Jisung knows that his members know about platonic kissing. They may even know about how he wants that. Unfortunately, they do not know about how he wants to kiss all of them romantically. All of them, from Chan to Jeongin and everyone in between.
At this point though he'll take anything. He will take hugs and cuddles in any form they come. Some days he is desperate for even a simple pat on the shoulder as affection!
He knows he can be overbearing with his desire for affection sometimes but sometimes getting someone to look at him seems difficult.
So it's unfortunately startling when someone seeks him out, especially when that someone happens to be Seungmin. Seungmin who enjoys terrorising Jeongin with affection but usually ducks out with anyone else.
So he appreciates when Seungmin wordlessly climbs in with him and curls up. Placing his head on Jisung's chest, right over his rapidly beating heart, and head tucked gently under his chin.
Jisung isn't going to bother to ask because if Seungmin wants to say anything then he will. Even if it got to the point that he had to go to Jisung for something.
Jisung thinks he is going to fall asleep when Seungmin speaks up softly.
"Sung?" He says, a questioning lilt to the word. A question of if Jisung is even still awake.
"Yes, Seungie?" Jisung replies, equally soft.
"You looked kinda sad today. Are you ok?"
Jisung’s mouth falls open a little at the words. He had been thinking about his lack of affection a little bit more than normal today, but he didn't think it would show on his face or that someone would notice.
He knows it would be Seungmin though because he notices nearly everything. He also appreciates that it's Seungmin because quite a few of them would have asked Chan and Chan would call him out. It's not entirely a bad thing, because Chan just wants everyone to hear the answer so they can all help but for something like this, something that Jisung doesn't want to worry them with, it is to be avoided.
"Sung, you still there?"
Jisung jolts back to reality, back to Seungmin looking up at him tenderly. The warmth of Seungmin as they lay pressed together under the blankets. It's nice.
"Yeah, I'm here," That's a loaded statement if he's ever heard one, "s'nothing. I'll be ok."
Saying 'I'll be ok' is more of a truth than 'I am ok' but he's lying nonetheless.
Seungmin is the one who is silent for longer this time. Jisung starts to get worried that he will be called out on his lie and then he'll have to explain. Late nights reveal much and Jisung… is too fragile. He couldn't take the reaction that would come, it would just be too much right now with no matter of good or bad.
"'Kay," Seungmin says simply.
It's an ambiguous enough answer that Jisung doesn't know if Seungmin knows or not. He could go down this road and spent the next 3 hours playing mind games with himself… or he could enjoy this moment and go to sleep.
He wakes up the next morning and Seungmin is already gone.
Oh right, his tired brain thinks, he probably regretted that and didn't want to be seen.
He gets up and greets everyone as normal, trying not to show any disappointment, especially when he sees Seungmin at the table.
Seungmin who is poking and giggling with Jeongin and Felix. Seungmin who ran away from him this morning. Seungmin who barely spares him a glance until they leave.
He tries not to look at anyone else when they pile into the cars but he can’t help but to hear all the sounds of conversation. All of them something he isn’t a part of.
The breaking point is nearly a week later. He comes into the living room to see Chan pinning Jeongin to the couch and pressing little pecks all over his face. Jisung whirls back around the wall and his heart pounds. Chan had done that to him once and that was all the way back when he was 16.
Nobody saw him enter and he dashes back out the door. It’s still fairly early, the streetlights aren’t even on.
Streetlights. He’s reminded of Changbin, one of his closest confidants since the early days of training.
They hadn’t got off to the greatest start, a common theme with him it seems, but now they’re close. He misses Changbin. It was selfish but he sort of wants to spend time with Changbin like they used to.
Jisung doesn’t know why the Chan and Jeongin image sticks in his head so strongly but it’s constant and he just wants it to stop. Suddenly, he has an idea. It’s not his best choice but maybe, just maybe, he can get something out of it.
"Team meeting, tonight?" Jisung meant to say it confidently, like a statement, but it comes out like a nervous child's question.
"Of course, are you ok Sungie? Nothing bad, is it?"
