Seokjin loves everyone with all his heart. He knows this, they know this.
But he thinks something slightly changed when it came to Jungkook. It didn’t happen overnight, it was something that felt almost intangible, a little slow, and a lot confusing.
When the cameras are on, he plays up his funny and boisterous side. Happy to make everyone laugh even if it sometimes makes them cringe and they plead for him to stop. As long as they felt a little more comfortable in unfamiliar situations with foreign questions they couldn’t understand. His puns though, that definitely became a part of his arsenal of jokes, his go-to. It became a part of his on-camera personality, the “ahjussi gag” as they called it and he was fine with it. But with their group and their astronomical rise to popularity, the cameras were almost always on, and somewhere in between that his punniness blended into his off-camera personality. He didn’t mind because if anything, he still found it hilarious.
So he’d do it to his members even if he didn’t get much of a reaction as he would on camera. And he’d always attempt it on Jungkook because of their ongoing friendly banter and ensuing headlocks or pretend boxing. As much as they pretended to have their rivalry, Seokjin always had a soft spot for the kind and sweet maknae. He watched him grow up from the very timid, young boy he was to the confident and energetic young man he is today. But in Seokjin’s eyes, even then, he saw and treated Jungkook like a kid.
He thinks it all started when he tried pranking Jungkook in the studio late one night. Seokjin had just finished dance practice with some of the others when he found Jungkook snoozing in the comfortable chair in front of the monitor.
He quietly tiptoed out and chuckled to himself as he somehow scrounged up 20 bundles of bananas in the kitchen (someone in the staff clearly had a thing for bananas or was keeping a pet monkey). Nonetheless, that didn’t stop Seokjin from gathering all 20, while making a second trip back, and strategically placing them all around Jungkook and on him. When he was done and satisfied he lightly whispered “Jungkook-ah”.
Jungkook blearily and slowly blinked open his eyes and wheeled the chair around. When he fully faced Seokjin, Seokjin eagerly declared out “I’m bananas for you!” and promptly burst into hearty laughter while slapping his thigh.
It definitely took him a good couple of seconds before he was able to compose himself. But he was ready for the maknae to maybe chuck a bundle at him, or try and put him in a headlock, or even say ‘oh my god hyung you’re so ridiculous’, but none of that happened.
Instead he got a still very drowsy looking Jungkook who softly smiled at him and blinked back and said “That’s cute, hyung.”
He rubbed at his eyes but they were still focused on Seokjin. And Seokjin felt his heart stutter. His laughing slowed to a halt and he was perplexed.
Jungkook yawned and barely paid attention to the bundle hanging precariously off his shoulder. Did he…maybe not get it? So he tried to clarify.
“It’s a pun, because you know, lots of bananas and it’s a saying…” he trails off, feeling a little dumb.
“Hm? No, I got it.” Jungkook returns, plucking the bundle off his shoulder and tearing off one. He peels it and takes a big bite, “I thought it was cute” he says with his cheeks full, chewing happily.
“Oh...okay.” There’s a beat of silence filled with Jungkook’s chewing.
Seokjin feels flustered, which to say the least is unusual. If anything, Seokjin has that effect on others. That’s his job. He’s not used to being the receiving end of that.
“Are you going home soon hyung?”
“Yeah. I was going to go after this…” Seokjin trails off again, desperately trying to understand what the heck is going on.
“Mm okay. After I finish this I’m going to upload my cover and head home too. Want to go together?”
“Yeah sure. Uh, let me just get my stuff. Do you want to clean this up now?” He gestures at the bananas and they look silly now.
“Nah. It’s kind of funny like this,” his nose scrunches and he shrugs. “I can clean it up tomorrow.”
When Seokjin slips into his bed that night, he thinks of his erratic heartbeat and the confusion again and thinks it’s a fluke. He just thought Jungkook looked too endearing in that sleepy state of his, that’s all. He always coos at the boys when they look cute. With that, he promptly goes to sleep.
And he was right, in a sense. His heart didn’t do anything funny again but unbeknownst to Seokjin, he’d naturally gravitate more towards Jungkook. Whether it was playfully nudging Jungkook or trying to get into an arm wrestle with him, he was always less than a meter away from him and always within touching distance.
