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Attack on Bangtan

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[Right before going on stage]

“Even if they boo us, don’t stop.”

“Even if a fan faints, don’t stop.”

“If they throw something at us... be a good dodger.”

“If they throw something at us, accept the gifts with kindness.”

Those were the words of encouragement from two leaders of separate groups.

 

[Hoseok consoles his tired members]

Yoongi was coming down from a gruelling setback and Namjoon was still skittering with anxiety.

After talking to their manager and scouting the crowd, Hoseok had come to the conclusion that performing tonight would do no one any good. There were no fans of them in the venue, only a roused up crowd that had only heard of them on diss tracks. To spare his brothers the hassle, Hoseok gathered them in the too small room they got appointed backstage and laid out his decision.

Hoseok had taken over the role of the leader after the split up. If he were to be honest, the role didn’t sit well with him. If he were to be more honest – he hated it.

“We didn’t let anyone down tonight,” he told the two other rappers after informing them they weren’t going to perform. Yoongi hung his head, while Namjoon was more actively avoiding any of their glances. It had always been different for Hoseok, who had never been an underground rapper before joining the group. He felt no deep obligation to the scene, he only felt that sense of loyalty to his brothers. To serve that loyalty, he decided he didn’t want to put them through a bad stage again. They’ve been having it rough, but lately it had become worse. Namjoon once forgot his lines during a stage and gave their haters fresh material to bite on. Namjoon blamed himself. Hoseok could see how Namjoon started to blame himself for more than just that. “I’ve failed us,” he had once told Hoseok when he had been stripped down to nothing but a bottle of soju and the young man he actually was.

“We shouldn’t do this stage. The feel of this night isn't great, and on top of that we were just an extra act. There are no fans that we have disappointed,” Hoseok emphasised.

Yoongi huffed. “You mean no fans to begin with.”

That maybe too.

Hoseok didn’t know how to respond.

“I’m sorry,” Namjoon blurted out. He gasped out a breath and Hoseok knew he had just gotten himself into a bad mind space. “I’m sorry, this is my fault. I’m sorry...” he muttered this while Yoongi tiredly got up to go find some water. Hoseok was left with Namjoon and send their only manager a look. “Go get the car around. We’re going home.” He focussed back on Namjoon. “Hey, brother, look at me. Please just look at me. You’re okay, yeah? You’re fine. We’re all okay. Hold on to that thought, okay?… just- please…”

 

[Seokjin and Taehyung talk like parents]

Seokjin’s English had gotten better. Together with Jungkook did he mediate most of the interviews in the States, leaving the fun commentary to Jimin and Taehyung. Like a working formula, they were perfect.

Yet still-

This life tasted bitter in Seokjin’s mouth. Without much discussion had the decision to make him the leader been made. He had accepted the role when none of his much younger members had stepped forward. Seokjin got to watch over the younger ones as a leader, got to go to board meetings as the leader, had to answer the serious questions as the leader, and gradually as a result of that stopped joking around like he usually did because he had become the leader.

“You should smile more. Maybe do some of your dad jokes. The fans start to notice you’re not happy,” thus one of the PR coordinators. If he were to be as talented as the younger ones, he would have been able to mask his unhappiness a bit better.

They were on a plane ride back to Korea. Everyone was asleep except for Seokjin and Taehyung. Taehyung had surprised Seokjin the most in regards to adapting to their group splitting up. Where everyone had expected Jimin to somewhat lead the younger ones and therefore eventually taking on the leader role, had Taehyung shone as Jimin had started to withdraw, and show regressing behaviour. As if Jimin had decided to not accept the current state they were finding themselves in, as if acting like all of this was a beautiful lie would make it easier. Taehyung had spoken up, talked with Seokjin when decisions had to be made. He had become the one Seokjin turned to when he needed to vent. He was the one with whom he made a promise to not make any of this any harder for Jungkook.

“He tried calling them again,” Taehyung said softly in the quiet airplane.

Seokjin turned to face Taehyung. They were both laying down with their coverts draped over, ready to fall asleep. “Who? Jungkook or Jimin?” Seokjin asked.

“Jungkook,” Taehyung said.

Seokjin nodded, more to himself rather than Taehyung. “Did they pick up?” There was hope in the way he asked Taehyung that question. There was fear in how he didn’t dare to call them and let Jimin and Jungkook loose on those things.

“They didn’t,” Taehyung said, like he had been doing for these past few months. Somehow contact between them and their rap line had become inexistent, and Seokjin hated everything about it. He felt more guilty than he imagined possible, but he didn’t know where to start. “They-” Taehyung paused before going on, “I’m not sure. I believe they picked up, but the call got cut off immediately.”

“Who did Jungkook call?”

“Hoseok,” Taehyung said. Jungkook had probably tried calling all of them, but only Hoseok left them with this weird reaction.

“Is Jungkook okay?” Seokjin asked.

Taehyung sighted. “He is okay,” Taehyung said frowning - as if to think whether their definition of ‘okay’ was the right one. “He was too hopeful.”

“What about you?” Seokjin asked. “Just because you talk to me doesn’t mean you need to be all okay.”

Taehyung offered a tired smile. “Isn’t that the thing, brother?” he said this with bite, “We have to be okay.” Yes.

“Try to sleep,” Seokjin completely ignored Taehyung’s biting remark and placed a warm hand on his shoulder. “We’re going home. We will rest for a while, yeah?”

“Yeah.” Taehyung let go of some of his tough façade and Seokjin got to see that the boy was tired – like he should be. He caressed his head and stopped when Taehyung admittedly closed his eyes.

“No need to worry about being okay or not,” Seokjin whispered.

Taehyung fell asleep like that.

-

 

Seokjin and Yoongi had shared some heartfelt moments back in the old dorms. Seokjin liked to believe that their lack of communication was nothing personal and that all friendships evolve, even if that means that some of them end. However, he wished that the latter was not the case for them. Just like how they broke the news to the public, “a hiatus”; this was hopefully merely a break. Things would go back to normal. They had to. He needed them to.

 

[The end of Bangtan is not here]

Miss you/ Saying this makes me miss you even more

Miss you/ Even though I’m looking at your photo

Time’s so cruel, I hate us/ Seeing each other for once is now so hard between us

 

The door to the studio opened and Yoongi looked away from the lyrics he’d been reading after finding them on the desktop. It was Namjoon who entered their tiny studio. The studio was in a building full of start-ups, it was a cheap investment and also the last thing that the company really wanted to do for them. Namjoon looked well rested and for a second relax, but that was gone when he saw the notes Yoongi was holding in his hands.

