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On Monday morning, Big Hit announces that Bangtan Sonyeondan will be going on indefinite hiatus, effective immediately. On Monday afternoon, Taehyung goes over to Yoongi’s apartment to play Smash.

“We’re trending in 125 countries,” Yoongi says. He’s sitting cross-legged on the couch staring at his phone, which has been beeping at him since Taehyung came in. He let his own battery drain three days ago, right after they signed the nondisclosure agreement. He’ll charge it again soon. Probably. 

“I can’t even name 125 countries.” Taehyung is splayed out, limbs akimbo, on the floor. It’s not because Yoongi won’t let him on the couch - those days are long past - he just really digs this rug, a huge fluffy monstrosity that always makes him feel like he’s riding a polar bear. It sticks out like a sore thumb in the minimalist wet dream Yoongi calls an apartment, and Taehyung deeply cherishes it. (He also has a working theory that when his center of gravity gets lower, his scores get higher. Although he’s losing now, so who knows.)

Yoongi nudges him with the bottom of his foot. “I’ll buy you an atlas. Lots of time to learn.” 

Taehyung blithely says, “I’m never gonna learn anything again.” He’s pretty much already dead so he resorts to his tried and true strategy, button-mashing. “My head is too full, anything new would just leak out- oh nooo.” He frowns a sad frown as Lucina arcs off the stage and into sweet oblivion. 

“Your head’s always empty,” Yoongi says, but he sounds distracted. Taehyung looks up. 

“Are they texting you?” 

“Mmm. Namjoonie wants to meet up before the press conference, go over our statements again. Hobi says we should just get drunk.” 

“He’s always been my favorite hyung.” 

“That’s rude.” Yoongi tries to kick him, but Taehyung agilely rolls out of the way. Yoongi’s legs are too short to reach, so he just lets his foot hang limply in the space where Taehyung used to be. 

Taehyung turns onto his belly and buries his face in this furry snowdrift they call a rug. He loves Yoongi’s apartment. It’s big and clean, and it’s high up enough that the omnipresent city sounds only bleed in around the edges, almost far enough away that Taehyung can forget they’re even in Seoul, can close his eyes and pretend that they’ve opened the door into a off-white pocket dimension where nothing else is allowed in besides him, and Yoongi, and silence. He likes all of those things, especially when they’re together. 

He says into the carpet, “Can I ride with you? To the press conference?” Yoongi makes a noise that Taehyung can’t decipher as yes or no. “Does that mean yes or no?” 

“You drove here, right?” Yoongi says, attention still on his phone. “Wouldn’t it be easier to get home from the company building?” 

Taehyung’s face heats. It would probably be obvious against the rug if Yoongi bothered to look up. “Oh. I thought I would just crash here. But that doesn’t really make sense because we don’t have schedules tomorrow. I mean, I do, but you don’t. Or maybe you do. Umm.” 

“I don’t. Have anything tomorrow, I mean.” 

“Oh.” 

The silence isn’t good anymore. Taehyung imagines the polar bear rug coming to life and enveloping him in its kind polar bear arms. It doesn’t make him feel better, but it’s a nice image.

“I just thought it might be easier. The drama, we’re filming nearby, so it seemed easier. But I don’t want to impose.” Now they live in a world where they can impose on each other, where their presence in each other’s spaces and lives isn’t assumed automatically. They decided this months ago, but it still feels - not painful, but like a bruise that’s mostly faded, but that still aches when you press your fingers against it.  

“Yeah, of course,” Yoongi says after a pause that probably only seems longer than it actually was. “Everybody’ll probably want to come back here anyway, I’m the only person with an actual wine fridge.” 

“We all told you not to buy that,” Taehyung says automatically. “It’s pretentious.” He tries to keep the relief out of his voice, even though Yoongi can probably hear it. He would add a thank you, but he’s not ready to be the kind of person who says that to Yoongi - to any of them, but especially not him. 