It’s during their season’s greetings photoshoot when Jimin and Taehyung comment on it that Seokjin notices too.
“Why do you keep feeding Jungkookie all the meat? I want some too hyung.” Jimin asked during their lunch break. He swiftly snatched a piece as Seokjin paused, chopsticks hovering in the air and ready to get another one for the maknae. He takes a quick glance at everyone else’s plate and sees they have a smaller amount while Jungkook’s held much more. Usually, he’d laugh and shrug it off saying something about how he’s still a growing boy but Taehyung joins in on the conversation.
“Seokjin hyung is spoiling Jungkookie again” he laughs with a teasing tone and takes a piece of meat too.
“What do you mean ‘again’?” Seokjin asks incredulously because really, he thinks he spoils everyone equally.
“Well, when I ask you to get something for me in the fridge you tell me ‘you’re young you have more energy, so in actuality you should be using those legs to get me something’ but for Jungkookie you do it without hesitation. Or when I ask to borrow something you make me do something but with Jungkookie, no questions asked!” Taehyung punctuates his reply by spooning an enormous amount of rice into his mouth.
For some reason, that gets Seokjin’s hackles up and he retorts “I feel unjustly attacked right now. Younger people like you,” he points his chopsticks at the offending duo, “should be considerate of your eldest and best hyung. And is asking for a favor in return before you borrow something really that bad? I always spoil you guys too, you ungrateful kids.” He reaches over at Taehyung’s plate to steal a bite of his food and Taehyung whines. Seokjin makes a face at him.
Jungkook intercedes, going back to their original point and says lightly, “Hyung’s just making sure I have enough strength when I play against him at the arcade game setup they have for us later. Which I will win at anyways.” He laughs and Seokjin lightly swats at him.
Jimin and Taehyung roll their eyes and resume eating. Seokjin tries to do the same too, but the conversation makes him feel a little unsettled. He tries to go over the times he’s done this to the others and Jungkook and okay, maybe he can pick out some instances where he does seem to favor Jungkook. Alright fine, maybe it was pretty often but it didn’t mean anything.
When their lunch is finished, Seokjin does what he does best and brushes the conversation aside. Doesn’t let it get to him more than it has.
“The staff said they have fruit for dessert. What do you guys want?” Jimin asks as he opens up a paper bag.
Seokjin tries not to think about bananas.
It’s a surprising day off for them. Their managers said that the schedule for today was cancelled and rescheduled to another day. So everyone collectively decided to take a much needed day off. Namjoon and Hoseok goes off to see a new designer collab at a clothing store, Jimin is out with his friends, Taehyung also hangs with his Hwarang friends, Yoongi’s asleep or making music somewhere, Jungkook is probably gaming in his room, and Seokjin is happily enjoying the drama that’s on right now.
He can remember the last time they had a vacation, but he can’t remember the last time he was by himself in a room, quietly enjoying a drama. He got himself comfortable, happily wearing his sweats and giving RJ the space next to him. It’s an hour into the show when he hears footsteps come into the living room.
“Hey hyung, whatcha watching?” Jungkook sits down heavily in the space next to RJ.
“It’s ‘Let’s Eat’. On the second episode.” He doesn’t take his eyes off the tv, the food looks too delicious.
It’s silent as they both watch for a few minutes. Then he feels something settle on his lap and he looks down to see that Jungkook has gotten comfortable and laid his head there while hugging RJ to his chest. Seokjin blinks, pushing up his glasses.
“I’m a little sleepy,” Jungkook says as way of explanation. Not like Seokjin needed one.
“Weren’t you napping earlier?” Seokjin immediately regrets saying that.
“Yeah, but your lap feels more comfortable.” Jungkook moves his head a bit and then curls his legs in so that they don’t dangle off the edge of the couch.
Seokjin doesn’t say anything to that, just relaxes against the couch and tries not to think about how Jungkook smells good.
Taking advantage of his hyung’s relaxed state, Jungkook snatches the remote from Seokjin’s side of the couch. “I want to watch something else.”
