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Tales of The Unspoken

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Management announced a visit to the dorm.

It was enough for everybody to question why Namjoon sounded so serious when he called each of the members. Everybody understood quickly that he does not have additional information regarding the short notice visit and that instantly became a stress factor for him. They also noted that he called everybody instead of sending a mass text that they need to be at the dorm in the next hour.

It had happened in the past, that management dropped by and it was either when the news was very good or very bad. The guessing game started as soon as the members arrived in the living room space of the dorm.

Namjoon was pacing around slowly. He didn’t want to jump to any conclusions and alarm everybody so he was making himself some coffee and occasionally looking outside the window. The light which shone through did not contain any secrets that it could reveal to the leader of BTS. He was frustrated with not knowing. If they would have told him over the phone then his brain could instantly tune to “problem solving” mode and he would, at least, know how to tackle the situation.

“Hyung is pacing around like a lion in a cage, you realize that, right?” – Jimin’s voice broke the silence as he raised his eyes from his phone and glanced around. He was sitting on the sofa, headphones off just in case he could make out the slightest clue regarding what was happening.

“Yeah, Joonie... I’m sure it’s not a big deal. Don’t worry.” Hoseok smiled at him as he also moved near the leader to place a hand on his shoulder gently and encouraging. Hoseok couldn’t stand seeing him so tense. He also didn’t have the heart to tell him that his attitude could be felt and it created a heavy atmosphere in the room.

“That’s bullshit, Hobi and you know it.” Another voice echoed from the doorframe leading to the dormitories as Yoongi sat there with his hands in his pockets. “They need to tell us something big or else they would have had a different approach.”

Yoongi moved towards one of the yellowish armchairs and claimed it as his own. His eyes caught Jimin’s frown for a second as the younger one blinked idly at him and asked, “What do you think it could be about?”

Namjoon moved around the kitchen and before Yoongi could answer he handed him a mug of steaming black liquid which let out a perfect aroma. He mumbled a “Thank you” and began sipping his coffee. Jimin didn’t wait for an actual answer but continued “We either screwed something up or won some big award, but what could it be? What’s coming up in terms of award shows or noms?”

“Well, as it’s the end of the year, it might be something about an award. No Grammy noms, those were already announced.” Namjoon sighed and went back to worrying in his coffee mug.

“So, it’s probably good news. What else could it be? We did nothing but work in the last months...” Hoseok felt confidant with his conclusion and pulled out his phone to check if there was any news surrounding upcoming, major, K-pop events.

“Either that or one of us fucked something up that the others do not know about, yet.” Namjoon continued, his tone a bit darker and everybody in the room fell silent. Namjoon noticed and eyed each of them as Jin walked in through the main door.

“Hello, everybody! Am I late?” He pushed the door open and took his shoes off while also discarding his backpack close to the hallway.

“Where are Jungkook and Tae?” Namjoon asked hastily and visibly worried yet the two also walked through the door a few seconds later.

“Would you relax? They were right behind me. We got dropped off from the studio together. What’s up with you?” Jin assumed a fake, annoyed tone and whined as he opened the fridge and took out some juice.

Tae and Jungkook both stopped in their tracks, wide eyed, understanding that everybody was looking at them. Quietly, Tae turned his head towards the maknae. “What did we do?” Jungkook shrugged and entered the room, sitting himself next to Jimin which was still preoccupied with his phone and casually just bumped Jk with his feet as he sat.

“Hyung, did we do something?” Tae asked Namjoon shyly.

“I don’t know, Tae. Did you?” Namjoon asked him with a smile because it amused him to see Taehyung’s very blank expression turn to confusion.

“Yeah, Joonie...why on Earth would you THINK the maknaes did something wrong?” Jin asked dramatizing the situation for laughs, which he shortly received as chuckles even from Jk and Tae. There was always an air of complicity and trouble when it came to the two boys.

“Heeeey, why am I in the same boat with them?” Jimin asked mimicking the fakeness of Jin’s voice.

“Because you’re a cute baby...” Tae took Jimin’s cheeks in his palms and started talking to him in a baby voice which, as expected, drove Jimin to laughter as he started hitting his friend with his legs so he would get off him. Finally, Tae sat down between him and Jungkook, taping his fingers on his knees.

Jin took a seat on the armrest of Suga’s chair and smacked his lips together, enjoying the juice before finally questioning all of them. “Ok, who did what?” The room fell silent. “Come on guys, what did you do that was against the rules recently? Huh?”

They all smiled widely, Namjoon shook his head at the bluntness of Jin’s tone, Horseok scanned each reaction with interest, Jimin smiled not raising his eyes from his phone and finally Jk and Tae looked at each other and laughed.

“You two, please, don’t answer that...” Jin pointed at Tae and Jk. “Hyung doesn’t need to know. Hyung is just FINE in ignorance.”

Obviously, Tae and Jk started laughing harder, falling on top of each other, visibly comfortable with showing the other boys how close they are. Namjoon noticed and he spaced out for a second, only hearing Jin’s last phrase “Oh, damn... you all look guilty of something. I can’t even see Yoongi’s face and I am sure he is smirking. We’re done for...”

As Jin’s voice trailed off, he remembered the evening when Tae came to his room and sheepishly knocked on the door. Who knew that allowing him entrance would change the way RM viewed the world? Namjoon loved Taehyung very much for his personality and mind. Tae was like a light in darkness but Namjoon knew every light flickered from time to time so he never took that as a given. It only made him appreciate Tae more because he tried to be so lovely to everybody and for everybody. He, Namjoon, couldn’t be like that. He learned not to be so hard on himself but to accept that he cannot fulfill every role of the group and that when it came to it, he had to let others take over and be the core. That’s how Tae became BTS’ sun.

Namjoon knew Tae was strong but as he spoke with him that evening he realized how much strength of spirit the young one actually had. He remembered being taken aback but not by Tae’s confession but by the way the other seemed to accept himself and be conscious of who he really was. Namjoon was inspired.

“It’s a big deal for me and it took me a while to figure it out but I don’t want it to be a big deal for the group. I am still figuring some stuff out, actually.” Tae said confidently but searching for approval in RM’s silence.

“Do you think that things will remain the same?” Namjoon asked.

“Oh, yes, hyung. I haven’t changed. I just accepted a thought that was always bugging me lately. I’m not different and I am not sick.” Tae spoke in a low voice but with determination.

“No, of course you are NOT sick. That’s idiotic. I will gladly yell that to every soul in this country and outside if they need to hear it. Thank you, Taehyung.” Namjoon hugged him closely. “Thank you for having the courage to speak to me about it.”

“And management?” Tae asked. “I want them to know. I don’t want to be public but I want them to know.”

“We’ll tell them together.” Namjoon concluded and ruffled Tae’s hair to the young one’s delight.

It was a bit surreal for Namjoon from the past to look at Tae and Jungkook now, smiling widely at each other after everything they had been through. Tae was the Sun, undoubtedly. Jungkook was the Moon.

How did Jungkook become Tae’s and everybody’s Moon? He wondered as his glance moved towards the maknae. Namjoon remembered how much of a surprise it was to find out from JK’s own mouth about his struggles with himself. He realized how much pressure everybody was dumping on the young one’s shoulders by calling him golden. JK took it very seriously but never let it show. His silent comfort had always been Tae, because Tae didn’t communicate with JK through words, but glances and touch. Tae felt JK, whether the young one wanted it that way or not, but Namjoon suspected that he did.

The leader also observed, long ago, that Teahyung was treating JK differently than anybody else was. Tae went to JK when he was sad or when he wanted to feel protected. Nobody else did that. Tae was giving JK power over him which nobody else thought about giving to him as he was their maknae. It was even clearer for Namjoon that the two talked about it because on very rare occasions, Tae slipped and called JK “hyung”. Tae was the second youngest in the group, he had five hyungs he could go to but he always chose the maknae and JK took it upon himself to be extra careful and protective of Tae. It was quite endearing to watch for Namjoon. He wasn’t sure if the other boys paid as much attention as he had and if between their teasing, if they stopped to actually look at all the unspoken love the two shared.

Fans saw it, thought but Namjon couldn’t agree with calling what those two had a relationship because it was as inappropriate as saying the Sun and Moon were dating. No, the two celestial objects were there, they existed, they were the same but different just like JK and Tae. Somehow, calling it a relationship reduced everything to the mundane. Whatever teasing regarding it happened within the group, it remained to a civil level because nobody wanted to push the two boys to define what they had, thus making them uncomfortable. Everybody got used to them being weird around each other and while they were together. Namjoon glanced at Jimin which had let his phone down and was now smiling fondly at the two. Jimin had always been their most feverish supporter and cause of annoyance for the, sometimes constant but still low key teasing. Jimin loved seeing his best friend happy because Jimin knew details about Tae that Namjoon suspected not even JK knew.

Jimin once told Namjoon that he noticed how the leader was constantly placing himself between the two after Tae’s discussion with management. Jimin even yelled at him for doing so. It was hard for him to accept that Namjoon was protecting the two and not separating them. Tae heard that fight happen from the hallway and came in the room to comfort Jimin, telling him that it was ok, that he understands and doesn’t hold a grudge.

“Stop it, Tae. I see the recordings. I see how your smile drops instantly.” Jimin told him. “You hate not being able to be yourself. It keeps you up at night, I know.”

“It hurts but it’s for the best, Jiminie. Don’t hate hyung. He has no fault.” Tae rubbed Jimin’s back fondly.

As Namjoon looked at Jimin in the present moment, the young one turned his head and without anybody else noticing he sighed as a shadow crept across his face and he looked lost in his own thoughts while picking the phone back up from his chest.

As Jin started bickering with Yoongi for the spot in the armchair, the door of the dorm opened and they could see their main manager through the crack. However, he let Bang PD enter the house first and the boys gulped in unison. Namjoon was certain something serious happened. They were expecting Sejin and staff but they rarely had visits from Bang PD himself. If there ever was a meeting which needed his presence, it would be held at the BigHit office and not in their dorm.

‘Good day,’ Namjoon mumbled and they all followed, surprised.

Sejin smiled but it was fake. He wanted the boys to relax but his face did not bear any happiness that the boys could hold on to.

“Hello, boys. How is everybody?” Bang PD asked without waiting for an actual answer and grabbing a chair from the nearby table, coming near the sofa and armchair and sitting down. “Grab a chair next to me, Sejin.” He told him calmly and smiled at a dumb folded BTS.

“Nobody died, guys. Stop looking at me like I’m a ghost.” He said neutrally but ignored the mumbles coming from the kids when they excused themselves. Yoongi noticed how fast Tae and Jungkook let go of their hands, although nobody in that room would have been surprised if they were holding hands.

Namjoon spoke “Is it bad news, seonsaengnim?”

Bang PD exhaled “Somewhat, but it would be childish to imply that we weren’t expecting it sooner or later…” All the boys leaned it to listen and the air seemed to have left the room completely. Sejin was quietly looking at his hands, pondering.

“I am given no other choice but to be as blunt as possible. I must ask you a question. Two of you violated the rules and went out for a walk in the park unattended and without letting any staff know.” All the boys looked at each other trying to figure out the culprits and Namjoon swore to himself that he will not commit murder if they somehow got out of the situation. “Naturally, a body guard followed you from afar as soon as we noticed you left without permission.”

“What?” Jin’s mouth spoke faster than his respect could shut it. Bang PD sighed again and Sejin finally spoke. “Please understand that we do this for your own safety and not because we want to monitor your every move. If you appear in public and are without any security all Hell can break loose. You could be hurt. We don’t worry about fans as much as we worry for the crazy people out there looking for 5 seconds of fame. You need to be protected.”

“And we did well to have somebody follow you because you were caught by a paparazzo walking near the frozen lake. When the bodyguard finally caught up to you, he was already taking snapshots. You don’t even know this but we reached an agreement and bought the photos we saw him taking. However, we don’t know if that was his only camera. He claimed to give us all the photos but I fear that he might have been dishonest. Therefore, I need to ask you: Did you do anything compromising until you reached the lake?”

He finally looked towards Taehyung and Jungkook and both boys wanted nothing else but the couch to develop a digestive system and swallow them whole.

“Guys, you were holding hands in the pictures we bought.” Sejin added candidly.

“But… but… that proves nothing. They are best friends, they can hold hands... It’s fanservice.” Hoseok spoke in a heartbeat, trying to somehow fix the situation as he saw Tae and Jungkook crumbling before his eyes. Taehyung was holding in head in his palms, looking down without a word and Jungkook seemed lost, utterly lost in some other reality.

“It’s fanservice on stage but not alone, walking through the snow in the park.” Sejin added. “Please answer the question…”

“They looked like lovers, Hoseok. We couldn’t pass something that happened in an almost empty park at 12 am as fanservice.” Bang PD also said and when he stopped talking the rest of the boys went back to an uncomfortable silence. Tae shook his head mumbling something that resembled like an “I’m sorry” but it was barely audible.

Bang PD’s voice turned a bit harsher. “Try to remember if there was perhaps a second person you saw on your walk or if you might have compro…”

“I kissed him.”

Jungkook raised his hand and spoke without even noticing how rudely he interrupted the conversation. Tae placed his hands in front of his eyes and let out a growl of frustration mixed with some sort of despair.
There was a general surprised reaction but no disgust within it from the others. A darkness loomed over everybody instantly. Namjoon shook his head disapprovingly and Jin paced around the room for a couple of seconds before finally sitting back down next to Yoongi who had his hands together in front of him in deep thought.

“And that happened before you reached the lake?” Sejin’s asked while placing his hand on JK’s knee as if to support the maknae.

“Yes…” he said quietly and Tae finally lifted his head to the managers. His face was red and a mess. Even without any tears shed, his face was the emblem of hopelessness.

“I wanted to go out as I love snow. It’s because of me that this all happened. I am so sorry. I am so sorry for failing everybody who believed in me and dragging Jungkook down with me.” Tae’s voice was deep and voided of the usual joy they all were accustomed with.

“You didn’t drag me anywhere. Those are lies, sir. I ignored the same rules and I took that even a step further when I took off his mask and kissed him in the middle of a park. I-… I didn’t think… It was quite dark but I know we stopped near a light post because I noticed the snowflakes caught in his hair… I… I… I look back at it now and I realize how badly I exposed both of us but I don’t know how it didn’t come over me then…” Jk spoke quite fast, voice trembling.

“You are in love with him…” Yoongi commented loud enough for everybody to hear. His explanation, although simple, summarized what everybody else was thinking but didn’t dare voice. Jungkook lowered his eyes as if he wanted to subdue all the feelings that kept air from properly entering his lungs. “That’s why you didn’t see the repercussions. Sir, I am sure neither of them wanted to hurt anybody. I ask for forgiveness on their behalf.”

Namjoon prepared to do same but Jimin cut him off. “Yet, that means management clearly knew all about them.”

“Neither staff or management is blind, Jiminie.” Sejin said fondly.

“You put Namjoon hyung to separate them then. It was true.” Jimin was angry but he tried to calm himself down out of sheer respect for his elders.

“We agreed.” Taehyung told him in something above a whisper and upon catching his serious and broken gaze Jimin pipped down.

“What? What? Wait… You discussed this with management?” Hoseok was in awe.

“Yes. Tae, do I have your consent to talk about this?” Bang PD asked and a wave of shock washed over the entire team. Tae only nodded but kept his eyes downwards.

“Taehuyng, came to my office with Namjoon and told me that he wanted the company to know he is not straight. We never used the word gay because Tae himself didn’t use it. We discussed it because Tae wanted the company to know that he was figuring this out. I understood why he wanted us to know. It was important for him to be honest with himself. I appreciated that. However, it wasn’t a very big surprise when a couple of months later I saw Sejin in my office and we had to discuss the possibility of Jungkook and Tae being in a relationship. I called Namjoon over and I asked him to talk to the boys and tell them that whatever happened or is happening between them they still needed to be careful. We discussed all this through Namjoon as we didn’t want to put more pressure on their shoulders or on the group. Namjoon carried it for all of you, being there to protect them from cameras we couldn’t control.”

“Our leader…” Jin spoke and patted Namjoon on the back.

“Yoongi figured it out shortly after and came to my office.” Bang PD continued and Yoongi rubbed the corner of his eyes, feeling a bit uncomfortable. “He was very frank with me, as usual. He asked me to allow Taehyung and Jungkook space to understand what’s happening to them. I told him that we knew and explained that we would not do something to hurt them, only to protect. He understood.”

Yoongi nodded respectfully and a vague shade of red appeared on his cheeks because everybody was looking straight at him. The meeting was a secret to all except Namjoon who looked unphased by the new information.

“Seonsaengnim, please tell us why do you think the paparazzo was dishonest? Something bigger than this brought you here.” Namjoon seemed to have awaken from his stupefied stanza.

“We received a call this morning. It was somebody from Dispatch. They claim to have dirt on BTS and obviously, they threatened to release it.” Bang PD’s voice was calm and serious but Namjoon’s heart started to rush and he could feel cold shivers as they ran down his spine. He blamed himself because he was the leader and whatever Dispatch had, it was his error in preventing.

“They obviously want money. We have a good collaboration with Dispatch, as everybody knows. You clearly know some scandals are completely staged for publicity, but I am concerned about what other photos that paparazzo must have taken as I wasn’t told very straightforward what this dirt was. I have a meeting with them later today but I wanted to discuss with you first and try to figu…”

Bang PD was interrupted by the loud “ping” of Sejin’s phone and Jungkook recognized a Twitter notification coming in. Instead of excusing the interruption, Sejin turned his screen to Bang PD and they both frowned at it for what seemed an eternity, quietly whispering to one another.

Jimin, which also saw the screen and had his phone in his hands, opened Twitter and visibly shaken typed out Dispatch’s name in the search bar. Without realizing he began reading aloud:

“Tomorrow, Dispatch will be exposing a gay couple… The couple is very popular, in the same group and has an age difference of two years…” Jimin’s voice cracked and it would have been very safe to say that no person attending the meeting ever saw a more serious and concerned expression on his face in all the years they had known him. He kept staring at the screen in disbelief.

“Fuck…” Yoongi whispered and caught Jimin’s attention but they didn’t meet eye to eye as Jin’s voice echoed louder “Taehyung, are you ok?”

Jimin saw his best friend with his head lowered, looking pale and breathing heavily as if he was on the verge of a panic attack. Jungkook took his waist in his arms but Tae did not react, letting the maknae pull him closer to his chest and drive his fingers through his hair to calm him down. As soon as Jimin tried to touch his best friend, Taehyung began sobbing and clung to Jungkook’s chest and practically climbed his legs into his lap so he could bury his entire face in the younger one’s shirt. Tae’s distress made him forget everybody was looking at them. He mumbled. “Kookie, forgive me… Kookie… everything we worked for, all of it… is… go…”

“Shhht, Tae. Don’t say that... I’m here. I’m here… Calm down, calm down… we will figure it out.” Jungkook felt anger boiling inside him but his voice was impossibly warm. It was an impressive sight to see how furious and gentle somebody could be all at once. He was holding Taehyung as if he was a fragile hourglass, sands pouring uncontrollably. He spoke softly. “I’m sorry I didn’t realize somebody was taking photos of us.” He continued to whisper in Tae’s ear but Sejin was the only one that caught his next words as he was the closest one to them. “You are my world, Tae. I got lost in you and somebody saw how hopelessly in love I am. You were the only one who was supposed to see it, Tae. Only you.”

Sejin couldn’t believe how fast Jungkook’s words calmed Tae which stopped sobbing and was now visibly trying to stop his trembling. Tae had always been a moody type and it could be easily read on his face, but as Sejin remembered in that moment, JK was always there to change whatever mood was controlling Tae and give him a sort of balance. He understood that Jungkook wasn’t confessing to Tae in that moment. No, Jungkook knew Tae loved being loved. It calmed him. First on all, the two boys were very close friends, no matter what came after.

“But the tweet does not mention which group…” Hoseok answered rapidly. His mind was galloping through possibilities, trying to find a plausible excuse.

“Yet…” said Yoongi rubbing the back of his head.

“Jimin, read that again.” Namjoon asked pensively. “Are we sure they are talking about BTS?”

“The coincidence would be too big. They wouldn’t have called, right? We need to be prepared because if they indeed have a photo of JK and V of BTS kissing, then I don’t really know what we can do to calm the scandal. We need to be prepared. None of this is a coincidence…” Bang PD said and trailed off.

A few seconds passed and his face lit up and a smile curled upon it to the astonishment of Namjoon. “Sejin, do you happen to know if I brought my wallet?” He asked with a chuckle and Sejin only let out a sound of amazement and confusion. “We should be on our way to a very expensive business dinner and RM needs to work.”

Jin was sure that the faint noise he could hear was Namjoon’s brain working fast. After a couple more seconds, the leader tilted his head backwards and started laughing. “Yes, sir. Thank you. Thank you so much. I will work on it.” He rose to his feet and took Bang PD’s hand. All the boys wanted to get up as soon as they saw that management was leaving, JK even nudged Taehyung to try and wake him up from his thoughts.

“What? What’s happening?” Tae finally halted his sobs and felt like he had lost an entire conversation. Upon seeing the other members faces he realized he was not the only one who barely understood what was the source of the laughter.

“Don’t get up, boys. Rest. You have a lot of work ahead of you so enjoy while you can. I expect only the best from you, as you know.” Bang PD watched all of them closely and finally settled his eyes on Sejin who also understood what the others were failing to get. He also shook Bang PD’s hand and thanked him numerous times.

“What will be the punishment?” Tae asked, oblivious to all that was happening.

“Punishment, boy? Oh, for sneaking out? That will be discussed and I swear to God that sometimes I wish I could just ground you two as if you were kids just because you’re a source of trouble. But you are adults now and you must understand that rules aren’t meant to be broken. They are there for reasons far greater than yourself. However, there is no rule against falling in love. No manager can stop that. It’s one of the things we fear the most. Heartbreak for our team.” He smiled once and saw the mixture of gratitude and confusion in both their eyes.

“The company will pay Dispatch and settle for a deal.” Yoongi concluded as soon as he understood the unspoken plan, searching for reassurance from the manager’s eyes.

“But what if they are unreasonable and ask for too much, sir?” Jin inquired. “A scandal like this would boost their income considerably.”

“That is where RM of BTS comes into the equation.” Bang PD said. “Namjoon, you are free from your babysitting duties. You won’t have time for that anymore. You need to write about what you have learned from all this.”

“We will turn the situation around and claim the entire scandal as publicity for our upcoming album, right? Drop hints in the lyrics if necessary. Brilliant! Brilliant!” It was unclear if Yoongi spoke to anybody or if he was just thinking out loud.

“Thank you, Yoongi. We will continue shielding these two from prying eyes but they are free to do as they see fit. I trust they also understood now what having a public, full-blown relationship would be like and the nasty truth is that it would turn all they hold intimate into a circus for others’ profit. Keep in mind, everybody… once you step out that door, even if you think you are alone, you never know where a security camera might be aimed at you.” Bang PD turned to Sejin with a heavy sigh. “Ah, Sejin… BTS will be the death of me.”

“Why am I in the same boat as them again?” Jimin’s face radiated happiness. “No, sir. No, not BTS… just Taekook.” Jimin said with a smile and they all started laughing upon understanding that their friends are being cared for and that BigHit will do everything possible to save their careers.

“That’s their ship name, sir…” Namjoon explained.

“Do we pay them enough to have a ship, Sejin?” Bang PD said ironically.

“No, a ship is…” Sejin started explaining between tears of laughter.

“I know what a bloody ship name is, Sejin. How old do you think I am?” Bang PD thundered and laughter could be heard again in the whole dorm.

Jimin practically fell on the floor laughing, clutching his stomach while Hoseok kept trying to pull him back up but failed continuously due to his own giggling. Even Yoongi found the situation amusing and couldn’t really believe what an incredible act of kindness he witnessed. Jin rolled on the armchair Namjoon left unoccupied once he stood up and was trying to find a comfortable position while also laughing too hard to control himself.

Jungkook was still holding Tae, allowing him to lean a side of his head on his chest. They were the only ones who stayed quiet. JK was smiling and Sejin couldn’t help but notice how Tae brought his left hand up to the younger one’s cheek and caressed him slowly while keeping his eyes closed and with a peaceful smile.

“However, Taehyung! Jungkook!” Bang PD underlined their names with his voice. “You MUST be careful. YOU must take care of each other and of your hyungs. All of you! Think long and hard if you are still able to work with us as adults. I know I have put a lot of pressure on you but I also learned to let you spread your wings. International success is more than we thought we could do together but here we are. Packed schedules, exposed lives and exhausting rehearsals won’t stop. I prefer to be honest with you and I want you to be honest with yourselves as well. Think about it, BTS. But remember that you are loved…” Bang PD ended his speech and patted Sejin on the shoulder signaling that it was time for them to leave.

“Oh, Jiminie…” Bang PD turned his head before reaching the door. “Please remember the English saying The captain always goes down with the ship. Be careful with your not so sober tweets.”

Jimin’s mouth fell open and he mumbled something nobody heard over the riot of laughter and “Oooohs”. He finally realized that he can’t really find something appropriate to say so he simply laughed with the others.

Sejin lowered himself and spoke only to Taehyung and JK. “By the way, you have a day off next month and a nice dinner. I’ll make the reservations. It’s on me.” His facial expression was nothing but kind. Perhaps it was the first moment when Sejin got a glimpse of the simplicity the boys craved. He knew how much they all worked for BTS but the ones sitting in front of him were real people with their own fears and wishes.

The boys could barely open their mouths to utter the 1000th thank you that evening.
“We’re going out in public? Together?” Tae asked in disbelief.

“If staff knows and you understand how frail everything around us is, that shouldn’t be a problem. Leave it to me. Cherish what you have behind closed doors. It’s too important.” Sejin added and rushed to catch his companion, slowly closing the door behind him.

 

Taehyung looked at JK who exhaled all the air in his lungs as soon as the familiar click of the door signaled that they were alone. He was almost cradling Taehyung as the older boy sat with his legs on JK’s lap. As soon as the maknae saw how focused Tae’s eyes were on him, the world vanished and he pressed a soft kiss on his lips as he held him close to his chest. It was slow, chaste, just a reassurance that nothing changed, that whatever happened, they would figure it out. However, a small cushion hit both as it flew from the other side of the room.

“Heeey, Hyung needs to adjust to the idea of seeing you two kissing on the coach. Youth these days, really…” said Jin, acting as if he was bothered with the sight.

“What? You’ve never seen them before?” Jimin asked while placing himself back on the couch near the two boys who started laughing again, all flustered.

“And you did?” Jin asked with interest while also adding a “Pervert” after a brief pause.

The question only made Jimin nod and hum affirmatively. It was true that Jin had seen the two very close and he noticed how often Taehyung slept in JK’s room but his mind didn’t wander further. He assumed more happened behind closed doors.

“I’ve seen them too.” Hoseok added with a raised hand and another one flung in the air.

“Me too…” said Yoongi from the armchair.

“Same” came the voice of Namjoon.

“Woah?” Tae echoed. “When? How?” came the questions from him and JK. Tae had straightened himself and left JK’s lap as the maknae also leaned forward to hear their answers, his mouth in an “o” shape.

“Kitchen, late at night…” Yoongi casually mentioned.

“Briefly, door open, wanted to give Tae his charger. He didn’t seem to need it.” Hoseok answered looking at Taehyung.

“What? All of you saw them except me?” Jin sounded hurt.

“See… I kept telling you the hyungs know by now.” JK commented.

Namjoon coughed and he rose from the chair again and everybody went quiet. As soon as he started speaking his tone reverted to the leader they all knew. “BTS, we need to be honest with each other. We are a family and we are a team. If you do something bad, even by accident, let me and the staff know. I think this talk revealed how important it is. What remains untold might become a regret.” He said and took out his phone to start typing. Without any other word, he left the room and the boys could hear him talking to himself as he took notes.

Soon after him, Yoongi also started heading towards his room, leaving the others to discuss further in the living room. When he was about to close the door, he noticed that somebody else had followed him.

“Hyung…” He opened the door and Jimin entered after him. “Do you… do you think there is any possibility that…? You are two years older than me as well and…” he said concerned.

“No.” He said shortly and sat at his computer.

“But last month… at that show… we got pretty wasted in the hotel, remember?” He pressed on, trying to get Yoongi to look at him.

“Yes, Jimin. I know. I’m surprised you remember, honestly… It was a mistake.” He said and turned his chair towards Jimin.

“Us kissing was a mistake or the fact that we did that in a hotel hallway?” the young one asked.

“I looked for cameras, Jimin. And let’s not discuss it or give ourselves headaches. Don’t think about it. We are not Tae and JK. You wanted to see how it feels and I was too drunk to care about saying No. That’s the end of it.” Yoongi turned back to his desk.

“You’re right.” Said Jimin softly and paused for a few seconds only to continue in a different tone, almost a suspicious one. “Although, I find it odd that you remember everything from that night and still had the presence of spirit to look for cameras.”

“What can I say? I hold my liquor well.” Yoongi casually said.

“Right…” Jimin frowned and left the room to join the laughter coming from the other side of the hallway.

Chapter Text

Jimin sat on his bed and watched whatever scenes his mind put together as they moved on the ceiling. It was quiet in the dorm because most of his colleagues were out wrapping up projects before the New Year break. He could hear the noona which was tidying up the kitchen and putting groceries away but he didn’t get up to greet her or investigate what delicious food she might have brought. He pulled at his necklace slowly and found himself thinking of what Yoongi told him: “We are not Tae and JK”.

Somehow, it bugged him more than he was willing to admit to anybody. He envied them and apparently, Yoongi saw right through him. He loved seeing the two together but he wished he had something similar. Of course, Tae was his friend. More than his friend, Tae was his soulmate and he loved him immensely but…

“But what, Park Jimin?” he said out loud, frustrated that he felt that way. The ceiling didn’t answer.

Tae was Tae.

Jimin spoke to Tae about everything and anything from trauma to music, to puppies, to regret. They cuddled their way through all subjects. They laughed even if it was a non-laughing matter. They understood each other and they were happy but…

“Ah, what’s wrong with you today?” He asked himself out loud.

He remembered how annoying Tae could be at times because he did the exact same thing, which meant that he talked to himself in full audible sentences. It distracted Jimin but it fascinated Jungkook.

“Ah, that’s it!” Jimin thought. “That’s the answer.”

He never found Tae as fascinating as Jungkook did. He liked Tae but he didn’t stop in his tracks just to marvel at Taehyung picking clothes from a closet or water from the fridge. Jk did that without even realizing. If Tae inhaled in his proximity, Jk noticed him in a second. Even when he wasn’t looking at the older boy, Jk seemed to be in perfect synch with him. Jimin wanted something like that! Perhaps minus all the awkwardness.

“We are not Tae and Jk” He could hear Yoongi’s voice again, ringing in his ears.

The next feeling that Jimin experienced was anger. Why did Yoongi assume he would want that? Was Yoongi telling him they could never be closer than they already were? Why? Did the hyung find him awful? He thought he was always a good company when talking to Yoongi hyung or when they sometimes grabbed a whiskey together.

He was very loved and he constantly got messages from various girls in other idol groups. He was popular and he was pretty and he did him best to be kind. Yeah, he could admit he was a bit vain and shameless but he knew he could turn that to his advantage. His phone always beeped because somebody wanted to get to know him, why was Yoongi so cold towards him when he was nothing but kind?

He rose from the bed and went straight to the room Yoongi shared with Jin. He knocked before he could realize what he was doing.

“Yeah… come in.” Jin said and rose his eyes from the show he was watching.

“What’s up, Chimchim?” He asked as soon as he saw the younger in the doorframe. He had a weird facial expression and Jin needed more info before his brain could decide what needed to be said.

“Hyung, do you know when everybody will be back home?” he asked. And by “everybody” he meant Yoongi.

“Let me pull out my tracking device and my tarot cards to answer that!” he acted as if he was searching through his nightstand’s drawer. “Ah, shoot… The device is with Joonie, as always but my paranormal abilities tell me you also saw Hobi leaving to his parents’ house an hour ago.” He said ironically.

Jimin didn’t laugh. He just stood there. To say that Jin was surprised was an understatement. He always managed to make Jimin smile, but now the maknae simply looked hurt.

“Chimchim, what’s wrong?” as asked as he rose from the bed and went towards the door.

“Why do you treat me like this, hyung? I only asked!” he whined and started pacing back to his room.

“Jimin, I’m sorry. Come back!” Jin yelled after him but as soon as he finished his sentence he heard a loud noise which meant that the boy slammed the door behind him.

“Hormones” Jin decided and went back to his room, leaving Jimin to cool down.

 

---
Jimin: When will you be home?

Yoongi: Why are you texting me, Jimin?

Jimin: REALLY? WHY DO YOU ALL TREAT ME LIKE THIS? IT’S JUST A QUESTION FOR FUCK’S SAKE!

Yoongi: ….

Yoongi: Now… that was uncalled for…

Jimin: Whatever...
---

Yoongi stared at his screen for a while. Jimin barely texted him. He looked around the studio and threw the phone on the nearby couch. He sat down to revert listening to the mix he was analyzing. He hit play and the composition started from the beginning, yet Yoongi didn’t realize when it ended and how long he had been sitting in silence until he decided to pick up his phone and backpack and find the driver. He texted Jimin from the car.

Yoongi: I am on my way home.

Jimin had his headphones on and music was blasting through them at maximum volume when the song was interrupted by the notification. He looked at the text and he smiled. For some unknown reason, he read the text three times before simply drifting to sleep.

When Yoongi arrived in his room, Jin was folding clothes absentmindedly and placing them in a suitcase, preparing for his own vacation. The house was weirdly quiet without everybody frantically training for events or shoots. He liked it.

“Hello, hyung. Do you happen to know if Jimin is home?” Yoongi asked.

Jin opened the same drawer of his nightstand. “Let me check my…” He remembered Jimin’s reaction and just let it go. “Yeah, I believe he is still sulking in his room. I don’t think he is in the best of moods. You might want to give him some space if you don’t want to end up in a fight.”

Jin was left speaking to himself as Yoongi was already outside the door. He knocked on the one across the hall. There was a faint sound of music coming from inside but no answer. Going against his better judgement, Yoongi pushed the door open and as he entered the room he could see Jimin sleeping to the obnoxiously loud music coming from his headphones.

In a heartbeat, Yoongi closed the door and went to the bed. He convinced himself that it was his duty to try and stop the music from hurting Jimin’s ears and took the headphones off the boy and settled them near the bed. Naturally, Jimin moved in his sleep and opened his eyes slightly, eyelids still heavy.

“Hyung?” he whispered softly and Yoongi found himself looking at his lips. “I’m cold.” He purred.

His voice was uttering syllables as if they were musical notes of their own. Yoongi’s heart sank. He took Namjoon’s bedcover and threw it over the shivering maknae. Somehow, he was aware that his own hands began trembling as he stood there, unsure if Jimin is even conscious enough to realize who was with him or if the younger one would wake up to talk.

“Hyung…” Jimin had his eyes closed. “Please stay with me….” Spoke his perfectly pink lips as the notes crashed against Yoongi’s heart again. He drowned in the beauty of the barely audible music of Jimin’s breathing. He stood there and listened closely. It was better than any other mix he had heard.

“Hyung… I am lonely…” Jimin said and Yoongi could practically feel his heart shatter. He was unable to move and he almost forgot how existence was possible. Jimin was not flesh and bones, he was music. His chest going up and down settled the beat of a previously Unhead track. When the melody seemed to head towards the outro of their meeting, Jimin lifted the covers.

“We are not Tae and Jk, I know, but could you sit with me just for now? Please, hyung…” he pleaded and Yoongi caved. Until that point, he didn’t think Jimin knew who he was speaking to but he did. The most beautiful song he had ever heard had just invited him to share the bed. Yoongi was a lot of things but he wasn’t a loser. He slipped under the cover and the maknae placed his head on his chest, still trembling. His body clung to any source of heat and violently shook when it found it.

Helpless, Yoongi wrapped his arms around him feeling his weight, devouring the sensation of peace that made its way between them. But his stillness was short lived because Jimin placed a small kiss on his chest and Yoongi’s eyes shot open, as his heart started beating feverishly.

“Thank you, hyung…” Jimin said with his lips buried in his chest and into the fabric of his hoodie. The heat of Jimin’s mouth made Yoongi wish he would have had taken off a layer of his clothes but he said nothing when the maknae pressed himself onto him even more and fell asleep.

It took a while for Yoongi to calm down but he eventually did and abdicated in front of the monotony of Jimin’s heartbeat. The music coming from the phone stopped completely as it laid forgotten on the flood, battery exhausted.

 

 

After taking a long shower, Taehyung felt happy with himself and the promotional material he shot for the day. The photography director was extremely helpful, allowing him to explore different poses, giving him hints of what he should be doing with his body so that the images look as natural and comfortable as possible. The boy wished he could have had him as a Life Director as well.

He was above grateful that the photoshoot occupied most of his day since it also kept him from thinking about Dispatch and the recent confessions from the living room of the dorm. As soon as he noticed that thoughts about the potential scandal threatened to creep in, he rose and left to find Jimin and distract himself with a good laugh.

He opened Jimin’s door, knowing from the managers that Namjoon is still at the office building. His jaw dropped when he saw his best friend sleeping shirtless next to Yoongi who pushed the bed cover off himself. Jimin’s t-shirt was hanging on the side of the bed, discarded. Tae needed a few seconds to adjust to the image as if his eyes needed time to process a different amount of light.

Without a second thought, he took out his cell and snapped a picture of the two boys before he giggled silently and left the room. He jumped up and down the hallway while he opened the group chat they had so he could post his discovery. They always posted silly photos of each other, it was nothing new yet some invisible force stopped him from pressing “Send”. He looked at the photo again. Jimin had his arm thrown over Yoongi’s chest, pressing his body to the side of the hyung. Yoongi, on the other hand, was fully dressed and completely over-dressed if Tae was to compare him to Jimin. He didn’t hold the maknae to his chest but only his presence in Jimin’s bed was an extremely weird sight. Tae closed the group chat and no matter what he tried to occupy himself with, he ended up pulling the photo up from time to time just to stare at it.

 

Jungkook found Tae doing exactly that when he returned alongside a staff member which helped him pick presents for his folks back home. As soon as they said “Goodbye” to the manager, Tae signaled him to sit down on the couch next to him. It seemed odd that Taehyung didn’t allow him to take a shower first as he asked but after a while he got used to the hyung’s need for immediate attention. He wasn’t bothered with providing it.

He sat without any further questions, only whining slightly that he really needs a shower. Tae leaned closer and whispered into his ear. “I have to show you something…” Jk nodded and waited patiently for Tae to unlock his phone and scooted closer to prepare himself for what he believed to be one of the interesting things Tae found online and couldn’t help but share with him. It took him a couple of seconds to understand what he was seeing on Tae’s screen.

“Is that Jiminie hyung?” he asked with a smile but Tae shushed him fast, while also looking towards the door of Namjoon and Jimin’s room. “And is that Yoongi hy--?” he almost shouted but Tae was quick enough to place his hand over the young one’s mouth.

“Are they still sleeping?” Jungkook asked with a wide smile on his face and only got a silent approval from Tae who looked worried. “What’s wrong?” Jungkook added since he didn’t find his usual laughing partner in Tae.

“Yoongi hyung is sleeping next to Jimin…” Tae said with his voice barely above a whisper.

“Yes, I see that. What am I missing?” Jungkook asked when he noticed Tae was getting a bit annoyed.

“Don’t you find that odd?” Tae eyed him suspiciously.

“Ammm… maybe cause it’s Yoongi hyung and he really likes sleeping alone, but other than that… no, not really. We sleep together often as well.” Jungkook’s answer was deemed unsatisfactory instantly. He felt like he was failing a class which nobody properly explained to him before the exam.

“Kookie, Jiminie does not have his shirt on!” Taehyung delivered the obvious bit of information with a tone of secrecy which made Jungkook laugh.

“So, what, Taetae? I sometimes sleep without my shirt on… It’s no big deal, right?” Jk couldn’t understand why Taehyung made such a big deal out of it.

“Not with me. You don’t!” Tae said in his normal tone but in the silent house it came out as an irritated shout.

The reaction startled Jungkook because he felt like Taehyung wasn’t speaking clearly enough. He was tired and sweaty and a moment of anger resulted in him bluntly asking: “Why? Do you want me to?”

His question came out harsher than he had expected. He could clearly see that Tae was not anticipating such a reply. Silence took over. Tae frowned and he lowered his wide eyes at the dark screen in his hands. His thick eyebrows betrayed the fact that he fell in some sort of thought process which Jk was too tired to try to discover.

“I don’t see the big deal, Tae. I’m going for a shower…” But he did. He did grasp what “the big deal” was because they never addressed “the big deal” and “the big deal” was surfacing now and again to remind them that they thread in dangerous, unspoken waters. Even if Jungkook left the room, he was conscious that all the things they never discussed openly were just as important as everything they shared.

“Jungkookie…”

If Tae’s voice wouldn’t have been soft and melodic, Jungkook wouldn’t have stopped walking away from the living room. He lied to himself, telling himself that he didn’t understand where all the sudden frustration he felt regarding Taehyung came from. Truth be told, he could bury it always, and ignore it to the point where it didn’t matter. He preferred stepping away from Tae whenever it happened and try rearranging his thoughts, yet now he stopped to listen to what the hyung had to say.

“Was Yoongi hyung right?” Tae’s voice cracked. “…about… about you being in love with me…”

Jungkook could feel his blood clogging as it simultaneously froze in his veins. They said, “love you” various times through text, when saying goodbye or when praising one another but they never uttered the full sentence. Actually, the closest thing to a romantic “I love you” was Jk’s whisper in Tae’s ear during his panic attack the other night. Tae knew very well that it was more of a diversion to stop him from crying rather than the real thing. Not that he thought Jk lied to him but words spoken in the eve of an apocalypse held no ground in front of him.

“Don’t ask me that, please…” Jungkook spoke too low for Tae to hear him.

“I’m talking about really being in love, Jungkook…” Tae’s voice sank to the bottom of the deep, dark sea in which they both swam, aimless, breathless, searching…

The way his full name rolled off Taehyung’s tongue hit him hard in the chest, reviving whatever monster of insecurities slept, curled up in his heart. He had to face the monster and Taehyung had no choice but to assist to the fight.

“What do you want me to say? I don’t know, Tae… We hold hands, we sleep in the same bed, we sometimes kiss, what does it all even make us?” Jungkook turned to Taehyung which was silently watching him, allowing him the anger, allowing him to crawl before him. Tae was quiet and majestic on the yellowish sofa.

“When Jimin read the words ‘gay couple’, for a couple of seconds, I was sure that the rumors can’t be about us. It wasn’t until I saw Sejin hyung’s worried face that I understood how easily people can say we are a couple based on what they perceive. I kiss you, you respond to it. You kiss me, I return it but what are we, Tae?” Jungkook did not raise his voice but the trepidation was enough for Taehyung to assume a pensive stanza, looking at him mesmerized but with blank eyes. He raised his hand to his face, touching his own lips and cheeks with the back of his fingers. The gesture was so delicate and ethereal that reality vanished for the maknae and again, it was only him and Tae in an astral plain, voided of voices and the material.

Tae was too beautiful in front of him. Jungkook lost his trail of thought. Jungkook lost his words. Jungkook lost the battle with the monster.

