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“I can’t find it.” Taehyung is frantically rifling through their drawers.

“Can’t find what?” Yoongi asks, standing by their doorframe.

“My bracelet. You know, the silver one with a feather on it?” He moves onto the next drawer, leaving the other one open and messed up. Yoongi inwardly calculates the amount of time he has to spend to clean it up later and sighs.

“That old thing? You can look for it later. We’re going to be late, Tae.”

“I know, I know. I swear it was around here somewhere. Do you remember when I last wore it?”

Yoongi shifts and moves his jacket to the other arm. “I have no idea. If you lost it, just buy a new one.”

“Maybe it got mixed up into your stuff after the time we went to Ireland?” Taehyung pauses in his search and groans. “This sucks. Anyway, why are you so worried about being late? We’re always late. Jimin knows by now.”

“There’s a difference between being late on accident and being late on purpose.” Yoongi sits on the bed.

“The end result is still the same.” Taehyung moves onto Yoongi’s drawers.

“Yeah, but Jimin’s still going to be pissed.” Yoongi shrugs, even though Taehyung can’t see him. “Well, at least he’ll be pissed at you and not me.”

“I can’t believe he’s still intimidated by you after so many years,” Taehyung mutters. “You’re as threatening as a grumpy teddy bear.”

“Hey, I heard that.”

“You were meant to.” Taehyung is still flipping open drawers, even ones that they barely use.

“Why are you so concerned about some old bracelet anyway?” Yoongi asks. As soon as he says it, he wishes he could take it back, because Taehyung’s shoulders visibly stiffen.

“No reason,” Taehyung says, but the way he closes the drawer more firmly than usual tells Yoongi that he’s upset. “Let’s just go.”

*

“What took you guys so long anyway?” Jimin leans against the kitchen counter, wine glass in hand. “Taehyung usually texts me when you guys are late for dinner.”

Yoongi swipes his hand through his hair, exhaling. “Taehyung was looking for some kind of bracelet.”

Jimin raises an eyebrow. “Which bracelet was it?”

Yoongi shrugs. “He said it had a feather on it?”

Jimin’s eyes light up in recognition. “Oh,” he says lowly. “That one.”

“You know it?”

Jimin furrows his forehead. “Yeah, but I think you should ask Taehyung about it. It’s pretty important to him.”

“I guessed as much,” Yoongi says, “seeing as he basically overturned all of our stuff looking for it.”

“Yeah. I didn’t think he still had it.” Jimin’s eyes are far away.

“Had what?” Taehyung walks into the kitchen, back from his trip to the bathroom. He sticks his damp, cold hands on the back on Yoongi’s neck. Yoongi yelps, and turns to glare at Taehyung’s smug face.

Jimin stifles a laugh behind his glass. “Nothing. I made pasta for tonight, by the way.”

Taehyung leans into the pan to smell the sauce. “Wow, it smells great. Although it should, since it’s like the only thing you know how to cook.”

Jimin kicks at Taehyung, who dodges it with practiced ease. “Shut up, fool. You can’t even make a fried egg without burning it.”

Taehyung hides behind Yoongi. “I’ve got Yoongi to make food for me! Right, babe?” He flashes a smile at him and is greeted with Yoongi’s raised eyebrow.

“That’s just because you would eat ramyun everyday if I weren’t here to stop you,” Yoongi says.

“But they taste so good,” Taehyung whines.

“Tough luck. It’s shitty for your health.”

Jimin interrupts them with a wave of his hand. “Stop bickering like an old married couple and help me set the plates.”

“But we are married?” Taehyung says, obeying Jimin and opening the utensils drawer to get out the forks. Yoongi takes the plates from the cupboard.

Jimin rolls his eyes. “Yes, but that doesn’t mean you can act all married and gross in front of me. You’re making me regret bachelordom.”

Taehyung snorts. “Not likely. You love being single and ready to mingle.”

Jimin shrugs unrepentantly and takes the plates from Yoongi to scoop the pasta in. “No one gets jealous when I flirt with multiple people at once.”

Taehyung dramatically flops on Jimin’s back. “I get jealous! I’m your childhood best friend, and yet you never pay any attention to me when we’re out.”

Jimin attempts to shrug Taehyung off, to no avail. “You’re bothering Yoongi half the time, you hypocrite!”

Yoongi takes the pasta-filled plates from Jimin, long used to their antics. “Should I just set them on the dinner table?” He calls out to Jimin as he walks out of the kitchen.

“Yeah. Oh, and can you get the wine, too?” Jimin calls back.

“And kimchi?” Taehyung’s voice requests hopefully.

Yoongi walks into the kitchen just in in time to see Jimin stare judgmentally at Taehyung.

“Kimchi with pasta?” Jimin asks. “You and your kimchi.”

