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All The Stars In The Sky

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Yoongi tugs at the collar of his shirt. It's not his first time accompanying Taehyung on a red carpet, but it's his first time on a red carpet as prominent as this one.

This could be Taehyung's big break - an indie coming of age comedy featuring Tae as a young man slowly coming to terms with his sexuality during a road trip across the country with college friends. Nothing world-changing, but it's meant to be heart-warming and Taehyung says it's also really funny.

Yoongi's happy for Tae, of course, but that doesn't mean he's happy about being on this red carpet, in front of countless camera bulbs flashing in his face. But Tae looks so good in his embroidered black suit, his soft brown hair falling into his eyes. And when he smiles at Yoongi like that, his eyes lighting up with fondness, Yoongi thinks that he would give him the world.

"Sorry," Taehyung murmurs out of the corner of his mouth, placing a hand on the small of Yoongi's back. "We'll be in soon, away from this madness."

And Yoongi can't wait, not just because he hates having his picture taken, but because he can't wait to see the film that Tae's been so excited for the last six months. He's seen everything that Taehyung's been in, from the odd appearance on various tv dramas, to small roles on bigger films. But this is his first leading role on the big screen. 

"Taehyung-ssi! One with you alone, please!"

At this, Taehyung shoots Yoongi an apologetic smile. Which really isn't necessary, because Yoongi's glad not to have stand and pose and smile for the cameras for a brief moment. 

He watches as Taehyung shoves one hand in his pocket, stands at an angle to the cameras, flashing his widest grin. Then he's doing a quarter turn to face another set of cameras, and switching his facial expression from his broad grin to a smouldering gaze. The duality gives Yoongi whiplash.

Taehyung looks beautiful, as always, no matter what he's doing. Yoongi marvels at why such an incredible human being like Taehyung, who attracts people to him like moths to a flame, picked him, grumpy music producer Min Yoongi as his best friend.

But best friends they are, as they have been since they were just boys in high school back in Daegu. Then they came to Seoul to attend arts school - Taehyung in drama and Yoongi in music - and now, five years after graduation, here they are. 

 

-

 

Yoongi is relieved to be inside the cinema, settles quickly into his assigned seat next to Taehyung. He glances over at Tae, who's twisting his fingers together in his lap.

"Don't worry," Yoongi murmurs. He reaches across the armrest, interlaces his fingers with Taehyung's to stop him from fidgeting. "You'll be amazing."

Taehyung flashes Yoongi a grateful smile, luminous even in the dim light of the cinema. "Thanks hyung," he says, giving Yoongi's hand a small squeeze.

And, as Yoongi had predicted, Taehyung is indeed amazing. He's unbearably endearing, natural charisma dripping from every pore. But in the emotional scenes, he also has such gravitas that Yoongi wonders if that is the same man that sings and dances along to 'I Will Survive' whenever it comes on. When Yoongi sees Taehyung cry on screen, his heart clenches, and he's not sure if he's feeling for Taehyung's character or Taehyung himself.

But Yoongi doesn't have time to think about that, because then it's the big romantic climax, and of course Yoongi knows it's coming - it's where the entire film has been heading, and besides, Taehyung has told him all about it.

"My first kiss scene!" Taehyung had said, brimming with excitement but also nerves. "What if he's a bad kisser? What if I'm a bad kisser?"

And Yoongi had laughed, rolling his eyes. "You won't be a bad kisser," he says reassuringly.

"How do you know that? You've never kissed me before?" Taehyung had asked, and Yoongi had felt his heart skip. It's weird, thinking about kissing his best friend, that's all.

But all Yoongi had said was, "You're too cute to be a bad kisser," which had placated Taehyung sufficiently for the moment. They had dropped the subject, and Yoongi had forgotten all about it.

Until now.

Yoongi can't quite explain how he feels, watching Taehyung on this giant screen in front of him, leaning in and hesitantly pressing his lips against his co-star's. The moment is so sweet, so touching, the culmination of Taehyung's character's story arc and character development. But instead all Yoongi feels is a sick churning in the bottom of his gut as he watches the kiss intensify, watching the co-star's hands wander down to Taehyung's waist to tug him closer.

It's just weird, Yoongi thinks, once again. To see this boy that he's known since they were gangly teenagers, in such an intimate moment - even if it is just for the cameras. That's what Yoongi tells himself, what Yoongi keeps telling himself.

 

-

 

They head to the lounge for the cocktail reception after the premiere, and Yoongi continues to feel utterly out of place. Taehyung tries to make him feel at ease, even seeks out one of the music producers who worked on the soundtrack for the film, a man with a cheery smile and deep dimples named Kim Namjoon. It's easier, talking about what he knows and loves best, but Yoongi can't help his gaze from idly following Taehyung across the room.

It's when he sees Taehyung giving his co-star a huge hug that Yoongi's heart stops. Park Bogum, Yoongi thinks - he had made it a point to check the actor's name when the credits rolled. He's handsome, even more handsome that he had been on screen.

And Taehyung looks so happy to be talking to him, throwing his head back as he laughs with evident delight, even occasionally placing his hand on Bogum's arm as they talk. That's where Taehyung belongs, Yoongi thinks - surrounded by people as magnetic and charismatic as he is. Not stuck with boring old Yoongi like he has been his whole life.

Yoongi tears his attention away from Taehyung, tries to focus on what Namjoon is saying. Something about a friend of his who's an up and coming singer, who would love to work with someone interested in Yoongi's style of music.

"Uh, sure - give them my number," Yoongi says, pulling his business card out of his jacket pocket and handing it to Namjoon. All he wants to do is to get out of here.

"Hyung!" Taehyung's voice right next to his ear startles Yoongi, but he just shuffles awkwardly to hide the fact that he had jumped quite visibly in surprise.

Taehyung just giggles, an unbearably adorable sound. "Bogum told me that there's an afterparty happening at a club nearby -- what do you think?" he asks, and it's obvious that Tae wants to go.

But Yoongi's not a huge fan of parties even on the best of nights, and tonight more so than usual he just wants to go home and curl up in bed. When he says this to Taehyung, though, he feels a twisting sense of guilt at the disappointed look on Taehyung's face.

