing gloves. “It’s nobody’s fault but your own, kid. You weren’t ducking properly, were pulling all your punches. Nothing you were supposed to be doing.”

 

“He’s right. You were supposed to be on defense, Taehyung,” Yoongi scolded. The elder glared at him, punctuating the statement with a sharp slap to the back of the head. “Your guard wasn’t up.”

 

Ow .” Taehyung glared at him, rubbing the area he’d been hit. “Is nobody going to yell at Hobi hyung for, I don’t know, breaking my nose ?”

 

“Didn’t you break Namjoon’s two weeks ago?” Yoongi asked absentmindedly, turning to pick up a towel off one of the mats. “Here.” He tossed the cloth at Taehyung. “Hold it under your nose for now. For the blood.”

 

“You can show it to Jimin when we get home,” Hobi said, only half-listening. The elder was busy wrapping bandages around his knuckles, and Taehyung watched with a gaping mouth as he flexed his hand.

 

“We’re not done ?”

 

“No,” Yoongi scoffed. He leveled the younger with a serious look. “You think a guy on the field will just back up if he breaks your nose? That’s it?”

 

“Ah, yes. Learning to fight with injuries,” Hobi said seriously, “something only experience can teach.” He grinned. “You know, you should thank me, Tae.”

 

Taehyung glowered at them both, dropping the blood-stained towel and kicking it aside. “Yeah. Thanks for the favor, hyung. I’ll be sure to pay it back.”

 

Hobi’s grin fell.

 

Taehyung only smirked, rolling his wrists experimentally before curling his fingers into fists. “I’m offense this time.”

 

Yoongi’s eyes glinted in amusement at the familiar tone of challenge the younger’s voice had taken on. He backed up, resuming his earlier stance off the mat.

 

“Just not the face, Tae,” he ordered uninterestedly, pulling his phone out of his pocket. “We have a meeting after this.”

 

Hobi’s fists fell as he turned to give his friend an aghast look. “ Just not the face? Excuse me, what is that supposed to—”

 

A grunt interrupted him, lips parting with the sound as he suddenly bent over. His hands curled around his stomach and he moaned, promptly collapsing onto the mat as the breath was quite literally knocked out of him.

 

Taehyung pulled his fist back, shaking the ache from his fingers.

 

“Never looking away from your opponent,” he said, biting back a laugh, “something only experience can teach. You know, you should thank me, hyung.”

 

Hobi groaned, leaning over to rest his forehead on the mat. “I regret the day you joined this gang. Regret it with every fiber of my being.”

 

“Okay, ladies,” Yoongi said, rolling his eyes. Two bottles of water landed beside them. “If you’re done, hit the showers. I don’t want to be late.”

 

The mint-haired man turned towards Taehyung. “Hobi and I are taking the car to Osaka. You can head home, just make sure Jimin takes a look at your face.”

 

“Got it,” Taehyung sighed. He wiped the sweat off his forehead with the hem of his shirt, rolling the exhaustion out of his shoulders. “Hobi hyung, you okay?”

 

He offered a hand towards the elder, who glared up at him fiercely in return.

 

“Peachy,” he gritted out. “Kindly get the fuck out of my face before I get up, unless you want your nose rebroken.”

 

Taehyung grinned. “Don’t think that’s possible.”

 

Hobi growled, and in response Taehyung held his hands up. “Okay, okay. I’m going. Have fun at the meeting.”

 

They waited until he’d left before Hobi turned to Yoongi with a pout. “I can’t believe you just let him hit me.”

 

Yoongi rolled his eyes, turning to leave. “Car leaves in ten.”

 

“You’re such a bad friend sometimes, you know that? I would never have let him hit you—”

 

“I’m telling the driver to make it five.”

 

*

 

When Taehyung got home, he wasn’t tackled into a hug by Jungkook as per usual. He’d called ahead of time to ask one of the others to keep the younger preoccupied until he could bandage himself up, not wanting to scare him with the sight of any blood or bruises.

 

Jimin mumbled angrily under his breath the entire time he was fixing him up.

 

“I swear to god, you and Yoongi,” the orange haired man muttered bitterly. “Everyone else in this gang can take care of themselves. It’s just the two of you that give me and Jungkook trouble.”

 

Taehyung winced as he dabbed antiseptic on a cut, not even trying to be gentle with the actions. “How is this my fault? Hobi’s the one that went harder than he had to during training.”

 

“You’re a better fighter, and yet Hobi walked away with barely any injuries,” Jimin said flatly, expression unimpressed. “You know why? Because Hobi actually takes care of himself. A concept that seems to escape both you and my boyfriend. Why? God only knows.”

 

“Whatever,” Taehyung muttered, sinking into the chair at the scolding. “When can I see Jungkook?”

 

“When you look less ugly,” his friend said flatly. At Taehyung’s mock offended gasp, he only rolled his eyes. “He’s gonna start crying if he sees you like this. Your nose is starting to swell, and half your face is purple.”

 

“Oh, come on,” Taehyung whined. “I haven’t seen him all day.”

 

Jimin stared at him coldly. “I regret the day you joined this gang, you know that?”

 

An ear-splitting grin stretched Taehyung’s face. “Would you believe me if I told you that isn’t the first time someone has said that to me today?”

 

Jimin rolled his eyes. “Whatever. Listen, you can see Kookie after some of the swelling goes down.”

 

The words hadn’t escaped his mouth for longer than a second before they heard faint giggling, the familiar sound of socked feet thudding against the living room floor approaching.

 

Taehyung couldn’t stop the smile that quirked his lips. “Speak of the devil.”

 

“TaeTae!”

 

Oof .” Taehyung let out a surprised grunt as the younger threw himself into his arms. He winced, feeling a few bruises begin to throb at the unannounced contact.

 

“Jungkook,” Jimin scolded. “Where’s Seokjin hyung? He was supposed to be watching you!”

 

Jungkook pulled back off his boyfriend slightly, arms still wrapped around the elder’s neck, and shrugged. “Dunno.”

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow. “You don’t know?”

 

Jungkook turned to him with an innocent smile. “Well, Kookie and Jinnie hyungie were playing hide and seek. And it was hyungie’s turn to hide.”

 

“So you...left him somewhere,” Jimin said slowly, disbelief coloring the words. “Yah, you planned this so you could come find Taehyung, didn’t you?”

 

“Nuh uh,” the younger huffed. “Kookie was looking for hyungie in the kitchen.”

 

Jimin gave him a look.

 

Jungkook smiled cutely.

 

With a roll of his eyes, Jimin turned to leave. “I’m going to go find him. Tae, please watch your bandages. I’m not fixing them if Kook pulls them off.”

 

The mention of injuries seemed to be the thing to pull Jungkook into reality, his surroundings finally sinking in. The younger’s eyebrows furrowed as he scanned the first aid kit and gauze cluttering the surface of the kitchen table, eyes coming to land on his boyfriend’s naked upper torso. Taehyung watched his gaze sweep over the bruises littering his skin before drifting up to his face, and he gasped.

 

“W-what—” Tears automatically sprung to the younger’s eyes. “TaeTae, you’re hurt .”

 

“Oh, baby,” Taehyung murmured, hands immediately coming up to cup the younger’s face reassuringly. “No, I’m fine. These are nothing, yeah? Nothing to worry about.”

 

Jungkook didn’t look convinced. “Y-you have bandaids, though—”

 

“Ah, that’s just your Jimin hyung going overboard,” the elder scoffed. “It’s nothing. I promise.”

 

His boyfriend held a hand hesitantly over his nose. “Kookie can’t kiss it.” He pouted.

 

“Can too,” Taehyung fake gasped. “Just kiss it super lightly. Okay?”

 

The younger smiled tentatively. His fingers brushed faintly over the bruising area on the elder’s eye, and Taehyung couldn’t hold back a flinch at the action.

 

He regretted it immediately as the smile slipped off Jungkook’s face. His eyes brimmed with concern as he looked at his boyfriend, chin trembling.

 

“What happened?” he asked softly, voice shaky.

 

Taehyung swallowed. “Just work, baby,” he replied quietly. “It doesn’t hurt, bun. Don’t look so sad.”

 

As if to counter the request, Jungkook’s chin trembled even more. “Kookie doesn’t like TaeTae’s job,” he sniffed. “It hurts him.”

 

“Aigoo.” The elder cupped his boyfriend’s face, leaning forward and kissing him softly. “I know, bunny. I need to try to take better care of myself. I’m sorry for worrying you.”

 

Jungkook sniffed, turning his face into the elder’s palm to kiss it. “...’s not okay,” he mumbled. “Pinky promise TaeTae will be more safer?”

 

“Pinky promise that I’ll try,” Taehyung corrected gently. He lifted the digit to the younger’s, hooking their fingers together. Jungkook seemed appeared despite the change in wording, a small smile returning to play on his lips.

 

“Wanna play hide and seek?” he asked, grinning that adorable signature bunny grin.

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow. “Aren’t you already playing a game with Jin hyung?”

 

“Yeah, but Jiminie hyungie’s finding him, so that’s cheating,” Jungkook explained seriously. “Oh, oh! Let’s do teams! Jiminie and Jinnie hyungie, and TaeTae and Kookie!”

 

If Taehyung was being honest with himself, he would be forced to admit that his head was killing him and his nose still ached. Frankly, his back wasn’t faring much better.

 

But all he did was wind his fingers with Jungkook’s and peck him on the nose lightly. “Okay. What’s gonna be our team name?”

 

“The Winners. Duh.”

 

“...Right. Duh.”

 

*

 

Since Kkangpae’s growth, Taehyung and the rest of the gang didn’t usually find themselves participating in menial tasks. Things like drug runs, interrogations, paying somebody they wanted to talk to a little visit. Those things had been redirected to other, usually newer members—trusted people under Hobi and Yoongi’s selection that could afford to complete day to day tasks.

 

That was why Taehyung found himself confused—and a little annoyed, if he was being honest—when he was dragged to a drug run at ass o clock in the morning on a Tuesday. With Yoongi , no less.

 

“I thought we were too important for this type of stuff now,” he half groaned, half whined. He slid lower into the leather of the car they were being chauffeured in, wishing they’d taken a limo instead of a tiny sports car so that he might at least be able to lay down across the seats.

 

“Stop bitching,” Yoongi scolded from the front. His eyes were trained on his phone, only half paying attention.

 

“Hyung, since when do we do drug runs?” Taehyung repeated, pouting. “I’m serious. I thought that was rookie stuff.”

 

“It is,” Yoongi snapped. He finally looked up, eyes flashing. “I’m doing this as a favor to one of the new members.”

 

Taehyung paused. “Since when do you do favors for people? For newbies, no less?”

 

“Would you just shut up and sit still?” the mint-haired man growled. “Jesus christ. It’s too early to be listening to you bitching in my ear.”

 

There was enough venom behind the words to have Taehyung finally listen. He couldn’t hide the way his features twitched at the harshness of the elder’s tone, however, shoulders sagging a little as he lowered further in the seat. His eyes diverted sullenly out the window.

 

He saw Yoongi glance at him in the rear view mirror.

 

“...He got hurt,” the elder muttered after a few beats of silence. “The kid. On a run I sent him on. So I just...figured I owed him one.”

 

Taehyung was quiet, but he felt his features soften. Sometimes it was easy to forget that Yoongi was possibly the kindest out of all of them. Beneath his sharp tongue and cold glares, the elder buried a deep sense of loyalty to everyone around him.

 

“Well, thanks for bringing me,” Taehyung said after a minute. He gave a small smile. “Been a while since I’ve been on one of these. It’ll bring back the old days.”

 

“Shut up,” Yoongi muttered. But his lips twitched with a badly hidden smile, head turning to look out the window.

 

The gang’s drug runs typically consisted of payment pickups, never product drop offs. Kkangpae ran similarly to Bangtan, in the sense that payment was provided beforehand and shipments usually came in the following day. If the money wasn’t there, the drugs didn’t come. It was that simple.

 

They’d never had an issue with the product not being given upfront. Kkangpae had a good reputation. They were reliable, honest—as far as a bunch of gangsters could be, at least.

 

So of course that day there had to be an issue.

 

It was just his luck. He and Yoongi had finished collecting payment from three out of four of their scheduled appointments. The fourth should have been quick and easy, a spokesperson for a local business that paid for small shipments once a month.

 

Except that the regular man they dealt with wasn’t there.

 

“I’m just saying, I don’t understand why the shipment isn’t upfront,” he grumbled.

 

Yoongi glared at him. “And I’m just saying, for the last fucking time, this is the way we deal with business. Are we gonna have a problem?”

 

Taehyung sighed. “Seriously, dude, come on. Didn’t your boss tell you this is how we do things? The shipment’ll be here tomorrow.”

 

“But I’m fucking paying you right now ,” he snapped.

 

“How about we cool it with the cursing?” Yoongi growled right back. “Watch your fucking tone, yeah? Do you realize who you’re talking to?”

 

The man’s eyes flashed. Taehyung felt a chill run down his spine at the look. He didn’t just look mad—he looked almost deranged. He’d seen a similar glint in one other man’s eyes before.

 

“Hyung, let’s just get out of here,” he coughed, shifting uncomfortably. “If he doesn’t wanna pay we’ll just cancel the shipment. He can deal with the fallout from his boss himself.”

 

Yoongi glared at the man for a moment longer before giving a short nod.

 

“Fine,” he muttered. “Let’s go.”

 

They turned, both of them with their hands in their pockets. Taehyung paused, lingering behind for a moment, and waited for Yoongi to get into the car first.

 

The first shot was so sudden he didn’t even really recognize what it was. He saw Yoongi’s head whip around, eyes bulging.

 

“Taehyung—”

 

“This is for being such a fucking asshole .”

 

The man was approaching them from behind, his gun aimed for one mint-haired head. Taehyung didn’t even think, he just jumped.

 

He heard the shot before he felt it.

 

Taehyung .”

 

Yoongi’s voice was horrified. Three of their guards were already moving to grab the man, grunts and the sound of a gun clattering to the pavement echoing down the alley.

 

Taehyung barely heard any of it. He felt like the blood had drained from his face, knees buckling without any real warning.

 

Yoongi’s arms circled him quickly, catching him just before he fell. They sank to the pavement together, the asphalt wet beneath his knees. Or was that his blood? He couldn’t tell.

 

“Fuck,” Yoongi growled. “You fucking idiot . What were you thinking? He was aiming for me. What’d you have to go and jump in front of me for? You fucking idiot , Taehyung.”

 

“Shut up,” Taehyung muttered weakly. He groaned, pain spiking up his abdomen like a firecracker inside of him. “ Fuck , that hurts.”

 

“Bullet went through,” Yoongi said briskly, scanning him over quickly. “We still need to get you to the hospital. Where’s the closest one?” he demanded, turning to look at the driver.

 

“One hour, sir.”

 

“One hour?” he hissed. “Fuck. No, that’s not—fuck it. We’re going home. Someone call Jimin.”

 

The next few minutes were a blur. Taehyung felt the world tilt, the pain exploding into stars behind his eyelids when they jostled his body into the car. He dimly heard Yoongi yelling into a phone, and he groaned, head on the elder’s lap.

 

The last thing he thought about before he blacked out was how badly he wished it was Jungkook holding him instead.

 

*

 

“Seokjin hyung, you’re with me. Hobi’s going to help Yoongi bring the body inside. Namjoon, that leaves you on Jungkook duty. Okay, um, fuck—I need towels, my suture kit—would somebody get the fucking new one under the kitchen sink, not that old one that barely has any gauze—and for fuck’s sake, where are all the guards when you need them? You!”

 

Jimin snapped his fingers in the direction of two burly men by the front door. They turned towards him in mild surprise, but the fire crackling in the younger’s eyes had any protests dying on their lips.

 

“Bring the kitchen table in here,” he ordered. “And somebody else, clear out the driveway. They’re going to pull up as close as they can to the front porch.”

 

Seokjin’s face was pale when he followed Jimin, trailing behind the younger as he barreled through the halls.

 

“He fucking promised me he’d take better care of himself,” the orange haired man muttered to himself. He walked into the bathroom quickly, throwing open the storage closet inside and grabbing an armful of towels. “Jin hyung, grab as many as you can.”

 

Seokjin scurried forward quickly, grabbing an armful before hurrying after Jimin, who was already on his way back to the living room.

 

“I can’t believe he got shot again,” the elder muttered. He felt his stomach churn at the sight of the kitchen table’s new placement, nauseating memories of the last time they’d operated on it suddenly flooding back. “Did Yoongi say where? Is it...is it fatal?”

 

“No,” Jimin said stiffly. “Fucking hell, thank god for that much.”

 

Seokjin’s shoulders sagged as he sighed, the sound thick with relief. “Oh, fuck. Thank god.”

 

“Don’t go thanking god too much,” Hobi muttered. The gang leader was standing by the doorway, front door wide open as they waited for the car to pull up. “Yoongi’s been texting me. Says Tae’s in and out of consciousness, and the fucker’s in a world of hurt. He’s definitely not going to make it easy on us.”

 

Jimin busied himself arranging the towels on the table, grabbing the kit a guard had handed to him and shuffling through it.

 

“Hobi, stay here with us after you guys bring him in. I’m going to need all the hands I can get.” A muscle in his jaw twitched. “I’m definitely going to have to sedate him at least a little, and something tells me he’s not exactly going to make it easy on us.”

 

Chapter Text

 

Taehyung batted Yoongi’s hand away, teeth grit tightly as he tried to swing his legs over the side of the car.

 

“Fucking let me help you, Taehyung, goddamit—“”

 

“I can do it,” he hissed.

 

“It’s not a fucking competition.” Hobi rushed towards them, taking the porch steps two at a time. His face was grim as he grabbed Taehyung by the bicep, wrapping one of the younger’s arms around his own shoulders for support and hoisting him to his feet. On the other side, Yoongi mimicked the position.

 

Taehyung let out a string of colorful cuss words when he took his first step.

 

Fucking —ah, fuck . Shit. Stop , you assholes, give me a minute—”

 

“Thought you could do it yourself,” Hobi said dryly.

 

Taehyung glared at him.

 

They made it up the steps somehow, Taehyung faltering every few seconds and letting out another set of phrases that would put even a sailor to shame.

 

“Jungkook?” he asked weakly, glancing at Hobi. A sheen of sweat covered his face, the effort from walking into the house clearly exhausting, and his voice was already hoarse from swearing and groaning.

 

“Namjoon’s got him,” the leader replied, grimacing. “Impromptu trip to GD’s.”

 

Relief flickered across Taehyung's face. “Good,” he breathed.

 

“Now let’s worry about you,” Yoongi said stiffly. “Hobi, help me get him on the table.”

 

Taehyung flinched at the hands that reached for him, leaning against the door jamb shakily. “What? Fuck, no. I’m not getting on that thing. I don’t need surgery, there’s no bullet to pull out—”

 

“You need stitches,” Jimin said sharply. His friend’s eyes flashed, showing he was in no mood to be playing games. “And you might need surgery, because I have no clue what fucking organs were hit. You’re bleeding all over the fucking floor, Taehyung. So shut the hell up and get on the goddamn table.”

 

“Fuck no,” Taehyung growled.

 

Jimin ran a hand over his face. “Fine. Don’t say I didn’t try to do this the easy way.”

 

Before he even had time to ask what his friend was talking about, Seokjin, Yoongi, and Hobi were suddenly all over him. He let out a strangled sound, pain needling up his torso at the abrupt movement as they nudged him forward.

 

Yoongi’s jaw was clenched as the younger clawed at their hands.

 

“For fuck’s sake, you can never make this easy on us, can you?” Hobi snapped. “Jin, get his leg over the table— goddamnit , Taehyung, stop being so fucking annoying—”

 

“We could have avoided all of this. I told you to take better care of yourself,” Jimin muttered. The younger worked quickly, already putting a damp cloth to his friend’s abdomen. “And you went and got shot .”

 

Taehyung hissed in pain, trying to bat his hand away. Seokjin grabbed his wrist and glared at him.

 

“Jimin’s right. I can’t believe you,” the elder chided. “It’s like you purposely throw yourself into these things!”

 

Yoongi’s face looked ashen at the accusation. Taehyung didn’t say anything, jaw tight.

 

“Can you guys stop bitching at me and just do what you need to do?” he muttered.

 

“If you’d stay still , sure,” Jimin snapped. The younger pulled out a piece of surgical thread, Taehyung wincing at the sight. His friend’s expression softened. “I can give you something for the p—”

 

“No,” he said stiffly. “Nothing. I can handle it.”

 

Yoongi pressed his lips together, eyes flickering with disapproval. “Kid, it’s going to fucking hurt. Maybe you should just take—”

 

“I said I can handle it,” Taehyung snapped. “Just fucking get it over with.”

 

Hobi flicked his forehead. “Yah, I don’t give a shit if you got shot. Stop being such a brat to your elders.”

 

“It’s fine,” Yoongi muttered, earning a strange look from Hobi. He ignored it, focused on the pain contorting Taehyung’s features as Jimin got to work stitching the wound.

 

He couldn’t ignore the guilt that curled in his gut. It was his fault Taehyung was in so much pain. He had been the one the bullet was meant for, and the younger had jumped in front of him for it.

 

More than remorse, he just felt emotional . He couldn’t describe it. His throat was tight, like he wanted to cry but couldn’t, and if he thought too much about what happened his chest started to hurt.

 

Jimin’s eyes were narrowed in concentration as he worked. The room was silent for a moment, Taehyung’s grunts muffled into his hand as he clamped it over his mouth to keep from cursing again.

 

He was drenched with sweat by the time they were done. The younger had finally given up fighting them, falling lax back onto the table with an exhausted groan.

 

“I feel like I’m gonna pass out,” he said weakly.

 

“Go ahead,” Jimin sighed, snipping the thread and setting down the scissors. “We’ll clean you up.”

 

“Thank you,” Taehyung muttered, eyes already slipping shut. “Really, Jiminie. Thank you. You’re a fucking life saver.”

 

Jimin muttered something under his breath, but his eyes flickered with relief at the words.

 

“I’m glad you didn’t practically die this time,” Seokjin sighed. He ran a hand through his hair, cringing when he realized his fingers were coated with blood. “Um, I’m going to go take a shower. Someone call Joon?”

 

“On it,” Hobi said, already glancing at his phone. “Who’s moving Tae into the bedroom? And what’s our story for Kook?”

 

“...’m sick,” Taehyung muttered.

 

Hobi scoffed. “Right. Because you so look like you have a fucking cold of all things.”

 

The younger didn’t respond, a soft snore parting his lips.

 

“We don’t have to tell him anything yet,” Yoongi muttered. “Someone can explain it to him when gets home.”

 

Seokjin gave him a strange look. “You’re usually the most paranoid about coming up with a story for him so he doesn’t freak out.”

 

Yoongi didn’t respond. He was staring at Taehyung, expression cloudy.

 

After a minute, the mint haired man cleared his throat. “Get the guards to move him—carefully. I’m...um, I’m going to go take a shower, too.”

 

Three sets of eyes followed him as he left the room. Jimin was chewing his lower lip, thoughtful.  

 

“I think I’m going to go talk to him,” he muttered. “Someone clean this up for me? Sorry.”

 

“I got it,” Seokjin said, waving his hand at the younger. “Go.”

 

*

 

When Jimin went into their bedroom, to his surprise, his boyfriend actually was in the bathroom.

