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Bathing In The Rainbow

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Seokjin isn’t sure why he agreed to attend Pride this year. He had never gone before. Not because he didn’t support the cause, not at all. He was as far away from straight as a jalebi sweet himself. It’s just the loud music gave him headaches and the amount of people there really exhausted his INTP ass. So he himself is surprised at why he’s here until he sees his three-months-out-of-the-closet younger brother and his two best friends and realizes the exact reason why he’s here.

Jimin, currently clad in nothing but rainbow shorts, is dancing to the loud edm beats while twirling a rainbow umbrella in tandem. Each of his cheeks adorns a small rendition of the pride flag as he drinks his way to kingdom come.

Taehyung on the other hand is even more far gone than Jimin with his whole torso painted in in rainbow colors and pompoms in his hands; waving rather frantically.

Behind the two is Seokjin’s twenty two year old baby brother Jungkook. The normal one.

Jungkook had begged Seokjin to come to the parade just so he can, for the first time, be a part of it with his identity on display. However Jungkook’s idea of identity on display was wearing his technical college’s complimentary T-shirt that had the 1977 Apple logo on it. It didn’t even have the correct color order of the flag but Seokjin knows Jungkook doesn’t care. For Jungkook this is about celebrating in the outdoors that Jungkook was gay and accepted.

The moment Jungkook had told his parents they had called Seokjin, working in the UK, and Seokjin had told them to send Jungkook to London to talk to him face-to-face when really he just didn’t want his little brother to go through the conservative bullying he did when he came out. Being pansexual himself, Seokjin understood the kind of thoughts that might be circling Jungkook’s mind therefore he thought it best to be there with him just in case.

It was a huge blessing that all the shock and frustration that their parents had, of having a son that belonged to the lgbtq+ community, had already poured out when Seokjin had come out to them a good eight years ago when he was just nineteen. Now they were just spent and accepting of the matter and that made it so much easier for Jungkook now that he had decided to come out on his own terms at age twenty two.

So Seokjin schools his features as he steps out of his car. The only reason he’s here is to keep an eye on those three and then drive them home safe and sound because he knows they won’t be sober enough for it.

Seokjin knows he stands out. In a crowd of rainbow-clad people with painted faces and artistic costumes, that impress Seokjin as well, he stands there looking quite out of place in his crisp black button down that’s tucked neatly into his formal trousers and oxfords. The neatly combed hair and the spectacles don’t aid either. He couldn't help it. The moment Jungkook had texted him that there was free drinks, Seokjin knew he’d have to take off from work early to make sure they didn’t get abducted or attacked and drive them home. So there was no other way except to come in his work attire.

Jungkook waves to him as soon as he looks up from his phone and Seokjin waves back. The other two are still a little too into their own thing to notice that Seokjin is here. So Seokjin urges Jungkook to go join them, make new friends; ensures him that he’s standing right here on the sidewalk under the shade of the closed bakery’s awning, saving his suit from all the color being thrown around.

Truth be told Seokjin knows a lot of people here. He’s been to the town’s pride before maybe once or twice in his four years of being in the UK. People have started to know him as well. But Jungkook doesn’t know anyone since he moved with Seokjin only two months ago therefore Seokjin wants him to make some like-minded friends. Jimin and Taehyung were not exactly what he expected but he doesn’t mind sharing his two closest pals with his younger brother.

Even today people pass by waving at him. Some asking if he’s finally ready for joining the extravaganza eh. Others ask him how he’s been and if he came straight from work. Some even ask him to introduce them to the shy sport that’s a new face at the parade. Seokjin politely declines them all thinking it’s better for Jungkook to find someone on his own.

From the corner of his eyes he sees a tuft of mint green for a split second only before it collides with him; lightly so. At least Seokjin thought it was lightly so but looks and sees the tuft of green is actually the person’s hair and is now haywire. They look shaken while Seokjin didn’t move a muscle from where and how he was standing. He does look kind of small though compared to Seokjin’s own tall self.

