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Jungkook and Jimin find out about the break-up from the choreo team, which pisses them both off and puts terrible ideas in Jimin’s head, wanting to break the door down to the dancers’ room down on the lower floors, ready to get revenge.

“Yoongi’d hate that, c’mon, you know that,” Jungkook says, watching Jimin pout and mutter and type furious texts to Taehyung. Fuel to the fire, another source of indignant anger, loud banging on Jimin’s hotel room door and then Taehyung tumbling in once Jungkook gets the door. 

“I’m gonna do violence,” Taehyung says, weirdly joyful tone to it, “what the fuck!”

“I’m sure Hoseok’s handling it,” Jungkook says, and Taehyung says, “Fuck handling it,” enough spite that Jungkook is chewing his lip, worried mostly about Yoongi, wondering what’s going on that he didn’t tell them. Probably wanted to avoid all of this, hey. Namjoon calls Jimin, then, and they end up in his room, Namjoon saying, “He only told me yesterday, don’t - don’t be mad. He just wanted time.

Hoseok and Jimin try to figure out the best way to check on Yoongi, unsure whether they'll be able to bribe their way in with food, whether it’s a good idea to go in solo or as a duo. Taehyung paces near the door, running a hand through his hair. 

Jungkook’s sitting on the floor, arms around his knees, staring at the carpet. Missing Jin, who’d be just as lost in this situation probably, but at least he would know what to say to break the tension and get everyone to just - stop for a bit. 

“I’ll talk to him tomorrow,” Jungkook says. He doesn’t look up from the ground, still thinking about what Jin would do, like there’s a tiny little squawking version of him on Jungkook’s shoulder saying, just make yourself the butt of the joke so he has someone else’s misery to laugh at, he’ll be fine! He’ll be fine!

“Okay, okay,” Namjoon says, sounding distracted. “We should get dinner, it’s already late.”

They go to the managers’ suite, no one commenting on Yoongi’s absence. Everyone’s quiet, thinking about their own shit, the concert tomorrow, the change to the set-list they’d agreed on but now, who knows. 

The next day Taehyung sticks close to Yoongi, sits next to him on the golf cart and has his arm slung around his shoulders, orbits around him during last minute rehearsals. Yoongi looks longsuffering in a way that means he appreciates it. Jungkook runs through his warm-ups, bap-bap-bap-bap uppercut and duck the pad, bap-bap-bap duck, up again and back to hitting the pads. He gets the adrenalin all spread through him and ready to go, that buzzing anticipation that has him swallowing, shaking his arms out. Jungkook kicks his eyebrows up and grins at Jimin like you ready, you ready? and Jimin half-smiles, grunts to get his hamstring stretch lower.

Yoongi always recedes into himself before a show, the gathering storm on the horizon. Jungkook smacks him on the ass when he walks past, gets a little flash of it when Yoongi looks over his shoulder at him and keeps walking. Jungkook grins, tight little pop of excitement in his gut. He manages to stand still for the last hair and makeup touch ups, and then, go, go, go, go.

The scream when he makes it on stage is - one big tangible thing, wrapped up around him. Nothing like it, nothing like it, laying everything out for them and trying to dig deeper, further, hauling in air backstage, pouring sweat and stickily climbing out of one costume and into another, can’t keep the grin off his face, hair in his eyes and feeling too fucking powerful, like he could say anything and the crowd would do it, no hesitation. Like he’d do anything, anything to keep it going, anything to keep feeling like this.

Hoseok tells him the song count with the warning look, the keep your shit together, still the rest of the show to go look. Jungkook smiles back, knowing he never learns his lesson, too convinced that this is it, that this time he can make it, all of him pushed to the edge and winning.





Jungkook does a Vlive after the concert, still kinda buzzed, chatting about nothing much and watching the comments roll in. Showers and checks his skin after; the stuff the dermatologist has got him on now is mostly working fine, but they’re only at the start of the tour, and it’s going to get worse from here as they rack up the miles, the layers of make-up and hours of exhaustion.

He rubs his hair with the towel again, shakes it out and parts it, watching himself in the mirror. Too tired by now to really think that much, just wondering if seeing his face without makeup after a concert is always gonna be weird, feeling naked in a way that’s hard to pinpoint, like he took a couple of extra layers off while he was at it.

Jungkook texts Jimin and Namjoon and goes to find Yoongi’s room. When he knocks it takes a minute or two for him to hear shuffling noises and the click clack of locks coming undone. The door only opens a crack, black and shadow and the sliver of Yoongi’s pale face peeking out.

“Not you too,” Yoongi says, already resigned.

“Fight Night’s on,” Jungkook says. Yoongi closes his eyes for a moment and then sighs, opens the door and walks back into his room, turning the lights on. He’s all hunched up, even more so than usual, skinny neck bowed forward in his big oversized hoodie. 

Yoongi turns on the TV and collapses backwards onto the bed, arms spread, looking like he was dropped from a great height. 

Jungkook flops down next to him, knocks his arm against Yoongi’s stomach and has him giving out an oof, attention back to Jungkook. Yoongi watches as Jungkook sits up, folds himself cross-legged and rescues the remote from the covers, turns the volume way down before flicking through the channels, bright carousel of images tumbling past. Yoongi stays spread-eagled, goes back to looking at the ceiling. 

Jungkook finds the sports channel, and the fight card isn’t great, mostly just filler, but he drops the remote and sits with his chin in his hand, studiously avoiding looking at Yoongi. Eventually Yoongi huffs and drags himself up, whaps some of the pillows into shape and leans back against the headboard. Crosses his ankles and tucks his hands into his hoodie pocket. Jungkook keeps his eyes forward and watches a fighter get walloped soundly round the head, hands up but not much protection, not when the opponent’s swinging like that.

“He’s gonna shoot for the take down,” Yoongi murmurs. Kinda satisfied smirk in his voice; how he always gets when he knows he’s right. Jungkook reaches his free hand across to pat Yoongi’s knee. On the screen, the guy pulls back, drops his hands, shakes himself out and then dives forward: gets his opponent down, but now he’s maybe more fucked, sprawled at a disadvantage. Jungkook digs his thumb in at Yoongi’s quad, hears him heave a big sigh. 

“Jungkook-ah,” Yoongi says, and Jungkook turns this time, looks at where Yoongi has his head tilted back and his eyes closed, soaked with a kind of exhaustion that Jungkook can’t really fathom, “if a guy says he isn’t cheating, no, just, y’know, it only happened that once,” pause for a hard swallow, “don’t fucking listen to him.”

Jungkook stares. Yoongi doesn’t open his eyes, and eventually Jungkook turns back and watches the TV, watches the ref call the TKO. Waits until he’s sure that Yoongi is definitely properly asleep, turns the lights off and tries to stretch his back out, all tense from sitting hunched up and as still as possible. 

He texts Namjoon that Yoongi seems - okay? Not even sure what he’s meant to be measuring up against, what the game plan is if Yoongi can’t pass the test. Lower the standard, maybe, in the same way all of them have grown accustomed to small tortures they never expected to have to bear. Jungkook suspects that Yoongi being un-fine is basically not an option at this stage, and Yoongi probably knows it too, so: Yoongi will just have to be fine. 

Yoongi’s little piece of advice for Jungkook is more than the rest of them ever really find out, although Jungkook suspects that Hoseok knows the whole story. He’s the sort of secret keeper that wouldn’t make a big deal of it, just would make sure that the dance teams are conveniently reshuffled so that Yoongi never has to work with the guy ever again. If only it was that easy for everything: Jungkook knows that just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean that it isn’t wreaking havoc.

Jungkook texts Jin before he goes to sleep, knows he won’t see it for ages and will eventually reply with something stupid that’ll make Jungkook just miss him worse. Jungkook thinks about Yoongi, all tucked up alone, and the mirror image of their room layout makes Jungkook have strange dreams, infinite hotel hallways, door after door after door, keycards filling his pockets and unable to get any closer to what he’s looking for, just click clack click clack of locks coming undone, again and again.




Yoongi gets meaner, less likely to let things slide. During soundcheck he’s all tight-wound and furious with - something, himself or the sound balance or who knows what. On the way back to the hotel and apologising to them all, low and muttered, sorry, I shouldn’t take it out on you guys, it’s just, it’s just. He looks so fucking miserable that Jungkook almost forgives him, but probably the worst thing you can do for Yoongi is to pity him, so when they clamber out of the van Jungkook slings his arm around Yoongi’s shoulder, shakes him a little. 

“Forgotten how to behave yourself, huh,” Jungkook says, all tough-voiced, and Yoongi shrugs him off, stands up straighter. 

“Like you’d know the first thing about it,” he says, slow and even, walking ahead and not turning back. Jungkook dodges a manager and a security guard, gets out in front of the group on the way into the hotel lobby. Turns and sticks his tongue out at Yoongi, who presses his lips together, trying not to smile.

On stage and Yoongi’s manic in a way he rarely gets. Usually he’s so controlled, his power precise and unforgiving. Now it’s - it’s messy, all spilled out, and he’s spitting lines with a fury that Jungkook hasn’t seen in a while, a tumbling sort of anger that threatens to sweep them all up. It has Jungkook perversely wanting to laugh, wanting some sort of release for the shivery gut tension that rises up inside him. 

After the shows Yoongi falls face first into the couch, or sits quietly sipping his water, or hunches sleepily while someone takes his makeup off. He's small and human again, his usual innate stillness exaggerated by exhaustion, like he'd rather do all his existing on the stage and is leaving less and less of it for after. 

Jungkook knows the feeling. He's not used to recognising it in Yoongi, though, who's always been practical about these things. 

When times got bad in the past Yoongi always retreated like a sick animal, gone off and found a ditch to die in and then emerged weeks later, surprised by his own resiliency. Jungkook usually got Yoongi’s edited version, the story of it arriving as lyrics or do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do advice. And maybe it’s just the age gap, Jungkook being dumb and young, but he could’ve swore it wasn’t like this before, so easy to see. Surely Yoongi wasn’t - hadn’t gone through it like this, because Jungkook would’ve noticed, right? He would’ve been able to tell, right? Yoongi always just seemed so stable, the cool unflappable hyung, even if things got kinda rough sometimes. 

Jungkook’s got front row seats to this crisis, though, the whole unflattering and unforgiving real time playthrough. The petty lashing out, the carved in sadness, the tiredness, the mood swings. The quiet destruction that crashes over Yoongi when the dance teams get up on stage during soundcheck, Yoongi holding his ground taught-shouldered and looking anywhere but up. 

Jungkook knows that everyone’s talking to Yoongi plenty, that there’s not exactly anything new he can offer. He'll drop in on Jimin and Yoongi will be sideways on the bed, laughing and picking on how much shopping Jimin's already done, or Namjoon will say that he’s working in Yoongi’s room tonight, going over some tracks. Yoongi disappears a lot, but that’s not really that different from the usual anyways, and sometimes he's scarily vacant and slow during practices, but he’s never anything less than absolutely professional when it’s go time, so. 

Jungkook just hovers, mostly, aware that he’s doing it and not really sure if he should stop, knocking on Yoongi’s door and doing cool down stretches in front of the TV while they watch football. Yoongi is always unable to resist coaching the teams on the screen, and when that’s not entertaining enough he turns his attention to Jungkook, sucking his teeth and jerking his chin up in challenge. Yoongi’s all, there’s no point in stretching if you don’t push it, are you even trying, what’ll the trainers say if they see your form , crooked smile to it. Jungkook huffs, swallows, thinks about how Yoongi would probably snap something important if he tried what Jungkook’s doing. Jungkook grins to himself and goes deeper into the stretch, knowing the easiest way to shut Yoongi up is to do exactly what he asks for.

Yoongi’s just always looking so - he’s so tired, worn down and made small, and Jungkook keeps having to double check, absent-mindedly staring at him across the plane, watching him sleep. Yoongi looks defeated and defeatable, fallible in a way that Jungkook has never believed Yoongi could possibly be. Jungkook doesn’t know if it’s something new and drastic, or if it’s always been there, a vulnerability in Yoongi that Jungkook was blind to until now.




They’re back in Los Angeles, cramming in media before the next show. Jungkook’s still not doing great with the jetlag but the gym helps him feel saner. It’s nowhere near the challenge of a concert night, but it’s enough that he feels good tired, satisfied tired, rather than just exhausted and jittery. 

By the time he finishes up most of the others are out for dinner, but when he texts Yoongi a sup? He gets a yeah back, the kind of nonsense talk that they both understand. 

Yoongi lets him in and goes back to his laptop, but he doesn’t put his headphones on, so Jungkook says, “How're you going?” as he rifles through his sketchbook, keeps it light and casual. Yoongi knocks his head against the table, groaning. 

“Kinda wanna die,” he says, off-handedly, “but then they’d just hunt me down and kill me again for not finishing out my fucking contract, so,” and then he takes a huge breath and stretches his arms above his head, cracks his neck side to side.

Jungkook laughs, throws a pencil and watches it ding off the back of Yoongi’s head. Yoongi scratch at his hair absent-mindedly, so Jungkook waits until he’s back to concentrating and throws another pencil, this time hitting his ear and making Yoongi jerk sideways. When Yoongi turns around he’s - he’s got this look, all half-lidded and tight-jawed.

Jungkook grins at him. Looks down at his paper and goes back to drawing, trying to get the line of Yoongi’s hunched back just right.

Yoongi turns back to his computer. Jungkook bites his tongue, squints with one eye and concentrates, gets the pencil to bounce off his head and land in his hood. Yoongi suddenly shoves his chair back, lets out a huge frustrated tchhhhhh sound between his teeth, scrabbling up and over his own shoulders to try and get it out. He ends up bent over, hood flapping over his head, pencil finally coming unstuck and falling to the carpet where the others are scattered.

“You’re a menace,” he says, staying leant over like straightening up might be too much effort. His hands on his knees are the only part of him that’s visible, tight-gripped and pale. 

“I’d hunt you down too,” Jungkook says. 

Yoongi tilts his head up sideways, squints at him under the edge of the hood. “No peace and quiet, not even in the afterlife.”

“Nope,” Jungkook says, and Yoongi sighs, drops his head again before groaning and standing tall.

“Is there. Um, anything, like, anything that’d help?” Jungkook says, aware he sounds stupid but kind of too worried to not ask. Yoongi shoots a look at him, calm faced but quizzical, like he’s checking if Jungkook is making a joke. Jungkook doesn’t know what Yoongi sees, but he just drops himself back in his chair and waves at Jungkook over his shoulder. Says, “I’ll be fine.” 

The future tense of it has Jungkook twisting his mouth up, nervous, but Yoongi doesn’t seem upset. He’s humming to himself in that way Jungkook has come to recognise as Yoongi at peace, comfortable and letting it show. Jungkook decides it’s probably okay just to sit and draw, doodling little Yoongis and funny stretched out Jins, dogs and mecha suits.

Jungkook starts yawning pretty quick, blinking hard and shaking his sketchbook out, getting bits of eraser on the carpet. Yoongi looks over at him, and Jungkook is too busy tilting his head side to side and trying to decide if he got the perspective right on the chair to really pay him proper attention. Yoongi pads over, is standing behind Jungkook’s chair before he can hurriedly close the sketchbook. Yoongi reaches over his shoulder to stop him, to smooth the paper down.

“You’re good,” Yoongi says behind him, quiet, like it’s to himself. 

Jungkook feels - embarrassed. Pleased. Knows it’s silly to care so much about what Yoongi thinks about some crappy sketches, knows it’s silly that it settles heavy across his shoulders and makes him want to drop his head forward. 

