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To Live

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 ❝We were together just up until yesterday.❞

-134340

 

 

Jungkook didn't know how much he cared for people until he met his hyungs. Didn't know how alone he was until he lived with them. He never knew their struggles until they spoke up years later. He didn't know how important they were in his success until he had to start over.

He didn't know what losing family was until he couldn't see them anymore.

He didn't know how desperately he missed his younger self, his hardworking, innocent naive self, filled with so many dreams and so many wishes for the future he lived in.


Jungkook thought he was hallucinating. Then a few days later, he thought he was just dreaming a really long dream. It wasn't until the second week when he accidentally injured himself while he practiced that he felt pain, and it scared Jungkook. He was scared of everything and nothing all at once. Scared that he didn't know what happened, that he was living by himself in the time when he didn't know who he was -and maybe he still didn't know who Jeon Jungkook was back then-now?

Then the pain eased away, the epiphany that was being in the past faded into the background and was forgotten after a few days of practicing in his thirteen-year-old body. Jungkook had lost himself in the music he had to learn the dance to, the extra hours of bodybuilding and vocal classes that he loved with a passion. It wasn't that he didn't care -no, he cared a lot, but he didn't have the luxury to stop and think much about the fact that he was in the past. So naturally, he ignored his thoughts and feelings and focused on other things. Like practicing and getting into the future group; BTS.

It was a sunny day in Seoul, July being a warm month but still cold enough for Jungkook to wear sweaters on his way to the dance room. His body was aching and he didn't have the energy to go practice, but he willed himself to. Not because he was reaching towards his dream of being an idol, but because he wasn't doing it for himself anymore. That was old Jungkook, the Jungkook from the past. All the hard work, sleepless nights and constant practicing was for his to-be-hyungs. His former bandmates.

Jungkook sighed as he turned the corner and neared the building, spotting a few trainees chatting in front of the building. Jungkook had always been a quiet and shy kid. At least, that's how he was seen as now in the past when he was a pre-teen scared of the world and alone. (alone. That was a strange word for Jungkook now.) He never really did get along with many trainees in his original time, and it might have remained true here as well. However, Jungkook wasn't shy anymore, he just didn't want to waste his time socializing when he could be fixing Bangtan's future, so avoiding trainees was a good option for Jungkook.

And if those trainees had talked about him being weak and whatnot, Jungkook didn't care. He's had his fair share of hate in his other time. He could handle a few stuck up trainees.

With a yawn, Jungkook entered the building, greeted the receptionist and punched in before he walked down a set of halls, towards a particular dance studio he had been residing in for the past few weeks. And that he, at some point in his time, had left to go into a bigger dance room.

Jungkook walked in silence, noting that he had arrived an hour or so before his vocal lessons. The silence and lack of staff made it known that it was still a bit early for most of the employees and teachers. Jungkook shrugged and turned a corner, hearing the faint sound of music playing in the dance room. Curiously, he neared the dance room, wondering who had decided to practice early in the morning.

Jungkook opened the door slowly, peeking his head in and scanning the room with big doe eyes. His eyes settled on a lone figure dancing, moving sharply, and yet with flexibility. It was familiar in a way, but also foreign because it was a dance style that he hadn't seen in a while; a person he hadn't met in this time yet -a person he shouldn't know, but everything that should and shouldn't be has been long gone since he came to this time.

"Oh! Sorry, is it already time for the trainees to practice?"

Jungkook blinked, staring at the stranger –no. not a stranger. That was Hoseok. Lovely, happy, healthy Hoseok. Alive, Jungkook’s mind supplied, suddenly making his heart feel heavy– who had stopped dancing when noticing the dark blob of hair from the mirror. Hoseok faced him, curious and confused as Jungkook continued blinking.

"I–That was... wow." The preteen blurted out between the mess of his mind helpfully replaying the same words over and over again like a broken record.

'It's him. It's him. It's him. It's Hoseok. He's alive. He's okay .'

Hoseok was covered in sweat, his white shirt sticking to his torso and outlining the developing muscles underneath. Seventeen. Hoseok was Seventeen and young. So young that Jungkook almost wanted to cry because Hoseok's okay. They're all okay.

"Oh, you were watching?" Hoseok smiled in embarrassment, scratching the back of his neck. Jungkook vaguely remembered the Hoseok from his time doing that behind closed doors when someone complimented him because they meant it. "I didn't do much. What I did was more of a warm-up than anything."

Jungkook let himself smile, because Hoseok was in front of him, smiling (and Hoseok's smiles were always contagious, no matter how rare they were behind closed doors), and because he was happy to hear Hoseok talk to him with his sweet-as-honey voice. Jungkook was happy. Happier than he'd been these last few weeks.

"It's still enough to know that you're a good dancer," Jungkook said walking in, closing the door behind him and locking eyes with Hoseok. "And you're really good."

"Thanks, uh.."

"Jeon Jungkook."

"Jung Hoseok." He smiled widely, glancing over Jungkook’s small frame before adding, "I guess I'm your hyung."

"You are," Jungkook said smiling. Hoseok glanced around the room, an awkward silence settling in the room. Jungkook shifted around a bit, putting his bag down next to the door and standing up, a tiny smile at the edge of his lips.

"Do you mind if I join?"

"No, it's fine! I'd like to see what you've got."

Jungkook nodded and began stretching quickly so he didn't keep Hoseok waiting, but long enough that his muscles warmed up and relaxed a bit while Hoseok took a break. Having lived with Hoseok, Jungkook knew the older male had probably been at the dance room for hours and most likely didn't take a break. Jungkook smiled bitterly at the thought of Hoseok waking up at ungodly hours just to practice, to be the best he could be (and he could be something, be the best Hoseok there has ever been).

When Jungkook finished stretching, the two boys went on to dancing. Hoseok picked a song for Jungkook to dance to and the pre-teen happily agreed. So with the idea of an impressed Hoseok coming to mind, Jungkook danced with a small smile on his face. He was reminded of the times when the band had gained success, the times when Hoseok had spent grueling hours perfecting his form, perfecting himself for the millions of fans and people who would constantly watch and judge them. He was reminded of the times he would spend nights with Hoseok in the dance room, making sure he ate and slept. Of the proud smiles Hoseok gave him whenever he did something right, and Jungkook would bask in the praise because Hoseok had become someone close. Someone whom he admired.

"You're... Wow. You're really good." Hoseok said, clapping slowly and smiling brightly. It was a look that Jungkook had yearned to see over and over again. A look that meant Hoseok had a plan in mind, an interest in the way Jungkook used his body (and Jungkook had been a test subject for Hoseok’s choreography ideas many, many times over the years). This Hoseok, however, didn't say anything more, and Jungkook concluded it had to do with the fact that they didn't know each other as they did in his time. Hoseok didn't know Jungkook, but Jungkook knew almost everything about Hoseok, and the look in his eye said he wanted to say something, wanted to use Jungkook to experiment with choreographies, to know the thirteen-year old's limits.

Jungkook pushed all his thoughts to the back of his mind and offered a smile to Hoseok. "Thanks, but I'm not as good as you."

Jungkook can see Hoseok glow from how genuine the compliment sounded, and how cute he looked showing his famous bunny smile. (In his time, Hoseok, or any other member, would always coo whenever he smiled. Or squish his cheeks and Jungkook would secretly preen at the attention).

No matter how happy Hoseok appeared hearing the compliment, his humble side didn't let him take in the praise. "Ah, I'm not that good Jungkook-ah."

And if Jungkook was about to retort by saying something he shouldn't have, he didn't get the chance to when the door opened. In peeked ahead, a male with a black face mask on and brown hair peeking out from a beanie. Jungkook knew who that was, would know even if he was his past self because that was the person that got him here in the first place.

"Hoseok, Yoongi hyung wants to talk to you."

"Okay, I'll be right there Namjoon," Hoseok spoke gently, but in a more familiar manner than with Jungkook.

(If the epiphany from being in the past was a shock, just now realizing BTS was already a work in progress was more shocking. Jungkook couldn't seem to recall when the group was originally made, and that made Jungkook a tad bit sad.)

"I'll see you around Jungkook," Hoseok said, following Namjoon out the door with a wave and a smile.

Jungkook smiled back and watched the door close behind them. He let out a sigh and looked around the empty room, fatigue finally catching up to him as he stared at his young self in the mirror.

Jungkook was relieved that Namjoon and Hoseok were okay. He was relieved, and yet, he couldn't be as happy as he wanted, because he had a whole lot to do before he could be happy. Happy with them.

Chapter Text

❝I put a mask again and go to see you❞

-Truth Untold

 

 

Often times, Jungkook couldn't sleep. It was more of a habit than anything. Jungkook had spent a lot of time awake back in his timeline. He was always doing something, even if he didn't have to do much for group activities, Jungkook had taken to going to his studio to make music, or spend a night at the gym. It just so happened that he still did that in his smaller form. Jungkook made it a routine to go practice with Hoseok in the early morning -going in as early as six in the morning. The rest of the day was filled with more practice and vocal lessons, with tiny breaks in between. Jungkook would get to his shared dorm around midnight, and would then spend time thinking until he fell asleep.

It was fine at first because it had to be fine. Jungkook was used to it after doing it for many years and had always been one to ignore the strain he put his body in. It was until six weeks had passed that he started noticing just how it was affecting him. His movements were slow and sluggish. He found himself more tired than usual, and wouldn't wake up as easily as he used to. He almost fainted while practicing with Hoseok, but luckily, the older male didn't notice. He realized then, that while his mind was that of his old self, his body was still weak and small, and wasn't used to the strain that Jungkook had put it through. Jungkook was technically still a teenager, and so he had to grow. He had to wait and live through all the awkward phases he went through in his time.

(Hopefully, nobody would notice them this time around.)

"Jungkook, do you even sleep?"

Jungkook sat up straight when hearing his name. He looked up to see Hoseok's face contorted into a worried expression.

"You dozed off. Or maybe you were thinking about something? Are you okay?" Were the questions that slipped out of Hoseok's mouth, curved downwards into his famous triangular pout. Jungkook remembered that he didn't like that pout when Hoseok was truly upset.

"Jungkook?"

The teen was snapped out of his thoughts, soft hands brushing his fringe back and checking his temperature. Jungkook flinched slightly at the cold touch and concluded that Hoseok was probably resting his palms on the floor. It was always cold. Jungkook subconsciously leaned into the touch, reminded of the times his hyungs would brush his hair back whenever they lazed about in their dorm.

"Are you sure you're okay?" There was confusion evident in his voice, and Jungkook just noticed he'd closed his eyes at some point.

"'m fine." He spoke softly, meeting Hoseok's brown eyes filled with worry. For more reassurance, he added, "Don't worry."

"You look tired. Try to get some sleep, Jungkook. Don't come here tomorrow morning." Hoseok's voice was gentle, soft like silky bed sheets, and sweet like honey.

"But I like coming here." Jungkook protested, feeling the soft hands retreat back to Hoseok's sides.

"Take care of your health then. I won't have you here if you're two seconds away from passing out."

Jungkook made a pout, annoyed that he had gone back to the stage where he had to listen to his hyungs because he was young. In their eyes, he didn't know how to take care of himself and was naive of the world around (and maybe he still was).

Hoseok stepped back and started walking away to the stereo, ready to play a song to dance to. He'd been dancing for hours, yet he still had the energy to continue. Or maybe it was the determination that kept him going, Jungkook was never sure. Neither in his time and this one.

"I'll take care of my health if you take care of yours."

The Hoseok of his time had never cared for his health, or maybe he had just forgotten that his health was even a thing and that the human body needed fuel -something to keep him moving. Jungkook had always been the one to remind him, and occasionally, Yoongi had yelled at Hoseok for his carelessness (which always resulted in a fight because hypocrites can't tell Hoseok what to do).

This Hoseok was younger, so maybe he'd be more easily influence to drop the carelessness of his health. It would save them a lot of problems in the future.

Jungkook waited for a response, a pout still on his lips as Hoseok stood frozen near the speakers. After a few seconds, Hoseok turned around and gazed at Jungkook, as if weighing his options before saying, "Alright."

"That means you have to stop staying up late to practice," Jungkook said, his eyebrows furrowing in a serious manner. "You also have to eat often to have energy. I'll do the same if you do it. Otherwise, you'll be a hypocrite."

Hoseok studied Jungkook carefully, making the younger nervous and go pink from the sudden attention. "You're a lot smarter than I thought." He spoke in his smooth honey voice with a smile gracing his lips.

Jungkook wasn't sure if he should feel insulted, but maybe he could start using his age to his advantage.


From what Jungkook remembered, BTS had been started because of Namjoon. Then the group grew with each new rapper added. Members came and went until the members leftover made an okay team. The rest was history.

Jungkook, for the life of him, couldn't remember just when each member joined, and Jungkook was almost always good at memorizing.

And now that he had more time to think (thanks to the agreement he had made with Hoseok), Jungkook made a promise to be the last to join the group, after he's gotten the other vocalists into the band. Since Hoseok had joined the group a while back, it was likely that the members who hadn't wanted to dance had left to find a place where they would make it through a different route.

Hopefully, Yoongi hadn't left as well.


"Sorry Jungkook, I don't think we can dance together today."

Jungkook watched Hoseok put some clothes away in his bag. "Where are you going?" Jungkook stood at the door, blinking as Hoseok walked over to disconnect his phone from the speakers.

"Nowhere, I'm just cleaning up. Yoongi hyung and Namjoon will be coming here. We're gonna talk about a few things."

"Oh. Then I'll just... I'll..." Jungkook looked around the room, not knowing where to go. "I'll go somewhere."

Hoseok paused where he stood, looking over at Jungkook who awkwardly shuffled in his spot by the door. Hoseok had known what days Jungkook had lessons, and what days he just spent in the dance room with Hoseok. So maybe the older dancer forgot what day it was, and what that meant for an active and determined Jungkook.

"Fuck, I'm sorry Jungkook." Said teen glanced up innocently, confused at Hoseok's reaction. "You can stay, but I don't think you can dance for long before the others come. I'll dance with you after though."

Startled, Jungkook shifted nervously. He wasn't sure if he was ready to meet the other members yet. "N-no it's fine. I don't want to bother you and the others."

"Jungkook just stay. I know you don't have anything to do, and I don't want to send you back to the dorms to wait."

Jungkook glanced at the floor, trying to find another way to get out of the situation. He missed the other boys, but Jungkook knew that seeing them would only hurt him instead of making him feel happy. His last few and far away memories of them weren’t all nice, and Jungkook wasn’t sure if he could find it in himself to not give them the cold shoulder, even if these versions of his bandmates didn’t do anything to this thirteen-year-old Jungkook.

"Fine."

 


Jungkook sat quietly while the three members conversed with each other. The small teen was writing on a notebook he'd gotten a while back with the little money he had. Jungkook often wouldn't write in it because he was busy practicing. Now, though, he had a few hours to kill, so Jungkook was leaning against the mirror, far from the three members and furiously writing on his notebook. (Distractions worked best in Jungkook’s opinion, they helped him forget his anger and frustrations of moments that had yet to come in this timeline).

Jungkook wrote and wrote, trying to catch up to the words that his mind provided. Jungkook prided himself in his memory, and right now he was counting on it as he wrote lyrics from all the songs that the BTS of his time made. Even though he wrote, Jungkook was still listening to whatever his former-and-to-be hyungs were saying.

"So who's the kid Hoseok?" The small brunet took note of the slightly higher pitched voice than he was used to. Taking a quick glance at the trio, Jungkook tried not to snicker at the youthful look of Yoongi at eighteen. Jungkook recalled the times when he would tease the oldest rapper of his hair in his teen years (the times when they all used to get along).

"A trainee, he's super talented. His name's Jungkook."

"He writes?" This was Namjoon, Jungkook's mind supplied, barely recognizing the voice. His mind immediately filled in the visual of a teen Namjoon, innocent and yet all knowing. Like a sage. Especially with the small mustache that Jungkook remembered Namjoon was trying to grow out during their pre-debut days.

"I don't know, this is the first I've seen him write."

"Hyung, you make it sound like I don't know how to write." The trio startled as they set their gazes on Jungkook who was pouting at the dancer, avoiding the eyes of the other two. Especially Namjoon’s, always calculating -but the ones that Jungkook always remembered were the ones that were lost in thought and indifferent towards him.

"That's not what I meant Jungkook." Hoseok smiled softly at Jungkook as if he were a parent talking to his child. Jungkook had always received that look, and he found that he'd missed it. "What are you writing?"

"Songs."

"Will you let hyung see?" Hoseok asked. Jungkook had always hated being talked to like a baby –even though he was always a baby in his members' eyes– and were this any other day, or any other hyung that wasn't the three before him, he would have ignored them. However, it wasn't any other day or any other member, and Jungkook found himself walking towards Hoseok obediently, seeming to have missed the attention he had gotten used to in his other life that he lost not so long ago. It was embarrassing how easily he always seemed to give in to the hyung-line.

"Read this one," Jungkook flipped through the pages, handing it to Hoseok, who took it gently and with a smile. "It's the only one finished." Which was a lie, but the three rappers didn't need to know that.

Jungkook stood there nervously, glancing between the three to-be rappers who had huddled together to read the notebook at the same time.

"Paldogangsan?" Yoongi asked when his eyes finally settled on the page. He rose an eyebrow at the teen in front of him.

"The lyrics kinda further explain everything," Jungkook said, playing with the hair on the back of his head and glancing around as he spoke nervously. It wasn't an act of complete nervousness. No, Jungkook wasn't really nervous, just uncomfortable and somewhat embarrassed, although, Jungkook didn't even know what he was embarrassed about.

Jungkook hadn't originally written 'Paldogangsan'. In fact, Jungkook was probably not around at the time the three rappers made the song in his timeline. He was just simply writing any song that he could remember, and he had quite a few finished, but Jungkook thought it appropriate to let the trio see the one song they're supposed to do, the one that made the name ‘Bangtan Boys’ quite well known before their official debut.

"This is pretty good," Namjoon commented, and Jungkook felt relief at the words said to him. "You're a really good writer."

"Did you write this all by yourself?" Yoongi asked, scanning through the pages. He glanced up to meet Jungkook's doe eyes, making the boy nervous all over again. Yoongi had always been someone he didn't like to disobey unless he knew that the oldest rapper was in a good mood for playful disobedience. Yoongi had always intimidated Jungkook, and maybe it was his thirteen-year-old hormones acting up that made Jungkook feel smaller and defenseless. (Deep down Jungkook knew it had to do with the last time they’d talked and the weariness that surrounded the two afterward until his sudden awakening in the past).

"Yeah."

"Jungkookie, you're so talented!" Hoseok said, showing a bright smile at the pre-teen. Jungkook felt elated at the praise, not having heard that expression in years. At least, not genuinely and behind cameras.

"I think this song would suit you three," Jungkook said suddenly, nervously fiddling with his thumbs as he looked at the curious and confused trio. "I know that Hoseok has a Jeolla accent, and you sound like you have a Gyeongsang accent," Jungkook pointed at Yoongi.

"How do you know these sayings and dialects?" Namjoon questioned his gaze scrutinizing Jungkook, making the teen more nervous. He didn't want the members to ever find out that Jungkook knew the future. It would ruin his plans (his incomplete plans). Jungkook knew, he knew so well that Namjoon had the potential to figure out just who Jungkook was if he wasn’t careful with his words and actions. There were many things Jungkook wasn’t supposed to know yet -or ever.

"I once had two friends who used to argue in satoori,” Which was kind of true, Taehyung and Hoseok would argue often and Jungkook would learn some pretty interesting insults in their hour-long fights, “They kinda taught me some phrases so I used them in the song."

"Can we really have this Jungkookie?" Hoseok asked, staring at the page with wide eyes.

Jungkook shrugged, glancing down at the floor. "I would never be able to do it myself so I might as well give it to you three. I think it'll suit you."

And that was the start of new bonds. Jungkook was glad he was making some type of progress. The sooner he befriended the members, the sooner he would be able to influence them and change their futures. Jungkook just had to wait; however, Jungkook hated waiting.

Chapter Text

 ❝Looking back on it now, truthfully I feel like it’s not true that I wanted to be the best❞

-Magic Shop

 

Many times Jungkook had wanted to quit; to give up because of self-doubt. No matter how well he could cope with the exhaustion and pain his body went through, his preteen mind couldn’t always keep up with his dreams and his hard work. Jungkook had oftentimes cried. Whether it was because of frustration or because someone else was hurt, Jungkook had broken down and hid away from any reassurances and comfort. Thinking back on it now, Jungkook thought it was silly wanting to quit because he felt he wasn’t good enough -that he wasn’t old enough to mentally deal with the pressure of being an idol. To cry because he felt useless and frustrated that something didn’t go his way. To push away any sort of comfort and support that could’ve helped him become a better person. A stronger person, both in mind and body.

Jungkook found himself regretting it, missing the affection of his bandmates and wishing he could have that again. He wished to have a bond with someone that wouldn’t think twice of helping him out, or showing him affection when he so desperately needed even if he would say nothing because he was an adult -an adult was supposed to do things on his own, and not live off of affection.

Now that he was alone, Jungkook missed his old life. The life of Jeon Jungkook who was strong and stubborn and loved his hyungs with his whole being, not showing affection because it wasn’t manly or adult-ish. The Jungkook who was good at everything in his first try, the boy -no the man who tried to do things by himself and suffered quietly. The man who held secrets and thrived off of laughter and happiness from his hyungs.

Jungkook was alone and he could do nothing but wish and hope that he could have good moments with his hyungs again.


The first time he cried as Jungkook the adult in his thirteen-year-old body, he was frustrated. Angry. Jungkook was angry at the world, his instructors, peers and himself. He was in pain both mentally and physically. However, he wouldn’t tell anyone about his problems because they wouldn’t understand.

No one would understand the sudden rush of emotions he’d felt. He was pained at the newly acquired sprained ankle, but that didn’t stop him from suddenly being hyper-aware of his surroundings; the unfamiliar faces that seemed so wrong; the walls and floor that should’ve been long gone; the feel of his body that felt weak and so small. It all felt so wrong.

Then he was grieving. He grieved like it was the first time he’d ever felt sorrow, but he willed his tears away until he was alone in the safety of his not so safe dorm. He yelled and cursed and wondered why, why he was so alone, and why he couldn’t remember anything from the last moments of his previous life, but rather everything that had happened in the thirteen years of this one. Jungkook was confused and angry because he wanted an explanation. He wanted to know what had happened to his hyungs, but the lack of answers and reasoning weren’t helping him at all. He could only think of the worst and that in turn made him cry harder.

Were they safe? Had they been hurt? Were they even alive? Was he alive? Was he okay? Is this really just a dream, one created in his unconscious state (if he even is unconscious —or worse; a coma)? Because if Jungkook didn’t know any better, he would say he had time traveled to the past, but that was impossible. right?

For all the questions he had, he could find no answers, and that made him all the angrier at himself for his cluelessness.


