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Handle Me At My Worst

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 ‘Why are you in the kitchen in the dark?’

The light from the fridge is the only thing that illuminates Yoongi’s wide eyes while the rest of the kitchen remains in darkness. But even in such limited lighting, Jin can work out that Yoongi’s silhouette lacks the outline of oversized clothing that normally surrounds him. Whatever he’s wearing clings much closer to his small frame.

‘I know you hiss whenever the sun hits you, but I’m not sure that vampires are affected by fluorescent lighting.’

‘You’re home late,’ Yoongi says with a frown as a string cheese hangs from his mouth back to a slice of pizza. ‘And stop telling people I’m a vampire. I think Jungkook is actually starting to believe it. He took the garlic bread off my plate the other day to “save me”.’

Jin sighs and hangs his coat in the hallway. ‘Yeah, you’re right. Vampire is too grandiose for you. You’re more like a tiny moth that gets startled by light and nibbles holes in my clothes.’ Jin looks at Yoongi, lips pressed together. ‘You’re eating dinner early. Normally you just crawl down to the kitchen in the middle of the night like a deep-sea creature emerging from the rock it lives under. Nibble on krill or whatever it is you eat.’

Yoongi frowns around his mouthful. ‘How many creatures are you going to compare me to tonight?’

‘Oh, don’t worry. We haven’t even got to the grand variety of goblins mentioned in international folklore.’

Jin earns himself a satisfying eye roll which he responds to with a smug smirk. 

‘Anyway, are you going to tell me why you’re eating dinner at the early time of 10pm in the pitch black?’

Yoongi shrugs but keeps his eyes on the food. ‘Had a date. The restaurant served stupidly small portions. And socialising makes me hungry.’

Something, a thing Jin chooses to interpret as annoyance, settles in the pit of his stomach. He swallows in the hope to wash it down. ‘You had a date?’

‘Yeah.’ Yoongi wipes at his mouth with the back of his sleeve. He’s wearing a dark denim jacket over a button up, which is more of an effort than he makes for most events. ‘Hoseok set me up with a girl from his office.’

‘How did it go?’

Yoongi shrugs. ‘Yeah, fine.’

Jin laughs. ‘And?’

Yoongi squints at Jin as he chews on his mouthful, swallows. ‘She was nice, I guess.’

Jin leans on the door frame, looming over Yoongi a little. ‘Oh yeah that’s marriage material right there.’

Yoongi places the slice of pizza back on the plate, slowly. ‘Why are you acting like that?’

Jin stands up straight, arms crossed. ‘Like what?’

‘Like a total dick.’ Yoongi makes eye contact with him for the first time, and Jin feels it almost like a physical contact. Knows that Yoongi is always up for going along with his banter, but is also the first person to call Jin out if he needs to. The easy thing to do would just be apologise for snapping. But he’s done three hours unpaid overtime for a business deal that probably won’t even make it through. The bus broke down on the way home and he had to walk from five stops too early. And now his goblin of a roommate is hiding in the kitchen in the dark eating his last slice of pizza.

‘Because, Min Yoongi, you’ve just been out for dinner but still have the absolute audacity to eat the last slice of pizza that I, a person who has worked a 12 hour day and worked through their lunch hour, was saving for when I got home.’

Yoongi’s stare softens as he looks back to the pizza. ‘Sorry,’ he mumbles. ‘I didn’t know you were saving it, I thought it was just left over.’ He holds the half-eaten pizza up to Jin. ‘There’s still half of it left. We could share?’

Jin scoffs. ‘Seriously? After my shit-show of a day, you’re offering me a half-eaten slice of pizza?’

Yoongi gently places it back on the plate and wipes the grease on his jeans. ‘I am genuinely sorry.’

Jin knows that the anger bubbling in his chest is irrational. That Yoongi just so happened to be the first thing he saw when he came in, and he just happened to make an innocent mistake. But it doesn’t stop that anger from the day and the date and the pizza from taking over. So, all Jin can do is roll his eyes, mutter a “fuck this” and storm up the stairs.