Yoongi pats him on the shoulder as he stands up straight again. Jungkook resists the urge to turn and look at him, to ask for more. Swallows and puts his pencils away, says, “You should sleep soon,” even though he knows Yoongi won’t, that he’ll be half-conscious at best for most of tomorrow. Jungkook can’t remember what’s on the schedule, if there’ll be the sort of interview that Yoongi likes, if he’ll deem it worth his time to blink hard and rub his face and give the questions his full attention. Jungkook likes those interviews, even though they scare him more than the others. 

“See ya,” Yoongi says, not looking up from his laptop as Jungkook goes to leave. Jungkook stands beside him and hooks his hoodie string, yanks it and watches it jerk Yoongi’s head sideways, the way the screen light glints off Yoongi’s half-smile.

“Night,” Jungkook says. Lets himself out. 




Sometimes Yoongi’s itching for a fight, jittery in the green room and hooking Jungkook’s arm, stepping in at the inside of Jungkook’s leg and pretending to throw him; when Jungkook laughs and disentangles himself easily Yoongi just grins harder, pats him on the shoulder and says, “Ah, I’ve trained you well, trained you well.” 

Other times they’ll be watching playback of their run throughs and Jungkook will sling his arm over Yoongi’s shoulder and feel him go tense, sudden hunch, and Jungkook will pull his arm away, but then Yoongi just looks worse, shoulders up and arms folded in against himself like they’re some sort of protection. Or Jungkook will make an off-hand comment, light teasing about how Yoongi fumbled his mic, and Yoongi will pull his cap down low, tight frown and darting eyes. Jungkook’s usually good at reading if the banter’s going to land as a blow, but these days he’s not doing so great, love-taps leaving bruises.

Jungkook just keeps trying, and trying, and Yoongi doesn’t seem to mind. All of them are doing their best and he knows it. He doesn’t push Jungkook away, keeps letting Jungkook into his rooms at odd hours, even texts him, where are u I ordered food, come here have some tracks to show u, wanna practice english for a bit, to the point where Jungkook is surprised Yoongi hasn’t run out of excuses. It’s not - it’s not unfamiliar, exactly; they’ve always been good at hanging out, the type to work beside each other quietly or get food at odd hours or watch old Pride FC tapes that Yoongi manages to find, shooting the shit and accidentally talking big things, life things.  

There’s something different to it though, these days, like Yoongi’s too exhausted to hold himself apart like he used to. It was never in a bad way or anything; he’s always been honest, just in a way that’s considered. Jungkook knows that Yoongi likes to think things through, stay one step head like he’s checking to make sure the path is clear for the rest of them. It matters to him, being one of the oldest, especially now that Jin’s enlisted. 

Jungkook gets his make-up touched up during the snack break at a photoshoot, scans the room and ends up watching Yoongi scrolling through his phone while Hoseok and Namjoon talk next to him. Yoongi looks up and catches him; Jungkook jumps and gets an eyeliner brush to the eye. 

“Sorry, sorry,” Jungkook says, and the make-up artist is apologising too, has him close his eyes until they stop watering and gently pats across his cheek. When he opens them again he looks at her, that odd closeness that he’s learnt to ignore when it comes to hair and make-up. He says, “I’m okay,” in English, smiles even though his eye is still winking with irritation. She laughs and turns his head side to side before she nods and moves away.

When he looks at Yoongi again he’s watching Jungkook back, something shuttered and inscrutable to his expression. It’s been so many years, but Jungkook still struggles to read him sometimes, never quite sure if Yoongi’s doing it deliberately. It makes Jungkook feel a strange panic, a sudden desperate need to get his hands on him, like if Jungkook can hold on tight enough it’ll stop the slide away. 

Jungkook wiggles his eyebrows at Yoongi, knowing he must look goofy, one eye all twitchy and mouth screwed up to stop from smiling. Yoongi blinks at him. Taps his finger on the arm of the couch, like he’s thinking something over. Jungkook feels warm-bellied, shivery, no idea why Yoongi just looking at him across the room has him so caught.

Sudden noise at the door, Taehyung talking to someone. Yoongi looks away. Jungkook swallows, tilts his head and tries to crack out some of the tension in his neck. Taehyung grabs him by the shoulder, asking him to explain in English his question for the magazine’s stylist, wanting to know all about the shirts she’s chosen for them. Jungkook stumbles over it, not sure if he’s got it right, but she nods and explains that her friend made them, part of her most recent collection, and then Taehyung wants to know her friend’s instagram and if he can buy any and then a manager’s back to tell them the lighting’s finally fixed and they’ve only got an hour left, and they’re out the door, hurried down the corridor and back into the studio. 




Taehyung hangs around the gym after him and Yoongi finish their workout, lounging at the end of Jungkook’s treadmill and sipping water. 

“How’s Yoongi?” Jungkook asks, gasping. His heart rate’s still pretty good, even half an hour in. 

Taehyung wobbles his head back and forth, makes a tch sound through his teeth. “He isn’t sleeping. They gave him sleeping tablets but he doesn’t want to take them, says they make him feel worse the next day. I told him I didn’t think that was possible, and he got mad at me.”

“Mad mad?” Jungkook says, concentrates on keeping his stride even.

“Nah,” Taehyung says. “Just, y’know. It must suck.”

Jungkook nods, even though he doesn’t know, not really. “What was he,” gulp for air, “What was he like?”

Taehyung looks at him and pushes his sweaty fringe off his face. Knows that Jungkook isn’t talking about Yoongi. “Normal, I guess. Smart, like Yoongi,” Taehyung says, looking out at his reflection in the dark glass, the view out across the city that they’ll barely see outside of the tiny sliver of stadium and hotel and whatever path winds between them. Jungkook feels his pulse in his neck, stomach all tight, and he thinks it’s from the running, from the weights session earlier. Smart, like Yoongi. The thud of his sneakers on the treadmill is rhythmic and loud.

“I only met him a couple of times,” Taehyung says, shrugging and drinking his water, as if meeting him at all wasn’t a sure and precious sign that Yoongi trusts Taehyung with his whole life. Jungkook keeps running.

Taehyung smirks and taps the speed up on Jungkook’s treadmill. Jungkook sticks his tongue out, huffing and picking up his pace, calves hot. Wipes the sweat off his face and flicks it at Taehyung.

Taehyung flinches away, squirts his water bottle at Jungkook in revenge and laughs. “Wanna get dinner?”

Jungkook’s breathing full and hard, face hot and prickling. “Gimme fifteen,” he manages, and Taehyung nods and leaves him to it. Jungkook’s proper gasping now, but he’s only got a little further to go. Only a little further.




Everyone else, Jungkook knows he’s got them locked in, safe and sound and never escaping him. He knows he’s greedy, that it’s unfair on the world that he gets six other people like this. He should be able to let Yoongi go. He should be able to let Yoongi have his space to himself like he seems to need, but Jungkook is kind of chronically incapable of knowing when to take the easy way out, so instead he’s spent forever just - making sure. Patting him down, bringing him close with an arm around his shoulder, hold on his neck, little taps at his edges, as if the distance is physical. Sometimes Jungkook has to poke pretty fucking hard to get Yoongi’s attention, but it doesn’t matter if it comes with a bite: at least Yoongi’s looking at him. 




Jungkook emails in his English homework that’s three days overdue and videocalls the vocal coach. He’s happy with Jungkook’s progress, says that the clips he sent through look good and that he’s seeming more stable. Compliments him on the runs and adlibs. It’s weirdly - positive, gentle, and Jungkook hangs up feeling oddly frustrated, like the critique he was waiting for didn’t come. He texts Namjoon about it and he tells Jungkook to chill out, but. It’s still annoying.

Jungkook grabs the keycard from the managers’ suite and goes to Yoongi’s room. Yoongi spares him a glance when he comes to stand near him but doesn’t take his headphones off. Jungkook thumps onto the bed, rolls around a bit, wrestles a pillow. Lies on his back and tries to hit the run he still can’t quite get, even though it’s stupid to try it horizontal like this.

“Don’t tire yourself out,” Yoongi murmurs. Jungkook cranes his head up, sees that Yoongi’s got one side of the headphones pushed back.

“Do you miss Jin?” Jungkook asks, half-surprised at himself. He watches as Yoongi carefully takes the headphones off and rests them on the desk before shuffling his seat sideways to face Jungkook more easily. 

“Yes,” Yoongi says, then twitches his eyebrows down. “Why?”

Jungkook lets his head fall back onto the comforter, stares at the ceiling. “Just. I miss him, but I wonder what it’s like for him.”

Yoongi hums. It sounds like he’s still facing Jungkook. “Two whole years back home in Korea. It’s got its perks, doesn’t it.”

Jungkook swallows against the sudden seasick lurch. Tries to pitch it even and calm when he asks, “Are you looking forward to enlistment?” 

There’s quiet, the both of them still, just gentle hum of air-conditioning and the ambient noises of a large hotel. Then Yoongi says, “Do you think I’m looking forward to it?”

Jungkook sits up, feels the frustration rise with him. “I don’t know, that’s why I asked.”

“I am a little bit,” Yoongi says. Jungkook almost jerks back again, hit front-on with the confirmation of the thing he’d suspected and hadn’t wanted to know. Yoongi is watching him clear-eyed and open faced, one leg tucked up on the edge of the seat and the familiar hunch of his back. “Not being on tour all the time, having a whole year of - proper seasons again. Seasons are going to be nice, I think.”

Jungkook rubs his hand across the comforter, the thick hotel cotton. Stares down at his own fingers, the path they track, unable to bear the look Yoongi has on his face right now. Jungkook asks, “What are you going to do after?” 

There’s a soft rustle. Jungkook knows that Yoongi is shrugging, probably that awkward lopsided one that means he’s feeling shy and awkward but also kind of like, fuck it, whatever. “Maybe a solo album. Whatever they want me to do. Some collabs.”

Jungkook nods, keeps his head down. Yoongi does his thinking noise, the one at the back of the throat that Jungkook has always assumed he learnt from his mother or grandmother or someone older like that. 

“Start a label, eventually,” Yoongi says, and Jungkook can’t resist looking up for that, watching Yoongi rub at the back of his hair, embarrassed grin even though Jungkook’s the last person to judge the belief in his words, that core of trust in what he can achieve. Yoongi catches Jungkook’s eyes and softens his smile.

“You’ll be properly killing it with your solos by then, don’t look so worried,” Yoongi says. Jungkook wonders at what must be showing on his face, that Yoongi says it so gently. Jungkook clenches his fist and bumps it against his own thigh. 

“No it’s, it’s exciting, I know,” Jungkook says, “I know.” He takes a deep breath, knocks his thigh again. “Would you sign me on?”

Yoongi raises his eyebrows, leans back against the armrest of his chair. Jungkook can’t help a self-mocking smile, holding on to this thin thread of humour to lead him a path out of the hungry hole of fear.

“C’mon,” Jungkook says. “I’d be good for the label, wouldn’t I? An established act jumping ship? Idol gone indie badboy?”

He flops back, props his head up on his hand and does the magazine come-hither look. Yoongi rolls his eyes at him and turns his chair away, sighing; Jungkook laughs and rolls onto his back again.

“Yes,” Yoongi says as he puts his headphones back on. “If that’s what you wanted, yeah,” muttered to his laptop like Jungkook won’t be able to hear. Jungkook holds his hands up and flexes them, watches his tendons shift with the movement. Wonders at the shard of calm behind his ribcage, whether Yoongi meant to put it there or not. 




Jungkook is pretty sure some of Yoongi’s waxing and waning has to do with the great bisexuality crisis of 2017, considering how Yoongi’d dealt with that at the time. Jungkook had sat all folded up in the couch at the dorm and said, “Uh, Namjoon thinks I should ask you for advice, but I really don’t think, um,” looking up to see Yoongi sitting in the armchair so incredibly still, staring down at the floor.

A frozen moment, like large and invisible things were rearranging themselves, like if either of them breathed wrong the disturbance would cause some kind of tragedy.

Then Yoongi jerked his head up, sharp smile, and Jungkook slumped forward, unnameable relief cutting him loose. Yoongi had sat there grinning at him and said, “You scared I’m gonna guess who you jack it to?” pretty much hitting the nail on the head. 

Jungkook was too mortified to have the other panic that was approaching, the, how the fuck am I ever going to deal with this, the one where he had to think about the future and everything. Instead he’d just launched himself up, sudden fear in Yoongi’s eyes, like he was worried he’d pushed Jungkook too far. Jungkook had grabbed him and pulled him upright, gotten him into a headlock and Yoongi had been squawking, constant stream of complaint until Jungkook faceplanted him into the couch, shoved him over and sat on him. Said, “Namjoon said you would be supportive.” 

“I’m supporting your bony ass right now,” Yoongi had said, muffled, “Holy fuck, ow.”

And Jungkook was - Jungkook really felt like he might’ve cried, right then, not really sure why, just frustrated and glad that Yoongi dealt with being out of his depth by lashing out, had given Jungkook the opportunity to fight back in a situation where there wasn’t really much to do but grin and bear it. 

Jungkook had won that wrestling match and a couple of days later Yoongi had sent him a very long nice message about how proud he was of Jungkook for exploring that side of himself, only slight sarcasm and a lot of genuine fondness, the sort that Yoongi got embarrassed about expressing in person. They didn’t talk about ever again, not properly, and that had suited Jungkook just fine, especially considering that Yoongi probably really did know enough to guess what Jungkook jerked off to. 

It made sense that Yoongi would be careful after that. 

It makes this thing feel fragile, Jungkook knocking on Yoongi’s hotel doors over and over, different numbers and locks and carpets and light fittings but always essentially the same, crisply made beds and Yoongi setting up his travelling studio wherever he goes.

Jungkook’s not entirely sure if Yoongi’s gotten over it, whatever kind of decision he made back then. Not sure if this close and defenseless Yoongi is gonna last, or if Jungkook’s just gotta take what he can for as long as he can get it. 





Jungkook’s working on lyrics, after the concert and well-fed and sacked out on the floor, one leg of his sweatpants rolled up and ice pack on his knee. Jin sent everyone a bunch of photos and a good luck message before the concert, and it has Jungkook feeling mopey and unsettled, sighing hard and tracing patterns in the carpet. He’s almost certain he’s seen this design before, and not in this hotel chain either; some other big fancy luxury place somewhere in Europe maybe. It’s bugging him that he can’t remember.

Yoongi stands up suddenly, makes Jungkook tense up. Yoongi’s got one hand on his hip, the other with a hard grip in his hair. He walks back and forth across the room, pauses and says, “It drives me nuts that he’s in the same hotel, every fucking day.” 

Jungkook steals a look up at his face, unable to watch Yoongi directly, too much intimacy in the stressed downward tilt of his mouth.

“Wanna go out, then?” Jungkook says. Yoongi blinks at him, like he’s surprised that Jungkook is here, or more like he’s caught out at Jungkook being here in this way, not a kid anymore, just a friend who’s doing his best to help him get through it.

“Uhhh,” Yoongi says. Lets loose his grip on his hair and ruffles it messily, fringe in his eyes. “Sure.”

Jungkook dumps the ice pack in the sink and goes to his room to get his proper winter coat. They dodge security and managers and get to the street okay, Jungkook rubbing his hands together and huffing on them, shock of cold. It’s been years, but whenever they’re in America Jungkook’s still not quite able to shake the feeling of being in a movie, like the street signs are part of a big set that was installed right before they came, a strange prank where he’s told he’s a member of the biggest boyband in the world again and again and once he starts believing it, that he’s really meant to be here, well, that’s when everyone will start laughing.

He looks up at the tall buildings across the road, weird mix of office buildings and fancy hotels like their own. The smaller cities fuck with him a bit, how interchangeable they feel, blending together in a weird collage of stadium corridors and streets he’s only seen at speed through dark tinted windows.

