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Conflicting Arrangement

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"Absolutely not," Yoongi deadpanned. "Namjoon-ah. I value you as a friend, and I think I'd even go as far as to say that you're my best friend, but absolutely fucking not."

"You owe me," Namjoon pleaded. "Come on, Yoongi, it's not a big deal."

"Your boyfriend's best friend's best friend needs a fake boyfriend to come out to his family this Chuseok, all the way in fucking Busan." Yoongi repeated drily without pause, making Namjoon wince. "And there is literally no one else you think could do the job other than me?" He flipped a page of his textbook, picking up his highlighter. "Not a big deal, Namjoon. Amazing."

"Look, Jin owed Taehyung a favor, okay? And you know how Taehyung is; he can't leave people alone if he can help," Namjoon reasoned, sitting down next to Yoongi and pressing a palm flat down on the pages. Yoongi's eye twitched as the book was spread roughly, likely creasing the spine of it. "I promised I'd ask. His best friend's named Park Jimin - one of the Arts kids. He's quite a looker; could be your type."

Yoongi scoffed. "That guy whose face is constantly plastered around campus during open houses?" He dropped his highlighted on the table noisily and folded his arms, leaning back with a derisive look in his eyes. "No way, Namjoon. He's one of those high profile types. You know how I am." Yoongi was low profile. If there was a social ladder, Yoongi strived to remain firmly planted on the ground, foot not even on the first rung. He'd somehow managed to avoid existing on a social scale in university - thank god - and he seriously wanted to keep it that way.

Namjoon's head tipped back as he let out a loud groan, earning him annoyed glances from everyone else in the library. Yoongi sank in his seat as Namjoon turned to him slowly. "Hyung," he started, "you remember what you told me after Hell Week was over?"

Yoongi sighed heavily. Hell Week was the week leading up to finals. It was also the week Yoongi would probably have gotten himself killed if Namjoon hadn't barged into his apartment at least twice a day with home-cooked food from Jin and coffee from the place Hoseok worked at on campus. Yoongi was actually still kind of shocked he'd survived Hell Week even with Namjoon's help considering he was on an accelerated track. He had almost a third more work than anyone in their year. "That I'd do anything to repay you," he admitted unhappily, brows furrowed.

Namjoon brightened. "Yup. So you'll at least give it a shot?" His fingers were flying over the screen of his phone as he shot off a series of texts to someone. Yoongi hoped it wasn't Jimin himself. “Come on, Yoongi. Taehyung even said that Jimin suggested you, you know.”

Yoongi lifted an eyebrow. “Park Jimin knows who I am?” That was a surprise.

“He’s seen you with Tae, maybe,” Namjoon said casually, shrugging as he averted his eyes. “I don’t know either.”

Yoongi narrowed his eyes cautiously. "How does he even want this to work?" He'd never personally given much thought to the actual process of coming out. Yoongi had just blurted it out during a family dinner when he'd been in high school. Sure, he'd been a little nervous, but he also hadn't had any reason to believe that his family would have an unreasonable reaction towards him being gay. His parents weren't religious, after all, and one of his aunts had lived in America with a woman for many years. The biggest reaction he'd gotten was his dad choking on a rice cake for a solid minute before he managed to hold it down with some water.

Bringing a fake boyfriend home for Chuseok just so he could come out to his family seemed a little over the top. Who even did shit like that.

Namjoon looked up from his phone. "Taehyung says the guy can meet you for coffee tomorrow at 3 if you're free," he said, grinning.

"I've got a kid to teach till 3:15," Yoongi replied, lifting an eyebrow. Namjoon knew he tutored children in piano as a part-time job. Tomorrow’s client lived about 20 minutes away from the campus on foot. "Tell him 4's fine." He'd rather have plenty of time to get back to the campus.

Namjoon paused again as he conferred with Taehyung. He lit up in time with the newly received message on his phone and he showed Yoongi the screen.

Yoongi squinted.

KIM.T: jimminie says he has to shift stuff around but 4 should be fine thanks Joonie hyung~~!

"You need friends who know how to punctuate," Yoongi lamented.

"Shut up, you love Tae," Namjoon muttered, shoving his phone into his pocket as his nose wrinkled. "I still don't get why you insist on referring to him as Jin's best friend when you guys have hung out plenty of times. When are you ever going to call him directly by name?"

"Never, if it annoys him," Yoongi replied pleasantly. He flinched as Namjoon smacked him lightly with a pamphlet to berate him. "And I don't love Taehyung - that's Jungkookie's job."

"Ah, those two should get their act together. Even Jin and I didn't take this long to figure it out. You'd think high school sweethearts would realize by now," Namjoon complained distractedly as he got up, apparently contented to leave now that he'd bullied Yoongi into meeting this Jimin guy. "I'm gonna pick Jin up from his class. We’re watching a movie, you wanna come?"

"Gross, no," Yoongi drawled teasingly. “I know we’re close, but you can at least go on dates without me.”

Namjoon punched him good-naturedly in the arm. Yoongi winced. “Alright. Let me know how tomorrow goes, hyung.” His eyes grew sincere. “And thanks, seriously. I know it’s a burden for someone like you.”

“I reserve the right to back out,” Yoongi added quickly. “If he’s going to be a dick, I’m not putting up with this.” Chuseok wasn’t for another month. He had no idea how to behave around a fake boyfriend for so long. Would they meet up a few times, maybe even have to practice being a couple? It just sounded troublesome as hell. Yoongi was in university to learn shit, not to fuck around with boys and get into half-assed relationships that inevitably ended in tears.

Namjoon made a placating gesture with his hands as he backed away from the table, almost bumping into a freshman behind him. “Look, I’m just grateful you're giving him a chance,” he quipped, checking his watch. "I’ll see you Friday?”

Movie night at Namjoon and Jin’s; a weekly tradition. Yoongi made a noncommittal noise as his friend rushed off. “Ah, youth,” he deadpanned at Namjoon’s retreating back with a lazy wave. He wondered if he’d ever find someone who looked at him the way Namjoon looked at Jin.

After 20 minutes, he resigned himself to trudging back to his apartment. After Namjoon’s appearance, the library seemed too quiet for him to get any real work done; he might as well give it a shot back at his place.

Chapter Text

“Thank you, Yoongi,” his client said kindly, her hand resting on her daughter’s head as she saw him off at the door. “I’m so sorry we held you back today; her first recital’s coming up this Saturday, and we don’t want her unprepared for it.”

Yoongi smiled and nodded. “Of course, I understand,” he said patiently, dipping and patting Jae Eun on the head. “Good luck; I’m sure you’ll do very well. Just remember for the Base Clef—“

“Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always,” Jae Eun slurred slowly in English, her eyes shining up at her tutor as she recited the words that helped her remember the notes of the grand staff. “And All Cows Eat Grass!”

Yoongi nodded with pride curving the corners of his lips upwards. "You’re going to be fine,” he praised quietly, ruffling her hair as he stood up to his full height and faced his employer. “I’ll see you at the same time next week, Soh-nim.” She waved pleasantly at him as he left.

He walked at normal speed till he turned the corner of the street. 3:46 – the class had ended 30 minutes later than planned. He wrapped his scarf tighter around his neck and cursed as he skidded to a stop at a crossing, impatiently waiting for the light to turn green. He might still make it if he ran back to campus. Yoongi hated running, but he hated tardiness more.

The coffee shop was surprisingly empty as he entered, panting as he tried to catch his breath. He braced his palms on his knees and wondered how the hell he was this winded from a brief sprint when he could run circles around registered basketball teams back in high school. He checked his watch with a small cough and cursed when he realized he was five minutes off the mark. Damn.

“Oh, Yoongi-hyung!” A familiar voice called out, prompting Yoongi to turn towards the counter. Hoseok waved cheerfully at him from behind the cashier. “Did you run here? You must seriously need a coffee fix.”

“Black,” Yoongi wheezed, lifting a finger. "And I’m meeting someone, actually.”

Hoseok laughed as he punched in Yoongi’s usual order. “Oh, lucky guy.”

Yoongi didn’t respond to that. He had no idea how Hoseok had found out he was gay, but he suspected it was through the grapevine. Yoongi could count the number of people he regularly interacted with in school on exactly one hand. He’d actually known Hoseok first as a barista before he knew that the guy was good friends with Jungkook - apparently they were long-time gym buddies. “I’ll just—” He jerked a thumb over his shoulder towards the sitting area.

Hoseok waved him off genially as he worked the coffee machine.

As he scanned the coffee shop, Yoongi’s eyes fell onto a student with his back turned to him. With silvery hair like that, it was easy to pick out Park Jimin from the crowd. As he approached the man, he could see that he had earbuds in, and his head was bobbing mildly to some unknown tune.

Without wasting time, he sat himself across the other student.

Jimin was startled as he ripped his earphone out of his ears, face brightening. “Hyung!” He exclaimed, making Yoongi blink at the relief that bloomed on his face at the sight of him. “I didn’t think you were coming!”

“Sorry I'm late, I was held up,” Yoongi said slowly, leaning to his left as Hoseok appeared with a steaming hot cup of coffee. He frowned at the cookie that was on the saucer. “I didn’t—“

“On the house,” Hoseok beamed, darting away before Yoongi could throw a note at him for the extra cost. He laughed like he’d scored a victory. “Just remember to bring my Dynamic Duo CD tomorrow~” As he left, he spun on his heel and gave Yoongi two thumbs up and a wink that was nothing short of lascivious.

“I’ll return your damn CD,” Yoongi grumbled under his breath, sighing at the perfectly baked cookie that rested on the side of his saucer. It was just then that he remembered Jimin sitting across from him and he frowned, lifting his head. “Sorry. Hoseok always springs treats on me and I kind of hate owing people for stuff.”

“Hyung…” Jimin stared. “You’re kind of a nice guy, huh?”

“Hah?” Yoongi lifted an eyebrow. “Not really. I’m just…” He trailed off, scratching the back of his neck. He wasn’t good about talking, about himself or in general. “… Look, just tell me a bit more about this, ah… Favor, you needed. Namjoon kind of sped through an explanation, and I didn’t get much out of it other than the fact that you were gay and you didn’t wanna come out to your family alone.”

Jimin colored quickly. “Uh,” he hesitated. “I guess that’s kind of it,” he said quietly, glancing around their table. Yoongi was suddenly aware that they were seated at a table furthest from everyone else in the coffee house. “My family… They’re old fashioned, so it's…” He looked down at his lap, hands twisting together. “It’s a little difficult for me. I guess.”

Yoongi frowned. “Are they bigots?”

“No!” Jimin exclaimed, jerking in his seat. A few people looked over at the sudden eruption and he took in a sharp breath, clearing his throat. “No,” he repeated himself, keeping his voice low. “I just… I’m afraid.” He looked away from Yoongi’s searching eyes and at the double knotted laces of his trainers. “… I’ve just never even entertained the thought of telling my family before, since I've always planned to stay apart from them after university anyway. But my grandmother…”

Jimin’s eyes grew sad. “She’s old, hyung,” he continued. “And I don’t think I’d want to regret not telling her about who I am while I have the chance. And I— I want her to see me with someone who cares about me. I want her to know I’m taken care of and that I can be happy even though I haven’t… I haven’t made the choices most other men make.” His voice was solemn and subdued by the end of his little speech.

Yoongi’s brows furrowed thoughtfully at the sincerity in his eyes. This guy was really serious.

Honestly, Jimin was really quite a beautiful man. Yoongi couldn’t ignore the aesthetic appeal of a guy like that – Park Jimin probably got confessed to pretty regularly. “You could have probably had anyone you wanted,” he suddenly blurted, unaware he was even going to ask such a personal question before he did. “You’re not exactly unpopular, so I’m curious. Why’d you ask me? Why not… Taehyung? Namjoon said you guys were close, and he’s gay, right?” Taehyung was also definitely more attractive than Yoongi.

The color reached even the tips of Jimin’s ears. It was kind of amazing, even if he wasn’t as pale as Yoongi. “I can’t,” he said under his breath, chewing on his lower lip. “Tae and I went to the same high school. My family’s already met him, and I mean… They know how we are. It wouldn’t work. Same with Kookie.” He looked up at Yoongi with hooded eyes. “And besides, I kind of want this to be with y…” His mouth gaped for a small period of time, like he was trying to say something before he looked away. “… With a stranger…?”

Suddenly Yoongi got it. “Right,” he nodded. “So that it’s kind of like a no-strings-attached sort of thing,” he added after a moment. He should have thought of that. It'd definitely be easier.

Jimin’s eyes grew wide. “Hyung, I didn’t mean—“

“Nah, it’s all good,” Yoongi lifted a hand placatingly. “I get it.”

“Wait—“

“Look, I just need to know,” Yoongi hooked a finger into the small handle of his coffee cup, “am I going to get punched by your dad, or anything if I do this?”

Jimin flinched a little, like Yoongi had just punched him. “W-What?”

“You seem like an okay guy,” Yoongi admitted, blowing on the deep brown surface of his coffee to cool it, “and I honestly don’t really care about hiding my sexuality anymore. Since my parents will be overseas during that time and my older brother’s working through the holiday, I was just going to stay in my apartment for Chuseok anyway.” He lifted an eyebrow at Jimin as he latched his lips to the rim of his cup. “I’m guessing you’ll pay for my ticket to Busan?”

Jimin’s eyes were wide as he looked at Yoongi. When he realized he was staring, his head snapped to his right so quickly Yoongi was semi-concerned he’d given himself whiplash. “I—Yes. I’d be prepared to do that,” he said quietly.

“Then it’ll be a small holiday and I won’t get punched,” Yoongi declared, sipping. He let out a pleased hum at the first taste of his caffeine fix and downed another daringly large gulp. "I'll pay for my own food and get a hotel if I need to, though." As long as the ticket was covered, the rest of his expenses wouldn’t amount to much. Yoongi wasn't the high maintenance type. “I’ve never been to Busan before,” he mused.

“Hyung, you’re agreeing to this?” Jimin breathed. His eyes were wide and shiny. “Are you serious?”

Shifting under the weight of Jimin's scrutiny, Yoongi hid as much of his face behind the cup as possible. “You asked, didn't you?” He muttered uncomfortably before he sighed and rested his chin on his palm. “Look, in the end, I’m not going because you want to tell your family you’re gay, alright?”

Jimin looked taken aback. “Then… Then why?”

Cocking his head, Yoongi lowered his cup. “… Jimin, you want to come out to your family, and that’s brave,” he said with a mildly confused face. “But liking men is normal to me, and I’m…” He sighed in frustration, lacking the words to explain why he’d agreed to all of this. He definitely didn’t want to trivialize Jimin’s decision about coming out to his family, but it wasn't like he could relate to the struggle. What made him agree to this was the look on Jimin’s face when he'd talked about his grandmother, the shine in his eyes as he'd explained wanting to share this critical aspect of his life with her and his family. The fact that he’d thought far enough ahead to show his family that it was possible for him to love men and for him to be happy, going to the extent of finding a fake boyfriend to reassure them that he wasn’t suffering just because he was gay. Just because he’d made a less conventional choice.

Yoongi cared enough to tell his parents he liked men over a random family dinner while his dad stuffed his face with a rice cake. And Jimin… Jimin cared enough to make Yoongi feel kind of shitty about how little he’d cared, which was freakishly unusual. There were very few people that could make Yoongi feel shitty about himself, other than himself.

He’d left Jimin hanging. Yoongi cleared his throat, wishing he were better with his words and articulating everything that went on in his head. Eventually, he gave up on finding the perfect explanation and winged it, as he always did. “More than the fact that you like men… Isn’t it more amazing that you love your grandmother enough to go this far?” He asked slowly, wondering if that was good enough.

It probably wasn't, but warmth filled Jimin’s eyes, and they gleamed as they caught the light of the afternoon sun through the glass. “Thank you hyung,” he said under his breath, his cheeks rosy as he smiled. He looked breath-taking.

Yoongi sucked in a breath and turned to look out of the windows. It was a beautiful day.

 


 

They hashed out a few minor details and exchanged numbers. They were going to attempt getting to know each other better, and they had to come up with a reasonable story about how they'd met. Jimin had mentioned wanting to spend a little time outside of school if they had the chance – his face was the reddest it had been throughout the entire time they'd spoken - to which Yoongi had readily acquiesced. Normal couples went on dates; they'd need to establish a pattern of interaction somehow.

For all the shit Yoongi had expected agreeing to a favor this complex, it was surprisingly easy to continue talking to Jimin at the coffee shop. It was still troublesome, sure, but not as annoying as he'd initially thought it'd be. It didn't hurt that Jimin was pretty decent company on top of being unfairly attractive.

He set his bag down and flopped onto his bed, pressing his face into a pillow as his eyes drooped. Jimin was the aesthetically pleasing type, the type that drew crowds with sheer charisma and an upward curve of his lips. Yoongi had seen him around campus with a gaggle of girls dogging his heels, had glimpsed him in town a few times with groups during a break between classes. During those times, rare as they were, Yoongi remembered Jimin smiling like his life was perfect, holding his head up high like he was sure of himself. Yoongi had always thought people like Jimin were like forces of nature, the exact opposite of himself. Taehyung aside, he’d never really thought he'd associate much with people who were so exuberant.

At the same time, Yoongi had never seen a force of nature like Jimin second guess himself as much as he had during their short time together at the coffee shop. It was terribly confusing.

He flipped over onto his back and lifted his cellphone.

PARK.J: Thank you, hyung. This really means a lot to me.

Yoongi sighed at the formal address. That was weird, right? He was pretty sure Namjoon never called Jin hyung, not even back before they’d been a couple. Maybe it was because they'd been friends a long time? Should he bring it up?

MIN.Y: Don't worry about it. I...

He paused. Backspaced.

MIN.Y: Listen, a bunch of us get together on Fridays for a movie at Namjoon's. Taehyung and Jungkook are probably going. You in?

PARK.J is typing...

Yoongi lazily hummed a verse of Haru Haru till a message came through with a light pinging tone.

PARK.J: In the evening?

MIN.Y: Yeah

PARK.J is typing...

He turned on his side as he watched the dots move, wondering if he could wrap up any of his less taxing assignments from the next semester before Saturday rolled around.

PARK.J: That sounds good, hyung. I might be a bit late though, is that ok?

Yoongi frowned.

MIN.Y: You have plans already? You don't have to cancel

PARK.J: Ah, no. I just try to put in more time at the studios on Fridays

Right, Yoongi reflected. Jimin was a dancer, and their university had a pretty formidable arts program. The guy must be swamped this close to Chuseok, preparing for the school's closing festival before new year’s. Yoongi was still studying after finals because he was on an accelerated track, but he was pretty sure he’d heard somewhere that Jimin got in on a dance scholarship. He was probably heavily involved with club activities - hell, he might be graded for some of them, Yoongi didn't know.

MIN.Y: if you can't make it, don't worry. We can still go out some other time

PARK.J is typing...

PARK.J: I’d really like to go, hyung.

He stared at his phone screen for a long time.

MIN.Y: okay. Need the address?

PARK.J: I'll just get it from Tae. I'll see you tomorrow, hyung?

Yoongi let out a long sigh, unaware how he'd been holding his breath till he released it.

MIN.Y: Yeah, okay. I'll see you tomorrow, Jimin.

Chapter Text

“You actually agreed to it?” Taehyung gaped dramatically, eyes bulging as he lounged against Jungkook’s side on the couch. “Oh my god. Hyung, I didn’t think you would!”

Yoongi silently stared at the pair with mildly concealed annoyance. 'Get your shit together already,’ he thought scathingly. ‘Not many people have the luck of finding their soul mate in high school, you know.’

“Why’d you agree?” Jin questioned from behind the kitchen counter, pouring crisps into a bowl from a Tupperware. He brought out a second bag after it was empty, handing it to Namjoon who snapped it open with ease. “I’m actually surprised too.”

Yoongi shrugged and sank into his favorite armchair with a grunt. “He had some pretty good reasons,” he mumbled, disliking the feeling of being put on the spot. He busied himself by grabbing his satchel to search for Hoseok's CD. “I guess I can understand where he’s coming from. It’ll be a holiday for me too, sort of - he said he'd pay for my ticket to Busan.” He pulled out the plastic casing and double checked the disc was inside before handing it back to its owner.

“And the real reason comes out,” Hoseok drawled playfully from his place on the floor, reaching for it. He’d apparently been told what was happening between Yoongi and Jimin by Jungkook. “Hyung, you better do your best. He seems like the delicate type.”

“What, and I’m not the delicate type?” Yoongi lifted an eyebrow, cracking an eye open. Everyone shot him their individual version of a dramatic eye roll till he sighed in resignation. Yeah. Despite his features, Yoongi was probably not the delicate type.

“You better be nice to him,” Taehyung frowned, uncharacteristically serious. Jungkook sensed the change of tone and turned to glance at the elder through half-lidded, sleepy eyes. “Jiminie’s a good guy.”

“Jimin hyung is at most an okay guy,” Jungkook jibed lazily, making Taehyung slap him amicably.

“The guy just needs a fake boyfriend,” Yoongi pointed out. “You guys know how I am. As long as he doesn’t start shit, I won’t." He set his satchel down on the ground next to the armchair. "Besides, he said he wants to keep this a no-strings-attached type thing anyway - I only invited him over today so we’d kind of ease into it with you and Kookie around.”

Taehyung’s eyes were wide and round. “He said that?” The younger man asked, sounding confused. “Jiminie said it?”

Yoongi lifted an eyebrow in surprise. “Well—“ The doorbell rang, cutting him off. “That’ll probably be him,” he said blandly.

Everyone’s eyes swivelled to him. Even Namjoon stuck his head out of the kitchen to bore holes into his head directly.

Despite not wanting to move for the next 5 years, Yoongi got up dutifully and treaded over to the door, hissing at the cold floor stinging his bare feet. He swung the door open. “Hey. Didn’t expect you to be so early—“ He paused, staring at Jimin’s dishevelled state with wide eyes.

The other student had his hair raked back from his forehead, a thin t-shirt clinging to his torso as he fussed with warming his - noticeably ungloved - hands by rubbing them together. His breath came out in visible white puffs of warm air, and his skin was slick with sweat. He jumped from foot to foot as though he’d just been running outside and was just now warming down. “Hey,” Jimin said breathlessly, a small smile curving his lips. A paper bag was pressed to his side, his arm hooked through the rope handles. “I ended earlier so that I could pick up a gift, I brought some red bean—“

“Did you accidentally go out dressed in your pyjamas or are you purposely trying to catch hypothermia?” Yoongi scowled, yanking Jimin in by his arm as he slammed the door shut. He pointedly didn’t focus on the firm muscles beneath his fingers. Nope. “Jimin, it’s fuck-knows how cold out there and you’re practically dressed for the beach, what the hell were you thinking?”

Jimin balked at him. “I, um,” he stammered. “I’m not— I didn’t think—“

“Jimin hyung, tongue-tied,” Jungkook piped up with mild interest, hooking his chin over the curve of Taehyung’s shoulder as he observed the unfolding scene. “Miracles do happen.”

Taehyung had other priorities. "Give me the red bean~" He sang happily, making a grabby hands for the paper bag Jimin was carrying. "Red bean, red bean~"

“Damn right you didn’t think,” Yoongi glowered at him, ignoring both Jungkook and Taehyung as he pushed Jimin into his former seat. He leaned over and ripped his scarf from the back of the chair, wrapping it firmly around Jimin’s neck and flipping his hands upwards in the air frustratedly halfway in exasperation. “Park Jimin, if you’re telling me you booked it here from campus out in that weather without a jacket, I’m going to—“

“No, I didn’t— I mean, I did,” Jimin stuttered, one of the ends of Yoongi’s scarf flopping over his left eye. He moved it aside with the back of his left hand, hesitant. “I, um. I’m sorry?” He shot Taehyung a stunned look that screamed ‘what the hell is happening’, but Tae was too busy grinning at the red bean treats Jimin had brought to notice his best friend’s signal for help.

"Get a damn blanket," Yoongi ordered, narrowing his eyes at Jimin one more time before he stormed into the kitchen to complain to Jin. “Unbelievable,” he murmured under his breath as he watched Jimin converse with Tae and Jungkook in hushed, frantic whispers. Hoseok watched the trio from his place on the floor, amused. "We’re well into an early autumn and the guy’s walking around in sweats. He’s crazy.” He spun on his heel to frown at Namjoon. "You made me fake-date a crazy person."

“And you’re off to a great start,” Namjoon said wryly, patting Yoongi on the back. He lifted his hands in the universal gesture for surrender as Yoongi glared at him in response. “You’re already yelling at him, calm down, hyung.”

Jin chuckled as he grabbed a pitcher of juice, leaving it out on the counter. “Yoongi-yah,” he said fondly, “You’re a caring guy, but you lose your temper too quickly.” He pushed a tin of chocolate powder towards Yoongi, nodding towards their electric kettle in an effort to prompt him.

Yoongi stared between the tin and the kettle for an embarrassingly long time before he jumped to it. Right. Making hot chocolate was boyfriend-y, right? He could do that. That he could do. As he waited for the water to re-boil, he spooned in a generous amount of powder and set about scavenging for some marshmallows. Jimin had been drinking something with whipped cream in the coffee shop the day before; he probably liked sweet things.

Jin paused at the door to the living room, held open by Namjoon. “We have those nice unfolding flower marshmallows from Namjoon’s sister,” he tossed over his shoulder with a glacial smile. “Left drawer in the fridge.”

Namjoon looked sickeningly in love as he jogged after his boyfriend. All things considered, Yoongi couldn’t even blame him. Damn.

Pulling open the fridge door, Yoongi rummaged around in the drawer till he found a bag of marshmallows that was clipped to keep it airtight. He undid the plastic clip and picked out a plump white colored… Thing, noting the band of white chocolate holding the cut petals of the marshmallow in place. He set it aside and started brewing two cups of hot chocolate.



Jimin was talking animatedly with Hoseok about a British dance crew when Yoongi returned, holding out a steaming mug of hot chocolate to the younger man. “Here,” he deadpanned. “Maybe with this you won’t die of hypothermia.”

“I’m not going to die of hypothermia, hyung, you're so overdramatic," Jimin murmured, but he took the mug anyway. The second the cup was off his hands, Yoongi dropped the marshmallow he’d pinched between the fingers of his other hand into Jimin’s drink. The look of delight that bloomed alongside the marshmallow in Jimin’s cup made Yoongi smile despite his earlier reservations about Jimin's sanity, and he sat down beside the silver-haired man on the sofa. "You don't have one?" Jimin asked, looking over into Yoongi's mug.

"Nah. It's too sweet for me as it is," Yoongi replied. He nodded with approval when he noticed Jimin was wrapped in a blanket that was usually draped over the arm of the couch for guests.

“No fair, Yoongi hyung,” Jungkook complained monotonously from his place next to Taehyung. “I want hot chocolate too.”

“You’re not my boyfriend,” Yoongi said casually, making Jimin almost spit out his first mouthful. He smirked even as he kept his eyes averted. “You don’t get hot chocolate privileges.”

“You’re such a sadist,” Namjoon snickered under his breath. as Jin shushed him, though with a fond smile. “Don’t tease Jimin.”

“I happen to find it very important to be in character,” Yoongi pointed out mockingly with a lift of his eyebrow. Jimin stiffened slightly beside him, but he relaxed just as quickly with a deep breath. Yoongi wondered if he should ask what was wrong, but decided Jimin was probably just feeling a little awkward because of what he’d said earlier. They’d just have to slowly get used to it.

“What are we watching?” Tauhyung bubbled excitedly, looking at the DVDs on the coffee table. “Can we watch Star Trek?”

Hoseok lifted his hand to his heart. “Tae-Tae,” he said solemnly, “I love you. I really do. But we are not watching Star Trek again. Not for at least another year."

"Or five,” Yoongi amended with dull eyes.

Jimin laughed. “Has he been bugging you guys to watch it with him too?” He grinned, turning to Yoongi. He looked happy, if not still a little flushed from how easily Yoongi had called him his boyfriend. “He made Kookie and I go to the cinema four times for the third movie.”

“I can probably quote the Federation pledge by now,” Yoongi complained, setting his mug down on the table, patting the cool surface of it twice with the flat of his hand. “I agree with Hoseok. Star Trek vetoed.”

Jin patted Taehyung’s back consolingly as he pouted. Jungkook leaned in to murmur, "we can watch it in your dorm.” Literally everyone sighed in exasperation at their shared obliviousness as Tae lit up with happiness.

“There’s a horror movie that came out this year that everyone tells me was really scary,” Jin suggested, pushing the DVD’s around on the table till he found it. “This one. I wanted to watch it with Joon in the cinemas, but school got in the way."

Yoongi glanced at Namjoon, who was a little green around the edges. “I seriously don’t understand how Jin stomachs this stuff while you’re the one writhing.”

“He gets me to catch all the spiders, telling me to put them outside without killing them in case they have friends and families, but he’s totally okay with The Conjuring,” Namjoon groaned. “Feel my pain, Yoongi-yah. Feel it.”

“I don’t want to feel anything of yours,” Yoongi retorted immediately.

Namjoon inclined his head sharply. “Touche, hyung.”

"Are you two doing a comedy sketch?" Hoseok laughed, amused.

“I don’t mind,” Jungkook shrugged eventually, looking at the jacket of the DVD. “But this is The Conjuring 2. Do we need to watch the first movie?”

"Are you seriously worrying about continuity issues when we're about to watch the scariest movie of the year?" Jimin gaped in disbelief.

Taehyung whined. “Star Trek isn’t scary,” he bemoaned. "Jin hyung, can’t you watch this with just Joonie hyung instead?”

Jin smiled serenely. “Joon will find it easier to watch if everyone is here,” he said sweetly. He turned to Tae. “Besides, Jungkook will be with you. It’ll be fine - just think of it as a courage test, like we saw in Running Man.”

“The reviews for The Conjuring were really scary though, right? Jungkookie-ah, you better protect me!” Taehyung whined, latching onto Jungkook with his left arm thrown around the other boy’s neck.

“With my life,” Jungkook said solemnly without even a twitch of his eye.

Hoseok rolled his eyes at them, reaching for the DVD jacket. He was seated the closest to the player, so he ended up being the one to pop it in.

“Do you like scary movies?” Yoongi asked Jimin quietly, watching the younger cradle his cup of hot chocolate carefully in his small hands. Despite his musculature, Jimin had really small, cute hands. Huh.

Jimin chewed on his lower lip. “I don’t watch them very often,” he admitted nervously with a small laugh. “Tae and I scare easily. Kookie’s more put together than both of us,” he sighed bitterly, glaring at Jungkook, who was yawning lethargically in response to the opening sequence. “They’re fun once in a while, but… We’re more into action movies, I think.”

Yoongi laughed quietly. “Well, feel free to freak out,” he said tiredly. “Can’t be louder than Hoseok.” He had a sneaking suspicion that unless this movie was fucked up beyond belief, he was going to drop off somewhere in the middle of it. While he didn't have classes on Fridays, he'd drafted out next week's lesson plan for his students in the morning, and spent the afternoon bowling through the rest of his easier assignments from the first week of the next semester.

People often thought Yoongi was a slacker, with how often he seemed to fall asleep in lectures and how he spaced out more than half the time in class. The truth was that he did the bulk of his work alone in his apartment, swaying freely and humming along to music. He wasn’t surprised people thought he was lazy when he’d perpetuated the assumption, but hard work betrayed no one. Yoongi had sailed through his first two years in university with good grades, and he was hell bent on continuing the pattern. It was why he worked so hard even though finals were long over; he'd never really taken a break from hitting the books since he'd started university.

Jimin looked at Yoongi, drawing close with pinched brows. “You look tired, hyung,” he said softly. “Are you okay?”

Yoongi blinked and lifted a hand to his forehead. “I had a long day. Probably just need some shuteye,” he huffed, lightly gripping Jimin’s shoulder to steer him back against the couch and out of his face. “Calm down, I'm fine. Now shh; movie’s starting.”

Jimin flushed a little - well, Jimin flushed a lot, it seemed to be his default state sometimes - but he kept silent, obediently leaning back and fixing his eyes on the screen.

Yoongi was blissfully asleep four minutes in. As expected, horror movies had nothing on Min Yoongi in need of a nap.



He woke to a weight on his arm, a muffled scream, two very not-muffled screams, and an impressive string of curses in at least three languages, thank you Namjoon.

Groggily, Yoongi blinked his eyes open and squinted at the screen where a gnarled looking thing was clawing its way out of a painting. "Jesus," he croaked drily, taking in the carnage.

Taehyung was basically in Jungkook's lap, the former with teary eyes, the latter with a ramrod straight back as his eyes never left the screen. Hoseok and Namjoon were gripping onto each other tightly with their mouths gaped in horror. Jin was watching with attentive interest, patiently picking up a bowl of crisps that had likely been overturned by someone's frightened outburst.

Jimin had his face turned inwards to the swell of Yoongi's bicep, breathing harshly as he tried to calm down from what must have been a truly terrifying jumpscare. "I don’t want to watch this,” he was chanting very quietly as his grip tensed more and more with each climbing note of the soundtrack. Yoongi had no idea how Jimin expected him to stay asleep when he was essentially strangling the blood circulation to his right arm. “I don’t want to watch this, I don’t want to watch this, I don’t want to watch this—“

Yoongi kept himself very, very still, and tried not to laugh.

"Nooo, Lorraine," Taehyung wept – hyperventilated almost. "Lorraine, why are you like this, oh my god—“

"Jin hyung, with all due respect, you're never allowed to pick the movie again," Hoseok whimpered fervently, his forehead beaded with sweat as he threw his hands over his eyes. "Oh my god, Jin hyung, oh my god—"

Namjoon performed the sign of the cross over his torso, clasping his hands together.

That was too interesting to ignore. "Namjoon-ah, I didn't know you were religious," Yoongi piped up, making everyone's head swivel to him in surprise. They'd probably thought he'd pass out for the whole movie. Jimin was still too terrified to do anything but stare at the screen though. He probably hadn't even heard Yoongi.

Namjoon didn't open his eyes as he lifted his face to the ceiling. "If there was ever a time to be religious, hyung, this would be it," he murmured, flinching at the terrifying sounds that filled the room from the speaker even if he wasn't watching what was happening on screen. "'More than anything, I'm shocked you could sleep through any of this. What the hell, hyung? Are you a grandfather?"

“It’s past gramps' bedtime,” Taehyung snickered, before promptly screaming at a close-up of whatever the fuck had crawled out of the demonic painting in the movie.

Yoongi smirked vindictively at him. “It’s not so bad since I don’t know the context,” he yawned, the corner of his lips tilting up as everyone jerked in response to another sudden shift of the camera. Taehyung whimpered like a sick dog as Jungkook held onto his waist like a lifeline. A paralyzed lifeline. Yoongi lifted an eyebrow at the pair. “Jin-ah, your taste is really bad, look at those idiots. They're going to piss in their sleep later.”

“My taste is great,” Jin smiled peacefully. “Namjoon is going to hug me to death tonight.”

"Joonie, if we're all suffering because you don't hug your boyfriend enough, I'm going to respectfully kill you very dead," Hoseok wheezed, clutching his heart frantically.

“Jinnn,” Namjoon whined piteously. “I’ll hug you to death no matter what, so can we please stop? Jin, I can’t watch this anymore, Lorraine is on some seriously fucked up shit and I just can't—“

“But what happened to Janet?” Jungkook was asking, his eyes wide as he continued to watch the movie. “Where is Janet? Is she dead already? Did Janet die?"

“There’d be no movie if Janet died,” Jin pointed out serenely, patting his boyfriend's back to console him through his apparent hysteria, though he conspicuously didn't make any move to stop the movie.

Yoongi shook his head at the incessant noise that filled the apartment as he put his arm around Jimin, drawing him closer. The younger man seemed frightened stiff by the movie – Yoongi felt a little bad for falling asleep right at the start. His hand absently patted Jimin’s shoulder. “Hey. You okay?” He murmured close to his ear.

Jimin finally jerked to attention, if only to withdraw at the speed of light. Yoongi frowned as his arm was suddenly cold, without the heat of Jimin’s back and shoulders pressing against it. “Ah, hyung,” he mumbled, moving away. His face was pallid with fear from watching the movie, or Yoongi was sure he’d have seen red infusing his skin again. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have, I just—“ He gestured vaguely at the screen. “Lorraine— There was a nun, and—“

“I don’t care about Lorraine, Jimin,” Yoongi deadpanned. Nun? He sighed heavily and lifted his arm again, looking at Jimin meaningfully. After almost a full minute, Jimin cautiously leaned back in towards the curve of Yoongi’s side. Waiting patiently, Yoongi didn’t move till Jimin shifted into a comfortable position, even if his back was still stiff. “You need to relax,” Yoongi told him quietly.

Jimin pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes. “I know, it’s just… I feel really lame getting so scared over a dumb movie,” he laughed drily. “It’s been a long time since I’ve watched anything this scary, and—“ A loud noise made almost everyone in the room yelp, and Jimin clutched frantically into the front of Yoongi’s shirt with his fists, eyes blown wide.

Yoongi couldn’t help it; he burst out laughing. “Oi, Jimin-ah, are you trying to hug me or fight me?” He teased as Jimin’s face flushed with embarrassment. His shirt was roughly released, and Yoongi casually smoothed it down. “Are you taking lessons from our golden maknae? Is that why you’re becoming violent?”

“I only teach self defense,” Jungkook piped up, pretty much on instinct. “I’m not violent.”

Jimin’s cheeks were rapidly pinking, but a small grin was fighting its way to his lips. Yoongi could tell. “Hyung, stop bullying me!” He complained nonetheless.

“It’s a hyung’s job to bully the maknae,” Yoongi defended himself smoothly with a smirk, lifting his hands. “I didn’t make the rules, don’t look at me.” After a moment of consideration, he leaned in a little and lowered his voice. “But if you stop calling me hyung, maybe I’ll reconsider.”

Jimin went red as a tomato and shoved a cushion in Yoongi’s face for that. He still didn’t call Yoongi by his name, but he didn’t leave his side for the rest of the movie either. And he was smiling.

Namjoon managed to shoot Yoongi a thumbs up before another jumpscare made him curse in yet another language Yoongi didn’t recognize.

Yoongi felt strangely satisfied.

Chapter Text

 “Junkookie, sleep at mine today,” Taehyung begged, hugging himself as everyone stretched and groaned – typical post-movie stuff. “The nun is going to appear and I can’t fight her, I have twig arms.”

“You do not have twig arms, you go to the gym with Jimin hyung all the time,” Jungkook scoffed almost immediately, before he considered Taehyung’s request and nodded. “But I’ll still stay over. Because you definitely can’t fight off the demon nun alone."

“No nuns will appear, you idiots.” Yoongi rolled his eyes at them as he groaned midway into a stretch. “Jin hyung,” he said, eyeing Jimin’s haunted face, “next time let’s just watch a Disney movie or something. These kids can’t handle horror.”

“Hey!” Taehyung and Jimin protested in unison, twin frowns on their faces. Yoongi resisted the urge to snort.

“I am a child,” Namjoon said at exactly the same time with complete seriousness. “I am an infant, if it means I will never have to watch another horror movie like that again.” He scrubbed his face tiredly. “Ah, seriously, how am I going to sleep tonight—”

“I can handle horror,” Jungkook fibbed with a shrug.

“I could have used your back as an ironing board, that was how straight it was,” Yoongi scoffed teasingly.

Jungkook shot a mock angry glare at him in response. "Hyung, you were dead through at least half of it."

"Really? Only half? I think it was closer to three quarters," Yoongi said thoughtfully.

“Was that even horror?” Hoseok whinged. “It was more like… More than scary… It was just bad. Not bad like The Last Airbender, bad like… It was just bad altogether. It made me feel bad.” He broke out into a deranged sort of wriggle that allegedly helped him to release his stress, making a plethora of noises as he went about it. Yoongi sidestepped him before he could get an elbow to the face. “Bad should be a genre. Jin hyung, stop picking bad movies.”

Jin expertly swerved under one of Hoseok’s thrashing arms to retrieve the remote, turning the TV off. “It wasn’t that bad,” he sighed exasperatedly, collecting the scattered mugs on the coffee table. “The Shining, though. The Shining was worse.” Namjoon had cried. Almost profusely. Even Jin had freaked out a little during The Shining.

“I read that people employed priests to stand outside the theatre when The Conjuring started playing in cinemas,” Yoongi shared, holding out a hand to Jimin. The younger took his arm without thought, getting up with Yoongi's help. “They said people started seeing things after they watched the movies, so the priests were there to bless the screening. Isn’t that already kind of creepy?”

“Yoongi hyung!” Tae groaned, covering his ears. “I have enough to worry about in my life!”

Hoseok lifted a hand weakly. “Can I stay here for the night?” He asked pathetically. “My roommate’s out of town, and I’m kind of not at all immune to scary movies.”

Namjoon rolled his eyes like it was a sport before he turned to Jin like a kid asking his mother for permission.

Yoongi smirked. His best friend was so whipped.

“If you want to,” Jin agreed pleasantly, hospitable as always. Hoseok began celebrating with yet another weird jiggly move. “Namjoon and I might keep you up though,” he threw in as a last minute comment in a too-innocent voice.

Hoseok abruptly halted mid-flail, lifting up his hand with a poker face. “On second thought, there are some things scarier than The Conjuring.” He set about gathering his things efficiently.

Yoongi shook his head and turned to Jimin. “You ready to go?” He asked.

Jimin nodded, rubbing his left eye and yawning. It was already almost midnight.

“I’ll walk you back to your dorm, if you’d like,” Yoongi offered. Jimin looked exhausted.

“Oh, there’s no need,” Jimin blurted, immediately looking more alert as he tried to blink the sleep out of his eyes. “I mean, Tae and Kookie are heading back to campus too, so I think I’ll be okay.” He smiled sweetly. “I don’t want to trouble you.”

Yoongi frowned uneasily. “It’s fine,” he said lowly. "It's... It's what boyfriends do, right?"

A long silence ensued.

Taehyung popped up between them suddenly, an arm slung around Jungkook's neck. Yoongi jerked back mildly in surprise. "Jiminie, are we going?"

Jimin blinked, seeming to snap out of whatever awkward spell had come over the pair of them before Yoongi could even understand what has happened. "Ah, yeah," he said with a nod. "Just— give me a second to get my charger." He took Yoongi's arm gently and pulled him aside, lower lip trapped between his teeth.

Yoongi was beginning to recognize that as a sign of nerves. "What's wrong?" He asked once Jimin had paused by a wall socket to unplug his charger and pick up his phone.

Jimin seemed frustrated as he raked a hand through his hair. “Hyung, I know I asked you to do this for me,” he said after a while, seeming apologetic as he spoke. “But I… I don’t understand how it’s so easy for you.” He lifted his head hesitantly, his eyes dull. It didn't suit him, Yoongi thought. Not when he'd already seen how bright they could be when Jimin was smiling and happy. “Did you date a lot of people in the past?”

Yoongi shook his head. “I didn’t. And it’s not easy,” he clarified with a frown. “I just thought maybe it’d be less awkward for the both of us if we got used to it early.” He leaned against the wall and crossed his arms. “I mean, couples are tactile. Look at Namjoon and Jin.”

Jimin looked behind him at Jin feeding Namjoon the last of the chips from a bag before throwing away the wrapper. Jin leaned in and picked a crumb off Namjoon's cheek, laughing brightly as his boyfriend pecked him on the temple. Jimin quickly turned back to Yoongi, blinking rapidly. “I… Okay,” he said lamely, shifting from foot to foot.

“Instead of thinking about this so much, just go with what feels natural,” Yoongi suggested easily with a shrug. “I didn’t date a lot, but I’ve had a couple of short relationships in high school, and one in my freshman year here. We could just go at our pace, get used to the little things. Work our way up to the more intimate stuff.”

Jimin’s eyes darted up to his. “Like holding hands?”

Jesus, this fucking kid. What was sex if even holding hands was intimate to him? So innocent; how were his past relationships even like? “Yeah,” Yoongi said tiredly. “Exactly like holding hands.” Whatever worked, right? "Anyway, you mentioned wanting to go on dates and everything at the coffee shop, didn’t you? Since finals are over, we probably have a few free days. We could practice stuff like this whenever we meet up.” Small innocuous things that people in relationships did without a thought, like getting used to each other’s space and grabbing two sets of cutlery when they went to a diner.

"I..." Jimin's face was blank before he seemed to mentally shake himself. He was working his way up to saying something.

Yoongi pushed himself up off the wall, humming at the effort. “We could try studying together first, maybe grab a bite between classes or something," he suggested to fill the silence. "Namjoon usually picks Jin up after a lecture even though he's done with classes for the semester. I'm done with classes too, so maybe I could try swinging by the Art faculty sometimes to—“

"Hyung," Jimin blurted, averting his eyes and taking a deep breath, "are you free tomorrow?"

Lifting an eyebrow at the sudden question, Yoongi mentally rolled through his schedule for the next day. He'd been meaning to start on a scale model tomorrow for some practice, maybe drop by the courts near his apartment to see if there was anyone willing to let him in on a game. He had no classes to teach, but he'd been considering revisiting some of his own older arrangements from when he was in high school. Nothing urgent though; he hadn't been planning on doing much at all. "Yes?" He said, though it sounded more like a question than an answer.

"Oh," Jimin breathed, sounding relieved as he looked at Yoongi. He smiled happily. "There's... I only have practice at 3 tomorrow, so I— I'm... Also free. Before 3," he said quietly, suddenly finding their socks very interesting.

Yoongi stared at Jimin while the younger stared at the floor in silence for a long time. Jimin seemed to steadily wilt as Yoongi grew increasingly confused. He wriggled his toes awkwardly, wondering if he’d missed something.

Namjoon coughed loud enough from across the room to make Yoongi turn to him. He interlaced his fingers with Jin’s and dramatically swung their hands back and forth. Yoongi's brow furrowed at the sudden death round of charades, shrugging as Jimin's eyes were averted. Namjoon's jaw clenched with frustration and he pulled Jin close to him, his hands on his boyfriend's waist. It was obviously straight up PDA, like they were showing off that they were a couple out on a da—

Yoongi straightened up with that epiphany, clearing his throat. He was a complete idiot; they’d just been talking about it. Then again, in his defense, Yoongi hadn’t expected Jimin to want to go out so quickly. "Right," he started awkwardly. "Do you maybe want to do something tomorrow morning? Just us two?" Why was he being so weird? He wanted to slap himself. “Since you’re free,” he added, as casually as he could, which was not very. "Lunch?" God damn it, Min Yoongi.

“I am! Free,” Jimin said quickly, his eyes wide as he shuffled from foot to foot. “I mean. You knew that. I just said it. Obviously.” He laughed, but it sounded strained and nervous. He looked around at literally anything else to avoid making eye contact with Yoongi.

This was getting ridiculous. “Okay,” Yoongi nodded. He reached out and tugged on the ends of his own scarf to even out the lengths, still wrapped around Jimin’s neck. He lifted his eyes to meet the younger’s eyes. “11 okay?” He was pretty sure they could both use a decent amount of sleep— Jimin looked like he needed some quality rest. 11 would give them both a good 8 hours or so, at least.

Jimin nodded hurriedly. “11 is fine.” His cheeks were flushed as his fingers curved over the top of Yoongi’s scarf. “Hyung, this is yours,” he hesitated. “Thank you for lending it to me. I’ll wash it, if you want?”

“I’ve got a few scarfs,” Yoongi shrugged. “You keep it.” So what if it cost more than at least 3 of his other mufflers combined. Who cared. Not Yoongi. “Just quit going out in pyjamas and use the damn thing. I’m freezing all the time; god knows how you got here alive,” he huffed. “Remember to wear a jacket tomorrow.”

Jimin flushed. “Okay,” he nodded obediently.

Namjoon smirked at him from across the room, and Yoongi flipped him off once Jimin bent down to unplug his charger.

“We’re taking off,” Jungkook drawled sleepily from the doorway. Taehyung and Hoseok were tying their shoelaces as Jin helpfully shouldered their bags. “Jimin hyung, are you following Tae and I?”

“Yeah, I’m coming!” Jimin called over. He stuffed his charger into his bag without coiling it, running a hand through his hair after. “So, um." He paused. "Hyung, text me about tomorrow?”

Yoongi nodded mutely. He hung back as Jimin dashed off to leave with Taehyung and Jungkook, turning to Namjoon after he could no longer hear the maknaeduhl talking. His friend had a thoughtful look on his face. “What?” Yoongi lifted an eyebrow.

Namjoon shrugged. “That was your favorite muffler.”

“It was not,” Yoongi lied, making himself frown a second after. Why did he even lie.

“Hyung, you’ve had that scarf for years,” Namjoon said drily. “You hand-wash it. I’m pretty sure someone important gave it to you.”

“No, I bought it for myself when I was in high school,” Yoongi corrected truthfully. It had been an indulgence because he’d done well on his exams. “And I’ll have you know, I hand-wash tons of things,” he added defensively. “I hand-wash my underwear Namjoon; it’s not like it means anything.”

“Whatever you say, hyung,” Namjoon grinned, easily dodging the cushion Yoongi threw at his head.

The door shut and Jin returned to the living room, watching Yoongi pick up his stuff and double check he had everything. “What did I miss?” He asked cheerfully, allowing Namjoon to pull him into a half hug against his side.

“Yoongi has a date with Jimin tomorrow,” Namjoon reported happily, fitting his chin onto the curve of Jin’s shoulder. “It was super awkward, they were hilarious. I was surprised Park Jimin could make faces like that.”

“Can it, Namjoon,” Yoongi warned as he walked to the door. “I don’t even know what we’re going to do tomorrow.”

Jin unlocked the door and held it open as Yoongi toed on his boots. “I’m sure you’ll figure something out,” he said encouragingly. “If you really can’t think of anything, karaoke’s always a safe bet,” he suggested mildly. “And then maybe drinks after.”

“It's just lunch. Besides, I’m not taking him to a bar on our first ‘date’,” Yoongi said, lifting his fingers to make air quotes. “And I don’t want to sing in front of strangers.”

“Jimin shouldn’t be a stranger for too long if he’s taking you back to his parents’ place for Chuseok,” Namjoon teased.

That had Yoongi stiffening. He lowered himself to the ground, deftly threading the laces through the loops around his fingers. "This is supposed to be a no-strings-attached thing,” he said under his breath. He could physically feel the air sobering as he slowly got to his feet. “It’s not real. You know that."

Jin and Namjoon were exchanging concerned looks now. “Yoongi, I was just joking,” Namjoon said, uncharacteristically quiet. “You never know. It could develop into something—“

“I’ll see you guys soon,” Yoongi said quickly, lifting a hand. He didn’t want to think more about it. He didn’t have any expectations now, and he didn’t want to have any expectations later on. Anyone could see how different he and Jimin were; this was supposed to be a simple arrangement. For the next month, Yoongi would have some pretty attractive company and Jimin would have a boyfriend to show off to his grandmother. After Chuseok, they’d go back to their normal lives, rarely - if ever - crossing paths on campus again. No fuss, no hassle.

Jin smiled, though it was subdued and small. It didn’t suit him anymore than it would have Jimin. “Take care on your way home, Yoongi-yah,” he said gently.

“Thanks for today,” Yoongi murmured, before he turned on his heel and left, deciding to text Jimin in the morning instead of before he slept as he'd planned to earlier.

Yoongi had a sense of self preservation. He was going to take any and all precautions here; no questions asked.



An Interlude; Jimin's Point of View

They were in the lift for less than half a second before Taehyung rounded on him. “Jiminie, what the hell?! Yoongi hyung said you wanted some no-strings-attached thing!”

Jimin groaned, burying his face in his hands. “Tae, I didn’t say that,” he whined. “We were talking at the café, and I just… He said that, and I didn’t have time to correct him.” It had been such a fast paced conversation, and Jimin had just been overwhelmed by how relieved he was that Yoongi hyung had agreed to date him at the time. He’d intended to win the man over after a few dates, maybe even confess, but Yoongi hyung’s blasé acceptance of everything threw him off.

“Should’ve just told him you liked him right off the bat,” Jungkook shrugged. “Hyung, you have to be straightforward with people like him. He’s kind of the dense type where it comes to stuff like this.”

Jimin shot Jungkook a baleful look. “Don’t you even start with me about someone else being the dense type, Jeon Joongkook,” he chided as he glanced between Jungkook and Tae. Both shot him identical looks of confusion and he let out a laborious sigh. Seriously?

Taehyung groaned, flailing. “You finally grew the balls to talk to him—“

“Technically, you went behind my back and told Jin hyung to tell Namjoon hyung to tell Yoongi hyung that I needed a fake boyfriend,” Jimin scowled viciously. "You knew I was kidding when I asked you to do that, I would never have asked Yoongi hyung! So, honestly, I wouldn’t really say—“

“—and you’ve already botched it,” Taehyung continued seamlessly as the elevator stopped at the ground floor. He let out a frustrated, dying sound as the doors opened. “Unbelievable.”

“Look, I haven’t totally botched it, okay? I have a date with him tomorrow,” Jimin hissed quickly, growing red as he thought more about it.

Taehyung spun on his heel so fast he lost his balance and slammed into Jungkook. They recoiled from each other, Tae clutching onto his forehead as Jungkook’s hands clamped over his nose. “What?” Taehyung managed in a strangled voice.

Jimin walked between them to the exit of the building, not feeling sorry for them at all. “Yoongi hyung and I have a date tomorrow,” he repeated as the automatic glass doors parted. He stepped through first, to hide the growing smile on his face. Holy shit, he had a date with Yoongi hyung. “We just arranged it before the three of us left.” He lifted his head and took in a breath of fresh air as he waited for the other two to catch up. “I asked him if he was free, and he said he was,” he added in a lower voice.

Jungkook grunted, pinching the bridge of his nose in two separate places like he was trying to hold it together. “Nice, hyung,” he congratulated sincerely with a nasal voice. He wouldn’t joke about something like that – Jimin wasn’t usually the type of guy who made the first move, and it must have taken some guts with a crush. “Do you know where you guys are going?”

Jimin shook his head, surreptitiously patting his phone through his front pocket even though he didn’t actually expect to hear from Yoongi hyung till the next morning. "Just that we're having lunch together," he said under his breath.

Taehyung, meanwhile, had already recovered, and he was rejuvenated by the thought that Jimin had been the one to ask Yoongi hyung out. “Jiminie,” he said with glee in his eyes, “you seem shy but you’re actually the carnivorous type~” He shot finger guns at his best friend.

That made Jimin sputter. “Tae! I’m not—”

“A meat eater,” Jungkook added in support, making Jimin scowl murderously at him.

“Don’t prey on Yoongi hyung,” Taehyung continued to tease as he dashed ahead, his coat billowing around his slender frame. “Even though we were joking up there before, sometimes he seems like he could be the delicate type, doesn’t he?” He looked pointedly at Jungkook, prompting an answer from him.

“We’ve only known him for a while,” Jungkook reasoned as they approached the main street. Namjoon and Jin were so lucky that they stayed on their own, but still within walking distance of the university. Come to think of it, wasn’t Yoongi hyung doing the same on his own? “He seems like a pretty put together guy. Mature.” He shrugged. “I can’t really see someone like Yoongi hyung being delicate…”

“I think he is,” Taehyung argued. “Not all the time though. Just sometimes. Rarely?”

“Why do you say so?” Jimin asked curiously.

Taehyung’s brows knitted. “I can’t explain it. It’s just… There’s a feeling, a feeling,” he eventually said.

Jungkook snorted. “You don’t have to say it twice, hyung.” He grabbed onto Taehyung’s arm and steered him inwards and away from the street once they reached the pavement.

“Well, whether or not Yoongi hyung is the delicate type, I’m not going to 'prey' on him,” Jimin huffed decisively, glaring at Taehyung. “You’ve done enough to land me in all this trouble, so stay out of it!”

Taehyung pressed a hand gently over his heart, a mock gasp of hurt falling from his lips.

Jungkook patted his back consolingly.

Jimin relented with a sigh as they continued down the path back to their campus. Yoongi hyung’s scarf sat warmly around his neck, and he lifted his hands to play with the ends. Under closer inspection, the grey fabric was thick and seemed expensive, though the hemming was very slightly frayed. Yoongi hyung must have had this scarf for a while. “I should return it,” he said under his breath, trying to convince himself that he actually wanted to.

“Hmm?” Jungkook hummed, lifting an eyebrow at him. “What was that, hyung?”

“Nothing,” Jimin said quickly, ducking his head till Yoongi’s hyung’s scarf covered his nose. It smelled strongly of coffee, and he smiled secretly into it.

Jimin was excited for tomorrow to come.

Chapter Text

As it turned out, Yoongi didn’t even have to worry about what they were going to do the next day.

He woke up at 9 in the morning to 4 missed calls from Jae Eun’s mother, and 3 messages that told him his student was crying and refusing to play unless he was somewhere in the audience. She also included that she’d been called away to a sudden board meeting at work, which meant that she wouldn’t be able to stay for her kid's performance.

The recital was at 10:30, guests were supposed to be seated by 10, and the concert hall was all the way across town, at least 20 minutes even by car.

“Shit,” Yoongi hissed, springing off the bed. He couldn’t not go - Jae Eun was one of his best pupils and she was a good kid; he had to be there for her as her tutor. Yoongi remembered his parents missing his recitals and how shitty he'd felt then - things like that contributed a lot to a kid’s growth and confidence, especially when they were as young as Jae Eun. He grabbed his phone and put a call through to his client.

“Yoongi?” Her voice came through, sounding harried and flustered.

“Soh-nim,” he greeted groggily. He frowned and cleared his throat before speaking further, flicking the switch for his water heater. “I got your calls. I’m sorry I didn’t wake up earlier.” He walked briskly to the small kitchenette in his apartment and grabbed a packet of instant coffee off the table. “Are you at the venue now?” He filled his small electric kettle at the sink, and sat down on a high stool as he waited for the water to boil.

“Yes, thankfully I was able to get her here on time without too much trouble— Oh, JAE! Jae Eun-ah, come here. Yoongi is on the phone, come talk to him." She sighed heavily. "Yoongi, I’m so sorry, really, you must have been sleeping, and it's a Saturday, but my office called me so suddenly, and Jae Eun's father is still in Tokyo—“

“It’s no problem,” Yoongi replied formally, rubbing his eyes. "I'll be there as soon as I can," he added as he waited for Jae Eun to talk to him. He turned on his kettle and looked at the clock - 9:12.

“Seonsaeng,” a pitchy voice finally said on the other end of the line.

“Soh Jae Eun!” Her mother hissed in embarrassment. “Call him seonsaeng-nim!”

He pulled his fridge door open and peered in to scavenge for a quick breakfast while he was on the phone. “Jae Eun,” Yoongi said quietly, ignoring the botched honorific for now, “what’s wrong?”

“Can you come here?” She said with a wobbly voice, so quiet that Yoongi almost couldn’t make out her words over the standard pre-recital racket in the background. “I can't play without you here, seonsaeng.”

“Jae Eun!” Her mother protested again in the background.

Yoongi found a tupperware filled with cubes of honey baked ham and pulled it out. “I’ll come, but you need to calm down and let me get ready, okay?” He pulled the top off and grabbed a piece, wincing as his fingers came into contact with the cold ham. Maybe he’d just eat later. “What time is your performance?” He asked, putting the ham back in the fridge.

“11:45,” Jae Eun sniffed, to Yoongi’s relief. That was definitely after the intermission. He’d be able to get in even if he didn’t reach by 10. Hopefully the waiting room wouldn’t be cordoned off. “I’m the second one after the break, seonsaeng, will you come?”

He didn’t know what time Jae Eun’s mother needed to leave, but he wanted to get there as early as possible so that he could accompany his student while she was bound to be jittery with nerves. “I’ll be there,” he promised, frowning as he walked around his shoebox apartment, grabbing everything he’d need and shoving it into a satchel. After a moment of consideration, he grabbed a file filled with Jae Eun’s lesson notes as well, just in case. “I’ll see you in a while, Jae Eun.”

“See you, seonsaeng,” she replied solemnly, still with the same unhappy tone as she hung up.

Rushing, Yoongi took a quick shower, meticulously scrubbing his face and brushing his teeth. By the time he got out of the bathroom, the water had boiled and he was able to make a quick cup of coffee without further delay. As he sipped, he checked his phone and found a text from Namjoon waiting for him.

KIM.N: Yo! You figured out your date yet?

Yoongi sighed as he set the mug down.

MIN.Y: Jae Eun's mother called, I have to head down to the recital hall. Hate to do it but I have to cancel

Yoongi wondered if it was too early to call Jimin to postpone their date. At the same time, he didn't want to make him get ready for a date that just wasn't going to happen. After a moment of hesitation, he found the number and punched the call button.

He felt bad even as the phone rang, and flinched when Jimin picked up. “Hello?”

“Hyung?” Jimin sounded fully awake, thank god. “Good morning.”

“Morning,” Yoongi greeted guiltily, pinching his phone between his ear and his shoulder. He picked up his cup and walked to his bedroom. “Sorry if it’s too early.”

“No,” Jimin said easily, “I was already awake. Is everything okay?”

“Yeah,” Yoongi murmured distractedly as he threw open his wardrobe. “I mean— Technically no,” he sighed, shoulders sagging as he contemplated the formal wear side of his closet. “Something just came up, and I need to take care of it urgently.” Yoongi frowned. “I’m sorry, Jimin.”

“Oh,” Jimin said. There was a short pause and a rustle on the other end of the line. “What happened?”

Yoongi pulled out a pair of black trousers. “I work part-time as a piano tutor, and my student, Jae Eun, is having a recital today,” he explained, switching the phone to his other ear as he pushed his hangers back and forth to find a nice shirt. “She’s making a bit of a fuss, and her mother’s being called away to work so she can’t stay for Jae Eun's performance.” He grabbed a deep navy turtleneck instead, deciding to compensate with formal outerwear. “Her husband’s out of town and she’s pretty desperate, so I kind of have to head down there on short notice.”

“Oh,” Jimin said again. “Is it far?”

“On the other side of town,” Yoongi sighed. “I’m calling a cab, so hopefully it’ll be fine.” He somehow managed to catch the hook of a hanger onto his skin. Hissing slightly at the mark it left on his arm, he tossed the pieces onto his bed and rubbed at the thin red line till it disappeared.

“Hyung?”