 

Unsurprisingly, however, the shower wasn’t running.

 

Jimin stayed outside for a minute, listening to the sound of quiet sniffling. His heart broke a little at the sound, but he stood by silently for a moment, wanting to give the elder some time.

 

“Yoongi,” he finally said, knocking gently. “Can I come in, baby?”

 

The sniffling stopped.

 

Jimin shuffled closer to the door, putting his hand on the handle. “I’m coming in. Okay?”

 

When there was no response—no rejection—he turned the handle and took a step inside.

 

The bathroom was dimly lit, the only light on the one by the sink. Yoongi was on the ground, leaned against the bathtub, knees pulled to his chest with his face buried in them.

 

Jimin didn’t say anything, ignoring the way his heart lurched at the sight. He walked towards him silently, feet padding on the cold tile of the floor, and sat cross-legged beside him.

 

More than a minute couldn’t have passed before Yoongi was lifting his head.

 

“Floor’s cold,” he muttered.

 

Jimin smiled faintly. “Funny. I was going to say the same thing.”

 

His boyfriend let out a short, humorless laugh.

 

Another beat passed in silence before he sighed. “Did you need to shower? I can get out.”

 

Jimin lifted a hand, running it gently through the hair that curled at the nape of the elder’s neck.

 

“Can you stop pretending like everything’s okay?” he said softly. “You’ve been shaken up since the shooting, Yoons. I can tell when something’s off with you.”

 

His boyfriend sighed. “Can’t hide anything from you, can I?”

 

“No.” Jimin inched closer until their knees touched. “Talk to me. Please.”

 

Yoongi sighed. He rested his chin on top of his knees, staring aimlessly at the tiled floor for a minute.

 

“The guy was aiming for me,” he finally said. His voice was low, just shy of a whisper. Jimin actually had to scoot even closer to hear what he was saying.

 

When he realized what he’d said, the younger’s shoulders fell.

 

“Oh my god, Yoongi,” he sighed. “ Please don’t tell me you’re blaming yourself for Tae getting shot.”

 

At the silence that responded to his statement, Jimin let out a strangled sound of frustration.

 

“Yah, Min Yoongi,” he snapped. “Is it your fault the dumbass had shit aim? Honestly , how—”

 

“Tae took the bullet for me, Jimin,” his boyfriend snapped. “He jumped in front of me. Or, behind me. Whatever. The point is he willingly fucking did it.”

 

Jimin was quiet.

 

“That’s...sweet,” he finally said. “I don’t understand why you’re letting that guilt trip you. Tae obviously cares a lot about you, Yoongi. He sees you as a brother, th—”

 

“What type of brother am I, then?” Yoongi scoffed. “Letting him fucking take bullets for me. Jesus christ, if Jungkook did something like that, I’d tear him a new one.”

 

“So do the same thing to Tae!” Jimin huffed, frustration pinching his eyebrows. “Why are you sitting here wallowing on the bathroom floor? Go yell at him for being such a dumbass!”

 

“I can’t yell at him,” Yoongi said weakly. “I fucking owe him.”

 

“That’s bullshit,” Jimin scoffed. “Namjoon has taken a thousand punches for you. Hobi got stabbed once for you, do you remember that? Why is this any different?”

 

“Because he’s—I don’t fucking know!” Yoongi snapped, running his hands angrily through his hair. “I don’t know, okay! I just...I can’t look at him without feeling bad. He’s in so much pain, and I can’t fucking help but feel like it’s my fault.”

 

Jimin sighed.

 

“...Well, maybe you just need to wait until he’s feeling better,” he finally said softly. “Give it a few days. Then you and him should talk. Okay?”

 

When Yoongi didn’t respond, Jimin made a face, reaching out to tug at his earlobe just a little too roughly. “I said, okay ?”

 

“Yah, ow—okay!” His boyfriend hissed through his teeth, rubbing the side of his head and turning to glare at him.

 

Jimin smiled a little.

 

“You’re an idiot sometimes,” he sighed, pressing a brief kiss to his nose. “Why am I so whipped for such a dumbass?”

 

“Sure know how to kick a man while he’s down, Park,” the elder muttered.

 

He gripped Jimin’s chin, however, holding him in place gently as he turned to mold their mouths together. Jimin let out a soft hum, melting against the action.

 

They were startled apart at the sudden sound of heavy knocking on the door.

 

“Are you guys having shower sex? Because Jin hyung says to knock it off, the water’s freezing!”

 

Yoongi glared at the closed door as if he could physically knock the person behind it down with the weight of the action. “Yup, my dick’s going in him right now. Fuck off, Hobi!”

 

Jimin smacked him on the arm. “Like I’d ever bottom if we were having shower sex,” he hissed. “You fucking liar.”

 

“Ssh, they don’t know we switch,” Yoongi muttered. His lips twitched with a small smile, the familiar glint returning to his eyes.

 

Jimin couldn’t help but smile at the sight.

 

“Fine,” he hummed. “I’ll let it slide this time—only if we both actually do go take a shower now, because we’re covered in blood. This is definitely making the top of the list for the grossest ways we’ve kissed. Covered in blood on the floor of the bathroom.”

 

“Mm. Better than the time we were covered in blood on the floor of a McDonald’s.”

 

The wry remark earned him another smack on the shoulder. “Why do you sound so disgusted? That’s our fifth date you’re talking about, you better lose that attitude mister. I have half a mind to—”

 

“Yah, okay, okay. Let’s go shower already, please.”

 

*

 

Jungkook might have had the mindset of a young child most of the time, but that didn’t make the younger stupid. He knew when his hyungs were hiding something. It didn’t help that none of the elders were exactly skilled liars, their stories often ranging from ridiculous to just plain funny.

 

So no, he didn’t believe that Taehyung had “fallen down the stairs,” and that that was the reason for the blood-stained bandage underneath his boyfriend’s shirt.

 

But he decided not to pry. The elder seemed to be safe for the most part, and that was all that mattered to him.

 

That didn’t mean he was pleased with him, however.

 

“Be careful ,” he scolded his boyfriend, pausing between words to press kisses to the elder’s lips. “TaeTae has to take care of his-self. What if Kookie got hurt instead, huh? He gets yelled at when he’s not careful! How come no one yells at TaeTae?”

 

Taehyung hummed against his mouth, lips twitching into a smile. “Because you’re precious. So we all have to take extra special care of you. And trust me, plenty of people yelled at me.”

 

Jungkook pulled back slightly to glare at him. “Good. And TaeTae’s precious, too .”

 

In response, Taehyung pursed his lips, asking for another kiss. When Jungkook only gave him a look, he let out a sigh.

 

“Fine, I’ll be more careful,” he said, the words laced with a bit of teasing. “I promise. Now can I please get a kiss?”

 

“Only cause you’re sick,” Jungkook mumbled, succumbing to the request easily.

 

Taehyung let out a soft sigh against his mouth. “Sorry for worrying you, bun.”

 

His boyfriend hummed. “Not okay,” he muttered.

 

Taehyung pouted, making the younger’s lips twitch despite his best efforts.

 

“Okay, Kookie forgives you,” he giggled. “But please , TaeTae,” he said, the smile falling momentarily as his eyes flickered with something more intense, “be more careful , hyungie.”

 

He laid his head on the elder’s shoulder, having been strictly warned to stay away from his chest and stomach for the time being.

 

“Kookie would die if anything happened to TaeTae,” he said softly. “So pretty please, be careful next time. Okay?”

 

Taehyung swallowed hard, a lump in his throat.

 

“Okay,” he whispered. “Love you, baby.”

 

“Love you, hyungie.”

 

*

 

Taehyung was waiting for Jungkook to get out of the shower a few nights later when Yoongi came in.

 

The elder knocked, but stood awkwardly in the doorway even after having been given the okay to come in, making Taehyung raise an eyebrow.

 

“Hyung, is something wrong?”

 

Yoongi shifted uncomfortably, glaring at the ground. “No.”

 

A pause. Taehyung waited, but when the elder didn’t continue, he let out a sigh. “So did you knock just for fun, or are you going to come in, or…?”

 

The mint haired man muttered something under his breath, but he did take a step forward.

 

“How are you feeling?” His gaze swept over the bandages littering the younger male’s torso, lips pressed together at the sight.

 

“Better,” Taehyung said honestly, grinning. “Your boyfriend knows what he’s doing.”

 

Yoongi couldn’t help but give a small smile at the statement. “Yeah. He’s sort of amazing.”

 

“Okay, Romeo,” Taehyung snorted. “Seriously, did you need something? Or did you come in here to brag about Jimin, ‘cause Kook definitely does enough of that for the both of you.”

 

The mint haired man let out a small grunt, lowering himself into Taehyung’s desk chair. “No, I...I came to talk to you about something, actually.”

 

Taehyung hummed, shifting the blankets aside off his legs a little. “What’s up?”

 

Yoongi took a moment, collecting his thoughts before taking a deep breath.

 

“Thanks,” he finally said. He didn’t really look at the younger while he spoke, gaze trained on the floorboards of the bedroom. “You, um...you didn’t need to jump in front of me. But you did. So...so thanks for that.”

 

Taehyung was quiet for a moment.

 

“Hyung,” he finally said, and his voice was tentative. Soft. “Look at me.”

 

Yoongi’s jaw was tight when he glanced up. Taehyung was looking at him with a carefully guarded expression, but his eyes were warm—flickering with something he’d only seen the younger look at Jungkook with.

 

“Yoongi hyung, it’s not like I stood there and thought about it,” he said quietly. “You don’t have to thank me.”

 

Yoongi bit his lip. “I know.”

 

Taehyung smiled faintly, eyes twinkling. “Kook would have lost it if you got hurt. He’s used to seeing me bandaged up by now, but it’s different when it’s his brother. If I’m being honest, I guess I was protecting the both of you.”

 

“I’m not just his brother, you know,” Yoongi muttered.

 

Taehyung’s features softened. “I know.”

 

The elder cleared his throat. “Well...thanks. I mean, not like, thanks , but—you know. Thanks.”

 

Taehyung was biting his lip to keep from laughing, shoulders shaking from the suppressed action. “No problem, hyung. Next time you can take a bullet for me. Call it even, yeah?”

 

At that, Yoongi snorted, climbing to his feet. “Yeah, don’t expect anything. I wouldn’t even take a papercut for you, kid.”

 

“Ah, there’s the Yoongi hyung I know,” Taehyung teased.

 

The bathroom door opened then before the elder could respond, Jungkook stepping out into the bedroom in a fuzzy pink robe and his hair dripping wet.

 

“Hyungie!” He brightened at the sight of his older brother. “What are you doing here?”

 

“Just came to visit my baby brother, kid.” Yoongi glanced at Taehyung with the statement, something warm flickering in his eyes. “Both of them.”

 

Taehyung’s cheeks flushed. He muttered something under his breath, sinking further into the mess of blankets on the bed.

 

Jungkook just looked confused. “We have another brother?”

 

“Huh? No, Kook, I didn’t mean—”

 

“Can Kookie meet him? Is he here? Is he hiding?”

 

“Jungkook, no. I didn’t mean literally —”

 

“Hyungie! Come out, come out, wherever you are!”

 

Taehyung bit his lip, grinning, as Yoongi facepalmed.

 

“Last time I try to be sentimental,” the elder muttered.

 

Taehyung laughed. Jungkook ignored the both of them, busy crouching under the bed to look for the mysterious second brother.

 

“TaeTae, is he in the closet?”

 

“Kook—”

 

“Mm, ‘m gonna check the closet!”

 

Chapter Text

 

Over the past few weeks, Jungkook had started coming to bed a few minutes after Taehyung had already laid down. The younger’s skincare routine had become more involved lately, (“Kookie’s skin isn’t gonna stay soft forever , hyungie”) and it resulted in him taking longer than usual to come to bed most nights.

 

That night, when he finally did come out of the bathroom, he jumped onto the lower half of the bed with a mischievous giggle. Taehyung let out a sound of surprise as the younger laid his head on his stomach, grinning when the elder’s shirt rode up and revealed a sliver of skin.

 

“TaeTae has such a cute tummy,” he giggled, teasingly kissing the soft flesh.

 

His boyfriend schooled his features into a mock offended look. “Yah, it is not cute,” he scoffed. “For your information, it is a very manly stomach.”

 

Jungkook rolled his eyes, a smile playing his lips. “Silly.” Without warning, he bit the flesh gently, pulling out a surprised gasp from the elder. “Hyungie’s so soft,” he murmured, lips moving gently against the skin. His eyelashes brushed the area, head ducked as his teeth grazed it gently.

 

Taehyung felt his gaze grow hooded, eyes darkening with lust. He reached a hand down and brushed the back of Jungkook’s head, fingers twirling a few strands of hair playfully.

 

“Yeah?” he murmured huskily. “You having fun down there, bun?”

 

Jungkook gazed up at him through his eyelashes, still sucking gently on the flesh of his lower abdomen. His own pupils were blown wide with lust, a playful smirk curling his lips.

 

“Mm,” he hummed, grinning coyly as he began to shift further down the length of Taehyung’s body. He paused at the band of his boxers, biting the elastic and lifting it with his teeth before letting it snap back down.

 

His boyfriend’s hips jerked forward involuntarily. He inhaled sharply through his nose.

 

Jungkook’s eyes were glittering. His smile widened slightly as he trailed his hands down the elder’s torso, the trail of skin he touched left blazing.

 

Finally, he hooked his fingers on the waistband and pulled the fabric down.

 

Taehyung felt his cheeks flame as his boner popped up, already almost fully hard. Jungkook let out a huff of laughter, not mean but definitely amused.

 

“TaeTae’s excited!” he teased.

 

“Shut up, brat,” Taehyung muttered. The younger only giggled.

 

In another situation, Taehyung might have messed around with the younger for a while, pretending to be genuinely offended by the teasing. He might have waited until Jungkook cooed at his pout, throwing his arms around his waist, peppering him with kisses and saying he was just joking, he loved him, and he shouldn’t be so sensitive. It usually resulted in Taehyung pretending to reluctantly forgive him while he secretly ignored the way his heart swelled to twice its size at all the attention.

 

However, he was too preoccupied at that particular moment to even entertain the idea. He didn’t want to move an inch off that bed, not with the way Jungkook’s eyes had just glazed over at the sight of his cock.

 

The younger’s hot breath fanned over the area as he moved closer, sending tingles shooting down Taehyung’s thighs. He bit the inside of his cheek to keep from letting out a moan as his boyfriend kissed the tip sweetly, the ghost of a smile still lingering on his lips.

 

He trailed kisses down the first half of his length, before moving back up to suck the head gently. Taehyung couldn’t resist letting out a soft moan when he felt the wet heat of his mouth enveloping him, feeling his eyes flutter closed of their own will.

 

Jungkook sighed sweetly. “Kookie loves you, hyungie.”

 

Taehyung smiled a little lazily, carding his fingers through the boy’s hair. “I know, baby. I love you too.”

 

Jungkook didn’t respond, already busy engulfing the first half of his length. His cheeks bulged slightly as he stretched his mouth around the thick girth. It was a sinful sight, tears automatically springing to his eyes from the effort.

 

Taehyung groaned as the younger began bobbing his head up and down, cheeks hollowing, lines of saliva left in his wake.

 

“Kook,” he groaned, head falling back against the bed frame. “Fuck, your mouth.”

 

The younger grunted in response. He went further down for a split second, the entirety of Taehyung’s cock disappearing as his nose brushed the elder’s stomach.

 

A loud choking sound cut through the air, and Taehyung reacted instantly, immediately pulling him off with an alarmed hiss.

 

“Are you okay, baby?” he asked worriedly. Jungkook coughed, cheeks bright pink and eyes watery.

 

He nodded, clearing his throat. “Sorry.” A pout lingered on his lips. “Kookie got excited.”

 

Taehyung sat up a little straighter, reaching out to cup the younger’s cheeks. “Silly,” he murmured, moving forward to kiss him brief but hard on the mouth. “I’ve told you before not to deepthroat. I don’t want you hurting yourself, bunny.”

 

Jungkook smiled against his lips. “Sorry.” He moved his mouth against the shell of Taehyung’s ear, hot breath fanning against the skin. “Kookie can’t help it, hyungie,” he hummed, the words dripping with innocence. “He really likes TaeTae’s cock.”

 

Fuck.

 

Heat pooled in Taehyung’s gut at the words. He groaned, grabbing his boyfriend by the jaw and bringing their lips together a little too forcefully. Jungkook moaned into his mouth, giving him access to slip his tongue inside.

 

“Such a dirty little bun,” he muttered, voice low. His hands drifted towards the younger’s hips. In one easy motion, he tugged him onto his lap, grabbing one thigh and hitching it around his own leg until the younger was straddling him.

 

Jungkook’s breath hitched, palms coming up to splay flat on Taehyung’s chest. He moaned as the elder began sucking hickeys onto his neck, tilting his head back to grant better access.

 

“Want my fingers, baby?” Taehyung murmured. He smacked the back of Jungkook’s thigh playfully, chuckling when he let out a surprised yelp.

 

“Uh huh,” the younger breathed. “P-please, hyungie.”

 

Taehyung hummed, fingers digging into his waist as he pulled his body flush against him. Teasingly, he bit Jungkook’s ear, tugging the soft flesh between his teeth and pulling it gently into his mouth.

 

His boyfriend let out a whine, grinding his hips down against Taehyung’s cock. “H-hyungie, please . Don’t tease .”

 

Taehyung moved his mouth to leave a trail of kisses down the whimpering boy’s neck. He squeezed his ass, clad in a pair of Calvin Klein underwear instead of his usual panties (because “TaeTae keeps ripping Kookie’s nice ones!”).

 

“Let me get the lube,” he murmured, dropping a reassuring kiss onto his forehead.

 

To his surprise, Jungkook moved to clutch his shoulders at the statement, a protesting whine parting his lips. “No, don’t go.”

 

“I’m just going to the dresser,” Taehyung laughed gently.

 

“Use spit,” Jungkook whined. He licked his lips cheekily, eyes darkening with mischief. “Kookie can help.”

 

Taehyung tried to ignore the fact that his pulse was roaring in his eardrums, giving the younger a mock scolding look. “I don’t want to hurt you, baby.”

 

Jungkook frowned fiercely, lower lip jutting out in a pout. “TaeTae,” he pleaded. “Don’t go. Hyungie can just be super duper careful. Okay?”

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows furrowed, an uneasy feeling settling into his stomach. “Kookie, no. I really can’t risk it, baby. You could get hurt—”

 

“Nuh uh ,” Jungkook huffed. He grabbed Taehyung’s wrist and lifted it to his mouth, gaze never leaving his. “Look. Lube!”

 

It was meant to be a teasing remark, but Taehyung frowned slightly. He didn’t resist, however, as Jungkook swept over his fingers with his tongue, wetting every crevice and knuckle thoroughly, making satisfied noises in the back of his throat while he worked.

 

He pulled back with a string of saliva attached to the fingers—his lips just a little more swollen, cheeks just a little more pink, and eyes just a little more hazy.

 

“Come on, TaeTae,” he exhaled breathlessly. “ Please .”

 

“You’re demanding today,” Taehyung commented, raising an eyebrow.

 

Jungkook smiled innocently, a complete paradox to the sin burning beneath his heavy gaze. “Kookie missed you,” he said softly. He grabbed onto one of Taehyung’s shoulders and tugged him forward until their noses touched. “Missed your body,” he whispered.

 

Taehyung’s heart crashed to a stop in his chest.

 

“Well, fuck,” he breathed.

 

Jungkook grinned when the elder finally tugged his underwear off, grabbing his ass and massaging it roughly. His finger slid along the younger’s crack, pausing.

 

“It might burn a little,” he warned, hesitation creeping back up his spine. He ran the pad of his index finger over the puckered skin of Jungkook’s hole, drawing out a strangled whine from the younger.

 

“It’s okay,” he muttered. His eyes were lidded, gaze drunken. He ground his hips down eagerly, fingers gripping onto Taehyung’s shoulders.

 

Taehyung hummed, still not moving. “You know the safeword, right?”

 

Jungkook huffed impatiently. “TaeTae, please, Kookie knows , he knows everything, just—”

 

He cut himself off with a gasp as Taehyung finally pushed past the tight ring of muscle. His finger resisted a little, the drag rough against the barely wet skin, and he paused at the second knuckle.

 

Jungkook’s eyes were closed when he glanced at his expression.

 

“Kook?” he asked hesitantly. “Are you okay?”

 

“Mmhm.” The younger opened his eyes and gave a strained smile. “Takes time, hyungie.”

 

“I know,” Taehyung said softly, rubbing the small of his back with his free hand. “If you want me to take it out—”

 

“No, hyungie can move,” he interrupted. His eyebrows furrowed. “But carefully.”

 

Taehyung huffed out a laugh. “You’re so demanding today.”

 

Jungkook only smiled at him, looking a lot less uncomfortable now. Some of the nervousness eased off Taehyung’s mind as he began working the digit slowly in and out, feeling the muscle starting to loosen and warm up around the finger.

 

His boyfriend looked a lot more relaxed. “Another.”

 

Taehyung scoffed. “It’s barely been a minute. Calm down.”

 

Jungkook pouted. “Kookie’s hole, Kookie’s rules.”

 

Taehyung nearly choked on his own spit. “What type of—”

 

“Come onnn .” The younger’s lower lip jutted out even more, eyes widening pleadingly. “Please, TaeTae?”

 

“No, Jungkook,” Taehyung said, a frown pulling at his lips. “Wait. Just another minute, okay?”

 

The younger sighed, but he was quiet for a moment as his boyfriend rubbed his back, giving him time to get acquainted to the stretch.

 

Somewhat reluctantly, Taehyung finally pushed in a second finger. He kept a careful watch on Jungkook’s expression, searching for any signs of pain, as he inched the nearly dry digit in.

 

His boyfriend’s lips parted slightly, but he didn’t speak, expression a difficult to read mixture of pleasure and pain.

 

“Talk to me, baby,” Taehyung murmured, eyebrows furrowing. “You okay? Does it hurt?”

 

The younger shook his head jerkily, a sheen of sweat matting his bangs to his forehead. “Kookie’s fine. C-can…” He took a deep breath. “Can hyungie move them?”

 

Taehyung murmured quietly, cautiously scissoring the digits. Jungkook shuddered as he hit his prostate, his thighs clenching from the sensation.

 

“TaeTae,” he moaned. “A- ah , p-please—”

 

Taehyung steadily built a rhythm as he began moving his fingers in and out, Jungkook starting to pant like a dog.

 

He ground his hips down again, whines parting his lips when Taehyung hissed at the friction against his cock.

 

“Can you put it in?” the younger begged breathlessly. “Please, please . Need it, TaeTae.”

 

“Let me get the lube,” Taehyung replied, voice just as equally strained.

 

Jungkook’s fingers dug into Taehyung’s shoulders almost painfully, keeping him tethered to the bed. “No,” he whimpered. “Kookie doesn’t need it.”

 

“Yah.” Taehyung glared at him, jaw clenching. “I’m not fucking you without lube, Jungkook.”

 

“But Kookie’s stretched ,” Jungkook whined, wriggling closer to the elder and pressing himself to his chest. “He swears!”

