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Guarding My Heart (Not From You)

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Seokjin can’t seem to take his eyes off Yoongi. Granted, it is technically his job to always have the royal crown in his line of view, but Seokjin doesn’t feel like it’s a hard task to accomplish. Anyone who encounters the prince is enthralled by not only his beauty but also his radiant warmth. In Seokjin’s professional opinion, it is much harder to keep your eyes off the prince.

 

Especially in moments like these. As sunlight streams in through the large window panes of the throne room, the rays dancing off of Yoongi’s dazzling smile as he leans forward in his seat to talk to the small child who’s rambling incessantly to him.

 

Yoongi is listening to the young girl, nodding as she excitedly recounts a story of her small village home. Seokjin can feel his professional facade break, a smile stretching across his face as Yoongi laughs and leans forward to ruffle the child’s hair.

 

“He’ll be an excellent king one day, won’t he, Jin-ah?”

 

Seokjin nearly jumps out of his skin, turning to face the king himself — Yoongi’s father Min Kai. The king just throws him an amused grin, clapping down a large hand on his shoulder.

 

“He will,” Seokjin replies after he gathers himself.

 

“When will you two finally talk?” The king asks and Seokjin sputters.

 

“About what, Your Highness?”

 

The king rolls his eyes. “Always one for the utmost professionalism, Seokjin, even though I’m the one who helped change your diapers as a young boy.”

 

Seokjin flushes. His cheeks growing warm under the king’s knowing smile. “We talk every day, my king. I am his royal guard after all.”

 

The king hums. “You know that’s not what I was referring to, my dear boy. You are much too smart to partake in these games, but both you and my son are very stubborn.”

 

Seokjin’s eyes flicker over to Yoongi, who’s watching them with a thinly veiled curiosity. Seokjin bows slightly at the prince to which he gets a quick nod in return. The guard turns back to the king, who looks down at Seokjin with a patient smile.

 

“Was there something you need, Your Highness?” Seokjin asks, trying to divert the conversation from the uncomfortable territory it was heading into. The king studies him for a quick moment before deciding to drop the subject.

 

“Actually there is.” The king turns to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Walk with me? I would enjoy an escort to my quarters.”

 

Seokjin’s eyes move towards Yoongi out of their own violation, a silent way of saying he doesn’t want to leave the prince in a vulnerable position. It’s not that he doesn’t trust the other guard, he really does. Jungkook is one of their best, which is why he is with Seokjin’s unit but… Jungkook isn’t him. He can’t trust that he would protect the crown — Yoongi , his mind supplies rather unhelpfully — like he would.

 

The king, sensing the silent turmoil plaguing Seokjin’s mind, calls his main guard Hoseok over.

 

“I have to discuss a matter with Seokjin in private, would you mind taking over his post until we return?”

 

Hoseok bows. “Of course not. my king. I’ll watch over the prince.”

 

The king turns to Seokjin. “Let’s go then, dinner is due to be served in less than an hour and you know how Yoongi gets if we are unable to eat a meal together.” The king turns on his heel, leaving no room for argument.

 

Seokjin turns to follow him, catching the quizzical look Hoseok throws him. Seokjin shrugs. He doesn’t know what the king wants to talk about. He follows the king to his private office, standing by the desk until the elder man gestures for him to sit in one of the plush chairs in front of him.

 

Seokjin sits obediently, resting his sword against the chair. “What is it you seek to discuss, Your Highness?”

 

The king leans back in his hair. “Aish, so formal all the time. You’re practically my son, Jin.”

 

“I know but I’m working; it comes with the job.”

 

The king hums. “You’re one of our best, Seokjin, which is why I decided to assign you to this job.”

 

Seokjin raises an eyebrow. “What job?”

 

“We have visitors coming to visit from the East kingdom,” The king starts, crossing his hands over his abdomen. “We have their heir to the crown, Prince Namjoon, and his younger brother Prince Taehyung coming tomorrow morning. They should be here for a week, maybe more.”

 

“You want me to guard the prince?” Seokjin asks slowly. “What about Yoongi, Your Highness?”

 

“Prince Taehyung is coming as a potential suitor to the Prince, Seokjin,” The king explains gently. “He isn’t heir to the throne and it could be an everlasting alliance between our two kingdoms.” Seokjin’s entire mind goes blank at the explanation, his blood running cold in his veins.

 

He’s not naive. He knew that one day the prince was set to be married, to a female or male. The king wasn’t one to shy away from his son’s sexuality. He was a forward thinker, a progressive mind that the kingdom was lucky to have.

 

Seokjin knew Yoongi was going to be married one day. He just… a part of him always shallowly hoped he would be married to him. It was a stupid fantasy, a far fetched dream that Seokjin would only entertain in the darkest parts of his mind.

 

Seokjin swallows roughly. “Oh.” He doesn’t know what else to say, no words able to convey the pain he feels buried deep in his chest.

 

The king rubs his face. “You know I wouldn’t force my son into a marriage. This will be his choice, but I can’t have you intervening and sabotaging it before he even has a chance to get to know him.”

 

“Your Highness, with all due respect, I would never do something to jeopardize the prince’s happiness. His well-being is my one and only priority.”

 

“You wouldn’t intentionally, I know this, my son,” The king placates him gently. Seokjin doesn’t like the sinking feeling in his stomach. “He won’t even bother to get to know Taehyung if you are around to bear witness. He cares about you too much to hurt you.”

 

“He wouldn’t be—“ The king raises his hand, effectively cutting of Seokjin’s near frantic ramble.

 

“I’ve been king for many years. I’m a wise man, beyond my years. You and my son have a very beautiful relationship, one that I know you cherish immensely.”

 

Seokjin nods shallowly. “We do.”

 

“One that has been dormant since it’s began. I know you love him, more than a brother loves another,” The king continues. He doesn’t sound angry, in fact he just sounds tired. “Do you have any intention of moving it further than stolen glances when the other isn’t looking?”

 

Seokjin chews his bottom lip. He loves Yoongi. He has since they were mere kids. He can’t speak for Yoongi… would never want to be the one to take his chance at real love away from him. Seokjin can deal with his feelings on his own, can mend the broken pieces of his heart if it means Yoongi will be happy. As long as he gets to see the smile on his face, the way his eyes crinkle around the edges and his gums peak under his lips… he can find peace in the heartache.

 

“No, Your Highness,” Seokjin says. His voice wobbles slightly, a slip up he hopes the king will ignore.

 

“My son, why do you give up your own happiness when it could be right in front of you?”

 

Seokjin pretends he doesn’t know how close Yoongi is. How the younger boy has always been just right at the tips of his fingers. He has a job though, a duty to serve that doesn’t involve him getting mangled in a twisted web of feelings and love.