“And yet here you are.” Yoongi stands up. From down here, he seems so tall. “Come on, let’s go.” 

Yoongi reaches down. Taehyung reaches up. Together, they go. 

 

 

Taehyung’s drama gets middling reviews, but the last episode is the highest rated finale of the last decade by .75 points, so he books another one. 

The main soundstage is just a few blocks away from Yoongi’s apartment. He winds up there a lot, whether he wants to hide from PDs during lunch or needs to crash between afternoon and evening shoots. Sometimes Yoongi is there, but usually he’s at his studio or the company building or out doing whatever he does during the day now. After the first week he got tired of the doorman calling for permission to let Taehyung in, so he gave him a key. He wound up giving them to everybody else, too, but Taehyung’s was the first. 

Taehyung’s in the kitchen when he comes home. He’s trying to decipher the back of a bag of chips; he has to get his weight down before next week’s shirtless scene. If this is really 2.5 servings it should be fine. If it’s 5 servings he’s fucked, but when he tries to convert grams into ounces his head starts to hurt and he’s about to just say fuck it and cram as many chips into his mouth as he can at once when Yoongi appears out of fucking nowhere like the ghost of calories future. 

“Hey,” he says, not at all perturbed to find Taehyung scrutinizing his food labels with the intensity of somebody who’s really into food labels. “You done for the day?” 

“Anfargh,” Taehyung says, and then, swallowing, repeats: “Nope, haven’t started yet. We’re filming the knife scene after it gets dark.” 

Yoongi drops his keys on the counter. (Seokjin and his girlfriend gifted him an unnecessarily expensive entryway table, but Yoongi never remembers, or else he likes making Taehyung move his things for him.) “The knife scene?” 

“Yeah, I get stabbed. It’s with a knife.” 

“Cool.” 

Taehyung stretches across the chrome countertop, leaving flavor blasted fingerprints everywhere. “You don’t even watch it, you don’t know if it’s cool or not.” 

Yoongi sticks his head in the fridge. Even after a year of not dancing or having to manage his weight, his legs are nice to look at, and so Taehyung does. “I watch it.” 

Taehyung almost falls off the table. “You do?”

“It’s all anybody talks about, I have to watch it. Shit, we’re out of eggs- Yes, I watch your stuff. Everybody’s stuff,” he clarifies, but Taehyung’s still grinning. 

“What do you think? About the drama? About my acting?” As usual, he doesn’t ask it with any real intention - mostly, he just wants praise and he’ll take it where he can get it - but when Yoongi doesn’t immediately answer the low-level anxiety that’s always got him partially wired surges up like a rearing horse. He crinkles the bag between his hands, the tactile sensation at once grounding and alienating. A thousand reviews, a million comments, five people in their group chat all telling him this is the best he’s ever been (and that’s an entirely separate issue to unpack), and he’s betting it all on whatever’s waiting for him at the end of this silence. 

(Since when did he put so much faith in Yoongi’s opinion of him? A better question: when was the last time he didn’t?) 

Yoongi closes the fridge door, holding a carton of orange juice and wearing a thoughtful look. “How do you want me to answer?” 

“Um. As Min Yoongi?” 

Yoongi looks unamused, which usually means he’s amused. “As your friend? Or as some random guy?”

Taehyung looks down at the chips. He doesn’t like feeling this way in front of Yoongi, like a raw nerve exposed.  “Whichever one is true.” 

Yoongi takes a big swig of orange juice straight from the carton before answering, as if he doesn’t get that Taehyung is literally sweating in anticipation of an answer. He probably doesn’t, which in retrospect says a lot about their relationship. “It was good,” he says when he’s finished. “You’ve been working hard, and it shows. You’re doing good, Taehyung-ah.” 

Taehyung watches his mouth form the words before the sounds takes on meaning, so it takes him a half-second longer to feel the flush of full-body relief, which turns him red, and flustered, and anxious, but in a different way. This: this is 2017 and realizing that the chart positions wasn’t a glitch; this is 2013, reading the first commenters proudly declaring themselves his fan; this is 2011 and getting the call, we really liked your audition, are you free to talk later this week? There’s a balloon in Taehyung’s chest and it’s growing, bigger, bigger, bigger. 

