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feel your thumbs press into my skin again (welcome home)

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It’s getting dark when Yoongi pulls up in the driveway and looks around. The house is tucked away in the landscape like it sprouted from the ground on its own, surrounded by a few similar-looking houses and a patch of forest with an adjacent field where the soil has been turned over for winter.

The door has a wrought iron knocker instead of a doorbell, and on anyone else’s door it would look ridiculous and pretentious. Here it fits, because this is Taehyung’s door, and Taehyung has always had an affinity for things just on the weird side of ordinary. Yoongi smiles at the knocker and raises his hand; knocks on the door itself with a soft rap of his knuckles.

Stomping footsteps race to the door, and Taehyung opens the door to give him an incredulous look. “Hyung,” he whines, but he’s smiling so he’s not really upset. “The knocker is there for a reason.”

“It’s ridiculous,” Yoongi tells him, but he’s smiling as well, and when he opens his arms, Taehyung steps easily over the threshold and hugs him tight.

“It’s been too long,” Taehyung says, clinging onto him and breathing into his neck.

“Yeah.” Yoongi closes his eyes, smiles, allows himself a brief moment of getting lost in Taehyung. Taehyung, who is dressed in flowy pants and an oversized flannel shirt that’s probably Jungkook’s, smelling like he’s spent time digging around in the garden—his scent reminiscent of spices and soil and early-autumn wind. Taehyung, who is perpetually barefoot and curly-haired and hugging Yoongi until his ribs make an alarming cracking noise.

Yoongi opens his eyes when a second set of footsteps approaches inside the house.

Jungkook grins wide and toothy, headphones dropped to hang around his neck and dressed in his usual combination of sweats and a baggy hoodie. He runs his hand through his hair, pushing back the stubborn strands. “Yoongi-hyung, hey.”

Taehyung lets go of Yoongi and grabs his bag off the porch. “Is this all you have, do you need help carrying something from the car?”

“The conference only lasts for two days, I didn’t need to pack much,” Yoongi says, allowing Taehyung to carry his belongings inside the house. He steps inside and closes the door, toeing his shoes off beside it, on the carpet that reads ‘welcome home’.

Jungkook hesitates for a moment and only approaches when Yoongi sighs fondly and opens his arms again. “C’mere so I can hug you too.”

Jungkook’s hug is more bear-like albeit gentler than Taehyung’s, but it’s just as overwhelming. Where Taehyung is frostbitten grass and wild herbs and wind, Jungkook is warm autumn sunlight and solid wrought iron like the knocker on their door.

So different, yet so good together, the two of them.

Or well. On the surface they may seem very different, but they have more similarities the closer one looks. The way they seem loud and obnoxious, but enjoy the quiet moments more. The way they view the world as an adventure, and life as an opportunity instead of a chore. The way they’re both ambitious but never in a way that would cause harm to others. Really, Yoongi could stay forever against Jungkook’s shoulder, with Jungkook’s headphones pressing against his temple, and think about how they are similar and how they are different, because he likes thinking about them, two of his favorite people despite the circumstances.

Yoongi sighs just a little, inwardly, when Jungkook lets him go and ushers him into the living room.

“Thanks for letting me crash in your guest bedroom,” Yoongi says. “It’s so much more convenient than getting a hotel downtown when the convention center is literally a ten-minute drive from your house.”

Jungkook smiles, takes the headphones from around his neck and sets them on the computer desk that occupies a corner of the living room. “Of course, hyung, we’re happy to have you.”

“We wouldn’t have allowed you to go to a hotel.” Taehyung appears in one of the doorways leading out of the living room. “I put your stuff in the guestroom,” he says, pointing over his shoulder. “Do you want the grand tour now, or do you want some wine first? We have to celebrate the occasion.”

Yoongi raises his eyebrows. “What occasion?”

Taehyung steps close and lowers a hand on his arm. His hand is big and his fingers warm even through the sleeve of Yoongi’s shirt. “Our favorite hyung coming to visit, duh. Even if it’s just because you have a conference nearby.” The words are not accusing, neither is the tone, but Yoongi still feels a slight sting in his chest. He should have come visit ages ago, when Taehyung and Jungkook first got the house, but he was busy with work and everything, and then it just got infinitely postponed. Until now, when it’s been almost eight months since Taehyung and Jungkook moved in.

Yoongi almost says no to the wine, he has an early morning after all, but he doesn’t want to douse the spark of excitement in Taehyung’s eyes. He never wants to see that spark disappear.

Yoongi clears his throat. “In that case, I could point out that I have been known to be able to walk with a glass in my hand,” he says, dryly, coaxing a chuckle out of Jungkook and a joyous bout of laughter out of Taehyung. “So maybe we can do wine and the grand tour at the same time?”

“I’ll pour the wine.” Taehyung lets go of his arm and skips over to the adjoined kitchen, blocked off from the living room only by a kitchen island. He grabs a bottle of red wine and sloshes some into brown ceramic mugs, the kind with a shiny glazed surface and a sturdy stem. Yoongi steps closer so Taehyung doesn’t have to carry all three of them, plucks one off the cedar countertop and holds it awkwardly with both hands.

Jungkook has followed them to the kitchen, and they stand in a circle by the kitchen island and raise their mugs.

“What should we toast to?” Taehyung says, inching closer to Jungkook until Jungkook puts an arm around him, fingers curling over Taehyung’s hip. It looks like a subconscious series of movements, both of them aligning themselves toward the other like it’s a gravitational pull they’re not aware of.

“To my visit?” Yoongi hastily says, so he can get the mug on his lips—something to hide his face behind.

“To Yoongi-hyung’s visit,” Taehyung says, smiling wide.

The ceramic mugs don’t really clink together in a sophisticated manner like glassware does; the sound emitting from them is more like a hollow clanking noise, but it feels at home in this kitchen in a way that toasting with fancy glasses wouldn’t.

Yoongi brings the mug to his mouth, the wine flowing fruity and slightly bitter over his tongue. Taehyung and Jungkook are doing that thing where they loop their arms so they’re linked when they raise the mugs to their lips, and the way they look at each other is soft and warm. Yoongi wants them to always look at each other like that, but he also feels heavy down in the pit of his stomach, watching them over the edge of his mug.

Taehyung’s eyes shift from Jungkook to him, and Yoongi busies himself with assessing the kitchen. It’s all wood and earthy tones, with modern steel appliances, and it’s the perfect mix between rustic and new.

“So, this is the kitchen, huh?” Yoongi says, just to say something.

Taehyung’s laughter is bright. “This is the kitchen.”

There’s a lingering awkwardness in their words and movements, because it’s been eight months since they saw each other and almost three since the last skype call, when Yoongi watched Taehyung drape himself around Jungkook’s back as they talked about Yoongi’s work, and Jungkook’s work, and Taehyung’s paintings and his garden, and then moved on to other kinds of chit-chat that wasn’t really meaningful in a way their conversations used to be.