“What's wrong Jungkook?” Blinking slowly, Jungkook looked up from the floor to see Hoseok looking at him with concern. Jungkook glanced at his feet stretched out in front of him, his palms resting on the floor behind him in order to support himself. He’d been thinking again, of all the tragedies he wanted to avoid, of all the questions he wanted answered and of all the power he had to change himself: to change his hyungs and everything that came with being together. He also thought about his uselessness and what that could cause him to lose.

“Have you ever cried?” Jungkook suddenly asked, his voice small and unsure of the question. It wasn’t really what he wanted to ask, and he didn’t know what answer to expect, because he’d never asked this of Hoseok, or anyone. While waiting for an answer, Jungkook realized he had never asked about how his hyungs felt emotionally, mentally. Jungkook had always been told ‘I’m okay’ but they weren’t okay no matter how bright a smile they gave or how physically energetic they all were. No one wanted to say a thing until they all broke and Jungkook couldn’t pick up the pieces because he couldn’t understand what was wrong. His hyungs would refuse to tell him what was wrong because it was a problem to solve alone, and if they did tell him what the problem was, Jungkook still wouldn’t have been able to help because the roots of the problem were so deep that Jungkook couldn’t even begin to help dig them out. His hyungs who had tried so hard to help Jungkook, wouldn’t seek for help themselves, and that’s probably why Jungkook had felt so useless, and weak, and hurt.

(That's why he stopped fighting with them and let them have their way, no matter how destructive they became.)

This time,’ Jungkook thought. ‘This time I’ll be there for them.’

“Everyone cries Jungkook,” Hoseok answered, walking over to Jungkook to take a seat on the cold floor in front of him. He crossed his legs and leaned back on his palms, his sweaty hair sticking to his forehead.

“Yeah, but… What do you cry over?” Jungkook took a deep breath and met Hoseok’s brown eyes. “Do you cry from frustration? From feeling useless or from a buildup of stress? And how do you deal with it?”

Hoseok stared at Jungkook, possibly in thought, maybe shock, or maybe from curiosity. Either way, Jungkook didn’t care what Hoseok thought of him, he simply wanted some type of answer, and for Hoseok to stop staring so intently at him.

“I… don’t know what kind of answers you’re looking for, but… I cry when I feel incapable of something. Not uselessness, but of not being able to complete something because I’m not strong enough to do it, or something like that.” Hoseok gave a small smile at his answer but frowned when he settled his eyes on Jungkook. “Are you having a slump of sorts? I can help as best as I can if you want?”

Jungkook widened his eyes in slight panic, his mouth opening for a quick response he’d gotten used to over his many years of living. “No, I’m fine! I was just curious.”

It was apparently the wrong answer because Hoseok lifted an eyebrow and continued watching him with a frown and narrowed eyes as if encouraging him to lie more and find the consequences of it later. It made Jungkook realize that this was a habit he had to get rid of, a habit that reminded him of the hyungs who left him out of their problems. How would he want his hyungs in this time to open up for support, if Jungkook didn’t do the same? It would be unfair.

Jungkook sighed and looked down at his thighs, much thinner than his adult legs, all skin, and bones but not much muscle -at least, not yet. “I- yes. I am kind of in a slump. I feel useless and weak, but I’m not even sure why. I kind of feel… lost? Like, I’m not sure what I’m doing, as if I have no purpose.”

Hoseok hummed, and then there was silence. No words were uttered and it made Jungkook feel insecure in a way. It was probably the first time he’d gone and told someone how he felt, and that made him feel so exposed. It was weird, yet he felt relieved all the same because he confessed himself to someone he knew wouldn’t hurt him, while others might have made him feel guilty or judge him for his feelings and thoughts, and that would’ve made Jungkook feel weak. Jungkook didn’t like to feel weak.

“Take time to reflect.” Hoseok finally said, looking away at the ceiling in thought with Jungkook patiently waiting for his next words. “Think of why you’re here, and what you want to accomplish. Think of who Jungkook is and just remember who you are. Tell me, who is Jungkook?”

Jungkook was a lot of things. He was a child and an adult, both in this life and the last. He was talented in everything; was strong and mostly brawns and no brain. Jungkook was a time traveler and a man of many secrets; he was caring and wanted to make his hyungs happy because that's why he existed. Jungkook was the naive boy with the simple dream of being an idol, to be the very best, and he'd achieved it at a great cost. Thinking on it now, that dream had been forgotten, replaced with the desperation to feel happy and complete. Now, Jungkook didn't know if he really wanted to be the best; if he was ready to lose it all again for fame. (Maybe he wasn't, but he was willing to try not to lose anything this time).

However, Hoseok didn’t need to know all that.

Taking a deep breath, Jungkook briefly closed his eyes and spoke, “Jungkook is… He wants to be an artist and enjoy every moment of it… Also, I want to eventually open a lamb skewer restaurant.” (In this life, Jungkook hopes he has the time to open a shop in the future.)

Hoseok laughed at the response and gave a bright smile at the pre-teen, satisfied with the answer he received. He stood up and offered a hand at Jungkook who took it with a smile of his own.

“Well, let’s keep practicing!”

Chapter Text

 

❝It’s alright to not have a dream if you have moments where you feel happy for a while❞

-Paradise

 

Jungkook yawned, stretching his arms over his head and arching his back against the beige couch that took up some space in the small recording room.

It wasn’t the ‘Bangtan Room’ they were in. That one had dark walls, a mixture of navy blue and black that made it a requirement to always have extra lightbulbs in case the current ones went out and no one could see anything, no matter what time of the day it was. This room had gray walls, and little to no room for walking, but it got the job done and that was the important part.

Hoseok was sitting with his legs crossed right next to him and looking over Jungkook's small notebook with a blank face. Namjoon and Yoongi were going through the beat, trying to figure out how it would fit with the rap. Jungkook would have helped in it, but he wasn't supposed to know how to make music, so he decided to let the others figure it out and he would try to point them in the right direction if something didn't look right.

“These are really good Jungkook.”

Jungkook turned to see Hoseok smiling at him, notebook in hand and the page flipped open to reveal the title 'Spring Day’. He could see Yoongi turning around to glance at them before going back to talking to Namjoon.

“Too bad I don't know what to do with them,” Jungkook said with a bitter smile, staring at the (purposefully left) unfinished lyrics.

“Why? You can sing these yourself.”

Jungkook sighed, feeling Namjoon and Yoongi's eyes on him, curious over their conversation.

“I wrote them with a group in mind. Most of the songs are focused on rap because I thought of a rap group with vocalists. If I could, I would give it to you three, because there are three main verses. Although, I would have to look for people to sing the rest.”

“Why give it to us?” Yoongi asked, a finger tapping the table lightly. It wasn't impatience that caused him to tap his finger, it was just Yoongi's way of figuring out a beat and keep his hands moving. (“It’s because I play the piano” the Yoongi of his time had said once. Jungkook was never sure if that was the real reason.)

“You're the only group that's being made at the moment, no? I don't know what the plans are for you guys, but for some reason I see this group gaining singers as well, but it would be focused more on rap than singing. At least for a while.”

“Which would make sense,” Namjoon spoke up. Upon the questioning looks of the other two rappers, he elaborated. “We can't sing, and we might make songs similar to Jungkook's where we need singers. Hoseok wouldn't be able to do it, because that would be kinda unfair for him to have more lines, and he wouldn't be able to rap right after singing.”

“Then we'll become an idol group. Great.” Yoongi muttered.

“But maybe you'll make it big that way,” Jungkook said. He knew it sounded silly, but hopes and dreams were partly what got them all to work hard. Knowing that Yoongi desperately wanted to be a known rapper, he figured that making him hope (in very little amounts) might help him to stay in the group and maybe even believe in the progress they could make. Jungkook just hoped that Yoongi didn't crush those dreams as the other Yoongi did.

“Hopefully, we get you in the group. Although, you are pretty young.” Jungkook felt Hoseok pat his shoulder and he smiled at the other two.

“Whether I make it in or not, I'll give you songs either way.” He said through one of his bunny smiles, causing Namjoon to smile and for Hoseok to widen his.

“I like you kid,” Yoongi said, turning to the computer in front of him. Jungkook’s heart clenched in regret as he watched his hyungs back facing him.


Hoseok sighed and looked over at Jungkook, weighing his options for a few moments before deciding to just lay down. Jungkook didn't react to the sudden head that landed on his lap. He was so used to having someone rest against him that he kind of missed it in the few weeks he's been in this time. In fact, the only reaction he had was a fond smile stretching across his lips.

Hoseok hummed in satisfaction and closed his eyes, exhaustion taking over and knocking him off into dreamland. Jungkook continued talking with Yoongi, trying to explain the beat he had envisioned, while not giving away that he knew exactly how to make the sound and what pitch or tempo he wanted it in.

“It has to sound fun, exciting. the tone is kinda inviting, like telling the crowd to join in, does that make sense?” Namjoon nodded slowly while Yoongi sat on the chair and thought about what to do. Jungkook glanced down to see Hoseok sleeping soundly, and Jungkook found himself petting his hair, knowing that Hoseok wouldn't be able to sleep otherwise.

“Hoseok has taken a big liking to you. He seems less lonely.” Namjoon spoke gently, glancing between the screen that Yoongi was working on and Jungkook who was caressing Hoseok's hair. It was a bit awkward talking to Jungkook, and Jungkook could tell that Namjoon was trying to get rid of that, but it wasn't like it was Namjoon's fault. It was all Jungkook's fault since he didn't know how to hold himself in front of these teenagers, didn't know how to communicate like the friends they used to be without accidentally giving them the cold shoulder or a pleading look to gain their attention. It's frustrating, he thought, and he was going to try his hardest to not treat these two teenagers differently from Hoseok because these teenagers aren't the men he left behind and severed his friendships with.

“He's fun to be around. I like learning from him. By the way, how many members are there in your group?”

“Just us three, the others left not too long ago. One of them is a producer here now.” Yoongi answered, clicking play on what they had so far.

The song was missing something, like an instrument, and Jungkook knew exactly what it was, but decided not to say anything and let the two figure it out by themselves. He let his mind drift off to the producer, knowing very well that it was supremeboi. Jungkook liked him, he'd produced many songs for the group and helped in a lot of things. It kind of made Jungkook feel guilty for taking credit over his work, even though he would be considered the creator of them now in this time.

Sighing, Jungkook watched as Namjoon and Yoongi stressed over the missing instrument.


At some point in the night Namjoon knocked out, and both ‘94 liners were soundly sleeping in the couch while Jungkook and Yoongi continued working on the song, talking of little things and tweaking any irregular parts of the beat that needed fixing. Jungkook had always liked talking with Yoongi —that is until their big disagreement; and although they 'made up’ their relationship with each other wasn't the same. Jungkook had slowly lost the admiration he felt for the rapper and it affected their get-togethers so much that the group gatherings were awkward, with a strained tension from one end of the room to the other. Still, Jungkook often found himself thinking of what they had and wished more often than not that he never opened his big mouth; that Yoongi didn't mean the words and insults he said to him.

Yoongi was a quiet man and spoke when he needed to. During some of the rare times that Jungkook worked on a song with the older male, they talked of many things. Things that Yoongi was passionate about and had a lot to say about. Yoongi would talk of anything but himself, only vague sentences that highlighted what kind of person he was, but not what he’d lived. Yoongi was a reserved man and Jungkook respected that, never saying anything that would lead Yoongi to feel uncomfortable. He knew when to pry into his life, and when not to, deciding that Yoongi could tell him whenever he felt like it, whenever he found it necessary. Jungkook didn’t really know Yoongi’s life, which was why Jungkook had cried for hours on end when he’d found out of his social anxiety and self-hatred and doubt he’d had for years through his first mixtape. Jungkook had cried and it was all for Yoongi’s struggle in depression and life in general because his hyung was in pain and he didn’t know. He couldn’t help, and he never got the chance to.

Jungkook made a mental note to get the older man to open up about his struggles sooner. Jungkook would make sure to help him to the best of his ability.

“Why do you do this?” Jungkook asked while watching Yoongi hunch over and stare intently at the screen. “Why do you make music?” He elaborated.

Yoongi paused in his work and stared at the screen for a few seconds before he leaned back into his chair and looked over at Jungkook in thought and not very concealed curiosity. Jungkook always wondered how Yoongi thought. What went on through his mind before picking out words to form sophisticated sentences that were short, but got to the point. Jungkook wondered if he would ever get to know Yoongi (really know him).

“Well, I like music, and I want to do something I like.”

“Like a producer? Or as an artist?” Jungkook knew of the basics. The small dream of being known by the world as a rapper for his music. If he pushed Yoongi to outright say his dream, it might help him slowly open up, or give him a new view on his dreams and goals.

“An artist. I want others to recognize me for my music.” Yoongi said, glancing at the screen where their song was starting to form into a finished product. “And you? What’s your dream or goal?”

Jungkook propped his elbow on the table and rested his cheek with his palm, thinking of an answer. Yoongi’s sharp eyes watched him, his cheeks round with baby fat that would soon disappear in a few years, showing an innocence he would lose with fame when the time came for hate and backlash to fill their minds and slowly corrupt them before they learned to love themselves. Jungkook didn’t want that to happen; didn’t want them to feel the weight of negativity swallow them whole and spit out the doubtful young men who searched for a place in the world through wrong choices. Jungkook wanted to make his hyungs confident and uncaring of the hate they’ll eventually receive. He wanted them to stay true to themselves.

But was that really Jungkook’s goal? Was it selfish that he wanted his hyungs happy because that made Jungkook satisfied? He simply wanted to give his hyungs the happy life they deserved. The acceptance and support they didn’t get in the other timeline; but where did that leave Jungkook? What would he do after all that’s said and done?

“I…” Jungkook dragged the sound, closing his eyes to search for the words and visualize them, like a reassurance that there was a goal out there made for him.

The young Jungkook had always wanted to be a singer recognized by others. That Jungkook wanted to sing for the sake of singing. That Jungkook dreamed for the sake of dreaming. That Jungkook never had a dream he truly believed in, but he had a passion for singing. Without that passion, Jungkook was nothing.

“I want to be happy,” Jungkook said slowly as if that would make him understand that it was his goal now.

It didn’t sound right.

“I want to do what makes me happy,” He tried again, looking at Yoongi as if he had the answer he was looking for. “I enjoy singing, and I want to be recognized for my singing, but… I guess right now I just want to live.”

Live in the sense of just breathing, and also live in the way he would enjoy everything life had to give, be it hardships or rewards, Jungkook would bask in it because it meant he was alive. It was a reassurance that this life was real and he had a second chance to make the others happy.

“I want to live and surround myself with happiness.” Jungkook nodded to himself in conclusion, looking into Yoongi’s eyes. He could have worded it better, but Jungkook wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to say.

Yoongi’s eyes twinkled in the way it let Jungkook know that he was smiling as if satisfied with the answer. “That’s a… unique dream.”

Jungkook nodded. “It is.”

Somehow, that dream sounded more like hope.

Chapter Text

 

❝At least I can smile when I see you.❞

-Run

 

 

“Bang PD-nim wants to meet you.”

Jungkook choked on the water he was drinking. Hoseok glanced at Jungkook both in worry and amusement as Jungkook tried to regain his breathing and control the coughing he was resorted to doing in order to stop the water from going to his lungs (or his nose -it had happened once before in his early twenties and that wasn't fun in any way).

“You okay?” Hoseok asked sweetly, taking a sip from his water. He cleaned the sweat of his forehead with his shirt, taking in a deep breath in hopes of calming down his racing heart. The two had finished practicing and were trying to cool down before meeting with Yoongi and Namjoon to hear how the song was coming along.

“Yeah, I'm fine, just… Why does he want to meet me?”

Hoseok smiled widely, almost proud of the words he would speak. “He wants to meet the creator of the song we're working on.”

Jungkook didn't say anything, simply drinking his water in both nerves and thought. He hadn't seen the CEO for a while since the group had given up in activities and started doing their own things. Seeing Bang Sihyuk was a rare thing unless it was at award shows and the like. Unlike the others, Jungkook was always talking to the CEO, asking for advice and being a mother hen with him when it came to his group members.

Jungkook had thought multiple times to talk to Sihyuk, tell him about what could be and what would be if none of the others had the confidence to be together; however, Jungkook would be seen as a lunatic and would probably be kicked out of the company for spouting nonsense.

It was best to just remain quiet and hint at a few changes before debut came around. Until he could get along well with Sihyuk like in his old life, Jungkook would just do what he could by himself.

“Don't be so nervous,” Hoseok rested a hand on his shoulder, massaging it gently, “He's not that bad, so don't feel so intimidated.”

Jungkook managed a small and shaky smile, recalling a time when his Hoseok said the same thing to his shy sixteen-year-old self.

“Okay.”


The last conversation he had with Sihyuk was before Jungkook's arguments with his bandmates had gotten worse —from simple disputes with some yelling to screaming threats, hitting and throwing anything within reach. Jungkook didn't know how to handle his hyungs when they weren't sober and wallowing in their insecurities and fears. Sihyuk had told him to have patience, to try and console them and get them to trust him enough to slowly open up.

It didn't work, not when they yelled at Jungkook that he was too young to understand, that Jungkook didn't live through what they did and therefore could never understand, could never help them and nothing could ever be okay.

(“We're coping as best as we fucking can Jungkook,” Yoongi said in a slur, opening another bottle of alcohol.

“Our problems are personal,” Seokjin spoke, “You have no business knowing them or helping us. We don't need it, we're adults.”)

Jungkook was an adult too, had been for a good decade, and half of that decade was spent with his hyungs asking what was wrong and how they could help, but Jungkook would lock his heart away and smile with a denial of “I'm fine”. His hyungs would smile back and tell him they would always be there whenever Jungkook decided to open up.

“We care,” they said, so why can't Jungkook pay them back and care about them too? Why did every question of “do you want to talk about it?” turn into a violent fight between him and the others? Why did they make him seem like the enemy by putting up their walls of defense all because he was worried?

Jungkook hadn't known what to do when his relationship with the band was strained and his patience was wearing thin. It came as a surprise, both to himself and his hyungs, when he finally yelled back; his insecurities, fears and heart out in the open as he cried because he was being pushed aside without a care in the world of how he felt, how much he hurt as his hyungs yelled at him when he so much as looked at them, seeking for comfort and someone to open his heart out to.

Sihyuk had been the only one to console him and help him when his hyungs could only yell and make him feel worse. Sihyuk had been the only other person that helped Jungkook try and bring back the naive little boys who only dreamed to be the best. Jungkook appreciated the help, and he would have very much appreciated it in this new life if only to remind himself that these naive little boys could be different from the men of another life.


“This is Jeon Jungkook, the kid who made the song.” Hoseok smiled reassuringly at Jungkook over his shoulder, coaxing the preteen inside the small recording room. Bang Sihyuk was standing behind Yoongi, listening to the still incomplete song as Namjoon bobbed his head on the couch sending a small smile at the two new visitors.

“Hello.” Jungkook bowed at the man who smiled gently at him, studying him through his glasses. Jungkook gave a smile of greeting at both Yoongi and Namjoon, trying not to make it seem forced as he turned his attention back to the CEO.

“I’ve heard a lot from these three boys. They’ve taken a liking towards you, and mentioned a book of songs you had.” Sihyuk looked at him through narrowed eyes, but his kind expression remained on his face. Jungkook nodded at the words with a blush dusting his cheeks and reached into his duffel bag.

“I have it with me right now if you would like to see it?” Jungkook held out the notebook in front of him, not meeting anyone's eyes and instead of fixing them on the notebook. It was a lifeline of sorts to Jungkook. The notebook held all the years of hard work, tears, laughter, and hardships that he lived through once. It was the memories he both cherished and despised, but that he would keep with him wherever he went. It felt bittersweet letting others look through it as if they were intruding on a secret life of his that he definitely didn’t want others to know about, in fear of his mistakes repeating once more.

“If you don’t mind,” Sihyuk took the notebook from small hands and took a seat on a chair next to Yoongi who was staring at Jungkook with a confused gaze. Jungkook immediately averted his eyes, feeling Hoseok touch his shoulder and lead him towards the small couch. Jungkook was squished in between Hoseok and Namjoon, but he didn’t mind the nonexistent space he had to move. (In another life, he was accustomed to either being squished or sitting on top of others).

“Jungkook,” He heard Yoongi call him, his cat-like eyes piercing right through him. “Do you want to hear the song so far? I think I got the flow that you wanted.”

Jungkook nodded once and watched Yoongi press play on the screen and lean back on his chair.  

It was finished, Jungkook sighed in relief, letting all his weight rest against the couch. Usually, making music wasn't stressful to Jungkook, but this song was a wild ride of explaining, creating, remaking and explaining again. He was honestly tired of trying to seem dumber than he actually is (and to think he actually had to continue this for the next couple years). Jungkook closed his eyes and tried to recall the lyrics to the song, the performances Bangtan did with this song in particular and how much fun it was.

“I think it's finished,” Jungkook whispered when the room for quiet. He opened his eyes to see Yoongi giving a small tight-lipped smile, one that reminded Jungkook how awkward Yoongi still was around someone he hasn't really known. It almost made Jungkook frown, feeling guilty for putting up an unnecessary barrier in front of him and Namjoon; two people who have yet to hurt him.

“That's what PD-nim said earlier. He helped us fix it up a bit,” Namjoon explained. He shuffled around on the couch as Jungkook casually lifted his left leg to cross it over his right, already used to Namjoon's mindless fidgeting. Namjoon settled down more comfortably, smiling in embarrassment when Yoongi simply smirked at the interaction.

“You're very talented, Jungkook.” Everyone turned to face Sihyuk who was slowly flipping through the pages of Jungkook's notebook. The pre-teen noticed the almost serious expression that the three rappers wore and he remembered. He remembered how much they all respected Sihyuk before they all got along like friends. He remembered that they all used to be kinda scared of the man because trainees could easily get kicked out. Jungkook almost wanted to laugh at the memories of Bangtan telling each other how frightened they were when they got accepted into BTS because Sihyuk would call them into his office and something like that could mean anything.

“Ha, thank you!” Jungkook responded with glee, glowing at the compliment and reminiscing moments yet to come. He could feel the almost disbelieving looks from his three hyungs, most likely wondering how Jungkook could be so relaxed and easygoing when around the one person that could kick them out at a moment's notice. But Sihyuk only smiled, still skimming through the book as the other awaited orders.

“So how's that choreography going, Hoseok?” Namjoon asked, apologizing when Jungkook had to dodge a wild arm. The time traveler smiled in return, big and wide, showing his teeth and his eyes crinkling as he softly laughed.

“I'm used to it. I had a friend who flailed around like you.”

Yoongi snorted while Hoseok outright laughed. And Jungkook only kept his smile as Namjoon flushed red and apologized again, tucking his arms close to him.

It had been a while since Jungkook let himself smile like this. Let himself enjoy a moment with his hyungs without a care if they fight again— but no, they won't fight again, because these are the naive versions of the men he left behind. These boys wouldn't pick a fight to prove their worth and Jungkook didn't have to worry about every little thing he said.

It would be a long way until Jungkook could be himself again. Until he could relax and not worry about the men that they could become.

“Shouldn't you three work on the rap?” Sihyuk commented, glancing up at them with a raised eyebrow.