 

“Yoongi’s happiness and safety are my only priorities. As long as he can find the happiness he deserves, I don’t mind taking the back burner.”

 

The king stays quiet, brown eyes boring into Seokjin. His gaze burns.

 

“You’re a noble guard, Seokjin,” The king finally says. He leans back in his chair, running a hand across his face. “An even nobler friend. I pray you tell Yoongi? Let him know of the visitors. They will be here tomorrow morning. Dismissed.”

 

Seokjin stands up, bowing swiftly before gathering his sword, fastening it to his hip. “I’ll send Hoseok back in. Thank you, Your Highness.”

 

The king nods to him, not uttering another word.

 

An official dismissal.

 

Seokjin shuffles out of the room, closing the door behind him. He makes his way towards the throne room, slipping into a vacant, dimly lit hallway to find a moment of solitude before he has to face Yoongi.

 

He falls back against the cool stone, heart twisting in his chest as he thinks about what tomorrow will bring. The thought of Yoongi falling in love with his potential suitor makes his lungs feel as if they are being crushed under the weight of his own anguish. The king had looked at him as if he knew everything. He didn’t. He couldn’t.

 

He didn’t know of Seokjin baring his heart to Yoongi all those years ago. The softly spoken confession falling upon nearly deaf ears as Yoongi told him he didn’t love him the way he wanted him to.

 

Seokjin knew from the first moment he met Yoongi in the small garden of the castle, he was special. Sure, they were nothing but small children with no true concept of love besides the one they felt for their parents but that didn’t mean Seokjin loved the younger boy any less. It was just a new feeling of love, one that strayed from the one he was accustomed to.

 

A feeling of absolute warmth when Yoongi wrapped a small hand around Seokjin’s thumb. Not wanting to stray too far from him even though they didn’t really know each other. A feeling of protective instincts that washed over Seokjin when Yoongi smiled at him, his chubby cheeks mimicking stuffed dumplings as the smile stretched over pink lips. A feeling of genuine happiness when Yoongi kissed him on the cheek before he left, promising they would always be best friends.

 

As children, they were never apart. The whole kingdom knowing that where Yoongi was, Seokjin was no more than a step behind. They would run around the castle, hiding from their parents while they tried to steal cookies from the kitchen. They were always caught, especially by the king. They never faced consequences for their actions, instead the king would usher both of them into his private quarters, sharing their stolen goods as he told them dramatic fairytales of dragons and princes.

 

As they grew into teenagers, they found themselves growing further together than they did apart. Their paths intertwining like two lost souls. Seokjin began his training when they were teenagers, wanting to follow the footsteps of his father, who was a King’s guard. He wanted to protect Yoongi, in any way he could. Seokjin would give his life for the prince, if it meant the world wouldn’t have to go a day without Yoongi’s smile.

 

While Seokjin trained to take over for Yoongi’s primary guard, Yoongi would sit in the garden, immersed in soft flowers as he watched. The prince would cheer for him as he sparred with other guards, learning to take defense in case there was a threat against the crown. Regardless if Seokjin won or lost his fight, Yoongi would bound up to him once it was over, placing a delicate kiss to his cheek and telling him he was proud of him.

 

When Yoongi’s mother died, Seokjin realized that as much as he could protect the prince physically, he couldn’t always spare his heart. It was the first time Seokjin ever truly saw Yoongi break down in front of him. The prince had snuck into his room in the dead of night, slipping into his bed as tears dropped onto the sheets. Seokjin woke up with blonde hair in his face, tickling his nose as Yoongi’s sobs racked his body. They didn’t say anything. No words would have brought the prince any solace.

 

Yoongi had changed after he lost his mother, the once sunny demeanor the prince always had, dimming slightly. He became a bit more closed off, guarded especially with people he didn’t know. He was never mean, but he didn’t seem to want to leave his heart vulnerable for another heartbreak.

 

The only exception being Seokjin.

 

The prince never put a distance between them — he did the exact opposite. He always wanted the guard near and be close to him, clutching onto his hand as if he was scared he would disappear.

 

He didn’t understand it at first, not until one night the prince broke down after Seokjin got injured in an attempted kidnapping of the crown. Any time the prince was to visit the villages around them, he was to be heavily guarded. It was common practice and Seokjin being his head guard was to always be the closest to the prince.

 

A fight broke out, the commotion almost enough for Yoongi to be snatched from right under their noses. Seokjin was good at what he did though, intervening before anything serious happened but in the midst of it he got side swiped by a blade. It was a minor injury but it had sent Yoongi in an absolute frenzy.

 

The prince refused to leave his side, even as he was being patched up in the infirmary. He tried consoling the prince, reassuring him he was fine but Yoongi wanted to hear none of it. When Yoongi crawled into his bed later that night, crying into his chest as if Seokjin nearly died, the guard was rightfully concerned.

 

[“Yoongichi, I’m fine, I promise,” Seokjin hushed the prince, running a hand through his hair. “Please don’t cry.”

 

“I can’t lose you,” the prince sobbed into his chest, and it broke Seokjin’s heart how small Yoongi sounded.

 

“You won’t.”

 

“You can’t know that.”

 

Seokjin kissed the prince’s hair. He does know he would rather die by the blade than ever leave Yoongi.

 

“I won’t ever leave you.”

 

Yoongi pulled back, face flushed from crying. “Do you promise?”

 

“I promise.”]

 

That night, Seokjin promised that he would take care of the prince’s heart. Would love Yoongi so much, that the prince would never feel the hole the loss of his mother left in his heart. Would try his best to patch up the pieces of a broken soul.

 

The way Yoongi loved him, always confused him. The line between a brother’s love and something more completely blurred when it came to them. Seokjin yearned for something more, a deeper connection than the one they shared. He thought the feelings would be reciprocated.

 

It was a naive thought.

 

Seokjin had confessed, one night as they laid cuddled up in Yoongi’s large bed. It wasn’t really an odd occurrence for Seokjin to find his way into the prince’s bed. Yoongi loved to be held, to have someone in his space so he didn’t feel so alone and the prince didn’t trust anyone else to be around him while in such a vulnerable state except Seokjin.

 

He never meant to say anything. It was as if his mind hijacked his mouth, shutting out his brain from providing any rational thought to stop him. It was just… Yoongi was really beautiful. Especially in the dim glow of moonlight as it streamed in from the large windows of the prince’s quarters, bouncing off the prince’s pale skin. Yoongi was giggling at some stupid joke he had made, the sound being muffled into the younger’s sweater paw of the large soft beige sweater he was wearing — it was Seokjin’s.

