Yoongi is sitting on the couch in their dorm, watching old Vines on his phone, when suddenly the front door bursts open and a somewhat disheveled-looking Namjoon stumbles in.
Yoongi looks up, vaguely surprised, though he keeps his face carefully neutral. Namjoon usually isn't one to easily lose his cool so this is a bit of a rare occurrence. His face is flushed red and he seems out of breath, as though he had run all the way from the studio, or at least up the stairs.
For a moment, Yoongi considers worrying whether something had happened. But then a big boyish grin spreads over Namjoon's face, dimpling his cheeks.
“Bang PD gave us the green light,” he says and that's how it begins.
It's an idea Namjoon has been pushing for a while now. They have always been known for overstepping the boundaries of the industry, of addressing issues that often got ignored by other artists. Some things were not openly discussed by society and certainly not by k-pop groups.
But they had gotten away with it before, had been praised and acknowledged and curiously questioned what would come next.
“Diversity,” Namjoon had said when he had explained the concept to them “Learning to love yourself, no matter what.”
Yoongi, however, had only lifted an eyebrow, somewhat skeptical.
“We already did that,” he had pointed out. “Literally the same title.”
But Namjoon, when he looked at him, had seemed strangely bright and somber at the same time.
“Not like this,” he had said, like the anticipation of thunder after lightning.
And he had been right.
The overarching theme is dear to them all, of course, and they crowd around the table in poorly concealed excitement. Bang PD has given them full artistic license. It's a kind of responsibility they've never had before, not to this extent, but they are more than ready for it.
“So,” Namjoon says decisively, clapping his hands. “Diversity. Let's brainstorm.”
“Disabilities,” Jungkook says at once. Since the promo pics for Love Yourself had come out, the imagines of him in a wheelchair had caused quite a stir; it was natural that he would want to explore it further.
“Good.” Namjoon nods as Jungkook eagerly scribbles the word down onto the big sheet of paper that is spread out on the table. “Anything in particular?”
“How about sign language?” Hoseok asks and then he is already randomly waving his hands about. “That would look cool in an MV. Or even the choreography.”
They all mull it over for a moment. They would need help with it, but that was a given. The idea itself is solid and certainly unusual, so Namjoon gives an impressed nod and Seokjin claps Hoseok on the back. Hoseok grins proudly and steals the pen from Jungkook's hand, even though he has a perfectly good one lying right there in front of him.
When Hoseok is done writing, however, a moment of silence descends onto them. It's rare for them but there is a certain shyness that comes with the topic. Discussing diversity as a vague concept was already tricky enough if they wanted to remain sensitive to other people's problems, but really talking about something that concerned them personally demanded a specific kind of bravery.
Like a true leader, Namjoon takes the first step.
“I think I'm gonna wear a dress,” he ponders. He says it casually, as though it had only just occurred to him, but it's still obvious that he must have been thinking about it for a while. “You know, different expressions of self.”
“Woah,” Taehyung makes an impressed little sound, looking at him with wide eyes. “That's so cool, hyung.”
Namjoon only winks and then pulls the paper closer to himself.
Then silence, again.
They are all aware of the elephant in the room, have been since the word 'diversity' has even been spoken.
Yoongi sighs. Seems like he would have to throw himself under the bus for this one. He opens his mouth.
“Let's do something gay,” Jimin says and all heads swivel toward him.
Jimin sits there with his hands clenched in his lap and his back very straight. The jut of his chin is determined.
“Well,” Seokjin says slowly. “Namjoon and Kook did I Know .”
“Yes,” Jimin agrees. “But that's just... one line in one song. We should incorporate it into the MV and- and the whole promo concept.”
“So, like, holding hands or-”
“Kissing,” Yoongi says, not caring how rude it is to interrupt. “There should at least be kissing.”
“Um,” Taehyung pipes up, ducking his head carefully. “Are we gonna get that through with the producers and everyone?”
But Namjoon only gives a crooked grin. “I think Bang PD knew what he was in for when he gave us permission.”
“Oh man,” Seokjin says, tilting his head back and turning his face heavenward. “This is going to be so much work.”
The bulk of the song writing, as per usual, goes to Namjoon and Yoongi.
“This is gonna be another Spring Day, huh?” Yoongi comments when he peruses Namjoon's handwritten notes.
“Yeah,” Namjoon says, bobbing his head where he is perched on his office chair. “But with more gravitas. I want the overall message to be a little less subtle and really punch people in the gut, you know?”
Yoongi snorts, sifts through the papers. He taps his fingers against the table, considers. He's not good with this, really, but if he doesn't say it now he probably won't find a good time to say it later either.
“Thanks,” he says, not quite bringing himself to look up. “For doing this.”
“It's alright,” Namjoon says easily as though it were no big deal. As though the depth of their friendship were nothing remarkable. “I know this means a lot to you.”
“Hm,” Yoongi hums in lieu of something more profound to say, grabs a pen and starts jotting down ideas.
With your bones bleached white from the unforgiving sun
Do you still remember the taste of rain?
From then on, the puzzle pieces slowly come together. It's hard work, tedious sometimes, the hours they spent sitting in the studio, arranging and rearranging the beat, tweaking split seconds until their ears ring and their eyes tear up from staring at the computer screens for so long.
When they are close to what they think will be the final version, they present a sample to the others.
Seokjin sits ramrod straight, listening attentively to anything that might feel dissonant while Hoseok is already tapping out the beat against the tabletop. Taehyung and Jungkook lean forward in their chairs, obviously enchanted already. Only Jimin has his eyes closed, bated breath and fluttering eyelashes.
It's starts out like a serenade, lofty, lovely, the part where Namjoon had gotten this intense expression in his eyes, worrying at his thumb as he explained how he wanted violins there, something to spiral everything to divine heights, with the beats coming in, heavy and deep, until the bass suddenly drops like the anticipated plummet on a roller coaster. But then the melody catches up to itself and, where the harmony will tune in with the vocal line, the whole thing gains some steadiness, some certainty, like the lead-up to an epiphany. It's heavier than Spring Day but nowhere near Not Today , and Yoongi loves it with all of his heart.
“Oh yeah,” Hoseok says, excitement clear in his voice as soon as the last note has faded. “That's perfect. I already have tons of ideas.”
He's eager for this choreography, eager to properly get to sing in on of their bigger projects because Taehyung has been begging for a chance to get to rap.
“We got most of the lyrics done,” Namjoon explains. “And I have some ideas on who does what, but we'll see. I'm gonna show the sample to Bang PD tomorrow and then we can start with the first recordings, get a feel for everything.”
“And we can start with the choreography,” Hoseok declares, jostling Jimin with his elbow. “This is gonna be awesome!”
My feet are bare upon the hot asphalt
On this playground, we used to spent our days
The following days are spent with Hoseok running around with his tablet in hand, watching YouTube tutorials on Korean Sign Language, a crease of concentration on his brow that melts away into a smile when someone asks how things are going. Jimin is already bouncing ideas off of Jungkook for a number of dance moves, the two of them sliding around in their socks and polishing the hardwood floor, while Taehyung keeps nagging Namjoon for more pointers on how to improve his rap.
Yoongi just sits bundled up in his hoodie, whittling away at the lyrics. Because Namjoon had been right. This was important to him.
He doesn't glance up when Seokjin sits down next to him but he also doesn't scoot away when he feels him peeking at his notebook. Even Yoongi has some respect for their collective hyung.
“You've made a lot of progress,” Seokjin praises, though for some reason Yoongi can't shake the feeling that he is talking about more than just their song, so he simply gives a non-committal grunt.
Seokjin, of course, is undeterred.
“Have you thought of a title yet?”
Yoongi stills, stares down at the parts of the paper that are still blank.
What follows after spring, after cold mornings woven through with frost?
The answer is more instinctive than anything else.
“White Summer,” he says and Seokjin smiles.
How did we grow up to be like this?
Sometimes, I am scared of myself
They name their comeback Hold My Hand because it's a phrase that implies both offering and needing support. There is a certain intimacy to it, a fragility, but also strength and reassurance. Seokjin had come up with it, in the wee hours of the morning, when their walls were down and they couldn't help but speak a little more truthfully.
Seokjin talks about how he imagines his role in the MV and what it means to him. From there, the ideas all pour in, between lighthearted and serious. They are taking a risk with all of this, they know, but it will be worth it.
It's also when they finally decide who's going to get the gay storyline in the MV.
“It was my idea, so I should do it,” Jimin decides primly but Yoongi only snorts and pushes his beanie out of his eyes.
“How about we let the actually queer guy take the reins here,” he butts in and a few private smiles light up across the dim room. Yoongi's never really tried to hide his preferences, especially since his desire to further his career superseded his potential interest in any sort of romantic relationship, and the members had always fully supported him.
But this is still a big leap of faith. If someone else took the role, they could brush it off as it being just that, a role, an act, an artistic choice to show support for the LGBT fans. If Yoongi did it... well. He wouldn't be able to deny it without considering himself a liar, and if he didn't deny it he would end up forever stigmatized in the eyes of the public. But it wasn't like he had ever much cared about other people's opinion.
What he had not counted on, however, was the stubborn expression on Jimin's face.
“Hyung,” he begins, shoulders pulling up in defiance. “I really think-
“How about you both do it,” Hoseok suggests cheekily, not even giving Jimin a chance to plead his case, and Namjoon coughs a laugh into his fist.
“Yeah, Suga,” he drawls. “Why don't you both do it?”
Yoongi pushes his beanie back down so his death glare doesn't accidentally kill their revered leader.
“Didn't we agree that there'd be kissing?” he asks simply.
“So?” Namjoon says. “Are you scared?”
“Of what?” Yoongi asks because, really, what would he be scared of? Of the repercussions? Of having to act his way through a kissing scene? Of their resident mochi who's... currently looking a bit more abashed than before.
“I think that's a cool idea!” Taehyung says enthusiastically. “I bet you could pull it off, Chimchim.”
“The internet is gonna explode,” Jungkook whispers with something between fear and glee. “It's gonna be crazy.”
“We should be careful, though,” Seokjin cautions. “We don't want to distract from the actual song and everything.”
“True,” Namjoon admits. “It has to be poignant and tasteful. We don't wanna get anything banned.”
“Gee, Joon, it's not like we were planning to shoot a porno,” Yoongi huffs. “A kiss or two, and that's it. We're probably not even gonna be allowed to do closeups or anything.”
He says it lackadaisically, but he knows even the mere implication of two male idols kissing for anything that wasn't explicitly meant as fan service would have some people hounding their asses. Because although they had a large fan base in the West who were more used to this kind of pop culture, there were inevitably going to be some Korean moralizers who'd blame them for warping the minds of children.
Fuck that, though. If there was even one kid who would see this video and realize that it was alright to be something other than straight, then Yoongi would gladly french all six of his friends.
He's still kinda relieved that it's only going to be Jimin.
Do you still run, do you still sing?
Do you still smile when your little sister falls asleep?
“Hey,” Yoongi says nevertheless when the morning has crept past the horizon and all of them crawl into bed for at least some hours of sleep. “Are you really okay with this?”
Jimin almost looks surprised at Yoongi's tentative tone, at the fact that he would so openly ask at all. But then he only gives a firm nod.
“I want to do this,” he says and Yoongi nods along, purses his lips.
“Even if we claim it's for the sake of art,” he points out. “There will be rumors.”
He doesn't have a problem with coming out or with people questioning his sexuality. But Jimin - who is ever so worried about proving his masculinity - might be in over his head.
“So?” Jimin asks now, and his stance is an entire challenge. He doesn't seem daunted or even spiteful. Just convinced. “There will always be rumors. Like this, we at least give everything meaning.”
“Huh,” Yoongi hums, blowing the breath out from his nose. “Guess that's true.”
He kicks open the door to his room, shuffles half inside before throwing another glance back over his shoulder. Jimin looks tiny in his oversized hoodie, and the mussed-up hair and dark circles under his eyes don't exactly help his case.
Yoongi allows himself a small grin.
“I really hope you know how to kiss, Park Jiminie,” he teases. “Because otherwise I'll have to teach you.”
He's too tired to remain standing in the threshold, too tired to await Jimin's reply.
I lost my voice to the whispers of others
I had no choice but to be someone else
Took a knife, cut away all the errors
What remained was not pretty but small
Recording is a flurry of days in which Namjoon barely emerges from the studio, though he is often enough joined by Yoongi or Hoseok. They try out some new stuff, experiment more, meaning that everything takes longer but also that everyone will be in for a surprise.
They have Seokjin sing the opening, which weaves into existence like a lullaby, until Jungkook joins in, more plaintive and desolate. Then Namjoon follows with the first rap, softer than usual, only to be interrupted by Taehyung venting his frustrations, and the two battle for a moment, before Hoseok comes in to lead the chorus. It's ironic, in a way, because in their story he doesn't have a voice, but here it comes in clear and sunny, backed up by Jin and Jungkook, the three of them almost angelic, a hymn in a cathedral.
And then the fall, Icarus before the sun, a blazing white heat that rips all dreams apart. Yoongi, brittle in his helplessness but brandishing his fury as to appear stronger, Jimin harmonizing with him, not quite like in Spring Day, more a dialogue than just a backdrop, but with a sadness all of his own.
Stylistically, it's the most appealing part of the song to Yoongi, the most artistic, but still he cannot help but like the second half more. Because it ends as it opens, with Jin as its frame, but before that there is Jimin soaring up to new heights, supported by Jungkook, and Yoongi rapping how there is no bravery without the absence of fear.
It's a good song. It's a fucking brilliant beautiful bastard of a song, and when he and Namjoon, Bang PD and the rest of the team are finally done with mixing and arranging everything, Yoongi wishes they could upload it right away and show it to their fans.
It's late when he goes home, later still when he finally lets himself into the door, quietly so as not to wake anyone else, but surprised to see the lights still on.
He sticks his head into the kitchen, only to see Jimin sitting by the counter and nursing a hot drink.
“You're back late, Yoongi,” he points out the obvious but then is cut off by a huge yawn.
“You're up late,” Yoongi says just as unnecessarily and then gives a yawn of his own because it's contagious. “And that's Yoongi-hyung for you,” he adds after a beat, though it doesn't have quite the effect with how dead tired he sounds.
“You're still not done?” Jimin asks with a tilt of his head, probably in reference to how Namjoon had not returned with him.
“Nah, Namjoon stayed behind to talk to Bang PD once more,” Yoongi replies. There is still a chance that their producer would backtrack on his blanket permission to let them do what they deemed best for this comeback, but their leader wanted to make sure that they had him firmly in their corner. If anyone can convince Bang PD of this project's importance, it is RM, and he hasn't disappointed them yet.
All of a sudden, Jimin looks much more awake.
“Do you have it with you?” he asks, almost hungrily.
Yoongi is tempted to tease him a little, to shake his head and say no but, in lieu of being allowed to share their song with the world, he thinks Jimin will be the next best thing.
He doesn't hesitate then, just shuffles closer and pulls himself up onto the bar stool next to Jimin, wrangling his phone from his jacket pocket.
He had been listening to it on the way home, but he is already excited for it once more.