“R-right! Thanks for reminding us PD-nim!” Hoseok said quickly and loudly, stuttering through his sentence.

For now, Jungkook would let himself smile. Baby steps were more than enough for now.

Chapter Text

 

❝It’s only that I’m very sorry towards you.❞

-Stigma

 


With August right around the corner, it meant the original date (or what Jungkook assumes to be the original date) that Paldogangsan was released was three weeks away. It made Jungkook ecstatic and nervous all at once. He was happy to see the events were transpiring the way they were supposed to, but the idea that the events were similar in attitude unsettled Jungkook. Releasing the song would mean that Hoseok, Namjoon, and Yoongi would be exposed to the outside world. They would be criticized and hated on if they made the smallest mistake. Jungkook knew that the boys wanted recognition for their work, that they wanted praise, but in releasing something that could and would become recognized, they were submitting themselves to the cruel eyes of a conservative society. They would be branded as an artist, idol, and entertainer; they would be in the spotlight for all the spectators to judge. It unnerved Jungkook to no end that he hasn't done much to give these naive boys the confidence they needed for an event that could potentially change their perspectives on themselves.

They could eventually become their own enemy, and Jungkook didn't want to live through that once more.

"Jungkook?" Hoseok's hand reached closer to his face until he felt his nose being pinched. Confused, Jungkook turned to see Hoseok give a small smile.

"I was afraid you'd bump into something if I didn't get your attention somehow," the teen explained, pinching one of Jungkook's cheeks for fun. The preteen scrunched his nose and followed after Hoseok who continued walking down the corridors of the building they attended their training in. It was now nine in the morning and there were more trainees walking through the corridors trying to get to their dance or vocal lessons. Hoseok was making his way to his lessons while Jungkook was ordered to go to the recording studio where Bang Sihyuk would be meeting him to discuss a few things.

"Where are you going right now Jungkook?" Hoseok peeked over his shoulder to raise an eyebrow in question.

"Bang PD-nim wanted to see me in the recording room, so I guess I'll be there for a while before going to my vocal lesson."

Hoseok hummed in acknowledgment and looked ahead, avoiding a trainee rushing by in the opposite direction. Jungkook glanced back at the trainee with a troubled expression, catching sight of a familiar yet foreign boy turning the corner and disappearing from his sight.

'You're here now?'

"Well, I have to leave you here to go change." Jungkook turned back to see Hoseok waving goodbye, his mind barely processing the voice as he tried to think of every and any possible reasons for seeing an image of a thirty-two-year-old man he had broken all bonds with.

"I'll see you later Jungkookie!" Hoseok's voice snapped Jungkook out of his thoughts and he watched Hoseok go inside a room, leaving Jungkook in the middle of the hallway and glancing back at a person he would never go back to.

A person he would never get to apologize to.

 


 


"Hello, ah..."

Jungkook blinked. "Jeon Jungkook."

It had been years since he last had to introduce himself to Bang Sihyuk repeatedly, but it was understandable that with so many trainees, Sihyuk wouldn't remember everyone; especially with how busy he was being the CEO of Bighit.

"Right, I'm sorry Jungkook." Sihyuk took a seat on one of the chairs by the computer and faced the time traveler, a serious expression overtaking his features. Jungkook could tell there was nothing wrong, that Sihyuk simply wanted to remain formal if the relaxed yet stern expression was anything to go by. Jungkook wasn't like his hyungs or his former thirteen-year-old self who was scared of meeting the CEO face to face in fear of receiving the news of being kicked out of the company. Jungkook wasn't worried about his place in the company, although he should be worried about how his acts may affect the outcome of BTS.

Would he ever be added into BTS if he shows everything he can do? Would Sihyuk decide that Jungkook was better off going solo? He didn't want to know, and he couldn't imagine the experience of fame without sharing it with his hyungs. The idol life wasn't something he wanted to go through alone.

"I wanted to meet with you to discuss the recording of Paldogangsan and your role in it." Sihyuk laced his hands together and looked Jungkook in the eye. Neither broke eye contact as he continued speaking. "I also want to discuss what your plans are."

"My plans?" Jungkook asked in palpable confusion. Jungkook had many plans, and they all pertained to his future with BTS. Although they may all be from different aspects of the band, they were all ultimately related to the group and its success.

"You're a trainee for a reason, Jungkook. I want to know what you had dreamed of becoming when you entered the company."

"I... I don't really have a specific dream. I just want to share my passion for singing with everyone. However, I don't want to do it by myself. Going through fame alone seems overwhelming."

Sihyuk nodded, whether, in understanding or agreement, Jungkook wasn't sure, but didn't really care so long as he never had to leave Bangtan behind.

"I'll discuss this further with the staff at a later time then. Right now I want you to record a demo of sorts for Namjoon, Yoongi, and Hoseok." Sihyuk seemed to think of something before looking right into Jungkook's eyes. "You'll be singing in between their raps, right?"

The pre-teen shook his head with a small smile. "I would like to request the others to record this by themselves. After all, I'm not a part of the group and this song could be used to promote BTS before their debut."

While Jungkook could have sung in between verses, it didn't feel right to participate in the vocal part of the song. To Jungkook, this was a song that should be performed by only the three rappers of the group. Interfering would only cause the outcome of the group to be different. (That, and Jungkook really wanted to be a hidden member revealed only when their debut date was near. He liked seeing the reactions on social media when surprises were concerned.)

The time traveler watched as Sihyuk pondered over the idea for a few seconds. "Will you be creating a lead for them?"

"I can try. I can also help them as they record to adjust their voices to the rap and vice versa."

"Then, let's begin recording the lead."

 


 

Jungkook let out a yawn as he slowly made his way through the empty halls towards the dance room.  Despite having the time to sleep more than five hours a day, and following the agreement he made with Hoseok, it was hard to fall asleep and break his habit of sleepless nights.

"Are you even sleeping? Or did I make an agreement just to get the same results from you?"

Frightened, Jungkook tensed up and turned to meet Hoseok's disapproving gaze on him. Having seen that look before (and receiving it in his past life more than he can count) Jungkook put up the smile he knew would ease his hyung's anger.

"I just didn't sleep well last night."

Hoseok looked him up and down before saying, "You're not dancing today."

"Hyung!"

"Don't even try Jungkookie. I won't be responsible for you if you faint, or worse," Hoseok looked mildly horrified for a second before he continued walking down the hall, ignoring Jungkook's protests.

Not able to help it, Jungkook made a pout as he trailed after Hoseok. It was rather hard getting used to the minimal and almost unnecessary scoldings. Jungkook was always waiting for a hit that never came, and a yell he never heard. It was strange, but it reminded Jungkook that the things he expects are images of another life. One that he wouldn't come across with again.

"Oh. I think there's someone in here?" Jungkook's pout disappeared as he walked closer to the door that Hoseok was peeking into. When Jungkook saw the figure of a boy dancing contemporary he tried to blink away tears that resurfaced along with the memories of someone he's tried to seek forgiveness from.

"Let's go in," Hoseok whispered from above him, "Do you think he'll want to join us?"

Jungkook shrugged, not trusting his voice to stay even as he stepped away from the door and let Hoseok go through first. In another life, Jungkook himself had only broken one bond out of misunderstanding. He and Jimin had gotten along well despite the constant meaningless bickering and lack of respectful titles Jungkook had to use but refused to. Jimin had, later on, become important to him, going as far as telling the man a well-kept secret.

Jimin's was the only friendship that hadn't broken when the rest of his hyungs had pushed Jungkook away. The only regret that Jungkook had with Jimin was not being able to trust the hyung that loved and cared for him like the baby brother he was. It was the mistrust and misunderstanding that drove Jungkook away and caused him to ignore the attempts that Jimin made to mend their friendship.

It wasn't until Jungkook was in the past that he realized how big of an idiot he was and how he wishes to apologize to the man.

"Sorry, uh... you can keep practicing! We just wanted to know if you would like to join us in the mornings when we practice!" Jungkook heard Hoseok ask from behind the door. He watched Hoseok's back and could imagine Jimin (a much older one) looking at the seventeen-year-old with confusion and fright.

"We?" Came a soft and timid voice that Jungkook had forgotten of.

"Yeah, me and– where did you go Jungkookie?" Hoseok turned around and spotted Jungkook daydreaming before grabbing his arm and yanking him inside the dance room. With an embarrassing noise of surprise, the preteen stumbled inside and glared at the oldest brunet. Hoseok ignored him and introduced them before asking the same question to a bewildered Jimin much younger than the last time Jungkook saw him.

"I won't be in your way?"

"No!" Jungkook suddenly yelled, ignoring the flinching from both Hoseok and Jimin as he tried to reassure the insecure dancer. "It would just be us three helping each other improve our dancing."

"O-okay."

"We also don't ask just anyone to join us. You're a good dancer. Be proud of your dancing." Jungkook gave Jimin his famous bunny smile which caused the boy to smile back just as brightly.

"Ah! Now I have two adorable boys I can dote on." Jungkook blushed as he felt Hoseok pinch his cheeks and coo at him, this being the first time he's done it in this life. Jungkook tells himself that he hasn't missed this from his other life, but he still preens under the attention.

He notices Jimin laughing at him from behind Hoseok who still hasn't let go and seems like he never will.

'You're next.' He mouths out to Jimin who instantly looks slightly mortified.

Of course, Hoseok wouldn't do that to someone he's just met, but soon enough, it won't just be Jungkook getting rosy cheeks.


Chapter Text

❝I wish all my weaknesses could be hidden.❞

-Fake Love

 

Jungkook blushed as he avoided the eyes of his hyungs in front of him. Hoseok looked proud, Namjoon looked impressed, and Yoongi looked as though he wasn't aware why his two bandmates were making those faces. However, Jungkook noticed the interest lurking behind his dark brown eyes.

“Woah, I didn't think you would be so good at rapping!” Namjoon enthusiastically spoke with wide eyes and a smile stretched across his face.

Jungkook shifted in his chair nervously, avoiding the eyes of the boys and Sihyuk who sat at the computer playing Paldogangsan. “Thanks, but I still need to practice some more.”

“You’re kidding, right? I should be the one that needs to practice. I’m your hyung, yet you’re clearly leagues ahead of me!” Hoseok didn’t look to be jealous or put down by Jungkook’s skills, and it made Jungkook feel like a weight that he didn’t know existed was leaving him. He didn’t want this Hoseok to doubt anything about himself. Not now, and definitely not in this new future either.

“You’ll have time to practice since Jungkook will be helping you three develop a more refined rap style through this song.” Sihyuk interrupted, turning in his chair to look at all four boys. “After hearing you three rapping, we discussed how to improve your rapping skills.”

Jungkook saw the weary and doubtful glance Yoongi threw his way, but he ignored it in favor of facing Namjoon who looked on with curiosity. “When did you hear us rap?”

“Well, I joined Bighit because I heard Namjoon hyung rap, so I already know how you sounded. As for Yoongi hyung and Hoseok hyung, I just listened to some recordings from the monthly evaluations.” Jungkook decided to flash Yoongi a cheeky grin before adding a detail that would forever terrify his cold hyung.

“Loved your hair at the auditions, by the way, Yoongi hyung.”

The oldest groaned and ignored the confused glances from Hoseok as Jungkook continued to smile like the little shit future-Yoongi always claimed him to be.

“Can we hear you sing?” Came the sudden question from Namjoon, startling Jungkook with the unexpected request. He nodded dumbly as he thought of all the songs he could sing. While all the attention shifted towards Jungkook, the maknae mentally scratched out songs he couldn't sing due to the English language he wasn't supposed to know yet, or because the songs haven't been released or both. Instead, he settled on a song that he always found himself humming to.

“Like cherry blossoms are blooming
The winter has now passed by
I’m missing you
I’m missing you
If I wait a while longer
If I stay up a couple more nights
I’ll go and meet you
I’ll come to get you

Until this cold winter ends
And spring comes back again
Until the flowers bloom
Please stay right there a while more
Please stay right there.”

Jungkook gave a sweet and shy smile when Hoseok and Namjoon started clapping with awe. It had been a while since he last sang in front of his hyung’s outside of a concert or practice, and even longer since he last saw the awe they had for his singing.

Yoongi gave a small smile and complimented his voice. Bang Sihyuk also did the same before asking, “What song was that?”

“Spring Day.”

Hoseok brightened up at the name of the song. “That’s one of the songs you wrote, right? The one I was reading a few days ago?”

“Yeah.” He nodded stiffly at the lie, his smile turning somewhat grim. “It's a rather sad song about missing someone.” Or missing people he can never have again, Jungkook thought sadly because even if he can make new memories with this new Bangtan, it wouldn’t be the same as having moments with the men that raised him. The ones who truly raised the thirteen-year-old Jungkook and not the one he pretended to be.

“It sounds really nice though,” Namjoon commented, hoping to lift up the maknae’s mood. Jungkook only gave a weak smile in return, but his mood stayed the same and no one said anything about it.


The following morning found Jungkook walking alone to the dance room. It was early in the morning, which meant the streets of Seoul were mostly empty of people. He passed by the small clusters of arrogant trainees, ignoring their whispers and judging gazes.

His phone suddenly rang and he took it out to see that it was Hoseok.

“Hello?”

“Ah… Jungkookie, I'm gonna be a little late… practice with Jimin while I get ready, and don't forget to stret–”

“Hyung, are you sick? You sound like you are.”

“No! I'm fine, I just woke up a little late.” Jungkook raised an eyebrow even though Hoseok wouldn't be able to see. Jungkook has spent a decade and a half hearing his hyungs lie, so he knew when Hoseok was lying to him. Hoseok usually wouldn't give a reason when he was being honest. Jungkook also knew what Hoseok's morning voice sounded like.

“You're sick.”

There was silence on the other end of the line and Jungkook could only imagine Hoseok moping in his bed at being caught.

“I'm just a little tired.”

“I don't care, hyung.” Jungkook walked into the building and silently made his way to the dance studio. “Go back to sleep.”

“I'm fine.”

“You probably have a fever.” Jungkook sighed at the groan that Hoseok gave. He was probably annoyed at Jungkook's stubbornness, but the time traveler wasn't going to encourage a habit that would develop with time. “You promised to take care of your health. I don't want you fainting in the same room as me after you've promised to take care of yourself as I did.”

“Aish…” Jungkook heard mumbling and something that suspiciously sounded like ‘brat’. “Fine, I'll sleep some more.”

Jungkook grinned and said his goodbye before hanging up. When he neared the dance studio, he bumped into Namjoon who was walking towards the recording studio.

“Ah! Namjoon hyung,” Jungkook smiled as he grabbed the shoulder of his confused former-leader. “If you see Hoseok -or maybe you should call Yoongi hyung to check if Hoseok has a fever. He called earlier and sounded sick, so I got him to sleep some more, but I can't do much else.”

“Uh, sure.” Jungkook flashed Namjoon a big grin before letting him go and waving goodbye.

“Thanks! And remember that we'll be recording your verse tomorrow.”

The teen looked at Jungkook with a dumbfounded expression. “Yeah. See you later, Jungkook.”


“I thought you weren't going to come,” Jimin said as soon as Jungkook walked into the dance room. He dropped his bag onto the floor and sat down to change his shoes while he spoke to the teenage boy in front of him.

“Hoseok hyung can't come because he's sick. It's just us two for today.” Jungkook tied his right shoe, glancing at Jimin as he did so. He could understand that Jimin was nervous since this was the first time they would be practicing together. Maybe not having Hoseok here at the moment would ease Jimin a little and take away the pressure of impressing a Hyung.

“Have you stretched?” He asked politely, putting on his other shoe. “Hoseok hyung would kill me if I let you pull a muscle mid-practice.”

Jimin gave a small and shy smile. “I was about to when you came in.”

“Great! Let's stretch together then.”

The two boys quietly started to stretch, mimicking each other when they switched positions to make sure every muscle in their body was well relaxed and ready to be used when they dance.

“Do you know how to do splits?” Jungkook asked while sitting down and opening his legs. Thirty-year-old Jungkook hadn't been able to do splits after he stopped performing, so when he awoke in his thirteen-year-old body, he was very much surprised when he was able to do all the flexible moves he had lost with time and age. He was snapped out of his train of thought when he heard a soft ‘yes’ and looked up to see Jimin copying him.

“What kind of dancing do you know?”

“Contemporary and modern dance,” Jimin replied, not looking at Jungkook's eyes through the mirror. “I'm really bad at the styles the choreographer is teaching us.”

Jungkook hummed in response. Jimin wasn't necessarily bad, he just wasn't accustomed to moving his body in short and precise movements. It had been hard to train future-Jimin's body out of graceful movements, and eventually, he went back to performing more contemporary pieces.

“I'm sure you're not that bad. Plus, It's hard to train your body to move differently than you're used to, but with practice, you'll do fine." Jimin nodded at the casual way Jungkook spoke and tried to change the conversation away from himself.

“What about you? What styles do you know?”

“Anything?” Jungkook moved his right leg behind him and the left in front, enjoying the stretch that came on his inner thighs. “I've always liked dancing, no matter what style it was, so I can easily dance to whatever style I'm being taught. It's all just practice though.”

“What about Hoseok-ssi?”

Jungkook switched his legs and winced at the sudden beginnings of a cramp he was starting to get. “He's more hip hop based. It's not that hard for him to do modern dancing, but then again, he incorporates hip hop moves to it, so I don't think he's all that good at what you do.”

“This is going to be a weird group of dancers,” Jimin commented, earning a laugh from Jungkook who agreed. In the future, once the group was made, they would be a variety of weird dancer's, but it was what worked out in the end. They gained the skills to do anything.

“Well, Hoseok hyung is a weird guy.” This comment earned him a smile from Jimin, and the weird tension that came with not knowing each other was starting to ease away.

“By the way, I made an agreement with Hoseok hyung a few weeks ago. It's part of the reason why he's not here.” Jungkook moved to sit with his legs crossed and Jimin also switched to a more comfortable position as he stared intently at the boy, nervous and curious at what he was going to hear. “We try to take care of our health by sleeping a reasonable amount of time and coming here to practice for at least one hour. Unless you're not feeling well, then you have to skip the morning practice.” Jungkook hesitated with the next part. It wasn't necessarily what he agreed on with Hoseok, but this would prevent a lot of self-esteem issues Jimin could have in the future. “We also try to keep a steady diet that gives us the energy we need to dance. Which means no extreme dieting such as starvation.”

“How am I supposed to lose this then?” Jimin pinched his cheek with a frown.

“Puberty..?" He answered hesitantly. "You have to wait and see what adulthood does to you before you start going to the extremes and starving yourself. If you do go on a diet, you might not grow properly.” Which became an issue to future-Jimin who didn't grow as tall as his younger brother because of malnutrition. (It was sad to think that in this life, Jungkook might not be able to tease Jimin's height.)

Jimin continued to frown but Jungkook could see the understanding starting to fill his eyes. “You can turn your “fat” into muscle if you exercise appropriately. So you can still get rid of your cheeks, just in a healthier way.”

Jimin sighed, glancing at himself in the mirror, looking as though he were criticizing himself from an outsiders point of view. It made Jungkook tense up, made him go still at the realization that all of Jimin's insecurities didn't start with wanting to be skinny. They didn't start with diets and wanting to be perfect. It was never Jimin who wanted to change himself because Jimin was a pleaser. He always gave without thinking about what it did to him until the damage was done.

With a sharp inhale, Jungkook asked quietly, “Are you being bullied by the other trainees?”

Jimin sat still, avoiding Jungkook's worried and angry gaze. He nodded slowly, as though Jungkook would get mad at him for being picked on by the stuck up trainees that Jungkook never liked –by the trainees that never liked him back and always tried to discourage him once he became a member of BTS.

“Hey, look at me. They're idiots. They're cowards for picking on you.” Jimin slowly raised his head to look at Jungkook, but his eyes still avoided his own. “You want to be an idol, right?”

Jimin nodded his head slowly.

“Well, idols endure hatred from the public. Ignore the other trainees, don't try to do things just to please them. The moment you try to do what they tell you to, or get rid of what they pick on you for, that's when they get complete control over your life. Don't let others opinions dictate your life, hyung.”

Jimin looked as though he wanted to say something, but he bit his lip to refrain himself from doing so.

“You can talk to me or Hoseok hyung about it if you ever need someone to listen to you, but don't try to keep it in. More importantly, don't listen to whatever others say. If they point out your weaknesses, then make those weaknesses your strengths. Don't try to hide them or forget them because then you won't grow as a person.”

“Thank you, Jungkook.” Jimin gave him a sweet smile that made Jungkook's heart clench with regret and nostalgia.

“Anytime.” Because he wanted to repay future-Jimin for his unconditional love, and he wanted Jimin's friendship again. Most of all, he wanted to apologize to future-Jimin by giving his younger counterpart the support he needed.

These hyungs will never be the broken men he left behind. Jungkook would make sure of that.

Chapter Text

❝Though I’m not perfect, I’m so beautiful.❞

-Intro: Epiphany

 

“You look like you're about to pass out,” Jungkook said the second day he was dancing with Jimin. The maknae looked at Hoseok through the mirror and raised an eyebrow, mildly amused at the expression of horror Jimin was making next to him. He was supposed to be respectful to his hyungs, but Jungkook had long since passed that line and he wasn't about to start respecting them now. “So why are you here?”

“Well, Jungkook, since you so kindly asked your hyung,” Hoseok shot a glare at the time-traveler as he spoke. He ignored the way Jimin cowered slightly at the authority in front of him. “I need to practice.”

“No. You're sick.”

“Yes, I'm sick, but I also need to keep my body in shape,” Hoseok said as he made his way to start stretching.

“One day of rest isn't going to hurt you.” He saw Hoseok scowl and look away, not liking that he was being reprimanded by a thirteen-year-old. “Thank me later when your body feels younger than you are, old man.”

“Jeon Jungkook you're a little shit.”

Jungkook gave a sweet smile and winked at Jimin when Hoseok wasn't looking. “You can't curse in front of me.”

“Why not?”

“I'm a baby.” Jungkook made his face look as innocent as he could, which wasn't hard at all after spending his past life doing aegyo whenever possible. Jimin giggled beside him, less tense and weary of Jungkook getting scolded by Hoseok.

“You're a brat is what you are.”

Already used to a decade of being called that, Jungkook only smiled and went back to stretching. “Hyung, you made a promise so you better keep it. Why don't you just sit down and help us with our dancing? Jimin hyung needs some help, and I can only do so much.”

Hoseok mulled the thought over in his mind and sighed in defeat. “Fine.” He made his way to the mirrors and sat down, watching the two continue their stretches.

After a few moments of silence, Hoseok spoke up, eyes set on the newest dancer. “How old are you Jimin?”

“Fifteen, I'll be sixteen in about two months.”

“So I'm your hyung,” Hoseok said mostly to himself. Then he focused his gaze on Jimin again. “How good are you in dancing?”

Jimin hesitated, not really knowing how to explain his struggles with the style of hip hop.

“He's very good at contemporary, but he's not used to dancing hip hop so he's struggling with that. I tried helping a bit, but I'm not as good at hip hop as you are.” Jungkook explained, moving to do the splits as Hoseok pondered over what was said. Both of them ignored the small squawk of surprise and embarrassment Jimin made.