There was minimal contact in the past three months, until Yoongi messaged Taehyung a month ago, asking if they had a spare corner for him to crash in for two nights, because he’s attending a conference nearby and hey, maybe he could finally come see the house at the same time?

Taehyung, naturally, messaged him back with too many excited exclamation points, and Yoongi had to stop him from making all-nighter plans, because unfortunately he has to stay awake during the conference.

Taehyung detaches from Jungkook, gestures toward the living room. “You already saw the living room.” His fingers slide around Yoongi’s wrist, tugging him past the kitchen island, into the living room, and Yoongi almost sloshes wine on his shirt as he tries to keep up with Taehyung’s enthusiasm.

“That’s Jungkook’s geek corner,” Taehyung says as they pass the desk that carries the weight of four screens and a massive computer unit, along with a lit-up keyboard and a mouse. He turns to flash a smile over his shoulder at Jungkook. “Although I don’t know why he needs so many screens.”

“They all serve a purpose,” Jungkook says, grinning as he walks past them to the desk with his wine mug in one hand, while the other is pushed into the pocket of his sweatpants. His hair is longer now, past his eyebrows, and it curls around his ears and toward the nape of his neck.

Taehyung nods at the fireplace, built against the back wall of the living room. “This fireplace is the best thing ever when it’s cold. We could light it tonight at some point.”

Yoongi nods, wordless, more preoccupied with Taehyung’s warm grip around his wrist.

Taehyung is still holding onto Yoongi, and Yoongi meekly allows himself to be pulled past the fireplace to a door. “This is our bedroom,” Taehyung says, flicking the light on. It’s uncharacteristically neat for either of them, because as Yoongi recalls, both Taehyung’s and Jungkook’s bedrooms used to look more like dumpsters with a bed thrown in the middle.

The bedroom houses a massive bed, two nightstands and a closet. A small vanity stands in the corner by the closet, but aside from some items littered on it the room is very austere. Taehyung doesn’t allow Yoongi to linger, instead tugging him across the living room.

“Downstairs is the basement. Jungkook has a whole gym down there, and there’s some music equipment too.” Taehyung nods at a closed door by the entrance, then shows the room where he dropped Yoongi’s bag earlier. “This here is the guest bedroom, where you’ll be staying.”

Now this room, in contrast to the master bedroom, is all Taehyung. A twin bed with a pile of blankets on top is pushed beneath the window, but the rest of the room is crammed full of art supplies. A couple of folded-up easels are tucked away in one corner, and several massive canvases lean against the back wall. A lidless box full of oil paints sits under a low table, and there are sketch books and papers and pencils bursting out of the drawers along the wall. Yoongi’s bag is perched precariously in a small armchair next to the bed.

Yoongi feels instantly at ease, with Taehyung’s presence so strong in the room.

Taehyung finally lets go of his wrist and looks apologetic. “Sorry it’s a bit messy.”

“No, no.” Yoongi swallows. “It’s fine, I mean I don’t need anything else besides a bed anyway.”

“The guest bathroom is right next door, there’s towels in the bigger bathroom at the back, blankets and sheets on the bed, and, if you need anything, just let us know alright?”

“I think I’ll manage,” Yoongi says, switching his wine mug from one hand to the other.

“Have you eaten?” Jungkook’s voice calls from somewhere behind them. “Because we were thinking of making dinner together.”

“You guys know how to cook now?” Yoongi says without thinking, then has to dodge when Taehyung swats at his arm. “Hey, watch it, I’m still holding this wine.”

“Shut up, I’m not that bad at cooking.” Taehyung’s face is pouty in that way it gets when he pretends he’s mortally wounded but really isn’t. “And I’ve been getting better at it. I even have my own herb garden now, and we use the herbs for cooking.”

Yoongi’s heart does a weird twisty thing in his chest at that familiar pout, and he tries to banish the feeling with an affectionate smile aimed at Taehyung. “I’m sure whatever you’re cooking is gonna be, well, at least edible. I mean you haven’t poisoned me yet, and I’ve been at the receiving end of your cooking several times.”

Taehyung pouts some more and then drags him out of the guestroom. “Since you’re being like that, you can help with dinner.”

They work together in the kitchen, in the space between the kitchen island and the stove, slotted so two of them work at the counterspace along the wall, one at the kitchen island, and it’s comfortable, cozy. Yoongi slices some meat and Jungkook cuts vegetables and cooks them in a pan with some eggs and noodles, and Taehyung dices salad ingredients and then makes a dressing using the herbs from his garden.

Taehyung falls into an easy monologue, and Yoongi listens, hums under his breath as he works with cutting the meat for frying. “Tomorrow, when you come back after the conference, we’re gonna take you out for a walk, and show you the scenery. It’s really pretty out here, although it would have been prettier in the summer when everything was in bloom.”

After Jungkook is done cooking the meat, vegetables and noodles, he puts them aside and goes to rummage through the fridge. He pulls out some fruit and starts cutting it up for dessert.

“Here, hyung, try this. It’s local, picked literally not even a kilometer away from this house.”

Jungkook holds up a ripe strawberry by the stem, a few centimeters from Yoongi’s mouth, and Yoongi blinks, then instinctively leans forward and takes the berry into his mouth. His lips brush Jungkook’s fingertips, and when he bites down to separate the stem from the strawberry, a small trickle of juice escapes and runs down his chin.

Jungkook’s eyes are on him, and Taehyung stops talking. For a moment Yoongi doesn’t know where to look. He wipes his chin, chews on the strawberry and then nods. “Mm. It’s really good.”

Taehyung clears his throat. “So, as I was saying, there’s this small stream in the forest—you saw the forest when you came, right, up the hill?”

“Mhmm.”

“Yeah, so we can take a walk tomorrow, see the stream. I’ve painted a lot of landscapes there.”

“That would be nice.”

The sweetness of the strawberry remains on his tongue until Yoongi takes a sip from his wine, to cover the taste with bitterness and acid.

Dinner is surprisingly good, and Taehyung shoves Yoongi lightly when he says this out loud.

“Told you we’ve been getting better at cooking. I mean, it’s been a long while since you tried any of the food we’ve made anyway.”

Yoongi picks up a piece of meat with his chopsticks, just to avoid looking at Taehyung. Taehyung never sounds accusing, but Yoongi’s brain takes all these words he says and tints them darker, makes them sound like accusations about how he hasn’t come around to visit.

Jungkook must see it, because he reaches across the table and puts his hand on Yoongi’s wrist. “We’ve just missed you a lot,” he says, softly.

Taehyung nods and lowers his hand so it’s half on top of Jungkook’s, half on top of Yoongi’s—all three of their hands together in a pile on the tabletop. “Yeah. I didn’t mean it like that, hyung.”

Yoongi smiles and pulls his hand free to take a sip of wine. “I know. Like you said, it’s been too long.”