 

He blurted it out before he could comprehend the consequences of his actions. Told the prince that he was in love with him. Loved everything about him, from his blonde hair to the way he was grumpy in the mornings. Loved Yoongi so much that sometimes it felt like a crushing weight, pressing down on him, preventing him from breathing.

 

Yoongi had smiled at him. The smile wasn’t the one the prince wore when he was happy, the one that made his eyes shine like the sun. It was the smile he wore when he had to let one of the townspeople know he couldn’t help them. The smile he wore when he pressed a kiss into Seokjin’s hair when Seokjin was crying into his chest after his mother got sick. It was a smile filled with sorrow.

 

Yoongi let him down gently. Told him that he loved him, just not in the way Seokjin wanted him to. Promised that this wouldn’t change anything between them. They would always be best friends.

 

It’s no surprise that Seokjin fell in love with Yoongi. It would probably be harder not to fall in love with the prince. Seokjin was doomed from the start, his fate already written in the stars in Yoongi’s eyes. He never stood a chance against the prince, his heart already deciding to give itself away with no hesitation.

 

Love, is what Seokjin promised to Yoongi. Friendship, is what Yoongi promised to him.

 

“Seokjin? Hey— hey, are you okay?” Seokjin hears Jungkook calling to him, pulling him from the memories he wishes he could destroy.

 

“Yeah.” His voice is strained. Scratchy as if he’s been crying for hours, thick with unshed tears. “Is Yoongi in his room?”

 

Jungkook studies him, concern swimming in his brown irises. Seokjin shakes his head at the younger guard, silently pleading for him to drop it. He can’t talk about it. He doesn’t know if his heart can bear it.

 

“He is,” Jungkook replies slowly. The guard reaches out to gently run a hand down his back, a comforting gesture. Seokjin nods, leaning into the touch. He takes a few deep breaths, finding his footing again.

 

After a few moments, he collects himself. At the end of the day, he has a job to do. A duty to the kingdom and to himself. He pats Jungkook on the shoulder, assuring him that he’s okay — or at least he will be. Maybe not now, but one day. He makes his way to the prince’s room, dismissing Hoseok with a small smile, letting him know the king is awaiting his arrival.

 

“I take it he told you?” Hoseok inquires, hesitating before he leaves his position. “Are you okay?”

 

Seokjin shrugs, not bothering to put on a facade for Hoseok. The kingsguard is the closest thing he has to a brother. “I’m trying to be. I knew this day was set in stone, there’s no way around it.”

 

Hoseok looks at him in disbelief. “I just don’t understand. The way Yoongi talks of you, it seems there’s more than just a brotherly love.”

 

“Hoseok-ah, you and I both know he loves with his entire heart — it’s just who he is,” Seokjin says softly. “I may be special to him but I’m not who he is to wed. I’m his guard.”

 

“That’s bullshit and we both know it. He looks at you as if you hung every star yourself, it just doesn’t make sense—“

 

“Hoseok,” Seokjin interjects. He can’t bear to hear how special he is to Yoongi when it’s not the type of love he desperately yearns for. “Please. Not today.”

 

Hoseok purses his lips, eyes narrowing slightly before his resolve crumbles. He rushes forward, pulling Seokjin into his arms, nestling his head in the crook of the elder’s neck.

 

“I’ll let you know when dinner is ready,” Hoseok says once he pulls back, professional mask slipping back on his face. “We will discuss tomorrow’s visitors before we retire for the night.”

 

Seokjin nods, shooting his best friend a grateful smile. Hoseok turns on his heel, leaving him alone to gather himself one last time before he has to face Yoongi. He takes one last deep breath before he pushes the door to Yoongi’s room open.

 

The prince looks up at the sound, entire face lighting up at the sight of Seokjin. He sits up from his desk, making his way over to the guard.

 

“I missed you,” Yoongi starts, a pout already forming on the royal’s lips. “Where did you and father go?”

 

Seokjin smiles at Yoongi, the action feeling strained. “He was informing me of our day tomorrow. We will have visitors coming in from the East kingdom.”

 

Yoongi makes his way over to his large bed, sitting on the edge of the golden blanket. “The Kim’s are visiting?”

 

Seokjin ventures further into the room, dropping his sword against the prince’s desk before leaning back against it. Yoongi turns to him.

 

“The heir of the crown, Prince Namjoon and his younger brother Prince Taehyung will be joining us. I’m to be his main guard for the duration of his stay.”

 

Yoongi’s expression twists into something sour. “What do you mean? You’re my guard.”

 

Seokjin shrugs. “Your father wants me to stay with Prince Kim Namjoon for their visit.”

 

“I don’t want that. There must have been a mistake,” Yoongi starts, getting up from his bed. The red robe he’s wearing slipping off his shoulder in the haste. “Let me go talk to father.”

 

The blonde starts making his way to the door, determination clear on his face. Seokjin intercepts him before he’s able to escape the room, large hand enclosing around the prince’s pale wrist. He pulls Yoongi back, until he’s standing right in front of him.

 

“There’s another reason he wants me to stay with Prince Namjoon,” Seokjin says gently. Yoongi raises an eyebrow at him, silently telling him to continue. “Prince Kim Taehyung is here as a potential suitor to you.”

 

Yoongi’s hand drops limply from his. The prince steps back, expression carefully neutral. Seokjin pretends he doesn’t feel the ache in his chest, the way his heart screams at the thought of Yoongi being with anyone but him.

 

“I don’t— I didn’t think,” Yoongi struggles for words, looking up at him. The mask slips from the prince’s face, turning into an expression Seokjin doesn’t quite understand. “Why can’t you be there then?”

 

Seokjin doesn’t say anything, the answer painfully loud in the silence. They never talked about what happened the night Seokjin confessed, both choosing to pretend it never happened. Now they can’t run from it. Can’t run from the crushing reality.

 

“Prince, you—“

 

“Don’t do that,” Yoongi pleads softly. “Don’t speak to me as if I’m nothing more than a royal to you.”

 

Seokjin exhales, shoulders sagging. He’s tired . “You know why I can’t be there, Yoongi. You wouldn’t let yourself try if you knew it was breaking my heart.”

 

Yoongi looks stricken. Seokjin knows he’s trying to come up with an argument, even though they both know it’s the truth.

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

Seokjin knows. It doesn’t make it any easier. “You don’t have any reason to be sorry.”

 

“Seokjin, I—“ A knock to the prince’s door interrupts them.

 

“Dinners ready,” a muffled Hoseok is heard through the door.

 

Seokjin leans down to grab his sword, adjusting it on himself. He looks to Yoongi who’s still staring at him.