“It’s nothing,” Yoongi reassured Jimin quickly, comparing his suit jacket to a grey woollen blazer. “I just wanted to let you know that I won’t be able to meet with you, and to apologize.” He decided on the suit jacket, and hung the blazer back in his wardrobe. "I'm sorry I have to cancel," he said sincerely, hoping Jimin wasn't too upset. Flaking out like this was probably a really shitty start to a relationship, fake or not.

Jimin hummed quietly.

A long pause ensued as Yoongi meticulously picked out what he wore, laying out his choices side by side. He mixed and matched till he found a combination he was satisfied with, nodding in approval. Back when he'd done recitals of his own, Yoongi had always been very particular about what he wore to concert halls. He glanced sideways at the phone still pressed between his cheek and shoulder, wondering if he should say something to break the silence.

“I could go with you,” Jimin said suddenly.

Yoongi paused in unbuttoning the trousers he was intending to wear. “You’d come with me?” He repeated after the younger, lifting an eyebrow. “Jimin, it’s a piano recital. I don’t know if you’ll find it interes—“

“It’ll be interesting,” Jimin cut him off, taking a deep breath. “It’ll... It'll be interesting if I’m with my boyfriend,” he managed to say.

Yoongi dropped his trousers in surprise.

If even Yoongi was slightly flushed, he had no doubts that Jimin’s face was literally on fire right now. “Right,” he coughed, pinching the band of his trousers between his toes to pick it up. Suddenly, everything seemed so absurd and all he wanted to do was laugh. “Okay, well…” He checked his watch. 9:48. It’d take him about 10 minutes to reach the campus by car. “I’m almost done here, so I’m getting a cab soon. Is it okay if I pick you up outside your dorm at... Maybe 10:20?”

“That’s fine,” Jimin replied, still sounding a little winded from his declaration earlier. “I, um— I have to dress nicely for it, right? Since it’s a recital.” His tone grew worried. “Is blue okay?”

“Pretty sure it’s a formal casual thing,” Yoongi replied. “My student’s 8, and the recital’s for primary school children. I’m not going in a tuxedo or anything.” He lifted an eyebrow as he began his second attempt at putting his pants on whilst on the phone. “What do you mean is blue okay?” What kind of question was that?

“I mean,” Jimin sighed in a long-suffering manner, “will I clash with your outfit if I wear blue, hyung?”

“Jimin,” Yoongi deadpanned, “just wear whatever the hell you want.” Fact; Yoongi was extremely self-aware of how average he looked - on a scale of 1 to 10, he'd probably be a solid 5, or a low 6. Also fact; people like Park Jimin - who were probably 11 on the same scale - shouldn't ever have to worry about what they were wearing. “Have you looked in a mirror lately? Literally no one is going to notice me if I’m out with you.”

An indignant huffing sound came through the line. Yoongi lifted an eyebrow as he took his phone into his hand, staring at the screen before raising it to his ear again. Was he losing reception? That never happened in his apartment before. "Jimin?"

The only response was the steady beep of the call end tone.



“Here is fine,” Yoongi said quietly, pulling his headphones off as he got out of the car. “He’ll be down any second, ahjussi.” He closed the door with one hand as he quit Spotify on his phone with the other, checking the time. 10:18.

Not long after, Jimin emerged from the building with Yoongi’s scarf wrapped around his neck, the dark grey complimenting a neatly pressed navy blue blazer. He was dressed somewhat similarly to Yoongi, if only slightly less formal in boots instead of loafers. He stopped short as he caught sight of Yoongi waiting for him, eyes wide.

Yoongi lifted an eyebrow. “You look nice,” he said appreciatively, looking at Jimin’s perfectly coiffed hair, the way his black gloves matched his belt. His waist was small - Yoongi probably wouldn't have noticed how small if Jimin's clothes were any less form fitting.

“You—“ Jimin started, before stalling and stepping forward. “You look very nice too,” he said, smiling gently.

“Well, I made an attempt at least,” Yoongi shrugged, stepping aside. Jimin slid into the car without further comment, and Yoongi entered after him. “Ahjussi, Charlotte Theater, please.” He leaned back as the car began to move, sighing heavily. “I’m sorry you had to rush,” he apologized, turning to Jimin.

“That’s fine,” Jimin said easily. He turned in his seat so that he was half facing away from Yoongi.

Another awkward silence hung between them. Yoongi was getting seriously sick of that, and it was technically only their third day being together. He unlocked his phone and shot a text off to Jae Eun’s mother, telling her he was enroute with a +1. He wondered if they’d be let in, or if he’d have to pay for their tickets. It shouldn’t be too expensive either way though—

"Hyung, you're handsome," Jimin suddenly declared with his back towards Yoongi, completely apropos of nothing.

Yoongi lifted his head from his phone and stared at the back of Jimin's head. "Huh?" He said stupidly.

Jimin turned to Yoongi with pink dusting his cheeks, but his brows were pinched together in a frown. "I said, you're handsome," he repeated firmly. "So don't say things like no one will look at you if you're by my side." His lips were pursed in a pout. "I'm... I'm happy you complimented me, but I'm also angry you put yourself down." He narrowed his eyes a little. "That's why I hung up on you earlier, you know."

"Hang on," Yoongi blinked. "I seriously don't know what to do right now, because I actually thought I'd lost reception back then, not that you hung up on me." He paused. "Also, you look like a hamster when you’re angry.” Good to know.

"I'm being serious, hyung!" Jimin exclaimed frustratedly.

"So am I," Yoongi retorted, huffing in exasperation. "I don't know how to react to you being angry because you're still kind of cute when you're upset, even if it's with me telling the truth.” He had eyes. There were clear differences between someone who looked like him and someone who looked like Jimin.

Jimin crossed his arms. “I still don’t like hearing it—“ He broke off, staring at Yoongi in surprise as his mouth gaped. “You think I’m cute?”

Again, Yoongi had fucking eyes. “Yeah,” he admitted easily because it was a fact. “I do.”

The silver haired man let out a breath and a small wriggly smile turned his lips up. “I— I’m still upset,” he protested mildly, but Yoongi could already tell the compliment had put him in a better mood.

Yoongi snorted behind a hand. “Yeah, alright, alright.”

“Hyung!”

“What? I said alright,” Yoongi grinned. Jimin was the endearing type. Who knew.

The younger scowled - for what a scowl from Jimin was worth - and pointedly turned his head away from Yoongi. “Hyung, you’re more annoying than I thought.”

“I don’t know what you expected from me as your boyfriend, but I’ve always been annoying,” Yoongi bantered back at him, nonplussed. Talking to Jimin was getting easier; this was a good start. “I was born annoying. Actually, I think my mother told me once that I used to kick a lot when she was pregnant, so technically I was annoying even before I was born.”

That startled a laugh out of Jimin. “Yoongi hyung must’ve been a real pain.”

“Yeah, in the womb. Most annoying people are a pain in the neck,” Yoongi commented, looking at his phone screen. Jae Eun’s mother had to take off soon. He hoped they’d reach in time. “But I’ve always aspired to be different, to stand out from the crowd.”

“By being a pain in the womb instead?” Jimin shook his head. He giggled uncontrollably now at the dumb gag, covering his mouth.

Yoongi took in the melodious sound of Jimin’s laughter even though he didn’t look up as he replied Jae Eun’s mother. “Yup,” he said with a small smile. “Exactly.”



Jae Eun leapt towards both of them as the security guard let Yoongi and Jimin in. "Seonsaeng!"

Jimin almost tripped backwards in alarm but Yoongi caught him with one arm around the waist, his other hand resting atop his student's head. "Jae Eun," he greeted, before lifting his eyes to her mother. "Soh-nim."

"Soh-nim," Jimin straightened up and greeted from beside Yoongi, his face a little pink as he bowed. "I'm so sorry for the trouble, and for inviting myself along—"

"Not at all," Jae Eun's mother blurted, looking harried as she stuffed her phone into her handbag. She bowed sharply, her hair bouncing. "You must be Jimin-ssi— Yoongi mentioned you were coming. You boys must have wanted to enjoy your Saturday; I'm so sorry my little girl delayed your plans," she apologized regretfully.

"Not at all!" Jimin blurted with a weird rendition of jazz hands. Yoongi had to stop himself from laughing at how flustered he was. "I—It's completely fine! I'm more than happy to watch Jae Eun perform, she must be very talented!"

Jae Eun looked at Jimin with a critical eye. "Seonsaeng, who is this?" She asked quietly.

Yoongi squatted down carefully. "Jae Eun, this is Jimin," he said amicably. "He's close to me. Say hello."

Jimin abruptly turned to look at Jae Eun, his eyes wide.

"Hello," She murmured, shuffling behind Yoongi. She grabbed onto his pant leg and hid her face behind it.

"Dont be like that," Yoongi sighed as he lowered himself to the ground. "He's a friend. You don't have to be so sh— Are you taking a photo of me?" He lifted an eyebrow incredulously at Jimin, who had his phone raised with shaking hands.

Guiltily, Jimin jerked and almost dropped his phone. "T—Tae's asking for live updates," he stammered as his cheeks heated. "I, um. Sorry? I'm snapchatting him, and—"

"Oh. Great," Yoongi hummed as Jimin balked at him. He always liked an opportunity to mess with Taehyung. "Send him tons of pictures. Let's take a selca with Jae Eun, tell him we adopted a ki—"

"Boys, I'm so sorry, but I have to jet," Jae Eun's mother said with a frown, picking her bag up and bending down to kiss the top of her daughter's head. "My CEO is asking where I am, and the board meeting is starting in another 30 minutes—"

Yoongi went right back to tutor mode, straightening up and adjusting his jacket. "It's no problem," he said smoothly, inclining his head. "I'll take care of Jae Eun till you return,Soh-nim." He lifted his phone. "I'll record her performance and email it to you as well." It was the least he could do for a parent who couldn't stay for her daughter's first recital. At least Jae Eun would have him and Jimin in the audience, even if they were just her tutor and his fake boyfriend.

"I'm so grateful you're such a dedicated tutor, Yoongi," Jae Eun's mother sighed, reaching into her purse for her wallet. "It's very last minute, but I'll pay you for coming down—"

"Please, no," Yoongi said with a frown. "It's my obligation, and as her tutor I should be here for her first recital anyway—"

"Absolutely not," his employer said firmly, handing him two fifties and a twenty. "And some extra, in case I take some time to come back; just text me where you'll be taking her, I trust you." She smiled sweetly as she watched Jae Eun look up at Jimin curiously. "I'm sure Jae Eun will be very happy to have you for a while yet even though it isn't a lesson," she added with a sly wink. "My little girl's very taken with her teacher, you know."

Yoongi averted his eyes. "You must watch her when she grows of age, Soh-nim," he suggested under his breath in embarrassment as he graciously accepted the money. She'd paid him for 2 hours at his usual tutoring rate. "She should have better taste."

"Don't put yourself down," Jae Eun's mother scolded as she smiled knowingly at Jimin. "That boy looks at you like you hung the stars, Yoongi. You should have more confidence in yourself if you have such a handsome boyfriend."

Yoongi gaped at her.

Jimin, who had heard nothing but saw that Jae Eun's mother was departing, came over with a bright smile. "Please take care, Soh-nim," he said, bowing his head.

"It was very nice to meet you, Jimin-ssi," she replied with a beam. "Please take care of my daughter and Yoongi. I'll be back as soon as I can!"

Yoongi mutely watched as she departed with a cheerful wave, his teeth clacking audibly as he shut his mouth.

Jimin glanced at Yoongi curiously. "Hyung?"

"Can we get ice cream?" Jae Eun stage whispered up at them with big eyes the second the door had closed behind her mother, her hands clasped together hopefully.



They didn't get ice cream, but Yoongi promised Jae Eun they'd have some after.

After some time, they had to be separated from Jae Eun to be seated. Yoongi steered Jimin towards the foyer where people were gathered for the intermission, waiting for the break to be over. Several people were milling around the smoking area right outside, so he figured they could just wait out the remaining time with the more manageable side of the crowd. He didn't like being in the same room with a ton of people, but he disliked the scent of cigarette smoke even more.

"Jae Eun's very cute," Jimin smiled, cocking his head. "You don't mind when she calls you seonsaeng?"

With a shrug, Yoongi bowed his head and let an elderly couple pass by. "Not really," he commented. "I'm not very attached to the whole honorifics thing. I grew up in Daegu, but I have a few relatives who live in the States. They aren't as formal in other countries as we are in Korea." It was normal for Yoongi to be called by his name when his cousins visited. His parents had been subtly horrified, but he hadn't personally minded it. "That's why I told you to call me by name, I guess. Namjoon does it once in awhile, too."

Jimin looked thoughtful. With a brief shake of his head, he glanced over at the doors to the performance hall. "I hope she does well," he said quietly with a smile.

Yoongi turned to him with soft eyes. "She'll be fine. Jae Eun's quite talented," he told the younger man with a proud nod. Jae Eun was a good student. She was easily distracted, but her sense for music was good, and she had a good memory. "She practices diligently as well—Soh-nim told me she dedicates an hour and a half after school every day to playing the piano." It made him remember how he would sit in front of the old brown piano in his childhood house in Daegu for hours on end, running his fingers over the white keys and admiring the sparkling notes that flowed under his fingertips. He'd spent his first ever paycheck shelling out to have it tuned and fixed, transported to his new apartment in Seoul.

Jimin looked shy as he fidgeted from foot to foot. "Hyung... If you don't mind me asking, what made you start playing the piano?"

"It was my first love," Yoongi said without missing a beat, surprised at how easy it was to talk to Jimin about something this personal to him after all the awkwardness that hung between them before. "It was an instrument my older brother learned when he was young, but he stopped when he was about 11. And when I first sat on that bench, listened to the sounds this grand, old towering thing could make..." His lips lifted at the corners and he ducked his head a little to hide his smile. "... I guess it— You could say that was it. I was hooked. And even though I've been overwhelmed with school a few times, I've always somehow managed to find my way back to it." He was always grateful for that.

Jimin let out a long breath as he listened to Yoongi, his eyes mellow as he stepped a little closer. "It's lucky," he murmured under his breath, hands fiddling with his phone. Yoongi's eyes were drawn to the bow of his lips as he spoke, full and lightly glossed with balm. "Because I fell in love with dance, like how Yoongi-hyung fell in love with the piano." He paused, and Yoongi lifted his head to make him continue. "T—To have a passion like ours, and to be able to do what we like... Hyung, we're really lucky, right?" His face was bright and happy.

Yoongi felt a surge of affection for this kid. He was a really good guy. "Yeah," he nodded in agreement as he set a hand on Jimin's arm, squeezing it lightly with a small smile. "Yeah, I think so."

Jimin flushed as if on cue. Yoongi chuckled.

"I actually—" Jimin blinked up Yoongi. He looked away upon seeing Yoongi's eyes. "I um. Actually. About this date— " He chewed his lower lip as he struggled.

Yoongi had a lot of patience. He was going to wait Park Jimin out.

"Today, I wanted to go out with hyung because I'm going to be busy for awhile," Jimin finally said, looking miserable. The frown that came over his face was unmistakably genuine. "For the Chuseok showcase. My sunbae from the club gave me the end slot, so I'll be doing a solo—"

"Isn't that really good?" Yoongi asked, his eyes wide with interest. "You get to do a solo! Do you get to choose what you're going to do?"

Jimin nodded hesitantly. "Yes, and I'll be doing all the choreography. I haven't picked out the right music yet either... But it means we won't be able to go out as much, like we expected," he said quietly, looking disappointed as he stared down at his boots.

Yoongi wondered if this was because Jimin was particular about putting on a really good show for his grandmother. He seemed like an all-in kind of guy; that was probably why he'd wanted them to go out a lot, to make sure they would look like a real couple in front of his family during Chuseok. "Look, it'll be fine," he reassured Jimin with a small smile, ducking his head a little to look up into Jimin's downcast face. "We can text, and call. And I'll try to drop by the Arts faculty like I mentioned yesterday, maybe get a couple of lunches with you in school?" Classes had technically ended last week for his semester, so he'd have more free time as someone who wasn't involved with any clubs. He should make an effort to work around Jimin's schedule, since the younger had obligations, and he didn't mind studying at the library anyway.

Brightening, Jimin lifted his head. "You'd do that for me, hyung?" He asked disbelievingly.

This guy was seriously endearing. "Sure," Yoongi nodded with a gentle smile. He didn't usually like making an effort, but he was going to do his best for a guy this nice. And besides— "I promised, didn't I? We've got to get good at faking it before you take me back to your family's for Chuseok."

Jimin's face fell.

Yoongi's brow knitted. Had he said something wrong?

The intermission bell rang.



"She's amazing," Jimin mouthed, his entire body almost vibrating in his excitement. He snapped multiple pictures and sent them to Taehyung.

Yoongi wasn't sure what had happened to dampen Jimin's spirits earlier, but his mood had quickly been lifted once Jae Eun had stepped on stage. He grinned as he held his own phone up, capturing a video of his student's performance to fulfil his promise to her mother.

Jae Eun's piece, Lullaby of Birdland by George Shearing, was a difficult arrangement for a player as young as his student, and with such limited experience. It started slow, climbing naturally. Originally a jazz song by Ella Fitzgerald, it had been the piece that caught her heart as soon as she'd heard Yoongi play it. He'd rearranged it into a more palatable arrangement for an 8-year old with limited skills and time to practice, but it was still a complex piece that required intense concentration. The soothing melody filled the house for weeks on end, scattered verses and relaxing transitions so deeply loved by Jae Eun that Yoongi had heard her mother humming it as she'd bid him goodbye at the step.

"She is," Yoongi mouthed back with pride, carefully silent to capture the best video he could.

Jae Eun was missing a couple of harder to reach keys, but she was diligently not allowed herself to be discouraged by each little failure. Yoongi watched as she swayed in her seat, sweat beading her tiny forehead under the warm lights of the stage. It was a beautiful song that encompassed sentimentality, soft and gentle on the ears. It made him smile to watch her enjoy herself more and more as the song progressed, her eyes lighting up with accomplishment as she reached for the end of the piano in the climax.

"It's because of you," Jimin mouthed to him, pointing to Yoongi's chest with his index finger. His smile was so wide it made Yoongi's heart hurt to look at it, and his hand wavered slightly.

He stabilized his hand to capture the last moments of Jae Eun's performance. 'It's not,' he thought as he watched Jae Eun finish the piece to a standing ovation. He stopped the video and stood amongst the crowd to offer his loudest applause. 'But I'd like to think I helped,' he added selfishly to himself as Jae Eun bowed on stage. It was her own diligence that resulted in a performance so noteworthy, but he hoped he'd guided her well as her tutor, and that he would continue to do so.

Jimin clapped enthusiastically beside him, beaming and shouting Jae Eun's name. "Daebak!" He called happily, cupping his hands around his mouth, ignoring those who turned to stare at him. "Jae Eun, daebak!"

It wasn't customary to shout in a recital; Yoongi knew that. But as he watched Jimin celebrate his student's accomplishments, he couldn't bring himself to stop the younger man and he leaned over the railing himself. "Daebak, Jae Eun!" He called out in agreement, waving as Jae Eun's eyes turned to him in stunned amazement. Yoongi didn't think she'd ever heard him raise his voice for anything; seeing him do this must've come as a surprise. "That's my student!"

Jae Eun was radiant on stage, and Jimin laughed ecstatically beside him.



"SEONSAENG," his student yelled, jumping into his arms as she exited backstage. "You shouted my name!"

Yoongi caught her and lifted her high up, grinning. "That's because you were very good," he complimented with a bright smile, spinning on his heel. "I can hardly believe it's your first recital." Jae Eun squealed with delight as she threw her arms around her tutor's neck, babbling excitedly about her own performance.

Jimin's camera shutter went off.

Yoongi looked at him wryly but refrained from commenting. Taehyung could flip out all he liked as long as it wasn't to him. "I've texted screenshots to Soh-nim; she's so excited to see the video she's rushing through her meeting." He set Jae Eun down on the floor and patted her on the head. "But first, let's get something to eat, okay?"

"Ice cream!" Both Jae Eun and Jimin exclaimed excitedly in unison, the former turning to Yoongi with puppy eyes and wobbly lips. Jae Eun stepped up and tugged on Yoongi's sleeve urgently. "Seonsaeng, you promised!"

"I guess I did," Yoongi replied, lifting an eyebrow at Jimin, who was flushed off the side. "Really?" He lifted an eyebrow at him as Jae Eun grabbed her things.

Jimin pouted petulantly. It was, to Yoongi's alarm, a look that was quickly growing on him. "I like ice cream," he said lamely under his breath.

"Of course you would," Yoongi teased with a laborious sigh, earning him a light punch to his arm from Jimin. He laughed and allowed Jae Eun to grab onto his hand once she was done. "Alright. What ice cream do you want?" It was around lunch time. He needed to make her eat something proper too, which he hoped wasn't going to be a challenge.

"Strawberry," Jae Eun replied immediately as she navigated the crowd with the ease of a child being promised a treat. "And chocolate chip!"

"There's a cafe that makes a super mean ice cream parfait a couple of blocks away," Jimin told her conspiratorially. "They have waffle sticks that are really tall, and the cherries are super juicy!" He was bumped into in a moment of distraction and winced as he stalled.

Yoongi tugged on Jae Eun's hand to make her stop, reaching back and offering Jimin a hand. The younger stared at it for a long time, visibly stiffening with nervousness. "Come on," Yoongi urged with a laugh at the hesitation in Jimin's eyes. "I'm buying you ice cream, remember?"

"Jimin oppa, hurry!" Jae Eun called out, peering around Yoongi's waist. "Parfaits, parfaits!"

"I know it's embarrassing, but do it for the parfaits," Yoongi said with complete seriousness.

Jimin laughed with an exasperated shake of his head, but he took Yoongi's hand shyly.

Triumphantly, Yoongi broke through the crowd with his student holding his left hand, and the fingers of his right interlaced with Jimin's.



KIM.N: hey man, sorry for the late reply
KIM.N: how was the recital

Yoongi lifted his eyes from his screen. Jimin and Jae Eun were trading bits of their parfaits, cheerfully working their way through a third one even though Yoongi had urged them both to eat something proper. "You're going to get stomachaches," he scolded them both, shaking his head as he finished the last bite of his sandwich. "Soh-nim is going to scold me for spoiling you so much," he added to Jae Eun, who grinned up at him smugly. 

"You're so naggy," Jimin teased with a cherry stem sticking out between his lips. They'd quickly decided it was possible Jae Eun could swallow the seed and choke, so this was his third one. For Jae Eun's safety, of course, though Yoongi considered it a bonus that Jimin tied each of the stems into knots; that was a pretty captivating talent he had there. "Are you my mother, hyung?"

Jae Eun giggled and Yoongi sighed at the pair of them. Jimin was quickly replacing him as Jae Eun's favorite, if only because he'd given her all her favorite bits of the three parfaits they'd ordered. It was easy to see that Jimin had a soft spot for kids, which Yoongi supposed was a pretty cute trait. He lifted his phone and snapped a picture once Jimin's attention was on Jae Eun nicking the last of the waffle stick.

MIN:Y: [image attached]

KIM.N: HOLY SHIT
KIM.N: I CANT BELIEVE U ALREADY GOT A KID W JIMIN

MIN.Y: I hate you so much

KIM.N: yo he looks so happy tho
KIM.N: Tae says you better take responsibility lololol

Yoongi lifted an eyebrow as another text from Taehyung suddenly came through.

KIM.T: U KNOCKED HIM UP U BUY HIM A RING

MIN.Y: I'm blocking you

KIM.Y: WHY R U SO SALTY GRANDPA

Yoongi ignored Taehyung - without blocking him though, he wasn't that much of an asshole - and returned to his chat with Namjoon.

MIN.Y: what the hell are you guys all together

KIM.N: well.. Tae said Jimin was sending him live updates
KIM.N: so we all got curious...

MIN.Y: what the actual fuck

KIM.N: hoseok transferred his shift to someone else to be here lololol are you honored
KIM.N: [image attached]

It was a picture of everyone huddled on or around Namjoon and Jin's sofa. Hoseok was pulling a ridiculous face as he squished Taehyung and Jungkook together, his arms thrown around their shoulders over the back of the couch. Jin smiled indulgently from the furthest end of the sofa, and only Namjoon's eyes and forehead was visible from the selca. He sighed and typed a response.

MIN.Y: I'm blocking you too

KIM.N: HYUNG

Yoongi locked his phone and slipped it into his pocket, rolling his eyes passionately.

Jimin cocked his head worriedly, noting Yoongi's annoyed expression. "Hyung?" He asked innocently. "Is everything okay?"

"I need new friends," Yoongi grumbled.

"Huh?"

"Another!" Jae Eun cheered victoriously, tossing her spoon into the tall glass on the table, meticulously scraped clean. She licked her lips clean as Jimin laughed, wiping a smudge of chocolate from her cheek with a napkin.

Yoongi palmed his face. Children were exhausting.



"Thank you so much, Yoongi," Jae Eun's mother said from the driver's seat, smiling as she banked left so that she could turn into the campus drop off point. "I really appreciate you taking care of Jae Eun... Though you could have capped her at one parfait," she added with a small giggle.

Yoongi sighed tiredly. "I had more than one child to take care of today, Soh-nim," he lamented. "They ganged up on me at the cafe and I was tragically outnumbered."

"I resent that!" Jimin protested from the backseat as the car slowed, making Jae Eun's mother laugh.

"Is here really alright?" Jae Eun's mother added as she put the car in neutral under the shelter of the administrative building. "Are you sure I shouldn't take you closer to your studio, Jimin-ssi?"

"No, this is fine," Yoongi reassured her. "You've already kindly given us a lift back to our campus. I'll walk the remaining distance with Jimin." The studios were only a few minutes away.

Jimin nodded in agreement. "Yes, thank you Soh-nim, really," he agreed, flustered as he bowed his head repeatedly. "It was a pleasure meeting both you and Jae Eun."

Jae Eun unbuckled her child seatbelt and reached over to hug Jimin before he could leave the car. "Bye Jimin oppa!" She sang, eyes bright with happiness as she tightened her arms into a squeeze. She waved frantically as Yoongi turned his head to look at them. "Bye, seonsaeng!"

It was her mother's turn to sigh. "Seonsaeng-nim," she corrected lethargically, temporarily giving up on teaching Jae Eun the importance of honorifics after such a trying day.

"It's quite alright," Yoongi chuckled, leaning over to pat Jae Eun's head one more time before he bowed to his student's mother. "I'll email you the video as soon as I reach home, Soh-nim. Thank you again for the ride."

Jimin bowed to Jae Eun's mother as well. "Thank you so much," he tagged on quickly, his cheeks flushed as he left the car. Yoongi followed him, and they stood on the spot as the car shifted into drive again. Jae Eun waved at them through the rear window, and they both waved back till the car turned out of the gates and around the corner onto the main road. "Wow," Jimin said eventually with a breathless laugh. "That was... It was something."

"Pretty intense for a first date," Yoongi translated seamlessly with a crack of his neck, "but it was fun, wasn't it?" Jae Eun had always been a cheery kid, and she was cute without even trying. It made sense that she and Jimin had gotten on like a house on fire.

Jimin nodded fervently.

The pair turned towards the Arts faculty at the same time as Yoongi checked his watch. 2:56. "They won't scold you if you're a little late, will they?" He asked worriedly, wondering if they should book it. "And what about your clothes? You can't dance in that."

"No, but they'll probably make me mop the floors with the maknaeduhl," Jimin laughed with a shake of his head. "And I always keep spare clothes in the locker room, hyung, don't worry about me. What are you going to do after this?"

Yoongi hummed thoughtfully. "Go home, I guess. Maybe take a look at some of my older piano arrangements," he considered. Seeing Jae Eun perform had struck a chord in him— maybe he'd be able to make a couple of new logs in his score book, write a few new lines.

Jimin slowed a little, his eyes mellow. "I, um," he started as they turned into a corridor, "I'd like to hear you play sometime, hyung," he said quietly with a shy little smile.

Yoongi lifted an eyebrow in surprise. "You would?"

Jimin chewed his lower lip for a long time. He looked like he was going to say something, but he eventually just nodded.

"I'm not that great, but maybe sometime," Yoongi commented offhandedly. "I've written and composed a few songs, actually," he added casually, thinking back onto a couple of pieces he'd been prouder of— First Love, maybe Butterfly. "I uploaded them onto YouTube, but it's a pretty old channel, and it never got a lot of viewership. I haven't uploaded any recent stuff, either." Agust D had been dead for a long time.

Jimin seemed to grow increasingly red with each step they took. "I—" He looked down at the ground. "I'm sure your songs are very beautiful, Yoongi," he said, almost in a whisper, his words sweet and genuine.

"Nah, they weren't anything that spe—" Yoongi's eyes widened in realization as his head snapped to his left in shock. "You just—"

Jimin's face was hidden behind his hands. Had this been an anime, steam would have been coming out of his ears. "I know I just—"

"You didn't—" Yoongi balked. "You— The honorific—"

"AHHH," Jimin blurted loudly, cutting off Yoongi's stammering as he reached the doors of the building. "This is— I'm going in here— I'm—" He pushed on the glass doors and dashed through, immediately rounding a corner and disappearing.

Yoongi stared at the doors with a dull sense of achievement. He felt rooted to the spot, not having expected that sudden attack. Jimin had said his name in such a tender manner, too. He'd managed to get this comfortable with Jimin in a single day? Even if all the credit probably went to Jae Eun and her bright personality, he fumbled in his pocket for his phone, wondering if this warranted a victory text to Namjoon.

Jimin suddenly rushed out again, making Yoongi almost drop his phone. His face was no less red, but there was a determination in his eyes. He pulled the glass doors open and ran up to Yoongi, grabbing him by the shoulders and panting heavily. "I— I didn't say thank you properly, or goodbye," Jimin said, eyes wide.

"Oh," Yoongi stared back with equally wide eyes. This fucking kid. "Ah, that's okay— Like I said, I'm sorry our plans were changed so suddenly today—"

Jimin leaned in quickly and pecked him on the cheek.

Yoongi froze.

THIS FUCKING KID.

"T—Thank you," Jimin blurted, swallowing thickly. He turned and broke into a run back to the studio. "I had fun!" He called back over his shoulder before he reentered the building. He didn't look back, but he still almost ran into the wall in his hurry.

By the time Yoongi came back to his senses, Jimin had long disappeared. Forget the victory text; he lifted his phone and punched in Namjoon's number. Listening to the dial tone, he absently turned on his heel and began the walk back to his apartment.

Namjoon picked up quickly. "Hyung?"

"He kissed me," Yoongi said, a throb resonating through him at the words. What was that? A sense of accomplishment? At growing closer, at managing to make this much headway? He stopped at the gate and repeated himself as his lips curved up at the corners. "Namjoon. Dude. Park Jimin just kissed me."

Chapter Text

SUNDAY

For how awkwardly their date had ended the day before, texting Jimin came surprisingly easily.

It seemed like he was the type to text often; Yoongi already knew that Jimin was pretty active on social media in comparison to him. He got up on Sunday and checked his phone, finding a message already waiting for him even though it wasn't even 10 in the morning.

PARK.J: Good morning!

Jesus, there was an exclamation mark and everything. Was Jimin a morning person? Yoongi ran a hand through his bed hair as he tapped out a quick reply.

MIN.Y: good morning
MIN.Y: Do you have practice today as well?

He'd barely set the phone down before a reply came through from Jimin.

PARK.J: yes
PARK.J: Even though I was given a solo, my schedule is tighter because it's so close to Chuseok already;;;

Yoongi wondered how dancers came up with their choreography, and how long things like that took. What Jimin was doing couldn't possibly be compared to his brief - though highly ambitious - stint of breakdancing, but maybe it was a little like composing? Was the struggle similar to Yoongi's when he was trying to arrange music?

Absently, he padded across his little apartment to check what he had in his fridge as he responded to Jimin's texts.

MIN.Y: Don't overwork yourself
MIN.Y: I'm sure you'll do really well.

PARK.J is typing...

Yoongi busied himself taking stock of what he had left. His milk smelled funny, and his ham was going to go bad if he didn't eat it soon. Frowning, he noted that at least a quarter of his vegetable drawer was browning. He tossed some of his stuff down the chute in a trash bag and decided it was high time he step out for some grocery shopping. He was running out of coffee too, which was an absolute essential.

PARK.J: Thank you~ I'll do my best, so will you come to see my solo?

Yoongi laughed at the screen of his phone as he snatched his wallet and keys off the mantelpiece. What a dumb question.

MIN.Y: Of course I will.

*

During lunch, Yoongi received another text.

PARK.J: [image attached]
PARK.J: the Japanese stall in the cafeteria has miso ramen on weekends!

Yoongi snorted. Jimin had taken a high angle selca, his face bright and happy as he grinned. There were a few people seated across from him that Yoongi didn't recognize, but they were all smiling indulgently. Clearly they were used to the younger's antics— they were probably his seniors in the dance club if they were with him on a Sunday. He put down his chopsticks to reply.

MIN.Y: why are you also in the picture
MIN.Y: just send me the ramen

PARK.J: RUDE

Yoongi laughed. Jimin was so much more expressive through text. Was it because they weren't looking at each other face to face? Yoongi found it easier to talk to people through text too.

MIN.Y: thanks for the tip though. I'll try it out sometime.

*


The messages got steadily more frequent over the course of the day, and much weirder.

Yoongi stared at his phone for a long time as he took a break from studying in the afternoon, his brow arched in disbelief.

PARK.J: I wonder how chickens feel when farmers take their eggs

Fucking really?

MIN.Y: aren't you supposed to be dancing right now

PARK.J: what if the chickens get depressed
PARK.J: wont they lay less eggs

Oh my god, Yoongi snorted. Oh my god.

MIN.Y: did you hit your head breakdancing or something?

PARK.J: this is serious
PARK.J: we could one day have no more eggs because we stressed out all the chickens omg

MIN.Y: Jimin

PARK.J: i could never have an omelette again

MIN.Y: JIMIN

PARK.J: NO MORE EGGS BENEDICT

MIN.Y: Jesus

Yoongi threw his head back and laughed, picking up his pen. Park Jimin was making him laugh about fucking chickens and a possible egg recession. Unbelievable.

PARK.J is typing...
PARK.J: do you think chickens get postnatal depression

MIN.Y: JIMIN FUCKING GET BACK TO PRACTICE


*

MIN.Y: Have you had dinner?

No response. Yoongi frowned.

*

A reply came at 11:36, after Yoongi had woken from a nap to plan a few lessons for his students. He only had two now - Jae Eun and Si Won - so he wanted to do his best for them both.

PARK.J: I'm wiped!
PARK.J: [image attacked]

It was another selca. Jimin had a towel over his head, wet hair plastered to his forehead. He looked satisfied with the typical afterglow of a good workout, but Yoongi just frowned at the time stamp.

MIN.Y: you were at the studios till now?
MIN.Y: Did you even eat?

PARK.J: I was, but I'm fine! It happens all the time during crunch
PARK.J: Don't worry about me~

Wondering what to say, Yoongi twirled the pencil in his hand. The art kids were notorious for overworking themselves, and he wondered if the younger was eating right or sleeping well. Just as he was about to ask, his phone rang. He dropped his pencil and picked up. "Hello?"

"Hello," Jimin greeted breathlessly. "How was your day?"

"It—" Yoongi stared at the books open on the table, the scribbled notes in the bars. He'd managed to make some headway on a case study in the afternoon as well. "It was productive, I think? I’m pretty sure I got a lot done."

"Oh," Jimin said, sounding exhausted but happy. "I managed to get a lot done too," he said brightly.

Yoongi leaned his cheek on his palm, listening to the squeak of trainers on a hardwood floor. "Are they still going?" He asked disbelievingly. "Jimin, it's almost 12, what the hell? How are the studios even open?"

"Yeah, at least half the club's still here," Jimin laughed breathlessly. "Sunbae has a duplicate key. Everyone's really hyped; even Hoseok hyung came back after his shift—"

"IT'S BECAUSE JIMIN'S SOLO PISSED US ALL OFF," Hoseok suddenly yelled into the receiver, making Yoongi recoil from his phone in shock. "It's so epic, hyung, seriously, you’re gonna love it for sure. All of us lost it when he showed us just a little in the afternoon, but it’s so good already, it’s so unfair—“

Yoongi was going to scold Hoseok for pterodactyl screeching into his ear, but he could practically see Jimin blushing at the compliment. He found himself grinning instead. "Yeah? Maybe I'll check it out myself if I pick him up one of these days—"

"NO!" Jimin suddenly shouted, making Yoongi pull his phone away from his ear again with a wince. Jesus, these guys. "I mean— I'm sorry," Jimin apologized for raising his voice, embarrassment coloring his tone. "It's not done yet, and I don't want anyone to see... That was just to let sunbae get an idea of what I wanted to do, and he gave me the green light to do the rest on my own, so I—”

"Can't let anyone see it till it's done, huh? You're the perfectionist type?" Yoongi chuckled, switching the phone to his right ear and digging his left in a poor attempt to stop the ringing. "Figures."

Jimin huffed. "Like hyung is any different."

Yoongi smirked, picking up his pencil again and sketching in a note on the sheet closest to him. "Oh, we're back to hyung now?" He teased, suddenly remembering Taehyung's nickname for the silver haired student. "I'm hurt, Jiminie.”

Jimin squeaked and there was a loud clattering sound. He must have dropped his phone. "I JUST CALLED TO SAY GOODNIGHT," he shouted, hanging up with a flustered yelp before Yoongi could get a word in.

Yoongi just couldn't stop laughing today.
 


MONDAY

Yoongi had wanted to try spontaneously meeting Jimin for lunch, but the dancer had apparently made plans to check out a new Thai restaurant with Jungkook and Taehyung off campus. By the time Yoongi had shown up at the studios - considerately knocking first, in case Jimin was working on his top secret choreography - his fake boyfriend was long gone.

Not wanting to waste a trip, he'd decided to drop by the Humanities and Social Sciences building to meet up with Namjoon and Jin. As he ate with one hand, Yoongi snapped a photo of Jin nagging Namjoon about breaking yet another mug in the sink that morning.

MIN.Y: [image attached]
MIN.Y: it's like I've been a third wheel for 3 years, why do I let myself suffer like this

PARK.J: is typing...

Yoongi sighed heavily as he waited for Jimin's reply, lifting his cup of mint tea to his lips. He lowered his drink when a text came through.

PARK.J: at least you're not running a kindergarten
PARK.J: [image attached]

The picture was of Taehyung balancing a small plate of sweet sauce on his nose with his head tipped back. Jungkook was to his left, lifting his hands in a mocking gesture of worship. Because it was a selca, only Jimin's forehead and eyes were visible, but he looked so done nonetheless. Yoongi rolled his eyes with a small grin.

Jin stopped lecturing Namjoon to look at Yoongi with interest. "What's gotten you so happy?" He asked curiously, though there was a sparkle in his eyes that told Yoongi he'd already guessed— and correctly, at that.

"If hyung is smiling in public, it means Kanye West is coming to Seoul," Namjoon joked, leaning across the table with a grin.  He held out his hand, making a grabby motion as he clenched and unclenched his fingers. "Share, share."

Yoongi quickly pocketed his phone before Namjoon could snatch it. "Taehyung and Jungkook being idiots as always," he commented blandly. "Nothing new."

"Are you texting Jimin?" Jin beamed. "That's nice."

Yoongi shifted in his seat. "Yeah well," he said with a frown. "We'd never get anywhere if we don't talk casually like this, right?”

Jin smiled. Yoongi felt a little uncomfortable under that perennial gaze.

"Your date seemed like it went well," Namjoon offered with a grin. "When are you going out next?"

Yoongi shrugged, pocketing his phone. "He's busy practicing for the Chuseok showcase, so probably after." He remembered how disappointed Jimin had been by that during their date and chuckled. "I was hoping to surprise him today for lunch, but he went out with thing 1 and thing 2 before I got to the studios."

"You're so mean to Tae and Jungkook," Jin scolded, flapping a hand at Yoongi. "They're your maknaeduhl; you should be nicer to them."

"Bullying them is how this old man gets his kicks," he retorted sarcastically, patting his full stomach contentedly. "And they also deserve it, they're so fucking annoying together." Jimin would agree with him.

"When's the showcase?" Namjoon asked curiously, changing the subject. "Shouldn't we all go?"

Jin nodded in agreement beside him. "We have to cheer for Hoseok too," he smiled. "He's mentioned working hard for the past two months; I'm excited to see his performance."

Yoongi hummed.

MIN.Y: when's your showcase again?
MIN.Y: the old married couple over here wants to go with me
MIN.Y: they're curious about Hoseok's bit too

PARK.J: next tuesday! It's going to be in the theater hall next to the gymnasium
PARK.J: Hoseok hyung has two parts, and he has a solo at the front too~

Yoongi showed Jin and Namjoon the screen.

"Oh, go Hoseok," the latter whistled, impressed. "If he opens the show he hasn't lost his touch, huh?"

"Jimin's ending it though," Yoongi pointed out casually. "He has his own solo and everything."

"Next Tuesday's pretty soon," Jin commented, his brows pinched. "Is Jimin doing okay? I hope he isn't overworking himself..."

Yoongi thought about how Jimin had skipped dinner and returned home late at night yesterday, but quickly dismissed the thought. He was getting lunch with Tae and Jungkook today, wasn't he? Park Jimin was a grown ass man; Yoongi didn't have to babysit him. "He's fine," Yoongi declared, tapping out a reply. “He was excited when he mentioned working something out yesterday— I wouldn't be too worried. He's just a hardworking kid." Jimin got in on a dance scholarship. That had to mean he was pretty exceptional, considering how high the standards were for performing arts in their university.

MIN.Y: I'm looking forward to it

PARK.J is typing...

"Tell him we'll be there," Namjoon said with a peace sign. "I'm going to yell at Hoseok for not saying anything at the coffee shop later."

PARK.J: me too, Yoongi.

"Yeah," Yoongi said distractedly. "Okay."

 

*


Yoongi passed by a cat on the way to the convenience store that evening. After double taking, he immediately brought out his phone to snap a picture.

MIN.Y: [image attached]
MIN.Y: i relate to this cat on a spiritual level

The cat had a paw outstretched to a plate of wet cat food, but was sound asleep. Yoongi had passed out trying to feed himself enough times that fucking Namjoon had snapped a picture one time and made a meme, captioning the thing 'Motionless Min' on Facebook. Jin had a printout of it taped into one of his dumb scrapbooks.

PARK.J: HAHAHAHAHA
PARK.J: OMG
PARK.J: I JUST REMEMBERED THAT MEME
PARK.J: TAE SHOWED IT TO ME SO LONG AGO I FORGOT THAT WAS YOU

Yoongi cursed. Fucking Taehyung.

MIN.Y: that kid needs to die

PARK.J: lol no chance

PARK.J: Kookie would slay you

Where was the lie though, Yoongi thought bitterly. Fucking Jeon Jungkook and his biceps.

MIN.Y: sad but true
MIN.Y: I'm at least 90% sure he could kill me by accident

PARK.J: oh my god he's not going to accidentally kill you yoongi

MIN.Y: have you even seen the brat's muscles?
MIN.Y: because I have and those things need to be registered as a weapon of mass destruction

He paused, rolling up his sleeve and flexing. He frowned at the small bulge of his bicep and sighed. Stepping into the light of a street lamp, Yoongi snapped a picture on impulse.

MIN.Y: my bicep is the pathetic younger sister of jeon jungkook's bicep
MIN.Y: [image attached]

PARK.J is typing...
PARK.J: omg

MIN.Y: ?

He put his phone aside and stepped into the store to pick up some milk; it was the one thing that slipped his mind yesterday. The cashier droned his due amount and the exchange was silent and painless, just the way Yoongi liked it. As he was leaving, he drew his phone out of his pocket again.

PARK.J is typing...

MIN.Y: are you writing an essay?

PARK.J: i could if you wanted lololol
PARK.J: or poetR

Yoongi frowned at his screen.

MIN.Y: ?

PARK.J: tAHT WAS TAE
PARK.J: BRB HE NEEDS TO GET SLAPPED

MIN.Y: don't die lmao
MIN.Y: at least make sure Jungkook isn't there if you're going to hit him



TUESDAY

Yoongi had made an executive decision last semester to free up his Tuesdays. He tutored Si Won in the mornings, worked on either his music or schoolwork in the afternoons, and Skyped his older brother at night. It was a routine he'd set in stone sometime last June, and this Tuesday was no different from any other.

He took a short video of Si Won nailing the latter half of Mirror Night and sent it off to Jimin, watching his student revise a few bars independently as he waited for a reply.

MIN.Y: [video attached]
MIN.Y: Si Won is 11, so he can play the harder stuff

PARK.J: !!! Is that Mirror Night??
PARK.J: its from a rhythm game right? I think I still have it on my phone!

Yoongi lifted an eyebrow at his screen.

MIN.Y: yeah, a game called Deemo
MIN.Y: it was pretty popular awhile ago, but I didn't expect anyone to recognize the OST just like that

PARK.J: it's a pretty song
PARK.J: back when I played the game I downloaded some of the tracks
PARK.J: I used to listen to Mirror Night on repeat if I was feeling down

MIN.Y: ? Why

PARK.J: it just
PARK.J: idk
PARK.J: theres something about it that makes me feel relaxed? When I listen to mirror night it feels like I'm out walking on a pier alone after its dark or something...
PARK.J: thinking about stuff, or reflecting on things quietly by myself?
PARK.J: it's nice, I just like that feeling

Yoongi could relate to that. He liked that feeling too, but he'd never heard anyone give an analogy of it— he'd never even come across someone who'd try putting a piano piece into words. These were the kind of things he envied in other people, Yoongi reflected; things like their emotional aptitude and the way everyone but him seemed to know how to speak tactfully. It was probably because he wasn't too great at expressing himself in the first place, but Yoongi thought Jimin was probably the type to be good with words. He wondered if he'd ever adopt the same kind of eloquence Jimin seemed to have while he interacted with other people— even strangers.

MIN.Y: you're really something, Park Jimin

"Seonsaeng-nim?" Si Won called, making Yoongi turn to him. "Why are you smiling at your phone?"

Yoongi sat down next to his student and smiled, ruffling the boy's hair affectionately. "Someone surprised me, that's all," he commented vaguely. Park Jimin had been doing that a lot lately. "More importantly, have you been updating your practice journal like I asked you to?"

Si Won rushed to find his notebook as Yoongi locked his phone. He'd continue talking to Jimin later, maybe ask him a little more about what kind of games he liked to play. It seemed like they might have more in common than he'd initially thought.

*

PARK.J: hey hey hey grandpa

Yoongi sighed heavily.

MIN.Y: give Jimin back his phone thing 1

PARK.J: thing 1?

MIN.Y: thats you idiot
MIN.Y: no prizes for guessing who's thing 2

PARK.J: jiminie?

Sometimes - a lot of the time - Yoongi wanted to grab Taehyung and Jungkook by their collars and shove them into a locker. And then throw away the key. Possibly eat it, if he had to. Yoongi was sure that if he, Namjoon, Jin and Hoseok hadn't made a solemn pact to never get involved with the love lives of their maknaeduhl, he probably would have done it by now. The state of affairs between Tae and Jungkook was that fucking tragic.

MIN.Y: forget it
MIN.Y: give Jimin his phone back

PARK.J: lololol he's practicing so I wont get caught anyway~

MIN.Y: you're using someone else's data asshole
MIN.Y: apologize to his hardworking parents who pay for their precious son's bills

PARK.J: wait wait wait im reading all your past texts

Yoongi balked at the offending text.

MIN.Y: how can you be this annoying

PARK.J: jiminie doesnt hide anything from me lolol~

MIN.Y: every day I think to myself, taehyung can't possibly get any more annoying than he was yesterday
MIN.Y: and every day I am proven wrong

PARK.J: ooh throw more established facts at me
PARK.J: hurts me right here
PARK.J: (my hand is on my heart lol)
PARK.J: also stop texting omg it keeps scrolling down if u do that

Yoongi was going to tell Jimin to put a fucking passcode on his phone. What the fuck.

He returned to his work, turning up his music as he searched for a new stick for his glue gun. Assembling a scale model was tedious as hell, but it was methodical work once you had it all planned out in your mind. Yoongi paused to refer to his sketches, frowning at a misplaced beam and quickly prying it loose before the glue dried. That had only been a couple of millimetres off center, but models were intricate things. Small mistakes could have a lot of effect on the final product— Yoongi had learned that the hard way in his first year, when he'd been young and dumb and thought his lecturer wouldn't give two shits about slightly botched alignment. Man, had he been wrong.

His phone buzzed just as he finished reapplying the beam to the building. He set his tools aside and reached for it suspiciously.

PARK.J: omg

MIN.Y: what

PARK.J: im impressed he calls u by name through text but
PARK.J: talk abt more impt things lolol

MIN.Y: such as

PARK.J: idk
PARK.J: something better than chickens LOLOLOL
PARK.J: do u even know Jiminie's fave color

Yoongi frowned at his phone. Come to think of it, neither he nor Jimin had spoken about things like that yet. Preferences, favorites, likes and dislikes… He hadn't figured it was something he needed to ask about, or rather, he just hadn't thought about it at all. In his past relationships, Yoongi had allowed everything to come to light in its own way, learning more about the other person through observation over time. Was that weird? Did people usually talk about these things just like that?

MIN.Y: wont I just learn about it naturally?

PARK.J: what does that even mean lololol obviously you have to ask hyung
PARK.J: its light blue btw
PARK.J: and he likes kimchi jjigae~

MIN.Y: just write his biography

PARK.J: i know him well enough lolol 
PARK.J: were platonic soulmates dont be jelly

MIN.Y: who's jealous
MIN.Y: stop playing around on someone else’s phone and go bother jungkook

PARK.J is typing...
PARK.J: [image attached]
PARK.J: jokes on you lololol he's been here the whole time

It was a selca of the pair leaning against one another with their backs to a mirror wall in the dance studio. Jungkook had an arm casually thrown around Taehyung, his eyes focusing on something or someone offscreen. Tae was grinning mischievously, his free hand raised to make a peace sign. They were wearing matching OBEY snapbacks and everything— it made Yoongi want to crush them.

MIN.Y: you two are going to drive your hyungs into an early grave

PARK.J: what

MIN.Y: nothing. Jimin's still practicing?

PARK.J: yaeh he sucks at taking breaks
PARK.J is typing...
PARK.J: [video attached]

The short video was of Jimin, his facial expression intense as he dashed an arm across his sweaty forehead. Someone - a sunbae? - was standing beside him and demonstrating something with his elbow locked. Jimin's skin was flushed pink with exertion, but he looked every bit the hard worker Yoongi had thought he was. Since he was wearing a tank top and shorts, it was easy to see how the gruelling hours of practice had shaped his body— the swell of his biceps were slick with sweat, the toned muscles of his calves bulging as he moved fluidly to the distorted background music. The bow of his lips parted around words that Yoongi couldn't decipher, but Jimin seemed to know the song well with the intuitive movement he displayed. The furrow in his brow was not one of frustration, but one of pure, unadulterated focus.

He's handsome, Yoongi thought. It wasn't exactly the first time he'd thought it, but it startled him each time. It was a bit surreal— the fact that Jimin had asked him of all people to be his fake boyfriend. What could a guy like that possibly see in a nobody like him?

MIN.Y: nice
MIN.Y: why is the sound so distorted though, the song sounds weird

PARK.J: dunno
PARK.J: cause ur old and ur hearing sucks??

MIN.Y: are you trying to die kim taehyung

PARK.J: LOLOLOL JK DONT BEAT ME UP GRANDPA
PARK.J: I may have accidentally covered the receiver w my thumb

Yoongi palmed his face. This idiot.

PARK.J: aw shkt Jiminie's coming back bYE HYUN G
PARK.J:sHAKPPhganl sjUJFKPQ
PARK.J is typing...

MIN.Y: lmao

PARK.J: BRB GONNA KILL HIM

MIN.Y: Jungkook is literally right there don't do it

Yoongi put his cellphone away with a shake of his head and a smile, returning to the intricate work he was doing. Try as he might though, it was hard to put the image of Jimin doing his best out of his mind. He hadn't seen the guy as anything other than a particularly attractive dongsaeng before, but that video...

That video was Jimin doing what he loved at 110%, and he was handsome.

 

*


PARK.J: omg
PARK.J: I can't believe he sent you a video

Yoongi snorted at his phone. His older brother made an interested noise on his computer screen.

"Who is it?" Seung-gi asked, smiling. "You don't usually make facial expressions like that over a text."

"My boyfriend," Yoongi commented distractedly, tapping out a reply in response and ignoring his brother's inevitable mental breakdown at the news. It was easy enough considering Seung-gi was in Shenzhen on business and not anywhere near Yoongi.

"Your what?" His brother croaked weakly.

MIN.Y: let it go it's been hours
MIN.Y: didnt see anything anyway
MIN.Y: whats your song though I couldn't make it out

"My boyfriend," Yoongi repeated calmly, setting his phone aside for now. He didn't see the point in cluing his brother in on the whole fake boyfriend thing— it wasn't like he and Jimin were actually going to be in a relationship once Chuseok was over. "It's just— It's a casual thing."

His brother looked at him piteously. "Yoongi, you've never casually anything'ed in your life."

"That is blatantly untrue," Yoongi argued, leaning forward and prodding the screen. It was immensely unsatisfying that he couldn't jab his finger in his hyung's chest directly. Letting the screen of his laptop wobble a couple of times to make it absolutely clear that he was offended would have to do. "I mean, I rapped, but technically—"

"Yoongi-yah, you rapped for 9 years," his brother deadpanned. "Eomma thought you'd joined a gang with how often you slipped out to go for those battles in Daegu— and you actually won a lot, didn't you?" Yoongi frowned as his hyung picked up a mug of coffee. "I'm not even convinced you went cold turkey, but I'm pretty sure you could still recite every line you've written."

"I could not," Yoongi retorted, crossing his arms exasperatedly. It was even true; he'd written too many raps, composed too many songs. He wasn't even going to grace his brother's doubts about him quitting with an answer; Seung-gi would be too self-satisfied. "Okay fine. Rap aside, I tried breakdancing and look how that turned out—"

"Pretty damn well for someone who wants to be reincarnated as a rock? Fuck, Yoon," Seung-gi sighed dramatically as he leaned back in his chair. "I've always told you that you were talented. Whether it's piano or whatever, you should have done something in the arts."

Yoongi shifted uncomfortably. "You know how abeoji is," he murmured, wincing at how much it sounded like a cop out. His shoulders sagged and he set his folded arms on the table. "Truth be told, I'm happy doing architecture," he said honestly, looking into his older brother's eyes. "Hyung, I wouldn't have committed four years to it if I didn't like it. I love music, but it doesn't mean I can't make something else my career eventually." He liked creating things, envisioning something and making it come to life with his own hands. Yoongi appreciated that about music, and he was growing to appreciate that about other things, too. "I don't mind taking over abeoji's company since you don't have any interest in it anyway.” Their father ran a medium-sized firm operating out of Daegu, but he was rarely in town because most of his clients were from other countries in South East Asia, like Singapore and Indonesia.

"Now, see, you're just making me look bad," Seung-gi grumbled, running a hand through his hair. "Just because I became a paralegal doesn't mean you had to take responsibility like that. Damn it, Yoongi-yah, you're just a kid." His arms flailed on screen. "What do kids do these days? Drink? Sleep?"

"You're not even that much older than me," Yoongi scoffed. "You were literally born only 2 years earlier than me, I don't understand why you always have to exaggerate—"

"Be youthful," his brother continued wistfully, making Yoongi sigh.

"You're being ridiculous," he declared, making a grab for his phone as it lit up.

PARK.J: it's a surprise
PARK.J: I'm not telling

MIN.Y: not even me?

PARK.J: especially not you!
PARK.J is typing...
PARK.J: I just hope you like it when you see it and I don't want the surprise to be ruined..

Yoongi smiled at his screen.

"Right, kids these days casually date," Seung-gi teased, taking a huge gulp of his coffee and hissing as it burned his tongue.

"I keep telling you to let it cool down," Yoongi chided on impulse, forgetting they didn't live together anymore. One of his older brother's bad habits was to impatiently gulp down a cup of coffee before he left the house in the morning every day, even back when Yoongi had been in high school with him. On the other end of the spectrum, Yoongi had a tendency to forget about his mug till his caffeine fix was too cold. "You're too impatient."

MIN.Y: I'm sure your showcase will go well with you working so hard
MIN.Y: I'll like it no matter what, dont worry

"Yeah, yeah. Hey, you got a picture of him?" Seung-gi brushed Yoongi's nagging aside with bright and curious eyes. "You never showed me any of your other boyfriends."

"That's because I didn't talk to you about me being gay till last year, and I've been single since then till now," Yoongi huffed. "Whatever, he's the cutest out of the people I've dated anyway." Flicking through the selcas Jimin had sent him, Yoongi picked one that showed the younger laughing with Taehyung at a restaurant. "He's the one with silver hair," he told his brother, putting his phone in front of the laptop camera.

Seung-gi's eyes widened as he leaned in. "Not that I swing your way Yoon, but isn't he—"

"Hot as hell?" Yoongi guessed, scrolling through his album and showing Seung-gi the picture he'd taken of Jimin and Jae Eun at the cafe during their first date. "Yeah, I know. He's one of the most popular kids on campus too; even I knew the guy and I'm probably one step away from being a certified hermit." He lowered his phone and shrugged. “Hell if I know why he's dating me."

Seung-gi immediately glared at him. "Yoongi, I told you to quit putting yourself down like that."

"Fun fact; I invented gallows humor," Yoongi waved a hand dismissively, not wanting to get into the thick of that nonissue. "Anyway, his name's Jimin and—"

"Yoongi, it's not funny," Seung-gi cut him off, clearly unwilling to let Yoongi deviate from the topic. His face set in an unhappy frown. "Look, you've always had this shitty habit of talking smack about yourself. It really pisses me off to hear you say things like that." With a pained sigh, he rested his chin on the curve of his palm. "When are you going to realize that you're one of the good guys?"

"Hyung, you're being especially gross today," Yoongi said awkwardly, his face twisted into a grimace.

"I'm being serious," Seung-gi glowered. "Piano, rap, breakdancing… Even going so far as to take an accelerated track in uni? You're always so hard on yourself that everyone around you worries, and yet you just—" He ran a hand through his tousled hair frustratedly. "God, it gets to me when you say shit like that. Even Namjoon's gotten angry about this habit you have, hasn't he?"

Yoongi deflated a little. Forget Namjoon; Jin had straight up sat him down for the mother of all lectures in their second year. It was a pretty jarring experience, being aggressively complimented. The entire affair just left Yoongi feeling a little winded and a lot guilty; he had no idea why his friends thought so highly of him. "Sorry," he mumbled as sincerely as he could, even though he wasn't. If anything, he was just sorry that he'd upset his brother and his friends. Jerking mildly as his phone buzzed, Yoongi quickly lifted it up to provide himself with a distraction.

PARK.J: I really hope you will
PARK.J: there are still a lot of parts I'm not sure about, but Hoseok hyung promised to practice with me tomorrow!
PARK.J: I really want to get this particular move right and it's pretty hard on my back and shoulder

MIN.Y: just make sure you don't get injured
MIN.Y: and use my damn scarf, it's cold as hell outside

PARK.J: [image attached]
PARK.J: sunbae's treat, and then we're back to the studio!

The picture was of Jimin right at that moment, Yoongi's scarf wrapped securely around his neck as he waited in line at a street vendor for sweet corn. His nose was pink with the biting cold, but the quirk of his lips was amused and genuine. Yoongi couldn't help but smile a little despite the tense atmosphere between him and his older brother. Passionate people like Jimin who went all out were pretty endearing, if not somewhat exhausting to watch.

"I guess if you're smiling like that I don't need worry too much," Seung-gi suddenly sighed, making Yoongi's head snap up towards his computer.

"Hyung?"

Seung-gi scratched his cheek sheepishly. "You're my younger brother," he mumbled awkwardly. "I mean. I've got Hyun-mi, you know? She makes me happy, and I love her. I guess— I've never seen you with anyone, so just— You know." He paused for a bit, brows furrowed as Yoongi debated getting a pillow from his bed. “Look, as your hyung, I do give a shit about you," he ended up blurting with a red face.

"Gee," Yoongi said tonelessly, already getting up to cross the room. "Thanks."

"Jesus, you know we're both shit with words," Seung-gi scowled, lifting his arms and glaring at the ceiling of his hotel room. "Thanks a lot, abeoji."

"Don't blame our social ineptitude on abeoji, it's not like we made that much of an effort," Yoongi defended their father, returning with his pillow.

"Hey," his brother pointed at him through Skype, "you just got a boyfriend. I'd say you made a little effort."

Not really, Yoongi thought drily. He lifted his pillow to cover the lower half of his face. "It was, uh," he lifted an eyebrow as he tried to think of the words to explain it without actually explaining it. "... It just happened?" He tried.

Seung-gi nodded sagely. "Yeah, that's usually how it goes. It was the same way for Hyun-mi and I."

Yoongi snorted. Somehow, he highly doubted that. "You have to go?" He guessed, cocking his head as he watched his brother subtly check his watch. They'd spoken a little longer than they usually did, but Yoongi only Skyped Seung-gi once a week— his parents rarely. Everyone was so busy with their own things that it was hard for them to meet each other, even for an annual occasion like Chuseok. That was what made every minute of their time spent talking that much more precious to Yoongi— Not that he'd ever tell Seung-gi that, obviously. He'd never hear the end of it.

Seung-gi hummed. "Another 15 minutes," he declared, smiling as he let out a breath. "I want to hear a little more about this guy you're seeing before I take off. You mentioned his name was... Jimin, I think?"

"Yeah," Yoongi nodded, settling back into his chair with a contented grin. "Park Jimin."

"How'd you guys meet?"

He'd doctor the start of their story just a little— how could he not, knowing how excited Seung-gi was that he had a boyfriend? Hearing that the whole thing was just an arrangement for Chuseok would devastate his brother. Yoongi gesticulated lazily as he spoke, starting from the beginning. "Okay, so you know Namjoon's boyfriend, Jin, right? He has this friend named Taehyung—"

Chapter Text

WEDNESDAY

"Another black coffee," Hoseok grinned, setting it down in front of Yoongi. He glanced around the cafe to check if anyone needed service before deeming it safe to sit down for a bit. "I heard from the previous guy on shift that you were here since 10. How's the relationship with Jimin coming?"

"Not bad," Yoongi hummed, shooting a text off to the dongsaeng in question. "I haven't seen him for a few days, so I'm trying to take him out for lunch later." He glanced at Hoseok. "You were with him at the studios this morning right? How'd it go?"

