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slowly drifting to you

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It’s kind of a funny story, really, looking back. Well, actually that’s a lie, it isn’t funny at all. But Yoongi can laugh about it - he’s reached that point in his life. He had a plan, is the thing, from when he was young. He wanted to make music - the kind that people would listen to. He could take or leave the fame, that wasn’t an issue, but the music. The music was vital.

Now, at twenty-four, there is still music, in a way, but there is also a hotel in Santorini and a travel blog that needs updating, and Kim Namjoon sighing over his shoulder.

“Are you really going to post this?”

“Yeah,” he says, pretending that he can’t see Namjoon’s look of deep exasperation in the reflection of his computer screen. “This is quality content, Joon-ah.”

Namjoon sighs again, louder than before. “Is it?”

“Yes,” Yoongi insists, preparing to hit post.

The sun is hot outside their open windows, warming the carpet where it stretches fingers across the floor. A June breeze is coming off the sea, though, fluttering the curtains and brushing against the back of his neck. They came from Athens, where the temperature was climbing towards oppressive levels, and he’s grateful for the relief that the ocean provides.

He never expected to be here, three years ago, when all his dreams looked different, but he isn’t complaining, really.

He gets to travel, and he doesn’t have to do it alone - Hoseok is out there somewhere trying to hunt down a brunch place that apparently is the “best in the Mediterranean,” and Namjoon has now moved to the bed for an afternoon nap. It’s just that … well, he thinks about “could have been” sometimes and his chest twinges.

Subtly. Barely noticeable.

Doesn’t hurt at all.

He blows out a long breath and hits “post.”

 

_ _

Santorini

THE CATS OF SANTORINI

 

Exactly what it says in the title. Buckle up.

 

cat 1

A majestic fellow with a very fluffy tail. 10/10.

 

cat 2

A lovely lady with bright coloring. 10/10.

 

cat 3

Proudly orange. 10/10.

 

cat 4

Camera shy, but lovely. 9/10.

 

cat 5

Lazy boy. 10/10.

 

cat 6

Wouldn’t hold still for a photo. 8/10.

 

Right, we’re here for two weeks so I’ll keep you updated with more cats as I meet them. 안녕

- MYG

 

 

16 Comments

 

K Seokjin says:

This is going to be the only article you post about Santorini, isn’t it?

 

MYG says:

Hardly. Joon’s got a very in-depth travel guide planned out. I’m just supplying the

best content first. Before he bores you to death.

 

Grigory says:

Love cats. Good content.

 

Brielle says:

They’re all so adorable! J'en veux un!

 

JK says:

Why the hell did you give one 8 out of 10? What did he do to deserve that?

 

MYG says:

He wouldn’t sit still. Couldn’t get a good photo. 8 out of 10 is still pretty high, you know.

 

JK says:

Maybe he just didn’t like you shoving a camera in his face. You interrupted his day.

 

MYG says:

I have a zoom lens. The camera was hardly in his face.

 

JK says:

I still think you’re being very unfair here. How would you feel if someone gave you a lower ranking on something just because you’re shy?

 

MYG says:

It was still an 8 out of 10!

 

JK says:

And lower than everyone else!

 

KNJ says:

Yoongi, if you’re going to argue with someone please do it outside of the comment section of our professional blog.

 

MYG says:

Fine. JK, this isn’t over. Email me: myg@bigadventureboots.com.


_ _ 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Animal Cruelty

Seriously, what’d the cat ever to do you? It’s a nice cat! Look at it’s fluffy tail! And the way it balances on that fence! It deserves a 9 out of 10 at LEAST.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Animal Cruelty

Seriously what is your problem? It was a joke. That’s it. You know. Ha ha? If you follow this fucking blog you’d know absolutely nothing we do is serious.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Animal Cruelty

It’s a mean joke. That poor cat….

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Animal Cruelty

… are you okay?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Animal Cruelty

Hello?

 

_ _

 

“Did you really give your email out to a random person on the internet?” Namjoon asks the following morning. “Because they were arguing about your cat ratings?”

“Cat ratings are serious business,” Yoongi argues, staring at his final, unanswered email to JK - sent at nearly one in the morning. Normally he doesn’t care, people are shit on the internet all the time and the guy was just standing up for a cat. Admirable, really. But he seemed … sad. In a lingering way that Yoongi knows intimately - the kind of sadness that doesn’t just wash out with cute animal videos or an evening with friends. The kind that settles in your bones and stays, making them heavy.

It’s possible he’s projecting.

Either way, JK never answered him and that was probably that. Hoseok’s dragging them all to the beach this afternoon - after insisting that Yoongi needed more Vitamin D because he was starting to go translucent - and then they’ll have dinner at a cute seafood place downtown (in spite of Namjoon’s protests). Then a few more days on the island before they move on to … wherever is next. They never really plan. Just pick points on a map and look up airfare prices and decide in the moment what their new destination is going to be. So far they’ve spent several months in South America, several more in America, a memorable winter in Morocco, and a summer in Japan. Then, for the past few months, they’ve been slowly winding their way through Europe. They’ll probably head to the South Pacific sometime soon, even if Yoongi is a little sick of sun and beaches.

“Alright, then,” Namjoon says and Yoongi realizes they’re still kind of having a conversation. “Did you win?”

“I don’t think so,” Yoongi mutters, staring at the sent email again.

Namjoon shakes his head and puts a hand on Yoongi’s head, carding long fingers through recently-bleached strands. “Let’s go, then,” he says, with a strange softness - the tone he always gets when he’s looking through Yoongi, to the messy, still-healing parts of him. “Hobi’s waiting.”

(He never knows what to do with that look.)

“We’d better not get food poisoning this time,” he grumbles and shuts off his laptop.

“I double-checked the restaurant this time. It looks fine,” Namjoon says. “Good health ratings, at least, and decent reviews.”

“Good. Otherwise, I’m never letting Hoseok pick food again.”

Namjoon laughs at that and the earlier atmosphere dissipates complete. There are things neither of them are saying - especially Yoongi, who still struggles to bring his broken pieces to the table and accept help - but it’s alright for now.

It’s better than it was, at least. It’s so much better than it was.

 

_ _

 

Mother Hen [1:30pm]

have you thought any more about it?

 

Yoongi [1:31pm]

no

 

Mother Hen [1:32pm]

well skype me soon at least. i want to know how you kids are doing.

 

Yoongi [1:32pm]

you’re three months older than me

 

Mother Hen [1:33pm]

age is just a number yoongi-yah

 

Yoongi [1:35pm]

what does that even mean?

 

Mother Hen [1:36pm]

just skype me

 

Yoongi [1:37pm]

fine. tomorrow?

 

Mother Hen [1:38pm]

tomorrow

 

_ _


santorini beach

1,307 likes

bigadventurebootsblog great weather on the island!

#santorini #lookingforcrabs #KNJ

 

3 hours ago

view all comments

 

worldwide_handsome you have time to lounge on a

beach but no time to message me back? really?

 

HopeOnTheStreet you didn’t credit your photographer!

i suffered to get that picture. #It’sTooHot #sunburn

 

kimdaily you’re the one who wanted to

spend the afternoon on the beach.

 

myg93 this is why i stay indoors.

 

HopeOnTheStreet @myg93 and look like a vampire. #sparkles

 

myg93 @HopeOnTheStreet i hate you

 

_ _

 

He isn’t expecting the email in his inbox when they get back from the restaurant that night - bellies full and tipsy from ouzo - but it’s there, tucked among comment notifications on his stupid cat post.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: So Sorry

Dear Yoongi-ssi,

I’d like to apologize. I was pretty drunk last night and didn’t mean to start an argument. I’m a big fan of your blog, actually.

Sorry again,

JK

 

Well.

He should let this go, he knows. Write back no problem, kid (because JK really does seem like a kid) and leave it at that.

But he’s tipsy. And curious. And sad in some ways he’s still trying not to be.

So he writes back this:

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: So Sorry

Don’t worry about it, JK. I had fun arguing with you, and I’m sure the cat is grateful he’s got you in his corner. I’ll be sure to let him know if I see him again.

Yoongi

 

And it’s stupid, god it’s so stupid. It’s close to fucking flirting, which he doesn’t really do, not since - a long time ago. He’s probably going to regret it in the morning, but he hits send.

“Yoongi?” Hoseok mutters from the bed, hazy with drink and sleep.

“I’m coming,” Yoongi says and goes, letting Hoseok pull him down and in.

The fan whirs lazily above them and the sheets stick to his sweaty skin. Hoseok drapes an arm over his stomach, easy as always, and he swallows down air thick from the muggy heat. Namjoon is already snoring on the second bed, but Hoseok shifts closer and whispers, “do you miss it?”

Yoongi wants to play dumb, to pretend he doesn’t understand, but that seems like a pointless endeavor. Like Namjoon, Jung Hoseok knows him inside and out.

“Sometimes,” he admits.

He misses the bustle of it - Korea’s biggest, fastest city. He misses how small the towering skyscrapers made him feel, how anonymous he could be in the rushing crowds. He misses the rivers and the mountains surrounding the city - the climb to the top that gave you a perfect view of all the sprawl.

He misses how big his dreams were there. Then.

“Do you?” he asks now, five thousand miles and three years away from Seoul, and the boy he was.

“Yeah,” Hoseok says. “My family mostly, even though I call them all the time. Hearing Korean everywhere. That noodle place near the dorm, do you remember it? We used to eat there every fucking Friday.”

“I remember,” Yoongi murmurs. “Got in trouble for sneaking out.”

“Yeah,” Hoseok says with a soft laugh. “Never stopped us, though.”

“Do you want to go back?” Yoongi asks instead of continuing down memory lane. It tends to be riddled with landmines.

Hoseok squeezes his waist, not nearly as narrow and bony as it was three years ago. “Nah. Not yet.”

Not until you’re ready, goes unspoken - another thing Yoongi doesn’t know what to do with.

“Okay,” he says, even though it isn’t enough.

Hoseok hums. “Get some sleep.”

He’s out like a light but it takes Yoongi much longer - minutes ticking by as he stares out the open windows to the silver ocean beyond.

 

_ _





namjoon santorini

1,507 likes

bigadventurebootsblog great weather continues!

#santorini #KNJ

 

1 hour ago

view all comments

 

HopeOnTheStreet once again you forgot to credit

the photographer. #IQuit

 

myg93 @HopeOnTheStreet excuse me i took that photo.

 

HopeOnTheStreet @myg93 oh whoops. i was standing up

for you. #sope #soulpartners

 

myg93 @HopeOnTheStreet such a liar.

 

worldwide_handsome namjoon those sandals are hideous.

 

_ _

 

Kim Seokjin has always been a strange presence in Yoongi’s life. An almost-idol, something-of-a-mentor, and a friend all rolled up into one eccentric package. He was there for most of the original detonation, got almost as rubble-strewn as Hoseok and Namjoon, but Yoongi has never been as close to him. Perhaps because it always seemed like Seokjin fit into the glittering world of wealth and stardom in a way that Yoongi didn’t. Perhaps because neither of them are good at feelings. They can’t soothe with a smile and optimism like Hoseok, or dig in deep for the painful roots like Namjoon. So Seokjin leaves snarky comments on all of their blog and Instagram posts and they good-naturedly snipe at each other over bi-monthly Skype sessions (permitting good internet), and leave it at that.  

Right now, when the Skype window bubbles up and the video chat clicks on, Seokjin’s dressed casually in an oversized pink hoodie with his dark hair free of product. He looks handsome even on a pixelated screen and his smile is wide and genuine.

“Yoongi-yah.”

“Hyung,” Yoongi says.

“How is it that you’re staying on the beach and you’re still so pale?”

Yoongi rolls his eyes.

“Have you gone outside at all?” Seokjin presses. “Are you secretly a 19th Century vampire and have neglected to tell us? It’s the second one, isn’t it? Min Yoongi, haven’t I taught you not to keep secrets?”

“Yes,” Yoongi deadpans. “I was actually born in the mid 1800s and if I venture outside, I’ll burn to a crisp. I’ve been meaning to turn Hoseok and Namjoon for years, but haven’t gotten around to it. Congratulations on figuring it out.”

“Of course,” Seokjin says airly. “I’m a genius.”

Yoongi sighs. Sometimes, when the sadness gets heavier than usual, Kim Seokjin is also exhausting. “Do you need something?”

Seokjin’s eyes widen in an expression of faux innocence. “What, I need an ulterior motive for checking in on my favorite dongsaeng?”

“Namjoon is your favorite,” Yoongi points out.

“True,” Seokjin admits easily. “But I definitely like you more than Hoseok.”

“Thanks,” Yoongi says flatly.

Truth is: he knows exactly why Seokjin’s calling. He worries, even though he pretends he doesn’t, and he wants them home, even if he’ll never ask outright.

It’s lurking there, obvious when his jovial expression drops slightly and his gaze turns piercing. “Yoongi-yah, the offer’s still on the table, you know.”

“I know,” Yoongi says, because Seokjin brings this up during every Skype call. “Not yet, hyung.”

Seokjin’s perfectly sculpted eyebrows furrow. “Yoongi-yah, it’s been three years. You can’t run forever.”

Watch me, Yoongi almost says, but he’s far enough beyond the explosion, the collapse, to know that Seokjin is right. He’s going to have to turn around at some point and start rebuilding. Just … not yet. Not when Seoul looms like a phantom in his memory, full of ghosts, including his own.

“I’ll let you know,” he says instead of trying to explain. They don’t do depth. “Soon.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” Seokjin says and then, true to fashion, launches into a ridiculous story about an awards after party he attended last week and the actor who got a little too drunk on the expensive champagne and spilled red wine all down the front of Seokjin’s Saint Laurent suit jacket, then spent nearly thirty minutes rambling about the actress who left him.

Yoongi listens, grateful for the distraction that Seokjin always provides but also trying not to picture himself at that party, mingling with Seoul’s rich and famous and decked out in a custom suit. The image mostly makes him want to laugh.

“Anyway, I should go to bed,” Seokjin finally says, winding the story down. Yoongi glances at the clock on his bedside table and does a quick calculation: almost three in the morning in Seoul. Namjoon and Hoseok will also be back from their moonlight beach walk (a chance for Namjoon to look for crabs and Hoseok to take ridiculous pictures and both of them to give Yoongi and Seokjin some privacy) soon.

“Yeah,” he says. “Good talking to you, hyung.”

It always is, even when Seokjin annoys him half to death.

“You too,” Seokjin says. “Tell Namjoon we’re overdue for a chat and he can’t ignore me forever. And Hoseok that I’ve forgotten every piece of choreography he tried to hammer into me and my life is better for it.”

“Sure,” Yoongi says, and they both know that he won’t be conveying either of those things.

Seokjin hangs up without saying goodbye, because that’s just another thing they suck at.

 

_ _


To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: So Sorry

Yoongi-ssi,

Thanks for understanding. Sorry again if I bothered you in any way. I really do love the blog, like I said. I’ve been following it for the last several months. Since you were in Sweden, and complaining about the rain. It made me laugh, because it had been raining in Seoul for nearly a week and I was frustrated, too.

Anyway, you don’t care about that. Sorry.

JK

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: So Sorry

 JK,

It’s alright, and I do care. Just for the record. It’s nice to know that someone all the way back in Seoul is reading our dumb blog. What do you like about it? Besides dumb griping about the weather.

Yoongi

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: So Sorry

All the traveling. I’ve never really been anywhere important or interesting, but I’ve always wanted to go. It’s like living vicariously through someone. Probably dumb, I know, but I like it.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: So Sorry

It’s not dumb, kid. If you could anywhere in the world, where would it be?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: So Sorry

Dubai. Maybe that’s silly when there are so many other interesting places out there, but I like the desert and I’ve always wanted to see a camel in real life.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: So Sorry

Dubai’s a good choice. I’ve never been there.

 

_ _

 

“Dubai?” Namjoon asks with an arched eyebrow.

They’re all gathered on the beds in their Santorini hotel room. The temperature has risen with the late afternoon sun and the fan is working overtime, creaking softly as it rotates.

Yoongi shrugs. “We haven’t been yet, right? And it isn’t too long of a flight. From there we could travel to Jordan and Kuwait and Israel, etc. We haven’t done the Middle East yet at all.”

Namjoon and Hoseok trade a long glance.

What do you think? asks Namjoon’s arched eyebrow.

Seems like fun, replies Hoseok’s shrug.

“Alright,” Namjoon says with a laugh. “Dubai it is.”

 

_ _


h + y plane

1,809 likes

bigadventuresbootsblog goodbye Santorini, hello Dubai!

#IWantToPetACamel #JHS #MYG

 

7 hours ago

view all comments

 

worldwide_handsome why are you taking a vampire to a desert?

is this an execution?

 

myg93 @worldwide_handsome you think I’m actually going to leave

the hotel?

 

HopeOnTheStreet @myg93 you’re petting a camel with me.

Non-negotiable.

 

myg93 @HopeOnTheStreet ugh.

 

_ _

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Dubai?

Yoongi-ssi,

You’re actually going?

JK

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Dubai?

Yeah. Just got to the hotel.

hotel

And for the love of god, kid, just call me hyung.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Dubai?

Whoa. Fancy.

And what makes you think you’re older than me?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Dubai?

They’re giving us a discount because we’re “influencers.” Whatever the hell that means. Probably something to do with blog hits or Instagram numbers. I’ve never paid much attention.

And it’s an intuition. A vibe. Bet I’m right.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Dubai?

Your blog IS very popular.

And you’re right. I’m nineteen.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Dubai?

Fuck if I know how that happened.

And ha. I knew it. So that’s hyung to you. Do I get a name, too?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Dubai?

What’s wrong with JK, hyung? :)

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Dubai?

Fair enough, brat.

 

_ _

 

Dubai is hot. Oppressively so. A piercing dry heat that makes your throat hurt and your lungs sting.

But beyond the city, the desert goes on forever in an endless wave and it makes him feel small in the same way the sea did. He sits on the balcony after dark, watching the blinking lights of the surrounding skyscrapers and the silver dunes rippling in the distance. Wonders about the people who still traverse the desert on camel and horseback, forever wandering from place to place with their lives strapped into carts and saddlebags. Pitching their tents by water, beneath the moon.

Centuries ago, water flowed here and plants grew from the fertile earth, but the sun is unforgiving. Took it all piece by piece. What if the reverse were true someday? The desert turning back into a sea? Like the way the forest grows back after a fire. In a few decades, when the trees are tall again, does anyone remember the original devastation?

He scrubs a hand over his face, rubs at his aching eyes.

God, he really needs to stop thinking in silly metaphors. This is what six years in close quarters to Kim Namjoon will do to you.

He thinks about the mysterious JK instead and what compelled him to choose Dubai. Why he wants to go out tomorrow and take a picture of a camel, just for him. Even though he’s heard that camels are mean and prone to spitting at you. It’s been so long since someone new has entered his life that he’s excited about a handful of emails. Is that pathetic? Probably. He’s not sure he cares.

He’s learned what matters and what doesn’t, in the run of things.

 

_ _

 

Music still happens, he mentioned that, but now it’s like this: a portable studio meticulously set up in his hotel room; a notebook full of ideas scribbled in his horrible handwriting; sessions recorded in the dead of night -  him and Namjoon and Hoseok all taking turns at the mic, or crowding in close together; editing and mixing until the sun comes up, hunched over his battered, but still functional laptop; files on SoundCloud, under a new name than the one he had in Seoul; a modest following that seems to be growing steadily.

It isn’t much, really. But it’s his. Every note, every verse, every word. It’s all his and no one else gets a say in what it should or shouldn’t be.

And that’s almost worth everything that happened, everything that broke. Plus, there is a special kind of joy in watching the sun rise over the desert while his head is full of music, beats echoing over his headphones, waiting to be shifted into song.

 

_ _


hubert

2,056 likes

bigadventurebootsblog hey, JK, Hubert says hi. #MYG

 

46 minutes ago

view all comments

 

worldwide_handsome and who exactly is JK, Min Yoongi?

Hubert also looks very majestic.

 

j_seagull oh my god, he’s amazing. say hi back, please.

 

kimdaily why are you posting pictures of Hubert? He

nearly bit my hand off.

 

myg93 @kimdaily he just didn’t like you.

He posed very nicely for me.

 

HopeOnTheStreet min yoongi, camel whisperer.