"Let's just go home, then - we can have ice cream and watch tv?" Taehyung suggests instead, his face quickly breaking out in a huge smile again.

As nice as that sounds, Yoongi thinks - somewhat masochistically - that he would rather be alone with his churning emotions. Plus, an afterparty would be a great opportunity for Taehyung to make important contacts in the industry. Not to mention how much Taehyung loves to dance.

So Yoongi insists that Taehyung goes ahead without, and though Tae is reluctant at first, he finally agrees, waving goodbye to Yoongi and promising not to be home too late. Yoongi watches him slip out of the double doors with Bogum, whispering in each other's ears and giggling like children.

Watches Taehyung disappear from view.

 

-

 

Yoongi hears Taehyung come home later that night, around 2 in the morning. He's lying in bed, struggling to fall asleep, when he hears keys rattling in the lock, hears Tae stumble in, hears the door click shut softly.

Hears footsteps pad across the living room, hears Taehyung brushing his teeth in their shared bathroom, hears him shutting the door to his bedroom. 

Then silence falls across their shared apartment.

A voice in the back of Yoongi's mind points out that Taehyung had come home, and he had come home alone.

Not that it makes a difference if Taehyung had chosen to end his night differently, of course.

But, nonetheless, it's with this thought in mind that Yoongi finally falls asleep.

 

-

 

He gets a text a few days later, from an unknown number.

Hi – you don’t know me but Namjoon-hyung gave me your number, said that you might be interested in working together.

Yoongi blinks at the message a couple times, before it finally clicks in his mind. The singer that Namjoon had mentioned at the film premiere.

He taps out a quick response, saying that he’s keen in principle, asking for more information. He learns that the singer’s name is Jimin, and he finds himself clicking through a few of the numerous links to videos that Jimin sends him.

Jimin seems to be a fairly popular indie singer who’s just on the brink of making it big, and his voice is bright but filled with emotion. His style of singing would mesh well with Yoongi’s own style of writing and production, Yoongi thinks, as he clicks through from one video of Jimin singing to another.

He’s listening to a song called ‘Lie’ when the front door opens and Taehyung steps in, immediately flopping down onto the sofa next to Yoongi.

Yoongi pauses the video, and Taehyung wriggles himself under Yoongi’s arm so that they’re cuddling.

“How was the table read?” Yoongi asks. It’s for an episode of a drama that Taehyung’s just been cast in for a six episode guest starring role.

Taehyung just makes an incoherent sort of noise. “It was fine,” he says vaguely, clearly not interested in talking about it. “I went to meet Jin-hyung after.”

Jin is Taehyung’s agent slash manager slash general life coach, and meeting up with him doesn’t usually put Taehyung into such a weird mood. If anything, Jin is one of the few people Yoongi knows who is as weird and wonderful as Taehyung, which is probably why Tae has stuck with him for such a long time.

“What did he say?” asks Yoongi, probing for the information he knows that Tae wants to give but doesn’t know how to start talking about. He knows Taehyung too well, he thinks.

Tae pouts up at Yoongi, and it’s so endearing that Yoongi wants to pinch his soft cheeks. But he doesn’t. Schools his face into an expression of neutrality as he waits for Taehyung to speak.

“He said Bogum and I got papped going to the afterparty,” says Taehyung, and Yoongi feels himself tense. He has no idea where this is going but he already doesn’t like it.

“Is that...bad?” Yoongi asks hesitatingly. “Were you guys...kissing, or something?” He isn’t sure he wants to know the answer to that question.

Taehyung wrinkles his nose. “What? No,” he says quickly, “but it’s the opposite of bad. In fact, it’s good. So good, apparently, that Jin-hyung says I should be papped out with him more.”

Yoongi frowns. “Okay...” he says, slowly. He doesn’t really understand what’s upset Taehyung here. “I don’t get it.”

“Hyung!” says Taehyung in frustration. “He wants Bogum and I to pretend to be dating, thinks that the rumours and gossip will increase my profile.”

Oh. Oh.

Yoongi clenches his jaw, tries to speak evenly. “That doesn’t seem so bad,” he says. “It would – it would just be pretend, right?”

Taehyung nods frantically. He’s looking at Yoongi intently, like he’s trying to figure something out, but Yoongi has no idea what.

“That doesn’t bother you, hyung?” Taehyung asks, tilting his head to one side.

It absolutely does, but Yoongi has no idea why. Probably because the idea of lying to the public for exposure and fame feels a little gross to him. But he knows that this is how the industry operates, knows that doing this is what would be best for Taehyung’s career.

So he shakes his head, shrugging like it doesn’t matter to him. “No,” he says, “it doesn’t bother me. Why? Does it bother you?”

Taehyung chews on the inside of his cheek. “No, it doesn’t bother me either,” he replies, which is a big fat lie because obviously it does or why would he have come home looking all annoyed? But Yoongi doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.

Thankfully, Taehyung seems to feel the same way, because he’s curling back up against Yoongi, and murmuring, “what’s that you were listening to when I came in? It was good.”

So Yoongi shows him the video of Jimin singing, and Taehyung comments that he’s cute, and Yoongi agrees, which leads to Taehyung whining and pouting until Yoongi finally concedes that Taehyung is still the cutest in his heart.

“But you’re also the biggest brat,” adds Yoongi, tossing a cushion at Taehyung, who catches it easily and sticks out his tongue at Yoongi.

“But you still love me!” Taehyung calls out, dancing into the kitchen to get them snacks for an impromptu movie night. 

And he does. Yoongi thinks, achingly, that Taehyung has taken up such a large place in his heart he wonders how he will ever space for anyone else.

 

-

 

It’s over a week later when Yoongi sees the first paparazzi picture of Taehyung and Bogum together. They’re laughing, walking side by side down the street, both dressed in casual clothes but still looking impeccable. They’re pictured heading into a trendy brunch spot, and Bogum’s hand is on the small of Taehyung’s back, leading him in.

Yoongi knows that Taehyung had told him this was all for show, but still – the easy closeness between them looks too natural to be completely fake. They are, of course, both excellent actors. But there’s a difference between acting in front of film cameras, and acting while just going about their daily lives with each other.