 

“Baby,” the elder said, notes of desperation slipping into his voice. “I don’t want to risk hurting you. It was already dumb fingering you without it, this is too much—”

 

“It’s not . Please, hyungie. Pleeease .” Jungkook gazed at him with huge puppy dog eyes. He stuck his bottom lip out for emphasis. “If it hurts Kookie will say red! And TaeTae can stop. That’s why we have the special word, hyungie. Please?”

 

Taehyung swallowed. “Kookie…”

 

Please .” Jungkook must have been able to see that his begging was starting to have an effect. He ducked his head forward, pressing his lips to the elder’s shoulder. “It won’t hurt. Kookie trusts TaeTae. He never hurts Kookie.”

 

Taehyung chewed his lip at that, contemplating. Maybe the younger was right. After all, they hadn’t come across any serious injuries yet during sex in all the years they’d been together. There was probably nothing wrong with taking a little risk now and again.  

 

Right?

 

Another beat passed before he found himself nodding slowly, voice cautious. “Fine. Okay.”

 

Jungkook’s eyes lit up. “Really? Yay!”

 

He pressed a hard kiss the to elder’s mouth, pulling back to an amused smirk.

 

Taehyung shook his head in disbelief. “You’re way too excited about this. We had sex yesterday.”

 

The younger stuck his tongue out, eyes glittering, and chose to ignore the comment.

 

He shifted back a little, lifting his hips, and his hands fell off Taehyung’s shoulders for a moment as he readjusted into a more comfortable position.

 

“Ready!”

 

The statement was punctuated with an almost too adorable wiggle of his hips.

 

Taehyung shifted a little himself, feeling his fully hard cock slide between the younger’s cheeks. The action earned him a whine, and he paused, glancing at Jungkook’s face.

 

“Are you sure about this?”

 

His boyfriend hummed, moving to press his face back into the crook of Taehyung’s shoulder, practically laying down on top of him.

 

“Please,” he said sweetly.

 

Taehyung softened at the new positioning. It was a far more innocent take on what they were doing, with Jungkook pressing featherlight kisses to his neck every now and then, and he felt the last bit of apprehension in his gut starting to ebb away.

 

Murmuring softly to him, Taehyung shifted the younger’s hips gently in his lap, lifting him up slightly so that he could align himself with his entrance. He paused as the tip of his cock grazed the familiar puckered skin, feeling strange without the sensation of the sticky lube that usually coated it.

 

The younger’s kisses stopped when Taehyung finally began to push in.

 

Almost immediately, his hands flew back up to grab his boyfriend’s shoulders.

 

Taehyung froze. “What is it? Is everything okay?”

 

Jungkook focused on breathing, trying in vain to ignore the sudden flash of pain that had ricocheted up his spine. Silently, he found himself thanking the universe that his face was hidden in his boyfriend’s shoulder.

 

“Fine,” he said, voice somehow steady. “It’s okay, hyungie.”

 

Taehyung let out a long breath, shoulders sagging with relief. “Do you want me to wait a bit?”

 

“N-no,” Jungkook insisted shakily. He pressed his forehead into Taehyung’s neck, hands tightening their grip on his shoulders. “It’s okay, TaeTae. Keep...keep going.”

 

It was almost too easy for Taehyung to get distracted, so much so that he didn’t even pick up on the younger’s strained voice. His gaze was trained on Jungkook sinking down on the last half of his cock, abdomen curling tightly at the familiar sensation of being wrapped around such warm, wet heat.

 

“Fuck, baby,” he groaned. “You’re so tight.”

 

Jungkook squeezed his eyes shut, breathing in deep and holding it. It wasn’t supposed to hurt this much. It never hurt this much this.

 

His boyfriend, god bless him, gave him a while to adjust, hands running gently up and down his back.

 

“Doing so good, baby,” he murmured, pressing a kiss to the shell of his ear. “Feel okay?”

 

Jungkook swallowed and nodded, not trusting his voice. “Mmhm.”

 

“I’m gonna move now. Alright?”

 

He swallowed. “...mm.”

 

The second Taehyung thrusted upwards, the pain flared back up, twice as strong as before.

 

He let out a strangled sound, but the elder seemed to mistake it for a moan.

 

“Fuck, you like that, bun?” he groaned, rocking his hips. “Feel so good. Shit.”

 

Jungkook pressed his sweaty forehead against the elder’s shoulder, his breathing labored. “H-hyungie—”

 

“Ah, Kook.” Taehyung shuddered, feeling his thighs tensing. “Shit, I-I’m not gonna last.”

 

Tiny needles raced up and down his lower torso. It felt like his body was on fire . Jungkook let out a sob, feeling tears start to slip down his cheeks. “T-Tae, it—ah!”

 

He let out a scream as the elder suddenly kicked his hips forward without warning, his full girth forcing him open in one of the most abrupt, painful ways he’d ever felt before.

 

“S- stop !” he sobbed, digging his nails so hard into Taehyung’s shoulders he was surprised he wasn’t breaking the skin. “R- red ! Red, s- stop , red red red —”

 

He felt Taehyung’s hips immediately freeze.

 

“What?” His voice was quiet. Terrified. Full of horror. “What—oh, fuck. Fuck . Wait, let me pull out. Just wait, I’m— fuck .”

 

It was when he started to slowly pull out that he took in the sight before him for the first time.

 

Taehyung’s face turned white as he looked down at the red staining the back of his boyfriend’s thighs.

 

“Y-you’re bleeding ,” he gasped.

 

Jungkook let out a sob. “P-pull out. Please, please .”

 

“I-I am, I have to go slow so it doesn’t hurt more,” Taehyung said shakily, feeling close to tears himself. “I’m sorry, baby, just wait one more second.”

 

Jungkook didn’t give a verbal response.

 

By the time he finally pulled completely out, the younger had given up on trying to keep himself composed altogether.

 

He sank against Taehyung’s chest, sobbing.

 

“I-it hurts ,” he cried.

 

Taehyung blinked back tears, rubbing his back gently. “I know, baby. Fuck. Y-you need to lay down. Let’s move you over, okay? Just a little bit, onto the bed.”

 

Jungkook shook his head weakly, sniffling. “C...can’t.”

 

Taehyung’s heart shattered.

 

“I’ve got you, ” he whispered.

 

Jungkook didn’t look at him as he picked him up gently and shifted his body off his lap, taking care not to jostle his lower half. He set him down on the bed with his back resting against the headboard, propping up a pillow beneath his lower back.

 

“Okay.” When he was done, Taehyung exhaled, staring at him for a moment. He looked at the tears streaking his cheeks, and then down at the blood still on his thighs.

 

And he cried.

 

Shit ,” he hissed, rubbing angrily at his eyes with the palms of his hands. “I shouldn’t have done that. I knew it wasn’t a good idea, I fucking knew it. Fuck, fuck . Fuck me, what was I thinking ? This is all my fault, Jungkookie. I am so sorry , baby, I can’t believe I hurt you—”

 

“Stop,” Jungkook whispered. Taehyung glanced up to see him looking at him, his eyes still rimmed with red but no longer wet. “It’s Kookie’s fault,” he muttered. “Kookie made TaeTae. Hyungie didn’t want to.”

 

Taehyung shook his head, swallowing the lump in his throat. “It doesn’t matter. I still did it. I should have known better. I hurt you, Kook. Fuck, I...I made you bleed .”

 

Jungkook flinched at that, suddenly avoiding his gaze once again.

 

There was a moment of silence. The tension hung thick in the air, like a curtain between them.

 

When the younger spoke next, his voice was small. “Do we...do we have to go to the doctor?”

 

Taehyung’s pulse jumped at the question. He released a shaky breath, then nodded. “Yeah,” he whispered. “Yeah, we definitely do. We, um.” He took a deep breath. “We have to clean you up first, though.”

 

His boyfriend nodded, expression unreadable.

 

Taehyung hesitated, finding it hard to look at him for too long.

 

“I’ll get you a towel,” he said quietly.

 

Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed. “Hyungie’s...not going to do it?”

 

“I think I’ve done enough, don’t you?” he said, jaw tight as he stood up. “Besides, I have to call the doctor and let him know we’re coming.”

 

Jungkook didn’t say anything, eyes trained on the washcloth tossed his way. The tears picked up speed when the bedroom door closed, and he buried his face in his hands, shoulders trembling as he tried to stifle the sobs.

 

On the other side of the door, Taehyung was in the hallway doing the same thing.

 

***

 

The doctor said dry penetration and not enough stretching had caused minor anal tearing. Much to both their relief, he insisted the bleeding had seemed far scarier than it actually was, and prescribed Jungkook muscle relieving cream and painkillers with a firm reminder to stay away from any strenuous or sexual activity for the next two weeks.

 

Needless to say, the drive home was tense.

 

Taehyung gripped the steering wheel tightly. He kept shooting glances out of the side of his eye at the passenger seat when he thought Jungkook wasn’t looking, until the younger finally snapped at him.

 

“Just say it,” he said, voice stiff. “You keep looking at me, hyung. You obviously want to say something. Spit it out.”

 

The elder was quiet for a minute, setting his jaw as he glared at the road ahead.

 

“I’m sorry,” he finally said. His voice was soft, gaze never straying from the road. “I fucked up. And I’m...I’m really, really sorry.”

 

Jungkook’s chin was trembling as he looked at him, clearly trying not to cry. “You can’t even look at me.”

 

Taehyung swallowed. His fingers tightened on the wheel, knuckles turning white from the force with which he clenched them.

 

Jungkook let out a short laugh of disbelief. “Oh my god, seriously ? What, so you’re just not going to look me in the eye ever again?”

 

“I’m driving,” Taehyung responded curtly.

 

The younger scoffed.

 

They were quiet for a while, the air in the small car suffocating. Taehyung actually turned on the air conditioning after a minute, and Jungkook almost laughed at the gesture. As if that was the reason it was so uncomfortable.

 

“Listen,” he said after a minute, looking at the elder carefully. “I...I get that you feel really guilty about the whole thing, but I already told you that it wasn’t your fault. I pushed you, okay? I shouldn’t have—”

 

“It doesn’t matter,” his boyfriend said coldly. “I’m older than you. You were in fucking headspace. I should have been the one using my head, I should have known better than to—”

 

“I’m telling you that it wasn’t your fault,” Jungkook snapped. “I begged you! What were you supposed to do?”

 

Taehyung’s gaze flickered briefly towards him. He was quiet for a moment.

 

“Let’s just drop it for now.”

 

Jungkook deflated. “We— no . We need to talk about this!”

 

Taehyung sighed. “Jungkook, what do you want from me? It’s going to take time, okay? We’re not going to solve everything on the fucking car ride home. It’s not that fucking simple.”

 

The younger sank into the car seat. “I really wish you’d stop swearing at me,” he said quietly.

 

“I’m sorry,” Taehyung said, the words tired. “Can we just change the subject? Do you—do you want to get something to eat?”

 

No .” He pouted, arms crossing. “I want you to tell me that you acknowledge that it’s not your fault. Or, at the very least, that both of us are to blame.”

 

The elder’s jaw clenched. “There’s probably a drive through open down the street.”

 

“And I’ve learned my lesson, okay? Next time we’ll use lube. And if you say you’re not comfortable doing something, I’m not going to push it.”

 

“McDonald’s? Burger King?”

 

“And I’m the one who’s sorry. It’s okay if you’re not ready to forgive me yet—”

 

“Jungkook, stop it.”

 

The younger looked at him and shrank at the dark expression clouding his boyfriend’s face.

 

“I was just—”

 

“I said to drop it,” Taehyung gritted out. “So just—fucking drop it, okay?”

 

Jungkook swallowed and nodded, shrinking into himself.

 

The rest of the ride was spent in silence.

 

*

 

It was hard.

 

Things were tense between the two of them, tenser than they’d ever been. The rest of the gang caught on to the awkwardness quickly. But, to Taehyung’s relief, they didn’t try to get involved, seeming to sense it was a matter too personal.

 

“We’re not going to interfere,” Yoongi had told Taehyung quietly one morning over coffee. His voice was gruff, eyes trained on Jungkook through the doorway. The younger was laid out across the couch, an ice pack tucked underneath him and a pile of blankets keeping him cocooned as he napped.

 

“Thanks,” Taehyung said stiffly. “Did he...did you talk to him?”

 

The mint-haired man met his eyes over the rim of his mug. “I asked him if you did anything that might make me consider castrasting you.”

 

Taehyung let out a breath. “And?”

 

“And he said no,” Yoongi said after a pause. “I trust him. He knows he can come to me—to any of us—if he needs to.”

 

“Maybe he should,” Taehyung sighed. He placed his face in his hands, elbows resting on the table. “Maybe I should. I...hyung, I feel like I really fucked up. I’m supposed to be the one who takes cares of him. Not the one who hurts him.”

 

“Look, kid,” Yoongi said quietly. “I don’t know exactly what happened, and frankly I don’t want the details. But I know Jungkook, and I know you. You would never do anything to him that would hurt him intentionally. My guess is he was being a little bratty, and you’re a whipped motherfucker, and you caved into something that the both of you should have known better than to do. Am I right?”

 

Taehyung looked at him, speechless. “Weirdly...so. Yeah, actually. Are you sure he didn’t tell you anything?”

 

Yoongi’s eyes flashed with something dark. “I’ve made the same mistake, kid. If you haven’t noticed, Jimin can be just as bratty as Kook. And I’m just as whipped for him.”

 

“...Oh,” Taehyung said quietly.

 

Yoongi’s jaw tightened. “Yeah. Oh.”

 

Silence stretched between them for a minute, before the older man sighed.

 

“Every couple makes mistakes,” he said. “But you can’t keep ignoring him. I’ve seen you brush him off when tries to hug you. He told Jimin yesterday you won’t even kiss him goodnight anymore.”

 

Taehyung grimaced. “We really don’t need to talk about this, hyung.”

 

Yoongi’s face was flushed when he looked at him, glaring. “I’m not exactly a fan of the topic, either. But I’m telling you as your hyung—you need to solve shit. Talk to him. I don’t like seeing my baby brother upset.” There a pause, Yoongi’s gaze flickering away. “Or you.”

 

Taehyung felt his expression soften.

 

From the living room, Jungkook made a quiet sound, yawning in his sleep. The two of them glanced in his direction.

 

Taehyung’s eyes traced the younger’s features, and he felt something tighten in his chest.

 

He sighed.

 

“I’ll talk to him tonight.”

 

*

 

That night, the same as they had done for the past week, Jungkook climbed into bed and pulled the covers over himself silently. Gone were the giggles that used to fill the room before bedtime. He didn’t even try kissing Taehyung goodnight anymore, tired of the elder’s rejections to his advances.

 

It took Taehyung a few minutes to work himself up. He picked at an imaginary piece of lint on the blanket, trying to even his breathing.

 

“Jungkookie...can we talk?”

 

The response was silence.

 

He let out the breath he’d been holding. “Listen, I...I get it if you’re mad at me. I know I’ve been a little distant the past week. I just needed some time, baby. I know that’s no excuse, but—”

 

“Please don’t break up with me.”

 

Taehyung froze, hand stilling its repetitive motions.

 

“What?” He felt his eyebrows furrow as Jungkook finally looked at him. Shock coursed through him at the sight of the younger’s damp eyes, lashes already spiked with tears ready to fall.

 

“P-please don’t break up with me,” he sniffed, the words barely above a whisper. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have pushed you so hard. I know it really scared you when I got hurt and you’re probably really mad at me, but I’m so so sorry. I swear I’ll never do it again. I swear , hyung, just, please—”

 

“Kookie, what are you talking about?” Taehyung inched forward, moving towards the younger’s side of the bed. “Break up with you? That’s crazy.”

 

His boyfriend shook his head, hands already coming up to rub at his eyes. “Y-you’ve been acting so weird , and you wouldn’t let me touch you. I-I really thought maybe...maybe this was it. You don’t want to be together anymore or something. A-and I can’t do that, hyung, I can’t —”

 

“Yah, Jeon Jungkook.” Taehyung finally tugged the younger’s face towards him. He cupped his cheeks maybe a little too hard, but he couldn’t help it, desperate for the younger to understand how serious he was. “I would never break up with you. I’ve never even considered it—not once.”

 

Jungkook sniffled, eyes swimming with sadness. “This has been the worst week of my life. I-I hate fighting with you. And this was different than all our other fights. I feel...I feel like I ruined everything.”

 

The last part was said in a whisper, as if he was afraid Taehyung was going to confirm his worst fears.

 

The elder swallowed, taking a deep breath before letting it out, his chest moving with the effort.

 

“We both made mistakes,” he finally said, voice soft, gaze softer. “I think I’m starting to realize my biggest one might have been how I handled everything. I thought hurting you physically was the worst thing I could ever do, but...but I guess this week has been a different type of hurt, huh?”

 

“It has,” Jungkook whispered. He turned his face into one of Taehyung’s hands, kissing the palm. “I missed you so much, hyung. I never blamed you for hurting me. It was an accident.”

 

“I think I blamed myself enough for the both of us,” Taehyung said quietly. “I was so focused on my own guilt that I didn’t even pay attention to how you must have been feeling. God, Jungkook. Fuck , I’m so sorry—”

 

“Stop apologizing,” the younger said desperately. His hands came up, settling over Taehyung’s and holding onto them tightly. “Please stop apologizing. I don’t care about any of that. Just—just tell me things will go back to normal.”

 

Taehyung dropped both their hands then, moving instead to wrap the younger into a tight embrace, pulling him into his lap.

 

“Of course, baby,” he whispered. He pressed his lips into his boyfriend’s hair, pausing a moment to inhale the familiar scent of strawberry he’d missed so much. “I love you so much.”

 

“I love you so so much,” Jungkook said softly back. “We—we have to communicate better.”

 

“We do,” Taehyung sighed. He pulled back a little, dropping a featherlight kiss to the younger’s nose. “I’m sorry, bun. I’ll do better.”

 

“Thank you,” Jungkook whispered, giving a small smile. “Me too. Can we...can I kiss you?”

 

Taehyung’s heart swelled. He moved closer, their chests pressing together, and tipped the younger’s chin up with a finger.

 

“Always.”

 

Chapter Text

 

“It’ll just be a few hours. I’m so sorry, again, really—”

 

“Yugyeom, it’s okay ,” Taehyung laughed. He shook his head as the younger looked frantically at him, taking a step forward to place a hand reassuringly on his shoulder. “Seriously. You’re practically family. It’s not a big deal at all, alright?”

 

Yugyeom let out a breath of air, bangs blowing up off his forehead with the action. “Thank you. Seriously, thank you so much.”

 

“So where is he?” Taehyung glanced around the open doorway at the car parked in the driveway.

 

“Waiting in the car.” Yugyeom began walking out, with Taehyung trailing behind. “So like I said, he has all his stuff with him. An extra change of clothes, just in case, and his toys are in his backpack. He’s not a picky eater at all, you guys can feed him anything. His—”

 

“Name?” Taehyung interrupted, grinning. He raised an eyebrow. “I feel like I should know his name if you want me to babysit him for a day.”

 

“Just a few hours,” Yugyeom corrected. “It’s Jihoon.”

 

“He’s Kook’s age, you said?”

 

“Yeah, both physically and when he regresses.” Yugyeom paused by the doorway, hand resting on the car handle. “He’s also sort of shy. It might take a minute for him to warm up to you.”

 

Taehyung hummed, watching the younger open the door and duck his head inside.

 

“Jihoonie?”

 

There was a pause, a shuffle. Yugyeom took a step back and a minute later someone stepped out of the car, clutching a backpack to their chest.

 

Taehyung felt a smile twitch his lips at the sight of the adorable boy, messy brown bangs falling into his eyes. A pair of doelike eyes lifted to his face shyly.  

 

“Jihoonie.” Yugyeom ran his fingers through the younger’s hair, smiling gently. “This is Taehyung hyung. He’s going to be taking care of you for a little while, okay?”

 

Jihoon chewed his bottom lip. “W-where is Yugy hyung going?” he asked softly, gaze flickering towards his cousin.

 

“Aish, hyung had an emergency,” Yugyeom sighed, voice thick with remorse. “I’m sorry. Will you be alright here for a little while? It won’t be longer than a few hours. I’m so sorry, I know we were supposed to spend the day together.”

 

Jihoon looked at the ground, and Taehyung’s heart nearly burst at the adorable expression on his face. “Jihoonie’s gonna miss Yugy hyung, though.”

 

Yugyeom shared a look with Taehyung, who was trying to resist the urge to coo verbally.

 

“Taehyung is going to take really good care of you,” he said gently. “I promise. Okay?”

 

Jihoon shrugged, hugging his backpack closer to his chest.

 

“He’s so polite,” Taehyung whispered, awestruck. “And well behaved. Shit.”

 

“No cursing,” Yugyeom scolded, giving him a dirty look. “Anyways, listen, I have to get going. You’re sure you’ll be fine?”

 

“I have your cell number if anything goes wrong,” Taehyung reminded the younger firmly. “Not that it will. It’s like you’re forgetting that I’ve been doing this for years now with Kook. We’ll be fine , dude. Go.”

 

“Okay.” Yugyeom let out a huff of air. “Jihoon. Can I have a hug?”

 

The little pouted at the ground a moment longer before stepping forward reluctantly. He pressed his face into Yugyeom’s shoulder when they hugged, sniffling.

 

“Jihoonie will miss you, hyungie,” he whispered.

 

“Aish.” Yugyeom gave Taehyung a torn look.

 

“He’ll be fine,” Taehyung insisted firmly. “ Go .”

 

Reluctantly, the younger managed to pull himself away from his cousin and step back into his car. He waved as he pulled away, Jihoon hiding his face in his backpack as he watched the vehicle grow smaller and smaller.

 

“Jihoonie?” Taehyung said softly. “Do you want to come inside with me?”

 

The younger chewed on his lower lip, eyes fluttering to the ground. He didn’t respond.

 

Taehyung hummed, resisting the urge to smile at how endearing he found the boy’s shyness. “You know, I bet you’re really hungry. Yugyeom told me you two were supposed to go to breakfast, but you didn’t have time. Is that true?”

 

A small, almost indecipherable nod of the head.

 

“What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?” Taehyung pressed gently.

 

Jihoon was quiet for a moment. Taehyung thought maybe he simply wasn’t going to answer, before the younger made a small sound.

 

“Waffles,” he said softly.

 

Taehyung’s heart clenched with endearment. “That’s great,” he laughed. “We have plenty of waffles inside. One of my friends makes them from scratch, even the syrup. It’s delicious. Do you want to try some?”

 

Jihoon’s expression flickered with curiosity. He paused for a moment before giving a firm, deciding nod of the head.

 

Taehyung was just about to turn around when the younger shyly extended a hand, cheeks flushing faintly. He bit back a smile and accepted it, lacing their fingers together.

 

Seokjin was already in the kitchen when they entered. Taehyung saw Jihoon’s eyes widening as they stepped inside, taking in the winding flight of stairs near the front door and the gigantic living room they had to cross through. He only looked more surprised when they came to a stop in the kitchen, gaze drifting over the plates full of pancakes and muffins on the counter.

 

“Hey, Taehyung.” Seokjin hummed, gaze focused on the open refrigerator in front of him. “Did Yugyeom leave?”

 

“Yeah, he dropped off his cousin.” Taehyung led Jihoon gently to one of the chairs at the table. “Jihoonie, this is Seokjin hyung. He’s the one who made all this delicious food.”

