Yoongi stepped up to the counter at the drug store with a handful of battery packs when the electric lights surged suddenly with white, blinding light and -
The cashier - a woman around Yoongi's age with heavy eye-liner and a heavy black turtleneck that crawled up almost past her jaw - flinched hard, cracking her elbow against the counter as store fell dark.
"Shit,” she hissed.
Yoongi released the breath he hadn't realized that he'd been holding and blinked hard into the shadows. There was a bit of soft, grey light sneaking down through the storm clouds and in through the wide, front windows of the small store, just enough to illuminate the edges of things. It glinted off the cashier's nose ring as she threw her head back and groaned.
"Fuck," she said again after a heavy moment before lifting her hands and grinding her palms into her eyes. "I hate this."
“Yeah." Yoongi pressed his lips together, trying to think of something to add, but when nothing came he turned away and twisted, gazing over the shoulder-high shelves and out to the wide, front windows of the store. The snow wasn’t too bad yet: it was just a couple inches high and wasn't falling too heavily but the wind was picking up, its constant whine growing into a howl.
A storm was rolling in.
What had originally been forecasted as a nice, light layer of snow had apparently morphed into one of the worst snowstorms the city had ever experienced. Usually, Yoongi wouldn’t mind being snowed-in, but he, Taehyung, and Jungkook had been planning for over a month now to go out to dinner tomorrow night to celebrate the end of Jungkook’s fall semester. And Yoongi had really been looking forward to it.
With Jungkook finishing up finals, Taehyung's multitude of family obligations and Yoongi's project at work, it had been ages since they had had a proper date. Hell, it had been days since he had even seen either of them.
When the news about the snowstorm had broke that morning, a small, whispering voice in Yoongi's head had wondered if he could spend the days over at Jungkook and Taehyung's, but the rest of his brain had quickly shut that down. With the way the meteorologists were talking, he'd definitely have to spend one night, probably two. Their house was was left to Taehyung by his aunt and is small, old, off in the older quarter of the city, where the buildings became smaller and parser as the city crawled up the forested mountains. Yoongi would just be an extra mouth to feed, and after nearly six months of dating, nobody had even mentioned him ever spending the night.
If they had brought it up, he would've agreed instantly, but neither had. And why would they? They had each other. They were fine. He was fine.
Even though, trudging back to his cold, dark, lonely apartment to spend several cold, dark, lonely days with just his batteries did not sound like a good time, but Yoongi sucked it up.
It was fine.
He’d see them eventually.
Yoongi frowned and turned back, pushing his batteries, beans, and cans onto the counter. “Can I still buy these?”
The cashier frowned. “You got money?”
“Then sure. Why not?”
It took him several minutes to fish out the right amount of won using his phone’s flashlight, but he eventually managed. While the cashier angrily bagged his things, he slid out his phone and opened the weather app. The blue loading page popped up but then froze. Yoongi frowned and swiped down, trying to get it to reload but it froze again before a notification popped up: No Service.
Shit. Prickling anxiety began to bloom in his gut, but Yoongi took a deep breath and shook his head, switching to his messaging app and opening the groupchat between him, Jungkook, and Taehyung. He typed:
hey is your power out too
After pressing enter, he watched as the little loading circle popped up and start spinning, spinning until it transformed into an angry, red error symbol. Message not sent, it read.
“The cell towers are down,” he muttered. He chewed on his lips and his fingers began typing out another message.
The cashier’s head snapped up. “What?”
“I’m not getting any signal and my messages aren’t sending. The cell towers must be down.”
Yoongi pressed send:
are you guys ok?
“Of fucking course they’re down.” The cashier dropped his bags unceremoniously on the counter and pulled out her own cell phone as if to double-check.
The second message didn’t send either and even though he should have been expecting it, the little ball of panic in his gut started spreading, a cold shakiness reaching down his limbs, up to his heart. Jungkook and Taehyung were fine. They had to be fine. They were fine earlier this morning when they had texted him, and they would know how to deal with the snowstorm and power outage, but that didn’t stop Yoongi’s knees from weakening, his heart from racing.
What the fuck was he freaking out? Why wouldn't they be OK?
Yoongi took a deep breath in and a deep breath out. He slid his phone in his pocket and grabbed the bags.
“Sorry,” he began, hesitating when the cashier glared up at him. “Did you know when the storm is hitting?”
“Yeah. Last I saw it’s supposed to hit at around four o’clock, so in just over an hour I think.” She paused, her penciled eyebrows drawing together. “Do you have somewhere close to go?”
Yoongi nodded. “I only live a few minutes away from here.”
“Good. Stay safe out there.”
“Thanks.” Yoongi smiled and dipped his head, pulling his grocery bags off the counter. “You too.”
It was a straight shot down the main aisle towards the door, but before Yoongi stepped outside he paused, sliding his bags into one hand and using the other to pull out his phone one last time.
The messages still hadn’t sent. It was stupid because Yoongi knew that they weren't going to send and he knew that Taehyung and Jungkook had to be fine and he knew that he was being an idiot, but the panic was calcifying hard in his chest and he just really, really, really needed to make sure that they were alright.
Yoongi gnawed on his lip and glanced back out the door to the dark, snowy street. Cold radiated in from the glass, chilling his skin, but there were still a few pedestrians making their way down the sidewalk, hunched against the snow and wind. A solitary car passed by, driving slow, its golden headlights spilling down the street. Really, the storm wasn't bad yet and, according to the cashier, he should have around an hour before it hit.
