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Singularity

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Chapter 1

You let out a long sigh as you watched your airplane take off. You were leaving for London with your friend, Adrienne, otherwise known as Drina. The original reason for going was to see a K-Pop band live and the two of you were so so excited. When the news dropped that BTS will perform in Europe you called Drina and drew up a plan to see them in England. You’ve been there a few times and truly loved London, so it was an obvious decision to go there. You took care of selecting and reserving the place to stay on Airbnb while Drina booked you a flight a day before the concert.

What you did not calculate with correctly was the overwhelming interest in the concert. The two of you sat down in your living room the morning the tickets went on sale to purchase your own passes. You pretty much knew which section you were looking for in the arena and waited patiently for the clock to strike 9:00 am. And then the site froze. You excitedly tried to breathe life into your laptop and Drina was struggling by your side to reach the page to buy any ticket available, but it was impossible. A few minutes turned into an hour and suddenly the site dropped the bomb: the concert was sold out.

You shook your head at the memory. For a while, Drina tried to persuade you into buying a ticket from Viagogo, but you didn’t trust that particular site. While it did hurt to let go of the idea of dancing live to some K-Pop, at least you were going abroad. You already had your ideas and plans in London, it would be a waste not to go really.

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You didn’t have an average life and most of it was due to your work. The knowledge you had freed you from most everyday concerns and gave you a different view upon life and what was important. There was plenty of time and resource for you to learn things that drew your interest, let it be anything from cooking to learning languages. Sometimes you buried yourself in dancing classes, other times you discovered a new anime series that shut you in your flat for days.

You were thankful that you knew a few people who had the same experience. Living this freely did come with some restrictions. People, in general, proved to be difficult to let close to you. You had a close knitted group of friends at home who you’ve known since your teenage years, and then there were the ones who lived just like you. Most of them were from the same classroom where you grew up to be the person you are. That's where you met Adrienne too. Your mentor tended to be a rude pig, who had a screwed view on most things, but he was teaching you invaluable knowledge about the financial world that allowed you to step outside of the 9-5 working schedules and corporate life in general.

Thinking back, Drina was somewhat more special than your other classmates. She had a wide range of interests with a fierce but kind heart. She simply tagged along for many things you started to get into. This was something you’ve never experienced before. She didn’t mind geeky topics like comic books or serious things like Japanese tea ceremonies.

You’ve settled into an agreement after a few sloppy attempts to study a new thing: one of you suggest something they want to learn (for instance the time when you wanted you learn to speak Japanese) and the other joins in on your classes, and when you’ve completed that area of study with an exam or certificate, the person who tagged along got to choose the next thing to get into. You were more into languages and artsy things, while Drina was drawn to anything that moves: dances and sports.

This is how you got into K-Pop in general. Drina wanted to go to dance classes and soon after a few months you not only got accustomed physically to it but your otherwise rock music loving soul started to love the music too.

Both of you got really caught up by the world of K-Pop music so bad, you were thinking of going to Asia for a few months just for the heck of it. It was so mesmerizing how the dances fit the songs, how the songs had so many meaning behind them and how much thought they awoke in you. And of course, everyone was outrageously gorgeous. You often joked how the water is probably spiked with something in Korea since they were so beautiful.

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You drew a long sigh again. It was already 9 pm in London and you were close to landing. You nudged Drina awake.

"Are we landing already?" she asked.

"Yeah...do you want to do something today, or just continue to sleep in the apartment?"

"Mmm, I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll be able to fall asleep after this nap. Let’s just put our stuff down, decide who gets which room and just roam around the city. "

You thought about it. It’s a Monday night, by the time you would arrive at the city center probably no one would be around. You could use some time to walk around in a peaceful setting.

"Sure, let's do that" - you agreed.

You slowly got up to get your luggage. Most of the people on the plane were either really slow or hesitant to move. You sped by the rows of people with Drina closely behind you and entered the empty airport. It felt good to have some quiet after the buzzing and talking on the plane. You passed your passport check and maneuvered to the train station below the airport.

You caught the train just in time. After settling down by your seats you opened your bag for a change of clothes. You tended to be really comfy for flights, but your current outfit of dark grey sweatpants and a Hogwarts jumper was a little too warm and not feminine enough for your liking for London. You motioned to go to change to Drina and she just nodded, scrolling through her phone. You went to the bathroom to change into ragged denim shorts, a white tank top and put on your favorite red and white kimono robe. It hung close to your ankles, just enough to show off your black running shoes. You really loved this kimono, with its white detailed flowers over the scarlet background.

Walking back to your seat, you thought about where to go tonight. There were many areas in London that could be really pretty night time, but your thoughts levitated back to the Thames. You looked up how far it is from your accommodation, deciding that a cab would be able to drop you off by the Shard in less than 10 minutes.

You got off the train an hour later and asked Drina whether she liked your plan while walking.

"I’m down with the Thames, but I want to bring some music too. I don’t think there will be anyone, so we could just walk around blasting whatever we want to listen to! "

You chuckled at the image of you running around listening to God-knows-what, but it seemed fun nonetheless.

"Sure, just please don’t go too electronic for me to handle." - you replied. You could get easily agitated by several types of music genres. Drina snickered at your plea.

"Yeah, yeah, I know, no dubstep and such. Don’t worry Y/n, I’ll stick to something you’re precious metal heart could take! "

"Now that’s just mean, I’ve come a long way since trying to make you listen to Disturbed!" - you laughed out loud. "You did end up liking some of my music anyway. "

"Well, because I’m more open-minded than you!" - she managed between two laughs.

"Oh come on, we are here because I’m open minded too! Here I am, longing to see a K-Pop concert for God’s sake." - you retorted smiling. She did change you a lot over the years.

"Awh, don’t remind me about the concert, please. We need to go drinking tomorrow, I want to choke my misery in whiskey. "

"Deal, I’m buying the first round." - you agreed. Finding a good pub was on your agenda anyway.

You found your apartment in a row of identical houses in a quiet suburban area. The keys were stashed where the owner indicated, and you entered swiftly. The place was really comfy and roomy. Two separate rooms with their own bathrooms, a big living room with an open kitchen. Just enough furniture to look homey, but still have enough space to dance around while packing and cooking.

You settled your things in the first-floor bedroom, while Drina changed to something more presentable too. While fetching your bluetooth speakers, you heard her call a cab to the house.

"Drina, how about I bring my camera? I feel like shooting a couple of moody pictures by the river!" - you shouted downstairs

"Sure, why not? You better take some good shots of me though! The car will be here in a few minutes, do you have some English pounds on you?!" - she yelled back.

"You forgot to take out some cash again? Seriously woman, do you ever learn?" - you laughed in your surprise.

"Oh shut it! You probably have enough cash on you for two weeks anyway. I’ll treat you when we go shopppiiiing!" she ended up singing the last word.

"I take it, but only sensible clothes thooouuuugh!" you sang back.

You grabbed your camera and put on one of the smaller lenses. There was a small tap on the front door and you bolted downstairs. You and Drina showed into the cab and asked the driver to take you to the Thames. While you were adjusting your camera, Drina put together a list of songs to listen to. You arrived in a few minutes, paid the driver and got out.

Drina buckled the speaker on her belt, so it was swinging on her hip as she was walking. She put on your slower K-Pop Spotify playlists and you settled into walking alongside her. You sometimes stopped to take a picture or she ran ahead of you so you could do the frame with her in it.

After a couple of minutes, you heard Drina change the music to something more sensual: CYN - Believer was humming from the speaker. You smiled as you started to move your hips to the bass of the song. Drina ran to the railing by the river, jumping up and doing a choreo you’ve learned a while ago.

You laughed as she enthusiastically delivered the movements and took a few weird angled shots of her. Then you walked up to the railing to and bent over to take an upside-down shot of the metal bending by the sidewalk.

The song was still going and you took a few turns and sways, humming to the tune lightly. Holding onto the camera you danced slowly and checked the pictures you took so far. Some of them needed a little after work and you immediately deleted the blurry ones. While you were working, you heard someone ask a question a few paces to your right. You didn’t look up, probably someone is asking Drina to lower the volume. However, it did surprise you someone else was here with…

"Y/n! Could you help me out?" - you heard Drina ask.

You absent-mindedly walked over to her, still paying attention to your shots.

"Yeah, what's up? Did we do something wrong? "

And then you looked up.

There stood a small group of people, looking at you and Drina with curiosity in their eyes. They were obviously overdressed for the warm June weather, with layers of jackets and baseball caps on. Some even had masks on their faces. But that wasn’t the strangest thing about them.

You knew them. You threw an incredulous look at Drina quickly, who seemed more confused at your expression. You heard the speaker switch to Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman, and you couldn’t help let a chuckle out.

"Well, how can we help you?" - you asked them in Korean. Honestly, Drina seemed surprised with your switch of languages.

"Why did you switch to Korean, this guy spoke to me in English" - she looked at you confused, switching to Hungarian.

"Drina, you’re not actually serious. Look at them! "

"What, that they’re Asian? Don’t you think that's a little racist? "

You let out a laugh. Everyone stared at you, and then one of the taller guys answered you.

"I was just asking your friend which side were we on, where is the Big Ben? Your Korean is good by the way." - he looked at you with a mixed look. He was holding something back, either laughter or a yelp.

"Oh, Ben is that way on the far left. If you walk on this side it will be on the other side soon. You will walk by the Globe Theater too." - you answered him with a smile, trying to assure him not to be nervous.

"Theater?" - one of the guys in a black mask asked. You looked at him and nodded. You really liked his deep voice.

You looked at Drina, whether she figured it out. You kind of understood her confusion, they didn’t look like this when they did the last comeback. She tilted her head to the side, making her deep brown hair spread on her shoulder.

"Drina, why did we come to London?" - you tried to give her a hint. She looked at you with a small smile

"You just helped a rapper find a clock right?" - she asked you.

Namjoon flinched a little at the word rapper. While she did talk to you in Hungarian, the word is the same in English, so he probably caught on what you were saying. He straightened himself and looked at the two of you really seriously.

"You know who we are right? Why are you not freaking out? You even have a camera on you!" - he said in English as he pointed to the device in my hand. - "Are you a..."

"Yes, we know who you are, that’s why I answered in Korean." - You cut him off. - "But I’m not going to violate your privacy by snapping pictures of you. Or make you uncomfortable by screeching like an owl because you happened to walk by here. "

"It is nice though" - Drina added with a smile.

You looked at your friend. She tilted her head quickly, signaling in the opposite direction to Big Ben. You nodded and looked back at the group.

"Keep walking that way on this side and you’ll meet the Big Ben in about 15-20 minutes. The Globe theater, the real one is the smaller building on the other side of that bridge, don’t miss it. I think it was the first theater, ever. "

"Have a good time in London, and good luck for tomorrow "- Drina chimed in - "Fighting! "

You both smiled and turned to walk back where you came from. You just met one of the biggest boy band of the decade. You did feel bad about making them uncomfortable for a minute, but damn that was a thrill.

You noticed the speaker was off and asked Drina to put on something to break the silence. She quickly put on a song, Bruno Mars Uptown Funk blared out. You could feel the tension leaving you, even though you only turned away from them 20 seconds ago.

Then suddenly you felt a pat on your shoulder.

You looked back and saw Namjoon looking at you apologetically.

"You don’t have to go that way, you just came from there. I’m sorry I tensed up. We just…"

"Don’t meet people like you." - You looked behind him and saw Yoongi looking at you.

"Could you please walk with us?" - Jimin was next to Yoongi - "You seemed to be having fun, we could use some of that." - he added smiling at the speaker on Drina’s hip.

You scanned through them slowly. Jungkook was holding his own camera, looking downwards, J-Hope was taking down his mask and shoving it in his pocket, and Jin and Taehyung were standing in the back examining you and Drina up and down.

You hesitantly looked at your friend. She nodded to you and said:

"Sure, what do you want to listen to?" - she smiled at Jimin.

"Aaah, I don’t know! Choose something upbeat!"

You and the boys started walking in your original direction. You snorted at the thought of Drina searching furiously through tons of upbeat songs to find “the” one.

"Y/n, pick a genre then! Any song, I’m at your request!" - Drina shot at you.

"Uuu, that's a dangerous game! Do the Boku no hero AMV! You know, the Are you ready one!" - she looked at you with a raised eyebrow.

"No, I don’t want to!" - She ran ahead, flipping her hair back

"Shocker" - you smiled after her.

In a few seconds, you heard DNCE’s Cake by the ocean and laughed at the reference. You were sure Drina would love a “cake by the ocean” with one of these guys.

"You really are weird people, in a good way" - you heard Namjoon smile next to you.

"Ah, you don’t know the half of it" - you looked away to the other side of the river bank.

"We saw you dance around the street if that's what you mean "

"Not at all, but that's part of it I guess" - you smiled back at him.

"So are you coming tomorrow to see us?" - Taehyung walked up on your other side, facing ahead without the mask on his face.

"Well, we were going to, that’s why we are in London. But no, we don’t have a ticket, it sold out pretty fast." - you told him the truth.

"Aish, I’m sorry" - he finally looked at you, hanging his head a little.

"Nah, it’s okay. You have a really strong fanbase! "

"That, we do" - Namjoon added thoughtfully.

You walked in silence a little, then you heard a really different song come on. Parov Stelar’s Cuba Libre crept up, and you noticed it was a live version. Drina watched you as your lips curled up at her choice and ran to her to meet her hand and have you turn on the spot.

"What is this?" - you saw Jimin’s bewildered look as he slowly moved along the rhythm of the song.

"It’s electro swing, the band is called Parov Stelar" - you said while you faced him, still semi-dancing.

"Uuuuu this is interesting!" - Hobi called out, busting a move next to you.

The four of you fooled around while the others simply walked beside you. You heard the song come to an end. The singer cried out to her crowd, thanking their support.

"Aaah, this was at Sziget Festival!" - the boys who were not dancing gave you a questioning look. - "She said thank you Budapest, it’s in our hometown. This happened last year I think."

Catgroove came on as the next song and while dancing you heard a shutter go off. You looked around to see Kookie holding his camera up. He hesitated for a second and then walked to you.

"Sorry, I won’t take pictures of you if you don’t want me to." - he didn’t look you in the eye while saying that

"No, it’s okay, I don’t mind. How long have you been photographing?" - you asked the shy boy. He seemed so small in those baggy clothes, you wondered how is he not sweating.

"I’ve been trying for a few months now. I try to learn about how to do it properly, but I’m not sure..."

"I see… but do you enjoy it?" - You looked at him curiously

"Well, yes, but I don’t really like to show it to anyone. "

"That's fine, you can do photography for yourself. It can be an introverted thing just as much as an extroverted thing. "

"I’ve been trying to tell him the same thing" - Jin looked back at us.

"Do you really think so?" - The young boy looked at you.

"Sure I do. And technically I know better because I’m older than you. You should listen to your elders." - You shoot a small challenge at him.

"Yaaah, he is not like that. Kook-ah never listens to me and I’m the eldest!" - Jin put on a serious face, raising his voice the more he talks.

"Hyung, that is not true! Wait, why, how old are you?" - Jungkook finally looks you in the eye.

You hear Grampa’s Groove coming on from the speaker, and you shoot a nasty look at Drina, but she just laughs at you. She is younger than you by a few months after all.

"I was born in ‘92." - you smile looking ahead to see Jin whip his head around.

"Aaaah finally, a ‘92 liner! You have no idea what I’ve been through with these children!"

Almost all the boys start whining at Jin’s comment who goes into a rant about the youngster's behavior and pranks and you burst out laughing so hard you bend over. Drina is watching them in awe as she learns about the several stories that had caused Jin “sleepless nights”.

She walked to your still laughing figure to whisper in our ear in Hungarian:

"Well, I wouldn’t mind giving him a few sleepless nights, if I might add. "

This statement makes you pull your lips into a naughty smile:

"I’m sure he wouldn’t mind either, he has been looking in your direction when you’re dancing. So I would say keep on dancing hun. "

She just looks at you and takes her phone out, thinking about what music to put on.

Jungkook jogged to you after she left:

"Can you please show me your pictures Noona?"

"Yea...wait, Noona?!"

"Can I call you Noona? It’s a word for…"

"I know what it is, I was just surprised, that's all. Sure, you can call me Noona" - you smile at him. He gifts you with his famous bunny smiles in return.

You hand him your camera, setting it to show your saved pictures. He seemed to be really paying attention to what he was seeing, not talking anymore.

By this time, you were slowly reaching the Blackfriars Bridge and you realized you passed the Globe Theater a few minutes ago. You looked around alarmed to see Taehyung looking at you.

"We passed the theater! Did you see it or should we go back?" - you asked him

"I saw it, don’t worry" - his deep voice soothed your sudden frenzy and chucked at your expression. - "I would love to see your pictures too" - he added.

"You can, after Kookie’s done. But it is nothing special really. "

"I’m sure they’re good. He’s been looking at them like there is no tomorrow. By the way, “Kookie”?" - he raised his eyebrow jokingly.

"Well if he wants to call me “Noona”, I get to call him Kookie, don’t you think?" - there was a glint in his eyes that made your skin crawl.

"Then call me Taehyung or Tae, and not V, please."

As he was saying this he quickly swiped his tongue across his lower lip. You tilted your head slightly at him. Is he making a move, or just playing around?

The music changed, which made you tear your gaze from his to Drina. She did put on the Boku no hero AMV. You let out a happy sound and ran to her. You did have a small choreo for a section leading up to the chorus. She had a slightly sultry expression on, which told you for sure that she was ready for a flirt. Hobi and Jimin were dancing along with you and Jin joined in after he got used to the song.

You were glad that you attended all those dance classes with Drina. You always had a knack for dancing, but your past self would’ve been too tense and stressed to dance in front of guys on a deserted street in the middle of the night with no alcohol involved. The routines and songs helped you to have as much fun as possible. The song ended and you wondered what Drina has come up with since your exchange.

"Would you mind if I put on a K-pop playlist?" - you heard her ask

"That depends, do you have us on the list?" - Jimin wiggled his eyebrows playfully.

"I think so, yes" - she answered, her expression uncertain how the guys would feel about listening to themselves.

"Hmm, that playlist is not bad at all"- Hobi looked at her phone over her shoulder

"We don’t mind having fun to our own songs" - Namjoon added, showing off his dimples in a reassuring smile

"I wonder which ones are on there" - Jin looked at Drina with a hint of a challenge on his face

You looked at your friend curiously, waiting for her decision. You had a good guess which list she pulled up. She must have a battle rummaging in her head whether to go for a BTS song or not. Finally, she gave in and pressed the screen on her phone.

Look here started playing from BTS and all of them looked shocked at her decision. You pulled your lips into a smile and grabbed her hand and made a run for it, while they yelped and ran after you. The small sprint eased the growing tension and after a few meters, you turned to face the boys running after you, swinging your hips and turning Drina by her hand.

Jiminie stopped next to you, using his momentum to grab your hands and pull you into a basic pair dance. He was really easy to dance with, moving with you swiftly, but keeping a healthy amount of space between your bodies. You heard Namjoon start rapping his part with his recorded self. Jimin and Jin sang their respective lines too which made your heart flutter with happiness. They were really good at what they do.

"Did you have a Pharrel influence with this song? It reminds me so much of him!" - you asked Yoongi and Namjoon by looking at them as Jimin turned you in their direction.

"You really think so?" - Namjoon looked at you surprised

"Sure I do, listen to it!"

"I can see why you would think that, but no" - Yoongi shook his head slowly.

Look here was coming to an end and you saw Hobi ask for Drina’s phone. He quickly flipped through the list and then chose the next song. Airplane pt.2 crept through the speaker and he turned the volume higher. You and Drina slowly applied some latin steps to your movements and Hobi matched yours. You could tell he had experience with ballroom dancing by his movements. When the chorus dropped he took your hand and went for a more complicated salsa step.

"Oh wow, good job!" - he complimented you and with a chuckle you made him go into a more deliberate row of moves. This song was one of your favorites, you for sure are going to enjoy it.

You started to notice that all of the boys were singing. Not just in a whisper, but actually singing and you thought you are going burst with all the happiness inside you. Hobi let you go and went into his part, doing the whole routine. Yoongi then walked into the small circle you and the boys made and delivered his lines flawlessly with Jimin chiming in. You swayed yourself and enjoyed looking at them completely free and effortless.

The second chorus was coming up and you felt someone behind you hold your hand gently and turning you to face them. Your breath caught in your throat as you saw Tae lead you way more intimately than Jimin and Hobi did. He had a small smile playing on his lips and a dark look in his eyes. He was notplaying.

Well, you guess you don’t mind destroying your current underwear. You let out a little sound, pulling yourself together.

He made you make a half turn so that your back was on his chest and swayed your body to his, all the while singing in your left ear.
You deliberately pushed yourself more into his body in the next beat, loosening your waist as one of his hands slipped on your side. You checked whether anyone was watching you two, but everyone around you was absorbed in what they were doing. You only caught Drina’s eyes for a split second, but you could tell her mind was far elsewhere.

Tae turned you to face him again, one hand holding yours and the other residing on your waist. He was watching you closely, you could practically feel his gaze linger on you. The song started to die down and he let you have more space. He turned you and you turned him in return and the song ended.

The next song automatically started playing, it was Dua Lipa’s Kiss and Make up, a collaboration with Blackpink.

This song fit exactly well with your current state of mind, and it seemed Drina had similar thoughts. By the time the first chorus dropped you were next to her, your backs to each other and doing a more mischievous routine. Jimin caught up with your mood and danced with his eyes dropped halfway. You could feel Tae watching you but you deliberately avoided looking at anyone. You had a guess that your facial expression was telling how his movements affected you. The song’s lyrics were only oil on burning fire.

"If you had to rate, how serious are we?" - Drina asked in a low voice while dancing.

You understood her question but had no idea what you say. She was asking what to do now. Both of you were riled up, senses tingling. But these guys...they seemed off the table. Is there even anything to talk about here, they are probably just getting off steam.

You looked up and the first thing you saw was Tae dancing next to Jimin, matching his sensual moves. He looked like he was enjoying himself, his face showed a small amount of concentration. Jimin noticed you looking at them and flashed you a sultry smile. Jesus Christ.

You took a deep breath a leaned back to Drina’s back.

"Honestly...I think we should enjoy this as long as possible. But I don’t think we should cross any lines. So let’s stick to a decent 8 and see what they do." - you answered her question.

"Hmm, a decent 8? That is an unusual answer." - she hummed - "I guess you like him the way he seems to like you, huh?"

You let out your breath at her words. Of course, you liked Tae.

Hobi requested Drina’s phone again, oblivious to your dilemma and conversation. Moving with the music he cheerfully selected the next song, looking up with a curious expression on his face. It was Mamamoo’s Egoistic. Drina shivered behind you and pulled up her hand, signaling you what she wanted to do. This was one of the first difficult choreo you ever learned. By pulling her hand above her head, she wanted yours to be there to so you could do a continuously moving turn while turning your hips in a snake-like motion. It basically meant whenever your hand is up, the other grabs it and you switch positions and thus, dance partners.

You did settle for a decent 8 beforehand, so you put your hand above your head too, letting her know that you’re in. To put it simply, a 5 would be just dancing without caring for anyone else, a 2 would be not even walking up to the dancefloor and a 9 would be a dead serious, full-on dancing.

Coming up to the first chorus, you let your emotions go. You didn’t laugh anymore, rather settling for a sensual feel as the chorus dropped. You felt Jimin approach the two of you from your left side, while Hobi went for Drina straight on. The air shifted around you as you’ve gotten more serious. Drina was still behind you and you felt her tap you thigh, signaling you to do a body roll downwards with her. Jimin still held some distance to you, but his movements mirrored yours. You let out a small giggle as you heard your cue to pull up your hand doing your twist and changing places with Drina, now facing Hobi.

He let out an amused laugh, not missing a beat. He goofed a little off but his limbs matched your mood too. By the time the chorus ended you felt like you had an understanding between the four of you. The small space right after the bridge allowed the boys to catch their breath, letting out a peal of honest laughter.

"These girls are really something, aren’t they?" - Hobi asked Jimin lightheartedly.

"And people tell me how I change my facial expression easily! I forgot to breathe properly when they turned!" - Jimin looked over your shoulder to Hobi.

The second chorus was approaching and you watched as Jimin drew a little closer to you, still not touching you. It was as if he was letting you know that this was fine and he won’t do anything inappropriate. He was only paying attention to you and your comfort zone. When Drina reached up for your turn he even put a small wave in with his hands, as if he was saying goodbye. Hobi, on the other hand, waved a quick hello and robotically dropped to his knees coming back up slowly and you went down at equal pace. When you got back up, you turned back to Jimin, who waved a hello again.

As the bridge was building up to the final leg of the song, he put out his hand toward you as a question. He was asking you nonverbally to break from Drina and allowing him to whisk you away in a tango-y kind of way. You tapped on Drina, so she would look back, only for you to see Hobi doing something similar behind you. She nodded and you accepted Jimin’s hand as the music escalated to its height.

Jimin pulled you into his arms and repeated the body rolls once again, and when you were supposed to switch places, he reached up and did the twist, putting his back against yours. You couldn’t help but laugh out in surprise. His back shook a little too and you broke apart, the four of you moving around freely.

iKON’s Killing me started to play automatically and you heard Kookie shout out:

"Noona, my turn!" - as he was running up to you

"And where did you leave my camera? And yours too?" - he pointed to Tae, who held up your device sitting on the river bank, while Kookie’s was on his lap. Namjoon and Yoongi were next to him, peering over the screen.

"Noona, please dance with me!" - and he pulled you into the smaller circle formed by the others who still kept dancing.

He goofed to the beat at first but by the chorus, his face changed, and he dropped down so his knees were in a 90-degree angle. Drina let out a whistle and you hooped as well at his sudden amazing moves. The Golden Maknae was certainly no joke. You two went to the side of the circle as Hobi went in freestyling.

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While you and the others danced to your heart's content, the three boys looked over your photos. Originally they wanted to check whether you really didn’t take any photos of them and their members, but the conversation switched to trying to figure you and your friend out.

"Hyung, do you think we can somehow get them in tomorrow?" - Tae asked Namjoon

Namjoon didn’t know how to answer him. Sure, you seemed to be genuinely honest and trustworthy, but you only just met. It would be outstandingly bad if the news got out that BTS intentionally smuggled in two strangers, two women, to their concert.

"I don’t think it would hurt anyone if you were to ask Sejin, Joon." - Yoongi said quietly.

The two younger boys looked at him amazed. Yoongi was always very careful and he did not trust people easily.

"So you think we should help them?" - Namjoon asked Yoongi

"To be honest with you, they don’t look like girls who need anyone's help. But look at them. An hour ago we were walking around in a foreign city depressed and not having a single good thing to think about. Even Hobi was down. And then they literally danced in our way and it’s gone. The misery is gone." - Yoongi summarized his thoughts.

"They treat us as normal people hyung. When was the last time you had a real conversation which was not about us, music or responsibilities? And you don’t even have to do the translating for us. Two European women are speaking fluent Korean with us" - Tae chimed in his opinion.

Namjoon stared quietly in front of him. His two brothers were right. He and the other members had a really rough couple of months behind them. Tirelessly working on music, keeping up with the schedules and trying to keep their bodies to a healthy standard took a toll on everyone. After a while so many important things became meaningless. Sometimes they had conversations about the military service, which was like a looming evil hanging above the band’s future. It was like walking in a dark forest with no light in sight.

It was Jin’s idea for the members to take a walk outside. They needed to snap out of this misery because they were finally meeting their fans again. It won’t do for them to see their idols this way.

Namjoon got up and started to walk away under a tree while he dialed his manager on his phone. Sejin picked up after a few rings. As Namjoon explained his request he felt Sejin go from utterly surprised to suspicious in a few seconds.

"So you checked all of their electronic devices and found no pictures or videos of you? Did they give you anything to drink? Is anyone drunk?"

Sejin’s questions and concerns flooded Namjoon’s mind. He explained how he went through your photos, how Hobi regularly checked Drina’s phone and that nobody had anything to drink since they have left their hotel. No, he didn’t check your phone, but nobody saw it on you and Kookie found it in your camera bag still in flight mode.

The manager slowly let go of his worries and gave the idea a long thought. While Namjoon waited for his reply, he glanced over to the small group still dancing around.

"Can I please switch to video conference mode?" - Namjoon asked his manager

"You may, but for what reason? "

"Do you remember how we looked when we left?" - Joon asked bluntly - "This is how my members look now" - and he switched on the video mode.

Sejin pulled the phone from his ear so he could see the feed. At first, he saw RM facing the camera, and then the image changed to group dancing a few meters away. 4 BTS members were loosely moving around and two girls around the eldest’s height were moving with them. They seemed….happy. Which was definitely not how the manager saw the group leave their rooms that evening. In fact, he hasn’t seen them this free for a long time.

How did two complete strangers change them so much in such a short time?

"Namjoon-ah, I’ll ask around. I’m not sure, but I think I can do your request. But I need to run it by the boss. I’m sure you understand. "

"Yes, I do. Can I ask for their contact information?" - Joon asked nervously. He can’t remember when was the last time he asked for a girl’s number.

"You may. But please don’t let your or your member's private information out. You can have theirs, but don’t give out anything that is not necessary. If possible, figure out whether they have a bias. This is important Namjoon, please try."

Sejin quickly hung up and Namjoon looked at the phone. He had mixed feelings about the bias thing. While it seemed like a fun topic to discover, it could change the forming relationship with the two surprisingly interesting women entirely. But Namjoon understood Sejin’s need for the answer, so he went back to the sitting Yoongi and Tae, breaking them the news.

Yoongi just shrugged when Namjoon reached the bias question, obviously not minding it and Tae pulled one of his blank expressions on. The leader always marveled how Tae had complete control over his face, but it seemed odd to do it now. He glanced over to the dancing people in front of him, wondering how still the whole situation will play out.

----------------------------------

Slowly moving to a ballad chosen by Jin, you saw Kookie scroll through Drina’s Spotify account carefully. It made you think about how you would feel if one of the famous members of BTS were to look at your music library. Probably mortified. Sure, Drina opened up your musical taste, but you can’t help but imagine to see that little bunny getting shook by your rock background.

"What is “mellowny”?" - you heard the youngster ask. That was your playlist. You knew she followed some of your playlists on Spotify, but for Kookie to find it so fast, you were dumbstruck. So this is what is it like to be Jungshooked?

"Ah, thats Y/n’s ballad BTS list. She uses it as a backdrop when she needs to concentrate on something." - Drina answered his question. You tried to keep a straight face while she was explaining.

"Does the word mean anything?" - Kookie looked at you

"Not really, it’s not a real word. I just associated the sound of the “word” with what I was going for when putting that list together." - you tried to look nonchalant

Jimin tried to look at the phone screen but Kookie yanked it up out of his sight. Jimin let out an agitated sound seeing the bunny brake out in a sprint then looked at you with a cute pout.

"I want to know what songs are on that list!" - you didn’t know how to respond to that, he was just too adorable to handle.

"Kook-ah, show us!" - Jin shouted after the maknae seeing Jimin’s expression.

"No, I want to play a game! Guess what is on here and if you pick a wrong song, I’ll flick your face!" - Kookie shot back, running further away from his brothers.

"Aaah maknae, a face flick is too much, why aren’t you more reasonable! I raised you better than this!" - Jin shot toward the bunny, who was running away from Hobi and Jimin, holding the phone high in his hand.

Drina stood beside you fighting her tears as she was holding back her roaring laughter. You didn’t know whether you were dying from agitation or giggling. The unfolding scene in front of you was just too much to comprehend.

"Kookie, can you tell who is Y/n’s bias based on that list?" - Namjoon blared after the running trio. Excuse you?You died on the spot. Of course, he could, look at his face.You saw Drina stop laughing, glancing over to the sitting boys on the bench.

"Oh, so you would like to know who’s our favorite? "

"I don’t think they could guess correctly, they don’t know what we like." - you tried to put on a brave face, following Drina’s dare.

"They literally just met us" - she continued

"They say people unconsciously choose biases who they resemble most, who they can relate to" - Namjoon added sophisticatedly.

Kookie jogged back to you with ease and took off his jacket, throwing it towards Namjoon.

"IF you guess a song correctly, I’ll play it, if not, you get a point. We go until all the songs are guessed correctly. The one with the most points will receive a punishment. Based on the songs, we will learn about the girl’s preferences. Call?" - he looked at his regrouping brothers.

"Call!" - they answered in unison.

You looked at Drina next to you. This was not happening. You needed to sit down. The boys settled down on the bench in front of you and the railing behind the bench, while you and Drina sat down cross-legged on the ground. Kookie got his jacket back and offered it for you to sit on it. He hopped down next to you, clearly enjoying his power over his hyungs.

"Okay, I’ll start: Spring day!" - Namjoon said

"No!" - Kookie yelled triumphantly. The boys looked startled.

"Whalien 52?" - Yoongi looked at you. You shook your head

"Love maze?" - Hobi asked

"Good song, but no" - Drina answered him

"Fake love has to be there" - said Jimin. Kookie looked at him with a blank face, then his finger pressed the song to start. - "Finally" - Jimin let out a relieved sigh.

"I think if we want to figure out their biases, we have to go for individual songs" - Tae looked at you while his fingers held his jaw. Ooh here we go.

"Heeey mamma!" - Hobi sang excitedly.

"Nah, the title of the playlist is Mellowny, Mamma won’t be on there" - Yoongi shook his head.

"Euphoria?" - shot in Jimin quickly

"That's actually a good idea, but it’s not there, sorry" - you smiled at him.

"Are these songs well known?" - Namjoon asks

"I don’t think you should answer any questions" - Kookie stage whispers to you

"Oh come on, as if you have any songs that are not “well known”" - Drina answered before Kookie could finish his whisper

"Ooo, so we have real fans among us" - Jimin cocked his head playfully

"I think they should be able to ask questions" - you look at Kookie - "we can still not answer if we don’t want to. "

"Yes, but not answering is an answer in itself" - Namjoon leaned forward in his seat.

"Well, you have to have the right idea to decipher the silence, otherwise it’s meaningless" - you answered him coyly.

The thing is, you knew Namjoon was really smart. This could easily turn into something resembling a chess game and you didn’t know whether you should stress over them knowing who your bias is or not. They are probably used to fans cherry picking between them, even though it seemed cruel to you. They were so remarkable in their own way, you didn’t want to hurt them after getting to know them a little.

You tried not to show your thoughts as the boys went on guessing songs. Soon Jimin triumphantly cried out when Jungkook started to play Serendipity and Jin guessed Blood, Sweat and Tears correctly.

"The common element seems to be songs about love, would you say that is true?" - Namjoon asked the two of you girls

"No, not necessarily. But I’ll help a little: I really do listen to this playlist when I’m paying attention to something. I grew so accustomed to it that with the right volume it could act as a positive white noise or meditative backdrop." - you explained

"So no fast-paced percussions? Deep registered sounds are a factor? Do you listen to it with headphones? "

"Yes" - you smiled at Namjoon. You left him to wonder what exactly did you answer with the simple “yes”, but he didn’t seem bothered by the riddle. Jimin was glancing at his brother and you as if you were doing a tennis match.

"You have to remember that we are not trained musicians" - Drina added with a mild concentration on her face. - "We probably don’t think the same things for the same songs."

"Yeah, that's probably true" - you agreed with her.

The guesses went on. Hobi figured out Butterfly and The Truth Untold was playing due to Tae’s correct answer. You moved slightly when he spoke, realizing that you don’t have that many songs left. The song played solemnly as the boys were thinking. Kookie rested his head on his hand, watching them peacefully. He looked at you:

"I think I know" - he said in English

"So you’re sure it’s not you?" - I tried to confuse him, but his smirk let you know that you’ve failed in your attempt.

"No, it’s not me. And I think it fits."

"What fits?" - you looked at him surprised.

"Your bias. You have the same feel to you." - he went back to Korean, choosing his words more freely in his native language.

"Based on songs I wouldn’t know your friend though. Her body language was more telling." - he continued.

"You took your sweet time to look at other things besides my photos, didn’t you?" - you playfully smacked his shoulder.

"Aah, I like you Noona." - he smiled at the sky. - "It feels like I’ve known you for a long time. "

"I like you too Kookie." - you chuckled at his confession. - "It’s nice to have a mischievous little brother. Even only for a few hours."

"Few hours?" - he looked at you - "Why do you say that?"

"Well, we can’t exactly keep in touch, you are a famous idol after all. "

"So? I don’t care, I want to be your friend. Aren’t we friends?" - he pulled his face to a sad pout.

"Jeon Jungkook, you are adorable" - you blurted out in your awe. This person wanted to be your friend. You wanted to hug this little ball of fluff. You heard Drina answer one of the guesses while you were talking.

"It would be nice to stay friends Kookie" - you looked thoughtfully ahead.

You heard Tae ask Drina whether Singularity was on your playlist. You could feel your pulse jump as you met his gaze. You had many favorite songs, most of them varied on different days. But Singularity was something else. That song spoke to you on another level. The smooth feel, the texture of the layered percussions, the wast meaning behind the lyrics all topped off with Tae velvety voice. He basically named your Achilles heel without realizing it.

Tae was still looking at you, suddenly looking nervous. You slowly tilted your head at him, just like you did the first time you spoke to him, letting a low smile creep on your lips. Drina pushed play and the song slipped out from the speaker. He let out a surprised sigh. Kookie looked at his youngest brother with a twinkle in his eye. He noticed you teasing Tae and liked it.

Drina shot down another guess, this time by Hobi. It seemed only Jungkook noticed your exchange with Tae. That bunny had a keen eye, you had to admit to yourself.

"Okay, if we have Singularity and Serendipity, I’m pretty sure Lie and Stigma is there too. I wager in Begin as well." - Namjoon listed his triple guess, monitoring our faces.

"Yeah, they never say yes to any songs by the rap line!" - Hobi looked at Namjoon disappointed.

"You were not paying attention, the playlist name is basically “mellow”. There won’t be anything sharp or harsh on there." - Yoongi looked at Hobi filled with boredom.

"So am I right?" - Namjoon repeated excited by the revelation.

You looked at Drina, who tapped your shoes. You turned to face Kookie and quickly whispered “run” to him. He nodded and the three of you jumped up, you holding Kookie’s jacket and sprinted away from the sitting brothers. You heard several cries and yelps as they scrambled up and ran after you. Kookie roared by your side.

"Answer my question goddamit!" - you heard Namjoon exclaim way too close to you. He must be in good shape to catch up so fast.

You looked back and saw Hobi, Jin, and Tae not far behind Joon, while Yoongi simply walked after you. He was so even-tempered compared to the rest of Bangtan.

Drina shrieked not far from you and you saw Jin catch her hand. He pulled her into a crushing bear hug, not letting her escape.

"One down, two to go!" - You heard Jimin shout

"You wish you can catch me hyung!" - Kookie shot back at him

Someone grabbed your left shoulder and you yelped in surprise. Your right hand was caught too and you fell with two bodies piling up on you. It wasn’t a hard fall, and you felt a little sweat develop on your forehead. The two who caught you turned out to be Jimin and Tae, who were now fussing over that they probably hurt you.

"I’m okay, don’t worry" - you let out a tired chuckle. You looked up at their hovering faces and held up your arms in defeat. - "You caught me! "

"You sure nothing hurts, we practically fell on you!" - Tae worriedly looked over your body. Jimin look concerned too. These two. One minute they look like cats hunting their prey seductively, and then turn out to be fluffy kittens in the next.

"Absolutely, look!" - you got up, dusting off your clothes confidently. Thankfully your kimono was not damaged to all.

You looked around how the chase was going: Jin let Drina go and they were talking, Yoongi had the two cameras on him and walked by you already. Hobi and Namjoon still chased Kookie around in the park next to you. He dodged and leaped around some playground fences and the older boys had no chance to catch him. Jimin ran after them, promising Tae he will capture the agile bunny.

"Can I ask you something?" - Tae looked at you nervously.

"Sure, what is it?" - you signaled to walk to the railing by the river. The light surrounding the constantly moving water looked mesmerizing. It soothed your slowly growing tension.

"A-am I your bias?" - he fiddled with his fingers, looking at them.

"Yes, you are." - you stated simply. You felt your ears grow warm. It seemed hard to say those words, but once they were out, you felt lighter. There is no need to beat around the bush here.

"Why me?" - he looked up, his eyes are bigger than ever before.

"Do you really want to know?" - you put your elbows on the cool metal in front of you. He nodded slowly, his body turned in your direction.

You collected your thoughts for a few minutes. It was not easy to put it into words. Comprehensive sentences seemed impossible under his gaze.

"There is a sense of duality to you that keeps my interest in place. It’s amazing, really." - you looked over to him, but he didn’t seem to understand. - "Ah, how should explain it. For example, your voice: you can growl, that makes my skin crawl, but then you go to this smooth, almost angelic sound in mere seconds. You can look so serious and solemn and then start goofing off with your brothers. It’s like there is a switch in you and it makes me question how that switch came to be. And the songs you do...I can’t be sure how much you’re involved in most of them, but they have a different, deeper feeling to them. I think that they - and I might not be right - they might resemble who you really are and that is what I find appealing. Several layers and things to discover. If that makes any sense."

He looked at you with a blank expression. You knew this look, he put it on a couple of times during interviews and foreign TV shows. It scared you a little, how you couldn’t decipher whether you’ve said something wrong or not.

"So it is not because of how I look?" - he asked in a husky voice. You palms started to sweat on the cold metal. Sweet baby Jesus, I’m not even religious, but please give me strength

You look at his face, still blank, but his eyebrow was slightly raised. Is he teasing again?

You drew a deep breath in:

"Aw come on, you must know you’re gorgeous. All of you are. But it would be such a superficial reason to like someone for their looks only. "

He looked over the river. You couldn’t tell how he was feeling, but he seemed to be deep in thought. Like he is on the other side of the world, even though he was standing next to you.

"You thought I only like you because of how you look?" - you asked him honestly.

"I, uh… No, maybe not. But I couldn’t understand why would someone like you choose me as her bias. You were getting along so well with Joonie and Kook-ah. They would make more sense to me."

Someone like me? Now what the hell does that mean?

"You remember when Namjoon said how people chose their biases?" - he nodded. - "Kookie told me before we ran, that he can see why I choose you. Maybe he can explain it better than me." - you smiled at him kindly. Something was in his head, some sort of misconception, you could tell. Kookie could set him straight, you believed in that boy.

He nodded, letting out a long sigh. Several minutes passed and you got used to him being so close. His scent reminded you of faint sandalwood.

"You do have a good sense of photography." - he said suddenly. You looked at him, not knowing what to say.

"Thank you." - you thanked him quietly.

"Do you post these anywhere?"

"What, like Instagram?" - you looked at him.

"Yeah, social media. "

"Uh, yes, from time to time. I have Instagram and Facebook, but that's about it."

"You know, this is not fair. You know so much more about me than what I know about you. I don’t even know your full name!" - he glanced in your direction, looking at you from the corner of his eye.

"Well then, Hi, I’m L/n Y/n, I’m a 26-year-old Hungarian girl, who was crazy enough to buy a flight ticket before a concert ticket. I like to travel and take long walks by a beach during sunset." - You diligently introduced yourself, and turned to faced him, holding out your hand to shake his. You weren’t sure whether he noticed your joke or not.

"Nice to meet you L/n Y/n" - he took your hand and shook it, smiling sheepishly. He pronounced your name with a little difficulty and it made your cheeks warm up. Tae looked at your hand, holding it higher delicately. He straightened your fingers out by putting his palm against yours, seeing that you had a fairly similar shape and length.

"Do you play the piano?" - he asked, still looking at your fingers.

"No, but many people ask that." - it was true, a lot of people let you know that you should try learning to play. - "I didn’t have enough patience when I was little and I haven’t considered learning an instrument since then. Part of me wishes to put in all the effort to learn the basics about music and start on an instrument, but I might be too lazy to go through with it. So, in the end, I just don’t try."

"I would gladly help you overcome that. These hands belong on a keyboard. "

"Careful, I might take you up on that offer. "

A shutter went off somewhere close to where you were standing. You whipped your head to the direction of the sound. Kookie was standing by a tree holding up his camera to his face. He noticed you and Tae looking at him:

"What, I think it turned out great. The lighting is really pretty behind you. "

You rolled your eyes at him. Sure, the light behind you. You little rascal.

"Everyone, please come here!" - Namjoon called over.

You noticed that the nine of you have spread out quite far. You, Kookie and Tae made your way to Namjoon and Yoongi, who were sitting on a bench by the playground. Drina and Jin were where he caught her in her running and Jimin were jogging back with Hobi from a nearby fountain.

Joonie smiled at you and Drina:

"Girls, I’ve talked to our manager and he said that he got you two VIP tickets for tomorrow’s concert!"

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

A light breeze washed over your face. It felt refreshing, but confusing at the same time. Where was that air coming from? Struggling to open your eyes, you glanced around you. The sun was shining in through the open window, painting the window frame’s silhouette over the bed and the covers which you snuggled under. Birds chirped outside, the sound mixing with a kettle going off somewhere. How idyllic.

You fell back on the pillow, closing your eyes. You had such a good dream, it almost felt real.

Wait... what?

You sat upright so fast you got dizzy. You looked at the chair where clothes were piled up from last night. Your red and white kimono splashed color in the otherwise lightly colored room.

Oh my God! Did that really happen?

“Drina!!!” - you screamed in anguish.

“Took you long enough” - you heard her from the kitchen. - “You can sure sleep despite all the excitement from yesterday.”

She walked in with two mugs, handing one to you before descending down on the kimono. You sat up carefully with the full cup of coffee in your hand. The mug felt cool, while Drina’s let off some stream, slowly dancing in upwards in the contrasting light.

“Did we fall down the rabbit hole last night and ended up in fucking Wonderland?” - you looked at her taking your first sip. The coffee felt like a kickstart against your sluggish brain.

“I don’t think I would look good in a puffy blue dress, but yeah we did meet and danced around with BTS last night. If memory serves right we got along rather well. Namjoon even asked for your number.“

Your hand trembled at the memory. You leaned back on the bed’s headboard and threw back your messy hair with your free hand, grasping it on your crown.

“Fuuuuuck, that's insane.” - you hissed under your breath.

After Namjoon told you that you are going to their concert in a few hours, time seemed to speed up instantly. Their manager collected them not long afterwards and they bid you good night. You could recall crystal clear when the leader approached you and asked for your number:

“Hey Y/n, could you please give me your contact? I’ll have to call you tomorrow so you’ll know when and where to be to get your passes. “

The wind was still knocked out of you at this point. You are going. After the bittersweet acceptance of missing out this man with the cutest dimples on the planet said the words necessary to render you speechless.

You gave him your number and walked to the area his manager asked them to meet. The boys were cheerfully chattering, letting you know that they were really happy to meet you again tomorrow. Tae walked beside you, his hand brushing against yours.

Two big vans were waiting at the meeting point. You and Drina thanked them for their generosity and bowed in Sejin’s direction too. Hobi and Jimin hugged you before getting in one of the cars. Jin asked you to call a cab before they left to make sure you get home safe.

Once the cab stopped near you, they waved goodbye from the open windows and the vans disappeared swiftly. You and Drina got in the cab and asked your driver to bring you back to your apartment. You were home in a few minutes. You paid the driver handsomely and stepped into the cool air. The night was still dark blue, the stillness in the air was peaceful.

Drina looked you in the eye and began to shriek in excitement. You let out an equally excited and embarrassing sound, jumping around the parking cars on the sidewalk. As soon as your bliss died down a little you said:

“Let’s go to sleep, we have a big day tomorrow. “

“It would be a miracle to fall asleep now” - she joked at you.

“Today was full of miracles, didn’t you notice?”

“Ah, now you mention it, maybe today was not your ordinary Monday. “

“Today was the best Monday in history” - you chuckled as you inserted the key to open the door.

You quickly got ready for bed and fell face forward in the clean sheets. Sleep claimed you as soon as you settled in a comfortable position.

“So I was thinking, we should get ready for tonight” - you snapped back to the present by Drina’s words.

“What do you have in mind? “

“I don’t know, dye our hair or something. Nothing too drastic, just something summery, fit for the party of the year.”

“Mmm I could do some rosy pastel highlights” - you looked at your ash blonde hair.

“Good, cause I called this hair salon by the arena, we have an appointment at 1:00 pm sharp. “

“That sounds wonderful, thanks” - you smiled at your friend cheerfully.

“No problem. We should leave in our outfits for the night, I don’t think we will have time to come back here. Jin said soundcheck starts at 3 pm. “

“Did he now?” - you raised your eyebrow. She innocently stirred her tea, a sweet smile playing on her features.

“Yeah, I think I like him” - she confessed.

“We are so screwed.”

“No darling, not yet. But we should be by this time tomorrow” - she purred into her mug.

“Aaah, you wish!” - you threw a pillow in her direction.

“Hey, mug!” - she pointed at her hand chuckling. - “And you do too, don’t deny it.”

“Yeah, right. We are so rotten” - you took a long sip.

In the next few hours, you put together your outfit and bag. Scanning through the internet for some hair inspirations you settled on a picture of a girl with big loose waves framing her face with the correct shade of pastel berry colored highlights. If the hairdresser could give you a do half as good as this you’ll feel like a goddess for the rest of the week.

As your preparations were done, you went to the kitchen to make some food. Drina was already chewing on something, so the fridge was fully stacked, as you asked the owners when reserving the place.

You pulled your phone from your bag, noticing that it was still in flight mode.

Let’s see, did the internet burn down in the last 24 hours?

You did get a few notifications, but none of them seemed important or out of the ordinary. Then with a final ping, you received a text.

“Good morning, I hope you slept well!”

There was no name, you didn’t recognize the number. But it was in Korean, so your options were limited to 7 people. Your brain went into overdrive, trying to figure out which of them would write this.

“Drina, did you get a text in Korean?” - you didn’t look up from your phone. She didn’t give out her number to the best of your knowledge.

“I might have” - she replied, seemingly absentmindedly.

“Ah, Jin, you rebel!” - you laughed.

“Why, did you get a text too?”

“Yes, but it is pretty generic. It could be any of them. “

“Yeah, right” she rolled her eyes. “Are you writing anything back?”

“I should” - you glanced at your phone screen.

You struggled to think of anything that would be an adequate reply. Going with the average answer didn’t lead to anything, and you wanted to put more context in. Something witty, slightly flirty. But then again, what if this is Namjoon, or God forbid, that little fluff of a bunny Kookie.

You quickly replied and threw your phone on the counter, walking away from it. This is ridiculous, like doing anything would make a difference. No reason to stress over it. Nothing is going to happen.

Then your phone pinged. That was fast.

“ ‘ morning! Slept like a baby, thanks. You? :) ”

“ Ah, I couldn’t fall asleep for a while. Too many things on my mind. “

Huh.

Okay…

“ I’m sorry about that. I hope it’s nothing a cup of coffee can’t fix! “

This time you put your phone in your pocket. Needing to do something more active than just sitting around, waiting for your phone to get a notification, you stood up to clean up the kitchen. You heard Drina call a cab to the hair salon.

“Y/n, the car will be here in 15!”

“Okay, thanks!”

Leaving the kitchen, you went to your room. Checking your bag, you looked over the make up you shoved in there with some accessories. This should be enough.

You changed into your outfit for the night: you didn’t want to overdo it, plus you didn’t bring that many variations anyway. You pulled up a skin colored seethrough stocking and put on a simple black short over it. This should go really well with that black shoe you got last month: it mostly looked like ankle boots, but your toes dipped out in the front while drawing attention to your securely hugged ankles too. The shoelaces were long enough for you to pull them over the edge of the boots and circle it over your skin and fitted in a cute bow in the front.

As for a shirt...there was this one thing you put in case Drina wanted to go out. The shape mostly resembled a tank top, but it was a little longer with a corset-like back. It wasn’t a corset by any means, but it sure as hell looked like one with a medium sizes bow resting above your bum. Added ruffles stood out by your sides, accentuating your curves.

Yeah, this should work.

You spun around, checking different angles in the mirror when you heard a knock on the door.

“Drinaaaa, the cab is here!”

A muffled cry came from the other room and you heard something fall on the floor. Snatching up your bag, you walked to the door to let the driver know you’re coming.

“Y/n, I’ve put your camera in my bag! Do you have extra batteries with you?”

“Yeah, they are in my room. But you sure? What if they don’t let the camera in?”

“Yes, I’m sure. I want to take pictures of today. Please get me the batteries, I’m getting my shoes on!”

You shot a smile towards to driver, who stood by the car on the sidewalk. Running back to your room, you quickly ran through your stuff to find the small battery. Once you got it you walked back to the door and Drina ran by you in full throttle. Closing the door, you put on your sunglasses and jumped in the car. On the way, you hummed happily.

The hair salon was on the corner of the street the driver dropped you off. It was a cute little shop and you heard laughter coming out when Drina opened the door.

“Hello dears, do you have an appointment?” - a slightly chubby woman asked closest to the door, hands full of a man’s wet hair sitting in front of her.

“Yes, the two of us came for 1:00, to Tina and Eva?”

“Ohh, someones going out tonight!” - two middle-aged women sat in the back with beautiful caramel colored skin. They flashed the two of you a bright smile and got up.

“Hey sweety, I’m Eva.” - the taller one reached out her hand towards you. You smiled back happily at the hairdresser.

“Hello, I’m Y/n, nice to meet you. “

“And you. So what are we doing today?”

You showed her the picture you selected that morning. She looked at your head and back to the photo a couple of times.

“I mean, only if it’s possible, I don’t want to ask for anything absurd. “

“Oh don’t worry, I think I can make this pretty easily. Now sit, I want to examine your hair. When did this balayage happen?”

You answered her questions to the best of your abilities and she soon went to the back to mix the color. Glancing over, you saw Drina already receiving product on her head.

Your phone went off in your bag, vibrating against your leg. Oh God.

“I guess buying you a cup of coffee will help get rid of this tension. ;)“

What.

WHAT?

Either you have a dirty mind or this person needs to relieve some sort of stress. Or you are reading more into this than there actually is.

Eva walked back to you humming happily. In her hands was a bowl with a bright pink paste in it.

“Don’t worry dear, this won’t turn out to be so harsh.”

“Oh no, that's okay. I trust you.” - you shook your head at her words.

“Okay. You just seemed riled up by something. “

“Yeah, I just got a text.” - and you showed her the latest text you got from the unidentified Korean male. You quickly translated for her, forgetting the language barrier.

“Well, he definitely likes you. How do you feel about that?” - she looked at you with a sly grin.

“Ah here is the twist. I don’t know for sure who this is. It could be someone I would love to get messages like this from, or not. It’s nerve-wracking to be honest. But so so exciting at the same time. “

“Ah, okay. That's a little weird you know. But to each their own I guess.” - she shrugged her shoulders, starting to work on your hair.

You hesitantly looked at your phone. Sure, this is weird, but she doesn’t know the half of it. Sluggishly you try to type something, but then you just erase it. Just be honest.

“I would be happy to help, but not sure I can make it today. Raincheck tomorrow? ^.^ “

Eva quietly worked on your hair and once all the dye was up you looked like a crazy person. Several layers of folia stacked around your face in gravity-defying angles and the rest of your uncovered hair hung between stacks. You quickly snapped a selfie, putting on a dead serious expression on and sent it to Drina.

You heard her low chuckle behind you. She immediately sent one back pulling her face back to her neck, making her angular jaw disappear in folds of skin. It looked so ridiculous you let out a high pitched laugh. Knowing you will have a few minutes to yourself while the dye sets, you started to scroll through your Facebook and Insta feed.

Minutes went by peacefully. Then your phone pinged again.

Breathlessly opening the message, you instantly notice that this is a different number. The text had a photo attached to it.

“Noona, we’re getting ready to see you! What are you doing?”

You couldn’t help but smile warmly. Aah Kookie.

The photo attached was shot at a high angle. Three of them were standing, looking upward at the camera: Kookie in the middle, flashing a bunny smile, Jimin on his left, eyes set in an upward half moon crescent shape. On Kookie’s right stood Tae, biting on his lip in a half smile, his fingers forming a ‘V’ next to his eye. They already had their make-up done, but still in their comfy, bit loose clothing. You couldn’t help but notice how Tae’s collarbone stuck out.

Answering Kookie was so much easier than your mystery man. You asked Drina to come over to take a selfie with her in the mirror. She stood by your chair, bending sideways a little, hiding her face with the book she was reading. Following her example, you hid your face behind your phone. The photo turned out to be a little generic. Hmmm

“Let’s do a Boomerang, this is not good enough” - you commanded.

Sure enough, it was more fun looking: Drina moved her torso up and down, while you pulled the phone down to reveal your smiling eyes. The gif turned out to be more lively than the photo was. You attached it to the reply and quickly typed:

“We are getting ready too! We’ll wash the dye off in a few minutes! :) “

Eva walked back to you when you hit send. She guided you to the back, where she washed off the dye, washed your hair and added a nice smelling conditioner on.

“Sweety, I have to wash off another customer too, can you wait a while for me, please? The conditioner should stay on, it will nurture your ends. “

“Oh, sure. No problem. Can I put on some make-up by the mirror? “

“Of course hun. Thank you for understanding. “

Gathering your bag from where you left it, you sat down by the mirror and thought about what should you make. After a few minutes reminiscing about it, you set down the necessary supplies. You were going for a reddish smokey eye with berry tinted lips. You figured your greyishly blue eyes would pop from the red backdrop, but not taking it too far out so you could apply some color to your lips too. Heavy makeup was something you wanted to avoid doing by yourself, only professionals with the right amount of experience and education could pull that off safely.

20 minutes later you were done with your eyes and you were checking whether they turned out to be as symmetrical as possible. Eva popped up behind you and took you can to wash off the conditioner.

“So we are going for big waves now, huh? “

She quickly combed and blew dried your hair out. Once your hair was dry, you caught a glimpse of your berry highlights. Eva got out a huge curling iron and started sectioning your hair. Within a few minutes, your hair was pinned up to your scalp, giving your half painted face a very 20’s pinup vibe. The berry lines in your hair gave it a wild look. You snapped a new picture and sent it to Drina. She sent back her own look: Tina was giving her a beachy wave look, and there were some deep blue strips of hair here and there. She looked amazing.

“Can I post these pictures Y/n?”

You sent back Drina a gif nodding quickly. Soon your phone buzzed when the notification went off that she has tagged you in the photos on Instagram. By this time Eva was letting down the pinned locks, giving them a generous amount of fixing spray. Thankfully your hair didn't stick together into a hardly moving cloud around your face, it stayed rather silky and wavy.

Eva monitored your expression when she was done. She could tell you loved her finished work and hugged you after you thanked and paid for her time. You quickly put on your lipstick and waited for it to set so it wouldn’t move for the rest of the day.

“Hun, can I take a few pictures of you and your hair? It would be a wonderful reference for the summer!” - Eva looked at you with her phone in her hand.

“Sure, do your thing“ - you let her guide you through what she wanted and then gave her your phone, so you could have a few shots too.

Drina was still in her chair getting done and your phone pinged again.

“Show me the result, I’m really curious!!!”

It was Kookie. You quickly sent her one of the pictures Eva made:

“Here ya go, I just finished. I’m waiting for Drina, then we are ready to go!”

The phone buzzed again a few minutes later, this time it wasn’t Kookie:

“I guess I’ll have to handle a difficult night again then...I love the look though!”

Well….fuck me.

Your phone started to ring and your face flushed warmly. Jesus, what is going on!?

“Hey Y/n, it’s Namjoon!” - finally, someone knows how to introduce themselves.

“Hey, what's up?”

Namjoon told you to go to the arena as soon as you get done because soundcheck will start at 3:00 pm. You glanced at the clock on the wall: it was already 2:41 pm. It was a miracle the venue was close to the salon, otherwise, you would be screwed. When he heard your anxiety, he thoroughly apologized for letting you know so late. You let him know that it is no problem, you’ll be there in time. Drina paid for her hair too and you bolted for the door. The arena was within walking distance and a light breeze calmed your nerves as you started to work off your excitement by walking.

Drina got your camera and snapped a few pictures, testing out the settings. By 2:56 pm you were walking to the arena’s designated gate Namjoon said to be. You let go of your stress and saw a small petite woman stand by the door.

“About fucking time...these two look like the trashiest whore I’ve ever seen. This place is the worst. You are late.” - you heard her mutter in Korean and then switch to English. Her words hit you like a brick.

“We are sorry if you had to wait for a long time. We were told to come here by 3:00 pm.” - Drina tried to set the record straight in English. - “I’m H/n Adrienne or just Drina, and this is L/n Y/n. Nice to meet you. “

“Yes, thank you for taking care of us.” - you added, trying to force your features into a smile.

“As if I care." she hissed in Korean again. "Come with me.” - and with that, she curtly turned around and stalked off inside the building.

She muttered and cursed under her breath in Korean the entire time. She seemed to think you only understand and speak English. When we got in the huge room, you noticed that no one was inside yet. A few people worked around the stage, organizing props and testing out various sounds.

“Here are your passes” - the petite woman held out two laminated cards hanging from neck chains. - “These were supposed to be for a really important person and his companion. They have high access to this place and its areas, but the clearance is not meant for you. Don’t use them. I’ll collect them when the soundcheck is done. The audiance will be able to move in that section” - she motioned to the front of the stage furthest from you. - “Don’t draw attention to yourselves and act modestly. Not like that's possible.” - her face twisted into a foul grimace as she muttered the last sentence in Korean. And with that she walked away, a little stomp coming after each step away from you.

Drina looked after her utterly shocked.

“What is her problem? We weren’t even late. “

“I don’t know, maybe she’s having a bad day.” - you tried to control your emotions.

“She didn’t even introduce herself. And that bullshit about the passes? What is she thinking, what will we do with them? “

“I don’t know Drina. Maybe she’s covering her tracks, maybe we’re her responsibility. But she definitely ruined my mood. I didn’t think us being here would be a problem.”

She looked at you, her eyes angry and sad at the same time.

“Look, it doesn’t matter. We’re here. They invited us. Let’s stick to her rules and have a good time, okay?”

You nodded. She’s right.

The two of you walked to the bottom of the stairs, so the rest of the audience wouldn’t notice you. The biggest stage to your left, big black curtains covering its sides and the catwalk laid out in front of you, snaking to your left. It really was impressive and the check didn’t even start. You heard Drina behind you experiment with your camera.

“Let’s check a more complex sound.” - the voice came from the huge speakers. It sounded like Yoongi, but you could be wrong. It would be cool if it was him.

MIC Drop’s instrumental version resonated through the air. You felt the vibration reach your body and you happily accepted it. This was something you knew. The absolute bliss of live music. That raw, massive energy that hit your nerves just right. You let out a long sigh at the feeling. It felt so liberating.

A shriek hit your ears, and many more followed. The audience was probably let in. You couldn’t see them, but their happy sounds felt heartwarming. You carefully walked around and sat on the railway to see if you could see anyone from there by the seats. You didn’t see anyone, only heard them. So you should be fine where you were, the audiance won’t be able to see two strangers there.

The music changed and you whipped your head to the stage in surprise. It was Sucker from the Jonas Brothers. Who chose this? You wished it was intentionally selected because it was a hell of a flirty song. The light percussion made your legs move a little and by the time Joe Jonas started on the bridge, you were dancing playfully around Drina.

~You're the medicine and the pain, the tattoo inside my brain
And, baby, you know it's obvious
I'm a sucker for you~

By the song ended you’ve forgotten about your earlier worries and bad feelings. Screw it. This is going to be amazing.

-----------------------------------------

Backstage

Yoongi sat behind the big black curtains that covered the sides of the stage. Here, many monitors were tightly positioned next to and on top of each other illuminating his light features. He tapped on his laptop, checking the sound settings for tonight. Beside him were staff running around, putting on the final touches for the soundcheck performance and a couple of guys sitting by him, working quietly. He heard there was some sort of commotion a few minutes ago, something about a staff member being inappropriately rude. He didn’t really care what was going on, but Namjoon earlier showed his concern.

Hobi asked for a run through MIC Drop, so he put it on and watched as his brother practiced the parts he was worried about. Jimin and Tae tagged along with Hobi, probably to let off some steam before they start.

“Hyung, can we ask for a song before we start?” - Jimin showed Yoongi his phone.

“Why would I play this? This is not a disco…” - Yoongi looked at the youngster, obviously bored.

“Pphleeaase, hyung, it would mean so much. You know we love yoouuu” - Tae begged with puppy eyes, Jimin next to him pouting.

“The two of you are buying me lamb skewers each when we get back home if I do this”

“OF course we are! Right Jiminie?” - Tae patted Jimin on the back, who looked at him for a second before turning to Yoongi - “Sure we are! First thing when we land!”
Yoongi shot the two a long look. Why this song? Is there a solid reason why would they...oh.

“So this is what Namjoon was translating for you last night?” - he looked at Tae with a sly smile.

“I’m not sure what you mean” - Tae shot back with a boxy smile.

Yoongi took the phone and searched for a jack cable.

The song started and the two younger boys flew to the side of the curtain. Yoongi walked over to them and sure enough, the two girls were there from yesterday, lightly dancing to the beat. He looked at his brothers: Jimin was mirroring the girls, clearly getting more and more happy with what he was seeing and Tae.. well Tae just outright stared. He shook his head after a few seconds and Yoongi thought that he looked just like a puppy who shook the water off its face. He sighed and went back to his seat. They are about to start.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

The arena was swallowed by darkness. All source of light left the huge space, and the small crowd by the end of the catwalk let out squeals of delight and anticipation. You could feel the tension building up in you. Drina was standing by you, clutching the handrail, her breathing burdened by excitement.

The silence was deafening when the beat dropped for IDOL and reflectors came to life, illuminating 7 figures on the main stage. They lunged into motion and the adrenalin exploded in your veins. The audience went ballistic and you unconsciously started to move to the music. The reflector’s produced enough diffused light so you and the rest of the people in the arena were bearly visible.

Once you come off the first high your gaze swept through the guys. They were still in their comfy clothes, mostly jeans and loose shirts. It became rather evident that this was their element. They moved so comfortable and light on stage, and there were so much precision and professionalism in their presence. It was no wonder all their concerts sell out in literal minutes.

IDOL finished sooner than you could’ve realized. The members were walking alongside the catwalk, acting like there is a crowd below their feet. They even talked to the non-existed sea of people. Hobi was closest to you and he started enthusiastically waving in your direction, jumping into an excited dance. Jimin ran to him, noticing what he was doing. The rest of the rap line was interacting with the small crown in the front.

“Hello everyone!” Namjoon held the mic to his lips. “It is so so nice to see you all here! What do you want to hear next?”

The air erupts in several incomprehensible requests and Joon chuckles in the mic. Yoongi smiles at the crowd, making them go even louder than before.

“I think these are veteran ARMY, don’t you think hyung?” Tae suddenly appears by Yoongi. The group of fans doesn’t let that comment fly and roar in return.

“We should go a little old school for them, what do you think?” Yoongi played along with his younger brother. You let out a giggle at their interaction. They obviously knew what they were doing.

Tae growled into his mic and the hairs on your nape stood up in response.

For an invisible cue, they moved onto the next song: Boy in Luv. Kookie ran to the front to do his part, flashing you a smile on the way. After the first chorus, their formation broke up: rap line staying in the front, vocalists walking around the catwalk’s side. They were just like any ARMY would expect: Jimin running his hand over his perfectly styled hair, Tae occasionally licking his lips, Jin blowing kisses in several directions. Both of you girls froze when the actions were directed at you.

Then Tae planted his feet to the spot where Hobi was dancing not long ago and delivered his part in the chorus and you absolutely lost your shit. Jin casually hung his arm around the youngster’s shoulder, his gaze not leaving Drina’s while his singing his lines for the final bridge.

You were thankful for the dim lighting because it was 100% that your face was warm enough to cook breakfast on it. You wanted to check on Drina, really, but you couldn’t tear your eyes off the pair. They were so different than what you came to know last night. You felt Drina grip your shirt.

“This is insane. We are not going to just stand here, right? I feel like a deer on a highway, literally waiting to be hit by a truck. Wait, scratch that, we were just ran over by a truck. Don’t even try to deny it. “ she whispered in your ear without taking her eyes off the pair smirking in your direction.

The song died down and you finally looked at her. I Need U began and you let out the breath you were holding back without noticing. Scrunching your face in a few grimaces you made Drina laugh and you began to dance. Playfully and slowly at first, but seeing Drina mirror you, maybe some sexual tension was evident on the both of you. Hell, they started it.

Gaining back your senses you look back at the stage, still maintaining the dancing. The boys are in the front again, doing their choreography for the song. Being free from the provocative smirks, you let loose. You turn to Drina and she goofs off in your face, lifting the rigidity from a few moments ago. Laughing along with her you feel like a teenager again.

Shifting into a different gear, Save Me starts to play. Jimin is walking back towards the main stage with the rest of the guys behind him. You sing along the lines, jumping on the soles of your feet. By the time you look back at the 7 men on the stage, they are all goofing off while singing. I’m Fine shortly follows, and you can’t stop making fun of Drina as she keeps coming up with the most retro moves she can think of.

Euphoria’s opening notes slip out of the huge speakers and you see Kookie walking towards the group of fans in the front. He lightly sings, not showing even a hint of concentration. His walk carries an air of grace that you didn’t notice before. Slowly swinging to his voice, the two of you join him singing, feeling as light as a feather.

After he is done, the lights shut off again. A faint whistling sound creeps through the air and you know what's next. The main stage is hit with several rays of light where all of them are standing sideways, facing in the same direction and Tae is building up DNA’s first lines. Despite how his low voice makes you feel, you continue to dance with your friend, letting your moves become more alluring. When the chorus dropped you are doing small but fun body rolls with Drina. Looking up for the last bridge, you can see the boys in the front, doing their iconic choreo of lining up in front of each other, Jimin coming up to the front. One of them stole a glance back to you and you could’ve sworn you saw him bite down on his lip.

Difficult night, huh?

21st Century Girl kicks in right after DNA is over. Happily crying out, you instantly bust out a move, showing your enthusiasm for the fun song. The hook always blew you away and it wasn’t any different live:

Live your life
Live your life come on baby

Next thing you know you back is next to Drina’s, going for it full-heartedly. A low laugh escapes your lips as you move on, feeling a little sweat build up on your back. You catch Tae looking in your direction and draw up your eyebrow at him. His eye pierces yours, not backing down at the challenge. You feel Drina motioning you to turn and you gladly accept, swallowing down the urge to suck on your lower lip. The heavy bass is intoxicating, without the screaming crowd it hits more than ever.

That is until you feel footsteps resonating on the stairs and you see the rude petite woman coming in your direction. Then she visibly explodes in your face, cussing in Korean.

-------------------------------------------

On stage

The few minutes before a performance is always heavy with emotions. The pressure of keeping focus and prayer not to mess up or hurt one another is extreme. But the second the music starts, the boys seemingly forget all of that and go through the songs with ease and precision. It was the same today, but somehow it did feel different. After yesterday’s encounter, they were chattering more happily while getting ready, doing the necessary stretches and warm-ups.

When the lights hit them on stage for the first time, the pent up energy exploded and the songs flew by swiftly. They communicated with their fans and goofed off with you and your friend.

Namjoon had to admit, this was one of the best soundchecks in a long while. His members looked happy and most importantly: motivated and full of life. He saw a few of them play with the two girls they’ve met last night by the side seats. They were dancing along with them and after a few songs, they began to sing as well.

His only concern is the commotion earlier. He heard staff tell Sejin that someone was rude to the girls and wanted to know what exactly happened. Based on the girl's behavior, it wasn’t a big deal, but then why would the staff mention it to Sejin? Joon wanted to ask about it, but he didn’t want to draw his brother’s attention to it. They were finally in a good place.

He decided to find Sejin later, after the soundcheck and figure out how bad was the situation. 21st Century Girl was on and they were doing the line dance their fans loved so much. Namjoon checked the crowd by his feet, meeting their sunny gazes. Looking up to the side handrails he was expecting to see you mimic their movements, but that was not the case.

A small person was standing on the stairs, a few steps higher than the girls, who have stopped dancing completely. The person was moving their hands in the air frustrated, they seemed to be shouting. Joon’s body almost stopped altogether. If not for the hands on his hips coming from behind him, keeping him in rhythm, he would have forgotten what he was doing. He quickly snapped out of his shock and finished the song.

“Can we please have a break?” he whispered in his comm, and Sejin quickly let him know to go backstage.

The song ended and the arena fell dark. He and his brothers were walking back, he tried not to look at the scene by his left side. Nonetheless, he wasn’t the only one who noticed.

“What is going on over there?” Hobi was looking at the girls.

“Is that Inoue? Why is she acting like that?” concern coated Jimin’s voice.

Namjoon shook his head at their questions and they finally reached the area in the back where the staff was sitting. Something was obviously wrong. Nobody looked them in the eye. The people sitting behind the monitors were whispering to each other, not noticing the members standing there. Sejin cleared his throat loudly.

“What did just happen?” Joon looked at the manager.

“RM, you need to focus on the soundcheck, we are almost done.” Sejin silently pleaded with his eyes to let it go.

“We will finish as soon as you tell us with is going on.” the leader kept his cool voice, looking at the people who were previously whispering.

“Why was Inoue acting like that with our guests?” Jimin stepped next to Joon, his kind eyes turning cold.

“We don’t know exactly what happened, we were just…” started one of the sitting staff weakly.

“I thought all comms are open at all times during rehearsal, in case something happens” Joon cut in “Are you telling me that you didn’t hear what she was saying?”

“No, I’m sorry Namjoon” Sejin let out a sigh. “We heard what she said. She told them to stop doing what they were doing. She was...harsh. It was all in Korean. We were planning what to do with the situation when you asked for a break.”

“Our staff was harsh with the people we invited to our rehearsal?” Jin summarized incredulously.

“You do understand that they speak Korean perfectly?” Tae quietly asked the men standing in front of him. “Whatever she said to them, they understood.” The staff sitting by the monitors gaped at each other.

“But why?”

A long silence followed. The question was coming out as a cold hiss, and it was coming from Hobi. People were so used to his sunny personality, seeing him like this was terrifying.

“Was this the same commotion before we started?” Yoongi looked at Namjoon.

“I think so, yes” he looked at him.

“So today was probably not the first time this happened” Yoongi stated, turning his gaze to Sejin. They didn’t dare to answer him.

“Okay, we need to deal with this. Now.” Jimin looked at his brothers. “We need to fix this somehow. They are here because we invited them. They were treated like that because we asked them to be here.

The boys looked at each other. Kookie quickly whipped out his phone, listing songs that he knew you both liked based on the playlists from last night.

-------------------------------------

You felt your mouth go dry. Anger shook your limbs and your hands grew cold. Sitting on the cold plastic seat, your mind was running wild. Drina was sitting by your side, interlacing her hands in front of her face.

The woman blew up in your faces. You don’t know why. You tried to reason with her, apologizing for something you don’t understand. There was a moment when you thought she was about to hit you. Then the arena went dark and that snapped the hysteric woman out of her zone. She took your passes and stalked off. Nothing she said was in English. It didn’t make sense why would she do all this.

Of course, just because she thought you don't understand doesn’t mean you didn’t. The only conclusion was to sit for the rest of the soundcheck and leave. You were clearly not welcomed and was not appropriate to be around with.

“What do you think?” Drina asked numbly.

“I.. I don’t know. Maybe we crossed some sort of line we don’t understand. Not that is matters anymore.”

“That is not what I meant. We could do something about her.”

“Ah, Drina...that is not why we are here. Just because some hysterical freak goes on a rant we’re not going to do a hostile takeover.”

“It has been done before for less.”

“Maybe, but not by us.” you looked at her seriously. “I don’t want to interfere here. Not for their sake.”

“She almost hit you Y/n” Drina had daggers in her eyes. “I know full well how that made you feel. I’m almost proud of you that you didn’t have an attack.”

“I’m over that Drina” you looked in front of you. You didn’t need to think about your abusive childhood, not now, not ever. “This...she is not worth the trouble. I like my accounts the way they are. Plus, she’ll get what she deserves anyway, it doesn’t have to be by our means.”

“For someone so ridigly atheistic, you put too much faith is karma.”

“It’s not just karma. Do you think we are the first who got treated like this by her? You’re smarter than that. We are not the first and definitely not the last. I don’t need to lift a finger, her own choices will determine her sour little life”

Drina let out a long sigh.

“See, this is why you're better at exchanging than me. I have no idea how can you analyze that little shit after what she said.”

“Ah, you’ve seen me vindictive before. Don’t make me something I’m not.”

“You know, I do love seeing you go all cold-hearted and merciless” your friend let out an honest laugh, the first one since the incident.

The lights came back on. Tae was walking on the catwalk with an old school mic in his hand and on cue he handed it to Jungkook. Airplane pt.2. You put your face on the cold handrail, watching them sing. As the song unfolded you kept in your seat, only your head moving to the beat.

The boys looked in your direction more times than before. They didn’t goof off, not once, but followed the choreography to the T. When each of them did their own lines they either flirted or smiled at the two of you, and as they saw you not getting up, their looks turned determined.

Maybe they knew. You suddenly felt sorry for them. If they knew what happened they probably feel bad about it and that frustrated you. It wasn’t their fault, they should never feel bad because of you. Leaning to Drina, you told her your worry. She only nodded. Not doing anything probably agitated her to the end of the world.

The song ended and darkness enveloped the stage. A single light graced the middle, shining down on Tae, holding onto a hanger. Oh dear God.

Low bass lines swept out of the speakers. The familiar sounds of Singularity washed over you and suddenly sitting so low didn’t feel enough. Without sparing it a second thought you lunged on the handrail, sitting on it with a straight back. If that woman will come back, so be it, you’ll make her choke on her hateful spite. You will enjoy this song to the fullest. He noticed your change of sitting arrangements and rewarded you with a smile.

The low, filtered bass resonated within you as he continued with his movements. Out of the blue, you realized how the black robe he was wearing was similar to your red kimono. Walking around the stage, he rarely looked away from you. Without even noticing your actions, you tilted your head, not breaking eye contact. How could his voice be so soothing? Bare minutes ago you were shivering with anger, and now you were in a calm, peaceful state, like hypnosis.

The song was coming to an end and you ached for more. Reading your mind, he bit his lip, slowly lowering his hand on the mic stand. The light went out, leaving you feeling empty.

You turned back to see Drina standing next to you. She smiled up to you, shaking her head.

“We are both doomed to like someone who will never be available, won’t we?” she stared ahead.

“You’re letting that woman get to you Drina. Just because she feels that we are lesser people doesn’t mean the rest of her country does too.”

She just shrugged at your words. Your friend really was hurt by the words thrown at her. You pulled her into a hug as the next song was playing.

Astonished, you almost yelped. It was Lie. Jimin expertly engaged in his dance for his solo song. But this song wasn’t supposed to be on today. They are not playing this tonight. Why is it... no way.

This song is on your list. The list they were trying to guess yesterday. But only Kookie knew you loved this song. And now, despite all reason, Jimin is performing it. They know. They are apologizing.

His movements are so graceful, so fluid, you forget to get mad. These are the sweetest, most decent men on the planet. They didn’t do anything bad, but here they are, making up for it, for someone else’s mistake.

You smile at him widely and he smiles back. He does a little bow and his brothers join him by his side. Blood Sweat and Tears start playing and you sing along them. The charisma they ooze is enough to slap Drina out of her thoughts and she straightens her back when Jin pierces her gaze.

They did the first chorus on the main stage and then moved on the front to meet their fans again. Their cheering reached your senses, their love for them making you melt a little. Once the song finished, they were panting heavily, sweat dripping from their hair.

“We only have a couple of songs left, do you have a request?” Namjoon asked his audience.

Another roar of voices ruptured the arena, but some were more understandable.

“Dimple? You want that song?” Joon sounded surprised, but the cheering only went on.

“I think we should do it!” Kookie commented, his words earning screams.

They started singing, walking around the stage. Jimin reached the spot in front of you and wiggled his eyebrows. You chuckled at him. You put your hand against your heart, bowing your head a little, thanking him for singing. Looking up, you see him stare a little and then mirror your actions.

Before he could regain his composure, Tae crushes into his side, laughing at him. They start to play around. Drina snorts out loud, holding back her own giggle.

With the last song done, the boys thanked their audience and asked them to be just as amazing tonight as they were now. They walked backstage and the lights went up.

You sat back to the plastic seat. That woman should be coming back. The two of you braced yourself.

----------------------------------------------

Backstage

The members sat down quickly, grabbing a bottle of water each. They did well. Silently sipping the liquid, they wait for the situation to unfold in front of them. Bang PD-nim was talking with Sejin. They weren’t sure about the topic, but the fact that he was there and not just stopping by meant something is about to happen. He murmured something to Sejin and then walked off, giving the boys a quick hi. Sejin looked after him, giving out a long sigh.

“Please ask Inoue to bring the guests backstage” he instructed the men sitting by the monitors.

A few minutes passed and the boys heard a whiney sound coming from the comms. Apparently, she didn’t like her instructions. Since it wasn’t a direct order from Sejin, she expressed her discontent. The members watched Sejin’s reaction and the other staff’s as well. By their expressions, this wasn’t anything new. Sejin drew in a sharp breath, growing impatient.

Several minutes later the three women appeared in the back, walking quietly. The girls didn’t have their passes on, which was weird for anyone who was in the business long enough. Not having a pass means not being able to walk in an arena, stuck to here you’re escorted by staff.

“Miss Y/n, Miss Adrienne, thank you for taking the time to come back here. I wanted to say a few things.” Sejin began in English. The girls only look at him, giving him a short bow.

“As you might know, what yesterday happened is quite...extraordinary. Two foreign women meeting BTS and being the way you handled it probably never occurred before. I hope you understand what I mean” Sejin continued.

“Not exactly. What do you mean?” Drina shot her head up. There was a slight frustration in her voice. Inoue behind them visibly made a face.

“You see, the past few weeks, months, was really challenging. For all of us, be especially the members of Bangtan. Please understand, we are not people who talk about this easily.” Sejin carefully chose his words. The boys were looking at him and he knew it.

“After a certain time, it is difficult to keep up with it all. Staying happy and motivated is a challenge in this industry. When we arrived in London, the boys were...not themselves. They asked for a walk, without supervision or guards. Since it was so late, I let them go. It never occurred to me that they would meet anyone.”

The boys carefully monitored your features. You looked up and your gaze met theirs, a question in your eyes. Drina was watching Sejin attentively.

“When Namjoon called me about getting you passes I was...scared. I was worried about them, about what you could do, about so many bad scenarios. But you. You proved me wrong.”

The instant he said that the air shifted. The girl's expression changed for the smallest second, only to be cloaked again by a stoic look. Inoue, on the other hand, seemed lost.

“Yesterday night, I met 7 lively men, who were ready for their schedule. Their happiness boosted the morale of the staff. And today, this soundcheck was one of the best I’ve ever seen them do.” With that Sejin turned to face the boys. “You did well, thank you.” and bowed towards the sitting members.

“The two strangers they met have given them back their drive. Their passion. And for that, I feel that you are responsible. I understand what you did and I would like to sincerely thank you for your kindness.” Sejin bowed low before the girls.

“Sejin-nim” Drina looked at him, still bowing. “thank you for your words, it means a lot”

“We are glad we were able to help” You added honestly.

Sejin straightened his back and got two envelopes in his hands.

“In the last few hours, we have been preparing a thank you gift for you. It is not totally unprecedented, but BigHit didn’t make one of these before.” Sejin handed the envelopes to the girls. “They contain a universal pass to BTS events. We would be happy to see you after tonight, supporting our group“

If they were shocked, the members couldn’t tell. The girls opened the envelope and held up the passes. Reading the back, you raised your eyebrow slightly.

“Sejin-nim, these passes...I don’t see a date on it.” You hold the manager’s gaze securely.

“Because there isn’t one. They don’t expire.” You sucked in your breath in surprise. “Namjoon told me how you arrived in London. I understand that nowadays getting a ticket is ...challenging” He pushed the last word with a faint smile.

“Well..it would make a fun RUN episode, that is for sure.” Drina finally looked at the sitting men in front of her. “I bet you couldn’t get a ticket for your own show either!” She chuckled, remembering the meme they loved so much after failing to buy a ticket.

Once the girls understood what they held in their hands, they thanked the people present, voicing their gratitude. Namjoon reassuringly nodded towards you, sensing your vague shyness towards the gift.

“Now, for the next matter” Sejin began in Korean. “Inoue, could you please tell me what happened today?”

The small woman behind you stepped in front of you. She sweetly smiled at the manager.

“I believe we had a wonderful soundcheck, everything went smoothly.”

“I was not asking you about the soundcheck. I would like you to explain your tasks to me.”

“Oh, only the usual.” Inoue shrugged. “Aligning the backstage staff, organizing that all props are in place, handling some incoming ad hoc tasks.”

“Props do not belong to you. I believe that’s his job” Sejin pointed to a man walking on the stage, fixing the taped spots on the floor where the boys needed to perform. “What ad hoc tasks did you do today?”

“I was requested to escort these inside and make sure they don’t cause any commotion” Inoue explained plainly, her voice started to fill with boredom.

“I see. Did they cause a commotion?” Sejin looked at the petite woman curiously.

“Nothing I couldn’t handle. I told them to stay hidden and act respectfully. When that didn’t happen properly, I explained the situation and for the rest of the check, they manage not to disturb further.”

“Inoue, would you please tell me who did you handle?” Sejin’s voice, however controlled, let out a small amount of frustration. The girl didn’t notice, her gaze lingered in front of her, oblivious to the rising tension in the air.

“Two tramps who don’t understand the basic concept of decency. But don’t worry about them, I did what was expected of me.”

The air was sucked out of the small corridor they were standing in.

The boys shuddered by her words and the venom they were laced with. The staff who were paying attention to the scene unbuckled their stares, one woman shaking her head slowly. The girls, on the other hand, didn’t seem fazed at all. Their faces didn’t show any sign of emotion, making their expression almost statue like. Unblinkingly, they waited for Sejin’s reaction.

Before Sejin could gather his thoughts, Yoongi got up to his feet. He looked up to his manager.

“Can I please take over?” His voice was balanced, the boys behind him nodded in their support for him. Sejin carefully monitored their expression and tipped his head in agreement.

“Inoue, was this the first time you had to do what was expected of you?” Yoongi stood in front of the girl, his light features emotionless.

“Ah Oppa, don’t bother yourself with this. I’m only here to do…” Inoue’s voice chirped happily, misunderstanding his actions.

“Answer me.”

“Well, this wasn’t the first time, no. Usually, when we travel to America and this continent there are people who aren’t civilized enough to be in your presence, but it is no burden, really. I…” Inoue blabbered on and then she noticed Yoongi’s face twist in anger. Taking a few steps back she bumped into your body, hissing in surprise.

“You see, there seems to be a misunderstanding here Inoue. The two people behind you are not uncivilized or the other things you threw around carelessly. Just to set your small mind straight: they are our guests. WE invited them here. Were you not paying attention to what Sejin said bare minutes ago?” The lightly featured man spoke so fast, you had to focus on his pronunciation closely to understand it all.

“I don’t need to follow English conver…” Inoue began explaining herself, but Yoongi cut her off once again.

“Your arrogance is outstanding. It seems to me that you think you are above those two women behind you. Let me demonstrate it for your pesky brain. You are our staff, that makes you here” He motioned his hands on the level of his chest. “Upper management, your supervisors, who cleared them to come today, are here.” He motioned by his shoulder. “Bang PD-nim himself approved them to be here. Do you know where he stands compared to you?” Yoongi shot his hand to his eye level. “So someone from above here” his hand moved by his eye. “expressed his desire to entertain guests today, and that task slowly made it’s way to your level.” he swooped his hand back down to his chest.

Inoue stared at him, frozen. She tried to start a sentence in her defense, but in the end, she remained quiet.

“Where do you think guests and fans stand compared to you?” Yoongi motioned for her to use her hands. Inoue hesitantly moved her hand, keeping the limb by her torso.

“I see, so you are better than our fans. You think that you are worth more than the people who pay for your paycheck, the food on your table and the clothes on your back. Well, let me tell you…” he put his hand the highest he could, as far as his arms extended in the air. “They are here” he growled at her.

“You misunderstand Oppa, your Korean fans are appreciated, every day. They are the reason we get up in the morning and work with effo..” Inoue collected her words, only to be shut down by the glares coming from behind Yoongi. The boys got up and stood close behind their eldest rapper. Under their stares, Inoue tried to explain herself. “They didn’t even understand what was going on. I never said anything inappropriate in Engli..”

Namjoon put up his hand towards her, silencing her. Facing the girls, he had difficulty looking them in the eye.

“One, two, three ...We sincerely apologize” The members said in unison, bowing their heads.

You took a step towards them, not looking at the girl beside you. This is so wrong.

“Please don’t apologize” you whispered. Inoue snapped her head back hearing you speak Korean.

“Yes, we understood your speech” Drina looked at her with an icy stare.

“Y/n, Drina, we are truly so…” Jimin started to apologize again, but you shook your head at his words, making him tremble a little. He looked so sad, you couldn’t take it.

“Boys, this has nothing to do with you. Don’t act like this. This is not your fault. Stop this nonsense.” You looked them in the eye while saying this. Behind them, Sejin had someone next to him, arms crossed on his chest.

Hobi held up his hand.

“You were treated like this because you met us. This is not acceptable. You were fans yesterday, but today you are our friends. And you were hurt because of that.”

A small sound came from Inoue’s direction. Her head hung down, hair swinging low.

“These don’t deserve to be your friends. They shouldn’t even be here.”

“That’s enough” the man standing next to Sejin spoke up. Drina shot her brows up in surprise.

Bang PD stood next to the manager. In his hands were some papers which he gripped, his hands white. Slowly walking up to the girl, he brushed by the boys, who respectfully greeted him, giving him space by standing next to you.

“I understand what you’ve been doing Inoue, and I am thoroughly disappointed. You don’t understand the situation you have put us in. What position the company is under, because of your actions.”

Everyone was surprised by his words. The boys looked around in confusion, not understanding what he was saying. Namjoon kept switching his gaze between him and you, waiting for a hint of information. But the girls stoically watched the scene unfold. Drina had her hand on your shoulder, occasionally tapping on it.

“Ladies, I hope the passes serve you as a small reminder of our gratitude towards you and I’m sorry for the mistreatment by our staff. I understand the consequences of our actions and only ask you to forgive us.”

The CEO’s words escalated the confusion further. Why would he say such things? Why did he look like he was bracing himself, like a child ready to be scolded by his mother?

“Well, someone did their research.” Drina looked at the papers in his hand.

“That is not why we are here” You eyed the CEO carefully. “We only wanted to have a good time.”

“So you are not goi..”

“No, we won’t. The possibility wasn’t even existent”

The CEO eased up immediately. He curtly nodded and looked back at the girl standing close to him. He creased his forehead by her sight.

“Just so you know, these women can destroy your life without breaking a sweat. Thank your mother to give birth to you under lucky stars.” He whispered in her face. “You are fired. Here is your signed documentation. You’ll be flown back to Seoul right away. Clean your desk and keep in mind the statue of secrecy you’ve signed. If you do or say anything harmful, we will see you in court.”

“If I may..” Drina inserted. “If she does anything out of bounds or manners, let me know. It would serve me great pleasure to handle the matter myself.”

You let out an honest chuckle at her words. Of course you would Drina.

The petite woman looked at your friend like she was seeing her for the first time. Her tall and lean figure filled her vision, the haunting smile on her lips made her audibly gulp. She quickly averted her gaze, meeting yours accidentally.

“Oh don’t look at her. If you find me scary, you should keep your distance from her. She is my Unnie in every way after all.”

You rolled your eyes at Drina. Really, this was turning out to be a cheap horror flick with a badly written script. Shaking your head in disapproval, you tickled her on her sides, earning a squeal in return.

Bang PD motioned for security to take her off grounds and quickly excused himself, still holding onto the papers in his hand. You wondered whether he will contact you for a job as he was walking away.

The nasty tension in the air lifted as you messed with Drina. The boys stood by next to you not knowing what to say. Noticing their confusion, Drina attacked Jimin, running her hands up his sides tickling him. He howled in surprise and tried to defend himself, but Kookie joined her in torturing his brother. Before you could take in the view fully, you were pulled into a tight hug.

“Are you okay?” the low voice hummed against your neck.

Your body tensed up by his closeness. He was holding you tightly against his firm body, drawing small circles on your back with his hand. Another body slammed against the two of you and another followed. You looked up to see Hobi and Jimin pressing their faces to your sides. Tae deeply chuckled at his brothers, his voice resonating in your chest. You hugged him back, letting go of your surprise.

Jin was holding Drina a few meters by you. Hobi saw them, smiling at the view, before letting you go and jumping to them, ferociously hugging them together. Drina let out a yelp as the air was knocked out of her and Jin agitatedly shouted at Hobi. Namjoon and Yoongi were standing with Sejin, laughing at their brother's antics. Jimin jumped on Jin’s back, forcing him to move his attention towards him.

Tae let you go, standing by you as he watched his members goof off. He let out a funny sound before turning to you.

“I hope you will explain what all that was about someday. Maybe over coffee?” he raised his eyebrow teasingly.

“Oh, and how will you sleep until then?”

“Hopefully not alone” his gaze grew dark under his bangs. Your breath hitched. You felt your stomach coil up as he kept eye contact. Biting down on your lower lip, you tried to keep your breathing even. Looking at your teeth hugging your berry colored lips, he drew closer, egging you forward, his eyes holding a promise to unimaginable pleasure.

Aaand there goes panty #2. Obliterated.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

Holding onto dear life, you tried to act normal, while everyone else was oblivious to your interaction with Taehyung. Couldn’t help it, you wondered what he was after. He didn’t exactly give off mixed signals, especially when you considered that he was the one who you were texting with all day. So the matter in question was what exactly did he want from you. Aside from the obvious. If he were any other men, you would be sure this whole thing was just about sex. A one-time thing and everyone goes back to their own lives.

And that would be perfectly fine. Hell, it would be amazing.

But the things he said, what you imagine him to be like in real life somehow implies something different. Yeah, right. Just because he seems to be kind, innocent and squishy doesn’t mean he actually is. That look holds so many things, but innocence is not one of them.