 

Seokjin turned then, and the elder’s face lit up at the sight of the younger male’s doe-eyed expression.

 

“Aigoo, you must be Jihoon!” he gasped. “It’s wonderful to meet you.”

 

Jihoon shrank back into his chair a little, nervousness etching onto his features at the new face. “N-nice to meet you,” he said quietly.

 

Seokjin smiled, leaning against the counter. “What do you like to eat, Jihoonie? Pancakes?”

 

“Waffles,” Taehyung responded for the younger. “Do you want syrup?”

 

To their surprise, the little shook his head. “Yugy hyungie says it’s bad for your teeth.”

 

Taehyung and Seokjin exchanged a look.

 

“Wow, if only we could get Jungkook to listen to us like that,” Seokjin laughed, already moving to grab a plate and pile it with waffles.

 

Jihoon’s eyebrows furrowed at the unfamiliar name. “Jungkook?”

 

“Ah, he’s our maknae,” Taehyung explained, giving a small smile. “He’s actually a little, too. And he’s almost the same age as you, even when he regresses. You’re about eight in headspace, right?”

 

Jihoon suddenly looked far more interested in the conversation now, fingers gripping the silverware in front of him tightly. “Another little?”

 

Taehyung glanced at Seokjin questioningly. “Yeah, is he out with Jimin right now?”

 

“Mmhm,” Seokjin hummed. The elder placed the plate of waffles in front of the younger male, hesitating before pushing the bottle of syrup in his direction with a smile. “Just in case.”

 

They both watched Jihoon take a tentative bite. His eyes sparkled when he chewed, cheeks lifting with a shy smile. “It’s really good,” he said softly. “Thank you, Sunbae.”

 

“Aigoo, call me hyung,” Seokjin cooed. He pinched the younger’s cheek before ruffling his hair, smile stretched ear to ear. “He’s so cute, my god. Where has Yugyeom been hiding him?”

 

Taehyung chuckled when the younger’s cheeks darkened at the compliment. “He lives with his roommate in an apartment in Seoul. He’s your caregiver, right, Jihoon?”

 

“Uh huh.” The younger hesitated, looking like he wasn’t sure if he could ask a question. At Taehyung’s encouraging smile, however, he seemed to decide it was okay. “Are hyungie’s caregivers?” he asked quietly.

 

“Yup,” Seokjin replied, the word weighted with pride. “All six of us.”

 

“Six?” Jihoon’s eyebrows shot up, disappearing behind his bangs.

 

“Mmhm.” Seokjin began ticking off his fingers as he spoke, leaned back against the counter. “Jungkook’s older brother Yoongi, Yoongi’s boyfriend Jimin, me and my boyfriend Namjoon, our leader Hobi, and Kookie’s boyfriend Taehyung.”

 

Jihoon’s eyebrows furrowed as he tried to follow the complicated list of names. “Wow.”

 

“Yeah, he’s a spoiled kid,” Taehyung chuckled.

 

“Tae’s mainly the one who makes rules and everything, though,” Seokjin hummed. “Like the main caregiver. And—ah, what’s wrong, Jihoonie? You stopped eating.”

 

“Uh.” Jihoon placed the fork on the table, suddenly looking more nervous than before. He’d returned to playing with his fingers underneath the table, gaze lowered shyly. “Um. My hyungie... sort of, um...feeds me. At breakfast. I-I can eat by myself, but—”

 

“Oh, shit, I’m sorry,” Taehyung muttered, frowning. He pushed his chair closer to the younger before he’d finished talking, hands already reaching across the table to pick up the silverware he’d discarded. “Jungkook doesn’t like to feed himself, either. I’m sorry, Jihoon. I should have asked.”

 

“ ‘s okay.” The younger opened his mouth obediently as Taehyung held up a bite, giving a small, grateful smile when he closed it to chew. Taehyung couldn’t help but smile back. He was so adorable it was almost ridiculous.

 

Breakfast finished unceremoniously, with the elder feeding Jihoon and resisting the urge to coo over the fact that he thanked him after every bite. Taehyung found himself starting to wonder what was taking Jungkook and Jimin so long, and was just about to leave the room for a minute and call his friend when he heard the front door open, a familiar voice echoing down the hall.

 

“TaeTae, ‘m home!”

 

Jihoon looked at Taehyung, who glanced at Seokjin.

 

“Mind doing the dishes? I’ll do them tomorrow, swear.”

 

Seokjin rolled his eyes, already picking up the plate in front of the youngest male. “That’s what they all say. Go ahead.” He paused to pinch Jihoon’s cheek once more, smile returning. “I hope you ate well, Jihoonie.”

 

“It was delicious, hyungie,” the younger said softly. “Thank you.”

 

Seokjin clutched his chest dramatically. “It’s like a dagger to the heart, I swear.”

 

Taehyung rolled his eyes, extending his hand towards the little. “Jihoon, come on. We’re gonna head to the living room, okay? I want you to meet someone.”

 

The younger accepted his hand obediently, even pausing to push his chair in as they left the kitchen. In the living room, they were greeted by the sight of a mass of shopping bags on the ground by the entrance, Jimin thanking the guard who was placing the last of them onto the floor.

 

“Kookie went to go change,” the orange haired man said upon seeing Taehyung. His eyes landed on Jihoon then, lingering on their joined hands. “Oh. Um, who’s this?”

 

“This is Jihoon.” Taehyung squeezed the younger’s hand comfortingly, giving him an encouraging smile. “He’s Yugyeom’s cousin. Remember? I texted you, he called this morning.”

 

“Ah, the little,” Jimin gasped. His eyes lit up, a gentle smile stretching the elder’s lips. “Hi, Jihoon! I’m Jimin. It’s nice to meet you.”

 

“Nice to meet you,” Jihoon said politely, giving a small bow.

 

Jimin raised an eyebrow at the action. Taehyung only shrugged knowingly, shaking his head. “He’s like the most well-behaved kid I’ve ever met.”

 

“Cute,” Jimin said, smiling. His smile had turned a little strained as he looked at Taehyung, however, words firmer than before. “Does Kook know about him?”

 

“Uh, no.” Taehyung eyebrows furrowed. “I was just going to introduce them. Why? Do you think I should have said something?”

 

Jimin was quiet for a moment. “Jihoon, do you mind going into the kitchen with Seokjin hyung for a minute? I’m so sorry. I just need to talk to Tae here for a second. Is that okay?”

 

Jihoon looked a little anxious at the question. He glanced at Taehyung somewhat helplessly, lower lip pulled between his teeth. “Um…”

 

“Go ahead,” Taehyung said gently, smiling. “I’ll be right there.”

 

The statement seemed to ease some of the younger’s nervousness. He gave a small nod, and they watched him leave and walk through the doorway to the kitchen before Jimin turned back to Taehyung.

 

The first thing he did was flick him on the forehead.

 

“Ow!” Taehyung lifted a hand to rub at the area, glaring at his friend. “What the hell was that for?”

 

“You idiot,” Jimin hissed. “You were planning on springing him on Jungkook? Are you crazy?”

 

Taehyung blinked at him, lowering his arm slowly back to his side. “Huh?”

 

Jimin let out a long breath. When he spoke, the words were pinched with frustration and purposefully slow, as if he was explaining something a child.

 

“Jungkook has never met another little,” he said, glaring at Taehyung pointedly. “That point aside, he is very possessive of all of us. A little kid tripped in front of me once and I helped him up, and Jungkook got so jealous he held my hand the entire rest of the time we were there. Including when he had to use the bathroom. I stood next to the fucking toilet and stared at the ceiling.”

 

Taehyung opened his mouth and closed it, eyebrows furrowing. “Okay...but I don’t get it. What does that have to do with—”

 

“He is not going to be happy about having to share us with another little, even if it’s just for a day,” Jimin said firmly. “I can guarantee it. Especially when it comes to you. Jihoon already looks the most comfortable around you, plus you were holding his hand. Kook’s going to claw his eyes out, Tae.”

 

Taehyung paled. “I wasn’t—it wasn’t like that,” he hissed. “I just want him to be comfortable. He’s shy, and—”

 

I know that,” Jimin interrupted, frowning. “But Kook isn’t going to care. I’m telling you, Tae. This is a bad idea. You at least need to talk to him before you introduce the two of them, otherwise there’s going to be a freaking world war in our living room.”

 

Taehyung winced at that, running a hand through his hair in frustration.

 

“Okay,” he finally said, letting out a heavy exhale. “You’re probably right. I...fuck I guess I’ll go talk to him now, then. Can you put on a movie for Jihoon or something, in the meantime?”

 

“Yeah,” Jimin said, glancing in the direction of the living room. “He seems really well behaved.”

 

“He is,” Taehyung responded honestly. He paused. “You know, now that I’m thinking about it, Jungkook really might not like him. Bun’s kind of a brat.”

 

Jimin only shook his head, sighing.

 

“This is going to be a long day.”

 

*

 

“Baby?”

 

Taehyung poked his head into their closet, not yet taking a step inside. Jungkook hadn’t been in the bathroom, leading him to the conclusion that the younger was more than likely in his favorite place in the house.

 

Sure enough, his boyfriend was seated on the floor in the middle of their walk in closet, naked except for a pair of underwear. He was humming to himself as he picked through the bottom shelf of clothing, pushing past the hangers one by one.

 

At the sound of Taehyung’s voice, his head turned, expression lighting up.

 

“TaeTae!” The younger dropped the hanger in his hand, arms extending in the elder’s direction, despite not actually getting up off the ground.

 

Taehyung gave a small laugh. He ended up crouching beside him, kissing him briefly before settling onto the ground in a more comfortable position.

 

“Aren’t you cold?” He didn’t wait for an actual answer, glancing at the rack beside them and pulling off a jacket at random. He carefully spread the item across the younger’s bare legs, humming with satisfaction once he was done.

 

Jungkook giggled at the action. “Kookie can’t pick what to wear. Wanna help?”

 

“Sure. What are we going for?” Taehyung said. He scanned the rows of clothing, gaze settling on a familiar area. “Skirt?”

 

“Duh,” Jungkook teased. “Maybe a sweater. Ooh, ooh !” He tugged on the elder’s sleeve suddenly, a strategically sweet smile pulling at his lips. “Maybe TaeTae’s hoodie?”

 

At that, Taehyung rolled his eyes. Jungkook had recently taken to wearing his boyfriend’s clothing around the house, specifically his sweatshirts. He looked ridiculous in the clothing, the large sizes often drowning his upper half and falling past his fingers. But he insisted they were soft and smelled like Taehyung, so the elder ended up caving more often than not.

 

Just like he did then. With Jungkook fluttering his eyelashes at him, he didn’t think for longer than a second before climbing to his feet.

 

“You want the one I was wearing yesterday?”

 

“Yeah!” Jungkook clapped his hands excitedly, an ear to ear grin stretching his face. “And Kookie will wear his blue skirt, ‘cause it matches.”

 

“And tights,” Taehyung said absentmindedly, searching through his small section of the closet for the clothing item. “It’s freezing.”

 

“But tights won’t look good!” the younger pouted, hands falling to his side.

 

Taehyung gestured for him to climb to his feet. He pulled the hoodie over his boyfriend gently, kissing his nose when his head poked out of the top, bangs ruffled.

 

Jungkook giggled, stealing another kiss before pulling back. “No tights.”

 

“Yes tights.” Taehyung gave him a firm look. “Besides, we have a guest over. Don’t you want to look nice?”

 

At that, the younger was giving him a curious look. “A guest?” He gasped, eyes lighting up. “GD hyungie?”

 

“Uh, no.” Taehyung hesitated then. He didn’t actually know how to explain the situation to the younger, and Jimin had made him more nervous than he cared to admit.

 

But Jungkook looked interested now, and there was no going back.

 

He took a deep breath. “Well...okay. So, Yugyeom—”

 

“Yugy hyungie?” The younger gasped. “Yay!”

 

“No, ah—” Taehyung rubbed the back of his neck. “It’s not Yugyeom, baby. It’s actually his cousin. He’s visiting for a little while.”

 

“Oh.” Although most of the enthusiasm had fallen away, his boyfriend didn’t exactly look upset by the news. “That’s nice. Is he a nice hyungie?”

 

“He’s not actually your hyung,” Taehyung said awkwardly. “He’s, um...your age.” He paused. “And he’s...he’s actually a little.”

 

Jungkook blinked.

 

Taehyung chewed his lower lip, feeling his heartbeat quicken reasonably at the sudden stretch of silence.

 

Finally, his boyfriend spoke, a small frown already playing his lips. “A little?”

 

Taehyung nodded slowly, keeping a careful watch on the younger’s expression. “Yeah.”

 

Jungkook pulled back slightly. “Like...like Kookie?”

 

“Yeah,” Taehyung said softly. “Around your age when he’s in headspace, too. Although I think maybe a little older than you. He speaks sort of formally.”

 

Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed at that. “Wait. TaeTae met him already?”

 

Fuck. Taehyung felt like he could taste blood with how hard he was biting his lip.

 

“Yeah, I...he, um, got here this morning,” he said weakly.

 

Jungkook’s eyes flashed. “Did TaeTae eat breakfast with him?”

 

Jimin’s words echoed in the elder’s mind like a bad movie on repeat. Taehyung winced.

 

“Just for a minute,” he muttered. “He’s a little shy, so—”

 

“Did TaeTae feed him?” Jungkook’s jaw was tight, eyes flickering angrily despite the calmness with which he asked the question.

 

Taehyung shrank at the accusation, and it seemed to be enough of an answer.

 

“That’s— no ,” Jungkook hissed. He pushed lightly at the elder, more out of surprise than anger, but Taehyung stumbled back nonetheless. “Hyungie can’t do that,” he continued, tears pricking his eyes. “TaeTae can’t feed another little—that’s not—TaeTae’s mine —”

 

“Hey, hey ,” Taehyung said, eyebrows furrowing. He took a step forward, gripping the younger’s shoulders. “Jungkook, I fed him breakfast . It’s not like we—”

 

So ?” Jungkook snapped, shaking himself out the elder’s grip. “Kookie doesn’t hold hands with other hyungies, does he? He doesn’t cuddle them, he doesn’t kiss them, he doesn’t wear their hoodies!”

 

Taehyung winced, each accusation feeling like a blow to the stomach. “Okay, you’re right. Fine . But just—”

 

No ,” Jungkook snapped. He’d never looked so livid, face flushed with anger, eyes practically spitting sparks. “Kookie’s so mad at TaeTae. He’s—he’s mad at the little . Who is he? What’s his name?” he demanded.

 

“Kook, bun, you have no reason to be mad,” Taehyung said weakly. “I didn’t know it would bother you so much. I wouldn’t have done it if I did!”

 

His boyfriend's jaw clenched tighter. “What’s his name ?”

 

Taehyung pressed his lips together for a moment before sighing. “Jihoon.”

 

Jungkook crossed his arms. “Is he cute?”

 

“Is he—Jungkook, oh my god ,” Taehyung groaned. “No. No , he’s not cute. I haven’t even looked at him like that, I wouldn’t have even noticed if—”

 

“Kookie wants to meet him,” the younger said stiffly. “Now.”

 

Taehyung felt his jaw starting to clench. “Well, I was going to introduce you guys anyways. But I’m not taking you out there if this is how you’re going to act.”

 

Jungkook’s eyes blazed .

 

“Kookie doesn’t want your hoodie anymore,” he seethed, stripping out the clothing without warning. He threw it over his head and at the elder with a huff, turning on his heel and storming out of the closet.

 

Taehyung ran a hand over his face.

 

He didn't leave the closet right away. Instead, he stood there for a few minutes, listening to the sound of the younger slamming things around their dresser. The bathroom door opened and closed loudly, followed by the telltale thump of someone throwing themselves onto the bed.

 

When he heard sniffling, he finally stepped back into the room.

 

“Aigoo, Kookie,” he sighed.

 

He’d planned on scolding the younger, genuinely frustrated with how rudely he’d acted out—but the sight of him laying on the bed, stretched on his stomach and sobbing face-first into a pillow—it was enough to break his heart.

 

He crouched by the foot of the bed, right where the younger’s face was.

 

“Jungkookie,” he whispered, lifting a hand to run his fingers gently through the strands of hair. “Baby bun, you’re my prince. Just you. I could never replace you. Another little, another boy—no other person could replace you. You have to know that. You have to trust me when I tell you that.”

 

Jungkook’s shoulders trembled. He mumbled something indecipherable, the words threaded with sniffling.

 

“I’m sorry for feeding him breakfast,” Taehyung continued, words soft and laced with genuine regret. “I get why that would upset you. It’s our thing. And you’re right, it would bother me if you held someone else’s hand or wore someone else’s sweatshirt. So I won’t do anything you don’t feel comfortable with, either. Okay?”

 

Finally, his boyfriend lifted his head. His eyes were rimmed with red, cheeks and nose a matching pink. He sniffed, face streaked with drying tears.

 

“Why is he here?” he mumbled. “Kookie doesn’t want him here. Tell him to go away.”

 

“Yugyeom needed help,” Taehyung explained gently. “And to be honest, I was only so quick to agree to watch him for you. I was hoping you would be excited to meet him, because I wanted you to become friends with someone who might like the same things as you. I know it gets lonely sometimes around here when all of us are busy. Wouldn’t it be nice having another little? Someone to play stuffies with?”

 

Jungkook rubbed his nose, lower lip jutting out. “...Maybe.”

 

“You don’t have to meet him if you don’t want to,” the elder continued with a small smile. “Maybe I should have checked with you first. I guess I just got excited.”

 

Jungkook shifted, turning to press his cheek into the pillow. He looked conflicted, like part of him still wanted to be mad at the elder, while the other part wasn’t so sure.

 

“I can’t make him leave,” his boyfriend said quietly. “I’m sorry, bunny. I really didn’t think it would upset you this much.”

 

Taehyung waited for a little while for a response. But when it looked like he wouldn’t be getting one, he stood up. He’d brought the sweatshirt the younger had thrown at him back out, and he laid it over his bare legs for the second time.

 

“It’s cold,” he said softly. “You don’t have to wear this, but please change, okay?” His fingers brushed his cheek before straightening up with a sigh. “I promised Yugyeom I would watch Jihoon, so I’m going to go outside now. You...don’t have to come with me, if you don’t want to.”

 

He hadn’t made it to the door before he heard a huff of protest.

 

When he turned, Jungkook was swinging his legs over the bed. The younger grabbed the sweatshirt, yanking it over himself with a grimace.

 

Taehyung couldn’t stop the relief that flooded through him. It must have shown on his face, because his boyfriend stuck his tongue out at him.

 

“Kookie's not wearing tights,” he muttered. He extended his hand towards the elder. “Let’s go.”

 

Chapter Text

 

When they got to the living room, Jihoon was curled up on the couch, while Jimin was crouched in front of the tv. The orange haired man looked at them when they entered the room, his gaze quickly falling onto their laced hands before landing on Jungkook’s flushed face.

 

He raised an eyebrow at Taehyung, who gave him a small smile back.

 

“I was just changing the channel,” his friend explained, straightening up. “Turns out Jihoon prefers Spongebob over Tom and Jerry.”

 

Taehyung opened his mouth to respond, only to be cut off by Jungkook.

 

“Duh,” the younger scoffed. “Everyone knows Spongebob's way better, hyungie.”

 

From the couch, Jihoon glanced Jungkook’s way. The two locked gazes, and Jimin and Taehyung held their breath.

 

Jungkook seemed to be sizing the other male up. His gaze swept his body, noting the colorful sneakers on his feet and the tiny stud in his left ear. He seemed to pause at the sight of the stuffed toy curled in the other’s arms.

 

“Who’s that?”

 

Jihoon glanced at the toy, squeezing it a little tighter protectively. “Petunia,” he said softly.

 

Jungkook’s eyes twinkled with interest. “She’s a unicorn?”

 

Jihoon bit his lip. He didn’t look afraid, exactly, but the glint in his eyes wasn’t far from anxiousness. His voice was unsure when he spoke, as if he expected Jungkook to make fun of him.

 

“Uh huh,” he said quietly.

 

But Jungkook’s mouth only curled into a small, almost appreciative smile.

 

“She’s pretty,” the younger said softly. “Kookie has a stuffy named Elephanty. Wanna meet him?”

 

Jimin looked at Taehyung, shock etched across his features. Jihoon looked surprised himself, but pleasantly so. The younger looked at Jimin, question marks dancing in his eyes.

 

“Can Jihoonie go with…?” he trailed off then, glancing in Jungkook’s direction with the sudden realization that he didn’t even know the other’s name.

 

“Kookie,” Jungkook supplied. He gave a tentative smile.

 

Across the room, Jimin lifted his fist in a silent cheer.

 

Taehyung rolled his eyes, but he couldn’t hide the fact that his heart was swelling at the sight of the two giggling together.

 

Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all.

 

*

 

“And this is Lily. And this is Honey. And this—”

 

“Wow, you have a lot of stuffies,” Jihoon said, voice quiet but full of awe.

 

Jungkook sat back, surveying the small pile of toys on the carpet between them. “They’re just Kookie’s favorites,” he said, eyebrows furrowing. “It’s a lot?”

 

“Uh huh.” Jihoon was biting his lip, twirling a finger absentmindedly in the fur of his unicorn. “I, um, only have three.”

 

Three ?” Jungkook stared at him, shock flooding his system. “That’s so little! W-what happens if one gets dirty? Or rips?”

 

The other boy shrugged, gaze focused on his own toy.

 

Jungkook hesitated. He couldn’t explain it, but he felt...somehow, guilty . As if it was his fault that he had a lot of toys.

 

He didn’t like the feeling, not one bit.

 

“We don’t have to play with stuffies,” he mumbled, quickly gathering the toys into his arms and climbing to his feet. “We can watch tv. Come on.”

 

Jihoon was quiet, padding obediently behind him as he led the other male back into the living room.

 

“You have a nice house,” he said quietly.

 

Jungkook beamed at the compliment. “Thanks! But it’s not just Kookie’s. Hyungies all live here too. We share!”

 

“That’s nice.” Jihoon smiled tentatively. “Six hyungies. Wow.”

 

It wasn’t meant to be a mean remark, not in the slightest. But Jungkook felt his guard rising again, the same strange guilt that he’d felt from before returning.

 

It wasn’t like it was his fault that he had a big house. Or six hyungs that took care of him. Or lots of toys. Who did this Jihoon think he was, coming in here and making him feel bad for things he had no control over?

 

He let out a huff, bangs blowing off his forehead with the action. “Kookie’s putting on cartoons,” he muttered. It was an invitation for them to sit in silence, one the younger was counting on the new boy to accept.

 

To Jungkook’s relief, Jihoon fell quiet as the tv turned on to an old rerun of Spongebob. Just a few minutes in, Jungkook found himself itching to cuddle someone, not used to watching cartoons without another person’s chest to tuck himself against.

 

The thought made his eyebrows furrow.

 

“Do...” He paused, seeing Jihoon’s gaze slide from the tv screen towards him. “Does your hyungie watch cartoons with you?”

 

The younger cocked his head thoughtfully. “Sometimes,” he said. “I can watch alone, too.”

 

Jungkook frowned at that. “Do you sleep alone?”

 

“No. My hyungie cuddles me.”

 

At least that was the same. Jungkook relaxed a little. “Oh. What about eating? Does he feed you?”