He was getting a bad idea.
If he walked out the door right now and turned left, he’d be back at his apartment in ten minutes, maybe less without any traffic on the road, and he could hunker down on his couch for the storm with a flashlight, a granola bar, and some books. But, if he turned right, Jungkook and Taehyung lived just about a twenty-five minute walk away.
Twenty-five minutes there, five minutes to check on them, then a thirty-minute walk back to his apartment. He would get home just before the storm hit.
It was doable. Stupid and dangerous and probably unnecessary, but doable.
But no, actually, now that he thought about it, that would mean showing up unannounced at Jungkook and Taehyung’s place with no other explanation other than he was stupidly worried about them before turning around and leaving immediately afterward. Taehyung and Jungkook were perfectly competent adults, even if they were several years younger than Yoongi and sometimes acted as though they only shared a few brain cells.
Maybe they’d think he was babying them. Maybe they’d think that he didn’t trust him. Maybe they were cuddled up now, perfectly comfortable in each other's arms, waiting for the storm to blow in, and wouldn’t want to be bothered by their stupid, irrational, new boyfriend who had a tendency to overthink and do stupid shit.
Shut up, he chided himself, clenching his jaw and sliding his phone back into his coat before pushing out through the door and into the biting cold. Don't think like that.
But it was hard not to. Jungkook and Taehyung had been living together for over a year now and had known each other for several years before that, ever since high school. They knew everything about each other and fit together perfectly, like pieces of a puzzle. They didn’t need anyone else.
Of course they don't need you. They want you.
Jungkook and Taehyung liked him. Like, like liked him. They kissed him and held his hand and laughed at his jokes and blushed when he flirted and listened when he talked and were patient when he was stupid and kind when he fucked up. They didn't need him, but they wanted him and Yoongi wanted them back. And it was good. Really good.
"It'll be fine," he muttered to himself, before taking a deep breath through his nose and wincing as the sharp, cold air sliced up his sinuses.
With one last look to the right, Yoongi squashed the anxiety as best he could and began marching to the left, towards his apartment, his boots sinking into the snow.
This was the right decision, he tried to tell himself despite the ballooning anxiety in his head. He needed to just go home and camp out by himself for the foreseeable future.
It’d be fine.
I'll be fine.
Yoongi stopped hard in his tracks, snow crunching under his boots.
If there was a problem, if Jungkook and Taehyung had an emergency, if one of them was injured or in danger or their house was falling apart around them and they had no way to get out or get help and instead of checking on his boyfriends when he had the chance, Yoongi had chosen to go home because he was paranoid about the snowstorm and about whether they even wanted him there -
It was a stupid decision: he knew that it was a stupid decision, but he also knew that he would regret it if he went home, so, cursing under his breath, he turned heel and began to march to the right, towards Jungkook and Taehyung’s, wincing as the harsh wind blew like knives into his face and the cold began to sneak its fingers under his thick coat.
He’d go, make sure that they were fine, and head back.
One Hour Later
Taehyung pressed his forehead against the window and watched the wind howl, blowing flurries of snow in layers so thick he could barely make out the stacked housing that rose out of the fog like the layers of a cake. The darkness was eerie: the filmy light from earlier was fading as the storm grew stronger and with all of the streetlights out and windows empty, it looked like the world had gone dead. There was nothing but wind and snow and darkness.
Chill seeped in through the glass. Taehyung jammed his hands in his armpits and shivered.
The power had been out for almost an hour now and the house was already getting cold. Even with his thick Pikachu socks and fuzzy fleece jacket, Taehyung could feel the storm leeching his heat away from him.
Taehyung's breath misted against the windowpane and he imagined how he would paint the street in front of him: wide, grey brushstrokes for the sky, swirled with clumps of black. Blurred houses, standing like sacked tombstones behind a curtain of streaked snow.
This was not how he had wanted to spend his weekend. Jungkook had just finished finals yesterday and the three of them - Yoongi, Jungkook, and him - were supposed to celebrate tomorrow night by dressing up fancy and going to that expensive restaurant that Jungkook kept talking about, maybe even taking a romantic walk down the frozen river before ending up here, at home, snuggling on the couch with Taehyung, preferably, in the middle. It would have been perfect.
Behind him he heard the approaching whoosh, whoosh of Jungkook’s socks shuffling against the hardwood floor before two arms wrapped tight around Taehyung’s waist and a warm face burrowed into the back of his neck.
“You should close the window,” Jungkook muttered, his breath hot against Taehyung’s skin. “You’re letting the heat out.”
Taehyung sighed dramatically but peeled his forehead away from the glass and shut the blinds and curtains before twisting in Jungkook’s grasp until he was able to wrap his own arms around Jungkook’s shoulders. Taehyung squeezed tight and stared out into the shadows of the house.
When the power had gone dead, Jungkook had found a few camping lanterns in a closet that they had scattered throughout the house but the light they cast was pale and otherworldly and seemed to somehow create more shadows than anything else. The wind groaned outside and the house trembled.
Jungkook shifted, tucking his head under Taehyung’s chin, and hummed.
“Are you tired?” Taehyung began rocking back and forth, one foot to the next.
“Mmm.” Jungkook's shoulders rose and fell in Taehyung’s arms as he sighed. “I don’t know why. I didn’t do anything today.”
