Work Header

Way Out There

Chapter Text

Yoongi and Jimin welcomed Taehyung and Jungkook into the bedroom happily, Taehyung immediately steering Jungkook to sit on the edge of the bed so he could perch above the maknae and tie his hair back in a messy little bun. Hoseok emerged from the en suite bathroom a few moments later with a pile of facemasks to choose from in his hands, looking around at all of them with a smile. The elder’s smile grew brighter and infectious once he realized that the youngest two had arrived, and the general atmosphere of the room seemed to glow with content.

Jimin was quick to tug Jungkook down onto the bed, sandwiching the youngest snuggly between himself and Yoongi, ignoring Jungkook’s half-hearted protests of being squished. Yoongi eventually took mercy on Jungkook and shifted sideways enough that their maknae could lay a little more comfortably on the mattress while still being entirely trapped by Jimin’s embrace. By the time he was free, Hoseok had already set Taehyung up with a facemask, and was staring at them expectantly.

“What have you got, Hob-ah?” Yoongi prompted, sharing an amused look with Hoseok.

“I’ve got one that smells like bananas, one that smells like roses, a cucumber one, and a charcoal one.” Hoseok listed off the options as he climbed up onto the mattress and stepped over a sprawling Taehyung. Plopping down practically in Yoongi’s lap, Hoseok spread the remaining facemasks out around their little cluster and let them clamor.

Somehow, Jungkook managed to get his hands on the charcoal one before any of the others did. He had a sneaking suspicion that his hyungs were being a little slow in choosing just so Jungkook would absolutely get the one he wanted. It was a sweet gesture, and Jungkook felt that warm, content feeling in his chest only grow. Jimin scooped up the rose one, and Yoongi and Hoseok grabbed whichever was closest to them. The pair was known for their love of facemasks, so they often didn’t have a preference when every single one that came into their apartment was one they approved of.

Hoseok maneuvered himself over to Jimin and helped the younger put his facemask on properly. Yoongi did the same for Jungkook as the youth laid comfortably back against the mound of pillows against the head of the bed. He was more than content to let his eyes fall shut as Yoongi’s steady fingers smoothed the sheet mask against the contours of Jungkook’s face. It was a surprisingly soothing feeling, and Yoongi must have picked up on that, because his fingers were only gone long enough to put his own face mask on before they were back to tracing over the curves and slopes of Jungkook’s face. He kept his touch light, careful not to remove too much of the sickly sweet lotion coating the mask, but enough for Jungkook to feel the ministrations.

Yoongi’s fingertips traced down the bridge of his nose, along the curve of Jungkook’s jawline, over the slopes of the youth’s cheeks, and around the curve of his temple. It was a repetitive pattern, soothing and strange all at once. Jungkook let his eyes shut and was content to just listen to the stilted chatter around him. The voices eventually died down as everyone let their masks set, but he knew they were all still there, and Yoongi’s fingers on his face were reassurance enough that he hadn’t been left alone.

He must have dozed off for a few minutes, because when he became aware of the muted voices around him once more, it was accompanied by the cool sensation of fingers gently massaging the mask oils into his skin.

“Do you really think this is a good idea?” Hoseok’s quiet question was the first thing to fully register through Jungkook’s sleepy, content haze.

“Going out, you mean?” Jimin’s voice this time, a little further down the bed than he had been originally. “Namjoon-hyung and Jin-hyung seem to think we’ll be okay. They were hesitant enough at first, but I think the bottom line came to showing the other gangs that this didn’t rattle us. Plus, we’re going to one of the most famous and populated restaurants in downtown tonight. If anyone tries to pull anything, they’re going to be dealing with a lot of unaffiliated witnesses.”

“Okay, fine,” Hoseok seemed disgruntled still, and Jungkook wanted to open his eyes and crawl over to wrap his hyung in a hug. But Yoongi’s hands were so warm and gentle against his face, and he was so tired his body felt like lead weights were wrapped around his limbs.

“What about Jungkook?”

“What about him, Hobi-hyung?”

“What do you mean, ‘what about him’ Jimin? He was a hostage yesterday afternoon! And now we’re here acting like everything is fine, preparing to send him, you and Taehyung – who was shot a couple days ago I might add! – out on a date. This just seems…I don’t know.” The frustration in Hoseok’s tone was not lost on Jungkook, or on anyone in the room. It was enough to finally get Jungkook to blink open his eyes, exchanging a knowing, sleepy look with Yoongi who let him sit up a moment later.