MIN.Y: I'm at the cafe on campus, text me when you're free if you want to eat together

"Good, his choreo's really coming along nicely," Hoseok drawled. While Yoongi had a tendency to speak Satoori when he was nervous, Hoseok sometimes defaulted to it when he was enthusiastic. "Honestly, I'm more excited for you guys to see his than mine."

"Really?" Yoongi lifted an eyebrow in surprise. "It impressed you that much?"

“Hyung, Jimin's special even in the club," Hoseok said seriously, his eyes wide. "He's not just good at dancing; he's one of the best. Why do you think he got a closing solo?"

"Well I know he's good," Yoongi said defensively, not wanting to sound like he thought Jimin was mediocre or anything— far from it. "He's always in the posters around campus. You just make it sound like it's a religious experience."

"It kind of is," Hoseok agreed. "This might be his best choreo yet; he's made it pretty complex, from what I've gathered." He hummed thoughtfully. "Did you see him at last year's open house?"

Yoongi's nose wrinkled. "Why would I stay at an open house if I'm already a student in the university?" He picked up his coffee and blew gently on the surface. "The only people Namjoon, Jin and I saw that day were you doing your solo and Taehyung at his band performance.” Jungkook had missed his MMA showcase because he had a fever or something back then, or they would've gone to watch him too. Or at least, Jin would have dragged Yoongi— he'd almost decided to sleep in that morning.

"He performed right after me," Hoseok sighed. "Man, you guys would have appreciated it. I should've gotten you to stay."

“We would have missed Taehyung’s thing,” Yoongi pointed out, taking a tentative sip from his cup. As expected, Hoseok really knew how to make great coffee. “So? What’s so good about Jimin’s choreography this time compared to the others?”

Hoseok suddenly put his arms up in a giant cross. “Nuh uh, hyung, no way,” he said defensively. “I’ve been sworn to secrecy.”

“Damn it,” Yoongi swore under his breath, averting his eyes. After how secretive Jimin had been about everything, it’d just made him more curious. He’d been hoping Hoseok would accidentally spill the beans, but apparently Jimin had covered all his bases.

"Be patient, it's worth the wait. Even I don't know the full routine," Hoseok laughed, before he got up with bright eyes. "Oh. Speak of the devil and he shall appear; looks like our favorite practice bug managed to tear himself away from the studios."

Sure enough, Yoongi looked out the glass wall to see Jimin running towards the cafe, his breath coming in thick white puffs. "That idiot," Yoongi seethed, getting up so abruptly he shook the table. Though Jimin was wearing Yoongi's scarf, he was clad in little else; just a tank top and a pair of sweats. "I told him to dress warmly!"

Hoseok snorted as he drifted away. "If you keep screaming at your fake boyfriend, you might never get a real one," he sang cheerfully over his shoulder just as Jimin burst into the café. He shot the younger a jaunty wave as Jimin panted for breath, doubled over from his sprint.

"H-hyung—"

"It's fucking arctic temperatures out there, did you run all the way from the arts faculty?" Yoongi hissed, ripping his jacket off with less finesse than he'd hoped. He wrapped it around Jimin's shoulders as the man was still struggling to regain his breath. "Haven't I nagged you enough about dressing warmly yet?"

"Yes you have~" Hoseok sang from behind the counter, making Yoongi flip him off.

Jimin finally managed to stand up straight, his fingers curling into the lapels of Yoongi's jacket. His cheeks were flushed as he smiled brightly. "I forgot," he said, sounding stupidly happy about it when he looked at Yoongi despite how his shoulders were already trembling from the cold. "Hello."

"Yeah, I can see that," Yoongi deadpanned drily. "And hi."

"It's because I was excited to see you," Jimin added shyly, averting his eyes as he shifted on the spot.

Yoongi glanced away, resisting the urge to smile because he was supposed to be upset at Jimin, damn it. "Yeah, well." He took him by the hand, but let go when the younger immediately flinched. "You alright?"

Jimin looked at him with wide eyes. "I— Um—"

"We've already held hands before," Yoongi coaxed with a wry smile, gentling his tone instinctively. It was the little things like this that reminded Yoongi how new being publicly gay was for Jimin, and the last thing he wanted was to make the younger uncomfortable or worried. "It'll be fine; not that many people are around. Come on."

Jimin's eyes darted around the cafe, but his hand slowly reached for Yoongi's.

Not giving the younger time to hesitate, Yoongi interlaced their fingers and pulled him over to the table he'd been sitting at. "Lunch here or elsewhere?" He asked absently, shoving a notebook and a pencil case into his satchel. He'd been making a few mock sketches while he'd waited. "We could go off campus if you'd like."

"There's a nice restaurant a few minutes away," Jimin suggested, temporarily sinking into the seat across Yoongi's. "It's called 'Para-something' and it serves nice pasta; have you been there?"

"Paradiso?" Yoongi guessed with a grin. "It's an Italian place. Jin loves it; it's a regular date spot for him and Namjoon, so of course I'd know about it." He drained the remnants of his coffee - oh, that was bitter - and set down his cup. "To be frank, the only reason why I know about the restaurants around here is because of those two." Seokjin was a foodie, after all. "Are you in a rush to get back?"

Jimin shook his head with a pleased smile. "It's mostly independent practice now; everyone's doing their own thing."

"Great, we can take our time then; get to know each other a little better. We didn't really have a chance with Jae Eun around the last time." Yoongi shouldered his satchel and waved to Hoseok, signaling that they were leaving. The barista did an enthusiastic full body roll in response, making Yoongi snort. "Come on, let's go."

Jimin got up, properly putting his arms into the sleeves of Yoongi's jacket. "Will you be okay if I wear this?" He asked uneasily. "You mentioned you got cold easily..."

"I'm wearing a turtleneck," Yoongi shrugged as he stood, holding out his hand. "And an undershirt. I'll live."

Jimin shyly took his hand again - with no visible hesitation this time - and they went for lunch.

*

Yoongi had enjoyed his lunch with Jimin. They'd talked about a multitude of things - a little about their childhoods, a little about their best friends and siblings - apparently Jimin had a younger brother.

They had a few interests in common— Yoongi had even shared about his brief venture into breakdancing, albeit with some hesitation. There was a notable overlap in the music they listened to, a mirrored preference for dogs over cats, and a fondness for casual photography. Jimin revealed he'd taken vocal classes in high school when he'd aspired to become a singer and a dancer, having been moved by a performance on YouTube by Rain. The younger had sang a verse of Eyes, Nose, Lips by Big Bang's Taeyang for him, smiling even as an embarrassed flush bloomed on his face. When Yoongi had said his voice was beautiful - and he'd meant it - Jimin's eyes lit up with happiness so genuine it made Yoongi's heart clench.

There were also differences— Yoongi loved playing basketball whenever he had the time, but Jimin had a penchant for cooking whenever he wasn't holed up in a studio. While Yoongi was quieter by nature, Jimin's popularity attested to his exuberance. Jimin dressed up for most occasions, even for a trip to the store, but Yoongi didn't pay much attention to his clothing other than when he attended formal events like recitals or wedding.

It had been fun learning about what they could bond over. Yoongi had returned home after lunch feeling satisfied, having secured another date on Saturday— karaoke and drinks at night. Jimin had wanted to invite Taehyung and Jungkook, which meant that Yoongi would be dragging Namjoon, Jin and Hoseok down if they were free.

He sat down in front of his computer, staring at the SparkNotes page open on his screen. Absently, he opened another tab and went to his old YouTube channel. Hearing Jimin talk about how much he'd wanted to be a singer had brought back some memories, and Yoongi was feeling mildly sentimental as he scrolled through his uploaded videos.

Everything came flooding back as he listened to First Love again; the verses he'd scribbled on the backs of his hands and paper napkins, the crumpled balls of paper that had littered the floor of his childhood room back in Daegu. The way he'd sneak out of the house in the middle of the night to attend underground rap battles, the way he'd obsessively listened to Lupe Fiasco and Epik High on repeat.

After finishing the short playlist, he sagged into his seat for a long time and stared at the related videos without really reading the titles. Once everything began to blur together at the edges, Yoongi crossed his apartment to his work room and rummaged through a cupboard he hadn't opened in ages. Eventually, he drew out a stack of CDs, several dusty old notebooks and a multitude of loose sheets of paper.

Old raps. Songs too personal and raw that he'd hoarded to himself, half written with verses that didn't flow well or to his liking. His mood grew solemn as he sat down on the ground and pored over the mountain of music he'd created— some of it still workable, some of it flat out embarrassing to reread. Several of the notebooks were split at the spine, others were crumpled at the corners. There were pages with coffee stains, tear stains— even blood stains from when he'd been a little less himself and a little more his anxiety. His parents had worried so much. Seung-gi had shaken him by the shoulders back then, trying to help but not understanding Yoongi.

There was a point in time where Yoongi hadn't understood Yoongi, a point in time where Yoongi had been more scared of himself than he'd been of anything else.

But slowly, he'd moved past that fear. Looking inwards, he'd used rap as a medium for him to tell a story, to carve an image. So Far Away, 140503 At Dawn... He'd poured everything of himself into these self-produced songs he'd cooked up in the nights he couldn't sleep, the nights he was scared he was never going to amount to anything, the nights he wondered if he would succeed amongst so many others his age, the nights he worried he'd never make his parents proud—

Yoongi popped a CD into his player and listened to his own music, lips pursed silently around familiar words. As The Last began to play, he laughed drily. He'd written this song following a visit to the psychiatric ward his parents had brought him to, filled with self loathing and depression. He loved his parents, he truly did, but it was hard for him to talk to them without feeling guilty or resentful at the same time. They were distant even now, not having had the chance to fully mend their strained relationship before Yoongi had moved to Seoul for university. Conflicting emotions roiled within him as he listened to his own voice, thumbing through remnants of a past he'd once been ashamed of. Remembering a Min Yoongi who'd curled himself into a ball in the corner of a toilet stall in high school, afraid that no one would talk to him, afraid to approach anyone. A Min Yoongi who, towards the end of the song, revealed how he'd waded through the thick of depression and came out stronger for it. Better.

He listened, his eyes a little wet as he smiled. It always amazed him how acutely music could make him feel, how it brought out a rawness in him that nothing else could recreate. He'd fought, struggled, and clawed his way to a new path. He was doing what he loved and what he wanted— creating music in one hand and the future in another. In youth, he'd hated himself; foolishly, stupidly, and enough to deny himself anything because he feared everything.

For a long time, he hadn't been sure what he was doing or where he was going. He hadn't even been sure there was anywhere in particular he'd want to go, considering how lonely he'd been, and how lonely he'd been sure he'd continue to be.

But Yoongi liked to think he'd grown up a little. Now, he had one foot in front of the other, and he was walking. He had Namjoon, Jin and Hoseok. By extension, he had Jungkook and Taehyung, and he'd have Jimin for a whole month. Maybe even longer, if he'd like to stay friends.

Even if Yoongi was afraid, he believed he'd think of something, now that he wasn't alone.


THURSDAY

His mood had improved vastly by the time morning rolled around. Sitting up with languid stretch, he checked the time and found a message waiting for him. He was getting a little used to that, even though he wasn't usually one for texting before all this had happened.

PARK.J: good morning!
PARK.J: sorry I didn't text again after lunch yesterday, I had a lot of fun really!
PARK.J: I was just really busyyy

Today marked a full week since the first day he'd met Jimin. Yoongi yawned tiredly, running a hand through sleep-mussed hair.

MIN.Y: that's fine, I was busy too
MIN.Y: at the studios again?

PARK.J: [image attached]

it was another selca of Jimin - Yoongi could probably have created an album by now - with a towel around his neck. He had his back to a mirror and his free hand raised in a peace sign, fingers parted to frame his left eye.

PARK.J: only 5 days left to practice!
PARK.J: every minute counts!

Hardworking guys were really something else, Yoongi reflected as he sluggishly wrestled himself out of bed to get some coffee. He glanced at Jimin's selca out the corner of his eye, noting the shine in his eyes and the little quirk of his lips. Helplessly, he smiled as he shook his head.

MIN.Y: you're going to be great, Jimin.
MIN.Y: just don't overdo it

PARK.J: thank you~~~

*

"Seonsaeng, is Jimin oppa coming?" Jae Eun blinked up at Yoongi with wide eyes.

Curiously, he sat down beside her on the piano bench. "Why are you asking?" She hadn't asked after Namjoon or Jin even though she'd met them briefly once before. "Jimin oppa's really busy right now; he has a big performance coming up, remember?" Jimin had told Jae Eun himself that he was a dancer in their university. "He's practicing hard every day."

She pouted, hunching over her notes as he poked her in the side. Yelping, she grumbled and sat up straight. “Jimin oppa doesn’t care about my posture,” she whined under her breath, making Yoongi roll his eyes.

“Jimin oppa isn’t your seonsaeng-nim,” he pointed out blandly, picking up his phone. “Posture is a key part of a pianist's performance. Now, back to your revisions; I’m checking it later, so don’t mess around.”

MIN.Y: you have officially been upgraded to my student’s new favorite
MIN.Y: I should probably be offended here, she’s met you only once

PARK.J: HAHA
PARK.J: it's because you kept nagging her to eat properly! I just ate ice cream with her happily~

Yoongi scoffed derisively. Jae Eun shot him an inquisitive look.

MIN.Y: I bet you had a stomachache when you went home

PARK.J: did not~ I felt completely fine~!

MIN.Y: ok, I'll ask taehyung

PARK.J: WAIT U CANT DO THAT

He snorted, a grin turning his lips up at the corners.

MIN.Y: why not?

PARK.J: because
PARK.J: is typing...
PARK.J: ...
PARK.J: It was just a SMALL tummy ache
PARK.J: A SMALL ONE

Jae Eun craned her neck, getting off the piano bench to look at Yoongi's screen. "Is that Jimin oppa?" She asked excitedly, bouncing from foot to foot.

Yoongi hummed noncommittally, holding his phone away from her as he patted her head. "Be good and we can send him a selca later, okay?" He promised. "And you can wish him luck for his performance, if you'd like." As Jae Eun leapt eagerly to her revisions with the promise of a reward, Yoongi smirked and typed out a reply to Jimin.

MIN.Y: I bet you took a giant shit.

PARK.J: omg

MIN.Y: constipation?

PARK.J: OMG

MIN.Y: or was it diarrhea

PARK.J: YOONGI YOU ARE SO VULGAR I CANNOT EVEN BELIEVE [cut for length]
PARK.J is typing...
PARK.J: ...
PARK.J: it was diarrhea

MIN.Y: LMAO

*

Yoongi had been given a house key by Jin a few months ago, largely because Namjoon kept losing his and Yoongi lived close by enough that Namjoon could walk over to pick up the spare. He used it from time to time— mostly when Jin asked him over for dinner, sometimes when he needed a place away from home to relax his mind.

He entered the house with a DVD in hand. "Namjoon-ah, have we watched this one yet—" He paused as he watched his best friend stuff a pudding cup down his pants in alarm.

They stared at each other for a long time.

Yoongi broke first, his lips wobbly with how badly he wanted to laugh. "... Did you just—"

"I did," Namjoon said miserably. There was so much regret in his eyes. "It was Jin's. I thought you were Jin."

Yoongi lost his shit, shaking with laugher so intense he curled up into a ball in their entryway as Namjoon cursed - in French? - and ran to the toilet. "Why," he wheezed from the ground, "why did you eve—"

"I DON'T FUCKING KNOW," Namjoon roared, his voice echoey as he ran the tap. "Fuck, I just— Jin gets crazy about these pudding cups and he's not here to cook dinner and I was really hungry so I just-"

"You're such a fucking moron, why do I even associate with you, Jesus Christ," Yoongi groaned, balefully struggling to get up with one arm clutched around his stomach. "Fuck the movie, I should have just come here to watch you suffer when Jin isn't around. Much more entertaining."

"You are officially the worst best friend I have ever had," Namjoon yelled. Yoongi heard a wet slap of fabric and trudged to the main bedroom, rummaging around in his friend's cupboard. "Hyung, could you help me get a—" He was cut off by a pair of sweats being thrown over his head. "Thanks," he deadpanned drily as Yoongi retreated to the living room.

"Welcome," Yoongi chimed, rubbing his aching side. Ahh, laughing that hard could really hurt.

A few minutes later, Namjoon silently emerged from the toilet, his wet pants strewn over an arm. He stalked over to the washing machine in the kitchen and tossed it into the barrel. Worriedly, he cast a glance over at Yoongi, who had his eyes glued to the June issue of their school magazine that Jin had yet to throw out. "Are you ever going to let me live this down—"

"No way," Yoongi snorted. "Not on your life. I honestly find it amazing I haven't called into KBS about what just happened, Joon, you shoved a fucking pudding cup down your pants." He flipped a page, wondering if their school magazines were interesting. Had he unsubscribed from them from the very beginning? It sounded like something he'd do, and he rarely received any mail other than his bills. "Where's Jin, anyway?"

Namjoon sighed despondently as he trudged over to the sofa, sinking down into it. "His hyung's back in town; Jin picked him up from the airport, and they went out for dinner. We're putting him up for a night before he heads back to Gwacheon."

"Why didn't you go?" Yoongi asked. He stalled on a page, eyes widening. There was a full spread on Jimin— a feature article titled 'The New Seoul Of Busan'. The picture was of the dancer in the middle of a turn, his arms delicately folded one over the other. The blurred edges of his arms, the sheer material of his shirt as it loosely fanned around his waist made the image lifelike, dynamic and powerful. The camera focus was sharp enough to catch individual beads of sweat, but it was the burning concentration in Jimin's eyes that made the shot that much more potent.

Park Jimin looked powerful. Untouchable.

"I had to meet up with my linguistics professor earlier," Namjoon shrugged, yawning as he stretched out his legs. "Something about an administrative error on one of my papers; I was supposed to get a few marks higher or something?" He wriggled his toes with a hum. "Anyway, they're recalculating my final grade, so there's that."

Seamlessly, Yoongi lifted his arms and resettled the magazine on Namjoon's shins. He knew his best friend enough by now to avoid sparking a wrestling fight by demanding that the younger move; he'd never win Namjoon's raw destructive power. "Hey," he frowned instead, showing his friend the spread with Jimin on it. "Have you seen this?"

"Holy shit, no," Namjoon's eyes widened. He grabbed the magazine, crumpling it slightly. "Woah. Hyung, he looks cool."

"Yeah," Yoongi said distractedly, pulling his phone out of his pocket. He snapped a picture of the spread.

MIN.Y: [image attached]

He paused as he wondered what to say. Well, he reflected, the truth was always best.

MIN.Y: you look beautiful.

Namjoon was scanning the lines of the article. "Grew up in Busan... He was a top student at his old high school," he read aloud. "Transferred to Korea Arts— Oh, that's where he met Tae and Kookie, I guess." Namjoon's eyes swept the page quickly. "He was scouted fresh out of high school but decided to finish his education, holy shit." He looked up at Yoongi. "The only other person I know who got scouted that young is Hoseok-hyung. He's got to be mad talented."

Yoongi took the magazine back, pressing a finger to the glossy page as he read. Jimin had started dancing young, influenced by artists who'd made it huge - Taeyang from Big Bang, he remembered - and aspiring to stand on a global stage. His biggest goal was to inspire people to follow their dreams, even if it was hard and they didn't have the support they needed. Yoongi read the article slowly, and carefully.

Towards the end, it was written that Jimin never thought of his goal as something attainable or even tangible— only something to constantly reach for. 'If you know something is far away and you want it hard enough, your feet will automatically move,' he'd been quoted. 'Dreams are called dreams because they can't be achieved so easily just like that. One step at a time, even if it's slowly... I'll go on my path, even if I live for a day.'

Yoongi was startled as his phone buzzed.

PARK.J: oh
PARK.J: Yoongi that's so
PARK.J is typing...

Namjoon slowly sat up, leaning over and eyeing the bracketed quote in the magazine. "I like that he's so passionate," he commented with an easy smile. "It's nice that you have a boyfriend like that, hyung."

Yoongi stared at Namjoon. "You read all of that, and you still think I can score a guy like this?" He snorted, closing the magazine and setting it down on the coffee table as he reached for the DVD he'd brought over. "Get real Joon. Park Jimin and guys like me don't exist in the same kind of reality."

"Oh my god," Namjoon groaned exasperatedly, cradling his head in his hands. "Fuck, Jin was right, you two seriously deserve the heck out of each other."

Yoongi narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "What?"

"It's nothing," Namjoon sighed into his palms, muffling his voice. He grabbed the DVD from Yoongi and marched to the player, popping it in without further comment.

Yoongi looked at his phone one last time as the opening sequence began.

PARK.J: thank you....

They watched the movie.


FRIDAY

Yoongi was lost.

He'd gone to a hardware store to pick up a new drill bit. Since he'd wanted it in a specific size, he'd had to wake up early and travel for over an hour to an unfamiliar place just to have it custom made. Now he was just aimlessly wandering around, trying to find a station or a bus that could take him home. He'd tried using Naver, but every route required changing buses at least twice. Yoongi preferred to take a straight bus, since he hated having to count the stops.

He calmly created a group chat after determining that he couldn't find his way.

[MIN.Y has added KIM.N, KIM.S, PARK.J, JUNG.H, KIM.T and JEON.J to the group]
MIN.Y: im lost
MIN.Y: does anyone know where I am
MIN.Y: [image attached]

KIM.N: LOL HYUNG

JUNG.H: I didn't know you were bad with directions hyung hahahahaha

KIM.S: how can you still get lost in Seoul, you've lived here for 4 years!

MIN.Y: ive never been to this part
MIN.Y: how do I go back to the station

KIM.T: seoul is big LOLOLOL
KIM.T is typing...

PARK.J: dont do it Tae
PARK.J TAE

KIM.T: and hyung is smol

JEON.J: lol

[MIN.Y has removed KIM.T from the group]
[MIN.Y had removed JEON.J from the group]

PARK.J: ahh... seriously, that idiot

KIM.N: why did you also remove kookie lol

MIN.Y: he laughed
MIN.Y: also he would've left anyway since I kicked taehyung out

JUNG.H: where is the lie

KIM.S: I’m in real pain because of those two

PARK.J: can we not talk about this I'm having war flashbacks to our highschool days...

KIM.N: I'm sorry for your loss Jimin

JUNG.H: hahaha

MIN.Y: guys
MIN.Y: can someone just tell me how to go home without making any effort

KIM.N: pretty sure you’re out of options there my friend

JUNG.H: actually
JUNG.H: jimin isn't that near the place with really good steak
JUNG.H: we went with the club once

PARK.J: oh! No wonder it looked familiar
PARK.J: yoongi, you can take the bus from the same side of the road
PARK.J is typing...

KIM.N: YOONGI

KIM.S: ohhh

JUNG.H: OOOOOOOHH

KIM.N: NOT HYUNG
KIM.N: YOPNGI
KIM.N: *YIONGO
KIM.N: &YPONGU

KIM.S: oh my god

MIN.Y: calm down lmao
MIN.Y: i told him to call me that

PARK.J: THE BUS GOES BACK TO THE B EXIT AT UNI

MIN.Y is typing...
MIN.Y: wait

[PARK.J has left the group]

MIN.Y: which bus
MIN.Y: fuck damn it

JUNG.H: I think it's 40 hahaha

KIM.N: lol I'm not even sorry that was amazing

[MIN.Y has removed KIM.N from the group]

KIM.S: Yoongi-yah I've told you so many times you can't just remove people like that it's rude!

[MIN.Y has removed KIM.S from the group]

JUNG.H: lol
JUNG.H: how do you still have us as friends hyung

[MIN.Y has removed JUNG.H from the group]

*

Yoongi met up with Namjoon and Jin at their apartment after he'd gotten off the bus at the university that afternoon. Jin's brother had already left to go home, which meant that Jin was cooking again.

And bless him for that, but seriously, Jin's motherly instincts bordered on manic from time to time. "Stop trying to feed me," Yoongi sighed despondently as Jin tried to push another bowl of rice to him. "I am a grown ass man hyung, I can eat on my own!"

"Fine," Jin huffed petulantly, tugging the side of Yoongi's collar and throwing an ice cube down his shirt.

"HYUNG, WHAT THE FUCK," Yoongi yelled, getting up and spasming. The ice cube fell out through the bottom of his pullover and he rubbed his skin raw with the thick material of his top, shuddering. “What the fuck?!” He repeated, feeling it was warranted.

"You don't want to be that set of best friends, we'll be this set of best friends," Jin declared remorselessly, slicing the kimbap expertly on the table. Just because he was the oldest of the group didn’t have to mean he had to be the most mature all the time.

Wisely staying far away from that particular situation, Namjoon instead chose to start a new topic as Yoongi grumbled and reseated himself. "You and Jimin seem closer," he prompted, gesticulating for Yoongi to say something in response.

Yoongi narrowed his eyes. "Yeah," he said slowly. "We had lunch together a couple of days ago."

"Oh, so you guys already had your second date?"Jin piped up with a beam, the prior incident already forgotten. God, this guy was easily distracted. "That's pretty good, Yoongi-yah!"

"He called you by name in the group chat earlier," Namjoon grinned, pouring both himself and Jin more iced tea. "I'm still not over that; I thought you'd only let people who are close to you do it."

Yoongi shrugged. "He's my boyfriend, if only for awhile. Technically, he could call me by my name, right?"

"What did you both talk about during your lunch?" Jin asked as he picked up his glass, smiling gratefully at his boyfriend.

"Stuff that we liked to do, I guess," Yoongi recounted, frowning at the muted television in concentration. "Hobbies. He's a good singer; that's why I suggested karaoke tomorrow." And drinks. Yoongi hadn't had a drink in a long time.

Namjoon lifted an eyebrow. "The guy can dance and he has a great voice?" Sighing heavily, he leaned back against the sofa. "People really aren't born equally."

"You have an IQ of 148," Yoongi deadpanned drily, "and you rap like a fucking machine. Shut the hell up before I end you."

"Can you even reach me from down there?" Namjoon smirked.

Yoongi glared. "I swear to god, you asshole—"

"So what hobbies did you talk about?" Jin blurted hurriedly, popping between Yoongi and Namjoon to save the conversation. "Did you tell him about your music, or—"

Yoongi huffed as he reached for another kimbap. Namjoon would have gotten himself killed a long time ago if he didn't have Jin to save his salty ass all the time. "He knows a little bit," he said, thinking back to their first date and remembering how they'd passed the time before Jimin had to leave. He smiled a little as he remembered Jimin kissing his cheek; the younger had done the same yesterday at the school gates before they'd split ways, and he'd been as red as he had been the first time. "But no. Mostly about basketball, on my end. A little about photography."

"Ah," Jin nodded understandingly. "It's a shame you didn't tell him more about your composing, though— you could've let him listen to one of your songs. You're passionate about it."

Shrugging uncomfortably, Yoongi silently stuffed the roll he'd just picked up into his mouth. "Maybe another time," he murmured under his breath.

Namjoon perked up. "What about any hidden talents? You said Jimin could tie a cherry stem into a knot with his tongue, right?" He leered at Yoongi. "Looks like you lucked out there, hyung."

"Don't be dirty," Jin scolded, but his lips were a little wobbly with how hard he was trying to fight back a laugh.

Deciding to ignore them both, Yoongi chewed slowly and swallowed his food. "If it's hidden talents, I'm really good at the mannequin challenge," Yoongi said, reaching for the tissue box on the far side of the coffee table. "Being immobile is my specialty."

Namjoon snorted in glamorously, almost toppling his drink as he smacked the table. "If we're all GIFs, hyung is a PNG."

Jin burst out laughing, unable to contain himself.

"Am i supposed to introduce myself like that now?" Yoongi deadpanned, saving the glass and pulling it away from his destructive best friend. "Annyeonghaseyo, this is PNG Yoongi?"

Namjoon was laughing so hard he could only wheeze in response.

"Call Jimin," Jin giggled, taking Yoongi by the shoulder and encouraging him with a rough shake. "Call him now, do it!"

His fucking friends. Yoongi dutifully drew his phone out of his pocket and set it on the table, finding Jimin's number through his recently contacted list and putting a call through. The dial tone went for a while before they were greeted by the dull pounding of heavy drum and bass. "Hello, this is Min Yoongi, the human PNG," he greeted immediately without wasting time, making Namjoon choke as Jin collapsed on the table helplessly.

"Yoongi, I already knew that," Jimin immediately shot back in a rush, sounding winded. "I'm really sorry, but I'm super busy at practice! I'll call you later okay? Bye!"

Yoongi didn't even have a moment to respond before the call end tone began to trill through the room. He stared up at Namjoon and Jin, who were almost folded on top of each other for support as peals of laughter shook them. "Was he always this savage?" He looked down at the screen of his phone. "What the f— I didn't sign up for this shit—"

"He suits you," Jin choked out shrewdly, making Namjoon cry real tears as Yoongi glared at them both.

*

Yoongi woke up on the couch. Namjoon and Jin had fallen asleep on the mattress in front of the television, having given him the length of the sofa to lay down when he'd dozed off earlier. He was just about to go back to sleep when a text came through, making his phone chime noisily. Wincing, he silenced it— it was lucky that both Namjoon and Jin were heavy sleepers.

KIM.T: hyuuuuung
KIM.T: im telling on jiminie he hasn't eaten a thing and he's been at the studios allllll day omg

Frowning, Yoongi glanced at the clock. His eyes widened.

MIN.Y: it's fucking 10pm wtf

KIM.T: oh good u think its fucked up too
KIM.T: come scold him for me

Oh, Yoongi was going to do a lot more than scold the shit out of Park Jimin.

He left the house quietly, locking the door behind him with the spare key. He swung by a convenience store that was open 24/7 downstairs, making a quick purchase. By the time he'd made it to the studios, it was nearing 10:30. The sky was dark as hell, Yoongi was freezing, and Park Jimin was still going through the motions of his routine, even though there was no music playing. The younger was so focused he hadn't even realized Yoongi had barged into the studio till he let out a bark of annoyance. "YAH! Park Jimin!"

Jimin slipped, his trainer making a high pitched squeaky sound as the towel around his neck was flung away. He managed to right himself at the last minute, eyes wide as he stared at Yoongi. "Yoo- Hyung!?"

"What the fuck did I say about overdoing it?" Yoongi scowled, his brows drawn together in a glare. He stalked over to Jimin and smacked him on the bicep with the plastic bag in his hand. "I. Said. Not. To. Do. That, right!?"

"I— Hyung, don't hit m— Hyung!"

"And why are you suddenly calling me hyung now!" Yoongi added frustratedly, throwing his hands up in the air. The bag almost hit him in the face. He thrust it towards Jimin, crushing a packet of mochi bread against the dancer's chest. "Fuck, you're seriously—! Eat! Now!" He pointed at the floor. "Sit!"

Jimin was so bewildered he dropped to the ground immediately. It was at this point that a deranged trill of giggles erupted from the corner of the studio, making Jimin whirl around to glower at Taehyung and Jungkook. "You told on me?!" He said accusatorially. "Tae, you're supposed to be my best friend!"

"You sound like a 5 year old," Jungkook pointed out unhelpfully.

"I told on you because I love you Jiminie~" Taehyung said at the exact same time, coming over with Jungkook in tow.

"In the first place, friends don't tell on you if there's nothing to tell on you about," Yoongi scowled, sinking down on the floor in front of Jimin. He pulled out one of the packets of bread and the Pocari Sweat he'd bought at the store.

"It's crunch!" Jimin whinged, throwing his arms up childishly. "Everyone goes mad during crunch, that's why it's called crunch!"

"Hyung, everyone left almost two hours ago," Jungkook pointed out, his hands buried in his pockets. Jimin's eyes widened as he looked around the studio blankly. Jungkook sighed heavily. "You didn't notice? It's just been the three of us."

Jimin averted his eyes, lips pursed in a stubborn out. "It's— I was going to eat when I got back to the dorm," he said stubbornly, refusing to meet anyone's eyes.

Yoongi stared at Jimin, watching the younger flinch under his unwaveringly gaze. "There's nothing wrong with being hardworking," he finally relented after a full minute. Jimin looked pitiful as he withered under Yoongi's cold glare. "But there has to be a limit somewhere; how could you not eat the whole day?"

"You're lucky I didn't call Jin-hyung," Taehyung added seriously, gently bumping shoulders with Jimin. It was obvious that despite his lighthearted teasing, he'd genuinely been worried for his friend. "Jin-hyung would've cooked enough to feed an entire army and brought it here in Joonie-hyung's car."

Seokjin was the only reason Yoongi had survived Hell Week— he could confirm this to be true. "Eat," Yoongi ordered drily, picking up a packet of tapioca bread and tearing it open. He held it out to Jimin as he glanced at Taehyung and Jungkook. This was going to be a low blow, but... "If he hasn't stopped, then neither of you have eaten either, right?"

Almost as if on cue, Jungkook's stomach growled. He didn't look embarrassed at all, but Jimin flushed guiltily as his eyes snapped up to the maknae.

Jungkook shrugged. "We wouldn't have left without you," he said sheepishly, scratching the back of his head. Taehyung nodded eagerly in agreement. "But I'm okay. I had a late lunch."

Jimin chewed on his lip and reached for the bread. "M' sorry," he finally apologized quietly around his first mouthful, looking at Tae and Jungkook. His eyes were filled with guilt. "I didn't know how late it was, and you must've been hungry..."

Taehyung snorted. "It's not the first time we've seen you get like this," he said dismissively, clearly trying to bring up the mood.

"It's scary if you don't eat though," Jungkook added quickly, "so at least remember to bring some food if you don't want to leave the studio for the entire day."

Yoongi leaned back on his hands, letting out a laborious sigh. Now that Jimin was eating, he felt a little bit more at ease. "You two should get something to eat," he told Taehyung and Jungkook with a nonchalant wave of his hand. "I can take care of this one from here. Plus I didn't think to buy any food for you guys; my bad."

Taehyung grinned cheekily. "Hyung, you only want to be nice to your boyfriend," he teased as he picked up his bag. Jungkook didn't actually say anything, but his shit-eating smirk was more than enough to tell Yoongi he was being laughed at in the maknae's head.

"I take that back, I'm not sorry," Yoongi deadpanned, lifting his hand up to signify a correction to his earlier words. "I hope you starve, Kim Taehyung, Jeon Jungkook. Good riddance. So long. Farewell. I love to say goodbye."

Jimin choked on his bread as he laughed. "Hyung, you watched the Sound of Music?" He grinned, crumbs clinging to his lower lip.

Yoongi was surprised Jimin had recognized that in the first place, but he simply shrugged. "Namjoon takes creative writing, so he watches a ton of films for his graded essays." He turned and laid down on the ground, content to chill for a bit as he watched Jimin finish his food. "I watch a few with him. The old ones are pretty cool."

"One of my teachers in high school showed us a few old movies, and I really like the ones with Fred Astaire," Jimin said enthusiastically, his entire body straightening up as he spoke. "He's so suave and manly, and his dancing is so..." He smiled happily without finishing the statement. "I mean, that's the kind of thing you expect from a man when he's in a suit, right?"

Laughing, Yoongi leaned on his side to look at Jimin. "Yeah. Though if we're talking about vintage movies, I've always liked this one called 'What Happened, Miss Simone?'," he shared, lifting an eyebrow. Jimin was listening to him so intently he'd lowered the packet of bread in his hands, only lifting it to his lips again when Yoongi crooked his finger upwards as a reminder. "It's a documentary about a singer named Nina Simone— she's really well known for her jazz stuff, and I—"

"Oh my god, we're leaving, you didn't have to rush us with your romantic couple talk," Taehyung bemoaned from the door, sagging so dramatically his back made a cracking sound. "Oh, ow!"

"Karma," Yoongi said blandly, shooting finger guns at Tae from where he laid on the floor.

Jungkook braced a hand against the small of Taehyung's back with a shake of his head. "I'll see you tomorrow, hyungs," he said with a subdued wave.

Right, Yoongi remembered. Karaoke and drinks.

Silence stretched between him and Jimin for a little bit, though unlike previously, the atmosphere was relatively comfortable. Yoongi might have even called it pleasant, and he let out blissful groan as he stretched on the ground. He pulled his shirt back down after it'd ridden up a little, glancing at Jimin to see the younger staring at him with flushed cheeks. "What?" He asked, cocking his head.

"I, um," Jimin sputtered, covering his mouth as he chewed. Yoongi watched Jimin's adam's apple bob as he swallowed, the wide blinking of his eyes. "I— You were, ah..." He laughed nervously, making Yoongi frown a little. "We were talking... You were saying?" He chewed his lower lip. "Nina Simone?"

Oh, right. Yoongi relaxed again as he nodded. "Yeah. Like I said, it's a documentary, but it's so interesting, seriously. It talks about how she grew up, and how she faced a lot of challenges pursuing her dreams to be a musician. A lot of the movie was adapted from her biography, which was filled with stories of how she managed to surpass all these obstacles, even though it was difficult and she was struggling a lot. She was a hard worker till the very end, but she lived a full and honest life despite her difficulties." He smiled and turned his head, looking at Jimin. "I like people like that," he said quietly, thinking about the article Jimin had been featured in from the school magazine, the things the dancer had said. "Honest people who try their best."

Jimin's eyes were mellow as he flushed a pretty pink, the bow of his lips curved up into a shy little smile.

Yoongi wondered if Jimin had anyone else he looked at like this, smiled at like this. The dancer was so sweet and genuine; it had been easy to develop a fondness for him. As he watched Jimin duck his head and avert his eyes in embarrassment, Yoongi wondered what Park Jimin's special person would look like. How he would sound like, how he would treat Jimin and the kind of person he'd be, but Yoongi couldn't imagine it.

He couldn't imagine anything about the man who would eventually stand beside Park Jimin in his place.

Chapter Text

Yoongi wrapped up his work by 5:30 to take a good, long shower. While he stood under the hot spray of water, he pushed his hair back and stared at a cracked tile.

Karaoke and drinks with his boyfriend.

It was a bit stupid to think about it now, but Yoongi had been mostly winging this thing with Jimin since the beginning. He hadn’t had a boyfriend for years, instead having chosen to focus on his studies and his part-time job. When he wasn’t making music, he'd been studying or building shit; that was the way it had been for a while now. He had Namjoon, Seokjin and Hoseok. Si Won every Tuesday, and Jae Eun every Thursday. He tried to talk to Seung-gi once a week, and he called his parents at least once a month. Yoongi had built a solid routine to support his time in university, and it was a comfortable thing.

Yoongi liked routine. It was the kind of shit Namjoon would call him an old man over, but Yoongi had never really been the impulsive type. While other people his age were partying and shortening their lifespans at bars and clubs, he'd always had more of an affinity for living an unobtrusive life and working on his own passions from the comfort of his home. Yoongi preferred knowing what the hell he’d be doing before he was doing it. He’d always been the type to plan, to structure his life around stability. Seung-gi had told once him that he didn't usually react very well to change because of his personality.

It was a weird thing he’d done, letting Park Jimin come into his life like this.

He cursed as shampoo suds got into his eyes and finished up. He didn't have time to be introspective if he was going to pick Jimin up at the studio.



Jimin emerged from the locker room in a long sleeved shirt and a pair of jeans, hair pressed down with a bright red SnapBack. He smiled immediately when he spotted Yoongi before stalling, his eyes wide with surprise.

Yoongi stared back at him, getting up from the chair he'd borrowed from a classroom nearby. "What?" He asked warily, looking behind him. No one was there.

“I—" Jimin blinked rapidly. "I've just never seen you dress like this. With me, I mean! Or wear glasses... Not that it's a bad thing!" He seemed unable to speak in full proper sentences as his bag slipped from his shoulder. He hurriedly grabbed the strap, his eyes never leaving Yoongi. "It's just— it's, um—"

Yoongi looked down at what he was wearing. A leather jacket over a white t-shirt and ripped jeans. An old beanie and worn sneakers.  "Ahh... Yeah," he laughed awkwardly, palming the back of his neck and rubbing it. Did Jimin think he was a slob? Shit. "I haven't bought new clothes in a while, and I'm not exactly the epitome of fashion." Fuck, he hadn't even thought about dressing up when he'd gotten ready earlier. He was such a shitty boyfriend— Jin was going to cry later. Quite possibly all over him, gross. "Namjoon complains about the leather jacket all the time, should've taken a hint, and ah... I ran out of contact solution, so..." He scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "Sorry about this."

"Don't be!" Jimin blurted, distress blooming on his face. "Oh my god, hyu— Yoongi," he hurriedly corrected. "No, it's not a bad thing, the jacket is great, I just— I was just surprised." He walked up to Yoongi with a red face, looking at him bravely in the eyes. "You look great. I think you look great," he said twice, seeming to be in a bit of a daze.

Unable to held himself, Yoongi barked out an amused laugh. He drew up to the dancer with a languid smile. "Yeah?" He said quietly ducking his head to meet Jimin's eyes under the brim of his cap. "That's good. I was worried you'd think I looked sloppy."

Jimin chewed his lip like it was a sport. "No," he said eventually in a small voice.

Yoongi stepped back and patted his pocket as his phone buzzed. "That'll be Jin," he commented distractedly, drawing out his phone and answering the call. "Hyung, Jimin just got out." He adjusted the scarf - his scarf - around Jimin's neck, pointing at the dancer's bag and clenching his fists. 'Put on your gloves,' he mouthed silently. The younger dug into his carry on.

"Great timing, Joon and I just turned into the school gates," Jin responded on the line. "We'll see you at the pick-up place in a few."

Jimin waited for Yoongi to end the call before he held out a gloved hand, casual as anything. "They're here already?" He asked. His cheeks were pink as he bounced on his feet. Though he was nervous, he was obviously trying to hide it.

"Yeah," Yoongi hummed, privately amused. He slipped his phone back into his pocket and took Jimin's hand. It felt natural to him by now, even though it had only happened a few times. Realizing this was the first time Jimin had initiated the contact, he paused to smile warmly at the younger. Quickly, he leaned in and pecked Jimin on the temple before turning to the exit of the building. Even though he was curious about what kind of face the younger was making, he didn't want him to feel uncomfortable by staring. "Come on. I'm freezing and I needed beer in me 5 minutes ago."

Jimin followed him mutely, but he squeezed Yoongi's fingers a couple of times as they walked to the pick-up point.

Yoongi pushed his spectacles up on the bridge of his nose. He was going to consider that a win.



"Taehyung and Jungkook will meet us there," Namjoon reported from the front seat as soon as they got in. "Hoseok's already on the way." He tapped away at his phone, presumably in the process of contacting everyone on Jin's orders.

Yoongi grunted, sliding in after Jimin and shutting the door. "Jesus, I forgot your heater core broke down. It's fucking freezing," he complained, rubbing his shoulders. At least the place he'd chosen was nearby and with central heating.

"It's the leather jacket," Namjoon and Jin said in unison, making Jimin burst into giggles.

"Seriously, it's so thin. At least get one with wool lining if you're going to wear it so much," Jin sighed, turning out onto the street carefully. "You've grumbled about it so many times, Yoongi-yah." He chanced a look into the backseat at a red light and made a sound of dismay. “Ah, seriously! If you're so cold then why did you wear those jeans!? They have rips the size of your head in them!"

Namjoon snorted. "Hyung, are all of your jeans distressed, or are they just old?"

Predictably, most of his jeans were just old. ”It's been 30 seconds tops and you're already dragging me," Yoongi groaned, burying his face in his hands. "Let me live, god."

Jimin patted his knee sympathetically, still laughing. "Hyung, I think you'll be fine once you drink some beer," he said with a cute grin.

"Oh, seriously, if it's going to be Yoongi or hyung, just pick one," Yoongi sighed, leaning back. He reached out with a hand and flicked the brim of Jimin's SnapBack teasingly, shooting him a gummy smile. "Isn't it tiring to worry about it so much, Jiminie?"

Jimin blinked at him with startled eyes. He glanced to the front, but Namjoon and Jin were for once taking the cue and keeping silent— the former looking down at his phone and the latter with his focus on driving. Jimin shifted in his seat a little nervously before he quietly said, "t-then, if it's okay, I'll pick Yoongi..."

Satisfied, Yoongi hummed and held out his hand lazily, resting the back of it on the middle seat.

Jimin slowly curled their fingers together. Clearing his throat, he looked up with a flustered expression. "Ah, Jin hyung," he said suddenly, attempting to make some small talk. "I, um... Tae told me your hyung was in town recently?"

"Oh, yes," Jin replied pleasantly, banking into the left lane cautiously. "He was here on Thursday, but only for a night. He left yesterday afternoon to go back to our home in Gwacheon." He smiled at Jimin through the rearview mirror. He seemed pleased conversation was flowing so well between the four of them. "Does Tae talk a lot about me?"

Jimin laughed brightly. “Yes; sometimes Kookie talks about Namjoon-hyung as well."

"Whatever he said, don't listen to him," Namjoon said immediately, turning to look at Jimin seriously. "Unless it's about him asking me to tutor him in AP Biology." He'd been especially smug about Jungkook approaching him, especially considering he hadn't even taken AP Bio in the first place. The maknae had scored well on his finals that time too. "If it's about Jungkook owing me a debt, we can talk about it forever."

“Alternatively, if this is about Joon breaking 7 things in a single day, you can trust Jeon Jungkook," Yoongi interrupted, lifting his free hand to place it on his heart. "I'd swear on that in court." He’d been the one who had to help him fix the 7 things, after all. "Do you know how we first met?"

Jimin shook his head, eyes bright with interest as he leaned in conspiratorially.

"Hyung," Namjoon whined despondently. Jin laughed.

"So I'm in my second year," Yoongi started, lifting an eyebrow to shut Namjoon up. "I'm studying in the library, doing my own thing. Suddenly this huge bunch of people roll in, and I realize it's because they're conducting the freshman orientation. Joon stood out, he had—" He paused in the middle of his story, looking at Seokjin. "What, pink? Was it pink hair? Or was it the..." He flapped his free hand, making a face. "Was it the slushie color?"

"It was pink in his first year," Jin confirmed, before he wrinkled his nose with confusion. "Slushie color?"

"The green," Namjoon clarified. "When it came out too light?"

"Ah, yeah," Jin murmured affectionately as he turned into a slip road. "I remember that. It was because you bleached your hair too many times, Joonie, how many times do I have to tell you that conditioning is so important—"

Yoongi waved a hand dismissively. "Anyway," he said to Jimin, who was still listening intently. "I'm using my headphones and suddenly I feel this tremor— because my hand was on the table, right? So I look over and I see this fucking idiot, panicking with a collapsed table in front of him— A table made of wood and metal, I shit you not—"

Jimin started giggling madly. "Oh my god," he wheezed.

"Yeah," Yoongi deadpanned, light catching on the lenses of his spectacles as they passed the security gantry of the parking lot. "This huge guy with dyed hair and fancy clothes having a panic attack over a table—"

"Okay, I did not have a panic attack," Namjoon protested vehemently from the front.

Yoongi narrowed his eyes. "You were going to fucking cry—"

"I was not going to cry! I was just concerned—“

"We're here," Jin announced with a rudely loud clap, turning to shoot both Yoongi and his boyfriend warning looks. Yoongi huffed as Namjoon sighed, wilting back into his seat. "How nice, that went by so quick!" He smiled serenely at Jimin, who was covering his mouth and trying not to laugh at how swiftly Jin had subdued the other two. "Shall we go?"

They went.

[7:47pm]



[8:11pm]

Taehyung burst in through the doors so abruptly, Namjoon tipped over his pint. Though to be honest, it was probably going to happen at some point in the night anyway.

Yoongi sighed.

Hoseok yelped, recoiling so he wasn't caught in the vicinity of the splash. He levelled an unamused stare at Taehyung after, not that the younger noticed a thing. Jin just slipped out of the booth to find some napkins after patting his boyfriend's knee pityingly— he was far too accustomed to shit like this happening because of Namjoon, Yoongi reflected. That shit couldn't possibly be healthy.

"I have arrived!" Taehyung said dramatically from the entrance, striking a pose with his feet apart and a peace sign framing his eye. He made quick work of snatching the remote and wireless keyboard from the table.

"We know that," Jimin sighed despairingly, digging into his bag aimlessly. "If it were any more obvious, outer space would probably know that— Yoongi, do you have any tissue?" He frowned as he looked around the room for some to no avail.

“YOO—“ Taehyung choked, pointing a shaking finger at Jimin. “YOU JUST— IN REAL LIFE—“

“Old news,” Namjoon grumbled, plucking despondently at his wet jeans. “Jimin calls Yoongi-hyung by his name. Surprise.” He waved his finger around in the air sarcastically. "And what do you mean 'in real life'?"

Jimin flushed beet red.

Yoongi smirked from his seat at Taehyung’s slack jaw. "Jimin usually calls me by name when he texts me," he explained to Namjoon. "He just has a bit of a problem doing it when we're face to face."

Impossibly, Jimin's face was even redder than before.

"Tae and Kookie got kicked out of the chat group before all that happened," Hoseok piped up helpfully, waving the pair into the room. "We're going to get kicked out if you make so much noise in the corridor, get in here."

Jungkook followed Taehyung in at a far more subdued pace. "Yoongi-hyung doesn't seem like the type to carry tissues," he pointed out shrewdly to Jimin, closing the door behind him. “Jin-hyung went to get some, I think.” 

Yoongi shot finger guns at him. “Bingo." At least Jungkook seemed capable of basic deductive skills. He wasn’t so sure about Taehyung.

"Oh, they have so many songs!" Tae exclaimed, pleased as he scrolled through the albums on the television screen. “Kookie-ah, what do you want to sing?" He beamed, turning to look at the maknae. He almost slipped on a puddle of beer, but Jungkook caught him by the waist and held him up. “Oh, phew,” he sighed, sounding completely nonplussed as Jungkook set him back on his feet.

“Irritating people who don’t know how irritating they are irritate the fuck out of me,” Yoongi announced to the room at large, watching the pair. Namjoon, Hoseok and Jimin gave him despondent nods of agreement as Jungkook and Taehyung made a scene out of seating themselves. Practically plastered together, as usual.

“What happened to you, Jeon Jungkook,” Hoseok sighed, lifting his left index finger to his eye and shedding an imaginary tear. “You seemed so put together before Tae started joining you at the gym.”

"Me?" Jungkook snorted. “Put together?”

“Tae doesn’t join him at the gym, Tae bothers him at the gym,” Jimin corrected with a roll of his eyes. He turned to Yoongi with exasperation thick in his tone. “He bothers me, for that matter. And not just at the gym.”

Taehyung gasped dramatically, putting a hand over his heart.

"The original gangster, Park Jimin," Namjoon announced, saluting Jimin.

“RIP, Park Jimin, best friend of Kim Taehyung and Jeon Jungkook,” Tae droned monotonously as he shook his head with feigned sadness. “Another good bro, lost to romance. Whisked away by Yoongi-ssi, never to be heard from again—”

Jungkook put his hands together in mock prayer, closing his eyes in time with Taehyung.

Yoongi looked around the room. “I'm romance?” He asked, pointing at himself.

“Seems like it,” Hoseok agreed distractedly, nicking the keyboard and remote from Taehyung as he was figuratively mourning Jimin.

Namjoon patted him on the shoulder. “I’m so proud of you, hyung.”

Yoongi hummed.

Jimin leaned back as Hoseok selected a song. “Should we get more snacks?” He wondered aloud, glancing over at the menus on the other side of the table.

Yoongi reached for a couple of them, handing one to Jimin and parting the other over his lap. “If you’re hungry, you should definitely order more,” he advised, glancing at the group. “The 6 of us have polished off a meal portion for 21 before.” That had been a good meal. Taehyung had thrown up a little after, though.

Jimin smiled in thanks and opened the menu. “Hoseok-hyung ordered a tower, right?”

“Sure did,” Hoseok called from the other side of the table, hearing his name as he scrolled through the song selections. “I ordered 2 actually. It’s more worth it since we’ve got 7 people here; I'm not sure why you guys ordered jugs before I came.” He looked over his shoulder at Namjoon. “You want to sing?”

“I don’t sing, I croak,” Namjoon sighed before his smile grew wonky. “Jin sings like an angel, though.”

Hoseok pulled a disgusted face. "You guys are so married, ew."

“I hear self deprecation and bullshit,” Yoongi warned, glaring at Namjoon before he turned to Hoseok. “Put on literally anything, Runch Randa here can rap to the sound of two toddlers smacking spoons on a trash can lid."

Jimin burst out laughing. "That's," he choked, "oddly specific—"

"Runch Randa?" Taehyung repeated with wide, sparkling eyes. "What's Runch Randa?"

"That's because it's happened," Yoongi deadpanned at Jimin, leaning back in his seat. "He tagged along when I repaired orphanages for a school project; the kids were playing with whatever they could find while we were working." He turned to Tae. "And Runch Randa was Namjoon's stage name in the underground rap scene."

Jungkook, Jimin and Taehyung made appropriately awed sounds.

"You talk so much smack for someone who dominated the scene in Daegu," Namjoon scoffed, crossing his arms and leaning forward. "Did you know even Zico-hyung came up to me to talk about your stuff on Agust D?" He grabbed his empty pint and leaned over the table to pick up the jug, refilling it. "How the hell do you spit so much fire I get people in Seoul talking to me about you?"

Yoongi rolled his eyes, leaning back. "Yeah, but I never got the kind of exposure or views you did. Zico-hyung's just always been into weird shit, of course he'd find me." He glanced at Jimin, who had suddenly gone quiet. He seemed to be holding an intense and frantic conversation with Taehyung across the table through eye contact alone. Jungkook just seemed into the song selection, though. "When the hell did he ask you that, anyway?"

Namjoon frowned, looking up at the ceiling briefly. "Mmm. A year ago? Maybe more?"

"Actually someone recommended me one of your songs just recently," Hoseok suddenly said, looking at Yoongi. He passed the keyboard to Jungkook and cocked his head, glancing thoughtfully at Jimin before he shrugged at Yoongi. "They didn't know I'd heard it before, but they really liked it."

"Then they're just outdated. It's all in the past; I haven't been active for years," Yoongi huffed, waving a hand dismissively. "All things considered, I probably can't rap anymore than I can breakdan—"

"Okay!" Taehyung burst out excitedly, waving his hands in the air. Everyone turned to stare at him. "Yoongi-hyung, I'll pick a song with a cool rap for you, so please take the mic!"

"Fuck no," Yoongi said immediately.

Tae's jaw dropped. "HYUNG CURSED!"

"Oh my god, not this again," Namjoon groaned, putting his head in his hands wearily. "Taehyung, we all curse. You curse." He frowned, before adding, "recreationally." Because they weren't punks, god forbid. His eomma would cry.

"Hyung fucking cursed, I'm gonna tell mom," Taehyung gasped, rocketing out of his seat as the door opened.

Yoongi got out of his seat and picked up a plastic folding chair. Jimin grabbed his hip in alarm as he lifted it threateningly in Tae's direction. "Yoongi, stop, oh my god," he bemoaned. "Please don't get on his level, I couldn't handle it if you were a 4 year old too."

Jin returned to this chaos, his shoulders sagging with resignation. “What happened?” He asked tiredly, drifting over to Namjoon and reseating himself beside his boyfriend. He pressed half the stack of napkins in his hands onto the beer spill, meticulously cleaning up so that all evidence of Namjoon's mishap was erased.

“Yoongi-hyung cursed, and then threatened to hit me with a chair!” Taehyung accused, jabbing a finger in Yoongi’s direction.

“Why did you threaten to hit him with a chair?” Jin asked Yoongi halfheartedly, not even bothering with the cursing thing.

“The tables here are nailed to the ground,” Yoongi sniffed, putting down the folding chair now that Jin was back. He picked up his neglected pint instead, draining what little beer remained. Jimin automatically reached for the empty glass and dipped forward to refill it with the beer left in his own jug, prompting a subdued smile from Yoongi. What an endearing guy. "Anyway, Taehyung cursed literally as he was dragging me for cursing," Yoongi added pettily.

Hoseok licked a line of foam from his upper lip, grinning. “Sort out your kids, Jin hyung.”

“Are you supposed to be the eccentric uncle?” Namjoon shot back at Hoseok with a smirk.

“Shut up dad,” Hoseok retorted smugly with a grin.

"When did you all nominate me to become the mother?" Jin whinged, absently distributing the rest of the napkins in his hand.

"Thanks mom," Jungkook said on cue as he grabbed some.

Jin groaned.

"No one nominated you, you got the job by default," Yoongi snorted with a shrug. "It's because you're you. Your personality lends itself to being a mother.” Come to think of it, Jin was more smothering than Yoongi’s actual eomma at times. Christ.

"Just like how Yoongi-hyung is the grandpa by default," Tae chimed in gleefully as he glided back to his seat bext to Jungkook, because this kid just never fucking learned.

"I would sell you to satan for one corn chip, Kim Taehyung.”

“Tae, can you at least try to come out of tonight in one piece?” Jimin begged drily, handing a full mug of beer back to Yoongi. “It would take so much time to break-in a new best friend.”

Taehyung pouted indignantly. “Oh, I see how it is now,” he narrowed his eyes, leaning back into Jungkook’s side. The maknae seamlessly turned sideways on the seat to accommodate Tae's weight whilst talking to Hoseok. “It’s hoes before bros; I get it.”

Jimin lifted an eyebrow. “Tae, you are more a hoe than a bro on any given day,” he pointed out jarringly, making Yoongi snort into his beer. Foam dotted his nose as he set the mug down, wheezing for breath as he laughed. Across from him, Hoseok and Jin were in stitches. “And don’t worry,” Jimin continued drily as he leaned back against Yoongi’s arm, cocking his head. “For what it's worth, you’ll always be my best hoe.”

Taehyung beamed, apparently happy with that.

"Is this because he's the hoe-est person you know?" Yoongi whispered in Jimin's ear.

Jimin nodded solemnly. "Absolutely," he said drily. "You can search the whole of Korea without finding a better hoe than Kim Taehyung. He is absolutely my best hoe."

Yoongi snorted, purposefully ignoring the speculative looks Hoseok and Jungkook threw his way.

“Why are we talking about gardening equipment?” Namjoon asked suddenly, his brow furrowed in confusion.

"Are you serious right now?" Yoongi reached across the table and smacked him upside the head. What a dumbass. “We just got here. How much have you even had?”

"Joon's a lightweight," Jin stage whispered, dutifully passing his boyfriend a cup of water. "Finish that, Joon," he said sweetly, before he wrinkled his nose at Yoongi. "And don't you judge, you passed out on our couch last Chuseok eve after a single bottle of soju."

"It was good soju," Yoongi defended himself, before turning to Jimin with an affronted frown. "Are you laughing at me, Park Jimin?"

"No!" Jimin exclaimed, but he couldn't keep the grin on his face hidden behind one small hand. Seriously, what was with this guy's hands? He had had a massively impressive gun show going on - confirmed the few times Yoongi had seen him in a tank top - so why were his hands so tiny and warm and cute? "It's just— one bottle? Really?"

"So I don't have a high tolerance," Yoongi grumbled, pushing his spectacles higher on the bridge of his upturned nose. "Sue me.”

“It’s a little embarrassing that the maknae has the highest tolerance,” Jin complained, reaching around Taehyung to ruffle Jungkook’s hair. The youngest grunted tonelessly in response. “But I suppose it makes sense. He’s good at everything else.”

“I beat him in shooting games all the time,” Jimin pointed out smugly with a smirk.

“Okay,” Jungkook got riled up, frowning at Jimin. “you need to stop saying you beat me in shooting games. It’s only one game, and you don’t even play fair in the first place." His eyes widened at the collective burst of laughter at his expense. "I'm serious! Hyung, everyone knows you’re not allowed to use the Faderator unless you’re a noob, it’s literally the ultimate cheat in Fallout—"

“That’s probably the most I’ve heard Jungkook talk to anyone other than Tae,” Hoseok clapped, amazed. “Wow.”

Yoongi grinned, turning to Jimin. “It’s that easy for you to piss him off?” Laughing, he threw an arm around Jimin and pressed a chaste kiss to the top of his head. “God, I have been blessed. Marry me, Park Jimin.”

The room stilled for a brief moment before the buzzer sounded. “Service!” Someone called from outside, just before the door unlocked.

“Oh good,” Yoongi said pleasantly, leaning back and casually pulling a mute Jimin along with him. “The towers are here.”


[9:52pm]

They'd been drinking for more than an hour now, and it had gotten to the point where everyone was pleasantly buzzed.

Well, Namjoon might be dead. But Yoongi didn’t really care; he’d paced himself to avoid that exact eventual outcome.

Jimin was giggling against his side, his hands struggling to find purchase so that he could right himself. “Tae, stop shoving me,” he managed to get out through choked little laughs, squirming next to Yoongi.

“Excuse you,” Tae hiccuped blandly from beside Hoseok, “I’m over here. That’s Kookie, you giant nerd.”

It was, indeed, Jungkook. Jimin rounded on him with a scrunched nose. “Oh. Quit shoving me, Kookie.”

“You’re drunk,” the maknae said with an easy shrug. He sipped from his pint leisurely. “You’re not going to remember.”

“That’s my boy, so savage,” Taehyung whisper-screamed, fist-pumping and almost to punching the side of Jin's head. Yoongi watched Jungkook grin at Tae like he hung the fucking stars, AKA business as usual.

Meanwhile, Hoseok was eyeing Namjoon critically. “Does he always pass out like this, or—“

“Yes,” Jin said serenely, carding his fingers through Namjoon’s hair rhythmically. “He’ll wake up every now and then. I’m actually surprised it’s taken him this long to drop off; it usually happens within the first half an hour."

Lie by Big Bang was playing, prompting Jimin to smack Jungkook several times in quick succession on the thigh. The younger winced as Jimin’s fingernails dug into his skin, but made no audible complaint. “Kookie,” Jimin said very seriously with flushed cheeks, “Kookie, we have to sing. Get the mic, Kookie.” The maknae scrambled for it as Jimin beat fists on his back with gradually increasing force. “KOOKIE GET THE MIC GET THE MIC—“

“OH MY GOD, I’M GETTING IT, HYUNG—“

“You’re a handful when you’re tipsy, who would’ve thought,” Yoongi grunted, pulling Jimin off poor Jungkook’s back and into his own lap. “Can you just—“ Jimin was, for some reason, treating Yoongi like he was trying to kidnap him or some shit. “Oh my god, stop fucking wriggling—“

Namjoon sat up abruptly. “Wriggle wriggle wriggle,” he said in perfect English, making everyone stare at him.