 

_ _


To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Hubert the Magnificent

Thanks for the camel picture, hyung. You didn’t have to.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Hubert the Magnificent

I wanted to. And he really was magnificent. You should have seen the way he went after Namjoon.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Hubert the Magnificent

Lol. Are you liking Dubai? What’s the desert like?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Hubert the Magnificent

Hot. Really, really hot. But kind of majestic, too. The dunes are huge.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Hubert the Magnificent

I want to roll down one.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Hubert the Magnificent

And get sand everywhere?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Hubert the Magnificent

It would be worth it. Roll down a sand dune for me, hyung.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Hubert the Magnificent

Oh, you’re making demands now, brat?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Hubert the Magnificent

Requests. And I’m living vicariously through you, remember?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Hubert the Magnificent

I’m not rolling down a sand dune.

 

_ _

 

Hoseok nearly drops his phone off their balcony trying to show his sister the view from their hotel room via FaceTime and Namjoon spends nearly two hours spamming his family groupchat with various photos of the hotel and the city and probably unflattering shots of Yoongi and Hoseok. It’s nice, watching them grin at their phones, but his chest aches somewhere deep, too.

Because he hasn’t talked to his family in nearly six years and he doesn’t think that’s going to change any time soon. They didn’t approve of his love of music, his love of boys, or his desire to move to Seoul. Didn’t even reply when he texted them that he was leaving the country. He hasn’t tried reaching out since, gave up on trying to get them to love him, but the pain still rears its ugly head sometimes.

Next to that old ache is the guilt that Hoseok and Namjoon are so far away from home because of him. He was the one that needed out, needed to run. Took all of their dreams and shattered them like glass on a hard floor.

You didn’t ask, Namjoon has said a thousand times, we offered.

We wanted to come, Hoseok always adds.

But Yoongi has trouble believing them, even if they were the ones that showed up on his doorstep with backpacks and plane tickets and determined faces.

You’re not doing this alone, they’d said, back then, and he was too grateful and relieved to refuse.

So he shoves the pain down somewhere deep and spends the afternoon writing up a new blog post reviewing the various pretentious restaurants they’ve been to in the past few days, then retreats to the hotel’s frankly ridiculous bathroom to take a bath.

The water is warm and soothing against his tense shoulders when he sinks in, soaking in the smell of the jasmine bath oil the hotel provided. He has medications lined up on the counter - two small bottles - that have been a bitch to keep refilled over the past few years. His doctor in Seoul gave him a large supply, but not enough to last for three years, and Namjoon and Hoseok refuse to let him stop taking them so he’s spent hours in various clinics all over the world, presenting letters from Seoul and making his case using translator apps and long-distance phone calls. It’s exhausting, usually, but some things are worth their cost.

That’s another lesson he’s learned.

He’s letting the warmth of the bath move him towards sleep when there’s a knock on the door. Namjoon, he suspects, because Hoseok’s conversations with his sister have been known to last hours, regardless of time difference.

“Come in,” he calls and sure enough, Namjoon slips inside and sinks cross-legged onto the tile, back against the tub, uncaring about Yoongi’s nakedness beneath the thin layer of bubbles and scented water. They’ve spent years living on top of each other, and seen each other in all kinds of states. Sometimes, Yoongi thinks that Namjoon and Hoseok know him far better than he could ever hope to know himself.

“Hey,” Namjoon says, and then nothing else.

“Come to check on me, Joon-ah?” Yoongi asks without any heat. They all know how Yoongi gets about family.

Namjoon shrugs. “Maybe.” He eyes the bath. “That’s a lot of jasmine.”

“Hotel’s dime, not mine.” Yoongi reaches out to poke Namjoon’s shoulder. “And I’m fine. Just in case you were checking.”

That earns him a smile. “Good to know.” Then Namjoon reaches out and twists a few strands of Yoongi’s wet hair so that they stick up from his head in little spikes. “Any thoughts on what else we should do while we’re here? Besides riding camels because I am not getting on one of those things.”

“Hell no,” Yoongi agrees immediately. They look terrifying. Hubert had barely let him get a picture. He shifts. Stares up at the ceiling and feels more than a little foolish even as he says, “I want to roll down a sand dune.”

Namjoon stares at him for a long moment, then starts laughing - loud and bright.

 

_ _

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

Subject: Your Fault


sand dune

I have sand everywhere. This was a terrible idea and not worth it at all.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Your Fault

Oh my god, you actually did it! Was it fun? I bet it was actually fun.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Your Fault

It was kind of fun. Even if my hotel room currently looks like a sandstorm hit, especially the shower.

I think you owe me something now, though. I rolled down a sand dune for you, brat.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Your Fault

I knew it!

And I guess that seems fair. What do you want?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Your Fault

Answer a question for me?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Your Fault

Okay. Just not my name. You asked that one already. Pick a new one, hyung. :)

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Your Fault

Fine. Are you from Seoul?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Your Fault

No, I’ve only lived here the last few years. I was born in Busan.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Your Fault

Busan, huh? I’m from Daegu. Spent a while in Seoul, though, too.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Your Fault

Why’d you leave?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Your Fault

Sorry, JK-ah. I’m still holding on to some of my secrets.

 

_ _

 

Their last night in Dubai, they go out to eat at a bedouin camp and Hoseok, bolstered by a little too much alcohol, gets up on stage to try belly dancing. Yoongi and Namjoon howl with laughter and Yoongi films the whole thing for posterity and it’s one of the better nights he thinks he’s had in awhile.

Back at the hotel, packing up everything into his careworn backpack, he finds himself wondering what JK is doing back in Seoul. He’s a student, probably, if he’s nineteen and living away from home. So studying, maybe - hunched over a desk with notebooks spread out in front of him. Or out with friends, enjoying one of the city’s many clubs or bars. It’s harder to picture him, there - amidst pulsing music and lights and sweaty people. He seems like the quiet type, but really what the hell does Yoongi know?

And why does he care so much?

He settles for matching up his socks instead of contemplating an answer.

_ _

 

Mother Hen [10:30pm]

how’s dubai?

 

Yoongi [10:31pm]

why the fuck are you messaging me at 3:30 in the morning?

 

Mother Hen [10:32pm]

insomnia, had it since i was a kid. you know this.

anyway, you didn’t answer my question

 

Yoongi [10:33pm]

dubai’s fine. hot. lots of sand.  

 

Mother Hen [10:34pm]

i know namjoon sent me video of you rolling that dune

your shrieking was delightful

 

Yoongi [10:35pm]

i didn’t shriek. i just yelled a little.

 

Mother Hen [10:36pm]

you yowled like a dying cat, yoongi-yah

it’s my ringtone now

 

Yoongi [10:37pm]

fucking hell

did you just want to bother me?

 

Mother Hen [10:38pm]

you looked like you were having fun

 

Yoongi [10:39pm]

i was

 

Mother Hen [10:40pm]

that’s good

i was worried you’d forgotten how to have any

 

Yoongi [10:41pm]

go to bed, hyung

 

Mother Hen [10:42pm]

there are things back here, you know

opportunities

a life

if you want it

 

Yoongi [10:45pm]

go to bed

 

_ _

y dubai

2,030 likes

bigadventurebootsblog our very own elusive vampire

out to dinner on our last night in Dubai!

#PhotoByJHS #ModelMYG #SadlyNoSparkles

 

Posted 6 hours ago

view all comments

 

worldwide_handsome how did you lure him outside?

 

HopeOnTheStreet @worldwide_handsome free food

 

j_seagull is this after you rolled down the sand dune?

 

myg93 @j_seagull most uncomfortable dinner of my life

 

j_seagull @myg93 hahahahaha

_ _

 

Jordan has more sweeping deserts and the city of Amman unfolds in an seemingly endless sprawl. It’s overwhelming, in many ways, with the traffic and the outdoor markets and the buildings that are ancient and beautiful and so different from anything back home.

They leave it behind after only one night, renting a car and driving the thirty kilometers to Madaba. Namjoon wants to see the mosaics at the Church of St. George and Yoongi finds himself using up half an SD card on the intricate maps spread across the floors, detailing this land and the city of Jerusalem as they were during the Byzantine Empire. It feels strange, to be so close to echoes like this. Makes him think about the things that last, that get left behind.

What would the original artists think, he wonders. Fourteen centuries later, and a tourist from halfway around the world is taking photos of their work. Wars and unrest and fallen kingdoms and shifting geographical borders - their maps endured them all.

He remembers when he used to picture his music as something like this: enduring, a little bit immortal. Maybe not enough for centuries, but more than his fleeting life.

It feels foolish now, looking at all this history, but when he gets back to the hotel that night he writes and writes and the lyrics feel like opening a fissure in his chest - blood and darkness and memory all spilling out.

 

_ _

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Where in the World?

...are you now, hyung?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Where in the World?

Jordan. We’re driving the King’s Highway from Madaba to Petra. Lots of ancient ruins, so Namjoon’s freaking out.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Where in the World?

Do you like it there?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Where in the World?

Do you like it in Seoul?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Where in the World?

Sort of? It’s a great city, but it’s easy to feel alone here.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Where in the World?

Here, too.

Are you studying?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Where in the World?

Something like that.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Where in the World?

You’re really elusive, JK-ah.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Where in the World?

I know, I’m sorry. But I have my reasons.

Let’s talk about something else. What’s your favorite place in the world, hyung?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Where in the World?

I really liked New York City. It was just as massive as Seoul, just as easy to get lost, but it felt older. More eclectic. Everyone there was just themselves. Unapologetically. Whether that meant wearing a kilt and a leather jacket on the subway or dying their hair rainbow colors or having lots of piercings and tattoos. You could walk through a neighborhood and hear over two dozen languages - see people from all over the world. I liked that. The freedom there.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Where in the World?

That sounds really nice, hyung. I think I’d like it there. Probably more than Seoul. I don’t get a lot of opportunities to be myself here.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Where in the World?

Is that why you keep emailing me back? I can’t be that interesting, JK.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Where in the World?

You are. Truly. I like talking to you. Metaphorically.

Take some pictures of ruins for me, okay, hyung? I like old things.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Where in the World?

Okay, kid.

 

_ _

 

He takes pictures of ruins - the churches in Khirbet Mukhayyat and the lonely columns of Machaerus, all that remains of a once-majestic fortress on a hill. From there, you can see all the way to the Dead Sea.

“John the Baptist was beheaded here,” Namjoon says, running his hands down one of the more intact columns. “Before it was destroyed by Rome in 72 AD.”

“Why bomb their own fort?” Hoseok asks, turning in a slow circle. “It was under Roman control, then, right?”

“Jewish revolt. Rebels took over the fort and managed to fend the Romans off long enough to get away. Then Rome destroyed the fort. Probably so one else could control it, and maybe they were embarrassed that a bunch of rebels beat them.”

Hoseok makes an affirmative noise. “That’s pretty badass,” he murmurs as he crouches to get a look at part of the still-intact marble floor. “That they managed to one up the Roman Empire.”

“Yeah,” Namjoon replies quietly, with a reverence he always gets in the presence of history. “They wanted freedom. Gave them bigger stakes in the fight, I think.”

Yoongi takes a picture of the ruins with the Dead Sea as a blue line on the horizon. Sends it to JK that night with the caption freedom. There’s no immediate response, but it’s nearly two in the morning in Korea and he’s stupid for the twinge of disappointment he feels when he climbs into bed.

The next morning, there is a message in his inbox.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Can’t Sleep

It’s 4 a.m. here. I didn’t look up what time that is in Jordan. I keep trying to picture you there, but I don’t know enough about the country to get it clear enough in my head. The picture you sent is beautiful. Old places like that always make me think of immortality. How the things we build so often outlast us.

I’m not sure whether it’s a sad thought or not: that we can only live on in the things we create. Maybe that’s beautiful instead?

Sorry, I know I’m not making any sense. And I’m not even drunk this time. It’s just - there are over 9 million people in this city and I’m bad at talking to all of them. But I like talking to you. Even if I barely know you. Is that weird? Probably. You don’t even know my name.

It’s Jungkook. You’ll keep it safe, won’t you?

Sorry. This is probably way too much. Sorry.

I should try to get some sleep.

Goodnight, hyung.

JK

 

He reads the email once, then again, and then a third time for good measure. JK’s sadness crawls between the lines like a living thing, so recognizable. He knows what it’s like to feel alone in a city, to feel weighted by the dark, to be the only one awake in a sleeping world because your thoughts won’t let you breathe. Circle like wolves until you’re small and hunted and exhausted.

He clicks reply. Checks the clock. It’s three p.m. in Seoul.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Can’t Sleep

It’s okay. Talk to me if you can’t sleep, kid. I like hearing your thoughts. Like talking to you, too.

Jungkook is a good name. I’ll keep it safe.

Yoongi

 

He gets a response back only twenty minutes later. Just a simple thank you, hyung but he can feel the sincerity behind it and it makes him smile.

 

_ _

 

They follow the King’s Highway south, winding their way south towards Petra. Hoseok and Yoongi takes turns at the wheel while Namjoon plays navigator - both because he never learned how to drive and because he’s by far the best at reading a map. The mountains rise around them, barren and majestic, and the land feels untouched and unchanged in spite of the highways cutting through it. A few centuries ago someone would have seen these same dusty hills, these deep canyons, traveling by horse or donkey from one city to the next.

Petra itself feels like something out of a movie, buildings carved into the canyons themselves. There is a strange hush in the air that’s almost reverence. It makes the crunch of their boots in the sand echo, the click of Yoongi’s camera sound like thunder.

“I feel like I’m in Indiana Jones,” Hoseok whispers in front of Al Khazneh. “Do you think the Holy Grail’s in there?”

“You’d never survive all the traps,” Yoongi says and takes a picture of Hoseok in an adventurer’s pose, anyway - Namjoon laughing in the background.

 

_ _

 

Back in the hotel that night, he composes a blog post about history and ruins and things that last - much more introspective and contemplative than his normal articles, but he has weight that he needs to get off his chest, let out into the world, and maybe other people will understand. He hits post at three in the morning and doesn’t bother waiting for the comments to roll in before he crawls into bed with Hoseok - lets the other boy curl close to him like a magnet.

Old things make him feel sentimental, he decides. Or maybe it’s the ghosts. He can feel them here, across the centuries, but they’re faded and worn by time. Their claws aren’t sharp, like the ones in Seoul. Can’t cut him to the bone.

His sleep, when it finally comes, is restless.

 

_ _

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Can’t Sleep, the Sequel

Hey, hyung, I saw your blog post. Sorry, I can’t remember what time it is in Jordan. Probably late. It’s early here.

Anyway, it was a really nice piece. You’re a good writer, you know? The way you talk about the ruins - it’s like I was there, standing in the middle of them. It’s early here and I can feel the ghosts breathing down my neck.

Sorry, that’s probably morbid, isn’t it? I don’t mind them, really. I think we’re all haunted by something. Taehyung (sorry, you don’t know him, he’s a friend) always says I’m too young to be thinking about stuff like this, but the truth is - I don’t feel young. Not in the ways I think I should. I feel … tired. Faded.

Ha, maybe the ghost is me.

Have you ever had dreams, hyung, that come true and then don’t? Or maybe a better way of putting it is that you have dreams that do come true, but not in the way you thought they would. They’re different. Distorted. Like a reflection on water - not quite solid enough.

Those are what my dreams feel like right now. I know you said you that you want to keep your secrets - I’m not asking you for them - but when you left Seoul, hyung, were you running? Because sometimes I dream about that. Getting on a plane to anywhere and just leaving everything behind. A fresh start. No one knows my name or where I’ve come from or anything about me.

It’s a nice dream.

Anyway, I have a busy day today so I should probably get up. The sun’s rising. I hope you’re happy in Jordan, even if the ruins make you a little sad. I don’t think they’re sad, though. It shows that we’re capable of building things that last for centuries. That’s really cool.

JK

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Can’t Sleep, The Sequel

Yeah, the ghosts like the quiet, don’t they? That’s always when they feel the loudest.

Dreams, Jungkook-ah, are dangerous, you know. They always end up like that, I think - different than you expected. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. Sometimes you give up part way through because they’re not worth it anymore. The price you’re paying.

That’s what I did.

And yeah, I left running. But I’ve learned something, Jungkook-ah: stuff follows you. The heaviness, the sadness, the ghosts. I don’t think there’s anywhere far enough away. They’re under my skin, so I bring them with me.

I like Jordan, though, even if it’s made me feel weird and melancholy. We’re going to Jerusalem next, then on to somewhere else. Maybe back to Europe for the Fall. I like places where the leaves change.

I hope you’re happy, too. In spite of feeling old and all of that. You deserve to be happy.

I know I don’t know you well, but I know that’s true. Look after yourself, JK.

Yoongi

 

_ _





hobi jordan

1,936 likes

bigadventurebootsblog goodbye Jordan!

I’ll be cleaning sand out of my clothes for weeks!

#exfoliation #arghmyeyes #JHS

 

Posted 2 hours ago

View all comments

 

worldwide_handsome those boots are ridiculous.

 

HopeOnTheStreet @worldwide_handsome would

it kill you to post something positive for once?

 

worldwide_handsome @HopeOnTheStreet why would

I do that?

 

kimdaily @HopeOnTheStreet you look very nice hobi

 

Worldwide_handsome @kimdaily you’re too nice for your

own good joonie

 

_ _

 

He doesn’t believe in God, not really. His parents go to church - took him and his brother when he was younger, and he learned all the hymns and recited Bible verses and fidgeted in his pressed clothes - but, well, God’s never done much for him. Fucked up brain, fucked up dreams, fucked up world. Failure like ash on his tongue, there since the first time he kissed a boy in the tenth grade and knew his parents would never accept this part of him. It had no place in their starched lives, their white-walled church.

(He was right.)

So he doesn’t believe in God. But there is something holy about Jerusalem. He doesn’t know if it’s the ghosts again, the cemetaries that surround the city - the dead waiting for the return of their savior. Maybe it’s the grandness of The Dome of The Rock. The way its golden roof gleams in the harsh sun. Maybe it’s the prayers stuck into the cracks of the Western Wall, dozens of rolled up papers full of hope and desperation.

“I wonder if he really rose from the dead,” Hoseok murmurs at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

“He was just a man,” Namjoon, who has always been an atheist, says. “No different than the Prophet Muhammad or any of the saints or King David.”

“My mother would shake her head at you,” Hoseok laughs.

“My own mother shakes her head at me,” Namjoon replies.

Yoongi leaves them to their good-natured bickering and takes pictures of the light streaming in through the domed ceiling. He doesn’t believe in God or fate or the universe, or any of it. But he can appreciate seemingly holy things. That they matter to thousands of people who have come here from all over the world, trying to reach out and touch the tenants of their faith.

“What do you believe in, then?” his mother asked him once.

He hadn’t been able to say himself (still can’t say that, if he wants to be completely honest), so his answer had simply been “ life.”

Life. The air that still cycles through his lungs, even on the days that he wished it would stop. The plants that grow out of fire-charred earth or from the side of barren mountains, stubbornly stretching towards the sun. The perfect rhythm of the tides. The rivers that cut their way through bedrock on the way to the sea.

He imploded once, all of him collapsing in in in, and he survived that. He’s still breathing, here in this hushed, ancient church.

Life always finds a way.

 

_ _

 

In the hotel that night, he sits up by his computer long after Namjoon and Hoseok have gone to sleep, a reckless longing churning in his gut.

He shouldn’t. He doesn’t want to push things.

But…

It’s been so long since he’s felt like this - really, truly wanted to know someone - and he isn’t ready to ignore that.

So.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

Subject: Getting to Know You

I want to, you know. I get that you like being mysterious, but surely there are some things you’d be willing to share, kid? Give me some random facts or something.

 

He doesn’t expect a response, not when it’s four a.m. in Seoul, but he’s too worked up to sleep so he dinks around on his computer for awhile, trying to wrestle with the song that’s been giving him problems for weeks now. It’s laid out in scattered pieces in Logic, lacking a thread to tie them all together. He’s not sure if it’s the music, or the voice in his head that keeps whispering about failure, or the intimate nature of the lyrics, talking about things he’s trying to set free from beneath his skin, but he can’t get it to cooperate.

He’s in the middle of throwing some strings in, just for the hell of it, when an email notification pops up.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Getting to Know You

Okay, hyung, I guess that’s fair.

Here are my random facts: 

  1. My favorite animal is a lion
  2. My favorite color is black
  3. I ranked second in the nation in a handball tournament when I was in elementary school
  4. I have a black belt in taekwondo
  5. But what I really like is dancing
  6. I wear a lot of baggy hoodies because comfort is important
  7. I really want to go skydiving
  8. I don’t like bitter foods
  9. But I once ate six cups of ramyun in 30 minutes (don’t ask, I was an idiot)
  10. I like to draw - wanted to be an illustrator for awhile
  11. My friends say I look like a bunny (I guess there are worse animals)
  12. Crowds stress me out
  13. I’m really sensitive to smells
  14. I’ve got a scar on my cheek from fighting my brother for a game when we were kids
  15. I get anxious about a lot things (including if this list was interesting or not)

There you go. Boring old me, lol.

