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let me take (care of) you

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The Hawaii trip is when Yoongi first realizes that things are changing.

It’s been a long and frustrating evening and they haven’t even made it to the restaurant yet. Trying to gift shop with the mere $50 they’d won the day before while saving enough for dinner is proving to be a challenge. Most of the souvenir shops they pass are too pricey. With the added stress of being paired with Taehyung, Yoongi tries to ignore the I just want to go to bed that runs on loop in his head.

It’s not that they don’t like each other. It’s just that, without the added buffer of other members, they’ve got to push extra hard to keep the conversation running and interesting enough to film.

Yoongi will lead a topic, and Taehyung will comment on it, then it’ll die out. Or he’ll watch as Taehyung nearly trips over his own feet while staring up at the sunset-dyed sky, only for him to turn to Yoongi in excitement—Yoongi smiles at him awkwardly, not knowing what to say—and Taehyung breaks eye contact, leaving Yoongi with a vague sense of having disappointed the younger.

They’re both trying to keep the morale up, and they’re both trying to not be frustrated, but when the last of the sunlight fades from the sky and they still haven’t agreed on a restaurant…Yoongi wonders, for the hundredth time, why Namjoon had been so adamant that A.R.M.Y. would want to see the two of them paired up. This is probably awkward even for their cameraman.

At least the hand-holding helps. Taehyung dissolves into giggles whenever Yoongi grabs his hand, and Yoongi takes advantage of that to drag him in the direction of the restaurant as indicated on his phone.

“Hyung, hyung! Suga-hyung!” Tae tugs at his hand excitedly, and Yoongi looks up from the map. Taehyung drags them over to a little stall of accessories, bracelets and keychains in stacks and necklaces hanging on a rack. The middle aged shopkeeper gives them an annoyed look, pointedly circling around them to continue closing shop, but Taehyung is too absorbed in choosing a bracelet to notice.

Yoongi flags her down to ask for the price. Three dollars for the chunky bracelets, but the necklaces are a dollar apiece; that’s a good deal which will leave them more money for dinner. Yoongi steers Taehyung in the direction of the rack and points at the hanging strands, pulling a random one off to hand to him.

“It’ll be the symbol of our friendship,” he jokes, “we’re going to treasure it properly. No taking it off until we’re back in South Korea.”

“That long?” Taehyung turns away from where he’s checking the look of the necklace in his front camera. He pins Yoongi with a wide-eyed stare.

“Sure,” says Yoongi easily, and realizes that he’s finally said something right when the corners of Taehyung’s mouth pull up in a boxy smile.

“Alright. Let’s buy these ones then,” says Taehyung.

Taehyung carefully chooses another one in the same shade of brown and Yoongi hands the paper bills over to the shopkeeper.

When they find their way to the restaurant and get seated, the promise of imminent food cheers them both up and the two of them settle on splitting cold noodles and black bean soup. The food is served and they dig in eagerly, putting the conversation on pause until they’ve scarfed down most of the food.

It’s tasty but not quite enough. Yoongi silently mourns the fact that they don’t have enough funds to order more. Taehyung’s already devoured his first bowlful, and Yoongi picks at his soup, trying to draw it out.

An egg yolk is dropped into his bowl by a pair of chopsticks. Yoongi looks up. Taehyung is digging around in the soup again, studiously avoiding eye contact with him.

Yoongi’s amused. When did Taehyung grow up? He’s being awfully considerate for someone who’s probably even hungrier.

“How’d you know I like egg yolk in my soup?”

Taehyung winks, still avoiding eye contact.

“You can have it.”

He drops another piece in Yoongi’s bowl. Yoongi doesn’t know what to make of it, suddenly being doted on like this by his younger bandmate. What brought this on?

Taehyung’s gaze is still fixed on the soup dish, and Yoongi wonders if he’s a bit embarrassed too. It must’ve been an instinctive thing to do—Yoongi remembers suddenly that Taehyung’s the eldest in his family.

“Thanks, Taehyung,” he says quietly, and watches as Taehyung flushes lightly. It’s barely noticeable under the foundation, but the way his ears turn pink is a dead giveaway. It’s cute, Yoongi finds himself thinking, and an unexpected rush of fondness for the younger sweeps through him. It’s an odd (but not unwelcome) mood that they’ve never had before, this quiet moment, ripe with something Yoongi can’t name.

Mysteriously, it only gets better from there. Yoongi realizes halfway through their rock-paper-scissors stair race that he isn’t having to try as hard anymore, and by the time that he’s clinging on to Taehyung’s back, holding his coffee out carefully so that if Taehyung jostles him the liquid won’t spill on them, Yoongi realizes that getting along with Taehyung is not as hard as he thought.

The two of them just need a bit of extra patience, a little more care, and Yoongi wonders why it’s never occurred to him before.

 

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The next morning, Yoongi rolls over to snooze the alarm on his phone one more time, only to realize that it’s not his alarm…it’s a call from Hoseok.