“You just finished school, Jungkook-ah. You’re not supposed to be doing anything.” The howl of the storm outside grew louder and angrier, like a storm giant somewhere was slowly turning up the dial. “How about we go to bed?”
“What? It's not even four o’clock.”
“So? You got something better to do?”
Jungkook snorted and shook his head against Taehyung’s fuzzy jacket. "Guess not."
"Then c'mon. I'm cold."
Jungkook moaned, but unwound himself and let Taehyung drag him out of the room, down the dark hall, his socks still shuffling. Taehyung grabbed a lantern as they passed and held it out in front of him as he pulled Jungkook forward, casting a haven of artificial light down the hall that illuminated the thread-worn rugs and the anime fanart prints that hung on the walls. He felt like that crypt-keeper guy from that one game that Jungkook had watched him play like, a month ago, and almost made a joke about it. But the darkness was heavy in the hallway. So Taehyung stayed silent.
Their house was small and the hallway wasn't long: as Taehyung opened the wooden door to their bedroom, the old hinges squealed and the winds outside suddenly burst with a roaring fury. The house shuddered, creaked, and cracked and behind him, Jungkook flinched, his fingers tightening painfully around Taehyung's hand.
Taehyung squeezed back.
Even after all of this time Taehyung still didn't completely understand Jeon Jungkook. Most things that would terrify a normal person didn't phase him: he liked skydiving and roller coasters and snakes and getting tattoos and horror movies and he would never hesitate when Taehyung called him in to kill whatever nasty bug had crawled out of the shower drain. He could also somehow bare his soul with no hesitance in a way Taehyung wasn't sure if he ever could, like when he told Taehyung that he loved him on their second date and Taehyung had thought that he was joking until he met his dark, unwavering gaze. But the few things that Jungkook was afraid of, he kept hidden, so far down that Taehyung sometimes wondered if Jungkook even knew.
Jungkook was afraid of storms. Always had been, for as long as Taehyung had known him, but Jungkook had never admitted it, brushing Taehyung off even when he was white as a sheet and shaking in a corner.
It used to bother him when Jungkook would hide these sorts of things, but not anymore. Jungkook told him what he thought he should know. And Taehyung trusted him.
So Taehyung gripped Jungkook's hand tighter and pulled him into their bedroom, marching him straight to their oversized bed where he pushed him down hard onto the mattress, shoving him against their massive pile of pillows.
"What are you doing?" Jungkook asked, his old stutter slipping out a bit as he instinctively pulled his knees up to his chest.
"Tucking you in." Taehyung tossed a heavy, blue comforter around and over Jungkook's shoulders and knees so that just his head poked out and began to jam the comforter as tight as he could, behind his back, under his butt. "Duh."
Jungkook rolled his eyes but nestled in, burying half of his face behind the comforter. "You're being stupid."
Taehyung froze and stared Jungkook down before swooping in to give him a loud, sloppy kiss right on the forehead.
Jungkook squawked and Taehyung straightened, smiling.
“Mmmm,” he hummed, raising a finger to bop Jungkook’s nose. "Cute."
Huffing, Jungkook burrowed down further, but Taehyung could see his cheeks puffing up with a smile and his eyes bending into crescent moons.
"You're so embarrassing," he moaned, voice muffled by the comforter.
“Oh please. You love it.”
"No I don't."
"Yes you do."
"You don't like my kisses?" Taehyung pouted, sticking out his bottom lip.
"Not that one."
"What? What was wrong with it?"
"It was gross. You, like, drooled on me."
Taehyung huffed. "Well I'm sorry that you think I'm disgusting -"
"Hey." Jungkook's arm snaked out from the comforter and gripped Taehyung's sleeve, pulling until Taehyung bent down and Jungkook rocked forward to kiss him, his lips hot against Taehyung's own.
It was short and sweet and when Taehyung pulled away, Jungkook was grinning, his nose scrunching.
"I love you," he whispered, voice barely audible over the wind.
Hot, sticky warmth bubbled up in Taehyung's chest and he smiled so wide his cheeks ached because holy shit, he loved Jungkook so much that it hurt sometimes. He gave Jungkook a lingering peck on the mouth before bopping his nose one last time and sliding off the bed.
“Where are you going,” Jungkook called, pouting as Taehyung picked his way across the room, careful not to knock over Jungkook's carefully stacked piles of homework and the remains of an Ikea bookshelf that Taehyung still hadn't finished piecing together. The dark green walls seemed to soak up the camp lantern's light, which made the room feel more like a hole, and the dead christmas lights that lined the ceiling looked like thorns.
"I'm getting better lighting." Taehyung reached the closet door and opened it, squinting into the darkness. "That lantern is freaking me out."
Underneath the wall of hanging clothes were several large boxes, three of which had index cards taped to the side which read: Candles. Taehyung grabbed the top one and slid it out, dragging it on the carpet closer to the light before popping open the lid and kneeling to sift through the thick layers of candles.
Taehyung always received a wave of candles during the holidays, since everyone he knew had somehow all agreed to get him the same thing. It didn't help that he also liked buying himself candles. The result was candles on their bookshelves and their tables and kitchen counters and any extra candles got thrown into these bins. There were ceramic candles, glass candles, multi-colored candles, black candles, wax candles, crackling candles and they all clattered loudly as Taehyung sifted through. Pine and bonfire and spice would suit the mood, he thought, holding some up to squint at the labels.
The wind surged and the house groaned. Taehyung glanced up: Jungkook's face had grown tight again, his eyes straying up to the ceiling. His lips were pressed tight.