“Well...I wonder” you finally answered him. “Will you be able to have enough rest then?”

“You see, I have this wonderful skill to catch up on sleeping really effectively. I can sleep while getting hair and make-up done, or during a message…” Tae arched his eyebrow, looking ahead of him while he was explaining his weird ability. “So I would value the company more than that.” He suddenly shifted his gaze back to you, waiting for your reaction.

Before you could answer him, Sejin motioned for the boys that their next appointment was coming up on their schedule. You heard Drina ask him where should you go so you wouldn’t be a bother to anyone. As a reply to his manager’s words, the man next to you drew in a shaky breath.

“Look…” Tae whispered. “I’m sorry if I’m too much or...I don’t know, bad at this. I just want you to know that I think you are really interesting and I don’t...”

“You’re not too much, not at all” you blurted out. He had such a shy expression on, it was adorable. “I just don’t want to cause you trouble.” You looked at Sejin while saying this, implying how you mean.

“Y/n, should we go with them for their stretching or do you have something in mind?” Drina asked you from a few steps away.

“Please come with us, we could talk while we’re waiting for our turn!” Kookie chimed in.

“Sure, we can go. But we will need to grab some food, I think we’ll need our energy” You half chuckled at your own words. Your friend nodded understandingly, a hint of curiosity playing on her catlike features.

“You should eat with us then, I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll like” Taehyung said easily. The other members nodded, loudly explaining what dishes you should try, everyone expressing their favorite combinations and flavors.

His words earlier have ceased the inner battle in your head. You decided it doesn’t matter, either way, you find this person next to you to be the most desirable human being on the planet right now. Hearing him awkwardly trying to explain himself and seeing his flustered features, you decided not to hold yourself back anymore.

“What if I already did?” you shot him a look as you started to walk with the group to whatever direction Sejin was leading you to.

“Then don’t worry about anything” he kept walking next to you. “You won’t get me in trouble, I promise.” he kept his voice casual, but you could feel building electricity run in the air. As you walked down several steps, the rest of the group ahead of you a couple of paces, you felt like you’ve entered a maze of rooms and corridors unfolding endlessly. Running back your fingers through your hair, you looked around, you eyes seeing several people working in the different rooms. Tae followed your gaze, smiling to people he knew.

“So how did you get to know us? BTS, I mean.”

“Oh...huh. Kind of a long story.” you looked at him, but he waited patiently for your reply. “Okay, well, basically I was stuck, in a way, musically. The artists and bands that I liked were not really coming to my hometown and even if they did, I usually didn’t have anyone to go see them with. Okay, this sounds worse than it actually was.” you laughed at yourself. “It’s just when I was younger I had many friends and people who were into the same things I was. There was this drive, you know, to go out, to party all the time. It was a lot of fun, but it came with a lot of unwanted drama too. As I was getting older, I’ve changed and I tried to hold onto the people who were actually my friends. It was sort of a difficult thing, but in the end, my life changed, for the better. But at the same time, the people I usually went out with were not an active part of my life anymore.”

You drew in a long breath. You shared more than you intended, but you didn’t mind.

“It took me a while to realize that a big part was missing, that I wasn’t enjoying music anymore, just listening to things out of habit, but it didn’t bring that joy. And not going to concerts or and letting out steam that way...I missed it. The rush of it. So I tried to be open-minded about listening to things outside of my comfort zone. It took a while.” you chuckled at your own stubbornness.

“Why, what did you listen to before?”

“Aaah, I was mostly into classic rock, glam rock, some heavier things...when I was really young I had a pop-rock thing too. I guess I’ll have to show you some.” you smiled at his blank expression. “So anyway, I came across a Youtube ad, which was basically a K-pop MV. No idea who they were, but it was so... mesmerizing. Visually stunning, the sounds clashing and turning in a totally unexpected way, it wasn’t...predictable? Does that make sense?”

“It totally caught me off guard. A little later I went to a comic con kind of event, where they had a dancing panel, again, to famous K-pop songs. It was this big convention center filled with people who danced so enthusiastically, they enjoyed it so much. Some were really good dancers too. I ended up looking it up more and more and fell into this huge black hole of content. And you guys just...stood out, like by a mile. I have this overanalyzing habit, I like to look things up, researching and talk about possibilities and theories. Let me tell you, the kind of content you and your company make is out of this world. Before I knew it, I was neck deep and didn’t mind it at all.”

“I’m glad you had that Youtube ad then” he admitted. “And I’m sorry about your friends, but I know how you mean. Friendships can be a hard thing when you are not compatible anymore. But that's okay. Knowing what is good for you and what is not and act accordingly is a brave thing.”

You hummed to his words. He couldn’t know how his words affected you, but deep inside the girl who was hurt all those years ago yearned for comfort for so long. Knowing that he thought you were brave felt like a warm blanket against a shivering body.

“Would you really show me what music you like?” Tae glanced at you from under his bangs.

“Sure, why not. I’ll probably be nervous as hell about it, but that's just the way it is.” you couldn’t stop smiling to yourself.

“Do I make you nervous?”

“Mmm, yes... and no. It’ll probably be a little culture shock for you. But it is who I am, or was in a way.”

He seemed to think about your reply for a few seconds. Looking at you sideways, humming a little.

“What you said yesterday…” he thoughtfully began. “About duality and layers.”

It was your turn to wait for him patiently. You only nodded to his words, letting him take his time.

“I understand how you mean it. And Kookie did explain it, the bias thing, this morning. That's why I sent you that text. Because...I want to understand you.” he confessed, making your mind go blank. The electricity in the air felt so tense, your phone’s battery charged in your bag to 100% in literal seconds.

Not knowing what to say, you just looked at him. Seeing you speechless, he went on:

“You’re...so different. You dance on the street, you’re not nervous being around us and you can be so unapologetically honest, it’s so attractive and..” he ran his hands through his hair, desperate for words. A ferocious blush was creeping from your ears, clearly not obeying your commands to keep it cool. “ aish, I’m not good at this. I should ask Kook-ah to explain it!”

“I would like to hear it from you Tae” the words flew out of your mouth before you could pull them to the back of your mind. You heard his breathing skip a beat. The look he gave you under his lashes were enough to make your blank mind go into overdrive.

“Okay, who’ll go first?” Sejin looked around expectantly.

Completely forgetting about the others, you looked around where you were. You were in a white corridor, a couple of sofas were lined up by the wall. On the opposite side, a door was open and you could see a man standing by a massage bed, laying out a towel. Taehyung looked as confused as you felt, taking in the situation too. He squeezed your hand a little, his gaze softening a little, and walked to his brothers hesitantly.

The members erupted in requests and tried to secure an order to go in for their message. To make the matter simple, Namjoon called for rock-paper-scissors and soon Kookie went in as the first patient.

Drina appeared by your side, her expression varying between satisfied and cheerful. She shot you a kind look, holding a question in her eyes. You shrugged your shoulders, not knowing what to say. Not breaking the silence you raised your eyebrow in return. Your friend let out a sigh:

“I might be wrong, but I think this…” she gestured towards the boys, who were monitoring a screen about the soundcheck. “this isn’t a one-time thing.”

“What do you mean?”

“I genuinely feel like they want to get to know us, not just hanging around for a day. Their questions are not courteous or superficial. Their manager doesn’t seem to be bothered by it either. I keep wondering how many friends do they have, how do they keep in touch.”

“Hmm.. “ you hummed. Her words raised a valid question: besides their life as an idol, how much personal life do they have? Thinking back on their reaction when they realized you knew who they are on the bank of the Thames, how they thought you’ll exploit their simple walk, you suppressed a sudden rush of sadness towards them. Having an honest conversation without restrictions and expectations is such a basic thing for most people, but these guys might not have the experience often.

“So...correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I was right this morning.”

You snapped your head to look at Drina.

“What do you mean?”

“Oh sweety, don’t play coy with me. Your mystery texter was Taehyung, wasn’t he? You won’t be able to walk by this time tomorrow and I’ll be enjoying every minute of it!”

“H/n Adrienne, I’ll have to wash out your filthy mouth if you keep this up. And look who’s talking anyway. If you shoot one more flirtatious look at Jin while the others are not looking, he will claim you right here on that couch!”

“Touché, I’ll control my exploding ovaries. But not for long though”

The two of you burst out into a fit of suppressed snickers. Throwing stupid metaphors at each other about how the two members made you feel, you and your friend sat on the said couch and amused yourself further. Gasping for air, you checked your phone for the time.

“Is everything alright?” Namjoon’s low chuckle was next to you and you looked up in surprise. Sejin was gone and the boys pulled the couches in a circle so everyone faced the other.

“Sure, we just had a laugh” you friend beside you spoke up, and you nodded, brushing off a tear from the corner of your eye after the fit of giggles.

“We, uh, wanted to ask you two about...what you do?” Hobi asked nervously.

Oh, okay.

“As for a living” Yoongi put his elbows to his knees, finishing his brother’s question. Drina wiggled a little in her seat, hesitantly crossing her arms.

“Drin, it is only fair”

Trying to organize your thoughts, you wondered what to share with the group. They’ll probably ask if they are interested, so you decided to stick to the basic gist of it.

“Do you usually do the groceries at home, or someone picks up for you?”

They looked at each other in surprise.

“I go to stores and the market sometimes, if I have time to cook something” Jin answered your question.

“We had our fair share of shopping for food, but I don’t understand why is that relevant” Namjoon’s forehead was slightly creased as he observed you.

“You’ll see, give me a few minutes.” you smiled at him. “So, you probably noticed that the prices can change. For example, the price for eggs can move around due to many variables.”

“Sure, taxes and regulations can change, mass production or the homemade thing have different prices” Joon nodded.

“Right. Let’s say, that you know that the prices for eggs will be higher in the next month. What do you do?”

“Make sure I have enough?”

“Well...yes. And if you look at this with the eyes of a business person. What would you do?” you monitored the leader’s labored expression.

“Buy eggs while they are cheap and sell them when the price goes up? Maybe putting my prices a little below others, but still creating profit for myself?”

“Exactly. You use the gap between your purchasing price and your selling price to drive yourself a profit. Is it clear so far?” the others nodded, but it was obvious that they didn’t see the light in the tunnel just yet.

“In order to do this, you have to know when the price will jump, right?” Drina took over from you. “There are a lot of things to consider, but usually there are not that many variables. To put it plainly, if you find the trigger of the change, you can determine the scope of it, what will it effect. To stay with the egg example: let’s say that there is a terrible storm going on. People are scared to leave their homes, it’s pouring down really bad. Besides obviously being scared, there are certain people who have other worries as well: farmers are anxious about their crops. How much will survive to be harvested? Some sold crops go to farmers who keep farm animals. If they can’t feed their poultry, they will produce fewer eggs. For the same amount of people, the same demand, fewer eggs will be available, so the price will go up.” she signaled for you to continue.

“What we do, me and Drina, and other people around the world is seeing the change happen and see what will it affect. Buy in and sell out at the right time.”

“I don’t understand. Why was our CEO acting like that over eggs?” Jimin looked absolutely puzzled.

“Because it is not about eggs, it is about stock exchange Jiminie” your friend smiled at the dancer.

“There is a different market out there, where the products that you can buy are more serious. You can buy small parts of a company, you can invest in them. Or you can look even further. Currencies behave similarly as eggs, their value moves all the time, their connections more tightly knitted.”

“You mean that you can buy part of BigHit?” Tae looked up from his hands. You were surprised by his words a little. He paid attention to what his boss said and waited to put in the puzzle piece when it fit.

“Anyone can buy a share of BigHit if they want to, it is only a question of resource, research, and timing.” Drina cocked her head to the side. “Maybe you can’t, I’m not sure. There could be a paragraph in your contracts about this.”

“Y/n, level with me” Joon asked you. “I understand what you are saying. But that doesn’t give me an idea of how your life looks like. Is this difficult? What do you do as “working”? Why was our CEO worried about you?”

“It is difficult. It can be really stressful. But just like any other job, with time, comes practice and if you diligently keep yourself in check, it will get better. What do we do? We sit by our computers, many monitors. Research a stock, scan through its movements on the market, look for indicators and once you have everything you need, so jump into it. You have to know when to step in and when to leave. This is where the real stress sets in you shouldn’t change your mind because you are stressed. Interpreting incoming information and making decisions with precision and not emotion.”

“The reason your boss was worried,” Drina took over. “is because he probably thought that we would do something hostile towards BigHit. You see, there are companies who try to use our knowledge to their advantages. And that is okay, we get requests every once in a while, and sometimes we even oblige.”

“What do these companies ask of you?” Jin quickly inserted. His face filled with worry.

“Defense. They want to protect themselves from unseen dangers or threats. We research the company, learn all that we can about their present situation and then monitor their environment. Their country’s jurisdiction, their competitors, their social media, the news about them. For an outsider with a trained eye and an objective mindset is way easier to find things that a life long employee couldn’t notice at first. Funnily enough, not everyone will agree with our findings. New regulations and policies should step in to force when we are done, but the management sees too many company cultures go out the window and they don’t want that. Comfort comes first to the human mind.” she finished with a dry smile.

The boys fell silent. Looking to the side, you checked on Drina. She was watching the boys, eagerly searching for a hint of what was going on in their heads. You understood her need to find a sign or reaction.

You didn’t go into an office every day. You didn’t have coworkers or bosses. All you had was yourself to rely on in this world and the few people who shared the same skill as you. Your life wasn’t like any other because you didn’t need to work 40 hours a week, but 4. All the responsibility lied on you, and there was nothing to complain about to anyone because there weren’t hundreds of people who understood your struggles.

And once you shared your “job” with someone, they don’t know what do to with you. They didn’t understand, you were on a different path than they were. Connecting with new people never turned out to be fruitful. Realizing that you are not at the mercy of a boss, a corporate mechanism, a big brother out there “controlling” your life, they alienated you. Because in their minds, you had it easy. You don’t have to get up early in the morning, survive a long day, go home, do your chores and start the whole thing all over again. You just had to sit down for a few hours to a computer, invest a little, sell some more and happily live off the generated profit.

In a sense, they were right. It wasn’t as simple as they made it look, but essentially that is what you were doing. Some people went as far as saying that you were probably having sleepless nights, worrying about losing all your accounts. How you will become a homeless, worthless person because you couldn’t attend a normal job as they did.

Sure, it was a possibility in the past. While you were studying under your mentor, you had bad nights and stressed out days. You had your moments when you sobbed in front of your monitors, shoulders crushing under the pressure of being wrong and losing what little you had back then.

But that was the key. The thing all those people who hated you for your choice didn’t see. The work, the effort and time you put into learning everything. The skill you honed, the techniques you studied and the amount of therapy you went through to become the person you are today. There isn’t anything about your life that you would change. Maybe there aren’t that many people in it. But in honesty: everyone who stabbed at you for your profession can shove it up their ass and stay clear of you. Being miserable about other’s opinion and close-mindedness was not for you long before you settled to learn about the financial world.

“Does this mean, that you could go anywhere, anytime? Live on the other side of the world if you wanted to?” Tae’s raspy voice brought you back from your memories.

“If we have a reason to, sure, yes” You heard your friend answer.

“Who’s next?” A voice called behind the boys. The man you saw earlier stood in the doorway and Kookie walked out, his face pink where the pillow put pressure on it. Yoongi got up, stretched long like a cat and lazily walked in the room, closing the door behind him.

“What did I miss?” the bunny dropped to his feet by your legs, resting his face on your knee.

You little fluff.

“Basically, the girls have a wonderful profession which allows them to be freeeeeeeee” Hobi happily summarised what he heard.

“What do you mean?”

“They can earn money like nobody’s business and are probably rich as heck. You have a sugar Noona on your hands basically! Suga Noona!”

Wh...a WHAT?

“Oh, cool.” Kook nodded against your leg sleepily. “Then can I have some ramen with steak, please? I’m hungryyyy”

Not believing what you heard, you glanced at Drina from the corner of your eye. She looked positively shell-shocked. They were...they acted like it was not a big deal?!

The boys chatted amongst themselves, telling their maknae off for wanting heavy food while you were grasping for calmness unsteadily.

“Did they just accept it? Moved on?” your friend asked you in a whisper in English.

“It’s weird, isn’t it?” Namjoon picked up her questions, keeping his words in English too. “We didn’t react the way you thought we would.”

“Not at all. It’s like you...don’t mind?”

“Yes, where have you been all this time?”

“I think it’s perfect” The dimpled man gifted you with a reassuring smile. “This is what we went through yesterday when you didn’t scream on the street. It was kind of fun to see your reactions. We found friends, who could be with us. Who could be there, when no one else is. If you want to, of course”

Drina was right. This isn’t a one-time thing. They really did want to be friends. A soft warmness spread through you, reaching the ends of your fingertips. The girl beside you chuckled a little before snaking her arm behind you, hugging you a little, not knowing what do say.

“Call anytime you need us” you nodded gratefully.

In the next few hours, you and the others sat on the couch in that white corridor, laughing and talking. As time passed several members exchanged their places to get their massages before the concert. You exchanged stories and memories, showing old pictures to each other to put meaning behind the tales. When the boys discovered your music taste, they pleaded and begged for you to show your favorite songs. Drina endlessly teased you, going on about the first few parties you went with her, trying out the new moves you two learned together.

On the other hand, the boys talked about their training, all the first experiences they had ever since. How they came to know each other well and how they attended at each other's important moments in life. Their main focus to tease was mostly Kookie, but every one of them had a number of shameful memories to laugh about. Soon you were all using their catchphrases (Pardon?!) holding your sides in pain from all the laughter.

When all of them were done, Sejin reappeared and led all of you to two big dressing rooms filled with mirrors, make-up, clothes, and accessories. It was time for them to get ready. Glancing at your phone. The concert will start in less than two hours.

Sejin pulled in a cart, which had small plates of food in them. Most of the things you didn’t recognize, but on the lower half, you saw a few previously packaged sandwiches. The manager motioned for you to help yourself to whatever you needed and bolted out the door for his next task.

The boys collected some food for themselves and sat in their designated chair to get dolled up. Munching down on a chicken sandwich you scrolled through your Instagram feed. Drina was off in the other room scanning through the clothes and outfits the boys were about to put on.

“Shh, Y/n” a small hand waved on the corner of your vision.

Taking another bite off your sandwich, you walked over to Jiminie, who motioned to a small chair between his and Tae’s mirror. Once you settled into it, your back against the wall, you could see how the artists worked on them.

“Can I please see?” Jimin held out his hand for your phone, and you handed it over to him without a second thought. Staring ahead, you appreciatively continued to eat. It has been a long day. Maybe it was just the hunger talking, but you could use a nap right now. Or a face smashingly good coffee with caramel syrup.

“You follow a lot of movie stuff here” Jiminie indicated to your Insta feed.

“Yeah, I like to stay up to date on those things. I usually get news or learn about things faster on Instagram now, it’s weird”

“So where are the pictures you post?”

In the next few minutes, you coordinated his fingers across the phone screen and showed him the general outline of the application. Soon he was scanning through your pictures, his questions kept you talking in a low voice, so you wouldn’t disturb the others. Tae had his eyes closed while he received eyeshadow, but you could tell he was listening.

Jimin was soon done with hair and make-up and was led to the other room to change. Tae’s hair was still under a curling iron, putting his silky looking locks in a messy wavy pile above his face.

“Do you want a touch-up miss?” Jimin’s make-up artist looked at you with a kind expression on her face.

“Oh, thank you, but I don’t want to bother you.”

“It’s no problem, I haven’t worked on a woman for so long anyway. It would be good practice!”

Hesitantly, you got up into her chair, automatically slouching down so she could see you properly. She examined your face, humming as she turned your head in different angles.

“On a scale of 1-10, how bold can I be?” she asked you carefully.

“What is a 1 and what is a 10?”

She flipped out her phone, giving you examples of what she had in mind.

“I would say 7, if you stay with the color palette. Just please don’t make the eyebrows too much. “ she nodded to your word and enthusiastically started to pick out certain brushes and products.

Closing your eyes, you settled comfortably in the high chair. The artist’s tools brushed against your skin, making you more and more sleepy by the minute. Trying to concentrate on something, your ears picked up a low, smooth humming not far from you. Paying attention to the melody the realization dawned on you that you knew the song.

You gave me the best of me
So you'll give you the best of you

Spellbound by the velvety sound, you relaxed under the constantly moving fingers and brushes. The artist sometimes instructed you to open your eyes, look up, look down and you followed her commands robotically. Within 30 minutes, she was done and let you look at yourself in the mirror.

Well, damn.

In such a short amount of time and not visibly much product, she transformed your face. Your jaw became more angular, lips fuller and eyes more cat shaped. She sighed in appreciation and started to pack up her things. After your initial shock, you bowed and thanked her repeatedly, but she just waved you off smiling.

Asian make-up techniques should be our next study session Drina.

Most of the boys were already in the other room. Tae was next to you in his chair, still humming on. He awkwardly jumped out of the high chair, shaking his sleeping limbs back into life. As he was leaving behind you to join the others, he brushed his hand against your back, lingering his fingers at the fabric of your top. The electricity raising in the air, you shuddered a little, looking at him in the mirror. He shot you a wolfish grin and exited the room.

A small whimper escaped your lips as your body reacted to him. Whether he knew it or not, he was making your body sing on a professional level. You squeezed your knees together by the sheer thought what else could he, will he do to you.

The otherwise chatty and happy atmosphere was gone before you realized it. Most of the members were ready, doing vocal exercises, practicing moves. They didn’t exactly look nervous. Their faces were blank mostly, but the air around them felt heavy with anticipation. The staff felt it too, they carefully navigated around them, only talking when necessary, keeping their voices on a minimum.

Sejin waved his hand at you from the corridor, motioning for you to talk. Slipping out of the room without disturbing anyone, you noticed Drina standing by the manager.

“Okay, we should escort you to the area where you’ll be during the performance. Let me introduce you to your security for the night” Sejin motioned to a tall man, who approached you and bowed to you. “This is Saem, he will be taking care of you”

The two of you bowed to the man, thanking him for his work. He curtly nodded and raised his hand to follow him down the corridor. Sejin was already gone, pacing down in the other direction. Silently walking behind the broad-shouldered man, you observed him. There was a commanding presence to him, and while he didn’t say anything to anyone you passed, it was clear that the other staff respected him. A few times he looked behind him to check on the two of you. From the well-lit corridors, he led you to back to the arena and soon you were hurrying down on a black tight passageway, which snaked under the stage. The crowd was loud around you, chanting and screaming chaotically.

“Miss, you will enter the VIP section for the performance soon. In there will be only a select few, the area is for 20 people maximum. I’ll be standing by the door, if anything happens, please knock on the walls of the area. I’ll come as soon as you knock. Do you know self-defense moves?”

“I never studied it, but I’ve seen a couple of moshpits.”

“A sharp elbow to soft areas work right?” Drina looked at him seriously.

A faint smile appeared on his features. He showed you what angle to move your arms and legs, demonstrating slowly at first. When he was sure you could cause a few bruises, he nodded and reminded you to hit the walls to call him.

The crowd went silent for a split second before erupting in a wall shattering scream. Seam opened the door and quickly sent you in. Before you knew it, you were in a small, circular area, the stage hugging the space from all angles. Around 15 people were standing in small groups, filling up the space loosely. You didn’t know a place like this existed. The walls were about 2 meters high and the floor was tilted like in cinemas, so everyone inside had a good view. There were chairs inside, but most of them were pushed up to the walls, stacked against each other. There was a faint light coming from above, and you noticed that the main stage was just in front of you a few meters ahead. Everything went dark. A strong bass note slipped out of the enormous speakers, vibrating against your chest. Drina was standing next to you, feeling the quivering skin on her shoulders. The screens flashed, it’s brightness piercing your eyes and you could feel the adrenalin building in your veins. The anticipation reached the heavens as the bass stopped. A swooping sensation of silence ran through the arena. Your breathing, the pounding of your heart, maybe even time itself stopped for the quietest of moments before the audience went wild. And you gladly followed them.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

The stage lit from above and two enormous panels started to slide away from the middle, revealing 7 standing figures on a platform in the air. The members looked straight ahead, unfazed by the overwhelming screaming the audience showered them in. Not Today’s opening notes hit you and the platform slowly lowered Bangtan to the stage.

To your surprise, while you were staring ahead at the view, at least 40 black-clad dancers filled the stage and the song dropped into full motion as Suga pulled the mic to his lips. Not paying attention to your environment, you started to sing and dance with your friend. The heavy bass completely intoxicated your senses. The rebellious attitude of the lyrics made you pull faces as you mirrored the words. The ground was slightly shaking, which was understandable: the whole arena was jumping to the same beat. It was a miracle in itself that floor didn’t break in the first few minutes.

The boys assessed the crowd in front of them. The light of the ARMY bombs flashed impossibly long, illuminating an absurdly big audience. Knowing the number of people that could fit in tonight’s venue was one thing, but seeing it is immensely different. RM checked on his members, looking for signs of surprise or discomfort, but he found none. Even if there was any speck of those feeling in the boys, they were not indulging in it.

It was a good choice to start off with this song, the leader thought to himself. It held such an adrenalin rush that their pent up excitement and worry was easy to work off in the opening minutes. Nerves and eagerness turned into lethally executed moves and notes. There was even a hint of savageness that was complementary to a live performance.

Checking on the VIP section, RM quickly found you and Drina, dancing together in a very accustomed way. Moving fluidly next to and with each other seemed like second breathing to the two of you. Neither of you was holding back, giving the song all you had. Without realizing, RM smiled to himself, glad to call the pair his friends. Somehow it was a given that they were a force to be reckoned with without knowing why, but understanding where they came from made them one of the most unique people he knew.

Slipping into Save Me, each member played off their individual lines to gather together for the instrumental bridge. I’m Fine closely followed and the audience tamed down from its wildness to an avid mass of people. Breathing in easily for the first time since stepping on the stage, RM shook his limbs to pursue looseness in his body.

“London, how are you doing?”

A happy howl followed his voice and his features settled into an easy grin.

“Look at all the pretty ARMY!” His members followed in similar exclaims, triggering more and more reactions from their fans.

“Let’s practice for the next song, alright?” Kookie confidently delivered his line in English. Raising his eyebrow, he patiently waited until the screams died down.

“So show me”

“I’LL SHOW YOU”

Experiencing tens of thousands of international fans singing back their lyrics in unison was...insane. There was no better word for it.

The maknae repeated the line until the rowdy crowd’s voice reached the highest level. So far, at least.

The technicians put on the track for Magic Shop and the members split up: the rap line walked ahead on the catwalk, while the rest scattered around the stage, interacting with their fans.

To see what the others were doing, RM was walking backwards to the end of the stage’s extension, and he noticed V and Jin standing in front of the VIP section, back to back, delivering their lines in perfect harmony.

Would you believe me if I said that I was scared of everything too?
All the sincerity, the remaining times
All your answers are in this place you found
In your Milky Way, inside your heart

They kept their gaze lingering down, doing their usual aegyo for the people in front of them. It was always a curious thing, whether the crowd understood the things they were singing. Of course, many fans read the translated versions of the songs, but RM wondered nonetheless whether they remembered them during a live performance. He probably wouldn’t. There are too many things to look at, to absorb, to remember. Unless the fan spoke the same language, it is probably a different experience. Especially if those two got into their flirting antics.

Wait, what.

Unless the fan spoke the same language?!

RM whipped his head back in astonishment. If they are doing what he thinks they are doing, this is one hell of a way to woo a woman. Aish, those two.

Just Dance claimed the speakers, the easy beat bringing the crowd back into jumping and dancing. You settled into a loose movement, singing along with J-Hope who was dancing with a couple of backup dancers. The other members disappeared in the shadows. Singing along with sunshine personified was much less….intense than some of the other members.

Jungkook took the stage after Just Dance ended and the opening lines of Euphoria engulfed you. He jogged ahead, giving you a small wave as he passed where you were standing in the small pit. His feather-light voice reached the high notes with ease.

The slow song gave you the opportunity to look at the other people in the small area. Most of them were singing along, some were definitely fellow idols. Their immaculate outfits and catlike make-up was one thing, but they sang along with unnerving precision with Bangtan’s maknae. As far as you could tell, none of them were paying attention to you and your friend. Aside from the celebrities, there were some people who looked English, only nodding along with the music, not attempting to sing. All in all, everyone was showing their appreciation and were having fun. Two guys especially stood out, happily partying and snapping pictures with their phones. Your gay radar swung out while you were looking at them. Drina followed your gaze and chuckled a little.

“They really do know how to have the best time, right?”

Nodding at her words, you tear your gaze back to the stage. There was no one there, but behind your back, at the end of the catwalk where all the members, building into Run.

Ah, that choreo with the jackets.

Sure enough, the screen behind the stage showed off the members with their backs to the camera, rolling their jackets back at the same time. Screaming closely followed as some pieces of clothing showed off a bare shoulder or a lower back. Suppressing an obvious sigh you settled back into a move and shortly after Drina did too, looking away from the perfectly sculptured bodies.

The piercing voice of the audience grew louder around you, indicating that the members are on the move back to the main stage. In the next few seconds, they walked by on both sides, playing with the fans in all directions. Jimin’s eyes found yours through the small crowd and he quickly pulled up his hands into a big heart shape, his eyes disappearing in their crescent shape. Without his eyesight, he crashed into Suga. Laughter burst out of the three of you, the two of you in the crowd and Jimin on stage. Suga looked absolutely surprised for a second before pulling his face into a smile, messing up Jimin’s hair with his hands.

Forming up only a few meters ahead of you into their dance positions, you held your breath back, trying to keep your cool. But it’s not like your simple human soul could take this massive amount of charisma and not go crazy. What will you do when they reach Blood Sweat and Tears on the setlist?

A doctor can call time of death, that's what.

Run ended as fast it came and darkness fell on the arena. In the small break, you noticed how the air was heavy with moisture. You threw back your head, trying to gasp in more air into your compressed lungs. A small pearl of sweat made it’s way from your forehead to your jaw. Drina magically pulled out a water bottle from her bag and gave it to you after she had her fill.

The stage lit up again, a single pillar of light shining down on Jimin. The soft opening notes of Serendipity played and he settled into his opening pose, framed by dancers on both of his sides. If God ever overdosed any of his creations with grace, then he was dancing right in front of you. Every step and complicated combination looked like child’s play in his execution. He had time to deliver some winks and cheeky grins while at it as well.

When Jimin was done collecting the most heart attacks within four and a half minutes, RM took his place on the stage and rapped the opening lines for Trivia: Love. Walking swiftly ahead, his hands moved to the beat, his face in a sincere glow. As he was passing the fans standing in the first few rows, he awarded them with a wave or a dimpled smile. Reaching full circle and arriving back at the main stage, he finished his last lines and triumphantly bowed to the arena.

His brothers joined him and lined up, facing in the same direction. Whistling hit your ears and DNA swept the crowd off their feet once again. Kookie, standing in the middle, started his first steps, gifting the two of you a quick sultry wink.

You as well, Brutus?

Instead of going for his usual routine for this song, V crept up to the VIP section’s edge, dropping down into a squat. He nodded to a couple of people who he probably knew before locking his eyes with yours, drawing the mic to his lips. His deep voice resonated on your skin as he sang the first lines. Knowing full well that you understood the lyrics, he raised his eyebrow and curled his tongue out of his mouth for a very long moment.

Someone call National Geographic, there is a new hunting technique they need to do a documentary of.

Refusing to give in to the shrieking fangirl inside you, you cocked your head to the side and bit your lower lip. Two can play that game.

You heard the mic amplify a small hitch in his breathing, letting you know his reaction without a doubt. His face stayed still, not giving much away, but his stare was a different story. It wondered around your body as if telling the tale of what piece of clothing would come off after the other, unmistakeably raising goosebumps in its way. Pulling the now kicking and screaming girl in your head back to oblivion, you pulled on a low smile. Casually running your fingers through your hair, you threw half of it back, exposing your neck.

Not having the mic near his face anymore, you couldn’t tell what was the noise he made, but it looked like a whine. And you really wanted to hear that whine, up close and personal. Be damned and all that jazz.

His members started off going to the front of the runway again and he joined, shifting his expression back to a casual grin.

“Well, honey, that was intense” Drina whispered in your ear, making you jump to the roof.

“Ah, shut it, I’m still recovering”

“It’s a wonder you can come back from that at all, I need to sit down and I was just standing next to you” she chuckled lowly.

“Look, if they keep this up and reach BS&T, I want cremation. Scatter my ashes during sakura season by some pretty lake or something.”

“Copy that. If you survive and I don’t, visit a nice, like really nice, whiskey factory and mix my ashes in secret. So I can keep making people party to the rest of eternity.”

“Noted. But ew. But okay.”

“Nothing too smokey, a sweeter, rye-ish one should be it”

“Right, like the Arran’s with a Tokaji barrel finish? How am I not fazed with this conversation at all?” you chuckled at the whole situation.

“We’re weird, get over it. That barrel will make me feel right at home, nice choice.”

“Excuse me?” the two go-hard-or-go-home guys were standing in front of you. “Sorry for interrupting, but I just had to say, you are such a Jin, it’s making me hard to breathe.”

You burst out laughing. Not even looking at Drina’s face, you could tell that the statement shook her existence. Bending over your voice grew to a higher pitch, realizing how right the guy is.

“Oh my God, that is so true, I’m crying!”

“Now don’t get me started on you, young lady” the other guy put his hand on his hip. “That piece of Scottish checkered corset tank top whatever you’re wearing is the most interesting piece of clothing in the VIP section, and that's saying something. You’re either the best dressed Kookie girl in the venue or an obvious TaeTae with that anime look you’ve got going on.”

It was your turn to look dumbstruck while Drina howled in appreciation at his words. Your closet was everything but interesting, ranging from comfortable to minimalistic. This top was just a reminiscent from your rocker days, making a small comeback after dusting a few years in the back of your wardrobe. On the other hand, he said you have an anime look, bursting your heart with joy, as you were a sucker for a well put together anime. You’re still waiting for Bleach to go into production for the last season and it’s been years.

Seizing up the two guys, they were rather good looking themselves. They had that confident Yanis Marshall thing about them, an air of fabulousness.

“Well if I’m a Jin, that makes you one hell of a Jennie,” Drina pointed at the first one who spoke, who happily grinned at her words. “ and you a Laliisaaa” your friend sang the name, shaking her hip vigorously.

“Yeah, Boombayah era, while we’re at it” you nodded seriously, imitating the famous body roll without dropping down to the floor.

They took a second to comprehend what you were saying, but when realization dawned on them, they started to obnoxiously dance and scream, holding up a flask, showing off their well-maintained bodies in the process.

Joining in on the dancing you jumped around to Go Go, which was finishing up. Boyz with Fun grooved on which lead to Danger and then Boy in Luv came on. Kookie and J-Hope walked by the runway, goofing off with the crowd.

The screens burned up with saturated shades of scarlet, orange and yellow. An opening sequence signaled the next song and some quick thinking audience members shrieked in excitement. Fire dropped like the atomic bomb it is and the members went crazy on stage. Most of them were in the front of the catwalk, freestyling, driving the crowd absolutely mad. By the second chorus, you saw in the periphery that they were gathering up in front of you for their routine, but you were too immersed with the song to just stand around. The two guys joined you dancing, playing off well with each other. The four of you blended your moves together, following closely the beats and melodies of the song with your bodies.

The screens flashed up in scarlet one more time and then went dark as the lights went out on the stage. RM stood by the edge of the VIP section and a camera swooped down from the air to rest not far below him. He extended his hand to touch the base of the equipment and pulled the mic to his full lips:

“Eoseo wa, bangtaneun cheoeumiji?” he shot a wink at the camera and disappeared in the shadows. Jungkookie stepped out and started singing the first lines of Dope. Soon all of the members were well lit right in front of you, lounging into the difficult choreography.

Each singer delivered their lines on the same spot where RM stood previously. J-Hope all smiles, Suga bent over, hands flying, V lip biting and Jin with his flying kisses swooned the fans one by one. Most of them spared the two of you a look or gesture while at it.

I don’t wanna say yes
I don’t wanna say yes

Growling out both “yes”-es at the same time, V chucked in your direction, not making immediate eye contact. What he did do is pulling on various, and quite outrageous, sex faces, forcing your blood to race in your veins. Drina sucked her breath by your side suddenly. Searching for her cause of air loss you found Jin, who was uncharacteristically serious. Chin pulled up a little, his eyes suggestively dipped, transforming his face to one of the most seductive things you have ever seen a man do. He sure knows what he is doing.

He slowly opened his mouth to sing his lines, not breaking his eyes from your friend’s. It would be no wonder if she caught fire by the time Jin was done with her. The two guys you were dancing with showed no sign of finding the whole ordeal weird, keeping up with the song, holding out a hand for you to join them. You just shook your head and shot a few pictures instead. Neither of you has made any shots so far and it felt like you were past the half of the setlist.

A small break came after Dope ended, enveloping the fans in a warm filtered light. Fan chants started all around the huge space, raising the enthusiasm in the thousands of people present. A short video came on the screens, foreshadowing the song the both of you dreaded the most seeing live.

The fast-paced edits showed the inside of a museum, intense colors mixing in water and a drop of something arriving on an outstretched finger before said finger disappeared in a familiar set of lips. A deep purple light flashed on the stage, and the seven members reemerged in their outfits for the song. Deep V necks with satin chokers decorated their slim figures. Dear Lord, have mercy on me, for I have sinned.

Taking up their stances, Blood Sweat and Tears started and the screaming shook the sky. Confidently seducing their biggest audience yet, the members executed their moves with precision, effectively killing you on the spot. Drina clutched your hand the second Jimin started to sing.

“I think my soul just left my body”

You just nodded, not taking your eyes off the scene in front of you. God, this was exquisite. And then he made eye contact. And he knew he had you. Not just your attention. You were at his mercy. Slowly exhaling, you surrendered, letting him lead your attention with his movements. Grabbing his neck, fingers traveling to his jaws. Covering his eyes and swiping his hand across his crotch. Grinding towards the floor in slow motion and shooting his hips upwards for a second. He made you see every little detail.

The singing was so ethereal, their voices brushed into almost whine-like noises. Matching their expressions to the sexual tension they were creating, it was impossible to tell how much time has passed since the song started. Honestly, it could’ve been hours ago and not one person in the arena could tell the difference. As V and Jin were building up the last bridge you shivered at the parallel between your surrender and the lyrics:

Kill me softly
Close my eyes with your caress
I can't reject it anyways
I can't even escape anymore

Yeah, that sounds about right.

The last remnants of the song hung in the air as they pulled their final poses and the audience gasped for air. Glass shattering applause erupted and the members broke into a smile. Thanking the fans for singing along, they started to interact a little before the next song.

“So…” Drina shakily started speaking “that happened”

“Yeah, and we live on to tell the tale.”

“I need a shower. With ice. I think I have a fever or something”

“It is certainly not ice you need, but I appreciate the PG13 context”

She burst into laughter, making several people look at you in the small area. The members were gone, yet again, and there were some people running around, placing props down on the stage. Some fans in the back shouted the song’s name they guessed was coming next, but you couldn’t understand the words. You whipped out your phone to check your state: your hair was not that curly anymore, but your make-up was still on point. That make-up artist lady really knew what she was doing.

A vibrating bass dropped suddenly. Your eyes locked on the all so familiar coat hanger and the man next to it in a black floral robe. Seeing Singularity live twice a day was...well, no words could do the feeling justice. V played his role perfectly, shifting from serious to playful, to sultry within a heartbeat as the camera rolled around him. Teasing his audience seemed like breathing to him, driving their emotions over the roof with a flick of his eyebrows.

Fluidly joining his backup dancers, a small crease on his forehead emerged. The dancing was in stark contrast to the laid back rhythm of the track. Mesmerized by the ever-moving bodies, you started to swing in place. Drina joined in, sharply moving a hand or arm to the stronger percussions to smooth out the motion in the next second. Following her lead, you soon added more and more angular sharpness into it, making the whole thing into a game of sorts. Laughing at the more and more foolish looking steps, you regained your composure. V smiled at your antics warmly.

Taking off his robe after Singularity, he revealed bondage like outfit underneath, with multiple straps and buckles around his torso. His brothers lined up behind him and Fake Love started.

After delivering the first verse they jogged to the front of the catwalk. Shaking sweat out of his eyes RM drank in his view. He wanted to remember these moments for the rest of his life. Sharing a look with Suga, he happily shrugged to the question in the smaller rappers eye. The fans loudly sang along with them, the lyrics and tracks they worked on endlessly perfecting. There isn’t anything that held as much appreciation than this. The leader wanted to hug each and every person, who stuck with them and supported them to reach this point in his life.

While Fake Love was not the easiest song by far in their repertoire, but hearing the crowd scream back “Fake Love” after them every time was charging back his exhausted batteries, giving him enough energy to last until the last song of the night.

When the finishing notes hit the air, most of the group ran downstairs, so Suga could take the lead with Seesaw. The staff was waiting for them in the dark passageway, armed with water, coolers and small towels. Carefully placing one of the towels against his face, Namjoon tried not to smudge his make-up. The room temperature water felt chilled against his burning throat, and he had to hold himself back not to finish the bottle in one go.

Glancing around in the badly lit space, he checked on his members. Tae and Jimin were sitting on the floor, panting heavily. Hobi stood by them, taking in deep breaths to replenish his aching muscles. Jin was already changing into his next outfit as his solo was the next. And Kookie...where is he?

Panic welled up in the leader’s chest searching for the maknae. He locked his eyes with Sejin, who motioned him to look at the stairs they just descended from. The young boy was almost lying down on the steps, his breathing ragged with exhaustion. Two staff was doing their best to pull the boy back together, not saying a word, but communicating with him by motions and expressions.

“What happened?” Joon looked at his manager.

“I’m not sure, maybe he pulled a muscle or messed his breathing up. Maybe he just overdid it. But don’t worry about it, we have two songs for him to rest a little. I asked Yoongi and Jin to play with the fans a little, so we could have a little more time.”

Namjoon nodded. He hoped it was just exhaustion, so they could fix up Kook with a huge meal and a big sleep. He stood next to the boy’s head, wiping his hair away from his forehead.

“Hey Kook-ah. Big breaths. Is anything hurt?” The boy shook his head. “Okay, you're okay. There isn’t much left, a few songs and we’re done. What's that to our Golden Maknae? Childs play” Kookie flashed him a quick bunny smile. “I’ll treat you to a steak afterward, how does that sound?”

The lying boy grabbed his shirt. Namjoon thanked the heavens, there was such force in his hand.

“Two stakes and ramen. And snacks. A lot of snacks” he negotiated with his brother.

“Deal”

Joon went back and discussed to pull some songs from the setlist with the staff. Even though Kookie can survive the whole planned material, the leader didn’t want to push him much further. Yoongi joined them, and Jin started singing Ephipany upstairs. The eldest rapper checked on the youngster by the stairs too, his hand resting on his shoulder.

“Let's give him more time and do Tear now.” Yoongi stated matter of factly. Hobi nodded to his request and changed to his last outfit quickly. The other two rappers did the same and motioned for the ‘95 liners to stay put.

A few minutes later Jin pulled out all the hidden paper hearts from his clothing and came back to his members. The staff took care of him immediately. Kookie finally stood up to test out his limbs. The eldest helped him on his feet, monitoring the maknae’s movements closely.

“I’m okay, I just needed to sit down for a little” The rappers passed them, giving reassuring smiles to the now standing main vocalist.

“Kook-ah, the rest is Truth Untold, MIC Drop, Anpanman and Idol, what do you think, will that be okay?”

“No, we said we will do the No More Dream routine, I want to do it!” the youngest exclaimed. “Hyung, you promised! I want to surprise them, please!” he looked at Hobi, pleading.

The older members looked at each other. They need to go up for the next track.

“Okay, quick vote, hands up for No More Dream!” Joon shouted so everyone would hear him clearly. Kookie’s, Hobi’s, Tae’s and Jimin’s hand were up. “That’s that then. Please let the dancers know” the leader looked at Sejin for assistance. He curtly nodded and ran off.

The rappers left for Tear. The crowd greeted their return. shaking the stage slightly. The rest of the boys collected themselves for their turn, doing vocal exercises. The next song proved it’s difficultness in the past and they wanted to do their best in the following few minutes. Tae kept his body moving, forcing his blood pressure to stay up. Kookie walked around, occasionally practicing a dance move in his wake. Jin and Jimin just stood by each other, harmonizing their vocals together. Minutes passed and their excitement grew back. Their cue came from the staff to go up as their brothers have exited on the other side of the stage.

Carefully climbing up, their faces settled into the solemn expression the song required. They stood a few meters apart at the end of the catwalk when the reflectors hit them and the audience embraced them back on stage.

V raised his mic to his mouth and a camera swept in front of him. Taking a deep breath, he locked his eyes on the device and started to sing his opening lines to the Truth Untold. He poured all his emotions into his performance, thinking of all the people who sang along with him, the fans who resonated with this particular song.

Jungkook followed his lead and so did the others. When the first chorus was done was the first moment they moved from their places, slowly striding towards the main stage. So far they managed not to go off key or crack. A little longer and everything will be fine. Reaching the end of the line, they kept walking, crossing each others path. Jimin built up the pre-chorus for V to take over. The vocalist stood in the middle, facing the sea of fans, bracing himself for his last lines.

I am afraid
I am shattered
I’m so afraid
That you will leave me again in the end
Once again I put on a mask and go to see you

His eyes lingered in the back, taking in the pulsating lights of the ARMY bombs until he settled his gaze on you. You didn’t dance or goof around this time. The look on your face made him think that maybe you understood. Understood how this song reflects on him. How the song’s title was exactly what the words spelled out. His desperation was met with calmness, the tranquility behind your lashes. Whatever produced that peace, he wanted to have the opportunity to know it. Everything behind that expression held a hidden safe haven he needed to reach.

Not having any more words to sing, V listened to his brothers pour out their hearts into their mics. Their amplified voices carried all the way to the back of the arena. As they chased after the highest point, he smiled proudly. Some people in the audience were wiping their eyes, unable to hold back their emotions anymore. That’s how good they are. The talent they honed for years.

As Jimin and Kookie sang the last lines in feather-light tones, V mouthed the words along with them. Turning back to you he saw the two of you holding each others waist, standing side by side and singing along with them. You nodded at him, allowing him to hope.

The lights went out. The boys jogged to the end of the runway, meeting up with the rap line. Several dancers were lining up by the catwalk, getting ready to jump up on cue. RM checked on Kookie once again, making sure he is okay to go on.

Beats crept of the speakers as the members took their designated place. J-Hope initiated to choreo to swing into full motion and started spitting his part with steely ease. MIC Drop’s routine called for a cool attitude with a hint of fierceness lingering in the background. Getting their feelings in sync, they flowed with the track. There wasn’t much room to roam around the stage, so they kept in their places, only hiding when the choreo indicated to. By the time RM wished “good luck”, the dancers took their places, mirroring Jin’s lead. Closing off the performance, Suga casually let go of his mic, disappearing in the shadows.

Darkness enveloped the arena. Fans exploded in shrieking, vibrating the air itself. Fan chants began anew again, trying to persuade Bangtan back to the stage to do their encore. They kept waiting for a few minutes, changing accessories downstairs as they made their way in the tight corridor to reach the main stage.

Coming back under the spotlight they thanked their audience for their outstanding support. Several minutes of joking and talking passed by.

In the back of the audience came a sound that they didn’t quite understand. It was some sort of fan chant, but not something they heard so far. As more and more people joined in, the members realized that it had a returning melody to it. It was not a chant, it was singing.

Jungkook was the first to collect himself and gather the lyrics in his mind to join the fans:

Will you stay by my side
Will you promise me
If I let go of your hand, you’ll fly away and break
I’m scared scared scared of that

The brothers looked at each other in astonishment. Not being able to put their emotions into words, they just stared as the whole audience took their next breath and sang on, voices thundering against the stage. Jimin hid his face behind his hands, trying not to shed tears. Jin put his arm around his waist and let his own tears spill freely.

There were videos online of this place. The venue hugged legendary memories in its walls. The footages showed an incalculable number of people, singing on their own to the biggest artists in history. The raw energy coming from the people was such a thick wave of emotion. The boys saw these displays of love and support. And now they were standing at the very place those artists stood. Receiving that same treatment. Tears splashed against their skin and sobs tore their way out from their throats. This was the first time for a Korean song to envelope this stadium by fans, and they choose Butterfly to be it.

“Everyone” RM shakily spoke into the mic “from the bottom of our hearts…thank you” his voice broke before whispering his last words. ARMY roared right back at him with such intensity that made his burst into a smile. They lined up by each other, holding hands, bowing deeply to the sea of ever moving bombs.

“Can we be your superhero?” another wave of voices flooded their senses and that’s all it took to get them going again.

V jumped on Kookie’s back and sang the first lines on Anpanman into his mic. Everyone reached their positions and the song began in full throttle. Unable to wipe of the grins off their faces, they happily swept through the routine, goofing off every chance they got. When the track ended a staff ran around in the dark spots on stage, handing out black jackets to the members.

RM’s comms activated suddenly, a voice quickly talking on the other side. The leader’s face froze as he understood the rapid words. His face met Suga’s who looked positively shocked. All of the brothers gaped at each other. There were only two songs left, but their's was not the only surprise the audience will receive before the concert ends.

The build-up for No More Dream for began, not quite going into the song, but setting the mood for the fans. Not yet recognizing what is going on, the crowd kept their eyes on the members as they took their stands by each other. Before silence could fall, a loose bass sound crept out of the speakers and the fans howled in their surprise. Dancers in black took their places, scattered on the catwalk. The rappers sank into their lines, delivery each syllable with ironclad precision. The mass of people ahead of them went ballistic, hitting their cues enthusiastically. Girls screaming on top of their lungs welcomed back the rapping Kookie as he delivered his verse. An even more shrill sound followed as Jimin yanked up his shirt in the second chorus, showing off his pearly skin underneath.

The whole stadium held it’s breath as the dance break approached, the anticipation thickening in the air. J-Hope kicked off and straight-out murdered everyone in there with his punctual moves and lust filled expression, hitting in the last nail in the coffin by swiping his tongue across his lower lip. A satisfied laugh slipped out as he heard the reaction to his actions. Darkness fell as the track ended and the shrieking ripped through it’s way to the sky.

Changing the black jackets to longer, more bohemian robes, the boys walked back under the lights.

“Everyone, we have reached the end of tonight’s party.” Sad ‘ooh’-s echoed “I can’t say this enough: thank you for your endless support and love. It means the world to us. ARMY, love you” The leader shouted the last words, earning grand applause.

“Do you know what’s next?” Suga’s growl shook from the loudspeakers.

An immediate Oh-Oh-Uoooh followed his words, letting them know their answer.

“Let's get it!”

“Dance for me!”

Idol’s opening notes erupted and the floor vibrated as the crowd started to dance on the spot. Bangtan rearranged themselves and flowed through the choreography, pulling on their last specks of energy. For the first time in a long time, comms instructed them through the performance, guiding them to go to the end of the catwalk so their guest can have the main stage when making their introduction.

Sweat covered your back and you kept on dancing in the small section. Tonight has been nothing short of amazing. Mimicking the routine the backup dancers were doing on stage, you lost yourself in the last song of the setlist. You feet ached and arms felt heavy, but that wasn’t going to stop you to chase after the last seconds of adrenalin.

The song was almost over when a weird chirping sound hit your ears. Shouts were coming from all over the place. Not understanding what's going on, you looked around to see a very bright and provocative dress make it’s a way to the center of the stage.

“ARMY, please welcome, the one and only, Nicki Minaaaaaaaaaaj!” RM shouted from the end of the runway.

Sure enough, it was Nicki Minaj, pulling doll-like faces on before rapping her extra part away.

Hands in the air, put your hands in the air
If you getting money, rubber bands in the air
Never gave an eff, they can cancel my care
'Cause if he look good, throw my pants in the air

She walked around while doing her verse, a few dancers following in her wake, framing her with elusive movements. When she was done, she started out right partying and the crowd cheered her on. The boys ran to her, finishing the song off by doing a pose with her.

“Thank you, London! Give it up for BTS!” Nicki shouted as the boys took their last bow and the light went out on the stage. Slowly, but surely, the fans voices died down and the air cooled off. Throwing back your sweat-drenched hair, you stretched your hands to the sky.

“I can die in peace now, this was literal heaven” you sighed threw your teeth.

“Nononno, you can’t. Heaven awaits backstage sweety” Drina winked at you.

You unconsciously flinched as you remembered Tae’s sex faces, the images flashing in your mind, like a well-edited fan clip.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

Kookie hung his head back on the headrest of his seat. His body was felt loose, almost liquid-like as his energy returned to him after the long concert. Food and a quick rehabilitation massage were all he needed to be back on his feet.

The car was dark inside as it sped through the empty streets. London had a varied mix of the very city like roads and small, beautiful streets full of wonder. He wanted to explore more of it with his camera in hand.

The youngster was full of anticipation. After the concert they quickly changed to fresh clothes, not having the opportunity to shower, and ate the take-out food Sejin prepared for them in one of the bigger rooms backstage. He and his brothers quickly bowed to all the staff, thanking them for their work and support for the night and wolfed down their food.

Once that was done, the maknae wanted to find the girls, talk to them about their performance, ask them about their plans for the night. He didn’t want to let go of tonight, and as his body received everything it needed to be restored. He wanted to do something that was not sleeping. He didn’t exactly know what should it be, but maybe his new Noona would.

Jimin and Hobi seemed to share Kookie’s feelings. They were fidgeting in their seats, talking animatedly, laughing loudly at nothing funny in particular. The rest of his hyungs on the other hands were quiet, using the couches comfort to the fullest, smiling lazily at their dancers' enthusiasm.

“I really don’t understand how you still have the energy to be like that” Joon sighed with his eyes closed. Yoongi nodded, maybe he was walking on the thin line of being awake and falling asleep.

Jin had his head resting against his hand, elbow piercing into the couch's side. Kookie couldn’t tell what was on his mind, his hyungs face expression a mystery to him that night. He was playing with his phone in his hand, drawing small circles on the screen with his thumb. Every minute or so, the screen flashed with a new message and he would look at it and quickly reply with a shy smile on his face.

Who could that be?

Kookie quickly diverted his eyes before someone caught him staring, his gaze finding Taehyung gawk at the door intensely. He had this nervous thing going on: he would burn holes into the door with his eyes, but avert them away the second the door handle moved. The young maknae found it really amusing and snatched a bottle of water from the table near him. Maybe throwing the bottle cap at him would disturb Tae enough to stop looking at the only door in the room.

Carefully aiming the cap, taking into consideration to shoot for the wall, so the cap would bounce off from the wall to reach Tae’s neck, Kookie raised his hand, ready to shoot, when Tae flinched again at the door. This time you walked in with Drina on your sides, grins on your faces.

The room enveloped in yelps and yelling, as the younger members greeted the girls. Jungkook surprised everyone when he shyly hugged you, and you hugged him back, pushing away the awkwardness of the moment.

Soon you were chatting about the performance and the shock of Nicki showing up in the last minute of the show. Sejin sometimes popped in to see whether anyone needed something and ran out again, making sure everything packs up smoothly.

“So, do you plan to do something tonight?” Jimin asked the girls. They looked at each other, obviously having something in mind, but they didn’t answer him immediately. Kookie found it curious how the two of you seemed to communicate smoothly without using any words or noticeable body language. Reaching a conclusion in a few seconds, Drina smiled at the dancer.

“We thought we should find a good way to use up our pent-up..feelings. The concert ended, but the high is still here. It would be such a waste not to find a good outlet for it.” Kook saw you chuckle into your drink, and quickly nod at your friend’s words.

“Yeah, so we thought we will go out after meeting you. Drina found this place where an international party is happening as we speak. They promised to have some really different genre’s going on, the list even included some anime opening titles.”

The minute you said those words, the maknae’s eyes lit up. He wanted to go with you so bad. With a few accessories, he was sure he could blend in a crowd without anyone recognizing him. His fans were probably at home by now anyway, on a Tuesday night. Maybe they won’t go out on a school night. Maybe English people would let him be for tonight. Maybe he could dance freely, without having people look at him, asking for a performance. Kookie loved to perform, there wasn’t anything wrong with that, but there was this longing in him to just let go a little, do it for himself and his own enjoyment.

“I wish we could go with you” Jimin looked at the girls with a shy smile. His words more of a question than a statement. You wanted to tell him that he is more than welcome to, but his leader words were faster.

“Jiminie, you know that we could get in trouble for that” Namjoon’s slurred words came from the couch. He was barely awake. Jungkook looked at his members: Yoongi was fast asleep, his head resting against Joon’s shoulder. Jin looked ahead of him, a small grin on his face, but otherwise unbothered by the idea of a party.

Turning around, the youngster saw Hobi and Jimin exchanging looks of interest, which encouraged an idea within Jungkook. Maybe they could persuade Sejin. Negotiate some sort of arrangement.

“Is everything okay?” he heard you ask sweetly. Kookie automatically nodded at your words only to notice that the question was directed at Tae. He was scrunching his face, which Kookie recognized as his calculating face. Tae either did things fast, impulsively or didn’t do them at all. If he had to think something through, weighing options, that's when this face happened. He locked eyes with you, lips slightly parted and nodded. When his face resurfaced from the nod, his teeth sunk into his lower lip, eyebrow lifted.

Sejin reappeared into the room. He scanned the room and then settled to look at the sleeping boys on the couch.

“Okay, I can take one of the smaller cars, if some of you want to go to the hotel.”

Namjoon whispered in Yoongi’s ear, and the smaller man stirred slowly. Sejin nodded quickly and fished out a set of keys from his pocket.

“The next wave can leave in a few minutes too boys, get ready” and he left, delegating the three oldest boys out of the room.

Hobi ran out after them, leaving the five of you in the room.

“Well, maybe we should get going too” Drina sighed, getting up from her seat.

“Can you wait a few minutes please?” Jimin inserted, his eyes jumping from the door to the girls.

“Yeah, I have to check on something” Kookie said and shot out the room too. The boy jogged towards Sejin, passing Hobi, who was on his way back.

“Sejin-ssi, can I have a request?”

The man stopped in his tracks, facing the maknae.

“You want to go out with the girls too, right?” Shock flew across the boy’s face. “Yeah, Hobi just asked the same thing. Look, I know you barely ask requests, but I don’t see how I can let you out.”

“We can change our appearance. I promise to have a hat on or anything you put on me. It doesn’t matter. We can spray paint our hair a different color. I look different if I just wash off all the make-up I have on. Sejin, please. I’ll dress security in my own clothes, just please let us go.” the young boy pleaded with his adorable bunny face, scrunching his nose slightly.

“Kook-ah I...look. If you can change so much that one of the staff doesn’t recognize you. Like actually walking by you without saying hi. Then you can go. But even then, everyone will have security, and you check in every 30 minutes. And so many other things.”

There was a determined flash in the youngster’s face the manager knew well by now. I shouldn’t have said that… I really shouldn’t have said that.

The boy sped in the other direction, shouting for his favorite cordi noona’s name in his wake. He frantically pushed in the doors down the corridor until he found her laying down in a room full of clothes. He told her his idea, and the woman slowly nodded, still a little fuzzy on the details. She started to collect supplies and motioned for Kookie to get the others. She thought this was some stupid prank the youngster wanted to pull.

Jungkook finally reached the room you were in. The girls were on their feet, waiting for the boy to arrive so they could say their goodbye. The boys behind them shared the same sad look. Tae was just behind you, his hand reaching out.

“We have something to do” the boy blurted out. The girls accepted his words, interpreting it differently than what Kookie wanted to say. “Go to room 24, go!” he pushed Jimin and Hobi out the room and then faced Drina.

“Look, I have a way to go with you, just trust me, okay?” The girl just blinked at him, clearly not understanding. “What is the place’s name, where you’re going?” Drina showed him her phone screen and Kookie quickly typed it in to find the same site on his phone.

What neither of them noticed was you and Tae, left alone in the room. It wasn’t difficult not to pay attention in Kookie’s frenzy since you didn’t say anything and were out of sight the second they stepped out of the room. Tae swiftly grabbed your hand, pulling you behind the door, pushing you against the wall.

Your breaths mixed in the small space between your faces. Nothing touched, just your interlaced hands, which rested against the door frame a little above your shoulder. His gaze hazily danced around your face, lurking by your lips before meeting your eyes.

Don’t tell me he’s waiting for permission.

You raised your free hand to his neck, not touching it. You lifted your eyebrow in question. Tae took your hand and placed it to the tender spot where his jawline met his neck. Not thinking straight, your fingers traced the outline of his face, caressing the smooth skin against your fingertips. He shut his eyes, paying his full attention to what you were doing.

Before you reached his hairline, he closed the small distance between you, softly pushing his body against yours. His lips hesitantly met yours, still waiting for some sort of sign of refusal. You gently nibbled on his lower lip, provoking a tiny grunt from him. His behavior changed in an instant as if your actions pushed him over the fine line of decency. The uncertainty left him entirely as he put both of his hand on your waist, running them behind your back, interlacing his fingers to pad you against the cool walls. His mouth grew more hungry as he kissed you more and more intensely. A growl escaped him when your tongue brushed against his, pulling you in more deeply.

Your hands found their way from his shoulders to his hair, running through the silky texture. In need of some oxygen, you parted from him, throwing your head back silently, gasping for air. Not missing a beat, he buried his face in your neck, showering it in feather-light kisses and bites. One of his hand found their way to your thigh, gently pushing it out of the way, so his knee could fit between your legs. Then he switched his hold on your leg, pulling it up to his hip as he sunk his teeth lightly into the soft skin at the base of your neck.

A whine left you and you quickly put your hand on your mouth, trying to keep as quiet as possible. As far as you could tell no one was near, Drina and Kookie probably left wherever the others went.

Running your hand to the crown of his head, you grabbed a handful of hair, pulling it back a little, forcing him to lift his head up. He shot you a questioning look under his lashes as he reemerged from your neck. With a silent chuckle, you pulled him closer with your leg on his hip. He grinned and stroked your thigh as his other hand flew up to your hair, slightly tugging it. His lips slammed against yours, drawing you in into another kiss, more raw and needy this time. Losing control over your senses, you let out a moan, having too much happening and still not enough at the same time.

“Y/n, where are you? The cab is almost here!”

Goddammit Drina, not now!

He stopped moving entirely, his lips on yours, his hands over your body. Slowly pulling away, he looked at you, not knowing what to do.

“Fuck, where is she? The taxi is waiting outside…”

Jesus Christ.

You untangled yourself for Taehyung, clearly irritated with your friend. He was still monitoring you. You phone started buzzing in your bag, and you rolled your eyes at the sound. Now he was smiling. He put both of his hands kindly around your face and rested his forehead against yours.

“Don’t worry about it. No matter where she takes you, I’ll find you. Just don’t forget to check your phone, okay?” his sudden change of mood surprised you, half expecting him to be more frustrated than you were. But he kept looking at you, still smiling warmly, waiting for your answer.

You put your hand on his face like he did with you and he pushed his nose against it playfully. How can someone be so adorable? He was literally making my knees tremble less than a minute ago.

“Don’t do anything stupid, okay? I don’t want you to get in trouble.”

“But I’m already in trouble. If she weren’t looking for you...we would be having a different conversation right now, so to speak.” Your hand grew weak as he brushed his lips against the palm of your hand while he said those words. He chuckled as he felt your arm twitch a little.

“I bet Kookie figured out a way to go out with you tonight, and I’ll be right there with him. So just be ready, okay?”

You slowly nodded. Tae pulled you into a hug, his arms protectively holding your back. Giving up on your worries, you swiftly kissed his neck.

“I’ll go outside and take her away. You should wait here a few minutes before leaving, so it won’t look weird, okay?”

“Okay. Now go before she storms in here” he laughed, letting you go on the other side of the door. You ran your fingers through your hair and shook your dizzy head a little. March on trooper!

“H/L Adrienne, where the hell are you?” you yelled in the corridor. Before you walked off, you shot a last glance at the grinning Tae, who casually stood behind the door. Before you turned away, he quickly added:

“Oh, and I hope you know that that won’t be the only moan I’ll hear from you tonight!”

------------------

By the time Tae arrived at the room where they were changing, Kookie and Jimin were done and Hobi was under the cordi noona’s expertly moving hands. All of their hair had been spray painted dark brown, faces bare and make-up free. Kook was putting on a long, loose black tank top that showed off his well-built shoulders and arms. He would never ever wear something like this, and that was the biggest reason for him to put it on. Jimin had a more tight fitting black V-neck shirt on with short sleeves and dark jeans with holes around his knees.

They looked completely different than what they looked like 20 minutes ago. It was still them, but the whole picture was unhinged somehow. Jimin threw some clothes at Taehyung, motioning for him to change quickly and wash off his face before one of them could color his hair.

Soon all four of them were ready to put Kookie’s idea to the test. As if some sort of miracle, they walked by Sejin, trying to speak in English as best as they could. The manager didn’t even look up. They stayed close to him for several minutes. At one point, Sejin pushed on his ear to activate his comms, and asked whether someone has seen the maknae. When he didn’t hear the answer he wanted, he sped away on the corridor, accidentally running into Tae.

He swiftly bowed, apologizing for his action and went on his way. The boys let him reach the corner before they shouted after him, running and laughing triumphantly.

Sejin tried to bargain his way out of his words, but it was a snowball’s chance in July. He found three security guards and assigned the boys the rules he thought necessary for them to survive the night without a scandal. After the manager said everything he could think of, two cars pulled up for them and they left for the venue Jungkook showed the driver on his phone. They were mostly silent in the car, the excitement almost visible to the naked eye.

The car navigated to a small street and stopped in front of a club. Latin music slipped out from the doors, the beat pulsating against the glass. The boys scrambled out of their seats and stood by the door for a minute, before entering.

Inside the air was heavy and warm. A cooling system was keeping the air moving and the crowd was enough to fill the space, but not too packed. Everyone had a small space for dance in without hitting or bumping into anyone. Tinted lights colored the tall room with a bigger podium stretching right in front of the DJ’s set, which hung down from the main wall. The podium was hugged by several stairs, all filled with people moving to the music.

Jimin grabbed Tae’s and Hobi’s shirt, dragging them to the bar to get a drink. The four of them settled by an empty chair, looking over the list of drinks and cocktails. Some of them Kookie knew, but he didn’t want to get hammered right now. He wanted to find you and dance for as long as possible. Either his body or Sejin will give up on him and he wanted to have the best time until then.

Everyone ordered a fairly easy, but long drink and Jimin paid for the first round. They turned around, facing the dancing people to try to find you and Drina among them.

Taki Taki came on and people cheered, settling into the more seductive beat. Kookie took a few steps ahead, already halfway through his Jack&Coke. The people around him swayed and dropped sensually, bodies grinding on each other. He looked around the lowest floor but gave up after a few seconds. His brothers followed him into the crowd, looking around like a pack of wolves, hunting for prey. He raised his eyes and stumbled on two more expertly moving bodies on the corner of the podium. Their hips moved sharply to the beat, not too fast or slow, but exactly right for the music, leaving enough space when the beat rested.

Space, the final frontier. That’s always difficult to do when dancing.

It wasn’t exactly pop and lock because of the more salsa-y, almost bachata moves surrounding the sharpness of the movement. Jimin grew curious about what had Kookie’s interest so much and followed his eyes. Appreciating good dancing is one thing and valuing two obviously talented woman was another. He twirled the straw in his drink with his tongue, ready to comment on the girls, when you turned away from facing Drina.

“Aaw fuck, I found them!”

Tae snapped his head in the direction Jimin indicated. You were singing the chorus in Spanish like it was nothing, moving your hips with amazing fluidity. Your face set in a sensual expression, half laughing and eyes closed. If that is how you looked like when drunk, Tae couldn’t wait to see your satisfied face after he had his way with you. Drina was behind you, standing back to back as you were the other night on the river bank.

“Well, Kim Taehyung, I’m a little jealous” Jimin kept his eyes on the dancing girls, only sparing a quick look at his best friend. “You never look at me like that these days.”

“Oh, I’ll look at you like this if you move your hips like that. How is that even…” his words trailed off as you snaked a more complicated move with Drina, laughing loudly.

Selena Gomez’s voice glided from all directions, raising the sexual tension in the club up a notch. You flipped your hair out of your face to the beat and did a slow body roll.

Something twitched in Tae’s stomach and suddenly his tight-fitting pants became increasingly more uncomfortable. This was the moment you decided to sing Selena’s Spanish lines, which took his sensations to an unbearable level. He should’ve never let you leave that room, but take you back to his hotel and never ever, ever leave it.

Dance as if it were the last time
And show me that little step that I do not know
A nice little kiss, baby
Taki taki
Taki taki, ¡rumba!

“With all due respect, I have to admit that this is better than most Shakira videos I’ve seen. I mean, La Tortura has nothing on this, and I loved that MV when it came out for obvious reasons.” Jimin sipped on his drink violently.

“That the one with the black inky-oily thing?”

“Yes.”

“Yeah, I get what you mean”

“Sooo our Spanish segment is about to end, I hope everyone had as much fun with it as I did!” The DJ turned the music down a little. “Now all otakus out there, are you reeaady?!”

Many people left the audiance, switching places with wildly colored heads. You remained at your spot, looking expectantly at the DJ. A row of TV screens came to life high on the walls. A green haired boy character appeared on them and some of the new people in the crowd squealed in delight.

“Some of you guessed it, our first course for the evening is last year’s fan favorite AMV. Let’s get going people!”

A more bouncy, upbeat song started playing with a woman singing evenly. The boys shared a confused look, not understanding what was going on.

“Kook-ah, do you know what this is?” Hobi shouted over the music.

“I know the anime, but I don’t know this song. They do though...”

While the boys tried to comprehend what was going on, you and Drina shifted into a different gear. Giggling wildly, you jumped around on the soles of your feet, singing along the AMV. When the chorus dropped, you were back to dancing, flipping your hair out of your face.

The DJ mixed his music well, playing various anime openings from classics to new favorites. Sometimes he added in more well known AMV’s putting the edited videos on the TV-s around you. It was nice to hear the crowd below you sing with the Japanese lead, sharing a bond with them as you sang along too.

Occasionally you put your hand on your bag, but you didn’t feel any vibrations coming from it. Maybe they couldn’t pull it off. Maybe they were back in their hotel rooms, sleeping. Maybe you won’t see him again, not tonight anyway.

Holding back your frustration, you thanked the guy behind the DJ set for putting up Skillet’s Resistance. Dragonball Super scenes flashed on the screen and seeing the character’s fighting against each other somehow smoothed out your tensions. If that was it for tonight, you’ll take it. There isn’t anything you could do, and you certainly won’t risk putting him in a bad situation or making yourself look...well, look desperate.

Enjoying the comfort of the harsher, more raw music, you let your muscle memory guide you through the song. It was nostalgic in a way. Your 17-year-old self would probably feel quite proud of herself right now, able to let go and dance to rock music, and in London, of all places. And she certainly understood the frustration of not getting any.

You let out a long sigh, throwing your head back as the last bridge built up. The fused form of Vegita and Goku plummeted into their current freaky enemy, and you smiled at the memory of how it felt to watch that for the first time. I’m such a nerd for enjoying that.

“Wow, well people. I have all these requests for heavier music, do you want another switch?” the DJ’s voice bellowed from the speakers. A loud cheer followed his words, and in response, he put on Skillet’s Feel Invincible.

Ah, fuck yes.

The music was pushing your buttons just right. You unconsciously let go of all pent up emotions and stopped squirming mentally at certain memories flashing in your mind. Singing along the song, you easily adjusted to the change of pace, feeling the most comfortable with rock and metal music.

Drina was throwing her hair around enthusiastically beside you as she danced. Unable to contain herself, she occasionally started jumping around, visibly working off her tensions. You made a quick mental note to chew her ear off tomorrow for dissing rock when she obviously enjoyed it so much more than she let on.

The chorus hit you full force and you gladly let looser under it. You couldn’t stop smiling to yourself. Feeling several pairs of eyes on you, you turned towards the crowd, feeling confident enough to catch the stares, challenging them to look away as you kept on dancing.

Most people averted their gaze, a girl with bubblegum pink hair giggled. Behind her shoulder you noticed a slim attractive guy, nodding his head to the music. Another stood next to him in a loose tank top, mouthing the words.

Something was wrong with the picture you were seeing, but you couldn’t put your finger on it. Maybe you saw them somewhere. Or they just look like someone, but you can’t recall who. Like a glitch in the Matrix, a deja vu poking at your brain.

The guy wasn’t meeting your eyes, suddenly averting his face down to shake his hair in his eyes, fluffing it up with his fingers.

Nooo, no way.

He scrunched his nose, just a little, but it was enough to make him look like a baby bunny for a second.

Well, fuck me.

He did it.

Your eyes widened in shock and he finally met your gaze. The two of you gaped at each other across a sea of partying bodies and broke into a grin at the same time. You playfully started slapping Drina’s arm to catch her attention, showing off your excitement.

They’re here, they made it!

Kookie dived into the crowd, making his way to you, putting down an empty glass on the way. Drina let out a loud squeal when he stepped up on the stairs, pulling the two of you into a tight bear hug. For the first time, he didn’t shy away and started to jump around to the music, a wide smile on his face.

The upcoming chorus dropped and the three of you enthusiastically danced along. Once the song ended, you motioned chaotically, edging him to explain the whole thing. How, who, when, how!?

He just laughed, pinching his clothes, shrugging his shoulders. Then he pointed his fingers to the spot he stood a minute ago, moving his hands in invitation. Three bodies responded to his calling, hesitantly walking through the partying crowd. All of them were mostly in black, their hair different shades of dark color. When they reached the steps you realized who they were.

“So...how does this work?” Hobi expectedly looked at you, waiting for some sort of guide to rocking out.

“Oh hyung, it’s so easy!” And with that Kookie started to jump around, bobbing his head to the beat. Hobi enthusiastically mimicked him, pulling on his sunshine smile. When Kookie turned away from him, the older brother shot Drina a desperate look, pleading for help.

“Just let go of yourself I guess, that was the trick for me” she shrugged. “Don’t think about what to do, how to move. Just follow that raw emotion and let out whatever you have closed inside that you wouldn’t in any other situation.”

The three newcomers nodded, shaking out their nerves. The last chorus exploded from the speakers and Kookie took your hand to make you turn, his back landing against yours. He jammed on an invisible guitar viciously, earning a deep chuckle from you. The others started moving too, slowly progressing from moving their heads to the drums to using more of their bodies.

Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me started playing and you burst into hysterical laughter. This was way too much 80’s for your company. Drina automatically dropped into a sultry dance, purchasing on her experience of going out with you for years. She and you knew the song, seemed like Kookie enjoyed it too, but the other three were stuck again.

Jimin studied you two girls for a few seconds before he schooled his face to a flirty arrangement.

“Okay, so is this how it is?” and with that, he began to move in a very carnal, almost erotic way, raising his eyebrows at you in a wicked question.

Sweet baby Jesus, show me mercy.

“Yeah, that’ll do. Just don’t make anyone call 911 on you”

“Why would someone…”

“So you won’t murder anyone’s ovaries by accident you pretty pretty man” Drina answered his unfinished question, messing up his dark bangs as she danced beside him. Kookie’s back rumbled against yours when he saw Jimin flustered at your friend's words.

A very familiar guitar came on with a single-sharp percussion. The maknae behind you yelped excitedly immediately when he recognized the song to be Jailhouse Rock. Hobi stuck out his hand towards Drina, pulling her into a smooth rocky step. Jimin and Jungkook furiously imitated Elvis’s famous choreo and before you knew it, your hand was swept up and Tae pulled you into his embrace. He swiftly kissed your neck before turning you twice on the spot. Your happiness couldn’t be contained anymore and you returned his kindness with a peck on his nose. He flashed a boxy smile and proceeded to bend your back against his extended arm behind you, making you arch backward.

He gently yanked you back to him, burying his face in your hair, easing you into a steady, but basic Rock’n’Roll pattern with many turns and swinging back and forth. Every time he pulled you back, he inserted a little kiss somewhere: your cheekbones, behind your ear, lightly on your fingers. The whole thing was so cute and fun, hearing a different song come on was almost devastating.

An unfamiliar tune started playing and you stopped in your tracks. Drina was intently listening next to you, her face blank.

“What is this, this is...interesting..”

The singer came on and you found it quite amusing, twisting to the merging instruments. The feeling it gave off, this undeniable sense of temptation, flirting with a stranger, whispering into their ear. (The Struts - Body Talks) Then the chorus rushed out, shocking you. You eyes mingled with the others and all of you suddenly wreaked havoc, giggling maniacally.

Jimin showed up by your side, moving his head in the direction of the bar. Before you could indicate your answer, he grabbed your hand, pulling you and the others down from your spot, maneuvering in the dancing crowd. Without asking around, he placed his order for the whole group, shamelessly smiling at the girl behind the bar. She quickly pulled up the necessary bottles, blushing intensely.

Howling for you by the Black Keys came on and you tapped your leg to the beat. Hobi handed out the drinks, placing a brownish glass in your hand.

“What's this?”

“Probably a Jack&Coke, like Kook-ah” he gestured towards the maknae, holding an identical glass. The bunny clinked his beverage to yours, still lightly dancing with his shoulders to the music.

“Right, you and Kookie have whiskey mixed with coke because that makes sense, Drina and I have Mai Tai’s because it’s fun and Hobi and Tae go with a mojito because they can’t hold their liquor for their lives,” Jimin explained, motioning to each person with his hands calmly.

“Aah, nothing does justice to the topic of sex as rock music does” Drina sighed as she took her first long sip. You repressed a knowing smile, taking note of her statement to casually throw it back at her tomorrow.

“Yeah, that sounds about right”

“Wait what, what do you mean?” Kookie’s bunny eyes met yours in surprise.

“Were these songs about….you know..” Jimin breathed on his Mai Tai.

“Yeah, several songs in the past half an hour or so have been about hot and heavy sex.” Drina chucked at them, pushing her last words with tapping her fingers on her damp glass.

“Or on the way to it” you added in, grinning nonchalantly.

The boys did a double-take, reevaluating the last 30 minutes in their heads, gasps and exasperated sighs leaving them. Jimin hid his face behind his hands, his eyes reemerging between his delicate fingers before he shut them completely. Jungkook took a long gulp of his liquor, facing away from your group, his eyes twitching ever so slightly. Tae next to you only hummed, his hand slipping on your lower back casually. You didn’t know, but he was watching your reaction from the corner of his eye. You smiled vaguely, your eyes closing for the smallest second, then upon opening them again, you jabbed a joke towards the still cringing Hobi.

Taking your behavior as a good sign, the vocalist leaned in to whisper in your ear.

“How are we going to get out of here?”

The muscles in your back tensed up under his fingers by his words. Tae couldn’t decide whether your breath stuck in you or he was just too preoccupied to notice your lungs moving on. You pulled your glass up to your mouth and took an excruciatingly long sip before meeting his eyes.

“Is it just the four of you here?”

“No, there are guards scattered around us in normal clothes.”

“Does Sejin know you’re here?”

“Yes, he let us come. We have to check in with him, especially when we leave.”

“Will one of the guards leave with you if you go?”

“I’m not sure. I think I’ll text Sejin that I’m leaving to go to sleep. And then tell the guards about it and make them believe Sejin wants them to stay. Not exactly lying to them, but implying.”

“What about the others?”

“I’ll get rid of the guys if you get rid of your friend” he shot you a smirk, hinting that he will have an easier job than you.

The conversation was ragged with the talk you had going on with the others parallelly. They didn’t show any indication that they noticed the two of you murmuring, but then again, maybe you didn’t want to see the signs. Tae’s hand drew slow, small circles by the ridge of your spine, rubbing the skin warm under it.

You had a difficult time to pay attention to the others, constantly getting distracted by Taehyung’s hand roaming around your back, creating wildfire-like ripples across your senses. The music was beating in your ear, the lights were dimmed and you wanted to disappear with him in the midst of the ever pulsating mass of bodies around you, leaving the others to do whatever they want to. A small part of your mind pricked at you to make sure they get back to their beds safely, but with the safety net of guards around them, you trusted nothing bad will happen to them.

The music shifted and the crowd cheered. Familiar songs followed each other one by one. Intrigued, you monitored the boys' reaction, waiting for one of their songs to play. At first, they didn’t seem to notice the K-Pop blaring from the speakers. While you were sidetracked by a never stopping group of fingers on you, the others went into some sort of debate about what alcohol is the most dangerous or something like that.

Monsta X’s Hero resonated from the speakers and all the sudden the bubble burst: the boys looked around, Drina’s eyes met yours. Before you could protest, Kookie grabbed your hand and dragged you back to the dancefloor. Your small group formed a small circle in the crowd, blending in with the dancing mass.

Seeing the boys dance to their fellow artist’s music would’ve been a fun experience if not for that burning sensation left by Taehyung’s hand. He stayed close to you, fooling around with Jimin, mimicking the original dance moves of the MV’s.

“So, how are things?”

You jumped a little in surprise, not noticing Drina sneaking up on you. She pushed her hips to yours to keep you dancing on.

“I think I...need a distraction?”

“I don’t follow”

“I need to get out of here without being completely obvious.”

“Ah, someones doing a walk of shame tomorrow, you little…” Your friend snickered at you.

“Oh, so you’re not doing anything after this? Going home, sleeping in your own bed and all that?” you playfully narrowed your eyes in her direction, knowing full well she has been texting Jin for the better part of the night.

“Oh no, I’m going to ‘drop’ the boys off at their hotel and sneak in his room somehow. Not sure how, but I’ll think of something.”

“You could put on a maid uniform. I bet he would love that.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, that….wait what? You think so?” she stopped in her tracks, giving you a serious look.

“No, but it would’ve been hilarious to imagine you sneaking on a maid’s clothes and knock on his door. The line between genius and crazy is pretty thin you know.”

“Now I can’t stop thinking about what kinks he has, thanks for that.”

“I expect a full report on that first thing tomorrow noon young lady”

An eerie sound hit the two of you and you froze in recognition. Blood, Sweat, and Tears crept from the speakers and the dancing people around you echoed sounds of delight.

“Fuck me!” Drina sighed through her teeth, dreading what will happen now. Kookie appeared by her, his face twisted into an evil grin. He pulled her close by her waist, cackling at her objections. Hobi joined him, caging the girl on both sides, going their choreo around her in freestyle.

Not realizing the imminent danger you were in, you giggled at your friend’s predicament, but you were sharing it in no time. Jimin took your hand, drawing you close to his body, his eyes smiling mischievously. He proceeded to drop into a squat, slowly coming back up, raising an alarming number of goosebumps in his way.

Holy shit.

Trying to hold it together, you shook your head. A warm embrace came from behind you. Hands found their way on your hips, nudging them to start moving under their guidance. Tae was framing you just like Hobi was caging Drina. He was singing along with the recorded version of Suga, his breath tickling your ears.

My blood, sweat and tears
My body, mind, and soul
I know well they're all yours
This is a spell that will punish me

The boys danced against you, tormenting your senses to the fullest extent. Seeing this live was intense enough, but feeling it this close by both ‘95 liners was a wet dream by all accounts. Not knowing how to handle it, you glanced at Drina, who was equally overwhelmed and shaken by the experience. She cocked her eyebrow at you, and you swiftly nodded.

The next chorus was building up, and when the beat dropped you did too. Both you and Drina found yourself squatting down, and you smirked at her for understanding each other. You snaked your body upward, doing your best to muster all your bravery together to pull off a sensual dance against two trained professionals. They were both startled at first but kept going nonetheless. Tae’s hands found their way back to you, turning you to face him when it was his turn to sing the chorus.

Jimin closely hugged you, keeping you dancing, as Tae tilted his chin a little higher, shamelessly flirting while singing. You mind clouded with desire, promising yourself that this is the last song, you are definitely leaving after this.

When the last notes were finished, you looked for Drina’s eyes and once they were met, you indicated towards the exit. She nodded, waving you a small goodbye. You saw her take Jimin’s hand, motioning towards the bar, and the dancer followed her gladly. The other two boys walked behind them, assuming that you were following.

Lips slammed against yours and his hands found their way to your body, one of them tangling in your hair. Unable to think straight, you let him sweep you off your feet, directing you towards the entrance. Your back hit someone and you giggled in his mouth, still mid-kissing. Breaking apart from him, you turned around, took his hand and walked towards the door.

The air outside felt chilly after the humid club. Your body welcomed the opportunity to cool down. The street was empty, a lone street light shining by the corner.

“I’ll text Sejin, you call a cab, okay?” his voice resonated against your neck as he swiped a quick kiss against it. You hummed in agreement, locking your arm with his, guiding him down the street towards the road where cars were moving. Stopping by the corner, you hailed a cab. Tae put away his phone, grinning triumphantly. The two of you climbed in the back of the black cab, and the driver asked in the front:

“So where to?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 7

“So where to?” the driver looked at you expectedly.

“Uh..” You didn’t think this entirely through. ‘Your place or mine’ is one of the dustiest pickup lines in history, but for some reason, you have no idea where to go now. Taehyung saw your hesitation and pointed his hand to you. “Your place!” he mouthed quickly in Korean.

Huh...okay.

You gave the taxi driver the apartment's address where you were staying, quickly cataloging the state of your room in your mind. Clothes hanging on the only chair in the room, your suitcase flung open, stuff inside scattered thoroughly, the bed’s contents in an untidy heap. Well, the latter probably won’t change anytime soon. A light amused chuckle left you as you laid back in your seat, swiping your hand in your hair.

Tae next to you drank in the situation he was in. Not wanting to speak with a stranger driving the car, he bit down on his mouth, his eyes roaming on your body. You closed your eyes, hanging your head back a little on the backseat, a hint of a smile playing on your lips. Your hair clung to your neck like spiderwebs, tainted with sweat. Small pearls of moisture shined in different colors on your upper body, as the different lights on the street painted them vividly. Your slender legs crossed, drawing an elegant curve from your knees to your toes in the cramped space of the car.

He wanted to study every small part of you, understanding every line and bend of your body. What made you smile, laugh, ticklish or moan.

The windows slowly developed dew as the car sped by several streets, entering a more suburban area with identical houses rowing past as far as the eye could see. Tae didn’t notice that you caught him staring at you, your lips parting little in delight. When your gazes met you arched your eyebrow at him, egging him closer. He unconsciously leaned in, giving in to his instinct when the car softly stopped moving, the driver stating his fee.

Disappointment took over Tae for a second when you snapped your head towards the driver, thanking him for the ride. You rummaged in your bag for a few seconds before giving him a bundle of cash, bidding him a good night and a good shift. The two of you climbed out and the cool night enveloped you in its inky darkness. Taehyung looked around the street, weirded out by the matching houses with the same coloring in all directions. You confidently walked over to one of the several building’s staircases, looking for a key in your bag. How you knew which door was yours, he had no idea. All he could pay attention was your swaying hips, escalating up the stairs in small hops, the muscles in your legs flexing and relaxing.

He shadowed behind you, leaning in close by the time you insterted the keys, sharply turning them and opening the door. You walked ahead and he followed you in, closing the door and yanking in you back to him, crashing you into the wall. You bag fell from your hands, contents spilling out from it, but you couldn’t care less.

He spread your arms away from your body to the wall and stepped between your legs. Your breath raggedly fanned against his wet lips, your eyes intensely locking together. Not breaking eye contact, he swiped his tongue across his lower lip, his body slowly leaning in on you.

You moved your head towards his, kissing the corner of his mouth. He kissed back, pushing your head back against the wall. His hands cupped your face, his cool touch meeting your burning skin. Lips battled against lips, tongues tangled in fierce dances. The house was filled with the small sounds of uneven panting.

Your hands flew to his torso, sliding under his loose shirt. The skin on his back felt smooth under your fingertips, the arc of his back intertwining with tensing cords of muscles under your caress. A hiss left you when he pulled one of his hands between your legs, your nails curling against his lower back. Tae chuckled at your reaction and pulled away from your lips, giving it a quick lick before his eyes danced around your face as if he was memorizing it to the last detail.

Tilting your head by the wall, you raised your chin slightly. You tugged on his shirt, indicating your dissatisfaction with the excess amount of clothes on him. He immediately pulled it off, throwing the piece of cloth on the stairs leading up from the foyer. A pleased smile was his reward as you welcomed his bare-chested figure. He nuzzled his nose against yours, smiling happily. His hands found their way to your bare skin under your shirt, giving your hips a small squeeze.

Planting a kiss on his nose, you started walking up the stairs to your room, pulling him after you, grabbing his shirt from the floor. His hands stayed on your hips as you walked up, only stopping where you were supposed to take off your shoes. Pulling free the laces, you struggled the boots off while Tae simply kicked off his shoes. You ended up sitting on the floor to safely get the tight fitting pair off and you blew your heavy hair out of your face in frustration.

Taehyung squatted down in front of you, a small smile playing on his features.

Oh really, you think this is funny?

Without giving it much thought, you yanked him down, climbing over him as he laid flat on his back in surprise. If memory served you right, he is supposed to be ticklish, so you attacked his sides and he howled in amazement. He instantly attacked back and you rolled back and forth, fighting for dominance, laughter shaking both of you.

Your sudden assault amused him so much. He should be nervous, excited, feverishly tense by now. He never done anything close to tonight and instead of being scared of messing it up, he was laying on the floor in a random house in London, tickling and laughing and completely at ease with you. The attacks slowed down and his laughter died down to small giggles. You were laying by his side, your face scrunched with chuckling lowly.

Ever since the club, you didn’t utter a single word. Not too long ago you were complete strangers, walking past one another on the empty river bank in a strange city far away from his home. Nonetheless, he was completely comfortable with you and you didn’t need anything to say to make him understand you. He marveled at the mirth you radiated, laying on a random floor, under his tentative fingers. Your eyes fluttered open to find his and you raised your hand to his lips, stroking against it lightly with your fingertip.

Feeling coy, he gently bit on the extended finger and your eyes grew wider. Not thinking straight, he claimed your faintly open mouth, sucking on your tongue as he positioned himself above you. Most of his upper weight rested on his elbow, the carpet rubbing into his skin, but he didn’t care about a little pain. You rearranged your body to accommodate him more comfortably, your hands dancing on his skin. Goosebumps raised after your fingertips and a low growl ripped from him when he felt your nails lightly dig in.

He decided that the little fabric you had on is too much for his liking. He raised his torso and put both of his hand on the lower hem of your top. Not knowing how to get it off, he just yanked on it in protest. Smiling up to him, you found the side zipper with ease and pulled it down. The material loosened up on your torso, and as Tae pulled it above your head, you lifted yourself up a little.

Snowlike skin was illuminated by moonlight and a black lacy bra hugged your chest snugly. The pretty fabric highlighted against your fair complexity, loose bits of embroidery fanning across your upper body. Taehyung wanted to capture the image in front of him in any way possible. A drawing, a photo, a painting, whatever that could live up to this.

Still not having enough, he pulled you up to stand in front of him while he remained on his knees. Placing his fingers on your short he looked up in question. You nodded in reply, signaling him to pull the small pants off of you. Without much fuss, he undid the buttons and gently tugged them down with the stockings. You raised one leg after the other to help him completely get rid of the materials.

There you were, standing in front of him, only your jet-black lingerie on. His hands lovingly touched your bare skin and your body unconsciously tensed up wherever his fingers traveled. His breathing skipped a beat when he noticed your phoenix tattoo by your left hip bone, curving together with the edge of your body. His fingertips followed the lines of the bird’s long tail feathers, feeling the ridges where the needle injected the ink under your skin. His lips met the winged animal, leaving warm kisses on its location. He felt you shudder by the sensation, your stomach clenching. He curved his lips against you, appreciating the effect he had on you.

Getting up from the floor he made a trail of kisses from your hip bone to your neck through your stomach and chest. His tongue lingered by your breasts, sucking a little on the sweet heap of flesh. A small moan escaped you, taunting him to mark you his. Finally coming back to eye level, he nuzzled his nose again, treasuring the look of arousal on your face.

Not knowing where your room was, he looked around the house, looking for a bedroom of sorts. A faint chuckle hit his ears. Looking back at you he saw you pointing behind him. Forgetting that there was a door behind him, he turned quickly, walking in the room enthusiastically. The room was filled with white and beige colored furniture and decor with a suitcase by a relatively high bed. A big window’s shadow drew a silhouette on the messy bed, looking over a garden behind the house. Clothes were scattered around and he noticed the red robe you were wearing last night. Looking back on you, his eyes find you by the door frame, leaning onto it with a smile playing on your face.

Taehyung gently took your hand and led you to the bed, mildly pushing you to sit on the edge. The bed was just the right height, positioning your legs by his lean hips. You hooked your index finger in his belt, drawing him closer. He buried his face in your hair, breathing in your scent deeply. Taking a little step back, his free hand nudged your knees apart and you gladly did his bidding. You wrapped your legs around him, drawing him closer. His firm erection pushed against you, chasing friction through his tight-fitting pants. His hand combed into your hair by your nape and yanked it down so you would look up to his dilated pupils.

A whimper left you, your need growing between your legs where he started to grind slowly but strongly. Loving the strong hold on your hair, you fought a little against it, earning a hungry kiss. His fingers found the spot where you needed him the most, at first faintly stroking your clothed core, but getting more hurried as your moans grew louder.

Not being able to wait any longer, you undid his pants and he kicked it off quickly. Keeping a hand on his torso, you scooted back on the bed, aiming for him to hover above you. Kneeling by you, Tae lowered his head to your panties, biting on the tender spot next to your hip bone. His breathing on the sensitive patch intoxicated your senses, making you grab onto the sheets. A pair of his fingers pulled your underwear away, feeling your wetness for the first time. A hiss left his swollen lips, throwing you an incredulous look that you never had a chance to notice.

He crawled to lay by you, still massaging your velvety entrance. You nestled your face by his shoulder, you ragged breathing intensifying his desire to feel you all over him. As if you’re reading his mind, you pulled his face down and kissed him, needily biting down on his lip.

You let out a soft cry when his finger entered you, curling it against your tight walls. Soon he added another digit, deliciously stretching you, picking up the pace of his ministrations, rendering you to tense up as your orgasm reached you. As you hit your high, you arched your back, clawing on the sheets.