“When did you write this?” Yoongi asked.

Namjoon walked over to him and snatched the notes out of his hands. “You weren’t supposed t-to see this,” he muttered.

“It’s good, though,” Yoongi commented. Sure, the lyrics were more sentimental than the material they were currently working with, but it had a heart and Yoongi could appreciate that. “It’s about them, right?”

There was still a picture of all seven of them on the computer desk in the studio. It was a really old one and they all looked a bit shaggy. All of them had smiles on their faces. Young energy radiated from that picture, innocent believe and hope for the future. No matter how strange that picture had come to make any of the three rappers feel, turning the picture down and making it face the ground felt unethical.

Namjoon shrugged at Yoongi’s question, which was a good enough answer.

“I- them uhm...” Namjoon struggled at what to say. He let out a frustrated sighed and tried to recollect his thoughts. Somewhere along the line Namjoon had lost his ability to speak well like he used to be known for. “It’s for that same song, you know. I started thinking about them again,” Namjoon whispered. Talking quietly had become his solution, as whispering came easier to him. Yoongi wondered in what ways the others might have changed.

“Me too,” Yoongi admitted. “They called Hoseok again. I get a sense they want to meet us. But Hoseok won’t do anything without us agreeing.”

Namjoon worried his limps and nodded guiltily. “I know.”

“It’s not too late,” a third voice spoke. Both Yoongi and Namjoon turned around to see Hoseok standing by the door. He had convenience store bags in his hands filled with probably beer and ramen - their usual food for all-nighters. “They’ll be back in Korea in a few hours,” Hoseok continued. Yoongi could see how Hoseok tried to hold up a front of nonchalance, but there was nothing indifferent about the way Hoseok tried to appear. He said his words lightly, while avoiding eye contact that lasted too long. He wanted to do something, but he didn’t want to impose. That had been his entire leadership over the two rappers. Yoongi could see him struggling at the role he still found so new. If Namjoon hadn’t become as vulnerable as he was now, Hoseok would have probably asked him several times whether he was doing his job right – or other tips and tricks to become a great leader. “We can reach out,” Hoseok settled for.

Yoongi agreed by nodding.

 

[“No more will your call be ignored” – Whalian 52]

Jungkook listened to his phone. It had been ringing for almost half a minute now. He started to feel like an idiot waiting for the receiver to acknowledge his existence. But what made him not give up after almost half a minute was the fact that last time he tried calling Hoseok, Hoseok had picked up. He was out there and probably didn’t know how to get in touch with Jungkook. All Jungkook had to do was not give up, for the both of them – for all of them. So he stood there in one of the hallways of their relocated company, waiting for Hoseok to pick up.

“Hello?” the quiet voice with no background noise interrupted the ringing of the line.

Jungkook manifested a firm grip around his phone like it was a life line whilst searching for his words. His mouth was dry al of the sudden. He didn’t anticipate someone actually picking up.

“Hello?” that was definitely Yoongi, “Jungkook?” his voice sounded unsure.

“Brother,” Jungkook breathed. “I- yes, this is Jungkook.”

It remained silent on the other end.

“Yoongi?” Jungkook tried. “Hello? I called to- I tried calling you guys.”

“Yes,” Yoongi simply responded with.

Jungkook was at loss. This was not what he had imagined calling Hoseok would be like. For starters, he wasn’t talking to Hoseok. Yoongi sounded odd after all those months. Maybe it was strange because it had been so long since they’d talked.

“How are you?” Jungkook asked too politely for someone he considered his brother.

“I’m fine. How about you?”

“Good. We just came back to Seoul,” Jungkook said hoping that Yoongi would pick up the conversation. Yoongi didn’t, and Jungkook sighted. “Brother,” he said on a more serious note.

“Hoseok just left for a minute. If you wait he’ll be right back and you can-”

“-brother-”

“-you can talk to him-”

“Yoongi,” Jungkook said more pressing. He then quickly realised that his voice didn’t sound as sure as he felt. In his mind he knew exactly what he wanted but reality, his speech, nothing seemed to align with those ideas. “Yoongi, please don’t do this. Don’t be a stranger towards me.”

“I know,” was all that Yoongi said.

“I want to see you again. We need to meet again,” Jungkook pleaded, “All of us.”

It didn’t take long for Yoongi to agree. In the same heartbeat Jungkook could hear his words coming through: “You’re right.”

 

[Prologue: Nervous]

Seokjin had opted to drive while the rest was fretting in the back. Taehyung sat besides him and was humming an endless tune trying to hide his excitement. Jimin and Jungkook were continuously adjusting their hats, as they aimed to not get recognised. Seokjin had a firm grip on the steering wheel.

They were going to meet Yoongi, Hoseok and Namjoon in a small restaurant somewhere in Ilsan. Looking at the directions Seokjin recognised that it was close to Namjoon’s parents. The rappers had picket the restaurant and sent all the details in their dead-like group chat, and quickly got excited responses from both Jimin and Jungkook. Hoseok had also mainly interacted in the chat. The remaining four members had merely politely announced that they’d be present.

“I think we’re here,” Seokjin announced quietly as he killed the engine.

“Do you think they’re already inside?” Jimin wondered out loud.

“We are a little early,” Taehyung said looking at the time on his phone, “Rendezvous is in ten minutes.”

“I think I recognise this diner,” Jungkook said leaning forward trying to get a better look at the place. It was on the corner of a street, and posed as an outcast contrasting the ensuing shops that were happily lined up together further street inwards. On the corner the restaurant was just a little too far – asked too much effort – for the unassuming shopper to visit. It claimed to specialise in octopus dishes, which was odd so far from the sea, but it could have been its trademark. It looked lonely, and underappreciated by how the flickering blue and red TL-tubes hadn’t been replaced since the last time Seokjin had been here. “This was where we met Namjoon’s parents, I remember.”

Seokjin nodded.

It had been a strange day, back when they were about to debut. They had been roaming the subway stations of Seoul and decided on a whim to take the line headed towards Ilsan. Namjoon had been against the idea, embarrassed at the thought that the members would get to meet his parents. The possibility of running into anyone in a city is very slim, so when the members had stumbled in this very same diner laughing and craving any type of food, it had surprised everyone to see Namjoon stop short in his tracks and bow very deeply for his parents.

“I hated the food,” Taehyung murmured.

“I don’t remember,” Jimin said.

“You weren’t there yet,” Jungkook said, “This was just before we met you.”

“Oh.”

“Why did they pick this place?” Seokjin wondered out loud, “Namjoon hates seafood.”