Jin can hear Yoongi call his name from downstairs but, unfortunately for him, Jin’s favourite hobby is pissing Yoongi off. So instead of a reply, he slams the door shut with a satisfying, staccato bang.

‘For fuck’s sake, Seokjin!’ The anger in Yoongi’s voice is lessened by the shake in it as he runs up the stairs. There’s a smack against the door that informs Jin that Yoongi has just run into it. ‘Do you always have to be this dramatic?’

‘Yes!’ Jin yells from where he leans against the wood, feet placed in a power stance that he knows Yoongi and his twig limbs won’t be any match against. ‘Overdramatic bullshit is literally my brand and I’m fucking sticking to it.’

Jin can see the handle swing up and down in frantic movements and can feel the wood budge a little against his back, but the door doesn’t shift.

‘God, did you slide your wardrobe in front of the door?’

Jin scoffs loudly, to ensure that Yoongi hears it. ‘You bastard! This is all muscle weight!’

The pressure on the door alleviates against Jin’s back and there’s an elongated sigh from the other side.

‘Jin…’ Yoongi’s tone is quieter now, lower. One that Jin’s become accustomed to after years of living together, but one that still makes his chest tighten. ‘Look I’m sorry, okay? But don’t you think that maybe…’ Yoongi’s voice trails off, but they’ve lived together long enough for Jin to know exactly what words would come next.

‘Don’t say it,’ Jin says quieter than before. ‘Because if you say it then I sound like a prick and, as much as I know that’s probably definitely maybe true, I don’t necessarily want to deal with that fact.’

It’s quiet on the other side of the door. Silence with Yoongi can mean one of two things: that he’s carefully thinking over his words or he’s keeping quiet, so he doesn’t lose his temper.

‘Did you want to talk—’

Jin interrupts him with a scoff, rolls his eyes for a dramatic effect that Yoongi can’t see. ‘Why the fuck would I want to do that? Can’t I just come out of the door, tell a dismissive joke that is so funny that you can’t even tell me off for changing the subject, and just act like nothing happened like a normal, dysfunctioning adult?’

The floorboards of the landing creak, which means Yoongi is probably shuffling from side to side in the way he does when anxious. At their previous apartment, it drove the woman below mad.

‘Fine. If it means you come out.’

‘And what will you give me if I do?’ Might as well start the light banter before he gets out there. Allows a natural progression to Mad Banter that will lead to Yoongi dropping the topic. Either because he’s laughing or pretending to be annoyed, and Jin will take either.

‘You’re probably hungry. The main signs of that is your eyes twitching and slamming doors. So, I guess I’ll order another pizza or something.’

Jin moves away from the door, eyes it suspiciously as if Yoongi will feel these perfectly curated expressions through the cheap carpentry. ‘The fancy place? The one you said you’d only go to if you wanted to pay an extortionate amount for an intense orgasm caused by food?’

‘That was your wording, not mine. I just said it was expensive.’ When Jin doesn’t reply, Yoongi groans. ‘Whatever. Fine. Just get the fuck out of here because I have things to do. And can’t have you sulking in here for half an hour before you finally come out and just hover around me and tut until I apologise, even though that’s literally what I’m doing right now.’

Jin turns around so he can talk through the gap. ‘You’ll get me garlic bread as well, right?’

‘Of course. We’ve been roommates for an eternity; I know your takeaway orders.’ There’s a light laugh. ‘And you’re the only person I’m willing to risk my vampirical life for to eat garlic. So just get the fuck out of here.’

Jin presses down the handle and pulls gently.

Nothing happens.

He gives it another tug, but it doesn’t move. Then lets go and pushes the handle down sharply and pulls again, but still nothing.

‘Seokjin, what the fuck are you doing?’ Yoongi sounds exasperated. ‘Can you please stop dragging this out?’

‘Bitch, I’m trying to drag it out! That’s the whole fucking problem; but the bastard won’t budge!’

Jin steps back and watches the door handle wiggle and hears a slam and a groan as Yoongi must push himself against it.

‘Yoongi, if I couldn’t get it then you and your little penne arms don’t stand a chance.’

‘I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been working out.’