“Well… why don't you dance for me Jimin? I'll help you be the best trainee –not including Jungkookie because he's a stubborn golden brat,” he said with a small smirk, glancing at Jungkook who made a pout and cooing right after seeing the adorable face.

“Golden?” inquired Jimin, glancing at the maknae with curiosity.

It was strange to Jungkook, hearing the name being said again when it had been a few years since he last heard it. It was also strange hearing it come from Hoseok when it was Namjoon who named Jungkook the ‘Golden Maknae’ back in his original thirteen-fourteen-year-old self.

“Jungkookie can do anything.”

Jungkook raised an eyebrow at Hoseok’s explanation. He didn’t remember doing anything but dance, sing, rap and write music. That shouldn’t have been all he had to do to gain that name. “Hyung, I haven't done much to get that title.”

“But I know that you’ll do great things in the future. My instincts are telling me so.”

Jungkook rolled his eyes, but a smile stretched across his lips. It wouldn’t just be him who does great things in the future. Although he would be the one silently guiding everyone in the right direction with a few changes along the way, as a group they will accomplish Taehyung’s dream of world domination in every field of entertainment. This young version of Bangtan will see it as impossible just as he once did when he was an actual trainee waiting for a debut, but Jungkook was gonna make sure it became more than just a silly dream. It happened once, so why couldn’t Jungkook try his damned hardest to make it happen once more?

“Hyung, just start helping Jimin.”

The elder laughed, but quickly caught Jimin’s attention again talking to the still insecure boy as Jungkook watched their friendship bloom once more. Like in a past life, this was a sweet friendship, but this time, it would be one that lasts a lifetime. Jungkook wants these friendships to be more supportive and intertwined with each other to ensure that nothing could break them. (Not even petty fights and half-hearted insults.)


“You're the leader of BTS, right?”

Namjoon nodded his head in palpable confusion. Jungkook pondered over his next words as he ignored Sihyuk's state of curiosity next to him. The time traveler could tell that the CEO was intrigued by how Jungkook would approach Namjoon concerning his rapping. (Honestly, he didn’t even know why Sihyuk was letting him speak instead of doing it himself.)

“From what I heard, you have a sort of angry or forceful style of rapping. You sound commanding in a way, and that's good because you're a leader. Your rapping really projects that confidence and strength that a leader should have. It’s a more sophisticated way of rapping —well, compared to Hoseok and Yoongi hyung or anyone with a more wild approach to rapping.” Namjoon nodded slowly, unsure of what Jungkook was trying to get at. “However, you're not really at your best.” This caused both Namjoon and Sihyuk to frown.

Jungkook hesitated when glancing at the leader's frown. It reminded him of a set of arguments that came with a frown identical to the one Namjoon wore right now. Namjoon had never been one to voice it out, but he hadn't always liked being talked down to by someone younger than him. Or at least, he didn't like it when Jungkook (in all his blunt honesty) told him what to improve on by stating all his flaws. Throughout his adulthood, Jungkook learned to make Namjoon focus on his improvements when compared to his fellow bandmates. It wasn’t ideal in Jungkook’s head because he wanted to prevent his hyungs from comparing themselves to others, but if he somehow brought their attention away from dragging themselves down, then this could result in better and faster results.

“What do you mean?”

“Hmm…” Jungkook glanced at Sihyuk, taking note of the curiosity before settling his eyes on Namjoon. “Yoongi is aggressive but passionate. Hoseok is more energetic, not so much happy, but very inviting.” Jungkook paused and blinked at Namjoon with a blank expression. He glanced at the computer with the soundtrack and demo saved and ready to be played at a moments notice.

“Actually, all three of you are very similar to your dialects.” And why hadn’t Jungkook noticed that before? The song had been around for almost two decades and it’s only when he’s reliving the events that he notices the similarities of their rapping to their dialects that they always spoke in whenever they got angry at him.

Namjoon’s expression morphed into more confusion. “What does that mean?”

“You were raised with the standard Seoul dialect -which is very sophisticated in a sense. Yoongi has the ‘cool-guy’ Gyeongsang dialect which goes well with his aggressive way of rapping. Lastly, Hoseok has the friendly Jeolla dialect which is very noticeable in the unique way of hyping up a song.” Jungkook nodded multiple times, satisfied that he found an easier way of explaining their different styles. (At least projection wise.) “Yoongi always sounds like he’s dissing someone; Hoseok is more of a trap rapper, kinda; and you are kind of in-between. You kind of balance Yoongi and Hoseok in terms of rap. Does that make sense?”

“Yeah?” He responded in confusion, but not at the explanation. “Just… what do I have to improve on?”

“Oh. Right.” Jungkook gave a sheepish smile for having rambled, his cheeks dusting a soft pink. This earned him a gentle smile from Namjoon with his dimples peeking out.

“You sometimes sound as though you're trying to be louder, but it prevents you from breathing properly to rap faster and for a longer period of time.” Jungkook sighed and nodded in satisfaction. “It’s fine if you get passionate, but you have to control where you focus your energy to.”

“How do I do that exactly?”

“Uh, well you kind of already do it. I think that being aware to articulate your words. Will help you. You should also try some breathing exercises so you can rap for longer periods of time.” In a sudden realization that he’s been talking for a while, Jungkook turned to face Sihyuk who nodded at him in approval, choosing that moment to speak up.

“They would compliment each other well when on stage. Namjoon would be the balance to their ‘uncontrolled’ rap with his calm and collected one.” Sihyuk said, talking more so to Jungkook than Namjoon. The two trainees nodded, one in understanding and the other in agreement. “However, it doesn’t mean that Namjoon can’t be aggressive as well. He would simply be cleaner in his rapping.”

Jungkook turned to Namjoon with a smile, excitement dancing in his eyes as he can finally make them move on to the recording. “Are you ready to record? I’ll be helping you as best as I can with the demo I made and some guidance I picked up when I learned to rap.” It was a bit of a lie; Jungkook never did formally learn to rap from an older person. It was all instinct. He wasn’t named the Golden Maknae for anything.

“Yeah. I’d like to try right now.”


It was two days after Jungkook helped Namjoon record that he met up with Jimin to practice. Hoseok stayed at his dorm due to his fever getting worse. It frightened Jungkook at how bad Hoseok’s fever was getting, wondering if it was like this the first time around when Jungkook had yet to acknowledge BTS’ existence. He was later reassured by Yoongi that Hoseok was just exaggerating after checking his temperature and finding it to be lower than expected. Jungkook then asked Yoongi to hand Hoseok the phone so he could scold Hoseok for making him freak out. Hoseok only laughed and apologized, thanking Jungkook for caring.

It was after his morning vocal lessons that he met with Jimin for lunch. The for-once-taller-than-him-hyung was trying to get Jungkook to let him practice as the time traveler took out his lunch, refusing to let Jimin go without eating.

“I’ll end up growing taller than you if you skip meals, hyung. Then you won’t be able to boss me around because I won’t take you seriously with a short height.”

Jungkook smiled at the offended look Jimin wore. Jimin looked about ready to curse him out until Jungkook opened his box of lunch and showed it to Jimin. “We can share. I made sure to pack a lot because sometimes Hoseok-hyung forgets to bring enough healthy food and not just instant rice.”

Jimin chuckled as he sat down next to Jungkook, looking down at the food in contemplation. Noticing that Jimin wasn’t making a move to eat, he placed the box on the floor and took out an extra pair of chopsticks to pick up some kimchi he made earlier that day. “I can tell you’re not telling me something, ya know,” he spoke, startling the older boy next to him.

Jimin didn’t glance up. Instead, he focused his gaze on the food in front of them, not taking his eyes away while a pair of chopsticks moved to pick up rice. “It’s fine if you don’t want to tell me. I won’t force you to until you’re ready.” Jungkook spoke gently, taking in how young Jimin looked. He was the complete opposite of the man he left behind. This Jimin was so vulnerable and mendable to the views that others expected of him. It hurt Jungkook to see the only person that supported him look so defeated; so lost. Just like he used to be not so long ago in a different life.

(“You seem as though you’re not comfortable in your own skin. Have you truly accepted this side of you? Are you okay with telling me this even though you look like you don’t love this side of you?”

Jungkook pursed his lips as he sat with his head down. He felt as though Jimin was scolding him for breaking something.

“There's something you're still bound to that's preventing you from accepting yourself completely. I can tell you're not telling me something, but that's fine.”)

There was a moment of silence between them before Jimin spoke up quietly. “Do you get picked on?” Jungkook glanced at his hyung with wide eyes. “By the trainees, I mean. They pick on anyone younger than them and that hasn’t been in the company as long.”

“I thought I told you not to listen to them.”

“But what they said is true. I can’t get the teachers approval whenever I dance, no matter how hard I try. I won’t ever make it to being an idol.” A tear slipped down Jimin’s cheek, his eyes never leaving the food in front of him. “They’ve made fun of me and I want it to stop, but it won’t -not until I change.”

(Jimin pulled Jungkook in for a hug, patting his back and pulling away to wipe at the tears on the young man's cheeks. “Tell me again when you’ve truly accepted this side of you, Jungkookie. It’s not healthy if you only live with the acceptance of others and not your own.”)

“Don’t change,” Jungkook spoke sternly. He pointed at Jimin with his chopsticks and spoke through a mouthful of food -because while he may have reached 30 years old, he never lost the habit of talking with his mouth full.

“I like you the way you are. Change isn’t gonna do anything to get approval. People are always gonna expect more, and soon, you’ll find yourself lost between yourself and what others want to see.”

And god knows that Jungkook has been through it his whole life. Lost in the chaos of the idol life, Jungkook grew up not knowing the kind of person he actually was. He only grew up to fit the molds that society wanted and expected from him as a Korean idol. When he did find himself, it was too late to suddenly reveal the kind of person he was because society had gotten used to the person he showed himself to be in front of the cameras. He was also frightened to the core of the reactions he would receive. He was scared of losing all he cared for -especially his hyungs, the only people he sought approval from.

(“Why didn’t you think of telling us?” Jungkook avoided Jimin’s eyes drowned in curiosity and concern. The dark shades of purple outlining his eyes seemed to pierce Jungkook into place. It made him so nervous he didn’t want to answer, too afraid of the disappointment he would receive. Jimin sighed and continued to reassure the younger man.

“We would support you. You know that.”

Jungkook raised an eyebrow at Jimin who averted his eyes for a brief second, a small smile pulling at his lips. “Well, maybe we would scold you for not telling us sooner.”

“I was scared,” Jungkook confessed as he drew in a shaky breath. “Even if I knew you would all accept me, I was terrified.”

Jimin tilted his head and his kind eyes encouraged the maknae in front of him. “Of what?”

“Our relationship. Would we have continued to do everything we’ve always done? Or would there be some kind of shift in dynamics? Would I be treated slightly different all because of my sexuality?” Jungkook took a deep breath in as Jimin reached over to grasp one of his hands. “I’m the baby of the group so I’ve always had this unconditional love from the group. I’ve always had physical affection showcased to me and that probably would have changed if I came out.”

“I didn’t want to lose all of you.”)

“The only thing you can do is become a better Jimin than you are right now.” Jungkook swallowed his rice and moved to pick up the stir fry of vegetables he made. Jimin finally glanced up to Jungkook, smiling at the boy with a mouth full of food. Jungkook smiled as best as he could, and spoke in a muffled voice, “You can start by eating my homemade food, and telling me if I did a good job at making stir fry.”

Jimin smiled wider and picked up the unused chopsticks on the box. He reached for the stir fry and tasted two pieces, chewing slowly. “It’s kind of sweet?”

“I thought so.” Jungkook swallowed his food and smiled brightly at Jimin, glad to see him cheered up. “I don’t ever want to see you change. And you shouldn’t if you don’t want to.”

(“You were scared that we might distance ourselves without being fully aware of it?” Jimin inquired, a gentle smile on his lips.

“I -yeah, I guess.”

“And I assume you're still scared because of the tension we have with one another lately. Right?”

“I don’t want to hurt the group. I don’t want to be the reason we break up or continue fighting.”)

“You always know what to say to cheer me up.” It sounded a little like a question, and Jungkook quickly shoved more sweet vegetables into his mouth, not knowing how to explain that it was an alternate Jimin who gave him similar advice. Jimin didn’t inquire further, and he felt relieved that this Jimin was still similar to the older Jimin.

(Jimin reached out to brush off the tears falling down Jungkook's cheeks. “I didn't want you to hate me.”

“I could never hate you Jungkookie.” Jimin gave another sweet smile that had Jungkook wondering why the man was being so calm and loving. Jungkook didn’t feel as though he deserved it. He was almost envious of how Jimin was handling this situation.

“I wasn’t surprised in the slightest if that’s what you were wondering.” Jungkook blinked in confusion before he focused his gaze on Jimin’s blue eyes. A hand pushed back his dark blue hair as a form of comfort while the other continued to brush away the tears on his red cheeks.

“Well, now that you told me a lot of things make sense.” Jimin bit his lip as he took in the expressions of fright that Jungkook was making. “You lacked interest in women, you praised male artists for their looks more than female artists. Your own looks also became more ambiguous upon your request, and you became more obsessed with looking pretty rather than the masculinity I always thought you wanted.”

“And you’re okay with this?”

Jimin frowned when Jungkook vaguely gestured to himself. “Of course I am, but are you okay with this?”

There was a moment of silence as Jungkook sat frozen in shock. Of all questions to ask, he didn’t expect Jimin to ask that. He didn’t know how to answer, couldn’t even grasp what the question meant.)

“Make sure to eat everything, hyung.” Jungkook poked Jimin’s cheek with the clean end of his chopsticks before setting them down and leaning back, watching Jimin eat the way he should have always been eating.

“Thanks, Jungkook.”

“Anytime.” Jungkook smiled at the floor, thinking of all the insecurities he once had, and the ones that Jimin could attain in this profession. “Just tell me when something’s bothering you. I’ll try my hardest to help.”

And he really would try. He was going to be there for his hyungs like he never was in his past life. He wants to reassure them, no matter how little their problem is, Jungkook would help them and hope that they would help each other. More importantly, he hopes they find a way to understand each other and always find a solution to their problems. Whether internal or external.

“Just remember not to let other people’s opinions dictate your life.”

(Jungkook sniffled and held onto the loose sleeves of Jimin's satin shirt. He felt fingers trace his cheeks and run through his blue hair. He felt a small press of lips on his forehead as a gentle coo slipped past Jimin's lips, then another peck was placed on the tip of his nose.

“We love you Kookie and no matter what changes we always will. You’ll always be our baby.”

It felt so nice and warm being held in Jimin's arms as he silently cried. He felt touch deprived after the sudden rise of arguments prevented any of his hyungs to be affectionate with him. This might not have been such a happy moment, but it was calming enough for Jungkook to feel better than he ever did. Jungkook was closing his eyes, drifting off to sleep when he heard Jimin's voice softly speak in his ear.

“Don't let other people's opinions dictate your life Jungkookie.”)

Jimin smiled at Jungkook, innocent and happy. His cheeks were filled with rice, kimchi, and stir fry, giving him a younger look than Jungkook is used to. He briefly wondered when this boy turned into the confident young man that radiated sex appeal. “I’ll be here to help you if you ever need it as well.”

Jungkook simply continued to stare, watching Jimin eat the last of the stir fry and rice.

“The rice really balances out the sweetness of the stir fry, ya know.” Jimin continued to chew, thinking deeply before saying “I can see why Hoseok hyung named you Golden brat. You’re a good cook.”

Jungkook rolled his eyes, deciding that he would show Hoseok everything he could do. He was about to be shown just how much of a ‘Golden brat’ Jungkook was.

Chapter Text

❝The promises we made disappeared with the time we spent together.❞

-Let Me Know

 

 

Jungkook was very confused as he stared at Sihyuk with a pout. It wasn’t his intention to pout, but it seemed to be a go-to reaction whenever he was thoroughly confused and trying to make sense of what was happening around him.

“Um… What?” Came his unintelligent response.

“I have talked to the staff and they agree that you’ll be a good addition to BTS. I have been planning to make it a group with vocalists, however, it will still focus on the rappers.”

Jungkook frowned at the words. The group would become an idol group like every other Korean group there is. Jungkook knows that will happen, knows the outcome of this decision, but that doesn’t mean the thought still doesn't unsettle him. Namjoon and Yoongi had worked hard and invested their time into this group thinking that it would become something similar to Epik High or MFBTY. He remembered the first time he ever met them after joining. They were annoyed at the thought of becoming an idol group. Jungkook was the first vocalist, and to top it all off, he was years younger than the other two. When he first joined, it cemented the plan of BTS no longer being just a group of rappers like it was initially supposed to be. Jungkook wondered if they ever really knew what the group would become once Hoseok had joined -who was a dancer and had no prior experience in rapping as well.

“Do the others know?” Jungkook looked Sihyuk in the eye -which he never would have done if he was actually thirteen because Sihyuk was very intimidating. “They should know if you haven’t told them. I don’t mind joining, and they might not either because I can rap, but I think you should explain to them your idea. That way they don’t get the idea that BTS will be an idol group.”

Sihyuk looked mildly surprised at the lack of respect Jungkook had, but he also looked as though he were pondering over his words, which was good. Or Jungkook at least thought it was.

“You’ve brought on a good point. I’ll try to meet with all of you to explain plans I have set up with the staff. You will also do well to respect your elders.”

“Oh. Sorry.” Jungkook blushed at his slip up. He was so used talking to Sihyuk with familiarity when pitching in ideas for all the newer groups debuting after BTS’ unofficial disbandment that he forgot he was speaking to an alternate Sihyuk from a thirteen-year-old version of himself.

“I’m glad you’ll join BTS. Seeing as you’re very well rounded, you will make a very nice addition to the group.” Jungkook nodded in an attempt at respecting Sihyuk as he continued speaking.

“I will be late to the recording for Hoseok later today, but I trust that you can lead Hoseok. Despite being quite young, you are very knowledgeable.” Sihyuk sent a smile at Jungkook -which he returned- and the two went on discussing their plans for Hoseok’s portion of the song up until Shihyuk had to leave to a meeting and Jungkook to his vocal lessons.


“You look… better.” Was the first thing Jungkook said when Hoseok walked inside the recording studio.

He actually looked dead, but Hoseok didn’t have a fever anymore so he was free to do whatever he wanted. Jungkook knew he wouldn’t be able to put Hoseok back to bed if he didn’t have a legitimate argument to do so.

“I know I look like shit, Jungkook.”

The pre-teen grimaced, watching Hoseok plop himself on the couch. He looked to be a part of the couch with how much he was sinking into it, exhaustion settling deeply over the dancer as he closed his eyes and let himself loose.

“You shouldn’t curse in front of me, hyung. I’m thirteen.”

“I’m not buying your aegyo shit, Jungkook.” Hoseok looked up to see Jungkook frowning and looking annoyed, not at all trying to look cute like he did a few days ago. Hoseok tilted his head to the side in question. “Does it really bother you that much?”

Jungkook nodded, looking away towards the computer screen as Hoseok’s gaze lingered on his back in concern and confusion. Jungkook usually didn’t mind cursing -he didn’t care the last time he was actually thirteen- but throughout his adulthood, he came to despise cursing. Every time he heard a curse word he expected his hyungs to start yelling at him -or hit him, as he became accustomed to since his 25th birthday. The alternate Hoseok was never one to hit, but each sentence he spoke always carried a well-placed curse word that had Jungkook reduced to tears. It was expected that Yoongi cursed the most, but he rarely ever used them, thinking that it made his points lose value by using profanity. Hoseok, on the other hand, had always used curse words, no matter how he felt. It was simply a part of his everyday vocabulary.

Jungkook hated it, but he would learn to tolerate as best he could.

“Bang PD-nim isn’t here yet, but I can start explaining your rap style to you.” Jungkook took a deep breath and faced Hoseok again, hoping his hyung would let go of the topic and never force Jungkook to talk about it.

“Okay.” Hoseok nodded for Jungkook to speak, anticipating his opinions.

“You’re a hip-hop dancer.”

Hoseok blinked. “Yeah…?” He wasn’t sure where Jungkook was going with this.

“This means you know how to move to the rhythm of rap songs.” Jungkook was aware that Hoseok had not tried rapping before joining BTS, so he would need a lot of guidance. After the many years of watching Hoseok, he realized that Hoseok moved his whole body with each line, word, and syllable he made. Hoseok was unique within the rap world. He wasn’t sophisticated and confident like Namjoon, nor was he aggressively passionate like Yoongi. Hoseok was always a rapper in progress with his laidback voice but powerful presence. Alternate Hoseok always changed voice tones to experiment with the flow of his raps. It became a skill that Jungkook admired in both Hoseok and Jimin because as a singer, changing the tone of a song he’s rehearsed in a certain style could affect the feel of the song entirely -and it’s not always in a good way.

“I want you to think of rapping as though you were dancing,” Jungkook explained, moving his body as he spoke the next words with rhythm. “Experiment with the tones of your voice, move if you have to, even if it’s too get a feel of the song as you rap.” Jungkook lowered his arms and watched Hoseok drink in the words.

“On stage, rapping isn’t just about rapping fast and rhyming every other sentence. You have an audience to hype up, and you have the advantage of dancing. I think you’ll be very good at getting the audience to their feet if you move along with your rap, or rap along with your movements.”

Hoseok seemed to ponder over it, his hands twitching as though he were feeling the potential he had. Jungkook was satisfied with how eager Hoseok seemed to find a way to improve his rap.

“Just like I told Namjoon, You’re very similar to your Jeolla dialect. Actually, you’re more of a trap rapper.”

Hoseok looked at him in confusion.

“Uh… Think of popping, the dance style. Trap is similar to popping. The only difference is that it’s using your voice, rather, than, your, body.” Jungkook tried to demonstrate at the end of his sentence while doing some popping movements. “I’m not that good at trap, but you kind of get the point, no?” Hoseok nodded pensively with a small smile on his lips.

“We can practice your rapping when we dance, and for Paldogangsan, I want you to experiment with your voice before we actually record the final version, where you’ll try to imitate the way I rapped your parts, but with your own flare.”

“Wow, with you explaining it I feel more confident in rapping -or how I’m gonna rap, at least.” Hoseok gave him a wide smile that Jungkook returned with colored cheeks.

“I feel really invested in this group. I really think BTS will go far. We just need time to polish up our skills.”

Hoseok raised an eyebrow at Jungkook. “Our?”

“Oh.” Jungkook blinked sitting in silence with Hoseok as they stared at each other. “I… I don't know if I can say… I -I’m a part of BTS?”

Hoseok continued to stare at Jungkook as he fumbled with the end of his shirt. “It's not very official yet. A week or so ago, he asked me about my plans and mentioned he would talk to the staff about me. Earlier today he said I was gonna be added.”

Hoseok didn’t say anything for a while, and Jungkook was mildly worried over being rejected until he spoke quietly, a smile on his lips as he looked down at his hands. “You'll be really good… as a solo artist too. You're really talented.”

Jungkook grimaced. He didn't like how it sounded coming out of Hoseok's mouth, as though it hurt to admit that Jungkook would be successful on his own.