The person, who Seokjin now notices is a man probably in his early twenties, is quite a sight if Seokjin were being honest. A mint green undercut framed the most adorable looking passive eyes that held a little bit of fire in them. They wore a mesh necked black tee shirt that was mostly hidden under a blush silk bomber jacket along with the tightest pair of black pants Seokjin had ever seen. Finishing the look were the show-stopping Jagger Wanderlusts that stood out from even afar. Seokjin also notices the person had quite a lot of piercings in their ears and a strikingly beautiful butterfly tattoo on their right hand.

A pretty handsome guy if Seokjin were to admit, if it weren’t for the scowl that was adorning their lips. The scowl, that was for him.

“What are you doing being a mountain in the middle of the sidewalk?”

Seokjin looks astonished. Maybe that’s too big of a word but he certainly is taken aback a little. “My apologies, but I was just standing here.”

“Well stand somewhere where people don’t walk alright?”

Seokjin makes out the underlying Korean accent that’s masked with a little bit of British but not quite there yet.”Do you not suppose that it is a little rude of you to ask me that since you ran into me when I was literally just standing here?” Seokjin rolls his eyes and whispers under his breath “This is why I don’t like coming to pride.”

Unfortunately the man hears him and, as is evident to Seokjin, his hackles are raised. “What did you just say? Well maybe if you had something in your life that was stressful enough for you to demand rights about it you’d like coming to pride. Maybe if you or your family weren’t all hets, you’d understand why it’s important-”

The man goes on. Seokjin knows this person is assuming everything about him wrongly but he just stands there with his hands in his pockets; doesn’t bother correcting him. Doesn’t deem it necessary; believing he probably won’t ever see him again.

“--and there are matters, of importance; importance greater than you not wanting to go to pride-”

And he’s cut off in the middle by someone holding him. Someone that towers above him by a lot. Focussing now, Seokjin realizes it’s someone he knows. “Namjoon!” He exclaims.

The mint haired guy turns around in Namjoon’s grasp and fixes him with a glare, “You know this corporate looking het?”

Namjoon snickers, “What are you even on about Seokjin’s probably dated more men than I have.”

Seokjin doesn’t really appreciate Namjoon giving away his dating history to someone who is evidently a complete stranger to Seokjin. But as soon as he’s about to open his mouth he’s cut off again by his newly acquired nemesis, who has jumped free of Namjoon’s hold.

“Then you should know even more why this is important. Gay or bi or pan yourself and still not liking parade.”, he hmphs and a stray hair from his messy undercut side-part flairs to life which, quite frankly, Seokjin thinks is beautiful. “Supporting the cause is part of eliminating the problem. People need this-”

He goes on and on until Namjoon holds him back once more. “Yoongi!” Namjoon struggles to hold on but does so finally, much attributed to his height and strength that towers the minty menace. “Yoongi, wait, clam down will you? Listen to me.”

Seokjin silently admits to himself that Yoongi is a very pretty name and suits the guy.

“No! People like this need to be taught the struggles we have had and-”

Namjoon rolls his eyes as he physically puts a hand on the smaller man, Yoongi’s, mouth, “Lord do you ever shut up.” Only that it leads to Yoongi biting down on his hand as Namjoon hisses and pulls it away, rubbing at it. “What are you? A cat?”

Yoongi fixes Namjoon with a glare quite akin to one. “Why are you taking his side. He said he doesn’t like pride. He’s basically a traitor.”

Namjoon chuckles a little before he answered, knowing what he’s about to say will embarrass his feisty little best friend. “Seokjin here, is one of the most noted openly pan people in the community. He’s donated to more lgbtq charities than I can count and even helped open up teen rehabilitation centers in town. So like,” He shrugs with a cheeky smile that flaunts his dimples, “Thou shalt not judge maybe?”

At this Seokjin sees Yoongi calm down quite a lot. By quite a lot, it means he finally shuts up and Seokjin sees a quite visibly dark  tinge of pink crawl across his cheeks which is much more prominent due to his already pale skin.

 

Yoongi is embarrassed.

 

Seokjin is enamored.

 

“Anyhow.” Namjoon looks at Yoongi and points to Seokjin, “Yoongi! this is Seokjin. Director and owner of the SJ restaurants here in London. I know him from childhood in Korea.” Then he turns to Seokjin and points at Yoongi. “Seokjin! This is Yoongi. We went to university together.”

