It’s Yoongi who comes out first. Well, he doesn’t so much as come out as he does stand in the entrance of the closet with the door open, in full view, waiting for someone to notice. That is to say, he doesn’t actively tell them.
It’s all in the subtleties with him. The lyrics of his rap verses, both on his tracks for BTS and on his solo work, slowly get more and more obvious. “Whether you’re a guy or a girl my tongue will make you come” becomes outright blowjob references and lines about broad shoulders and stubble. BangPD makes him change the stuff that’s a little too obvious, even for them, but not before the members see it. So the point is, they all know. That he’s bi, or pan, or whatever, but he’s never outright told them.
That’s why it comes as a surprise when he does mention it aloud. When he stops just standing in the closet door waiting to be seen and steps out, brandishing a flag. It’s during an American interview – the last one before they end the tour and go home for a well-earned break. Later, Namjoon will wonder if that was intentional on Yoongi’s part. If he knew that the American press would take it better than the Korean, if he wanted it breaking to their international fans before it broke back home.
The interviewer is a young woman who clearly doesn’t know a whole lot about the band. They’re bigger now, much bigger than they first started touring the American press circuit, when it was a given that nobody would really know who they were. But there are still a couple of interviewers, like this woman, who have clearly done some frantic googling before they arrive. This, however, also helps to smooth Yoongi’s coming out. Namjoon has no idea if he planned it that way.
The question is on dating. A topic they’ve answered so many times that at this point, they desperately do anything to make the answer interesting for fans who are watching, fans who are also sick of the dating question. This time, Jin does the honors of changing tact, pointing out that Jeongguk has been in the band since he was practically a baby, and has the least experience of any of them. Namjoon is halfway through translating his answer for the interviewer when Yoongi cuts across him.
“I’m bisexual,” he says in English, waving his hand.
Namjoon stops mid-translation. He turns to Yoongi, sure he’s misheard. “A bit sexual?” he clarifies, in English.
Yoongi shakes his head. “Bisexual,” he says, in Korean this time. He’s looking at Namjoon steadily, as if daring him not to translate. The damage is done already, the Korean fans who watch this interview will understand the exchange even if he tries to backtrack in English. Yoongi repeats himself.
“He’s saying he’s bisexual,” says Namjoon to the interviewer, because Yoongi’s English is still very accented, and he might as well make things as clear as possible.
The interviewer blinks. Namjoon can almost see the cogs turning in her head, see her trying to remember if this is common knowledge or if Yoongi has revealed something new. Evidently, she doesn’t seem to know. She glances at the producer, who’s hovering behind the cameraman’s shoulder. He shrugs.
“Oh,” she says, “Do you have anything to say to your LGBTQ fans here in America?”
Namjoon opens his mouth to translate, but Yoongi speaks before he can, clearly having understood the question. “Yes,” he says, “Just, love yourself.”
“Like the album?” asks the interviewer.
“Yes,” says Yoongi, “Love yourself.”
Hoseok flashes finger hearts on both hands and Jin pats Yoongi on the shoulder and that, as they say, is that.
There’s a lot of media attention, but none of them like to read the tabloids. Namjoon knows that Yoongi’s coming out makes it into the actual, real news as well. He’s not the first openly LGBT idol, but he’s easily the biggest. The managers run damage control. Yoongi isn’t punished, because there’s no undoing it anyway. The online support is overwhelmingly positive, a lot of fans claiming that they already knew; MinYoongi, LoveYourself and BTS trend on Twitter. All publicity is good publicity, and all that.
Well, except for the brand deals that mysteriously drop their sponsorships and the variety shows who suddenly decide that they don’t want them anymore. But those things are minor, in the grand scheme of things. Their streaming figures remain high – higher, even, all their music videos getting more hits as people come to take a look at the band with the bisexual member. Their album sales remain good. Nobody comes to take away their awards, and they’re still invited to the BBMAs and the MAMAs.
Yoongi’s sexuality doesn’t really come up again until they’re working on their next album. They’ve got a reputation, now, for being progressive. BangPD takes Namjoon aside and says that the fans might be expecting Yoongi to make direct reference to his sexuality now, which he’s free to do, but the same rules about his lyrics apply: nothing too sexual, no male pronouns, a general message of self-love and acceptance. Right.
“What, does he think that now I’m out I’m going to start rapping about sucking dick?” asks Yoongi hotly, as they’re sat round the table discussing album concepts. Namjoon winces.
“I mean,” says Taehyung, “you already do that.”
Yoongi glares at him. “I’m classy about it.”
“You’re really not,” says Jin.
“It doesn’t matter,” says Namjoon, “because we’re going to ignore him, anyway.”
“If Yoongi writes a song about sucking dick, someone else is singing the chorus,” says Jeongguk.
Taehyung’s hand is immediately in the air. “I’ll do it.”
Jin starts laughing, which sets off Taehyung and Jimin immediately.
“Nobody is writing a song about sucking dick,” says Namjoon, “but we’re also not going to pretend like Yoongi’s coming out didn’t happen. Yoongi, just write about what you’re feeling, same as always. I’ll do the same. The managers want us to carry on with the theme of Love Yourself, which we can easily do. But what about the sound?”
Hoseok looks thoughtful. “I think we should go back to our roots a bit,” he says, “We can’t sing about being underdogs anymore because it would just sound ingenuine, and none of us are young enough for a school theme, but I think we could bring a little bit of the anger back.”