“Which one was that?” he can’t stop himself from asking. “Friend, or random guy?” 

Yoongi, thankfully, doesn’t seem to be in a mood to taunt or even tease. Just shrugs, lifts the carton to his mouth again and pauses before tilting it back. “Both, I guess.” 

Because if there’s one thing he’ll always do when it comes to Yoongi, it’s push his luck, Taehyung asks: “I didn’t know you were my fan, hyung, do you want my autograph?” 

“You’re literally leaving your mark all over my life,” Yoongi says dryly, glancing at Taehyung’s cheesy fingerprints. Taehyung bats his eyes at him, but when his back is turned he dutifully starts wiping down the countertop. Yoongi doesn’t say anything when he turns around, but he does kind of pat Taehyung on the shoulder, which is sweet in an awkward way.  

“Hyung, did you eat all of the leftovers from last night?” Taehyung says later, struggling to pull on his boots. “I was gonna have some for dinner but I’m not sure now.” 

“You ate them this morning,” Yoongi calls from the living room, “but we can order more when you come back.” 

Taehyung hums in agreement. He won’t realize until a few hours later - as the prop knife is being shoved into his stomach - that Yoongi said ‘when you come back’, like the assumption was always that Taehyung would be coming back; like ‘back’ is the synonym of a different word entirely. The director has to remind him that he’s being gutted open, so could he please look a little less happy? They do five more takes before he gets it right. 

 

 

Taehyung falls asleep in the middle of reading the script of a movie he’ll never get cast in. When he wakes up there’s a pillow beneath his head, a blanket draped around him, and a Yoongi on the other side of the couch, scrolling through his phone without a care in the world.

“Thanks, hyung,” Taehyung mumbles. 

“What are you talking about?” Yoongi says, but in his voice there’s a smile.

 

 

His next drama films across the city, but it’s still a faster commute if he sleeps on Yoongi’s couch.

“We can have Hope’s surprise party at hyung’s, I’ll just tell him later,” he tells Jimin, who blinks. 

Taehyung accidentally wanders into the background of Yoongi’s V Live. Naver and Twitter both crash for 10 minutes. 

When are you coming home? Yoongi texts. 

It goes on like this. 

 

 

Seokjin gets married at the end of April, when the azaleas start to bloom. 

The location is the most closely guarded secret in South Korean celebrity history, so there’s a flock of cameras waiting outside when Taehyung and Yoongi roll up. The flashbulbs scatter Taehyung’s vision into needles of light as he steps out of the car, but before he can stumble there’s a hand on his shoulder, guiding him over the curb and into the hotel. He knows by its weight who it belongs to, and so he follows. 

“At least the agency paid for security,” Yoongi’s grumbling as he hands his coat off to the waiting attendant. The place is bustling with noise and music and laughter; it appears that Seokjin and his fiancée have invited half of Seoul. Three people Taehyung’s never seen in his life call his name. He waves back. 

“When you get married,” he mumbles, “do it on top of a mountain 500 million miles away from human civilization.” Yoongi’s response is lost as an over-enthusiastic usher materializes to whisk them away to Seokjin’s dressing room. 

The scene within is, predictably, chaotic. Seokjin’s non-celebrity friends look distinctly lost in the sea of BTS alumnus. Swap out Jungkook practicing his speech for Jungkook doing vocal runs, Namjoon arguing with the head usher for Namjoon wheedling their manager, and Seokjin panicking with, well, Seokjin panicking, and this could be backstage at their debut. Yoongi gives Taehyung a look (Taehyung’s probably supposed to know what it means; he does not) and goes to help talk Seokjin off the ledge. 

“You guys are late,” Jimin says, materializing from the shadows. 