-

 

“We’re going to be late,” Yoongi said to Hoseok and clearly expected the younger to come with a solution. “Maybe we should call them, and just cancel.”

“We can’t do that,” Hoseok said immediately. If there was one thing he was certain about, it was that he wanted all of them together again.

“Then what is your plan?” Yoongi demanded.

Hoseok refrained himself from sighting. He didn’t know what to do.

All three of them were huddled in Namjoon’s old childhood bedroom. Hoseok had purposely chosen that restaurant since he knew that Namjoon was most likely to chicken out and stay in his bedroom. Namjoon lived with his parents now, who had gladly invited Yoongi and Hoseok in when they stopped by to pick him up. Convincing Namjoon to do something these days took time, Hoseok had counted on that. But time was not infinite and the walk to the restaurant would take them at least fifteen minutes. They needed to head out now, but Namjoon had somehow convinced himself that the others wouldn’t want to see him.

“I mean they c-called you, and Yoongi has talked t-to them before. They don’t want me there,” Namjoon reasoned all the while stuttering.

“Yes, they do,” Yoongi said running out of patient. “I told you what Jungkook told me. He wants all of us to be there.”

“They probably just want to cuss me out. I don’t need that.”

“If they start cussing you out, I’ll cuss them out too,” Yoongi offered.

“No. No c-cussing them out. I deserve their hate,” Namjoon defended them.

Hoseok sighted. This wasn’t really working.

“Okay, Namjoon,” Hoseok said sharply and urged Namjoon – who was sitting on his tiny looking bed – to look him in the eye. “I get where you’re coming from, but right now you’re being selfish. You don’t know what they got to say and by not coming along you’re not giving them a chance to speak for themselves.” Yoongi looked wary, yet glad that Hoseok was handling the situation. Hoseok continued more gently: “You want to protect yourself from the worst, but let’s be realistic here… it can’t get any worse.” That statement set heavy. It was one that managed to cover more than just their meet up here in Ilsan; it could stretch out over the years of their disbandment.

Namjoon nodded. He slowly rose, and avoided their gazes. It would seem as though he was wondering, whilst looking in his room, for the genesis for all of this; where was the spot in the room that had made him start dreaming? Hoseok could only imagine. If they looked more closely around in the room, would they find the reason for their dreams to have broken down like it had too?

“I don’t like seafood,” Namjoon whispered.

Yoongi let go a breath he had been holding in. They were on their way.

 

[The start of something new]

The beginning of the dinner had been awkward, to say the least. Certainly with how Seokjin and Taehyung had grown impatient with how late the others had been. Jimin had tried to appease them and together with Jungkook convinced them to wait a little longer.

It was something silly – like pride. They didn’t want to be stood up. Jimin felt the same way. He just hadn’t lost his optimism like Seokjin, like Taehyung. He understood their concern for Jungkook – that his enthusiasm only made room for a huge disappointment. Jimin couldn’t worry like they did, as he was practically in the same boat as Jungkook. The difference between him and Jungkook laid in how Jimin could meta-converse about it as he had convinced himself to be slowly going insane.

He wanted this so bad. He couldn’t let this slip because of tardiness.

Upon seeing the three rappers enter the tiny diner, there were a few things that stood out immediately to Jimin after a rush of relief.

For starters their hair. They all had their natural hair colours, while Jimin was hiding his soft blue hair under his hat. Hoseok’s smile was uncertain as he lead the other two in his strut towards their table. Hoseok had never been good at hiding his expressions, so reading of his nervousness was anything but a guess.

Jungkook had initiated everyone to give hugs. Jimin was grateful for that. It made the beginning less tense.

Ordering food, ordering drinks, diving in – all of that was accompanied by polite chatter. The conversation was getting so polite and neutral, Jimin was almost ready to take offense.

It went like this:

“Oh, you guys flew in yesterday? Suffering jetlag?” “No, no. All is fine, we’re used to it… ah, it’s fine.”

“Traffic was good on our side, how about you guys?” “We took the subway.” “Cool… was it busy?” “I guess. It’s rush hour so…”

“So incredible to see how far we got this world cup.” “Ah, yeah.” “Did you follow it?” “We haven’t had that much time, but I’ve heard great things.”

“Remember when we met your parents here,” that was Jungkook trying to break the ice. It was directed at Namjoon, who had been relatively quiet this entire conversation. He was poking around the food on his plate. He still didn’t like seafood, Jimin noted. Namjoon murmured something inaudibly. With his gaze directed towards his plate and his hairlocks posing as a curtain before his eyes, he didn’t seem like he wanted to be here. Yoongi looked expectantly at Namjoon. Jimin caught how Hoseok fretted his straw unconsciously. Jimin couldn’t help but wonder where the Namjoon he remembered had gone to. “What was that?” Jungkook asked gently and leaned in to better hear Namjoon. “I couldn’t catch that.”

“I said I don’t remember t-that,” Namjoon spoke up a little more clearly.

“Oh,” Jungkook said, seemingly having more difficulty holding up his smile. “Well, I do remember. It was fun.”

Namjoon simply nodded, and shot Jungkook a polite smile.

“Okay,” Taehyung said upon seeing that awkward exchange, and Jimin noted that he had drunk a little more than he usually does. “How is your music doing? Planning on a comeback?”

Yoongi shrugged. Hoseok seemed a little embarrassed. “We don’t- we won’t be doing that any time soon, probably.”

Taehyung frowned. “Why?”

“Because we got too famous,” Yoongi said low and mean. “Come on, Taehyung. What else do you think.”

Jimin didn’t dare to look at how Seokjin would react to this, and opted to exchange a look with Jungkook. Fighting was… progress?

“Taehyung probably asked that out of honest curiosity, Yoongi,” Seokjin cut in, “and I’m with him. I don’t understand.”

Yoongi rolled his eyes. “Of course you don’t understand.”

Hoseok sighted and put a mediating hand on Yoongi’s shoulder. “That’s okay,” he told Taehyung, “Everything is confusing lately. But we mainly focus on our live stages.”

That answer sounded fake. It was the type of answer they would give reporters or interviewers. To hear such an answer rolling out of Hoseok’s strained face made Jimin confused – he was not ready to feel hurt by it yet.

“You can just tell us what is going on, you know,” Jimin muttered.

Hoseok looked at Namjoon and Yoongi – who both missed his glance – and opted to face the vocalists. “We had a disagreement with Big Hit,” he said softly.

“About what?” Jungkook asked.

This time Yoongi did catch Hoseok’s glance. Yoongi shook his head. “About something,” Hoseok said.