“How do you think Yoongi-hyung is doing?” Taehyung asked loudly, dropping his gaze before Jungkook could see him worrying.
“Yoongi-hyung." Taehyung frowned at a tall, green candle that was labeled Bergamot and Newspaper. Huh. "What do you think he's doing?”
"Oh. He said he was staying home all day, right? Maybe sleeping. Or playing that gardening game on his phone. He's been doing that a lot."
Taehyung snorted as he pulled out a fireside scented candle and tossed it into the growing pile on the floor. "I'm sure that he's not happy about canceling dinner tomorrow, he's been talking about it all week."
"I haven't seen him in forever," Jungkook muttered into the comforter, his eyes slipping shut. "We should've asked him to come over."
"Oh." Taehyung pulled out a few more candles but paused, holding them in front of him. "Wait. To spend the night?"
Jungkook cracked an eye open. "I guess. I mean, there's not much room but we could figure it out."
A weird nervousness rolled down Taehyung's back and he rocked back to sit back against his heels. "Jungkook," he said slowly, feeling his voice reverberating in his chest. "I was thinking. Yoongi comes over a lot nowadays, right?"
A beat of silence. The wind howled.
"Well. We've been dating for a while and, only if you're comfortable with it of course, but I was thinking that maybe we could make it, you know, more permanent. Like, make him a set of keys to the house and maybe give him a drawer or something." He paused. Jungkook didn't say anything. "But only if you're alright with that -"
“Of course I am.” Taehyung’s head snapped up: Jungkook was staring at him, eyebrows pulled together in confusion. “That was my idea.”
“You - What?”
“I told you last week that we needed to make him some keys, remember?”
“No.” Taehyung shook his head and frowned. “You didn’t -”
“Yeah, I did. It was Tuesday and I was making dinner and you were playing a game or something and I said, hey, Taehyung, we should make Yoongi a set of keys. You didn’t say anything so I thought that you were thinking about it.”
“Wait, when I was - Did I have my headphones on? I've told you, I can’t hear you if I have those on.”
“If you can’t hear me then that means they’re too loud.” Jungkook huffed as he buried the bottom of his face back in the comforter. His eyebrows still frowned. “Did you think that I wouldn’t be OK with it?”
“I don’t know.” Taehyung looked away, heat creeping onto his face. “I just - I don’t know. It made me nervous.”
“I like Yoongi as much as you do.”
“And it’s weird when you act like you’re guilty that we’re dating him. Like you're forcing me to do it.”
“What?” Taehyung reeled back onto his heels. "I don’t -"
"I know you don't actually, but you still act like it sometimes but if I had a problem, then I would tell you. I swear." Jungkook’s gaze was dark, his black hair catching the silvery light of the lantern.
Taehyung blinked hard before lurching forward, clambering over the pile of candles and back onto the bed before throwing his arms around Jungkook and burying his head into his chest.
"I love you," he murmured, voice muffled against the comforter.
Jungkook huffed, shifting to wrap his arms around Taehyung, holding him tight. "I love you too."
"I don’t mean to act weird.”
“I know. It's fine, I get it.”
“It’s just - I don’t want to mess anything up. With you or him.”
“I know. Me too.” Jungkook squeezed tight and buried his nose in Taehyung’s hair. “But you won’t. I promise.”
Taehyung hummed and burrowed further in, relaxing as he felt the warmth from Jungkook’s chest dissolving into his core.
Several moments passed with nothing but Jungkook's heat and the moan of the storm before Jungkook shifted underneath him.
“Actually," he murmured, his voice dropping in his throat in the way that Taehyung loved. "I was thinking. Maybe if we have time to get the key made soon, we could give it to Yoongi when we reschedule that date. Maybe wrap it up or put it on a chain or something."
Taehyung pulled his head away and smirked. “Wow, Jungkook.”
“That’s just so romantic of you.”
Even by the bare light of the lamp, Taehyung could see the light flush spread across Jungkook’s cheekbones, but that didn’t stop Jungkook’s arms from sliding down and tightening around Taehyung’s waist, pulling him up closer so that their noses were almost touching.
“What are you talking about,” he said, a wide smile turning into a smirk as his gaze dropped down to Taehyung’s lips. “I can be romantic -”
The wind howled. The house groaned.
“What was that?” Jungkook whispered, eyes wide.
Taehyung licked his lips. “I don’t know.”
They waited, facing each other and listening. No other sound but the wind and the house.
Several moments passed before Taehyung sighed, running a hand up and down Jungkook’s back. “It must've been nothing."
"It couldn't have been nothing. It had to be something."
"Ok, well, then maybe it was just a tree branch.”
“We’re in the middle of the city, Tae," Jungkook said. His fingers were clawed tight into Taehyung’s sweatshirt. "There aren’t any trees."
“Then maybe it’s just some debris.” He paused for another beat of silence, before grinning. “See? Nothing to be worried about -”
Taehyung's eyes snapped open wide and met Jungkook's before they both began rolling over each other, stumbling out of bed.
“Shit,” Taehyung muttered as his feet hit the ground hard. He snatched the lamp and rushed out into the hall, Jungkook right behind him.
“Is someone at the front door?” Jungkook whispered harshly, his fingers clutching the back of Taehyung's jacket. "How can someone be at the door?"
“I don't know. Fuck, who’d be out in this?”
“Wait, Tae, hang on.” Jungkook tugged, pulling Taehyung to a stop right before they made it to the entryway. “Maybe we shouldn't answer."