“Maybe do another Cypher?” suggests Yoongi, thoughtfully, “And I’ve got a beat that might work for the title track – it’s closer to Danger than Idol, though.”
“If we’re going back to our roots, I want to rap,” says Jeongguk firmly, “let me rap on the title track.”
Namjoon raises his eyebrows. He hadn’t realized that Jeongguk missed rapping. “I don’t have a problem with it. Hoseok, Yoongi?”
“It’s fine by me,” says Yoongi. Hoseok nods, grinning widely. Jimin leans over to ruffle Jeongguk’s hair.
“I’ll help you write your own verse,” says Namjoon. Jeongguk nods, his expression determined.
“So, we’re all agreed on going a bit darker, then?” asks Jin. There’s a flurry of agreement around the table.
“I’ll work on BangPD-nim,” says Namjoon, “Get him to lift the pronoun ban, at least.”
The look Yoongi sends him is quietly thankful. Namjoon shoots him a close-mouthed smile.
When Namjoon shares their plans for a more classic BTS sound with their managers, he frames it as a deliberate choice to remind the world that despite Yoongi’s coming out they’re still the same band. Privately, they decide to use the angrier sound for an angrier message: accept us for who we are, or fuck off. Since it’s Yoongi’s beat and message to spread, he takes the reigns on writing and producing. He creates spaces for Hoseok, Namjoon and Jeongguk to write their own verses, and is deeply private about his own.
It’s late, and it’s just Namjoon, Jin and Hoseok in the living room. The youngest three are God knows where, and Yoongi’s still at the studio. He and Jin had been watching a movie on the couch when Hoseok had come in, throwing himself between them and immediately tucking his head into Jin’s shoulder.
“Urg,” he says, “This comeback’s barely off the ground and I’m already close to death.”
Jin pats his hair soothingly. “Bad day?”
Hoseok groans again, twisting so his face is more firmly mushed against the other’s chest and kicking his feet up into Namjoon’s lap. Namjoon gets ahold of his ankles, smiling slightly at Hoseok’s theatrics.
“Yoongi is going to be the death of me,” he says with feeling.
Namjoon assumes he’s talking about the track. He’s listened to the draft Yoongi’s created already – it’s good. Unpolished, but real potential, and more than enough to begin writing lyrics for. He’s got a copy on his phone; he’s been listening to it, brainstorming, but he hasn’t got any good ideas for his own verse yet.
“I’m having the same problem,” he says.
Hoseok’s feet slither out of Namjoon’s lap and he turns to face him. “Excuse me?”
“I’m stuck on my part of the song,” he says, a little embarrassed by Hoseok’s disbelief. It’s not like he never gets writer’s block.
“Oh,” says Hoseok, tension breaking, “I don’t mean about that.” he doesn’t elaborate, dragging a hand over his face in an uncharacteristically tired gesture. Jin rubs a hand over his shoulder, his face understanding. Namjoon starts to realize he’s missing something.
“Have you talked to him yet?” asks Jin.
“Well, I went to the studio to talk,” says Hoseok irritably, his face flushing a little, “it just… didn’t happen.”
He buries his face back into Jin’s chest and sighs dramatically, looping his arms around the elder’s neck. “Why does he have to be so… like that?” he says, giving Namjoon exactly no context clues in which to begin to understand the situation.
He catches Jin’s eye with some difficulty, because Jin is busy staring down at the top of Hoseok’s head. Jin shrugs a little, glancing down at Hoseok like, ‘it’s his to tell.’
Namjoon gives up on subtlety – if there’s some kind of disagreement going on within the group, he has to know about it. “What’s Yoongi done?” he says.
“Existed,” says Hoseok, his voice muffled by Jin’s shirt.
Jin makes a pitying noise, then looks back up at Namjoon meaningfully. Namjoon knows Jin is trying to tell him something with his eyes. However, while he and Jin share a far bit of nonverbal communication, he isn’t really sure what this particular expression is meant to convey. It’s a little bit like the don’t get mad they were just having fun look that he pulls whenever Taehyung and Jimin have been caught doing something ridiculous.
“What’s Yoongi done?” Namjoon asks again.
“Nothing, exactly,” says Jin, “Hoseok’s just… having a bit of a crisis.”
“Not true,” says Hoseok, “Yoongi-hyung’s done a lot of stuff. Done some good stuff with his tongue that–”
“Ok,” says Jin firmly, cutting him off. The puzzle pieces are starting to come together in Namjoon’s mind. “Hoseok-ah, can I tell him?”
Hoseok nods, not lifting his head from Jin’s chest. Jin sighs. “Recently, Yoongi and Hoseok have been… seeing each other. To relieve some tension.”
“You’re sleeping together?” says Namjoon loudly, finally catching on. Hoseok jerks out of Jin’s chest to shush him. “Sorry,” he says, lowering his voice. “Hoseok, I didn’t know you were…”
“Neither did I,” says Hoseok grimly. “At first I thought I was just horny. But then… Yoongi-hyung’s good.”
Jin wrinkles his nose. Namjoon shares the sentiment. “So you’re not…?”
“Straight? Apparently not.”
“He’s been trying to come out to Yoongi,” says Jin, “but every time he tries, it doesn’t happen.”
“What’s the problem?” Namjoon asks.