It's an automatic move to hold out one of the headphones, an automatic move for Jimin to take it and plug it into his right ear, and it's stupid because he's not gonna get the full experience when it's not in stereo, but then Yoongi is already tapping the phone to start the song anew and neither of them cares.
White Summer flashes up at him from his fingerprint-smudged screen and a second later the sounds trickle into his left ear as he and Jimin stick their heads close together.
And perhaps it's just because it's dark and late, perhaps it's because the song is just that fucking good, but Yoongi can tell the exact moment in the chorus when Jimin's emotions tip over. Because his breath hitches a little and, although his eyes are closed, his lids flutter a little, as if to shutter away the tears. Almost instinctively, Yoongi's fingers hook themselves into the wide sleeves of Jimin's sweater, brushing against his wrist. It's a butterfly's touch but it is immediately followed by a small smile tugging at Jimin's lips.
“Everyone did so well,” Jimin says when it is silent again, yet his eyes remain closed. “My hyungs are so talented and hard-working.”
“Not just your hyungs,” Yoongi notes. He had been pleasantly surprised by how well Taehyung had handled his rap part, how he was already developing his own particular style. That Jimin and Jungkook outdid themselves went without saying.
“I can't wait to perform this on stage,” Jimin says and it's his fingers now that seek out Yoongi's, warm and wriggling.
“MV first,” he reminds him. “And promo shoots and choreography and hair and costumes and practice-”
“You don't have to spoil everything, hyung” Jimin whines. “I'm excited for those things, too.”
“Even the hair dye?”
“Even the hair dye.”
“You won't be saying that once our hair falls out from all the bleach,” Yoongi grouches. “No one wants to see bald idols perform.”
“I'm sure hyung would look very handsome even when bald,” Jimin says, sugar sweet, and Yoongi pulls a face.
“I'd probably look even younger than I already do,” he says. “Like a baby. Just put me in a onesie and you'll see.”
“I'll remember the idea for our next comeback,” Jimin promises somberly.
“Please don't,” Yoongi says and pushes him off his seat.
But I'm not yet gone, I'm moving on
I got some life left inside of me
So I'm not gonna be what'd like to see
I am greater than the sum of my parts
Ahh, thank you so much to everyone who's left kudos and reviews. I'm glad to know you guys are enjoying it.
You might have noticed the chapter count has gone up, but we might even get 5 or 6 chapters out of this. Most of it is already written, but I might add some more scenes. :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
With the song all done, they can finally settle on the details of their dance routine, with Hoseok almost somersaulting in his eagerness to demonstrate what he has been working on. And for good reason, too.
It's not their most demanding choreography, not when compared to Fire and Not Today , but Yoongi has always found the slower moves more challenging, because they make it easier to spot even the tiniest of mistakes. Jimin and Jungkook flow through the motions and Hoseok is from another planet entirely anyway, but dancing doesn't come as naturally to Yoongi. He enjoys it, to an extent, but he finds the mental strain especially draining.
Hoseok had the particularly brilliant idea - and Yoongi means this both sincerely and sarcastically - that the chorus of the song should be danced in sign language, translating the entire passage of lyrics with their hands. It looks stunning, yes, but Yoongi has never been more unpleasantly aware of the existence of his fingers.
Other than that, they are all extremely pleased with the final result, the shift from levity to gravity, the six of them lifting Kookie off the ground and carrying him, almost like a funeral march but then tossing him to the front where he twists in the air and touches the ground in a pirouette, a grin splitting his face apart. Taehyung’s aimless anger, like a child throwing a tantrum, and in contrast the softness of Seokjin's steps. Namjoon's almost feminine gestures with his hands touching his face and neck, to Hoseok's movements becoming more expressive, more openly emotional.
And all throughout the routine, Jimin and Yoongi come together like lovers, twisting around each other, sometimes just barely touching, sometimes just out of reach, until they are split apart, their backs turned, their expressions pained. It is only toward the very end that they finally find their way back to each other, the center of the group, standing only a few centimeters apart with their faces very close.
Like this, Yoongi can see the beads of perspiration on Jimin's fair skin, his breath puffing against Yoongi's parted lips, the concentration held in his eyes like bullets in a gun's barrel, dangerously sharp and almost intimidating to see up close.
It's the first time they've managed to go through the entire routine without any major hiccups, no Namjoon falling on his ass and laughing, no Taehyung fumbling the sign language, so when the music finally dies down, their collective panting heavy in the air, Hoseok gives a little whoop and begins applauding them.
Jimin's head falls back, a relieved sigh escaping him and the strands of hair that don't stick to his damp forehead flutter upward.
“Good work, everyone,” their choreographer praises from where he has been watching from the sidelines. They'll have to go over the recording some more times to make sure everything is really spot on, and to see whether they need to change something in any way, especially in regards to the sign language, but for now they only feel accomplished.
Jimin gives a little satisfied smile, running a palm over the back of his neck.
“This is going to be good,” he says, more to himself than anything else. “I can feel it in my bones.”
Yoongi has no reason to disagree.
When it's time for the first photo shoot, Yoongi isn't overly excited yet. He gets that it's a necessary part of their comeback, but for him it has always been primarily about the music and sometimes he finds the hype around their hair colors and whatnot rather distracts from that.
For now, though, they are still left in unobtrusive black and brunette, a pointer to how the stories behind Hold my hand are about normal people, not idols.
Jin is up first, though preparations take a bit longer for him in a way. He's standing in a corner of the room, a baby in his arms, politely chatting with the kid's mother. The baby had taken a bit to warm up to the stranger, but now she seems content enough, sucking on her knuckles and curiously peering over Jin's shoulder where Hoseok is idly rolling around in Jungkook's wheelchair.
“This is a weird question,” Taehyung says now which is never the beginning to anything good. “But where do you get a baby actor on demand?”
“I don't think a baby can be considered an actor,” Jungkook muses. “I mean, it's not acting, it's just kind of... there.”
“It's the kid of one of the coordi noonas,” Namjoon snorts. “We'll get an actual child actress for the MV.”
“Yes ,” Taehyung says under his breath because as soon as there are kids involved he is all in.
The baby is luckily very happy in Seokjin's arms and they get the pictures done in no time. There's a camera team floating around them, of course, to film material for the Making Of, but Yoongi is content to just sit at the sidelines and watch for now.
Namjoon has already gotten his nails done so he is up next, and then it's Hoseok who gets a little perfectionist with getting everything right.
When it's finally their turn, Yoongi is surprised to see that Jimin looks a little jittery. Yet when Yoongi cocks an eyebrow at him, Jimin only gives a quick smile and together they wait for their photographer's instructions.
It's easy enough, really, because all they have to do is hold hands. They've done it before, after all, on different occasions, and for the close-ups they pretty much only have to stand there.
“Sorry, sorry, my hands are all sweaty,” Jimin apologizes almost immediately and pulls back to wipe his palm on his jeans.
“It's alright,” Yoongi says simply. His own hands are cold and clammy, and Jimin's touch had been searing hot in comparison, but he doesn't particularly mind.
“Okay,” the photographer tells the when she has looked over the first few pictures. “Now turn your backs to me. Still holding hands, please. Yup, that's it. Try to express different emotions and attitudes. Like strength and reassurance. Yes, good. Defeat, isolation, heartbreak. Tilt your heads down a- perfect, that's it. Now move a little closer, shoulders touching. Okay, now turn around again.”
It's easy enough. Acting isn't Yoongi's forte but the promo pics are mostly about looking pretty anyway. But he thinks of the story they have constructed around their two characters, two boys who feel as though it's them against the world so that all they can do is make each other their world. He imagines what it feels like to want to hide yourself away from everything while at the same time wanting to protect someone else more. And he already knows what it's like to deny a truth of yourself, even though you'd rather scream it from the rooftops.
The studio lights are loud and glaring, the make-up already melting off his face, sweat gathering underneath his collar, but Jimin's hand is small and soft in his.
He can tell the camera is filming them now from the side, while Taehyung and Jungkook have also crept closer with their handheld, and Yoongi tries to ignore it.
“Duck your heads together,” the photographer says now. “As though you're sharing a secret. Good. Now, try for something a little more serious. And now laugh, Jimin-ssi. Beautiful. Yoongi-ssi, stare at his lips a little.”
Yoongi's gaze immediately drops at the order, but he still notices the little blush that creeps onto Jimin's apple cheeks and up to his ears as the camera flashes happily.
“And we are... done!” the photographer announces finally, allowing Jimin to drop the forced smile though Yoongi is not quite quick enough to tear his eyes away.
“You should kiss for practice!” Hoseok calls from somewhere in the back and Yoongi nearly chokes on his spit.
“Fuck you, Hope!” he yells back but Hoseok only laughs.
“There are children present!” Seokjin admonishes them. “So behave.”
“Jin-hyung, I am already of age,” Jungkook complains unhappily which only makes Hoseok laugh harder.
“I meant the actual baby, you idiots,” Jin groans.
“Everyone, Tae and Kookie still need to do their photos,” Namjoon reminds them all, already ushering Taehyung toward the cameras. “If we don't get this done today, I'm going to ask Bang PD to give me a new group.”
“You can't ask him for a new group every time you break the old one, Namjoon-ah,” Hoseok gripes and ducks away when Namjoon swats a hand at him.
Yoongi only lets his shoulders slump with a sigh.
“I could have had a normal job,” he says but opens his eyes again when he hears Jimin giggle.
“Normal is overrated, hyung,” he claims, pulling free from Yoongi's grasp. In all the commotion, Yoongi hadn't even realized that they had still been holding hands.
“Oh, I don't know,” Yoongi muses idly. “Regular sleep schedule, no paparazzi, maknae who might actually respect me.”
“I don't think those actually exist.”
“That's only because you project your own poor manners on others,” Yoongi points out. “Without your bad influence, Tae and Jungkook wouldn't have turned out even half as obnoxious as they did.”
Jimin opens his mouth to object, only to be interrupted by a loud crash somewhere farther back.
“Point proven,” Yoongi says because he is pretty sure that was Jungkook's fault.
“Sorry, sorry, my bad!” Namjoon yells a split second later because Yoongi's life could never be that easy.
“You were saying?” Jimin asks sweetly and Yoongi turns away with an exasperated groan.
BTS drop six new posters for Hold My Hand | Twitter
BTS' Hold My Hand comeback headlines under the theme diversity and promises to take them where no k-pop group has dared to go before.
[x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x]
These are so pretty but why doesn't it state their names on the individual posters? :(
They probably don't want to reveal too much. My guess is they'll give us more promo pics later where we can actually see their faces.
OMG! ONE OF THEM HAS A BABY!!
Ive been thinking about this all day & I srly cant decide who I want to be a dad most
Wtf, is Kookie in a wheelchair again??
Lmao maybe he's gotten used to it?
whose hand is that with the nail varnish? Is that rm?
And that's why he is my bias.
Jin stan here XD
CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW ONE OF THEM IS DOING WHAT SEEMS TO BE LEGITIMATE SIGN LANGUAGE? DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT IT SAYS??
it's ksl (korean sign language), the first half of how you spell friend
THAT IS SO CUTE OMG I WANNA SIGN THE SECOND HALF FOR HIM
Guys guys guys! Is that a guy's hand? Is that TWO GUYS' HANDS? Are we maybe finally getting a gay couple?!
That is definitely Jiminie's hand, just look at how tiny it is!
But whose is the other?? I'm asdgisfbsjdb
Maybe V? Could it be V?
Too small. Maybe it's a different actor? Or maybe a girl after all?
No, look at the one with three hands. I dunno, but I think it's one of the boys with two older women?
Soooo... cougar polyamory or lesbian moms?
I dunno, I love them but... by this point is seems like they are kinda fishing for cookie points? Like getting praised for talking about other people's problems and then getting money for it. Feels fake :/
Why is it fake? They have already addressed several sensitive issues in their songs and done a good job. Not to mention that Suga might actually be bi/pan.
Cookie points. More like Kookie points. Geddit?
Y'all... if jimin legitimately holds hands with another boy... if we get a story centered around it... I might not survive this comeback...
BUT WHAT IF THEY KISS? I WOULD DIE AND IMMEDIATELY ASCEND TO HEAVEN!!
I don't think we'll get a kiss Korea is much more conservative in the regard
ARMY, let's please remember to be respectful of the boys, no matter what couple we end up with! Please don't harass others and don't throw a fit if it doesn't end up being your ship!
“Your hair is somewhat brittle,” the stylist remarks, worrying at her lower lip as she looks him over.
“You tell me,” Yoongi mutters. The constant dyeing hasn’t exactly done him any favors.
“I think we'll go a bit shorter,” she says. Her fingers run over the sides of his head and he has to suppress an involuntary shudder. He’s used to stylists and make-up people constantly touching him without even really asking for permission first, but that doesn’t mean he has to enjoy it.
At least he is in good hands. So when the mirror looks back at him less than two hours later, he is pleasantly surprised.
She had given him an undercut, which was nothing new, but for now she had arranged his hair in careful tousles that fall over his forehead, making his face appear a bit slimmer, more mature. The color, he notes, is also not the platinum blonde he had expected when she first started applying bleach, but a warmer gold shade. Only the roots remain black, a good centimeter, giving everything a bit more texture.
“So it gets a chance to grow back a little healthier,” the stylist tells him and pushes a lock into place with a manicured finger.
“It's cool,” Yoongi assures her. “For the next comeback, I was planning to go bald anyway.”
It turns out that the others mostly look a little wilder. While only Seokjin got to keep his natural hair-color, Namjoon is rocking his semi-customary white mohawk. Hoseok and Taehyung end up with lavender and dark blue while Jungkook gets to step up his game a little with a downright ethereal looking silver gray. Jimin, as so often, is saddled with the most attention-grabbing style.
“It's called sunset hair,” he explains with a bright grin. “To fit the ending scene of the MV.”
And that would be that if only they didn't have to spend the next few days wearing hats and wigs wherever they go. Taehyung, in a mixture of bad luck and carelessness, manages to lose his hat to a gush of wind when they are getting into a car in front of their dorm and barely an hour later the pictures of him are all over the internet.
It's not too big of a deal, really, merely fuels the flames that have already been lit, with #BTS, #bluev and #holdmyhand trending on Twitter for a whole two days.
They drop the intro a two weeks before the actual comeback. It’s called Imminent , a hymn, strictly speaking, and it makes Yoongi wonder whether there is anything Kim Namjoon can’t do when it comes to music.
This time, it’s Jungkook’s turn and he wanders through a world devoid of colors, checkerboard aesthetics and snow pale skin. To match his hair, they’ve given him pearl gray robes and contact lenses, and the echo of his voice haunts the arches of the fake cathedral they built. It’s reminiscent of Blood, Sweat and Tears and the fans lose their mind over this ghostly version of their golden maknae.
They already announced the album title, Still Here , but today they also finally do the shoot for the concept photos. Yoongi already wants to go home because his skin has been feeling tender lately and the constant application and removal of make-up is not going to make it better but, unlike the others, he at least doesn’t have to use a shower cap for fear of letting the dye bleed out. Small mercies, he reminds himself.
They have one concept that is all pink, one that is all leather, and one that is supposed to look like a pool party.
“Jimin-ssi, sit behind Yoongi-ssi and put your arms around him, chin on his shoulder,” the photographer says for the pink one.