"What? Jungkook, nobody should be out in this, they could die -"
"I know, I know. But, listen." Jungkook licked his lips, his eyes darted towards the doorway. The artificial light from the lantern cast stark shadows up Jungkook's face, hooding his already dark eyes. "I saw on the news,” he whispered fiercely. “That some people, like robbers and serial killers and stuff will show up at people’s houses during storms.”
“Wait - What?”
“The cell towers are down, we can’t call the cops or an ambulance and nobody could see or hear if something happened and any evidence will be buried by the snow -”
“We can’t just leave them out there." Hysteria was bubbling up Taehyung's throat, choking him. “What if it’s our neighbors or - or someone who just got lost -”
“OK, you’re right. Just, give me a second.”
Taehyung nodded and Jungkook scurried out of the room, back down the hall.
Now that it was just him, alone, the house seemed so small and the storm so big and there, behind the faceless door, just a few feet away from Taehyung, a stranger wanted inside. The hairs on Taehyung’s arms stood on end and genuine terror surged like ice in his veins: maybe Jungkook was right, maybe they shouldn’t answer -
Taehyung gripped the corner of the hallway as Jungkook suddenly slid back into the room, holding a cobalt blue, aluminum bat high over his head, as if ready to swing.
“Fuck, Jungkook -”
“It’s OK,” Jungkook said even though his face was tight and his eyes were wide. He adjusted his grip and raised the bat higher. “Open the door.”
Taehyung felt like barfing but he nodded, taking the last few steps with wobbly legs until he stood in front of the door. He placed a hand on the deadbolt and another on the handle, the chill of the metal shooting up his arm. With one last glance at Jungkook, he took a deep breath and twisted both.
He only had to crack open the door for the storm to do the rest, the wind throwing the door open, flurries of snow tumbling in, an intense wave of cold dousing the entryway and a snow-crusted body fell forward, hitting the ground hard.
“Close the door!” Jungkook cried. “Close the door!”
“I’m trying!” Taehyung screamed back, fighting the winds, feet slipping against the ice on the floor, but then Jungkook was beside him, knocking into the door with his shoulder and slamming it back into place. Taehyung slipped and slid to the ground, twisting to stare at the figure who was crouched on hands and knees, trembling.
Jungkook breathed in sharp and stepped towards the figure, cocking his head as he stared down. The bat was clenched tight in his hand. “Are you alright?”
The figure shook their head. Their bare, red hands rose to cover their face.
“Who are you?” Jungkook demanded, frowning.
“Are they hurt? Who is it?” Taehyung crawled over beside the stranger side, melting snow sharp under his knees and palms.
The stranger was still trembling, snow falling off like dandruff. They wore thick boots and a long, puffer jacket, and actually, now that Taehyung was really looking at them there was something familiar with the way that that beanie went with that coat and those boots -
“Yoongi?” Taehyung gasped.
Jungkook’s eyes went round and Taehyung lurched forward, grabbing the stranger's freezing wrists and pulling them away. It was Yoongi. His face was red and streaked from the storm and his eyes were screwed shut, ice clinging everywhere, but it was Yoongi.
Instantly, Taehyung pressed his hands against Yoongi's icy face, pushing away the snow, tearing off his beanie, trying to find his coat's zipper.
Jungkook dropped to his knees, his free hand outstretched and hovering. "What - How -"
“Shit, he’s so cold. Yoongi, hey. Hey, can you hear me?”
Yoongi shook his head, hands weakly pushing at Taehyung's chest.
"He's freezing," Jungkook whispered.
"Jungkook, we need towels.” The ice and snow was already melting, slicking the wooden floor and seeping into Taehyung’s sweatpants. “Yoongi?"
"Sorry," Yoongi gasped out, his body still racking with shivers. He hung his head, his dark, wet hair hiding his face.
"If he has hypothermia, he'll need to go to the hospital.” Jungkook was shaking now too, his eyes wide and terrified. "He'll need an IV and fluids and we can't call an ambulance, Tae, we can't -"
"Jungkook,," Taehyung said, loud enough to grab his attention. "Towels. We need towels."
Jungkook lurched to his feet and shot down the hall, the baseball bat clattering to the floor.
"Stop,” Yoongi muttered, pulling his head up and squinting at Taehyung. "'M fine."
“You’re not fine.” Taehyung finally managed to work Yoongi’s jacket off, tossing it into the corner without a second thought. Yoongi’s pants and sleeves of his green pullover were soaked and Taehyung almost began to yank them off too before catching himself. Instead, he pulled Yoongi close and began rubbing his hands up and down his arms, shoulders, sides. “Are you hurt anywhere?”
Yoongi shook his head and shivered in Taehyung's arms as Jungkook slid into the room, almost dropping the pile of towels onto Yoongi’s head.
They tag-teamed: Taehyung scrubbed at Yoongi's arms and chest while Jungkook pulled his legs out and began rubbing as fast as he could, his face stone hard as he concentrated.
Yoongi moaned and for the first few seconds, Taehyung was terrified that this was beyond them, that he did have hypothermia or frostbite, but then the body-wracking shivers began to subside, his moans turned into coherent mutters and he began to move more sharply as if he could actually control his body again. It wasn't until the shivering had stopped completely that Taehyung let himself be pushed away, falling back hard on his ass.
“Stop,” Yoongi croaked again, rubbing at his chest. “‘M fine, I swear.”