“I almost compromised everything because of the way your hair mingled with snowflakes and darkness. I am in love? I don’t know, but I surely am stupid. I know there are about 10 or 20 unread messages on your phone from a fair number of girls, idols or not. I know you set meetings with some of them. I do too. And where does it bring me? To a private area of a restaurant, talking to somebody who’s clearly pretty and smart and does not deserve my disinterest or my monosyllabic texts after the fact and then the lie: ‘I’m too busy to see you’. Although, the truthful answer would be: ‘I am too busy holding Taehyung as we watch anime.” Jungkook wanted to swim to the surface but he had no idea which way was up.

Tae smiled and that broke Jungkook’s anger. His knees were weak.

“When are coming back from your parents’ place?” Tae asked with his fingertips still caressing the side of his own face.

“In four days.” He replied, utterly defeated.

“Don’t leave without saying ‘Goodbye’ tomorrow morning, alright?” Tae approached him and placed the hand that had been lingering on his face under JK’s chin. He smiled when Jungkook rose his eyes and met his and then turned his back to head to his room. His faint scent of vanilla followed him.

Jungkook rubbed his temples with the base of his hand and headed straight for the shower.

Only when the living room went quiet, Namjoon dared open the front door further and finally stepped inside the house. He went straight to the fridge and took out a beer. He let the cap of the bottle fall upon the marble of the counter as he stared into the abyss.

Chapter Text

Namjoon tapped his fingers on the marble of the counter without realizing that his mind was following a certain flow and creating music. He couldn’t think about that. He was too worried about the conversation that he heard from the other side of the door. It was a rare thing to hear Jungkook use a firm tone and especially with Taehyung.

Clearly, it wasn’t the first time Namjoon wondered if the situation between the two mankaes wouldn’t blow up eventually. Whether he liked it or not, BTS could become a collateral casualty in a moment of anger. He wondered, from time to time, if Jungkook and Tae ever had a plan regarding each other, if they ever spoke clearly about the obvious tension and the very not so common glances. He hoped Tae would have brought it up until then but the reality was very different. Neither Tae nor Jk knew how to address it, how to navigate it and how to overcome what was tying them together so mercilessly.

In the past, the boys had tried to stay apart from each other but it didn’t last more than a couple of weeks if not days. “Falling in love with one of your best friends must be terrible”, Namjoon concluded. How could they stay away from each other? The only moments when there was a prolonged silence between them were those instances when Tae became extremely cold and locked himself inside his own soul, disallowing anybody to get close. Namjoon knew that not even him could pierce that wall, the only two people Tae sometimes (although rarely) accepted around where Jimin or Hobi. Whenever that happened, Jk did his best to act indifferent, which was completely redundant as everybody could see it was just an act.

Nobody in the dorm was on par all the time but they understood that they were working for something that exceeded the petty things they sometimes argued about. Thankfully, management and Bang PD have always understood potential bickering to an extent but were also not ashamed to tell them to stop pouting in front of cameras. It was annoying to be told that you have to smile when you really do not feel like it.

Namjoon cursed under his breath and wondered if he should sit the two maknaes down for a serious talk regarding everything that recently transpired. As he was spinning his bottle absentmindedly, he heard voices coming from one of the rooms and shortly after, a door opened and closed. The sound was familiar.

Yoongi stepped into the kitchen looking sleepy and frowning as if he was calculating the potential suction force of a black hole. Namjoon couldn’t help but wonder what happened to him.

“Fuck, why are you up this late?” Yoongi said. His voice was a little bit above a whisper and walked to the fridge to get himself a beer.

“Thinking…” Namjoon said while watching his bandmate open another bottle of beer.

“Yeah? Cheers. What about?” Yoongi inquired as sat down next to him.

“Band. Everybody.” Namjoon replied.

“Tae and Jungkook?” Yoongi smiled knowingly. He was beyond conscious that the situation must have been stressing Namjoon out more than he let it show.

“Mhm. It’s weird…” the leader sighed heavily and continued talking when he saw Yoongi had nothing to add. “We all grew up together but Jungkook was so young when he joined. We modeled him… to an extent, you know?”

“What are you saying?” Yoongi’s eyes narrowed. He was very good at putting one and one together, even when it wasn’t that obvious for everybody else. His muscles stiffed a bit when he understood where Namjoon was heading. “You’re thinking that Jk is interested in Tae only because Tae is interested in him? That’s harsh.” Yoongi smirked. He couldn’t blame the other for thinking the way he did because it was an absolute truth that Jungkook was probably the one that had to do the most soul searching or personality searching if you will. “You don’t think he would be interested in Taehyung in other circumstances…”

It was Namjoon’s turn to remain quiet. He felt Yoongi’s words came as a bit of a scolding. It wasn’t his most popular opinion even in his own mind. He knew that by thinking that he was somehow questioning Jk’s feelings, yet he couldn’t help but try to imagine how the youngster’s personality would be if he wasn’t in BTS. He wondered how that very shy boy transformed into the young man he heard that evening.

“I think you are wrong. I think that in other circumstances, Jungkook would still be fascinated with Tae.” Yoongi took a large sip of beer.

“Because homosexuality is something you are born with?” Namjoon asked flatly.

“I don’t believe that bullshit. It somehow implies that it’s an illness. I think it’s not an illness but a choice.” Yoongi huffed, annoyed. “Look, I doubt that objectively somebody could say that Taehyung is not beautiful. He is. You’ve seen him in photo shoots. He is beautiful and he is seductive because he knows he’s beautiful. That’s probably his most attractive trait, his confidence, right? Could you disagree?” Yoongi turned his head towards his speaking partner to carefully watch his reaction. The leader shook his head and had to admit to himself that Tae looked good and so did Jimin and Jin and Hobi. They had beautiful features, they took care of themselves, they got help dressing up and buying clothes from stylists. Their esthetics was beautiful, no doubt about it.

“It’s like this… There is a soup I dislike the taste of but I love the smell. I can appreciate the smell of it but I would never pour myself a bowl because I know I don’t like it.” Yoongi explained. “I do not have a problem with other people eating said soup. It’s a choice of mine not to eat it based on my preferences. Same with this.”

Namjoon started laughing. “Are you honestly comparing sexuality to soup? I think Jin Hyung needs to hear this one.” He took another sip of his beer. “And what soup do you dislike anyway?”

“It was a comparison. I liked all the soups I tried. I’d try any soup.” Yoongi smiled in his beer bottle. Namjoon knew. Yoongi didn’t speak much but when he did he was very straightforward. His bisexuality was a certainty for him and he admitted to it in many circles and in lyrics because by admitting it he actually made it uninteresting to gossip about. It was a smart move coming from a man which disliked discussing his life and being in the spotlight for something other than his music.
“And how are other soups?”

“They taste different but they are still soups… and no matter the consistency, they are all a bit… wet.” Yoongi paused and within a couple of seconds, both of them started laughing uncontrollably while also trying to remain quiet and not disturb the entire house. They giggled for a long time, trying to regain their seriousness.

Namjoon loved talking to Yoongi when it was only the two of them because they both relaxed. Neither of them knew how to make small talk. Suga was uninterested in it and Namjoon, given a couple of minutes, would slip into a deep discussion about whatever his encyclopedia brain found interesting. Talks between them were always interesting or absent, there was no in between. They could sit in perfect silence and it wasn’t awkward. Therefore, when silence came upon them, they simply stared at their bottles.

“Do you think they….” Namjoon couldn’t help but wonder even in his very tired state.

“Do I think they did more than kiss?” Yoongi cut the pause in his specific, blunt voice. “It’s none of my business, but I don’t think so. They seem too all over…”

“…all over each other.” Both boys said in unison and let out short laughs.

“Ah, I can’t believe I am saying this but maybe it would be better if they did… and just get it out of their system.” Namjoon rose and Yoongi followed as the two beer bottles were now empty. They started heading towards the hallway and Yoongi couldn’t help but repeat Namjoon’s words in the back of his head. They lingered uncomfortably and he couldn’t shake them off.

“Dispatch will hunt them, no doubt about it. What they do at home is fine but I’m worried about cameras, you know?” Namjoon added while leaving Yoongi behind.
“Yeah…” said the other boy, still lost in his thoughts. “Night.”

 

Yoongi sat in his own bed. Jin was sleeping already and he was thankful for the lack of conversation. He already had too many voices which spun inside his skull to be able to focus on another. He slid into bed, hoodie still on because it suddenly felt colder than it had ever been in the past and because it was… that hoodie.

He remembered how not even an hour ago he opened his eyes and he was greeted with the darkness and silence of nightfall of Jimin’s room. The dim light allowed him to see the paleness and curves of the frail body in front of him. It only looked vulnerable because it was unaware some eyes were studying closely. If he would have known he was studied so closely, Jimin would had flexed, tensed, laughed but right in that instance, he was unaware that a pair of eyes are watching him as they did so many times in the past.

It had taken Yoongi a couple of seconds to realize that he was actually looking at Jimin’s bare back which rested peacefully near him. Right then, he couldn’t help himself and he raised his finger and moved it along Jimin’s spine. He did it gently, quietly and almost fearfully. He wanted to get up and leave or simply disappear and yet a part of him was compelled to stay there as long as it would have been allowed by the fates. An idea loomed over him mercilessly and he pressed his lips between the inviting shoulder blades. Jimin growled softly and pressed his back against the caress. Yoongi couldn’t stand his heat and got up. He wanted to escape what felt like a perfectly laid trap.

“You kissed me…” Jimin whispered and turned. He stood on his back and stared at Yoongi sleepily and fondly.

“Why are you naked, Jiminie?” Yoongi asked. He couldn’t remember when the younger discarded his shirt. He wished he knew how and why. A million scenarios were forming in his head and some were terrifying because they implied a downfall – his.
“I was too hot. You’re like a personal heater, hyung.” Jimin laughed.

Yoongi smiled as well and he turned his back to exit the room, hoping that the word “kiss” would not be brought up again, hoping that Jimin would not choose to mention the entire evening to their friends. He was afraid that he was putting his faith in the hands of the worst secret keeper on earth but it amused him all the same. What could Jimin tell them anyway? “I slept with Suga hyung and I think he kissed my back?” How do you even bring that up in a conversation?

Suddenly, he was glad Jimin didn’t have the same character as his best friend. The entire thing sounded as something Taehyung would just blurt out over breakfast while managers were trying to tell him the day’s schedule. Thank whatever Gods that Jimin was not Tae.

“Wait, hyung…” Jimin gripped his arm faster than he could muster a reaction and the maknae pulled him back near him as he was now kneeling on the bed. Suga’s mind left the image of Tae at breakfast and focused back on the present.

Jimin’s entire upper body was pressed on Yoongi in an embrace. Because of the slight height difference, it was easy for Jimin to press his temple on Yoongi’s chest and caress the fabric of the hoodie with his cheek. Yoongi was unsure of how he was supposed to react to the sudden display of affection, especially when he was the target of it. He got used to sit in a corner and laugh at others but not to be on the receiving end.

“Could you at least give me a proper hug? I wanted to say Thank You.” Jimin acted as if he was angry, but he wasn’t. He was playing. He was playing with the hyung and Yoongi could almost feel the smiling lips which were casually pressing their sides on his black and lucky hoodie. He was not oblivious to Jimin’s plan. As soon as he wrapped his hands around the bare torso of the boy, Yoongi felt him relaxing and purring, making himself look vulnerable and slowly adjusting his body in his arms.

“What are you doing, Jiminie?” Yoongi asked again. He wanted to sound a bit more aggressive but he couldn’t pretend that he was angry. On the contrary, it amused him to see Jimin use a trick on him. He wondered if the maknae knew how inviting his actions were, how his flesh screamed to be touched by flesh and how the small hairs on his back stood up in the spots Yoongi touched him only with his fingertips.

“What do you think I am doing?” Jimin purred but there was a certain nuance of more than playfulness in his words. He raised his head towards Yoongi who instantly forgot how to breathe when he found something that dangerously resembled lust in Jimin’s eyes… and lips, especially in his half-parted lips. It was in that exact moment that Yoongi realized he was hard. Something in the was Jimin inhaled and exhaled, naked and shameless did that to him. Undoubtedly, Jimin felt it through the fabric because his entire body was pressed onto him and to confirm it, he moved slightly, faking the fact that he needed to readjust on the bed.

“Stop it, Jiminie,”Yoongi said with a knowing smile.

“Stop it?” Jimin purred as if he didn’t understand.

“Stop acting innocent,” Yoongi said and gently pushed Jimin out of the embrace, his mouth still curled up in a slight smile.

“I’ll stop it when you will…” Jimin said with a grin. He was testing Yoongi, he wanted to know if there was a border that he couldn’t cross.

Yoongi took a couple of steps backward and as he turned his back he raised his finger and said “Touche!”. He was out the door in the next moments. That was when he realized he really needed a beer and started heading towards the kitchen.

Yoongi well asleep with the image of Jimin’s eyes begging for something… something he wasn’t sure he wanted to give away but at the same time, it was painfully clear that if Jimin set his mind to it, he couldn’t deny him.

 

 

“Tae… Tae… Taehy….. Taehyung…. for the love of all things holy… this is the third time I come into this room today! Please wake up or I am dragging you to the bathroom and straight into the shower…”

Tae heard a frustrated voice coming from somewhere near his bed. He tried to open his eyes, yet the blanket was very cozy and the pillow he was hugging didn’t want to let go of him. It was warm and if only it would had been quieter….

“Kim Taehyung!” the voice roared and he had to open his eyes to stop the commotion.

“Hmmm?” he managed to mumble.

“Have you packed, at least? Oh no, tell me you packed…” the manager looked around the room in search for a suitcase.

“Mhm…” he whispered and pointed to the luggage sitting underneath a pile of clothes.

“Kim Taehyung! That is not packing! You just threw clothes over your luggage. Get up and go clean yourself, the driver will be here shortly.” The manager helped him out of bed and immediately sat down to rapidly fold the discarded clothes and arrange them into the suitcase.

It took all the will Tae had in his body to resist the urge of throwing himself back on the bed. He couldn’t afford another sharp yell of his name, therefore, he tried to snap out of it.

“Come on, you’re between the last ones to leave, unsurprisingly. Obviously, it’s always you and Jimin.” The manager added.

“Oh, Jungkook… did he leave already?” Tae’s eyes widened but he rubbed the bad of his head apathetic, not wanting to overreact.

“Of course he did. We didn’t need a tank to wake him up.”

Tae stopped listening to whatever he was being told and excused himself to head to the bathroom. He explicitly asked Jungkook not to leave without saying farewell. Tae looked in the bathroom mirror and he could see how he looked when he was angry and sad in the same time. He didn’t like what his reflection was showing him because it resembled a frustrated little boy. He lost himself in the sound of the running water splashing the sink’s drain and he decided he won’t let it affect him. Coldness installed itself in the mirror’s reflection. Tae knew that image as well. His chin moved up, his lips became the perfect description of disinterest. It didn’t last long however, because in the coldness he could still see sadness and it blew his cover. Could Jungkook really be so upset with him? Was he losing him? Was he losing Kookie because they went too far? What was “too far” anyway? They never had clear boundaries… sometimes, while cuddling with his friend he couldn’t tell where one soul stopped and the other one began, and his hand in Kookie’s hair simply belonged there, no questions asked.

“What are we, Tae?” he remembered.

He grabbed the edge of the sink and let out a long sigh. He was scared of looking back up in the mirror because he was scared of what he could see. Confusion? Hurt? Regret? What was he actually feeling? He didn’t want to see it. Jungkook left. He ignored him and now the maknae had 4 days to forget all about Taehyung. He could see old friends, he could make new friends… he could do whatever he liked without Tae there to see him smile or hold his hand when nobody was paying attention. Jungkook had 4 days to exclude him from his life and realize that he, Tae, is not as important as everybody deems him to be.

“What are we, Tae?” he whispered to himself and took his toothbrush into his hand wanting to end the cascade of thoughts and to stop stalling for the sake of the manager. He needed to get ready and perhaps he would allow himself to think about everything when he was home. Perhaps…

However, when he took his toothbrush out of the holder, he realized there was a sticky note carefully wrapped around it.

It read:

“Good morning, Tae… and good bye… I will miss you.”

The note was not signed but it didn’t need to be. The handwriting was enough…

Tae looked at himself in the mirror. He was smiling wide, almost giggling.

“Kim Taehyung! What can possibly be so funny in that bathroom? I hope the mirror is telling you a good joke cause I swear I will kill you if you don’t move faster.” The manager could be heard on the other side of the door.

Tae folded the paper, hid it in his hand and started brushing his teeth. With the toothbrush in his mouth, he went back into the room.

“It wasn’t the mirror. But this toothbrush is hilarious…” he laughed and picked up his phone, writing hastily.

Tae: Me too. See you soon, Kookie.

Chapter Text

Tae sat on the unfamiliar bed and tried to make himself as comfortable as possible. It was an odd feeling, to call a place "home" but to be severely unaccustomed to living there. It troubled him that as soon as he got used to living with his family, he had to leave. As an idol, he had more bodyguards than friends. Undoubtedly, he was tired and he knew the faint feeling in his limbs quite well. He enjoyed the quiet and the love surrounding him. As evening came over the household, he held his phone close and smiled at it from time to time as he typed fast.

Jungkook: All in all, it was a fun day! I wish you could have been here. You'd have laughed.
Tae: hah! I'm laughing now, does that count?
Tae: I wish I could be there too...
Tae:or you here
Jungkook: ...yeah, it counts... just that I am not there to see it.
Tae: I could send you a picture. hah!
Jungkook: YES! I'll add it to my ever-growing collection.

Tae raised his phone to take a selfie and in a second, a picture of a large, silly smile appeared on the screen. He giggled at his own face and sent the photo to Jungkook, knowing perfectly well that it will make the maknae chuckle.
The message was sent and received but Tae got no response. The conversation went silent. Although he did see Jungkook typing and most likely deleting his sentence, no reply came through. He waited. Probably the maknae was thinking of some clever way to tease him, as it happened often, and Tae didn't mind. However, a few minutes passed without any type of answer, not even an emoji, nothing. Tae threw his phone on the bed and picked it back up unsatisfied.

Tae: Kookie? all ok?

Jungkook: ...yeah.

Somehow, the entire atmosphere of the room changed. It felt like Tae needed to move again because the room was unwelcoming all of a sudden. Jungkook's reply made Tae shift in his bed, his heart heavy. He felt the need to press forward. He wanted to understand what had transpired.

Tae: what's wrong?
Jungkook: could you send me another photo?
Tae: of me?
Jungkook: yes, please.

Tae opened his camera app again and he snapped a couple of photos of his silly smile, hoping that it would help mend whatever gloom set between their instant messages. About four of the photos he took were funny but for the last one, his smile dropped. He brought his hand up to his face, touching his lips lightly. He closed his eyes slightly and tilted his head to the side. He liked the way he looked when he was serious, mysterious. His expression was inviting and extremely cold, soft but frozen. Tae parted his lips, caressing them with his long fingers, no jewelry adorning them. He pressed “Send” before he could allow himself to reconsider.
He wrote:

Tae: Better?
Jungkook: I have reached the conclusion that I want to get a car and come see you.
Tae: :) Don’t be silly.
Tae: We’ll see each other soon. And your car outside my house is not a good idea.
Jungkook: But would you have liked me to come to you?
Tae: Not a good idea, Kookie.

Tae’s heart started rushing, adrenaline pumping in his veins. Management and the band warned them against that type of behavior. Even if the car was a rental, it would have been too risky if it could eventually be linked to Jungkook. He needed to talk the maknae out of this potentially catastrophic scenario. It was unfair that they couldn’t afford a simple meet up but he also knew how grateful they both should be for all the things they received and had access to as members of BTS. His phone buzzed again.

Jungkook: I know. Would you have liked it?
Tae: I would have.
Tae: Please do not do anything stupid, Kookie.
Jungkook: For you, Tae?
Jungkook: I would…
Tae: I know….
Jungkook: I really just want to be with you
Jungkook: there
Tae: I want you
Tae: here

Taehyung paused. He looked at the texts and he could do nothing but smile bitterly. They had been playing the word game for a while and they teased each other often but their situation was so fragile after the Dispatch scandal that Taehyung feared that another misstep would collapse all of their careers. Jungkook was impulsive at times, he couldn’t hide his feelings very well. Tae had the feeling that the other boy would do anything if he, Tae, knew how to ask.

The awful truth was that Tae couldn’t stop stressing regarding Dispatch, even though Bang PD called them and shortly informed everybody that he dealt with it. He didn’t even want to imagine how uncomfortable the whole “business meeting” with the paparazzi must have been. He viewed everything as a personal mistake since he knew how Jungkook could never say “No” to him if he asked, just as he couldn’t say “No” when Taehyung asked him to come with him to the lake.
Jungkook: I promise I just come, see you and leave. How about that?

Tae’s eyes widened and his heart sank. He had to shoot the possibility down completely.

Tae: We can’t afford it.
Tae: I actually want us to stay away from each other for a while

He needed to pretend it was easy to type down the words, even though no audience was there to applaud his fakeness, although somewhere in the distant corners of his soul, he could hear something shattering. “This is going nowhere…” a voice spoke in the back of his head. “Don’t sacrifice everything for something that has no future…”

Jungkook: You really want that?
Tae: yes

He rose from the bed and paced around the room. He took each step as he wondered how long would it take for the dust to settle on the remains of all the broken pieces scattered inside him. He chased Nothingness.

Jungkook: k

And with that, it was over… Tae knew he just hurt one of the persons he cared about the most. He embodied the criminal in their story. Self-defense and protection became weak arguments in front of the remorse. He stared at his phone and a feeling of loss took over. No other message found its way to him and Tae was miserable the entire night.

----------

The music roared and the chatter was welcomed. Jimin enjoyed seeing some of his old friends at the house party he was at. Naturally, he felt comfortable because he knew every person in the room and the alcohol helped with unwinding. He was safe. He was happy. There was no ill will that could reach him while he was in that room.

After much laughter and chitchat, he threw himself on the couch and among all the familiar faces, he felt like a stranger. His mind wandered to his “other life” in BTS and the discrepancy between all his experiences and wishes. He thought of Army and fancy hotels and endless rehearsals. The idol life that everybody was interested in had simply become work for him. It was a job with immense responsibility and stress. He felt like nobody could understand the dark side of splendor. He pulled his phone out of his pocket, opened a message thread and read the last message.

Yoongi: “I’m on my way home”

He focused and attempted to type.

Jimin: I keep thinkling of thje hallway

After a couple of minutes of silence, Jimin placed the phone back in his pocket and asked to be taken back to his parents’ house. Even when he reached his destination, there was no reply waiting for him on the screen. He shrugged and thought how much he would regret that he sent the text in the morning.

----------

The first weeks of January were somewhat busy but there was tension in every corner of the dorm. Work was pilling up again in the form of meetings, the announcement of schedules, smaller projects, photo shoots, music production, dance practices, financial discussions and finding the balance between public and private lives. The members barely had time to talk amongst themselves and ended up spending more time with their managers rather than with each other. It wasn’t uncommon to have packed weeks, but everybody was too tense for a cord not to snap. Even Namjoon yelled around the dorm for no important reason, much to Jin and Hobi’s profound dissatisfaction. They claimed loud and clear that they were dealing with their own stuff and that Namjoon needed a “chill pill”.

Tae and Jungkook were not speaking and that was never a situation that didn’t stress the others out. One early morning, when Jimin asked them about it, they both brushed him off unceremoniously and rudely which led to the entire maknae line being pouty around each other whenever they had the bad luck of meeting in the same room.

The “voice of reason” couldn’t be found in the dorm. Yoongi was practically inexistent. He became even quieter than he used to be and kept himself away from everybody, sometimes even sleeping at the studio to avoid the bickering and bad moods.

Staff was not happy either, because they were working side by side with the boys, they were also quite tired and unwilling to accept potential tantrums.

“I already said no!” Jin voice could be heard in the hallway of the dorm.

“You knew you had your vocal training at this hour. Stop it and let’s go.” A manager spoke as well.

“Hyung, it’s nothing personal but I told you I wanted the afternoon off today!” Jin walked into the living room. “I am not going…”

“You can’t have the afternoon off. Not today, you know that very well.” The manager followed him around with a tablet and an agenda.

“I said no…” Jin wasn’t even trying to be calm.

“Give him a few hours off then… but stop the arguing.” Yoongi stood up from his usual armchair to head to his room.

“Oh, look who the cat dragged in! Suga hyung! What an honor to have you defending our backs” Jimin smirked unkindly as if he waited for the perfect moment for Yoongi to utter one syllable to pounce on him.

“Whoa, whoa… what’s your problem, Jimin?” Namjoon rose the second he saw Jin enter the room as he sensed trouble. “Hyung, please just go to your practice…”

“If he doesn’t want to go, leave him alone.” Jimin stood next to Jin while his manager rolled his eyes in despair.

“Are we seriously fighting over this?” Yoongi asked, exasperated.

“No, we are not. Seokjin, you cannot have the entire afternoon off, that vocal practice was just one of the scheduled meetings for today but there you also have that fitting…” the manager went through the agenda again.

“Morning, everybody!” Hobi said once he and Jungkook entered from their own rooms to head to dance practice. “We’ll just leave the word ‘good’ out of this mess.” He whispered to the maknae who frowned and headed towards the front door in a rush to get out of the room.

“Hey! Our car is not here yet! We need to wait.” Hobi shouted after him.

Jungkook was not sure if his voice could be heard over all the noise in the room. “I’ll wait outside.” He went out of the complex and sat on a couple of stairs angrily. He hated when the hyungs fought and he hated the fact that he knew he couldn’t stop them as they were too frustrated to listen. He disliked it when Jimin snapped at the elders and when Namjoon was siding with managers although there wasn’t a side to pick as it was not a war but a collaboration. He hated it when the only person that could potentially calm shit down remained quiet and he couldn’t understand Suga hyung because of that. Hobi tried to talk sense into everybody but he was too diplomatic to get anything solved and Jin had his “fed up” moments which could last a long time.

“They are still at it?”

Jungkook startled when he heard a low voice not far from him. He turned his head to see Taehyung sitting down, arms hugging his knees and leaning his back on the wall. Tae looked forward and avoided his eyes. The maknae was still upset with Tae but the young man was the only person who seemed to feel the same as him.

“Yes.” He answered drily. “What are you doing here anyway?” he said while he refused to look at the other as well.

“I had a lunch break in my schedule. I think I will just sit here until it’s time for my fitting.” Tae sighed.

“You didn’t get to eat?” Jungkook had to turn his head back to Taehyung to be able to tell if he was lying or not and to his surprise, Tae also turned his gaze towards him, dark circles very visible under his eyes. He shook his head sadly and signaled a “no”.

Taehyung’s gaze moved away from Jungkook and went to his own hands as he was playing with a silver ring. He looked broken, tired and unloved. Without a second wasted, Jungkook searched his backpack and pulled out a carefully wrapped sandwich and a green apple. He went closer to Tae and handed him the food.

“Here.”

Tae’s eyes widened as he took the package out of Jungkook’s hands, his fingers caressing the maknae’s for two seconds longer than normal.

“But it’s your food. You get hungry at dance practices.” He said.

“I’ll grab something else. Please, eat.” Jungkook’s voice deepened with his last sentence, making his words harsh and melodic.

Tae nodded and took a bite out of the apple. “Thank you.” He said and his hand instinctively went to Jungkook’s jaw for a caress. He stopped himself awkwardly and he lowered his head, focusing on the apple, wanting to “erase” his mistake from collective memory. Yet, he felt fingers touching his forehead and pushing the hair out of his eyes as he ate. He looked up to meet a pair of warm, brown eyes with edges curled up in a smile. Tae felt like somebody was pouring honey all over the fragments of his soul, making them sticky. Jungkook was there, trying to fix every broken part of him, searching in his eyes for all the pieces of the puzzle, unaware that he might get hurt and cut in the process. Jungkook was smiling at him. It was a warm, familiar, loving smile, which made Tae jump towards him and place his arms around the younger one’s neck. Tae held him close, apple forgotten.

“Taetae, are you ok?” came Jungkook’s whisper.

“I’m fine…” Tae replied in English, his voice trembling.

Jungkook pulled the boy closer to him, a strange feeling taking over his entire body and they hugged for an eternity, neither of them wanting to let go. There was nobody to witness the way the sun and moon produced the most beautiful eclipse. There was nobody there to see how fears and insecurities vanished from the world around them.

“Then don’t push me away if you need me, Taehyung…”

Tae wanted to answer but they could both her Hobi’s voice calling for the maknae and eventually, Jungkook’s phone started vibrating in his pocket.

“Go,” Tae said.

“I’ll be back tonight. Wait for me?” Jungkook asked as he got up and struggled with his own desire to stay near Tae and not start a fight with Hoseok over dance practice. He bent and placed a kiss on Tae’s forehead. His gesture made the other boy smile bright before taking another big bite of his apple.

“I will wait, Kookie. Have a good practice.” Tae raised his voice and chewed at the same time.

Tae was the only one smiling widely as he had his fitting together with Jin later that evening.

Chapter Text

Hoseok’s most ardent wish was a shower and a full night’s rest. The practice went on till later than he initially planned. He agreed together with Jungkook that it most certainly wasn’t their best evening. Although everything started with a high level of energy, they had to stop various times because the maknae got tired faster than he cared to admit and he kept messing up. They even had a coffee mid-rehearsal, in order to be able to continue. Hobi suggested it as a way for Jungkook to relax for a couple of minutes and possibly pick himself back up. The results were still disappointing. Unfortunately, even if they made progress and accomplished certain things, it moved too slowly for either of them to be happy about the practice.

Hobi patted the maknae on the shoulder as he tried to comfort him one last time before entering his room and heading straight for the much-needed shower. The poor attempt at cheering him up was completely ignored by Jungkook who dragged himself back to his room, obviously dissatisfied with the very late hour and quasi-failure.

Hobi entered his room quietly and hit the switch to turn the lights on in the bathroom. As soon as enough light pierced the darkness, he observed that Taehyung’s bed was empty. He approached it to make sure that the boy was not hidden under the covers and when he realized he was alone he hit the main switch and went in for his shower, surprised.

 

Jungkook pushed open the door to his room and entered with a loud sigh. He was frustrated and tired and his head was hurting. The pain was enough to be annoying but it wasn’t serious. With no intention of being quiet, he dropped his backpack on the floor and hit the lights.

Just as it was a surprise for Hobi to see that Taehyung was missing from his bed, it was a revelation for the maknae to see the boy sleeping between his black sheets. He was hugging Jungkook’s pillow and his hair was a complete mess from all the tossing and turning. Tae looked undisturbed, with his lips parted, as he occupied the entire bed in a weird sleeping position that seemed comfortable and impossible at the same time.

A wave of happiness washed over Jungkook when he saw how ridiculously peaceful Taehyung was, despite all the commotion. The maknae allowed himself a couple of seconds to enjoy the sight before going in his own bathroom to wash up and prepare for the night.

He got into the shower and figured out the best temperature for the water. He knew that hot water was recommended for muscle pain and he forced himself to keep it above the heat he was used to. As expected, it did help but it also made him extremely drowsy and sad. His body hurt under the splashes of water and bruises screamed at him here and there, reminding him that the practice was a catastrophe. He felt like crying because nothing in his life made sense anymore. He was loved and he did his best to be worthy of all of it but he couldn’t shake the feeling that everything was fake… fake happiness, fake life… fake love…

Did he start crying? He didn’t know. If he did, then his tears were as warm as the water pouring over his face. After he finished cleaning himself he looked in the mirror and his eyes were red and puffy. His body was giving off all the signals that it needed rest but his mind was sluggishly refusing to shut down rampant thoughts. He blamed the coffee and got dressed for bed.

He slid under the covers and turned to Tae which was sitting on his side.

“Hey, Kookie… you smell nice.” Two wide eyes observed him through the darkness, like stars in the dead of the night.

Jungkook felt a shiver rush down his spine and tickle his tired limbs. It was incredibly good to hear Tae’s playful voice. He took Tae’s hand in his and he kissed the palm gently. He didn’t want to find an explanation for his gesture as he didn’t want to hide the fact that his cheeks were wet again.

“Baby, have you been crying?” Tae asked, surprised.

Jungkook only shook his head slightly and lied.

“Are you tired?” Tae asked again but Jungkook couldn’t reply because he knew his voice would crack and he won’t be able to hide the fact that he was sad.

“Oh, come here…” Tae opened his arms and Jungkook scooted over, entering his embrace and placing his forehead on his chest. It felt too good to be real.

“I’m scared...” He whispered. “I want to be better than this…” he whined.

“Shhht…” Tae’s hand was in his hair where it belonged. “Do you like how stars shine?” Tae asked after a brief pause.

“Stars?” Came Jungkook’s puzzled answer. “Yes, I guess I do.” His voice was faint.

“I love them. I love to see them shine. But you… you shine brighter than the stars…” Tae said confidently and plainly. He spoke as if the statement was a fact, an axiom which nobody could contest.

Jungkook raised his face towards Tae, clearly confused with the sudden change of subject and the elder’s comparison. “Huh?” he managed to utter.

“Show me your bright smile, Kookie…” Tae said fixing his eyes on Jungkook’s lips.

It was a challenge to follow Tae, at times. He jumped between subjects or refused to speak in the most peculiar moments. The others laughed at his extreme mood swings or at the way he spaced out completely. Even though it looked like his mind went blank, Jungkook knew that Tae’s mind was actually seeing and analyzing things in alternate universes and far away worlds which appeared to be inaccessible to the naked eye. However, Jungkook understood why Tae asked him something so random. It was a perfect way to deviate attention and stop a collapse. The maknae decided he would employ the same technique.

“Are you happy, Tae?” Jungkook asked in a low voice and in all seriousness.

“Now I am…” Tae said and as soon as he smiled, Jungkook’s lips mimicked his. “You smiled….” Tae added.

“If you show me your smile, I’ll show you mine…” the maknae giggled.

Tae ‘s lips curled up in a smile again and, without hesitation, Jungkook’s followed.

“It’s like magic…” Tae whispered and it was his turn to press his lips against the younger one’s forehead. He didn’t pull back. Instead, he embraced Jungkook tighter and left his lips to rest on the smooth skin, taking in the aroma of the freshly washed hair which had dried out completely by then.

They sat in silence, conscious that neither of them had fallen asleep.

Jungkook’s fears couldn’t catch up to him while his heart was beating next to Tae’s. Even when they got close to grabbing him, Tae was there to pull him forward. They ran through stars, galaxies and the music of the spheres together. Vastness wasn’t scary if Taehyung was present because Taehyung was everything.

“I’m happy with you…” Jungkook whispered next to Tae’s heart and although he couldn’t hear an answer, he sensed the way Tae shivered for a millisecond. “I really mean it, Tae. I am happy with you…” he enforced his statement by rising from the embrace. Taehyung rolled on his back and Jungkook could see how beautiful he was in the dim light coming from the outside. He was hovering over the other boy, not allowing his weight to fall on him.

“Oh, yeah? Show me…” Tae said as his hands found their way to Jungkook’s face.

Jungkook smiled and, in an instant, just like magic, a wide smile also appeared on Taehyung’s face. The way that they were sitting was so intimate, so close and so far from prying eyes that the maknae needed to tell him… tell him everything…
“You’re beautiful,” came Tae’s words faster than Jungkook could form sentences. Jungkook was dumb folded, unsure of how to answer to the compliment. He didn’t have enough time to react either because the hyung’s hands pulled his face downwards.
Before they could begin to understand what was happening to them, Taehyung’s lips were on Jungkook’s and they moved slowly.

Tae’s full lips brushed and caressed him and his hands moved as if they wanted to commit to memory all the outlines of Jungkook’s face. At that moment, without giving it much thought, the maknae lowered his body on top of Tae’s and his weight was translated to nothing else than safety. There were no demons speaking of the intangible future in the back of Tae’s head while Jungkook kissed him.

“I like him and he likes me…” Tae thought. “Screw everything else…” he added to his trail of thoughts as he slipped his tongue between the maknae’s parted lips.

Jungkook felt the same need to deepen the kiss. He already knew that he would always remember that kiss as it was different from any other that they shared up to that point. More was hidden behind it and more was exposed within it. When Tae’s hands moved from his face to the back of his head, Jungkook understood that what they were doing right then wouldn’t be something they could later ignore. It was too raw, too revealing, too passionate. It was no “goodnight” kiss and it surely was no “accident”. Their lips played together in a new rhythm they had yet to discover up to that point.

Without warning, Jungkook became aware of Tae’s body under his. He enjoyed feeling the slender figure pressed against him but did Tae? “Does he really want this?” the thought was like lightning and it made Jungkook stop.

“Does he really want this or am I forcing it?” He thought of all the instances where Tae said he dated girls because he couldn’t break their hearts with a refusal. He thought of all the times when Tae had distanced himself from him.

Maybe Taehyung didn’t really want everything but since he, Jungkook, was (circumstantially) living in the same house, he settled for his band mate because of convenience or… causality. Jungkook inhaled deeply, got off Tae and turned his back, sitting on the edge of the bed.

“Fuck…” he said as darkness surrounded his thoughts.

“Was it too weird?” Tae asked in a rush, also sitting up with his legs under him. “I… I’m sorry…”

“What? Tae, no…” Jungkook looked at the hyung’s flustered and worried face. “Listen… kissing you feels as normal as… I don’t know… breathing… no, no, it’s not that. I just don’t understand… if… you… I mean… do you… I don’t want you to feel like I am begging you to… stay or… be… here. I’m not…. I…. it seems complica…” he mumbled without the ability to properly put everything together.

“What are we, you mean?” Tae asked simply.

“I mean… yes, but no… I don’t need an answer to that… I…” It was useless to explain something he didn’t understand.

“I want to be with you,” Tae said cutting him off and Jungkook’s blabbing was instantly muted. “If you want it too… that is.” It was interesting to see Tae’s interest and uncertainty as he spoke. He was nervous. “Do you want it?” Tae’s cheeks were already burning; the confession added nothing to his facial expression.

Jungkook lowered his head and nodded. He felt like a child because he wanted “it” so badly without understanding why he does or what “it” was and without being able to say the proper words.

“So show me…” Tae touched his face again.

“I’ll show you…” Jungkook said and grabbed Tae’s hand, stopping his caress. “Is this what you really want?”

“Yes,” Tae answered and remembered their texts when he had lied to Jungkook about staying away from each other. Jungkook had asked the same thing and the reply was the same but, that time, the reply was a lie.

“So show me…” Jungkook said with a smile.

“I’ll show you…” came the response and another smile.

They fell asleep as they did so many times before, hugging each other. And, without fail, during the night, Tae reverted to using Jungkook as his personal pillow. Also, somewhere close to morning Jungkook woke up unexpectedly and he couldn’t help but wonder how did Taehyung’s skin always smell like vanilla?

Chapter Text

Late mornings continued to be annoying in the BTS dorm. A source of annoyance was the sun’s rays, any loud noise, any alarm clock, any manager, any voices. Anything could have triggered a fight because the house was rarely quiet. Grumpiness always found a way to mingle with the casual conversations they were trying to have. BTS and staff knew these periods well. They came and went but managed to break pieces of them in the process.

It was unclear if Namjoon’s frequent absence from the kitchen helped or not. He spent more and more time in his studio and at the BigHit offices. Yoongi, on the other hand, started being home more but he was as present as the wallpaper when it came to conversations. Jin did his best and failed spectacularly to have Yoongi leave the room and join any common space. He gave up quite quickly, nonetheless.

One morning, Hobi and Jimin kept exchanging videos of interesting choreographies and moves that they wanted to try. On normal days they would have watched together over breakfast, laughed and discussed but now Hobi was eating on the couch and talking to Jimin through short texts. The energy levels were down within the entire dorm and whoever walked in sensed the tension in the air.

Jimin played with his spoon in the bowl of cereal he was pretending to eat. He moved the fruity cereal in the milk absentmindedly, separating them by color without even realizing it. He stopped counting the nights he hadn’t slept properly. He heard Namjoon talking about a possible collaboration between the vocal line and Steve Aoki. From what he understood, the song was a ballad but not knowing details was pure torture for him and he kept adding more vocal practices to his already packed schedule. He knew that ballads for the vocal line had the tendency to be very demanding from a technical standpoint. He couldn’t think about disappointing their friend and now producer.

At some point, he started ignoring his “link conversation” with Hoseok and not long afterward he heard somebody else enter the room. A black silhouette moved by him, going to the fridge. It was Jungkook, Jimin didn’t have to look up to figure it out. He probably said “Good morning” but the elder did not answer because during the last weeks they barely spoke. He felt like both Tae and Jungkook were avoiding him which triggered a justifiable wave of coldness from his part. In all truthfulness, Taehyung did try to talk to him one evening but it was the worst timing in the world and Jimin couldn’t, for the life of him, pretend he was interested. He was extremely sleepy and naturally, he seemed so apathetic that his best friend abruptly left the room obviously hurt.

“Good morning!”

Jimin heard Sejin’s voice behind him and replied with his eyes still fixed on the bowl of cereal. He hoped that Jungkook understood his irony of replying to the manager but not to him. Jk seemed oblivious.

“Morning, Sejin hyung!” said Tae who entered the kitchen as well and pushed Jungkook out of the way of the fridge door, gently.

“Jungkook, are you ready? Did you get to finish the draft and arrangement?” Sejin asked with interest.

Jimin’s eyes widened but he kept his head down. He couldn’t help but wonder what type of song Jungkook might have been working on. The problem with unsatisfied curiosity was that it left him thinking about unimportant subjects for hours without end. The maknae didn’t tell him anything about a new song and he felt isolated, out of the loop. He wondered if Taehyung knew what the melody was about.

“Probably not, as they aren’t speaking to each other…” Jimin thought and as petty as it sounded that made him a little bit better.

“I have everything, hyung. I hope it’s good…” Jungkook said shyly.

“I bet it’s good and together we can make it perfect!” Sejin said with confidence. “Tae, we’ll be coming back for you around 6 o’clock, got it? Sorry for not being able to keep my word regarding that day off but I did as much as I could.” he added and started walking to the door.

“Got it, hyung! It’s fine” Tae said, laughing.

Jimin couldn’t believe his ears. Everybody was begging for an extra day off and Taehyung was all smiles when it came to not being allowed one. Jimin sensed something was amiss but couldn’t pinpoint what it was. Again, he was out of the loop. Although he was Tae’s best friend, a very close friend to Jungkook and pretty close to the manager, they were all talking like he didn’t exist.

“Don’t stress, Kookie. Have a good day, alright?” Tae said in a hush but Jimin was focused enough to catch it.

“So… Taehyung knows about the song…” he concluded. He wanted to question the two maknaes again or, at least, remind them that he was right there and that they were rude for whispering in front of him, their friend. He felt as important as the furniture and he might have addressed it if he wouldn’t have noticed how Jungkook placed his hand over Tae’s and squeezed it for a few seconds just before running out of the room after the manager. The brief scene made Jimin think of a couple saying “goodbye” to each other in the morning. Their behavior contradicted all the uncomfortable silence he got used to between the two guys recently. He wondered if that was the subject Tae wanted to talk to him about but it didn’t matter, he was already behind schedule and didn’t have time for their childish things.

Jimin let his spoon fall loudly in the bowl and headed to his room. He was careful to ignore Hoseok’s comment as he passed him by and also slammed the door. Taehyung picked everything up but didn’t react. He calculated whether he should go after Jimin or not if he should explain and beg the other to listen to him but he decided against it. A part of him strongly believed that he didn’t own Jimin an explanation.

 

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“How did you come up with this song anyway?” Namjoon asked Jungkook once they were alone in one of the studios he used the most.

