Jungkook treks down the pavement, backpack slung carelessly over his shoulder. It had been a full day of classes in college, and his bag was even heavier today since he needed to bring his laptop for an assignment as well. He took comfort in the fact that Taehyung was giving him a ride home tonight after Bedtime, instead of him having to lug the giant bag on the Metro home.
He reaches the front door that is shut but not locked, as usual, and pushes it open. A tiny figure tackles his leg, followed by a very loud “Gukkie-hyung!” He smiles down at the little rascal wrapped around his knee, giggling and smiling brightly up at him.
“Hi, Hoseokie! Did you miss me?” The little 5-year-old attached to his leg nods fervently. “Well, you gotta let go of my leg first, little guy. Hyung needs to take off his shoes first.”
Hoseok reluctantly lets go of Jungkook’s leg, and moves back to tug Yoongi’s hand, pulling him forward. Yoongi has one hand in Hoseok’s, and another holding something hidden behind his back.
“What’s that, Yoongi-ah?” Jungkook directs his question at the 4-year-old toddler, hiding shyly behind Hoseok. Hoseok answers for him, telling Jungkook that they both made something for him.
“We spent all afternoon on it! Yoongi and I wanted it to be perfect!” Hoseok explains excitedly, bouncing on the spot. Now that Jungkook has his shoes neatly arranged on the shoe rack, Hoseok grabs his hand excitedly and tugs him towards the hall where everyone was already gathered.
“Taetae-hyung was showing us how to use paint today,” Hoseok explains, gesturing at the big dining table where all of Taehyung’s art supplies were laid out. Taehyung seemed to be demonstrating how to use straws to blow a vine pattern with watercolours, and guiding Jimin and Namjoon on the process as well. He looked up when Hoseok dragged Jungkook into the hall, face lighting up when he saw who had arrived. His greeting is drowned out by the squeals and shouts of the other three kids who immediately abandon whatever projects they were working on to tackle Jungkook in a hug.
“Hi, guys! Did you miss me?” he chuckles, amused at the three kids clamouring for his attention. “What were you guys doing before this?” Namjoon, Jin and Jimin rush back to their work station to try and show him what Taehyung was doing before.
“We used the straw to blow the watercolour tree! Taetae-hyung was showing us and he’s really good at it!” Jimin tells him excitedly. “Show us again, Hyung!” Jimin says, tugging on Taehyung’s sleeve.
“Haha, okay, okay. Do you want to try this time?” Taehyung asks, handing him the straw. Jimin takes it from him excitedly and drags Taehyung back to their workstation, Namjoon trailing behind. Jungkook feels a hesitant tug on the lower hem of his shirt and looks down to see Yoongi staring up at him.
“Is for you,” Yoongi says simply, handing him a piece of paper with some colourful scribbles on it. Jungkook inspects it closely to see eight blobby figures drawn in multiple colours, with the words ‘By Hoseok and Yoongi’ scrawled at the bottom. Well, technically, it was ‘By Hosek and Yoogi’ but Jungkook deduced what they intended to write, which probably had some help from Taehyung.
“This is really good, Yoongi. Is this supposed to be all of us?” Yoongi nods, beaming up at Jungkook with the cutest little gummy smile at the correct deduction of what his drawing was. He puts his arms up, and Jungkook easily scoops him up into his arms. Yoongi was getting a little bit too big to be carried anymore, but he didn’t have the heart to refuse him, especially since Yoongi didn’t trust many adults to carry him, apart from the caretaker, Mrs Kim, Taehyung and Jungkook himself.
Yoongi buries his head into Jungkook’s shoulder, clutching onto his shirt tightly. Jungkook’s heart melts a little, knowing how Yoongi wasn’t a very affectionate kid, especially not with people he just met, yet he’d taken to Jungkook almost instantly after Jungkook’s third visit to the Home.