After a truly long and awkward pause, Jin gently guided Namjoon to lay back down on his lap. The idiot passed out almost immediately.

“I’ve danced to that song,” Jimin suddenly whispered in Yoongi’s ear, his eyes wide and scandalized as he leaned back to look at him. “Wriggle. Yoongi, it’s a sexy dance. It’s a sexy dance to a sexy song from America." He lowered his voice, glancing around the room like a child who was about to cuss. "It's about... Butts.”

Yoongi snorted in spite of himself. Honestly, he was just thankful Jimin had stopped fucking moving around on his lap; his thighs weren’t strong enough to take that kind of abuse. “About butts? How?”

Jimin got up very stoically. He turned around so that his back was to Yoongi. “Like this—“

Taehyung barrelled into Jimin at that very moment, panting hard as they crashed into the sofa Namjoon and Jin were on. With a shock, Namjoon got up for real, prompting Jin to move away and check if they’d broken anything or injured themselves. Jungkook jumped out of his seat to peer over the coffee table at Taehyung and Jimin worriedly.

“Jiminie,” Taehyung wheezed pitifully, “I know you probably won’t remember what just happened, and believe me, I can't believe I'm stopping you either. But you’ll thank me tomorrow.” After a few heavy breaths, he shot Jimin a shaky thumbs up.

Jimin groaned, holding his head in his hands as he pouted. “Fuuuuuck,” he whined loudly. "It huuuuurts..."

"I can't believe Jimin-hyung was just about to twerk on Yoongi-hyung's lap," Jungkook sighed miserably as he stepped over Hoseok's knees to pull Taehyung to his feet. "Why are we friends? Where did I go wrong in my life."

Yoongi snorted and helped Jimin up. "Who else would you be friends with?"

"I'LL BE YOUR FRIEND, KOOKIE," Taehyung roared right into Jungkook ear. The maknae didn't even flinch as he shot Taehyung a winning beam.

"Oh," Hoseok shielded his eyes dramatically, shying away from Jungkook. "It's too bright, I can't take it—"

"It's too fucking idiotic," Yoongi countered in the exact same breath. "I can't take it."

Seokjin smacked them both over the head with a styrofoam plate. "Be nice," he sighed heavily, before turning to glance over his shoulder at Namjoon. "How's your head?"

Namjoon made a general noise of I'm-fine-I'm-just-annoyed-I-got-woken-up. Yoongi could relate; he made that noise on a fairly regular basis.

"I am cutting you off," Yoongi told Jimin firmly as he seated them back in their original place. "You're ridiculous, it's only been an hour and a half or something."

"Shhhhhhh," Jimin insisted, pressing a finger to Yoongi's lips. In his surprise, he didn't react. "Just— Shh, one-soju-hyung."

Yoongi's eyes widened as Tae and Jungkook laughed uncontrollably. 

"HELLO, 911," Hoseok yelled, lifting his dead phone to his ear as though he was making a call, "I'VE JUST WITNESSED A MURDER—"

"Y-Yoongi-yah," Jin stammered, trying to breathe. "Yoongi, do you need some aloe vera?"

"FOR THAT BUUURN," Taehyung added unnecessarily as he was being toted back to the sofa he and Jungkook had shared. He almost slipped again from the vigor with which he flailed his arms. Jungkook tightened his grip on Tae's hip.

Yoongi turned to Jimin with a serious face. "Park Jimin," he said blandly. "If you weren't tipsy, I would kill you." Contrary to his words, he pulled Jimin towards him and ruffled his hair thoroughly with a growl.

Jimin just giggled and retreated from Yoongi, reaching for his beer.



[11:07pm]

"MAMA," Namjoon wailed into the microphone, "JUZ KILLED A MAAAN—"

Taehyung prodded Hoseok warily with a toe, bending down to smack his face lightly. "Hyuuung~" he slurred. "Hyung, are you alive?"

"Hjnnguhgdheomma—" Hoseok groaned weakly from where he laid on the floor.

"Yes?" Jin shouted on instinct over his boyfriend's singing.

"Why anyone lets Namjoon near a microphone when he isn't rapping is beyond me," Yoongi huffed, trying to block out the noise by turning his face inwards to the junction between Jimin's neck and ear— something he'd been doing for the majority of the past half hour. "What is your cologne even, why does it smell so nice—"

Jimin twitched, giggling as he craned his neck. His cheeks were pink from inebriation; he was well past tipsy village and well into drunk city. "Yoongi, that tickles, stop it—"

"No seriously, I'm so pissed, why don't I have this cologne? What is it, made of unicorn piss or something?" Yoongi's eyes were half lidded as he squished his nose against Jimin's neck, the haze of cheap beer making everything seamless and infinitely okay. "What— You smell like apples and shit, I can't fucking put my finger on it, fuck—"

Even Jimin's ears were pink. "It's just CK1, my abeoji bought it for me on my birthday—"

"Oh my god," Jungkook moaned, covering his face with his hands as he reentered the room from the pisser. He immediately turned away from Yoongi and Jimin. "This. This is why I hate having a high tolerance for alcohol; if I were drunk I wouldn't care." He scrubbed at his eyes and made a dying noise, blindly finding his way back to his seat. "Neck somewhere else, oh my god—"

"WAS JIMINIE NECKING?" Taehyung screamed, making Hoseok smack his forehead against the table leg in shock. "NICE," he shouted, shooting Jimin an enthusiastic thumbs up.

"I was not nef- necking," Jimin corrected himself quickly, flushed red. Yoongi snorted beside him, and Jimin elbowed him in the rib. "Yoongi was necking me!" He shouted accusatorially.

"OHHHHHHH," Hoseok yelled, coming alive as he stared at Yoongi with thoroughly tousled hair. "OHHHHHHHHH—

"I was not necking him," Yoongi scoffed defensively, turning to shoot Jimin a betrayed look. "I was smelling his cologne. Jimin has really nice cologne—"

"Hyung, that's pervy," Jungkook grimaced, making Yoongi glower at him.

Seokjin clapped his hands together. "Let's all get along," he smiled peacefully.

"We are; Yoongi-hyung is just getting along very, very well with Jiminie," Taehyung leered at the pair, licking his lips suggestively.

Yoongi shrugged, entirely nonplussed, but Jimin's cheeks pinked.

"YOU ARE AN IMPURE CHILD, REPENT AND PUT YOUR TONGUE BACK IN YOUR MOUTH," Jin screamed, smacking Taehyung on the head with a plastic fork. There was a sausage wrap speared on it that bounced off the younger's hair, making Jin burst into surprised giggles.

Hoseok grimaced as he groggily sat up, trying to get his bearings and bumping into the back of Jungkook's leg.

"I'M JUST A POOR BOY, NOBODY LOVES ME," Namjoon pterodactyl screeched into the mic, his body spasming in time to the music.

Yoongi hadn't realized Namjoon was singing Queen earlier, but he jumped out of his seat now that he knew. "HE'S JUST A POOR BOY FROM A POOR FAMILY," he bellowed with poor pronunciation, making Jimin smack his own thigh multiple times as he tried to stop laughing.

"Wah, Bohemian Rhapsody can bring people together like this," Jin said in awe as Yoongi threw an arm around Namjoon, swaying in time to the thumping music. "Amazing."

Jungkook rubbed his eye. "Can we—"

"Kookie, we've played Fantastic Baby 6 times, we are not playing it again," Jimin groaned, laying down now that he couldn't prop himself up against Yoongi. "Oh, the sofa is so soft..." He simpered happily, hugging a cushion to his chest.

Taehyung nicked the wireless keyboard when no one was looking and put on Fantastic Baby. Everyone groaned except Jungkook, even Tae himself.

"IF YOU'RE GOING TO COMPLAIN WHY DID YOU PUT IT ON," Hoseok screamed tragically as Jungkook stood up excitedly. In contrast, Yoongi sagged back onto the sofa, almost sitting on Jimin by accident.

"Yeogi buteora, modu moyeora," Jungkook was singing passionately, clutching the microphone like it was a lifeline. "We gon' party like, lilili lalala—"

Always one for solidarity - and anything Big Bang, really - Jimin grunted and got up to join Jungkook. Taehyung slithered onto the floor and hugged Jungkook's leg as Namjoon collapsed, half on Jin's lap and half across Hoseok's.

Jin shot an unamused look at Yoongi. "I'm nominating you for new dad," he shouted over the din Tae, Jungkook and Jimin were making.

"No thanks," Yoongi yelled back immediately. Watching Seokjin mother everyone was enough to put Yoongi off even having children. He didn't need that kind of nonsense in his life.

"NANANANANA, NANANANANA," Taehyung belted out, prompting everyone to leap to their feet regardless of how many times they'd played this fucking song. There were just some songs you couldn't help dancing to. "WOW, FANTASTIC BABY!"



[12:47am]

"I am regretting many things," Namjoon said, clutching his head with a pained expression. "So many things."

"How are you even fine," Hoseok whined at Seokjin, who held up his paper cup.

"Water," he explained cheerfully, passing it to a slack-jawed Namjoon. "I need to drive, remember?"

Yoongi palmed the side of his head wearily as he fished out his wallet at the front desk. "Hyung, we'd be dead without people like you in the world." Jimin giggled at his side, his arm around Yoongi's neck as he got out enough to cover both his and Jimin's share.

Taehyung was similarly plastered to Jungkook, his sloppy grin making the sales representative coo. He suddenly let out a loud bark of laughter, making everyone's eyes snap to him. "Poodles," he wheezed nonsensically, before smacking Jungkook on the back numerous times as he tried to hold back from chortling.

"Jungkookie-ah," Hoseok said seriously even as he swayed on his feet, "you seem to be taking a lot of abuse today. Are you okay?"

The maknae paid for both Taehyung and himself without blinking an eye. "I'm used to it," he explained simply, making everyone wince.

"You're the masochistic type, Kookie," Namjoon grimaced, drinking the rest of the water Jin had left for him in the disposable cup. Jungkook didn't react to this statement. But then again, he didn't really need to.

Jin patted Yoongi on the back. "I'll bring the car around." He palmed his keys. "Is Jimin staying at yours tonight?"

Yoongi turned to Jin, momentarily stunned. "Uh," he said intelligently, before turning to Jimin. The younger dopily smiled up at him from under his arm, and Yoongi lifted his eyes to Jungkook instead.

"I have to take care of Tae," Jungkook said apologetically, his shoulders sagging. "I could come back down for Jimin-hyung when Jin-hyung drops him off, if he's driving?" He glanced at Taehyung, who was grinning stupidly and talking to the very Korean sales rep in very broken English about poodles. "But—"

But the kid seemed fucking exhausted himself. And no wonder, after belting out and dancing to the entire discography of Big Bang's latest albums. Repeatedly. "Nah," Yoongi placated Jungkook, shouldering his and Jimin's bags. "It's fine. You go ahead and take care of thing 1; he seems like a real mess." He patted Jimin on the head, making the younger grin as he rubbed his eyes. "Leave this one to me."

"I don't think he's supposed to head into the studios early tomorrow," Hoseok added helpfully, downing water from a bottle he'd brought.

Jungkook frowned at Yoongi. "Is it really okay—"

"Yeah, yeah," Yoongi said dismissively, shooing Jungkook with one hand as he dug into Jimin's bag with the other for the guy's gloves. He quickly found them, isolated in the front compartment. "I'm not going to deflower him or some shit, give me some credit." As Jungkook sputtered at the insinuation, Yoongi calmly steadied Jimin and took one of his hands. "He'll probably pass out on the way home— Jimin, if you could stop waggling your fingers like that, I'd really appreciate it," he said drily.

Jimin smiled at him sweetly. Yoongi sighed and covered his face with his SnapBack.

"If that's all settled, I'll go ahead and bring the car around to the front," Seokjin announced, taking Namjoon's bag from him. "Joonie, stay with Yoongi, okay? You have a tendency to run off when you're tipsy, so don't make me look for you like last time."

Namjoon nodded, clearly disgruntled but unwilling to contest a fact.

Seokjin then rounded on Jungkook. "Are you boys going to be okay?" He sighed, leaning forward and pushing Taehyung's hair back from his eyes. He'd yet to stop laughing about 'poodle,' whatever that had been about. "You said you were getting a cab?"

"I'll get one," Hoseok offered, lifting a hand. "I'll drop them off at their dorm and go around campus to mine."

Jungkook's eyes widened as he struggled to get a hold on Tae, who'd met eyes with Jimin and was struggling to hug him or something. "Hyung, you don't have to do that—"

"SHHHHH," Hoseok shushed loudly, pressing a finger to Jungkook's lips. The maknae stared at him, eyes wide. "I'll send you back. I'm going to call a cab."

"Your kids will be fine, just go get the car," Yoongi sighed at Seokjin, wrapping his scarf around Jimin's neck as the younger babbled with Taehyung. Or at Taehyung; it was impossible to tell the difference at this point.



Yoongi trudged up the stairs to his building with a slightly more subdued Jimin. "Careful," he grunted as the glass doors parted. "There's a step here."

Jimin yawned, thankfully managing to avoid tripping as he followed Yoongi to the lift.

As they waited for the elevator, Yoongi checked his mailbox and found a couple of waiting bills. Pocketing the letters, he returned to Jimin and placed a hand on his shoulder. "You feeling alright?" He asked worriedly, frowning as he dipped to check on the dancer's condition. He was a little less restless now, but Jimin had had quite a lot to drink earlier.

"Mm," Jimin hummed as the lift doors opened, trailing in with a dazed look on his face.

Yoongi pressed the button and huffed as he stepped back to wait. "Seriously, if you're such a lightweight, you should've been a little easier on yourself," he scolded mildly, adjusting the straps of both their bags on his shoulders. "You're going to have such a shitty hangover tomorrow—"

"Yoon," Jimin breathed, stepping closer and pressing his index finger to Yoongi's lips. "Shh," he said through a dopey giggle, eyes half lidded like he was about to fall asleep.

This guy had fucking long eyelashes. Yoongi stared at him before shaking his head and taking Jimin's hand. "Whatever, brat," he grumbled, mostly on instinct to get the last word in. He keyed open the door to his apartment, suddenly a little self conscious about the state he'd left it in— his office, in particular, was in a state of disrepair so profound Seokjin would weep. He hoped Jimin was not up for a house tour. "It's uh, nothing much, but—"

"Wow," Jimin whispered, stepping in and toeing his unlaced boots off. He stared at everything— from the small breakfast counter to the piano Yoongi had paid to move from Daegu to his new apartment in Seoul. His eyes softened as he wandered across the living room to the instrument, gently placing a hand on the top. "Your place is so nice," he complimented in a sleepy voice, warm and sweet as he lingered over the few photos on the mantelpiece. Childhood pictures, one with just Seung-gi and one with his entire family. A few of Min Holly and him when he was younger; his dog was still in Daegu, being cared for by his mother for now.

Nice wasn't the word Yoongi would use. Pragmatic, maybe. It was sparsely decorated, and the word 'minimalistic' suited it well. There weren't many things he'd consider sentimental around the place either. "Thanks," Yoongi said nonetheless, stripping off his jacket and running a hand through his hair as he chucked it over the arm of his sofa. "Do you need to take a shower?"

Jimin laughed awkwardly. "Ah, it's fine," he said quickly with a shake of his head. He seemed to sober a little more with each passing minute he spent in an unfamiliar environment, shyly regarding Yoongi and moving cautiously throughout the apartment. "I'm really tired, so I thought I'd go to sleep quickly..."

Yoongi shrugged nonchalantly.

"I'll, um." Jimin paused, walking over to the sofa and removing his cap, ruffling his hair thoroughly. "I'll just sleep here?"

"What? No, fuck that," Yoongi scoffed, taking off his spectacles and massaging the bridge of his nose. He didn't mind wearing them, but the red marks the nose pads left behind were a little annoying. "Just sleep in my bed. It's a queen, and it's not like we're huge. We'll both fit."

Jimin made a weird little squeaking noise and lifted his hands. Presumably to protest, but Yoongi tacitly took that as an agreement and grabbed one to drag Jimin to his room. "Toilet's that way," he said a little unnecessarily as they breezed past the doorway, "in case you need to go or anything. And there's a pitcher in the pantry with boiled water— Or if you want anything else, there's some soda." He turned and placed a hand on Jimin's stomach, wondering if it was acting up after all the beer he'd drank. "It's fine right? Do you feel sick?" He liked Jimin, but he didn't exactly want to get puked on by the guy.

"I— Wait, I don't—" Jimin stammered, eyes wide as they entered Yoongi's room. His eyes wavered around the place, helplessly curious despite his obvious reservations. "I'm, ah— I'm okay," he ended up saying lamely, blinking slowly as Yoongi gently pushed him to sit down on the bed. "And I don't need to go. To the toilet! I mean—" He sighed as his eyes roamed the area, taking in the desk under the window, cluttered with Yoongi's drawing materials and the neat stack of reference books against the wall. Yoongi's trash bin was overflowing with crumpled balls of paper, and he'd yet to fold a small pile of washed clothes on the only chair in the room.

Yoongi nodded absently as he rubbed his eyes, striding over to his wardrobe and getting out a fresh towel. "Well, I'm going to wash up, so if you want then just..." he flailed a hand behind his back. "Go ahead and sleep. You must be exhausted."

Jimin was silent for awhile before he spoke up in a small voice. "Yoongi," he tried meekly, "I'm really okay with just the sofa—"

"Alright," Yoongi cut him off almost immediately, turning to smile calmly at Jimin. "Good night, Park Jimin. Sleep well."

The younger's jaw dropped, abruptly mute as Yoongi strode from the room, completely satisfied with himself.

Chapter Text

SUNDAY

Yoongi was an unobtrusive sleeper.

He didn't move, didn't snore unless he was dead tired, didn't really do much else other than resemble a rock while he slept. He considered himself a master sleeper of epic proportions, fuelled by the times he'd slept over at Namjoon's and compared himself to what must be the absolute worst sleeper of their generation. Min Yoongi was an ace at sleeping; it was that one lamentable talent he couldn't put on his resume for an instant hire.

So when he woke up with Park Jimin very unsuccessfully trying to pry himself out of Yoongi's arms, he immediately discounted himself as the perpetrator and sighed. If Jimin had cuddled with him why was he being weird about it? Yoongi was at least a million times okay with how warm and comfortable he was. "What the fuck," he croaked drily, "are you doing."

Jimin squeaked, his arm giving out from under him as he almost smacked his head against Yoongi's. He spun so quick Yoongi worried belatedly about the dangers of whiplash, a deer in the headlights look on his face. "I, ah," he stuttered, his bed hair and swollen eyes making him look years younger than he actually was. His profile was dimly lit by the rising sun outside the window, because Yoongi had forgotten to close the blinds the night before. "Um."

"It's ass o'clock in the morning," Yoongi deduced, completely unamused as he blinked blearily up at the younger. "What the hell are you doing."

"I'm sorry!" Jimin whisper screamed, flailing a little. "I just— I thought I'd get out of your hair early, and—"

"Park Jimin, if you don't fucking lie down right this second, I am personally going to grab my table lamp and beat you with it," Yoongi grumbled sleepily. "Possibly to death."

Jimin hesitated, his fingers curled into Yoongi's blankets. "It's Sunday," he said slowly, turning his face away from Yoongi. "I usually— the studio—"

So Jimin had turned away from Yoongi because he didn't want to lie to his face. "Hoseok already told me last night that you didn't have to go in early today," Yoongi sighed heavily, reaching out and grabbing Jimin by the shoulder. "Now can you just— Actually since you're up, could you close the blinds?” He hated having the light streaming in when he was trying to sleep.

Jimin was obviously more awake as he immediately rose to his feet, puttering across the room without difficulty and shutting the sun out.

Yoongi made a contented noise. "Okay, now back to sleep," he ordered tiredly, rubbing an eye with one hand before he spread his arms and looked at Jimin through sleep blurry eyes. "Quick, it's cold without you, I'll die."

Jimin looked worried, but he slowly padded back to the bed on light feet as he chewed his lip. "You won't die," he pointed out quietly with a scrunch of his nose. "You're so dramatic Yoongi, I never knew you were like this— Woah!" He flailed as Yoongi grabbed him around the waist and dragged him back to his previous position, where Jimin had been laying in front of him, both of them on their sides.

"Mnnnn," Yoongi mumbled in agreement. "Too early for semantics. Sleep." He yawned into the fabric of Jimin's shirt and pressed a lazy kiss to the back of Jimin's head, snaking an arm around his waist to keep him in place. "Good morning."

Jimin let out a breath as he sagged into Yoongi's arms, finally content to lie still. "Good morning," he replied, his voice gentle and quiet.

Yoongi hummed contentedly, drifting off once again to sleep.

*

The second time he woke up, Yoongi was alone.

He yawned and sat up slowly, stretching as he gauged the time. 10? 11? Groggily, he pushed his comforter aside and got to his feet, grumbling incoherently as his oversized jersey hung off his shoulder. "Jimin?" He called out as he scratched the back of his head, opening the door of his room and heading across the corridor to the toilet.

"Yoongi?" Jimin's voice sounded from the pantry. His head popped over the counter a moment later, and he smiled warmly. "Morning."

He seemed a lot calmer than he'd been at the ass crack of dawn, Yoongi reflected. That was good. "Hey," he greeted with a lazy wave, deciding he could wash up later as he righted his shirt. More than anything, he was surprised it was still morning; he'd slept so well. "What're you up to?"

"I made some food," Jimin blushed, keeping a saucepan in Yoongi's second cupboard beneath the sink. Yoongi cooked so rarely now that he hadn't even remembered having a saucepan— It could be Jin's, though. Jimin chewed his lip nervously as he looked up at Yoongi. "Um. That's okay, right? I didn't mean to—"

"No," Yoongi blurted, before shaking his head and bracing himself against the high breakfast table. "I mean, yeah. It's fine, it's good. Don't worry. I just didn't know I had a sau— You know what, never mind." He slid into the seat, peering over the counter. His eyes widened. "I had eggs?"

Jimin laughed. "Yeah," he grinned. "And sausages, so I made an omelette with a bag of mushrooms you'd already opened." He slid a plate over to Yoongi, a fork and knife neatly placed at the side. "You have quite a lot in your fridge, Yoongi. You didn't know?"

"I grocery shop, but Jin comes over and depletes everything once in awhile," Yoongi shrugged it off, taking the plate and being careful not to scald his fingertips. "If I'm working, he comes over and makes like, 16 dishes or something. He packs it away in my fridge for me to heat up when I'm hungry." Yoongi snorted, inhaling the aroma of Jimin's cooking as he laughed. "He's really like my mom." God, Yoongi didn't know where the hell he'd be without Seokjin sometimes. Dead, probably.

Jimin's cheeks pinked. He must have washed up earlier, Yoongi thought, because no one looked that pretty and put together when they just woke up. He probably looked like shit himself. "He really took care of everyone yesterday night," Jimin said quietly, shoving a bite of eggs around on his plate as he chewed his lip. "I should call him to say thank you..."

"It's not a big deal," Yoongi shrugged. "I mean, we tease him and everything with the mom thing, but Jin-hyung's a great friend, and generally a great guy." He used his fork to slice off a small portion of his omelette, carefully balancing it on the prongs. "That's how he shows his affection; he aggressively mom's us," he said, before lifting the fork to his mouth and closing his lips around it. His eyebrows lifted. He hadn't known what he'd expected, but Jimin's cooking was flavorful and tasty. He liked it.

Jimin took his surprise the wrong way. "Oh, is it too salty?" He frowned, hurriedly shoving a bite into his own mouth and chewing. His brows knitted as he tried to think of the problem with his omelette, starting to babble. "Tae always says I use too much salt and my hair will fall out, but I just thought he liked bland food like an old person, because Jungkook never complained about my cooking, so I didn't—"

Yoongi got up and leaned over the counter carefully so that he didn't knock over his plate, pressing his lips to Jimin's forehead with a gummy smile. Jimin immediately quietened as he leaned back to sit down again, but Yoongi liked to think that after Jimin had almost drunkenly twerked on him last night, they were thoroughly past the point of feeling weird about a few casual kisses like these. "Thank you for cooking," Yoongi said softly, refocusing his attention on his food with a childlike grin. Jimin had even cut up some bell peppers for the omelette, making it look colorful and delicious. "It's good. And it's nice to have breakfast like this."

It took a while for Jimin to start eating again, but the atmosphere loosened out into something warm and comforting. The younger was still a little pink, but Yoongi considered it a win that Jimin was A) not trying to bolt out of the house, and B) allegedly enjoying his company even though they were just sharing a quiet meal.

'Ah,' Yoongi thought to himself as they ate, listening to the distant murmur of Sunday traffic outside his window, 'I could get used to something like this.'

*

Jimin left in the early afternoon, after a thorough tour of Yoongi's house. He'd shown the dancer his office, scratching the back of his neck awkwardly as Jimin ooh'ed and aah'ed over his set-up for producing, and complimented the detailing of his architecture scale model. While Yoongi had remembered Jin's advice to share his music with Jimin, the dancer had mentioned wanting to get to the studios by 1, so he'd dismissed the idea.

Yoongi made sure to send Jimin to the lobby at least, considering the younger had insisted on going back to school alone. "Stay warm," he reminded Jimin again, to which the dancer smiled cheekily.

"And watch the step?" Jimin had added with a grin, darting in and kissing Yoongi on the cheek after making sure no one was around. As always, his cheeks were tinged red when he withdrew from Yoongi. "Thank you again for taking care of me," he'd repeated, before he adjusted his scarf - Yoongi's scarf - around his neck and left for real.

Yoongi had leaned against the letterboxes with a smile, watching till Jimin rounded the bend and disappeared.

After all the excitement of the previous night and that morning, Yoongi was contented to stay in and work on some stuff that required minimal movement. He remembered the letters he'd gotten from the mailbox the night before and decided iBanking was easy enough work. He grabbed the bills he'd pinned on his fridge and retrieved the other two from his leather jacket, padding to his work room.

He was in the middle of settling his utilities when he received a text from Namjoon.

KIM.N: yoooooooo
KIM.N: howd it go with Jimin yest night

He set his phone aside, diligently completing his payments before responding.

MIN.Y: ok, slept well
MIN.Y: he tried to leave at like 6 or something
MIN.Y: and then he cooked me an omelette for breakfast lmao

KIM.N: niiiiice
KIM.N: jin made us bacon sandwiches
KIM.N: [image attached]

A selca of him and Jin in bed, the latter munching and watching something on his phone as Namjoon texted Yoongi. He snorted, spinning in his chair.

MIN.Y: ok?

KIM.N: jimin cooked for u too
KIM.N: you know what this means

MIN.Y: that he was hungry?
MIN.Y: I got up at like 11

KIM.N: hyung he made you breakfast
KIM.N: like my boyfriend made me breakfast
KIM.N: in ur apartment
KIM.N: without being asked
KIM.N: way to a man's heart is through his stomach??

Yoongi lifted an eyebrow.

MIN.Y: yeah he's my fake boyfriend
MIN.Y: he needs to feed me lmao

KIM.N: oh my gOD it's too early for this shit
KIM.N: i give up you're hopeless
KIM.N: I can't even believe you rag on Tae and Kookie all the time

Yoongi frowned at his screen before rolling his eyes. He locked his phone and left it on the table as he rummaged around his drawer for his notebook and a pen; he had more important things to do than puzzle out Namjoon's weirdly cryptic messages.

*

Yoongi's mother called at 8 in the evening, disrupting his usual routine of making the first move to contact either her or his father. Immediately, he jumped to the worst case scenario. "Eomma?" He greeted urgently, righting a pencil holder he'd knocked over in his surprise. "What happened? Is Holly okay?"

"I can't call my son unless his dog is sick?" His mother sighed.

Yoongi immediately felt terrible. "No, of course not, it's just a little unexpected," he amended formally. "How have you been?"

"I've been fine; so has Holly," his mother replied simply. "Your father and brother are away. I just gave them calls as well; since I don't have to go to another meeting till 7, I thought I'd checkup on you before I leave for Spain next week."

"Ah." Yoongi shifted on his feet, running his hand through his hair. It was terrible, but being randomly called up by his parents like this was rare, and he always felt put on the spot when it happened. "I've— School is over for the semester," he tried, wondering what he was supposed to say. "I, uh— I haven't gotten my results back from my papers, but I think I did alright."

His mother hummed. "And your part time job?" She prompted. Yoongi heard the whistle of a kettle on the background. "How is that going? Are you still tutoring?"

Yoongi sat down on the sofa, slumping lazily. No one was around to see it. "Yes; the same two children," he answered quietly. "Jae Eun just had her first recital the Saturday before last." That had been his first date with Jimin. Yoongi smiled remembering it. "She played very well."

"You attended her recital?" His mother asked, surprised. "I don't recall your tutor going for your recitals when you were younger."

It was rare that anyone he knew would be in the audience during a recital when he was younger, Yoongi recalled. His parents were always too busy, and Seung-gi had so many projects in school that he hadn't been able to carve out the time either. While Yoongi understood their struggles now that he was older, he'd been lonely back then. "I decided to go," he lied smoothly, not wanting to tell his eomma that the only reason he'd gone was because Jae Eun's mother had been called away to work. It somehow hit a little too close to home on the emotional scale, and it wasn't like his mother could have helped it. Yoongi chose to believe that his mother, like Jae Eun's, had no choice when she was working during his performances. "She's a good student."

His mother had stopped the whistling of the kettle. Yoongi could almost picture her in her office; settling the hot base onto a wet cloth in the pantry, returning to the intimidating leather chair behind her desk. "Well, it was sweet that you were there to support her," she said gently, and Yoongi smiled in the privacy of his apartment. His eomma was a big softie, despite her terrifying reputation at her workplace. Yoongi remembered being 4 and looking up at everyone as they ran circles around him, complying with his mother's orders. He'd been scared of her back then, too.

Inhaling deeply, Yoongi decided to take the plunge. He left his work room to sit down on his sofa. "I've, ah— I've actually started seeing someone," he said, very, very carefully. There was a long pause wherein he frowned at his reflection on the blank screen of his television. "... Eomma?" He prompted quietly, after what seemed like an eternity.

His mother seemed hesitant as she spoke, which happened rarely enough that it caused Yoongi to blink. "Well," she said slowly, the tension palpable even through a phone call, "what is he like? What's his name?"

Yoongi's head tipped back and he stared up at the ceiling, unsure. It seemed like a fragile moment no matter how he looked at it. "His name is Park Jimin," he decided to start with eventually, remembering the article he'd seen at Namjoon's place. "He's... He's a nice guy," he ended lamely, wanting to shoot himself for having said anything at all. Just because Seung-gi had been so enthusiastic about him having a boyfriend, he shouldn't have jumped to conclusions and thought his eomma would be happy knowing one of her two sons was in a relationship with a man. "He's a dancer; he got into uni on a scholarship."

"That's nice," his mother said, a note of curiosity in her tone. Yoongi heard the sound of a keyboard being abused on the other end of the line. "That's... Somewhat unexpected, but nice."

Yoongi frowned, sitting up straight. "What do you mean?"

His mother sounded distracted. "I raised you, Yoongi," she sighed. "I know you very well; you're the type that would want to sit down if you were standing up, and lie down if you were sitting."

He would protest that, but he knew it was true.

"It's a little strange to me that you would choose to date someone as active as a dancer," his mother continued. "Since your university had a prestigious liberal arts program, he must be very good if he got in on a scholarsh— Oh," she paused suddenly, sounding winded. "He's very handsome."

Yoongi glanced at his phone is disbelief, cogs turning in his brain. "Eomma," he asked slowly, "are you searching my boyfriend on the internet?"

"Naver is very useful; my intern showed me how to use it awhile ago," came the vague answer. "Ah, he's from Busan? That's so close by to us. What is that, Yoongi, an hour and a half, maybe?"

"Eomma!" Yoongi exclaimed, thoroughly horrified. He would never have expected this from his mother, of all people. "I can't believe—"

"Calm down," she placated exasperatedly, clearly amused with Yoongi's protests. It was rare that he allowed his frustration to show, after all. "It's just his Facebook page. Wouldn't I want to know the type of man my son is seeing?"

Yoongi palmed his face tiredly. "It's just casual," he said, repeating what he'd told Seung-gi on Skype last week. "We've only just started dating; I don't know if it's going to last or anything." Actually, he knew for sure it wasn't going to, but he wasn't going to tell his mother that. His relationship had an expiry date; it was kind of a funny story. Maybe one day he'd look back at himself and laugh about this whole situation.

His mother continued typing. "You're not the type to give up on things you want, Yoongi," she murmured, clearly still digitally stalking Jimin. It perturbed Yoongi. Immensely. "You're just like your father in that manner, and— Wow," she breathed, abruptly cutting herself off. The distorted sounds of a video being played drifted through the phone. "Yoongi, he's such a good dancer. Your eomma is impressed."

Yoongi snorted, laying down on the sofa. "Yeah," he said agreeably. Well, if his mother wanted to stalk Jimin, it wasn't like he could stop her. And if she only found good things, he assumed he'd have more to talk to her about. It was interesting; he really hadn't expected his mother to react in such a... Strangely positive manner? It was nice that she was interested, and it made speaking with her easier now that they had something to discuss. "He's talented. I'm going to his showcase tomorrow."

"Showcase?" His mother asked, pausing whatever video she'd found. Yoongi wondered if Jimin uploaded videos of himself dancing, or if it was taken during one of the club's performances. "Ah, because of Chuseok?"

"Yup," Yoongi nodded, even though his mother couldn't see him. "It's the closing ceremony of the term. He has a solo at the end." He checked the time. "He's hardworking, so I'm sure he's still at the studio practicing.” He made a mental note to shoot Jimin a text and remind him to eat.

"They say that the best talent is being able to work hard," his mother said wisely. "I'm sure he'll do a great job."

Since he'd come from a family where emotions weren't commonly expressed, Yoongi had perfected the art of knowing how his parents and brother were feeling through their actions and their tone when speaking. It came in handy now that he didn't see them often; he could tell his mother was genuinely happy for him through the way she spoke. Her approval made him smile.

"Me too," Yoongi agreed wholeheartedly. "I think he'll do a great job too."



MONDAY

“One expresso and a bagel with salmon and cream cheese, please,” Yoongi ordered quietly in the diner, eyes never leaving the screen of his phone.

MIN.Y: only one more day
MIN.Y: fighting, jiminie!
MIN.Y: and even though I've said it many times, don't overdo it

He hummed as he waited for his breakfast. Jimin must be keyed up as hell in preparation for the showcase, which meant that Yoongi wasn’t really expecting a reply. He pulled out a couple of notes from his wallet and set it on the counter when the cashier returned with his order.

He exited the diner, looking up at the sun and shielding his eyes as he listened to a collection of old samples he’d recorded when he was younger. He’d been doing this a lot lately; going through his old stuff and picking out what he could weave into new arrangements, whether for his students or himself. Yoongi had a ton of original samples that were abandoned, never slotted into the perfect piece. It felt good to pick up the loose ends.

He started making his way to the university, munching on the go. As a gesture of support, Jin had made lunch for both Jimin and Hoseok, who were diligently practicing at the studios for their showcase the next day. Somehow, he'd even managed to corral everyone into having lunch together, a feat only the mom-est of moms could accomplish with a bunch like them. Before noon, they were going to visit Jungkook for a short while at his club activities— and Taehyung, purely by extension. Namjoon had been excited about seeing how much the maknae had improved. Yoongi was mostly hoping to see one of Jungkook's sunbaenim flatten him in 2 minutes straight, because that had been hilarious the last time.

Be the time he’d reached the sports complex, Jin and Namjoon were already standing outside waiting for him. Joon had a heavy canvas totebag over one shoulder that made Yoongi tired just looking at it. “You should have just gone in, it’s freezing out here,” Yoongi sighed, rubbing his hands together.

“We’re not all as whiny as you when it’s a little cold,” Namjoon smirked, making Yoongi punch him in the arm.

"I'm sorry I don't want to die of hypothermia—"

"It's seriously amazing how you can forget to eat when you're composing or doing school stuff, and yet when it gets a little bit cold you're suddenly this big baby—"

"Woah, I'm sorry I'm a baby, Dwayne 'The Rock' Namjoon, but at least I don't destroy literally everything around me by breathing—"

Jin opened the door to the building. “Stop bickering,” he chided as they strode down the familiar corridor. They entered gym 2. “We’re already late; he’s going to be done soon.” He texted Hoseok to let him know that they had brought lunch for him and Jimin.

 

“Why are you behaving like a mother watching her son at some interstate karate competition?” Yoongi snorted, climbing the stairs to the second level of the building. “Need help?” He belatedly asked Namjoon, who shook his head.

Taehyung was off the side on the first floor, hands cupped around his mouth as he leaned over the benches. “Jungkookie, if you don’t win this one we’re not playing Overwatch tonight!” He yelled, a pleased grin on his face.

Jungkook was with a sunbae, atop an arrangement of 8 blue gym mats. “What else are we going to play?” He shouted back, circling his senior with a focused look in his eyes even as he conversed with Tae. Jungkook's club members must have been well and truly used to Taehyung's presence if they didn't mind him screaming in the middle of practice.

“Don’t know yet,” Taehyung called out, waving spastically as he spotted Yoongi, Seokjin and Namjoon on the second floor, “but it won’t be Overwatch!” He stood up straight and ran to the staircase, presumably rushing up to join them.

“Is it just me or is it extremely gay in here?” Yoongi deadpanned, palming his face and dragging the tips of his fingers down slowly. Namjoon snorted.

“It's extremely gay in here,” Seokjin stage whispered as Taehyung sped through the door, barreling straight into him. "UMPH— Tae!"

“Jin-hyung!” the kid exclaimed, eyes wide as he grinned. “Kookie’s won all his matches so far. This is the last one, and he’s against their ace.” Taehyung let go of Jin and grabbed onto the metal railing, tiptoeing and bending over at the waist to shout Jungkook’s name again.

Namjoon grabbed the back of Taehyung’s t-shirt, yanking him down so that his feet touched the ground. “God, you’re so excitable. It’s like having a 5 year old son,” he grumbled under his breath. "Aren't you tired? You almost died yesterday; Hoseok texted me and said Jungkook piggybacked you up seven stories to your room." 

Taehyung scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "Yeah, I was super wasted. Jungkookie tucked me in and slept with me though, so everything was okay."

Yoongi had to clench his teeth from saying anything about that, but Namjoon didn't have the same high-functioning brain-to-mouth filter. "Oh my god," Namjoon lamented, palming his face and squatting down with exasperation. He had to take a moment before he got up again. "Taehyung, sometimes I really wonder if you're from another universe, or if you're just blind to everything..."

Tae cocked his head at Namjoon curiously, but he was soon distracted by Jungkook managing a pretty sick combination move. Seokjin smacked Namjoon on the shoulder when Taehyung was distracted, eyes wide as he urgently pressed a finger to his lips. The hyungs weren't supposed to meddle.

“Watch it, or the wife will put you in the doghouse,” Yoongi murmured absently to his best friend, turning so that he could watch Jungkook take on his sunbae. “That guy’s their ace?” Jungkook’s senior wasn’t as tall as he was, but he was quicker, and his movements were sharper. It was plain to see how repeated matches had shaped his fighting style, while Jungkook was moving stiffly in accordance with a wealth of technical knowledge but a distinct lack of experience. Still, their maknae was putting up a pretty solid fight, which had Yoongi clapping mildly. Seokjin was straight up slapping his hand on the railing excitedly.

 

Taehyung nodded, staring at the fight intently. “Yeah, he’s always their first representative,” he answered distractedly, wincing as Jungkook took a hit due to a subpar block following a parried blow. “Kookie, fighting!”

On the ground floor, Jungkook shot Tae a thumbs up as he staggered to his feet, grinning.

Digging his fingers into his ears, Yoongi scowled at Taehyung as he took a couple of steps back. This fucking kid had so much energy it felt like he was sapping Yoongi's just standing beside him. “Have you been shouting like this the whole time?”

Tae and a member of Jungkook’s club on his left said “yes,” in unison, the former ecstatic and the latter fatigued. Yoongi had expected as much.

Jin waved his arms madly as the round heated up, Jungkook’s sunbae being called for a technical foul. “You can do it, Jungkookie-ah!,” he shouted encouragingly. “Do it for Overwatch!”

Namjoon took a step back to share a commiserating look with Yoongi. "Honestly, I'm still half dead from yesterday night," he admitted, rubbing his eyes tiredly.

Yoongi just sighed, waiting for the fight to come to an end so Jin and Tae could stop screaming and he could meet Jimin.

*

"Okay, so we're playing Overwatch, but you're not allowed to use McCree," Taehyung whined as they crossed the quad to Jimin and Hoseok's studio. "You're too good at using McCree, it's not fair!"

"You didn't say that before I beat ," Jungkook pointed out smugly, munching on a steamed bun Taehyung had kept in his pocket, because apparently Tae got away with doing weird shit like that, and Jungkook didn't care enough about hygiene. Jin made a face. "I'm using McCree." He turned to Yoongi, ignoring Tae's protests. "Hyung, do you wanna play?"

Yoongi shrugged as they passed through the doors of the building. "Sure, I've got no plans." He could put off the essay he'd meant to do, and he'd already cancelled classes for the week so he didn't need to wake up for anything but the showcase tomorrow. Plus, he'd stayed up late last night to touch up on the greenery of his scale model after he'd ended the call with his mother. "Seriously though, Jungkook, McCree is like a cheat for you. You should be banned from playing McCree."

"It's high noon," Jungkook quoted, striking a pose in the middle of the corridor. Everyone strode past him till he had to jog to catch up to them.

"Are you guys still playing with Hongbin?" Namjoon asked, almost knocking the canvas bag that contained Jin's cooking into the door frame. Jungkook saved it by shielding the side of the carrier with his hand.

"Nah, Hongbin-hyung's really busy these days with his thesis," Tae hummed, turning to Jin with sparkling eyes. "Jinnie-hyung, did you make jiggae?"

Jin nodded, laughing. "Yeah. I made everyone's favorites, so don't worry and just look forward to it."

Yoongi fistpumped privately at the back of the group. He could expect meat.

Hoseok burst through the doors of studio 4 before they entered, eyes shining. "Hyung, you've brought foooood!" He roared, throwing his arms around Seokjin and weeping dramatically into his shirt. "You're the best, I love you, I'll name my first son after you—"

"Oh my god," Jin choked, blanching at Hoseok's sweaty skin against his own. "Hoseokie, shower, shower!"

"There's no point," a familiar and happy voice came from behind them, making Yoongi turn. Jimin was toweling his hair dry and smiling as he ducked through the doors. "Hoseok-hyung sweats like he was born for it."

"Jimin-ah, why are you like this," Hoseok whinged. He let Jin go so that he could peer into the canvas bag Namjoon was carrying, letting out a loud cheer as he spotted a large Tupperware of Jin's special kimchi.

Tae reached into the bag and cracked open a small container curiously, eyes widening. "Hyung, what are these purple cucumbers?" He gasped, eyes wide.

"Oh my god," Jin groaned, shaking Tae by the shoulders, "Those are brinjals you uncultured swine, who raised you like this?" He glanced at everyone as he next spoke. "Guys, if the food is too bland for you, then I brought salt and pepper."

"Why do we need salt when we have Yoongi-hyung?" Namjoon smirked, dodging an instinctive smack from Yoongi.

"Hilarious Joon, you're a regular comedian. Why don't you audition for Knowing Brother?" Deciding that landing a proper hit wasn't worth the effort, Yoongi left Namjoon alone. His lips curved upwards as he weaved through the group, approaching Jimin with his hands in his pockets. "Hey. Working hard?"

Jimin nodded, cheeks flushed with exertion. "Everyone's really going all out today, since there isn't a lot of time left... It's gotten to the point where I'm seriously worried someone will get injured," he added, glancing at the closed door to the studio behind him with a frown.

Jesus, this kid was cute and kind. Yoongi patted the top of Jimin's head with a small grin. "Worry about yourself a little more," he scolded mildly, cocking his head. "You've been eating on time, right?"

Jimin nodded determinedly. "I set alarms, after you scolded me last week," he admitted bashfully, head ducked as he rubbed his nose awkwardly. Yoongi let out a bark of laughter at the thought of Jimin having to go to such extreme measures just to eat properly. "I really did!" He protested, pouting. Yoongi eyed the swell of his lips. "Or I'd have forgotten..."

"You need to take better care of yourself," Yoongi said, crossing his arms and looking into Jimin's eyes this time.

"You fell asleep while walking once," Seokjin reminded Yoongi, smacking the back of his head lightly. "As someone who almost died during Hell Week, you don't get to say things like that."

"It was Hell Week," Yoongi glowered defensively, cupping the back of his head and narrowing his eyes. "Literally every student on campus was dying with me."

"I wasn't dying," Taehyung pointed out cheerfully.

"Yeah well, you're a special case," Namjoon said kindly, patting Tae on the head condescendingly. "You wouldn't know stress if it hit you in the face."

"He also wouldn't know true love if it played Overwatch with him every night," Hoseok sang into the canvas bag. "Ow! Ow! Jin-hyung, why are you hitting me?!"

"We, promised, we, wouldn't, do, or, say, anything," Jin hissed at Hoseok, punctuating each word with a smack to Hoseok's back. He laughed nervously when he rounded on his heel to see both Jungkook and Taehyung shooting him inquisitive stares.

Yoongi scowled at them and walked up to Namjoon. "Ah, you guys are so noisy," he complained, shoving Hoseok aside and digging around in the canvas bag himself. "Jin-hyung, you labelled our lunches right? I'm going to go off to eat with Jimin alone, so you guys stay here." It was always so loud with these idiots around; Yoongi just wanted to have a goddamn peaceful lunch and reassure his fake boyfriend that everything was going to go well during his showcase.

Jimin's eyes widened. "Yoongi—"

"I did, but Yoongi, isn't that too much? We want to have lunch with Jimin too!" Jin whined, holding onto Yoongi's wrists. He immediately released them when Yoongi shot him a sleep deprived glare that made grown men quiver. "Uh, nevermind. That's okay. Have fun, you two."

"It's natural for me to want to spend time with him alone," Yoongi sniffed, grabbing two boxes with their names pasted on top. Absently, he noted that there were flowers doodled around Jimin's name. There was a -_- face on his Tupperware. "I'm his boyfriend."

"OOOH," Taehyung squealed, jumping up and down and pointing at Yoongi. "Kookie! Kookie, he said it! He said the thing! Jiminie!"

Jungkook clapped, his eyes wide.

"Oh, Jimin's gone red," Hoseok observed with a shit-eating grin. "Is anyone going to take a picture?"

Jimin had, indeed, gone red. He covered his cheeks with his hands, glaring at Taehyung and Jungkook. "I don't need this from my best friends," he seethed, flustered as he avoided eye contact with anyone. "You guys suck, I don't even— Why am I even friends with— I just need to go. Somewhere else. It's important! I have priorities, and places to be!" He backed away from the group, almost slamming against a wall till he turned on his heel. "I— I have to go to space!" He ran off. Even his ears were flushed with embarrassment as he rounded the corner to a stairwell, quickly out of sight.

Seokjin sighed heavily as Jungkook, Tae and Hoseok burst into peals of laughter. Namjoon pressed the flat of his hand to his forehead, watching Jimin go with a low whistle.

"Oh my god," Jungkook coughed, clutching his side. "What was that—"

"Hyung, you better go after him," Hoseok snorted, clamping a hand onto Yoongi's shoulder. "I think he's going to combust..."

Yoongi grunted, holding three Tupperware boxes and a flask under his arm. "Yeah, well," he glowered, getting out his phone and finding Jimin's number, "it'll help if I actually know where he's going."

"Apparently, he's going to space," Taehyung snickered.

"What a coincidence, isn't that where you belong?" Yoongi scowled at him, punching out a text on his phone to Jimin. "The guy ran off because you jerks keep making fun of him. Can't you see he's trying not to be embarrassed about this whole fake dating thing?" He flailed his right arm as he strode off after Jimin, annoyed. "He's doing his best and you're all teasing the shit out of him. God, every day it's like fucking Jersey Shore with you assholes, it's unbelievable."

Taehyung pouted, but his shoulders sank a little with guilt. Even Hoseok and Jungkook looked a little sheepish.

They all watched Yoongi go. Jin palmed his face tiredly. "I just wanted to have a nice lunch," he sighed.

Namjoon massaged the back of his boyfriend's neck consolingly.

*

Yoongi found Jimin on the roof of the building, his arms braced on the ledge overlooking the school field. "Don't jump," Yoongi yelled, holding up their lunches. "I brought food."

Jimin laughed, covering his mouth as he turned to Yoongi. "You're so lame," he mocked, shaking his head. He seemed a little more at ease now than he was when he'd been with the rest, which Yoongi considered a good thing.

"I beg to differ; I've got two functioning legs," Yoongi pointed out, deciding to continue the stupid jokes if it made Jimin smile. It did, and he walked over to the dancer with a grin. "Listen, ignore those idiots. They're just teasing you," he told Jimin as they picked a spot in the shade, instinctively sinking to the ground. Yoongi felt like he was in high school again. "Not that you, uh... Make it really hard for them to tease you."

Jimin adopted an offended look in his eyes. "Excu-ji me," he said in very broken English with a hand over his heart, "what do you mean by that?"

Yoongi burst out laughing, setting their lunch down quickly before he could drop it. "Well, you blush a lot," he pointed out wryly, deciding not to comment on the 'excu-ji me' thing, because that way lay madness. "And you get flustered easily. I mean, you did just tell everyone you were going to— You know, space."

Jimin flushed, looking away. Yoongi took the opportunity to strip off his jacket and wrap it around the dancer's shoulders. It wasn't too cold on the roof right then, but he didn't want to take the chances that Jimin would get sick before his big day. That would suck.

"First of all," Jimin pouted, distractedly picking up a pair of disposable chopsticks, "we're never going to talk about that again." He broke them apart as his shoulders hunched slightly. "And second of all, I'm going to disown Tae."

"Pretty sure I got you covered there," Yoongi said without missing a beat, picking up his Tupperware and cracking it open. The heavenly scent of Jin's beef bulgogi wafted through the air, and he took a moment to moan sinfully in appreciation. He almost forgot to finish his statement till he caught Jimin staring at him with a gaping mouth. "Oh. I scolded him and Jungkook earlier for teasing you. And Hoseok, actually." Thinking back, he was a little worried he'd been too harsh on those three. They hadn't meant any harm, but Yoongi was trying really hard to make progress with Jimin here, and their jibes were just making Jimin crawl back into his shell. Knowing that it was the first time the dancer was being openly gay, he didn't want Jimin feeling embarrassed about anything; especially not being affectionate with him.

Jimin took awhile to respond, his hands still hovering in midair with his chopsticks. "I'm okay," he said eventually, setting his utensils down and shyly ducking his head with a wobbly smile. He pulled Yoongi's jacket around himself, looking content and warm. "They're just like that; I expected them to tease me... But thank you, Yoongi." Jimin cocked his head, his eyes crinkling as his lips stretched into an openly affectionate grin.

Yoongi would text those three later, maybe tell them he was sorry for being so grumpy. He smiled at Jimin and leaned back, not thinking about much else for now. "Let's just have a good lunch together," he said fondly, reaching out and patting Jimin on the head gently. After a moment of consideration, he cupped Jimin's cheek and drew his face closer, pressing a tender kiss to his forehead with a smile. "So that you can have a good showcase tomorrow," he murmured, a little embarrassed despite himself. He hadn't known why he'd wanted to do that, but he did. 'Well, whatever,' he thought. He was supposed to be Jimin's boyfriend anyway, right? Couples did stuff like that. And Jimin seemed to be much more at ease when they were alone; he hadn't made a big deal about Yoongi putting his jacket around him earlier like he would have a couple of days ago.

The dancer's cheeks were tinted a pale pink as he leaned back, but he seemed genuinely pleased. "I really hope you like it," he said, almost in a whisper as he looked at Yoongi earnestly, eyes wide and shining. "When you see it tomorrow."

"Pretty sure I will," Yoongi replied with a grin, easy and sure as they both dug into their meal. "No matter what."

*

MIN.Y: Jimin
MIN.Y: I'm going to bed now
MIN.Y: you should too

It was 11. Yoongi thought it was a reasonable time to turn in. He yawned, setting aside his notebooks and taking off his headphones as he cracked his neck. After lunch with Jimin - which had ended pretty well on all accounts - he met up with the group and apologized to Hoseok, Tae and Jungkook for scolding them so harshly. They'd reassured him that they wouldn't tease Jimin again and that they weren't offended, to his relief. After he'd gotten home, Yoongi had taken a short nap before getting up at 5:30 to work on some composing. He hadn't stopped till now, only paused at 8 to wolf down a cup of instant noodles.

He stretched and got up, grabbing his phone and leaving his work room. Wondering if he should shower, he headed into his bedroom and switched on the light, waiting for Jimin to reply. He'd made Taehyung promise to drag Jimin back to the dorms early tonight so that he'd have enough rest before his showcase.

PARK.J: Oh, I'm about to turn in too!
PARK.J is typing...
PARK.J is calling

Yoongi hastily hit the green button, the bow of his lips curving up into a smile. "Hey," he said, rubbing his eye. "I'm glad you're sleeping earlier tonight."

"I had to," Jimin laughed on the other end of the line. "You made Tae promise. You can't use my best friends against me, Yoongi, it's not fair."

"Oh, so he isn't disowned?" Yoongi teased, scratching his nose as he looked up at the ceiling. "Color me surprised."

Jimin's happiness when he giggled was kind of contagious; it was a bright and happy sound, and it filled Yoongi with warmth. "I forgave him," he said easily. "He's only looking out for me. Best friends are supposed to tease you too, anyway." There was a muffled voice in the background, making Jimin pause before he spoke again. "Ah, Yoongi. It's a bit late and my roommate's going to sleep too. Let me go outside to talk—"

"No, no," Yoongi said hurriedly, sitting up. Sometimes he forgot that most of the group lived with roommates because he had the luxury of having his own place, small though it was. "You should get to bed too, I shouldn't keep you up. We can talk more tomorrow after your big showcase."

Jimin sounded hesitant. "Are you sure?"

Yoongi nodded before remembering Jimin couldn't see him. "Yeah, absolutely. You should be well rested to do your best." He ran a hand through his hair with a small laugh. "I can't wait to see you," he said earnestly, smiling.

There was a long silence before Jimin said quietly, "I can't wait to see you too, Yoongi." He must have been flushing madly. "Good night."

"Good night," Yoongi repeated after the younger, his eyelids feeling heavy almost as if on command. He'd shower in the morning, he decided. The dance segment only started at 11 the next day; he had plenty of time to get ready. "Sleep well, Park Jimin." He hoped the kid was smiling as he hung up, staring at the ceiling till he succumbed to a peaceful and dreamless sleep.

Chapter Text

Yoongi rounded the corner of the building and almost barrelled into Namjoon. "Jesus," he panted, bracing his hands on his knees as he struggled for breath. "Ah— Is it— Am I late—"

"You're on time," Jin said serenely, looking at his watch. "Just barely. I think they're rounding up the theater club's play, so next will be the dance club's segment." He patted Yoongi's back. "Jungkook and Tae are inside, we better grab the seats they held for us, because everyone's probably giving them a stink eye."

"You guys have this weird obsession with waiting for me," Yoongi huffed, straightening up and righting his scarf as Namjoon opened the door. "Even yesterday too; you should have gone ahead. Everyone's going to stare at those two kids for hogging chairs."

"Jungkook's with Taehyung, so it's not like he's going to notice anything around him. And Taehyung's too dense to notice a death glare from you on a regular basis, what makes you think he's going to notice anyone else doing it?" Namjoon pointed out factually, making Yoongi shrug as they hurried down the corridor to the entrance of the biggest convention hall on campus. "Speaking of Taehyung, remind me again why he wasn't up with the band earlier? I thought all the performing arts clubs were supposed to get involved."

"He's being benched, because he put streamers and glitter in his saxophone during the interschool finals," Jin sighed heavily. "He said it'd be 'festive,' but his conductor didn't agree."

"His conductor shouldn't agree, that was fucking stupid," Yoongi said drily, piping down once they'd reached the grand doors to the hall. They waited till they heard the sound of clapping before they entered, making use of the cover of noise to shuffle quickly down the aisle to where Taehyung and Jungkook were.

"Oh my god, where were you?" Taehyung whined, clutching Jin's arm as he sat down beside him. Namjoon sat down beside his boyfriend, leaving Yoongi in the seat next to the aisle. The MC came back onto the stage and started complimenting the prowess of the theater club as Taehyung pouted and sulked. "Everyone was glaring at us!"

"Oh, color me surprised," Namjoon lifted an eyebrow at Tae. "He noticed."

"Everyone was glaring at us?" Jungkook repeated at the same time, looking confused.

"There we go," Yoongi snorted, flapping a hand at Jungkook. "That one didn't notice at all; some things don't change."

Jin gently pried Taehyung's fingers off his arm. "Yoongi was late; we waited for him outside before rushing in." Combing his hair back with his fingers, he cast a glance towards the stage. "The program said the dance segment is next, right?"

"Should be," Jungkook piped up quietly, peering down at the booklet everyone had been given at the door. "11:15. There's 5 minutes to go; maybe they're all getting ready backstage?"

Namjoon rubbed his hands together excitedly. "Hoseok's solo is first." He looked up at the rest. "Did Hoseok tell you guys? He's been scouted again."

"Are you fucking serious?" Yoongi's mouth gaped. "What the hell? No, he didn't tell me shit!"

"He told everyone at karaoke; he's been picked up by Big Hit as a choreographer and he's starting once he graduates," Jin said, peeling back the foil of a Mentos tube and offering it around. Everyone accepted the candy, murmuring their thanks. "But I'm probably the only one who remembered anything because everyone got pissed drunk. Joonie only knows because I told him this morning," he rolled his eyes, shaking his head before he perked up and glanced at Yoongi and Namjoon. "Are we going to do the usual thing?"

Yoongi massaged his temples, trying to tune out the monologue by the MC on stage about the achievements of the dance club throughout the year. "Do you even have to ask?" He chewed on the candy, jamming it between his teeth as he spoke. "We scream at him every time he's on stage; it's like we're trying to contribute to the OST."

"It's a tradition," Namjoon agreed firmly, his tongue working around the Mentos. "We've gotta do it."

"Jiminie has a lot of parts, so we should cheer for him too," Taehyung interjected with a sunny grin. He held up a video camera. "Do you think it'd bother people if I stood up to record him?"

"Um, yes?" Yoongi rolled his eyes, leaning across Namjoon to squint at the device in Taehyung's hands. "What setting is that on? Is it really okay for it to be on automatic?" The hall was pretty dark; Yoongi imagined the stage lighting would make the contrast hard to capture once the performance started.

"Setting?" Taehyung blinked with wide eyes, alarmed as he turned the video camera in his hands. "What settings, there's more than one setting? Jiminie just gave me the camcorder and told me to press the button!"

"Oh my god, are you even on planet earth?" Yoongi grumbled, watching Tae struggle with the monstrosity. Losing his patience, he wrestled it away from the kid with a small sigh. "What the hell— Wouldn't a phone camera have been enough? You go so overboard," he continued grousing as he fit his hand into the leather slip of the holster.

"Jiminie's dance has to be captured in 1080p, high definition," Taehyung argued noisily. Jin shushed him in alarm as the people around them began to murmur, but Tae was undeterred. "His family will want to see it at Chuseok!"

"I'm surprised you even know what 1080p is if you didn't know the camera had more than one setting," Namjoon snorted, prompting Yoongi to distractedly lift his hand for a high five. The sound of the clap their hands produced echoed throughout the hall, and Jin winced as he grabbed both of them by the collar to lecture them.

Yoongi tuned out Jin's scolding, fiddling with the video camera. He hummed absently, settling on a manual setting that best captured the stage without the harsh lighting. "It's honestly so annoying that their stage lights are so yellow," he complained tonelessly over the sound of Seokjin's nagging, fiddling with the aperture and ISO. "Can't the management office do something about this? I'm paying 2.5 million won per semester for shitty lighting technicians?"

"Oh my god, you complain like it's a sport and you're an Olympian," Namjoon palmed his face with a groan, making Jungkook snort and clap his thigh as he struggled to stop laughing. "You complained about the exact same thing last year, even."

"Grandpa, is it too cold in here for you?" Taehyung teased, laying across Seokjin's lap. "Do you need some tea to warm that cold, bitter heart of yours?"

"I am going to get out of this chair specifically to kill you, you little shit," Yoongi murmured saltily, lifting the camera and checking the way the video captured the stage. "Oh, the MC's stepping down. I think it's starting."

"Hyung, can you take it well enough?" Jungkook asked, peering over and trying to see the video camera screen. "Shouldn't you go closer to the front?" He got out of his seat briefly to check if it would be possible for Yoongi to move up to the stage.

"No, it has a zoom function, right?" Jin frowned, glancing at Yoongi. "I think the front seats are filled up, so it'll be hard if you need to go up there..."

"I think it'll be fine as long as I hold my hand steady," Yoongi said distractedly, hitting the record button as soon as the lights dimmed out. "Now shh."

The hall was still dark as the sound of a projector reeling began filtering through the system, followed closely by the trill of a synthesizer. The hall was buzzing as the unusual beat of the song carried through the room, echoing off the walls. Yoongi's eyes widened as the lights fell upon Hoseok, lighting up his strong posture in striking blue clothing. Everyone applauded and cheered as Hoseok began to dance.

Time travel 2006 년의 해 춤에 미쳐 엄마 허리띠를 졸라맸지
(Time travel to 2006, Crazed for dancing, Pinched my mom’s purse)

"Merde," Namjoon cussed in French, fumbling with his phone and almost dropping it as he tried to find the voice recording app. "Oh my god, that's his own voice, Jin, that's Hoseok's—"

"He already said when we were at the karaoke place that the dance club had been working with the production club for a few months to produce a few songs for the showcase, weren't you listening?" Jin hissed, flapping his arm at Namjoon as he stood up in preparation to yell; it was their custom to scream whenever Hoseok performed. "HOSEOOOOOOOOK!"

