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deep blue, but you painted me golden

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It’s Jeongguk’s fifth game of the night when the knock comes, three solid thumps ringing out over the low music of the console.

He groans as he gets up and pads over to the door. With most of the members’ families in town and with more free time than they’d expected to have at this time of the year, most of them have been doing their own thing and staying at their own apartments a few days a week. Only Seokjin was with him here tonight, probably hours deep in his own game.

He’d asked the others what their plans were individually and Namjoon had replied that he’s going to a few museums and having dinner with a friend. Hoseok was spending his night at home with his parents and Mickey. Taehyung and Jimin were planning to hit a night market on the far side of town. Yoongi was home in Daegu for a few more days. He’d made sure of that this morning when he asked Hoseok as naturally as he could, like the coward he was.

He opens the door, expecting to find Seokjin, out to drag him out for a late hotteok run, but no, it’s--

“Yoongi-hyung.”

The universe. What a bitch.

He feels the now-familiar drop in his stomach when he stares at Yoongi, who’s standing in the corridor looking soft in old sweatpants and an oversized shirt, hair damp from a shower. It’s the first time he’s seen Yoongi outside of official company hours since-- well.

Since Jeongguk had kissed him.

The memory of it causes him to flush, cringing at how Yoongi had been helping him with his song when Jeongguk had leaned forward and kissed him, pulling back almost harshly once he’d realized what he’d done. Yoongi had frozen when he kissed him, blinking rapidly when he pulled back. It gave time for Jeongguk to run out to find an empty studio where he had stood to take deep, panicked breaths before forcing himself to calm down and go find the others. He’d made sure to always have someone else with him and Yoongi in the room after that, resolutely refusing to make eye contact.

“Hyung.”

“Ah, Jeongguk,” Yoongi says, shuffles his feet in the hallway, hesitating. “Can you help me with something?”

This gives Jeongguk pause. As much as his entire body is screaming at him to shut the door and throw the covers over his head, it’s not common for Yoongi to go to him for help. It’s usually Namjoon or Hoseok who gets that honor.

“Sure.”

Yoongi pads after him and settles on the edge of his bed, watching Jeongguk silently turn off the console and put away the controllers and wrappers from his now abandoned post on the floor. The air between them is tense, the silence almost deafening, and it’s with a feeling of dread that Jeongguk throws the last of the trash away and turns to his hyung, who startles at his sudden movement, having been caught staring.

“What do you need help with?”

Yoongi scratches the back of his neck sheepishly before speaking. “Remember that meeting last week? When they asked us to come up with ideas for Vlives?”

How could Jeongguk forget? He’d spent the entire meeting studiously ignoring Yoongi, trying to hide behind Namjoon’s taller frame so he wouldn’t have to make eye contact with the other.

“I thought I could, uh, paint.” Yoongi’s cheeks redden as he brings out a piece of paper and a pen from his pocket.

Ah, Jeongguk thinks. Now he understands. Yoongi had come to him for help on art, and on some level, Jeongguk feels proud that it’s him that Yoongi had thought best to consult on the matter.

“I’ve already got some ideas written down here.”

Jeongguk settles down gingerly on the bed beside him, trying to maintain as much distance between the two of them without making it look too intentional.

Yoongi had sketched a little rectangle to represent the painting, little scribbles filling the space around it with words like “blue?”, “moonlight”, “maybe add some black here” and little snippets of what looks like lyrics.

“What’s the over-all feel that you’re going for, hyung?” Jeongguk still determinedly stares at the paper instead of looking up.

“I thought I’d want to do something simple, you know, since this is practically the first time I’m doing this. Don’t wanna bite off more than I can chew.”

Jeongguk nods. “What medium do you wanna work on?”

“The one where you use a canvas?”

Jeongguk smiles. “Okay, acrylic or oil paint would be best for that.”

Yoongi nods, repeats the words to himself to store them in his memory. He looks cute, Jeongguk thinks, before forcing himself to look away.

“As for design, I think you’re right about the simple route, hyung. How about a single color for the background?”