He clicks through the link on twitter, ends up scrolling through endless posts about Taehyung, starting from around the time he was first cast in this film. It makes him smile, to see all these gossip sites speculating about who this new, fresh face was, gushing about how handsome he was.

Then he finds the posts about the film premiere. Smiles fondly, despite himself, at the photos of them together. He looks so awkward, so uncomfortable in his own skin, next to Taehyung. But seeing how radiantly Taehyung’s beaming at the cameras makes everything okay.

The photos of Taehyung alone, though – those are truly captivating. Taehyung commands attention in person, but also on camera. His eyes pierce through the lens, and Yoongi feels his heart rate speeding up just from looking at the intensity of Taehyung gaze.

A buzz from the intercom startles him, and Yoongi shuffles over to buzz Jimin into the building. They had met for a coffee in the previous week, but this was their first time meeting up to actually work on music. Yoongi had invited Jimin over so they could tinker about on Yoongi’s keyboard, get to know each other’s musical style a little better, brainstorm some ideas.

He’s standing by the door to the apartment, about to put his phone away, when something catches his eye.

In the photos of Taehyung alone, there – in the corner. Barely in the frame.

It’s himself. Standing less awkwardly now that he think he’s not on camera, his hands shoved into his pockets. But that isn’t the thing that catches his eye.

No – it’s the way he’s looking at Taehyung. With such softness, such fondness in his eyes.

Like he’s in love.

“Yoongi-hyung!” Jimin greets excitedly, stepping through the open door. “Thanks so much again for inviting me over –” He trails off when he catches sight of the stunned expression on Yoongi’s face. “Hyung? Are you okay?”

Shaking his head to clear it, Yoongi forces a smile at Jimin. “Yeah, sorry,” he mumbles, shoving his phone into his back pocket. He doesn’t want to think about that right now. “I’m fine, just got distracted by something.”

Jimin eyes him a little disbelievingly, but lets it go, for which Yoongi is grateful. He leads Jimin over to his small makeshift studio in the corner of the living room, set up with a keyboard and mixer and his laptop. He goes into a proper studio to actually record music, of course, but it’s nice to have the basics always close at hand for whenever inspiration strikes.

Music always puts Yoongi at ease, and he’s relieved to find that Jimin’s incredibly easy to work with as well. He has a beautiful voice, and such a strong intuitive grasp for the emotional mood of a song that Yoongi can already tell that they’re going to create some incredible pieces together.

The afternoon passes without Yoongi even realizing that it’s happening, he’s having so much fun. They’re fooling around now, Yoongi tinkering out odd snippets of melodies and Jimin warbling them in an operatic tone, before they both dissolve into fits of laughter.

“You sound like you’re having fun,” comes Taehyung’s voice, suddenly.

Yoongi startles, turns. He hadn’t even heard the door opening. Taehyung’s dropping his bag on the sofa, then he’s standing there, smiling charmingly like he always does, but he’s feeling a little out of place. Yoongi can tell, from how straight he’s standing, and the way his eyes dart from one spot to another.

“Uh, sorry – I didn’t realise the time, I thought we would be done before you got back,” Yoongi says, jumping to his feet. He glances at Jimin, then back at Taehyung. “Tae, this is Jimin – we’re working on some music together. Jimin, this is Tae, my roommate.”

Jimin knows who Taehyung is, of course – they’ve talked about the film, and Jimin’s gushed about what an amazing actor Taehyung is. He stands, smiling widely at Taehyung. “It’s so nice to meet you,” Jimin says, “I loved your film.”

This makes Taehyung colour slightly. He’s still not used to the fame. “Thanks,” he says sheepishly.

“Anyway, I should get out of your hair,” says Jimin then, turning to Yoongi, “thanks again for having me over.”

And then, out of nowhere, Jimin’s leaning over and wrapping his arms around Yoongi for a hug. It’s a quick embrace, before Jimin’s pulling back and nodding a goodbye at Taehyung, and Yoongi walks Jimin to the door in a bit of a daze.

He shouldn’t be surprised that Jimin’s a hugger – it was been obvious from everything about Jimin’s demeanour and personality. But something inside him is churning uncomfortably. He feels almost – guilty. For hugging someone else, in front of Taehyung. Which is plainly ridiculous, so he buries that feeling.

“How was your date with Bogum?” asks Yoongi, trying to make conversation as he saves a couple of the snippets he and Jimin had come up with, things that he might be able to work into a longer track.

Taehyung’s watching him, Yoongi can feel his eyes on his back. But he doesn’t turn around, just continues busying himself with his laptop, with packing up his equipment.

“It wasn’t a date,” Taehyung says, and there’s a strange tightness to his voice. “You know that.”

“You looked pretty cosy to me,” Yoongi replies. He tries to keep his voice light, and teasing. But it comes out a little more accusatory that he’d intended.

Taehyung exhales sharply. “What?” he asks.

Yoongi turns around, forces a smile onto his face. This is what they do – they tease each other, joke around about each other’s love lives. He doesn’t understand why it’s coming out so weird and tense this time. “The paparazzi photos have made their way onto the internet,” he explains, shrugging nonchalantly, like he’s just relaying a piece of mundane information. Which he is.

This seems to annoy Taehyung. “Already?” he asks, frowning.

“Well, you know what your industry is like,” Yoongi says, and he’s having to work so hard not to sound bitter and he really, really doesn’t get where all of this is coming from. “You’re a big deal now.”

He had meant that as a compliment, but it doesn’t sound like one. Yoongi grimaces inwardly when he sees the surprise flicker across Taehyung’s face. But the look disappears as quickly as it had appeared, and then Taehyung’s turning away, wandering over to the kitchen to grab a glass of water. He clearly doesn’t want to talk about it anymore, so Yoongi lets him go.

When he returns, he sits down on the sofa, sips at his water like he’s lost in his own world. But then he clears his throat, says, “Jimin’s cute.”

Yoongi raises an eyebrow, leans against the wall by his keyboard. “You’ve said that before,” he says.