“We’re Korean American. Kimchi is essential with every meal.” Taehyung sniffs.

“Fine, but I’m not eating any. It’s in the fridge.” Jimin hands Yoongi the wine bottle.

“You should see him complaining about how every McDonald’s should have kimchi, too,” Yoongi says, taking the bottle.

“I think they would make a lot of money if they did,” Taehyung says solemnly, taking out the giant jar of kimchi from the fridge.

Jimin just shakes his head and sighs. “Sometimes I wonder why we’re friends.”

“It’s too late to get rid of me now. If you break off our friendship, I’ll sleep outside your door everyday until you give in,” Taehyung says.

As they walk out of the kitchen and sit down on the dinner table, Jimin leans in to faux-whisper at Yoongi: “Why are you married to this menace?”

Yoongi shrugs and looks at Taehyung, meeting his eyes. “Oh, I don’t know. He’s kind of cute. Sometimes.”

The way Taehyung’s lips curve into a small smile still makes his stomach feel like it’s harboring burning coals.

*

“Yoongi! The toilet’s broken! Again!” Taehyung hollers from their bathroom. Yoongi groans from his facedown position on the bed. He just got home from work and all he wants to do now is laze around and browse on his laptop. Maybe take a nap.

“Can I fix it tomorrow?”

Taehyung came out of their bathroom, freshly showered. “No,” he said. “It’s our only toilet and I don’t want to ask our neighbors to use their toilet again. It was embarrassing enough last time.”

Yoongi sluggishly picks himself up from their bed. “Okay, I’ll go see what’s wrong with it.”

“Thanks.” Taehyung leans in to peck Yoongi’s cheek. “Do you want me to order take-out today?”

“Yeah. I kind of want that Thai place we like.”

“Sounds good.” Taehyung changes into the comfortable clothes that he wears at home. “I’ll call them. Do you want pad see ew again?”

“Sure.” Yoongi gets his toolbox and goes into the bathroom to investigate the problem. He lifts the lid behind the seat away and pokes around the interior. The water isn’t coming up properly. He reaches down to open his toolbox and something shiny on the floor catches his eyes.

He picks it up and examined it. Walking out of the bathroom, he says, “I think I found that bracelet you were looking for. It was on the floor behind the toilet.”

Taehyung immediately lights up, reaching out to take the bracelet. He handles it delicately, rubbing his thumb across it to clean it.

Yoongi observes this and clears his throat. “You never did tell me why it was important to you.”

Taehyung hesitates and says, “It was the first gift Minjae ever gave me.”

Yoongi stiffens. Of course.

Taehyung twists the bracelet in his hands, and his eyes flicker up at Yoongi. “But I can throw it away. If you want me to,” he says softly.

“No,” Yoongi says. Taehyung’s eyes flutter close as Yoongi presses his lips to his forehead. “I don’t want you to do that. I know that he’s important to you and I would never ask you to throw something important to you away.”

Taehyung exhales, his whole body loosening. His hands come up to fiddle with the bottom of Yoongi’s shirt. “Thanks for understanding.”

They stand together in silence a little longer before Yoongi pulls away. “Okay, I have to go fix the toilet because it won’t fix itself.”

“Okay,” Taehyung says. “The food should be here soon.”

Yoongi tucks a strand of hair behind Taehyung’s ear before he goes. He likes how Taehyung lightly flushes each time he does it.

As he fixes the toilet, his mind keeps flashing back to that bracelet. Now that he thinks about it, Taehyung used to wear it all the time back then. The weight in his stomach refuses to go away, but there's no point in thinking about the past.

*

Yoongi met Taehyung during college. Hoseok had dragged him to the bar in celebration of their completion of finals week, and he distinctly remembered being grumpy about being forced to socialize when all he wanted to do was to sleep onto the next century.

“Come on, Yoongi.” Hoseok had prodded him. “I’m doing this for your own good. If you stay here, I’ll probably come back home to a dehydrated corpse on the couch.”

“I am a corpse.” Yoongi swatted uselessly at Hoseok’s hands. “Leave me alone so I can die in peace.”

Hoseok, not listening to him as usual, took his arms and pulled until Yoongi had to catch himself from falling on the ground.

“Let’s go! Happy hour starts in an hour.” Hoseok tossed Yoongi’s jacket at him, which landed on his face.

Yoongi pried his jacket from his face. “You just want to get laid.”

Hoseok smiled smugly. “At least I have someone to go home with.”

Yoongi sighed long-sufferingly, but put on his jacket nevertheless. “Alright, let’s go.”

The bar was loud, full of students who had the same idea that they did. Hoseok elbowed his way towards the drinks, Yoongi following close behind so he didn’t lose him in the crowd.

