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Taking One for the Team

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Look, Yoongi isn’t a jerk or anything, but he loves seeing Seokjin get angry. Witnessing Seokjin get angry is like watching your favourite football team pull together and start smashing it in the final quarter of the game – you just know that shit’s about to go down. Yoongi’s always there and ready, cheering from the grandstand with Seokjin’s colours painted on his face.

Mind you, Seokjin doesn’t get angry often. He certainly doesn’t get angry as often as he should. Taehyung and Jimin were playing Frisbee in the kitchen last week while Seokjin was cooking, one of them crashed backwards into him and what did Seokjin have to say about it? “Be careful, boys, we don’t want you hurting yourselves.” That’s what Seokjin had to say about it. Like, what in the funhouse of fuck? Even Hoseok had thought Seokjin was being too nice. And Hoseok’s practically an ordained saint.

So Yoongi savours those rare moments when he gets to see his lovely hyung kick some well-deserved butt. He documents them in his diary, actually. Or he used to, before Jungkook found his diary, and – well. Well, it’s best if that whole situation is forgotten about, really. It suffices to say that “dear diary, today my best friend nearly punched our manager and I nearly fainted in delight” is something that none of Yoongi’s dongsaengs need ever hear again, ever. It’s none of their damn business, the little brats.

Now Yoongi documents that type of information in a password-protected document in a password-protected folder on his password-protected computer, with some intimidating stuff about Spanish guard dogs scrawled in black marker on his laptop case for good measure. Maybe Jungkook doesn’t mind messing with Yoongi, but he’s not going to mess with Emanuelo the bloodhound. Sucker. (Emanuelo the bloodhound isn’t real, but Jungkook doesn’t need to know that.)

Anyway, it pains Yoongi to say it, but he might not actually be the most bad-ass person in the history of the universe. Because he’s pretty sure that the most bad-ass person in the history of the universe wouldn’t have a sappy unrequited crush on their best friend.

Said best friend is stumbling through the door of their shared bedroom right now. Yoongi sits upright, assessing Seokjin’s state. His face is curled into a frustrated little frown and his cheeks are dusted with the rosy tint of mild inebriation. He smells like fruit and alcohol. Yoongi feels his heart jump in excitement. Seokjin’s annoyed about something.

Okay, reign it in, Yoongi tells himself sternly. He shoves his glee aside for the moment. He hurries over to Seokjin’s side; a perfect picture of socked feet and innocence. “Jin-hyung? What’s up?”

Seokjin looks puzzled, like he’s trying to decide whether to pretend to be sober or just let it all out. At length he gives up and just sits down on his bed. He tries to take off his leather jacket and fails halfway, his arms caught in the sleeves. He pouts and wiggles the sleeves half-heartedly. “I have troubles.”

Yoongi has sat in baths of icy water before, but this cuteness is almost too much for him. He sits beside Seokjin, gently helping him with the jacket. “I can see that. What’s wrong?”

Yoongi removes the jacket completely and folds it in Seokjin’s lap. Seokjin’s face just crumples. “H... h...” he starts hiccupping, trying to form words.

Oh. No. Oh no, oh no, oh no. Crying isn’t a situation covered in the literary manual Roommate 101, because there is no Roommate 101, because apparently Yoongi the writer has been utterly let down by every writer that has ever come before him. His heart sinks. He’s flying blind here. “Oh, hey now. It’s okay. Take some deep breaths, there you go. Why don’t you tell old Yoongi what’s got you so upset, now, hey?”

Seokjin looked like he was managing to get himself under control, but at the word ‘old’ he bursts into a fresh round of tears. Yoongi is completely at a loss. He was expecting to be allowed to hit someone, not to deal with feelings and stuff. He rubs Seokjin’s back. “Come on. Talk to me.”

“Ju-Jungkook... Jungkook... he...” Seokjin takes some shaky breaths. Yoongi purses his lips. If Jungkook has done something to upset Seokjin he’s going to summon Emanuelo from the depths of his imagination and set him loose on that boy. “H-he said he saw new wr-wrinkles on my f... my f... my face. He called me an old man!” Seokjin bursts into sobs all over again.