 

“You deserve to find happiness, Yoongichi. It’s all I’ve ever wanted for you,” Seokjin says gently, turning towards the door. He turns back before pulling it open, bowing at Yoongi, forcing himself to switch back into his work mindset. “Dinner is ready, Your Highness. We will go over tomorrow’s schedule after we eat.”

 

Yoongi nods at him, pulling off his robe, folding it neatly and placing it on the bed. Yoongi is wearing a white button down, one that Seokjin is sure he gifted him years ago.

 

“Thank you, Seokjin,” Yoongi says softly before exiting the room. The ‘thank you’ has a double meaning, a lot more complex than either of them are equipped to decipher.

 

 

Seokjin sighs as the sunlight creeps in through the windows in his room. He takes a moment to bask in the warmth of the rays, wanting to exist in a moment of peace before he has to face the day. Dinner last night was rather uneventful; the prince subdued as he chatted with his father over their bibimbap and beef. Seokjin pretended to not notice the concerned looks both Hoseok and Jungkook had thrown him anytime the royals weren’t looking.

 

After dinner ended, Yoongi bowed out, claiming he wanted to retire early to get ready for their visitors tomorrow. The thought of Yoongi spending extra time getting ready for the man that he would potentially wed made Seokjin feel as if his heart was being torn to shreds.

 

Today was the day the two are going to meet.

 

The day he might lose Yoongi forever.

 

A knock at his door pulls him from his thoughts. Hoseok sticks his head in after a second, already dressed for the day.

 

“They should be arriving soon,” Hoseok informs him. The guard’s eyes rake over his form, expression softening when they land on his face. “Are you sure you are okay with this?”

 

“I have to be,” Seokjin replies almost automatically. He feels as if he’s trying to convince himself as much as he trying to convince everyone else.

 

“I can tell them you are unwell — I am sure the king would understand.”

 

He knows he would. The king is as much as his father as he is Yoongi’s. Seokjin waves him off. “I’ll be down in twenty, please come get me if they get here before I’ve finished.”

 

Hoseok nods, hesitating slightly at the door. The guard opens his mouth to say something but closes it swiftly. “Will do.”

 

Seokjin gets ready quickly, showering and putting on his best uniform to make the best impression he can. He slips his black suit jacket on, making sure his black button down is tucked into his black slacks neatly. An all black look is always the best way to go.

 

When he makes his way down to the common room, he’s relieved to see their guests haven’t arrived yet. His eyes land on Yoongi, somehow always finding the prince even in the most crowded of rooms. Yoongi looks up at him, a smile gracing his features easily. The prince’s eyes soften as he approaches.

 

“Good morning, my prince.”

 

Yoongi rolls his eyes but his smile grows.

 

“Morning, Seokjinnie,” Yoongi replies softly. He reaches a hand out to catch Seokjin’s, just holding it in his own. “Did you sleep well?”

 

He didn’t. “I did. Are you excited for today?”

 

Seokjin doesn’t miss the way Yoongi’s face falls slightly. He pretends he didn’t catch it. “It’s just another day.”

 

“You could be meeting your husband today.” The words taste like poison on his tongue. Threatening to kill him from the inside.

 

The grip around his hand tightens as Yoongi looks up at him from his place on one of the red couches taking up the common space. “Seokjin, can we please talk—“

 

“Your Highness, the princes have arrived,” Jungkook interrupts, bowing at them. The young guard’s eyes narrow in on their clasped hands. Seokjin withdraws his quickly, coughing into his fist.

 

“We will be right there. Thank you, Jungkook-ah.”

 

Jungkook bows again, leaving the room. Seokjin looks back at Yoongi who’s still staring at him.

 

“We should go,” Seokjin urges gently.

 

“Can we talk first?”

 

“About what?”

 

Yoongi stands up, reaching for his hand again. The prince looks torn, a myriad of emotions swimming in his dark irises. Seokjin feels a spark of hope lodge its way in his heart.

 

Hope is a dangerous feeling.

 

“I— I just… I don’t…” Yoongi lets out a breathless chuckle, running a hand through his hair as he tries to figure out what to say. “Seokjin, I—“

 

A bang on the door causes them both to freeze. The king steps in not too soon after the noise. If he notices their interlaced fingers, he doesn’t say anything. “Our guests are here, let’s go.”

 

Yoongi drops his hand. Seokjin has to suppress every urge to grab it again. “Okay, father. We will be right—“

 

“Son,” The king says sternly. “Now.”

 

Yoongi looks at Seokjin again before he gives in, accepting his fate. They both follow the king out of the common room. Seokjin's heart aches as his imagination runs wild. He doesn’t know what the prince wanted to tell him, what was causing Yoongi so much distress. He’s scared he'll never have the chance to find out.

 

They make their way into the throne room where the other princes wait. There are three new people in the room when they enter, Hoseok and Jungkook conversing with them politely as they all get better acquainted. Seokjin has never met the royals from the east, only heard of their kingdom in passing.

 

“Princes, I would like to formally introduce you to the heir of my crown, Min Yoongi,” The king says as they make their way into the room, gaining everyone’s attention.

 

When the men turn around, they nearly take his breath away. The three men in front of them are absolutely breathtaking. One of them is a guard, Seokjin can tell from the sword fastened at his side. He’s the shortest of the three, black hair sweeping his face, matching his black suit. He has an aura of fierceness around him, the way he holds himself makes him seem larger than he truly his.

 

The two princes smile at them; the slightly taller one has dimples, Seokjin notes. He looks friendly, eyes almost as soft as his features. The other one though, Seokjin can’t describe him as anything other than — ethereal. Everything about the brunette looks as if it was carved by angels themselves. He’s dressed in gorgeous robes, adorned in beautiful jewelry to match. When he smiles at them, it’s as if the room itself brightens.

 

The taller one steps forward, bowing slightly at the prince. “It’s an honor to meet you, I’m Prince Namjoon, son of Jae-ho Kim.”

 

Seokjin feels the blood drain from his face. The remaining pieces of his heart crumbling as the ethereal prince — Taehyung , his mind supplies helplessly — steps forward, not stopping until he’s standing right in front of Yoongi. The prince grabs Yoongi’s hand, the same one that had been in Seokjin’s not even ten minutes ago — and kisses it.

 

“I’m Prince Taehyung, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

 

Yoongi blushes slightly when the prince doesn’t drop his hand immediately and it feels like Seokjin is being stabbed directly in the heart.

 

“It’s nice to meet you too,” Yoongi replies. His voice is soft, almost nervous.

 

Seokjin turns to Namjoon, heart in his throat. He bows, approaching the prince.

 

“I’m Kim Seokjin, I’ll be at your service for the remainder of the trip.”

 

Namjoon smiles at him, dimples deep enough to get lost in. “Kim? There are a bunch of us running around it seems.”