Their workshop meeting was over and the two boys were hanging around the studio talking about the melody the maknae settled on together with the other producers. Lyrics had been corrected and they needed adjusting and possibly minor changes here and there but all in all, it had been productive. Therefore, the two boys were satisfied but hungry and a bit tired.
“Friendships and relationships cannot be one-sided. They are built on love and support. If we didn’t love ARMY would they love us back?” Jungkook asked while rotating the chair as he watched the widescreen and the samples they edited together.

“That is a very healthy way to think about it, Jk. Well done. So, the song is about ARMY?” Namjoon pressed on.

“Yes. If they show me their love, I will show them my - everything…” Jungkook looked at Namjoon and smiled. It made the leader think if there was anything else going on through the young one’s brain because he seemed calmer, less insecure about the way he created his music. Jungkook liked being a performer more than being a producer when it came to music. Namjoon wondered what the cause of the beneficial change was.

Sejin walked in and nodded a “Good evening” to both of them. “Jungkook, could you be ready in half an hour for pick up? Are you guys done for today?” The manager asked and looked pleased when he got an affirmative answer.

“Although I’d want to stay longer, if possible. I already called Suga hyung over. We agreed that we need his and Hope’s input.” Namjoon commented and waited for the manager’s decision.

“I’m not here for you, just JK. You can stay as long as you promise to drag Yoongi back to the dorm with you. He’s been sleeping here way too often and it can’t be comfortable.” Sejin said taking a seat next to the small coffee table. He sighed.

“Ah, Jungkook-ah, where are you going then?” Namjoon was surprised.

Jungkook lowered his head and gigged. His face concerned the leader as he could clearly read hints of mischievousness. Namjoon then suspected why Sejin took a seat instead of running around reminding others of the schedules he organized.

“You need to know this. He and Taehyung are grabbing dinner at a restaurant.” The manager informed him and Namjoon could swear Jungkook’s cheeks discovered a new shade of red all by themselves.

“Is it wise?” Namjoon commented, trying to ignore the maknae.

“It’s ok as long as you promise me that you won’t do anything exaggerated in public, Jungkook. You know what I mean.” Sejin stressed.

“Yes. Can I take a camera?”

“Why do you need it?” Sejin worried.

“I just want to film or take a couple of photos. Please, it’s important. Don’t worry, hyung.”

Sejin couldn’t say no to the young one. Everybody at Big Hit and every fan knew about Jungkook’s passion regarding photography and film. He calculated potential risks and found nothing overly concerning in the presence of a camera (they could control) at the table. It warmed his heart to hear Jungkook say it’s important, therefore he allowed it and they both walked out, waving to Namjoon.

Namjoon couldn’t say he was thrilled with the news but he was happy for his two bandmates. If not for the recent scandal, he wouldn’t have cared if two members went out to grab food but it concerned him because it was Jungkook and Tae and because it was dinner and not lunch as other members sometimes went out for.

He remembered how Sejin and Bang PD called him in for a meeting at the office the previous year before they began shooting for DNA. He recalled it well because he initially believed the music video to be the reason why he is needed. It turned out that, in the large conference room, they discussed something completely different which he never thought would be out for a semi-public debate when he accepted the leadership position of the group. The three of them discussed the implications of a potential relationship between two members of BTS, Jungkook, and Tae.

The managers voiced their unease when it came to the nature of whatever happened between the two boys. Namjoon started the meeting feeling like he was asked to rat them out, to explicitly tell them how often the two slept together or hung out, but he soon figured out that it wasn’t the case. Staff knew everything already, as there was always somebody in their proximity and it sometimes came to the managers to wake them up in the morning. Everybody saw how the two leaned on each other and how often they were inseparable. However, what started as the purest forms of friendship turned to longing stares, “accidental”, long touches, light kisses pressed here and there and a closeness which surpassed what Koreans deemed as “skinship” even for the touchiest sorts. There was a gentleness, and a visible tension between all the “hidden” gestures the two sometimes exposed.

Back then, Namjoon even thought that the managers might be overreacting and exaggerating yet time only confirmed their suspicions. As soon as Namjoon started paying attention to the two boys, he realized that their relationship was developing but he also honestly thought that the two maknaes didn’t see the signs of what was happening until it was a bit too late.

“Joonie, you need to listen to this…” Suga opened the door violently and without any explanation began talking about a song idea and some lyrics he wrote.

“Yoongi, what the fu…?” Namjoon began but had to shut his mouth because the excited look on Suga’s face was rare and it demanded his full attention.

“Already spoke with Doc hyung and I think we are onto something, Joonie... something really great,” Suga spoke fast.

“Ok, let’s have it….” Namjoon said as soon as he saw the name Shin Myung-Soo appear in the folder Suga was pulling up.

They ended up working on something completely different than Jungkook’s song for the remainder of the evening. It was a song about a “Goodbye”. It hit them harder than it should have. The air was heavy around them. Somewhere along the way, it appeared that there were other signs BTS members were ignoring.

 

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“Jungkook, again, please be careful with the camera and with the photos you take or post…” Sejin told the maknae as soon as they got them their table. The manager handed Jungkook the keys to the van which sat around the corner waiting. Since the restaurant was inside a hotel, Sejin discussed with hotel security to offer their protection from afar and call him if any situation got out of hand. Sejin cared about the two boys and their wellbeing so much that he ended up thinking about everything that might ruin their night and preventing it from the shadows. That was what BTS management was destined to do, live in the light and shadow of their stars, holding them up so that they would shine brighter. They were the invisible support keeping the celestial objects on the night sky. The job couldn’t be done with anything else than love and care in mind.

“Please don’t worry, hyung. I promise it will be fine.” Jungkook smiled from under his hoodie and Tae sat down at the table, trying to arrange his beret.

Sejin loved how laid back and happy the two seemed. They hadn’t dressed up or made a fuss about it but he could see it in their eyes that they were thankful. “I’ll be heading home, guys. Take care!” Sejin said and exited the restaurant to grab another car.

The two boys smiled widely as they were waiting for the food. They were grateful for the time off and the possibility to still go out together after the entire scandal which had all the ingredients to shatter them forever. Dispatch kept posting photos of them but there was nothing threatening for their carriers. All in all, it was a pure miracle that they were still allowed to have moments together after what transpired and they both had to applaud Bang PD’s foresight. For the first time in weeks, they both felt relaxed, content. Even if they sat in one of the busiest restaurants in Seoul, the crowd was not disturbing them, neither was the noise around them because they only listened to each other. They accepted the fact that hotel staff was watching them closer than any other customers and continued with their chatter.

Jungkook started telling Tae about his day, about the progress they made with the track and who was eventually going to work on it. Taehyung listened carefully, encouraging him as soon as doubt found its way in JK’s thoughts. They were enjoying the evening so much that it didn’t bother them when a fan approached their table. It was refreshing not to think about what management would say regarding the situation because they didn’t sneak out but had the okay to be there.

The girl that came to their table was young and so nervous, when she asked for their signatures, that she started crying. Jungkook immediately took her paper and pen and signed his name. He was scolded in the past for taking photos with fans and for signing stuff without permission but this time it was different. He was too happy and the girl was actually very polite, trying not to attract too much attention to their table.

“Why are you crying? No, stop crying, please.” He said smiling to her.

Tae took the paper and also signed his name with a little swirl. “Thank you for being an ARMY!” he said as she was already leaving, trembling.

“Ah, ARMY is so observant! I’m not sure I’d recognize Suga hyung in such a crowded restaurant!” Tae said jokingly.

“It would be impossible for him to be here. I’m pretty sure he teleports from the dorm to the studio and back these days. We barely get to see him anywhere!” Jungkook added and they both laughed.

“ARMY would still spot him!” Tae continued. “Also, I’ve been on Twitter for a bit today. Did you know that today is the anniversary of your ‘There’s nothing like us’ cover? ARMY was talking about that.”

Jungkook’s eyes widened. “Woa, they are very observant. Now, if somebody was to put all this together this LOOKS like a date.” He giggled a bit nervously because it wouldn’t have been the first time that fans picked up on something they thought they were being very secretive about.

“It seems like a date but I can’t just wrap my head around the fact that Sejin hyung arranged it for us,” Taehyung said.

“I don’t really care how they call it. We’re together… that’s important.” Jk shrugged while chewing on his food.

“We’re almost always together, Jungkook-ah!” Tae whined.

“And it’s always important…” Jungkook laughed. “Enough about that, Taetae babe, tell me how your day has been.” He continued eating but the world stopped spinning for Taehyung. He knew Jungkook had jokingly added the “babe” to his nickname but it sounded impossibly sweet. The boy felt like he could easily skip dessert but if having three other meals meant that he could seize the seconds spent with Kookie, doubling gym visits didn’t sound like a bad plan.

They continued sharing bits and pieces of how their day went, they complimented the food, told jokes and it felt beyond normal. It felt surreal because it was so casual, no hesitation, no measurement of words – their hearts had been laid in front of the other.

By the end of the meal, they were both sleepy and wanted to gain Yoongi’s ability to teleport. Luckily, the car was waiting patiently for both of them. Jungkook sat in the driver’s seat and as he was prepared to head out of the parking spot, Tae connected his phone to the speakers. The maknae didn’t pay attention to the music as he started the engine and focused on driving.

“What are you playing, Tae?” he asked in a husky voice as he frowned.

“You want me to stop it?” Tae seemed disappointed.

“No. I just can barely hear it.” Jungkook commented as the song started since he could only hear a faint melody and a hushed voice. Tae turned up the volume.

“I wish that I could give you what you deserve
'Cause nothing can ever, ever replace you “

Jungkook smiled as Tae started singing in his broken English. The younger one remembered how he sat on a balcony when they were on vacation. After everybody went to bed, he sang there, hoping Tae would hear him and come outside. Taehyung’s weakness had always been a ballad well sung and Jungkook couldn’t think of a better song to sing. Just as he anticipated, Tae heard him and came outside. They stopped the video recording and took a couple of pictures instead while also admiring the stars. When Tae got cold, Jungkook simply placed his arms around him and felt the other boy’s cheek resting on his as they both watched the night in front of them. It was just one of the many moments which made their stomachs uneasy to be next to each other. By then they already figured out that there was something more than friendship between them and that if such moments weren’t halted then they were falling, yet they prepared for the fall together.

“You know there’s no one, I can relate to. I know we won’t find a love that’s so true” Tae sang. “You chose this song for this particular verse, right?” he asked.

“And the chorus,” Jungkook added. “There really is nothing like us…”

“Aliens!” Tae said. “There’s nothing like us…” he continued singing and Jungkook joined him. “Never change, Jungkook-ah!”

“Not even clothes?” Jungkook joked and Tae had to stop singing because he instantly burst into laughter.

Jungkook didn’t take them home immediately. Instead, he drove around Seoul as Tae picked various songs for them to listen to and sing along with. Some of them were happy and others extremely sad but Jungkook drove on. No matter the type of song they listened to, they did so together because no matter what happened they chose to be there, next to each other. They could have been in different places, they could have been only band mates but they chose and they chose each other.

 

When they arrived at the dorm, it was noiseless. They drove around longer than expected and they had to silently make their way around the house, in order not to wake anybody up. Apparently, no matter what they did, it finished off with them sneaking around, trying to be as quiet or as low-key as possible. When Taehyung mentioned the fact to Jungkook, it made both of them laugh just as they entered the corridor towards the rooms. Tae had a serious problem with containing laughter, as it made him laugh even harder, no matter the situation. He needed to get in touch with his acting persona but he was unable to do so as he clenched Jungkook’s waist to support himself. He desperately tried to be as silent as possible.

“Shht… You’ll wake up, Hobi hyung. Do you want to sleep with me tonight?” Jungkook asked in Tae’s ear, unable to stop the other boy from his fit of laughter. Tae only nodded as a response.
They headed to Jungkook’s room and as soon as they passed the door, Tae let out his laughter.

“Shht! The walls are not that thick, you know.” Jungkook was pretend scolding him as he closed the door and Tae, released from his arms, leaned against the wall, still being a tad too loud.
Jungkook placed the back of his palm on Tae’s lips and pressed himself against him playfully. However, Taehyung stopped laughing almost instantly, his eyes focused on Jk’s. His facial expression changed and as soon as Jungkook released his lips. He seemed lost.

The maknae was still giggling when Tae’s lips found their way on his. It didn’t surprise Jungkook that as soon as they were alone, they searched for the warmth of the other.
The kiss was sloppy and needy, at first, but they both slowed down and relaxed when the sense of urgency passed. Taehyung bit Jungkook’s lower lip gently as he also pulled on his earlobe with his fingers, playfully.

Jungkook smiled within the kiss. “What are you doing, Taetae?”

“Making you smile…” Tae replied in a low, deep voice while also placing little kisses on Jungkook’s chin as they spoke.

The maknae felt his entire body tense up as the pecks moved along his jawline and Tae’s beautifully long fingers played in his hair. Somehow Tae smelled of vanilla again and he was perfectly filling a gap in Jungkook’s heart but also made him nervous somehow. He felt the need to press himself against Tae and when he did so, Tae’s back hit the wall. The older boys’ reaction surprised him. It was a short inhale, a breath which sounded more sensual than anything the maknae had ever heard. Taehyung tensed and relaxed again, languorously moving his lips back to Jungkook’s while his tongue tasted the wetness of the other’s mouth.

Although Tae was controlling the kiss, he felt fragile in Jungkook’s arms and the mere thought of that made the maknae want to pick him up, hug him, care for him. He wanted to feel Tae as he lifted him up from the ground. He wanted to hear that breath again. His hands were now resting on Tae’s hips and he didn’t know if he should move them. Tae had the ability to make him nervous and extremely self-conscious.

Jungkook allowed Tae to kiss him however the wanted and after a couple of more seconds he felt Tae’s hands on his face halting him. “Jungkook-ah… I don’t know when I’ll get bored of kissing you…” Tae’s voice was faint. “But I feel like we should stop.”

Jungkook knew immediately what went on through the other one’s head. He felt the same. They were falling even deeper. The fearless kisses opened the door to different feelings, to need, to want, to a different type of love than the care they shared for each other from the beginning. Lust for each other was a thing they needed to get used to so Jungkook silently agreed with Tae.

“Are you tired?” Jungkook asked as he saw how soft and hazy Tae’s eyes were. The other boy nodded slowly. “Want to go to bed?”

Tae nodded again as he rested his arms around Jungkook’s neck. “But I don’t want to stop kissing you…” he moaned.

“Then don’t,” Jungkook said, wanting to let him know that he understands and wants everything too. He finally picked him up as he always intended and headed towards the bed. Taehyung wrapped his legs around Jungkook’s waist, allowing him to do whatever he wanted, completely renouncing to the pressing idea of washing up before bed. The maknae rapidly changed his clothes and he searched his closet for something for Tae.

Jungkook gave him one of his oversized, black t-shirts and he watched the other boy unbuttoned his shirt slowly. When Tae’s chest was exposed, the maknae could help but comment. “Do you realize how beautiful you are?”

Not even that was the first time Jk found himself staring at his band mate’s skin. He remembered how awkward he felt when he once saw Tae and he could only think about touching him, feeling him under his fingertips. He never felt the same thing towards somebody of the same sex even if he admired a well-built body. However, Tae was simply slender and perfect, a weird mix of beauty and artistry.

Tae’s eyes widened as he mumbled his signature “Huh?” He got shy. “Then kiss me… Beauty should be kissed.”

“Another Taetae one-liner” Jungkook laughed fondly and so did the alien, Kim Taehyung.

“If you’d only knew how loved you are…” Jungkook thought as he allowed Tae to sit on his arm and to wrap himself around him. Tae’s hair brushing against him was divine. It carefully touched all the places where his lips touched the maknae’s chin. Jungkook was obsessed with perfumes and smells and Tae’s smell was everywhere, pn his sheets, in his arms, in his lungs, in his thoughts.

Tae sitting slightly lower in the other one’s arms and rose his head from time to time to steal kisses. The way Tae flexed his muscles to reach Jungkook’s mouth was maddening for the maknae. Not in his wildest dreams did he imagine that he would be holding Tae in this way, in this situation. Hitman Bang knew about them and wanted to protect them, their main manager supported them no matter what they wanted to do, their hyungs were not disgusted, their families… well…. It was hard to think about that, especially for Tae but Jungkook felt that life was good, kind and fascinating just like the sleeping Tae in his arms because Tae was everything. Jungkook waited for Tae to relax and sleep soundly and then he closed his eyes as he welcomed rest. He was conscious of how cheesy that was.

Chapter Text

Jungkook made his way into the living room letting Taehyung sleep longer that morning. It wasn’t weird waking up next to him. He was accustomed to it, yet he looked at Tae for a couple of seconds before he got out of bed. The sight of him that morning put a smirk on Jungkook’s face. Tae was in HIS bed, by choice. Tae which could have been anywhere else, was there, between his sheets.

In the past, he had woken up next to the other boy without even realizing that sometime during the night, Tae had snuck into his bed. It had been Jungkook the one who initiated this habit, though. It happened years prior.

The first night that Tae had spent in his bed, they stood up late and played games together. They fell asleep fully dressed, not caring about the small space they needed to share. The next day, Taehyung mentioned that he hated sleeping alone and the information was burned into Jungkook’s head. Although Tae spoke to everyone present, Jungkook felt like the affirmation was directed towards him. Therefore, the second time Tae had asked if he could sleep in the same bed the maknae agreed without hesitation.

However, Jungkook was the first one to sneak into Tae’s bed without asking him. It happened one night when he was extremely homesick, tired and longing for a friend, for human contact. He tried his best to keep it a secret from the rest of BTS as he hated when he looked weak in front of the others. He had been irritated and hard to talk to that day and Tae gave him space but it was the last thing that Jungkook wanted from him. He couldn’t ask him, however. He didn’t have the courage to do it. No matter how much Tae acted like his friend, Jungkook always wondered if Tae actually liked him or if he was being polite and friendly with the youngest of the group.

Therefore, when night came over the dorm and Jungkook couldn’t stop thinking about his family, he went to Tae and placed himself on the bed, careful not to disturb. He instantly felt better. He felt Tae move but he pretended to be asleep so that he wouldn’t have to explain why he was there. Tae didn’t ask, he just turned towards him and wrapped both his arms around Jungkook’s arm, head pressed to his shoulder. Jungkook was astonished at how easily another person could simultaneously reassure you, show your love and allow you to wiggle free if you wanted. He was fascinated with the smallest things Tae did and he was sure it showed. It was the first time Tae felt fragile next to him. Jungkook was compelled to care for him so he pulled the covers over the boy and drifted to sleep with the knowledge that his hyung needed him as well.

“Thank you for sleeping with me. It was kind of you as you know how much I dislike sleeping alone. I appreciate it.” Said Tae and Jungkook’s cheeks reddened. He suspected Tae knew the real reason why he came to his bed but the boy never addressed it directly, instead, he made it seem like Jungkook was actually doing him a favor. The hyungs teased him but Tae didn’t give the subject any importance and it wasn’t possible for Jungkook to thank him enough for it. From that moment on, it stopped being odd to see them sleeping together and also since then, it sometimes happened that going to sleep alone didn’t automatically mean you’d wake up alone as well.

With various feelings running through him, Jungkook got up from the bed. They did not have appointments planned early that morning and as he walked to the common space and thought on it longer, Jungkook could swear it was the manager’s doing. It would have been futile to expect them to wake up early either way since they went to bed incredibly late.

Much to Jungkook’s surprise, all members were home and they sat together in the same room. They were clearly discussing something in whispered voices. The maknae had the distinct feeling that he walked in on a secret meeting. He was unsure if he was supposed to be there or not. The voices stopped when he entered the room, it couldn’t have been more awkward.

Jin huffed and puffed from the armchair, but paid less attention to the maknae and more to his phone. He seemed to be in no mood for his signature dad jokes and he looked particularly tired.
Hoseok was sitting next to Namjoon with bitterness carved on his face as the leader tried to explain something to him. Hoseok didn’t seem to be actually listening to what he was told, as if he didn’t care enough to change his opinion or agree or even carry the conversation forward.

Suga’s eyes moved from the maknae to Jimin instantly although they were sitting on the opposite sides of the room. It was that exact moment that Jungkook understood he was in some sort of trouble and that Jimin will snap at him. Yoongi could tell as well, he straightened his back just as the entire room heard Jimin’s voice.

Jimin could be vicious and incredibly blunt, at times. His mood swings resembled timed bombs. It was only a matter of a few seconds for the boy to spit out what was bothering him. He never knew how to shut up in tricky situations and naturally, Yoongi’s prediction was accurate. It was based on years of studying the subject of the analysis.

“Isn’t sleeping beauty with you? Where’s Taehyung?” he tried to package everything like a joke but it came off so unkind that even Jin rose his eyes from his phone to watch what happened next.

“Jimin…” Yoongi said in a low voice, uselessly trying to get the younger’s attention and silently point out the spiteful tone.

Jungkook decided it was better to ignore all of them because whatever the situation was, he wanted no part in it. The oddest thing was that there was no staff present in the dorm. They had a dance practice and a radio recording that day and, considering the past weeks that meant staff should be around them to move things along.

Jk sneered at Jimin. The entire fight between the maknae line was pointless and it was clear that it should be tackled, however, Jungkook was not about to accept the tone Jimin used to refer to Tae. He kept his mouth shut out of respect and respect only. Everybody else could see he was fuming at the comment.

“Tae’s in your room, still?” Hoseok asked unimpressed. He didn’t move an inch to defend Taehyung, as he usually did. It surprised everybody.

“Sleeping…” Jungkook said, wanting to use as few words as humanly possible. He did not appreciate the inquiries and it was obvious.

“Bad news, Kookie. You have been photographed again. Maybe you should wake Tae up.” Yoongi said calmly and seriously.

The maknae could feel his heart skip a beat and he went cold. He immediately looked at Namjoon for confirmation. What? Where? When? By who? What were they doing? He didn’t touch Tae in public or did he? Did he? Did he take him by the hand and forgotten afterward? No. Yes. Where? The questions forbid any type of reaction from his part, he was in awe. His mouth was open and everybody was now staring at him.

Upon seeing the confusion created in Jungkook’s mind, the leader felt the need to spare him the extra misery. “I already told them you had permission to be out together.” He reinforced and Jin sighed loudly. Nobody was accepting it lightly.

“Last night?” Jungkook asked confused. Nobody in the restaurant seemed suspicious, the hotel staff was there and kept an eye out. “Where?”

“You went to various places?” Suga spoke with concern and Hoseok got up exasperated. He went straight to the corridor.

“No. We drove around before heading home but we didn’t get out of the car. I didn’t even stop.” Jungkook added.

“Joon, it’s ‘Trending’. Call Sejin hyung.” Jin said darkly, all optimism was forgotten. There was a hint a frustration to be observed.

“Again? It’s already too late, hyung.” Said Jimin and drove both his palms through his hair.

“What?”” Jungkook uttered.

“I’m sure Sejin hyung knows by now,” Suga spoke.

“It’s not compromising. They just had dinner.” Namjoon spoke firmly to all of them. “People have dinner at restaurants. Let’s not over-react!” he added and Jin huffed again.

Jungkook couldn’t understand what they were speaking of so he went back to his room to get his phone and check the news. If something was “Trending” then it most likely was on Twitter. He knew where to look. When he went back to his room, the corridor made him claustrophobic. Was there no escape to the loop? Be happy. Be worried. Be sad. Be tired. Be happy just to start everything all over again. It was never-ending, just like his walk back to his room. Before he could reach it, Tae came out of the door pushed by Hoseok. He looked defeated. Jungkook forgot all about his sadness, it paled in comparison to the half asleep, grim expression which Tae wore.

“Back to the common room, you two!” Hoseok said.

“I just want my phone…” Jk said in a rush.

“NOW!” Hoseok snapped and both boys froze. They were shocked more than they were hurt. They obeyed, anger building up.

The space they walked towards was uninviting. Tae felt his stomach clench and his breath became heavy. There was gloominess and darkness he couldn’t explain. He definitely didn’t want to be there. He wanted to live normally, perhaps get dressed and go to work, unbothered by whomever he passed by on the street. For the first time in his life, he wished he wasn’t who he was. He wished they all forgot about V. He wished he didn’t have a family. He wished for peace, yet there was no sight of any in his proximity. Jungkook was anxious when Tae glanced at him and the memories of the happy night they shared were so distant that they appeared to be unreal, artificially fabricated by a brain too tired, on the verge of collapse. There was no comfort Tae could give his maknae, no bliss which wasn’t wrapped up in lies, blood, sweat, and tears. The air was stale, impossible to breathe, uncomfortable like the humidity before a storm. There was no peace within the sound of raindrops.

Tae remained standing next to the door frame with his arms crossed. He was clearly sleepy, pissed and absolutely fed up with the atmosphere in the room. He wanted safety. He wished that Jungkook never got up and he wished he could still feel his warmth and weight on top of him as he was kissed. It did not do anybody any good that Hoseok raised his tone at them. It was like an alarm in paradise. A single word, if it was yelled, it could destroy the balance they desperately tried to recover for the past weeks.
“Arrogance,” Jimin thought and he loathed seeing Tae that way. He couldn’t read him. His eyes moved to Jungkook who didn’t shift his gaze from Tae, looking stupidly in love and odd. There was a new expression on his face, something powerful, protective, and bottled up. Jimin’s recklessness decided to test it out. “Hey, Taehyung… good morning! Sorry to bother asking you but did you sleep well with your boyfriend?” Jimin was prepared for whatever his sarcasm would bring upon them. Jungkook wasn’t the one to reply; instead he heard Tae’s voice speaking back.

“That’s none of your business, Jiminie.” Tae said sardonically, also ready to have the fight with Jimin there and then, in front of everybody. He underlined his name with cruelty and it was felt by everybody. Tae was sometimes energetic, sometimes shy but he was not weak. Whoever did not see his strength was clearly delusional. Yoongi sighed heavily while looking at the two.

“None of my business, Taehyung? None of my business? Yes, you’re right. I want no part in this chaos.” He spoke but he was hurt. Tae was not the same person he knew. Tae didn’t need him for advice anymore. Tae accepted that his actions have consequences and he was ready to fight, but he didn’t want Jimin there for the victory.

“Calm the fuck down, guys…” Namjoon yelled. “Jimin, I understand you are upset with them for your own reasons but this is not the time…”

Jin cut him off. “And when will the time come, Joon? When do we still have time? Do you have time?” he turned to Hoseok which sat back next to him and Jimin but didn’t react to the joke. There was no balance between seriousness and laughter.

Namjoon spoke softly, looking at Jin for acceptance, understanding. He got none of it. “They had permission to be out, hyung. Sejin hyung told me personally.”

“Who photographed us?” Jungkook asked, unsure if he should sit or stand, holding his ground uncertainly. He wanted to say more but words couldn’t come out properly when everybody refused to listen.

“Army.” Jimin snapped.

“Some girl’s family. You spoke to her at the restaurant. They took a photo of her talking to you two.” Suga repositioned himself in his chair yet he was calm and sympathetic. He opened his phone and he turned the screen to both of them in order for them to see the big news everywhere on Twitter and in the dorm. “Unfairness” was a word he would have used to describe the situation. Everybody was accusing somebody else, using a candid photo as a catalyst. He had to admit to himself that he loved seeing Tae smiling so brightly and he knew Jungkook was doing the same. It was a photo of two happy people who were put in front of a jury for their happiness. Who was V? Who was the golden maknae? Two people made of flesh and bone, horrors and love, cells and thoughts. “What was immoral about it?” he asked himself. “Why are we throwing the first stone?”

The photo of the two boys was clear. Whoever took the snapshot was sitting behind Jungkook and nobody could have recognized him if it wasn’t for his hoodie. Tae was the main focus though and he was smiling, signing a piece of paper. Whoever uploaded the photo blurred out the girl’s face but they maknaes remembered her well. A lengthy text was posted together with the photo confirming that the boys were indeed Jungkook and V of BTS.

Taehyung barely moved to look at the photo. He blinked slowly as if he couldn’t be bothered and the conversation bored him. It annoyed Jimin more than it did Suga.

“Woa, that girl was actually very nice to us,” Jungkook added, very surprised. She didn’t seem to know that some of her companions were photographing her moment with them.

“She has no blame. She is an ARMY. She simply has happy to see you. She has no fault.”Namjoon wanted to reinforce.

“No, this is not about ARMY. Of course, she has no fault! It’s about the fact that we don’t know what’s happening…” Hoseok added, standing in his spot on the armchair.

“Not with you guys, not with us… I sometimes barely have time to shower. I’m tired of us fighting over any subject.” Jin said, looking at the ground. He was angry. There was no question about it.

“And do you think we aren’t, hyung?” Suga asked simply.

“When are you even home to notice?” Jimin didn’t want to let Yoongi off the hook easily. Now that the other boy spoke to them, now that he was present, Jimin needed to expose his dissatisfaction although he knew nobody understood why he was upset with Yoongi. They didn’t know how Yoongi always walked out of the room when he, Jimin, entered. They didn’t know how Yoongi never replied to the text, how he never knocked on his door, how he refused to look him in the eye. It made Jimin feel useless, invisible and forgettable. He hoped Suga had more guts than that.

“Jimin, if you have an issue with Yoongi hyung as well, please solve it on your own time.” The leader in Namjoon was getting fed up with Jimin’s tone. Whatever was going through Jimin’s mind came out as the rant of a spoiled brat in Namjoon’s eyes.

“He has a problem with everybody…” Jin casually mentioned, remembering how the young one became more difficult to talk to after their break.

“He’s tired. Leave it…” Yoongi stated much to the disbelief of the others.

“Aren’t we all? You don’t see me arguing with you…” Hoseok raised his voice again as he didn’t fall for Yoongi’s plea.

“Then what exactly are you doing now if not contradicting me for the sake of contradicting me?” Suga snapped back and left Namjoon perplexed. The comment was made in pure Suga style, short and cold.

“Yeah, I really have better shit to do…” Hoseok turned his back to the room, moving around as if to stretch his legs and ignore the animosity.

“Guys, stop…” Namjoon asked for quiet. It was just like screaming into a void, a void filled with dozens of screaming voices. Despair.

“I can’t do this anymore…” Jin cut him off, reminding them of his authority as hyung. Honorifics or not, jokes or not, collegiality or not… Jin was the oldest of the group, considerably older than Jungkook. He didn’t want to lead. He didn’t want to be the voice of reason and yet his posture imposed respect. His statement was too serious to be a metaphor, it had no double meaning. “Be honest, Kim Namjoon… you are so done with this too.” He said and the words looped around in RM’s mind.
“I’m fucking done. I can’t even open my fucking mouth to say something to you guys.” Jimin added.

“Do you have to be so sour every time you speak?” Taehyung asked in a low voice. He was mocking Jimin. He hated hearing him swear.

“Do you have to be so pretentious?” Jimin spat back.

“Stop it, please…” Jungkook asked of both of them. “This is tearing us apart…”

“Yeah, I will stop. I’m heading back to my room…” Taehyung said with a sigh and tried to leave.

“Ours or yours with Jungkook?” Hoseok called after him and it made Tae stop in his tracks. He didn’t turn but his fists were clenched.

“Why do you care?” Tae mumbled. “Do I need to fear you guys as well?” he added and hit the wall. There wasn’t enough force behind his punch to cause an injury. He looked more like he was collapsing and needed to stop himself. Nobody could see his face, only the corridor could tell what sadness or what anger was apparent in his facial expression.

“Guys! QUIT THIS!” Namjoon yelled again, patience diminishing.

“Why are you yelling? Aren’t you the one who always complained about what a horrible roommate he is?” Jin’s comment started an uproar. “You did that publicly!”

“That’s not true… He isn’t. Tae isn’t…” Jungkook needed to say something, he couldn’t stand by and watch everybody slam each other.

“Not true until it is. “ Jimin added under his breath.

“Hyung, stop… please. Don’t ruin your friendship.” Jungkook pleaded. “If you keep saying things like that…” The end was near.

“Friendship? What friendship? Friends talk to each other, Jungkook! Friends do not avoid or ignore each other!” he yelled. “They go hand in hand towards the same place, same dream, same goal…” Jimin was furious and tense. Tae was still showing all of them his back as if he was already walking alone, separated from the group, planning other dreams to dream.

“Nobody has time to talk to anybody, not even about our dream,” Namjoon said bitterly.

“Is this the REAL you, Jimin?! You think whatever they are going through is YOUR business? What? Do you want all of us to give you a personal report on our lives? What did we eat? Who did we speak to? Who we fucked?” Suga snapped at Jimin and got up from his chair. Yoongi rarely got mad, but when he did it was just like an orchestra drop, instruments all falling at the same time, same beat, same darkness.

“Ah, Yoongi hyung… you are taking things too far…” Namjoon said and he could instantly see tears forming in Jimin’s eyes. It was sheer frustration. The dissonance was supreme; the harmonizing of their anger was divine.

“I’m done with you guys. I am done with this… I could have slept today. I could have been doing other stuff.” Jin mentioned and got up as well. “I have a life and a body that does not belong to BTS. I need to function.” He said and rushed passed Tae, which was supporting himself with his palm against the wall.

“I’m going to practice. Joonie, when you call Sejin hyung, tell him that I am not going to that photo shoot today. I want to dance.” Hoseok said with disinterest.

“Me neither,” Jimin added and rushed to his room, almost hitting Tae with his shoulder.

“We all need to be there….” Namjoon said grimly, while losing the fight.

“I don’t want to listen to that. Nobody is in the mood, Joonie. Fucking forget it. It’s too much… The answer is fixed.” Yoongi added and walked pass Tae which still hadn’t moved. He heard a sob instead. He glanced at Tae’s lowered head. TEARS. He noticed one of Tae’s tears fall like a crystal or a pearl. He thought about how the luxury of being able to cry was denied to him, even when he could clearly see the beginning of the end. His heart screamed in agony.\

“I’m sorry, guys…” Namjoon said defeated when it was only him, Jungkook and Tae left in the room.

“Not your fault, hyung…” Jungkook spoke and he saw Taehyung finally leave to his own room which he shared with Hoseok but he uttered no word in return. The maknae had no choice but to be thankful for the room he got all to himself. He wondered again, after years… if he truly wanted to be alone.

Namjoon was left thinking in the living room, thinking about BTS and about the fact that he couldn’t lead anymore. He needed to call Sejin hyung and tell him what had happened. He delayed the moment. He opened a beer, although it was still noon. It was bitter; he gulped it down like regret. It tasted the same. The photo shoot was clearly not happening.

He took out his notebook:

“At the moment where everything is dangerous
Our end that two letters handed to us
That I won’t cry, that I won’t tear it up
I can’t say those kinds of words. In the future I, too
Breakup, incurable disease”

He drank the entire beer before letting the staff know there would be no photo shoot and that they needed to discuss the possibility of an end.

Chapter Text

The conference room was crowded with voices and opinions. Some were pertinent, some lacked in argumentation but they still disrupted whatever Paradise once was. It felt as if even gods were restless.

PD Bang checked paperwork together with two lawyers which nodded from time to time. Namjoon was under the impression that they stood in there for ages but it had only been about 2 hours. Too much and not enough was said. For example, Jimin’s manager spoke for him as the boy sat quietly in his chair, an indefinable expression on his face. It oscillated from concern to disinterest and back. He barely uttered 3 words by himself and which didn’t seem fake or rehearsed. He also coughed a couple of times, uncomfortably.

As expected, Jin was vocal. He spoke to Sejin and PD Bang mostly, ignoring whoever had a different opinion than him. He was stoic in his stubbornness and almost dropped honorifics in front of Sejin before he caught himself and mended his error.

When asked about his opinion, Yoongi became Suga, which slowly became Agust D and he fixed all his answers to touch the subject of his music. His personality completely faded between graphics of sound waves and it was hard to believe he truly lived outside his music. He had another lawyer with him, although the guy didn’t do much but underline whichever lines of documents he and Yoongi agreed won’t fly. They accepted no compromise, no deviation. It was all music and money.

Taehyung was the quietest and barely raised his eyes. He had a personal manager in the room as well which interfered only here and there to protect Tae’s interests, nothing too farfetched or unreasonable. Tae looked like he felt guilty each time his manager spoke, he looked at his hands constantly. Namjoon wondered if he was even paying attention or hearing the discussion over the veil of gloom which enveloped him. During the entire meeting, Namjoon once caught Tae’s eyes and his heart almost stopped when he realized how red they were. “That’s why he doesn’t want to look up,” Namjoon said to himself and he cursed the fact that he could deliver no comfort. He was about to stop being the leader, he was just Namjoon hyung now and not even the closest of friends to Taetae. There were so many things Namjoon realized that he wanted to ask Tae, so many things that he didn’t know about the other boy, so many things which made Tae unique, so many recent developments in his personality that he, as the leader of a successful band like BTS, didn’t have time to uncover.

“We don’t have time. We make time.” He reprimanded himself. “What will we have now?” His eyes moved to Jungkook together with his silent question. A lawyer and a manager were with him as Namjoon noticed. They spoke up each time opinions were asked of them and when they weren’t. They both even shushed Jungkook on several occasions when the boy tried to say something. Jk stopped trying to solve the situation or bring calmness. He ended up following everybody with his eyes. It was killing him that he couldn’t get to Taehyung. He glanced and stared at him for minutes but Tae didn’t glance back.

A voice which could often be heard was that of Hoseok’s manager, although Namjoon knew Hobi long enough to observe how the boy struggled with the situation. He was nervous and he appeared to be even more tired than he was back when they had their argument at the dorm, a week ago.

“We walked towards the same dream, but it was only that... a dream” Namjoon heard Hoseok add to the conversation and he commanded himself to pay more attention to the numbers being shouted and to the contracts but also to pick up whatever was said in between. He got stuck in that pattern until the meeting was over and everybody got up to leave the room.

“We will see to all the claims and please allow yourselves time to think. A month is a realistic amount of time and then we will see each other again for a second meeting. Agreed?” Bang PD concluded. “Until then, you are contractually obliged to follow your schedules, might I remind you.”

“If those are realistic as well,” Jin said in a low voice and was sure Bang PD heard him but neither made any further comment so that everybody could finally exit. There was no sun shining that day.

Suga stopped to wait for Namjoon to also leave the table. “So? What do you think?” He asked in a low voice and the other boy knew exactly what he meant. Yoongi was wondering what Namjoon gut feeling was telling him.

“We still have an album to deliver… and let the curtain fall… but it’s ugly” Namjoon said bitterly.

“Is there such a thing as a beautiful Goodbye?” Yoongi commented as they walked slowly behind all others.

His reply was poetic but it only unsettled Namjoon more as he was lost between numbers and contracts and nothing seemed like poetry. “Reality check, Yoongi.” He stopped and blatantly dropped the honorific. “BTS is ending. The dream is gone. Have you no resentment?” Namjoon asked him defeated, speaking from one mind to another.

His colleague smiled bitterly. “No. Who are these people, Namjoonie? I don’t recognize any of us.” Suga asked signaling to the boys in front of them.

“Distorted versions of self?” the leader asked.

“Or the reality we failed to see?” Yoongi added and they both quit talking.

 

They walked silently towards the parking lot and Namjoon watched the car take the hyung away. It pained him. “Is it this easy? Soon we will all get in a different car and there will be no paper tying us to see each other the next day or ever again, for that matter.” Namjoon felt a sharp ache in his chest and he exhaled, tears gathering in his eyes. He looked around, scanning concrete, lost in thoughts of a future he couldn’t imagine.

All the voices he had heard over the years. All the voices telling him that they will not succeed. All the voices which laughed at them were present in his mind. He tried silencing them until there was nothing else but the unspoken plea and the gentleness of tears on his cheek. He remembered how he sang the lyrics of “Not Today” in a parking garage and although it should have had given him strength it was only crumbling his mind more and more.

As voices approached him, he turned, desperately wiping away his tears in fear of being discovered and his weakness exposed. The two men who accompanied Tae at the meeting were now speaking loudly between themselves as the boy simply followed. His head was still lowered and similar to that of a grieving statue. It wouldn’t have been the first time his frame would have been associated with that of a piece of art, but at that moment, he emanated the sadness of whatever creator made him flesh and bone.
Namjoon called after him softly and Taehyung looked up granting him a very brief, surprised look before lowering his eyes again and walking towards him. Namjoon observed how the other’s mask did nothing but accentuate the redness around his eyes. The men behind him promised to get back to him with a call, information which the leader wasn’t sure Tae even registered as he nodded absentmindedly. With his hands in his pockets, he stood next to Namjoon before suddenly taking his hand in his trembling one.

“Come with me to the studio?” Namjoon asked tenderly and Tae nodded like a child.

The studio was cold when the two boys entered. Like a huge confessionary, it was the perfect place to pour out your soul either through tears or through music or even both. Tae thought about that until he spaced out, lost between tiredness and the vague irritation around his eyes. He loved the fact that the studio was small and felt secluded, safe, perhaps a bit too safe, too smoldering. It took a short pat on his arm from behalf of Namjoon to steal him back from comforting dreams and deliver him to reality. There were no perfume-scented pillows for comfort.

“Do you remember how we worked on 4 o’clock?” Tae suddenly asked.

Namjoon did remember. He remembered their talks. He remembered how absorbed he was with music back then. He barely spoke about any other subject. Music imitated life and music revealed life for him. He learned and failed through music. He wouldn’t have had it any other way but as he looked at the older Taehyung which was seated in front of him, he wondered how many existential crises he might have missed in the maknae’s life. Tragedies and happiness, Tae surely had both but Namjoon failed to see them clearly. The younger boy’s body and features hardened as they became more serious and his voice was more private than it had been in the past.

“First of all, I want to say that I am sorry if I ever made you feel uncomfortable with my statements. I don’t think you are an awful roommate, Tae. I was just teasing. Sometimes I have the intelligence of a Dodo bird, I am sorry.” Namjoon needed to get the rock off his chest, although nothing in Tae’s behavior seemed to hint at anger regarding the fight.

“Only the fact that you know the average intelligence of a Dodo bird is concerning, hyung.” Tae said with a small smile. “It’s alright.” He added while he sat down on the very small couch and tried to find a good sitting position. He looked anxious. “Hyung, do you have any alcohol?” he asked.

“Huh? You don’t really drink.” Namjoon was perplexed. He had seen Tae drunk on some occasions yet he couldn’t remember if Tae ever asked him for alcohol. “I only have a bottle of soju that’s been lying here for ages. I don’t know the pass from Suga’s studio. He has glasses.”

Tae laughed and just took the bottle from Namjoon’s hands. “We need to make a toast.” Tae’s expression turned from funny to grim as he picked at his mind what would be a good toast to make under the conditions. “Do we have anything to toast for?” he asked as his voice trailed off to the unknown. Tae seemed to be living on the edge of galaxies, somewhere in the vastness of a void. The leader imagined him within the darkness, alone, unspoken. Namjoon couldn’t stand seeing him like that.

“We do. You do, Tae.” He said with a loving smile and forced the boy to meet his eyes and reach for him within the void. “Do what you must, but I would advise you not to give him up.” He took the bottle from Tae’s hands and had a sip of the light flavored soju.

Taehyung had to allow himself a few seconds to process what Namjoon told him because it seemed extraordinary to him that his hyung would ever give him such advice. He also gulped down a mouthful of the drink, considerably more than his colleague. The taste was fruity and it weirdly reminded him of sunshine and wind. He wondered if he ever heard the music of wind clearly since his childhood. In more recent times, he had been so busy that he had almost lost contact with the places which mattered to him more than Seoul. Fields and grass were as distant as the feeling of raw earth beneath his toes. He wondered if he would have liked to be a child again, go through everything again… it hurt immensely and he drowned the thought in more soju.

“Hey, hey, Tae… where did you go?” Namjoon asked and gently pushed down the bottle from Tae’s lips. “Drink slower.” He added.