Yoongi pauses. Seokjin is the most inscrutable mixture of sensitive and confident that he’s ever met, and neither Yoongi nor the rest of the band really know how to handle his sensitive side. He peers into Seokjin’s eyes very seriously. “What new wrinkles? I don’t see any. Jungkook was just messing around, hyung.” Seokjin still doesn’t look convinced, so Yoongi continues. He leans in very close, so close that Seokjin can hear his honesty in the gravel of his voice and the beating in his chest. “Your face is stunning. You, to me, are perfect.”

Seokjin’s eyes are wide and his mouth is slightly open in surprise. He closes it and gulps. He looks considerably more sober, and he’s cute even with his eyes all red-rimmed from crying. There’s this weird, heavy silence hanging between them, sparkling with something like electricity.

So of course Yoongi has to open his mouth and ruin it. “Besides,” he adds, not really knowing what he’s saying until he says it, “In eighty years we’ll probably all be dead or dying and your looks won’t matter at all!”

Fuck. Shit. Yoongi can literally feel the universe judging him. He can literally hear the screaming in his soul as it tries to regurgitate itself from his body. And worst of all, he can literally see Seokjin fall to pieces all over again. Seokjin doesn’t cry this time, no. Instead he just goes pale and gives a despondent little nod. Then he crawls under his bed covers and pulls them up over him, obscuring himself from Yoongi’s sight. Yoongi splutters. “Hyung. Hyung?”

“I’m just going to sleep now,” Seokjin says softly. “I’m tired.”

Yoongi groans. “Hyung!” Seokjin doesn’t answer.

Yoongi whips out his phone and sends two texts.

To: Jungkook

From: Yoongi

I’m going to get you.

 

To: Namjoon

From: Yoongi

Kid SOS I need HELP jin-hyung was having body image issues and I accidentally made it 1000 times worse what do I do

 

His phone buzzes twice, just a minute later.

To: Yoongi

From: Jungkook

?????

whatever I did, I swear I didn’t do it

 

To: Yoongi

From: Namjoon

Whoa, hold up. Are we talking about the same Jin-hyung here?

 

To: Namjoon

From: Yoongi

YES idgi either but a Moron Who Shall Not Be Named said some stuff to him and he got all tipsy and sad. And then when I was trying to comfort him I accidentally gave him an existential crisis by talking about dying and death and the void and looks not mattering because our lives resemble the slow gravitation of matter towards a black hole... okay I exaggerated that last part but I’m pretty sure I fucked up

 

To: Yoongi

From: Namjoon

Dang... hyung... you’re on your own.

 

To: Namjoon

From: Yoongi

Joonie I’m begging you here

 

To: Yoongi

From: Namjoon

Okay. Don’t say anything else, for goodness’ sake. Just give him a hug.

Yoongi just sits on his bed for a minute, contemplating life. Then he pads over to Seokjin and flops on top of him in an unceremonious hug. “Psst. Jin-hyung. Hey, Jin-hyung.”

Jin peers up at him. “Yes?”

Yoongi gives him a smooch on the cheek. He’s going off script, veering away from Namjoon’s careful plan, but here goes. “You’re beautiful. I mean it. Your mind and body and spirit are comprised of the most beautiful parts of the universe. And when your looks change – which they will, eventually, but knowing your luck it probably won’t be for a very, very long time – you’ll be as radiant as always. People stop fighting when you walk into the room, you know? And it’s because just the sight of you reminds them how to love.”

(Yoongi’s going to choke. Christ, that sounds like something Namjoon would write.)

Seokjin just stares at him for a moment. Then, finally, his lips turn up into a sweet smile. “Thanks, Yoongi. That’s so nice.”

Yoongi sighs in relief. Ten points for Ravenclaw. ‘That’s so nice’ is Seokjin-talk for ‘I feel better, woodland creatures are singing, all is well in the world.’

Yoongi bites Seokjin’s ear in a rare display of affection and sends a quick text to Jungkook.

To: Jungkook

From: Yoongi

You are safe. For now.

His phone buzzes in response. He opens the new message from Jungkook only to see a picture of Jungkook’s bicep with a little smiley face drawn on it and the caption, my guns and I are so relieved.