Yoongi was one of the more quiet children of the Home, never as loud and rambunctious as Hoseok or as talkative as Jimin and Namjoon. He didn’t speak much for a 4-year-old, and Mrs Kim was getting a little worried over Yoongi’s speech development. She had encouraged Jungkook to talk to him more, especially since he was fond of him, and Jungkook felt a little burst of pride that she had entrusted that responsibility to him. Since then, Jungkook had been trying to encourage Yoongi to speak more, but given his family situation before he came to the Home, Jungkook felt that Yoongi was doing pretty well already, despite not speaking as much as other kids his age.
Yoongi didn’t come from a very ideal family background, and even the Home was a little hesitant to accept him at first. From the brief explanation Jungkook was given, Yoongi’s father was never at home. His mother drank too much at all times of the day, and neglected both her young boys. When Social Services first found them, Yoongi and his brother were skinny little things, malnourished and likely to not have been bathed in a while. Yoongi was mistrustful of the strange adults around him, and it took a very long time to break down his walls and to assure him that the people around him genuinely wanted to care for him.
The initial separation from his older brother was, too, a very difficult hurdle to cross. The Home could not house both brothers at the time as there was no vacancy for both boys, and an urgent relocation was necessary. From what Jungkook has been able to deduce, Yoongi still misses his older brother a lot, but he has been dealing with it a lot better since finding another older sibling-figure to look up to: Hoseok. Yoongi tailed Hoseok everywhere in the cutest way ever, adamantly wanting to do everything together with him, and the two were inseparable. Hoseok took care of Yoongi like his own little brother, and Mrs Kim was also really pleased with how caring and attentive Hoseok had been to the newest addition to the Home.
Yoongi was still a little hesitant and wary of new people, being especially difficult when asked to meet with potential foster parents. From Jungkook’s observation, Yoongi didn’t trust adults easily, and Jungkook wasn’t able to confirm entirely that it wasn’t from the previous trauma of neglect by his own parents. Which was why when Yoongi first asked Jungkook to carry him, he had almost fallen out of his seat in surprise. He seemed to just adore Jungkook, and Jungkook had a big soft spot for the little guy.
“Yoongi-ah, let’s go play!” Hoseok says, tugging on Yoongi’s foot. The 4-year-old motions for Jungkook to put him down, and the two run off towards the other room. Jungkook watches them dash off fondly and turns to the other kids still making arts and crafts with Taehyung.
Taehyung, seeing the kids preoccupied with their own projects, finally walks over to greet Jungkook with a hug. “Hi, hyung,” he greets softly, smiling up at the older boy. “The kids really missed you.”
‘I really missed you.’
“I missed them too,” he replies, hoping Taehyung would catch on to what he really wanted to say. “Did you really bring your fancy, expensive art materials for the kids to destroy?”
“Are you crazy? Of course not. They’re just some non-toxic paint and oil crayons I picked up from the art store. My broke student ass can barely afford fancy art supplies for myself, let alone for these Picasso’s under 6 years old.” Taehyung laughed. He was an art major at his local college, in his second year, yet he spent so much time at the Home that Jungkook really had no idea how he managed to keep up.
Jungkook first met Taehyung at the Home while completing his university assignment. He was a Psychology major, and one of his electives had been Child Psychology. One of his assignments had required him to volunteer at a children’s home for 2 months, and that was where he met Taehyung.
Taehyung had already been a long-time volunteer at the Home for the past year and a half before Jungkook arrived, and he had taught Jungkook everything he needed to know about the Home, like the different daily schedules, the kids’ temperaments and the best way to talk to each child. Jungkook had been in awe at how naturally Taehyung interacted with each of the kids, and how the kids seemed to really adore and admire him.
It took awhile for Jungkook to learn how to handle each of the kids, since there were a lot more sensitive topics to avoid and risky questions to learn how to answer tactfully. Taehyung constantly assures him that he’s doing great, but Jungkook’s still unsure of himself, even up to the present day.
Even so, working with the kids and Taehyung and Mrs Kim had been challenging but so incredibly rewarding, and even when the two months were up, Jungkook continued to come back to see the kids as often as possible, and he had really grown to care for each of them.