Thanking him with airy kisses you relaxed for a second before palming his erection. He breathing hitched in his throat, and frantically yanked down his tight underwear, giving it a good kick when it landed on his ankle. Applying some pressure, you started to caress his length, earning carnal moans from him. It was his turn to pull you into a kiss, his whimpers resonating against you. Quickening your pace, his breathing became more and more ragged, his torso tensing under your hand.

When he thought he couldn’t take it any longer, he flipped you on your back and moved between your legs, hitching them up higher as he leaned up above you, searching for another kiss. With one hand between your thighs, he placed himself against your weeping entrance and with one swift motion, slid into you agonizingly slow.

Both of you moaned out, gasping for more air. In need for more friction, you pushed against him, getting a half-chuckle, half-growl in return. With a new thrust, his lips returned to yours, and you could taste his muffled whimpers on your tongue. The two of you started to move on unison, chasing the other’s desire to reach higher levels of pleasure. He palmed your breast, pulling away the thin fabric to suck on your nipple while you lightly dug your nails in his back, drawing pink lines on his muscles. Repositioning his knees a little closer to you, he dug into you deeper, cajoling his name out of you framed in a breathy moan.

Wet skin slapping against skin mixed with your constant whines, taking your arousal up a notch. His moans against your ear were deliciously sinful, and you couldn’t help but arch your back against his hand palming your breasts tenderly.

He pushed himself off of you, placing his hands by your shoulders, he picked up the pace. Your moans matched the pace of his thrusts, you bust bouncing by his force. Your hand gripped his wrist, trying to keep yourself in place. He murmured your name raggedly, hurriedly, pleadingly. His eyes were filled with lust, unwaveringly looking at you, asking for your gaze to meet his while his penetrations got more explosive.

Suddenly he stopped moving.

Suprised, you looked up to see him concentrating hard, his eyes shut tightly. His jaw clenched firmly, his body twitching in the effort before he relaxed.

Understanding his need, you stopped too, giving him a little breather. When he reopened his eyes, he seemed to be worrying. You smiled at him, kissing his arm. You know it was close for him to come, and he desperately didn’t want to, not yet. Reaching up to his cheek, you wiped his wet bangs out of his face. He smiled back at you sheepishly, giving your fingers a peck.

Pushing him up by his torso, you initiated a change of positions. You weren’t sure what to go for, not being able to decide what would you rather do. Not that it mattered, because he did have an idea in his head. Ever since you walked up in front of him on the stairs on the street he sorely wanted to do this.

Taehyung pulled you to your knees beside him and attacked your neck ferociously. He found a small spot under your ear which earned him shaky shudders and whimpers. The sounds you made drove him insane, never hearing anything more thrilling and urging in his life.

Aiming you to face away from him, he pulled your bare back against his lightly sweaty chest, his fingers caressing your breasts. One of his hands found their way back to your core, and you let out a long sigh when he rubbed you fast, his hand snapping intensely. Your upper body fell back on him and he gladly supported you as you broke apart by his treatment.

His erection twitched against your back as your whimpers became more pitched. Not wanting to leave him out of the fun, you bent over, placing your elbows on the bed’s headboard. A long hiss left him at the outstretched sight of you, cursing under his breath. He spread your legs and positioned his length behind you. Swiftly filling you up, he gasped at your tightness, eyes rolling back in his head.

Crying out in pleasure, you grabbed on the headboard. Tae pulled back, only to thrust into you again and again and again. Not being able to take it, you lowered your chest on the pillows, chanting his name as a mantra. His pace was becoming excrutiatingly wonderful, his pants peppered with more and more whines. The mattress begged for dear life beneath the two of you. Slamming your hand against the wood, you pushed yourself back for more.

Without missing a beat, he repositioned himself, pulling one of his knees up, feet placed firmly on the bed. The new angle guided him to reach your G-spot and you cried out continuously after each thrust, reaching your climax several times. Your sounds, your tensing body threw him over the edge, his hips violently slamming against you. A deep, animalistic growl crept from his gritted teeth before he slowed down and then finally stopped.

Scooting quickly, Tae caught you and tenderly placed your fiery body beside him. You stretched out, and much like a cat extended your limbs before curling up into a ball. He reached out with his hand, and you accepted it, interlacing your fingers. A tired laugh crept from you making your frame shudder a little.

“Are you okay?” his hooded eyes met yours.

“Mmm I’m feeling quite heavenly” you stretched out again, rolling from your side to your back, extending as far as you could. “How about you?”

“I…that was amazing. You are amazing.”

“Kim Taehyung, are you trying to make me blush?” you chuckled with your eyes closed, feeling the last bits of extasy in your system. “But thank you. And you are amazing too. That was mindblowing.”

He hummed in agreement, exhaustion washing over him finally. Not wanting to fall asleep, he shook his head a little.

“We should get cleaned up” you groaned next to him, mustering your energy to raise yourself from the mattress. Bouncing off the springs, you climbed to your feet, feeling the strained muscles in your body stiffening up. You welcomed the familiar tingling sensation, stretching again as you stood. Taking in your lithe frame, he wondered how long it would take for him to recharge and have another go. Maybe in the morning.

You started walking out the room, grabbing an elastic from the pile of stuff from your suitcase, pulling up your hair into a pile of curls by your nape. The bathroom was next door and you let the water run a little so it would warm up in a few seconds. Glass walls enclosed the small space, the surface getting battered with pearls of water.

Tae realized you were about to take a shower a few steps away from him, and you left the door open. Hesitating whether it would be appropriate for him to go after you, he quietly got to his feet, sneaking to the doorframe. You were in front of the mirror, taking off your make up gently, rubbing a fluffy cotton on your eyes. You were done in no time and you noticed him standing by the door, watching you.

“That different, huh?”

He shook his head at your words, taking a few steps toward you.

“No, I just didn’t realize you have no concealer on. Your skin is really lovely you know.” Not waiting for your answer, he grabbed your wrist carefully, pulling you under the shower. The jet of warm water fell on his head, big drops ran from his hair onto his lashes, creeping down his neck and continuing their way downwards. Soaking in the toasty massage of the pressure, he let out a long, happy sigh, then tugged on your wrist, inviting you under the showerhead.

You shivered when the first beads hit your skin, still sensitive after having sex. Taehyung’s hands helped the water spread on you before he pulled you into a hug, paying attention not to get your hair wet. Placing small kisses against your shoulder, traveling up on your neck, then jawline, he heard you exhale sweetly. He happily noticed how your arms tightened on his back and he squeezed back, not wanting this shower to end. He didn’t care about the strain he put on his body that day, the cloudiness filling his mind or the ache in his legs. Your smooth skin was pressed against his, your breathing matched his and he was happy he made you happy.

Your hands moved from his back, grabbing something from the wall behind him. The balmy scent of vanilla and nutmeg enveloped his senses. He held out his hand for the shower gel and you gave it to him. Pressing the bottle, he put some product in his hand and rubbed it on your sides, loving the slippery feel on your skin. Proceeding all over your upper body, he marveled at your birthmarks, reminding him of star constellations. His hand met your tattoo, fingertips drawing out the outline with small bubbles.

Soon your hands traveled around him too, gently spreading the scented gel over his relaxed body. You gave his shoulders a squeeze and he moaned lightly, urging you to work on his exhausted muscles. Steadily massaging your way across his back, he gratefully grunted, signaling which parts needed more attention. When you reached full circle you pushed him under the showerhead, rinsing away the last bits of the product.

He pulled you close again, washing off the bubbles. His wet lips left a watery kiss on your nose, then nuzzled against it, happy sounds leaving him. Humming gladly, you turned off the water and quickly grabbed two towels before either of you could get cold in the absence of the warm water.

Rubbing yourself dry thoroughly, you started to shiver, so instead of waiting for him to finish, you ran back to the bed, quickly yanking the covers over you. He chuckled in the doorway before walking back. You heard the hairdryer turn on, the constant buzzing placing heavy weights on your eyelids. Without noticing it, you started to drift off, half asleep, when the sound stopped and the covers moved. His hands found your waist and he pulled you in closer. You curled against him, your face resting by his neck. A soft kiss fell on your hair, and he murmured good night as sleep claimed you.

Chapter Text

Chapter 8

Warm weights hugged you loosely. Sensing bright sunlight against your closed eyelids, you turned away from the window, burying your face in the pillow next to you. The soft material held a wonderful fragrance of faint sandalwood. Breathing in the smooth scent, an unconscious smile enveloped your face.

Peaceful quiet hung around you, alluring you to fall back asleep. A sweet tingle resonated by your lower abdomen, and you gladly stretched it out, pulling the sensation over your entire body. A lazy catlike yawn left you with happy sounds.

Then it suddenly hit you. The smell, the tingle. The sounds of wet skin meeting skin.

The feel of an empty bed.

What the...

You sat up with a bolt. All reminiscence of sleepiness was gone, adrenalin streaming in your veins with blistering speed. Whipping around your head, you scanned the room and the house. No noises, no movement.

You were alone.

Questioning your sanity, you went back to your room. Clothes were scattered by your wake. Not caring about the mess, you sat back down on the bed. The pillow’s scent...and the clothes... Two towels hung on the door. You are not crazy, you were not alone last night.

There was a small piece of paper by the nightstand, a pen resting on top of it. Snatching it up, you saw a small messy drawing. Tilting the paper sideways, the bold strokes framed a woman laying on her side, her hair fanning her face and shoulders. A window hovered by her, a crescent moon in the upper right corner.

Is that...me?

Full of questions, you stared at the wall. Uneasy sadness clawed at you, coping with the sense of being alone. He is gone. Probably left early in the morning. Without saying anything. Without you knowing what is next.

Who said there is anything next?

Snapping away, you shook your head. That was stupid. Of course that was it. Just a fun one night stand. No strings or anything. It was foolish to entertain the thought of anything more than that. You know better than this.

Your emotions completely ignored your rational head, like a young girl not paying attention to her mother’s warning. Raging against the cold and painful logic of it all, something inside you wailed at the sight of the pillow next to yours, still holding the shape of someone sleeping on them.

You hung your head, your eyes meeting the piece of paper in your hands. The longer you looked at it, the more details you saw in the deep blue colored drawing. The bold lines had small tiny strokes around them. Lighting was properly introduced, and shadows were correctly shaded.

Defeated by his last little gift, your lips let a long sigh slip out. Trying to change the course of your thoughts, you got up and put your clothes away. Busying your hands cleaned your mind. Once the room was tidy, you stood by the messy bed, not wanting to rearrange the way he left it. But that’s stupid. This is not how he left it, and it’s not like it holds any value. Your heart tugged at you as you boldly grabbed the covers, smoothing it out on the mattress.

Doing everything you could in the empty room, you thought about a cold shower. Maybe that would chase this feeling of loneliness away. But you stopped by the doorway. Your eyes met the shower gel. The scent. The feeling of hands on your waist.

I need to get my head out of my ass.

The sound of the door opening reached your ears. Your heart jumped in your throat at lightning speed and you quickly yanked a big shirt over your head. Glancing out in the hallway, you saw a dark headed person enter. They had big, loose clothes on with a bag held in their hand. Not having enough light down the stairs, you squeezed your eyes for better focus.

“Whatcha looking at?”

You jumped at your friend's words.

“Aah fuck Drina” you hissed “you scared me.”

“Expecting someone else, eh?”

“I...yeah, I think I did”

“Not to burst your bubble, but I don’t think Taehyung will be back anytime soon.”

“Yeah, I’ve gathered.”

“If he got caught out of his hotel room or sneaking in, he is probably in huge trouble by now.”

Agitation hit your head like a truck. Drina is right. Did he get back okay? Did he get caught? Your friend chuckled at your concerned face.

“Don’t worry, he wasn’t. We met by the stairs in the hotel, so I think it is safe to say he’s alright. Nobody found out he is not in his room during the night, Jin would’ve known.”

“Oh really? How did that go by the way? Any kinks the world needs to know about?”

“Let me put it this way: that man has every right to be confident. Come to the kitchen with me, I need some kiss and tell with some breakfast.” And with that, she glided by the stairs, dropping off everything in her hands by the shoes. You followed her to the kitchen table, welcoming the change of pace in your train of thought.

The two of you swiftly whipped out a colorful breakfast and exchanged stories from last night. Apparently, none of the guys could hold a candle to Jimin’s drinking, Hobi did a dance battle with some random dudes and Kookie got worried about where you and Tae have gone. It took more than a few drinks to pacify his questions until he froze in his place, indicating the instant when the penny dropped in his head. Drina recalled the moment with sly fondness, as if he was her little brother, losing a bit of his innocence for her amusement.

Giggling at the maknae’s naivete, you realized how much you missed that little fluff of a bunny too. All of them in fact. How much better this morning would be if they were all there with you, cutting fruit up and preparing eggs by the stove.

Going on with the story, Drina explained how she was smuggled in the hotel and how the eldest swept her off her feet the second she entered his room. Jin was more free with his words, letting Drina know how he’ll figure out a way to keep in touch after she leaves in the morning. The way she repeated his words it became clear to you that you weren’t the only one who had a hard time coming over your emotions with steely logic. While Drina did not seem sad or down, her smiles didn’t quite reach her eyes. She had every reason to believe Jin, but she didn’t dare to let herself to hope.

Understanding her feelings, you put on a show of smiles and giggles too. Sitting by the table, you’ve eaten and then settled on the couch filled with plush pillows and fluffy blankets. Your legs tangled together, sharing the warmth of one another.

“We’re a mess, aren’t we?” She finally let the sadness out with a dry smile.

“Yeah, and all it took them was a day.”

“Day and a half, be fair.”

“Right, 36 hours sound so much better.”

“What do you think?”

“About?” you raised your eyebrow at her.

“Well...about what will happen? When will they call, will they be allowed to?”

“Ah, I...look, I don’t even know whether Tae would want to reach out. At least Jin told you so. He told you he would fight for you.”

“Don’t be ridiculous Y/n.” Drina snorted at you. “Just because he didn’t fling around big words, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to stick around. I mean he literally drew you while you were asleep. That is one hell of a way to tell you he likes you, okay?”

“Yeah, I guess it is.” A sad smile settled on you. “As for your question, I have no idea. I mean I don’t have the slightest clue what will happen. Their whole background suggests that we don’t have any reason to wait for the phone to ring. Then again, the last day in the extreme opposite of that. So… ah, I don’t know. But I know one thing for sure. We shouldn’t try from our end if they don’t get in contact.”

“I agree… however maddening it will be. It is no use if they don’t find a way. It would only be more painful if it doesn’t work out.”

Nodding at her words, you started to talk about what to do that day. Planning and then actually going through with all the activities eased up the enveloping sadness the two of you felt. Going from store to store, you tried on various clothes, shoes, and anything that you felt like putting on. The colorful blur of materials swooped by, but in the end, you didn’t buy much. Somehow it didn’t bring the same joy it usually did.

Carrying your bags with you, the two of you went for a little sightseeing, taking pictures and posting some online. The whole experience should have been nostalgic and fun, crossing Baker street, grabbing your favorite sandwich from Pret, but it didn’t bring the usual sense of familiar comfort.

Night fell, and you found yourself in a typical English bar, sipping on your double rum&ginger while cheerful Irish folk music played in the back. The alcohol didn’t untangle you as you wished. The music was harsh against your ears, the cheery shouts bothering you. After two drinks, you and Drina got up, paid for the tab and left.

Soon you were back in your room, holding the piece of paper. Without thinking about it, you snapped a picture of it and posted it on Instagram with a black and white filter on it. As a caption, you only put a star and moon emoji. A few likes floated in in the next few minutes as you stared at the small screen.

If it only was a few hours earlier.

-------------------------

Taehyung felt his phone vibrate on the nightstand. He quickly shut down the alarm, trying his best not to wake you. The moon hung low, illuminating your slowly breathing frame under the light covers. You lips slightly parted, your hair hung under your jaw as you slept on your side, snuggling into his shoulder.

A stupefied smile crept on him as he watched you peacefully dream. Before he could think it through, he raised his hand to the apples of your cheek, stroking it gingerly. You broke into a happy smile and he couldn’t help but marvel at your features. Still held by the dream, you curled into his hand and let out a long exhale.

The vocalist looked at his phone, it was only 4:24 am. There were no notifications of missed calls or angry texts, so he was pretty sure he was in the clear. At least for now. He needed to get back to his room before Sejin goes around to wake every member. Tae had no idea how far away his hotel was from the house he was in. And he had to get a cab and navigate the driver back without being recognized.

He looked back down at you. You stirred a little under his touch, your nose meeting the palm of his hand. Tae lowered his face to your forehead, giving you a gentle kiss between your eyebrows.

He knew he had to go. He knew it is better this way, without saying goodbye out loud. It would be downright impossible if you were awake when the door closes behind him. Maybe you wouldn’t be sad. Maybe you would be content, or putting on a happy face. Maybe you could change the situation as you did back on the bank of the Thames. But he couldn’t bring himself to break you away from your slumber to risk causing you sorrow. He was scared of what he would do if you’d ask him to stay.

“Are you alright?”

His breath got caught in his throat when he heard your slurred words. You sleepy eyes were only half-open, a small crease developing between your eyebrows.

Not daring to say anything, Tae hummed in agreement. You nodded, satisfied with his answer and proceeded to turn around, laying on your other side, your back turned to him.

Absent-mindedly, Taehyung scooted behind you, placing his hand on your waist, burying his face in your curls. You wiggled backward a little so your bodies would press against each other more. The movement was completely innocent but ended up causing more friction by his crotch than necessary for a cuddle.

Withstanding a groan, he bit the inside of his mouth as his erection grew. He did not take into account you unconsciously arousing him again and now he was left fighting either against leaving with a boner or giving in and having to part with you while you were awake.

You moved again, pulling your legs up closer to your body, making your butt push against him again. A tiny whine slipped out of his heart-shaped lips before he bit down on them. The tension felt more and more urging and he couldn’t keep his head straight enough to decide on what to do.

His ears met a light chuckle. Surprised, he looked at your hair only to see you twist back enough for your eyes to meet. Hunger met with amusement as you turned to lay on your back, you hand finding its way to the nape of his neck. Instinct kicked in when the two of you enveloped each other, finding the familiar sweet spots of each other you’ve discovered earlier. A whimper was followed by a groan, a hand met burning soft skin, teeth nibbled on earlobes. His waist was soon caged by your legs and he lovingly caressed your upper body before biting into the tender flesh by your neck.

A low chuckle left you and he joined in on it. He placed a small kiss under your ear before carefully entering you. A labored sigh flew by his ear before he slowly, but steadily started to move. Instead of clawing on his back, your hand wrapped around him, gently holding on. His mouth found yours and lazy dance began, lips hugging and tongues tangling. His thrusts synced up with his kissing and you appreciatively moaned out.

He slowed down a little, enough for him to be able to lift one of his hands to your face, tenderly touching it. Mirroring him, you swept your hand up from his back to his neck, pulling him closer. Forehead resting against forehead, the tip of his nose reaching yours occasionally as he continued to move on.

There was nothing hurried or fast this time. Silent moans and whimpers echoed in the room, a stark opposite to the feverish hunger from a few hours ago. Taehyung nuzzled his nose to you and you placed a light kiss on it, earning a warm smile.

His hold changed, securing a more firm grasp on you. Tucking in his head by your shoulder, a low grunt left him as he picked up the pace. Heavy pants heated your hair and neck and you arched against him, making his stabs go deeper. Tension rose and exploded in your stomach as you rode on your orgasm, your eyes rolling back in your head in pleasure. Tae followed you in his own high, releasing in your clenching hold. He gladly kissed you, fully giving in to his ecstasy.

Small beads of sweat formed on his back and he got up to open the window to cool down. The lowest line on the sky started to turn into a brighter shade of deep blue by the horizon. Pushing back on his growing worry, he turned to face you. A lazy smile played on your features, your eyes closed in curved half moons.

He kneeled down beside the bed, close to where your head was. He reached out to stroke your hair before he realized you were asleep again. His hand stopped midair. This was the perfect opportunity for him. He can go now.

But leaving without anything seemed cruel to him. Looking around, he wanted to leave something. Something you can hold onto when you wake up. Something to comfort you instead of him, because he won’t be here to welcome you when the morning rose you from sleeping.

A block of paper drew in his attention on the desk. It was small, but it was clear of lines or logos. He pulled a piece off and took out a pen. Positioning himself on the floor, he began to draw, carefully using the permanently settling ink on the white sheet. A swift stroke shaped your curvy side, small motions penned down your hair.

Once he was done, he placed the paper by your head on the nightstand. Moving as soundlessly as possible, he gathered his things and got dressed. Checking his phone again, he looked back at you from the doorframe. You lay there, motionless and soundly dreaming. The cover barely reached your shoulder, showing off your beautiful skin against your seemingly dark hair under the moonlight. Remembering his earlier wish, he pulled up the camera mode on his phone and silently took a picture of his view. Then, with a heavy sigh, he tore his eyes away and turned his back on the room, walking past the hallway, down the steps, grabbing the handle on the front door. Not allowing himself to stop there, he opened it and stepped outside.

A light breeze welcomed him on the street. Trying not to think about the finality of closing the door, he pulled on it, hearing the click of metal as the lock slipped back into place.

Taehyung quickly darted off towards a busy looking road, thinking about the hotel’s name he was staying at, trying to pronounce it clearly so the taxi driver will understand him. He looked back only for a second on the street, instantly pulling his eyes to the door he just closed. Now he knew how you recognized it in the never-ending row of identical houses. He won’t be able to forget it.

A black cab pulled up to him and he successfully made the driver understand his destination. Luckily, the guy was the silent type, not bothering to chat or to even look at him in the backseat. His thought ran in his head, thinking about whether he could’ve done a better job at any point.

Maybe I should’ve written something instead of drawing.

----------------------------

Another morning came by and left. And another. And another.

The waiting has turned into endless torture. By the fourth day, you refused to hope anymore. The boys probably already left London, preparing for their next concert in Paris.

At first, you tried to go along with Drina’s scheme of busying yourself in the city. But there is so much the English capital can do for you that you couldn’t even do for yourself. Soon both of you gave up on being sensible and let the wallowing out. The house was mostly quiet, the only sounds coming from laptops playing some sort of show or the noises of eating in the kitchen.

You couldn’t say anything that you didn’t already say before. All you could do is live through your emotions now, accepting them and binge-watch A Discovery of Witches. And The Promised Neverland. And Dororo. The list went on embarrassingly long.

By the last day of your stay, your mind cleared up a little. Your heart didn’t feel as heavy as you packed in your belongings in the suitcase laying on the floor. You put out your clothes for the flight, including a comfy pair of black leggings, white tank top, and your red kimono. It felt right to have it on you, drawing strength from the bold colors. Gently picking up the pen drawing, you inserted in the pages of the book you were carrying, but never bothered to actually try to read. Your mind wasn’t in the right set to concentrate on the pages.

Finishing up with packing, you left for the kitchen to prepare your last meal in the house. Drina was still rummaging in her room, Disturbed blaring through the closed door. You never ended up teasing her for her comments. You were glad she found an outlet in your music taste. Robotically moving around the kitchen, you gathered all the things you needed. The fridge was almost empty, and you pulled out the last contents with a sigh.

Hand moving punctually, you cut up your ingredients and tossed them in the preheated pan on the stove. With practiced moves, you finished the dish and served it on two plates.

“Drina, come and eat!”

“Comiiiiing”

She soon showed up, sitting by one of the piping hot plates.

“Are you done?” you asked between bites.

“Yeah, almost. I was just checking on the chart. Some sort of announcement was made with Brexit and the GBP took a plunge, again.”

“Mmm, that’s too bad.”

You continued to lazily chew on your food, staring out the window vacantly.

“So… how are you?” Drina asked without looking at you.

“As to be expected I guess. Not okay...but okay with it. It’ll pass. You?”

“I don’t know, I still kinda hope for the phone to ring. I learned the hate that thing you know.” she laughed, indicating towards the sleek silver gadget. “But I get that you wish this to be over with. Wanting more when there is nothing to receive.”

“I don’t want this to be over with. It was amazing. Just the last bit hurts, more than it should.” you shrugged. “I think I’ll try out something new when we get back. Maybe go back to pencil drawing a little. That put me out for several hours with ease. It would be nice to do that now.”

“Mmm I remember, you used to miss my calls all the time. And forgot to call back when you noticed. Jesus, I had to go over just to have your attention, it was infuriating. You think I can learn it?”

You chuckled at her turn of words.

“I think so, sure. Finding you the right teacher would be the challenge, someone who can entertain you through the whole process. But you probably know that, don’t you?”

“Hey, as long as the teacher’s hot, I’m good.”

“Sure you are. Good thing you have a knack for artsy guys.”

“Oh come on, everyone has a thing for artsy guys. That mysterious air around them is just right.”

“You mean the heavy awkwardness of being around people and having to be social or God forbid, outspoken, even though they can speak volumes by the usage of color?”

“You're mean.”

“I know. But you love me anyway. Now go finish up, I’ll clean the kitchen.”

Drina nodded and left. You picked up the remnants of your lunch and diligently washed the dishes. Drying them off right after, you placed everything in their designated place and swiped the counter clean. Once everything was satisfactorily shiny and clean, you went back to your room, zipping up your suitcase.

The room looked exactly the same now as the first time you walked in. The bed made, all surfaces dusted off and tidy. The only stark difference was the number of memories the walls held in them.

A sad smile crept up on you and you walked out with your suitcase following closely behind. Drina was walking downstairs, bag in hand too. You shared a long look before heading down the stairs. The steps squeeled under the weight you put on it, echoing in the empty house. The lone sound felt creepy and haunting.

Until your phone started to vibrate in your pocket.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9

Freezing on the spot, you felt the vibrations get stronger in your pocket. Not having any idea who could it be, you stared at Drina. She blinked a couple of times before motioning to you look at the phone. You hesitantly scanned the screen, but the number wasn’t familiar. The first few digits were +82, but you were not sure which country did that indicate.

“Come on, pick it up already, I’m dying here!”

“What if it’s a…”

“I don’t care, do it, woman!”

You rolled your eyes and swiped the green circle sideways, answering the call. Drina quickly put on the speakers before you could protests.

“Is this Miss Y/n?” a male voice asked in Korean.

“Yes, this is she. Whom am I speaking to?”

“This is Bang Si-hyuk, we met a couple of days ago.”

You gaped at your phone. Drina sucked in a sharp exhale.

What?! Why is HE calling?

Did the boys got caught? Are they in trouble? Or maybe he wants you to do a job for him? Maybe this is just a professional call, not personal. Slapping yourself mentally, you pulled yourself together.

“Oh, hello Bang PD-ssi. How can I help you?”

“Actually, I was hoping I can help you. You see, I had a very...unusual conversation with Taehyung and Seokjin a few days ago.”

Your eyes flew up to meet Drina’s. You weren’t sure where this was headed. You silently asked her what she thought. She shook her head, her eyes wide. Motioning with her hands, she expressed her mixed feelings. Taking a deep breath, you plunged.

“I see. About what?”

“Ah, before I go into that, I want to explain something first. Please bear with me. In case you don’t know, there is some information I want you to be in possession of. First: while I don’t go around advertising this, the members of Bangtan have the right to have relationships outside of their work connections. This means that they can visit family, help them stay in friendships and in case of personal emergencies, we try to help them as much as possible.

That being said, so far there hasn’t been a case where the boys thought of outside staying close to people who are not family, nor close friends. Their commitment to the industry and their dedication is overwhelming to ever come across the idea of having a...relationship. It’s never been about banning or not allowing them. The stars just didn’t align.

Second: You might not be aware, but in Korea, there is a general rule that every male citizen has to serve in the army for 2 years. This includes idols as well. As you might imagine, this is a serious issue and companies have difficulty when a member has to leave for their service. Many groups are lost due to this and not many members can hold up their solo careers for a long period of time.”

Nodding absent-mindedly to his words, you realized he didn’t see your acknowledgment.

“I understand, but I don’t see…”

“Yes, I’m getting to that. A few days ago, two boys tried to have a serious talk with me. While I understood their request, I had many things on my plate and only got the opportunity to sit down with them not too long ago. I have to apologize for the lateness of my call, I understand it must have been...difficult.”

Drina soundlessly mouthed “OMG!” at you, her hands feverishly moving in the air. Your hands started to sweat against the cold phone case.

“Seokjin and Taehyung expressed their gratitude towards the way their personal life was being treated, recalling several times when they needed support. They built up to their request very carefully and diligently. I think this shows how much they have grown as men recently. Then they have expressed their feelings towards you and your friend. And their request to extend the range of relationships to include the two of you. Their arguments were sound and logical.”

By this time, your hands were slightly trembling and Drina’s hands were hitting every surface around her: the bags, the walls, you. Not minding the constant reminder to stay sane, you waited for the man to finish.

“You must understand, BigHit is a different company than most. And BTS is a different group than most. When the boys were done with their reasoning, I had to think about what to do. I didn’t want to deny their request, especially how maturely they handled the situation. A situation which none of them ever had. A situation most idols would never engage in. As far as I understand the industry, this might be a big first in our history. And I had to be prepared for the many unfolding scenarios that could happen. This is why this call was delayed so much.”

Not following his words entirely, you waited for an explanation. He probably knew what he was talking about, but your mind was conjured in a cloud of haze.

“Miss Y/n, are you still here?”

Drina hit you on your head. Hissing at her silently, you rubbed the sore spot.

“Yes, Bang PD-ssi. What did you have to prepare?”

“Well, I had to have security measures first. I asked my legal team to do something they never did before: draw up a contract that would protect the members from the dangers only a romantic relationship could hold.”

Drina started to frantically jump around, whispering “I knew it, I knew iittttt” under her breath like a maniac. You were still shell-shocked. You heard the words but didn’t have the capacity to understand them fully and still behave like an actual adult while speaking to the man who founded BigHit Entertainment. You wanted to hang up furiously so you could scream and dance and roll around on the floor until the world stopped spinning but hold onto the call at the same time, drinking in every syllable the man said. Your body was tensed up like a racehorse, caged up in a booth before set free to run with the wind.

“You must understand, I hold no bad feelings or thoughts about you. But when a job is getting done, especially a serious task of making a standard contract that would be later on used...I wanted to do a thorough job. I need to protect the boys, and still, give you enough rights so that everything could go on smoothly with new people on board. I do not want to tie your hands. You are not my employees, but you’ll still have to hold up certain rules and regulations. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. I apologize for that.”

“I understand, there is no need to apologize sir.” you tried to keep your voice even, fighting your excitement and nerves violently.

“Thank you for your patience with me. It must be frustrating. To keep all the cards on the table, I believe you must know that I do gain from this arrangement. The boys will be more encouraged, more determined and will put more effort forward if you sign the papers and commit. At the same time, you’ll become anchors. When the time comes for them to go and do their service, you’ll become an invaluable lifeline that connects them to the life they now still have. I believe you could help to keep BTS alive while the services hold and bring them back in a way that no other group has ever done before. So I selfishly ask you to understand my reasons to go forward with this. I have the contracts in my hand as we speak. I can send them to you either electronically to read through or physically, so you would be able to sign. If you want to, of course.”

A heavy silence fell from his end. For the first time, you noticed a small echo resonating from the phone’s speaker. You were on speaker on his side just as he was on yours. Someone or several people were there with him, listening in to the conversation. Your level of adrenalin doubled as you understood who could be sitting next to the man on the line.

“Bang PD-ssi, could you please highlight on the most important parts of the contract? The ones that you would want to know in my stead?”

You threw a calculated look at your friend. While this phone call has been more than you could’ve ever asked for, but the contents of those papers could change this whole situation drastically. She rolled her eyes at you, thinking that you are overdoing it.

“Of course. Most importantly, you have to keep your relationships a secret. No signs on social media, no mentions to anyone outside the inner circle. The number of people knowing about you will be kept at a minimum, even within the company. I will not risk any cracks or scandals. It is for your protection as well: we have received threats for much smaller things than someone having a girlfriend. Additionally, you will have to have security on you at all times when you are staying with is. Saem has volunteered for the task, I hope you’ll find him suitable for the job.

We will not be able to financially support your endeavors. You are welcome to visit the boys on tour or at home, but you will have to finance these visits. Of course, the boys have volunteered to pay in your stead, but that is their choice or a conversation for you to have in private.

And as you will be visiting them, we need to have a cover story for you. This was something I struggled the most: most of the staff, the industry, and the world had to have a good explanation why would two women appear sometimes, but not be there the next day. So what I came up with is that you are on-call translators for the group. The reason to have you anywhere would be solid since the boys travel to a lot of countries and only Namjoon has a high level of proficiency in English to cope with his surroundings. A translator is not as intimate as a language teacher, so the fans wouldn’t be agitated and you can move around freely on sets or backstages. If I understand correctly, both of you speak more languages than English and Korean.

About backstages and other inner areas. We can’t keep checking your devices at all times, so in the contract, there is a clause about absolute secrecy. You cannot share any detail about the group, the inner workings, upcoming songs, albums or any material you may come across in the future.”

The two of you stood in the foyer, nodding to his points. It made sense, and there wasn’t anything in there that would make you feel uncomfortable.

“I understand Bang PD-ssi. I think it is safe to say that those points are reasonable and acceptable. Is there anything in there that ties our hands when it comes to the actual relationship? Please don’t hesitate to talk freely.”

“I...ah. I understand your question. No, there isn’t anything in there that prevents the relationship to be a normal, everyday connection between a man and a woman. The only exception is having children. We’ve put in an age limit for the boys not to have children until a certain age. This was in their original contracts which they have signed years ago. As a consequence, this will involve you as well. I hope this doesn’t pose a threat to a mutual agreement.”

“No, not really.” you shrugged “A certain level of maturity is needed for that to happen in my book. That and an amount of selflessness that I do not possess as of this moment.” you giggled a little, seemingly easing the sense of tension on the other side of the call.

“I’m glad you feel that way Y/n. Oh, I’m sorry, can we drop the honorifics?”

“Yes, sure.”

“So.. what do you think? Will we see you in Paris?”

“Wait, are you still in London?”

The doorbell rang the moment you finished the question. You jumped, a surprised sound leaving you. Drina let out a scream before she plastered her hands on her mouth. Bang PD deeply chuckled at the sounds.

“I think I might know who that is. Yes, we are still in London, we will be departing for France in a few minutes. Do you wish to read through the contract via email?”

Drina pushed past you, opening the door to find a messenger on the doorstep. You let out a long and heavy exhale, expecting a different view welcoming you on the street.

“I...I would like to read it, yes. Please send it to xynln1234@gmail.com. But I think it is safe to say that the contents are reasonable. Thank you for the preparation and the accepting attitude towards us. It is greatly appreciated. But Bang PD...is this contract only for the two of us? Or will others, in the future, will be able to have the same opportunity as us?”

Silence fell on the other side.

“I’ve sent the contract to the said email address. As for your question, yes, everyone will have the same level of security and liberty as you do when you sign. But I thank you for the courtesy, I believe the other members will recognize the meaning behind your question.”

Drina squealed next to you, holding a huge bouquet of red roses, reading a beautiful pearl white note in her hand. Without glancing up, she holds out her other hand, holding a long and sleek cylinder.

“I hear that you’ve become rather busy. Please extend my gratitude to Miss Drina. I hear she is otherwise occupied at the moment.” he deeply laughed and suddenly you knew that he was aware of being on speaker phone the whole time. “Will we see you today then?”

“I will let her know, thank you for your patience with us. This must have been difficult. And about Paris. Well. We’ll see whether they can catch us by the Seine later today. Right, boys?” a sharp sound let you know that you were right. At least two Bangtan members were with Band PD. A burst of muffled laughter crept from your phone, which was followed by a sudden sound of something hitting someone. An exclamation tailgated it and you began to laugh. Some people on the other side joined you. “Thank you for everything, we have to go now. Seems like there is a plane we need to catch soon. Bye everyone”! and with that, you hung up.

A whirlwind of feelings rushed at you and you didn’t know which one to act upon when your freedom to express them finally presented itself. Drina buried her face in the silky texture of rosepetals. Her eyes opened when you closed the call, her eyes brimming with tears. With a joined shout, you threw yourself at each other, doing the tightest bear hug the world has ever seen. Tension rose again and you finally squealed, screamed and shouted towards the sky, not holding back anymore.

It was minutes before you noticed the slender cylinder in your hand, remembering to open it. Stepping away from Drina to have a safe space to open the lid, you pulled out a long piece of canvas rolled up. Carefully holding it up, you slowly unrolled it, taking in a beautiful water color painting. A lone bed was positioned sideways, with a woman laying on her side, her shoulder exposed by the not long enough cover resting on top of her. Her wavy hair lay behind her back, exposing a tattoo of a rose under her neck. You touched your own neck, remembering the flower etched into your skin.

The colors were so vivid, but tranquil at the same time. Watery spots of blue filled up the canvas and deeper shades of midnight ink formed your frame on the bed. A single light of yellow illuminated your painted figure coming from the window positioned in the upper right corner.

The painting was utterly beautiful. It was the grown-up version of the ball penned piece resting in your book. The details were so capturing, it must have taken a long time to develop them precisely. In the lower corner, there was a black inked flower-like scribble, which you recognized as Taehyung’s signature.

Endless warmth enveloped you as you came to understand that he made this piece of art. With his slender hands, with the limited time he had in a day. All excitement and frenzy left you as a sense of peace overtook you. He really did feel like this. It wasn’t your imagination. It was real the whole time.

“This would be high time for me to say ‘I told you so’, but I guess there is no need. You know just as much as I do” Drina grinned by you, looking at the canvas. “That is really good by the way, you should keep him.”

You hit her arm, protesting against her last sentence. She chuckled wholeheartedly.

“We should get going though. We have a plane to catch!”

You nodded, still amazed by the art in your hands. Gently rolling it back up and replacing it in the cylinder, you threw it on your back by its string. Joyfully running down the stairs, you yanked the front door open. Drina followed you, suitcases and bouquet in hand and she happily twirled on the street, calling a cab by blowing an outstanding whistle with her fingers.

Smiling at her behavior you make a happy sound when the door closed behind you. You checked your belongings and with a final look, you dropped the keys into the mailbox. A cab stopped next to your friend and you gladly settled your things and yourself in to drive to the airport.

----------------

The building of the Heathrow airport rolled up in the distance and you excitedly wiggled in your seat. Already checking for flight tickets in the car, you found a plane leaving in the next two hours that had several open seats. Purchasing two tickets with the necessary luggage, you moved your fingers fast on your phone screen. Drina was on her phone too, typing in something, only to delete the words. This process happened several times in a row.

“If would wait for him to text first if I were you.” you smiled without looking up at her.

“Well, good thing you are not me then, right? I want to thank him for the flowers and the card, I just can’t find the right...words? I guess?”

“Then don’t use words then.”

“What does that even mean? I’m literally trying to write a text here.”

“Turn on your camera dummy. Selfie, selca, photografía. You get the picture.”

“Gah, that pun was unnecessary.”

She took several shots, of her, of the car, of her surroundings. Most of them were followed by an agitated sigh, still not finding the right material to send. The cab pulled up to the carline to enter the airport’s departure section, slowly drifting to an open space for you to get out.

“That's quite a crowd, don’t you think?”

You looked up to see what she meant. Sure enough, several people were standing by the doors, most of them girls squirming in excitement. Maybe a tourist group is departing soon or a class trip is taking place. Drina finally settled on a picture of the airport with her hand in the frame, forming a small heart. She sent it with a happy sound.

“Some famous people are coming to the airport miss, that’s why were are so many people here.” The cab driver looked at Drina in the mirror with an exasperated look.

“Ah, that makes sense. Heathrow is the biggest airport here right?”

“Yes, but it is still a little frustrating. It’s not like they will be able to meet the person, right?” Not waiting for an answer, he parked the car and stated his fee. You counted down some cash and gave it to him before getting out to fetch your suitcase. The two of you bid farewell to the man, turning towards the doors.

A huge crowd of screaming people welcomed to and the sudden sound made you want to cover your ears. Unfortunately, both of your hands were occupied so all you could do was to quicky dart in the direction of the right check-in desk. Walking by the excited boys and girls you noticed the clothes and accessories they were wearing. A sudden thought entered your mind.

Yes, we are still in London, we will be departing for France in a few minutes.

“Y/n, I think they are…”

“Yeah, I think so too.”

A rush of emotions filled you as you looked around, looking foolishly for any indication of the members of Bangtan being there. Judging by the crowd's behavior, they are not here. Not yet anyway.

Finally reaching the check-in desk, you handed over your ID and showed the QR code for the flight tickets. The woman behind the counter tried to muster a polite smile on, but another wave of shrieking hit and her face struggled not to grimace. She nodded at your documentation and took your luggage from you. Indicating towards the next line to go to, she said her goodbyes and bid you a nice flight in a French accent.

Following her instructions, you went get in line to the duty-free area of the airport. A glass shattering sound built from the doors, coming over the whole airport. The group must have arrived and was trying to get through the crowd. You watched in awe as the security around them broke through the freaking out mass of people, head held down and moving fast towards a door. They didn’t look up, but were quickly shoved in and the door closed behind them securely.

“The cab driver was right after all.” Drina looked at the dissolving crowd, monitoring their disappointed expressions.

Not knowing what to say, you just shrugged and took off all metal items from your body. They were here, not far away, completely unaware of your presence there. Then you remembered the picture Drina sent.

“Drina, did you say where you are? Do you think Jin recognized the building?”

“No, and I don’t think so? He didn’t reply, so maybe he didn’t even see the text yet. They see so many airports in a short amount of time, I highly doubt they would be able to tell them apart.”

Nodding, your face arranged in a sly smile. Pulling your phone out, you checked all flights between Heathrow and Paris. The smile grew into a grin.

“Hey Drina… what do you think, how many flights go from here to Paris in the next few hours?”

“I don’t know, probably 2-3?”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought too. But apparently, there is only one today. Our flight. If they are not flying out on a private plane, we will be on the same flight.”

“A private plane would make sense though. I mean, they are a huge group, why would they choose the simple way?”

“Why not? They don’t live extravagantly. At this point, I think it’s fair to have 50-50 chance that they will be flying with us. Plus, the whole first class is bought out on our plane, which rarely happens if you think about it. There are several seats still open on economy too. Or at least were before the check-in closed.”

Drina just shared a long look with you before she walked across the metal detector. Gathering your things after passing through yourself, you walked to the duty-free shops.

Animatedly walking around, you scanned the scarce number of heads in the aisles, looking for someone familiar. Your search was misplaced, but the search provided with a delightful game that fired up your imagination. Jimin would most probably touch several different items only to put them back when seeing the price. Yoongi would stop by the whiskey stand, checking out rare bottles. Namjoon would dart toward the bookshelves, looking for a thought-provoking novel. The two youngest might clown around with Hobi and do a tag game of sorts, hiding behind larger shelves and giggling widely while Jin agitatedly would try to make his members behave respectfully. Or try on several glasses, admiring how the different shapes and colors fit his worldwide famous face. Who knows.

Drina pulled you out of your fantasy towards the gate of your flight. By the time you got there, all priority and most economy ticketholders got on the plane, with only a few people in front of you in the line. Going through the next checkpoint, you walked on the small white corridor to see the plane’s open door, a stewardess welcoming you on board. Loud laughing came from the first class lounge which was positioned on the left side of the stewardess, while on her right the economy seats took place. She apologetically smiled at your and indicated towards your designated seats.

You sat down, a smile plastered all over your face.

“You heard them right?” Drina shared a cat-like grin as well.

“Oh yes, I did. I told you we’re on the same flight.”

“Gloating doesn’t suit you, you know. Should we do something? Could we?”

“I don’t think so. I mean, we could send a picture or something, but it’s not like they can come back here. The other people would freak out. And we can’t go there either. Bang PD said not everyone in the company will know. So we could...I don’t know, tease somehow.”

The plane rolled away from the building, taxiing to take-off. A small pause took place before the huge metal structure lounged ahead, picking up speed. The plane’s nose raised towards the sky and the wheels audibly left the ground, shakily lifting up into the air. The wind threw the plane around a little before you reached the necessary height. Above the clouds the sun shined undeniably, warming up the window beside you.

“What if we try to get off first? You know, ask one of the stewies because of some medical reason and shout something in Korean? They would have no choice to wait to get off or something like that.” Drina rambled off, ideas bouncing in her head.

“We can ask the stewie, sure, but I don’t think we should shout. I would hate it if I were them.”

“Then how would they know we’re here?”

“Send a picture?”

“Of? A plane? That doesn’t mean we are here with them.”

“The screen then” you motioned towards the screens plastered on the back of the seat in front of you, showing the plane’s position on a map with the details of the flight.

“And what if they don’t figure it out? Or they are not checking their phones?”

“Send it to Kookie then, I bet he’s playing right now on it. But talk to the stewardess first. Send the picture later, when we can run off.”

Drina called one of the flight attendants over and started to explain something to her in a serious tone in French. Not understanding what she was saying, you only mirrored her resolved expression, trying not to laugh. The delicate woman nodded to your friend’s word before she excused herself.

“She’ll ask whether it is possible for us to get off first. I think someone will ask the first class people whether they’re okay with it or not.”

“I’m sure they wouldn’t want to be an obstacle between a woman and their medication.” you grinned, expecting the boys to take the high road.

Sure enough, the attendant came back with a bright smile and with several nods, she let Drina know that her request found a positive outcome. Thanking her, the stewie took off, smiling to herself a job well done.

“That’s done then. How long before we land?”

“The whole flight is less than an hour. Look at the nose, it’s below us, so we are descending already. I think you should send it after we land. I hope to hear Kookie’s reaction when he realizes what's up.” you shot an evil smile at your friend.

In the following minutes, you talked about what will happen next. Will you have to look for a place to stay or you can stay with the boys? Based on the founder’s words, you would have access to many areas, maybe the hotel rooms included? And you’ll need to wash your clothes, only having a few fresh items left. The possibilities went on and soon the wheels touched the ground, giving you a shaky welcome to the French capital.

Drina quickly snapped a photo of the two of you hiding behind your clothes: you pulled up your kimono to your face and she pulled the hem of her shirt to her nose, the screen of your flight details between your shoulders. She quickly texted the picture off and the flight attendant was already making her way to you, escorting you to the still closed doors to get off early. With several thank you’s and nods, you followed after her. Standing in front of the door, you waited for it to open when a loud exclamation hit your ears.

“Kook-ah caught on” Drina grinned.

The plane’s door clicked and slowly opened by a staff waiting outside. At the same time, the first class sliding door cracked a little, Sejin’s profile showing up, muttering to organize the boys while Kookie shouted on about the picture. The sliding door opened a little further then Sejin intended and your eyes met with the fluffy bunny’s who cried out, pointing at you furiously.

Drina saw your exchange and with a loud laugh, she pulled you by the bewildered stewardess, running down the white corridor towards the airport. A loud “Yah” and “Come back here woman!” followed you down and you laughed uncontrollably. Two phones buzzed in your pockets, the sound crashing in the silent waiting room. Drina picked hers up, and a loud yelling hit her ears and she laughed on hysterically as Jin demanded her to stop running and go back to him immediately. His words were too serious for his joking tone, knowing full well that she won’t can’t go back, even if she wanted to. Brightly chirping in the phone, she teased him endlessly, earning more and more whines from the eldest.

Giggling at their exchange, you picked up your phone too.

“I guess you’ll reach the Seine first?” a deep chuckle welcomed you on the other side.

“Only after I drop off my stuff at someplace first. Before they get in the way.” you hummed happily.

“Drop them off in my room, please. Or rather, let me help you with them.”

“I can stay there, are you sure?”

“It’s where you belong. So where can I pick you up?”

His words were in such stark contrast to Jin’s, the whole ordeal made you smile to yourself. The two of you reached the bag check area and the suitcases were already moving on the conveyor belt. Picking up yours, you fished for ideas in your head for a place to meet.

“I’m not sure, I’ve never actually been to Paris. Do you have a spot in mind?”

“Hmm… there is a little cafe called Carette. It’s close to where we’re staying. Go there, get a coffee and....and listen to Jamais Vu. I’ll be there as soon as possible, okay?”

“Okay, that sounds nice. And don’t worry or hurry. I can work or read while I’m there. Just do what you need to. And Tae?”

“Yes?”

“It’s beautiful. Thank you. Both of them.”

A happy sigh blew against the microphone.

“I’m glad you like it. This is...this is how I see you. Like that.”

It was your turn to hum happily into your phone. At loss of words, you just smiled against the warm gadget pressed to your ear. But it seemed like he understood without further explanation. You heard Sejin in the background and he excused himself, muttering sorry’s under his breath.

“Hey, it’s okay. Just do what you do best. I’ll be at that cafe and the worst thing that could happen is me not being able to decide which dessert is the best to try first. So don’t worry okay?”

“Mmm. I’ll see you there Y/n.” and with a soft click, the call ended.

It seemed like his worry wasn’t put to rest by your words. You thought about what could possibly strain his emotions, vowing to figure it out and provide a solution. Drina was done with her call as well and the two of you walked out of the airport. The sky was fading into several shades of orange and red as the sun was starting to descend towards the horizon.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10

The car softly bumped on the uneven cobblestones. The sun colored the sky several shades of yellow, orange, red and lilac as it was approaching the bottom of the sky. You flew past many historical buildings, their form and different styles of decor making you stare at them in wonder. Parks and wide streets were filled with people going purposefully somewhere, probably heading home after a long day of work.

Paris was every bit as beautiful and lively as you imagined it would be. A slight unease tugged at you for not speaking the language. Drina was always the one who helped you out with French, but she wasn’t there with you now. She got out of the taxi not too long ago, going to a place where she and Jin will meet in private. She quickly let the driver know where to drop you off and darted out of the car.

Thoughtfully placing your head against the warmish glass, you thought about the last few hours. You were really helplessly lost when it came to these Koreans, it seemed like. There weren’t many situations when you couldn’t predict a general outcome or a rode towards it at least. Solutions or situations usually unfolded in a very foreseeable way for you, it was how you made your living after all.

But not with them. They caught you off guard time and time again. In a really positive way, but still surprisingly many times in the last week or so. Feeling like a teenager again, you fidgeted in your seat, remembering where you are headed and who you are about to see. And why.

Shutting your eyes in excitement, you remembered his scent and the way he moved around you. Your knees twitched at the many memories passing by your mind, yearning for more to come.

Ah, this imagination will be the death of me.

Letting your head fall back on the seat, you looked at the long shapes of trees full of leaves passing by. A square opened up in your vision and the car slowly stopped, the driver motioning to a cafe.

Right. Carette.

Thanking him, you handed over the correct amount of Euros to him, and he nodded in acknowledgment. You got out of the car, and the driver helped you getting your luggage out of the trunk. He waved with a smile and got back in his taxi, flanking back to the ever-moving see of vehicles swiftly.

You walked up to the open cafe, smiling at the people behind the counter. Drawing your attention to the menu, you selected a fine looking eclair and a coffee to go with it. The petite French woman curtly nodded and motioned her hand towards the tables residing in the back of the cafe. You walked back, choosing a table by the wall and settled your things so it wouldn’t be in anyone's way.

Opening up your luggage, you carefully fiddled with some straps and freed your laptop, deciding to read through the contract Bang PD has sent you. Typing in the wifi password, you pulled up the necessary protection against the open internet connection and clicked on the pdf file.

Scanning through the long and very specifically written text, your head ached in concentration. At first glance, nothing jumped out on you. At second, you evaluated the meaning of a few words with a Korean translator app. By the third run-through, you thankfully smiled up at the waitress, who placed your dessert and coffee on your table. She smiled back and put the bill on the keyboard. Calculating the tip, you gave her some cash and her smile grew from professional to genuine, appreciating the generosity.

The coffee was strong and slightly bitter against your tongue. As if a serious roundhouse kick plummeting against your sluggish brain, you felt a surge of awakeness hit you. You poured some honey and cream in the small cup, dulling the bluntness of the drink. The eclair was light and fluffy, a welcomed texture after the kickstart of the coffee.

With newfound alertness and energy, you ran through the contract again with the most malicious intent you could muster, trying to sneak into a persona that would place nasty details into the innocent looking script. A few moments passed as you tried your best not to be bested by a few pages of pdf and came up with nothing. It was truly clean and absent of bad intent.

Smiling satisfied, you closed the pdf and requested a printed version via email. Glancing at the clock, you decided it is still appropriate to send the email at 19:18. The sky outside played in colors of deep crimson and purple. Wondering on what to do next, you sipped on the coffee absentmindedly.

A big and heavy drop splashed against the cobblestone. Drawing in your attention, you watched as several more pearls of water followed and a heavy rain enveloped the city. The scent of water and cool sense of fresh air washed in the cafe. People outside started to run in all directions and some entered the small shop, seeking protection against the hefty fall.

You smiled at the entering people and thought about where Drina could be. Hoping she was under a roof somewhere, you thought about calling her. Then you remembered Taehyung’s recommendation.

Go there, get a coffee and....and listen to Jamais Vu. I’ll be there as soon as possible, okay?

Curiosity picked at you. Why that song? Pulling up your Spotify account, you selected the song and laid back in your chair, listening intently to your headphones.

The song's lyrics went on about someone in pain, full of feelings of not doing enough, not being enough. J-Hope sings about how it would be better if this were only a game, a game he could redo every time he fails to become better, even if it's not meant to be like that. The eldest and youngest envelope the chorus, asking for a remedy to make the pain go away, for another chance to redeem themselves. The song progresses from a standpoint of the uncertainty of what is the best course of action is to an absolute certainty of not giving up. By the time of the outro, Jin and Jungkook are in a conversation with Hobi, finding the solutions within themselves.

Please give me a remedy
(So is this success, I came back)
A remedy that will make my heart beat again
(I'll concentrate on reaching you no matter what, falling, stumbling)
What should I do now?
(This familiar pain seizes on me again)
Save me
(It's not easy this time either)
Please give me another chance
(Am I giving up? No, no never)
I won't give up

You sighed to yourself quietly. The lyrics were loose enough to fit many scenarios in them. The song itself could be a statement: this is how he feels like he is never doing enough? Or is this a promise, to never give up? Or is he asking you to become his remedy, to ease the pain he is feeling?

A speck of fiery frustration pecked at you. Your thoughts ran fast laps in your mind, developing a bigger rage in each turn.

They are doing so much. They are practicing and trying, tirelessly, sacrificing so much of themselves. Only to feel like they are not doing enough?

Sooo-saaa, let it go.

He didn’t ask you to listen to get angry.

Shoving the torrent of dissatisfaction away, you pondered on what could he have possibly thought to say with this song. Not finding a clear answer, you glanced at the clock. Only a half an hour passed since you’ve sent the email out.

Suddenly you remember why you were there but in a different aspect. You were here to meet Taehyung. To settle your things in his hotel room. To sign a contract. To be allowed to be in a relationship. With him.

How is it, to be in a relationship with a celebrity? With an idol? You probably won’t be able to see him as much as a normal couple would. That is pretty much a given thing. You wondered on about his schedules, how much time could he possibly have to share? Did he even have enough time to rest, to sleep?

A memory jumped at you out of nowhere:

“You see, I have this wonderful skill to catch up on sleeping really effectively. I can sleep while getting hair and makeup done, or during a massage…

Yeah, that sounds like a hard no on sleep.

Chewing on a little on your bottom lip, you puzzled over the fact that probably that is why you’re waiting here, in a French cafe too, alone. The many responsibilities and contractual tasks he had to do in addition to the scheduled dance practices, vocal exercises, and recordings.

And then there is the secrecy. He can’t publicly have a girlfriend, not right now. Which made sense, and didn’t really bother you, not this angle of it. But will he ever have to act to be with someone? Someone else, who is not you? For the benefit of the company? How will you take that? Would it ever even come to that?

Would anyone ever mind you not being Korean? You spoke the language, but you didn’t look the part. Oh God, his parents?! He probably would want you to meet his parents. Panic washed through you like a tsunami, doubts, and insecurities filling you up.

Stop right there, you have a one night stand and you’re already up to the point of meeting his parents? Crazy much?

You shook your head violently. You went too far. Thinking of calming your nerves with something inexcusably full of chocolate, your gaze flew to the counter. Not seeing anything meeting your needs your eyes settled back on your laptop. Maybe a little work will calm you down.

Pulling up the basic charts and news reports, you dwelled in the art of the financial world. Minutes passed by and you’ve made a decision to buy in for a short run. Reading up on the Brexit issue, you decided it is better to avoid that for now, turning towards a different industry.

The familiar sense of knowing what you are doing set your mind back on track. Understanding circumstances, reading up on updates, making predictions and then a decision, you felt a little at home, despite being in a city for the first time, waiting for someone for the first time.

Opening up the chat room for your colleagues of sorts, you read through what was the topic of the day. Chuckling at the banter going back and forth, you noticed Drina taking part in the argument. She is probably waiting too like you are. But she didn’t call or write to you, so she probably wants to be left alone. And you were fine with that.

An hour passed by without you noticing. The cafe got more full, people meeting up with friends and loved ones before going home and restarting their routine tomorrow. The happy chatter went by your ear, making you unconsciously smile, even though you didn’t understand a word they were saying. Successfully closing your earlier venture, you laid back in your seat, stretching your back and neck with a delightful sound. As you were closing up most of the tabs and programs when you noticed the time. Glancing at the door you saw that the rain has subdued a little, small drops hitting the ground in repetition.

Your attention was grabbed by an announcement that probably disturbed the chat. Grinning from ear to ear, you reopened the tab and saw half of the team furiously cursing while the other gleefully purchased on their right guesses. The jeering was ruthless and funny at the same time, some comments making you laugh out loud. You started to type your own teasing when someone decided to stand by your table.

Looking up, you saw a completely drenched Taehyung, panting heavily with drops of water coming from his bangs. Forgetting everything you were doing, you stared in shock for a second before you slammed your suitcase open, pulling out your towel and handing it to him.

“Oh I’m okay, you don’t need to... “

“Wasn’t a question!” and with that, you sat him down and asked a passing by waitress to bring you hot tea. She smiled and hurried away, passing a look on Tae's wet head.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, it's just this place is a little further away than I remembered. I think I got lost at least once before finding the right square.” he lightly laughed to himself, rubbing his face with the towel. “I’m sorry for being late, you must be tired.”

“No, not really. Plus the coffee they serve here really packs a punch.” you smiled down at your cup.

“But really, you’re probably mad, it's so late.”

“Why would I be mad?” Carefully searching his face, you waited patiently for him to explain the obvious. You needed to settle a few things with him anyway.

“You..you’ve been here for hours, and you don’t have anywhere to go and you’ve been waiting for me. I mean, any girl would be mad, rightfully so.”

“Okay, I get that. But I’m not. Please don’t apologize again. Taehyung, you have to understand, I wouldn’t be here if I wouldn’t want to be. If I would want to go somewhere, check in at a hotel or something, I could’ve done it. Easy. But I didn’t, because I don’t want to.”

He looked at you with his blank expression. Again, you had no idea what was behind his spotless features so instead of going on about it, you just waited for him to reply. His eyes searched you, frantically looking for a sign of distress or anger.

He found none. And he couldn’t believe it. Not at first. The waitress reappeared, putting down a tray with tea and two cups to accommodate it. She nodded to you in encouragement and tried to leave. You raised your hand calmly, motioning to pay, but the waitress waved you off.

“Later.” she said in a heavy French accent in English.

Looking after her, you shrugged and decided to pour the tea out to the cups and made yours with a lot of lemon and sugar. Sipping cautiously on the warm drink, you looked up to meet his searching gaze again.

“You really are not mad.”

“Nope, get used to it.”

He suddenly smiled and it was as if weights lifted off of him. He drank on the tea only to pull his face in a grimace. Giving the cup a side eye, he pulled on several condiments, trying to make the tea work for him. You silently giggled on his attempt, clearly putting everything the innocent cup.

“So how come you’ve never been to Paris? I imagined you to have been everywhere.”

“No, not by a long shot. And I don’t know. I guess London was more of my thing. I never felt that general pull towards Paris that many people feel.”

“Hmm I see. And how do you like it so far?”

“It’s really pretty. But I’ve only seen it through a cab window and this cafe, so I don’t have a full-fledged opinion.”

“Mmm. I would love to show you around, but I’m not sure whether I’m allowed. See the guy in the front, in a black cardigan?”

You looked in the direction he indicated to find a tall man, facing the window, occasionally glancing around. His eyes weren’t obvious, but they did rest on Taehyung’s towel covered head for a few seconds before turning back to the street.

“Yeah, idol life 101: we’re almost never alone.” he chuckled into his tea.

“Make sense. And no sleep right?” the tea mellowed you, its warmness spreading in your body, protecting against the cold air coming from outside.

“Ah, that’s not too bad. You can catch on sleep anytime really. And the beds we get to sleep on are really comfy too. How about you?”

You raised your eyebrow at the question.

“What do you mean how about me?”

“Well, you don’t have the average job, so how do you sleep?”

“Ah, well..okay, I guess? I think I’m past the worrying stage of it all. I don’t know when was the last time I’ve lost sleep over it, to be honest.”

“Mmm I hope you show me what you do exactly. I just can’t imagine it.”

“Yeah, I get what you mean. And sure, one day.”

“Y/n, about the contract… Do you really feel that way? What you said on the phone to Bang PD-nim?”

“Pretty much, yes. I mean, I had to go through it myself, just to be sure what was exactly in it, but I don’t think it says anything outlandish or bad.”

“And you’re not mad about having to sign one in the first place?”

His eyebrows knotted as he quietly uttered the question. His hands gripped the towel ever so slightly, but the motion didn’t escape you.

“It’s perfectly natural to sign a contract about this Tae. I get why you presume it is.. too much, maybe, but it’s for your protection as well as my understanding of what is right and what is wrong in your world. Anyone that would object about it is… I wouldn’t be able to trust them in Bang PD’s place. There shouldn’t be an offense in trying to legally protect you. If someone doesn’t understand that, are they really in it truthfully, for the long-run?”

Your hand twitched as you realized what you’ve just said. Wincing mentally at the words, you hoped you didn’t scare him or anything.

“I don’t understand. I really don’t. How could you be so… like this?” Tae’s hands comically flew around, motioning in your direction, his eyes piercing yours in a burning question. It would have been funny if it weren’t for your earlier slip-up.

“What, not childish?” you finally giggled as his hand almost knocked the pot of tea off the table. He whipped his hands back to his torso, his face shocked of almost shattering the pot before he nervously chuckled. You joined in, pouring another cup for yourself. Still shaking a little by the mild laughter, some tea ended up splashing on the tray, which made the two of you laugh harder.

He put his hand against yours, guiding you to pour the liquid out for yourself and then for him, emptying the pot. Then he proceeded to take your hand, playing with your long fingers like he did the first time he held them.

Smiling at his actions, you placed your head in the palm of your hand, elbow on the table.

“See, this is it. I don’t understand how can you be like this. You are not mad about me being late, leaving you alone in an unfamiliar city. You understand to why you have to sign a contract just to be with me, even defending its existence to me. And you are so not nervous or ...I don’t know, you’re just calm, and you make me calm. And happy. Like nothing in the world could turn this sour.”

“It’s not like I don’t worry or anything. But I cross that bridge when I get there. But, wait what. I make you happy?” you felt your cheeks warm up, in a way that you can’t blame on the tea.

“You do. But it’s different. Not like a birthday present, or winning an award or anything. Like how you don’t get nervous when I touch your hand and let me play with you and all you do is smile, watching me. I should be nervous, or excited, or something. But I’m not. It’s just this… warmth and tranquility. It’s just… right.”

Not knowing what to say, you silently stared at him for a couple of seconds before you averted your gaze towards the table. Feeling like a teenager, your mind raced and tried to find the traces of tranquility he was just talking about, but found none.

A pair of slender fingers moved under your chin, raising your head back up. He pulled your chair closer to yours and nuzzled his nose against yours happily. Chuckling lightly, he cupped your flushed face and kissed your nose in one smooth motion.

“We should get going before it gets too late, okay?” he asked you, and you felt his hot breath fanning against your skin.

Humming in agreement, you got up to gather your things. Clearing up the table, you checked on the last bill the waitress left for you. You took out some cash, but Tae put his hands on yours.

“It’s been paid for, don’t worry about it.”

He grabbed your suitcase in one hand and hooked his other arm into yours, walking out of the cafe in the lightly raining on the street. The small beads of water were barely there, like a faint mist fanning against you constantly. The bodyguard followed after you, several steps behind.

“So, where are we going?”

“Oh, right, the Four Seasons. We all got our own rooms thankfully. I’m not sure when we’re leaving, but I’ll Sejin to send you my schedule. I want you to know what’s going on, when can I call you and stuff.”

He so casually said all that like it was nothing instead of everything. The kimono on your shoulders started to get more and more damp, clinging onto you.
“What is it like? Having other people plan your day? And things mysteriously getting paid for?” you wondered on, still pondering on the magically paid bill back in the cafe.

“I...I don’t know? It’s how it's always been. Like you don’t question you have to go to school. You are told to go, do well and come back home, right? I think idol life is pretty similar to that. All we have to do is do our best and don’t break the rules. Maybe bend them a little, sometimes.” he smiled mischievously to himself. “And the guard paid when the waitress left our table, automatically. You probably surprised him with the tea, as he would’ve done the same if he had the chance.”

“How was that surprising? You could’ve got a cold. You still could get one you know. You should get under the shower first thing to make sure.”

“Only if I get to keep your company under the shower. I mean, my health depends on it and all.”

He playfully laughed, his eyes turning into crescents before he raised his eyebrows at you, challenging you. A funny mix of worry, cockiness, and lust ran a race in your mind, fighting for dominance in your answer.

“Yeah, I’ll see what I can do about that. You need to smuggle me in successfully first I believe.”

“Hah, that’s easier when you have clearance and permission. I think I could probably still pull it off, without Sejin and the others knowing. In a way, it would be a lot of fun, but I’m kind of glad you don’t have to sneak around like that.”

You only hummed, your mind still racing due to his words. The pair of you walked on small deserted streets, only the lamps guiding you in a direction on Tae knew where to lead. A small cat ran across the street not far from you, and you looked after it, wanting to cradle the small animal in your arms badly. Taehyung looked at you and then the agile little feline. Curling his lips knowingly, he promised himself to get you a cat first thing he gets the chance. It made sense, you being a cat person.

“And what will you be doing tomorrow?”

His gaze meeting yours, a pang of sadness tingled in him, remembering how little time he did have to share with you.

“Well, it’s concert day, so practice in the morning, some sort of press after, lunch. Then go over soundcheck, stretching, makeup and hair, and the actual concert. What you saw in London, mostly. No going out afterwards. Probably. Maybe the other stuff though?” he gave you a sly smile, trying his best to cajole a reaction out of you.

You threw back your head, chuckling deeply. He was amazed at how easily you let him guide you, not even looking ahead. Like you trusted him enough to walk you down the road, believing in him to look out for you. And he did. He really did.

“We’ll see how much stamina you’ll have after a long long day like that. I would probably beg for a nap after lunch and not get up for the rest of the day.” your chuckling died down a little, amusement playing in your eyes.

“You could tag along you know. Most of the staff had been informed of new translators helping us out, so it wouldn’t be weird if you showed up at the events tomorrow.”

“I can? Really?” your eyes grew larger and for the first time, Taehyung could imagine how you looked like when you were a little girl. Some of your hair clung to your face, but you didn’t bother to fix it. Your eyes honestly and openly stared at him, your face displaying a sense of excitement and happiness that maybe you weren’t even aware you were feeling in the first place. Your lips fell apart a little, the bottom one dangerously curling. He really wanted to take a little bite of it, sucking on it, wanting to produce a sweet sound from you while doing so.

Remembering how close he was to have you in a more private environment he pressed his eyelids together to clear his thoughts.

“Yeah, why not. It would be nice to have you around. The other members miss you too. Kookie has been chewing on my ear for days. That maknae…” he giggled at the memory. The youngster has been trying to talk to him about you because he thought he’d given up. What he didn’t know was that Taehyung was waiting for Bang PD to show up for the talk he and Jin initiated. It was such a long wait, it drove him crazy. Adding in Jungkook and his outstanding persistence, its a miracle Taehyung didn’t snap at him. “He really likes you you know. In an older sister kind of way I mean.”

“Yeah, I like that little fluff of a bunny too. He must have been annoying you, huh?” Pride swelled in you thinking about how he was chewing on Tae’s ear, pondering about whether he meant it literally or not. The image of Kookie biting Taehyung’s ear floated in your mind and you snorted out at the thought.

“You know what, you should call him that and watch the reaction. I will eat a bag of popcorn in the back because that will be one hell of a struggle for Jungkook!”

“What, fluff of a bunny? Oh come on, I bet he’ll let me.”

“Oh yes, he’ll let you, but he will be literally dying on the inside every time. And threatening everyone else to try to do it after you or else.

“Or else he will smother them with an adorable little nose crunch?”

“Okay, after the shower, we’ll be visiting Jeon Jungkook. Fair warning, I’m recording this!”

Bursting out laughing, you turned the last corner and an astonishing building came to view. Tae drank in your amazed look and casually walked to the alley behind the hotel, opening up the backdoor as if he was doing such things every single day.

Well, maybe he was.

The door led to a dimly lit white corridor, which was followed by a staircase, spiraling upwards endlessly. You didn’t dare to ask how high you are going, thanking the heavens for your choice of footwear.

“Do I need to warm up a little or..”

“We’ll see, won’t we?” he teased, starting to climb the steps with your suitcase in his hand. You braced yourself, aiming to control your breathing before he makes fun of you. Taking a deep breath, you followed him, making sure your posture was fit for a workout. You most definitely will not be panting by the time you reach the right floor.

You were more right than you could’ve known. Taehyung stopped by literally the first door, which probably meant the first floor and grinned widely at your shocked features.

“Yeah, another thing about idol life: we are not staying where you think we’re staying. I bet you thought we will be on the highest floor, where it would be hard to get up with an elevator if you were an outsider. Well, no. Usually not. It’s more convenient to stay close to the exit or the stairs, preferably both. Like now. Tourists usually like to go for higher rooms too, for the view. We don’t get to look around much, so why waste the money on it anyway?”

As he was explaining, he opened the door, revealing a lushly decorated hallway with rows of identical doors. The floor was deserted and quiet, only the two of you walking ahead. You only noticed the bodyguards absence from behind you.

Tae stopped by one of the brightly polished mahogany doors with a number 10 carved into it elegantly. He swiped a keycard against the reader and smoothly opened the door. He left your suitcase next to another one, which was probably his and jumped on the springy bed with a grin plastered across his face.

“So, this is me!”

You looked around the room, taking in the wooly looking carpet, the deep midnight blue colored heavy curtains, the amber colored furniture and sleek flat screen TV positioned in front of the heavenly looking bed.

“Ah, it's utterly...disgusting, I have no idea how can you endure this for weeks.”

“I know, this is torture. Finally, someone will save me from this hellhole.”

Taehyung grinned and you grinned back. With a swift motion, he grabbed your hand and pulled you onto the bed, hugging your waist. Giggling at the absurdity of it all, you rolled on your back. If there was some sort of heaven out there, it couldn’t beat this.

This time it was his initiation that started a war of tickling and the queen sized bed easily accommodated it. In moments where his control took over and you fought for air, he slipped in a little peck or two, taunting you to fight harder and weaker at the same time. Because he was clearly challenging you, but at the same time, it felt way too pleasurable to be pinned down into the soft covers, his scent enveloping you.

The tickles turned into caresses and the pecks into deeper and deeper kisses. Hands found their way under soaked clothes, drawing fiery lines on cold skin.

Tae finally had you where he wanted, without any restrictions or worries. And you handled the whole thing with such understanding that still left him amazed.

The room’s atmosphere changed from playful to sensual in a blink of an eye.

Tangling into each other, he smiled into your hair, allowing himself to completely let go, not thinking about any pain, responsibilities, and worries. He can handle anything now.

The one thing neither of you accounted for was a sharp knock on your door, which grew into a pounding in mere seconds, loud exclamations coming from the other side.

Chapter Text

Chapter 11

The knocking kept on going and a low chuckle erupted from the two of you.

“Okay, guess, who is that?” you murmured in Tae’s hair.

“Probably the obvious. Your little brother is restless and he must have a dragged in Jiminie, who is just too happy with this whole thing going on. The rest are either respectful enough to greet you tomorrow or have other things to… tend to.”

Catching onto the meaning of his words, you nodded as he got up from you. Sitting up, you spared a glance at your attire, pulling back your shirt to its place while Taehyung fixed this teased hair. He made his way to the door, giving you a smirk when he peeked through the small hole. You nodded, pulling your legs into a cross, preparing yourself for the onslaught coming your way.

“Not buying anything, but thank you!” Tae shouted outside.

“Let us in before I post an old, but gold selca of you on Twitter!”

“There is no selca in this world that I don’t look good in you ignorant.”

“Remember that time back in Hong Kong when we were on that roofto…” Jimin’s words trailed off when Taehyung teared up the door ferociously. The younger 95’ liner tore the phone from the dancer’s hand, deleting the picture in a blink of an eye.

Many things happened at once: Kookie flew past Taehyung and happily jumped on the bed, hugging you into oblivion and you giggled as much as his arms let you breathe. Jimin scolded Tae to think that that was his only ammunition against him and gave him a saucy wink before getting in the room. The man in the door sighed, closing the door behind him to see both of his brothers plastered across the bed he was messing around with you only moments ago.

“Hey, don’t suffocate her, she just got here!”

Jimin pulled himself a little away with a worried look on his soft features, but you just laughed it off.

“I’m okay, I’m not some delicate flower. I’ve missed you guys too.”

“Well, you are to me, so get off of her before I get angry.”

“Oooh, scary.” Kookie cooed but sat up nonetheless.

The four of you settled around, you and Kook laid on your bellies on the bed, Tae turned around the chair by the table, elbows on the back of the chair with one hand and the other interlaced with yours. Jimin gathered all the pillows on the floor in front of you and comfied himself in their midst.

Conversation flowed about the last few days, the vocalists sharing their point of view of Taehyung’s and Jin’s behavior, immensely teasing the named man present. Apparently he was more impatient and reserved, as an old man, grudgingly dragging his feet. Kookie detailed his actions of trying to talk to him and reminding him of you, jumping the topic to him at the most unexpected and odd moments possible.

At first, you tried to keep your cool, not letting them know how happy it made you hear about their antics, but you lost it when Jungkook told the tale of him sneaking up on Tae while he was showering in his hotel room, shouting your name on the other side of the humid glass which closed Tae and the water inside. Taehyung’s face flushed and only kept on reddening when he was reminded how he tried to catch the maknae all wet and slick with shower gel to punish him, racing down the corridor before the bunny shut the door in his face, successfully escaping his wrath.

Tears jerked in your eyes as laughter shook your body, rolling on your back and you high fived Kookie in one smooth swing. The boy cackled endlessly, reminiscing how good it felt to reach his own room safely, only getting a little wet when he scrambled through Tae’s bed to escape his loosely clothed brother. Jimin was lying on his side, face buried in one of the pillows, slamming his hand on the floor.

“Okay, okay, you got me that one time. But if I remember correctly I got you back pretty good too.” Tae finally pulled his hand away he was hiding face behind, cocking his eyebrow at the youngster.

“Aah, so that's what that was!” Jimin smiled knowingly.

Taehyung went on to explain that on their last night in London, he got back from practice earlier than the others, and snuck in to Kookie’s room with Sejin’s keycard to hide all the towels and other material the young one could use as a towel or as toilet paper, counting on that he will get back to his room either in need of a shower or to take a dump.

Which turned out literally the best way possible for Tae: Jungkook had a bad tummy when he got out of the car, making a run for his toilet to relieve himself, only to find the toilet paper holder empty. No extra rolls in sight. There were probably some tissues somewhere in his gym bag, but due to the shower being there only a meter away, the bunny got rid of his clothes and jumped in under the water instead, coping with the situation he was presented with. He even put his head under the stream of water and washed his sweaty hair.

But then shampoo got in his eye. And nothing to rub it out with. In his frantic search for a towel or anything to dry himself off and to wipe his tearful eye, he heard a muffled chuckle coming from the closed front door. Disbelief washed over him, realizing what was happening to him this whole time. Taehyung stood by his door outside, listening to the furious cursing inside, only to bolt in the direction of his room when the bunny appeared next to him, in drenched closed, water and bubbles dripping from his face and hair. The chase ended similarly to the first: Jungkook sped after his youngest brother down the hallway, shouting on top of his lungs only to have the door shut in his face bare seconds before he caught Taehyung. A door opened behind Kookie to reveal Jiminie, who at first didn’t know how to react to his youngest member to stand there, in the middle of the hallway, wet from head to toes, one of his eyes closed and tearing up, face scrunched in an angry frown, hands pounding on someone's door. Bafflement was followed tightly by tear-jerking laughter.

Jungkook didn’t hesitate when he saw the open door behind the dancer and stormed in to get an extra set of towels and a bedsheet, only to be followed around by Jimin's giggles until he went back to his own dysfunctional room.

Mouth hanging open, you snickered uncontrollably, holding onto your sides in pain. Jimin was wiping tears from his eyes and Kookie just shook his head in disbelief and embarrassment. Tae triumphantly smiled down on you, gently stroking away a piece of hair away from your face before reclaiming your hand.

“And what were you doing in the last few days Noona?”

“Ah, nothing much really. We went out shopping a little, some sightseeing… nothing really special. We didn’t really know what to do with ourselves.”

“Why, I thought you like London.”

“Yeah, I do, but there wasn’t anyplace I wanted to go to. We did the usual rounds, visiting our favorite places. It was just a time to cozy up at our place, not roaming around I guess.”

“You were not yourself either then.” Jimin smiled up from the pillows understandingly, a tint of sadness enveloping his melting chocolate colored irises.

“It’s better to live through it then to bottle it up in my opinion.” you tilted your head at him, then shrugging seemingly nonchalantly. The atmosphere turned more serious and you didn’t want it to be that way. The hand wrapped around yours tightened a little.

“Okay, enough of that. If I weren’t here, what would you be doing?” you asked the sullen looking boys around you.

“I think I would be playing a game, but I don’t want to play now.” Kookie stared ahead of himself.

“Now those are words I never thought I would hear from you.” Jimin looked up at him, baffled. Kook stuck out his tongue in his direction in response.

“I think I would be doing some skin care before going to bed. Maybe a mask or something.” Tae murmured as Jimin flung in the maknae’s direction, trying to catch his ear to pull on it. A playful fight broke out next to you and you scurried to stand next to Tae’s chair. Without looking away from his brothers, he extended his arm towards you and pulled you down to sit on his knee, his back rumbling in chuckles.

After settling yourself, your gaze met a desperate looking Jimin, whose limbs were starting to become rather restrained by his brother. Kookie cried out in victory, successfully pinning Jimin down. The whole scene was too similar to your earlier fight with Taehyung, laying on the same bed, getting pushed into the covers. Taking in the position Kookie held down Jimin, you tilted your head to see where was Jimin’s mouth, and where Kookie’s arms rested.

“Jiminie, if I were you, I would use my teeth more often.” you stage whispered lightly, raising your eyebrow suggestively at the dancer.

At first, he didn’t get your meaning, giving you a look full of doubt. Then the penny dropped and a devilish smile curved his full lips and he yanked his head close to Kookies resting hand, biting down on an exposed finger. A howl erupted from Kookie, who let go immediately, nursing his finger and Jimin used the small opportunity to shove the boy away on the bed. Without further hesitation, the smallest vocalist tickled the still stunned Jungkook until he was gasping out for air.

“So… does this mean you’re a biter?” a low voice asked behind you.

“Oh, I don’t know. Why would you ask that?” you smirked, keeping your voice as even as possible. The knee holding you up bounced you once, making you look back at him. He hid behind your shoulder, so only you saw his lustful face, his teeth sucking on his lower lip slightly.

“I expect you to use that move the next time we play.”

“Careful what you wish for.”

Jimin victoriously cried out, bouncing down from the bed, delighted by his victory. Kookie stayed on the bed, sprawled out, panting.

“I could use a mask about now, a little treat after a well-deserved victory.”

“I don’t think we have enough for everyone.” Tae moved a little, catching the handle of the suitcase, opening up the side in one big motion. You got up, allowing him to have more room to move around. Walking to your own suitcase, you wondered whether you packed your own mask, even though it was much different than what they had in mind. “Yeah, I only have two left.”

Rummaging around, you found a small box you were looking for with a dark glass container and a small spatula inside.

“What is that?” Jimin looked over your shoulder, his hand expectantly extended towards the small jar. You pulled out the glass, handing it over.

“I get that you call masks those white paperlike things that you put on your faces, right?” nods followed your words. “Well, I call this thing a mask. This is my favorite, it’s a Himalayan charcoal clay with some Japanese tea leaves. It looks ridiculous, it has to dry on your face, but God, it’s amazing. Use it once a week with a moisturizer and you’re basically done with skincare like you’ve been to a salon or something.”

Jimin curiously turned the glass around before he turned the lid to reveal the murky looking clay inside. The familiar scent picked at your nose, and you happily watched as the dancer sped in the bathroom to try it out. His head suddenly popped out by the doorframe, looking apologetic.

“Do you mind if I try it?”

“Go ahead, that’s why I got it out in the first place!”

You got up and went after him to help, sparing the other two a quick glance before entering the bathroom. Jimin stood by a well lit mirror stretching from the shower all the way to the wall, giving enough space to have two sinks below it. The counter was free of any products, only a fancy looking soap sat in a glass plate.

“Well, you can’t exactly pull your hair away, but I guess you can always wash it. Here, use this.” you handed him the plastic spatula to scoop out the clay from the container. “I usually start from one side, spreading it with the bent side of the spatula. The smell will be a little intense at first, but the clay will dry up and the scent will be gone. Plus the feeling of something so dense and dry is really weird, but fun at the same time.” he nodded, his eyes sparkling in anticipation.

“Don’t I have to do something before applying? Wet my face or something?”

“Nah, not really. This thing is designed to suck out all of the pollutions that your skin came into contact with, so there is no need to wash your face first.”

“Will you do it with me?”

“Sure, let me get my hair away first.” You went back to your bag and pulled out an elastic from the pocket of a pair of jeans inside. Kookie and Tae curiously stood by the bathroom door, watching intently what was going on inside. Pulling up your hair into a ponytail, you whipped by them, stopping by the mirror.

Jimin already spread some clay on the side of his face, his eyes growing large as he watched the material start to dry up where it was lightly applied. He offered you the glass and you swiftly spooned some out, putting it on with practised moves on your cheeks and forehead. The dancers eyes carefully followed your hand, mirroring your movements. It was kind of comical, seeing him imitate you, down to the very last detail of holding your pinky finger away from the rest.

Your fingers traveled from your forehead down by your temples to your jaw. With small circles, you painted your nose and framed your mouth delicately. Soon, every part was covered that could be covered and Jimin was already touching the parts of his face where the clay set firmly.

“How is it?”

“It’s weird and funny. I never thought how much movement my face could make.”

“Yeah I get what you mean. Soon you won’t be able to smile fully without feeling how much of you actually moves with it. Plus it really looks stupid, all the more reason to do it!” he glanced back on his reflection. Without having to concentrate on mimicking you, he saw his face, covered in a greyish brown liquid with bits of leaves here and there and he burst out laughing.

“Can I try?” Tae stood behind you, one of his hand on your waist. Before accepting the glass container, he furrowed his face in your nape, brushing his lips against the exposed skin.

Jimin went to look for his phone to take a few pictures.

“Noona, can I too?”

“Sure, make sure to put on enough.” you smiled at his shy expression. His doe eyes roamed on your face, clearly wondering.

“Does it sting?”

“No, not really. It’s mostly cold, like an icepack.”

He raised his hand to touch the material on you and you angled your jaw in his direction. His eyes grew a little when he made contact, not understanding your meaning.

“But it’s not cold at all!”

“No, but it does feel cold. Here, try it!” Tae handed it over to him, rubbing in the clay on his face with two hands. Despite putting on a stupid looking thing on his face, he was nothing less attractive, his eyebrows raising slightly as he concentrated on putting enough on. His lips curved a little in delight, sensing the growing coolness on his skin.

Kookie next to him took the spatula and soon he was covered too. Jimin entered the room with his phone, positioning himself so the light would hit his handsome features evenly.

“Hey, Y/n, come here and take a selfie with me!”

Making a happy sound, you obliged. At first, the two of you smiled at the highly held gadget, then you pulled your face into a scrunch and Jimin followed you lead, sticking out his tongue in a silly way. Then he pulled a surprised look and you mirrored him. Tae jumped in the frame, opening his mouth wide and the two of you did the same.

Several shots and variations were made with the four of you. Without thinking about it twice, Tae selected one of them where the three of the boys were doing a serious eyebrow raise and started to make a Twitter post.

“What is this product?” his gaze met yours, his eyes twinkling in mischief.

“Nooo, Noona don’t tell him. ARMY will buy up all of this and you will never ever have the chance to buy it again. Anywhere. I’m serious!” Kookie cried out from the room, his alarmed face reappearing in the bathroom’s doorframe.

“I have another one of these at home, still unopened, so I think I’m fine.” you chuckled at his desperate face. “Plus this is not the only mask the company makes, so I can switch to a different one the next time I need to buy one. Don’t worry Kook-ah.” he shook his head, but let the matter go, going back to the bed to lay down.

“It’s a Body Shop product, what you see on the bottle is the exact name. What are you posting?”

He quickly typed away before he turned the phone in your direction so you could see the post. Jimin glanced too, humming appreciatively. Tae hit the send button and the familiar chirping sound took off from the speakers.

“Noona, your phone is ringing!”

“Who is it? Do you see a name?”

“No, its a number starting with +36 30, should I pick it up?”

“Sure, it will be probably some Hungarian. Try speaking in English, see what happens!”

The phone went on for a few more seconds and for a beat you thought the youngster chickened out from having to speak English so suddenly. But then the ringing stopped and you heard Kookie answer shakily. You smiled warmly, as you listened to him try to develop a conversation, having small struggles. The two boys with you shared a look, trying to hold back their giggles.

“Noona, I don’t think this person speaks English! It’s a woman, saying your name repeatedly. I think she’s mad.”

You furrowed your eyebrows, not having an idea who could it be. Stepping out of the bathroom you looked at Kookie.

“Did she say anything you recognized?”

“Not really, she repeatedly said something that might be her name, something like H/n.”

You stood still, your features frozen in terror. How the hell did she…

“Kookie, hang up the phone.”

“But she’s still saying somethi… “

“Kook-ah, hang up. Now.”

The bunny looked at you for the first time since you left the bathroom. His face sank when he saw you tremble a little. His hand quickly found the big red circle, pulling it upwards to end the call.

“What was that, what happened?” Tae’s voice came from your side, his eyes not leaving your frame. Your sudden change of mood alarmed him, not understanding what caused you to get scared out of the blue.

You hesitantly stood, not knowing what to say. Kookie was getting up from the bed, coming closer to you to hug you, murmuring sorry’s under his breath.

“Don’t apologize Kookie, I told you to pick it up, you couldn’t have known.”

“Know what? Y/n?” Tae’s face entered your vision, and you realized that they have sat you down on the bed. Tae was kneeling in front of you, his hand on your cheek. Kookie was sitting by your side, his hands firmly planted on his knees, not wanting to interfere with Taehyung, but badly wanted to hug you. Jimin was standing behind Taehyung, his eyes full of concern.

“Kook-ah, maybe we should go.” he started to motion for the youngster to get up, trying to give you some privacy.

“No, no, that is not necessary. I don’t want to hide it, it’s not like I’m ashamed or anything, I was just caught off-guard, that’s all.”

Rolling your head around, you cracked your neck out of bad habit. The sound made Tae wince a little, but he didn’t say anything. You hung your head back a little, taking a long look on the ceiling, drawing in a long sigh before you met his eyes again.

“I never thought I’ll be talking about it this soon, but at least I’ll get it out of the way.” you forced a smile, trying not to tense up too much.

“You don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to.” Taehyung assured you in a warm tone, and you believed he would let this go. But there was no reason not to say it. There were some reservations in you, knowing that cultural differences might make this a little… difficult, but at some point or another you would have this conversation anyway. Having two more sets of ears did not change that fact, at least you won’t have to repeat yourself later on.

Bracing yourself, you drew in a long breath and quickly uttered your next sentence.

“The person who Kookie was talking to was my mother.”

A heavy silence filled the room. Their faces changed, only for a moment, but it was evident that that was one of the last things they expected you to say.

“You see, I don’t have the best relationship with my family. She… ah, how should I say this. I’m not sure how will you take this in. But to say it plainly, she is not exactly healthy. Most of her life she lived with an aggressive drunk. The coping mechanism she came up with is not… nice for the people close to her. For the most part, she raised me, but it wasn’t the brightest childhood’s out there. I don’t really have a relationship with her.”

“What is her coping mechanism?” Tae’s eyes didn’t leave yours, his face struggling. A muscle by his jaw jumped around in restraint.

“Uh, her mood would change uncontrollably. One minute she would be compensating for something, being all nice and sweet. Looking back it was kind of creepy, because it was always really overdone, like a Stepford wife. Then the next minute she would be shouting, throwing things at me, going on about how I sucked the life out of her. How she would be better off, married to someone if I wouldn’t hold her back. That sort of thing.”

Kookie’s hands clenched as you were speaking. You didn’t look at his face, trying your best to keep your voice even.

“Look, I know this must be hard to understand, I get it. It’s not somethi..”

“Where were your grandparents? Or any other relatives? Your father?” questions spilled from Taehyung’s heart-shaped lips, his eyes narrowing.

“My grandparents...by this time I had only two grandmothers alive. One was living far away and she mostly cared about his grandson, not his granddaughters. For her, girls didn’t really matter, boys were always the goal, so when my sister and I were born, she didn’t treat us the same way. My father...ah, that’s a long story. But the drunk who got her this way supposedly is my father. They got divorced when I was 9. He mostly grabbed a drink when I called to get some help.”

“So you tried to ask for help? And they left you alone? You were alone with this since you were 9 years old?”

“I wasn’t exactly a pushover Tae. I wasn’t letting it happen, I fought. Constantly. If she said something like how her life would be different if I weren’t there, if she wouldn’t have given birth to me, I left. Literally left, packed up a few days worth of clothes and went to stay at a friend’s house. I had a couple of places to crash at. Or if I didn’t leave, I would shut my door and put things, furniture or anything big and movable against the door so she wouldn’t get it.

The awful thing about it wasn’t what she said or did. It was the switch, the change that took over her when someone called in the middle of it. She would change from angrily kicking on my door to crying into the phone, saying things about me that I never did or said. Things that made her look like the victim. And people believed them. Grown adults believed what she was saying about a little girl, barricaded behind her own door.”

“This is how you grew up? Loved one minute and then terrorized the next?”

“Not all the time. I was a foreign exchange student when I was 15. That was a year long. Then she met some guy and moved in with him for three years. I had my own place for that long without having to pay for housing.

And I got out. It wasn’t smooth or easy. But I did. And I broke all sorts of contact. For a while, I didn’t even understand what I was getting out of, to be honest. It was scary, but freeing. But without having to live under a… I don’t know, awareness constantly, I got more jumpy. Because I was always focused, ready for whatever. I just didn’t know at the time. When there was nothing to anticipate, to get ready to handle, everything got a little more scary, more unfathomable.

I took me like 5-6 years to realize I had some sort of panic attacks. And I really had to get it under control, because I was learning a really difficult, emotionally demanding profession. Imaging doing exchanging and breaking down, just because your trained imagination went off for no good reason and I blew all my accounts. Just like that. Something I worked for months. Anyway, the whole thing doesn’t really affect me like it did in the past.”

As you were talking, your eyes wandered off, mostly looking at the wall beside Jimin. Ever since you started to explain them your background, the familiar sensations of emptiness and silent anger grew in you. Coldness grew in your hands and your legs started to tremble slightly. Once a psychologist explained that this was the way your body coped with the hit and run effect without acting on it. Since there wasn’t anything to hit or run away from, the tension coming out of your body with the tremble, which you had no control over. The coldness was due to your growing blood pressure, circulating the blood in the organs and areas most important for survival. Your hands and feet weren’t part of that circuit, hence they grew cold.

Probably only Taehyung noticed these changes in you, since he took your hands into his, drawing small circles in your palms steadily for many minutes.

“Did she ever harm you, physically?”

“She tried. With not much success, but she tried.”

“Y/n, I’m so sorry for what happened to you. You deserve a happy family just like anybody.” Jimin whispered, drawing your stare from the wall to him. His features weren’t painted in pity or shyness, but a resolved anger emitted from his piercing eyes.

“Don’t be. It made me who I am. It drove me to be able to learn what I had to, to experience what I did and in the end, it brought me here.”

“Why is she calling you?” a faint whisper came from your side. You tore your eyes from Jimin to Kookie, who hung his head. His hair framed most his face, covering his eyes. A barely visible line drew from his eye in the dried clay, melting the set material on his cheek.

“I don’t really know to be honest. She has been trying for years. I used to get calls, texts from several numbers and private contacts. In time, I’ve set my phone to ignore these. Then emails started to flood in and I got many friend notifications on social media. I didn’t accept or respond to any of them. Some emails I did read, out of pure curiosity. What could she say after all? But they mostly reflected what I already knew: a few were nicely written, talking about how cute I used to be and how she misses when I was still small and adorable. The rest are more… colorful, so to say. Threatening to throw out the rest of the things I left there, my diploma and such. Or calling the police on me for some reason. Whatever you can think of, she probably has written it at some point or another. There was even a time when my sister told me that she started to go into my old workplaces, looking for me. Now that scared me. The feeling of getting jumped at in a place she shouldn’t know about, whenever or wherever I was. Like I was never free of her, coming after me for eternity.”

“Do you think she wants to make things right?”

“Maybe. But it’s not like she could. I’m not going to get fixed by a few pretty words or a few days of normalcy. It doesn’t last, it never did.”

“You are saying that like something is wrong with you.” the youngster shook a little before he turned his hanging head to face you. The painful look coming from his almond-shaped eyes made you draw in a sharp breath, trying your best to swallow back the forceful feeling of tears pricking at you.

“Because something is wrong with me. It would be a normal thing to look for a way to solve this. To mend it, to get her help, to forgive everyone I blame for the things that happened. But I don’t. I don’t care. So much that it could be scary sometimes.”

“But… look, I’m no expert, but by holding onto this, aren’t you hurting yourself too?” Tae squeezed your hand a little, pleading hiding in his gaze.