“I get as far as mentioning that we need to talk about the fact we’re sleeping together, and he practically pounces on me. And then I get understandably distracted.”
Namjoon can feel himself going red. Jin is watching him with amusement, a little smirk playing on his lips. Namjoon doesn’t think it’s fair that Jin gets to look attractive when he’s laughing at him. “Right,” he says weakly.
Jin asks the next question. “Hoseok-ah, do you have feeling for Yoongi?”
Hoseok blinks. “I don’t think so? I just like having his dick in my—”
“Ok, I’ve heard enough,” says Jin loudly, half-pushing Hoseok off his lap. “Hobi, I know it’s hard, but you should definitely try and talk to him. Maybe in a public place where he can’t jump you.”
“Yeah,” says Namjoon, “he’d probably like to know he’s not the only not-straight person in the group.”
Hoseok frowns. “But—”
“I’m officially sick of this conversation and going to bed,” says Jin suddenly, pushing Hoseok the rest of the way off him and standing up. He gives Hoseok a look. “Don’t talk about me when I’m gone.”
Jin vanishes down the hallway to his own room, barely stopping to wish them goodnight. Then it’s just Hoseok and Namjoon on the couch.
Namjoon opens his mouth to speak but Hoseok cuts him off, “Look, before you say anything, you didn’t tell us we couldn’t sleep with bandmates.”
Namjoon blinks. “Should I have?”
Hoseok seems to deflate. “You’re not about to tell me off?”
Namjoon frowns. “Is... did you think I would?”
Hoseok looks just as confused as Namjoon feels. He adjusts himself on the sofa so he’s looking directly at Namjoon. “You’re the leader,” he says.
“Well, yeah,” says Namjoon, “But, like, that doesn’t mean anything. Jin-hyung’s the oldest.”
“We were under the impression you’d... uh. Well, it seems silly now, but Hyung and I thought it was better if you didn’t know we were sleeping together because you’d worry it’d mess with the group dynamic.”
Namjoon feels kind of worried now. “Has it?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Well, it’s not a problem, then. Anyway, didn’t you say you don’t have feelings for him?”
“I..” says Hoseok, “yeah, I did say that.”
Namjoon leans over to clap him on the shoulder. “It’s not a problem. Maybe don’t tell management, but I don’t have a problem with it, ok?” Namjoon laughs, running a hand over his face. “God, it’s so weird that you guys would actually think that...”
“Well, that’s why Tae and Jimin haven’t...” Hoseok’s eyes widen comically. “Oh! Forget I said anything!”
“Are Tae and Jimin sleeping together?” he asks dully. Yoongi and Hoseok didn’t worry him. Two consenting adults, no feelings involved, just letting off steam. But Taehyung and Jimin were a) young and b) wildly unpredictable.
Hoseok holds up his hands, “No, seriously, I actually have no idea. It’s a theory. Yoongi’s theory. Personally, I thought Taehyung and Jeongguk were a thing.”
Briefly, Namjoon considers delving deeper into this theory of Yoongi’s. If he’s being honest, the entire maknae line could be sleeping with each other – any combination wouldn’t surprise him more than any other. But the idea of Jeongguk sleeping with anyone was making him feel vaguely ill, and it really, truly, was not any of his business.
“You alright there, Namjoon?”
“I regret this entire conversation.”
“Hard same,” says Hoseok, shuddering a little. “I’m following Jin-hyung’s example and going to bed.”
“Sounds reasonable,” says Namjoon, and he leaves soon after.
If he thought he’d be able to sleep comfortably after the news that two of his band mates were sleeping together, he was wrong. He spends at least an hour after he gets into bed thinking about it, and he can’t even work out why.
If he had to put a name on the emotion spiraling in his stomach, it’d be jealousy. But that’s not quite right, and anyway, he’s not jealous of either Yoongi or Hoseok. He’s not jealous of Taehyung and Jimin, or Jimin and Jeongguk, or whichever combination of the maknae that may or may not be in a relationship. Maybe, maybe, he could be jealous of the fact Yoongi and Hoseok are having regular sex. But then, that made very little sense, because Namjoon doesn’t particularly care for having sex – he certainly never felt like he was missing out by being an idol. Sleeping around isn’t really his thing, never has been.
He falls asleep without figuring it out, and in the morning, the feeling’s gone.
When Jimin shows up outside his studio, still sweaty from dance practice, Namjoon's grateful to see him.
“Jimin-ah, are you here about the song with Taehyung and Jin-hyung?” He’s been working on a song for the new album but he'd like Jimin's input on it. He’d designed it as a group piece for the vocalists, but he’s been wondering if it wouldn’t suit Jimin as a solo track better, and this is the perfect time to ask.
“Er—” says Jimin, “kind of? I mean we can talk about that as well.”
Intrigued, Namjoon motions for Jimin to sit down. he does so gratefully, lounging a little on his seat and wiping a palm over his brow. “Hoseok-hyung’s still at it,” he says. “Well, unless he’s gone to see Yoongi-hyung.”
Namjoon feels an urge to ask if Jimin knows those two are sleeping together but figures he probably shouldn’t let it slip if he doesn’t. Instead, he asks a different question: “How’s the choreo coming along?”
Jimin shrugs. “It’s good,” he says, “tricky, though. You and Jin-hyung will need to learn it sooner rather than later, I think.”