After eating, they clear away the dishes and leftovers, and then Taehyung goes to the living room and grabs massive pillows from the corner, setting them on the floor. He crouches by the fireplace, arranges wood inside the pit and starts a fire with some pieces of paper.

Staring at a fire is relaxing, even more so with a full stomach. Yoongi sighs contently as he sinks into the pillow, turns to his side and lowers his newly filled wine mug on the floor. The food and wine sit warm in his belly, the fireplace radiates heat to his limbs, and he feels so sated and comfortable he’s not sure he’s even awake. Beside him, Taehyung slumps down onto his stomach, holding his wine mug and staring into the flames. On Taehyung’s other side, Jungkook sits cross-legged on his pillow, hands curled around his mug as his eyes reflect the orange gleam of the fire.

Now that they’ve all settled down and no one is talking, Yoongi realizes how quiet it is. There’s no traffic, no neighbors playing loud music—just the soothing crackle of the fire and their even breaths, filling the space with an atmosphere of relaxed ease.

Little by little, they start talking about all the things that have happened since Taehyung and Jungkook moved out here. Jungkook works for an internet security company, so he can work from home most of the time, and Taehyung has been doing a little bit of this and that and working on his paintings and other crafts.

Yoongi looks at Taehyung’s face, soft in the glow of the fire, and listens to his deep voice, then turns his attention to Jungkook, who looks solemn and distant at times but right now smiles softly while his fingers play with strands of Taehyung’s hair.

There was a time, long ago, when Yoongi and Taehyung were best friends, and Jungkook wasn’t there.

Then there was a time when Jungkook appeared, and Yoongi was afraid of losing his best friend, so he was mean to Jungkook for no reason.

Then there was the time—the best time of Yoongi’s life—when all three of them were friends. Inseparable, always there for each other, always having fun together.

Then Taehyung and Jungkook started dating, and Yoongi felt a distance forming between them, chipping away at the three of them piece by piece, until it was Taehyung and Jungkook as a separate entity, and Yoongi alone on his side of the ravine.

Maybe it was adulthood, pushing them apart like a wedge, maybe it was something else. Either way, Yoongi got his degree and started teaching music at the university, and life got busy, and maybe he didn’t really want to hang out with Taehyung and Jungkook as much anymore. They had each other, they’d be fine. And Yoongi was fine by himself, or with his other friends.

Still. At times when he thinks about it—like for instance, right now—he wonders if he’s ever truly been fine without Taehyung and Jungkook. They’ve woven themselves so deep into the tapestry of his life that perhaps he’ll never be able to cut them out without unraveling everything in the process.

Warmth seeping from the fireplace makes Yoongi feel sluggish, and talking with Taehyung and Jungkook makes him happy, and then suddenly it’s nearing midnight and they need to go to bed. Yoongi misses the nights when they’d stay up until sunrise, talking about anything and everything, without a care for the next day. Now, he’s a responsible adult, who has to attend a conference in the morning, so sleep is necessary.

They drink the rest of the wine, and then Yoongi gets up and stretches, starts toward the guest bedroom.

“Hyung, wait.”

Yoongi pauses and turns, and Taehyung and Jungkook crowd around him, hug him, giggling into his shoulders, one on each side, soft and a bit sloppy from the wine and the warmth of the fireplace. “Hyung, it’s so good to have you here. We’ve missed you.”

Yoongi’s hands flail for a moment, then settle around them, one draped around Jungkook’s shoulder and one clutching Taehyung’s side just below his ribcage. He feels like he’s being squished, but he also feels—warm, safe, happy. “I’ve missed you guys too.”

“Hyung, oh my god, how are you so tiny between us?” Taehyung mutters into his shoulder, and Jungkook laughs in response. “Has he always been this tiny?”

“Okay, nevermind, I didn’t miss you at all.” Yoongi tries to sound annoyed, but he has never been able to be properly annoyed with these two, so he ends up sounding whiny instead.

That elicits another round of laughter, the embracing arms around him tightening, and Yoongi’s chest feels tight but for a whole other reason than being squeezed physically so tight it hurts.

Taehyung lifts his head and places a warm, wet kiss on Yoongi’s cheek, right below the cheekbone, and Jungkook, apparently not wanting to be one-upped, plants his lips on Yoongi’s cheek on the other side. Yoongi tries to keep his balance between their laughing bodies, tries not to reveal how stiff his spine went from their lips on his skin. They pull away after a moment, but Yoongi can still feel Taehyung’s breath falling against his skin, and Jungkook’s breath fluttering his hair.

“Goodnight, hyung.”

“Goodnight, hyung.”

“…Goodnight.”

 

 

-

 

 

Yoongi wakes up sometime later, the twin kisses on his cheeks still warm like his skin was brushed by sunbeams.

He groans and gets up, makes his way out of the room, his movements uncertain in the darkness of an unfamiliar environment. He fumbles his way into the toilet, and when he comes out, he jumps and almost screams, because a figure stands in the middle of the living room floor, watching him.

“Jesus, Taehyung,” Yoongi hisses when he recognizes the shape of the outline—recognizes it, because how could he not recognize the person he’s been looking at all his life? “Is everything okay?” The question tumbles from his lips, familiar, even though he hasn’t used it with Taehyung in a while.

“Can’t sleep,” Taehyung says, stepping closer. He pushes right past the barrier of Yoongi’s personal bubble, the way he always does, and hugs Yoongi. Yoongi’s arms automatically come around him, hugging back. Taehyung smells of laundry detergent, and his t-shirt is a tiny bit damp at the back where it’s clinging to his skin.

“Can I help?” Yoongi asks against Taehyung’s shoulder.

“Sit with me on the couch for a bit?”

So Yoongi sits on the living room couch in the darkness, with Taehyung leaning into his side, his arm around Taehyung’s shoulder. The moon shining from outside creates a grid of windowpane-shaped slivers of light on the floor, and Yoongi traces the slanted squares with his eyes while his fingers brush up and down Taehyung’s arm, soothing. Taehyung has always had trouble sleeping, and when he does, he just needs to be hugged close so he doesn’t feel so alone.

Yoongi’s eyes map the outlines of the furniture in the dark, eyes adjusted to the lack of light so everything comes into focus a bit better now. His fingers have moved up Taehyung’s arm, up past his shoulder and into his hair, stroking the curls while Taehyung makes small snuffling noises against his shoulder. Taehyung is getting heavier against his side, slumping down like sleep is perhaps finally claiming him, and Yoongi should tell him to go back to bed, but a selfish part of him wants to hold onto this moment for a little bit longer.

The door to the bedroom is ajar, and in the darkness the bed makes a series of creaking sounds, like Jungkook is rolling over to the side. Yoongi looks up from the floor as footsteps approach the doorway. He feels hot and cold all over, like he’s doing something he’s not supposed to, even though he’s not doing anything he’s not supposed to. He’s just sitting with Taehyung, holding him because Taehyung needed someone to hold him.