“America just always feels like - too real to be real,” he says, and Yoongi laughs. 

“What are you talking about,” he says, jumps up and down on the street corner to stay warm, all bundled up. Jungkook reaches out, tugs his beanie down lower on his forehead.

“It’s like cheese in a can,” Jungkook says. “It tastes like cheese but like, ultra-cheese, the most cheese they could fit. That’s what America feels like, all the time.”

Yoongi stares at him for a moment, then cracks up properly, shaking his head and shoving Jungkook until Jungkook says, “What! What!” and shoves him back, keeps hold on his sleeve so he can yank him back in.

“I’ve never even had cheese in a can,” Yoongi says, “I didn’t know that existed.”

“Oh dude,” Jungkook says, delighted, “C’mon, that store is open. You have to.”

They buy as many disgusting looking convenience store snacks as possible and walk back to the hotel, crinkly hush of the plastic bags, a couple of cars going past and distant noise in the way of all cities, doesn’t matter that it’s two am; someone’s always busy, always on the way to a job somewhere.They sit on the bed with all the packets scattered around them, Jungkook saying, “C’mon, trust me, it’s worth it, it’s worth it,” and for a second there he pictures spraying aerosol cheese right into Yoongi’s mouth and wants to laugh at himself, wants to laugh at the shock of heat in his gut. Yoongi snatches the can from his hand as if he was thinking along the same lines too, which just makes it funnier, so Jungkook is already on edge when Yoongi sprays it right into his own mouth and then pulls just about the most horrified face imaginable. 

“Holy fuck,” Yoongi says, face screwed up, and Jungkook can’t hold it in, throws his head back with laughter and rolls off the bed, everything about it too hysterical to bear. 

“I cannot fucking believe you made me eat that,” Yoongi says, sounding genuinely confused.

“I told you,” Jungkook wheezes, “it’s like. Exactly what it feels like being here.”

“I hate that you’re right, what the fuck,” Yoongi says, then looks over the edge of the bed, his hair all messed up and tilted above his head, and there’s a moment of eye contact that makes Jungkook suck in air funny, choking dry in his throat. Yoongi stares down at him, mouth open and cheese still smeared near his mouth. Jungkook blinks, breathless in more ways than one, and then Yoongi is spraying Jungkook with cheese, all down his face and neck and chest. Jungkook’s coughing and spluttering and doesn’t even think to fight back while it’s happening, little part of his brain too busy watching Yoongi’s face and going Oh? Oh, although he pulls himself together enough to leap up before Yoongi can properly put distance between them, tackles him and smears it all over him, Yoongi wailing complaints as if it isn’t his own fault. 

Next day and they’re both exhausted, but Yoongi is - looser, like he’s stopped having to whiteknuckle his way through it all. Jungkook is happy to have helped, if hanging out doing nothing much besides goofing off and gamely pushing Yoongi around counts as helping. Mostly he’s just relieved that Yoongi seems to be managing it, pulling himself together one flight at a time, catching parts of himself up in the air and landing a little bit more whole, each city a landmark for Yoongi’s break-up recovery tour. 




They make it to Paris and it’s such a good show, holy shit, Jungkook could scream with it. He throws in some difficult runs during his solo and they slide out of him like honey, delicious and easy; every move feels right, predestined, like someone touched him on the forehead before they started and said, “You’ll be perfect,” and for once the reassurance had been right and trustworthy. 

It feels like the sort of blessing that should last, but he knows better than that. Whatever intervention made this happen had been invisible and unsensed, slipping in amongst the usual routine, the makeup and warm-ups and makeup again and last round of hairspray and shaking the adrenalin through his limbs, the group huddle before going on stage. It’ll slide away just as easily, nothing he can seize on to. All he can do is enjoy it while it’s here, the thunderous roll of the crowd coming down to meet the riot inside him, all of him in synchronisation with the rest of them and so well aligned the boundaries of himself are blasted away by the immensity of it all. 

They go out after, and he dances a lot and gets really sweaty again and he’s so fucking horny, this shit is ridiculous. Taehyung has to pull him out of the crowd, says “Keep it in your pants, dude,” laughing, which is pretty rich coming from him. 

They make it back to the hotel as the sun’s rising, and Jungkook falls into bed and jerks off and is surprised he even manages to come, what with the alcohol still rolling around in him. And - and, and, and. Jungkook’s doing his best to stop thinking about Yoongi. Because he’s been looking at Yoongi’s hands way too much lately, he knows he has; he’s caught himself running his fingers over his own neck thoughtfully, had to jerk his hand away and fiddle with his collar. He’s noticed how Yoongi’s looking at him too, that lazy heat he gets, especially before a concert, like he’s got all sorts of things pent up and wants to take them out on something, and Jungkook’s thinking, why not me? 

Jungkook needs to get - needs to get a grip, get a handle on himself, needs to get hold of this and shove it down, and not think about it, because Jungkook knows Yoongi very, very well by now, but there’s still those territories of Yoongi that he’ll never quite understand, and how Yoongi is thinking about all of this is part of that dark and unreadable landscape that Jungkook can never hope to visit. 




Yoongi doesn’t seem to mind that Jungkook’s still hanging around. Jungkook feels like a stray dog allowed inside, skittish and glad in equal measure, hopeful that Yoongi won’t realise that Jungkook’s overstayed his welcome. Yoongi asks him to get his feet off the coffee table and Jungkook obeys so quickly that Yoongi jumps at the sudden movement, raising his eyebrows at Jungkook after. Jungkook feels himself flush. 

Now that Yoongi seems to have decided he’s Over The Breakup he’s started talking about it more. Yoongi had never talked about the guy much, and no one pried; no faster way to get Yoongi to take a secret to the grave than to try and force it out of him. But now suddenly it’s all blah blah blah we both were bad with the jetlag blah blah blah he bought me my favourite sneakers and now I have to replace them. Or whatever. 

Yoongi’s telling Jungkook these things like Jungkook knows anything at all, like Jungkook has any advice worth giving. As if hearing about Yoongi’s dating life doesn’t scare the shit out of him, an intimacy and affection he can admit he wants, this thing Yoongi’s parading before him, unbearably easy to imagine, unbearably out of reach. 

Jungkook tries to distract himself, eyes on his ipad or doing stretches or, or, or just anything to give him an excuse to think for a while before he has to respond, any excuse to not feel helpless and too slow with figuring out his words. Jungkook needs the time to swallow down the strange wild want that comes out of nowhere, needing to go back and rip Yoongi out of the past and bring him back to here in this hotel room with Jungkook, even though Yoongi is here already. It’s too confusing. 

Tonight Jungkook’s doing pushups on the hotel room floor while Yoongi talks, slouched in an armchair with his phone, eyes glancing over the top every now and then to look at Jungkook. 

“I shouldn’t even have gotten so fucked up about it, honestly,” Yoongi says, kind of sounding distracted, voice low and thoughtful in the way that Jungkook likes. 

Jungkook concentrates on his breathing. Pauses at the top and says, “Yeah?” and wills his arms to not shake. Stability, that’s what he needs.

“We didn’t even mean to become a thing,” Yoongi says, “but on tour it was easy to get into a habit. I think it got me so messed up because it was at home that it went wrong, like,” rubbing his mouth, contemplative, “like home should have been the easy part, where we had free time for once and could actually talk.”

Jungkook stares at the carpet. Thinks about Yoongi doing adult domestic boyfriendy things, like. What? Buying furniture? Cooking dinners? Listening to fancy records? Jungkook doesn’t know; it’s not like he has proper experience with that, not beyond arrangements with unspoken expiry dates and that inescapable feeling of play-acting, like at any moment someone was going to tap him on the shoulder and say, good try, but no. 

Jungkook isn’t even sure if he’s jealous of Yoongi or the other guy, whether he wants what Yoongi had or whether he just wants him. Jungkook almost grunts at himself in frustration. It’s stupid. Jungkook’s got more time with Yoongi than pretty much anyone else in the world. It’s Jungkook here in this hotel room right now. Why be jealous of a guy who didn’t even know how good he had it, who fucked it up? 

Jungkook switches his stance to triangle push-ups.

“And it turned out, that, y’know. The everyday stuff wasn’t to his liking,” Yoongi says, sounding bitter but in a retrospective way, which Jungkook will count as a win. 

Jungkook says, “When we get back. I always feel like there’s something, I’m, like I’ve forgotten to do something,” kind of has to grunt and breathe funny to keep doing the push ups, “It’s hard to recalibrate. I can see how - how if you’re trying for real, if you throw another person into the mix like that, it’d be. Difficult.”

Yoongi looks down at him, still. Jungkook can only see him as a vague shape in his periphery, but he’s intensely aware of Yoongi’s attention on him, how Yoongi’s focus is always somehow bigger than his physical presence. Jungkook doesn’t look up, doesn’t stop, just keeps his rhythm and wonders what Yoongi’s seeing. 

“We’ve gotten very good,” Yoongi says, slow, “as a group, we’ve gotten very good at co-existing. And I think that’s intimidating to an outsider, once they realise what it really means, the actual complexities of our situation,” and there’s an ironic twist to Yoongi’s voice. Jungkook can picture the look on his face very clearly. 

“Makes sense,” Jungkook says. Jungkook knows that things get - weird, amongst them all. His shit with Taehyung and Jimin has definitely gotten him raised eyebrows from Yoongi before, which is even funnier now, but it’s just - there’s no one but them, the seven of them, who’ve seen the whole of it, who understand each other and what they’ve all been through. Of course things get intense.

“I don’t even think he was that jealous,” Yoongi says, calm,  “I think he just didn’t get it.” 

Jungkook clenches his teeth, breathes out carefully. Kind of wishes Yoongi would say something about how many pushups he’s done already, familiar teasing to give him something to react to, something he knows how to deal with. Yoongi doesn’t, though, just keeps watching him, and Jungkook maybe shouldn’t be so keen to hear it, anyway.

Jungkook’s arms shake a little the next time he comes up. Yoongi doesn’t say anything. Jungkook waits, waits, waits. Goes down at half-speed and can’t finish the rep, stays down on his stomach, arms hot with exertion. Unsure why he feels so panicked by the lack of commentary. 

“I’ve relied on you guys too much,” Jungkook blurts, just saying something to break the tension, and Yoongi laughs.

“No you haven’t,” he says as he stands up, comes and stands besides Jungkook. Jungkook rolls onto his back, blinks up at Yoongi standing over him with his hands in his pockets. He has a sudden vision of Yoongi putting a foot to Jungkook’s chest and carefully leaning down hard, the way he’d get that little smile he gets when he’s winning. Jungkook’s gut clenches up like it’s real, sudden gasp, and Yoongi looks down at him curiously.

Jungkook swallows and tucks his arms up behind his head. He knows he looks good like this, especially after pushups.

Yoongi watches him, a carefully neutral look to his face.

“You rely on us a perfectly acceptable amount,” Yoongi says, and Jungkook has basically forgotten what they were talking about, what the point was, is just listening to the rumble of Yoongi’s voice above him, listening closely like there’s something he’s waiting to hear, something he’s desperate for, although he doesn’t know what. He stares up at Yoongi, and Yoongi watches him back. Suddenly shakes his head and sucks his teeth, some sort of decision made, and then he turns and goes back to his laptop, and Jungkook lies there and wonders how long he should wait before he can go back to his own room and jerk off without Yoongi knowing exactly what he’s doing. 

Thinking about Yoongi knowing just makes it worse, though. He lies there staring at the ceiling for a pretty long time, his breathing sounding harsh and wobbly to his own ears. When he finally makes it upright Yoongi turns in his chair to watch him go, and Jungkook feels his eyes on him for all of the ten steps it takes him to get to the door. He looks over the shoulder, and the hallway is dark, only the desk lamp next to Yoongi casting a yellow pool of light over him. He’s got his chin in his hand and a gold glint to his eyes as he regards Jungkook. 

Yoongi raises two fingers in farewell, not even a full wave, and Jungkook nods back. 




Jimin drags Jungkook out on their free day and they end up at a second-hand vintage place watching Taehyung try on hats. Mostly it’s fine until Jimin says, “You’ve been crashing Yoongi’s room a lot,” with this innocent little smile to it that has Jungkook skittering sideways to look closer at shirt sizes. 

“Uh, sure,” he says, grabs a shirt and holds it up to himself as he turns to Jimin. Jimin raises his eyebrows; it’s very sequiny. 

“What? I could pull it off,” Jungkook says, bats his eyelashes. 

“You could. And then Yoongi could pull it off you,” Jimin says, putting on a pair of extremely large sunglasses. Jungkook rolls his eyes, huffs, and Jimin cracks up, comes over to sling his arm over his shoulder.

“I’m just saying,” Jimin says. Slides the glasses down his nose and steers Jungkook down the cramped aisles towards where Taehyung is talking to the cashier. 

“It’s - I don’t think it’s, uh,” Jungkook stops, chewing his lip. Who knows how much of this is already amongst the group; no one’s stupid, but they’ve also learnt to let each other sort their own dramas out, how to know when intervention is necessary and when some things just need time and space and work to be resolved. Jungkook wonders how they’re deciding which one this is.

“I think it’s very ‘uh’, to be honest,” Jimin says, soft, and Jungkook forgets sometimes, the way in which Jimin holds so much knowledge about them all. Not one to share all of his insights, so Jungkook’s listening closely, now, maybe reading too much into how Jimin’s got a reassuring hand at the back of Jungkook’s neck. Jungkook knows that Jimin is seeing the seismic shifts in action, and it’s kind of a relief, actually, knowing they’ve got some supervision. 

Jungkook is pushing his luck, these days, baiting Yoongi on stage, falling into his lap in the sound room, singing at him during warm-ups, butting in to talk about him during interviews, grabbing him on stage and pushing him around more than is maybe necessary. It’s not anything he hasn’t done a million times before, all the classics in his extensive repertoire of annoying shit that’s guaranteed to get under Yoongi’s skin. But Jungkook can admit that he’s ramped it up, that he’s watching for the way Yoongi pushes his tongue out the side of his cheek, how Yoongi keeps his head angled away, refusing to look at Jungkook. Yoongi always reveals more than he wants to, stiff line of his shoulders betraying what he’s thinking, no matter if he’s trying to untangle himself, give it back ten times worse or retaliate with violence. There’s always just a little too much edge to it to be convincingly unbothered, and Jungkook can’t stop trying to draw it out of him.

Yoongi can act cool as much as he wants, but Jungkook knows that there’s always going to be a part of Yoongi that properly hates it when Jungkook mocks him, that can’t take any hint of joking humiliation with good grace. Jungkook knows that the part of Yoongi that can’t give in over petty little things is the same part that made him agree to debut in the first place, the same part that’s kept him with them year after year. 

Yoongi will always want to win, and he can try and hide it as much as he wants, but Jungkook sees it. Jungkook likes seeing it, likes the way it brings out the core of Yoongi.  Jungkook wants to win too; he was made for it. It’s just - Yoongi beating him, Yoongi winning over him - Jungkook would never let him, he always tries, always tries with absolutely everything. But Jungkook can admit to himself that what he wants is to try his best and have Yoongi defeat him anyway, for Yoongi to see Jungkook with nothing left at all and take his winnings. 




Jungkook spends a couple of hours hanging out with Namjoon and Jimin. Taehyung, Hoseok and Yoongi are out exploring Amsterdam, and Taehyung sends him a bunch of pictures, nice ones of the other two drinking beers, then out under a street light, then really shaky ones in a club or something.

Namjoon and Jimin end up working on the songs Jimin’s been writing, Jungkook shuffling through Namjoon’s notebook and looking for anything they’ve forgotten to try, humming along and staying quiet mostly. He checks his group chats and ends up scrolling through his messages from Jin, looking at his crappy pictures and wondering what he’s doing right now. Namjoon asks him if everything’s okay, pushes up his glasses and peers at where Jungkook is sacked out on the bed, but Jungkook just shrugs. 