Seokjin squinted his eyes. “I can’t imagine Big Hit being like that. Communication had always been-”

“You can’t imagine the company that suggested us to split up to be like what exactly, Seokjin?” Yoongi basically dared Seokjin with that question.

Seokjin bit his lip like he refrained himself from saying something. “You’re not really giving us anything to go with. After this we can simply go back and ask the director, but it would be nicer to hear it coming from you – unless, of course, you do not want to be here.”

Yoongi frowned. “Excuse-me. What are you trying to say?”

Seokjin shrugged, but Jimin could see that he was nervous. He got nervous when he got angry. Over the past few years he had found many reasons to become nervous. “I’m trying to communicate, is what I’m saying. At least I’m trying to talk-”

“-you want to talk about communication?”

“Yoongi, p-please, don’t,” Namjoon was soft, but Namjoon was heard, yet still ignored.

“You out of all people,” Yoongi said with ridicule in his voice.

“Gosh– you’re blaming me for all of this, right?” Seokjin sounded a little hysterical. “You’re acting like you didn’t stop talking to me when I-”

Yoongi had his eyes shot open and his mouth ready to say something back, when he all of the sudden stared to laugh. “Boy,” he gasped, “fame really doesn’t suite you, Seokjin.” That was said without honorifics.

Seokjin slammed his fist on the table. Jimin caught how Namjoon shrunk in himself. Even Yoongi seemed a little taken back.

“Seokjin,” Jimin tried, “relax, please.”

Seokjin had his eyes fixed on Yoongi and stayed silent. There was room for Yoongi to apologise, but also room for either of them to think before they speak.

“I just wanted us to meet again,” Jungkook said in the silence that stretched over the negative emotions radiating from his oldest brothers. “I don’t want you to fight,” Jungkook continued. Jimin nodded along. “I want us to be… I know this might sound stupid, but I want us to be together again.”

Namjoon looked up. He had a surprised look on his face, that was soon followed by curiosity. “Really?” he asked tentatively.

Jungkook nodded. “Yeah, really,” he affirmed, “I understand if you’re finally doing what you really wanted ever since you got to meet the director, but I yeah… sorry, this is just how I feel.”

Namjoon shook his head. “Don’t be sorry,” he said kindly, holding a sad smile. “I-I should be the one saying sorry. I know I have failed you as th-the leader.”

Jimin shook his head. “Why would you think that?” Namjoon shrugged, but Jimin knew. “Don’t – really don’t – listen to the hate, please,” Jimin said. He had seen all the hate comments. He knew how the media had opted to have a consensus on hating Namjoon the most after the announcement of their hiatus. It had naïve for Jimin to think that Namjoon had not seen any of the hate. “We don’t blame you for anything.”

Namjoon laughed humourlessly. “You probably should.”

“I don’t blame you, Namjoon,” Taehyung repeated for good measure. “You are a good leader.”

Namjoon shrugged. “It doesn’t matter, anymore. I’m not the leader anymore.”

Jimin paused for a moment. He glanced at Hoseok, then at Yoongi, and back at Hoseok. It made a lot more sense suddenly. The way Hoseok had been behaving himself was very much like himself, but now hearing Namjoon say this – it would almost seem natural to have Hoseok as the leader. Yet it settled strange. Like some weird alternative universe where everything happened well between the boundaries of plausibility.  

“You’re not the leader anymore?” Jimin repeated lamely.

Namjoon nodded. “I-I-I…” he sighted. “It’s for the best,” he whispered.

Hoseok placed a gentle hand on his shoulder and shot them a strange look. “It’s been what he wanted, and we’re here to help each other out.” The look he shot them was a stern one. A warning, ‘back off’.

“I’m happy if you are,” Jungkook said with a tight smile. He adjusted his focus from Namjoon like Hoseok probably wanted. “I really am. I hope that despite your disagreement with Big Hit you get to do what you really want. They told us that you get to do underground gigs and stuff. How is- how is that?” Jungkook ended his phrase a little unsure, but he was trying. Jimin admired his determination.

Hoseok nodded along as if he too wanted to have a normal conversation. Seokjin and Yoongi had sunken back in their seat and remained silent. For some reason Jimin hated the silence even more. “We- well I got to see the scene in a more clear light,” Hoseok said. “It’s been really interesting. How has the tour been?”

“Fresh,” Jungkook said. “But nothing like our Red Bullet tour.”

Hoseok’s following smile was more genuine. “That had been crazy.”

“I still can’t believe we went on stage that unprepared,” Jungkook mused.

Hoseok chuckled. “We used to think our dances were so hard.”

“We used to think we looked so cool,” Jungkook said with the same tone – it being reminiscently. There was finally a sense of common ground. “The company moved,” Jungkook said suddenly, “I was there the other day, but I couldn’t find your studio? Are you guys still moving?”

Hoseok’s smile got small, and the crease on his forehead deepened. “You don’t know? They kicked us out.”

“What?” Taehyung asked.

“What?” Yoongi imitated.

Seokjin was frowning, looking both irritated and confused at Yoongi. “Yeah, fucking what. What do you mean kicked out?”

Hoseok looked a little at a loss. As if on reflex did he cast Namjoon a look, but Namjoon was no help to him. Namjoon was looking at his plate, and clearly did not enjoy the conversation. “Well, after out disagreement,” Hoseok started, “It had been decided to move us out of the building because they… they don’t like us anymore?… I don’t know, to be honest,” Hoseok sighted and rubbed tiredly his forehead. He only did that when he was feeling stressed. “I don’t understand how we came to such a point with Big Hit, but they don’t want us anymore. Our contracts have been shortened. The signal is clear. We’re about to go independent.”

“Or to college,” Namjoon muttered more to himself.

“Or the army,” Yoongi said clearly, “right, Seokjin?”

Jimin sighted at this. Yoongi was really having a go at Seokjin, and Seokjin was easily pushed to his limits.

“You’re really mad at me, aren’t you Yoongi?” Seokjin said. “You know you’ve been ignoring calls too, right?”

“And why is that?” Yoongi said rhetorically. But nothing seemed clear about the answer to his question.

Jimin saw how Seokjin had the same problem with Yoongi’s phrasing and took a moment to respond. “I don’t understand what you’re getting at. Why are you mad?” He said carefully with no nervous energy. He seemed calm, but a little desperate – as if he realised that fighting was the last thing he wanted to do. “I didn’t want us to stop talking. We didn’t participate in getting you guys kicked out. I never knew any of this. This is my first time hearing all of this. I’m trying here, Yoongi. This may seem hard for you to grasp, and it’s hard for me to admit too, but Jungkook is the only one being really honest here. I agree with him. I want us to be back together. I never wanted any of this.”