Namjoon handed the bottle back and saw how Tae instinctively went for another sip but stopped himself midway. “Why do you do this to yourself, Tae? Why do you like being alone?” the leader asked soothingly. Every cell in his body wanted to protect the small smile in Tae’s eyes and he wanted to understand him, help him. Tae was younger and Tae needed a friend yet Tae kept hiding deeper in Nothingness when a hand was extended towards him.

“I’m not alone. I’m with my thoughts.” Tae said and reflected on the happiest memories which he could recollect, wanting to keep himself in his imagination where it was warm.

“Solitude and loneliness are two different things.” Namjoon sat on the floor in front of him, legs crossed. “Aren’t you lonely?”

Tae didn’t reply immediately. All the memories of being bullied crept in, alarmingly, disrupting the sun’s rays, clouding the heat. He inhaled deeply and stared in a glass mirror which Namjoon had in his studio. It showed a beautiful, sad boy. “It’s better if I keep to myself. I hurt people when I talk or when I approach.”

The leader sighed in response. “Oh, an introverted extrovert… I’ve been told you guys exist. What if somebody approaches you?”

Tae remained silent, helping himself to more soju when his hyung finished his turn.

“Why do you push them away? When did it all change, Tae?” Namjoon asked while also warning him to slow down again. Tae obeyed.

“When I admitted I liked him more than a friend, more than Jimin and still so different than how I viewed other guys or girls. When I chose to stop ignoring the fact that I wanted to touch him, to be with him, to hold his hand, to see him smile, it was hard. It was like a crack I was never able to mend or forget. I don’t even know how I realized it.” He stopped talking, unsure of the subject, conscious that it was the soju in his veins which permitted such a confession in front of Namjoon. Yet, the hyung was a brilliant listener, he knew exactly when to speak or when to keep things in silence. He watched Tae with interest.

“My mistake was to believe everybody would be as understanding as you, hyung… You were the first person I told.” Said Tae and started playing with one of his rings, embarrassed.

Namjoon was astonished. He never imagined that Tae came to him first, prior than addressing anybody else, family or close friends among the staff.

“You told me before telling Jungkook?” The leader pressed with the same sense of gratitude and guilt that he didn’t struggle to understand Tae’s reasoning sooner.

The maknae shook his head and redness installed in his cheeks. The color was a mix of awkwardness, soju and anxiety because he remembered how many questions and wants he hid inside his soul in the past year.

“No, it was complete isolation and nothing more. I started considering myself bad, unworthy and vain. I stopped speaking about feelings because it was only pain, continuous pain which I couldn’t escape from. You ever got lost in the woods, hyung?” Tae added and took his head into his palms. He didn’t want to think what the mirror showed if he was to look at it.

“Yes, I did but it was by choice, Taetae.” Namjoon understood where Tae was heading with his question. “It felt like being lost, right?”

“Mhm,” Tae mumbled and shifted in his spot, uncomfortable. Namjoon passed him the bottle again, knowing that it wasn’t the best idea yet it helped Tae speak, unload, share his sorrows. He wondered again for how long Tae must have been alone, unguided. He felt horrible.

“You were lost but you found yourself again, didn’t you?” Namjoon pressed on, wanting to show Tae that he should view his success as an achievement, a victory. The boy fell quiet before speaking again.

“His voice…” Tae sighed and felt his heart in his throat. “He was there… He was there throughout all this. Can you imagine somebody searching for a soul in a puddle of pain?” He smiled bitterly. “Do you know what he used to do? Jungkook, I mean… Sing to me… because that’s what he does best in this world… sing.”

“His covers? Is there anybody in this Universe that did not understand by now that is 2U is about you, Tae?” Namjoon let out a short laugh when he saw a smile on Tae’s face. It was indeed very sad but honest.

“You noticed?” Tae asked.

“HAH! Is there any verse in that song that does NOT link to you? I think the biggest hint I got was how he chose a song he could somehow link to your Stigma. You sing about committing a crime and he says it’s not a crime. That’s how I understood Stigma as well, although I always suspected.” Namjoon’s smug look came over his face and they both laughed at it.

“He sometimes scares me with his fierceness in being there for me… He’s ignoring everything. He’s ignoring himself. Everybody.” Tae never admitted the feeling to anybody. His hyung was getting an “All Tae Exclusive” confession hour again but it felt good to be able to tell somebody how scared he was that Jungkook would renounce at the world for him. What could Tae give him besides pain, confusion, and noise?

“Ah, you mean his fierceness to BE with you.” Namjoon teased, lovingly. “Say it as it is, Tae.”

“I pushed him away many times but when I see him, he is comfort. He becomes reality and the world is imaginary. It’s funny, I’m his hyung but he protects me and he also lets me decide. What if I make the wrong decision and I hurt him?”

Namjoon felt tipsy as he listened. There was so much love, and so much fear in Tae’s words that he couldn’t shake off the image of a boy, lost in a forest, at night. No matter how much that boy enjoyed the solitude and calmness of the woods, he was scared to be there in the obscurity of night.

“Whether you want to accept it or not, the truth is that he can take it. I think he already calculated all risks. I think he calculated the risk when you guys were in the park and he decided he didn’t care. He said something beautiful without even realizing when Sejin hyung asked him about it. He said he noticed the snowflakes in your hair and how the light shone on your face, he didn’t notice a big ass camera but he noticed snowflakes in your hair. Do you get my point?” Namjoon was confident of his guess. It was true that Jungkook was never worried about how others viewed him. He wanted to do his best but it was never for compliments but for his own satisfaction.

“I think I do.” Taehyung replied and followed Namjoon’s words carefully yet he struggled with his trail of thoughts because of the drinks.

“He wants to be part of your happiness and your pain…” Namjoon added.

“He is the best part…” Tae sighed loudly, frustrated.

“Maybe you should write that down?”Namjoon felt like he should have had recorded their conversation or note it down. There was poetry hidden behind every gesture, sound, and admission.

“For a song?” Tae asked.

“If you wish, but mostly so that you don’t forget it… Don’t ignore your feelings and how powerful your voice is when speaking yourself. Love yourself also, Taehyung. Look at yourself in the mirror as Jungkook looks at your image in camera screens. Don’t you get it? ” Namjoon pointed out as Tae took another big gulp of soju and froze.

“Could we go home, hyung? I don’t feel very well.” He admitted and carefully placed the bottle back on the table to his side.

“It’s ok, Taehyung-ah. I’ll text the driver. We can go home and rest. Are you going to be sick?” Namjoon asked with concern.

“No. It just hurts…” Tae replied, defeated, searching through the night of his own mind.

 

 

When Jimin finally parted from his manager and went back to the dorm, he only wanted to go to bed. He didn’t want to think or cry. He simply wanted rest. He took off his coat and shoes and while he was arranging them on hangers and on the rack, he could hear the sound of mugs in the kitchen intensifying. Behind the counter was Yoongi, clearly preparing himself a coffee which he later brought back to the couch where he left an open book. He seemed so indifferent. Jimin couldn't help but feel sadness. He had no energy to be angry.

“That’s yours…” Yoongi spoke without raising his eyes from the book.

“What?” Jimin asked as his eyes saw a white mug on the counter. “What’s this?” he asked as he got close to the drink. It looked white and smelled of citrus.

“Theraflu.” Yoongi said coldly.

“…but I…” Jimin’s eyes widened. He didn’t understand.

“You are catching a cold, please take it and go to bed. You coughed today.” Yoongi finally looked at him and his eyes didn’t match the tone of his voice. He quickly shifted his gaze back to the letters in front of him.

“I…” Jimin thought about protesting. He thought about asking how come Yoongi decided to do something like that for him. His eyes were concerned, Jimin caught it and it made him wonder how a hot mug of medicine could heal their broken friendship. “Thank you, hyung…” he finally said and took the ring of the cup, easily blowing the steam away from his face.

“It will make you sleepy so go straight to bed.” Yoongi casually mentioned again.

Jimin decided to stop speaking and head to the room. He smiled although Suga could not see his smile.

 

Yoongi was still in the living room when Namjoon and Tae arrived. He couldn’t sleep yet and didn’t want to disturb Jin each time he flipped the pages of the book he was reading. He saw Taehyung walk in and almost trip as he sloppily discarded his shoes near the rack. Namjoon came in second and by his movements when he also threw off his sneakers Suga could tell both boys were a bit drunk, not wasted but not sober either.

“Hello, hyung.” Tae said and went straight to the kitchen sink. He leaned over it and opened the faucet at maximum pressure. He started to wash his face.

It was odd to see him splash water everywhere as he feverishly drove his palms on his face and even at the beginning of his hairline. Namjoon and Yoongi said nothing as they both looked at him for a while until they realized he was not stopping.
“What’s up with him?” Yoongi finally asked Namjoon.

“We had some soju…” Namjoon replied dryly. “Not sure why he is doing that in the kitchen sink.”

They stared at him and when Taehyung turned to face them, they could see how his clothes were also wet because of the high pressure of the water. However, Tae didn’t seem like he noticed the water dripping from his hair and down his jacket and shirt.
“Goodnight…” he uttered and went towards the rooms. No more information was exchanged.

The two remaining boys stood behind him until they couldn’t see him anymore in the hallway. They heard him pace heavily and a door opened and closed in the stillness of the night.

“That wasn’t the sound of his door, was it?” Yoongi asked, closing his book.

“Nope.” Namjoon replied and went to his room.

Chapter Text

Yoongi shifted from reading his book, playing on his phone, staring at the ceiling. He knew he had nobody else but himself to blame for drinking coffee so late in the evening. The error and the miscalculation kept him awake and he accepted it. His planner was free for the next morning but naturally, he wanted to go to his studio. “I’ll just sleep there…” he thought because it wasn’t uncommon for him to take refuge in his studio when BTS was being too loud.

The dorm was silent or so he assumed as he listened to music in his headphones. He hoped that songs might soothe him and make him sleepy but they only made him over-think or lose himself in lyrics.

He looked at the hour. 3:22 AM.

“Awesome” he mumbled to himself dissatisfied. He didn’t want to go back to his room because it was painfully clear that he won’t be able to get some shut-eye anytime soon. Therefore, he decided he will simply sit on the couch, do nothing and perhaps sleep would be merciful.

A boy appeared in the hallway. Yoongi recognized him as he approached. It was Jimin. He had pajamas on and a yellow blanket was loosely hanging around his shoulders. Yoongi couldn’t help but smile at his sleepy face when Jimin rubbed his eyes, obviously not enjoying the light. Before he opened his mouth to speak, he started coughing lightly. However, he looked less pale than he did in the meeting and his coughing sounded less menacing.

“Why are you out of bed?” Yoongi asked him, tieing everything to their previous conversation about medicine, searching for comfort in known patterns.

Jimin pouted sleepily. “I am thirsty.” He said heading towards the fridge.

“Only over my dead body, Park Jimin, are you having ice cold water.” He said and went towards the fridge as well to stop him. His voice was mimicking a sharp staccato.

The younger boy frowned again but opened a cabinet nearby and took out a bottle of still water from inside. He drank a good part of it in a heartbeat. “Why are you still up?” he asked with a growl. The sound was irritatingly soft and dangerous to Yoongi’s ears. Although Jimin was in a bad mood whenever he woke up, it never bothered Yoongi. He found him hilarious and somewhat sweet. Therefore, he said nothing but started taking out food and placing everything near his cooking space. Sleep was an activity long forgotten.

Jimin sat on a chair, failing to follow his own trail of thought as he urged himself to be able to sustain a conversation and speak a sentence longer than five words. “What are you doing, hyung?” he finally obtained a small victory with himself. It annoyed him that Yoongi was so active when he was so close to passing out with his head on the counter.

“If you promise to stay out of my way, I am making you kimchi soup,” Yoongi said with a smile. If somebody would have asked him where the smile came from, he would have sworn he had no idea. He felt good because he was needed and he had something to occupy his mind with. He felt good that he could move with purpose. He felt good because Jimin was there, watching him with a frown and a half surprised expression.

Indeed, the younger failed to understand why Kimchi soup suddenly became a priority at 3 AM. It always was interesting to see Yoongi’s care for him because he could always tell that the boy did it willingly, asking for nothing in return, not even a thank you.

“Yoongi hyung, why are you being so nice to me all of a sudden?” he questioned and his voice softened, gaining that tone of playfulness. “Why are you so stubborn not allow me to get sick?”

Yoongi laughed lightly. “So I won’t hear you whine about it later… I’m doing myself a favor, really.”

As soon as he said the words, he regretted it. Because of Jimin’s most recent behavior, he believed that the boy would take the joke the wrong way. However, nothing of catastrophic proportions happened and Jimin started laughing quietly, careful not to wake anybody up. He was unsure why he was laughing, though, but something hit him like a shot of adrenaline. He wanted to think of a witty comeback.

“Trying to think of a witty comeback?” Yoongi said and continued being busy with his cooking.

Jimin felt another surge of energy. It appeared and disappeared just as fast, yet it was giving him a buzz that lingered all over his skin. He wrapped his blanket tighter to his body with the vague impression that something in his body temperature changed.

“Can you go sit on the couch and get out of my way?” Yoongi asked although he was nowhere near Jimin but moving from counter to stove and the other way around.

“I am not even in your way!” Jimin whined theatrically.

“You’re distracting…” Yoongi muttered but didn’t pay him much attention.

Jimin jumped off the high chair near the counter and together with his yellow cape, he went to the couch. “Fine, I’ll go and distract you from over there…” he said and ignored the fact that he clearly heard Yoongi muffle out a laugh.

They didn’t speak much until the soup was ready because Jimin didn’t want to raise his voice and the distance didn’t really permit whispering. He sat and watched videos but his mind processed the scenario he was in and often wandered uncontrollably. He found it funny that he and Yoongi were up at 3 AM, that his hyung was making him soup and that every word they said to each other had to be said in whispers as if it was a secret. He liked it. He liked it more than he thought he would. There was a sense of complicity and carefulness out of respect for the others but some part of him understood how uncommon the night was. They said absolutely nothing about BTS or the disbandment.

When Suga brought the two bowls of soup, Jimin made room for him on the couch next to him and also shared part of his blanket. Yoongi accepted it together with the videos Jimin was now making him watch as they ate. The maknae moved very closely to him. Space between them was inexistent and it was comforting. It stopped being scary. Perhaps it was a small fact that they both refused to admit, that once BTS separates, Yoongi and Jimin would become distant friends. Their lives outside BTS were too different for them to continue working together.

The empty bowls were shortly put on the small coffee table in front of them as they watched the last video Jimin wanted to share. The boy didn’t want to get up and leave but he could see Yoongi becoming sleepier and sleepier. The thought that in a couple of months he won’t get the chance to sit so comfortably with Yoongi was painful. Suddenly, the realization of how awful he was in the past weeks, blew a sentiment of resentment over his entire persona. He woke up because he wanted water and he forgot to be mad at Yoongi because he was too sleepy. All his decisions led to them eating on the couch, wrapped up in a single blanket – a single moment of peacefulness for which the entire universe had conspired. Even their heartbeats schemed against them for a moment.

Lost in thoughts, Jimin kept staring at Yoongi without a word. The older boy moved from his side. He turned towards him, separating them, waking Jimin up from his reverie. He also moved a bit further away, desperately trying to keep the feeling of safety from slipping between the emptiness he had created.

“I am sorry. I was horrible to you… I was just staring because I don’t want to go to bed.” He mumbled. He was feeling a bit nervous and Suga could immediately tell. With his mask up, he couldn’t admit that he felt the same.

“Jiminie, it’s ok. I am sorry I blatantly ignored you. I know it pisses you off.” Yoongi said easily, pretending that words meant nothing. Of course, he was a writer, words meant everything.

“So you WERE ignoring me…” Jimin said with a smile, intentionally pushing Yoongi’s buttons. “It bugs me because every time I wanted to get closer to you, you were a dick…”

“I was a dick because I think you wanted to get close to me for all the wrong reasons…” Suga sighed.

“What do you mean?” he asked and the frown reappeared on his face. “What reasons?”

“You see me as a challenge. I give you attention but I refuse to play your games. You like that. But I am not a challenge, Jiminie… trust me, I’m not. Spare yourself the time.” Suga gave him a small smile, full of misery and weakness even if he was proving his courage by speaking about it. “You know very well, I am not the rock everybody thinks I am.”

The younger boy was in disbelief. He leaned in. “You have the impression I thought about this? Made a plan?” He was speaking fast, with certitude. “Everybody says I should be less impulsive and you think I actually made a plan and somehow also remembered to follow it... to… I don’t know… seduce you?” Jimin leaned back in his spot, a smile of incredulity showing.

“Ok, maybe seduce is too strong of a word…” Yoongi spoke. He didn’t want to fight with Jimin again and it seemed to him that the maknae wasn’t so keen on it either. “Hey, impulsiveness is not necessarily bad, anger makes it bad.” He said as he wanted to divert the conversation just to avoid another calamity because Jimin leaned his head backward and let out a frustrated sound.

“Hey, do I look angry right now?” Jimin asked.

“No. You look way too awake for almost 5 AM” Yoongi replied jokingly. “And a bit sick.” He added although it was just another tease.

“Sucks to be you then…” he said.

“Huh?” was the single sound which Suga managed to say before he felt Jimin’s hands cupping his face and his breath hit his lips. Jimin tasted like kimchi and familiarity. Yoongi allowed the kiss to happen as he slowly adjusted to the rhythm they both fell into. It was a good kiss, despite the initial startle. He wasn’t a bit surprised when he felt Jimin’s tongue hitting his. Jimin gave everything when he kissed, he moved with his entire body, not just his lips. Kissing Jimin felt like dancing. Yoongi noticed long ago how and even the boy’s softest pecks on the cheek were languorous, inviting.

Yoongi placed his hand on Jimin’s neck. He felt his collarbone and each muscle he touched tense up. He slowly moved his hand just below Jimin’s ear, pulling him in. Jimin smiled and Yoongi felt it. Yoongi didn't feel like he needed an explanation for the sudden kiss. The maknae parted their lips and placed his hand on Yoongi’s, forcing him to keep it on his neck, to not distance himself too much.

“Do you think I planned this? Do I seem like I know what I’m doing?” Jimin asked. His face red smiling.

“He’s happy…” Yoongi thought and his heart started beating even faster, impossibly fast. His heartbeat was an insane metronome trapped inside a very musical world. If Jimin was a song, waiting to be composed, sung, performed, Yoongi was there as his measure controller, stopping him from singing or dancing off beat.

“You definitely know what you’re doing. You’re a good kisser.” Yoongi joked light-headedly and he felt a hand slap his chest tenderly.

“Damn it, this is exactly why I like you… You are so pleasant to be around with when it’s just us.” Jimin said and shifted his body closer to the other, allowing him to finally take his hand off his neck. He got so close that he was practically sitting on Yoongi’s legs.

The move meant that Yoongi needed to hold Jimin by the waist, therefore his hands settled there. “We will ruin the friendship with this…” he spoke seriously and just above a whisper. Paradoxically, he didn’t push away but rested his forehead on Jimin’s.
“I don’t know… I haven’t thought that far ahead.” The boy replied and leaned in for another kiss. It seemed impossibly easy to be happy.

The second kiss was long, soft, same well-paced rhythm they were now accustomed to as lips caressed lips, tongues and hidden smiles. Yoongi never realized how nice it was to know the other person is smiling as they kiss you. He never experienced that before. It was the utmost need to know that the other person is feeling safe, pleased, loved…

Jimin was the one which stopped again because Yoongi was too hypnotized by him to consider the possibility. He couldn’t remember the last time he held somebody’s waist as he did Jimin’s, applying pressure on his hips but pulling him closer in the same time.

“Our lips are gonna get swollen…” the maknae joked as he got his body even closer.

“They already are…” Suga shifted so that Jimin could sit properly. The maknae sat in the same way Tae had positioned himself in Jungkook’s lap during the meeting with management. He understood why. It was beyond intimate. Yoongi also understood why Jungkook felt the need to protect Tae at all costs. Jimin seemed as exposed sitting like that. Yoongi felt the need to cradle him. It was a new sensation but it was the thing Jungkook probably felt on a daily basis.

“Jiminissi, can I ask you for a favor?” Yoongi hugged him to his chest.

“What?” Jimin stopped moving suddenly, curiosity building up.

“Could you try talking to Taehyung?” He said cautiously but before Jimin could reply, he added “he’s your friend and I bet both him and Jungkook feel guilty about this mess, although it’s not their fault. Imagine how they must feel, especially Tae.”

“I tried t…” Jimin began talking as he rearranged the blanket over them.

“Please, it’s a favor…” Yoongi cut him off.

“Alright, but those two are seriously annoying. Ah, when this thing between them started, I kept telling them they worry too much. I kept telling them to be careful.” Jimin whined again. “They were hella obvious…”

“They are scared. They want a relationship but they have no idea how to tackle it and cameras aren’t helping. Remember when there was so much footage of them practically glued together that Seonghyun hyung almost lost it?” Yoongi laughed and Jimin followed.

“I can hear him.” And Jimin started imitating the visual director’s voice. “Jeon Jungkook, I told you to sit between Hobi and Namjoon. I promise you, Taehyung can breathe even if you are on the other side of the room.” He concluded and they laughed again.
“They turned so red, especially Jungkook. Poor guys” Suga sighed.

“And we didn’t stop giving them heat for that moment. We’re we bad?” Jimin turned to Suga and it crossed his mind to raise his lips upwards a tiny bit until he got to Suga’s jawline. He wondered how Yoongi’s neck tasted. He gave himself an imaginary slap over the head and snapped out of it quickly.

“We had no idea what was going on between them back then…” he said. “They were always restless around each other, remember? Looking back, we shouldn’t have laughed at them.” Yoongi started caressing Jimin’s hair and he thought he could hear the boy’s low-key purr of satisfaction. “But, I randomly stumbled over a very, very old video of us performing. I don’t even remember where we were. It was The Red Bullet, surely. It was from late 2014 judging by Namjoon’s failure hairdo.” He stopped because of Jimin was giggling playfully in his arms. He resumed when the boy piped down. “But I noticed something. In that show, Tae went in to hug Kookie and a fancam caught the next moment. Main cam didn’t catch it, but Namjoon took Tae’s hand off of Jungkook and Jin, Jin of all people, subtly pulled Taehyung backward. You can see it so clearly.” He underlined the last sentence with a sigh.

“Wha? 2014? That happened?” Jimin raised his eyes to him, a blurred shade of distrust and astonishment on his face.

“Yes. Tae was unyielding. He went back and touched Jungkook again in the next second and smiled brightly. He literally did not understand what was the problem in ignoring coreo and going in for a hug as Jungkook sang. I admit it. Knowing them now, seeing them on this couch when PD Bang left, I cried.” Suga’s voice was honest and he pulled Jimin closer for two seconds.

“You cried? Why, hyung?” Jimin sat up to look at him.

“I believe it was out of frustration for them. They didn’t know what was happening to them at that point. Tae wanted to play, to be happy and to make Jungkook smile with us, give him confidence and what did we do? We thought it was awkward.” Suga concluded, saddened.

Jimin laughed shortly. He wanted to lighten up Yoongi’s mood, he wanted to see him smile like before. “That’s because Tae is awkward most of the time…” he joked and it hit him full force. Tae wanted to make Jungkook smile, give him confidence. What was he doing with Yoongi at that moment? Wasn’t he doing exactly the same thing?

“I’m sorry I didn’t understand Tae sooner. I’m sorry I didn’t realize everything sooner. I would have acted differently.” Yoongi said and smiled while pushing the hair out of Jimin’s eyes.

“I sorta knew…” the boy lowered his head and his demeanor changed completely. “Until Tae finally told me, he did start some weird conversations about relationships and love with me… Not to mention that he spoke about Jk constantly when he wasn’t around.” Jimin exhaled heavily. It hurt him to know that his best friend was suffering but no matter what he did, Taehyung had moments when he hid from the world and Jimin was sometimes exhausted and couldn’t drag him out of hiding.

“I wonder how the hell they realized it. Was it a talk? I can’t tell…” Yoongi commented.

Jimin smiled cheekily and hit him lightly on his chest. He leaned in to tell Yoongi the secret and his face got close to the hyung’s lips once again. “It was when they first kissed. I wasn’t there but Taehyung told me afterward.”

“I know I shouldn’t ask how it happened but how the hell did IT happen?” Yoongi laughed. “Wait, before you tell me…” He said and pulled Jimin’s face closer to him. He didn’t move fast. He allowed Jimin to stop him if he wanted. Jimin immediately responded by arching his back in delight, stretching out as they kissed again. It was a short kiss and it made Yoongi lick his lips when they parted.

Jimin protested. “Wooah, I almost forgot what I was saying…errrm, curses!” he laughed.

“You were distracting again… I wanted to pay attention to your story.” Yoongi said with a smug look as he noticed the effect his action had on the maknae. In response, Jimin hit his chest lightly once more. Happiness was easy…

“Oh, yeah! Remember how they constantly used to do those stupid drama love cut scenes around the house? Those skits of theirs?” Jimin giggled while talking. “I think that’s what started it all, those damn skits. As Taehyung told me, they were acting one out. It was a love confession they had recently seen together in a drama. Remember how often they used to do that?”

Yoongi laughed shortly and nodded as Jimin continued.

“Obviously, there was a kiss in that scene, like in many of the others but that time, Tae leaned in for the kiss and Jungkook didn’t pull back. As I understood, they acted out the entire scene, weirdly long kiss included. They laughed it out afterward, as Tae said, but he also told me how much he liked it, how giddy it made him feel. You can imagine, I wanted to get more out of him. When I asked Tae if he likes Jungkook his answer was ‘Of course I like him, Jiminissie…’ I explained the question and asked him again if he likes him ‘in that way’. Naturally, Taehyung’s answer was ‘there are more ways to like somebody? I thought you either liked somebody or you didn’t.’ I gave up on the questioning at that point. You were right, Tae wasn’t seeing it.” Jimin smiled while telling the story and he had to admit to himself that he missed his and Tae’s talks. It seemed like centuries passed since their last meaningful conversation. He wouldn’t have shared the secret kissing scene if the whole of BTS and possibly some Dispatch people and maybe even staff hadn’t seen them. It was like common knowledge.

“Ah, in true Taehyung style!” Yoongi laughed.

 

 

In the room next to the common space, Jin opened his eyes, annoyed with the faint laughter and voices coming from the other side of the wall. He took his phone to check the hour because it was still dark outside. 6 AM. He prepared himself mentally to go out and drastically sent whoever was making the noise to sleep. Everybody knew how sensitive Jin was because being a light sleeper meant he had real issues falling asleep. He turned to get out of bed but he saw that Suga was not in the room, which rendered everything extremely peculiar since Yoongi was home and not planning to go out when he went to bed.

He listened carefully. He couldn’t make out what the voices were saying in the living room but he recognized the laughter. Undoubtedly, one of the persons there was Jimin and probably, the other was Yoongi.

Jin smiled to himself and Suga’s empty bed. He turned on his side, took one of the pillows and placed it over his head, the thought of shooing the problematic people to sleep discarded.

Not long after, just before he was about to drift to sleep in the uncomfortable position, he heard footsteps at the door. They stopped in front of it for a decent amount of time but he heard no voices. Only when the door opened he heard Suga whispering ’Goodnight’. Jin didn’t move to let Suga know he’s awake. He waited for the boy to finally stop pacing on his tiptoes around the room as if he was running a marathon.

However, he did think of a dad joke that he swore he’d tell Suga in the afternoon.

“Why did the man run around his bed? To catch up on his sleep!”

Chapter Text

Second thoughts came over him as soon as he pushed Jungkook’s door open and stepped in that other Universe he knew well. Taehyung’s courage dissipated even if his intuition told him that there was nothing to be afraid of. There was nothing menacing in Jungkook’s room and he certainly didn’t fear Jungkook. Who was he running from? And most importantly, what was he running towards? He needed to stop but his mind was fuzzy from the alcohol and the scent in the room didn’t help in pulling him away from the “woods”. It smelled of musk that evening, probably because of some air freshener or perhaps it was only his imagination, yet the air was heavy. The blue light coming from Jungkook’s computer was calming and somewhat eerie. Images flickered on the screen, sending ripples of blue and white throughout the unused space between walls and just like the waves of a sea, the light hit both Taehyung’s frame and Jungkook’s body which was not noticing the storm as he played Overwatch. Tae smiled at the sight of the mundane intertwining with fantasy.

“Who is it?” Jungkook asked, distracted by his game.

Utterly unaware of the beauty of the brief moment Tae was living, Jk continued playing. He didn’t notice the long pause either. For Taehyung, in that instance, he seemed untouchable, forbidden so there was nothing else to do but move closer to him. Tae didn’t believe in the impossible.

“Taehyung…” Tae said and took a couple of steps forward, unsure of what he needed to do next. He hoped Jungkook would look at him.

“Who?” Jungkook asked again and tried to turn his head but the game didn’t allow it.

“It’s me…” said Taehyung raising his voice a bit more. He took a deep breath, ready to drown to the bottom of the sea and hide from the world, yet he moved quickly and hugged Jungkook’s neck as he rested his chin on Jungkook’s shoulder. He smelled different than the room. His scent was lighter just like the cold air on a snowy morning. Tae closed his eyes and planted a small peck at the base of the maknae’s neck, which obviously caused Jungkook to lose focus.

“Ahhh, why are you wet, hyung?” Jungkook jumped from his chair when droplets of water fell on the side of his neck. The sudden movement caused Tae to rapidly shift a couple of steps backward almost losing his stability.

It was obvious that Taehyung was acting weirdly. Jungkook watched the other boy grab the edge of a desk and try to regain focus. He watched him hide his face with his hand, shyly. “What happened to you, Tae?” Jungkook asked out of confusion more than concern.

“I’m fine,” said Tae in Korean, only to repeat the phrase in English when he raised his eyes to meet the maknae’s. He knew the light accentuated his features and he hated the fact that he couldn’t focus properly.

Saying “I’m fine” in English always meant something else for Taehyung and Jungkook knew even if they never spoke about it openly. “I called you several times. I texted you.” Jungkook insisted. He was prepared to fight against Tae’s pleading gaze no matter how miserable the boy looked, no matter how many times his hyung would bite his lower lip and then lick it as he stood in the half-lit room.

Tae took his phone out of his pocket. He had missed calls in his log with Jungkook’s name and number in red. He didn’t even bother checking the messages. Each time he saw Jungkook calling, he tensed up and pondered if he should pick up or not until the phone stopped buzzing. Tae didn’t ignore any of his calls, he had long conversations with Jungkook in his mind and he stopped everything he was doing when the maknae called but he just didn’t pick up.

“Do you hate me?” Taehyung bluntly asked when he saw that Jungkook is not approaching him in any way.

“A part of me really wants to hate you…” Jungkook answered drily. “How many times have we done this? How many times have you made me struggle to get your attention?” Jungkook stood his ground. “You ignore me and when I am ready to let you go and I stop pursuing you, you show up. You control this game and there is no way for me to win so why am I even playing it?” he asked. There was no anger in his voice, but there was unhappiness and Tae would have preferred fury.

There was truth in Jungkook’s words and Taehyung was conscious of it, although it hurt to hear the maknae call it a “game” because Tae never viewed it as a game. All the moments Jungkook was referring to were actually failures for Tae, moments when he couldn’t keep the promise he made to himself and management to distance himself from Jk completely. It wasn’t a game, but a cycle Tae was stuck in and it was written in panic. Panic for destroying his and Jungkook’s lives and panic of losing Jungkook forever. But in between that dread stood all the moments when they laughed and had a good time together. The main problem was the fact that they fit perfectly. Perhaps it was surprising for some, perhaps it was repulsive for others but nobody really understood how they had each other.

“It wasn’t a game…” Tae whispered and lowered his head. His voice broke. He placed his hands in his pockets and turned towards the door. He felt the alcohol in his veins and it made him move slowly, heavily, way too aware of his surroundings.

“You wanted to stay with me tonight?” Jungkook asked behind him.

Tae stopped and turned again as he nodded slowly, unable to hide the regret he felt. He didn’t want to go to his own room and his own bed. He wondered if Hobi would let him sleep in his bed but they barely talked since their argument. Namjoon hated sleeping with him and he would have surely woken Jin up with his constant moving. Perhaps Suga would sleep with him if he asked nicely enough, yet the boy had rarely shared his bed with others. He wished Jimin would hug him and kiss his forehead as he sometimes did when they fell asleep together. He needed his best friend, he needed to cry out the rejection and pain he felt. Jungkook was right to be upset with him. He asked for forgiveness before, yet every time their carriers were in danger, he couldn’t be as bold as Jungkook. He couldn’t let others carry his burden and suffer for it. Whose fault was it that he felt happiest and calmest when he was either with his family or with Jungkook? And why did those two things needed to be mutually exclusive?

The boy didn’t realize that he spaced out as he was thinking about all the impossibilities he faced and Jungkook had approached him silently. He felt Jungkook’s arms as the maknae grabbed his waist. Tae moved his own hands on Jungkook’s, stopping when he reached his forearms and felt his defined muscles. His face was close and he smiled. Tae wondered if he was dreaming, he wondered if he collapsed on the floor and his mind was only playing a trick on him.

“Why are you wet, Taehyungie? Why are you here? Have you been drinking?” said Jungkook as noticed the faint smell on alcohol in Tae’s breath.

The older boy looked at him with his lips parted, breathing lightly. They didn’t say another word but stared into each other’s eyes for almost an entire minute. Even though they said nothing, they stepped into each other’s worlds. Two galaxies collided silently and for them to survive, all humanity inside needed to fade. If they wanted each other, they needed to ignore all prayers and become completely selfish. They knew nobody understood them, nobody understood how one needed the other, nobody understood that they would have stopped if they could but it wasn’t a choice they were given. They influenced each other so much that even if they were two completely different persons, their minds juxtaposed created a singularity.

“Go wash up properly. You’re not coming to bed like this.” Jungkook broke the silence and he smiled again as no fight had ever happened. It wasn’t the fact that Jungkook was ignoring their argument but he wanted to hold Tae. He wanted it. It was selfish.
As soon as he heard Jungkook’s deep voice, Taehyung’s legs almost gave in so he hugged the maknae to hide it. He lowered his head on Jungkook’s chest as he chained him in his arms.

“Stop it, you’re getting me wet as well” Jungkook laughed. “Come on, tipsy… let’s get to the shower.” He said and dragged Taehyung in the bathroom as the boy started laughing in his arms. “Let go of me, now…” he added as they entered and he fixed the water for Tae. “I washed your t-shirt so I can give you stuff to change in.”

The statement made Tae let go of Jungkook with a warm smile because there was a secret in it. Everything Jungkook was going to bring him was actually the maknae’s. Tae used to sleep with him so often that Jungkook stopped wearing a couple of his clothes and divided them from the rest, keeping them in a separate drawer just for Taehyung.

“I’m an idiot,” Jungkook said to himself as he went into the room and opened the drawer. He exhaled and commanded his heart to stop pounding like a maniac. It was only Tae. Tae and he were alone before. What was happening? He heard Tae move into the shower and he forced himself to stop imagining how the water must have been dripping on his body. “You deserve all the heartache, you buffoon! He’s always doing this and you always cave, you golden idiot.” Jungkook scolded himself mercilessly as he sat on the floor, in front of a closet.

It took a considerable amount of shamelessness and self-control for Jungkook to enter the bathroom, leave the fresh clothes, pick up Tae’s discarded ones from the floor and not glance in his direction. He moved so fast he was sure Tae didn’t even notice him come in. He folded Tae’s clothes, knowing that he would be washing them the next day and he placed himself on the bed focusing on music. He was playing on his phone when he saw Tae finally getting out of the bathroom.

Tae appeared as a ghost, silently standing near the door, wearing Jungkook’s t-shit which covered him up to the midway of his tights. A towel was handing off his shoulders. He moved slowly towards the bed.

“Better?” Jungkook asked, putting the phone down. Tae didn’t answer him. He needed to jump over Jungkook to get to the other side of the bed where he usually slept. That’s exactly what Jungkook believed he was doing when saddled him with a smile. His hair was dripping here and there and the drops fell all over Jungkook.

“Stop it, Taetae…” he smiled and began drying out Tae’s hair with the towel, which, naturally, got Tae giggling. Jungkook stopped once he felt Tae suddenly becoming rigid and quiet. He pulled the towel off his head and between wild hair strands he could see Tae’s eyes fixing his. Jungkook’s smile diminished as he noticed the look Tae was giving him. It was deep and curious. It wasn’t the first time Jungkook saw it. He’d seen it in the past when their games and touches got tense. He’d even seen it on cams as they teased each other. Tae had moments when he rebelled against the safety of planned separation. It was the kind of gaze which made Jungkook conscious of his entire body.

Tae’s eyes wandered towards his lips and the maknae started breathing heavily, slowly. He couldn’t get his own eyes off Taehyung and he carefully watched as Tae licked his lower lip, moving his face closer to his. He moved painfully slow, Jungkook felt like his heart would burst in his chest due to the anticipation and nerves. He felt embarrassed to let Tae see how flustered he was, how much he wanted every kiss and every touch. His uneven breath betrayed him and so did his eyes because he couldn’t move them from Tae’s lips.

The other boy forced him to look him in the eye as he spoke. “You really do love me…” Tae said in a whisper, refusing to lower himself to touch him. He hovered over the maknae’s lips, playfully.

“What makes you think that?” Jungkook felt hot, embarrassed, but he wasn’t about to give up without a fight.

“Your heart,” Tae said as he touched Jungkook’s chest. “Your eyes,” He said in the same tone and stared into the younger one’s eyes.

“Nothing else?” Asked Jungkook as he grabbed the back of Tae’s head and started kissing him feverishly, enjoying the pink skin as it moved together with his tongue and breath. There was a need and there was satisfaction, Tae’s moans and the scent of vanilla was overpowering the musk. The weight of Taehyung on his lap made him dizzy and he knew that the boy could feel him as his body reacted to the very sexual position.

“Wait, Tae…” Jungkook said as he broke the kiss and slipped his hand in his pants to rearrange himself.

Taehyung laughed merrily and as soon as Jungkook looked back at him he bit his lip and sat back in his lap, knowing exactly what it did to Jungkook’s mind and finding utmost delight in the way the maknae rested his hands on his hips.

“Can I touch you?” whispered Jungkook in his lips.

“Yes…” Tae said in the weakest voice Jungkook had ever heard. In an instant, the older boy started kissing him again in that languorous rhythm that Jungkook knew well. Tae’s tongue and lips applied a perfect amount of pressure on his and the movements were long, slow, exploring, nervous.

Upon receiving permission, Jungkook moved his hands under Tae’s shirt, moving along his sides and his back. Tae’s skin was hot and his entire being was pulsing inexplicably. It reminded Jungkook of a star’s light on the night sky. When he reached Tae’s shoulders, the boy unexpectedly raised his arms and parted from him.

“Take it off…” Tae whispered and Jungkook pushed the t-shirt off, leaving Tae in his underwear. The fabric did a poor job at hiding the fact that Taehyung was just as eager as he was and that not so small detail together with the exposed skin made Jungkook smirk. He began working his lips on Tae’s chest, tasting him, wanting to know where the vanilla flavor came from. He didn’t taste of vanilla but he tasted blissful, especially when his chest vibrated under the caresses accompanied by low moans.

It annoyed Jungkook that he couldn’t get to Tae’s neck and in a blink of an eye, he pushed him over and flipped to end up over him. However, Jungkook didn’t calculate the fact that the new position made him end up between Tae’s tights, he immediately thought Tae would protest and stop him because it was more than they ever did, yet Tae only gasped as he felt the maknae lower himself on him.

“Fuck…” he whispered more to himself as Jungkook started kissing his neck, sucking, biting gently, tasting. Tae’s hands moved under his shirt as well and up to his back. Although Tae gave him no signal to do so, Jungkook rose and took his shirt off. When he went down to Tae’s lips again, the sensation of skin on skin made them forget about the kiss, Tae’s hands wandering on Jungkook’s muscles and the slender and long fingers touched every inch of his back.

Jungkook could only focus on Tae’s hands. He felt his heart race faster when the fingers reached his lower body and applied pressure but he understood what Tae wanted him to do. Tae wanted him to move. He began doing it slowly, carefully analyzing if he understood well. Tae parted from his lips and moaned with his eyes closed as he also moved from below. Tae was splendid under him, aroused and powerful because no matter how much Jungkook felt him as he gave himself to the movement, Tae was controlling everything with his hands.

When Tae’s hands moved back to Jungkook’s trousers, his fingers went under the elastic of the underwear and pushed it. No matter how surprised Jungkook was, without a second thought he stopped and took off everything he was wearing. He felt comfortable with Taehyung as it was. It wouldn’t have been the first time they saw each other naked, they even taunted each other in the past. It was just a step above teasing. Tae took advantage of the situation and pushed his underwear off as well while Jungkook pulled the covers over them. Before sitting back between Tae’s legs, Jungkook took a moment to look at him naked. Tae hid his eyes with his palm, already blushing and breathing heavily.

“Gods, Tae… look at me…” Jungkook said as he pushed Tae’s hand away, pleadingly.

They looked at each other. They owed no explanation to anybody, not to Namjoon, not to PD Bang, not to Dispatch, not to the fans. How could they explain it anyway? They didn’t want to let go. There was warmth in their darkness as hands moved between shadows and skin. Fingertips touched low moans and eyelashes moved slowly together with pleasure and breaths. With no knowledge besides the comfort of each other, they gave up to the hands of the other, because it was safe with a hint of novelty, need and desire laced with care. The sheets that they knew so well were the sole witnesses to the outburst of dreams never answered. Their souls got expelled during the heaviest of breaths and Tae’s deep moans opposed to Jungkook’s melody.

Who needed to know the details of their transpiration? Who needed to know how their hands drew the perfect map of the other? Who needed to know the pace that made them touch unmitigated beatitude?

It happened.

Unplanned.

Uncertain.

Unmatched.

Hands and breaths.

Hums and embraces.

Pleasure and temperature.

They showered together, flustered and smiling. The lukewarm water counted the seconds of happiness and nobody else was allowed to see it.

Nobody saw how Jungkook took another towel and patted Taehyung with a smirk as the boy sat patiently, sleepily watching the man in front of him move and tend to him.

Tae kissed him again, hands around his neck, exhausted. Jungkook’s hand found Tae’s hair and gently pulled it backward. They stood in the bathroom for a couple of seconds, foreheads touching before Tae just pulled both of them back in bed.

 

The world didn’t need to know.

Chapter Text

“Hello?”

“Ah, great! You are up! It’s only my third time calling. We’re coming to pick you up in half an hour. Please be ready…”

“I…”

“Jiminie, please do not fall asleep. It’s important that we get to the studio at the planned hour. Producers aren’t going to wait for you to get ready.”

“Mmm… yes. I understand.”

Jimin mumbled and fell right back on the bed as soon as he assumed the conversation was over. The manager’s voice was not the most pleasant one to hear first thing in the morning but it was normality, like an alarm you are way too used to ring at dawn. Although he knew that resting his head back on the pillow was an awful choice, his entire body ached from the sheer lack of sleep. Going to bed at 6 AM and waking up at 9:30 was not a scenario his body was going to accept easily.

As expected, he fell asleep while still holding his phone. Two seconds must have passed until he heard another voice desperately trying to wake him up.

“Jimin-ah! Don’t you have to be at the studio?” Namjoon entered the room as soon as he could see one of their cars approaching. “Honestly, Jiminie! Wake up. Your pick up is at 10.”