 

Seokjin cracks a smile. “It appears so. Would you like a tour of the castle?”

 

Namjoon nods, gesturing for Seokjin to lead the way. “You don’t mind if Jimin joins us, do you?”

 

Seokjin turns to the guard, bowing at him. The shorter man returns the bow but his eyes stay focused on Taehyung. He looks almost as if he’s in pain, watching the two princes talk. Seokjin feels his pain, resting a sympathetic touch to the guard’s arm.

 

“Of course not, we can stop by the kitchen for some food if either of you are famished from your long journey over?”

 

The two men nod, following Seokjin as he leads them out of the room. As much as Seokjin wants to look back at Yoongi, he doesn’t allow himself to do so, doesn’t know if he can handle seeing the prince’s smile when it isn’t directed at him.

 

He can feel the prince’s gaze on him until he exits the room.

 

 

The three of them roam the grounds, making minimal conversation as they get to know each other. Jimin doesn’t contribute much to the conversation, seemingly lost in his own head. Seokjin wonders if he aches for the same reasons.

 

Namjoon on the other hand, talks enough for the three of them. Filling the silence with random facts and knowledge Seokjin can’t help but smile at. The prince is excitable, smiling widely at him any time he thinks of something new to say. Seokjin wishes he wasn’t in love with someone already, wonders what he would think of Namjoon if his heart didn’t belong to another.

 

They make their way to the gardens, sitting down on the stone benches. Jimin bows out before they get settled, saying something about wanting to sleep after their travel. Namjoon hugs him before he goes, whispering something to the guard. Jimin wipes at his eyes after he hears it, Seokjin pretends not to notice his tears.

 

Namjoon settles back down next to him. “I'm sorry about him, he’s usually a lot more lively.”

 

Seokjin waves off the apology. “He seems as if he’s in pain.”

 

Namjoon hums, leaning down to run a hand through the various flowers in the garden. “He is.”

 

“Oh?” Seokjin turns to Namjoon. “I know it’s not my place, Your Highness, but if you need to talk I will gladly listen.”

 

“He's in love with someone who can’t give his heart to him in return,” Namjoon says. He sounds far away. Seokjin thinks back to the way Jimin was looking at Prince Taehyung, the absolute anguish colored across the guard’s face, hardly hidden.

 

“Is it your brother?”

 

Namjoon laughs, the sound a bit hollow. “Was he that obvious?”

 

“No,” Seokjin replies genuinely. He wasn’t, Seokjin just knows that sort of pain. “I just understand.”

 

Namjoon looks at him, studying him. “You’re in love with Yoongi?”

 

Seokjin sputters, face flushing marvelously. “How did you—“

 

“I’m a pretty perceptive person... you also looked like you wanted to punch my brother in the face when you met him.”

 

Seokjin ducks his head. “I’m sorry, Your Highness, that was completely unprofessional of me.”

 

“You can’t control your ache,” Namjoon says softly. “We are all human after all. I don’t take offense to it. I’m sure my brother didn’t even notice.”

 

“Is he…” Seokjin trails off, raising a brow.

 

Namjoon nods. “He loves Jimin as well but his duty as prince comes first. If Yoongi chooses to marry him, he will put his heart in the backseat.”

 

Seokjin lets his head fall into his hands. He refuses to cry in front of a prince he doesn’t even know. He feels a large hand rest on his shoulder. Namjoon is smiling at him.

 

“Can I hug you?”

 

Seokjin nods, just wanting the comfort. Namjoon doesn’t hesitate, moving closer to wrap his arms around him. The guard sighs in the embrace, already feeling better.

 

“It’s a shame, you’re really cute. I was totally going to hit on you.”

 

Seokjin barks out a laugh, the sound much too loud for the peaceful garden. “You still can.”

 

Namjoon laughs against him. “I’m not very good with pick up lines.”

 

“I have one.” Seokjin pulls back, the prince's hands fall to his waist. They are still sitting incredibly close but it’s nice. “One look at you and I was throne off.”

 

Namjoon scrunches his nose in disgust before he’s laughing. Seokjin joins him, feeling a bit less heavy.

 

“Oh god, that was terrible,” Namjoon says in between breathless giggles. Seokjin shrugs, smile never falling from his face.

 

“What if I give you a knight to remember?” Seokjin says, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.

 

Namjoon snorts. “Was that a sex joke?”

 

Seokjin sniffs. “Maybe it was. As if you would be opposed.”

 

“Maybe a one-off thing. I do have to keep up my royal appearances after all.”

 

Seokjin shoves him. “Yah! What, am I not good enough for more than one night?”

 

“Seokjin?” The guard freezes, recognizing that voice anywhere. He turns, facing Taehyung who’s watching them with a mute curiosity. Seokjin’s eyes drift over to Yoongi whose eyes are on Namjoon’s hands wrapped around his waist.

 

Seokjin jumps up, putting distance between himself and the prince. “Your Highness. Is there something I can assist you with?”

 

Yoongi’s expression darkens. “No. Just wondering what you two were giggling about in the gardens. We could hear you from the hallway.”

 

“Seokjin was just telling me god awful puns,” Namjoon interjects, trying to cut the weird tension between them. “They are terrible. I don’t know how—“

 

“I quite enjoy them actually,” Yoongi interrupts. His voice is crude, harsh in a way that has Namjoon stepping back slightly.

 

Seokjin throws Yoongi a questioning look but the royal looks away from him. He’s never heard the prince be outwardly cold to someone, especially royal guests.

 

“Yoongi, are you okay?”

 

“I’m fine,” Yoongi says, his tone suggesting otherwise. “Just showing Taehyung to the ballroom.”

 

Seokjin freezes. That was their spot. One they would hide away from the world together. The large golden room that holds some of his dearest memories. It’s been a long time since they had been in that part of the castle, since him and Yoongi ran away to this room for a moment of peace. He remembers dancing with Yoongi in this ballroom, a way to practice before any of the prince’s obligated parties — sometimes they would just do it to be alone.

 

He feels as if he’s been punched, the way the air gets pulled from his lungs.

 

“Oh, okay,” Seokjin says tersely. “Have a good night then.”

 

Yoongi interlaces his fingers with Taehyung’s, pulling the prince with him. “We will.”

 

The prince doesn’t turn to him again. He can feel Namjoon come up behind him.

 

“That was intense,” The royal says quietly. Seokjin huffs out a laugh.

 

“I don’t know what his problem is.”

 

Namjoon hums. “Are you sure you don’t?”

 

Seokjin turns to the royal, tilting his head slightly. “What do you mean by that?”

 

“Nothing,” Namjoon says after some time. “I have a feeling you’ll know by the end of this visit.”