(Of course, it didn’t hurt that Taehyung was also around all the time at the Home with the kids too.)
“Please, it’s not like your parents don’t pay for your tuition fees and your art supplies. I’m sure you can afford better quality art stuff for our aspiring Leonardo Di Caprios.”
“Oh my god, it’s Da Vinci, you idiot,” Taehyung whacks him on the head, pretending to be fully offended.
“Owwww, stop, it hurts!” Jungkook fakes his pain while laughing, rubbing the spot he had been smacked.
“Kookie-hyung, do you like my tree?” Jungkook looks towards the direction of the high-pitched voice, only to see Jimin proudly holding up his picture of the straw-blown watercolour trails made to look like a tree trunk, with little flowers decorating its branches.
“That’s amazing, Jiminie! It looks great!” Jimin beams at the praise, before setting down his masterpiece to, presumably, start another one. He confirms Jungkook’s guess by picking up another piece of paper to start his second project.
“His need for affirmation seems to have toned down a bit recently, huh?” Taehyung whispers in his ear, and Jungkook nods back in agreement. Jimin used to require everyone in the vicinity to praise him for his efforts and his performance before he was satisfied, which in itself didn’t seem like something to worry about, until one day when the 6-year-old broke down wailing because “Mrs Kim didn’t like my drawing”. In actuality, Mrs Kim had nodded and just smiled at him before rushing off to attend to the younger kids during Bath Time. Taehyung and Jungkook had to spend half an hour calming him down and assuring him that Mrs Kim loved his drawing, and that she was just a little busy at the time to tell him properly.
From that experience, Jungkook had learned that Jimin was one of the kids who had been at the Home for the longest time, and that a few of the kids previously at the Home had already left with their new foster parents, leaving him both lonely and worried that he wouldn’t be adopted. Jimin had first come to the Home when he was 3, and it had already been three years since then, yet he still hadn’t been able to find a suitable foster family. During his tantrum, he had been sobbing into Taehyung’s arms, crying about how ‘no one was going to adopt him’, and Jungkook’s heart had never hurt as much as it did in that moment.
Taehyung, being the child-whisperer he was, had been able to expertly calm Jimin down and reassure him that the right family will come at the right time, and that even if he wasn’t adopted, it was okay, because there were so many other people who still loved him.
“Right, Jungkook? You love Jiminie, right? Taetae-hyung loves Jiminie too. And so does Mrs Kim, and all the other kids here. You just gotta be patient, okay? If the time is right, the right family will adopt you, alright? Don’t cry, Jimin-ah.”
Jimin had sniffled a little as he crossed pinky fingers with Taehyung, and Taehyung had made Jungkook pinky-promise him too, the 6-year-old’s little pinky finger curling comically around the elder’s.
After that, Jungkook and Taehyung had made it an effort to constantly affirm and praise Jimin for his efforts and actions. Jimin, being the oldest of the kids, had always tried to prove himself worthy to the both of them and Mrs Kim by taking care of the younger ones like Jin and Yoongi. Jungkook and Taehyung had praised him for his caring nature, but had also tried to teach him that he didn’t need to prove himself loveable, that he was already precious to them without needing to do anything at all.
“Yeah, he seems a little less clingy recently. Hopefully he'll be able to adjust to going to school next year,” Jungkook states.
“Oh, you haven't heard? Mrs Kim mentioned there's a potential family that's taken an interest in him. He may not even be in the Home anymore next year.” Taehyung tries to look excited while saying that, but the underlying reluctance in his tone assures Jungkook that he isn't the only one slightly saddened at the prospect of the kids leaving the Home.
“Does Jimin know yet?”
“No, no. we didn't want to mention anything to him yet in case they changed their minds.” Jimin would be devastated if he put such high hopes on this potential foster family, only for it to not work out. “He's met them twice already, a young couple by the name of Youngbae and Hyorin. They seem really nice and smitten by Jimin from their first visit.”