“Yeah, I think you’re right. What do you think about different tints in some areas to give it a little depth?

They spend the next hour talking about it, Jeongguk getting out a fresh page to draw on, coming up with suggestions as Yoongi takes them in. In the end, they decide on having Yoongi paint the waveform of his voice saying something. What the words will be, he remains vague about when Jeongguk asks, saying that he has yet to decide. Jeongguk thinks his cheeks flush, but it’s probably just the lighting.

It feels natural, much like the times they spend in Yoongi’s studio, poring over the lyrics Jeongguk had written with Yoongi suggesting a different word or arrangement. It makes Jeongguk wish that he could have that back. But he’s a child, he thinks bitterly, unable to control his emotions and way too quick to act on his impulses.

It’s not until midnight that they wrap up, and suddenly Yoongi’s folding up back the scraps of paper they’ve managed to accumulate between themselves. Jeongguk startles, so engrossed in their conversation that for one blissful hour, he had forgotten. He’d forgotten that he had kissed Yoongi, and Yoongi hadn’t kissed him back.

The sudden silence that ensues suggests that it is what Yoongi’s thinking about too. Jeongguk chances a look at his hyung and his gaze wavers when he sees Yoongi already looking at him, eyes wide and unreadable. Jeongguk drops his stare onto his lap, the familiar ache coursing through him. He wishes time would skip forward, that he’d already gotten this conversation over with and he would now be alone in his room stewing in the feeling of rejection.

“Jeongguk.”

Jeongguk keeps his eyes on his lap.

“Jeongguk-ah, look at me,” Yoongi says, a plea coloring his voice. It’s what makes Jeongguk look up, and what he sees takes his breath away.

Yoongi is looking at him with unguarded eyes, and Jeongguk thinks that he might look exactly the same, and they stare at each other for a beat before Yoongi speaks, voice soft as a whisper.

“Why’d you do it?”

Jeongguk can’t speak. All he can think about is how sad Yoongi sounds.

“Why’d you leave me before I could say anything, bun?”

Jeongguk’s expression crumbles at the nickname, his hands coming up to angrily wipe away the tears welling up.

Stupid, stupid, stupid… Can’t even control yourself for a few minutes, he thinks, but his thoughts come to a stop when he feels arms enveloping him and that’s what makes the dam burst. He burrows his face into Yoongi’s chest and sobs, and he feels his hand stroking his hair as he lets himself feel every emotion he’d been suppressing in the past two weeks.

“Hyung,” His voice comes out muffled by Yoongi’s shirt, and he pauses, taking deep lungfuls of air to collect himself to start talking. Yoongi only hugs him tighter, waiting for him to speak.

“I’m so sorry, hyung-- I shouldn’t have done it, I should’ve just kept these feelings to myself, should’ve just tried to make them go away,” he cries. “I’m sorry I kissed you like that, without even asking-- now you hate me, and I just-- I miss you, but I feel like I’ve completely ruined things and I’m just so--- I’m such a child, no wonder you don’t love me back--”

“What?” Yoongi’s voice interrupts from beside him and this time it’s Jeongguk that freezes.

Jeongguk pulls back, calm suddenly enveloping him. He’s come this far. Might as well make it to the finish line.

“I love you,” he says, looking at Yoongi through his tears. “I love you, hyung.”

“You love me?” Yoongi is now looking at him in wonder. “You… You’re sure?”

Jeongguk nods. It’s been years. A year spent wondering what the funny feeling in his chest was when Yoongi ruffled his hair or passed him food from his own plate, another spent coming to terms with the fact that he likes men-- one man, in fact. And he just spent the past year trying to fight his feelings that seemed to grow by the day, knowing that acting on them could cost him his and the others’ careers, let alone the very person they were for.

“You love me,” Yoongi repeats in disbelief.

“I’ve loved you since I was nineteen, hyung,” Jeongguk says, looking away as he feels himself tear up again, the memories flashing through his head. Yoongi has gone silent, and Jeongguk braces himself for the worst, for Yoongi to be completely gentle as he tells Jeongguk that he loves him like a brother and making him feel worse, for Yoongi to leave, for them to spend the next several months awkwardly skirting around each other, for them to--

“I love you too.”