Yoongi closed his mouth, as though he decided to better not say anything to Seokjin’s confession. Taehyung looked a little flustered. Jimin felt his cheeks burn too. He wholeheartedly agreed with Seokjin but he was afraid to put himself out there like that.

Looking at Hoseok made Jimin wonder whether Seokjin had said something wrong.

Hoseok had a frown on his face. He didn’t seem as on board as Jimin had hoped – and a little expected – him to be with the things Seokjin had said. “I’m sorry,” Hoseok said slowly, “I’m really trying to understand what you’re saying, but… this doesn’t add up.”

“It really doesn’t,” Yoongi muttered.

“What do you mean?” Taehyung asked.

Hoseok shook his head. “I’m getting a really bad feeling,” he said more to himself.

“What do you mean?” Taehyung repeated more pressed.

Namjoon straightened up, and looked at Taehyung. “Our disagreement with Big Hit,” Namjoon said and ignored how Hoseok and Yoongi looked up at him. Namjoon talked carefully as if he was still unravelling something he just found out. “About a year ago, we had prepared songs that we wanted to record,” Namjoon went on, “we wanted you guys to sing some of the guides, but you were busy, so we put it through with our managers.”

Jimin frowned. “I never heard about that.”

Namjoon looked a little distressed. “We tried to push it, but they didn’t want to listen to us.”

“Why didn’t you just call us?” Jungkook asked.

Namjoon shook his head. “We wanted to, after they started acting up, but they warned us that you were very busy with your comeback and-and-and we accepted that. We’ve been there. So we waited for things to become more chill.” Namjoon sighted at how his stuttering was acting up.

“Then we received a message,” Hoseok filled in when Namjoon had stayed silent for too long. “The director said that you felt uneasy to tell us this yourself; that you felt obligated to be associated with us.”

Seokjin rubbed his hands quickly over his face and breathed out. “He said what? He said that?”

Hoseok nodded, and everything started to slowly make a lot more sense.

“Why- why would he-” Jimin didn’t get around to finish his clumsy sentence as Taehyung cut in.

“Why did you believe him?” Taehyung asked, indignation simmering in his voice. “Why didn’t you call us? Why didn’t you let us tell you how it was-”

Hoseok shook his head. “I believed him,” he said as if that explained it. “I- with how things were going for you. With how far you’ve gotten – I wholeheartedly believed him. I didn’t want to call, I didn’t want to be a burden.”  

Jimin felt his heart ache for how lost Hoseok looked right there. He could see how Hoseok was replaying events back in his head, because he himself was doing the same thing. Where had they gone wrong? How did it get this far?

“Hoseok?” Yoongi asked quietly – almost concerned.

“I didn’t want there to be false hope,” Hoseok said defensively. “I didn’t want Namjoon and you to hurt any more. I didn’t pick up the phone because… it could only get worse, right? It could only get worse, and that would be on me,” Hoseok hiccupped, “I’m the leader now so I should know these things. But I messed up. I messed up big time. I fucked-”

“Hoseok, come on,” Yoongi shushed in the most soft voice Jimin had heard him use this entire evening. “This is not your fault.”

“Of course it’s my fault,” Hoseok muttered, “who else’s?”

“The fucking director,” Jimin cut in. “Why would he-”

“I can’t believe this,” Taehyung murmured.

Jimin felt himself reeling with nervous energy. This revelation stimulated both positive and negative flows through his body and he didn’t know what side to take part of. Rationally Jimin felt put on hold. All he could think about was that they lied to us. They lied to us. They split us up and they fucking lied to us. But outwardly, he only felt how his lungs expanded and stayed like that as he held his breath. The members started talking about blame, anger, and disbelieve. Jimin couldn’t participate because his mind was on a halt. He let go of the breath he’d been holding in and found that he couldn’t even enjoy the positive flows course through his body. It was just another manifestation of relief in how his belief in his brothers had not been naïve. It was merely the best that could be made out of this pathetic situation; they lied to us, but at least my brothers are not at fault. At least we got each other. At least we agreed to this dinner. At least we have Jungkook and his stubbornness. It was stronger than Jimin’s already simmering anger. It felt like the end of a very captivating movie, where the writers decided last minute that Hollywood was yet to be ready for a sad ending. Jimin was thankful. Jimin couldn’t bear to hate or lose his brothers.

“This is also my fault,” Namjoon spoke up. His voice sounded clearer than any of the muttering and half-finished sentences from the distressed members. His voice sounded how Jimin remembered him. Namjoon looked at Hoseok and then back at the rest. “This is not Hosoek’s fault. This is my fault. I s-should have put more pressure on the director when he didn’t want us to get to you,” Namjoon looked at Jungkook, “I should have t-trusted you more.”

“We should have supported you more,” Jungkook said, “This is not your fault.”

Namjoon smiled something close to a proud smile. Yes, Jungkook was indeed all grown up. “Something went wrong when the decision to split us up had been made,” Namjoon continued. “Everything that happened after that – the way we handled the change – I believe it just proves that… we’re not meant t-to be separated,” that statement was met with a lot of agreeing sounds. Hearing Namjoon speak like this made Jimin almost lose some of his sanity. The moment felt so similar yet surreal. This was how they used to be back before they hit it big, when they’d have dinners in their dorms, the studio, or any other place that would have them. They would all talk, and Namjoon would say something heartfelt and true just to make them all realise they were in it together. Jimin remembered how he sometimes felt like Namjoon was pulling his leg with the sappy things he would say. They would tease him, they would laugh. But none of that would happen now – not when they all needed something safe like this so desperately. “In the confusion we were taken advantage of. I fell for it-”

Yoongi shook his head. “-we all fell for it,” he shot Seokjin a quick look, but couldn’t do more.

“-if it weren’t for you Jungkook, like Seokjin said,” Namjoon looked directly at the youngest. Jimin could see how Jungkook’s eyes were glistering. Jimin could feel it too. This was all Jungkook ever wanted, for them to be together. “I don’t want to imagine where we would be years down the road. T-t-thank you Jungkook, for your courage and perseverance. And I apologise for letting you down.”

“Don’t say that,” Jungkook said while his voice cracked, “don’t think like that. We all want the same in the end, right?” he tried to smile but Jimin could see how touched he was by Namjoon’s words.

“We do,” Hoseok agreed.

Seokjin rubbed his eyes and it took Jimin a moment too long to realise that the elder was trying to hide his tears.