Jungkook feels a swell in his heart at the thought of Jimin finally having parents to dote on him and tell him they love him so much and give him all the love the little boy so desperately wanted from parental figures. While Jungkook liked to think the Home was also a family unit of their own and how each young boy had a special place and people to call family here, he knew that the boys all wanted parents to love them with their undivided attention, as their own kids, which wasn't something Mrs Kim or Taehyung or himself could always provide.
“What about Hoseok? I heard he was supposed to have another foster parent meeting today.”
“Well…” Taehyung looked over to where Hoseok and Yoongi were playing together in the next room, Hoseok holding Yoongi’s hand as they climbed over the sofa, looking as if they were playing a really exciting game of ‘The Floor is Lava’. “Hoseok had a mini breakdown earlier before you came. We told him that there were some people here to see him, and he flat out refused to meet them. Mrs Kim got kinda upset and he started crying too. They left without even seeing Hoseok.”
“Hoseok doesn't usually throw tantrums though. Did he tell you why he was upset?” Jungkook was confused since Hoseok was probably the brightest, most cheerful kid among the bunch, and it was rare for him to act the way Taehyung said he did.
Taehyung hesitated. “Mrs Kim thinks it might be because of Yoongi.”
“Mrs Kim noticed that Hoseok seems to have some attachment issues, especially when it comes to the younger boys. She thinks that Hoseok might be afraid to leave them, Yoongi in particular since they're so close, after what happened with his parents and sister.”
Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed together. “I don't understand. What does meeting foster parents have to do with his family’s accident?"
Taehyung bites his lip, looking uncertain at how to explain this to Jungkook. “Mrs Kim has told you about how Hoseok’s parents and sister died in a car crash right?”
“Well, prior to the accident, his parents had sent him away to live with his aunt for a short while when his younger sister had influenza. From what his aunt told us, he had been really reluctant to go, and cried a lot for his family when he was with her. It's not hard to imagine how he felt when he never got to go home and see his family again.”
The both of them are quiet as Jungkook processes the information Taehyung had provided. “So, you guys think Hoseok might not want to be adopted because that means leaving the Home, and he's afraid he may never see all of us again?”
Taehyung nods slowly. He sighs. “Mrs Kim is probably going to talk to him about this later. He only just calmed down a bit when you came just now.”
Jungkook feels conflicted, but the most prominent feeling in his chest right now would be the way his heart aches for the pain Hoseok has gone through. Sweet, bright Hoseok has had to deal with grief and its aftereffects of separation and attachment issues at barely 5 years old, and he doesn't know how to feel about this.
Working here with Mrs Kim and Taehyung and all the other kids has brought so much joy into Jungkook’s university life, but he has never experienced so much heartache for people outside of his family. All the boys at the Home hadn't come from perfect families, and many of them didn't have good experiences with their parents, leading to Jungkook wishing he could do more for them, and over the past 6 months he’s grown to love the boys like his own little brothers.
Which also stands as to why he hasn’t been able to stop visiting the Home either. He knows there’s a possibility of the boys developing an attachment to him, since he’s there almost every other day, and if he were to leave now, many of them might not take it well, factoring their preceding abandonment in the situation.
Jungkook knows there will come a time where he may need to move on, but he’s hoping he may never have to see that day come.
A loud wail is heard and both Taehyung and Jungkook whip around to see what the source of the commotion was.
Namjoon is crying and Jin is clutching onto a Ryan doll, visibly upset. The two boys normally get along together quite well, so it's surprising to see the both of them like this.
“Hyung! Jin took my Ryan doll,” Namjoon wails when he sees Taehyung and Jungkook. Jin stiffens when he sees the two of them, and panic washes over his face, before he also breaks down in tears.
Taehyung runs forward and pulls Jin into a hug, while Jungkook does the same for Namjoon. Jin is sobbing uncontrollably while Taehyung tries to quieten him, and Jungkook can feel Namjoon sniffling against his shoulder.