Jimin growled dissatisfied. “I know. I can get… ready… in 10 minutes, just let me…sleep… another 10…”

“I don’t know about your dream land but it's 9:55 in our world and the car is already honking for you.” Namjoon couldn’t help but let out a short chuckle before resuming his authoritarian façade and pulling the covers off the boy.

The first thought that crossed through the youngest brain was that Namjoon was probably playing a prank on him and he realized that he was still clucking his phone so he pressed the home button lazily.

9:57

“Waaah! No, no, no…” Jimin jumped out of bed and a short headache scolded him intensively for the extremely sudden move. “How the hell is it 9:57 already…?” He asked rhetorically and slipped in the closest pair of jeans he could see.

“You mean 9:58…” Namjoon got out of his way.

The boy started searching through a drawer for a long sweater and settled on the very first which seemed to be warm and clean enough. “Pass me a hoodie, will you?”

“Which?” Namjoon asked surprised to be sucked into Jimin’s rush which only replied by waving his hand in a manner which gave the leader the clue that he didn’t care.

Namjoon took of the dark blue hoodie he was wearing and passed it to Jimin because he really didn’t want to search through their packed closet. The boy didn’t even notice the oversized sleeves he had to pull up and whose elastic was so strained that they didn’t stay in place. He threw a hat on and shouted to Namjoon as he ran down the hallway.

“Never let me sleep again!” he said while Namjoon watched him from the doorframe of the room. However, he heard Jimin’s voice again and a short scream. “Ah! Ouch. Who keeps leaving their shoes scattered around?! I live with pigs!”

The front door closed with a loud “Bang!”.

 

“You ARE a pig…” The leader giggled while thinking about the zodiac sign the 95er was born under.

He smiled somewhat satisfied that he didn’t need to roll Jimin outside the door and into the car. He wondered if his roommate was simply too sleepy to argue or if the sudden burst of responsibility had a pre-defined answer. No matter the correct response, he was glad that a fight with Jimin was easily avoided.

“And speaking of pigs…” Namjoon looked at the door in front of his own. He was 99% sure that the white door hid the other piglet which needed waking up. He almost wanted Suga to be home so they could place a bet on the exact screech they heard last night when Taehyung went to bed or better said when Taehyung went to a bed, one which was not his.

He knocked on Jungkook’s door several times as he grew more and more impatient with the necessity of standing idly in front of a door, hoping that the maknaes would hear his pounding. He decided he would wait a few seconds before going in.

Luckily, Jungkook opened the door groggily before Namjoon had to come in uninvited. He couldn’t help but observe the fact that Jk was wearing an unzipped hoodie, which Namjoon could tell he rapidly threw over his bare torso in case there was a manager or a noona at the door. The zipper didn’t aid him in his quest to move fast and with precision. The maknae seemed relieved to tell that it was his hyung at the door and not anybody else.

“Ammm… Kookie, could you let Taehyung know that a car will be here for him in about 45 minutes?” Namjoon said warmly and Jungkook’s head briefly turned to the bed and back. He rubbed the back of his head uncomfortably as he nodded politely to the elder.

“I will…” he said sleepily. “I need to go to the studio as well, anyway so thank you for waking… us… up.” He stuttered and bowed his head slightly.

“…Us” Namjoon repeated in his mind.

There had always been an “us” concerning the two so why did Jungkook hesitate? “Us” wasn’t a bad word. “Us” wasn’t compromising. “Us” wasn’t unheard of.

 

The dawn…

 

Something changed…

 

Suddenly, Namjoon felt like that particular morning was different altogether. It mimicked the first day of spring that one doesn’t even notice, mind buried still in the grief for winter. He scanned Jungkook’s expression but there was nothing he could understand from it except the fact that the maknae was a bit flustered and a bit tired and a bit… calmer or less preoccupied? It wasn’t until Jungkook smiled and began closing the door that Namjoon understood how awkward he was by sitting there, trying to figure out if the kid in front of him was actually happy or not but there was more than happiness to it. It was a sense of serenity.

The door closed and the leader went back to his room. In the eve of the disbandment, Jungkook smiled and Jungkook smiled because of an “us” more than he did because Namjoon must have looked like an over-analyzing fool.

“Well, I’ll be damned, Yoongi… You were right. I doubted it but you were right.” Namjoon thought and shook his head in disbelief. “They won’t let go of the other even when Bangtan is no more, but will they survive out there? Will they survive when the press finds out that they moved in together although they are not part of the same band anymore? Will they overcome it?”

Namjoon sat on the bed and began writing in a notebook.

 

Jungkook closed the door and casually took off his hoodie while moving back to the bed where Tae laid down peacefully. He pushed a few hairs out of Tae’s closed eyes and a Lauv song came to his mind. He had to abstain himself from humming although he knew Taehyung would like it if he outright sang the song for him.

“Was that Joonie hyung?” Tae spoke with his lips in the pillow.

The maknae continued caressing the elder’s hair gingerly and then moved his fingers on the warm skin on his back. He drew invisible patterns until Tae laughed shortly and shifted his position.

“Stop that. It tickles…” Tae said between faint giggles and he placed himself closer to Jungkook, resting half of his body on his chest, enjoying the sensation of skin on skin and the warmth which stretched itself all over him. There was unmatched pleasure in the sensation of their bodies together, protected by covers and walls. The younger boy noticed how the scent of vanilla made way to the realness of Tae’s smell which, somehow, was even more enticing. Jungkook took everything in with a fuzzy mind and wrapped his arms around Tae as he continued to caress him while also observing the small, blonde hairs and smoothness on Tae’s broad shoulders.

Jungkook whispered in Tae’s ear and the raspy voice was as tender as his touches. “We need to go to work soon. Don’t get too comfortable…”

Tae’s breath fell on his neck and Jungkook couldn’t bear the electrifying sensation yet he couldn’t get to the other one’s lips in that particular position. He absolutely loved feeling Tae’s lightweight on his body. He wondered how it would be like if all mornings were so beautiful. Tae’ sole presence made each morning different and exciting. Without Tae there, the mornings were only a continuation of the night.

He held the Sun. Planets, moons, dreams… everything revolved around him. In a split second, a vague sense of possessiveness overtook Jungkook and without thinking, he squeezed Taehyung to his chest and told him “You’re mine.”

The hyung smiled softly and mumbled an “mhm….” as his hand caressed Jungkook’s muscles absentmindedly. “…I am,” he added simply and placed a small peck on the collarbone sitting so advantageously next to his lips.

“Promise?” Jungkook giggled joyfully, partly because of the tickle and partly because of the ease Tae spoke with.

“Mhm…” mumbled Tae again, with a sluggish inflection in his hum.

Jungkook was comfort and he was exciting. There was nothing Jungkook couldn’t do. There were patterns to him which Tae recognized easily as time progressed and he spun only closer and closer. However, there also were sudden bursts of courage and care as well. Tae decided to bask in the circles Jungkook perfectly drew on his skin. There was no embarrassment between them and nothing cast shadows in Tae’s vicinity.

“This feels nice, doesn’t it?” Jungkook asked, closing his eyes.

Like a spoiled child, Tae stretched on the maknae more. He raised his head, looked at Jungkook and touched his chin for attention. “Kookie…” he said slyly.

“What?” the maknae’s eyes shot open and Tae rested his chin on the boy’s chest.

“How come you don’t find any of this repulsive?” Taehyung asked with interest, hoping that his question would not allow a sudden realization of how immoral the situation was.

Jungkook laughed and Taehyung could feel his chest vibrating under him. He widened his eyes in anticipation of the answer.

“I don’t really know, Tae. Probably, because it’s you. It’s not like I’ve been really interested in other guys except you. It’s not like I’ve done this before with a guy. You’re different than anybody I know.” He said and observed Tae’s puzzled look.

“Jin hyung is handsome.” Tae replied. “Did you ever feel like you liked him?” He added a bit embarrassed.

“Ewww,” came Jk’s reply and exaggerated disgusted reaction. “Hyung is handsome, yes… but no, no, no…” He chuckled and cringed. “I will get nightmares even imagining it.” He continued. “Not my style. Not my style, AT ALL.” He joked loudly.

“Woa… ” Tae laughed briefly but quickly resumed his puzzled look, which amused the maknae even more. “Then, am I your style?”

“Completely…” Jungkook watched Tae’s mouth formed one of his overly excited smiles. “…except…” the maknae broke off, his tone changing.

“Except what?” Tae’s expression hardened and he worried.

“…it wouldn’t hurt if you picked up after yourself more, you sloppy thing.” Jungkook laughed again and Taehyung did the same as soon as he realized the maknae was only joking.

“Well… we can’t all be the perfect, golden maknae which everybody likes.” Tae tickled his chin again.

“Do you like me?” Jungkook teased with a smug look on his face.

“I would hope so…” Tae said seriously. “I mean, I am half-naked in YOUR bed and between your sheets so I think it’s safe to say that I like you a fair amount…” he giggled as Jungkook frowned playfully.

“A fair amount, huh?” Jungkook moved his fingers to Tae’s side to tickle him as protest for his statement.

Tae twitched uncontrollably under his fingertips and rolled on his side to escape from the torture. “Stoooop…” he managed to utter between laughs but Jungkook wasn’t about to let him break free. He rolled over him as Tae continued with the same tone he heard Jungkook use when scolding him “It wouldn’t hurt…” He tried catching Jungkook’s hands in order to stop him “…if you stopped being so… good at everything…. you try for the first time. It’s seriously annoying…” He laughed as he fought the chaotic and intense tickles.

Jungkook paused and gave Tae the most inquisitive and mischievous look. “Hmm… so you’re saying last night was good…?” Jungkook couldn’t keep a straight face as he asked but as he saw Tae’s cheeks reddened he pressed himself on top of him more, laughing for a second with his head lowered.

Tae answered in a hushed voice “It was good…” and he wanted to raise his lips towards the maknae. Jungkook noticed.

“I figured. You didn’t seem that annoyed last night.” He couldn’t say the sentence without bursting into laughter again. He felt good knowing it wasn’t a letdown and that the other boy enjoyed it as much as he did.

“Jeon Jungkook, are you blatantly flirting with me?” Tae asked. Jungkook laughed harder, seeing Tae’s boxy smile. “So sassy of you…” he joked.

“Taetae, stop talking for two seconds…” Jungkook said between smiles.

“Wh--” His lips lost their freedom to answer.

They kissed slowly just like they had done in the past. Nothing changed or at least, nothing changed for the worst as Tae thought it would. Even if he and Jungkook spent a night together, even if they touched each other, even if they had no real idea what they were doing, it wasn’t bad… no, it was “good” and it was happy. They were happy…

 

….and they were running late.

 

 

Jimin: Hyung, could you please open this blasted door?
Jimin: Hyung?
Jimin: Suga Hyung?
Jimin: I don’t understand why you need this stupid lock since there is a tone of security in this building…
Jimin: Are you sleeping?
Jimin: W
Jimin: A
Jimin: K
Jimin: E
Jimin: UP!

Yoongi tried ignoring his phone for as long as he could. He forgot it on the desk and the sound was still on, therefore every notification PINGed loudly in his ears. Sleep was not safe from interruptions even in his studio “bunker”. If there wasn’t for the very expensive equipment on his desk, he would have thrown something at his phone to stop it from going off like an annoying alarm.

When the ringtone started it was obvious that he couldn’t ignore it any longer, therefore he got up from the couch and accepted the call.

“Ahhh, what is it, Jimin?” he frowned as he answered.

“I am literally outside your door. Could you please open?” Jimin’s voice was frustrated.

Yoongi took two steps towards the door and opened it from the inside. There were moments when he was so thankful for the password locking system he had the company install for his studio and that particular moment was one of them. Generally, people gave up quickly if he didn’t answer the door but Jimin was relentless to the point of exasperation.

“I knew you were sleeping!” Jimin’s walked through the door as he held two coffees in his hands. He looked exhausted but he smiled at the sight of a Yoongi in disarray. “I brought you two coffees.”

“Yeah, you woke me up,” Suga said a bit unsure of he was supposed to do next. He sat back down, mixed reactions tugging at his soul but he accepted the coffee without much complaint.

“I thought it was only fair for you to suffer alongside me today…” Jimin teased him. “Why should you get sleep when I had a dance practice and a meeting?”

The elder didn’t answer, his attention focused on the warm liquid in the cup Jimin handed to him. “Don’t you want one of these coffees?” he finally asked, unable to look the other boy in the eye. He felt like his cheeks would fire up instantly. However, he knew that if he didn’t then the boy would misunderstand him again. He hated the unclear borders.

Jimin laughed. “No. Those are for you, I am actually heading to the dorm and straight to bed.” Jimin yawned inaudibly.

“Thank you. It’s kind of you to get these for me although you were done.” Yoongi finally looked at him but he was serious. Jimin wondered if it was because of the lack of sleep or because he was actually mad at him for the previous night. He didn’t seem mad when they were kissing.

Upon seeing the boy’s look, Yoongi felt compelled to address it. “I suppose you also want to talk about last night, right?” He pressed on with a sigh.

“Talk about it? Talking about it has a 100% chance of me ruining it somehow.” Jimin laughed again. “Don’t worry, hyung…”

Admitting that he was a bit surprised by Jimin’s attitude towards the entire thing was perfectly normal. He couldn’t pinpoint what type of reaction he expected from Jimin but it wasn’t as laid back as he viewed the boy in his studio. It crossed Suga’s mind that perhaps it was all fake and something else was silently expected of him.

“I don’t want you to be disappointed or …” Yoongi started.

“Hey, hyung… stop worrying. Seriously…” Jimin cut him off. “From what I reckon, I simply admitted that I liked you last night and judging by your actions I would say that you kinda like me too. We have that information, could we not over-think it? I won’t tell anyone if that’s what you’re concerned about…” Jimin trailed off but he was calm and casual, no trepidation in his voice. He meant every word.

It so happened that over-analyzing was Yoongi’s specialty. “Ah, Jimin-ah… It’s not about telling anybody although it would be really awesome if no one butted in our business.”

“Then I will probably tell Tae…” Jimin laughed.

Yoongi’s heart skipped a beat. “Taehyung? That’s practically telling Jungkook as well, which will cave under Namjoon’s inquisition, which will probably tell Jin and when everybody is comfortable enough with the knowledge they will spill the beans and Hobi will find out as well. Bangtan Drama. We love it.”

“Jin hyung knows it was us last night.” Jimin took out his phone.

“Hyung was sleeping…” Yoongi gulped.

Jimin pushed the phone in front of Yoongi’s eyes with an ‘I know something you don’t’ attitude. The text message was clear even if it didn’t state anything openly.

 

Jin: Hobi and Namjoon ate all your kimchi soup.
Jin: I tried stopping them but it was so good. Yum!

 

Jimin’s reply was just a handful of laughing emojis. He was cautious enough not to confirm or ignore the message and even that fact left Yoongi in disbelief.

“Don’t worry. It doesn’t matter, either way, hyung…” Jimin moved towards the door. His reaction was too quick to be natural.

Yoongi stopped him. “Wait, wait… what do you mean with that?” Somewhere, somewhere in the world, a flower withered instantly and the lack of vitality rippled its way into Suga’s studio in Seoul. It hit Jimin the hardest because he looked at the ceiling as he exhaled, pushing air and sadness out of his lungs and body.

“We are disbanding and it’s high time we face the fact that these are our last months together. This comeback in going to be our last…” His pause killed any idea of hope. Jimin sat down and his head lowered himself together with his shoulders. “We act civil but we avoid each other. Jin hyung sits alone in his room and I haven’t seen Hobi hyung smile in ages. I don’t even recognize his voice when he speaks now… Naturally, staff is also upset… and I can’t help but feel like we betrayed them... no, that we are continuously betraying them… ”Jimin drove his hands through his hair as small droplets of water gathered on his lashes.

“I was practicing the choreography for “Blood, Sweat and Tears” and the director asked me why I am doing it… ‘It’s not like you need to practice it anymore. You won’t be dancing that again.’ He said and he is right. We won’t. The last time we danced “Blood, Sweat and Tears” was the last time. Everything and anything we do as a group is going to be the last time we do it… We were so busy that we failed to see the end.” Jimin’s arms wiped his eyes in a rush and he got up to leave. “As I see it, we are done. And even this… this might be the last time I bring you coffee after a dance practice. I am going to enjoy it.” He smiled bitterly as Yoongi listened to him with his mouth opened, perplexed at the immensity and intensity of Jimin’s thoughts. He felt every word as it rolled off the boy’s lips.

 

“We were too busy to see the end…” Yoongi repeated in his mind. “We were too busy to see… each other.” He rubbed his eyes irritated.

 

“Committing every happy moment to memory now only paves the way to the obvious pain that it will cause later. I don’t want to hurt…” Yoongi said from his chair, hands locked together cocooning knowledge and the defenselessness of his persona.
“Then enjoy this with me until it dies… You won’t need to see us again and you will slowly forget me.” Jimin opened the door. “The world does not end, only Bangtan…”

It clicked. All that Jimin was saying clicked unexpectedly in his mind. There was no more sadness but reality. It would have been easier if the world ended as well, but the true tragedy was that it didn’t and they had to live with the decision and observe the consequences. The young man standing in front of him was not a child posing as an adult anymore. None of them were children anymore. They knew which words hurt and the weight of their decisions. Jimin was a young man deciding how to live his life instead of waiting for others’ approval or guidance.

“Chim chim…” Yoongi extended one of his hands to reach him. “Thank you for the coffee. I really appreciate it.” He also made his decision and smiled kindly.

Jimin couldn’t stop himself in due time. He leaned over the hyung and kissed his head lightly.

“See you back at the dorm.” He told him and opened the door.

And just like that, Jimin was gone from the space of the studio but his words were embedded in the antiphonal material of the walls like invisible lyrics written all over. Suga went back to his work but he couldn’t focus on Jungkook’s song. Would he forget? Could he forget the stages? He didn’t even remember them all. Could he forget the chants? He was so used to them. Would he forget the choreographies or would he remember them just like one remembers the lyrics to that annoying song that was popular when age 5? It would be easier if he simply forgot or expelled every memory.

His mind was not in the right place for magic and the track titled “Jungkook_Song.aiff”. He opened up another audio project titled “TEAR”. He stared at it for minutes…

Chapter Text

All the agitation from the dorm had moved to the studios and offices of the BigHit building. The Big Machine of Sounds had been activated and it ran at maximum capacity. There was no corner which didn’t vibrate under the pressure of pre-recordings and recordings. The album was slowly becoming a reality. Every living soul became a device of the mechanism they served. Namjoon still had lyrics to deliver for certain songs and others still needed editing from producers but it was going steady. BTS was a name hiding a very intricate apparatus and countless hours of work split between everybody involved. And because every mechanism needed all its gears to function properly, the boys barely went home.

Even Suga was sick of his recording studio and he wandered around the building during his breaks. He couldn’t help but acknowledge that the comeback felt a lot different when everybody knew they were running out of time as contracts slowly came to an end and as the AMA win put unimaginable pressure on their shoulders.

He roamed the hallways of the building, most of the time so he could clear his head before diving back into work, something he didn’t use to do before. Another abnormality was the fact that he held his phone closer to him because every once in a while he would exchange short texts messages with Jimin.

Jimin: Ugh, dance practice not going so well.
Yoongi: Need anything?
Jimin: Water, sleep and perhaps a vacation. Heh.
Jimin: Getting back into it. Pray for me.
Yoongi: Slow down from time to time. Take care.

 

Yoongi: Hey. Want to grab food? You in the building?
Jimin: Yep. Sure.

 

Jimin: I’m done for today.
Jimin: Going back to the dorm to sleep.
Yoongi: Rest well.
Jimin: Don’t sleep in the studio again.
Yoongi: No, I’ll be home later, don’t worry.
Jimin: See you in the morning.

 

All the texts had the same beat. Nothing uncommon for somebody who didn’t know how much Yoongi actually hated texting, only the fact that he sent three continuous messages was mindboggling. Jimin was not insistent although each time Yoongi’s phone buzzed he knew that it was the younger boy casually telling him what he was up to. It felt nice to exchange the texts even during the busiest moments, yet Jimin didn’t mind if Yoongi didn’t reply right away if he eventually did.

He was telling Jimin what he wanted from the takeout shop the boy was at when he saw Them the first time.

His aimless wandering through corridors brought him in the tech and storage area. They were there. Jungkook and Tae sat together in a storage room as they ate, probably having a break in their schedules. They cleared the dusty table and between all the discarded equipment, they nibbled at the food in the casseroles. Nobody ever came in that particular room, therefore, the two were talking, laughing and feeding each other bits and pieces of food. They looked joyful, and Yoongi was careful to leave the doorframe of the crowded and dirty room before they saw him. He listened to their conversation though.

“Woa, yeah but no, the best episode is the last one of season 1. We learn the truth about him! We should watch that again!” Taehyung said in an excited voice.

“Again?! We watched it like 100 times, Taetae…” Jungkook whined.

Yoongi wondered if he heard well. Jungkook dropped honorifics here and there but it was always done cautiously, with a slight tremble in his voice yet his tone with Taehyung was different when they thought nobody was around. Yoongi waited to hear if Tae would address it. He didn’t. He continued talking about the anime as if it was the most normal thing in the world for Jungkook to call him by his nickname.

“Could we watch that series I told you about last night?” Jungkook followed.

“Of course, Kookie… We can, afterward…” Tae said, laughing.

Yoongi could hear Jungkook whine again. “Nooo… You’ll fall asleep just like last time.”

“I won’t!” Tae said a bit louder.

“What am I? The world’s most comfortable pillow?”Jungkook joked.

Yoongi’s eyes widened. Are they? Were they? Flirting? After all the silence and separation?

“Says the guy who drooled all over me last night…” Yoongi could practically hear Tae roll his eyes while talking but he couldn’t remember the last time he saw the boy coming out of Jungkook’s room in the morning.

“I actually needed to wash up before going to bed,” Tae added as he teased the maknae.

Yoongi took a few steps backward as quietly as he possibly could. It was more than flirting. It was couple’s talk and they hid it. They hid everything in an obscure, dirty room, between broken equipment and dust. Obviously, Tae had to go to Jungkook’s room after Hoseok fell asleep and he had to wake up before his hyung if they wanted to hide the fact that they still slept in the same bed. The mere idea stuck with Yoongi the entire day and in the first hours of the night.

 

The second time he saw them, they were in the van together. Yoongi was in the driver’s seat and he waited for them to finish their work as it was his responsibility that evening to drive them home. As soon as they got into the backseat together, their hands found each other and their fingers interlocked. Yoongi could see it in the rear mirror which he barely used and was a bit crooked for his height. He didn’t want to attract attention by rearranging it, yet when a manager came to his window and asked for a ride home, Yoongi noticed how the boys let go of their hands and actually scooted further away from the other. They both looked at each other disappointed but they kept their secret safe, locked away in saddened stares. It was painful to observe.

 

The third time he saw them, Taehyung had been having a particularly hard day. He was unable to focus properly and he made a lot of mistakes, thus making the entire recording for the vocal line very slow. Jimin told him through a text that the Tae kept messing up his dosage which destabilized his pitch considerably. The director had no choice but to finally ask for a break as he urged the boy to pull himself together. It was obvious that Taehyung was simply having a bad day yet it was one of those days when everything was stalling because of his unintentional errors.

Yoongi exited his studio when he saw them in the empty hallway with the corner of his eye. He stooped in his tracks. He was always compelled to stop and look at them and find clarification. Was he trying to figure out how genuine their feelings were towards the other? What was he analyzing exactly and for what purpose? What was so fascinating about the two that even fans loved seeing them together?

Jungkook was hugging and kissing Taehyung which appeared to be on the verge of frustrated tears. Yoongi couldn’t hear their whispers but he clearly saw how the maknae placed small pecks all over Tae’s cheeks and mouth, trying to comfort him. Every small kiss brought color back into Tae’s gloomy demeanor and Jungkook’s words, although muffled, sounded like a lullaby meant to sooth invisible bruises. In so many ways, Jungkook was Taehyung’s big brother and his most ardent admirer, protector, fan. The age difference between them mattered more to the outsiders of their story rather than it did to them and it showed devastatingly well especially when they thought nobody saw them.

When Jungkook easily descended to Tae’s neck, the older boy finally chained him in his arms and his head fell back together with his heavy breaths. Yoongi saw how the dissatisfaction with the disastrous recording paled with each second and with each inch of skin which Jungkook kissed as Taehyung lost himself in his arms and between the folds of clothing that he desperately embraced. They were impossibly beautiful together, even considering how Taehyung’s hands trembled nervously at the cascade of prohibited kisses. He was fearful but he gave in to the embrace as if he was unable to deny it.

Whatever glimpse Yoongi got of Jungkook’s face, revealed smiles, kindness and a surprising sense of peacefulness. His lips drank Tae’s perfume and sadness diminished the noise of anger. Tae held on to Jungkook’s shirt as if he struggled to stay afloat during high waves which carried him into the unknown of the horizon. His breathing became heavier as he was drowning in other boy’s arms with no intention to struggle free or to fight against him. He accepted it like a loving suicide and drifted away to a world which was only his.

The moment when Tae pushed one of his hands in Jungkook’s hair and his face started getting redder and redder, Yoongi took into account the possibility to stop them. The sight became too intimate to witness. They were in an office hallway. Anybody could have stumbled upon them on that floor and Yoongi couldn’t think of a single person who would be worthy to see such a susceptible sight. He was out of place in their moment as well, out of place in the doorframe of his own studio. The rest of boys often joked that Tae and Jk were living in their own bubble but their problem was that that bubble was translucent. The maknaes couldn’t hide and neither could they step out of it.

He didn’t need to do anything to separate them, however. Before he could act, he heard Namjoon’s voice calling for Tae. The two boys practically jumped out of their embrace and Taehyung tried to rearrange himself before following the sound of the voice and going back to work and to the realness of a world that had difficulties accepting them, which blatantly forced them into filthy rooms and empty hallways.
Jungkook remained behind and watched Tae leave. He smiled towards Tae’s back because Tae didn’t turn to face him. He didn’t move an inch until he couldn’t see the boy’s frame anymore.

“Good god, it’s sweet to the point of diabetes…” Yoongi thought. He wasn’t sure if he had ever seen that particular look on Jungkook before and especially not towards any girl that might have caught the youngest one’s attention.

“Jungkook!” Yoongi yelled and the maknae changed his facial expression instantly. His smile dropped and he lowered his head clearly wondering if the hyung saw them and if he was in for a serious scolding. He paced in Yoongi’s direction, lamb heading towards the slaughter, his posture betraying how uncomfortable he was.

With his clear eyes lowered, Jungkook didn’t dare voice any word, therefore Yoongi beckoned him. “Hey, kid… look at me carefully…” he said in a serious tone and he could hear Jungkook gulp nervously. As soon as he got the boy’s focus he turned to the door and pulled it shut just to turn to the lock and start putting in the password in the correct order. The door opened with a quiet beep. He closed the door again and repeated the pattern. Another beep granted him access without falter. He turned to Jungkook who watched his hands just as he asked. “You do it.”

The maknae glared at him confused but patiently obeyed and put in the password which seemed like a series of random numbers. The door beeped and opened and his hyung nodded.

“Good. This is the password to my studio… You know my schedule, you know when I am not here and if you are unsure, I keep my phone close, you can text me.” Yoongi said calmly.

Jungkook opened his mouth to speak and shut it close, still wondering if the older boy actually saw his and Tae’s slip up. If he were to judge only by Suga expression then it was clear that he was somewhat pissed. But then, why would the hyung give him his password?

Before Jungkook could put two and two together, Yoongi left his side and continued his roaming through the building, phone in his hand. He didn’t consider that he had to add a formal explanation yet he could feel Jungkook’s confusion and it troubled him.

 

Yoongi: Jimin-ah, let’s go eat.

A reply came almost instantly…

Jimin: You are a mind-reader. Tae came back. I have a break.
Yoongi: How is the recording going?
Jimin: Ah, idk what’s still wrong with Taehyung. I did most of my part. Jin hyung is waiting for backing recordings but JK somehow messed up as well just when he was about to wrap up so none of them can go eat. Where are you btw?
Yoongi: Main hall. Can you move any slower, Park Jimin?
Jimin: I can’t reply and look where I’m going, hyung! Be there in 1 min.

 

Yoongi pocketed his phone and stared at the glass window showing him the exterior and a vague reflection of his outline. He pulled his hood up and wondered what place would be best for them to order food from or if they could go out. Going out meant they needed to be cautious not to be recognized by anybody and it meant they needed bodyguards or managers with them. Ordering and eating inside simply sounded like a more comfortable, overall better idea. They could grab the nice table in the lounge area and relax without any other pressing eyes fixed on their every move. It had been a busy day; therefore he was looking forward to his fun, simple chats with Jimin. It was nice having him around on busy days. In a weird way, it helped Yoongi focus on his work and Jimin was always supportive when things got tough.

Unmistakably… he sighed.

‘Curses!’ he shook his head as he continued to rub his forehead uneasily. It was unfair. It was unfair that he and Jimin could sit in the lounge and that Tae and Jungkook felt like they couldn’t.

He didn’t want to think about what had just happened and if he made the right choice. He never gave away the password to his studio and now that he did, a sense of comfort dissipated. However, it felt like a minuscule aid that he could offer without much ado. Yet, Jimin found him in deep thought, looking outside the window almost petrified, a statue in a reflection of glass.
They enjoyed lunch together and they laughed but there was something off in Yoongi’s attitude. He pondered too much before each bite he took. Jimin didn’t want to press him for explanations.

“Jimin, have you spoken to Taehyung?” he asked suddenly.

Jimin nearly choked on his food at the sudden question. He knew that he had promised Suga he would try talking to his friend yet he couldn’t bring himself to do it and neither one of the maknaes engaged him in any type of conversation if it wasn’t about work or house related. He actually found comfort in his time with Suga the most. It was drama-free and even if they didn’t repeat the experience from their all-nighter there was a sense of safety in talking to the other.

They discussed the disbandment and the audience’s expectations but it was done with a clear head, almost objectively. It also was extremely convenient for Jimin that Suga never rushed into anything and that he was very reserved when it came to discussing touchier subjects because Jimin was unsure of what he actually wanted. For the moment, he was very pleased with only getting Suga’s company. It sufficed and he didn’t dare wonder if he would ever want more than that. It was useless to think about it long term.

Jimin’s extended pause gave Yoongi the answer loud and clear, therefore he didn’t react either.

The younger boy stopped eating and slowly chewed his food, sheepishly.

“Are you mad with me cause I didn’t?” he asked but Suga was continuously focused on an indefinite point over his shoulder. “Ah, but Suga hyung, I never really bump into Tae anymore, even at home. I thought about writing to him every night but I really don’t know what to tell him through a text, you know?” Jimin tried explaining himself and he hoped that his conversation partner would understand that it was no ill will but a lack of finding the right circumstance and words to fix whatever was broken. Sadly, even if Yoongi nodded, Jimin was not sure that he understood what he wanted to tell him.

“Hyung?... Suga hyung…? Suga!” he tried grabbing the other one’s focus.

He succeeded. Yoongi looked at him and he smiled, out of the blue, leaving Jimin even more puzzled.

“Yes, Jiminie?” he continued smiling, following the maknae’s eyes as they moved, embarrassed. “Is there a reason why you are turning red?” Yoongi asked as Jimin started smiling uncomfortably.

“Ah, sorry… I didn’t mean to…” Jimin said in a rush.

“Don’t be,” Yoongi said as he dismissed the apology and continued eating with a smile.

 

As soon as night came and Hoseok fell asleep after an exhausting day, Taehyung sneaked out of his room and went to the one down the hall. He threw himself of Jungkook’s bed and waited for the maknae to finish washing up in the bathroom. They had plans to watch some anime together but the cumulated tiredness of the day was claiming their limbs and eyelids. They had no energy even if it was somewhat early. They slowly began loving the night. Night meant they could hold each other behind a closed door, without the anxiety that they will be discovered. The downside, since they started locking the door on occasions, was that they had to make sure they doubled the number of alarms which needed to wake them up in the morning. Taehyung was activating each alarm when his phone started buzzing in his hands and startled him for a fraction of a second.

“Yoongi hyung…” Tae said to Jungkook softly as the maknae entered the room.

“Hyung? What does he want?” Jk said, surprised. He failed to mention to Tae that he thought Suga saw them in the hallway and that they might be in a bit of trouble with him so he acted as if it was no big deal that Tae received a message from Yoongi at the unusual hour.

Jungkook continued folding his clothes in wait for the answer. Seconds passed and no reply came from Taehyung. A couple of more seconds were filled with only the sound of folded fabric and drawers opening and closing. Instead of a reply, the maknae heard a soft sob and short breaths of air. “Taehyung?” he turned his head rapidly only to see how Tae hid his tears behind blankets and pillows. “Taehyung? What happened?” Jungkook stood up and froze. “Is hyung alright? Is everybody alright?” he asked cautiously to conceal the slight tremble in his own voice and the nerves which made his heart rush.

He couldn’t tell if Tae nodded or not so he grabbed his own phone which was sitting idly on the desk. There was a message from Suga showing as a notification on his screen. The phone had alerted him of it but he was in the shower and naturally, he failed to hear it. He slid his finger on the notification and a big block of text appeared.

Jungkook felt like his knees would give in, he needed to sit down. He placed himself on the bed next to Taehyung.

“I received one too…” he whispered.

He wanted to know the contents of the text but he needed to hug Tae. He needed to reassure him that he was there and without hesitation, Tae placed himself in his arms before Jungkook could act in any way.

“He knows…” Tae said between sobs and Jungkook’s mind went blank just to be filled with fretfulness. “He…” Tae continued as he whipped his tears. “He accepts… us…” he mumbled.

Jungkook began reading his own message. Yoongi’s text had an overall sad, apologetic tone. The older boy encouraged him, urging him to be himself. He felt sorry that Jungkook had to hide from the one’s he considered friends. He spoke of acceptance and of tolerance and he spoke of love.

 

Yoongi: “…If you truly like each other, don’t let go. Your happiness is more important than other people’s ignorance. Fight, because at the end of the day, you’re fighting them together and I will stand besides you and fight alongside you if need be…”

 

There was nothing truer. There they were, at the end of the day, embracing each other with Yoongi indirectly aiding them to push forward towards a new dawn and another one, and another one…

 

“…who you choose at your side does not make you less manly, less beautiful or less important…”

 

“I love you…” read the last line of the text. Jungkook asked Tae if he could read his message and they exchanged phones. The two letters were different but they had the same tone, same beat, same conclusion. It took Jungkook a while to realize that tears started falling from his eyes and that both he and Tae were hugging each other, crying silently.

 

Taehyung used his sleeve to wipe away Jungkook’s tears and pressed his forehead on the maknae’s. The younger boy let the phone fall in his lap so he could place both his palms on Tae’s wet cheeks. The Sun was holding the Moon, reality existing only in Shadows.

Eclipses were scary only if one lacked the knowledge to understand them. There was nothing unnatural in the way their hands caressed the other. Who had the right to forbid them the tenderness?

“I promise will never give you up…” Jungkook said in a low voice while also trying to control his own tears. “We’ll find a way…” he sobbed quietly.

“Kookie…” Tae whispered softly. “I’m glad it’s you…”

A small smile appeared on Jungkook’s lips. “What do you mean?” he whispered back.

“It’s you…” Tae repeated. “It’s you and nobody else…” he continued. “You… you… you” he said as he started kissing Jungkook’s lips lightly, peck after word.

“If we disband…” Jungkook started saying but Tae shushed him with his lips.

“We won’t…” he said confidently. “I want to… try… something… Trust me.” He accentuated his last sentence. “Trust me, alright Kookie?”

Jungkook let the other boy caress his hair as his voice danced behind his closed eyelids.

 

“Trust me… Trust me… Trust me…” it lingered.
“It’s you… You… You…” it echoed.

 

Tears stopped. Time went on counting their touches, their breaths and the eventual laughter that came together with Taehyung’s question as if he only then registered a big chunk of missing information:

 

“Wait, can you believe Suga hyung told us that he loves us?”

Chapter Text

“Tae, what is the probability that you got us lost?” Hoseok asked, concerned that the car’s suspension system would be completely ruined by the time they got to their destination. It wasn’t the fact that the road was uninviting but that it took a toll on one’s car that none of the drivers were expecting. He was displeased that he couldn’t really enjoy the scenery because of the bumpy road and the woods were so inviting even though they didn’t bear the greens of summer.

“Hyung, it’s here. Map says… we need to curve to the right and…” Tae’s eyes moved from his app to the road, to the piece of paper he was trying to interpret.

He sat in the front seat and he offered to drive on various occasions because he felt bad for the hyung. When he heard Tae’s suggestion, Jungkook also started mentioning that he could take over driving for them. However, Tae had to be in charge of the route and Hoseok feared that Jungkook’s need for adrenaline might make him increase the speed over the very menacing bumps on the road, so everybody agreed it would be optimal if Hoseok drove forward.

“Stop looking at your phone. Signal is too poor over here…” Jungkook endlessly tried to convince Tae to stop trusting the internet GPS and rely on the instructions that the booking agency gave them when they arrived in the area.

“Oy… Suga is going to murder us. Good thing he is keeping his distance in the other car…” Hoseok sighed somewhat amused by the situation. He silently thanked all the gods he knew that Namjoon was not in their car and that he stayed behind with Jin, Suga, and Jimin. The leader would have tried to help but since he didn’t know how to drive or where they needed to go, he would have probably ended up just stressing himself out, which would have stressed Tae, which would have a laughing fit effect of Jungkook. “Thank the gods, Nam-…”

“Hyung! That’s the one!!” Tae yelled loudly and unnecessarily as both his travel companions were in close-hearing distance.

 

 

A white, marble-like cabin appeared from between the trees. Hoseok could already see the big terrace and the grill area to the side. The house looked just like most of the other cabins on the lake and in the Cheongpyeong area. It was simple, lovely and private. The latter detail was obviously the one which was most appreciated by the entire group. Hoseok actually told himself no sasaeng would actually put their car in as much peril to get there. Suddenly, he was more thankful for the road than he had ever been while driving there. Most people would have agreed that it was a little too cold to have this type of outing when spring was just setting in yet BTS had always been known for making things work in their favor, in their own way.

They were all together with their parents, enjoying a couple of days off, the final weeks before the comeback when they received a message from Taehyung. He wrote it in the group chat which had been silent for days. The text said “I booked this. I’m going there for the weekend. Anybody want to come?” Attached were a couple of very glossy and obviously promotional photos of a cabin in one of the most beautiful places in Korea. It was advertised as being off the beaten track and offering 100% privacy.

To the surprise of the others, the first and almost instant reply came from Jimin. It simply read “I’m in.” Then the world might as well have had imploded on itself but the second reply was Yoongi’s. “Hmm… sounds good. +1” he wrote.

“Did you let management know? It extends our vacation by a day if you count coming back and getting ready.” Namjoon asked.

“No, but I will,” Tae said plainly.

“Ha! Count me as one of the bad boys!” said Jin. “I’m in. Hobi, Kook?”

“Jungkook will be there,” replied Tae to nobody’s surprise. The golden maknae had not even seen the messages, therefore, he knew beforehand of the entire trip.

“What am I supposed to do alone at the company? Yo guys need ya hope.” Hoseok replied and added a couple of sunshine and laughing emojis.

“I didn’t say I was going” Namjoon casually answered.

“No offense, Joonie but you + agency or bbq + Cheongpyeong…… I mean….” Hoseok said.

“That’s fair.” Came Namjoon’s reply yet as he was writing what seemed like a long, scolding message aimed at all of them, Tae cut him off.

“Spoke to the PD Boss. He said yes.”

Namjoon’s eyes widened. He knew that Tae must have told the truth because he wouldn’t have lied about something Namjoon could have easily confirmed with any of the managers. He wished he learned why Bang PD approved Tae’s change without checking with him or the team. However, it turned out that his teacher was two steps ahead of him, as always. When Namjoon figured it out, it made more sense than daylight. Bang PD took it upon himself to handle all Monday appointments if it meant they… spent time together.

“Clever…” Namjoon mumbled to himself and traced everything back. “Wait. This was Taehyung’s idea…” He smiled. “Ah, this boy…”

“OK, Bangtan. You win. And I am not complaining. How do we get there?” He wrote.

Yes, the group chat had been silent until the evening a cabin near a lake in the woods and Taehyung somehow convinced everybody that they could still look forward to memories they could make together. Jin and Suga automatically started planning the grocery list and as if he was summoned by an ancient ritual Jungkook also started replying to the conversation by throwing in random foods that he wanted to eat. Naturally, it made everybody laugh. Namjoon shared about 3 photos of different weather forecasts and Hobi encouraged everyone to bring warm clothes. The hyung line sprung into action like they always did and left the maknaes to simply agree or disagree with their choices.

Tae watched the conversation unfold with a boxy smile.

“I love all these idiots…” he whispered to Tannie as the dog yawned lazily near him.

 

 

“Ah, Taehyungie… this place is really beautiful…” Jimin said when he got out of the backseat of Suga’s rented car. His hair was in disarray and none of them were wearing the usual makeup.

“Right? I’m impressed… good pick.” Hoseok added and patted Tae’s shoulder. He checked to see if he parked right and with his hands on his waist, he absorbed the energy of the nature around them. It felt good to be there together with his brothers. He somehow missed them. He missed being alone with them. They were part of him. Hoseok couldn’t remember the time when they weren’t and he was alone. He loved hearing all their voices in the background, even if they were hectic and loud at times, it resembled a soundscape that he could always relax to. A missing voice brought only worry.

“Ok… who has the least luggage and can carry the food inside?” Suga asked stridently while opening the trunk of the rental car he drove.

“Hyung! Me, hyung! I can do it. I only have a backpack” Jungkook rushed to other car.

“You’ll need help. It’s a lot of food…” Yoongi looked at Jungkook as he grabbed all the bags with ease and ignored the warning. The maknae was strong enough to carry everything by himself, therefore Suga started worrying more for the bags and the weight in them than he did for Jungkook.

Jin approached the same trunk and yelled after Namjoon who, just like Hobi, was too caught up in the landscape to realize that they were on the move. “Joon, come here and carry all this beer you bought.”
Namjoon turned his head and hastily started walking to the car.

“I’ll help. Do we have Tae’s soju? Did you get the fruity one?” Jimin asked Yoongi while rapidly making an inventory which was much belated and a situation in which something would have missing couldn’t really be helped. The older boy nodded and couldn’t do anything but smile. “How about your whiskey? Where is it?” he worryingly added when he noticed that the bottle was not in the bags he rummaged through.

Suga was picking up his luggage simply to hide the inexplicable feeling of happiness that washed over him as he realized it would be only them, for a couple of days. He noted how Jimin got in his car even after Jungkook mentioned he had an empty seat next to him. He noted how Jimin’s eyes silently checked upon him while he was getting more and more frustrated with Tae’s lack of knowledge of the surroundings and road. He noted how Jimin simply cared about his wellbeing, but then again, Jimin cared for everybody’s wellbeing. He tried not to put much thought into it although he was that the boy cared enough to feverishly search the car for a missing bottle that he knew Suga would like.

“Yoongi hyung, I don’t think we took it from the shop. Do you think they deliver here? I’ll get you another one.” He said obviously disappointed and as he checked all the bags again. “How could we forget it?”

“Jimin-ah, it’s with me, in my backpack,” Yoongi said with a smile and signaled that the boys had entered the house and they were left behind. “Come, let’s go inside.”

Jimin’s suddenly stopped and his hands formed fists. “Oh! You let me search like a moron?” He demanded.

