“I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling twenty-two-oo!”
“Tae, shut up, ” groans Yoongi, burying his head in his hands.
Taehyung does a little dance all the way to where Yoongi sits on the counter, encouraged by Seokjin’s amused laughter, and pats Yoongi gently on the head. “I’m not about to shut up today. My precious baby’s growing up, he’s going to meet his soulmate!”
Yoongi can feel the nausea climbing back into his system, a nausea that he had gained the slightest respite from in the last few minutes, thanks to Seokjin regaling him with all the bad jokes that he came up with today.
Yoongi had actually recognized some of them from previous occasions, but he knew this is just an effort on Seokjin’s part to distract Yoongi from his own thoughts, so Yoongi wasn’t about to point it out. Also, Yoongi wasn’t about to give Seokjin the satisfaction of knowing that he actually listens when Seokjin makes bad jokes.
“How are you not excited about this?” squeals Taehyung, shaking Yoongi’s shoulder a bit when Yoongi refuses to look up from his hands. “It’s such a big deal! You’re going to meet your soulmate. ” Taehyung sighs dramatically, placing a hand to his heart and pretending to swoon.
“I don’t really want to,” says Yoongi quietly.
“What did you say?” asks Taehyung, even though the scandalized tone in his voice makes it obvious that he heard him.
“I don’t want to meet my soulmate, Tae,” repeats Yoongi, firmer this time as he finally raises his head to make eye contact with the younger boy.
Taehyung’s eyes soften. “Is it because you’re scared, hyung?” He places his hand on top of Yoongi’s. “It’s perfectly natural to feel scared, but you’re going to wake up in the bed of the one for you and they’re going to be your perfect other half and you’re going to wonder why you were scared at all.” Taehyung winks playfully. “The universe has a plan for you, Yoonie hyung.”
Yoongi rolls his eyes at Taehyung’s romanticized idea of soulmates, but gives him a nod regardless, smiling at the way Taehyung pats him on the head again before swiping the cup of coffee next to Yoongi right off the counter and waltzing away.
“Hey, that’s mine!” calls Yoongi, reaching out.
“Sorry, hyung, but you need to sleep,” shrugs Taehyung. “How are you supposed to wake up in your soulmate’s bed if you can’t even fall asleep in your own?”
Yoongi scowls, his right hand subconsciously rubbing the spot on his left wrist where his soulmark (a small fish) is inscribed in black, hating that Taehyung foiled his plan. Yoongi didn’t want to sleep tonight. At all.
As the one who had the soulmark, Yoongi always hated that he knew exactly when he would meet his soulmate. It made him live with a sense of anticipation as the days to his twenty-second birthday ran down, and most people loved that feeling.
But not Yoongi. It just made him feel like that would be a day that he had to add one more struggle to his daily life. He had his whole life balanced precariously already, what with his whole music career, and how the only people he even had time for were the members of his own band, but mostly because they shared schedules.
The time Yoongi had to himself in his studio was sacred, and if it wasn’t for Seokjin calling him to make sure that he came back to the dorms at a reasonable time at least twice a week. On the other days, Seokjin would stay up and wait for him, sometimes falling asleep over his computer, and Yoongi would feel guilty having to wake him up to tell him to go sleep in his bed while chiding him to stop waiting up, especially when Seokjin would just give him a soft smile and tell him that he doesn’t mind, he really doesn’t.
Speaking of Seokjin.
Yoongi lets his eyes rest on the male on the other side of the kitchen, whose broad back faces Yoongi as he finished emptying the ramyeon he just made into a bowl. Seokjin is wearing a pink hoodie that’s a little tight around the shoulders, the hood over his head and the faintest dark circles under his eyes that Yoongi notices as Seokjin places the bowl on ramyeon in front of him and takes a seat next to him.
“Did Tae freak you out?” asks Seokjin, after a short silence has gone by during which Yoongi has been attempting to see how much of the ramyeon he can slurp without accidentally choking. “Don’t even try lying to me, I can sense you freaking out.”
Yoongi laughs, but it sounds way too hollow to his ears. “I’m not ready for this.”
“Well, at least you were given a warning,” says Seokjin, pulling Yoongi’s left arm onto his lap and turning it over so that the soulmark is shown plainly in the light. “That right there essentially says, make space in your life by the time you’re twenty-two, because you’re going to have to accommodate someone else. It’s very clear.”
“I know, I hate it,” whines Yoongi, hopping off the counter and placing the bowl in the sink. “I’m not ready for a soulmate. I barely have my life together.”
“At least you don’t have to live with the uncertainty that you might just wake up any day with someone else in your bed,” laughs Seokjin. “You’re going to be the first in this household to find your soulmate, and I just hope that the person whose bed you end up in doesn’t freak out too much like oh my god, it’s actually the great Min Suga in my bed! ”
“Shut up,” is the only thing Yoongi chooses to say, color rising to his cheeks.