The thing is: Jin has noticed. When you see someone every day, it can take a while for you to notice gradual changes. But, and Jin’s not entirely sure when, he started to notice that suddenly Yoongi’s baggy shirts hung on him differently—at the chest rather than from the shoulders. Biceps round as he stretched his arms up in an attempt to wake himself up. But that’s all irrelevant, really. Because Yoongi had been complaining incessantly ever since he lost a bet and Jungkook forced him to join his taekwondo class. And, from personal experience, Jin knows you have to build up a lot of muscle to fight Jungkook.

‘Oh, really?’ Jin saturates his tone with sarcasm. ‘Well, I’d hate to see your personal trainer’s reaction when you have to tell her that you’ve broken one of your cocktail stick limbs from fighting the thinnest sheet of MDF known to man.’

There’s another wiggle of the door handle before it flings back into position. ‘Jin, I think your dramatics broke the mechanism.’

Then a panicked, painful thought floods into his brain. ‘Wait, does this mean I can’t get pizza?!’

‘That’s really what you’re worried about right now? Not that you’re gonna be stuck in your room for the foreseeable future?’

Actually, Jin’s worried for other reasons. About how ordering pizza means he has something in his mouth and therefore can’t talk. In fact, he’s looking at his window, knowing full well that it’s a two-story drop to the street below and is very much considering literally going out on a limb to escape. Because to be here, foodless and trapped, means he can’t avoid Yoongi.

‘Do you think you can get me out?’ Jin tries the door handle, just to make a noise to disrupt any silence that Yoongi can speak into.

The handle goes down again, further than before, and the wood starts to creak. Then there’s a loud thump against the landing.

‘Yoongi, did you just hang off the handle?’

‘No,’ Yoongi mumbles into the carpet on the other side.

‘As much as I admire your efforts, you have the body weight of a tortilla, so that was never going to work.’ He sighs, running his hands through his hair in thought. Listens to Yoongi clambering to his feet.  ‘I feel like Jungkook has a saw of some kind. You know how excited he gets when he’s allowed to use lethal tools.’

‘Yeah, I’ve installed door handles before—’

‘Wow, Yoongi, you lead such an exciting lifestyle.’

‘—so I think I can just take the handle off and reset the mechanism manually. Wait here, I’ll go get the screwdrivers.’

‘Wait here?!’ Jin shouts as he hears Yoongi run down the stairs. ‘Literally where else could I go?! The fucking closet?! After eleven years of being proudly out of it?!’

In the quiet, Jin takes in the room behind him. He exhales deeply and walks towards a gift bag in the corner of the room. Yes, it was meant to be Namjoon’s present that he forgot to give him, and then it was meant to be Jimin’s birthday present, but now Jin is far more important. There are plenty more bottles of mid-range rosé in the sea. He hits play on his speaker, lets Wham! play into his bedroom, and swigs directly from the wine bottle.

There’s the familiar sound of socked feet shuffling up the stairs. Yoongi scratches against the door handle with a screwdriver, the cacophony accompanied by his frustrated mumbles. So Jin reclines himself in his desk chair and stares at the door, swigging from the bottle occasionally.

‘Fuck sake, the screwdriver isn’t quite the right fit. Your dumbass cousin borrowed my proper, very expensive screwdriver set to build a go-kart with Taehyung so I’ve just gotta make do with this one the last tenant left.’

Jin rests his head over the back of the chair, inhales deeply before he downs more wine. ‘So, thanks to Jungkook, we’re gonna be here even longer, huh?’

There’s a hum which sounds like an affirmation and Jin grunts in response.

Then, silence falls.

Apart from the soothing tones of George Michael.

Jin just finds himself staring at the door, knowing that the conversation is going to start again and that he needs to find a decent lie to get Yoongi off his back.

Hunger is a good one. As his stomach rumbles at the thought of food, he realises that it wouldn’t even be much of a lie at this point so that one seems like a stable choice.