 

“He feeds me breakfast, but sometimes I eat lunch alone.” The younger pouted a little at the statement. “Do you?”

 

“No,” Jungkook said, biting his lip. “My hyungies always feed me.”

 

“Oh.” Jihoon only smiled. “That’s nice.”

 

“Yeah.” Jungkook sank into the couch. He was finding it hard to refocus on the cartoon for some reason, and it couldn’t have been more than a minute that passed before he turned back to Jihoon.

 

“What about playing? Does your hyungie play a lot with you?”

 

“When he can,” Jihoon replied patiently. He didn’t seem to mind the random tirade of questions. It was another thing that made Jungkook feel on edge, how obedient the other male was with his responses. Obedient and polite.

 

Overwhelmingly, almost annoyingly polite.  

 

He frowned deeply. “Does your hyungie give you baths?”

 

“Uh huh.”

 

“Is bathtime fun? Do you have toys?”

 

“Um...nuh uh. It’s just to get clean.”

 

Jungkook’s mind drifted to the overflowing trunk of bath toys in his bedroom. He winced.

 

“What about clothes? Do you have lots of clothes?”

 

“I don’t really like shopping,” Jihoon said honestly, wrinkling his nose a little at the question.

 

Jungkook pulled back at that, genuinely affronted. “You don’t like shopping? But—but—it’s shopping!”

 

The other’s eyebrows furrowed. “Uh huh…?”

 

“Kookie loves shopping,” he muttered, turning back towards the tv with a fierce pout tugging at his lips. He couldn’t be expected to explain why it was stupid that the other male didn’t like the activity.

 

Everyone knew shopping was fun. And bathtime was supposed to be full of toys. And so what if he needed to cuddle someone when he watched tv?

 

Jihoon hadn’t said a single offensive thing to Jungkook since he’d gotten there, but by the time the credits were rolling and the next episode of Spongebob began, Jungkook was utterly convinced the boy was the spawn of the devil.

 

“Let’s eat,” he announced suddenly, hopping off the couch quickly. “Kookie’s hungry. Lunch time!”

 

He led the other male into the kitchen, perhaps walking a little too quickly in his eagerness, but he didn’t particularly care anymore.

 

“TaeTae!”

 

His boyfriend had been seated on top of the kitchen island, a file of papers on his lap and his feet dangling off the edge. He glanced up in surprise at the sight of the younger, lowering the paper in his hand.

 

“Kookie,” he said, raising an eyebrow. “Where’s Jihoon?”

 

Jungkook made a face. Why was everything always about Jihoon?

 

“Hi, hyungie.” A soft voice came from behind him, and Jungkook had to resist the urge to roll his eyes.

 

“Can we eat?” he asked, tugging on the elder’s pant leg. “Kookie's hungry.”

 

“Ah, sure.” Taehyung set aside the file on his lap, jumping off the counter lithely. He pressed a kiss to the younger’s forehead, eyes warm when he smiled. “What do you want to eat, bun?”

 

“Umm...pasta? No, chicken. Ooh, no, lamb !”

 

Taehyung laughed, glancing behind him towards Jihoon. “What about you, Jihoonie? Any favorites?”

 

“Whatever Kookie wants is fine with me,” Jihoon responded quietly.

 

Taehyung ruffled his hair at that, fondness evident in his voice. “Wah, how sweet. Isn’t that sweet, Jungkookie?”

 

It was taking everything in Jungkook not to push the other boy out of the kitchen (and possibly into the street outside.) He gritted his teeth, only nodding at the elder’s question.

 

Lunch was a gloomy affair—if you asked Jungkook, at least. He found his jaw clenching every time Jihoon thanked Taehyung for something, whether it was filling up his glass of water, handing him his silverware, or wiping his chin with a napkin.

 

His saving grace was that the elder only fed him this time, as it should be.

 

And if Jungkook shot Jihoon a few smug looks when his boyfriend was looking, no one was the wiser.

 

By some miracle , Yugyeom called while Taehyung was washing the dishes. He said he’d finished up earlier than expected and let him know he was on his way, wanting Jihoon to have all his things packed up by the time he arrived.

 

Needless to say, Jungkook found his mood inexplicably lift at the news.

 

“Have a safe trip!” he said enthusiastically, nudging the other towards the direction of the living room. He grabbed the stuffed unicorn he’d brought with him, shoving it into Jihoon’s arms. “Don’t forget Petunia!”

 

If Taehyung noticed his sudden enthusiasm, the elder didn’t say anything. He did earn a dirty look when he gently pushed Jihoon in the direction of the door, however.

 

“Yah, Jungkookie, Yugyeom isn’t here yet,” his boyfriend scolded.

 

Jungkook let out a huff, arms falling limply back to his sides.

 

Jihoon, however, didn’t look offended. He was clutching Petunia in his arms, backpack slung across one shoulder, when he turned back towards Jungkook.

 

“Thank you for playing with me,” he said softly. “It was nice to meet you, Kookie.”

 

Oh.

 

Something strange curled in Jungkook’s gut.

 

The day’s events flickered through his mind like a movie reel, and he found himself biting his lip. Technically speaking, Jihoon had been the perfect guest.

 

And technically speaking, Jungkook had been kind of a jerk.

 

He stared at the other boy for a moment before he made up his mind.

 

With a resigned groan, he turned on his heel, ignoring the sound of Taehyung calling out for him. He grabbed what he’d been looking for quickly and made his way back into the living room, determination setting his stride at a quicker than usual pace.

 

“Here.”

 

Jihoon blinked, surprised.

 

Jungkook crossed his arms, glaring at the ground. “Now you have four stuffies.”

 

The other boy was quiet. Even Taehyung was silent, one eyebrow arched in surprise.

 

“Her name is Misty,” Jungkook continued stiffly. “And you have to take really good care of her, or Kookie will find out. And—and he’ll be mad . So just…promise,” he muttered.

 

Jihoon held the stuffed walrus that had been shoved rather harshly into his arms with a gentle grip. He lifted a hand, settling it softly on top of the toy’s head.

 

“Thanks,” he said quietly. His eyes were warm, a small, hesitant smile playing his lips. “I promise.”

 

Jungkook only muttered something unintelligible.

 

They were saved by the sound of a horn honking. Taehyung opened the front door, gesturing in their direction.

 

“Come on, Jihoon,” he said, smiling. “I’ll walk you out. Say bye, Kookie.”

 

Jungkook looked at the other boy with an explicable tightness in his chest. He toed at the ground, suddenly feeling awkward.

 

“Bye, Jihoonie,” he finally said, voice small.

 

“Bye, Kookie,” Jihoon whispered back.

 

And as quietly as he’d entered the younger’s life, he was gone.

 

*

 

That night in bed, Jungkook crawled on top of Taehyung and clung to him like a koala.

 

His boyfriend didn’t say anything, apart from humming quietly. He scrolled through his phone silently, one hand tracing circles absentmindedly into the small of his back.

 

Finally, Jungkook let out a sigh—a signal that he was ready to talk.

 

Taehyung put his phone down.

 

“Did you have a nice day, bun?” The elder’s hands moved upwards to stroke through his hair instead, drawing gentle designs into the soft strands.

 

Jungkook pouted, cheek pressed into his chest.

 

“Maybe,” he muttered. “Sort of. Kookie...Kookie’s confused .”

 

Taehyung let out a soft laugh. “What’s confusing you?”

 

The younger lifted his head, propping his chin on Taehyung’s chest in order to be able to look him in the eye.

 

“Jihoonie was nice,” he said, voice thick with frustration. “But...but he made Kookie mad sometimes. And—and sad , just ‘cause Kookie has nice bathtimes and lots of toys and—”

 

“Woah, woah,” Taehyung said gently, eyebrows knitting at the sudden tumble of words spilling past the younger’s lips. He brushed a hand through Jungkook’s bangs, before bringing it down to thumb softly at his bottom lip. “Slow down, bun. What about bathtime?”

 

The younger let out a heavy huff, the sound weighted with frustration.

 

“Kookie has really nice toys,” he explained. His voice was soft, remorseful. Guilt-ridden. “And his bathtimes are really fun, with—with nice soaps and bubbles and stuff. And TaeTae plays with him and sings to him. And he has lots of clothes. And lots of hyungies. And he always gets cuddles when he wants them, and, and…” He let out a long exhale, having rushed the words outs in a single breath. “Is Kookie...spoiled?”

 

He supposed he’d always guessed that he was a little more well-off than others. And the fact that he was a little—not to mention the maknae of the group—only solidified how much he was doted on. But meeting Jihoon had been strangely eye opening.

 

He’d always thought all littles had caregivers who waited on them hand and foot, who made them feel precious and loved and adored at all times. The fact that he was different had never really occurred to him.

 

He couldn’t explain why it made him feel so guilty.

 

Taehyung looked surprised at the question. He didn’t know what he expected, but it certainly wasn’t for his boyfriend to laugh softly and say what he said next.

 

“Of course you’re spoiled.”

 

Jungkook’s mouth fell open.

 

“W- what ?” Panic flickered in his chest, and he felt tears pricking his eyes without warning. “Huh? B-but—”

 

“You didn’t let me finish,” Taehyung said gently.

 

The elder cupped his cheeks softly, brushing a kiss to his nose before pulling back. His eyes were glittering, dancing with amusement.

 

“You’re a very spoiled little bun,” he murmured. “But you’re my spoiled little bun. All of ours. It’s not your fault you have all those things, Jungkookie. We’re very...financially stable,” he said hesitantly, clearly being cautious with the wording. “And you’re our baby. So of course we’re going to spoil you.”

 

“B-but isn’t that bad?” Jungkook whispered, feeling his bottom lip start to tremble. “Jihoon only has three stuffies.”

 

Taehyung smiled a little. “I know. But he’s happy with that. Some people are happy with no stuffies, and some are happy with ten or a hundred. That doesn’t make any of them better or worse. Okay?”

 

“That’s...confusing,” Jungkook sniffed. “It’s not fair. How come some people get lots of hyungies and Jihoon only has one?”

 

“He only needs one,” Taehyung explained patiently. “I actually talked to his caregiver on the phone, while you guys were playing.” He’d returned to stroking his hand through the younger’s hair, and Jungkook felt himself relaxing a little at the action.

 

“You did?”

 

“Mmhm. He’s Jihoon’s roommate. They’re not in a relationship, but they’re best friends. He takes care of Jihoon as much as he can while working full time, but Jihoon wouldn’t have it any other way. They’re very happy together, bun.”

 

Jungkook bit his lip. “Oh.”

 

Taehyung gave a soft smile, eyes warm.

 

“The fact that you’re this concerned about him just proves you’re not a spoiled brat, baby,” he said gently. “You have nice things. So what? You’re also one of the most caring people I know. You even gave Jihoon one of your stuffies. A mean person wouldn’t do that, would they?”

 

“No,” Jungkook said hesitantly. He bit his lip.

 

Taehyung was quiet for a moment, watching the younger’s expression change.

 

“Something else on your mind?” he hummed.

 

Jungkook’s eyes flickered towards his lap, teeth digging harder into his lip.

 

“Is...is Kookie a good little?” he asked quietly. His cheeks were flushed a pretty pink, long lashes fanned out over them as he kept his gaze down.

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows furrowed. “Excuse me?”

 

“Jihoon…” His boyfriend finally looked up, eyes damp. “Jihoonie is really nice. And hyungies kept saying he was a good boy, and…and Kookie forgets to say thank you sometimes, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t wanna thank hyungies—he just forgets! And, and—he’s loud sometimes. Jihoonie is really quiet. And Kookie can be annoying—”

 

“Yah, who said you were annoying?” Taehyung asked.

 

Jungkook pouted. “I did.”

 

“Well, you’re wrong,” his boyfriend said firmly. He smiled then, thumb running over the younger’s lip for a moment before he pressed a sweet kiss to the spot.

 

“Bun, you and Jihoon have very different personalities,” he explained patiently, gaze soft, smile softer. “He’s shy, and you’re...outgoing. But that doesn’t make you annoying. It makes you adorable.”

 

Jungkook made a face. “TaeTae has to say that,” he muttered.

 

“Anyone else would tell you the same thing,” his boyfriend laughed.

 

He tilted the younger’s chin up then, moving his head forward until their foreheads touched.

 

“To answer your question,” he said softly. “You’re not always a good little. You’re very picky, you tend to listen to your hyungs the fourth or fifth time we ask you something, and you cry when you don’t get your way. How ever —” He paused, grin growing when he saw Jungkook starting to glare at him. “—Let me finish.”

 

“You also wake up early on Sundays to make us breakfast,” he said softly, noticing the younger’s eyes widen. “Even though you burn everything. And you wash my clothes for me—which yes, I know about.”

 

Jungkook pulled back slightly, eyes huge. “But—”

 

“And you insist on getting dairy free ice cream ever since you found out Namjoon is lactose intolerant,” Taehyung continued firmly. “Even though I know for a fact you hate the taste.”

 

His boyfriend let out a huff. “That—”

 

“And you wait every night for your brother to come home so you can kiss him goodnight, even if you’re literally fighting not to fall asleep,” Taehyung said, grin widening at the dirty look he was being given. “You make Jin hyung take the long way home when you two are driving because you know he loves to drive but never gets the chance. Even though you hate his driving and it makes you nauseous.”

 

“Wh—”

 

“You make lunchboxes for Hobi to take with him when he goes on trips out of town. You know he still thinks Jin hyung makes those, right?”

 

“How do—”

 

“You make the guards bring home beef stew when Jimin’s feeling homesick, because he told you once it reminds him of his mom.”

 

Jungkook’s face fell. “How does TaeTae know all that stuff?”

 

“I notice everything you do,” Taehyung replied gently. “Because you’re always doing such sweet things for us, bunny. You think we don’t notice, but we do.”

 

His boyfriend made a face.

 

“You asked if you’re a good little,” the elder murmured. “And I said no, you’re not. Because you’re a great little. Absolutely perfect. When you’re big, too. Just in general, okay? You’re the most perfect, adorable, amazing —”

 

He punctacted each adjective with an affectionate kiss, peppering them all over the younger’s face until he was squirming in his lap, giggling.

 

“Okay, okay—”

 

“—kind, big-hearted—”

 

“—s-stop, TaeTae—ah!”

 

“—baby bun in the whole world.”

 

Taehyung grinned, finally pulling back. Jungkook’s face was flushed when he looked at him, eyes bright as he struggled to catch his breath.  

 

Okay ,” he repeated, scrunching his nose. “Gosh.”

 

“Believe me now?” Taehyung teased, pinching the younger’s cheek.

 

Jungkook swatted his hand away. “Yeah, ‘cause TaeTae tried to kill me.”

 

Taehyung gasped. “ Me ? I would never. Who would cuddle me if something happened to you?”

 

Jungkook’s mouth fell open at the remark. “Kookie’s not a cuddle machine! That’s all TaeTae would miss?”

 

“You’re not a cuddle machine?” Taehyung said, words coated with a thick layer of disbelief. He widened his eyes dramatically. “Oh my god. That’s news to me. Since when?”

 

“Not funny!” his boyfriend whined, smacking him on the shoulder.

 

Taehyung laughed, pulling him closer. “I’m just teasing, bun.” He paused. “You’re more of a cuddle monster, anyways.”

 

Kookie is not a monste r!”

 

Each word was accompanied by another forceful smack, Taehyung bursting into laughter at the attack.

 

“Take it back!”

 

“Okay, okay. I take it back. Just...please don’t eat me, Mr Monster.”

 

“TAKE IT BACK!”

 

“Ow, baby, that hurts —”

 

Good . Kookie’s not cuddling TaeTae anymore.”

 

“What? Aw, bun, I was just kidding—”

 

“No. Go find another monster to do it.”

 

“Who called you a monster? That wasn’t me. I think you heard wrong.”

 

“Ughhh.”

 

“Jungkookie, come over here. Where are you going?”

 

“TaeTae’s annoying .”

 

“Jungkookie, come bacckk . I was just teasing!”

 

“Nuh uh. Let go!”

 

“I love youuuu.”


“Let gooooo .”

 

Chapter Text

 

Then.

 

“Jungkook?”

 

“Hm.”

 

“Jungkook.”

 

“Hm.”

 

“Jeon Jung kook .”

 

The younger finally snapped his head up. Jackson was glaring at him, standing in the doorway with his arms crossed.

 

He gave a sheepish, innocent smile. “Sorry. Kookie was watching cartoons.”

 

“Disney can wait.” The elder took a few steps into the room, reaching for the remote and clicking off the tv.

 

Jungkook let out a sound of protest, grabbing the older man’s wrist. “Hyungie, ‘s not Disney, it’s Nick. And nuh uh! It can’t!”

 

“It can.” Jackson looked at him firmly. “I have someone you need to meet.”

 

Jungkook huffed at that. He crossed his arms, feeling a pout form. “Kookie doesn’t wanna meet anyone. He wants to finish the cartoons!”

 

“You can finish them later, now come on.”

 

It didn’t matter how much he pleaded, Jackson was immune to the younger’s begging and whining by this point. So, albeit reluctantly, he pulled himself to his feet and went into his bathroom, grumbling, to change.

 

Jackson held his hand as they walked down the hall, Jungkook smiling cutely at the men they passed. Each man paused when they saw him, bowing neatly with a polite “Jungkook-sshi.”

 

He couldn’t help but feel his smile go stiff at the way they held the bow until he walked by.

 

It bothered him more than it should, the way he was treated in his own home. He didn’t want to be greeted with practiced smiles and rehearsed bows. He was just a person, not some prince.

 

The thought made him sigh.

 

Next to him, Jackson glanced his way. The elder hesitated a little before squeezing his hand comfortingly.

 

Jungkook looked at him with a small smile.

 

“This guy, if you like him, might be the new head of your security,” Jackson explained seriously. “So really try to get a feel for him, yeah? We don’t want…” A pause. “We don’t want a repeat of last time.”

 

The younger stiffened.

 

“Sorry,” Jackson said quietly, expression dark. “I’m just—I want you to be safe, kid. So if you think something’s off about this guy, you gotta tell me. Okay?”

 

“Okay, hyungie,” Jungkook said softly. “Kookie will.”

 

“Good. Alright, we’re here.”

 

They were stopped in front of a door at the end of the hall. It was one of many rooms that Jungkook wasn’t typically allowed inside, a place his father said was strictly off limits.

 

He felt his curiosity peak, then shrivel right away when the doors opened. The area was large, with a long table that looked like it could be for meetings, and dark walls that matched the dark, windowless room.

 

“Ew.” Jungkook wrinkled his nose. “This place is weird.”

 

“It’s a meeting room,” Jackson sighed, sounding somewhat apologetic. “I wanted to bring him to your room, but your dad needs to see me and this was closer…”

 

He trailed off. It wasn’t much of an explanation, but then, it wasn’t like Jungkook really expected one. Jackson was a nice hyung, a good guard.

 

But when it came down to it, he was just as terrified of Jeon as everyone else in the house.

 

The younger sighed. “Hyungie’s leaving?”

 

He didn’t know why he phrased it as a question. The answer was already obvious, especially based off the way Jackson’s jaw had clenched, gaze flitting away remorsefully.

 

“It’s okay,” he said softly. He gave a slight smile, squeezing the elder’s hand reassuringly before dropping it. “Kookie will call if he needs you.”

 

“There’s guards outside,” Jackson said, biting his lip. “You just shout if you need anything. You know that.”

 

“Kookie knows,” he said patiently.

 

“I’ll just be on the second floor. If this guy gives you trouble, any trouble, you just—”

 

“Kookie knows , hyungie.” He nudged the elder gently, trying to make his voice firm. “Go. Daddy’s waiting.”

 

Jackson’s eyes flashed at that. “Yeah,” he said gruffly, jaw clenching a little harder. “Okay. I’m...I’ll go. Bye, Kook.”

 

Jungkook kept the smile on his face for as long as he could, but it fell the moment he saw the elder turn the corner.

 

He turned back towards the room, shoulders sagging and a soft exhale parting his lips. He hated having to interview people for new positions, especially seeing as he was a horrible judge of character. He trusted everyone. Everybody seemed nice to him, kind. How the heck was he supposed to be able to distinguish the genuine people from the ones who would sneak into his bed at night and—

 

He shuddered, train of thought snapping off like a broken branch.

 

He couldn’t think too hard about it, otherwise he wouldn’t even be able to step into the room. He just had to get this over with.

 

There was a figure sitting at the far end of the room, the first thing he noticed as he began making his way inside. The man wasn’t seated at the long table, but rather positioned neatly on a chair lined up against one of the far walls.

 

His hands were folded on his lap, ankles crossed at the end of a pair of perfectly tailored pants. Jungkook found his eyes drawn to his hair—a cotton candy pink shade, parted and styled off his forehead. He scanned the stranger’s almost surprisingly breathtaking features, feeling his own eyebrows furrow with confusion.

 

He didn’t look like a gangster, nor a bodyguard. He looked like he belonged on the cover of a magazine.

 

When he seemed to catch notice of Jungkook, he stood up without warning.

 

Jungkook immediately stopped in his tracks. A flicker of fear, probably unwarranted, coiled in his gut.

 

But the stranger didn’t approach him. He merely bowed his head for a moment, hands still clasped in front of himself, before his gaze lifted.

 

“Jeon Jungkook, I presume?”

 

Jungkook swallowed. “Um.”

 

His lips twitched with a smile. “My name is Kim Seokjin. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Jungkook-sshi.”

 

The younger nodded faintly. “Nice to meet you.”

 

Seokjin gestured towards the small row of chairs beside him. “Would you like a seat?”

 

Jungkook glanced in the direction, hesitating. After a moment, he sat gingerly on a chair one seat away from the elder, still a little wary of the stranger.

 

Seokjin didn’t seem to mind. He only smiled and sat back down himself, eyes warm.

 

There was an awkward bout of silence once they’d sat. It was as if Seokjin was waiting for him to speak, and the sentiment made him uncomfortable. It wasn’t often that somebody waited for him to speak first, usually taking control of the conversation and leaving a breath or two for the younger to get a word in.

 

It was sort of refreshing, to be honest.

 

After a minute of contemplating, he worked up the nerve to mumble something.

 

Seokjin leaned closer slightly, eyebrow cocking. “I’m sorry. I didn’t quite catch that.”

 

Jungkook’s cheeks flamed. “Um. Kookie...Kookie said he just—l-likes sunbae’s hair.”

 

“Ah.” Seokjin’s hand drifted up towards his head, as if he’d only just remembered the style might have seemed out of ordinary. “Thank you. You can call me hyung, by the way.”

 

Jungkook tried to ignore the fact that the sentence made him want to smile. The elder seemed nice.

 

Then he continued to speak.

 

“If you don’t mind my asking...how old are you, Jungkook-sshi?” Seokjin said softly. His voice was kind, much like his gaze.

 

But Jungkook found himself shrinking at the question. Potential guards—especially people who would be working in close quarters with him—were typically briefed on the younger’s...well, situation , beforehand.  

 

He bit his lower lip, feeling his cheeks burn. “Are...um. D-did someone talk to hyungie?”

 

Something flickered in the elder’s eyes. He hummed, small smile still in place. “Yes. But I wanted to ask you .”

 

Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed. “Huh?”

 

“You’re fifteen,” Seokjin said patiently. “But you’re also…”

 

The younger chewed the inside of his cheek. “H-hyungie said someone talked—”

 

“Jungkookie.”