“I don't want to be a solo artist,” Jungkook said. “I don't think I would be able to mentally go through that experience and not come out broken in one form or another.”

“What if being in the group hurts you more?” (“What if we’re not good enough for you and hinder your growth?” His hyungs argued as Jungkook sat in tears, desperately trying to make his hyungs see reason before they decided to end their contracts. “You should have just been a solo artist. At least then it wouldn’t hurt to hear that we’re just a burden to you.”)

Jungkook blinked before he was assaulted with memories of all the tears he cried and the relationships he ended. He recalled the secrets he kept and masks he put on in front of the camera. The idol life would take its toll on him whether he had support or not. Fame had no mercy for the weak minded and Jungkook had both first and second-hand experience with it. He watched fame strip his hyungs of their innocence and turn them into greedy and broken men. He himself had been stripped down to a mess on a bathroom floor as rumors and fame took advantage of their weak state. There was never a guarantee that Jungkook would be fine staying with the group, but he felt as though he had better chances of coping in a healthy way -or healthier than he did in his previous life.

“I'll take my chances,” Jungkook answered honestly. He came back for a reason and he'd be damned if he didn't seize this opportunity with two desperate hands. “It's better to have people to support me, no? And it's nice sharing achievements with people who have the same dream.”

“You're not a normal kid Jungkook,” Hoseok commented with a teasing smile. Jungkook mentally agreed with Hoseok. He was the product of the Korean entertainment industry. He was raised inside it at an age where he was most influenced to grow into expectations. Jungkook wasn't a normal kid from the very beginning. He wasn't a Jungkook that grew up into his own personality before going through fame. He was a Jungkook that was also BTS. He grew up with the ideals of his hyungs. He was similar to them all in his likes, dislikes, his personality, and his habits because everything he does he learned from BTS.

That was probably helpful in getting his hyungs to like him. He could relate to them in some way and they might have been able to sense that. In a way, Jungkook tied his group together. They all helped to raise him, and maybe they had struggled to break up because they all had one thing that connected them all and that was Jungkook who has a piece of each of them in his personality. His hyungs probably felt as though they couldn't easily leave him -they were bound to him just like Jungkook's lack of self-acceptance derived from being bound to a person he loved.

“My hyungs used to say I was a weird one.” Hoseok didn’t question the statement, but he looked at Jungkook with sad eyes while the pre-teen smiled softly as nostalgia and longing swept over him.


“Am I getting better at this?” Jimin asked Jungkook when they were taking a break to eat lunch.

“At what?” Jungkook asked through a mouthful of rice. He was so confused at how serious Jimin looked when just seconds ago they were laughing at a memory of Hoseok -or at Hoseok.

“Dancing… and becoming a better Jimin as you said.” Jimin looked at the floor, almost embarrassed at what he said. Jungkook stared in contemplation. While Jimin may be doubting himself, this was still some sort of progress and Jungkook was happy with Jimin’s effort of at least trying to do something with his confidence.

“Well, you just have to practice… and try to have confidence in yourself.” Jungkook picked up a piece of fish before adding, “That’s what I did to accept myself.”

Jimin stared at Jungkook in curiosity but didn’t inquire further. He was probably scared of overstepping some sort of boundaries seeing as they weren’t really friends yet. It made Jungkook sad, but it wasn’t like he was doing any better at becoming best friends with him either. He couldn’t help and compare this relationship with Jimin to the one he had with an alternate Jimin.

They still tiptoed around each other, afraid of overstepping barriers they each placed. This time, however, Jungkook was afraid of saying too much. He was scared that his words could be used against him like they once had been. This was justified too. Jungkook was much older than Jimin -mentally, at least- which gave him more experience and knowledge about himself. He knew what he liked and what his limits were; He knew the kind of person he was even if he couldn’t fully embrace it before with how conservative Korea and the entertainment industry was. Jungkook knew that Jimin would accept it, but that was a Jimin that loved him unconditionally for the decade and a half they knew each other.

This naive Jimin might not feel as though he should accept him. This Jimin wasn’t as knowledgeable as the older one and could reject Jungkook. It scared him -frightened him to the core that revealing his preference could impact the relationships he had with his hyungs -both the ones he already had and the ones he will.

That same fright and hesitance made this newfound friendship feel so familiar to the one he once had with an alternate version of Jimin. That relationship was created through misunderstanding, it wounded Jungkook and he felt mocked. After pouring his heart out to Jimin, his trust in the older man declined after one interview that made all of Jungkook’s doubt and insecurities rise to the surface and question his hyungs genuine acceptance to his sexuality. That Jimin was worried over accidentally hurting Jungkook with his words that he decided to have minimal contact with Jungkook and apologize whenever Jungkook was available for a few seconds. (Jungkook would walk away as soon as he saw Jimin near him.)

“It takes a while, loving yourself and stuff. When you actually get there though, It’s nice.” Jimin nodded, but his face was scrunched up in mild confusion. Jungkook picked a clump of rice and ate it, then chewed on the end of his metal chopsticks as he tried to think of a way to further explain his point. This was a fifteen-year-old he was talking to, and while teenagers weren’t dumb, his hyungs had their own brand of stupidity at times (Jungkook reluctantly included himself after mild contemplation).

“It’s hard at first. I -uh, a hyung of mine used to despise himself. He would try hard to get rid of whatever made him -him, I guess? He actually fell into the expectations of other people for some time. He starved himself, and would sometimes resort to throwing up if he was forced to eat.” Jungkook took in a deep breath, trying too rid the image of Jimin curled up against the toilet and throwing up with tears streaming down his face and murmurs of self hate slipping past his lips in the dead of night.

“He was never satisfied with himself. Others loved him; praised him, and he soaked up the attention, but he was never once satisfied with who he had become. Eventually, his friends helped him out and he grew to accept himself. He didn’t love himself and wasn’t overly happy, but he was content and that made everything better.” Jungkook looked over at Jimin and watched his head hang in shame, probably wondering if he really would have been like that at some point in the future.

“I don’t want you to be like that.” Jungkook smiled softly. “I didn’t want to be like that either.”

“What did you hate about yourself?” Jimin asked quietly. Jungkook paused for a brief moment, his piece of fish slipping from his chopsticks right before he regained his composure.

“Uh…” Jungkook glanced at Jimin who was looking back at him in curiosity and slight hesitance. “You don’t care about people’s preferences to whatever, right?”

“Not really. If it doesn’t have anything against me, then I don’t care much about what people like.” Jimin shrugged. He continued to patiently wait for Jungkook to speak again, this time with a small smile on his face. Jungkook thought the smile looked suspiciously like a knowing one. It was similar to the smiles that he would receive whenever his hyung knew that Jungkook pulled a prank and was lying about it.

“Uh, well… I like guys?”

“Are you asking me?”

“No?” Jungkook looked away at his answer, feeling a lot like the time he first told Jimin in his twenty-four-year-old body. It seemed like a decade made no difference to change Jimin’s calm acceptance. It did, however, make Jungkook more hesitant to say anything. More bashful.

“I had a friend who was lesbian, y’ know.” Jimin smiled kindly to Jungkook, trying to make the younger boy comfortable. The preteen raised his head to stare at Jimin because no, he didn’t know that at all. If he knew, then he wouldn’t have hesitated to tell Jimin in both lifetimes. Jungkook wanted to curse his dumb twenty-four-year-old self for never thinking of asking Jimin if he had ever met someone from the LGBTQ community. (He added Jimin into the cursing just because).

“Well, now I feel like an idiot for worrying.”

Jimin only laughed and took a piece of fish.


(“Why have you been so silent? Since the interview, you haven't been talking to me like you always do.”

Jungkook turned around to face Jimin, watching him pour water into a glass and drink. It hurt him more than he anticipated. Although, it wasn't as though he knew it would happen, so he guessed it just hurt. Very painfully. He didn't want to look at the man who made him feel humiliated in front of a camera. He didn't like the feeling of being mocked.

“I trusted you, but apparently you don't trust me.”

Jimin held tightly to his glass of water, not meeting Jungkook's eyes.

“It's just an interview. You know we lie when we need to.”

“We say half-truths,” Jungkook whispered, but Jimin heard it and moved to set his glass down on the countertop. “How do I know if you didn't say your true thoughts about me?”

Jimin sighed and reached over to cup Jungkook's cheek. “I have no control over what I can or can't say, and you know that, Jungkookie. The managers would have my ass if I even think of mentioning the word gay. We have so many rumors at the moment and the smallest mistake could affect the band negatively.”

“There's no use lying anymore. It can't get worse than it is now. We're disbanding either way.” Jungkook felt Jimin rub his thumb to wipe away the tears. “I'm tired of this.” He said softly, looking down.

“Jungkookie, h-”

“Do you promise that it was a lie?”

“I promise.” Jimin cupped Jungkookie other cheek and planted a kiss to his forehead like he always did whenever Jungkook needed comfort.

“Do you trust me?”

A moment's hesitation was all Jungkook needed to shake Jimins hands away and duck his head.

“I do. I trust all of you like because I have no one else that I love as much as you hyungs. I'll trust you even if none of you trust me.”

When he glanced at Jimin he saw the hurt on his face and couldn't help but feel satisfaction at the reaction. Then he felt guilty because he doesn't like the look of hurt on his hyungs no matter how much he wants them to feel his pain. “That's not why i-

“No, it's okay.”

“It's not.”

“To me it is.” His voice wavered but was louder than it was a few moments ago. “I can't force you to trust me. Especially with all the fighting and taking sides that's going on lately.” Jungkook turned around and pushed away Jimin's arm when it reached out for him.

“I don't mind not having any support. It has always been just me against my hyungs. I'll be okay with only the fake affection shown on camera.”)

Jungkook stared at the lyrics in front of him, realizing the paper crinkled up from the tears he had no idea he was crying. He looked up and stared at the wall of his shared room, ignoring the sounds around him of the other trainees he couldn't bother to remember the names of. He hoped he could move out and into BTS's dorm soon. At least then he wouldn't feel like a stranger. His pencil tapped the paper until he finally looked down and wrote the last line for Yoongi's rap verse.

‘I'll forget you

because it will hurt less than resenting you.’

 

Chapter Text

❝You helped me feel the world. You created my breath. I want to hold you more today. Higher than anything above ground.❞

-Mama

 

 

Jungkook had no idea how to approach Yoongi when the time came to help him with the recording. Yoongi would most likely dislike being taught by someone four years younger than him let alone a kid who would change the type of group BTS will become.

Jungkook sighed as he stood in front of the door to the recording studio. He was nervous, and it was because Yoongi was the hardest person to get along with. Jungkook wasn't used to talking to him -had not talked to Yoongi for about six years and had never made up with him. The argument he had with Yoongi was the first of many that never got resolved.

Despite coming from the future, his knowledge didn't seem to help him with small things like talking. Jungkook hated this.

With a sigh, he opened the door and was greeted with the sight of Yoongi and Sihyuk in front of the computer and listening intently to the recorded parts of Namjoon and Hoseok.

“Uh… Hi.” Jungkook waved and walked over to the couch, taking a seat and letting his body get swallowed up in it because he didn't want to do this anymore. It was awkward enough as it is just being in Yoongi's presence and now Jungkook had to worry about their non-existent friendship.

Yoongi waved, but his attention was still on the music that filled the room. Now that Jungkook thought about it, he should really start becoming friends with both Namjoon and Yoongi if he's going to be a part of the group. It was going to be a challenge though.

“Hoseok improved,” Sihyuk commented, standing up straight from his hunched form on the desk. He grabbed a chair on the side and sat down on it as Yoongi sat on the other end of the couch. Jungkook glanced towards Yoongi, taking note of the distance that was between them and made a small pout.

(“Sit there, Namjoon.” Jungkook heard a raspy voice say. He watched as Yoongi forced Namjoon to sit next to him and then pulled Jimin and Hoseok to take the other spaces on the couch before Jungkook could think of sitting there. He glanced at Yoongi and received a scowl before the purple haired man turned towards the interviewer.)

“What did you help Hoseok with when I wasn't there?”

Jungkook shifted on the couch before answering. “I told him what we discussed and added that he was more suited to trap rapping. I think I said something right because he looked more confident while recording.” Jungkook hummed in thought before adding, “I gave him a few examples as best as I could and told him we could practice when dancing in the mornings.”

“Practice in the mornings?”

“Uh… I spend my mornings in the dance studio with Hoseok hyung and another trainee named Jimin. We help each other with dance and stuff.” Stuff, as in, Jungkook watching his hyungs make a fool of themselves by dancing to girl groups. Or force feeding his hyungs some breakfast.

“Ah.” Sihyuk glanced toward Yoongi. “Well,  let's get started on Yoongi.”

Jungkook sunk into the couch some more, hoping to get swallowed by it.

 


 

Jungkook walked down the streets of Seoul, hoping to make to the convenience store before lunchtime with Jimin came around. While he doesn't have a big allowance, Jungkook had lived half of his life on budgets and knew how to manage his money and save on foods. This meant he has enough for the occasional snack that he probably wasn't supposed to eat due to his diet. Fame really did nothing to change his cheap spending habits, which was why he had millions saved up as an adult.

Jungkook hummed on the road, glancing at the other trainees that were either on a lunch break or making their way to the building to practice. Some of the trainees he recognized as background dancers or trainees that moved companies and became idols themselves. A few of them smiled at him because they worked with him before during dance lessons or because they recognized him as a trainee. It made Jungkook feel weird because he was so used to getting mobbed or have people recognize him and yell in surprise and happiness. Getting casual greetings like this made him feel more human, less of a spectacle and more like a friend or acquaintance.

He wasn't sure if the weird feeling was because he missed the idol life or the normal teenage life he's supposed to have.

While he took note of every trainee he ever encountered in his previous life, he spotted a familiar face that probably wasn't supposed to be here yet. Squinting, Jungkook saw the lean body of a college student that had gained the attention of a BigHit manager once upon a time. However, with Jungkook messing up the timeline, the chances of Seokjin getting scouted are slim. So the next best thing was befriending Seokjin. The problem was how.

Seokjin was walking towards him, presumably out of the convenience store if the plastic bag was any indication. He was distracted by something on his phone so he can't really see Jungkook staring at him like a lunatic, or notice that he was being looked at by other teenagers he passed by. Despite being younger than Jungkook is used to seeing him, he still had his good looks, even if he still had some baby fat. Jungkook could see why the managers in his past life scouted him in the first place. They saw a pretty face with potential.

When Jungkook was a few feet away, he suddenly had the idea that bumping into Seokjin was the only way he could approach the teen. It wasn't Jungkook's brightest idea, but he had to make do with what he had.

In hindsight though, he should have expected that Seokjin would be wary of a kid telling him to join an agency just because he was good looking and had 'potential’ to be a great singer. (While it was true, Seokjin wasn't ignorant or delusional and Jungkook should have remembered that this was the boy that rejected going to SM Entertainment once upon a time.)

“You can make your parents proud if you debut as an artist.” Jungkook tried to stay in step with Seokjin but the teen was five years older and therefore had longer legs. Seokjin remained silent, probably thinking about the offer. Or how to get rid of Jungkook –that's usually the train of thought his hyungs have when he's annoying them.

They walked in silence until Jungkook spoke up again, feeling slightly guilty to be saying this, but if it convinced Seokjin to join BigHit, then it was worth the one-minute guilt creeping through his veins.

“I'm sure your mom would love to brag about her son becoming an idol. Wouldn't that be great? Children love to make their parents proud, and love to give their moms a chance to brag about their children's accomplishments.” Jungkook glanced to his side and watched Seokjin blink. He slowed down his walking while Jungkook looked up at the man he remembered loved him like his own child.

“You don't have to make a decision now.” Seokjin looked down at him –and wasn't that weird, being looked down on– with a thoughtful look on his face. “I have hyungs that are getting prepared to debut -I am too, but we're still looking for more people to join. You might have a chance at joining if you try.”

“I'll think about it.”

Jungkook gave Seokjin a wide smile at the words and happily gave Seokjin his number, ignoring the blush that dusted the teen's cheeks when he didn't stop showing his bunny smile. (And Jungkook knew the effect it had on his hyungs, he had exploited that weakness in his past life to get away with all the pranks he'd pull. Just one well-placed smile had the men enamored with him and coddling him like a baby –even though Jungkook pretended to hate it). The answer wasn't a reassurance that Seokjin would join BigHit, but Jungkook met him a year earlier than he's supposed to, so he had time to convince Seokjin to join. At least it gave Jungkook a reassurance that Seokjin would consider the offer.

“I'll see you around then, I have to go get snacks for my hyungs.” Jungkook waved goodbye and was on his way to the convenience store again. He was too happy to care that there was a good chance Seokjin would never speak to him again as he did to a famous entertainment agency in another life.

Jungkook would be damned if BTS debuted without a vital member of the group.

 


 

“You look way too happy right now, Jungkookie,” Hoseok commented from beside Jimin as they watched Jungkook enter the mini-cafeteria. Jungkook simply flashed a smile at his hyungs and set the bag of treats in front of them. The contents spilled over and he watched in satisfaction as the glee in their faces became more and more evident.

“Did you just spend your allowance on snacks?!” Hoseok practically screeched out, most likely thinking that Jungkook was an irresponsible individual. (And the actual thirteen-year-old was irresponsible, but thirty-year-old Jungkook knew how to manage money.)

“I saved up my money for a few weeks. I call it my 'do-whatever-you-want money.” Jungkook shrugged and reached inside the bag to pull out a snack and toss it to Jimin. “I know we're on a diet, but what's a few calories every other month?”

Jimin nodded like it was the wisest advice in the world while Hoseok raised an eyebrow at the boy.

“How much did you spend?”

“Well, I still have a few thousand won, plus the allowance for this week.”

Hoseok narrowed his eyes at the maknae.

“Hyung, I know how to manage my money.” Jungkook heard a 'you better’ before Hoseok reached over to take a bag of chips. Jungkook watched in satisfaction as Jimin ate to his heart's content. He was checking how many calories each thing had, which was good in Jungkook's opinion as long as Jimin wasn't too focused on keeping a strict diet that relies on starvation.

“How'd it go with Yoongi hyung?” Hoseok asked once Jungkook took a seat in front of them.

“It was okay,” Jungkook replied back, not knowing what to say exactly. It didn't go as bad as Jungkook was expecting, but it was still rather awkward for the time traveler. He couldn’t seem to let go of the memories he had with Yoongi and it bothered him to no end. The memories prevented Jungkook from getting along with Yoongi, but he wanted to get to know the teen. He wanted to repay the older male for helping Seokjin raise a selfish bratty version of him. Their guidance and lessons helped Jungkook become someone better. It all could have gone so wrong for Jungkook had the group as a whole not taken the time to raise him and get him out of bad habits that could have destroyed him at a young age. Jungkook was forever grateful to have hyungs who wanted the best for him and taught him how to differentiate right from wrong. So now he wanted to become someone that Yoongi -and the other hyung’s- could rely on despite their age differences. Jungkook had to take baby steps, though. Especially after suggesting the man should sing.

(Once, Jungkook was done explaining the small improvements that Yoongi could do to his rapping, he decided to add on a bit more. “You can also work on your singing. It might prove useful when you record demos or something like that.”

Yoongi raised an eyebrow. “Singing? I can’t sing.”

“I’m just saying, hyung. You don’t have to be the best singer, but at least knowing the basics can help you when you need them.”

“Fine,” Yoongi grumbled out, and Jungkook flashed him his signature bunny smile.)

Jungkook groaned at the memory of giving Yoongi tips on singing. He was much too happy at not being told off by the older teen that he was just now feeling the embarrassment of the moment.

Hoseok gave him a weird face that turned into one of amusement after Jungkook said, “I gave Yoongi hyung tips on singing.”

Jimin -who didn’t understand what was going on or who Yoongi was- watched Hoseok laugh as Jungkook continued groaning both at his own stupidity and Hoseok’s neverending teasing that’s bound to plague him for the next three lifetimes.

“It was just a suggestion! Hyung -stop laughing!”

Jimin giggled at the scene before him as Jungkook pounced on Hoseok in order to shut him up.

“Oh! I wish I was there!” Hoseok wheezed out, holding onto Jungkook’s thin wrists so he wouldn’t get hit by accident. “I bet his reaction was priceless!”

“He didn’t make any weird faces!” Jungkook resorted to throwing his whole weight on Hoseok who still would not shut up -dammit hyung! “All he did was take in the suggestion -or ignore me, I don’t know, but -shut up!”

“Geeze, stop being so disrespectful Jungkookie, I’m -what? Three years older than you?” Hoseok finally stopped laughing and turned to face Jungkook who was inches away and limp on top of him. He made a face and pushed Jungkook lightly. “Get off, Jungkookie, you’re not that light.”

“Well, thanks for calling me fat.” Jungkook moved to get up and playfully shoved Hoseok. Hoseok frowned at the pre-teen.

“You’re not fat.”

Jungkook glanced at Jimin as if asking ‘is he stupid?’ before turning back to the oldest dancer. “That was sarcasm, hyung.”

“I didn’t know you knew such a thing existed.”

Jimin opened a bag of seaweed and laughed at the offended look Jungkook wore.

 

 

Chapter Text

❝A house made of cards, and us, inside. Even if it’s a vain dream, stay like this a little more.❞

-House Of Cards

 

 

“Why aren't you taking part in the recording? We could really use your voice.” Jungkook turned to face Namjoon, not really knowing how to respond. On one hand, participating in the recording will alter this timeline and maybe change the outcome of their dynamics. On the other, Jungkook would feel like he’s intruding. There was just a feeling of wrongness in thinking about having a part in the song.

“I just feel as though you three should do it yourselves.”

“Why? We have you in the group now.” Yoongi questioned as though accusing Jungkook of wrongdoing. Jungkook didn't like that. Didn't like to be treated like he was the villain. He’s had enough of that and frankly, he felt an urge to punch Yoongi in the face like he once did a few years ago -or a few years from now? But he was trying to avoid conflict, so he pushed that urge away and focused on the question.

“It just doesn’t feel right.” Jungkook shrugged, cringing on the inside at the wording. Was it selfish to want things to go exactly the same all because it was familiar to Jungkook -because it was predictable for Jungkook to distinguish when the attitudes of his hyungs are taking a turn for the worst? He wanted things to be similar so he could see the difference between the attitudes of these boys compared to the men he left behind. He wanted to see how his advice shaped his hyungs into better people, almost as if he were the one raising his hyungs. However, nothing would change if he didn’t make some type of adjustment to the events. It wouldn't hurt to add an extra voice, and the feeling in his gut would probably ease as the events pass by.

“If you really want me too, I might be able to sing the chorus.”

Namjoon nodded in agreement, glancing at Yoongi to hear his opinion as though Namjoon needed the reassurance of a hyung to know what was a good option or not. Jungkook furrowed his eyebrows slightly. He wasn’t sure if Namjoon was announced as the official leader, but acting this way when making a decision wasn’t very good. He looked doubtful, easily amenable to the wishes of people older than him. It would be bad for Namjoon to stay that way. (It would be trouble for the group when making crucial decisions about workload or concepts that they may not like or feel comfortable with.) Namjoon had to learn to hold his own against those with authority. He also had to learn to speak with those who weren't older than him. Hoseok, while he didn't know much about rapping, would need to speak up about his opinions on a matter. If he didn't say anything, or if Namjoon didn't care to ask him, then misunderstandings could arise and bring about conflicts that Jungkook was trying to avoid.