One day that kid is going to surpass Yoongi in sass levels. It’s terrifying.

-

Two weeks later they’re in Europe. It’s a sunny day, which means that Seokjin is dressed for warm weather, which means that it’s a bad day for Yoongi’s Little Yoongi.

Seokjin is wearing a blue t-shirt with a very low collar. The material probably isn’t meant to be slightly see-through, but it is. Hoseok keeps catching Yoongi’s gaze when Seokjin isn’t looking, gesturing emphatically to Seokjin and fanning himself. Thank you, Hoseok, Yoongi wants to say. I already know that Seokjin’s hot. No antics needed.

They’ve been filming all morning, so when it hits noon they stop for gelato. They sit around a fountain and Namjoon tests out his Italian skills on random passers-by. Jimin gets his face squeezed by an old lady and Jungkook somehow acquires a large block of cheese. Hoseok rests against Seokjin’s shoulder and complains about how it’s ‘mighty difficult to breathe in this heat’, because apparently he’s a dainty maiden from the 1800s and Seokjin is his gentleman of choice.

To make matters worse, there’s Taehyung. Taehyung keeps side-eyeing Yoongi and giggling whenever Yoongi has a dirty thought about Seokjin. It’s honestly just very unnerving at this point. Yoongi’s not sure whether Taehyung’s a telepath or just an unacknowledged interpersonal genius, but either way, he seems to know about Yoongi’s crush on the eldest member and it’s a very stressful situation.

When they’re back in the van, Jimin notices Taehyung’s odd behaviour. “Hey, Tae, why do you keep giving Yoongi weird looks?”

Fearing that Taehyung might reveal his secret, Yoongi cuts in swiftly. “He’s trying to send me an alien message using his hashtag 4D powers. Blerp.”

Shit. Shit. Yoongi instantly curses his big mouth and glances worriedly at Taehyung. It’s common knowledge in their group that Taehyung hates the alien thing. Last time Yoongi brought up the alien thing, Taehyung didn’t talk to him for a week. The time before that, Taehyung went into some kind of perfectly-concealed chaotic emotional spiral and none of them knew about it until months later, when he started compulsively complaining about his troubles in Morse code. (Taehyung didn’t realise that Namjoon actually knew Morse code. Or maybe he did. Maybe it was a nerd’s cry for help, intended to be discerned by another nerd. Either way, they all owe their leader some thanks.)

Taehyung just smiles at Yoongi blithely. “Haha. Good one, hyung. You got me there.”

Yoongi chuckles nervously. “Yeah, I got you, haha.” It’s the sort of nervousness he feels when he knows he’s been a dick and he knows that there will be consequences.

Seokjin is watching the exchange from the passenger seat. Yoongi sees a hint of judgement in his expression. Fuck. Yoongi is so fucked.

-

They take another break from filming their trip to just relax on the beach. After freezing his nervousness with two orange-flavoured ice blocks, Yoongi swallows his pride and approaches Taehyung. He sits down beside his dongsaeng and fidgets awkwardly. “Sorry.”

Taehyung snorts. “Well, you’re upfront. I’ll give you that.”

Yoongi nibbles his lip. “Are you upset with me? Are you upset at all? I really am sorry.”

Taehyung blinks innocently. “For what?”

Yoongi groans. “For calling you an alien.”

Taehyung gives a little hand gesture as if to say, go on.

“Um,” Yoongi flounders, “for ironically using the term ‘4D’ while portraying my friend as a two-dimensional character, for partaking in the ostracism of anybody and everybody who doesn’t fit into society’s admittedly very narrow definition of conventional behaviour, for, um, not even being original with my insult... fuck, Tae, I don’t know. I’m just sorry for being a bit of a dick. I try not to be,” he says earnestly.

Taehyung gives a satisfied little nod and smiles at him. “All we can do is try. I’m sorry if I was freaking you out earlier.”

Yoongi sighs, honestly just relieved. “It’s fine. It’s in the past.”

Taehyung studies him quietly. “You’re not nearly as bad-ass as you like to pretend to be,” he declares.