Work stress is another pseudo-lie. It was stressful. It would be pretty easy to tell Yoongi about the pressure his manager is putting on him to make a deal with this conglomerate client. Mainly because he knows that Yoongi, normally a good listener, would rant about how large businesses are the ones killing this economy and driving the workers at the bottom further under the poverty line. And Jin will pretend he's taking note of what he’s saying, but he’ll just watch him get irate. One of his favourite forms of entertainment is Yoongi ranting about a very specific topic he's very passionate about. And, again, he won’t have to talk about himself. Just agree, while also knowing that it’s these awful companies that pay for their rent.

Jin realises he’s smiling to himself and forces a frown on his face, takes another long swig of wine.

There’s a very light thud on the landing.

‘That’s one screw done.’

‘Oh, Yoongi, are you having orgies on the landing again? I’m pretty sure that’s in breach of our lease.’

There’s a groan on the other side of the door. ‘That was weak even for you.’

‘Oh, leave me alone, you tiny ferret of a man.’ Jin’s voice gets louder, highlights different words with different cadences. ‘I’m stressed as fuck and trying my best.’

Shit. Fuck.

Being the life of the party at all times, a pressure he puts on himself, means he has set a standard. He must always be the funniest in the room, or he will literally combust. Why is his one weakness always needing to defend how he’s literally the funniest person on the planet? Why must he always defend his honour so vehemently?

There’s a short laugh. ‘Yeah, I guessed that. I got the hint when you disrespected our house. You know the building actually shook when you slammed it, right?’

There’s another drop. Halfway there.

‘Look, I am genuinely sorry. But also, it was just a slice of pizza. I didn’t realise it meant so much to you.’

‘I’d been saving it,’ Jin mutters through a pout. The wine is starting to go to his head now, and his filter is dissolving. ‘I’d been thinking about that sweet baby all day.’

There’s a quiet. Again, Jin can’t work out of the silence is the signifier of a thought process or repression of anger.

‘Are you gonna talk about it?’ Judging by the subtle rasp in his tone, it’s the latter.

‘No,’ Jin says as he hugs the bottle to his chest. Brings his feet up onto the chair so his knees are tucked under his chin.

‘This is so dramatic. Even for you.’

‘Where did you expect to be when you hit this age?’ The words are out of his mouth before he can put them through what little filter he has left. But he’s said it now. ‘Like when you were a kid, where did you expect your life to be at when you hit your thirties?’

The movement on the other side of the door stills. Wake Me Up Before You Go starts up on the speaker.

Jin wishes it was his cousin on the other side of the door. Jungkook would just insult him for being old and carry on punching the lock or something. Or yelling at it in the hope it would submit and fall off. But it’s Yoongi. And Yoongi is patient and kind and it’s fucking horrible.

‘I don’t know. I try not to think about it, I guess. I used to rely so heavily on having big dreams that I ended up losing out on a lot of opportunities. So now I just… Work hard for what I want, but try to ignore any expectations that I set for myself twenty years ago. Just work on what I know I can.’

Jin frowns. Then, when he realises Yoongi can’t see it, he huffs audibly. ‘I wanted to be a singer that exclusively did concerts on the moon. But then that seemed unrealistic, so I was happy to do them underwater like a mermaid.’ He takes a long swig of wine. ‘Or I’d have been a doctor.’

There’s a thud as the third screw hits the carpet. Suddenly, Jin finds that he doesn’t want to leave the room now.

‘And now you’re stressed because… you’re not a mermaid popstar?’

Jin goes to answer, but then realises that Yoongi likes to play the long game. That he’ll word things right to end up getting to the core of the problem, no matter how many layers he has to scrape at to get to it. And Jin is incredibly good at setting up layers. So instead he turns the music up.

‘No!’ he shouts. ‘I don’t get stressed like you mortal humans, because I can’t risk vandalising this beautiful face with premature wrinkles. I’m just really fucking hungry.’

Jin can hear the thud of something hitting the landing, just over the din of the music behind him. Then the familiar sound of Yoongi running down the stairs.

It’s easier this way, Jin thinks to himself as he swigs at the bottle again. Sure, he’s pissed Yoongi off, but also, he doesn’t have to discuss just how shitty work was or pretend to care about whatever tedious career Yoongi’s date has. Instead, he is trapped in his bedroom with a bottle of stolen wine and the love of his gay life, George Michael.