“Some people say that. But I don’t care. How is letting people off the hook doing me any good? I got this question many times, mostly by my sister or grandmother: “why are you like this, why don't you just move on? Forget the bad things, don’t think about it. You’re so stubborn and bad-tempered.”

But see, here is the thing. How can a girl move on from being told from a small age that she shouldn’t eat anything because she’s fat? Because this was one of the things my mother kept telling me for years. She didn’t pack lunch or cook dinner. Don’t mistake me, she did the same thing to herself. Only eating apples or carrots for days and telling me to do the same. She always commented on what I was wearing when I was leaving to go somewhere. School, to a friend’s or just to the store. A never-ending torrent of bad-mouthing her own daughter's body and I was a teenager for Christ’s sake. As if any hormone driven girl could see straight, understanding the concept of a healthy body image or nutritional values.”

You puffed in anger, memories flashing in your mind. Rolling your shoulders, you tried to shake off the strain on your body, trying to relax. A squeeze came again, and you glanced at your hands first before you raised your eyes up to Taehyung’s.

He wasn’t crying or angry. His full attention was on you, trying to warm up your hands and thinking about solutions and asking the right questions.

“This must be really weird for all of you. Maybe I shouldn’t have got into it. I’m sorry I made y… “

“No, don’t do that.” Tae shook his head. “I’m glad you didn’t hesitate to be honest with us. You are sharing a painful thing with us and you are apologizing for it like you are responsible somehow.”

“Yeah, it’s not right” Jimin strengthened to his brother’s words. Kookie nodded, aligning with them.

“But for you, who value the concept of family so much, this must be so alien to you. To have a literal outcast talking about not being respectful towards her relatives, outright going agai…”

“If you wouldn’t distance yourself on your own, I would make you anyway. There is no way in hell I wouldn’t get you away from them in a heartbeat.” Jimin growled. “Family is not about just blood. It’s taking care of each other, helping and aiming to do better for the other’s sake. It’s about unconditional, unquestionable love, to give and to receive. For whatever’s worth, those people who let their own daughter, sister, granddaughter live like that and ignore plea’s of help for years…” he ran his hand through his hair, a shattered exhale leaving him. “So no, nothing is wrong with you and I’m glad I had the privilege to share your trust. “

Listening to his rant, you marveled at his fierceness. Once he was done, he pierced his gaze into yours, raising his eyebrow in question, as if asking if there is anything you want to add. You shook your head and dropped your eyes to meet Tae’s.

Your hands started to become warmer and he finally eased up a little, understanding you were coming back from the place where you went when you asked Jungkook to hang up. The alertness and panic you emitted were so dense, your posture reminded him of a hunted animal, sensing the closeness of death approaching. The trembling was still going on, your legs flexing and relaxing under your hands and Tae thought that maybe you weren’t even aware of it.

But for some reason, all these details were nothing compared to how easily you talked about your abused childhood. Your voice never broke, never shuddered, your expression mostly calm and plain, no hint of misery or sadness coming through. There were a few instances when you let out a speck of emotion, a fiery flash or a determined look. But never sadness.

And then Taehyung understood. You weren’t feeling sad or sorry. Not for yourself. Or not anymore at least. Maybe there was a time when it took the whole world to cheer you up, but that time was gone.

This small speck of information illuminated something in his mind that he never knew he needed. The sense of knowing that there is a state of mind where you were done feeling bad about yourself, your actions or your experiences and that took him a step forward to the tranquility he felt coming from you, deciphering a part of it. If he could be a little bit more like that, just a small part of him, he could be freer. Happier.

“So...I wager these masks have done what they needed, right?” Jimin touched his face, searching for a wet spot, but finding none.

“Yeah, getting it off is the...more messy part.” you hesitantly smiled at him and he gifted you with a bright smile. The dancer's eyes grew wide, his hands flying up to the dry clay cracking on his face, surprised by the sensation it gave off.

“How do we even get this off?”

“Lots of water and rubbing. A little exfoliation.” chuckling at his overplayed expression, you wiggled on the bed and Tae helped you up. With a little more determination than necessary, you flew into the bathroom and turned on the water, setting it on a lukewarm temperature.

The three boys went after you, still touching their faces in amazement. Splashing some water of your left cheek, you drew easy circles at first, loosening up the material before applying more pressure to rub it off. Jimin bent over next to you, watching you for a few minutes before he started to mimic what you were doing. He was less skillful not to let the water splash everywhere and soon many spots of water clung onto his shirt.

A giggle came from behind, Kookie amusing himself over his brother's apparent clumsiness.

“Just wait until you get here Kook-ah, it’s not as easy as it looks!” you teased him, already done with half of your face. Some bits of tea leaves clung onto you here or there, but your skin turned a healthy looking pink after reemerging from the clay. Jimin had a few pieces of hair sticking to his forehead, his eyelashes occasionally letting a drop of water loose.

“Tae, I’m officially borrowing a shirt.” he muttered under his breath, straightening himself from the sink and with one smooth motion, he pulled off his half-wet shirt over his head, bending back to the running water.

“Excuse me, where is the modest, shy little Mochi everyone seems to be going on about?” you shot him a teasing glance before splashing water on your forehead.

“Error 404, shy Jiminie not found.” Tae joined in the joking.

“Ah shush, I’ll get on a shirt after I’m done. Plus, I literally had parts of choreography to show myself for years.” the dancer's words were confident, but he aimed his arms to cover some of his chest, scrubbing his face with faster.

You smiled to yourself, not pulling on his shyness anymore. Wondering on how he saw himself through his own eyes, you raised your torso and faced the mirror, picking off the rest of the leaves that you missed. Tae handed you a fluffy towel and you buried your face in it, breathing in the faint smell of detergent. Throwing the towel to Jimin, he caught it smoothly and dried his face, hair, and chest, keeping the cloth in front of him as he walked out to get a shirt from Tae’s suitcase.

Kookie and Taehyung bent over to the water and diligently started to work off the dry clay. Chuckling lightly at their exclamations, you picked up the glass container and put it away with the spatula in their designated box. With slow steps, you strolled casually to your bag and dropped in the midst of your things. After a few seconds of search, you got out your moisturizing face cream and a special eye gel.

You didn’t notice Jimin beside you, only when he hugged you from the side, his lips letting out a shaky exhale. His arms hung gently around you, not wanting to be forceful. A long sigh escaped you and you rolled your head sideways to meet his. The last crumbs of tension left your body and you eased up, welcoming the comfort he provided wordlessly. He nodded and let you go, kicking up a conversation about the products in your hand.

By the time the two boys were done in the bathroom, you and Jimin finished off your usual skincare routine, face relaxed by the cream and eyes glistening from the remaining bits of gel. The four of you settled in a more easy discussion about the next day and how their concert went the last time they were in Paris. The flow lightly touched the contract you were about to sign and how they saw the phone conversation with Bang PD.

Turns out they were all there, sitting in a soundproof room by a long table. All members plus Sejin circled the speaker as their boss explained his motivation to have you and Drina come into the inner circle. The way Kookie and Jimin shared the memory it made you think that maybe they thought you’ll get mad about it, not having a private conversation about an obviously private matter. They called back their surprise when you called out to them over the phone, laughing it off before hanging up. Jimin shook his head, still a little mesmerized about it.

“Bang PD’s voice had a little echo to him, so I guessed he was putting me on speaker as much as I was putting him. I wasn’t going to shut Drina out of it, she needed to hear it for herself. And you have the same right, so no, I’m not mad you were there.”

“TaeTae’s right, you are really something else.” Jimin stared at you.

“No, this just makes sense. I would want to be there if I were you.” you shrugged, not putting much emphasis on the matter.

“Noona, do you think we can go out sometime, photographing the city?” Kookie looked at you with hope coloring his features.

“I don’t know, how does that usually happen? Does Sejin accompany you or something?”

“If we can go out of the hotel, and that is a big if, we usually go in pairs or three’s. With some security. And late into the night when there is barely anyone outside. But usually there is a crowd around the hotel we’re staying at, so there is no way to sneak out.” Tae explained, his head resting in your lap. Without giving it much thought, you were running your fingers through his hair, earning a low hum from him.

“Well then Kook, ask him whether we can go or not. I think Drina has my camera in her bag, so I’ll need to get it back from her. And God knows when will be the next time she emerges from Jin’s room.” you chuckled, putting that time way off in your head.

“It’s getting late, we should go Kookie.” Jimin scrambled to his feet, holding out a hand to his little brother, which he took and he was yanked up in a strong swing. Tae sat up too, stretching out a little before he followed out Jimin to the door. Kookie pulled you into a bear hug, promising to ask Sejin about your little excursion outside. Before letting you go, he raised you of the floor, and you squealed a little in his shoulder. He laughed it off and put you back down.

“I’m glad you’re with us Noona. He needed you. We needed you.”

“The feelings mutual, you little fluff.”

Tae whipped his head back hearing the pet name, his eyes monitoring the maknae. At first, Kookie didn’t notice it, then he threw you a weird look.

“Noona, what do you mean “fluff”?”

“Well, you’re just a little fluff of a bunny, don’t you think? I think it’s cute.”

Taehyung bit down so hard on his mouth it almost drew blood. Trying his best not to let out a betraying sound, his frame shuddered a little. Jimin stood by him, not understanding what is going on. His eyes jumped from Tae to Jungkook to you in a comical speed, trying to figure it out.

Kookie blinked fast, his features growing from surprise to horror to evidently reaching surrender. It was amusing to see him struggle with his reactions, but in the end, he tried to act like it didn’t phase him as much as it obviously did.

“I think I like “Kookie” better, but if you like it… I guess you can use it. Only you though.” And with those words, he spared his brothers a malicious look, threatening them against the bold move.

“Oh, don’t worry, I’m sure no one will pick up on it!” you chirped happily, gaining a confident smile. Tae snorted, contradicting your words immediately.

“Noona, don’t be like that!” the bunny whined. “It’s enough from fans as much as it is!”

“Ah, Kook-ah, you see, you made me your older sister, it’s not my fault you’re adorable.”

“But I’m not! I’m really not! Not anymore!”

“Okay, see, that pout you just did,” he exclaimed in exasperation. “Yeah, and that nose scrunch. You don’t give me any other choice.” he huffed, making his bangs fly up a little and you chuckled at his angst.

“You’re not just a bunny anymore, don’t worry about it. But I bet some kinks revolve around…”

“Noona!!!” he threw you a horrified look and he bolted towards the door, clearly trying to escape the conversations turn. You giggled like a maniac, watching him dart between an open-mouthed Jimin and a silently suffocating Taehyung, who held back all noises of laughter, drawing tears from his eyes from the pressure of it all.

“Fill me in tomorrow about this!” Jimin shot you a pleading glare before he turned on the spot and waved before he disappeared in the hallway. Tae clung to his sides for a few more seconds before he closed the door behind him.

“Ah, that was amazing, I should’ve recorded it!”

“Next time perhaps.” you bounced on the bed, stretching out your legs in front of you.

Tae lazily walked over to you, squatting down between your extended legs. He took one of your hands and played a little with your long fingers.

“So… are you okay?”

“Mhmm, I’m fine. You?”

“I’m more than okay. I’m happy and I love the fact that you’re here. How you welcomed them in and didn’t mind us being the way we are.”

“There isn’t anything to mind. They are wonderful people, your brothers.” you curved your lips warmly, watching his face twitch a little before he let a smile out.

Without any further words, he got back up and went around to turn off the lights. Once there was only a small lamp on by the headboard, he stood in front of you again. You raised your hands, indicating for him to pull off your shirt. He did and got off his own. Scooting a little back, you pulled off your leggings and socks and raised the thick cover over so you could slip under.

The heavy duvet felt wonderful against your body, and under its weight, you twisted your arms behind your back, breaking your bra free. Taehyung curiously eyed you before he suck in a gulp of air when you threw your bra on top of your suitcase. With only your panties on, you settled in your side and watched him walk over to the last lamp, turning it off.

Darkness covered your eyes before faint rays of light drew from the pulled curtains. The mattress moved next to you and Tae settled himself. Some wiggling and chuckling later his hand rested on your curving waist, his other hand bending under your neck, pulling you close to him. Your breathing mixed and he nuzzled his nose to yours. Happy sounds emitted from you and his fingers danced on your skin.

“Y/n… I’m sorry if I offended you. Earlier, with the letting go thing.”

“You didn’t. It’s an obvious question and you didn’t mean anything bad by it. Hey, this is sort of important. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. I want to know what you think, how you honestly think about things. I want to respect your opinion as much as you do mine.”

A heavy exhale fanned against your face. In the absence of light, you could only make out his general outline, not able to read his features in the dark.

“Y/n, I...I’ll try. And please stay this open. I won’t stop feeling like this just because your life wasn’t a fairytale until we met. I’d rather fight your family with you than run away because it’s not something I’ve ever known. Besides, my mom will love you twice as hard to make up for the lost times you deserved.”

“Your… your mom?”

“Well, yeah, my mom. You two will meet eventually. I bet she will adore you.”

“You really think so?”

“It will be a fated day when my dad discovers his wife isn’t the only feisty, strong, but a kind and level-headed woman on Earth. The two of you could probably take over the world if you set your mind at it.”

“Ah, don’t tempt me.”

His back rumbled as he laughed, humming happily. You pushed back on his nose a little, kissing the tip lightly. With a strong yank, he drew you even closer and his lips met yours. Softly humming midway, he resonated within you, making you melt away.

Enveloped in comfortable darkness, you were in the weird sense of first times that made you feel like home. A twisted sense of deja vu popped in your mind, making you believe that you have found the haven you wished to find since you were little. Burying your head in Tae’s neck, you let the heavy sense of slumber take over you. The rhythm of steady breathing next to you was your metronome, it’s monotone lapping drifting you off into a dream.

Chapter Text

Chapter 12

The next day, you had a Skype call with Bang PD and signed the contract with Drina. Scanning in the document and sending it to the founder, he signed it too, binding the promises made with ink.

Later that day Sejin agreed to let you and Kookie out with special security - man and woman dressed in sleek black outfits were there to protect you in case it is needed, but otherwise let you roam around freely, discovering the city as you desired. In the middle of the night, you slipped out onto the deserted streets of Paris and strolled around until the batteries in your cameras whined for a break. This became a habit of your with Kookie, and sometimes Tae tagged along too, working silently beside each other.

You did stay with the boys for several days, letting the staff get to know you to some extent, but when the time came for them to go back to Asia, you stayed behind. After a heartbreaking scene in the airport, you departed for a job with Drina, while Bangtan flew off to Incheon.

In the following weeks, you have talked with Taehyung every day, murmuring good mornings and sighing good nights. Sometimes other members popped in, cheerfully telling you about their latest adventures, but there was an extent of sadness hidden deep within their smiles. Seeing them on screen, but not being able to actually be there with them was a huge barrier wedged between you.

There were easier and harder times. Easier, when they had achieved something new, an award or ARMY working hard to gift them with a new record of sorts. Smiles burst, laughter broke free until the muscles in your face ached for release. Harder, when they had to work over long days that turned into weeks and you barely had time to call Tae, just to whisper him sweet dreams softly before his eyes closed and fell asleep and the only thing you could do is watch him a little before you hang up the video call with an aching heart.

Sometimes the opportunity presented itself to visit them. A small break within their schedule or you were just close to each other, somewhere scattered across the globe, but still only a few hours of flying away. Those small, sweet moments were the treasures you have hidden away in your memory, recalling them in darker days. And when the stars really did align, the 9 of you were all in the same place and all hell broke loose.

Your breathing hitched a little when you remembered how Kookie got really really drunk the first time all of you met after Paris. It’s been months since then and finally enveloping each other in a bear hug had been nothing sort of chuckling peppered with tears and sniffles. It happened on a deserted part of Thailand, far away from tourists and locals alike in a private resort. You had all the place to yourself and it was a true paradise for a few days. Soon calls and responsibilities waltzed in and you had to leave, again.

A certain rhythm took place in your life, a newly found pattern that dictated your mood. The world has shifted and new shades of happiness and sadness emerged. Priorities rearranged themselves. A phone ringing, a familiar tune playing brought new life to your limbs, knowing who is on the other side of the line. Every now or then longer silences took over your phone and it developed an ever-growing worry, not knowing what caused the stillness.

Then a change happened, that all of you knew was coming. It has been over a year since you met and your lives tangled together. Jin has received the call and he needed to depart to do his military service. You didn’t know how to handle it all: the boys were holding up for the better part, Drina faking smiles, but on the inside, everyone was sort of lost, not knowing what to do, how to make it better.

The final night came and found all of you in their dorms. The eldest has packed up and sat in the living room, pulling out his truly worst dad jokes in history. As the clock ticked by it became evident that nobody will move from their seats, giving up sleep just to share more time with the vocalist. Drina has buried herself in his arms and he didn’t let go for a single second. Stories leaped from everyone's lips, recalling many memories that took place over the years the boys have known each other. In the darkest hour, before dawn broke the inky sky, the laughter turned into sobs. Not giving into outright crying, tears rolled and the sound of heavy breathing filled in the lightly lit room.

When the sun hit the windows Jin got up with a new found determination. He promised to stay in contact as much as possible. Helping with his belongings, the boys walked him out and solemnly hugged their eldest member before quietly withdrawing, letting Jin and Drina have their last moments together in private in the elevator. Minutes crawled by as you stood by the door waiting for your friend to return. It took you everything to hold it together, but this was not about you. You had to be there, giving support, not receiving it.

She got back and only let herself go when she reached your outstretched arms. At first, her whimpers were closed, not producing much sound, but as her body trembled under the weight of her emotions, she broke apart, giving into the flowing emptiness within her. Drina’s sorrowful noises echoed from member to member, and at some point, it seemed unbearable to overcome the heartache’s grip over all of you. Then she blew a long sigh on your shoulder, straightened her back and glanced over the brothers.

“Oh how much he would hate to see you all like this. Snap out of it and start planning how we will welcome him back, will you?”

As a shell of ice, the grief broke. Eventually, crazy ideas started to float around, insane images flying around about Jin’s welcome party. Somewhere everyone knew it won’t be the same when the eldest came back since Yoongi had to leave too after him, and sooner or later all the members would miss out on each other's lives, but bouncing ideas off each other gave everyone a safe place to run to and forget about the service ahead of them.

Life took over again, pulling you apart to different schedules and locations around the world. Drina was a little distant at first, not following the usual patters you have developed over your friendship. You understood her behavior, but you couldn’t help but miss her joyful character.

Taehyung, on the other hand, drew closer, indulging into fantasies of what your life together will look like in the future. In the beginning, it seemed fun to talk into the night either on your or his side. Debates were going on about where to live, how you wished to teach him how to cook or how he wanted to keep his promise to teach you how to play the piano.

Sometimes other members called you on their own, trying to find solace outside of their usual circle. Jimin and Kookie were the most often, checking in every week or so often, but it was common to get a random call from Namjoon or Yoongi, picking your mind on the most unpredictable topics.

Heavier conversations took place sometimes that caused you sleepless nights. They never got as out of hand to call them fights, but sometimes you wondered whether you were too outspoken or harsh without intending to. It is a fine line to stay true to your opinion and crossing a line and saying something that was not in your place to say. They never held you to it, but the sense of chagrin tugged at you from time to time.

True to his words, you did meet Taehyung’s parents. Well, not just his parents, many relatives were there that day and you had to pull yourself together more times than you could count. Not because they weren’t nice. But because of the standard you tried to hold yourself up to that Tae did remind you many times to let go. To stay true to yourself and believe that they will like you for who you are just like he does.

The many different faces followed you around for half a day, reminding you where Tae got the form of his lips, the arch of his eyebrow or the small freckle on his nose. They tried their best to behave more casual than they felt like doing, trying to comfort you, but it was a big moment for them too. Their son, grandson, big brother, uncle has finally brought home the girl he has been talking about for months, the person who they wanted to integrate into their family as soon as possible. You, who they saw as the anchor and safe place for him to go to when his life and fame clashed over his head. They didn’t care that you weren’t Korean or small or big compared to them. None of that mattered, but you didn’t know it then.

What made you ease up came from the most unexpected source. Well, to you at least.

On your first official night at his parent's place, you excused yourself to get a glass of water, escaping into the empty kitchen. Yeontan followed you eagerly, brushing his fluffy body against your leg, wanting to be picked up. A few barks and pleading looks later you obliged and took him up, burying your face in the sea of soft fur. Breathing in and out slowly, the small dog calmed down in your hands and you did too. When you emerged back from his little body, your eyes met Taehyung’s mother’s, who have been watching you from the doorframe, a faint smile dancing on her features.

With a quick turn, she pulled out a bottle of whiskey stashed behind the microwave and pulled off the cap with a practiced twist of her delicate wrist.

“So, straight, ice or chaser?”

Seeing your astonished look, she chuckled and yanked the freezer’s door open, plopping two ice cubes in the glasses laid out in front of her and poured the amber colored liquid over them. She proceeded to place one of the glasses in front of you and you hesitantly took Tannie in one hand, freeing the other for the drink.

Her eyes twinkled in amusement as she clinked her glass with yours and a surprised laugh left her when you didn’t wince at the strong liquor trailing down your throat. Not missing a beat, she told you about the first time she met her own mother-in-law, reminiscing the fateful firsts of conversations and cringes. You tried your best to stay polite, not grimacing with her over the memories. Then the glasses became empty and she filled them up again without asking whether you wanted another one or not. Someone was calling your name, but she shushed them away, stating that you had better things to do. That was the first time you truly let out a smile, understanding how Taehyung saw you similar to her.

Seeing the cracks on your defense, his mother teased out some stories out of you. Smiles turned into chuckles and soon followed by open laughter. Before you knew it, you let her in, sharing more than you intended on a first visit. But she took all of it in gladly, rolling her eyes in the right moments and cursing in the next.

Time flew by and the house grew more and more quiet. Without noticing it, two sets of eyes were watching you eagerly, taking in the view of two women sharing tidbits of information about the ones they loved. Of course, Tae and his father didn’t hold their reactions in strong enough, their gasps hitting your ear. Curiously looking over to his mother, waiting for a reaction, she only shrugged, making you think she knew all along about their eavesdropping.

Raising an eyebrow, she shot you a question with her eyes. Acting on your hesitation, you looked at the two men standing behind the door and back to her, you commented on how maybe they couldn’t handle it. She agreed but pulled out two more glasses nonetheless.

The next morning she helped you to stay more calm, teasing your stress away. She was the crutch Tae couldn’t be, understanding your need to fit into something you might not be able to, but in the end, you didn’t have to. Like a graceful conductor, she let her relatives at you when you were ready, and ordered them to do other things when you tensed up at the many voices and questions you didn’t know how to answer best.

With a few visits under your belt, you have found your balance with the various family members and you felt more accepted among them than you ever felt at your own home. A few comments about marriage and children did fly by, but that might have been a good sign, right?

Another couple of months flew by like this and you were flying to Australia. Your mentor stopped doing company invitations and requests entirely, claiming that it was time to step down and let his students shine.

What a load of bullshit, he’s just done listening to other people’s issues.

It was understandable from an adult point of view: mostly the advice the requesting party received were not heeded, and the work felt pointless, to begin with. So he started to flood the group chat with jobs, sometimes asking for a specific person. This time he pulled you in, without consulting you and your time table first. His inconsideration bloomed some frustration within you, cursing his manners and distasteful comments, but knowing how much he changed your life for the better, you obliged.

Figuring that Sydney was kind of close to Korea, you hopped on a plane and scanned through the provided research, reading up on the task at hand. A fair warning was raised before you left, stating that the main problem that everyone with a right state of mind knew: the new owner of the company being incompetent and not ready to strategize a whole company after he inherited the venture from his father. Knowing full well that this wasn’t something you can fix on your own, you laid back in your seat, thinking of elaborate ways to point out badly timed or fast made decisions to the air-headed new CEO. But the call did come in from one of your old mentor’s friend, who played a vital role in the company’s life, so you had to at least try. However frustrating.

The plane got darker as the sun set over the horizon, many people softly snoring on the plane around you. The airconditioning was put on a lower temperature than you would have wanted it to, so you dragged out the blanket provided by the crew, trying to settle into a more comfortable position.

Your phone remained silent, and you calculated in your mind what the time is in Seoul. It was a practiced move in your head, having done it countless times since Paris. Tae was probably in practice, working that flawless body into the ground, dripping in sweat, panting for more air.

Images flew by behind your closed eyelids as you remembered those same conditions in a much different environment. Your knees pulled together as your ears filled with sounds that weren’t there with you, your skin tingling where hands have previously touched you, but not there, not now.

Craving for him, you shook yourself a little, trying to get rid of the growing tension in your body, knowing that there won’t be a release anytime soon.

Placing your phone and tablet in flight mode, you packed away all of your stuff and wiggled in your seat until finding a comfortable spot. Head resting in a soft pillow supporting your neck, you let sleep take over, imagine yourself laying next to him in a more soothing environment than a plane flying across the clouds.

-----------------------

You checked your outfit in the hotel’s mirror and ran through the data you’ve memorized about the new CEO and his business. Leaving the hotel with a quiet determination, aiming to at least try to straighten his head. Once the pleasantries were out of the way, the young man walked you through the problems he thought you needed to handle, giving you his opinions on matters he thought he knew all about.

God, he is thick.

A few apologetic smiles were shot in your direction from a few staff members, but mostly the old man who called you in. Drawing on God knows how limited patience you had, you sat through his meetings, polite lunches, conversed with people he wanted you to monitor.

There were instances when you were left alone, reading through insider material in an empty room that had cameras discreetly hidden away, making sure you won’t steal or publish any information. The employees gave you a laptop to work on, confiscating all of your belongings for safety measures while you had access to private information. These few hours were the best part of the job, actually working on something that could be useful in the long run.

Not that he will use it, but maybe someday, someone.

It was during one of these peaceful moments when a secretary softly knocked on the door, letting you know that your phone has been ringing. She took away the laptop they provided while handling your phone to you, letting you know that you have the room for yourself until your issue has been solved.

Not quite understanding her meaning, you nodded and waited for her to close the door behind her. You were in a flow before she interrupted you and it didn’t make sense why would she even do it just because you had a call. Sitting back down to your chair, you checked out what was going on.

Well, apparently it wasn’t just an incoming call.

Your phone was filled with several different notifications, your main screen overflowing with articles, messages and warning signs from the stock exchange program’s you have installed onto the device. The gadget must have been buzzing like crazy, which explains the secretary’s behavior.

But what caused all this frenzy?

Your fingers scrolled over the numerous notifications, deciding to start on an article written by an English publication you found trustworthy mostly. Opening up the text, your hand trembled. Nervous adrenalin flowed through your body, your mind racing to comprehend the words under your fingertip.

For fuck's sake, this can’t be tr…

The door slammed open as the young enterprize owner strolled in, his old advizor behind him. He probably thought to have an impromptu meeting, not bothering to check on your work and sent emails, enjoying the possibility to ask in person instead.

Frustration flew sky high in your body, taking over the sudden shock and fear over your body. Regulating your breathing, you mustered your scattered concentration together not to pull a face. The man standing in front of you grinned at you, probably thinking that he made the right move to jump you all the sudden. In the last couple of days, you’ve discovered that he had this childish quality to him, thinking that he was some sort of omnipotent being who watched over all of his underlings, acting like he was above matters as scheduling or reading emails, but demanded to have answers and results whenever he felt like it.

A wonderful boss through and through.

Rolling back your shoulders, you updated him where you were with your findings as predicted to have everything done by tomorrow afternoon. His smile faltered a little, showing how much he cared for his own amusement instead of the stability of his father’s legacy. A few minutes passed and he left as abruptly as he arrived, not bothering to look back on the man who tried his best to look after him.

“Is everything all right Miss? I heard you’ve received some news.”

“I did. I hope to finish my research here by the end of tomorrow. I might be needed elsewhere.”

“I am sorry to hear that. I hope it is nothing serious. May I ask… is it personal or professional?”

“I’m actually not sure.”

He threw you an unsure look before he proceeded to apologize for his CEO’s behavior. It turns out they are related, but not by blood, his sister being the adoptive mother of the man and spoiled him rotten during his childhood.

It was sort of weird he shared this information with you. Of course, you had signed a secrecy contract, so you wouldn’t be sharing this with anyone. Not like you knew anyone who would actually care besides a sad shrug. In a way it felt like he was unburdening himself, telling stories to showcase what a bad decision it was to appoint him as an heir instead of him, who wasn’t an absolute moron.

You pretended to listen to him, but your mind was back with the article, trying to figure out how did those words ended up in an article. It just didn’t make any sense.

He would never…

Your phone buzzed again and the man snapped out of his own pity talk. Realizing how he behaved, he quickly excused himself, telling you to wrap up for the day. Accepting the free afternoon, you collected your things and left for a nearby cafe to personally check everything to figure out what happened.

Your bum barely settled in your seat, balancing a tray in one hand and your bag in the other, when your phone went off. A familiar number appeared on the screen and you quickly swiped the buzzing green circle away.

“Did you see it?”

“Barely, I was working when it dropped. Fill me in.”

“It can’t be true, someone probably just looks like him and used that to their own advantage.”

“Fuck, but that is disgusting. And the fact that people are eating it up…”

“It’s a sex scandal, of course, people are eating it up.”

“Drina, just think about how he feels right now. Did anyone contact you?”

“No, no one. You?”

“Not yet. Do they even know yet? I mean the staff probably knows, but I don’t think the boys do.”

“Yeah, I get what you mean. I would try to keep this away from them as long as possible. God, I want to hit someone.”

“That would be really unladylike Drin.”

“Like you don’t want to obliterate the fucker who records himself fucking around with women, posing as Jimin on camera.”

“I bet someone has a direct contact to him. Paying him off for the videos.”

“Where are you? We should be doing something about this.”

“We will only do something if they ask us. You know the rules, no interfering.”

“Y/n, you can’t be serious. I will not…”

“Gah, okay. Calm down a second and think this through. Don’t rush into something stupid. Grab a cookie or something.”

“Already done, I have a box right next to me.”

A dry giggle tore its way through your throat. Of course, she did. Just like you had a toffee muffin on your table. Everything was set for you to plunge into this.

“Okay, good. I’ll look up the scope of this, how far did the damage go. You try to find the source, the first publisher. A name, an email address, anything works. In case they call us, we should have everything done and hand it over, so they can sue the living shit out these people.”

“What about the guy? The one who masquerades as him?”

“I’m counting on the publisher to drag him down with them, but you can call in a favor to find him if you want to. My guess is that this was more of a collaboration between scumbags, so they bound to try to get out of this once they get caught. The best possible way to admit who else was in on it.”

“Hah, okay. How about I call you back in a few hours, see what you’ve found?”

“Mmm, sure. Happy hunting hun.”

“You too.”

With a click, the call ended. Cranking out your neck in a wide loop, you settled into your chair and began to see how many articles were written, what was the first impression that left in people and how ARMY handled the matter. In a way, they must have been doing the same thing as you, searching for the fucker who did this. The videos were nothing sort of scandalous, but after a few watches, it was obvious to you that anyone should be able to tell that the man in them was not Park Jimin. Far from it.

The sun has finished its descend when Drina called you back, stating the name of the outlet that started it all and you cited back how awfully bad the spread has been. BigHit’s position has dropped on the charts since the news broke the internet and there was no sign of an official statement.

Having all that information you laid back in your chair. Nobody called or texted you since the bomb dropped from Korea and you didn’t know what would be the best course of action: getting in touch and give everything you found to them or wait for them to ask? Not wanting to barge in and dismantle their control over the situation, you decided not to do anything. They will call, they had to.

Not content with your decision, you have checked the official pages in every few minutes, waiting for an official statement or anything. The silence on BigHit’s behalf was deafening and bothered you to the end of the world. They should be doing something, anything, to stop this spiral more out of control. The whole thing is a single step away from some random girl turning up from the midsts of this confusion and to throw a rape accusation in their faces.

As if anyone could believe that.

But they believed this, didn’t they?

This is about profiting on other’s misfortune, not belief. Whoever eats this up is a fool.

Your inner battle raged on as you got back to your hotel, took a shower and got under the covers of the big, but empty bed. Your racing heart did not care that you have turned off the lights or tried to fall asleep. Time ticked by and the only thing that had your attention was your phone, sitting on the nightstand, unmoving and dark.

Your eyes started to become heavier and you didn’t notice your concentration slipping. Adrenaline left your bloodstream and you were drifting off.

But we didn’t talk today, I need to wait for him.

Tired of fighting yourself you rolled to your back, facing the ceiling. It must have been way past midnight. Wondering how the last couple of hours have taken a turn from bad CEO to Bangtan sex scandal, you threw your arm in front of your eyes, letting it drop on your face with distaste.

A shrill sound of buzzing filled up the quiet room. You hand flew to the moving phone like lightning and you saw a text coming in.

“Hey, we’re okay. Don’t worry. I miss you. Call me when you get up?”

Taehyung probably checked the time and decided that you were probably asleep. He was an hour behind you, so he should be getting to bed soon. Maybe he was already claimed by the covers and pillows, surrounding him in a fluffy embrace. Not wanting to keep him up, your fingers moved around a little before you hit send.

“I miss you too. Whoever gets up first calls the other! xo”

You rolled around for a few more minutes, but no answer came, so maybe he was already asleep. Sighing to yourself, you curled up into a tight ball and watched the car lights fly by before you fell asleep.

--------------------

The next morning was nothing short of painful. Your face was puffed up, your mood was stingy and your breakfast was late. You had to start working soon, so you could get rid of that ass today. You selected your outfit and layed out your make-up. Not ready to get into preparing yourself, you fell back onto the mattress and checked the time. It was only 6:02 am, meaning it is 5:02 am in Seoul. Hesitantly you pulled up Tae’s number, your finger a few millimeters away from the call icon.

You buried your face in the tangled sheets, trying to clear your mind of the tired haze it was in. Practically feeling how slowly the gears turned, you whined into the material, wondering where was your breakfast. The warm blankets felt so soft, tempting you to get back under them, rest a little more. Your body already slowed back down, breathing becoming more even, your eyes taking more time to get back up after a blink.

The phone in your hand started to vibrate, breaking you free of the delicate clutch of sleep. A catlike smile spread on your features as you answered the call, not even looking on the screen.

“Good morning beautiful. Did you sleep well?” a deep grumble came from the other side.

“Mmm, so-so. I was rather preoccupied last night, so it was not the most restful sleep.”

“I hope I was the cause of your running mind and not some other thing.”

“Hmpf, how possessive of you.” you stretched out, still laying on the bed. Your voice sounded deep and cracked, something you knew he liked to hear. Playing more into the grogginess, you let out more sleepy sounds just to please him.

“I was aiming for that.”

“You’re always in there somewhere, in some inappropriate way or another.”

“Hmmm, I wish we could go into that, but I’ll have to get going soon. We’re flying out to Hong Kong this morning.”

“Ah, right. So… what is going on?”

His text last night suggested that they knew what was going on, but you didn’t want to get into it if he was in a different state of mind. They were doing a concert later that day and these were times when they needed to stay focused.

“I’m sure you know about it. We’re… mostly okay. Jimin is… ah, I don’t know Y/n, it’s a little scary. I haven’t seen him eat ever since he saw the news. He doesn’t really talk, keeping to himself. He does what he has to, doing the schedule, but inside he must be tearing himself apart. And I don’t know how to help him. I should know what to do, how to cheer him up. But I…”

“Taehyung, if you end up blaming yourself, I will eat your ear off right this second.”

“Ooh, kinky.”

“I’m serious.”

“I know, I know. It’s just frustrating. I want to help somehow.”

“I bet you are helping just by being there for him. He needs you to be there, even if he doesn’t know it yet.”

“Where are you? Any chance to fly by?”

“I’m fairly close, Sydney. To be honest, I thought someone will call me in. We did some research with Drina, preparing for some sort of… I don’t know, battle.” you chuckled “But maybe it’s not necessary, maybe the company will handle it.”

“I don’t know, they didn’t really say anything to us about that. I know we will have an interview after we land that can’t be rescheduled. Maybe they want to iron it out then. Joonie should be up to date about the topics.”

“Ah, I would hate to be in his position. If he needs a pep talk, he can drop me a call.”

“And what about me, no pep talk for me?” he playfully whined in the phone, making you tremble a little.

“Hah, so now you want to get into it?” you let out a saucy sigh, head rolling back into the tangled sheets. “I suppose I could send over some photographic material for an ideal win-win situation, but what would that make of me?”

“Just wait until I get my hands on you young lady.”

A real laugh ripped out from you, flexing your torso in waves. Taehyung devilishly hissed into the phone before he joined in on the laughter. These small moments were the ones that proved that no matter how far away you were from each other, this was right. As long as you could understand each other, stay intimate with each other and solve every issue together, you’re good.

“It’s my turn in the shower soon, I have to go sweety.” he muttered the last word in English, referencing an English show you watched together via Skype, thousands of kilometers apart. “I hope you’ll have a good day and get rid of that idiot soon.”

“I’m working on it. Hopefully, I’ll be done today. I’ll talk to Sejin about dropping in, okay?”

“Mmm, you better.”

“Go, get them. I’ll be cheering from here. And stay by Jiminie. Hug him for me every hour, every time he forgets to stay in character.”

“Will do. And Y/n?”

“Hmm?”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

The phone became silent. You whipped yourself out of bed, strolling in the bathroom to get ready for your hopefully last meeting. A knock came from the door, signaling the arrival of your breakfast.

“Finally.”

----------------------------

You were done. So so so done. You did everything you could, but this manchild shook off every logical reasoning, every evidence you provided, every statement you’ve collected. Mustering the last specks of patience that remained in the universe, you walked to the window as the young CEO’s attention shifted to a different employee. His old advisor stood not far from you, his stoic face twitching every so often.

It seemed like you had nothing else to do, no other question to answer. Maybe you are free to go. Once he cleared out the room, you’ll ask whether there is anything else so you could hear the precious words letting you go.

A soft buzzing came from your side, from the inside of your purse. With a quick glance, you yanked the sleek phone to your ear.

“Sejin, talk to me.”

“Y/n, hi. Are you alone?”

“No, but I doubt anyone here speaks Korean.”

“Then please select your words carefully. You never know who could be there.”

Your eyes roamed around the room: most people were standing by the douche, practically on the other side of the room. A few sat by a table, working on their laptops, headphones on. Only the old advisor guy was standing kind of close to you. He seemed to be lost in thought, his mind far away from the room he was standing in.

“Okay, I’ll be careful. How can I help?”

“I gather you know about the situation. I’ve just talked to Drina, she sent over your findings. Thank you for the material, it has been really useful, our legal team took it over. I understand Drina is really far away at the moment, being in Amsterdam. Where are you?”

“I’m in Sydney. I think I’m done with my project here. Where should I be and when?”

“Do you think you could come to Hong Kong? Today?”

“Wait, let me get my laptop out.”

You flew to your bag, grabbed it and took a place furthest from everyone. Typing in your code, the computer fluttered alive. You quickly set up the internet connection and placed a padded headphone on your head, slamming the jack cable in your phone.

“Sejin, can you hear me?”

“Yes, are you ready?”

“Yeah, I’m checking flights right now.”

It was 09:23 am. An average direct flight from Sydney took more than 9 hours to reach Hong Kong. Your eyebrows knotted in concentration, calculating the time backward.

When do I need to leave from here to get there?

Wait, when do I need to be there?

“The options are kind of limited. There is a flight leaving today that I think I can reach, but it’ll arrive in HK after 7 pm. Isn’t that late for you?”

“I take anything you can give.”

“That bad?”

“I rather not say over the phone. I would prefer to be cautious than sorry.”

“Okay, I’m buying the ticket as we speak.”

Your fingers danced on the keyboard as you hit in your personal information and credit card details. Soon your email account notified you about an incoming email, which directly flew to your calendar, letting you know how late you are to an oncoming flight.

“Y/n, I’ll ask Saem to pick you up from the airport. Yours is the only plane leaving from Sydney?”

“Yes, it should be landing at 7:10 pm.”

“He will escort you straight to the venue, you can leave your bags with me once you arrive.”

“Okay, the usual setup then?”

“Yeah.”

This meant that he will make sure your belongings end up in Tae’s room before you get back and give you an additional keycard to the room, so you wouldn’t have to wait up after a concert. There were many times when the boys had to stay after a live performance, recording an interview, a DVD material or Bangtan Bomb. To safely tuck you away from the watchful eyes and cameras, it was easier to give you extra keys so you could stay in the privacy of the hotel room.

There were a few occasions when you had to act like a real-life translator and it was always a fun experience. Seeing Namjoon’s struggles with the boys during an international interview was one thing, but being in a similar position, becoming the literal bridge between them and an interviewer was… challenging to say the least. How Joonie coped with his members going wild, quipping in random English words, turning the conversation away from the message he had to communicate was beyond you. It was hilarious and nerve-wracking at the same time.

The better parts of playing a translator were connecting the boys with their fans directly. It didn’t happen often, but the rare occurrence when you were there and the boys could spare a few minutes to talk to fans waiting outside a venue or allowing them to come closer during a shooting was always cherished. The fans didn’t really see you, their eyes glued to the members, pupils growing wide when they had a chance to tell them something that they thought over millions of times in their head before uttering the words and having an actual reply to it that they understood… it was always a special moment to witness.

“Okay, I need to get going. And Sejin?”

“Yes?”

“Don’t tell them I’m coming. Let it be a surprise.”

“Okay. Will do.” the manager didn’t say it, but you could hear he was smiling to himself. He didn’t have much room to fool around, taking his role very seriously. But he took opportunities like this, jumping the boys with something unexpected whenever it was possible and within a sense of appropriate manner.

“Thank you. Have a good day Sejin!”

“Have a safe flight, and thank you.”

You started to pack away your things into your bag. Making a mental list in your head, you tried to gather all the things you had to do or pack before getting on that plane.

“I didn’t know you could speak languages!”

Your hand froze midair as your eyes flew up to the man standing in front of you.

Shit.

The young CEO stood by your chair, a wolfish grin flowing through his face. Only a few people remained in the room.

“Yes, I actually speak a few other languages.”

“You should become a translator. I hear it could be a really lucrative position if in the right circles.”

“That’s a nice suggestion.” No, it's not. “But this is more of a hobby that I would rather not turn into work.” You misogynistic pig. “Is there anything else I could help you with?” Go fuck yourself.

“Ah, I see. I’m sorry to hear that, I was about to offer you a position. Maybe this could’ve worked out better than that analyzing thingie you do now.”

The old man behind him hid his face in his hands in embarrassment.

“But no, I think we are done here. I’ll arrange for your payment to be transferred this week.”

Torn between flinging the table in his face and flying out of the room without saying a word you found a spot on the wall to stare at before you collected yourself. You didn’t have time to squabble here, you need to get out of here. Right now.

“Thank you, that’s wonderful.”

He nodded, a predatory smile still playing on his face. He left, walking out of the room with his secretary flying after him frantically.

“I am so sorry about that, he really doesn’t have a clue about…”

“Don’t worry about it. I need to go anyway.”

You continued to stuff your bag with your laptop, not paying attention to the old man nervously apologizing. It didn’t matter. You needed to be on that plane.

“Is there anything I can help you with? You seem to be in a hurry. Maybe a ride could help?”

You looked at the man standing beside you. He had his hands intertwined, fiddling with his fingers. He didn't particularly look nervous, honestly interested more like it. He probably saw a girl in need of help and wanted to do something about it.

“I could do with a ride. I need to reach a flight which is leaving pretty soon.”

“I can do that, give me a second.”

He made a silent call, talking rapidly before he put his phone back in his pocket. Gesturing towards the door, he led you out of the room, into a corridor, down a flight of stairs and outside the building.

“I’ve called my personal driver. He is the one standing by the black Mercedes by the newsstand. Use him as long as you need. He’s been instructed to take you where ever you need.”

“Thank you, that is really generous of you. I’ll be taking him for only an hour, 90 minutes tops.”

“Don’t worry about it, dear. And again, I’m sorry for the last few days. It must have been… frustrating.”

“Ah, don’t mention it. It was just a job. Thank you again and have a nice weekend!”

You flew to the car and asked the driver to take you back to your hotel. The polished car swiftly pulled into the sea of cars, navigating between lanes. Thinking through the things you had to do, you decided to ask for the driver’s help before you got out. You asked him whether it was okay if you gave him some cash to buy some typical Australian snacks and a list of souvenirs. You described what you had in mind and he accepted the task, claiming that he will be back before you finished packing.

Climbing out of the car, you walked in the hotel, not paying attention to the slow tourists and working staff. Jumping in an open elevator, you hit the button for your floor. Your mind collected all the things that were scattered in your room, already packing in your head. Once the door opened your hands automatically grabbed your things in order, packing away everything tightly. Finishing within 10 minutes, you quickly changed into a comfy pair of grey sweatpants, a loose white T-shirt. Remembering that you will have to be fitting for a concert right before landing, you yanked out a black business jacket and a leather-like pair of pants. The only thing you didn’t have was the right top to throw the jacket over. You’ll have to find something at the airport.

Pulling the zipper closed on your suitcase, you checked the now empty room and then the bathroom to make sure nothing was left out. You pulled the suitcase out to the corridor and did one last sweep, just to be safe. Once you were sure of yourself, you closed the door and headed to the reception to leave your card key. The bill was already paid thankfully, so you thanked the staff for their work and walked outside.

You wouldn’t have recognized the car, but the driver was packing away the things he got for you in the backseat as you searched the street. He didn’t really recognize you either, his eyes settling on your really different choice of clothes compared to a few minutes ago before he left. Waving away the unnecessary confusion, you settled in the backseat and asked him to drop you off at the airport.

Checking your phone, there were no new messages, no notifications. You had 20 minutes until check-in closed and it felt like time has slowed down within the car, but flying by outside. The driver was doing his best to make a shortcut and jumping in lanes only to take over slower cars ahead of him.

Refusing to tense up and further, you rolled your head back, exhaling. The airport appeared by the horizon, growing larger with every passing second. Soon the car rolled into the line of parallel parking spots by the departure side and you threw the door open to get your things out of the trunk. You threw a few notes in the drivers hand and thanked him for his help and dashed off towards the check-in desks. Barely making it in time, the woman behind the counter threw you a practised smile, taking your suitcase and paper bag, full of things the driver bought you.

“Miss, would you like to use this bag as your carry-on?”

“If I can, I would like to, yes. Does this purse count?”

Well, it wasn’t exactly a purse. A small leather backpack hanged from your shoulder, your changing clothes and make-up fitted into the small space.

“I would say no, it doesn’t count. Would that be all of your belongings?”

“Yes, nothing else.”

“Then here is your boarding pass, have a safe trip.” And with that, the woman left her post, probably grabbing an early lunch.

You had an hour in the duty free and to find a shirt or top to go with your selected clothes. For the first time, you scanned through the things the driver got you: two big bags of cholocate for the cordi noonas, a soft pillow for Yoongi, a colorful shirt for Hobi, tons of snacks for Kookie and an interesting looking soda for Sejin. You had to find a good book for Joon, so you headed off to the book selection.

You didn’t really have the same taste in books and the leader, finding that he was more into soulfood kind of books, thought provoking and character building pieces. While you, on the other hand, found comfort in fantasy, far fetched worlds and stories that provided a good escape from your life. Aiming to find something that fit both angles, you asked for the staff’s help in the sector. After a few minutes of hesitation, the girl convinced you that Memoirs of a Geisha would do the trick and you left with an additional bag, holding the book.

Taehyung and Jimin left, you stood in the crowd of people, trying to decide what to get. You thought about getting Jimin some sort of booze. That man really knew how to drink, and maybe he would let out all this pent up emotions is he got a little tipsy. You could offer a heart to heart with a pretty bottle and maybe he would take the bait. Maybe not. But it was worth a shot.

Strolling to the liquor aisle, you hummed at the beautifully crafted bottles. Champage is for celebrations and this ain’t it. Spirits should go with parties, vodka for going crazy. But this is not really the occasion for it. Whiskey… whiskey should do the trick. Flavoured or not? Single barrel or blended. As much as you could remember, he probably wouldn’t enjoy a smokey one, so maybe rye? Your hand stopped in it’s search when you saw a familiar brand. Nikka’s Coffey Malt stood proud on the shelf, begging to be taken off. With a sure movement, you grabbed the bottle and headed to the cashier. On your way, you saw a pile of plushie’s, a jumble of kangaroo’s, koalas and wombats. Stopping only for a second, you pulled out a firmly stuffed wombat and dropped it off on the counter with the whiskey.

Only Taehyung left...and the top…

Or maybe the top should be the present?

Checking your watch, there was only 25 minutes left. A sly grin took hold of you as you noticed a lingerie shop right next to the duty free.

With a spring in your step, you headed to the store. A petite woman in a branded uniform met your eyes and asked whether she could help you.

You quickly explained your concept: a lacy black one piece, that could be pulled off with the clothes in your backpack. It shouldn’t be obviously lingerie, but a fine nightshirt of sorts could do. The next few minutes you’ve spent in a changing room as she hung several pieces on the door in your size. You threw on the jacket, just to see how the different materials and cuts worked with it and made a decision.

A snugly fitting bodysuit was in your bag by the time you reached the gate. Most passengers were already on, thinning down the line to only a few people in front of you. After a few checks, you settled your things and freshly bought bags in the compartment above your seat and settled down as the plane started to taxi. You are about the have nine hours to yourself.

Nine hours to rest.

Nine hours of radio silence.

Nine hours to get ready.

Chapter Text

Chapter 13

Your alarm went off an hour before landing. The constant buzzing tore through the sleepy haze that clouded your slugging brain. The plane was dark around you, most people still sleeping or silently watching a movie on the back of the seat in front of them. An agitated cry came from the back, probably a small child whimpering in their parent's arms.

The screen in front of you let you know that you were close to reaching your destination, a miniature airplane ikon dragging across a map of the area flying by under you.

Hitting the call button, you stretched, a lazy jawn slipping by your cracked lips.

God, it’s cold up here.

The blanket fell off you, cool air hitting your warmed up body from sleeping. An elegantly dressed flight attendant made her way to you, politely asking what is it that you needed. You ordered a double espresso with cold milk and honey, forgetting the proper term for the drink. The stewie nodded and left and you hoped the double shot of dark liquid will kick your mind into a working tempo.

Getting out of your seat, you reached for your backpack and the paper bag from the lingerie shop. Leaving the clothes in the free seat next to you, you placed your make-up kit on the pull-up tray and grabbed a relatively big mirror, checking your state. You’ve seen better days, let's just leave it at that. A small can of hair mousse had to be in there somewhere in that bag… and when your fingers wrapped across the cool cylinder, the attendant came back, a tall glass in her hand with a tray full of condiments for the drink.

She curved her painted lips at the army of products in front of you and asked whether there is anything else you needed. Your hand tangled in your hair as you thought about it and then asked the crazy question whether she had a hairdryer you could use for only a minute. She was surprised for a second then slowly nodded. Gratefully smiling at her, you paid for the coffee and followed her down the aisle, where she handed you a small compact gadget.

Flying into the nearest restroom, you warmed up your hair until the roots in your scalp were toasty. Then combing through the warm fluff, you parted your hair into two big sections, one on the right and one on the left. Applying a general amount of mousse, you combed again and twisted the left side until it stuck by your ear in a bun. Doing the same thing on the other side, you became a not so stylish copy of Princess Leia. Quicky nodding at your image in the mirror, you left the restroom and gave back the hairdryer. The stewie gave you a knowing smile once again.

Silently making your way back to your seat, you thought about what make-up to put on. The clothes you selected were all black, no hint of color on any of the pieces. Maybe your make-up should be the same.

Big, black smokey it is.

Trying your best in the dimly lit area, you built up your eye, deepening the shade, angling the brush from the corner of your eye. A cat-like form blended out under the feather-like movements, pulling your tired eyes upwards. Sipping on the coffee, the heavily flavored drink warmed up your soul, breathing life into your tired limbs. A heavier winged eyeliner and mascara later you almost looked awake. Some blush and highlighter here and there and lip balm against that crack on your lips and you were quite presentable.

Nodding again, you accepted the result, packed away your stuff back in the bag and grabbed your prepared set of clothes to change in the toilet. The small restroom didn’t provide much space as you struggled to pull up the tight-fitting pants and carefully yanked off the price tag from the new top. Slight turbulence caused you to sit down on the toilet seat, holding onto the sink until it stopped. A minute earlier and the turbulence would have made you tear the lacy fabric in your hand.

Not wanting to endanger your things again, you pulled on the top, zipping it up by your side. Securing the top under the pants, you seized up your figure in the mirror. The top was mostly solid, non-seethrough black, airy pieces of lace placed around the tear-shaped fabric covering your bra. A really thin strap held the material up from your shoulder intertwining with more lace fiddled straps on your back.

Satisfied with the result, you pulled on the jacket and left the restroom. You packed the comfy clothes away and sat down in the now cleared up seat. The attendant came back to take away the remnants of your coffee. She turned to leave when she stopped, looking back at you. She pointed to her head, trying to silently convey something to you. You stared back, not understanding what she meant until it clicked.

You forgot your hair.

Laughing at your own forgetfulness, you thanked her and jammed your hand back in your bag, fighting for your comb and a little carry-on hairspray. Flying back to the restroom, you heard the captain on the radio that you have started to descend, and will be landing shortly. Carefully pulling out your tangled hair from the buns, you threw your head over, shaking out your hair with your fingers. Throwing it back, your hair fell back in gentle curls, no evident lines on either side.

Hell yes.

Fixing it with some hairspray, you moved your hands around to evenly spray the material on until it was just enough. Thinking about how much time and preparation you had to reach this point, you were pretty content with the result you were able to pull off.

You jumped back in your seat and waited for landing. The stewie passed by you a few times, a knowing laugh playing on her lips. You chuckled a few times too, knowing how absurd it must have been for her to witness you going from zero to presentable.

The plane landed with a shaky hit, making the big metal framework shudder for several seconds. As soon as the plane stopped and the crew opened the door, you flew out of your seat, taking all of your bags with you.

A little wait and scrambling for your suitcase later you walked out of the back of the airport to the terminal, where Saem waited for you with a nicely written sign.

“Saem-ssi” you smiled at the broad-shouldered man. “Is the sign really necessary?”

“Better prepared than sorry Miss Y/n. Who knows, maybe you changed your hair or something.”

“But I would still be able to recognize you!”

He chuckled a little, taking your suitcase and guiding you through the crowd of waiting people. The balmy air of Hong Kong welcomed you outside, lights enveloping the city in an endless sea in front of you.

“So… how bad is it?”

“The crowd was tough on the airports. We had to use a few decoy cars just to be safe.”

“And how are the boys holding up?”

“I’m not sure Miss. They didn’t seem that different at first. Anyone from an outside perspective could see it as tiredness.”

“An outside observer will see anything into it, whatever they consciously or sub-consciously choose to. Human nature.”

“If you say so Miss.”

Your bags tucked in the trunk, you in the backseat and the car jumped in the lane next to the parking lot. Saem made a quick note on his phone, letting the staff know that you have landed safely. Pulling out your own phone, you set it back from flight mode to see more articles coming in. Having had enough of the scandal, you turned off the notifications and checked your messages. Tae asked whether you had an opportunity to talk to Sejin. Drina asked you to hug everyone once you get in. The time was 7:23 pm and the concert was either on or starting soon.

Saem maneuvered the car swiftly away from the airport. A light rain started to pepper the windshield, making the lights blur in your vision. Inhaling the fresh air created by the cool rain, you tried to relax in the leather seat.

Minutes passed and you carefully got your concert pass out, hooking it into the belt buckle of your pants. Saem drove under a building passing through a security check. You were under the venue, hearing the crowd’s glass-shattering screaming above your head.

“Miss, I’ll leave your things in the car. Sejin will take it back to the hotel once the meeting is over.”

“What meeting?”

Saem didn’t answer you, stopping the car in a free parking space and opening the door for you. Accepting the lack of answer, you pulled out the souvenirs you bought with you, giving one of Kookie’s snacks to the man before entering the maze of white corridors.

Staff flew by next to you, executing their job in a hurry. Many were on standby, waiting for their role to kick in. You passed several rooms, some were empty, some had people sitting inside, waiting. The number of people grew as you got closer to the backstage area, where you had to watch your step so you wouldn’t end up in somebody’s way. Saem was in front of you, paving the way through the crowd of employees.

You heard familiar voices ahead, and finally saw the room full of make-up, hair products and clothes. Tired women were scattered, waiting, silently talking amongst themselves.

“Hey everyone. You look like you need some sweet sweet carbs. Here, catch!” and with that, you threw a bag of chocolate into the hands of Hyerin, who touched up your make-up back in London. She squealed when she saw you, and an even more shrill sound left her when she saw the bag in her hands.

“Oh, you like that? Then here is some more!”

A second bag flew in the air, caught by the leading lady in the room, Sangmi. She gratefully smiled, tearing the bag open. Thank you’s erupted from the room and you shouted back that you do not want to see any left by the time you get back.

Following Saem back to the corridor, you saw Sejin in the far back, his eyes searching for someone or something. Apparently, he was looking for you. Once you were within hearing distance, he called out. Hand roaming in the paper bag, you gave him the weird soda you knew he liked, placing it in his hands when he was close enough.

“Hi Y/n… oh thank you, you really shouldn’t have…”

“Yes, I really should’ve. Saem said something about a meeting? I hoped to hop in during the concert, does it happen right now?”

“I’m afraid so. Here, we were only waiting for you.”

He opened the door on his right and pulled you back inside. Saem closed the door, guarding it from the outside. Turning to face the room, you were caught off guard when you saw Bang PD stare back at you from a big screen TV. Two other people were in the room with you, a tall man with a slight tummy and a girl, younger than you with a small framed body and short hair.

“Y/n, good to have you here. Thank you for coming as soon as possible.” Bang PD murmured from the TV’s speakers. “This is Ohseong, one of our PR personnel and one of his top team members, Mihee.”

“Nice to meet you” you bowed a little and they mirrored your action courteously.

“We are here to figure out what to do with the current situation. Y/n, we have called you here because of the work and effort you’ve put into the research that Drina has given us this morning. I would like to thank you for your foresight, it has been really useful.”

“So I guess you have taken legal action against the people who did this?” You raised your eyebrow, releasing more edge to your words then you intended.

“We did that. And some more. Many articles crossed a line with what they were saying and the fans have been calling out for blood. For what is worth, this time it has given quite a satisfaction to actually deliver on their request.” The founder’s features were quite grim, his lips smashed into a thin line.

“Okay, what do you need me to do?”

“I was looking for a solution on how to handle the press. You might not know, but we did an interview when the boys landed and it… it didn’t turn out to be in our favor.” the man on the screen muttered under his nose.

“What does that mean? I didn’t check the news in the past 10 hours or so.”

“It means that the interviewer has been someone who does not like Bangtan and asked some pointed questions. Namjoon tried his best to avoid saying anything harmful, but the questions itself held a threat that once they were asked and didn’t get a proper answer to… it was brutal.” Sejin spoke a few steps behind you.

“Sejin… what were the questions?”

Not wanting to go overboard, you didn’t face any of the people who were in the room with you. Your stare dug into the wall in front of you, your palms started to sweat.

“They asked about the members sexual activity. Specifically Jimin, and what his preferences are. Whether the footage was real or not. Number of partners, orientation… “

“Who was the interviewer?”

Silence followed your question. Your blood boiled.

“Sejin, I am serious, I need a name. Now.”

“Y/n-ssi, please calm down. Your friend is already on the case.” Bang PD’s soft tone cracked from the speakers.

“Drina is handling it?” You met his gaze.

“She has been rather… happy, when she finally cajoled an indecisive answer from Sejin about the man in question. I’m sure she’s handling the situation on that end.”

“When was this?”

“I talked to her about..” Sejin looked at his wristwatch. “...about 2 hours ago. The interview dropped a little before that.”

“Okay,” you blew out the breath you were holding onto. “okay, I’m good with that. She’s probably done already.”

“I’m sorry, but done with what?” The smaller woman, Mihee asked.

Not knowing how to answer her, you looked at Bang PD. He shrugged a little before he answered her question.

“Drina is an effective person close to the company, who will see to it that the interviewer will receive the necessary legal documents to avoid doing his work in a similar fashion as he did today.”

“So…” you steered back to the original topic. “What was in the official statement? I haven’t seen it yet.”

“There hasn’t been an official statement yet.” Ohseong said.

Biting back in a venomous answer, you gulped a little.

“I don’t understand, why not?”

“That is actually a good question. Ohseong, why wasn’t there an official statement? It’s been over a day since the incident happened.” Bang PD stared down on the man in question. Mihee shrank a little, standing next to him.

“I thought this meeting was to pull together an outline of what we should communicate.”

Your eyes looked for Sejin’s as soon as those words were uttered. He didn’t look at you, his watchful eyes monitoring the area between his boss and Ohseong.

“I see. What are your suggestions for a solution?”

“I would say that we should let the interviewers ask questions and wait for the topic to roll over, become repetitive. We don’t have anything to hide, the man on the videos is clearly not Jimin-ssi. Anyone could see that.”

“Alright. Mihee-ssi, what is your opinion?”

Bang PD-s question surprised the two PR expert. The small girl fiddled with her fingers before she collected her thoughts and answered the man.

“In my opinion, I agree that we should be doing the interviews. It would paint a guilty picture if we were to close all communication off. But I think we should ask the outlets to send ahead their questions, selecting the ones we would like to answer.”

“I understand. Y/n, your thoughts?”

You looked back at the TV, weighing your options and opinions.

“Bang PD, may I speak freely? I might become blunt.”

A bittersweet chuckle crept from the speakers, and the man nodded on the screen.

“I didn’t see today's interview, but I bet the members were either shaken, angry or sad. Namjoon delivered an impossible task and tried to cover his tracks. Jimin probably has closed off even more than he was when he first heard about this. Am I right?” you looked at Sejin, who slowly nodded, his eyes careful. “While I see the reason behind doing more interviews, it seems like a massive threat. It is a good idea to filter the questions, but you never know whether they won’t jump something, especially during a live show.”

“So what do you suggest? We should shut off?” Ohseong measured you up with his gaze, probably thinking about how you didn’t fit in the meeting due to your attire.

“Do you still have contact with the BBC Radio1? I remember there was a woman, who flew out to Seoul I think and did a tasteful and rather well-researched interview. I don’t remember her name.”

“I can find her contacts. We save every name with contact information, just in case.” Mihee’s soft brown eyes met yours, her voice a little shaky.

“Alright. Here is my idea: fly her in. Tell her that this is an exclusive interview, a one in a lifetime piece. Tell her that the answers will be valid, straightforward. Ask her to send over the list of questions and give them to Jimin to look over. He will have to answer things he probably finds uncomfortable, but some things need to be addressed by him. If something is a little too much, cross it off. Do the interview, make a quality work of it. And then shut down the topic altogether. Put an embargo on it, a contractual clause with a high fee, in case it is broken. Think of a higher number and add an extra zero on the end. This way the press will have a true interview to recite, a specifically selected interviewer, who will stick to you to the end of the world, and protect the boys from further harassment. Because that’s what that was. Plain old verbal sexual harassment. And I will not stand for it.”

If someone were to drop a pin in the room, you could’ve heard it. Maybe you went overboard, maybe you were too blunt. At least you warned them beforehand. The silence stretched and you glanced at the people present. Mihee and Ohseong looked a little shell-shocked, which proved that you did go too harsh. Sejin was looking at the soda in his hands, his lips twitching a little. Was that a smile forcing its way through his politeness?

Finally, you looked at Bang PD. He met your gaze straight forward, his features a little too blank for your taste. You liked to read the room and he wasn’t letting you. His visible body didn’t move, but by the sound of it, he was bouncing his leg under the table. Only a few seconds passed since you finished talking, but it felt like 5 minutes.

“Okay. Thank you for all of your inputs. Mihee?”

“Yes, Bang PD-nim.”

“Contact that woman, arrange for her to send a list and get her to Korea as soon as possible. The boys will be back here sometime tomorrow.” The girl nodded, penning down her tasks.

“Sejin” the manager looked up at the TV. “Get the lawyers working on the clause. I agree with not putting through the boys any more pain than actually necessary.” Sejin dipped his head, a phone on his ear the second Bang PD’s eyes left him. He backed up in the corner, his lips moving rapidly as he began to talk to someone on the other side.

“Ohseong. Arrange an interview location. I want to see at least 3 mock-ups by tomorrow. Schedule a meeting with the stylists, settle on a concept. When the interviewer arrives, I want you to be her guide, showing her around, communicating our values.” The man dutifully wrote down his instructions, his eyes staying near to the ground.

“Y/n, while I do not want to dictate your schedule, may I ask whether you have any jobs in the near future?”

“Not that I know of as of yet. What do you need?”

“Can you stay with the boys? Maybe help during the interview?”

“I will stick around. And I could do the translator role if you want me to. But I think the BBC will want their own translator, so I can do the boys end. If that’s okay.”

“I think that will be enough. Jimin will be quite thankful. Okay, people, let's get going, everyone knows what to do. Have a good night!”

And with that, the TV went dark. You blew out a breath, understanding how your plans have shifted.

“Y/n” Sejin hesitantly looked at you. “I thought you are in a hurry.” a small smile played on his face.

“Oh, right. Yeah. Thank you. It was nice meeting you!”

You hand found the doorknob and tore the door open, surprising Saem. You flew out on the corridor. Sejin behind you pressed his comms in.

“Boys, a pick me up is headed your way.”

-------------------

The sound of the crowd going crazy around you in the dimly lit black passageway felt familiar, like home. Saem led you into the VIP area, which was snugly hidden from most of the audience, filled up with celebrities, musicians and friends. The seats were piled into together and pulled to the walls so the people inside could jump and dance around.

Not feeling like dancing on your own, you put down the slightly lighter paper bag on the tower of chairs, fitted your foot in the stacked seats next to it and jumped up to the chair at the top. This way you were sitting a little higher, legs dangling in the air under you.

By the sound of things, Euphoria was on and Jungkook must be walking somewhere at the end of the aisle. The light percussions drummed on your skin, his voice shooing away your previous tenseness.

God, he is so good.

The song was about to end and you waited in anticipation for Kookie to emerge from one of the sides of the VIP sector. But he didn’t, not yet. I Need U started playing, and the audience sang along the popular chorus. You moved lightly to the beat, singing along with the members. Your excitement rose as you heard the girls screaming growing around you, thinking that maybe, just maybe someone is coming back to the main stage in front of you. The small hairs on your arm stood, your thrill going higher.

You amused yourself how will they react when they notice you. Skipping through each member in your mind, a tingle of sadness washed over you, remembering that Jin is not here. He won’t be blowing kisses in your direction, pulling red paper hearts from the most unexpected places. The sound of his agitated voice rang in your ear as if he were complaining about his childish members to you.

A shadow swept through your frame sitting on the high chair. Another and another followed it. You looked up and saw the six boys singing, jumping around and entertaining their audience. They seemed carefree, maybe borderline happy. But after a few seconds of watching them, you saw through the facade. Namjoon and Yoongi were putting on a brave face, putting more savageness into their lines than the song dictated. Hobi did aegyo endlessly, making finger hearts, pulling surprising faces and flower poses, but it was overdone. The smiles didn’t really reach his eyes. Jungkook and Tae stayed close to Jimin, never going too far away from him. The youngest goofed around, running around him and trying to play with him and Jimin mostly obliged, but there was an invisible wall around him. Kookie didn’t try to physically play with him, yanking up his shirt or tickling him like he usually does. Taehyung grimaced and did funny poses, either for the camera or Jimin, jumping around seemingly carelessly. But to you, his movements were calculated, timed to the last detail.

It was painful to see them this way. You wondered whether anyone else could see what you saw. Whether the fans were aware of what happened, and how their beloved members were fighting to put on a show. To entertain them, to make them happy, while they were miserable on the inside. Laying your head against the wall, you closed your eyes, trying to be thankful just to be there. To actually be near after wishing for so long.

When you opened your eyes they met Namjoon’s. His warm irises grew wide, his face opening up as if a storm was chased away in front of him. His dimples made an appearance, deepening with every passing second. You automatically giggled, seeing his sunny expression, holding your index finger up in front of your lips, asking him to stay quiet. A laugh escaped him and he dipped his head in agreement, a twinkle settling in his eyes.

When he turned away, to face Yoongi, the small rapper shot him a questioning look, but he only shrugged, holding onto your request. The current eldest looked around, searching for the reason behind his leader’s sudden change of heart. His sharp eyes seized up the crowd, not looking in your direction. A small crease appeared between his slender eyebrows, knitting in concentration. Scanning through from his left side to the right, he almost reached the VIP sector when Hobi crashed into him. The two rappers looked at each other rather surprised, the people near to them laughing in delight at their actions. Nervously smiling to himself, Yoongi shrugged and Hobi cheered on, giggling at the situation before he made a sharp turn and noticed you on the tower of chairs, sitting idly and smiling up to him. Yoongi traced his gaze and a fresh set of gummy smile enveloped him.

Before you knew it, Hobi made a big deal about you being there before you could tell him not to, telling the audience that a special someone has shown up, asking them to welcome you amongst them. A deafening cheer tore it’s a way to the sky, girls screaming on top of their lungs, guys howling as much as they could. Furiously blushing at the ordeal created for you, you shook your head at Hobi, smiling so wide it almost hurt. The man shined a breath-taking grin in your direction before he ran off, out of your vision.

You could imagine where he went off, but his brothers were curious what was he talking about anyway, jogging in his direction. While you didn’t know who did Hobi specifically had in mind to show you to, it didn’t matter, because the three youngest were already there, standing where he stood, searching the sea of people. The first one to notice you were Kookie.

Of course it was.

The rascal hooped when he noticed your figure sitting up there at the end of the sector, immediately squatting down at the rim of the stage, curving his lips ferociously. Reaching down for the bag on the other set of chairs, you jiggled the paper bag full of snacks in his direction and he cried out enthusiastically, reminding you of a small puppy playing.

Taehyung and Jimin were standing behind him, their sides touching, watching the maknae. Following the general direction he was looking, the two sets of eyes settled on you, creating a whirlwind of emotions within you. The dancer’s lips formed a perfect ‘O’ when your eyes met, before he pulled them into a shy smile, waving his small hands in your direction. He seemed so fragile, so vulnerable for a second. You hoped to see specks of anger in there, some withheld frustration that could overcome his sadness, but it wasn’t there. Not yet.

The man next to him froze, his hand stopping midair. Tearing your gaze from Jimin’s, you looked into those dark eyes, trying to remain calm. A squeal was fighting for dear life in your throat but you refused to let it out, remembering what you wanted to provoke him. You didn’t buy a piece of lingerie for nothing. Tilting your head, you felt your hair fan away from your shoulder and you grinned up to him, chuckling when he flicked his tongue across his lower lip.

The boys regrouped, hands and bodies touching and slamming into the 95’ liners. The whole ordeal from Namjoon to Taehyung couldn’t have been longer than a minute. They beamed down in your direction before Yoongi pulled the mic to his lips. The transformation did not go unnoticed as the crowd cheered, seeing them all together, smiles stretching endlessly. It really was a sight to see, that nobody could truly convey with words.

“Everyone… I think I’m in a mood for some old Bangtan. What do you say?” the rapper shouted in the mic, raising his hand in the air. An earth-shattering, ever-echoing wave of shriek was his answer and he grinned, pressing his comms and murmuring something fast. The boys took a few moments to readjust the setlist with the people in the backstage, everyone having a say in it by the looks of it.

A steady clapping blew from the speakers and you laughed out loud. They really did go for old school. Yoongi jumped on the first lines of Boys with Fun and you enthusiastically moved your shoulders, dancing in your seat. As far as you could tell, the members laughing became more genuine, freestyling along with the song. Jimin eased up, enough to flirt with his audience, edging them to scream more.

The moment the music flows
I think I’ll go crazy, hey
You’re gonna be shaken by my body
Right now, this moment

As if he was reminded of his own charm, he did a full-fledged body-roll landing on his knees in front of the first row, earning an appreciative cry from the hundreds of people who he probably just murdered on the spot with the smooth move.

Shaking your head in amusement, you did your own body rolls, or rather torso, side to side to the chorus, turning your head in sync, flipping your hair with the whole movement. It was a little difficult not to be self-conscious, dancing on your own, but at least no one was really looking at you.

Scratch that, someone is looking.

Taehyung sat down by the edge of the sector, mirroring your sitting arrangements, dancing with half of his body while singing his lines. His eyes roamed around your frame, taking in the piece you just bought hours before. Playfully teasing him, you pulled on the strap holding the lacy material in place on your shoulder, cajoling him to add an extra growl to his last line. Outright laughing at him, threw you head back, forgetting your worries and sadness.

Kookie planted his feet by Tae’s sides, playing with him as he got over the song’s last bridge. Attack on Bangtan followed Boyz with Fun. The songs reminded you so much of your first concert with them, emphasizing how much they grew since then.

The first chorus got close and Jimin settled by his younger brothers, moving to the same beat with their shoulders. Looking him in the eye, you tried to taunt him, provoke him to get angry. Frustrated. To make him burst and let out his deeply shoved away emotions. If he held it in, there is no way of telling when and how he will snap under the pressure.

He didn’t get what you were trying to do of course. The chorus rolled around and he just smiled, probably thinking that you are playing with your facial expressions. His members played with him too, distracting the dancer from you. By the second chorus, he seemed confused, pulling his eyebrows together at you. The last one was coming up and he was mouthing questions, trying to figure you out. You mouthed back, conveying your idea in phrases, gesticulations.

Without either of you noticing him, Kookie wrapped his arms around the small vocalist, pulled out his comms carefully and said something in his ear. The youngster nodded to you, and let go of Jimin, holding up his thumbs up in your direction.

That watchful little bunny.

Jiminie stood where the maknae left him, his fingers tangled in his silky hair, elbow piercing the sky. He looked upwards, his eyes moving before he pressed them shut, exhaling a long puff of moisture in the cool air. Letting his arm down, he looked back at you, raising the mic to his full lips to sing along.

Cuz we got fire fire fire
Get higher higher higher
If you don't know us, get to know us well
Who are we? Who? The rise of Bangtan

The dancer just stood there, looking at you with sadness and sorrow while his lips carved the words into the microphone. His eyes transformed from wide to slanted to narrow, cheekbones becoming more angular, chin raised a little into the air. When he finished singing a small part of his cheek hollowed in where he bit it, jaws becoming more prominent. Maybe this was the first time you ever saw him like this, remembering the tales the boys told about the dancer, how he looked when he got angry.

The opening noted of Fire escaped you as you watched him, mesmerized how different he looked, admiring the fierce look he emitted of his lean body. He was fully aware of his surroundings, not even checking whether his brothers lined up behind him or not before he broke into the choreography for the song.

Of course, they were there, blowing into the movements violently. As if they compressed all of their pent up frustrations and anger, the members made the whole song and its respected choreo look easy, savagely dropping every line, delivering every bit of movement precisely. By the time Jimin built up to the last bridge, a satisfied smile played in his features, making you believe that he let out some steam in the past few minutes. A drop of sweat rolled from his hair to his jaw, disappearing on his neck as he looked back at you again, nodding lightly.

------------------------------

Saem opened the door for you when the last song finished, taking your hand to safely navigate you through the maze of people who tried to do their job in the dark corridor. Soon sharp white lights pierced your eyes as you emerged into the backstage area, reaching a room where Sejin was waiting for you. Ohseong and Mihee were there too, checking each other’s notes. The two looked up when you entered the room, Mihee smiling at you. You reciprocated the smile, nodding in her direction.

“We should wait for the boys here, Bang PD-nim wants to tell them the plan.” Sejin muttered to you as he hopped in the table behind him. A cracking noise came from his hand and you noticed he was opening the drink you bought for him in Sydney.

“Cheers!” he smiled and motioned to a stack of several drinks by the door. You grabbed a can of Monster Rehab and sat up beside Sejin, clinking your drink to his. Kicking up a conversation about the last few months, you chatted lightly for several minutes.

Sejin never really opened up to you, probably thinking that it would be inappropriate for him to do so, but always remained on friendly terms. You tended to avoid serious topics with him, keeping the airy pleasantries flowing. On most occasions, you thought you and him were on the same opinions, but he never pushed for his to be recognized. You were happy to keep him in conversation, understanding that he was the silent type of person, who would be fully content if he had to remain silent.

The door opened and six heads covered with towels emerged from the corridor, moving towards the free chairs in the room. At first, they didn’t notice that there were other people inside, freezing by the drinks as they saw the empty cans scattered on the table. Namjoon pulled off the towel, looked around the room and quickly called for his members, saying hi and thanking everyone for their hard work today.

It was after that that they came over to you, hugging you and apologizing for their untidiness. Jimin held you a few seconds longer and you wrapped your arms around him tightly. He murmured something about him being too sweaty, but you hushed him, burying your face in his shoulder.

As soon as you let the dancer go, Taehyung’s smile captured you as he got closer, immediately nuzzling his nose against yours before he pulled back and settled himself next to you on the table. Remembering not to act too intimately, you kept your hand off of him, dropping them in your lap.

“Alright everyone, settle down. I’ll call Bang PD-nim now to go over the plans for the scandal.” Sejin walked over to the TV drilled to the wall, turning it on and connecting it to his laptop. Jimin shuddered a little when the manager said ‘scandal’, fighting to maintain a calm expression.

“Okay, so, do you hear me? Is the line okay?”

Bang PD turned up on the screen, his eyes measuring up the room. Sejin let him know that everything is okay and went back to his spot beside you, pulling out his notes.

“Hello everyone, thank you for taking the time for this meeting.” the founder began. “I heared that today's concert was really pleasant, for that I would like to thank our team and staff. Thank you for the hard work.” Small applause came before he continued on. “Boys, just to take you up to speed: we have settled on a strategy while you were on stage. You will do one interview about the subject at hand, hopefully with the BBC. A reporter will come to us and she will send in her questions. Jimin, I would like you to select the questions, as most of them will be directed at you. You will have to answer some of the uncomfortable ones, but in order to avoid any more disturbances, I would like to assure you that this is the last time you’ll have to talk about this.”

The members looked at each other in surprise before they faced the dancer. Jimin looked ahead of him, staring into the back of the chair in front of him. He slowly nodded, and the founder continued.

“Sejin has arranged for our legal team to develop a clause about this subject in our media contracts, penning down a heavy fine in case someone tried to bring it up in the future. This is how far we got, Ohseong, Mihee, could you please update us?”

The man in question looked up and answered Bang PD, citing possible locations for the interview. He contacted the stylists and photographers to have a meeting once they get back to Seoul, asking them to develop mood boards.

“Right, thank you. Mihee?”

“I have contacted the reporter Y/n-ssi has indicated. She has accepted our invitation and promised to get back to us with her questions by the end of tomorrow, in their time-zone. She is available to fly out whenever the boys are free.”

“Wonderful. Sejin, please select a time and coordinate with Ohseong on the locations. I hope to get this over with within a week if possible.” the manager nodded, looking at the PR employee seriously. “Boys, I have asked Y/n to stick around until this situation dies down. She will help during the interview, translating the reporter's questions to you. All of your public appearances involving interviews have been canceled, so your schedules have eased up a little. I would like to invite you to use this time efficiently.”

The members nodded, accepting the situation wordlessly. Jimin hung his head a little, hiding his face under the curtain of his hair. The founder thanked everyone again and signed off, bidding good night.

“Right, boys, you still have to do a Bomb in half an hour. The other room is ready for you to change. Ohseong, can we run through the locations?” Sejin walked to the man, leading him out of the room. Mihee bowed a little in your direction and left with them. The members stayed in their chairs, drying themselves up with the towels in their hand.

“Okay, who wants presents?”

“Snaaaaaaaaaaacks!” Kookie jumped from his seat, rapidly reaching the spot where you were sitting. Giggling at his behavior, you yanked up the paper bag filled with goodies and shoved it in his hands. He happily accepted and dropped back to an empty chair close to your leg. The young boy already tore up a bag and chewed on its contents.

“Yoongi, here.” the silent man looked up from where he was sitting, catching the flying pillow in a smooth sweep. He ran his fingers through the fluffy material before he rewarded you with a smile, pulling a few chairs together and laid down, placing the pillow firmly under his head.

“Namjoon, I’m not sure about this one. Maybe, maybe you will like it.” the man chuckled a little, his dimples deepening as he swayed a little in his spot, hands behind his back before he accepted the book from you.

“Ooh, I remember this! This was a movie way back, right?”

“Yeah, its a really beautiful movie actually. It’s a true story if I remember correctly.”

“Thank you Y/n, I really appreciate it!”

Kookie smiled up to his leader, repeating the words with his mouth full of food. The leader looked down at his maknae, scolding him lightly to swallow before speaking, but patting his shoulder nonetheless.

Hobi perked up on your left, his eyebrows wiggling wildly.

“What's for me, what's for me?”

“Here ya go. I hope it’s the right size.”

The rapper took the seethrough wrapped shirt from you, curiously opening the bag. The pulled out the sunshine-colored material, taking in the sunniest shirt you have ever seen in your life. Thinking back, you were happy to ask that driver to help you out with the souvenirs. He knew what he was doing. Hobi grinned at you and darted to the other room to try on his new piece.

“Jiminie, come here.”

The dancer hasn’t moved since the TV turned off. His shoulders moved as he let out a long sigh, pulling himself together. Taehyung leaned forward, his hand wrapping around yours. You looked into his hooded eyes, asking what to do. He motioned to the sitting boy, his hand roaming on your back, under your jacket.

That’s what I call mixed signals!

Tae’s fingers traced the straps on your back then slowly pulled them back to his torso. He jumped off the table, landing like a cat. He nodded towards his friend again, taking your hand, pulling you to his chair.

“Jiminie, can we sit here?” Taehyung softly murmured.

He only hummed back. Tae sat down on the chair on his right, looking up to you with a sad smile. You dropped the remaining two items on the chair to his left and squatted down in front of the dancer.

His knees trembled a little when you entered his field of vision, but he let you stay there. Moving slowly, you raised your hand to his face, waiting for his permission to touch him. He didn’t say anything, just pushed his cheek into your palm, closing his eyes as he blew out a labored exhale. Calmly moving your fingers, you lightly stroked him, waiting for his reaction. Another exhale left him, this time a single tear rolled down. He slipped off the chair, landing hard on his knees and you pulled him into a hug. He tensed up, the muscles on his back flexing, his shoulders lightly shaking and his breathing became more uneven.

Your hands never stopped moving, gently moving one on his back while the other stayed on his head, keeping him in place. A heart-shattering sound came from your shoulder as he let go of his barriers and cried out. His hands flew up to your torso, hugging you tightly as the crying shook his lean body.

Taehyung watched as you did everything you could to comfort his best friend. He didn’t know what was it that made Jimin brake down, the fact that he has to do one more interview, the knowledge that he will have to get into the scandal in detail, the peace of mind that no one will ever bring it up or you. You and your way of never pushing for more than the other could give at the time, the gentle way of letting the other know that whatever it is, it is okay, it is perfectly understandable and that you are here for them.

It broke him to see Jimin like this, but he was grateful to have it happen with you. He understood that whatever happened, whoever tried to hurt him or his brothers, you would protect them ferociously. And maybe you already did. The strategy Bang PD presented was different than their usual tactics. There were always protections involved for the members, but there hasn’t been an attack on any of them like this one. They didn’t know how to handle it, what to say. But here you were, bringing gifts with you, surprising them and taking care of his friend without saying a word.

Jimin’s breathing was coming back to a more even pace. His hands didn’t curl against your back anymore, laying them flat on your jacket. You murmured comforting phrases in his ear, still stroking his back. He buried his face in your neck before he pulled away, throwing his tear-stroked face back, facing the ceiling. He gasped for more air, controlling his breathing with more practice. His eyes shied away from you, glancing to the TV behind you.

But you didn’t let him. There was no need to avoid you or Taehyung. He needed to know that. Gently placing a finger on his jaw, you pulled him to face you. The pain in his eyes faded, an echo of it remaining in his chocolate irises. He hesitantly looked at you, his face blank before he shook his head, facing you again with more life in his features.

“Y/n, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have…”

“Finish that sentence Park Jimin, and I will bite your head off.”

“She’s serious, you should’ve seen the bite mark she gave me the last time I said something stupid.” Tae’s timber came from the side, laced with a chuckle. Jimin looked at him confused. The two friends locked eyes, and Tae pulled Jimin towards him, muttering in his ear before he messed up the dancer's hair and let go of him.

“So… what were you saying Jiminie?”

The man kneeling before you glanced back to you a small smile breaking out on his soft features.

“I… I think someone said something about presents?”

“Mmm, and you have two. One for adult comforting and one for personal comforting. I’m not sure whether they actually meet your taste, but it’s something I guess.” you shrugged, trying to take away the pressure of liking the items.

“Let me see!”

You gave him the paper bag, and he yanked up the bottle, laughing at the bottle of Nikka.

“Oh, this will do! But you’re joining me, right?” A little twinkle moved in his eyes and you gladly smiled at the progress he has made.

“Of course I will, this is one of my favorites. Tae, we’ll get you some soda, okay?” You threw a sly grin at the man in question, who eyed the bottle for a few seconds before he shrugged.

“I may like it, you never know.”

“Psh, yeah right.” Jimin laughed at him and pulled out the plush wombat. You were scared for a second, imagining that maybe he will find it childish, but he snugly wrapped it close to his chest, a triumphant smile emerging from him.

“Y/n, I love it, both of the gifts. Thank you!”

“Your welcome Jiminie. And for the other thing. Don’t you dare hide or feel ashamed because you feel bad or sad or scared. I don’t care what you think or believe, this is not okay. No one in this world knows how to deal with what you just had to go through. And no one has to do it alone. You understand me?”

He watched you, his gaze frozen as you spoke, but nodded when you asked him a question.

“It’s okay to talk to someone, it’s okay to cry on someone’s shoulder. Your emotions are worth more than a piece of cloth or a phone bill. I get it if you need to speak with someone else. You can. You should. You should do whatever makes it better. If you want to go off and drink this whiskey with a staff member and talk it out, please do, and don’t worry about other people’s feelings. You can’t take care of other people if you are not okay yourself. Do you understand?” You received another nod.

Taehyung suppressed a smile, knowing that those words were coming. While he wasn’t sure Jimin heard the same words that you were meant to say, you were punctual enough to get some of your message into that thick skull of his. And that should be enough for now.

“So, when are we drinking that thing?” He asked the pair of you, breaking the silence.

“I’m free tomorrow as far as I know.” You shot him a thankful grin.

“Then let’s settle it: we gather at sunset tomorrow. Jimin, bring your gifts. We will drink, talk, sing, laugh and cry until we pass out. Call?”

“Call!”

The three of you scrambled to your feet, dusting off your clothes. You fixed Jimin’s face up, stroking away the remnants of his tears. He snuggled into another hug, happy sounds leaving him. You grabbed Tae’s hand, pulling him in too. The two of you squeezed the dancer and he giggled a little. Tae opened the door and you left the room, strolling down the empty corridor.

“Now, you two need to change and do that Bomb. And I need to leave!”

“Wait, what? No!” Tae snapped his head around to face you. “You’re not going anywhere!”

“Ooh, but I am. You need to wrap up work and I don’t want to be a distraction.”

Jimin giggled at Tae’s frustration before he went into the changing room, where a pair of loud noises shouted at him to close the door. A peal of higher pitched laughter erupted from the dancer when he realized that Yoongi and Namjoon were in the middle of changing and he literally tore the door open. Quickly closing it behind him, you heard the pillow smack into his back.

“You’re not a distraction, you’re helping us! Big time! I just got you back, please don’t leave! I didn’t even get my own present yet.” He shot you a pleading puppy dog look, lips pouting remarkably.

“I can’t exactly give you your present here, it would be highly indecent of me.” Narrowing his eyes, he seized you up, his gaze lingering by the lacy pieces by your bra.

“Uh-uh, and why is that?”

“You are pretty much staring at it, right at this moment.” His eyes flew up to meet yours, a wolfish grin enveloping him.

“That Bomb is really in my way now, is it?”

“Hence, I’m going back to the hotel.”

“Do you have your keycard?”

“No, but Sejin will give me one in the car.”

His hand flew to your waist, his fingers hugging your sides tenderly. Your breathing became ragged as he drew closer, the warmth of his body heat radiating against your skin.

“How about I give you mine? You can let me in when I get back.”

“And where is yours? In an empty room?”

“You’ve read my mind.”

Tilting your head to the side, you watched him closely, egging him to yank you into a room. He really did need to go, change and do the shoot, but it was frankly impossible to resist the sinful temptation he was getting you into. His hands traveled around the spiderweb texture of the lace, warming your skin in his wake. Both of you were slightly panting, your breathing mixing in the small space he left between your bodies.

Something dropped, and cursing followed. Adrenalin rushed you, realizing that you were still standing in the middle of the corridor, in plain sight. Turning around, you saw nobody, the cause of the voice being outside of your field of vision.

“Don’t worry, they didn’t see anything.” Tae murmured in your ear.

“And you won’t either, not here. Finish up here and unwrap your present back in your room.”

With a new spring in your step, you flew down the passageway, turning back for a few seconds to smile back at him. He huffed out some air, making his bangs fly up a little before descending back on his flawless face.

“Hurry up, you’ll be scolded at!”

“Ah, you’ll be the one scolding tomorrow when you won’t be able to…”

“We’ll see about that, won’t we?”

“Mhmm”

And with one last sultry look, he turned to the closed door and yanked it open.

Chapter Text

Chapter 14

Smiling to yourself, you walked on the empty corridor, trying to find your way back to the parking lot. It has occurred to you that Saem has disappeared somewhere, but maybe he was asked to help out elsewhere. Most rooms were emptied out, the last bits of equipment being the biggest ones on stage, waiting for loading. Seeing it from the inside, how fast the crew could be, always amazed you.

Cooler air was coming in your direction, indicating that you’re probably on the right track to the parking lot. More voices echoed from afar when you entered the bigger space, seeing workers loading on endless rows of boxes and set pieces on trucks. Normal vehicles were parking there too, the last groups of staff getting in to leave for the night.

You were about to ask someone whether they’ve seen Sejin when he called out to you from the other side of the car Saem has picked you up with earlier.

“So, Y/n, here is your keycard, the room is number 27. The boys are staying on the same floor this time. To access the second floor you will have to insert the keycard in the elevator, you’ll see a slot for it. Your things are already settled. Do you need anything else?”

“No, I think I’m pretty good, but thank you. Should I take the car or…”

“Ah, right, Saem should be here, wait a second.”

He pressed on the comms in his ear, quickly asking around for the man and he appeared within seconds, panting a little.

“Hey, you didn’t need to run!” you teased him a little and Sejin nodded at the man, giving him the car keys.

“You two go and rest. We will be leaving for Seoul tomorrow morning, I’ll be making the morning call around 8 am. The boys should be getting back soon too. Good night!”

You looked after the man as he jogged towards the backstage area, shaking your head slightly.

“I wonder just how many percent coffee is in that man…”

“I would say about 40%, double espresso, no cream” Saem muttered, his glance following the manager too. You hummed in agreement and he opened the backseat for you. He turned on the engine and pulled out of the parking lot, emerging back to the street. The rain has stopped, but big pools of water scattered on the edges of the road and the car splashed big waves as it passed by in them.

You silently sighed in the backseat, thinking about the past few hours. Remembering that you won’t be available for new assignments, you pulled out your phone, entering the chat group for you and your other mentored team members to let them know not to ask for you. Drina left you a message, letting you know that she has dealt with the reporter that you never even asked her about. You smiled at the text, understanding how much did she actually know you.

“Miss, is it alright if I drop you off at the main entrance?”

“I think so, yes.”

In the beginning, you didn’t really roam around freely, choosing to go through backdoors and hidden alleyways when you were with the boys. Not particularly out of fear, but you didn’t want the media to think that you were someone that they can concoct some stupid story about. Then Sejin asked you to do your first translating job with them and the public saw you on a live TV show where you translated what the boys said when Namjoon got overwhelmed.

Some fans did speculate about you, seeing hidden movements where there was none, but it died down sooner than you thought. After a couple more appearances, they grew used to you, and it became an understandable thing to see you sometimes. By this time it seemed like a safe thing to openly walk into hotels and such.

Saem pulled the car up to the main entrance and helped you get out of the car. Screaming hit your ears as you got out, but it died down just as fast. The valet quickly grabbed the car keys from him and left swiftly. There were fans by the door with signs, posters, and notebooks, waiting for the boys to show up. Some were sitting on the floor, some were more prepared and had foldable chairs with them. A long red cordon cut them off to come closer on both sides of the big doors.

Feeling a little uneasy about the many pairs of eyes on you, you glanced down and made your way to the door when you heard a little whimper. The sound was so similar to your name, you looked in the general direction it came from. A little girl was looking at you and her lips moved again, making the same sound. You pulled up your hand, pointing at yourself in questions and the girl nodded. You hesitantly walked towards her and saw the people around the girl perk up a little. She had her parents behind her, their faces tired and strained, but they shot you a smile as you stopped in front of them, dropping down into a squat to reach eye-level with the girl.

“Sofía, introduce yourself to the lady!” her mother murmured in Spanish into the shy looking girl’s ear.

“Hello Miss, I’m Sofía. Do you...do you know Jimin?”

Her eyes were wide as she looked at you, her hazel eyes surprisingly open and sad. Her mom patted her hair, pulling it away from her shoulders so it would fall on her back neatly. They all looked cold and a little wet making you think that they must’ve been here during the rain.

“Hello Sofía. Yes, Jimin is my friend. Is there anything I can do for you?”

Your Spanish was a little rusty, you had to admit. It’s been a while since you had to use it, wincing at your pronunciation and lack of vocabulary. You hoped you could keep up with the little girl, whatever she had in her mind.

Sofía searched your face, looking for something. She faced her mother, muttering something in her ear shyly. Her mom glanced at you before she murmured something back. You looked up at the father, looking for more information, but he just smiled at you. Some people were becoming more active around you and you were sure some phones and cameras were directed at your frame.

“You see…” The little girl began. “I think something bad happened to Jimin and I don’t want him to be sad. My mom said that it will be okay, that he knows that I love him and my love will reach him like my mom loves me when I get sad.” The words rapidly fell from her little lips, her eyes jumping around your face as she explained. “But sometimes I need more.”