“You sure?” When Yoongi nodded tersely, Jungkook also stopped rubbing and sagged back against the floor. "You scared us, hyung."
Yoongi shook his head and began to crawl to his feet. Taehyung scurried up and grabbed his arms, guiding his up.
“What are you even doing out here,” he began to ask, moving forward to envelop Yoongi in the biggest bear hug he could muster because fuck, that had been scary -
Yoongi stepped away.
It was subtle, but when he saw Taehyung's outstretched arms, he shuffled to the side, angling his body enough that Taehyung's arms fell through empty air, and for the first time that night, chill truly struck Taehyung’s core.
Yoongi didn’t look at them. His face was turned, shoulder folded in, his arm limp in Taehyung's grasp.
He doesn’t want to be here, Taehyung realized.
“I’m sorry,” Yoongi said again, his voice scratching from somewhere low in his throat. Still sitting on the floor below them, Jungkook’s face was pinched. He glanced from one to the other. “I shouldn’t have - I didn’t mean to - “ Yoongi's voice died away and he shook his head again. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright, hyung,” Taehyung said, but his voice was pitched high even to his own ears. “It’s cool. I’ll get you some clothes.”
He dropped Yoongi's arm and turned heel, marching down the dark hallway before either of the others could react, leaving the light behind as he walked blind into the darkness.
Thirty-two minutes later
Jungkook sat on the counter in the dark, cold kitchen, counting backward from a hundred by sevens, just like Namjoon had shown him all those years ago, doing his best to calm his heart as the snowstorm thrashed outside.
Yoongi was in the bathroom, still changing into the spare sweatshirt and sweatpants that they had found for him and Taehyung had retreated back to their bedroom. He had tried to drag Jungkook with him and Jungkook had almost gone because the only place in the house that made him feel safe from the pounding storm was tucked under the warm covers with Taehyung pressed beside him. But for now, he felt like he should wait here.
He didn’t know what was going on or why and he didn't think anybody else did either. All they knew was that Yoongi had randomly shown up during the snowstorm and had been upset, which had made Taehyung upset. They weren’t angry though, Jungkook thought. They were just all ... missing something.
So he waited, hitting his ankles against the old, wood cabinets to a gentle rhythm, trying to ignore the storm outside, until the winds peaked again, swelling suddenly and grating against the house, and he just knew that the roof was going to get torn off and everything carried away -
Jungkook startled, hands instinctively clenching and rising to protect his face. Yoongi was standing in the doorway, holding a bundle of dark, wet clothes in one arm and a camping lantern in the other that spilled white, artificial light across the kitchen.
He was wearing Taehyung’s over-sized, yellow sweatshirt and one of Jungkook’s old pair of sweatpants that were a bit too long so he had had to roll up the cuffs and something about that did funny, tight things in Jungkook’s chest.
“Are you alright?” Yoongi asked, voice still deep in his throat, but the defensiveness from before had disappeared. He looked like Yoongi. Normal, tired Yoongi. The pale light of the lantern emphasized everything about him: his hair and eyes were darker, skin paler, his face softer, the curve of his jaw sharper.
“Yeah, sorry.” Jungkook hopped down and smiled. The tips of Yoongi’s lips curled up and he glanced away. “Here,” Jungkook said, reaching for his wet clothes. “Let me help.”
Jungkook leads through the darkness and helps Yoongi hang his clothes over the washing machine to dry.
They were both silent, but it was a warm, deep silence that made Jungkook feel enveloped and in control over himself. Eventually, as Yoongi messed with his wet shirt, running his hands along it to smooth out the wrinkles, he broke the silence.
“I really am sorry,” he said. He didn't look up.
Jungkook side-eyed him as he squeezed as much water as he could from a sock, thinking. Most of Yoongi's days were good days, but he and Taehyung knew that sometimes Yoongi would have bad days where he was quiet and withdrawn and thought bad things, but they never saw or heard much of him on those days. He liked to spend those days alone. Or, at least, he tried to spend them alone. Jungkook and Taehyung hadn't figured out yet if being alone helped the bad days or if Yoongi just didn't feel comfortable enough to show them that part of him yet. “What are you sorry for, hyung?”
"I didn’t want to just barge in. It's your house and -" Yoongi stopped, face screwing up tight for a moment before unraveling, lips pressed together.
"Is that it?"
Yoongi paused. He glanced at Jungkook. "What?"
"Is that the only reason why you're sorry? Because you came here?"
Yoongi's lean fingers found a thread at the hem of his wet pullover to pull and twist. He shrugged.
"It's just," he said, voice barely more than a whisper. "Nobody's mentioned me ever spending the night over here, which is fine, I - It should be your decision when and I didn't want to, you know, force it on you."
“Wait, hyung." Questions were boiling up in Jungkook’s mind: he felt as if he was almost to the thing that they were missing but it was still slipping away. “You wouldn’t have barged in. You’re always welcome. All the time.”
Yoongi nodded, but his gaze was still focused down, his lips still tight. He didn’t believe him, Jungkook realized. Yoongi thought that he was bothering them. That they didn’t want him.
Anger and guilt and hurt flared up in his chest but were squashed by steely determination: Jungkook took a sharp breath in and wet his lips and reached out to pull Yoongi's away from the pulled thread, his palm hot against Yoongi's.
“Hyung,” he said, voice loud and clear. “I love you. I’m never not going to want you here. I promise.”