“Seokjin?” Jimin asked.

He shook his head. “I can’t believe this happened to us,” he muttered. “I’m relieved but also so, so angry. I thought-” Seokjin hid his face behind his hands. “I really thought that I had lost you guys.”

“I’m sorry, brother,” Yoongi said in response.

Seokjin cleared his face. “For what? For being human?”

Yoongi shook his head. “I had no right to think so badly of you.”

“You did,” Seokjin said, softly, “You fucking did, because this is not your fault. They planned this. This is… this is on the director. I’m so angry I’m getting afraid of myself.”

Taehyung placed a comforting hand on Seokjin’s shoulder. Jimin had seen Taehyung doing this more frequently these past few years. Jimin felt a little uncomfortable. He didn’t know how to help. He hadn’t really been a help for Seokjin or anyone really. He had shied away from all the serious things and now seeing Seokjin break down like this – he felt guilty. The way Seokjin was breaking down, was the same how Hoseok felt but was trying to hide. The burden of the leader came with a lot of guilt, Jimin reckoned. It went both ways when you cared about each other. Not just the leader, but also those who where lead were confronted with this guilt. Now that everything was out in the open, Jimin refrained himself from looking too expectantly at Namjoon. He wanted someone to take action. He wanted his guilt to somehow go away, for someone to tell him that what he was feeling right now was only natural but undeserved.

“This is a mess,” Jimin muttered. He casted a look at Taehyung and found his friend nodding in agreement – there was a hint of amusement in his movement, but it was cynical. “I don’t want us to become crazy,” Jimin said.

“What do you mean ‘crazy’?” Yoongi asked.

“I mean crazy in that we will become fake as we try to hide how we truly feel.”

Yoongi arched an eyebrow. “How do you feel?”

“I feel guilty,” Jimin answered. A shiver ran down his spine and the heat on his cheeks seemed to go away. He didn’t feel like crying like he had a moment ago. He felt determined in the same way Jungkook had been when he persuaded everyone to come to this weird diner somewhere in Ilsan. “I don’t want this to be the end of it.”

“It doesn’t have to be,” Taehyung said reassuring.

“How do you envision this?” Jimin countered, “Realistically speaking, how is this not the end? After we’re done here… there is an entire world out there. We got obligations, we got people who want us to-”

“-we can just do what we want,” Taehyung said, but he sounded unsure.

Jimin shook his head. “I don’t think it will be that easy. I don’t want this to mean nothing, but once we leave this place… I’m afraid.”

“You won’t be alone, Jimin,” Seokjin said sniffing around a napkin.

“But they lied to us,” Jimin said lowly, “They lied to us and almost got away with us. No one got hurt this time…” Jimin let his words hang in the air. Looking around he found the serious faces of his brothers. The heaviness of what had happened to them settled in on rather a more rational level, than emotional. If the company went us far as intercepting their communication, how much further would they be willing to go? They already shortened Yoongi’s, Namjoon’s, and Hoseok’s contracts. “What if they find out we met up?” Jimin posed.

Namjoon shook his head. “That can’t- d-d-did you share with anyone-”

“We didn’t,” Jungkook said immediately, “You?”

Hoseok shook his head. “No one knows we’re here.”

As if on que did seven heads turn to the kitchen behind the counter of the octopus place. The owner of the place was watching a variety show on a small television box on the counter. He felt the eyes of his only guests burn on him and turned to them with a question clear on his face. He was about to get up and offer them service, when all seven of them turned back their attention to their table. The owner was their only witness.

“But,” Yoongi said softly – almost whispering as if he only now realised that the owner had been here all along, “are we.. are we plotting something?”

Namjoon chuckled.

“I’m not joking,” Yoongi said.

Seokjin hummed. “You sounded really cute, just then,” he said.

“You’re only asking that question because you already got a plan,” Taehyung said also a little amused.

“I think I know what his plan is,” Jungkook said.

Jimin arched an eyebrow. “Oh, yeah? What is it then?”

Yoongi frowned. “Now you’re just going to say something ridiculous and pin it on me.”

Jungkook grinned. “It’s not ridiculous. It’s due.”

Hoseok frowned. “What are you aiming at Jungkook?”

“I know this might be a little early to suggest, but we’re all here together, so why not?”

Namjoon smiled broadly. “I’m in!”

Jimin nodded. “Me too!”

“Let the guy finish before you-”

“Let’s make that song,” Jungkook cut Yoongi off.

It got quiet. Jimin saw how Namjoon’s smile grew smaller and how he exchanged looks with Yoongi. Yoongi was trying to supress a smile. He really was, but he failed miserably.

“It’s about damn time we finish that piece.”

“I’m in,” Seokjin said. Hoseok an agreeing sound and Taehyung nodded along.

Jimin’s stomach lurched. “So…” he said and looked at his brothers, “We’re really doing this?”

-

 

Afterwards, as they were saying goodbye after allowing Seokjin to pay for the dinner did they exchange hugs. Their embraces were more confident then they had been at the beginning of the night. Seokjin and Yoongi got to exchange some words in private. Jimin got to tell both Namjoon and Hoseok that none of this was their fault. Before they left in separate ways, they made a plan. Yes, Yoongi had plotted something, and it sounded doable. They may not succeed, but then they’d do that together too.

When Jimin found himself back in the backseat of the car, slumped against Seokjin, did his eyes naturally fall shut. Jungkook was driving and humming together with Taehyung. Never could he have imagined their meet up to end like this. To end with him feeling happier than he had over the past few years. He felt warm, giddy, and believed to be sleeping with a smile on his face.

 

[Bangtan makes a song called ‘Spring Day’]

Taehyung let his big eyes absorb the chaos ensuing in front of him. The director, some managers, and their PR were shooting fingers at each other, talking over each other, and nervously following the updates on the big screen.

Trending topics worldwide:

  1. #Springday
  2. #OT7Bangtan
  3. #BTSisBackTogether
  4. #ComebackofTheCentury

He shouldn’t be surprised at their fan reaction. He really shouldn’t be, it would be insulting. Yet here he was. Taehyung felt thrilled and tried to hide it. He couldn’t feign ignorance, that would only make the team more emotional unstable.

They were yelling things like: “When did this happen? How did no one coordinate with us that this would be part of their comeback? I literary have *** on the line asking for a showcase.” “I thought you said that the rapline had been cancelled. How did they get around a studio?” “Where are all the members? Why is only Taehyung here? Where is Jin?” “This isn’t bad, as long as me state clearly that it is only a song for the vocalists then maybe we can get the fans to understand that- we have to record a second version quickly.” “Or we just delete it.” “Director Bang, what do you want us to do?”