"HOSEOOOOOOOK," Yoongi screamed over the rest of the crowd, careful not to let his hand waver. He listened closely to the lyrics and realized the song was a tribute to Hoseok's mother, making his heart swell even more as he remembered the time they'd sat down in his apartment, talking about the struggles of being an underground rapper and dancer in the past. They'd talked about all sorts of things; the way their families had a tough time relating to their desires, their mental psyches... Though they hadn't spent that much time together recently because Hoseok was preparing diligently for this very showcase, Yoongi had always been close to him and it made him happy that Hoseok's performance was so genuine and sincere. It was just like him, really, which made the performance that much more amazing. "HOSEOOOOOOOOOK—"

On stage, Hoseok was shining bright as he paid attention even to the most minor of details. His fingers were cupped over his ear as he dropped to his knees, lifting his face up to catch the light with a whimsical look in his eyes and a smile on his face.

전화로 듣는 엄마의 목소리는 선명하고
(Over the phone, My mom's voice, That I hear is clear)

"I've been upselling this showcase to Yugyeom for weeks, he's going to freak out," Jungkook murmured, taking a video with his own phone. "Holy shit. Holy shit, Tae, did you see that? Did you see that knee slide? I am so— I can't take the video properly—"

"Pipe down, Jungshook, I need to fucking take the video and you're yelling," Yoongi yelled at Jungkook.

Taehyung was too busy taking pictures with his own phone to pay attention to his best friend, his mouth gaping. "HOSEOK-HYUUUUUUNG!" He screamed abruptly, voice cracking with strain as they watched Hoseok bounce up onto his feet, teeth bared as he rapped through the verse, describing his determination to succeed as a dancer, the way he'd had been heavily inspired by his mother's strength and her support. "HYUNG, SARANGHAEYO!"

People were staring at them now, but Yoongi just couldn't give a shit when Hoseok was out there, having put his heart and fucking soul into this song, this dance. "HOSEOK, DAEBAK!" He shouted, watching his friend through the screen and being careful to capture every single movement with the video camera. Whether it was music or dance, composing songs or rapping them, performing or creating; it was all art and it culminated a sense of appreciation in him. He felt so proud of Hoseok for dedicating something as important as his opening solo to his mother. It must have taken him forever to make everything come together so cleanly; it made Yoongi's heart swell, and he was sure the other four beside him felt the same pride as they watched Hoseok on stage.

Hoseok moved in time with the cymbals, glowing brightly as he stepped into a powerful corkscrew, landing just as the chorus began. The audience began to cheer again as he exploded into an impactful combination of high-energy movements, alternating leads smoothly with a phantom partner on stage, presumably his mother.

Hey mama 이젠 내게 기대도 돼 언제나 옆에 Hey mama 내게 아낌없이 주셨기에 버팀목이었기에
(Hey mama, You can lean on me now, Always by my side, Hey mama, You gave to me unconditionally, You were my support)

Jin covered his eyes as Namjoon's arm snaked around his waist. "Oh my god, I'm not crying, you're crying," he whimpered pathetically, rubbing his face frantically. He must have been remembering the times Hoseok had spoken to him and Joon about his aspirations and dreams to become a dancer, about the hardships he had faced chasing his dream. Having been scouted by a renowned company like Big Hit must have heavily influenced the lyrics in the song, must have reassured Hoseok and his family so much.

Yoongi let out a breath as Hoseok dominated the stage, tuning out Taehyung's incessant cheers and smiling at Jungkook silently clapping along to the electro-swing beat of the song. He swayed a little himself, holding the video camera steady as Hoseok made full use of the stage, twirling with and smiling at the imaginary figure of his mother and embracing her. "HOSEOOOOOOK!" He shouted, cupping his mouth with his free hand as he tried to fight back the grin on his own face. "HOSEOOOOOOOK!"

Hey mama 이젠 아들내미 믿으면 돼 웃으면 돼 Hey mama
(Hey mama, Now trust your son, You can smile, Hey mama)

Yoongi looked at Hoseok and he saw someone who belonged to dance, someone who had given himself fully to his craft. He felt his eyes crinkle as he remembered all the times he'd grimaced at the blisters on Hoseok's feet, the way he'd nagged Hoseok to stop overworking himself, every single text they'd exchanged where they'd both been insecure about the paths they'd taken, the chances of their success. He was happy for his friend, his brother.

Hoseok looked right at the 5 of them at the distinct sound of their cheers, his smile exuberant and beautiful. As expected, a performer of his caliber shone the brightest when he was doing what he was passionate about; dancing.

Hey mama!



"— Thank you all for coming to today's showcase," the leader of the university's dance club was saying. They'd run through 3 more performances after Hoseok's solo, each encompassing a different theme. The audience had laughed, cried and cheered in equal measures, marking the success of the showcase at an all time high. Hoseok and Jimin had both appeared in two of the three group dances each, showing great energy as they set fire to the stage alongside their fellow club members. Yoongi had emptied his bottle of water already, having cheered so loudly for both of them.

"It's been my pleasure leading this amazing crew through thick and thin during my time here at Seoul University," the club's leader continued, "and I'm thankful to be considered a leader by these amazing guys." His speech was met with riotous applause and he smiled with teary eyes, sweeping an arm out to the curtain on his right. "As all the students here know, it's our custom to elect and announce a new president during the Chuseok showcase. I'd like to present our club's unanimous choice for the leader in the upcoming year, Jung H—"

Yoongi, Namjoon, and Jin were already on their feet and screaming ecstatically. "HOSEOOOOOOK!" Yoongi roared, fistpumping the air. Namjoon overturned his chair as he jumped up and down in the air, making Jin almost trip. Their collective shouts drowned out Hoseok's name, kickstarting a wave of cheers, applause and laughter. "JUNG HOSEOOOOOK, DAEBAAAAAAAK!"

Taehyung and Jungkook joined in, yelling and flailing excitedly. "FUCK YEEEEEAH," the latter shrieked, making Namjoon burst into laughter as Jin leaned across his boyfriend and Tae to smack Jungkook on the arm for swearing.

Hoseok took the microphone from his sunbae, laughing sheepishly as the audience quietened. "Ah," he said, into the mic, grinning uncontrollably, "hello everyone, my name is Jung Hoseok. As hyung said, I'd like to thank all of you here for coming down to watch us perform today." He paused as the audience made another small riot, chuckling. "Yeah. The club has really been working hard on this year's showcase; I'm so grateful to be given the opening solo this time. We've even been working with the production club to make sure we brought something unique to the stage; did everyone enjoy it?"

A loud chorus of "YEEES," filled the hall.

"Oh, that's good," Hoseok laughed, scratching the back of his neck. "Regrettably, we'll be ending the Chuseok showcase soon, but before we do, I'd like to talk a little bit about our final piece, and the inspiration for our theme of 'MERAKI' this year." The room sobered as Hoseok took a step forward, carefully stepping over the wire corded from the microphone to the speakers. "I don't know if everyone knows this, but on the programme booklet, our showcase is titled as 'MERAKI.' The word is Greek, and it means—"

"To do something with soul, creativity and love," Namjoon said under his breath, his eyes focused on Hoseok as he spoke those exact words. "To put something of yourself into what you do, no matter what it may be."

Taehyung made an impressed face, nodding along to what Namjoon had said. Jungkook listened attentively to his hyung, letting out a small, "ah," sound at the short and concise explanation.

"— As a result of this meaningful theme, we've come up with a variety of pieces that made us very proud," Hoseok continued with a brilliant smile, "and our last performance is no different from that. It embodies struggle, desperation, and eventually, our gratitude to the passion we harbor, so it's very moving! Really, I honestly cried the first time I saw him dance his choreo, everyone, I'm serious." He wiped an imaginary tear from his eyes, pretending to cry as the audience laughed at his antics. "Without further ado, I'm proud to introduce our final performance, by our very talented Park Jimin; everyone, please welcome my cute dongsaeng to the stage!" He was clapping madly in time with the audience as the lights dimmed once again. Before the lights were completely out, Hoseok's silhouette could be seen retreating to the curtains on his right, quickly bringing out Jimin by the arm and guiding him to the center of the stage.

The room darkening prompted Yoongi to hit the record button on the video camera he'd been commandeering throughout the showcase. After having watched Hoseok's solo and heard his song, he was eager to see what Jimin was going to bring to the stage. He listened closely to the opening bars of the song, his brows lifting in surprise as the sounds of a violin and an orchestra filled his ears. He inhaled sharply as the song crescendoed after a few riffs of the cello, lights suddenly coming on and pointed at a single figure center stage.

Jimin was blindfolded, a strip of navy blue fabric stretched over his eyes.

내게 말해 너의 달콤한 미소로 내게 내게 말해 속삭이듯 내 귓가에 말해
(Tell me, With your sweet smile, Tell me, Tell me like you’re whispering into my ears)

The slope of Jimin's shoulders in that white, blue hemmed shirt— The way his jeans hugged his legs like a second skin— It all made Yoongi's head reel, but it was Jimin's voice that made his throat constrict. Like honey, Jimin's tone was alluring as he sang in accordance to the heavy beat, a higher pitched voice provided the necessary support to his main vocals. Jin hastily reached for the video camera in Yoongi's hands, and he passed it off without protest, knowing his hands were likely to shake as he watched Jimin perform.

Unlike the upbeat atmosphere Hoseok's dance had invoked, even the start of Jimin's solo had rendered the audience speechless. With a performance steeped in emotional weight, the hall was silent, the drawl of Jimin's voice lulling everyone into an irrefutable spell— Yoongi included.

On stage, Jimin's lips were parted around the words of his song, his arms moving fluidly to the music. He seemed to know exactly how the stage looked in his mind's eye, drawing close to the front and spinning on the point of his foot before he tucked and returned with two large strides. With a large and dramatic sweep of his hands over his face, his back arched gracefully, the light catching the hollow of his eyes beneath the blindfold that covered them. With his arms brought around back to his front, he lifted them and hugged himself tightly, staggering on his feet as his face contorted with strain.

Ah woo woo; 내게서 떠나 떠나 떠나줘 내게서 떠나 떠나줘. Ah woo woo; 뭐라도 나를 나를 구해줘 나를 구해
(Ah woo woo; Get away away away from me, Get away away from me. Ah woo woo; Whatever it takes, Save me, me, Save me)

Yoongi couldn't look away. He sagged bonelessly in his seat as he watched Jimin on stage with wide, unblinking eyes. His heart was beating quickly as Jimin covered his face as though he was crying, thrusting a hand out behind him as he dropped to his knees. The lyrics of the song were heart wrenchingly real; a tale of Jimin's struggle with finding his identity, desperately clinging to the last vestiges of himself in a flurry of uncertainty. Yoongi remembered the first day he'd met the dancer, the way his eyes had filled with warmth talking about his family, his grandmother— He also remembered the cowardice with which he admitted to being gay. It seemed that the song was multi-layered, painting a struggle on so many levels, all of which formed a single picture; Park Jimin.

Taehyung, who was surprisingly capable of reading the mood, stayed silent. He and Jungkook had seen Jimin practicing at his studio, but neither of them seemed unaffected by the powerful performance happening on stage. "He's doing well," Taehyung whispered.

Namjoon nodded wordlessly, his eyes glued to Jimin's swaying figure. Abruptly, the dancer turned and blindly ran forward to the edge of the stage again, making Yoongi's heart stop just as music climbed to the chorus.

Caught in a lie; 순결했던 날 찾아줘 이 거짓 속에 헤어날 수 없어 내 웃음을 돌려놔줘
(Caught in a lie; Find the me that was innocent, I can’t free myself from this lie, Give me back my laughter)

"He's amazing," Yoongi murmured to himself, seeing Jin nod in his peripheral vision as he leaned forward. Jimin's left hand was reaching out to the audience, his other clutching the blindfold on his face as though he desperately wanted to tear it off. He wrenched his head back as he hit the high note in his chorus, his whole body sagging as he remained on his knees, like he'd given up on being helped and accepted a future wherein he would never find true happiness again. Yoongi swallowed thickly, surprising himself when he realized he was trying to hold back tears. He hadn't been this emotional listening to a song for a while now.

Jungkook had his phone raised, recording another video— probably for his friend Yugyeom again. "Jimin-hyung struggled a lot with the choreo," he muttered to Yoongi, keeping his eyes on his screen. "He said he wanted it to be the best because you were watching."

Yoongi didn't know how to respond to that. Was someone like him even worthy of such a captivating performance?

"It's not over," Taehyung interrupted, cutting Jungkook off. Yoongi glanced at the younger for a moment. "This isn't everything," Tae elaborated, inhaling deeply as the song narrowed into what was obviously the bridge of Jimin's song.

"Wait a second, it's already the bridge?" Namjoon said with pinched brows, looking disappointed as he grabbed Yoongi's shoulder. Yoongi didn't react, too immersed in the performance to spare the attention. "Is it going to end so quickly? Wouldn't the ending solo be longer?"

"Shh!" Jin hissed at all of them, holding the video camera up with full concentration. "What if the video doesn't pick up Jimin's voice on the speakers?!"

아직 나는 여전히 똑같은 나인데 예전과 똑같은 나는 여기 있는데 너무나 커져버린 거짓이 날 삼키려 해
(I’m still the same me, The me from before is still here but, The lie that’s gotten too big, Is trying to swallow me up)

Yoongi's lips lifted into a wobbly smile as the bridge dissolved back into the chorus, Jimin's rapid fire combinations tearing up the stage. As a composer, a rapper, a musician... Yoongi was compelled by Jimin's voice, the arrangement of his song and the depth of his lyrics. He hadn't known just how... How beautiful Park Jimin was on the stage, and it blew him away as he watched this man capture the hearts of the audience, moving them with every curl of his arms, every turn of his head.

As the chorus ended, Jimin removed his blindfold with flourish, casting it away. He lifted his arms and his face to the ceiling, the stage lights catching on the swell of his lips and the soft angles of his jaw. The curve of his elbows were gentle and delicate as he panted, the rise and fall of his chest slow and measured as the dramatic cello riffs were once again introduced, fading the song off. Though several people began to clap, Yoongi remained frozen, somehow knowing this was not the end of what Jimin had to offer.

He was correct. As Jimin finished catching his breath in preparation for the next part of his solo, someone dressed fully in black - probably one of the stage crew members - brought out a white folding chair and set it behind the dancer. As the audience watched with anticipation, the fragile and simple sound of a piano filled the room.

Yoongi's hand flew up to cover his mouth.

내 기억의 구석 한 켠에 자리잡은 갈색 piano
(The corner of my memory, A brown piano settled on one side)

"Hyung," Namjoon said hoarsely. "This song—"

"Oh my god," Jin whispered, his hands trembling despite how much effort he was putting into keeping them steady. "Yoongi, isn't this—"

Taehyung turned to look at Yoongi with solemn eyes, attentively scrutinizing his face.

Yoongi only had eyes for Jimin. The dancer was performing like the hall was empty, completely in his own world where the stage was the only thing that existed as a certainty. His face was tender as he sank into the chair, each movement precise and measured. It was as though he was fully immersed into the role of a pianist, his fingers poised with elegance as he swayed in his seat. Though he'd confined himself to that chair, it was as if he was fully present on the entire stage, entrancing the audience as easily as he did with the first half of his solo.

그때 기억해 내 키보다 훨씬 더 컸던 갈색 piano 그게 날 이끌 때 널 우러러보며 동경했었네
(I remember that moment, Way taller than my height, The brown piano that guided me, I looked up to you, I yearned for you)

And Yoongi did— He remembered that moment with absolute clarity. The moment he'd fallen in love with the piano, how it had been his first love, the only love he'd known for a long time. As much as he wanted to disagree with Seung-gi, Yoongi knew that he fell for things hard, and fast - music, rapping - he was never the type to receive any warning signs of his emotions going haywire. He'd been consumed by the piano the moment he'd laid hands on the keys of the big, old thing back in Daegu, and it colored his life even till this day. First Love had been a song he'd made to encompass the passion he had for the piano, and Jimin was dancing to it beautifully. Yoongi's vision clouded as he struggled not to let the tears in his eyes spill over, and he ducked his head for a second as he tried to get his emotions in check.

Jin reached over with his free hand to rub Yoongi's back. Taehyung said nothing, and Jungkook tactfully kept his eyes averted from Yoongi's trembling shoulders.

Namjoon put an arm around Yoongi, making him sit back up so that he didn't miss any of Jimin's solo. His best friend had tears in his eyes as well. "Seriously, he's so awesome," Namjoon murmured in a daze, watching Jimin as he alternated seamlessly between slowing his movements and speeding them up in accordance with the delivery of Yoongi's rap. "He's dancing so well to your song, hyung."

그때 기억해 초등학교 무렵 내 키가 너의 키보다 더 커졌던 그때 그토록 동경했던 널 등한시하며 백옥 같던 건반 그 위 먼지가 쌓여가며 방치됐던 니 모습 그때도 몰랐었지
(I remember back during my elementary school days, When my height became taller than yours, I neglected you when I once yearned for you so, On top of the white jade-like keyboard, Dust is piling on, Your image that has been neglected, Even then I didn’t know your significance)

The verse made something in Yoongi snap, and his face crumpled as tears streaked down his face. Namjoon kept him hidden from Taehyung and Jungkook, rubbing his arm soothingly, but Yoongi couldn't stop crying. On stage, Jimin had abandoned his seat, standing when the beat and cadence of Yoongi's voice had picked up. He was dancing faster now, his movements perfectly displaying the desperation in Yoongi's voice as he described the pain and regret of abandoning something that had once been so dear to him. Yoongi had never imagined that his song, his rapping, was capable of inspiring a dance as complex and ethereal as the one currently being performed by Park Jimin.

The piano, like rapping, had saved Yoongi's life many times over. He didn't know who he'd be without his music, and the piano had always been a big part of him. Even to this day, he turned to the piano when he was sad, or angry, or even happy and at peace. For most of the years of his life, Yoongi had been imbued by passion for the instrument, and to recall that he'd left it behind even once broke something inside Yoongi every time he thought about it.

“내가 떠나도 걱정은 하지마 넌 스스로 잘 해낼 테니까 널 처음 만났던 그때가 생각나 어느새 훌쩍 커버렸네 니가 우리 관계는 마침표를 찍지만 절대 내게 미안해 하지마 어떤 형태로든 날 다시 만나게 될 거야 그때 반갑게 다시 맞아줘”
("Don’t worry even if I leave, You’ll do well on your own, I remember when I first met you, Before I knew it you grew up, Though we are putting an end to our relationship, Don’t ever feel sorry to me, I will get to meet you again no matter what form, Greet me happily then")

Jimin's right arm was crossed over his chest, his lips set in a smile as his hand caressed the left side of his face as a lover would. His eyes were wistful as he threw his arm aside, thoughtful as he turned on his heel and did a spiral roll, stopping close to the front of the stage and drawing his knees to himself. His arms hugged his legs protectively, like he was trying not to be hurt even though he was lonely, and when he next lifted his head, his eyes were turned to the ceiling like it was the sky, endless and filled with hope.

Yoongi's heart clenched as he watched. How was someone who'd only met him for a week able to decipher his song so well, and then bring it to life in this manner? He suddenly felt like he knew nothing of Park Jimin, and the thought both saddened and disappointed him. What the fuck was he doing half-assing this fake boyfriend thing with Jimin when he could have taken the time to really understand him, learn more about how insightful and empathetic he was as a human being? He rubbed his eyes, sniffing and covering his face as he watched the performance, breathing slowly as he struggled to stop crying.

Jin helpfully handed him a packet of tissues with his free hand. Yoongi took it and cleared his throat quietly, blinking rapidly and sitting up straight.

그때 기억해 까맣게 잊고 있었던 널 다시 마주했던 때 14살 무렵 어색도 잠시 다시 널 어루만졌지 긴 시간 떠나있어도 절대 거부감 없이 날 받아줬던 너, Without you there’s nothing, 새벽을 지나서 둘이서 함께 맞는 아침 영원히 너는 나의 손을 놓지마 나도 다시 널 놓지 않을 테니까
(I remember back then when I met you that I had completely forgotten, when I was around 14, The awkwardness was only for a moment, I touched you again, Even though I was gone for a long time, Without repulsion, You accepted me, Without you there’s nothing, After the dawn, two of us, We welcomed the morning together, Don’t let go of my hand forever, I won’t let go of you again either)

When Yoongi had been 14, he'd rediscovered the piano in the most unusual manner. It had happened while he'd been at school, struggling with a really bad case of social anxiety. Whilst chewing his lip balefully in a toilet stall, he'd heard the sound of a piano wafting in from the music club room from across the hall. As he ventured out, afraid but drawn by the melody of that unknown but hopeful song, he'd come face to face with the school's old and haggard music teacher, who'd invited him to sit down next to him on the bench. Yoongi had slowly played, sluggish from the lack of practice, but slowly regaining solace in the familiar tinkle of the keys.

And he'd never let himself forget since then. The music he'd composed over the past 10 years, the number of binders he'd filled with sheet music and the classic and comforting melody of Yiruma's songs— He'd never let himself stray far from the piano again.

Jimin, on stage, was picking up on the hopeful eventuality the song described, lifting himself off the ground to his feet and crossing his arms, running his fingertips from his collarbones to the long column of his neck. His face was serene, like he was slowly but surely shedding the darkness that had encompassed Yoongi in the years of his life where he hadn't touched the piano, not even once.

박살난 어깰 부여잡고 말했지 나 더 이상은 진짜 못하겠다고 포기하고 싶던 그때마다 곁에서 넌 말했지 새꺄 너는 진짜 할 수 있다고
(I said, grasping my crushed shoulder, I really can’t do any more, Every time I wanted to give up, By my side you said, "Bastard you can really do it")

Yoongi thought back to his part-time delivery job when he was younger, the accident that rendered him useless for more than a month. He remembered the depression he'd sunk back into, his jaw clenching as he encountered the hardships of chasing his dreams and protecting his drive to achieve what he wanted as a rapper, a musician and an artist. While what he'd told Seung-gi about his pursuit of architecture had been true, a part of Yoongi had never let his dreams of being a musician die. Deep down, he still yearned for the glory of the stage, still hungered for recognition, even though he hadn't rapped in public or put out any new content in years. He hadn't performed at a recital for almost a decade; had he lost his chance by now, squandering his youth by dividing his attention? Should he have fought harder for those views, pushed himself harder to go for those embarrassing auditions?

But it felt like Jimin was speaking to him and him alone through his performance, a well and truly needed wake up call. It was as though Jimin was trying to remind him how much music had once dominated his life, had encompassed his dreams. It was like Jimin was showing him there was still hope for him to pursue the warm glow of the stage, the heady sound of a standing ovation.

As the song progressed, he remembered producing First Love in the rental music studio he'd worked at when he was younger, toying with the functions and fitting the song together piece by piece. Carefully, meticulously, he'd listened to each part of the song a million times over, trying to cup his sound and message into his hands, trying to mold an end product he could be proud of. On the stage, Jimin shone with the same diligence that had possessed Yoongi back then, with the same passion albeit for a different discipline for art. His hair fanned out as he looked at the audience through half-lidded eyes, putting a single hand up his shirt and mimicking the thud of a heartbeat with his fist against bare skin.

그때 기억해지치고 방황했었던절망의 깊은 수렁에빠졌던 그때 내가 널 밀어내고널 만난 걸 원망해도넌 꿋꿋이 내 곁을 지켰지 말 안 해도그러니 절대너는 내 손을 놓지마두 번 다시 내가 널 놓지 않을 테니까나의 탄생 그리고 내 삶의 끝그 모든 걸 지켜볼 너일 테니까
(I remember back then, When I was fed up and lost, Back then when I fell into a pit of despair, Even when I pushed you away, Even when I resented meeting you, You were firmly by my side, You didn’t have to say anything, So don’t ever let go of my hand, I won’t let you go ever again either, My birth and the end of my life, You will be there to watch over it all)

Taehyung was crying. Jungkook was crying. Hell, Namjoon and Jin were crying too; if Yoongi had cried, it would have been more surprising that anyone else had managed to keep a straight face. They all watched as Jimin cast his hand out to the audience whimsically, as though he was looking at them like they were the piano being sang about by Yoongi in his song. Every single movement was precise and beautiful, conveying the depth of Yoongi's lyrics and the maturity of his passion for the piano. Jimin, like Hoseok, belonged solely to the stage in this moment.

Yoongi was breathless as Jimin retreated back to the chair he'd started from, effortlessly showing the audience how everything came full circle back to the point he'd started from. The dancer reseated himself as the climax dissolved into the final chorus, slowing the song to its end. Jimin was repeating the exact same choreography he'd had in the very first chorus, but this time his face wasn't filled with anguish. It was as though hope had taken root in him, making everything about him seem lighter as he moved through the same motions. His fingertips, the set of his shoulders and the slope of his jaw no longer held the same tension as they did at the start of the song— It was like he'd reached an absolution over the course of his performance.

Yoongi didn’t wipe away his tears this time, letting them flow freely. It might have been narcissistic of him to say this considering he’d produced the song, but Jimin’s performance was surely the perfect embodiment of their theme for the showcase, MERAKI.

내 기억의 구석한 켠에 자리잡은 갈색 piano; 어릴 적 집 안의 구석한 켠에 자리잡은 갈색 piano
(The corner of my memory, A brown piano settled on one side; In the corner of my childhood house, A brown piano settled on one side)

Jimin ended the dance with his body curled up on the chair, his face tucked on top of his knees as he turned his face inwards, away from the audience. His side profile was silhouetted by the stage lights, but there was a demure and tender smile on his face highlighted by the white rays from the spotlight above him.

For a beat, no one moved. And then suddenly, everyone was on their feet. Some hurled bouquets on stage, some screamed Jimin’s name like it was familiar on their tongue. Taehyung and Jungkook screamed, chambering past Namjoon and Jin to spill out into the aisle, but they had to climb over Yoongi’s still form. He was unmoving, the ruckus a dull roar in his ears as he watched Jimin unfurl his body, accepting the cheers and claps on his back with a sheepish and shy blush on his face.

“JIMINIE!” Taehyung screamed at the top of his lungs, pushing past everyone with determination and vaulting onto the stage, Jungkook close behind him. “JIMINIIIIIIIIIIE!”

Jimin grunted loudly enough that it was heard over the din, laughing brightly as Jungkook and Tae sandwiched him in an ecstatic hug. He gripped onto both of them tightly, panting as he caught his breath from the exertion of his routine. Yoongi watched them celebrate the dancer’s performance on stage together, under the harsh rays of the lights.

Namjoon grabbed his shoulder, brows furrowed with concern. “Hyung?”

“Yoongi-yah,” Jin said kindly, dipping down as he stopped the recording. He set the video camera on his chair and smiled at Yoongi. “Let’s go and meet Jimin.”

Numbly, Yoongi staggered to his feet, rubbing his eyes with the heels of his palms. He took a deep breath, hoping his eyes weren’t too red as he crossed the length of the aisle to the stage, in a daze. He still didn’t know what to say to Jimin, but it had to be something along the lines of ‘thank you,’ or ‘you were amazing.’ Namjoon guided him through the pressing crowd with a hand planted firmly between his shoulder blades, slowly but surely bringing them closer to the stage.

Yoongi looked up and saw Jimin bowing to his seniors, his face glowing with happiness as he was complimented on his stellar performance. Hoseok had joined the trio, his arms around both Tae and Jungkook as Jimin spoke to his fellow club members. After he was done, Jimin put a hand over his eyes and searched the crowd for someone. Yoongi was stunned to realize Jimin was looking for him, and he drifted up the stairs in shock with Namjoon and Jin right behind him. Jimin’s eyes softened as they landed on Yoongi, and he breathlessly ran towards him.

“YOONGI!”

Staggering back on instinct, Yoongi’s eyes widened with alarm. He didn’t want to topple backwards onto Namjoon and Seokjin. “Jimin, wait—“

Jimin threw his arms around Yoongi’s neck, his eyes drifting shut as he kissed Yoongi squarely on the lips.

Taehyung gasped in the background, his hands lifting his cover his mouth as Jung eyed them with wide eyes. Jin slammed into Namjoon’s back as his boyfriend stalled in his step, and Hoseok let out a loud, “OHHHHHHH,” that echoed through the hall.

But none of that mattered. Yoongi took in everything. The curve of Jimin's lips, the way their mouths slotted together and the taste of his kiss, exhilarating and chaste in the same breath. He took in the slope of Jimin's back, the swell of his hipbone and the curve of his biceps around the column of Yoongi's neck. The musk of sweat and effort, hair that glowed under the spotlight that framed bright eyes, sparkling with satisfaction and happiness.

Predictably, Yoongi stumbled back a couple of steps with Jimin's weight thrown against him. After a moment of shock ricocheted through him, he lifted his hand, cupping the back of the younger man's head as he held him still, keeping their lips pressed together. His eyes slid shut as he tasted, sampled Jimin's exuberance. And Jimin let him. It only lasted a second— probably less than that, even.

But suddenly, fiercely, greedily, Yoongi wanted.

In his mind, his brother’s words from a week ago were being echoed to him. "Yoongi," he'd said shrewdly through Skype, "you've never casually anything'ed in your life."

He wanted to scream.

As Jimin stepped back, both their faces were burning, but for different reasons. Yoongi clenched his hands into fists, his skin cold and clammy as he watched Jimin smile beatifically, still running on the adrenaline high of his solo. “Yoongi,” he said shyly, chewing on his lower lip as his club members murmured and whispered around them. “Um. I didn’t ask for permission to use your song, but I hope it’s okay. Did you like it?" He scratched the back of his neck nervously as Yoongi stared at him mutely. "I was—“

Yoongi felt his head reeling as he watched Jimin speak, hearing the dull murmur of his voice but not being able to make sense of the words that fell from his lips. Everything and everyone else fell away, his world drained of color except for Jimin. His fake boyfriend. Yoongi’s throat constricted, making it hard for him to breathe. His hand clenched over the fabric of his shirt as Jimin was momentarily distracted by a fellow club member, ducking aside with an apologetic look in his eyes.

Namjoon was the first to notice his struggle, grabbing Yoongi by the shoulder the second Jimin was otherwise occupied. “Hyung,” he said urgently with wide eyes. “Yoongi-hyung. Are you okay?”

Absently, Yoongi brushed Namjoon’s hand off his shoulder as he averted his eyes from Jimin, pain blossoming in his chest. He inhaled deeply as he pushed past his best friend, ignoring Jin’s cries for him to stop. He couldn’t look at him, at any of them, didn’t want them to look at him. As someone who knew himself, Yoongi was sure there was a rawness, a nakedness in his eyes that would give away how he’d just fucking developed real feelings for Park Jimin, his fake boyfriend.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Yoongi almost tripped over several times as he shouldered through the crowd gathered at the front of the stage, not hearing Taehyung’s shouting, or Hoseok’s pleas for him to stay. He couldn’t look at Jimin right now; he couldn’t stop. He couldn’t deal with this right now, right here. His heartbeat was ratcheting as he swallowed thickly.

Yoongi had to leave.

He snatched his bag off the seat he’d taken earlier and weaved through the audience till he reached the exit, never looking back as the doors slammed shut behind him.

Chapter Text

WEDNESDAY

Yoongi woke up at 3am, groaning.

Sitting up on the sofa, he grimaced at the stench of alcohol and hastily caught a half done can of beer before it could spill over onto the ground. He blearily stared at the empty cans, lined up haphazardly on the coffee table as he struggled to reorient himself. His mouth tasted like something had died in it, and he rubbed the crust out of his eyes.

God.

Setting the can down next to all the others - 11, a new personal best, apparently he drank well after he had anxiety attacks, good to know - Yoongi staggered to his feet and ventured to the kitchen for a glass of water, or 20. He almost toppled a stack of bowls as he reached for his favorite mug, staring at the picture of Holly printed on it till the image stopped fuzzing around the edges.

It did nothing to stop the ringing in his ears though. Yoongi palmed the side of his head, wincing at the ache in his arm as he picked up his pitcher. After drinking on an empty stomach, everything seemed to hurt. He downed some water and waited for the buzzing noise in his head to stop.

After a good few minutes of standing still and doing absolutely nothing, he felt confident enough that he wasn’t going to die if he moved. Returning to the sofa, he picked up his phone and saw that it was dead. ‘Good,’ he thought vindictively. He wasn’t going to charge it.

He left his phone on the sofa and went to his work room, eyes dully taking in the scale model that was large enough to almost spill off his desk. Briefly, he considered wrecking it and flinging it out of the window to expend some of his frustration, but he immediately lost his nerve once he remembered Jimin complimenting his personal project. With a loud groan, he sank into his computer chair and cracked his neck, kind of not wanting to think about anything at all. Especially not Jimin.

Yoongi eyed the drawer of his desk. His notebooks and pens were waiting for him, and music had never failed him before. There was a voice in his head that told him he had to eat something, that he hadn’t eaten a thing since that morning before Ji— before the showcase, but he wasn’t hungry.

He got to work instead, clenching his Pilot so violently between his fingers that he developed a blister. Words flowed from the nib like spilt ink, haphazard and clumsy, and Yoongi did not think.

*

He next opened his eyes at 2:15 in the afternoon, cheek pressed to a crumpled sheet of paper.

Yoongi looked down at his notebook and saw Jimin’s name scrawled across the top page, handwriting loopy and clearly belonging to a madman. Disgusted with himself, Yoongi ripped it from the spine and crumpled it into a ball, palming his face as he tossed it into the bin. The lyrics that were written across the pages beneath were terrible and smudged, almost illegible, but he could spot several traitorous lines declaring his sudden attraction to—

Fuck. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Yoongi wasn’t supposed to get attached.

Seung-gi’s words still taunted him. “Yoongi, you've never casually anything'ed in your life.”

Speaking of his brother, Yoongi realized he hadn’t gone on Skype yesterday. Grumbling, he searched his desk for his phone till he remembered he’d left it outside in the middle of the night. Trudging to the sofa, he picked up the dead device and stumbled to his bedroom, his unceasing headache making him sluggish. Yoongi never usually had to deal with hangovers, but when he did, they were quite possibly the worst hangovers known to man.

He made a halfhearted grab for his charger, hooking up his phone and slumping onto his bed. He didn’t want to stink up the sheets with alcohol, but he was so lazy and he didn’t want to move. Quite possibly forever. He wondered if it was possible for someone to live their whole life without leaving the house, because that sounded great right about now. Takeout existed for a reason right?

As soon as his phone powered on, a barrage of texts and missed calls came through. Yoongi made a dying noise into his pillow, unwilling to move as his phone vibrated for minutes. He waited till it stopped before peeking over the top of his pillow, cautiously taking his phone into hand and wincing at the number of texts he'd received from his friends, asking him to go back to the hall. There were several after giving up on the possibility, asking if he was alright - Jin, Namjoon and Hoseok - and a couple from Jungkook asking him why he'd left. Nothing from Taehyung. The texts that made him swallow thickly were, of course, from Jimin. Questions, apologies... They were spaced out over different lengths of time, but the last one had come at 1:03 in the morning.

PARK.J: I'm sorry

'It's not you,' Yoongi wanted to reply as he clenched his teeth, but he couldn't. Instead, he closed the chat he had with Jimin and checked on the numerous messages his brother had sent, each getting increasingly worried.

MIN.S: yoongi-yah where are you
MIN.S: I'm on Skype
MIN.S: are you too busy for your hyung now that you've gotten a boyfriend
MIN.S: ahhhh seriously
MIN.S: Yoongi, is everything ok
MIN.S: did something happen, you dont usually miss our Skype calls...
MIN.S: okay it's been hours now and you havent read this
MIN.S: I'm getting worried since you usually check your phone a lot
MIN.S: call me when you read this

Dutifully - mostly guiltily - he keyed in his brother's number and put a call through to him using his Skype app. It was unlikely Seung-gi would be online since it was still during the day in Shenzhen - Seoul was only an hour ahead - but he had to at least try. To Yoongi's surprise, the call only rang a few times before Seung-gi's icon lit up. He put the phone to his ear. "Hyung?"

"Yoongi, are you okay?" His brother asked immediately, sounding winded. "Wait, hang on, let me get my earpiece."

"What made you think I wasn't?" Yoongi asked carefully after a brief pause, propping himself up against the headboard of his bed. "And aren't you busy? It's the middle of the day there too, isn't it?"

Seung-gi sighed. "Yoongi, you haven't missed Tuesdays on Skype for more than a year," he said drily, his voice slightly more distant now that he was speaking through a microphone instead of directly to the receiver. "The last time you missed it, you were depressed because your student sprained his hand a day before his recital."

Yoongi winced, remembering Si Won's unfortunate soccer incident at school. "You didn't see how upset he was," he said defensively. "And I wasn't depressed."

"You're an old man trapped in the body of a 23 year old, and you value routine more than you do morning coffee," Seung-gi retorted. His voice softened as he calmed down. "Yoongi-yah, I'm your brother, so don't ice me out when something is bothering you. Shouldn't you feel safe talking to me about things when you feel upset?" Seung-gi sounded almost desperate as he spoke to Yoongi through the phone, millions of miles away in a foreign country. Yoongi felt guilt weighing down his shoulders at the obvious concern Seung-gi was showing for him, knowing that his family members usually shied away from discussions like this. "What happened?"

Yoongi picked at his nails nervously. He hadn't told his brother the whole truth about what was going on with Jimin, and he didn't know what to say that would reassure his brother he was fine, even if he wasn't. Eventually, he decided to go with the truth, once again omitting the finer details of his and Jimin's original arrangement. "I— You know about Jimin," he started quietly. There was no response, but that was probably because Seung-gi was just nodding and giving Yoongi some room to parse his thoughts before he spoke. "I think— I think I might be getting a little too deep into this casual relationship with him." He winced as the silence continued. "I know it sounds dumb, that I'm worried about developing real feelings for my boyfriend, but it's really supposed to be a casual relationship— Very casual, I cannot emphasize how casual this was supposed to be. If Earth were a committed relationship, this was supposed to be Pluto, or like, Pluto's moon, so I'm just sitting here and—"

"Yoongi-yah, you're rambling," his brother cut in, making Yoongi shut his damn mouth with an audible click of his jaw. With a heavy sigh, Seung-gi spoke slowly, and hesitantly. "Was this, ah— Was this thing with Jimin just supposed to be some kind of... Sex... Thing?"

Yoongi's eyes widened. "What the fuck?!" He explained, pulling a horrified face. "Hyung, no! What the— How did you—"

"I DON'T KNOW," Seung-gi roared down the line, making Yoongi recoil from his phone at the sheer volume of his brother's voice, "maybe it was the way you overstated the CASUAL thing, it just sounded pretty fucking dodgey, okay?! How am I supposed to know!?"

They took a minute to breathe and calm down. Both Min brothers were easily excited about stupid things, but they tired easily too.

"Anyway," his brother continued, "I don't see the problem. Even if you like him, since you're dating, why not go all out? You know," Yoongi could just imagine his brother doing the wriggly finger thing on the other end of the line, "buy the guy some flowers. Or new sneakers, I don't know. Write him a fucking song. Woo him, or whatever."

Because he wasn't fucking supposed to. "It just— It wasn't supposed to happen this way. I wasn't—" Yoongi tried to explain, stumbling and sounding extremely lame even to his own ears. He tried to think of a better way to express himself, his brow furrowed. "It's like— You and Hyun-mi noona... When you first met, do you remember what you told me?"

"I saw her across the courtroom, it was like This Love by Shinhwa started playing," Seung-gi droned tonelessly. Yoongi had made fun of him enough times by echoing his words that it didn't even faze him anymore. "Every spring of my lifetime arrived simultaneously, it was like everyone in the room could hear my heart pounding and I could see flowers around her face— Wait." His brother sounded shocked as he tried to process what Yoongi was saying. "Are you telling me— Yoongi-yah, you saw flowers around Jimin's face?"

Yoongi wrinkled his nose. "No? What the— No." Gross. More than flower petals or anything dumb like that, Yoongi had seen something blossom inside of Park Jimin during his showcase. Jimin had given the stage everything he had, dedicated his time and voice and body and soul to it, and it had set the artist in Yoongi aflame. Yoongi grit his teeth as he remembered the moment he'd recognized First Love playing in the large convention hall, the cadence of his own voice burning in his ears as Jimin danced on the stage. There was just something about it that had him spellbound, emotional and motionless at the same time. "No. It was— Not like that. But I felt— It was like the air changed." Thickened. Suffocated him. That was why he had run away, Yoongi thought bitterly, guilt dragging his shoulders down.

Seung-gi sounded thoughtful. "It sounds the same to me," he said quietly. "What you have with Jimin. It sounds the same as what I had with Hyun-mi when I started falling for her." He paused for a long moment, obviously waiting for some kind of response. "... Yoongi?"

"I don't know what to do," Yoongi blurted, chewing on the inside of his cheek as he palmed his face tiredly. Seung-gi didn't even know the full story, and he already sounded so sympathetic. What would have happened if Yoongi had told him everything? God, this was so fucking embarrassing. "It's only been a day, and I don't know what to do, hyung."

"Oh my god, we've talked about this before; are you pulling an abeoji?" Seung-gi deadpanned, making Yoongi curl up a little. "Are you hiding from your feelings again?"

"I might have locked myself into my apartment for the past..." Yoongi checked the clock. "... 26 hours." Hiding from his feelings was Yoongi's expertise. He was a pro. Jin had once told him that if refusing to acknowledge the existence of one's emotions were a sport, Yoongi would probably bring back the gold for Korea. He'd been defensive with Jin then, but in light of recent events, he couldn't really disagree with his hyung's assessment anymore. "I don't know what to say to him. I didn't even stay to tell him he did a good job at his showcase..." Lethargic and stressed, he clawed at his face and groaned. "I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing right now, but I'm really sure I'm not doing it. At this point, it feels like failure is my best option."

His brother seemed equally as exhausted. "Look," Seung-gi murmured sadly, "I know you, and I know you wouldn't want to - and probably for some stupid reason or another - but you should tell him." There was a short pause, before, "Yoongi. You're my little brother. If there's a chance for you to find happiness, why wouldn't you take it?"

'Because I don't deserve someone like Park Jimin,' Yoongi thought silently, his phone pressed to his ear. 'Because none of this was supposed to be real. I'm the stupid fuckhead who developed feelings for my fake boyfriend, and now I've got a shitty crush on someone I can't even bear to text out of sheer guilt.' But he didn't say that to Seung-gi. He didn't say anything.

He didn't know what to say anymore.

*

It was so stupid that Yoongi felt lonely; you couldn't lose someone when you never had them in the first place.

He didn't check his phone after the call with Seung-gi, firmly and childishly ignoring every buzz it produced. Eventually it got too difficult to be in the same room with the damn thing without it setting off his nerves, so he left it in his room and headed out to watch some TV in his living room. He'd hoped that the sound of some program or another would quell the static noise in his head, but he'd had no luck there.

His doorbell sounded at around 8 in the evening, but Yoongi didn't get up. He burrowed under the throw blanket he'd thrown around himself somewhere in the middle of watching a rerun of One Piece, hoping whoever the hell it was would fuck off.

"Hyung?"

Yoongi grumbled under his breath. Why was Hoseok even here? "Go away," he whined in a whisper, covering his face with a pillow and grimacing.

Hoseok sighed dramatically on the other side of his front door. "Hyung, I know you're in there." There was a rustle of plastic as Yoongi stubbornly ignored him, keeping his silence. "I brought you coffee, but I'm going to throw it on your door if you don't open it."

Yoongi waited for a long time before peeking over the pillow, feeling ridiculous but hoping that Hoseok was had taken the hint and left. Just then, he heard the sound of a drink cap being lifted.

He threw the sheets off and bolted to the door, because no matter how he didn't want to meet anyone for the next 100 years, he valued the spotless record he had with his landlord. Having your front door drenched in coffee was liable to change something about that. "You're so fucking annoying," he hissed at Hoseok, who grinned as he refastened the lid on the takeaway coffee cup in his hands.

"Hey, I bought you coffee. You're the one being rude; I knew you were at home."

"Why are you even here," Yoongi deadpanned, turning on his heel and retreating back into his apartment.

"To make sure you haven't somehow managed to wallow yourself into a pit so deep it burrows all the way through the earth to America?" Hoseok grinned, completely nonplussed with Yoongi's attitude. He closed the door behind himself and toed off his shoes carefully. His face sobered as he caught sight of the beer cans Yoongi had yet to dispose of in the trash bin. All 11 of them. "Oh. Hyung..."

"Don't you 'hyung' me," Yoongi backed away nervously, his hands raised protectively in front of him. Fuck, he should have tossed the trash out earlier.

Hoseok set the takeaway cup of coffee on the breakfast counter and spread his arms. "Does someone need a hug?"

"No," Yoongi shut his down drily, tiredly lifting his hands and making an X with them. "Someone is fine, someone has never been better. Someone does not need a hug— Fuck damn it Hoseok,” he groaned, getting pulled into one anyway. His back cracked as Hoseok tightened his grip and lifted him up, making Yoongi yelp. He flailed helplessly like a fish till Hoseok set him down on the ground again with an apologetic look on his face.

“Sorry, I keep forgetting how frail you are, gramps.”

“Call me gramps again, you refugee from the NBA,” Yoongi glowered, pressing his hand to the small of his back. He hobbled over to the sofa and collapsed on top of his blanket. “Well? What did you want?”

“To see how you were holding up after realizing you have a thing for our Jiminie,” Hoseok said bluntly, sinking down onto the couch next to Yoongi with a grunt. Yoongi wasn’t even going to argue with Hoseok; first of all, it was probably pointless, and second of all, it was also true. “Seriously though,” he turned to Yoongi with a frown, “you don’t look okay. You've got eye bags Amy Winehouse would pay to have—"

"Don't speak of the dead like that," Yoongi retorted on instinct, pushing Hoseok's hand aside when he lifted it to touch Yoongi's face. "Oh my god, I'm fine, can you not?"

"You look like the dead, and you reek of alcohol. I bet you haven't eaten a thing." Hoseok grimaced at him disapprovingly. "Everyone’s been worried; Jimin didn’t step into the studio today, not even once.”

Even after knowing him for only a fortnight, Yoongi knew that missing any opportunity to practice was rare for the dancer. His heart clenched with guilt. “… I’ll be fine,” he mumbled, averting his eyes from Hoseok. “I just— It’s stupid, but I just can’t see him right now.” He couldn’t even reply to Jimin’s texts.

“Honestly, Jin-hyung told me to give it at least a day before I came over, but I was really concerned,” Hoseok confessed with a sigh, throwing an arm around Yoongi. “You should tell Jimin, hyung. He wouldn’t reject you.”

Okay, this was exactly the opposite of what Yoongi needed to hear. He sighed at Hoseok. “Look,” he said through grit teeth, trying to remain calm. “I’ve known the guy for coming to two weeks. We’ve hung out, we’ve held hands, we've kissed, but we both knew from the start that it wasn’t real. Even if, by some miracle, Park Jimin wants to continue hanging out with me after Chuseok is over, it was never supposed to turn out like this.” He rubbed his eyes with the heels of his palms, inexplicably tired. “It’s a fake relationship, Hoseok, heavy emphasis on the fake. He chose me because I was convenient and a stranger, for fuck’s sake.” He shrugged Hoseok’s arm off his shoulder and buried his face in his hands. “I just can’t deal with this right now, okay? If you’re going to say shit like that, just go.”

Hoseok looked at him sadly. “Why are you so afraid?” He asked quietly, looking down at his hands.

Yoongi leaned back, his head tipping over the back of the couch. “I don’t know, maybe it’s because I haven’t had feelings for someone else in years? And of all the fucking people in Seoul, Park Jimin? Really?” He laughed drily, his throat aching. “What the hell did you think was going to happen between the two of us? I have better chances of being in a relationship with Luffy.”

“Luffy isn’t real,” Hoseok pointed out, looking confused.

Yoongi stared at him in disbelief. “Yes, Hoseok,” he said slowly, like he was talking to a dense child. Or Taehyung, sometimes. “I’m aware of that.”

“Oh— Ohhh.” Hoseok ran his hand through his hair, ducking his head and looking sheepish at not having understood Yoongi’s analogy earlier. He seemed frustrated as he struggled for words. “I— I just don’t think you should keep it to yourself. If you feel something for him, I mean.” He lifted his hand before Yoongi could interject, regarding him sternly. “Why else would he have danced to your song?”

“I don’t know Hoseok, okay?” Yoongi admitted loudly, throwing his arms up as he stared at his friend. He laughed bitterly. “Fuck, if I knew maybe I wouldn’t have fucking flipped my shit? Ran out of there like someone had set fire to my ass? What the hell—" He raked his hair back with a wild look in his eyes. "I suddenly find out I’ve got feelings for the guy I’m fake dating, it’s not supposed to be a big fucking deal? I'm going out of my fucking mind here!"

“Why do you keep saying fake dating?!” Hoseok exclaimed, his brows drawn together. “Throwing around the word fake like that, what if it could be rea—“

“BECAUSE IT IS FAKE!” Yoongi yelled, slamming his hand down on his coffee table. His palm was stinging, and silence stretched between him and Hoseok for a long time. He took in a deep breath, trying to chill the fuck out. The last thing he wanted to do was to take this out on someone else, someone who was just trying to help. “It’s not real, and it isn't magically going to be just because I like the guy now, okay?" That just wasn't how life worked. Hoseok was just too positive to see things his way, but Yoongi was a pragmatic guy. He didn't believe in fairy tales and people like Park Jimin falling into his lap from the goddamn sky.

Hoseok was quiet for a long time. "... Are you going to back out of your deal with him?" He asked under his breath, solemn and serious.

"No," Yoongi replied immediately and without hesitation, because he wasn't a fucking asshole. He'd made a promise, and he'd always aspired to be the kind of guy that kept his promises. "I'm not going to back out. I just— I need some time before I see him again."

"At least try to reply our texts or calls?" Hoseok pleaded, glancing at Yoongi. "Jin-hyung will cry."

The key word was try. Yoongi nodded, and they sat in an awkward silence till Hoseok stood up.

"This is for you," he said, holding out a CD to Yoongi. "Jimin burned the videos you took of our solos into it; the tracks are on there, too." He hesitated before gripping Yoongi's shoulder and giving it a tight squeeze.

Yoongi took it hesitantly, staring at Jimin's neat handwriting on the label as Hoseok showed himself out without another word.

for Yoongi-hyung

Even though they'd only met for a couple of weeks, it felt like a long time since Jimin had attached an honorific to his name. Yoongi wanted to break something.


THURSDAY

Yoongi hadn’t slept, instead barreling through four essays overnight. He couldn’t remember a single thing he’d written, but that was okay. He was okay. He was totally fine.

When the doorbell rang at 10:16 in the morning, he shuffled to the let Namjoon and Jin in with a mild grumble. He’d been prepared to see them today, and he didn’t have the energy to ask them to fuck off. Instead, he unlocked his door and padded back towards his work room in two layers of socks.

“Nope,” Namjoon quipped, quickly snatching Yoongi by the collar and dragging him towards the couch. “You are going to take part in this conversation, hyung.”

“I’m exercising my ‘I don’t want to’ card,” Yoongi complained, almost skidding on his floor as he was hauled across his own apartment. “God damn it— Namjoon— Jin-hyung, can you please control your fucking man—“

“Put him down on the left side of the sofa, it’s closer to the kitchen,” Jin said sweetly to his boyfriend, completely ignoring Yoongi as he pulled out a boxed lunch. “I’m going to heat this up.”

Yoongi wrinkled his nose. He wasn’t hungry. In fact, he felt a little nauseous just smelling Jin’s food, which was strange considering the aroma of his friend’s cooking was usually enough to make any man salivate. “I’m good,” he held up his hand. “I don’t think I’ll eat right now.”

Seokjin paused, turning a frown onto Yoongi. “When was the last time you ate?” He asked shrewdly.

“Just a little while ago,” Yoongi said proudly, because he’d been prepared for their visit and he knew Seokjin was going to ask. He’d managed to choke down a couple of biscuits earlier without gagging. Yoongi was great at telling the truth— Though the truth was often somewhat self-engineered. “I can feed myself.”

“Can you also be in a relationship by yourself?” Namjoon snorted, flopping down next to Yoongi.

“I’ve been in a relationship with my hand for the past 23 years,” Yoongi deadpanned.

“Blatantly untrue,” Seokjin called out from the kitchen as he searched Yoongi’s kitchen for some tea. He gave up shortly after, not knowing why he still searched for something that didn't exist; Yoongi was a diehard coffee maniac, and there was never tea in his apartment. “You’ve had boyfriends. Didn’t you have one in freshman year?”

“For two weeks. Foreign exchange student, Alexei,” Yoongi said carefully. He scowled and covered his face with a pillow. “Still can’t pronounce it right.”

“Russian names are tough,” Namjoon hummed.

Jin sat down on Yoongi’s other side. The combined level of parenting in the room went through the roof with Yoongi sandwiched between these two fucking giants. “Okay,” he said pleasantly. “Let’s talk about what happened on Tuesday.”

"Let's not," Yoongi replied flatly. "I'd put it down to a democratic vote, but I'm outnumbered here."

"If you know you're outnumbered, we were going to get there eventually," Namjoon pointed out sharply. "Can you just - god, like, for once - talk about your feelings?"

"What feelings?" Yoongi deflected, his fingers playing with a corner of his cushion. "I have no feelings. I am a rock. There are no emotions to speak of if you're an inanimate object."

Jin slapped Yoongi on the thigh, making him wince. "Be serious. Jimin tried not to show it, but he was really devastated that you left." His lips were downturned with disapproval as Yoongi sagged into his sofa, wishing it could swallow him up whole. "You're lucky Taehyungie was there to reassure him that he hadn't done anything wrong."

Namjoon frowned. "Not that it helped that much; the guy still looked dejected as hell." He rounded on Yoongi. "We've known you for awhile now, but it's hard for people like Jiminie to be understanding with the way you just took off so suddenly. He's only just gotten to know you."

Seokjin sighed up at the ceiling. "What are you going to do about this mess?"

Yoongi shifted uncomfortably. He hated knowing he'd done that to Jimin, but he'd needed some time to come to terms with the dawning realization of how badly he'd fucked up. "I'll talk to him," he promised quietly. "Clear things up properly. Just not right now."

"When, then?" Namjoon scowled, abruptly angry. "It's not right for you to hide from Jimin like this; if you like him then why can't you just make it clear?"

Yoongi stared at him, his brows furrowing. Why the hell was Namjoon getting so riled up? "I don't understand why you need me to spell it out for you. I can't just tell Jimin I like him; did you forget the promise I made to him?" Bitterly, he glowered at his reflection on the screen. "He wanted a no-strings-attached thing; he even told me he asked me because I was a stranger."

"Even if he did say that, and I'm not entirely sure he did," Jin replied carefully, "wouldn't it still be possible for the both of you to have a successful relationship if you both like each other? Why don't you just talk it out with him?"

Yoongi scoffed, getting up to get a glass of water. He hated being ganged up on by Namjoon and Jin like this— it warped the comfortable relationship he had with them into something awkward and unfamiliar. "Me, confess to Park Jimin." He laughed drily, ducking around the counter. "You were all there; we all saw how amazing he was. What would a guy like that want with a guy like me?" He shook his head. "You know, Hoseok came over and made the same joke yesterday."

"It wasn't a fucking joke," Namjoon blurted angrily, glaring at Yoongi over the back of the couch. "Maybe he likes you, but you're a coward who doesn't want to take a chance and find out."

"Yeah, that's me," Yoongi spat sarcastically, suddenly furious. What the fuck was this shit? Namjoon and Jin weren't usually this pushy with him; they knew him better than anyone. "I'm the one trying to keep my promise to the guy and I'm a fucking coward, sue me." He grabbed a glass and slammed it down on the counter, grimacing at it when the bottom cracked. "How the fuck do you think the world works? Jimin's going to suddenly change his mind because I'm attracted to him?" He flailed his arm, searching his cupboard for a plastic cup. "Do you think we all live in some kind of drama?"

Seokjin lifted his hands, his eyes filled with worry as he watched them begin to raise their voices. "Guys—"

"Don't talk to me about how the world works," Namjoon seethed, ignoring his boyfriend and getting up. "You talk so much shit about yourself, you're neck deep in crap that isn't even true now." He slammed a hand down on Yoongi's breakfast counter. "In the end, it all boils down to your shitty self esteem, doesn't it? You don't think Jimin will accept it if you confess you like him for real." It wasn't a question as much as it was a statement.

Fuck the water. Yoongi abandoned his search for a cup, glaring daggers at his best friend. "I don't know to be a genius to figure out the difference between guys like me and guys like Park Jimin," he snarled, his hands curled into fists. "And you better watch your tongue, Namjoon. I don't think I like you shading me like that in my own fucking house."

Seokjin grabbed Namjoon by the arm. "Can you both calm down?" He pleaded, but Namjoon was already turning on his heel.

"This is what happens when we drop it and let you continue thinking about yourself the way you do," Namjoon snapped. He stalked over to the door and grabbed his bag from the ground. "We've always tried to tell you how wrong you are when you talk yourself down, but you've never taken us seriously." He glared at the back of Yoongi's head from the doorway, clearly ready to leave as he picked up a sock. "I'm sick of it; everyone is. It's almost like you're trying not to be happy."

'This is the only way I know how to be,' Yoongi wanted to scream. He wasn't being self deprecatory in his opinion, he was just being realistic. Still, this had been a longstanding argument between him and Namjoon, and he should've known his words would dissolve their conversation into a fight. He turned around quickly, not wanting to end things on a bad note when his friends were just worried. "Look, Namjoon—"

Too late. Namjoon was gone, and Jin was gathering his things to rush after him. "I'll calm him down," Seokjin promised, leveling Yoongi with a sad and disappointed look in his eyes. He looked like he was going to say something following Namjoon's parting words, but relented watching Yoongi's shoulders slump. "... Reheat the food later, and don't forget to eat it," he reminded quietly instead, before he rushed out of the house. The door slammed shut behind him.

Yoongi grabbed the broken glass and shattered it in his sink, breathing harshly as he let out his frustration.

He fucking hated fighting with Joonie.

*

The last thing Yoongi expected late at night - this night - was for wrath to descend upon his doorstep in the form of Jeon Jungkook, but apparently that was just his luck today.

To the maknae's credit, things hadn't exactly started out that way. Yoongi had peered through the peephole and flung open the door immediately, because Yoongi wasn't that cold hearted of a bastard, not even when he was pissed off. He growled at a thoroughly drenched Jungkook, harshly silhouetted by the ongoing storm. "Are you fucking insane?! Didn't you bring an umbrella?”

Jungkook's hair was plastered to the side of his head. He sniffed mildly. "I'm okay," he said, a little petulantly. He took Yoongi's lack of further response as an invitation and sidestepped him, carefully taking off his sodden shoes. "It only started raining after I left the dorm."

"It's almost midnight, the real question is why you left in the first place," Yoongi scowled, yanking Jungkook back by the shoulder when the kid attempted to step further into the apartment. "Oh no you don't. You're not dripping all over my floor with half of Han River in your pockets. Wait here." He jerked past Jungkook to his room, wiping his damp hand on his pants as he picked out two of his largest and thickest towels.

Jungkook was plucking at his shirt with a little frown when he returned. He didn't even flinch when Yoongi threw both towels over his head. "I'm fine hyung," he sighed, wrapping one of the towels around himself and drying his arms as Yoongi tsked in irritation. Jungkook dipped his head as Yoongi toweled his hair dry, closing his eyes.

"I'm fine hyung, I'm just going to get hypothermia and die overnight hyung," Yoongi mocked Jungkook sarcastically, making the younger sigh. He pushed the maknae towards the kitchen once he was satisfied the kid was dry enough, pausing by the control panel and turning up the central heating by a few degrees. "What the hell couldn't wait? You could have called—"

Jungkook rounded on his heel, a flat look in his eyes. "Hyung, if you were answering your phone, I'd still be at home with Tae-hyung and Jimin-hyung."

Ah, right. Yoongi scratched his cheek awkwardly, sagging against the kitchen counter and gesturing for Jungkook to sit on one of the high chairs. "Okay. I'm sorry. I just... Needed some time on my own; it happens once in awhile." Technically, he wasn't lying.

Jungkook wasn't buying it though; he shot Yoongi a blatantly unimpressed look. "Jimin-hyung kissed you and you ran away," he said blandly, making Yoongi sigh because yeah, that's exactly what happened, and it was just as lame as it sounded. "He was worried about you. He's been in Tae-hyung's room when he isn't at practice, and he's been sleeping there for some reason."

Yoongi frowned. "He's been going to practice?"

"I'm guessing he can't put his entire life on hold because his boyfriend freaked out over a kiss, hyung," Jungkook said savagely, plucking a tissue from a box on the counter and blowing his nose.

To a degree, Yoongi deserved that. "It's just— Hoseok stopped by yesterday, and he mentioned—" he waved a hand dismissively, sighing. "Forget it. I guess you have something important to tell me?" Something that warranted Jungkook coming out in the middle of the fucking night in the rain, at least.

Jungkook roughly toweled his own hair, his face hidden behind the fabric. "Hyung," he said quietly, "do you like Jimin?"

Yoongi swallowed thickly, stilling against the counter. Jungkook was Jimin's best friend. He should probably lie about this, but Jungkook was surprisingly perceptive when Taehyung wasn't around to distract him. Yoongi knew that the maknae would call him on his bullshit too; that was just the kind of person Jeon Jungkook was— straightforward and earnest. Yoongi usually appreciated those qualities in people, but it was rough having it turned against him like this. "You can't tell him," he murmured instead of answering, looking at the magnets on his fridge and resisting the urge to fiddle with one. "You shouldn't."

"Why not?" Jungkook asked, finally lifting his head. He rubbed his nose with a blank face, obviously confused. "I won't tell him, because I think things like that should be said properly and in person, but you should. He'd want to know."

Yoongi was getting seriously tired of having this conversation; it was like everyone lived on a different planet. "Because that wasn't the arrangement we had, Jungkook," he sighed, rounding the breakfast counter and walking to his living room. He sat down on the sofa and waved the younger over. "We agreed that I'd help him come out to his family, and after that we'd go our separate ways. Just because I like him doesn't mean that anything about my promise to him has changed."

"Isn't that just what you think?" Jungkook commented, joining Yoongi shortly. Outside, the rain slowed to a light drizzle. "You're not replying his texts; he thinks you don't want to see him again."

Yoongi palmed his face tiredly. "I'll talk to him," he promised, echoing his words to Jin and Namjoon. "Seriously. That's not it, I just—" He groaned into his hands. "Jungkook, it's not that simple. I left because if I stayed, I'd probably have done something fucked up and stupid." Like confess. Or never stop kissing Jimin. "I needed to figure my shit out; it's not like there's a handbook out there to tell me what to do when I've started developing real feelings for my fake boyfriend."