 

The prince informs him he’s hungry, asking to be shown to the kitchen for lunch. He doesn’t say anything else about Yoongi, even if Seokjin desperately wants to know what he means.

 

 

Dinner is tense.

 

That’s the only way Seokjin can describe it. Yoongi stays practically glued to Taehyung's side, much to the displeasure of Jimin, who ends up leaving not even halfway through the second course. Namjoon tries to engage Yoongi in conversation but the prince is having none of it, responding with one worded replies. Seokjin keeps throwing him glances, trying to figure out what his deal is but Yoongi downright refuses to maintain eye contact. The king looks at all of them rightfully confused while Hoseok and Jungkook flirt over noodles, completely oblivious to everyone’s turmoil.

 

After they finish up, Seokjin bows to Namjoon, telling him he’ll find him later. The prince waves him off, letting him know he’ll be fine and that he’s going to find Jimin anyways. He follows Yoongi out of the room, wanting to understand what’s going through the prince's head.

 

He catches him right before he enters his room, grabbing his wrist softly. Yoongi turns to him, expression guarded.

 

“Yoongi? Talk to me please?” Seokjin pleads gently. “What’s wrong?”

 

The prince doesn’t say anything, just looks down at his hand around his wrist. “Are you fond of him?”

 

“What?”

 

Yoongi looks up, eyes swimming with something Seokjin doesn’t understand. “Prince Namjoon.”

 

Seokjin wants to scream. Wonders what he did in his previous life that was so cruel that the universe has decided to make his life unnecessarily harder than it needs to be.

 

“Are you asking if I like him? I barely met him.”

 

“But you think he’s attractive, right?” Yoongi presses. Seokjin doesn’t know why but it makes him irrationally angry.

 

“And if I do?” Seokjin snaps. “What does it matter if I find him attractive?”

 

“It doesn’t,” Yoongi says cooly. His expression is neutral again and Seokjin hates it. They aren’t supposed to hide things from each other.

 

“Is that why you’ve been acting like this?” Seokjin asks disbelievingly. “Am I not allowed to move on?”

 

Seokjin regrets the words as soon as they leave his mouth. Yoongi twists out of his hold, eyes shining.“You forget that Taehyung is here as my potential suitor. How dare you accuse me of something like that?”

 

Their voices are growing, the pent up argument having been brewing between them for months now. Seokjin is still hurt. He never was able to deal with his feelings properly, never gave himself a chance to get over Yoongi.

 

“I hope you marry him,” Seokjin practically spits at him. He doesn’t mean it. His heart screams in protest at the mere thought of Yoongi falling in love with someone else.

 

Yoongi laughs, the sound bitter. It’s something Seokjin’s never heard come from the prince, especially not directed at him. They’ve never fought, always choosing each other’s sides without hesitation.

 

“I will,” Yoongi says swiftly. He turns to open his door, stepping inside. Seokjin knows he shouldn’t let his emotions get the better of him. He doesn’t even know why they’re fighting.

 

It still doesn’t stop him from engaging. “Good. Maybe you were right — I should just go find Namjoon. At least he wants me, right?”

 

Yoongi doesn’t say anything for a brief moment, but Seokjin thinks he can see the mask crack. For a moment he can see the hurt on Yoongi’s face. It makes him want to apologize, to hold onto the prince and tell him he doesn’t think he’ll ever love someone the way he loves Yoongi. He doesn’t though. He can’t.

 

The door closes on him, Yoongi on the other side. It’s the first time they’ve been separated. It’s the first time they aren’t by each other’s side.

 

And Seokjin can’t help but think that Yoongi took half of his heart with him.

 

 

Things don’t get better after their fight. In fact, they only get worse.

 

The two of them avoid each other like the plague the next few days after their argument. Only briefly occupying the same room when their obligated to but never getting close enough to touch. It kills him. He wants nothing more than to pull Yoongi to his chest and never let go.

 

Taehyung is now the one to permanently occupy the prince's side, keeping a hand on Yoongi at all time. Seokjin doesn’t miss the way the prince leans into the touch subconsciously or the way Jimin is suspiciously absent from every activity or event they attend.

 

Namjoon seems to pick up on the situation because he stays by Seokjin’ side, telling him terrible puns that he looked up. It’s a nice gesture and it has Seokjin wishing once again, he could just turn off his heart. Wishing he could fall in love with someone like Namjoon… someone who could love him back.

 

Seokjin’s breaking point is when the king comes up to him, talking about how well Taehyung and Yoongi are getting along.

 

“I think a wedding is in our future,” The king says offhandedly, looking at his son and Taehyung laugh over something at the dining table.

 

Seokjin smiles at the king, ignoring his aching heart. “Has he said anything to you about it?”

 

“That Taehyung makes him happy,” The king replies gently, probably trying to spare his feelings. It doesn’t work.

 

He looks back over at the princes. Yoongi is smiling at Taehyung, nodding as the younger man explains something with enthusiasm. Yoongi leans over, wiping a piece of food from the prince’s mouth, letting his hand linger there for a moment.

 

Seokjin stands before he can see anything else, nearly knocking Jungkook over in his haste. He doesn’t want to think anymore. Doesn’t want to feel. He just wants it to stop hurting so much.

 

Which is how he finds himself drunk and alone in his small bedroom. Hoseok snuck him some alcohol after he left, promising to take over his duties for the day. Seokjin gave him a grateful smile, thankful to have such an understanding friend.

 

He drinks until he doesn’t feel so numb. Tries to erase the memories of Yoongi with bitter tasting alcohol. It doesn’t work.

 

Namjoon joins him at some point of the night, not wanting him to be alone. It’s a nice gesture.

 

“Are you sure you don’t want to lie down?” Namjoon asks for the millionth time, his expression growing more concerned with every passing minute.

 

Seokjin shakes his head. “No, just wanna drink lil s’’more.”

 

“I know it hurts but this isn’t the way to handle it,” Namjoon tells him gently, laying a hand on his.

 

“I don’t know what else to do,” Seokjin replies pathetically. “I don’t know if I can handle him marrying someone else.”

 

Namjoon pulls him into a hug, rubbing his back soothingly. Seokjin tries not to cry but he can’t help it. He’s in so much pain, it’s as if he’s drowning in his own sorrow. He finally lets himself break in Namjoon’s hold.

 

Namjoon doesn’t pull away from him, letting him take the time he needs.

 

Only once he’s finished, tears ran dry, does the prince speak again. “Why don’t you come work in our kingdom? I’m sure the king would understand.”

 

Seokjin pulls back. “I can’t just leave.”

 

“Why not? Seokjin, this… this isn’t healthy. You’re tearing yourself apart.”