Jisung forces out a laugh. He wonders if he looks like he's going to throw up as much as he feels it.
"Depends on how you look at it."
Chan looks concerned but when Jisung gives nothing he just nods and goes to tell Minho. He watches as the news makes its way around and as each person learns they glance at Chan and then him.
He regrets doing this the moment he steps back into the living room. He showered last because he couldn’t sit there, watching and waiting, as all of them filed in but this might be worse.
“Fair warning for this, I will almost certainly cry,” he tries to joke but his nerves are so obvious that it just comes out weakly and falls flat.
Chan sits up ramrod straight in his chair. His face is alarmed and more than a little nervous.
“Jisung, you said this wouldn’t be bad.”
“It’s not! I just… have a lot of investment in this.”
Chan nods slowly and sits back in his seat and rests his arms on the arm rests, looking powerful, like a leader. Jisung knows that if he’s going to do this then he can’t look at what their reactions may be, he just has to say it.
“This is going somewhere I promise. Chan guided me through the whole training process and I don’t know what I would have done without him, he guides me even now, not only as a leader but as a person.
“Minho and I spent a lot of time bonding together over weird late night ideas. He seemed so official when he joined, he was already a backup dancer before this, but we are far more similar than we knew.
“I’ve snapped at Changbin more times than songs I’ve participated in. We annoyed each other so much during those times, but now we know how to work around each other and I think I know you as well as my biological family by now.
“Hyunjin, we really didn’t get off on the best foot but I’d say we’re doing great now. We’re similar in so many ways and now I know how to stop fighting against that.
“Felix! My brother from far away. I know we’ll be good friends for a long time because so much of our time wasn’t even built on getting to know each then, it was just being together and trying to communicate however we could.
“Seungmin. We’re very different and that leads to a lot of small fights. As much as I do nag you I hope you know how much I appreciate you and everything you’ve done for me.
“Baby bread Jeonginnie~ I always knew you would debut because even though you were so young during training you were always so determined. Determined to show your best and make sure that everybody noticed you.”
“This is so sappy, hyung, what’s going on?” Jeongin snarks, typical of him to avoid any slight sign of affection.
It makes Jisung a little sad to be honest, because he’s the one that’s least likely to be on board with any of this. Tears drop onto his hands and Jisung suddenly realizes that he’s crying and breathing quite heavily. Whether from the tears, or from talking so long, or from finally realizing the gravity of what he’s said and is about to say.
"I picked some significant reasons why I love you, all of you. I just-" he sobs into the dead silent room, "I just want you all to love me."
"Sungie, we d-" Chan starts.
"You don't understand," he looks up and makes brief eye contact with them all, "I want you all to love me, romantically."
The room is dead silent again and Jisung continues to heave into his hands. Hyunjin is the first to speak.
"Ji, I do love you like that," Hyunjin laughs nervously, “and, well, while we’re here I love most of you like that as well, not all of you though, not yet.”
The moment Hyunjin's confession ends Jisung is launching himself. His arms are wrapped around Hyunjin's waist and he cries like he did for their first win. Hyunjin holds him close and runs his hands through Jisung's slightly messy hair.
"Me too, for all of that." Felix says, voice low and quiet.
The answers are faster now, all agreement. Jeongin, Minho, Seungmin, Changbin. They all pause when Chan doesn't answer. He isn't looking at them but he must feel the weight of all their stares.
When he does look up there are tears streaming down his cheeks.
"I've loved you all for so long and I didn't- I never thought any of you would ever-"
He’s cut off by Jisung barreling into him. Jisung's voice is muffled into his shoulder but the words make both of them beam. Jisung's heart feels lighter because he can finally say it.
"I love you all. I love you, Chan-hyung."
Jisung stands there for a while, just holding onto Chan and having Chan hold him. Then he realizes something.
"Sungie, baby, you ok?"
The pet name makes Jisung's heart soar.
"Yeah just, um, I hugged 2 of you today and neither one of you denied it or let go before I did."