Jungkook stops at the bedroom threshold and looks at them with a sleepy smile. “Oh hey, there you are.”

Taehyung instantly makes grabby hands at him, accompanied by a whiny noise. He sounds like he’s in that liminal space between sleep and wakefulness, not quite occupying either one of them.

Jungkook crosses the pool of moonlight and stops in front of the couch. He grasps Taehyung’s hands, pulling him up and into his arms like Taehyung weighs nothing. Yoongi’s side feels cold after being used to the furnace of Taehyung’s body heat, and he swallows and looks away when Jungkook starts walking the two of them toward the bedroom.

Taehyung whines, a small noise in the darkness, and Jungkook chuckles. Yoongi hears a kiss pressed somewhere, perhaps on hair or a t-shirt-covered shoulder, muffled like it isn’t directly on skin. He doesn’t look, doesn’t want to look at them when they make their way into their shared bed. The aching divide between them still exists, even if it mostly seems to exist in Yoongi’s mind.

At the door Jungkook stops. “Hyung?”

Yoongi looks up and meets Jungkook’s eyes across the uncrossable distance where moonlight paints the floor with silver squares.

“Are you coming?”

Yoongi’s throat clicks dry when he swallows. “What?”

“C’mon.” Jungkook’s head jerks in the direction of the bed. He smiles. “I think you’re the designated body pillow tonight.”

“If you want to,” Taehyung mutters sleepily against Jungkook’s shoulder. “Please, hyung?”

Yoongi feels like he’s wading through water as he follows them. The bedroom is darker than the living room, and he can just make out their shapes as they collapse on the bed, Taehyung in the middle and Jungkook to his left.

It’s not like they haven’t slept in the same bed before, all three of them, but it’s usually been out of necessity. Now there is a perfectly good bed in the guest bedroom, no need for all of them to fit in the same bed, but they’re asking him to share, nonetheless. When Yoongi hesitates in the doorway, Taehyung whines again, and a hand rises from the sea of blankets, beckoning.

Yoongi walks to the unoccupied side of the bed and sits down, cautious. The floorboards are cool under the soles of his feet, and he wiggles his toes against them, trying to breathe normally. His heart is beating fast, and it feels like oxygen never makes it past the very top of his lungs, his breaths wheezing shallow in and out of him. He lowers himself on the mattress, and the bed smells of Taehyung, and it smells of Jungkook, and of sleep and body heat.

His breath comes to a shuddery stop when Taehyung’s hand tucks the blanket on him and then Yoongi finds himself pulled away from the very edge of the bed, right into Taehyung’s arms. Jungkook shifts closer to Taehyung on the other side of the bed, and his hand comes to rest on Yoongi’s side, right below where Taehyung’s arm curls around his body, and Yoongi can’t breathe properly.

Taehyung is solid warmth snuggled against his back, sighing contently against the nape of Yoongi’s neck.

“Missed you,” Taehyung whispers and then apparently falls right into sleep.

Jungkook’s breaths remain shallow for a while, but then they even out into the deep breaths of sleep and his hand relaxes where it’s resting, fingers twitching feather-light against the side of Yoongi’s stomach every now and then.

Yoongi lies awake for a long time.

 

 

-

 

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, none of them hear it when Yoongi’s alarm goes off all the way in the guest bedroom, so when Yoongi wakes up he’s in a rush, doesn’t have time to think about the position he woke up in. He gets dressed in a hurry and drives to the convention center, barely making it in time for the opening ceremony.

It hits him like a slap on the face when he’s on his second cup of coffee, sitting in the auditorium while the first speaker of the day is getting ready to talk.

He woke up facing Taehyung, his head tucked under Taehyung’s chin and his face buried in the front of Taehyung’s t-shirt. Sometime during the night, Yoongi had slung his leg over Taehyung’s thigh, and by extension over Jungkook’s as well, their legs all tangled together like the weave pattern of a canvas. Taehyung’s hand was clutching the back of Yoongi’s shirt, and Jungkook’s arm was tight around them both, hand against the bare skin at the small of Yoongi’s back where his shirt had ridden up—and it was warm, too warm and not warm enough at the same time.

Yoongi stares at the powerpoint slides changing on the big screen, and he has no idea what the topic of the presentation is.

He almost wants to book a hotel and never go back, but he left all his stuff at the house. Still, he toys with the idea briefly, looking at rates for one night, when a message arrives from Taehyung, asking what he wants to eat for dinner. Yoongi stares at the message, and he can’t help the tinge of longing that makes a home somewhere near his heart.

I don’t really care, so I’m open to ideas, he replies.

We’ll surprise you with something then, Taehyung replies with a winky face, then adds Jungkook to the chat, like an afterthought. JK, what do you want to eat today?

Yoongi can’t help but smile. You’re seriously texting each other while you’re in the same house?

I didn’t want anyone to feel left out, is Taehyung’s reply, and it’s such a Taehyung thing to say that Yoongi inhales a long shuddering breath.

I missed you, he almost writes, but then doesn’t.

During lunch break Yoongi spots a familiar face among the conference attendees, an acquaintance from his university days, and having someone to talk meaningless chit-chat with makes the day go by faster.

He feels tight and distraught when he drives back to the house, but the sensation dissolves immediately when he steps out of his car and inhales. The house looks welcoming, standing there among the slowly-withering flowerbeds in the autumn breeze blowing across the fields.

Taehyung emerges from behind the corner of the house, wearing the same flannel shirt and pants as he did the previous day and with a bucket in his hand, his hair a curly wind-tousled mess. He drops the bucket and rushes over, hugging Yoongi right there in the driveway like it’s been weeks instead of hours.

“Hey, how was the conference?”

“It was… okay,” Yoongi says slowly. “How on earth do you still have all your toes left?” he continues, looking down when Taehyung releases him. “It’s like you’re asking for a frostbite.”

Taehyung wiggles his toes and laughs. “It’s not that cold.”

“It’s a few degrees above freezing.”

“Maybe during the night. It’s been warm all day.”

Yoongi wants to argue with that, but this is Taehyung, who hates shoes and always seems to run a few degrees hotter than the rest of humanity, so it’s probably futile.

The front door opens, and Jungkook appears on the porch, smiling and leaning his elbows on the railing. “Dinner’s ready.”

Taehyung grabs Yoongi’s wrist. “Come, let’s eat.” He walks right into the house with his muddy toes and trails soil all over the place, and Yoongi watches him with fond exasperation, then realizes Jungkook’s expression is a perfect mirror image of his and looks away.

They’ve prepared a stew and they eat it from deep bowls, seated outside at the table on the back porch, watching the birds flitting here and there in the garden. It’s cold—well, not that cold, but Yoongi shivers nonetheless because he’s perpetually cold. Taehyung puts a heat lamp on and shoves it closer so it almost touches Yoongi’s side.