He ends up falling asleep, gets woken up by Jimin shaking his shoulder and running his fingers through his hair. 

“What time is it?” Jungkook mumbles, squinting as he sits up; the lights are still on and he feels groggy, all fuzzy-mouthed.

“One am. We should go,” Jimin says. Pushes Jungkook’s hair off his face again. Jungkook closes his eyes, drops his head. Yawns.

Namjoon’s got his glasses off, rubbing his eyes and shutting down his computer. Jungkook barely says goodbye, just waves at Jimin in the corridor before going to his own room.

Jungkook showers, now kind of too awake after the nap but still disoriented, not even sure what timezone his body is lagging behind in. Taehyung texts the group chat that they’re on their way back, a flashed up selfie in the back of a car, all three of them looking shiny and red-faced and goofy with drink. Jungkook saves the photo and turns the lights off, gets into bed. 

Jungkook’s still idly thinking about choreography when he hears knocking at the door and his belly just goes, suddenly drop. He stares at the ceiling in the dark for a long moment before letting out a grunt and climbing out of bed. He gets a lamp on the way, pulls on a shirt and sweatpants. When he opens the door Yoongi’s already stepping inside, catching Jungkook off guard and slipping past before Jungkook can really process. Jungkook rubs his face, tries to get himself properly awake, but he’s been in and out of sleep for the last few hours and it’s got his him defenceless, just staring at Yoongi and thinking, Yes. There you are. Good.

Yoongi turns to look back at him, standing in the lamp light next to the bed, sleepy eyes and a half-smirk, lipstick on his cheek. Jungkook is surprised he doesn’t fall over with how quick the jealousy arrives, claws out. Yoongi’s smirk just gets sharper, like he knows exactly what’s going on in Jungkook’s head.

Jungkook swallows, comes back into the room. Says, “Had a good night?”

“Yeah,” Yoongi says, and he’s kind of wobbly and stupid-smiling with drink, but there’s still that edge to it, something cold and metallic in the air that has Jungkook shivering. Yoongi blinks at him, like he’s surprised to see whatever shows on Jungkook’s face, and then he shakes it off, tries to get his scarf unwound and his parka off at the same time. He’s pouting and grumbling, everything tangled quick. 

Jungkook laughs, glad for the distraction. Comes up close and tries not to look at Yoongi’s stuck out bottom lip. Jungkook knocks Yoongi’s hands away, says, “Stop, stop, let me,” and listens to Yoongi’s breathing as he carefully gets the scarf free of where it’s caught in the teeth of the zipper, the wool not too badly pulled out of shape by it all. 

“There,” Jungkook says, but Yoongi doesn’t move, and when Jungkook looks at him he’s staring at Jungkook’s face; he darts his eyes down quickly, chews his lip.

Jungkook gets the zipper, sound of it oddly loud. Listens to Yoongi’s breathing get harsher as Jungkook pushes the parka off his shoulders, pulls it down by the sleeves, rustling fabric and Jungkook having to resist the urge to run his hands across Yoongi’s chest, his arms. He swallows and tries to concentrate, tugs at where the parka’s kind of stuck around Yoongi’s elbows. Yoongi cooperates then, shakes it off as Jungkook leans around him to pull it from the back. He still doesn’t look up once Jungkook has it in his hands, just. Stands there. Waiting.

Jungkook sighs. Goes and hangs the parka up in the little wardrobe near the entry. Comes back and sits down on the bed, leans back on his hands and looks up at Yoongi, the alcohol and winter flush on Yoongi’s cheeks, the way he’s absent-mindedly rubbing his thumb across his fingers, that thoughtful tell. 

Yoongi turns towards the bed and almost flinches when his eyes meet Jungkook’s. 

“Oh, just,” Yoongi says, hand up to rub his forehead, closing his eyes, “don’t look at me like that.”

“What, with my eyes?” Jungkook says. Feeling his back and shoulders all stiff, the strain of holding himself up. 

Yoongi groans. “Yes, with. With your eyes, stop that,” he says, and now Jungkook can see a smile, even if he’s got his hand half over his face.

“Do you want a shower?” Jungkook says. Yoongi shakes his head, still a hand on his face, then huffs a huge sigh and drops it. He undoes his pants, goes to take his shirt off, and Jungkook looks away. They’re always getting changed in front of each other at concerts, have spent years walking around dorms and hotels in boxers or towels or less. It’s still - Jungkook still swallows, feels hot-faced. 

“I’ll get you water,” Jungkook says, and stands quickly. Tries to ignore the quiet rustles of Yoongi getting into bed.

When he comes back Yoongi’s awkwardly propped up on the pillow, hair spread messily and neck crooked at an awkward angle. He’s still got his shoulder all taped up, some of it peeling back near his collarbone. 

“Ah, look at this,” Yoongi says, leaning up to get the water off Jungkook, his voice all low and gravelly, “Look at this. Jungkookie taking care of me,” and it's got that mocking tilt to it that Jungkook’s never quite sure of, whether Yoongi’s poking fun at himself or everyone else.

Jungkook knows he should turn the light off and get into bed, but he’s busy watching Yoongi, staring at him tucked into Jungkook’s bed. There's slow rolling pleasure picking up speed in Jungkook’s belly, standing here and looking at Yoongi laid out for him. 

Yoongi puts the glass down on the bedside table, gives a big aaaaah and sucks in air through his teeth. Looks up at Jungkook like he’s surprised to see him still standing there. 

“Are you going to sleep or not?” Yoongi says, half-impatient, like it’s Jungkook that had barged in in the middle of the night. Jungkook huffs a laugh, can’t help the smile that arrives. 

He gets the light, feels his way around the bed in the dark and shucks his clothes before getting under the covers. He can see just enough to watch as Yoongi rolls onto his side to face him, shadowy hills of the comforter and pillows and the sharp glint of his eyes on Jungkook. 

“Jungkook-ah,” Yoongi murmurs, “our little Ggukie. All grown up. All grown up.”

Something in Yoongi’s voice pulls a tremble up to the surface of Jungkook. He rubs his face against his pillow.  

There’s quiet for a while, Yoongi’s breathing going deep and even. Jungkook almost thinks Yoongi’s asleep, and then he hears him move, the swallow before he speaks. “Did we do okay?”

Jungkook stays still. “What?”

Yoongi rolls onto his back, rearranges himself. “When you were a kid. Did we do okay? Were we too hard on you?” 

Jungkook doesn’t know what to say. Looks at what he can see of Yoongi in the darkness, the edge of his profile, the line of his nose and mouth. Probably they were too hard on him, is the thing. The company, the trainers, the staff, the rest of the group. Not deliberately, but. Probably a lot of things were too much to ask of him, so young, so unprotected, nothing in him solid enough to cling to, to know as his own. 

Jungkook knows that Yoongi only ever says something once he's made up his mind. He might've phrased this as a question, but Yoongi's already decided on the answer, and this is something like an apology, although there’s nothing either of them would change. Jungkook wouldn’t be Jungkook if anything had gone differently. 

“I don’t know,” Jungkook says honestly. 

Yoongi makes a noise and rolls back to face Jungkook, gets up on one arm so he’s leaning over him, a looming soft-edged shadow against the velvet night. He taps Jungkook on the forehead quick and sharp, has Jungkook jolting in surprise. Even in this shapeless dark Jungkook knows the look that must be on Yoongi’s face, can feel the weight of his attention. It doesn’t matter that there’s not even enough light to see by, or that Yoongi’s drunk, soft and foolish; there’ll always be a part of Yoongi that’s watching closely, keen eyes spotting every detail. 

“The things you’ve got lurking in there,” Yoongi says, letting his hand fall and rolling back onto the bed dramatically, “the secrets you’ve got hiding.”

Jungkook feels caught out and vulnerable, like suddenly there’s a window right to his insides swinging open; he almost wants to look down, to have a see for himself what’s in there. “No, I. I don’t have any secrets. You know that.”

Yoongi huffs, a half-laugh that stays when he speaks. “Well you should. Secrets are good,” and Jungkook can see Yoongi raise his hands, gesture outwards and then bring them back to point at himself. “They’re good for reminding you that there’s edges, inside and out. That there’s a you that belongs only to you.”

Jungkook hits his head back against the pillow. Rubs at his stomach, feels everything on the inside churning up, the invisible processes that he can never really figure out how to put into words. Jungkook is almost certain that any secret he’s keeping from the world is also hidden from himself.

“Okay,” Jungkook says. “I’ll work on that, I guess.”

Yoongi goes quiet. “Good. That’s… good,” he murmurs. “Gotta,” he says, then pauses, and Jungkook waits, but Yoongi doesn’t ever finish explaining what he’s got to do, or whether it was about Jungkook. Jungkook listens to his breathing go deep, and then Yoongi starts snoring, and Jungkook almost wants to laugh, all shaken up and exhausted and scraped bare. 

He sniffs. Pulls the blanket back from where Yoongi has stolen most of it and manages to fall asleep, somehow. 



In the morning Yoongi groans when Jungkook gets up, rolls himself in the comforter until only the top of his dark hair is visible. Jungkook gets breakfast and goes to the gym, and when he gets back Yoongi is still buried in there, although he emerges once Jungkook’s showered.

Yoongi throws the comforter back as he sits up, rubs at the back of his head and stays hunched with his head low. “Don’t ever let me go out with them again, fucking hell,” he croaks. Jungkook laughs.

“I can’t stop you from doing anything,” Jungkook says, then wonders if that’s giving too much away.

Yoongi doesn’t seem to hear it, just stays bent over for a minute before groaning again and shoving the comforter off his legs. Jungkook busies himself tidying up his suitcase.

“Well tie me to the bed or something, I don’t know,” Yoongi says, and walks over to get his clothes from where Jungkook had folded them and left them on the chair. Jungkook can’t help watching, the pale flex of Yoongi’s back as he gets his shirt back on. Yoongi looks back over his shoulder at him when he doesn’t respond and Jungkook just shrugs.

“You’re too sneaky for that,” he says, and Yoongi manages a grin.




Of course Jungkook would realise on stage. It doesn’t make sense, as a moment: just turning and half-jumping and making eye contact with Yoongi, who’s got his teeth showing in that way, not a smile, more predatory than that. Suddenly Jungkook knows, completely certain, that Yoongi is fucking with him. Yoongi’s been controlling the bout all along, circling around and stepping in and out easily; Yoongi’s found Jungkook’s range and is taunting him with it. Of course. Of course!

Jungkook feels his mind recede, like some other version of himself takes over his body for the rest of the concert, and it feels like he’s watching himself from a disjointed angle after, getting changed and eating quickly, clambering into in the van and listening to the screams. Sudden jolt back to himself when he stares at himself in the mirror in the elevator, swallowing dry-throated and clenching his fists, knowing what he has to do.

Jungkook showers in a rush, pats his hair down in the mirror and blinks at himself again, shakes his head like he can get everything to land right if he knocks it around enough. When he goes down the corridor Yoongi opens the door almost as soon as he knocks, holds it wide open. Jungkook pushes it further anyway, just to hear the thud against the wall. Yoongi stays near the door as Jungkook strides into the room, turns and stands with his hands on his hips to look at where Yoongi’s gently closing the door. 

“You’re frustrated,” Yoongi says evenly, smile going proper wide. 

“You have no idea,” Jungkook says emphatically. 

Yoongi pulls his shirt off as he approaches. Jungkook’s hands are shaking, not from fear but something else, disbelief taking up home in his fingers. Jungkook raises his hands, feels the physical need to test this with a grip on Yoongi. Jungkook gets him by the shoulder and kisses him hard, not wanting to give him any time to change his mind, and Jungkook is scared to slow down, tries to get his hands all over Yoongi as quickly as possible, chest and stomach and shoulders and collarbones and neck and holding onto the back of his hair, coming in close until Yoongi has to step back if he doesn’t want to fall over. 

Yoongi grabs hold of Jungkook by the face, holds him still. “Okay, okay,” he says, eyebrows up, licking his lips, and Jungkook almost falls forward, clenches his fists against Yoongi's sides. Jungkook steps back and scrambles to get out of his clothes, not wanting to give Yoongi any reasons to stop, and then tries to shove Yoongi’s jeans down, but Yoongi pushes his hands away, jerks his head towards the bed and pulls his pants off himself. Jungkook falls back onto the bed, leans up on his elbows and watches Yoongi.

Yoongi hops on one leg, kicks off his pants and then stands there, right between Jungkook’s knees. Yoongi stares at him, just looking, and Jungkook tosses his head, gets his hair out of his eyes. Yoongi twitches his mouth to the side, and Jungkook wonders if Yoongi’s thinking about it, all these years in close quarters, how Yoongi knows Jungkook in a way that could destroy him because he was there for the making of him. Yoongi’s been there for all of it, the strange and alchemical process of Jungkook coming together, the indelible imprint of all of them in who he’s turned out to be.

Jungkook takes a shaky breath as Yoongi climbs on top of him. Holds on tight to his sides, has Yoongi twitching sideways and laughing when he hits his ticklish spot wrong. Yoongi kisses him soft, slower than Jungkook was expecting, and Yoongi’s got his arms stiff and straight, staying high above him. Jungkook knocks at his elbows and Yoongi falls properly against him, has Jungkook tight-chested with the weight. Yoongi huffs and bites at Jungkook’s jaw, leans back to glare at him. Jungkook grins. 

Yoongi licks his lips, twitches his eyebrows. Gets his hand in Jungkook’s underpants, doesn’t look away, keeps his eyes intent on Jungkook’s face.

Jungkook knows that it’s probably kind of fucked up, how Yoongi looking at him like that gets him going so quick, but the fucked upness is also part of what’s got him fucking thrumming, jerking up into his grip. It’s this screwed up loop, thinking, you, all these years, since the start of me, you’re why I’m like this, you look at me like that and I’ll never learn how to stop wanting it, and then thinking about how Yoongi knows it, and no fucking wonder Yoongi’s half-laughing in his ear, hooking his leg over Jungkook’s thighs to try and get him to settle. 

Jungkook grabs at the comforter, other hand with a sweaty grip on Yoongi’s shoulder, no way he’s letting go of the leverage. Jungkook bites his lip hard, holds his breath, wishes he had any chance of surviving this. 

Yoongi breathes hot and damp against his face, doesn’t let up with jerking him off as he shuffles down to bite at the crook of Jungkook’s neck, and Jungkook had hoped to maybe not embarrass himself completely, but he gasps and realises with a stuttered spark of horror that he’s already coming, shooting off all over his own stomach.

“I- fucking hell, I break every promise to myself and you last two seconds,” Yoongi says, sounding kind of genuinely mad, and it just makes Jungkook shudder more, breathing hard, gulping. 

“You, you, you,” Jungkook manages, wishing he had any brain power left for mustering something smart, “thought about it, huh?”

“I think about many things,” Yoongi says vaguely. He wipes his hand on the underpants Jungkook hadn’t even managed to take off. 

Yoongi rolls sideways, and Jungkook goes with him, scared to let him out of his sight. His head is all wobbly, uneven and weighted wrong; he blinks and lands a hand on Yoongi’s stomach to ground himself. Jungkook doesn’t move it, not even when it makes it hard for Yoongi to get his underpants down. Jungkook’s still embarrassed, hot coil of shame twisted up in his gut, but it’s intertwined with something else too, some strange pleasure at having Yoongi knowing him like this, at having Yoongi pull it out of him so fast and efficient. It makes him eager to please, wanting to make up for it, wanting to keep Yoongi’s knowing eyes on him.