Taehyung yelps, but in a really cool and sexy way. “I’m gonna get you a bell. A really big one that lights up.” 

Jimin ignores him in favor of picking some phantom lint out of Taehyung’s hair. “So. Denmark.” 

Taehyung’s stomach does an unenthusiastic somersault. In all of the pre-wedding buildup he’d been able to avoid thinking about it, but just one mention and there goes his heartbeat like a marching band drumline. He flattens down his bangs, trying to make it seem as though it’s out of vanity rather than nerves. “Yeah. It’s only gonna be a month, but it’s still. You know. I’m nervous. I have to buy a parka. And learn, um, what do they speak in Denmark? Danish? The movie’s in English so they already want me to work with a dialect coach but if I have to learn Danish too my head might explode. Yoongi-hyung says I can just use my phone to translate everything but that seems rude? If I’m staying there that long. And the cast are all so talented and the director, too, we had a phone call and he was really funny and smart and I don’t want to be the disappointing one. Um.” 

Jimin patiently pets his hair back into a fluffy mess and waits for Taehyung to ramble himself silent. Then, he puts his hands squarely on Taehyung’s shoulders, looks him in the eyes, and says, “You’re going to do great.” He doubles down when Taehyung tries to duck away, gripping him tighter and peering straight into his eyes, unflinching, unrepentant. “Kim Taehyung. I’m smarter than you, I’m older than you-”

“By two months.” 

“And so you have to listen to me: you’re going to do great.” 

His conviction makes Taehyung want to go hide in a very deep hole, or rest his head against Jimin’s shoulder and keep it there forever. Instead he grins, sincere enough to get by, and replies, “You always say that.” 

“And I’m always right. I was right about the musical, I’ve been right about all your dramas, I’m right about this. We’ll buy you a guide book and a Danish dictionary and a parka. It’ll be fine.”  

“Sure,” Taehyung agrees, trying to bat him off. Jimin holds on tighter. “Yoongi-hyung said he can help me practice English and go over my lines and stuff. He did it before my audition, too, he’s been really helpful.”

“That’s nice of him. … Oh, speaking of hyung, did you drive here together?” His voice has suddenly become casual. Taehyung misses Denmark.

“Mhm, I stayed at his place last night, it was faster this way. Are we allowed to eat these?” 

“No, but Jin-hyung isn’t watching,” Jimin says. He waits until Taehyung’s cheeks are bulging with Jordan almonds to continue: “Didn’t you just buy a new apartment?” 

Taehyung grimaces at the chemical sweetness coating his tongue. “I haven’t signed the lease yet, but I promise I’m gonna invite you over once I do. Aww, are you lonely?” 

“Yes,” says Jimin, “but that’s a different problem.” 

Jimin’s voice is flat, but his cheeks have turned faint pink. Taehyung, seeing his golden opportunity to escape from whatever that conversation was turning into, goes for it. “Jimin, come over more, don’t hide from us. We miss you.” 

“I’m not, I’m not hiding from you, what are you doing -” 

“Fixing your suit.” Taehyung crowds into Jimin, fussing with the spray of muted pink flowers at his lapel. He recently changed his cologne to something spicy and rum-infused, and he’s wearing a tux that was probably hand-stitched onto him. It’s a far cry from 2013’s uniform of gym shorts and ratty wifebeaters, but strip away the artifice and subtract a few or more years, and nothing’s really changed. Taehyung doesn’t waste a lot of time considering his relationship with Jimin - he doesn’t think about his lungs or his heart, either - but there’s something at once terrifying and bone-deep comforting about Park Jimin’s inevitability. 

Jimin’s trying to be impassive, but Taehyung can read him like a bad gambler. “Don’t start crying on me, Jimin-ah. It’s a wedding, people are happy at weddings.” 

“I’m not going to cry - Ugh, stop it, you’re crushing the blossoms.” 

“‘Crushing the blossoms’?” 