“You looked miserable,” Taehyung says with a laugh, when Yoongi raises a questioning eyebrow at the gesture.

“I’m not miserable, I’m—”

Happy. He feels happy, in a way he hasn’t felt in a long time.

“Look, the squirrels are back,” Jungkook says, pointing.

Two squirrels pounce across the backyard and make their way up the apple tree at the back of the garden. They seem to be shoving each other playfully, chattering away as they sniff around for food.

“They’re like you two,” Yoongi mutters.

Jungkook and Taehyung exchange a glance, then they both laugh.

“What’s funny?”

“Hyung, there’s three of them. Look.” Taehyung points.

Sure enough, a third squirrel makes its way across the lawn. The animal’s movements are more hesitant, a bit slower, but then it climbs up the same tree and joins the other two squirrels on the branches.

Yoongi tries and fails to ignore the comparison his mind instantly makes. If Taehyung and Jungkook have the same thought, neither of them voices it aloud.

Taehyung goes inside to make tea for them, and Jungkook starts gathering the dishes off the table. Yoongi watches his hands for a moment, the tattoos on the right one, thinks about Jungkook’s fingertips on the small of his back, then looks back at the squirrels and doesn’t think about anything at all. Yoongi gathers the mugs and the water pitcher and goes inside at Jungkook’s heels, eyes tracing the smooth lines of his shoulders when he moves.

They go out for a walk, and somehow Yoongi finds himself between the two of them, arms and hands nearly brushing as they make their way toward the small forest up the hill. At some point Taehyung’s hand seeks his.

“Holy shit, your fingers are freezing.” Taehyung brings Yoongi’s hand to his face and blows warm puffs of air on his fingertips.

It’s almost like a stage cue for Jungkook to do the same on the other side, so Yoongi finds himself walked up the road with his hands held up to the sides, while Taehyung and Jungkook laugh and blow warm air on his fingers.

“You two are idiots,” Yoongi tells them in a suffering tone. Idiots he’s missed; idiots he’s going to miss even more, tomorrow when he drives home from the conference.

“Oh come on, you know you love us,” Taehyung says easily, and it wouldn’t sting so much if it wasn’t true.

They let his hands fall down to the sides, but neither of them lets go, instead entwining his fingers with theirs: a loose, relaxed clasp on Jungkook’s side and a tighter, more excited grip on Taehyung’s.

They walk in the forest, listening to the crack and hum of the trees and the murmur of the stream, pointing at birds and squirrels when they see them. At one point Taehyung spots a rabbit and calls, “Kook-ah, look, your cousin is here,” and then runs laughing down the path with Jungkook chasing at his heels and threatening to dip him in the stream. Yoongi watches them go and smiles, chest tight.

They come back to him after a while, holding hands as they wander up the path, and Yoongi wants to take a picture of them like this, smiling and happy and in love, just to keep it close to his heart so he can look at it whenever life feels like it’s crushing him.

It’s getting dark when they come back to the house, the twinkling fairy lights around the porch railing welcoming them. “Jungkook put a timer on them,” Taehyung says, pulling Jungkook close to him. “It tracks the length of the day, so the minute the sun sets, the lights switch on. I think it’s so awesome.”

Jungkook looks a bit bashful at this, and Yoongi marvels at how their love is displayed all around the house like that, in small bits and pieces that show how much they care about each other.

When they get inside, Yoongi asks, “Can I take a shower?”

The guest bathroom doesn’t have a shower, so Yoongi has to use the bigger bathroom at the back of the house. He also has to almost forcefully eject Taehyung from the bathroom, because clearly having two different sizes of towels handed to him is not enough—do you need anything else, hyung, are you sure? You can use the shampoos in there if you don’t have your own. Okay I’m gonna go now, we’ll have dessert when you’re done, okay?

He has his own shampoo, but he can’t help opening a few of the bottles sitting on the rack by the tap, just to see if he can deduce which one is Taehyung’s and which one is Jungkook’s. Some of them smell like lavender and herbs, and he immediately knows they’re Taehyung’s, and the one with a muted scent of tar and traces of pine trees must be Jungkook’s.

When he steps out of the bathroom in clean sweatpants and a hoodie, the fireplace is lit and the living room is basking in a warm orange glow.

Yoongi stops dead in his tracks, because the two of them are lounging right there on one of the massive pillows on the floor, Taehyung’s head resting on Jungkook’s lap. That’s not what stops him, though, no. It’s the way Jungkook is bent down and kissing Taehyung, lazy and unhurried, and the way Taehyung’s fingers are moving through Jungkook’s hair, and the way Yoongi feels like he’s intruding on something so intimate and private that he almost backtracks himself right into the bathroom again.

Jungkook notices him first and pulls back from the kiss, and Taehyung lifts up to chase Jungkook’s mouth, making this needy little noise in his throat that Yoongi feels all the way down his spine.

Jungkook whispers something, and Taehyung lets his head fall back to his lap, eyes flitting over to where Yoongi stands frozen with a towel in his hands, feeling like he’s been caught peeping.

“Come here, hyung, I poured you some wine.” Taehyung sits up, motioning him to come closer.

Yoongi’s stomach feels like it’s curled up into itself, and to do something to distract himself he drapes the towel over a chair to leave it to dry. Then he cautiously sits down on one of the pillows, unable to unsee the sight he just witnessed, of Taehyung’s lips slotted against Jungkook’s, soft and perfect and messy. He’s seen them kiss before, of course, but never quite like this, with every shadow and highlight of them amplified by the firelight and the air so thick with their breaths.

He accepts the familiar weight of the ceramic mug, bringing it to his lips. The wine burns a line down his body, like it’s acid trying to dissolve his esophagus instead of just alcohol sliding down to his stomach.

“Hey, don’t we have that meringue pie?” Jungkook says. “Don’t worry, it’s store-bought,” he continues, grinning at Yoongi.

Yoongi inhales, takes another sip of wine, forces his body to calm down. “Good, I was kind of worried you let Taehyung bake something,” he mutters, but there’s no real humor in his tone. Taehyung grumbles at this and makes Jungkook get the pie from the kitchen.

They eat pie and sip wine and talk in front of the fireplace, and at some point Taehyung skips to get a sketch pad from the guestroom, then returns with a, “Can I sketch you, hyung?”

Yoongi shrugs, then sits feeling very self-conscious as Taehyung’s eyes flit between him and the sketch pad.

Jungkook is also watching him, Yoongi notices. Not as intently as Taehyung, but every now and then when he looks up, Jungkook’s eyes are on him, dark and deep, his mouth cracked slightly open, his thumb rubbing a slow circle on Taehyung’s knee while Taehyung draws.

“Can I see?” Yoongi asks when Taehyung lowers the pad and lets the pencil roll to the floor. He cranes his neck when Taehyung turns the drawing. “Wow, you made me look good.”

“I just sketch what I see,” Taehyung says, and his voice is low and breathy, and Jungkook’s hand is on his thigh now.