 

He started at the nickname. It wasn’t something he’d ever heard before, and it made his features soften.

 

Jackson sometimes called him kid, or Kook. His brother referred to him with a fond tone. But he’d never been given a nickname he hadn’t coined himself—and never with such a gentle, genuine tone.

 

Letting out a long breath, he muttered, “...’m seven.”

 

“Seven.” Seokjin’s smile was blinding, so sudden it felt like the sun appearing unannounced in a cloudy sky. “Wow. That’s wonderful.”

 

He didn’t understand the way his chest was tightening. It felt—strange. Foreign.

 

Warm.

 

“And what do you like to do?”

 

Jungkook’s eyebrows were going to permanently stitch together at this point, with the way they’d knitted. He stared at the elder in silence, perplexed.

 

“Huh?”

 

Seokjin didn’t seem to mind having to repeat himself over and over again. His expression never wavered, voice never strayed from its calm, confident tone.

 

“What do you like to do in your free time? I imagine it must be quite boring, having to spend your days inside.”

 

“Well…” The younger paused at that. “Kookie has lots of toys. And stuffies. And he watches tv a lot.” Another pause, and he felt some of the sadness seep into his voice. “But...but sometimes he gets bored.”

 

“Mm.” Seokjin had tilted his head, looking genuinely interested in the conversation. “What do you like to watch on tv?”

 

The flicker of doubt returned. Jungkook bit his lip, feeling his face flushing again.

 

“Disney,” he muttered.

 

“Wah.” The elder’s eyebrows raised. “I’m jealous. Who’s your favorite princess?”

 

Jungkook’s mouth fell open.

 

No one had ever talked to him like this before. Not about his headspace, not about the things he liked to do.

 

He was invisible in Bangtan. The cherished prince that was given all the toys he wanted, if only to keep him out of everyone’s hair. Respected. Protected.

 

But invisible, nonetheless.

 

Seokjin confused him.

 

“Why is hyungie being so nice?” he asked softly.

 

The elder’s eyes flickered at the question.

 

“You deserve a hyung who’s nice to you,” he responded, voice just as soft. “Don’t you think you deserve that?”

 

Jungkook’s eyes lowered. “I...Kookie doesn’t know.”

 

“Well, I think you do,” Seokjin said, the words quiet but firm. “And if you’d like...I’d be honored to be that hyung for you, Jungkookie.”

 

The younger let out a long breath.

 

“Kookie thinks he’d like that, too,” he said softly.

 

*

 

Things changed when Seokjin came to work for him.

 

The elder might speak to Jungkook with nothing but soft smiles and warm words, but the man was as sharp as a tack—and he moved quick, with the fire of someone who knew exactly what he was doing.

 

In his first week on the job, sixteen of the younger’s guards were fired and replaced.

 

“This staff is abysmal,” Jungkook had overheard him snapping once at a woman. She’d bowed at Seokjin, mumbling an apology.

 

“From now on, me and my partner Namjoon will have full control over who is hired on the maknae’s team,” he’d continued. His voice didn’t leave any room for argument. “All interviews for new guards go through us. Understand?”

 

“I-I would have to speak with Mr Jeon on that matter, Seokjin-sshi,” the woman had stammered, face flushed.

 

“So speak with him,” Seokjin had said, one eyebrow raised. “If he has a problem, he knows where to find me.”

 

The woman had only stared at him.

 

That was another thing. Jungkook didn’t see his father often, but whenever he saw him lately, Seokjin and Namjoon were by his side. Jeon seemed much more impressed with them than he had with any of the other members.

 

Seokjin worked his way up the ranks quicker than anyone ever had before. People respected him. They admired him. They loved him.

 

And the younger had to agree with every sentiment.

 

*

 

A month and a half into the job, Seokjin and Jungkook were in the kitchen. The latter was sitting on the counter, watching the older man teach him how to make s’mores.

 

“You hold the marshmallow over the stove,” Seokjin instructed. “ Very carefully. Not too close, otherwise it’ll burn.”

 

“Wow,” Jungkook breathed. “Lemme try, lemme try!”

 

Seokjin handed him the chopstick, a small smile playing his lips.

 

“It’s usually done over a fire,” he said quietly. “While camping.”

 

Jungkook opened his mouth to respond, but they were both interrupted by the sound of the door slamming open.

 

A hoard of gang members tumbled into the room. Some bowed in their direction, others avoiding eye contact completely.

 

One of them, however, paused.

 

“Jungkook-sshi,” he said, a frown pulling at his lips. “What have I told you about dressing like a fucking fag?”

 

Jungkook shrank.

 

He pulled the chopstick away from the stove, feeling his expression darken. Seokjin watched him carefully, silent.

 

“Sorry,” he mumbled.

 

The man shook his head. “Always at it with those fucking skirts and shit,” he muttered. “Thought me and the guys talked to you already. Men don’t dress like that. Bangtan men don’t dress like that.”

 

The younger nodded faintly. He’d ducked his head by this point, so low his chin was tucked against his shirt and his bangs hung in his eyes.

 

The men shuffled around, speaking in low voices before grabbing a few fruits from the fridge and leaving.

 

When the door closed, Jungkook slid off the counter silently.

 

He smoothed down the front of his skirt.

 

“Kookie’s gonna go take a nap,” he said quietly. A small smile was directed at Seokjin. “Bye, Jinnie hyungie.”

 

Seokjin pressed his lips together. “Bye, Jungkookie. Sleep well.”

 

*

 

Six hours later, the older man hummed to himself in an elevator, eyes trained on his gun as he slid the silencer on smoothly.

 

Namjoon sighed beside him. “I can’t believe you’re killing this guy. Because he was mean to Kook?”

 

“Because he’s an asshole,” Seokjin corrected absentmindedly.

 

Namjoon stared at him for a moment, mouth curled in amusement. “You know, I don’t think Hobi’s intention when he sent us here was for you to get so attached to Jeon’s kid.”

 

Seokjin scoffed, the click of the gun echoing in the empty elevator as he loaded it. “Right. Like I’m the only one whipped for him. Think I didn’t notice that guard who disappeared after he told Kook to shut up at dinner the other day?”

 

Namjoon paused. “In my defense, I didn’t even kill him. He’s alive.” Another pause. “Somewhere.”

 

“Comforting,” Seokjin laughed. “Come on, let’s go.”

 

They did in fact kill the man, and continued to weed out anyone who batted an eye the wrong way in the younger’s direction.

 

Under Seokjin’s watch, Bangtan changed completely—at least for Jungkook. He felt safer than he had in a long time.

 

Happier than he had in a long time.

 

He felt comfortable around Seokjin. Safe. He didn’t know why, but he felt like the elder was going to be around for a long time, and the notion was one that—perhaps however ridiculous—made him feel like he could tell him things he wouldn’t tell anyone else.

 

One night, the older man was just about to leave his bedroom, when he felt the urge to share something he hadn’t talked about in a long time. Seokjin was handing him his favorite stuffed animal when Jungkook reached out and grabbed his wrist.

 

“Stay,” he said softly.

 

Seokjin paused. “I have a few things to take care of, Kookie.”

 

Jungkook shifted on the bed, sheets crinkling beneath him. “Please?”

 

The elder contemplated for another moment before giving a small smile. “Fine. Just for a minute.”

 

When he laid down next to him, Jungkook moved to rest his head on Seokjin’s chest. He felt a pair of strong arms wrap around him and sank into the action, a soft sigh parting his lips.

 

“Last time a guard was in Kookie’s bed, he did bad things to Kookie,” he whispered.

 

Seokjin was quiet for a minute.

 

“I know,” he finally said. “You know I would never do anything to you, right? And nobody in this house ever will, either. Not anymore. They’d have to get through me first.”

 

Jungkook smiled a little at the fierce protectiveness brewing behind the words.

 

“Kookie knows,” he murmured. “Thank you, hyungie. You...you made Bangtan better.”

 

Seokjin didn’t speak for a while after that. He seemed to be thinking, choosing his next words carefully.

 

“One day, I’ll bring you somewhere even better than Bangtan,” he finally said, voice quiet, but the words dripping with that strong determination that was always had behind every statement. “Somewhere safer. And you’ll be really happy, Jungkookie.”

 

Jungkook hummed. “Will hyungie be there?”

 

Seokjin huffed out a little laugh. “Of course. And Namjoon. And your brother. And maybe even others.”

 

“Kookie doesn’t need anyone else,” he replied firmly.

 

“Mm.” Seokjin’s hands stroked through the back of his hair. “Maybe you’ll change your mind before then. Maybe you’ll find another hyung you love even more than me.”

 

Jungkook paused at the thought.

 

He couldn’t deny it would be nice to have someone else. Someone to take care of him. He loved Seokjin like a brother—but he craved a different type of love, too.

 

“Maybe,” he said softly. Wistfully.

 

“I bet you will,” Seokjin hummed. “I bet one day you’ll be sitting somewhere, happy as can be, and the days where you felt lonely or different will feel like nothing but a bad dream.”

 

Jungkook pressed his face into the elder’s chest, fighting to keep his smile from growing.

 

“Will we go camping?” he murmured.

 

Seokjin laughed gently. “Sure. And make real s’mores this time.”

 

“Mm.” The younger nuzzled his face against Seokjin. “And Kookie...Kookie can wear whatever he wants?”

 

“Always,” Seokjin replied quietly. “You can wear your pretty skirts. You’ll find someone who appreciates you just the way you are, Jungkookie. You’ll see.”

 

The younger was quiet. He knew the elder liked to make him feel better with promises of a better life, of a family one day made up of people who really cared about him and loved him—but reality was much harsher than that.

 

He wasn’t stupid. The odds of another person loving him, strange headspace and odd fashion sense combined, weren’t exactly in his favor.

 

When he stayed silent for a long enough time, Seokjin flicked his forehead gently.

 

“Hey.” The younger looked at him with a pout.

 

“Stop thinking so hard,” Seokjin scolded. “I’m telling you the truth, okay? I wouldn’t lie to you. Would I?”

 

“Not lie,” Jungkook huffed. “Just…” He bit his lower lip. “Kookie’s weird,” he mumbled.

 

“You’re perfect,” Seokjin said gently. “You just need to find someone who sees that. Okay?”

 

The younger smiled softly.

 

“Okay.”

 

~*~

 

Now.

 

“Happy anniversary, TaeTae!”

 

Jungkook pounced onto his boyfriend, giggling when he let out a loud grunt at the sudden action.

 

Taehyung opened his eyes slowly, eyebrows furrowing as he blinked.  

 

“Huh?” The elder looked around sleepily, taking a moment to remember where he was. When his gaze landed on the alarm clock, he groaned. “Kookie, it’s 1 am.”

 

Jungkook merely smiled. “Kookie was excited. It’s our anniversary!”

 

“And we can celebrate that in the morning ,” Taehyung said, laughing tiredly. He lifted a hand to ruffle the younger’s hair, voice thick with sleep. “Now c’mere. Let’s go back to sleep.”

 

Jungkook let out a whine, smile slipping away. “But TaeTae didn’t say it back yet!”

 

“Hm? Oh, I’m sorry.” His hand drifted down to the younger’s chin, tugging him gently forward for a sweet kiss.

 

“Happy anniversary, baby,” he mumbled softly against his lips. “I love you.”

 

“Love you, hyungie,” Jungkook murmured back, mouth smiling against his. “More than anything.”

 

Chapter Text

 

“Merida.”

 

Mulan .”

 

“How can you even say that, Merida is the most badass little bitch—”

 

“Bad word!”

 

“Ugh. Okay, sorry. But my point stands—”

 

“Nuh uh, it’s Mulan . She fights the huns and saves  her dad and China—”

 

“So? Merida saves her family, too. Plus, have you seen her with a bow and arrow? I can’t even express how cool—”

 

“Why is this even an argument?” Taehyung groaned. “Hobi hyung, shut up. You’re arguing with someone who has the mental capacity of an eight year old right now. For fuck’s sake.”

 

Hobi glared at him. “He’s wrong . Who thinks Mulan is more badass than Merida? What type of person have you raised, Jin hyung?”

 

From the other end of the couch, Seokjin raised his palms. “Please leave me out of this.”

 

With a huff, Jungkook switched his position on the couch, instead climbing into Taehyung’s lap.

 

“TaeTae, Mulan’s better, right?” the younger pouted. He was straddling the elder, and he pressed closer with the question, eyelashes batting. “Tell Hobi hyungie Kookie’s right.”

 

Taehyung huffed out a laugh. “You don’t have to seduce me, you little brat. I thought she was better anyways.”

 

His boyfriend brightened at the statement. “See? Told you, hyungie!”

 

Hobi rolled his eyes. “Whatever. My point stands.”

 

“Can we please watch the movie already?” Namjoon groaned. “How did this argument even start?”

 

“Jungkook said he wanted to watch Mulan because she’s the best princess,” Seokjin toned dryly. “Which, apparently, is a trigger for Hobi.”

 

“We’re watching Brave,” the gang leader hissed. “I’m not taking any complaints. Whoever has a problem with it can go watch in the other room with Yoongi and Jimin and listen to them make out.”

 

At the silence that resounded towards the suggestion, Hobi smirked and turned towards the tv triumphantly.

 

Jungkook sighed into Taehyung’s neck as the movie began playing, cuddling closer to the elder’s lap until their chests were pressed together.

 

He nuzzled his boyfriend, lips pressed against his collarbone, and let out a soft hum.

 

“Kookie doesn’t wanna watch Brave,” he whined softly.

 

Taehyung sighed. “I’m sorry, bun. We’ll watch Mulan tomorrow, alright? Promise.”

 

The younger pouted. “But Kookie doesn’t like Brave.”

 

“But Hobi hyung does,” Taehyung said softly. “And you always get to pick the movie, don’t you?”

 

“Soo?” Jungkook’s lower lip jutted out further. “Kookie doesn’t wanna watch. Let’s do something else.”

 

They were speaking quietly to each other, a blanket tucked around Jungkook that draped over Taehyung’s lap, the sides pooling onto the couch. The tv was loud enough to drown out their voices, with Seokjin and Namjoon sitting together on the other end of the couch and Hobi on an armchair.

 

At the younger’s suggestion, Taehyung raised an eyebrow. “Do what? It’s too late to do anything else, bun.”

 

Jungkook was quiet for a moment, hesitation flickering across his features in the dim lighting from the television.

 

Then, without warning, he ground his hips forward.

 

Taehyung caught his breath.

 

“Yah,” he whispered, glancing around quickly at the others before frowning at the younger. “What are you doing?”

 

Jungkook gave him a sweet smile, the perfect picture of innocence. “Playing. Don’t you wanna play, hyungie?”

 

He didn’t get a chance to answer before the younger was pushing his hips down again, fingers finding the elder’s waist and digging into it.

 

Taehyung could feel his face growing warm. “Jungkook,” he hissed. “We can’t—we’re—someone will hear—”

 

“Silly,” the younger giggled. “TaeTae can just be quiet.”

 

The teasing statement was punctuated by another hard roll of the hips. Taehyung could feel his pants growing tighter across the crotch, having to shift on the couch at the discomfort.

 

Jungkook giggled again, clearly amused at the elder’s reaction. “What’s wrong?”

 

“Yah,” Taehyung whispered fiercely. “Jeon Jungkook, we’re in the middle of the living room. Your hyungs are here.”

 

“So?” The younger ghosted his lips over Taehyung’s chin, dropping a sweet kiss to the corner of his mouth. “It’s dark. And hyungies are watching the movie.” His hands drifted upwards then, finding the elder’s collar and clenching the material of the shirt. “Kookie really wants to play,” he murmured. “Please, hyungie? Let’s play.”

 

And Taehyung.

 

Well, Taehyung was only human.

 

He could feel heat pooling in his stomach, gut curling with anticipation at the familiar feeling of his cock stirring to life. Jungkook made a soft sound on his lap when he felt the elder’s hands move, coming up to slip under the hem of his shirt.

 

He ran his fingers over the arch of Jungkook’s spine, smirking when the sensation made the younger shiver.

 

“Alright, bun. What do you wanna play, then?” he murmured, lips pressed to the shell of his ear. “Eager little baby. Hm? What did you have in mind?”

 

Jungkook’s breathing hitched. He tucked his face into the elder’s neck, breathing in his cologne.

 

“Um. Kookie sort of...has an idea,” he whispered, voice laced with nervous enthusiasm.

 

Taehyung’s hand found the hair at the back of his head, fingers curling into the strands. He tugged the younger’s head back gently, drawing a soft moan from him.

 

“Ssh,” he murmured. Jungkook’s pupils were blown wide, flushed cheeks visible even in the dimly lit room, and the sight made his chest tighten with warmth. “Let’s hear it.”

 

The younger’s fingers grappled Taehyung’s shirt, trying to pull the elder closer. “Kookie wants—h-he wants...to ride hyungie,” he breathed.

 

Taehyung could have sworn he felt his heart stop.

 

Fuck ,” Taehyung groaned. “Where’d you learn how to talk like that?”

 

“Ssh,” Jungkook reminded, voice a murmur. He kissed the elder, whines swallowed by his boyfriend, lips moving in earnest. “Wanna. Can I? Please. Lemme, TaeTae. Please.”

 

Underneath the blanket, Taehyung’s hands moved to slip beneath the waistband of the younger’s skirt.

 

“We don’t have lube,” he murmured against Jungkook’s mouth, the younger whimpering softly as he tugged gently on his bottom lip.

 

“Cushion,” Jungkook mumbled.

 

Taehyung pulled back slightly, surprise flickering across his face. “What?”

 

Jungkook’s face was dark pink, eyes bright and lips swollen. “Kookie...Kookie put it there, ‘c-cause he knew he wanted to play. It’s in, um...in the cushion—”

 

Slowly, Taehyung dug his hand into the side of the cushion. He wiggled it around for a moment, eyebrows furrowed, before feeling his fingers brush against a familiar packet.

 

“Holy shit,” he whispered, letting out a soft laugh. “Jeon Jungkook. You’re insane.”

 

His boyfriend’s nose wrinkled, having to press his mouth into Taehyung’s neck to muffle his giggling.

 

“Kookie wants to ride you, hyungie,” he repeated softly, pushing his hips down onto the elder’s once more.

 

“Y-yeah. Alright. Yeah,” Taehyung said quietly, hand returning to its position beneath the soft blanket. “We’re going to have to be really quiet, okay?”

 

“Okay,” Jungkook whispered back.

 

“Before we start, though, gimme a sec,” Taehyung murmured.

 

Jungkook pouted. “Why?”

 

His boyfriend winked then, something mischievous glittering in his eyes. “Quiet, okay?

 

Without waiting for a response, he suddenly raised his voice. Jungkook jerked with surprise in his lap, looking at him with a shocked expression.

 

“Hey, Hobi hyung,” he said casually, ignoring the wide-eyed look his boyfriend was giving him. “Can you turn up the volume a little?”

 

From the armchair, the gang leader made an annoyed sound. “Aish, it’s already so loud.”

 

Jungkook pressed his face into Taehyung as Hobi turned to look at them. He bit his lip and inched the blanket higher up around the two of them, really hoping nobody would look too closely.

 

“Come on,” Taehyung said, pouting at the elder. “Please?”

 

“Ugh. Fine.” Hobi muttered something under his breath, sounding annoyed, before moving to lift the remote towards the television. The sound of the character’s voices filled the room louder than before, and Jungkook lifted his head with a relieved sigh.

 

“You still gotta be quiet,” Taehyung whispered, grinning slyly. “But just in case.”

 

The younger’s face was red, excitement glittering in his eyes. “Okay. Kookie promises.”

 

“Still wanna ride me?” Taehyung muttered, nipping at his earlobe. Jungkook whimpered, fingers digging into his waist.

 

“Mmhm.” He let out a shaky breath, feeling his boyfriend’s lube-slicked fingers start tracing his rim.

 

Taehyung kissed him when he worked the first finger in, expertly distracting the younger from letting out his usual loud whimper. Jungkook wriggled in his lap, heat coursing through him at the sudden breach—but it was a pleasurable heat, one that made his toes curl and the hair on his arms rise.

 

He kissed the elder hungrily, almost forgetting where they were, until someone in the room coughed.

 

Jungkook froze.

 

“You’re good,” Taehyung whispered. “Don’t worry. Ready for another?”

 

“Uh huh,” the younger mumbled. He ground his hips down on the elder’s finger, having to bite his lip to keep from letting out a moan. “Y-Yeah. Yes. Uh huh.”

 

“Cute.” Taehyung let out a breathy laugh. He felt a small amount of lube dripping off his fingers as he fumbled with the packet beneath the blanket, wincing at the thought of cleanup.

 

Jungkook had a hard time keeping his sounds to himself as the elder fingered him. He kept trying to connect their mouths somewhat desperately, finding Taehyung distracted, and switched to muffling his whimpers into the elder’s neck.

 

His boyfriend grunted when he began biting gently at the skin.

 

“Fuck, baby,” he breathed, finding it hard to focus on fingering him with the way heat was starting to course down his neck. “What are you doing?”

 

“Gonna mark hyungie,” Jungkook mumbled, kissing the spot before returning to nibbling at the area. “Gonna make TaeTae mine.”

 

Taehyung’s breath hitched. “Yours,” he muttered, voice husky. “ ‘m already yours, baby. Fuck—”

 

“Ready,” the younger interrupted, the sound breathless. “ ‘m ready.”

 

He placed one last, loving kiss to the hickey he’d created, before straightening up and pressing his lips to the corner of Taehyung’s mouth ever so briefly.

 

Taehyung unbuttoned his pants and slipped out his almost fully hard cock without his eyes ever leaving the younger’s.

 

“So pretty, baby,” he muttered. “Already look so wrecked for me. Fuck.”

 

Jungkook whined. “Don’t put it in,” he mumbled. “Kookie’s gonna do it.”

 

On the other end of the couch, Namjoon shifted.

 

Taehyung paused, waiting, before giving a slight nod.

 

“Okay,” he whispered back. “Go slow for me, baby. No rush, okay?”

 

“Okay,” Jungkook muttered. His gaze flitted nervously towards the others for a moment. Taehyung caught the expression, one hand lifting to thumb comfortingly at the younger’s cheek.

 

“No pressure,” his boyfriend murmured. “You change your mind, just say the word.”

 

“ ‘m not,” Jungkook breathed. “ ‘m not. Are hyungies looking?”

 

“No,” Taehyung replied. He ran a hand over the younger’s back, fingers tracing designs in what he hoped was a soothing manner.

 

Jungkook shifted, a little bit of the blanket falling away and revealing their thighs. The younger blushed and quickly yanked it back over them, letting out a small whimper.

 

Taehyung continued to murmur softly to him as he readjusted his position.

 

When he started to sink down slowly onto Taehyung’s cock, they both had to bite their tongues to keep from moaning.

 

“F-fuck,” Taehyung hissed. “Slow down.”

 

The younger paused for a beat. His face was shiny in the flickering light provided by the tv, a sheen of sweat visible in the skin.

 

When he finally sank down all the way, he choked at the action, pleasure and pain mingling in his gut. A strangled gasp parted his lips.

 

Taehyung brushed his bangs back off his forehead, not seeming to mind the sweat. “You okay, baby?”

 

“Yeah,” Jungkook breathed, eyes fluttering shut. “Feels good.”