“I’ll try to get them to accept you in the song.” Jungkook didn’t ask who ‘them’ was because he knew it was just the producers and Sihyuk who could approve (or not) an idea. Jungkook didn’t think they would refuse to add him. Sihyuk had even asked him if he was going to participate in Paldogangsan when he recorded the demo a while back. Jungkook wasn’t cocky, he just knew that his addition into the song would be beneficial. It would help the rappers keep their breath by taking over the chorus. He might even have the chance to help them through the beginning stages of the idol life. Interviews could be a bitch if you didn’t know when you were saying too much or not enough.

“Does that mean Jungkook has to re-record the chorus?” Namjoon asked, tilting his head to the side while looking at Yoongi.

Yoongi pondered over it, glancing between Jungkook, Namjoon and the computer next to him. “I think we can add our voices to the chorus so it doesn’t sound too bland. Jungkook wouldn’t need to re-record anything that way.”

“Please do that, hyung.” Jungkook sunk into the couch, feeling exhausted over this situation. He almost didn’t know what to do. “I’m kinda tired of recording this song.”

That earned him a few chuckles, and a small smile made its way to his face. He could worry about messing up events at a later date; right now he was content.


(“Sorry Jungkookie, I have a meeting with the others and won’t be able to practice this morning with you and Jimin.”)

Jungkook sighed for the umpteenth time that morning. It was just him in the dance room, waiting for something to happen because Jimin and Hoseok wouldn’t be able to make it to practice. He stared at the reflection in the big mirrors; a small boy hunched over in exhaustion. He hasn’t warmed up and he doesn’t feel like starting anytime soon, so he’s just sitting there. Waiting and thinking.

Moments like this remind him of his future. The days he shut himself out from the world and spent his time in the dance room. In those days he was waiting for an end or a beginning and thinking of what ifs and could haves.

Staring at his reflection —he was so small, chubby cheeks, Bambi eyes, and a too big nose he would later grow into— he tried to recall any type of memory that could let him know why he was in the past (or an alternate universe) like an action or wish he made before he was sent through time. All he could really think about, however, were the struggles he had when trying to get his hyungs to fix their problems.

At some point in their career, group meetings weren't enough to solve problems between members. In fact, they only gave the members a chance to really let themselves go and insult or hit like there was no tomorrow.

Jungkook always watched them fight because intervening only made his hyungs turn their attention to him and further elaborate on their thoughts. Jungkook came to despise those group meetings. He always came out of the room with tears in his eyes and a bruise forming on his pale skin —either from gaining his hyungs anger or from a stray punch or object he didn't have time to avoid. Jungkook was secretly glad that those meetings were called off once he turned twenty-six.

By then, Jungkook didn't get along with them as the friends and family he considered them to be. He did try though. He spent months trying to mend his relationships with them. He talked, bought them things on special occasions and gave them the attention that wasn't considered annoying or made him look like a brat. He also tried apologizing even if he wasn't the one at fault.

Eventually, he gave up. What was the purpose of mending friendships if the other person wasn't willing to try? It frustrated Jungkook because he was someone that lived off of his hyungs lives. Their happiness was his happiness. Their accomplishments were his and their pain as well. He was connected to them and would never be able to let them go no matter if he desperately wanted to (and he didn’t want to).

Burying his face in his too small hands, a shaky breath escaped his lips and he let tears escape his eyes. It didn’t help to remember his past life if he would only break down at the memories of pain and longing. And Jungkook had no idea how he could continue to love the people that hurt him. He always found himself longing for a group of men that were so far out of his reach. Even as he watches their young alternate versions enjoy their life as trainees, he found himself wishing he could have his much older hyungs with him despite their flaws. It confused him, but he assumed that was what people meant by having a love-hate relationship with someone.

Another sigh left Jungkook, choked on a sob as he shook with the force of his tears. He was suddenly glad that Jimin and Hoseok decided not to come. Jungkook had not cried this hard for a while —since the day he became aware of his time traveling he's tried to keep crying to a minimum. He was tired of crying. He'd done it so frequently in his previous life and it made him feel weak and useless. It reminded him that these tears were caused by the painful rejection of his hyungs. The tears were a product of a conversation gone wrong, of secrets kept locked away from the world and a love so strong it hurt when tugged at harshly.

(“Are you saying you wouldn't tell us —the people that raised you— a problem that could affect the whole group?” Jungkook swallowed the lump in his throat and tried to croak out an answer through the panic rising in his veins. “Are you saying you don't trust us?!”)

Jungkook bit his bottom lip and hugged his legs close to him, trying to find some sort of comfort to fill up the gap of a body that should be next to his.

(“Oh Jungkookie, don't cry, baby.” Jungkook clung tightly to the white jacket in front of him, body shaking with the force of his sobbing. “You'll be fine Jungkookie. You have me; Jiminie hyung. And you have the others too. You just have to say the word and we'll help you with whatever you want.

Jimin held the crying boy tighter, running his hands through lilac colored hair. “I'll be right here with you. I'll help you explain yourself and I'll help you accept yourself. You just have to trust me.”)

Thinking of a time when he used to have it so simple, so easy with the love and support of his hyungs, he wondered why it all crumbled. Why couldn't he mend his relationships with his hyungs?

(“Have you figured it out?”

“Yeah. I have.” Jungkook shut the door behind him and walked up to Jimin who sat on his bed. “I'm okay with myself.”

Jimin smiled sweetly, reaching out a hand to pull Jungkook towards him. The younger man stumbled forward and was wrapped in a hug. “Do you want to tell me what prevented you from accepting yourself?”

Jungkook moved to sit comfortably while in Jimin's firm embrace. He looked up at the only person who knew his secret and met gray eyes. “I like someone.”

“Oh?” Jimin moved one of his hands to play with Jungkook's fading blue hair. “Do you want to tell me who it is?”

“I… Not really.” He mumbled back, resting his head on Jimin's shoulder and basking in the hug. “You might think I'm gross.”

“I wouldn't think you were gross. If you don't want to tell me, then you don't have to. Just know that I care about you, and I'll be right here when you need me.”

“Okay.” Jungkook felt Jimin press a kiss to his hair and he smiled against the pale skin of his hyung. He would tell Jimin when he was ready. He wanted to tell Jimin, have him know everything that Jungkook thinks about. Maybe then he‘ll have the courage to tell the others.)

‘I never told Jimin who I loved’ Jungkook mused in his head. His body still trembled while he suppressed his sobs. Jungkook may have never confessed, but he remembers writing a letter to his hyungs, letting them know of all the things that made up Jeon Jungkook of Busan, a thirty-year-old man tired of being an idol.

Maybe that led him to the past.

Chapter Text

❝The loud cheering on stage, cheers for our performances, I’ll secure my chosen dream.❞

-Regulate

 

Jungkook sat quietly between Namjoon and Hoseok in the conference room, glancing at the staff sitting around them and Sihyuk who was staring down each of the current members of BTS. Yoongi sat to Namjoon’s left with no expression on his face, but having lived with the man for more than a decade, he could tell the teen was nervous. Namjoon was biting his bottom lip next to him, and Hoseok was tapping his fingers on his leg with a small frown on his face.

Jungkook turned his attention back to Sihyuk who was still looking at them with a stern face laced with kindness. Jungkook silently thanked his past self for picking this company because it provided the artist freedom over their music and treated them like the humans and teenagers they are. That didn’t mean that the trainees weren’t scared of meeting the kind and understanding CEO in front of him. Jungkook sighed, deciding to break the silence and get this meeting over with.

“So… What is it you wanted to tell us?”

The man locked eyes with him and exhaled softly, before looking over the three rappers. “I called you four today to inform you of the plans that the company has decided for BTS.”

Next to him, Jungkook heard his hyungs let out a small breath of relief, but the tension still remained. “The first thing that will happen is the release of Paldogangsan. There will be auditions around South Korea, and we plan to use Paldogangsan to encourage the youth to audition.”

Namjoon nodded hesitantly, a question that Jungkook wanted an answer to slipping from his mouth. “Uh… When will it be released?”

“The tenth of this month. In other words, it will be released this upcoming Saturday.” Sihyuk laced his fingers over the table and leveled the four with a gaze of slight concern. Jungkook didn’t understand why that expression would be on his face, the announcement of something like this should be something great. BTS was about to take its first baby steps, however little, it was exposure to the entertainment industry.

However, Paldogangsan wasn't supposed to be released for another week or so. Jungkook glanced at the others and took in their surprise and delight. It warmed Jungkook seeing them look so happy and proud of themselves for taking their first step into fame. This was their dream and they were slowly getting there. Jungkook just needed to get the other three vocalists in the group and BTS would be ready for their debut (or ready to train for their debut.) He just hoped his interference didn’t affect the opportunity for Jimin, Jin, and Taehyung to join BTS or Bighit.

"Radio and TV interviews are being scheduled for next week.” Jungkook felt his heart drop to his stomach at the announcement. “The four of you will have mock interviews this week to prepare you for any questions that may be asked."

The three rappers nodded and Jungkook gave a tight smile, trying to reassure himself that the mock interviews would be enough to prepare his hyungs of the questions that are bound to be asked. (He secretly hopes that these interviews will only ask about the process and not belittle them for whatever reason.)

"I also called you here to discuss the future of BTS."

Jungkook took a deep breath in, holding it as he watched from the corner of his eyes the way Namjoon and Hoseok tense up slightly. Yoongi wasn't visible from where he sat, but Jungkook could guess that the oldest was frowning. Jungkook had an idea about the next words, but the others didn’t and therefore thought the words meant that members would be changed. Or roles.

"The plan is to keep you as a hip hop group. We will continue to focus on rap. However, there will be additions of vocalists, like Jungkook.” There was a breath of relief in the air as Namjoon and Hoseok relaxed. Jungkook did not move at all, waiting for the catch that would change a lot for the group. “You will also start taking dance lessons."

"What?" Jungkook closed his eyes and let out a breath, counting until five and not opening his eyes as Yoongi's voice rang in his ears. Jungkook breathed in for another count of five. He could feel his muscles start to tense as the conversation went on.

"Yoongi, these are simple plans that will allow you to continue rapping. You will essentially become an idol group. The staff and I have discussed this and decided that it would be the best course of action." Sihyuk calmly explained, leveling Yoongi with a stern gaze.

"I came to be a part of a group that focused on rap. I'm not going to become a part of an idol group and start dancing."

"Hyung," Jungkook spoke up. He turned to shoot Yoongi a glare despite the disrespect it would show. “You know that singers will be needed for you three to rap smoothly and save your breath for shows. Hoseok hyung and I can already dance. It would be a waste not to have our skills shown.”

“We already have you to sing. Hell, even Hoseok could do it. With or without you.” Jungkook clenched his hands into fists under the table but remained silent. “What I don’t understand is why we have to suddenly turn into a stupid idol group just to make the music I want to make!”

“Have you thought about what people would think?” Jungkook didn’t back down from the cold gaze that Yoongi gave him. He had fifteen years of experience to learn how to hold himself in an argument against his hyungs. No matter what age he was, he wouldn’t let someone try to dominate him. (He ignored the memory of an older Yoongi spitting hatred and annoyance onto his vulnerable and naive self.) “Rapping the way you do -and the way you want- is not gonna be widely accepted as pop music and idol groups are. You’ll hate the make-up, dieting, dancing and being an entertainer for people, but all of that will be worth it when your music starts getting sold.”

Yoongi huffed out a sound, almost like laughter as though he were mocking Jungkook’s words in his head. “That’s just it! I came from the underground scene to sign myself under a label that wouldn’t boss me around and put me into an idol group. Yet here I am, being told that I won’t be in a hip hop group like Epik High, and instead, I’ll have to play dress up!”

“Do you even know if Bang PD-nim is gonna make you wear all of that? Don’t you think that maybe the staff is doing this to ensure that our group becomes successful? They’re trying to make us succeed and if becoming an idol group will ensure that we don’t become a flop, then I’ll take make-up and feminine clothing any day. You should too. At least give it a try before you start opposing the idea.”

Jungkook waited in anticipation for Yoongi to declare his decision. Not once looking away because he knew that Yoongi would see it as having power over Jungkook and the preteen didn't want to be their mindless minion.

Yoongi glared at him, trying to force Jungkook to back down and essentially 'put him in his place' but Jungkook wouldn't let him. He gazed back just as intently, not wanting to cower behind someone for the age difference between them. He didn't want to fight, didn't want to break the small bond he was starting to build with Yoongi, but he needed to let him know that a change like this would benefit them in the long run. They would need variety if they wanted to succeed in an industry as harsh as this one. He needed Yoongi to be accepting of change because it will happen many times over the course of their career.

Jungkook watched as Yoongi broke eye contact to face Sihyuk with a small pout of annoyance and resignment. "I'll stick around to see what kind of group this becomes, but I'll leave the moment I don't like it."

Sihyuk nodded, eyeing both Yoongi and Jungkook before going more into detail about the group and what their schedule would be like the next few days. The two boys didn’t talk the rest of the meeting, nor after. Jungkook wasn’t sure if it was wise to leave their argument unsolved, but he would worry about it for the next time he saw Yoongi. At least then they’ll both have cooled off enough to talk without getting defensive.


Jungkook kicked a rock as he made his way back to the company building, excited to give Jimin and Hoseok lunch he knew they would love. He paused as he thought about how much he started to mother his hyungs when it should be the other way around. However, Jungkook didn’t need anyone to mother him, and he felt at ease being able to help his hyungs –even if it involves force-feeding them.

“Uh, Jungkook?”

The boy snapped out of his thoughts and turned towards the voice next to him. He looked up to meet Seokjin’s face and blinked in surprise. He had genuinely thought that Seokjin would not try to contact Jungkook, least of all visit him, but here he was in all his doubt and shyness trying to talk to a boy five years younger than him in front of the company building.

“Hi? What brings you here?” Jungkook turned his body to fully face his hyung and watched the teen shift nervously in front of him. Jungkook waited patiently for his hyung to gather his thoughts. Or wits. Jungkook smiled at the thought and watched as Seokjin relaxed a little.

"I think… I kind of made a decision, but I want to know what made you want to become a trainee."

Jungkook blinked, not knowing how that would help Seokjin, but decided to speak. “Uh… well, I always wanted to sing.” Jungkook glanced down at the ground, trying to recall why he became an idol in the first place. “But, I think, what I really want is to be on stage and perform. I want to see fans cheering for my group, and I want to share that experience with the others who worked just as hard as me to get on stage. Singing is everything to me. It's my passion, and without that passion, I would be nothing."

He felt alive when he sang. And in his last moments of being Jungkook of BTS, he only ever felt alive when on stage. Not even making music, rehearsing, or even singing in his free time made him feel as alive as standing on stage. It was the love from his fans, the loud music, and intricate choreographies that made his heart beat faster from exhilaration and exhaustion. He loved those moments when he could pretend that everything was okay, that nothing had changed between the boys and their love for music. As painful as it was to be backstage at a concert, Jungkook had loved the stage up until the very end of his career with BTS. He could only hope that he could show his hyungs just how wonderful it is to host a concert, no matter how small the venue, how inexperienced they may be, or how small their fandom is in this life.

"I see." Jungkook looked back up, curiously watching Seokjin shift in place and glance around in nervousness. "Is it possible for me to join?"

Jungkook blinked in response before reaching up to scratch the back of his ear. "The company is actually gonna have auditions. I can let you know when they are so you can audition if you want?"

Seokjin nodded, a smile spreading across his lips. “I’d really appreciate it.”

Jungkook smiled back, his fingers fiddling with the box of food he had brought for Hoseok and Jimin. “If I may ask, what made you want to audition?” He watched as Seokjin's cheeks grew red, whether from embarrassment or not, Jungkook didn't know.

“It was just like you said. A child wants to make their parents proud in any way they can. I’ve never done anything extraordinary that would make my mother brag about her only son. I decided to take my chances and give her something she could use."

Even though he knew that his eldest hyung made the same decision in another life, Jungkook couldn't help feel pride. Seokjin was a shy person, despite his loud behavior when around people he's familiar with, and the acting major he took in order to get out of his shell. Seokjin was never much of a leader, didn't take much initiative, but rather followed others and silently gave support. Seeing Seokjin come to a decision that would impact his life was something extraordinary in his eyes. It wasn't often that Jungkook would see him make an important decision, if at all. Seokjin wasn't their leader, nor was he always deciding how the group would live their lives. Seokjin was simply a pillar of support that Jungkook was grateful to have had when he was still a naive teenager. Being able to witness the beginning of what made Seokjin become the person he was, rather than listen to stories, opened Jungkook’s eyes to see his oldest hyung in a new light.

“I’m glad that you have something you can work hard on.” Jungkook sent a blinding smile at Seokjin. “I’m sure your hard work will pay off one day.”

“I hope so.”

Jungkook turned around and waved for the man to follow him, wanting him to meet Hoseok and Jimin. When he was sure the older boy couldn’t see his face, Jungkook let his smile turn into a frown and his eyebrows pinch themselves together at the words Seokjin had spoken. He had to work a lot on the man’s confidence.

(“Haven’t you ever thought that maybe I’m trying my damned hardest to be at your level of perfection?!” Jungkook brought his hands up in surrender, backing away from the outburst he should have expected, but the accusation was not something he thought would come at him. “It’s because of people like you that I can’t show my worth! I have to work harder than you just to get half of the recognition you get!”

“You do get recognition though!” Jungkook tried to reason, desperately trying to defend Seokjin from his own pessimism.

“For all the wrong things! I’m funny, sure. I’m handsome, yes. I’m an entertainment to the public, but I’m not the best dancer and I’m not a skilled singer.” Seokjin breathed out a desperate and exasperated laugh. “I really was just the pretty face of the group. Good for nothing else but raise all six of you and hope that one day all my hard work wouldn’t have been in vain.”

Jungkook said nothing to that.)

 

 

Chapter Text

 

❝The world will never know how sad I am.❞

-Whalien 52

 

Jungkook took in a deep breath, closing his eyes for a brief moment. Fright, anticipation, and agitation danced around in the pit of his stomach, making him uneasy as he opened his eyes to stare at the door to the dance room. He wanted to turn around and run away if only to hide for a few hours before facing the inevitable apology that had the possibility of turning confrontational.

In a time when group meetings didn't exist, Jungkook had no idea if he wanted to go through with this meeting. There were no rules regarding apologies set in stone at this time which meant that anything could happen while he apologized. There was the chance that Yoongi would accept his apology but not say his own thoughts and apology back to Jungkook. Jungkook sighed, having a deep desire to just curl into a ball in the middle of the hallway so he wouldn't have to exist for a few minutes. However, the group was going to host a mock interview and Jungkook had to be present even with his first-hand experience in handling all types of unsavory rumors.

Taking another deep breath, Jungkook opened the door enough to poke his head in. He saw the small studio was occupied by five chairs, a camera, and three bodies. The other boys were sitting in three of the four chairs located in the middle of the room. The fifth chair was a few feet away, presumably the one for the interviewer. No one took notice of him as he walked in to stand in front of the door closed behind him. He watched for a few seconds as Hoseok laughed and leaned against Yoongi for support, who was smiling and trying to spill out more words to Namjoon on his right. Their reflection in the mirror made it easier to see Namjoon's own smile as they enjoyed their time together.

Jungkook felt out of place. It wasn't the first time, but it was the first time for him to feel genuinely misplaced both as the time-traveling adult and the teenager he is. He knew too much about them, knew what they could become and that prevented him from asking anything personal, anything that could show he wanted to bond with them. It kept him from speaking to Namjoon and Yoongi because their personalities were simply harder to get used to than Hoseok's friendly one. Jungkook also felt like he knew very little. That thought itself was a bit ironic considering he came from the future. However, he was a teenager at this time and that's how everyone saw him. Dumb, naive and so easy to manipulate. In his other life –and apparently in this life as well– he didn't know much about the dynamics of these three rappers. They knew each other longer than the others, they were the first to come together and make the group that Jungkook would later join as the first vocalist. He didn't get along with them as they did with each other. Even knowing them as long as he did, he never felt like his bond with them was as strong as their bond for each other. It was those thoughts and feelings that made Jungkook feel misplaced as he stood to the side and watched them enjoy themselves without him. However, it also made him glad that they were happy. Even if it wasn't him to make them smile, seeing them happy made him feel at ease. This is what he enjoyed seeing when he felt like the past was too much to handle. This is what leads him to think that maybe he time traveled just to see them smile in genuine and innocent happiness.

"Hyung."

Jungkook tried to suppress a smile when he saw all three boys turn their heads to him, suddenly attentive to his presence and what Jungkook had to say. He had forgotten how amusing it was to see all his hyungs turn to him with just one word. They always looked concerned, worried or ready to indulge Jungkook in his wishes depending on the situation. Jungkook always believed it had something to do with being the youngest, always having his hyungs dote on him for his young age and the fact that they raised him and were simply hyper-aware of anything he did lest he injured himself or something. He always took advantage of this in his past life, wondering if they would ever notice that Jungkook loved getting their attention, loved to know that despite their bonds breaking into pieces they would always instinctively turn their attention to their maknae at just one word.

A little bubble of nostalgia and bitterness settled at the pit of his stomach. Here he was standing in front of a hyung he had argued with and demanding his attention despite the small strain in their interactions. Jungkook was grimly reminded of all those moments he would say hyung just to have some sort of reassurance that 'no, his hyungs don't hate him yet.'

"What is it Jungkookie?" Hoseok asked in genuine confusion. His voice was soft and kind, a deep contrast of the older Hoseok who wouldn't sound as sweet, patient and kind as this one when in a similar situation. Jungkook bit the inside of his cheek to keep himself from getting lost in memories that didn't exist anymore.

"Um. Yoongi hyung." Jungkook bashfully looked down at the ground, inwardly cursing his teenage hormones for making him feel so guilty, shy and so much like the nervous and introverted kid he used to be. With a soft voice, projecting more of his insecurities and guilt than he would have liked, he continued. "I'm sorry for speaking up against you yesterday. I just... I didn't like that you were belittling idols because I always wanted to be an idol and it felt like an insult to my dream. I-" Jungkook bit his bottom lip, unsure if he should voice his worries out. He looked up to see Yoongi's expectant eyes waiting for him to continue and finish what he was saying. He quickly tried to gather his thoughts, deciding to approach this the way he would when he was older. Satisfy their ego and pride, and belittle his own actions as he explained why he behaved in such an unacceptable manner.

"I was also a bit sad thinking that you would leave the group. I know we haven't really gotten to know each other, but I really like you hyung, and I want to make more music with someone as dedicated and talented as you. It didn't feel right that someone as passionate as you would back down at a chance of debut just because of the label we would begin to wear. Despite my concerns and fright, I shouldn't have interrupted you or argued. I was out of line doing so, and for that, I'm sorry."