Hyunjin laughs, "you were crying, I wasn't just going to let you like that."
Right, only because he was crying.
His head hangs but he tries not to let it show. Chan picks it up anyways because of course he does, he’s been doing that for 3 years now, longer for Jisung.
"Hey, what was that look about?" He prods.
"Oh, um, I just wanted to apologize to all of you," Chan's arms loosen and Jisung spins around, "I'm sorry that I'm so constantly overbearing with my affection. I'm not gonna do that anymore."
He should have said ‘try’ but he will do anything to make them all happy and this is the first step.
His eyes burn again and shit he's crying again. He desperately tries to wipe all the tears away but they just keep coming. They're all staring at him.
"Sunshine, when you come and poke at us are you genuinely looking for affection?" Felix asks.
"Not every time, but like 90% of the time, yeah."
Jeongin in the corner makes a little noise and Jisung snaps his eyes to his blurry blue frame.
"I'm so sorry, Jisungie-hyung. I always thought you were just trying to annoy me on purpose."
Jisung wants to comfort their baby but his mind is stuck on one word, annoy.
You annoy them, you annoy them all. You're annoying, so unbearably annoying.
Jisung spirals downward, unaware of what is happening outside his own head.
Jisung doesn't know when he got on the floor but he curls into himself desperately. He can feel his blood pounding throughout every cell of his body and his breathing is ragged on his legs. He feels like his heart is gonna pop out and then he's going to die right here on their living room floor.
Suddenly on one of his hands he can feel someone else's heart beating stronger than his own. He follows the line of his arm to the hoodie his face was buried in not 15 minutes ago. Chan, Chan is here, everyone is there and he isn't going to die. He’s not dying.
Chan is there and he is speaking.
"Hey. Sunshine, are you coming back to us," Chan's chest briefly hitches when Jisung nods, "you're breathing so well, baby."
When Jisung finally begins to calm down he is pulled back into Chan's chest and then he can feel the warmth of everybody crowding around him. He holds in the tears, happy this time, because he doesn't want to make them worry.
"Ok, sunshine. Do you wanna walk us through what happened there?"
Jisung coughs into his arm because wow his throat hurts now.
"Yeah, Jeongin just said 'annoy' and I spiralled pretty harshly from there."
"Can you tell everything you thought about? Only if you can, Sungie, only if you can."
Jisung hums, he doesn't really want to.
"Mm just. You annoy them, then you are annoying, so so so annoying. Unbearable and then… Unwanted."
Jisung lets out a heavy breath at that final word but nothing can cover up 8 other sounds, chokes, and gasps.
"Jisung, I want you, all of you so badly. I promise and I will remind you of that every single day if I need to," Hyunjin says. His voice is a little strained and-
Of course. Hyunjin is crying. He's so empathetic and sensitive, so how could Jisung have not noticed earlier. He flails his arms towards where Hyunjin's voice was. Suddenly he's picked up and wrapped in long, gangly limbs.
"I'm sorry, Jinnie baby. I didn't mean to make you cry."
Hyunjin must shake his head very vigorously because Jisung can feel the rest of his body move.
“S’not your fault. You know how I am.”
“Yeah. Thanks for being one to hug me so often.”
“I only hugged you like once a week though?” Hyunjin gives him a weird look, “you monsters! Jisung, congratulations, I am never going to let go of you now.”
Jisung snorts but doesn’t say anything because he does need to move eventually but not yet, this is too nice.
At some point, he must have fallen asleep because when he opens his eyes it’s darker and he’s sitting on Felix’s lap on the couch. Felix must have felt him move because his eyes meet sparkling brown and a beaming smile.
“Hello, sunshine.” Felix says in rumbling English.
“Hi, Lixie. What happened?”
“We’ve been discussing who romantically loves who. Chan loves everyone. Minho loves Chan, you, Changbin, me, and Hyunjin. Changbin loves you, Chan, Minho, Hyunjin, and Seungmin. Hyunjin loves Seungmin, Jeongin, you, and me. You love everyone obviously, ya cutie. I love you, Hyunjin, Chan, Seungmin, and Jeongin. Seungmin loves Chan, Minho, Hyunjin, you, and Jeongin. Jeongin is still talking a bit but he loves Seungmin, Hyunjin, Chan, and me.”