The director had stayed silent. He was eyeing Taehyung as if he wanted the boy to say what he had to say. Taehyung had something to say, but he was following Yoongi’s plan accordingly so he waited for the right timing.

“Aren’t you going to say something?” the director asked Taehyung. The room quieted down, but not entirely. The team was mainly focussed on the online outburst and Taehyung ached to follow it too. “Do you think that you can just push through your opinions like that?”

“Sir,” someone from PR said. There it was. Taehyung smiled. The director frowned and let Taehyung see a glimpse of worry. “They changed the password of their twitter account.”

Before the director could react another one quipped in. “The same goes for their YouTube channel… and Vlive.”

“What about SoundCloud?” someone asked. “Shit, that too,” was the response.

The director laughed. “So you think hacking is going to change everything?”

Taehyung shook his head. “Of course not, director. We’ve been in this industry far too long to think like that.”

Someone knocked on the door and the entire meeting room turned their attention to the clerk opening the door. They looked distressed and Taehyung felt a little bad for them. “They’re about thirty reporters outside,” they gasped, “They claim to have received an invitation for a press conference.”

With that the director snapped and slammed in his fist on the table. Taehyung jumped in surprise and felt how his smile couldn’t be supressed any longer.

“The hell! What do you think you’re doing? You are now is breaking the law – breaking our contracts-”

“-what do I tell them?” the clerk insisted, not flinching at the director’s loud voice.

“Send them away!”

“No,” Taehyung rose from his chair and used his loud voice too. “Invite them in. Room 06 has been prepared.”

“By who?” the director sounded so exasperated that Taehyung was almost certain that he would slap his grin of his face.

“By yours truly.”

The director sighted and slumped back in his chair. The room had fallen silent and Taehyung nodded at the clerk. “Please do as I say.”

The clerk looked for confirmation at the director, but he said nothing. He didn’t even look at their direction. With that the clerk was gone, and Taehyung felt the clock ticking.

On the screen monitoring the internet outburst a new post surfaced up. It was a post from their twitter account with the caption ‘Please stay there a little longer’, attached to it was a selfie of all seven of them smiling brightly at the camera. The picture had been taken yesterday and Taehyung could only smile at it fondly.

“If this is what you what you wanted, you could have just asked,” the director said calmed down.

Taehyung shook his head. “You know you’re lying.”

The director leaned forward. “You really think this is going to work?”

Taehyung shrugged but stood steady on his spot. “If it doesn’t, so be it. We got nothing left to lose.”

“I can and will sue you. All of you,” it almost sounded like a promise. If Taehyung were to be completely honest, that did intimidate him.

“We’d invite you to,” Taehyung bluffed. This had been their biggest problem with this grandiose plan. They were violating so many company rules and agreements on their contracts, that the director could easily beat them if he were to take this to court. They had only one reliability.

The screen made a sound. Another topic was trending:

  1. #BTSandARMY

The look on their director’s face when he saw the hashtag was one of a tired general. He looked so defeated and insulted that Taehyung hesitated with saying the following: “Don’t let your emotions get the better of you now, director. We can work something out.”

The director seemed ready spit right in Taehyung’s face, but he stayed silent. The room stayed silent. The minutes secretary of the meeting was looking expectantly at Taehyung, fingers hovering over their keypads. “Now you want to negotiate?” the director asked with derision.

Taehyung nodded. “I’m doing you a favour,” he said. “The members are already downstairs in room 06. We have statement that is going to be said no matter what. It announces that our hiatus is over and that we will become independent under Big Hit. And-”

“-and?” The director shook his head. “do you even hear what you’re saying right now? How does any of this make sense?”

“and that we will all sign a new contracts under which these new conditions stand.”

The director huffed. “Is Namjoon going to read this statement? I’d like to see him try with his stupid stuttering.”

Taehyung refrained from lashing out. He could do this. It was almost over. “We get it, you want to make money. We want to make music. But you won’t be making any of the money without us. This entire company is depending on us.”

The director squinted his eyes. “Since you seem to be running this whole thing, and you’re doing a pretty good job at it too,” the director said with fleer, “Tell me, what are real the terms? You don’t expect me to just bend, do you?”

“We don’t,” Taehyung said. “We understand you.”

“Which is why you’re not leaving the company,” the director filled in.

“Exactly,” Taehyung said, and took a breath. “Give us a year.”

The director got quiet. Without saying too much, it was clear that in this proposed year the company wouldn’t be expected to pay the guys. It was a year in which everything would be done by Bangtan without any reciprocity, except for the love of their fans.

“And after that year?” the director asked.

“If we succeed,” Taehyung said smiling softly, “I’m sure you’d be like friends with us again-”

“-of course,” the director said, rolling his eyes, “but when you lose?”

“Then you win,” Taehyung said, “Your terms. Your rules.”

The director clapped in his hands. He got up, and walked up to Taehyung. For a moment Taehyung was convinced that he would be slapped on the face, but the extended hand was like a seal. Taehyung accepted the hand and they shook on it. There was a collective sight that everyone in the room let out.

“I believe, you have a press conference to be at,” the director said.

Taehyung smiled sheepishly. “Actually, you too.”

“What?” the director exclaimed.

Taehyung shrugged. “Don’t worry, we got you cards.”

 

[Viral]

…We are so lucky to have a company that allows us to explore our creativity to the maximum. We got to enjoy making our music in separate ways. Some of us during tours in the States, other of us on the scene that initially inspired us to start making music. It is in the philanthropy of our company to create music and artist for healing, which is what brings us to this point. The ‘healing’. Our brotherly connection had been put to the test during our hiatus and together we decided to heal and recover what he had been lost along the way; our unity. I will not lie. We lost c-contact, we lost each other, and we felt alone despite what you may have s-seen on SNS. We came together again after a long time and we quickly understood that Bangtan is an ideology. We want to be bulletproof, but we are merely human like you, the listeners of our music. I’m sure that some of you may have lost a friend and have been reconciled after years of being apart. We’ve experienced that and it makes us cherish our moments together even more. In the song ‘Spring Day’ we explore this theme too. This is why we wanted to introduce a new era with that song. We ask our fans to support us in this chapter of our lives. We want to thank our staff and Big Hit for always being there for us and guiding us. By taking this step we also change our contracts with the company…

-

 

THIS IS NOT A DRILL, OT7 is back!” ++68/--27

Honestly, rapline was just going broke so they wanted to jump on the vocaline’s hype wagon. You’re not kidding anyone++110/--67

I was losing hope for this to happen! I can’t believe this is happening! I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it!