“Urg,” he says, leaning back. “Nice way to say we’re going to be hopeless.”
Jimin looks put out. “You’re not hopeless,” he says, “You’re both really good. Particularly considering you don’t come from dance backgrounds.”
See, this? This is why Namjoon likes Jimin. His positivity radiates. “Thanks,” he says, “so what did you come in here to talk about, if not the song?”
Jimin looks down at his hands. “Er— well. It’s kind of about the song.”
He looks conflicted. “Do you not like it?” Namjoon asks, “because it’s still early stages, and I think the managers are going to change it up when we record it, anyway.”
“No, it’s not— well, it’s just... I was wondering if...” Jimin appears to be struggling, stepping around something. “I was wondering if you were planning on giving it to me? Like, as a solo?”
Namjoon feels his eyebrows raise. he was going to, yeah, but it wasn’t like Jimin to assume. Ask for the song, sure, he was confident enough in his abilities to know when his voice was the best fit... but outright assuming was unusual. Jimin seems to sense his surprise and straightens up a little.
“Oh, that sounded really bad. I don’t mean like you have to give it to me, but if you were planning to make me the lead singer—”
“You’re already the lead on it.”
“Well, yes, but I mean...” he runs a hand through his hair, but it’s harried. “I’m going to ask you a favor, but it’s the kind of change that’s a much bigger deal if it’s not only me singing it, is all.”
Namjoon thinks about it. “I’m not sure it’ll sound right in a higher key—” he begins, but Jimin cuts him off.
“Not that! I was wondering if... if we could change the pronouns.”
Namjoon blinks. The song – a love song about wanting someone you can’t have – uses female pronouns. But Jimin’s right, usually they stick to ‘you’. It’s more personal, the fans like it when they can imagine they’re being sung to directly, it’s also gender neutral which Yoongi always likes.
“Oh,” he says, “That’s all? I mean, we could, but there’s that bit where you describe her appearance that might be weird in second person.”
Jimin shakes his head, and then closes his eyes briefly. He takes a deep breath - inhales, exhales, before he speaks. “I’m gay.”
“Oh,” says Namjoon.
“Yeah,” says Jimin, looking back at his hands in his lap.
“Oh!” says Namjoon again, getting it. “Oh, so if it’s a solo song, you want it to be more personal! Are you coming out to the media, then?”
Jimin shrugs. “Maybe. I thought since the album’s going back to our love yourself message, and we have Yoongi-hyung, it might be nice to have a queer song either way.” He looks at Namjoon critically. “You don’t seem surprised.”
Namjoon thinks about it. He didn’t know Jimin was gay, obviously, but he also had never known for sure he was straight – Jimin had never really mentioned it either way. He’d always assumed straight because, well, it was probably bad to say, but it was kind of the default. It was a surprise, but maybe it shouldn’t have been. “I am a bit,” he admitted, “I’m about 90% of the way with persuading BangPD-nim to let us use male pronouns anyway, but I’ll have to talk to the managers about a change like that—”
“I can do it,” says Jimin, “I just wanted to know if you were ok doing it. It’s your song, you wrote it.”
“I co-wrote it,” he says, which is true. “Are you sure you’re ok speaking to them? I mean, I’ve got less emotional involvement, it might be easier for me to—”
“No,” Jimin says, “I want to.”
Namjoon nods, not pushing it. He feels, weirdly, rather proud of Jimin. Like he really is his older brother. He leans over and ruffles his hair and Jimin pushes him off.
“Ok,” he says, “You wanted to work on the song?”
He plays Jimin the demo and they make some tweaks, changes. Namjoon figures it’d be best with Jimin soloing for the verses, but maybe use the others for the backing vocals in the recording. It might make a nice intro track. Before they leave, Namjoon hazards to ask, “Who knows about you being gay?”
Jimin grins. “The whole group, now,” he says, “You were the last one I told.”
Namjoon wonders if he should feel annoyed he was last on the list, but he thinks he gets it. He’s the leader, after all, maybe Jimin didn’t want to tell him until he was ok with the managers knowing, in case Namjoon claimed he had to share it. “Congratulations,” he says warmly.
Jimin grins even wider, his eyes crinkling.
“Hyung! I heard you agreed to make Jimin’s song gay!”
Namjoon pushes a rather clingy Taehyung off him, the younger having practically jumped on him when he’d come into the room.
“He did!” Jimin says, coming in after Namjoon and shrugging of his coat.
“Another score for the queers,” says Taehyung. “There are more of us than you, now Jimin’s out.”
Namjoon frowns. “No there’s not,” he says, counting Yoongi, Hoseok and Jimin in his head.
“Oh!” says Taehyung, “Right, I forgot. Hyung, I’m a raging homosexual, surprise.”
Namjoon’s still trying to process this when Jeongguk wonders into the entrance hall, “I heard raging homosexual, are we talking about you or Jimin-hyung?”
Jimin bounds over to Jeongguk to pull him into a hug while Taehyung snorts with laughter. “Imagine Namjoon-hyung’s face if Jimin hadn’t told him yet and you said that, Guk.”
Jeongguk snorts, “His face is still pretty good,” he says from over Jimin’s shoulder. Jimin releases him from the hug, stepping back to look at Namjoon’s expression himself.
Namjoon realizes his mouth is still hanging open. he closes it. He suddenly feels very, very old. “In my defense, Taehyung literally only just came out to me. In about as different a way from Jimin as possible.”