Seokjin rolls his eyes but concedes and instinctively reaches out to stroke his hair. Jungkook hums in pleasure and changes the show to something with a lot of action.
After some time, Hoseok comes home and finds them in the same position.
“Oh hey hyung.” He greets Seokjin and instantly lowers his voice as he sees Jungkook snoozing away in his lap.
“You came home early Hope-ah,” Seokjin notes.
“I finished shopping,” he holds up his purchases and then looks at the tv, “what are you watching anyways?”
Seokjin blinks, “Some action drama I think? I don’t know, Jungkook picked it.”
“Uh huh, but you don’t like watching action.”
“He took the remote.”
“But he’s sleeping.”
Oh right. He fell asleep a while ago as Seokjin continued to stroke his hair.
He shrugs. He didn’t even notice; truth be told he wasn’t even paying attention to the drama. Wasn’t thinking of anything, really. He was probably halfway towards dozing off himself. It was hard not to when he was comfortably relaxed and warm.
Seokjin stops petting Jungkook’s hair and immediately the younger makes a small noise of protest in his sleep. He continues again and Jungkook shifts in his lap, sighing contentedly.
Something sparkles in Hoseok’s eyes, like he’s in on a secret. That’s not cool, he wants in on the secret too so Seokjin quirks up an eyebrow, “What’s up?”
“Nothing hyung, you just look very comfortable,” he flashes a smiles and leaves to his room.
Seokjin pushes up his glasses again, feeling a little unnerved. That gleam in Hoseok’s eyes tug at his consciousness but he doesn’t get it. He suddenly notices the Chimmy slippers that Jungkook was wearing and eyes it suspiciously for a moment.
He mentally shrugs it off and continues to card his fingers through Jungkook’s soft hair, listening to his even breathing.
As his eyes slip close, Seokjin wishes for more days off like this.
Jungkook didn’t act any differently than he normally did. Still into his hobbies, still joking around with his hyungs. He treated Seokjin just the same, nothing strange or awkward.
For the first time in a very long time, it’s Seokjin who feels awkward with Jungkook. The last time he felt like this was when he was getting used to living with the 6 boys in a too cramped dorm. But this? This is weird and Seokjin doesn’t like awkward.
Seokjin’s not dumb, he probably knew deep down for awhile now but it was shoved away into a corner somewhere.
It really came to light when he was drinking a glass of water in the kitchen. Jungkook beelined towards the fridge and picked out a Binggrae banana milk. He casually finished one in a single go and then took out another from the fridge. He grinned at Seokjin and ran back to his room.
And that’s when it hit him, it was the damn banana milk. His mind unwillingly rewinded to the ‘I’m bananas for you’ joke and how he felt flustered and confused afterwards. It definitely started from then. He checks the fridge and there’s a whole shelf full of them.
For a split second, he contemplates throwing out all the banana milk for the sake of his sanity, but then Jungkook would be upset. He deeply sighs, closes it, and begins to gently hit his head against the fridge door.
Seokjin usually sleeps well no matter the circumstances. But lately, he hasn’t been and ends up tossing and turning until it’s nearly morning. He chalks it up to the fact that it’s their impending comeback, the pressure, and their relentless practice. To say the least, Seokjin is stressed but tries not to show it. He sees how the others are tense, nervous, and worried. So he amps up his smiles and jokes to keep the members’ spirits up. But when he goes to bed, all these unbidden thoughts keep interrupting his beauty sleep.
One night in a desperate attempt to sleep, he leaves his warm bed to go crash on the couch. Maybe sleeping somewhere else will help him sleep? His mind has gone a little fuzzy at this point from the delirious exhaustion. It’s an hour later into the night and he’s still shifting uncomfortably in the couch when he hears a whisper.
Seokjin promptly squeaks and falls off the couch with a muted thud. He hears a rush of footsteps that stop right in front of him. He squints into the dark, “Jungkookie?”
“Yeah, hyung. Are you okay?” he asks.
“Oh god don’t do that again. You scared me and that hurt.” He rubs his arm and climbs back onto the couch.