Jisung’s heart leaps with every person that Felix says loves him, but his stomach drops a little when Jeongin doesn’t. It’s okay, he knows Jeongin can’t do anything about it. Jisung just needs to know that anyone loves him at all. Of course, this is only the romantic discussion, they all say platonic ‘I love you’s every day and that started long, long ago.
Jisung shifts around on Felix’s lap until he’s facing the rest of them. Hyunjin and Seungmin are hilariously squished into one chair and the rest of them are in cuddle piles or pairs. Looking around at all of them Jisung stops moving and admires them. Felix’s arms settle back around his waist and Jisung smiles brightly in turn.
Changbin is the first to notice him, “Jiji, you’re awake. Lix filled you in, yeah?”
Jisung nods shyly, thinking about what Felix said. They love him. They really love him.
He looks up at them through the hair that has fallen over his face, “you love me. So many of you really love me?”
It is only after the words are out that he realizes how insecure he sounds, how desperate. Hands fall on his thighs and he looks to see Chan kneeling on the floor in front of him. Warm, beautiful Chan. Chan who loves him the way he loves Chan. It makes him smile at the incredulous but euphoric feeling and Chan mirrors a smile right back.
“I really love you, Sungie. We gotta talk about something else first,” Chan snorts when Jisung pouts dramatically but continues, “how we’re going to do physical affection. I never want anyone to go as starved as you did for who knows how long. I also don’t want anyone to get overwhelmed and feel like they can’t say it. Thoughts?”
“Uuuh, yeah but how would we communicate that. If I ask someone and they reject me I usually don’t go to someone else right after. That’s not gonna change.”
“I’ve seen some custom pin shops. Lix, I showed you one of them before. 4 options: no, maybe, yes, need.”
Jisung flicks his hair out his face and deadpans at Chan.
“Do you realize how often mine is going to be on ‘yes’ or ‘need’?”
Chan’s face falls and Jisung’s heart falls with it, even if he doesn’t know the reason.
“I’m sorry that I didn’t realize what was going on sooner. I- I really feel like I-” Chan gets choked up and Jisung jumps to the ground to comfort him.
“Don’t you dare finish that sentence. It’s not your fault, I hid my feelings so well that I’m not sure an actual mind reader could find them.”
Minho places a hand on both their shoulders, “let’s get up off the floor first, yeah?”
Chan grabs Jisung’s hand and stands. When Chan sits down he simply pulls Jisung to sit in his lap. They sit there for a moment before speaking. Jisung loves the protective feeling he gets from sitting in Chan’s warm embrace, it reminds him of the early days where he was truly afraid of falling in love with Chan.
He stopped being afraid a long time ago, or, he thought he did but revealing everything tonight made him more nervous than he’s been… well ever. Things do pay off because now he can confidently say that he’s now the happiest he’s ever been.
Chan leans back into the couch to look Jisung in the eyes. His eyes are soft and Jisung feels another surge of affection run through him for the most beautiful man he’s ever seen.
“You will never go without the reassurance you need ever again. I promise you with all of my heart, never again.”
Jisung just smiles, “I know, hyung, I know. I trust you.”
Felix clears his throat incredibly loudly and smiles awkwardly when everyone looks at him.
“Come back to my lap, please?” He pouts at Jisung.
Jisung laughs brightly and nearly squishes poor Felix into the couch. Minho and Changbin are whispering to each other and grinning. Jeongin is sitting on Seungmin’s lap and holding Hyunjin’s and Seungmin’s hands and they’re holding hands behind him. Seungmin and Hyunjin look happy but Jeongin is beaming absolutely radiantly. Chan is left alone for all of 2 seconds before Changbin throws his body weight onto Chan’s legs.
Jisung is happy, so happy that the people he loves also love each other.