I think this is where I say it’s your turn, right?

JK

 

He reads the list twice and tries to picture Jungkook in his mind. Fit, maybe tall? Bunny face - what does that even mean? Either way, he feels soft. Warm. Yoongi can almost imagine him at his laptop in one of those oversized hoodies he apparently loves, biting his nails as he types up his list and hits send. The faint light of the computer screen illuminating his face and the sun coming up slow over Seoul beyond the windows.

There are so many more questions: what does he do? Does he live alone? Is he studying? If so, what? Who the hell eats six cups of ramyun in thirty minutes? Why a lion? What does he draw? How good of a dancer is he?

Yoongi tamps them all down, though. He owes Jungkook a list of his own.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Getting to Know You

It’s a good list, Jungkook-ah, don’t worry. I like learning these things about you. (I have many questions about the ramyun, though. First of all why? )

Here’s mine: 

  1. My favorite number is 3
  2. I hate cold weather
  3. I hate hot weather even more
  4. I’ve thought about becoming a professional photographer (of wildlife, not people)
  5. I kind of want to get a tattoo, but Namjoon squawks at me whenever I mention it
  6. I look at random Wikipedia articles when I can’t sleep
  7. My greatest passion is probably music
  8. I want a dog someday
  9. I have a scar on my ear from tripping on a door (I know, I know)
  10. I have another big one on my leg from a snorkeling incident
  11. I really like whiskey
  12. And iced Americanos
  13. I smoke sometimes when I’m stressed
  14. My favorite color is also black
  15. I get anxious about a lot of things too

There, see? Just as boring as yours.

 

There are so many other things he could say like I have pill bottles on my bathroom counter or I’m afraid of Seoul or even but I’m tired of running. He doesn’t, though, just hits send. No need to burden Jungkook with his demons.

A reply comes only a few moments later, as he’s finally getting ready for bed.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Getting to Know You

We’ll be boring together, then, hyung. :)

 

Yoongi smiles at his computer screen, glad Namjoon and Hoseok aren’t awake to see the affection he can feel dripping from it.

 

_ _

 

They go to the Dead Sea and float in the salty water, eat lunch on the boardwalk.

“This is the lowest place on earth,” Namjoon, walking encyclopedia, says as they stand up to their hips in the lake.

“I’m right at home, then,” Yoongi mutters and Hoseok cackles and smears black mud all down Namjoon’s cheek.

That starts a war, both of them struggling to get much traction in the water as they fling handfuls of mud at each other. Yoongi shakes his head at their antics and drifts on his back again, staring up at the bright sun overhead. This place has healing properties, the internet says. All the minerals from the salt in the air. He breathes in deep and imagines all the wounds inside of him stitching closed.

It’s a nice thought.

 

_ _

 

At an overpriced gift shop, he buys a jar of Dead Sea mud with the absurd idea of shipping it to Jungkook.

Maybe someday, when he wrangles the kid’s address out of him. Until then, he tucks it into his backpack, wrapped up in one of his shirts to keep it safe.

 

_ _

 

They talk briefly about going back to America for awhile, or maybe Canada, but settle for Europe instead. For some reason, Yoongi doesn’t want to stray too far from Seoul, even if he still doesn’t want to go back.

He emails Jungkook, exchanging lists on the plane and then later in hotel rooms in Corfu and Dubrovnik. He learns that Jungkook drinks way too much banana milk and is a decent cook and misses his family dog and the sea in Busan, sometimes. He speaks in Satoori when he’s stressed or excited and he’s embarrassed by it. He has two close friends, Jimin and Taehyung, both two years older for him. They’ve looked out for him, he says, since he moved to Seoul.

He likes riding the metro late at night, when the cars are mostly empty and he can get lost in the rattle and hum around him. Finds trains soothing in general. He’s quiet and a little shy and mostly introverted and he worries about people’s perceptions of him. He loves photography and film and video editing. He has insomnia that he doesn’t know how to shake. He likes traveling but is scared of flying.

And it’s ridiculous, so stupid, but Yoongi likes him. A lot. He’s a strange, fascinating blend of confidence and uncertainty. He’s funny and sharp-witted and loves to tease. He sends long rambling emails when he can’t sleep that never make any sense, but are charming anyway - like the time he spends three paragraphs analyzing the difference between dog and cat people and which one he thinks Yoongi is (a cat person, which is definitely correct, even if he still wants a dog someday).

“You’re getting really attached to this kid,” Hoseok points out, watching Yoongi email pictures of Dubrovnik to Jungkook - just to tease him about being the first one to visit King’s Landing.

“Yeah,” Yoongi murmurs, because there is no use in denying it, really.

“You don’t know what he looks like?” Namjoon asks from his spot on the bed, familiar wariness in his tone.

“No.” Though he’s imagined it - what the curve of Jungkook’s smile might be and the potential breadth of his shoulders and the mischievous sparkle that is no doubt in his eyes.

“Or what he does?” Hoseok presses, hand resting between Yoongi’s shoulder blades.

“No,” Yoongi admits. “I think he’s a student, though.”

“But he doesn’t want to tell you?” He doesn’t have to look up to know Namjoon is frowning.

“No. But there are plenty of things I haven’t told him, either.”

Hoseok makes a faint humming sound. “Just … be careful, hyung.”

I don’t want you to get hurt, lurks beneath the admonition. Like last time.

And Yoongi knows, he does. He trusts too easily, sometimes, and it’s gotten him royally fucked over before. But he learned his lesson last time, back in Seoul, when a stupid mistake exploded in his face epically. When the boy he - but this is different. He’s different now and there isn’t an entire future on the line. If Jungkook is catfishing him, he’ll be upset, sure, but the world won’t end. He’ll learn to laugh about it eventually.

For now, he’s just … it’s just nice, having someone new to talk to. Feeling this spark of attraction in the pit of his stomach when he thought it was dead and gone and he’d never experience it again.

“I’ll be careful,” he assures Namjoon and Hoseok because they’ve earned the right to worry, to caution him, to look at him like they are now: uncertain but still trusting his judgment. “And I won’t … it won’t be like last time.”

I won’t break.

Hoseok’s hand moves to his hair, sweeping through it. “Okay, hyung,” he says, gentle.

“We should head out,” Namjoon says. “If we want to make it to the restaurant on time.”

“How expensive is this place again?” Hoseok ask as Yoongi finally pries himself away from the computer and shrugs on his coat.

“So expensive,” Namjoon says, sounding excited. “And so fancy.”

“Are you sure they’re not gonna just throw us out?” Yoongi asks dubiously, because that has definitely happened before. He’s pretty sure they’re still actively banned from a wine bar in Paris. And a tapas place in Madrid.

“We’ll find out,” Namjoon says and fixes Hoseok’s messy hair with an exasperated sigh.

 

_ _

 

They don’t get thrown out, but there are a lot of judgmental looks from the wait staff and Yoongi’s actively afraid to touch anything because wealth radiates even from the gleam of the cutlery. The prices are almost too obscene to mention, but the view of the Adriatic Sea is nice. He’s already composing a very sarcastic blog post about fine dining in his head, a sequel to the one he did in Dubai.

He writes Jungkook first, though, once they’re finally back at the hotel and he’s sleepy from the seafood and the wine he consumed. 

He’s been holding off asking, but Hoseok’s earlier questions are echoing around in his head.

So.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

Subject: Question

What do you look like?

 

_ _

 

In the morning, there is a message waiting.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Question

First I have a question, hyung, do you follow what’s going on back in Korea? Like pop culture and stuff?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Question

No, I don’t. I’ve kind of been avoiding all of that. For reasons. Why?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Question

Oh nothing, I wanted to talk about a drama that just came out, that’s all.

Here:

j + v

But you have to guess which one’s me. ;)

 

He knows instantly: the one in the hoodie. Even if he hadn’t mentioned his penchant for them, Yoongi would know that’s Jungkook. It just feels like him. It matches the picture in his head.

Fuck, he’s young is Yoongi’s first thought. Followed quickly by: fuck, he’s beautiful.

Yoongi is neither of those things. He feels ancient, most days, and weighed down by his ghosts and his stitched up wounds. Next to Jungkook, he’s plain and boring and just … less and -

Stop it.

He blows out a long breath. Refuses to let himself spiral into the abyss that still sits in his brain - like a sinkhole on the ocean floor: deep and black and all-consuming. He’s fenced it off, built as many walls around it as he can, but it will never go away. He knows that, too. Remembers a doctor in a starched coat explaining chronic depression to him when he was strapped to a hospital bed. But if he leaves it off to his left, doesn’t look at it for too long, he’s okay.

He won’t sink to a point where Namjoon and Hoseok have to haul him out again.

Jungkook likes talking to him, he reminds himself. Knows what he looks like, even.

It’s fine.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Question

The one in the hoodie.

And your friends are right. You do look like a bunny.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Question

Damn that was too easy. :P

And hyunnnng, you’re not supposed to agree.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Question

Can’t argue with the truth, kid.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Question

Well it’s your turn, then. Instagram has been quiet. You owe me a picture of you.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Question

You know what I look like.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Question

Still want a picture.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Question

Fine, brat.


y selca

Happy?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Question

Very. :D

 

_ _

 

It rains for two days in Dubrovnik, cold and torrential - like the sky is having a full on sobbing fit - so they stay indoors. Order room service, debate about their next stop (Namjoon wants to see Montenegro while Hoseok wants to head up towards Prague), and work on music. They’ve been dropping tracks on SoundCloud on and off for the past three years - individually and together - but they’re trying to build a whole mixtape. It’s been slow going, time stolen in between their wandering, but for once Yoongi doesn’t have the urge to automatically delete everything they’ve created. It’s cobbled together with their makeshift, portable studio, but it’s good. It has the potential to be something.

Yoongi listens to Hoseok rap into the mic - raspy and fast and even better than he was three years ago, with a whole company trying to hone his potential - and thinks again about returning to Seoul. About Seokjin’s offer for another chance, a better one. Maybe even meeting Jungkook in person. Taking him out … somewhere. Coffee or the Han River or the mountains. Hearing his voice, his laugh. Feeling the warmth of his skin.

He doesn’t say anything as Hoseok finishes his verse and grins at him, fierce and bright like the sun. Or when Namjoon slips the headphones on and takes Hoseok’s place.

He’s not ready yet, he knows that, but for the first time he thinks: soon.

 

_ _


n train station

2,750 likes

bigadventurebootsblog waiting for the train

to Montenegro! It’s definitely getting colder.

#HowManyLayersDoINeed #KNJ

 

Posted 42 minutes ago

View all comments

 

worldwide_handsome that is far too many

layers Joonie. I looked up the temperature there

and it’s 12 degrees. That isn’t cold. #baby

 

kimdaily @worldwide_handsome you’re not

factoring in the wind chill.

 

worldwide_handsome @kimdaily right.

#GiantBaby

 

HopeOnTheStreet @worldwide_handsome you

should see how many layers Yoongi had on.

 

myg93 @HopeOnTheStreet don’t you dare

 

_ _

 

Surprisingly, it’s Jungkook who suggests Skyping. Says, I’d like to talk to you for real, hyung, in another three a.m. email.

Okay, Yoongi answers back before he can second guess himself and finds a private corner in the lobby of their hotel in Kotor. It’s midnight here, seven a.m. in Korea, and Jungkook answers on the second ring.

Yoongi’s breath catches in his throat because there he is - the boy in the picture - with messy black hair and big, big eyes. Beautiful even through a pixelated screen.

“Hey, hyung,” he says and his voice is soft, soft, soft. A little deeper than Yoongi expected, and raspy with sleep.

“Hey,” Yoongi says back, just as soft, and feels his breath hitch again when a smile breaks across Jungkook’s face, warm enough to be close to tender.

“You look good,” Jungkook says, almost shy. “Better than in the pictures.”

“I’m not sure that’s true,” Yoongi argues because he’s in a baggy blue sweater and slippers and his dark roots are starting to show in his uncombed hair. He probably has bags under his eyes because he still struggles to sleep the first few nights in a new place and even with the shitty video quality, he can see how puffy his cheeks are - feel all the weight he’s gained since leaving Seoul (even if Namjoon keeps insisting he’s still too thin and shoving food at him).

“It is,” Jungkook insists, leaning forward. He’s got on one of those oversized hoodies, green this time, and silver hoops in his ears like the ones Yoongi usually wears. “And it’s nice to meet you. Officially.”

“You too. I’m very relieved you haven’t been catfishing me.”

Jungkook puts a hand over his chest dramatically. “I would never.”

Yoongi feels a small burst of laughter punch from his mouth and Jungkook grins.

“Where are you now, hyung?”

“Montenegro. Kotor.” He turns his tablet so Jungkook can get a view of the lobby. It isn’t as fancy as the one they stayed in in Dubai, but it’s still nice. Four star, at least. Namjoon is very good at negotiating deals for them. Has a whole section dedicated to hotels on the blog that he maintains.

Jungkook whistles, still grinning when Yoongi turns the computer back around. The room behind him looks like a hotel, too, actually. “Where are you?”

“Tokyo,” he says.

“Trip with friends?” Yoongi asks. Maybe it’s fall break in Seoul? He never went to college, so he has no idea how the schedule works.

Jungkook’s mouth twitches. “Something like that.”

So still evasive about some things, it seems. Whatever. Yoongi’s excited to be actually talking to him and lets it slide.

“Do you like it? Tokyo?”

“Yeah,” Jungkook says, relaxing again. “It’s a little … loud. For me. A little crowded. But I like it. There’s so much to see. We’re going to Osaka, too. In a few days.”

“Sounds like fun.”

Jungkook leans forward again, conspiratory. “Between you and me, I’d rather be in Montenegro.”

Yoongi laughs through the way his heart clenches at that. How easy it is to imagine Jungkook in this hotel with him, sprawled across the chairs, providing commentary on the ostentatiousness of the chandeliers.

“You’d like it here,” he says. “It’s much quieter than Tokyo.”

“Maybe someday,” Jungkook says, with that slightly sad mouth twitch.

“Yeah,” Yoongi agrees. “Someday.”

 

_ _

 

They talk for three hours. Can’t seem to get themselves stop. Until someone starts knocking loud on Jungkook’s door and yelling at him to hurry up, the car’s leaving soon.

“Catch you later, hyung,” Jungkook says and hangs up quick.

Yoongi sits in the three a.m. stillness with a hand over his chest, where his heart is beating fast and full.

 

_ _

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Greetings


j + j japan

From Japan!

P.S. Jimin says hi.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Greetings

Of course you went to Disneyland. Was it fun?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Greetings

Jimin got sick on the teacup ride. It was hilarious.

 

_ _

 

They keep Skyping. Start Facetiming, too. Yoongi takes Jungkook on a walk through Prague, through Budapest, through Berlin. Shows him the Brandenburg Gate all lit up at night and listens to him marvel at the beauty of the Hungarian Parliament Building and the gothic spires of Prague Castle, even through a phone screen.

Jungkook calls him sometimes when he can’t sleep and appears on screen with tired eyes and slumped shoulders and Yoongi talks about music and Namjoon and Hoseok, even a little bit about Daegu (but never about Seoul). He plays Jungkook songs he’s working on and watches him light up, hum along, insist this is so good, hyung with nothing but excited sincerity.

Jungkook tells about Busan, the ocean, his older brother who’s an artist and his parents who have always supported him. Shows off pictures of his family dog and gets mock offended when Yoongi points out that it’s ugly. (“Sure, but that just makes me love him more. No else would, so I have to.”)

And Yoongi - Yoongi might be a little bit in love, okay? With Jungkook’s energy and his smile and those big, big eyes that seem like they have galaxies in them. With his high-pitched, cackling laugh and the way he fidgets constantly whenever they Skype, unable to hold still even for a second. With the way he seems to love music just as much as Yoongi does, all-consuming, and how he gestures a lot when he’s excited about a subject.

Seoul still terrifies him, in many ways, but he finds himself wanting to go back. To try again. To meet Jungkook in person and see how he tastes, if his arms will be as strong as they look, wrapped around Yoongi.

“I really like you,” he blurts out one night in Salzburg. It’s snowing outside in thick flakes and Christmas is around the the corner - the whole town covered in lights in preparation. “A lot.”

Panic hits right after the words leave his mouth. That this is too much, that this isn’t where they’ve been heading at all and Yoongi’s misread everything. He knows the stakes, in Korea. The cost of this. He’s paid it before and spent months unraveling the self-hatred that came after, soothed by Namjoon and Hoseok’s assurances that there was nothing wrong with him for liking boys, too. That there never would be, no matter what anyone else said.

But Jungkook’s gaze is soft and shy and thrilled all at once. “I like you, too, hyung,” he whispers and it feels heavy, like a confession. “A hell of a lot.”

I want to meet you, Yoongi doesn’t say. This is enough for now.

Especially when Jungkook says, “take me on a date, hyung? Yoongi.”

“Where do you want to go?”

Jungkook shrugs. It’s four a.m. in Seoul and he’s bathed a golden hue from his desk lamp. “Somewhere beautiful. You always show me beautiful things.”

So Yoongi bundles up and sneaks out of the hotel room, leaving behind Namjoon and Hoseok who have gone to bed early. He takes Jungkook down to the banks of the Salzach River that runs along the city. Shows him the snowflakes falling in the halo of the street lamps. Tells him about the dark mountains that rise on all sides - how the snow-covered tops of them shine silver in the moonlight.

“I wish I was there,” Jungkook murmurs when Yoongi finds a bench to sit on, ignoring the cold seeping in through his layers. “I’d rather be there. With you.”

He looks sad, which isn’t what Yoongi wanted. But he can understand, too. Wishes he had the power to reach through his phone screen and run his fingers down Jungkook’s cheek. Through his hair.

“I wish you were, too,” he says instead. Jungkook looks exhausted, so he adds, “but for now go to sleep, Kook.”

“Kook,” Jungkook mutters, drifting off in increments. “I like when you call me that. Goodnight, hyung.”

“Night, Kook.”

And then he’s gone, the screen going dark, and Yoongi is alone in the snow.

 

_ _

 

Yoongi [3:35pm]

is that offer still on the table?

 

Mother Hen [3:38pm]

you know it is, yoongi-yah

 

Yoongi [3:39pm]

i’m interested. skype me?

 

Mother Hen [3:40pm]

give me an hour

 

_  _

 

“So,” Seokjin says. He’s dressed in a black turtleneck, hair artfully styled, which means he must be at the studio. “Why the sudden change of heart?”

“It isn’t sudden,” Yoongi insists, nervously chewing his thumbnail. “I’ve been thinking about it for a long time.”

The offer: a second chance at stardom, this time with Seokjin at the helm. Complete control over their music and image. No forced styling, no revisions to songs, no clothes that make it hard to breathe or crash diets that leave him dizzy and shaking and hating himself in the mirror. It would be just the three of them, Namjoon, Hoseok, and Yoongi, with no threats of forcing them into an idol group.

I’m startin g my own label, Seokjin told them a year after they fled Seoul, and I want to sign you.

No, had been Yoongi’s first response. Never again.

But Seokjin is persuasive and some of Yoongi’s dreams haven’t changed. He still loves music like breathing, loves the thrill of other people listening to his songs and falling in love with them. He’s scared of the lights of a stage and the scream of a crowd, but he loved those once, too, and he thinks he’s healed enough that he could again. Someday.

There is still a rush to performing that is unlike anything else in the world.

He’s needed time, though, to get his head back on straight. To piece himself back together and figure out who Min Yoongi is now - because the eighteen-year-old-kid that signed himself over to a big label with stars in his eyes is gone. Fortunately, so is the broken mess that got hospitalized three years later. It’s taken a long time - miles and cities and crying in hotel rooms while Namjoon and Hoseok held him and pressed kisses to his hair - but he doesn’t mind the current Min Yoongi. Thinks he’s capable of far more than the boy was.

So maybe he’s been ready for awhile now. And maybe Jungkook was just the push he needed.

“I have to talk to Namjoon and Hoseok, but they’ve just been waiting for me.” All of them have been waiting for him- Seokjin, too. “I want to do this, hyung.”

 Seokjin grins and bounces in his seat like a kid. “Yes! Finally!”

“And we still have control, right? Over everything?”

“Of course,” Seokjin assures him. “Everything. I don’t give a fuck what the public or the other labels think. You’re my first priority, Yoongi-yah.”