“Hyung,” Hoseok’s eyes were already on Jungkook as the maknae spoke up. “I know you’re worried about me, about all of us, and about whatever is going on right now. But we’ve always gotten through rough spots like this by moving forward. If we let what happened hold us back and overthink it, we’ll get stuck in a hole of our own making and be more vulnerable to other gangs. I agree with Namjoon-hyung on this one. We have to go out and act like we weren’t rattled at all.”

The pained look on Hoseok’s face was enough for Jungkook to scoot closer to his hyung and let the elder wrap him up in a firm embrace. Even if Hoseok hadn’t been in need of comfort at the moment, Jungkook was never one to turn down a hug from Hoseok. Leaning happily into his hyung’s shoulder, Jungkook let Hoseok take his time and simply enjoyed the proximity.

“I just don’t want to lose you again,” Hoseok eventually confessed, voice soft and breaking over the last couple words.

“You won’t, hyung,” Jungkook murmured back. “I promise.”

Hoseok had a past more complicated than the rest of them, and the fact that he was so open with his emotions and feelings with them meant the world to each member. It hadn’t always been like this, and they felt blessed to see the progression of Hoseok’s trust in them. He had always been honest, but they eventually realized that did not equate to vulnerability. Things were very different now, and they were all careful not to misuse or mistreat the trust Hoseok placed in them.

After a few more minutes of just letting Hoseok hold him, the elder pulled back and placed a quick kiss on Jungkook’s nose. He then resumed Yoongi’s earlier task of completely massaging the mask oils into the maknae’s skin. Jungkook felt like he might be glowing a little with how soft and hydrated his skin felt by the end of this.

“Okay! Time to get ready!” Taehyung crowed when they were all finished, shoving to his feet with only a mild look of pain flashing across his face before he reached for Jungkook. “Let’s go, Kookie! I’m dressing you up tonight since I got to help pick out the outfit you’re wearing. You’re going to look absolutely stunning when I’m finished with you.”

Jungkook let himself be pulled happily along to the bedroom door. He chuckled alongside Yoongi and Hoseok when Taehyung paused at the door long enough to urge Jimin into action, claiming that he was always making them late for fussing over his appearance. Jungkook caught the beginnings of Jimin’s offended pout before he was tugged from the room and down the hall towards Taehyung’s.

They spent the next half hour primping and prepping, Taehyung batting Jungkook’s hands away from their shared makeup drawer and insisting that he get to doll the maknae up. It wasn’t for Jungkook’s lack of skill with makeup, but on Taehyung’s fretting over Jungkook’s injured wrists. And it was only because of that argument (and totally not at all because of Taehyung’s irresistible puppy eyes) that Jungkook conceded and let his hyung do his makeup for the evening.

As Taehyung was carefully brushing eye shadow onto Jungkook’s closed lids, the maknae finally spoke up.

“Hyung?” He waited for Taehyung to hum in acknowledgement before continuing. “Are you sure you’re okay to come out with us tonight?”

“Because of my injury?” Something in Taehyung’s voice seemed resigned, and since Jungkook couldn’t see his face, he would just have to go with what he could hear and hope he was interpreting correctly.

“Yeah…I just don’t want you to push yourself before you’re actually feeling good enough to do things like this. It might not seem like a big deal, but with a wound like that, sitting upright in one spot for a long time might aggravate it.”

The brush moved away from Jungkook’s eyelid, and a second later, Taehyung’s lips were pressing carefully against Jungkook’s hairline. The maknae’s hair was already styled neatly and handsomely, so Taehyung was cautious to not muss up his hard work, but the affection behind the gesture was unmistakable.

“I know you’re worried about me, baby,” Taehyung murmured. “And I appreciate it. Everyone else is really worried about you, and you’re such a sweetheart for fretting over me after everything you went through. But I promise you, like I promised hyungs – I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think I could handle it. Plus, if it turns out I overestimated myself, I won’t hesitate to let you know. Deal?”


“Great, now keep those pretty eyes closed for me while I finish up. You still need to get dressed while I put the finishing touches on my own makeup.”

Nearly fifteen minutes later, once Taehyung was finished fussing over Jungkook’s appearance, he took a step back and admired his handiwork on both the makeup and the outfit he had put together. Clapping his hands together with glee, Taehyung gestured permission for Jungkook to turn and look in the mirror for himself.