There’s a dull noise on the other side of the door, followed by a light crack which Jin recognises immediately as the noise Yoongi’s knees make when he kneels down.

Jin goes to talk, goes to make some dramatic joke about starving to death before he even got to go to a Carly Rae Jepsen concert. Or how George Michael would never betray him like this. But he notices something white slip under the door.

He extracts himself from his desk chair and crawls to inspect the package which is now fully on his bedroom floor. It’s a square wrapped in tissue. As he goes to unwrap it, another one appears. Then another.

‘What are you doing?’ Jin says with a giggle as he pries the tissue open with cautious fingers.

‘Apologising,’ mutters a muffled voice from the other side of the door. ‘Not well though. I couldn’t risk putting a topping on them.’

Jin finally unwraps the first parcel to find a single cracker. Yoongi’s right; there’s no topping and it crumbled a little as it travelled under the door, but somehow it looks like the most appealing thing Jin has ever seen. He picks up a broken bit and throws it in his mouth. Lets his stomach grumble in anticipation of the most disappointing meal known to man.

‘Thank you, Yoongi. But I can already feel my mouth drying out.’

‘Ahh,’ Yoongi says with a much lighter tone, accompanied by more shuffling. ‘I already thought of that.’

Something appears under the door again, much smaller this time. Jin crouches lower and watches it get pushed through the crack, revealed inch by inch. It’s a straw. But when Yoongi doesn’t stop pushing it through, he realises that the first straw is attached to another, and then another. In fact, it’s a group of them threaded together to create one, long straw.

‘All we have is plastic and I hate doing this to the environment, but I feel like paper straws wouldn’t actually work anyway. I drive a hybrid; I think the Earth can forgive me for this one.’

Jin takes a sip. The liquid sputters as it travels up and hits the joints of the straws, but the cold water still manages to hit his tongue and quench a little of the thirst the crackers left. As he’s there, leaning close to the ground, sucking pathetic amounts of water through ten straws threaded together, it strikes him how ridiculous this all is. How Yoongi, so careful about his purposefully crafted, serious persona, has made him cracker parcels and come up with the least efficient but most entertaining way to get him a drink. In his weird little way, this and the low giggle on the other side of the door is the most sincere apology Yoongi could offer. And all for something as absurd as eating a slice of Jin’s pizza.

The wine has seeped into Jin’s veins, only slightly and oh so slowly, and allows a slight laugh to fall from his mouth.

‘Does it work?’ Yoongi’s voice comes earnest from the other side of the door. Like it does when he fixes a wonky door on their kitchen cabinets or builds a shelf just because it’s a Saturday and he felt like it.

And the wine and all these thoughts mean that Jin is on autopilot, the thought process that constantly ticks over possible jokes and puns falters. Instead he says, ‘God it’s absolutely amazing. I was so thirsty; I love you so much.’

And the straw is yanked from out of Jin’s lips. He hears a splash and a “oh shit” through the wood. The joints of the straws falter with the movement and a couple of them spring loose and scatter across the carpet in front of Jin.

‘What did you just say?’

The panic brings back the cogs, tick over jokes and puns that could get him out of this. ‘I said, it’s amazing. A feat of engineering. You’re in the wrong career, Min Yoongi. You teaching tone-deaf kids how to bash at a keyboard is stealing your accomplished knowledge of straws away from—’

‘No. Not that.’ His voice is low, soft. As if he doesn’t really want Jin to hear, but it would hurt more to not say it. ‘Don’t say things you don’t mean.’

Jin replays his own words in his head, faded a little, in the hope to work out what Yoongi’s referring to. Then suddenly they strike him with pristine clarity.

The thing is, he does mean them. But not like this; not a blurted-out turn-of-phrase about crackers and plastic straws.

The words have never had a chance to form. But even Jin, master of avoiding dealing with his emotions, knows that the feeling has been there, brewing in the pit of his stomach. He’s not sure when it happened, or when it started, but he knows that gets worse when Yoongi walks into their living room wearing nothing but a baggy shirt, boxers, and a scowl from being awake before midday on a Sunday. Or the way he berates Jin for his humour constantly, but will immediately go along with Jin’s comedy bits when they’re in public, no questions asked.