Jungkook mouths at Yoongi’s jaw, his neck. Digs his fingers in harder than he should and straddles him, like if he can pin Yoongi down now maybe it’ll last. Yoongi’s trying to play it cool, smirk curled up in the corners of his kissing, but when Jungkook pulls back Yoongi comes off the pillow to chase him, and he’s got his hands tight on Jungkook’s back, so maybe Jungkook isn’t the only one trying to get a hold of as much as he can while he’s got it within reach. 

When Jungkook blows him Yoongi’s surprisingly quiet, hands to himself. It makes Jungkook twitchy, wanting to get more out of him, going deeper than he should, breathless and touching everywhere. Yoongi finally groans proper, deep and cracked, and Jungkook practically feels it land in him. 

“Oh, perfect,” Yoongi says, Jungkook setting a proper rhythm now. Jungkook always thought Yoongi would be victorious about getting Jungkook like this, that he’d be gloating, and it’s always spiked something hot and eager in him, the thought of that. But Yoongi has his hand at Jungkook’s cheek, soft touch, and his voice is quiet. It’s got years of tenderness behind it. 

It makes Jungkook frantic, almost panicking, and when he goes deep again he goes too far and chokes properly, has to pull off spluttering and wiping at his eyes, coughing hard. Yoongi lies still and watches him. 

Jungkook leans his forehead against Yoongi’s hip, tries to catch his breath. 

“You can do better than that,” Yoongi says, that hint of judgement threaded through his voice. Jungkook gasps, grits his teeth, angry with Yoongi for knowing him so well and so turned on he feels the judder go all the way through him. 

Jungkook knows he can do better, wants to do better for Yoongi. He goes back to it slower and more careful and now Yoongi has his hands in Jungkook’s hair, pushing it around and making Jungkook’s scalp tingle, shivers going down his neck. Jungkook takes his time, slow ache, holds his breath until his lungs are burning, and Yoongi pushes up into his mouth eagerly, and says, “Good, good, yes,” and Jungkook shouldn’t feel it roll through him like quiet thunder but he does. After Yoongi comes Jungkook scrambles up to lie on top of him, to jerk off against him. Yoongi holds him by the back of the neck and says, “Good,” again after Jungkook comes a second time, such a deep satisfaction in his voice that Jungkook has to close his eyes and tuck his face against Yoongi’s. Yoongi runs his hand down Jungkook’s back absent-mindedly like he doesn’t realise he’s doing it.

Jungkook lies there feeling clammy and spent and sore-throated and like all of him is peeled away, the only thing left something essential and satisfied. He says, “This wasn’t a bad idea, was it?” 

“No, it was a fucking brilliant idea,” Yoongi says, thick sarcasm and more of his Daegu lilt coming through than he usually lets show. Jungkook laughs and rolls onto his back, stares at the ceiling. 

Yoongi raises a hand, lets it fall and knock against Jungkook’s wrist. “Of course it’s a bad idea,” he says, softer. “But don’t go ruining it by talking about it.”

Jungkook huffs, closes his eyes. Listens to Yoongi rearrange himself in his usual sideways curl, and Jungkook rolls, shuffles up behind him and slings an arm over his side. Not too close, just enough that he can fall asleep sure that Yoongi’s there. 




Jungkook hides out in the gym a lot, harrasses Taehyung on the plane in a way he hasn’t for ages and gets a strong kick in the leg for his efforts. Catches Taehyung’s foot and looks at him with a bit of a smirk, but Taehyung is looking back with the sort of glare that Jungkook knows means that Taehyung’s really about to lose his temper, so he drops his foot back and goes to sit next to Namjoon instead. Jungkook watches him work for a while and misses Jin sharply, the way he knows how to talk about things without really talking about them at all, how to crack just the right kind of joke to get Jungkook to roll his eyes and get over himself. Instead Jungkook’s just caught in his own loop and frustrated with it, knowing he’s overthinking and not being able to do much to break himself out of it. 

Yoongi’s - it’s not like he’s avoiding Jungkook; that would be impossible. But Jungkook’s still kind of freaking out, not sure what to do with himself, adrenalin buzz when he sees Yoongi hunched sleepily and eating lunch alone. Jungkook feels like he’s getting away with something, all sweaty-palmed and twitchy, the oh-fuck-what-have-I-done closing in on him fast. Yoongi seems unruffled, just nods and stays silent when Jungkook drops his own plate opposite him and pulls a chair out. Jungkook knows that worrying about it isn’t useful, that it’s just going to screw him up. He shoves it all sideways and just focuses on the concert, the easy and familiar concerns. If anything he does better than usual, overriding that late-in-the-tour exhaustion with his desperate need to escape being his daily self for a while. 

They go out with all the managers afterwards, some weird huge beer hall with big wooden tables and lots of pork and sausages. Jungkook finishes off a stein of beer while eyeing Yoongi as he gossips with one of the staff, and Jungkook feels uncomplicatedly fond, pleased to see him. Jungkook watches him explaining something with his hands, pointing and moving the salt and pepper shakers around to help demonstrate, and it’s like the worry just floats off up above the crowd, lost in the noise of hundreds of people talking and yelling and laughing. 

Jungkook might not know what he’s doing, but he knows what he wants, and that’s got to count for something.

They all start moving out after dinner, off to Berghain or Tresor to see if the ket snobs of Berlin will let them in. Jungkook sees Yoongi split off with some of the older staff and makes a quick decision. He hip bumps Hoseok, pats Jimin on the ass and waves to the rest of the group, then skips after Yoongi to sling an arm over his shoulder. The manager next to him laughs and asks if he’s coming back to play Fifa too, and Jungkook shrugs, just says that he isn’t in the mood for more dancing. Yoongi has the slightest, smallest, almost invisible hint of a smile on his face.

They split off quick once they get back, and they’re both getting their heavy coats off as quick as possible, Yoongi grinning back at Jungkook with some unspoken thing singing out loud from the break of his smile. Jungkook pulls him in to kiss and Yoongi holds him by the chin, tilts him how he wants him, and then he says, “Will you-” and Jungkook goes to his knees before he finishes the question. Yoongi keeps one hand in Jungkook’s hair as he undoes his jeans with the other, and Jungkook gets both hands on Yoongi’s hips, wants to stay as near as he can.

Yoongi’s hand on his shoulder is light, too gentle. Jungkook doesn’t know why it infuriates him, but it does, so he uses a light touch too, draws it out and pulls back every time Yoongi lets out a noise. Eventually Yoongi’s grip goes tight, pulling at the hair at the back of Jungkook’s head, and Jungkook hums with satisfaction, feels the responding shiver through Yoongi. Jungkook waits until Yoongi’s almost there, gasping and holding Jungkook close, and then he pulls off, grins up at him. Yoongi looks down at him with his eyes glazed and mouth open, kind of stunned, and then suddenly it’s like all of him gathers back to focus down on Jungkook, a direct and heavy glare. 

“Really?” Yoongi says, giving a sharp tug at Jungkook’s hair. Jungkook gulps, undoes his own fly and shoves his hand down his pants to rearrange. He takes Yoongi back into his mouth, and the groan Yoongi gives as he presses forward is loud, and Jungkook really, really takes his time, keeps pulling off and nosing at Yoongi’s hip, looking up at him and jerking himself off, licking at him and turning away when Yoongi says, “C’mon, more, I-” until eventually Yoongi thrusts forward properly hard and gasps, “If you don’t - If you don’t let me come I swear - I swear,” and then just stares down at Jungkook. 

Jungkook looks up at him with spit all over his face and his hand down his own pants, pulls an eyebrow up. He watches as Yoongi swallows and realises that this is the whole point of it, for Yoongi to be so undone and desperate that he’ll do anything to make Jungkook behave.

“Okay,” Yoongi says, “stop fucking touching yourself,” and he yanks until he’s got Jungkook with his head tilted back, throat revealed, and it’s not comfortable at all and it’s exactly what Jungkook wants. Jungkook feels the thick desire flood up to his chest, his neck, everything gone dense and breathless as he waits for Yoongi’s next move. Yoongi waves his free hand with his eyebrows up, gives a questioning smirk that shows his tongue tucked in the corner of his mouth. Jungkook smiles back. Gasps and clenches up hard when Yoongi smacks him, glad he didn’t have a hand on his dick because he really might’ve come right then and there. 

Jungkook laughs, digs his fingers in at Yoongi’s hip. Yoongi rattles him around and slaps him again, then leaves his hand there, bright and hot. Jungkook blinks away tears, pulls air in a little dizzily, so turned on he can barely think. He pushes hard to send Yoongi stumbling back towards the bed, Yoongi’s grip going loose on Jungkook’s hair a little too late and pulling him with him. Jungkook pitches forward and stands up to follow, wincing at his complaining knees and landing on Yoongi solidly. It makes him wheeze and grunt, arms flailing, and Jungkook takes advantage, wiggles down to catch him by surprise with his mouth on his dick. Yoongi practically arches off the bed, manages an, “Oh fuck you,” gasped out quick.

Jungkook sits up again, runs his hand up Yoongi’s thigh. Looks at the way Yoongi’s got his head turned to the side and refusing to look at Jungkook, the tight line of his jaw.

Jungkook pinches his thigh and Yoongi whips his head around, narrows his eyes at him. Jungkook hums and gets back to it, glances up occasionally to make sure Yoongi’s still watching, digs his fingers in at Yoongi’s side when he sees him cover his face with his arm. Yoongi jerks his arm away and bares his teeth at Jungkook, more snarl than smile. 

By the time Jungkook decides to let him come Yoongi's got one leg shaking against the comforter, gasping unevenly and running his hands over Jungkook’s face, his hair, his shoulders, like he's searching for relief in the slide of skin and sweat there instead. Jungkook finally relents, swallows around Yoongi as he whines and twitches, and Jungkook feels like all of him is soaked through with satisfaction at how Yoongi falls apart. 

Yoongi pulls him up and holds Jungkook against him with one hand at his neck and the other at his back, breathing hard against the side of Jungkook's face. Jungkook can practically hear Yoongi’s smile, feels it in the rhythm he taps out against Jungkook’s spine. Yoongi pushes Jungkook and he rolls off easily, settles against the bed as Yoongi kisses him quick and hard before moving down and mouthing at his dick. 

Jungkook tries to hold himself together, but Yoongi's sucking his dick like he's got something to prove, aggressive and overwhelming, and it feels so good it's almost too much, Jungkook's grip on Yoongi's shoulder unsure if it’s there to pull him closer or push him away. Jungkook thrusts up, saying, "Yes, yes, that, right there, just," and Yoongi pulls off.

"You want it?" Yoongi says, glittering eyes on Jungkook. 

“Fuck, I mean, obviously,” Jungkook says, jerking up off the bed, wanting to laugh at how Yoongi even bothered to phrase it as a question. 

“Gotta ask for it,” Yoongi says, smirking, like he’s joking but not really.

“What, you want me to beg?” Jungkook scoffs, and the answering twitch and blink that Yoongi gives is enough of a confirmation that Jungkook kicks Yoongi in the back, holds him in place with his leg when Yoongi tries to shift sideways. Yoongi bares his teeth, leans up and twists one of Jungkook’s nipples, and Jungkook can’t help the offended yelp.

“Ow! Ow, Fuck, okay,” Jungkook says, pulls at Yoongi’s hair and watches him half-sneer in response. Presses his thumb into the side of Yoongi’s face and says, “Please,” watching how Yoongi’s eyes stay focused sharp on Jungkook’s, like he’s not sure if Jungkook is mocking him.

“Please,” Jungkook says again, and he’s well aware that Yoongi hadn’t said it once while Jungkook was edging him, not even when Jungkook had gotten him to the point of sounding all wet-mouthed and on the verge of maybe letting out a sob. 

“I mean it,” Jungkook swallows, pushes up, “Please, please, I - Yoongi-yah. Yoongi. Please.”

Yoongi watches him for a long moment. Seems to decide that Jungkook is being serious, shakes his leg off and goes back to it, slower and more careful, sudden flick of devious tongue, and Jungkook is gasping, pushing up against Yoongi’s fingers digging into his stomach. Yoongi barely has to slow before Jungkook’s pleading again, closed eyes and tilting his head back, muttering, “Please, please, Yoongi, c’mon, please, Yoongi-hyung, hyung,” and at that Yoongi scratches his nails sharp and direct down the side of Jungkook’s thigh.

“Oh,” Jungkook says, catching on, “Hyung, Yoongi-hyung, please,” and Yoongi goes deep in answer, sudden and full-forced in a way that makes Jungkook jolt upwards. It just falls out of him after that, all the twisted up years of wanting Yoongi’s approval, all the desperate hunger for Yoongi’s attention, the unending desire to have his hyung in the neediest way, to have Yoongi need him back. 

Jungkook comes, hands tight in Yoongi's hair. Yoongi shakes himself free and wipes at his face, then collapses into the pillow beside Jungkook. Jungkook blinks up at the ceiling, rubbing a hand across his face and pushing his hair around.

“That get you going, huh?” Jungkook says, sounding fucked out and breathless even to himself. Yoongi grunts and rolls, sits up on the edge of the bed with his back to Jungkook. 

“I wasn’t kidding when I said not to talk about it,” Yoongi says. Jungkook frowns. 

“I was joking, but whatever,” he says, sitting up too, leaning in towards Yoongi. Yoongi stands and Jungkook narrows his eyes, watches as Yoongi pulls his pants back on.

“Off to play Fifa?” Jungkook says, and maybe it’s cruel to lean so much derision into it, but Jungkook’s annoyed at Yoongi’s obvious attempt to flee, annoyed at his own inability to play it cool.

Yoongi darts a look at him over his shoulder, skitters his eyes away. “Don’t - it’s,” he says, and Jungkook waits, lets him sit in the awkwardness of it, waiting for Yoongi to come up with something.

Yoongi picks up his shirt and stands there, bare-chested and looking at Jungkook still on the bed. “Look, it’s. There’s no point, okay,” although Jungkook isn’t sure if he means no point in talking about it or no point in general, “It’s just, y’know. Rebound for me, experiment for you.”

Jungkook runs his tongue over his teeth, can't help the angry pull of his mouth. “You are so full of shit, Yoongi.”

Yoongi pulls his shirt on, keeps his head down.

“You know I’ve slept with plenty of guys before, hyung,” Jungkook continues, watching Yoongi’s face closely, wanting to see the impact. Yoongi keeps doing his buttons up and shows his teeth, although from this angle it could be a grimace or a smile, just the flash of white all that Jungkook can see.

“What’s the experiment then,” Jungkook says, “See what’ll make you stay?”

Yoongi looks up at that, drops his hands by his side. “Don’t.”

Jungkook looks at the ceiling, deeply frustrated, furious with it. Furious with Yoongi for doing exactly what Jungkook had thought he’d do, and furious with himself for having held out hope for anything else. 

Yoongi stops, heaves a huge sigh and drops his head. Stands up taller and rubs at the back of his hair, screwing up his face and looking past Jungkook, like he’s seeing something far beyond them both.

“I know you know me too well,” Yoongi says, and Jungkook almost chokes on it, wants to protest that this is the problem, that Yoongi has parts of himself that Jungkook doesn’t understand at all and is always trying to grasp at.  “But just - can you stop - just stop pushing, for one fucking second?”

Yoongi rubs his hand over his face, looks sideways before darting his eyes up again to Jungkook. “It’s - it’s just a lot, okay. I’m trying.” 

Jungkook twists his mouth up, grits his teeth. Thinks about how you’d never blame a wild animal for biting if you have it cornered, the protective measures a beast will take when it thinks its life is at risk. 