And he knows Seokjin means that, because he was the first one to visit Yoongi in the hospital with flowers in his hand and seething rage in his eyes. Smoothed Yoongi’s hair back from his forehead and whispered, I’m going to fix this.

He broke his own contract a week later. Never looked back. Started building a company from the ground up with his family’s money and the sheer force of his personality. Yoongi was the first one he wanted to sign.

And god, Yoongi doesn’t deserve him, but is so, so glad Kim Seokjin is in his corner.

“Good,” he says with a grin. “We’ll have to talk some more about schedules and when we want to come back officially, but we’ve already got some music prepared that I think would work for an official debut-”

His phone buzzes on the table. Jungkook, who has taken to texting him random, ridiculous selfies. In this one, he’s got his hair sticking straight up in a weird mohawk and is making an angry face like some kind of punk rocker. He mostly just looks cute, though.

“Oi, what is that?” Seokjin demands, snapping Yoongi back to to the present. “Min Yoongi, what is that lovesick smile? Have you met someone?”

“‘M not lovesick, ” Yoongi insists, though he kind of is. “And his name is Jungkook.”

He doesn’t expect the frown that cuts around Seokjin’s face. The confused furrow of his brow. “Wait. Jeon Jungkook?”

“I don’t know his last name,” Yoongi admits. It’s never seemed important, in the scheme of things, and he’s wanted to respect the secrets Jungkook chooses to keep.  

“Twenty, big eyes, kind of looks like a bunny when he smiles?”

Yoongi’s head is spinning. “Yeah. Yeah … that’s him. How do you know Jungkook?”

Seokjin’s expression is stunned, something in his gaze that Yoongi can’t decipher. When he finally speaks again it’s with uncharacteristic seriousness, “you should look up Jeon Jungkook.”

“Seokjin, what-”

“Just … Google him, Yoongi-yah,” Seokjin says. “And call me if you need anything.”

Then he hangs up with a promise to stay in touch. Yoongi’s stomach is churning, dread amassing in the pit of it. A part of him doesn’t want to do this. Wants to go curl up in bed or just text Jungkook and demand to know how he knows Kim Seokjin of all people. But. But.

Well, he can be too trusting sometimes but he’s never been naive.

He pulls up Google and types in “Jeon Jungkook.”

And a small, terrified part of him was expecting it, but he’s still blindsided by the hundreds of thousands of results that come up. By the endless photos of Jungkook on a stage in glittering clothes and makeup - a microphone in his hand. By the screaming Twitter fan accounts and the fact pages that list Jungkook’s favorite color as black and his favorite animal as a lion, along with his blood-type and his birthday and his astrological sign and so many other things that Yoongi doesn’t - didn’t - know .

An idol group, Ultraviolet, debuted six months after Yoongi left that world behind. Have rocketed to the top of the charts recently, and there is Kim Taehyung on stage with Jungkook and four other beautiful young men, and there is Park Jimin as a backup dancer in one of their big numbers. Here is Jungkook in a practice studio, at a fanmeet, on a stage in Tokyo and Osaka and Seoul, doing a VLive from his dorm with the same golden glow that he usually has on Skype. Here he is at the airport in oversized hoodies and here he is at the fucking MAMAs and fuck, he’s such a good dancer, and his voice.

His fucking voice is gorgeous. Makes Yoongi want to compose - fingers itching for a keyboard. Makes him want to create note after note because they would all sound incredible coming out of Jungkook’s mouth.

The rest of him, though, is cracking at the seams. A scream building in the back of his throat.

Jungkook is an idol and Yoongi … Yoongi is such a fool.

His phone buzzes again. Jungkook, this time in a face mask and ridiculous sunglasses. Yoongi’s heart seizes, contracts his ribcage along with it until everything hurts - his head, his whole torso. He shoves the phone away, hard enough that it goes skittering off the small hotel desk and onto the carpeted floor. Then he slams the laptop closed and crawls into bed, pulling the covers up over his head to shut out the world as best he can.

The door clicks eventually. Namjoon and Hoseok, stomping their feet and complaining about the cold. Distantly, he hears them pause, then shuffle over. The covers are pulled back and he curls up tighter, shoving his face into his pillow so they won’t see the redness of his eyes.

They know, anyway, though.

“Oh, hyung,” Hoseok whispers and then they crawl in on either side of him, shifting the blanket back up over their heads.

Namjoon’s noodly arm drapes gently across his waist and Hoseok’s lips press to the back of his head and he sinks into the warmth and safety of them.

Tries not to break.

Chapter Text

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Hi

Are you okay? I haven’t heard from you in two days. Are you traveling, hyung?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Are You Okay?

Seriously. You aren’t answering any of my messages, either. Did something happen? Are you okay?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Please

Hyung. Yoongi. Talk to me. It’s been a week. I’m really worried. I keep checking the news like an idiot but I haven’t heard anything.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Please

I’m fine. Can you Skype?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Please

Oh thank god. Give me an hour?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Please

Fine.

 

_ _

 

He spent a week wallowing, watching Jungkook flood his phone and clog up his email inbox with worried messages. He was tempted to block him and just move the fuck on with his life, but he’s an adult and he’s going to fucking handle this like one. Besides, in the past few days - as Namjoon and Hoseok have hovered and forced food into him and eventually confiscated his laptop and his phone so he would stop typing “Jungkook UV” and “Jungkook concert” and “Jungkook VLive” into the search bar - the shock has calcified into anger.

Jungkook lied to him. For months. Danced around his questions with a wink and a smile and said “I like you, too.” Let Yoongi believe they could be something when it was an impossibility, fucking doomed, from the very start.

His stomach is churning when the Skype window pops up - rage and heartbreak lashing at his ribcage - and there is Jungkook, beautiful as ever, concern all over his face.

“Hyung,” he says, relaxing into a faint smile when Yoongi’s video feed loads, “thank god. I was so worried. What happened?”

“How’s Thailand?” Yoongi asks, somehow managing to keep his voice calm. It’s easier, if he stares at the stupid hotel art over Jungkook’s shoulder and not the furrow of Jungkook’s brow or the downturn of his pink lips. He’s still fracturing inside - so loud he’s amazed that Jungkook can’t hear it - but he can do this. He won’t break completely, yet.

“I-” Jungkook starts, blinking. “How did you know that I’m in Thailand?”

“It’s online,” Yoongi says, still without a single waver. (Someone give him a fucking award for this.) “UV’s website. You’re in Bangkok today and tomorrow and then you’re going to Indonesia, right?”

Jungkook freezes and even over a shitty video feed, Yoongi can see the color leach from his face and his eyes widen with almost comic shock. Horror floods right in after, and the fear that always comes with being caught.

“Hyung…” he starts, sounding desperate. “Yoongi, I-”

“It’s funny,” Yoongi cuts him off. He doesn’t want to hear Jungkook’s fucking excuses. “How small the world actually is. How connected we all end up being in such random ways. Like Kim Seokjin for instance. Guess you know him, too.”

“Hyung-” Jungkook’s leaning forward, looking like he wants to reach through the screen and touch Yoongi, make him stay. Yoongi’s hands are trembling in his lap and the fissures are widening in his chest. He can almost feel his bones breaking beneath the strain. “I never meant to lie to you. I just-”

“You said you liked me,” Yoongi cuts him off again, hating the fucking tears he can feel building. He blinks stubbornly because he is not crying in front of Jeon Jungkook, K-pop star. He’s not that weak, no matter how mad and grief-stricken he is. “You said you liked me, knowing it doesn’t matter. That at best I’d be your dirty little secret. At worst I’d be a scandal. You said all that and you let me believe that I - that we stood a fucking chance when really this is all just … what? A distraction? A game? An experiment?”

Jungkook shakes his head and those big, dark eyes are wet. He looks so young , curling into himself in his expensive hotel chair. “No,” he says, voice cracking. “No, it was - it was the truth. I like you so much a-a-and I wanted a chance. With-with you. I-” he scrubs a hand over his face.

“Yeah, well your career, as an idol, says otherwise.”

“I don’t care about my career,” Jungkook insists, painfully earnest. Yoongi wants to laugh but it would probably come out as a sob instead.

“That’s easy for you to say,” he snaps, digging his fingers into his thighs just to feel the ache, let it ground him, “here on Skype, where it’s safe. Even if your company lets you, we wouldn’t stand a chance and you know that. You fuckin g knew that and you still-”

He sucks in a heaving breath. Wants to break something - maybe Jungkook, maybe himself, maybe that ugly vase on the dresser that came with the room. He’s in Munich and it’s been snowing for three days, turning everything white and fresh and new. One of the windows doesn’t close all the way and seated at the wobbly desk with his ancient laptop, he can feel the sharpness of the cold in his lungs, prickling at everything broken - all these fracture lines.

He’s so angry. He’s so fucking sad.

“I’m sorry,” Jungkook says from his laptop screen, miles and miles and oceans away. It’s late afternoon in Bangkok and the sun looks good cascading across his face, catching on the tears that have started to slip down his cheeks. “ Please, hyung, I’m so sorry. Just let me - let me explain. We can work this - I don’t want you to be a dirty secret and I just - please just let me-”

“Goodbye, Jungkook,” Yoongi says. He can’t do this again. He won’t do this again: care about a boy and watch that boy throw him away. Watch that boy stand up and say it was a mistake or I was drunk or it was just a stupid fling .

(Teenage hormones, alcohol, a lapse in judgment, a one-time thing - it will never, ever happen again, I promise.)

“No,” Jungkook hiccups, sobs. “No, Yoongi, please-”

Yoongi closes the laptop. Then, on autopilot, he blocks Jungkook’s number and his email address and his Instagram account. He can’t really keep him off the blog, but he doesn’t think Jungkook would stoop to trying to reach him through public comments on a fucking travel blog, even though that was how this whole thing started.

That done, Yoongi stands up, meaning to return to the bed he’s been calling home for the past week, but as soon as he’s on his feet, the grief and heartbreak and panic hit like a punch and all the air goes rushing from his lungs at light speed. The room contracts around him like a distorted funhouse mirror and oh fuck he really can’t breathe. He’s trying but no air is coming in and his chest hurts and his head hurts and his ribs are cracking he can feel them and oh god he’s gonna fucking die in a mediocre hotel room in the middle of Munich fuck -

He next jolts to full awareness crouched on the floor - a hand over his chest like he’s physically trying to keep his heart beneath his skin where it belongs  Namjoon and Hoseok are here, knelt on either side of him, and Namjoon’s holding a jar of smelling salts. Lavender floods his senses and he jerks back, coughing. Sucks a huge, rattling breath into his burning lungs.

“Fuck, Joonie, you know I hate that shit,” he croaks.

"And he’s back,” Hoseok murmurs, trying to sound lighthearted but mostly just shaky from a familiar mixture of fear and relief. He’s heard this tremor in Hoseok’s voice far too many times over the last few years.

“Sorry,” Namjoon says, mercifully pocketing the jar. “It was a bad one and I didn’t know what else to do.”

“Let’s get you on the bed, hyung,” Hoseok says and hauls him upright.

He must look a mess, he thinks, as Hoseok pulls back the covers and urges him down on his side. He hasn’t brushed his hair in two days and he can feel drying tears on his cheeks and his breathing is still rough and just on the safe side of frantic. He’s shaking, too, and he feels small and pathetic as he curls up on the lumpy mattress.

He swore another person wouldn’t reduce him to rubble again and yet…

Namjoon and Hoseok crawl in on either side of him, assuming their usual battle positions.

“We’ll be okay,” Namjoon says, hand rubbing soothing circles on Yoongi’s back.

“I’m sorry, hyung,” Hoseok says and kisses his temple.

“I think I loved him,” Yoongi whispers - and maybe that’s the most pitiful thing of all.

But Hoseok just hums softly and scoots closer and Namjoon’s hand moves to his hair and digs in like an anchor.

“We’ll be okay,” he repeats, gentle, and even though the abyss is yawning - straining at the walls, spreading across the ocean floor of Yoongi’s mind - Yoongi believes him.

He’ll be okay, after a while, in the end. He just has to give it time.

 

_ _

 

“I still want to go back to Seoul,” he tells them later that night and feels them tense in surprise.

“You’re sure?” Hoseok asks and the truth is Yoongi isn’t.

Far from it.

He doesn’t want to be in the same city as Jungkook, even one full of nine million other people. It still feels too close without the barrier of timezones and oceans. He won’t be able to shut himself away from Jungkook there - whose face is probably on billboards and metro ads and shop windows - and he’s going to be entering the same industry full of award shows and after parties. He tries to imagine his first time meeting Jungkook being at some stuffy event - both of them in suits with professional smiles plastered on their faces, and polite, distant words dripping from their mouths - and his whole heart seizes.

But he’s so tired of running, and he knows that Namjoon and Hoseok want to go home. Deserve to go home - and for years his home has always been wherever they are.

That, at least, won’t change.

“Yeah,” he says, shifting around until he can find both of their hands and squeeze tight. “It’s time.”

“Okay,” Namjoon agrees. “Let’s do this.”

Hoseok grins, bright in the white winter moonlight, “we’re gonna kick ass.

And Yoongi almost believes that, too.

 

_ _

 

PARTING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW

 

It’s with great sadness that we announce the end of Big Adventure Boots. It’s been an amazing three years traveling the world with all of you, but every chapter has to end so that a new one can begin, and ours is waiting for us back in Seoul. After three years, 135 countries, and hundreds of thousands of miles, it’s time to go home.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us, encouraged us, and followed us on this epic journey. We’re grateful to each and every one of you. For those who have also been fans of our music, that will be the focus of this next chapter in our lives. We are returning to Seoul to sign with a professional label and we’re incredibly excited for this opportunity to take our music to the next level, and the possibilities waiting for us.

We hope you’ll be following us on this new journey, as well. We’ll see you in Seoul.

사랑

- KNJ, MYG, JHS

 

_ _


cypher

7,580 likes

 

bigadventurebootsblog this is it, folks! The

end of an era! We’re en route back to Seoul to

start the next chapter of our adventure - hopefully

as professional musicians! Look out for Cypher in

the charts soon. ;) Thank you for all of your love

and support over the past three years. We wouldn’t

be here without all of you. You’re the ones who

made this possible. Much love.

#KNJ #MYG #JHS #SeoulHereWeCome

#FutureLegends #hopefully

 

Posted 4 hours ago

view all comments

 

worldwide_handsome it’s about damn time!

#WelcomeBackLosers

 

myg93 why did you use this photo? I told you

not to use this photo.

 

HopeOnTheStreet @myg93 because I look

great in it.

 

myg93 @HopeOnTheStreet debatable.

 

kimdaily i’m about to be on a plane with both of you

for 6 hours, please don’t fight.

 

worldwide_handsome yes behave children or

i won’t pick you up at the airport.

 

myg93 @worldwide_handsome @kimdaily

you’re both the worst why are we reuniting you?

 

worldwide_handsome @myg93 ;)

 

kimdaily @myg93 ;)

 

HopeOnTheStreet @worldwide_handsome @ kimdaily

ugh

 

_ _

 

He checks his inbox four times during the seventeen hour journey from Munich to Seoul, looking for a familiar address amidst all the blog comments pouring in.

Which is stupid, since he’s the one who blocked Jungkook in the first place. But the heart has never been a very rational thing.

 

_ _

 

Seokjin meets them at Incheon baggage claim with a ridiculous sign featuring all three of their names and a copious amount of hearts. He looks even better in person and Yoongi, unwashed and unkempt and exhausted, wonders if he’s getting airplane food crumbs on Seokjin’s designer sweater when he’s pulled in for a bear hug.

“Hey, hyung,” he says into Seokjin’s shoulder, muffled by his face mask. His baseball cap is close to falling off his head as Seokjin spins him in a fast circle.

“You’re back!” He stops and pushes Yoongi back a step, big hands on Yoongi’s shoulders and a huge grin on his annoyingly handsome face. “Have you gotten shorter?”

“Haha,” Yoongi huffs.

“This is a legitimate question, Yoongi-yah,” Seokjin says. “I think you’ve lost at least an inch. Maybe two.”

“Fuck off.”

“Ah, some things haven’t changed, though.” Seokjin winks and then bounces over to give Namjoon and Hoseok similar treatment.

It’s good to see him, good-natured insults and all. The hurricane of his presence is lessening the anxiety of being in Seoul again - back on familiar ground after three years, and breathing the same air as Jungkook. Jungkook, who got back from Indonesia yesterday, if the airport pictures are to be believed, and is now existing out there somewhere.

In this city.

It’s strange and it makes him ache, sharp and deep, so he focuses on the arm Seokjin slings over his shoulder and Seokjin’s promise of food and a hot shower instead. They’re crashing at his apartment in Gangnam until they can find their own. Namjoon, the overachiever that he is, already lined up viewings during their layover in Abu Dhabi.

I love Seokjin, he said in between calls, but I want to stay with him for as little time as possible.

Yoongi can agree. Seokjin tends to … hover. Even if his cooking is still the best Yoongi’s ever had (but don’t tell him that).

“You’re cooking for us, right?” Hoseok asks as they pile into the back of Seokjin’s SUV. Seokjin huffs.

“Of course I am. I’m a good host, Jung Hoseok.”

“A home cooked meal,” Namjoon says with great reverence and as though there haven’t been numerous of those over the past three years.

“We’ve stayed in places with kitchens,” Yoongi points out, poking Namjoon’s shoulder from his spot in the backseat. “I’ve cooked for you, remember? Often.”

“But you’re not Seokjin-hyung,” Namjoon says, twisting around to give him a slightly apologetic smile and really, fair point.

“I didn’t open my own restaurant for no reason, Yoongi-yah,” Seokjin says, merging them into evening traffic.

Yoongi rolls his eyes, but that’s really to hide the smile twitching at the corner of his mouth. With Seokjin, Hoseok, and Namjoon on all sides of him the city beyond the car windows, getting steadily drenched in rain, doesn’t seem nearly as scary as he was expecting.

Maybe the ghosts will keep quiet for a change.

 

_ _

 

Seokjin’s shower is state-of-the-art and Yoongi spends far too long beneath the hot spray, letting it work all the tension out of his muscles from hours on a plane and uncomfortable airport seats. Maybe even three years of hotel beds and tents and park benches in the early days. Maybe even the cracked heart he can still feel beating in his chest.

God, he’s so tired.

He thinks, as he towels off and fishes pajamas out of his backpack, as he stumbles out into the living room to Rock Paper Scissors with Namjoon and Hoseok for a spot on Seokjin’s air mattress, that he could sleep for a week. Two.

He wins Rock Paper Scissors and Namjoon loses with a low groan and a protest that since Yoongi’s the smallest, shouldn’t he take the couch? Yoongi flips him off and pulls the duvet over his head, listening to the mattress crackle as Hoseok clambers on next to him.

“We’re back,” he whispers, arm slotting over Yoongi’s waist.

“We’re back,” Yoongi echoes.

“You doing okay?”

“I don’t know,” he answers truthfully. He isn’t great, by any means, but it hasn’t been as bad as he was expecting. No panic attacks, no meltdowns. Those things might come, still, but for now he’s stable.

Hoseok scoots closer, fitting against his back. “That’s okay. It’ll get better.”

“Yeah,” Yoongi agrees.

He misses Jungkook - his voice, his laugh, his stupid three a.m. e-mails about video games and memes and the nature of the universe - and it’s so stupid.

Get over it, he tells the heartbreak, the ache. Forget him.

If only it were that simple.

“It’ll get better,” Hoseok repeats. “Just give it time.”

That’s the problem, Yoongi thinks as exhaustion pulls him towards sleep, these things always take so much time.

 

_ _

 

Posted by Tokki98 34 minutes ago

Is Jungkook Okay?

UV had an interview today and he doesn’t talk a lot normally sure but he didn’t talk at ALL today. And I mean he looked like this:

jungkook sad 2

i dunno he just seems really down?

 

cherry_girl · 33 minutes ago

i think ur right he’s seemed really sad. especially in the last 2-3 weeks.

 

M_Lana · 32 minutes ago

He seems totally fine to me? He’s always been super quiet. You guys are just throwing a pity party again cause you think the company’s mistreating him or some shit like that.

 

97Liner · 31 minutes ago

there is plenty of proof that the company is mistreating him. he doesn’t get nearly the level of support/coverage the others get.

 

M_Lana · 30 minutes ago

Because he’s a sub vocalist. Are we really gonna have this argument again??? Kim Taehyung is in the same boat and everyone whines about him too.

 

noonabae · 28 minutes ago

i agree with OP he really seems down. something happened.

jungkook sad 2

this was him at the airport last week.