The air feels heavy and thick, crushing. Yoongi looks away and swallows, his entire body trembling at a frequency that feels like he’s tightrope-walking in darkness without a safety harness or a net to catch him. Maybe he should call it a night, get to bed early to compensate for the lack of decent sleep during the previous night.

He excuses himself to brush his teeth, then stands with the toothbrush sticking out of his mouth, staring at himself in the bathroom mirror for an eternity.

They corner him the moment he steps out of the bathroom.

“Hyung, here’s your phone, do you have your alarm set?” Taehyung holds out Yoongi’s phone.

Jungkook tugs him by the arm. “C’mon, let’s go. If we only get to keep you around for two days, we’re not going to let you out of our sight any more than we have to.”

Yoongi allows himself to be led, feeling numb and tingly all over as they walk him to their bedroom and push him in the dead center of the bed, crawling in after him. Taehyung is warmth against his right side, Jungkook solid muscle against his left, and Yoongi’s lungs have forgotten how to function.

Jungkook switches the bedside lamp off, and then it’s dark, dark, darker than dark, and Yoongi’s limbs quiver when they crowd close to him on both sides, tug and pull at his arms until he slides an arm under each of them in turn, allows them to burrow close to his sides, their faces against his shoulders. Yoongi doesn’t know what to do with his hands—is he supposed to hold them close, or what?—so in the end he keeps his arms relaxed against the mattress, even though he’d want to wrap an arm around their waists and keep them there forever.

Jungkook props himself up on one elbow—Yoongi can just distinguish his form in the dark—and then Taehyung mirrors the position on his other side, and they—

They reach over Yoongi to kiss each other goodnight.

Yoongi stops breathing for the millionth time within the past sixty minutes. He doesn’t as much see what they’re doing as he hears it and feels it against his body—senses the slide of their lips and tongues, hears the muffled sounds of their breaths into each other’s mouths.

They separate and fall on the mattress, the twin weights of their heads colliding against Yoongi’s shoulders, their breaths so close to his ears.

Taehyung’s lips are almost touching the curve of his jawbone. “Goodnight, hyung.”

Jungkook’s hand appears to brush Yoongi’s hair back. “Goodnight, hyung.”

Yoongi doesn’t say goodnight, because speaking requires oxygen, and there’s a distinct lack of that in his body right now. His head is swimming, small dots blacker than the surrounding darkness dance across his vision, and he’s never been so hyper-aware of all the touch receptors embedded in his skin. An arm is draped over his chest from both sides, the weight suffocating him, and his thighs are enveloped by their legs, solid muscle and soft skin, and featherlike puffs of air tickle his skin where their breaths fall.

“Hyung,” Taehyung whispers, so quiet that it’s barely even a whisper. “Can I kiss you?”

Yoongi’s heart feels like it drops out of his body and right down into the basement. He is distantly aware of making a noise—a terrified, tiny little noise of agreement—and then warm fingers cup his jaw, tilt his head to the right and even warmer lips find his.

His brain is a rush of static and white noise, nothing at all left that would even resemble a coherent thought. Taehyung kisses like an avalanche, starting out small but quickly growing into a desperate torrential whirl of lips and tongue. Taehyung licks into his mouth, and Yoongi meets him, wants to meet him like this all the time, everywhere. Taehyung makes these little noises, similar to the ones he was making earlier when Jungkook was kissing him, and Yoongi suddenly inhales, because Jungkook is right there, and—

He tears his lips from Taehyung’s to look to his left, as if he could somehow gauge Jungkook’s reaction in the dark. Jungkook is still there, fingers splayed on Yoongi’s sternum, his face very close and breaths fluttery on Yoongi’s skin.

“Me too, hyung, please?” Jungkook whispers, and Yoongi possibly nods, or says something, he’s not sure, but in any case it results in Jungkook kissing him slow and deep, and this has to be a fever dream. Yoongi’s brain is going to die, he can’t breathe, he can’t think, all he knows there are two bodies pressed against his, two sets of hands sliding over his hair, his face, his neck, his chest, touching him all over while he’s being kissed from both sides. Jungkook’s mouth on his, Taehyung’s mouth on his ear and his jawline, then the other way around, in a repeating cycle that eventually leaves them all breathless and gasping. At some point Jungkook makes a small noise, and Taehyung seems to instantly know what he needs, because he detaches from Yoongi’s mouth with a wet sound and surges to kiss Jungkook above Yoongi’s head, like they did before with the goodnight kiss.

Yoongi lies beneath them, frozen like he’s paralyzed, but even when they’re so deeply drowning in each other, their hands never leave Yoongi’s body, sliding down his chest, up his neck, fingertips brushing over his lips. Yoongi ventures to move the arm that’s been trapped under Taehyung, slides his hand up Taehyung’s back, fingertips counting the knobs of his spine, then repeats the same series of movements on Jungkook’s back. They are similar under his touch, but so different, and he’d be able to tell which one is which, even if he didn’t know. The way they react to the touch is different, too—Taehyung gasps into Jungkook’s mouth, muffled, while Jungkook shivers quietly and presses closer to Yoongi.

Taehyung drops out of the kiss and against Yoongi’s shoulder, breathing heavily. Jungkook remains propped on one elbow for a moment longer, reaches to brush Taehyung’s hair out of his eyes, making Taehyung smile against Yoongi’s neck. Jungkook’s hand appears, briefly, to slide over Yoongi’s lips, and Taehyung sighs when Yoongi gasps at the touch. Then Jungkook plops down and rests his head on the pillow beside Yoongi’s, and all movement seems to slowly come to a standstill aside from their ragged breathing in the dark.

Now that the active part is over, Yoongi’s brain comes crashing back down and reenters the game. His thoughts flock and expand, creating a chaotic whirlwind of worries, anxieties, plans, hopes—a disarrayed mess of confusion that seems to get more tumultuous every passing second.

Then Taehyung reaches up, plants a soft kiss on the side of Yoongi’s jaw. “Hyung, I can hear you thinking so loudly right now.”

Taehyung knows, of course he knows, what it means when Yoongi curls tight into himself and falls quiet like that—he’s been there to witness it many times before.

Yoongi opens his mouth, closes it again, then cracks it open just enough to let a small, “What just happened?” slip past his lips.

Taehyung chuckles, low in his throat, and his hand snakes around Yoongi’s side, pries its way between his and Jungkook’s body and squeezes tight. Jungkook does the same on the opposite side, mirroring the movements like it’s a choreography and Yoongi is the stage they perform on. They both hug him tight, tight, tight, until Yoongi feels like he physically can’t breathe, and then they loosen just a little bit.

“Love, hyung,” Taehyung whispers into the nonexistent space between his lips and Yoongi’s skin. “Love happened.”

And it’s such a Taehyung answer that Yoongi just accepts it, falls asleep and upon waking up freaks out a bit less than on the previous morning—even though he wakes up snuggled into Jungkook’s chest, with Taehyung draped around his back, lips pressed against the nape of his neck. It’s hot and sweaty but also the best position to wake up in.