Yoongi huffs. “I beg your pardon? I exude bad-assery. It’s a natural talent. ”

Taehyung laughs so brightly that some seagulls on the shoreline fly away.

They slip into silence. Yoongi still feels all kinds of uneasy. Eventually Taehyung says, “I know you like him. And I know you’re worried about what people think. More specifically, you’re worried that he’ll be hurt by what people think.”

Yoongi just gapes. “I am not.”

Taehyung continues, unfazed. “You worry about him because he doesn’t really handle difficult situations in an aggressive way. So you think he’s vulnerable. And if he’s vulnerable, that makes the prospect of dating him a bit more complicated. Or at least, it makes the prospect of dating him publicly a bit more complicated.”

Yoongi blinks. “You should charge people money to hear the things you say, sometimes.”

Taehyung laughs genuinely. “Thanks, hyung. Anyway, I’m sorry for laughing at you before. Honestly.”

Yoongi smiles. “Are we cool?”

Taehyung squints at him. “It’s thirty-five degrees Celsius, hyung.”

Yoongi groans. Not the puns. Please not the puns. “I don’t care that we’re literally outdoors already; get out.”

Taehyung blinks. “I’m not getting out. Ever,” he deadpans.

“Um?”

Taehyung’s eyes are wide and innocent, with mischief slowly gathering inside them like the first winds of a hurricane. “In fifteen years, when you and Seokjin are married and trying to adopt twins, I’ll be there, living on your couch, watching Spongebob reruns and drinking Cola. And just so you know, the cost of my Cola will be coming out of your pocket. And Cola prices will have skyrocketed by then. Because of the Great Soft Drink Recession of 2025.”

Taehyung says all of this with a completely straight face. Yoongi twitches. “You’re such a sweet kid but I’m genuinely scared by you sometimes.”

Taehyung smiles blithely. “Your kids are going to call me Uncle Tae, but secretly they’re going to think I’m your illegitimate son from an earlier relationship. Anyway,” he points over Yoongi’s shoulder, “I think Hoseok-hyung is bothering your man.”

Yoongi whips his head around. Hoseok is sitting on Seokjin’s lap, making bird noises and grabbing Seokjin’s chips to throw to the seagulls that have gathered around them. Seokjin is yelping and trying to snatch the box of chips back from Hoseok.

Yoongi groans and makes to stand up. Taehyung gives him a little shoulder pat. “Just – take care, okay, hyung?” Taehyung says. “Maybe you’re the one that’s vulnerable.”

Yoongi stifles a groan. Everyone seems to think that they’re some kind of mystic, these days. So many riddles. He gives a gruff nod and goes over to stop Hoseok from recreating the fucking Birds movie. Yoongi might not be some directorial whizz like Hitchcock, but he knows bad acting when he sees it.

“Seokseok!” Yoongi calls. “Get off Jin-hyung. He’s got a sore leg.” Jin-hyung doesn’t actually have a sore leg, to Yoongi’s knowledge, but Hoseok’s butt is so bony that a sore leg probably isn’t far off.

“I’m keeping Jin-hyung company,” Hoseok protests.

Yoongi sits down beside them, waving his arms at some birds as he does so. The birds fly away.

“Well – well so am I, and I don’t feel the need to sit on his lap.”

“Oh, don’t you?” Hoseok counters, quickly as knives. He grins cheekily. Seokjin actually laughs out loud at that one.

Yoongi splutters. “I – what – that’s so not even –”

Seokjin raises a placating hand. “Calm down, boys. There’s enough Seokjin-love for everyone.”

Yoongi scowls. He’s not sure whether Seokjin’s polygamous or oblivious or just an insufferable tease. Maybe he’s a bit of all three.

Then Hoseok leans over and pulls Yoongi in close so that Yoongi, Hoseok and Seokjin are entangled in some kind of weird, three part cuddle. Seokjin rests his head on Yoongi’s shoulder and murmurs, “You smell nice, Yoongi.” It sends a shiver down Yoongi’s back. He’s pretty sure that Seokjin and Hoseok both feel it, but neither one of them seems to mind. Yoongi’s beginning to wonder if there’s some kind of agenda here.

His train of thought is interrupted by a shriek from somewhere to the left.