The silence between them was thick - the storm had even retreated for the moment as if to give them space - before Yoongi’s head snapped towards him. His eyes were wide and lips parted. Jungkook could actually see a dark blush spreading down Yoongi’s cheekbones and up to his ears, which, holy shit, was so cute.
Yoongi opened his mouth to say something, but paused, then shut it with a click of teeth, staring at Jungkook with dark, dark eyes.
Jungkook met his gaze and waited until Yoongi was able to try again, managing a faint, “Oh.”
Laughter bubbled up and a stupid smile that Jungkook couldn't stop cracked open his face. Jungkook tugged on Yoongi's hand and Yoongi shuffled forward on instinct even though his face was still slack and dazed.
“Is that why you kept apologizing? Because you thought you were bothering us?”
Yoongi raised his free hand to press against his cheek as if trying to cool his blush. He nodded. “Mmm. I guess. I just didn’t want you guys to think - I don’t know. It was stupid.”
“It wasn’t stupid,” Jungkook said, stepping forward and wrapping his arms around Yoongi, loosely at first, but Yoongi sank down and burrowed his head into Jungkook's shoulders.
Jungkook squeezed tight, feeling the firmness of Yoongi’s muscles, bones.
Yoongi hummed low, almost a purr. "You're a very good hugger."
“Hyung.” Jungkook bit his lip. The moment was too good to ruin, but a bad thought had been gnawing at him while he had sat in the darkness of the kitchen, waiting, and he needed to get it out. “When you were knocking at our door... I told Taehyung not to answer. And I'm sorry but I - I had heard stories about strangers in storms and, I don't know, I guess it freaked me out. I’m sorry.”
Yoongi was still for a moment before he pulled his head away, lifting his chin and look at Jungkook with serious eyes. “Don’t apologize for that. It makes sense.”
Jungkook shrugged. “Still.” One of his hands wandered up to tug on Yoongi's hair and for a moment, he let his mind wander to what would have happened if Taehyung had listened to him, if they hadn’t opened the door and Yoongi had stood there alone, in the storm, freezing -
Yoongi bent forward and kissed Jungkook's neck, lips pressing gentle enough to tickle but hot enough to send a shock through Jungkook's system.
A giggle burst up Jungkook's throat. He felt Yoongi smile against his skin.
“I love you, hyung,” Jungkook whispered because it seemed like the right thing to say and he kept holding Yoongi tight, even when he felt Yoongi's lungs rattle with a sharp breath and his neck tense as if fighting with himself to say something.
In the end, Yoongi just snorted, pressing his face back against Jungkook's shoulder.
"Are you hungry? There's some sundubu jjigae in the fridge."
“You shouldn't open the fridge while the power is out," Yoongi murmurs. "Where's Taehyung?”
“In the bedroom. Wanna get him?”
Yoongi nodded and let Jungkook lead him away, through the dark. Jungkook shuffled: Yoongi padded.
The first thing that hit them was the smell of flowers and cake and wood and burning, wafting all the way to the entryway. Next was the golden light that spilled out of the edges of their bedroom door at the end of the hall, glowing like a beacon.
"I thought the power was still out," Yoongi said, frowning as they approached.
Jungkook just snorted. "It is."
He opened the door and gave a long-suffering sigh because, apparently, Taehyung had spent his time lighting every single candle he could find. Candles lined the bookshelves and the dressers and the nightstands, standing in rows, pressed together: the room glowed with golden light and a wave of warm, heavily scented air wafted up Jungkook's face as they stepped in.
Shadows and light danced on the pine green walls, like a dark, twisted forest, and the colors in the paintings and the curtains and figurines and books and manga collections danced and morphed as the candlelight shook.
Taehyung glanced up from where he was crouched, a lit match in his hand and Jungkook's heart lurched.
Taehyung's hair was dark, but his eyes were darker, almost drawing light into them. He held a match out in front of him and Jungkook could see the chipped divets and angles of his hand before he shook the match out and stood, crossing the room in three strides and throwing his long arms out, catching them both in one, tight hug.
"There you are," he hummed low, squeezing.
Jungkook grunted. Yoongi wormed a hand up out of the grasp and cupped it around the back of Taehyung's neck.
"I'm sorry about earlier," he said breathlessly, meeting Taehyung's eyes. "I was scared and being stupid but I shouldn't have been like that. I'm sorry."
Taehyung shook his head, his heavy, dark fringe falling into his eyes. "It's fine, hyung. Don't worry." He smiled and pulled them both tighter. "I'm glad you're OK."
Yoongi relaxed, pressing into both of their sides, making a tight triangle of limbs and sweatshirts. The longer they stood, the more Yoongi sagged, his head drooping forward, eyes closing, his lungs slowing.
Taehyung twisted and pressed a kiss against Yoongi’s hair. “Are you tired?”
“Mmm.” Yoongi dragged his head up and blinked, shifting. “I guess, is it alright if I crash on your couch?”
Jungkook paused. He pulled his head up and caught Taehyung’s gaze. They stared at each other: Jungkook read the curve of Taehyung’s mouth, that slant of his eyes.
“Sure hyung,” Jungkook said slowly. “If you want.”
“Or,” Taehyung said with his deep, bedroom voice. His thick lashes fluttered low as his eyes slid towards Yoongi. “You could sleep here. With us.”
It was Yoongi’s turn to pause. His didn't so much as twitch, but he pressed his face back against their shoulders and nodded quickly.