Taehyung shrugs. “He’s even cuter in real life,” he replies, and then he’s eyeing Yoongi carefully. “He’s so your type.”

“Is that so?” asks Yoongi, a little more sharply than he’d intended. But something about the way Taehyung is looking at him, dropping these small comments about Jimin, makes Yoongi feel incredibly on edge. He feels like he’s being led into a trap, but he doesn’t know what for. “And what is my type, exactly.”

“Oh, you know,” says Taehyung vaguely. “Cute. Soft.”

Cute, and soft. Like Taehyung himself.

But Yoongi doesn’t say that. Doesn’t even really admit to himself that there’s a voice in his head saying it to him.

Instead he just rolls his eyes, folding his arms in front of his chest. “I don’t have a type,” he insists flatly.

“Fine, you don’t have a type,” Taehyung returns, and Yoongi doesn’t understand why it feels like they’re having an argument now. “But you think he’s attractive, don’t you? I can tell, don’t lie to me.”

Yoongi frowns. “I’m not lying to you,” he says, almost snapping. “And yeah, maybe I do find him attractive – so what? Why do you care?”

This makes Taehyung bristle, and Yoongi can see the way his shoulders tense up. “I don’t care,” Taehyung retorts quickly, too quickly.

“Really? Because it seems like you care,” says Yoongi, scoffing. He’s being harsh, he knows that, but Taehyung’s really getting under his skin now. What does it matter whether or not he finds Jimin attractive? And how did they even get on this topic of conversation?

Taehyung gets to his feet. He looks furious. “Maybe I’m just worried about you,” he snaps, “because even if you like him, you’ll never make a move – isn’t that right?”

Yoongi is confused now. He cocks his head at Taehyung. “What are you talking about?”

“I mean, he’s not going to make a move either if you’re not clear about what you want,” says Taehyung, and his voice is getting louder, like if he shouts loudly enough Yoongi will understand something, except Yoongi has no idea what Taehyung’s trying to say to him.

“What do I want?” asks Yoongi in bewilderment.

Now it’s Taehyung turn to scoff. “That’s the question, isn’t it?” he asks coldly, before storming into his room and slamming the door, leaving Yoongi alone in the living room, a swirling mess of frustration, confusion, and also, inexplicably – sadness.


The next time Jimin comes over, Taehyung isn’t there. He’s doing an interview on a late night talk show, and Yoongi’s sitting on tha sofa watching him walk on screen, smiling and waving cheerily, when the doorbell buzzes.

Jimin gives the tv a brief glance as he enters. “Is that live?” he asks, his tone nonchalant, but he’s looking at Yoongi in a way that Yoongi really doesn’t want to think about.

“Yeah,” Yoongi says. Taehyung had asked him if he wanted to attend the filming at the studio, but Yoongi had said no, that he had planned to work on some music with Jimin. Which hadn’t been true at the time, but Yoongi told himself that he had always been planning on asking Jimin to come over that evening anyway.

He just hadn’t wanted to be sitting in the studio audience all by himself, listening to Taehyung answering the questions that were bound to come up about his relationship with Bogum.

“Sorry, I’ll turn it off,” Yoongi says, picking up the tv remote. But he doesn’t flick the tv off.

“So – you and Park Bogum. What’s going on there?” the interviewer asks, and Yoongi freezes. It’s the question he had known was coming, but it still hits him like a bolt of lightning.

He watches mutely as a shy smile breaks out across Taehyung’s face. “I knew you’d ask,” quips Taehyung, his cheeks flushing faintly, the very picture of a young man in love. “We’re just friends, hanging out and getting to know each other.”

The interviewer laughs. “For now,” he teases, and studio audience laughs along with Taehyung.

For now. Yoongi knows Taehyung and Bogum are pretending, of course, but those words ring in his head.

For now.

“Yoongi-hyung,” Jimin says, startling Yoongi. He had completely forgotten that he wasn’t alone. When he turns, Jimin’s looking at him with an almost pitying expression on his face that Yoongi struggles to ignore as he finally switches the tv off in middle of Taehyung describing what it was like to work with Bogum.

He goes to sit down at the keyboard, and Jimin moves to sit next to him. “So I have some melodies I’ve been working on, but no lyrics yet,” Yoongi starts, but Jimin’s hand comes to rest on his forearm.

“I don’t mean to pry,” Jimin says, hesitating slightly, “and you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to – but, do you have feelings for Taehyung?”

Yoongi blinks at Jimin. He can’t find his voice, feels utterly blindsided by Jimin’s words. Not because they’re not true, but just because – because Yoongi’s never thought them to himself before. But now that he hears those words out loud, it feels so true, so painfully and obviously true.

When Yoongi doesn’t respond, Jimin’s face fades into an expression of mild panic. “Sorry, that was so presumptuous of me,” he apologises hastily, “I just, I see the way you look at him, and the way you look when you talk about him, and I thought – maybe it was something that no one had ever asked you about, and that maybe you’d like to be able to talk to someone about–”

“No, Jimin, it’s okay,” says Yoongi quietly, cutting Jimin off. “I’m not angry. Just – I don’t really know how I feel, to be honest.”

It would have been so easy to lie to Jimin, deny everything vehemently. But maybe Jimin was right – maybe Yoongi did want someone to talk to about whatever the hell it was he was feeling.

Jimin smiles softly at him. “You really care about him, don’t you?” he asks, but he’s looking at Yoongi like he already knows the answer.

“Of course I do,” replies Yoongi, without hesitation. “He’s my best friend.”

Except – when did it become so difficult to see his best friend holding hands with someone else? Or looking at someone else like they were the centre of his universe?

“You looked really upset when he was talking about the other guy,” Jimin says. Just stating a fact. Leaving the implications of that fact open to interpretation.

This makes Yoongi chuckle bitterly. “Am I that transparent?” he asks.

Jimin at least smiles at this. “I’m just very perceptive,” he quips, jokingly, but Yoongi’s known Jimin for barely more than a month and he already knows that this is true. It’s probably why he’s such a good singer – he has a rich and nuanced well of emotions to tap into.

“They’re not really going out, you know,” Yoongi says, suddenly. “It’s just for the publicity.”