But to let those feelings become tangible words, even tangible thoughts, goes against everything Jin stands for. It’s easier to just ignore all that shit and tell some dumb joke that will entirely disrupt the conversation, or say them with a large air of sarcasm like “Oh, Yoongi, you’re the love of my life how have I been so blind this whole time” when Yoongi is bent over the toilet, vomiting out the copious amounts alcohol he’d consumed that night.

Instead, he chooses to say these cursed words in the quiet gestures he and Yoongi are wont to do. Like spreading blankets over each other when they pass out on the sofa or an extra portion of food they somehow accidentally made but yeah, I guess you should have it.  But never words. Only distraction techniques and sarcastic pseudo-lies.

But the wine has fogged his brain and delayed his response time. It’s been silent for about a minute now.

Jin is a firm believer that actions speak louder than words. But he can’t deny that nothing speaks louder than silence.

‘I’m sorry,’ comes a small, low voice from the other side of the door. Yoongi clears his throat and fingers appear in the gap under the door. ‘Pass me the straws I’ll put them back together again.’

‘Yoongi…’

‘No, it’s fine, I broke it, I’ll fix—’

Yoongi’s words cut off as soon as Jin dusts Yoongi’s fingertips with his own. Yoongi’s hands are cold where they’ve been holding the water bottle, and Jin automatically rubs his fingers over them to warm them up.

‘Yoongi, hurry up and open this fucking door. Then I can drink water without your marvellous feat of engineering.’

‘Right,’ Yoongi says curtly as he withdraws his fingers. There’s the scraping of metal as Yoongi works to finally get the handle off. It’s quiet between them again, but Jin’s breathing feels heavy. He just tries to focus on the music still playing behind him, hoping that his natural talent for improv will bring up something to say. But his mind has already pre-emptively drawn a blank.

 There’s a click and Jin watches the handle depress, hears the click of the latch giving way. But Yoongi doesn’t open it. It just stays there, pushed down.

And Jin can understand it. It means that he has to deal with Yoongi’s “don’t say things you don’t mean” and it feels like things will change. Even if they laugh and brush it all under the carpet, things will change. Because Jin won’t be able to stop thinking about it or over-analysing it in the silence of his room.

He pulls open the door to find Yoongi standing directly in front of him, eyes wide. He darts them to the floor and the half-full pack of crackers and a roll of tissue by his feet. Closer to the door is a half-empty water bottle with an absurd amount of straws snaking out of its neck, a light puddle in the carpet from where it fell.

‘I’m glad you escaped,’ Yoongi says to the floor as he rubs at the back of his neck. ‘I thought I was going to have to find a new roommate and just keep your corpse there as decoration and to add “character”.’

‘Yoongi, what do you mean?’ Jin keeps his face serious as he looks down at Yoongi.

‘I mean that music teachers don’t make enough to cover a two-bed house—’

‘No, when you said, “don’t say things you don’t mean”. What did you mean by that?’

Yoongi’s eyes dart to him then, somehow wider than before. He has no choice but to hold Jin’s determined eye contact. Jin keeps his face as stern and tries to fend off every natural instinct to laugh or giggle, to make it easier. He wants Yoongi to know that this isn’t an act, that it’s not a joke. That Jin is making himself vulnerable as well by not letting it become one.

‘I just…’ Yoongi fiddles with the earring chain that brushes against his neck. His eyes naturally flick away, come back. ‘Sorry, I know now you were just saying them flippantly and I was overtaken by wishful thinking and—’

‘Well, what if I said them non-flippantly?’

Yoongi’s eyes stop darting around.  His mouth opens slightly, skin of his lips sticking together a little. ‘What do you mean?’

Jin lets the little of the wine that remains in his system dissolve the walls he has worked hard to sculpt around himself, one’s that he keeps up higher around Yoongi.

‘I mean, Min Yoongi, that I was never angry about the pizza. Well…’ Jin sighs, scrunches his face a little. ‘I was angry about the pizza, because I’d genuinely been fantasising about it all day. And today really had been stressful. But I also think I was being petty. I hate seeing you go on dates.’