Seokjin laughs, bright and high-pitched. Yoongi pushes down a smile that threatens to take over his lips.
“Of course, not nearly as much as they would if they woke up with me in their bed,” shrugs Seokjin. “God bless the day I find my soulmate. The poor kid’s going to wake up in my bed, take one look at my face and think dear god, I’m not worthy of this beautiful face. ”
Yoongi rolls his eyes. “Sure, okay. I think the words you’re looking for is what the fuck did I do to end up with someone this ugly? ”
“Please, I’m not ugly at all. Stop befouling your mouth with lies.” Seokjin hops off the counter and boops Yoongi on the nose teasingly, causing a flutter in Yoongi’s stomach. Seokjin walks briskly out of the kitchen, and Yoongi is slow to respond as he just watches Seokjin’s retreating back.
Yoongi has always been a little slow to respond around Seokjin. Something about Seokjin makes Yoongi feel calm and restless at the same time. The familiarity interspersed into the sound of Seokjin’s breathing when he’s sleeping, the sound of the clacking of keys when Seokjin’s playing games on his computer, the sound of Seokjin’s humming when he’s cooking inspires a sense of calmness in Yoongi, like he can breathe alright in this space with no expectations of conversation or activity.
The restlessness is caused by a nagging part of Yoongi’s brain that is far too aware that the way he feels about Seokjin is very, very different than the way he feels about any of the others. The way he knows that he doesn’t listen to anyone else the way he listens to Seokjin, the way he becomes acutely aware of his heart beating double time when Seokjin leans his head on Yoongi’s shoulder when they’re watching movies together, the way something as dumb as a bad joke or a cheesy wink makes the color rise to Yoongi’s cheeks and wakes up all the butterflies in his stomach and makes him feel like his heart might just burst out of his chest.
Yoongi doesn’t want to meet his soulmate. Yoongi doesn’t want to fall in love.
He’s already fallen in love, and he’s not so sure he can pick himself up and attempt it again.
An ungodly screech from the living room snaps Yoongi out of his thoughts. “It’s midnight!”
He barely gets a couple seconds warning when Jeongguk, Taehyung, Namjoon and Hoseok come thundering into the kitchen to fight over who is the first to hug Yoongi. Hoseok wins, just barely, and Yoongi can’t help laughing as he almost falls backwards at the impact of Hoseok’s hug. The others join in and they all end up in a pile on the floor, a mess of yells of birthday wishes and that’s my fuckin’ foot, Taehyung, get off!
Jimin saunters in with Seokjin less than a minute later, once most of the others have gotten to their feet (Taehyung has draped himself over Hoseok and has decided that neither of them are going to be getting up for a few minutes) and brags about being the first to post embarrassing pictures of Yoongi on Twitter.
Once all the hugs have been exchanged, the others, led by Hoseok, who is still on the floor imprisoned by Taehyung, make sure to tell Yoongi to push off and sleep. They’re all so much more excited about this than he is, and Yoongi makes sure to keep a smile on his face, even as the anxiety in his system increases with every step he takes towards the room he shares with Seokjin.
Yoongi lies on his bed, but he doesn’t sleep. Seokjin comes to the room about half an hour later, and Yoongi sits up straight as he enters, causing Seokjin to jump a mile.
“Jesus christ, did you have to do that?” hisses Seokjin as Yoongi bursts into laughter at his exaggerated expression. “You could’ve indicated that you were awake in a way that didn’t make you seem possessed, what the fuck. ”
“What do you think would happen if I just didn’t sleep?” asks Yoongi, crossing his legs as Seokjin sits on the bed next to him and proceeds to starfish out, occupying almost the entirety of the bed.
“Well, you could try. You could be up for days, but you have to sleep at some point after this, and you’re going to land up in the same place regardless of when you sleep, so the question is, wouldn’t you rather just get it done with?” Seokjin avoids his eyes, speaking more to the wall that Yoongi is leaning against than to Yoongi himself.
Yoongi turns the words over in his head. It’s true that he has to meet his soulmate eventually, but he could stall for a while if he wanted to. And as he watches the way Seokjin’s eyelashes flutter as he blinks at the ceiling, Yoongi realized he wants to. He doesn’t want to let go of Seokjin yet.
“Do you think you’d have done better in a universe where you actually got to choose who you end up with?” asks Yoongi, pushing Seokjin’s limbs so that he has space to lie next to him.
“Always,” breathes Seokjin. “But I can’t afford to run away with that thought, can I.”
Yoongi nods. Maybe in a different universe, he’d have the courage to march straight up to Seokjin and tell him how he felt, without living with the crushing thought that what neither of them felt mattered, because everything was preordained anyway. The chance of him ending up with Seokjin wasn’t an absolute zero, even when Yoongi debated the logistics in his head, but he simply couldn’t allow himself to hope. That would just be setting himself up for disappointment.