Honestly? He looked pretty fucking hot.

Taehyung had done his makeup so that the sharp line of Jungkook’s jaw was stunningly prominent while the line and shade of his eye makeup softened the edges of his contours and gave him a youthful yet striking appearance. Jungkook had styled his own hair so that his longer hair fell in soft, curved waves, the shorter pieces near the front hanging neatly over his brow. And the outfit Taehyung had put together seemed to magically tie the whole ensemble together in such a classy way that Jungkook was actually in awe.

The silk shirt that Taehyung had picked out the other day during their shopping trip was a rich, soft silk dyed a deep royal blue that was positively salient against the shade of Jungkook’s skin tone. The neckline plunged just deeply enough down the front of his chest to be tantalizing without actually revealing anything that might be societally deemed inappropriate. Jungkook’s favorite part though were the sleeves, billowy and long enough to cover his bandage wrapped hands and wrists and not put any pressure on the wounds. Tying it all together were the black cigarette pants that Taehyung had insisted made his ass look phenomenal and would apparently have been a crime not to buy.

“You look fucking ravishing, Kook-ah,” Taehyung praised, coming up behind the maknae and staring at Jungkook’s reflection in the floor length mirror before them. “I did a fantastic job, holy shit.”

Jungkook chuckled as Taehyung started pressing lackadaisical kisses to the back of his neck and down Jungkook’s shoulder. His eyes were pinned on Jungkook’s reflection, intense despite the lazy pace of affection.

“Careful, hyung,” Jungkook drawled, leaning a little weight into Taehyung’s kisses. “Wouldn’t want to ruin all this hard work before we even get to dinner.”

“You’re right,” Taehyung smirked as he pulled back, spinning Jungkook around and smoothing out some wrinkles in Jungkook’s silk. “There’ll be plenty of time afterwards to take you and this ravishing look apart completely with Jiminie and Joonie-hyung.”

Jungkook couldn’t quite suppress his shudder of anticipation as he breathlessly asked, “Is that a promise?”

“Oh, absolutely,” Taehyung all but purred. He pressed a lingering kiss to Jungkook’s glossed up lips before breaking away and giving Jungkook a little shove towards the bedroom door.

“Go on out and show yourself off while I get dressed. I’ll be out in five minutes.”

Jungkook huffed a quiet laugh at Taehyung’s over the top wink that accompanied the dismissal, but he headed out to the main room of the apartment anyway. As he walked down the hall, the maknae picked up on Namjoon and Seokjin’s voices drifting towards him. He wasn’t surprised that Seokjin was there to see them off, considering how Jungkook was still shocked the eldest hyung was even letting any of them out after recent events. Giving his head a careful shake, reminding himself to stay positive, Jungkook continued out into the main room, head high.

Seokjin was dressed in casual clothes, a t-shirt and loose pants, but Namjoon's outfit made Jungkook's cheeks heat. It wasn't anything over the top or flashy, but it was so simple and fitted that it just screamed effortlessly attractive. His pants were dark and hugging his glorious legs, Jungkook having to work hard to tear his eyes away to take in the rest of the ensemble. His hyung had adorned a dark and wonderfully tailored, pleated coat like shirt. It tied in the front and fell prettily to Namjoon's shins, the long sleeves loose enough for comfort and the neck line steep and open to reveal the soft black shirt Namjoon had put on underneath. A silver necklace courtesy of Seokjin rested against Namjoon's collarbones and his hair was swept up off his forehead neatly. Jungkook tried hard not to drool down his shirtfront.

Seeing Namjoon’s reaction was well worth the time it had taken to get ready for the evening ahead. Jungkook hadn’t been trying to make an impressive entrance, but it seems as if his casual appearance – walking idly into the living room and taking in Namjoon's appearance after leaving Taehyung’s preparations, reaching up to carefully tuck a stray bit of his longer hair behind one ear – had been more than enough to make Namjoon notice him. In fact, their leader’s eyes went right to Jungkook, widening slightly as he cut off mid-sentence and raked a hungry, impressed gaze up and down the maknae’s figure.

It was extremely gratifying. Even Seokjin, standing at Namjoon’s shoulder, seemed a little thrown by Jungkook’s appearance.

Feeling his cheeks heat at the blatant attention, Jungkook joined his awestruck hyungs near the sofa and offered them a sweet smile, affecting innocence like he was completely oblivious to the affect he was currently having on them.

“Everything okay, hyungs? Are we still good to go?”