"Even if there was a handbook, I don't think that many people would need to buy it," Jungkook added quietly. He was standing up, not wanting to wet Yoongi's couch, but his posture also suggested that he didn't intend to stay long— that he was just here to deliver a message.

The kid was being unnaturally snarky today. Yoongi narrowed his eyes at Jungkook. "You're mad at me," he guessed.

Jungkook leveled Yoongi with a distant stare. "Obviously," he said blandly. Yoongi winced. "Jimin-hyung is my best friend. And though I don't say things like this often, he's one of the nicest and kindest people I know." Absently, Jungkook played with the strings of his hoodie. "I— I think you should talk to him soon."

"So I've been told, by everyone and their grandmother in Korea," Yoongi deadpanned, burying his face in his hands. "I already said I would, okay? I know you're defensive of Jimin, and—"

"Oh, if it's defensiveness, I'm not the one you need to be worried about, hyung," Jungkook interrupted, his eyes downcast. He lifted his head to nail Yoongi to the sofa with a piecing stare. "Of course it's true that I'm protective of Jimin-hyung. It's normal for friends to worry about each other. But the one you need to be worried about isn't me; it's Tae-hyung."

"Tae?" Yoongi lifted an eyebrow. Come to think of it, he hadn't yet received a single call or text from Taehyung, which was pretty unusual. The kid was usually calling him to hang out or do something every other day. Was this radio silence a sign that the kid was genuinely upset with him for running off the way he did? Fuck. "What about him?"

"Tae-hyung and Jimin-hyung are very close. They've been together even before the start of high school," Jungkook explained patiently. Yoongi knew this; Jungkook had only gotten to know Taehyung and Jimin after he'd transferred into their high school in the second year. "We always make fun of him and he's usually the type that goofs off, but Tae-hyung is very different when he's angry."

"Taehyung gets angry?" Yoongi lifted an eyebrow. He'd never seen Tae angry before, and he'd never actually thought about what it would be like if he was. That must be some crazy shit; people like Taehyung were emotional wildcards. Happy all the time, and then the one time they weren't, the world went up in flames or something. Yoongi wouldn't want to know what that was like, but it seemed he'd find out if he didn't do something about this whole thing with Jimin soon.

Jungkook nodded solemnly. "And he's protective of both me and Jimin-hyung." His eyes were narrowed as he turned to look at Yoongi. "I'm not going to beat around the bush, but if you hurt Jimin-hyung more than you already have—"

Something about the maknae getting riled up rubbed Yoongi the wrong way. It was just that rare to see Jungkook genuinely upset. "I didn't mean to hurt him," he said with a frown, rubbing the back of his neck. "It's not like I would intentionally—"

Jungkook had a distant look in his eyes, like he was a completely different person. "If you like him, then do something about it," he declared. Yoongi was beginning to get pissed off, having this thrown in his face thrice in two days now. "All this fake relationship stuff... Don't you get tired of saying it all the time—"

"Then what about you?" Yoongi cut him off with a growl, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees. He glared up at Jungkook balefully, pushed off the edge. "You come over here in the middle of the night, start spewing all this love advice to me, and you're still not going to do a thing about you and Taehyung?" Shit. Shit. What had he just said.

Jungkook's eyes narrowed to slits. "What do you mean?" He asked quietly.

Fuck. Yoongi really needed to shut up. "Stop fucking dancing around each other and talk about whatever the hell you two have already," he blurted instead, years of frustration coloring his words. "Don't you know by now that you two love each other? Do you know how— How frustrating, it is to see you two together, with nothing happening?"

Jungkook's eyes were wide with surprise. "Hyung," he started uncertainly, "I don't know what you're talking about, but I don't think—"

Shit, Jin was going to wring his neck for breaking the promise. Well, in for a penny, in for a pound. Since Yoongi had gone this far... "Don't give me that bullshit, Jeon Jungkook. You want to come over and aggressively tell me how to relationship, well here's some advice for you." He got up and grabbed Jungkook by the shoulder, his other hand raised to poke the taller kid in the chest. "Why don't you go back home and think, just for a second before you sleep tonight, how you'd feel if it was someone else doing the things you do with Taehyung." Yoongi was going to see something come out of this argument, if they were having it. He was going to introduce Jeon Jungkook to a nasty little thing called introspection. "If it was someone else holding him around the waist, someone else spending all that time with him and someone else taking care of him when he's wasted. Someone else waiting up for him and sleeping in the same bed."

"Jimin-hyung does all of that," Jungkook pointed out, but he was starting to look a little hesitant.

Yoongi groaned into his hands, stepping back as he rubbed his face. "I meant anyone else, you idiot. A stranger; someone you haven't met before." He watched as Jungkook's expression began to change, guilty but finding some pleasure in finally telling the maknae what all the of them had been holding back for years. "Yeah. What's it like being told you have no idea how to deal with your romantic life? Not so fun, is it?"

Jungkook's face was ashen when he next spoke, but his voice was still steady as he removed the towels from his head and shoulders. "I don't know what you're trying to say," and this made Yoongi snort, "but my point in coming here was to tell you not to hurt Jimin-hyung, that's all." He dropped the towels on the table and turned around to leave, his lips pulled tight into a thin line.

Yoongi had already said he wasn't going to hurt Jimin, and that he was going to resolve things with him. "Are you threatening me, Jeon Jungkook?" He asked instead.

"No, hyung, this is me warning you," Jungkook answered easily as he pulled his boots on. He stood up and glanced at Yoongi before he left to go home. "If I were threatening you, you'd know."

*

2:16am.

Yoongi had been pensive since Jungkook left, but this was just icing on top of the cake.

PARK.J: i want to talk to you about something important. Can we meet up

Jimin was probably going to tell him he was done with their arrangement. Yoongi buried his head in his arms, exhausted and stressed. He couldn't remember the last time he'd eaten, and his skin was pallid from a lack of sleep. Hoseok had been right about his eye bags, and he was seriously fucking shit up with Jimin here.

Yoongi had to fix this.


FRIDAY

He woke up oddly refreshed, though still at his desk with his face pressed against a notebook.

Leaning back into his computer chair, Yoongi yawned and blinked blearily, uncertain of what time he'd passed out. But he knew one thing; that he was going to man the fuck up and talk to Jimin today. Tell him that their deal was still on, talk him down from going to Chuseok at his family's alone. Apologize. It was the least he could do after hurting Jimin like this. And then he was going to compliment the shit out of him for his amazing performance during the showcase.

He groggily stumbled to his feet, heading to his bedroom to change as he checked the messages on his phone.

KIM.N: im sorry.
KIM.N: i shouldn't have shouted at you

Sighing, Yoongi set his phone aside and sniffed his shirt with a grimace. Had he changed even once since he'd drank a couple of days ago? He grabbed a towel off his laundry rack and decided to take a shower. A long and thorough one.

By the time he was done, it was almost ten in the morning. Yoongi chewed on a breath mint as he washed Jin's Tupperware— the one his friend had brought food in for him when he visited with Namjoon. That, reheated, had been a good breakfast. It was a shame he had to throw out the coffee Hoseok brought for him, but it had gone stale with a thick layer of foam covering the top. He picked his phone off the counter as he prepared to leave, grabbing his leather jacket off the back of his couch.

MIN.Y: dont be sorry
MIN.Y: this time, it's on me to apologize

He was just about to put his earbuds into his ear when his phone rang. He picked it up, pressing it to his ear. "Hello?"

"Oh, thank god," Namjoon's voice was dripping with relief. "Because you were such an asshole, but I hate it when we fight."

Yoongi laughed drily as he wrapped a scarf around his neck. "Fuck off, you jerk." He grabbed his keys off a peg and turned the lock of his door, leaving the house. "Are you guys at school?"

"You're leaving your shrine of self pity and shame? Already?" Namjoon sighed. "It hasn't been a week yet. Looks like I owe Jin lunch."

"You bet on my disappearance from society?" Yoongi snorted. Somehow, bantering with Namjoon bolstered him. "And you only bet lunch?"

"It seemed a little cruel to put money on it," Namjoon responded, totally cavalier. It was like all the tension that existed between them disappeared; that was usually how their arguments tended to resolve themselves. It was surprisingly easy to make up with Namjoon. "Jin and I are on our way to the uni cafe, Hoseok has a new addition to the menu."

Coffee didn't sound like a bad idea. And Yoongi owed Hoseok an apology anyway. "Tell him I'm coming too," he said, keying the button of the elevator. "I'll be there in 20."

"Got it. See you, hyung." Namjoon hung up in the middle of telling Jin that Yoongi would be joining them.

Yoongi entered the lift, typing out a text to Jimin.

MIN.Y: where are you?

He looked down at his phone, LIE blasting in his ears on repeat. The number of times he'd watched it on his computer, he could see Jimin dancing to it if he just closed his eyes.

MIN.Y: I want to see you.

*

Jimin hadn't responded, even by the time Yoongi had reached the cafe.

He nodded at a couple of regulars he saw, though they immediately turned away from him and whispered between themselves. Frowning at the sight, he glanced around the cafe and found several people glancing at him, only to turn back to their friends when he caught them staring. Warily, he made his way over to the usual table Jin and Namjoon preferred, finding Hoseok together with the pair. "Hey," he said a little awkwardly, removing his earphones and coiling them around his fingers.

Hoseok turned on his heel and threw an arm around Yoongi. "Hyung, you made it." He was grinning brightly.

"I said I'd come," Yoongi said, relief coloring his words. He patted Hoseok's shoulder and sighed as he stepped back. "Listen, about what happened on Wednesday..."

"Don't even worry about it," Hoseok said seriously, shaking his head. "Honestly, I just wanted to drop off the CD. But..." His eyes wandered around the cafe distractedly as he leaned in to stage whisper, "you should know that uh, your kiss with Jimin's a pretty hot topic right now. The people who were there are running their mouths... It looks like you both went into hiding as well."

"Well, it looks like Jimin went into hiding. Being antisocial is just Yoongi-hyung's default state," Namjoon corrected. He grinned when Yoongi pulled a face at him.

"No one's seen Jimin?" Jin frowned, cocking his head as he looked up at Hoseok. "At all?"

"No one but Taehyung and Jungkookie, I think," Namjoon contributed, lifting an eyebrow as he turned to Yoongi. "Have you texted him? I mean, I assumed since you crawled out of your cave, you're ready to talk to him."

Yoongi ignored the jibes there, mostly because they were true. "I already texted him, but he hasn't replied." He picked up his phone worriedly, staring at the time. "It's been half an hour, but we usually don't take this long to reply each other."

"Try calling him," Hoseok suggested, turning on his heel to return to his place behind the counter. "I'll bring your usual order. I'm ending in another 10, so I'll try to look for Jimin with you guys after if you haven't found him by then." He waved and slipped away jauntily.

Yoongi dialed Jimin's number - and when had he memorized that, exactly? - and lifted the phone to his ear. 'It's ringing,' he mouthed to Jin and Namjoon as they sipped their coffee.

But the person who picked up wasn't Jimin at all. "Hello." Taehyung sounded so flat that it took Yoongi a full minute to realize it was him. "This is Park Jimin's phone, how may I assist you."

"Uh, hey Taehyung," Yoongi said with a frown. Jin and Namjoon turned inquisitive looks on him, to which he responded with a confused shrug. "It's Yoongi. Did Jimin leave his phone with you again? Are you at school?"

"No," Taehyung replied curtly. "He left it at my place this morning, and he isn't here now."

Yoongi could sense the animosity even through the phone. Sighing heavily, he palmed his face with his free hand, blocking out Namjoon and Jin's worried looks. "Taehyung, please," he pleaded under his breath. "Look, I know I fucked up, okay? And I know he's your best friend, but I'm trying to fix this, so will you please hand him the phone?"

Taehyung was silent for a long time. "Even if I did want to let him talk to you, and right now I almost don't," he added spitefully, "I'm being serious. He's already left for practice."

Yoongi's frown deepened. "He said he was going to the studio?" He clarified again, just as Hoseok returned with his black coffee and a bag of small checkered cookies in a decorative bag.

The barista made an X with his hands, eyes wide. "He's not at the studios," Hoseok said with absolute certainty, confused. "Chae Sung, one of the seniors, said in our group chat that he wasn't around in the morning."

"That's what Jiminie told me," Taehyung repeated, sounding hesitant. "Is that Hoseok-hyung? Are you all together?"

The Yoongi's shoulders grew tight with unease. Something weird was going on here— Jimin seemed almost as earnest as Jungkook; it didn't seem like he was the type to lie often either. "Yeah, I'm with all of them at the uni cafe," he told Taehyung over the phone. "Hoseok says Jimin hasn't been at practice. And he told me the same thing when he saw me on Wednesday."

"Jiminie hasn't been coming in at all for the past few days," Hoseok murmured, looking pensive. He seemed genuinely worried as his shoulders hunched. "And every time I've asked about him, the seniors at club have brushed me off, telling me he hasn't come around..."

"Do you think they're lying?" Jin's face was pinched with worry. "If Jimin's actually been going, then..."

"Then why wouldn't you know he was there?" Namjoon asked, looking up at Hoseok with a hardness in his eyes. "You're the club president."

"Only for a few days," Hoseok sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Apparently it wasn't unanimous too; just a majority. Some of the club seniors think they're better suited for the role—"

Yoongi had a very bad feeling about the way a lot of things weren't lining up here.

Meanwhile, there was the sound of rustling on Taehyung's end of the line. "Jiminie's been staying with me for the past 3 days. He only dropped by his room to grab some stuff after his showcase to come here. He's been leaving the dorm everyday telling me he's at the studio," he hissed, sounding upset. "Even this morning before he left, he told me— Ugh, never mind." Taehyung sounded winded, like he was rushing around his own room. "I'm leaving the dorm now, are you all staying at the cafe, hyung?"

"No," Yoongi said, picking up his coffee and blowing urgently on the surface. "I'm going to look for him. Other than the studios, does he hang around anywhere else?"

The voice on the line changed to Jungkook's presumably because Taehyung was probably busy getting ready to leave. "He's been hanging around the production club in Block B, but I'm not sure if that's only because of the showcase or because he had friends there before... Jimin-hyung also goes to the gym on campus."

Yoongi nodded. "Okay. Just call when you guys get here, I'm going to start looking." Jin took his coffee from him, continuing to try bringing down the temperature as Namjoon gathered their things. "I still think he might be at the dance studio, so I'll go there first and ask if anyone's seen him." He shifted awkwardly in his seat. "And uh, Jungkook. About yesterday night—"

"We'll talk about it another time," Jungkook said firmly, cutting off the conversation right there. Yoongi's mouth snapped shut; he could tell that the maknae wanted to keep what had been spoken about between them. It was the least he could do to respect Jungkook's decision in this area. "We'll call you once we're there. See you, hyung." The line dropped dead, and Yoongi pocketed his phone.

"They said he might be with the production guys the dance club worked with for the showcase, or at the gym," Yoongi pointed out, taking his coffee back from Jin. He prudently didn't elaborate further on what he meant with what happened the previous night. "Where will you guys be heading to?"

"I'll go look around the production club," Namjoon offered. "I know a few of them; I worked with a couple of them for my mixtape."

Jin lifted his hand. "I'll check out the school's facilities, then. Even if he's not at the gym, he might be swimming or at the track."

Yoongi took one sip of his coffee and burnt his tongue. Grimacing, he decided it would take too long for it to cool down and he decided to abandon the beverage. He pressed a couple of bills into Hoseok's hands distractedly, shouldering his bag. "We call each other if we find him?"

Hoseok nodded. "I'll come find you guys once I'm done handing off my shift," he promised, picking up the bag of cookies he'd brought over. He gave it to Yoongi with a small smile. "Make up with him well. He really likes these; so maybe you should give him some."

Yoongi looked down at the bag of cookies in his hand, his hand clenching around the excess plastic at the top. "Thanks Hoseok," he said drily, reaching over and squeezing his friends shoulder before he passed him to leave the cafe. "I appreciate it."

His friend beamed this time, bright and brilliant. "Go get him back, hyung."

*

Yoongi disregarded most people. There were allies, enemies, and other people in existence that were irrelevant. There were subcategories, like enemies that were his allies in certain situations - lecturers, maybe Taehyung - or someone who should be his enemy but had that status overridden by some circumstance or another - his psychiatrist. His family, at one point.

The point was, the public opinion didn’t matter to Yoongi. He was distantly aware that most of his classmates thought he was strange and dissociative, mostly because of how often he slept through lectures and avoided interacting with them as much as he could. He’d hadn’t been bothered by things like that in a while now, because he had people like Joon, Jin and Hoseok, and they knew him for who he was. Yoongi didn’t need a legion of friends. He needed a few people who would understand who he was and how he cared for others, and he had that. He considered his emotional needs well and truly met.

Not everyone was like Yoongi though, and sometimes he forgot. Because Namjoon always ignored taunts, Jin was capable of coaxing anyone down from a tantrum and Hoseok just overreacted; none of his social circle had any real issues with the public opinion, because their own achievements shielded them from true criticism. Namjoon had been valedictorian two years running, and he was popular in his own way. Jin was adored by essentially anyone who breathed in his general direction, and Hoseok was a dancing prodigy with enthusiasm that could put a child with a new toy to shame. And Yoongi himself— Well, Yoongi had to work hard to make it happen, but he was capable of not giving a fuck about anyone’s opinion if they didn’t matter now.

Jimin - popular, sweet, endearing, hardworking Jimin - was not capable of doing that. And if Yoongi's bad feelings were to be believed - and they usually were - he knew exactly what the dancer had been enduring for the past 3 days after their very public display of affection. Korea was a conservative place, and children often blindly inherited their parents' ideals about the most useless things.

Cursing himself, Yoongi sprinted across the quad to the arts faculty, darting into the building with a repressed shiver. He brushed his hair away from his face and immediately strode up to a dongsaeng he recognized from Jimin’s showcase on Tuesday. “Hey,” he huffed, panting a little from his run. “You're from the dance club, right? Have you seen Park Jimin?”

The student shifted from foot to foot nervously, averting his eyes. “Ah... I’m sorry,” he said quietly, looking down at the ground. “I really don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know, he hasn’t been coming for practice?” Yoongi narrowed his eyes. The more he thought about the situation, the weirder it became. Jimin wouldn’t skip practice for anything, even if the showcase was over and he had plenty of time to rest before their next big event. Even if he was upset by something personal, like Yoongi fucking off the face of the planet. That was just the kind of diligent guy Park Jimin was. Hesitant, he reached out and took the dongsaeng by his shoulders. "Look. I know you don't know me, but I'm his— I'm Park Jimin's boyfriend. I just need you to tell me where he is, or if he's in some kind of trouble—"

The junior flinched uncomfortably, looking around. When he was sure no one was coming, he took Yoongi by the arm and dragged him over to the staircase nearby. "You're the guy who kissed Jimin-hyung during the Chuseok showcase?" He blurted, wincing belatedly at his own bluntness.

"Technically your hyung kissed me, but I'm willing to look past the semantics," Yoongi stared at the kid, a little taken aback.

"Jimin-hyung's always treated us, his juniors, really well. None of us were actually bothered by what happened on Tuesday," the guy continued, looking around nervously. "But there were a couple of seniors who— They didn't think it was okay." He looked deeply uncomfortable as he ducked his head. "They— Jimin-hyung hasn't been coming to practice because of them. But I think I saw him outside with them earlier, around 11."

Fuck. Shit. "Are they in the studio right now?" Yoongi asked darkly, his hands clenching into fists. He had to stop himself before he crushed the bag of cookies in his hand. "Where are they?"

"Everyone's taking a break for lunch," the dongsaeng breathed, eyes widening as the door to the nearest studio opened. He jerked into motion, running down the stairs to hide, and Yoongi followed him. "These guys, they usually eat close by. Behind the studios, or the Arts admin building. I don't know if— I don't know where Jimin-hyung is, really, but he might be with them. They go out of their way to find him; I've seen it happen." His eyes looked around wildly and he ducked into an unused studio, taking Yoongi with him and closing the door behind them.

"Why are you so afraid?" Yoongi scowled, righting his scarf and shouldering his satchel properly. "These guys? Who's bothering Jimin?"

"Choi Seung Ho," the dongsaeng scowled immediately. Yoongi noted the absence of the customary honorific and his eyebrows lifted in surprise. "He's the eldest senior because he retained last year. He also disagrees with Hoseok-hyung being the president of the club."

"You don't respect him," Yoongi made an educated guess.

The guy shook his head firmly. "He has a bad temper, everyone is wary of him because of that. I was hoping that having someone as nice as Hoseok-hyung as the president wouldn't stir up any trouble with anyone, but he's an entitled jerk. Seung Ho thought that he should have been president last year too, just because he's the oldest, but Hoseok-hyung's heaps better than he is." He chewed his lip and turned his head aside. "He'll bully anyone who doesn't side with him. That's why no one's spoken up about it, even though we all don't like it."

Yoongi felt his own temper flaring, and he had to take a deep breath. "Why hasn't anyone told Hoseok?"

"None of us have had the opportunity," the dongsaeng sighed heavily, looking troubled. "Seung Ho's been fighting passive aggressively with Hoseok-hyung every practice since he's been elected the leader of the club, and the atmosphere's been really tense; I don't think anyone could bear to make the situation any worse than it already was. It's only salvageable because Hoseok-hyung is so tolerant... And Jimin-hyung also hasn't been around whenever Hoseok-hyung is at the studio; he leaves almost immediately after practice to go to his job at the cafe."

Fuck, someone could have told Hoseok at his cafe, couldn't they? But Yoongi understood herd mentality— bullies like Seung Ho were never alone, and the younger kids in the club were probably afraid of being whistle blowers if their senior's temper was really so terrible. "How many of them are there?" Yoongi asked instead, looking at his watch. He had to hurry.

"Including Seung Ho, there are usually 3," Jimin's junior said, lowering his head guiltily. Yoongi hummed noncommittally. 3 was fine. 3 was totally manageable. "I'm— I'm sorry. I knew I should have done something. Honestly, we all... We all really respect Jimin-hyung." Yoongi could see that it was true from the bow of the kid's head, the genuine guilt that seemed to weigh down his shoulders. "He's really good, and he helps out a lot with stuff like cleaning up even though he isn't one of the maknaeduhl anymore. He's humble and kind, and he's one of the most well-liked hyungs in the club. He's even personally stayed back to help me with my routines tons of times." The guy shifted on his feet, staring down at his sneakers worriedly. "If Jimin-hyung decides to quit the club because of this—"

"He's not going to quit the club because Seung Ho won't be able to harass him at practice once he gets kicked out. Possibly for a broken leg or something, who knows. Accidents happen all the time, right?" Yoongi cut him off calmly, ignoring the wide eyed look he got in return for that. "I mean, it's called breakdancing for a reason." He carefully put the bag of cookies Hoseok had given him into his bag, not wanting to crush them. He eyed Jimin's dongsaeng after, his tone soft with gratefulness for his help. "What's your name?"

"In-Jung," he answered, leaning forward and taking Yoongi by the arm. "Please help him," In-Jung said quietly. "I'm sorry that none of us could do anything. But Seung Ho... He won't pull any punches just because he's on campus grounds; he's really mean and we've all seen how he loses his temper. The freshmen don't even want to practice when he's around because he always makes fun of them." He worried his lip again, regarding Yoongi's stormy facial expression with nervousness. "What are you going to do?"

This guy was saying sorry? No, Yoongi was sorry that he was so busy sticking his head up his fucking ass for the past 3 days, ignoring how much Jimin must have been suffering. His fucking boyfriend getting bullied right under his nose, and he'd been busy getting wasted in his own apartment, Jesus Christ. He pulled his arm out of In-Sung's grip gently and patted him on the shoulder, before turning on his heel to leave the room.

"Park Jimin is a buy-1-get-6-free deal. You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us," he called over his shoulder. "I'm going to make sure Choi Seung Ho understands why hurricanes are named after people."

Chapter Text

When Yoongi had been young, one of his older cousins had told him that humans needed adversity in order to achieve and move forward in life.

The moment Yoongi had found out he was gay, the very second he'd come to terms with his own sexuality, he'd disowned that very notion.

That was just a lie people told themselves to feel better about all the people who shot them down when it was just as easy to help someone up as it was to knock the same person to the ground. If anyone asked, that would have been the reason Yoongi had chosen to retreat from society at large, instead surrounding himself with a small but select group of friends who truly understood him as a person. Society wasn't kind, and it wasn't forgiving. He didn't want to have to watch his back all the time, trying to figure out if the loyalty someone professed was real and true, or just another lie that would crumble the instant they found out that there were differences that laid between them.

As a rule, Yoongi preferred a clarity within his relationships that was built upon an healthy dose of honesty. He believed in a fundamental truth; that his choices were his, and his alone, to make. He had no interest in associating with anyone who thought otherwise, and he was no desire to be maligned by those he considered dear to him. That kind of adversity was unnecessary, and it could go and fuck itself.

In the context of the current situation, Yoongi could only see adversity as another word for bigotry.

Choi Seung Ho was going to regret ever laying eyes on Park Jimin.

Yoongi sprinted down the stairs, panting as he created a message group.

[MIN.Y has added KIM.N, KIM.S, JUNG.H, KIM.T and JEON.J to the group]
MIN.Y: any luck guys

KIM.N: none yet
KIM.N: production guys say they havent seen him since the showcase

KIM.S: im running to the track
KIM.S: how ironic I'm not on it yet

JUNG.H: is this rly the time for dad jokes hyung

KIM.S: there’s always time for dad jokes hoseok

KIM.T: kookie and I are on the way to campus where r u hyung

MIN.Y: spoke to Jimin's dongsaeng
MIN.Y: he told me to check behind the studio or around the arts admin building
MIN.Y: i think we've all reached the same shitty conclusion here

JEON.J: we’ll check the admin bldg when we get there hyung

Yoongi pocketed his phone and clenched a hand over his heart as he struggled to breathe. He didn't slow the entire length of the corridor once he hit the ground floor, impatiently weaving through the small opening of the automatic glass doors and rounding the side of the building to the back. He stopped short, inhaling deeply.

He'd found Jimin.

The dancer had his back to the wall, his jaw clenched as he looked up into the eyes of a buff senior— Seung Ho, Yoongi guessed by his dominant posture, and the fact that he was flanked on either side by two equally built-looking students. Jimin's face was calm save for a tic in his jaw, betraying a grating anger and warranted nervousness. Though he was by no means scrawny, Jimin looked tiny, caged in by his seniors like that. He didn't seem physically hurt, but there was a rawness in his eyes that made it obvious that this bullshit was affecting him - had been affecting him - a lot more than he was letting on.

Yoongi saw red.

While easily annoyed, it usually took a lot to make him angry. Yoongi remembered being the target of bullying when he'd been in elementary school, primarily due to his small frame and rather delicate features. He'd been told once that even as a child, he'd been oddly distant from his peers, valuing personal space over the rambunctious company of others. That was probably the reason he'd been capable of withstanding the notion of being an outcast from a tender age, but that had all changed when someone spilt a tumbler of red paint over his meticulously painted picture of his family.

Yoongi, as a child, had put another child into the hospital with bruises, a sprained elbow and a bite mark so severe it had cut almost a centimetre deep into his classmate's leg.

After that incident, no one had bothered Yoongi. Because he'd attended a simple neighborhood school in Daegu, the classmates that he'd had in elementary school followed him into middle school, and then into high school. He allowed rumors to spread about him, rumors that Min Yoongi was fucking crazy if he was angry, and he used the flame of gossip to build a wall around himself. He was unapproachable, an entity rather than a person to anyone who didn't matter.

The important thing about bullying was to nip that shit in the bud. Yoongi wasn't going to let this violence blossom in Jimin's life.

Stalking over, Yoongi reached into his bag and dug out the first thing he could find, which turned out to the the cookies Hoseok had given him at the cafe. "Back off, asshole!" He yelled, bringing his arm back and pitching the cookies forward. They hit Choi Seung Ho right in the face— firstly because the jerk had been caught off guard, and secondly because Yoongi had played some baseball in high school. He knew what the fuck he was doing.

Jimin flinched before he used the distraction as an opportunity, ducking under Seung Ho's arm and backing away quickly. "Yoongi?" He breathed in shock, filled with confusion.

"Come here," Yoongi said quietly, holding out a hand. Jimin chewed his lip and drew closer to him, but he did not take Yoongi's hand. Sighing, Yoongi's arm fell back to his side. That was disappointing, but pretty much expected. He was going to apologize till his knees were fucking swollen later.

"What the fuck?!" Seung Ho spat, palming the side of his face. He snarled as he turned to Yoongi, before his jaw dropped. "Fucking Agust D? Seriously?"

Yoongi's eyes widened before they narrowed. "Wow," he drawled, putting his hands into the pockets of his coat. "B Free. Namjoon's going to want to be here for this, give me a second." Calmly, he pulled his phone out and texted the group.

MIN.Y: yo joon
MIN.Y: this is amazing but do you remember that fuckhead from that hiphop event you brought me to where we were guest panelists for some reason
MIN.Y: he's right here in front of me and he's picking a fight

JEON.J: wtf hyung

JUNG.H: omg arent we supposed to be finding jimin focus guys

KIM.N: wtf how did he even get into this school the guy can barely spell
KIM.N: what did he do
KIM.N: or what did you do

MIN.Y: excuse you
MIN.Y: Im here defending my boyfriend

KIM.T: jiminies there?
KIM.T: they were bullying jiminei?

Seung Ho cocked his head, snorting. “And here I thought you'd rot and die in Daegu's shitty scene," he laughed sarcastically. "Although I heard you've stopped putting out music. Is being a faggot a full time job, or...?"

Yoongi continued typing, unbothered. "Faggot is such an archaic term; is that your word of the day? Have you been reading a dictionary because you want to finally graduate?" He replied sharply without looking up, stalling for time. In-Sung had mentioned that this dumbass repeated a year, right? Maybe Namjoon was right and the guy genuinely couldn’t spell to save his life.

"Fucking say that again, asshole," Seung Ho growled.

"For your information, the word faggot is a noun, known as a bunch of sticks bound together by string. It’s used primarily for fuel.” Yoongi could practically smell the fury off this jerk at his fighting words. If there was one thing he could rely on more than his physical strength, it was his sharp tongue. "I'm a tutor, so my primary instinct is to educate. Here's another word for you; homophobia. It's also a noun." He finally lifted his eyes. "It refers to the prejudice against people who are free to fall in love with whoever the fuck they want."

KIM.S: yoongi dont provoke him

MIN.Y: too late

KIM.N: I expected that tbh

KIM.T: kill him hyung

MIN.Y: thats the spirit taehyung

Jimin reached for Yoongi this time, shaking his head with wide eyes. "Yoongi," he breathed, "no. Please stop it."

"Were you raised in Korea or America?" Seung Ho snorted. "This is Seoul. You think you can get away with doing something like that on stage in front of hundreds of people?" His eyes narrowed with annoyance as Yoongi continued to text, ignoring him. "I'm talking to you, asshole."

JEON.J: where r u

MIN.Y: behind the dance studios, get over here you muscled freak
MIN.Y: there are 3 of them and I have sticks for arms

JUNG.H: who the hell is this guy

MIN.Y: choi seung ho, didn't know his real name before

KIM.N: he went by bfree when we met him
KIM.N: guy’s a real piece of work
KIM.N: I’m omw yoongi hyung

JUNG.H: shi t its that guy

JEON.J: otw

"I think I can get away with anything I damn well like," Yoongi finally responded blandly. He pocketed his phone and sighed at the cookies on the ground next to Seung Ho's feet. "Those were meant for you, Jimin. I'm sorry i accidentally threw them at a trash bin."

Jimin gaped at him.

Seung Ho walked up to Yoongi, grabbing him by the collar with a scowl. "Do you know what it means to be this rude to your elder in Korea, or did you forget your manners along with how to use your dick properly?"

"It's touching that you care so much about how I use my cock," Yoongi retorted blithely. "Although I'd rather decompose than have someone like you anywhere near it. As usual, you're classless and outmatched."

Seung Ho laughed in disbelief. It was a nasty, taunting sound, and Yoongi could see Jimin shrinking in on himself out of his peripheral vision. It just made him more determined to put things right, though. "I'm outmatched? Look around, you two-bit rhymer." He roughly released Yoongi's collar, making him stagger back against Jimin. The two that had been flanking him earlier laughed as though on cue, crossing their arms and swaggering forward in the most idiotic manner. Yoongi wondered if they practiced being this stupid, or they were just born this way naturally. "You look like you're a stiff breeze away from falling over. How the hell am I the one outmatched here?"

"Yoo— Hyung, please," Jimin murmured, gripping Yoongi so hard by the shoulders that he was sure to bruise later. "Let's just go. I don't want you to get hurt."

Yoongi patted Jimin's hand on his shoulder. "Guys like Choi Seung Ho can't hurt me," he said lowly, regarding the bully with a poisonous look in his eyes. "That right's reserved for people who matter." He turned to glance at Jimin over his shoulder. "People like you," he said quietly, his face open and vulnerable. "You're important to me."

Jimin's eyes widened.

Yoongi took a deep breath, stepping away from Jimin and turning to face Seung Ho. They'd talk properly later. "For rappers like us, words are a fist fight," he said under his breath. Seung Ho twitched, his teeth grit hard enough that it made Yoongi's own ache. "You've never managed to best Namjoon and I; not underground and not anywhere else. Is that why you want to use your fists? Use numbers against a guy you think will fall from a stiff breeze?” It had been a long time since he’d been in an all-out-drag-down fight, but Yoongi trusted his body a lot; muscle memory had never failed him before.

"No," Seung Ho shook his head, laughing spitefully. He drew up to Yoongi, his height making Yoongi lift his head to meet his eyes. "No, no, Agust D. I'm not a coward— I'm capable of beating the shit out of you all on my own." His smile was twisted with hatred and pettiness, an intolerance of anything he was ignorant about. Yoongi hated people like Choi Seung Ho the most. "I just don’t like fighting fair."

"What a coincidence," Yoongi said flatly, cocking his head slowly as he licked his teeth. "Neither do I.”



He was between Seung Ho and one of his idiots when Namjoon and Hoseok showed up. The other dumbass was out for the count; Yoongi had slammed him against the ground head first earlier without remorse, watching him gurgle with dizziness before he passed out.

Namjoon eyed the scene with a blankness in his eyes, but his shoulders were tense with anger at how badly beat up Yoongi was. Despite that, he didn't intervene, watching Yoongi hurl a handful of dirt he'd hidden in his fist at Seung Ho's second crony. It hit him in the eyes and he backed away from Yoongi, screaming in pain. No one was fazed by the noise; Jimin had frozen up the second Yoongi had thrown himself into a fight against his seniors. "Jin went to get a teacher," Namjoon said, glancing at Hoseok as he patted Jimin down worriedly. "He'll be here soon, with Jungkook and Tae."

Yoongi spat out a glob of red and smiled with bloodstained teeth. His eyes were lit with fire even as he was kicked in the stomach, though he used the momentum to twist himself out of Seung Ho's grip. He might be black and bruised tomorrow, but he hadn't exactly been standing around doing nothing. Both Seung Ho and his sidekicks were sporting a number of fairly impressive injuries themselves, considering it had been a 3-on-1, and Yoongi hadn't even used his teeth yet. "What about you?"

"I wasn't going to do anything, but you got your hands really dirty this time." Namjoon stripped off his jacket calmly, folding it once before he set it on the ground beside Jimin. He smirked as Seung Ho glared at him in recognition. "It's almost embarrassing I didn't get here earlier. Got room for one more?"

"My dance card's not full yet," Yoongi grinned, a dark look in his eyes. "You sure you want to jump in though, Mr Valedictorian?"

Namjoon snorted, licking his lips as Hoseok breathed a sigh of relief at confirming Jimin was psychically unharmed. "Fuck valedictorian.” He cracked his knuckles and started walking towards the fray, his eyes burning with resolution. “I'm your Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers.”

Yoongi laughed as he was being choked against a tree, unapologetically spitting in Choi Seung Ho's face.



Taehyung and Jungkook arrived shortly after. Enough time had passed for Namjoon to put down Seung Ho’s remaining friend with a truly commendable head butt. He’d stepped out of the fight after that, instead texting his boyfriend and asking where he was. Yoongi wasn’t struggling very much with taking Seung Ho on, but his lip was badly split and he was pretty sure he had a black eye. Also, who knew his ribs could hurt like that?

Seung Ho took every opportunity to rag on Jimin, and Yoongi in turn spat fire about how uncultured he was for not understanding the fundamental principles of free will. Somewhere along the line, a simple brawl had turned into a battle of ideals, and neither of them were backing down at all.

Yoongi didn't think he needed any help. Still, let it be said that Jeon Jungkook was a scary motherfucker when he wanted to be, and if he got in the middle of a fight, Yoongi was more than happy to step aside just to watch the show.

Appearing seemingly out of nowhere, the maknae passed Yoongi in a blur with his arm drawn back. The resulting blow to Seung Ho's face fractured his nose with an alarming crack, making the senior tumble to the ground. Jungkook was breathing heavily as he stilled, his eyes wild and filled with unbridled anger as he watched Seung Ho pathetically cup his nose with a whimper.

Taehyung followed Jungkook's assault with his own, managing to get in a few good kicks before Namjoon and Hoseok jumped in to restrain him. "How dare you bully Jiminie!" He was screaming, his eyes filled with rage. "Jiminie's been nothing but kind. He's a good person and a good dongsaeng! You repaid him by doing this! How dare you!"

"He's a fucking twink," Seung Ho rasped, clutching his abdomen as he laughed spitefully. Blood flowed freely from his nose, and his pupils were beginning to dilate. "He's been hiding it all this time, but what about the people who shower with him every day, huh?" He levelled Jimin with a nasty glower, making the younger flinch violently. "He's probably been checking out everyone's dick in the locker rooms for months—"

"SEUNG HO!" Hoseok snarled, his hands balling into fists. "You watch your mouth."

"Or what, you shitty excuse of a leader?" Seung Ho licked his teeth. "You want a go at me too?"

Yoongi's jaw clenched.

Taehyung's face was completely expressionless as he broke away from Namjoon and Hoseok. Both tried to make a grab for him, but they were stopped by Jungkook.

"It's really better to let him do what he wants right now," the maknae said quietly. "I've only seen him like this a couple of times back in high school, and even I couldn't stop him. And besides," he glanced wryly around at everyone, "I don't think any of us wants to stop him anyway."

Yoongi wholeheartedly agreed.

Tae grabbed Seung Ho by his hair, his eyes wide. He didn't say a word; just launched straight into the most savage beating Yoongi had ever seen. He kneed the senior in the face repeatedly, his lips set in a thin line as he watched Seung Ho lose two of his teeth on the bone of his knee. When he drew back, it was only because his own joint was too injured for him to continue with his preferred method of beating the literal soul out of Seung Ho. He wasn't even panting harshly as he looked down dispassionately at the senior, who had collapsed on the ground with a groan the very second Taehyung had let go of his hair.

"Holy shit," Hoseok breathed, covering his mouth with both hands as they all witnessed what Taehyung was like when he was angry. Even Jimin had snapped out of his trance-like state, leaping to his feet in alarm. "Oh, god damn.”

"Get up," Taehyung ordered Seung Ho tonelessly, pulling his leg up and jamming the heel of his foot down onto the senior's shoulder. "You know, sunbae, you talk a lot of shit for someone who can't take even this much." He bent down, leaning all his weight on his foot. Beneath him, Seung Ho yelled in pain.

Jungkook watched attentively with his arms crossed, ready to jump in at any moment he deemed it necessary. Namjoon called Jin, but his boyfriend was too busy to pick up his phone, or likely already on the way.

Jimin gasped, reaching forward. Yoongi grabbed him by the shoulder, stopping him from getting any closer. "Taehyungie, stop—"

"I read on the internet that it's possible to shatter someone's shoulder like this," Taehyung ignored Jimin, his eyes blown wide open as he leaned over Seung Ho. Suddenly, his slender frame seemed impossibly menacing as he shadowed the senior's face from the sun. "You can't dance with a shattered shoulder, sunbae. Maybe if I do that, it'll take you permanently out of that locker room?" He bit his lip, dragging the swell of it out between his teeth. "Since you think you're being violated there, I guess I'll be doing sunbae a favor—"

Seung Ho's mouth and body went slack as he legitimately passed out at long last, but Taehyung didn't stop. It didn't even seem like he was hesitating.

Yoongi slowly rose to his feet as Namjoon grabbed Hoseok by the arm urgently. "Hoseok, we gotta stop him. I think he's serious, he's seriously gonna fucking—"

"Guys!" Jin's familiar voice cried out. A moment passed before they glimpsed him rushing around the corner of the building towards them. A lecturer lagged behind him, out of breath as she jogged to keep up. "Guys—” He jaw went slack with horror as he looked at Namjoon and Yoongi, both of whom were sporting the worst injuries. "Oh my god." He stepped towards Namjoon, taking a shaky breath as he gently touched the dried blood at the corner of his boyfriend's lips. "What the hell happened?"

The presence of a lecturer was probably the only thing that Jungkook could use to calm Taehyung. He approached his best friend, blocking Taehyung from the lecturer's view. "We could all get in serious trouble just for being here and not stopping you if you do this, hyung," he said under his breath, his grip strong on Tae's shoulder. When the other did not move, the maknae rested his forehead against the back of Taehyung's neck, his eyes squeezed shut. "You have to stop," he whispered, "please."

Taehyung took in a deep breath. He staggered back from Seung Ho's lax body, swallowing thickly and wincing at that pain that flared up at his knee. He wobbled on his feet and ended up falling back against Jungkook, who heaved an aching sigh of relief.

"Jesus," Yoongi commented offhandedly, sagging back down onto the ground alongside Jimin. He looked up tiredly at both Jungkook and Taehyung. "You guys, I'd like to say I never doubted you had it in you, but this is pretty…"

“Like you can talk hyung,” Namjoon snorted, rubbing his nose and hissing at a cut he’d gotten off someone's ring earlier. Knowing him, it might have been his own. “You have blood on your blood.”

Yoongi touched his cheek gingerly and hissed. That cut was going to be annoying as hell for the next few days. He wondered if he'd have to cancel his lessons for the next week or if his knuckles would heal in time.

Jungkook seemed to take a long time to calm down. When he finally did, he seemed determined to justify his actions. "I'm not violent," the maknae said balefully as his fists clenched. He glared at Seung Ho's prone form, his shoulders tense. "I only teach self defence.”

Jimin let out a shocked breath. “H-He didn't hit you," he stammered in a daze, looking up at his best friend. “He didn’t even say anything about you.”

“Also, I’m pretty sure you broke his nose,” Yoongi added incredulously. Self defence his ass.

Jungkook stared at Jimin for a long time, ignoring Yoongi. "He said some pretty fucked up shit about you," he eventually managed to say, sympathy filling his eyes as he crouched in front of Jimin. "And that's the same thing to us, hyung."

With those words, Jimin's composure finally cracked. He sobbed brokenly, covering his face with his hands.

Taehyung’s eyes were shiny with unshed tears. He glared at the senior Yoongi had knocked out earlier, laying prone against the curb of the building. “Jiminie,” he said quietly, refusing to make eye contact with everyone. “Isn’t this guy your roommate?”

Yoongi's facial expression darkened.

“Is that why you’ve been staying with Tae-hyung?” Jungkook asked lowly, his tone filled with rage. "Because you've been rooming with this— this trash?" Hoseok grabbed him by the shoulder firmly to keep him still, sensing the maknae’s burning need to cause even more damage than had been done. Beside them, Jin pressed a hand to his mouth, muffling a helpless little noise of pity that slipped from his mouth.

The lecturer Jin had brought with him seemed at a complete loss as she looked at the chaotic scene, her mouth gaping. “I—“ She swallowed thickly, shaking her heard as though she was trying to get herself together. “I’m going to need you boys to come with me. To— To the dean’s office. Now.” She pulled out her phone, walking over to Seung Ho and immediately dialling for an ambulance when she saw how bad his condition was.

Yoongi shifted on his ass, turning so that he could pull Jimin to himself. He held him close with his eyes squeezed shut, hand cupping the back of the younger’s head as he cried like a child. He felt Jimin's tears hot on his collarbone and tasted regret.

He was determined to never let this happen again.



They'd had to sit in the dingy reception for over 2 hours before the dean called them into his office. Halfway through the wait, Yoongi had impulsively reached for Jimin's hand, squeezing it tightly as he took in a breath deep enough to bruise his aching chest. It was shocking how relieved he'd been when Jimin had squeezed his hand back, though the younger's fingers were trembling as he kept his head down.

Jin had somehow managed to procure a first aid kit, treating Namjoon before he'd turned to Yoongi. Silently, he'd patched them both up, carefully cleaning each cut and graze with antibacterial wipes. The application of standard antiseptic cream stung like hell on freshly split skin, but Yoongi and Namjoon had both let Jin do whatever he'd wanted to at the time. That was what Seokjin had needed; taking care of others was a natural instinct to him, and it helped him remain calm.

Taehyung still hadn't said a word. Jungkook had rubbed circles into the small of his back, his face pallid as he regarded the clock more frequently with each passing minute. Hoseok, like Tae, was keeping his silence, uncharacteristically stoic as he processed the events of the day so far.

Everyone was startled when the dean's PA called for them to enter. The air in the reception area had been so stifling that it'd been easy for them to get lost in their own thoughts, to forget why they were there in the first place.

The dean gestured for them to close the door behind them, and for Jimin and Yoongi in particular to take a seat. He looked sternly at the pair of them from behind an impressive desk; Yoongi wondered absently if it was real mahogany. “Min Yoongi-ssi," the dean said, already sounding tired, “this is your first visit to my office, yes?"

Yoongi shrugged silently, licking at the split in his lower lip. There were still blades of grass in his hair.

Jimin sank in his seat, biting down hard on the insides of his cheeks.

"I've spoken to your lecturers. They've vouched for you, complimenting your exemplary performance and high grades over the past two and a half years," the dean continued with a laborious sigh. He turned to look at Namjoon, who was standing with the rest of the group behind Yoongi and Jimin. "And you. You're valedictorian, Namjoon-ssi. Is there a reason you're standing here?" He buried his face in his hands bitterly before turning to all of them for an answer. “Anyone care to tell me how this happened?"

"My boyfriend was being bullied, hagjangnim," Yoongi replied blandly. Beside him, Jimin's cheeks were flaming red. "I'm not the type of guy who'll let anyone hurt my partner. These three," he gestured behind him at Namjoon, Jin and Hoseok, "are my best friends."

“And we're Jimin's," Taehyung piped up from his corner of the office, gesturing between him and Jungkook. "Hoseok hyung is also Jimin's sunbae from club. He’s just been elected president.”

“Just elected preside—“ The dean repeated incredulously, staring at Hoseok. “You were just elected president and you’ve already gotten into a fight with one of your members?”

Hoseok scratched the back of his neck sheepishly. "Honestly, I—"

Yoongi raised his hand. “Technically, I was the one who got into a fight with one of the members.”

“3 members, if we’re really gunning for precision,” Namjoon added helpfully.

“I helped,” Jungkook continued, staring blankly at the dean who made a choking noise of disbelief. “Hagjangnim?”

The dean massaged his temples, grunting. “I just don't understand how this escalated so quickly.” He turned to Hoseok. “As the president, what do you have to say for your members?”

Hoseok stepped forward solemnly. “Instead of blaming my members, I’d like to take responsibility for this incident,” he claimed. “I’ve been remiss, and I had no idea any of this was happening with Jimin. But he’s one of our best, and even if he wasn’t, I’m not personally tolerant of bullying.”

“Generally, I’d like to think most people aren’t,” the dean nodded approvingly. "And?"

Hoseok walked around Yoongi’s chair and pressed his palms down on the table. “Hagjangnim, the studio is a safe place for a lot of our members. No matter the consequences you have in store for us, know that I do intend to dismiss those seniors from the club— Especially Choi Seung Ho.” He continued on even as Jimin stared at him with wide eyes, filled with alarm. “They’re not stepping into the studios as long as I’m the president. If you have any objections to my decision, then please remove me from my position now.”

"Hyung, you don't have to—" Jimin protested, but he quietened when the dean lifted his hand abruptly to speak.

"While the university has zero tolerance for bullying, you've put 3 students in the hospital. We suspect that at least 2 of them have sustained injuries that will take months to heal." The dean turned stern eyes upon Yoongi, who remained calm and still. "Choi Seung Ho-ssi's abeoji will likely be filing an official complaint with the school, seeing as his son's injuries were particularly severe. Was it truly necessary to deal with things in this manner?"

"No," Yoongi murmured under his breath, "but it felt damn good."

Jimin elbowed him nervously before wincing at the hiss that left Yoongi's lips upon the impact to his ribs.

The dean palmed his forehead. "While I don't doubt that, Min Yoongi-ssi, I'm asking if you understood the consequences of your actions." He levelled the group with a blank stare. "I hope you're all aware that this would be grounds for expulsion... Had your records not been so spotless." He narrowed his eyes. "It has been decided that you will be suspended for a fortnight instead."

Classes were done, and their Chuseok holiday was right around the corner. Everyone recognized that this was the most lenient punishment they could have received in light of their actions. Jin breathed a heavy sigh of relief, palming his face. Taehyung sagged a little, and Jungkook put his arm around him. Namjoon looked particularly grateful that this was the only punitive measure that was going to be taken against them. Yoongi, predictably, didn't feel anything about this declaration. He'd have done what he did even if it would have meant he'd be kicked out of the school.

"That being said," the dean continued with a severe frown, "I am all too aware that this is not the first incident of violence we've had to deal with on Choi Seung Ho-ssi's part. He has started numerous fights throughout his time here at the university, and we are debating his expulsion at this time. However," he narrowed his eyes at the group, whose lips were twitching at the news, "do not think that what you have done was justified. There are proper procedures to deal with cases of bullying; I want you exercising self control and going through the right channels should this ever happen again, am I clear?"

"Crystal," Namjoon breathed. "Absolutely, hagjangnim."

The dean stared at Yoongi till he nodded somberly in response. Letting out a weary sigh, he turned to Jimin. "I've been told beforehand that Choi Seung Ho-ssi made several derogative slurs against you, Park Jimin-ssi." His eyes softened. "Are you alright?"

Jimin's eyes widened as he was addressed directly. Chewing on his lip, he eventually nodded. "I'm fine, hagjangnim."

"Since we're here hagjangnim, I'd like to formally request that Jiminie be shifted from his current room in the dorm," Taehyung piped up, lifting his hand to call attention to himself. "It's not safe for him there."

"Taehyung!" Jimin hissed, turning to glare at his friend. "It's fine, stop—"

"Why?" The dean asked, interlacing his fingers on the table.

"One of the bullies is Jimin's roommate," Jungkook continued seamlessly. Both him and Taehyung firmly ignored Jimin's protests, refusing to let this matter slide. "We weren't aware of this before just now, but he's been sleeping in Tae-hyung's room for the past 3 nights to avoid sharing a room with that guy.”

“The one with the hairstyle from 1998,” Yoongi said, trying to be helpful. The dean turned to stare at him. “He had a weird nose. Flat." He snapped his fingers, trying to remember something. "He looked like that fish from the deep sea documentaries, the ugly white one with huge lips—“

“It's called a blobfish,” Namjoon sighed.

The dean ignored both of them, lifting an eyebrow at Jimin instead. "Is this true?"

Uneasily, Jimin nodded and lowered his head. "Yes," he said quietly. For a beat, no one could speak. It all seemed a little surreal how quickly everything had happened. "I— Hyung was very kind to me before." He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "I didn't know what to do after he changed the way he did."

"So you avoided him," the dean concluded wryly with a shake of his head. "On one end of the spectrum, we have someone doing nothing," he looked at Jimin, "and then, on the other, we have someone who does too much." He glanced at Yoongi this time, who remained motionless. After a long moment, he sighed and picked up his desk calendar, squinting at the date. "Regretfully, we won't be able to reshuffle your dorm arrangements till after the Chuseok holiday," he said, regarding Jimin with a frown. "As a rule, the administration building only takes requests this close to a break, but execution of approved requests will only occur after the holiday for our students."

"But you can make an exception?" Hoseok asked hopefully, his brows creasing with concern for Jimin. Even if Seung Ho was expelled, it was unlikely the other two seniors from the dance club would meet the same fate; they would probably be suspended at most. "He was bullying Jimin; we can’t leave him there like this, right?”

“There has to be a way to expedite the process,” Namjoon added, lifting his hands. “If it’s an issue of helping him move, we can all help him. Surely there’s an empty room in the dorms somewhere?”

The dean seemed genuinely apologetic as he set his calendar aside. "I'm unable to bend the rules where it comes to our administrative matters," he told them them with a shake of his head. "I have already been very lenient in dealing with this debacle. Though he may submit an application while he's here, I'm afraid Park Jimin-ssi will simply have to put up with his current rooming arrangements for a little while longer."

"No, he doesn't," Yoongi said quietly. He lifted his head, staring right into the dean's eyes. "Hagjangnim, there are no rules stating that a student isn't allowed to move out of the dorm on short notice, right?"

The dean shook his head. "Not to my recollection, Min Yoongi-ssi."

Yoongi turned to Jimin. "You know that I have my own apartment," he declared calmly. "You can move back to the dorms after Chuseok, when they assign you a new roommate."

Jimin stared at him, eyes wide and mouth gaping. "Hyung, what are you—"

"Come and stay with me," Yoongi continued seamlessly, taking Jimin's hand gently under the desk. "At least for now, let me keep you safe."



Namjoon watched Taehyung vindictively scratch a third CD belonging to Jimin’s roommate as the Jungkook and Hoseok helped the dancer pack his things. ”This is probably the dumbest thing you have ever done.”

Yoongi handed Taehyung another CD he's found under a stack of books before turning back to Namjoon. He’d been forbidden from helping out too much because his knuckles were busted pretty damn badly. Lifting a box earlier had strained the skin and started the bleeding again; he'd already stained Jimin’s cooking apron by accident. ”I'm aware of that, thanks,” he said bitterly.

“You could have suggested he stay with Taehyung, or Jungkookie,” Namjoon added, crossing his arms. He’d been banned from helping out after breaking Jimin’s table lamp. “You have to live with your crush now, hyung; the same crush you spent 3 full days hiding from." He slow-clapped sarcastically. "Congratulations.”

"I know that—”

"He's going to be around a lot,“ Namjoon continued. On the other side of the room, Jungkook shouldered a large ikea canvas bag filled with clothes, asking if there was anything else he could help with. Hoseok was bagging Jimin’s small rice cooker. “2 whole weeks to Chuseok. You guys will be breathing the same air, eating at the same table—“ His eyes widened and he turned to stare at Yoongi. “You guys will be sharing the same bed—“

Yoongi smacked a hand over Namjoon’s mouth. ”Can you fucking stop— DUDE, EW,“ he yelped as Namjoon licked the skin of his palm, thoroughly grossed out.

Nonplussed, Namjoon whispered evilly. ”I bet he usually sleeps naked—“

“KIM NAMJOON,” Yoongi yelled, smacking him upside the head. Everyone paused in their packing to stare at the pair of them, and Yoongi murmured an apology. Jimin looked at him curiously, but Yoongi waved him off and they all eventually got back to packing - except for Taehyung, who had nicked a charging cable with a pocket knife and was looking for more things to fuck up. No one stopped him, and Jimin was too busy to notice.

Namjoon massaged the back of his head, checking his phone. Jin was going to come around with the car soon. “Seriously though,” he said, finally sobering up a little. “What are you going to do about this?”

“I don’t know, Joon, I wasn’t thinking, okay?” Yoongi admitted in a low hiss, watching Jimin flit across the room as he struggled to remember if he had everything. The dancer had reluctantly agreed to Yoongi’s proposal after encouragement from the rest of the group, telling him it was only for awhile and that literally anything would be better than staying with his bully of a roommate. There was still a lot of tension remaining between him and Jimin, and Yoongi was wondering just how difficult it was going to be to get around that if they were going to live together. “I’m pretty sure everyone can tell I’m winging this; I have literally no idea what I’m doing.”

“Jimin, are all these products yours?” Jungkook shouted from the toilet. "Why aren't they labeled?"

Jimin stumbled over a small box of comic books. “Only some of them,” he yelled back, skipping around Hoseok and dodging Tae on his subtle wrecking spree. “Wait, I’ll come over to check.”

Jungkook’s head popped out of the bathroom. “I use the same facial wash as you,” he commented offhandedly. Jimin replied something, but their voices were muffled as Jimin closed the toilet door to grab some stuff off the hanging rack behind it that belonged to him.

As soon as Jimin was preoccupied, Taehyung approached Yoongi. “Hyung,” he started simply.

“If this is the same talk as I got from Jungkook, my answers are no, I won’t hurt him. Yes, I’ll talk to him, and yes, I’m fully aware there’s a chance I’ll never have children if I fuck this up again,” Yoongi said drily, lifting a hand up to Taehyung’s face. “Is there anything else?”

Taehyung moved Yoongi’s hand aside, drawing close to him. “Since you offered to keep him safe, do a good job,” he said seriously, smoothly bypassing all of Yoongi's saltiness. “Jimin really likes you, hyung, and you’ve already hurt him once by not being there when he needed you the most.” His eyes were piercing as he leaned in close. “Don’t do it again.”

Yoongi would usually say something slick here, but there was something in Taehyung’s eyes that told him it would be a very, very bad idea. He nodded instead, silent, genuine and firm. “I don’t intend to,” he replied, just as the toilet door opened again. Jimin and Jungkook spilled out into the room, exchanging jibes over Jimin’s excessive skin care routine. Yoongi glanced over at the dancer, his eyes softening. “… I’ll do my best not to.”

Taehyung flapped a hand, completely flippant now that Jimin was back in his line of sight. “That’s all I ask, hyung.” He shot Yoongi a boxy grin before turning back to his original business; tearing out the last page of every book belonging to Jimin’s roommate.

Namjoon dipped to whisper in Yoongi’s ear. “So, about Taehyung—“

“Yeah,” Yoongi murmured, crossing his arms. “Let’s just— let's actively avoid pissing him off."



Jungkook emerged from the glass doors of Yoongi's apartment complex, clapping his hands together. "Was that the last box?" Jungkook asked, wiping his forehead with the back of his arm. "You don't have that much stuff, hyung."

Jimin checked the car one more time and nodded. "Yeah, I try not to make a habit of hoarding anything." It was nearing 10 at night; they'd stopped by a restaurant for dinner after helping Jimin pack up his things. "Which I guess is for the best," he laughed nervously, glancing at Yoongi, "I'm... I'm really sorry for the trouble, Yoo— hyung,” He corrected himself quickly, averting his eyes.

They'd get back to where they were. Yoongi closed the boot of Jin's car and shook his head. "I offered; don't worry about it." Gently, he patted the top of Jimin's head with a subdued smile. Turning on his heel, he walked to the front of the vehicle and stooped to glance in. "Is Taehyung already sleeping?" He sighed, listening to the snores from the backseat. "He didn't even move anything for Jimin."

"Give the guy a break, he almost broke a guy's shoulder today," Hoseok snorted, carefully rearranging Taehyung so that the younger's head leaned against his shoulder.

"'Almost' is the key word, but Yoongi-hyung and I have already agreed never to piss him off," Namjoon pointed out.

"That seems wise," Jin said serenely, checking if he needed to stop by a gas station on the way back home. He lifted his head to look at Yoongi, his eyes stern but caring. "Talk to Jimin properly tonight before going to sleep, okay?" He reached out and squeezed Yoongi's forearm. "Don't sleep on apologizing to him; he's going to need all the comfort he can get after what happened, too."

Yoongi scratched the back of his head as Jungkook got back into the car, bidding Jimin goodbye. "I will," he said quietly, looking down at his bruised knuckles on the sill of the car. The skin was split and raw; Yoongi couldn't remember the last time his hands had looked so full of rage. His cheek tingled with the itch of a plaster on the cut beneath his eye, and his lip stung with every word he spoke.

Jin nodded approvingly. Jungkook eyed Yoongi from the backseat as the window rolled back up, and Hoseok waved cheerfully. Namjoon shot him a two fingered salute right as the car jerked into motion, reversing out of the lot and turning out onto the main road.

They were left alone on the sidewalk. He turned to look at Jimin, who was shifting awkwardly on his feet. Holding out a hand, Yoongi tried to avoid looking like he was hesitating even though he was. "Come on," he said softly, his fingers spread. So much had happened just over the past few hours; if even Yoongi felt overwhelmed, he couldn't imagine how Jimin was feeling. For now, all he knew was that he wanted Jimin to take his hand, and that he wanted to go home. “You must be tired.”

Jimin chewed his lip, eyeing the swell of Yoongi's knuckles with an indecipherable look in his eyes. He stepped forward after a beat, wordlessly taking Yoongi's wrist instead of entwining their fingers. "So it won't hurt you," he murmured under his breath, his cheeks flushed. When Yoongi stared at him, he simply stepped past and toted Yoongi back towards his own building, mumbling something about how they should get out of the cold because Yoongi was overly sensitive.

'The one who's hurt the most here is you,' Yoongi wanted to say, but he kept his silence, and he let Jimin take him home.



Later that night, after Yoongi had browbeaten Jimin into sharing the bed again, they were laid out back-to-back on the bed and it was the worst. Yoongi felt like a coward; he should have said something earlier, while he’d helped Jimin unpack one of his boxes, or showed him how the shower head’s middle setting was kind of finicky. It seemed like the moment had passed; with how quiet it was, Yoongi almost wished he lived facing the road so that the sound of road traffic would provide some background noise.

The sheets shifted and Yoongi flinched, trying to keep still. Fuck. He was so fucking dumb, he should have apologized 5 centuries ago and made things right, why was having emotions so goddamn difficult—

It was so quiet he almost missed it. “Yoong—“

Yoongi turned over so fast he almost fell out of the bed. His cheek scraped against the sheets, grazing the plaster against the cut on his face. “Ahh, shit,” he hissed, wincing as he palmed his cheek.

Jimin moved quickly, fighting the blanket and eventually kicking it away when he realized it was tangled around his ankle. He sat up and leaned over, frowning worriedly at Yoongi. “What happened? Is it your knuckles?” He reached for Yoongi’s wrist, his fingers wrapping delicately around the fine bone of it. "Did you scrape them?"

“No, no,” Yoongi rushed to say, “I’m fine. Seriously.” When Jimin shot him a suspicious look, he laughed drily. “Calm down, it's not like I had to go to the hospital. I’ve had worse." He clenched and unclenched his fist slowly. He'd been in a few smaller fights while he'd been in high school when people just wouldn't leave him the hell alone. Nothing on this scale, but it wasn't like he was that rough off. Superficial injuries only. "This is really nothing.”