“Jin? Jinnie? Take deep breaths, okay?” Once Jin has reached the hiccup-y, sniffly, post-crying stage, Taehyung tries to get him to speak again. “Jin, what’s wrong? Tell hyung what really happened.”
“Jin took my Ryan! He snatched it and I told him I didn't want him to play with it but he took it anyway and-" Namjoon’s indignant accusation is interrupted by Jin’s loud wail, all of Taehyung’s previous work in trying to soothe him forgotten.
“I'm- I'm sorry, I'm not a bad boy, please don't leave me,” Jin blubbers, tears in his eyes. Taehyung shushes him again as he rubs his back, trying to get him calm enough to talk things out.
Namjoon is still tucked up in Jungkook’s arms, a pout evident on his face, eyeing the lion plushie that is still in Jin’s possession anxiously.
Joon mumbles something in Jungkook’s ear.
“What was that, Joonie?”
“I didn't mean to make him cry.”
Jungkook pets Namjoon’s hair fondly. “I know you didn't. Do you want to tell me what happened? But use your indoor voice, okay?”
“Um… I was just playing with Ryan and then Jinnie asked to play with it, but I didn't want to. He snatched it from me.” Namjoon paused. “I know I'm the older one and we're supposed to share, but I don't wanna share Ryan, Jungkook-hyung.” Namjoon says the last part more quietly into Jungkook’s ear, and he nods while trying to console the 5-year-old the best he can.
Jin seems to have calmed down considerably, and Taehyung attempts to have the boys work it out.
“Okay, so, one by one, please tell me what happened. Joonie, do you want to start first?”
“... Jinnie wanted to play with Ryan but I didn't want him to and he snatched it from me.”
“Thank you, Joonie. Jinnie, can you tell me what happened?”
“I… I wanted to play with Ryan but Joonie-hyung didn't let me…”
“Did you get Joonie’s permission to borrow Ryan?”
“No…” Jin looks sheepishly down at his feet, looking as if he was going to burst into tears again.
“Jinnie, I need you to understand that Kookie-hyung and I are not going to scold you. We just want you to understand that what you did was not right, okay?” Jinnie nods, unable to meet Taehyung’s eyes.
“Remember the rules of sharing? If the toy is not yours, you need to ask and get permission first to play with it. And if you don’t get permission…”
“We can't play with it,” Joon and Jin say together in unison.
“That's right. Jin, Joonie was upset when you took Ryan without his permission. Would you be happy if Joonie took your toys without permission?”
Jin shakes his head.
Taehyung gently cups Jin’s cheek to lessen the harshness in his tone, but he does so without diminishing the seriousness of his words. Taehyung managed to balance the need to be firm and discipline without making the boys feel afraid of him, and that was something Jungkook really admired.
Jin’s incessant fear of being scolded had likely carried over from his past family situation. The first time Jin got into trouble and sensed that he was about to be scolded (which was not what Mrs Kim had intended to do anyway, she was too gentle for that) he had cried on the spot, wailing about how he didn't want to be “left behind", and Jungkook had felt a bubble of rage in his chest, because how could anyone threaten to leave this precious little boy behind just because he misbehaved?
His parents had gotten a divorce, and neither of them had wanted custody of Jin. While there were, thankfully, no signs of physical abuse, it was likely that they hadn't been too kind on him with their words. Jin suffers a similar inferiority complex like Jimin, and it was heartbreaking to see the aftereffects his parents had on him, because on his good days, he was super adorable and hilariously possessive and one of the brightest, funniest kids that Jungkook had ever met.
Because of the way Tae spoke in such a gentle yet firm manner to Jin, even when he was reprimanding the boy, Jin took a particular liking to the older youth with the boxy smile. He claims that “Taetae-hyung makes the best funny faces”.
He hears Joonie sniffle next to him, and mumble something incoherently in his ear. “What was that, Joon-ah?”
“I'm sorry, Jinnie. I didn't mean to make you cry.”