Because he might as well tell Jimin everything now, might as well seen if this oddly empathetic little man that’s popped up in his life will be able to help him sort up his tangled mess of feelings.

But even Jimin doesn’t seem to know what to say to this.

“Forget about it,” Yoongi declares firmly. He turns his attention back to the keyboard, rests his fingers delicately on the keys. “Let’s focus on the music.”

Right now, music’s the only thing that makes sense to him anymore.

 

-

 

It’s a couple weeks later, and Yoongi’s done a pretty solid job of pushing the conversation he’d had with Jimin about Tae out of his mind. He knows Jimin’s still thinking about it, can tell from the way Jimin looks at him sometimes, when Tae comes up in conversation, but he just ignores it. Along with everything else he’s feeling.

He just spends more and more time out of the apartment, mostly with Jimin, but sometimes even just by himself. Because he can’t focus, not when Taehyung’s so close by, not with the haze of confusion hanging over him.

Yoongi hasn’t admitted anything to himself yet – he might never – but it’s become impossible to ignore how much his heart rate speeds up when Tae comes near him, or how clammy his hands feel, or how tongue-tied he gets. Mostly because he’s terrified that Taehyung will notice that something’s up with him, but the fear makes him act even weirder, and it’s a whole vicious cycle from there on.

So the best course of action for now, Yoongi decides, is for him to keep his distance. At least until he gets his own feelings under control.

But they still live in the same apartment, after all, and it’s impossible to avoid Tae completely.

Yoongi’s crossing the living room from the bathroom back to his room one day when the front door opens, Taehyung steps in.

“You’re back early,” says Yoongi in surprise. He was pretty sure Taehyung had mentioned he was seeing Bogum for dinner. Or was it lunch? Yoongi frowned, trying to remember the brief conversation they’d had the day before, as Yoongi had been rushing out the door to nowhere in particular.

“Bogum wanted to have lunch instead,” replies Taehyung, and there was Yoongi’s answer. At least he wasn’t going completely mad.

Yoongi shoves his hands in his pockets, rocking onto his heels and then back onto the balls of his feet. “Right,” he declares, “I was just about to head out, so–”

“Don’t lie to me, hyung,” says Taehyung sharply, more sharply than Yoongi’s used to hearing him speak. It makes him shrink back with a little guilt. Taehyung looks frustrated, but also confused. He rakes his fingers through his hair. “You’ve been avoiding me – why have you been avoiding me?”

“I’m haven’t been avoiding you,” Yoongi protests feebly.

This draws a cold chuckle from Taehyung. “Whatever,” he says, his tone icy, but there’s a look of such pure hurt in his eyes that it is all Yoongi can do not to run up to him and pull him into his arms.

He’s on the verge of doing either just that, or tearing his own hair out in frustration, when Taehyung speaks again.

“I have something I want to talk to you about, hyung,” Taehyung says. “Do you have a minute?”

Yoongi thinks that he would give Taehyung all the minutes and hours and days he had on this world. But of course, he doesn’t say that. There are so many things he doesn’t say.

Instead, he just nods, sits himself down on the sofa. Waits for Taehyung to join him, to say whatever he has to say. His stomach churns with nerves, desperately trying to figure what it is that Taehyung could possibly have to say to him.

“Bogum asked me something at lunch today,” Taehyung starts, and Yoongi’s heart falls. He should have known. Of course the pretend relationship was going to turn into something real. I mean, how could anyone spend so much time and not fall in love with him?

Yoongi used to think he was the only exception to that rule. Turns out, he’s not as much of an exception that he had thought after all.

But the conversation quickly swerves into unexpected territory.

“He said he’s bought an apartment downtown, so he’s moving out of his current place,” Taehyung says. Yoongi frowns. He’s lost sight of where this is going.

“And...he wants you to move in with him?” supplies Yoongi questioningly.

This makes Taehyung glare at him. “No, how many times do I have to tell you, we aren’t really dating?” he snaps. Then he sighs heavily, shakes his head. “No, he just said his old apartment was really nice, and in a great location, and the landlord is really helpful. He asked me if I wanted to take over the lease on his old place.”

Yoongi nods slowly. “Okay…” he says slowly. “And what did you want to ask me?”

Taehyung chews on his bottom lip as he tries to find the words he’s looking for. “It’s technically a two bedroom apartment, but it’s not that big – and the rent is quite a bit higher than this place –”

And okay, Yoongi understands now. Taehyung wants to move out. Wants to stop being roommates, but wants to let him down gently.

“That’s fine,” Yoongi says, interrupting Taehyung, who looks surprised at the speed of Yoongi’s response.

“Really, hyung?” Taehyung asks, looking more confused than happy. “I thought you wouldn’t want to–”

And Yoongi cuts him off again, quickly. “No, of course not. If you want to live by yourself you definitely should. You work so hard, you deserve it.”

Yoongi really doesn’t want to hear Taehyung talking about how he had expected this to be harder for him. He can’t bear to know that his desperation and reliance on Taehyung is obvious to Taehyung himself.

“Wait, hyung, that’s not–” Taehyung starts to say, and Yoongi can’t help himself, usually hates when people interrupt him, but he just needs to shut this conversation down.

“Really, don’t worry about it,” Yoongi says, shrugging in as casual a manner as he can manage. “I’ve been thinking that maybe it’s time for us to stop being roommates.”

Taehyung narrows his eyes. “Really?” he asks. His face shutters, and Yoongi has no idea what he’s thinking or feeling anymore. For someone who is usually so open, Tae has always been the kind of person to close up to easily. But never because of Yoongi.

“Yeah,” says Yoongi. “I just didn’t know how to bring it up with you.”

“We’ve been living together for almost ten years,” Taehyung says. He sounds like he’s in disbelief. Which pisses Yoongi off, because Tae was the one who wanted to move out. He has no right to be surprised that Yoongi wants the same.

Except maybe he’s surprised that Yoongi wants to move out because he knows how much Yoongi needs him, and the thought makes Yoongi feel sick.

“Yeah, nine years,” says Yoongi. And two months, not that he’s counting or anything. “That’s long enough, don’t you think?”