“Donghyuk! I want our usual.” He leaned on the counter, smiling brightly up at the bartender.

Donghyuk’s face transformed from mildly annoyed to utterly smitten. He hid it quickly with a smirk. “My favorite customers. Done with finals?”

“Yeah, fucking finally. I thought I was going to die,” Hoseok said.

“If you died, there would be no one to come home with me tonight. A true tragedy.” Donghyuk winked, and Hoseok wrinkled his nose.

“Fuck you.”

“Gladly.” Donghyuk barely blinked when Hoseok slapped him on the arm.

“Shut up, we’re in public. You could’ve found someone else to sleep with anyway,” Hoseok said.

Donghyuk shrugged, but Yoongi knew that he wouldn’t have. Every time Yoongi brought up the fact that Donghyuk wanted to date the hell out of Hoseok, Hoseok had laughed hysterically (“No way. We’re just friends with benefits!”). This was why he didn’t like going to this bar with Hoseok. He always got third-wheeled while Hoseok and Donghyuk got lost in their own world.

“Hoseok?” An unfamiliar voice called out. “Oh my god, you’re still alive after that Econ final?”

Hoseok turned around. “Minjae, my man! Wasn’t that final killer?”

“Yeah, seriously. I’m glad you asked me to study with you though. It helped a lot,” the guy Hoseok called Minjae said. Another man was next to him, looking curiously at them.

“Oh hey, Taehyung,” Hoseok said. “Long time no see.”

Taehyung smiled. It was a very distinctive smile. “Hi,” he said.

Hoseok turned to Yoongi. Donghyuk had already moved to the other side of the counter in order to take care of the rest of the customers. “Yoongi, this is Minjae and Taehyung. Minjae was in my Econ class from hell this semester and Taehyung’s his boyfriend. Guys, this is Yoongi, my roommate,” Hoseok introduced.

“Hey.” Yoongi nodded at them. Now that he looked more closely, their hands were tangled together and he would learn later on that their hearts were even more so.

“Nice to meet you,” Minjae said, smiling politely. Taehyung seemed shyer, leaning against Minjae and giving Yoongi a little wave.

“What’s your major?” Yoongi hated making small talk, but in this case, Hoseok and Minjae were already off chatting about something or other. So they were just standing awkwardly next to them.

“Oh, I don’t go to UCLA. I study fashion design in a different college nearby,” Taehyung said. “What about you?”

“Music. I want to go into production.”

Taehyung’s eyes focused on him. “That’s cool. What kind of music are you thinking?”

Yoongi chuckled dryly. “Whatever will get me a job.”

“Yeah, that’s real. I wish I could design whatever clothes I wanted to, but the truth is that I’ll probably have to follow a certain look depending on the company I’ll work for,” Taehyung said.

Yoongi nodded, glad that they had common language. Fields like theirs were competitive, so they were able to relate to each other’s drive to get a foot into the industry door.

They kept talking, and got so immersed in their conversation that when they next looked up, Minjae and Hoseok were looking at them amusedly.

“We should go, Taehyung,” Minjae said. “It’s getting kind of late. I’ll walk you home.”

“Oh okay! Here, Yoongi. Give me your phone number and we can hang out sometime if you want,” Taehyung said.

After they left, Hoseok turned to Yoongi. “You actually made a friend,” he cooed. “I feel like a proud mother duck watching her awkward duckling take his first step!”

“Stop being creepy, Hoseok, and go find Donghyuk. I’m going home, too. Text me when you’re at his place.”

Hoseok playfully saluted him. “Will do. I’ll see you tomorrow. See? I told you I was doing you good by bringing you out here.”

Yoongi didn’t disagree. “See you tomorrow.”

*

The week after, Yoongi was absolutely bored with all of his friends moving back home for the break. He was going to stay on campus during the summer to take classes, and was scrolling through his phone contacts when he came upon Taehyung’s name. Even though he had only met him once, they seemed to get along pretty well. He texted Taehyung if he was free to hang out, and Taehyung sent back an emoticon with a cat rolling on the floor. Yoongi guessed that was a yes.

They ended up hanging out more than once, enough that Yoongi could safely call Taehyung a friend. It was fun to spend time with someone who had such a vibrant personality like Taehyung’s. Maybe Yoongi surrounded himself with people who were embodiments of sunshine to offset his own personality, and Taehyung made it easy for Yoongi to confide in.

During one of their regular lunches, Yoongi had slumped into his seat with the most defeated sigh.

“What’s wrong?” Taehyung asked as he picked up the menu.

“I went on a few dates with someone and it didn’t work out,” Yoongi said.

“Why?” Taehyung looked at him. This was why Yoongi chose to tell Taehyung about his botched dating attempt, because he wouldn’t bullshit him with faked sympathy.