 

And it did. His boyfriend filled him up so nicely, the position they were in hitting that one spot inside of him just perfectly. He was tempted to move, but he didn’t know if he could hold in the sounds the action would produce.

 

He was just about to risk it and lift his hips when—

 

“Hey, guys, I’m kind of beat,” Seokjin said, tired voice cutting through the sound of Merida talking on-screen.

 

Taehyung and Jungkook both stilled, the younger’s eyes wide as he froze on his lap.

 

“Me, too,” Namjoon yawned. “I think we’re gonna call it a night.”

 

“Aw, but we were just getting to the good part!” Hobi complained.

 

Jungkook felt his heartbeat pick up speed.

 

Please, please don’t let them look , he thought desperately.

 

He tried to even his breathing, forehead pressing against his boyfriend’s shoulder. Taehyung continued to rub his back, sensing his panic, and moved to press his mouth to his ear.

 

“No one’s looking,” he whispered, trying to reassure the younger. “Ssh. It’s okay.”

 

“Tae? Kook?” Seokjin stood up then, stretching his arms. “Are you guys gonna stay?”

 

Taehyung circled the younger in his arms, feeling Jungkook stiffen beneath the blanket, thighs trembling against his own.

 

“Ah, I think Kook passed out in my lap,” the elder lied easily. “I’m gonna wait a little while. Don’t wanna move him yet, might wake him up.”

 

“Oh, okay.” Seokjin moved to readjust one of the cushions, Namjoon’s hand slipping into his own. “See, Hobi? This is what happens when we let you pick the movie.”

 

“I resent that,” Hobi hissed. “Look, Tae’s into it!”

 

Seokjin huffed. “You should really just change it, honestly. Put on Mulan and wake Kookie back up.”

 

Hobi sputtered. “What the hell? No way . Did you not hear me when I said we were just getting to the good part?”

 

Jungkook didn’t hear what Seokjin said next—because without any wanting, Taehyung suddenly rolled his hips upwards, thrusting deeper into him. The younger let out a loud gasp, eyes flying open.

 

Three pairs of eyes turned to look at them.

 

“Ah, must be having a nightmare,” his boyfriend laughed awkwardly. Underneath the blanket, Taehyung’s hands had moved to cup the younger’s ass, and he squeezed the flesh teasingly.

 

Jungkook gritted his teeth, thanking god his face was hidden. God, his boyfriend was such an asshole.

 

As if he’d heard his thoughts, Taehyung thrusted up again. Jungkook held his breath, swallowing down a strangled moan at the feeling of the elder’s length sliding in and out of him.

 

He couldn’t do a good enough job. His lower torso burned, toes curling with pleasure, and he couldn’t muffle the high-pitched whine that left his lips.

 

“Is he okay?” Seokjin asked, the elder’s voice concerned. “Tae, maybe you should wake him up.”

 

Beneath the blanket, Taehyung spanked him lightly. Jungkook’s fingers curled into his shirt, heart rate spiking, and he let out a surprised sound.

 

“Aigoo, poor baby,” Seokjin murmured. “He must be having a really bad dream.”

 

Jungkook gritted his teeth as he felt his boyfriend’s chest vibrate with laughter.

 

“Ah, he’s fine,” Taehyung said, the mirth in his voice all too evident. He was enjoying this. Jungkook bit his lip at the realization, having to swallow down an irritated retort.

 

“Are you sure?” Seokjin didn’t sound convinced.

 

From the armchair, Hobi groaned. “Jin, you’re making me miss the best part!”

 

Namjoon snickered. “It’s too dark to see his face, but he’s looking at you with his murder eyes, Hobi.”

 

“He’s never even killed anyone with those eyes,” Hobi muttered.

 

“There’s a first for everything,” Seokjin hissed.

 

Jungkook whined quietly. He felt so full, and the impatience was starting to create a fire in his stomach. He needed to move .

 

“TaeTae,” he whimpered, nosing at the hickey he’d created. “Please.”

 

“Ssh.” Taehyung kissed the younger’s temple. “I know, bun. I know. Just wait one second, for me, yeah? They’re leaving. My patient boy. So good for me.”

 

Jungkook only whimpered again, pressing even closer to the elder. He could feel his thighs starting to tremble.

 

“Good boy,” Taehyung continued to whisper, eyes trained on Seokjin and Namjoon as they finally left the room. “See that?”

 

“Lemme move now,” the younger pleaded, voice climbing just a pitch too high in his desperation.

 

“Ssh,” Taehyung chided, eyebrows furrowing as he glanced at Hobi. Luckily, the elder seemed thoroughly engrossed in the television.

 

“Gotta be quiet , bun,” he reminded firmly.

 

“Omo,” Jungkook panted, nose wrinkled with frustration. He could feel tears starting to gather in the corners of his eyes, the heat building in a way that felt like he was going to explode if the elder didn’t move soon. “A-ah, TaeTae, p-please—”

 

“I’ll be right back,” Hobi said suddenly. He didn’t glance at them, already rising out of his seat and muttering, “bathroom” to himself as he scurried out of the room. Distantly, they heard him shout down the hall, “Pause the movie!” before the sound of a door slamming shut echoed down the corridor.

 

Taehyung ignored the request, his complete attention falling hungrily onto his boyfriend. “Go ahead,” he said quickly, hands finding Jungkook’s hips and gripping them gently. “Ride me, baby. Make hyung come.”

 

Jungkook shuddered , eyes glassy with lust.

 

“Y-yeah,” he muttered, sounding near delirium. His hips lifted before grinding down onto the elder’s lap eagerly, and he moaned loudly.

 

“Good boy,” Taehyung breathed, feeling his own gut coiling as the younger rode him. “Shit. Just like that. Such a good boy, baby, so good for me.”

 

“Good,” Jungkook echoed, the words breathless and traced with whimpers. “G-good, ‘m good—good for TaeTae—”

 

“The best,” Taehyung groaned. He allowed his head to tilt back onto the back of the couch, fingers digging into the younger’s hips as he felt his orgasm nearing. “The best boy. F-fuck—ah, Kook—”

 

Jungkook let out a choked sound, face flushing dark as his hips stuttered. “A-ah, ‘m gonna—‘m gonna come , hyungie, p-please—”

 

Taehyung’s eyes fluttered closed, feeling his abdomen constrict tightly. “Almost, baby. I’m almost there.”

 

Jungkook sobbed. “P- please ,” he whimpered, bouncing on the elder’s lap, hips rolling desperately desperately.

 

“Take me so well, bun,” the elder groaned. He opened his eyes tiredly, gaze lidded and drunken as he looked at the younger’s wrecked appearance. “Aish, Kookie. So fucking pretty, baby. Look at you.”

 

Jungkook groaned, the sound thick with frustration. “ Please ,” he repeated, sounding thoroughly strung out. “Please, n- need to—hyungie, please , please please pl—”

 

“You can play it now!”

 

The familiar voice shouting down the hall shattered the suffocating air in the room.

 

Quickly, Taehyung grabbed the younger’s hips and forced them to a stop, stilling the grinding motion they’d been desperately moving in.

 

Jungkook shrieked.

 

No ,” he sobbed. His hands grappled at the elder’s, trying to pry them off but too weak to do so. “No, T-TaeTae, n-no. Need to come, p-please, no—”

 

“Jungkookie,” Taehyung hissed. “Hobi hyung’s coming back—”

 

“Don’t care ,” his boyfriend cried. His face was tear-streaked, eyes damp and nose red as he looked at the elder. “D-don’t care, lemme—l-lemme—”

 

He lifted himself off Taehyung abruptly, the blanket falling away, before quickly sinking back down onto his cock.

 

Taehyung flinched. “A-ah, Kook, slow down.”

 

The younger whined. “Come, TaeTae. Please. Please .”

 

He was moving faster, messily, more desperately, and Taehyung didn’t know how much longer he was going to last.

 

“Go ahead,” he grunted, voice strained.

 

It was like a switch went off. Jungkook shuddered in his lap, the front of his skirt growing damp as he came. He whined as Taehyung’s hips stuttered just seconds after, feeling the elder’s cum coat the inside of his walls.

 

“Ssh,” Taehyung murmured, running a hand gently through the younger’s bangs. “It’s alright, baby. Doing so good.”

 

The younger let out a long, shaky breath as his orgasm finished. He fell forward almost immediately, sagging against his boyfriend, forehead pressed to his shoulder as he struggled to catch his breath.

 

Taehyung just barely managed to grab the blanket and yank it back over them when Hobi walked into the room.

 

The elder groaned loudly, grabbing the remote. “You guys didn’t pause it!”

 

Taehyung clicked his tongue with disapproval at the other’s loud voice, lifting a finger to his lips to mimic a shushing motion.

 

Hobi glanced in their direction, squinting to see them in the darkness of the room. His gaze flickered towards Jungkook, taking in the younger’s limp form, and he frowned. “Shit. He’s really out cold, isn’t he?”

 

Taehyung’s lips twitched with a smile. “Yeah,” he said softly, hands running up and down the younger’s arms soothingly. “Poor thing’s exhausted.”

 

“Yeah, well,” Hobi sighed, standing up. “I guess we can finish the movie tomorrow.”

 

“Good idea.” Taehyung didn’t make a move to stand up, however, only smiling tiredly at the elder when he gave him a strange look. “Uh, you go ahead. I’m gonna bring him in in a bit. Don’t wanna risk waking him.”

 

“Ah, gotcha.” The gang leader yawned. “Alright. Night, kid.”

 

Before he left, Hobi lifted the remote and clicked off the tv. Without warning, the room was swamped in sudden silence and darkness both.

 

Jungkook whimpered in his lap.

 

“Aish, I know.” Taehyung tightened his arms around the younger, pressing a kiss to the crown of his head. “How are you feeling? Okay?”

 

“Mm.” Jungkook shifted his head, moving so that his cheek was smushed against the elder’s shoulder now, eyes closed. “Floaty. Sleepy.”

 

“Subby,” Taehyung corrected with a small laugh. “Are you okay for me to pull out?”

 

The younger whined.

 

“Is that a no?”

 

Jungkook sniffed, voice sleepy and adorable when he mumbled, “Kookie wants to sleep like this.”

 

“With my dick in you?” Taehyung asked in disbelief. “We have to get you cleaned up, bun.”

 

Another whine.

 

Shaking his head, Taehyung laughed softly. “Aren’t you sensitive?”

 

A shrug.

 

“Jungkookie, we have to get up eventually.”

 

“Mm.”

 

Taehyung glanced at the younger’s peaceful face, fighting to keep the grin off his face. “You’re falling asleep, prince.”

 

“Mm.”

 

He laughed again. “Alright. Go ahead. I’ll clean us up, okay?”

 

It was definitely a task, carrying the younger into their bedroom and getting the both of them cleaned up and changed without disturbing him. Jungkook did end up waking up at one point while they were in the bathroom, allowing Taehyung to brush his teeth for him as his jaw fell slack, eyes blinking sleepily.

 

“Drink some water,” Taehyung murmured, trying to coax the younger’s lips open as he tipped the edge of a glass towards his mouth.

 

Jungkook’s nose wrinkled, but he took a small sip—followed by a long gulp, until the glass was empty.

 

“Good boy,” Taehyung said softly, smiling faintly. He set the glass back onto the counter, reaching around to hitch the younger’s thighs up around his hips so that he could walk them towards the bed.

 

When they were finally laying down, Jungkook crawled over to him and wrapped himself around his chest, face nuzzling into the crook of his neck.

 

“Was Kookie good?” he asked softly, voice drowsy and slow.

 

“The best,” Taehyung yawned, the words fond. “You did a great job, bunny.”

 

A small, satisfied smile quirked the edges of the younger’s mouth, despite being half-conscious.

 

“Good,” he mumbled, eyes fluttering shut. “ ‘m TaeTae’s best boy.”

 

Taehyung kissed him on the nose. “TaeTae’s only boy,” he corrected softly.

 

“Mm. Love you, hyungie.”

 

“I love you, prince.”

 

*

 

(While they were sleeping…)

 

Seokjin : u guys are 1) NOT SUBTLE AT ALL

Seokjin : 2) absolutely DISGUSTING

Seokjin : im scarred

 

Namjoon : “he’s having a bad dream”

Namjoon : im wheezing

 

Hobi : YOU RUINED THE MOVIE

 

Jimin : yoongi says he doesn’t wanna know what you guys are talking about bc it sounds gross lol

Jimin : I wanna know tho!! :(

 

Seokjin : they had sex in the living room T_T

 

Namjoon : WHILE the movie was playing

 

Hobi : while MY movie was playing

 

Seokjin : oh my fucking god hobi get over it

 

Jimin : OH MY GOD THWY WHAT

Jimin : holy shit

Jimin : no way

Jimin : goddamn Tae

 

Yoongi : im gonna kill him

Yoongi : he’s corrupting my baby brother

 

Namjoon : im pretty sure it was kook’s idea, actually

 

Yoongi : I DIDNT NEED TO KNKW THAT

 

Hobi : IF WE HAD TO SUFFER YOU SHOULD TOO

Hobi : you guys we’re watching Brave again tonight >_<

Hobi : idc what anyone says!!

 

Jimin : hmm

Jimin : ok sounds like fun

Jimin : yoons are you down? ;)

 

Hobi :   YAY

Hobi : wait

Hobi : what

 

Yoongi : sure I don’t really like that movie anyways

 

Hobi : NO

Hobi : YOURE UNINVITED

Hobi : INVITATION REVOKED

 

Jimin : but :(((

 

Hobi : LEAVE MERIDA ALONE

 

Chapter Text

 

Happy birthday, TaeTae!”

 

Taehyung let out a grunt as his boyfriend threw himself onto his body, knocking the breath out of him momentarily. He managed to let out a laugh, however, arms coming up to wind around the younger’s waist and squeeze gently.

 

“Thank you, baby,” he chuckled, dropping a kiss on his forehead.

 

“Birthday kisses!” Jungkook said excitedly. His eyes were glittering when he pulled back, pursing his lips.

 

Taehyung bit back a laugh and obediently sat still as the younger peppered his face with sweet pecks. He finally had to grip his chin, gently tugging him into a deep, slow kiss before parting reluctantly.

 

“We have to go, bun,” he said, trying to ignore the pout the other was giving him. “Come on, Jiminie hyung has breakfast ready for us. Don’t you want waffles?”

 

“No, Kookie wants to give TaeTae his present first!” Jungkook said eagerly, excitement alight on his expression.

 

Taehyung frowned. “Baby, I told you not to get me anything.”

 

“Ssh.” The younger swatted at his hand, head momentarily hidden as he stretched over the elder to grab something from their side table. He straightened up quickly, blowing the bangs up off his forehead. “Kookie didn’t. He made it!”

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow curiously, accepting the small envelope. Carefully, he peeled it open and slid out a thin stack of cards. Confusion was quickly replaced by amusement as his eyes skimmed the scripted font, printed in an array of colors on the glossy paper.

 

“Kookie Coupons?” he laughed.

 

“They’re all different!” his boyfriend exclaimed, clapping his hands excitedly. “Read them!”

 

Taehyung settled back against the bedframe, holding the stack in his hands, ready to flip through them. “Alright, let’s see. ‘ This coupon entitles you to one hour of cuddles. ’ Hm, just one hour?”

 

“TaeTae!”

 

“I’m just teasing, baby,” he chuckled. “Okay, next...five kisses. Ah, I like that one much better.” He flipped onto the next one. “One date, anywhere you want. Ooh, sounds fun.” He wiggled his eyebrows, and Jungkook giggled.

 

“Silly.” He moved forward then, the action abrupt, hands coming up to the elder’s lap to cover the pile of cards. “Okay, can TaeTae can read the rest later. Let’s go get waffles!”

 

Taehyung raised his eyebrows. “But you were so excited for me to read them.”

 

Jungkook had started to blush, and he seemed to be avoiding Taehyung’s eyes. “Um, yeah, but—but not all of them.”

 

Taehyung felt a slow, mischievous grin spread over his face. “Why? What do they say?”

 

He ignored the younger’s protests and gently pried his hands off, lifting the next card and scanning it quickly.

 

“This coupon entitles you to—”

 

Jungkook winced as he watched him trail off, cheeks darkening.

 

“Um.” He lowered the card, clearing his throat, and shifted through the rest of the stack. “A lap dance? A handjob. A—oh my god , Kookie. If anyone ever found these—”

 

“They’re only for TaeTae,” the younger muttered, face aflame. “Kookie said not to read them right now,” he whined.

 

“I appreciate it,” he laughed gently. “Thank you, bun. This was very...thoughtful.”

 

Jungkook made a face. “Don’t be mean .”

 

“Aigoo, I’m not.” Taehyung kissed him on the nose, before pulling back, smile amused. “I just have one question. What’s this one for? It doesn’t have anything on it.”

 

“Hm? Oh.” Jungkook’s expression flickered as the elder held up the final card, the flush returning to his cheeks. “That’s a free card. For...for anything TaeTae wants,” he finished quickly, the words a rushed mumble.

 

Taehyung was quiet. He couldn’t deny the way his stomach had clenched eagerly at the thought, but he kept his expression neutral.

 

“Sounds...fun,” he finally said. At the hesitant look Jungkook was still giving him, he finally smiled. “I’m serious, bunny,” he said softly. “I appreciate it. This was a really sweet gift. Thank you.”

 

Jungkook’s features finally softened, eyes shining warmly as he risked a hesitant smile. “TaeTae really likes it?”

 

Taehyung kissed him, murmuring the response against his lips.

 

“I love it,” he mumbled. “And you. In fact, I’d like to cash in those five kisses right about now.”

 

“Already?”

 

“Yup. My coupon, isn’t it?”

 

The younger gave a huff, but the twinkle in his eyes was unmistakable as he climbed into his lap.

 

*

 

That night, when they were crawling into bed, Taehyung nervously ran his fingers through Jungkook’s hair. Ridiculous as it was, he’d been thinking about the coupons all day—one in specific.

 

“So,” he said conversationally, tone kept painfully casual. “Today was fun.”

 

“Mmhm.” His boyfriend yawned, cheek resting on his chest. “Did TaeTae have a nice birthday?”

 

“It was perfect.” He paused, watching the younger’s eyes flutter closed. “Are you tired?”

 

“Mm.”

 

He bit his lip. “Oh. Um, goodnight then, bun.”

 

Jungkook’s face was still for a moment before he opened his eyes, shifting on the elder’s chest to squint suspiciously up at him. “What’s wrong?”

 

He smiled a little. “Nothing.”

 

“Liar.” The younger’s nose wrinkled. “Tell me!”

 

“It’s nothing,” Taehyung insisted, voice gentle. “Lie back down, come on.”

 

Jungkook hesitated, before understanding seemed to dawn on him. “Oh,” he said, eyebrows furrowing. “TaeTae doesn’t wanna sleep.”

 

“No, I’m fine. You’re tired, bun, just—”

 

“Nuh uh, ‘m not! Kookie just thought TaeTae was, so he pretended he was, too.” He’d sat up completely by this point, shifting forward and throwing his leg over the elder’s lap until he was straddling him. “Swear.”

 

Taehyung bit the inside of his cheek, trying not to laugh at the younger’s eagerness. “Are you sure?”

 

“Uh huh!”

 

Taehyung smiled, features softening. “You’re so cute.”

 

Jungkook giggled. “I know.”

 

“Yah,” he laughed, gently tweaking his nose. “And cocky.”

 

His boyfriend’s smile widened. “Come on, let’s play! Special cuddles?” His face lit up. “Ooh, special birthday cuddles?”

 

“Actually,” Taehyung said slowly, voice hesitant, “I was hoping to cash in another coupon. If that’s okay.”

 

“Of course it is, silly.” Jungkook smiled bemusedly, eyes twinkling. “They’re TaeTae’s coupons. Which one?”

 

Taehyung let out a breath, and his fingers found the younger’s waist, digging into the soft flesh just a little too hard.

 

“The blank one,” he said quietly.

 

A dusting of pink spread across Jungkook’s cheeks.

 

“Oh,” he said, and his lips were trembling as if he was trying hard not to smile. “O-okay. Um. What...what does TaeTae wanna do?”

 

Taehyung could feel his gaze growing heavy, and he lifted a hand to thumb at the younger’s bottom lip. Jungkook’s lips parted instantly, his own eyes lidded as he watched the elder’s expression darken.

 

“Want you to be my pretty baby,” he said after a moment, voice low. “You wanna do that for me?”

 

His boyfriend’s throat moved as he swallowed, and he nodded.

 

“Good.” Taehyung looked him in the eye, gaze dark with lust. “Want you to suck me off first. Okay? Sound good?”

 

Jungkook shifted on his lap, letting out a whimper. “U-uh huh.”

 

Taehyung paused then, holding his breath. “Beg.”

 

He saw his boyfriend’s eyebrows furrow ever so slightly.

 

This was where it was different. He didn’t usually verbally prompt the younger. More than that, he’d never really ordered him around. Their sex life always had a little bit of dominant and submissive touches here and there, but Taehyung couldn’t deny that there were some days where he itched to fully dominate his boyfriend in ways they didn’t often do.

 

When Jungkook only stared at him, eyes wide, he let out the breath he’d been holding.

 

“You don’t have to, you know that, right?” he said softly. “We don’t have to do this just because—”

 

“I-I know,” his boyfriend mumbled. “I...I wanna.”

 

It was Taehyung’s turn to swallow hard. “Okay,” he said softly.

 

The younger seemed to be collecting himself, shoulders hunching for a moment before they sagged, and he seemed to shrink a little at the words that left his mouth.

 

“C-can I…” His cheeks were bright pink, eyes shifting downward. “Can I suck you off?”

 

“Aw.” Taehyung brushed back through his bangs, unable to hide the amused curl of his lips. “That the best you can do, baby?”

 

Jungkook let out a whine. “C-can I please suck you off? Please. Let me suck you off.”

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows furrowed. “Did you slip out?”

 

“Yeah,” the younger breathed. “But I’m fine. Really. Better than fine.”

 

“Okay,” Taehyung said, pausing. He could feel himself shifting a little, finding it easier to be rougher with the younger when he wasn’t in headspace. When he spoke next, his voice was much lower, much harder to argue with.

 

“Tell me what you want, baby,” he murmured.

 

Jungkook’s expression flickered unsurely. “I-I want to suck you off?”

 

“You don’t sound so sure,” Taehyung cooed. “Are you sure?”

 

The younger shrank a little at the mocking tone. The elder sounded mean, far meaner than he was used to.

 

He couldn’t deny the way it made his gut coil pleasantly.

 

Letting out a breath, he mumbled, “ ‘m sure. Please, hyung. Let me suck you off. Need it.”

 

“Need it?” Taehyung echoed, and god , he sounded so amused. Like he was laughing at him.

 

Jungkook shivered.

 

“Why should I let you touch me, hm?” he hummed. “Pretty little baby. Think you deserve that? Deserve my cock?”

 

“Yes,” Jungkook whimpered. “I do. Please, please, l-lemme touch you. Want you, y-your cock—”

 

“Alright, alright,” Taehyung laughed. “Off my lap, then.”

 

The younger obeyed quickly, sliding down until he was seated between his thighs. Taehyung hummed as he inched the waistband of his boxers down.

 

“Gonna fuck your face, pretty baby,” he muttered. “Okay?”

 

“Fuck,” Jungkook breathed. “Yeah. Yeah.”