Just as he finishes Yoongi elbows him in the side as he mock-whispers, “What a contrast in introductions. You couldn’t have said I’m the CEO of my tech firm?”

Namjoon rolls his eyes for the umpteenth time, “Yoongi is CEO for Syzygy tech. Quite big. If you need any tech solutions for your chain, call this dude right here. Or like with anything remotely concerning free-will.”

As if on cue Yoongi raised both arms in the air, enthusiastically; hands balled into fists as he smiles and practically yells “I’m all for abortions and gay people.”

A few passerbys clap, some yell back with abortions and gay people , some shout encouragements like you go little dude, you the man. And that just fuels Yoongi’s already evident gummy smile as his eyes turn into little crescent moons and he has his teeth and gums on full display.

 

Seokjin is enamored more than he should be.

 

Namjoon, standing behind Yoongi,  grabs both his hands and brings them down “Okay pipe down you lgbt worker that works with shouts and fights only.” with that he hands the awareness fliers that were in his hands to Yoongi, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find Hoseok.”

And thus he leaves the two of them alone and Seokjin sees Yoongi blushing once more; the color of embarrassment not quite fading yet.

“Nice to meet you.” Seokjin holds out his hand for a handshake.

Yoongi takes it, rather shyly and Seokjin find it comparable to all things adorable. “Why didn’t you say anything when I was running my mouth?”

“I’m just, not like that, I suppose.” Seokjin shakes the hand, lingers a little, before putting it in his pocket. “There’s no point in explaining myself to a complete stranger; especially if they’re angry.”

“He.”

Seokjin pauses.

Yoongi takes that as a cue to explain so he puts both his hands in his front pockets as he stretches back on just his heels . “Male pronouns.”

 

He bites his lip.

 

Seokjin is a goner.

 

“Especially if he’s angry.” Seokjin reiterates, replacing the they in his previous sentence.

“Yeah, sorry about that.” Yoongi rubs the back of his head. “So, you are?” He trails off, not wanting to come off as rude and assumptive. Well not anymore than he already had that is.

“Cis. Pansexual.” Seokjin explains and Yoongi is in awe of the confidence.

It still takes Yoongi immense amount of courage to say all that so casually. So he doesn’t. “Cool.”

And Seokjin senses the unease. Doesn’t ask.

“If you don’t like pride then why are you here?” Yoongi asks, hostility gone now.

Seokjin sighs, “I suppose I do owe an explanation now that we’re… acquaintances. I’m an introvert. I don’t love crowds and parties. But.” He points over to Jungkook who is shuffling his way in for a good spot to see the parade. “That’s my brother. Freshly gay out of the closet and I’m a worrywart elder brother.” He points to Jimin and Taehyung, “Plus those are my friends and I gotta drive them home because clearly, they can’t.”

Yoongi sees the two half naked rainbow clad men and laughs.

It’s an inaudible sound. But Seokjin hears it. Yoongi’s laughter comes in small bursts like the impossibly tiny stray drops from a fountain that hit your face. And Seokjin is drenched.

So he smiles back with something that reaches his eyes. “Say Yoongi, would you like to meet up tomorrow?”

“Wait what?”

“I’m hosting a pride dinner sort of thing. Only close friends that is. It’s sort of a family tradition and now my brother’s a part of it too so it’s special.”

Mainly it’s because Seokjin has seen Jungkook be a little overwhelmed and he’d like it if his brother and friends spent the rest of pride weekend at home. The dinner part isn’t wrong though. Every year Seokjin invites his close friends of the community and treats them to something extravagant in his restaurant.

Yoongi looks confused and indecisive.

“Namjoon and Hoseok are invited too.They’re finally in town in time for the dinner this year.”

Yoongi is still indecisive.

“I’d love it if you can make it.” Seokjin smiles.

Yoongi accepts.

 

That night Yoongi spends hours listening to tidbits about Seokjin from Namjoon.

 


 

 

The dinner is chaos.

Everyone wants to meet everyone and everyone needs introductions and Jimin wants to show off his henna tattoos and Taehyung wants to be everyone’s friend while Namjoon wants everyone to listen to what the new manifesto of the NGO he works at is.