He can hear the frown in Jungkook’s voice when he asks “Why are you sleeping out here?”
“Just trying something new,” he says as lightheartedly as he can.
“Nice try hyung.”
Seokjin is stubborn but Jungkook is even more stubborn and figures lying to him about it isn’t worth it when he wants to fall asleep as soon as he can.
He crosses his arms, “Fine. I haven’t been sleeping well lately so I thought maybe sleeping on the couch would help.”
“Yeontan peed on it today.”
Seokjin yelps again and falls ungracefully onto the floor. He hears stifled giggles from Jungkook.
“I’m going to kill you,” Seokjin groans.
“Kidding. I have a better idea,” Jungkook crouches down, “want to sleep in my bed? Mine’s pretty comfy and I just washed the sheets so it smells nice.”
He thinks about it, “Where will you sleep?”
“Right next to you? I mean, my bed’s pretty big.”
That gives Seokjin pause but it sounds really appealing and he’s just about to keel over from his weariness so it doesn’t take him much to say yes.
When he tentatively gets into Jungkook’s bed he thinks how the last time he slept with him was a couple years ago when Jungkook was really homesick. He had taken care of the younger, soothing him to sleep and wiping away his tears.
Now in a wildly different scenario, Seokjin suddenly feels very conscious of the fact that Jungkook is only a few centimeters away from him. He squeezes his tired eyes shut but his nerves get the best of him. He can feel that Jungkook is awake too and something about this feels too much so he blurts out, “What do you get when you eat cookies in bed?”
“Crummy sleep!” he chuckles to himself even though he hears his own nervousness. He hates it. He hopes Jungkook will say something like ‘please go to sleep hyung’ or ‘that one was so bad’. But again, he’s proven wrong.
There’s a small huff of laughter, “I like that one.” Seokjin is just about ready to combust. He stops laughing and it’s silent again. Seokjin tries not to fidget.
“But if you eat cookies on my bed, you’re sleeping on the ground.” He pokes Seokjin in the ribs, the spot where he’s most sensitive and he flinches hard, swatting his hand away.
“I’m your hyung, I can do what I want,” he says with a sniff. Jungkook just laughs again and it makes Seokjin unwittingly clench his hands.
“Hyung,” Jungkook whispers right next to Seokjin’s ear.
Seokjin hears his heartbeat pounding in his ears and whispers back, “You too.”
He turns on his side and and buries himself in the blanket and his nose is filled with the scent of fresh sheets and the body wash Jungkook favors. His mind is racing, matching to the beat of his heart. In atypical fashion, Seokjin finds that maybe, just maybe he doesn’t see the younger as just a little kid anymore. His traitorous heart thumps in agreement to that.
Sleep comes surprisingly easily even with that last sobering thought on his mind.
After that night, they both came to some quietly made agreement that if Seokjin can’t sleep he comes into Jungkook’s room. He’d just scoot over and let Seokjin curl up right next to him. And sleep came easily.
“Jungkook-ah, do you know if--” Namjoon stops short when he sees Seokjin alone in the practice room, starfished out onto the floor. “Hyung, have you seen Jungkookie?”
“Nope.” Namjoon nods and is about to leave when Seokjin stops him, “Hey wait.”
He sits up, trying to get a better look. He squints at what Namjoon’s wearing. It’s an egg yolk colored yellow sweater.
Is that..”Is that Jungkookie’s shirt?”
Namjoon looks down at his shirt too, “Oh this? Yeah. I was feeling yellow today so I borrowed it from him. It’s pretty comfy.”
And once again, the first thing that comes to mind is bananas. No, please no, no. He can’t do anything as his mind rewinds the stupid prank again and plays, like a broken VCR player.
Is this some type of conditioning where he associated bananas with Jungkook and now anything yellow? This isn’t good.
He uncharacteristically lets out a frustrated sound, a mix between a groan and a shriek and he flops back down.
Namjoon jumps and takes a hesitant step forward, hand outstretched.
“Um, are you okay hyung?”
Seokjin stares off into the ceiling and waves him off, “Yeah, yeah. Just having trouble locking down the bridge part of the choreography.”