"It's not nothing," Jimin scowled, lifting Yoongi's hand in front of his nose. "You busted your knuckles! There's a cut on your face, your lip is split, and you mentioned that your ribs were hurting, who knows if it'll be really serious! I watched this documentary once and it said that internal bleeding doesn't always show up immediately—"

"I got into a fist fight with a college dude, Jimin," Yoongi said drily, "I really don't think I have internal bleeding." He sat up slowly, resigned to the fact that they weren't going to go to sleep. Maybe he'd have that chance to talk to Jimin and set things straight after all.

Jimin remained unimpressed, setting Yoongi's hand down on the blankets and glowering at him. "Still," he protested. "What you did was so reckless. And it wasn't like Seung Ho-hyung—"

"Don't. Don't call him hyung," Yoongi narrowed his eyes unhappily. "You can call Hoseok, Joon and Jin your hyung. That guy wasn't anywhere close to being a decent human being, let alone a hyung to you."

"He's still my senior," Jimin murmured, averting his eyes. "And it wasn't like he hit me; you really shouldn't have—" He broke off with a groan, covering his face with his hands. "Ahh, I just felt so bad." His arms flopped to his sides, and he sighed heavily. "Everyone got into trouble because of me..."

That was what had been bothering Jimin? Yoongi couldn't believe this shit. "No," he said firmly. "Everyone got into trouble because of me. And I got into trouble because B-shit was being a complete dickhead to my boyfriend for 3 straight days, which I didn't notice because I was wallowing at home with my head up my ass." He grabbed Jimin by the shoulders. If he was on a roll here, he might as well just continue. "Look, I didn't know how to deal with it when you kissed me on Tuesday," he said honestly, because that was at least one thing that was true. Jimin flinched, and Yoongi let out a frustrated groan. "No, not like that. I mean, it wasn't a bad thing. What I meant to say was—" He scowled, trying to find words. Yoongi had never been very good at articulating himself. "It— It wasn't a bad thing." In fact, Yoongi had been at least a thousand times okay with Jimin kissing him, if only it had been under less complicated circumstances. "I didn't think it was bad. At all. Please believe me."

Jimin's voice was small and subdued. "Then why did you leave?" He whispered, chewing into his lip immediately after, like he wanted to bite back the question.

"Because I can't deal with things the way other people do, I'm not good with my emotions and shit," Yoongi blurted, releasing Jimin and gesticulating wildly as he spoke. "I can't emphasize enough how bad I am at— Look, I'm just really, really bad with stuff like this. I haven't had a relationship in years, so maybe I forgot how things work, okay?" He was lying through his teeth here, but Jimin didn't know him well enough to call him out on anything. Yet. Yoongi intended to keep it that way. "It was just sudden, and shocking, and on top of that you'd just danced to a beautiful song you sang yourself, and then one of my old songs - which was totally unexpected, by the way, of all the disrespectful things to do—"

Eyes wide with shock, Jimin's mouth gaped.

"In a good way," Yoongi hissed shrilly, wanting to hit himself. WHY COULD HE NOT WORDS. "Disrespectful, but in a good way. In a way where I sat there and completely blanked out, couldn't deal, couldn't comprehend," he explained quickly, his hands flapping in what he hoped came off as a placating manner. "It was amazing, you were amazing on stage. I couldn't even believe how amazing you were." His voice gentled towards the end - thank god, because Yoongi had been sure for a moment there that he'd continue rambling till he was dead. But it seemed that as soon as he remembered the way Jimin had lit up the stage with his solo, he was capable of coming back to his senses. Swallowing thickly, he reached for one of Jimin's hands and clasped it between his own. "I didn't leave because I thought our kiss was bad." Far from it; he had left because he'd thought it was too good. "I— I got really emotional. Watching you dance to First Love, it really blew me away. And when you kissed me like that, I just..."

"... Freaked out?" Jimin finished for him quietly, looking down at their hands on his lap.

Yoongi nodded slowly, his eyes tracing the line of Jimin's jaw, the slope of his collarbones. He looked so unreal sitting in Yoongi's bed; soft and fragile in one of his oversized shirts for sleeping. Even with his hair unstyled and his eyes half lidded, Jimin still managed to look like he belonged on the page of The Seoul Fashion Report. He turned his head away sharply upon the realization that he was staring, clearing his throat. "Yeah," he croaked drily, feeling like a piece of trash. "I— I definitely freaked out. A little. A lot."

"A lot," Jimin confirmed, letting out a long breath that puffed out his cheeks. He finally looked directly into Yoongi's eyes. "I was really— I was worried." His eyes were filled with guilt. "I thought I'd really messed up there. And then when you didn't respond to my texts, I thought you wouldn't—"

"Hey, no," Yoongi cut him off, frowning as he put a hand on Jimin's cheek. He felt guilt surge through him as Jimin deflated slightly with relief. He hadn't known just how affected the other had been by his absence, but it seemed that he'd caused Jimin quite a lot of grief. "Nothing like that. You didn't mess anything up; this was all on me. I was a complete idiot, and I'm really sorry. It was a dick move, just going off and disappearing the way I did."

Hesitantly, Jimin nodded in agreement.

"And as for what happened today, just know that nothing that happened was your fault," Yoongi continued firmly, his thumb stroking the curve of Jimin's cheekbone. They were so close. "I was trying to find you to apologize, and I'm just glad I saw what I did. I would never have forgiven myself if I let Seung Ho and those other two walk away scot free after they did something like that to you."

"You still went too far," Jimin repeated himself, taking Yoongi's wrist again. He turned them over to look at Yoongi's knuckles, his eyes filled with pain as they both took in the damage, the split skin and red scratches around each jut of bone. "You're a pianist," he whispered, his eyes shiny. "A musician. Out of everything that happened today, this hurt me the most. You're supposed to make beautiful things with these hands, Yoongi, not hurt people." His shoulders shook as tears streamed down his face. "They're so swollen, and the fact that you made them look like that because of me—"

Yoongi couldn't believe this guy. It was like every word he said was making it harder and harder not to fall for him. Park Jimin was so kind, so caring and considerate; it genuinely made Yoongi lose a little faith in humanity that anyone had even tried to put him down in any way. Yoongi clenched his jaw as he shifted on his ass, nervously pulling Jimin towards him. It felt like his heart was going to explode. "You're right. Above all things, I protect my hands. They're my livelihood and I depend on them; they're my tools for my craft," he said quietly, putting his hand on the back of Jimin's nape. He pulled the younger close enough that their foreheads touched, making sure to look at Jimin right in the eye so that the younger could see the sincerity in his words. "But if you know that much about pianists, then you need to remember this as well; I wouldn't have done it if I didn't think it was worth it. And that means you're more important to me than you think."

Jimin took in a sharp breath, his face pink. His lips parted, but he didn't say a word. It didn't seem like he had anything left to say.

"I said I'd keep you safe," Yoongi reiterated quietly, running his fingers through the fine hairs at the base of Jimin's nape as his eyes slid shut. "And no matter what, I'm going to keep that promise."

Chapter Text

SATURDAY

Jimin woke up early in the morning, which Yoongi supposed made sense considering the dancer was used to practicing from the light of dawn.

It didn't mean he was happy about it though. "Can you please—" He groaned, feeling Jimin trying to shift out of his arms. Had they ended up falling asleep entangled again? He felt his face heat at the thought, and he turned his nose into his pillow. He hadn't felt a thing the first time it happened, god; it was like he was being punished for having feelings here. "It has to be literally ass o'clock in the morning, why do you do this—"

"I need to pee," Jimin hissed urgently, trying to wriggle out of Yoongi's grasp. "Oh my god— Let me go! I don't want to pee in your bed—"

"Mmn," Yoongi hummed disagreeably, but he loosened his arms and let Jimin climb out of bed. Fuck, he felt exhausted after the rollercoaster ride that was the day before. Blearily grabbing his phone, he checked the time and sighed. Only 7:06am. "Your bladder is so inconvenient." Was he just imagining it, or had they shifted back to their original dynamic? If he was right, he was glad that there wasn't going to be any residual awkwardness now that they were going to be living together for the foreseeable future.

"Don't talk about my bladder like that," Jimin slurred tiredly, stumbling towards the toilet. He closed the door behind him and Yoongi set his phone down, trying to get back to sleep.

He wasn't successful till Jimin came back though. Yoongi wondered if he should be worried about that.

*

They shared breakfast easily.

Yoongi wondered why this seemed so normal when he was used to running out of the house with a slice of buttered toast in his mouth and stopping by Hoseok's cafe for coffee on the way to class. Jimin sat across from him, eating neatly and carefully— He'd cooked again; this time it was a simple meal of sausages and sunny side-up eggs. There was a warm glow on his face, and he looked much less haggard after the rest he'd had. "What do you have on today?" Yoongi asked, primarily to distract himself from the way Jimin's silvery hair curled at his nape before he tamed it with hair product. Too cute.

Jimin shifted across from him, averting his eyes. "I— I don't know," he admitted quietly, setting his fork down. "... I usually go to the studio, but..."

But it would be hard, going back after what had happened yesterday. The rest of the dance club members would have heard about the incident one way or another; if there was anything you could count on in any university, it was the gossip vine. Yoongi frowned, chewing slowly. "I could go with you," he offered, lifting an eyebrow. "Could you pass the milk?"

Handing the carton over, Jimin's lips pursed. "I don't want to trouble you like that," he said quietly, running a hand through his hair as he sighed. "Although I'm sure Hoseok-hyung will have it tough. I wonder what he's going to say to everyone today..."

"Something about world peace, no doubt," Yoongi shrugged nonchalantly. It was good that they hadn't been suspended from club activities as well; he imagined Hoseok would want to address what had happened as quickly as possible. He blinked at Jimin. "You heard him yesterday. He's going to kick those jerks out of the club. You shouldn't underestimate how far he's willing to go, you know." Yoongi polished off his last bite and leaned back licking his lips. "At the very least, I personally don't think you'll have too many problems after Seung Ho is gone."

Jimin regarded him curiously. "Why do you say that?"

"It was one of your dongsaengs who told me where to find you," Yoongi explained, leaning forward and resting his arms on the table. "We talked a little. Good kid, by the way; I think his name was In-Jung. Kind of..." He wrinkled his nose, trying to find the right word. "... Twitchy, though."

"In-Jung?" Jimin's eyes widened. "How did— Where did you—"

"I told you I was looking for you," Yoongi reminded, getting his plate and standing up. He rounded the breakfast counter to the sink, setting his utensils down in it and rolling up his sleeves. "I found him outside your studio. He said that the other club members didn't mind what happened on Tuesday; it was just Seung Ho's temper that made them nervous and scared to do anything." He glared down at the sponge in his hand and started viciously scrubbing his fork; even the memory of that asshole was enough to annoy him. "He spoke highly of you; you're well respected there, you know?"

Jimin hummed noncommittally. "I don't know about being well respected, but I don't think I was disliked before all of this happened..." He sighed, burying his face in his hands tiredly. "I shouldn't have done that during the showcase..."

"If you keep saying stuff like that, even I'll begin to regret that kiss," Yoongi teased wryly, trying to lift the mood with that massive lie. He glanced over his shoulder at Jimin, his heart sinking as he saw the subdued set of Jimin's shoulders. He paused in his chore, hating that Jimin had lost even a modicum of self esteem because of this incident, though he supposed it couldn't have been avoided. Still, Yoongi was here now, and he'd promised to keep Jimin safe. "Hey, come on, don't be so worried." He set the sponge aside, flicking his hands free of water and gesturing for Jimin to join him. "Get over here."

Though hesitant, Jimin picked up his plate and put the last scraps of his breakfast into his mouth. He came to stand beside Yoongi, shooting him an inquisitive look as he chewed methodically.

Getting himself together, Yoongi leaned over and pressed a gentle kiss to Jimin's temple, quickly turning back to the dishes after so that Jimin couldn't see the flush of his cheeks. He hoped he hadn't gone too far, doing this literally only a day after he'd apologized for being a jerk to the younger. "I'll go with you later," he said quietly. "So put your dishes here and go get ready, okay? I'll text Hoseok once I'm done, and then we can head to your studio." He didn't have anything else planned, so this was fine. He swallowed as he waited for Jimin to leave, squeezing the sponge tightly in his hands as he turned the tap on again to continue washing.

"Okay. I— Thank you... Yoongi," Jimin ducked his head, nodding shyly before he left to change.

Yoongi smiled and placed Jimin's dishes in the sink alongside his own.

*

Hoseok was in the middle of talking to the rest of the club when Jimin and Yoongi entered the studio. "—so all things considered, I made an executive decision; I'm banishing Seung Ho from my kingdom."

One of the younger members raised his hand. "Hyung, we've talked about this; you can't continue calling the dance club Hoseok Kingdom, that's ridiculous—"

"Silence, peasant number 5," Hoseok cut him off with a dramatically regal pose, his nose high up in the air. The rest of the members started laughing at him good-naturedly, and Hoseok perked up when he spotted Yoongi and Jimin at the back of the room. "Guys! You made it!"

"I said we were coming," Yoongi pointed out drily, looking around the room. Several people started whispering about the large plaster on his face and his split lip. Paying the murmurs no mind, he lifted a hand in greeting when he spotted In-Jung, and the dongsaeng waved back warily, obviously shocked by his injuries. "So, here we are." He nudged Jimin, prompting the younger to stop forward.

Jimin chewed on his lower lip, taking off the scarf Yoongi had insisted he wear and balling it up in his hands. "Um," he said hesitantly, approaching the ground sitting on the floor listening to Hoseok. "H-hello, everyone..."

"Jimin, are you alright?" One of the dancers asked sternly. She stood up and walked over to Jimin, cocking her head and eyeing Yoongi over his shoulder. "I had no idea things got this severe for you; it was a real shock to find out what happened through Hoseok-oppa." She dipped her head and looked Jimin over, her tone dripping with concern. "Are you injured? Did that asshole hit you?"

Jimin's eyes widened, and he shook his head. "No, I didn't— I wasn't involved in the fight," he corrected her hurriedly. "I'm not hurt, but..." his eyes swerved hesitantly towards Yoongi, filled with guilt. The girl turned on her heel and gave Yoongi a look of blatant appraisal.

Hoseok clapped his hands together loudly to call attention back to himself. "Okay peasants," he said cheerfully. "Since everyone's here, I'm going to be a little serious now." He walked around the group to the back of the studio, making everyone spin on their asses as he threw an arm around Yoongi, who grunted with annoyance. "We're now aware that one of our members, at least, is homosexual. This doesn't affect his performance, his relationship with any of us, or the way he is part of this club." He looked directly at Jimin, who seemed flustered as he shifted from foot to foot. Hoseok's eyes softened as he spoke. "Just to make things clear, he's still the same mochi-Jimin. The same hardworking guy who's always staying back late to practice, the same kind guy who helps the maknaeduhl out even though he doesn't have to, and the same generous guy who's always got your back in a pinch."

Several of the club members nodded firmly in support of this statement, and Yoongi sighed quietly with relief. Some of the tension in Jimin's shoulders seemed to dissipate.

"I'm going to announce it right now; if I ever hear of anyone bullying someone else within the dance studio, no matter what it's over, you can forget about being a part of this club," Hoseok continued, his voice steady and stern. "I'm not going to tolerate it. Just remember that everyone here has people who care about them," he glanced at Yoongi, his eyes lingering on the still swollen split of his lip, "and people who will fight for them."

Yoongi calmly met the eyes of everyone in the dance club. They all seemed perturbed; some even mildly impressed.

"At any rate, the studio is a safe place for us," Hoseok grinned, crossing his arms and standing tall with his feet apart. "It always has been, and it's up to all of us to keep it that way. So even if we have differences, keep in mind that we all still have one thing in common; we like to dance, and that's why we're here. Okay?"

Yoongi snorted discreetly, his eyes meeting Jimin's. 'I told you so,' he mouthed at the younger, making Jimin giggle into his fist with a shake of his head. 'World peace.'

One of the maknaeduhl raised his hand, his eyes wide as he looked at Yoongi. "Were you the one who beat up Seung Ho-hyung?" He asked, awe coloring his every word. "I heard that his nose was broken; is that true?"

Shrugging, Yoongi scratched his cheek sheepishly. "I didn't break his nose, that was the work of our golden maknae," he mumbled, averting his eyes. He did almost everything else though, barring Taehyung's psychotic episode. Despite that, it didn't seem like a good idea to promote this sort of thing. "I mean, there were other ways we could have resolved it. I heard the faculty's debating his expulsion, and I'm not saying that I'm proud of the fact that I put him in a hospital or anything—"

"—But you're totally proud you put him in a hospital," the girl who had spoken to Jimin earlier smirked. She looked at Yoongi like she was daring him to lie to her again. "Because he was bullying your boyfriend. Right?"

Jimin flushed a bright pink, tucking his nose into Yoongi's scarf and trying to hide his face as his fellow club members grinned at him teasingly, making cooing noises. Yoongi regarded him with a soft look in his eyes, nodding despite himself. "Yeah," he said quietly, smiling down at his bruised knuckles. "Truthfully, I don't regret it, because I had my reasons."

Hoseok nudged Yoongi in the side as everyone crowded around Jimin to ask for a first-person account of what had happened. "He looks better, hyung," he said gently, glancing at Yoongi out the corner of his eye. "I'm glad you came with him."

Yoongi watched the members welcoming Jimin back, putting their arms around him and guiding him over to a bench to warm up together. They seemed at ease; it didn't look like anyone remaining had anything against Jimin at all. Yoongi hadn't held out much hope that the problem would be resolved just by kicking Seung Ho and his jerks out of the club, but it seemed that In-Jung was right; Jimin was really well-respected and liked by everyone. It was shocking how relieved he felt knowing that Jimin would be alright, and he took in a deep breath.

"Me too," he told Hoseok quietly. "I'm glad I came too."

*

They'd stayed at the studios the whole afternoon. Yoongi had become fast friends with some of the dance club members after they'd learned he was the one whose song Jimin had danced to for his solo, and several of them had even spoken to him about music during breaks in between practice. In-Jung had been particularly attached to both him and Jimin; it seemed like he hadn't expected Yoongi to go so ham with Seung Ho after he'd told him where to find the bully.

After he'd been welcomed back so warmly, dragging Jimin from the studio proved to be a chore, but the younger seemed perfectly happy after a shower at home. He'd put together another meal; Yoongi wondered if he'd miss eating Jimin's food after this was all over. They sat down in front of the TV together with some piping hot kimchi jjigae. "I didn't even know I had the ingredients for this stuff," Yoongi said, looking down at the meal on the coffee table. "Taehyung had mentioned you liked this food in particular. I'm impressed, Park Jimin."

The dancer laughed, running a hand through his hair. "I replaced the pork with chicken, because it couldn't be helped, but I think it'll still taste okay. And I didn't make it too spicy because your lip is still injured." He shyly handed the remote to Yoongi, sitting down on the ground so he could eat better. "Even though I'm not as good at cooking as Jin-hyung, I hope it's okay."

Yoongi sank down onto the floor next to him with a grunt, turning on the television. "If you were, that'd be unfair," he mumbled. Jimin was already good at so many things, and he was unfairly attractive to boot. Now that Yoongi knew he had feelings for the dancer, it just seemed ridiculous he hadn't realized it earlier. He had to keep his shit together till Chuseok; it was already proving difficult with how subconsciously adorable Jimin was being all the damn time. Yoongi had almost snapped the acrylic basketball keychain on his phone when Jimin giggled brightly at one of his noona's jokes in practice earlier at the studio.

"What did you say?" Jimin asked, picking up his chopsticks. "I didn't catch that, Yoongi."

"It's nothing," Yoongi waved a hand wryly. He wasn't going to repeat himself. Instead, he flipped through the channels, wondering if there was anything good on. "Ah," he frowned, "there's a One Piece special, but I've already watched these episodes in the past..."

Jimin looked at him with wide eyes. "You watch One Piece? It's kind of surprising..."

Yoongi bypassed the channel, losing interest. He didn't like watching the same thing more than once, unless it was a really good movie like Tarantino's stuff, or something really mindblowing like Inception. "Jungkook was talking about it once. I watched a few episodes with him and I kind of liked the Trafalgar Law guy." Briefly, he considered watching something on Netflix. "I don't follow the anime religiously though— I just don't mind seeing it if it's on TV."

"He got me and Taehyungie into it too," Jimin grinned, picking up a bowl of rice. "Do you want to put this into the stew, or eat it separately?"

"If you prefer to eat it that way, just go ahead and dump it all in; I'm pretty easygoing where it comes to food." Whatever Jimin cooked would taste good anyway. Yoongi stopped on MBC Every 1. "Hey, it's Weekly Idol." Was the slot always at this timing?

"Oh!" Jimin perked up, shovelling rice into the stew with a spoon. "Which group is it?"

"Red Velvet," Yoongi hummed, setting the remote down. Did Jimin like keeping up with idols? He didn't mind watching this either. "Do you like them?"

"I think Seulgi is cute when she does aegyo," Jimin laughed, setting the empty bowl down and grabbing a ladle he'd prepared to distribute the stew from the pot. "And Joy is always fun to watch on reality shows— Be careful, Yoongi, it's really hot." He passed a filled bowl to Yoongi, carefully making sure it wouldn't spill over before he helped himself.

"Thanks," Yoongi murmured. "I didn't know you liked girl groups; are there any you're a big fan of?"

"Red Velvet's definitely one of them. SNSD's a classic too, I guess," Jimin said distractedly, smiling as he inhaled the aroma of his own cooking. "Is it surprising because I like guys? I like girl groups too."

Yoongi shook his head. "No, I'm not partial to one or the other myself, and I'm gay." He glanced at Jimin curiously, using his chopsticks to prepare a little mouthful of everything on his spoon. "Come to think of it, you never did tell me straight up that you were gay. Are you? Or bisexual?"

Jimin blushed, sitting back down and placing the ladle in the large bowl. "I've dated a couple of girls," he admitted, looking thoughtful. "But lately, I've just been... I've just been attracted to guys. Guy." He looked at Yoongi, chewing his lip viciously. "O-One guy. He's been very kind to me. And he's— He's protective. I think he cares for me a lot, and..." He lowered his head, ears red with embarrassment. "... I've liked him for a long time, I think. Even before I really knew him."

Yoongi's heart stilled. "O-Oh," he said, almost dropping his spoon into his bowl of stew, never to be seen again. "I see." He blinked at Jimin, looking away to the television screen once he came back to his senses and realized he was staring. Fuck. "He... He's a lucky guy," he managed to say, staring at one of the Red Velvet members talk about how she couldn't eat chicken. He couldn't for the life of him remember her name at that moment, even though he recognized her face from the many times he'd watched Music Bank. "You should uh, confess to him. After Chuseok. Go out with him properly."

Jimin looked down into his bowl, unable to meet Yoongi's eyes right then. He was probably shy, talking about this to his fake boyfriend. Suddenly the whole situation seemed as ridiculous as it had sounded to Yoongi at the very beginning of their complex arrangement. "I intend to," he said, almost in a whisper as he curled a lock of hair behind his ear. It was still flushed, and Yoongi stared at the shell of it uncomprehendingly. "I'm— I want to ask him properly. So..." He finally lifted his head to look at Yoongi in the eye. "Y-Yoongi, will you help me? I— I want to gain some courage, and learn how to be a couple properly. I've always been the type to keep my problems to myself, but it seems like he'll want me to lean on him, and I—" Jimin swallowed nervously. "... More than anything, I want to be good for him."

Whoever the fuck this guy was that Jimin had a crush on, Yoongi hoped he realized how fucking jacked up on luck he was. He took in the earnest shine of Jimin's eyes, the way his small hands were clasped in his lap and the timid set of his shoulders. "Yeah," he found himself croaking, startling even himself. "Yeah, of course. That's— That's what I'm here for."

Jimin seemed withdrawn and quiet after his request, but he made an effort by shifting closer to Yoongi. They both watched as Dony and Cony interviewed Red Velvet, but if Yoongi wasn't mistaken, they were both equally as distracted with what Jimin had just said.

Still, he had to make an effort. Now that he knew Jimin liked someone, he was especially determined not to let that get in the way of his promise to the dancer. Steeling himself, he took in a breath and put his arm around Jimin's shoulder, drawing the younger closer to him. "Thank you for cooking," he said quietly, genuinely meaning it. "I'm sure it tastes great; I'll eat it well."

Smiling, Jimin nodded at him, leaning into his arm once before he sat up to eat as well.



SUNDAY

Yoongi generally considered Sundays to be lazy days. Well, lazier days than most.

Still, it seemed like having an early bird by his side made him wake earlier as a result. He walked around his kitchen, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes as he prepared a cup of coffee for himself and some tea for Jimin. The dancer was cooking breakfast; it all seemed like he was watching a movie of someone else's life despite the fact that he was so comfortable. "This smells good," he commented absently about Jimin's tea, yawning as he stirred in a single teaspoon of sugar. "Mmm. What is it?"

"It's maesil-cha," Jimin answered brightly, smiling over his shoulder at Yoongi as he fried some bacon. It seemed that he usually prepared more Westernized breakfasts. "My mother used to grow maesil trees in our backyard in Busan, so it's the type of tea I'm the most used to." He turned off the heat and used chopsticks to set the bacon down on a plate. "You've never had it?"

"I started drinking coffee from a young age, so I haven't drank much tea. Jin-hyung likes it though, so sometimes I drink some kind of sweet tea at him and Namjoon's place." Yoongi set both drinks on the breakfast counter, removing the teaspoon from Jimin's cup and putting it into his mouth. "Oh, it's pretty refreshing." He hadn't thought tea made with plums would taste like this.

"You can have it with ice too, it's great in the summer," Jimin recommended with a soft smile. "Are you doing anything today?"

Yoongi hummed. "Not much, I think. I've been wondering what to teach Jae Eun and Si Won next." He smiled as Jimin set a plate of bacon and scrambled eggs down on the table. Damn, he was really going to miss this when Jimin was whisked away by that guy he was talking about the night before. "They've told me that they were interested in learning a couple of my original arrangements, but those are a little tough, so I need to tone down the difficulty to accommodate them."

"Oh, I remember telling you I really wanted to hear you play," Jimin brightened up, his eyes shining as he looked at the piano flushed against the wall of Yoongi's living room. "Is that the piano you talked about in First Love?"

Nodding, Yoongi shifted Jimin's cup towards him and pulled a plate towards himself. "Yup; exact same old brown piano." He laughed, watching how interested Jimin seemed—it was like the younger wanted to get up right then and inspect the damn thing. "I paid to have it shifted up here to Seoul; it's been with me through a lot of things."

Jimin's facial expression softened as he turned to face Yoongi. "You should continue making music," he suggested gently. "You always seem so happy when you talk about it, and you rapped so passionately." He smiled down at his food shyly. "It would be amazing to see you on stage."

Yoongi chuckled, digging in without further ado. "Well. I haven't played in a recital for years, but Joon regularly invites me to underground gigs with a guy named Zico-hyung." He lifted his eyes to look at Jimin. "Once in awhile, I accompany Joonie to check out a couple of battles; he used to rap with a group called Daenamhyup, but now he usually spits fire alone because everyone's gotten busy with different schedules." There was always something a little comforting about the underground rap scene. There were differences in every city that were always prominent, but the grit, grime and the smell of hunger remained the same, be it in Daegu or Seoul. Whenever he went to a battle with Namjoon, he always felt like there was a feeling of belonging, of going home. The atmosphere of desire and longing, the desperation to be recognized and acknowledged as an artist... Yoongi had been raised on those feelings, and it had shaped him in innumerable ways.

Interested, Jimin stabbed a rasher of bacon with his fork. "Do you miss it?" He asked shrewdly. "Any of it?"

They seemed to talk a lot while consuming food. Yoongi liked it; these easy and smooth exchanges he had with Jimin. Bit by bit, they were learning more about each other. He wondered how well he'd know the dancer by the time Chuseok rolled around. "I do," he admitted, because he did. "The underground— I mean, that's the birthplace of hiphop in Korea, you know? And I was a part of that at one point; one point in a huge network of culture." He smiled wistfully, remembering how he'd gone into the ring back into Daegu, throwing rhymes and knocking back beers with others of his ilk as he listened and learned on his hyungs. "The piano circuit was where I won my awards, got all my trophies. But the rap scene..." He leaned his cheek against his fist as his eyes slid shut, remembering the roar of the crowd, the gritty acoustics of some shitty basement or another as he knocked out one rapper after another, claiming a place, making a name for himself. "Being a part of something so massive is really something else. It reminds you exactly how small you are, and it makes you want to climb to the top. There's just a different sense of accomplishment there, and I guess you could say I was addicted to it."

Jimin was quiet for a long time before he spoke again. "I started popping since the 8th grade," he said, making Yoongi crack open an eye to look at him. "At the time, I'd watched a video of Rain's stage performance, and I was immediately drawn by it. The me back then pawed at the screen and thought, 'wah. I want to do that too,'" He remembered fondly, laughing as he described his childish 13 year-old self. Yoongi found his lips lifting into a smile as he watched Jimin reminisce. "I transferred into Busan's High School of the Arts for Modern Dance, and luckily, I received a scholarship after my audition. My mother was so proud when I was in the ceremony for the top percentile."

"That's a pretty good school," Yoongi pointed out, impressed. "It makes sense that she was proud of you."

"I was happy there, but I thought to myself that I should move to Seoul, and try to join some bigger dance competitions. I wanted to gain experience." Scratching his cheek, Jimin smiled at Yoongi. "When I transferred into Korea Arts High School in Seoul, I met Taehyungie and Jungkook. We were all there for different disciplines, but our daily classes were together and I was grateful to have two close friends with me all the time."

Yoongi nodded. Those two were really protective of Jimin; he was glad that they shared a bond that wasn't easily broken. It felt a little like the friendship he had with Joon, Jin and Hoseok.

"It was hard getting used to it here," Jimin continued, absently poking at his eggs as Yoongi shovelled his into his mouth. "Seoul is so different from Busan. But I'm glad I made the move; especially because I met Hoseok-hyung. He's a great mentor, and he's also performed in a lot of underground dance competitions. He brought me to a few events, and I even got to meet some of the members of his crew, Neuron."

Hoseok would do that. Yoongi chuckled and picked up his coffee. "Looks like we both have some pretty supportive friends," he commented mildly. "Have you danced with him before?"

Jimin grinned, a little embarrassed as he shifted in his seat. "A couple of times, but I use a face mask and I usually leave right after. He says a lot of people ask about me. I haven't ever danced solo on an underground stage. Honestly..." He looked up, biting his lip. Yoongi tried not to let that distract him. "... I think I was just waiting for a choreography that I would be proud to call my own. And I think I've finally found something close to that," he smiled gently. "With your song."

Yoongi felt his heart warm. "I'm glad," he said quietly, wanting more than anything for Jimin to understand just how grateful he was to him for his passionate performance. He leaned in and pressed a tender kiss to Jimin's cheek, filled with the sudden urge. He didn't want to regret holding back when he only had a limited amount of time to savor this, to be openly affectionate with Jimin. "I hadn't even known you listened to any of my music. You should know that it was one of the best feelings ever, watching you dance to my song."

The younger was pink as Yoongi drew back, but his lips were wobbly with an uncontrollable grin.

*

Playing the piano was a serious thing for Yoongi. He usually preferred to be alone when he was preparing his lesson plans, having chased even Joon out of his apartment in the past when he needed to, but it was easy with Jimin.

Maybe it was because the younger was unobtrusive and quiet as he listened, but arranging seemed much easier that afternoon. Yoongi had a note pad on the music rack alongside one of his folders, filled to the brim with sheet music. It was open to one of his earlier compositions, and he had lit a Yankee candle - Soft Blanket, it was his favorite scent - to help ease him into the mood. His fingers seemed to flow on the keys, and he felt in high spirits as he jotted down the newly rearranged version of his music for his students to learn.

After a couple of hours, Yoongi cracked his neck and looked down at his knuckles. The skin was beginning to peel, making the swollen bumps itch. There wasn't too much pain while playing, but maybe he should take a short break and grab another cup of coffee. Turning around, he was about to ask Jimin if he wanted any tea before he realized the dancer was fast asleep, his head propped up on the arm of Yoongi's sofa as he dozed peacefully.

Silently padding over in his socks, Yoongi sat down on the coffee table and chuckled under his breath. "Was the smell of my candle too much for you, or were you lulled to sleep by the music?" He asked quietly, expecting no response and not getting any. Jimin's eyelashes cast spidery shadows on his cheeks, the afternoon sun falling over his body from the window. He had a sweet and natural smile on his face, the swell of his lips slightly parted as he breathed silently through his nose.

Yoongi walked to his room to retrieve a blanket, folding it over his arm and taking it outside. As he covered Jimin, his face sobered and he brushed a lock of hair from Jimin's forehead. His fingertips felt overheated, and he sighed as he pulled away from the dancer.

"Even asleep, you look so—" He shut his eyes, rubbing his face as he returned to the piano bench, ready to continue with his work. He smacked his cheeks lightly and flipped the page, determined to get through the rest of his transposing in a single go.

He didn't need coffee after seeing Jimin like that. He was wide awake now.

*

They were unexpectedly invited out for dinner by Taehyung and Jungkook.

"We could get drinks too," Taehyung said excitedly as they entered the restaurant. "They serve the beer I like here!"

"Oh, that's rare," Jimin laughed, cocking his head. "You're usually pretty picky; is it the Australian one?"

Taehyung nodded as Jungkook and Yoongi lagged behind the pair. "I don't like heavy beers, so Pure Blonde is a good and light choice for me— Ah, annyeonghaseyo!" He greeted the server politely with a bow. "Can we have a table for 4, please?"

"Why does this feel like a double date?" Yoongi deadpanned under his breath, shouldering his satchel and inclining his head as they were led to a table towards the back of the restaurant.

Jungkook, who had been quietly observing Jimin and Taehyung, made a noise of despair. "Can you not talk about that here?" He hissed, looking nervously at the pair ahead of them.

Yoongi lifted an eyebrow, mildly surprised. "Oh, did you finally realize it? What I meant that night?"

"Yes," Jungkook glared at Yoongi, looking put out as hell. Yoongi relished this moment intensely. "Thanks to you, the past few days have been hell for me, hyung. You could at least be a little apologetic."

"Absolutely not," Yoongi huffed. He had to tell Jimin about this later. "Never. I'm so glad I blurted it out, even if Jin-hyung's going to sulk at me for days once he finds out I told you."

Taehyung perked up as they were seated. "Why is Jinnie-hyung going to sulk?" He asked curiously, having only picked up on the last of Yoongi's sentence.

"Because Yoongi-hyung is approximately 80 and a rock still emotes better than he does," Jungkook bit out scathingly.

Yoongi gasped, mock affronted.

Jimin seemed to find the exchange amusing, the melody of his laughter ringing in Yoongi's ears. He smiled as he picked up the menu, blinking at the promotion. "Oh, it's buffet style? Taehyungie, you should have told me; I wouldn't have cooked us lunch today!"

"We just found out about the deal on Naver," Taehyung retorted, making a peace sign with his fingers. He grinned at Jungkook. "I'll get your share too, since I know what you like. Can you order drinks? Help me choose a nice beer if they ran out of Pure Blonde; I trust you."

Mutely, Jungkook nodded with wide eyes. Yoongi snorted into his fist.

"Ah, Yoongi," Jimin said, standing up. "I'll get your portion too. I don't really want to drink tonight, so can you help me check if they have maesil—"

"Mmhmm," Yoongi said decisively, waving Taehyung and Jimin off. "I'll order your drink too. Should I prepare a broth? What do you want?"

"Broth?" Jungkook peered around the side of the table, looking at the settings for the grill and the pot in the center. "Oh, it's a steamboat style too. It says here they have 6 types." His brow furrowed. "Tae-hyung will want... Tom Yum," he guessed.

Taehyung shot Jungkook finger guns, winking. "You know my heart, Kookie."

Jungkook almost choked on his own saliva. Yoongi prayed for someone to save this kid from himself.

"Then Yoongi, you choose the other broth," Jimin suggested with a smile. He grabbed Taehyung by the arm and the pair quickly departed to the buffet to pick out the ingredients they wanted. They laughed merrily, exchanging jibes and jokes as they moved towards the spread, grabbing plates and pretending to fight with chopsticks.

"So what's it like, realizing you're super gay for your best friend?" Yoongi asked conversationally, his pettiness winning out as he got back at Jungkook for the 80 year-old comment. He lifted a hand to call for someone to attend to their table, wanting to get the broth ready before Jimin and Taehyung returned. He was thirsty too, and he picked up the drinks menu, browsing it efficiently.

Jungkook put his head into his hands as he groaned. "Hard," he whined tiredly, unaware of the double entendre. "It's been hard."

"Jeon Jungkook, you filthy child," Yoongi said drily, making the maknae sit up straight with an alarmed look in his eyes as a waitress came over.

"I didn't mean—" He gaped at Yoongi. "It's not like that, I would never— Tae-hyung is—"

Oh boy, was it fun watching Jungkook get rattled. It was usually their maknae that remained continuously unfazed, always ready with a snarky comeback and making fun of his hyungs like he was older. "One Tom Yum broth, and one Miso broth, please." Jimin had once sent him a selfie of him and ramen; Yoongi remembered things like that. Maybe Jimin appreciated Japanese flavors. "And do you have maesil tea?" He added, ignoring Jungkook sputtering beside him.

"We do," the waitress said pleasantly. "Would you like it in a glass, or should I bring a jug?"

"A jug please," Yoongi replied, pointing at the beer Taehyung had wanted. "Could I have two bottles of this as well? Jungkook-ah, get yourself together," he sighed, shaking the guy by his shoulder. "Do you want beer? They have green tea too." Yoongi knew that Jungkook liked green tea.

Jungkook looked miserably at the beverages listed in the menu. "I think I'll need some alcohol to get through tonight," he murmured.

"3 Pure Blondes," Yoongi corrected his order, closing the menu. He handed one to the waitress and kept the other in case they wanted to order more things. "Thank you very much."

Waiting till the server was gone, Jungkook scowled at Yoongi. "You know I wouldn't..." His face heated as he averted his eyes. "I wouldn't look at Tae-hyung like that; I've known him for years—"

"So what you're trying to say is that you've already seen him," Yoongi pointed out wryly. Jungkook's head turned so fast Yoongi was semi-concerned he'd suffer from whiplash. "Look, I'm not about to give you the birds and bees talk because that's totally Jin-hyung or Namjoonie's job, but you should trust me when I say it's perfectly normal for you to get ah, worked up," he advised, patting Jungkook awkwardly on the shoulder. "I mean, I'm not blind, Taehyung's not a bad looking guy—"

"Oh my god," Jungkook whimpered, covering his ears. "Please stop talking. I didn't sign up for this."

"As someone who's just recently discovered he's in pretty deep shit relationship-wise," Yoongi lamented, "I relate to you right now on a spiritual level." He glanced at Jungkook. "I'm still not sorry I said it, though." Maybe a little guilty that he'd blurted it out in the midst of an argument, but someone needed to tell the kid already.

Pathetically, Jungkook lifted his head and looked at Yoongi. "How did you know?" He asked quietly, looking embarrassed as his eyes drifted over to Taehyung, who was piling his plate sky high with pork. "When did you— I just don't understand how this could have happened." He sounded pathetically young as he spoke now, and it made Yoongi cringe a little. He hadn't intended to make the kid sound so... Lost. "We've been friends for years. How could I not have realized till now?"

The waitress returned with their beers on a tray, averting her eyes from Jungkook as the kid seemed to fold into himself. Yoongi appreciated her consideration, and accepted the bottle opener from her with a nod of thanks. "I'll be back shortly with the broths. We're a little busy now; I apologize for the wait," she said politely.

"That's fine, thank you," Yoongi nodded. He took in a deep breath after the server left and patted Jungkook on the back before he popped the cap off two bottles. "Sometimes," he said knowingly, "it's hard to realize things like this by yourself. There's no real explanation for how someone suddenly develops feelings for someone else. You'll know it in unexpected ways— Sometimes even when they've been around for a long time, or if they're just standing next to you." He found himself looking at Jimin too, the way he was meticulously picking out ingredients he thought would suit Yoongi's palate.

"I'm trying to act normal around him, but—" Jungkook shook his head as though he was trying to clear it.

"You're not doing a very good job there, you're too stiff. You're just lucky Taehyung's denser than lead most of the time." Yoongi lifted an eyebrow, crossing his arms as he gentled his tone. "Trust me when I say that I get the first instinct being to hide this stuff, and I know it must have been hard for you to find out the way you did. But I hope you intend to do something now that you know your own feelings." Jungkook and Taehyung were little brats, but Yoongi had known them for awhile now. They were good kids, and they deserved to be happy. "I don't think he's going to say no, you know."

"Are you going to?" Jungkook asked quietly as he watched Taehyung and Jimin sifting through the crowd, slowly attempting to return to their table. "Do anything about your feelings?"

Yoongi sighed heavily. "I don't know," he lied, knowing that Jimin already had someone else in mind. He was still determined not to let it affect the dynamic they had between them now, but it was a persistent thought that clung to the back of his mind like a plague. He was a little worried about that. "I'm... I'm thinking about it."

Wordlessly, they each picked up a bottle of beer and sighed, taking a big gulp as they prepared themselves for the night ahead.



MONDAY

Jimin went to the studios bright and early, leaving Yoongi alone in the house by the time he roused enough energy to wake up at 11.

Taking in a deep breath, he yawned and felt his stomach churning as he flipped on the switch for his heater. Deciding it was still early and Jimin wouldn't be back for hours, he brought his favorite candle from the living room into his bathroom and ran the tub. It seemed like a good day to spend some time spoiling himself before he ordered some lunch and continued his work on his scale model.

The previous night had gone without further hiccups, though Jungkook and Yoongi somehow became each other's pillar of support throughout the dinner. Yoongi had nudged Jungkook whenever he caught the maknae's eyes lingering on Tae's lips or some shit, and vice versa if Yoongi was doing something equally as ridiculous. They'd talked about all kinds of things; Yoongi had told Tae and Jungkook a little about his childhood in Daegu, stuff Jimin had already known about. In return, the pair recounted stories from high school that both delighted and embarrassed Jimin in turns. Against all odds, it had turned out to be a pleasantly memorable night.

One of the things Yoongi remembered hearing was that Jimin had an obscure YouTube channel where he'd uploaded some of his practice videos. Humming, Yoongi unlocked his phone as he rummaged in the drawer under his sink for a bath bomb.

"ChimChim95," Yoongi recited from memory, his lips curving at the cute username. "ChimChim95... Ah." He paused in his search for a bath bomb, clicking on the channel. The profile picture was of Jimin's shadowed profile; he was wearing the same red SnapBack Yoongi had seen on him a few times. There were 7 videos on his uploads list, and Yoongi hummed distractedly as he resumed his search for a bathbomb he'd like to use. He'd watch the videos later.

He had quite a few left because he hadn't been using them since before Hell Week, having been too busy to relax in the tub. He'd pretty much forgotten about his stash after finals as well, but today seemed like a good opportunity for him to chill alone. "Dragon's Egg," he read off the label of one, before putting it back. "Sakura... Mistletoe— Oh, this is limited edition," he noted, blinking down at the label. He wouldn't use that one till it was a special occasion. "Northern Lights... I have two of these," he mumbled, taking one out of the drawer. It was decided.

He set the bath bomb down on the edge of the tub, grabbing a bottle of bubble bath off the sink. He usually used bubble bath first, leaving the bomb for after the soap bubbles had disappeared. "Lavender," he hummed agreeably, squeezing a generous amount of the liquid into the water near where the tap was running. After that was done, he went back to his room to grab a change of clothes and a towel, plus his waterproof pouch so that he could use his phone while soaking.

After 15 minutes, Yoongi flipped off the tap and looked at the water level, satisfied. The bathroom mirror had steamed up with the heat, and Yoongi stripped off his clothing, tossing it into the laundry basket in the corner of the room. Lighting the Yankee candle, he was soon sinking into the bathtub with a hiss of discomfort; he had to get used to the high temperature before he could really destress. "Fuck," he mumbled, taking in a deep breath and reaching for his phone on the edge of the tub. He made sure it was locked tightly into the waterproof pouch before he unlocked it again, hitting the first video on Jimin's YouTube playlist.

It showed the dancer demonstrating a complicated-looking dance called krumping, each movement sharp and each transition fluid. Yoongi sagged against the porcelain of his tub, his eyes half lidded as he watched Jimin. He'd seen a few dance videos while he'd gone through his breakdancing phase, but he'd never gotten into any other styles. After watching Jimin at his showcase, it was fairly obvious how versatile he was as a dancer.

The music echoed through the toilet, making Yoongi wince at the volume. He turned it down so that he could listen to it comfortably, and he took in the way Jimin's every movement seemed to match the beat perfectly. Absently, he wondered if Hoseok had taught Jimin this style of dance, but realized that according to the year the video was uploaded, Jimin would have still been in high school. "I was trying to skip class without being noticed while you were learning this," he said wryly to the dancer on his screen, laughing and shaking his head. So Jimin had been dedicated from that young an age; it was truly impressive.

"Yoongi?"

It happened so quickly Yoongi had no time to react. He turned his head, eyes wide as Jimin opened the door to the bathroom and peeked in. He dropped his phone into the tub, yelping as Jimin screamed and slammed the door shut. "Oh fuck," he hissed, sweeping his hand under all the bubbles and trying to find the pouch. He winced as his knuckles were abruptly exposed to the hot water, making them sting badly.

"Oh my god," Jimin was saying loudly outside the door. "Oh my god! Why didn't you lock the door?!"

"I didn't—" Yoongi ripped his phone out of the water, relieved as he locked it. Had Jimin seen that he was watching one of his videos in the tub? Because he was seriously not keen on explaining that. "I thought you were going to be at the studio! Why did you come in?" Thank god he'd used bubble bath; he was pretty sure Jimin hadn't seen anything too indecent.

"I needed to pee!" Jimin shrieked, sounding distressed. "I came back because I accidentally left my phone behind when I left this morning!"

Yoongi groaned, burying his face in his hands. "Just— I— Hang on a sec," he said quickly, getting out of the water and grabbing his towel. He patted himself down quickly and knotted the towel around his waist, taking a calming breath before he opened the door. "Here, you can use— Woah!"

Jimin, who must have been leaning against the door, almost fell into the toilet with a sharp cry of surprise. If he hadn't been caught by Yoongi, he might have had a serious accident. His lips parted as though he was about to say something, but his body completely stiffened in Yoongi's arms as their skin came into contact.

"Jesus, that was so dangerous, don't lean on the door like that!" Yoongi scolded, his heart beating quickly. That had been way too close a shave.

Jimin whirled on his heel, looking at Yoongi and immediately going red. He covered his face with a wail. "Oh my god," he whimpered, brushing past Yoongi. "Oh my god, I'm so sorry—" He closed the door behind him.

Bewildered, Yoongi leaned against the desk in his room to wait. He rubbed at a spot on his elbow where bubbles had clung to his skin, sighing. He wondered why Jimin had reacted so strongly to seeing him, but he supposed it would have come as a shock to him if the situation were reversed. Guiltily, he reflected that he would probably have enjoyed the sight of Jimin in just a towel more than he should. God, he was a gross, gross dude. He needed to be stopped.

By the time the dancer emerged, Yoongi had his arms crossed over his chest because it was cold. "Sorry for startling you," Yoongi apologized first, lowering his arms. He rubbed at the back of his neck sheepishly. "I, uh... I didn't think you were coming back for hours. But I'll lock the door from now on, even if you're out," he promised mildly as he crossed the room.

Jimin's eyes were wide as Yoongi drew closer. "It's—" He murmured, turning his eyes away from Yoongi and blinking rapidly. "It's fine. I overreacted; I'm sorry." He cleared his throat awkwardly. "I'm just... I'm going to pick up my phone—"

"Hey," Yoongi said softly, putting a hand on Jimin's shoulder. The dancer paused in his step, a panicked look on his face. Yoongi laughed. "Relax," he said easily. "It's fine; stuff like this happens all the time between roommates, let alone boyfriends. We don't have to be so weird about it, okay? I overreacted too." He leaned in and pressed a chaste kiss to Jimin's lips, hoping that the flush that bloomed on his cheeks would be credited to the hot bath he'd just drawn instead of anything else. "For this morning," he reasoned under his breath as he drew back, meeting Jimin's wide eyes. "You left before I could wake up, so. You know." He scratched his cheek sheepishly. "A goodbye kiss?"

It took Jimin a long time to reply. "Yeah," he said eventually, sounding out of breath. It was kind of funny, how affected he was. "G-Goodbye."

Yoongi smiled as he passed the dancer. "Good luck at practice. Be careful not to get hurt," he added over his shoulder, closing the door behind him and pointedly locking it. Once he was safely on his own, he cupped his hands and covered his face. He must have been so fucking red, shit.

Jimin's lips were sweet with balm, and soft. Yoongi was happy he'd gotten to taste that again.

*

Thing were silent between them that evening. Yoongi was working on his scale model while Jimin was out in the living room, and it was a calm time for the both of them.

Till Jimin let out an ear-piercing scream.

Yoongi ran out of his work room so fast he almost skidded on his socks and brained himself on his coffee table. "What the fuck?!" He shouted. "What?! What happened?!"

Jimin was up on the couch, pointing at the same coffee table that Yoongi had almost killed himself on, his hand trembling. "Yoongi," he breathed, anxiety making him jittery, "Yoongi, there is a spider the size of my fucking hand on that thing, it was on the remote and I almost touched it, Yoongi I ALMOST TOUCHED IT OH MY GOD PLEASE—"

Fucking seriously? Yoongi stared up at the dancer in disbelief, his gaze lingering on the swell of his biceps. "Are you even a real human being?" He asked drily, crossing his arms in exasperation. "You've got to be like, a hundred times the size of that thing and you're freaking out—"

"PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THIS MATTER OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE," Jimin yelled, infuriated as his eyes tracked the movement of the spider. "Oh my god, Yoongi, just fucking— Please, I will die if you don't get rid of it, just please do something, I can't sleep knowing that thing is in the house, I need to sleep at night Yoongi, my face swells up if I don't and I just—"

Jesus H. Christ. Yoongi sighed and picked up a magazine, balling it up. "Fuck, fine," he rolled his eyes passionately. "Where is it—"

"You can't kill it!" Jimin gasped, horrified.

"Well, what the fuck do you want me to do then?!" Yoongi roared, frustrated as he tried to find the fucking thing.

"Catch it! Let it go outside! Let it go home to its friends and family!" Jimin shrieked, jumping from foot to foot as he pointed at the other side of the coffee table. "Oh my god, Yoongi, it's getting away, quick, it's almost over the edge—"

"You're so fussy, god," Yoongi grumbled under his breath, abandoning the magazine and cupping his hands. He spotted the spider - to Jimin's credit, it was pretty big, though obviously not the size of his hand - and drew closer. The air around them seemed to still as he got ready, abruptly bringing his hands down to catch the insect and rolling his eyes again as Jimin cried out in panic. "I've got it, can you just calm down—"

Jimin was too busy bolting over the arm of the sofa to open the window. "Hurry!" He hissed, waving Yoongi over and jumping back as Yoongi walked over leisurely with the spider in his hands. "Oh, god. I can't believe you caught it so calmly."

"I used to catch insects at Apsan Park when I was in elementary school; spiders are a piece of cake," Yoongi drawled, releasing the spider outside the window and closing it immediately. He turned to regard Jimin with a blank look on his face. "Will you stop screaming now."

Jimin seemed completely at ease for someone who had been losing his shit 5 seconds ago. "Yup," he said serenely, holding a hand over his heart. "Thanks for eliminating the threat."

"Um, no," Yoongi snorted in disbelief, "I didn't eliminate it. You wanted it to go home to, and I quote you on this, 'his friends and family.'"

"Spiders could have friends!" Jimin protested, spreading his arms in exasperation as Yoongi snickered and walked around the sofa back towards his work room. "And spiders have thousands of babies at one go or something; what if that had been a mama spider?! What would happen to all her spidey-babies?!"

"Female spiders usually die after laying eggs, you dumbass," Yoongi deadpanned, crossing his arms and pausing in his step to look at Jimin. "Don't you watch Discovery Channel?"

Jimin paused, apparently not having expected that retort. His brows furrowed. "Well," he huffed indignantly, "then it could have been a dad spider. Dad spiders probably have other dad spider friends who want to hang out and watch soccer together. He could have never made it to his dad spider night with his friends because you killed him, Yoongi. Would you want to be responsible for that?" He drew up close to Yoongi and poked him in the chest repeatedly. "You could have been a murderer, Min Yoongi-ssi. Be thankful I saved you from the guilt."

For a long moment, Yoongi and Jimin stared each other down. Then, as though erupting, they burst out laughing in unison, clutching their stomach and doubling over. "You're fucking priceless," Yoongi choked out through wet eyes. He hadn't laughed this hard in a long time.

"You— You never know," Jimin whimpered through actual tears, his fingers digging into his side as he struggled to stop giggling. "Murder is a big deal. J-Just be thankful I'm so— so kind—"

"Oh god," Yoongi snorted, flopping onto the sofa and giving up, letting his laughter run its course. "You're fucking insane, Park Jimin."

Jimin collapsed on top of him, snickering against the column of Yoongi's neck. "I'm dying," he sniggered, lips stretched into an uncontrollable grin. "I'm dead, this is how I go, I laugh myself to death—"

Yoongi huffed, his arm automatically snaking around the curve of Jimin's waist to prevent the younger from falling off the couch. He flushed at how close they were in this moment, but it seemed to have dissipated all tension that remained between them from the whole bath incident in the afternoon. "It's not a bad way to go," he said softly, smiling at Jimin as he rested his hand on the small of the dancer's back.

"No," Jimin agreed with a serene smile, leaning into Yoongi's embrace and pressing a little kiss to his jaw, comfortable and warm. "I guess it really isn't."

Chapter Text

TUESDAY

"Well, if there's nothing else, then can I leave the dishes to you today?" Yoongi sighed apologetically, strapping his watch onto his wrist urgently. "I'm really sorry, but if I don't leave right now I'm going to be late—"

Jimin rushed over with Yoongi's scarf, wrapping it around his neck haphazardly so that one end fell over his face. Yoongi puffed a breath of air into the fabric so that it would fall properly around his neck, taking the flask of coffee Jimin pressed into his hands. "It's fine, I'm glad you managed to even eat," he said, brows pinched with worry. "It's more important that you're not late for work, so don't worry about it. I'm sorry I didn't wake you; I forgot that you tutored Si Won on Tuesday mornings."

Yoongi shook his head, shoving the flask into his bag. "Not your fault; I should have woken up by myself." What the hell was he doing, snoozing his alarm like he didn't have a goddamn job? Frustratedly, he checked he had everything in his bag. Sheet music, Si Won's arrangement from the lesson plan he'd crafted on Sunday... He let out a breath as he walked towards the door, looking at his watch. He had 20 minutes before his lesson started. "After Si Won's lesson, I'm going to visit a hardware store to pick up some supplies, so I'll probably still be out in the afternoon. You're going to the studio today as usual?"

"Yes," Jimin nodded, cupping Yoongi's face and turning it towards him. "Are you sure it's alright to go to your lesson with a plaster on your face?" His shoulders sagged. "It's a little conspicuous, isn't it?"

"It is, but the cut is still healing," Yoongi murmured distractedly, fastening the cover of his satchel firmly. Did he have to take a cab or could he still make it if he took a bus? Traffic wasn't usually too bad at this time of the morning, so... "I'd rather not show that side of me to my students if I can avoid it, so I'll just say I had an accident or something." It was lucky that the bruising around his eye had been light; it had faded very quickly. "It can't be helped with my knuckles since it's the piano, but at least they don't look as swollen." Jimin had also helped him to apply a little makeup over the reddened skin to mask how badly injured he'd been just days ago.

Jimin hummed, handing Yoongi's phone to him. "Okay. Just try to hide it, I suppose— Wait, Yoongi." He took Yoongi's wrist and fixed his sleeve, peering around to the back of his arm and checking the folds were tucked in properly. "Hang on, I'll go get your jacket, you get cold easily so you have to bring it—"

Lamely, Yoongi watched Jimin rush back into the house, searching for his leather jacket as he stood mutely in the doorway. He couldn't comprehend how all of this domesticity seemed so foreign, yet natural at the same time. Whether it was cooking in his kitchen or showing up in his work room to help out with little innocuous things, Jimin had seamlessly inserted himself into Yoongi's life, and he'd never experienced something as pleasantly confusing in his life. It had only been a few days, but it was all driving him a bit mad, to be honest.

The dancer reappeared with Yoongi's jacket folded over his arm. "Here," he said with a flustered smile, pressing it into Yoongi's arms. He seemed to hesitate for a second as Yoongi stepped out the door, shoving his already socked feet into his black boots.

Yoongi uncoiled his earphones and shoved one in his ear. He eyed Jimin's pink cheeks with a lift of his eyebrow. "Everything okay there?"

"Yeah," Jimin said quietly. Just as Yoongi was about to turn on his heel to leave, the dancer leaned in quickly and pecked Yoongi on the lips. He cleared his throat almost immediately after, jumping backwards into the house. "I— It was a goodbye kiss," he said, almost defensively as he averted his eyes, looking at the ground next to his feet. "You... You did that yesterday, so I thought I should..."

This fucking guy. Yoongi let out a sigh, his lips quirked upwards. He wasn't going to make things awkward by teasing the guy; it was better to act like he'd expected this even though his heart was presently trying to claw its way out of his chest. "Goodbye, Jimin," he said gently, putting on his jacket properly and tugging on the lapels. "Don't overdo it at the studios, okay?"

Jimin lifted his head slowly, nodding as he finally met Yoongi's eyes. "G-Good luck at work," he managed to say, before he closed the door quietly.

Yoongi turned on his heel to leave. As he waited for the elevator, he saw his reflection on the polished steel doors and wondered why it was so hard not to smile whenever Jimin surprised him like this.

*

In-Jung opened the door for Yoongi, his face brightening. "Sunbae!"

"It's uncomfortable if you call me that, I'm not even technically your sunbae in anything," Yoongi murmured, stepping past the kid. Still, he was kind of endearing, so he patted the kid on the shoulder as he passed him. "Is everyone working hard?" He looked around the studio, spotting Jimin in the middle of a routine. He smiled as he removed his jacket, turning to In-Jung. "Where's Hoseok?"

"You just missed him," the younger informed Yoongi. "He said he was going to meet some members of his street dance crew."

"Oh?" Yoongi lifted an eyebrow as his eyes swivelled back to his alleged boyfriend. "I'm surprised he didn't take Jimin."

In-Jung grinned, standing next to Yoongi. They leaned back against the wall in unison, watching the group of dancers on the far end of the studio, Jimin leading them. "I think he asked, but Jimin-hyung said you might stop by." He glanced at Yoongi, dipping his head. "Wow. That cut's still not gone?"

"I got it from that asshole's ring or something, so it's pretty deep," Yoongi said nonchalantly, his eyes focused on how concentrated Jimin looked as he guided his dongsaengs through a complex dance move. "It'll probably take a while more, but it's starting to hurt a lot less." It had only stung a little in the shower that morning. Hopefully, he'd be able to teach Jae Eun's lesson on Thursday without the stupid plaster on his face.

"Wow," In-Jung breathed, his eyes wide with appreciation. "You're pretty manly, sunbae."

Yoongi shifted awkwardly, glancing at the younger. "Anyone would have done the same thing," he reasoned, wondering why this guy seemed to like him so much. It was cute when he saw the kid dogging Jimin's heels and learning enthusiastically from him, but Yoongi hadn't interacted with people outside his peer circle for a long time. He wasn't actually sure what to do when faced with this kind of scrutiny, especially from a junior he'd only met for a few days. "If your significant other was being bullied, you'd want to fight for them too, right? I'm not that special."

"That's not true—" In-Jung protested.

"You're pretty special from what I've heard, oppa," a familiar voice piped up. It was the girl who had spoken to Jimin the last time - Ji Hee, if Yoongi remembered right. She lifted her phone and waved it with a grin on her face. "Your tracks are pretty lit, Agust D~"

Taken aback, Yoongi peered at the screen. "You managed to find me on YouTube?"

"Oooh, wow," In-Jung blinked, leaning in closer with wide eyes. "You have quite a lot of songs out. I didn't know, that's pretty cool!"

"Jimin and I are pretty close; Hoseok-oppa and I were one of the first few to see his completed routine to your song," Ji Hee laughed, cocking her hip as she jabbed a thumb over her shoulder in Jimin's direction. "He sent me a link to your channel before, singing praises, but I never got around to checking it out because I was busy coordinating the female-only dance. I got curious after I met you properly though." She locked her phone and pocketed it. "I'm impressed; there was piano stuff and even equipment reviews... Are you still producing? I hope you haven't stopped."

"I mentioned a few days ago that I haven't performed or produced any new stuff for a while now," Yoongi said, scratching the back of his neck. He was a little embarrassed to know Jimin had been promoting his channel so much, but he felt pleased knowing that more people had heard his music. Over the past few days, it seemed like he was getting nudged back towards the stage by everyone and anyone. He wondered if he should take this as a sign and put himself out there more determinedly again. "I've been thinking about it, but it's not that easy to get back into the swing of things." For one, he wasn't actually interested in the piano circuit. Secondly, the underground rap community - which was what he actually wanted to revisit - bragged way too much about being open and accepting when they were kind of close-minded at the best of times. 

Ji Hee winked at him, framing her eye with a peace sign. "Well, if you ever decide to get down to it, I hope Jimin will let me know," she said encouragingly, throwing an arm around In-Jung and ruffling his hair with a giggle. "This one idolizes you and your boyfriend; I bet he'd be thrilled to support you too."

"Noona!" In-Jung protested loudly with a whine, making Yoongi shake his head and Ji Hee snicker fondly.

The kid's outburst had caught the attention of Jimin, who ran over with a bright smile. "Yoongi!" He beamed, huffing with exertion. His shin was slick with sweat. "I hadn't known you were here."

"You were busy," Yoongi said reasonably with a shrug, trying not to stare at Jimin's biceps or thighs because he did not need that madness in his life. "I didn't want to disturb you."

Jimin turned his SnapBack around so that his eyes weren't hidden under the brim. "Did your lesson with Si Won go well?"