Namjoon took a silent step forward, hands reaching out as if to touch Jungkook before hesitating, moving up and down slightly like he wanted to grab somewhere else, before eventually settling on Jungkook’s waist and tugging the maknae a step closer, something dangerous and alluring sparking to life in Namjoon’s deep brown eyes. It made Jungkook shiver, unable to break eye contact.

He loved it.

“You look absolutely stunning, little one,” Namjoon whispered, his voice deep and unsteady. “I can’t wait to let you show yourself off.”

“With you behind me glaring daggers at anyone that looks, I’m sure,” Jungkook teased lightly, his voice quiet as he leaned into the sturdy hold of Namjoon’s hands.

“Not just him,” Jimin’s voice nipped at Jungkook’s ear lobe, his teeth a light graze quickly following. Jungkook startled slightly at Jimin’s sudden appearance behind him. He hadn’t heard his hyung approach, and was actually a little surprised that Jimin was ready before Taehyung. It was then that Jungkook realized how excited Jimin must be for this outing if he was actually on time instead of fussing over his appearance for endless minutes in a mirror.

“This is going to be a fun night,” Jimin said, smirk evident in his voice as he came around Jungkook’s side and pressed a kiss to the maknae’s cheek. “Any of our enemies out tonight are going to be stunned seeing you look like this. Oh, I hope those bastards cower. That would just make my night.”

As Jungkook got a good look at Jimin, he felt a little breathless. His hyung’s dark hair was styled back from his forehead, dangerous and attractive all at once. He had gone with a dark ensemble, the black silk button up and black fitted pants slimming and striking and Jungkook was having a hard time not gaping at Jimin. The dainty silver earrings dangling from his hyung’s earlobes caught the light in a pretty way and managed to tie everything together nicely.

“Easy, Jiminie,” Seokjin chuckled, a hint of worry pinching at the corners of the elder’s eyes despite his amusement. “No maiming tonight. You promised you’d behave.”

While they all knew that Jimin could never actually hurt anyone – much less maim them – Jimin played along, sighing over dramatically like Seokjin was ruining all his fun. Namjoon released Jungkook’s waist so he could draw Jimin into his side, drumming his fingers playfully up the hacker’s side to get him to giggle. Seokjin took Namjoon’s place beside Jungkook, a careful arm winding around the maknae’s waist.

“You know that if anything happens tonight,” Seokjin spoke softly, his voice lilting underneath Namjoon and Jimin’s easy chatter. “You’re allowed to bail out and come home. Everyone will understand.”

“I know, hyung,” Jungkook reassured quietly, leaning into Seokjin’s hold. And he really did, even without it being said out loud. It was nice to have that verbal reassurance, though – a reminder that they were thinking about him and would understand and accommodate no matter what.

“Have a good time, okay? You deserve this after everything that’s been going on recently.”

“Seems like I can’t catch a break, huh? Dinner will be nice, though. Joonie-hyung always did like to spoil us rotten.” Jungkook chuckled to himself as he leaned into Seokjin’s side, watching Namjoon and Jimin interact across from them.

“Whoa, Jiminie was ready before me? I must look absolutely stunning then, if that’s the case.”

Taehyung’s voice caused them all to turn and look over at said member as he announced himself. And truly, he did look absolutely incredible. His hair was buoyant and lush looking, falling in neat waves not as long as Jungkook’s but pretty all the same. His shirt was a rich crimson button up and his loose cut pants somehow made him seem taller than he already was. When Taehyung playfully and ostentatiously reached up to flip his hair back from his cheek, Jungkook caught sight of the rings glittering on his fingers and the red studs set in his ears.

“It’s probably the amount of accessories you’ve got there that held you up,” Jimin teased, voicing Jungkook’s thoughts. “But you do look amazing, Tae-Tae.”

Namjoon’s phone pinged a minute later, breaking up their compliment session as he pulled the device from his pocket.

“Our car is ready downstairs if you’re all ready to go.”

Seokjin got that hesitant look on his face again, but ultimately he gave them each a sweet kiss and let them leave. If Jungkook knew his hyung – and he did – he could safely assume that Seokjin would find his way into Yoongi and Hoseok’s room until they returned. Seokjin wasn’t good at keeping his worry company, so it wasn’t uncommon for him to seek out another person or two when something was eating at him.

For now though, Jungkook pushed aside his worries for Seokjin and focused on the weight of Namjoon’s guiding hand at his hip. The only exciting events Jungkook wanted to experience tonight were between himself and his three hyungs.