“Jimin-ssi, turn toward Yoongi-ssi and crouch down in front of him,” she says for the leather one.
“Jimin-ssi, push your hair out of your face and put the straw of Yoongi’s cocktail into your mouth,” she says for the pool party.
Yoongi wonders whether he is just imagining it but he feels as though he spends an extraordinary amount of time being positioned close to Jimin. There is one where he sits between Jungkook and Seokjin and another with him and Namjoon standing back to back and one where Hoseok has him in a playful chokehold. But overall, he is extremely aware of Jimin’s presence close to his and he cannot quite pinpoint why it feels like a big deal.
No one else is commenting on it, everyone their usual relaxed yet professional selves. Except for Yoongi himself, it seems.
“Hey,” he says to Namjoon when they are all gathering up their things, readying themselves to leave. In the middle of the room, Taehyung is reading out fan’s reactions to Jungkook’s intro. “Are the photos supposed to be in line with the MV?”
“Huh?” Namjoon asks distractedly, futilely wiping his glasses with the hem of his shirt but only making it worse. “How do you mean?”
“Uh,” Yoongi says, thinking for a moment and scuffing his heel against the floor. “Like, with the whole love story thing?”
“Love story?” Namjoon repeats, finally giving up and setting the glasses onto his nose. The furrow between his brows smoothes away. “Oh, you mean with you and Minnie?”
To his surprise, however, Namjoon just shrugs. “No, not really. Why?”
“Uh,” Yoongi says again, suddenly wanting to backtrack. “Just felt like we took a lot of pictures together.”
Namjoon huffs. “I literally had Tae sitting on my lap,” he points out. “And Jin-hyung had to touch Hope’s abs.”
“True,” Yoongi acknowledges slowly. He wishes he hadn’t said anything in the first place. Unfortunately, he’s got Namjoon’s undivided attention now as he turns to face Yoongi properly.
“You’re not changing your mind, are you?” he asks and there is a lot in there - gentle ribbing between friends, a vague challenge, a way out, a leader’s honest concern.
“Shit, no,” Yoongi rolls his eyes. “I’ve just… I don’t know… Guess I noticed more than usual.”
Namjoon only hums. “Sure. But, we can still switch things up if you don’t wanna do the-”
“I’m fine, seriously,” Yoongi insists. “I’m just… tired or something.”
Finally, Namjoon grins. “It’s cool,” he says, “I looked at his ass, too.”
“I didn’t-” Yoongi protests but then it’s cut short when someone launches themselves at him, arms haphazardly slung around him.
“You did, Monnie-hyung?” Jimin trills across Yoongi’s shoulder and directly into his ear, and Yoongi can feel his own breath catch.
Namjoon only gives a casual shrug.
“Your pants fit you very well,” he notes mildly, laughing when Jimin preens.
“They did,” Jimin agrees. “Took me half an hour to get out of them, though.”
Now it’s Yoongi who has to laugh, if only at the mental image.
“Really?” he asks, twisting his head to at least see the silhouette of Jimin’s face. Jimin stills.
“You didn’t see?” he asks.
“No, I was napping in between.”
“Oh. Well. Taetae was helping me out of them. But Jungkookie filmed it, if you want to watch it later?”
“I’m good, thanks,” Yoongi chuckles and shrugs off Jimin’s arms to grab his bag from the floor and throw it over his shoulder. “Let’s get going,” he says, “I’m beat.”
Concept Photos for BTS’ Album Still Here | Tumblr
[Click to reveal]
Hobi’s hair! <3 Kookie’s hair! <3 <3 Jimin’s hair! <3 <3 <3
I want sunset hair, too T__T
Achievement unlocked: Hobi’s forehead has successfully been liberated!
Lmao, who wants to bet the pink one was Jin’s idea?
Suga’s grim reaper style has been defeated once more XD
D’aww, look at that NamV
They are so soft I can’t
They are all wearing swimming trunks. Whoever thought this was a good idea should get a promotion!
Hobi in that speedo, tho :’D
First they give us Imminent and now this?? How are we supposed to survive until the comeback??!
Omg, Jimin’s ass in those leather pants should be illegal.
He looks like he is about to give Suga a succ
Suga looks like he might not be opposed to that idea
I don’t think ANYONE would be opposed to it
No kidding, my brother’s as straight as they come and he said he’d make an exception for Jimin
When it comes to Suga, tho, Jimin isn’t the exception but the rule lol
First attempt at including shitty graphics in a story. I wanted to do promo pics for all six of them but it was difficult to find good images. And let's be real, the yoonmin one is the most important anyway.
I used Google Translator but the Korean is the pictures are supposed to say "I am here for you" (Jin), "You and I are never lonely" (Yoonmin) and "My strength rests within me" (Jungkook). I imagine the others would have something like "I want to be better for you" (Taehyung), "Please listen when I cannot speak" (Hoseok) and "Love begins with oneself" (Namjoon).
Next chapter we will finally get to the filming of the actual MV. Please let me know what you think!
When the filming of the MV starts, they do the choreography first. They are all dressed in mostly black and white, though the individual outfits differ. Jin's got a well-fitted dress shirt while Hoseok's wearing shorts and a cutout muscle tank. The others have a variety of tee-shirts, relatively sedate looks, except for Namjoon who's wearing a white blouse with borderline tasteless ruffles and a bolo tie.
Yoongi's quite happy with his own Henley, but Jimin pouts when he pulls his v-neck over his head and realizes that the collar pretty much exposes most of his breastbone.
“This is what happens when you refuse to show off your abs,” Yoongi says and lightly kicks him in the butt to knock the frown off his face.
“You're right. I'll only wear crop tops from now on,” Jimin agrees somberly and the mental image makes Yoongi laugh so hard he accidentally smudges his freshly applied mascara.
Filming takes place outside and they even managed to reserve a section of Skygarden for it. The panorama is incredible but, with the sun a blazing white orb above them, they have to take frequent breaks, to hydrate and touch up their make-up and also change into fresh shirts because especially Jin and Namjoon are sweating like crazy in their respective outfits.
There are several times when they think they managed to get everything right, but then they have to wait for their choreographer and Hoseok's KSL tutor to go over the reels with eagle eyes and point out minor mistakes, which means they have to do it all over again.
Yoongi can feel his attention and his energy waning, but he grits his teeth and powers through it. He knows that, once everything has been properly edited and aligned with the song, it will be worth it.
“Are you alright?” Jimin asks when they are waiting for the final verdict and Yoongi sits sunken on the floor.
“No,” he says petulantly. “It's too hot.”
He wants a cold shower and an electric fan, but for now the iced water bottle Jimin hands him will have to do. He takes a big gulp and then offers the bottle back to Jimin who screws the lid back on. The condensation runs down along the plastic and drips onto Jimin's knee, exposed by the huge rips in his jeans. Yoongi tilts his head back and looks up to the sky. It's so stark naked with the absence of clouds that his eyes water at the brightness.
“White Summer, huh?” he murmurs and Jimin doesn't feel the need to add anything.
The filming of the actual storylines promises to be a lot less exhausting, for the most part. They don't have any group scenes but the lives of their alter egos are still subtly interwoven, connected by blink-and-you'll-miss-it moments. So Jimin and Yoongi sit in a booth at the back of the restaurant when Namjoon storms past them to the restroom; Taehyung glances out of the window to see his mothers chatting with Seokjin and his daughter; Kookie wheels past the crowd that Hoseok has drawn in with his performance.
They all exist at the fringes of each other's existence, all steeped in their own problems, unaware of the suffering that those around them might be going through. It's not an accusation, not an acceptance of blame, just an acknowledging nod to the fallacies of human empathy.
They are all present for the filming of each other's individual scenes, to offer advice and emotional backup and also to poke fun a little because, when it comes down to it, they are dicks who can't keep their traps shut.
“You look gorgeous, Namjoon-ah!” Hoseok praises as their leader skillfully applies some dark red lipstick. Somehow, Namjoon manages to not burst out into laughter, just soulfully stares at his reflection in the mirror. Only when the director yells cut does he finally break character and promptly marches over in his high heels, grabs Hoseok by the collar and presses a kiss to his cheek.
“Was that a punishment or a reward?” Hoseok asks, laughing but otherwise unperturbed by the big lipstick smudge.
“Reward,” Namjoon says. “ This is your punishment.”
And he whacks him over the back of the head.
They all have some scenes set outside but they'll do those later. For now, though, it's Jimin and Yoongi’s turn.
The scene in the elevator is easy enough, as is the unlocking of Jimin's apartment door, the casual greeting to his roommate. She's one of the trainees, had blushed a little when they had introduced themselves but she is also terribly honored to be part of this project because, she admitted, her older sister is gay. It's all the reassurance Yoongi needs.
He pops a breath mint and offers one to Jimin who takes it after a moment's hesitance.
“Showdown,” Jungkook cheers and laughs when Yoongi gives him an unimpressed stare. The cameras and lighting are being set up in the other room, and Yoongi is trying to mentally prepare himself.
“Let's do it with feeling, yeah?” Namjoon reiterates. “This is a young love kinda deal. It's doesn't have to be perfect; you're still getting to know each other.”
Yoongi remembers his first few kisses, messy and damp and hastily caught in moments where maybe hours would have been better suited. Here, at least, they can simply film the scene several times if it doesn't work the way they want it to.
The set coordinator calls everyone back into order and Yoongi cracks an eye open. Jimin is already getting up from the floor, wiping the dust off his butt, and Yoongi pushes himself up as well.
“You stay here,” Namjoon instructs the others. “And if you don't behave, I'll have you thrown off the set.”
“Mean,” Taehyung grumbles and is already looking back down at his phone. Yoongi is grateful for it. It was already weird enough how many people would be watching; he doesn't need the others to join in on it.
The make-up people come to check them over once more, pluck at their hair and powder the sheen off their faces, and Yoongi endures it. From the corner of his eye, however, he can see how Jimin is bouncing back and forth a little, until his stylist has to ask him to please stand still. He does, but it seems to take a lot of willpower.
Yoongi cracks a grin.
“Are you nervous?” he teases.
“No,” Jimin answers at once, bites his lip, glances away. “Maybe,” he admits. “A little.”
“It's no big deal,” Yoongi reminds him. “I just hope you brushed your teeth.”
Jimin groans, “Sometimes I hate you, hyung.”
“But only sometimes.”
There is a beat of silence and, when he looks over again, Jimin seems pensive.
“Yeah,” he agrees at length. “Only sometimes.”
“Okay, let's roll,” the director urges. “You know what to do.”
Yoongi does. So he follows Jimin into the bedroom, barely waits until they are inside before he grabs Jimin by the shoulder and propels the two of them around, so that the door falls shut with Jimin's body pushed up against it. The sound is jarring, but Yoongi doesn't flinch, just leans in a little and-
Jimin giggles and ducks away.
“Cut,” the director calls. “Let's do this again, from the start.”
So they do. Again. And again. Until Yoongi could tear out his hair because, for once, Jimin's laughter is not infectious but just kinda misplaced.
“Sorry,” Jimin apologizes for the nth time when he has ruined another take and the camera team is starting to look somewhat frustrated. Yoongi cannot fault them. They hadn't even gotten to the kiss yet and there was still a lot to do. They only had the rest of the afternoon to get through this because they needed natural light for it.
“From the top,” the director yells, a pinch to her lips, and Yoongi decides he'll have to take matters into his own hands.
“Jiminie,” he calls softly when they step out of the room again. “Is there anything that's making you uncomfortable?”
“Ah,” Jimin says, wringing his fingers. “Not... not uncomfortable. Just... jittery.”
“What exactly?” Yoongi asks. “All the people? Or me?”
“N-no, not that, but... it's just... door closed, eyes closed, and then already kissing, I- it just happens so quickly each time.”
“Oh,” Yoongi nods. He kinda gets it. It's difficult to make it look natural and flowing with so much happening at once.
“Alright,” he says. “Let's try something new.”
This time, when he pushes Jimin against the door, he does it more gently, doesn't go in for the kill at once, just looks at Jimin for a moment, close as they are. Like this, he can see Jimin's pupils dilate, can see the soft curve of his cupid's bow.
He doesn't kiss him right away then, just presses their foreheads against each other, and for once it comes in handy that they are equally short. Jimin's breath stutters in surprise and then his eyes fall shut, his fingers hesitantly tangling in the front of Yoongi's shirt. He incorporates it perfectly, that sweet moment of anticipation, that silent plea in his body language.
And that's when Yoongi kisses him.
It's a chaste kiss, relatively speaking, lips touching and little else. Considering that it's happening between two men, many would still deem it an indecency. This entire MV would blow their fucking minds and Yoongi cannot help but grin a little into the kiss.
“And cut!” the director calls. “Good,” she praises. “Very good. Now let's try this from a different angle.”
Yoongi pulls back, happy with the result. The rest would be much easier now.
Jimin's eyes, he notes, are still shut.
“C'mon,” Yoongi says, nudging him. “Let's go again.”
So they do. And, in a way, it really is easier. Jimin yields against Yoongi in a way he hadn't before, less tense, more welcoming. Yoongi, on the other hand, can feel himself grow a little more unsettled.
He doesn't quite know what it is. He's kissed people before but he's never had to worry how aesthetically pleasing it looked from the outside. When he tilts his head now, it feels awkward; when he puts his hands on Jimin's hips, they seem to cramp up.
Fortunately, no one seems to notice that. Before long, the director calls for a halt and allows them another short break.
“How was the kabedon?” Hoseok asks and Jimin makes an exaggerated show of rubbing his spine.
“I'm gonna have bruises on my back,” he claims and Taehyung gasps.
“Was hyung that rough with you?” he wants to know, though his eyes crinkle with a grin.
“Not as rough as I'm gonna be when I put you over my knee,” Jimin threatens and makes a grab for him.
“So everything went well?” Namjoon asks, pulling Yoongi aside a little.
“Sure.” Yoongi shrugs. “It's not rocket science.”
“Yeah, because rocket science is based on logic and mathematics,” Namjoon points out. “This might be a little trickier.”
“It's just a kiss, Namjoonie,” Yoongi reminds him, though it was admittedly more one kiss in ten different takes.
“Well, then,” Namjoon says, cocking an eyebrow at his nonchalance. “I hope you're ready for round 2.”
Early morning sunlight filters in through the window, framed by colorful curtains. Seokjin opens a wardrobe and reaches inside. He inspects the small, buttercup yellow summer dress, runs his thumb over the fabric. Something behind him catches his attention. When he turns around, his four-year old daughter it standing there, excited for the day. He smiles.
Namjoon stands in front of his big bedroom mirror, lipstick pinched between his fingers as he carefully applies it. His nails are painted red as well. He sets the lipstick down, reaches around to zip up the side of the dress he is wearing, taking a step back to inspect his reflection. In his high heels, he stands tall.
In a high school hallway, Jungkook moves his wheelchair through the throngs of students. He's chatting with his friends, laughing. Then they reach the gym and his friends disappear in the locker room to get changed. Jungkook sighs and rolls over to wait by the bleachers.
Hoseok stands at the sidelines of a group of students. He's listening in but no one's really paying him any attention. When someone tells a joke, he laughs, a voiceless wheezing sound. They look over and he gives a little wave, tentatively signs his name. They glance at each other, offer apologetic smiles, but no one understands him.