 

“I’ll miss him.” It’s pathetic, the way he aches at the mere thought of being away from Yoongi. Especially when the younger doesn’t love him back.

 

He doesn’t remember what Namjoon says next, sleep overtaking him easily in his incoherent state. When he wakes up, he’s alone but there’s a note on his side table.

 

Seokjin, I know you probably won’t remember what I offered last night but I want you to consider leaving to work for our kingdom. For yourself, above anyone else. You deserve happiness too.

             -KNJ

 

His heart yearns for one thing but he knows, for once, he has to do what’s best for him.

 

 

Finding the king is easy… telling him he wants to leave is the hardest thing he thinks he’s ever done in his life.

 

The king is almost like his own father. He has been since he was child, leaving him is like losing a member of his own family all over again.

 

“Are you sure this is what you want?” The king asks, his voice not as steady as Seokjin is used to hearing.

 

Seokjin isn’t sure. “I think so. I just… I can’t— it hurts too much.”

 

The king nods in understanding. “My son, I never want to see you in pain. Of course I’ll let you go if it’s what you think will help. I’m sorry it has to end this way.”

 

“I’ll miss you both. You two are my family,” Seokjin tells him honestly. “I just can’t watch him love another.”

 

“Then you have my blessing,” The king tells him gently. He smiles sadly at him, his heart probably breaking just as much as Seokjin’s own. “You’re free to leave with the Kim’s, we will look for a replacement—“

 

The door to the king’s quarters opens loudly, Yoongi running in with a flustered Hoseok right behind him.

 

“You’re leaving?” Yoongi asks him, his voice cracking.

 

“Yoongi… I— how much did you hear?”

 

“You’re leaving me?” Yoongi repeats, his face practically crumbling. Seokjin wants to reach out to him, pull him into his arms and never let him go.

 

“I have to,” Seokjin says quietly. “I can't stay here anymore.”

 

Yoongi shakes his head, hands balling into fists. “You promised. You promised you would never leave me.”

 

“What did you want me to do?” Seokjin says helplessly. “Watch you get married to someone who isn’t me?”

 

Yoongi opens his mouth before closing it again, unsure of what to say.

 

“I can’t lose you,” Yoongi finally whispers, his voice so small and broken Seokjin is unsure if he even heard correctly.

 

“I already lost you.”

 

He runs. He doesn’t know what else to do, so he runs.

 

 

Seokjin finds himself in the ballroom. He doesn’t know how much time passes since he’s talked to Yoongi. He lets Namjoon know he’s still unsure, to which the prince smiles at him sympathetically, telling him to take all the time he needs.

 

He looks around the large room, knowing how much he’ll miss it if he leaves. Dancing with Yoongi in the grand ballroom were some of the few times Seokjin felt genuine happiness. He remembers both their mothers used to join them, sitting at one of the many luxurious tables, to watch them sway together to soft music. Neither of them had ever said anything about it but Seokjin knew his mother knew of his feelings. She would always watch them, a contemplative look gracing her worn features. Seokjin never had the heart to tell her.

 

He doesn’t know if he can leave.

 

As much as he knows Yoongi marrying someone else would kill him, he can’t imagine a life without him. He also doesn’t think he would be able to live with himself if he hurt Yoongi that way. All he can replay is the look on Yoongi’s face when he overheard his conversation with Namjoon. The look of pure devastation that took over the prince’s face, as if Seokjin was tearing his heart out and stomping it to the ground. It wasn’t his fault that Seokjin was in love with him.

 

The sound of the large metal door opening pulls Seokjin’s eyes towards it. Yoongi walks in. He’s wearing the oversized sweater he stole from Seokjin months ago, one the guard never tried to get back. He prefers seeing Yoongi in it.

 

Yoongi doesn’t say anything as he steps forward, holding out a hand. “Dance with me?”

 

“Yoongi… I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” Seokjin says quietly, looking down at the prince’s hand. Yoongi steps closer, grabbing his hand intertwining their fingers.

 

“Please?” Yoongi pleads. The prince’s eyes are shining as he looks up at him, unshed tears clouding his vision.

 

Seokjin smiles weakly at Yoongi before allowing himself to be pulled to the center of the ballroom. Yoongi pulls him until they’re flush against each other. Seokjin winds his arms around Yoongi’s waist, letting the shorter wrap his arms around his neck.

 

“I’ve missed you this week,” Yoongi says softly, as if he’s telling him a secret.

 

Seokjin tries to pretend his heart doesn’t ache as he spins the prince. When their chests land together again, he tries to give him a genuine smile. “As I’ve missed you.”

 

It’s quiet for some time. There’s no music playing but Seokjin finds he doesn’t mind, it’s always been easy to enjoy the silence as long as he’s with Yoongi. Even if everything feels as if it’s changed.

 

“Did you make your decision?” Yoongi asks, not looking at him. Seokjin doesn’t know — even though his heart does.

 

“I don’t know,” Seokjin replies. The prince buries his face in his chest, the crown of his head resting just under Seokjin’s neck.

 

“What if I told you I didn’t want you to go?”

 

Seokjin’s stomach twists, his body suddenly feeling unbearably hot. “Yoongi… that’s not fair. How could you ask me to stay and watch you fall in love with someone else?”

 

Yoongi pulls back, moving his arms from around his neck. Seokjin feels dread sit heavy on his heart as he realizes this could be their last goodbye. Yoongi grabs his face, caressing his cheeks.

 

“I’m not asking that of you.”

 

Seokjin closes his eyes, leaning into the touch. “Are you going to marry him?”

 

Seokjin doesn’t really want to know. Doesn’t know if he can handle the truth but he needs to know. He needs to let his heart shatter so he can start putting it back together. He needs to finally say goodbye.

 

“No,” Yoongi finally says. Seokjin’s eyes snap open, fast twisting in confusion. “I was never going to marry him.”

 

Seokjin’s mind reels, the crushing pressure surrounding him alleviating some. “What? I thought— you… you seemed happy?”

 

Yoongi shakes his head. “I am happy. Taehyung is a great friend, one that I’ll cherish until the end of time, but I— I couldn’t love him, or anyone else really… not when my heart has been taken since I was a child.”

 

Seokjin feels the hope swell in his chest. Flowers suddenly blooming in all the cracks of his heart as Yoongi pulls him down gently so their noses touch.

 

“Yoongi… what are you…” Seokjin trails off. He needs to hear it out loud. Needs to know this isn’t a dream he’ll wake up from.

 

“I’m sorry I was so blind,” Yoongi says gently. “I’m sorry I didn’t let myself love you, but I do. I love you so much—“

 

Seokjin cuts him off, doing the very thing he’s dreamed about since he first realized Yoongi’s smile had a direct tie with his happiness. He presses forward, their lips molding together as if they were meant to find each other. Seokjin thinks they probably were.