Twenty minutes later, climbing out of the car, Jungkook was happy to lean against Taehyung’s offered arm, feeling precious as he did. Ahead of them, Namjoon had a possessive arm slung casually around Jimin’s waist, the shorter mirroring Jungkook’s stance by leaning into their leader’s side, a show of trust in knowing that Namjoon would support his weight. The restaurant in front of them was part of a luxurious hotel set up, open to a select upper class public outside of the hotel’s clientele, and a regular date night location for their gang in particular. The staff at the doors recognized them almost immediately and welcomed them in quickly.

Once they were inside, a host led them to the second floor of the restaurant – a balcony set up that saw only a handful of other occupied tables. They had gotten here just before the usual dinner rush, so Jungkook had no doubts that as they sat, the place would fill up as it tended to. For now, they could enjoy some relative quiet and privacy. The table reserved for them was near the flower box ladened railing of the balcony, tall artificial heaters lining the edges and providing warmth in the otherwise chilly night. Namjoon paused before sitting to make sure that Jungkook was okay with the temperature – obviously thinking of the maknae’s still fragile health. Jungkook reassured his hyung that he was fine, and if that changed he would speak up, and they were promptly seated.

Jimin and Taehyung ordered a bottle of wine to share between them while Namjoon and Jungkook (still taking painkillers from his kit for his wrists) avoided alcohol altogether. They ordered their meals eventually, after debating the menu they were already familiar with, and settled into easy conversation while they waited, Taehyung and Jimin nursing their wine until the food arrived. Sure enough, the tables around them slowly began to fill up as time went on, and the background din of chatter grew steadily louder. It wasn’t enough to give Jungkook a headache, but it was enough to set him slightly more on edge. He gave the area a cursory scan every so often, still a little paranoid despite his reassurances to his hyungs.

It was as they were working steadily through their meals – Jungkook being sure to pace himself so as not to make himself sick off the rich food – when a voice called out to them.


Namjoon’s hand was quick to settle on Jungkook’s thigh, a protective gesture, as he turned to look over his shoulder at whoever had called out. The maknae was thankful for the grounding touch, because he was already tense and ready for a fight. But the reaction proved useless when they collectively caught sight of Jackson weaving through some nearby tables to get to them, smiling brightly.

Standing to meet his friend, Namjoon gave Jungkook’s leg a reassuring squeeze before doing so. Clasping Jackson’s outstretched hand, Namjoon tugged the other into a firm hug, grinning now.

Jackson worked as muscle in the inner ring of his own gang, GOT7 a long time ally to Bangtan after numerous occasions in which they saved each other’s asses. Jungkook admittedly didn’t know them as well as some of his other hyungs, but he trusted them to hold up their end of bargains and keep their word. They got the job done and did it well.

The pair stood by the table, chatting easily for a few minutes, leaving the maknae trio to their own devices for the time being. Taehyung and Jimin quickly picked up their own conversation as they continued to work at their meals. Jungkook stayed quiet, glancing around every now and then at the restaurant population. At some point, Taehyung’s hand snaked beneath the table and his large hand settled reassuringly on Jungkook’s thigh, just above his knee. Clearly Jungkook’s restlessness was easily readable, and Taehyung was attempting to get him to settle a little. The wordless gesture was appreciated, and Jungkook tried to keep getting through his meal.

Eventually, Jackson remembered that his members were downstairs, and that he was only supposed to be up here taking a quick smoke break. He bid Namjoon and the others farewell, apologizing for interrupting their meal and then he was gone. Namjoon slid into his seat again and sent the younger members an apologetic look for getting lost in conversation. His hand found its way to Jungkook’s other thigh, and the maknae found himself able to relax a little further under the sturdy, steady weight.

The conversation continued sporadically as they all finished off their food, the atmosphere easy and amicable.

“Tae baby,” Namjoon eventually spoke up, eyes fond as he watched said member cradle a wine glass delicately. “Do you have a shift at the café tomorrow? I want to make sure I get you home at a reasonable hour if you do.”

“I do,” Taehyung nodded, swirling the wine in his glass around with a practiced movement. “But it’s not until the afternoon, so you can keep us out as late as you want hyungie.”

Namjoon chuckled at the cooed pet name accompanied by a charming wink, shaking his head with a grin. Flicking his gaze to Jimin, the younger took the cue and shrugged poking at some remaining vegetables on his plate with his fork.