Taehyung is walking home with two friends and, when they reach his home, they ask whether they can come in and hang out. Taehyung pulls a face, makes excuses, squeezes himself past the garden gate. As soon as he turns away, his face falls. Anger tears at the corners of his mouth. When he gets inside, his mother calls a greeting from the kitchen. He ignores her, stomps up to his room. She is about to go after him but is stopped by her wife's hand on her shoulder.
Jimin and Yoongi stand across each other on the elevator ride up to the highest floor. They don't touch but the anticipation sits clear in their bones. They walk down the hallway together and, once Jimin has unlocked the door to his apartment, he casually waves at his roommate who is sitting on the couch with her laptop. Yoongi follows him to his bedroom and, as soon as they are inside, pushes him up against the door. He presses his forehead against Jimin's, just breathes him in for a moment until the rest of the world falls away. When he kisses Jimin, everything that matters sits at the top of his lips.
Round 2 gives them a little more leeway, more freedom to try different things and see how it goes.
They proceed to the bed, nothing untoward, both of them still dressed, but there would still be a public outcry over it.
By now, the director has realized that they have to figure everything out for themselves in order to get the best results, and she keeps her instructions to the bare minimum.
So Jimin and Yoongi do what comes natural, wrestle around on the mattress with bare feet and half-suppressed laughter, as though it were just another hotel room. And then, when Jimin lands half on top of him, it's an easy thing for Yoongi to prop himself up on his elbows and rub his nose against the side of Jimin's pale neck, kissing him. Against his lips, he can feel Jimin's heart tripping out a fast rhythm.
This setting also allows for Jimin to show some initiative, to lean down and trail pecking kisses over Yoongi's cheek and to his mouth. It's obvious that he hasn't done a whole lot of this with other people, so it's Yoongi who takes the lead, who guides him along. He doesn't forget the cameras, but he also doesn't pay them any heed. Most of this, he knows, would perish in the cutting room, never permitted to be aired.
By now, their hair has gotten all mussed up, so Yoongi cards Jimin's peach-colored fringe out of his forehead, unveiling his low-lidded eyes. He leans in to kiss Jimin full on the mouth and, almost on instinct, gently bites at his lower lip, tugging at it. Jimin moans lowly and Yoongi has to wonder whether it's part of the act, because it's not like it's going to be heard in the MV. Jimin's fingers are on his collarbone and, when Yoongi eventually pulls back, he follows after the kiss as though hoping to get another.
When the director declares them done, Yoongi is almost a little relieved.
Later that morning, Seokjin goes to drop off his daughter at kindergarten, helps her wrangle her small arms into the straps of her rucksack. Her dress twirls prettily as she dashes off and Jin smiles after her. Around him, other mothers are giving him judgmental stares. He should be too young to have a kid her age and they know he was never married either. But he just clenches his fists and walks away. There's nothing he can do to change their minds.
Jungkook sits in his room, watching a basketball game on TV. He is surrounded by his favorite team's merchandise, posters on the walls. He's got a ball sitting in his lap, too, and he runs his fingertips over its uneven skin, but it's not like he could ever play.
Hoseok locks the door behind himself, shutting out his loneliness. He shrugs off his jacket, turns on his music. Because he might not be able to speak or sing, but at least he can dance. There is no one to witness him as his body moves along to the rhythm and yet he does it with utter abandon because it's still all he has.
Taehyung is fighting with his mothers again, punches a wall, yells how they are ruining his life. Eventually, he storms out of the room, his temper too volatile for even himself to handle. When he has calmed down and creeps back downstairs, his mother is crying into her hands, only comforted by her wife rocking her in her arms. Taehyung bites his lips and regrets.
Jimin and Yoongi roll around on the bed together, laughing and kissing, all soft light and even softer touches. It's an intimate scene, an unmistakable one. When Jimin's roommate knocks, opening the door after a moment, she finds the two of them sitting two feet apart, not even looking at each other. The risk of getting caught is always there, even in their most private moments, and Yoongi can feel the resentment growing inside of him.
Namjoon is sitting in a restaurant, ordering food. He's dressed in man's clothes but, if you look closely, you can still see some red particles where he wiped the lipstick off before he left home. He points to something on the menu and the waitress's gaze lands on his hand. His nails are still painted. She doesn't say anything but, as soon as she leaves, Namjoon stumbles into the restroom, locking himself in one of the cabins, furiously trying to scrape off the nail polish and breathing himself into a panic.
They take another break, wait for it to grow a little darker outside.
Yoongi is surprised to see Jimin grab Taehyung by the arm and pull him away from the set, but then he just huddles back up on the floor. Frankly, he's had enough of human contact and exposure for today, but he doesn't object when Jungkook joins him.
“Spit it out,” he grunts when he can tell that the kid is burning to ask a question.
“Was it weird to kiss Jimin-hyung?” Jungkook asks, plucking at Yoongi's shirt sleeve.
“When you get down to it, kissing is a pretty weird concept in general,” he claims, hoping to derail any more questions, but of course it's futile.
“Is Jimin-hyung a good kisser?”
“Eh.” Yoongi shrugs. “I've had worse.”
He'd rather not remember those, though.
There is a lull in conversation until Namjoon returns from looking over the reels with the director.
“I'm going to fight for each and every second of those scenes,” he announces, determination strong in his voice.
“That good?” Jin asks.
“Better,” Namjoon claims, crouching down. Like this, he is all visionary genius, changing the world one song at a time, and Yoongi would envy him if he didn't admire him so much.
Perhaps he feels Yoongi's gaze on him because, in that moment, Namjoon turns his head and looks him straight in the eye.
“You okay with that?” he asks, not doubting, not pressuring, just a plain question.
“Huh?” Yoongi says, a little surprised. “'course I am. That's why I agreed.”
“Yeah,” Namjoon bobs his head, rubbing a palm over the back of his neck. “But originally we thought we'd get a fleeting kiss in there at best. But now... you guys might be a bit more uncomfortable after all.”
“'m not,” Yoongi claims, though for some reason he is feeling a bit more antsy now.
“I just thought I'd check,” Namjoon assures him. “Feel free to change your mind at any time.” He stills for a moment, reconsiders. “Before we drop the MV.”
“I'm good,” Yoongi says. “If anything, tell Jimin that.”
“Where is he anyway,” Namjoon asks, looking around. “Did your tongue technology make him flee the scene?”
“Fuck you, Kim,” Yoongi growls and kicks against his ankle. “He went off gossiping with Tae.”
“Of course he did,” Namjoon sighs. “Let's hope he can get back into character once he returns.”
Unfortunately, it turns out that Jimin has trouble with that. If he had been nervous-giggly before, he is now giddy-giggly and it completely ruins the atmosphere.
They are supposed to be sitting on the sofa, with Yoongi comforting Jimin who is unhappy with having to hide their relationship. Nothing major, really, but for some reason Jimin just can't keep a straight face.
He laughs when Yoongi touches him, pushes at his chest when Yoongi tries to make him sit still. Yoongi, who's already mentally exhausted as it is, can feel his patience wearing thin.
“Jimin,” he says seriously. “What the fuck.”
But Jimin is only blowing raspberries, hiding his face in his hands as the laughter bubbles out of him.
“Let's take ten minutes to calm down,” the director calls out, sounding just as hassled as Yoongi is feeling.
“Sorry,” Jimin manages, sending a half-assed apology toward the team. No one is going to be actually angry at him, but at some point people just want to go home.
“Did Tae feed you sugar or something?” Yoongi grumbles and Jimin ducks his head.
“That, too,” he admits.
“Any idea how to calm down?”
“A liberal dose of sedatives?”
“Oh, yeah, that'll go over well,” Yoongi muses. “I can already see the headlines: BigHit's Park Jimin Stoned during Film Shoot .” He lets his shoulders slump, gets a little more comfortable against the armrest of the couch, kicking out one leg so it rests in Jimin's lap. “Listen to some music or something to get you in the mood. Think of sad stuff.”
Jimin pulls a face. “What kind of sad stuff?”
“Drowned kittens,” Yoongi says, ignoring Jimin's mortified gasp. “Three-legged puppies. Just... take your happiest memory and turn it into the worst. Be creative.”
“That's... terrible advice,” Jimin pouts but he gets up anyway to go get his phone. When he returns, he's already got the headphones stuffed in his ears, selecting something from his music collection, before folding himself back onto the sofa cushions.
Yoongi waits, watches as the nervous energy slowly bleeds out of Jimin's shoulders and the corners of his mouth. It should be enough to film the scene; there are no waterworks needed, just a more somber atmosphere as the light in the room turns golden and the sun sinks toward the horizon.
“Can we roll?” the director asks eventually and Yoongi gives her a nod. Jimin, however, doesn't seem to have heard, entirely focused inwards, so much so that, when Yoongi reaches out to touch his elbow to get his attention, he downright flinches, quickly pulling out the earphones.
Yoongi stills. Jimin's eyes are wide and shiny, the tears just moments away from spilling over.
“Hey,” Yoongi says quietly. “We're gonna continue filming.”
“Okay,” Jimin says, his voice even smaller.
And then he starts crying.
Yoongi has seen Jimin cry plenty of times, sometimes out of frustration and homesickness, sometimes out of sheer overwhelming joy. But this is not that.
There's a deep-rooted sadness sitting in the wellsprings of Jimin's eyes, and it seems like more than just a spur of the moment thing, more than just one sad song too many. It's like it had been there for a while now, without anyone ever noticing.
Yoongi doesn't even have to act when he moves in to comfort him, touches Jimin's shoulder and, when that doesn't seem quite enough, simply pulls him against his chest.
Jimin ends up sitting curled up between Yoongi's legs, openly sobbing against his shoulder.
Park Jimin has always carried his heart on his sleeve. In that regard, he is quite different from Yoongi who jealously hides his heart away for fear of getting hurt; but they have learned from each other, have turned their weaknesses into strengths, and so Yoongi has allowed himself to be a little more open, more affectionate.
“Hey,” Yoongi whispers. The cameras are moving around them and it- it feels wrong. He wants to tell them to fuck off, to give them another moment, but he doesn't, just keeps his voice down and shields Jimin with his body. “It's alright.”
“S-sorry,” Jimin says, trying to untangle himself a little but, as soon as he looks at Yoongi, the breath stumbles out of him again and he hides his tear-stained face against Yoongi's shoulder once more.
It happens sometimes, Yoongi thinks. When you steep yourself in an emotion so deeply that it's difficult to get out of it again. He knows it from anger and anxiety, knows how they sometimes tip over and turn into crying fits. In those moments, it's usually best to just let it all out.
“It's alright,” he says again, smoothing a hand over the back of Jimin's head. “Take your time.”
Jimin just nods silently, not even bothering to look up, and Yoongi ducks down to press a thoughtful kiss into his hair.
When it's time for Jimin's fake roommate to walk into the apartment, a callback to how she had almost caught them before, Yoongi's glare comes easy to him. He stares her down, a challenge in his eyes, and just tightens his grip around Jimin. Whatever misfortunes the world threw at them, they'd get through it together.
And that... that part is not even scripted.
Namjoon tears through his bedroom, trash bag in hand, tossing all his skirts and dresses and high heels inside, a flurry of colors and expensive fabrics. He gets to the dresser where he keeps his make-up, about to just sweep everything into the bag as well – but then he catches his reflection in the mirror. His hair is a mess, his face red and blotchy with unshed tears. He is furious, at himself, at the world, at others dictating how he should be. His fingers quiver when he picks up the lipstick but, as soon as the scarlet touches his lips, he is certain.
Taehyung comes home like a beaten dog, ashamed but asking for forgiveness. His mothers look surprised to see the rueful expression on his face, more surprised still when he presents them with two bouquets of pink carnations, one for each of them. Both of them tear up and pull him into a hug. They'll accept him, no matter what, and he has learned to return the favor.
It’s a beautiful day, bright and sunny. Hoseok sits on a park bench, carefully painting his hands in pinks and blues. A little girl in a yellow dress stops her father to watch him curiously and, when Hoseok notices her, he sends her a smile that she returns.
There's a rarely frequented basketball court in Jungkook's neighborhood. The asphalt is a bit cracked, the basket a bit rickety, but it'll do. The first few times, he misses the hoop, and it's tedious to retrieve the ball when it bounces away. But Jungkook does not give up. When he finally scores his first point, he gives an exuberant yell.
Jimin hides himself away in his boyfriend's embrace who mutters soft words that are only meant for him to hear. The world is an unfair place and they both know it too well. Sometimes it feels as though all they have is each other. Right now, Jimin is all tears and fragility. No one should be this beautiful when so sad. Yoongi melts when he looks at him, hardens when he thinks of what did this to him. When Jimin's roommate comes home, throwing the door open, Yoongi does not move, just glares at her from across Jimin's head and dares her to judge them.
Seokjin is back to pick up his daughter from kindergarten. She comes running toward him, her yellow dress billowing, and throws herself into his arms with a bright laugh. Jin cannot help but laugh as well, lifting her up toward the blue of the sky. He doesn't care about what other people say. This wonderful smart little girl is the most important thing on this planet and he will not let his love for her be tainted by any sort of shame.
What lovely feedback for last chapter! I am so happy people are enjoying this story as much as I am. I have decided to turn this into a total of six chapters, so this is the halfway point. :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
They all have some more outdoor scenes to shoot, but the weather isn't playing along, which means they have to wait a couple of days. There isn't much for them to do now, except to enjoy the precious few hours of reprieve before their comeback truly starts. Already, they've been invited to the usual slough of variety shows so Yoongi knows to count his blessings.
But there is the rest of their songs on the album, mostly less experimental than White Summer itself, as well as choreos and general singing practice, and they post more teasers online, drop some Bangtan Bombs, post more selfies now that their hair colors have been revealed.
Eventually, they wrap up the filming, and then it's cutting and editing and arranging and a lot more secrecy. There's a certain urgency that descends over their group whenever they are about to release a new MV and this time is no different. They are all starving dogs, salivating at the thought of finally finding out what the world will say.
Namjoon and Bang PD had gotten into a staring contest over the contents of the MV. And Bang PD had won the battle but Namjoon won the war, and they got permission to air the whole thing; no abridged version, no censorship.
“You boys are a force to be reckoned with,” Bang PD had allowed grouchily and probably cursed the day he ever thought it was a good idea to make Kim Namjoon leader of this particular group of idols.
They all know better, though. They were never meant for mediocrity.
It's with this knowledge, this triumph that they finally gather in the living-room in their dorm as Jungkook is hooking up Namjoon's laptop with the big TV.
Jimin sits a little bit up front, on the floor between Taehyung and Jungkook because the hyungs had snagged the sofa but the maknaes wanted the first row, and Yoongi can only send a halfhearted glare at Seokjin and Hoseok when they both give a full-bodied laugh at some stupid joke, jostling the cushions. This is not exactly a moment of reverence for him, but he still feels as though it demands his full attention. After all, the next five minutes will hold the sum of weeks and weeks of their collaborative work.