“I think you broke him, Tae,” says Jimin, “That was mean.”
Taehyung pats his shoulder consolingly. “It’s ok, hyung. You’re like our token straight friend.”
Namjoon almost says “Jeongguk's straight” but stops himself when he realizes Jeongguk could very well say “no I’m not” and he’d look like even more of an idiot. He looks at Jeongguk. Jeongguk wiggles his eyebrows. Yep, Namjoon is suddenly pretty sure Jeongguk isn’t straight either.
There’s a kind of resignation to Namjoon's decision to look up gay porn that evening. He kind of figures hey, if literally four out of seven of them aren’t straight (maybe five out of seven, if he includes Jeongguk) then maybe he isn’t either. After all, he’d never tried it, had he? He tries to be as open minded as possible, so how does he know he isn’t queer if he’d never actually given it a go?
Although Namjoon has a reputation in the dorm for watching a lot of porn, the truth is he really doesn’t do it a lot. The one time he had, he'd given the studio computer a virus and hadn’t really enjoyed the experience anyway. Maybe that’s his issue - maybe he hadn’t liked it since it was straight porn, and he should try the gay stuff before giving up on the whole endeavor.
So, immensely thankful that they now all have their own rooms, he carefully double and triple checks his headphones are plugged into his laptop and gets to googling.
Ten minutes later, he closes his laptop with a horrified snap. So. Not secretly gay this whole time, then.
Their comeback is closer than ever. Jimin's track – now a solo with the other vocalists' blessings – is going to be the song they use for the trailer, and it's finally all finished, male pronouns and all.
Their title track comes together nicely. It’s so heavy on the rap it’s almost a Cypher: the rap line plus Jeongguk all have their own moments to shine, with the other vocalists on the bridge and chorus. It’s an amazing song – really classic BTS, much angrier than the tracks on Love Yourself with an unapologetically political stance. BangPD looked about ready to cry when he realized how much stink it would inevitably cause, but he’s supported them with it.
They're all crushed into the studio to hear the final mix. Namjoon realizes, suddenly, that he never actually heard Yoongi’s final rap – he’d still been fiddling with the lyrics when he'd played Namjoon the version with his, Hoseok and Jeongguk's verses added.
The track starts. They’ve all heard the opening – a sample of a 90s western track made almost unrecognizable by Yoongi's pitch shifting and other tweaks, but they're all nodding along anyway.
Then the first verse starts, opening with Namjoon. He'd been proud of his verse, choosing to rap about how travelling around the world with Bangtan has allowed him to see the different ways that diversity is celebrated, how it makes him realize there are countries where queer people were winning music awards, and that his bandmates deserve to be among them.
His verse slides into Jeongguk's – Namjoon had helped him with it, and he knows the words well. Taehyung and Jimin slap him on the back as Jeongguk smiles widely, excited to be an honorary part of the rap line once again.
His lyrics are similar to Namjoon's in tone, but he’s a little angrier. He points out that they, their generation, should be better than this. That he’s got fire in his heart and his friends to fight for. Jeongguk mouths the words as they reach them, his eyes defiant. Yoongi, Namjoon notices, looks incredibly proud.
Then the chorus – still angry, but a little more reflective. Jin and Taehyung take the lead with Jimin harmonizing aloud them. There's an English word, individual, which they repeat several times.
And then Hoseok's verse. Namjoon's already heard it, and he glances at Yoongi, looking for his reaction. In it, Hoseok raps about discovery, about identity, and about someone who helped him realize it’s ok to be his true self. Namjoon's hoping to see recognition in Yoongi's eyes, for the other to realize that the friend he’s talking about it Yoongi. But he doesn’t seem to make the connection, or rather, he seems distracted. Namjoon thinks he looks a little sick, to be honest.
Then it's another chorus, and the bridge - the vocalists have done an amazing job with it, Jeongguk’s voice finally mixing with the other three – and then Yoongi's verse.
There's palpable tension in the studio as Yoongi starts. He raps first about coming out in an American interview, about never hiding being bi, about having a friend who modelled being proud of who they are. Namjoon wonders if he means somebody from Daegu, since he seems to be taking about a queer friend specifically, and calls him hyung. Jimin's voice cuts in unexpectedly in the backing vocals, to echo Yoongi's words. Five pairs of eyes swivel to Jimin, who goes slightly pink. It’s sweet, the implication being that Yoongi was that for Jimin, and it’s a perfect addition.
Then Yoongi raps about his first experience with a man - nothing graphic, but explicit enough that it'll raise eyebrows in the industry. Namjoon's watching Yoongi. They're all watching Yoongi again, who looks sheepish and embarrassed at the attention, even as Jin rubs his shoulder and Taehyung beams at him.
Then, finally, there’s a line. The line. “And now being with men is normal enough that I can fall in love with a straight one who sees me as a learning curve.”
Before, Namjoon had thought the maknae were all aware of what had been going on between Hoseok and Yoongi. Now he realizes they weren’t, because only he and Jin turn to look at Hoseok.
Hoseok looks stricken. Nobody says anything for a long second. Yoongi is looking at his hands. Hoseok stands up. “Yoongi—” he begins, but Yoongi shakes his head. The final chorus begins without anybody listening to it.
“Not now, Hoseok-ah.”