“My last assignment finished two days ago, and I haven’t gotten anything else just yet.”

“What about you, hyung?” Jungkook spoke up, voice soft. “Do you have to go into the shop tomorrow at all?”

They all had second jobs; things to keep them busy and keep them human. It was never anything too high profile or too high in demand when it came to shifts, and they were jobs that never really pressed for information past the identities and details Jimin crafted up for them. Taehyung worked later shifts at a dog café just outside the business district in downtown Seoul and Namjoon worked at a garage usually every other day. Jimin’s work was the only one that didn’t often take him out of the house, but his was also the only one that could be considered community service to a degree. He put his tech services out into the community for cheap or no cost for small businesses and helped them set up websites, enable Wi-Fi, or anything of the like. He worked just slightly under the table that way and didn’t mind if the owners couldn’t pay.

Jimin never confirmed it, but the rest of them suspected he targeted small businesses and didn’t mind going unpaid because his parents had been in a similar situation when he was younger. He told them that growing up the business often struggled through without proper tech because they couldn’t afford it.

Jungkook loved his hyungs for their subtle selflessness, and he hoped that once he had his doctorate, he could offer his services to low-income clinics or something of the like. It would be a little risky, because things like that tended to end up in the news because it made for a good heartstrings story, but Jungkook was nothing if not cautious.

“Not tomorrow,” Namjoon’s response tugged Jungkook back to the present conversation. “The day after however, I promised to work a double so it all evens out.”

“You mean we won’t see you much at all?” Taehyung pouted over the rim of his wine glass, batting his eyelashes at Namjoon beseechingly. “That’s a crime, hyung.”

“Don’t worry, Tae-ah,” Namjoon said casually, his large hand sliding further up Jungkook’s thigh as he did. “I’ll make sure to take good care of you all tonight so you’ll barely miss me then.”

Jungkook’s breath hitched, back straightening as Namjoon’s fingers drummed teasingly against his inner thigh. Taehyung and Jimin’s eyes immediately zeroed in on Jungkook’s reaction, eyes sparking with interest. Jimin, having picked up his wine glass, smirked and brought the glass to his lips, downing the rest of its contents in one easy swig.

“Hyung makes a good point,” Jimin crooned, setting his glass aside. “I say we call for the check and head on home, hm?

“Oh,” Taehyung hummed, watching Jungkook gasp again and squirm in his seat as Namjoon kept running his fingers against the inseam of Jungkook’s pants. “I think we’re all pretty fond of that idea, right bun?”

Jungkook shot Taehyung a look as his hyung sipped at the remaining dregs of his wine. He was trying for sulky and annoyed, but given the flash of arousal and amusement in Taehyung’s features, Jungkook could guess that wasn’t what his face ended up displaying.

Namjoon chuckled beside Jungkook, watching calmly as Jungkook opened his mouth to throw a retort Taehyung’s way. In that same moment, Namjoon applied just enough pressure in an oh-so-tantalizing way that Jungkook choked on his words with a strangled, soft, “oh.”

Jimin’s eyes flashed across the table and he immediately gestured for a waiter’s attention and asked for the check. Thankfully, the staff member didn’t seem to pick up on Jungkook’s current…predicament beneath their table and was quick to nod and head off. Namjoon smiled sweetly at Jungkook’s flushed, distressed glare and leaned in to plant a lingering kiss against the maknae’s lips. Jungkook couldn’t help the ever so subtle whine that left him when Namjoon pulled back enough to brush words against Jungkook’s cheek with those wonderfully shiny, soft lips.

“Don’t get too worked up just yet, little one,” he murmured. “You’ve got three hyungs here who can’t wait to let you know just how much we’ve been looking forward to this part of the evening. We wouldn’t want you tiring out too quickly, hm?”

Hyung,” Jungkook managed to groan just quietly enough that he didn’t draw the attention of any nearby tables.

Namjoon pulled back with a smirk and flicked a quick look to a notably restless Taehyung and Jimin across the table.

The check came quickly enough and Namjoon seemed to already have his card at the ready, handing it off to the waiter before the bill was even on the table. Once he had signed for their meal, they were quick to finish off beverages and head for the exit. Jungkook had enough presence of mind left to throw a few more cursory glances around the restaurant as they left, trying to make sure they weren’t being watched or followed out.