 

Kissing Yoongi, Seokjin finds, is a lot like seeing the first flowers of spring bloom. Something that he’s had to wait for but doesn’t mind because the beauty outweighs any of the suffering that comes with waiting. Kissing Yoongi — loving Yoongi is something he doesn’t think he would ever mind waiting for.

 

When Seokjin pulls away, it is with great anguish. Yoongi doesn’t let him get too far though, grabbing onto his white button down, keeping him against his chest.

 

“What changed?” Seokjin asks. He doesn’t understand.

 

Yoongi pulls back to look up at him. “I almost lost you.”

 

Seokjin tilts his head, still not understanding how that could be enough to have Yoongi suddenly have a change of heart.

 

“When I lost my mom, I was scared to lose someone. I was scared that one day I would wake up and everything would be ripped away from me like she was,” Yoongi explains. Stray tears slip from the royal’s eyes and Seokjin reaches up to wipe them from his cheeks. “I’ve loved you since the moment I first held your hand. You scared me. If I lost you after I allowed myself to love you, I didn’t think I would recover.”

 

“Yoongi… why didn’t you tell me?” Seokjin asks softly, cupping the prince’s face.

 

Yoongi reaches his own hands up, placing them over Seokjin’s. “My mother died right after I told her I was in love with you.”

 

Seokjin exhales, heart aching for Yoongi. “You thought you would lose me if you told me?”

 

Yoongi nods, allowing himself to cry. “It was stupid. I know that, but— her dying broke me. I couldn’t handle losing you too and I just—“

 

Seokjin pulls the prince into him, holding him tightly. “Oh baby, you could never lose me.”

 

“I almost did,” Yoongi mumbles miserably into his chest. “I thought you were going to leave me. I had to tell you before you did.”

 

Seokjin pulls Yoongi back, pressing a soft kiss to his lips. When he pulls away, he leaves his forehead pressed against the prince’s, smiling. “You will never have to know a life without me.”

 

“Do you promise?”

 

Seokjin kisses him again — more so just because he can now. “I promise, my prince.”

 

Yoongi pulls him forward, making him dance with him. There’s still no music playing. Just the two of them in the dimly lit ballroom, bathed in a glow of soft yellow from the candles, smiling at each other. Loving each other.

 

Seokjin has loved Yoongi since they were four years old, he doesn’t think he will ever figure out how to stop.

 

He guesses, he doesn’t ever need to know how to.

 

—-

 

After they do their grand confessions, things quickly morph back into normal. It’s amazing how little things change now that they are together.

 

They break the news to Taehyung who takes it rather well, much to Seokjin’s surprise.

 

“Yoongi told me he was in love with you the first day we met,” Taehyung tells him, laughing when Yoongi moves to cover his mouth. “I knew we were never going to marry.”

 

Seokjin turns to Yoongi who’s completely flushed, his pale cheeks a bright scarlet. “You told him you were in love with me?”

 

Yoongi groans, trying to pull himself away from Seokjin’s arms enclose around him. “Only after Taehyung decided to wax poetry about Jimin’s cheeks for a solid hour.”

 

The other guard laughs while Taehyung doesn’t look ashamed in the slightest. “Do you really want to go there? If I do recall a certain prince telling me how Seokjin's shoulders are the perfect width to grab while rid—“

 

“Taehyung!” Yoongi wriggles from Seokjin’s arms, pouncing on the other prince until he stops talking. Seokjin laughs, heart swelling

 

When Yoongi returns, he plops down into Seokjin’s lap with no hesitation. Seokjin leans forward, to whisper in his boyfriend’s ear.

 

“Maybe we can try that later?”

 

Yoongi flushes, shoving him but he never says no.

 

 

Namjoon hugs Seokjin tightly the moment he tells him, delighted that the guard was able to find his happiness. Yoongi is not too far behind, sheepishly coming up to the prince and bowing, asking for forgiveness for his childish actions.

 

“I understand,” Namjoon tells him sweetly, dimpled smile overtaking his face. “Love makes us act in ways we don’t always understand.”

 

“It’s still no excuse.”

 

Namjoon shrugs. “I would feel the same way if someone was flirting with my fiancé.”

 

Seokjin sputters. “You’re engaged?”

 

“Yes, it’s actually one of the reasons we decided to travel over here. Our kingdom wanted to extend an invitation to the wedding.”

 

“Then why were you flirting with me?” Seokjin asks incredulously.

 

“He was doing it because he knew we were coming,” Taehyung says as he joins them in the gardens. “He has a thing for playing cupid.”

 

“You were trying to make me jealous?” Yoongi asks disbelievingly.

 

“Well it worked, didn’t it?” Namjoon laughs at both their faces. “At least now you have a date to the wedding.”

 

 

After they bid the princes goodbye, followed by a promise to stay in touch, they begin dating.

 

They go on small dates. They lay on the grass, cuddling and watching stars as they talk about anything that comes to mind. They dance in the ballroom, swaying to the soft buzz of music coming from the player. They spend every night in bed together, giggling with each other in unabashed happiness. They simply exist together.

 

They do everything they were already doing but now they get to share kisses and hold each other whenever they want.

 

It makes no sense to draw it out any further than they need to.

 

So when Seokjin gets down on one knee, in the same garden they first met, Yoongi doesn’t hesitate — well, he doesn’t even let Seokjin finish before he’s saying yes.

 

They never stood a chance against their love. In every universe, Seokjin is sure they would find each other. Like they were two souls always meant to intertwine into one.

 

 

When they announce their engagement to the king, the old man doesn’t look the least bit surprised or upset about it. In fact, he looks ecstatic.

 

“Father, your face shines bright with happiness. I’m so glad our engagement means so—“

 

“I won!” The king exclaims, rounding on Hoseok who sighs deeply, pulling out money from his pants. The guard places it in the king's hand.

 

“Wait— father did you bet on me?”

 

The king doesn’t look the least bit ashamed of himself. “Not just you, your oblivious fiancé as well.”

 

Yoongi sputters. Seokjin hides his flushed face behind his fiancé’s head — god, his fiancé , he doesn’t think he will ever get used to it.

 

“Father!”

 

“What?” The king shrugs, falling back onto his throne. “You two were a mess, we had to make it worthwhile somehow.”

 

“Oh my god.” Yoongi’s head falls back against his fiancé’s chest. Seokjin giggles behind him, pressing closer to kiss his neck.

 

“Your father has always been such a delight,” Seokjin says teasingly.

 

The king scoffs.

 

“Both of your mothers were the ones who started the bets. I bet those two are absolutely howling in delight from above us.”