 

“Ask nicely.”

 

Jungkook whimpered, fingers curling into the bedsheets. “Please? Please...fuck my face.”

 

“Good boy,” Taehyung cooed softly. His fingers curled tighter into Jungkook’s hair, pulling him flush against his navel.

 

The younger let out a breath, quick to take the hardening length into his mouth. Taehyung hadn’t been joking when he’d said he wanted to fuck his face. He didn’t ease him into it, grip tight in his hair as he pulled him down until he was deepthroating almost instantly.

Jungkook choked, his already pink face flushing even darker.

 

“There you go,” Taehyung praised gently. “Oh, what a pretty boy, huh? So good for me. Just like that.”

 

The younger gagged loudly, tears leaking from his eyes. His hands came up to grab onto Taehyung’s thighs, grappling the bare skin for something to grip.

 

“You need to breathe, love?” He didn’t wait for a response before easing his grip on his hair. Jungkook immediately pulled back, cock falling out of his mouth.

 

His chest heaved, heavy pants falling past his swollen lips. He looked up at Taehyung with his face still flushed brightly. His boyfriend was looking down at him with dark eyes, expression possessive and hungry.

 

And fuck, Jungkook had no idea it would turn him on this way.

 

“H-harder,” he whispered, voice hoarse, throat bobbing as he swallowed.

 

“Harder?” Taehyung brushed the bangs back off his sweaty forehead. “I want to hold you down, baby. You want that?”

 

Jungkook’s cheeks flushed prettily at the thought, a breathy whine escaping him. “Y- yes ,” he moaned. “Fuck.”

 

Taehyung hummed at the pleading, a smirk tugging at his lips, and stroked the younger's cheek. Watched him shiver.

 

“You look so pretty,” he sighed. “Ask me nicely.”

 

Jungkook moaned, leaning forward and nuzzling the elder’s crotch. He placed a kiss on the inside of his thigh. “Please,” he whined. “Please hold me down and fuck my face.”

 

“Mm.” Taehyung gripped his hair again, sounding pleased, and tugged him back slightly. “Since you asked so sweetly.”

 

Jungkook nodded slightly, eyes glued to Taehyung’s dick as he moved it back in front of him.  The elder rubbed the tip gently over his lips, watching precum spread over the younger’s swollen mouth.

 

Jungkook’s mouth fell open, eyes already glazed over with lust.

 

Taehyung let out a shaky exhale as he pushed his length into the wet heat of the younger’s mouth. He watched his lips strength around the girth, a small bulge appearing in his throat.

 

“Fuck, baby,” he groaned. “Just like that.”

 

Jungkook was clearly struggling to breathe, short breaths leaving his nose. Without warning, he swallowed, forcing his throat to tighten around the head of Taehyung's cock.

 

Taehyung growled in satisfaction. “Shit, yes,” he muttered. “Oh, shit. Your mouth , Kook. So good for me, baby.”

 

His fingers had curled almost too tightly into the younger’s hair, so tightly he knew it had to hurt. But Jungkook didn’t say anything, only bobbed up and down the length of his cock once before allowing it to settle back deep in his throat, his nose brushing Taehyung’s navel as he pushed up right to the base.

 

Taehyung could feel his orgasm approaching. He looked down at his boyfriend’s flushed face and stroked a few tears away with his thumb.

 

“I’m close,” he grunted. “Take a deep breath for me, honey.”

 

Jungkook complied, inhaling deeply through his nose as best as he could. Taehyung waited until he’d held the breath before pinching his nostrils with his fingers, feeling an almost sick satisfaction at the glint of panic the action brought to the younger’s eyes.

 

He let out a muffled sound, hands returning to Taehyung’s thighs.

 

“Pinch me if you want to safeword,” Taehyung breathed. He felt his eyes flutter closed, abdomen constricting with pleasure. “F-fuck.”

 

When he opened his eyes, he could see Jungkook’s starting to lose focus. Something predatory licked inside of him at the sight.

 

He let him pull off, watched the other press his forehead onto his thigh and gasp, shuddering breaths of air that made it seem as if he hadn’t had oxygen in ages.

 

“Ssh.” Taehyung ran his fingers soothingly through his picks, eyes lidded. “Can you go down one for time for me, baby?”

 

Jungkook whimpered, lashes wet with tears. “I-I…” He sniffed before nodding determinedly. “Yeah.”

 

Taehyung paused. “Sure?”

 

“Uh huh.” The younger settled back in his previous position, letting out a shaky breath. “Go ahead.”

 

“Fuck,” Taehyung muttered. “So good for me, bunny.”

 

He kept his hand on the back of his head this time, keeping him held firmly in place. Jungkook took him in too much too fast, but he didn’t let up, feeling his throat constrict tightly.

 

Taehyung threw his head back, eyes falling shut as he moaned.

 

His grip loosened automatically as his hips stuttered. He felt rather than heard Jungkook choke, trying to pull off as he came down his throat.

 

He finally let him go. His chest heaved as he came down from the high of orgasming, and he looked down at the tear-stained, pink-cheeked boy between his legs.

 

“Amazing,” he breathed shakily, thumbing at his bottom lip. “You did fucking amazing.”

 

Jungkook still seemed a little dazed, eyes cloudy from oxygen deprivation and lust.

 

Taehyung caught his breath and gave the younger a chance to do so, before shifting on the bed. The blankets moved around them as he gently pulled the younger up, cupping his face until their gazes were level.

 

“Hey,” he said softly. “Kookie? Talk to me, angel. You feel okay?”

 

The younger let out a soft sigh, the sound content. Taehyung watched his eyes flutter shut as he nuzzled against his palms, murmuring in an almost dreamy tone.

 

“Mm,” he mumbled sweetly.

 

The elder couldn’t stop a small smile from tugging at his lips. “Alright, bunny,” he said softly, gathering him into his arms before standing up. “You want a shower? Some food?”

 

The younger clutched him, limbs wrapping around his frame like a baby koala.

 

“Just wanna sleep,” he mumbled, and his arms tightened their grip on Taehyung.

 

“You don’t wanna come?” Taehyung laughed gently.

 

Jungkook made an offended sound in the back of his throat. “Came,” he retorted tiredly. “ ‘n my underwear.”

 

Taehyung bit the inside of his cheek at the statement. “Fuck, that’s hot,” he muttered.

 

Jungkook was already nodding off, cheek smushed against Taehyung’s shoulder.

 

“That was nice,” he mumbled sleepily. “I like it when you’re rough sometimes.”

 

“Yeah?” Taehyung pressed his lips to the top of the younger’s head, humming. “Maybe we’ll do it more often, then.”

“That’d be nice.” Jungkook yawned, eyes still closed. “Can you use the cuddle coupon? Need cuddles.”

 

“Aw, but I wanna save that one,” Taehyung teased. “Besides, we’re cuddling right now, anyways.”

 

“Mm. Fine. Happy birthday, Tae.”

 

A soft laugh. “Thank you, baby. And thank you for the present.”

 

Chapter Text

 

“We could go to the movies. Ooh, ooh—a rated R movie!”

 

Taehyung blanched. “You’re not that big.”

 

Jungkook grinned. “Technically, I am.”

 

“Technically, you’re still my baby and I say no rated R movies,” Taehyung chuckled, ruffling the younger’s hair as he stood up. He made his way to the kitchen island, rummaging through a bowl of fruit before grabbing an apple.

 

Jungkook pouted. “Fine. Maybe—oh, we could go to the mall!”

 

“You do that all the time when you’re little,” Taehyung said. He sat down beside the younger, slicing half the fruit as he spoke. “It’s not often you’re feeling big long enough to leave the house. Let’s do something you don’t usually do.”

 

“I’m trying to think of something,” Jungkook whined. He opened his mouth obediently when Taehyung held up an apple slice, snapping the juicy fruit in half with his teeth and chewing thoughtfully.

 

The elder fed him a few more slices before speaking again. “I have an idea,” he said thoughtfully. “There’s a cute little boardwalk by the Busan beach. It’s super crowded so you don’t like going when you’re in headspace. We could spend the day there, if you want?”

 

“Oh, yeah!” Jungkook gasped. His eyes lit up, grin stretching his face. “That sounds so fun! Let’s do that.”

 

Taehyung grinned. “Perfect. It’s a date.”

 

“Ah, I’m excited!” the younger practically squealed, jumping into his lap. The bowl on Taehyung’s legs toppled over and landed on the ground, somehow not shattering with the impact.

 

The elder shook his head, an amused smile playing his lips. “You’d think it’s our first time going on a date.”

 

“It’s our first time going to the boardwalk,” Jungkook corrected. His eyes sparkled. “It’s going to be so fun. I’m gonna go get ready!”

 

“We probably won’t leave for a few hours,” Taehyung said, raising an eyebrow. “Most of the shops are open until sunset. What’s the rush?”

 

“I have to get ready ,” Jungkook repeated, emphasis on the latter part of the sentence. “It’s going to be crowded, right? I have to wear pants.” He made a face. “So I have to find a nice outfit to make up for the fact that I’ll be wearing denim deathtraps.”

 

Taehyung bit back a smile. “If you want, I can have the place shut down,” he suggested gently. “You can wear a skirt—”

 

“No!” Jungkook shook his head firmly. “I want it to be a totally normal date.” He paused then, schooling his features into what looked like it was meant to be a glare. “ Normal . Meaning no guards following us.”

 

“Mm.” Taehyung’s smile turned strained. “No can do, bun. You know Kkangpae’s enemies have eyes on us all the time, especially you . Can’t take that risk.”

 

Jungkook pouted. “But—”

 

“Hey, but I’ll have them walking behind us, anyways. They’ll blend right into the crowd. You won’t even notice them,” Taehyung continued firmly. “Okay?”

 

Jungkook made a face, nose wrinkling. “Fine,” he muttered reluctantly. “But they have to stay really far away!”

 

“Promise,” his boyfriend said gently. He ran his fingers through the younger’s bangs, humming. “Now come on. Let’s go get ready.”

 

The younger giggled, jumping off his lap. “Let’s go!”

 

*

 

The boardwalk was beautiful, a long stretch of shops and festival lights nestled on the edge of the beach. Jungkook was entranced, sparkling eyes reflecting the lights as he took it all in.

 

“It’s so pretty,” he breathed.

 

Next to him, Taehyung found his hand and laced their fingers together. “Not as pretty as you,” he said, grinning.

 

“Cheesy,” Jungkook laughed. But he couldn’t hide the way his chest felt warm at the compliment.

 

They trailed along the first row of shops, the younger pausing to glance into every one. His eyes lit up at a small boutique that sold necklaces made out of shells taken from the beach, and he tugged his boyfriend to a stop.

 

“Can I get one?” he pleaded, lifting a dainty white chain made out of tiny seashells. “Oh, Tae, it’s so pretty. Please can I get it? Pretty pretty please!”

 

Taehyung raised an eyebrow, feeling his lips twitch with amusement. “As cute as it is, the fact that you still beg for things as if I’ve ever said no to you is sort of concerning.”

 

Jungkook squealed. “Yay! That’s a yes, right?”

 

“Pick one out for me, too,” the elder chuckled. He squeezed their joined hands, smile warm. “Whatever you like.”

 

“Oh, they can be couple’s necklaces!” Jungkook gasped, eyes lighting up at the idea. “I’m gonna get the same ones then. Okay?”

 

“Fine with me, bun.”

 

“Or do you want one with a blue shell in the middle?” the younger paused, nose wrinkling with thought. “Wait. That might look better on you.”

 

Taehyung was quiet, allowing him to debate silently before he seemed to settle on two necklaces. The elder had just dropped their joined hands to search his back pockets for his wallet (he could never remember where he’d put it) when an unfamiliar voice suddenly called out to him, breaking through the mild chatter of the crowded boardwalk.

 

“Taehyung? Kim Taehyung?”

 

Taehyung paused, eyebrows furrowing, before turning around slowly.

 

Jungkook watched as the confused expression on the elder’s face slowly drifted into recognition, shock parting his lips as he stared at the black haired woman looking excitedly back at him.  

 

“Sunmi?”

 

“Oh my god, it is you!” The woman laughed, and before anyone could react, she’d thrown her arms around Taehyung’s shoulders and pulled him into a hug.

 

Something uneasy curled inside of Jungkook’s gut. He felt his eyebrows furrow.

 

Taehyung seemed startled, but he returned the hug hesitantly. “How are you?” he asked, half laughing as she dropped her arms and pulled away. “Holy shit. What are you doing here?”

 

“I should be asking you that!” The woman—Sunmi, apparently—slapped his shoulder playfully. Her smile was dazzling, head tilted as she spoke animatedly.

 

Jungkook knew the look all too well. He often did it himself—the head cocked, smile flirty, voice soft. It was the oldest trick in the book.

 

His jaw clenched at the sight of it.

 

“I’m in town visiting cousins,” she continued, voice cheerful and expression bright. “This boardwalk is just adorable, isn’t it? Who are you here with?”

 

Her gaze flickered towards Jungkook. The younger wanted to growl, but he resisted the urge and instead pressed himself posessively against Taehyung’s side.

 

His boyfriend raised an eyebrow at the way he was glaring at Sunmi.

 

“This is Jungkook,” he said slowly. “Jungkookie, where are your manners? Say hi.”

 

“Hi,” Jungkook said shortly. Sunmi seemed a little surprised by the clipped tone, registering the hostility behind the single syllable.

 

Taehyung frowned. “Kookie,” he said admonishingly.

 

“It’s okay,” Sunmi said quickly. Her smile returned quickly, gaze settling back on Taehyung. “It’s so nice seeing you again. You look well. What are you up to now?”

 

“Ah, nothing special,” Taehyung said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck. “I do fine for myself.”

 

“I’ll say,” she responded, grinning. “That’s an Armani shirt, no?”

 

Taehyung’s cheeks flushed. “Uh. Okay, maybe a little better than fine.”

 

Sunmi burst out laughing.

 

Jungkook could feel his mood souring throughout the entire exchange, and he found himself rolling his eyes at her exaggerated laugh. It wasn’t even that funny.  

 

“What about you?” Taehyung asked, smiling. “Did you get into the business sector like you always wanted?”

 

“Yup.” Sunmi’s grin was blinding. “You’re looking at the CEO of her own company.”

 

Taehyung took a step forward, slapping her shoulder as he gasped. “Yah! Sunmi ! That’s amazing!”

 

Jungkook’s face flushed angrily. It wasn’t that amazing. And why was he touching her?

 

“Thank you!” she laughed loudly. “I know, I worked hard for it. Ah, it’s so nice talking to you again! Feels like we’re back in college. God, remember Professor Wan’s class?”

 

“Ugh, don’t remind me,” Taehyung laughed. “I remember skipping every week, if that’s what you mean.”

 

Seriously , oh my god—”

 

“Tae?” Jungkook tugged on his boyfriend’s shirt, waiting for him to look at him. “Can we go? The line for the Ferris wheel is getting long.”

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows furrowed. “Kookie, don’t be rude. I was in the middle of a conversation.”

 

Jungkook’s lower lip jutted out. “But—”

 

“Oh, it’s okay!” Sunmi said quickly. “I don’t want to interrupt you guys.” She smiled easily. “Taehyung, why don’t we exchange numbers? We can talk later. Maybe meet up for coffee?”

 

Taehyung’s expression changed a little at the offer. Jungkook saw him hesitate, eyes flickering with uncertainty at the suggestion.

 

But, after a pause, he gave a small nod. “Um, sure. What’s your number?”

 

Jungkook’s mouth fell open.

 

Taehyung didn’t look at him as Sunmi took his phone, nor while he waved goodbye to the woman. When he finally turned back around, the younger was seething.

 

“What was that?” he demanded, feeling his face grow hot.

 

Taehyung pressed his lips together, seeming to find it hard to maintain eye contact. “What? I just gave my number to a friend.”

 

“A friend ,” Jungkook scoffed. “Tae, she was flirting with you. You know she was!”

 

“Kookie, she was not,” Taehyung said. He ran his hands through his hair in exasperation. “And even if she was, it’s not like it means anything. I have a boyfriend.”

 

“She doesn’t know that, does she?” Jungkook hissed. “You so conveniently neglected to mention it to her.”

 

Taehyung frowned. “It didn’t come up.”

 

Jungkook’s eyes narrowed.

 

There was a pause, before the elder shook his head with a heavy sigh.

 

“Look, can we just talk about this later?” he asked wearily. “Let’s go on the Ferris wheel. Come on, the line’s getting—”

 

“No,” Jungkook said, voice clipped. “I wanna go home.”

 

Taehyung frowned. “Seriously?”

 

“Yeah, seriously ,” the younger snapped.

 

Tense silence stretched between them, before the elder shook his head again.

 

“Fine. Whatever,” he muttered. “Let’s go, then.”

 

Maybe it was out of habit, but he tried reaching for Jungkook’s hand when they turned to begin walking towards the car.

 

The younger pulled his hand away, expression stony.

 

“No,” he muttered. “I’m mad at you.”

 

Taehyung let out a sound of a disbelief. But he didn’t say anything, merely clenching his jaw.

 

Needless to say, the car ride home was tense.

 

*

 

“And she’s a CEO now. Can you believe it?”

 

Jimin raised an eyebrow as Taehyung leaned forward excitedly. “You seem pretty proud.”

 

“I am,” Taehyung responded firmly, grinning. His eyes shined. “She’s a really hard working person, dude. If anyone deserves that shit, it’s her.”

 

Jimin scowled. “As your best friend, I have to say I don’t appreciate you singing another person’s praises like this.”

 

Taehyung rolled his eyes, grin widening slightly. “We haven’t talked in years, Minnie. Plus, she has her own best friend back home. Don’t worry.”

 

“Hm.” Jimin crossed his arms, leaning back into the couch. “Does she have a boyfriend back home, too?”

 

“Why? Are you looking?” Taehyung asked, raising an eyebrow teasingly. “I have to tell you, I think Yoongi hyung might be a little pissed.”

 

“Harder fucking har,” his friend deadpanned, giving him an unamused look. “No, dummy. I’m asking for Jungkook.”

 

“Jungkook already has a boyfriend. Sitting right here, actually.”

 

“You’re so fucking stupid , Taehyung, jesus. I’m asking if she has a boyfriend because Kook might be jealous when he finds out you’ve been texting your ex,” Jimin groaned. “Who you just stated is one of the most amazing people you’ve ever met, I might add.”

 

Taehyung hesitated. “Actually...uh, Kookie, met her already. He was with me at the boardwalk when she came up to me.” He paused. “He, um. Isn’t exactly fond of her.”

 

At that, Jimin raised an eyebrow. “You’re telling me he doesn’t like her and you’re still talking to her?” His friend frowned. “Tae, that’s fucked up.”

 

Taehyung found himself making a face at the accusation. “I just don’t get it. Kookie is in a whole different league than her. Besides the point, I’m gay . He doesn’t have any reason to be jealous.”

 

“Maybe that’s what you think, but that might not be how he sees it,” Jimin replied seriously. “You should talk to him about it. Especially if you’re planning on hanging out with her.”

 

“You think so?” Taehyung said, biting his lip.

 

“If he finds out in another way it might seem like you’re trying to hide something, and that’s the last thing you want,” Jimin sighed. “Just talk to him. You don’t want this to spiral into something bigger than it is.”

 

It made sense. In fact, it seemed like the most logical approach to the situation, as far as he could see.

 

So he had no idea why he never brought it up.

 

It was Saturday night when the thought of Sunmi even entered his mind again.

 

He and Jungkook were wrapped around each other, nestled in a mountain of blankets on the living room carpet. A movie played quietly in the background, with neither one of them paying it too much attention.

 

Jungkook’s face was slowly starting to flush pink in the dimly lit lighting the television provided. He let out a soft sigh as Taehyung’s fingers danced beneath his shirt, tweaking his nipples once teasingly before settling back onto his waist.

 

“So pretty, hm? My baby.” Taehyung ran his lips over the younger’s temple—not really a kiss, just a brief touch. Jungkook whined, shifting in his lap. His hands came up to fist the elder’s shirt.

 

“You want to go in the bedroom?” Taehyung murmured, voice husky. He stroked a thumb over the younger’s bottom lip, watching the effect it had almost immediately as his eyes darkened with lust.

 

Jungkook crawled higher up onto his lap, straddling him tightly. “No, I want a kiss.” He puckered his lips obnoxiously, sticking his face an inch from the elder’s.

 

Taehyung laughed. “So eager.”

 

Jungkook squeezed his eyes shut impatiently. “Kiss please!”

 

Taehyung hummed, moving his hands around to the younger’s hips. He hitched the boy higher up onto his lap until he was practically seated on his chest, causing him to let out a small squeal of surprise.

 

“Is that how you ask for something?” he said, tapping his chin gently. Jungkook opened his eyes right away, the pucker of his lips fading into a pout.

 

“Sorry,” he mumbled. He widened his eyes purposefully, gazing up at Taehyung through his lashes and blinking. “Can I get a kiss? Pretty please?”

 

Taehyung felt a slow grin take over his face. “Aish, you’re too cute for your own good. You know that?”

 

Jungkook batted his eyelashes, smiling cheekily.

 

Taehyung shook his head, amazed and completely head over heels. “Okay then,” he murmured. He moved his hands to cup the younger’s cheeks, moving him closer and tilting his head. “C’mere, cutie.”

 

Their lips finally met, and it was with the softest of sighs. Jungkook’s breath was warm and sweet, fanning out over Taehyung’s lips and making him smile unwillingly.

 

He kept the kiss tame for as long as he could before he felt the younger wriggling closer to him, pressing his hands flat against his chest and fisting his fingers tightly in his shirt. Taehyung growled and moved his hands back down onto the younger’s ass, squeezing it.

 

“Really eager today, huh?” he said, voice growing heavier with lust. He nipped at Jungkook’s bottom lip, eliciting a breathless moan from the younger.

 

A ding went off from beside them. Taehyung’s phone lit up the room briefly with a notification before the screen fell dark again.

 

Jungkook hummed, tilting his neck to the side in an effort to expose more skin to the elder. Taehyung took the hint, running his teeth gently over the area before sucking on the spot.

 

He felt Jungkook’s fingers digging into his shoulders, the younger moaning softly.

 

Taehyung's phone went off again.

 

“Turn it off ,” Jungkook whined, pulling away suddenly. He was pouting, pupils blown and hair mussed, a pretty blush staining his cheeks as he glared at the elder.

 

“Sorry,” Taehyung laughed, a little breathless. “Grab it for me? It’s right behind you, by the pillow.”

 

The younger turned and began searching the floor for the device hidden by the darkness. He found it after a moment, turning back to hand it to the elder.

 

A third notification lit the screen just as he held the phone outwards, facing him.

 

Jungkook and Taehyung’s eyes fell onto it at the same time.

 

“...Sunmi?”

 

A small frown quirked the edges of the younger’s mouth. His eyebrows furrowed as he skimmed the messages on the screen.

 

We’re still on for tomorrow right?

I’m so excited!!

See you at 4 :)

 

Something akin to dread tightened Taehyung's gut. He bit his lip, feeling his face grow warm.

 

“She’s...um, yeah,” he replied after a moment, voice hesitant. “She’s been texting me. It’s—it’s not a big deal, though.”

 

Jungkook just stared at him. His eyes flashed with something dark, but he didn’t speak.