Yoongi cancels the call and pulls the sheets over his head again, but before he can drift off it starts to ring again. Is turning his phone off worth it?

Probably not, since Hoseok’s likely to just burst into the bedroom and wake him up the old-fashioned way instead. Besides, it’s getting late. They’re supposed to be ready to leave the rental place in thirty minutes.

“I’m up,” Yoongi answers, raising his voice plaintively so that he can be heard through the closed door.

“Hurry or we’ll feed your portion to Jungkook!” Hoseok singsongs back, and the call stops.

Namjoon’s already woken up and left, so Yoongi has the room to himself as he dresses and makes a beeline to the washroom. After, he walks into the kitchen where the rest of the members are. Jungkook is a stubborn lump on the sofa. Hoseok, who’s looking a lot less sick than yesterday, sets a plate down in front of him.

“Here you go. Seokjin’s in a good mood today so he made eggs!”

Yoongi thanks him and takes a seat at the dining table. Across from him is Taehyung, who looks barely awake as he pushes the food on his plate, and Namjoon, who’s scrolling through the feed on his phone as he eats. Taehyung looks up and frowns.

Yoongi frowns back, less of a real frown and more of a quick face-scrunch that asks “why are you frowning at me?”

Taehyung scrunches his face harder, lower lip jutting out, and pointedly pokes at his eggs with his fork instead of answering.

If Taehyung’s in a poor mood today it’ll make shooting more difficult, but nobody has the time to baby him. Yoongi mentally shrugs and goes back to eating. Namjoon looks up from his texts and starts a conversation about today’s logistics, and Yoongi gets pulled in.

So when Jimin breezes into the kitchen, hair perfectly styled and bag in hand, and asks where Taehyung is, Yoongi is surprised to see that Taehyung is no longer at the table.

“He ate breakfast and went back to his room,” supplies Namjoon, but Jimin’s already distracted by something else.

“Yoongi-hyung,” he laughs, “aren’t you forgetting something?”

Jimin gestures at his neck and oh, Yoongi realizes, so that’s what Taehyung was upset about. Fuck.

Seokjin plops down in the last seat, having finished with the stove.

“What are you laughing at?” he asks Jimin through a mouthful of food.

“It’s less than twenty-four hours and he’s already forgotten to wear the friendship necklace. Friendship: shattered!” teases Jimin.

Yoongi puts up with their ribbing until he’s done eating, then fetches the necklace from the washroom counter before going to stand outside Taehyung and Jimin’s room. He slips it on and fingers the wooden disks absentmindedly, wondering what to say to Taehyung after he goes in.

Why’s he overthinking it, anyway? Yoongi knocks, and pushes the door open after a grunt from within. Taehyung’s lying on his side, curled around a pillow. His eyes widen slightly when Yoongi sits down at the foot of the bed. Yoongi spots the necklace he’s wearing and feels even guiltier.

“Taehyung-ah. I’m sorry I forgot.”

“You said you’d wear it until we flew back.” Taehyung’s looking away from his face, still upset. “You say things and don’t mean them.”

“I took it off to shower and I forgot. I’m sorry. Look, I’m wearing it now.” Honestly, Yoongi’s surprised how much this has affected Taehyung. He’s always seen Jungkook as the sensitive one, but clearly the second-youngest has his moments too. Yoongi remembers yesterday, and his resolution to try harder when it’s the two of them. He reaches out and cups Taehyung’s hand between his own.

Something fleeting crosses Taehyung’s face, but the expression is gone before Yoongi can catch it.

“Taehyung-ah.” Yoongi bounces Taehyung’s hand up and down, considering.

He decides to just go for it.

“Don’t be mad at hyung! I’ll be sad if you are~” Yoongi says in a baby voice.

He puffs his cheeks and sticks his lower lip out in an exaggerated pout. He holds it for two seconds, until the self-cringe is overwhelming, and Taehyung is gasping in laughter.

“You—I can’t believe you—Suga-hyung, is this hidden cam?” Taehyung accuses, wiping the tears from the corner of his eyes.

“Yah! Of course not. Do you see a selfie stick anywhere? That was a once-in-a-lifetime-special. Treasure it, Kim Taehyung.”

He’s embarrassed now, after the fact, but Taehyung’s in a much better mood so the ploy was worth it.

“Just for me?” Taehyung teases, his eyes dancing in mirth. He’s unfairly good-looking like this, and something tells Yoongi to keep him laughing.

So he throws up a finger heart pose and plasters the smile that he usually reserves for the cameras across his face. Taehyung laughs so hard that he goes silent, breathless on the inhale, and Yoongi joins in the laughter too.

Later, Yoongi expects to be teased mercilessly by the boys for doing aegyo to get back on Taehyung’s good side when he generally refuses to do so even for A.R.M.Y. But Taehyung never brings it up, and Yoongi figures that he’d forgotten.