“Whatever,” Jungkook says, rubbing one hand over the other, looking down at the bed. There’s a quiet moment, and Jungkook sucks on his teeth, has many things he wants to yell and argue over. He keeps his mouth shut and his head down as Yoongi quietly lets himself out of the room.




Yoongi still doesn’t avoid him, not really. Jungkook doesn’t get how Yoongi does it, his neat gaze sliding over Jungkook like he hadn’t come apart at the seams in Jungkook’s bed only yesterday, but Jungkook will take it, and practice is - fine. Soundcheck is fine. Team meetings are fine. Jungkook fools himself into thinking Yoongi is also fine, and goes to knock on Yoongi’s door afterwards. Yoongi lets him in and then keeps his headphones on, gives one word answers, refuses to turn and make eye-contact, and Jungkook receives the message loud and clear. He clenches his jaw and knows there’s no point in putting up a fight, not unless he wants Yoongi to curl in even tighter, all of his defenses up. Jungkook orders a bunch of porn on Yoongi’s TV and leaves it playing on mute when he leaves. Pulls at the back of Yoongi’s hair on his way out in farewell and doesn’t linger to see his reaction.

More bare minimum conversation during work hours; Yoongi stands at the back of the group watching as Jungkook rehearses his solos and afterwards says, “That’s good, that’ll go well,” something about the politeness infuriating to Jungkook. 

Jungkook knows he should leave it, that Yoongi needs time to process or whatever. He chews the inside of his cheek and focuses on practices and gym time, pushes himself hard, sweat-drenched and headachey and lying on the floor trying to get the oxygen back inside him, ceiling all sparkly at the edges of his vision and no space in him for thoughts.

Jungkook still can’t resist prodding. He does his vocal warm-ups loudly behind where Yoongi’s trying to nap, watching his face twitch as Yoongi obstinately clings to sleep. He ignores Yoongi during team dinners, turns his whole body away and towards Namjoon, nods along when Namjoon explains the book he’s reading. Shuffles himself somewhere else in the lineup as quick as he can when it’s time for an interview, inane questions that he thinks too hard about, concentrating on the interviewer’s accent and then the translation and trying to think in Korean and English at the same time. 

Yoongi forgets that he’s the one who asked for this. Slips up and bumps into Jungkook’s shoulder before the show, says something sarcastic amongst the group banter, and Jungkook stares back at him, silent. Yoongi hunches his shoulders up, gets all awkward and muttery and goes and hides elsewhere. He’s unfailingly polite after that, all weird and distant, as if that’s any better, and Jungkook rolls his eyes and just completely gives up for a while. They’ve got too much to handle to be wasting time on this sort of drama. 

Jungkook sticks close with Hoseok and Jimin during practices, hangs back when Yoongi and Namjoon arrive. He can feel Yoongi watching him, like he’s puzzled by Jungkook’s game, which: good. Jungkook is vindictively satisfied to see it, the way that Yoongi’s the one playing catch up for once. 

The stage is the stage is the stage is the stage, steady routine of tour doing nothing to blunt the feeling of stepping out in front of forty thousand people. There’s nothing more terrifying than the vacuumed-out moment right before, and nothing more exciting than the moment once it's begun, all of him gone pure and electric. The flip from one to the other, though, that drastic transformation - he’s never figured it out. All he’s got is off-stage and on-stage, no hope of understanding what happens inside him in the movement from one state to the other. 

There’s a girl crying right up against the front row fences. Jungkook waves at her, laughs and pretends to wipe his own face. The people around her are screaming, arms reaching out, but she’s got her hands over her mouth, looking even more hysterical. Strange the things that stick in his head from each show. He flashes his stomach accidentally-on-purpose during Idol and the upkick in the crowd noise has him feeling like he’s the centre of the universe, all the eyes of the world on him making anything possible. He’s tired, beyond tired, and if he stops or rests at all he might not ever be able to start again, so he does not stop: he spins, side steps and throws his arms up and body rolls and jumps with sweat sliding down his back, and he keeps moving, skips over to start the choreo, no chance to even try and get enough air in before they’re off again, somehow summoning something more, the hours and years of practice in his limbs propelling him onwards. 

It’s not that he becomes invincible. It just stops mattering, while he’s out here on the altered reality of the stage, that he isn’t. 

Afterwards sitting piled onto the couch with everyone, smiling for photos and half-present at best, most of him sweated out and smeared across the floor upstairs. Stripping off the stage outfit and clambering into his own clothes with all his co-ordination gone, his body suddenly remembering that it has limits and that he’s overshot them. There’s catering and he eats at top speed, knowing he’ll feel sick later but practically shaking with the need to get something back in him. A trainer massages his shoulders, a sore reminder of the common flesh he's made of and everything it'd managed to make happen tonight, the cost of each perfect moment that had risen out of him. He shouldn’t be thinking about what he messed up, not yet, nothing left in him for self-defense; he just hums, closes his eyes and concentrates on the sounds happening in the room around him. 

Deep breaths. Drink some water. It’ll help.




One of the security guards meets Jungkook at his door, accompanies him down through the staff corridors of the hotel until they get to the underground parking. They have to wait for the other security guy, and Jungkook bounces on his toes, cracks his knuckles. He does a double-take when the service lift opens and Yoongi steps out too, still doing up his parka. 

“They really slow down your evasive maneuvers, huh,” Yoongi says as he comes to stand next to Jungkook, tilting his head towards where security is talking with the driver. Jungkook finishes cracking his left knuckles, shakes his hand out. 

“I wasn’t - I was just gonna go shopping, have a look around,” Jungkook says, shrugging. 

Yoongi sticks his head in the van and says in slow and careful English, “Can you please take us to an electronic store with good music equipment,” climbing in without asking Jungkook. Jungkook rolls his eyes and follows. 

They manage to convince the security to just loiter out the front of the shop, that they’ll come meet him if anyone recognises them. Jungkook mostly just follows Yoongi around, watching him inspect synths and soundboards, wondering what he’s thinking, what makes him stop and loiter at one microphone so much longer than the others. 

“So like,” Jungkook starts, then stops, not actually sure what he’s doing. He goes with just flat out asking, “What’s going on?” 

Yoongi looks at him, quirks a smile. “Time to sort it out, huh?” 

“I wish you’d stop making me be the one who has to, to,” Jungkook says, and realises as he talks that he really is genuinely upset about this, hearing his voice slide high-pitched and whiny, “The one who has to make anything happen.”

“I came today, didn’t I?” Yoongi says, looking slant-wise at Jungkook and putting a box back on the shelf. “You needed the time as well.”

Jungkook makes a noise of protest and says, “I didn't want-” but Yoongi makes a tch between his teeth and cuts him off. 

“Trust me, you did,” he says. Jungkook squints at him, but Yoongi just waves a hand and keeps moving down the aisle towards the keyboard display. 

Jungkook follows, thinking tiredly that he’s had years and years of Yoongi holding him at a distance, and if Yoongi thinks a week more is going to undo how Jungkook was made, then he’s a fucking idiot.  

“I don’t think I could,” Yoongi pauses, rubs at his mouth, thinking over his words, “I won’t be able to live with myself, if I think I’m taking advantage of you,” he says, and Jungkook knows he’s being honest, that Yoongi really probably wouldn’t be able to survive the guilt he’d bury himself in. 

Jungkook sniffs, looks around the store, the display racks and shelves and fluorescent lights. There’s a couple of other people browsing, well out of earshot, and Jungkook wonders what they’re talking about, if any of them could beat him out for how quick his heart is going right now, how all of him is gearing up for some kind of physical battle that doesn’t exist, adrenalin flood a futile effort against this teetering thing too large for him to even see. 

“I can make my own decisions,” Jungkook says, maybe more terse than he should be, and Yoongi sighs, like that’s the problem. 

“I don’t like being a risk for you,” Yoongi says quietly, “which is what it would be. A huge risk.”

Jungkook scratches his nose, huffs with annoyance. Says, “Don’t act like you aren’t in just as much danger,” and he bumps Yoongi with his hip so he’ll step sideways. Jungkook plays a rough tune on the keyboard, messing up the chords a couple of times before he remembers how it goes, getting more confident the longer he plays. Yoongi keeps his head down, watching Jungkook’s hands.

“It’s different for me,” Yoongi says. 

“No-o-o it isn’t,” Jungkook says, half-singing it along with what he’s playing.

“Jungkook-ah,” Yoongi says, a tone to it that makes Jungkook falter. He looks up and Yoongi’s so close, their coats rustling against each other, but Yoongi keeps his head down, and Jungkook can only see the pale curve of his cheek and the corner of his eye. “You’re going to be very famous for a very long time.”

“Uh, so are you?” Jungkook says. Watches Yoongi run his hands over the keys in front of him.

Yoongi raises one hand to wobble it back and forth, the other still fiddling with the keyboard. “Not like you,” he says simply, which kind of terrifies Jungkook, the ease with which he can cut himself off from Jungkook like that.

“That’s - that’s ridiculous. You’re,” Jungkook tries to summon some magic ability with words, something to bring him back, to not let him flee from Jungkook so absolutely with just a quick sentence, but all he manages is, “you’re - you.”

Yoongi winces. “Yeah. Exactly.”

“I know this is a big deal,” Jungkook says, “but you don’t have to freak out and like, make it a million times harder. You’re being stupid,” aware that he isn’t doing a good job of arguing in his own favour, the chafe and frustration maybe too much at the surface.

“Well I think you’re thinking with your dick,” Yoongi says, getting snappy, and the unfairness of it strikes at Jungkook, makes him step back and clench his fists. Yoongi knows that’s not all that’s going on here, not for either of them.

Jungkook says, “And you’re afraid you’re a stand-in,” only realising as it comes out that Yoongi really actually might be afraid of that, sees it land a proper blow in how Yoongi flinches, looking down and going so still, so unmoveable. 

“I would smack you for that," Yoongi says as he flicks his eyes up, "but you’d probably just come in your pants." 

It pours down Jungkook's back, static across the surface of him, and Jungkook is sure that if Yoongi touched him right now he’d give off sparks. Yoongi smiles at him and pulls his mask up as he turns and ambles away. 

Jungkook lets his lungful of air blast out of him in one huge gust and screws up his face, looks at the ceiling, shakes a fist at himself. Fucking idiot, fucking idiot. He trails after Yoongi through the rest of the store, waits patiently as he buys whatever cable or pop filter he spent so long deciding on, goes back to the hotel with him. Yoongi knocks his shoulder into him in the elevator, little sign of forgiveness.

“I know I probably deserved it,” Yoongi says, “but don’t do that again,” and Jungkook nods, knowing that Yoongi’s watching in his periphery. 

“Yeah,” he says. “Yeah. It’s not true. Just. So you know, It’s not, it’s not, it’s not, I kind of can’t believe, actually, I don’t,” explanation stumbling out until he gives up. Jungkook is not at all prepared to to tell Yoongi the way in which he could run Jungkook’s whole world into the ground if he wanted and how Jungkook would be glad for it. 

“Yeah,” Yoongi says as the elevator comes to a stop, “I have work to do,” tilting his head in the direction of his room and looking at Jungkook. “I’ll see you later, okay?”

Jungkook squeezes his shoulder and nods, leaves him to it. Goes to his own room and does his stretches. He concentrates on his breathing, slow rhythm to it, leaning, leaning, leaning into his limit and then holding it there. The tension is deep, has him strung tight and blinking away tears. He pushes out a long slow breath and goes beyond it, always a little surprised that it’s possible to get any deeper.




Jungkook can tell everyone’s decided to just sit back and see how things pan out. Jimin’s hovering, like he’s waiting for Jungkook to burst into tears and admit to everything, but Jungkook’s nothing if not capable of putting on a brave face under pressure. It’s always been the aftermath that Jungkook struggles with. 

He thinks he’s keeping it together on stage, that the concerts are good. He fucks up a little near the end of the set and does a pretty good job of ignoring it, even holds it together during the post-show photos and meal. He doesn’t lose his temper until he goes to the bathroom, sees himself in the mirror and jerks his face away, grunts and clenches his fists, then looks at his hands and shakes his head, laughing at himself. What’s he gonna do? Punch the wall? Fuck his hand up real good and go on stage in a cast? There’s no point in dramatics. He washes his face and goes back out, waves off the harried staff trying to check on him at the same time as they pack everything up. 

Jungkook can tell that Yoongi’s tentative, that he’s feeling his way back and testing to see how Jungkook responds. Jungkook is just as interested to see what the result will be; he has no idea what he’ll do if Yoongi arrives back in front of him and says, Actually, no thanks. Jungkook’s always been bad at settling for what he’s got, at seeing the worth in what he’s already achieved. He’s always got to be looking forward, rising to the challenge, moving up bigger, harder, better, faster, stronger; setting the benchmark only to go above it the next time. Nothing in him is made to cope with Yoongi deciding to go back to how things were before.

Jungkook spends too long in the gym, thinking through the notes the vocal coach gave him for the upcoming shows. He runs hard even though his knee is still playing up, knows he’ll get in trouble for it but having to push through it anyway to get some quiet in his head. Afterwards he guzzles water and leans against the walls of the elevator on the way to his room, watching the floor numbers tick up, trying to think of a secret for each one.

The time the guy who worked at Carhartt flirted with him, although Jungkook hadn’t realised until hours later. 

Stealing the nicest, softest face towel he’s ever used from the hotel in Thailand.

Dropping a coin out his 20th storey hotel room window, not even sure what he was testing, no idea if it hit anyone or what he’d be guilty of if it did. 

How he maybe isn’t into girls anymore? He's still not sure about that one. 

The post-show boners, and how they're maybe about the exhaustion and pain as much as they’re from the performance high. 

That Saturday night, back in May 2017, and everything that has happened because of it. 

How he’s actually surviving pretty well at this whole top-boyband-in-the-world thing, is maybe even thriving, and he doesn’t know what that says about him, that he’s so good at this. 

How he couldn’t imagine wanting to give this up for anything, not even for some proper calm, some real peace and quiet, some easy happiness.




Yoongi finds him before the concert, kicks his shoe and says, “Let’s walk,” and doesn’t help Jungkook up from the floor. 

“You’re going to do good out there,” Yoongi says, walking slowly, hands in his pockets. Jungkook isn’t sure where he’s taking them, corridors busy with staff and cables and golf carts and equipment on forklifts.

“Uh, thanks,” Jungkook says, ducks behind Yoongi as someone comes through carrying dry-cleaning, harried look on her face.

Yoongi looks up at him and then pulls him down a side corridor, less busy, same plain concrete blocks and shiny floor. It’d be too easy to get lost down here, in the belly of the beast.

“I don’t want this thing to get to us,” Yoongi says as he walks, letting out a frustrated sigh, “I don’t want you to think I’m mad at you, and I don’t want you thinking it changes anything about who we are on stage.”

Jungkook stops, watches Yoongi notice and stop too. Yoongi keeps his head down, touches his fringe even though it’s already been set completely for the stage. 

“I love you,” Yoongi says, and he even manages to hold eye-contact when he says it, although he twitches his face away quickly after, licking his lips. Jungkook’s heard it a million times before from all of them, jokes for the camera and serious when Jungkook’s upset and sometimes just quiet and fond after an exhausting day, patting his shoulder and ruffling his hair to be annoying. Even from Yoongi on those rare occasions, even if he usually has to undercut it with something ironic or mean or shy, like he needs some distance to survive saying it. Jungkook watches how Yoongi twists his mouth up and suddenly wants to cry, wants to yell and kick out at Yoongi in protest. Jungkook could hit him, could knock Yoongi flat to the ground for being cruel enough to say it like this here under the big stadium filling up with fans, under the stage where they’ll always be Suga and Jungkook of Bangtan Sonyeondan.