“Yeah, they were… I don’t know how much they cost, but Namjoon-hyung said to be careful. Stop laughing.” 

No room for sympathy when they can have public humiliation instead. “‘Wait, let me get my phone… Say that into the camera, here, come on.” 

A while later, after Jimin gets him into a headlock and Taehyung absolutely destroys his expensive boutonniere and Namjoon orders them to go sit in the corner and Jungkook laughs so hard he chokes on nothing and they’ve both remembered that they’re over 5 years old, Jimin looks Taehyung straight in the eye and says, “Yoongi-hyung.” 

“No,” Taehyung says, pointing to his chest, “Taehyung. Jimin,” he puts his hand, open-palmed, on Jimin’s heart. He points across the room at Yoongi, who spots them and automatically looks tired. “Yoongi.” 

“You’re so annoying,” Jimin says hopelessly. “You’re so famous, and you have so much money, and you’re still so annoying.” 

Yoongi drifts over, thumbs hooked in his trouser pockets, shoes polished to shining. He’s lavish and somewhat sinister, a cartoon demon brought to life. When Taehyung woke up this morning he was already in the bathroom, patting that expensive face stuff Zhou Mi gave him into his cheeks and wrestling his hair flat. These days he usually just throws on a hoodie and calls it good, so when he actually makes an effort it throws Taehyung off-balance, like he’s accidentally slipped into the past, or maybe a different (better?) reality where Yoongi wears tuxes to Emart. 

(The worst part about it is that Yoongi knows he looks good, but will never outright flaunt it; instead it’s all about the way he stands up straighter, pulls his shoulders back, eyes everything and everyone sideways as if daring them to get caught staring. They all get caught.)

“Stop talking about me,” Yoongi says, looking the two of them up and down. 

“Don’t be so arrogant, it’ll give you wrinkles.” Taehyung doesn’t fully meet Yoongi’s gaze, but that’s okay because he’s focused his spotlight on Jimin instead. 

“Congratulations on number one.” 

Jimin visibly perks up, which is cute. “Thanks, hyung. Sorry about knocking you off.” 

Yoongi shrugs. “Eh. It was gonna happen sooner or later.” Like losing a nine week number one streak is nothing, because it’s bound to happen again. (It is; sometimes remembering that this reality belongs to them makes Taehyung dizzy.) 

“Next time you should produce something for me. We can collaborate,” Jimin turns to Taehyung, “sing a duet. Dust off your vocal chords.” 

“I still sing,” Taehyung says, indignant.

“In the shower,” Yoongi cuts in. “At four in the morning, at the top of your lungs.” He puts his palm on Taehyung’s shoulder, squeezes without any apparent meaning behind it other than that he wants to touch Taehyung. After a second he puts his hand back in his pocket like it never happened, or even if it did it didn’t matter. 

“Thank you for listening, hyung,” Taehyung says brightly, because he doesn’t know what else to be. “I knew you were a fan.” 

Jimin raises his eyebrows. Taehyung doesn’t like him.

Then they talk about Jimin’s mom and TXT’s new single and the weather these days. Jimin doesn’t mention anything further, lets himself get distracted by some dumb shit Hoseok and Namjoon are doing, stands quietly during the ceremony without once turning his way. But through the whole of it Taehyung can feel the curiosity radiating off of him like a dark psychic force. His suspicion is borne out when Jimin finds him waiting semi-patiently for the bathroom to open up, and pounces

“So,” he says, leaning against the wall like he’s auditioning for the role of two-bit detective in a knockoff film noir, “you and Yoongi-hyung.” 

“Are you naming people you know? I have four more, but after that you’re on your own.” 

“I’m going to disown you,” Jimin says calmly. “No, I mean you and Yoongi-hyung.” 

“Talking dramatically doesn't make it easier to understand you.” Taehyung glares at the closed door. “If you’re trying to recruit us for a heist, don’t bother. Hoseokie-hyung is a lot more flexible than either of us, he’ll get around security lasers no problem.” 