And Jeongguk, having already talked himself into accepting Yoongi’s rejection with the last shred of his dignity, takes a few moments for the other’s words to sink in.

“I-- did you just say you love me?”

Yoongi nods, holding his gaze.

“Hyung, this would be really mean if you’re just joking.”

“Jeongguk, bun, how could anyone not love you?” Yoongi reaches for his hands, holding them in his own, and Jeongguk tries very hard to see through the joke, and when he realizes there’s none, he starts crying again. “You’re one of the best people I know, Jeongguk-ah. You inspire me in the way you see the world around you, in the way you throw the best of yourself into anything you attempt to do. You make me want to keep trying everyday, bun.

“I thought you kissed me because you had a crush, Kook, and you kissing me was just you getting caught up in the moment. You’ve never indicated any interest in guys, let alone me, before, and I guess a part of me was also afraid that you were only experimenting, and I knew my feelings ran much deeper than that. I knew that if we pursued a relationship like that, there’d be no going back for me and I just-- I was a coward, Guk-ah. I’m sorry, hyung’s sorry.”

Yoongi’s voice breaks at the last words and it makes Jeongguk cry harder. Yoongi wipes his tears away with his thumbs, his hands touching Jeongguk’s face in a way that can only be described as reverent, and the look in his eyes-- Jeongguk recognizes it now, in the way he sometimes catches Yoongi looking at him when they’re in the studio, the older quick to avert his gaze when Jeongguk suddenly looks up.

“Is it okay if I kiss you now?” And Jeongguk nods and Yoongi leans in.

It’s far from the many scenarios Jeongguk has fantasized his first kiss with Yoongi was going to be. None of those involved either of them crying, save for the occasional happy tear or two fantasy Jeongguk would shed, having his love reciprocated despite the odds.

But that’s what’s happening right now, isn’t it? Yoongi here, saying that he loves Jeongguk back, despite all odds.

The first touch of Yoongi’s lips against his is gentle, so gentle, almost as if Yoongi’s afraid he’ll break if he pushes any further. His lips are soft, and Jeongguk savors the feeling despite tasting the salt of his tears on his tongue, because finally, he knows what it’s like to kiss Min Yoongi. It’s also Jeongguk who deepens the kiss, tilting his head and slotting their lips together. He’s drowning, drowning in everything that Yoongi is, his scent, his touch, the way he tastes. Yoongi’s tongue slips between his lips and Jeongguk gasps, reveling in the desire that courses through him, in the feeling that he’s kissing Yoongi, that Yoongi wants him back.

They kiss and they kiss and they kiss, and when Yoongi finally gives him one last kiss and pushes him back gently, Jeongguk is stunned to realize that they had spent an hour just kissing. Yoongi looks flushed, lips swollen and cheeks red. Jeongguk suspects he looks the same, but can’t find it within himself to care.

Yoongi kissed him. Yoongi loves him.

The thought of it makes him smile wider and Yoongi looks at him with such fondness in his eyes that Jeongguk can feel himself turning red again, making Yoongi chuckle as he folds him back into his arms and plants a kiss on over the top of his head.

“Hyung?” Jeongguk says in a small voice.

Yoongi makes a small noise of acknowledgement, voice muffled against his hair.

“Stay the night?”

Jeongguk’s eyes widen and he pulls back, alarmed. “Not like that! Not if you don’t want to.”

Yoongi’s eyes gleam as he tries not to laugh, making Jeongguk blush harder. “Want to what?”

“Hyung.”

“Hmm?”

“Stop teasing,” Jeongguk pouts and Yoongi melts.

“Alright, alright. Believe me, Jeongguk, I want to.” Yoongi admits. “But let’s take things slow, okay?”

“Okay. Stay?” Jeongguk says again hopefully.

“Okay, bun.”

It’s a few hours later that Seokjin finds the two curled up together on the bed, Jeongguk’s face buried in Yoongi’s chest with the older’s arm around him.

“Finally.”