They make breakfast in the kitchen, brushing past each other, smiling and giddy. Yoongi is not a morning person, but right now, this morning right here is his favorite moment ever, because Jungkook pours him a mug of coffee, and Taehyung peels a boiled egg for him, and they both reach out every now and then, to touch him or kiss him like they’re afraid he’s an apparition that’s going to vanish if they don’t make sure he’s really there.

It should perhaps be weird, this new push and pull between them, but it isn’t, at least not very much so. It feels natural, like a progression that should have happened a while ago, but then time and distance and adulthood got in the way. And maybe it wouldn’t have worked before, maybe they have needed this time to grow apart so they can come back together, like waves retreating and crashing back on the shore.

When he leaves, Jungkook kisses him at the door, a bit shyly, and Taehyung follows him to the porch and kisses him by the now-darkened fairy lights. Yoongi gets in his car and watches the house disappear in his rearview mirror, but it doesn’t feel quite as bad, knowing he’s going back in the afternoon.  

Honestly, Yoongi would like nothing more than to skip the second day of the conference, but unfortunately adulthood doesn’t give him fun options like that. What adulthood does allow him to do, however, is to call work and let them know he needs to cancel and reschedule his classes for the following day, because he needs to take a day off for personal reasons.

He only needs to suffer through the day, and then he can return to the house and they can start figuring out what the hell all of this means. Yoongi’s stomach makes a slight somersault, because this is Taehyung, and this is Jungkook, and this is them, and everything he ever wanted but thought he could never have.

His phone buzzes when he’s parking his car at the convention center’s parking lot. Yoongi pulls up in a parking space and checks the message. It’s from Taehyung—a selfie of them both, on the living room couch, looking happy and shy and a bit flushed, like maybe they just kissed a little bit, and Yoongi’s heart wasn’t designed to withstand surges of emotion like this.

Miss you already, says the caption.

I’m counting down minutes, Yoongi sends back, then gathers his stuff and goes inside.

 

 

-

 

 

He’s barely out of the car when the front door slams open and Taehyung bounces down the porch stairs, barefoot and wild and his cheek smeared with paint. Jungkook is not far behind, headphones around his neck and finishing a phone call just as Taehyung slams into Yoongi. Yoongi staggers from the force of the collision, arms flying around Taehyung to keep them both upright.

“Jesus, you’re like a kid,” Yoongi says to Taehyung, but there’s no bite in his tone, only affection. “I was gone for about eight hours.”

“I need to catch up on eight months of missed hugs,” Taehyung says. “Also, there may now be some paint on your shoulder, sorry.”

Jungkook pockets his phone and comes closer, and Taehyung tugs him in the midst of it, tangles his fingers in Jungkook’s hair, and they stand there beside the open car door, holding onto each other tightly.

They talk over dinner, and Yoongi feels a weird sense of hollowness when he learns that he’s missed his chance at least three times before last night.

“Did you really think we would be that affectionate with just anyone?” Jungkook asks, laughing and waving his chopsticks in the air. “Like—there was the time when Taehyung was practically giving you a lap dance while I massaged your shoulders, and you didn’t get the hint, so we were like, what gives?”

Yoongi hides behind his mug of water. “I don’t know, alright.” Perhaps it’s the fact that he never dared to hope his feelings would be reciprocated.

“Oblivious hyung,” Taehyung hums, his delicate fingers tracing Yoongi’s arm, leaving goosebumps in their wake.

“So then we just gave up, I guess.” Jungkook shrugs. “Like maybe you didn’t see it the same way—feel the same way, you know.”

Yoongi meets his eyes, and wants to say no, how could they think he doesn’t like them, want them, love them both so much that it’s been tearing him apart at the seams for so long? But then again, he always kept it hidden, tried to seem like those feelings didn’t exist.

Taehyung’s eyes are soft, so soft and warm. “Maybe it wasn’t the right time, you know?”

Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe this is the time when everything has aligned and allowed them to come together and see things in a different light.

“When did you know?” Taehyung asks, eyes curious. “How you felt, I mean?”

Yoongi swallows, lowers the ceramic mug on the table, picks up his chopsticks and looks at Taehyung. “I dunno, with you—maybe it had always been like that, but I realized it when Jungkook started hanging out with us.”

So much jealousy worked its way through his mind around that time, he doesn’t understand how these two can still want him, after all the shit he gave to Jungkook for no reason. His ears feel hot, but when he looks in Jungkook’s eyes he sees nothing but warmth in them. “As for Kook-ah, maybe the first time I saw you two kiss. Like, I felt really weird about it, but thought it was jealousy, then I realized I didn’t know which one I was jealous over.” He recalls the flashing realization like a thunderbolt to his brain, that he didn’t want them separated, ever, he just wanted them, all three of them, always.

“We knew like two years ago. Or that’s when we first talked about it. Kind of like, ‘what does Yoongi-hyung mean to you?’, and then we realized we’d both been hiding these feelings because we were worried the other would be mad.” Taehyung looks at Jungkook, and his eyes are filled with an emotion Yoongi recognizes easily, because it’s the same one that’s in his eyes when he looks at either of them.

Love, Taehyung said in the dead of the night. Love happened.

Yoongi puts the chopsticks down and reaches out, one hand over Taehyung’s paint-stained knuckles and one over Jungkook’s tattooed ones. “Well, we all know now. What’s next?”

They need to figure out the logistics of a lot of things, like the fact that Yoongi lives and works in a city that’s over two hours away—past the limit where daily commute could be considered reasonable. Yoongi absolutely refuses to even consider asking Taehyung and Jungkook to move closer, because this house—

He can’t explain it, but this house feels like home, even though he doesn’t live here. But he wants to come over and see Taehyung in the garden or standing by his easel, barefoot, and Jungkook at his computer or his downstairs gym, working away; and all three of them, lying comfortable and cozy in front of the fireplace.

He wants all that, and he wants all three of them together in the big bed, curled up into each other.

That night when they go to sleep, the kisses are easier, more natural and less hesitant. They’re also greedier, hungrier now that everything is out in the open and they all know. They know they want this equally, all of them, and it’s such a heady feeling, sitting warm in the pit of Yoongi’s stomach when Taehyung kisses him and Jungkook kisses him, and they all kiss, again and again in an ever-changing rotation pattern. Their hands roam all over each other, sliding over skin and kneading muscles and touching, touching, touching, until Yoongi has one hand fisted in Taehyung’s hair and the other one curled tight around Jungkook’s hip, and he arches off the bed and gasps his love into Jungkook’s mouth like a secret he’s been keeping for so long.