Yoongi took a sip of his water. “She said I was too cold. Not easy to get along with.”

“Ooh.” Taehyung winced. “That was rather blunt of her.”

Yoongi shrugged. “It’s true though. My relationships usually don’t work out because the other person felt like I didn’t care about them as much as they cared about me. I mean, that’s true sometimes, but not all the time.”

“Maybe you should be more open about your feelings?” Taehyung suggested. “And if it still doesn’t work out, then that person just didn’t notice that you show that you show that you care in ways differently than most people.”

“What do you mean by that?” Yoongi squinted.

“You always claim that Hoseok’s annoying but you always text him to make sure that he’s safe when he goes out at night. And you give me the best part of the food you’re eating whenever we eat together. Don’t think I don’t notice these things.” Taehyung pointed at him.

Yoongi shifted uncomfortably. “That’s basic human courtesy.”

“You’d be surprised by how many humans didn’t do that.” Taehyung took a sip from his straw. “Anyway, it’s okay if it didn’t work out this time. You can just learn from the experience and it’ll work out with someone one day.”

“I’m not as optimistic.” Yoongi scanned the menu, and put it back down. “I don’t think I’ll ever find something like what you and Minjae have.”

Taehyung immediately smiled when his boyfriend’s name was mentioned. “He’s the love of my life,” Taehyung said simply. “You’ll feel that way about someone one day, too.”

*

Two years later, Yoongi was lounging on the couch as he watched Hoseok pack.

“Are you trying to pack everything into that tiny box?” Yoongi asked as Hoseok sat on the cardboard box in order to keep everything in.

“I have to take up as little space as possible, since I’ll be storing my stuff in my friend’s apartment before I move into my new apartment,” Hoseok said. “I’m not as lucky as you, to get a lease that starts right after this lease ends.”

Yoongi was skeptical that the box won’t explode before it was moved, but he decided to not comment. When Hoseok put his mind on something, Yoongi pitied the poor soul who tried to get in his way.

“Can you believe that we’re graduating in a month?” Yoongi asked. “That’s so surreal.”

“Yeah. I still can’t believe it. College passed by so quickly.” Hoseok stopped his incessant bouncing on the box. “By the way, you’ve heard about Taehyung and Minjae, right?”

“What?”

Hoseok’s eyes widened. “Oh man, you didn’t know? They broke up.”

Yoongi scrambled up from the couch. “Wait, what the fuck? When did this happen?”

“A few days ago, apparently,” Hoseok said. “Where are you going?”

“Visiting Taehyung,” Yoongi said shortly.

“Let me know if he’s okay!”

Yoongi grunted, and toed his sneakers in. This explained why Taehyung had been non-responsive in his texts when he usually spammed Yoongi’s phone like crazy. Yoongi had never walked so fast to a bus stop before.

When he reached Taehyung’s door, he was suddenly struck by indecision. Was it too presumptuous of him to visit him when Taehyung might want some time alone? Fuck this, Yoongi decided. If he didn’t want him there, then Taehyung could just tell him to fuck off and he will.

When Taehyung opened the door after a few seconds of Yoongi’s anxious waiting, his red-rimmed eyes were dull. “Hi Yoongi,” he said, voice devoid of intonation. “I’m afraid I’m not good company right now.”

Yoongi frowned. “I don’t care if you’re good company or not. I’m here to make sure that you’re okay.”

Taehyung exhaled, opening the door to let Yoongi in. “Well, I’m not.”

Yoongi made his way silently to the couch, where Taehyung re-cocooned himself in his blankets. Mulan was playing on his laptop.

“Did you eat yet?” Yoongi asked. “I can call for take-out.”

“I just ate, Yoongi. It’s fine.”

They watched the movie in silence before Taehyung spoke.

“We even planned out our future together,” Taehyung said. “We talked about what kind of house we wanted to live in and what our marriage ceremony would be like. I didn’t think that he would have to move back to Korea.”

Yoongi moved closer to Taehyung, letting him lean his head on Yoongi’s shoulder.

“I mean, we could make it work if it was long-distance. But Minjae said the move was most likely permanent, and I can’t do that. I belong in California, not there.” Taehyung rubbed his eyes, his tear ducts most likely drained dry already. He took a deep breath and sighed shakily. “I miss him already, and he’s not even gone yet.”

Yoongi didn’t say any platitudes like how time heals all scars, because this was one wound that was unlikely to ever heal. He had never met a couple more in love than these two, and his stomach sunk at the knowledge that even relationships like theirs could end. “We’re here for you,” he said instead.

“Thanks,” Taehyung said. He sniffled, and laughed. “This movie’s really sad, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” Yoongi murmured, even though they were at the most lighthearted part of the movie. “It’s pretty sad.”