 

Tokki98 · 27 minutes ago

aaaah i’m worried!!!

 

cherry_girl · 24 minutes ago

me too :(

_ _

 

He moves forward. Lets Namjoon drag him and Hoseok all over the city looking at apartments. They finally settle for one on a relatively quiet street in Daechi, on the edge of Gangnam. Two bedrooms, decent living room and kitchen space - a step up from their usual accomodations over the past three years. The price tag is enough to raise eyebrows, but Seokjin is covering the rent and -  between an inheritance and a very successful restaurant - money has never been an issue for him.

“Can you believe it?” Hoseok asks, twirling around in the living room. “We’re settling down.”

It’s going to be strange, living in one place. Coming home to the same apartment in the evenings and taking the bus to the same studio in the mornings. He’s not sure how he feels about it - if the wanderlust has completely leached from his blood - but for now it doesn’t matter. He’s happy that Hoseok and Namjoon are happy - exclaiming over the bedrooms and the view and all the new appliances in the kitchen.

They’re his home. They’re all he needs.

 

_ _

 

“I still can’t believe you called your company BigHit,” Yoongi remarks dryly when Seokjin takes them on their first tour of the building - towering and gray, on a bustling street in the heart of Gangnam, across from a lamp store of all things.

“I’m an optimist,” Seokjin insists with a grin.

He leads them through recording studios and practice rooms (“Fuck it’s been so long,” Hoseok says, sliding one foot over the hardwood floor, a mixture of love and longing in his eyes.) and conference rooms with big, important-looking glass tables. It’s a modest set-up. Nothing approaching the glitz of the label Yoongi originally signed with, once-upon-a-time, but tasteful. Homey. He likes the warmth that seems the linger in the hallways and the way the staff smile and greet them in passing.

He can picture himself here and it eases some of the anxiety still churning in his stomach.

“Okay,” Seokjin says, clapping his hands together. “I have one more surprise. But I’m showing it to you one at a time. Yoongi-yah, you’re up first. Close your eyes.”

“Seriously?” he mutters, but quells at the look Seokjin levels at him. It reminds him of his mother, father, and older brother all rolled into one. “Fine.”

He closes his eyes and lets Seokjin lead him down a hallway and around a corner. Hears Seokjin stop in front of a door and what sounds like a keypad beeping as numbers are entered in. A lock clicks and Seokjin tugs him over the threshold.

“Open your eyes,” he says, voice uncharacteristically soft.

Yoongi does and all the air catches in his throat, briefly choking him. They’re in a studio. An actual studio and not the glorified closet his old company gave him. There’s a keyboard and a fucking couch and more equipment than he’d been daring to dream of. The walls are a pale, soothing blue and the floor is dark wood and fuck, he’s already in love.

“Hyung,” he manages through his sudden tears.

Seokjin’s arm settles across his shoulders. “Do you like it?”

“No,” Yoongi huffs and wipes at his face.

Seokjin laughs. “I was thinking you should name it Genius Lab, since you are. A genius. And if you need any of the equipment changed out, just let me know.”

“You’re admitting I’m a genius?” Yoongi quips, still trying to get a handle on his emotions.

“Of course you are,” Seokjin says, smiling at him. “You always have been, Yoongi-yah. Everything that happened - it wasn’t because you weren’t good enough. They were stupid and short sighted and they fucked you over. But you’ve always been good enough.” He pokes Yoongi’s cheek. “And I want you to help do you great things. So. Welcome back.”

“Thank you,” Yoongi whispers, meaning both for the studio and Seokjin’s words of encouragement. The fact that Seokjin’s always believed in him, even when he was falling apart in a hospital psych wing.

“I’ve put a passcode on the door, too. You can change it to whatever you want and you don’t have to tell any of us. This is your space,” Seokjin continues. “None of us will touch it.”

“Thank you,” Yoongi repeats, completely overwhelmed. Seokjin’s thought of everything, even the OCD that still creeps past his medication in little ways.

“Hoseok and Namjoon have studios, too. Down the hall. But yours is the nicest one.”

“I thought Namjoon was your favorite dongsaeng.”

“He is,” Seokjin says without hesitation and nudges Yoongi gently in the side. “But you’re my best producer.” He backs towards the door. “I’ll leave you to get acquainted. I’m sure it’s going to be a love affair for the ages.”

He leaves with one of those ridiculous flying kisses and Yoongi sinks down in front of the keyboard. Rests his fingers gently on the shiny, new keys. Fuck, it’s been so long, but it still feels like coming home. He’s missed this more than he realized, and the studio is further proof that Seokjin is going to take care of them. That this is going to be on their terms, whatever they end up becoming.

He thinks of Jungkook’s voice - so clear and powerful and almost angelic - and how he still wants to compose for him, write him fucking symphonies . There is so much of him left, scattered across Yoongi’s thoughts and memories. He’s become another one of the ghosts - perched on the sofa with that gentle, awed expression he used to get when Yoongi would play music for him.

“You’re a genius, hyung,” he said once and sounded like he meant it.

He wonders, suddenly, what Jungkook is doing now. UV is with Syndicate Entertainment, also headquartered in Gangnam - only a few neighborhoods away, closer to the river. It would probably take twenty minutes to walk there.

Jungkook is closer than he’s ever been and still completely out of reach.

Get over it, Yoongi reminds himself. Dwelling on impossibilities is pointless. A waste of time.

He takes a deep breath and begins to play. The notes are sadder than he intended them to be, haunting almost, but it’s good. He can feel some of the pain seeping out, wrapping itself up in the music instead.

 

_ _

 

Life shapes itself into a new routine faster than he was expecting. He spends hours in the studio alone and with Hoseok and Namjoon, laying out tracks for their first full album. For their debut. Seokjin has given them a tentative deadline of six months to a year, considering all the music they already have to work with, but insists that he’s ready whenever they are. They’ll be his first major group - though he’s apparently in talks with other people he refuses to name that could become a second, more vocal-focused band - and they want to do well. Prove to everyone and themselves that his gamble on them was a good one.

So they take their time. They fine tune and adjust and figure out new ways to fit together.

Early in the new year, Namjoon and Hoseok take an extended break - a whole month - to spend time with their families. They invite Yoongi, both to Ilsan and Gwangju, but Yoongi turns them down. Enjoys some time alone in the apartment and his studio. Dyes his hair back to black on a whim and watches shows on Netflix to distract him from his phone, from the itching, stupid urge to contact Jungkook that’s still lingering.

He composes the questions in his head, instead. How are you? That email you sent about dreams, all those months ago, do you still feel that way? Do you miss me? Do you know I’m back in Seoul? Do you ever wish, sometimes, that we lived in a world where we’d stand a chance?

He lies spread eagle on the floor of his living room and lets the cold seep into his skin from the hardwood floor. Thinks they should probably buy a rug or two. It’s snowing outside, just like it was in Munich - everything white and new. White used to be his favorite color, for that very reason. Newness, possibility. White was a blank canvas upon which you could create anything.

Now he likes the comfort of black - the shadows on his ceiling and in between the city lights. He likes the depth of it, the anonymity of it. Wonders if maybe, that’s why Jungkook liked it, too.

It’s possible that staying here on his own wasn’t a good idea. He can feel the abyss yawning and his mouth aches for a cigarette. He thinks of the alcohol that Namjoon bought last week that’s still on the shelf and he calls Seokjin instead.

“Hyung,” is all he says, and Seokjin knows.

“I’ll be over in twenty.”

 

_ _

 

Seokjin comes with all the ingredients for dinner and puts him to work in the kitchen, seemingly also remembering that it’s always better for Yoongi’s head if he can keep his hands busy.

“Good to see all the traveling didn’t kill your cooking skills,” Seokjin comments, watching Yoongi dice vegetables.

“I told you, I cooked,” Yoongi mutters, dumping them into the pot. “Airbnb is a thing.”

Seokjin hums and pours them both a glass of wine. Yoongi’s grateful, because with Seokjin here he can enjoy the alcohol without worrying about drinking too much.

“So,” Seokjin says, leaning against the counter while Yoongi stirs the stew, “Jeon Jungkook.”

Yoongi blows out a sharp breath. One downside of Seokjin is that he never beats around the bush. About anything. “I’d rather not talk about him.”

“He’s a good kid,” Seokjin presses, gentle but unyielding. “I doubt he meant to hurt you on purpose.”

“I don’t care,” Yoongi says and wonders if he keeps saying it enough, will it be true?

Seokjin sighs. “Yoongi-yah, he’s not-”

“Don’t,” Yoongi interjects. “Please. Hard enough that he became an idol and now that I’m back I have to look at his face on posters.”

“Fine,” Seokjin says, trying to hide his amusement. “Jungkook’s not He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. That comparison is unfair to him.”

“He’s still an idol, too,” Yoongi says, deciding to ignore the ridiculous Harry Potter reference. “Which still means nothing can happen. And I … I can’t just be friends with him, hyung. I’m always gonna want more. And that isn’t fair to either of us. So it’s just … better this way. He’s young. He’ll get over me.”

“And you?” Seokjin prods.

Yoongi shrugs. “And I’ll get over him.”

“He made you happy, Namjoon said.”

“He did. And now it’s over. Other things make me happy.”

Seokjin sighs again and swirls the wine around in his glass, an uncharacteristically hesitant look on his face.

“What?” Yoongi asks, trepidation creeping in. “What’s that face for?”

“I’m trying to get Jungkook away from his company,” Seokjin blurts out. “And I told him that there would be a place for him at BigHit if they let him go.”

Yoongi freezes. That wasn’t what he was expecting out of Seokjin at all, but somehow he’s really not that surprised.

“This was before you decided to come back,” Seokjin continues. “Before I knew about … you and him. But I’m not taking it back, Yoongi. I wanted you to know that.” 

“Why?” Yoongi asks, tamping down on the irrational feeling of betrayal. Seokjin is still in his corner and he can’t put blame where it doesn’t belong.

“Because he reminds me of you,” Seokjin murmurs, sadness he doesn’t often acknowledge creeping into his voice. “He reminds me of you four years ago. When you were fading and none of us could do anything to stop it. And he doesn’t deserve that. Just like you didn’t. And if I can do something to help, then I’m going to.”

It echoes in Yoongi’s head like a bell, he reminds me of you he reminds me of you he reminds me of you.

“Is his company mistreating him?” he asks and can’t help the flare of protective anger that wells up, pushing past the hurt.

Seokjin shrugs. “I don’t know for sure. But, Yoongi-yah, you’ve heard him sing and they have him as a sub vocalist, that’s a crime right there.”

It is. He thinks of executives at his old company, telling him that maybe the three of them could be in an idol group instead - all their music and their hard work boiled down to one line each in a song, if they were lucky. It’s a fucking crime, wasting talent like that - wasting a voice that makes him want to write symphonies.

“Get him out, then,” Yoongi says quietly. Takes a gulp of wine. “I’ll cope.”

Seokjin squeezes his shoulder tight and informs him he’s burning the stew.

 

_ _

 

Posted by 97Liner 6 minutes ago

VLive!

Jungkook’s on right now, everyone should watch!

 

Tokki98 · 5 minutes ago

it’s like 2.a.m here but who cares! i’m on.

 

cherry_girl · 5 minutes ago

uh-oh he seems really sad again

 

noonabae · 4 minutes ago

:((((((

i hope he’s okay

 

_ _

 

Yoongi told himself he wasn’t going to watch - wasn’t going to subject himself to this. But when he gets the notification from the app he never should have downloaded, it’s ten p.m. and he’s been in the studio since seven this morning, and he’s weak. He thinks he’ll always be weak, when it comes to Jungkook.

So he pulls up the livestream on his computer. Tucks his legs up into his chair and ignores the spasm of his heart when Jungkook fills his screen, familiar room behind him and familiar hoodie engulfing his frame. He looks … not great. Pale and exhausted, shoulders hunched and eyes glazed.

He looks like Yoongi feels: fucking heartbroken.

Yoongi’s entering ten minutes after the stream started and Jungkook is talking about an upcoming variety show performance. It almost hurts, hearing his voice after nearly three months of silence, but Yoongi drinks it in like a man dying of thirst at an oasis. He’s missed it. Missed the fidget of Jungkook’s hands and the scrunch of his smile and the way his earrings catch in the light from his desk lamp.

Jungkook finishes talking about the variety show and pauses to read the comments, brow furrowed in concentration.

“I’m okay,” he says, clearly in response to the stream of people talking about how down he’s seemed lately. “I…” he gnaws at his lip. “Well, I’m not super great right now, but you don’t need to worry about me. I just … I kind of lost someone. Who was close to me. But it was my fault, so-” he sucks in a shaky breath, looking seconds away from crying, and everything in Yoongi aches.

You did this to him, a voice hisses in the back of his mind.

It’s better this way, he fires back, but he’s not sure he believes it.

“It was my fault,” Jungkook repeats. “So I’m just … working on getting over that. I’m sorry, if I haven’t been one hundred percent lately. I’ll work harder and be more engaged in the future. Thank you for understanding.”

He smiles then. A weak, empty thing that doesn’t come close to his eyes.

More concerned comments. People insisting that it couldn’t have been his fault. That whoever the person is, they’re in the wrong and Jungkook shouldn’t feel bad.

Jungkook shakes his head after he reads them. “No, no please you don’t need to defend me. I shouldn’t-shouldn’t have said anything. Please just let it go, okay? It was - I messed up. I-”

Another shaky breath, wet with looming tears. “I’m sorry,” Jungkook whispers. “I’m so sorry, I can’t do this. I-I have to go, I’m sorry.”

And then he ends the VLive after only fifteen minutes. Yoongi rocks back in his chair. Realizes that his view of his own screen is blurring.

You should talk to him, Seokjin said two days ago. At least give him that, Yoongi-yah.

Yoongi buries his face in his knees. It’s better this way.

It’s better this way.

It has to be.

 

_ _

 

Posted by 97Liner 19 minutes ago

What the Hell???

omg did you guys just watch that? jk seemed so sad. who hurt him?

 

Tokki98 · 18 minutes ago

maybe a girlfriend?

 

cherry_girl · 17 minutes ago

syndicate has a dating ban in place tho

 

uvray · 17 minutes ago

doesn’t mean idols don’t break dating bans, lol

 

noonabae · 16 minutes ago

still don’t think he’d talk about it. maybe it’s just a friend?

 

97Liner · 15 minutes ago

well whoever it is i hope they feel terrible

 

_ _

 

Winter inches towards spring and he keeps going. Head down, shoulders bent, one day at a time. The urge to drink dissipates a little, even if the urge to smoke doesn’t. The album is coming together, piece by piece, and he doesn’t want to delete every track after they’ve recorded it, like he used to. Yoongi lets Namjoon get some of his travel photographs printed glossy and big and hang them on the walls of the apartment. They buy soft patterned rugs for the hardwood floors and a small assortment of plants for the windowsills and it starts to feel like a home.

A safe space.

(“Here,” Hoseok tells him one day, “you do the most cooking, so you should organize the kitchen, hyung.”

He spends two hours on it and then carefully shows Namjoon and Hoseok where everything is and watches them keep mental track of it. That evening, Hoseok puts little sticky labels all over: cups, forks, spoons, pans, etc.

“So we don’t forget,” he explains to Yoongi and Yoongi’s grateful, both for this and that Hoseok doesn’t make him feel stupid or broken for needing it.)

He takes walks by the Han River and he lets Seokjin drag him out to fancy bars once in awhile to drink expensive whiskey and listen to all of Seokjin’s industry gossip. He misses travel, sometimes, but this feels like a life, like he’s finally moving towards something instead of just running. He’s … settling. Healing, still.

Then, on an average Tuesday afternoon, Jeon Jungkook sues Syndicate Entertainment.

 

_ _

 

It’s Hoseok who tells him, practically breaking down the door to his studio to show him the news alert.

He’s suing to be released from his contract and he’s citing emotional, psychological and physical abuse stemming from dangerous working conditions, including practicing to the point of collapse, forced starvation, and even … even physical violence.

“Holy shit,” Namjoon breathes, having wandered in to see what the commotion was and started reading over Yoongi’s shoulder.

Yoongi can’t breathe. The plastic of Hoseok’s phone is digging rough into the side of his hand, but he can’t let go of it, either. The words are starting to swim on the screen and fuck, so many of them sound familiar.

He reminds me of you, Yoongi-yah. He reminds me of you.

Only, he wasn’t this brave. He just let himself be used up and then thrown aside when there was nothing left. Had to pick up himself up out of the dirt and find his own stumbling way forward.

Jungkook is fighting .

“Brave kid,” Namjoon murmurs, as though he can read Yoongi’s thoughts.

“You think he’ll win?” Hoseok asks dubiously.

“I don’t know,” Yoongi whispers.

It’s a long-shot. It’s one voice against a whole company. Maybe it would be different, if Jungkook was the leader or the center or something indispensable, but he’s a sub vocalist - so shy he barely talks in interviews - and Yoongi has the sinking feeling that the company is just going to chew Jungkook up and spit him out even more shattered than he was before.

“I hope he wins,” Hoseok says, squeezing Yoongi’s shoulder.

Yoongi nods, forces air into his lungs and out again. He does, too.

And he wants to call Jungkook. To say … something. That he’s proud maybe. Or that he’s on Yoongi’s mind at least once a day still, that Yoongi can’t get him out.

But he’s not sure if that would be welcome or just make things worse, so he holds back. Focuses on his music and not the fires that start online and spread and spread until, less than three hours after the initial story broke, Jungkook is at the center of maelstrom.

 

_ _

 

Posted by JKooky 45 minutes ago

WHAT THE FUCK

That lawsuit! The excerpts in the articles holy shit. Forced dieting, collapsing during practice - what do you think it means by physical violence????

Either way, I’m think I’m gonna be sick….

 

M_Lana · 43 minutes ago

He’s exaggerating. Literally no one else in UV is backing this up. None of the other boys. He wants a bigger role in the band and he’s trying to force it out of the company with a lawsuit. Unbelievable.

 

Tokki98 · 42 minutes ago

why would he lie tho??? why make up something this horrific?? maybe the others are afraid to speak out?

 

noonabae · 41 minutes ago

poor kookie :(((( no wonder he’s been so down

 

M_Lana · 40  minutes ago

Why not lie? Make the lawsuit sensational to get more publicity. That way the company can’t just sweep it under the rug. UV has been a group for over 3 YEARS . And a lot of them were trainees for a long time before that! Including Jungkook. Why wait until NOW to say something if this has been going on since the beginning? It doesn’t make sense.

 

cherry_girl · 38 minutes ago

i don’t want to believe JK would lie … but m_lana has a point. this is threatening the future of the whole group. why do that???

 

JKooky · 37 minutes ago

Because his company is fucking ABUSING him.

 

97Liner · 36 minutes ago

OMG KIM TAEHYUNG JUST RELEASED A STATEMENT BACKING UP JUNGKOOK’S CLAIMS.

 

M_Lana · 35 minutes ago

The other sub vocalist. Why am I not surprised? They have no evidence to back any of this up.

 

Tokki98 · 33 minutes ago

that they’ve released publically. there could be stuff they’re keeping private for now.

 

cherry_girl · 32 minutes ago

i’m scared for UV AND jungkook. i don’t see this ending well…

 

M_Lana · 31 minutes ago

I hope they just give him what he wants and kick him out.

 

_ _

 

Yoongi breaks his promise to himself to stay off the internet after the first day. He reads article after article - some of them in support of Jungkook and others calling him selfish. Insisting this is a bid for attention, for power - Jungkook acting like a spoiled brat. He wants to reach through the computer screen and punch the authors of those in the face because he remembers how long it took him to eat normally again, because three years later he still hasn’t gained back all the weight he lost from their “diet plans,” because he landed in a hospital and there was never even an apology for the ruin they made of him….

He composes over a dozen texts to Jungkook and then deletes all of them because they feel inadequate. He shuts himself in his studio under the pretense of working on music and instead pulls up some of Jungkook’s old emails that he couldn’t bring himself to delete.

Do you ever have dreams, hyung, that come true and then don’t?

Fuck.

Fuck, Yoongi’s heart aches.

He picks up his phone for the tenth time tonight, never mind that it’s eleven p.m., because he’s going to get his head out of his ass and think of something to say. He only survived because he wasn’t alone, and he can’t bear the thought of Jungkook weathering all of this by himself.

He’s managed to type Jungkook - a stellar start, really - when there’s a knock on his door.

Namjoon probably, come to drag him home, because both him and Hoseok are paranoid about Yoongi overworking himself like the last time around - when he didn’t eat, didn’t sleep, and his spine became molded to his shitty studio chair. So many desperate hours wasted on music that was never going to be approved in the first place.