Taehyung is heavy and hard, thrusting into Yoongi’s hand, biting Yoongi’s lower lip forcefully enough to draw blood, moaning as Jungkook’s lips move along his neck and jawline. He sobs into Yoongi’s mouth when he comes, then clings onto them both, shaking and trembling while Yoongi mouths his neck and Jungkook pets his hair. Later on, they push Jungkook on his back, and Yoongi licks his way down Jungkook’s chest and stomach, while Taehyung kisses Jungkook deep, and Jungkook comes apart with a shudder that makes Yoongi feel oddly proud. It’s a voyage of discovery for all of them, seeking sensitive spots and learning each other’s bodies and preferences.

As they come down, Taehyung and Jungkook suck hickeys on Yoongi’s neck, on either side like they’re competing over which one of them can leave a bigger mark on him, and Yoongi allows it, even though it’s stupid and he’s going to look like an idiot in the morning. He’s too tired and happy to care.

They fall asleep in a tangle of limbs, and Yoongi wakes up to the sound of Jungkook making coffee in the kitchen and with Taehyung against his side, hugging him tightly. He stares at the ceiling and reminds himself that when the feedback form arrives in his email, he needs to rate the stupid conference five out of five—because if he didn’t attend he wouldn’t currently be in this bed, or in this house with the two people he loves most in this world.

Jungkook appears in the doorway, and he looks at them both with such fondness that Yoongi’s breath catches in his throat.

“There’s coffee and omelets,” Jungkook says, nodding toward the kitchen. “I have to work for a bit, so you get to drag Tae out of bed. It’s an ungrateful task at times, let me tell you.”

Yoongi snorts into Taehyung’s hair. He’s acquainted with Taehyung’s bouts of sleepiness, but never before has he been able to coax Taehyung out of bed with kisses, so he sets out to do that now. He kisses Taehyung’s hair, his temple, then pulls Taehyung’s hand to his mouth and kisses the inside of his wrist, followed by a kiss dropped on each fingertip. By the time he gets to Taehyung’s mouth, Taehyung is smiling, even though his eyes are still tightly closed.

“Breakfast,” Yoongi says against his lips.

“Nooo,” Taehyung whines. “Stay in bed with me.” He makes grabby hands at Yoongi, then whines a bit more when Yoongi starts hoisting him to a sitting position.

Finally he manages to drag Taehyung to the kitchen, and they sit at the counter, munching on omelets and drinking coffee, or in Taehyung’s case, tea, while Jungkook types away on his keyboard in the corner of the living room, his ears covered with his headphones.

Yoongi glances at Taehyung and catches him staring, and it’s such an exhilarating feeling to not have to quickly avert his gaze. He can look all he wants—even better, he can reach out and touch Taehyung’s face, touch his lips, brush back a strand of hair. So he does just that, and Taehyung smiles and leans over to kiss him.

Every time Yoongi thinks he can’t possibly get happier, he does. It’s getting a little bit unnerving at this point, because there has to be a limit somewhere? Surely there’s a happiness quota he’s going to hit, and then it can’t get any better?

Well, the happiness subsides momentarily when the time comes for him to leave.

Taehyung sniffles and clings to him, and Jungkook looks wide-eyed and worried, rubbing Taehyung’s back through his shirt in soothing circles.

Yoongi kisses Jungkook, then Taehyung, then each of them again, because he can. “It’s just two days. I’m coming back for the weekend, okay?”

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

They stand on the porch and watch him drive down the hill, and Yoongi barely gets out of eyesight before he digs out his phone and starts making calls.

 

 

-

 

 

Two days is not a long time, especially if one compares it to eight months, but Yoongi learns it can also feel like a lifetime when he’s waiting to go back to the house by the hill, back to the crackling fireplace and back to them, their smiles and touches and their lips on him and each other.

Thankfully, he’s busy, so time passes more quickly.

“You’re really leaving, then?” Namjoon says when he stops by Yoongi’s office on Thursday.

“Yup. Two weeks left, then I’m out.”

Giving up a steady job at the university for love is not necessarily a smart move, but Yoongi is doing it anyway. He found a music teacher’s position in a town near where Taehyung and Jungkook’s house is, and even though the salary is atrocious and he has to tolerate kids between the ages of 6 to 12, he’s never felt as good about anything in his life.

He wonders, briefly, if he should get his own apartment to begin with. After all, maybe they all need some time to adjust, before taking the leap and moving in together. He fidgets a bit, thinking about it, then decides to just openly ask them when he goes over for the weekend.

When he pulls up at the house on Friday, late in the afternoon, they’re both sitting on the porch stairs waiting for him.

“You don’t need to catch pneumonia for me,” Yoongi says when they come over to the car, hand in hand, and enclose him in a hug that feels like drowning in the best possible way.

“No, we just.” Taehyung pauses and glances at Jungkook. “We wanted to ask you something, before we go in.”

Yoongi swallows. “Yeah?”

“Since you got the teaching position in the next town over,” Jungkook says. “We were wondering. Do you wanna move in here, with us?”

“It’s kind of quick, I guess, but then again, we’ve been living or hanging out in each other’s spaces for most of our lives anyway,” Taehyung says, rushed, like he’s worried that Yoongi is going to say no.

“Are you serious?” Yoongi asks, his throat suddenly tight.

“Of course,” Jungkook’s lips find his temple and drop a soft kiss there. His arms are strong around Yoongi’s waist, and his hair tickles as he nuzzles his nose against Yoongi’s cheek.

Taehyung presses a kiss on the corner of his mouth. “We want you to live with us, hyung.” His eyes are big, so big, and he smells of lavender and chilly mornings and smoke, like he’s been sitting in front of the fireplace for so long that its essence latched onto him.

“Yeah,” Yoongi manages, the tightness in his chest gathering, like his body doesn’t know if it should burst into laughter or burst into tears.

They look at each other, over his head like he is a garden gnome instead of being approximately five centimeters shorter, and that’s going to get old real fast. Yoongi tugs them both down to his level and kisses them, one at a time, and they both smile against his mouth.

“Here,” Taehyung says as he steps back. “This is for you.”

It’s a key, with a wooden slab keyring. The piece of wood has three cartoony squirrels painted on it, the other side adorned with a single word in a bold shade of forest green.

Yoongi looks up from the painted letters that spell HOME. “Did you paint this, Taehyung-ah?”

Taehyung smiles. “Yeah, I did. Now c’mon, the front door is locked. How about you let us in?”

Taehyung loops his hand around Yoongi’s elbow, while Jungkook grabs Yoongi’s key-free hand and laces their fingers together. They tug and pull him up the stairs, to the door, and then stand close to him when he turns the key in the lock and the door clicks open. One step over the threshold shouldn’t feel so significant, but it’s everything, just like Taehyung’s arms around him are everything, and Jungkook’s warmth against his back is everything, and it’s too much.

Yoongi clutches the key to his chest and starts crying, right there on the ‘welcome home’ carpet, while Taehyung and Jungkook hug him between them.

“I love you,” they both whisper, one against his neck, the other into his hair. “Welcome home.”