It was a bit difficult to focus once they made it downstairs however, because Jimin couldn’t seem to even wait long enough for them to get in the car idling by the curb for them. His plush lips were brushing over Jungkook’s earlobe, down his neck, before Namjoon even got the door open for them. Climbing inside, Jungkook found himself almost immediately tugged to straddle Jimin’s lap, those lips latching hungrily onto the maknae’s neck.

Oh yes, the rest of the evening looked rather promising.

Jungkook woke with a shout. His eyes were wide, darting around the dark room frantically, breath rapid and high in his throat. He was entirely disoriented, had no idea where he was, something entangled around his legs keeping him pinned and unable to get up and run away. The room was too hot, the sweat coating his skin cool as it was exposed to the air and made everything feel tight and itchy.

A hand on his arm and a voice muffled through his panic made Jungkook flinch away bodily, colliding with something solid and warm on his other side. Whining high in his throat around his sharp, painful gasps, Jungkook’s hands scrambled for purchase around him.

“Breathe, little one,” a deep voice broke through the haze of panic rather abruptly, and there was familiarity there that gave Jungkook pause. He tried to listen to the instruction, took a deeper breath – or as deep as he could manage.

“That’s it,” the voice praised gently. “Can I hold you?”

The idea of being held gave Jungkook pause, but he trusted this voice not to hurt him, and he kind of needed something to ground him. So after a moment’s pause, Jungkook nodded and braced himself for whatever contact would follow.

Sturdy arms, solid and warm against his sweaty skin, wrapped oh so gently around his torso and slowly pressed Jungkook back into a solid chest. He could feel a heartbeat – steady, strong – against his back and it gave Jungkook a rhythm to focus on as he struggled to right his breathing. One of the arms moved, large hand pressing against Jungkook’s bare sternum and rubbing carefully up and down, another pattern to focus on.

It took a couple minutes more of that gentle coaxing, but Jungkook eventually got his breathing into a steadier cadence. He dropped his head back against the shoulder behind him and pushed out a shaky exhale.

“Are you okay, little one?” Namjoon. He could now recognize the hands, the presence, and the deep voice, as his hyung. Gratefulness surged through Jungkook and he melted a little more into Namjoon’s hold.

“’M better now,” Jungkook promised with a sleepy mumble. “Thanks.”

“What happened?” Turning his head towards the second voice, suddenly remembering that there had been another body there with them, Jungkook found Taehyung watching with wide, worried eyes. His lips were pulled into a pouting frown, the skin around his eyes pinched with concern.

“Nightmare…I think. I don’t actually remember what it was about though,” Jungkook confessed, his voice slurred with exhaustion. He did remember coming home from their date, heated kisses and tangled limbs and breathless pleas. They had had a good night – the first in a while now – and Jungkook had interrupted their sleep, disturbed the peace, with this fiasco. “Sorry…”

“Hey, none of that,” Namjoon murmured into Jungkook’s ear, pressing a kiss to the maknae’s sweaty temple as Taehyung scooted across the bed closer to them. “There’s nothing for you to apologize for. We’re here, and we’re not going anywhere.”

Jungkook found himself unable to put his gratitude into words, so he just melted into their combined affection and let the tension seep from his muscles. Despite not remembering his nightmare, it felt good to be reassured and coddled until the lingering sense of terror faded away. But with that clarity came another realization.

“Hey, where’s Jiminie-hyung? He was here earlier?”

Taehyung pulled back from where he had been nuzzling little kisses against Jungkook’s neck to smile sweetly at him. It was a look that succeeded in making the maknae feel all soft and safe and reassured.

“I think he knew that Jinnie-hyung was still a little on edge about us going out, so once you fell asleep he went off to spend the night with him and the other hyungs.”

Nodding, satisfied that all of his hyungs were safe and accounted for, Jungkook relaxed into Namjoon’s chest. He felt a chuckle reverberate through his hyung’s chest and up the maknae’s back just before Namjoon adjusted them both so they were lying down again. Taehyung happily wormed his way into wrapping around Jungkook’s other side, tangling their legs together as Namjoon worked on straightening out the sheets over their bare limbs.

The bedroom positively radiated a sense of security once Namjoon was stretched out along Jungkook’s other side, his warm arm draped over Jungkook and Taehyung’s waists. It was almost too easy for Jungkook to settle against the warm mattress and drift back into contented unconsciousness.