“Ssssh,” Namjoon fortunately shushes them a moment later when Jungkook scoots back and the familiar sound of the BigHit title card zaps through the room. They all wait with baited breath. Then, the intro and Namjoon's voice-over descends onto them, another soliloquy in English, but Yoongi knows the translation by heart.
“There is nothing so powerful as human hands. They are what sets us apart from other primates and all animals. They are our fifth sense and our greatest tool. We built empires with our hands, and star ships. We plucked the Forbidden Fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. We hurt each other and we kill. We create. We reach out and we touch and we hold on. We help. In the hollow of our hands, we hold entire worlds, and caprice has never suited us.”
A series of close-ups. Hoseok's hands making breakfast in the morning. Jungkook's hands thumbing through a worn copy of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 . Namjoon's hand stirring a spoon in his coffee cup. Taehyung's hand flipping someone off. Jimin's hand doodling tiny hearts in the margins of his shopping list. Jin's hands tying his daughter's hair into pigtails. Yoongi's hand pressing a doorbell.
A beat of silence. And then, White Summer begins.
Yoongi's hungry eyes flick along the screen, trying to take everything in, all the little details he knows will take the fans several views to notice. There's NOSCE TE IPSUM written on the wall in Namjoon's bedroom, and the Pietas painting from Hoseok's Wings story hangs in the hallway of Taehyung's house; a white dog plushy sits in the nursery and it looks like a carbon copy of Seokjin's dog Jjanggu.
Most of the scenes, Yoongi has already seen. They watched the dance version of the song last week, and then he was present for most of the filming, had even gone over some of the reels right at the end of each day. But it's different seeing it like this, with the proper lighting and the visuals perfectly aligned with the music.
It feels strange and intimate to see those made-up versions of his friends at their most vulnerable. Strange to see Hoseok crying behind closed doors and Namjoon having a panic attack. Strange to see Jungkook faking laughter and Taehyung breaking things in a rage. Stranger still to see himself kiss Park Jimin and look as though he couldn't conceive of anything else.
Almost instinctively, he glances over to where Jimin is sitting between Jungkook and Taehyung, his knees pulled up to his chest, chin resting on top. Like this, Yoongi cannot see his reaction, and he isn't sure whether that's for the best.
“Play it again,” Seokjin says as soon as the screen has faded to black, nudging his knee against Jungkook's back, but Jungkook is already reaching out to press repeat.
This time is even worse and the rest of the MV seems to disappear as Yoongi's focus narrows down to the scenes he shares with Jimin, the moments in between painfully drawn out. There's him entwining his fingers with Jimin's. Him brushing the hair from Jimin's face. Him fitting his mouth against the pulse in Jimin's neck. And Jimin, laughing. And Jimin, crying. Jimin, the epitome of what it feels like to be in love.
Yoongi clenches his fists as he counts the closeups that depict the course of their fictional relationship.
Jimin's fingers tentatively clenching in Yoongi's shirt or stroking along his collarbone. Yoongi's palms cradling Jimin's cheeks. His hand on the back of his neck, pulling him into a kiss. Rubbing soothing circles onto his back. The two of them holding hands, walking side by side, refusing to be parted.
“Woah,” Jungkook breathes when it's over. This time, no one urges him to press play again and he turns around with an eager expression.
“Well,” Seokjin says with a stunned little nod. “I think that turned out well.”
Namjoon laughs, buries his face in his hands as he sinks back into the cushions.
“Guys,” he says, with voice breaking with a sudden tide of emotions. “We're going to write history.”
They are. They actually are. In only a couple of days, they would release the MV and henceforth BTS would be known for breaking one of the most prevalent taboos of Korean society.
“Oh wow oh wow oh wow,” Hoseok says, turning toward Yoongi and excitedly shaking him by the shoulder. “I love this song.”
“Of course you love it,” Seokjin huffs. “You sang like half of it.”
Yoongi blinks slowly, still staring at the blank screen.
With a sinking feeling in his gut, he realizes that this is the first time that anyone other than Namjoon has seen these clips. That they all had known Jimin and Suga had kissed but that that had been nothing but an abstract concept. Now, it’s real. It’s on film and it will be released into the wild. Oh fuck.
He glances back over to Jimin who is now resting his head on Taehyung's shoulder, but neither of them seems to be saying anything. Yoongi doesn't quite know what to make of that.
He tenses a little when he feels Namjoon slumping into his side, nose against Yoongi's shirt sleeve.
“Hyung,” he says simply and Yoongi twists his head to peer down at him.
“We did good,” Namjoon tells him, his voice muffled. “You'll see.”
On the floor, Jungkook is pulling the laptop close, starting the video anew.
Yoongi can only sit there and accept his fate.
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THEY DID THAT!!
Over a million views already omg chill guys it's been like half an hour
Army, let's break their last 24 hour record ASAP!
WHO DISLIKED THIS??
be still my heart. I think i'm dreaming.
RM looks so good in that dress!!
Jeon Jungkook, back at it again with the wheelchair and the broken hearts
omg hobi is doing actual sign language and combining it with dance. Dead.
Yoonmin is canon yoonmin is canon yoonmin is canon
Vmin stan here but this is... hot damn O__O
T__T I wanna hug all of them, my poor babies
What kinda bitch would leave Kim Seokjin and his adorable child??
Maybe he is widowed?
OMG that's even worse
Can V's moms please adopt me, too?
Damn, I was hoping for cougar polyamory
Is that a positive or a negative comment?
Guys, guys, guys, it's all connected again! Like, V's moms are talking to Jin and his daughter, Kookie passes by a crowd and if you look closely you can see Hobi dancing there!
In the restaurant where RM is sitting, you can see Jiminie and Suga holding hands in the background.
I DIDN'T SEE THAT! /goes to replay entire video for the nth time/
No, boss, I cannot come to work today, I need to watch Park Jimin and Min Yoongi kiss some more.
Does this mean Suga is actually bisexual?
He's hinted at it before.
What about Jimin, tho?
No one with a mouth like that can be straight
IT'S OFFICIAL! BTS SAVED KPOP! EVERYONE ELSE GO HOME!
As predicted, the internet explodes.
White Summer is all anyone is talking about and, accordingly, Yoongi barely dares to go online. But he feels accomplished whenever Hoseok or Taehyung read out the update on their likes and hit count. Various other groups share the song on social media, lauding their work, and a lot of friends text him privately, freaking out about how ballsy that move was but, when his mother calls, it's only to tell him how proud she is.
The rumors, as they are wont to do, pop up as soon as the MV is released, nestled in between headlines that praise them for their artistry and audacity.
Bold Choice from BigHit's BTS!
Pushing the limits – Bangtan's Comeback Doesn't Fail to Impress
Are They Really Dating? These Two Bulletproof Boy Scouts Hit It Off in their Newest MV!
LGBT Fans Rejoice as BTS Drop White Summer
“You don't need to read everything out,” Yoongi groans, making Jungkook look up from his phone.
“That's only the first few Google hits,” he points out. “There's... a lot more.”
The way his voice tilts a little implies that not all of the results are necessarily favorable. But even bad press – or at least controversial one – has its own merits. If anything, it’s bound to send more viewers their way.
“Fact is, we've already broken a number of records,” Seokjin notes mildly. “At least that's something no one can dispute.”
“Some people claim it’s just a gimmick,” Jungkook muses. “But they also say that, if any group did something like this, it was likely to be us.”
Yoongi cannot help but tense up.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” he asks, a little sharper than planned.
The other two exchange a look.
“Uh, that we're already known for challenging people's worldviews and addressing topics that other groups would never even think of?” Jungkook phrases carefully, obviously unsure of what had set Yoongi off. And Yoongi, admittedly, doesn't quite know it either.
“Oh,” he says simply, but doesn't know how to continue.
He had thought he'd been prepared for the repercussions, he'd fucking warned Jimin about them, too, yet now he has to realize what a volatile creature they had released right alongside their masterpiece.
The week of their comeback, they have an appearance on Weekly Idol and it's pretty routine, for the most part. They joke around with the hosts, Hoseok the life of the party as per usual, and accept praise for their well executed concept. Then they are challenged to do White Summer for the X2 Dance Challenge and Yoongi knows he's lost before they have even begun.
It's the sign language that does him in and his damned perfectionism because Namjoon sure as hell is only waving his hands about while Yoongi actually tries to get shit right. The hosts don't know that, though, so when Yoongi fumbles to catch up, loses track of where they are in the routine and has to take a few moments to join back in, the hosts call him out on it.
Yoongi gives a pained smile, offers some half-assed excuses, explaining how difficult KSL is, really, Hoseok can tell them all about it. But they remain adamant.
“He needs to be punished, I think,” Hyeong-don argues. “That was a punishment-worthy mistake.”
“Yeah,” Defconn nods sagely. “'fraid so.”
“Make him do a handstand,” Jungkook says, obviously eager to sacrifice Yoongi's dignity. “Or - oh, oh, make him do aegyo!”
“Nooo,” Yoongi moans though there are admittedly worse things. At least then they won't break out the rubber hammer.
“That's too easy,” Defconn claims. “Where's the fun in that?”
“I think it should be something related to your comeback,” Hyeong-don pipes up and that is the precise moment that Yoongi knows what's coming. “Jimin should kiss him.”
“Yes,” Defconn says decisively and Yoongi resists the urge to bury his face in his hands. He had expected that the demand for fan service would rise after they dropped the MV but that doesn't mean that he actually wants to do it.
At once, the atmosphere in the small studio has changed with the members quickly assessing the situation. It's subtle but they have been a team for years now. They know when they have to save each others' necks and Yoongi's neck needs saving very much.
“That's not a punishment,” Hoseok laughs, obviously trying to derail the situation. “Most people would kill to get a kiss from Jiminie.”
“I want to kiss Jimin-ah!” Taehyung crows while Namjoon casually shifts to stand in front of Yoongi.
“Nope.” Hyeong-don shakes his head. “It's decided. You lose the challenge, you get punished. Do it or BTS will be forever disgraced in the eyes of Weekly Idol !”
“Oh fine,” Jimin giggles. He's all smiles and easy grace, as though none of this were a big deal. Maybe it isn't. Yoongi can't tell anymore.
“Ooooh?” Hyeong-don makes an exaggerated face. “Is Jimin braver than his hyung?”
It's just a fucking kiss, Yoongi thinks but doesn't roll his eyes. This is the exact opposite of what White Summer had been meant to achieve. Kissing boys wasn't supposed to be viewed as an icky challenge, a dare for people to laugh over how ridiculous it was. And Yoongi wants to resist but he also wants to show that there is nothing wrong with it.
Between a rock and a hard place, he thinks. Or, rather, a very soft place because suddenly Jimin is there in front of him in a pale blue sweater, the sleeves of it slipping over his hands.
And Yoongi thinks he knows what's coming, the dry lips, the rustle of fabric, but Jimin's palms suddenly cup the sides of his head and tilt him downward, and then there is a gentle pressure on the crown of his head and Jimin is already stepping away again.
“At least I don't have to stand on my tiptoes with him!” he jokes and that's that.
A kiss but not on the mouth. A good compromise. Yoongi shouldn't have gotten so worried.
The hosts know better than to scold them for making use of the loophole and Hyeong-don notes what a motherly kiss it was which gets them to talking about Jin's father role in the MV.
It's only later, when they make their way backstage again and Seokjin puts a hand on Yoongi's shoulder in a show of camaraderie and Namjoon's expression is downright stormy.
“I should've expected something like that,” he says by way of apology, both to Jimin and Yoongi. “I'll make sure it won't happen again.”
And they know he will. They are old hands at this, no longer caught in the contracts of their rookie days. If something doesn't sit well with them, they can usually refuse to do it. Weekly Idol was one thing, but they couldn't allow this to get out of hand.
“It's alright, hyung.” Jimin waves off easily. “It's nothing we haven't done before.”
It is, though. In a way that Yoongi can't quite put his finger on, it is.
Are They or Aren't They? - BTS' White Summer and Why It Blows Our Minds | Amino
To reduce BTS's comeback song White Summer to nothing but it's controversial LGBT support would be doing both them and their music a huge disservice. Apart from addressing issues such as homophobia, the group also presents depictions of disabilities and non-traditional families, and has, in fact, long since been known for their outspoken demand for equal rights. This includes their more subtle hints, such as the safety pins they wear in their Spring Day MV, and slightly more blatant ones, like RM and Jungkook's duet of I Know which does not differentiate between “I love you, girl” and “I love you, boy.”
But although there have been other artists whose music has highlighted similar taboos, such as Planet Shiver's Rainbow (feat. Crush), Sistar's One More Day , and Mad Clown's Love is a Dog from Hell (feat. Suran), none have dared to go all the way.
When the Hold My Hand promo pictures (just six instead of the usual seven for each member) were first released a month ago, fans immediately began speculating whether this would truly be the first portent of something that has never been seen before: two male idols shown in a romantic relationship.
The MV - the Youtube hit count of which quickly broke all of the group's personal and several international records - does not only feature V as the conflicted son of a lesbian couple, it also shows Jimin and Suga openly cuddling, holding hands and even kissing.
While fan service is rampant among most kpop groups, BTS have only very rarely participated in any sort of kissing games and the like, instead engaging in more honest skinship, both on and off-camera. Therefore, fans immediately began wondering what to make of this unprecedented choice.
Despite the fact that some claim that this is just a gimmick meant to draw in media attention, the majority of the reactions have been overwhelmingly positive.
“This song means a lot to us and we thank you, ARMY, for supporting us in this,” RM wrote on the group’s official Twitter, also revealing that he and Suga were the driving force behind the song.
“It was definitely a group effort,” he continued. “We couldn't have done it without each other, or without [our producer] Bang PD.”
However, this only fueled fans' imagination.
It has been speculated for a while that Suga has long since hinted at being bisexual or possibly demisexual, and many see his role in the MV as the final proof. Going one step further, some particularly enthusiastic individuals noted that this might be Jimin and Suga's joint coming out, which would make them the first openly dating gay idol couple.
Neither of the two has commented on the issue so far, but it is to be expected that more will be revealed in upcoming interviews and making-ofs.
Yoongi is halfway through a late-evening-snack when he glances at his phone and realizes that he hasn’t really talked to Jimin in a couple of days.
He doesn’t quite know why that epiphany strikes him so suddenly but, after another moment of pondering, knows that it’s true.
When you live and work together, it’s pretty much impossible to not talk to each other on the regular, even if it’s just to complain about the toilet paper running out again. But there’s a difference between muttered greetings in the kitchen and spending the entire night letting your walls down and another person in.
It’s not unusual for Yoongi to go days at a time without any prolonged contact to anyone. He loves his friends and he wouldn’t know what to do without them but, at the same time, he has no qualms about taking a timeout whenever he needs one. The others have long since learned to respect that and to not take it as a slight against them.
Jimin, however, tends to be the exception more often than not. He can be energetic and invades Yoongi’s personal bubble all of the time, but somehow he is not as draining as most other people would be. Even when Yoongi turns on his music, bundles up in his hoodie and tries to shut the world out, he does not mind when Jimin sits down next to him and starts playing with his drawstrings while chatting with Hoseok.
So while the others are mostly used to letting Yoongi come to them at his own volition, it’s not all that often that Yoongi has to make an effort to go and seek out Jimin.