His voice isn’t harsh, but it’s cold, and that’s maybe worse, because Taehyung’s face crumples in hurt. It’s almost enough to make Yoongi take it all back, but he doesn’t. Taehyung wants to leave and Yoongi shouldn’t stop him. If that means making Taehyung think that the feeling is mutual, then so be it.

“Do you not like living with me?” Taehyung asks, frowning.

Yoongi forces a smile. “No, of course not – but don’t you think it’s time the two of us branched out?” he offers.

It’s all absolute bullshit. Yoongi loves loving with Taehyung. “Branch out?” repeats Taehyung. “Who else would you live with?”

No one. There’s no one else.

Taehyung’s the only person Yoongi could even imagine living with, who knows how to keep him turning into an entire hermit, while giving him the time and space he needs to be himself. And Yoongi needs Taehyung, because if he lived alone, he would probably lose all contact with the rest of the world.

And both Yoongi and Taehyung know that. Yoongi has to avoid Taehyung’s gaze – he’s too afraid that Taehyung would see right through him, see that he’s only pushing Taehyung away to dull the hurt of feeling left behind.

“I could live by myself,” Yoongi says, because of course he could, even if Tae thinks that’s a terrible idea and even if Yoongi, despite how much of a loner he is, can’t help but agree. Taehyung looks disbelieving though, so Yoongi keeps going. “Or maybe Jimin. I could ask Jimin to move in, after you leave.”

This twists Taehyung’s face into something almost disgusted. “Jimin?” he repeats, and his voice is slowly getting louder now. “You spend all your time with Jimin and you’ve known him for what, a month? You’ve known me for almost twenty years!”

“Oh what, you can have new friends and I can’t? You spend all day with Bogum too,” shoots back Yoongi, even though it’s not about that, they both know it’s not about that.

“You know I have to do that,” snaps Taehyung.

Yoongi rolls his eyes. “Oh, like you don’t enjoy it,” he replies flatly. He’s hitting below the belt, but he can’t quite bring himself to stop. Can’t quite let go of the masochistic urge to see how much he can hurt Taehyung, because every wrinkle of hurt on Tae’s face sends spasms of pain into Yoongi’s own chest.

“He’s my friend, of course I like spending time with him.” Taehyung’s talking through gritted teeth now. “But we’re not dating, you know this! It’s just pretend.”

“Yeah, for now,” Yoongi says, and he’s being difficult, he knows. But he doesn’t care. He’s so upset and frustrated and he really just wants to lie down and cry, so Tae needs to just leave him alone now because he really, really doesn’t want to cry in front of him.

Taehyung scoffs loudly. “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” he asks, and he’s almost laughing, but his voice catches in a way that makes Yoongi think that maybe he’s almost crying as well. The sound is too much, too painful, too raw. Yoongi lets out a rattling exhale, casts his eyes up to the ceiling to steady himself.

“It doesn’t matter,” Yoongi says, his voice quieter now, as he brings his gaze back to Taehyung.

But Taehyung looks furious, cheeks flushing red as he steps closer to Yoongi. “No, it matters!” he yells. “It matters because – because what the hell are you saying? You’ve been so weird lately, I don’t get it, you’ve never had a problem with me seeing other people before, and I’m not even actually seeing Bogum, so what is your deal?”

“I don’t have a problem with you seeing Bogum!” snaps Yoongi. “I don’t care if you want to move out, if you want to go live with him, whatever!”

“I don’t want to go live with Bogum!” shouts Taehyung. His eyes are shiny with tears, and he rubs his hand angrily at the stray tears slipping down his face. Once upon a time Yoongi would have been the one to hold him and wipe his tears away. “I want to live with you, and you’re too much of an asshole to even get that! Well fine, go live with Jimin, see if I care!”

Taehyung storms into his room, leaving Yoongi alone in the living room to contemplate his sins. He sinks into the sofa in a daze. He’s struggling to comprehend what just happened, to understand how he and Tae went from having a civil – if uncomfortable – conversation about their living arrangements, to shouting at each other.

Yoongi isn’t sure how much time has passed before Taehyung comes stomping back out of his room.

“Tae,” Yoongi starts, looking up, still in the same spot on the sofa. But Taehyung walks right past him. And he’s holding an overnight bag in his hand. Yoongi gets up, panic flooding through him. “Where are you going?”

“I can’t stay here when you’re being like this,” Taehyung says, fumbling with his keys as he tries to pick them up from the dish by the front door.

Yoongi stumbles towards him, but falters. What’s he going to do? Forbid Taehyung from leaving? As if that would work, even if he wanted to do that – which he doesn’t. But he’s frightened now. Taehyung’s never been this angry with him before.

“Where are you going to go?”

Taehyung doesn’t respond, just pats down his pockets, unzips his bag, digs around.

“Are you going to stay with Bogum?”

This gets Taehyung’s attention. Having located what he was looking for – his phone, by the looks of it – he glares up at Yoongi. “You have no right,” hisses Taehyung, but he looks like he’s on the verge of tears. Again. “You have no right, Min Yoongi.”

Then he opens the door and steps out, lets it slam shut behind him.

Yoongi’s left alone in the silence. He stumbles back into his room, like he’s pushing through a thick cloud of fog to get there, and crawls into his bed.

It’s only then that he starts to cry.

 

-

 

Yoongi doesn’t know how much time’s passed when he hears the doorbell ring. He doesn’t want to see anyone, doesn’t want to speak to anyone – but there’s a part of him that hopes it’s Taehyung, coming back home. Coming back to him.

So he stumbles over to the intercom, chokes down a sob as he mumbles, “Tae?”

It’s not Tae. Of course it isn’t.

“Yoongi-hyung?” comes Jimin’s voice, audibly concerned even through the tinny crackle of the intercom. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah – I’m fine,” Yoongi says, his voice hoarse. He doesn’t fine at all, and he knows it. Knows that Jimin can hear it.

He roots around in his mind, trying to figure out what Jimin is doing here, vaguely recalls that they had plans to work on their music.

“Jimin, I’m sorry – now’s not a good time, can – can we reschedule?”