Jungkook gave him a bow for a further apology, aware that the room was silent as Yoongi processed the jumble of words Jungkook threw at him to please him. Standing up straight, he caught Hoseok's eyes looking at him with a frown. Then he saw Namjoon thoughtfully gazing between him and Yoongi. Jungkook hesitated to look at the one he was apologizing to, afraid of not having satisfied Yoongi with the apology.

"Jungkook." The teen looked at Yoongi, surprised at the gentle tone being used. "I forgive you, but I also have to apologize for yelling and insulting you. It wasn't right of me to do that, even if I am older than you."

Flabbergasted, Jungkook stared at Yoongi completely caught off guard at the apology and the soft tone Yoongi was using. "Uh... I forgive you."

Jungkook caught Hoseok smile, probably relieved that there wasn't going to be any tension between Jungkook and Yoongi for the rest of their time together, but Jungkook also noticed the endearment in the way his eyes crinkled at the edges. It reminded him of all the times he received that smile when he did something 'cute.'

"You sound confused," Namjoon said, his own smile on his lips as he looked at the teen. Jungkook felt as confused as Namjoon implied he was. The whole situation went different from what he expected. It was too easy to apologize and gain forgiveness and an apology from Yoongi. It was never that easy when he was older, so being in this situation threw Jungkook for a loop.

"I'm kinda confused. I didn't think it would be so easy to gain forgiveness." The three rappers looked at him in varying amounts of confusion and astonishment. Jungkook didn't understand why because he genuinely thought his comment was reasonable after all the times he had found himself apologizing to his hyungs in the future.

"Ah," Namjoon spoke. "I know Yoongi seems like a cold guy and all, but he can be really understanding. Sure, he has his moments when he's angry, but he tries to apologize once he's realized he's made his mistakes and hurt others unintentionally. You shouldn't expect him to be so antisocial often."

Jungkook nodded at the words, bashfully smiling at Yoongi for making assumptions about him. Jungkook was still wary around Yoongi and Namjoon, but thanks to Namjoon's explanation it was easier for Jungkook to remember and see Yoongi for the eighteen-year-old he is, and not the thirty-four-year-old he could become.

"Right, sorry hyung." Yoongi gave him his own small smile to reassure and filled with foreign kindness -at least foreign to Jungkook who was used to seeing and receiving anything but kindness from Yoongi for a long time.

"Take a seat Jungkookie. We're still waiting for the other staff members to come." Hoseok pat the empty seat next to him, the one furthest away from where the interviewer will be seated. Jungkook nodded as he made his way over and sat down. He smiled at the hand that ruffled his hair. He remembered that he once considered the furthest seat from the interviewer the safest one. He always had his hyungs to react as a buffer to people that could either flirt, harm, or target him for questions. Although, as he got older, he would sit in this spot as a way to avoid the questions that made his heartache from how dishonest his answers always were.


Jungkook watched his smiling reflection, wondering when he got so good at faking his expressions. Had it been when he first learned to be an idol? When had he decided he didn't want people to know his secret? Or had it been when he wanted to fool the public into thinking that everything behind the camera was fine? Jungkook pondered if he ever slipped on these charming smiles to the people he cared about -and who remained none the wiser to the emotions rumbling inside him.

"What are you doing smiling so adorably?"

Jungkook rolled his eyes and dropped his smile to give Hoseok a small glare. He added a small pout, just so Hoseok could get distracted with something else.

"Why do I feel like I'm being manipulated by your cute face?" He heard the teen mutter. He crouched down so he would face jungkook and use his hands to pinch at his chubby cheeks which caused Jungkook to wrinkle his nose at the feeling of his skin being pulled. As much as he missed the affection, Jungkook definitely didn't miss the cheek pulling.

"Hyun', thah hurshts." Hoseok cooed over his speech before he let go and gave a gentle pat to his right cheek.

"So?" Hoseok gave him a smile, expecting Jungkook to answer him. Jungkook simply blinked up at him in confusion.

"So what?"

"Why were you smiling at your reflection?"

"Oh." Jungkook glanced at the floor and contemplated just melting on the spot to avoid these kinds of questions. "I just thought that maybe I should practice not looking dumb when I smile during interviews."

Jungkook glanced up to see Hoseok staring back at him with a blank face. "You did really good though." Hoseok leaned away to tower over him. "You did better than us three. Even Sungdeuk-ssi said you were perfect."

Jungkook's eyebrows furrowed for a second. He had tried to seem clueless by stuttering out responses that always needed a bit more prompting for a clear answer, but he was still significantly better than the others who weren't sure when their explanations were enough of an answer. What he did wasn't perfect in any way, but considering it would have been the first time he got interviewed like this in this life, he did leagues better than what was expected of him.

"You really are the golden brat I said you were."

Jungkook smiled cheekily, watching Hoseok's lips form into a smile as well. "Why can't it just be maknae?"

Yoongi walked over to stand next to Hoseok.  "You're kinda bossy, maybe that's why."

Jungkook blinked, taken aback by the words. He didn't think that he was being bossy since he wouldn't outright tell the others what to do. Would implying the boys to do something be considered bossy? Maybe it was the manipulation that he was subtly trying to do that came off as bossy to his hyungs.

"Bossy?"

"It's your nature as a kid. It's nothing too noticeable or crazy, but whenever you get the chance, the way you speak sounds like you're trying to order us to do something." Namjoon added from his own spot on the floor of the dance room. "You're a bit demanding. Like when we were recording paldogangsan."

Jungkook looked down at the floor, his mind running with thoughts about his behavior. It wasn't anything new. He recalled being told that he should not be so domineering when he was younger, and Jungkook had tried his best not to be until he didn't have to try anymore. Now, however, he was demanding in a different way. While he wasn't arrogant in his demands, he might have been pressuring his hyungs into doing something without giving them much of an option. He wasn't taking their opinion into consideration or giving them freedom over their own actions.

"It's not very noticeable, and not necessarily a bad thing since your not bossy in an arrogant way, but it's there. I think it's best if we tell you now so you can work on it. We're not trying to offend you and we're not very annoyed about it. We're just a bit worried that it might escalate into something bad if we let it grow," Jungkook looked up to meet Namjoons eyes, not feeling the slightest bit better at the realization that he was subtly -but very effectively- manipulating their lives and choices. It didn't matter to him that his hyungs weren't really bothered by his behavior because they figured that it had to do with his age and whatnot. What really had him worried was that eventually, his hyungs wouldn't tolerate his behavior, or he'll annoy with his overbearing behavior. Worse yet, he may not even get to strengthen his bonds with them and simply drive them away and shatter the hopes of mending his relationships with them.

"Oh."

Hoseok and Namjoon stared back at him with tilted heads and a look of confusion on their faces while Yoongi raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"

"Uh, thanks for telling me. I didn't know that I was overbearing." Jungkook looked down at his lap, hearing some shuffling in front of him.

"Hey, we're not angry. It's just like Namjoon said, we're not bothered by it. We were like that too when we were younger, and we know that you can grow out of it since you're not a bad kid."

'But I'm not a kid. I'm thirty years old and shouldn't have been acting as though I were actually thirteen.'

"Okay." Jungkook made his voice as small as possible, hoping that maybe it would help him become as nonexistent as he wanted to be at that moment. A small bubbling feeling of shame, guilt, and worry started to fill him up. He wanted to escape this situation and he wanted to crush these feelings into dust because he never liked to feel like this. He felt nauseous and like the villain that his hyungs once made him out to be. He didn't understand why he felt like this when he never felt any kind of remorse every time he did something similar in his own time.

(It clawed its way up to his throat, desperate for a release, for a cry that would bring him no help. He swallowed it down, not wanting to hear how helpless he felt.)

"Why don't we dance Jungkookie?" Came Hoseok's gentle voice. Jungkook looked up, forcing all of his emotions to stay away when he smiled sweetly at his hyung.

"Why do you always smile so adorably? If you're not careful, people will fall for you."

Jungkook fought the urge to frown at the words. Instead, he let out a small laugh that felt and sounded unfamiliar to him. It had been a long time since he last laughed like this.

(The hands on his mouth were wet with tears and saliva, muffling the noises of desperation, shame, sadness, and shattered hope as he shook with the force of his tears.

'What did I do?' was the thought that ran through his head repeatedly.)

"Are you sure you aren't talking about yourself? Yoongi hyung and Namjoon hyung haven't said anything about my smile." Hoseok smiled playfully, his lips wavering as he tried to suppress a laugh.

"Plus, people will fall in love with me once we debut."

Hoseok laughed, his voice high pitched and loud. Jungkook stared in awe as Hoseok covered his mouth delicately with one hand and leaned over on Yoongi's shoulder, similarly to the way he found the three rappers earlier as he went to apologize. Hearing his hyungs laugh with no limits morphed his sweet smile into a genuine one -one that didn't feel like a plastic mask was taped over his face: one that made him feel more like himself and less like the Idol he was raised to be.

(The ends of his vision went blurry, his shaking lessening as his body slowly started to shut down. He gave out one small cry of helplessness and hoped that maybe he could trust his hyungs one last time to save him.

Deep down he knew that he shouldn't trust the ones that led him here in the first place.)

"Oh man." Hoseok calmed down, letting out the occasional huff of laughter and looked back at Jungkook who hadn't moved from his spot on the cold dance floor. "You're quite confident aren't you?"

"He sounds more like he has a big ego. Maybe it's from all the times you call him our adorable maknae." Yoongi grumbled, trying to pry Hoseok off from his shoulder. "Rather than an adorable maknae, I feel like we have more of a mischievous maknae."

(A distant sound of something heavy breaking caught his attention, his vision suddenly filled with the faces of his hyungs towering over him. He vaguely felt being held close to someone, and heard the sound of people yelling -or was that sobbing?- Jungkook didn't know, but for a moment they looked like they were worried. Like they cared.

"Jungkook!"

Jungkook tried his hardest to burn the image and sound of his hyungs acting worried into his mind so that it was the last thing he ever saw before his vision blurred completely and he couldn't distinguish where each sound of panic came from.)

Jungkook watched his three hyungs in amusement as they started to talk about the kind of maknae he was, both defending and labeling him.

In the middle of laughing over Namjoons opinion, he caught his reflection in the mirror, staring at the small boy with a smile of an experienced man.

Sometimes, Jungkook forgot how good he was at fooling himself.

Chapter Text

❝Now promise me several times a day: even if you feel that you are alone, don't throw yourself away, hold on for a moment. intertwine our pinkies and promise me now.❞

-Promise

 

“This is cramped.” 

Jungkook huffed, moving to pick up a duffel bag by the shared closet. Yoongi and Namjoon were standing in the doorway of the room filled with bunk beds. There were four bunk beds to accommodate eight trainees, meaning that there was little space to place all of his belongings and therefore struggled to keep all of his things in one place.

“There’s eight of us living here.” Jungkook handed a bag to Yoongi who grunted at the weight.

“Well, there’s more space at our dorm since there’s three of us -four now.” Namjoon walked over to help Jungkook with another bag as he spoke. Jungkook huffed out a chuckle, covering his mouth with a small hand and turning away from his hyungs.

“With the path that the group is starting to take, I don’t think we’ll stay as four people for very long.”

Yoongi groaned somewhere behind him, probably at the thought of having to share a tiny dorm with more than three people.

“Uh, Jungkook? There’s like three different suitcases in this closet, which one is yours?” Came Hoseok’s voice from the room next to them. Jungkook sighed, wondering how many of his things were mixed with those of his roommates. None of the other trainees were currently in the dorm (which relieved Jungkook at not having to answer any questions or taunting from his older roommates.) so it was much easier for them to go around the dorm and find all of Jungkook’s belongings. It also meant that no one could yell about their things being rummaged through all because Jungkook’s items were piled with someone else’s.

Making his way to a different room, he spotted Hoseok staring intently at three suitcases, as though one of the suitcases would reveal themselves as Jungkooks. Smiling at the thought, Jungkook reached over to the gray suitcase and pushed it towards his hyung. Hoseok gasped out an ‘oh’ and took the handle, carefully prying it away from the other suitcases and facing Jungkook for further instructions. Jungkook was vaguely reminded of his younger self when he used to stand around waiting to be ordered to do something. It felt weird, watching one of his hyungs act so lost like a little kid.

“Hey, kid, we don't have all day."

Jungkook turned around to see Yoongi leaning to one side from the weight of the bag he held. He had an eyebrow raised and a look of annoyance —or was that impatience?— on his face. Jungkook blinked, suddenly feeling very much like his mental age of thirty. His hyungs were so young and that was shown by the lack of patience they had, how they needed to be told what to do so they don’t stand in the sidelines awkwardly.

"There should be a bag of shoes at the front door. Unless the others fucked around with that too and placed it elsewhere." Jungkook said with annoyance. He turned to face the front door, ignoring Yoongi shaking his head, taken aback at hearing him curse with such anger and annoyance.

“What do you mean by ‘others fucking around with that too’?” He heard Namjoon question. Jungkook walked over to the front door, a scowl on his face as he rummaged through the duffel bag and realized some of his shoes were missing. He didn’t care that it seemed rude of him to brush Namjoon off as he did.

“They like to bother me because I’m the maknae of the dorm and they think I’m dumb and ignorant,” Jungkook stated, closing his duffel bag and standing back up to search around the small apartment. He brushed past Yoongi as they all watched him head back inside the room with bunk beds.

It wasn’t anything new to Jungkook. The whole time he had been in the past, he was continuously teased and bullied. It was one of the reasons why he avoided the dorms throughout the day, only coming back late at night to sleep, and waking up early to make himself food and slip out unnoticed.

“I honestly can’t wait to leave them,” Jungkook paused his words as he started to rummage under the bunk beds in search for his shoes. “I’m tired of always having to look around for my things and coming back to see my things have been messed with.” Jungkook threw some objects that weren’t his out of the way, not caring of the mess he made. (His roommates were already really messy which disgusted his thirty-year-old self to no end.)

When he finally had all of his shoes, he stood up and turned around to see his hyungs staring at him in uncertainty. Confused, Jungkook tilted his head to the side and glanced around him, taking in the mess he made when he searched for his belongings. Realization dawned on him when he thought back to what he had said. Right when he opened his mouth to explain, Namjoon’s voice cut through the room and caused Jungkook to flinch at the concern that seemed to roll off this hyungs in waves.

“They bully you then.” It wasn’t a question, and Namjoon wasn’t asking for confirmation. Jungkook could only stare back, his eyes moving from one hyung to the next until he decided to look down at the duffel bag he carried with both hands. “Why didn’t you tell anyone?”

Jungkook sighed. He was able to handle these kinds of situations. The ones where he would get picked on and he would take it without a word, already knowing that he should act indifferent towards the acts and never complain. He had lived through it when he first joined Bighit, during the last few years of bangtan, and these past few weeks when he came back from the future. He didn’t say a word because he still thought of himself as a thirty-year-old. He was a man that didn’t need help on handling bullies or stuck up trainees.

“I was able to handle it myself.” Jungkook murmured, resigned to getting a lecture at that very moment. He didn’t dare to fight back the sudden vulnerability he felt as he cowered under his hyungs’ sharp gazes. “I’ll be able to live with you three anyway. There’s no point in worrying about it now.”

Jungkook kept his head ducked down as he pushed past them and made his way to the front door, not caring about his manners in the least. He only hoped that his hyungs dropped the subject and didn’t try to pry into it later on.


“You moved into Hoseok hyung’s dorm?” Jimin repeated, gazing at Jungkook in disbelief. His plump lips were slightly parted, eyes a bit wider than normal, and his head tilting slightly downwards to mimic the face adult-Jimin always made when he was surprised about something. “Why?”

“Because I’m part of the group?” Jungkook uncapped his bottle of water, pausing when he caught sight of Jimin’s affronted look. “What?”

“You never told me you were a part of a group!” Jimin placed his palms on the floor in front of him and leaned forward to get closer to Jungkook. The maknae simply blinked and tried to recall ever telling Jimin that he was a part of Bangtan.

He couldn’t recall anything of the sort. Which meant that he never told his precious person something so important.

“Well, I helped the hyungs make a song and I got added to the group. Since the song was released today, it cemented the idea that I was a part of the group, so I moved into their dorm yesterday.” Which was a thing that greatly concerned Jungkook. He had no idea how the song would be taken by the public. It could go extremely well, or it could greatly damage his hyungs’ hopes and mentality.

Jimin suddenly gasped, scaring Jungkook out of his thoughts.

“Hoseok hyung never told me he was a part of a group either!”

Jungkook rolled his eyes at his hyung’s dramatics. Quietly thankful that Jimin didn’t seem at all jealous of his spot in a group. ‘Unlike the other trainees.’ It was like the animosity towards him multiplied by hundred. Jungkook didn’t like it one bit.

“What’s it like?”

Jungkook turned to look at Jimin, his eyes shone brightly in curiosity. He’s leaning forward again, ready to soak up the information that Jungkook could provide.

“We haven’t started doing much together except prepare the song for the announcement of the auditions.” Jungkook watched in amusement as Jimin sagged his shoulders, not at all satisfied by the response. He brought his bottle to his lips and smiled endearingly as his hyung grumbled about anticlimactic responses.

“We have been doing mock interviews, though,” Jungkook added after taking a few sips of water. “We’re also gonna start taking dance lessons together since Yoongi and Namjoon hyung don’t really dance.”

“Oh. It’s going to be like an idol group then?” Jungkook nodded. “Then, are you gonna be a rapper that dances?”

Jungkook smiled gently at the softness of Jimin’s voice. He soon let out a noise of amusement. It wasn’t quite a giggle, but it was close to one, and Jungkook refused to feel embarrassed about it. “I don’t know if I’ll be a rapper. I do know that I’ll be a singer, though. We might add more singers and dancers though.”

Jimin nodded, eagerly soaking up the words that escaped Jungkook’s mouth. He briefly wondered if Jimin had always been this eager to know about the group. Had he missed the behavior when he was younger? Or had his friendship with Jimin caused the change in personality?

“I have to get better then! Maybe, if I’m good enough, I can be a part of the group.” Jimin’s voice got softer as he spoke, his head tilting down shyly. Jungkook watched on in pride, glad to see Jimin showing the little confidence he was starting to gain.

“Do you think it’s possible? You were able to make it in, and you’re younger than me.”

Jungkook internally winced at the last part. He didn’t like that his age was being thrown into the mix. He always thought that his age should not matter when it came to justifying why one should be able to do the same thing as him. He also didn’t want to be envied for being able to do something despite his age. He was currently the youngest in bangtan (and by many years) so he would get a lot of backlash from other trainees for being able to do something they couldn’t. Jungkook would be able to handle that just like he was able to handle hundreds of haters around the world. His hyungs, however, were a different story because he wouldn’t be able to handle the sharp gazes and jealousy rolling off of them in waves. It would remind him too much of the future he doesn’t want; of the hyungs, he loved and hated with his whole heart and soul.

“I think if you just continue to work hard, and show the company what you can do, you’ll be able to join.”

Jimin gazed up at him, his bottom lip caught between his teeth as though he doubted it would work. Jungkook looked away, gazing at himself on the big mirrors of the small studio they were in. He didn’t like that look. He didn’t like that he didn’t know what to do to convince his hyungs that they were great in their own way -that they could do great things if they put their mind to it.

He didn’t like that sometimes he doubted his own words because there was a chance that things will take a turn for the worst.


“Have you read anything about our song?” Came Hoseok’s voice from the small couch of the ‘living room’ -which was really just a big space divided into the kitchen and living room.

Jungkook froze midway to mixing his ramen at the kitchen counter, a wave of uncontrollable fear and anxiety washing over him as he tried to catch his breathing.

Paldogangsan had been released for a day already, likely to have captured the attention of the public by now. Jungkook had been jittery since it’s release. He had called to inform Seokjin of the audition dates through a trembling voice which he convinced the college student to believe to be fatigue from dancing despite Jungkook’s lazy position on the couch. He also somehow convinced his current hyungs to postpone checking any feedback on the song, just so Jungkook had the time to review the opinions and memorize what social media apps to avoid.

Despite all that, Jungkook had no idea that his hyungs had already started searching for reactions.

"I read a few comments on twitter," Yoongi spoke up as he walked into the kitchen. His hair was a mess from just waking up and he was squinting under the natural light coming through the windows. He didn't notice the frozen state that Jungkook was in, how his breathing increased from the words that we said. If there was one platform that Jungkook didn't want them to look at, then it was twitter. The website was guaranteed to have negative comments no matter how overwhelming the wave of positive comments was.

"We're on the news," Namjoon said as he passed by the kitchen to get to the bathroom. Jungkook's eyes followed his leader, surprised that their song reached the news. He doesn't remember this ever happening to them on their pre-debut days -or the first three years after their official debut. Then again, he doesn't remember many things from this time.

"Hey, Jungkook? You okay?"

The preteen jumped in his spot, almost spilling his ramen as he turned around to face Yoongi who was looking at him with a raised eyebrow. "Sorry, I was just thinking. I didn't think that we would get to the news."

"Holy shit, we are on the news!" Came Hoseok's voice. The two turned to look at him, hearing him play the video of a news anchor talking about them and playing a piece of their song.

"I look dumb," Hoseok made a pout at his phone. Jungkook smiled, knowing that he was talking about the video that was recorded of them rapping the song.

"I'm sure others don't think that, hyung." Jungkook went back to mixing his ramen, ignoring the icky feeling of panic running through his veins.

“We have an interview later today, don’t we?” Jungkook asked, trying to divert their attention away from looking at comments. It kind of worked. Hoseok continued to scroll through his phone while Yoongi answered his question. 

“Yup. We’re performing live on a radio station.” Jungkook nodded, watching as Yoongi walked over to Hoseok so they could look at the reactions of people. He winced as he thought of all the things one person could say. He knew that Yoongi and Namjoon were probably used to it. They more than likely had experience with hate, but Jungkook was concerned about how much they could handle before they let the hate get to them. He was also worried about Hoseok who was already insecure in his rapping, despite doing very well on it. Hoseok cared a lot about others’ opinions. He took it to heart and would use that opinion to pass his limits in unhealthy ways. 

“Hey, Jungkook are you okay?”

Startled, Jungkook dropped the chopsticks he was holding, wincing at the noise they made as they clattered onto the table and down to the floor. He picked them up swiftly, cursing himself for getting lost in his thoughts once again.

“What’s wrong Jungkook?”

The time traveler looked up to meet Namjoon’s worried face. Biting his lip, he turned away and placed his chopsticks on the counter, not wanting to burden his leader again. “I’m fine. I just got distracted by my thoughts.”

Namjoon hummed, placing a hand on his shoulder as a way of comfort. “I’m glad you’re fine, then. For a second you looked shocked and kind of scared.”

Jungkook forced out a chuckle, picking up another pair of chopsticks to use for his ramen. He knew how he looked whenever he was pondering something. He’d seen quite a few of his fans point out how wide his eyes got and how lost he looked whenever he accidentally zoned out in the middle of an interview. “Nah, That’s just my thinking face. Sorry for worrying you.”