“Back off, buttknuckle!” Jimin hollers furiously.

The three of them spring apart. At first Yoongi thinks that Jimin’s insult was directed at him, but he’s horrified when he realises that Jimin’s further down the beach and two large, menacing-looking guys are leaning over him. The men leer, hovering threateningly, and by the time one of them grabs Jimin’s arm Yoongi is already on his feet.

“Hey!” Yoongi yells, sprinting over. His boys are a few paces behind him. “Leave him alone!”

The men look at Yoongi and cackle in response. “Get off me,” Jimin snarls, hoarse from shock as he shoves the one holding him with all his might. The other man says something and neither Yoongi nor Jimin understand his words. Then they hoist Jimin up with ease and begin walking towards the water.

Yoongi sees red. He launches himself at Jimin’s attackers. One of them knocks him down, hard. Yoongi lands on the sand, gasping for breath. He sees Jimin squirm his way free and give the man who shoved Yoongi a solid kick. The bullies are advancing on Yoongi again. Yoongi scowls at them.

And then Seokjin and Namjoon are there, hooking their arms around the attackers’ necks and bringing them under control. Namjoon pins his guy down with the help of Jungkook and Taehyung, while Hoseok hurriedly gets Jimin out of the way. But Seokjin’s guy breaks free and swings his fist around wildly. It connects with Seokjin’s face and Yoongi gasps. The punch isn’t hard enough to cause serious damage, but it definitely looked hard enough to hurt. Seokjin goes down and Yoongi is up and running. He kicks the man hard in the groin. Then he laughs.

-

Thirty minutes later, a tired-looking Namjoon is explaining the whole incident to the local police. The managers and small film crew are sitting around, not sure who to berate. Yoongi, Seokjin and Jimin are being attended to by the beach medics. Jimin’s not injured, per se, but he’s badly shaken. Yoongi’s bruised and a little winded. Seokjin has a nasty bruise spreading on his face and a furious look in his eyes.

“Those fucking jerks,” Seokjin rants, his voice low. “What was their problem? I’m going to call their mothers. I’m going to find out who their mothers are and call them, right now.”

Jimin offers a small smile. “You don’t even speak their language.”

“So? Namjoon speaks a little bit of Italian. Or maybe their mothers can speak English. Or maybe I’ll do charades.”

Jimin pats Seokjin’s knee. “You’ve done plenty today. Thanks for saving me and Yoongi-hyung from those guys. Thank you, too, Yoongi-hyung.”

“Anytime,” Yoongi replies, seeing the dark lines under Jimin’s eyes and the fragility behind his smile.

Seokjin nods emphatically. “Always. Of course. You’re my boys.”

He says it like it’s so simple. Yoongi looks at Seokjin and is breathtaken for a moment. Seokjin’s hair is messy and his face is bruised and he smells like sunscreen and sea salt, collarbones showing. Yoongi is amazed that the universe would ever show him anyone this gorgeous. This lovely. This good.

“I love you,” Yoongi blurts.

Oh, fuck. Yoongi’s heart sinks a second later when he realises what he’s just done. Zero points for Ravenclaw. Ravenclaw, go home.

Seokjin blinks. “Aww. I love you, too.” He smiles blithely.

Yoongi is about to stammer a response, or maybe he’s about to morph into a pond creature and just lurk away in shame or something. But then he notices large, moon-like eyes hovering above Seokjin’s shoulder. Yoongi frowns. His guardian angel?

The eyes crinkle in suspicion and Yoongi does a mental face-palm. Oh, right. Jimin.

Yoongi tries to silently communicate his desperation to the eyes. Jimin nods once and springs into action. “I love my hyungs the most!” Jimin cheers, dumping himself in their laps. Seokjin laughs and the weird moment is gone. Yoongi’s lungs decide not to swallow themselves, after all.

Thank the skies above for Jimin. Nineteen-thousand points for Hufflepuff. Fuck.

-

“You’re in love with Seokjin-hyung,” Jimin declares later that night.

Yoongi groans. Can’t a grumpy music nerd relax on his hotel bed in peace? The others are out for dinner, so thankfully no one is around to hear Jimin’s accusation.