*

“Look at that hat that woman’s wearing,” Taehyung whispered to Yoongi over their brunch table. After graduation, they managed to keep up their tradition of Sunday brunches since they didn’t live that far from each other. Although it was difficult to find jobs in their respective fields at first, both of their careers were launching at this point.

Yoongi tried to peek surreptitiously at where Taehyung is pointing. If he were drinking his coffee right now, he would have spit it out.

He turned back to Taehyung, who was snickering behind his hand. “Oh my god,” Yoongi whispered. “What is that abomination?”

“I work in the fashion industry, and yet I’ve never seen anything like that.” Taehyung shook his head, smiling. “Ah, Los Angeles. What a wonderfully weird city.”

“You’d think we would get used to seeing stuff like that by now.” Yoongi looked at the check the waiter left behind. “I’ll pay this time. You paid last time.”

“’Kay.” Taehyung took out his phone. “Are we meeting next week? You free at the same time as now?”

“Yeah.” Yoongi put his credit card on top of the receipt.

“Okay, next Saturday 11 am?”

“Yup. It’s a date,” Yoongi joked while leaning back.

“A date, huh?” Taehyung mused before perking up. “Yeah, why not?”

“Wait. What do you mean ‘why not’?” Yoongi straightened up, alarmed.

“Let’s go on a date! A real one.” Taehyung wriggled happily in his seat.

“You're kidding me,” Yoongi deadpanned.

“Nope. C’mon, Yoongi, it’ll be fun! Please? I haven’t been on a date in forever.”

“What makes you think I want to got on a date with you?” Yoongi tried to avert his gaze, but he was too late. Taehyung was employing his most deadly pout, which he knew Yoongi was weak against.

“I’ll keep making this face until you give in, you know.” To enunciate his point, Taehyung’s eyes somehow got bigger.

Yoongi managed to resist for a few seconds before collapsing like a house of cards. “Okay, fine. One date. That’s it. Oh god, I’m going to regret this.”

*

Against Yoongi’s expectations, they ended up going on that date. He had hoped that Taehyung forgot about what he said, but he nearly gave Yoongi a heart attack by ringing his doorbell early next Sunday morning.

“I’m picking you up. For our date,” Taehyung had emphasized, fire in his eyes.

At the end of their date, Yoongi reluctantly admitted, “That wasn’t bad.”

They basically did the things that they usually did as friends, except for the fact that they held hands. But Yoongi found that he liked holding Taehyung’s hands. They were soft, with the exception of a callus on his index finger from drawing fashion designs all day long. It was especially nice to go on a date with someone he knew he got along with already. They knew each other so well that it wasn’t awkward at all. Instead, it was like settling into a warm sweater on a cold rainy day.

Taehyung just grinned at him. “Want to go on another one?”

Yoongi didn’t say no. This probably wouldn’t work out in the long run anyway.

When Yoongi told Hoseok that they went on a date, he just blinked and nodded.

“What?” Yoongi demanded. “Why aren’t you more surprised?”

“I mean, it’s about time that Taehyung started dating someone again?” Hoseok shrugged helplessly. “And I can see you guys working out?”

Yoongi stared at Hoseok like he lost his mind.

Hoseok shrugged again. “Why not just see where it goes?”

*

It was a quiet and cool night as they walked back from watching a movie. Taehyung had been the only person laughing during one of the scenes and Yoongi could still remember the incredulous faces of some of the other movie watchers as they turned to watch Taehyung absolutely lose it over the most random scene. Yoongi couldn’t believe he thought Taehyung was cute.

He said that out loud and Taehyung looked gleefully at him. “You think I’m cute?”

“Sometimes,” Yoongi muttered, ears flushing red. Taehyung smiled and swung their hands and Yoongi went along with it. It was fucking cliché but in this moment, it felt like the whole world belonged only to the two of them and Yoongi wanted to savor the feeling forever.

When they reached Yoongi’s apartment entrance, Taehyung was quiet. He was tugging at a strand of his hair, a nervous habit of his.

“What is it?” Yoongi asked.

Taehyung faced him, looping his arms around Yoongi’s neck. Yoongi automatically rested his hands on Taehyung’s hips, heady with his scent.

“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” Taehyung breathed with his eyes half-lidded.

Yoongi was caught off guard by the rush of heat that travelled from his chest to his stomach. There was nothing he wanted more than to see Taehyung spread out on his bed sheets. “Only if you want me to.”

Taehyung smiled sweetly and stole Yoongi’s breath. Later, Yoongi would pinpoint that this was the moment he realized he had already handed off his heart to this man and was never going to get it back.

“Yes,” Taehyung said. “Invite me in, Yoongi.”