He quickly moved away, slipping out of Namjoon’s grasp as he picked up his ramen cup and made his way to the ‘living room’ with Hoseok and Yoongi. He sat down gently, not wanting to spill his ramen all over the couch or Yoongi who was next to him.

“Oh! Jungkookie, someone said you were cute.” He looked up, ramen hanging from his chopsticks as he glanced at his hyung from the corner of his eye. “Actually, a lot of these are about how young you look.”

Jungkook smiled cheekily, "I told you that people would fall in love with me."

A snort of laughter left Hoseok's mouth followed by Yoongi's chuckling. It made Jungkook smile wider, not wanting to give in to his own bad thoughts about what could go wrong. (Maybe, if he wishes hard enough, they won’t have to experience all the bad things he once did.)

Namjoon made his way to the living room, choosing to rest against the couch behind Hoseok and Yoongi, peeking over their shoulders to view the comments. At this, Jungkook stared at them with worry. It was like seeing them at their prime. The vulnerability of them as they waited for a response of their comebacks. It was the way they slouched and lazed about the dorm that made them look so young and naive; obsessive and bitter.

“What’s wrong, Jungkookie?”

Snapping out of his thoughts, he took a better look at them. He saw their excitement, hope, energy, and determination. He saw them hold themselves a little taller and their features look a little brighter. They were the small naive teenagers that got ahead of themselves, soon to be crushed by the suffocating weight of fame.

“I was just thinking,” Jungkook bit his bottom lip, no longer trying to mask his worry and sadness.

(“You know you can tell us whatever is bothering you.” Seokjin gently placed a hand on Jungkook’s thigh, squeezing it lightly as a way to encourage Jungkook to talk. “We’ll always be here to listen.”

Jungkook nodded, looking down at the hand on his thigh. Seokjin always did that when trying to comfort Jungkook. It was like a reminder that Seokjin was always there, no matter how often they bickered. In a way, Jungkook thinks it was a reminder that he was there for Seokjin as well. A reassurance that Jungkook was present -real in a way that meant he wasn’t going to abandon them.

“I just don’t want to be a burden.”

Seokjin smiled, patting Jungkook’s thigh as he spoke. “At least try to tell us when something we do is bothering you. I know that you’re our baby, and what we do may not always be something you like. We all know that you want to tell us something about our safety and we’ll appreciate it if you do.” Seokjin delicately placed his hand under Jungkook’s chin and carefully tilted his head up, smiling softly at him. “We’ll listen to you.”

‘Will you really?’ was the first thought that went through his head, but he smiled back at his hyung and nodded. “I’ll try to speak to you, then.”)

“You’ve been thinking a lot, and not good things either.” Namjoon pointed out, giving him a concerned look. “What’s wrong? We’ll listen to you.”

(‘Will you really?’)

“I just don’t want to know what people think of the song or us.”

Hoseok tilted his head to the side in confusion. “Don’t you want to know of its success?”

“Yeah, but I don’t want the negative criticism to affect me. I don’t know how I’ll handle it. I’d rather avoid seeing it.” Jungkook looked down at his cup of ramen, suddenly losing his appetite. “I guess, I’m also worried about you three. I don’t know how the hate will affect you and I don’t want us to change ourselves just to avoid receiving hate.”

“Is that why you didn’t want us to look at the reactions yesterday? You wanted to keep us from experiencing hate as long as you could?” Yoongi questioned. Jungkook nodded in response, glancing at them nervously. 

(“You can’t tell us what to do Jungkook! You’re not some kind of god to control us!”

“I’m just trying to protect you!” He yelled back in desperation.

“I don’t need it from a naive kid like you!”)

“I know it’s silly.” Jungkook placed his ramen cup on the small table in front of him and started to play with his fingers. “I can’t protect us from all the bad things in the world, but I also don’t want us to change who we are just to please others.” ‘I’m tired of acting like someone I’m not. I’m tired of being manipulated to fit molds I was never meant to fit into.’

“You’ve never experienced hate, have you?” Namjoon spoke softly as though Jungkook was a small, scared animal.

“I’ve seen what expectations and criticism does to my friends. I don’t want to see you guys change just to please everyone else but yourself.” The faint images of his hyungs skipping meals, overworking themselves and obsessing over their beauty flashed through his mind and made him cringe. “I don’t want to see what people think of me because I know that I’ll want to conform to their views. I just want to be myself, and be proud of who I am.”

Yoongi stood up and walked over to Jungkook. He crouched down and stared up at him. “Just tell us you don’t want us to look at reactions, Jungkook. We’ll listen to you.”

(‘No you won’t.’)

“Will you?” Jungkook whispered, feeling the heavy hormones of age thirteen and the mental fatigue of age thirty. “Will you promise not to look at social media so you can live happily and freely? To feel like you can be your own person and not worry about how many people will like you today? Fame doesn’t have mercy for the weak-minded, I know this much. We can’t do much against its harsh reality, but we can try our damned hardest to avoid seeing it. You simply have to be committed.”

Yoongi stared at him with a mix of surprise and resolve. Glancing at the others, Jungkook saw their wonder as they gazed back at him. 

“Well, I definitely wasn’t expecting that to come out of your mouth.” Yoongi gave a small smile, one that barely made the ends of his lips curl up, but made his eyes crinkle softly. Jungkook stared in awe, not having seen one of those smiles directed at him for years.

“I’ll promise not to look at social media that concerns us,” Yoongi promised. Jungkook smiled softly, satisfied that he had one hyung listen to him. He turned to face the other two, gazing at them expectantly.

Namjoon smiled sheepishly and rubbed the back of his head. “I won’t look at it either. It might be better if our own satisfaction and confidence let us grow.”

“You know, you say a lot of wise things Jungkookie. Are you sure you’re thirteen?” Hoseok joked with a small chuckle. Jungkook smiled indulgently while internally panicking that maybe he should dumb down his knowledge a little bit. “But I’ll promise not to look at reactions. Being a slave to other people’s opinions doesn’t seem very fun.”

Jungkook smiled widely, satisfied at the outcome that his talking brought up. While it was hard to open up, he could see the benefits of his hyungs knowing what he was thinking. If only he had said something years ago, maybe he wouldn’t have had to leave his bandmates all that time ago.

(“That’s because you think too much, Jungkookie.” Namjoon rubbed his hair affectionately, not caring that Jungkook’s long strands of hair were getting tangled. “We don’t know what you think about because you never tell us. For all we know you could be plotting world domination and we’ll simply believe that you’re thinking about how good the hotdog you ate tasted.”

Jungkook giggled at the words, hands holding onto Namjoons shirt as he curled tighter around his leader. “I wouldn’t plan world domination without you guys.”

Namjoon rolled his eyes. “Sure you won’t.”)

“Do you pinky promise?” Jungkook smiled giddily. Yoongi rolled his eyes, muttering about maknaes and brats but laced his pinky around his with a crinkle in his eyes. Hoseok laughed loudly, covering his mouth with a small hand while shakily taking Jungkook’s pinky onto his, small words of endearment slipping past his lips which caused Jungkook to both preen and flush under the affection. Namjoon smiled indulgently and ruffled his hair after making their promise, further causing Jungkook to feel warm at the affection he had missed for years.

As childish as it was, it reassured Jungkook that he had their word. It might have also served to remind his hyungs that they had a child to take care of and indulge in his requests.

Maybe being thirteen wasn’t so bad.

(“I’m glad I joined Bangtan, hyung.”

Jimin smiled at his maknae through the mirror, brushing the long strands of hair to detangle small knots in them. “Why?”

“Because I got to meet all of you. Even if we’re fighting, I know that we still care for each other.” Jungkook fiddled with the eyeshadow palette on his hands, gazing at all the colors and trying to pick out which ones he wanted to use that day. “It’s not very noticeable, but I know that they still love each other very much… I still love all of you very much.”

Jimin pinched Jungkook’s cheek affectionately. “What makes you say that though”

“You haven’t left me.” Jungkook dipped his brush into a soft pink color and placed it on his eyelid. “You all promised me to never leave the band before the contract ends.”

Jimin took a step back, staring down Jungkook through the mirror before picking up a hair straightener. “That was years ago. It only applied for the contract that ended in 2019.”

“But you’re still here. Six years after our second contract was signed.”

“Maybe we’ve indulged in your wishes for too long.”

“You only did it because you love me.” Jungkook sent a cheeky smile to his hyung who rolled his eyes in response.

“I do love you.” Jimin bent over to rest his chin on the maknae’s shoulder. The two stared at one another through the mirror, both smiling sweetly before Jimin playfully pecked Jungkook’s cheek, causing a giggle to escape past his pink-colored lips that matched his red cheeks. “And we always will, Jungkookie.”)

 

Chapter Text

❝MYG: Jungkook, what was your dream?

JJK: Me? Ah… I can’t remember well…❞

-Skit: Circle Room Talk

 

He stared at the image in front of him. He was too small and too young. They were too inexperienced and jittery, too filled with self-doubt and too unprepared for what was to come.

He hates it. He hates it with his whole being.

Fame is a crippling thing when one gets on the bad side of it. It knocks you out with rumors and hate, with scandals and lies. It’s overwhelming with its presence and it drowns you with self-hate. Fame was painful to Jungkook in the way it ripped through his bonds and tore his whole world apart. It left Jungkook with nothing and no one but himself and money. It took everything he loved and gave him misery in return. What was the point of living a dream that left him broken in the end? What was the point of making his hyungs go through it from the beginning once more?

Would it be worth the trouble of enduring fame just to have them back again? To give them the happy ending that he couldn’t have the first time around?

“Hoseok, stop bouncing your leg, it’s annoying.” Yoongi took a seat on a chair next to the dancer so the hairstylist could fix his hair.

“I’m so excited I can’t stay still!” he glanced at Hoseok who was shaking from excitement.

“The interview from yesterday has just been uploaded!” Namjoon yelled from the other side of the room. Jungkook sighed at his reflection, preparing himself for the interview that would take place in two hours. All his experience in being an idol would never prepare him enough for the anxiety that he experienced before interviews.

‘What would they ask? Who would they pick on this time? What rumors did they create now? Who has to be humiliated for entertainment? Would they pick him apart and dig into all the things that made him Jungkook? Would this end well or terribly wrong?’

“You’re thinking really hard again.” Jungkook saw the blurry vision of Hoseok’s hand poking his forehead. Wincing at the slight pain, Jungkook scrunched his nose and looked up at the teen. How long had he been thinking that he didn’t realize Hoseok’s hair had been styled? “Your brain might explode one day.”

“I don’t think that’s possible, but thanks for worrying.”

Hoseok huffed, trying to hide his laughter as Jungkook watched him walk over to Namjoon to watch the interview. 

“Are you scared?”

Jungkook whipped his head around to catch Yoongi’s eyes boring into him. They were narrowed in drowsiness, but it was a painful reminder of the adult that constantly glared at him. They always seemed to pierce him, as though he were analyzing every breath he took and every beat his heart might have missed as he tried to calm his nerves. Jungkook shifted awkwardly -uncomfortably- under Yoongi’s gaze and looked down at his feet to get rid of the image of a man he left behind.

“You did well yesterday, so you shouldn’t be scared about today.” Jungkook nodded while still looking at his feet. “It doesn’t suit you.”

“I just don’t know what they’ll ask or what they’ll make us do,” He mumbled. “It’s stupid.”

“What is? Your thoughts or the things they make us do?”

“Both… everything.” Jungkook looked up and glanced around the room —the staff fixing Yoongi’s hair, the noona further back in the practice room adjusting the makeup on Namjoon and Hoseok who was fixing his clothes— they were all trying their best to impress, to fit in. “Fame is stupid.”

His eyes finally settled on Yoongi, not a hint of emotion on his face because his emotions were for the public, they were used for exaggerating feelings that were barely there -or nonexistent. Jungkook was tired of always having to show a reaction. Yoongi, on the other hand, raised an eyebrow in question of Jungkook’s word choice. Curiosity was plainly written on his face as Jungkook stared back with all the exhaustion he’s ever felt.

“I thought being an idol was your dream?”

“No… maybe.” Jungkook’s eyes trailed off into the mirror, glancing over his appearance Jungkook scrunched his nose lightly. “I just wanted to sing. I wanted to do what I had a passion for because having no passion meant I was dead inside and easy to manipulate into a role I didn’t like.”

“Isn’t it the same though?” Yoongi crossed his arms, sagging into his chair. “Idols are just people being manipulated into a role they don’t want.” He swept his eyes over the makeup and hair products laying around, making Jungkook give a small smile. Yoongi of the future might have tolerated the things he had to wear, but it didn’t mean he liked it. This Yoongi had yet to see the benefits of letting himself wear flashy clothing to at least appear closer to being an idol despite how far away his image seemed to be from the hip-hop concept they were going for.

“Maybe, but at least it's a step into the direction we wanted to go for.” He glanced back at his reflection, wondering if he was the stupid one for even thinking about pursuing a life like this. He knows the molds he fit into because he was groomed to fit into the standards he didn’t really care for at the beginning of his career. He might have resented being manipulated to fit a role he didn’t actually fit, but the fruitful life and prosperous career overshadowed it all and made it worth it. (He was lonely and afraid of going out with other people. He was scared of the fans that he loved so much because their opinions dictated his life and disappointing them meant that he was ruining his image and career —but the singing, chanting, love and admiration, he would not trade it for anything in the world for the rush it all gave him).

“Maybe.”

There was doubt in those eyes, Jungkook could tell. He could read it clearly as day because Yoongi had always been easy to read. Time had nothing to do with Jungkook learning about how Yoongi wore his heart on his sleeve and choosing to tuck it away in situations when feelings would only get in the way.

(“I’ve learned to just ignore the things entertainers say. You just have to look for loopholes when they propose absurd games.”

Jungkook propped an elbow on the soft cushion of the couch, resting his cheek on it so he could look up at his hyung who was sitting right in front of him facing the tv but playing games on his phone —he lay on his stomach, his legs draped over Namjoon who was reading a book that was too boring for Jungkook to take interest in. 

“You sound like a sage, hyung.”

“Then you better take notes, brat. Sage’s are the wisest people you’ll ever come across.”

Jungkook smiled at his silly hyung, but kept the previous words in mind for the future.)

 


 

“Just try your best, hyung.” 

“But I’m not a good singer or a good dancer.”

Jungkook pursed his lips at the words. He was in the hallway with Seokjin, giving him some words of encouragement before his audition takes place. He had a day off from lessons because of the auditions and the tv show recording he has to do later that day.

“If they see potential in you, then you’ll get in. You won’t know until you try.”

“Jungkoo-”

He held up a hand to stop him from talking and gave him a hard stare. Not that it would do much since he was much younger than he would have liked. “Why do you worry so much? Don’t worry about what’s to come, hyung. If you worry too much, nothing will get done, and worst of all, you’ll never know if you were good enough to get accepted. Rather than worry about what you can’t do and how that’ll affect you, pay more attention to what you have and how you can use that to your advantage.”

Seokjin stared down at him owlishly. Flustered at the silence and the eyes watching him, Jungkook’s cheeks flushed a soft pink and he started to play with the edge of his shirt.

“You always know what to say to make me feel better,” Seokjin observed. “I appreciate it. Thank you, Jungkook.”

A smile spread across Jungkook’s lips, looking bashful as he avoided his hyungs eyes. “No problem. I just want you to make it in. I think you would be able to do great things if you risk it at least a little.”

“It’s a gamble, but I’ll try my best.”

 


 

They were once again hanging out in the dance room getting ready for a variety show. Jungkook wasn’t feeling as nervous now that he’d been doing this for the past week. He figured it had to do with getting used to it all over again (less because this body was unused to it and more because he had not made a television appearance since he was twenty-six)

He was anxious about what was to come. Variety shows were known to bring up topics that were unrelated to music. Jungkook thought that maybe they were set up to have idols say scandalous things or create an unwanted image by accident.

“You always look scared when you think.” He looked over at Namjoon who was seated in front of the mirror while a staff member sorted out the products on the table, preparing to fix up Namjoon’s appearance.

“Oh, I can’t help it. That’s just how I think.”

Namjoon shrugged. “I’m just saying.”

Jungkook looked down at the table, lightly running a hand over the makeup products neatly lined up. He was tempted to put on his own makeup because he hasn’t done so in years, not when there was the world judging him and he had no use to look dolled up if he wasn’t going to make a broadcast appearance.

(He threw the neatly organized collection off the decorated shelves. The shattering of the glass, mirrors and hard casings were deafening to his own ears and made him flinch at the strength at which they were thrown for the pieces to fly across the room.

He looked up with tears in his eyes, but he wouldn’t dare break down in front of him. With a devastated heart and a lump in his throat, he opened his mouth to scream away the enmity that arose with the actions he just witnessed. “I hate you!”

“Good! I want you to hate me!” He yelled back, face red with anger and disgust. His voice was hoarse from all the screaming he’d done earlier. “I don’t care about people like you, so hate me all you want because I fucking hate you!”) 

“Noona, can I… can I use the makeup?” The woman now working on Namjoon’s hair nodded at him with a kind and an amused smile.

“I’ll let you be curious and try it out, but don’t use too much! Make-up is expensive.”

Jungkook smiled and dragged a seat next to the table and faced the mirror to see himself. Careful to ignore his hyungs stares, he slowly picked up different eyeshadow palettes to check his color options. They weren’t the best brands, but they were long-lasting, and he shouldn’t expect something better from a small company like this. Nodding to himself, he placed the palettes down and moved to pick out his foundation shade. Doing his make-up always calmed him down before a show or interview. His focus was solely on the products being packed onto his smooth and slightly blemished skin, covering up the imperfections that he was told didn’t look pretty. (but he would always try to let his skin breathe by not using products regularly and convincing himself that it was okay to show imperfections every once in a while.)

He decided to go for a traditional smokey eye to imitate the style that was most popular during this time. He used a light, honey-brown shade over his crease to give it more emphasis, making his eyes appear larger and more doll-like. He used darker brown shades under slightly below his crease to give it a deeper look, continuously blending and layering each color as if he were drawing. Then he created a gradient look as he added black near his lash line and buffed it out. He picked up eyeliner and drew on a thin line on top of his lash line, fading it out at the ends with another brush to give his eyes a softer appearance while imitating the dark eyeliner he’d been wearing the past week. He added a bit of sparkle at the inner corners of his eyes and a bit of brown on his lower waterline just because he felt like it. He then completed the look with some contour and concealer.

By the time he finished, he was significantly more relaxed and satisfied with the outcome of his makeup. Despite being and looking like a thirteen-year-old, he was able to achieve a look he didn’t have until he was fifteen or sixteen. While he looked over his result, impressed that he still has the makeup skills he caught sight of his hyungs gaze on him through the mirror and paused for a second.

“Uh… I’m done” He called out shyly. He didn’t know what they thought of him, and frankly, he didn’t really care because these boys didn’t know him at all. They don’t know of the Jungkook who did his own makeup (they all learned how to do their own makeup and hair in their early 20s) or the Jungkook who cared about his looks because of its aesthetics. Although he learned to live for himself, their thoughts didn’t matter as much as what their actions could be. He was more frightened that these naive and ignorant boys would say something hurtful, or push him away simply because they didn’t see the progress of Jungkook growing into adulthood.

“You look very pretty, Jungkook,” The stylist complimented. she was done styling Namjoon’s hair and was now fixing the hair products on the table to start on his makeup. Jungkook felt himself blush at the praise and he wondered if it would be noticeable under the foundation.

“You’re very talented.” She hummed. “I think I’ll let you keep that makeup on if you’d like?” 

Jungkook pensively gazed at his reflection, briefly settling his eyes on his hyungs before looking back at the noona. “I’ll keep this on,” he spoke out shyly. “It’s different from others’ makeup.” He wondered what people would say about his makeup. Men at this time wouldn’t wear this much makeup, less so if it gave their features a soft and gentle look like his. The style for both men and women were harsh lines of eyeliner and the occasional smokey eye with no dimensions from contour or too much contour that it made the facial features too defined and too harsh. Jungkook never liked that style, and hopefully, the company would consider letting him wear this ‘new’ style that he always enjoyed wearing in the future more often.

“I told you that you are the golden maknae.” Came a voice behind him. He quickly turned around, surprised at the proximity of the voice and saw Hoseok giving him a half-smile. “You look really nice.”

“Thanks.”

“You would be able to pass off for a girl,” Yoongi said from across the room. “You just need a wig to complete the look.”

("What are you trying to accomplish? Huh? What do you think people would say about you looking like a girl?"

"I'm n-not," Jungkook weakly muttered, taking uneven breaths as he tried to control the tears falling down his cheeks.

"Because of you our careers are in danger." Yoongi moved over to the shelves near Jungkook's closet. "Why don't you stop acting like this and put your image first? Collecting all this makeup isn't going to help your career."

Jungkook's eyes widened when Yoongi reached for the products neatly piled up. Afraid of what would happen, he threw his weight onto Yoongi, trying to get him away from all the products he spent a lot of money to collect. He was shoved harshly away  onto a dresser. Jungkook winced at the pain that crawled up his back and shoulder but he ignored it as he watched Yoongi approach the shelves in growing horror.

Their fights never got this violent. Usually, it was only disputing that ended when one of them walked away in anger. This, however, left Jungkook speechless as he watched his hyung push his things off from the shelves. The items themselves didn't matter as much as the action that Yoongi decided to take. He was devastated that someone close to him would treat him like this.

He didn't like it. He didn't like that he never knew how to stand up for himself when it came to Yoongi.)

Jungkook made an offended noise. “There are women who have short hair.”

“You’re not denying that you look like a girl.”

“I don’t care if I look like a girl. That’s just what you think hyung.” It sounded mocking, but Jungkook didn’t pay attention to his tone. He simply let the anger he had long since locked away slowly come out of his system. He’s had enough of taking Yoongi’s taunting, no matter if it was all from the memories he had of the hyung had hated people like him. “I think I look pretty and there’s nothing wrong with looking pretty.”

Yoongi huffed but said nothing else.

"Jungkook," Namjoon spoke from where he was seated and awkwardly letting the noona do his makeup. "I think you look very nice and if you were a girl, you would be very pretty."

Jungkook felt his annoyance and anger dissipate at the compliments and he beamed at his hyung. It earned him an indulgent smile from their current leader complete with he two dimples and soft pink blush on his cheeks from shyness. Sometimes Jungkook wonders how this teen became their confidant and supportive leader.

Feeling satisfied and more at ease, he glanced over at Yoongi who was glaring at the table filled with makeup. He briefly noticed Hoseok step out of the room with an outfit in hand, brushing by Yoongi who made no reaction other than continuing to intently stare at the makeup products being applied on Namjoon's skin.

Jungkook didn't like dealing with these kinds of attitudes that Yoongi was expressing. He's already lived through a decade of this and he didn't need to live through more of it. Seeing this side of Yoongi was a painful reminder of the future where he cursed him and tried his hardest to put the maknae down.

He huffed, deciding to let the situation be and have Yoongi come to terms with what was happening. Jungkook wouldn't be able to do much but nudge Yoongi into the right mentality and thinking process. For now, he would ignore the feeling of shame and disappointment fill him up slowly.

He wished that his hyungs would grow up and learn to accept him for once.