“Joon-ah,” Yoongi sighs as he stands, “how many times have I told you that I’m perfectly capable of reading a clock and we agreed on-”

The words die in his mouth because it’s not Namjoon or Hoseok in the hallway.

“Hi, hyung,” Jeon Jungkook whispers, fidgeting nervously.

He’s wearing a baggy black hoodie and a pair of sweatpants - a baseball cap pull low over his black hair - and he looks like he hasn’t slept in weeks. He’s taller than Yoongi expected. Softer, too.

“I’m sorry,” he continues, when Yoongi doesn’t manage to do anything but stare. “I-I know I shouldn’t be here, but Seokjin-hyung told me … told me that I could come up. That you mi-might be okay talking to me and I - and I just-” he hiccups and blinks hard at the floor like he’s trying not to cry and that wrenches Yoongi out of his idiotic stupor.

He reaches out on autopilot, heart over brain, and pulls Jungkook in for a hug. Jungkook melts into him with a wounded sound - face in Yoongi’s neck and fingers clutching desperate at the back of his shirt. This isn’t how he expected their first meeting to go - back pressed against the door of his studio from Jungkook’s weight, the warm wetness of Jungkook’s tears on his skin - but he doesn’t care. Life never really goes how you want, anyway.

At least Jungkook is here. Solid and real and no longer trapped behind a screen.

“Come on,” Yoongi says after a few minutes - or hours, who can really tell, “let’s get you inside.”

He fumbles open the door and backs them in. Shuffles over to the couch still clinging tight to Jungkook. Isn’t sure he’d be able to get his arms to let go even if he wanted to.

Jungkook is crying in earnest now, sounding close to hyperventilating, so Yoongi rubs calming circles across his back and murmurs, “easy, easy, just breathe with me, okay? In- one, two, three - now out . In - one, two, three - out. There you go.”

Finally, Jungkook calms a little - enough to sit up and scrub at his face. “Fuck,” he mutters, flushed. “‘M so sorry. I was supposed to come here to apologize, not-not cry all over you.”

“It’s okay,” Yoongi insists. “I think you’re entitled.”

Jungkook laughs, empty and grating. “Yeah it’s been … quite a week.”

And it’s only going to get worse, he doesn’t say, but neither of them are naive.

“I didn’t want to do this,” Jungkook continues, wringing the hem of his hoodie in his hands. “I went to them, asking privately to be released from my contract. I’m not an essential member of the group and I didn’t think they’d have a problem, but they said no. Said I still … owed them too much. For my training. So.” His expression twists.

“You sued them,” Yoongi says with something close to awe.

“Yeah,” Jungkook whispers. Straightens. “But that isn’t what I came here to talk about.”

He fidgets, then stands. He looks like wants to pace but Yoongi’s studio is too small. “I never … I wasn’t going to to lie to you. I wasn’t even going to tell you my name, at first. But you were so easy to talk to and I just kept sharing more and more and I couldn’t stop myself. I was just … normal to you. I loved just being Jungkook, average Seoul college student. That Jungkook could - could have you and I didn’t want to let go of that dream. But that meant I was leading you on and I’m so sorry for that.” He wipes at eyes that are starting to leak again. Smiles at Yoongi so soft and sad that it cuts like a knife. “You made me so happy. You - you were the first thing to make me really happy in such a long time. I - fuck - you were so cool and I liked you so much. You were a secret, but it wasn’t - it wasn’t dirty, hyung. You were the only thing in my life that was mine.

Yoongi swallows, trying to figure out what to say. All his words are tangled up in the back of his throat.

“I know,” Jungkook continues. “I know we never … that we can’t. But I wasn’t lying when I said I don’t care about my career. I’m fucking miserable, hyung. And you - I wrote you a song.” He fishes around in the pocket of his hoodie and pulls out a crumpled piece of notebook paper. Smooths it out with careful fingers and hands it to Yoongi.

Yoongi takes it and blinks down at Jungkook’s neat handwriting.

 

You’re the sun that rose again in my life

A reincarnation of my childhood dreams

I don’t know what these emotions are

Am I still dreaming?

 

This dream is a blue mirage in the desert

A priori deep inside of me

I’m so happy, I can’t breathe

My surroundings are getting more and more transparent

 

I hear the far-away ocean

Across the dream, over the horizon

I’m going to the place that’s getting clearer

Take my hands now

 

“You are the cause of my euphoria,” Yoongi whispers around the squeeze of his ribs and the lump in his throat. The hurt and anger rapidly evaporating in the face of this, but Yoongi never really wanted to hold on to them in the first place. 

“You are,” Jungkook whispers back. “I was … I wasn’t even sure I loved music anymore. Until you came along. And then suddenly - I couldn’t stop writing.”

Yoongi drops his gaze back to the paper and the next verse of the song.

 

Were you wandering around

Looking for an erased dream too?

It’s different from the typical definition of destiny

Your pained eyes are looking at the same place as me

Won't you please stay in dreams

 

“This is beautiful, Jungkook-ah.”

“Thank you,” Jungkook murmurs, wrapping his arms around himself. “I mean it. You - you make me happy. And isn’t that worth fighting for? Even if - even if everyone is going to say-”

“I was a trainee,” Yoongi interrupts, surprising himself. He’s never told this story to anyone, but he thinks Jungkook should hear it. “Three years ago. Well, six. I signed when I was eighteen. I left the company three years later - six months before your debut.”

Jungkook’s mouth drops open. “You - you were…?”

Yoongi sets the piece of paper on the table. “I’m ordering takeout,” he declares. “And I’ll tell you the rest. And then we can … decide. Where we stand. Or what we should do. Okay?”

Jungkook nods. “Okay, hyung.”

“What do you want?” Yoongi asks, pulling up a well-used delivery app on his phone.

Jungkook hesitates. Chews on his lip again. “I’m - I’m not supposed to….”

He reminds me of you.

“You’re suing them, right?” Yoongi asks, purposefully dry. “So fuck them. What do you want?”

“Lamb skewers,” Jungkook blurts. “Or any kind of meat really. That isn’t chicken. And rice. I really want rice. And maybe noodles?”

Yoongi fights down an endeared smile and orders all of that, plus soda for good measure.

“Sit down, kid,” he murmurs when he notices Jungkook still hovering in the middle of the room. “You’re safe here.”

Jungkook nods and sinks into Yoongi’s computer chair. He looks like he belongs - solid and real and no longer one of Yoongi’s ghosts.

He isn’t sure how to feel about that.

 

_ _

 

They sit in tired, but comfortable silence while they wait for the food to arrive. When it finally does, Jungkook digs in with barely restrained fervor.

“This is amazing,” he says around a mouthful of lamb, and Yoongi has to hide a smile behind his bowl of rice. “Thank you.”

“You looked like you needed it,” he says and isn’t surprised when Jungkook nods. He’s too nervous to eat much - just picks at his food until it looks like Jungkook has come down from his food high and is ready to listen.

Then, he opens his mouth and starts talking. Reaches for the stitches in his chest and pulls apart the seams of his wounds so Jungkook can see the still-healing, bloody mess of them.

He talks about being eighteen and wide-eyed, desperate to make music. Auditioning for a major company against his parents wishes and moving to Seoul with only a few won in his pocket and everything he owned in a ratty high school backpack. Meeting Namjoon in the dorms - so many other kids crowded together, living on top of each other and frantically, ruthlessly striving for the top. How him and Namjoon fought constantly over stupid things until Hoseok came along and evened them out.

He talks about all the promises that were made - to debut as a hip-hop act, to write their own music, to have some say in their image - and how, one by one, they all disappeared. Until there was nothing left but imperfections and shortcomings. Their music wasn’t good enough, so the company’s producers would write it. Their looks weren’t polished enough, so they would dye their hair and lose weight and maybe consider plastic surgery. They were too boring on stage, so they needed to learn how to dance and got locked in practice rooms until their limbs were ready to fall off and their lungs were burning to ash in their chests.

How as the years ticked on - nineteen, and then twenty, and then twenty-one - he began to lose so many pieces of himself that he didn’t know who he was anymore. The diets became starvation and the practices turned endless and the music dripped from his brain like blood and it still wasn’t enough. He wasn’t enough.

“So I pushed myself harder,” Yoongi says, curled up on the sofa of his new studio, playing with the chopsticks to give his restless fingers something to do. “I was barely eating or sleeping. I would practice to the point of collapse or losing my voice. I became obsessed with perfection. With making myself perfect. I would write music and then delete it immediately because it wasn’t good enough. I argued with the company over control even when I knew it was futile. I pushed Namjoon and Hoseok away.”

And then it got worse. He had a panic attack when he tried to perform in front of anyone. He couldn’t do video journals anymore or sit down in front of a camera. Someone moved his stuff in the dorm and he had a meltdown. He tried to schedule out his days down to the minute in order to be the most productive and would freak out if those schedules were interrupted. He ate even less and slept even less and bit his nails down to bloody stubs. He thought about dying and he started counting pills on the bad nights, hid a razor blade under his pillow just in case.

“And then I met a boy,” he whispers, unable to look at Jungkook now, “six months after I turned twenty-one. He was another trainee. Two years younger than me. We started … fooling around. We never put a label on it, really, but he made things better. For awhile. I cared about him.”

Only the boy was careless. Took pictures - intimate, explicit ones - of Yoongi without his permission and showed them to another trainee. Who leaked them to the company. So the boy told everyone that it was a mistake, a one-time thing - the result of too much to drink and peer pressure. That Yoongi had practically gotten on his knees and begged to suck the boy off and he hadn’t seen the harm in it.

“He made me sound like a slut,” Yoongi says with a wry smile. Jungkook makes a wounded sound, but Yoongi still doesn’t dare look at him. “But I don’t blame him. He was young and scared, just like I was. And I should have known better.”

Shouldn’t have been so vulnerable, so careless, so quick to trust and give so much of himself away. It shouldn’t have been a surprise when the company dragged him into a meeting that lasted hours, but it was. He sat there and listened to them call him wrong and disgusting and insist that he needed to get these “dangerous proclivities” under control or he would be out of the company. They were generously giving him a second chance that he didn’t deserve, he should be grateful for it and keep his head down.

“So I did,” he says, picking at a hole in his jeans. Every part of him feels raw and his voice is going hoarse, but he needs to get it all out - every last piece. “For about two weeks. Until we were informed that they weren’t going to debut us as a trio. They wanted to split us up and place us with different idol groups as part of their rap lines. I found that out and I just … broke.”

Shattered, more like. Complete and total nervous breakdown. One severe enough to require an ambulance and a stay of several days in a psych ward.

“They diagnosed me with OCD, anxiety, social phobia, and chronic depression. Quite the laundry list, right? I got medication that I’m still on and the name of a therapist and instructions to take it easy.”

And that was the last straw for the company. He was just a broken mess now - one of many who cracked under the pressure - so they severed his contract. Three years down the drain and he was alone in Seoul with his fucked up brain and his fucked up body and nowhere to go because his family hadn’t spoken to him in years.

“So I decided to travel,” he says with a shrug that’s not as casual as he was aiming for. “I’d always wanted to visit other countries and I had some money saved up, so I thought ‘why not?’ I didn’t expect Namjoon and Hoseok to break their own contracts and come with me, but they did. Then Kim Seokjin also left the company - and the idol group they were trying to make him the center of - and started his own.”

“BigHit,” Jungkook murmurs - the first words he’s spoken in what feels like hours.

Yoongi nods. “Said he wanted to sign me. I said I needed time and then I ran for three years. And then I met you - and suddenly going back to Seoul didn’t seem so scary.”

“Until you found out I lied to you,” Jungkook says nervously. His eyes are wet and he looks devastated - though whether for himself or Yoongi or both of them, Yoongi isn’t sure.

“Yeah,” he replies, tugging at the sleeves of his shirt and wishing for a cigarette even though he promised Hoseok he’d quit. “But I still wanted to come back. It was time.”

Jungkook is quiet for a very long time and Yoongi grants him the silence, in spite of his own nerves.

“You’re very brave, hyung,” Jungkook says at last.

Yoongi shakes his head. “If I was brave, I would have left. I would have … fought back or something. They made me hate almost everything about me, especially - especially my sexuality, and I let them do that to me.”

“I don’t think it’s that simple,” Jungkook says softly. “And I don’t think it’s your fault.”

“I don’t want that to happen to you,” Yoongi says, though he suspects it already has - to a degree.

Jungkook just smiles, sad and knowing, and fidgets in the computer chair. “So … so you don’t hate me, then?”

“No,” Yoongi admits. “I was mad at you for lying to me - still am, a little - but I’ve never hated you, Jungkook-ah.”

Jungkook relaxes a fraction. “That’s - that’s good. So, um, where do we stand?”

Yoongi picks at his jeans again. “How about we decide that after the lawsuit? For now, I’m here, if you need me.”

“I do,” Jungkook says immediately and Yoongi’s heart spasms again.

Jungkook’s seen it all now - the whole jagged shape of it - and he isn’t running. Isn’t scared by the blood or the deep sutures. He’s just standing up and crossing the small space between them to wrap Yoongi up in a hug.

“Thank you, hyung.”

When he pulls back, his eyes are wet again, but these seem like good tears and his smile is crinkling his eyes like it used to - scrunching up his nose. “And you dyed your hair,” he says, reaching out tentatively to touch the dark, messy strands. “It looks good.”

“Got tired of the blond,” Yoongi says with a shrug and hopes his cheeks aren’t too obviously red.

“And you’re a lot smaller than I expected,” Jungkook continues, some familiar mischievousness creeping into his gaze. “You’re tiny, hyung.”

“Oi, brat,” Yoongi says and swats at him. “I’m not that small. You’re just a muscle pig.”

Jungkook just laughs and pulls Yoongi into his arms again. “Thank you,” he repeats, holding Yoongi tight. “For telling me all of that. Trusting me with it. I … I want to tell you mine, but-”

But it’s two in the morning and his phone is buzzing with increasingly frantic texts from Hoseok and Namjoon, and Jungkook looks dead on his feet.

“It can wait,” Yoongi says, pushing Jungkook back and resisting the urge to cup his cheeks - run his thumb over the small scar visible on the left one. That’s too intimate for this undefined thing between them, which still may end up nothing at all. “Get some sleep.”

“I can’t sleep,” Jungkook mutters, swaying slightly on his feet. “Haven’t been able to sleep for years. And in the dorms now, everyone looks at me. Whispers. I…” he trails off with a shake of his head.

“Then come home with me,” Yoongi says before he can help himself. “I have a couch. And a shitton of tea. ‘M not the best at sleeping, either.”

“Really?” Jungkook whispers, looking so goddamn hopeful it hurts.

“Really,” Yoongi says and begins to pack up their leftovers. “Grab your stuff.”

Jungkook rushes to comply and doesn’t say anything while Yoongi meticulously wipes down the small coffee table so all the crumbs are gone, checks that his equipment is properly turned off three times, then checks that the door is locked three times.

“OCD,” he still feels the need to mutter, a little self-conscious. He’s used to Hoseok and Namjoon and Seokjin, who all know about his ticks and how to navigate them.

“It’s okay,” Jungkook says, taking the takeout bag from him. “I really like your studio, hyung.”

“It’s Kim Seokjin’s doing.” Yoongi relaxes a fraction. “He keeps saying I can pay him back with hit songs.”

“I like him a lot,” Jungkook says softly, and someday Yoongi is going to get that story out of him - how he met Seokjin, how Seokjin decided to try to rescue him.

“Me too,” is all he says for now, shoving his hands in the pockets of his baggy coat. “But don’t tell him I said that.”

Jungkook snorts. “Of course not. He’s ego’s big enough already.”

Yoongi laughs, and this is easier than he thought: Jungkook in his life, knowing his friends. Maybe some things are simple after all.

 

_ _

 

Yoongi [2:24am]

please stop spamming me i’m on my way home.

 

Hobi [2:24am]

MIN YOONGI WE AGREED NO LATER THAN MIDNIGHT. I HAVE IT IN FUCKING WRITING.

 

Joonie [2:25am]

We were about to come over and break your door down. Please stop doing this me. I age about 10 years every time.

 

Yoongi [2:25am]

sorry i had a visitor. bringing him back with me.

 

Hobi [2:26am]

say what now

 

Yoongi [2:27am]

he’s skittish be nice

 

Joonie [2:27am]

Does this have anything to do with Jin-hyung’s text about matchmaking?

 

Yoongi [2:28am]

i don’t know want to know. just be nice. we’ll be there in 20.

 

Hobi [2:29am]

fucking hell

 

Joonie [2:30am]

I’ll put blankets on the couch.

_ _

 

“Can we keep him?” Hoseok whispers an hour later - after Jungkook called his worried friends to reassure him that he’s alive, after he sat at their kitchen table and drank two cups of herbal tea, after he shyly introduced himself and rambled about the travel blog and then finally passed out on the couch with his face mushed into the pillows and his hood pulled up. “He’s fucking adorable. I was trying to hate him in support of you, but I can’t anymore, I’m sorry. He’s won me over.”

“You and me both,” Yoongi whispers back and carefully tugs the duvet up higher over Jungkook’s shoulders.

“You still love him,” Hoseok says, gentle. “It’s all over your face.”

Yoongi grimaces. “We’re not anything yet, so don’t push it, okay?”

He doesn’t say he wrote me a song or he told me I make him happy or even I don’t want to let go of him, I want to write him symphonies and I want to love him in the open because it’s the least he deserves.

Doesn’t say I’m scared or he is, too or do you think they’d eat us alive?

Figures Hoseok can see all that anyway, so he just squeezes Hoseok’s hand and accepts the press of Hoseok’s lips to his temple and goes to bed.

 

_ _

 

He wakes to Namjoon seated at the kitchen table and Jungkook making breakfast, dressed in what looks like a pair of Hoseok’s sweatpants and a long sleeved shirt of Namjoon’s.

“What the fuck?”

“In my defense,” Namjoon says, cradling a chipped mug of coffee. “I did try to make pancakes.”

“Why on earth would you do that?” Yoongi asks, appalled.

“I was trying to be a good host! And Jungkook’s never had them before.”

“I tried to stop him,” Hoseok says from his spot on the couch. (All the blankets have been neatly folded and draped over one arm, Yoongi notices.) “I believe his famous last words were ‘c’mon, Hope-ah, pancakes aren’t that hard.’”

“I didn’t burn them that bad,” Namjoon insists. “The smoke alarm didn’t even go off.”

“Barely,” Hoseok mutters.

“I really don’t mind,” Jungkook pipes up. “I’m just making soup.”

Yoongi pads into the kitchen and leans against the counter. “We also have cereal, Jungkook-ah. You didn’t need to.”

“It’s okay.” Jungkook smiles at him. “It’s a thank you. For letting me stay over. And use your shower. Oh, and I washed the pan Namjoon-hyung burnt and put it back.”

Yoongi doesn’t bother fighting an answering smile - endeared by how quickly his friends have taken to Jungkook and how easily Jungkook has accepted his need for order. “Thank you.”

Jungkook’s smile widens. “It’s nothing.”

But they both know that’s a lie.

 

_ _

 

The fire doesn’t die down. The company is fighting back hard and Jungkook takes to sneaking over to BigHit when he can, curling up on the sofa in Yoongi’s studio or following him home like a lost puppy. He looks more washed out every day and Yoongi is worried. Tries to offer what comfort he can, even though that’s never been his strong suit. Strokes Jungkook’s back or orders him decent food or puts a blanket over him during the few times he manages to fall asleep.

Once, Jungkook brings Park Jimin and Kim Taehyung with him and it’s a little strange, meeting them in person. Taehyung has an elegance about him that’s hard to describe and probably one of the most aesthetically beautiful faces Yoongi’s ever seen (don’t tell Jin). How he isn’t the visual of UV is a mystery - magazines would line up to photograph him, Yoongi’s sure. But he also has a warm, boxy smile and he sticks close to Jungkook’s side, radiating protective affection.

Jimin is as small as Yoongi, but his presence towers. There’s steel beneath his soft facade that Yoongi recognizes easily and is quietly glad is being put to use supporting Jungkook.

“He deserves better than this,” Jimin mutters, after he’s finished quietly berating Yoongi for breaking Jungkook’s heart (“...though he isn’t mad at you, so I won’t be, either, and you seem good for him - don’t prove me wrong.”). “He always has.”

Yoongi doesn’t argue that, watching Jungkook laugh at a joke Hoseok’s made, leaning into Taehyung’s side as he does. They’re good kids, all three of them, and he hopes they make it.