Namjoon’s worried expression turns into one of empathy. “I need to do that too actually. I’ll come back later to practice with you if you’re still here.”
“Sounds good Joon-ah,” Seokjin agrees and raises one arm to give him a thumbs up.
He continues to lay there, staring off into nothing, limbs feeling heavy, and his mind buzzing with so many thoughts. But there’s one that keeps filling his mind, filtering down to his heart and stomach in the form of butterflies.
It’s official, Seokjin has fallen for Jungkook.
He lets out another weird animal noise.
Seokjin looks up from his phone and finds Yoongi looming over and gazing at him with a quiet intensity.
“Found me?” He queries.
Yoongi sits down next to him on the couch in the corner of the large dressing room. There are random staff members milling about but the rest of the members are getting their photos taken. Seokjin was the first to finish and was relaxing.
Yoongi folds his arms and leans back against the couch, turning his head towards him.
“How are you hyung?”
“I’m fine, thank you. And you?” Seokjin dryly responds.
“I’ve been trying to catch you alone for a few days now.” Yoongi ignores the question.
“Because you’ve been very good at avoiding me.”
“I haven’t been avoiding anyone, much less you.”
“If you don’t want to talk about it, I won’t push. Just know that I’ll be here whenever you’re ready and I don’t want you to feel like you need to avoid me.”
Seokjin nods, thankful for Yoongi and his understanding. Yoongi settles into his seat, looking like he’s ready to pass out in a second.
Seokjin starts to metaphorically sweat. He’s bursting at the seams from all these newfound emotions and he hasn’t spoken to anyone about it. He gives in because either he talks about it or his heart explodes.
He clears his throat. Yoongi fixes his eyes on him.
Seokjin squirms a bit in his seat but Yoongi continues to wait like he has all the time in the world. Like a zen rock.
“It’s the damn bananas.” Seokjin mumbles.
“It all started with a banana prank I did to him like a few months ago. I set up all these bananas and said ‘I’m bananas for you’ as a joke--okay, don’t laugh,” he pauses as Yoongi covers his mouth behind his hand to hide his grin.
“Anyways, it backfired because you guys would usually either laugh or just like tell me to stop it, which I never will by the way. But instead he said it’s cute and he did that pretty smile where his nose scrunched and I felt so confused. That doesn’t happen to me. I do that to others. And now whenever I see bananas or something yellow, my mind associates it back to him and that stupid joke and I never want to see a banana again.”
Yoongi tilts his head, thinking.
“Okay, so you like him. What’s the problem?”
He gestures with his hand as he exclaims, “Come on, it’s weird. When we first started out, I was in college when he was in junior high! I’ve seen him as a little kid since the very beginning, because he was, or is. You can’t just change dynamics like that. He’s still the baby of the group.”
He tries not to fidget again as he waits for Yoongi to say something.
Yoongi’s voice gets soft, “Even though we like to baby him, I think we all know he’s been an adult for awhile. And if you really saw him as the same little kid, would you have developed feelings for him?”
Seokjin’s mouth opens and closes, at a loss for words.
Yoongi gives him a fond squeeze on the shoulder and finishes with, “You either tell him how you feel and move on from there or have your feelings eat away at you, which isn’t healthy by the way. He’s an adult and so are you, you’ll figure it out. But I think whatever happens, you guys will be alright.”
Seokjin grimaces, having had this argument with himself too many times already. And it was essentially what Yoongi just said. Say it now or forever hold your peace. He’d rather be buried.
“Thanks Yoongi-ah,” Seokjin says in return, patting him on the thigh.
“Mhm, no problem hyung,” Yoongi closes his eyes and leans his head against the wall, falling asleep within a minute.
Seokjin tries not to stare too hard when Jungkook comes back--cheek bones dusted with fine gold highlighter, sheer shimmery eye shadow reflecting off the lights, and a rose tint on his lips.
No, he thinks. He definitely doesn’t seen him as a kid anymore and hasn’t, for awhile now.
Seokjin decides to take the easy way out, because he’s a chicken. He’s not proud of it, but he won’t be able to do it otherwise.