‘Oh,’ Yoongi says as he looks at his socked feet on the landing. ‘I should have told you. I know we normally eat dinner together.’

‘It’s not about dinner. I mean, I was going to ditch us cooking together so I could have a saucy night with that pizza slice.’ He winks automatically at his own joke, before it becomes a wince and he forces himself to pull himself together. ‘At first I could dismiss it as being protective of my roommate, but then you got stood up by a guy that one time and I felt this really guilty feeling of relief. They weren’t even there to be a nasty person for me to hate. And I got to enjoy sitting opposite ends of the sofa passing a tub of ice cream back and forth with you while we trash-talked whatever reality tv was on. And also Jungkook. After that, I realised that I felt annoyed when I accidentally saw your screen and that you were messaging some guy on a dating app. At first I thought it was because of your disgusting anti-social, country-boy manners. Then realised that it pissed me off even when we weren’t even having a conversation.’

Yoongi is quiet, but watches Jin like he’s taking in every word. Or, knowing Yoongi, silently turning each one over in his mind and processing it individually.

‘Jin, what are you trying to say?’ He looks like he wants to say more, maybe guess exactly the point of Jin’s monologue. But he keeps quiet.

‘The thing is, if I say the words directly, that would feel flippant to me. Because I use words to say shit I don’t mean all the time.’ Jin can hear his voice getting louder, echoing against the walls of the landing, but can’t bring himself to care. ‘Have you not heard the bullshit I’ve convinced Jungkook of?! He’s still certain that peanuts are just baked peas. He’s even started carrying an umbrella with him to protect you from the sun in case your vampire skin bursts into flames. Yoongi, I talk a lot of shit.’

Yoongi scoffs. ‘You can say that again.’

Jin rests his hands on each of Yoongi’s shoulders, and that makes the smug look fall from his face.

‘Do you know how many people I’d wake up early to make packed lunches for before they go to work? Or pick up from a club at 12am because they swore this shit was easier when they were in their twenties? God, you once even convinced me to go with you to a club and you know how the alcohol and pheromones in the air dehydrates my skin. Min Yoongi, I finally saved enough for a down payment on a mortgage over a year ago, but I can’t even bring myself to look at one bed apartments because I just can’t imagine not sharing it with you.’

Jin feels Yoongi’s shoulders tense under his hands. ‘We always said we’d rent until you got enough for a house. And… You ignored the fact you achieved that goal?’

‘Yes. I could easily say “I’m in love with you”. But I’ve also said that to the cashier at the grocery store. But when I say it to you...’ And for a rare time in his life, Jin feels shy. ‘I’m not doing it to get a 5% discount.’

‘Oh.’

There’s a silence, and Jin wants to fill it. Wants to laugh and say “wasn’t that so funny? Anyway, shall we order a whole, new pizza and watch whatever garbage is on TV?” Or just slink back into his room, slam the door to lock on him again, and just down the rest of Jimin’s not-birthday wine and wait for his eventual death.

Instead, Jin says, ‘Okay, that’s okay. It’s fine if you don’t feel the same way, but if you could just outwardly reject me so I can drink cheap rosé and sulk to George Michael’s 1990 classic Praying For Time, I would greatly—’

Yoongi pulls at Jin’s work tie and drags him down to his height. Their lips a little off-centre, but there’s still enough contact to make Jin’s heart lurch. It takes a second to process what’s happening. That perhaps he’s living out the scenarios he’s forced himself not to fantasise. But when he does finally accept that it’s Yoongi’s slightly chapped lips against his, that it’s Yoongi’s fingertips grazing over the back of his neck, he starts to move his lips to let Yoongi know that he’s there, that he’s thankful. That he’s so glad that Yoongi’s date went badly and that Yoongi lets Jin go on his fake rants when he’s mad to avoid the actual problem. That Yoongi is patient and waits for Jin to sort his own thoughts out before he speaks them. That Yoongi understands that him saying “I love you too” would mean less to Jin than this direct, physical confession. But also, he needs to hear it.

He moves back reluctantly. ‘So, do you feel the same, or do you have blue balls because your date sucked and are just ridiculously horny as a result?’