Jin lifts his head up from Taehyung’s embrace, his tear-stained face puffy and splotchy. He extends the doll towards Namjoon, and the older boy accepts it graciously, hugging it tightly to his chest.
“ ‘m sorry, Joonie-hyung.” Jin mumbles. Taehyung gently nudges the two of them closer.
“Can we hug this out and say sorry, boys? Dinner’s almost ready, let's not be sad during dinner, okay?” The two boys cautiously step towards each other and hug, albeit a little awkwardly.
Tae lifts Jin up after that, snuggling the little boy on his little fluffy head, and swooping him around like a tiny Superman to try and cheer him up after the whole crying breakdown.
It was after dinner and bathtime, and Jungkook and Taehyung had been busy tucking the boys into bed while Mrs Kim cleaned up downstairs. Jungkook looks over at Joonie, with his blanket pulled up to his chest, clutching his precious cartoon lion doll tightly, with no trace of the anxiety on his face earlier when Jin held his doll.
“That was from his mom, you know?” Taehyung appears right next to him, startling Jungkook slightly.
“Yeah, I remember you told me.”
Jungkook knew how important that doll was to Namjoon. The boy had been a little older when he was separated from his mother, and he likely still remembered her quite vividly. She had been a single mother, and she struggled to make ends meet to keep him, but she had given him up to foster care at one point when it had become too much to handle. From what Jungkook had heard, it had been heartbreaking for both mother and son to be separated, but from the way Joon had shown up, all ribs and bones, it was about time before the authorities stepped in and removed them by force.
The Ryan doll had been one of the only things Namjoon brought with him from his mother, and he was fiercely protective over it.
“It's nice that he has something from her to keep, at least. It doesn't help with attachment issues, but I would've loved something to hold on to from my dad when I was younger.”
Jungkook turns to face Taehyung, looking right into his deep brown eyes. He can tell there's something on his mind.
He pulls Tae towards the living room, not wanting their conversation to wake up the sleeping kids. Mrs Kim walks past them with another load of clean laundry.
“Hello, boys. The kids are sleeping, right? Are you boys heading back home already?” Mrs Kim’s soothing voice always sounds welcoming, no matter how tired she may be at the end of a long day running after toddlers.
“In a while, we're gonna stay back and catch up for a bit,” Jungkook says, returning her warm smile with one of his own.
“Help yourselves to some hot chocolate in the pantry, okay? Don't take any coffee or tea this late, you won't be able to sleep after this.”
The both of them chuckle at her motherly nagging, and nod affirmatively as she goes up to check on the sleeping boys.
“Sometimes I think she also sees us as one of her boys,” Taehyung laughs, stirring hot chocolate in both of the mugs and topping it off with marshmallows from the cupboard.
“We're probably just one of the older boys that she doesn't need to supervise so closely,” Jungkook chuckles, grabbing one of the mugs.
“At dinner, she reached over to check that I had vegetables on my plate. As if I was like Hoseok and was going to hide my carrots under my napkin.”
“Well, maybe if you actually ate your vegetables, she wouldn't need to do it.”
“Hey! I eat my vegetables.”
“Corn doesn't count as vegetables, Tae. It's basically full of sugar.”
“Well, if it wasn't a vegetable, then why is corn salad a thing?”
They both laugh quietly, trying to keep the noise level to a minimum, knowing how hard it was to put the boys back to sleep if they woke up prematurely.
“How come you didn't say anything to Joonie when he didn't want to share his doll earlier?” Jungkook asks, curious.
“What do you mean?”
“You know, how he's the older kid and should have to share and stuff like that.”
Taehyung frowns. “Just because he's the older one doesn't mean he always has to share his things. I know we tell the kids it's good to share and stuff, but if he really didn't want to, he shouldn't be guilted into doing it.”
He looks away, running his finger over the rim of his mug. “I don't know, I mean, knowing how important that doll was to Joonie, I would've never made him share it if he wasn't comfortable doing so. It's precious to him, you know? It's the last thing he has from his mom, even though I'm not sure if he really remembers her.”