He quietly comes into Jungkook’s room during another sleepless fit. He lightly nudges him as he’s sleeping and the maknae rolls over while lightly snoring. After some hesitation, he shifts closer than he usually is and faces Jungkook’s back.
He’s already feeling sleepy but he wants to get the words out.
But Seokjin takes careful precautions and says his name to see if he wakes up. No answer.
Steeling himself, he begins in the quietest whisper he can manage.
“Jungkook-ah, I’m really scared right now. You can’t tell obviously, but my heart’s beating really fast. And I hate this, feeling like this. I’m cowardly, I admit it. I can’t even tell you this when you’re awake because I’m afraid. Afraid of how you’ll react, afraid of how this will change everything between us and the group. Because I like you, alot. And not just our normal hyung dongseng relationship. As in...more than that. I want to hold you, touch you, kiss you.”
He quickly stops when he notices Jungkook shifting in the bed, terrified that he woke up and heard everything. He waits a couple more moments in bated breaths before he thinks the coast is clear..
“But anyways, I think, no I know it all started from that banana prank I did to you at the studio. You and your dumb smile. Because after that I haven’t been able to look at you or bananas, much less the color yellow the same. Which is absolute bullshit and if I really think about it, that means my own pun backfired on me. On. Me. And I’d say touche to you on that, I can’t believe you one upped me without knowing.” His voice raises a little at the end and quickly dials it back down.
“Getting sidetracked. Um, yes I think I made my point very clear by now. Maybe I’ll get the courage to say it to your face one day. I hope so. Sorry it had to be like this.”
His heart is pounding, the blood is rushing to his ears. He did it. Even though it’s technically not to his face, this is something. He rolls over until his back is facing Jungkook and tries to calm his heart down and go to sleep when he hears the sheets rustle.
His breath stops when he hears a sleepy mumble, “That’s not fair hyung.”
This is objectively the worst thing that can happen. Seokjin squeaks and ducks under the blankets, thinking about bolting out of the room in three, two—. Then he feels Jungkook’s arm slip securely onto his waist and hooks a leg over his legs and he’s effectively trapped. He wiggles a bit to test it out but Jungkook is solidly unmoveable. He stops struggling and his ears are burning.
Jungkook presses his nose to the nape of his neck and Seokjin shivers.
Jungkook starts spilling out his words, as if he’s been holding them for too long close to his heart.
“I’ve liked you for awhile now, a lot longer than you’d think. I never approached you because I knew that you still saw me as a kid and wouldn’t take me seriously. I didn’t want you to feel bad about rejecting me.”
Jungkook takes a much needed breath after he sped through that, but Seokjin didn’t miss a single thing. He keeps quiet while his face gets hotter, sensing that Jungkook wasn’t done speaking.
“And then I started recently noticing you were more...touchy? You’d look at me a lot more and it felt different somehow. At that point I thought I was just imagining things and then Hoseokie hyung offhandedly mentioned it to me. But I wasn’t sure still, I didn’t want to project onto you.”
Jungkook, feeling very shy, buries his face into the crook of Seokjin’s neck.
Seokjin would think he’s dreaming right now if he didn’t feel the heat from Jungkook’s flushed cheeks pressed against his neck.
“And right now, I feel so relieved and so, so happy. I think my heart is going to burst.”
He stops talking and Seokjin tries to figure out if he can coherently piece together words. But his brain is currently mush and he can only think of one response.
He manages to roll over even under the weight of Jungkook’s limbs and faces him. His eyes have adjusted enough in the dark to be able to make out Jungkook’s face. Seokjin gently cups his face and moves close enough where their lips are almost touching.
“Can I?” he asks quietly.
Jungkook blinks, lips curving into a smile. He breathes out, “Yeah.”
His lips are gentle, warm. A kiss that’s short but savored. Seokjin thinks he can drown in those impossibly soft lips forever.
They pull away after a few moments.
Seokjin can practically see the twinkle in his eyes and hear the mirth coloring his voice when he asks,
“So you must really be ‘bananas for me’ huh, hyung?”
Brat, Seokjin thinks but he grins anyways. Instead of answering, he starts kissing him again.