There’s a moment of hesitation before Jimin speaks. “Yeah, of course, but – hyung, you don’t sound okay. I just – can I come up?”

“I’m fine, really,” Yoongi croaks out.

“I’m not going to leave,” Jimin says steadily, his voice kind, but firm. Yoongi knows he means it, and he’s in no fit state to argue.

Jimin is at his door in seconds, small face wide open with worry. Yoongi almost crumples upon seeing him, barely manages to shut the door behind him and sit down on sofa before tears start to spill out of his eyes again. Jimin curls up next to him, rubbing slow, soothing circles into his back.

“Do you want to tell me what happened?” he asks, softly, gently. Yoongi tries to make words, but he’s hiccuping, and it’s difficult to speak. Jimin murmurs indistinctly, shuffles closer to him. “Shh,” he whispers, “it’s okay. Where – where’s Tae?”

The mention of Tae’s name brings a fresh swell of tears to Yoongi’s eyes. He feels so stupid, and worse – he’s hurt Taehyung, and he knows it, and it makes him feel terrible. Trying to breathe slowly, calm his heart beat, Yoongi rubs the tears away from his eyes.

“Tae’s gone,” he chokes out. “We got into a fight, and – he’s gone.”

Jimin doesn’t say anything for a moment. Just wraps his arms around Yoongi, presses his cheek against Yoongi’s shoulder. The slow, steady rhythm of Jimin’s breathing helps calm Yoongi down.

Slowly, but surely, Jimin coaxes the story out of Yoongi. He nods understandingly, eyes bright with concern, as Yoongi hears the words come trickling out of him, then begin to flow more smoothly, more rapidly. All of their fights about Bogum, all the frustration and abandonment that Yoongi’s been struggling with, all the confusing mess of feelings he has about Taehyung.

“I just – I was sad, because he’s leaving me behind,” mumbles Yoongi, looking down.

Jimin hums in acknowledgement. “Why does that made you sad?” he asks

Yoongi shrugs. Doesn’t look at Jimin. “We’ve been together for so long, you know,” he says, “I kinda – I just thought we would be together forever. Which is stupid, but – I can’t imagine life without him.”

Jimin doesn’t say anything in response to this for a moment, just reaches over and holds Yoongi’s hands in his own. His thumb rubs a soothing circle against the back of Yoongi’s hand. They sit like that, in silence, Jimin just waiting for Yoongi to be ready.

It takes some time, but it happens. Something inside Yoongi breaks wide open. He feels the sorrow surge up in him, and he hangs his head down, tips forward into Jimin’s arms, sobs ripping out of him. Jimin curls his arms around him once again.

“Jimin – I think – I think,” Yoongi stammers out, tripping over his words. His heart is hammering against his ribs. He feels like he’s been carved open. “I think I love him. I think I’m in love with Tae.”

“Yeah,” whispers Jimin, one hand stroking the back of Yoongi’s head. He doesn’t sound surprised. Yoongi wonders if he’s always known. “Yeah – I think so too.”

Then the lock in the front door turns, and the door swings open.

Yoongi looks up, and Jimin twists round to see who it is, but obviously it could only be one person, the only other person with the key to the flat.

“You have got to be kidding me,” snaps Taehyung, when his eyes alight on Jimin and Yoongi on the sofa, tangled in some sort of embrace. He drops his bag on the floor, storms into his bedroom.

Yoongi clambers to his feet shakily. “Tae,” he croaks out, “Tae, please.”

But Taehyung’s already stomping out of the room, clutching his wallet in one hand. “No,” Taehyung hisses, brushing Yoongi’s hands away when Yoongi reaches out for him. “No, I don’t want to hear it. I was gone for what, an hour? And you’re already shacking up with Jimin?”

“I’m not – Tae, you don’t understand,” Yoongi pleads. He feels so drained, so exhausted, that he can’t even put up a fight.

Jimin, on the other hand, has leapt to his feet and is standing by the front door, blocking Taehyung’s access to his route of exit. “You can’t leave,” he insists.

Taehyung stops in front of him. Jimin’s also blocking his access to his bag. “Jimin-ssi,” Taehyung says, in a tight voice, “I know we don’t know each other very well, but – move the fuck out of my way.”

“No,” returns Jimin, without missing a beat. “You – there’s been a misunderstanding. And I really, really think – I think you and Yoongi need to talk to each other.”

Taehyung narrows his eyes at Jimin. “And why is that?” he asks coldly. “I think Yoongi-hyung has made everything he has to say perfectly clear.”

“No, he hasn’t,” says Jimin. His tone is surprisingly sharp. Yoongi has to admire his sheer courage. “And, to be honest, neither have you. You guys owe this to each other. You owe it to yourselves.”

At this, Taehyung hesitates. He turns back, glances at Yoongi. “What about you?” he asks.

Yoongi’s shaking, but he grits his teeth. “I want you to stay,” he says. His voice is hoarse. He clears his throat, straightens his back. “Not just right now, but always. I don’t want you to move out, I don’t want you to move in with Bogum. I just – I want you . Forever.”

Taehyung’s staring at him in obvious shock. “What?”

Jimin sighs, rubs a hand across his face. “Just – talk ,” he says. Picks up his things, walks out the door.

When the door closes behind him, Yoongi and Taehyung are left staring at each other. A long, tense, silence passes, before anyone speaks.

“What the hell are you saying?” asks Taehyung. He’s still rooted to the spot, halfway to the front door, but now turned and facing Yoongi. “Just a few hours ago you were saying you wanted us to branch out.”

Yoongi presses the heels of his hands into his eye sockets. “That was – I was being an idiot,” he mumbles. “I don’t want to branch out. I just – I wanted to seem like I didn’t care. Because I felt hurt, hurt that you wanted to move out and live by yourself.”

This, incredibly, makes Taehyung laugh. It’s a short, bitter bark of a laugh. Yoongi’s startles, looks at him in surprise. “You idiot,” snaps Taehyung, but if there’s annoyance, that’s it. There isn’t any venom. “Yeah, I want to move out, but not to live with myself. I wanted – I wanted to move out with you . I wanted us to move into the new place together.”