“It was cute…” Suga said. “You were a cute moron…” he added as he waited for Jimin to pick up his stuff from the car and he swore that he could see Jimin slightly blush as he huffed and puffed. “Thank you, though…” Yoongi caught his arm and took the suitcase Jimin was pulling after him from his hand. Their hands touched slightly and neither Yoongi nor Jimin pulled their hands away for a couple of seconds. They both acknowledged the touch which lasted longer than normal.

The young boy raised his eyes to meet Suga’s and only then did he notice how close his hyung was to him. He couldn’t focus on something to say as his eyes wandered all over Suga’s pearl white skin. Jimin couldn’t convince himself to look into his eyes, though. He feared that if they made eye contact time would stop. “I can carry it.” He said but his voice was only above a whisper, weirdly melodic, devoid of anger and warm.

Suga smirked. He rarely saw the shy side of Jimin, the shy side that didn’t only mean using an innocent visage to act lovely for fans. There were moments in which the maknae felt cornered because he could be read and it flustered him immensely. Even though he couldn’t understand exactly why it was so, Yoongi made him blush without warning for the smallest of things, just like a brief, light touch on the handle of a suitcase.

Risking it, Suga got closer to him and purred. “I know you can do it. I just want to thank you for searching…” he said in a whisper as he tugged at the handle and Jimin pulled away his hand with a smile. “Come on…”

 

Once everybody got inside the house and all the food had been placed in the fridge and the rooms were inspected, the boys gathered in the common area, leaving their entire luggage to the side. The house had 4 rooms. Two of them were holding a king-sized bed whilst the other two had twins and although all of them looked really, pretty distribution was threatening to become a bit of a mess when seven people try to decide where and with whom they wanted to sleep.

“Why don’t we do this like in Bon Voyage or Run?” Jimin suggested from the sofa as the boys bickered about mattresses and views over the lake. “We all go out and the first room we walk into is the one where we need to sleep.” He laughed. “It would be funny if four of us chose one single twin.”

“Ah, that means Taehyung and Jungkook are surely sleeping in the same room…” Jin commented with an amused whine as he was unpacking some of the snacks they bought.

“Why do you say that, hyung?” Namjoon asked, sarcastically.

“Because they always cheat when it comes to teams or rooms. Ah, I don’t know why you two don’t just move together in Jungkook’s room even in the dorm.” He mentioned whilst ignoring Tae’s protests regarding the cheating. Neither of the boys addressed the “moving in together” comment but they both blushed.

Namjoon laughed loudly and sat on the same sofa as Jimin. “Every Bon Voyage… Do you remember the time Jungkook said not to give away our rooms when Taehyungie came and then he straight up told him which room was his?”

Jungkook burst out in laughter and the rest of the voices followed.

“That happened. Yeah… you’re right…” Hoseok couldn’t help himself while eyeing Jungkook with a grin.

“I honestly thought director-nim will make us reshoot the entire scene because of him and man, was I tired,” Suga added while passing cans of coke and beer around to the other boys and as Jimin fetched some of the snacks they bought on Jin and Jk’s requests. Soon, the living room was vibrant with sounds of cans popping, bags being opened and laughter.

Taehyung wiped away tears from his eyes as he laughed uncontrollably. “Jungkook-ah, yeah, why did you do that?” He asked between giggles.

Jungkook raised his shoulders and arms in fake frustration. “I didn’t know if you understood which one’s mine from my text and we were mic-ed since the first second you arrived… what was I supposed to do?”

Upon hearing Jungkook’s very honest answer, the boys collapsed on each other unable to laugh harder than they already were. Both maknaes laughed with them discarding the idea of protesting about the fact that they actually do not cheat. It was obvious that they did it all along but most of the time the cameras or the directors did not catch it. They slowly became experts at throwing people off regarding their intentions.

“Where were we on that Bon Voyage? Were we in Malta?” Hoseok asked while pouring himself a small shot of soju from the bottles that piled up on the glass coffee table in front of him.

“Yes. That was Malta and hyung, are you sure you want to begin drinking right now?” Jimin asked concerned that they hadn’t started the fire yet and, since winter hadn’t left them completely, the days were shorter.

Hoseok sat back next to Jungkook, which scooted near to Taehyung to make space for him while also asking for a shot of soju.

“This is just an apéritif…” Hobi replied in a very forced and exaggerated French accent. “This is just to get the appetite going… Cheers!” He raised his glass and gulped down some of the grape flavored soju.

Namjoon sat down opposite of Hoseok, pushing Jimin to the center of the couch and leaving the big armchair only for Jin who extended his arms right after placing them behind his head, clearly comfortable in the chair.

“Speaking of which, who will handle the BBQ?” the leader asked but his eyes were already focused on Jin, who seemed to understand, even without looking, that the affirmation might be aimed at him.

Jin hummed from the armchair, refusing to get up. “Dunno, bro… I’m on vacation…”

“I’ll do it. Let me just finish my beer.” Said Suga as he tried to ignore the fact that Jimin decided to sit with his legs crisscrossed under him and that practically meant that he was leaning his thighs on him and Namjoon, who didn’t even flinch at the touch but Suga couldn’t ignore it. It was an inexplicable sensation which lingered until the last sip of beer disappeared from the can.

 

Around an hour passed until the seven boys reached the conclusion that they needed to move the luggage into their rooms and that the BBQ couldn’t wait any longer. Snacks helped with hunger but they couldn’t fill all of them, especially since half of everything they bought was already gone. When Jin’s bag of gummy bears was in danger, he rose to his feet and beckoned everybody to get up as well. However, what Jin didn’t see was the fact that Jungkook took the bag with him outside. A quarter of it was already gone by the time Jin snatched it back from the hands of the ever-hungry maknae.

“Ok, who goes first? Rock, paper, scissors?” Jimin gathered them all in a circle.

“1, 2, 3,” The boys said as hands decided their fate. “1, 2, 3,” they said again.

“Ah, Jin hyung is first!” Jimin exclaimed.

Jin bowed in front of them, thanking the losers for his victory. “Fitting for the hyung! Finally, the respect I deserve…” he commented as he went back inside the house and picked up his luggage. He remembered which of the rooms had two twins and he sincerely hoped he would get a bed all for himself so that he could sleep properly. Therefore, he chose one of the rooms on the ground floor, sure that most of the members would go upstairs.

 

The next one to win was Namjoon, which gave them all a mischievous smile before going inside the house since he heard all the comments of the boys trying to calculate how to avoid rooming with him. He also wanted to go for one of the twin bedrooms yet he couldn’t remember which one of the doors on the ground floor hid his intended target. In a split second, he found himself in a room with a king-sized bed. He chose the right side and sat down, phone in hands.

 

Yoongi and Taehyung tied for the next spot but before they would play again, Yoongi went inside the house. “I’m going in, you can be next Taehyung.” He simply left the boys behind him, perplexed. He tried to pay attention to Taehyung and Jungkook’s whispers since they were obviously cheating again in order to get the same room, and he heard them mention the king-sized bed and although he couldn’t hear them properly, he could have sworn he heard them talking about the first floor. He went inside the house and to the nearest room he could see. When he opened the door, he couldn’t do anything but smile. Namjoon was sitting casually on one side of the bed… “Welcome, bro…” he said with a smile.

“Well… fuck.” Suga smiled at Namjoon’s attempt at making a cute face.

 

“Go, Taetae!” Jimin gently pushed Taehyung forward when they received Suga message that he was done with picking the room. Jimin offered to be the last to go in so that he could be texted when the one picking had settled on the room. “It was too fast to be the upper floor. He chose one of the ground floor rooms…” Jimin thought but there was no other hint in the text Yoongi sent him.

Taehyung blew them all a kiss as he entered the house and went straight to one of the ground floor rooms. The first thing he saw when he opened the door was a miserable looking Yoongi and a wide smile coming from Namjoon. Since there was only one bed, it meant that one of them would have to sleep in the middle. Suga wasn’t going to, therefore that meant Tae would be next to Namjoon, which was not so keen on cuddles and yet cuddles he would receive.

Taehyung extended his arms and he went straight into Namjoon’s arms, repeating “Cuddles, cuddles, cuddles…” as the leader started laughing and held the young one in his arms. Everything in Tae’s body gave Namjoon the impression of softness. His hair, his voice, his embrace, it was all soft and lovely. Even if he hated being too warm at night and therefore was not a fan of Tae’s climbing on the person he slept with, he loved Tae. Only Taehyung had the unique ability to make Namjoon muster all the patience and understanding in the world. He had a weakness for the very smart and misunderstood boy because he reminded him of all the extremely awkward and creative artists he was keen on reading about.

“Hey, you weren’t supposed to follow me…” Suga said when Tae was sending Jimin his message.

 

Hoseok had been luckier than Jungkook when it came to “rock, paper, scissors” and he left the last two boys alone outside as he entered the house. He already knew which of the rooms he wanted. The first floor rooms had a beautiful view of the lake and terrace so he went up the stairs rapidly. He opened the door to the twin bedroom fearfully because everybody had complimented the view so he expected some other members to be there. He was beyond relieved and equally surprised to notice that he was alone.

“Yes!” he whispered to himself as he danced his way towards one of the beds.

 

“Good luck, Kookie!” said Jimin as Jungkook inhaled and went inside the house. He went straight to the door that he and Tae decided on just to hear various voices laughing as he pushed it open. Naturally one of the voices was Taehyung’s but the next one was definitely Yoongi’s as he kept repeating. “Told you, Joonie! Told you. I fucking knew it! I knew it!”

“Ok, this is a predicament,” Namjoon said while watching Jungkook drop his bag on the floor, obviously confused on how they could all fit on the bed. He silently wondered if they would make him sleep on the floor since he was the last one to come in. “Aiiish….” He mumbled.

 

Jimin pocketed his phone once he received the last message and he entered the house. He analyzed which of the rooms Yoongi might have picked. He didn’t want to be embarrassingly clingy and ask him where he was going but there was no rule in using your brain to get what you want. Moreover, who could have accused him of wanting to room with Suga?

“Hmm… if he remained on the ground floor, which room did he choose? Hmm… Twin. Surely.” Jimin thought and went straight to it. However, instead of Suga he found an extremely bored Jin looking back at him with a mouth full of gummy bears.

“Hyung, you’re with me tonight,” Jimin said as he left his luggage near the unused bed.

“Oh, good thing this is over! I am starving!!” Jin yelled as both boys went outside of their room and asked everybody to come out so they could see the outcome. Shortly, from the room next to them, 4 other members exited, all looking a bit puzzled and somewhat disappointed.

“You’re all in the same room?” Jimin fell on the floor laughing when he saw Jungkook’s pissed attitude and Suga roll his eyes mumbling something about room distribution being stupid. “Hyung, you got Taetae as your roommate?” Jimin said to Namjoon who looked down smiling. “If that is not karma, I don’t know what is…” he said from the floor.

“Hey, look… I respect the rules but we all know Taehyung makes me too hot and I make him itch. I love you, man… but we are not a good combination.” He said while giving Tae a brotherly handshake.

Hoseok heard the commotion in the house and went outside his own room just to notice that everybody was downstairs. He opened the door to the room next to his and it was completely empty.

“You’re all down there while this room is empty?” he yelled from the upper floor.

“No way!” Jimin rolled over laughing harder when he saw Hobi face smiling back at all of them from the other floor where apparently, nobody but him went.

“I have no place to sleep on in that bed…” said Jungkook groggily.

Since nobody was particularly pleased with the situation in which 4 members had to share one single bed, another game of “Rock, paper, scissors” was allowed in order to determine who gets the other very empty room. The winners were Yoongi and Taehyung again and without any more protest, Jungkook and RM remained in their initial room.

Once everything was settled, Yoongi started the BBQ. Nightfall already installed itself over the trees and the lake. The other members got busy with their own cooking or with the music being played on a bluish portable speaker. It was an outing of friends, not idols, not celebrities. They bundled up in the warmest clothes they brought and kept exiting now and again to check on Yoongi who despite his best efforts had to sit next to the meat and ignore the whining of the others. Everybody got extremely hungry and as Suga was tending to the grill, they kept pestering him with questions about the cooking time. He had no other choice but to start giving them food as soon as he believed the meat was ready. It also didn’t really help that Hoseok tried cooking some sweet potatoes on the same grill and occupied half of it.

“Ah, I don’t think you wrapped them up properly…” Suga commented but Hoseok simply raised his shoulders as he watched the aluminum foil beginning to melt. “Are you even sure that’s aluminum?” Suga pressed on but got another confused reaction from his bandmate and decided it was useless to argue.

Jimin came outside various times, doing his best to keep Suga company. Even when the other boys started eating whatever Yoongi gave them Jimin came out again and brought potatoes and noodles.

“You didn’t get to eat, hyung. Eat or those beasts will only leave scraps for you.” The young boy started picking meat up from the grill and literally fed Yoongi, refusing to leave his side. He kept taking a few steps backwards each time another of their friends came outside just to close the gap again when they went back.

“Jiminie, I don’t think this meat is properly cooked,” Suga said while chewing without much success.

Jimin’s eyes widened with surprise. “It isn’t? Jungkook is eating it without an issue.” He said after catching a glimpse inside where the big table was set.

“Well, Jungkook would eat shoe leather if hungry.” Suga took a large sip of his beer to wash down the big chunk of meat in his mouth. He felt Jimin lean on him while laughing and his breath smelled of soju. “You started drinking?” Suga commented casually.

“Ah… yes…” Jimin said shyly. “Namjoon hyung said it will help with digestion.” He replied matter of factly and took one of Suga’s hands in his palms. “Oh, I assumed you must be cold out here. Your hand is freezing. The heat from the fire ain’t really helping is it?” He bent over the hand and blew warm air over it.

“It’s because I don’t use this hand to handle the meat…” Yoongi stopped talking because he had the vague impression that Jimin wasn’t really listening to him but he was actually paying attention and when the boy realized the way Yoongi went silent, their eyes found each other.

“Let me warm you up…” he said as is full lips got closer to Yoongi’s hand again and kissed it softly. Another round of hot air escaped his mouth and dispersed over the pale fingers like winds in the desert.

The sensation of Jimin’s hot lips on his cold hand was otherworldly and curious. It impeded any coherent thought that Yoongi might have had the ability to gather. Probably, the only logical thing to do was to kiss him, take his chin into his palm and kiss him. If only Yoongi’s brain didn’t malfunction in that second, perhaps he would have seized the boy’s lips and that familiar warmth would have washed over both of them but he found himself incapable of moving, no matter how much every cell in his body urged him to.

“Chim…” he said softly.

“Yes?” Jimin rose his eyes to him, head still lowered over his hand.

“Believe me when I say I would really want to kiss you right now… I’ve been replaying a scenario in my head where, instead of saying this, I kiss you…” the hyung was sure his entire face and even his ears were blushing.

“But you are not.” Jimin sat up properly and interlocked his fingers with the hand which somehow became his property in a matter of minutes. “But in that scenario, how is it?” He asked so close to Yoongi’s ear that he was practically whispering into it.

Yoongi giggled shortly. “I don’t know… somehow, everything goes blank when I touch you.” He said with no intention of being romantic.

“Then, do you want me to do it?” Jimin asked him again, his voice pure, utter music to Yoongi’s ears. “Do you want me to kiss you?” He asked again.

Yoongi glanced towards the closed door before moving his eyes back to Jimin’s.

“I don’t care what they say…” Jimin stated and got even closer. He saw how Suga’s eyes focused on his lips when he spoke.

“Now is not a good time…” Yoongi inhaled shortly as his heart started beating faster. He felt completely exposed although only the woods were witnesses to their secret. He could almost feel his body trembling because of Jimin’s proximity and because they could easily be seen by anybody who decided to walk outside.

“It’s never a good time for us…” Jimin said as he closed in. His voice was neutral, real. It dropped all playfulness. “Nevermind..” he said and stopped inches away from his hyung’s lips, allowing him the decision.

“Nevermind…” said Yoongi and closed his eyes while squeezing boy’s hand in his. He gently placed his lips on Jimin’s and they were beyond warm. They were fruity and damp and there was no other feeling that could have matched the one building up as they kissed. Inhale after exhale, they played with the other. Each time Yoongi wanted to break free from the kiss and Jimin sense it, he would catch his lips again and again and again... It was only when Yoongi started biting his lips lightly that the maknae threw his head backward and broke the spell.

“Ah, don’t do that…” he said, smiling as he touched his lower lip with his fingertips. When he saw Suga’s confused expression he added. “I really like it… like… too much…” he placed a hand over his own chest and inhaled deeply.

 

Even if the moment between them ended when they let go of their hands, the maknae didn’t leave Yoongi’s side until the last bit of meat was taken off the grill and Taehyung came outside. Tae didn’t bother to look at them. He headed straight into the darkness in front of the house and sat down on the ground, with his legs under him. The boys were accustomed to Tae’s weird mannerism, therefore, they simply stared at him for a second.

“Could you take this inside?” Yoongi asked Jimin as he passed him the plate and the boy nodded and hummed in return, giving him one last gaze.

With a wet wipe in his hands, Yoongi walked toward the darkness where Tae sat. He initially felt like he was stepping into a prohibited world, full of danger and unknown, yet Tae stood inside of it bravely as he looked into the darkness and inhaled deeply. Yoongi bent down next to him and it took Tae a couple of seconds to acknowledge that he wasn’t alone.

“Hey there, roommate!” the boy showed off his boxy smile.

Taehyung wasn’t running from anything in the darkness. He was coming home to it. He had a peaceful, blissful look. Of course, since he was the Sun, he felt at home in the darkness. He needed spaces to illuminate. He needed skins to warm up and hearts to bless.

“Hey, kid… about that… what do you say if you have our room all to yourself? Keen on breaking the rules with me?” Suga said with a small wink and thought that Tae would get excited but the boy’s eyes dropped and his expression darkened.
“You don’t want to room with me?” He said, disappointed. “Is it because I cuddle you guys?”

It amazed Suga to see the honesty and hurt pouring out of the maknae’s eyes. He shook his head rapidly and continued speaking softly, as he saw Namjoon speak to him so many times in the past. Tae was too sincere and naïve to understand the undertones of his plan. It struck Yoongi to realize how open and raw Tae was and how the current situation in the dorm must have affected him.

“Let’s say that I know somebody who I think would really miss your cuddles even if it’s just for two nights.” He raised his eyebrows knowingly. “…and I believe that if given the choice, he’d choose to sleep with you over anybody else in this house.” He added and saw Tae’s cheeks blush as he smiled again.

“But the rules…” Tae started saying.

“Fuck the rules. This isn’t Run and I do know you are as much of a rebel as any of us…” Suga got up and started walking towards the house. “Do we have a deal, Taetae?”

“Deal!”

Suga heard Tae scream just before he felt the young one’s hands pressing down with force on his shoulders. He stopped and planted his feet firmly on the ground as he felt Taehyung jump on his back merrily. Without much addition or complains, Suga carried Tae inside.

Chapter Text

If the BTS dorm would have had a soul, it would have been empty. If the BTS dorm would be able to develop a personality, it would have learned envy. The inhabitants of the apartment in Seoul were not home because, sometimes, one has the need to run anywhere else but home. That was precisely what Jin, Yoongi, Hoseok, Namjoon, Jimin, Tae and Jungkook did. They ran together. They saw deserts turn to seas together. They visited the deepest pits of the Earth and sat in flames. They existed in galaxies unnamed. Seven kids transformed into eons and yet they felt mortal pains, aches, and happiness. If once they chased happiness by running until their feet bled now they were traveling at light speed all over the void, searching.

That night they were in a secluded cabin in the woods.

No managers and no directors were there to see how seven boys blended all their personalities together and became the one singularity that they were so carefully raised to be – BTS.

 

“Was it really destiny? I have no idea who I am without them. What Fates decided that my life would be intertwined with theirs? For how long?” Namjoon was pensive as he sat on the couch with a beer in his hands. Thoughts of existence wouldn’t stop rolling inside his busy mind. He watched the others as they were talking, laughing, drinking and playing a game that involved slapping each other. Jungkook and Hoseok were the most invested in it although their rules didn’t make sense and they kept changing them as they went. Taehyung was sitting next to Jungkook and although Hoseok caught his hands a couple of times and slapped him quite hard, Jungkook barely touched him every time he could have applied his full force because Tae didn’t pay enough attention.

 

“I’m fair to everybody else but you…” Namjoon could hear Jungkook sing in his ears even if he couldn’t remember the last time the maknae sang those particular lines. The leader could see Jungkook act out that exact verse right in front of him. Namjoon knew. A part of him always knew. A part of him could never dissociate lyrics from facts and art from reality.

 

“Now I can’t live a day without you…” The song kept playing in his head, looping Jungkook’s voice annoyingly.

He glanced to his right to see Yoongi on the floor, talking and explaining something like he rarely gathered the energy to do. Jimin was sitting down next to him and he leaned on the couch for support when whatever Suga was telling him became too funny. They both held whiskey glasses in their hands and they sometimes turned their attention to the slapping game just to root for their favorites.

 

Namjoon smiled. “Am I really losing them?” he wondered and his mind went blank. Only the song he hadn’t heard in ages remained. He closed his eyes and his own lyrics came to mind. They hurt.

 

“I empty my drink but it gets filled with loneliness
I should’ve just given in, why did I argue all the time?
Even the trash bag thrown away on the street makes a lonely sound in the wind”

 

“You still shine
You’re still like a scented flower
Now trust me, hold me once again
So I can feel you, hold me”

Jin began singing lightly as he had returned from the kitchen and upon taking his spot in the armchair he recognized the song Namjoon was mumbling to himself. Even if he sang it in a low voice, he caught the attention of both Namjoon and Hoseok who received a severe slap from Jungkook when the maknae realized his hyung was distracted.

“Ouch! I wasn’t ready! Man, that hurt…” said Hobi while rubbing his red hands. His attention shifted to Jin. “Ah, what song was that? It sounded familiar.”

“What? What song?” came Taehyung’s curious reply after he offered Jungkook one of his boxy smiles for his victory.

“The one Jin was singing…” Hobi said and turned the music volume down. “Do it again.” He insisted.

Jin coughed a couple of times and tried to warm up his voice so he could give it fullness and volume. “You idiots honestly don’t recognize the song?” He asked while trying to open his vocal cords a bit.

Suga and Jimin stopped talking so they could focus on what was going on next to them. “I didn’t even hear it, how can I recognize it?” Suga objected.

Jimin turned to Jin just to approve in a low voice. “I didn’t hear it either… I want to know too.”

Namjoon smiled again but it was somewhat bitter, laced with all the memories of their beginnings. “Ah, Jimin… you loved this song…” he thought to himself.

Jin took in a deep breath.

“Hold me tight, hug me
Can you trust me? Can you trust me? Can you trust me?”

 

Upon hearing the chorus, Taehyung started smiling shyly and leaned forward but he didn’t say a word. He knew the song all too well. Jungkook shouted from his side.

“HOLD ME TIGHT! V hyung’s song!” he said as if Taehyung had produced the entire song alone. He completely ignored the fact that 5 other people worked on it.

If Jungkook wasn’t so fast or so loud then perhaps everybody could have also heard Jimin which answered “Hold me tight” as soon as he registered what Jin sang.

“Woah, ‘Hold me tight’… I haven’t heard that song in ages!  I’m not even sure I remember the lyrics to my rap.” Hoseok laughed and placed his hand over his mouth looking guilty at Taehyung. He quickly pulled out his phone and began typing in the title so he could find the lyrics.

Suga poured himself and Jimin another glass of whiskey. “I am sure I don’t remember them…” he said nonchalantly and the room burst into laughter.

“Play it!” said Jungkook. “Who’s connected to the speaker?”

Hoseok waved his phone in front of the maknae. “I am. Do you guys want me to play it?” He asked cautiously. He couldn’t remember the exact lyrics of the song but he knew it had those sad undertones and did the boys really want to listen to one of their own songs on their days off?

Namjoon shifted his position on the couch. He didn’t want to force the boys to listen to the song but Jungkook was already too determined to hear it. “It’s looping in my head. I started this…” said the leader apologetically.

“He was singing the lyrics right at the beginning so I recognized it… that’s why I started singing.” Said Jin while laughing. “He knows the lyrics to it, still.”

“Obviously…” Suga murmured with sarcasm.

Namjoon raised his shoulders a bit uncomfortable but he was used to the boys teasing him for his good memory.

“Play it, hyung… Play it.” Jungkook said as he almost took the phone out of Hobi's hand so he could search for it himself.

Jimin was lowkey singing his parts together with Taehyung as the melody invaded the room through the speaker. They all awed at the piano bit and Jungkook’s singing. Namjoon picked up the rap part as soon as the song came to it.

“Go. Your part was next…!” Jimin elbowed Yoongi with a bright smile and the hyung frowned.

“I told you I don’t remember the lyrics.” He insisted. “And are you even paying me for this performance? You can’t afford me,” he said in a drop-dead serious tone.

“Here!” Jimin handed him his phone where he already had the lyrics on the screen. “Stop being insufferable!” he added as he slapped his tight. Jin giggled in the distance.

Yoongi reluctantly picked up the phone. “Jungkook was supposed to sing this with me. He didn’t do it either. Why aren’t you picking on him?” He said as soon as he saw the part was actually a duet and that gave him a bit of room to escape from the situation.

Jimin slapped Yoongi’s tight again. “Do it! Complain less!” He smiled.

Jin raised his voice from the armchair. “Do not nag your hyung!” he eldest said but Jimin didn’t pay him any attention as he continued to smile towards Yoongi who finally smiled back at him.

Suga felt Jimin’s gaze too intensely and as a means of escape from it, he agreed. “Ok, ok…”  He sat with his back up straight. “Let’s do this properly. Play it from the beginning.”

Hoseok paused the song. “Are we doing this?” he asked curiously. He looked around to all the other members but before any of them could answer, Jungkook replied with a loud “Yes!” which made Tae giggle. He fondly looked back at all of them.

The piano piece started again, resurrected from the darkest corners of their memory. Nobody expected Jungkook to jump right into the song with his opening notes yet he did and not a second too soon, Namjoon sang the beginning of his rap.

Suga picked up the melody to continue with Jungkook’s soft harmonizing in the background.

“I can only see you
I can only see you alone”

He looked at the phone for a second then he focused his eyes on Jimin as he spoke. Nobody gave the detail much attention because it just looked like Suga was teasing Jimin with the fact that he can still do the song perfectly. Jimin lowered his head. He immediately realized that Suga was actually being extremely obvious.

Namjoon’s heart skipped a beat as soon as he heard Yoongi’s voice but it wasn’t because the boy sang his lines beautifully but because he knew that the second part of the stanza was Jungkook’s. It was that part that was haunting him mercilessly. He closed his eyes and took a mouthful of beer just to gulp it down slowly as Jungkook’s voice filled the room.

“Look, I’m fair with everyone else but you
Now I can’t live a day without you, please”

And without warning, just as Jungkook was extending the vowels of the last word and morphing them into desperate, prolonged notes, Taehyung’s voice hit much louder than the maknae’s. His voice was deeper than the original, stable and low. The boy didn’t try to raise his notes at all. Namjoon’s eyes shot open to the warmth of Taehyung’s voice and Jungkook stepped in to provide the high notes as he noticed the slight pitch change. Their voices were different but they harmonized in a way that made Yoongi and Hoseok clap silently.

Hold me tight, hug me
Can you trust me? Can you trust me?
Pull me in tight.

“Show offs!” Jin mumbled from his armchair.

Hold me tight, hug me
Can you trust me? Can you trust me?
Please, please, please pull me in and hug me.

Jimin’s voice slid into the mix and silenced the other two maknaes which let him shine with his vocals. The entire vocal line killed it when it came to the next parts of the song. Namjoon heard them sing so many times before but there were force and passion in the way they sang in a cabin, in the woods. It wasn’t for cameras or for the audience and it was never for money. In each of their vocal inflections, Namjoon recognized the zeal of people who simply love music, who live by the laws of a portative and who work until exhaustion just to be able to get their art to everybody who would dare to listen.

“Without you, I can’t breathe
I’m nothing without you

Was it weird that Namjoon’s eyes itched? Was it weird if he gave in to Jimin’s voice and cried? Was it weird if he was scared to exist without them?

“Everything feels cold and I’m even scared of the clear sky
If you’re not here, I’m just a corpse, so how can I breathe?

Namjoon gulped uncomfortably.


It hurts, I always cry cry cry
I’m going crazy, exhausted without you
I think of you without stopping
I hate it all, I hate every single day
It makes me cry, ring ding dong”

“I am losing them…” Namjoon thought.

The smiling and happy Hoseok made way for J-Hope, the rapper. His demeanor changed completely as he focused his eyes on each of the lines, slowly remembering the cadence he needed to use while his chest instinctively dosed the air in his lungs so he could keep up with the melody ringing from the speakers.

Namjoon glanced at Suga just to observe the fact that the boy was looking back at him as Hoseok rapped. “What are you thinking, Yoongi?” Namjoon asked himself but Suga couldn’t answer the unspoken question because his part was coming up again and just like before, he opened the gates of the song for the vocal line.

“Joonie, are you crying?” Hoseok asked just before Jin started singing and the entire attention of the room moved to Namjoon but instead of stopping the song Jin sang on while extending his hand to the leader. He looked at him after each question. Namjoon grabbed his hand, whipping away the tears he never noticed and rose from the couch to give him a brotherly hug as his hyung sang the last part of his verse.

“Can you trust me? Can you trust me?
Please, please, please pull me in and hug me”

Hoseok and Jimin both stood up and went towards Namjoon’s couch to hug him. As he got up from the floor, Jimin pulled Suga’s arm as well, therefore, Yoongi got up and rapped his next part of the song while standing.

“Your cold face tells me everything rather than words
I can see a break up, rising over me like a high tide
I know it will soon be our last but I can’t let you go
Don’t talk, don’t leave, just quietly hold me…”

He left out the word “girl” at the end of the stanza even if the song that blasted from the speakers didn’t.

Jimin’s heart sank when he turned to Yoongi. Not only did he see his hyung’s gaze but he also saw Jungkook’s lowered head and the stains of a couple of tears which Tae was now trying to wipe from his face.  He passed by Yoongi, slowly squeezing his arm and placed himself next to Tae. He needed to stand to be able to hit the proper notes, either way.


Hold me tight, hug me
Can you trust me? Can you trust me?
Please, please, please pull me in and hug me.

By the time the song ended, the maknae line was embracing each other and everybody was a mess. A typhoon passed through their souls leaving them dazed and tired.

“What just happened?” Namjoon asked himself. “How did it get here? How did it get to this?” He wondered silently and every atom of his being vibrated. Hoseok had his hand on his shoulder and he squeezed him lightly when the room went silent enough for Jimin’s words to be heard from the maknaes’ embrace. “I love you. I’ll love you forever, you know that right?” he said to the other two boys that he was locking in his arms.

All the hyungs heard him, Tae answered him but Jungkook only nodded feverishly.

“Are these people who really want to disband?” Jin asked in all seriousness. “I need a drink.” He added and paced towards Yoongi’s whiskey bottle and then he was off to the kitchen.

The atmosphere turned sour. They all needed to mourn the loss of Bangtan but it wasn’t an appropriate time to do so. The gloomy darkened clouds needed to be scattered if they were to enjoy the rest of their night. Yoongi took it upon himself to try to clear the skies.

“You are breaking the golden maknae, Jiminie. Let him breathe, for crying out loud, or he won’t stop sobbing.” He said playfully.

“Aish… I won’t stop sobbing!” Namjoon commented on the couch.

“Have mercy for the leader, please! Or just bring him a bar of soap so he can also have a shower if he’s gonna cry like that!” Jin came back from the kitchen with a glass full of whiskey and ice, bringing them his windshield wiper laugh. “You’re a grown-ass man, leave the crying to the babies!” he told Namjoon as everybody chuckled.

Jungkook wasn’t about to agree with that statement and boldly raised his hand up. “I am NOT a baby!” He roared.

“Shut up, softy…” Yoongi said unimpressed to which both Tae and Jimin lost it. He turned to Namjoon. “You know what my lines in this reminded me of, right?” He paused and took a sip of his drink.

“TEAR,” Namjoon said in English and shook his head.

“Mhm…” Yoongi replied.

“Yeah, definitely has some TEAR vibes,” Hoseok added, a bit surprised by the conclusion.

“What the hell is TIAR?” Jin asked the question the entire vocal line wanted to ask.

“A song Yoongi and Doc hyung worked on for the rap line. We helped but it was more them than us.” Namjoon answered.

“That’s bullshit. Namjoon corrected and composed lyrics to it and so did Hobi.” Yoongi replied. “I wrote part of the lyrics after talking to you…” He pointed to Jimin who didn’t know how to react. He said nothing as he tried to keep his cool. It didn’t matter if he blushed or not because his face was already a mess from the crying session.

“Woa, is it cool?” Taehyung asked with interest.

“I don’t know about ‘cool’ but it’s powerful,” Namjoon answered him.

“Can we hear it?” Taehyung asked. He had always been interested in the rap line’s songs.

Nothing changed in the world. Would Tae still bug them about being in one of the rap songs? Namjoon couldn’t help but question.

“Sorry, Taehyung. I really didn’t get the chance to learn the rap to that one…” Namjoon said.

Hoseok rubbed his head uncomfortably. “Yeah… neither did I… and I don’t have the lyrics with me. Do you?” he asked the leader who shook his head.

Suga gulped down half of the drink in his glass without even a second breath. The taste of whiskey hit hard yet he swallowed the bitterness and flavor. He didn’t want to stop himself from what he was about to do. He didn’t want to think of the fact that he never sent his finished version even to RM. He had the lyrics on paper for such a long time that when he finally recorded his mock up everything fell into place. The song was just waiting for the final adjustments and mixdown.

Goodbyes are T.E.A.R
Because things like tears are a luxury.

His raw voice shattered a galaxy in the distance. Instead of amplifying the music, a microphone would have erased the realness of each word. Metaphors painted with distress.


There’s no such thing as beautiful goodbyes
So just begin now.

Namjoon shivered as he remembered Suga’s question when they exited the meeting with PD Bang and the lawyers. He took interlocked his fingers and placed them up to his chin as he listened carefully.


Woo, take it easy slowly carve out my heart.
That’s right, that’s right, gently step on the shards that have shattered
So that regret, regret, such a thing will no longer be left.
Please burn up my heart that was torn into shreds

Yoongi opened his eyes and raised his head from the floor. He looked at the room. He looked at each one of them. Taehyung looked into the ground as he was holding Jungkook’s hand tightly. The maknae listened with his mouth open. Jin looked straight at him, stone coldness carved on his face and yet he frowned as if an invisible pain was pestering his esse. Hoseok was serious, dark. He looked at on indefinite point on the table. Namjoon was looking at him, deep in thought. Yoongi knew he was analyzing every word, every unspoken comma and every grain of sadness. Jimin… Jimin was curled into a ball at Taehyung’s feet, keeping his knees in his arms, hugging himself and slowly rocking back and forth. They all looked miserable. They all looked like they didn’t bring the apocalypse themselves like they were not as guilty as he was.

Anger sprawled its way from the abyss. Yoongi wasn’t about to excuse them from the force of his next lines. He made sure they registered everything he was saying, every question and heartbeat.


That’s right, right there, what are you hesitating for?
This is the ending you were wishing for
So go on and kill me without hesitating!

Jimin raised his eyes towards him and there was fury. Yoongi drew another breath of air as he went on just as fast. He knew it hurt.


Woo yeah yeah burn it
Woo yeah yeah yeah burn it
Woo yeah yeah yeah burn it
So not even the ashes remain…

 For a second, he actually thought Jimin was going to get up and hit him or shove him to the side. Yoongi could see he was causing harm, he could see how uncomfortable everything he said was. He paused. Perhaps it was the alcohol in his veins that made him not care that he needed to sing the next part of the song. If he was completely sober he wouldn’t have done it without a backing track but that detail didn’t matter in the woods where they all got lost.

This is the real you and this is the real me.
Now we’ve seen the end and not even resentment is left.
I’ve woken up from the sweet dream and I close my eyes.
This is the real you and this is the real me.

Suga stopped. The room was a tomb. Nothingness drew breath. The void echoed.

Namjoon didn’t rap or sing. Namjoon spoke. Broken, somber, unyielding.


We walked towards the same place
But this place becomes our last
Although we used to talk about forever
Now we break each other mercilessly….

…..
Although we thought that we dreamed the same dream
That dream has finally become a dream

……
My heart is torn, please burn it instead
So that pain and regret, none of that would be left.

The leader rubbed his eyes slowly as he let his back hit the couch again.

“You knew the lyrics all along,” Hoseok added plainly. He was beyond solemn with his arms crisscrossed over his chest as he thought, judging silently.

“I knew some of it,” Namjoon said and looked at Yoongi who turned his back towards them and walked to a window. He couldn’t see anything outside as it was dark but he did see his reflection in the glass.

“So... we are really doing this…” Taehyung’s voice shook as he spoke.

“What?” Namjoon asked leaning back in so he could hear him better.

“Disbanding…” He said his voice cracked as if he couldn’t even pronounce the word properly. He changed his position on the couch, sitting right on the edge of it still clasping Jungkook’s hand in his. “I swear I wanted it. There were nights when I was so upset about everything, with everybody that I didn’t want to see any of you until the day I died.” He spoke between the rivers of tears.

“I hated you because I was suffering and I believed you were the cause of it. I couldn’t be with my grandma, I couldn’t have proper birthdays, I couldn’t speak without being mocked sometimes, I swear there were moments when I hated the lot of you. There were moments when I hated PD Bang-hyung. It was more than hate. I despised him for all my lying. You always say you don’t know who you are outside BTS. Let me tell you something… I know who I am and who I am doesn’t work with the agency’s plan. How do I know? Because I never got to change who I was. I am what YOU made me. You all always speak about Jungkook being a mixture of each and every one of our personalities. He doesn’t feel it. He just is. He is the insane maniac, the lunatic that doesn’t even realize how much he works at times. He’s so accustomed to high expectations that he doesn’t even flinch when he does something perfectly. That’s what’s expected of him. But what did you do to me? Who is Taetae? He’s this wild kid who grew even wilder. It was all fun and games until everybody realized I have a huge influence on Jungkook, the golden maknae…”

“Taehyung, that’s not how it is…” Namjoon dared to intervene in Tae’s monologue. The silent anxiety of the room was thick. Everybody was listening. Jimin put his hand on Tae’s leg as tears ran down his face. Jungkook was the only one whispering to Tae to stop crying but he firmly held his hand as the boy continued.

“I hated you all. And how could I not?” He chuckled between tears. “You guys with the skills that I don’t have. You guys with the age I don’t have. Why did I choose the woods you asked, hyung? Because I don’t need to lie in the woods. I hide so I won’t need to hide.”

“You should have talked to us about all this…” Jin said coldly. He had the stance of a father, unwilling to give in to the tears of children.

“And tell you what? That I feel abnormal compared to everybody else? When nobody was there, when Jimin was trying too much to be an adult, Jungkook was there. That was my salvation. Jungkook was always there. Jungkook was always in reaching distance. He would hold me even if he didn’t understand. When you failed to be there, your ‘sum up’ was. He thinks that’s why I come to him over and over again… After all this time, I played my part well. He has absolutely no idea how much I love him and the agency would tell me to let him beat himself up about it. He doesn’t know how much I hated all of you and he definitely doesn’t know how much I love him because I love the underlining on which you all worked and somehow even that is denied not only by the agency but by some stupid moral code. Oh, I wanted out of Bangtan so badly.”

Tae stopped to gather his breath and to wipe away some of the tears which refused to stop running down his immaculate face.

“Taehyung…” Jimin started saying.

“No, let him finish…” said Namjoon as he kept his hand up to his chin. Hoseok sniffled behind him.

“I hated you until I understood… you are as scared as me, as broken as me, as much of a peon as me. You suffer differently. Jin hyung buries himself in games to hide. Hobi hyung sacrificed so much of his personality that it’s borderline scary to see J-Hope’s sunshine smile and the true face of Jung Hoseok. Namjoon hyung, you are forced to lie as much as I am, constantly. Yoongi hyung is so afraid of happiness that I bet it makes him nauseous and my friend, Jimin, you devoted your entire being to proving you’re flawless even if the flaws are only in your head.”

Jimin dared speak. His eyebrows were furrowed again. “And do you think they would have loved us if we weren’t flawless? Do you think they would have loved us if we were fat and unkept? We used to have dance practices up to 12 hours a day! That’s how we got them to love us.”

Jimin was angry. He was measuring his words. Suga sensed him boiling but he also noticed how Jimin didn’t let go of Taehyung’s leg. He was furious but he was there.

“ARMY would love us even without the lies,” Jungkook said. He had stopped crying but his voice was trembling. He coughed and Suga heard the same deep voice the maknae used when sometimes talking to Taehyung. “They really do love us. You’ve all seen their letters, some of them are so honest. They’ll support us.”

Suga moved towards them from the window. “Hmm… What do you think the tabloids and webzines will say and write when they find out you moved in with Taehyung despite not being in the same group anymore? Will they love you then?” Yoongi words were neutral, unnuanced.

Namjoon lowered his head. He and Yoongi found themselves agreeing with each other on the weirdest of subjects. He had never voiced his concern to others but Yoongi came along and put it in the exact same words.

“Some would.” Jungkook rapidly replied.

“Many wouldn’t,” Hoseok said flatly, distantly. “They love goofy J-Hope, not me. Therefore, I became goofy J-hope.”

“But they love you…” Jungkook tried to press on.

Namjoon inhaled painfully. “It’s fake love… We turned ourselves into their puppets. It’s not their fault. We brought this upon ourselves…” he merged his fingers with his hair and pushed it backward. It was no use not talking about it. They had failed. They were too exhausted to push on being BTS.

“Do you really have no love for them? THEY LISTEN TO YOUR MUSIC!” Jungkook surprised everybody as he raised his tone.

“I love them immensely…” Namjoon said.

“They made us…” Jin also replied, ignoring the fact that Jungkook who was years younger than him dared to use that particular tone.

“But only a handful of them read between the lines. Don’t think that the masses will flock and applaud the real you, Jungkook.” Yoongi added as he poured himself and the maknae a drink. Jungkook drank it instantly. He felt like he couldn’t breathe properly.

“We are the lies we tell…” Namjoon said grimly. “Taehyung is right. It’s all lies. Who were we protecting by separating Tae and Jungkook?” he looked at Jin.

Suga would have lied if he would have said he wasn’t perplexed. He caught the details right. Jin knew all along. Jin was helping Namjoon from the shadows. Jin with his exuberance and endless dad jokes was indeed pulling Tae from Jungkook in the video he saw.

“All of us… We were protecting all of us…” he said and, for the first time, Suga saw him tear up.

Namjoon continued. “And let me tell you something Jungkook, you are fucking lucky to have found somebody who loves you for who you are, no matter who you are. I would have wished that for myself. Let me tell you that sometimes I stood between you, envy spilling out through my every pore. You have somebody who looks at you like Taehyung does even if he knows all your secrets… Somebody who knows all. Couple or not. That’s irrelevant.”

Silence.

“Namjoon hyung, I love you,” Taehyung said sheepishly. “I learned to love you…” he said almost inaudibly.

“You said you hated him a moment ago….” Jimin intervened.

“I don’t want to lose you.” Tae continued. “or Jin hyung, or Yoongi hyung, or Hobi hyung, or Jimin, or Jungkook.”

“This is the real us…” Jin said as he looked at Yoongi, clearly referring to his lyrics. “I don’t want to disband.” He said and a shiver ran down Yoongi’s spine. “But I want more time off… We dreamed so much about going back home that we didn’t realize the meaning of home had completely shifted and it’s scary.”