“I love you, no matter what,” Yoongi says again, mouth still twisted like it kind of hurts to say, “No matter what shit is going on between us, okay? You’re going to do amazing tonight, and every other night, and. I don’t want to be ruining that for you.”

He’s looking at Jungkook so - so plaintively, so keenly, like he thinks this helps; like this doesn’t just twist the knife, right amongst Jungkook’s guts and gore. 

“Sure,” Jungkook manages, “Sure. I- I know, hyung,” no way he can say it back without everything just falling out of the open wound of him, “I know, it’s not - You know I’m good at focusing,” he says. Manages a smile.

“Okay,” Yoongi says, chewing his lip like he’s worried. Jungkook keeps grinning, claps him on the shoulder and says, “We should get back,” slings his arm around Yoongi’s shoulder and shakes him a little, pulls him sideways.

Yoongi looks up at him, smiles back too, like he’s glad that Jungkook is okay, like he’s glad that Jungkook is dealing with this like a normal person, like someone who isn’t completely fucked up beyond belief and maybe in love with their bandmate. Jungkook looks up at the ceiling, turns his face away from Yoongi as he grimaces, face pulled tight. 




Jungkook survives the concert, or more accurately, the concert survives him. At one point Jimin holds his face in his hands and grins and says, “Dude, holy shit, please get it together,” but Jungkook knows he’s perfect, knows that there is nothing that he couldn’t do right now, because this is all he’s got, hoping that tens of thousands of people watching him do his best will fix it. 

Surely, surely. That many eyes, that many souls, that much screaming, all of that pointed at him. Surely that should be enough for him to be whole, more than whole. He should be overflowing with it.

Jungkook grins out at the fans and knows that it’s futile. This isn’t enough: as much he wants the thousands to watch, all he really needs is Yoongi. Jungkook is too scared to check, aware that if he looks over and Yoongi isn’t looking back that he’s done for, that if Yoongi doesn’t see him then there’s no hope for him at all. 




Another flight, another van, another set of security staff he’s already forgotten the names of. After soundcheck Jungkook’s knee is still annoying him and he doesn’t hide his limp well enough; one of the staff catches him, gives him a too kind lecture on the way to the physio. The physio says it’s probably from his old hip tweak, lopsided compensation bearing downwards, and Jungkook gets the kind of massage that makes him grind his teeth and press the heels of his hands into his eyes, seeing stars as the physio sends him on his way. 

Jungkook is frustrated, bored, pent-up and flicking through TV channels and wishing there was a way to bully his body back into health. Namjoon checks on him and pats his ankle, says, “It’s okay if you need to take it gentle tomorrow,” even though it kind of isn’t. Hoseok comes by and watches a movie with him, quiet and mostly just gossiping about the dance teams, but he knows what the real problem is, and after he clears out Yoongi comes by with dinner, two plastic bags crinkling.

“Hi,” he says, half-curled smile, and suddenly everything Jungkook’s barely been able to keep at bay arrives all at once, and he just puts both his hands over his face, tries to haul in air.

“I got us samgyeopsal,” Yoongi says, like Jungkook isn’t having a meltdown in the middle of the bed, his knee all strapped up and on top of a pile of pillows. Jungkook takes another steadying breath.

“Thanks,” he says, and then takes the plate and cutlery that Yoongi hands him. Jungkook isn’t in the mood for good food, feels useless and trapped and like it’s a reward he doesn’t deserve, but Yoongi eats quietly and Jungkook follows suit, watches Yoongi’s fingers around his chopsticks.

“I had - have, still, a lot of years of shit to think about,” Yoongi says casually, like he’s just talking about the food. “A lot of structures I’ve had for myself that I need to reconsider.”

Jungkook grunts, feeling short-fused and impatient. He says, “Well I don’t,” and is only half-exaggerating, aware that he's always been an edgeless lost cause. 

Yoongi sighs and looks up at him. “This - if I start undoing things, crossing the boundaries, it’s like, what will be left?  What have I got left to protect me?”

Jungkook stares back, stops chewing. Yoongi had said it like a proper question, not the rhetorical thinking-out-loud that he's so fond of. Yoongi’s looking at him wide-eyed, patient, like Jungkook has an answer for him.

Jungkook shrugs. “I never - I never thought like that. I don’t know.” 

Yoongi twists his mouth up, taps his chopsticks against his mouth. “My rules don’t apply to you, huh.”

Jungkook turns his head away, laughs. Goes to say something stupid and distracting, but when he turns back Yoongi has his eyes on him still, intent and serious. Jungkook licks his lips. “No. They don’t,” he says, maybe the most honest he’s ever been. 

Yoongi huffs a laugh, pushes his tongue out the side of his cheek. “Too special for that, aren’t you,” he says, and Jungkook tilts his chin up, tight-bellied and ready for the challenge. Yoongi just raises his eyebrows, twitches his mouth sideways, holds the stare. Reaches out slowly and suddenly digs his thumb into Jungkook’s thigh, has him jerk and yelp against the shooting soreness, sucking in air. 

Yoongi starts packing up their empty containers, little victorious smile on his face. Jungkook rearranges his leg, winces and shuffles to sit at the edge of the bed as Yoongi neatly ties the plastic bag and puts it next to the bin, then leans against the desk, like he’s not game to sit next to Jungkook again.

Jungkook leans back on his hands, kicks his good leg back and forth. Raises his eyebrows at Yoongi and tosses his head, getting his hair off his face. Yoongi’s smile is small, ironic.

“I’m not the right person for this,” Yoongi says, slowly, “And I’ve made it worse, every time. So. I’m sorry.”

Jungkook jerks his head sideways. “What? Are you serious?”

Yoongi drops his head. “I’m just saying. Even if - if, and I’m saying if , I still, I’m still not going to do a good job, and I don’t know -” 

“Come on, Yoongi,” Jungkook says, “I thought we were past this, the whole martyr bullshit.”

“You don’t - you don’t get it,” Yoongi says desperately, and angry too, clenched fist by his side. 

Jungkook almost wants to yell in frustration, furious that he can’t stand and pace back and forth. Jungkook has very few things that feel like real decisions that only he has made, and it strikes him as excruciatingly unfair that Yoongi won’t let him make this one, that Yoongi is doing his best to twist it into another thing that’s outside of Jungkook’s power.

“Well then explain it, why you’re so against just fucking me properly like you should,” Jungkook says, and then claps a hand over his own mouth, surprised with himself. Bites his knuckles and drops his hand, looks away and then jerks his eyes back to Yoongi. 

Yoongi stares at him, unblinking, and Jungkook watches his chest rise and fall, breathing hard, like he’s been put through full choreo and is still recovering. Suddenly Jungkook sees it. It’s obvious that Yoongi’s been holding back, been trying to set the pace and keep Jungkook from grabbing on tight. He’s seething because Jungkook is not making it easy for him, refusing to let this go, and he’s mad at Jungkook for getting him so good, grappling hard and coming out on top. But, but, but, under that: Yoongi’s frantic-eyed, can’t stop looking at Jungkook like it hurts to see him, like he’s afraid to look away despite the pain, like he thinks this is the only chance he’s got. Jungkook realises, looking at Yoongi standing there clenching and unclenching his fists, that Yoongi is scared, and that maybe all along that’s what this has really been about, more plainly and more deeply than anything else: Yoongi’s fear at wanting Jungkook in the same way that Jungkook wants him. 

“You think I should go find some guy who’s safe, someone who’s just close enough to not sell me out,” Jungkook says, softer now, and he can tell that he’s right by the way Yoongi purses his lips, “But it’s not like that turned out great for you.”

Yoongi sucks in air, narrows his eyes and leans back. Jungkook knows it’s a cheap shot, but he’s mad, and he’s already laid his shit out, hasn’t he. No point holding back now. 

“It’s just,” Jungkook says, “it’s just. I hate when you pretend like you're being all logical when really it's just about avoiding what you're feeling. Everything is dangerous. I know, okay? I’ve trusted you for forever, Yoongi. This is what I want.”

Yoongi drops his head again, slumps forward and presses against his eyes with the heels of his hands. 

“I - I - I,” he tries, and stops, and Jungkook can’t believe it, that he’s got Yoongi lost for words. 

“I know you’re right,” Yoongi finally manages, and Jungkook wonders how much that took out of him, to admit defeat so plainly. Jungkook grins and can’t help feeling the victory, the kick of it having him twist it sideways into a smirk. Yoongi’s still looking badly rattled, pale and wide-eyed, but he purses his lips together in amusement. 

“I know you’re right,” he says again, “but safe for you is not - I don’t think you know,” he says, swallows. Comes forward to rest his hand on Jungkook’s shoulder, looking down at him. Jungkook tilts his head up, shakes his hair off his face again. Glad to have Yoongi touching him, finally.

“I don’t want to regret this,” Yoongi says, eyes on him. Jungkook opens his mouth to protest, but Yoongi shakes his head. “Not like that. I don’t care if this fucks me up," he says, "but I don’t want to regret anything to do with you.”

Jungkook clenches his jaw, feels his insides flip over and turn inside out, like Yoongi’s hand is suddenly touching the most vulnerable part of him. 

“I’ve worked real fucking hard over the years at not regretting any part of this, at not regretting anything to do with Bangtan Sonyeondan,” Yoongi says, even and honest, “because I couldn’t survive if I did. And you know - you know that.”

Jungkook chews his lip. Nods. He’s always known that Yoongi’s presence is some wild miracle, that out of all of them Yoongi is maybe the only one strong enough to know his limits for what he’ll suffer, the only one with the guts to call the forfeit when it’s time. 

“I don’t think you know just how much this could ruin me,” Yoongi says quietly. Jungkook takes a hold of Yoongi’s wrist, presses his thumb against bone.

“I won’t let it,” Jungkook says. He’s sure of it. There are few things that Jungkook knows how to do well.  He knows how to sing, how to dance, and how to try very, very hard, especially when things seem impossible. He trusts himself on this one, on going the distance.

Jungkook lifts Yoongi’s hand off his shoulder, turns his face into it and presses a kiss against his palm. Yoongi lets out a sigh like he’s been crushed. Jungkook says against the warmth of his skin, “Just tell me what to do and I won’t let it.”

Yoongi huffs a weak laugh. Suddenly drops to his knees to be between Jungkook’s legs, gets both his hands on Jungkook’s thighs, looking up at him. “Okay. Okay,” he says, and Jungkook gets his face in his hands and kisses him, and kisses him, and kisses him.




When he comes down the plane aisle Taehyung is huffing and pouting, all grumpy at having his seat stolen. He thwacks Jungkook up the back of the head in retaliation, but it’s only gentle, and he settles in with Namjoon fairly easily. 

Everyone falls asleep quickly, and Jungkook’s got one airpod in and is half-dreaming when he feels Yoongi wiggle his arm under his blanket and hold his wrist. Yoongi’s hand is clammy, cold fingers holding tight. Jungkook uses his other hand to rub his face, yawns and take the airpod out, rolls his head carefully to look at Yoongi. He’s staring at the ceiling blank-faced, like his thumb isn’t slowly rubbing back and forth across Jungkook’s wrist. The aircon is a gentle hum in the background.

“The group comes first,” Yoongi says quietly. 

“Yeah, duh,” Jungkook says, “this has been shitty enough for everyone already.”

Yoongi screws his mouth up, that embarrassed look he gets when he’s trying not to smile. Jungkook can’t imagine trying to explain it to anyone outside of the group, how much it matters to both of them that no matter what, the seven of them have to be okay. Jungkook is suddenly overcome, knowing that the others have had to stand back and let Yoongi and Jungkook sort it out, having to trust them absolutely from afar. Jungkook wonders which of them will have to tell Jin and grins just thinking about it, the chaos that will be.

Maybe it’s fucked up that for Jungkook this is a reassurance, knowing that both of them have the same priority and that it's something bigger than just them two. This is the kind of thing that makes it feel possible, someone who understands what it’s like to have your whole being intertwined with six other people with no real hope of ever being able to understand yourself as a separate entity with hard borders. Jungkook has no idea what it’s going to look like, Yoongi and him, or how this will work, but he hadn’t had any idea how Bangtan would turn out either, so. 




They’ve got a big penthouse apartment in London, couple of days breathing space that just makes them hysterical and loud. Dinner is chaotic, all of them talking over each other, coming up with grand plans for their free time tomorrow. Afterwards they end up in the lounge room, Jungkook teaching Taehyung how to do proper Taekwondo kicks, except it devolves pretty quickly into stupid wrestling, Taehyung laughing all high-pitched and trying to tickle Jungkook, no hope of actually fighting him off properly. 

Yoongi’s having fun, betting with Hoseok on who’ll win as if the answer isn’t incredibly obvious, saying, “No, no, Taehyung’s been pumping iron, dude c’mon, you got this, you can do it, kill him,” which just makes Taehyung laugh harder. 

When Jungkook dumps Taehyung on his ass he doesn’t think, just points at Yoongi and says, “C’mon, you next,” and Yoongi runs his tongue over his teeth, tight smile and chin tilted up. Jungkook’s fully expecting him to blank him, easy denial, but he hops up, cracks his neck and stretches his arms, and it’s when Yoongi’s shaking his hands out and bringing them up to defend his face that Jungkook realises what a fantastically stupid idea this is, the shivery want already at the back of his throat at the look on Yoongi’s face.

Jungkook tries not to show that he’s already rocked, pulls Yoongi in quick to get him off balance, but Yoongi just goes low, hooks his ankle and sends him stumbling backwards. They’re on the ground and rolling quick, everyone yelling and laughing, and Jungkook tries to untangle himself and get away, but Yoongi’s got his arm in a proper hold, the only thing for it to lean back in closer and try and get some leverage. Yoongi’s looking up at him with this - with this look, cutting challenge that Jungkook feels right through him, and he shows his teeth, can’t keep the grin off his face, breaks Yoongi’s hold and tries to roll. Yoongi regroups quickly, and Jungkook shouldn’t have shown his back, because Yoongi’s got his arms around his shoulders quick, forearm at his throat as Jungkook staggers to stand, hauling Yoongi with him, weight at his back. 

Jungkook’s dizzy from laughing so hard, can’t catch his breath, pulling at Yoongi’s arm without really trying very hard and gasping, damp heat of Yoongi cranking his chokehold tight and saying, “Tap, tap Jungkook, tap, no shame,” even though Jungkook knows that if he taps Yoongi absolutely will never stop giving him shit for it, not for months, not years. Jungkook decides fuck it, turns towards the couch and pulls hard, folding down and forward at speed and catapaulting Yoongi over the top, Yoongi giving a loud squawk as he tumbles and almost yanking Jungkook’s head off as he goes. 

Everyone claps, and Jungkook stands there, trying to catch his breath, looking down at Yoongi, the glitter in his eyes, the feral edge to the grin he’s got pointed at Jungkook. Jungkook thinks he’s won, is sure of it in that moment; only later will he realise that this was Yoongi’s grand triumph, his final win over his own denial, his complete and total surrender to everything he wants with Jungkook. 

Hoseok jumps onto Jungkook’s back and Jungkook looks away, laughs and pushes his hair out of his face and roughhouses with the rest of them while Yoongi just lays there. Jungkook tries to remember how to talk right, how to walk right, how to do anything except watch Yoongi watching him back. He ends up at the dining table with Taehyung and Jimin and Hoseok, no idea what complicated drinking game they’re playing but cheering gamely when Taehyung seems to think he’s won. Jungkook looks up at where Namjoon has joined Yoongi on the couch, wonders what they’re talking about. Catches the quick glance Yoongi shoots his way, blank-faced and turning back to Namjoon, and Jungkook rubs his knuckles against his mouth, tries to hold the smile in but doesn’t do a great job of it. He watches Yoongi scratch behind his ear, that little tell that means he knows he’s being watched.