Everyone is holding their breath. Jimin, Taehyung and Jeongguk are looking between Hoseok and Yoongi with matching expressions of shocked comprehension. “No,” says Hoseok, grabbing hold of Young’s sleeve and pulling at it. “Now, hyung.”
Yoongi allows himself to be pulled up and then, without so much as a look at the rest of them, Hoseok pulls him out of the room.
The track starts to repeat. Jin leans over and turns it off.
“Holy shit,” says Taehyung, breaking the silence. “Holy. Shit.”
“I suppose Hoseok never got around to telling Yoongi he wasn’t straight, huh?” says Jin.
“You knew?” says Jeongguk, eyes comically wide. “Oh my gosh, poor Yoongi-hyung.”
“Poor Hoseok-hyung,” says Jimin. “I hope they work it out.”
Something is occurring to Namjoon. He looks at Tae accusingly, “I thought you already knew about Hoseok,” he says.
Taehyung blinks, “No,” he says, “why?”
Because of that comment about over half the group being queer. But then, he probably meant Jeongguk. Namjoon shakes his head.
“I’m going to go and find them,” says Jimin, “not to interrupt them!” he says as Jin shoots him a warning look, “Just to check they’re alright.”
“Yeah,” says Taehyung, “That’s – that’s probably a good idea. Kookie?”
Jeongguk nods and gets up, following his hyungs out of the door. Then it’s just Namjoon and Jin in the recording studio.
“Well,” says Namjoon, “That was awkward.”
“Just a bit,” says Jin. “I think you handled that very well, Joon-ah.”
“I didn’t do anything.”
“Exactly,” says Jin, “Which was probably best for everyone.”
He’s got a teasing smile on his face. Namjoon shoves his shoulder, face warm for no good reason.
“After this comeback, we’re definitely going to be known as the gay group,” he says, sighing. He's not upset about it, but he knows the backlash will be worse than it has been already.
Jin frowns at him. “And that bothers you?”
“Not like that,” Namjoon clarifies, “I’m just dreading the negative media attention.”
Jin’s frown deepens. “We knew that there’d be backlash. Did you want Jimin to stay closeted?”
“What?” says Namjoon, “No, of course not! I’m proud of him, and of Hoseok. I just wish they didn't have to put up with people talking shit.”
The crease between Jin’s eyebrows smooths. He looks at the monitor, paused on their new track. “What are the chances those three walk in on Hoseok and Yoongi making out?” His eyes are mischievous.
“Hyung, don’t make me picture it.”
“Come on, what are betting?”
“I’m not betting!” says Namjoon firmly, but then adds, “But if I were, I’d say pretty high, to be honest. Hoseok looked like he was on a mission.”
“It’s quite the transformation,” says Jin, nodding, “Considering he managed to sleep with Yoongi for months before he figured out he wasn’t straight.”
“When did he tell you?” asks Namjoon, curious. He leans back in his chair, happy to sit a little longer in Jin’s comforting presence, in no hurry to leave the studio and deal with whatever kind of high emotional state the rest of the group will be in.
“Pretty early on. Well, he asked me a very obvious question and I figured it out.” Jin grimaces at the memory, and Namjoon leans forward, even more curious.
“What did he ask?”
Jin screws up his nose. “If blowjobs were gay.”
“Giving or receiving?” asks Namjoon, mostly to keep the cute look of horror on Jin’s face. It doesn’t disappoint – the nose crinkles stay and Jin slaps his arm.
“Yah!” He says, “Dirty mind! I didn’t ask for clarification!”
Namjoon sniggers, spinning a little in his chair. “Why did he ask you and not, like, Jimin? I get that you’re his hyung, but you and I are literally the only straight guys in the group.”
Jin takes a moment to answer. The crease reappears between his eyes. “What gives you that impression?”
“Well, I mean, I think Jeongguk and Taehyung—” he begins, mimicking Hoseok’s suspicions from days ago.
“Right,” says Jin. “Jeongguk.”
“I mean, I don’t know for sure…” he says, trailing off. The atmosphere in the room has changed, and he wonders if Jin’s pissed he didn’t know. “They always tell me last about this stuff,” he tries.
Jin gets up. “We should probably go and round up the kids before Yoongi and Hoseok start either fighting or fucking at work.”
It’s Namjoon’s turn to screw up his nose in disgust and Jin laughs heartily, but there’s still a weird kind of tension as he leaves the room.
Namjoon hovers, for a moment. he doesn’t quite want to leave and face everything. But then he logs Yoongi off, and leaves the room.
The dorm is quiet when he gets back. He doesn’t wait to work out who’s in their rooms and who’s still at the studio. Instead, he heads straight to his bedroom and shuts the door behind him, sitting down heavily on his bed. He doesn’t even turn on the lights.
A few months ago, if you’d asked him, he’d have said he doubted Yoongi would ever officially come out. And now four, if not five, of their members are LGBTQ in some way, and Jin looks at him weirdly when he says they were the only straight ones.
Namjoon has never really thought about being straight before. It’s just something he is because everyone else is. It doesn’t require any thinking. In fact, his sexuality is one of the only aspects of him as a person he hasn’t over-reflected on or nitpicked at some point.