*

“Yoongi.” He wasn’t sure if that was a figment of his imagination or not, so he stayed lying on the couch, snuggled comfortably with all the pillows in the perfect configuration.

“Yoongi!” Okay, that was definitely Taehyung calling him from their bedroom. Letting out a groan, Yoongi rolled off the couch, just barely landing on his feet.

“Yeah?” He padded over to the bedroom, not even bothering to flatten his disarrayed hair. He stopped when he saw Taehyung sitting on the floor, a terrifyingly familiar ring box placed in front of Taehyung’s crossed legs. The logo of a well-known jewelry store that sold exclusively engagement rings was engraved on top of the box.

“So,” Taehyung said. “I found this when I was trying to look for the other half of my polka dotted socks.”

Yoongi stood frozen beside the door.

Taehyung brushed his finger against the top of the velvety box and examined the thin layer of dust collected on his finger. “Were you ever going to ask me?” He asked softly.

Yoongi stared at the corner of the wall instead of Taehyung’s burning gaze. Yoongi opened his mouth, found that nothing came out, and swallowed to try again. “I was going to, but then I thought…”

“Thought what?” Taehyung opened the box, his thumb tracing the ring that Yoongi agonized over for months. His expression was closed.

“If I asked you, and you said yes, then… Then it would be even harder for me to let you go. If I ever had to.” Yoongi clenched his hands in his sweatpants, determinedly staring at the wall. He swallowed again even though his throat was desert dry.

A sharp intake of breath was all he heard in the ringing silence. Yoongi turned to see Taehyung slowly get up from the floor.

“Then don’t,” Taehyung said, voice small.

Yoongi’s throat worked before croaking, “What?”

“Don’t ever let me go.” Taehyung stepped closer, until they were face to face. He reached out to unclench Yoongi’s hands from his pants, and then guided Yoongi’s arms to circle around Taehyung’s waist. “Hold me closer instead.”

Taehyung leaned into Yoongi, his hands coming up to clutch the back of Yoongi’s t-shirt. Yoongi couldn’t help but tighten his arms, pressing his nose against Taehyung’s nape and breathed him in like it was his last breath. Despite what he said, Taehyung still felt like an ephemeral dream in his arms. But for now, he will do his best to hold him as long as Taehyung wanted him to.

*

“How do I look?” Taehyung poses expectantly, his favorite shirt and jeans on. His wardrobe is full of the latest fashion, and this outfit is no exception. He’s wearing the bracelet that Yoongi found two weeks ago on the bathroom floor.

Yoongi blinks at him. His husband looks gorgeous, as always. He wants to say that, but instead what comes out of his mouth is: “You’ll be cold in that. I’m bringing your jacket with me.”

Taehyung pouts. “But it clashes with the style!”

“I don’t care. If you catch a cold, you’ll be insufferable for days,” Yoongi says. Taehyung crosses his arms and narrows his eyes, but Yoongi is not budging on this. The last time he got sick, he sent Yoongi a bunch of crying emoji the whole time Yoongi was at work and made him feel helpless at how pitiful Taehyung looked when he came back home.

Taehyung turns towards his side of the closet, obviously contemplating an outfit change.

“Tae, we’re going to be late if you change. Isn’t this a dinner you’ve been looking forward to?”

Taehyung turns back towards Yoongi. “Yeah, you’re right. Let’s go.”

They tangle their hands together as they walk towards their car. “How many people are there going to be again?” Yoongi asks.

“I don’t know,” Taehyung says. “Since Minjae is visiting, everyone wants to see him. Hoseok said he made the reservations.”

Yoongi snorts. “Knowing him, he probably ordered Donghyuk to do it instead.”

Taehyung gets into the driver’s seat. “Probably.”

Yoongi turns on the radio station as Taehyung starts the car.

“Oh, I recognize this one. Didn’t you help produce it?” Taehyung bops his head to the beat of the song that comes on. “I remember liking it a lot.”

Yoongi leans back. “Yeah. It was such a pain to tweak, but this is one of my better ones.”

Taehyung hums in acknowledgment. “Oh, did you hear about our neighbor’s daughter?”

“What?”

“She got a full-ride scholarship to that college she wanted to go to.” Taehyung gestures at his phone. “Is that the address we’re going to?”

“Damn. Good for her. And yeah, that’s the restaurant.” Yoongi double-checks in case, but it’s the same address that Hoseok texted him last night.

“I remember you took forever to pay your student loans off. Thank goodness she doesn’t have to go through that.”

“Don’t remind me. Being an out-of-state student sucks.” Yoongi changes the radio channel when the commercials come on. “Traffic is surprisingly good today.”

“We’ll actually be there early!” Taehyung grins. “Jimin will be so surprised.”

“What kind of restaurant is this?”