“I don’t want to disband either…” Namjoon said.

“Then why are we doing it?” Suga cut him off.

“Because we were tired. Seven years takes a toll…” Hoseok added.

“I don’t want to disband either.” Jimin got up from where he was sitting. “We need to work with the agency, rediscusss our contracts.”

“We are in a position to do so…” Hoseok said as he looked at Namjoon.

“Our terms,” Jungkook added.

“An agreement. We can do that, right?” Hoseok pressed on.

Namjoon felt everybody’s eyes on him. “Taehyung? Bangtan is made of seven guys. We all need to agree…”

“I’ll still need to lie…” he said softly.

“You’ll need to act,” Namjoon replied with the same softness.

Taehyung looked embarrassed. “And you’ll forgive me for hating you?”

“We all need to forgive each other…” Namjoon answered as he glanced around.

Taehyung took one long look at Jungkook who waited for his answer as much as everybody else. “We’re in this together…” he said while moving his eyes to all of them. “Never leave me…”

Jimin took one of Tae’s hands. “I’m always here…”

Hoseok and Namjoon immediately started discussing terms and conditions as Jin listened passively. They were mumbling numbers and facts to each other rapidly. Jungkook tried to follow the conversation and give Tae and Jimin their moment. He realized that he wasn’t the least bit jealous of the fact that Jimin was pushing Tae’s hair out of his eyes and caressing his face as they also spoke in low whispers to one another. Tae’s hand never left his for the entire conversation. He looked at it just as all the voices were turning to white noise in his head. He saw Tae’s long fingernails, all of them nicely kept. He felt Tae’s skin, soft in his palm. The little veins piercing through Tae’s whitish skin and his own blended so weirdly normal between their interlocked fingers. Even if Tae wasn’t paying attention to him, he had his hand and the other boy seemed to have no intention of moving it.

Something changed…

 Jungkook looked back at Taehyung. The dark blonde haired boy had his head turned, still talking to Jimin. Jungkook didn’t hear what they were saying although they were inches away, he couldn’t focus on anything else but the sun locked between Tae’s hair strands.

He leaned in to observe some of Tae’s face. Tae’s lips moved rapidly as they laughed and spoke and his eyes followed by curling up in smiles. His chin curved perfectly down to meet this neck. His shirt was unbuttoned towards his neck showing off a bit of his collarbone. Was he warm? Jungkook lost focus.

“Taehyung…” he gave the hand he was holding a gentle press and his heart started rushing in his chest.

“Taehyung…” he said a bit louder as he realized he barely uttered his name the first time.

“Hmm..?” the face turned towards him slowly, with a smile, clearly caught in the laughter of the previous conversation. Tae’s eyebrows rose slightly as he listened.

“I love you…” Jungkook said unexpectedly.

Jimin hugged himself with a soft “awwwwww” and got up from the floor. “That is my cue to find business elsewhere…” he said as he giggled uncontrollably. “Hey, you…” he said as he sat down next to Suga on the other couch and slapped his tight.

Chapter Text

“Taehyung…?”

Jungkook felt Tae’s hand stiffen in his and the boy’s smile dropped. The only indicator that Tae was still alive was that he blinked from time to time, yet his blinking was so slow that it might have also slowed time altogether. If it wouldn’t have been for that slight movement and glister in Tae’s eyes, Jungkook could have sworn that the boy even stopped breathing. Of course, nobody could have been as surprised as Jungkook by the fact that he plainly told Taehyung he loved him. He had so many other opportunities that may have suited the moment better. Yet, he didn’t do it when they were in bed together. He didn’t do it when they were alone. He whispered it to him when they were in a room with all their other hyungs.

Did it simply make more sense?

Jungkook couldn’t explain what had changed in the color of Tae’s hair that made him spit out the words or why Tae’s skin suddenly felt softer than it ever was. Tae had held his hand before, that wasn’t new either. Furthermore, it was a given that Tae instantly understood it was more than their regular, brotherly or encouraging “love you”. All in all, Jungkook didn’t expect Tae to go silent. It was beyond awkward to confess and have the other person go rigid in your grasp.

Did he make a mistake?

“Look, we don’t need to be weird about it.” The maknae was about to completely change his mind regarding the disbandment. More than that, he wanted to use whatever money he had to get completely pulverized from the face of the Earth. He could feel his cheeks going red and he couldn’t help scolding himself in his mind for the very sudden decision.

“Great going, golden idiot… He says he loves you and you have to take it a step forward and embarrass yourself within the next 10 minutes. Great! True swag, Jeon Idiotkook…” he thought.

Lost inside his own head, he couldn’t tell what snapped Tae out of his trance. The older boy’s long hand let go of his fingers only to pick up his palm and raise it. Jungkook was too unaware of his surroundings to put up any resistance. One moment he was engulfed in darkness and then he could feel something as his hand was pressed to Taehyung’s chest by the boy. It felt like a minor resurrection.

Tae was very much alive. Better yet, his heart was beating at an impossible rate, making his chest vibrate uncontrollably. Jungkook couldn’t help but stare at his own palm on Tae’s chest.

“Is he having a panic attack?” the maknae asked himself, visibly worried. However, Taehyung left Jungkook’s hand and he placed both his arms around his neck. 

“Look at me…” the request came out soft but demanding.

Jungkook met his eyes and the lazy blinking was still there, reminding him that every second counted, that time still passed and it passed with him in Taehyung’s arms, supporting the light weight on his shoulders.

“Kiss me…” Taehyung murmured and there was insecurity hidden behind his vowels yet the voice pleaded.

The distance between them was so small and before Jungkook could actually process where they were, they were kissing each other slowly. They couldn’t tell which one of them approached the other. Who made the first move? Did it matter? Perhaps they moved at the same time through the void, just to find each other between the webs of the word. Perhaps they both leaned it to the spot where their lips were supposed to touch. Yet details of their clash were petite in comparison to the fact that the V-line of Taehyung’s unbuttoned shirt allowed Jungkook to feel the hot and exposed skin under the tip of his fingers. The warmth was inviting, seductive just like Tae’s smell and just like his lips. Therefore, the maknae moved his palm at the base of Taehyung’s neck, enjoying the smoothness of the other boy’s flesh and the tingle the movement sent through his entire body. They found each other in flesh and bones – a unique discovery. But the maknae wanted more, he wanted to grab the side of Tae’s neck, just below his ear and caress him and as Taehyung felt it, he purred, stopped and bit his lips discretely.

He smiled and that time around Jungkook was sure time stopped. 

 

 

“Hey, you!”

 

Jimin threw himself onto the couch next to Yoongi and the older boy snapped out of his thoughts as a sharp but mild pain hit his leg. In all the chaos, he wondered what the lawyers would have to say about the decision of continuing alongside Big Hit of another seven years. Tour, hotel rooms, interviews, performances… it all made him wonder how much of an artist’s life actually belonged to him. There was damnation in success. The true challenge was translating normality into an idol’s life, which no matter how rooted in routine, it was anything but normal.

He looked at Jimin, idly. The boy was smiling broadly but it made Suga feel unsafe. If they were to continue being BTS, they couldn’t afford the risks that they had been taken up to that point. Suga couldn’t believe that only a few hours ago, they were on the other side of the wall, kissing each other with a complete disregard of self-preservation. Everything had been way easier for Yoongi when the affection was one-sided when he didn’t know if Jimin actually wanted to get to know him or if he was his usual bubbly self. Until the incident in the hotel hallway, Yoongi was able to keep him at the same distance he kept everybody else. It continued to baffle Suga that Jimin was not even mildly impressed with his attitude and sarcasm. Why did Jimin choose to go drinking with him that night? Why did he choose to sit on the couch next to him and smile? He knew that the answer couldn’t be love and he didn’t want love. Love was dangerous. Love made you do stupid things.

He needed to speak or else he would have just stared at Jimin for the entire night, trying to figure him out.

“I thought you were going to hit me at some point when I was rapping… is this just a delayed effect?” he asked as he rubbed the spot Jimin hit. He refused to think about the fact that the boy and he needed to have a real conversation about whatever the hell they were doing. He preferred to ignore the detail. He could postpone it until the new contracts were signed because a lot of things might have happened until then. He drew solace in that thought.

Jimin’s smile dropped a couple of seconds. “I took it very personally. It was stupid of me. You said you wrote some of the lyrics after talking to me… and I… felt attacked…” he mumbled.

“It wasn’t aimed at you… or, better said, not only at you…” Suga replied dryly and he saw Jimin turn his entire body towards him.

“You like to victimize yourself. Sometimes it feels like you don’t want to acknowledge the things you want or you don’t assume full responsibility for your actions… It’s weird.” Jimin spoke with caution but he was relentless. “It’s weird because I am having a hard time picturing you afraid of something.”

Yoongi chuckled. “Am I afraid?”

“I shouldn’t be the one answering that…” Jimin giggled softly. He felt victorious. It was a small victory but he could see that he had pushed his point across. He knew Yoongi long enough to be able to tell when his brain was working on something which didn’t have an easy answer. He looked around the room.

“I feel like I might have killed the buzz of this evening…” He tried changing the subject so he could gain a bit of thinking time and bottled up the thoughts for later. “Saved Bangtan but killed this party… These guys are talking numbers and what is even happening over there?” he nodded towards the couch where the maknaes sat.

With the corner of his eye, as he glanced around the room, he noticed that Jin’s attention was on him and Jimin. He was staring, even if he approved whatever Namjoon was saying from time to time, his focus was on them, on him. Yoongi tried his best to ignore it and act as natural as he could. He had to add the rush of his heart to the list of things that needed ignoring.

“Fucking damn it, Seokjin…” he thought as he sipped some more whiskey from his glass. “So?” he asked Jimin again, pointing to the other two boys.

Thankfully, his question was not completely out of place. Jungkook had a peculiar expression and Taehyung was rigid, tense. They both saw how Tae opened his mouth to speak but no words came out and he closed it shut immediately.

“Oh, Jungkook just told Tae that he loves him…” Jimin replied like it was the banalest thing to have happened in the entire universe and he giggled again as he stretched.

Suga couldn’t help but smile. “Ah, any idea why they are both acting like that’s news?” he asked again as both boys in front of them looked at each other, stiffly. He knew that they had a tough time ahead of them. Neither one knew how to tackle what came forward, still. They had to suggest their terms to PD Bang, their lawyers needed to find out about their connection just like the lawyers at the agency already knew.

As all the pragmatical thoughts about a hidden relationship stormed into Suga’s mind, Jimin took his head into his palm as he stared at his two friends. “Nope, but damn, don’t they look like really good together?”

As the question was asked, just as in a k-drama Jimin didn’t even know he tuned into, Taehyung placed Jungkook’s hand on his chest and easily pulled him in for a kiss. Their eyes closed tenderly and the kiss was slow, affectionate. Jungkook moved his hand on Tae’s chest, feeling every inch of flesh as he went up to his neck. Jimin couldn’t help but squeal at the sight but he couldn’t move his eyes away from them. He was glad that he was part of their story again because it was beautiful and unbelievable. They didn’t care that everybody was in the same room or they completely forgot. They ignored Jimin’s giggle and Hoseok’s “Awwww” reaction which came shortly after.

 “Would you stop eating bread in front of the poor?” Hoseok asked in a sulky voice but it was all an act. His eyes betrayed the smile he was trying to hide.

“Leave them alone… Is it their fault you woke up too late to go to the bakery?” Namjoon said as he laughed.

Hoseok faked amazement for a split second just for his mouth to put on an exaggerated pouty face as if he was beyond hurt. Upon hearing Namjoon’s comment, Jimin almost fell off the sofa because of his laughing. He looked at Suga knowingly, but the boy tried to remain as serious as he could. He could still feel Jin’s burning gaze on him.

Taehyung hid his face in Jungkook’s shoulder, laughing noisily. Both boys had been avoiding the other members for so long that they couldn’t help being embarrassed and shy when they noted that everybody was looking at them. They didn’t have a real talk with their friends regarding their situation. They never told anybody how they sneaked around together to eat, sleep, hang out. It was exhausting, especially for Taehyung who felt very uneasy to be hiding so much.

“Hold up, hold up… since this is sincerity hour and all of us are not sober, can I ask how this thing between you guys even started?” Jin asked while sipping a cocktail he made himself through a bright pink straw. “And I mean how you guys realized…feelings and stuff…?” he pressed on, mumbling a bit because his mouth spoke faster than his brain could figure out what the appropriate words were. He ended up gesticulating rapidly. However, he was genuinely interested in knowing how somebody would tackle circumstances like that because it always was obvious that the two boys enjoyed the company of the other but how could a friendship since (almost) childhood turn into attraction, especially for somebody of the same sex? Jin couldn’t imagine it although, probably, if he was to analyze their closeness maybe he would have been able to explain it. But then again, he was too tipsy to not ask them.

“Me? How I realized I’m not… straight?” Taehyung questioned, as he placed his hand on his chest, a bit surprised. He felt the inquiry was aimed more at him rather than Jungkook since he was the one to have his discussion with Namjoon and management.

“Both of you…” Jin replied and he could see Jungkook tugging at his ear. He felt uncomfortable. That was his way of relaxing. His smile was still there, he was still in a good mood but he didn’t seem so eager to open up and Jin couldn’t help but wonder why his question made Jungkook tense. It was obvious that the maknae’s body reverted into a defensive position from the very relaxed demeanor he had only second ago.

Taehyung was different, though. He smiled and started explaining in a voice diametrically opposed to the one we used earlier when he expressed his sorrows. He looked particularly happy that he could talk about it and that his hyung was actually interested enough to ask. He liked sharing himself with the world even if he learned how to be excessively private over the years. He wanted to go back to feeling safe around his hyungs.  He wanted to help them understand him and maybe then they wouldn’t be weirded out.

“Actually, I wouldn’t have realized anything if it wasn’t for Jungkook…” Tae looked at Jk and laughed as the maknae lowered his head shyly. He was listening. He never heard Tae telling his story to somebody else. Interestingly enough, he was curious about how Tae would word it. It didn’t bother him in the least that their moment was interrupted if the talk meant that he could hug Tae freely again, that he could kiss Tae again. All of it, without looking left and right to check if any of his hyungs were approaching.

“I believe I might have been between the last people to actually realize it, even. You guys were already heavily teasing me about my ‘muscle kink’, as you called it, before I even thought about it.” Tae continued talking with a boxy smile on his face as the other members silently giggled in approval. It wasn’t clear if they didn’t know the tale already since they could anticipate the ending but it seemed like everybody was interested in hearing the “once upon a time” beginning.

“Jimin was borderline bullying me because of that…” Tae extended his arm towards his friend, who now sat down near Yoongi legs and who hit his back on the sofa laughing, wholeheartedly.

“Bro, was I right or not?” He responded rhetorically and he moved up a few inches. “I am a brilliant matchmaker! I want to be acknowledged as such!” he said loudly and all the boys protested in return as they chuckled.

“Yeah, Jiminissi… no one really needed a degree to see how Jungkook looked at Tae.” Jin replied unmoved and started laughing as he bumped Namjoon’s leg and his windshield wiper laugh followed.

Hoseok joined in. “Do you remember how jealous Jungkook was every time an interviewer asked Tae about his ideal type or made him choose between us? Pick any interview, watch it and see Jungkook frown!” he said to Namjoon who was giggling softly as his fingers rubbed his chin.

“Yeah. Because you and Tae were close as well and he chose you sometimes… “ Namjoon mumbled. “Ahhhh, whenever I heard that question, I was preparing my guts for Jungkook’s awkward mumbling. If Tae would say ‘J-Hope hyung dresses nicely, I like him’ Jungkook would almost jump up from his chair saying that he dresses nicely too.” Namjoon imitated both boys as he spoke, also trying to replicate their voice so the room was full of laughter.

“Ay, the cringe…” Yoongi muttered as he sank into the sofa more.

The maknae didn’t have anything to add because he felt his cheeks burning as he remembered how desperate he was to get Taehyung’s attention when he was younger. He pushed his tongue against his cheek. He didn’t really enjoy the idea of a full-blown conversation in which everybody was making fun of him but he knew that he couldn’t stop them. They meant no harm, as it was.

“Ah, and this goofball didn’t see it,” Jimin added loudly.

Taehyung jumped up and down on the sofa while sitting to get everybody’s attention after gulping down a shot of soju. “Mmm… Jimin actually showed me a full… I think it was a 10-minute video on Twitter or Youtube… of Jungkook staring at me and saying that I’m handsome.” He added with a joyful voice and his eyes grew bigger after closing in with laughter. His hand traveled to Jungkook’s tight and settled there, lazily. The maknae bumped it in response with the back of his hand while he ate snacks from one of the half-eaten bags on the table. Tae just reminded him that he was there; never far away, always conscious of what Jungkook was going through.

Jimin sat on his knees as he spoke towards the rest. “Yeah, it was this long ass video of Jungkook looking at Tae and looking down when Tae turned towards him. There was soooo much footage and I was like… ‘this guy looks love-struck’ but do you think this idiot got it?” He pointed at Tae who hid his mouth with his free palm.

“Aiiish… these guys…” Namjoon shook his head left and right. Something in the atmosphere of the room was heartwarming again but unlike before… it felt familiar and safe. The sound of their voices together and the energy of each one of them invaded all the rooms of Namjoon’s broken heart and mended everything from the inside.

“How to be oblivious, level: Kim Taehyung,” Jin added dramatically from the armchair.

“Actually…” Taehyung raised one of his fingers at Jin. “Actually, I went to my room and cried myself to sleep that night…” He said. He didn’t want his story to have a lot of drama in it but it was the truth. He went to his empty room and cried. He was planning to sleep with Jimin since he was missing his roommate but he knew he’d only think about the video.

Jimin was shocked. “You did?! You never said!!” His eyes widened and his mouth fell open as he listened. He went from cheerfulness to sadness in 0.3 seconds thinking about the image Tae had just described. It pained him that his friend was suffering under the same roof as him and he couldn’t have help.

Tae only nodded slightly. “I actually watched the video about 3 times when I was alone… and my chest was burning, my head was spinning. After some time I just started having butterflies in my stomach whenever I saw Jungkook or when we joked around. It was super weird. I didn’t have a lot of girlfriends when I was younger. I liked some girls but never enough to make the first move or get into a serious, long term relationship. Too young…” he sighed.

“Is that when you started asking me about my girlfriends?” Hoseok said as he now sat on the armrest of the couch, leaning over Namjoon.

“Yeah… and you explained stuff to me… but… ah, I never felt the feelings you were describing. Those tingles in your hand when you hold somebody else… I thought my mind was playing tricks on me… but I only felt them with Jungkook as we fooled around so I became very self-aware of myself when around him. My stomach was all knots at times… not all the time… but sometimes… “He took another glance at Jungkook and giggled softly. “I talked to girls and as you guys know, some fiascos later, especially after the Fancafe one with one of my friends, which was severely misinterpreted… I didn’t really react much anymore. I had this long talk with myself where I took into consideration the fact that I might not be straight and it made as much sense as it didn’t so, I wasn’t completely convinced. However, it started bugging me more and more until I finally told Namjoon hyung that I do not believe I am straight because even having these questions was a huge red flag. He reacted very nicely when I told him.” Taehyung looked at Namjoon lovingly. Since their discussion, he couldn’t help but feel a bond to the leader that wasn’t there before. For a decent period of time, they shared a secret, no matter how obvious but it was still theirs.

“How did you react, Joonie?” Hoseok asked from beside him.

“Straight up, no lie, I thought I was gonna faint when he told me, but I kept it together, you know?” Namjoon laughed. “I’m not closed-minded, but I was surprised that he actually had the guts to talk about it. I suspected, to be honest. First, I thought he wanted to keep it a secret but he wanted to tell management. Truth be told, I thought about self-love a lot after that incident and about society in general. It felt very unfair that Taehyung had to be so afraid and so alone in all this…” Namjoon said as he moved his hands constantly, trying to make his point. “I also encouraged him to talk to the therapist about it, which I think he did…” Namjoon paused and Tae nodded, mouthing a silent “yes”, “but think about all the youngsters out there that couldn’t talk to a therapist, to their parents or… to friends. Some countries still consider homosexuality a criminal offense. It simply makes no sense to have this stigma around it. We know countless philosophers, authors, musicians and other public figures from history who were allegedly gay or bisexual. It’s not like falling in love with somebody of the same sex is not possible… But, I’m just rambling… sorry…” Namjoon stopped talking as he realized he took over the entire discussion with his heated speech. He had to restrain himself because he knew the boys wouldn’t interrupt him.

Jimin reassured him that it was ok and that they understood. He continued speaking in a less agitated tone than before. “Joonie hyung is right. After seeing Tae and Jungkook, I couldn’t find it weird anymore. I mean, I did… in the beginning… I know I was teasing Taehyung a lot and I am sorry but that’s just because they were the closest friends I had. I thought it was a good gag and nothing else but seeing Tae so serious about it and Jungkookie as well… I reconsidered.” He was calm and his eyes did nothing but pled for forgiveness. His fondness towards the two maknaes was visible.

“No, you helped. If it wasn’t for you… maybe I would have never realized.” Tae immediately said, not wanting Jimin to take some blame which was not his to carry. In his heart of hearts, Jimin meant well and he only wanted happiness for everybody.

“I would… have—told you…” said Jungkook with a mouthful of dry squid and Taehyung turned to him, surprised.

Tae patted the tight he was still holding. “What? You would have confessed?” His boxy smile appeared as he spoke.

“Eventually…” said Jungkook smiling in his bag and a round of “oohs” and “wooas” was heard from the boys, followed by Namjoon’s slow clapping. Jungkook smirked at the reaction. Did they really think that he wouldn’t have told Taehyung something?

“Woa, woa, woaaa” Hoseok articulated. “Jeon Jungkook, the charmer…” he added as he sipped some soju and pushed the hair out of his eyes.

“What you talking about, Jungkookie? You were scared of your own shadow, at first, and then you turned into a brat. At what point in your evolution did you plan on confessing to the man?” Jin asked loudly, overpowering the other voices.

“Learned from you, hyung…” he said with a smile and chewing away unbothered and obviously ignoring the question he was asked.

“You never told us your side of the story, Kookie…” Hoseok said after he stopped giggling at Jin’s comment.

Jungkook finally put the bag on the table and rubbed his hands together to get some of the flavors off as he tugged his sleeves. He only glanced at Taehyung and the boy smiled brightly back at him. Jungkook suspected that his smile didn’t leave as he turned his attention to the hyungs.

“Because there is not much to tell…” he said plainly. “I just liked him…” he looked back at Tae.

“That is seriously anticlimactic, Jungkook-ah!” Jimin whined from the floor.

“I don’t know…” Jungkook said with a hint of frustration in his tone. “You guys were the ones who always said we were weirdly close. I never perceived it that way. I mean… in all honesty… look at him! I kept saying he’s handsome because he truly is handsome. I have eyes! How could I not like him?”

“Well…. I have eyes and I like him too but I don’t want to kiss him…” Jin pressed on, laughing.

“Your loss…” Jungkook said informally to which the entire room lost it again.

“Don’t be misguided, hyung. That is not an invitation. It’s a trap. He’s gonna murder you if you do!” Jimin yelled from the floor where he now lay, drowning in a pool of tears that wouldn’t stop rolling from his half-closed eyes.

Jin allowed Jungkook the joke, it was all in good fun. “No, thank you. He’s all yours. I wanna live another day.” He said as Taehyung placed his head on Jungkook’s chest and made kissy faces towards the hyung.

When Jungkook realized what the older boy was doing he let out a sharp “Hey!” to which Taehyung reacted with a kiss placed his below his chin, therefore, Jungkook dropped the act and started laughing merrily.

“Just fucking look at them… there is a reason why they are the number one ship in Korea.” Jimin said, lovingly as Taehyung raised his signature V sign towards his eyes. He wished he had his camera on him so he could snap a photo of his two friends. For some unknown reason, seeing them together and smiling made his heart happy.

Namjoon coughed. “Oh, and you had nothing to do with the popularity of said ship, eh Jiminie?”

Jimin raised his hand towards his forehead and responded with a military salute. “Either way, maybe Jungkook has something more to add…” the boy turned the attention back to the maknae.

Jungkook sighed. “No, not really. It was you guys with the teasing, the fans with the shipping, and one thing led to another…” he answered.

“Not everything has to have some grand, glamorous explanation, Jiminissi,” Suga replied as it was obvious that Jungkook wasn’t a man of many words when it came to such private matters and that was something he could relate to. He thought of sparing Jungkook from the invasion of questions.

Jimin looked up at him with a peculiar smile. “Nevermind, right?” he asked and a soft smile curled up on his cheeks.

“Nevermind…” Suga answered with a short giggle and he sunk back into the couch. “And sorry to interrupt, but don’t you guys feel a light stomach ache?” He added, determined that a change of subject was needed.

“Actually, yes…” Hoseok replied as rubbed his belly in discomfort.

“Meat was too raw, Yoongi,” Jin mentioned, disapprovingly.

“Don’t you guys want to call it a night and continue the fun tomorrow? It’s been a rollercoaster. You exhaust me sometimes…” Yoongi beckoned them to bed since all of them were a bit tipsy and it was the middle of the night. Souls could get tired with happiness or sorrow and especially with a mixture of them together.

It had been a mad day. None of the Bangtan members would have contradicted Yoongi on that statement. Unexpectedly, the evening brought them back together for another seven years. Where the Fates merciful or where they cruel? The twine that connected all of them still kept them together, not allowing them to stray too far away between the stars. The universe was cold and vast when one was completely alone, but as long as they were together the void was conquerable. Apparently, they weren’t ready to let go just yet, not until they got on the cusp of the unimaginable, demolished it and searched for the edges of the impossible.

One by one, the boys went to rest, nightmares and dreams waiting for them patiently.

Namjoon was the first to retire to his room as he felt his eyelashes too heavy to continue their blinking. Hoseok was next. The boy could help but be excited by the fact that he could get up in the morning and admire the lake view directly from his bed. Jin took Jimin’s wrist and practically dragged him to their room as the boy kicked and laughed that he still had a full glass to empty.

When it was only Suga, Taehyung and Jungkook left in the room, just as they convened, Tae got up and imitating Jin, he dragged Jungkook to the room upstairs. He maknae looked at both of them confused beyond words and when Suga mouthed an inaudible “Go!” as he giggled, Jungkook rushed on his tiptoes back to Namjoon’s room and to retrieve his backpack. He shook Yoongi’s hand in a hurry and followed Tae upstairs.

Jungkook didn’t close the door to Namjoon’s room and between the crack, Yoongi could hear the leader snoring loudly. “Fuck, no…” he said and tried to make himself comfortable of the couch, between all the liquor and the smelly snacks which escaped the boys’ grasps and were not abandoned on the table.

Yoongi smiled. Tae and Jungkook’s “whatever it was” kept robbing him of his comfort and even weirder was the fact that he gave it up willingly. He had no choice but to agree with Jimin, that the two seemed to be brilliant together. They created a small alcove in the universe where nobody else could reach and they grew together. Was it so awful to have somebody around?

 “Am I afraid?” he asked himself.

His last thought was “Nevermind…” as tiredness hit him full force, knocking him out for the night.

Chapter Text

The room would have bathed in complete darkness if it wasn’t for the lamp in the far right corner. The honey brown light poured all over the inanimate objects which received the caress. Between the stillness of the voiceless, the golden maknae of BTS was panting hard and his face refused to stop burning. He didn’t dare move. He tried to calm himself down.

He closed his eyes and a desert greeted him like an old childhood rival which slowly became a friend. Curiously, he struggled between comfort and euphoria. The two feelings crashed into each other, blending themselves together and creating a peculiar feeling of satisfaction. Even if he lived in the bed just as much as he lived in the desert of his mind, he didn’t bother to cross either border. He was stuck between worlds and the truth was that the desert wasn’t less appealing because he knew he was lying on the grass of an oasis.

Hovering between worlds became problematic when he noticed the state of his own body. Even in the cabin, he was hot as if he had been wandering in the desert for days. He could feel the small droplets of sweat that gathered at the base of his hairline. The desert reverberated too much into reality.

He opened his eyes again and the darkened ceiling of the room did a poor job at mimicking the night sky. There was no Orion’s Belt above him, although everything was written in the stars. With no definite point to place his focus upon, his mind ran in the same circles it did not long ago. The same random words kept surfacing from the limitless of his mind.

 

“Taehyung”, “quiet”, “hot”, “good”, “wet”, “lips”, “Taehyung”, “be quiet”, “tongue”, “sun”, “mine”

 

“Taehyung…” he let his mind loop the word until the mere unuttered name brought a smile on his face and he finally scanned the room in search for the man’s existence. Yet, Taehyung hadn’t returned and Jungkook couldn’t shake off the idea that the lamp was just an impostor whose light couldn’t even compete with one of Tae’s hair strands.

He hoped the other boy would come back to him sooner so that another soul could confirm that that was reality and that he wasn’t simply imagining everything. Only Tae’s presence could validate either the room or the desert. Jungkook waited as his mind galloped towards clarity.

He felt when Tae got up from the bed and told him that he’ll be right back but he couldn’t tell how much time had passed from that moment. In his absence, fragments of him lingered everywhere. His fragrance was all over the place and it was pungent. It made the maknae wonder if he hadn’t completely surrendered his own smell to Tae, just like he did with his chocked moans. He would have surrendered his complete silence if he could. He tried. Only he knew how hard he tried.

Cold shivers ran over him, his body evening out its temperature and he moved his right hand to reach for the cover. He felt his hand sticky, in desperate need of a wash, but he knew that heading towards the bathroom would ruin the heaviness of his limbs and the vibrations he still wanted to keep, locked inside, not to mention the idea that, in a way, he still kept Taehyung in his grasp. Therefore, he pulled the cover over himself and lay in bed a few minutes longer.

When the door finally opened and Taehyung stepped back into the room. He was wearing one of Jungkook’s dark blue, sleeveless t-shirts which covered him midway to his boxer briefs. The rest was made up of human flesh, although he looked like nothing else but a god. Jungkook blinked slowly as he gazed at him, unable to understand what sorcery was employed to make the one in front of him look so human.

As soon as Tae saw that Jungkook hadn’t really moved, he smiled tenderly and sat back on the bed, the mattress barely moving under him. He had no knowledge of the carrousel Jungkook was stuck on.

 

“Taehyung”, “sun”, “vanilla”, “shirt”, “lips”, “warmth”, “mine”, “musk”

 

No winds conspired against him, but Tae’s hair was messy. His face, although partially hidden by the shadow cast in the contre-jour of the lamp, smelled faintly of cream.  A minor detail which no soul could have picked up, Jungkook noticed instantly.

“You haven’t moved,” Tae said in a low voice as he poked the maknae with his long finger.

The first reaction from Jungkook was an inaudible giggle as he also noticed the faded smell of his fabric softer. Vanilla, musk, and fabric softer – the maknae couldn’t help but giggle at the unique combination.

Since Jungkook remained silent, Tae insisted, speaking in whispers as he leaned in closer to get Jk’s attention. “Did I break you?” he asked with a curious smile. He didn’t wait to hear if the maknae had something to say but decided to kiss him lightly.

His lips tasted minty and refreshing. It was enough for Jungkook to drive his other hand through Tae’s hair and pull him in, refusing him the slightest idea of escaping the kiss. The older boy didn’t back away. He gathered all the answers Jungkook’s lips offered him while caressing his. Jungkook wanted to tell him so many things through the kiss. He was perfectly comfortable with the idea of kissing Taehyung for as long as it was necessary for the feelings and thoughts to just traverse from one body to another. Tae moved one of his hands so that it cupped Jungkook’s cheek and the maknae’s agitation turned to the familiar calmness of the oasis.

Just after their lips parted, they looked into each other’s eyes. For a couple of seconds, they stared at each other as if they hadn’t met since the beginning of time and they now sought the same patterns of happiness together. “Hey, babe…” Taehyung greeted him, playfully, his voice only above a whisper.

Jungkook giggled again as his mouth let out a muffled “Hey….” and he smiled. “Did we wake up Hobi hyung?” he whispered.

“I listened at his door. I don’t think so…” Tae said shyly.

“You’re wearing my t-shirt, again…” Jungkook added as he gently tugged at the collar of his own shirt.

Tae’s eyes widened. “I am? He said in amazement and leaned back in for a peck as an apology. “I couldn’t see what I was taking from the luggage but I am not giving it back. We bonded. It wants to sleep on me tonight.”

The maknae managed to keep a straight face for about 5 seconds before he burst into laughter, to which he quickly had to reevaluate the volume to so he wouldn’t make a ruckus. “My shirts want to sleep with you?” He continued in a low voice.

Tae pushed his chin forward and whispered “Just like the owner…” yet Jungkook didn’t kiss him but slowly shook his head as he continued laughing and sat up, trying to find the pair of comfy pants he brought with him. He thought the sensations fair was over but he could feel Taehyung’s eyes on his naked back while he searched for clothes and toiletries. He left the other boy stretching on the bed as went to clean himself up.

 When he came back into the room he noticed that Taehyung had already drifted to sleep as he was reading a manga on his phone. Of course, a desert wouldn’t bother the sun. As gently as he could, the maknae pulled the phone from his hand and sat behind him but Tae moaned with a sleepy smile, “you’re back”.

“Want me to hug you or are you too hot?” Jungkook asked as he noted how warm the room was even during the very cold night.

“Hug, please…” said Taehyung as he turned his head to steal one last kiss. He would have been lying if he didn’t admit to himself that he loved the way Jungkook’s muscles flexed when he reached for him. He liked the way Jungkook placed his weight on one elbow and used his other hand to caress his cheek as they kissed. He was protected and he was exactly where he needed to be. The moment had been written before they even saw each other, somewhere near Orion’s Belt.

Jungkook pressed himself next to Tae and hugged him close, enjoying the tickles of the blond hair near his face and Tae’s fingers which started caressing his arm, tracing the prominent veins with care. He closed his eyes as he relaxed but Taehyung’s whisper asked for his attention again.

“Jungkook-ah…” he moaned. Questions didn’t let him sleep soundly. “It still wasn’t too weird, right?” he said, sheepishly. The night was calm but the insecurities caught up to him, unexpectedly, bothering him exactly at the doorstep to sleep.

Uncertainties had no place while he was in Jungkook’s arms. The younger boy kissed his hair just to enforce his answer. “No, not for me…” he said, letting the last part of his sentence drift into the unknown to spark a silent question of its own. The need for an answer was hidden behind his soundless breath. He hoped regret wouldn’t mingle into what had happened between them.

At full speed, the answer came sooner than he expected.

“Neither was it for me…” Tae hastily added, wanting to erase any doubt. “In truth… I…. I kinda liked it…” he whispered as he buried his face in the pillow, unwilling to say the words louder because of his burning cheeks. He was unsure if he should have felt shame. Norms told him that he should. Intolerance told him the same.

Jungkook chuckled and pulled him closer to his bare chest. “Are you shy now, Taehyungie?” He asked as he cradled him back and forth with a giggle.

“Don’t laugh at me,” pouted Tae from his arms and the maknae couldn’t help but place kisses near his ear.

“I’m not, silly… just don’t worry about it. Rest, now. Bangtan is saved and I am here with you. You can sleep…” Jungkook said in his ear. The mode in which he phrased his words rendered the tonality melodic. His voice was soothing against Tae’s mutter of approval. Doubt and regret soon hid next to the monsters under their bed, in order to make way for the simplicity of small miracles.  

Before he could realize it, Jungkook had been staring at Taehyung for a full minute and he saw his eyes close, his breath becoming slower and slower. He couldn’t point out the moment when he began loving to see Tae fall asleep. It was as beautiful as any other sunset. It beckoned Jungkook to remember memories stored forever inside his brain and replay them as the moon began to shine.

 

“How could it be weird, Tae?” he silently said to the boy in his arms. “You really believe I didn’t want this to happen?” he thought, knowing perfectly well that his questions would remain unanswered.

His mind became restless with images and sensations of pleasure.

 

 His hands-on Tae’s curves.

The feel of Tae’s hair between his fingers.

The softness of Tae’s lips on his chest as they descended.

Tae’s fingernails slowly scratching his tights.

The wetness and warmth of Tae’s mouth.

 

He couldn’t feel an ounce of vulgarity in the ways they touched each other. Movements were clumsy, needy and soft, always in search of the silent approval of the other. Moans, gasps, closed eyes and waves of pleasure confirmed every touch, wordlessly.

It was exciting and it was thrilling but it was never weird, perhaps, only in ancient times when Jungkook just began developing feelings for Tae. At that time he was still a kid that didn’t know much about the world and he suddenly found himself taken aback by another guy, so different than everybody else that Jungkook couldn’t compare what he felt with any other experience he had.

The maknae smiled behind Tae when he realized he couldn’t sleep. Part of him was determined to figure out how the fates had brought him to the circumstance he was currently in. Even if it was tacit, he had his own story and it was true that it started with the words “I just liked him…” However, the narration of his feelings was too blurry for him to be able to plainly answer the hyungs when they asked him about it in the common room.

A story full of unsaid fears, buried inside the soul of a 15-year-old.

He liked Taehyung ever since the boy approached him in the dorm. Tae was loud and bubbly, mood swings more sudden than apocalyptic earthquakes, with inexplicable days when he’d hide behind clouds and solar flares that combusted here and there and allowed him to shine, scorch and render managers speechless. He worked just as hard as the other boys did and he was polite beyond words, but he was restless. He was all that shy, introverted and unsure Jungkook wasn’t. He had all reasons to hate him but he couldn’t, not when Tae was waiting for him patiently in the dorm just to ask if he had a good rehearsal, not when Tae always included him in his plans and games, not when Tae approached him with the same patience and calmness he showed towards the stray pups they saw on the streets. Tae loved the abandoned. Tae loved the unloved. Tae was patient and stubborn enough to wait for Jungkoook to open up while he also told him about his struggles, lowering himself from the pedestal where the maknae sometimes placed him, out of reach.

It was never “I’m going to come down to push you up! You can do it.”, it was always “Come on, grab my hand, I’ll pull you next to me. We can do it.” The difference between the two attitudes was colossal in Jungkook’s mind as he took another step forward, climbing another wall he never thought he could climb.

“I did it. Are you proud of me, hyung?” – said Jungkook silently when he did something in his usual, perfect style.

“Look at me! I’m right beside you!” – said Jungkook silently whenever Tae was scanning other horizons. 

“My heart is breaking just because yours is…” – said Jungkook silently whenever Tae was hurt and tired.

 

“Notice me.” Jungkook thought and Tae’s head spun in his direction, his eyes searching for him in a crowded dressing room.

“Look at me.” Jungkook thought and Tae gazed at him in the mirror of the dance practice room.

“Sit with me.” Jungkook thought and Tae calculated the moment they should approach the table so they could sit together.

“Laugh with me.” Jungkook thought and Tae’s smile widened.

“Be with me.” Jungkook thought even if Tae was beside him.

 “Love me.”  Jungkook thought although it was clear Tae cared about him deeply.

“Love me?”

 

“When did it become ‘Love me’?” Jungkook wondered as he listened to the soft sound of Tae’s breath coming from his arms and the chest which moved back and forth slowly.

He could never get enough of the attention he received from Taehyung. It made him feel important, invincible, worthy. He wanted it. Soon, they were inseparable. Their jokes became the same, their interests became the same, and their sleeping patterns shifted, their eating habits as well. Two souls of different consistencies kneaded together slowly, patiently, mercilessly by some unknown Demiurge of Fate.

 Slowly, they stopped starring at each other only when society told them they should. If their hands found each other, they only let go because of the judgmental eyes which timed the duration of the touch to analyze if it was proper. They built a bubble of their own as others frowned at them.

No matter if the outside world didn’t understand, Jungkook never thought kissing Taehyung was weird. On the contrary, it was bound to happen and it was never forced. Kissing Taehyung was fun, so they kissed a second time. The third time, he was upset and lonely, Tae wanted to comfort him and make him laugh so they kissed again.  Forth time, Tae was happy and excited so he placed a small peck on Jungkook’s lips, playfully just to find himself wrapped in Jungkook’s arms with his heart threatening to burst outside his chest as they approached their lips again but the kiss was long, sweet and tender. When they stopped Taehyung was looking at him with surprise.

“Kookie, I think you’re becoming a way better kisser than me… I need to step up my game. Would you practice with me from time to time?” he asked with doe eyes as if he was a child begging an adult for ice cream.

Jungkook smiled again from the bed his eyes wandered on the body he held.

“Aiiish, how can you be so ridiculous and beautiful at the same time?” He asked the sleeping sun.

What could he have told the hyungs when they asked?

“Hey, I’m not sure if I always loved him or if the selfish bastard in me couldn’t stand the idea of him belonging to someone else, far away… Is this love, hyungs? Not being able to let go, is it love? Wanting the other person to always be happy, healthy and hoping they will allow you to be next to them and shower them with praise… is it love? I have no idea what love is… and yet, tonight, I am sure I love him.”

 

“I love him…” Jungkook repeated in his mind as he started running to catch up to Tae who extended his hand, waiting in a land of dreams and nightmares, in a forest so far from the oasis.

“I’ll follow you in every Universe you want to roam…” Jungkook whispered.

 

 

 

Pots and pans chimed as they hit the kitchen sink but Yoongi was able to ignore the sounds without issue. There were reasons why they called him a “rock” and between those reasons was his unique ability to sleep anywhere if need imposed it.

He then heard footsteps making rounds from the table towards the kitchen and he growled dissatisfied, just to fall back asleep. Nevertheless, the next disturbance was more pleasant. It wasn’t sound related but smell. His eyes opened slothfully to the silence and the welcoming scent of freshly prepared coffee.

Whitish light came through the glass doors and Suga found himself covered with a blanket that wasn’t there when he fell asleep. The couch had not been as uncomfortable as he first deemed it to be therefore he yawned and got out of his improvised bed, stretching and feeling better despite the odds.

The table in front of him had been cleaned and some dishes washed. The culprit was sitting on the terrace. A very large, woolen pullover made him seem puffy in the chair he occupied as the sun’s rays fell all over him. Yoongi sighed when he saw him and quietly went to pour himself a coffee in the biggest mug he could find, but carefully calculated the ratio so the pot still held enough for Namjoon, whose bedroom door now stood closed.

Fresh, cold air hit his face as soon as he pushed the door open and he stepped outside, pulling his winter coat closer to his body, careful not to spill the coffee in his hand. The steam from the cup intensified with the change of temperature as Yoongi placed it down on the small, road table near Jin.

“Morning, hyung. Can I sit?” he mumbled and cursed the slight burn he felt although he had held the mug by its ring.

Jin nodded with a smile and a short “morning!” as he hurried to finish the message he was writing on his phone so he could place it back in his pocket. He waited for Yoongi to find a comfortable position in his chair but he was glad that the younger boy had decided to get up and come outside. Suga’s presence never bothered him. He took a sip of his own steaming coffee mug, which was an indicator that he hadn’t been outside for long before Yoongi came next to him.

“Why are you up this early?” Suga asked while zipping his coat up.

He and Jin were roommates back in the dorm so he knew precisely that if there was another person which valued a good night’s rest as much as he, that person was Jin. Sleeping had always been factor over which they could bond and they were always careful not to disturb the other. Their room wasn’t always filled with laughed but it abounded in the quiet they both needed when the world around them was too chaotic and loud.

“What are you talking about? It’s not early, it’s almost 10 am.” He replied calmly as he smiled again.

Yoongi pressed on, knowingly. “You were up earlier than that. Somebody cleaned and it wasn’t Jungkook…” he said while holding his coffee close, enjoying the hotness of the mug in contrast to the cold air.