Jungkook lies in bed later in the hushed dark and thinks about those hands of his, Yoongi’s deft fingers. Taehyung’s breathing finally goes all deep and wheezy in the way that means he’s properly asleep, and Jungkook sits up slowly, carefully. Quietly lets himself out of the room and walks down the dark hallway towards Yoongi’s room where there’s a lamp on, soft glow cutting through the sliver of open doorway and reaching towards Jungkook.

When he pushes open the door Yoongi’s slouched sideways in the armchair, head leaning on his hand. Jungkook feels gutpunched, winded, needing to fold down onto his knees and crawl to him. Yoongi smiles crookedly and lets one knee fall further sideways.

“Hey,” Jungkook says, and grabs on tight to Yoongi’s legs as he leans down, but Yoongi holds him by the shoulders, pulls him back up again. 

“Your knee is still bad,” Yoongi murmurs, and he pushes himself up as he steers Jungkook back onto the bed, settles him on the edge with two hands on his shoulders. Jungkook shakes his hair out of his eyes and holds on to Yoongi’s hips, slides his thumbs under his shirt to the soft warm skin there. He smiles up at Yoongi and feels full with something unexplainable, something so big it’s not even really in him, just occupying the same space as him and he’s lucky he’s there and gets to feel it. 

Yoongi keeps his head down as he lowers himself, leaning his weight on Jungkook and dragging his hands down his front. Yoongi’s hand lands gently on Jungkook's bad leg, rubbing it through his sweatpants and looking up at Jungkook carefully.  Yoongi kisses Jungkook’s knee and laughs. 

“All better,” he says, that sarcastic twist, but Jungkook touches Yoongi’s cheek anyway, wishing things could be that simple.

Yoongi keeps his head close to Jungkook’s leg, pushes his hand up his thigh and follows it, and then Yoongi’s mouthing at Jungkook through his sweatpants, and Jungkook gulps, grabs a fistful of the comforter and holds onto Yoongi’s neck properly. It’s so quiet that Jungkook can hear everything, every breath, and Yoongi’s mouth is so hot and damp even through his pants, and Yoongi’s shuffling closer on his knees like he can’t help himself, like he can’t get enough of him, wanting Jungkook so bad he refuses to even wait to get his clothes off him, digging his fingers into Jungkook’s hip, his leg, his stomach. 

Jungkook is twitching, hard so quick that Yoongi looks up with a smirk on his face, shiny-mouthed. Yoongi tilts his head, light glinting off his teeth.

“Maybe I should call you hyung,” he says, joking but also not at all, “return the favour. Fair’s fair.”

Jungkook almost winces with how that hits him, full bodied and no hope of bracing against it. Nothing about this has been a fair fight, and he feels thin-skinned and hot with the sudden desire for it, for Yoongi on his knees and giving Jungkook the power of that. 

Jungkook pushes Yoongi’s hair back off his face, not gentle about it. “Yoongi-yah,” he says, chin tilted up, looking down at Yoongi’s sudden jaw clench, “Are you gonna suck my dick or not?” 

Yoongi bows his head, has a tight grip on both of Jungkook’s thighs. Keeps his head down as he says, “Yeah, yeah. Yeah, Jungkook-hyung,” with that deep rolling voice that Jungkook could listen to forever. Jungkook shivers, delicious turn inside him at the wrongness of it, Yoongi laid low and made pliant in a way that Jungkook could never have imagined possible. 

Yoongi gets Jungkook’s pants down, holds his ankle carefully as he pulls them off properly. Jungkook leans back on one hand when Yoongi takes him in his mouth, wanting to see as much as possible. Jungkook says, "Faster," and Yoongi actually listens, filthy wet sound that makes Jungkook jerk up, and Yoongi doesn't pull away, just rubs his knuckles across Jungkook's belly in a way that makes his eyelids flutter. 

When Yoongi slides a finger back Jungkook says, “Oh, fuck, yeah - I-” and falls back on his elbows, pushes his hips forward. Yoongi pulls off and looks at him, still jerking him off quickly. 

“Will you fuck me?” Jungkook says, aiming for ironic, tilting his head. Yoongi twists his wrist and pulls a full body shudder out of him.  

“So that’s why you took so long showering,” Yoongi says, and then reaches up to put his hand in the middle of Jungkook’s chest, drag to his stomach. “I will, I will,” he says, no hint of teasing at all. Jungkook lets out a whine as Yoongi goes back to sucking him off, pushes a finger in and twists. 

Yoongi gets him close, grunts and goes deep when Jungkook pushes at the back of head, and Jungkook is shaking, can’t believe Yoongi is letting him fuck up into his mouth like this, the line of his shoulders slack and loose, and Jungkook says, “Fuck, Yoongi, so good, so good for me, I’m really, I’m gonna, if you don’t stop I’m gonna-” and Yoongi doesn’t pull away, holds him so tight, fingers deep and throat open and everything so close and together that Jungkook feels like Yoongi has all of him, has pulled something out of him that he didn’t know he had waiting in him. Afterwards he gasps and presses his thumb into the side of Yoongi’s wet red mouth and says, “Fucking amazing, amazing, for hyung,” and then falls backwards to laugh at the ceiling, dazzled.

“You’re not meant to fucking laugh,” Yoongi croaks, and knowing that his voice is all fucked out because of him makes Jungkook sigh, sit up to pull Yoongi onto the bed. 

“Sorry. Sorry,” he says, “wait, no, no, I mean, don’t - don’t swear at me,” and rolls and pushes Yoongi into the bed, holds his wrists. Yoong licks his lips, lets his eyes fall half-shut.

“Or what, hyung,” he says, then grins, like he knows this is stupid, like he knows this is a mirror image of years of habit, like he knows this is them wearing each other’s skins and feeling how they fit differently, old scars and well worn internal twists and turns holding each other in new shapes. Yoongi is grinning up at Jungkook like he knows exactly how Jungkook’s heart is crashing along at top speed with a satisfaction he hadn’t even known he was yearning for. 

Jungkook holds Yoongi’s chin hard, feels him jerk back in surprise before Jungkook kisses him, and Jungkook presses down with all his weight, has Yoongi warm and breathless under him. When he leans up on his arms again Yoongi is licking his lips, breathing fast, eyes glinting up at Jungkook. He jerks his hips up, shows his teeth. Jungkook grabs his dick through his sweatpants tighter than necessary, and Yoongi hisses, holds onto Jungkook’s biceps and rocks up strongly. Jungkook fumbles one-handed to yank his pants down, sits back properly to get them the rest of the way off and pull his own shirt over his head. He pushes Yoongi’s shirt up around his chest, holds his neck for a moment amongst the tangle in a way that makes them both pause. 

They stare at each other for a moment. 

“Taking everything off, hyung?” Yoongi asks softly. Jungkook blinks at the total lack of sarcasm. He swallows, not trusting himself to speak, and nods before helping Yoongi out of his shirt, patting his hair down after and kissing him more gently than before. Yoongi rolls them and strokes his thumb across Jungkook’s jaw, settles him and goes to fumble in the bedside table. 

“I want, I want,” Yoongi says, and Jungkook knocks his hands away, jerks Yoongi off in a way that makes him drop his head, “I want - it to be good,” Yoongi manages, almost desperately, and Jungkook says, “It will be, I know, I’ll,” and then he pulls Yoongi close, can’t bear the distance. 

Jungkook is shocky and oversensitive, and for a while it feels like too much, but Yoongi has his mouth pressed to the side of Jungkook’s neck and when Jungkook rubs at his shoulder he starts moving properly, slow and close, propped up on an elbow and his other hand spread wide on Jungkook’s side. Jungkook looks up at Yoongi and wants more, wants all of whatever he can give to Jungkook, all the different Yoongis that have existed over the years, and Jungkook wants to hold all of them safe, so he hooks both arms around Yoongi’s shoulders and pulls, crushes him close until Yoongi’s laughing.

“Kind of ruining my rhythm here,” he says, breathless, and Jungkook just rubs his face against the side of Yoongi’s, rocks up until Yoongi gasps and goes tense. Jungkook kicks him in the back of the leg and says, “Get on with it,” all falsely gruff, and Yoongi lets out a long hot breath against the side of Jungkook’s face, pushes in hard and says, “Like that, hyung?” 

Jungkook hisses, rocks up again to meet him. Says, “Yeah, Yeah, like - harder, yeah,” knowing that he’s meant to be in charge here, but really this is Yoongi in full control, handing Jungkook this precious part of him and asking him to care for it, saying, Jungkook-hyung, Jungkook-hyung under his breath until Jungkook’s got trembles rolling through him in waves, hot and unfurling across his skin, bright points of contact where Yoongi’s touching him. Jungkook knows that this is Yoongi at his most bare and exposed, giving Jungkook a needy and eager part of himself, grasping at Jungkook and wanting his approval, wanting the way Jungkook says, “Yes, fuck, right- right there,” and goes taut, reaching for Yoongi. 

It’s almost too much, and soon Jungkook has to push at Yoongi’s shoulder, twisting until he can roll them and be up above Yoongi. Yoongi goes pliant, wide-eyed and watching Jungkook move above him, and then he runs his hands up Jungkook’s thighs, jerks him off properly. Jungkook falls forward, trying to set a rhythm and do it right for Yoongi, clenching down around him as Yoongi rises up to meet him, open mouthed and gasping. Jungkook runs his hand up Yoongi’s front and watches Yoongi’s eyes flutter closed when he has him by the base of his throat, and when Jungkook leans down with some weight Yoongi lets out this deep strange noise, suddenly cut off as he shoves up hard, coming with his hands scrabbling across Jungkook’s sides. 

Jungkook stays above him, trying to catch his breath, all trembly and on-edge. Yoongi opens his eyes and Jungkook watches him swallow, the red mark of Jungkook’s hand still vivid across his pale throat. 

“Perfect,” Jungkook says, “Perfect.”

Yoongi swallows again, something settling over him. Then a quick smile, and he says, “Can’t have been that perfect, you didn’t come,” and Jungkook would roll his eyes, but Yoongi’s hands are too quick and good for that, and Jungkook pushes Yoongi down into the bed as he comes again, all across Yoongi’s stomach. 

“Okay, now it’s perfect,” Jungkook says, using his thumb to smear some against Yoongi’s hip bone, but Yoongi doesn’t laugh, just hauls in a deep breath and grabs his wrist as Jungkook carefully pulls himself away, falls beside Yoongi. 

They lie there for a while, catching their breath, and Jungkook turns to look at the line of Yoongi, his pale chest and the lamplight casting drastic shadows across his face. Yoongi blinks back at him and shifts on his side to look at Jungkook better. 

“Jungkook-ah,” Yoongi says, and they both grin, feeling everything realign and settle deeper within them than before, “Jungkook-ah.”

“Yeah, hyung,” Jungkook says. 

“Don’t tell anyone, but,” Yoongi says, low, “you’re my favourite.” 

Jungkook jerks his head sideways, feels it like a hot thud in his stomach. Sick shame and guilt rising up, but that’s far, far outweighed by a furious joy, a satisfaction so deep in the core of Jungkook that he doesn’t even know where it starts, just that it’s total and definite, wanting nothing more than to hear Yoongi say it again. 

Yoongi uses his free hand to rub at the side of Jungkook’s face, push his hair off his cheek. 

“Hyung’s favourite,” he says.

His mouth is twisted up in a smile, but Jungkook knows that Yoongi is dead serious. Yoongi understands what this does to him, and Jungkook knows that Yoongi is reaching inside him and taking a fistful of Jungkook knowingly, tenderly. 

Jungkook knows Yoongi too, how Yoongi’s misdirections and defenses and fickle decisions are all part of his obstinate attempts to avoid his ultimate weakness, his deep draw to the allure of being known. And yet here Jungkook has him: blinking back at Jungkook, sweaty and flushed, hand still gripping Jungkook’s wrist like he can’t bear to let go.

Jungkook knows that it’s impossible to have the absolute entirety of Yoongi, all his shifting interior worlds and strange sadnesses and obscure knowledges, but as far as futile efforts go he’s getting close. He’s got so many well-worn memories of Yoongi that reflect differently in the light of hindsight, and there’s Suga amongst those multiplicities too, sometimes two completely different people and other times so well aligned the gap disappears. Jungkook has the history of Yoongi on stage and off it, and he knows Yoongi now in a way that is maybe not always flattering but is far more real for it. He finally knows that Yoongi wants to give Jungkook as much as he can, that Yoongi is also grabbing on tight and digging his teeth in. Jungkook knows that despite all the grappling neither of them has won over the other, because they aren’t finished and never will be. 

Jungkook watches as Yoongi gets up and puts some clothes on, comes back with a washcloth. He cleans himself up and then Jungkook too, helps him put his clothes back on before getting under the covers with Jungkook. Jungkook tucks himself close, lets himself drift as Yoongi scritches at their hair at the back of his neck. 

“How much do you think this is because of me enlisting?” Yoongi says quietly. Jungkook hums and keeps his eyes closed, thinks about how he’s been going flat-out for so long, not sure if he’s chasing something up ahead or fleeing something in pursuit of him.

“It’s probably part of it,” Jungkook allows, “Knowing you were really going to be gone for that long, I couldn’t figure out why it freaked me out so much when it’s always been coming.”

They’re quiet for a while, and then Yoongi clears his throat and says,  “I’ll - whatever you need. Whatever we all need, I’ll come back after.”

Jungkook shuffles sideways and kicks his foot out amongst the comforter, manages to hit Yoongi’s ankle and make him yelp. He says, “I don’t want you coming back out of pity, we’re meant to decide as a group.”

Yoongi gets his hands free of the blankets and laces his fingers on his stomach, looking at the ceiling. “I know. But listen. I’ll come back, okay? I promise I’ll come back, and I’ll want it, because I know I will. But you have to promise that you’ll actually try it.”

Jungkook leans up on his elbows to watch Yoongi properly. “Try what?”

“Leaving. Being on your own. Go solo and properly mean it,” Yoongi says, eyes wide and his voice flat, sincere in a way he rarely is.

Jungkook drops his head and lets his fringe fall in his eyes. “Of course I- I’m not going to be lazy.”

“Yeah, yeah, the - I know you’ll be fine with performing. But also being Jungkook. Just Jungkook, no Bangtan for a little while,” Yoongi says, lifting a hand until Jungkook tilts his chin up and Yoongi can tuck his hair behind his ear, “and I don’t mean you have to be all of yourself, that you have to put all of that out there for the public to see. But make something new of it.”

Jungkook swallows.

Yoongi rubs his knuckles against Jungkook’s cheek, says, “And try to enjoy it,” with a twisted grin that Jungkook mirrors. 

Jungkook closes his eyes, thinks about the sound of an audience before they’ve made it on stage, the call of thousands pulling him out of the dark. That irresistible, pure moment when the light lands on him. 

“Okay,” Jungkook says. 

“You want me to come back, and I want you to go. So let’s try it,” Yoongi says, and finally looks away, releasing Jungkook from the tight grasp of his gaze. 

“Okay,” Jungkook says again, and then leans forward so he can press his forehead into Yoongi’s shoulder and yawn.

Yoongi pushes his fingers through Jungkook’s hair, leans up and kisses him gently. “You have to go back to your room soon,” he says, and it’s matter-of-fact, calm. Jungkook kisses him back, trusting him with everything.

“Soon,” Jungkook says, and kisses him again, shuffles under the blankets so he’s above Yoongi, can feel the warmth rising off him. Kisses him and presses his face into his neck, feels Yoongi’s hands drag across his back.

“Okay, soon,” Yoongi murmurs, and he pulls Jungkook closer, holds on tight.