“I understand. What is it that you need when you get sad?”

“Well, I grab my favorite plushie and there is this popping candy that is really funny. Do you know it?”

“Oh, I do. I used to eat it a lot when I was little!”

“Don’t you eat it anymore?”

“Oh I’m a silly adult, I forgot about the popping candy.”

She giggled a little, looking into your eyes more straightforward instead of roaming around your face.

“So I eat that and it gets better. So I thought that maybe Jimin doesn’t know the popping candy or that he doesn’t have a favorite plushie like I have Blanco. So I came here to give this to him!”

She held up a white-ish bunny that had a zipper on its tummy. The bunny gave off a weird noise as if there was wrapping paper inside of it. It’s long ears almost reached the pavement as the little girl clutched it in her small fingers. She mom was kneeling beside her and gifted you with a tired smile and you understood. They’ve been waiting for Jimin, because their daughter was worried about him. She didn’t even know why her favorite was sad, but she wanted to help anyway. There were so many people here that the chance to actually get him close enough to give him the bunny filled with popping candy was slim.

Hence they called you over to help.

Okay, let's see...

“Sofía, that is really nice of you. Is there any way I can help you?”

“Well, do you know when will he come?”

“I’m not sure, he is still working back in the arena. Maybe he will have to stay late. Can you stay late?”

“No, mommy said that we will have to leave soon. But I want to give him Blanco!”

“Hmm, I see. Do you think there is a way for him to get it, even if he has to work now?”

“Well… can you please help? Can you give Blanco to him?”

“I would love to give Blanco to Jimin. But first, we have to make sure everything is in order right? We don’t want to break any rules, right?”

The little girl’s eyes grew more round as she heard you agree. Her mom was surprised for a second before she looked up at her husband, gripping his hand firmly.

“What rules are there?” Sofía asked you.

“I’m not sure! Let me ask a guard, maybe he can help!”

Sofía nodded seriously and she looked at the bunny in her hand, seizing it up and down with a different gaze. You looked at her parents and held up your finger, indicating you’ll be back in a minute.

Stretching your legs back into life, you carefully sprinted to Saem, who has been standing behind you, waiting for you to finish your conversation. You quickly told him your idea to play along with inspecting the plushie. His initial surprise was overtaken by giddiness, which was a really different look that you have ever seen on the broad-shouldered, serious security guard.

The pair of you walked back, squatting back down to the girl. Saem seriously nodded to her parents before he tried to look Sofía in the eye. She squirmed a little, looking at you before her eyes danced along his features.

“Sofía, this is my friend Saem. He is one of the guards who protect Jimin and the boys every day. He doesn’t speak Spanish, but I can translate for you. Is that okay?”

She looked at the man more carefully before she nodded again, accepting him.

Saem played along rather well, seriously asking to see this supposed Blanco to inspect him. You held up the bunny by its torso as Saem looked for foreign objects, sharp or piercing weapons. When the candy wrapper made a noise, the man acted shocked and asked the little girl what she was smuggling in, which earned him wild giggles.

Her mom mouthed you a thank you as Saem played along with Sofía. Shrugging a little, you smiled back. A few people started to murmur around you, a few fans shouting questions at you, but you kept your focus on the family, translating for Saem.

Once he was done with the inspection, he turned to the girl and asked where does she want it delivered. Sofía quickly grabbed back the bunny and stated firmly that only you can give it to Jimin. Her words made you grin wider, triumphantly looking at Saem for not being able to win her over you.

“Okay Sofía, I’ll be delivering Blanco. Is it okay if I give it to his manager? You see, Jimin is a really important person and I don’t see him often. But to make sure he gets Blanco, I can give it to his manager inside and he will put it in Jimin’s room right away. How does that sound?”

“Is that manager a nice person?”

“Of course he is! He is working with Jimin after all! Do you think bad people work with Jimin?”

“No, I guess not.”

“Alright then. Sofía, you are a really brave and kind girl. Your parents must be proud of you.”

“That we are.” Her mom planted a kiss on her daughter, stroking her hair continuously. She picked her up, placing her on her hips.

“Please thank the lady and the gentlemen for the help Sofi and say good night!

“Thank you!” She shied away again, burying her face in her mom’s neck. “Please take care of Blanco!”

“I will! Count on me Sofía!”

Her mom gave you one last smile before she turned away, walking through the crowd. Sofía’s eyes found you and she looked at the bunny in your hand. She squirmed a little before she turned to face her mom again.

You smiled after them for a few seconds before you made your way inside the doors. A golden colored lobby welcomed you inside with a lushly decorated reception facing you. Big columns reached from the ceiling and between them you saw a row of elevators. Saem pushed the button to call one and kept smiling at the plush bunny.

“That was really nice of you, you know.”

“Ah, it was nice of her to give away her favorite toy. Do you know which one is Jimin’s room?”

“No, but I can ask if you want me to.”

“Nah, nevermind. I’ll just call Sejin.” The elevator dinged as it stopped on Saem’s floor. “Have a good sleep Saem!”

“You too Miss!”

He stepped out of the elevator, leaving you alone. You inserted the keycard and pushed the button for the second floor. The door slowly slipped closed and you put your phone to your ear.

“Hi Y/n, is everything okay?”

“Hey, Sejin. Yeah, I just got a gift from a fan with me and need to give it to Jimin. Will he get back soon, or should I put it in his room… ?”

“Oh, a gift for Jimin? I, ah… wait a second Jimin-ssi… “ you heard the dancer question the manager in the back enthusiastically. Some strange noises came from the speaker, so you held it away from your ear, wincing a little. The elevator stopped and you stepped out to the hallway. There were several identical doors left and right from you, small, but pretty tables sitting between two doorframes with an elegant vase on them.

“Y/n? What is my gift?”

“Jimin? Where is Sejin?”

“He is right here, driving the car. We are going back, me, Sejin, TaeTae and Yoongi hyung.”

“Ah, okay. Which room is yours? I’ll put it on the table next to it.”

“I think it is number 24. Right? Yeah, 24. What is it?”

“Oh, you’ll get back here and see for yourself.”

“Y/n!”

“Don’t whine to me Park Jimin, you just got a gift!”

“But I wanna know!”

“Okay, listen to this.” you scrunched the bunny’s belly, making the contents rattle. “Guess by the sound!”

“What is that? It sounds like… like a wrapper? Is it wrapped?”

“I don’t know Jiminie, is it?”

The dancer whined a little more before they got out of the car and you heard the elemental shrieking of the fans waiting for them outside. The line was disconnected within seconds and you blew a long exhale out.

You walked to the door with the 27 embedded on it in gold numbers. Looking left and right, you decided to put the plushie on the table on the right, carefully fiddling with its ears to sit pretty. Placing your back against the doorframe, you waited for them to come up.

A few minuted passed before the elevator dinged again and the four men emerged. Jimin flew to your side, looking at your hands before you pointed to the table. He squealed a little.

“Okay, how did this happen, why do you have this? Is it a...this is a bunny?”

“There was this little Spanish speaking girl downstairs, Sofía and her parents. She knew you were sad and wanted to cheer you up, so she gave up her favorite toy and filled it with popping candy. They were probably there the whole night. Jimin - Blanco, Blanco - Jimin!” You moved the bunny’s hand in a wave and Jimin chuckled, doing a little curtsy to the bunny.

“Ah, I should thank her somehow! What do you think? A Twitter post? And what is popping candy?”

“A Twitter post would be nice, maybe even a VLive, with you and the plushie. Popping candy? Oh, you’ll see, you have to try it!”

He took the bunny from you and ran to Sejin to ask for the phone which operated both apps. You smirked after him. Yoongi passed by you, holding onto his pillow and muttered good night before he closed the door behind him.

A pair of hands snaked on your waist from behind you, hugging you to a firm body. Taehyung buried his face in your hair, inhaling deeply. He watched his brother go to Sejin, do a couple of selca’s before he turned you around, wordlessly pulling you down the hallway to his room. Without bidding the two men goodbye, he yanked you in, closing the door firmly.

Before you knew it, your jacket hit the floor. The dark room overcame your sight, barely able to make out your hands in front of you. You felt Tae’s breath on your shoulder before he placed feather-light kisses on it, trailing to your neck, your jawline before he finally found your lips. A hungry moan ripped from his throat, resonating in you.

Unable to process a connected thought, your hands flew to him, touching his sides, his chest, his neck. He was driving you backwards and your back met the closed door with a thump. Quickly placing his hands behind your back, he padded you against the firm wood and caged you in at the same time as he grinded against you.

Your teeth sank a little into his lower lip, earning a louder groan before you chuckled, throwing your head against the door. He bit you back in return, aiming for the tender spot between your neck and shoulder.

Not having any patience left within you, your hand traveled down between your bodies, palming him carefully. His hip thrust into your hand with a twitch and you obliged, finding your way under his clothes, caressing his length firmly. He whimpered in reaction, his hands flying down to your bum, grasping and massaging the clothed flesh.

His labored breathing echoed in the room as your hand kept moving up and down before he gently stopped you. He freed you from your shoes, the tight pants you were wearing, pulling down everything below your waist in one smooth motion. Cool air hit your delicate body, his panting climbing up on your skin as he got back to his feet. Silently kissing you again, he shimmied until his slightly yanked down pants dropped to the ground, making a pile next to your clothes.

Feeling the elaborate embroidery of the lace under his fingertips, his hands moved from your sides to your back to your chest. Fiddling a little with the fabric, he pulled it away and took one of your nipples in his mouth, sucking on it as you arched your back in appreciation. He found the other bead, lightly scratching the sensitive skin with his teeth. A hiss left you, feeling the different sensations he created within seconds.

Pulling him back up, you ran your fingers through his hair, feeling the residue of hairspray between your fingers. Letting his head fall back with the movement, he laughed silently before he drew closer again, his hand pulling up your thigh, placing it above his hip, keeping it there. His free hand made his way where you needed him the most, humming deeply when he felt how ready you were for him.

Pushing you up against the door, he positioned himself and carefully slid into you, taking his time to reach all the way, deliciously stretching you. A long moan fled from your lips and a shaky inhale followed as he pulled away to thrust in faster again. Blissful pleasure erupted in your body, making you roll your eyes back, curling your toes. Placing your hand on his back, you drew him closer, one hand finding his jaw. His heavy breathing met your skin, and he planted a quick kiss on you jaw before he asked you to hold onto him.

Obediently locking your arms behind his neck, you felt his hand tighten on your pulled up thigh, and his other to reach down to leg you were balancing on so far. With a quick motion, he lifted you up in the air, wrapping your legs around his waist and he slipped inside you further which cajoled the both of you to cry out.

The door behind you hasn’t been closed for more than 5 minutes, but you were so close, too close to reaching your high for the first time. He pressed you into the door and you did your best to hold yourself up as he kept up an even pace of thrusting. Sinful sounds filled the dark room, skin slapping against skin, groans, and whines escaping lips. He slowed down a little, pulling hid head back from you. In the lack of lighting you could only make out the silhouette of his features, his lips barely open, curved into a devilish smile, eyes dropped down midway while you felt him almost pulling out, dancing on the edge, stretching your tightest parts with slow pulsations. Without warning, he rammed back in, blowing a new series of sensations across you and you whined out, throwing your head back against the door.

He repeated this little exercise, coaxing more and more needy noises from you. His eyes never left you, taking in your reactions to the fullest extent, etching the memory in.

A ding came from the hallway, indicating that someone has arrived back on the other side of the door. Taehyung chuckled in a low voice, thrusting in one more time and he watched in delight as one of your hands flew to your mouth, trying to cancel out the sensual moan he produced from you. Several people were talking outside and you heard Sejin mutter quickly, explaining something. Tae pulled out and slowly put you back down to the floor, your shaky feet meeting the thick rug under you. Wrapping his arms around you, he searched for your lips, scattering a trail of wet kisses on your neck before he found your mouth.

Sucking on that playful tongue of his, you followed the rhythm of his kiss before he turned you around, facing the door. You silently laughed out in understanding, putting your hands up against the wood as he pulled your waist back a little, stretching your back in his direction. Naughtily teasing you, he inserted a digit, then another, curling his fingers which completely stopped your breathing, concentrating on what he was doing before his fingers switched places with his length in a blink of an eye. You heard Namjoon ask something outside as a deep rumbling growl came from behind you. You silently cried out and he reached for one of your hands, interlacing his fingers before he picked up his pace. The door started to become damp where your panting arrived on it, your only hand acting as a shock absorber so you wouldn’t clash against the firm surface.

The talking went on outside as Taehyung hammered into you on the other side of the door, the sound of wet noises, heavy breathing, and low moans filling your ear in a sinful whirlwind. Tightening your fingers on his you tried to let him know how close you were and he kissed your back in reply, his free hand caressing its way from your side where he has been holding onto to where your bodies met, drawing circles into your folds. You legs almost gave out on you as his ministrations synced up, pushing you over the edge, continuous quiet whines and cries shaking your shoulder.

Biting down on his lips, he felt reaching the end of the line, making the slapping sounds becoming louder, an animalistic groan leaving him before he slowed down and finally stopped. The two of you collapsed then and there by the door, chuckling and holding each other in silent bliss. He placed his back against the tall wood, pulling you onto his chest gently. You chest rose and fell, trying to gain back the air you lost while trying to remain as quiet as possible under the circumstances. Blowing on your tingling skin, he tried to cool you down while his own sweat rolled down on his temple.

His arms around your waist, laying on the floor, head resting against his chest, you finally felt at home. Sticky moisture covered you all over, the air-conditioning slowly bringing down your body temperature back to normal. Looking up, you tried to make out his eyes, your fingers tracing his face, wiping away the sweat. He kissed your passing hand, whipping his tongue against it for a second and you laughed out, producing the first free sound since you got in the room. The two of you laid there for a few minutes panting and stroking the other peacefully.

Drawing in a long breath, you collected yourself, lifting up your torso from him, carefully getting up on your feet. You strolled to the window, pulling the curtain away a little to let more light in, avoiding the artificial lights on the ceiling. Taehyung got up too, picking up the clothes on the floor and throwing them on one of the chairs. You stretched up towards the sky, pulling the tingling sensations across your relaxed muscles with a lazy smile playing on your lips. He hugged you carefully from behind you, burying his face in your shoulder.

Wordlessly tugging on your arm, he pulled you into the dark bathroom. You unzipped the last remaining lingerie and threw it on the counter while Tae searched for something. Soon a burning smell neared your nose as he lit a candle on the sink with a match. The warm light of the candle danced in the small space, its balmy scent filling your senses. Fingers ran through your hair and you felt him twisting it up in a bun, wrapping an elastic on carefully. With another tug, he pulled you to the shower, adjusting the water before getting both of you under the jet of hot water.

Washing the other off with slow motions, humidity filled the room, steam enveloping the glass enclosing you and the mirror above the sink. Sloppy caresses traced outlines of your bodies, lazy wipes tracked islands of bubbles while your lips met, pressing and pulling, sucking and praising the other. You were long clean, but the water still ran, massaging tired limbs, softening skin with its pleasurable pressure. Taehyung let the water run through his hair and enjoyed as you ran your shampoo laced fingers across his scalp. Drops of water ran from his bangs to his eyebrows, outlining his face, working it’s way to his heart-shaped mouth before he transferred it to yours in a series of pecks.

Once everything was done and the air was so dense it became hard to breathe, Tae turned off the shower and you grabbed two fluffy towels, wrapping it closely around you, drying off the last bits of water with quick motions. When there was no more trace of moisture on you, you yanked the elastic out, freeing your hair from the bun and made your way to the bed. The clean sheets felt like heaven, quickly warming up due to the excess heat your body radiated off. You buried yourself under it as Tae proceeded to dry his hair, the blowdryer’s sound coming from the now lit bathroom.

With an audible click, he turned off the device and the lights, cajoling back the smooth darkness as he got out of the bathroom, silently joining you under the covers. Without speaking, you arranged yourself close to him, burying your face where his shoulders met with his neck, planting a good-night kiss on it. He hummed a little as one of his hands ran through your hair.

“So, I don’t know if you know this, but I have a free day tomorrow.”

“Oh, how come?”

“There is something I need to show you, so I asked Sejin. With the schedules freeing up from the interviews, there are a few things we should do now.”

“I don’t follow, what do you mean? What are you showing tomorrow?”

“Ah, you’ll see.”

“You’re not telling me?”

“No, I’m not.”

“But why?”

“Because it will be more fun to see your face!”

“Kim Taehyung, what are you up to?”

“You’ll see. It’ll be fun, don’t worry.”

“I’m not worried, just curious. Is it a thing? Like a touchable thing or is it alive…?”

“We are not playing the guessing game again, I don’t want you to figure it out!”

“Please, I probably won’t!”

“Yah, like the time you figured out I was waiting for you in your hotel room back in LA?”

“Hey, that was an accident! You said that I have a present in there that I need the most!”

“And you automatically assumed that I’m the present? Who has that sense of intuition, honestly?”

“So it’s alive?”

“I’m not answering!”

“Ah, so it's not!”

“What, why, I didn’t say anything!”

“But you stuck your chin up. You’re on the defense!”

“Y/n L/n, you’re ruining my fun!”

“Gah, okay, I’ll stop.” you giggled into his neck. He wrapped his arms around you tighter and kissed your forehead, bidding you good night.

His breathing quickly became deeper and more even and soon soft exhales came from above you. You smiled against his neck, wiggling a little before you shut your eyes too. There was no other noise in the room, only an occasional thump resonating through the walls. Small traces of soft light illuminated the wall where you pulled the curtain away, the air-conditioning waving the fabric when the rotator reached the right angle, making the shadows move in every few seconds. You felt his fingers move a little on your back, his fingertips tracing your spine before sleep claimed you for the night.

Chapter Text

Chapter 15

He was balancing on his elbow, resting his body sideways next to yours, looking down on your peaceful figure. He has been in this position for a few minutes now, feeling the numbness in his arm spread to his shoulders, but he didn’t care. He wanted to watch you sleep right next to him, your breathing lightly moving the small pieces of hair dropped in front of your face.

A strand of hair made its way to your left set of eyelashes, probably tickling you accidentally, because you stirred within seconds, rolling to your back, a little further away from him. He smiled as you irritatedly scrunched your nose as a beam of light settled across your face, bringing you further away from sleep.

Taehyung kept watching you, cherishing one of the few occasions when he had the chance to wake up next to you without having to rush anywhere. It’s only 7:38, but he woke up naturally and packed up the scattered things around the room, so you only had to dress up before leaving.

A slow, cat-like yawn stretched your features, rolling back to your side, curling up right by his balancing elbow. Without hesitation, he kissed the crown of your head, murmuring good morning softly in your ear. A faint whine escaped from under the pile of hair and he smiled at your defiance. Gently touching your hair, he began to stroke it away from your face, caressing your shoulder and neck in the process with long motions.

He didn’t notice at first that you were watching him, silently waiting for him to meet your eyes. But when he did, he smiled wider, pulling away his elbow to lay down beside you, nuzzling his face to yours kindly. Your hand traveled up to his cheek slowly, placing it on the curve of his cheekbone, drawing circles with your thumb. He moved a little, so your thumb would end up on his lips and you smiled as you watched him bite on your fingertip lightly before he kissed it warmly.

“So… what is the plan for today?”

“Well,” he began in a cracked voice. “We’ll go back to Seoul. Your flying with us as a translator, same cars and all. But when we land, the two of us will leave through a different escape route. I have a car waiting for us and we will go around town a little. There is this area I want to show you that I discovered not too long ago.”

“Mmm, sightseeing it is. And after?”

“Hmm, we could do some shopping. There are a few things that are really needed. Eat somewhere, plus Jiminie later tonight, remember?”

“Ooh, that’ll be nice. I hope to talk him through the interview when he gets a little tipsy.”

“He’ll probably bring it up on his own when he gets drunk enough, believe me. But thank you for thinking about it. He really needs the support you give him.”

“It’s not just me. All of you are there for him in different ways.”

A soft knock came from the door and Taehyung flung himself out of the bed. You heard him ask who is it only to hear Sejin on the other side, doing his morning wake up call rounds. Tae opened the door and pulled something in, muttering thanks to the manager. A small cart appeared in the room pushed in by him, a few covered plates balancing on the moving furniture.

“I asked for some early breakfast so we wouldn’t get hungry on the plane. Eggs are okay, right?”

“Mmm, heavenly actually. Thank you!”

You wrapped the cover around your torso before you scooted to the end of the bed, crossing your legs right in front of the cart. Tae sat down next to you and flung off the plate covers, placing them behind him on the bed. It wasn’t just eggs, there was a bowl of cut-up fruit, cereal with a big jug of milk, two plates of fluffy scrambled eggs and a plate of sausages and bacon with a basket of bread to top it all off.

Drawing one of the plates with the eggs, you placed a couple of strips of bacon on the plate, grabbing a piece of bread and took it to your lap, chewing the wonderful mix in your mouth still a little sluggishly. Taehyung, on the other hand, seemed completely awake, his hands flying from plate to plate, like bees on a field of flowers. You chuckled as you watched him bite down on a well-cooked sausage, stuffed in some eggs and then proceeded to plunge in a piece of pear somehow in his mouth.

“How in the world does pear and eggs work together in the same bite Taehyung, seriously?” you giggled as he rolled his eyes in satisfaction, probably waiting for your stunned question.

“You don’t know until you tried it, you sleepy little fox. There is every chance that you would love it!”

“There is no chance, none! My eggs come with well-cooked bacon, always.”

“Conservative.”

“Well structured, thank you very much!” you knocked his elbow a little, only earning a wet, pear ridden bite on your attacking arm. Your mouth dropped in surprise and put your half-finished plate back on the cart, using your freed up posture to tickle his sides, coaxing a muffled howl from him. The minute he swallowed the bite he was struggling with he managed to pin you down, much faster than you care to admit, hovering his face above yours triumphantly.

“Someone has been working out with Kookie I see.”

“You bet! There are several benefits, as you can see. Like this one.” he drew closer, his nose nuzzling in before his bit down on your earlobe. You yelped out in frustration, his teeth sinking down harder than you thought he would. “Or last night too. That I’ve been planning to do that for so long, you can’t imagine.” His teeth disappeared and you felt him suck on the now sensitive area. You unconsciously let out a sigh, remembering last night as he worked his way to your lips.

“As much as I love this, we need to get going soon. Finish up breakfast, okay?” he murmured, his exhales cooling down your wet lips. You hummed in agreement and let him pull you back up. Munching down on the remaining food, the two of you finished off the plates and got busy dressing up. Tae already laid out a selected outfit, so he went to the bathroom to wash his teeth.

You squatted down by your suitcase, thinking about what did you have in there. Most of it was business casual as you only planned to visit Sydney and go back home to Budapest. Looking for a way to make it a little more loose and everyday, you pulled out a light colored pair of jeans, throwing it on the messy bed. A loose white shirt would’ve been nice, but you didn’t have any. The jacket from yesterday will do, but for a shirt, you were out of options that suited your mood.

“Hey Tae, do you have a plain white shirt with you?”

“Uum, I think I do. It has an LY tour logo on the back if that’s okay!”

“Can I borrow it?”

“Sure, it's packed somewhere on the left side of my bag!”

Closing your own suitcase, you stood up and walked to his bag, carefully opening it. Yamming your hand in on the left side, you scanned through its contents to finally find a white fabric and yanked it out quickly. You sat down on the edge of the bed, pulling up a caramel colored simple bra and a pair of black socks before you got up to put on the bra’s panties and the jeans. Tae walked out still in his boxers, hair styled into a smooth curtain above his eyebrows. He passed you, his hand touching your back for a second before he started to get dressed too. It was your turn in the bathroom, quickly brushing your teeth and combing through your hair. Deciding with a high ponytail, you pulled up your hair, firmly setting in an elastic at the top of your head. Thinking about putting on make-up, you grimaced, not wanting to do it. You looked kind of okay, no puffing or circles around your eyes, so you decided against it, leaving the mirror with only putting on some chapstick. You’ll wear sunglasses anyway.

You just put on his shirt when a second knocking came, this one much more rapid than Sejin’s. Tae looked back at you before he let Kookie in. The maknae blew past him to hug you a little before he let you know that they were going downstairs in a few minutes. The rest of the boys were standing outside and you could hear Sejin’s voice be the end of the hall, discussing something with Namjoon. With your shoes and jacket on, you grabbed your stuff and left the room, Tae following close behind you. The boys greeted good morning to you in their own way: Yoongi only nodded, his eyelids still close to each other, while Hobi practically exploded in giddiness when he saw you. There was something in his eyes that you couldn’t quite place, but he didn’t say anything strange in particular. Jimin was still really sleepy, he probably did a long VLive last night based on his slow facial expressions. The dancer rolled his suitcase next to you and let his head fall on your arm, softly breathing in and out. You automatically put your arm around him, letting him settle in more comfortably while you waited for Namjoon and Sejin to finish.

Tae watched you with Jimin with a low smile. He wondered whether you even thought about what you were doing, comforting his friend so naturally without missing a beat. Maybe you didn’t, because when you looked at him, there was a question in your eyes, not understanding why he was smiling at you. He just shrugged and took your hand into his.

You and the boys formed a half circle and Namjoon soon joined in, muttering good mornings to everyone. Sejin took his bags out of his room and collected all of the keycards from you.

“Y/n, we should go ahead. I’ll drop off the keycards and you should go to the cars. There is a crowd outside, so expect some noise. Boys, the staff is on their way to get your bags, I’ll be back soon, okay?”

Everyone nodded and you got in the elevator with Sejin. It was a quiet ride as the metal box sunk down. Sejin motioned outside, letting you choose a car on your own before he darted off to the reception. You put on your glasses and checked your things before you braced yourself, walking outside. A wave of shouting came at you, many individual voices blending together into one howl. There were two black vans stationed outside, security guards standing by. You saw Saem by the one in the back, so you selected that one, rolling your suitcase behind you.

“Good morning Miss!” he shot you a smile before he took your things, carefully putting them in the trunk.

“Hey, Saem. Slept well?”

He circled back to you and motioned to get into the car. You settled down in the last row of seats, closest to the door so you could talk with him as you waited.

“Yeah, it could’ve been longer though.”

“Mmm, yeah. But you’ll have some rest today, right?”

“Some, yes. I’ll have to go work out a little, plus do some grocery shopping. You know how it is.”

“Kinda. I would probably just order something in in the end, not having the strength to go out again.”

He laughed a little, nodding to your words. The noises around you grew into screams and Saem darted off to the entrance, seeing the boys emerge from the doors. Fans pushed on the cordon, trying to get a little closer, trying to take pictures and to gain a member’s attention for a fleeting second. Bangtan lined up, facing the right side of the crowd, smiling under their masks and hats, waving for a few seconds before they turned on their heels, facing the left side of the cheering fans. Sejin appeared by the doors and motioned for the boys to get to the car and he did a series of bows to the fans before jumping into the passenger seat of the van you were sitting in.

“Y/n, can you come a row closer?”

“Sure, what's up?”

You grabbed the seat in front of you, pulling yourself upwards to sit down right behind the man.

“Just an update on the interview with the BBC. Bang PD-nim asked me to keep you in the loop just in case.”

Jimin, Hobi, and Tae emerged from the back of the van at the door. The dancer asked to be in the row you were sitting in and you let him brush past you to sit by the window. Hobi sat down behind Jimin, while Tae settled down behind you, closing the door in one big swing.

“Mihee got the reporter to fly out tomorrow, so she’ll be here by Thursday evening. Boys, you should listen too.” His eyes searched for the three other men, earning their attention in the process. A driver jumped in behind the wheel, pulling out the car and following the van in front of you. “Ohseong will pick her up and help her settle in, do a tour at BigHit again. She will have a day to adjust and will do the interview Saturday after lunch. About the location: I thought about doing it in a more private and homey area, giving it an insider ambiance. So one option is the dorms’ living room. I wouldn’t let them go around, just that one space, maybe not even telling the fans that we are in the dorm. The other one is a well-situated room at BigHit with big windows and full of pictures of past achievements and such. What do you think?”

“Ah, I don’t know Sejin, I’m not a PR person. As a fan, I would probably not pay that much attention to the location, not this much. The dorms would be nice for the boys to some extent, having a safe space to do it in, but it might draw away the fans attention from the matter at hand. Ohmygod, this is where they live and all that.” The man nodded, listening closely to your words. Your van passed onto a highway looking road, lining up towards the airport.

“So just go with what Ohseong and Mihee see fit I guess. Do we have the questions?”

“No, not yet. It should be here today, but there is an 8-hour difference between London and Seoul, so it might just arrive in the morning.” He carefully avoided looking at Jimin, trying not to agitate the dancer with his words.

“Okay… do we know when she lands? How many people are coming with her?”

“Probably just the usual crew, so around 3-4 people plus her. She is bringing a translator from London, so I would guess there will be 6 people coming max.”

While you were talking with Sejin in the front, Taehyung laid back in his seat, paying attention only with his ears, closing his eyes and letting the car sway him comfortably.

“Does she know?” Hobi murmured in a hushed tone. Tae opened the eye closer to the man, a sly smile playing on his lips.

“No, not yet. I’m taking her there after we land. She did try to figure it out though, almost gave me a heart attack.”

“She does have a good intuition. I wouldn’t be surprised if she figures it out before you show it to her.”

“Ah, don’t do that, I’m worrying enough as it is!”

“Don’t worry, she will love it. And it is really nice, you doing this.”

“I never thought I’ll be the first. Like The First, you know.”

Hobi chuckled a little at his words, shaking his head in the process.

“It’s not like you’re doing it permanently. You’ll just be placing more of your time with her, balancing out your life. That is a good thing Taehyung, don’t stress about it. I bet Jin will be so agitated, in a good way, that you made that move first.”

Taehyung laughed at the image. Hobi was right, Jin will probably explode when he learns about what he is about to do. The eldest sometimes reached out to them and the members counted back the days until he would return. The bittersweet cycle would only continue, Jin coming back to their life before Yoongi would have to leave. The eldest rapper has been working extra hard in the past few months, trying to work ahead of time to give his brothers material to work with while he is away.

“Plus it is really about time to give you two some privacy. Your patience is thinning down every time you see her.” Hobi chuckled again, looking outside the passing row of buildings.

“My patience? What do you mean hyung?”

“Ah, don’t be like that. You know how I mean.”

“Hyung?”

Hobi turned to face him, his faint smile breaking into a wide grin, wiggling his eyebrows wildly at the vocalist. Tae’s face turned an interesting shade of red as he finally understood.

“Hyung!!!”

You turned around at the sound, curiously curving your eyebrow at the two men in the back. Jimin lightly laughed beside you with his eyes closed but didn’t say anything.

“Is everything alright back there?” Sejin eyed the boys. Jimin’s laughter turned a notch harder.

“Yes, everything is fine. Will we have individual questions like Jimin?” Hobi calmly turned the tide of the conversation. Sejin knitted his eyebrows a little.

“I’m not sure. But you’ll get them in advance, so there is nothing to be worried about.”

The van stopped and a wave of shouting came from outside.

“Y/n, you stay with me on the front.” You acknowledged Sejin’s words and opened the door. Saem was already there with the other bodyguards, forming a barrier between the fans and the cars. Sejin took off and you walked beside him, breaking up the crowd into two big sections. Screaming and pushing against the bodyguards, the sea of people got more and more scary the further you dived in. Entering the airport, the walls bounced back the sounds, compressing it against your ears. It took you by surprise to hear your own name sometimes, glancing up from the floor to the general direction where the voice came from only to drop your head back on again, flashes and hands obscuring your view. Finally, Sejin’s hands found the passageway’s door and pulled it open and you scurried in quickly.

The staff was bringing your things a little later, so you had your hands free and you nervously waited until everyone was safely inside the tight corridor. Once everyone was there, Sejin led you to a waiting room where you stayed until the plane was ready to load. Still a little early for some of the members, Yoongi fell asleep within minutes after sitting down, and Jimin nested himself on the chair beside you and Tae, using his hat as a pillow. Hobi put on his headphones and closed his eyes, head falling back on the wall as he let himself go. Joon got out the book you gave him and started reading, his eyebrows knitting in concentration. He sometimes looked up to ask you about a word he stumbled upon in the text, repeating the pronunciation after you.

Kookie and Tae silently started playing to pass the time, doing some guessing games and word plays. Sometimes laughter burst from them, stirring Jimin, but otherwise, it was quiet in the room. Saem sat by the door, scrolling through his phone. Following his lead, you checked your own social media after you sent a reassuring text to Drina. Soon you were checking all kinds of content on Insta, your finger scrolling by new trailers, announcements, castings, and promotions. You smiled as you saw Jason Momoa doing several Insta stories in Budapest, praising the architecture endlessly. A new notification dropped from Youtube, letting you know that ReactToTheK uploaded a new video. Excitement rushed through you. You wanted to show the boys their videos but always forgot in the right moment to bring it up. Looking up, you saw that they didn’t change much, the only difference that somehow Kookie ended up on the floor, gasping for air and Taehyung was close to falling off from his chair, shoulders shaking of silent laughter. Shooting a smile at their antics, you turned to look at Jimin, who had his eyes open, watching his younger brothers.

“Hey Jiminie, can I show you something?” His sleepy eyes shot up to you, processing your words slowly before he got up and pulled his chair right next to yours.

“Hmpf, what is it?”

“Have you ever seen a reaction video?”

“Reaction to what?”

“Anything I guess. Basically, people sit down and watch or listen to something, record themselves and upload it. Like when you watch your new music video and make a Bomb out of it.”

“Mhmm, so?”

“So, there is this group of people, who are training to become professional classical musicians. They made a Youtube channel of watching or listening to K-Pop and it’s really interesting most of the time. They see things differently, paying attention to musical details that normal people would never notice.”

“Okay… and did they ever watch us?”

“Yeah, there are a lot of videos, but what I wanted to show you was the one for Lie. Do you want to see it?”

“They did Lie? Really? Sure, but like… isn’t it in English?”

“I think they made a Korean subtitle for it because the fans wanted you to see it really bad. But I can check it if you want!”

His full lips formed a slightly pressed ‘O’ as he listened to you. His chocolate colored irises grew wider, turning his whole body towards your phone.

“They made a Korean subtitle for me? So I would understand?”

“Of course they did. Your fans love you Jiminie.”

“Please show me!”

You smiled as you searched for the channel on Youtube, and soon pulled up the right list of videos. Lie was the second from the top, several more videos trailing under it.

“Ah, what is that picture!” Jimin sighed when he saw the small icon for the video. Shrugging to his words you pressed play and added the subtitle swiftly.

The familiar opening came and you watched as the dancer took the phone from you, reading the lines rapidly, sometimes pausing it to have more time. Listening to the channel runner’s introduction he nodded, agreeing with the summary. The song started and his breathing seemed to stop as he paid attention. Not even 90 seconds in, but you were already giggling at one of the reactor’s actions, but he didn’t seem to notice. The first chorus dropped, and the people in the video freaked out, shocked by the song’s progression and his voice. He paused the video, looking up at you.

“I don’t understand, do they like it? It seems like they do, but they are so shocked like, why?”

“They like it a lot and they say exactly why! It’s what you chose to do with the song, they like what you’ve made!”

A little smile appeared on his features and he shyly dropped his gaze before he turned back to the phone and pushed play again. He watched as the people in the video listened to his song, his smile twitching at points and widening at others. When Lie finished, he almost paused the video again before he realized there is more left. His finger hovered above the screen as a pair gushed on about the song, praising and loving it, making his finger tremble more before he placed it under his nose, hiding his lower face behind it. A tight giggle slipped through his fingers when a different pair started arguing about the lyrics and the pacing, his head rolling to his shoulder.

“This is one of my favorite parts!” You chuckled as the man in a beanie went on.

“And you would say, you would say, you would say, well no, no one is doing that on purpose, of course not! But you have to remember. This is BTS. And BTS expressively does that on purpose, because they are melodramatic AF. And that’s where they’re great.”

“Well played BTS, well played."

“Mhmm, yes, BTS - 1, James - 0.”

Several other people went on, picking out different things to talk about. A girl praised his voice, while another went on about how amazing the choices were, and a different guy fleshed out his opinion on how he thought the song will be a sappy piece but ended up being slapped by the thickest beat ever. Jimin swiped his hand from his lips to his eyes, bending over in his shyness before he realized that this way he doesn’t understand, so he rewinded the video and pulled himself together again.

“It was like, you know, whenever that really hot guy from work, you know, takes his shirt off in the cubicle and it’s just like…”

“Does this happen frequently?”

“All the time. And it’s just like, super steamy, and you’re just like, fudge, I’m not even gay, but I would totally bear children for that man. You know, and I can’t even bear children! Like that’s how I felt about this song! I was like, wow, I just wanted it to take me right now.”

A shrill laugh left his lips before he realized how loud he was, planting his hand on his mouth, still giggling wildly. A few of the members looked up at him, curiosity playing on their faces. Namjoon glanced back to his book within a few seconds, dismissing the idea of starting up a conversation, but Tae and Kookie got up and stepped behind you and the dancer, their eyes landing on the phone Jimin was holding. You giggled as the guy on the screen gushed some more and your shoulders violently shook when you noticed the growing confusion behind you. The video ended and Jimin met your eyes, his own tearing up a little in the strain of giggling.

“Can you show me more, this was really good!”

“Uum, wait for a second, which one…”

“Which one is your favorite?”

“Oh God, I don’t know! Like I love reaction’s to Blood Sweat and Tears because everyone, whoever reacted in the history of Youtube, and I literally mean everyone loses their shit over that video, but there are so many. These guys went over the whole Wings album and many music videos. The showrunner does these album listenings too, which is kind of similar to what Joon does when you release a new album on VLive.”

“What was their first. Like first ever BTS?”

“Noona, what is going on?”

“Ah, you’ll see in a sec, we are watching reaction videos!” you looked back on the pair standing behind you, flashing a smile to their confused expressions. “So the first that they saw was Dope, I think, like me, and maybe Fire? So they did two on the first go. So which one?”

Jimin scrolled down on the recommendations, looking for the next video.

“Here we go!” and pushed the icon for BS&T video. You snickered a little and scooted to the side, so the boys behind you could see the screen too. Jimin held the phone up a little, already smiling.

The opening started and the introduction part was on when Kookie leaned forward. Taehyung bent over, his head finding it’s way to your neck, settling down on his chin on your shoulder. A few funny comments already flew by, and you giggled out only to be hushed down by the maknae. Shutting your mouth, your lips quivered in struggle. The song finally started and the people on screen concentrated on the whole experience of it. A guy stated how Jimin was a pretty, pretty man and you lost it again, biting down on your fingers not to laugh loudly. The chorus dropped and the reactors freaked out again.

“Oh those legs!”

“Oh that was such a pretty profile!”

“My heart!”

“Beyonce can’t top that!”

You tried to stay still so Taehyung wouldn't have to move, fighting your laughter. Jimin freely bent over, tapping his feet against the floor in amusement. Glancing up, you saw Kook’s and Tae’s mouths agape, their shock still capturing them as the comments flew by in the video about them. The bunny sucked in a sharp breath when the screen showed him levitating upwards in the music video as a reactor gushed about his looks again. Then the song cut and the story of Namjoon’s narrating started and you could hear them breathe out again above you.

Jin strolled to the angel statue in the video and the people on the screen were visibly growing more and more shocked. As his face progressed closer and closer to the angel’s lips, the reactors started to exclaim, voicing their inevitable shock, coaxing more giggling from you. The song restarted and Jimin laughed out with the channel runner, wiping away his tears with his free hand.

“Okay, so that… that is how everyone. Everyone! On the whole planet reacted to this MV, like God! This is so entertaining!” you commented as the song ended.

“So you’re watching people watching us?” Kookie summarized in disbelief.

“Nooo, keep listening!” Jimin smacked his arm.

The viewers went on giving their opinions, goofing off with what they were saying. Jimin was already scrolling through the recommendations again as the video went on, searching for his next choice.

“Y/n, which one? There are so many…”

“There” you pointed to an icon and he pressed it. The two above you still didn’t quite understand what was going on with you two. The very first reaction video on the channel for BTS started playing and Dope came on. A viewer seized Kookie up and commented on how pretty he is and Jimin burst again, stuffing his hand in his mouth to suppress his snickers. The maknae stood above him, stunned by the words. Then the same viewer commented in Jimin being pretty and Kook let out a faint giggle. The choreography started and the bunch of people reacting got positively shell-shocked. Tae grinned so hard his eyes disappeared before he pressed a quick kiss on your temple. The showrunner asked them whether they have chosen a favorite member yet, and letters appeared on the screen above the girls head that they like Taehyung best, and you giggled out “Of course!” while Kookie and Jimin protested in sync. Several reactors commented on Namjoons good looks and the boys whopped in surprise and finally, the leader put down his book and strolled over to you, glancing from your other shoulder that was not occupied by Tae.

“Pretty?”

You all erupted in laughter as Joon’s eyebrows lifted higher and higher towards his hairline as he listened to the comments. One person talked about Kook when the showrunner told them that he was 19 at the time, shocking the person to the core, which made Kookie yelp and Joon snort in a chuckle.

“Yes officer, you can arrest me!”

“That falsetto, holy shit!”

“That was cool and disorienting!”

The song soon ended, and the commenters went into Fire immediately. The music dropped and the reactors and the boys' evident amazement satisfied you to the end of the world. You got up from the seat, giving it over to Namjoon.

“No no no, you should stay there… “

“Nah, sit down, I saw this already. Sit and just watch!”

You got up and circled behind Tae, placing your arm around his waist, but he took it off and pulled you in front of him, caging you in between his arms. Keeping your eyes more on the boys, you tried to memorize their reactions, how they enjoyed the praises and musical reinforcements. They all leaned in, which looked unconscious to you, their expressions open with curiosity and mirth.

“Noona, recommend another one!”

The small group of you went on, watching a few more videos as time passed. Soon requests followed the other, coordinating Jimin’s finger across the screen, selecting the next video and the boys watched closely, giving off the rightly timed “ah”-s and “oh”-s, while you monitored them, appreciating their responses. After a few more minutes Hobi opened his eyes and curiosity got the better of him as he yanked off his headphones, got up and joined you, swinging his arm around Kookie, his eyes landing on the small phone. His reactions got the loudest soon, clapping his hands and dancing around merrily, his happiness enveloping everyone.

His loudness didn’t escape Yoongi either, who groaned from where he was laying down, letting all of you know how disruptive you were to his sleep. Sejin opened the door, making Saem jump in his seat.

“We can board the plane now, let's get going!”

Yoongi groaned again, moving his small body to sit upwards. Jimin gave you back your phone, rewarding you for the experience with a wide, eye-shutting grin. You all scrambled to your feet and left the room after the manager. He led the way through several adjacent corridors until you reached an empty leg of the airport. As far as you could tell, there were three gates lined up next to each other, all deserted except for the one closest to you. A delicate looking man was standing behind the counter and he looked up to you expectedly.

Sejin went ahead and they exchanged a few words, looking through documents Sejin had with him before the manager motioned for you to walk through the gate and board the plane. It was a much smaller construction than the one you used to travel from Syndey. Like that one, this was white on the inside, but that was all as far as similarities went. The seats were much bigger and comfier, taking up more space. Yoongi selected the one furthest from the door by a window, immediately dropping down into it and pulling down the window’s shutter.

Namjoon made his way next to him, purposely selecting the quietest member as his companion so he could continue reading in peace. Kookie and Hobi tangled in a conversation about some choreography they were in the process of learning, choosing their seats next to each other by the entrance, their limbs moving half-heartedly as they talked about the moves.

Tae had his eye on two sets of seats facing each other, pulling you and Jimin there. Dropping down by the window seat, he settled in, pulling you to sit next to him and his brother in the chair in front of him. The plane vibrated as the engines turned on, and a flight attendant made his rows between the seats, giving out blankets, wet towels and refreshments. Sejin settled down by a window seat near the door, his fingers moving fast on his phone.

You taxied to the runway and you straightened your spine before the plane sped up to take-off, the pressure slamming you back in the seat. The air was warm around you, the blanket given to you mellow on your legs. Then with a rattling shake, you were in the air, nose pulled up to the sky, the concrete growing minuscule behind you. Taehyung had his eyes closed, humming to himself.

Not realizing how close you were to sleeping off, your head nodded a few times before you blacked out. Tae placed his pillow between your head and shoulder and smiled in surprise when he saw Jimin drift off too, leaving him alone. He took out his phone from the pocket of his pants, pulling up a game and passed the time with his fingers dancing on the screen.

His thought traveled back to the conversation earlier with Hobi, passing through the details he has already prepared for you. It was sort of scary, not knowing how the whole plan will pan out. How will you react? Will you accept it and start the process or will you drag your feet? It would be understandable, but he didn’t want to think about what would happen if you didn’t like it. It would be a big change, probably something you never would attempt on your own, without having him in your life.

Then again, what if you agree with it? His life will have to change, the rhythm of his schedule and everyday norms. He did talk it through with Bang PD and Sejin, looking for the best possible options and they helped him gladly, congratulating him on the idea. The whole thing will have its sacrifices and merits, and he felt kind of uncomfortable to be so close to having all these things, not being able to share them with his brothers. It was one of those things, that nobody really understood around him. His parents knew about it, but their situation was so different from his. He recalled his mother’s reaction when he told them, that triumphant grin she gifted him. She offered to help, pulling out a pen and paper to list things down, things to consider and buy.

The list was inside his bag somewhere in the belly of the plane, rattling with his clothes and carefully managed accessories. He has been holding onto it for weeks now, folding and unfolding it, rereading it, making the paper become more yellow and soft by the frequent touches. Dropping the phone in his lap, he let his head fall back on the plane seat, looking out on the scenery below him.

He doesn’t have to worry, it made no sense. You will be happy and understanding. You were the reason to do it in the first place and you’ll know it without words. He was sure of it. But there were these small, always returning little doubts in him, the fear of the unknown that kept tugging at him when he wasn’t focused enough.

“What’s with the long face Taehyungie?”

Namjoon quietly dropped down into the seat next to Jimin, whispering. The leader had a faint smile playing on him, his expression worry-free.

“Nothing hyung, I’m fine”

“You’re worrying about Y/n, right?”

Tae’s eyes shot from the window to his leader’s face, betraying his earlier words.

“You had those small little creases between your eyebrows, it was an easy guess.”

“What do you think she’ll say?”

“I think she has been thinking about it for a while. I wouldn’t know how to bring it up if I were her, that’s for sure. This is something that you have to do, in my opinion.”

“I know, and I’m glad I’m doing it. It just seems like such a big jump. And it won’t be easy on her, and I know that.”

“Why do you think that? That it will be hard on her?”

“It would be hard on anyone! It’s such a big change, and I can’t exactly ask her to…”

“Taehyung, you’re seeing things into this that aren’t really there. She would probably make fun of you if she heard you talking like this.”

“But… I couldn’t do it for her. It’s not fair to assume that she could.”

“Her life is different from yours. Actually from anyone’s, and that is the beauty of it. How she can accommodate your relationship, the approach she takes on things, she almost makes the whole thing look easy. And maybe it is to some extent. I mean, Sejin just dropped her a call to ask for help and she was here, with us, in a few hours. And I think she likes it like this.”

“I wouldn’t.”

“Well, you are you and she is herself. So I don’t think you can figure out how she’ll take it. You’re too much in your own head.”

“And you are not?”

“I’m an outsider in this, I can be more objective than you. Trust me, she’ll like it. ”

Tae groaned, making his brother chuckle lightly. The plane’s nose started to dive in, signaling that they will be landing shortly. Namjoon shot him a final dimpled smile and got back to his seat. Soon the pilot announced that they’ll be on the ground within minutes and instructed them to buckle in. Everyone who was sleeping before stirred in their seats, and you moved a little, a sigh making your hair fly away from your face. Taehyung watched in amusement how you did your usual stretches, curving your arms and legs with happy sounds, reminding him of a young feline sunbathing, enjoying her nap to the fullest.

The wheels touched the ground, making the plane tremble violently, shaking everyone from awake to alert. Jimin knotted his eyebrows in dissatisfaction, wishing he was already back in his room in peace. A few minutes of taxiing followed before the plane halted by the right gate. Getting up to your feet, you stretched one last time and the front door opened, Sejin muttered to get off in a cracked voice. You lined up, you and Tae trailing behind the others. Reaching the inside of the airport, the staff joined up with you, giving everyone their luggage back. Taehyung pulled Sejin away, and you curiously eyed them before Jimin tried to distract you with a light conversation about your drinking session later that day.

“Okay, boys, let's get going. We’ll leave on the usual route, hold onto your things tightly. There is a crowd outside, so put on your masks and hats. Taehyung, Saem, will guide you outside, I believe you know which car to take, right?” The vocalist nodded. “Alright, let's get going people! See you two later!” The manager waved towards you, and everyone walked away from you, shooting a few smiles and waves in your direction.

“Miss, this way.” Saem walked into your vision, motioning towards a different door and Tae quickly darted off after him. You ended up on the far other side of the airport after walking for several minutes in a tight passageway, close to the underground parking lot. Saem walked you to an average looking black car with tinted glasses and a huge trunk. The already numerous questions buzzed in your head, doubling in number.

“Saem, can we drop you off somewhere?” you heard Tae ask him.

“No, I actually have a ride home, but thank you! Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“No, I think we’re good to go. See you later and take care, okay?” The two men shook hands and Saem shot you a polite smile, jogging towards the elevator you just got out from.

“Tae, what is going on?” you asked as you got in the passenger seat. “Since when do you drive yourself anywhere?”

“Hey, I’m a pretty good driver, thank you very much!”

“Yeah, but like… you don’t go anywhere on your own as far as I know.”

“Well, we are now. I told you, we are going for a little sightseeing. And about that, can you please say what you think about the places I’ll take you to today?”

He turned on the engine and carefully pulled out the vehicle from its spot.

“What, like narrate it, or what do you mean?”

Sunlight danced across the glass as you emerged up from the parking lot onto the street.

“Kind of, yes.”

You wanted to ask him a million questions, but he probably wouldn’t want to answer them, verbally or non-verbally. Laying back in your seat, you watched his profile as he maneuvered the car away from Icheon to a more suburb area for long minutes. The city passed by and the area you were reaching was much different than the view you recognized as Seoul. The streets filled with high, curtain-like walls, which you figured to be the traditional fencing for the houses behind them. Smaller convenient stores and shops decorated the tight fitting streets and alleyways you flew by.

“I didn’t know there are places like this in Seoul. This place looks like a shounen anime location.”

“Karakura Town, right?” he grinned a little.

“Yeah, kinda. But I don’t think many highschoolers run around with orange hair here.”

“No, not really. I can dye my hair orange though.”

“Mmm, you already did orange, way back after debut.”

“Oh, that’s right. I kinda liked it.”

“That wasn’t really enthusiastic.” you smiled at him.

“That was a… difficult time, I didn’t really pay attention to things like hair color.”

You just hummed as he remembered his past. There were a couple of times when he told you about the early days when training overshadowed everything in his life when it was difficult to afford enough food for everyone and he barely saw his loved ones. He shook his head a little, pulling himself back to the present.

“So what other thing comes to mind besides Bleach?”

“Ah, I don’t know. I’m not sure what is going on and where are we going. I know I shouldn’t ask questions and that probably everyone knows by now except for me. Which is kind of irritating, I don’t usually have these situations.” He chuckled a little, sparing you a wicked look before turning back to face the road.

“So, you don’t have any guesses?”

“Psh, you don’t let me ask anything, but then I have to guess. Kim Taehyung, you cannot have it both ways!”

“I can if you let me. I mean, you probably have ideas anyway, why not share? Sharing is caring you know.”

“Argh, don’t smile at me like that.” He did anyway. “God, okay… So you asked for a free day from Sejin when you knew I’m staying for a few days, right?”

“Well no, I asked when you showed up at the concert. Before we did Boyz with Fun I think.”

“Oh, so everyone knows!”

“Yeah, sorry.” he drummed his fingers on the wheel, looking kind of nervous suddenly.

“Hmm… But this thing would still be here if I couldn’t come to Hong Kong, right?” He continued to glue his eyes ahead of him, not answering you. “Right, no questions. Uum… and you said that we will have to buy stuff. I don’t know, we’re planning Jin’s return party? But why the secrecy? Does Drina know?”

“Like you said, no questions!”

You laughed out loud, rolling your eyes. He slowed down and parallel parked at...well, at nowhere interesting. It was the same long wall on both sides, a store behind you on the corner and an upward hill ahead of you on the road. No other cars, no people around, no movement whatsoever, just a few front doors and closed garages.

“So… we arrived?”

“Mhmm.”

He gave you one last look before he unbuckled himself and jumped out of the driver's seat. You stayed inside, glancing upwards from the window.

Where the hell are we?

He yanked your door open, making you jump, which made him giggle a little. Offering his hand, he helped you out, slammed the door shut and locked the car.

“Remember, keep talking.”

“Oookay, so we’re walking down the road? Is it the store on the corner?”

“I don’t know, is it?”

“Ooh, a verbal answer to a question!”

But he didn’t go inside, walking past the store and rounding the corner without sparing it a look. The car disappeared behind you and you entered a same looking street. High walls surrounded you, the street slanting downwards in a gentle curve. The concrete smoothed out your steps, occasionally scrunching a pebble under the soles of your shoes. A huge tree curved above the high fence, a light flowery scent blowing from its direction. You kept on talking about the street when Tae turned on the next corner, still keeping to the left. On the third corner, he chose left again, making you think that you are going around the block. Soon you were walking towards the car again, escalating your confusion.

Why walk around? There is nothing here!

Taehyung stopped by the doorframe in the wall and eyed you for a few seconds before he got a set of keys out of his pocket. Your eyebrow shot up, watching him as he proceeded to turn to the door and opened it.

“I don’t hear you talking Y/n.”

He opened the door for you, motioning for you to go inside. You tilted your head, furrowing your eyebrows together. His face was so serious, filled with so many emotions and not at the same time. Like he tried to pull off his blank face, but somehow couldn’t do it. You walked in and saw a row of steps ahead framed by a tall bamboo forest on both sides. Their shadow cast greenish light and a cool breeze swept through before Tae closed the door behind himself. You climbed the steps slowly and saw the forest thin down the further you went, opening up to a rockery garden filled with colorful cactuses and plants by the aisle of steps, creeping up the hill and stop below a house with a wide porch. The light beige colored walls held up dark tiles on the roof, curving out a one-story building with huge windows on the lower floor. The flowery scented tree you saw on the street grew in the far right corner behind the house, casting a long shadow over the bigger part of the building. The bamboo lined up around the edge of the property, creating the illusion of standing in the middle of the forest, not a city filled with millions of people living in it. It was minutes before you spotted a glass-enclosed small little structure, resembling a greenhouse with a set of elegant black chairs and a table inside by the left side of the house, close to a glass sliding door. A thick line of pine bark danced around the edge of the house, the rest of the surface covered by a lush blanket of leafy grass.

“This is a house.”

“How observant of you.” he chuckled lowly behind you. “Go inside and keep commenting!”

Hesitantly looking at him, you took the last steps to the front door, reaching the porch slowly. He walked by you confidently, messing a little with the keys before he opened the front door and motioned for you again to get in.

“Should I take off my shoes or…”

“Nah, keep them on for now.”

Inside, you could see a huge living room to your right and a long counter reaching out from the wall in front of you, probably framing an American style kitchen. On your left, you saw two doors on the far left wall and another door on the wall in front of you. Right ahead stretched a set of stairs, probably leading up to the second floor. Taehyung gently put his hands on your hips, pushing you inside. You went to the two closed doors, opening the one on the left.

The room behind it was really sunny with big windows stretching from floor to ceiling, facing the rockery garden and the bamboo framed steps outside, but there was no furniture inside. The walls were an off-white color and the floor was identical to the one outside, dark chocolate colored hardwood. The door on the right showed off a similar room, except this one didn’t have as much glass inside, giving a more shadowed, homier feel.

The third door opened up to a small bathroom, a shower in the back and an elegant cream-colored counter with a sink set. This one lacked moveable furniture as well, missing the necessary accessories any bathroom would have.

Taehyung just stood by the entrance door as you discovered the space he already roamed countless times. He watched as you passed by him, walking towards the kitchen, pulling your hand on the counter as you walked by it. He walked to the counter, placing his elbows on it and kept his eyes on you as you seized up the white colored kitchen furniture with black handles, the built-in microwave and two sets of ovens, the double-doored fridge and the dishwasher under the counter. You found all of it empty, the electronic stuff not even plugged in. And then you stopped, facing the huge space that should be a living room, but stood empty, lacking all furniture.

He chuckled when you passed him, now without questions and run upstairs to discover the second floor, the master bathroom, the walk-in closet, the other room he intended to become a study of sorts, another guest room, and the last door. He found you upstairs by the last door. You didn’t open it yet, your hand on the doorknob, but you waited for him to come upstairs before going inside. He noticed how big your eyes grew, your chest rising and falling in deep breaths. There was a faint laugh trapped in your throat as if you didn’t know whether you could let it out or not.

“This is our bedroom, right?”

Standing dumb-struck by the stairs, the only thing he could do was nod wordlessly, as you cried out triumphantly, yanking the door open to find the only furniture he dared to buy without you, a bare queen-sized bed with a delicate black wrought iron bedpost. You ran inside and sat down on the edge of the springy mattress, smiling widely as your legs danced in the air.

“How did you know?”

“There is no other reason to come to an empty house. I can’t think of anything else. Tell me your side!”

“My side?”

“Mhmm, tell me your side of the story!”

“I ah… I guess I didn’t think this far?” he walked in and sat down next to you, making you bounce a little on the mattress. “I just thought how far away we are all the time, and that it would make sense to have a place together, but I can’t really move anywhere besides somewhere in Seoul, so I… I bought this place. And I totally get it if you don’t like it, or don’t want to move to the other side of the world, I mean I didn’t even ask you whether you wanted to or not and… “

“Tae, stop. You think I’m mad? Do I look mad?”

“No, but…”

“Then what do I look like? Choose an emotion Taehyung.”

“I… Happy, I hope?”

You pushed him to lay back on the bed, climbing up to hover above him. You shook your head, laughing how thick he can be sometimes.

“Yes, I’m happy you dummy. What were you thinking? That I would storm out of a brand new house, screaming on top of my lungs about how you had the audacity to buy a place for us to live together?”

“If you say it like that…” he chuckled a little, pulling your falling down hair to one side gently.

“Kim Taehyung, you are such an idiot sometimes.” you smiled down on him warmly.

“So I’ve been told.”

“I bet your brothers told you off too.”

“Yeah, a few times. Joon about an hour ago. Hobi on the way to the airport. Jimin and Yoongi in the elevator last night. The list goes on and on.”

“So really everyone, huh?”

“Yeah, Bang PD and Sejin first though. I wanted to know whether it was even possible in the first place. I’ll still have to stay at the dorms sometimes and do the usual schedules, but… yeah, I’ll be living here mostly when you are here.”

“Who else? Does Drina know? Jin?”

“Drina does, she helped me pick out this bed, plus she checked what kind of mattress you have at your place, so this one would be similar.”

“How did she…”

“Remember that time she asked to stay at your place because she had a bug problem?”

“Gah, you two!” You rolled to his side, grabbing a chunk of your hair with your hand, chuckling. He pulled himself up a bit, placing his elbow under his torso.

“So yeah, Drina knew, Bangtan too. Jin, however, is a different story.”

“He doesn’t? Oh, he will freak out so bad. A dongsaeng moving out first before him. I bet he will demand an extended apology. I should bake something to calm him down.”

“Yeah, that is another reason for this place. You always talk about baking and cooking and I had enough of it. From now on, you make that stuff for me! No more pictures showing off what you made that I can’t try!”

“It was that frustrating, huh? How do you know whether you’ll like it or not? It is nothing like Korean food, I can assure you.”

“Well, I happen to have a thing for things that are not Korean, I don’t know if you've noticed.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Yeah, I thought so.”

He placed a pair of fingers above your chin, raising your face to meet his. His lips reached yours and you could feel him melt away, a rigidness leaving him with every passing second. You pulled him into a hug, closing your hands on his back, drawing circles into his tightly knotted muscles. He buried his face in your hair, deeply inhaling your scent.

“Are you really happy?”

“I am. I would be happy anywhere with you. And thank you. For everything.”

His warm breath tickled by your neck, making small strands of hair dance on your skin. His hold tightened for a second, squeezing the air inside you, and you laughed out, releasing the pent up emotions you were holding since you flew up the stairs.

“Now I get it why we need to go shopping. There are so many things we need to buy, oh God, it’s going to take forever! Wait, is Jimin drinking with us here? Or the dorms?”

“I guess it’s up to you. And how many things we can get today.”

“Right… we have the whole day, right?”

“Mhmm. Nobody will call us, I’ve made sure of that.”

“Okay… okay. Then we need to get going! Is there like a… I don’t know… do you have IKEA in Korea?”

“That Swedish store, right? I think so. I need to get that list from my bag first, give me a second…”

“What list?”

“My mom made a list of things to buy for a new house. Plus we will have to go around the neighborhood, giving out gifts.”

“Your mom? Even your parents knew? And what gifts?”

“It’s a Korean thing, I’ll tell you in the car. Of course my mom knew! I needed help getting here, do you have any idea how long have I been thinking about this?”

“Ah, you are full of surprises today, aren’t you?”

“And more to follow, I have no idea about half of the things that are on that list. Like, why would we need a full set of knives instead of having a small and a medium one?”

“Different things need different knives Taehyung. You can’t chop up tomatoes with a steak knife!”

“But why not? Is there like a police, who would barge in if I would?”

“Every whine Kim Seokjin ever produced start to make sense right now.”

You kept on teasing him about his lack of knowledge about kitchen appliances, flying down the stairs and closing the door. He kept protesting about your comments as you walked down the bamboo framed steps as you chuckled at his exasperation. The front door behind you closed as you burst out laughing as he yanked out the list from his bag in the car’s trunks, reading out things vividly outraged by your antics. Soon he revved up the car and sped up towards the yellow and blue colored store, where you hoped to tease him to the end of the world.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16

Laughing enveloped the car as you left the second furniture store for the day. It was past noon, but you have settled a lot of things already: a huge couch for the living room, that could be turned into a bed. A tall set of shelves to go with the couch. Several rugs for almost all of the rooms and spaces. Turns out, Taehyung didn’t want to go crazy with colors and textures, and it soon dawned on you that when it comes to home decor, he is comfortable with your choices as long as he can put up a few paintings and art pieces. Which you agreed to, to a certain extent.

“Just please don’t buy anything that could be scary!”

“Art is not scary, little fox. Why would you say that?”

“Look, all I’m saying is that if I’m going downstairs in the middle of the night, I don’t want to see a screaming painted face or something like that, because you’ll have to sing me to sleep the next solid hour.”

“You know, it’s weird how you can watch horror flicks with Kook-ah, but a painting can scare you. But I won’t buy screaming faces, don’t worry.”

“Those movies are movies, they are not there with me in real life. And I have my moments when they scare me senseless anyway. Gah, when that fluff jumped me wearing that zipped up black hoodie… I thought I was going to beat him senseless then and there!”

“Well, he is your little brother, you should’ve taught him better!”

“Jeon Jungkook was under your care years before he met me!” you gasped, acting irritated. He just chuckled at your antics, his hands on the wheels.

“Okay, so no scary art. Does that me we can veto the others choice?”

“I think so, sure. We have our own work-study rooms, that could be off limits for the other?”

“Yeah, that sounds good. So… we’re done with curtains, rugs. The furniture for the living room is coming in…” Tae shook his wrist a little so he could see his watch. “... in 3 hours. What do you think we should do next?”

“Hmm… we should pack away the stuff that we have with us.” you motioned to the trunk, filled with several kitchen appliances. Tae chose a sleek black set of plates, while you grabbed cutlery. A few boxes contained glasses for water, whiskey, and champagne. Once Taehyung saw how many kinds of mugs there are, his enthusiasm shot to the sky, going from small cute ones to huge mugs with funny phrases on them. So you got a couple of those rattling in the back too.

But his enthusiasm was nothing compared to your frenzy when it came to cooking appliances. A carefully selected knife set, three sizes of chopping blocks, sets of pots, mixing bowls, saucepans, skillets and a blender with several different heads laid behind you, and you couldn’t wait to test them out.

Taehyung marveled as you ran from one point of the kitchen area to the other in the store. How you knew what was what and what to use it for was beyond him. Your face lights up with so much giddiness and your laugh was so contagious he couldn’t suppress his own chuckles. Due to how early it was on a weekday, almost no one was there with you, making the place your personal playground. It was astounding to him how organized and well-thought-out was your thinking process when it came to filling up that house to make it a home. That house that he has been thinking about for weeks now, loving the idea of you there, but dreading how you’ll react. But in the end, everyone was right, and you were truly happy. And there you were with him, buying things for your home together, flying from kitchen things to curtains, selecting out pillows, blankets, and towels, making big decisions like couches and sofas.

When you reached the cashier, you flipped out your credit card without hesitation. He didn’t want to let you, of course not. But you made him understand that he doesn’t have to pay for everything. You’ll take the furniture and he can do the small things. In the end, both will raise a hefty amount of money, but it was all okay because all of these things were an investment. An investment for your life together, and you wanted to take part in paying for it as much as he wanted to.

“So… we did two stores, have a lot of stuff here in the car and everything else is coming in a few hours. What’s next?” Tae summarized.

“Hmm… well, we will have to do a round in an electronic store at some point. TV’s, speakers, washing machine… There is a lot left. Plus, we need to do groceries too. If there is enough time, I can whip some sort of dinner together before Jimin gets there.”

“Okay, then how about we do a quick trip to get smaller gadgets. No washing machine, but hairdryers and stuff like that. Speakers are installed in the walls, so I don’t think we need ordinary speakers. Maybe for my study, but that will be a different story. I was planning to ask Yoongi to help out with that… “

“There are speakers in the walls?’

“Mhmm, I wanted it to be musical. A house filled with music and melodies. That’s what I told the guy who found the house. It’s a Bluetooth system, but there are a few chords coming out of the walls, like in the kitchen and the master bathroom. I’ll show you when we get back.”

“Ah, I didn’t notice them. That is a wonderful idea Tae.” He glanced at you and smiled, seeing how soft your features became. “What else did you ask for?”

“To be as private as possible. Hence the high walls around it and the bamboo. God, I love that bamboo curtain around the house. I wanted to have big windows, making it really sunny. Umm, what else… Oh, the shutters. There are shutters on every window, and you can control it remotely, so if we get in late or have jetlag, we can just make the whole house dark as night. I think that’s pretty much it. I hoped it would be within 30 minutes to BigHit, which it is. The tree in the back is nice too.”

“Mmm, it is.”

“Is there anything it’s missing?”

“No, I don’t think so. Not that I can think of… I mean I saw a few air-cons, that would’ve been something important for me. I like the built-in lights, but maybe I would put in a bigger chandelier above the staircase. Something long, warm, maybe sparkling. Like a jewel for the house, a centerpiece.”

“I can get on board with that. With reflections on the wall.”

“Yeah, an elegant disco ball!”

“An elegant disco ball.” He laughed out. “So, we’re getting hairdryers. Then?”

“Then groceries. I have a whole kitchen to fill. Do you think you can go to a bigger store?”

“And not be recognized? Yeah, we can try. I’ll just keep the hat and the mask on, like in the furniture store. Plus, that little shop you saw, on the corner.”

“Yeah?”

“That is actually a specialty store, for European and American stuff. So if you get homesick, or miss something from the fridge, I hope you’ll find it there.”

“Ah… Taehyung?”

“Hmm?”

“Stop the car!”

“Why, is something wrong?”

“Just do it!”

His brows knitted in worry but did as he was told. The car stopped on a deserted main street and you jumped out of the passenger seat to fly to his side. You heard him mutter your name in question, but you didn’t say anything. Pulling the door open and giggling at his confused face, you grabbed his hand and got him to get out. You enveloped him in a hug, burying your face in his shoulder, still lightly chuckling. His hand automatically touched your back and began to stroke it as your breathing became more labored.

He thought about so much.

So many details.

Details to make you feel comfortable.

Comfortable to live with him.

Here in Seoul.

He didn’t ask anything as you tears began to spill. It wasn’t hard. It wasn’t sad. Not the kind of crying that has you gasping for air and flex your whole body. You remained relaxed, protected by his arms, his hands holding you peacefully. It was just...too much. Too many emotions at once. An onslaught of overflowing happiness that you couldn’t contain anymore. Because it was so right, there weren’t words to describe it. Thoughtful and kind, honest and welcoming, but more. Just for you. So you could be here, with him, even if he had to stay at work. Even when he had no chance to have a good night’s sleep. Even when he had to leave, to fly far away.

That store was the last straw, the last drop in the glass to overtip it, and hence the waterworks kicked in. You started talking the minute the first tear splashed on his shoulder, telling him how much it means to you, how happy you are and how no one ever did something resembling this for you. How it was the most thoughtful, most touching thing ever. How you couldn’t possibly put it into words, but you tried because he has to know. His grip tightened around you and his warm breath tickled down your hair before he sucked in another inhale again.

Once you exhausted the words that could come close to the things you tried to say, you took a long breath in, brushing your face closer to him and he started to murmur. Words started to spill from his heart-shaped mouth, telling you how happy he is that you like it. That he has been thinking about it for months. How he wants to fill that space with you, to have a home to come back to that contained you even if you weren’t there. How it was impossibly painful to not be in the same city, the same country, and the same continent. Oceans were always between, time-zones tearing you away and he had enough of it.

Because you started to talk about the future and it had to have a place to grow. A safe haven to dream, to plan and to execute. To wake up next to each other. To cuddle, to laugh, to cook, to cry. To have friends over. And how sorry he was that he couldn’t do it anywhere, but there. That he couldn’t go anywhere else, but Seoul. Sorry, that the stores won’t have what you will be looking for. A foreign territory, with foreign places and faces. Your hair started to stick to each other, the skin on your neck became more and more moist. His shoulder did tremble, his muscles did tense up.

And now you were holding him, drawing circles into his back, your palms flat on his warm skin. You kissed his neck and when his words stopped, his anguish all out, you pulled your forehead to rest on his.

“Kim Taehyung, you listen to me. I don’t mind coming to Seoul. I don’t mind being here, because I get to be with you. With you and your brothers. I don’t have as much back in Europe as you do here. Sure, it is different. But have you ever thought about how many things are better here?” His worrying eyes searched you, lips slightly parted. “Seoul isn’t dangerous, not like Budapest is. Here, everything is clean, and the people are looking out for each other in a way that Europeans don’t. Here, everything is about how to become better, how to develop further. And to be respectful to each other. I don’t have that at home.”

“But you have friends back there. You have a life there.”

“I do have friends there. And I’ll keep seeing them when I have the chance. But it’s not like when I was a teenager. They have their messy lives too, they have things to do as much as I do. I’ll be back there for birthdays and celebrations. I’ll be there when they ask me to be. I’ll be a day away. The things I did there, I can do here. I can go and study whatever I want to, no matter I’m in Budapest or Seoul. So don’t worry about this anymore, because I’m not.”

“But you told me how you hated to be a foreign exchange student. To live in a different country than your own. How the culture shock was too much. That people were different and it drove you up to the wall. How you missed the food and your own home.”

“Yes, I did say those things. But I was 15 back then. And that was America. Nebraska to be precise. I grew up to be independent and do whatever I wanted to when I wasn’t locked behind a door, screaming at my mother. Staying in a town with 400 people and no transportation system, nothing to do, besides watching a group of kids play every Friday night was… not for me. Not for the teenager me. Maybe not for adult me either. But can you see how different that was from this?”

“I, ah… I just don’t want to force you into something that you don’t want to do.”

“You couldn’t do that, even if you tried Taehyung. I promised to stay honest with you. I would’ve told you if there was anything like that in my mind. Did you see any sign of me being sad or cornered?”

“No… no, I didn’t.” Your fingers brushed away the last remnants of his tears and he chuckled shakily. “You really do want to be here.” His eyes flew to yours again, searching, even though he wasn’t asking anymore. Planting a quick kiss on his nose, he chuckled more confidently. You nodded, finally seeing him feeling what you felt. “Okay… okay, I… thank you little fox.”

Cupping his face with both of your hands, you showered him with soft and fast kisses, roaming from his cheeks to his forehead to his jaw, and soon he was laughing, trying to pull away and escape.

“Every time you say fox, I think about going back to red or strawberry blonde. Something in me always misses being a redhead.” you laughed, letting him go, but he pulled you in another hug quickly.

“Then do it! I liked those pictures, you looked really good with dark red hair.”

“Mmm, we’ll see. But first, we have to get going!” He climbed back behind the wheel and you ran around the car, jumping in next to him. You slammed the door when you thought about something. “Tae… how about we get everyone over?”

“Like Bangtan?”

“Yeah, why not. I mean, Jiminie can stay longer or come over earlier, whatever he wants. But we could do a housewarming too. The couch will be there to sit on, we are literally on our way to buy food… why not?”

“I mean… sure, we can. Sejin too?”

“Yeah, even Bang PD could drop by, if he does things like this. I just need to make more food. Ah, maybe even some cinnamon rolls, I feel like baking.”

“Wait a sec then, I’ll text the guys.”

Taehyung flipped out his phone and started typing, his fingers dancing on the screen, a growing smile spreading on his features like wildfire. You got your phone out, making a list of ingredients you’ll need. The cinnamon rolls were tricky, you weren’t sure you’ll find cream cheese for the icing that you usually do. Typing in the several basic things you think you will need, you added things like snacks, soft drinks. After giving it a thought you typed in some liquor too. Plus cleaning products, you have none of those. Pulling up your messenger, you checked whether Drina was online or not. There was so much she missed in a few hours, you wanted to talk to her, even if for a little. But she was offline and has been for several hours. Maybe she was on a flight.

“Okay, we’re good to go! The guys will drop in after nightfall, but Jiminie should get there earlier. He’s going to do his practices now so he won’t have to stay late. Sejin said he might drop in, but he is still working. Bang PD didn’t see my text yet. Is everything okay?” He saw your face, thinking about reaching out to Drina. But this wasn’t something you would say in a text, so you put your phone away and smiled at him.

“Yeah, just Drina is offline. I’ll talk to her later. Now let's get some hair dryers!”

---------------------------------

Turns out you didn’t need as many things from the electronics store as you thought. Tae did insist on a rice cooker, something which you have never seen, but agreed to get. It’ll make cooking that much easier. You were just about to go and get your groceries, and the two of you put on your baseball caps, Tae adding an extra mask just in case.

Walking in with a shopping cart you aimed for the cosmetics first: shampoo, shower gel, body lotion, scented candles, toiletries, soaps to every bathroom. Then you wondered to ingredients which have longer shelf life expectancies: panko, rice, flour, coconut oil, spices, pickled vegetables. Tae helped you find things that were more rare, but normal for you and added in his own choices without hesitation. Some things he put in the cart looked really foreign to you, having no idea what was it or how it was supposed to be eaten. You made a mental note to ask his mom about them, maybe she could give you a few recipes of his favorites.

“Gah, I wish Jin was here. He would love this so much!” Tae’s eyes roamed around as if he was expecting Jin to be standing in one of the aisles.

“We’ll go shopping with him too. I want to cook with him when he gets back. Give me the ropes on Korean food.”

“He’ll love that. Plus, I’ll be in the back, snacking off on the things you already made!”

“Oh, so you’re that kind of bystander! I’ll have to lock the rolls somewhere away from you!”

“Yah, don’t be like that!”

You reached the section that would usually be the dairy section in your usual stores at home. But it wasn’t there, not really. With a sigh, you went to the meat aisle, glancing over the pre-packed boxes. You got out a few cuts of chicken breast, eyes growing when seeing the price.

Yeah, this is different.

Selecting some grounded beef and pork, you strolled over to the vegetables and fruits, only to be shell-shocked again at the prices.

“Okay, I’ll have to admit, some things are really different. Wow, you must eat fruit all the time on tour!”

“Yeah, we don’t usually buy that stuff here. It doesn’t taste the same either.”

Picking out some onions and garlic you decided to leave it at that. There was already pickled stuff in the cart, so maybe fresh ones aren’t that needed. But you did pull out two bags of frozen berries without looking at the price. You needed it, no matter what is cost.

Walking back towards the snacks you asked Tae to get some soft drinks he knew the guys liked while you grabbed a few bottles of champagne, vodka, and whiskey. He eyed the bottles for a second before dropping in his bounty and pushed the cart to the snacks and then his hands went into overdrive, getting a little of everything.

Okay, what else?

The rolls needed some brown sugar, cinnamon, yeast… you absentmindedly took off everything, the last missing item being the cream cheese and milk. Tae got the latter while you were searching for the former, but came up short handed.

“I bet the store on the corner has it!”

“Mmm, I hope… that it like the main event on it. And the buttery, sugary cinnamon inside.”

“It’ll be okay, don’t worry about it! So, what are you making for dinner?”

Your eyes flew to the cart and then back to him, grinning a little.

“Can’t you tell?”

“No, how could I?”

You chuckled, shaking your head happily.

“Then you’ll just have to wait for a little I guess.”

“Y/n!”

Still giggling, you went over the list in your phone, trying to remember what are you forgetting. You had the pasta, the ground beef, the vegetable base, the tomato sauce… you should be fine. But will it be enough?

“Tae, do you have canned corn and beans here?”

“I think so, why?”

“Can you grab be one of each? I need to get more meat.”

He jogged off to your left and you walked back to the big refrigerators, grabbing more ground beef. Then some tortillas chips on your way back. And some chili oil you forgot a few minutes ago.

“Is this okay?”

He held up two cans eye level for you. The cans had corn and beans already mixed together instead of two separate ones, but that was okay, you’ll mix it together anyway.

“Yeah, thanks!”

You pushed the cart to the cashier and got your hands busy, putting the stuff you got on the belt and then packing it back into paper bags on the other side of the cashier. The lady behind the counter smiled at you politely, but then her eyes landed on Tae for longer seconds. His face went blank and you noticed his shoulders becoming stiffer. To distract the lady, you aimed in a quick question about your card before she could make up her mind about him and she snapped out of it. Taehyung walked away, going behind an advertisement board as you paid for your things. You pushed the cart in his general direction and he joined up a few minutes later.

“Do you think she recognized you?”

“I don’t think so. When they realize you can tell. Their faces change, their voices too.”

“So we’re not in trouble?”

“We wouldn’t be in trouble even if she did recognize me. Doing groceries is a normal thing.”

“Even for you?”

“I sometimes helped out Jin, when he felt like cooking. So yeah, why not?”

“But that’s Jin, not some European woman.”

“They’ll have to get used to it anyway at some point.”

“Tae… we’ll have to be more careful than this.”

You got back to the parking lot and stopped by the car. Tae sighed a little, pressing the button to open up the car and helped you to put the paper bags in the backseat. Once you settled back in the car, he let his head fall back on the headrest of his seat.

“Look, I know this bothers you, but it’s completely fine if I have to do the shopping Tae.”

“I just wanted a normal day, doing normal stuff together.”

“And we did! Nothing bad happened.”

“But it almost did.”

“Well, a lot of ‘almosts’ happen every day. You shouldn’t get hung up on them.”

“I know Y/n, I know. I just wish that there will be a time when I won’t be hunted just for who I am.”

He turned on the engine and drove away from the store.

“Don’t you think you’ll miss it?”

“What, this? The tension of almost getting caught? Like this is some sort of crime, shopping with my girlfriend?”

“Tae” You leaned towards him in your seat. “I get it, but there is nothing we can do. If we could, I would. And this whole thing, you being an idol. It has its perks and it has its downfalls. You can’t have it only one way.”

“I know I can’t. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt or annoy me.”

“Think about the big picture then. Where are going?”

“Back to the house.”

“Which is…?”

He shot you a glance, not getting what you want him to say.

“Tae, we are going back to our home. The home you got us.”

“Oh… right.”

“We’ve been out all day today, buying stuff for that house. We just finished buying food and I’ll be cooking soon. Food for you and your friends.”

“Yeah.”

“So, how does that make you feel?”

“Y/n, I…” he stopped by a stop sign and let a few kids cross the road. His fingers drummed a little on the wheel, his lips settled in a small pout. “I’m glad we’re doing all these things. I can’t wait until you’re done with the food. I’ll even help if you let me. And I love the housewarming thing that we’re doing.” He sighed out, a long exhale leaving him, his shoulders dropping a little that he didn’t even notice he was holding up. “I’m sorry, I just got caught up in that… recognizing me thing.”

“I know. And it’s okay to be mad. But you have a lot of things to be happy for. Far more things than to be angry.” you checked your phone. It was almost 3 pm. “The furniture will be at the house in a half hour, do you think we’ll make it?”

“Mhmm, we’ll be there in 10. What should we do with this stuff in the back? Furniture first or these?”

“Umm… food first. We need to plug in the fridge. Then furniture. Then the rest.”

“Okay, then I’ll hurry a little.”

He pushed on the gas pedal, shifting into a different gear, quite literally. Your phone buzzed in your pocket and you laughed a little when you saw the screen.

“Kook-ah or Jimin?”

“Joon, actually.”

You swiped away the green circle, placing the phone on your ear.

“Yes?”

“I hear you’re cooking for us?”

“I might be. Any last minute requests?”

“Ah, no, whatever you want to make I guess. Where are you guys?”

“On our way back, we just got out of a supermarket. Why?”

“Ah, just wondering. Change of topics, do you think Kookie will appreciate it if I do the cave and the eel talk with him or not?”

“Ooh, you’re reading fast this time! If you want to mortify him for a week, go ahead! Just let me know so I can watch!”

“Yeah, will do. Thanks again, it’s a pretty good book. I have some words to ask about, do you think we can run through them today?”

“Sure, why not. I wonder what got you stuck.”

“I have them written down, just in case, you’ll see. Oh, and some of us were wondering, do you do house warming presents in Hungary?”

“Oh, um… I think so? I usually gave booze or potted flowers, but I have no idea whether there is an actual protocol. Just do what you normally do in Korea!”

“I’m not sure you know what you’re asking… “

Tae slowed down the car and you realized you’re already back. The garage door started to move on its own and Tae parked the car inside.

“Hey, Joon, it’s okay, whatever it is. Within sensible boundaries, of course. Listen, we got back and I have to pack out, so just get here when you can, okay?”

“Yeah, will do. Oh and Y/n?”

“Yeah?”

“Welcome to Seoul!”

“Thanks, Joonie” You murmured in the phone, taking his kind words to heart.

You jumped out of the car and helped Tae with the bags. He was already opening the door and put down a bag to hold it open before he joined with you back at the car.

“Let’s just bring everything to the porch and work from there, okay?”

You hummed in agreement and got busy. Soon all the food was up and you decided to get the rest in too. It took longer than you expected, but every single bag, box, and item was up on the porch. Tae closed off the garage with a satisfied smile and jogged up to you to help load in the stuff in the house. You went for the groceries and he did the rest.

With everything in the kitchen you plugged in the fridge and stashed in the food that needed to cool down and then started to organize the things, you had in groups. Glasses with glasses, plates on the same corner, pots, and bowls on the counter. Deciding that they should be washed before using them, you plugged in the dishwasher too and started to rip off the packaging and wrapping, putting in the freed item in neat stacks.

“Do you need help here?”

“Is everything in the study next to the guest room?”

“Yeah, and the furniture is la…” a melodic bell rang and he rolled his eyes. “Okay nevermind, it’s here. Who should open the door?”

“I’ll go. Can you put the rest in the dishwasher?”

“Yeah, gimme.”

You jogged to the front door, down the steps to yank the main door open. Three men grinned at you, asking where to put what. Coordinating them with the different pieces, they worked diligently, shouting jokes at each other sometimes. Once everything was inside for a piece, the men automatically got into putting it together. Soon the bookcase stood by the wall in the living room and the couch stretched in front of it. Two smaller coffee tables on each side, and a bigger one in the front. A huge leafy palm sprung in the corner and decor vases framed the TV set, which was still missing its TV.

A new bed landed in the downstairs guest room with a tall chest and a pretty floor lamp that when turned on gave a cozy, galaxy-like light. Neither of you stated it out loud, but both of you thought that this room should be for Jimin, so he could drop by or stay whenever he wanted to.

A series of elegant mirrors made their way inside too. One in the foyer, grand and tall to check yourself before leaving. Two went upstairs, to the bedrooms. One to the room designated for Jimin.

The last things to come inside were the rugs. A lot of rugs. One big soft silvery piece in the living room. One fluffy deep brown in Jimin’s room. A white fur like one in the study, which was meant to be Tae’s studio downstairs. A big beige colored one, that reminded you of wolf fur in the master bedroom, something gentle to land on when waking up.

Almost two hours after arriving back, the house filled up with so many things, it started to look like a home. The three men who helped in the furniture left after they finished their glasses of water Tae offered them, smiling as they closed the door behind them.

“I have to say, this decor you said it pretty nice. Swedish?”

“Mhmm, hygge. I love how plain and cozy it is.”

“Its past 5 pm, how can I help with the food?”

“Oh God, right. Uh, which should I start with…” Your thought ran fast inside your mind, picking out the rolls. “Okay, Tae. Here is a kitchen scale. Could you please measure the ingredients? Here is my phone, the recipe is on the first tab on Chrome.”

“Sure, but where are you going?”

“Getting that cream cheese!”

You pulled on your running shoes and went back to him, smiling how he was putting out the necessary ingredients in front of him. You kissed his nose swiftly and ran outside with your bag in hand, hoping that the store is still open. The lights were already on the inside even though the sun hasn’t really started to set. You calmed yourself down before entering, not wanting to look like a crazy person. An old lady was sitting behind the counter when you opened the door and she welcomed you with a smile.

“Hello, dearie, can I help you?” She muttered in English, trying to pronounce the words clearly.

“Oh, hi.” You said in English before you switched to Korean. “Do you have Philadelphia cream cheese?” The lady looked at you surprised for a second before she got up and walked to one of the fridges. “Sure, honey, here are some flavors. Your Korean is nice by the way, good job!”

“Thank you, you’re sweet!” You stopped by where she indicated. There were several kinds, but you were looking for the plain one and thankfully there was one in the way back. “Do you have sour cream by any chance?”

“Oh, I don’t know! What is that, American?”

“No, I think it’s a European thing…”

“Then check that fridge over there honey. If we have it, it’s there!”

You strolled to the fridge she pointed to and bent over to start searching from the bottom. They really did have many things. Several kinds of cheese and dairy products were there that you missed in the supermarket earlier. Your fingers brushed by a container with cottage cheese when you finally saw it.

Hell yes, this place is meant for me!

You grinned at the lady, who was still standing by near you and she nodded happily.

“This one too, please!”

“Okay, let’s see…” She made her way back to the counter, hitting in the right buttons. You gave her the money she asked for a bowed a little when she gave you back the change. She waved from her seat when you ran back, chuckling at your hurry.

Taehyung was on eye level with the counter, doing the measurements carefully when you yanked the door open. He jumped a little, putting more vanilla rum in the cup that was in front of him and he let out an agitated sound that was so much like Jin.

“It’s okay, there is always room for more vanilla Tae.” you shot him a smile as you were getting off your shoes.

“I wanted to do this precisely as the recipe says!”

“And you did, look at that!”

The counter was filled with cups and small bowls filled with the things you needed. He even warmed up the milk and already put the yeast in by the looks of it.

“If I’m not careful, you’ll be a better baker than I am!”

“Not likely” he muttered under his breath as he mixed the brown sugar in with the cinnamon. You rolled your eyes at him playfully and got down to it. Washing your hands you mixed in the dry ingredients, added a pinch of salt and poured the warm milk on it. Then added in the eggs. Tae watched from the counter, done with his task, as you started to work the flour together with the yeasty milk and eggs, your fingers covered in goo.

“That looks insanely disgusting!”

“It is, kinda. Give me a few minutes and it’ll be a nice smooth dough.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, you’ll see. Could you please fill a big pot with warm water? Not warm as in bath water, but hotter, almost blistering hot. Then put it in the oven and close it.”

He nodded and grabbed the pot you indicated. The material under your finger started to stick together and away from the bowl. Soon it was one big mass and you gently pushed it down, turned it and pushed again.

“Okay, I’m done. Ooh, you were not kidding!”

“Yeah, this is done too.” You cleaned off your hands in the sink. Taehyung already put one of the soaps there and you shot him a thankful smile. He shrugged in return, a shy expression coming on. “Now this goes in the oven and I’ll get to the onions.”

“But it’s not turned on. Shouldn’t it be on?”

“No, I just want the dough to come alive. It will rise inside for an hour in there.” You shut the oven’s door on the covered dough and put away the things that you didn’t need anymore. “Do you want to learn how to cut onions?”

“Ah, I’m not really good with knives…”

“Okay, then just keep me company!”

You pulled out the onions and the garlic, two pans and the coconut oil and placed them on your working station by the oven. The bakery things are on the counter, so you wanted the sweet things away from the savory. Tae jumped on the other side of the oven and talked about the new album as you cleaned the onions and started to chop them up finely. Soon the pans were on the stove and you added in half of the onions to one and the other halves into the other.

“Why two separate?” Tae asked as you got to mince up the garlic.

“Because it is two different things. One meal and one snack.”

“You are cooking a snack?”

“Well, kinda. It’s chili con carne, but with tortilla chips. It can be a snack, scooping it up with the chips instead of rice or foldable tortillas.”

He hummed, watching you swipe in the garlic too. Putting on the lids, you started to clean up after yourself, throwing out the trash in a plastic bag.

“Huh, we forgot to buy trash cans!” You smiled up to him.

“We can get them tomorrow if you would like.”

“Mmm isn’t that reporter flying in tomorrow?”

“She left today according to schedule, probably flying now. But we have the interview on Saturday, so we have 2 whole days until that.”

“You don’t have to meet her before?”

“Nah, no reason. I only have practice and recording until then, plus there is a photo shoot Friday morning.”

“Do you think Jimin has the questions?”

“We’ll see when he gets here. I bet he’ll want to about it.”

It was your turn to hum as you got the lids off and stirred the onions. An already wonderful smell erupted, but you closed the lid back, determining that it wasn’t cooked yet.

Taehyung watched as you turned and stirred for several minutes. It was a whole different side of you that he hasn’t seen yet. He knew you were organized, but this was a whole other level. You added in things in the pot, like the ground beef, and the minute you didn’t need something, you either threw out the wrapping or put it away somewhere in the built-in shelves. It seemed like you didn’t really think while you were cooking two dishes simultaneously, moving as automatically as he did when he was doing a choreography. It only got more confusing for him when you started adding in the spices, and he realized you never tried the taste of the food you were making. As if you didn’t need to.

“How do you know what to do next?” He asked you as you dropped in the chili oil in the pot closer to him before you changed the small bottle for basil and oregano to sprinkle in the other bubbling mass of food.

“I did this a million times, it’s like second nature by now. But to answer your question properly… I guess I mostly go on a hunch. Like I can see when the onion is cooked because it gets a little glossy, see-through-ish. The meat changes color when it’s not raw anymore. The rest usually has to sit a little to come together. If I would have the time and the patience, I could let it sit with the fire going on under it with some extra water and the flavors would come together more. But that will happen anyway later, so expect it to taste a little different tomorrow.”

“If you think that any of this food will survive today, you haven’t met Bangtan properly!” Tae chuckled, smiling merrily at you.

“Oh come on, they can’t eat this much. This is like...3 kg of ground meat. Plus the sauce and the pasta and the chips. And the rolls. Jin is not here. Nah, they won’t be able to destroy this much food.”

“Okay… then let’s do a bet on it. If they eat it all, I win, if they don’t you win.”

“What are the stakes?”

“I don’t know, do you have something in mind?”

“If I win… you do the first clean-up of the house. Like top to bottom, everything is shiny and spotless kind of cleaning.”

“Okay… then if I win, you will do the same, but with clothes on I specifically choose!”

“What does that mean? Clothes you choose?”

“Yeah, whatever I give you, you put it on and clean in them!”

“Taehyung, are you being naughty or prank-y?”

“Ah, now that has just made my imagination blow up! All those possibilities…”

“I just made it so much worse, haven’t I?”

He just sat there, on top of the counter, his legs dancing in the air. His face was stretched in a happy grin as he seized you up and down, but as he swiped his tongue across his lower lip, you started to feel things that you don’t really have time for.

“Taehyung, don’t look at me like that.”

“Why not?” He tilted his head to the side before he jumped off and drew close to you, his body pushing you into the corner of the kitchen counter. Blood raced in your veins, your heart hammering so fast it pulsed in your ears. “We are on our own, in our home. No one will barge in or interrupt us. And you don’t have to be quiet anymore. I want to hear your pretty moans, the way you make them without trying to be silent.”

“So you think you can take me, right here and right now, and finish off before anything burns Taehyung? I thought you would want to make the first time here somewhat special, longer…”

“You say that but then why do you seem so ready?” He growled in your ear, his breath hot against your body. The bubbling food lost your attention as his lips made contact with your neck, sucking on the tender skin. You head rolled back as he kept working on you, his hands creeping up under your shirt - his shirt! - losing clear thinking… when the bell rang.

The sound echoed in the silent house. Taehyung got stiff for a second before he crushed his lips against yours, ignoring whoever was outside wanting to come in. You were about to yank his shirt off when you heard a phone buzz behind you on the counter.

“Tae…”

“Mhmm?”

“The phone, who is it?”

“I don’t… ah, it’s Jimin.”

The moment broke and he gently stepped away. He gave you a quick kiss on your nose, fixed your shirt and answered the call.

“Jimin-ah, what's up?”

You thought about teasing him a little more while he was on the phone, but then you realized that it’s probably Jimin waiting outside. So you checked on the spaghetti and the chili, regretting ignoring him a few seconds ago.

“Hey, sorry about that, he’s outside. Should I let him in or do you want to?” Tae hugged you from behind, sinking his chin on your shoulder.

“Nah, it’s okay. I figured it’s him. Let him in and I’ll finish these. Plus, if I win, you do the cleaning and you are doing it in that baby bear onesie!”

“Oh, you’re so on! And we are not telling anyone about the bet. Just let them eat as much as they want!”

“Agreed. Now go get your brother!”