“No, stop… doing that. Listen.” Jimin puts his hand over Taehyung. Taehyung stills immediately, like Jimin’s touch is Pavlovian. (It might be - something else to talk about with a hypothetical therapist.) “I just wanted to say that. You know. It’s been a year since we, since the hiatus. A year, and you guys are still…” 

“Still what?” 

“Still being you.” Jimin says it kind of weakly, like he hadn’t expected to get this far and was utterly unprepared to stick the landing. “You know what I mean. Nothing’s changed. Driving together, and the touching and… ‘Us’, ‘we’... Come on.” 

Taehyung frowns at Jimin. He’s not nearly as airheaded as the Big Hit marketing department wanted him to be, but he’s still lost, and Jimin can clearly see that because he sighs, squeezes Taehyung’s hand tighter and says, “I just don’t want you to get hurt.” 

Taehyung looks across the room at Yoongi, who’s laughing incredulously at something Seokjin’s new wife is saying. He’s standing at the edge of the dance floor, and the flickering lights have turned him into something soft and ethereal, almost inhuman. It’s the nostalgia that makes Taehyung turn away, or, at least, that’s what he hopes Jimin thinks. “Yoongi-hyung couldn’t hurt me,” he says distantly. “He wouldn’t.” 

“Taehyung-ah,” Jimin says, half-fondly, half-despairingly. “I love you with all of my heart, but you’re hopeless.” 

 

 

The whole car ride home sees Taehyung lit up with nerves like dry lightning. He’s mostly sober - this pre-movie diet is worse than trainee days - and maybe Jungkook was right, he’d be able to relax if he’d had a few more, but he doesn’t know if this uncertain, too-bright keenness would be bearable drunk. It’s barely tolerable now. 

It’s getting to Yoongi too. “Taehyung-ah,” he says, not stern but not relaxed, “stop bouncing your leg, it’s distracting.” 

Taehyung instinctively jiggles it a little harder, but then through great effort of will makes himself still. 

Then he starts tapping his fingers against the seat rest.

Kim Taehyung. ” 

Taehyung stops. “I’m sorry, hyung. I’m just… nervous.” 

It almost makes Taehyung guilty, the way annoyance immediately collapses into concern. “About the movie?” 

“That,” Taehyung admits, and then, that buzzy anxiety forcing the words out, “and also Jiminie was asking about us. About me being at your place so often, and, I don’t know, if it’s too annoying, you know I was looking at that new apartment, so I can just crash there…” 

Yoongi shrugs. “I told you. It’s fine.” And he turns his attention back to the road, just like that. Like it just... is. 

Taehyung looks down at his hands. Not at Yoongi, or the road, or even the sky through the window. It’s easier to concentrate on his interlaced fingers than anything beyond the impermeable boundaries of his body, which, unlike everything else out there, and certainly the man sitting next to him, can be contained and understood. 

“I just worry sometimes that it’s not okay. And that if it’s not okay you won’t tell me. And so I don’t know, and you’re resentful, and I’m just walking around oblivious and you’re too scared to hurt my feelings and it’s just a bad situation.” 

Yoongi’s hands on the steering wheel. Taehyung breathing through his mouth, in, out, in, out. The road, and the sky, and the window. “I’m not scared to hurt your feelings, Taehyung-ah.” 

“Is that a good thing?” 

“Yeah. It’s a good thing.” Exhaustion crowds out anything else in his voice, and it’s too dark to see his face. He’s asking Taehyung to take this on trust, and, without hesitating, Taehyung does. 

 

 

Sometimes Yoongi looks at Taehyung without any seeming intent or purpose. When Taehyung catches him he always looks away, a little more flustered than Taehyung’s ever seen him. It always makes Taehyung feel kind of guilty, like he’s the one who got caught - although, he has to admit, he was looking, too. 

Lately it’s been happening more. Lately, neither of them have been looking away. 