For a moment he debates whether he should bother because it’s already kind of late and they have an appearance on a morning show tomorrow. But then he just chucks his used plate into the sink and leaves the kitchen.
When he reaches the door to Jimin's room, he raps his knuckles against the wood.
“Yes?” Jimin's voice comes.
“Hey,” Yoongi replies. “It's me.”
He doesn't simply enter because he hates it when other people just come in without explicit permission, but he is still surprised by how long he has to wait for a follow-up reaction.
When the door opens in front of him, however, it's Taehyung who looks at him.
“Hyung,” he says.
Yoongi gives him a deadpan stare. “Dongsaeng.”
Because Taehyung is both taller and broader than him and also wearing a fuzzy sweater, he manages to block the door quite efficiently, keeping one hand on the frame as he twists around and looks over his shoulder into the room.
There must be some non-verbal conversation going on between him and Jimin, and Yoongi is almost tempted to leave because it seems he interrupted them or something. But then Taehyung gives a nod and turns around again.
“I'll be with Jungkookie,” he informs them needlessly and then squeezes past Yoongi and into the hallway.
Like this, Yoongi can see Jimin sitting on his bed in a t-shirt and shorts, but he still shuffles around on the spot, strangely hesitant.
“Hey,” he says again. “Can I come in?”
“Of course, hyung,” Jimin answers with a prim smile, but something seems just slightly off.
Yoongi steps in, closes the door behind himself, stalls again.
“Come,” Jimin says and pats the spot next to him, kicking his bundled-up blanket out of the way.
Yoongi makes a noise at the back of his throat. The air in the room is warm and slightly stuffy. They've all been living together for so long that it's difficult to pick out individual smells, apart from the overarching feeling of home, but Yoongi still thinks that he could recognize Jimin with his his eyes closed and his hands bound.
When Yoongi sits down next to him, Jimin only gives him a curious look.
“You've been quiet,” he says, very plainly, with no demand for an explanation.
“Have I?” Yoongi deflects instead. He doesn't think he has behaved differently.
“Yes,” Jimin nods. His legs are folded in front of him, his hands on his bare ankles. “Since we watched the MV, I think.”
“Ah,” Yoongi says and then nothing.
For a few moments, they sit in silence.
“What was your favorite part?” Jimin asks at length.
“Of the MV.”
“Oh.” Yoongi thinks for a moment. “Hoseok dancing at the end. And Namjoon's scene in the restroom.”
“Hmm,” Jimin hums again. “The way Jin-hyung handled Min-Seo.”
Yoongi nods. The child actress who had played Seokjin's daughter had admittedly been beyond adorable.
“And our first kiss,” Jimin says mildly. “I liked that, too.”
Yoongi nods again. But then his brain catches up with what has just been said and he has to blink rapidly to get the frown off his face.
“Yeah,” he agrees slowly. “It looked... real.”
“Hmhm. Felt real, too,” Jimin adds and leans his head back against the wall.
“I dunno,” he says. “My first kiss was kinda...” He waves his hand, vague as it is, but Jimin's eyes are closed anyway. “But,” Yoongi hurries to add. “It's not like it was meant as a first kiss. In the context of the MV.”
“Oh,” Jimin says. His eyes are open again but he is still not looking at Yoongi. “I guess not.”
Yoongi plucks at the hem of his own shirt. “Have you parents seen it yet?”
“They liked it.”
“What, no stunned surprise?”
Jimin snorts. “I think they'd expected something like this for a while.”
Because we're known for producing extraordinary content, Yoongi reminds himself of what Jungkook had said. Nothing more than that.
“Yoongi-yah,” Jimin continues before Yoongi can think of something else to say.
“Yeah?” Yoongi asks, his mouth dry. In the yellow light of the room, Jimin's hair is almost as vibrant as in the ending scene of the MV.
“I'm really glad I got to do this with you,” Jimin tells him and, when Yoongi opens his mouth, no sound comes out.
“Yeah,” he croaks finally. “Me, too.”
When Jimin leans in to rest his head on his shoulder, Yoongi doesn't protest. Then again, he never does.
Ok, so I know you’re dead and all and blogging from the afterlife. But, all shipping aside,
I was wondering what your honest thoughts on the ym controversy are. Do you think they
are gay/bisexual? Or that they are really dating?
Yes, hello, I am still very much dead but thanks to the necromantic powers of asks like this, I shall be resurrected.
Lol, ok, jokes - and yes, shipping - aside, here’s what I think. This is just my personal opinion so feel free to disagree.
Suga: Honestly, by this point, there is no doubt in my mind that he is bi. There was the interview, the lines in Agust D. And now he took on White Summer when it honestly could have been literally any other of the boys. So, either he’s queer himself or he is one hell of an ally. I prefer the first option. And I hope that this might even be the first step to his actual coming out.
Jimin: Gay? Bi? I’m not sure. Could be, but could be not. Half of the time, his attempts at masculinity look like overcompensation. Maybe I’m just falling for the gay ballet dancer stereotype here. Also, it’s easier for me to see him volunteering for the role because somehow I don’t think he would have much of a problem kissing Suga or one of the other guys.
Yoonmin: Oh boy oh boy. I’m really trying not to read this with shipper goggles but it’s really difficult. Fact is, there are several times when Yoongi has blatantly checked Jimin out. I mean, THE THIRST. Is he bi and simply appreciative of good dance moves/a nice body? Maybe. But add that to the fact that he and Jimin are known to spent a lot of quality time together, I don’t think it’s impossible that romantic feelings might have developed as well. Are those feelings returned? I certainly hope so because not only do I want Yoongi to be happy, I also think an unrequited crush could be very painful for the entire group because they are all so close. T__T
But there’ve also been a lot of instances of Jimin seeking out Yoongi’s closeness and the way he talks about him is so soft and appreciative. And I don’t know about you but this is the way my grandparents who’ve been happily married for 62 years talk about each other.
HOWEVER! I also think it’s important to remember that White Summer is a work of art AND fiction. Hobi is not really mute. Taetae does not have lesbian moms and neither does Jin have a kid (at least I hope so because that would be one hell of a scandal, probably). Even if any of the boys are actually LGBT, that does not mean that they are automatically dating each other. There’s more to dating than just compatible sexualities, even if a lot of (het) people don’t seem to get that, unfortunately. :|
So please, whatever you do, don’t harass the boys with shipping questions or anything like that! If they ever come out, we’ll support them, but let’s not insinuate anything and scare them away!
If you'd like to see real LGBT representation in Korean MV's, please check out:
Monsta X - All In | Beenzino – How Do I Look? | K. Will – Please Don't... | Planet Shiver – Rainbow (feat. Crush) | 10cm - Help | Brown Eyed Girls - Abracadabra | Girl's Day – Female President | Sistar – One More Day | Mamamoo – Um Oh Ah Yeah | Hyuna – Run and Run | SNSD – Love & Girls | Mad Clown – Love is a Dog from Hell | Anda - Touch
Some of these are very blatant, some are blink-and-you'll-miss-it, and some only have hints in the lyrics, but I think those are notable as well.
EDIT: We can now add Holland's Neverland to this list. :)
Thank you so much, everyone; your reviews keep getting better and and better, and I treasure every single one. <3
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The next morning is the usual parade of yawns and misplaced shoes as they all shuffle out of the building and into the car. Yoongi buries deep into his hoodie and leans back in his seat, trying to at least get in another nap.
He manages, barely, and then they are already at the studio and being prodded by a number of stylists. Jimin is sitting two seats down from him, Seokjin in between, but neither of them makes an effort to talk. Yoongi isn't quite sure why.
The last evening had been a strange experience, in a way he can't exactly put his finger on. There is no tension between them, not as such, but he cannot shake the feeling that he is missing something. As though he had blanked out during a crucial part of their conversation and Jimin was a little hurt over it.
Only, Yoongi thinks, it had probably felt like that even before yesterday.
But when, he wonders? And why hadn't it sorted itself out yet?
“Okay,” Namjoon says when they are all waiting for their call. “You know the drill. Or rather, the new drill. We're not pulling any punches with this. When they ask you a question, answer with what you think is right, not with what they want to hear.”
They all give tight nods. They'd been given an overview of the questions beforehand and none were anything out of the usual, really. But there could always be some surprises which might quickly turn ugly if they were caught off guard.
“If anything throws you, let me handle it,” Namjoon says. “I prepared some alternative answers.”
“Hah, such a reliable leader,” Seokjin sighs, squeezing his shoulder.
Namjoon gives a lopsided grin. “Okay,” he says. “Let's go and blow their minds.”
Their call comes, they enter the small stage of the studio, greet the host, have a seat. Yoongi tries to get comfortable, fails, surrenders, sits a little straighter.
The interviewer, a woman in her thirties in a pencil skirt and an impeccably styled updo, needlessly introduces them to the audience and says a few thing about their comeback and their new album. Then she announces the name of their title song, before the MV is pulled up on the big screen.
There's another smaller screen in front of them so they can watch it as well and make little comments as they go along.
“Jin-hyung looks so mature,” Jimin gushes when Seokjin is shown in his slacks and dress shirt.
“It's the wrinkles,” Hoseok comments and Seokjin snorts out a laugh.
“When you get to be my age...” he says vaguely but then trails off because Namjoon comes up on the screen.
“That's not an unusual look on hyung,” Jungkook points out.
“Yeah.” Namjoon nods. “I own some skirts. I think dresses are cool, too.”
“But you can't walk in high heels.”
“His feet are too big.”
The next fleeting scenes are over quickly, the storylines alternating. Then Jimin in the MV is opening his bedroom door, and Yoongi in the studio is holding his breath, watching how his past self leans in to kiss Jimin on the mouth.
The chorus, blissfully. No one comments on anything, but Jungkook and Hoseok enthusiastically go through the sign language part of the routine where they are sitting.
When his and Jimin's scene in bed comes up, Yoongi's tongue darts out to wet his lips. They have watched this video so many times but he is still always caught off-kilter whenever he sees it. While they are rolling around on the mattress, the scene smoothly transitions to another bit in the choreography. It's with Yoongi and Jimin standing chest to back, Yoongi's hands on his hips as Jimin gives a full-bodied roll and brushes his hair out of his face, head tilting back, camera forgotten.
It is, doubtlessly, the most erotic part of the routine, but it is only now, as the MV switches back to them on the bed, that Yoongi fully realizes it is meant to represent them fucking.
He swallows hard.
He had danced the whole thing so many fucking times that it really should have been obvious but, while he was struggling through the single moves and performing the entire thing over and over, he had sort of neglected to pay attention to everything in context.
God, what had Hoseok and Jimin been thinking when they had come up with that particular bit? What had Yoongi not been thinking when he agreed to it?
He zones out so much that, when he blinks again, it is only to see their last kiss fade away from the screen. He cannot even tell whether he missed parts of the commentary, whether the others had been talking or just as intently focused as him.
Unfortunately, though, they are already turning toward the interview part of their appearance. Yoongi feels very grateful for the fact that their leader is going to handle most of it, so he just digs his fingernails into his wrist and plasters on a fake smile.
The host asks all the regular questions, who worked on what part, what they did differently. V's foray into rapping is introduced, J-Hope smiles brightly as he is praised for his singing.
“You said you were given full artistic license for this album,” the interviewer notes. “What do the song and the MV mean for you on a more personal level?”
“Well,” Namjoon says, shifting his weight a little. “A few years back, I read an interview with Jaden Smith about how he wears skirts and dresses so in the future other boys won't have to fight for it. And this is really what all of this is about. There are so many things that are considered a taboo simply because we don't really get to see them in a different light. So exposing certain parts of your true self can be daunting and painful, especially if people around you are intolerant. But once you accept yourself, things will also get easier.”
“So the summer sun can bleach your bones,” the interviewer recites from the lyrics.
“Or it can be what our worlds revolve around, yeah,” Namjoon nods.
“That's beautiful,” the interviewer agrees. “RM, you've been known for occasionally wearing women's runway fashion. What about the other guys. Are your stories inspired by personal issues?”
“Kind of,” Jin volunteers. “I recently got back in touch with an old friend from school, only to find out that she had had a child out of wedlock. She fell out with her family and most of her friends and... that really shocked me. For a long time she struggled raising her kid and she said she felt very isolated. She's in a better place now but... society can be really brutal if you don't fit people's expectations of you.”
“For me it wasn't very personal, originally,” Hoseok admits with a laugh. “I don't know any mute or deaf people, I just thought sign language looks cool when you see it on the news, and I've seen other artists incorporate it into their performances. But... then I started really delving into the topic and found out that you don't really see it all that much because so few people actually know it. And that means, people who are dependent on KSL are limited in their interactions and often end up isolated as well. And that's... that's a big problem that doesn't often get talked about.”
“Do you think some of your fans will be inspired to learn sign language now?”
“I hope so!” Hoseok says. “It's difficult but really interesting.”
And he signs something with his hands.
“What does that mean?” the interviewer asks with a big smile and Hoseok signs it again more slowly, explaining the single gestures.
“I. Love. A. R. M. Y.”
The audience cheers, the boys giggle, the mood is light and easy to navigate. Of course it cannot last.
“What about you, Jimin and Suga?” the host continues. “Arguably, your roles in the MV caused the biggest stir.”
Yoongi opens his mouth, closes it again. He knew this question was coming. He just has to remind himself of the answer.
“I've talked before about how I don't really care about anyone's gender,” he says, ignoring the nervous clenching of the interviewer's jaw at the easy confession. “In, uh, romantic partners or whatever. So this is just... the logical extension of that. And it's 2018. With our music we thrive to show what moves people and what touches them. The idea was there from the beginning and Jimin was kind enough to support this part of the project.”
That's what's most important. He cannot allow people to get the wrong idea, not when this stupid thing had already warped his own head.
He can tell how, next to him, Jimin is tensing up at that explanation, as though he didn't quite agree with it, but he doesn't say anything to object either, so Yoongi just continues.
“I hope White Summer can show our fans and the world that love, in all its variations, is a beautiful thing and that it should be openly celebrated.”
The others are nodding along with it and the interviewer does, too, before she has another question.
“Do you think White Summer will pave the way to same sex equality in Korea?” she asks and Yoongi considers that for a moment, purses his lips.
“Maybe nothing so extreme,” he allows, going for a more humble tone. “But... if there are some kids who watch this video and realize that it's okay to be different, for themselves and for others... then I think we did a good job.”
“Jimin?” the interviewer asks. “Anything to add to that?”
For an almost uncomfortably long moment, Jimin remains silent.
“I think,” he says at length, his tone somber. “That the song and the MV are about a certain kind of longing for something that you can't have. And the loneliness that comes with it.”
Yoongi frowns at that, turns toward him.
“But in the end, the longing ends,” he argues. “It's a follow your dreams kinda story. Face your fears and stand up for what you believe in.”
Jimin glances at him, tilts his head to the side, “But motivation does not guarantee victory. And acceptance does not equal love.”
“Well, that's morbid,” Seokjin notes with a chuckle and the moment breaks. It's probably for the best. Yoongi has no idea how he should have reacted to an observation like that.
When Jimin turns away again, Yoongi watches the graceful slope of his nose, the way it tips upward just slightly. It's easier than to see the gossamer smile he stitches onto his lips.