He swiped a quick kiss against your neck and you shuddered a little, feeling more sensitive than usual. The door closed behind him and you shook yourself, trying to regain your composure. You were sure that your underwear is soaked, but you didn’t have time to take a shower now.

Maybe once the rolls are in. Maybe.

You deemed the two dished ready, so you turned off the stove under the two pots and got started on the pasta. Dropping the lid on the not-yet boiling water, you heard the two vocalists emerge from the front door.

“Y/n, where are you?”

“Kitchen!”

You heard Jimin utter ‘where is the kitchen?’ under his breath to Taehyung and then a series of quick steps until the dancer crushed into your back, hugging you just like Tae did a few minutes prior.

“So you weren’t here before either I hear?”

“No, Tae didn’t let anyone come with him here. We only saw a few pictures. What are you making?”

“This is pasta for the spaghetti and this is chili con carne. Plus there is some dough for cinnamon rolls in the oven rising… and I actually should be working on them. Do you want to help?” You felt his head nod against your back, making you smile.

“You tell him what you’re making, but not me? How is that fair?” Tae teased as he jumped back on the counter.

“A moment of weakness, I swear!” You turned back a little to shoot him a smile.

“Y/n, could you please come over here first?” Jimin was gone from behind you, and you saw him turn around the kitchen counter, heading back to the foyer. You gave Tae a curious look but he just shrugged, took your hand and went after his brother.

Jimin was bending over by the staircase, his torso and hands hidden from you. You heard some ruffling, your curiosity shooting higher.

“Taehyungie gave me the idea that you would like this. And I really hope you do. So here is your joined housewarming gift!” He straightened his back, his hands outstretched to you.

“No way!” Your eyes grew double in size and you took in the small figure squirming in his hands. A blue-eyed little kitten searched for a way out of Jimin’s hand, his fur blueish white with a grey spot on its nose.

“He’s a blue mitted ragdoll baby.” Tae murmured as he saw your reaction, his hand snaking on your waist.

“I have everything here for him, his litter, food, papers, and a few toys.” Jimin said with a smile playing on his lips, taking in your shaky expression.

“You two are going to make cry twice in a day, huh?” You carefully took the kitten in your hands, forming a cradle against your chest. Jimin shot a worried look at Tae, but he shook his head smilingly, hushing away his question. The kitten stood up on your arm, his front paws firmly set against your collar bones. He sniffed a little in front of your face and you let him place his nose on your lower lip.

“I think he likes her.” You heard a chuckle behind the dancer's words.

“Yeah, I might be in trouble. It looks like she will like him better than me!”

“Oh, shush!” You smacked Tae’s arm lightly. He nuzzled his nose to yours and opened the front door, bringing in a black quarantine like cage.

“This is Tannie’s cage, Jimin took it from my room back in the dorms. I thought we could put him in so he wouldn’t be in danger with so many people around. Maybe for night time too. I read up on ragdolls and if we keep his sleeping cycle close to ours, he will let us sleep during the night.”

“Mmm, okay” You buried your face against the kitten's little body, letting him move around freely on your arm. “Jiminie, thank you.” Shooting a teary-eyed smile at him, he wrapped his arm carefully around your waist, one of his hand pulling in Taehyung too. The three of you crushed against each other, the kitten stuck between you. He meowed thinly and Tae took him on his shoulder, placing a hand up against him to secure the small animal there. Jimin squeezed you one last time and got the cage up.

“Where should I put this?”

“Um… I don’t know?”

“How about my study? Or maybe Jimin’s room?”

“I have a room?”

“Well, we never really said it out loud…” Tae looked at you hesitantly.

“There was no need, it’s obviously his. But don’t tell the others!” You said with a laugh as the dancer ran off to the door on the right, yanking the door open.

“You already have furniture here? Oh, this lamp is so pretty!” the two of you chuckled outside as Jimin went on exploring the items inside, his exclamations amusing the both of you endlessly. The kitten shakily took a few steps on Tae’s shoulder and he watched it with a warm smile.

“What will you name him?”

“Oh, right… umm…” You head spun around, thinking of names for the little thing balancing on Tae’s shoulder. He was so small, but eventually probably grew bigger than Yeontan. You always thought about having a cat but didn’t really think about names. Everything that popped into your mind was for a girl, not for a boy cat.

“I thought you are going to blurt out the first anime pet name you could think of to be honest.” Tae monitored your concentrating face, his eyes curling in delight.

“I might do that… He’s too light colored for Kurama or Kuro. He is too… oh.”

“Yes?”

“Was Kilala a boy? I think he was… and he was mostly white.”

“You’re talking about Inuyasha, right? I think it was a girl and wasn’t that Kirara? They don’t really say L as far as I know.”

“Yeah, that’s true, it’s just the subtitles sometimes went with Kilala and not Kirara… but if you say that it was a girl…”

“So? You can still call him Kilala, why not?”

He brushed his free hand against your cheek lovingly as you pondered on it. The kitten settled down on him, curling as much as physically possible in the position he was in. Jimin stood by the doorframe, waiting for your decision silently.

“Yeah, okay. I’ll go with Kilala!”

-----------------

Tae arranged the small cat in Jimin’s room in the black cage, setting his small body down on a pillow. You were with Jimin in the kitchen, stretching out the dough on the counter. The two boys helped you finish the dessert off, spreading the butter and sprinkling on the cinnamon. The dancer's fingers trembled a little when he rolled up the whole thing and Tae carefully cut up the dough snake into small sections while you placed the cuts on the tray. Soon you filled four trays and you placed two more hot pots of water in the ovens, helping the rolls to rise for another half an hour.

The two boys helped clean up the rest while you rinsed off the pasta and soon you were laying around the couch, enjoying a well-deserved rest.

“I got the questions this morning.” Jimin blurted out.

“Oh… and what do you think?”

“That I don’t want to do this. But I have to.”

Tae sat up and placed an arm around his brother’s shoulder.

“Jimin-ah, you know you can cross off questions, right? You don’t have to do all of them.”

“I know. And I did that. Sent it back to Sejin before I came here. But I still hate it.”

Not knowing what to say, you glanced at them. Jimin’s body language radiated the same message as his words: his ankles and arms crossed, his expression frustrated as he nibbled on his lower lip. Trying not to overstep your boundaries, you carefully asked.

“Jiminie, what do you think should happen? I know you didn’t ask for any of this. But the world wants to believe it’s you on those footages. Not because he looks so much like you, but because it’s exciting. It’s news, a scandal. On a topic, none of you ever opened up about. It’s horrible, it’s disgusting, but it is going on. And both the company and you as a band stayed quiet, making it seem more true.”

“But it’s not! They can see it’s not! Why do I have to say it out loud when it’s so obvious?” His soft voice raised as his anger grew, his hands shaking with the withheld rage. “Why can’t they just admit to it and let me be?”

It hurt to see him like this. This cornered and frustrated. But at the same time, you were glad he was taking it out with anger than sadness. Sadness is a murky pool, you don’t know where it ends, where the bottom is. Sadness is harder to escape. Sadness can hold you for longer, without realizing it.

Anger is a different story. It creates fumes, it clenches your body, flexing and driving you further. It’s is as visible as loud. But it can’t stay forever as it consumes so much of a person. So much energy and passion. Eventually, it will leave and you’ll be relaxed when it does because your body cannot flex anymore. It makes you come to terms with things, or at least your inability to do anything about them. It brings a sense of peace that nothing else can provide, but anger.

“Jiminie, what do you want to do?”

“Hit something. Scream. Everything. Anything. Just not those questions.”

Taehyung tore his eyes from his best friend and looked at you, a quiet question in his eyes.

“Jimin-ah, you can scream here.” You said quietly. “Or we can go somewhere. A forest or something. There must be something nearby.”

“There is a national park not too far away from here,” Tae stated calmly.

“But the others are coming. The dessert is in the oven. I don’t want to…”

“The others can wait. The rolls bake in 20 minutes tops. I can turn on the oven right now.”

“But what about the Nikka, you said we will…”

“And we will. There is still a lot of time left. You can stay the night if you want to.”

“I…”

“Don’t you want to go? Find a deserted hill and let it all out?”

“I… I do.” He raised his chin a little, eyeing you with a silent determination. “But after the guys are gone. Before drinking. Before the sun rises. Do you have bubble wrap somewhere here?”

His question caught you off guard.

“S-sure, in the study. There should be some in the boxes.”

He got up and raced to the room you indicated as you and Tae looked after him. He emerged back, holding a bundle of bubble wraps and popped them systematically, dropping back to his place.

“We rise before sunrise then!” Tae stated, earning a nod from the dancer. “Let’s drop it until then and focus on better things. Should I turn on the oven?”

“I’ll do it, I want to check on the other things too.” You got up and strolled to the kitchen lazily. The dishwasher was on, Tae probably turned it on while you were cooking. Thick dew settled on the lids on both pots, the pasta started to stick together. Giving it a good stir, you broke them apart carefully and put it in one of the bigger bowls. You went back to the oven, turning it on before you tried the spaghetti.

Not bad.

You did a little touch up on the flavors and put back the lid. The boys behind you started to talk about the comeback and Jin, trying to figure out when will he comeback. The chili didn’t ask for anything, it was sufficiently spicy with a bite kicking in mildly after swallowing. The dishwasher beeped, so you turned to unload it, getting a lot of steam in your face when you opened it up.

“It’s like she’s in her own world, right?” Jimin whispered as you proceeded to unload the plates.

“Yeah, I know. Like she knows exactly what to do.”

“Well, she usually does.” The dancer grinned at Tae before turning more solemn. “Do you think she gets scared? Or lost?”

“In her own way, yeah. I never really thought about it, but she has boundaries. It’s just not where ours is. Not about things we get scared of.”

“Do you think it’s because she grew up differently?” Jimin placed his face in his hand, lying on his side, his face ridden in concern.

“Maybe, some of it. And girls think differently. Like a lot. Her family scares her, but you know that. I don’t know when was the last time they tried to barge in on her life again, she didn’t talk about it in the last couple of months.”

“Another reason to move here I guess.” Jimin let his head fall from his hand, rolling to his back on the couch. “What did she say when you told her?”

“I didn’t. She guessed. It was intense like she was reading my mind. I never thought it will be like that.”

“Hobi said it’ll be like that. And I agree, it makes sense she figured it out. Do you think she’ll like it here? Living with you?”

Tae paused for a minute. Pulling up his legs to his torso, he let his arms lay on his knees as he thought about it. He has been living with his brothers for so long, it was weird to think of the small, everyday things that will change now. He wondered whether you’ll fight about the same things he did with Bangtan, who’ll do the dishes or take out the trash. Having 7 people to do all these things seemed easier, having more capacity, thus fewer things to do for him. But now, he’ll have to cut time to do normal things, like his mom and dad split the chores at home. Old memories made their way back into his mind, reminding him about the times his mother would scold him for not doing the sweeping in the house properly, cringing at the thought that she’ll probably tell you what to look out for from now on. The two of you got along more than he thought, sharing way more than he wanted you to.

“Earth to TaeTae, you still here with us?”

“Huh?”

Jimin was in front of him on all fours, waving his hand in his face. Chuckling crept from the kitchen as you laughed at his dumb-folded expression. He slowly looked at you, mouth a little agape, then back to his brother, who’s giggles have reached a higher pitch.

“I’ll let them in, shake Tae back to life please.” you got going to the front door and you heard a smack, tightly followed by an indignant howl. Laughing, you got your shoes on and made your way down the stairs. You yanked the door open only to have a phone thrown in your face.

“Hi Noona, say hi to Jin hyung!”

Chapter Text

Chapter 17

“Hi Noona, say hi to Jin hyung!”

Too many things were right in front of you to take in. 5 men were standing on the street in the blazing sunlight by a black van with tinted windows, their hands shoved behind their backs. Kookie was closest to you, his hand extending a selfie stick in your direction, a phone wrapped at the end of it. Withheld giggles and snorts flew by your ear as you tried to comprehend the maknae’s words.

“J-Jin?”

“Aaah, is that how you greet me after so many months?!”

You bewilderedly glanced at the phone, the eldest’s words blaring from the phone’s speakers.

“I thought you are standing here, hiding behind the car or something! Jesus Christ, I thought...gah, JIN!!!” you agitatedly vented at the sleek gadget that kept moving in the air as Kookie bent over laughing at your face. He touched the screen and gave you the stick. Jin was displayed on the screen and you noticed that the phone was in selfie mode, so he was seeing you too. An outstretched smile played on the man’s lips, taking in your still baffled expression.

“No, I’m not there, not really. But I hear a certain dongsaeng went ahead and bought a house, so I’m checking it out. We have about an hour before I have to go back, so let’s get going! I need to yell at Taehyung and see what he spent way too much money on!”

“Okay...okay.” You composed yourself. Straightening your back, you smiled at the others as a greeting. The rappers stood close to each other, their hands still tightly behind their backs, forming a wall with their bodies. Their expressions were tainted with suppressed smiles, cheeks bit and trembling. Kookie was watching Jin from your shoulder, commenting on your surroundings, describing the street and the entrance to him. Sejin was standing by the car, his hand halfway in the passenger seat, hiding whatever he was holding from you until you started moving back to the house. “Jin, I’ll change the camera to face ahead, okay?”

“Yeah yeah yeah, let’s get this party started!” He yelled in English, earning a chuckle from you and Kookie. The others followed in behind you and someone closed the door quietly. You heard Namjoon exclaim at the bamboo’s, his adoration vividly coloring his words. The house appeared in sight and the guys made different sounds of amusement.

“Who would’ve thought Taehyungie will make such a sensible choice!”

“Aah, look at the garden!”

“There is a tree in the back!”

“Y/n, can we walk around the house please?”

The last request was from Jin and you obliged, stepping on the grass to give him a wide range to look at. Kookie produced his camera from his bag swinging on his shoulder, snapping a few pictures after adjusting the settings. The boys spread around, taking in the garden and the outside of the house. You smiled as you saw Joon touch the tree in the corner carefully, his mouth a little open as he glanced upwards, the sun painting spots on his face playfully. Hobi walked with Yoongi and Sejin to the porch, sunbathing and smiling around. Their eyes carefully monitored you, moving their backs constantly so you wouldn’t see what's there.

You started to wonder when will Tae and Jimin emerge from the house when the door creaked open. The two vocalists looked outside and saw the trio on the porch. Tae’s eyes found you with the stick, his brows knotting in, not understanding what you were doing. You turned the phone’s camera in his direction, Jin grew quiet for a second before he motioned for you to move quickly. Muttering a plea to go easy on him, you nodded, accepting his request. Tae was almost next to you, his mouth parting in an almost formed question, but it stuck in his throat. Jumping on the opportunity, you switched the camera to selfie mode and shoved the stick in Teahyung’s hand.

“Y/n, what are you…”

A giggle threatening to escape you, you just shook your head and motioned for him to look at the screen. His lips parted a little in confusion before his pupils dilated on the man on the screen, dread enveloping him.

“Kim Taehyung…”

Jimin gleefully watched the exchange, his face going from puzzlement to shock to utter delight. Shutters went off fast, Kookie stealing the moment on his memory card.

“Oh, Jin hyung…”

You heard the eldest draw a long breath on the other side of the phone signaling him to collect himself for a long banter. The trio behind Tae watched as the vocalist’s shoulders trembled, Hobi elbowing Namjoon standing close by to pay attention to the unfolding scene.

“Yaaaah, you really went ahead and…” That is as far as you understood, the vocalist reaching speed with his words that were incomprehensible for your ears. How he didn’t end up rapping in a few songs was beyond you. For some reason the older boys grew a soft expression, not snickering as Jimin and Kook did. You searched Yoongi for an answer, but he just shook his head lightly.

“Y/n, do you think the dessert’s done?” Jimin glanced at you, wiping away a tear from his curved eyes.

“Oh shiiiiiitshitshitshiitt” you flew inside, completely forgotten about the rolls in the oven. Leaving without a second thought to spare, you ran inside the kitchen, grabbing a fork from the half unloaded dishwasher and dropped down to the ovens. The rolls sported a nice golden color and by the smell of it, it didn’t seem to be burning anywhere. You let out a relieved sigh. Gently pushing in the fork, you saw the roll deflate a little under the cutlery, so it wasn’t completely done yet. Just in case it was hotter in the back, you turned all pans around 180 degrees to bake evenly. Closing the oven back up, you sat down the floor a little, relaxing back.

“Is it okay?” Jimin’s head appeared by the wall.

“Yeah, it still needs a few minutes. Oh wow, I got scared for a second.” You closed your eyes, puffing out an exhale. First time baking for them, and you almost screwed it up. After all the pictures you sent that Tae probably showed around, you wanted to deliver on those images.

“What needs a few minutes?” Namjoon walked in by the counter passing Jimin.

“Cinnamon rolls hyung!”

“Oooh, you baked!” Joon’s eyes landed on you sitting on the floor. “Are you okay?” Concern laced his tone as he eyed you.

“Yeah yeah, I just almost burned them down, but it’s fine. I’m okay, just a little panic. Is Jin still scolding Tae?”

“I think so, but it's not an actual scolding. He’s just messing with him.” The leader’s eyes curved with warmth. “It’s been a while he got to be like that, it’s really nostalgic. Like an old memory sprung from the past.”

He clearly had something specific in his mind so you just nodded, thinking that you understood as much as you could not being one of them.

“So, who is going to give us a tour?” Hobi’s voice echoed from the foyer.

“I think Tae should do it!” Jimin chimed, turning his head in the rapper’s direction.

You and Joon made agreeing sounds. Getting to your feet, you turned off the two ovens but kept the circulation on.

“Shouldn’t Noona be doing it, I mean it’s her home too.”

Everyone was standing by the stairs, Taehyung holding the selfie stick up. You walked to him, Jimin and Joon flanking behind you.

“Nah Kook, I only saw the place for the first time today.” You hung your arm on the maknae’s shoulder. “So, lead the way Sir.” and you motioned with your free hand like a hostess for Teahyung to start the house tour.

He gulped a little before he collected himself, taking in a bigger than necessary breath. At first, his words were unsure, his voice curling into questions rather than statements. But as he opened up the first door that he wished to become his study, his voice picked up, going on possible arrangements and asked the rapper’s opinion on equipment. Soon the four of them were debating on possible choices and Tae’s shoulders relaxed. He then shoved off the guest room, leaving out the fact that he intended it to be his best friends. The men seized up the already furnished space and you slipped outside when Yoongi found Kilala, deciding it is time to open up the oven.

Quietly moving on your feet, you strolled by the counter, pulling the gloves on. Opening up the first oven, the heavy scent of buttery cinnamon washed in your face. A warm wave of air moving your hair away, you pulled out the first tray, placing it on the cool counter, then proceeded to put the second, the third and the last next to it. You heard the boys move upstairs and you thanked Tae for giving you more time because the frosting wasn’t mixed yet.

Your hands got to work as the rolls aired, peppering the kitchen with a sweet scent. You heard a few exclamations coming from upstairs and then a thump caught your attention, your hand stilling the whisk in the mixing bowl. Did someone say nursery? What was going on upstairs? Dreading to listen in, you hushed the thought away. You were so not ready to go into that. Not with a crowd watching you intently.

You did talk about having kids with him, sure you did. In your first year together, to understand the others plans and needs for the future. It seemed like a sensible topic at the time. Turns out that he wanted to have kids, like as soon as possible, as much as possible. The literal thought had your legs flex a little, thinking about the extreme pain that many kids would cause your lower parts, your hand sweating on the whisk a little.

He sensed your fright and tried to ease it up, saying that it won’t be in the near future anyway. It took minutes for him to remember to ask you properly about your preference. As if it was a given thing that you would be into his idea. Then it took another few minutes to coax it out of you, barely stating that you weren’t that fond of the idea to have a ton of kids, especially with so little time between them. You needed your own life to be yours, and you needed to make decisions like this without harboring any regrets. His carefree attitude about the topic scared you senseless, thinking that he wasn’t taking it as seriously as he should be.

And you communicated that, carefully but firmly. That this is a huge responsibility, an immense task that will never end. And how it forms the rest of your life. You thought his grin would disappear as you went on about your worry and how you wanted to be prepared as much as possible. That you will not do it alone, how it was out of the question for him to just get up and leave to do his schedule, how it would drive you crazy, feel suffocated and lonely.

He listened to all that and his smile never faltered. Patiently waiting for your frenzy to escalate, reach it’s peak and then deflate in front of him. Once he thought you jumbled out everything in your mind, he took your hand, circled his thumb around exactly three times before he simply said that he knows, he agrees and it will be like you need it to be.

You still remembered the wild shock that took over from that point. Not the cat-just-got-splashed kind of shock, not a bucket of water effect. He simply agreed and thus waved away every concern, erasing your mind completely empty. Which doesn’t happen to you often. Blood started to circulate again in your limbs, bringing back the warmth you didn’t notice escape you, but it seemed like he was really aware of.

That conversation was months, almost years ago. The topic wasn’t really brought up since then, only his family joking about his idea of having a huge family of his own a few times, but his mom sassily hushed them away, firmly taking your side on having Taehyung by your side for the ride and not immersed in his idol life. You never really talked about it with her, but you knew he had. And as much as you wanted to know the details about his conversation with his mother, you didn’t pry about it. She had your back, and she conveyed that without actually saying it out loud to you and that was all you needed.

The frosting was long done as you still kept the whisk moving, rounding the bowl again and again. Snapping out of your train of thought, you rinsed the whisk and applied the frosting on the warm pastries, melting the sugary spread. You heard steps on the stairs and soon several bodies walked by on the other side of the counter, Tae ending his tour in the living room.

“Aaah, Y/n, what is that?” Jin’s voice traveled from the phone and Tae brought the selfie stick closer.

“How about you do the kitchen since I have no idea about this stuff?” He smiled up to you and you nodded, your face still a little solemn. He brushed his fingers on your arm, asking wordlessly ‘is everything alright?’. You nodded again, pulling out a smile. He squeezed your arm a little before he gave the stick to you and went back to his brothers.

You didn’t notice, but he kept his eyes on you. Jin quickly had you laughing, showing him the several things you already got, having him peek into the pots you filled with food and commented on how you made them. You exchanged promises to cook together once he was back and you seemed genuinely happy. But it still bugged him what had you look so serious before Jin brightened your mood again. Making a mental note to ask you later, he forced his attention towards the others.

“Y/n, wait for a second, I have a call coming in.” Jin murmured before he put you on hold. Not thinking anything of it, you turned to the boys present.

“Is anyone hungry?” Coaxing several nods and agreement, you jumped on the counter, motioning to the stack of plates and cutlery on the aisle. “Then dig in, it’s dealer’s choice!”

Everyone got into motion, some going straight for the pots, some picking up sleek black plates and lining up nicely behind each other. Yoongi lifted the lids slowly, asking about its contents before Kookie handed him a plate. He helped himself to a generous serving on chili and asked for the chili oil to spice it a little more. Kook yanked up a bunch of noodles and showered it with the meaty sauce. Joon got a little of everything and bowed a little before darting off to the back. Kook and Yoongs shouted their thanks too sheepishly seeing their leaders actions.

“Y/n, how spicy is this?” Hobi peered above the chili.

“I would say 4 out of 10. But I like Indian food, so… yeah. How about this.” You got off, taking out the sour cream from the fridge. “Try a little of the chili with this and see how it goes.”

“What is it?”

“Uh, a kind of dairy called sour cream. I ease up spicy food with it at home. I got it in case Tae needs it. If you think the food is too hot, add a spoon or two, mix it well and it will take away the bite.”

“Oh, okay. Thank you. Did you get this from the store Taehyungie mentioned? On the corner?”

“Yeah, that place will be really useful.” You smiled to yourself. The dancer nodded and carried the things in his hand to the couch. There was that glint in his eyes again that you saw this morning back in Hong Kong, but you still couldn’t decipher it.

“Y/n?” Jin’s voice wafted from the phone.

“Hey Jin, back with us?”

“Yeah, I have to go. Something came up that I...should pay attention to.”

“Oh, okay. I’ll pass you on then so you could say goodbye...Jiminie?” The dancer was two steps away from you, his plate still empty as he seized up the food. He glanced up questioningly. “Jin has to go, say goodbye!” He took the stick and you waved before he turned the screen away. The dancer skipped to Tae then went around the room, letting his hyungs say their farewells.

“Are you okay?” a low murmur rumbled by your neck as Tae hugged you from behind. “You seemed so tense when we got back down.”

“Yeah, I just got lost in my own thoughts. Nothing really, just pondering on things.”

“Anything I can sweep away?” He furrowed his face in your hair, chin resting on your shoulder.

“Mmm, you already did.” You placed a quick peck on his nose. “Not hungry?” Glancing down you saw him empty handed.

“No, it’s not that, I was just waiting for the others to get what they want. What should I get you?”

Jimin put the selfie stick and the phone away as Jin disconnected the line in the back of the room, bouncing back to you in the kitchen as the others dug into their food. They murmured their thanks and you watched in amusement on how each of them tackled the simple task of eating. Some went for chopstick, expertly swirling their food into their mouths, while others tried to eat with a fork, but it somehow seemed alien.

Tae kept his arms around you and absorbed the sight in front of him. His brothers scattered around the couch the two of you chose in the house he meant to become your home. The whole thing brought a fuzzy, warm feeling in his body that he couldn’t really name or handle. It was so different than anything he has ever experienced before, even though it was a simple thing as having friends over for dinner on a quiet weekday. They chatted away, forming the flow of the conversations between bites among themselves. Even Sejin added in his thoughts, making the vocalist believe that he was at ease despite the new surroundings and situation it implicates.

Soon all of you were settled with your food, joining in on the discussions. When the plates became empty, Tae surprised everyone with collecting the dirty dishes and he proceeded to rinse them off before lining them up again in the dishwasher. You didn’t find this that weird, but the older members glanced at each other astonished while the younger ones smirked and pounced on Taehyung, teasing him about his new clean ways. He tried to shrug it off as if this was a normal thing, but the way his brothers kept on bothering him made you understand that he was highly exaggerating. The maknae’s relentlessly joked around, making Tae blush a feverish red every time he glanced in your direction but voiced his protests loudly. A small smack earned a quick whip, which followed by yelps and groans, and the three of them jumbled into a bundle of arms and legs on the floor, tickling and fighting each other like bear cubs.

Taken by surprise, you could only laugh and hold your hand in front of your face in shock. You saw them like this a couple of times, but it was always surreal. They did behave in a playful manner when they were shooting things or tried to shake off the pressure, but at the end of the road, it was still amusing to see. A small part of your brain still remembered when you first saw these interactions as a fan on Youtube, marveling at their silliness. But then a music video came on and their attitude in those was in such contrast, so different than an average video of them messing around. And of course, all those crack videos that outdid anything and everything BigHit could ever think of, making you shake with laughter so hard your whole body clenched.

Namjoon had to raise his voice for the boys to stop wresting on the floor. The three of them emerged with tightly shut lips, still withholding giggles, red-headed from the struggle. Yoongi got up to his feet and stepped over Jimin’s legs and made his way to the kitchen.

“Y/n, are these for us too?” his small hand pointed to the trays of pastry.

“Hyung, there is no way you can eat more!” Jimin exclaimed.

“Maybe you can’t, but I will.” the maknae shot the dancer a smirk and got up to his feet, jogging to the rapper. He tore into the rows of rolls, picking up a glistening one from the middle. With a satisfied smile, he sank his teeth in before Yoongi hit his neck with the edge of his hand, making the maknae howl in dismay.

“Did she say you can have that you rascal?!”

Jungkook’s eyes grew a little before he turned to you, his head hanging a little from his neck, but you were already waving your hands in front of you.

“Don’t worry, they are for you. Well, partly. I’ll have to hand out a few to the neighbors apparently?” The two boys by the counter nodded and the older one got himself a new plate and grabbed three rolls. Your jaw dropped as you watched him take up his spot on the couch again.

“What, I like sweet things, okay?”

“How in the world will you fit all of those in?”

“Easy. Watch me.” And he proceeded to take a huge bite, tearing through coils of dough. The small rapper’s confident low smile formed into a surprised “o” as he chewed on, his eyebrows climbing on his forehead. “Ohwmahgowd.”

“Chew before you speak hyung!” Hobi shot him a scolding look, scrunching his nose in distaste. The rapper seized you up and down as if he saw you for the first time as he worked on his bite before he swallowed.

“You. You are not baking for anyone else ever again. These are only for us from now on. God, are all the other pastries like this?”

“Firstly, if I bake only for you, you won’t stay the same size for long. And what “other pastries”?” you shot him a sickeningly sweet smile.

“Oh, they are, aren’t they.” Yoongi grinned with a dark underline. “Taehyung, you better marry this one or I will!”

Many things happened at once: Kookie choked on his roll, Joon and Jimin yelled the eldest rapper’s name, Hobi looked at Tae, his mouth agape and Sejin curiously looked at your expression.

Taehyung was watching you too, his eyes a little wide, but he didn’t seem mad in particular. The topic of marriage was on his mind, but he never really brought it up. He knew he had to wait with it because of his career, he actually had a conversation about it with Sejin. Not having enough to go to the big man himself, he tried to seek solace with his manager. They talked into the night a few months ago and the man put all of his roaming thoughts and feelings into place by the end of it. It wasn’t time yet, he knew as much. And he knew that his hyung was only joking, hushing away the little irritation that sprung in his mind. What peaked his interest is how you would react to the topic and now it was brought up in a nonchalant way so he could observe without being in your field of study.

And you weren’t tense as he expected you to be. You cocked your head to the side, a slender brow arched as you monitored your challenger as a predator would. The look on your face was enough to make him want to squirm or press you against the floor at the same time. It was an interesting mix of shy discomfort and sensual lust you produced in him even though you weren’t looking at him, the battle of emotions clashing for a second before you uttered your reply.

“Don’t you think you miss a few centimeters to say things like that Yoongles?”

That did it, lust it is. Yoongi’s face started crumbling by the first part of the sentence, but the pet name you used coaxed an agitated sound from him and he retreated into a fit of giggles. The room erupted with roaring laughter and teasing, this time targeting the flushed rapper. Namjoon mouthed a sorry in your direction, but you shrugged, not minding the tease. Warmth appeared by your side and Tae put his arm around you, his torso shaking when Hobi stole one of Yoongi’s rolls as the older one protested.

When the fun died down, most of the boys got up and served themselves, some of the grabbing a drink, some going for the rolls.

“Drink or pastry Y/n?” Jimin shouted back to you as you stayed on your butt, letting them get whatever they needed.

“Jiminie, what kind of question is that? A rum and coke please!” A mischievous glint shone from his crescent eyes, yanking the fridge door open with a newfound enthusiasm. Sejin was sitting not far from you, shaking his head in quiet amusement. You shot him a questioning look, but he just waved in denial, not wanting to voice his thoughts.

The unmistakable sound of the bell cut through the chatter and you wondered who else could it be. Wasn’t everyone here already?

“Are we expecting anyone else?” Hobi glanced at you before he turned to Tae.

“Not that I know of. Tae?”

“I’m not sure… you think Bang PD dropped by?” He voiced his question to Sejin, but the man only shrugged.

“Well, I’m getting it anyway. We really should install a camera and a buzzer outside though.” The vocalist cleaned his hands, turning around the kitchen counter to stroll to the foyer.

“Yeah, cameras sound like a sensible idea. It never hurts to know who’s out there wanting to come in.” Sejin muttered under his breath, giving you a nod. “I can recommend the company who did the work for the dorms. They won’t ask any unnecessary questions, plus they do good security work too.”

“Yeah, I’ll accept a phone number.” Concern laced your voice as you pondered on the possible situation. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to let Tae open the door so frequently…

“Well, this makes sense.” Tae’s voice echoed from the porch. “Y/n, look what he sent!”

You got to your feet and walked over to him, meeting Taehyung by the windows as several pairs of eyes followed you. He held a huge light green colored pot in his hands, several blades of slender leaves shooting to the ceiling from it and a few deep purple colored flowers scattered among the greenery.

“Is that painted or is it the real color?” Namjoon’s eyes took in the flowers, his featured painted with wonder.

“I think it’s real. Those are calla lilies. I didn’t know you have those here.” You said, touching the thick petal cone carefully. “Who sent them?”

“Bang PD. He sent a note too. Where do you think we should put it?”

“No idea. I’m terrible with plants. I know this is a type that only blooms maybe once a year and it has to “rest” for a few months. You have to cut it all down to the bulbs or something like that.”

“Can I help with that? It sounds really relaxing.” Joon was standing next to you by the time he finished his sentence.

“Sure, I’m sure you’ll do a better job than me!” you chuckled a little at his face, his gaze still fixated on the plant in Tae’s hand. Transferring the pot into the leader's hand, the two of you watched in delight as he walked away, grabbing his phone and plunging into research mode.

The night stretched on from then, more and more of you switching to drinking from eating. The volume raised as time passed, laughter and shouting peppering the house with sounds. To ensure no dull moment happened, Tae showed Yoongi one of the cords to the speaker system installed in the walls and he gladly took on the role of the DJ, testing out several samples he made. It was a surprising selection of sounds, going from melodic notes to trap-y beats, then progressing into a heavier guitar filled mixes.

At some point Jimin and Kookie decided it was time to dance, coaxing Yoongi to play finished songs. The members fooled around, reminding you of old Gayo episodes, your drink shaking in your cup as you laughed with them. They really did have an extensive memory of the choreography’s they’ve learned, shoving off old moves, singing along. Songs like Rainism, Definitely You, Black or White made an appearance and you seriously considered setting up a full-blown camera system in the house to ensure recording such moments for your own personal amusement.

The literal last drop you could take was the Coming of Age Ceremony, shrieking into a pillow as Jimin and Jungkook mercilessly delivered the moves, earning howls and screams from all of you. Hobi fell off the couch in laughter, continuing on the floor and soon you found yourself next to him when Yoongi and Taehyung joined the two dancers, effectively killing you on the spot. The latter two weren’t even under the influence that much, Taehyung deciding not to drink that much and Yoongi...well, Yoongi handled his liquor surprisingly well.

Then when you calmed down a little, the boys got up and collectively left you in the living room, only Tae and Jimin staying with you. Before you could pull a proper answer for the reason from them, the men lined up between the kitchen and the living room, asking you to get up. You nervously did so, still not grasping what is going on. Taking a few unsure steps, you monitored them as sharpy as you could, sensing your tipsiness in your limbs. Their faces were trembling a little from the withheld giggling, trying to keep a straight face, their hands behind their backs. Only Sejin was smiling earnestly, and you wondered whether you should start with him, but Kookie stepped towards you to start off whatever was happening.

Without saying anything, he produced big bottles of some sort of cleaning product by the looks of it. You glanced at the bottles unsure and Hobi let out a whimper filled with giggles.

“Noona, you are doing a housewarming in Korea, didn’t you do your research?” The maknae teased you, feigning a scolding look.

“Well excuse you, I had to furnish a house enough to be able to present it to your royal ass!”

“Ah, such ignorance!” Kookie playfully rolled his eyes, but this time he got a smack from Namjoon, who stood next to him. “Okay, okay. We give out presents that help to house flourish. Things that come handy and make it more...I don’t know, homey? There are go-to things that are always present. This is one of those.” He held up the bottles to eye level, his hands not showing any struggle as he raised the heavy looking things so you could see them better.

“These are my favorite laundry detergents, use them wisely.”

“I’m sure she knows how to use detergent Kook-ah.” Jimin yelled from the couch, urging the maknae to get a move on.

“Thanks fluff!” You smiled at the maknae and he nodded seriously, giving you one of the bottles. Cracking the wrapping on the lid, you smelled the liquid and it carried a strangely familiar scent. Your eyes met the boy’s and he smirked understandingly.

“Yeah, I did his clothes too. It’s your job now!” Now it was your time to smack his arm and he devilishly cackled, springing the bottle back from you and putting them down on the counter.

“Okay, my turn.” Namjoon stepped up. “So, now you know why I was questioning you earlier.” You nodded, eyeing him closely. “But I went for a more familiar thing, so don’t worry. Here.”

His outstretched hand had a box set kind of thing in them. It was a longish box and you bent over to read the sign written across the front.

“Nooooo, you didn’t!”

“But I did!”

“Oh, come on, what is it?!” Taehyung asked from the couch. “He didn’t tell anyone what he’s getting, it’s been so annoying!”

You laughed out loud. It wasn’t a difficult guess, and it was the perfect present for you. The leader smiled at you warmly, like he understood how spot on his gift is. He probably did. The box was a special edition book set, the book’s spine collecting an image of a famous castle. A castle that you have been visiting ever since you were a little girl. And in true educational Namjoon style, it was in Korean.

“It’s a limited edition Harry Potter book set with Hogwarts on their spines.” You muttered under your breath, contemplating on how you always forgot to buy it for yourself. You would’ve gone for the English one, but this was more fitting for the occasion. Gently taking the set from Joon, you cradled the box to the window, placing it by the glass. Turning back to them, you hugged the leader tightly, who was surprised at first but returned the hug with a light chuckle. A few of them cooed, obviously enjoying your reaction.

“My turn, my turn!” Hobi thumped with his legs and he bounced a little in his spot.

“Yeah, sure...hey wait a sec. Shouldn’t you be standing right here with me?” You looked back at Taehyung.

“Well, technically yes, but I know what most of them are anyway. It’s more fun like this.” He grinned his boxy smile making you shake your head in defeat.

“Okay Hobi, shoot!” You looked back at the rapper. His eyes curled in delight and he wiggled a little more before he pulled his hand from the back. It was a long and really thin box compared to the others. The side he showed you was a completely white paper, giving you no clue what it was. You started to breathe in to voice your question, but then he flipped the box, giving you your answer. It was a long and wide picture frame. Well, not one, but several smaller frames joined together in one big piece. It wasn’t the usual shape or material either, but a warmly colored firm wood, it's shaping a snaking bundle of branches, reminding you of driftwood. It had such a random shape, there couldn’t be another like it. The slots for the pictures were empty, waiting to be filled in.

“I thought you could put this up somewhere and print out whatever pictures you liked. We have a lot of pictures of you too, probably Kook has the most. I would love to help you select if you'd like, maybe we could sit down sometime and scan through them.”

“Hobi…” That is as far as you got, flinging an arm around the dancer’s shoulders. He laughed loudly at first with the others, but quieted down a little, squeezing you with his free hand tenderly. “Choose them wisely little sister.” He murmured into your hair and you nodded. Freeing him from his gift, you held up the frame for a second before you put it on the middle of the TV set, giving it the attention it deserved.

“If you are going to do something like this, I’ll need a drink.” You eyed Yoongi warningly, feeling a little too emotional for all the chuckling that went around. He shot you his usual confident smile, raising only one of his shoulders nonchalantly.

“I kinda thought you would say that, so here you go.” His hands produced a long gift bag, a cork shaking by the mouth of it. “I was trying to figure out which flavor should I get, but you see, your boyfriend was not that much help.”

“I heard that!”

You laughed, still eyeing the cork.

“Yoongi, what is that?”

“Well, I’m not sure how to pronounce it. It’s that shot you kept saying I should try if we ever visit your place.”

“Pálinka? You got me pálinka?!

“Yeah, that.”

“What flavor? Yoongi, oh my God, I can’t believe you!”

You yanked the bottle free from the bag. He really wasn’t kidding, it was the brand you kept telling him about when you drank with him.

“It’s actually a nice choice. Honey plum is actually nice from this brand. It might be a little too sweet for you though. Not like the homemade stuff. But God, this is really good. Thank fuck I bought shot glasses.”

Your last sentence cracked a smile on his features and the two of you turned to the kitchen. He expertly opened the bottle and you laid down a few glasses before turning to the others.

“Who wants one?”

“Me!” Jimin raised a hand, but you already put down one for him.

“I’ll try one!” Joon chimed in.

“Me too!” Tae eyed the bottle.

“Ooh, Taehyungie is drinking a shot! This really is an occasion. Get me one too Noona!”

“Then we should make it a round for everyone. Sejin?” Hobi turned to the manager.

“I’m sorry everyone, but I’m driving you guys back to the dorms, I really can’t do shots.”

“That’s understandable. However tragic.” Yoongi muttered as he poured. You offered an apologetic smile to the manager.

“Okay, come on over here. Sejin, here is a glass with water.” You held up a shot glass and filled it with water from the sink and put it in his waiting hand. You jumped on the counter, sitting down by the row of glasses as Yoongi passed them out to each man.

“We can do this two ways. Either everyone raises their glass together, like you would usually, or everyone toasts with the other individually. If you go with the latter, you have to look the person in the eye.”

“Is that a Hungarian thing?” Jimin asked you.

“Umm, others could have the same tradition, but we definitely do that. Usually. Not always, not every single time. But don’t cross arms while clinking, that’s bad luck!”

“Well then.” He raised his glass in your direction, firmly looking you in the eye. You clinked your glass with his and then turned to Yoongi, who was closest to you and did the same. A few giggles slipped out as everyone tried to get the other’s glass, careful not to spill any of the alcohol. Once everyone was done, you swept a glance around, savoring their faces.

“Bottoms up people. Just a tip, if you breathe out before drinking it, it won’t bite as much. I won’t stand for an unfinished glass, mind you.”

With a practiced move, you downed the shot, feeling the familiar burn in your body. It spread nice and easy, the sweet flavor of honey and plum tingling against your tongue. Glancing up, you checked how the others were doing. Jimin true to his nature looked as if nothing happened, only a small tint of mischief returned to his eyes. Yoongi was looking at his empty glass, his tongue tasting the reminiscence of the drink on his lips and proceeded to smell the glass. Namjoon and Hobi pulled a face, the latter bouncing wildly after he swallowed. Kook let out a long sigh, his teeth pressed together, but nodded appreciatively, showing his glass to you.

Taehyung, on the other hand, coughed a little, his face turning a little pink and he struggled with the afterbite. He really did try not to pull a face, but it made it’s way free anyway. Lightly giggling, you pulled him closer, murmuring soothingly in his hair.

“Well, that was nice. I can see how you can accidentally get drunk on that.” Jimin pondered. “Another?” he smiled devilishly at you and Yoongi. The current eldest nodded and grabbed his glass as the others protested wildly. Tae shuddered against you, showing how much he disliked the idea.

Yoongi handed out the glasses to you and Jimin without a word, clinking automatically and the three of you emptied them again, wordlessly watching the others. When none of you pulled a face or made a sound, Yoongi smirked.

“Next time you go home, bring more of this thing, I’m intrigued.”

“Mhmm.” you hummed in a satisfied tone. “My other home you mean.”

“Yeah, the other one.” He grinned before he looked at Taehyung still clinging close to you. “We might have gone too hard on Taehyungie though.”

You glanced down at the top of his head. He situated next to your crossed legs, leaning his back against you, his head resting on your collarbone. Looking up, you shot Hobi a questioning look, but he was still giggling at something you missed. Catching Jimin’s eye, you motioned towards Tae in front of you and he seized him up and down before he pulled his hand horizontally by his neck.

Oops.

Letting the conversation run on without you, you bent a little so you could whisper in his ear.

“Hey, do you feel hungry?”

“Mmm, no, not really. Maybe water? Water sounds nice. Like you, you are nice too.”

“Oh, okay. So I’m nice huh?” You smiled to yourself. A filled glass appeared by you and you saw Sejin’s hand attached to it. Mouthing him a quick thank you, he smiled and gave you the glass. He watched you persuade Tae to drink the whole thing before he hugged you tightly, squeezing the air out of you. He mumbled something to you that made you blush. This was the signal the manager was looking for.

“Okay, boys, how about we wrap up here? You still have practice tomorrow. Well, today if we’re being precise.” A few whines flew by, but when Namjoon picked up on Sejin’s train of thought, he declared it is time to go, effectively ending the discussion.

Murmuring into Tae’s hair, you asked him to move to the couch a little, and he did, even if a little sluggishly. Dropping down on the pillows, he immediately fell on his back, stretching out on the soft cushions. Smiling at his lightweight way of drinking, you started to collect the glasses and dishes scattered as the others gathered their things. A few of them joined in and soon the dishwasher was filled again. Peeking at the pots, you saw that the spaghetti was completely gone, but there was some of the chili left. You saved two trays of the rolls to hand out tomorrow, so you put those in the fridge so it would stay soft longer.

The members gathered in the foyer, getting their shoes on. Jimin was tucking a blanket over Tae when you walked out to them to say goodbye. You exchanged hugs and good nights and soon the door clicked behind the men. You and Jimin watched as they made their way down on the steps, disappearing in the sea of bamboos.

“Nikka?” you asked without looking at him.

“Nikka.”

“Where?”

“Uh… we shouldn’t wake TaeTae. My room, maybe?”

“Okay, get the bottle, I get the glasses.”

Quietly moving around, you grabbed a tray of ice too and made your way to the room. Jimin already turned on the lights he liked so much, giving the cozy room a warm glow. You sat down on the floor by the windows, placing your back by the wall, curling your toes into the soft rug you chose. The dancer sat down next to you and opened the bottle with a sigh. You dropped a few ice cubes into the glasses and he poured the amber liquid over them.

“I let out Kilala if that’s okay. He was in that cage the whole evening anyway.”

“Yeah, that’s okay.” You nodded. “So…”

“Yeah, I know.” He touched his glass to yours and raised it to his lips. “You sure you want to get into this now?”

“I can do this whenever you need it Jiminie. But I don’t think you can drink any other time this week. You’ll have to look your best in a few days.”

“I just don’t want to burden you.”

“You’ll burden me if I have to work to get you talking. I won’t force you though, but I really hope you’ll try to talk about it.”

He let his head fall back against the wall, his eyes fixed on the ceiling. A small sound came from behind the bed, the small kitten playing with one of the toys Jimin bought him. A soft snore came from the door, signaling Tae’s deep slumber.

“Why did this happen to me?”

“I don’t think there is a particular reason. You are famous and the guy resembles you. That’s it.”

“Will he be punished?”

“I think so. He should be.”

“I… I don’t know how to talk about it. I’m not good with talking about… intimate stuff.”

“No one is, not really. And I hate that you have to do it. But you can always say that you are not comfortable answering or try to weasel out of answering it straight on. You know how to do that.”

“Mhmm…” he hummed, his eyes still on the ceiling. “You said that people want to believe it. What they saw, that that was me. Being like that, doing things. Why is that?”

It was your turn to drink. The whiskey was strong against your tongue, the ice mellowing its blow, but only a little. Mulling over your thoughts, you gathered your points.

“Mostly because it would be really juicy. People are somewhat aware that they don’t really know you. Sure, there are people out there, fans and non-fans, who think they have you figured out, but that’s not true. So when a weird opportunity comes when people think they can glance behind the curtain of showbusiness and peek at your actual life… it’s exciting. And usually, bad things stir more activity, because people are more responsive to bad news than good ones. I realize that that sounds awful, but I think people care more about bad things and not they aren’t vocal about good news, because it’s not theirs? We walk past good news so easily, only doing the bare minimum usually.”

“People are stupid.” He muttered into his glass.

“People are stupid.” You agreed. “But not everyone is like that.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your fans have been rallying ever since the bomb dropped. I didn’t check since I got on the plane to Hong Kong, but I bet they know BigHit made legal moves against those shitheads. And I bet they have been on the hunt for anyone who dared to be disrespectful towards you or the girls on the footages.”

“Because ARMY are good people.”

“And you are too. You know that, right Jiminie?”

He blew out another long exhale as if he was buying time not to answer you.

“Jimin. I’m serious. Do you think you did anything wrong?”

Kilala emerged from under the bed, his little mouth dragging a small staff with colorful feathers at one end sticking out in every direction possible.

“I… I should’ve done better.”

“Do what better?”

“I didn’t say anything about this whole thing. I should’ve gone on Twitter and leave ARMY a message. I must have done something in the past. Something that made people believe that I would be able to behave like that.”

“Jiminie, no. You didn’t do anything like that. Please believe me when I say that you haven’t done anything wrong to earn this.”

“But then why?”

He finally tore his eyes from the ceiling and his gaze met yours. His face resembled Taehyung’s, blank and empty, only his eyes filled with pain instead of tears. Only a small twitch in the corner of his mouth gave away his struggle.

You knew there were no words that could ease his questioning. It couldn’t be helped, because what happened wasn’t reasonable to him. It couldn’t be cleared up by logic or ideas or philosophies on human nature. He listened to your words, but he didn’t hear them, not really.

“Jiminie, what do you believe? Do you think your fans believe that shit?”

He kept looking at you, but your second question produced another twitch by his mouth.

“I… I think some of them did.”

“Oh, you know better than that. Try again. Do you think the people, who love you and support you. The people who wait for you, stick around in lines and camp out venues for weeks. The people who sing your songs back to you in concerts. The people who flood the internet to protect you and buy billboards for your birthday. Do you think they believe this?”

“No, not really. But you can’t say it hasn’t crossed their minds.”

“Yeah, sure. They probably thought it could become a nice fanfiction of sorts. But that's imagination, fantasies. Not real life.”

He chuckled dryly, swinging his head back to the wall, eyes still on you before he drank again.

“Did you read some of those?”

“What, fics?”

“Yeah?”

“A couple, sure. Why? Did you?”

“I started. Well, not really, I just searched for them. God, it’s scary. I never actually started to read them, just seeing the possibilities are enough.”

“Crazy, isn’t it. In a sense, a lot of those are their view on who you are, or who you could be. Each a representation of what they wish you to be. I hate to say it, but it must be a lot of pressure.”

“No, not really.” He shook his head. “I’m sure they have those ideas because of the things we do and make. I mean, most of the choreography is sexual in a way. And I get that, I have to. Even before training, dancing always had that edge. A body is just a body, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. But it’s so confusing sometimes.” He took a quick sip before continuing. “Like if it’s in choreography, I’m fine. It’s okay, a movement or a touch. But if someone would come at me under normal circumstances and not a performance, it’s so...different. Do you know how I mean?”

His eyes found you again, desperately looking for understanding.

“I kinda do. In most cases, I tended to squirm when it came to dancing with someone intimately. Maybe not on the outside, but I was definitely screaming on the inside. But it is really different than something romantic or physically… entertaining. It did reach a point when a movement became just a movement and it was nice to be free of the stress of it all.”

“Yeah, you have it the other way around.” He nodded, pulling his left leg up to have his arm rest on his knee. “And it is nice to get used to a sexier dance. The rush of reactions is always thrilling. I could almost imagine what it is like on the other side.” The dancer smiled a little to himself, pressing the cool glass against his cheek.

“I rather not go into what is it like on the other side. You guys torture enough as it is.” You chuckled, remembering the first time you saw them perform.

“Let me guess, what song?” He eyed you curiously. You laughed out loud, the title jumping to your head instantly, but you shook your head in defiance, facing the wall stubbornly. Kilala chewed on the feathers producing small cracking sounds.

“Ah, come on, don’t be like that. Or do you want me to try a few things to test what makes you react?!”

“Park Jimin, play nice!” You yelled, furiously glaring at him, huffing in astonishment.

“Its Blood, Sweat and Tears, isn’t it?” He smirked, taking a long shot of his drink, not taking his eyes off you to monitor your reaction.

“Of course BS&T is one of them as if you don’t know that!” you exclaimed defeated. He giggled violently, the first happy sound he made since you started talking. You rolled your eyes at him before you chuckled too.

“One of them, huh? Yeah, that era was nice. The clothes and everything. I really liked the make-up too.” He mused on.

“Mhmm.” You agreed with a pointed hum, not wanting to say anything more.

“We should really bring that back somehow. I bet the fans would love it.”

“Dear God, of course, they would. It would be devastating. Half of the world would become pregnant by the sheer thought.”

“You know, I usually forget that you were a fan first before we met you. But it really shows now.” His grin widened as he took in your flushed figure.

“You know, your Slytherin is really showing.” You sulked back, earning a heartfelt laugh.

You talked on a little more, reaching different topics as the sky started to color more light outside. Yawns strained your words and soon sleepy tears spilled as exhaustion hit the both of you.

“So, no shouting this time?” You tested the waters.

“No, I don’t think so.” He coaxed a small smile on his features. “But I’ll ask if I need it, okay?”

“You better.”

He helped you to your feet and you grabbed the empty glasses. Putting them back down in the kitchen, Jimin murmured goodnight before he retreated towards his room. But before he closed the door, he stood there, hesitating for a few seconds before he strolled back to you and enveloped you in a hug. Accepting the embrace, you tightened your arms around his small frame, letting his breathing become more deep and even.

He broke away soon and closed the door this time behind him, leaving you alone in the quiet house. Cracking your neck out, you spun around and walked to the couch. Taehyung spread out on the piece of furniture, his arms and legs stretched out in a funny way. You scooted down, laying on your side beside him and gently tried to wake him up.

Stroking his face for a few minutes didn’t really do much, but he did curl into the palm of your hand, making you smile at him. He kind of smelled like booze and you probably did too. It became more and more light outside, the sky reaching a light blue color by the horizon. This was your first morning here, in your new home. It seemed like it’ll be another sunny day, and you felt at peace as you watched the wind blew into the row of bamboos.

“Where is everyone?” a cracked murmur came from your hand.

“Gone, mostly.” You glanced down at him. “Jimin is in his room, and the others left a few hours ago.”

“I really shouldn’t drink. I knew I’ll be knocked out eventually.” He sighed a little, wincing at the fact that he fell asleep.

“Hey, this is the most peaceful way of being drunk that I’ve ever seen. It’s kinda cute actually.”

“You only say that to make me feel better.”

“Is it working?”

“Yeah, pretty much.” He chuckled into your hand before he bit a little on the edge of it. Not enough to make you yelp, but enough to get your attention.

“Let’s get up to our room, how does that sound?” He rumbled in a low voice.

You hummed in agreement, nuzzling closer to him. He swept a quick peck on your forehead before he carefully got up, testing his limbs first. Then he proceeded to take your hand, guiding you up the stairs, pulling you into the master bedroom and closed the door behind the two of you.

Chapter Text

Chapter 18

An alarm went off somewhere in the room, earning an irritated moan from you. The ringing kept going on and on and finally coaxed you to sit up. Sun was shining through the naked windows, glittering on the hardwood floor. Specks of dust danced under the rays of sunlight. You heard water running somewhere near as if someone was taking a shower.

Your lips felt dry, tongue plastered on the roof of your mouth, hair curtaining your face in random strands. Your fingertips felt weirdly dry, even though you never need to moisturize them. Your body felt slow, your movements crude.

I need water. Like, loads of water.

Guessing that probably Tae was occupying the shower, you placed your feet on the floor, carefully calculating what to do next. Jimin should be somewhere around the house, so you need to get dressed. Grab a glass of water as soon as possible. Unpack the stuff in Tae’s room, possibly wash the curtains and then there is your suitcase too.

But first, where the hell is that alarm coming from?

With a grunt, you got up and seized up the surrounding surfaces around you to find nothing that resembled a phone. The sound was sort of echo-y, so you peaked in the bathroom to find it by the sink. Quickly swiping the alarm away, you turned out of the room and scrambled to your suitcase to search for something appropriate to wear. With a bra and a loose tank top on, you took a pair of sweatpants from Tae’s pile of stuff and made your way down to the kitchen.

Rubbing your eyes as you walked, you made the turn from the kitchen counter to the sink to find Jimin already there, gulping down a tall glass of water with only pants similar to yours on. He hummed a greeting towards you and you nodded in return. Without saying anything, he held up a full glass in your direction and you accepted it with appreciative sounds. Downing the glass, you took a seat on the counter, head supported by the wall.

“What time is it?” you asked the dancer with eyes closed.

“Almost 10 am. We need to get back to BigHit before noon.” he muttered half-heartedly.

“Hmm, okay. I can whip together a breakfast if you want some.”

He hummed again in response, making you look at him. It seemed like he didn’t really realize how undressed he is in your presence. Not yet anyway. The grey pants hugged his hips lovingly, the material loosely forming out his well-built thighs. One of his elbows was on the counter as be bent forward a little, eyes glued to nothing in particular on the wall.

Not questioning him further, you jumped off the counter and collected a few things in your head to make a light breakfast for them. Keeping in mind that Sejin said something about doing their practices you guessed that they’ll be dancing soon. Your fingers wrapped around a carton of eggs, a pack of pre-sliced ham and shredded cheese. Switching to robot mode, you put on two pans, greased them up, lined up the ham to bed the pan for the eggs and then cracked two open over each pan. Sluggishly reaching for the salt and pepper, you sprinkled some on, turned the heat lower and sat up on the counter again.

While you were busying yourself, Jimin silently collapsed on the couch and groaned in one of the pillows, earning a light chuckle from you. With his back turned to the ceiling, the curve of his torso whimpered a few times as he whined on.

“Jimin-ah, I can hear your moaning all the way up here!” The sound of steps came from the staircase before Tae’s fluffy head of hair appeared on the other side of the counter. He had a baggy white shirt on, drops of water scattered around his neck and shoulders, making the material stick to his skin. He probably just finished drying his hair by the looks of it, the texture of it flying in all directions everytime he moved.

“Cheese or no cheese?” You gestured to the pans. A muffled sound came from the couch which you took as an agreement rather than disapproval. You gave one of the pans a generous amount of cheese, then searched for the other answer you didn’t get yet. The man on the other side of the aisle glanced at the stoves, then to you with a curious look. But instead of an answer, he quickly made his way to you, feet tapping in tight beats, arms flinging around your frame, furiously hugging the air out of you.

“Woah woah, careful there!” You laughed, cradling your tummy full of water.

“Did that hurt?”

“Nah, I’m okay, just full of water.”

“Headache?”

“None. You?”

“Nuh-uh, I’m fine. I guess I slept it off yesterday.”

He nuzzled closer for a second before he pulled away, glancing at the food and deciding to get two plates for you.

“So that’s a no cheese for you?”

“Mmm, yeah.”

Gently sliding the cooked eggs on the plates, you handed one to Tae, turned off the stoves and walked to the couch to give Jimin the other one. He quickly sat up, accepting the food with a quick bow and tore into it.

“So, what’s happening today?” You nested yourself into the corner of the couch, your eyes working their way from Jimin to Taehyung, both of them chewing loudly with an occasional hum. The older one was sitting close beside you, his thigh meeting your feet, but he didn’t seem to mind the casual touch. Tae, on the other hand, stayed in the kitchen, wolfing down his food standing near the fridge.

“We need to go as soon as possible to the studio.” Tae began.

“Dance practice at noon.” Jimin continued.

“Then vocal exercises.”

“Then some recording for the album.”

“Then a run-through for the interview on Saturday.” This earned a little shudder from the dancer by your curled toes.

“I’ll probably work-out after that.” Jimin mumbled between two bites.

“And I have a song I want to work on.” Tae’s eyes were wandering outside to the garden. “But I’ll be back as soon as I can, I promise.” He turned to you, a serious expression on.

“You don’t have to do that.” You shook your head. “It’s okay to do what you would be doing anyway. I have a few things to do here, plus packing my stuff away.”

“But I want to pack too. It’s not just your job to do that.”

“You’ll pack when you can. Work comes first. I can take care of things here.” Jimin got up from the couch and placed his empty plate in the dishwasher, making it full with last night’s load. He turned without looking at Taehyung, still grubby from the little sleep he had. Scooting back on the couch, he arranged his body to curl beside yours, his head landing in your lap. A slight surprise didn’t escape you, but you didn’t say anything, automatically stroking his silky hair and he made happy sounds for the first time this morning.

“Jimin-ah, what do you think you’re doing?” Tae chuckled a little, his brows raised in amusement and surprise. The dancer twisted one arm around your knee in protest as if he knew what is coming next.

“I guess he doesn’t want to leave?” You glanced down at him. A sharp nod was all you got in return.

“Yeah, that won’t do. Let me help.” With a sly smile, Tae made his way to the two of you, grabbing one of Jimin’s feet and yanked him closer to the edge of the couch. This made your pants move lower on you with the dancer’s hand and Jimin shrieked in surprise before he tried to wiggle out of Tae’s hands. Which turned out in the latter’s favor, switching his hold from his feet to his left ankle, securing it close to his torso and tickled the trapped feet with a devilish cackle.

“Taehyung-AAH!” A wild sound made its way from the dancer’s mouth peppered with fits of giggles. “LetmegooAAH! NOW!”

“I am NOT going to be late because of you Park Jimin!” Tae wrestled with the shaking leg that tried to kick it’s way free. “Get your pretty ass moving before I pinch it purple!”

“You wouldn’t dare!” Jimin gasped out, making you burst. The ordeal went on for a few more seconds before both of them ran out of air and Tae let Jimin go with a satisfied smile. They panted, Jimin glaring at the younger one while Taehyung merely smiled in his direction, waiting for his next move. But it never came.

“I’m getting ready. Y/n, thank you for the breakfast, it was really good.” You nodded with a suppressed smile. “Leave in 20 minutes?” The two man’s gazes locked again.

“15.”

“You’re not going to be late.”

“I know I’m not. That’s why it’s 15.” Tae hopped down beside you on the couch, still smiling. “By the way, since when don’t you wear a shirt with girls around?”

“What, what do you mean?” Jimin genuinely seemed confused for a split second.

“I think he means me.” You pointed to your own head. The dancer looked at you, still uncertain. When your finger moved from yourself to his torso, he looked down. A deep growl ripped it’s way through his throat, flexing his abdomen, his head hanging a little before he produced the cutest angry sound the world has ever heard.

“Yeah, I can make coffee to go with that sleepiness if you want.” You grinned.

“No, thank you. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.” He scurried towards his room, head still hanging.

“I don’t mind, don’t apologize!” You shouted after his disappearing figure.

“Oh, look at him swaying those hips!” Tae teased on.

“I’m NOT swaying my… wait, did you say I have a pretty ass?!” His bewildered face made a reappearance in the back of your vision.

“You most definitely do Jiminie!” You winked in his direction. Another agitated sound was your reward.

“You two are made for each other!!”

“We know.” The two of you replied in unison before a roar of laughter split you in half.

“He has the worst reaction times when he’s sleepy.” You noted, still smiling to yourself.

“When did he go to sleep?”

“Um, around when you woke up on the couch. I guess around 3-4ish? The sun was coming up, so maybe later.”

“Yeah, that’s not enough. He’ll be like this all day.” Tae sighed.

“He’s not that bad. Just a little forgetful.”

“Yeah, wait until he has to dance.”

You shot him a questioning look, clearly not understanding what he means.

“He doesn’t forget the moves if that’s what you think. He just reverts to contemporary dance lingo and gets irritated if we don’t follow. Hobi usually translates. But I have no idea how, but he somehow came to understand all that.” Tae moved his hands as he spoke, turning and twisting them as he tried to communicate the feelings he had about the lingo thing. “Plus the interview thing is still on his mind until it’s all said and done.” He sighed, sliding down just enough so his head would rest on your shoulder.

“We talked yesterday after the others left. I’m not sure how much good did it do.” You turned your body towards his, weaving your arms together. “I think he tries to find reason behind it all. As if he did something to earn it. He said so himself that he probably didn’t do good enough if people can believe things like this about him. I tried to talk him out of it, but…”

“But he didn’t hear it, right?” He finished your sentence. “Yeah, he does that sometimes. He understands what you’re saying, but it doesn’t reach him, he doesn’t feel it ring true yet.”

Silence followed his words as the two of you contemplated over the whole thing. Small whimpers came from the edge of the couch signaling Kilala’s need to get up and Tae swiftly raised his torso, scooped up the kitten and laid back in one motion. The kitten tested his paws on the soft cushions, releasing his little claws a few times before he started jumping around, playing a hunting game with Tae’s toes. He played along, raising his leg into the air, yanking it from one side to the other, flexing his body as he supported himself laying on his back.

Realizing that 15 minutes is not only for Jimin, but for him too, you sat up.

“Do you need to pack something?” You looked at him with a slight alarm. “Changing clothes for practice or anything?”

“My bag is on the stairs, all done. Relax little fox, we still have time.” His big hands wrapped around the small kitten, raising him in the air and nuzzled his nose into the furry head of the cat. Claws flew by in protest and he released Kilala, putting him back on the floor. “I should get Tannie meet his little brother. What do you think? Should I pick him up today?”

“Mmm, I have no idea. I heard that pets need time to get used to each other. How did the others react to Tannie when you took him home?”

“Um, nothing really happened. But he never met a kitten. And both of them being boys...we’ll see I guess. I’m sure they’ll get along like their parents are.” He gave you a sunny smile, stretching out his body for a second on the cushions. “Will you be okay, staying here? I’m sure the others wouldn’t mind you tagging along.”

“I’ll be fine Tae, don’t worry about me. Me living here shouldn’t disrupt the way you were doing things. There is a lot to do here, and I should check on my own investments too. I have to think about a lot of things, arranging for life here instead of Europe. I haven’t even told Drina yet.”

“But she knows, she helped me with the bed, remember?”

“Yeah, but that’s different. We won’t be living close to each other anymore, and I have tickets to gigs this summer that I don’t know what to do with. My routines will adjust and I…”

“What routines?” He curiously looked up, his eyes clouding with something you couldn’t place yet.

“Oh, I don’t know… Like when a movie comes out, I usually drop a message to the group chat and get tickets for the group of us. It’s this little thing, hanging out and then discussing what we thought, or how different it was in the comic. Stuff like that. I’m not sure about what concerts are when, what kind of artists you get here. I don’t know, my mind is all over the place, I’ll have to work through it.”

“I’m sorry about that.” His gaze dropped. “I didn’t really think about things like that. I don’t want to tear you away from your friends and...”

“Taehyung, you’re not. I have been living there only partly anyway. And if I honestly think about it, Drina will probably move here at some point too. I just have to find my rhythm here, that’s all.”

His gaze was still downcast, one of his fingers drawing circles into the skin on your arm.

“You’re not concentrating on the right things Tae. Like how you are going to work and I’ll be here when you’re done.” You murmured, trying to cheer him up.

“What tickets do you have?” He asked suddenly.

“What do you mean? Concert tickets?” He nodded. “Oh, um… I’ll have to check, but there is Disturbed in June, I think, then there’ll be Skillet somewhat later. All in Budapest. And I think Drina got something too, but that’s more anime/K-pop music, maybe a few days after Disturbed? See, this is why I have to talk to her, she has these things down in a calendar and I just rely on her to know.”

“I think you should still go. I mean, it’s just a day away, right? We could even visit you there, I’ll ask Sejin about the schedule.”

“Bangtan, visiting me in Budapest? That sounds like a rave.” You suppressed a smile, imagining what could it be like. “I’m not sure BigHit would allow all of you though, don’t you have a comeback lined up soon?”

“Well, yes, but these things aren’t that long. 6 weeks of promotion, a few tour dates after. We’ll have to do a Bon Voyage after, but I don’t know if we have a destination yet. Even if there is one, we won’t know until the last minute so they could shoot it. I think it’s possible to get away for a few days in Europe. Do you have Korean tourists there? In your home?”

“Yeah, actually quite a lot. I have this cafe right in front of a famous church that I visit a lot, just to chill and work, so I wouldn’t spend too much time at home. It’s really touristy outside and there are a lot of groups, many Korean too. I made a habit of listening to their orders just to hear some Korean. It was nice.”

“We wouldn’t stand out that much then.” Tae wondered on. “How about ARMY? Do you see them on the street?”

“Uh… now that I think about it not really. Like there is this girl I saw a few times a week not too far from my place with a facemask on, sometimes with a bag full of k-pop merch, but that’s about it. I’m sure there are some, they are everywhere. I don’t think there is a corner on this Earth where you don’t have any fans.”

“Yeah, the power of Bangtan.” He smiled confidently, amazement peppering his features. “That is kind of ideal really. We really should visit you. A little downtime after all the craze. And I could help you pack things that you wish to be here instead of there.”

You hummed along, thinking about the possibilities. It would probably do them a little good, not getting recognized and screamed at constantly, walking the streets and casually hanging out as normal people would. Not that you thought that it’s possible, the company wouldn’t let them go just like that. Even when the comeback is done and their tour ends, they’ll still have loads of work left. Jin is close to getting back from his service too, doubling the expectations for them by their fans.

But it would be nice though.

“Taehyung-ah, are you going to make me wait for you?” Jimin’s voice traveled from the foyer.

“Well look at that, all dressed and ready to leave!” Tae teased back, getting up from the couch. “Do we need to pick things up for you at the dorm?”

The dancer shook his head.

“No, Hobi has my things with him. We should get going.”

Hearing his urgency, you got up too and made your way to them. You hugged Jimin and let him take a few deep breaths before he opened the front door and hopped on the porch outside.

“I’ll text you when I have time okay?” Tae intertwined his fingers with yours. “I think I should be back before it gets too late. Maybe drop by the dorm to get my things here.”

“Okay. Now get going before you get in trouble!” You shot them a smile, already feeling a little lonely.

“Y/n, can I drop by sometimes?” Jimin asked, his body still turned towards you as they made their way down the stairs hugged by the bamboo.

“Sure you can. Any of you can. Just let me know, so I have time to get your room ready, okay?”

“Yeah, thank you! Have a good day!”

Their goodbyes flew by your ears as the door closed. You were still standing on the porch as you heard the car’s engine rev up and the pebbles creaking under the tires as Tae drove off. Consumed by your sudden aloneness, you stood there for several minutes, eyes lost on the greenery around you. You probably would’ve stood there for a while if not for the cool air raising goosebumps on your skin.

Cranking your neck both ways, you went inside and closed the door. Walking to the kitchen, you tidied up a bit, finding the cleaning process soothing for your raging emotions. You didn’t really understand them, why it caused you such a stir. The range went from sadness to loneliness, feeling the empty house bore down on you, still unfamiliar to you. But there was some frustration too, your mind still generating things for you to do, to arrange. It was an utterly displaced emotion because you have been daydreaming of living together, to have your own space just for the two of you. And now you were there, it was everything you’ve ever hoped for and still, this irritation tugged at you and you couldn’t really name the reason for it.

Maybe it was just your constant struggle with change. This was one hell of a leap. Maybe it was an unconscious fear due to your foreign exchange year. There were years after you got back when the sheer thought of living somewhere else repulsed you. And it made sense at the time, you were barely a teenager. You had to rebel against something.

The kitchen soon became spotless, the dishwasher quietly murmuring as it cleaned the aftermath of last night. You strolled to Jimin’s room, finding the bed made, his things put away in the chest. It made you smile how considerate he was, the few things he left nicely tucked away and out of your way. He even arranged Kilala’s things too, which you came looking for. Scooping up the bowls, his food, and litter, you thought about where to keep these.

His bowls lined up by the door and you refilled them, luring out the kitten with the noises the bag of food made. He happily started munching on and you petted his little body. The litter ended up behind the couch and you were thankful that is was the kind that closed off all bad smells inside.

For the biggest task at hand, you opened up the door to Tae’s room. It was full of unpacked bags, boxes from yesterday, filled with all kinds of things for the house. Most of the kitchenware was already unpacked, but the rest was all here. Decorations, curtains, all kinds of textiles, smaller tools… the list went on an on. You decided to break them up, putting the things in their designated room first and then unpack them there, making the task smaller.

When all cloth and textiles were in the room upstairs with the washing machine, you removed the tags and placed the compatible ones in the machine. You already got Kook’s detergent upstairs, and you wondered how to get the machine to work when you noticed a note attached to one of the bottles. Kookie’s slanted handwriting unraveled from the other side of the paper, penning down his favorite settings for each kind of wash, leaving you small comments along the way. It was such a cute little thing to do, but very adult at the same time, it made your heart clench for a moment.

Following his advice, the machine came to life as water flooded the curtains inside. The rest of the day went by as you worked your way through several wrappings, untagging things and either washing them or putting them away. Somewhere around 2 pm, you realized how many things are still missing, so you pulled out your phone and started on listing furniture and accessories. And then your own things at home that you needed to move to the other side of the world.

Sadness tugged at you again. It was stupid and as your heart irritated your mind, you sat down on the floor in the bedroom, numbly staring at the stairs.

Knowing full well how inevitable your emotions are, you decided to live through them rather than bottling it up. Your mind raced as you let go, showing off your home, images of your friends, memories sweeping you up and dropping you down. How the little, comforting things you did are fading into your new life and the strange unfamiliarity scared you.

Creature of habit never sounded so bad then right now.

It was laughable how your psyche chose to show the nice and good things and skipped the bad. Because it wasn’t all cookie dough and candy land, of course not. Taking a turn, you remembered how it was like living with your mother. How you were angry and on edge all the time. How no one believed you when you were a little girl and how you spat your frustrations out at them when you became older. How they kept blaming you for not taking the abuse silently, turning you into a whiny brat instead of helping you. And how quiet it all the sudden got when you left. A bubble bursting, the safety net of a family gone. And an inescapable fear taking the rage’s place, a nervousness of when will they find you and drag you back into that never-ending cycle of mistreatment and unlovedness. Not that is was possible or relevantly achievable.

But there were instances when you heard your mother showed up somewhere, looking for you. Stories floated back from old colleagues how she stormed the place, demanding you to show yourself and answer her. Or your friends reaching out that she has sent notifications through Facebook or Instagram. Sometimes she even tried to mascarade as a different person and befriend you on social media. As if you would accept a friend request from a complete stranger.

An agitated sound came from downstairs, making you snap back into reality. Kilala was pleading, his meows echoing with the washing machine. You noticed how wet your top felt against your skin before it dawned on you that you have been crying. A hiccup escaped your cracked lips and the penny dropped: the kitten was scared because he didn’t understand the noises that you made. Because you were making noises. Because you were crying.

This won’t do. I shouldn’t be doing this.

Scrambling to your feet, you slowly descended the stairs and found the kitten by the lowest step, his paws drumming on the wood. Sitting down beside him, you picked him up and let him roam around your lap. His weight shifted on his legs as he seized up his new surroundings, sometimes a claw scratching your skin through your pants. Your shaking breath slowed down somewhat, your chest not as tight anymore. Kilala scurried around for a few more seconds before he started to edge on your legs, looking for a way to get back down. Extending your legs, you let him used them as a slide and he hopped off by your ankles, walking back to Jimin’s room with a flicking tail.

Your phone buzzed somewhere in the distance. You didn’t check it at all so far, so it could be full of notifications, but you didn’t really care. A day should go by easily without having you in it. The buzzing went on, indicating that it was an incoming call instead of a notification. Sighing deeply, you got up and went after the sound. You found the phone on the kitchen counter, moving against the smooth surface.

“Yes?”

“Hi Y/n, is this a bad time?”

“Oh, hi Hobi, no, what’s up?”

“Nothing really, I just wanted to check on you. We’re done with practice and the run-through and I have a little time, so I decided to call you. Is everything alright, your voice is a little funny?”

“Yeah, I just… I just let go a little I guess. Nothing to worry about. How are you?”

“A little tired. But it feels good, I feel prepared now. The run-through was a kind of tough, but it will get better.”

“How was Jimin? Is he okay?”

“Yeah, mostly. He’s somewhat tense. But nothing we haven’t seen so far. Do you want someone to drop in?”

“No, there is no reason to. Why are you so worried?”

“It’s not really worrying. I just thought about what it’s like for you now and I guess it got me a little sad. I hope you’re not sad. I wanted to make sure, but now you sound like this and I think someone should go there…”

“Hobi, you’re really sweet and I appreciate it. But I have to get the hang of things on my own. I’m not even sure what is going on. You have it busy as it is. I won’t add to that, especially not when I can handle it.”

“Y/n, did you eat anything?”

“What, why?”

“Because I think you didn’t.”

“I…” He was right. You made breakfast, but none for yourself. Since they left, you were constantly moving. It didn’t even occur to you, hunger escaping you completely. “Okay, you got me there, but I honestly wasn’t hungry. That happens you know.”

“Sure, but still. You need to take care of yourself. Or else all of us will start to worry, not just me.”

“Yeah, hell no. I can take one of you, but not all seven.” You chuckled dryly. “I’ll send a picture, okay?”

“Mmm, okay.” He paused, clearly wanting to say more, but not sure how to vocalize it. Not wanting to ponder on the subject, you asked:

“What do you think, when will you and Kook have time to go over some photos to choose from?”

“Oh, right. I’m not sure, I’ll ask Sejin. I’m sure there will be a few hours one of these days. Kookie wants to go over anyway to hang out with you. He has been bothering Taehyungie all day about it.” Small laughter colored his words as he talked about the maknae.

“Why, what does he want?” You smiled into the phone’s microphone.

“He wants to be around his Noona, there isn’t anything specific as far as I know. It’s perfectly normal, I miss my own Noona all the time too.”

“Ah, okay. I guess I learn what that is like then. I never really got into the whole sibling love thing with my own sister.”

“Yeah, I guess not. Fear not, you won’t be able to escape the golden maknae. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were on his way now. He was the first lined up for vocals, and I haven’t seen him for a while now.”

“Yeah, right. As if he would be that…”

“Y/n?” You didn’t answer the rapper. “Are you there?”

“Jung Hoseok. Who rang the bell just now?”

A funny sound came from the speaker, somewhere between a grunt, a choke, and laughter. You quickly jogged to the bathroom next to the stairs to check how you looked, never having the chance to clean up your tear ridden face.

“Hobi, I have to go. If it’s Kook, he is getting an earful.”

“That is basically why he would be there though.” He was doing his best to suppress his chuckles. “Have fun!” And with that, he disconnected the line. You threw the phone on the counter and washed your face as the bell rang again. Drying yourself, you rubbed your skin a little to coax a healthier shade of pink on yourself. Grabbing your shoes, you cursed about not having a camera outside or a buzzer with a camera system. Sprinting down in the garden, you shook your head a few times, trying to pull your head together for whatever was waiting for you on the other side of the door.

“L/n Y/n, there are no messages. No missed calls. No literal sign of you trying to get in contact with me. Care to explain?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 19

“L/n Y/n, there are no messages. No missed calls. No literal sign of you trying to get in contact with me. Care to explain?”

“I… uh” You eyes took in your friend’s figure, her face pulled into mock anger you knew there is no need take seriously. “I got busy? I guess?”

“Like hell you were! And I hear Jimin has a room? Do I have a room?!”

“Jimin has a room?!”

“Kook, you sit this one out.” You shot him a warning glare, making him duck his neck a little. “So… I’m not sure whether you have a room or not. Why, did you bother to get a bed for that too?”

“Oh, you liked it? I thought it was quite…”

“H/n Adrienne. You knew. All of them knew. They have an excuse for keeping it from me. But you. You. Who’s side are you on anyway?” Keeping appearances, you crossed your arms, hips sassily stuck out to the side. “And this is how you show up?” You motioned towards her casually dressed figure, plastered in something that strongly resembled a pajama set. Kookie was hiding his body mostly behind the car parked by your garage, his head yanking from you to Drina as if he were watching a tennis match.

“I’m not entirely empty-handed if that helps.”

“What is your bribe this time?”

She held up a see-through bag for you to see. It was filled with junk food from home, ranging from sweets to your favorite chips. Two cans of Rehab lay on the bottom of the bag too.

“There is a small Haagen Dazs in there too. And the half baked Ben&Jerry’s.”

“Acceptable, now move your ass inside.” She sprinted by you, leaving the maknae standing by the car. “Shouldn’t you be working this time of day? The sun is up and everything. Legend says members of Bangtan never see the light of day before a comeback.”

“I only did what was in my schedule. I had to pick up Drina, it was basically in my job description.”

“Uh-uh. And what’s next in your so-called schedule?”

“Make sure you eat a proper meal. Hobi texted me.” He had a paper bag in his hands too, making you narrow your eyes at him.

“Do you plan to boss your Noona around? On her first proper day in Seoul?”

“Well, if that’s what it takes.” He rolled his shoulders back, a determined glint crawling to his eyes. “I did everything and more on my schedule for today, getting up really early, so yes, I’m taking care of you if you won’t.” Without further explanation, he made his way to the door only to be stopped by your extended arm. For a tense second, he stood there, misunderstanding you before you pulled your arm on his waist, leading him inside.

“You don’t get fake arguments, I got that much.”

“Fake what… wait, none of that was real?”

“Nah, we were playing. Mostly. It had to be said, but it was in good faith, so there is no reason to be actually angry.”

“Girls are weird.”

“That we are. You really have nothing after picking her up?”

“No, I did my workout, did my practices, I might’ve finished a song and had time to record a little with Yoongi hyung. The sun is also setting, so your point is good too.”

“Wow, you are not kidding. Finished a song?”

“Yeah, I’ll hear back from the producers in a few days whether it’s actually good enough or not. But I think I did well. I worked hard on it for a long time.”

“I bet it’s amazing fluff. And what’s in the bag?”

“Healthy food, no junk. And you are eating this before that trash.”

You reached the foyer, pulling your shoes off as Drina was loudly commenting on upstairs.

“You went for hygge, seriously? In Korea? How random can you be?”

“Shut it you menace, where is my ice cream?”

“In the freezer you barbarian. I want the room with the balcony looking at the tree, just so you know.” She jogged down the stairs, yanking the paper bag from Kookie, making her way to the kitchen. “So, are you done crying alone in your brand new house?”

“Crying?” Kook’s eyes zeroed on your face, his expression dropping from casual to serious within a heartbeat.

“Nice, you scared the fluff. And for your information, it was just a few minutes. Nothing serious.”

“Yeah, right. Why do you think I brought out the big guns?” She was holding up the two small tubs of ice-cream on the inner side of the kitchen counter before she put them back in the open freezer. You rolled your eyes as you walked to the couch, dropping down on it dramatically.

“I don’t get it, why cry?” The maknae stood between the kitchen and the living room, still dumbstruck.

“Kook-ah, you lived in a different country for a while, right?” He nodded to your friend’s question. “Well, remember your first day. You had to live up to certain expectations, being brave and collected. A foreign land with really foreign things. Now imagine a similar situation, but not as a temporary condition, but living there for real.”

The man swept his eyes from her to you and then back to Drina. His eyes were a little scared, his understanding standing on shaky legs.

“But she is not alone, she has us. And she speaks the language…”

“Sure she does. And yes, you are here. Well, mostly. You live here too. But you work a lot. And travel all the time. Promote and tour and film some other stuff. When do you think she lost it today?”

“I’m sitting right here...”

“I don’t think she…”

“Not right away. I bet she tried to busy herself, hence why the place is freaking spotless a day after moving in. Look at this kitchen, like a set from a TV series. Anyway, a little freaking out is totally within bounds. No attacks I gather?” She turned to you, a hint of seriousness lacing her last sentence.

“Nope, just a wandering mind and an empty house. Well, except for this little fellow.” You motioned to Jungkook’s legs, making him produce an agitated sound before he realized Kilala was beside his ankle. Drina shrieked before she wrapped a hand around her lips, making her way to Kook’s legs and dropping down to her knees right before him, earning a blush from the maknae. You shot him a knowing smile, deepening the color.

“Careful now, let him have his space.” You warned your friend. She hushed you, her fingers gently caressing the small furball. Kookie stepped away, his hands reaching the paper bag on the counter, packing its contents on the counter.

“Noona, come and eat. I got a set of gyoza, the kind with pork, a tonkatsu curry and two balls of mochi. I have some instant noodles and soup in the car too.”

“Okay, okay. Gimme.” He brought all the containers to the coffee table, placing them down in order close to you before he settled down too besides you. Drina was still on her knees, playing with the kitten, giving him her full attention. “There is a room by the stairs, you can find toys by the windows if you want some.” She nodded, accepting your words, but stayed in her place nonetheless.

“Ittadakimaaas!” You split the chopsticks Kookie gave you and started munching on the gyoza.

“Noona, are you really lonely here?” The maknae’s voice shook a little, his eyes tearing into the rug on the floor.

“Fluff, it’s my first day here. I’m not really lonely, I’m just a little…”

“Shell-shocked.” Drina finished for you.

“It’ll pass and I’ll be back to normal. It’s just a lot to process. I don’t even know what to do with my place back in Europe. I don’t want to sell it. And I don’t know what will I need here. So should I just bring everything or half of it here and the rest left behind?”

“I think you should keep it. Put on stronger security, maybe make it an Airbnb. There are companies who take care of apartments and houses like that for a small cut.” Drina muttered as Kilala climbed her knees, her eyes full of warmth for the kitten.

“That’s a good idea. Ah, Drina, what concerts do we have tickets to? Tae said I should still go, but I have no idea how will my summer look like if I do.”

“Uuum, I think we only have 3 for the summer. Like within 2 weeks, maybe 3? I’ll check, but it should be reasonable. You could get the things you want to bring back here, party with me and don’t forget the wedding.”

“Oh fuck, I did forget.” The last dumpling dropped from your chopsticks.

“What wedding?” Kookie queried.

“One of my friends is marrying his girlfriend. After like… 6 years, I think?”

“So you have to go back, he’ll have your head if you don’t.”

“Yeah, yeah. Right.” You stared at the picture frame Hobi got you. “And I still need to get a dress for that.”

“I bet Tae would love to attend with you too. Did you ask him?” Drina murmured, her back on the floor as she played on with the kitten.

“If he doesn’t want to, can I go? I’ve never been to a European wedding!” Kook queried, his voice lurking with a tease.

“I highly doubt the company would ever let anyone of you go to an overseas wedding. It would be really interesting though. How they would mix.” You gave a knowing smile to Drina and she chuckled at the idea. You dug into the rice, mixing it with the curry before diving in a big bite in your mouth. The tingling spices felt amazing after not eating for so long.

“What do you mean, mixing?”

“Well, my group of friends is kind of… well, not weird.”

“I would say intimidating at first. Then bafflingly idiotic and quirky. And geeky, God, I could never follow a full conversation without Y/n doing verbal subtitles for me.”

“That description fits Bangtan too if you think about it.” You added, amused at the parallel.

“We’re not intimidating!” The maknae exclaimed.

“Of course you’re not, biggest K-Pop sensation BTS. Chart-topping, world-touring, record-breaking septet from Korea with literally millions of fans all over the world. Nothing daunting there.” Your friend stretched on her side on the cool floor, she torso vibrating with her chuckles.

“Yeah, I second that. There are so many memes about not being afraid of anyone or anything in the world, except for BTS stans, it’s crazy. And undoubtedly true.”

“Mmm, they would be able to pull off the perfect murder, easily. And lead a country, if it benefited you guys. Without a question.” Drina added with a serious tone, but her features betrayed her amusement.

Kook shook his head, his lips twitching against a smile. He took off his baggy sweater, revealing a long black tank top and laid down beside you on his belly, comfying up with a pillow tucked under his chest for support. A few seconds flew by in silence as if he was waiting for your reaction, but neither you nor Drina said anything about his attire. His shoulders visibly relaxed at the lack of scolding before he turned his head in your direction.

“Why would Drina need subtitles? They are Hungarian right?”

“Yeah, it's just we tend to talk about stuff like anime and movies. Lots of references, inside jokes and stuff like that. She doesn’t really watch things like that, or even if she did see it, she wouldn’t be able to recite back small little details we tend to bring up in a conversation.”

“Yeah? Like what?”

“Uh… Okay, the last thing I was going on about how Kimetsu no Yaiba’s opening shows an attack that looks similar to Hyorinmaru and how I wish they would go in a direction like that. Even though one is water based and the other is…”

“An ice typed zanpaktou.” He finished with a lazy smile. “What else Noona? Let's see if I can keep up!”

“Oh, really fluff? You want to go there?” You challenged, the last bites on curry gathering on the bottom of your bowl. “Okay then, how do you think Marvel will insert the X-men into the franchize when they already had the Maximoff twins for years in the movies, calling them miracles instead of mutants?”

“Why would it be a problem? Parallel dimension, they just arrive by some plot device. It doesn’t have to be explained.”

“Yeah? And what about Magneto meeting Vanda?”

“That’s not his daughter. That is someone who is like his daughter in a parallel world.”

“Huh...okay. Who would win, Carol or Thor?”

“How old is Thor?”

“Great question, why did you ask it?”

“Because he gets stronger the older he gets. Cap on the other hand…”

“See, he’ll fit just right with them. Show him Jonathan Young and he’ll have a blast if he ever visits us. Well, me.” Drina commented as she got to her feet, searching through the fridge. “Is that pálinka? Who got you that?!”

“Yoongi.” You served her a smug grin as you saw her hang her mouth in surprise, her hand wrapped around the neck of the bottle.

“Oh, he’s good. I should’ve thought of this.” Her eyes roamed around the contents of the fridge for a few more seconds before she decided to offer herself a roll, humming as her tongue met with the sweet flavors of the pastry.

“Well Kook, you might be my savior when it comes to socializing in Seoul. I’ll have someone to bounce off my ideas after watching something new and exciting.”

“Sounds good to me.” He rolled over to his back, hanging his head down from the edge of the couch. “At least I won’t have to nag anyone to go to the cinema with me. I bet Sejin loathes every time I ask.” Kilala strutted to his head and started to chew on the curtain of his hanging hair.

“Y/n, where can I crash? I’ve been flying for at least a day now.” Drina yawned lazily, stretching her hands towards the ceiling, showing off her tummy and waist as her shirt flew up in the motion. Kookie stiffened a little, his eyes darting away immediately from her figure.

“Try the room downstairs, Jimin slept there last night though. We should get the other rooms furnished too, so you could settle upstairs though.” You stared at the wall ahead of you, dreading the ever stretching list of things to do.

“Yeah, we could do that tomorrow. Can I do my own room?” She pleaded, her eyes growing cartoonishly big as she tried to make you agree.

“If I don’t hate it and goes along with the rest, maybe.” She jumped in triumph. “I said MAYBE!” You shouted after her as she ran to the room you indicated, slamming the door behind her. “I think I just made a mistake.” The maknae lightly chuckled but made no comment on it.

He lounged beside you quietly as you ate one of the mochi’s, leaving the other for later. After you cleaned up after yourself you stood by the glass walls overlooking the porch, watching the sun start it’s slow descend on the sky.

“Noona, do you have your camera here?”

“No, I think it’s back in Budapest. Why?”

“I dunno, I just thought it would be fun if we went somewhere to shoot a little.”

Without raising your feet, you turned around, making your legs cross as your body twisted, your arms crossed in front of your chest, face arranged in a pondering expression.

“We could go somewhere, but maybe with no people around? I’m kind of in an unsociable mood. Do we need to pick your camera up?”

The maknae perked up, his torso flying upwards as he sat up into a cross-legged position.

“Yeah, we need to drop by the dorm, but I can get a camera for you too then!”

“We should get going then, the golden hour will soon fall and we need to find a place to roam around! Any ideas?” You got moving, running up on the stairs to change. Kookie stayed downstairs, guessing why you left and giving you space.

“We could always go to a park or there is a forest not too far from here. Are you changing Noona?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Put on more layers, it will get cooler after the sun sets! Face masks and a hat too!”

“Kook, I don’t own that many masks as you do! And why would I need a hat?”

“You are in Seoul now, you have to be on guard outside all the time! You never know when will someone snap a picture if they recognize you!”

You froze by your suitcase, a pair of jeans in your hand, standing in your underwear and top.

Fuck, he’s right! People knew you here! As a translator, no less!

“Kook… do you mean that people will be after me? Like taking pictures, following me home after me?”

There was a pause, your questions weighing down on the fluff by the stairs.

“Well… not as much as they are after us. I don’t think any sasaengs would bother you. But just in case, you should be careful!”

You dropped down on the edge of the bed. You certainly did not anticipate that. Good thing you have a healthy amount of paranoia in you because of your family. Feeling more drawn to a deserted forest, you yanked the jeans on, threw on a pair of socks, a shirt over your tank tops and looked around for a long sweater. Which you didn’t really find, as you were only packing for Australia. Sighing, you shouted again.

“Fluff, can you lend me a sweater? I don’t have any on me!”

“Sure Noona! Are you ready? We still have to get back to the dorm!”

“Yeah, yeah, coming!”

You strutted downstairs and found Kookie by the front door, holding out your phone to you. You took it from him and sped to the kitchen, grabbing a pen from one of the drawers and turned one of the invoices around, penning down a short message for Tae and Drina. Satisfied, you placed the message on a visible spot on the counter and went back to the maknae. Checking on Kilala’s bowls, you put on your running shoes and fished out the keys Tae left in the door.

“So who’s driving?” The two of you made your way down the stairs, flying by the bamboo. This was the first time you left the house on your own, familiarizing with the feeling of leaving your new home. You were walking to the car by the time Kook shut the door behind him, hesitancy in his voice.

“I think it would be better if I drive this time. I mean I’m sure you’re…”

“You’re not hurting my feelings fluff, I don’t want to drive.” You chuckled at his careful expression. “And you know the way.”

“Put these on!”

He was waist deep in the backseat, his hands messing around in a bag before he threw something towards you. One was a simple black baseball cap with a mask scrunched into the hollow part of it and a sweater flew in the air in your direction after you caught the first item.

The sweater smelled of the same detergent he has given you as a housewarming present. It was plain back and once you put it on you realized it is the biggest item of clothing you have ever worn, the hem of it hanging close to your knees. Snapping on the cap, you stretched out the mask, finding a very visible print on the front.

“Kaneki, huh?” You asked in an amused voice.

“We can switch if you want to, mine is all black.” He was already behind the wheel, watching you put on the things he gave you.

“No, this is fine. I rather go with the anime one anyway.” And with that, you strapped the material around your ears and jumped in the passenger seat.

He turned the keys with a flick on his wrist and drove off towards the dorms.

-----------------------

You checked your phone as you waited in the car. Kookie ran upstairs to get his cameras and you decided to stay down in the garage. You typed a long message to Tae to let him know what did he miss, alerting him to your sleeping friend in the house. You saw the notification pop up that he has read your first messages as you typed on about your excursion with his brother. He started typing too, but when you hit send, the three little dots disappeared immediately. Patiently waiting for his reply, you let your head fall back against your seat, your senses focusing on the phone in your lap.

The buzzing made you smile at the phone, reading through the text fast.

“I’m sorry I haven’t reached out so far, things got a little crazy here. I hope the maknae behaves and won’t drive you crazy as he was annoying me all day! What do you think, when will you be back?”

“Probably not long after the sun sets. But I’ll let you know when we get back in the car, okay? How was today? Jimin doing okay?”

“Okay, please be careful. Do you have warm clothes on? I think I’ll drop by the dorms too and bring some stuff that you could wear too. Today was the usual, nothing really interesting, just busy. Jimin-ah… he went to the gym after the run-through and I haven’t seen him since. He might still be there. Since you’re not alone anymore, I think I’ll check on him. Is that okay?”

“Sure, hug him for me too! Yeah, Kook gave me a sweater, so I’m fine for now. I might go shopping though, I don’t have much with me.”