“Not sure. Hoseok said his co-worker recommended it to him?” Taehyung took the next exit. “It’s bound to be good, since the last time the same co-worker recommended him a place, it was amazing. Remember that Mediterranean place?”

“The one with the juicy lamb skewers? Oh god, just thinking about it is making me really hungry.”

“Well, we’re almost there.” Taehyung turns into the parking lot of the restaurant. “In fact, we’re here! Do you think we’re the first ones here?”

“I doubt it. Hoseok and Donghyuk live really close by to this place.” Yoongi unbuckles his seat belt.

As predicted, they’re already standing in front of the restaurant, Hoseok with his phone in his hand and Donghyuk looking over his shoulder.

“We’re early!” Taehyung flings his arms up. Hoseok looks up, also extending his arms for a hug.

“A miracle!” Hoseok says. “No one else is here yet.”

Taehyung does an exaggerated fist pump, making Hoseok crack up.

“Minjae says that he’s on his way,” Hoseok says, looking over his messages. “He’ll probably be here soon, and I don’t know Jimin is. We’ll wait out here a little bit longer before heading in.”

“Sounds good,” Taehyung says. “It looks like a busy restaurant.”

“I’m so hungry,” Yoongi says, sitting down on a ledge.

“Same here,” Donghyuk says. “Hoseok told me to save my stomach for this so now I’m fucking starving.”

“It’ll be good. Jin recommended it to me, so it’s got to be good.” Hoseok’s phone makes a sound, and he checks it again. “Jimin says he’s just headed out.”

Taehyung whoops. “For once, I can hold his lateness over his head instead of the other way around!”

“Hey guys.” They turn to see Minjae walking towards them, one hand in his pocket and the other extended for a wave. “Long time no see.”

Hoseok immediately launches himself at Minjae for a suffocating hug, which Minjae endures gamely with a weak pat at his back. Once he separates himself from Hoseok’s octopus arms, he greets the rest of them individually.

When he gets up to Taehyung, the corners of his eyes crinkle as he smiles softly at him. “You look lovely today.”

Taehyung opens up like a flower underneath the sun. “Thanks! You look good, too.”

Yoongi looks away, wondering why he can’t say these compliments as easily as Minjae can.

“Taehyung actually arrived before me? What is this sorcery?” Jimin’s voice breaks their moment. “And hi, Minjae! You haven’t changed at all.”

Everyone welcomes Jimin with various complaints about how hungry they all are.

“Sorry, I got caught up with something related to work,” Jimin says, slinging his arm over Taehyung’s shoulders. “We can go in now, right?”

“Yeah.” Donghyuk looks at his watch. “The reservation was set at 7pm, so we can head on in.”

When they sit down, Hoseok turns to Minjae. “So, how long are you going to stay this time?”

Minjae smiles brightly. “Actually, I was going to tell you guys at the end of this dinner, but I might as well say it now.”

“Tell us what?” Jimin asks.

“My company’s relocating me to LA this year,” Minjae says. “I’m not sure for how long, but I think if I do well here, I’ll be here on a more permanent basis.”

The table is quiet for a second as they all absorb the information, and then is filled with excitement as everyone tries to talk over each other.

“Dude. That’s awesome!”

“Are you moving in right now?”

“Does that mean you can go on that trip we’ve planned for the winter with us?”

“Guys, let him breathe.” Yoongi tries to calm everyone down, but they’re all too hyped. Even Taehyung looks surprised, even though Yoongi knows they Skype from time to time.

When the table finally calms down, Minjae says, “I’m currently staying at a hotel, and looking for an apartment right now. And it depends on when the trip is.”

Jimin slams his hand down on the table in excitement. “I’ve got space! You can live at my place if you want to – my last roommate moved out a few months ago.”

“Really?” Minjae looks interested. “That might actually work. Is it still the same apartment?”

Jimin nods. “Yeah, it’s the same one.”

Hoseok waves a hand in between them. “You guys can talk about apartments later. We want to hear about what Minjae’s been up to since the last time we saw him.”

The rest of dinner passes by in a similarly loud fashion. Whenever most of their friend group gather together, they’re always bound to create a lot of noise. Yoongi’s long given up on caring about the stares the other tables give them.

The drive back home is quiet, a marked contrast to their dinner, with both of them lost in their own thoughts. Yoongi looks at Taehyung’s profile, lighted up by the streetlights. He is intimately familiar with every nook and slope of that face, but the shadows cast across it makes Taehyung seem unworldly tonight. Like something out of a fairy tale.

*

This is his worst nightmare:

One day, Yoongi will wake up in their bed with the spot next to him empty. He will open their closet to see that half of the hangers have been stripped of clothes. With dread in his gut, he will slowly walk out to their kitchen to see Taehyung sitting still on the chair, surrounded by suitcases.