 

 

Taehyung’s on the couch, Yoongi’s in the armchair. The armchair is new; the couch is old. Taehyung’s looking at the corner by the hallway, which is empty. Yoongi is looking at Taehyung.

“It needs something.” 

Yoongi has the gall to sound confused. “What?” 

“The corner,” Taehyung graciously explains. “It needs something… there.” He waves his hands around.

“Like a rug.” 

“No, not a- Hyung, are you even listening?” He waves his hands around again. “Like that.

Yoongi’s expression is both familiar and deeply unappreciated. “Taehyung-ah. I promise that I have no idea what you’re talking about. But,” he tries to wave his hands around too, “whatever this is… go for it.” 

Taehyung blinks. “Really?” 

Yoongi shrugs, sinking back into the armchair. It’s maybe the most uncomfortable thing Taehyung’s ever sat in, but Yoongi makes it work. “The corner is yours. The apartment is yours, basically. Do whatever you want.” 

Taehyung buys a fern. He texts a picture to Jimin and Jungkook; Jimin responds with about a thousand 🙄s. Jungkook leaves him on read.

 

 

Yoongi helps him shop for everything he’s going to need, and even more besides that. (“You’re filming in June, you don’t need a parka.” “What if my hotel room is cold?”) He repacks Taehyung’s luggage so that it’ll be under the weight limit, and carefully relocates all of the travel-sized toiletries he bought him to the front pocket so they’re more easily accessible. He checks and double checks Taehyung’s flight information, and bullies the agency into sending a car to take him to the airport. He says he won’t miss him. 

 

 

The first time they sleep together is the night before Taehyung leaves for Copenhagen. 

His flight boards at 6am, so Taehyung decides that he’s just gonna stay up all night and doze on the plane. He falls asleep at 11. (In his defense, Yoongi keeps a threadbare blanket he had as far back as their trainee days draped over his couch, and Taehyung likes to swaddle himself shoulders to feet, wrapped as tight as he can get and still breathe. It’s the most comfortable he’s ever been. Jungkook says he'd go up in seconds if Yoongi’s apartment ever catches on fire; Taehyung decides to keep a closer eye on him.) 

He doesn’t dream, but something twilighty and soft lifts from his mind as he’s jostled awake. Jostled is a strong word; more like rocked gently, driftwood in shallow water. “Did I miss the flight?” he sighs. His mouth is full of cotton.  

He can see Yoongi by the way his laugh rumbles against his body: it’s the one he uses when he’s feeling fond or sleepy, accompanied by high cheeks, lowered eyelids, and a lazy, accommodating mood. “The car will be here in an hour. Come on, stand up.” 

He gets an arm under Taehyung’s armpit, and doesn’t let go when he’s hauled him off the couch. Taehyung lets himself be carry-pulled along until he hears a creak, and the air becomes cooler and starts to smell different, but familiar different. It’s when his head hits the pillow that he realizes, this is Yoongi’s smell; this is Yoongi’s room; this is Yoongi’s bed. 

Not that he hasn’t been in here a thousand times, stealing moisturizer or snooping on birthday presents or borrowing that one black sweater with the holes in it (although it’s basically his at this point so Yoongi’s the one who took it in the first place, if you look at it from a really specific angle). And when Yoongi lays down next to him, that’s not significant, either: Taehyung’s couldn’t count how many times he’s fallen asleep sprawled out across Yoongi’s lap or curled against his side en route to some concert, some country, somewhere. 

He’s just never been in here… with Yoongi. The with is significant in a way he doesn’t understand. Maybe if he was more awake he would, but probably not. 

“Hyung,” he says into the pillow (Yoongi’s pillow). “Hyung, did you set an alarm?” 

Yoongi’s voice drifts down from somewhere far above him. “I’ll stay awake.” 

“If you don’t,” Taehyung yawns, already drifting towards the soft darkness, “I’m gonna... I’ll…” 

“Yeah, I know.”  The light clicking off. A different blanket pulled above his shoulders, smoothed around the edges of his torso. Fingers in his hair. Someone else’s breath, in and out, in and out. 