You paused there, not knowing what else should you say. You didn’t want to tell him about the realization that you’ll need to camouflage yourself just like he did every time he stepped outside. And you didn’t want to tell him how to take care of his brother, even though Jimin might be hungry by now.

You were in uncharted territory, and you wanted to be careful not to barge into his life too much. Who knew what really irritates him or not. You never really thought about it, but so far you didn’t really have a real argument, and you thought that was probably due to you being on different continents most of the time. If one of you got irritated, you could escape the other easily until you’ve cooled off. But it was different now and you didn’t want to mess up.

“Let me know if you need me to help in any way, okay?”

You hit send and the door beside the wheel darted open, making you jump with a shriek.

“I never thought you’re a scaredy cat Noona!” The maknae’s smug smile welcomed you as he threw a big camera bag in the back, plopped down into the seat next to you, his hands bringing the car back into life. You smacked his arm closer to you, earning a spark of laughter from the man.

“So, I got you my newer recruit, it’s similar to your camera in many ways. I just don’t have that many obi’s, so you’ll have to manage with the two in the bag. I’ll use my old one.” He shrugged as if it wasn’t a big deal.

“Kookie, you can use your new camera. I don’t want to take it from you.”

“You’re not, I’m more used to my old one anyway. I was thinking we should go to Bukhansan, there is this spot above the city which is reachable with a car, so we won’t lose light with hiking.”

“I will not hike, not in these clothes.” You sternly stated, and he nodded, his head still in planning mode.

“I’ll just park the car somewhere close and we could just roam around. How does that sound?”

“Good I guess. How should I prepare though? Do you have any… incidents in the woods? Accidents or attacks?”

“You watched too many thrillers Noona. Nothing is going to jump you.” The maknae chuckled, shaking his head in mirth.

“You do realize that cheap horror flicks start out like this right? Two people just going to hang out in the woods near the city, driving themselves care-freely into some psycho’s waiting arms.”

“Yeah, right. But those people didn’t do martial arts and are not weight lifting a good percentage of their own body weight on a regular basis.” He snorted as he pulled into a dirt road leading away from the city and into the sea of trees. The sun was coloring the sky orange and you knew you barely had an hour left before it dipped below the horizon. Kookie probably sensed it too, kicking the car into a different gear as he sped upwards the hill.

To save more time, you pulled the bag to you, snatching out one of the cameras and started to set it to your liking. It took a few tried and switching between lenses, but you got the hang of it and soon started working on the other camera so Jungkook wouldn’t have to bother with it.

The car abruptly stopped and you took in the view. You were situated close to a cliff, the rocky edge hugging the scene of the city below, towering evergreens hugging the clearing that you stepped out to from the car. Throwing the camera’s strap around your neck, you seized up the possibilities.

Your legs automatically took you to spots, your mind shutting off into a tunnel vision. Thankfully Kookie allowed you to dissolve in work, not trying to start up a conversation. He sometimes edged on your vision and thus you ended up taking pictures of him too, the sun brilliantly highlighting his darkly dressed figure in the greens and greys of the scenery. When he noticed what you were doing, he reciprocated the act, asking you to move in one way or another without words.

It was quiet and it was peaceful. The sky danced in several stunning shades of canary yellow, intense peach, vivid pink and dreamy lilac, contrasting against the dark green around you, coaxing a variety of landscape shots from you etched into the memory card of Jungkook’s camera. You heard him sneaking behind you, his hand gently placing your hand on the tree next to you, fixing your hair wordlessly before he disappeared, the shutter going off in rapid-fire. You didn’t know how long you stood there, trying to hold a good posture and not looking back at him curiously.

But your nature got the better of you and you turned your head, your lips slightly parting as you tried to make out his frame between the tree trunks. Once you found them, his hand flew up his palm flat in the air, asking you to stay still like that. Freezing mid-movement, you obliged your back itching in the weird angle. He let you go after a minute of standing there, lightly jogging back to the car for something.

You didn’t ask, moving between the trees for a new spot, your eyes gazing into your environment. Your mind completely blank, it felt like a strained muscle finally letting go of it’s struggle. The air was fresh against your skin, the scents around you clean, a mix between tree resin and the unmistakable smell of evergreens. Pine-needles crumpling under your soles, you carefully placed your legs, not wanting to pierce your shoes with the prickly leaves.

“Noona, come here!”

Glancing back to Kookie, he held a big tripod kind of instrument in his hand, his camera already attached to the end of it. Smiling at his idea, you made your way back.

“I set it to 8-second intervals, once it goes off, we will have 5 chances. How does that sound?”

“What poses do you want?” You smiled at the happiness in his words. He seemed so genuinely happy, it was impossible not to mirror it. It wasn’t the loud, wrinkle tearing kind of grinning, more of a soft smile, bringing warmth into one's eyes and soul.

He showed off his ideas, some of which of you opposed. After doing a few test shots, the two of you stood between the sunset and the camera, waiting for the signaling beep, breath stuck in your throats in anticipation.

You did a few jumps and hoped at least one would turn out okay, then a few standing sides by side, arms around each other's shoulder and so on. He wanted to do a lift, but you refused, thinking it would be too much, too romantic with the setting. He let it go then and there, saying that he will bring you back here with Tae so he could test out all of his ideas.

Snapping random pictures of each other as the sun touched the horizon, trying to get something out of the last minutes of daylight, you giggled. Neither of you checked the shots so far seriously, but these instant snappings couldn’t have turned out good. Finally, the giant burning orb disappeared behind the horizon and the air cooled down further, chilling the two of you instantly.

Chuckling as you made your way back to the car, you jumped in, cameras still hanging from your neck. Kook turned the car around and drove back to the house, singing along the way freely.

---------------------------

The lightness within you stuck around as you made your way up to the house. A warm glow welcomed you back, the living room lit up behind the glass walls. You could see Tae’s figure move around the kitchen and you questioned yourself what could he be up to in this foreign territory known as the kitchen. Kookie was trailing behind you, carrying all the instant food he told you about.

Opening the door, Kilala greeted you with a faint meow, his tail wrapping around your ankle before he drifted off to Tae’s room.

“Hey guys, we’re back!”

“Just in time, Kook, can you take me to the dorm?” Drina’s head popped up above the kitchen counter, her expression cheery, but it didn’t meet her eyes. You gave her a questioning look, not letting her bypass you with her gaze. But the answer didn’t come from her.

“Drina, really, you should stay, I’m good staying in the dorm!” Jimin’s exasperated voice floated from the couch. Clearly not understanding what is going on, you and Kook looked at each other and strolled to the living room cautiously.

“Hello little fox, had fun?” Tae was quick to pull you close to him, appearing from the counter, murmuring his question close to your ear. You hummed in agreement.

“Yeah, we did, took some really good shots I think, but...what is going on here?” You motioned towards Drina and Jimin, both looking at each other pleadingly. Kook walked past you casually, dropping down the food he was carrying.

“Noona, can I have some chili?”

“Sure fluff, have at it.” You said absent-mindedly and twisted to turn to Tae, his face showing a little amusement you did not get yet.

“Okay, so, we got back a few minutes ago. Jimin found Drina in his room, Drina asked to stay at the dorm, then Jimin asked to stay at the dorm. It’s basically a polite war on who could be more considerate of the other.”

“Oh, okay.” You nodded, trying to wrap your head around the idea. Drina, in a polite war. With Jimin. Over a room.

As if your life wasn’t weird enough.

They went on and on who should go and who should not, both of them reciting their sound and solid reasons. The rest of you just stood there quietly listening, Tae’s torso sometimes shaking in laughter. Kookie finished his dinner, unloaded the dishwasher and placed in his dirty plates and they were still going when he finished.

“Okay, here is an idea: how about both of you stay in the same room? Snuggle up, do some pillow talk and sleep.” You blurted out, gaining both of their attention. Their faces twisted in surprise before both went off at you.

“I’m in the middle of a sex scand…”

“Seriously, Jin is in the military, not dea…”

“Or not, just a thought.” You shut your mouth audibly. Tae snickered into your hair. “We need to furnish the other 2 guestrooms, so this doesn’t happen again.”

“You realize there are 7 in Bangtan plus Drina. We a little short on rooms I’m afraid.”

“This is not a hotel, plus 6 people can stay in the 3 rooms easily, plus the couch. I think we’re good.”

He hummed on, still amused at the battle.

“Or…” Kook spoke up from the kitchen. “Both of you go back to the dorms and I stay in the guest room. How about that?” His eyes glistened with mischief and silence broke out after his question. “Drina gets to sleep with Jin hyung’s things in his room. Jimin doesn’t feel remorse about kicking her out and I get to stay here!”

“And Drina is going out with me tomorrow to buy more beds, so all of you could stay over whenever you want.” You jumped on the maknae’s train of thought, earning a quick nod from him.

“Deal.” Drina agreed. “I already found the right things. And measured the room too.”

“Why would you…Nevermind.” You rolled your eyes at her. She got up and went off to pack up the things she threw out of her bag in the last couple of hours. Which was probably everything, knowing her. Dropping down on the couch beside the dancer, you stretched out, exhaustion washing over you.

“So, how was your day? I expect a full report from you each.” You muttered under your breath, eyes closing in the process.

“Could’ve been worse I guess.” Jimin murmured.

“I would say it was pretty average.” Kook chimed in.

“Oh, so you pick up girls flying in every day, then go shooting in the woods with a Noona? And here I thought I was special.” You waved your hand in disappointment in his direction, but he just grinned at you. Tae crawled beside you, settling down on his bum in the corner of the couch and pulled you onto his lap, cradling your head against his chest. “Jiminie, please elaborate.”

“Nothing much, I’m just… irritated. Didn’t sleep much.” To emphasize his reason, a yawn broke his lips apart. “We’ll be done with this whole scandal thing in 2 days and I’ll get over it. Hopefully.” His last sentence was barely audible, a whisper under his breath. You nodded at him, holding out your hand in his direction to pull him closer. He looked at your hand, his head hanging a little, hair curtaining his make-up free face. Hesitantly touching your extended hand, you gently yanked on it and he obliged, curling himself next to you like he did earlier that morning.

“Kook-ah, come here too.” Tae motioned for the youngest. The maknae cocked his head sideways, weighing his options as he walked closer, settling down opposite to Jimin, flanking close to Tae’s side. He pulled up his leg, nesting between the pillows stuck between Tae and the backrest of the couch.

“Noona, can I?”

You turned your head in his direction to see him look in the direction of your hip. There was a patch of skin visible, your jeans hugging your hips, but your shirt was a little high, showing off your phoenix tattoo. Kookie’s finger hovered above it, asking permission to touch it.

“Sure, you won’t feel anything different.”

“Why, shouldn’t it be?”

“Not really, maybe it’s a little ridged by the outlines, but that’s it.”

He faintly touched the colored skin, his fingertips gently following the outline as much as your clothes let it. Tae was watching his movements, not knowing what should he do. You didn’t seem to mind, but you were used to the interest of people who didn’t have any tattoo’s. Asking to see, to touch was kind of ordinary, you didn’t see anything in it. Tae on the hand was watching his little brother touch his girlfriend and neither of them seemed to find it weird, which made him feel weird.

“If I wouldn’t know better, I would think I just walked in on a starting orgy!” Drina’s voice drifted from the foyer as she walked into the kitchen. Kook’s hand froze in the air, but you just chuckled.

“Yeah, right. As if there is a person in this world that could handle these three.” Your torso shook with laughter between Tae’s legs, earning several hisses and exclamations from the three men around you.

“Oh, I bet there are a LOT of fans out there who think they could.” Drina grinned naughtily, elbows propped on the counter. “Ah, Kook found Fawkes?”

“That is not Fawkes, for the love of God, how many times do I have to tell you?!”

“That’s what you take away from that question?” Tae muttered disbelief painted on his features.

“Who is Fawkes?” Jimin raised his head to rest on Tae’s thigh. The name rolled off his tongue difficulty, his face twisting a little at the foreign sound.

“Fawkes is Dumbledore’s pet phoenix in Harry Potter. Which is completely unrelated to my phoenix tattoo on my left hip bone.” You shot Drina an irritated glare.

“That is not entirely true though, the tail feathers came from the cover, right?”

“Now you are just nitpicking!” You yelled at your laughing friend, then stopped suddenly. “Why, what should I take away from that question?” You turned your head as much as you could, trying to catch Tae’s expression. He squirmed a little, still hesitating how to voice his dissatisfaction. His face was probably telling to Drina, her expression softening from giggling.

“People do that a lot you know when they see a tattoo. It’s just curiosity.”

You felt Tae’s chest grow rigid for a moment. Still not seeing him clearly, you tried to turn your whole torso, but he didn’t let you, arms wrapping more tightly around your midsection, asking you to stay put. The whole ordeal took about a minute and seemed to pass by Jimin’s and Kookie’s attention. The two got up when you mentioned the book cover, strutting to the book set Joon got you and searched through them, looking for the tail feathers Drina indicated. Not understanding what is going on, you watched Drina entertain the boys with fun facts about the series and you tried to figure out what did you miss.

“Is everything okay? What was that about?”

“Nothing little fox, I just got a little...weird. It happens.”

“But I want to understand. Did I do something wrong?”

He sighed briefly, his exhale moving your hair around.

“No, I just… I didn’t like Kook-ah touching you. You letting him, as if it’s completely normal. I know you are his Noona and you don’t look at him like that, but…”

“It made you uncomfortable?” He finally let you roll over so you could see his face. His brows knitted, drawing lines on his face that you didn’t like. His lips formed a little pout, even though he wasn’t pleading or angry with you. It really did bother him.

“I’m not sure why. I trust you and him, too. But it’s on such an intimate part on you, I don’t want anyone touching it. Is that wrong of me?” His eyes were a little scared, uneasy. He didn’t want to say anything that would upset you. But he did promise to stay honest with you, and you did share anything and everything he asked you to, even saying things that were visibly hard for you, so he didn’t want to hide his stir from you. It wouldn’t be fair.

“No, I don’t think so.” You shook your head. “But Drina is right, I’m kind of used to people wanting to see the places I’m inked at. It doesn’t hold any more meaning to me to let them touch it than touching my back or my arm. I get it if it bothers you… I could just tell the fluff not to be like that if you want.”

The storm in his expression calmed down, his features softening. He noticed how tense his body was and he had to consciously let go of himself to loosen up. Jimin laughed in the back at something the others said. Tae brushed your hair away from your shoulder and studied you for a few seconds. You really meant it, he was sure by the way you were looking at him. Your reaction was making him wonder how different it was from the norm. You could’ve snapped at him that it’s your body or you could’ve got upset with him not trusting you. These were the average reactions he heard of, things he saw in movies and TV shows. And in a way they made sense. But you did none of that. The only struggle you showed was the need to be able to look at him, accepted his feelings and offered a solution, not taking into account your own thoughts. And you didn’t seem to mind that.

“Y/n, you don’t have to ask him that. I just wanted to tell you that it made me feel weird. I would’ve probably got more upset if it was someone outside of Bangtan though. I…”

“Taehyung.” He stopped his blabbering immediately. “It’s okay, I won’t let others do it, okay?” You smiled at his expression going shy under your gaze. “But you have to keep telling me if something like this bothers you, so I would know.” He nodded, faintly smiling too.

“Hey lovebirds, we’re going now!” Drina shouted from the foyer, where they have apparently waited. Quickly getting up, the two of you said your goodbye’s to Jimin and Drina, promising to meet up tomorrow.

“I’ll pick you up with a company car tomorrow Y/n!” Drina shot back over her shoulder as she made her way down to the street.

“Where is she taking you?” Tae asked curiously as you closed the front door.

“Buying more things for the house. I made a list today, and she’ll help me out.” You went back to the living room, grabbing the camera you used. “I think I might stay up to work through these. Do you have anything you want to do?” You looked at the two men standing not far from you. They shared a look before answering you.

“Well, I have brought over some stuff to pack from my room. But Kook could help me pick out things for my study too. I don’t really get the techy things the hyungs said yesterday.” He hesitantly looked at the maknae who just shrugged.

“Sure, I can help you. And want to work on the photos too. So we could just chill and work I guess.”

You nodded and scrambled upstairs to get your laptop. Music softly emitted from the walls, Tae probably chose to give the session some backdrop. Before returning to them you changed into more soft and comfortable clothes. By the time you got back, Tae and Kook were sitting by the coffee table, Tae’s finger’s dancing on the keyboard as he pulled up variations of equipment he thought of and the maknae listened closely, commenting his experiences to his elder. Kilala formed a tightly wrapped bun in Tae’s lap and he absentmindedly stroked the kitten a few times as he listened to his brother.

Not wanting to break the bubble they were in, you silently jumped behind them, finding a good spot in the corner of the couch, propping up your laptop on a pillow and inserted the memory card with a practiced move.

You hummed with the music as you discarded the photos you couldn’t salvage, either too blurry or too repetitive. Quietly drumming on the keys, you started to select the ones that you wanted to digitally alter or enhance. It was quite comfortable to listen to the man talk about something that held no meaning to you with the tranquil music in the background. Your mind shut off and you focused on the task at hand.

Soft purring drew your attention away from the screen, Kilala demanding to crawl into your lap. Guiding him up, you waited until he settled down, then went back to continue on. He didn’t really appreciate that, his ears flicking irritably at the sound of your fingertips hitting the board, but he stayed there with you.

Minutes stretched on, your limbs becoming more sluggish as you balanced the laptop on the pillow. The boys switched topics and now were talking about and practicing a song you didn’t hear yet. Their voices collided and blended together, drawing your attention away from your photos. They didn’t notice your watchful gaze for several minutes, Tae only glancing you after hitting a particularly high note. His eyes curved into a smile for a second before Kook took back his focus from you, going over and over a bit.

Time passed and the sky outside turned to ink, darkness enveloping the house. The mirrors reflected the inside of the room, giving shaky replicas of its contents. Your thoughts drifted off from the shots you’ve taken that afternoon to the incoming interview the day after tomorrow.

You promised them that you’ll be there, acting as a translator for the boys. While you were confident in your skills, the thought of being there and sharing the stress of the whole ordeal was weighing down on you. You couldn’t imagine what it is like for Jimin. It’s his private life you will be defending, washing it clean from the accusations. Thinking about it, you realized that you didn’t know whether you’d be on camera or not. You hoped not. It wouldn’t paint a good picture, not a Korean translating for the boys, plus you had no clothes that would fit the occasion. Even when you went off to work, you were more business casual, toning down the more chic pieces with a pair of jeans thrown in here and there.

“Ah, that looks pretty good, where did you take it?” Tae’s breath came from behind you, making you jump and earning a whiny hiss from Kilala. You let out an irritated sound, cutting back the yelling you had in your throat.

“Noona really can’t take jump scares.” Kookie rolled off from the couch laughing.

“God, don’t do that, please.” You moaned at the man behind you. He put his hands on your shoulder, the touch calming your racing heart.

“Sorry, you were just so into whatever you’re going, I didn’t want to upset the flow.” You exhaled, still irritated. “So where was this?”

“I took her to Bukhansan hyung, the spot where the tracks start. It was really pretty today.”

“Yeah, I can see that. May I?” He motioned to pick up the laptop from your legs, and you nodded, then proceeded to throw back your head on the pillows when he plopped down beside you. Kookie took a seat by his other side, his eyes fixed on the screen. They flipped through the pictures, commenting and praising the shots, and you hummed along. Your frustration was gone by now, but it really has been a long day, all kinds of your emotions spent on you.

Your quietness drew Taehyung’s attention, his eyes flicking towards your motionless body. You seemed fine, but he knew that whenever you stopped talking and chose to listen to a conversation flow you were probably sleepy. It was something he learned during the numerous amount of phone calls you shared while you were on the other side of the planet, and it warmed his heart that he finally saw what was it like in person.

Motioning with his head towards you he tried to let his brother know that it was high time to sleep. The maknae furrowed his eyebrows at first, but when he spent a few seconds watching you the penny dropped, his eyes growing rounder when he realized how late it was for you. They were used to long nights and less sleep, but you were a different breed. Tae turned off the laptop, carefully handing it over to Kook, who out it down on the coffee table. The younger man made himself scarce, making his way to the guest room downstairs.

Taehyung, on the other hand, gently nudged you to get your attention.

“Little fox, should we go upstairs? Maybe it’s time to turn ourselves in for the night.”

He only received a low murmur in reply. Smiling to himself, he got up and helped you to your feet. He turned off the lights as you walked upstairs, dark and quiet wrapping around the two of you. Reaching the bedroom, you automatically got out of your clothes, hooking your bra out under the tank top you left on. With a grunt, you fell head first into the bed dramatically, making Tae chuckle lowly with you. With a few yanks, you got the covers up from under you and threw it around your body, sighing in pleasure at it snuggled around you.

Tae slipped into the bathroom, not turning the lights on to wash his face. The only sound came from the sink as the water running and the splashes against his skin in quick motions before he dried himself with a fluffy towel. When he was done, he stood by the doorframe for a minute, taking in his view.

The bare windows let in the cool light of the moon, the only shadows cast by the bed you were half asleep on. The curves of your body were accentuated by the cover upon you, drawing out the lines of your shoulder down to your waist and hip, ending with the curve of your toes. He had been imagining this for so long, he needed a little time to take it all in. This was his life now.

“Tae, are you coming?”

For that voice? Every day.

The bed dipped under his weight as he lay down on the neighboring pillow next to you. Your eyes were heavy with sleep, breathing slowly in and out. His gaze roamed around your face, taking in every small little detail. His hand traveled from your shoulder to your neck, coaxing satisfied sighs from you.

“How was your first day in Seoul?” He murmured.

“Eventful.” Your words were a little slushed. “A little emotional. Kookie brought me food. Taking photos was nice.”

“Why emotional?” He did his best to keep his concern out of his voice, but you noticed anyway.

“I adapt to change difficultly.” You wiggled closer, sinking into the hole he formed with his arm by his side. “I need to take it in in a stupidly slow pace so I won’t compare things all the time.”

“But is this sad emotional?” You stiffened in his hold. “Y/n, why didn’t you call me? I want to be there”

“I didn’t really get the chance to. Hobi interrupted my little sobfest, then Kookie turned up with Drina, and you know the rest. I’ll call you next time.”

“You better.” He kissed your forehead, his free hand stroking your back.

“And how was your first day with me in Seoul?”

“Mmm, better than I imagined.” He smiled above your head, happy sounds escaping him as he wiggled a little to show off his feelings. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have people over, but I hope it will be the two of us here soon. And I want to pick Tannie up too. I texted mom, she'll drop him off sometime this week. Do you think you can manage with two rascals?”

“As long as you take them off my hands when you get home.” You joked, lips brushing against his skin. He shuddered a little, the feather-like touch clearly producing a reaction.

“Ah, with the kid downstairs? So naughty.” His voice dropped an octave, your toes automatically curling as he tensed. “Would you really want me to make you noisy with him sleeping literally under us?”

Not trusting your words, you shook your head a little. It was out of the question for you to keep silent this time, and you didn’t want to meet the fluff’s eyes the morning afterward. So far you’ve managed to escape any of them hearing you and you were not planning to start having loud sex with their brother within earshot now.

“Then I’ll just have to wait until no one could hear your lovely moans, little fox.” He eased up a bit, his hot breath fanning in your hair. Both of you relaxed, breathing slowing down, becoming deeper.

“Taehyung?”

“Mmmm?”

“I love you.”

His arm held you closer for a second.

“I love you too.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 20

Another busy morning rolled in, both you and Taehyung waking up to his alarm this time. Some sort of classical music emitted from the small gadget, gentle notes flying around in the room as you opened your eyes for the first time that day. He gave you a soft, apologetic kiss on your forehead and darted off to the bathroom to get ready so fast you couldn’t register the movements with your sleepy brain.

You rolled to your stomach, face buried in his pillow, moaning a little. His scent was all around your face and you breathed it in happily. You just had a really good sleep, and the room around you felt more familiar, breaking into your mind and soul. Not wanting to sleep back and to have a slow day again, you broke away from the warm bed and got to your feet. Your muscles felt dense and rigid as you moved towards the sink in the bathroom and you wondered what should you do against it. There should be some sort of exercise you should inject to your nonexistent everyday routine in Seoul, but you didn’t know what should it be.

You wondered on the possibilities as you brushed your hair, making it into a neat high ponytail and proceeded to clean your face and teeth. While the idea was in your head, you typed in to buy a supply of your usual cosmetic products when you visit Budapest to have your favorite things with you in your home. Tae was washing his hair under the shower while you brushed your teeth, making vocal exercises. It was kind of funny and mesmerizing at the same time: funny, because he would change from soft sounds to bellowing in 0.1 seconds flat and mesmerizing, because the tiled bathroom played with his voice, echoing and vibrating with his vocal cords, developing a soothing, heartwarming effect.

“I could really get used to this.” You smiled to yourself as Tae finished up with the shower and yanked in the towel from the glass walls.

“Yeah, I could too.” He stepped out, seizing you up and down, a towel wrapped around his hips tightly. This was not your first time seeing him like this, but it still had the same heartbeat-in-your-throat effect. His lean torso flexed and reflexed as he grabbed a smaller towel to dry his hair, his arms moving quickly around his head and his stomach flexed again to keep him in place. You stopped in your tracks, putting down the now rinsed toothbrush and turned to face him, hip resting against the sink. He saw you under the evermoving towel, grinning under his wet bangs.

“Like what you see?”

“Too much cotton for my taste.” You tilted your head, eyes wandering freely as you shot him a smirk.

“Oh, so you rather have the towels gone?” He threatened, throwing the one he had in his hand over the sink. Taking two long strides, he ended up standing so close to you, you could feel his body heat on your skin. “I could do that.” And he proceeded to brush the crown of his head to your chest, gliding up your neck, earning muffled shrieks as the cold water from his wet hair covered you. You tried to escape the onslaught, but he yanked you back by your waist, pinning you between him and the sink, shaking his head to make the water droplets splash against you.

With his hands occupied, you tried your best to tickle him, creating an opening to duck and make a run for it. A particularly strong drumming of your fingers by his ribcage earned you the opportunity and you reached the bedroom, still wet, eyes blown wide from his actions. He laughed so hard he bent over before he collected himself and ran after you, throwing you flat on your back on the bed, hands wrapped around you as he rolled you up above him, still chuckling.

“So, this is how mornings are now for us, huh?” He commented, his eyes lurking around your lips, his own parted barely. You hummed in agreement, drawing your nose to his soft cheeks.

“Pretty much, yeah. But maybe we should get up a little earlier, especially if you insist on showering every morning.” You murmured as your nose dived by his ears, sinking your teeth into the tender flesh of his earlobe.

“Done.” He breathed out, his exhale warming on your neck. “What’s the time now?”

“Somewhere around 8ish, I think. Why?”

He flipped you back, his body pinning you in the mattress.

“Just wondering whether I have time to get you wet besides the water my hair.” He grunted, making your breath stuck in your throat as his gaze tore around your figure, raising goosebumps in his way. “But I need to be at practice by 9 sharp, so…” He sighed, hanging his head a little before facing you again, a light smile hiding his disappointment.

“How about you get going, do your day and pounce the second everything is done? And preferably leave your brothers in the dorm this time?” You stroked his jaw, fingers dancing upwards to his hair.

“I didn’t bring them over little fox, they are the ones barging in!”

“Well, I figure out a way to make it stop, okay?” You smiled up at him, already weaving a plan with Drina as the key player. He brushed his nose against yours, humming a little before he got off the bed and went back to the bathroom to finish up. You laid there for a few more seconds before you got dressed properly, putting on jeans and a white short-sleeved striped shirt on.

I really need to get more clothes.

“Do you want breakfast Tae? I bet Kook’s already hungry.”

“Uum, we’ll start with recording the Festa for this year, so...yeah, I’ll take something.” His voice echoed from the bathroom. “Can I ask for scrambled eggs? And maybe some fruit?”

“Sure, I’ll check if we have everything.”

His thank you followed you as you jogged down the stairs. The guestroom’s door was still shut, so you guessed the maknae wasn’t ready to socialize yet. Your phone buzzed in the pocket of your jeans, a message floating in from Drina to let you know that she’ll be picking you up in a half hour. She added in a picture of her standing in the dorms, the kitchen counter behind her full with plates as the members dug into the food she probably made them.

You smiled to yourself as you rounded the counter to the kitchen. She better slap a good amount of food in them before they get going. Drina wasn’t the biggest food enthusiast when you met her, but Jin rubbed off on her enough that she developed a healthy amount of knowledge when it came to cooking. Your smile grew into a grin when you remembered the frantic calls and texts she shot you across the globe when she tried to surprise the vocalist with any sort of homemade food. The most hilarious bits came from the simplest tasks, such as cracking open an egg to not to get yourself burned with the popping oil drops from the pan. She was a literal clutz, but somehow Jin transformed her into this person on the picture, making breakfast for 4 grown men and herself.

Lips curling, you got moving, preparing the eggs, shredding cheese and throwing strips of meat on the sizzling pan. Lost in your tasks you didn’t notice Jungkook standing by the windows, grinning at the sight of you. He didn’t know when it would be appropriate for him to show that he was very much awake, hearing the two of you wrestle upstairs. But then you came down and started cooking, the irresistible smell creeping in under his door, drawing the hungry maknae out of his den. He was already dressed, his sweater wrapped around his well-defined waist, tucking in his tank top close to his tight black jeans.

When you had a minute to spare, you plugged on your phone to the house’s sound system and launched Spotify. Sounds very unfamiliar to the maknae slithered from the walls, giving off the unmistakable feeling of French atmosphere. It soon had him bobbing his head along the twisting and turning melodies, humming to the lyrics. The sounds he made made his presence know to you.

“Hey Kook-ah, slept well?”

“Mhmm, that’s a pretty good mattress you bought. Do I get some too?” He indicated towards the pans.

“Yeah, I was planning to give you this one.” You motioned to the one with a pile of cheese melting on top of the half-cooked eggs. “You like it?” He was swaying to the music a little.

“Uh-uh, it’s interesting. I don’t hear things like this often. What is it?”

“It’s a French girl called Zaz. Fits any type of cleaning or cooking activities, in my mind at least. Need any bread or something?”

“Nah, I’m good. You wouldn’t have any kimchi here, right?”

“Second shelf from the bottom in the fridge.” Tae’s voice floated from the foyer, his frame appearing by the counter. “I got some from the dorms yesterday from Jimin’s stash. His mom will probably make a ton next month anyway. Mine doesn’t have cheese, right?”

“Nope, completely cheese free.” You replied as you slid the fuming food to the plate in your hand. You repeated the action with the other two pans, grabbed the two toasts you made for yourself and settled down on the floor beside the coffee table to start eating. The two men picked up a large jar of kimchi and their own food and sat down on the couch across from you.

“Thank you for the food!” They sang in harmony without any hesitation or struggle, cajoling a chuckle from you and proceeded to dig into the stack of glistening eggs. You all ate in silence, not really making an effort to talk. The whole scene felt really peaceful and once Kilala made an appearance from behind the couch he purred his way to Jungkook’s lap.

“He really likes everyone, doesn’t he?”

“Nooo, that’s not true! He just got used to most of us.” Kookie’s eyes met yours.

“Yeah, he doesn’t really like Namjoon hyung for example. Too many accidents.” Tae shook his head.

“How long was he in the dorms?” You queried, wondering on how many accidents did the kitten actually see.

“Like two weeks, I think?” Kook looked at his brother.

“Mmm, yeah. He mostly hung around with us, Jiminie and Yoongi hyung. He made a habit of taking him to his studio and I think that’s why he sleeps through the night so well. He was in Yoongi’s lap the whole time he was there, getting petted as he worked.” The vocalist smiled at his food as he told the story. “I really wondered whether he would actually let him go. But he said he wouldn’t want his own cat, too much responsibility. But if we go anywhere, he would gladly pick him up and take care of him.” He gifted you with a wink.

“No Hobi then?”

“Nah, Mickey didn’t like Kilala’s scent. He is more of a dog person anyway.”

You hummed and finished off your last bite, chewing with satisfaction. Giving a few more seconds to yourself, you let your back rest against the wall before ending the breakfast session and got up to put away your dirty plate. Kookie already wolfed down his food and played with the kitten enthusiastically, waving a toy in front of the small feline. Once Tae finished he picked up his and Kookie’s plates, beating you to it and started the dishwasher with a few taps of his finger.

You watched him, curious about his sudden draw to helping out with the cleaning. It’s not that he was messy before, but he was never this… proactive? Maybe his mother cleaned out his ear about doing things differently in his own place. You wondered how much did you miss, how many people have given him their opinion, shaping his attitude and behavior before you actually got to see what he is like to live with. He caught your querying gaze, tilting his head to shoot the question back, but you just shrugged. You would rather talk things like this through with no one listening. Not that Kookie would disrupt it, but this wasn’t his concern and you didn’t want to involve him, especially not if he grilled Tae about how to behave too.

Your phone rang through the speaker system, the screen flashing Drina’s contact. You yanked the cable out and answered it as you made your way to the foyer.

“I’m at the door, are you ready?”

“Yeah, I’ll just grab my shoes. Do you need anything? Water?”

“Nah, I have ice lattes for the both of us in the car.”

“Uuuh, caramel syrup?”

“Who do you think you’re talking to young lady?”

“Yeah, yeah, okay. Give me a sec.” You laughed, hanging up. “Tae, Drina’s here. Do you need me to pick anything up?” You bent over to insert your feet in, then the other, securing the lace tightly.

“Noona, you’re leaving?” Kookie’s head hung from the couch, tilting above the floor, his mouth a little agape as his eyes mirrored his words’ surprise.

“We’re leaving in a few minutes too maknae, what were you thinking?” Tae shook his brother’s mop of hair hanging in the air as he rounded the couch’s corner, walking to you with a soft smile. “I’ll text you a link if there is something to buy, okay?”

“Mhmm” He pulled you into a hug, his nose brushing against your cheek lovingly. “What do you think, when will you finish today?”

“Not sure, but I’ll try to be home soon. We’ll have that photo shoot tomorrow, so we need to look well-rested in the morning. What’s your plan?”

“Fine tune the house with Drin. Probably wash the rest of the things in the laundry room. Maybe order in some food later, I don’t know. But I’ll ask her to stay at the dorms, okay?”

His hands tightened for a second around your waist as he tensed up by your words. He didn’t need to give you a reply, you knew by the look he gave you that he very much liked the idea of coming home to you in an empty house. No guests, no prying eyes and no ears to catch anything and everything he wanted to do.

“I’ll be going then. Please check on Kilala’s bowls before you leave! Do your best today fluff!” Kookie nodded, giving you a salute from the couch. “Have a good day too Tae” You flung your backpack filled with your things on your back, squeezing his hand before turning to the door.

“Noona, the mask!”

“Oh, fuck, right.”

“It’s on the counter! Do you think Drina has one?”

“Why would you need a mask?” Tae eyed the two of you confused.

“So she won’t get recognized,” Kook stated matter-of-factly.

“Why would she…” The older turned to the maknae. Jungkook raised his eyebrow, clearly not understanding the vocalist's question.

“People know her here hyung. She is our translator on paper, to the press and to the fans. It’s not like they wouldn’t sneak up on her if they recognize her.”

Taehyung turned back to you, wide-eyed, his mouth parted. “I’m so sor…”

“Hey, don’t worry! It’s just a mask. Kook-ah, I’ll take the Kaneki one!” You smiled at him encouragingly, while you addressed the last sentence to the maknae. Tae closed his mouth, but his eyes still held a storm in them.

“Okay Noona! I have a few more anime ones if you want to get more. Different colors too! Want me to drop some off later?”

“Nah, it’s okay Kook, we’ll buy some today.”

“And hats!”

“And hats too.”

Baseball cap covering your head and mask securely strapped on, you stood by the door, eyes locked with Taehyung who seemed like he wanted to have a serious talk with you, but neither of you had the time to get into it. It really wasn’t that big of a deal to you as it was to him, but maybe he had sound reason to be so upset. He knows what it is like, you don’t. But, on the other hand, you weren’t an idol, just someone who “works” with idols.

His hand was half-raised in the air, frozen in a movement he never finished, as if he wanted to reach out to you and not to let you leave. When he realized the awkward way his limb was positioned, he swiped it through his hair, still not breaking eye-contact. But then the moment passed, he blew out a long exhale, forced on a weak smile and waved you off. You took it with a nod and turned the door handle down.

“I’ll be back soon, okay? Everything will be fine.” He nodded too, watching you as you stepped outside and closed the door behind you, his eyes following your figure as you jogged down the steps, the bamboo covering you more as you descended. He sighed again, turning sad as the information sank into his mind. You won’t be able to live a private life in Seoul, not like he imagined. Like he hoped.

----------------------------------------------

The day flew by as you shopped with your best friend. It was much more chaotic than with Taehyung, giving into crazy ideas and spontaneous purchases. Your list was all ticked off by early afternoon and the two of you went from house appliances to clothes quickly. Drina shrugged off the whole you-have-to-cover-your-identity thing pretty fast, stating that it will good practice anyway. It was a looming dread she foreshadowed: there will come a day when you won’t be a translator anymore, but an officially confirmed girlfriend. The sheer thought sent shivers down your spine, hating the fear it will bring into your everyday life.

Hushing away the thought, she dragged you into one store after the other, trying on anything from causal printed shirts to full-blown gowns.

“You have a wedding to attend this year, don’t forget!”

“You’re talking as if you weren’t invited.”

“But I have a lot of dresses. You, on the other hand, do not.”

Thus, you were closed in a changing room for a good half hour as Drina flung in one dress after the other once she started to understand the size charts. Her choices varied between pieces she thought you’d like, she would like on you and what she just liked, no matter who would buy it. You heard a few tried coming from the staff the help her to choose, but your friend just shooed them off, obviously enjoying the process herself enough not wanting to share it with a professional. Several long minutes and an unthinkable amount of silk, tulle, lace and whatever material those clothes consisted of, you gladly carried an emerald green piece to the cashier, who carefully wrapped the dress up and folded it in a discreet polished box after you paid.

“E-Excuse me…” A hesitant voice drifted from behind you as the two of you left the store and turned to get back to your car. There were two petite girls standing by the shop’s windows, their eyes plastered on Drina and you. Stopping in your tracks, you waited for the girl to finish her sentence.

She struggled, her eyes drifting to your paper bag containing the dress to Drina’s exposed face back to your eyes before she darted them down to the pavement.

“Is everything okay?” Drina stepped closer to her, not knowing where the girl was coming from.

“Y-yes, I was just wondering… are you working for Bangtan Sonyeondan?” She was still fixating on the concrete before her feet, her friend somewhat more brave to monitor your reaction.

“No, we are not working for BTS.” Drina shook her head. Her answer reflected on what Sejin asked them to do: it wasn’t a lie, you weren’t working for the boys, much rather working with them. Which still wasn’t exactly true either, but that is what the public thought. And the girl’s question wasn’t phrased right either, so there is that.

The girls wilted at her answer, hoping to hear something else. They quickly bowed, uttered ‘sorry’-s and ‘good-bye’-s and darted off, their hair blowing back in their hurry. Drina looked at you, sighing.

“They gave up quickly.”

“Yeah, but we got seriously lucky they weren’t the more persistent types. You need to put on a mask.”

“Let’s get some then.” And she closed off the topic altogether. You mind stuck around the occurrence for much longer but didn’t say anything.

What if they were not as scared?

------------------------------------------------

The car was full with paper bags as you made your way back to the house, a truck behind you with the missing furniture the two of you bought. Drina took over the coordination from you, her voice conducting the men unloading and carrying in the pieces. You made your way back to the laundry room to pick up things where you left them yesterday. Three sets of clean stuff were neatly folded and ready to put away and you threw in another load to wash. You worked your way through your and Tae’s unpacked suitcase, putting everything either away with your new things, cutting off tags and folding them too, or tossed them into a pile by the buzzing washing machine.

Grunting men passed you when you left the bedroom carrying the bedframe Drina chose for her room. You let them pass and they nodded curtly as they made the big wooden object turn towards the door far right from the staircase. Bouncing down the darkly colored steps, you saw that they were almost done, Drina sitting on the porch with a tall glass in her hand, legs swaying in the air.

“What’s up buttercup?” You dropped down beside her and she wordlessly handed you the glass of water to drink.

“Nah, not much. Furnishing a house, hanging out on the other side of the world. Boyfriend’s gone for more than 19 months, 2 weeks and 4 days. Not that I’m counting. My best friend is probably moving to another continent. I think I need some ice-cream.”

“Yeah, I get what you mean. I just lost a room in my house to a pest, my boyfriend is working all the time, barely home, one of my friends is in a scandal and is probably crying himself to sleep every night. I am far away from the places I know, restabilizing myself in a foreign place with foreign people and my best friend is staying on another continent. Dibs on Ben&Jerry’s.”

“Well, we sure do know how to look on the bright side of things.” She snorted, her question dripping in sarcasm. “I am happy for you you know. And you’ll be fine.”

“Yeah, I know. And Jin’ll be back soon. You’ll blink twice and he will be yelling at you for not washing the dishes after yourself like a proper human being.”

“Hey, in my defense, I did not know he’ll show up out of the blue, I would’ve washed them otherwise.”

“How long did those things sit in there? A week?”

“Full disclosure, probably more.” Drina laughed out loud, head thrown back. “You should’ve seen his face, so shocked and he didn’t know how to handle it. He would’ve torn off anyone’s heads by the sheer thought, but not me. We weren’t together for even a year. The struggle was real.”

“You know he called Tae that day?” You looked at her as her face turned from grinning to amusement. “Yeah. He wanted to know whether I did things like that. Whether girls are all like this and what should they do.”

“Poor naive souls.” Your best friend shook her head. “And what did Tae say?”

“That he should be glad, because I was on my period that time, one of the more painful ones at that and he was freaking out. Like, you know, the ones where you either cry at a wilting flower one minute, then watch a bloody thriller with tons of yunk food, screaming at the stupid people getting killed in the most obvious way in the next. My stomach was literally killing me and he was so panicked. And then the phone rang, Jin pleading on the other side.”

“Things got into perspective, huh? It’s so weird, the most ordinary things can throw them into such a loop.”

“Mmm, remember that time they thought we were mad at them? For like no literal reason?”

“Oh, when we were flying to Italy together?”

“Yeah. Kookie later told me that the whole thing was his fault because he was talking to someone in English, practicing on the phone. Some language app or something. And they thought it was me, so Tae tried to call right away, and when he couldn’t reach me, they ended up calling you too.”

“I still don’t get it how did it escalate so much. They almost bought a plane ticket to Budapest to sort it out. All they needed to do was ask the maknae. He was literally next door the whole time.”

“Ah, we have great taste in men.”

This was the cue for the loading to finish. The two of you got up, thanked the men for their work. With a few polite bows and refusing to accept food and drinks, they left, the door closing swiftly behind the last leaving. Moving the conversation to the living room, you threw her the tub of Haagen Dazs, grabbed your own ice cream and two small spoons and curled up on the couch.

“So… what’s the schedule for the interview?” Drina asked, her spoon digging into the smooth surface of the freshly opened delicacy.

“Sejin texted it this morning, didn’t you check it?”

“No, I was probably driving to pick you up. It’s the day after tomorrow, right?”

“Yeah, right after breakfast. They chose a room at the company. They’ll let them go to the stylists, talk about the concepts, creative stuff. Maybe show one of the studios. And then talk about her prepared topics.”

“Did you see the questions?” She eyed you seriously.

“No, I think only Jimin has.” Her eyebrows shot upwards. “Something about genuine reactions. It won’t be live anyway, so they can cut whatever they want.”

“I thought the whole thing will be air-tight. Prepared for everything.”

“Well… it kind of is. And I get that they don’t want a staged, scripted thing. Not for this. This is more personal than that.”

“I’ll bite her head off if she crosses the line.” Her words were laced with a lethal undertone, her posture stiffening the more you talked about the interview.

“She won’t.” You shrugged. “The BBC signed the contract, there is no way they want to pony up the fine. Plus she seemed like a nice person. And then there is the legal action you made against the media outlets who pounced on the smell of blood too. Nice work, by the way, you probably ruined a few workplaces.”

“ls that a “You shouldn’t have gone so savage” remark or an “I’m so proud of you” remark?”

“The latter. They were doing disgusting things to people who didn’t deserve it and thought to live with it without consequences. Well, not today I guess.”

“Na-na-na not today.” She hummed softly. “And are other outlets signing the contract too?”

“I have no idea. It’s not like they have a choice though. Either have BTS on their schedule with it or not sign and stay irrelevant to millions of people.”

The conversation flowed on between the two of you as the tubs lost their weight in your hands. When the washing machine beeped upstairs, Drina followed you, talking as you threw in the wet clothes in the dryer and the dirty ones in the washing machine. Routine settling in your fingers as you pressed the right buttons, the devices revved up and you went back to the kitchen to fix up some food.

It was comforting to have her with you. To be around Drina, to have her help in the most mundane and everyday things felt homey and normal. Life became more round, more developed with her aid, having the house more furnished and your closet more variety. She listened to your concerns, hushed away the stupid ones and consoled you on the real ones. And when you ran out of things to say, she unloaded too. How lonely she felt, how her life had a big tear in it because Jin was gone and she can’t touch him. How she couldn’t turn the tides, couldn’t find a solution to the slowly ticking time. He had to do his service, he wanted to do his service. There wasn’t a way to shorten the time, and even if there were, he would never cut corners about this.

It wasn’t betrayal and she knew that, but it hurt nonetheless. Silent tears rolled on her chin as she talked about the constant clashed in her heart. The part of her that wanted it to be over with, to have him back, savagely grinding at every device that showed the slow passage of time. And the part that understood, the part that wanted to be patient and lenient. Because she had to think like that, to give him space, the time and the freedom to do this.

In the end, the government would have waved the military service for the members of BTS. The papers were resting in Bang PD’s desk, one for each member, but none of them want to use it. As unanimous they were about their group, they were also like that about this. And while you and Drina understood and didn’t want to intervene, it also hurt not to have at least a little say in the matter. But they were willing to give each other up, tearing away the septet for long and painful years, so in the end, those two that each of you had to endure didn’t pose as much of sorrow as did for them.

“Do you know when he’ll be back from service?” You were done eating your meal, the empty plates already washed and put away. The sky danced in warm vibrant tones outside as night started to fall. The clocked ticked closer and closer to 8 pm and you wondered when will you hear the noises of someone nearing the front door.

“No, I don’t think he knows yet. I kind of hope I’ll be the first to know, but it is possible that the company will be alerted before me.”

“Huh” You let your head fall back on the pillows, eyes glancing at her spread-out body beside you. Your hair fanned out, intertwining with hers on the fluffy surface of comfortable pillows scattered around your heads. “So there is a chance Bang will call you to break the news?”

“Maybe?” She blew out a long exhale. “At this point, I wouldn’t even care. I just want to hear the words already.”

“Do you think you’ll move here too?” You were playing with your fingers, lacing them together, twisting it outwards and inwards again. A few knuckles cracked at first, the noise making Drina look in your direction.

“Probably. I hope I’ll have some time with him before he gets back into the whole idol life thing. Set up a home, go for a vacation… maybe other things too.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know. There isn’t anything exact in my mind, but I wonder where he thinks we are.”

“You better make me your maid of honor. I’ll hunt you to the end of the world if you don’t.” She laughed loudly, her torso flexing under the pressure, making the pillows shuffle around as she curled her body to her side.

“Sure you would.” Her voice was peppered with chuckles.

“And I’m choosing my dress. None of that bridezilla thing, I’ll literally keep you medicated if you go down that path. I bet Jin would help me mix some Xanax in your food.”

“You actually think I would be a crazy control freak bride, huh? Y/n, you hurt my feelings.”

“Yeah, save it, you just forced me to allow you to buy leafy printed curtains and bedsheet, complimented with a dark green rug for a room that you won’t use for the better part of the year.”

“Point taken, but it does go well with the whole hygge thing you got going on here. A splash of character isn’t so bad now, is it?”

“You’ll be a nightmare before the wedding.”

“But I’ll be good enough to buy the best booze for it too!”

“That’s true.” You giggled.

“Do you think Tae’s thinking about it?”

“What, marriage?” You didn’t wait for confirmation. “Probably. He said he wants to, at some point. But I have no idea what point exactly is that.”

“Well, he should put a ring on it then.”

“Nah, I’m fine like this.” She gasped a little. “Don’t get me wrong, I would say yes, but wouldn’t it be weird? We are BigHit employees on paper, and I get that it’s better to hide the whole relationship thing. I’m far from being ready to make it public, but hiding an engagement or a marriage is different. I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to be fine with that.”

“Yeah, you have a point. Who would we tell? Like, you know, getting engaged is a big deal. People talk about it, show off the ring and stuff like that. We wouldn’t even be able to tell our friends.”

“I think we could, I don’t have that many people. It’s not like they would care about him being an idol anyway. They don't even know what the word means.”

“I have imagined them meeting since you mentioned it the other day. It would be so freaking funny.”

“You forget they don’t speak the same language.”

“Oh, it wouldn’t be that much of a problem. Joon and Kook could go with English, and the rest, well… “ She lightly laughed again, probably some situation folding out in her head. “I bet Bala is curious.”

“Did he ask you? About them?” You rolled over from your back to your stomach, arms folded under your chest, face turned in her direction.

“No, not really. He did ask about cultural differences, but I think it was because there was that English girl he was messing around with at the time.”

“There is always a girl behind his questions. He wants to settle so bad, never finding the right person.”

“He fits the whole soldier stereotype so well, a broken-hearted girl in every city.”

“Nah, that’s Zs.”

“Did I meet him?” She raised an eyebrow at you in question.

“Yeah, once. You were all over me the whole night about how the hell did I not go all the way with him that one time after I introduced you to him.”

“Oh, right, McDreamy. Tom Cruise in TopGun has nothing on that guy. It doesn’t help he was in the air force either.”

“Half of my friends were in the air force, you idiot.” You rolled your eyes in fake irritation.

“And you wondered why I cozied up to you so fast back in the day.”

“And look where that got you.” You playfully shoved her arm, earning a quick smack in return. You acted out a small fight, gasping and throwing hands at each other in big, over-exaggerated movements, giggling filling the house. A few minutes were needed to pacify the both of you, settling back into the pillows.

“I hope Jin’ll be back by the time Rudaj’s wedding. I want him to be my plus one.”

“I want to take Tae too.” You murmured under your nose into the pillow pressed under your jaw.

“Why didn’t you ask him then?”

“I don’t know. I don’t want to put him in an uncomfortable position I guess. Will they let him come? Can he be on the pictures? He wouldn’t understand anyone there.”

“You’re overthinking again. They’ve been to weddings before.”

“Yeah, employee weddings. That’s different.”

“No, it’s not. Same thing. They were on pictures, it’s just that no one ever found them. And it’s a wedding for Christ’s sake, he would love it. Especially this one. The whole fairy theme, the venue in the middle of the forest, come on. I bet he would want to dye his hair mint green just for the occasion, asking for elf-y pointed ears from the cordi Noonas.”

“Aaah, that actually sounds fascinating. That concept is brilliant.”

“Did I just give you a new kink?”

“You most definitely have. God, your awful!” You threw a silver furry pillow at her head.

“Your welcome, you ungrateful swine!” She shrieked back as she jumped on her knees, smacking you with two pillows at the same time. Struggling with laughing and defending your head from the blows, you tried your best to hit her back when you heard rattling by the door.

“Hey, little… is everything okay?” A deep voice filled with concern flew from the foyer and Taehyung’s head appeared by the kitchen counter. His face was transforming from distress to curiosity as he seized up the scene on the couch. You hand was frozen mid-air, body balancing on your side as you (intended) to propel a pillow into Drina’s side. She was kneeling above you, her hair all over the place, one hand raised above her head to throw down a clutched pillow. Both of you were staring at him as if you were kids caught in the act of doing something naughty. Which is kind of the impression he got too.

“I guess… I’ll leave you to it? I’ll be upstairs under the…”

“Nooo, come here!” You whined, arms reaching toward him, which coaxed a deep rumbling chuckle from him. Drina got off the couch and passed Tae as he drew closer to you, dropping down on the floor to meet you eye-level. He hummed sweetly as he softly kissed your forehead, his spicy sandalwood scent enveloping your senses so fully you almost roll your eyes back in your head in pleasure.

“How was your day?” You murmured, lip brushing against his cheek.

“Long. Tiring. I’m scared for Jimin.” He sighed, his breath tickling your hair. “But at least I’m home now. I think I’ll take a hot shower and just pass out.”

“Mmm, okay. I’ll see Drina out, okay?”

He hummed in response, already turning towards the staircase. You watched his figure move away from you, his steps little sluggish, baggy sweatpants loosely forming out his legs. His shirt left a lot to the imagination too, dropping way below his waist, curtaining from his shoulders into the air. He turned back a little before he went upstairs, gifting you with a little smile and then murmured good night to Drina, who was somewhere close to him, putting on her shoes.

You made your way to the front door, a little ashamed.

“You sure you’ll be fine in the dorms?”

“Sure, I get to be in his room. In his stuff. They still kinda smell like him so it’s really comforting.” She smiled weakly at you as she raised her torso from her ankles, shoes tightly wrapped around her feet. “Go, take care of him. He looks like he needs some sort of… comfort right now.” She winked at you and you cut down a groan in your throat.

“You and that dirty mind of yours.”

“Just the way you like it.”

You opened the door in response and yanked her in for a hug. She softened into it for a second and then pulled away, jogging down the steps lightly. You watched her as she disappeared in the darkness and heard her turn on the engine. Then the sound of running water crept from the upstairs bathroom, making you turn off all the lights in the kitchen/living room area. Kilala was already sleeping somewhere in Jimin’s room. The stairs gave off no sound as you walked up, silently reaching the bedroom and you quietly took off your clothes before turning to the bathroom.

The air was heavy with moisture, water dripping from the mirrors and windows. The steam was flowing upwards from the shower, the glass-enclosed space almost too thick with vapor to see the man standing under the jet of water.

You didn’t bother with your hair. You didn’t bother to set out a towel for yourself. You didn’t bother to make him talk. None of it was meaningful, because he rarely felt the need to blister himself with water as hot as this. He had a bad day, and you knew it.

Locking away your own burdens, you opened the glass door to the shower, balmy mist instantly pouring out as you went inside, closing the door back into the frame. There was some space to move around, a big shower head hanging from the ceiling and Tae was situated right under it, his head hanging horizontally, the water pulling his hair towards the ground in one big flow. His whole body looked tense as if he was holding and flexing himself on purpose.

Wordlessly picking up the shower gel, you squished some in your hand. Stepping forward, you touched his shoulder, circling in the product gently. You felt his breathing stop for a second, his lungs expanding, but not yet collapsing under your touch. You didn’t understand, not yet. Not stopping with the light rubbing, you stepped behind him and he relaxed against you, back pressing into your chest. Wrapping your arms around him, he whimpered a little, the shudder traveling all the way to his legs.

A sense of fear crept into your mind at his reaction. Frozen in movement, you waited until he stopped quivering, his breathing somewhat picked up. Something was wrong. Stepping away from him, you seized up his body, eyes roaming around his skin, looking for any sign that would explain his reaction. Nothing on his back, his shoulders, waist, hips the same tint of aromal honey colored skin that you knew well by now. But then you noticed something dark blossoming on his side above his hip bone. Gently moving him to show you his side, he whined a little, but moved anyway, showing off a patchwork of dark blue’s and purple’s etched into his skin, rough around the edges, probably fiery and raw to touch.

An unconscious hiss left from your lips as you took in the discoloration. Looking at it at an eye-level, it was swollen, but the skin didn’t break anywhere. Lightly tracing a fingertip above it, the surface was rough and bumpy, straining under the pressure of the accumulated blood. You looked up at him, a clear question draw in your features.

“I fell during practice.” He murmured, his voice barely registering with you, the shower too loud around you. “There was some water on the floor, I slipped in it. The belt for the mic was on me, that’s the mark it left. It’s not as bad as it looks, I…”

“It’s okay, we’ll take care of it. Did a doctor see you?”

“Yeah, he said it’s just a bad bruise. Probably a few weeks to disappear. I have a cream in my bag that I’ll need to apply regularly to speed it up.”

“Does it hurt when you move?”

“Not really, just a little to let me know it’s there. Sitting hurts more. And I don’t know how’ll I sleep. Pressure and wrinkling it is bad.”

“By the looks of it, you’ll be able to sleep on your back, your stomach and your other side.” You murmured, looking at the injury. A million and one question roamed in your head, but most of it was due to your worry, there was no sense in flooding him with them. What was important instead of asking them was to make him feel better, because he looked too miserable about this than necessary. You offered him an encouraging smile, but he wasn’t looking at you.

“I wanted to be with you so bad.” He stared blankly at the dark rustic tiles plastered on the wall. “I was this close to having an “ordinary day” at work, come home to you, hang out, have dinner, take you upstairs and fucking ravage you, like a normal person, then this happened...” His voice was growing darker with every syllable, the last words coming out more of a growl than anything else. If it weren’t for the obvious pain he was in, you would have shut him up before he reached the half of that sentence with a kiss. He looked so pissed and dangerous it wasn’t even funny, his cheekbone becoming more angular, jaw more prominent. If not for the injury you would’ve pounced faster than a crazed shopaholic Black Friday dawn at the opening gates. And all the water droplets scattered around his features did not help either.

“If you keep this up you might either way.” You weakly tried to break your lustful haze with the joke. “And you will have ordinary days, filled with all those things. It will get so domestic you’ll be sick of it.”

“There is no chance in hell I’ll ever get tired of it. I want it so bad.” He finally turned his gaze to yours. “I want you so bad, you have no idea.” A pearl of water stuck on his lower lip, shaking a little from his words before dropping below, rolling down to his neck in an almost perfectly straight line. It took all of your control not to lick it off of him mid-movement before it circled down from his jawline.

An involuntary shudder zipped through you which didn’t escape his attention. He took a step closer, his frame hovering all over you and swooped down to your neck, nibbling on the sensitive patch of skin where your neck met your shoulder. A whimper turned into a moan, fingertips digging into skin harder, breathing turning into panting. He pressed you up against the wall, the stream of water only reaching his back lightly. The exploration of his tongue matched his fingers, tracing, pulling and savoring bits of you all over the place.

Senses catching on fire, you lost the ability to think straight right until he tried to jerk up your leg, pulling your knee right to the blooming bruise. The noise slipping out his mouth snapped you out of the mirage, gasping at his pained expression.

“Where is that cream?”

He shook his head in response.

“Okay, I’ll find it myself then.” You started to make your way to the door.

“No, Y/n, I’m fine, it’s…”

“Kim Taehyung, if you dare to believe for one second that I’ll let you cause yourself pain further, obviously not taking that thing seriously enough, you are delusional. Get your ass on the bed so I can apply that goddamn cream or so help me I’ll…”

“Huh, domination suits you, please go on!”

“Taehyung!” You whipped back your head to look at him, your wet hair following in suit, slapping you effectively half of your face and neck. A frustrated yelp tore from you, earning a small giggle from him as he turned off the shower.

“Okay okay, let’s go then. But you owe me shower sex!”

“Noted, but only when this is gone!” Your finger jabbed in the direction of the bruise.

“Yeah, right.” He glanced at the colorful display. “Or when I make you crack.” He muttered under his breath.

“I heard that!” You were already in the bedroom, a towel wrapped around under your armpits, rummaging in the duffel bag he carried around his things in.

Making quick work of drying himself, he spread out the towel on the bed, put on a loose boxer and laid on his side, exposing the injury towards the ceiling. You settled down on the floor beside him, unwrapping the tube you found in the bag. It was a smelly white substance, a strong smell of menthol and herbs wafting through the bedroom. Tae wrinkled his nose when it reached him, overplaying the grimace a notch.

“I hope it doesn’t sting as much as it smells.”

“It might.” You replied, scooping up a generous amount from your palm, finger hovering above his side. “Ready?”

“Yeah, go for it!”

You lightly touched the healthy skin beside the bruise, lightly touching the injury at first. He didn’t react, trying to keep his face blank, trying to make you believe that it wasn’t painful. Once your finger was only moving on the blue and purple parts he bit on his lower lip a little, tensing his body.

“Does it sting?” You asked, trying your best to sound casual. He shouldn’t be worrying about you worrying.

“A little. The pressure is worse.” You immediately lifted your finger from his skin. “No, don’t do that, keep going. The doc said to gently massage it so it’ll clear up faster.”

“Maybe in a few days, I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Little fox, if you won’t do it, I will.” You stared at him disapprovingly until he added. “And I won’t be as gentle as you, believe me.”

Cracking under his threat you put back your cream-coated fingers on the bruise, sighing in frustration.

“Good girl.”

“Fuck you.”

“Gladly!”

He laughed out loud when you rolled your eyes, enjoying himself for the first time since he fell. His gaze never left your face as you tried your best not to hurt him as you spread the ointment on him, carefully monitoring your expression, the way you held your body, the worry almost breaking out on your features. He knew this was your way of taking care of him, not putting on your emotions on him when he was down in one way or another.

You kicked up a conversation about tomorrow, asking about the concept for the photoshoot and how the recording was going. He obliged, going into detail about the things that were an everyday occurrence for him, but most fans would love to know about. You listened intently, your posture loosening up as his skin got more slick with the cream all over the injury. Your fingers got more sure of their movement and Tae got used to the painful sensation enough so he wasn’t flexing himself anymore, surprising jabs of pain gone, a dull ache taking its place under of your care.

He was glad you were with him, taking care of him. It reminded him how his mother nursed his father back to health when he got sick, quietly taking on his parts around the household, gracefully steering him and his siblings to help her and giving some space for his father to heal. The image of you surrounded by 2-3 little ones flooded his mind, jerking an ear-to-ear grin on his face. While he knew you’d freak out by the same image it was completely fine with him to wait until it created a different reaction from you. It was a question of time and growing with each other to get to that.

Taehyung kept on wondering, his mind exploring the idea in his head as you chat along with him, getting on a comfy pajama set, turning off the lights and settling down beside him, exchanging murmured good nights, soft kisses and gentle caresses.

-------------------------------------------

The next day went by in a whirlwind. Once Tae left for his photoshoot, Drina picked you up to find a good coffeehouse to settle down and work at. The two of you sat down next to each other on neighboring tables, sinking into the chairs and the tasks at hand. You made a quick-witted message in your inner work chatroom that you will be more available in Asian regions and proceeded to check your accounts, finding the payment from Sydney arriving the day before.

The day dragged on as you traded in different currencies for a few hours, deciding to make some quick money on the international industry war the current American president kicked up last week. You checked on Taehyung a few times, sending pictures of the place you were at, receiving images of them changing from one outfit to the next. You were glad Jimin took over the task of taking care of his injury during the day, saving you of thinking that one of the female employees would do it instead.

While you knew most senior make-up artists and they would never come onto the members in any indiscreet way, there was always the occasional newbie who thought that her situation is different from others. It was impossible to tell at first glance as all of them had to have a husband before actually scoring the job, but it became apparent that there were some people capable to go into a fake marriage with real paperwork to back it up just so they would be able to get close to the famous boys of Bangtan.

Nightfall found you in the same position as noon did. Drina was stretching in her chair, finishing off the cold leftovers of her food that you ordered for lunch. This marked the end of the session for you, and within minutes, you bid the employees of the place farewell, wind gushing in on the windows as Drina drove you back to the house.

She didn’t come in, tired enough to go straight back to the dorm, wash up and fall asleep in her boyfriend’s sheets. You shared her fatigue and drew a bath for yourself, going for more of a pamper with a bath bomb than a quick cleanse. You were already soaking in the faint smells of fragrant flowers gliding from the warm water hugging your limbs when your phone rang, earning you to jump a little, water splashing against the walls of the tub.

“Hello?”

“Hey sis, whatcha doing?”

“Wha...who is this?”

“Yaaaaaaaaaah, you forgot my voice in two days? Am I that forgettable? If this were a video call, you would never say such a thing, this face is impossible to…”

“Yeah, hey Jin, can I help you?”

“Actually yes, you can. So, what are you doing?”

“Thanking the Gods this is not a video call as I’m having a bath…” you muttered, your free hand holding your forehead in distress.

“Very fortunate, yes. So, listen, I have a favor to ask.”

“O-okay...what’s up?”

“Last time I had to hang up because I got news that I had no idea how to handle so...umm..”

“Jin, I’m getting nervous here. What is it?”

“My service. I’m done.”

WHAT?!

“I’m done. I’m going home. Will you pick me up?

Will I what now?

“Pick. Me. Up! Can’t you hear me woman?”

“I did hear you, but… who knows? Does Drina know? BigHit? Your brothers? Wha…”

“No one knows, I just told you. You were the first. I want to be a surprise, the best entrance of the decade. And I’m trusting you to deliver it.”

“What the hell! Kim Seokjin, you…” You bit on your lip, squeezing your eyes shut. “Gah, Jin, give me a minute to process. This is big, so so so big.”

“Funny, my girlfriend says that a lot too. And I haven’t heard it in person for months now, so would you pick up the pace please?”

“JIN!” You shrieked into the phone, half horrified, half laughing. The latter part he shared, mirth dripping in his tone. “Okay...okay. I’ll pick you up. When?”

“Atta girl. I’m discharged Sunday, anytime during the day. There is a small ceremony, but you won’t be able to come in during. Could you get there around noon?”

“Yeah, sure. I’m not sure where, but sure. What do you need me to bring?”

“A decent set of clothes. Nothing green, I had enough of that. And my girlfriend would be nice too.”

“Okay, I can do that. Can I tell Tae?”

“No, absolutely not. I did my research, I know they are performing Sunday on a fan meet. I bet you can get me in.”

“You really do want to make an entrance.”

“Yeah, but just to them. I don’t want to make this public. I even asked my supervisor not to let the media know. I need some time off anyway. This face has to rest every once in a while, just like the rest of you.”

“Then give me the address and I’ll be there.”

“You better sis, I’m trusting you.”

He went on dictating the address to you and you hit it in your phone, making a casual looking note. The eldest quickly bid goodbye when he heard you call back to the arriving Taehyung, hanging up and letting you sort out your shock before the vocalist made his way to the bathroom.

For seconds that felt like a half an hour to you, you stared ahead of you, processing what just happened. You numbly acknowledged that you had to get a car, somehow convince Drina to leave Seoul on a concert day, escape the member’s attention while doing so and by some sort of miracle get their oldest brother back in the middle of your lives without being recognized early.

An ordinary Sunday evening then... right?

Chapter Text

Chapter 21

A few strands of hair stuck to his nape. He could feel it so much, all his senses were screaming to ruffle it up. It was hard to stay put. Small, shallow breaths were moving his chest, his nerves dictating the pulsation in his veins and lungs. He was sitting on the last seat in the back row, his brothers towering to his right and front. His clothes were kept simple, loose, casual and he liked it that way. His make-up was more on the natural side too, a little eyeshadow framing his doe eyes just enough to make the viewers forget about his antics on stage. He didn’t mind portraying the innocent role because he sometimes caught himself being naive or too pure. It wasn’t lying, it wasn’t that much of an image to pull off. But he did enjoy making fans scream when he got bolder during a performance.

The room was spacey, lots of light coming in from all directions: either natural sunlight filtering through the thin white curtains, or artificial light blaring down on them, big lamps looming from insane angles to make sure no shadow affected their features. He was sitting on a couch that was placed on a smaller pedestal, enough not to hide them with a matching couch in front of them. They told them to sit comfortably, to act like they are at home, but frankly, it felt impossible to be in a situation like this and act like they were lounging in the dorm on a Saturday morning.

Three perfectly styled heads were sitting in front of him. Yoongi was the closest one, his arm casually thrown on the side of the couch, his legs stretched out in front of him. While he understood many people would interpret the posture as calm or even uninterested, he knew better. The current eldest was ready to pounce at any second.

Next to him was Jimin. He was the opposite of his brother, his arms and legs crossed, the slope of his calf elegantly hanging downwards in the air. His shoulders were rolled back, sporting the perfect posture a dancer such as he could pull off to look as classy and not tense. That wasn’t the case but still looked cool nonetheless.

Their leader was situated next to the dancer. Namjoon was fashioned to look casual smart that day, a pair of roundish specks sitting on his nose with a light colored checkered jacket on. He was crossing his legs too, but it was in a stark difference with the gentle man next to him. He radiated a sort of intelligent force, his fingers laced together in his lap and while he did not see his expression, it was without a doubt that the leader had his brows slightly wrinkled. He simply looked like a member of the Jedi council, and the way the interviewer handled herself around him made him think that she would agree with the assessment too.

Sitting above Joon was Hobi who lost all of his usual character during interviews. His hands were fiddling behind Namjoon’s broad shoulders, fingers scraping on his nails, one of his feet twitching on certain words and questions. He kept on a polished, polite smile at all times, but sometimes a harsher glint moved to his eyes, betraying his inner thoughts.

The last person sitting next to him was his youngest hyung. In one of the simplest outfits on an interview ever, Taehyung still managed to look like a runway model in his simple black jacket, arms rolled back to his elbows showing off his delicate and long wrists and hands. Out of all of his brothers, Tae seemed to be listening genuinely the most, his features shifting right on cue to the most fitting expression for the question or reply. He wasn’t moving in his seat, he wasn’t stoic and he certainly didn’t seem bored.

Wondering whether he was doing as good as a job as his brother, Kookie slowly straightened himself out, his eyes gently moving from Jimin to the lady who has been conducting their interview for the past several minutes. She seemed nice, her questions well phrased, coated with the right effect and impact. Sometimes her face would do an expression that Jungkook found exaggerated, but maybe that was her personality showing and not her job as a reporter.

Wrapping up the whole scene was the staff around them two steps back. Three cameramen were scattered in the room trying to make the best footage possible in the conditions they had to work in. Mics were hanging in the air above them to catch the smallest sounds and effects. Sejin was standing by the wall with Drina, his eyes sharp like a hawk, waiting for something he has to handle. The woman next to him was watching the staff, monitoring their reactions to the pull and push flow of the interview. And closest to the scene was the translator for the interviewer, a man who was half-Korean and half-English with a solemn look on his face. Kookie didn’t remember his name, but he seemed like a nice guy. You were sitting right next to him, paying attention to the lady’s voice and interpreting her words into the small microphone fixed close to your lips.

It was alien for the maknae to see you work. Over the years he sometimes found you hunched over your laptop, but you didn’t give off the vibe that you were in the middle of something. Now that he was thinking about it, he never really asked about how your work...worked. He realization stirred his mind, regretting not being more interested.

The way you held yourself told him that you were concentrating as much as you possibly could in the situation. Your crossed legs were covered by a long pleated maxi skirt with beautiful gold embroidery over a royal blue backdrop, ankles flexing your feet backward in a pointe. Torso leaning in a little, you looked like a calm, some sort of feline animal on a hunting spree, shoulders raised, stomach flexed, one arm in your lap, the other holding the mic closer to your mouth. But the sounds you made were far from strained: the flow of your words came soothing, slow and low. If Kookie didn’t know otherwise he would’ve thought that you made a living off that voice, recording audiobooks or ASMR videos.

Your voice glided from the earcomms again, the sound making his erratically beating heart calm down after a heavier question. Namjoon took this one, choosing his words in English carefully, his head and hand movements talking just as much as his lips did. Jungkook saw him gaze at you a few times during the long and complicated sentences and you nodded at him encouragingly, holding up your thumbs once he was done.

But then the main question dropped: the interviewer sported a serious look on her charismatic face and straight-out asked whether Jimin was the man on the footages. Asking him to elaborate on the phenomenon and to share his view over the issue. Kook felt the tension rise to an impossible level, the hairs on his arms stand in alarm. Sejin motioned for everyone to take a breath. Your gaze held the dancers and the maknae heard through the comms your words telling the dancer that it was okay, he can be as honest as he was with you. That what he said back there was the perfect answer. The smallest of nods was your reply and after a breathy sigh, Jimin raised his eyes to the lady sitting in front of him and started talking.

By the third long sentence coming out the dancer's lips everyone seemed to get a little looser. Taehyung let his shoulders rest back and uncrossed his legs to hang down instead. Hobi placed both of his feet on the podium, no longer moving around. Yoongi sat up more, his posture becoming more open than hostile. Only Namjoon stayed the same, much of the answers still coming from him until they wrapped the interview up. Some of the other members received questions too, asking about previous rumors or misunderstandings so that the footage wouldn’t rely only on Jimin. Once the tension was gone created by the heavy questions, the interviewer initiated a more light-hearted conversation, cracking half-jokes and showing off her admiration for them more. She really was the right choice for this, her sense of the room and judgment on where to navigate the flow spot on and appropriate.

The lights shut off and the crew thanked everyone for their hard work. You finally let yourself breathe more easy. It was done, the footage was done. The translator next to you did a quick bow and left you on your low seat which Drina took immediately.

“I think that went rather well.”

“Yeah, I think so too. But it needs to be edited right too. One of the cameras were too close to the couch in the back, I hope it doesn’t show how nervous they were.”

“I don’t think they would make a rookie mistake like that.”

“Ladies, I would like to thank you for your work.” A staff member bowed to you and the two of you stood up and reciprocated the act. Many more staff members went by, bowing, offering kind words. The English crew caught on and did the same, earning genuine smiles all around. The interviewer came over and kicked up a chat between the three of you comfortably as the others got to pack away the equipment. She was polite and didn’t prode into topics you thought she would.

“So are you ladies living here or just a random job at the right place, right time?”

“Kinda both, I’m in the middle of moving here, but the job was a random ask.” You replied

“I was already in the city, so I was able to jump in, it was a lucky coincidence.” Drina shrugged.

“It must be a really interesting job, traveling the world all the time.”

The pleasantries went on for a while. You tried your best to pay attention to them, but at the same time, you were aiming to stand in a way that would provide a good look at the members without making it look like you were staring. The maknaes and Hobi were talking, their expression relieved, everyone touching Jimin in some way or another: Tae had his arm around his shoulder while Hobi occasionally ruffled his hair or played with his cheek, earning protests from the man. Kookie was just sitting by him, their legs resting right next to each other. As much as you could guess, Jimin’s love language or at least one of them was physical contact. He looked so happy the way he held himself, more relaxed, more free surrounded by his loved ones.

The only two missing were Joon and Yoongi who demanded to see the footage and went through the frames with Sejin, making sure it was the way it should be before it was too late. Their expression was riddled in concentration, watching the monitors like a hawk.

The room cleared up in a half an hour and everybody made their respective exits and farewells. The members left off to practice, only giving you polite thank you-s before leaving. Jimin did a deep bow when he reached you, earning surprised sounds from a few of the remaining staff. Suspecting that they reached the elevators and started texting by the buzzing of your phone, you chuckled and gathered your bag and left with Drina by your side. She wanted to buy some clothes for herself and you tagged along.

But your mind was somewhere else. You had hours to figure out how to pull off Jin’s request and the clock was ticking away fast. You already asked for a car from Sejin and he promised to have it by the house after Tae leaves for rehearsal. Maybe if you are sneaky enough he wouldn’t notice you were gone until you’re back with his brother. But you did share your location with him on Google Maps, something you found really cute at the time, but now it was a serious issue. If he were to check where you were at, the little dot would give the surprise away in a heartbeat. But you can’t leave your phone in the house either.

Even if the members were too preoccupied for a few hours, Drina would have to be willingly and unsuspectingly in the car with you. You have to make up something. Thankfully it wasn’t really time sensitive as the location Jin said was only 2 hours drive from your place, so getting back after picking him up would still be way before the concert would start.

But then again… they will need a place to...stay. The dorms are full of men, and while you were sure Drina wouldn’t care what they heard or saw or notice in any other way, you wanted to give more of comfort on their first day. Sure, you could let them stay with you, but… maybe that’s not the best idea either.

You kept pondering on as you trailed after your best store after store. A plan was formulating in your head and by the time she dropped you off, you were kind of sure you’ll be able to pull it off.

Kind of.

------------------------------

The silence was deafening. The house was empty, you were sitting on the kitchen counter, legs dangling in the air, hands dropped in your lap. Your phone was situated right next to you and you refused to look at it. You have been waiting for the damn thing to ring, to buzz, to give a sign of someone wanting to contact you. There was a duffle bag under your legs, filled with freshly folded clothes and a few thrown in accessories.

Taehyung left an hour ago to go to the venue, kind of disappointed you weren’t going with him. He has been pleading with you to go with him to work at least once, and you would love to, really, but he chose the wrong day. You promised to visit him when he’ll be in the recording booth because the producers were friends with the boys enough to know about their relationships with you. Sungdeuk, their choreographer has met you too, so it wouldn’t be a big deal if you dropped in during a dance practice.

The phone stubbornly remained silent and your blood pressure was reaching a speed that made the beat in your ears noticeable. Either Drina or Sejin will be here any minute now and you would prefer if it would be Sejin so you could drop in the bag without Drina asking questions about it. Minutes went by and you took the unsolicited time to check on Kilala, his bowls and the kitten was roaming all over your lap as you dragged his toys around for him to hunt for.

The bell went off and you jumped out of your skin. Kilala hissed in surprise and ran off behind the couch, his eyes glaring towards the front door. Not knowing who could it be, you made your way down the bamboo-lined steps only to find a car parking outside. But no one was there. Furrowing your brows, you looked around and jumped again when the phone your hand went off.

“Y/n, hey, sorry, but I don’t have time to chat today. The keys and documentation are in the mailbox. Maybe you should keep using this car when you are here in Seoul, eh?”

“Oh, hey Sejin. Uh, okay, sure, but wouldn’t it be a problem for you?”

“Nah, it’s actually good for the company because there is a GPS installed, so we could help you anytime you need it.”

“Oh, so you know where the car is?”

“Yes, why?”

“Uh...Sejin, could you promise me not to check where I am in the next few hours? It’s nothing shady or anything, but I made a promise to someone and it could be potentially ruined if someone would check on me today.”

“Y/n, I… Look, today is a busy day, I don’t think anyone would have time to check the cars. But please don’t ask me to do this often. Your safety is my priority, I need to be able to help you at all times.”

“Yeah, thanks for that. I really appreciate it.” You held the phone to your ear with your shoulder, scanning through the envelope he dropped in for you. “I promise you’ll figure out why I asked this later today. Just wait until the concert.”

“Nothing too drastic I hope.”

“It’s… unexpected. But you’ll like it, I swear.”

“Uh… okay. I’m not much for surprises, but okay.”

“It’s kind of in your job description.” You smiled into the phone, your legs already racing you up to the kitchen, grabbing the duffel bag and sprinting back to throw it in the trunk of the car. “Have a smooth rehearsal!”

“Thanks, you have a good day too!”

“Oh, you bet!”

The phone clicked as he hung up. A car was pulling up around the corner and you saw your friend behind the wheel, a pair of black tinted glasses propped on her nose and a silvery mask covering her mouth. Once she parked down, she jumped out, slamming the door behind her with a flick of her wrist.

“So, am I in time?”

She took out a smaller bag from the backseat and walked over to you in a few big steps.

“Yeah, just about.”

“I still don’t get it why do you want to do a spa day today. I get it it’s been hefty in the last few days, but…”

“Hey, I just think we deserve a little treat. And I’ve never been to a spa in Asia, so why not? I read up on this place a while ago and they had open spots for today. It’s not like we’ll miss the gig or anything.” You tried to speak casually, taking her bag from her shoulder and throwing it next to the duffel bag.

“Yeah, fine.” She stretched with a small yawn tearing her lips open. “Why do we need another car though?”

“You are just full of questions today, aren’t you?” You murmured under your breath. “Sejin asked me to use it for safety reasons while I’m in Seoul. And I haven’t been driving forever so I feel better to practice with you in the car.”

She eyed you for a few seconds, but then gave up, her body language deflating as she made her way to the passenger seat and buckled in.

You instructed her to dress casually and she did exactly that: a light colored pair of jeans was her choice with a black long sweater. Her shoes matched the silvery mask, the metallic tint drawing the eyes to her ankles easily. You, on the other hand, went for a burgundy baggy sweater, black ripped jeans and a sleek black mask that made you feel like a ninja. And you needed to feel like a ninja today, praying for a smooth delivery for the eldest member of Bangtan.

The drive was kind of quiet, too early for either of you speak a lot. By the group chat, you knew that she stayed up late, trading in European currencies until the middle of the night. Not minding her silence you put on your Mellowny playlist and hummed along with the smooth songs as the GPS coordinated you to your destination.

A few minutes before getting there you glanced at the digital clock embedded in the dashboard. You had 10 minutes before noon hit and the GPS estimated your arrival in 6. Nervously shifting your grasp on the wheel, you braced yourself for the impact that Drina’s reaction was going to be, half grinning at the imagined shouting already. She stirred a little in her seat, lowly muttering the lyrics to Dimple with the speakers.

Taking a turn from the main road into a more forest-y path, the car moved and shook a little more, shaking your friend to sit up more. Her eyes took in the sunlit sea of trees on both sides of the car, probably searching for a building that looked like a spa resort. But when she found none, she just huffed and folded her arms, glancing at the GPS.

“Hey Y/n, where is the... “ Her eyes tried to make out the address, but a bigger bump shook the car again. “Where the hell are we?”

“Almost there, stop whining.”

“I’m not even… huh. So this is it. You’re kidnapping me?”

“Why would I kidnap you?”

“To sell my body to the highest bidder. To take me to Dubaj. Or this is the start of a cheesy thriller and we’ll be dead by the end of the day.”

“It’s rather interesting how your mind fills in your blank spots with prostitution and death in a blink of an eye.” You chuckled as the car reached a small clearing. There was a high fence in the middle complete with barbwire, a small building right by the door on the fence. Without showing any obvious emotion, you stopped the car, secured it in place, jumped out of the seat and slammed the door in a long motion. Drina just stayed in her place, her eyes narrowed and following your figure as you jumped on the hood, showing your back to her and facing the small building.

“Okay, what the hell?” You hear her getting out and she circled to stand in front of you, hands on her hips. “I was promised a spa treatment, where are we?” Her rant went on and on, her voice reaching a higher level of pitch after every finished sentence. You were so amused how she went off on you you forgot to pay attention to everything else, biting on your lower lip not to laugh out loud.

There was a small noise in the back, but she didn’t notice it. You, on the other hand, spared a quick glance to see a tall figure walk from the building to the fence. Taking this as a sign, you jumped off the hood and went to the back of the car, grabbing the duffel bag out and then back to the hood, situating yourself comfortably again. Drina was in your heel the whole time, not missing a beat but rather incorporating your actions in her rant, almost comically not noticing the man almost reaching her. She was reaching the end of her current breath and you used the small break to throw the bag behind her.

“Nothing green, I promise!”

“Good job, sis, good job! I see not much has changed then?” Jin caught the bag in a swift motion, a grin plastered over his handsome features.

Drina froze. It’s as if her constantly moving body was electrocuted by sheer sound. She was following the movement of the bag until the man behind her spoke, thus leaving her in an awkward position, torso sideways but legs still facing you, one hand reaching behind her as her index finger pointed from you to whatever she thought was behind her. By the time Jin finished his question, she let out a quack-like sound, her lips fallen apart in shock.

Grinning at her and then the vocalist, you tilted your head, waiting for either of them to make a move. The man just stood, a huge bag on his shoulders and one hand holding the duffel bag you just gave to him, his face struggling to hold onto one single emotion. One minute he was laughing at you, the next he was watching his girlfriends back, smiling widely. Then his gaze traveled around her frame, his expression darkening, turning into a predatory lust that only he could pull off without being scary.

Your friend finally moved. It wasn’t what you were expecting: her hand flew to her mouth, covering it with tightly shut fingers. Her eyes tore into yours, unmovingly, unblinkingly. Without doing anything, she was pleading with you so loudly that raised your emotions that much more. She was asking whether this was real. Whether this was a dream. Not wanting to leave her waiting, you yanked her closer and pinched her upper arm with a little twist of your fingers. She yelped and smacked your shoulder, but before the nerves in your skin communicated with your brain to feel the pain she caused she was already gone, lunging in the air to jump on his waist, legs wrapping around his waist, wailing all the way.

While you were a little surprised by her, Jin wasn’t. He already dropped the bag from his shoulders and threw the duffel bag at you the minute she turned towards him, waiting for her to arrive in open arms, securing her by her back. The spread of emotions was wide and thick. Shock resonated into laughter, dying down to chuckling until it turned into quiet sobs and heavy panting. Both burying themselves into the other's neck, you knew they were murmuring to each other, but you didn’t want to hear. It was their moment, their world.

Your phone buzzed in your pocket indicating you got a message from someone. As quietly you could, you pulled it out and saw that Kookie sent a picture. The frame was black and white, displaying a vanity table filled with beauty products with big lights shining down by the edge of the mirror on the person sitting in front of it. The middle of the image was filled by Taehyung, his eyes peacefully closed, as if he was sleeping. It was a really calm and carefully selected image, placing him close enough to the lens but not too close, the light on his features highlighting enough, but still giving contrast to not to be burned out by all the whites surrounding him. Immersed in the little details, you didn’t notice Jin place Drina down on her feet and approach you.

“Hey, is this how you greet me after so many months, sis?” He muttered, his nose a little red.

Not answering him, you put down your phone and pulled him into a hug, squeezing him a little for good measure. He chuckled lowly and hugged you back wordlessly. Feeling the prickling arrival of tears, you sighed a little before pulling away from him.

“You need to change so you won’t stand out so much. Do you want to do it he... “

“Ah, you see, I didn’t plan ahead that much, I only asked for the clothes because…”

“Seokjin, I know you didn’t plan, but I did. Now…” You looked at your friend standing behind him. “...I am well aware that we have a concert to crash and you two have… some things to do, so I got you a suite at The Shilla. Lower floor facing some greenery, you have your own pool and I’ll get your keycards so you won’t be noticed as much. But for that to actually happen you need to change.”

He blinked several times under a minute. While he was processing, you checked your phone to see that only 15 minutes have passed, so you would be able to reach the hotel by check-in time, giving them about 4-5 hours to enjoy themselves before you had to pick them up for the concert.

If they get their asses moving that is.

“So, are you just going to stand there like a statue or get in the car before we are late from everywhere?” You commented light-heartedly at them with your eyebrow raised. Drina squealed and yanked the still stunned Jin towards the backseat door.

The drive back was much more animated than on the way to pick up the vocalist. The two sitting in the back swapped stories, filling in each other with what happened while he was gone. Occasionally you answered their questions but mostly concentrated on driving and smiling to yourself. They were so happy it was wrecking your brain.

Jin didn’t change a bit in any possible way. His antics and jokes remained the same and his appearance was just like when you last saw him. He did say that he got used to letting his beard grow out a little, but it was mostly due to him not wasting effort on it as much in the army. He didn’t need to look pretty and while it was bothering him at first, he got used to it. He did miss his different hair colors, so he will probably change it up when he gets the opportunity to.

You soon reached Seoul, the traffic growing around you on the highway.

“Drin, do you want spare clothes before I drop you off?”

“Uh…” There was a pause in the back. Guessing what was making her think, you shrugged.

“I can just grab your stuff in the dorms later before I pick you up, how’s that?”

“Oh, okay, thank you.” She answered rather shyly. Not suppressing your smirk, you made a turn to reach the hotel and parked in an alleyway close to the entrance.

“Wait here, I’ll check-in for you.” And with that, you got out and jogged around the corner. The sun was struggling to shine down over the cloud-covered sky, tinting the city in a greyish light. A light breeze washed around you before you entered the fancy establishment, reaching the front desk silently. The clerk glanced at you, his eyes taking in your simply attire before meeting your gaze again. You told him the name you reserved the place under and after a few sure hits on the keyboard he confirmed your suite. His attitude changed the second he saw the type of room, standing up immediately before giving you two keycards with a bow. Shooting a smile at him, you turned towards the restaurant to make him believe you are off to a late lunch only to turn again and leaving through a different set of doors facing a different street.

The whole thing didn’t take more than a few minutes, but you could tell that the pair in the car felt it like an eternity, their hands strictly in their laps as if everything else was on fire around them. Grinning again, you sat back in, threw the cards in the back for them.

“Easy, you’re almost there. I’ll just take you to the underground garage where you can reach the elevator safely and you can do whatever you want to from there.”

A few muttered words of gratitude reached you which made you furrow your brows. You get that they were holding themselves for your sake, but they got more silent the nearer they got to be alone. Thinking that maybe they discussed something while you were outside, you tried to shove away your thoughts as you turned to duck the car below ground, bright orange lights blazing from the ceiling. You decided to save the time with parking and simply stopped by the elevators so they could drop out quickly.

“Hey, thank you for all this, really.” Jin’s face popped up by your window. “I don’t know what to say.”

“Just do the same for Tae if he asks you to.” You waved him off, grinning at his shy expression.

“Will do Ma’am!” He saluted in a half-joke-ish way, his eyes remaining a little serious.

“Now sweep her off her feet. I’ll be back in a few hours!”

He nodded and stepped away from the car as you pulled out of the spot waving in your friend’s direction. She was standing by the free elevator, her eyes only leaving her boyfriend for the split second to grin at you. They stepped in, disappearing from your sight.

------------------------------------

You passed the time by picking out your own outfit back home, putting on some music on the built-in speakers. Mamamoo’s Starry Night filled the walls and you lightly danced along, scanning through the closet with ease. Kilala, too small to be able to walk up the stairs was brought up by you, his little body moving around the new environment, smelling and scenting everything that caught his interest. He was currently lost somewhere in the bathroom as you swiped between your newly bought garments, pondering how fancy should you go for the night.

A buzzing caught your attention and you followed the sound to the bedroom where you threw your phone on the bed.

“Hey Yoongs, what’s up?”

“Uh, hi, is this a good time?”

“Sure, why?”

“I just wanted to ask for a favor… I left my gloves in the dorms and I was trying to reach Drina, but she sounded really… I don’t know, weird.” His muttering was so unhinged for the cool rapper, you could only imagine what did he hear when your friend picked up the untimely call. “I don’t want to boss you around, but could you please pick them up for me?”

“Yeah, sure thing.” You chuckled. “Where can I find them?”

“Probably around my desk or the nightstand. I know I had it in my hands before leaving, it just never landed in my bag.”

“Okay, I’ll pick it up for you. Do the guards know I’m coming?”

“Oh, I don’t think they’ll mind. You know the code anyway.”

“Mmm” You hummed in the speakers. “Does anybody else need anything?”

“I don’t think so, but I can ask.” You heard him shuffle something, probably himself off a couch or any other horizontal furniture he could find to sleep on. He shouted off in the background, earning a few replies, but none of them seemed to need anything. “No, that’s all.”

“Okay, only the gloves then. How is everyone?”

“The usual I guess. I was mostly sleeping in the corner, but I can give the phone to someone if you really want to know.”

“Nah, that’s okay. Go back to sleep Yoongi. See you in a few!”

“Yeah, you too!” With a click, the call ended and you threw back the phone on the sheets. You wondered how will the calm rapper react to his oldest brother returning. You could almost picture him with his mouth agape, flustered with emotions. Tonight was going to be so special and they have no idea about it. It was high time the boys get a surprise, something to blow over the accusations and bad press which filled their last couple of days.

Fancy it is then.

-------------------------------------

You pulled up by the dorms, the guard by the parking lot tipping his hat in your direction when he saw you get out. Your form was already concert-ready with a small heeled open-toed pair of ankle boots on your feet followed by a sparkly, beaded skirt drawing tribal patterns around your hips. The whole thing was topped off with an off-shoulder piece showing off your fair complexion. Hair arranged in smooth beach waves with a simple black eye-liner tinted lips combo, you made your way to the front door to the dorms, hitting in the code swiftly. The door buzzed and you pushed yourself in.

The place was messier than usual, shoes, pieces of clothing and random stuff thrown around the open spaces. The kitchen was mostly okay, the sink and the counters clean, but that was probably due to the immense amount of take-out food the boys went through regularly. Walking by the laundry room you were piles of dirty clothes which would’ve looked chaotical, but you saw Jungkook’s system in them: work out clothes in one pile, sensitive materials another, the rest in colored coded systems laying around, giving off a rainbow-y feel sitting next to each other.

Making your way to Yoongi’s room you avoided looking in the other rooms. His was the second to last on the row of doors and it was surprisingly in order compared to the other areas in the dorm. Looking for the gloves you seized up around the bed and his desk, searching for the small fabric. It fell from the desk to the chair and you quickly snatched it, tugging it in your small bag hanging around your hip by a long and thin leather strap.

Now for Drina’s things.

Entering the room on the end of the line of doors you saw your friend’s bag situated on the floor by the bed, her stuff scattered around in an organized chaos kind of way that only she understood. With a deep sigh, you threw all her clothes on the bed and started folding, placing shirts on shirts, bottoms on bottoms and then rolling them up tightly so they wouldn’t take as much space in her small suitcase. Once you had all clothes in, you threw in everything else on top and zipped up the damn thing in a hurry, checking your phone as you walked to the front door. In the elevator, you sent a warning text to Drina so she would know that you are on your way. Finding them in an indecent situation was not on your agenda of the day and you wanted to keep it that way.

Driving to the hotel’s garage the second time that day, you strolled to the door with the suitcase in hand and pushed the button for the third floor. Quietly knocking on the door you knew they were behind you waited for a few seconds.

“Coming!” You heard your friend yell. The door snapped open and you thanked the gods she was fully clothed, her hair pinned up in curls.

“How did that happen?” You asked motioning to her head.

“Oh, I just asked the hotel staff whether they can lend me a curler and they did. Is that all my stuff?”

“Yup, you have an hour to get ready. Jin, did you find the makeup kit?” You called in as you walked to the living room letting Drina take her suitcase from you. Making yourself on the couch you watched as your friend disappeared behind a door on your far right and you guessed that must be the bathroom. She turned on some music you didn’t know, calm sounds of a woman lightly singing to get her in the mood for the evening.

“How did I do?” Jin appeared opposite to the bathroom, probably coming from the bedroom. He was dressed in the clothes you gave him: a white button-down with spots of color scattered in random places with a small silk black scarf right under the collar accentuating his neck. Black tight fitting jeans hugging his strong tights continued the look, finishing up in polished black boots. His dark brown hair was fashioned into a smooth curtain divided partly on his forehead and he applied little make-up to highlight his full lips and the corner of his eyes just enough to have a fiercer look on his handsome features.