Taehyung will look at him with the saddest eyes, his ring on the counter and Yoongi will want to stop the words that come out of his mouth because he knows what’s coming. “I can’t do this anymore,” Taehyung will say. “I miss him too much. It’s not fair to you.”

And Yoongi will pretend like nothing’s wrong, like his own world isn’t collapsing on itself. He will nod his head like his chest hasn’t just been torn open and stabbed multiple times. “Okay,” he will say. He will let him go because that’s the only thing he knows how to do, even though he doesn’t even know what life is without Taehyung anymore.

“I’m sorry,” Taehyung will say in the most mournful voice and Yoongi will close his eyes. Wishing that he were anywhere else. Wishing that he never fell for someone who had the most beautiful fucking laugh and a heart who already half-belonged to someone else.

*

Donghyuk is the one who opens the door when Yoongi knocks. “Hoseok’s not back yet,” Donghyuk says. “He’ll probably be back soon, though.”

“He was the one who told me to show up at this time,” Yoongi grumbles. “He always does this to me.”

Donghyuk’s lips quirk up. “Do you want a drink while you wait?”

“Yes, please.” Donghyuk hands Yoongi a beer as they settle down the couch, mindlessly watching a basketball game that’s on the TV.

“Minjae’s coming back, huh?” Donghyuk opens up his own beer, taking a swig.

“Yeah. That was a surprise.” Yoongi holds the can in his hands, tracing the condensation drops.

They sit in silence before Donghyuk turns to Yoongi.

“Taehyung won't leave you, you know,” Donghyuk says, watching Yoongi carefully.

“I know,” Yoongi says, smiling sadly. “But a love like theirs isn’t extinguished so easily.” There’s a pause as Yoongi takes a drink from the can. “And sometimes I just think that I’m not the right person for him.”

Donghyuk turns his attention back to the TV. “You know,” he says conversationally. “I used to think that I didn’t deserve Hoseok. I still think that.”

Yoongi raises his eyebrows. “You’re the only one who puts up with all his shit. I don’t think anyone else can do that.”

“Yeah, but.” Donghyuk shrugs. “He’s the sun, and I’m…” Donghyuk shakes his head. “He deserves someone equally bright and kind as him.”

Yoongi stays silent as Donghyuk turns toward him. “But Yoongi,” Donghyuk says. “Love isn’t about whether or not you deserve them. It’s their choice to be with you, and you just have to count yourself goddamn lucky to be the one that they chose.”

Yoongi swallows, looking back down on the can. The key turns in the lock, and Hoseok barges in through the door.

“What’s with this atmosphere?” Hoseok asks, his loud voice echoing through the apartment. “Why do you guys look so serious?”

“We were talking shit about you,” Yoongi says. He takes a sip.

“What? Seriously?” Hoseok looks at Donghyuk for confirmation, but his boyfriend just grins mischievously at him. “You guys suck.”

“What took you so long?” Yoongi complains. “You told me to come here thirty minutes ago.”

“Excuse me for being busy.” Hoseok sets his keys down. “I’m going to go for a quick bathroom break and then we can head out, Yoongi.”

When Hoseok comes back out, Yoongi stands up and turns to Donghyuk. “Thanks,” he says. “I’ll keep what you said in mind.”

“Anytime,” Donghyuk says. “Have fun, you guys.”

Hoseok looks between them suspiciously. He asks Yoongi as they head out: “Keep what in mind? Is this some kind of conspiracy I’m not aware of? Is this related to the ‘talking shit about me’ thing?”

Yoongi grins at his best friend as he holds open the door for him, taking the opportunity to annoy him whenever he gets to. “Well, too bad you’ll never know.”

*

When they go to sleep that night, Taehyung settles in next to him and touches his hand after they turn the lights off.

“You know, right?” Taehyung says into the stillness of the night.

“Know what?” Yoongi turns toward him. Even in the darkness, his eyes can trace the way Taehyung’s hair falls into his eyes.

“That Minjae coming back to LA doesn’t change anything between us.”

“I know,” Yoongi says. “But I still get scared that you’ll leave one day.”

“Just because I love you differently than I loved him doesn’t mean it’s any less,” Taehyung says, shifting closer to Yoongi. Yoongi reaches out to wrap his arm around Taehyung’s waist, needing the reassurance tonight.

“I know that you get sad when you feel like you’re not being romantic enough,” Taehyung whispers. “But I don’t need that. You take care of me in the ways that matter everyday.”

Yoongi’s chest feels too full. He holds Taehyung closer. “Go to sleep,” he says. “You have to wake up early tomorrow.”

He feels the imprint of Taehyung’s smile against his skin. “Okay. Good night, Yoongi.”

“Good night.”