He’s straight. Simple as. He’s straight, and he’s in his 20s, and he’s never slept with anyone before that first time when he realized he didn’t like it all that much. He’s straight, which was why he’d used women as sexual objects in his rap when he was starting up, and had been so deeply relieved when he realized it’s not what his (largely female) fanbase wants. He’s straight but he doesn’t watch porn. He’s straight, but he’s never actually had feelings for a girl.
Namjoon lets himself fall onto his sheets, his feet still on the ground, staring up at the ceiling. Is he even straight?
He pulls his phone from his back pocket of his jeans with some difficulty, holding it at eye level above his head. In the dark of the room, his screen glares unpleasantly.
Straight but never been in love with a girl he types into the search bar. The results are kind of useless.
Straight but don’t like sex, he tries, googling in English after the Korean results fail him. A couple of articles on female sexuality, an erectile dysfunction ad, and, a little further down the page, some stuff about asexuality.
How do you know if you’re asexual, he googles next.
Difference between sexual and romantic attraction, comes after that.
Asexual how do you know if you have a crush on someone, his next query into the search bar.
Namjoon can feel himself getting a little panicky as he reads blog posts and clicks links and watches informational videos that he ends up closing before they’re finished, his heart racing.
The thing is that once you take sexual attraction out of the picture, it’s a lot harder to brush off some of the stuff he feels about Jin as platonic. Because sure, he thinks Jin is gorgeous and he wants him in his life forever, but that can arguably be brushed of as just a bro thing. But a lot of these accounts, about how romantic attraction feels when you’re asexual – they talk about wanting to see them smile, about wanting their attention and wanting to touch them, but not in a sexual way. About wanting to come home to them.
He doesn’t realize that he’s on the verge of a panic attack until he tries to take a breath and it gets caught in his throat. His lungs are heaving, and his heart is racing. He taps the first contact in his favorites that his thumb lands on. They pick up.
“Namjoon-ah?” comes Yoongi’s voice through the speakers, “This really is not a good time.”
“Hyung?” he says, and he hates how raspy his voice sounds, how clearly panicked he is.
“Shit,” says Yoongi’s voice, “Are you ok?”
“I think I’m—” Namjoon stops to gasp more air, “I think I’m having a panic attack?”
“Christ,” says Yoongi, “Are you at the dorm? Wait, shit, Hoseok says he can hear you, you’re in your room. I’m coming.”
The phone disconnects and Namjoon hears doors slamming, realizes that Yoongi must have been in the dorm the whole time. A moment later, the door to his room door opens and the light switches on.
“Don’t try to talk,” says Yoongi, “Just breath, ok?”
He crosses the room in quick strides and sits down on the bed next to Namjoon. “Nod if I can touch you,” he says. Namjoon nods, and Yoongi places a calming hand on his leg. “Ok,” he says, “Try to match my breathing.”
Yoongi breathes steadily and more importantly loudly, so that Namjoon can hear him over the ringing in his ears. It takes what feels like forever, Yoongi holding his leg in one hand and rubbing his back with the other. But Yoongi never stops his deep breathing and slowly Namjoon’s own breathing starts to even out. Yoongi takes his hands when Namjoon feels steady.
Namjoon stares at his lap. “Sorry,” he says.
“Don’t apologize,” says Yoongi.
“You were finally talking to Hoseok,” says Namjoon, “I interrupted.”
“We’d, uh,” Yoongi rubs the back of his neck, “We’d kind of finished with the talking part, to be honest.”
“Gross,” says Namjoon.
“Shut up,” says Yoongi, but he’s smiling, which is nice. “You want to tell me what that was about?”
Namjoon hesitates, feeling a little silly. “I, uh, had a realization. And it made me panic a bit.”
Yoongi snorts. “A bit.”
“A lot,” says Namjoon, looking back at his hands. His phone is still clasped between them, the screen dark. “I’m… probably not straight, hyung.”
“Damn,” says Yoongi, “I think I owe Taehyung money.”
“You bet on me being asexual?” asks Namjoon.
“You’re asexual?” says Yoongi, “Huh. I guess that fits.”
“Yeah,” he says, looking down at his phone. “I guess so? That’s what the internet says.”
“That’s what made you freak out?” Yoongi probes.
“Kind of,” he says, “It was more… this description. Of what crushes feel like when you’re asexual.”
He can’t meet Yoongi’s eyes, it’s too embarrassing. Yoongi doesn’t say anything, clearly waiting for Namjoon to add more. He does. “I think I have a crush on Jin-hyung,” he says in a small voice.
“Oh,” says Yoongi, and then they are quiet for a very long time. “Given, uh, recent events, I think my advice would be to tell him,” says Yoongi, “And don’t let it fester.”
“Like you did?”
Yoongi slaps him lightly on the back of the head. “Yes, brat, like I did.”
Namjoon shakes his head. “At least you knew Hoseok wasn’t 100% straight because you were sleeping together.”
Yoongi stares at him. “Namjoon,” he says, “What do you think my bet with Taehyung was about?”
“Me not being straight?”
“No, idiot. When he came out to me, he bet me that every member of Bangtan was queer in some way.”
“Oh,” says Namjoon, “Then you don’t owe him anything. There’s still Jin-hyung.”
“You’re kidding,” says Yoongi. “Who do you think I was rapping about in our track?”
“Before that, idiot. The stuff about a hyung who helped me realize it was ok.”
“That was Jin-hyung?” he asks, confused.