“Yeah, so, that got a little awkward in between,” Jungkook notes, glancing around with wide eyes as they step into the dressing room.
“You don't say,” Namjoon snorts. “I thought that lady was going to choke on her microphone.”
“Still went better than expected,” Seokjin throws in. “At least there were no hecklers or anything like that.”
“Well, the audience was probably staged.” Namjoon shrugs. “I’ve got a radio interview with a more alternative station later today. I can probably talk more candidly there.”
“You'd think that, when they ask these questions, they are prepared for the answers,” Taehyung muses. “Like... they want the thrill of the insinuation, but not the scandal of the truth.”
“Hoooah,” Hoseok pulls an exaggerated face, throwing an arm around him. “That was quite profound, Taehyungie. You're growing as wise as Namjoon-ah.”
Predictably, Taehyung just shrugs him off and sticks his tongue out at him.
“Here,” Seokjin says, passing out wet wipes and they all begin to scrub the make-up off their faces. Yoongi's skin is already feeling irritated again and he can't wait till he gets to wash himself properly. Luckily, he doesn’t have any other appointments planned for the rest of the day.
They struggle back into their normal clothes but, all the while, Yoongi cannot help but notice how Jimin is standing off to the side, visibly more distant than usual.
“Hey,” Yoongi says, carefully sidling up to him. His hoodie is turned inside-out again and he fumbles around with it for a moment. “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” Jimin claims, tying his shoes with more force than necessary before swiftly standing up straight again. “Peachy.”
“Okay, guys, let's head out,” Hoseok announces brightly but then just pulls Taehyung and Jungkook toward the exit where Namjoon and Seokjin are already holding the door open. Yoongi gives them a distracted look but then turns back to Jimin.
“Is this still because of the interview?” he asks. He hadn't thought that something so simple as disagreeing on the meaning of the song would ruffle Jimin's feathers like that.
“Among other things,” Jimin says, grabbing his bag and flinging it over his shoulder so violently that it swings right back and miserably thumps against his side. Jimin's glare, on the other hand, is quite impressive.
In all the years that they have known each other, Yoongi had seen Jimin express a vast variety of emotions. Yet this kind of blazing anger had only very rarely been among them – and certainly never aimed at him.
“You-” Yoongi begins and ends. Something in him wants to apologize but he doesn't even know what for. “I'm sorry,” he tries anyway.
It's the wrong thing to do.
Jimin's glare only intensifies.
“For what, hyung?” he demands, fingers clenching around the shoulder strap of his bag.
“For upsetting you,” Yoongi says. “And... and for not really knowing what I did.”
For a moment, Jimin's lips purse as though he’s very consciously trying to hold something back. Then a little shudder goes through him and the tension bleeds away.
“You didn't do anything,” he admits. He still sounds brittle. “Just... don't assume you have the monopoly on being queer.”
With those words, he marches past Yoongi and toward the door, pulling it open and stepping outside.
Yoongi remains behind, alone and very much confused.
He gathers up his things, adjusts his beanie. The door falls shut behind him. His footsteps slap onto the linoleum floor, glad than no one pays him any attention.
He doesn’t feel numb exactly, but... flummoxed. Like an outdated computer struggling with a new program. A situation like this never occurred to him so now he has no emotions to go with the scenario.
So he is surprised, yeah. Not betrayed that Jimin only told him this now but... disappointed in himself for not noticing earlier. Upset about obviously having hurt Jimin. A bit hurt himself because he doesn't think he deserved Jimin's attitude.
And still, he cannot shake the feeling that there is something else going on.
“There you are,” Namjoon says when Yoongi finally steps out of the building and into the parking lot. Everyone else must already be in the car but Namjoon seems to have waited by the entrance. Yoongi can guess why that is.
He just jerks out a nod, enduring Namjoon's contemplative look on him. Their leader obviously suspects that something must have happened between him and Jimin, but he probably doesn't know what it was exactly.
Yoongi takes a deep breath.
“Hey,” he says, stilling Namjoon who had already turned toward the car. “Do you think... Jiminie's... gay... or something?”
Namjoon blinks, his mouth falling open. For a moment, his face is completely blank.
“Oh man,” he says at length, shaking his head with a little laugh. “Oh man. They're not paying me enough for this.”
He laughs again and, without actually answering the question, jams his hands into his pockets and quickly walks over to the car.
It takes Yoongi a considerable amount of willpower to give himself a push and do the same.
When he climbs into the car, he cannot help but notice how Jimin is already sitting in the far back, headphones jammed into his ears, eyes closed, forehead against the window. For a second, Yoongi just looks. Then he pulls the door shut, throws himself down in the last remaining seat and gets buckled in.
For the rest of the day, the atmosphere in the dorm is charged and Yoongi cannot help but think that it might be his fault. He goes to his room, only to roll around the bed without actually getting comfortable. His stomach hurts.
Essentially, he knows what he should be doing, but that doesn't exactly make it easier.
He knows he is a good hyung, for the most part. He takes care of the younger ones and offers them advice when needed. But, usually, that happens naturally. When he sees Taehyung is having trouble with something, Yoongi tries to help him as best as he can. When Jungkook is particularly homesick or exhausted, Yoongi sits a little closer.
This is different, though. This is knowing that, right now, Jimin is struggling with something bigger than himself, something out of the ordinary. He probably needs someone to have an honest and open conversation about it, someone who can remain objective while also giving emotional support.
That's Namjoon's job. That's Seokjin's job. Even Hoseok would be better suited because no one can really stay gloomy in his presence.
The fact remains, however, that this is a problem Yoongi is intimately familiar with. And that Jimin needs someone's unrestrained support in this.
With a sigh, Yoongi manages to roll out of bed. His socked feet hit the ground and, for a moment, he just sits there. Before he can change his mind, however, he has already pushed himself up and is walking down the hallway.
When he knocks on the door, he is not overly surprised to see Taehyung opening it, glaring at him point blank.
“Yoongi-hyung,” he says, probably more to clue Jimin in than anything else. With unnerving certainty, Yoongi realizes that Taehyung probably would have no qualms about shutting the door in his face. Luckily, it doesn't get that far.
“Let him in, Tae,” Jimin says from inside the room. He sounds slightly exasperated, which is at least better than broken.
Taehyung's lips pinch and it almost looks like he might disobey.
“You're a moron, hyung,” is what he finally says and then brushes past Yoongi.
“You should get a muzzle for him,” Yoongi jokes awkwardly once he is gone, but there is no laughter. So, after he has stepped into the room, he just closes the door with great care.
Jimin is sitting at his desk, still in tight jeans and a button-down, his head unbowed. Yoongi kind of feels like he has been called to the principal's office. He tugs at his sleeve.
“Can we talk?” he asks, thinking bluntness might be the best approach.
“About what?” Jimin counters, his face neutral.
Yoongi gives a little cough. “About how I apparently 'don't have the monopoly on being queer'.”
“You looked surprised.”
“I thought I was being pretty obvious.”
“It's not like I was looking for signs or anything.”
And he hadn't. It wasn't as though they had any time or opportunity to go dating people. Most of their fans were girls. A lot of interactions with other male idols was constructed as fan service or good-natured rivalry. So Yoongi doesn't think that Jimin being gay is inconceivable. He just thinks it not exactly his fault for not noticing.
For a long moment, Jimin is silent.
“Does this change things?” he asks, “Between us?”
“Huh?” Yoongi says, “N-no. Why?”
Does Jimin think that, in retrospect, Yoongi would have been uncomfortable with kissing him? Does he regret not coming clean earlier, when at least Namjoon and Taehyung had apparently long since known? Does Jimin know how, especially in the wake of their comeback, people would misinterpret their relationship?
“Okay,” Jimin says with a small accepting nod. “That's all I needed to know.”
Another pause. The conversation feels as though it’s over, yet none of the unpleasant tension seems to have disappeared. Yoongi should probably think of something else to say, but he just bites the inside of his cheek and gives a nod of his own.
He is already stepping into the hallway again when he forces himself to stop.
“Jiminie,” he says, turning around in the door. “I'm always here for you, you know that, right?”
The smile Jimin gives him is sweet but sad.
“Yes,” he says. “I do.”
“That was White Summer by BigHit's BTS and now we are back on air with the mastermind behind the song, RM himself.”
“Thank you for inviting me.”
“We unfortunately cannot show the MV here, but we encourage all of our listeners to check it out online. It'll certainly be worth your time.”
“I hope so. We put a lot of thought and effort into it.”
“The underlying message behind White Summer is that acceptance and open-mindedness are the key to existing and co-existing more peacefully. You went about it by wearing lipstick and a skirt.”
“Exactly, because it's- it's really the little everyday things that change our minds about the bigger picture. I think that, when celebrities do something out of the norm, it's cool and edgy, but I want regular kids to be able to do it, too. If someone wants to wear a dress, they should be able to do that, and no one should give them a hard time for it. Both guys and girls should be able to walk down a street in Seoul in high heels without anyone giving them a hard time.“
”Except for the cobble stone.“
“Except for the cobble stone.“
“How would you say does that relate to the depictions of gay and lesbian relationships in your MV?”
“There's a lot of, ah, hypersexualization of queer couples. A lot of porn, both in Asia and in the West. There's- there's this whole industry and it's like- it's like it's okay to be gay if someone's making money with it but not if it's just someone's life. We wanted to show how there is the normal side of things, too. How the problems come from outside rather than from the relationship itself.”
“And you hope to change people's attitudes in regard to queer life styles.”
“Exactly. With our past MVs, we already touched upon a lot of issues, a lot of taboos. We like to think that, in one way or another, whether we are doing a good job or not, we are opening up a conversation about these kinds of things. And when people think and talk, then they change. If people love our music, that's wonderful but... if we can make a single person's life easier then... then it will all have been worth it.“
“In the context of this comeback, Suga has rather casually come out as bisexual. Did you know about it before?”
“Yeah, from the beginning, during our trainee days. I'm actually surprised some people are surprised. He's never tried to hide it.”
“So he is not worried about this affecting his career in a negative way?”
“No. We're in a good spot, of course, with both our fan base and our company being extremely supportive, and not everyone is that fortunate. But, I think, he'd consider it a hypocrisy to not own up to it.”
“If there is one thing you'd want him – and others like him – to know, what would it be?”
“... I want him to be happy. And I want him to know that, sometimes, the blessings the universe throws his way are not too good to be true. There are things we can work for, things we can earn. But love... that just happens.”
One chapter to go! Will there be a happy ending? Will Min Yoongi finally get a clue? Will Park Jimin finally stop stuffering? Tue in this Sunday to find out!
And we are back for the last chapter! Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed so far. I greatly enjoyed writing this story and I am glad other people love it just as much.
To understand the 'paint on hands' thing that is metioned, please watch
this beautiful performance by Sia. I love her and I love this song, and it directly inspired Hobi's part in the White Summer MV.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
For someone who, for years, had gone around talking big about how one's sexuality doesn't matter, Yoongi sure has a bit of a hard time coming around to the fact that Jimin is apparently gay. Or bi? They hadn't really discussed it in detail. He'd had a girlfriend at one point, hadn't he? Though that didn't necessarily prove anything.
Yoongi tries to think of any evidence that should have clued him in, but that doesn't yield any definite results. None of them have ever had any trouble saying when they found other men handsome, but it's not like Jimin went around pointing fingers and saying 'I'd tap that'.
Or did he? Was that something he only entrusted Taehyung with? By now, Yoongi didn't trust his own judgment anymore. Reality had been fundamentally altered and Yoongi's existence right with it.
What is worse, though... What is worse is the fact that Jimin's unexpected coming-out unfortunately coincides with Yoongi's gay crisis.
Well, he amends. It probably can't be considered an actual gay crisis, since he’s already openly bisexual and all that.
Fact is that Yoongi needs to find a way how to firmly put Jimin back into the friend zone.
Park Jimin, not ridiculously gorgeous. Park Jimin, not closest thing to an angel anyone on this planet would ever get to experience. Park Jimin, thief of food and favorite sweaters. Park Jimin, hard-working and dedicated and smart and funny and talented and kind. Park Jimin, boyfriend material.
No, wait. Yoongi's train of thought had somehow gotten derailed there and he seriously needed to get it back on track.
He had been aware that Jimin was all kinds of beautiful. He had, occasionally, kinda checked him out, maybe. He had easily admitted to himself and to others that Jimin was one of his favorite people ever. He had spent hours just talking to Jimin sometimes, sleeping on his shoulder, texting him random shit.
But those had always been separate issues. Idol Jimin who anyone with eyes and/or ears would be at least marginally attracted to – and friend Jimin who had overstepped Yoongi's boundaries one toe at a time and somehow weaseled his way deep into his comfort zone.
Those two were never supposed to merge. And yet, after a few stupid kisses for a stupid music video, Yoongi had to admit that they had been two sides of the same coin all along.
And even then. Even then Yoongi should have been able to keep his eyes and his hands and his heart to himself. Because Jimin was straight.
Only now it turned out that Jimin wasn't straight. Hadn't been for a while, judging by his reaction in the face of Yoongi's surprise.
This was very awkward.
So Yoongi does what he does best: keep calm and carry on. Or rather, keep a resting bitch face and act like he is not internally screaming.
The problem is, however, that the tense mood that had descended over their dorm hasn’t lifted over the past few days since Yoongi and Jimin's stilted conversation. And then it is already time for the comeback stage.
The evening before, when they all had had dinner together and Jimin had held his chopsticks with such prim precision that they might as well have been a weapon, Yoongi had found his own appetite curiously absent.
And after, when they had cleaned the dishes away and all spread out the dorm again, Hoseok the tall bastard had puts his hands to Yoongi's shoulders.
“Yoongi-hyung,” he had said in exasperation. “Sort it out.”
But Yoongi had merely shrugged him off.
“I don't know what you're talking about,” he had said, even though he knew very well. But there was a big difference between being aware of a problem and being able to think of a solution.
Now, it's the next day, and they are getting dressed for the comeback stage. They've all been given gradients of black, gray and white, with the odd colored accent here and there, and then the stylists get a go.
Yoongi's sunken in on his chair, chin tilted up so the makeup artist can work properly. He's dozing but with her paint brush whispering across his eyelids it's impossible to actually fall asleep. The fact that, in the other corner of the room, Taehyung and Jungkook are having a whispered discussion does not help matters, just makes him hyper-aware.
He cannot hear what they are actually saying, just catches the tail-end of some hushed words. They are not fighting, he thinks, but there is some urgency to it nevertheless. Whatever. None of his business, probably.
When they are all done with makeup, they still have to get their hands done and, because it's the easiest, they settle on each doing their roommate's hands. Seokjin is careful as he applies the paint but, when Yoongi makes to return the favor, he is slightly distracted by how Taehyung is leaning in close to Jimin and furiously whispering into his ear.
There's something between a pout and a frown sitting on Jimin's face, making Yoongi sporadically glance over to see whether it'll melt away. It doesn't, though, and the paint job on Seokjin's hands ends up being rather sloppy, but at least he doesn't complain.
A coordi noona calls them to the stage, and they all file out to take their positions.
Yoongi takes a deep breath. He's a professional. He knows how to perform even with distractions weighing down his mind.