 

_ _

 

Two weeks after the initial article, another bombshell hits the internet: footage, of a manager striking Jungkook across the face. Yoongi watches it on a loop for nearly five minutes, unable to stop his fingers from hitting replay again and again and again. It was posted anonymously on Twitter - some burner account that he strongly suspects belongs to Jimin or Taehyung - and it’s grainy, shaky phone camera footage, but there’s no mistaking what’s happening.

The manager’s arm moves, lightning fast, the sound of flesh striking flesh echoes through the practice room, and Jungkook staggers, clutching his cheek.

Yoongi’s hand are shaking and he feels like his heart is trying to claw its way free of his chest, pressing hard against muscle and bone and skin. He’s chewing his nails again - can taste blood in his mouth from torn cuticles and bitten lips - and he doesn’t know what to do to fix this. The video is time-stamped two months ago. He was here, twenty minutes away and oblivious, and Jungkook -

A knock on his studio door. Familiar rhythm. He closes out of the video and opens the door to Jungkook’s red-rimmed eyes. Opens his arms next so Jungkook can fold into them and oh.

This is what he can do.

 

_ _

 

Posted by Tokki98 10 minutes ago

OH MY GOD THAT VIDEO

i’m so upset??? i watched it and i’m crying. like legit crying. how could the company allow this???

 

JKooky · 10 minutes ago

I WAS RIGHT. HIS COMPANY IS ABUSING HIM. THERE’S EVIDENCE NOW SO EVERYONE WHO CALLED HIM A LIAR CAN SHUT THE FUCK UP.

 

cherry_girl · 9 minutes ago

i can’t stop watching it and it’s so disturbing. i can’t believe manager got away with this.

 

M_Lana · 9 minutes ago

Why didn’t this get released sooner, though? It’s from two months ago. The company might have already dealt with that manager. It’s pretty convenient that this gets put online in the middle of a lawsuit.

 

97Liner · 8 minutes ago

will you give it a fucking rest??? even if they dealt with the manager, i’m pretty sure PHYSICAL ABUSE is grounds for breaking a contract.

 

cherry_girl · 7 minutes ago

i just wish the rest of the group would say something. only taehyung’s spoken up so far…

 

noonabae · 6 minutes ago

maybe they’re afraid?

 

M_Lana · 6 minutes ago

Or the internet is just blowing this all out of proportion, as usual.

 

JKooky · 5 minutes ago

IT’S A VIDEO OF JUNGKOOK GETTING STRUCK ACROSS THE FACE. HOW CAN YOU BLOW THAT OUT OF PROPORTION.

 

uvray · 4 minutes ago

Guys did you see the news? 2 other members of the group are backing Jungkook now.

 

97Liner · 4 minutes ago

holy shit. yejun and daewon want to be released from their contracts, as well.

 

Tokki98 · 3 minutes ago

still nothing from the illustrious leader tho.

 

97Liner · 2 minutes ago

he’s sided with the company. probably thinking more about his career. he could easily become a solo act, with his popularity.

 

cherry_girl · 2 minutes ago

this is the end of UV, isn’t it?

 

noonabae · 1 minute ago

Looks like it. :((((

 

_ _

 

Yoongi gets Jungkook’s story after that - told in pieces from the couch in his studio and the couch in his apartment and a seat at his kitchen table or cooking next to him.

He learns that Jungkook was only fourteen when he signed with Syndicate and that his dreams were as big as Yoongi’s. That he loved music so much he couldn’t imagine doing anything else. But training was brutal and competitive and he was painfully shy. Anxious all the time in ways he didn’t know how not to be. And Syndicate wanted looks, wanted personality, far more than raw vocal talent.

They criticized his heavy Busan Satoori and the stutter he developed when nervous and his big nose and his bunny teeth and the scar on his cheek and the acne that held on even after he threw numerous products at it.

(“They wanted me to get plastic surgery,” he confesses to Yoongi, head bowed. “Maybe I should’ve listened but…”

“You’re beautiful,” Yoongi tells him. “First thing I thought about you: he’s fucking beautiful.”

And the blush that spreads across Jungkook’s face is beautiful, too.)

Taehyung helped, when he joined, and Jimin, too - even though the company said he didn’t have enough vocal talent to become an idol and made him a backup dancer instead - but he had trouble bonding with the other members. He wasn’t the maknae, adored by everyone, and he didn’t have the self-confidence to try to bridge the existing gaps. So they let him be, a shadow in the back of the practice room - there mostly because the studio wanted six members and his voice was good for harmony.

Jungkook pushed himself so hard - dieted until he’d lost too much weight and danced until his limbs were about to fall off - and somehow, he made it to debut. Only things didn’t get better. If anything, they got worse. More pressure, more isolation, more potential for failure. He tried to speak up in interviews, tried to stand out, but the anxiety had become a dragon that was swallowing him whole.

(“Every time I tried to open my mouth,” he whispers to Yoongi as they’re huddled on Yoongi’s couch - a drama they’ve both stopped watching playing in the background, “my words would get all tangled up and I’d stutter. Or there would just be this … this wall inside of me and I couldn’t get my voice past it. Couldn’t get anything to come out at all.”

Yoongi squeezes him close, tells him it’s okay.

“It’s funny,” Jungkook continues, head on Yoongi’s shoulder, “you were so easy to talk to. Right from the start.”

“Yeah,” Yoongi agrees, soft soft soft. “You, too.”)

UV got good at acting like a close knit group for the cameras, but as soon as they stopped rolling there was a gulf Jungkook didn’t know how to cross. They ignored him, for the most part. Berated him, sometimes, when he tripped up in an interview and embarrassed them. Taehyung was always supportive and the main vocalist, Yejun, tried to be encouraging, but Jungkook mainly felt alone. Insomnia took hold and as the years ticked on he felt more and more trapped.

Like he was suffocating. Like the company was burying him alive.

(“Nothing was mine anymore,” he explains, tracing his fingers across some of Yoongi’s studio equipment. “Not what I ate or what I wore or what color my hair was or what songs I sung or where I lived. I didn’t … I didn’t know who I was. I’m still not sure I do.”)

And then there were the bigger secrets: his sexuality, which he discovered at fifteen, (“I had the biggest crush on Jimin. It was so embarrassing.”), and how frayed he was becoming inside. The pieces of him that seemed to be failing. He grew increasingly sensitive to smells and struggled with touch - fans would take his hands at meetings and his skin would crawl, a member would sling their arm around him on stage and he’d want to run away. Certain clothes bothered him and stage outfits were unbearable.

(“I had a panic attack because it felt like my shirt was choking me,” Jungkook says. “And my skin was itching and on fire and I couldn’t get it to stop. I pulled myself together enough to do the show, but I was a mess after.”)

He’s still not one hundred percent sure what it is, but he’s done a ton of research online and he has an idea. Naturally, it's not a label the company would ever allow. Idols aren't on a spectrum, aren’t gay, aren’t anything but healthy and normal.

So he shoved those secrets down inside so deep they started poisoning his blood and still the walls closed in. Managers remained frustrated, members remained distant. The diets were excruciating and the schedules were even worse and then he fucked up choreography in practice one too many times and a manager struck him across the face.

(“That video … that wasn’t the first time it happened. Or - or the last.”

Jungkook-ah.”

“They really fucked me up, hyung,” Jungkook says and lets Yoongi pull him closer - both of them crowded onto Yoongi’s tiny studio couch. “They really fucked me up.”

You and me both, Yoongi doesn’t say.)

He was going to keep stumbling forward, head down, until he broke completely or his contract ended when he was twenty-four, but then he met Kim Seokjin - brilliant and dazzling - at an award show and Seokjin said he had talent, said it was being wasted, said a lot of things that Jungkook wasn’t sure he should believe.

But Seokjin persisted. Asked him out to coffee, then over to the studio. Asked him to sing, asked him what his dreams were - his ambitions -

(“I told him I wanted to make music. Write it and - and maybe produce it someday and have it be mine.”)

- and if he wanted to sign with BigHit instead. He would do everything he could to help break Jungkook’s contract, if Jungkook would come to his company.

And Kim Seokjin is a force of nature, so of course Jungkook said yes.

“And here we are,” he says with a weak smile, backlit by the television. One in the morning and still so goddamn beautiful.

“Here we are,” Yoongi repeats and hugs him. Holds him. Kisses his clothed shoulder because anywhere else feels too fragile. “You’re still alive, Jungkook-ah. You’re gonna make it.”

Jungkook’s eyes are wide and young and tear-glazed. “You really think so?”

“Yeah,” Yoongi says and it isn’t a lie.

Then he folds Jungkook back in and lets him cry. Lets him mourn the boy he was and the boy he lost and the brokenness inside of him now - jagged edges that scrape together and draw blood so easily.

It’s a reflection of the brokenness inside of Yoongi, but they’re both healing, he thinks. Slowly turning into polished glass again.

 

_ _

 

“I’m so glad you’re here,” Jungkook whispers to him later that night - arm around Yoongi’s waist like an anchor. “I’m so glad you let me in again. I’m so glad I met you.”

“Me too,” Yoongi says with all the love boiling in his chest. “Me too.”

 

_ _

 

The video turns the tide. #FreeJungkook starts trending on Twitter. Petitions for him to be released from Syndicate crop up everywhere, sporting thousands of signatures each. With such damning evidence and a growing tide of backlash, the company has little choice but to release him from his contract.

Yoongi gets the call at two p.m. on a Thursday and almost misses it because he’s lost in mixing. Manages to pick up on the last ring with fumbling fingers.

“I’m free,” Jungkook breathes down the line. “They let me go.”

And then he starts to cry. Yoongi can’t tell if they’re good tears or not. This victory has been bittersweet - UV as collateral damage, all of Jungkook’s painful secrets and wounds aired for public opinion, numerous detractors in spite of the general support. To some, he’ll always be the idol that destroyed his own group for personal gain. To some, he’ll never be forgiven.

He’s walking into his future with a lot to prove.

“I’m glad,” Yoongi says, clutching the phone tight. “I’m glad, Jungkook-ah. Come over, I have a surprise.”

“Okay,” Jungkook hiccups. “Okay, hyung.”

 

_ _

 

His eyes are still a little red-rimmed when Yoongi opens the studio door for him fifteen minutes later, but he cups Yoongi’s face in timorous hands, then bends down and kisses him clean on the mouth. It’s sudden, a little off-kilter, a little awkward, and probably the best thing Yoongi’s ever felt.

He tilts his head, slides a hand across the back of Jungkook’s neck, and slows him down. Turns the kiss gentle and deeper, fighting down a groan at the heat coiled low in his stomach - so much want and love.

When Jungkook finally pulls back his face nearly matches the red of his jacket and they’re both breathing a little hard.

“S-sorry,” Jungkook stammers. “I’ve been wanting to do that for - for, um, a while.”

“Me too,” Yoongi confesses and Jungkook relaxes, but only a fraction.

“I-I should probably tell you though that I’m not sure I want sex?”

Yoongi blinks. “With me?”

Jungkook ducks his head, bends his shoulders. “With-with anyone. I just - touch is hard sometimes and the idea of it has always kind of scared me, but then you - God, you - so maybe I just needed the right person. But I don’t - I don’t know. For sure. So I wanted to tell you now. I don’t want to lie to you again. About anything. So I’m sorry. Also for just dropping this on you when we haven’t even really talked yet, shit. Shit. I’m such a mess. I’m sorry.”

Well. That wasn’t exactly what he was expecting - isn’t really sure they should be having this conversation now, with their emotions already so high and the exhaustion of the last few weeks weighing on their shoulders - but he appreciates Jungkook’s honesty. Aches at Jungkook’s fear and self-doubt.

Sex has never been a dealbreaker for him, anyway.

“Hey,” he murmurs, sliding a hand over Jungkook’s cheek, thumb tracing gently along the bone. “It’s okay. I’m glad you told me and I don’t really care about the timing. It’s an important thing to know. And I’m fine with that. If you want sex, great. If not, masturbation is a thing.”

“Oh my god,” Jungkook mutters, promptly flushing again and looking anywhere but Yoongi’s face.

“Just stating facts, Kook,” Yoongi teases.

“R-right,” Jungkook says and Yoongi laughs, low and fond. Rocks up on his toes so he can kiss Jungkook again and doesn’t miss the way Jungkook’s eyes glaze a little at the motion.

He keeps this kiss light, though, and quick. They need to talk about things first, and he has a declaration to make.

“Have a seat,” he gestures at the couch that Jungkook has steadily been making an indent on in the past few weeks. “I want to show you something.”

He’s nervous, as he pulls up the song and hovers over the play button. Jungkook has his lyrics and Yoongi has this. He’s been working on it for the better part of a week and it’s still not perfect, but he doubts Jungkook will care about that. It’s honest. It’s happiness mixed with a small undercurrent of melancholy. It soars and dips down deep. It’s light and nimble, but with a beat you can feel echo in your chest. It’s Yoongi’s love and Jungkook’s bravery and the longing he thinks has been running through both of them for years.

It’s far more intimate than words.

He takes a deep breath. Presses play.

Music floods the room.

He sinks down in his chair and watches Jungkook listen. Watches him closes his eyes and sway to the music, mouthing the words where they belong. He recognizes it. He understands.

When it fades out three minutes and forty-five seconds later and Jungkook’s eyes flutter back open, they’re watery and awed. “My song,” he whispers.

Yoongi nods, twisting his hands in his lap. “I … I realize it might have been presumptuous of me, but I - this seemed like the best way to explain. I’m not good with words, so-”

“It’s beautiful,” Jungkook cuts in. “I love it.”

I love you.

“I was thinking we could finish it together,” Yoongi continues through the tightness in his chest. “Record your vocals. Make it a proper song.”

“Yes,” Jungkook agrees immediately.

“You’re free,” Yoongi says and doesn’t ask what Jungkook wants because he’s a little afraid of the answer.

“Yeah.” Jungkook pauses. “Go on a date with me?”

Yoongi swallows. Wishes he knew what to feel. Wishes all this love was easy. “Is that a good idea?”

“I don’t care,” Jungkook says. Then, “I want to come out.”

That Yoongi wasn’t expecting, but it seems Jungkook has a talent for yanking the rug out from under his feet. “W-what?”

“I’ve been thinking about it,” Jungkook says. “And I want to come out, hyung. I’ve already torched my reputation. I really don’t care what people might say about me. I want this new chapter to be honest. All of me. No more hiding. No more secrets.” He picks at a tear in the knee of his jeans. Bites his lip. “And I think it might help? Other people like me, like us. To see someone on stage that’s like them. And if no one wants me on a stage….” he grimaces. “That would hurt, but I’d still have you.” He pauses again. “I mean … would I have you?”

“Yes,” Yoongi breathes before he can second guess himself. “You’d have me.”

Jungkook’s expression softens. “Then I’d be okay.”

“Even if they say terrible things about you?” Yoongi presses. “Even if you can never perform again?”

“Even then,” Jungkook says and fuck, how is he this brave?

Yoongi’s had three years to come to terms with his sexuality. Was out on the blog and his instagram and has no plans going back in the closet now, even if it means Cypher sells less records. But it’s different for Jungkook - who has such a big spotlight on him already. Who is a hero and a pariah in the same breath.

“It’s going to be hard,” Yoongi whispers, realizing he can’t quite believe that Jungkook means this.

(He’s never been loved like this before, he thinks.)

“It’s already hard, hyung,” Jungkook says and stands up. Takes Yoongi’s hand in his own. “It’s been hard, hasn’t it? But you make me happy. I think that’s worth fighting for. Don’t you?”

He does. Fuck, of course he does. Jungkook is here. Warm and solid and real - fingers laced with his and love in those big big eyes. What else can Yoongi do but jump?

“I do.”

Jungkook squeezes his hands. “Then let’s fight. Together.”

“Together,” Yoongi repeats and pulls Jungkook in for a kiss.

 

_ _

 

Posted by Tokki98 31 minutes ago

FREE

HE’S FREE AT LAST. *throws confetti*

 

M_Lana · 29 minutes ago

Yeah and he sunk his whole fucking band to do it.

 

JKooky · 28 minutes ago

oh fuck off. this is a celebration only space. *throws more confetti*

 

97Liner · 28 minutes ago

I AM SO HAPPY FOR HIM.

 

cherry_girl   · 27 minutes ago

i can’t wait to see what he’ll do next! do you think he’s gonna sign with another company?

 

uvray · 26 minutes

guess we’ll find out. for now I hope he gets some rest. i’m excited for the future, even though i’m really gonna miss UV.  :(

 

noonabae · 26 minutes ago

YES JUNGKOOK TAKE A BREAK.

 

_ _

 

They have a proper party at the company that night, complete with a cake and lots of cheering and back-slapping. Taehyung and Jimin are present, showering excited kisses all over Jungkook’s face, and Seokjin reveals after one two many glasses of champagne that the three of them are the potential vocal group he’s been putting together. Somehow, Yoongi isn’t surprised.

Jungkook, also tipsy, asks Seokjin if it’s okay if he comes out publicly. Seokjin promptly smothers him in a bear hug and yells, loudly, that he’ll stand behind Jungkook and throw glitter in a video statement if that’s what Jungkook needs. Jungkook seems baffled and touched in equal measure.

“Brave kid,” Namjoon murmurs from Yoongi’s side. “Brave, brave kid.”

“Yeah,” Yoongi agrees softly. “Bravest one I’ve met.”

Namjoon smiles at him, gentle and knowing. “I know of another one. Think they’re both gonna do great things.”

Yoongi wrinkles his nose. “You get too sappy when you drink, Joon-ah.”

“He hasn’t even had one glass,” Hoseok points out, draping an arm over Yoongi’s shoulders. “He’s always like this. Where’ve you been for the last six years?”

That pulls a laugh from somewhere deep in Yoongi’s stomach. Across the room, Seokjin hasn’t let go of Jungkook and a tipsy Jimin and Taehyung have joined in the group hug, creating a swaying tangle of limbs with Jungkook trapped at the center.

Yoongi bites his lip against the force of his affectionate smile and takes another long sip of champagne.

It’s a good night.

 

_ _

 

The next day, when Seokjin is sober (and annoyingly not hungover), he drags Jungkook, Taehyung, and Jimin (who are all hungover) into a long meeting to apparently discuss their futures. Yoongi hides in his studio and pretends he isn’t anxious, even as he picks at his cuticles until he draws blood and finally has to go crash in Namjoon’s studio to calm himself down.

When Jungkook finally emerges somewhere in the middle of the afternoon, he looks exhausted but happy.

“We’re going to take some time,” he says softly, sinking into his usual spot on Yoongi’s couch. “Put music together, figure out what we want our image to be. Recover from … all this. But I’m still going to come out. Over livestream, I think. And Seokjin-hyung doesn’t care about a social media ban so I’m going to make my instagram public. Keep people engaged. Oh, and he thinks releasing Euphoria would be a good idea. Just as an unofficial single.”

“Show off your talent,” Yoongi agrees with an approving nod.

“And yours,” Jungkook says. “You’d get producing credit, hyung.”

“Right,” Yoongi mutters, flushing. He’d honestly forgotten about that. “How do you feel?”

Jungkook mulls this over for a moment. “Relieved. Exhausted. But good. Really good. I think Seokjin-hyung’s gonna take care of us.”

“He will,” Yoongi agrees. “He’s in your corner, Jungkook-ah.”

“I have a lot of people there now,” Jungkook says with a shy smile. “I like it.”

Yoongi smiles back, helplessly fond, and then turns back to his equipment. “Let’s get started, then. Your future awaits.”

Jungkook laughs and stands. Slides a warm hand over the back of Yoongi’s neck. “Yeah. I hope it’ll be a good one.”

“It will.”

Yoongi has a feeling.

 

_ _


jungkook insta

15,890 likes

 

j_seagull officially venturing into the realm of

social media! Thank you everyone for your

support. I’m doing okay. And I dyed my hair!

#mistake #SoMuchWork

 

Posted 3 hours ago

View all comments

 

uv_ray OH MY GOD YOU LOOK SO GOOD

 

BlueViolet jungkook has instagram?!

#blessed

 

97Liner THE HAIR LOOKS AMAZING!!

 

MilknKookie ahhh so glad you’re doing okay!

 

ultra_light great to see you’re happy after what

you did to UV. #traitor

 

Vantae told you the hair would look good!

 

myg93 why do all your selcas turn out so well?

 

HopeOnTheStreet @myg93 because he isn’t a

nocturnal vampire gremlin.

 

myg93 @HopeOnTheStreet you’re dead to me.