I wonder why they had to renew their contract. Why would that be necessary? Also why did Bang pd look so uncomfortable???”++80/--13

I’m sorry, but I ain’t about that OT7 bullshit. Rapline let vocal line down so hard. I won’t be able to forgive them”++60/--52

… so… this year’s MAMA… is going to be epic?...”++99/--24

Guys, they ask us to support them, that is all. Ignore all the rumours, just do this one for Bangtan. It’s the least we can do.”++231/--34

-

 

‘SPRING DAY DEBUTS AT NUMBER 89 ON THE BILLBOARD HOT 100!’

‘SPRING DAY BEATS BANGTAN VOCALLINE CHART RECORDS’

‘BTS ARMY DEVIDED!’

‘SPRING DAY RUMMOURED TO HAVE MV’

‘BANGTAN CONCEPT PICTURES ARE RELEASED. CHECK THEM OUT NOW!’

‘TEASER OF NEW BTS MV IS HERE!’

‘BANGTAN RELEASES NEW ALBUM: YOUNG FOREVER’

 

[Burn it up!]

Yoongi breathed through his mouth. His throat felt dry, but that was quickly resolved by a water bottle being pressed against his lips. He took desperate sips and let the coordinators do their work, fussing over his hair and make-up. The noise of the award show host was loud even here backstage. The coordinators had to yell at each other to get themselves to be heard. Yoongi knew what award was being announced for there to be this much eruption from the crowd: Artist of the year.

He looked around and found his brothers in slightly better or worse states than he was. Their clothes were soaked with sweat, their throats were hoarse from all the singing, but their atmosphere was positive. There were many regrets about their stage, but they could banalise that. They were happy with how far they’ve come. To even be considered the last act of the night was more than an honour. Hoseok and Seokjin were getting up and cleaning up their outfits. Jungkook and Taehyung were already ready. Yoongi and Jimin were still being fanned by the coordinators. Namjoon was waiting on everyone to be ready to return to the award ceremony.

Yoongi got up, together with Jimin. Their coats were being swatted on them and they were almost ready to move.

“…Bangtan Boys!

Everyone stopped what they were doing. From the distance they saw a camera men and his assistant running towards them.

“What is going on?” Jungkook asked cautiously. Their coordinators and manager also looked confused.

A second assistant holding up camera lights came running towards them and Namjoon took a step backwards as a reflex.

“Holy shit,” Taehyung muttered.

“No way,” Seokjin said.

The camera got shoved in Namjoon’s face and the members swiftly gathered around him.

“What is going on?” Jungkook asked again and Yoongi began to have a funny feeling in his stomach. He looked around and saw their staff gasping and scurrying away out of the view of the camera. The staff looked ready to burst with excitement. Yoongi couldn’t comprehend anything.

Then the host came running, holding up a microphone, and a trophy, and being accompanied by a second camera crew. They quickly joined the bundle of camera assistants in front of the boys. In the ugly, and poorly lit backstage area between all the stage equipment and mess, did the host shove the microphone under Namjoon’s face.

“You won artist of the year!” the host yelled over the noise from the crowd and the award music playing on the stage. “You are live on air right now!”

“Shit,” Namjoon said without thinking, right through the microphone. Their staff started cheering in the back.

Hoseok laughed surprised and swatted at Namjoon. Seokjin clasped his hands before his face like Jimin. Jungkook was still looking confused. Taehyung urged Namjoon to speak up, and Namjoon did. He drawled out thank-you’s, and ‘we never expected this’, and ‘this is such an honour’.

Yoongi stayed in the back. He kept quiet as his vision blurred. He suddenly felt arms around him, patting his back. They found themselves in an embrace. Someone shoved the award in his arms. He heard Namjoon talking through the microphone again.

“…let’s fly with our beautiful wings…”

 “Oh my god,” Yoongi got out. He looked up and saw the smiling and teary eyed faced of his members. “We did it!”

It being ‘their year’. They had done everything and more than they could have expected with the launch of their own album. They had done it despite everything. They had won against the director – against the naysayers and everyone who had left the company in their rise. They used to have nothing but their pride to lose, but right now they got more things than they could ever imagine.

It was the exhaustion of their performance, of the night and of the entire year. Yoongi found himself in an embracement with Namjoon. He couldn’t stop crying. He couldn’t believe anything.

 

[The rise of Bangtan]

“Please ARMY, remember what we say: Love myself, love yourself.”

-

 

“…partners of UNICEF’s end violence campaign…”

-

 

“Love yourself, love myself. Peace!”

-

 

“First stadium concert in the US”

-

 

“… to give a speech at the UN and on the cover of Time Magazine!”

-

 

“For your Grammy consideration…”

-

 

“Burn The Stage the Movie breaks records!”

-

 

“Hey, should we go on a vacation?”

“Yeah, why not?”

“I want to go Jeju Island!”

 

[A manifestation of all of their personalities coming together]

Namjoon opened the door to his studio and was surprised to find Jungkook sprawled out on his couch. He was awake but didn’t respond to Namjoon entering and sitting at his desktop.

Namjoon merely shook his head and started up his computer. He got everything set and opened some of the files he had been working on. He reached out for his coffee only to realise that he didn’t have any.

He turned around to get some, and was faced by Jungkook’s glance.

“Hey,” the younger said.

“Hey,” Namjoon responded.

“What are you doing?”

“Getting coffee. You want some?”

“No.”

“Cool. Are you okay?”

Jungkook nodded. “Just thinking.”

Namjoon looked amused at the younger. He was lounging in his sweatpants and sweater. His hair hidden in his hoodie, his eyes wide open like the first time they met “And how is that going for you?”

Jungkook shrugged. “I think I’m happy.”

Namjoon paused. He looked carefully around, but there was nothing he could find to rationalise Jungkook’s sudden statement. “Really?”

“Really.” Jungkook nodded and got up. He send Namjoon a quick smile. “Don’t worry. I’ll go get your coffee.”

With that, the younger left Namjoon alone. Namjoon sunk back in his chair and thought of what to make of Jungkook’s statement.

He could go on a exaggerated rationale that would include Jungkook’s age, personality and environment for him to so seemingly effortlessly come to such conclusion. But Namjoon had nothing to gain by that, and he should be grateful.

Jungkook was the embodiment of all of their youth, their traits, and their aspirations. For him to state something so simple, yet beautiful, despite everything that they’ve been through was more like a promise than an artefact to be examined.

Jungkook was happy. His brothers were happy to be a part of that.