“She didn't want to leave him, right?”
Taehyung quietly shakes his head. “No, she didn't. I was there with Mrs Kim when she first dropped him off. It was… hard to watch.” He bites his lip, seeming like he's struggling to continue.
“She told him that she was leaving for awhile, and that he needed to be a good boy for Mrs Kim, and that she might see him again soon.”
Taehyung chokes up a bit as he speaks. “Poor Joonie didn't understand anything. He was crying and asking why he couldn't come with her, and he refused to let go of her, and in the end she just kissed him on the head and ran off. Mrs Kim took so long to calm him down.”
He sighs deeply. “I don't know how Namjoonie will feel, when he's old enough to understand. Will he believe me when I tell him that his mom never wanted to leave him? Will he think that she just never tried hard enough to keep him? Will he accept her back into his life if she ever came back?”
Jungkook watches Taehyung carefully, listens to each question he brings up, and knows that the questions he has about Namjoon aren't too far off from the questions he probably has for himself.
“It won't be easy for Joonie to accept everything that's happened to him, or to forgive his mom for what she did. But from what you’ve told me, I can tell she loved him alot, and she was just doing what she thought would've been the best decision for him,” Jungkook speaks slowly.
Taehyung is silent, a rare feat, and Jungkook hesitantly brings up what he knows is on Tae’s mind.
“Did your father get in touch with you again?”
Taehyung nods, not meeting Jungkook’s eyes. “Yeah, he said he wanted to meet me. He asked about stuff over the phone and all, but I didn’t really know how to talk to him.”
“Are you going to meet him?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t told him anything yet, but he keeps asking. Mom and Dad don’t know about it yet.”
Taehyung plays with the sleeve of his flannel. Jungkook takes his hand between both of his own, and squeezes it comfortingly.
“Do you want to?”
“Do you want to meet him?”
“I mean…” Taehyung rubs his fingers together, a nervous habit of his that Jungkook had noticed over time. Jungkook stills his fingers by holding it tighter, and giving Tae a reassuring smile.
“You don't have to feel like you should, you know.”
“I know. I kinda… I kinda want to meet him actually. I just don’t want Mom and Dad to feel hurt, or like they're not enough for me, because they are everything to me and more.”
“They won’t feel that way, Tae. They love you. But I'm sure they'll understand that you'd want to meet your biological dad.”
“I just… I never thought I needed closure for this. I thought I had recovered and moved on from my abandonment issues, until he called and everything was so… confusing.”
Taehyung’s head flops onto the elder’s shoulder, and Jungkook can't help but think it fits well there.
“You can just go and get some closure. It might be good for the both of you,” he suggests.
Taehyung snuggles further into Jungkook’s shoulder, wrapping his arms around his bicep. Jungkook’s heart pounds, but he tries to keep as still as possible as to not jostle Taehyung resting on his side.
“Breathe normally, hyung. I can feel you tensing up.” Jungkook smiles at how fast Taehyung seems to have figured him out in the short year they've known each other.
“You always know how to make me feel better, hyung.” Jungkook is thankful for the dark that hides the flush on his cheeks.
“Will you follow me?”
Anywhere. Wait. Did he say that out loud?
Taehyung sits up and faces Jungkook. “Will you follow me, if I ask you to come with me to meet my dad?”
“Yeah, of course. I'll be there.”
Taehyung smiles at his answer, the kind of smile that makes Jungkook’s chest ache and stomach flutter, the smile that makes his insides warm, the smile that he gets when Taehyung sees him after a long week, and Jungkook notes just how gone he is for the boy.
Taehyung cushions himself back against Jungkook’s arm, and he thinks about how he would do anything to see him smile all the time.
He thinks of the 5 little boys, sleeping soundly upstairs, and he finds a similar feeling towards them, how he wishes he could give them everything they desired, to always see them happy, to see them in a loving home, with loving parents. In the meantime, he supposes that this ragtag family of Mrs Kim, the 5 kids, Taehyung and himself would have to do.