They all sit on the ground with their backs to the crowd, except for Jin who, when the lights come on and the music swells, softly walks to the front of the stage.
“With your bones bleached white from the unforgiving sun,” he sings, reaching a hand heavenward. “Do you still remember the taste of rain?”
And then it truly begins. They fly through the choreography with seeming ease, not a single foot misplaced, and the fans scream and cheer. Yoongi barely hears any of it, too focused on not making any mistakes.
Finally, his first rap comes on and he clenches his fingers around the microphone as he lifts it to his mouth.
“You're fighting fire with fire so they put arson in your name,” he busts out, feral like a cornered animal; before the last words have even left his lips, Jimin is already chiming in, his voice carrying above.
“Hide me in the shadow of your wings.”
“And they step on your embers to keep down the flame,” Yoongi continues, turning to the side so Jimin can stand in front of him.
“Keep me in the hollow of your hand.”
Like this, they are both protecting each other, but the way the puzzle pieces fit together creates a dissonant picture. There's the vulnerability in Jimin's lines and the anger in Yoongi's, as the world tries to separate them, and yet they stubbornly find their way to each other, like grapevines defying gravity.
“When you are at your lowest with nowhere to turn,” Yoongi raps, his free hand fitting itself onto Jimin's hip. “They just step back and say-”
“I feel so small,” Jimin sings, tossing his head back, the smell of shampoo and fresh sweat caught in his hair. “I am so small.”
“It was a pleasure-” Yoongi begins to end the verse. But then Jimin's body undulates, neck bared, his pelvis rolling, his ass dragging right across Yoongi's crotch. His breath hitches.
“To burn,” he manages to get out, barely, because Jimin's head sinks back to rest against his shoulder.
“They made me small,” Jimin finishes, and that's how his voice should be, small and timid and almost defeated, but instead it comes out low and husky and entirely too close to Yoongi's ear.
It's a damn good thing that it's Namjoon's turn now because Agust fucking D sure as hell would not be able to remember his lines.
“I know myself, I know myself!” Namjoon claims, in line with the NOSCE TE IPSUM written on his wall in the MV. “I know they parts they unmade, and the parts that they hate! But I recreate what was lost, I become my own god! I am the patron saint of all that they'd rather I'm not!”
Then it's the chorus again, and the sign language, the paint slowly beginning of bleed off their sweaty skin.
“Hold my hand,” they sing and sign, though Yoongi deliberately keeps his voice a little lower because, right now, he wouldn't be able to carry a tune to save his life. “Engrave my memory in your hide. Hold my hand and I'll never leave your side.”
For this part of the choreography, Yoongi is separated from Jimin by the entirety of the stage and, by the time he has to rap again, he has luckily caught himself, the words erupting from his lips like a geyser, still angry but not cowed, determined to have his voice be heard among all the naysayers.
He is aware of Jimin and Jungkook giving him vocal backup, but he tries to ignore it, lifts his eyes to the glare of the spotlights, and then they are already coming to a close, Jin's voice sussurating a lullaby, and Yoongi's feet carrying him closer and closer to his final position; him and Jimin coming to stand in front of each other, on eye level with barely any space left between them.
Jimin's cheeks are flushed, his pupils blown wide. Breath comes from his red lips in heavy pants. At the periphery of his consciousness, Yoongi hears the audience cheer and applaud.
Audience, right. Yoongi swallows, reminds himself of the fact that this is still very much a performance in front of people and cameras. He can't allow himself to get sidetracked like this.
He doesn't even know how he gets through the rest of the show and everything passes by him in a blur. For once, his usually taciturn nature in interviews comes in handy. People won't see his silence as much of a deviation from the norm.
The next thing he even really hears is, when they walk off the stage, that Taehyung and Jungkook are whispering again.
“Do you think it worked?” Taehyung asks, though Yoongi has no clue and no interest about what 'it' is.
“Remains to be seen,” Jungkook replies. “Let's give it more time.”
“They are so immature,” Taehyung complains, but then they are already being ushered back to the dressing rooms.
They change out of their sweaty clothes and wash the faded paint from their hands, though remnants still linger underneath Yoongi's fingernails and in the lines of his palm. When he turns away from the sink, rubbing a damp towel against his hand, he looks up just in time to catch Jimin taking off his shirt.
Oh shit, he thinks. Oh shit. Because Jimin's abs may not be as defined as they used to be but they are still kinda there and, well, Yoongi has eyes.
Jimin, however, has eyes, too.
“Hyung,” he says plainly, cocking an eyebrow when he sees the empty expression on Yoongi's face.
Yoongi swallows, shakes his head, and Jimin walks over to his bag to pull out a new shirt, though Yoongi is careful not to watch that as well.
He pulls his own sweater over his head, stares up at the ceiling. Perhaps he isn't as professional as he had thought.
The ride back to the dorm is blissfully uneventful. It's already dark outside by the time they trudge down the hallway, but sleep is the last thing on Yoongi's mind. They shuck off their shoes by the door, Taehyung and Jungkook storm off to raid the fridge, Seokjin calls dibs on the shower, and then Yoongi is already standing all alone and wondering what to do with the rest of his evening.
Maybe he should have that gay crisis after all. Yeah, that sounds like a plan.
When he had agreed on their plans for the comeback, he had definitely not expected this course of events.
This is more than occasionally checking Jimin out. More than admiring the way he can twist through impossible moves. Yoongi's fleeting moments of attraction for Park Jimin's body have irreversibly fused with appreciation for Park Jimin as a person. And that was never meant to happen.
The first rule of Idol Club is to not fall for other members. There’s probably a sub-clause about that in their contracts. Don't be gay for each other, unless fanservice calls for it.
Yoongi groans. Did he really have to be the cliché of the guy who went falling for one of his buddies and subsequently fucked up the entire squad? Great.
There are really just two options for this scenario, aren’t there?
Number one: he denies everything, keeps his eyes and hands to himself, squashes any budding feelings he might have had, and just acts as though absolutely nothing has changed.
As opposed to number two, which involves him being a fucking adult and talking things out like Bang PD had hammered into them before their debut. No secrets, no animosity, no hard feelings.
With a sigh, he gives himself a push and shuffles into the hallway, coming to stand in front of Jimin's door, wondering about the sense of deja vu. This time, he hopes, their conversation would yield better results than the last one.
“Yes?” Jimin's voice answers and Yoongi pushes the door open.
The look on Jimin's face, when he sees him, is difficult to describe. It's as though he’s surprised but still pleased to see Yoongi standing in his doorway.
“Hey,” Yoongi says, his throat dry. “Can we talk?”
Jimin steps away from his wardrobe and nods, “Sure.”
In that exact moment, someone slams into Yoongi from behind and nearly topples him over. He lets out a curse, catches himself, turns around, only to curse again.
Jungkook and Taehyung are standing in the doorway, their arms laden with snacks.
“Oh,” Jungkook says by way of apology, his eyes wide.
Taehyung is slightly less subtle.
“About time,” he says, bending over to pick up the bag of popcorn that had fallen to the floor.
Jimin takes a big breath, shoulders slumping as he lets it out again.
“Let's take a walk, hyung,” he says.
It's gotten colder this past week, so they put on beanies and light coats, hoping the night will do the rest to disguise them from curious eyes.
They leave the building in silence and just walk down the street like this, hands in their pockets, shoulders or elbows brushing occasionally, but they keep their heads slightly bowed, both deep in their thoughts, neither knowing where to begin.
The night, at least, is pleasant enough. There are some people milling about, but no one pays them any attention.
“Remember when I said that you being gay doesn't change anything between us?” Yoongi asks at length, finally making the first step but stubbornly keeping his eyes on the sidewalk in front of him. He keeps his voice low, too, just in case someone overhears and recognizes them after all.
“Yes,” Jimin says very quietly, very softly.
“Yeah, so, I fucked that up,” Yoongi admits, nervously licking his lips.
“Fucked it up how?” Jimin asks, and it's not as though he never swears but it's another reminder how, in this moment, it's just the two of them, with no one there to cast judgment.
There are several things Yoongi could say then but each one sounds, objectively, bad.
“You're... very pretty?” he tries and Jimin lets out a startled laugh.
“I thought you knew that before,” he says and his cheeks round with his smile.
“Yeah, but now it's... different pretty,” Yoongi fumbles to explain. “Sexy! I think you're sexy, okay?”
“You've called me sexy before, too.”
“But I didn't think about it in detail.”
“And that's just because now you know I'm not straight?”
“I guess?” Yoongi hedges. “But there's also the- the MV and the way you ground up against me on stage today, I mean, I know that was an accident, but damn, Jiminie-”
Yoongi's thoughts stop dead in their tracks, even as his feet carry him onward. “What?”
“It wasn't an accident,” Jimin repeats easily. “Tae said that Kookie said that I have to understand that you are an idiot. And that I need to be more blunt. So that was me, being blunt.”
“You rubbed your ass against my crotch on purpose?”
“Oh my God,” Jimin says under his breath. “Hyung, I am gay.”
“How good at maths are you?”
Jimin's hand comes up to cover his eyes, a helpless huff of laughter escaping him. “I am attracted to you, too, okay?”
Yoongi tries of think of something to say in response but there is nothing because Jimin's words don't make any sense.
“What,” Jimin asks. “No reaction?”
Yoongi only lets out an unintelligible string of syllables, blinking hard. The wind rushes in his ears. From the corner of his eyes, Jimin's cheeks are flushed from the cold.
“Are you really surprised?” Jimin asks. “I thought you were just ignoring me the whole time because you found it awkward.”
“I'm not that much of an asshole.”
“I didn't think you were being an asshole,” Jimin admits. “Just that you didn't want to hurt my feelings.”
Feelings. Feelings, not one-sided attraction. Within one house block, they had wandered from dangerous territory into an active war zone.
“You were so nonchalant about our scenes in the MV, too,” Jimin continues, a little more subdued. “But... when you kissed me, I was so happy .”
Yoongi thinks of how Jimin had barely let him kiss him at all, at first, how he had been giddy and excited and all crinkly eyes. He thinks of how Jimin had cried after, of how he looked at Yoongi with liquid eyes and as though a profound kind of hurt sat deep in his chest. He thinks he understands a little better than before.
“O-oh,” he stammers, and nothing more.
Jimin lets out a little hum, a little nod, but he seems to have run out of words as well.
All of a sudden, Yoongi just stops in the middle of the sidewalk. Jimin keeps walking for a few steps until he notices and then turns around to look at Yoongi with a curious expression. The tips of his fringe peek out underneath his beanie, the peach color muted below the streetlamps.
Cars whiz by, their headlights sharp and sudden and brief. On the wall of the building next to them, Yoongi’s shadow slips across Jimin’s for little more than a blink.
A series of scenarios flashes through Yoongi’s mind then, almost making him a little dizzy.
He and Jimin could call an impassé, could just walk back to the dorm and leave the matter like this, open and incomplete, and with a potential for resentment.
They could agree to talk themselves out of their unexpected mutual attraction because they don’t want to make it weird for the rest of the group, and try to be responsible adults about it all.
They could be rather more irresponsible adults and indulge a little, fool around whenever the mood struck, and probably get caught at some point, which would bring about a whole new set of problems.
Or, and Yoongi gets a little stuck on this one, they could give it a try. A real try where they allow their friendship to go a little further, where they hold hands and kiss and it’s neither for an MV nor for fanservice. Where those feelings Jimin has are not treated like a minor inconvenience.
There are two things I fear, Yoongi confesses at the end of White Summer , And one is fear itself.
“This doesn’t have to change anything between us,” Yoongi repeats now, watching as Jimin blinks in apprehension. “But that doesn’t mean that it can’t.”
Jimin’s mouth opens, obviously unsure where this is going.
“We’ll probably get found out at some point,” Yoongi knows. “Someone might be filming us right now. This could risk not just our careers but those of the others, too.”
And it isn’t even an exaggeration. Idols do not get to enjoy privacy, and some groups had broken up over lesser scandals.
But, fuck, Park Jimin sure seems worth the risk.
“Hyung,” Jimin says quietly, slowly catching on. When Yoongi takes three big steps toward him, Jimin waits.
In a cool September night, on a buzzing main street in the middle of Seoul, Yoongi puts his palms to Jimin’s cheeks and kisses him.
There’s a funny feeling against his lips as Jimin takes a surprised little breath but, beyond that, Yoongi knows just the wetness of Jimin’s mouth, the warmth of his skin against Yoongi’s fingertips.
There is a big difference in kissing Jimin for pleasure instead of for the cameras. A bigger difference still in kissing Jimin who is in love instead of Jimin who is a friend. And Yoongi has no words to describe it, but his heart swells a little.
He doesn’t know whether there are people around them who stop and stare, doesn’t know whether anyone is pulling out their phone and live streaming their first kiss for all the world to see. He doesn’t care.
When he pulls back, Jimin’s eyes remain closed for a moment, before they flutter open again. He’s wearing no contact lenses and no makeup. His cupid’s bow is the loveliest thing Yoongi has ever seen.
“Let’s go home,” Yoongi says and, when Jimin slips his hand between his fingers, it fits perfectly.
Namjoon stands in the hallway of his house. There are photos of him on the wall, him on his graduation day, trips to the beach, surrounded by his friends. Sunlight filters in through the small window pane in the entrance door. He puts on his mirrored sunglasses, takes a deep breath, and steps outside. His black leather boots land heavily on the pavement but his long flowing dress billows in the breeze, accentuating his tall stature and broad shoulders. His crimson lips split into a confident smile.
Taehyung is holding his mothers' hands as he shows them around on the school festival, tugging them through the crowds. He's talking excitedly and finally managed to locate his friends. The two women exchange a private smile as their son introduces them to everyone, finally unashamed of his family.
With the summer sun above him, Seokjin sits on the side of a playground, watching his daughter in the sandbox. She's found another little girl to play with and the two are building castles, spinning stories and dreams. Another young woman, perhaps the girl's mother, sits down next to him and strikes up a conversation. For a moment, Seokjin looks surprised but then he nods and points over to his daughter who is squealing with carefree laughter.
The basketball bounces off the aged floorboards of the court in the gym. The slanted wheels of a wheelchair zap by, followed by another. Jungkook, in a red jersey with his name and number on it, catches the ball his teammate passes him. His face is reddened and sweaty, but he twists his wheelchair around, aims, and tosses the ball in a high arch. It soars through the air and impeccably lands right in the basket, pushing their team back into the lead. Jungkook pumps his fist and then holds up his hand to exchange a high five with his teammate. They are going to win this.
Hoseok dances in the streets, his music loud and his painted hands in stark contrast against his black clothes. He's signing as he is dancing, with an infectious smile on his face. People stop to watch him and soon a small crowd has gathered around him, calling out their encouragement. Now, when Hoseok tries to express himself, the world slowly begins to understand.
It's already dusk as Jimin and Yoongi wander along Skygarden, their hands joined between them. Eventually, they come to stand by the railings, watching where the sun is slowly sinking toward the horizon and setting the West ablaze. Jimin's hair is just as vibrant, and his smile even prettier. It's impossible to not lean in and kiss him. When the music fades, their lips are still touching, barely. The evening light sits on Jimin's eye lashes like molten sugar. Min Yoongi is in love.
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