Yoongi keeps telling him the only manifesto they should have is abortion and gay people because that would make one hell of a slogan.

Everyone laughs and the madness continues.

Jungkook sits quietly at the table; scuffing his cuticles when a hand stops him.

“Don’t do it.” It’s Yoongi, and he raises his own hands; scraped and bandaged “You’ll get addicted and then it’s not pretty.”

Jungkook lets go of his nail-beds and puts his hands on the table as Yoongi introduces himself to Jungkook.

Jungkook smiles shyly in return, “I’m Jungkook. Seokjin hyung is my brother.”

“Yeah, I know. You look alike.”

Jungkook puffs his cheeks at that. “I wish we were alike.”

Yoongi quirks an eyebrow.

“He’s so confident with his sexuality and everything and I’m just-” His voice goes quiet, “Just a mess.”

Yoongi encourages the little boy, “He’s been out of the closet for eight years now dude. You’re like three months in.” He seen Jungkook being surprised and explains, “Namjoon told me.” and Jungkook relaxes. He trusts Namjoon because Seokjin trusts Namjoon.

“Well he was this confident even when he was just three months in.” Jungkook continues, “Fought with dad, the neighbours, his school; basically everyone who said he wasn’t normal .”

Yoongi cannot help but be impressed. Namjoon had told him that Seokjin’s coming out story had been tragic, even if it did end in a happy ending, but he never told him any details.

“If it weren’t for him fighting for it, I’d have probably never told dad.” Jungkook looks a little troubled, “I’ve got him but sometimes I think, he had no one.”

The kid looks besotted with Seokjin with admiration. Yoongi spares a glance at Seokjin who is currently holding an oven-tray of a whole roasted chicken; his elegant hands hidden in mittens and he sees it. Sees a strong-willed man willing to let nothing harm him, his family or his pride. Sees someone Jungkook would rightfully look at in admiration.

Yoongi decides at that  moment that he wants to learn everything about Seokjin. All his struggles, all his moments of weaknesses when he had no one. All his little likes and peeves. How he came to the UK at just twenty three years of age and built this empire of a culinary business.

Seokjin sets the chicken down and removes the mittens. “And finally, welcome to dinner my queer Korean friends.” Then he laughs.

He starts from laughing to himself until it bubbles up and overspills as he says “My queerian friends.”

Loud groans of disapproval arise from the table however Jungkook and Jimin double over in laughter.

Yoongi himself finds it a little hard to not smile. Not at the stupid pun, no. But at the beautiful way that Seokjin’s eyes crinkle when he’s laughing to his fullest. It makes him want to smile. Seeing Seokjin’s full lips curl up as he tries to keep them pressed together to stop laughing; is breathtaking.

“Alright now.” Seokjin says when they’ve all calmed down. “Let’s have a moment of silence for those who passed away in the fight and struggle to bless us with the rights we have today.”

Everyone stays silent for a minute and as soon as Seokjin finishes his small prayer, he says “Dig in.” and hell breaks loose.



 

Everyone is busy munching on dinner rolls and cinnamon buns; savory gravies and crispy chickens being passed around like the fliers Namjoon was distributing. Amidst all of this Yoongi’s eyes are on Seokjin. He notices how poised Seokjin is when he sits; all straight back and delicate manner-hands. He notices Seokjin chewing and humming  like the piece of chicken is something way above just culinary pleasure.

His eyes trail along Seokjin’s neck as he drinks from his glass of Vodka; his Adam’s apple moving with the action and making Yoongi swallow in return as well.

Seokjin must have noticed him looking because when he’s done he looks at Yoongi and makes a questioning face. Yoongi is glad that the inquiry seems genuine and that Seokjin isn’t aware of how bothered he just made Yoongi.

Yoongi shakes his head in a gesture of saying nothing .

Seokjin smiles serenely and then blinks while nudging his head in the food’s direction as if to offer Yoongi to not hold back.

Yoongi decides this is the man he’s willing to trust with his secrets.




 

 

So Yoongi pursues him.

Yoongi pursues him and Seokjin is very accommodating at times but sometimes it’s clear that it gets on his nerves a little.