Yoongi gives a light laugh, pushes lightly at Jin’s chest. ‘Don’t be ridiculous.’

Jin moves forward, enjoys that Yoongi has to crane his neck a little to make eye contact. ‘That’s kind of my thing, Yoongi. Are you sure you’re ready for that?’

Yoongi kisses him again, only lets his lips stay there for a second. ‘Kim Seokjin, I thought you were hot the second I saw you and the past 8 years we’ve lived together have been me trying to forget that. But you make it so fucking hard. You’re a…’ He looks Jin up and down. ‘You’re a moderately attractive human being, and you pull me out of my shell when I need it and let me push you gently back into yours when you get too much. You’re silently kind, but still so fucking fun to be around. So of course I’m in love with you too.’

As much as Jin appreciates the depth of Yoongi’s words, feels his chest flutter, he just really wants some action.

So he drags Yoongi towards him. Kisses him and tries to put in the thoughts that he can’t quite formulate. Licks gently at Yoongi’s bottom lip, feels Yoongi’s breath stutter. Brings a hand to the side of Yoongi’s face and gently drags a thumb over cheeks that have filled out as they’ve moved into Winter. Brings his other hand to Yoongi’s waist and lets it slip under his jacket.

They will talk about it later. Maybe tomorrow morning they’ll get pastries from the local bakery and sit at their kitchen table and discuss what this means, what happens next. How many ways they can wind Jungkook up before Yoongi decides Jin is being mean. Although he knows Jin will do it anyway.

But, right now, Jin takes great relish in pulling Yoongi into his chest, to feel him solid against him. He finally lets himself think about all the things he wants to do to Yoongi, do with him that he wouldn’t even let himself consider before. Enjoys getting a taste of what’s to come, of slipping his hand under Yoongi’s shirt and resting his hand on the small of his back. Let’s Yoongi press him against the door they just opened. Throws his head back as Yoongi kisses along his jaw until he makes it to his neck and presses the flat of his tongue against Jin’s pulse point. Can feel his dick twitch in his work trousers and hopes Yoongi felt it against his thigh. The hand on Yoongi’s waist slides down to his hips, and guides him into the room he’d just been trapped in. And Yoongi lets him.

Jin never falls in love immediately. Often won’t let himself contemplate it, waits for others to fall for him and he’ll decide if he’ll reciprocate it. But sometimes, only a handful of times, he drifts into it slowly and with great reluctance, choosing to push it down and hope it will snuff itself out. But now, for once, he lets the embers glow and spark and feels warm instead of full of the fear of being burnt.

Jin lowers Yoongi onto the bed, crawls so he hovers over him with an arm either side of his head, his body at an angle that means that their crotches are pressed together. As Jin repositions himself, Yoongi lets out a low moan. So Jin moves his mouth across Yoongi’s cheek and lets his lip stutter across the skin, feel Yoongi’s cock twitch with the motion. Jin smiles against his neck before he grazes it with his teeth. He doesn’t grace Yoongi the carefulness that he showed him when he did the same thing on the landing. He uses teeth, sucks his skin between them and listens to the groans it draws out of Yoongi. Automatically, he starts to grind his hips, but he would have done it on purpose had he known the tones he could pull out of Yoongi, how normally deep tones turn into light whines.

He lets his hand wander in between them and glides it across Yoongi’s stomach, splays his fingertips across his hip bone.

‘Seokjin, I’ve been waiting for this for eight years, please just touch me.’ Yoongi’s tones are drenched with a desperation Jin’s not used to and it makes his stomach lurch. ‘Please just—’

A familiar saxophone rift drifts through the speakers.

Yoongi presses at Jin’s chest to lift him a little. ‘Jin, can you please change the music?’

Jin pulls back further, frowns at Yoongi. ‘Oh, come on, haven’t you ever fantasised about orgasming to George Michael’s high note in Careless Whisper?’ He raises one eyebrow, and relishes in the reluctant smile that spreads across Yoongi’s face. ‘Are you even gay?’

Yoongi glares up at him. ‘I will kill you.’

Jin smirks back at him. ‘Oh, that’s hot.’

And he lets himself fall.