Jin shook his head, lazily but he approved.

Without the necessity to hype things up or entertain the maknaes, Jin was a surprisingly calm person which spoke softly, in a deeper voice than usual. It was only in moments of calmness that unknowing eyes could catch glimpses of Jin’s maturity and age. Out of all of BTS, one would wrongly point out Jungkook as the person who needed to grow up the fastest but the truth was that the process happened way faster for Jin. He was the youngest brother in his family and abruptly, instead of being cared for like a maknae, he found himself in the position of hyung. When Jungkook was still arranging his crayons in his pencil case, Jin was driving and picking him up from school. Suddenly, he had 6 younger guys that missed home as much as him, that needed food as much as him, that worked as hard as him or even harder. With Namjoon taking up the leader position, Hoseok being the main dancer and Yoongi being one of the people needed in the music production crew, it was up to Jin to help out wherever he could in the household and look after the maknaes. They drove him crazy, at times, but he only complained in jest, because he grew fond of them day by day to a point at which, if he wanted a decent laugh, he’d go to find the younger boys and sit with them until his belly hurt from the constant laughing.

“Couldn’t sleep with Namjoon?” Jin asked as he took one glance at Suga’s pouty, morning face. He was a bit surprised to see the boy on the couch as he carefully went out of his own room. The door next to his was ajar and when he pushed it open, he noticed only Namjoon sleeping on one side of the bed. Jungkook was absent. Suga was on the couch. 1+1 = Jungkook and Tae were together.

“Pff…”Suga laughed. “I don’t even understand how Namjoon can sleep with Namjoon! Can we put in our new contracts a clause that forces him to get that septal deviation surgery…?”

Jin started laughing lightly. “Jungkook?” he asked simply, just to confirm his supposition.

“In my room with Tae,”  Yoongi answered casually just to continue his whining. “I can’t live another seven years with that snoring!”

Jin smiled and it was a mixture of amusement, bitterness, and hopefulness. He looked at the trees ahead of him. “I texted my mother, told her that I decided to sign again together with you guys.” He smirked bitterly but his eyes glistered.

Yoongi paused briefly just before continuing “wait… weren’t you decided on leaving?” His question made sense since Jin and his lawyer were very vocal at the main meeting. It didn’t seem like Jin was still evaluating the possibility of staying in Bangtan and hearing that he only took the decision the previous night, was indeed very interesting.

Jin shook his head and answered flatly with a “no”. “But I thought Taehyung was, since our fight. It hurt to hear him last night but I understood him. I thought Jimin was 100% leaving because I’ve never seen him roll his eyes so much at Taehyung or fight for so long, so intensely.” Jin sipped some of his coffee, smacking his lips as the warm liquid touched them. “You and Hobi can easily have solo carriers, not to mention Jungkook. Yet, Jungkook would have been divided between staying beside Namjoon and following Taehyung. No matter his choice, his soul would have been split.”

“True.” Suga approved as processed Jin’s trail of thought. “He wouldn’t have been the same, either way.” He concluded.

“And there was poor Namjoon, panicked as I’ve rarely seen him, trying to have us stick together with not enough glue in his tube…” Jin said with real pity in his words. “But I think we chose right…”

They both fell silent for a couple of seconds, no waves of the sea to disturb the air, no light breeze to move the trees, just a promising, spring sun, still too powerless to heat their bodies entirely. The thought of the approaching spring calmed them. The thought that there will be a tomorrow was soothing because the darkest sky was indeed before the dawn. The new era of Bangtan waited, after the long run, the tiredness and the pause.

Yoongi chuckled to himself. “Hey, Jin hyung… what’s the difference between a piano, a can of tuna, and glue?” he asked. Jin, who didn’t expect Suga to hit him with a dad joke, took several seconds to marvel at the question and then actually think about the answer.

“Woa, my friend… that’s an old one! You’ll need a better one! You can tune a piano, but you can’t piano a tuna.” Jin replied while giggling in his chair.

“That’s not it. I asked you if you knew the difference between a piano, a can of tuna, and glue?” Yoongi replied with a straight face. Acting was not his strong point but he could do it. The company hadn’t been paying those acting teachers for nothing.

Jin turned his entire body towards him. “What’s the difference?” he asked, curiosity getting the best of him, erasing the thoughts about contracts.

“I don’t know,” said Yoongi, flatly.

Jin laughed loudly. “You honestly don’t know the answer to the joke? What’s with the glue?” He questioned further. He couldn’t believe that Suga, of all people, was trying and failing to tell him a dad joke.

“I knew you’d get stuck on that,” Yoongi answered and started laughing, unable to keep a straight face not even for a minute longer because of Jin’s puzzled expression.

3, 2, 1… Jin’s signature laughter filled the terrace and it continued until the boy was wiping tears away from his eyes, mumbling something about the joke being so bad and that somehow Suga managed to make it horrifically worse. He shook the younger boy’s hand admitting defeat and wondered when it would have been a good time to use the same joke on another unsuspecting soul.

Suga thought that they will be finishing their coffees in peace after their laughing fit but Jin addressed him again, still moving his eyes over the trees in front of him as if he hadn’t been doing it for the past half hour.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how we evaluate things from this moment forward, you know? Another seven years under a contract is no joke, mind you. We really need to talk to each other more, let everybody know what’s happening to us so we could avoid certain situations… you know? I’m sure you understand” Jin’s voice was plain, relaxed, unimpressed and, still, it had peculiar inflections. It was definitely hinting at more. Something that didn’t concern the lake or the nature he eyed as he explained.

Suga decided to press forward. “Speak clearly, hyung… it’s not like you to beat behind the bush.”

Upon hearing Yoongi’s reply, Jin turned to him and blinked with an unbelieving smile of his face as he spoke, “You want me to speak clearly? Ok, I’ll speak clearly… what are you doing with Jimin?”

Jin expected Yoongi to jump off his chair or, at least, react differently than he was. The boy simply readjusted his position in his chair and refused to meet his gaze. He blushed slightly but remained calm as if he was expecting the blow.

“Here it goes…” Suga sighed to himself.

“What do you mean?” he asked back.

“Don’t play dumb. I’ve been your roommate and your friend long enough, Yoongi…” Jin started his plea only to be cut off by Suga’s next answer.

“I’m not playing dumb. I genuinely do not understand what you want to know…” he said and his eyes finally met Jin’s. He looked at the older brother without concern, or while rushing for explanations and lies but he waited for clarification.

“Pff… I’ve seen how you two are as of late and I can tell something’s up…” Jin turned back into his chair so that he’d face forward. He wanted to appear hurt by Suga’s refusal to speak.

“Hey, Jin hyung… relax. I’m not denying it. I just don’t know what you’re referring to. Do you mean what I have been doing with him until this point or what I will be doing with him from this point forward…?” Suga spoke softly. His heart was beating faster but he knew Jin all too well to be conscious that he won’t let the subject die. He sensed that Jin will ask him questions before he even picked up the coffee pot and the mug but he also knew that if Jin knew, it didn’t automatically mean all the other guys suspected. Jin was right. Only he and, possibly, Namjoon could have noticed.

Jin’s mouth fell open. “You’re not denying it?” He was shook.

“No,” Suga replied “but you’ll forgive me if I spear you from the private details of my life, but yes, something did happen between Jimin and me, but as for what will the future bring… I don’t know how to answer that.” He added politely.

Yoongi’s attitude contradicted everything Jin expected when he started the conversation. It was unclear what was more shocking, the fact that Yoongi admitted there was something or the fact that he seemed so unphased about it.

“Oh gods, tell me you didn’t have….” Jin hid his eyes with his palms. He took one peek at Yoongi’s face. “You did!” he whined. “Did you?” he asked.

“I swear, hyung… sometimes you act like you’re younger than the maknae.” Suga said giggling.

Jin continued while holding his forehead into his palms. “I can’t believe it. I know you wouldn’t be reckless but this is Chim we are talking about… and not even his own clothes stay on him for long… Oh, Gods… the images…” Jin whined.

“Why are you doing this to yourself, hyung?” said Suga as he picked up his empty mug and rose from the chair with a smirk on his face. “If you really must know… we didn’t…” he said and Jin rose his eyes again, surprised. “And if you respect me and my privacy, you’ll refrain from telling this to anybody else. It’s not as serious as you think. If there will be anything to tell, I will, but there isn’t. Trust me.” Yoongi’s voice was too solemn for Jin to continue goofing around.

“I trust you, Yoongi, and I promise…” he said as he extended his arm toward Suga and they shook hands. “But this is Jimin and you always had -----“ he began saying.

“Leeeeeave it.” Suga’s voice turned from serious to menacing. “Want some more hot coffee?” he asked as he was going back inside.

“Yeah. Bring me another… it’s nice outside….” Said Jin from the chair while also mumbling to himself something Suga couldn’t hear. “…and you’ve always had a thing for him.”

Chapter Text

Leaving the comfort of the woolen blanket was the hardest thing Jimin convinced himself to do in ages but he got out of bed and before he knew he was out the door. One of his hands rubbed the back of his head as he used one half-opened eye to take in the situation. He was standing in an empty but clean living room. He turned his head around and an annoying pain intensified inside this head. He knew it well. It was the bitter repercussion of too much alcohol ingested too quickly. However, the pain threatening his forehead was small compared to the rumble of his tummy. He would have blamed that on the alcohol as well but he was sure that last night’s meat also had a part in it.

He remembered the kiss and his cheeks burned with him trying to figure out how the heck he even does some of the shit he does. “Ahhhh, I kissed his hand! His hand!” he whined to himself, unable to shake off the embarrassment. He considered Yoongi’s reaction and it was nothing but sweet and beckoning but “really? Our friends were inside…” He remembered Jin that dragged him to bed and he might as well have had a spatula in his hands to separate his from Yoongi’s side but Jimin couldn’t help it because when he enjoyed something, he pursued and pushed that thing to the limit. In this case, the “thing” was talking and being around Yoongi. He loved the affection he was receiving but… his head hurt.

He needed to mope and whine. The dishes were way too clean to indicate that food would be ready soon. Somehow, the idea of coffee wasn’t doing for him so he ignored the scent and the pot. Only two men were able to save him from his predicament and Jimin saw them both on the terrace of the cabin, talking like they didn’t have a problem in the entire world. Jimin decided to give them a problem as soon as his legs listened to him and understood the command they were given: “walk to the door and don’t trip”. His body malfunctioned. Jimin decided to give it 2 minutes.

 

One of the doors upstairs opened and Hoseok exited the room fully washed, dressed, ready to exist another day. He smiled as soon as he saw Jimin’s frozen posture from the indoor balcony. Hoseok had already seen Jin and Suga outside since his room had the best view of everything around them, therefore, he decided to go downstairs and possibly drink gallons of water to help the faint dehydration he felt disappear. It was a lie that he felt 100% ready to start the day but clearly, the train that hit Jimin missed him so he mumbled to himself that “it could be worse” and manned up.

“Heya, Chim-chim.” He said, knowing perfectly well that he will receive only some unintelligible mumbling from the boy. If he was to guess, he guessed that Jimin either said “morning!” or “do not talk to me right now. Go away. Not awake”. The latter supposition demanded too much energy to actually say so Hobi decided it was probably the first option and giggled.

The door next to his was still closed so he took it upon himself to wake up his dorm roommate since he was so accustomed to doing it back in Seoul. BTS could then deal with both sleepy Jimin and Taehyung at the same time and save themselves from two rounds of whining.

He pushed the door open slowly, with a mischievous look on his face, his mouth forming an O shape. As soon as he looked towards the bed, his expression changed to amazement and his eyebrows rose while his eyes sparkled, widening.

Tae wasn’t alone in his bed and neither was he next to Suga (which Hobi actually considered for half a second giving himself goosebumps, until he remembered that he already saw Yoongi outside, from his window). Both boys had their mouths open and they slept unaware of the fact that they were carefully watched and that Hobi took a few steps inside the room on his tiptoes.

A shirtless Jungkook was acting as a pillow for Tae’s head whilst Taehyung was held in the maknae’s arms like a teddy, a very well protected teddy and Hobi was smart enough to not take Jungkook’s beloved items away from him. He learned that lesson when he once took his phone by mistake, at a dance practice.  It was a poor decision but when he realized it, he decided to play a prank on him by hiding the phone for half a day. Everybody knew that Jungkook didn’t care about his phone that much anyway, but Hoseok severely miscalculated the fact that Tae was filming Hwarang that day.

Hobi then went to the studio completely forgetting about the maknae’s phone just to come home to a literal disaster as Jungkook turned the entire house upside down, still searching. He gave him his phone back and they both laughed about it, but for the next two weeks, Hobi needed to pay extra attention to his belonging because they kept disappearing and showing up in random places around the house. His wallet had been in the freezer, his headphones in the sugar jar, his wireless mouse under the bathroom sink and so on. And even if Jungkook swore it wasn’t him that was the point when Hobi also lost his long cable charger, never to be recovered again. He wondered countless times if it will eventually show up in the most unexpected place, where even Jungkook forgot he put it.

No, he couldn’t make the same mistake twice and wake up Taehyung from his arms. Who knew what could have happened? Plus, part of him didn’t want to spoil the serene, we’ve-been-married-for-a-decade-couple image. He stared at them for some more seconds and then went to the balcony.

“Hey, Chim… come up. You need to see this.” He said quietly but since the house itself was quiet, Jimin raised his head and frowned. “Come quickly…” he added to force the younger boy to move a bit faster up the stairs.

Jimin made a sign with his hand for him to wait and went in the opposite direction just to push open the glass door to the terrace and yell after Jin and Yoongi in a broken voice which wasn’t too loud either way. “Hyyyyyuuuungsssss, can we get some fooooood, pretty pleeease?!” he whined and both boys turned toward him. “A delicious breakfassssst, pleeease….” He said again in the sweetest voice he could muster and Jin got up from the chair with a shake of his head.

“Learn how to cook, Park Jimin! You’re of age!” Jin said seriously but he was smiling at Jimin’s pleas and he obviously accepted the request.

Yoongi and Jimin locked eyes. The maknae had expected a bit more awkwardness. There was none and that, in itself, was peculiar.

With a wide smile on his face because of his victory, Jimin started climbing the stairs in a much faster pace and Hoseok led him to the bedroom where Jungkook and Tae still slept without a care.

When Jimin saw them, he couldn’t stop giggling and he raised his fists to his mouth, obviously excited at the sight. His two friends looked beautiful together and particularly peaceful that morning. Jimin’s heart was beyond happy for them and he couldn’t hide it. Without a second thought, since he was still in his pajamas, he climbed in bed next to Tae and hugged his back while also pressing a soft kiss on the arm Jungkook had around his best friend.

Taehyung felt the embrace and turned around sleepily just to see the blurry face of Jimin smiling back at him. No questions were asked. Tae wrapped his hand around his friend, turning his back to Jungkook, who also opened his eyes slightly to understand what was the sudden fuss. His face didn’t say anything besides the fact that he wanted to go back to sleep as soon as possible, therefore, he turned around as well, hugging Tae’s side and letting his hand fall on Jimin’s.

A chuckle came from one of the three entangled bodies and Hoseok couldn’t do anything but give them a paternal smile as he closed the door behind him while he was exiting the room. The little boys he knew were young men now and he liked the adults that they had become. A new era of Bangtan was upon them but some things stayed the same. He smiled and he went downstairs to see if he could disturb Jin in the kitchen.

Not long after Hoseok left the room, Jungkook opened his eyes and he instantly knew that it was one of those mornings when he was perfectly awake and wouldn’t have been able to fall back asleep. The other hyungs were clearly up because he could hear voices coming from downstairs so it was only a matter of time until somebody came to wake them up. He looked at the two boys and although he was confused for a second, he quickly remembered the moment Jimin climbed in bed next to them. The three of them hadn’t slept together in a very long time but he never minded sharing his bed with them as they shared theirs with him on countless occasions.

As he pulled his arm from under Tae’s head, the boy murmured unintelligibly and Jimin registered the vague noise as well. The maknae didn’t intend to wake them up but while searching for a t-shirt to put on, the boys opened their eyes.

“Where… are…” Tae began saying but Jungkook cut him off while assuring him he was only going downstairs to see if they have breakfast. He wanted to kiss Tae but decided against it when he saw that he and Jimin were still holding each other tightly. Yes, he was possessive and jealous but he never felt those feelings if the person next to Tae was Jimin because he knew that Chim chim would give his life to protect Tae and shower him with brotherly affection. Tae was the pure definition of an affection sponge if there ever was such a thing, and Jimin was annoying much into skinship so they made a brilliant pair. A new era of Bangtan was upon them but some things stayed the same.

 

When Jungkook left, Taehyung readjusted his place on the bed and pulled Jimin more to the middle even if the boy was not even on the edge. He did it instinctively, only half awake. They were facing each other and the older one smiled at Tae’s pouty face.

“Morning, Taehyungie…” he said with a giggle. “Time to get up.” He added as he ruffled the boy’s hair.

“5 more minutes, Jiminie…” Tae mumbled and took one of Jimin’s hands in his, smiling gently, hoping that it would make his best friend cave and shut up next to him.

Jimin couldn’t help but smile back, although Tae still had his eyes closed, refusing the morning. A sense of guilt and shame appeared out of nowhere and took over Jimin’s mind and heart. He felt stupid for ignoring Tae for such a long time. He felt horrible for their arguments. They were two fools that didn’t know how to make things right and which could sit and suffer in silence even if it wasn’t what they wanted. Neither of them knew how to properly say that they were sorry but Jimin wanted things to go back to the way they were prior to all the stress and frustrations they had dumped on each other.

He knew that both of his friends went into “hiding” because of his attitude. He understood how he made them feel like he suddenly didn’t approve of their fondness toward the other, although, it also annoyed him that they could think such a thing. Wasn’t he the one which pushed them to be together? Wasn’t he the one that made hearts on beaches with their names inside? Wasn’t he the one who, out of pure affection for what they had, exposed them here and there, rebelling against the agency? Wasn’t he the one who posted a video from JK’s graduation, knowing perfectly well that the audio picked up the sound of their kiss in the background? The agency didn’t even realize that last one until it was ridiculously late and observing fans caught the sound. He was the one always telling them that they have a lot more suspecting fans than they knew and that they were loved. Of course, he understood the implications of a scandal and quit doing it so often or so obviously but that didn’t mean he stopped supporting them.

“Taehyungie…?” Jimin asked again and Tae opened his eyes slightly to look back at him. “Are you happy?” Jimin asked in a whisper, afraid to let the outside world hear their conversation. The question was for the soul of his best friend and his soul only.

Tae looked at him lazily, his warm, dark eyes lost in the void. He only nodded slowly.

“Are you happy with him?” Jimin asked again. “Are you truly happy?” he pressed on without realizing that his voice became serious and gentle. Not that he feared Jungkook wouldn’t treat Tae right but he wanted to hear it from Tae’s mouth because Tae was as bad at lying as Jimin was at keeping secrets.

Tae rolled on his back and inhaled deeply as he looked at the ceiling. It was unknown to him that Jungkook did the same thing only a night before, but Tae did not feel the desert. Instead, he was swimming in the calmest of seas, only hearing siren songs all around him and Jimin’s voice was musical enough to be a siren’s. He wasn’t scared. The realization of the fact almost made him uneasy but the anxiety couldn’t pierce the water and get to him.

“Tae?” Jimin called him from the deep.

“I am, Jiminie,” the young boy answered all of a sudden. “I’m happy with him.” Tae smiled and shook his head, embarrassed.

Jimin stared at him, wide-eyed. “How is it? Being with him?” He asked again and rectified soon after “As a couple, I mean…” He had to add the last part because he barely remembered instances when the two were really apart.

Tae chuckled and the sound rippled warmth because of his deep, raspy voice. He turned back to Jimin with a full smile. “It’s like art…” He answered just to have Jimin frown at him silently, expecting some footnotes which would explain the Taetae metaphor.

“It’s different each time I think about it. It’s making me wonder about the world. It can be scary and it can be the most beautiful thing ever. I’d like to show it to the world but keep it only for my own eyes, as well” Tae replied, his mind lost again between splashes.

Jimin chuckled. Tae’s explanation made no sense to him but if there was one thing which Jimin could read from it was the honesty with which his friend spoke, yet he understood one part all too well. “Do your parents know?” he asked grimly.

Tae’s voice cracked, “Yes...” and his eyes looked downwards, exposing all the sadness hidden behind his lashes. “I told mom and I assume she told dad but since I told them I am not straight, they avoid the subject as if it will disappear if we don’t address it.” Tae rubbed his eyes on the pillow, refusing to cry. He had cried countless times because of it. The ocean he swam in was partly made of his own tears.

Jimin gasped. “You told her about Kookie? How did she react? What did she say?” he asked. Tae’s strength and his stubbornness to be himself were baffling for the older boy. He couldn’t imagine how the conversation went and he could almost feel the echoes of Tae’s terror when opening the subject again. He hated himself more for not being next to him as he recalled the moment when Tae told his family about his conclusion and the probability of him being gay or bisexual, for the first time. They didn’t want to speak to him for months. His mother was the only one which always picked up his calls but his dad would frequently ignore them or be awfully cold. His brother cut all ties with him and their relationship was still extremely rocky. It got to a point when Tae almost cried during a Vlive when he was asked about his siblings. It shocked ARMY to hear that the idol V’s brother wouldn’t speak to him. Naturally, they didn’t understand the reasons but there was much speculation on the matter.

“What did she say?” Jimin asked again.

“She asked me what his parents think about it but when I answered her, she immediately changed the subject and the conversation was soon over.” Tae’s voice was only above a whisper and he wiped his eyes, refusing to cry again. His eyes were dry, nonetheless. He wondered if he finally had no more tears to spill over it.

Jimin took Tae’s hand in his again, rubbing his palm with his fingers, wanting to comfort him even after the fact because it was clearly still bothering Taehyung and it would probably never stop tugging at his heart. “And what did Jungkook’s parents say? Do they know?” Jimin continued.

The younger boy took in a deep breath and his voice became calmer, less broken. “They said they suspected since the second or third time I went to Busan. Jungkook confirmed their suspicions a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t easy for them either but they took it way better. You know how supportive they are of Jungkook…” he answered.

Jimin laughed lightly. “Of course they suspected with their son being dead-ass obvious around you…” the boy said trying to brighten the mood.

Taehyung chuckled. “Actually, in a way, they brought it up. He was home and his mom kept asking him how I am, if we did anything interesting together until he somehow blurted out that he quote on quote “really likes me”.  She wasn’t perplexed, from what Jungkook told me. It was more like she was expecting him to come clean more than anything. She proceeded to ask him if he liked me more than a friend, to which he said yes. It was not an easy conversation. They asked about marriage, kids, settling down and how we are both throwing that away and it took them a while to accept stuff. Just like you, Jimin, she said she noticed something… but she was kind.” Taehyung concluded and his lips curled up in a smile, knowing that Jungkook didn’t have to experience his fights.

“Maybe they saw the same videos as us…”Jimin said, suddenly laughing lightly. Jokes helped calm the sea.

Tae giggled trying to lock away the bad memories and enjoy the fact that Jungkook’s parents didn’t hate him. On the contrary, although they didn’t agree, they did their best to understand. Time heals.

“I mean we do have YouTube in Busan, you know? We’re very high-tech” Jimin said sarcastically and chuckled again.

Tae smiled but it was sour. “That reminds me of my mother’s reply. She said folks in Busan might think differently but it doesn’t mean they are right…” His voice was slowly cracking again and he hated the sound of it. It was reminding him how weak he was.

Jimin rolled on his back. “I don’t know about that… My dad might whoop my ass if I ever came out as bi and he lives in Busan.” A cold shiver went down his spine and images of him and Yoongi kissing the previous night burned into his skull. Did kissing Yoongi make him bisexual? He had wondered about it. He drank himself to oblivion because of it and still, he couldn’t erase the tingle in his body whenever they flirted or touched. It wasn’t much different than doing it with a girl and that had been alarming.

“Bi, Jiminie?” Tae asked confused. Jimin had spoken in the past about some fanboys being cute and he definitely answered the men checking him out on the street with devilish smiles but he always seemed like he was only teasing, joking. But just like Taehyung, Jimin was more in love with beauty and kindness than he was with norms and morality.

It was Jimin’s turn to inhale and look at the ceiling. “Like I said… seeing you and Jungkook and even Yoongi prior to you two as he’s always been open about this… I just can’t view it as weird anymore and let’s face it, we also know gay couples in the industry. That’s not new. Some guys are really handsome, I just never allowed myself to think further because I never thought I could. Now, I just wonder ‘why not?’ There’s nobody that can tell us how to live our lives, Tae… we worked too hard to still be patronized.”

‘Shocked’ was the perfect word to describe Taehyung’s facial expression and Jimin didn’t even register how easily all the words rolled off his tongue. He had to admit that it sounded like a confession, even if it wasn’t. Those were simply his unclear thoughts. He would have questioned himself further but he wasn’t sure if he was asking the correct questions so he decided to wing it.

“Oh, Jimin-ah” he heard and then felt Tae lunging over him for a tight hug and he accepted him in his arms. “It’s so great having a friend like you!” he said buried in Jimin’s shoulder.

“Excuse me! You mean soulmate! Jungkook can be your boyfriend, love of your life or whatever you wish to call his sorry ass but you’ll always be my soulmate, Taetae! I will never stop loving you. Until the day I die and even beyond, you are my soulmate.” Jimin felt a warm wave hit him in the chest.  “You hear me, Taetae?” he reinforced as he tightened his grip.

“Forever…” Tae mumbled as they held each other. “I love you, Jiminie…”

They sat in silence a couple of minutes until hunger announced its presence again by the sound of stomach rumbling. They both laughed as they got out of bed and went downstairs, following the smell of hot food coming from the kitchen and Jin’s repeated requests that somebody needed to wake up Namjoon, who had his first full rest since the meeting discussing the disbandment from the Big Hit offices.

A new era of Bangtan was upon them but some things stayed the same and other things were fundamentally different.

Chapter Text

“Ahahaha! I knew that was you and you’ve let us all take the blame!” Jimin pointed his finger at Jin and kept on laughing while he sat on the couch with his legs under him.

Namjoon looked genuinely surprised. “Whoa, I drank! I thought that was me!” he said as he took another sip of beer, careful not to spill his drink as Hoseok patted his back a bit too enthusiastically.

“That was an oddly specific statement, Jimin. I don’t think this is how this game works!” Suga mumbled. “Never have I ever broken a camera during a photoshoot in late 2017! Who even says that?” He giggled while he moved some hair strands out of his eyes. He was sitting opposite of Jimin, on the couch in front of him.

“Oh, yeah? It served its purpose! Jin hyung!! I am appalled!” Jimin leaned on Taehyung so he could continue laughing. “You said nothing when the director asked.” He reinforced as Jin shrugged, his shoulders moving alongside with his giggles. “You say something better then!” he shot at Yoongi.

“This game is stupid. I know all the bullshit you guys did…” the older boy protested in response.

Tae quickly came to Jimin’s aid. “Come on, hyung! It’s your turn!” he pleaded.

“Ok, ok…” Suga replied as he repositioned himself. “Never have I ever deleted Bangtan Bomb footage from noona’s recordings.” He said with a smirk as he took a large sip of soju.

Jin, Jungkook and Taehyung also reached for their glasses and drank. Namjoon facepalmed. “Really, hyung? Really, man?” he said to Seokjin with fake disappointment although it was only fair to say that he was a bit surprised because one of their rules clearly stated not to meddle with the BB camera.

Jin touched his chest, theatrically hurting at another accusation. “These two delinquents did the same!” he said pointing at Jungkook and Taehyung who giggled into each other’s sides. “Why are you only picking on me? Yoongi is just as guilty!”

Jin could feel like he was getting drunker and drunker with each round. His smiles were getting wider, his words were getting louder and his appetite for dramatization kicked in. It was comforting to see them all next to him. The boys were chaos and calmness in equal amounts.

“Hey, I told her to stop filming me while I’m practicing English! It sounded dumb as fuck!” Yoongi raised his voice, laughing.

“But what? What did you do?” Taehyung asked, leaning in over Jungkook to eye Jin who also couldn’t contain his laughter.

“I was eating and I should have been on a diet. That was evidence!” Jin replied between giggles.

Jungkook also joined in. “I simply didn’t like the lighting.” He said as everybody laughed again, knowing perfectly well the love Jungkook had for filmmaking.

“What about you, Tae?” Jimin elbowed his best friend. “Why did you do it?”

Tae stopped and his eyes widened in surprise. “Huh? I didn’t.” He said innocently. “I was with him!” He pointed at Jungkook, who grinned.

“Then why did you drink?” Jimin said again, as he laughed and grabbed hold of Taehyung’s shoulders.

The younger boy giggled back, answering “I knew what he was doing…” he said, embarrassed. “I’m an accomplice…”

Laughter.

“Joonie, your turn!” Hoseok patted the leader on the back again as he sat on the armrest next to him.

Namjoon thought for a second. “Never have I ever tried to find the account of a cute fan from a fan meet.” He said as he drank from his own glass.

Jungkook and Suga were the only ones who didn’t drink. There was no awful surprise with that question, only the fact that Namjoon had done it himself. They were all too guilty.

“Oh, oh!” Hoseok picked up on Namjoon’s lead and continued. “Never have I ever slipped my phone number to a fan.” He said curiously.

Nobody drank except Jin and Taehyung, who suddenly looked grim but nobody wanted to address it. The younger boy had gotten in a lot of trouble regarding the incident and he ended up regretting it. He thought she could be a friend as she was easy to talk to but being a social butterfly had its downsides and they were severe.

“JIN HYUNG!!!” Namjoon yelled, disappointedly when he noticed that Jin had taken a sip of his drink again.  

Jin continued laughing. “It’s not what you think, you crackheads. It was a guy!” he reinforced.

“What?” Hoseok asked and the entire room gulped in wait for further explanations.

“No! No! Again, not what you think! He is one of the guys I play LOL with, geez… and he happens to be a fan… sort of. He’s cool. He knows who I am and we have some real-life common friends… Geez, Louise…” He said when he saw that everybody was looking at him, suspiciously. For half a second, Jin regretted that he didn’t play a prank on them, but a fake “coming out” story was not what he could easily muster and sound plausible enough while being fairly drunk. “But isn’t this a good opener for my turn! Never have I ever kissed a guy.” He said and left his glass on the table, curious who will pick up theirs. He had somebody in mind and indeed, the person he was casually glancing at immediately looked flustered.

 “Today?” Jungkook asked, showing off his bunny smile, turning to Taehyung who kissed his cheek just to have Jungkook place a small peck on his lips as they smiled at each other and quietly drank from their glasses.

“Serious diabetes, you two…” Hoseok commented just prior to his hand shooting up. “Oh! Does my kiss with Taehyung count?” he added.

“A grandma kisses her nephews better than you kissed Taehyung… and that was fanservice.” Jin replied. “But yeah, let’s say that it counts.”

Hoseok’s voice broke while he glanced at Jungkook. “Is it wise of me to bring this up?” He laughed.

“Your funeral” said Yoongi as everybody started laughing again. Not that Jungkook wasn’t laughing with them, but the incident happened so long ago that he had almost erased it from memory. Plus, Hobi wasn’t on his idol murder list when it came to unnecessary glances and smiles and stupid conversations towards and with Taehyung. Being with somebody who is a social butterfly had its downsides but Jungkook wouldn’t have changed Taehyung in the slightest.

If one was smart enough, it would have been obvious that Yoongi was trying to distract everybody with his comment because he knew that Jimin was going to drink and every muscle in his body felt uneasy. He tried not to look in his direction when he sipped from his own glass but pansexual Yoongi having a drink was not news for anybody, whereas Jimin drinking surely was.

Jimin sank on the couch as he giggled and took a large sip. For a brief second, his eyes darted towards Yoongi, but his focus shifted when Taehyung started hitting his shoulder.

“Woooah! Jiminissie drank!” he blurted out loudly like a villain in one of Suga’s nightmares. The older boy grimaced without realizing it.  

Jin grinned. He didn’t need Yoongi to tell him details of what happened between him and Jimin. He was smart enough to figure stuff out on his own and Jimin was honest enough to provide whatever proof he needed to complete the puzzle.

“Who? Who? Whooooo?” Taehyung hopped up and down on the couch as Jimin was only becoming a red color palette. There were no other shades left in the world, only red and the nuance spread from the tip of his nose to the very end of his ears but he laughed.

“Do you think only you can kiss guys?” Jimin refused to answer his question as he tried to get him off since Taehyung almost sat in his lap.

“OMG! Is he cute? Did you like it? Tell meeeee, Jiminieeeeee…” Taehyung pressed on without feeling any betrayal for not finding out sooner from his best friend. He was too happy, too carefree, too accepting and sadly, too accustomed to all the questions which it was obvious that Jimin asked himself about his sexuality if he was to base his assumption on the discussion that happened only earlier that same day.

Jimin was still trying to get him off when he finally answered. “Yes. I liked it. He is. Now get off me.” He mumbled between giggles but Tae was stubborn. “Hyung, tell him to get off…” Jimin started saying to Namjoon when he saw that the boy also drank from his glass and both Jimin and Tae’s mouths fell open. “Namjoon hyung, also drank” he said and all eyes shifted to the leader who smiled shyly.

Namjoon shook his head, amused. “It was also part of a dare but it wasn’t bad.” He added.

“Better than the VOPE flop?” Yoongi asked. A part of him began believing in God again and His merciful glory. Namjoon was nothing else but an angel. He didn’t care who Namjoon kissed or what Namjoon did, but Namjoon saved the conversation and dispersed the tension. God, bless his soul! Now, only if Taehyung’s demon would pipe down.

“Oh, better… anything is better than that. No offense, hyung…” he mumbled as the guys continued to ask him other questions in a cacophony of noises.

 

 

 

About an hour after everybody got tired of playing the game, Yoongi sat outside. He felt a bit drunk and hot and he thought about following Tae’s example from the previous night. Therefore, he sat down on the cold soil, outside the cabin, in complete darkness. He pulled his coat tighter to his body without zipping it up because he enjoyed the cold sensation here and there. He needed brief moments away from all the boys, just to allow his mind to think again. He was a loner by choice but also because being with his own thoughts was something he simply needed to do from time to time.

He had his glass in one hand, the soju inviting to be drank, and he was sure he would have enjoyed a cigarette. He never actually smoked as a habit but on very rare occasions, he noticed that it helped disconnect him from the world as he focused on the bright orange ashes. There was a note of bohemia in smoking, although he didn’t recommend it. Alas, he had no cigarettes and no other valid thoughts to ponder on. Except one.

“Am I afraid?”

Was he afraid? Afraid of what? He was afraid of a lot of things but none stood one in particular.

“Yoongi hyung is so afraid of happiness that I’m sure it makes him nauseous…”

The memory of Tae’s words burned in his mind, erasing any other explanation or reason. Although, it wasn’t happiness that scared him but all the things which could go wrong and destroy it. Why have expectations when a thing like happiness was so frail, to begin with? It was more or less like a business. Investing in happiness was a poor choice. He would have been perfectly ok with just having balance and no peaks of ephemeral joy. He knew that greed wouldn’t help in any circumstance.

“Why are you sitting here alone?” A familiar voice sang and Jimin sat next to him in the darkness.

Yoongi’s first instinct was to shoo him back inside because it was cold and it was dark and it looked suspicious as hell for the two of them to be there together. However, he remained quiet. It was the end of the portative. He knew that a change in tempo was needed but there was no correct bridge to link the song together. Sometimes, it was better to fade out than to hit the beat another time. To what end? The song had to have a last part anyway.

“You know we can’t continue doing this…” he said quietly, the words forming seeming on their own accord. It hurt but it was bearable.

A long inhale and a finger touched the end of his coat, tugging it gently. No reply. The night played its own symphony, unbothered. Seconds of silence hit the surface of the lake in the distance. Muted raindrops and yet the beats had an echo, far away.

“Why?” a broken voice, vulnerable, small.

Pause.  The same voice spoke again.

“Who says we can’t do it?” a glimpse of rebellion and a pinky finger touching his.

Yoongi’s turn to inhale the coldness.

“Chim…” he asked pleadingly, hoping the conversation will not transform in a full-blown contradiction. “Please… don’t try to make this harder… with each touch, you make it harder for me to do.” He refused to look at Jimin because he knew that the other boy is just waiting for the moment he turned his head to lock their eyes together and find the weakness, find the lie.

He only received a frustrated sigh from him. “Ah, so you think this is only going to be hard for you?” Somewhere within the question, anger was threatening to interfere.  

“We can’t…” he insisted and pulled his fingers from Jimin’s touch, hoping for total freedom. Futile. The chains still dangled heavily in his soul. How much weight could he attach to them before they ripped him apart?

“Aham… I understand…” Jimin’s voice rang, broken again as nothing would ever be able to mend it.

“I do want us to remain friends,” Yoongi said, trying to put in as much hope and light in his vocal inflections. “Think about it. You’ll be fine. I know you’re smart enough to understand why it’s necessary that we stop fooling around.” He continued. He almost managed to lie to himself with the carefully phrased words. “As your friend, I don’t want to see you hurt, even if that means keeping away from you.” He actually believed every word he said, at that point. His voice was warm enough and there was truth on the table as well.

“Fuck you.” Jimin hissed.

“What?” He swallowed his words as his mind went blank. He glanced at Jimin with the corner of his eye, refusing to accept the outcome.

“Fuck you and your preaching, Yoongi,” Jimin said again, head lowered. Except for the moment in the lobby when Jimin accidentally shouted his name without honorifics that was the first time the younger boy addressed him informally and Suga couldn’t get over the initial shock but he didn’t give in. He remained quiet and looked ahead.

Jimin pushed his hair backward. He was drunk and he was annoyed - a fatal combination.

“You don’t even have the decency to look me in the eye.” He continued, informally, his voice carrying the melody of battlefields and the crippled. “Don’t you dare blame your fears and selfishness on me…” he hissed once again.

“This is not about fear. I just want us to be friends… like we used to.” He answered as neutrally as possible.

A chocked laugh, followed by the counterattack of the suave voice morphed into harshness. “Are we not friends right now? Weren’t we friends when we were kissing? Am I the enemy, threatening this fucking lie you reserve yourself the luxury of living in? What have I asked of you more but your friendship? What, Yoongi?” He turned his head towards the elder. If there ever was a line, he crossed it long ago. “Look at me! Did I ask to be like Jk and Tae? Did I? Answer me!” he continued as he kept the volume of his voice low but there was the force of a full-speed punch behind his words.

Yoongi finally turned to him as well. Jimin was fuming, the sweet boy lost in anger. It hit the elder straight in the chest. “No…” he whispered. It was the truth again.

“Then why did you assume I wanted that from you? You spat that at me but I would never ask to have what they have. They are beyond anything I would dream of! Jungkook basically worships Tae! He would cross deserts and oceans for him and Taehyung is so disgustingly in love with him that it’s borderline creepy. I don’t even believe matching that is possible. What gave you the idea that I want that?!” he asked again.

“Jungkook and Tae are suffering for their choices. Things could progress. They didn’t start off in love…” Yoongi reinforced.

“You’ve been fucking blind, then… Kudos!” Jimin grinned, unkindly. “Brave of you to think you have it in you to love like that…” he said.

The ultimate truth was that Yoongi was getting fed up with Jimin’s tone but he understood the need to vent. “What do you want me to say? What do you want from me, Jimin?” he asked. The woods got a whole lot colder as they spoke. There was no comfort of the telluric under him.

“Let me love you…” Jimin said plainly. “Not like anybody else but in my own, stupid way. Let me love you for you. Let me love you for the extraordinary and kind bullshit you do every day that teaches me so much about myself. I ask you to be yourself. Kiss me if you want to kiss me. Touch me if you want to touch me. I like it and I don’t mind. ‘Not everything needs to have a grandiose meaning’, right? I prefer the real you over a puppet. I’ve never forced you into anything, no matter how you make it sound… just… allow me… let me love you… without thinking that you’ll break me. I’m not that frail.”

Yoongi gulped, lost, utterly lost in an unceremonious midnight dirge of his own creation. He couldn’t explain the loss and he couldn’t motivate the absence. An hourglass shattered. He knew that time healed but what healed time? Time healed but time refused resurrection. Once time passed, ‘it became once upon a time’. No returns. No refunds. No pulling the thread backward. He knew he stood there, just watching Jimin, unable to muster a reply.

Blinks and stares later, he saw the boy reach out for his glass and he suddenly extended his hand so the drink would be out of reach.

“I just wanted a sip,” Jimin said, disappointed. “Since you weren’t drinking it… Give me some.”

There was much more hurt in Jimin’s voice than Yoongi wanted to admit and only at that point did he realize that he felt drunk, that he was drunk, way drunker than he initially thought when his mind was pressing him non-stop.

He took the abandoned glass to his lips and drank a mouthful of soju and also held the liquid in his mouth. He didn’t give his brain the freedom to second guess itself as he leaned in Jimin’s direction, waiting to see if the other boy understood the unspoken action. He tapped his leg lightly.

A pair of confused eyes was looking at him, uncertainty pouring though the glances.  Jimin leaned in. “Disgusting…” he said Jimin with a smile and pressed his lips on Yoongi’s, cupping his face gently.

When the boys’ lips were firmly locked together, the cold liquid began flowing slowly from one mouth to the other, spilling slightly at the corners. It was more than a kiss. The way they exchanged the drink said something different.

 

“I trust you”, “I’m not ashamed”, “I’m comfortable”  

 

As the alcohol vanished, they kissed, searching for more than droplets of soju, searching for answers which came in waves as tongues glided against the one another.

 

“I need you”, “Don’t leave me”, “I’m here”

 

A hand reached into Jimin’s hair and fingers rubbed his scalp gently before pulling it. The young boy moaned into Yoongi’s lips and the sound resembled nothing less than the trumpets of Wormwood, bringing only doom. To add to Suga’s complete perdition, Jimin climbed into his lap, deepening the kiss, moving his hands on his neck. Both their bodies started burning. Yoongi couldn’t pretend that Jimin’s weight on him wasn’t intoxicating but the boy’s moans intensified, high pitched, muffled and the sound was horrific to part with.

Suga had to stop him. He could only handle damnation in small amounts. However, he kept him close and he hugged him.

“I’m sorry if I won’t be able to give you what you want…” he whispered.

“Then I’ll be careful not to want something you can’t give,” Jimin replied. “I’m not a masochist but I guess I actually am bisexual.” He said more to himself, asserting his situation and the pleasure he felt. “There is no way a straight guy does this, is it?”

Suga chuckled. “What do you mean? I bet Namjoon does it all the time…” he joked.

Jimin hit him in the shoulder. “GREAT way of ruining the mood, hyung!” he whined as he got off the boy and walked a few steps, stretching his sore legs. Whoever said that sitting in somebody’s lap on the cold, hard ground was romantic and comfortable, clearly didn’t sit in that position long enough.

“Oh, it’s ‘hyung’ now?” Suga asked while getting up from the ground as well. “Then let’s go back inside, dongsaeng.” He added.

“At the same time…?” Jimin’s eyes widened.

“Yeah. Jin is seriously watching our every move no matter what we do, and, either way, it’s only a matter of time until Tae squeezes the information out of you now…” Suga replied as he began walking towards the door. He just needed another way to handle the situation since the easy way was easily vetoed by Jimin.

“They’re too drunk to notice right now, either way…” Jimin mumbled.

“That too…” Suga said as he pushed the door open.

Nobody batted an eye at their entrance back in the room.