“Ok, so this feels incredibly hypocritical of me to say but you two need to talk to each other,” says Yoongi. “Because Jin-hyung’s been out to us since before we debuted, and you somehow missed it.”
Namjoon feels a hundred lost conversational threads catching up with him. “That’s why Hoseok asked him if blowjobs were gay,” he says.
“He did what?” asks Yoongi, “Holy shit, he’s such an idiot. Why do I like him so much?”
Namjoon immediately feels bad. “You go back and be with Hoseok,” he says, “Thanks for coming in, but I’m ok now, I swear.”
Yoongi gets off the bed. “Talk to Seokjin-hyung.”
“He’s not home, so call him right now, ok?”
“Jeez, hyung, I said I will.”
“Good,” says Yoongi as he reaches the door, “because the last thing this group needs is more weird tension when we’ve just solved the last lot.”
Namjoon rolls his eyes. “Go be with your boyfriend.”
“He’s not—” starts Yoongi irritably, and then stops, his eyes wide, “Fuck, he’s totally my boyfriend.”
“Go,” says Namjoon, but he can feel himself smiling.
“He’s my boyfriend,” says Yoongi again, breaking out into a wide smile. He leaves the door ajar, and Namjoon can hear him shouting as he walks down the hall. “Hey, Hobi, you’re my boyfriend!”
From somewhere elsewhere in the dorm, Taehyung – or is it Jimin? – cheers.
Despite what he told Yoongi, he doesn’t call Jin. Instead, he sits on the sofa in the living room and waits for Jin to get home. Which he does, surprisingly late, a cap pulled low over his face.
“Oh,” he says, “I was expecting everyone to be in bed.”
“I stayed up,” says Namjoon, “Were you at the studio?”
“No, actually. I’ve just been walking around a bit.”
“Like that?” asks Namjoon, gesturing to his not-so-covered face.
Jin fishes huge pair of sunglasses and a flu mask out from his pocket. “I had these,” he says. He shrugs of his huge, puffy coat and pulls of his cap, sitting down on the sofa in just his pink hoodie and pants. “I’m glad you’re still up,” he says, “I wanted to talk.”
Namjoon is very aware this is the first time he’s seen Jin since his revelation. And he’s always known that Jin is gorgeous and that Jin is what makes the dorm feel like a home for him, but he’s just struck by how right it feels. Jin shrugging off his coat and sitting on the couch next to him, soft hair un-styled and falling over his forehead, socked feet on the polished floorboards. He doesn’t release Jin is waiting for a response until he coughs pointedly.
“Right,” says Namjoon. “I wanted to talk to you, too.”
“I’ll go first, if that’s ok?” says Jin, looking sheepish. “It’s just that I planned my speech before I came in here and I don’t want you to mess it up with your thing.”
Namjoon, who hasn’t planned his confession at all, suddenly feels deeply underprepared. He gestures for Jin to go on.
“Ok,” says Jin. “There’s something I’ve been keeping from you, and at first it wasn’t deliberate, but when I found out you didn’t know I started trying to keep it that way, which wasn’t cool of me. When we were still trainees, I came out as bisexual. And I don’t know, maybe it was just that it was an open secret that didn’t reach you, or maybe I just forgot I hadn’t already told you, but you didn’t know, and the rest of the group did. And by the time I realized you didn’t know, I decided that was for the best. But you took everyone else’s coming outs so well, and after your comment about us being the only straight ones, I realized it wasn’t fair of me to keep it from you any longer.”
Namjoon doesn’t say anything, but apparently his lack of surprise is enough. “You already know,” says Jin, “how?”
“Yoongi told me,” he says, “This afternoon.”
Namjoon should probably not find Jin’s pissed off face so adorable. “That snake! I told him not to tell you! I specifically told him!” He goes to get off the couch, but Namjoon clutches his arm.
“It was for good reason!” he says, “It’s to do with my thing I need to tell you.”
“Right,” says Jin, settling back down. “Your thing. Go on.”
“I’m—” Namjoon takes a deep breath. “I literally realized, like… today. But I’m maybe not straight either.”
“Maybe?” repeats Jin, eyebrows raised.
“It’s been like four hours, hyung, give me some time,” says Namjoon, weakly. “It’s kind of a big shift in world view. Yoongi’s the only one I’ve told and that’s only because he talked me down from a panic attack.”
“So you’re what? Bi?” asks Jin, leaning forward.
“No,” says Namjoon, “I’m asexual.”
“But you only like girls?” Jin presses, which honestly annoys Namjoon a bit.
“No,” he says slowly, “but that’s kind of not the important thing right now?”
Jin seems to snap out of it, sitting back again. “Sorry,” he says, “That was rude. Congratulations on discovering yourself.”
Namjoon bites the inside of his cheek. It would be so easy to just leave it there, but he did kind of promise Yoongi. “There was also a second revelation.”
Namjoon closes his eyes. It’s easier to say without Jin staring right at him. “I have a crush on you.”
Jin doesn’t say anything. Namjoon’s heart is pounding, and with his eyes closed he has no way to see the look on Jin’s face.
“Namjoonie,” says Jin eventually, voice soft, “Open your eyes.”
“Scale of one to ten,” says Namjoon, “How much have I fucked things up?”
“Zero,” says Jin, “Open your eyes?”
Namjoon opens his eyes. Jin is beaming at him.
“Good,” he says. “Namjoon?”
“I have a crush on you, too.”