 

_ _

 

Jungkook takes him on a date to a little restaurant by the river. Insists on paying, even though Yoongi tries to argue that he’s the hyung, and holds Yoongi’s hand on the table. Curls their fingers together tighter when the waiter frowns.

It’s a little scary, but the exhilarating kind. The fear you get before a rollercoaster plunges from its zenith, before you jump from a cliff into the ocean, before you throw yourself out of a plane with a parachute strapped to your back.

For once, Yoongi doesn’t mind falling.

 

_ _

 

Jungkook’s hair reminds Yoongi of spring, of the flowers blooming on the trees across Seoul, and his voice … fuck, his voice . It defies metaphors, in Yoongi’s mind. It’s just so very … Jungkook, and Yoongi already knows, halfway through recording this song that has become theirs, that one song won’t be enough. He already wants to compose hundreds more.

Thinks maybe, though, that Jungkook would let him.

“Are you okay?” Jungkook asks after a take, eyes glinting, and there’s that shit-eating grin Yoongi hasn’t seen in so long. “You’re just kind of staring, hyung.”

“I like your voice,” Yoongi mutters, looking down at his soundboard to hide the redness he knows is on his face. “You know this.”

Jungkook laughs, clear and bright. “Should we take it from the top, then?”

“Yeah,” Yoongi says and accepts his own demise.

 

_ _

 

Cypher’s debut creeps on him. He feels like one minute he was landing in Seoul, the next he was helping Jungkook through a lawsuit, and now he’s trying not to vomit in the bathroom at Melon.

“You can do this,” Namjoon says, hand on his back and voice steady through his own nerves. “You’re gonna kill it, hyung.”

We’re gonna kill it,” Hoseok says from his other side.

Their voices sound tinny, distant. Fuck, he never actually thought he’d be here. Six years and a breakdown and thousands of miles, hundreds of hotel rooms - they’ve all led him back to a stage with lights in his eyes and a microphone in his hand. In his head, the old voice is pulsing: not good enough not good enough NOTGOODENOUGH. It used to drown everything out the minute he tried to perform, even the music, but now Hoseok’s chin lands on the top of his head and Namjoon’s fingers dig into his spine, and he’s going to win this time.

This time -

(“Do you still want to be Suga?” Seokjin asked not long after they got back. “I know you’ve been releasing music as Agust D so I thought I’d ask.”

“I want to,” he said and meant it. “I want to make that name mine again.”

Seokjin grinned at him, sharp with victory. “That’s my boy.”)

- he isn’t running.

He sits back on his heels and takes a deep breath. “Okay. We’re gonna kill it.”

Hoseok grins into his hair. “That’s the spirit.”

“It’s gonna be an amazing debut stage,” Yoongi continues, curling his hands into trembling fists against his thighs. “And we’re not gonna fuck up and make fools of ourselves in front of the whole nation and anyone that might be watching online-”

“We aren’t,” Namjoon asserts, mercifully cutting off the spiral. “So get up, hyung. Let’s do this.”

In his back pocket, his phone buzzes.

He already knows who it is, but he still smiles when he fishes it out and sees a selfie from Jungkook, face all scrunched up and you’re gonna do great written below it with several multi-colored hearts. Pressed in on either side of him are Jimin and Taehyung, equally ridiculous expressions on their faces. They’ve become fixtures at BigHit over the last month and now they’re somewhere backstage, hiding from the crowds, and Yoongi takes another deep breath. Reminds himself he isn’t doing this alone.

“Yeah,” he tells Namjoon and Hoseok. “Let’s do this.”

And then he gets up on wobbly legs, adjusts the bandana holding his dark hair off his forehead, and makes his way towards the stage - Namjoon and Hoseok falling in on either side of him. His anchors, his family, his fucking home.

With them, he reminds himself, anything is possible.

 

_ _

 

When he steps onto the stage the lights are too bright and the screams are loud enough to grate against his ears, but the music is here - in his veins, marrow, sinew, sweeping through him like a flood - and when he raises his microphone to his lips, the words come easy.

I’m here, he thinks fiercely as he spits the lyrics he’s pulled from his bleeding chest. I’m alive.

And no matter what happens after, no one can take this moment from him. This debut stage and the chanting of the crowd and Namjoon and Hoseok like twin fires moving around him.

This brief, beautiful taste of once-shattered dreams.

 

_ _

 

Jungkook kisses him backstage after the performance, crowded into a corner away from all the cameras, fingers in Yoongi’s hair and laughter in Yoongi’s mouth.

“Fuck, Yoongi,” he says when he pulls back, eyes dark and lips stretched in a bright grin, “you were amazing.”

“Ah, you think so?” Yoongi asks nervously. Can’t help it even though objectively he knows they did well. A few feet away, he can hear Taehyung exclaiming over Hoseok and Namjoon, demanding to be taught to rap like that.

Yes,” Jungkook says and kisses him again, more heat this time. Enough to make Yoongi’s knees a little weak. “You were incredible. And so hot. Like wow. I love you.”

It’s the first time Jungkook’s said it out loud, Yoongi realizes with a jolt, but before he can respond, Seokjin’s arm is landing on his shoulders and, right in his ear, “I knew you could do it, Yoongi-yah!”

“Ah, hyung,” Yoongi mutters and then big hands are cupping his cheeks, squishing them, and he’s being turned to face Seokjin.

“They’re still cheering for you!” Seokjin shouts, shaking him. “You killed it.”

“Thanks,” Yoongi says, finally managing to pull free. “Couldn’t have done it without you. Leave me alone and go bug your favorite.”

Seokjin blows him a kiss and moves over to Namjoon, dragging him into an exuberant hug while Hoseok laughs at Namjoon’s answering grunt of pain.

Yoongi feels euphoric. On cloud fucking nine. He debuted, he actually debuted with music he wrote himself, and a boy he loves is taking his hand and squeezing tight, looking at him with so much affection it knocks the breath from his lungs.

He doesn’t think he’s ever been this happy.

But it isn’t until later that night, at Seokjin’s apartment after perhaps a few too many glasses of soju, that he manages to pull Jungkook aside, out onto Seokjin’s balcony, and say, “hey, hey, I love you, too.”

Jungkook’s eyes reflect the city lights, making it look like they’re full of stars. “You’re drunk, hyung,” he says softly, brushing Yoongi’s bangs off his forehead.

Yoongi shakes his head. “Barely. I’ll still feel this way in the morning. Prove it to you.”

“Okay,” Jungkook agrees and kisses the corner of his mouth. “You do that.”

 

_ _

 

He doesn’t read any of the comments or articles online, even though Seokjin insists they’re overwhelmingly positive. He’s not ready to hear what anyone has to say yet, even the messages that are flooding in on SoundCloud and the blog email from old fans of their music.

Instead, he buys two cups of coffee from the overpriced cafe up the street from the BigHit offices and goes in search of Jungkook.

He doesn’t really remember getting home last night - only that Seokjin dumped him, Namjoon, and Hoseok in a taxi at some point - and his mouth sort of feels like something crawled in it and died, but he has a mission to complete. The coffee also helps with the pounding headache. Slightly.

Jungkook isn’t at the studio yet. Seokjin set him, Jimin, and Taehyung up in a temporary apartment somewhere else in Gangnam until a permanent location is secured. Yoongi suspects it’ll be in his building, because Seokjin likes to keep all of his people close. Either way, the current place still isn’t that far from the studio, so he imagines Jungkook will be here soon. Sets the spare cup of coffee down on his little table to wait and settles into his chair, sighing at the comforting familiarity of it.

Seokjin insisted that they all get the day off today, since their debut album Wanderers is dropping this morning, but he can’t just sit at home. He’ll start climbing the walls, and then that will probably lead to spiraling, which will lead to excessive cleaning and reorganizing in an attempt to gain back some control - all of which is bound to drive Namjoon and Hoseok mad. So he’s at the studio, with a plan of decorating the walls he’s left bare - too consumed with their debut to worry about putting anything up.

Today, he’s armed with photographs, and he starts to hang them as he waits for Jungkook. He doesn’t have much wall space, but Petra and the dunes of Dubai go above his sofa; the view of New York from the Empire State Building and blossoms in Central Park above his keyboard; a figurine of the Eiffel Tower, a snowglobe from Prague, and a little elephant statue from Kenya on his bookshelf; postcards from Mexico and Brazil and Peru on a corkboard next to some of his recording equipment.

It isn’t much, but he feels like he’s brought some of the world home with him - memories of all those years scattered in his new life. Ghosts, but friendly ones this time.

His keypad clicks and the door handle turns when he’s balanced carefully on his chair, setting a few more figurines on the empty shelf above his photographs and keyboard. Jungkook’s the only with the passcode, because Jungkook always meticulously wipes down his table for him and re-fluffs his couch pillows without having to be asked.

(Love might have something to do with it, too, but whatever.)

“There’s coffee for you on the table,” he calls without risking turning around. “It’s probably cold now, though.”

Jungkook hums and stops in the middle of the room instead. “I like all the photographs, hyung.”

“Thanks,” Yoongi murmurs, finally getting all the figurines evenly lined up and equally distanced from each other. He steps down slowly - aware of the hand Jungkook puts on the back of the chair to steady him, “I like photography.”

“You should publish them in a book someday,” Jungkook says, gaze on the photo of Al Khazneh. “I’d buy it.”

“Maybe after I’m more famous.” He nudges Jungkook and waits until Jungkook’s head turns back to him before adding, “I love you.”

Jungkook’s eyes go wide then soft. He’s blushing, faintly, but he looks happy. “I love you, too, hyung. Yoongi. Also I’m kind of hungover. Can I lie on your couch?”

Yoongi laughs and leads Jungkook over to it. “How about we both do?”

“Amazing idea,” Jungkook agrees and shifts them so Yoongi’s on top on him. “Is this okay? I like the pressure.”

“So I’m your personal weighted blanket?” Yoongi huffs, but settles down anyway. Presses a kiss to the underside of Jungkook’s jaw. “Guess there are worse things.”

Jungkook’s hand slides down his back. “Thank you.”

“Shh,” Yoongi murmurs. “Sleep, Kook.”

Jungkook hums in response, hand moving to cup the back of Yoongi’s head and yeah, Yoongi decides, this is nice. He might be willing to spend all his days off just like this: cocooned in his studio with Jungkook - all the pressures of the world far away, beyond the locked door.

 

_ _

 

Jungkook decides to come out over VLive - the new channel Seokjin’s set up. This one’s just for him, until the group is officially announced, and he sends out an notification on Instagram and Twitter for everyone to tune in at eight p.m.

“Do you want me there with you?” Yoongi asks him, unsure of what the right protocol is. “I can just sit off camera for support.”

“I appreciate that,” Jungkook says with a squeeze to his hand. “But I want to do this alone. Could … could you watch, though?”

“Of course,” Yoongi says. “Wouldn't miss it.”

So now here his, on his couch in his apartment with his laptop balanced on his knees, drowning in his most comforting clothes, and Namjoon and Hoseok on either side of him - his ever-faithful anchors. His heart is hammering so loud in his chest that he’s amazed no one else can hear it, and when the notification pops up and Jungkook fills the screen, he has to take a deep breath.

Hoseok takes his hand, letting him hold on tight, and Namjoon rubs his shoulder. Their faces are pinched and anxious, too.

Jungkook on the screen is composed, dressed in a black sweater with his pastel bangs swept off his forehead. Viewers are flooding in by the hundreds and Yoongi shuts off the chat. Doesn’t care about what any of them have to say.

Jungkook starts out talking about the lawsuit. Apologizes for what happened to UV and explains it wasn’t his intention to break up the group and that he hopes one day he can be forgiven for that - it was a toxic situation for all of them, whether or not the other members were willing to acknowledge it, but he knows that isn’t an excuse. He assures everyone that he’s doing well and he’s healthy and taking some time off while he makes plans for the future - don’t worry, those will definitely include more music. In fact, he has a song he’s going to release in a few hours, as a thank you for everyone’s support and here, would you like to hear some of it?

He plays just the opening notes of Euphoria, then, a bright grin on his face in spite of the tension still around his eyes. It’s weird, hearing their song filter through his laptop speakers, but it also fills Yoongi with a sense of pride. It’s a damn good song and he’s happy it’s going to be out there in the world.

Jungkook cuts it off before his voice comes in. “You can hear the rest soon,” he promises. “It’s very special to me, though, so I hope you like it. I wrote it for someone I hold very close to my heart.”

Warmth floods Yoongi’s chest, but also a spike of anxiety - right in his gut - because this is it. It’s about to happen. No going back. His fingers dig into Hoseok’s hand as Jungkook straightens and takes a deep breath.

“Okay, that actually is a good lead-in to what I want to talk about. The main thing I want to say. For … for a long time I haven’t really been myself. I’ve been what my company wanted me to be - and that wasn’t fair to me or any of you, really, and moving forward I want to change that. I want - I want to be honest with you. Completely and totally honest. Even if-” Another shaky breath. His fingers dance restless across the top of his desk. “Even if the truth might be something you don’t want to hear. I o-owe it to you and to myself. So, I’m going to share my biggest secret.”

Yoongi can’t breathe. Oh fuck.

“Brave kid,” Namjoon whispers as Jungkook looks right into the camera and says, in a voice that doesn't shake at all, “I’m gay.”

He pauses there for a moment, in acknowledgement of the bomb he just dropped. “I’m gay,” he repeats. “And I know that’s probably going to shock you. Maybe even upset you. But I’m not ashamed of it. It’s a part of who I am and I’m not going to change. And maybe - maybe you’re like me. Maybe you’re watching this and a similar secret has been eating at you. You’re afraid of standing out, of being different, of having people hate you or not understand. I want to be here for you, too. To tell you that you’re not alone. I’m in your corner. And I’ll stand on stages and say it until - until it doesn’t matter who we love.” He blinks, eyes watery, and he’s so fucking brave Yoongi’s floored by it. “Until it doesn’t matter that I wrote Euphoria for a m-man I love. I’m not backing down and I hope … I hope that all of you can understand that. That we can take this journey together. Thank you, for coming with me this far. I love you all.”

He forms his hands into a heart and smiles, then cuts the VLive. Yoongi stares at the dark screen, still clutching Hoseok’s hand.

“He actually did it,” Hoseok whispers. “He did it, hyung.”

“He did,” Yoongi whispers back. It’s going to be everywhere tomorrow, undoubtedly, flooding all corners of the internet, but Yoongi finds he isn’t as afraid as he was expecting to be. He loves Jungkook and the rest - well the rest doesn’t really matter, in the long run.

 

_  _

 

Posted by JKooky 10 minutes ago

ONE OF US

OH MY GOD HE’S ONE OF US! I AM LITERALLY SOBBING IN FRONT OF MY COMPUTER RIGHT NOW. I AM SO EMOTIONAL. I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO START. HE’S ONE OF US. OH MY GOD.

“I want to be here for you, too. To tell you that you’re not alone. I’m in your corner. And I’ll stand on stages and say it until - until it doesn’t matter who we love.”

H E L P. I’M CRYING SO HARD. I WANT THIS TATTOOED. PUT THIS ON MY FUCKING GRAVE.

 

97Liner · 10 minutes ago

I AM CRYING SO HARD TOO. THAT WHOLE SPEECH WAS BEAUTIFUL.

AND HAVE YOU HEARD EUPHORIA? OH MY GODDDDD.

 

uv_ray · 9 minutes ago

euphoria is so beautiful what the fuck?? i didn’t know he could sing like THAT. who do you think he wrote it for?

 

JKooky · 9 minutes ago

THE MAN HE LOVES. WHICH. JUST FUCK ME RIGHT UP WITH THAT. THOSE LYRICS.

 

Tokki98 · 9 minutes ago

my money’s on suga. he has producing credit on it and rumor is that jungkook was at melon for cypher’s debut. plus he’s openly bi.

 

uv_ray · 8 minutes ago

oh my god they would be SO CUTE TOGETHER.

 

97Liner · 7 minutes ago

I honestly don’t care who it’s for it’s BEAUTIFUL and I have it on FUCKING REPEAT. WE STAN TALENT.

 

noonabae · 7 minutes ago

i can’t believe they had him as a SUB VOCALIST this is an amazing song and that vlive i’m gonna be crying for days. but also a lot of hate is happening on twitter right now so please everyone get out and show support!

 

cherry_girl · 6 minutes ago

yeah people are saying some awful things and some really nasty hashtags are trending right now :(((

 

JKooky · 5 minutes ago

EVERYONE GET OUT THERE AND SUPPORT HIM. #WESTANDWITHJUNGKOOK.

 

Tokki98 · 4 minutes ago

YES. WE STAND WITH JUNGKOOK.

_ _

 

Several things happen in the following weeks:

 

  • Seokjin insists on throwing Jungkook a coming out party, which means another ridiculous cake and copious amounts of soju and more supportive crying (from Taehyung, Jimin, and Seokjin) than Yoongi is entirely comfortable with. But Jungkook looks relaxed and happy with a ridiculous sparkly hat perched on his head and if Yoongi snaps close to a dozen pictures throughout the night, that’s no one’s business. 
  • Wanderers peaks at number 2 on the Monthly Gaon Album Chart and Yoongi nearly has a panic attack when Namjoon tells him. “I told you,” Hoseok says, rubbing his back as he sticks his head between his knees. “We’re gonna kick ass.” (This time, Yoongi believes him.)
  • Jungkook is the talk of the internet. Even some American and European news outlets cover the story of “Korea’s 2nd Openly Gay Idol.” (“I should have come out months ago,” Jungkook mutters as he reads one of the articles. “Then I could have beat Holland and been the first.”) There is plenty of hate. Jungkook disables comments on his Instagram and goes temporarily inactive on Twitter because of the furious backlash. For some, this is just another betrayal. But there is plenty of support, too.  #WeStandWithJungkook trends on Twitter as does #ThankYouJK and #OneOfUS. Jungkook cries when Yoongi breaks Seokjin’s internet ban to show him - hand clutched over his chest and a smile on his face in spite of the tears.
  • They go on a second date - pick somewhere quiet and wear face masks and baseball caps just in case. Jungkook still holds his hand, fingers laced together tight. Their third date is at home, cooking dinner in Jungkook’s new apartment (after kicking Jimin and Taehyung out to go spend time with Hoseok and Namjoon), and then lying on the couch together to watch some historical drama that Jungkook likes - Yoongi draped over Jungkook again, pressing him into the couch, pinning him to the earth.
  • Jungkook dyes his hair back to brown, grumbling about the upkeep of the pink, and Yoongi kisses him on the temple and assures him that hair color is not a dealbreaker. He looks good in any of them.
  • They settle - in inches, by degrees - into a life. One with controversy and spotlights, yes, but also music and friends and the brightness of the future in the distance. Yoongi remembers the boy who counted pills in a bathroom at night, the boy who curled up alone in a hospital bed, the boy who tried to find himself in country after country, and they all live inside him, still - his own private ghosts - but he’s finally moving forward. Letting go. He’s so much closer to whole than he ever thought he’d be again.

 

_ _

 

“I think we’re gonna make it,” Yoongi tells Jungkook in the studio one late Fall afternoon, as the leaves are changing colors outside - life giving way to death to create more life -  and Jungkook smiles at him, all this love radiating out, and says, “yeah, I think we are.”

And that’s enough.

 

_ _

 

sugakookie

25,460 likes

 

HopeOnTheStreet believe it or not, they’re very happy together.

#SugaKookie

 

Posted 34 minutes ago

View all comments

 

97Liner OMG THEY’RE SO CUTE

 

uv_ray AHHH THEY LOOK SO GOOD TOGETHER!!!

 

cypher94 relationship goals

 

myg93 no why would you do this? why do you keep

choosing these pictures?

 

HopeOnTheStreet @myg93 JK looks good in this one

 

myg93 @HopeOnTheStreet i hate you

 

kimdaily @HopeOnTheStreet he really does look good

 

myg93 @kimdaily i hate you too

 

j_seagull i really do look good, but Hobi-hyung about

that couple’s name…

 

myg93 fuck i didn’t even notice that.

jung hoseok take this down now

 

HopeOnTheStreet @myg93 @j_seagull nope. not happening.

 

Vantae i think it’s cute. And jin-hyung says he can’t get to his

phone right now but he approves

 

ChimChim i think it’s cute, too. Like you guys! ;)

 

HopeOnTheStreet @myg93 @j_seagull the masses

have spoken. #SugaKookieForever

 

myg93 traitors all of you.

 

kimdaily @myg93 nah you love us

 

Vantae @myg93 just admit it

 

ChimChim @myg93 <3

 

j_seagull @myg93 ;)

 

myg93 ugh

 

fin