Not that Jimin’s necessarily wrong.

Yoongi looks up at the kid and groans again. “I’m a Pisces, you don’t understand.”

Jimin snorts. He sits down on the bed. Yoongi tries to swat him away, and fails. “That’s why Taehyung keeps giggling and making money sounds. That’s why Hoseok’s been hitting on Seokjin for the past month – to make you jealous so that you’ll actually do something about it.”

“I’m not jealous. Wait, how does Taehyung make money sounds? What’s money got to do with it?”

Jimin flaps a hand dismissively. “So when are you going to confess to Seokjin? Like, properly confess?”

Yoongi sits up. “Oh my fucking goodness, is Taehyung going on about the Soda Recession? That’s years from now!”

Jimin squints at him. “What? Yoongi-hyung, focus please. I’m pretty sure Tae just made a few bets about you guys here and there. He said something about using the revenue to fuel Jungkook’s rocket. I don't know. It's a maknae thing.”

“Hold up. Are we talking about astrophysics or erectile dysfunction?”

“I don’t know and I don’t care. Listen, I really think you should confess. I think Jin-hyung likes you back.” Jimin’s face is entirely serious.

Yoongi snorts. “What? No, he doesn’t. He’s like – no. It just wouldn’t work.”

“Why?”

“Because Jin-hyung’s like a radiant prince or something – don’t laugh at me – and I’m like his knight. Or something. Shut up.”

Jimin’s face is scrunched up in mirth. “That’s sweet.”

“No, it’s not.”

Jimin calms down. “Okay. So you see yourself as Jin-hyung’s knight in shining armour.”

“Yes – no – I don’t know. I’m just, y’know. I’m his friend. I’m the one that looks out for him while he’s looking out for everyone.”

Jimin smiles. “Aww.”

Yoongi frowns. “No, not aww.  It has to be like that.”

“Why?”

“Because that’s the way our group works. Everyone has a role.”

Jimin smirks. “Why?”

Yoongi huffs. Jimin’s being annoying and he knows it. “Because! Imagine if I decided I was the lead dancer now and you decided to be the lead rapper. And then Jungkook decided to be, I don’t know, a fucking audience member. It’d all be a mess.”

“That’s true.”

“Exactly. And it’d be a mess if I decided that I wanted to be Jin-hyung’s boyfriend.”

“Why?”

“Because I’d be asking Jin-hyung to change things and I’d be asking you guys to change things and it’d just... it’d be confusing. Things would happen.”

“What would happen?”

“Can you stop with the weird questions? I don’t know. We’d probably have to keep it secret from the public for a while. But everyone would just adjust, I guess.”

“Why?” Jimin is smiling now.

“Duh. Because we’re a team.”

“And what if Jin-hyung doesn’t like you that way?”

Yoongi meets Jimin’s eyes and they’re both quiet for a moment. Yoongi thinks about Seokjin’s hair and Seokjin’s eyes and Seokjin’s protective side and Seokjin’s warm soft heart and Seokjin singing about love and Seokjin doing fucking everything for him, ever since the day they met.

Yoongi is confident when he answers Jimin. “He does.”

Yoongi hadn't known, until now, that he was teetering on the edge of a decision. But as soon as the words leave his mouth, the decision is made.

-

Yoongi doesn’t mention it to Seokjin until they’re on the plane, ready to go home. The kids are giggling amongst themselves, Hoseok and Namjoon included. Seokjin’s sitting in the window seat right in front of Yoongi. He’s wearing his glasses and gazing sleepily out the window. Soft clouds pass below and above them.

Yoongi leans forward, draping himself on the back of Seokjin’s seat and circling his arms around him from behind. “I love you,” he murmurs. “Let’s go on a date.”

Seokjin turns around, glasses awry and eyes wide. Then he smiles. “I love you, too. Where do you want to go?” He glances around and whispers jokingly, “We could hijack the plane and go to Egypt, or Hawaii, or Switzerland... your pick.”

Yoongi laughs. “Right here is special enough.” He leans in and presses his lips to Seokjin’s, melting against the warmth. Their first kiss in thousands of feet in the air, with Seokjin curled up in the window seat, his hair framed by periwinkle blue.