Seokjin sits on his director’s desk at the restaurant HQ and Yoongi’s sitting there with his tall tumblr of vanilla milkshake, watching Seokjin go by his daily routine of keeping accounts, making rounds and greeting some regulars.

Every now and then Seokjin passes him a glance and smiles a little in acknowledgement and Yoongi’s heart soars.

 

 

Some other days he comes at times when Seokjin is too busy with whatever it is he does. Yoongi doesn’t know. Frankly Yoongi doesn’t care either. He sits there, sipping on his drinks that alternate between milkshakes and alcohols; deep in thought over if he should ever come out to Seokjin. Not as gay because god knew everything about him screamed gay .

Truth be told Yoongi had been a goner since moment one. He may have bumped into Seokjin but he did notice the crisp all black attire and the spectacles. Namjoon had told him that Seokjin was noted in the town’s lgbt community for charity work and Yoongi had become impressed. But then Seokjin had told him why he was actually there, out of his comfort zone; just to look out for his baby brother and Yoongi was charmed. Just the thought of him looking out and caring for his kin to help them settle in their skin proudly and show support was touching to Yoongi since he had lacked that part growing up. Besides, responsibility is attractive as fuck, right?

He sits there, wondering. Wondering how incredible it is. To be only twenty seven and be this confident self sufficient man.

Yoongi himself was all that too, don’t get him wrong. And he’s a year younger than Seokjin to boot. But Yoongi never really got that confidence thing going for him. Too shy. Always behind a computer screen to avoid interaction. Always in headphones to avoid conversations.

Meanwhile Seokjin? Seokjin was a conversation starter. A man assured enough to joke about himself and confident enough to praise himself. A confronter.

So that’s what he did. Confront.

 

Yoongi’s sitting on his usual table in the restaurant when Seokjin goes to sit in front of him. “So. Is there something you want to tell me? Or ask me?”

Yoongi is quite visibly startled by the question and averts his eyes to think of an answer that won’t be either too embarrassing or just borderline rude. He tends to do that a lot; lashing out when confronted.

Seokjin sighs. “Look. I’ve seen you come here, day in, day out. Is there something you need? Or want?”

Yoongi thinks hard on the question. It’s not like he needs Seokjin; he isn’t at that level yet. It’s just he feels like he wants to get closer to Seokjin and for that he might need to come clean with Seokjin. Therefore, he decides, what better time to tell someone your biggest vulnerabilities than when confronted face-to-face huh?

So he asks, “Can we uh - can we talk? Like in private somewhere?”

 

Seokjin senses the discomfort in the sentence from a mile away. Wants to ease it. But can’t unless he knows what caused it. Obviously the need to share something that isn’t entirely pleasant causes discomfort but Seokjin needed to reassure Yoongi that he wasn’t scolding or chastising him and just asking.

Sitting here in Seokjin’s pristin restaurant with Seokjin in his work clothes and yoongi in his black capri pants and a pale yellow tee with white suspenders and his floral boots; it surely looked like Seokjin was reprimanding him. So he needed neutral ground. Somewhere where Seokjin wasn’t an owner and Yoongi wasn’t a customer.

“Alright!” He says standing up, hands in pocket. “We’re going into town.”

“What?”

“Nowhere far silly, just Covent Garden. I need to show you an alley and we can talk there.”

Yoongi seems perplexed and Seokjin is glad. This means he hasn’t already seen what Seokjin wants to show him. “But I need to change first. Otherwise people will think I’m your butler or something.”

Yoongi smiles a little at that. “Let them maybe?” The tone is cheeky.

“Brat!” Seokjin says but he’s smiling as well.”No thank you! I have a change of clothes in the office. Lemme just have a second to change and call Jungkook and we can head out.”

 

 

And Seokjin does just that. Calls Jungkook to let him know he’ll be late and is with Yoongi in case he can’t reach him for some reason. Always better to be safe. He changes into his oversized cream pink hood with faded blue jeans and Yoongi seems in awe. Seokjin has to agree that he does look rather different than his formal work attire.

He gives his staff instructions on things beyond Yoongi’s comprehension and then grabs the keys to his Panamera from his office; signaling Yoongi to follow.