“Then c’mon. I’m sleepy.”
Taehyung climbed in first, scooting to the far side and tugging on Yoongi's sleeve until he crawled into the middle, Jungkook sliding in beside him. While their bed was perfect for two people, it was a bit tight for three, but the warmth was wonderful.
But Yoongi lay stiff and still between both of them, hands clasped above the comforter, staring up at the ceiling so Jungkook and Taehyung lay on their sides, arms pulled close.
The wind kept roaring above. There was the whipping sound of candle flames.
"Hyung," Taehyung said after they had all finished scooting and shifting under the sheets. "Can I ask you something?
"Why were you out here?" Yoongi's jaw clench and Taehyung scooted closer. "I mean, I'm really glad you're here, but that was really dangerous, you know? Going out in the storm like that."
Jungkook watched Yoongi swallow, his adam's apple bobbing up and down.
"I was getting some stuff at that GS25 when the power and cell towers went out and I realized that I couldn't text you and, I don't know, it was dumb but I just got really freaked out. And I thought I'd have enough time to come and check on you."
Jungkook frowned. "Isn't that, like, a thirty-minute walk from here?"
"Twenty-five. But I thought I had an hour before the storm hit and I really was just planning on stopping by to check by." Yoongi's raised his hands to cover his face, muffling his voice. "It was really stupid."
The lines on Taehyung's face were heavy as he frowned. "Why were you worried about us?"
"I don't know. I just thought, what if something bad happens, and then I couldn't stop thinking about it. I thought I had time. But then the winds got bad and I couldn't see so I walked right past here and had to backtrack and then I lost my groceries somewhere and couldn't find them. It was stupid. Sorry."
"We need a jar," Jungkook murmured. "That you have to put a hundred won in every time you say something you did was stupid."
Yoongi huffed, dragging his hands down his face. "Are you saying it wasn't stupid to get caught in the storm?"
"It wasn't the best decision ever, but I get it, hyung."
"Even though," Taehyung said slowly. "Next time you're in that sort of situation, just think how worried we would be if we knew. You need to keep yourself safe, hyung. For our sakes."
Jungkook nodded. "I would've been terrified if I had known that you were out there."
Yoongi didn't respond at first. He lay still, face blank, staring at the ceiling.
"You're right," he said after a moment in a clear voice. "I'm sorry."
"We'll get a jar for every time you say sorry too."
Yoongi snorted and Taehyung smiled. Jungkook saw as the lump of Taehyung's hand under the comforter shift towards Yoongi.
"Hyung. You're still cold." Yoongi shivered again although Jungkook guessed that it had less to do with cold and more at Taehyung's hand crawling up his arm. "Can we cuddle?"
In the candlelight, Jungkook could see a slight blush spreading, like a bruise, down Yoongi's cheekbones. His lips curved shyly and nodded, scooting down further so Taehyung slotted perfectly into his right side, pressing his head into his neck, arm around his waist, leg wrapped around leg.
"Me too?" Jungkook whispered.
Yoongi's eyebrows shot up and he turned towards Jungkook. "Of course," he said, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
So Jungkook curled around Yoongi's other side, bringing a knee up to rest on his thigh and intertwining their fingers, holding his hand close. Somewhere, the wind was still blowing by, but Jungkook ignored it, listening to the candles crackle, the beat of Yoongi's breath, the rustle of fabric as Taehyung moved his hand slowly in slow circles over Yoongi's chest.
Jungkook didn't want to go to sleep. He wanted to be held forever, in this moment, but the warmth and the softness and the love were too much and he was lulled down into a deep, mindless doze.
He woke sometime later. The first thing he became aware of the constant wind still growling outside but, was it Jungkook’s imagination or had it lessened some? The candles were still burning, shining like an army of mini suns around them and the air had grown hot and waxy. To Jungkook's right, something soft was radiating warmth.
Slowly, Jungkook shifted, twisting his head. Yoongi was there, breathing deep, his chest rising and falling slowly and, across him, Taehyung was still, laying on his side and curled up against Yoongi with a longer-fingered hand resting on his chest.
“Tae?” Jungkook whispered.
“Oh. Just seeing if you were awake.”
“We probably shouldn’t leave the candles burning.”
“Yeah.” Taehyung breathed in deep and cracked open his dark eyes. They lingered on Yoongi’s face before sliding to Jungkook's, blinking. “I’ll blow them out. In a minute."
Jungkook nodded. His eyes began to slide shut, heavy with sleep.
Jungkook shifted and managed to drag an eyelid open.
"What did he say to you? In the kitchen?”
He hummed. “Mmm. Oh. He kept saying sorry for intruding and I told him that it was fine. That we want him here.” Jungkook fell quiet for a few moments before meeting Taehyung’s gaze. “I told him that I love him.”
Taehyung's face was still. Some of the golden glow of the candles was caught in his eyes.
He licked his lips.
"I think… I think I love him too."
"You should tell him," Jungkook whispered.
"I love you."
Taehyung smiled. Sleepily and happily.
"I love you too, Jungkook."
Reaching out over Yoongi, Jungkook's fingers clenched the comforter just over Taehyung's shoulder and held tight, just as his eyelids grew too heavy to hold and sleep finally dragged him down.
Even as the storm raged, swelling and falling away like the sea, even when Taehyung wiggled out for a few minutes to blow out each candle one by one, filling the room with the smell of smoke and burning wood, Jungkook rested, his arm heavy across Yoongi's chest.