Yoongi blinks, gapes at Taehyung. “What – what about Bogum?”

Taehyung scoffs, rolls his eyes. “I swear to god, if you bring Bogum up one more fucking time…” He rakes his fingers through his hair. “We’re just friends! Do you want to know what Bogum and I talk about all the time?” Not really, Yoongi thinks, but Taehyung isn’t stopping. “We talk about you , hyung – you! We talk about how absolutely, utterly, idiotically perfect you are. And how I’m so completely fucked because I’m in love with my best friend and he has no idea and he doesn’t even love me back!”

Yoongi’s head is reeling. He stumbles back, sits down on the sofa. “You’re in love with your best friend?” he repeats blankly. “Is that – is that me?”

Taehyung sighs, leans back against the wall. “Do I have any other best friends?”

“No, I guess not,” mumbles Yoongi. He looks at Taehyung, looks at this beautiful, vibrant, boy who he’s been in love with for most of his adult life. “I’m – I’m in love with you too.”

Now it’s Taehyung’s turn to gape at him. “Don’t fucking joke about that,” he says, after a long pause. He sounds angry.

Yoongi’s so, completely, overwhelmed. He can feel tears pooling in his eyes. “I’m not,” he manages to choke out. “I’m not joking, I – I’m so in love with you and I’ve been too stupid to see it, and all I’ve managed to do is get jealous and push you away and I’m so, so sorry.” He buries his face into his hands. The sobs are ripping their way out of him now. “I’ve fucked it, I’ve really fucked it,” he mumbles to himself.

When he feels a pair of hands on him, one on his thigh and the other on his back, rubbing smooth, slow circles into him, Yoongi peers up hesitantly. Taehyung is sitting next to him, gently humming under his breath. “Shh,” he’s saying, “it’s okay. It’ll be okay.”

Even through the blur of tears that clouds his vision, Taehyung still looks so, incredibly, beautiful. Yoongi looks him in the eyes, marvels at how someone as plain, as uninspiring, as him, could have attracted someone as wonderful as Taehyung. “Will it be okay?” he asks, quietly.

Taehyung nods. “Yes,” he replies, with unfounded certainty, but it comforts Yoongi. “Yes, it will be.”

“I’m sorry,” Yoongi mumbles again, but this time Taehyung just shakes his head.

“I’m sorry too,” he says, soothingly. “We were both idiots. It’s okay. We can be idiots together.”

At this, Yoongi manages to quirk a small smile. “Idiots in love together?” he asks, hopefully.

Taehyung laughs. It’s a light, bright sound, and it fills Yoongi’s heart with joy. “Yes” he agrees. “Idiots in love together.”

 

-

 

Yoongi beams at Taehyung. They’ve been to countless red carpets together now, and still he’s astounded by how magnetic Taehyung is. Not just because of his looks, but – something more. There’s something about Taehyung that draws people towards him. It had drawn Yoongi in as well, after all.

But for once, Yoongi doesn’t feel inadequate. He feel proud, and incredibly blessed, but he feels whole in his own right.

The album he produced for Jimin had catapulted both of them into fame – or at least, a small taste of it, compared to what Taehyung was now getting used to – and it had opened up so many doors for Yoongi. Now he spends all day doing what he loves, getting to challenge himself, and the world, with his creativity.

And he gets to do it with Taehyung by his side.

“Hey, babe,” murmurs Taehyung, coming back to stand beside him. “Sorry about all of this.”

Yoongi beams fondly at him. “Don’t be sorry,” he replies. “Don’t ever be sorry.”

A photographer calls out Taehyung’s name, beckons him closer. Yoongi gives him a nudge. “Go on,” he says, “the people want you.”

Taehyung shoots him an apologetic smile, releases his grip on Yoongi’s waist, and is about to step forward again, when the same photographer gives another yell. “Both of you, both of you, please!” he shouts. “Taehyung-ssi, stand with your boyfriend!”

Startled, it takes Yoongi a second to realise they’re talking about him. He stumbles forward, nestles himself against Taehyung, who’s standing there with one arm outstretched, grinning so widely Yoongi thinks his face is going to split in two.

“Min Yoongi-ssi, look this way please!” another photographer shouts. Yoongi blinks, does as he’s told.

“They know your name!” whispers Taehyung excitedly out of the corner of his mouth. Yoongi can barely register what’s happening. They know his name?

A red carpet interviewer leans across the barricade, desperately shoving a mic into Taehyung’s face. It’s a little rude, and Yoongi can’t help but tighten his hold on Taehyung, take a small step forward protectively. But Taehyung is just smiling in that charming way he does, and leaning forward obligingly to listen to her question.

“Taehyung-ssi!” she shouts over the noise. “What’s it like going out with one of the hottest young producers in the industry? How do the two of you make it work, between your busy schedules?”

Yoongi is dumbfounded. Hottest young producers? Thankfully, Taehyung just gives a light giggle, clearly much more adept at handling these things than Yoongi is. Maybe it’s experience, Yoongi thinks, but more likely it’s just predisposition.

“It’s amazing, and I feel so blessed,” Taehyung’s saying, flashing his toothy grin. “It’s tough sometimes, especially when I have a project, and Yoongi’s so busy all the time with the incredible music he creates. But we make it work because we love each other.”

The interviewer brings one hand to her heart. “Aren’t you guys the cutest!” she exclaims. “Yoongi-ssi, anything you have to say?”

Yoongi’s about to politely decline to comment, but then he turns and catches sight of Taehyung, standing there, the setting sun radiant against his honey brown hair, his eyes glowing with pride as he stares at him. And the words come to him so easily.

“I love him,” he says, smiling. “I’m just lucky that, out of all the stars in the sky, I found him. And he found me.”

Taehyung beams, leans down to press a quick kiss against Yoongi’s lips. The interviewer coos with delight, snapping eagerly at her photographer to get a got shot of the moment.

But Yoongi doesn’t care about any of that. Lights flash around them, hordes of celebrities wander down the red carpet behind them. And yet, none of that matters.

He is Taehyung’s, and Taehyung is his. Out of all the stars in the sky, they found each other.