 

All of this routine is somewhat attractive but instead of admitting that Yoongi jumps off from his chair and follows.

 


 

 

They ride in silence for about two minutes before Yoongi asks if he can get his feet out the window and Seokjin looks at him like he grew two heads. They bicker for about two more minutes before Seokjin caves in and Yoongi’s floral and blue 1460 victorian Doc Martens are on the sill. His alabaster ankles open to the wind in his capris and Seokjin can’t help but stare. They look so nimble and smooth and Seokjin wants to kiss them both and where the fuck did that thought process come from?

Oblivious to Seokjin’s very peculiar thought process Yoongi sits with his legs stretched like a feline, one hand playing with his own hair, the other scrolling on his phone and his feet semi-out-the-window; looking like he came from a photogravure.

To Seokjin his thought process suddenly makes sense.

 

They park the car in a parking lot beside Covent Garden and Seokjin tells Yoongi to follow him. They go down a spiral of alleyways and narrow streets until Seokjin stops in front of one. A very inconspicuous sign on the top says Neal’s Yard and Yoongi is forced to think why he hasn’t known this place exists.

Inside and across the alley is a small courtyard with a splash from a paint palette surrounding it. The buildings are vibrant and tall; all different colors. The walkways are all pavers or brick. The shops on the ground level of the building include everything from warm smelling bakeries to salons boasting Hair by Fairies as their signboard. The middle has rustic benches and tables that each flaunt a potted tall plant of their own as a centerpiece and Seokjin flops down on one of the benches.

Yoongi is still circling on his axis. The place is overwhelming. He snaps two-three pictures of it, trying to capture the whole length of the buildings and the extravagant walkway at once.

Seokjin just sits there, content to look at Yoongi enchanted by all the colorful surroundings, yet to Seokjin he stands out the most in his frame of sight.

Once satisfied, Yoongi comes to sit in front of Seokjin on the stumpy bench. “Pretty neat place. Why didn’t I know this existed. I’ve been living in this goddamn city for almost a decade now.”

“Not everyone finds it on the first go. Isn’t exactly an in-the-sight thing.” Seokjin shrugs. He notices Yoongi rubbing his palms together to warm them up and offers, “I got us coffee, should be here in a minute. It’ll warm you up and your hands as well.”

Yoongi is grateful. Though he doesn’t tell.

“Until then,” Seokjin takes both of Yoongi’s hands in his. “I had pockets, my hands are in better condition. Why’d you wear half sleeves anyway?”

 

Seokjin is warm.

Yoongi is enamored.

 

“How was I supposed to know we’d be far from sunlight under tall buildings? Plus nobody said the weather would turn rainy.” Yoongi grumbles; but makes no effort to take away his hands from Seokjin’s toasty grasp. He likes it. Having his hands held. Likes the feeling of Seokjin’s knobby fingers holding his thumbs as his warm palms hide away Yoongi’s chilled fingers in their blanket. Likes how his hand fits against Seokjin’s. Ponders on how he’d fit against Seokjin.

He sits there wondering. Wondering how his body would fit against Seokjin. How Seokjin’s warm hands would feel against his cold porcelein skin. Wonders how the color of Seokjin’s slightly tanned skin would look against his never-seen-the-sun stomach.

His thought process is brough to a halt by the server setting down two cups of coffee on their table and Seokjin speaks. “Do you want to start talking now or when you’re done drinking?”

 

Yoongi takes his hands out of Seokjin’s grasp to settle on the coffee. It’s a little scalding. Not homely toasty. Not comfortingly warm. Not nearly as pleasant as Seokjin’s body heat.

But Seokjin wants him to start talking.

So he sits there wondering. Wondering how Seokjin would react. If his expressions would show the usual twitch of lips that he always got. Or if he would get a more apparent more evident reaction. If he’d be treated any different. Or if all his hidden hopes of possibly being with Seokjin would be crushed.

So he takes in a breath; shudders it out and speaks casually. Putting on a brave front. An indifferent front. A casual tone as he says around the lip of his cup with a small shrug “I just kinda wanted you to know I’m trans I guess.”