“Pretty good, the cordi Noonas will be really proud.”

“I wonder who’ll be the first to recognize me” He dropped down on the couch too, putting his legs on the low table in a leisurely fashion. “I’m kind of torn between sneaking in successfully and someone spotting me in the first second. I mean, I do have this face.” His index finger pointed to his jawline, his eyes rolling around playfully.

“Your face will be behind a mask and that newsboy hat I got you, so I think we’ll be fine until we reach backstage.”

“And how will we get that far? Can you just smuggle in strangers just like that?”

“No, I asked Saem to clear the way. I told him I have a surprise person for the boys and he said okay.”

“Just like that?”

“Just like that. I was ready to pull a full fake story out of my ass, but he just said okay, they need something like that.”

“Oh, the scandal?”

“Yeah. Plus Yoongi is always overworking himself so leave material behind when he gets the call. Joon is stressing about the service too, because who will be the leader, the translator, the spokesperson when he’s not here? He doesn’t talk about it, not really. But it’s in the air. But they’ll tell you all about it, more than I know. How are you?”

“Stressed.” He let his head rest on the pillows, his face facing the ceiling. “Excited. I’m sweating so much it’s embarrassing. But in a good way you know. I can see what they are doing right now, what the room is like. And I’m scared that maybe I’m wrong at the same time. What if they changed, what if I don’t fit anymore. Stuff like that.”

“You fit, you always did and always will. They can’t wait for you to be back fast enough.” Your hand found his and squeezed it for a second. “I talked to Yoongi today and he was sleeping in the corner before and after the call.” He chuckled at that, closing his eyes as he imagined the rapper resting. “And Kook sent me a picture of Tae too. So he is messing around like always, bothering his hyungs and Tae seemed to be relaxing.”

“In his little bubble.” He finished your train of thought. “Yeah, that does sound similar.” He grinned a little, his posture relaxing a little.

“What do you think, how long will your girlfriend to get ready?”

“Mmm, maybe two anime episodes long?”

“Turn on the TV then!”

With a little laugh, he grabbed the remote off the table and started scanning through the channels until he found old Dragonball episodes with subtitles on and dropped the remote. Both of you buried yourselves into the couch further, dividing the pillows fairly. To your surprise, he gently forced your head to rest on his shoulder and you accepted the position with a small nod. One and then the second episode finished up and soon ate up the third one before Drina showed up from the bathroom.

“Seriously, I didn’t take that long for you to fall asleep here on old reruns!”

“This is the third episode woman, what were we supposed to do?”

She feigned a furious sigh but got on her heels without another word. Jin turned off the TV and you grabbed your bag, checking on Yoongi’s gloves before leaving after them to the elevators.

The three of you animatedly talked as you got in the car, both of them climbing in the backseat. Jin got into a really nostalgic conversation and did a play-by-play what could be happening right now, checking the time and animated made up fake accidents what happened in the past before shows. You laughed as he acted off the different member’s reactions, climbing with the car back onto the streets and navigated to the venue. Tonight wasn’t a big crowd, but more of an intimate gathering for hardcore ARMY members, who had to complete in many challenges. The select few who finished the tasks in time were invited to the gig and had a small say in the setlist too. Only 2000 fans were allowed inside and pop-up screens around the city were showing what was going on in the inside. Parks and bigger open spaces were occupied with swarming ARMY as you speed by them in the tinted car.

The venue had a hidden garage and you pulled up to the guard standing by the fence. He asked for an ID and after a quick call he let you in, directing you to a specific place where Saem was said to pick you up. Following his instruction, you drove under the building, down a tight corridor to reach a bigger space filled with company cars. Not a soul was around, only dark vehicles lining up neatly next to each other in the dark grey environment. You got out, fixed your bag and turned to see the others: Drina looked nervous, but smiled tightly at your, her eyes watching her boyfriend as he pulled on the trench coat you gave him, the hat and the mask, disguising him more and more.

“Okay, from now on, you don’t speak until we get in the room where they are at. Drina, we shook off everyone who tried to talk, okay? Once we get there, we shut the door and Jin take this stuff off, okay?” They nodded, Jin motioning to lock his mouth and throwing away the key.

“Y/n!” Saem’s voice drifted from behind a row of cars and you started moving in his direction, sometimes checking on the two in the back.

“Hey, what’s up?” You smiled at the bodyguard. He smiled back at you and Drina, his eyes resting for a few seconds on Jin, but he didn’t say or indicate in any way whether he recognized him or not.

“Nothing much, it’s pretty peaceful so far.” He started walking towards a set of closed doors. “So we just need to go straight to the members, correct?”

“Exactly. No stopping, no chatting, no emergencies.” He held open the doors and let you get in the corridor before closing it again with his keycard. He acknowledged your instructions and started to dictate a quick pace that resembled a power walk, making quick turns and dodging the more and more people you passed as you got closer to the backstage. Some people greeted your group, most it was mostly okay so far.

Backstage was a different story though. A lot of the last minute preparations were still on, many people carrying props, equipment through the single corridor from and to the stage which you had to take as well to get to the members. You had to let the staff go through, pausing many times to stand still until a bigger thing was out of your way. Every pause made your heart beat harder, the adrenalin coursing in your bloodstream thicker and faster. Turning to the others, Drina was keeping her eyes up, holding onto your hand and Jin’s so you wouldn’t be separated in the crowd. Jin kept his gaze downcast so he wouldn’t accidentally meet anyone’s eyes. You passed the rooms filled with clothes and soon the rooms where the coordi Noona’s waited to fix up someone, already done with the members.

Only 30 minutes before the start, you reached the room. Saem looked at you and motioned to the open door. You could see most of the dance line from that angle: Kookie was playing on his phone, his features arranged by his concentration, one of his legs hanging off from the arm of his high chair. J-Hope was talking with Jimin, only their profiles showing behind Kook’s broad shoulders.

With a deep breath, you walked in Drina following closely and she yanked in the now hesitating Jin behind her. You slammed in the door and guessed that Saem has taken up a guard position right after. Startled by the noise, everyone in the room looked up.

By the other wall, Joon was scribbling something on a notebook, hunching over with a ball pen. Only his eyes looked up, his posture remains the same, but when he noticed it wasn’t only you and Drina, he straightened up, his expression going from an easy greeting smile to a fake polished one.

Tae was by the mirror behind the leader, and he was asleep not long ago, his eyes still half closed when he found you standing in the door. He was about to jump off his high chair when he noticed Jin and tilted his head in confusion, his gaze darting from him to Drina to you and back to him in question.

Yoongi was the closest to you as the couch he was resting on was right by the door aligned by the wall. His head was on the opposite side from you and when he noticed the door close, he glanced up slowly.

“Ah, hey Y/n. You have my gloves?”

“Yeah, in my bag. Slept well?” He just nodded and sat up, throwing his slender legs on the floor.

“Noona…” Kookie got out of his chair and stood by you. “Why did you bring someone here?” His voiced everyone’s question quite casually, his body language rather calm.

Not even a minute passed since you closed the door, but the penny didn’t drop yet.

“That is for you to find out Kook.” You said cryptically, motioning to Jin. He vocalist looked at the man. Jin stood and faced him, his breath seemingly trapped in his throat based on his unmoving chest. Only his eyes were visible and the more Jungkook stared at him, the more familiar they seemed. Every man in the room was staring at Jin and it felt like time stood still.

The maknae drew closer to the eldest, his posture still kind of easy, one hand in his pocket. You noticed how he narrowed his eyes for a split second, the fluff tensing up only to ease up again by the time he was right in front of his brother. He took off his hat first so that Jin’s hair would flop into place above his eyes neatly. Jungkook looked at the man from every angle like a little kid would when opening a new present, checking it out from the bottom to the sides, prodding and shaking. It was almost comical how Jin let him do it. The others still had no idea what was going on, watching the scene unfold with dumbstruck expressions.

Namjoon was about to stop his youngest to irritate the man in the trench coat when the maknae put a finger under the mask, pulled on it a little and let it snap back into place, coaxing an annoyed sound from the eldest.

“Oh, okay, it’s just an ahjussi.” With a grin, he sprinted back to you and hid behind your back, knowing exactly what kind of reaction would that earn him.

“YAAAAH, YOU SHAMELESS LITTLE SHIT…”

Every man in the room had their jaws dropped hearing the oh so familiar rapping rant reaching a higher pitch by the second, but it was only Namjoon who stood up so abruptly, his chair fell back, lips open and face painted in shock, his question shaking the very walls almost.

“WHAT THE SERIOUS FUCK?!”

Chapter Text

Chapter 22

“WHAT THE SERIOUS FUCK?”

Chaos was an understatement. As if a bomb just went off, the boys’ reaction ranged as wide as far rainbows do on the rainy sky.

Kookie was behind you, snickering so bad his head was almost resting on your hip, both hands grasping on your top which was really unfortunate since it didn’t have support from both of your shoulder, gliding lower than it was intended to. Jin was still japping, standing right in your face as he bellowed his rant at the howling maknae. Drina was watching the whole scene with an expression that verged on laughing and helplessness before she helped putting your half shoulder piece back into its place, lips still parted in shock.

As for the others…

Taehyung’s eyes kept bouncing from your figure to JK to Jin, his whole face open with childlike wonder as he got out of his seat and yanked you out from the heated sandwich between his two brothers. With his hands securely on your waist, he started laughing as Kookie darted behind Drina now and she started to cool off the eldest. Her attempt would have been successful if not for the maknae shooting faces towards his brother, igniting his rant further.

Namjoon would have gone in to seize the war, but Yoongi held him in place, shaking his head. With a seriously soft arrangement of his face, he watched as the rest of the dance line walked up to the oldest. Joon stood, his gaze fixed on Seokjin, still kind of thinking that this isn’t real, it’s a mirage, a dream. The leader and the oldest rapper stood close to each other, arms linking awkwardly with shiny eyes.

By the time Hobi and Jimin reached the shouting man Drina started to lose her patience with the squabbling, raising her equally voluminous voice in frustration. Hobi put his hand on Jin’s shoulder and squeezed it, making the man turn in his direction with his eyes and mouth blow out of proportions. Hobi smiled at him blindingly, distracting Jin enough for Jiminie to get the mask off his face.

Chaos was replaced by a strong wave of emotions.

Unable to help himself, a thick sob tore it’s way open from Jimin’s throat activating the fatherly side of Seokjin. Hobi smashed his hand on his own lips, trying his best to contain himself, shoulders shuddering. Joonie trembled at the sight of them, grabbing the vanity table behind him to steady himself while Yoongi just smiled kindly, memorizing everything about the scene in front of him. Tae’s hand wrapped around your midsection, his breath getting heavier and your neck getting damper where your skin welcomed his exhale. He kissed your neck for a long moment before he let go of you to go to them, Jin already hugging the two dancers furiously.

The two vocalists gaze’s met and Tae cupped his face with one hand and headbutted the eldest lovingly. The first tear rolled down by the time Jin’s head reemerged from it, motioning for all of them to get into the hug too.

6 bodies smashed into the broad-shouldered man, compressing against each other so tightly it was a wonder how nothing cracked. Kookie was the last to arrive, his grin a little shaky as he panted against the withheld crying in his senses. Everyone tried to hold the other with all their might, arms flexing and breathing in-out deeply.

Drina smiled at you from across the room, her fingers placed under her eyes so fight her spilling tears. Sharing her situation you sighed heavily as the members parted. Jin was the most disheveled, his nose and lips red. Shaking his head at the whole thing he shot you a fake grunt.

“You would think they are happy to see me, but tears is all I get. Maybe my face got so much more handsome that that is the only proper reaction.”

“Hyung!!” All of them moaned with a different tint of emotion: Namjoon with embarrassment, Yoongi with disbelief, Hobi with mirth, Jimin with annoyance, Tae with laughter and JK with amusement. The eldest dropped down by the edge of the couch, pulling Drina on his lap. Everyone settled down while you stayed standing. Tae furrowed his way between the table you were leaning on and your body, holding you against his chest with comfortable ease, his head resting on your shoulder. You spared a glance at him to see if his bruise touched the table, but he just shook his head with a small smile.

“Okay, who was the culprit?” Joon kicked off the series of questions in his head as he massaged his neck with one hand.

“I would say those two.” Drina motioned to you and Jin.

“I would say it was him entirely.” You defended.

“He could never pull this off though.” Yoongi eyed you with a curl in his eyes.

“Well, I did ask for her help.” Jin grinned from behind your friend’s frame.

“How long did you know?” Tae murmured from your neck.

“A day and a half. And it was excruciating by the way.” You offered the eldest a dark look, but he knew better than to take it seriously. “Finding a way to deliver your girlfriend to the pick-up point, getting a car to do so without suspicion - which the company monitors, by the way, I had to ask Sejin to let me be for today! - avoiding every single one of you on a concert day for God’s sake, and then smuggling you in… I might have a few grey hairs now.”

“It’s okay, you can rock a silver hair easily.” Tae hummed thoughtfully.

“Yeah, I second that.” Joon nodded at you. “And he asked you to keep it a secret, him being off service?” You raised your hand at him in agreement. “And you did! You should’ve told us!” There was a hint of anger in his voice, his expression barely concealing the torrent of frustration.

“Hyung, don’t be like that.” Jimin defended you.

“No, it’s okay.” You shrugged. “I thought at least one person will be mad at me, but I was guessing it would be her.” You pointed at Drina and she feigned innocence as a reply. “But Joonie, if you would have asked me the same, I would do it for you too. For each and every one of you to be honest. I don’t care if that is what the person needs, who am I to say no? So don’t take that opportunity away from yourself like this.”

“Yah, that’s enough of that!” Jin looked straight at you before turning his furrowed brows to his leader before he could answer you. “She did what I asked her to do and I would do the same again! And by the way, Taehyungie, we’ll help you out when it’s your turn!” He delivered his signature wink towards your shoulder which held up Tae’s resting chin.

“Thanks hyung, I’ll keep it in mind.”

Hobi was about to say something when the sound of sharp knocking came from the door.

“Namjoon-ah, what is going on in there?” Sejin’s voice crept from behind the firm wood.

Everybody glanced at the leader in question as he was watching Seokjin to figure out how to proceed. The vocalist shrugged to the rapper.

“Sejin, could you please come in?”

There was a short pause and then the manager came in. He didn’t really walk away from the door after he closed it. With a quick nod towards you, he glanced back down to the tablet in his hand.

“Okay, so you’ll start in 5, your mics are on the stage already with the earpieces, does anyone have anything for me to do…” He trailed off as he was checking his last-minute list before the concert, eyes glued to the screen. Everybody held their breath, but the manager didn’t interpret the tension right.

“Actually…” Jin started talking out of the blue. “Is it possible that I get a different hat for the last act? I think this one doesn’t suit my hair.”

“Sure Jin, I’ll ask one of the stylists to give you a…” The manager took a breath earlier than necessary. The sharp sound of his inhale was followed by him snapping his head back up and he found himself staring straight at Joon. The two men locked gazes as Sejin phased through the stages of shock: his face ran out of color for a second before he got flushed, his breathing picking up in pace. His rush was met with the leader's calm dimpled smile as he turned his index finger towards the eldest sitting on the couch by the door. As automatically as an android would move, the manager followed the line the leader’s finger drew in the air and turned to face Jin. The tablet shook in his hand before he steadied his grip on the black device.

“How the f…” Started his breathless question.

Jin in reply pointed in your direction, making the manager move his gaze again towards your standing figure.

“Oh.”

There was no literal sound of the puzzle pieces finally clicking together in his mind, but in your head, you could hear the classic bell sound that went off on classic TV game shows after a positive answer.

“Ding ding ding.” Kook sang from his high chair as if he read your mind.

“Well… this is… “

“Surprising.” Yoongi finished his sentence.

“Amazing!” Jimin clapped his hands together with a wide eye-consuming smile.

“Unexpected.” Sejin finished his own train of thought. “I think I need to sit down.”

Tae chuckled softly by your ear as he watched the man sit down beside Kook, his face still in a shell-shocked state.

“So what's the plan?” Yoongi looked back to Jin. “Do you want to come on stage with us?”

“Nah, I’m good here. I just wanted to surprise you. I was planning on a little vacation before coming actually back.”

“You did?” Drina glanced back at him, twisting her back to face her boyfriend.

“I didn’t want to leave service just be wrung back into idol life again. Sure, I miss the stage and the fans, but one or two weeks of peace should be doable, right?”

“So we are keeping you a secret until then?” Hobi leaned in on his seat, his head resting on his hand, balancing his elbow on his crossed knees.

“If possible, yes please.”

“I think that’s fair.” Namjoon looked at Sejin. The manager has been passing his eyes between the people talking around him as if the flow of conversation was a ball during a game. It landing on his side surprised him for a second before he thought it over.

“Look, I can keep my mouth shut. But you are doing your comeback soon and Jin could hop in easily. We still have that solo song recorded from 2 years ago and readjusting the lines shouldn’t be that hard. Most of you aren’t done with recording anyway.”

“What is the timeline for the comeback?” Jin looked around the room curiously.

“Drop the new stuff in April, start promotion mid-month. We have a dozen tour dates spreading for almost 2 months. Then a little rest and do a Bon Voyage in the first week of August. I already have a few things lined up for the next album after, so some recording will go on every now and then.” Joon answered his brother.

“Huh...that gives enough time to settle in a little I guess.” Jin muttered.

“It would be a huge surprise, that’s for sure.” You added in.

“If you can keep yourself hidden from the public.” Yoongi commented.

“Oh, I don’t plan on roaming around. I do want to see their place though.” The vocalist glanced up to the two of you standing by the table. “See Taehyungie adulting and all that.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” The man rumbled from your shoulder.

Another knock interrupted the conversation and Sejin shifted back to his usual self by the sound.

“Okay, then you three stay here. Boys, let's get going or you’ll start late. Jin, can you get back to me on the whole comeback thing so I’ll know what to go with?”

“Sure.”

The members got up to their feet and stretched out for a second before they gathered around Namjoon. Tae let go of you gently after the nuzzled a kiss on your cheek lovingly, joining the group for the usual pep talk before a concert.

“Seokjin, get your ass in here.” The leader barked at his brother. Drina jumped out of his lap and shoved the man in their direction, sensing his uncertainty. Jin looked at his brothers shyly before Hobi literally yanked on his long arm to pull the man closer, into the circle of pressed bodies and Joon started murmuring under his breath to all of them.

From the corner of your eye, you saw Sejin wipe his hand across his face in a seemingly nonchalant way as if he was scratching his cheek with the back of his hand, but you knew better. Seeing them all together again and Namjoon delivering their pep talk for the whole group was something nobody saw in more than two years. When the manager noticed you looking you just offered him a soft smile, nodding in understanding. He just dropped his shoulders from their tense position with a defeated exhale, letting himself go a little with his emotions before the boys shouted together signaling the end of the moment and scrambling to leave through the door.

Passing back to you Jimin quickly hugged you and Kook did a stinging high five before running to the corridor after the others. Namjoon was the last one standing by the door, his eyes still trained on his oldest brother before he cracked his neck both ways and calmly followed the others.

“So what now?” You faced the couple seated in front of you on the couch.

“I’m not sure.” Jin stared at the floor ahead of him. “I can’t exactly go backstage to watch them from the back.”

“I can get you an earpiece if you want.” Drina offered him.

“No, thank you hun. I need to think through this whole situation. I never thought I would be able to join the comeback. The dances alone should be a challenge.”

“That’s probably the only challenge you have though. And Hobi would hammer the thing into you in a few weeks. You are in shape from all the training you had, you were doing your vocal exercises all along, so there is no reason not to.” She turned to face him, her legs stretching along with the couch comfortably.

“Yeah, I don’t think there would be an issue with that.” You shrugged. “Questions is whether you want it or not.”

“I… There are a few things I want to do first. If they can give me that space…” Jin muttered under his nose. “I’ll have to talk it over with Sejin I suppose. Give me a timeline to work with.”

“What do you want to do?” Drina looked down at the men, curiosity laced in her question, meaning that she was in the same boat as you with not having an idea what is in his mind.

“Just ordinary things. Nothing weird.” He was still casting his eyes ahead of him, stubbornly not giving anything away neither with his words or his body language.

You tilted your head at him, trying to follow his train of thought. He wants time for himself, he wants to do ordinary things, but he won’t go into detail, which is highly odd considering how domestic his idea seems to be. His girlfriend was in the dark with the rest of you, and that might be a clue to his intentions.

A lightbulb popped in your head and you snorted by the sheer thought.

Ah, Jin. So that’s where you’re coming from.

Jin snapped his eyes in your direction without moving his head. Playfully raising both eyebrows at him you suppressed a chuckle not to awaken your friend’s spidey sense while the man looking at you blinked a few times before he pulled himself together again.

“What do you think, can you drop us off by the hotel before they finish up?”

“You don’t want to wait for them?”

“Well…” He looked back at her. “I’m getting kind of hungry and they won’t be done in hours. They could be dead meat by that time, so why wait for nothing?”

“Jin, you're underestimating their love for you.” You smiled at him. “I bet they want to talk to you until the sun rises and falls again. How about this: we can pick up more stuff for you in the dorms and you can check out our place. Drina has a car parked there, so you would have something to roam around town with. We can order some food in either the dorms or at our place, wherever you want and they will meet up with us there.”

“I’m good with that.” Drina nodded at you.

“Don’t you want to wait up for Taehyungie?” He looked at you seriously.

“I can get back to him by the time he finishes if I want to. Plus he has his own car to drive back, so maybe it would just complicate things, I don’t know how he wants the day to end.”

“Tae bought a car?” Jin looked surprised.

“Apparently so.” You laughed quietly.

“Jesus, he really is growing up. Next thing we know, he’ll be doing chores on his own without putting up a fight…”

“Yeah, he’s already doing that.”

“He is doing what now?” He slammed a hand on the couch, his eyes growing wide in shock. “What the hell did you do?”

“Guess!” Drina yapped in, her face twisted in giggling.

“I honestly did not do anything!” You held up your hand in defense, unsure whether it was appropriate for you to laugh. He was so surprised in a not flattering way while your friend was a snickering mess on his lap that you didn’t know which was more offensive towards Tae. “He was doing all these things by the time we landed after Hong Kong. And he wasn’t messy before that either.”

“Sure, he wasn’t messy, but he could walk by a filthy kitchen without batting an eye and went on his day like it was perfectly fine to let dished rot in dirty water!”

“Yeah, well I know someone like that too!” You shot back, lips already quivering in anticipation.

“It was one time!” Drine shrieked in defense.

“Yeah, one time you got caught!” You yelled back, finding your laughter coming back to you in waves. Jin grinned while he was shaking his head in disapproval.

“Fuck you! Both of you!”

“Jin, you can have my part too.”

“Obviously.”

-------------------------------------------------

Saem helped you back to the car without any hitches. The corridor was much less crowded on your way out, most of the staff waiting for the concert to end so they can start wrapping things up. He didn’t question the mystery man who was walking with you, accepting that Sejin knew and he was okay with it, so he will be too.

Jin asked to go to the dorms and you gladly drove him to his home. At first it felt like he would be emotional to be back, seeing the spaces and rooms he didn’t have the opportunity to roam around for many many months, but then he was the mess that was the dorm at the moment and started leaving voicemails to the different members, his voice escalating in tone, speed and volume after opening each and every new door.

Not minding the drama in the back, you simply made yourself a tall latte in the kitchen, throwing in everything you deemed fit in the travel mug you suspected was Yoongi’s, making the drink absolute debauchery. After a while Drina appeared, giving up on consoling her boyfriend and made a drink for herself too.

“What do you think, much time does he need to ventilate?” You glanced at her from the corner of your eye as she sat down beside you by the kitchen counter, facing towards the living room.

“Ah, if we give him 5 minutes for each room… a few of them were in good condition...plus the laundry room is surprisingly in order for my taste…”

“His taste too?”

“He doesn’t do laundry for the life of him, so he doesn’t really have a say in the matter.”

“...okay…”

“I think he’ll be done soon. It’s been almost half an hour anyway.”

“Did he see two bathrooms yet?”

“Fine, I’ll collect him if he doesn’t give up in 20 minutes.”

“Attagirl.”

“What do you think, does Tae need anything from here?”

“He did a round earlier this week, so I don’t think so. He has this weird order for his things, so I don’t want to mess it up for him.”

“I kind of envy your house now.” She sighed a little after taking a long sip of her cool cocoa. “We can’t stay in that hotel forever.”

“I’m sure Jin thinks about that too.” You noted. “He'll probably figure something out.”

“The way you said that…” She chuckled lightly after the man finally found the main bathroom, his shriek reaching a glass-shattering pitch. “Kind of reminded me the first time we stayed here.”

“Hmmm, they finally got their own rooms.”

“And Jimin still wanted to stick with Hobi, he was like a koala for a whole week hanging on him.”

“Ah, the first morning when half of them forgot we were there and came to breakfast so undressed I thought we can cook an egg on Yoongi’s face.”

“I never saw that man blush so hard ever since. Sunburns don’t get that red.”

“I thought Jin and Tae will never let it go until Hobi reminded them how they had to become more...gentlemanly when we were around.”

“You mean not fart or shit loudly so we wouldn’t hear?” She practically spits the words through her giggling. You whined at your cramping sides as you remembered how the two of them would go to the furthest bathroom out of the two for the next months just to make sure your ears stayed innocent.

“I bet Tae had the bathrooms soundproofed before he bought the place!” Drina’s torso spread on the counter, her body shaking under the tremors of laughter.

“Hey, what is going on here?” Jin emerged in the living room, his eyes finding the two of you red-faced and teary-eyed. You had another fit under his gaze, so your friend had to answer him.

“Nothing, we just…” a chuckle betrayed her. “... had a moment. Nothing’s wrong.” The word “wrong” killed you again, flexing your whole body in a snort. Jin rolled his eye and went by you to check on the kitchen.

“Of course this wouldn’t be that bad, I bet those children didn’t cook for months now.” He murmured as he opened the nearly empty fridge. “Yoongi promised he would cook at least once a week, what the hell..”

“Do you want to pick up groceries for them?” Drina turned in her seat to face the man.

“Nah, I’ll order it in.” He closed the fridge and opened the cupboards. “This is insane! Look at all that instant food! As if they’re in college, scraping for food!”

“Hey, Tae doesn’t even know why can you cut a tomato with a steak knife, so maybe it’s better they went with instant food.” You quipped in, still chuckling a little.

“At least you cooked for them.”

“And baked.”

“You baked?! Where is my piece?!”

“How was I supposed to know you were done with service?!”

“You were literally the first person to know.” Drina rolled her eyes at you.

“That doesn’t mean I had any rolls left! We gave those off to the neighbors!”

“No matter, you will bake for me now then.”

“What, now now?”

“You can whip up some brownies, we have ice-cream in the freezer anyway.”

“You want me, ME, to waste my Ben&Jerry’s on brownies? They already have brownies in them!!”

“What, how does that work?” Jin looked genuinely concerned.

“Don’t be a pain, we can buy more while getting your ingredients.” She slapped your arm in disapproval. “Jin, are you done packing?”

“No, of course not! I didn’t even start!”

“Okay, then get to it, we will buy stuff in the store. How long until they finish Y/n?”

“Uh…” You glanced at your wristwatch. “The gig should be done in around 90 minutes. I don’t think they have anything to shoot, so they will leave in 2 hours tops.”

“How long for the brownies?”

“Uuummm...if I hurry, it could be done in an hour, plus minus the baking time.”

“Yeah, and they have to get to the house, so it should be fine.” Drina was already dragging you to the front door. “Hun, we’ll be back soon, please hurry with packing!”

“S-sure…” He looked like a lost puppy as he watched his girlfriend knock you out of the dorms with a paper bag in her hand.

-----------------------

“You do know we are messing up their diet with all this baking shit.” You muttered as she settled down in the backseat while Jin loaded his things in the trunk.

“Diets work better with an occasional cheat day.” She confidently said. “Plus you don’t have to feed an army, just make a half batch.”

You rolled your eyes as Jin climbed in and shut the door behind him.

“Okay, let's get going! Hotel or the house?”

“House.” Drina answered his question while facing her phone. “Fuck, the GBP dragged down the SEK for some reason. Y/n needs to get the brownies going and I can show you the house. Right?” She asked you without looking up.

“Yeah, you can. Back to the SEK, maybe there is a factory somewhere that missed out on sales. Look up who planted what in the last few years.”

“Yeah, that sounds easy…” She frowned.

“Look, if it was a quick drop it can’t be an expensive product, that doesn’t move that fast. What does Sweden export? Was there a scandal or any bad weather?”

“I’ll check. But if it was anything major, we should’ve got a notification.”

“Not if it was an average thing with bigger results.” You turned the car towards the suburbs with sure hands. Jin was watching the phone screen under Drina’s fingertips.

“Oh…” She murmured.

“What?” You glanced at the rearview mirror to find her face.

“A heat wave destroyed a few fields.”

“Yeah, that could do the trick.”

“Some British politician went on about how they don’t need outside food resources to feed their people because they have plenty inlands.” She muttered on, fingers dancing on the gadget. “While they export shit tons of things. This is crazy.”

“And what will you do? Leave or stay?”

“Psh, stay. You bet your ass Sweden will stand up from this in a matter of days. IKEA already dropped some sass marketing about it.”

“How loyal of you.” You grinned, turning the car onto your street.

How weird, your street.

Parking down behind Drina’s car, you jumped out to get the grocery bag from the passenger seat. The two from the back slowly got out too, Jin glancing around the deserted street. Drina finally put away her phone and opened the car so they could load Jin’s bag so the wouldn’t have to later.

“I’ll go ahead okay?” You opened the door and left it ajar as you jogged up the stairs. Kilala welcomed you with a few meows when you opened the front door, purring around your ankles. You threw the keys on the window ledge and scooped up the kitten in your free hand, burying your nose in the fluffy fur as you made your way to the kitchen. He quickly grew tired of staying still in your hand, pawing against your finger, so you let him down on the couch and quickly unloaded the paper bag, leaving out the things for the baking.

You were busy measuring things out by the time the front door closed behind the pair.

“Oh, it’s really light. Where are you, sis?”

“In here!” You yelled back. They kicked off their shoes by the sounds and Jin appeared on the other side of the counter.

“Whoa, it’s pretty nice here! How long did take to fill it up?” He wondered around the counter to seize up the kitchen.

“I would say two days. I had a concept in mind though. One day with Tae, one with Drina. The upstairs is pretty done too. Now it just has to be lived in, putting pictures and personal stuff around.”

“Huh…” He glanced around. “And who might that be?”

“Oh, that’s Kilala, I got him from Jimin!” You smiled at the playing kitten as it double kicked on a pillow he fought with ferociously. The man sat down by the small furball and scratched behind his ear carefully. He must have done a good job because the kitten detached himself from the pillow it tangled around and sniffed at the unfamiliar hand.

“And here I thought he’s a dog person!” Drina sighed, her elbows spread on the counter.

“I am, but he is kinda cute.” Jin muttered before he picked the kitten up and let him move around on his lap. “And his fur is really soft, almost like Odeng’s. Different, but kind of same. Do you need help Y/n?”

“No, thank you.” You were already melting butter and dark chocolate in the microwave, having the dry ingredients mixed in a big bowl. “The mixture should be done soon and I think I’ll let it sit a little before putting it in.”

“We should tell the others about coming here.” Drina said, grabbing her phone again.

“Wait until I mix it. Let’s just send a Boomerang to Yoongi, he’ll know what’s up.” You snickered as you turned on the hand mixer to fluff up the egg whites.

“Did I miss something?” She queried seeing your shit-eating grin.

“Not really, he just demanded that I only bake for them now on. Seems like baked goods are his siren call.”

“He isn’t called Suga for nothing you know.” Jin murmured as he played on with Kilala, already laying down on the couch on his belly, yanking a toy from one side to the other, making the kitten chase the string frantically.

“The legend went on about him being fair skinned like sugar, not having a serious sweet tooth!” You chuckled as you threw in the melted buttery chocolate on the white stiff peaks. “Don’t you want to look around?”

“I do, but I’ll let Tae do it. Plus I already “went around” technically.”

“When?” Drina looked at the man.

“Kook called me before they did the house-warming.”

“Oh, I was still flying then.”

“Drin, do you have the app pulled up?”

She strolled to stand next to you to record the mixer move in the bowl, swirling the flour-y powder back and forth. You did a couple of takes before settling down on one good gif and she sent it to the rapper without any text.

You already had the mixture sitting in a tall pan when her phone started buzzing on the counter.

“Okay, you can start heating up the oven.” Drina chuckled, showing the screen to you. Yoongi sent an outstanding number of emoji’s, telling the story of his feelings. The last few were more travel based, so you figured he is on his way.

“I think I should set up the spare bedrooms.” You nodded with a wide smile. You finally had enough space so they wouldn’t have to go back to the dorms if they didn’t want to. “Jin, can you put it in in a few minutes? A bowl of water should be under it too!”

“Sure. How long should it stay in?”

“Uh… how gooey should it be?”

“6 out of 10.” Drina answered without missing a beat.

“Then check it after 15 minutes with a fork. If most of it comes out clean it’s done.”

Jin nodded and Drina followed you upstairs to help you put on freshly washed sheets on the beds. You worked in sync, folding and pulling the blankets and pillows up with the covers.

“I don’t think we will stay though.” She commented after finishing up in the room she decorated. “I don’t really want to wake anyone up by being loud.”

“Eh, so you won’t be drinking then?” You asked without teasing her about talking openly about her sex life. She’ll probably do that for a little while anyway.

“I’m not sure they can drink now at all. Isn’t the schedule filled up with interviews again?”

“No idea, we will have to ask I guess.”

Finishing up quickly, the two of you jogged downstairs on the steps. Drina went back to Jin while you checked on Jimin’s room. If they were willing to share each a bed, all of them could stay over and nobody will have to stay in the living room, so you were quite satisfied. Wondering whether Jin’ll start to think about having a place for the two of them and how nice it would be if they were kind of close to you, you went back to the kitchen to find Jin cutting out a cube of brownie carefully.

“Can I try?” He asked without stopping or looking up at you.

“You already are, but sure.”

A lot of different voices and sounds came from the foyer, the members piling up as they took off their shoes and bags from their shoulders.

“Whatever it is, it smells amazing and I want it!” Yoongi’s voice came from somewhere the steps with a grunt before he scurried between Kookie’s stretched thighs and Hobi’s back. He did a literal powerwalk all the way to Jin’s side, grabbed a plate and held it out to him as if the man was his father. Jin didn’t even blink in surprise, but landed a piece on his plate and hushed him over to the two ice-creams Drina bought to complement the dessert.

“No sauce or syrup?” The rapper looked around with a frown.

“Do you want diabetes boy? Because that’s how you get diabetes!” Jin yelled at him.

“How did I not notice this before?” You watched the smaller man scoop a ball of each ice-cream and sit down by the coffee table with a highly satisfied face.

“You were too preoccupied with me.” Tae caressed your back as he walked past you to grab his own dessert. “How did this happen?”

“Jin got mad he didn’t get rolls. Drina practically forced my hand.”

“Good job guys!” Kookie flew past you and stood patiently behind Tae with a clean plate too. You rolled your eyes at the maknae, but he just winked back.

“Hey Y/n, thank you for doing this again.” Namjoon stood by you, his shoulder nudging for a second as a form of hello. He propped his head on his hand, elbow on the counter as he watched the others.

“No problem. I even made the beds, so you could stay over if you want to.”

“Ooh, does that mean we can have a little party?” Jimin hugged your side for a second before he left off to find Kilala to play with him. “Joon, do we have to look good tomorrow?”

“We don’t have an interview if that’s what you mean. But we don’t have to drink every time we get together.”

“True, but we have Jin back! At least a toast should be appropriate.” Kook jumped on the other side of the counter, his back close to your side opposite to Joon’s.

“Hobi, where are ya at?” You looked back to the foyer. He was standing by the steps, shifting his weight from one leg to the other with his eyes looking at the bathroom door.

“I’m here, just wondering whether I can take a shower? None of us are clean by the way. Got off stage, saw the food, changed clothes and came here right after.” He glanced your way with his teeth sinking into the inside of his mouth.

“Sure you can. There is another bathroom upstairs if someone else is itching to clean up too.”

“Thanks, I’ll be a few minutes then.” The dancer grabbed his bag and closed the door after himself quietly.

“Dibs on the upstairs bathroom then!” Kook shouted with his mouth full of brownies.

“Swallow your food first maknae!” Jin jabbed at him from the couch.

“Do you still have some of that thing I got you?” Yoongi looked up from his clean plate. You weren’t really watching him, but his plate was suspiciously clean with no crumbs or leftover melted ice-cream in sight. Giving him an eyebrow raise you nodded.

“Sure, there is some. But I’ll need to seriously stock up the next time I go home.”

“Do you know when will you do that?” Jimin asked. The way he didn’t look at you raised a small red flag in your mind, but you shrugged it off to your paranoia.

“Well there will be probably a few weeks we will have to go back, right Drin?”

“Yeah, sometime in July. We have tickets and a friend is getting married, so…”

“Who is getting married?” Jin looked at the girl sitting next to him.

“One of Y/n’s friends.”

“The soldier?” Tae glanced at you from the fridge.

“No, the engineer.”

“Are you going too?” Jin was still looking at your friend. When she nodded, he straightened his back.

“And who is your plus one?”

“Now that’s the thing, we don’t know whether you guys could come.” She glanced from Jin to Tae and then landed on Namjoon, who was still standing beside you.

“I can ask if you want me to.” He raised his shoulders nonchalantly. “Do you have a date?”

“Yeah, but it’s in Europe.”

“Well if it’s after the tour, it might be fair game. Is it in a public place?”

“It’s literally in the middle of a forest Joon. The whole thing has a fairy theme and everything.” Drina gave the leader a dreamy smile.

“It’s pretty plausible then. How is it fairy themed though?”

“Yeah, I was about to ask that.” Kook muttered.

“As far as I know, there is a dress code and the decoration will be this earthy, bit fantasy style with twinkle lights and everything.” You fiddled with your fingers. It was kind of awkward that this topic was brought up without you talking about it with Tae first. Drina seemed uncomfortable too. Neither of you asked your own boyfriends about it and she asked Namjoon’s help first without even knowing whether they would want to come or not. And it’s not like the wedding was planned in the last second, you even helped with the organization of it. You just never thought it would be possible for them to come. And they never even met the bride and the groom, you didn’t want it to be weird or tense for them to meet for the first time. On one side were your friends, true friends you gathered over the stormy years of your teens and tweens and on the other hand was your idol boyfriend who tried his best to accommodate you in his life in every single way.

Maybe Joon sensed your discomfort because he steered the conversation elsewhere, talking about Jin coming back either now or later, how the fans will react. They ended up going over the details of how he could join in a few weeks of time while you remained silent, still scratching your nails together.

Tae left his spot by the fridge and quietly nudged Namjoon to move a little. You didn’t notice him do this and were surprised when a hand started drawing circles into the lower part of your back.

“What’s up little fox?” He murmured when Jimin giggled at something loudly by the couch.

“This was a little weird. I planned to ask you before asking Joon about the wedding.”

“And why didn’t you?”

“I didn’t want to make it weird. I’m not sure whether you can come, whether you want to come. You never met my friends and I don’t want it to be a forced thing. I don’t know whether the company would ask you not to be on pictures and what not and I didn’t want you to feel bad about it.”

“So you only looked at how it could go wrong.” He sighed a little. “Look, I’m pretty positive most of those things are not something to worry about. We’ve been to weddings before and we were on the pictures and everything. As for your friends… if they like you then there is no reason for me not to like them, right?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“You don’t seem to be so sure.” He started to get self-conscious now. You weren’t usually beating around the bush and it only made sense that you didn’t want to hurt him in one way or another.

“It’s scary for me. I’m pretty sure I’m really different when I’m with them. Not just personality-wise, but there is this cultural difference that I worry about. They don’t care who is older or who gives the necessary amount of respect for the other. We can be crude and I’m just not sure how would that change…”

“If you think I’ll change my mind about you, you are out of your mind.” He stated that like it was the simplest fact in the world. He wasn’t even mad about it. For a serious second, he thought you found something to be ashamed of about him. But no, you were just conscious about how you acted with your best mates at home. “Of course you are different with them. And I get that Koreans are different speech and behavior-wise. But you said they like Asian stuff.”

“Yeah, martial arts and anime and some music. Not K-Pop though.”

“That’s fine, I don’t really listen to K-Pop in my free time if you think about it.” He chuckled a little. “And I think I browsed around your Spotify lists enough to know where your tastes lie at.”

“You are not mad at me?”

“I would’ve preferred to talk this out earlier, but no, not really.”

“So...do you want to be my plus one?”

“I would love to.” His hand snaked from your back to your side to pull you closer. You snuggled in a little before you pulled away to boop his nose with a chuckle.

The rest of the night flew away. The members did turns to take a shower to reemerge from the bathrooms with damp hair and comfortable clothes. Yoongi eventually convinced you to sacrifice the remaining stash of alcohol you had left from their last visit. When the guys got a little rowdier, Tae took Kilala to Jimin’s room and closed him in for his own little safety. The drinking led to more laughing, ending up in a little dancing where Jin was coaxed by six pairs of hands to get up and show them his current level. With a burning face, he tried his best and Hobi declared him half-decent after missing 2 years of training with him. The oldest was soon consoled by Drina until he was not cherry red anymore.

When the volume decreased back to conversation level, Hobi flew to his bag. He turned out to have a portable projector with him and soon set up a little screening with Kookie’s help by using your laptop. Soon everyone cuddled in together to select pictures to print out and hang up around the house. Jimin took up the task of scribbling down the codes for the images to make sure the right selection ended up on the walls. 9 bodies stretched and tangled together on the huge couch, the only light coming from the small device shining down on the wall.

It didn’t take long for the sun to rise. The images on the wall started to blur as the rays of sunshine managed to find the spots between the long curtains you hung up, but it wasn’t a bother. It had been a long day, followed by the longest night.

Jin gently woke Drina up and within minutes they got their shoes on to leave. Not trying to make them stay, you stood by the front door with Tae to bid them good night (good morning?) and they disappeared in the cold morning air.

Without discussing who is staying with who, Hobi and Jimin silently made their way to the downstairs bedroom, only giving you warm hugs before they fell on the bed and started snoring right away. Not being able to help yourself, you picked up two warm blankets from the couch and covered both of them separately, tucking in the soft material under their necks.

Yoongi dragged himself to the stairs, looking up to the dark second floor.

“Is there room upstairs?” he murmured in a cracked low voice.

“Yup, a leafy one and a blue one.”

“Beds?”

“King sized beds.”

“Wonderful.”

Back on the couch, Tae was trying to coax the last two to get up to the actual beds instead of sleeping on the couch without much luck. Kookie outright shoved his hands away, while Namjoon tried is best to plead in a cute way to let him be. Chuckling a little at their attitude, you tried to help the vocalist.

“Joonie, when do you have to be in tomorrow?”

“We don’t have stuff to do until the afternoon because concert day.” He sluggishly answered, his hooded eyes struggling to stay open as he was talking to you. “So about 5, I think. Nothing serious.”

“Okay, blue or leafy?”

“What’s that?”

“Blue or leafy?”

“Blue, I think. Why?”

“Joon, I would like to ask you to go upstairs. Tae will show you where to go and then you can sleep however you like. It’s better than this couch I swear. I put up sheets and everything. Freshly washed.”

“Mmm do I have to?”

“Yup.”

He sighed, scrunching his nose in the process. With two bigger breaths, he helped himself up to a sitting position and then stood up. Tae mouthed a thank you towards you and walked the tipsy leader upstairs.

Last to go.

“Kook-ah.” You shook the maknae’s side to wake him up. He snuggled up to the corner of the couch, curling into the bend of the furniture with his back and pulled up legs. Probably for protection against Tae’s nudging.

“Fluff, please.” You ran your fingers through his hair. He seemed to like that because he angled his head so you could reach more of his scalp. “I know you can hear me you little fluff, answer me.”

“What is it Noona?”

“You have a wonderfully fresh bed made upstairs for you. Washed with your favorite detergent.”

“I don’t want to get up…”

“So Noona worked for nothing then?”

“No.”

“Then…?”

“Aaaiiish” He lunged up faster than you would’ve ever expected. “Which way?” He quipped as he shambled towards the steps in rapid little steps.

“Left at the top, down the small corridor.”

“Thank you Noona.” His voice drifted from the stairs quietly. You turned off your laptop and made sure to shut the blinds. Going around the lower floor, you either shut the doors or made sure it was dark when they woke up. Hobi murmured a thank you when you closed the door behind you. Tae just closed the door behind Drina’s room when you got up.

“Who’s in there?” You whispered in the dimly lit room.

“The two rappers. They are cuter than ever.”

“Let me see!” He opened the door behind him to reveal Yoongi curled into a tight ball on one side and Joon stretched out on the other. Both of them were covered and you guessed Tae was responsible for that. With the blinds down, you kissed him a thank you and checked on the next room.

“I didn’t go there yet. He ran in there so fast I got scared for a second it’s some weird ghost or something.”

“You thought the fluff is a ghost? What kind of horror movies did you see?”

“None, obviously.”

“Touché.”

The maknae fell head first in the bed by the looks of it, half of his leg dangling in the air as it didn’t make it to the huge bed in his haste. Tae motioned to lower the blinds and you turned to take care of the youngest. You gently yanked the cover from under him, the action making him stir a little. He pulled himself closer to the pillows and turned to lay on his back. As smoothly as you could, you spread the cover over his outstretched body. He immediately grabbed the hem of the fluffy material, placing his elbows above it as he furrowed his head into the pillow under his head. A content sigh left him, probably the scent of the fabric comforting him.

Tae silently closed the door behind you. Not needing to talk, he held your hand and pulled you towards your own bedroom. He made sure to turn the knob to lock it so no one could barge in on you, just in case.

“Do you have the ointment with you?” You whispered as the room darkened by the shutters.

“I applied it after showering.” He muttered back as he took off his shirt, throwing it on the floor where he shimmied out of his loose pants. “You were really good with them.”

“What do you mean?”

“Coaxing the fluff and Joon to come upstairs. Tucking Jiminie and Hobi in. It was cute.”

“It felt good to take care of them.” You smiled as you slid under the cover with only your panties on. “It’s nice to do that sometimes.”

“Yeah, it is.” He tucked you close to his neck, wrapping a leg around yours. After a little wiggling, both of you settled down, only your breathing changing over time as you fell asleep. The outside world was only getting started on a brand new week, people getting up to go to their schools or jobs while your house was falling asleep, deep in peaceful slumber filled with your loved ones.

Chapter Text

Chapter 23

He should be sleeping right now. And he knew that. But it was just too exciting, he couldn’t just sit around like that. He was stuck in his seat for several long hours until they board another plane and be condoned to sit for another few hours before finally landing at their destination. It was dark around him, the cool air lingering on his skin, but he didn’t notice it. Two spotlights indicated that two of his hyungs were awake. Craning his neck a little he saw Joon scribbling something down on a notebook before crossing out a word he has just written down. He seemed perfectly calm, only a small crease between his brows indicating that he was concentrating. The other light shined down on Taehyung, his fingertips maneuvering above his phone screen at a rapid pace. He was probably talking to you, keeping up appearances.

Everyone else around Jungkook was sleeping comfortably in their seats. Jimin was softly breathing in and out in deep breaths beside him by the window seat, a fluffy blanket wrapped around his slim body like a burrito, his face buried in his favorite travel pillow. They left Seoul a few hours ago, but there was still almost 2 hours to land in Kiev, giving the maknae plenty of time to either bury himself in another movie or run his mind until it was good as dead. With a few blinds open, he could see the sun making it’s way on the sky, traveling from night to day, backward in time. His excitement showed the way his body couldn’t stay still, either a leg bouncing under his own blanket or sitting up in his seat over and over again after he tries to comfortably settle down without luck.

Not too long ago he and his brothers were back in the dorms, missing you and Drina. Not too long ago they were only hoping to do what they were about to.

The latest comeback was over and done with. They did their promotion time, flew over the world to do a tour. For a couple of dates, you accompanied them like you usually did, but it was a long, exhausting and fun period behind them. Jin did it with them, at first only as a secret member. Two different MV’s were shot and the second with the eldest was only released after he appeared on their comeback stage. Everyone went wild, the roars from fans were never this loud. And then ARMY went overboard and scored yet another record: making the new MV with the vocalist the most viewed in Youtube history by breaking the one they themselves set before, only a few days ago. The word ‘happiness’ doesn’t begin to cover how it felt to receive such love, making this comeback the most special one for the boys of Bangtan.

But then summer started and with it, you and Drina went back to Europe for a month. It was weird to remember how it felt like when you weren’t always there with them. It’s been months since Taehyung showed you your new home and everyone got so used to the situation it was alien not to have you only a 30-minute drive away. Your trip wasn’t permanent, but it was still uncomfortable. Like a leg was missing without anything actually harming your body.

So it led to one night in the dorms when everyone was around, but barely present. It was finally a time to rest and recharge between two promotion cycles, leaving most of the members sleeping and hanging around. Some visited their hometowns and family, some drew back to themselves more, prioritizing ‘me time’ over anything else. But that night, two days ago, everyone was there in the living room.

“I wonder what they’re doing.” Jimin was sitting upside down on one of the three couches, his hair hanging in the air as his feet rested on the wall behind the couch.

“What’s time is it in Budapest?” Namjoon asked, not bothering to look up from a book he was reading.

“Barely afternoon,” Jin called from the kitchen.

“Almost 4 pm,” Tae muttered, his head furrowed into Jimin’s shirt by his stomach as he lay on his side, legs wrapped around a big pillow.

“I bet they are doing something fun,” Kookie noted, sitting crosslegged on the floor, drawing something abstract on the table. “Shopping or drinking or hanging out.”

“They won’t be drinking on a random Wednesday afternoon Kook-ah.” Hobi chimed in, playing a game on his phone ferociously. “Why not ask them? I bet they have their phone on them.”

“Wouldn’t that be clingy?” Jimin turned his hanging head to the dance captain.

“Only if you make it look clingy.” Joon turned a page. “A simple what’s up couldn’t hurt anyone.”

“Eat up!” Jin placed two big trays of brownies on the table in front of Kookie, the brown cubes wafting off a delicious smell around them. The maknae line helped themselves to a piece each while Jin went back to grab a carton of milk and a few glasses. “I wish we could just go and visit them.” He threw the statement over his shoulder.

“Yeah, as if…” Tae snorted pessimistically. “Like the seven of us wouldn’t make a scene just by being there.”

“Didn’t they say that their place is not as frisky about celebrities? A lot of movies are shot there nowadays and I don’t hear any scandals about them staying there.” Namjoon finally put his book down, feeling the need to turn the conversation in a more bright direction.

“That’s true. I heard they are actually doing a movie with Black Widow in Budapest after that Avengers reference.” Kookie dropped in his thoughts, seemingly nonchalant. The inside of his mind was screaming in anticipation, feeling the night becoming more exciting than it started out as. It clicked in his head, something that the others didn’t think of. “I checked a few weeks ago, there were at least 3 on-going shootings there, all Hollywood level. The Black Widow movie, the remake of the Dune and some series called the Alienist.” The word rolled off his lips with difficulty until his leader helped to say it right.

A beat of silence followed the last sentence, the unspoken idea hanging in the air. It felt nerve-racking and exciting at the same time. Jimin was holding his head up by flexing his stomach, his gaze jumping around his brothers, evidently making Taehyung’s position more uncomfortable. The man sat up beside his friend, not wanting to say what everyone must have been thinking. Jin stood by the table, his feet only a few centimeters away from Kookie, holding up a tray with glasses for the milk.

Noticing the silence, Hobi paused his game to see the frozen men around him. His gaze met Namjoon’s, who had his lips parted as he hesitantly tried to say something.

“So let’s go then.” A groan-like sound came from beside Joonie. Yoongi was sleeping on the same couch, his feet resting on the leaders lap comfortably and now shuffled around so the rapper would lay on his side, his head propped up by his arm to elbow the couch. An unfazed expression sat on his cat-like features, clearly enjoying the resonating shock caused by his words. “We have time to visit, we can easily take off one, or maybe two weeks. They have a place to stay each and no one would expect to look for us there. Plus don’t you have a wedding to attend?” His eyes flickered to Taehyung and Jin. “So...let’s go then.”

Everyone drew in a big inhale before starting to talk over the other. All having a say a matter was obvious, but at the end of the day, their company had to let them go. Had to negotiate a way to secure their safety and to make sure they get back in time to start working again. The seven men ironed out their arguments, came up with safety plans. The one thing Bang PD couldn’t deny them was that they are free people who just want some time off. Doing everything to the letter in their contracts and fulfilling everyone’s dreams who worked with them, they needed to feel like a normal, average person would on a summer vacation.

Granted, they weren’t average, so they had to look the part. The next morning found them at their usual make-up and hair chairs, coordi Noonas working diligently to reach a level of not outstanding for the members, giving them new, more natural-looking hair colors and brushing up some haircuts to give them a healthier glow. Some discussion flew around as some of them wanted to have a specific ask (Jin wanted jet-black hair, while Tae asked for a softer blondish-brown after dropping the idea of a light fairy green. “Kim Taehyung, we are trying NOT to stand out you bloody idiot, don’t make me hoarse before even leaving the country!”) while others let the women work their magic with absolute trust.

Their plane was set to leave the next day so after walking out of the building they hurried back to the dorms, trying to put together a suitcase full of clothes that were not obviously expensive or of a luxury brand, hence drawing less attention to them. It was well in the afternoon when Hobi cried out, having everyone’s attention within seconds.

“No one is wearing big clothes over there! Look at this! Everything is so fitted, I swear to God, the loose-est piece of clothing is that maxi skirt in the back!” He turned his laptop around as he sat on the floor, showing the screen of you and Drina on a concert venue with a lot of people in the background. And what he said was true, making the members re-rethink what to pack. This earned a trip to a huge convenience store, each member pairing up with a security guard to scan the space for different clothes. It didn’t take long until they felt like this was a race and started running around the store in frenzy, yanking stuff off the shelves and speeding towards the cashier to have the guards stay in line and pay. Run episodes were shot with less enthusiasm than then and there. Only Joon and Kookie stayed calm, only selecting a few items and grinning as the rest reached the van they were sitting in expectantly.

“What’s with the face, you barely got anything!” Hobi laughed in surprise, thinking that he was the winner of the unspoken race.

“Of course not, why would we?” Kookie shot back with a cocky grin.

“Because we are going to stay in a different country for more than a week, will you wash these everyday?” Jimin smacked the boy’s head lightly, irritated by the maknae’s attitude.

“And you think we won’t go shopping there?” Joon raised an eyebrow in challenge.

“An empty suitcase is the best suitcase.” Jungkook sang.

Everyone in the car groaned in understanding, realizing their mistake.

--------------------------------

Their plane left early in the morning, making their departure much safe from Incheon. They had to finish up packing quickly, slamming in their last meal and going to bed as early as possible.

Not that they could be as calm as actually going through with that plan.

Jin was visited by Taehyung not 10 minutes after everyone “went to bed” and they talked about how you’ll react and what would they love to see with you. It was never spoken out loud, but it was a clear understanding that no one should tell you that they were coming. The two vocalists collaborated on their stories when they talked to you online, making you believe nothing was amiss, while the rest refrained from contacting either of you.

An hour after turning down the lights Kookie found Jimin in Hobi’s room and quickly shut the door behind him as they shared their excitement about the trip. Their muffled laughter echoed through the dorm, and the rest of the group smiled in their own rooms hearing their uncontainable joy.

The only two people who stayed in their room was Joon and Yoongi. The latter was working on a new demo he got inspiration for, his sleepy eyes plastered on the screen in front of him while the former was researching Budapest: what to try, what to say. He realized how small was his understanding of your language while you spoke perfect Korean and he tried his best to learn a few phrases before meeting you in your hometown.

Sleep knocked out everyone eventually only to be woken up by Sejin before dawn broke the sky outside. They were still snoozing in the van, a situation they knew pretty well before they had to get out and check in on a deserted airport. Now, this was new and refreshing. No crowd pushed against them, no screaming reached their ears and nobody actually gave a damn as they reached boarding. Sejin made sure to have a secure flight leaving Seoul, but from Kiev, they had to find their own way as it was only the seven of them traveling.

So now Kookie was fidgeting in his seat relentlessly, thinking about the endless possibilities on what could happen, what could he do, eat, try and experience without cameras following in his wake. Jin and Tae knew where you would be by the time they arrive, drawing up an address to a local venue where you’ll be having fun at.

With a loud thud, the tires have landed on solid ground, shocking most passengers awake until the huge bird stopped in its tracks by a gate. The maknae shot out of his seat to grab his carry-on bag until his hyung yanked him to sit in his seat again.

“Act like a normal person Kook!” Jimin muttered under his breath. “We just flew for half-day and still have an hour flight ahead of us, be more groggy, please!”

“Sorry hyung.” He whispered back. “I’m just excited.”

The door popped by the cockpit and the passengers slowly made their way to the airport behind the tight corridor. Excruciatingly slow for the vocalist, but he behaved as he was expected. The seven men grouped up and made their way off as the last people on the plane, thanking the staff with small bows. All of them had some sort of hat on and the harsh white lights made the sleepiest members pull the materials closer to their eyes.

“Okay, does everyone have everything?” Jimin looked around. They previously divided tasks among them, Jimin getting the check on their luggage. When he saw everyone had their respective carry-on bags on them, Namjoon marched them forward to immigration.

“Kim Namjoon, I’m only giving this to you for a few minutes, please don’t lose it!” Jin gave the leader his passport after handing the others their own document.

“Yes hyung.” The man hung his head a little before making his way to the airport staff to check his identity. Jin yanked back the small booklet from the man the second he made his way through the same staff.

“Okay, Joonie, where do we have to go now?” Hobi looked at his brother in question.

“Well...our luggage is being transferred to the next plane. We just have to find the right gate from Kiev to Budapest.” He sighed a little before squaring his shoulders up. “Let’s go and find a display to see if the gate is announced or not.” And with that, he started walking in the general direction the rest of the passengers have left.

“Is anyone hungry?” Hobi queried, his bag full of food and snacks. With everyone shrugging or politely declining, they found the display and after some hesitancy, they walked to Gate 21 where a screen showed Budapest so they collectively sighed and sat down.

Namjoon sent Sejin a quick message to let him know that they reached their first city and they’ll take off in an hour.

“Guys, Drina is calling me, what do I do?” Jin snapped his head up in a panic.

“Answer it, act normal!” Yoongi instructed, his voice strained. “Your GPS isn’t on right?” The black-haired man nodded to his question. Forgetting whether he set his phone, Taehyung snatched his device out of his pocket, his movement filled with nerves until he saw that he was in the clear.

“And what if she wants to video call? I can’t show her where I’m at!”

“She won’t, don’t worry.” Joon’s voice meant to be soothing, but he was nervous too.

Jin answered his ringing phone and walked a few paces away, his free hand playing with his shirt. All eyes were on him, but after a few minutes, he went back, hanging up the call.

“So, what was it?” Hobi watched the eldest, both feet bouncing on the ground.

“Nothing really, they are going out as planned. They are “warming up” at a friends’ whatever that means.”

“Why are they going out again? I know there is a specific reason for it.” Joon looked up at the vocalist.

“It’s their friend’s bachelor party,” Tae answered his leader. “And by ‘warming up’ she meant drinking before going out.”

“But aren’t bachelor parties for only men?” Kookie asked in confusion. Most of the members looked at either Jin or Taehyung, but they didn’t have an answer to that.

“Maybe it’s a Hungarian thing?” Joon sighed.

“Nah, I think it’s just something they saw fitting. Imagine Y/n not being invited to one of his best friends last night as a free man.” Jin grinned. “And then Drina would never let them leave her out of it.”

“Yeah, I bet they throw a wonderful bachelor or bachelorette party.” Jimin murmured, his eyes almost disappearing in their crescent moon shape as he smiled mischievously. “To be honest I might enjoy throwing them one instead for you two…”

Jin slammed his hand on his seat in disbelief while Tae just stared at the dancer, his lips arranged in a pout. Kookie and Yoongi shared a look before looking away, their opinions radiating off their faces as they tried not to laugh out loud. The rest hummed in agreement when they gate opened up, the few people around them standing up to line behind the counter. This plane was much smaller than the previous one, only 6 rows of seats lining inside than the usual 9. Their seats were mixed with the other passengers, several of the members had to sit beside a random person slotted in the seat next to them. It was something that hadn’t happen to them for years now and it was weird how no one paid any attention to them. This was a small plane, leaving on a late Friday afternoon to and from a smallish European capital, where apparently people didn’t take notice to whoever was sitting next to them as long as they weren’t a bother.

The flight was their shortest one ever, the nose of the plane reaching its top height and turning back into a dive soon after. When the plane touched ground most passengers clapped and the boys looked around in confusion until they joined in too, Kookie giving off a small whoop before Jimin shut him up again. They finally arrived.

--------------------------

The wind blew in through the open windows as Kook drove the van Sejin rented out for them. It’s been more than an hour since they landed, waiting for their luggage and trying to find the right vendor for the car. They managed to get all of their things, went through their last passport checks, and found the right counter where a man unceremoniously gave the maknae a set of car keys and the necessary documents for their car fitting for 9 people. The air was hot and dry, something they have only experienced in Malta so far. The air conditioning was strong enough inside the airport, but once they left to find their van the scorching hot slammed into them like a solid wall.

Another 20 minutes went by as they combed through the parking lot to find the right car in the dying light of the setting sun. Namjoon was trying to set in the location of the venue you were at while the others looked. When he finally coerced his phone to recognize that his position was indeed in the middle of Europe and not Seoul, he looked up to see his members running up to random cars, touching them and yelling to each other like a group of headless chicken.

“Jungkook, come here please.” He asked the youngest in an exasperated tone. Kookie jogged to him like an obedient puppy and without a word, Joon took the keys and pressed the button to open the doors. A car beeped behind him a few meters, indicating the right vehicle. With another sigh, he gave back the keys and made his way to the car as his younger brothers sped by to fight over which seat to take. Yoongi patted his back in sympathy.

“I need coffee Yoongs. This is exhausting. How do our managers do this every single day?”

“I’ll get you something better than coffee, don’t worry. And I don’t know. They are good at managing things, we are good at idol things.”

“That’s fair.”

“Imagine Sejin doing what we do, honestly.”

“Rather not, thank you.” Jimin sang the last words in a higher note when the rappers took their seats in the car, hearing the last sentence clearly. “Kook-ah, take us to that party!” The maknae obeyed, pulling out the vehicle smoothly and followed the instructions coming from Joon’s phone.

“Shouldn’t we change first?” Tae looked up in alarm. They were still in their comfy clothes, all of their outfits stuck in the stacked suitcases in the back. “We can’t show up in these.

“Taehyung-ah, you have a pair of jeans on with a black button-down, what is your problem?” Jimin giggled at the gaping vocalist.

“I was in this in the last...what, a day? How long were we up there?”

“We left Seoul about 15 hours ago. And I think you’re fine too.” Namjoon turned back from the passenger seat, his eyes scanning through his brother with ease. “But it’s fair, some of us are in sweatpants. And it’s fucking hot here, we should change somewhere.”

“Hyung, I can’t just park this anywhere, where could we change without getting caught for indecency?” Kookie nervously glanced at the man sitting beside him.

“We can always find a fast food place and change in the bathroom,” Hobi noted, his eyes taking in the view flying beside him. “This place is so different though. I thought it’ll be similar to London or Paris, but it’s nothing like it.”

“Yeah, look at those signs!” Jimin pointed at the billboards by the highway. “What are those things above the letters? Some are points, some are lines… “

“They probably make a different sound.” Yoongi looked up from his phone. “So are we changing or not?”

“Of course we are! We are meeting their friends for the first time for Christ's sake!” Jin yelled from the back.

The realization dawned on them and Kookie quickly found a KFC by the road. With yelps and grunts, everyone yanked out their suitcases from the back, opened it up and scanned through its contents without noticing how weird their behavior was to everyone else around them in the small parking lot. It was already dark by the time most of them returned from the bathroom, leaving the youngest to stick around the car who ended up changing in the backseat to save time. Feeling better in fresh clothes, the door slammed after Hobi climbed in last and they were back on the road to reach their destination.

Kookie didn’t know which reached higher, his adrenalin level or his nervousness as he drove by the main entrance of the venue called Budapest Park. It was nothing like a park though. It looked like the whole thing was an open space, only having a high fence around it. The youngest saw trees inside so maybe it was designed to feel like a park on the inside. Loud music hummed from its direction, the beat vibrating against their skin as he rounded the corner to look for an open parking space.

“Okay, to settle the worst first: whos not drinking tonight?” Namjoon sat up so he could see everyone in his view, his body turned sideways towards Kook.

“Oh, I’m drinking tonight. And you are too!” Yoongi stated with a firm edge from the back. “Y/n promised me drinks and I’m cashing it in!”

“I would like to drink if that’s okay.” Jimin smiled at the leader, a tint of devilish charm lurking in his innocent expression.

“I think we should let the ‘boyfriends’ have their fun tonight too.” Kook hummed from the front. “I’ll handle tonight, I feel pretty ecstatic as it is.”

“You sure Kook? I can do the driving if you want to have fun.” Hobi offered his gaze resting on the maknae.

“No, it’s fine. You can take over next time.” The man shrugged, opening the door to jump out. The muffled beat got stronger, resonating in the heavy air around him. They were in a neglected one-way street filled with parking cars as far as the eye could see, the venue right beside them. Vibrating and dancing lights painted the trees around them, the neon colors shining through the fences. Kook went around the car to make sure it was closed from all doors after all of his brothers got out and hooked the keys around a hoop on the hem of his jeans before dropping it in the smallest pocket by his hip bone.

Without another word, they made their way back to the main doors, silently walking back on the street. The sky was reaching it’s inkiest blue as the stars appeared as faint dots across the deep texture. Reaching the main road where the doors stretched, orange lights illuminated the concrete below the passing cars and the sidewalk they strolled on, their shoes either softly beating or the heels of boots knocking on the pavement. Yoongi made his way in sure steps to the booth selling entry tickets and motioned for the others to follow him as he neared the huge gates. Security checked them swiftly, touching them up and asking routine questions before a lady beeped their tickets in and they were inside.

Somewhere in the mass of partying people you and Drina danced with your friends, unsuspecting and oblivious.

Kookie glanced around in the weirdest place he was ever seen. The closest thing he saw in person to this place was an amusement park with its uneven floorboard and twinkling lights, scattered booths wafting off several kinds of street food and park-like patches of grass surrounded by benches and tables. But the further he went, the more long lines of bars he saw hugging up the dancing area and all the way in the back was a decent-sized stage with flower-like decorations framing the screens on both sides of it. Right in the middle of the dancing crowd was a black tower-like structure with one side not covered up by a black veil, showing off the DJ for the night.

But the weirdest things were there too: smaller platforms were scattered around the huge dancing area elevating the people dancing on them. There was a random doorframe in the middle of the dancefloor, painted in bright colors with a “Leave reality outside” sign written on the door. Huge disco balls and fairy lights hung from the enormous plane trees towering above like Christmas trees. Except it was a hot night in early July.

And there wasn’t one music that Kookie heard. No, there were at least three different genres’ going on at the same time: some sort of electronic beat flew from his far left and he saw container-like walls hugging a smaller dancefloor with much less lighting, making him feel like he was gazing into a black hole filled with ever-moving bodies. To his right was a secluded area surrounded by smaller trees and most of it hid behind an artificial hill where many people lounged, looking up at the sky in their tipsy state. The music coming from there was weird to him, nothing familiar or distinguishable hitting his keen ears. In front of him seemed to be the main source of attraction where most people crowded up. The music was more heavy, filled with growling vocals and instrumental bits.

Instinctively selecting the latter stage, Kook moved ahead, his eyes searching for your familiar form. The others followed in suit until Yoongi got impatient, grabbing the youngest’s arm gently.

“Kook-ah, how about a race? Maknae’s vs hyungs. Whoever finds them first.” He shouted over the clashing music above them. Namjoon and Hobi nodded in understanding while Jimin grinned at the maknae. Jin and Tae locked eyes for a tense moment before agreeing too. “Now, let me get a drink in this place!” And with that, Yoongi dragged off the older men to look for the shortest line.

Tae watched as they disappeared in the crowd, Jin’s black hair visible in the midst of ever moving people. Jimin softly took his hand and guided the vocalist behind Kookie, who was digging himself more and more towards the main stage. He knew he recognized the song that was currently on, the singer’s voice making his head bob soon followed by his steps matching the drums. He knew you showed him this band, but he couldn’t place the memory to a name.

He glanced back to see the other two maknae’s following, grinning a little at their attire. For not Taehyung’s fluffy dark blonde hair, they looked like they just stepped out of their Fire music video minus the jackets. Thinking about it more, most of them matched the concept of that video unintentionally, giving the youngest a strong sense of nostalgia washing over him as he turned his head back to face ahead of him.

And then he saw you.

Of course, you were on one of the platforms. The simple fact made the maknae laugh out loud as he seized up your surroundings: at least four guys were with you by the looks of it and maybe three women? It was hard to tell without knowing anyone. And there was Drina all the sudden, stepping up to the small podium with a high rimmed tray in hand filled with small plastic cups. The small group reacted rather differently: a blonde fairy-like lady beside you yelled with you triumphantly, gigglingly accepting a cup each while a strongly built man with a baseball cap backward on his head threw his hand up in defense. Not that Drina seemed to care much, she shrugged and offered his drink to you instead and in the end, you split it with the blonde one.

Huh...

All in all, based on the drink count, you were a group of 7.

The song has changed and it seemed to please the girls as all three of you started dancing in a more upbeat way, reminding the vocalist how you could dance to rock music really well. It was a curious thing how you made it look easy and feminine at the same time, sensually moving your body to an otherwise heavy song. He once asked you about this long ago, but you just laughed, explaining that you knew what the song was about and singing along with the lyrics just made you do what you do.

“Oh, come on now…” Jimin muttered beside his younger brother when he noticed what he was staring at. Tae has already found you, his eyes taking in the whole scene.

You had a dark tank top on with some sort of band logo on it, most of the lower part of it shredded in long strips, showing off your abdomen from the hem of your leather-like pants to your waist, where the material stuck close to your skin. The way you swayed along with the dropping chorus, the shreds followed and you obviously enjoyed the feeling of the material dancing around you.

It feels so good
And you knew that it would
When we're bringing on the boom boom
And you’re so sweet
From your head to your feet

Once again, it was obvious that you and Drina used to dance together: when the next chorus came along the two of you found each other standing back to back gliding down into a squat to hit the beat until you laughed it off, not minding the stares a few people threw you.

“This is practically sinful.”

“Calm down Jiminie, we do worse on stage.” Kookie giggled at the shorter man beside him.

“For good reason!”

“Mind I remind you how you “accidentally” shrug off your jacket or yank up your shirt all the time?” Tae quipped in, teasing his best friend. “They are pretty tame compared to…” He forgot to finish his sentence when Drina grabbed your hand to pull you closer, your bodies meeting dangerously close, breathing mixing together for two beats until she turned you back to face the other way so your back could support her to glide down again as Fall Out Boy’s Beat It guitar solo reached its peak. “Okay, that was hot, I admit that.”

“I still don’t get it how they are doing that.” Kook monitored on, his head tilted sideways like a confused pup.

A mimed scream came from the speakers hanging from the trees and Kook recognized the Avenged Sevenfold song with the same title. The DJ said something in the speakers and you gratefully bowed in the tower’s direction, having it only a few meters away from you. The DJ smiled back at you, making the fluff believe that you somehow knew the man or maybe he put on the song for you because your whole attitude changed from goofing around to seriously sultry. You threw your head back, visibly panting as your chest rose and fell in deep breaths, lightly singing along with the growling man on vocals and then you started moving. You hips yanked to the side, your torso and shoulders following in suit, but by the time it reached it, your hip was on the other size as a sleazy riff tore its way through the speakers. Drina and the other girl sensed the change too, adapting to the different dynamic in a blink of an eye.

Well...Jimin was right in the end.

It started to make sense, what you said. When the singer would produce a strained moan or extended a word, accentuating the raw lyrics you would restrict your own movements, reaching towards the sky with one hand, while the other would hold your own wrist. If the drums would hit down hard to leave a second to pause you would yank, pop of flip something in suit, accentuating the beat further. The fluff wondered whether you actually sang along, your lips constantly forming the words in the lines, heightening the song for yourself for your own delight. Every time a chorus would smash the dancing crowd you would get more animated and step closer to Drina in a what seemed like the usual thing for you. If Kook wouldn’t know better he would believe that all that you were doing was meticulously controlled and rehearsed, but you were just paying attention to the other, having been by each other’s side for long enough time not needing to iron out details to look matching.

Daring himself to look away to check on his brothers, Kook saw the older one of the two move along lightly, enjoying the music much to the fluff’s surprise. Taehyung, on the other hand, stood dumbstruck, his gaze never leaving your form as if he wanted to memorize every second of you dancing along with the others. The look on his face was something that Kook recognized as the one he sported when you visited them during the tour, knowing you were there in the concert crowd, but not yet able to reach you. Lip biting, hair grabbing Taehyung made an appearance in the man standing beside Jimin, his eyes filled with promises the fluff did not want to understand fully.

Scream, scream, scream the way you would
If I ravaged your body
Scream, scream, scream the way you would
If I ravaged your mind

A warm breeze swept over the crowd, carrying away a big portion of the moisture created by the several exhales above the stage as the song soon came to an end. A second of silence followed before a different song came kicking up Kook’s excitement.

It was a reimagination of a Dragonball Super opening by a guy called Jonathan Young, a singer you showed him not too long ago. There were several long weeks when the maknae was listening to this man’s covers while working out, the upbeat motivational feel of the songs carrying him over the painful moments of sweat and heavy breathing. He instantly started to jump around in his place happily, earning surprised smiles from his brothers. The fluff noticed how your guy friends got more excited too as you jumped around them singing along, throwing your hair around enthusiastically. The one with the baseball cap on holding his hand out so you would grab it, turning you in the spot smoothly while laughing. When the lyrics indicated, a few of you playfully dropped into position to deliver a Kamehameha making the fluff throw his head back in roaring giggles. Dragonball was followed by the first SOA opening and the three men watched in awe as you and Drina did a complicated turn ending in a back-bending sweep when Jonathan’s voice let go during the chorus. The anime segment was intended for your group for sure because each new song would earn the DJ a different kind of gratitude from one of you, probably playing into the person’s interest.

Not being able to help himself Kookie was full-on dancing by the time Fairy Tail's Strike Back started blaring from the speakers, not noticing how he was going nearer towards you and away from the other two vocalists. Jimin kept his eyes on him to make sure nothing happens, letting the youngest enjoy himself freely. The beat swayed his body from left to right, lightly jumping, turning and twisting among the dancing people under the open sky. The last bridge was building up when he looked up in your direction again, throwing his hair out of his eyes with a quick whip of his head when your eyes accidentally met.

The chorus thundered in the back as the two of you stared at each other in shock: Kookie because he didn’t intend to be found out this way, you because… well, because he was supposed to be on the other side of the planet. Not daring to look away for a second, you jumped off the platform into the sea of people, sprinting from your spot towards the maknae in a fairly straight line, dodging the tipsy people between the two of you. The shock on his face changed from a shy smile which eventually turned into a grin and he held out his hand to absorb the shock of the impact of you slamming into him in a hug.

“WHAT.THE.FUCKING.HELL!” You yelled in his ear as he lifted you off the ground to do a full spin before putting your feet back on the ground. Questions started to spill from your mouth, but he just laughed taking in your shock with a swelling pride in his chest. His wolfish grin grew into a shit-eating one when he saw Jimin and Tae making their way behind you, the latter tapping on your shoulder. You didn’t react, thinking that someone accidentally touched you in the crowd so Taehyung proceeded to pull you into a back hug, his face diving into your hair to breathe you in. Body growing rigid, you stared down at the hands locking on your midsection, recognizing the long fingers and whipping around in his hold to return the hug with another yelp.

Kookie watched as he held you closer to him, murmuring something in your ear before letting you greet Jimin too, jumping around in happiness before you came down for the euphoria.

“How?” You howled again encircled by the three men, hand swiping back your sweaty hair. “How are you here?”

“We wanted to visit.” Jimin smiled, trying to look laid-back about it. “We had some time off anyway and we always wanted to see this place, so...we came.”

“And the company let you. Just like that.”

“Well...kind of.” Kookie chuckled, his voice thinning out as the first One Punch Man opening tore into the air. “But we don’t have managers, chaperones or guards on us. It’s just us, like a normal vacation. No one expects us to be here, we changed our hair and bought different clothes, so we should be fine.”

“We figured that even if we are found out, we could just move to a smaller town or a near country to hang out. We researched a lot.” Tae added in, his hand resting on your bare skin by your waist.

“The others?”

“By the bar.” Jimin grinned, expecting your reaction.

“Oh God, Yoongs.” You stared around, expecting the man to show up with a tray filled with shots.

“But aren’t you busy?” Kookie shot his brow up in challenge. “I thought you are on a bachelor party.”

“I...I kind of am.” You stuttered for a second, closing your eyes to focus. It was just too much, too much to take in and to process at once. You were all the more happy you ate right before leaving, expecting the night to overcome even your standard of drinking. It didn’t so far. But the guys showing up out of the blue could cause some consequences that made you glad about consuming some carbs to absorb the alcohol. “Okay. Right. You have some people to meet then.” You drew in a big breath, trying to figure out how to do this. They spoke Korean, your friends spoke Hungarian, English becoming the common denominator for only a few people in both groups. Well, everyone kinda knew English, but only a few actually dared to speak, shyness and uncertainty overcoming their confidence. Thinking about it, your friends probably never heard you speak Korean either.

This is going to be interesting.

“Who is getting married?” Jimin snapped you out of your maze of thoughts.

“The guy with the ponytail.”

“That’s the engineer?” Tae crinkled his brows as he tried to make out your friend on the platform. “That’s not how I imagined him.”

“Have you ever seen an engineer hyung?” Kook snickered at him.

“Well… no, I don’t think so, but I have an imagination.”

“That you do.” Jimin grinned before turning back to you. “So how are we going to do this?”

“Uh… okay, a quick recap: see the guy with the baseball cap on?” They all nodded as you shouted above the crowd. “That’s Bala, he is the best man. Next to him is Zs, or Zsolti, weird name, I know.” You watched as their face knotted in concentration. “It’s a pretty traditional Hungarian name though. They are both soldiers, working for the air force. The bald guy is the last, a childhood friend. We call him Sancho for some reason, I don’t remember the origin story. He won’t be around for much longer because he likes the retro corner by the trees, he’ll probably try to pick up someone by the end of the night.”

“And the blonde?” Jimin asked with a suppressed smile.

“No Jiminie. Don’t even go there.” He raised an eyebrow in return, his smile blooming further. “Her name is Zita, she is Zs’s ex-wife. Don’t look at me like that, it’s a long story. He screwed up, she tolerates him.”

“And here I thought she is into you.” Jimin commented, his eyes traveling between the two you mentioned.

“Well… she is. Kind of.”

“She what now?” Tae looked at you in surprise.

“Hyung, how did you guess that?” Kookie looked at Jimin in disbelief.

“You saying that like it’s that hard.” The dancer tried to shrug it off, but his joy of being right shined through it.

“So… yeah, most people left a little after the concert ended, some only came to the warm-up” You tried to steer the conversation away. “So they are...like the core of my friends. Mostly Bala and Rudaj.”

“Rudaj?” Tae rolled off the name with a slight difficulty.

“The groom. Rudolf would be the full name, but I only call him that when he does something stupid.”

“Like the red-nose reindeer?” Kook chuckled.

“Yes, but I wouldn’t bring that up.”

“Noted.”

You finally turned towards the platform again to make your way back. Drina was gone, and you suspected that she had a similar encounter like you. You shook yourself quickly, snapping your awareness a little sharper as you made your way towards your friends through the crowd, pulling Tae behind you.

Thoughts racing in your mind about the members of Bangtan surprising you like this, you stepped on the platform, drawing Bala’s eyes to you. He tilted his strong-jawed head to the side to ask what happened before his eyes landed on Taehyung walking behind you, understanding glimmering in his expression. You were expecting more of a reaction from him, but as easy going as he could be, he didn’t think much of a bunch of Korean men sticking to you all the sudden. Of those who were present, only Sancho didn’t really know about your relationship, but he seemed to be already drifted off to the other stage. Rudaj was showing something to Zita a few steps away from Bala, their hunched postures illuminated by the phone in his hand.

“Bow or no bow?” Bala muttered under his nose in Hungarian when you took your place standing beside him. He was used to meeting people from different cultures as his general likes to delegate him around the continent to study new technologies and methodologies from other countries. He just made it back for his best friend’s wedding from taking a 6-month assignment in Litvania.

“Small bow.” You grinned at him gratefully.

“Roger.”

He stepped closer to Tae, who already extended his hand towards the soldier. With an understanding smile, your friend’s wide hand wrapped around your boyfriend’s slender one and they nodded, muttering introductions to the other over the loud music. Bala asked him something that you didn’t catch and seemed like Taehyung needed a repeat too because he pulled the man closer until he realized what was said and nodded with a serious expression.

Taking Tae’s place was Kook, who sported a determined look that you didn’t quite understand. Their handshake was much firmer, the maknae’s arm flexing more into it than necessary. You saw Bala seize up the vocalist in a non-understanding way too until the fluff told him something, coaxing booming laughter from the soldier.

Shoulders still trembling your friend shot you an amused smile before turning back to Jimin who offered the stranger a brilliant smile while shaking hands, earning a much more gentle first impression than the other two.

Forming a small group so everyone could hear the other, you watched as they tried to talk to each other nervously. Kook was on your left while Tae stood on your right, but neither of them touched you, not even on accident that made your thoughts jumping into a neck-wrecking speed.

“Um, we’re sorry we crashed the party.” The maknae started, apologetically bowing to Bala.

“Nah, it’s okay. It was starting to get a little flat anyway.”

“Uh, sorry to ask this, but… how old are you?” Jimin blushed a little as he asked, wanting to know how to handle his new aquaintance.

“He is a 86’ liner if I remember correctly.” You noted in quickly, sensing where the dancer was coming from.

“86’ liner?” Bala looked at you in confusion.

“You were born in 1986, right?” He nodded. “That’s it, you are a 86’ liner like I’m a 92’ liner. He was asking because they behave differently depending whether you are older, younger or same age as them.”

“There is no need to be different though, I don’t mind.”

“Ah, this is perfect. Jin hyung has to finally behave like a normal person.” Kookie grinned devilishly. Bala eyed you again with a question mark etched on his face.

“He is the oldest among them, so he has some sort of authority. Which he doesn’t really use.”

“So...like an older brother?”

“Exactly like an older brother.” Jimin nodded with a bright expression, giddy to see the dynamic between the two older men.

“And like Jungkook calls Y/n Noona too.” Tae added in with a small smile. “Because she is older than him and asked whether she is okay with it or not.”

“What’s that?”

I need a drink.

“It’s a term a younger male calls an older female. He asked because calling someone like that indicates a stronger bond than an average relationship.” You clinically cited.

“And is there one for me?” Bala looked around the three men surrounding him.

“We are dongsaengs to you, someone who is younger compared to you. We could ask to call you hyung, which is the same as Noona, but for an older male from a younger male.” Tae answered while his hands motioned to show who can call the other what.

“Can we call you hyung?” The fluff asked shyly, reminding you the first time he talked to you. The hesitant way he put out his question was in stark difference to how he was like during the handshake, something you still didn’t really get.

“Uh… sure? Why not?”

“Jin is getting whipped.” Jimin grinned lowly.

“Evil maknaes.” You shook your head with a small smile.

“Mak…”

“Maknae, the younger ones. He…” You pointed at the fluff standing beside you. “...is the youngest one. Not that makes him any more obedient.” You shook up his hair, earning whines from the man. Bala watched in awe as the vocalist let you torment him for a few seconds before ducking closer to you like an abused pet. “The sounds ‘k’ and ‘g’ are pretty similar in Korean, so just don’t push the ‘k’ as much, let it roll more smoothly.”

“Who is the eldest now then?” Tae turned to Bala curiously.

“Uh, let me think. I’m probably the oldest guy here, but I’m not the oldest. Zita is.”

Surprised sounds tore from the three members, polite expressions dropped to gaze at you for confirmation. You giggled as you nodded, knowing how young the woman looked. She seemed to be younger than you all the time, her fair hair and skin matching her brilliant blue eyes. She technically looked like an elf from the Lord of The Rings even on her worst day.

“Don’t ask her though, she finds it embarrassing.” You noted seriously, coaxing more shock from them. They have been waiting for you to crack and start laughing, letting them know that you were only joking, but seeing how you warned them, it must have been true.

“What, I heard my name!” She yelled in Hungarian from behind Jimin, making everyone turn towards the voice. Zita wiggled closer through the few people between you, her hands full with two big cups of dark liquid. Behind her came the other two guys, the groom and her ex-husband with similarly occupied hands: Rudaj was holding beers, swiftly handing one to Bala as he took a sip taking in the newcomers above the rim of the see-through cup. Zsolti shot off his friendly grin, making him look more Tom Cruise-like than ever, a pair of aviator sunglasses resting between his dark locks on his head. He had two cups in hand too and you were guessing their contents to be a Jack&Coke.

“Ah, I would’ve got more if I knew we had more people coming!” He yelled in English, sensing that the members would not get his native tongue. “Here, I’ll get two more!” He offered both cup to Jimin, who looked up at the man in open awe.

“No, wait!” You yelled after him, reaching him in time to look back. “Let’s just let everyone get to know the other before getting wasted, shall we?” He smirked and lined up, politely nodding towards Kookie. Watching the 6 people cross around to introduce themselves you monitored each carefully until Bala interrupted you.

“This is a surprise.”

“Yeah, I had no idea.”

“How did they find you?”

“Google Maps. Maybe we said the venue name. Probably both, I’m not sure. I’m still dizzy.”

“So that’s him.”

“Yup. What did you say to him?”

“That I hope he is taking good care of you.”

“Bala!”

“What, it’s a normal thing to say. I’ve known you since you were… what 16?”

“I was at least 18.”

“Same difference. Anyway, he seems alright. Knew my name is a form of attack. The tall dark one is competitive.” He chuckled under your gaze.

“And how would you know that?”

“He aimed to have a good handshake to give a good impression but ended up flexing on my hand during. I guess he found me intimidating?”

“Ah, Kook… He could run circles around you in a gym though.”

“In fast-paced exercises sure. Weight-lifting absolutely not.”

“You would be surprised.” You snorted, remembering the maknae’s workout videos.

“Y/n, here you go.” Zita handed you her second cup. “The usual ginger rum.”

“Thank you!” You smiled at her as you watched the five men mingle. “This is so weird.”

“Worlds colliding?” The blonde looked at your expression before turning towards them. “The tall one’s cute.”

“He was born in 1997.”

“No. No way.”

“I can ask for an ID if you want.”

“Fuck me.” She took a long sip of her drink. “How in the world does that work. He looks your age. All of them do. The one with the lips said I look like a fairy.”

“The other two is from 1995. And you do!”

“Jesus, you are not serious.”

“I support the fairy thing.” Bala added before sipping on his beer.

“Drink on honey, there is 4 more lurking around here.”

“Now that you mention it, where are they?” Bala glanced around the partying mass of people. “I haven’t seen Drina for a while either.”

“I’m guessing they found each other somewhere. Probably lining up to a drink. Fair warning, they did try pálinka before, so they might show up with some.”

“I’m not sure I’m ready for that.” Zita looked at you with a tint of panic. “I haven’t slept much last night.”

“Closing the fiscal year?”

“Yeah, the life of an accountant.”

While you were talking it seemed like the men got kind of along. Kook got into an animated conversation with Zs and watching them together made you realize how similar they are standing together. It didn’t take long until the older male started humming along with Seven Nation Army, which was blazing from the speakers. The fluff was taken aback for a second before he tried to sing along with him, which generated another topic altogether.

“Hey, Y/n, this kid can sing!” Zs shouted towards you in Hungarian and you mentally face-palmed at the statement.

“Who should break it to him that they are famous?” Bala chuckled at your expression.

“Not me.” Zita pointedly answered him. “Maybe we shouldn’t.”

“I’m pretty sure I talked to him about the whole thing.”

“He’s just drunk then.”

“Then it can wait until tomorrow…?”

Both muttered in agreement as you took a long sip of the dew-covered cup in your hand. Slipknot’s Before I Forget started playing, making the youngest take a look at you before excusing himself quickly and yanking you inside the crowd to dance. The second he stopped not far from your original spot he started jamming along, asking you to dance like you did before. While not really understanding what he meant under ‘before’ you acted indifferent as you placed your drink on a nearby table, tentatively feeling the verse nearing the chorus.

When it dropped you changed as you let the harsh melodies guide you through it, automatically singing along with Corey Taylor out of habit. It was well over the end of the chorus when you checked on the others: Zita was by Kook and you got caught off-guard to see him turn her by her hand before holding the same hand towards you to turn you on the nearing beat too. It was so different than what you would usually do you giggled the whole way like a little girl.

The bridge neared the last chorus when you felt a hand wrap around your upper arm.

“I guess you found the rest then!” Drina laughed in your ear. “And I might’ve done something stupid.”

“What did you do?” You turned towards her snickering form. Jin was right behind her talking with Namjoon. You saw Hobi introduce himself to the people who stuck around the platform.

“Yoongi likes pálinka, you should’ve seen his face when he tried the one with the paprika extract. I think he’s in love. He’ll be here in a sec.”

“Drina, what did you do?”

“I might’ve given your playlist to Adam.”

“Which playlist exactly did you give to the DJ?!”

“The K-Pop appreciation one.”

“Adrienne!”

The sound of horns blared towards the sky. The last song was over and taking its place was one you knew really well. The shift in genres was evident, riffing guitars and drums switching into a pop-heavy beat with a resonating horn. You turned around to see everyone’s reaction to meet the fluff’s wolfish grin plastered all across his face.

“Fuck.”

All the underdogs in the world...

Chapter Text

Chapter 24

A day may come when we lose
But it is not today

You saw all of the members freeze at the sound of RM’s voice blaring from the speakers. Mouths hang open in perfectly sculpted ‘o’-s, eyebrows slightly raised, bodies frozen, like a deer in the middle of a busy highway, caught off guard by the familiar sounds in a really unfamiliar setting.

The only exception was Kookie, who seemed to be thrilled by the prospect of partying to his own music under the star-studded sky with at least a couple hundred unsuspecting people around him. Cocking his head to the side, he sang along as he maintained his eye contact with you, stepping closer and closer with every pumping beat. He grinned at how most of the people around him in the crowd stilled up to listen to his leader’s pep talk. When Suga’s lines dropped on them, a few hoops flew in the heavy air and many started to nod along, slowly starting to move to the beat.

Hobi was the first to snap out of his daze, shaking his form in a small shudder when a familiar-looking rapper passed him, walking straight towards you.

Yoongi was holding a tray in his left arm, hand secured by the rim as he rapped along with his recorded self, his cool stage persona oozing out as he took sure steps toward you. He playfully raised his eyebrows twice before holding up the tray for you to take a small cup, offering the others once you took one. He bought more shots than you anticipated him to buy, giving to your friends one each too. The last cup was cleared up and the eldest rapper held up his to meet Zs’s, who did accordingly, his face painted in curious amazement because the man before him was strangely skilled at singing along with whatever weird music was playing. He clearly didn’t connect the dots so far.

Joon was unsure of himself when his lines came, meeting his older brothers eyes when their shots clinked, but after downing the drink he shrugged a little, meeting the last two lines of his verse. Everyone finished off their drink and with a cheery yell, Jimin grabbed Tae’s and Hobi’s hand, dragging them to where you and Kookie were standing while the rest stayed back and openly stared after the trio.

A whirlwind of excitement and dread filled you as you watched them approach. Zita flipped her hair and grinned at them, probably thinking that they are just coming to have a little fun, but she was surely not expecting them to smoothly flow into the thundering chorus after Jimin pointed his hands in your direction as if he had a gun in them, mouthing “Gyeonwo chong! jojun! balsa!” with a mischievous glint in his smile.

While they were eerily in sync, it wasn’t the official choreography, just them, freestyling while laughing loudly at the absurdity of it all. Hobi fluidly used his limbs to form waves, popping his elbows and knees to the beat, his eyes smiling so hard everyone in proximity felt compelled to grin back at him. The 95’ liners stuck together in a seemingly familiar way, their movements connecting with the others and they looked honestly surprised how well they did together, laughing out loud at a better string of steps. Kookie was jumping around you and Yoongi most of the time, twisting and turning in your face as his eyes disappeared in upturned crescents. The eldest rapper just chuckled at him before he saw Hobi pull of a more powerful move behind the fluff and started yelling “J-Hoooooooooooooooooopppeeee” at the top of his lungs happily.

“Come on Noona, don’t just stand there!” Kook yelled at you as he shot a toothy grin in your direction. “I saw you dance to this before!”

You didn’t realize you were standing still as you heard the second chorus gear up. Regaining yourself you shook your shoulders a little, craning your neck enough to make the bone crack faintly. Seeing your attempt to loosen up, Hobi held out his hand with a gentle smile and once you accepted it, he pulled you closer, getting your hips moving. Building up the tempo evenly he coaxed a laugh out of you, easing up the tension that strained your mind and body.

The dance captain made you turn your back to him, facing Jimin all the sudden, his eyes shining kindly as he pulled you closer by your waist. It was so similar to the way you danced with him before: he kept his distance in a healthy way, respecting your space, but still being as playful as only he could be. It was something you solely ever experienced with him, his manners and behavior trickling into his dancing as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

The last bridge was nearing when you realized that everyone was dancing around you, the members mixed with your friends. Not having an idea how it happened, you just let it go, making a mental note to ask around how did this happen again tomorrow. Your favorite part in the song of them lining up in the first row with their dancers came and it caught you in a giggling surprise how they did exactly the same choreo without discussing it, marching in the same spot, hand and arms moving strictly and angularly, light concentration written on their expressions. Muscle memory driving them through the rest of the choreography, they smashed the end of the song, draw