“You can’t,” agrees Yoongi as they lapse into a companionable silence.
“Do you wanna watch a movie?” asks Yoongi after a while, when he thinks that Seokjin might be drifting off. “I wanna stay awake through one entirely for once, and I feel like if I can’t manage that today, then I should just give up on trying to ever stay awake during movies.”
Seokjin squints dubiously at him for a second, knowing far too well about the number of times Yoongi has fallen asleep on him. He even claims he has a dent on his shoulder where Yoongi’s head inevitably ends up resting once they get past the halfway point of the movie.
Yoongi makes it through the first movie, sitting poker straight and leaning only slightly against Seokjin’s chest. They end up barely watching the movie, because Seokjin decides to start talking about how he would survive if he was left behind on Mars and how he would charm some aliens with his good looks and Yoongi indulges him, humoring the discussion until they get to a point where they forget where the conversation started at all.
They play music for a while, and Yoongi can see Seokjin starting to get tired, so he suggests putting on another movie, because he knows that Seokjin makes it a point to stay awake through a movie no matter how tired he is, and Yoongi needs him to stay awake.
Yoongi thinks that when he wakes up in the morning, in someone else’s bed, he’ll look back on these few hours and probably think he was imagining the stars in Seokjin’s eyes when they were laughing together about the ridiculous conspiracy theories that they’d made up.
There’s an anxious beating in his heart, and Yoongi feels more and more detached from reality as the minutes go by. If he had the option of freezing time and staying in this moment forever, his shoulder pressed against Seokjin as they share earphones, he’d take that.
But he can’t.
His eyes start drooping about halfway into the second movie, and he can feel the weight of Seokjin’s hand on his head, a soft whisper of it’s okay, you can just fall asleep.
“What if they don’t like me, hyung?” wonders Yoongi out loud, his voice mildly garbled by the fatigue taking over his system. He’s leaning more heavily against Seokjin now, and there’s a sadness in his chest that feels like a goodbye that he can’t say.
“That’s impossible, Yoon,” sighs Seokjin, slipping an arm around Yoongi’s shoulder. “They’ll have to love you. It’s just the rules. It’s impossible for anyone to not love you.”
Yoongi’s heart aches. It aches for how he’s so used to this. Seokjin’s reassuring demeanor and words, the feeling of drifting as he’s falling asleep against Seokjin’s chest, the protective way Seokjin rests his hand on Yoongi’s head, the gentle rise and fall of Seokjin’s breathing. He’s so used to it. Seokjin makes him feel like he belongs next to him, a familiarity that they built over years.
A familiarity that Yoongi doesn’t know how to live without.
The last thing that Yoongi feels before he drifts off is the soft press of lips against his forehead.
When he wakes up, the first color he registers is pink.
He stirs slightly, freezing when the other person lets out a sleepy groan.
A soft, gravelly voice speaks. A voice Yoongi knows. All too well. “How are you still here?”
Yoongi pulls his head away from the chest of the person who has their arms wrapped around him, lifting his head up to see that he hasn’t left his room at all. He’s just been transferred to the other side.
He reaches for his glasses that he had left under his pillow the night before. They aren’t there. Of course they aren’t there. He left it on his own bed. He’s in Seokjin’s bed.
There’s the soft glow of daylight blanketed over Seokjin’s features that makes him seem like he’s glowing. His eyes are barely open, but Yoongi can read the confusion in his irises, and in the midst of all that, the smallest bloom of understanding.
“I’m not still asleep, am I?” asks Seokjin quietly, as though afraid that this might all just disappear. Afraid that there was some loophole and that this was an accident. “Is this real?”
Yoongi pulls his arms out from Seokjin’s embrace so that he can wrap them around Seokjin’s neck and knock his forehead against Seokjin’s.
“Ow! What for?” hisses Seokjin, as Yoongi presses his face into the hollow of Seokjin’s neck, a thrumming happiness beginning to spread through his whole body.
“Making sure this is real,” explains Yoongi as Seokjin tilts his head upwards to press their foreheads together. “And wondering what the fuck I did to end up with someone this ugly.”
A smile spreads across Seokjin’s face. “I hate you.”
“Me too,” says Yoongi, letting his eyes flutter shut as Seokjin’s thumb gently strokes his cheekbone. A couple giggles spill out of his mouth. “I hate this so much.”
“I wanted it to be me,” whispers Seokjin. “I was hoping that it would be me.”
“Me too,” says Yoongi for a second time. “I really was the only one worthy of that face.”
Seokjin laughs, sleep-tinted and rough, and Yoongi feels that familiar rush through his veins, a confirmation of sorts. That he doesn’t have to let go of the familiarity. That he doesn’t have to learn to accommodate someone new. That he doesn’t have to pick himself up because he fell right the first time.
That he belongs. That they belong. Together.