Breakfast the next morning was a quiet, content affair following Taehyung tugging Jungkook into the shower to wash off the previous night’s events and an impromptu make out session. So sitting around the table with damp, towel ruffled hair and perched on Seokjin’s lap was possibly the best way Jungkook could imagine spending the morning. Namjoon had Hoseok curled into his side, their chairs essentially touching, while Yoongi, Jimin, and Taehyung kept to their own space and helped carry a quiet conversation over their food.

“So I know this isn’t exactly a breakfast topic,” Namjoon spoke up after a few minutes spent in content silence. “But we need to talk business.”

“New orders?” Yoongi prompted, running his thumb idly back and forth across the rim of his second cup of coffee.

“In a way,” Namjoon nodded, the arm he had slung over Hoseok’s shoulders squeezing a little tighter. “I got a heads up from Jackson this morning that they found some lower tier gang members snooping through their territory last night after dinner. He knows we experienced something similar recently and saw fit to give us a heads up in case they come our way.”

“They aren’t usually this bold,” Hoseok spoke up, still relaxed into Namjoon’s shoulder. “It doesn’t sit right with me. It feels like there’s something bigger going on that we don’t know about. We need to keep a sharper eye out on patrols from now on.”

“I’m inclined to agree,” Namjoon nodded, looking around at the rest of the members. His mouth was set in a firm line, eyes serious. It was a look he often wore when he was turning an issue over and over in his mind, looking for every possible angle and trying to find a solution. “I want everyone on high alert any time you’re outside of this apartment. The last thing I want is a repeat of the last few days.”

Jungkook pushed into Seokjin’s hold, his eldest hyung having wrapped both arms securely around the maknae to keep him safely situated on his lap. He knew that Namjoon meant what had happened with him, and the thought of something similar happening to any of his hyungs was downright fear inducing.

“Understood, hyung,” Jimin spoke up, looking around at the others as he did. “That includes going to second jobs, not just patrols. We don’t know what’s going on yet, which means we don’t know who is watching or when. I’ll try to keep tabs on everyone and the area around the building, but there’s only so much I can do. You’ll all need to keep an eye out for yourselves, too.”

“Exactly,” Namjoon gave Jimin a grateful nod. “I expect everyone home safe at the end of the night.”

There were nods of acknowledgement from around the breakfast table before conversation turned more towards lighter, amicable topics. But the thought of danger still lingered in Jungkook’s mind enough that he stayed out of those veins of conversation. He didn’t have a second job that would pull him from the safety of the apartment, and he still had some recovering to do before his hyungs would even think about letting him back on patrols and missions. But the idea of one or more of his hyungs coming home injured was entirely disconcerting, leaving him chewing anxiously at his lower lip.

“Don’t do that, baby,” Seokjin’s gentle murmur in Jungkook’s ear had the maknae startling in his hyung’s lap. His hyung’s thumb smoothed carefully over Jungkook’s lower lip, freeing it from between his teeth.

“I know you’re worried,” Seokjin’s voice was soft enough that their conversation was lost under the gentle din of the others’ conversations. “But we’ve all made it this far through much worse. We’re just being pragmatic and cautious. There’s probably nothing to worry about aside from the usual rowdiness and restlessness that the lower gangs go through every year because of their greed.”

“Yeah…yeah I just,” Jungkook sighed, leaning heavily into Seokjin’s shoulder. “I hate thinking of any of you getting hurt. I worry I might not be enough to help, or might not get to you in time, or might not have the right supplies, or—”

“You’ll make yourself sick off ‘what ifs’ baby,” Seokjin soothed, running a warm hand up Jungkook’s back beneath his sleep shirt. His long fingers pressed gently to the tense muscles of Jungkook’s back, a gentle soother. “I know you, and you’re smart and you almost always have a level head when we find ourselves in tight spots. I think I speak for everyone when I say we have full faith in your abilities. You wouldn’t have made it this far through your schooling if you didn’t have what it takes to be able to handle tense situations.”

He knew that Seokjin had a point, and Jungkook nodded to show he was listening and agreed to a point. He knew that some things were beyond his control, that he could only do and prepare for so much – that there would still be times he might fail or find himself unprepared. But hearing that Seokjin and the others had faith in him despite those uncertainties, it was enough to convince Jungkook that he just had to accept things as they were for now.

Looking around at the table full of people he loved so dearly, Jungkook knew without a doubt that he would fight for their safety no matter what. Even against impossible odds.

And absolutely nothing would stop him from trying everything in his power to protect each and every one of them.