“I like being here,” someone who sounds like Taehyung says. “I’m happiest when I’m with here, with you.” 

“Me too, Taehyung-ah.” 

And then, so soft and so distant it couldn't possibly have come from his own mouth: "What if I mess up? If I'm not good?" 

Yoongi’s voice drifts through his half-dream like a gust of warm wind. "You're amazing. You can't ever be anything else." And Taehyung has no choice but to believe him. 

He's never slept better.

 

 

(Yoongi forgets to set an alarm. He ends up breaking about a thousand traffic laws to get him to Incheon, and Taehyung barely can barely get out a “see you soon, hyung!” before he’s sprinting inside. He had time to see Yoongi smile, though.) 

 

 

Denmark is cold, and beautiful, and lonely.

The production company booked him in what the concierge assures him is the best hotel in the city. The room is huge; the shower alone could fit a small army. There’s a personalized robe that feels like wearing a cloud. The bed, a little pamphlet that was left propped up against the ice bucket tells him, delivers cushioned comfort and optimal spine support. It’s perfect.

He can’t sleep. 

 

 

Text when you land
> landed!!! thx for the ride sorry again 
My fault. Have a good time.
> you too!!!!!!
> wait i mean
> thanks!!!!!!!!

> dont forget to water the plants
I know
They’re my plants
> if they’re dead youre dead

> i left my toothbrush can yuo sen d it 
> it says message read
> hyung
> hyung it says message read 

The apartment’s really quiet now 
> it’s your dream!
It’s kind of weird

> [image attached]
> [image attached]
> denmark is so pretty
Let’s go together sometime
> 😊

Text when you land
> here

 

 

“Where should I put your bags?” Yoongi asks, and freezes. The question drifts through the air, and then lands with a dull thud in the middle of the silence.

“Um,” Taehyung says. He spent the whole plane ride trying to figure out how to ask. He spent the whole time in Denmark trying to figure out how to ask. The director applauded him for his absentminded moodiness. “I guess, I’ve been thinking. Because last time...” 

“Last time,” Yoongi repeats.

It shouldn’t be a hard question. It’s Yoongi. Nothing should be hard with Yoongi, who told Taehyung to trust him, and who’s never, ever let him down before. “It’s just been really hard to sleep alone. For me. So if you want.”

“Yeah,” Yoongi says. “Yeah, I want.” 

They never really clarify what ‘want’ means. Maybe they both just know.  

 

 

(It makes sense.

“The guest room bed is uncomfortable, and it’s a guest room,” Taehyung explains, “I’m not a guest, none of us are. And what if hyung has guests? Do we just tell them to sleep on the floor? Plus this saves on laundry, because there’s only one set of sheets to wash. It’s logical.” 

“Oh my god,” says Jimin. He refuses to explain why.)

 

 

But nothing changes, which is maybe what Jimin was talking about before, or maybe Jimin doesn’t know anything and Taehyung’s always been the superior 95-liner. Or maybe neither of them know anything.

Taehyung gets a side of the bed, and he moves his towels into the master bathroom, and he steals back his sweater for good, but that’s about it. He still wakes up in Yoongi’s apartment, and he still goes to sleep there. He already knew what Yoongi looks like first thing in the morning when the alarm startles him awake, knew that his feet are ice cold even in the winter and that he steals all of the blankets in the night. He knew how long he takes to shower in the morning, and how much spice he can handle, and what he looks like when he’s too tired to do anything but lay on the couch with his eyes closed, listening to Taehyung chatter with a small, indulgent smile. 

He knew Yoongi. All of this was settled a long time ago.

Maybe in the future there will be new things to learn. Yoongi’s weight as he crouches above Taehyung, thighs pinning him in place; Yoongi’s hair falling around his face as he leans down to touch their foreheads together. The noises Yoongi will make. The words he will say.  

But for now, nothing changes. And for now, that feels fine.