Yoongi nodded. "Yeah, I managed to make it on time. He liked the new arrangement as well." All in all, it had been a pretty successful session; Yoongi had been satisfied with the outcome. He was looking forward to seeing Jae Eun's reaction to his new piece for her when he taught her on Thursday too. "Are you mentoring them?" He asked, nodding at Jimin's juniors over his shoulder.

The dancer turned and nodded. "Yeah. They're participating in a competition soon as a subunit of the club, so Hoseok-hyung put me in charge of guiding them since this morning." He rubbed his nose sheepishly with a pleased grin he couldn't hide. "I'm really nervous, actually. I haven't been put in charge of mentoring anyone like that officially, but it seems to be going well, so I'm thankful for it..."

Ji Hee booed him teasingly. "You mentor the maknaeduhl and your dongsaengs all the time!" In-Jung nodded feverishly in support of her words.

"I'm sure you'll do a great job, so try not to be so insecure," Yoongi encouraged Jimin with a gentle smile, patting the top of his cap. The dancer blushed but nodded shyly. Good. "Are you going to continue?"

Jimin glanced at the clock on the wall of the studio; 5:36. "I think maybe we'll stop at 6, if that's okay?" He asked, wincing as he suggested for Yoongi to wait. "Sorry, I just really want to wrap up the choreo, at least up till the bridge, so..."

"Go ahead," Yoongi acquiesced readily, removing his heavy satchel and setting it down on the ground. He draped his jacket over it and sank to the floor in a crosslegged position. "It's no problem; I know you usually stay later than this. I just finished my stuff earlier, that's all."

"I'll be done really soon," Jimin promised, grinning as he rounded on his heel and ran back to the group he'd left alone momentarily. "Guys, we're finishing up soon, so let's do our best for the next 20, okay?" A chorus of obedient agreements met his instructions, and he smiled brightly. Yoongi watched as the younger members of the clubs watched Jimin attentively, some of them mimicking the slow movement of his arms as he swept them in a fluid motion from the left side of his chest down to his right hip. They seemed to enjoy learning from him.

In-Jung stood quietly beside Yoongi as Ji Hee sank down on the ground next to him. "They really listen to him," she told Yoongi with a serene smile. "It's because he's always so respectful, and we all know how hard he works." She shot Yoongi a shrewd look, cocking her head. "I'm glad we have someone like Jimin in the club. You should know how lucky you are, oppa."

Yoongi watched, his elbow on his knee as he leaned his chin on his palm. "Yeah," he said honestly, pretending for just a moment that Jimin was truly his in every sense of the word. "I know it."

*

"Oh," Yoongi sat up with wide eyes, his phone buzzing in his hand. "Oh, shit."

Jimin, who had been reclining on the couch next to him surfing the web, paused to shoot him an alarmed look. "What is it? What happened?"

Yoongi rushed to his work room, making a frustrated noise. Jimin padded after him worriedly. "I Skype with hyung on Tuesday nights; I completely forgot." He turned to look at Jimin. "He knows we're dating, but not that it's— Well. You know. He thinks we're dating. Really." Wincing at how terrible that sounded, he picked up the call through his phone first and avoided looking at Jimin for the moment. "Hyung?"

"Yoongi-yah?" Seung-gi sounded worried. "What's going on, you aren't home yet?"

"No, no," Yoongi frowned, flipping open his laptop and getting his ass online. Jimin watched from the doorway, blinking at the computer screen. "I was in the living room, just give me a second and I'll call you back on my computer."

"Okay," Seung-gi said, hanging up. Yoongi immediately clicked on his brother's icon once it turned green, putting a video call through to him.

Jimin approached the desk, his hands curling over the back of Yoongi's computer chair. "Your biological older brother?" He asked curiously, peering at Seung-gi's icon. He seemed to realize what he was doing and leapt to the side, just as Seung-gi answered the call and appeared on screen. "Oh," he bit his lip, lowering his voice. "Should I leave? I'm so sorry, I wasn't thinking—"

"Is someone there with you, Yoongi?" Seung-gi asked, leisurely lifting up a cup of coffee to his lips onscreen. "That's unusual of you."

Yoongi waved Jimin over, rolling his eyes. Why the hell was Jimin being so twitchy? It was just Seung-gi. "Yeah. Jimin, this is my older brother, come say hi—"

Seung-gi promptly choked on his drink, sputtering as he hurriedly set the coffee aside and covered his mouth. He coughed like an old man, making Yoongi palm his face in secondhand embarrassment.

Timidly, Jimin went into frame, pushing his fringe back from his eyes. "H-Hello," he greeted, bowing deeply. "I'm Jimin..."

"Can you at least attempt not to die every time you drink coffee?" Yoongi said saltily, regarding his brother with an unamused sigh.

"You sprung a pretty intense surprise on me here, you brat, can you have a goddamn conscience—" His eyes widened as he drew closer to his webcam, making Yoongi lean back on instinct as his brother's forehead filled the screen. "Yoongi-yah. Is your lip... Split?" His brows furrowed. "And why is there a plaster on your face?"

Ahhh, shit. Yoongi hadn't remembered that in his rush to answer Seung-gi's call. Almost immediately, he could feel rather than see Jimin shrinking in on himself. He put an arm around Jimin's waist, determined to keep him by his side. Of course, if the younger wasn't comfortable talking to Seung-gi, Yoongi didn't want to force him to stay, but he wasn't going to let Jimin slink out of frame if it was over this matter. "Jimin was being bullied by homophobic assholes at his club," he explained blandly. "I fixed it with Joon and the others."

"You fixed it—" Seung-gi cut himself off abruptly with a little groan, palming his face as he moved back from the camera. "Yoongi-yah, this is exactly the kind of thing that convinces eomma that you joined a gang in the past," he deadpanned drily.

Unexpectedly, Jimin burst out laughing. Yoongi shot him an incredulous look, forgetting about his hyung for now. "Is there something very funny about that, Jimin-ssi?" He asked, mock affronted.

"It's just," Jimin stuttered, clutching his stomach as he doubled over, "Y-Yoongi, you use bathbombs and bubble baths. You have a scented Soft Blanket Yankee candle and you teach children piano... A gang? How could anyone even think—" He burst into little giggles, crinkles at the corners of his eyes appearing as he tried to stop himself from laughing. "Ah, seriously, I'm going crazy—"

Onscreen, Seung-gi smirked. "Right? When you first meet him, you start thinking to yourself, 'he's a pretty distant and cool guy,' or something like that," he addressed Jimin casually, "but in reality he turns out to be so soft. A total grandpa, right?"

Yoongi glared at his brother, but Jimin nodded as he covered his mouth, still unable to calm himself down. "And he's," Jimin sputtered, giggling uncontrollably, "he's always fussing— About the cold—"

"Put on your jacket," Seung-gi mimicked in an annoyingly high voice, making Yoongi stare at him in blatant disbelief. What was all this betrayal? He was surrounded by backstabbers. "Where's your scarf? Don't you have gloves? Do you want to die?"

"Okay, that's it," Yoongi decided, getting out of his seat. With a grunt, he grabbed Jimin by the waist and hoisted him up - he could manage a few miracles of strength if he absolutely needed to. "You're outta here; I'm not having you making an ally out of my older brother like this—"

"IT WAS NICE TO MEET YOU JIMIN," Seung-gi roared amicably through Skype.

Jimin waved, still snickering when Yoongi had finally managed to carry him over to the sofa in the living room. He dumped Jimin's ass on the couch but the dancer just bounced on it, covering his mouth and not hiding his mirth very well. "Stay," Yoongi hissed, pretending to be annoyed.

"Your brother is nice," Jimin giggled, waving mildly. "Have fun, Yoongi."

Yoongi huffed at him and returned to his work room, shutting the door behind him. "I will not have you hatching plans to dominate my life with my boyfriend, this was not in the pamphlet hyung—"

"Yoongi," Seung-gi cut him off, his face serious. "When did you let him move into your home?"

Startled, Yoongi could only stare at his brother. As he realized Seung-gi wasn't going to let up on the matter, he sighed and crossed the room, sagging back into his computer seat. Much as it would be easier to lie, he might as well keep up with the vein of truth while he was on it. "A few days ago," he said quietly, keeping the volume low so that Jimin couldn't hear what they were discussing. The room was marginally soundproofed, but still. "It wasn't really planned, but there were some.... Complications with his roommate." He glared down at his keyboard, unwilling to elaborate. He would get angry again if he did; just the thought of what Jimin had gone through was enough to rile him up.

It didn't seem like he had to anyway; Seung-gi looked at him knowingly. "He was wearing your jersey," his brother explained shrewdly, making Yoongi lift an eyebrow. "More than that, you two seemed way too comfortable in each other's space; especially you. I've never seen you so relaxed with anyone, and you've never had anyone over when we Skyped in the past."

So that was how his brother had guessed it. Yoongi hadn't even realized Jimin had borrowed his jersey. "I'm so fucking screwed," he sighed heavily, burying his head in his hands as he squeezed his eyes shut. "I'm trying not to fall for the guy, and literally a couple of days later he's living with me? What the hell is going on, hyung, seriously, this is insane..."

"Sounds like the universe is giving you an opportunity there," Seung-gi pointed out drily, finally feeling safe to pick up his coffee again. "But seriously, it was a shock for me to see him in your house; you're not the type to suggest these kinds of things so easily." Yoongi was a creature of habit and comfort, and Seung-gi knew that. It was probably odd for his older brother to fathom Yoongi doing something like this; hell, it was hard for Yoongi himself to understand how things had happened the way they did. "Even if he needs a place to stay, doesn't he have any other friends he can stay with?"

"I just blurted for him to stay with me," Yoongi lamented, his face growing red with heat as he remembered his exact words in the dean's office. At least for now, let me keep you safe. Was he a leading role in some period drama or what? "I wasn't thinking—"

"Jesus," Seung-gi snorted, setting his cup down again. It didn't seem like he was ever going to finish it. "Are you some kind of crazy person? How did you manage to get yourself into a situation like this?" He leaned his chin on his palm and shook his head exasperatedly. "Isn't it normal for him to be staying with a friend in this situation? You've only dated him for a short while!"

"I said it was on impulse, okay?!" Yoongi whisper-screamed, glaring at his brother. Seung-gi was finding way too much amusement out of his suffering here. "It was a high tension environment and I wasn't thinking straight; stop making it sound like I'm some kind of idiot!"

"Yoongi, calling you an idiot over something like this would be a massive understatement," Seung-gi shook his head. "Just last week you said that you wanted this to keep the relationship you have with him casual, and then you pull something like this out of your ass." He flailed his arms aggressively on screen, his eyes wide. "What's the guy supposed to think right now, you dumbass?"

"It doesn't matter anyway," Yoongi mumbled, leaning back and frowning as he remembered Jimin's words from a few nights ago. "Even though we're dating, I told you so many times that it was casual..." He lifted his head to look at his brother dully. "Jimin already has a crush; he told me so." He averted his eyes from the screen and fiddled with his fingernails under the desk. "And he said he's going to confess to him after Chuseok, so I guess you could say our relationship has an expiry date."

Immediately, his brother sobered. There was a short pause before Seung-gi let out an aggrieved sigh. "I'm sorry, Yoongi," he said quietly, looking guilty with the way he'd been messing around earlier. "I didn't know about that."

Yoongi looked at his hands, the peeling scars over his knuckles. "Neither did I," he said flatly, wondering if he'd have done something about it even if he had.



WEDNESDAY

"So, I've been thinking about some stuff," Yoongi started, setting his midi on the bedside table and coiling his earphones.

Both of them had decided to sleep in today. Yoongi didn't have any outside obligations, and Jimin had given the studio a miss for the morning. They'd been in bed almost the entire time since they woke up, barring trips to the toilet. They'd had different ways of amusing themselves too; the dancer had been browsing videos of dancing competitions on his phone while Yoongi messed around with his midi and jotted things down in a notebook beside him. "What kind of stuff?" Jimin asked slowly, turning on his side and looking up at Yoongi, who was leaning back against the headboard in a sitting position.

"Music stuff," Yoongi said casually as he slowly got back under the covers. He laid on his back, comfortable and lazy as he stared up at the ceiling. "Maybe rap stuff. Producing stuff."

Jimin jerked to attention, turning to lay on his stomach as he looked at Yoongi with bright, puppy eyes. "Are you going to get back into it?" He asked, excitement coloring his every word.

Yoongi drew back a little, startled as he let out a huff of laughter. "Woah," He said, flapping a hand in front of Jimin's face. "Calm down. I don't want to over-promise or anything. I've just been thinking about it again." He'd been thinking about it since Jimin's showcase, actually; ever since he'd seen the dancer perform to First Love like he was gently unravelling Yoongi's emotions on stage. It had sparked something inside of him, and he hadn't felt this tempted to get back into the thick of his music in a while now. Complacently, Yoongi had rested on his laurels for a long time.

"It's good that you're considering it again," Jimin told him, resting on his elbows and leaning over Yoongi's shoulder to look at him properly. "I wish there were more tracks I could listen to, you know."

Curiously, Yoongi cocked his head to look at Jimin. "How did you find my channel in the first place?" He asked, never having thought to question it before. He stretched out his arm and pulled Jimin's pillow over it, patting the airy center to invite Jimin to lay down so that they could face each other comfortably.

His cheeks a little pink, Jimin obediently turned on his side, shifting a little to get comfortable. Yoongi felt the weight of Jimin's neck on his arm through the pillow and he smiled as the dancer finally stilled, content. "When I was 14 or 15, I got really into contemporary dance in particular," he explained, his eyes rolling back a little as though he was trying to think. "Or was it earlier? Anyway, it was before I came up to Seoul. I was still in Busan back then. My teacher usually had us dance to classical music at first; she said that there was nothing more basic than dancing well to music without words."

Yoongi snorted. Even he knew that wasn't true. Dancing, like art, like music, was subjective. Everyone interpreted music differently; some might have found classical music easier to dance to, but some might have found it even harder.

"I know right?" Jimin laughed, shaking his head. "It was a silly thing to say, but we all listened to her because she was our teacher. For one of our assignments, we had to find an instrumental track we liked and interpret it; we had to come up with our own choreography for the first time." His eyes slid shut and Yoongi swallowed thickly at how relaxed he looked, how peaceful. "I searched online for hours when I went home that day. The assignment was difficult for me because I couldn't find anything that seemed to strike a chord..." He slowly opened his eyes, his lips lifting into a fond smile. "But after I narrowed the search results down, I found more local producers. That's when I saw your name listed on Soundcloud."

"I never produced under the name Agust D on Soundcloud," Yoongi lifted an eyebrow.

Jimin nodded, lifting a hand. He brushed aside a lock of Yoongi's hair distractedly, tucking it behind his ear. Yoongi prayed he wasn't red in the face. "I know. It was a track credited to another name; Gloss."

Ahhh. Yoongi remembered that. He'd used that pseudonym briefly while active in the underground scene, because his real name, Yoongi, meant 'Shine, Lustre or Gloss' when translated to English. "I changed my name after that because Gloss didn't really have the impact I wanted," he thought aloud, "and I wanted the initials of my old crew, D-TOWN, in my stage name, too." He'd linked his Soundcloud to his YouTube account, which explained how Jimin had been led there from his old account.

"I picked the instrumental song, Piano Jam, from there," Jimin said gently. "It was beautiful, and it made me feel like—" He paused, closing his eyes again as he tried to come up with the words he wanted to say. Yoongi tucked the blanket over his arm, waiting patiently. "— Like I was going through the stages of loving dance again." He curled in on himself a little, the swell of his lips parting with a chuckle. "It might sound silly, but as I listened to it, I could remember how I fell in love with dance. And after that, every hardship, every obstacle..." He beamed up at Yoongi with a shine in his eyes, his small, warm hands cupping Yoongi's cheeks. "I remembered the blisters I had on my feet, the hours and hours at the studio. Even things like controlling my diet and sacrificing sleep... Everything up until the point I would be dancing on the stage I yearned for, I felt it all, Yoongi. Everything."

Averting his eyes, Yoongi wondered if there was even a remote possibility Jimin wouldn't ruin him for anyone else in the near future. "Usually those are the kinds of things people don't want to remember," he said quietly. "The painful things."

Jimin shook his head firmly. "The painful things are very important too." He moved closer till his nose was buried in the junction of Yoongi's neck and shoulder, his arm curled over the slope of Yoongi's waist so that they were hugging. "It was amazing, listening to it over and over again and never growing tired of it," he said, voice muffled against skin. "To make others feel so much, to remind them how they fell in love even without words..." He pulled back and shifted upwards so that their heads were on the same pillow, their breath mingling as Jimin pressed their foreheads together with an affectionate smile. "Yoongi, don't you know your music has that power?"

This was too fucking overwhelming. Yoongi was helpless and his mind was a mess.

He couldn't do anything but lean in to kiss Jimin.

*

The events of the morning had stayed with Yoongi throughout the day. He'd shut himself into his work room, penciling lines and playing with the programs on his computer. He'd played LIE over the speakers whenever he'd needed to clear his mind, and set a full carafe of coffee on his desk to tide him through the hours.

By the time he was done, he'd written 36 full verses, composed 2 new melodies and ignored 16 text messages. Slumping into his computer chair, Yoongi picked up his phone and checked his inbox.

PARK.J: Yoongi, the dance club are going for BBQ!
PARK.J [image attached]
PARK.J: I won't be home early, so please remember to eat dinner properly
PARK.J: don't skip it, okay?

The picture was of Jimin amidst a crowd of his fellow club members who tried getting in on the frame. Hoseok held up a flier - allegedly from the aforementioned BBQ restaurant - at the forefront of the picture, caught on camera mid-yell. Ji Hee was ruffling Jimin's hair, and In-Jung was making a peace sign in the background. There were other club members Yoongi weren't too familiar with waving, and he wondered if Jimin had asked them to pose for a picture that he was specifically sending to his boyfriend.

MIN.Y: I won't forget. Have fun

As he scrolled through his other chats, he saw a few other new texts. The group he was in with his architecture classmates had someone asking about a new glue gun and whether anyone had tried it. He ignored it and opened the messages from Namjoon.

KIM.N: yo jin's been out with tae for hours doing whatever and I haven't left the house all day
KIM.N: you wanna grab dinner or something? I'm going stir crazy here

Rolling his eyes, Yoongi hit the call icon instead of replying and waited for Namjoon to pick up.

The dialling tone ended shortly. "Sup," Namjoon said, his voice muffled. Yoongi would bet he was pilfering one of Jin's snacks again.

"How is it possible for someone so fucking huge to behave like a goddamn baby?" Yoongi teased down the line, cracking his neck. His back was stiff from sitting down the entire afternoon; he'd take Namjoon up on his offer. Not without ribbing on him a little first, though. "He's only been gone for a few hours, how clingy are you?"

"You're second best, deal with it," Namjoon retorted smoothly, making Yoongi snort into the receiver. "So? Are you down?"

"Where do you want to go?" Yoongi asked, looking down at what he was wearing. He just needed to change his jeans and grab his jacket. "I'll be ready to move in 5, so please don't take a million years to decide how you're going to wow the universe and then show up in pajamas. As usual." He walked briskly to his bedroom and reached into his closet.

Namjoon made a thoughtful sound. "Let's just grab some Kyochon and chill outside; the weather's good." He paused. "Also, fuck you. I always look amazing. You're the one embarrassing me when we go out together with your 50 shades of ripped jeans and leather jackets."

Yoongi stilled, staring down at the pair of jeans he had in his hands and frowning at the rips in the knees. "... They're distressed," he mumbled, a little hurt.

"The only thing distressed around here is me, and that's by your fashion sense," Namjoon said saltily, making Yoongi clutch his heart and gasp dramatically in mock offence. "Kyochon in 15?" The fast food joint was equidistant between their apartment complexes, making it a convenient place to meet up.

Fuck Namjoon's opinion. Yoongi pulled on his jeans and wandered over to his bedside table, snatching up his wallet. "Yeah, alright," he said distractedly, wandering to his work room and looking down at the notebook he'd been filling the whole afternoon. He picked it up thoughtfully, cocking his head. "I'll see you there."

*

"When you feel how hard it is to get through a day, Keep feeling like the “Control” beat, Keep downloading it, Every single day is a repetition of ctrl+c, ctrl+v... These are great verses, hyung," Namjoon rapped around a mouthful of garlic chicken. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, making Yoongi snatch his noteback off his lap before any oil could get on it. "You wrote a lot too; all this in single afternoon? Seriously?"

Yoongi scratched his cheek, bringing out a folder and setting it on his right knee. He and Namjoon had picked a good spot in the park close by to sit and chat outdoors, leisurely taking their time to eat. "I don't know..." He scratched the back of his neck sighing. "Once it hits you, I guess it hits you." He'd brought along some of his older stuff as well, comparing and contrasting the style in which he'd rapped back then and now, wondering if he could stitch something good out of the words he'd penned earlier in the day.

"Just forget about school and become Min PD-nim," Namjoon joked, before he regarded Yoongi with a serious look. "Honestly though, this hasn't happened in awhile," he said, referring to Yoongi sharing any new material or lyrics. Uncomfortably, Yoongi shifted in his seat on the grass. "I know you're not the type to randomly talk to me about this stuff, so what's going on, hyung? Did something happen?"

Park Jimin fucking happened. This morning had happened. "I've just been thinking a lot lately," Yoongi mumbled, grabbing a chicken nugget and slumping. "About music, about the producing and rapping I used to do back in Daegu." He looked down, nibbling on his food with a lost expression. "It's not that I don't want to be an architect anymore, but I've been reminded how much music meant to me when I was younger. Jimin and I talked a lot about it over the past few days, and I— Ever since he performed to First Love, I can't stop thinking about the stage." He levelled Namjoon with a dull stare, flattening his free hand on the pages in his lap. "What am I supposed to do, Joon?"

"You know, for an easygoing guy, you really tend to overthink a lot of stuff," Namjoon lifted an eyebrow. "What the hell do you mean 'what am I supposed to do'? What else can you do but get back into it?"

"I haven't stepped into the ring for years," Yoongi pointed out with narrowed eyes.

"But you shredded whenever you did," Namjoon retorted, leaning forward and grabbing Yoongi by the shoulder. "Do you know how fucking long Hoseok and I have waited for this, hyung? Even though he's a dancer at heart, we both know he's got a talent and a passion for rapping too. I can't believe he put out a fucking solo track before you got your head back in the game." He released Yoongi and flailed an arm, exasperated. "Hoseok, fucking We're-All-In-This-Together High School Musical style Hoseok, put out a solo track waiting for you to get your shit together and realize you were never meant to leave the rap scene. What more do you even need as a hint that your comeback is sorely anticipated?"

Yoongi snorted drily, popping the entire nugget into his mouth and leaning back on his hands. "You sound like you're talking about the second coming of Christ or something," he rolled his eyes balefully. "My promotions underground flopped, remember? Do you know how few hits my channel has compared to yours or Zico-hyung's?"

"More than it being about hits, you know it's mostly about the reputation with the underground," Namjoon said, wiping his fingers with a napkin before he got out his phone. "You know, I was recently tagged in a post on Tumblr by a mutual, and she'd reblogged it from this audio hoard—"

"I have no idea what language you just spoke," Yoongi deadpanned drily. He wasn't the type to keep up with social media or anything; Joon knew that.

"It's another platform like Soundcloud, or CyWorld, but it operates differently. People reblog stuff and it gets spread around, and you get hearts, which are kind of the same thing as likes..." When all he got for his efforts was Yoongi's blank face, Namjoon palmed his face. "It's a sharing website, okay? Anyway, someone tagged me in a post, and it was actually a track from DaeNamHyup's first mixtape. You know, Get Back?"

Yoongi nodded. He still had the track in his phone.

"The track was credited to us on Tumblr, to our crew, but we didn't even know about it. That's how music gets around these days most of the time, and that post alone had over 32,000 reblogs— That means on that website alone, over 32,000 people had listened to our song," Namjoon shrugged nonchalantly. He grabbed the cup of cola that had come with his meal, fitting the straw into his mouth. "It's regrettable, but people don't usually pay for CDs anymore; not unless you're a major artist with a huge fanbase." He slurped loudly, letting out a hiss as the gas settled on his tongue. "Still, if you search Agust D on other sites, I bet you'll find more buzz about you than you think."

Picking up his folder, Yoongi stared at the thickness of it and wondered if any of these rhymes were worth any salt. He still had more songs in reserve— compositions and samples to be stitched and verses to be arranged. He couldn't complain about any lack of material here; he had the quantity. All Yoongi was worried about was the quality. "You and Hoseok wanted to collaborate? Even up till now?"

"Obviously. We've been keeping quiet but it's been frustrating, you know," Namjoon glared, to Yoongi's complete surprise. "I knew who you were before I knew what you looked like; that's why I'm telling you not to underestimate how far good music can go online. And your raps contain something real; something genuine. I bet that's why you used to win so many battles." He paused, drawing his knees up and resting his elbows on them. "Your reputation precedes you, but you really have no idea how popular you are, do you, hyung?"

Yoongi frowned at an ant on his shoe, flicking it away. "That never mattered too much to me," he said honestly. Being popular required putting on a front, creating a pleasant persona for people to relate to and altering his message. Yoongi had never cared for it. He might have auditioned for a company in the past if he had been convinced that he wouldn't have to forgo his musical freedom, but so many agencies restricted the fuck out of their artists. He could put up with a lot of things to achieve his goals, but he'd never dealt well with having his creative freedom locked down, and it was important to him that he was heavily involved in the production of his own music. "More than being popular or well-liked as a person, it's important to me that people hear the message of my lyrics."

"Then it's simple for you to make a decision, right? You're the one missing the stage," Namjoon sipped languidly, lifting his cup in Yoongi's direction after. "If that's the case, you're the one who has to climb back there if you don't want to have any regrets."

Thoughtfully, Yoongi hummed as he considered all that Namjoon had said. He closed his eyes and felt the evening breeze sifting through his hair, the smell of cheap chicken and all this talk about music making him feel awfully nostalgic about his ex crew. For a moment there, he could smell the grime of that filthy basement they'd celebrated back in Daegu, could taste the shitty beer they'd knocked back on the roofs. He could admit that he missed it terribly. "Fine," he said eventually, a barely perceptible smile curling his lips.

"Fine?" Namjoon lifted an eyebrow. "Fine, what?"

"For now..." Yoongi turned his head to crack an eye open at Namjoon, his teeth flashing with a cheeky grin. "Why don't you just tell me when the next event is?"



THURSDAY

"Tell me about your family," Yoongi said, turning a shirt inside out and shoving it into the washing machine.

Jimin, who was doing the dishes, popped his head out from the pantry. "My family?"

"Yeah," Yoongi smiled, carefully separating their clothes into lights and darks. He didn't want to discolor anything Jimin owned. "I know you're close to your grandmother, but we haven't spoken much about your other family members. I'll talk to you about my family too." He glanced at Jimin, who blinked curiously at him. "You've already met my hyung, Seung-gi. He's a paralegal, and he's working with an international law firm called Cleary Gottlieb." He turned out the pockets of Jimin's sweatpants. "He's in Shenzhen right now, but he'll be flying to Brunei soon."

"Ahh," Jimin hummed, moving back into the kitchen to continue washing up. "I have a dongsaeng; his name is Park JiHyun. He's a couple of years younger, the same age as Kookie. We're pretty close and we message each other a lot."

Yoongi dug deep into the basket for the other half of a pair of socks, grinning. He and Jimin were getting along well, and it lulled him into a peaceful state of mind. "What does he do?"

"He's studying to become a designer," Jimin laughed brightly. Even his tone indicated how much he cared for his little brother, it was genuinely adorable. "He has a talent in drawing and painting too, so I hope he works hard and succeeds." Yoongi could hear the squeak of a sponge against porcelain as Jimin worked hard to clear away the dishes in the sink from their breakfast while Yoongi was sorting out their laundry. "In the past, we used to go to Dadaepo Park whenever we had the time. He liked it because the sunset was nice there..."

"He must be a good kid," Yoongi commented, pushing the whites remaining in the laundry basket aside and reaching for his detergent in the lower cabinet beside the washing machine. "From the way you talk about him, it's easy to see that you guys are really close."

"Really?" Jimin piped up cheerfully. "I guess it might be because our age gap isn't big. Jungkookie complains because he thinks I care too much about him; he says I think of him as a replacement for JiHyun, since we're not staying together right now," he added.

Yoongi snorted. "Jungkook is a lying liar who lies. He's got 6 hyungs giving him more love and affection than he could ever need; that little brat needs to count himself lucky," he said teasingly. Jimin laughed from the pantry. "What about your parents?" Yoongi moved the conversation along, lifting an eyebrow. "My eomma works with a financial consultancy firm, and my abeoji owns an architecture firm based in Daegu. They're both out of town pretty often."

"Is that why you won't be celebrating Chuseok with them?" Jimin frowned, emerging from the kitchen as he wiped his hands on a paper towel. "They really can't make it back because they're on business elsewhere?"

Yoongi nodded. This was normal for their family; he wasn't bothered by it or anything. "Like I said, hyung will be in Brunei during Chuseok. My eomma will be in Spain; she has a high profile client there who needs urgent help with something. My abeoji will be somewhere else too." Yoongi hadn't gotten a call from his father yet. He should make the first move on that, he thought to himself as he uncapped the detergent bottle and measured out a half-cup of the syrupy liquid. "Either way, I've gotten used to this. My parents are usually pretty busy, so I just call them once in awhile. And you know that I Skype my hyung once a week."

Jimin hummed, balling up the paper towel in his hand and tossing it into the bin. "My eomma works as a grocery store manager," he said serenely, bending down and tying the handles of the plastic trash bag. "Abeoji's a regular white collar worker. We're not very rich, so me having scholarships and testing into the Seoul Arts High School was the only way I was able to study what I wanted up here. That's why JiHyun is still studying in Busan," he said quietly. He looked kind of lonely, talking about how far apart he and his brother were. "We're both busy, so we rarely see each other unless it's a big holiday, like Chuseok."

Yoongi recapped the detergent and set the bottle down, walking over to Jimin and stroking his back. "At least you guys can still chat everyday," he said comfortingly with a small smile. "I'm sure he misses you a lot too."

The younger nodded slowly, lifting the tied up trash bag out of the silver bin and walking over to the trash disposal chute. "My family's not that big, and we just celebrate Chuseok with the immediate family," he pointed out as he got rid of the bag, closing the hatch quickly so that the smell from the chute wouldn't linger. "It'll just be JiHyun, my parents and my grandmother you'll be meeting, so I don't think you should be too nervous."

"I'm allegedly dating their first-born, Jimin, I think I have literally every reason and then some to be nervous," Yoongi said drily, rolling his eyes as he shut the washing machine. He blindly thrust the bottle of detergent out behind him. "Could you put this back? Lower right cabinet."

Jimin took the bottle dutifully, replacing it in the cupboard and shutting the door. "The way you say first-born sounds so weird, we're not characters in Game of Thrones," Jimin sighed, putting his hands on his hips. "They're not going to bite your head off, my family is extremely nice, you know!"

"You also mentioned they were extremely conservative," Yoongi pointed out without thinking, pushing a series of buttons he'd memorized over the years. You learned a lot, living on your own while you were in college. He turned on his heel to find Jimin chewing his lip, and he wanted to smack himself for saying something so thoughtlessly. Jimin was probably nervous enough about coming out to his family without Yoongi adding fuel to the fire. "Hey, woah," he said gently, putting his thumb on Jimin's lip and dragging it out from between his teeth with a frown. "Stop that. I'm sorry, that was dumb of me to say. Nothing bad is going to happen, okay?"

"Mmm," Jimin hummed. He stopped chewing his lip, but there was still a little wrinkle between his brows that hadn't gone away.

Yoongi took in a deep breath, leaning in and pressing a kiss to it. "If they're anything like you, I'm sure they'll support your choices, no matter what they may be," he said softly, listening to the whir of the washing machine in the background. "Whatever happens, I'm going to be there for you, so you have nothing to worry about. Alright?"

Jimin let out a sigh, stepping closer to Yoongi and putting his arms around him. "Okay," he whispered, tucking his head under Yoongi's chin and hugging him tightly. "I'll trust you, Yoongi."

"Good," Yoongi said quietly, his heart clenching. He made sure there was a smile on his face before he pulled back, smoothing his hands up and down Jimin's arms to comfort him. "Let's go see if there's anything interesting to watch while the laundry's getting done."

*

"Are you sure you won't be late?" Yoongi lifted an eyebrow, ringing the doorbell. "How about that group you were mentoring?"

"It's just to say hi," Jimin said cheerfully, stepping up to stand behind Yoongi. "I won't be staying long. I already told them I'd be coming in late today anyway, so if they're there, they're probably doing individual practice."

The door cracked open, Jae Eun's mother peering around it. She beamed when she saw Jimin. "Oh, what a lovely surprise," she said warmly opening the door all the way and inviting both Jimin and Yoongi in. "Hello, you two. Yoongi, it's so nice of you to bring Jimin for a visit."

"Just a quick one," Yoongi reassured her, because he was still here to have a session after all. "He's expected elsewhere."

Jimin bowed deeply, his face bright as he greeted Jae Eun's mother with a polite bow. "Soh-nim, it's so nice to see you again. Have you been well?"

"Yes," she laughed, shutting the door. "Very well, actually. How was your performance? My daughter said something about you having a big show recently?"

"Oh, it went very well," Jimin said happily, removing his shoes.

Yoongi carefully did the same. He took a tablet out of his satchel as they all listened to Jae Eun thudding down the stairs. "I brought videos," he said under his breath, "to placate Jae Eun once Jimin has to leave." This wasn't his first rodeo; Yoongi was fully aware of how clingy children could be once they were fixated on someone, and it seemed that his student was fast developing a weird sort of dual-crush on both him and Jimin.

Jae Eun's mother gave him an approving thumbs-up. "I'll go get a cookie," she decided with a wince. "Just in case." Jimin laughed as she left to prepare a snack for her difficult daughter.

The little girl in question was wearing socks as she skidded into view, alarming both Yoongi and Jimin. "Seonsaeng!" She shrieked excitedly. Her eyes grew impossibly wider when she spotted Jimin beside him. "JIMIN-OPPA!"

Jimin ran over to her in case she decided to try some kind of skiing movement towards them. "Jae Eun, that's dangerous," he scolded her mildly, looking down at her little socked feet. "You don't have to run!" He softened when she threw her arms around his neck, shaking his head as he picked her up. "Aww," he grinned at her. Just like that, Yoongi could tell his student had been forgiven and all scoldings were forgotten. Jimin was so weak for kids; it was cute. "How have you been?"

"Great, seonsaeng gave me new pieces and I've already learned them," she bragged, making Yoongi smile. "Did you dance good? How was your recital?"

"Did you dance well," Yoongi corrected her, walking up to the pair and patting his student on the head fondly, "and it wasn't a recital; that's for music. Jimin-oppa had a showcase."

"And it went very well," Jimin answered. Yoongi guided Jimin to the piano room with a hand on the small of his back, and Jimin sat down on the bench with Jae Eun in his lap. "I stopped by because I heard you were cheering for me with Yoongi," he winked at Jae Eun, making her giggle with delight.

"I was!"

Yoongi sat down on the piano bench as Jimin sat Jae Eun down between them. "Jimin-oppa can't stay," he said immediately, because he didn't want to let Jae Eun get too distracted from her lesson, and Jimin was expected at the studio anyway. "He's come to say hi, but he has to work hard on his dancing, just like you have to work hard with the piano, okay?" On cue, Jimin dutifully set Jae Eun down on the bench between them and shouldered his gym bag.

Immediately, Jae Eun entered maximum sulk mode. "Why?" She whined, clutching onto Jimin's sleeve. "Oppa, can't you stay a little while longer? I want to talk some more!"

Jimin's face immediately fell. Yoongi glimpsed Jae Eun's mother at the door with a plate of cookies, but he held up a hand and shook his head. He wanted to handle this well, because he had been the one who told Jimin it was alright to come in, and he was a tutor here before anything else. He had to take responsibility for any poor behavior as a result of his actions. "Jae Eun," he said sternly, leaning over and taking her gently but firmly by the wrist. "Jimin-oppa has his own students to teach, just like I have to teach you today." He set her hand down on her lap, and she turned a wobbly pout on him. Unfazed, Yoongi put his tablet on the music stand, unlocking it. "I know you're sad to say goodbye, but I've brought a video of Jimin-oppa's performance. If you're good, we can watch it together after the lesson."

This caught Jae Eun's attention. "... You video'ed the whole thing?" She asked suspiciously, rubbing her wet eyes. Jimin took the moment of distraction as an opportunity and quickly got up. "Oppa's dance?"

"I did," Yoongi nodded reassuringly, showing her the tablet and scrubbing the dot across the length of the bar so that she could see Jimin was moving throughout the video. "So I'd like you to be good, show me what you've memorized from last week, and I'll give you something exciting and new to learn; a piece that I've personally composed." He smiled as her eyes lit up, clearly remembering all the times he'd played some of his original material for her in the past. "When the lesson's over, we can watch the video and eat some cookies before I leave. Deal?" He lifted his pinky, maintaining a serious face.

Solemnly, Jae Eun nodded and curled her pinky around his. "Deal," she repeated after him, compliant now that she was assured of a triple reward for the day.

Jimin kind of ruined the mood by taking a picture, but Yoongi was getting kind of used to the sound of a shutter by now. Jimin took selcas of them together often because they lived together - even at home when they were doing fuck all - shooting them off to god knew who. He'd also caught Jimin taking a picture of him working once, but it hadn't seemed like a big deal. The dancer waved cheerfully at Jae Eun from the doorway, pocketing his phone at lightning speed. "Bye bye, Jae Eun," he said sweetly. "Be good for Yoongi, okay?"

Jae Eun nodded, waving her little arms. "Bye, oppa!" She sang, wriggling in her seat.

"I'll see you later," Yoongi smiled. "Good luck at practice."

The dancer nodded, beaming as he disappeared around the corner. Jae Eun's mother accompanied him to the door, and Yoongi locked his tablet again. He brought out the new sheet music he'd prepared for Jae Eun, setting it on the bench beside him in preparation for the latter half of the session. He was relieved that his student hadn't caused a bigger scene than he'd been prepared for.

"Okay," Yoongi said, glancing contentedly at her. "Let's review last week's homework first. We'll start from the top of—"

*

"Supper," Jimin sang happily, texting Taehyung. "Supper with friends, supper with family~ Oh, Yoongi," he abruptly broke off, slipping his phone into his pocket. "Should we buy something? Ice cream or hot bars?"

"The second suggestion makes more sense, considering it's freezing," Yoongi laughed, reaching out. Jimin easily took his hand now, and Yoongi intertwined their fingers. "But Jin-hyung already said he bought food, so I think it'll be fine." At the most, he'd go buy more snacks from a convenience store nearby if the group polished off everything Seokjin had prepared.

They were on the way to a chill spot along Han River. After his lesson with Jae Eun - very successful, she'd loved his new arrangement for her and ooh'ed and ahh'ed in all the appropriate places while watching Jimin's dance performance - he'd gone to pick Jimin up at the studios. They'd shared a simple meal of fried noodles at a restaurant near Yoongi's house before going home. Later that night, they'd both received a message from Seokjin though— a mass text asking if anyone was down to hang out and relax outside because he was feeling pretty restless. Everyone had pretty much gone along with their oldest hyung's whim, which led them to this point.

"Oh, I see them," Jimin beamed, lifting his free arm to wave. A figure in the distance jumped up and began doing jumping jacks— Could be Hoseok, could be Taehyung. Yoongi didn't really care. "Let's go," Jimin urged, tugging on Yoongi's hand.

With a sigh, Yoongi dogged Jimin's excited steps, jogging up to the place everyone else was already gathered. Namjoon and Jin were sitting off to the side together, Hoseok in the middle with Jungkook and Taehyung to his left. "How is it possible for you all to be this hyper so late at night?" He grumbled, though he didn't feel that tired himself.

"We're not all like you, harabeoji," Taehyung grinned, making his signature peace sign. "We're youthful."

"It's like, 10:30," Jungkook added in support.

"Of course you'd side with him," Yoongi murmured, smirking.

Jungkook glared at Yoongi for the overt jibe. In retaliation, he grabbed Jimin by the sleeve as he passed by so sit on the other side. "Jimin-hyung, sit with me," he said, looking up and playing up those fucking puppy dog eyes of his to maximum damage.

"What's this, Kookie, you're not usually this clingy with me," Jimin laughed, his knees already bending as he caved in to the maknae's odd request.

Yoongi immediately put his arm around Jimin's waist, making the younger stand up straight again. "Come on," he said with a lift of his eyebrow, guiding Jimin away from Jungkook and pretending he didn't hear the kid's request to his fucking boyfriend, because that brat needed to back the fuck up. Jimin followed him, completely bewildered, but Yoongi shot Jungkook a petty smirk of triumph over his shoulder.

Jungkook rolled his eyes like it was a sport.

Jin eyed Yoongi suspiciously. Yoongi began to sweat nervously, hoping to avoid a lecture. He sat them both down on the lower step, ending up in front of Namjoon and Seokjin. "What're we doing right now anyway?" He asked, turning to his side. Jimin leaned into his space, and he resisted the urge to smile at how easy it had gotten for the younger to relax around him in front of their friends. Jimin was still a little twitchy about being affectionate in public, but he was steadily easing up on being nervy around those close to him. He'd even kissed Yoongi on the cheek earlier in front of his fellow club members.

"Listening, mostly." Hoseok nodded towards the guitar in Seokjin's lap. "Jin-hyung's gotten better," he praised, reaching into a bag of chips. He passed the snack when Yoongi held out a hand.

"I've been practicing more now that classes are out," Jin smiled proudly, strumming. His pink guitar pick was in the shape of a heart. Yoongi wasn't sure he expected anything less from his hyung, who loved cute things. "I guess you could say I'm... Fingerpickin' good," he snorted, making Namjoon bury his face in his hands with a loud groan.

Yoongi made a series of six pained faces as Jimin burst into appreciative giggles.

"What—" Taehyung squinted over at Yoongi, his nose scrunched up. "What is your face doing?"

"He's going through the stages of grief," Namjoon answered wisely. "If you look closely, you'll see every single one. It's all in the eyebrows."

Yoongi exaggerated his frown as Seokjin smacked his back for bringing down his dad joke vibe. "I'm in physical pain right now," he complained, cringing. He passed the bag of chips off to Jimin, clutching his stomach. "I lost my appetite, I need to leave, I think I forgot to feed my fish—"

"You don't have a fish," Jimin stage whispered, trying to stop giggling.

"I will literally buy a fish if I can leave right now," Yoongi replied seriously. "I will even buy a whole tank of fish."

Taehyung was giggling, leaning back against Jungkook. "But seriously, hyung, you got a lot better," he said with wide, earnest eyes.

Jin beamed happily at the encouragement. Taehyung was a really sweet kid. "Mostly, I've been working on reading chords faster," he confessed, laughing. Yoongi lifted an eyebrow. "Since there are so many sites online where they have chords for songs, I figured that if I can read it well, then I can play anything if I practice the basics enough. I don't know if it'll help me very much, but I do feel like it's gotten a bit easier to play."

"Usually I teach my kids to read sheet music quickly," Yoongi said, opening his mouth when Jimin lifted his hand with a couple of chips between his fingers. He took them into his mouth and chewed. "What is this, sour cream? Anyway," he licked his lips, swallowing, "it helps a lot if they're able to get theory down faster, so I guess there's actually nothing wrong if you're doing speed reading exercises." He ignored Taehyung and Jungkook leering at him and Jimin.

Jin strummed casually, a steady melody that sounded familiar and gentle. "Since Joonie listens to a lot of English music, I've been trying to play some acoustic songs that he likes," he said, smiling at his boyfriend. Namjoon grinned back at him, picking a crumb from his boyfriend's lower lip from a cookie he'd munched on earlier and flicking it away. "I think because of that, I've been listening to a lot more new music too."

Hoseok laughed, smacking Namjoon's knee. "You need to stop trying to teach all of us English, some of us just don't get it."

"That's not true, even Jungkook's managing to pick it up," Namjoon protested, waving off Hoseok's comment dismissively. "If you listen to English music or watch English shows with subtitles, it becomes a lot easier for you to comprehend the language. It's not learning from a textbook, but at least you'll be able to say the simple phrases when you travel overseas."

"Hang on, what do you mean, 'even Jungkook'?" The maknae narrowed his eyes, mildly offended.

"I want to learn it!" Taehyung piped up, waving his arm. "Namjoonie-hyung, don't stop teaching me English!"

Yoongi leaned back on his hands, head turned to Jin. "So what song have you been focusing on lately?" He asked conversationally.

"Jungkookie came up to me and let me listen to this song he said he likes," Jin said, missing the look of wide-eyed panic Jungkook shot in his direction. "It's nice and slow, like a ballad." He strummed a repetitive riff, his eyes gentling as he focused on the way the guitar sounded.

Yoongi closed his eyes. It was a mellow sound, and he knew he'd listened to this song in the past, though he couldn't remember the title, artist or lyrics. It was a calming tune that stayed with you, filled with warmth; acoustic music tended to remind him of lazy summer days he'd spent back in his childhood home, taking naps on his side with Holly curled up against his stomach. He cracked an eye open, looking at Jungkook, who swallowed thickly when he realized he was being watched.

"That sounds great," Hoseok hummed, laying down on the concrete with a seene look on his face. "It sounds like a nice lullaby..."

"Isn't this Paper Hearts?" Namjoon lifted an eyebrow in recognition. He turned to Jungkook suspiciously. "I don't remember recommending you this song, though."

"I found it online," Jungkook murmured under his breath, averting his eyes. Taehyung looked at him curiously, but Jungkook's focus lay elsewhere as he stubbornly refused to turn back to the group. "It was in the related links on YouTube, so I listened to it. I—" He paused, staring unseeingly across Han River. "... I liked it."

Taehyung gave up on getting Jungkook attention, instead removing his shoes and socks to go barefoot as he usually did once he was comfortable somewhere.

"I don't know the rest of the chords," Jin sighed, stopping quite abruptly. It made Yoongi blink. "Sorry, Jungkookie-ah."

Jimin perked up. "I'm sure we can find it," he said, licking his fingers quickly so that he could use his phone. Yoongi turned his eyes away from the sight because he didn't need that stuck in his head on repeat. "I'll look it up on Naver... How do you spell it again? Ah, hang on. I have to change my keyboard to English—"

"I'll find it," Namjoon offered, already looking it up on his phone. He frowned at the screen for several long moments. "Jin, I think you need your capo, do you have it with you?"

Jin nodded, reaching into his bag and rummaging around. "I always bring it if I have my guitar— ah." He pulled out the capo and took Namjoon's phone from him, looking at the chords. "Mmm... So the capo's on 4..." He clamped the strings, settling Namjoon's phone on the rib of his guitar. Worriedly, he looked down at it, afraid the phone would fall.

"I'll hold it for you," Hoseok offered, lifting himself up off the ground with a bright grin. "It'd be a shame if Namjoon didn't get to break this phone by himself too."

"Rest in Pieces, iPhone SE," Yoongi prayed on cue, clapping his hands together in a prayer gesture. Namjoon had sat on his last phone, smashing it into literal pieces under his ass. "You will be sorely missed."

Namjoon glowered at them both but made no comment.

Squinting at the screen, Jin nodded and looked down at his guitar. "Okay, let's try this— Is this in the original key? Is 4 okay for you, Jungkookie?"

The maknae's head turned, his eys wide. "Buh?" He said stupidly.

"You're going to sing, right?" Yoongi sighed, shrugging. "Jin-hyung learned this song for you, you know."

Hoseok smacked a hand on Jungkook's back, eyes bright. Namjoon smiled encouragingly as Jimin leaned over, cocking his head. "Do you need the lyrics?" He asked. "I think I have an app for finding lyrics, if you—"

"No," Jungkook shook his head, looking bewildered and bulldozed as he stared at his hyungs. His face softened as he finally looked at Taehyung, who was distractedly staring at his toes as he wriggled them. "... No, I remember them. The lyrics."

Yoongi winced at the conflicted look on the maknae's face.

Jin picked up on that faster than a hunting eagle would have spotted an injured woodland creature. He glared at Yoongi with the burning passion of a thousand suns. 'You told him?!' He mouthed angrily, making a flailing gesture. It was lucky both Jungkook and Taehyung were caught up in their own heads, or someone would have definitely noticed. Namjoon, Hoseok and Jimin were being clued in by Jin's excessive outburst, and all 3 of them were also staring at Yoongi in wide-eyed disbelief.

'I fucked up, okay?!' Yoongi mouthed back, his eyes wide and his shoulders sagging. 'It just came out, I'm sorry!'

'I cannot believe you,' Jin narrowed his eyes accusatorially. 'We are going to talk about this later,' he mouthed firmly, making Yoongi flinch as Jin turned his attention back to the guitar, clearing his throat. "Well, if you memorized the lyrics, that means your English is improving, right?" He praised Jungkook smoothly with a motherly smile. "That's good, Jungkookie-ah." Segueing into the song, he started off slowly, the melody carrying itself on the night breeze.

The maknae nodded, taking in a deep breath. Everyone watched him save for Taehyung, who was still staring out over the lake. Though the tune invoked feelings of warmth and homeliness, Yoongi saw a melancholy in the set of Jungkook's shoulders as his lips parted. "Remember the way you made me feel," he sang airily, startling everyone. Yoongi had heard Jungkook sing once or twice before this, but he'd never heard the maknae sound so soulful. "Such young love, but... Something in me knew that it was real, frozen in my head..."

Jimin let out a sigh, a white hot puff of air escaping into the night as he leaned back. Yoongi spread his knees, turning so that Jimin's back was leaning into his chest. Jin plucked at the strings of his guitar, his eyes drawn to the glow of Namjoon's phone as Hoseok carefully scrolled down to reveal more chords, though he kept his ears open. The mood was somewhat bittersweet as Jungkook continued.

"Pictures I’m living through for now," Jungkook smiled stiffly, looking up at the sky, missing Taehyung's eyes snapping towards his lone figure silhouetted against the lights and sights of Seoul. "Trying to remember all the good times... Our life was cutting through so loud, memories are playing in my dull mind..."

Namjoon mouthed the lyrics alongside Jungkook, his eyes attentive as he watched him singing. "He's good," he said under his breath to Yoongi, who nodded. As someone who knew exactly what was going through the kid's mind, he could only feel guilty. At the end of the group, Jungkook cut a lonely picture as he reached the chorus.

"I hate this part, paper hearts," he continued, his eyes half lidded as he took in the couples sitting closer to the river, "and I’ll hold a piece of yours..." Jungkook looked up at glance at Taehyung, whose eyes were firmly glued to his bare toes just then. "Don’t think I would just forget about it. Hoping that you won’t forget about it..."

Yoongi put his arms around Jimin's waist, tightening his hold. In this moment, he wondered if Jimin would remember anything about these few weeks before he confessed to his crush, before he was with someone else. Everything had been going so well; them living together, eating at the same table and sharing the same bed. Though Yoongi wasn't very good at speaking English, he understood the language fairly well. He wondered if Jungkook realized how the lyrics was affecting him as well, how much he wanted for Jimin to remember the times they'd had fondly, even as he'd let him go after Chuseok was over.

"Everything is gray under these skies," Jungkook whispered, his eyes sliding shut. "Wet mascara... Hiding every cloud under a smile, when there’s cameras..."

Taehyung drew his knees up to his chest, swaying gently in time to Jin's gentle strumming. Jimin, unable to sit still upon putting together the pieces, reached out for his best friend. Taehyung tumbled onto his side, his head on Jimin's thigh as they continued listening to Jungkook's sweet ballad.

"And I just can’t reach out to tell you," Jungkook's lips lifted into a bitter smile as he ducked his head. "That I always wonder what you’re up to..."

"Pictures I’m living through for now," Jin chimed in, harmonizing well with the maknae's airy voice as he remembered the words of the first bridge, "trying to remember all the good times... Our life was cutting through so loud, memories are playing in my dull mind..."

"I hate this part, paper hearts," Jimin added, holding out a supportive hand to Kookie, who was caught by surprise. Still, he took Jimin's hand gratefully, giving it a squeeze before he let it go as his eyes lingered on Taehyung's prone form on the ground. "And I’ll hold a piece of yours—"

"Don’t think I would just forget about it," Jungkook breathed, his facial expression filled with tenderness. "Hoping that you won’t forget..."

The song ended off on a gentle repeat of the first two opening bars, Jin staring down at his hands as he played without looking at the chords. The mood was heavy, and Jungkook seemed to feel awkward as he shifted on his ass; it was obvious he didn't quite know what to say after singing a song that held such heavy meaning to him, even if the person he'd meant to sing it to had no idea how he felt.

"That was beautiful, Jungkook," Namjoon said suddenly, putting a hand on the kid's shoulder. He heaved a heavy sigh and patted Jungkook twice on the back. "You sang really well. I've always known your voice was good, but—"

Jimin smiled at Jungkook as Taehyung sat up, resuming his prior position with his knees folded against his chest. "I really liked it," he added sweetly. Yoongi nodded, hooking his chin over Jimin's shoulder. He wasn't quite sure what else he could say to Jungkook that would make him feel better, but it was glaringly obvious that the guy was tearing himself up over this whole new thing with Taehyung. Yoongi was man enough to admit that while he didn't regret saying anything, he regretted the way it was clearly affecting Jungkook's state of mind.

Hoseok handed Namjoon's phone back to him. "You should sing more," he encouraged with wide eyes. "Put covers up on YouTube, or write your own songs, even— I bet you'd get picked up by a big agency!"

"Wouldn't it be great if you were scouted by BigHit?" Jin laughed, putting an arm around Hoseok. "Then you'd have this hyung here to choreograph all your dances when you become an idol!"

Jungkook smiled gratefully at all of them for trying to bring the mood back up, but it was still a little subdued. He cleared his throat, reaching for his bag to find his phone; likely just an excuse to turn away from Taehyung without rousing suspicion.

"I know very little English, though Namjoonie-hyung is still trying to teach me," Taehyung said flatly, sharply cutting off the conversation as he looked out over the river. Reds and blues and greens were cast over his face, the city lights reflected off the waters. Everyone seemed to hold their breath as they listened to what he was saying. "It sounded nice, but I didn't understand a lot of the lyrics."

Next to him, Jungkook stilled. Jin averted his eyes, sadly looking at the maknae. Namjoon and Hoseok exchanged a worried glance behind Taehyung's back. Yoongi clenched his teeth frustratedly, feeling sorry for the kid as Jimin tensed in his embrace.

Till Taehyung spoke again. "But I think I heard all the important parts," he added quietly, continuing to stare unseeingly at the ripples of the water in the darkness. He wriggled his toes, blinking slowly as he spoke. "Sometimes, it's possible to listen to someone without understanding them, right?" He set his feet down on the ground and braced his elbows on his knees, cupping his chin in his palms as his eyes shone with unshed tears. "I think it's possible."

Jimin slowly relaxed into the curve of Yoongi's arm again, leaning his head back so that their eyes met. He was smiling happily. Knowingly.

Yoongi dipped his head and kissed Jimin's forehead. Somehow, even if Jungkook was struggling, was hurting and suffering right now... He had a feeling that the kid would be fine.

Chapter Text

FRIDAY

"Good luck with those guys," Yoongi slurred sleepily at the door, rubbing at one of his eyes.

"Don't do that, it'll get red," Jimin chided, gently curling his fingers around Yoongi's hand and lowering it. He bent down and shoved his feet into a pair of sneakers, tying his laces. "I'll be done around 6; do you want me to pick up dinner on the way back for us?"

Yoongi crossed his arms and leaned against the doorframe, blinking blearily. It was early - 8? 9? - but he had the feeling he wouldn't be able to sleep after he'd eaten breakfast with Jimin. The younger had to go to the studio earlier today because one of the lead dancers was going back to Gangnam later at noon, and Jimin wanted to confirm more of the choreography for the competition with the group he was mentoring before that happened. "Mmmn," he considered, watching Jimin straighten back up. "Should we go grocery shopping?"

"Oh, come to think of it, there aren't any more eggs," Jimin said thoughtfully, frowning as he buckled the strap of his cap around the sling of his bag. "Do you want to go?"

"Not really," Yoongi said drily, "but delivery is expensive, so I suppose I must."

Jimin laughed, shaking his head. "I have never met anyone as unmotivated to move as you, Yoongi." He unzipped his bag, checking he had everything.

Yoongi glimpsed a can of deodorant, his towel and a spare change of clothes. "Did you forget your shake?" He deadpanned, lifting an eyebrow. "Again?"

Jimin flushed. "Um."

Rolling his eyes, Yoongi ducked into the apartment and found Jimin's bottle on the breakfast counter. "Seriously, you pack the exact same things every day, don't you have a mental checklist?" He scolded fondly, walking back to the door and handing the dancer his protein shake. "You know, I read an article online that said some people under the age of 30 show signs of Alzheimer's Disease. You better be careful, Min." He teased.

The dancer turned beet red at the nickname. Oh, that was cute. Yoongi was going to call him that more often. "I don't know why I keep forgetting it," Jimin whined, shoving the bottle into his bag. He pouted, zipping it and fishing for his phone in his pocket to double check he'd brought it with him.

Yoongi sighed, exasperated. He poked his cheek twice, lifting an eyebrow. This, too, had become routine.

Smiling, Jimin leaned in and kissed Yoongi on the cheek. "I'll see you after practice," he said pleasantly, his nose pink with the morning cold.

"Don't overdo it," Yoongi drawled lazily, waving till Jimin rounded the corner to the lift platform. Running his hand through sleep-mussed hair, he yawned and retreated back into his apartment. Snatching up his phone on the way to his work room, he created a group chat.

[MIN.Y has added KIM.N and JUNG.H to the group, RAP.LINE]
MIN.Y: yo hoseok
MIN.Y: did namjoonie tell you what we talked about a couple of nights ago

He set his phone down, not really expecting a response for the next couple of hours. Absently, he wondered what he should do before deciding to while the time away with a game. Maybe an FPS? He browsed his minimal game collection, wondering why he hadn't raided Jungkook and Taehyung's stash in a while. He needed to get right on that.

Just as he'd settled on the evergreen FPS, Counterstrike, his phone buzzed. Surprised, he picked it up.

JUNG.H: he mentioned it but we havent really talked
JUNG.H: are u really serious about this hyung

Yoongi rubbed his nose sheepishly.

MIN.Y: If I wasn't I wouldn't have mentioned it at all
MIN.Y: he says the next event is tmr night

JUNG.H: nothing on
JUNG.H: we should go together
JUNG.H: just to check it out, I havent been for awhile myself either

MIN.Y: yeah, we should all go

KIM.N: it's fuck o'clock in the mornign wtf

JUNG.H: lmao hello sunshine

KIM.N: goo fuck yoursevles

MIN.Y: yo
MIN.Y: lmao why is only the word fuck is spelt correctly

KIM.N: dont yo me
KIM.N: fcuking just cause jimni moved in w you
KIM.N: you gettin g up so early

Yoongi would retort to that, but it was technically true. Just a week ago, he'd still be sleeping at this hour. Shrugging, he sank back into his computer chair and swivelled in it.

MIN.Y: since you're up tell us more about the thing tmr night

KIM.N: fcuk you guys have gone to battles before
KIM.N: its the same shit different smell whats there to tell

JUNG.H: wheres it hel;d

KIM.N: god
KIM.N: need to check with zico hyung but its probably the usual placee
KIM.N: yongma land

He wrinkled his nose. Back in Daegu, they'd landed a goldmine with an abandoned warehouse in the middle of buttfuck nowhere, surrounded by fields and close to the foot of Palgongsan. It was the kind of unaccessible that required you take a car to get there, but it had been safe and private. Even though they'd hooked up a ton of amps and the events were usually rowdy with the addition of booze, no one was in the vicinity to hear or report them. It was the reason why all of the rappers in the Daegu scene had never felt threatened; in order to protect the place they'd found for themselves, what happened in the warehouse stayed in the warehouse— all baggage was shrugged off at the doors, and all conflicts were resolved within its walls.

On the other hand, Yongma Land was an abandoned amusement park in Jungnang-gu; thousands of tourists paid a small fee to be crept out by the place, and the really masochistic ones paid extra to stay after hours. How the fuck had someone managed to organize underground events at a site like that? Did Namjoon expect him to essentially break into government property?

MIN.Y: Im not going if theres even the slightest chance of a raid

JUNG.H: dude Yongma Land scares the shit out of me even in the day tbh and ur asking me to go at night?? ?
JUNG.H: logic?? ?

KIM.N: its not gonna get fucking raided
KIM.N: and Hoseom get your shit together its just a dumb rumor the place is haunted

JUNG.H: youre like the white chick in horror movies namjoon
JUNG.H: youd be the first to die yknow why
JUNG.H: DISBELIEF

MIN.Y: how do you know for sure

KIM.N: theyve held events there before one of the rappers works there full time and he lets everyone in once hes sure the place is locked down
KIM.N: the stage is set in the consession building its not like we're gonna be outdoors

JUNG.H: oh gr8 because thats what i was worried about in a AHUNTED AMUSEMENT PAKR
JUNG.H: thE WEATHE R
JUNG.H: ARE U BOTH IGNORING ME

MIN.Y: yes
MIN.Y: Zico-hyung vouches for this bullshit?

KIM.N: dude Nacseo headlines this bullshit can u chill

Nacseo was Zico's stage name. Considering Zico wasn't the type to get caught with his pants down, Yoongi reconsidered the safety of attending this event. He thought back to what the events were like back in Daegu and frowned, because surely that wasn't an accurate gauge of what they were like in a bigger city like Seoul.

MIN.Y: how many strong are pop-up events now

KIM.N: dunno depends
KIM.N: idk who's stepping up tomorrow, but usually..
KIM.N: maybe 50-100 strong?

JUNG.H: holy shit

MIN.Y: wtf

KIM.N: ??
KIM.N: thats a weak turnout
KIM.N: if a UA lister like Swings or Deepflow performs they have to lock it down at 150-200pax

Underground A-listers were rappers who were pretty much at the top of the ladder. Yoongi didn't know where he stood on said ladder, nor did he really care. He just didn't want to stand out at the event tomorrow night; he was just going to observe how the scene had evolved in the years he'd been gone. Mostly, he wanted to determine whether or not the rap scene was something he wanted to be a part of again.

JUNG.H: arent you an a-lister Namjoon

KIM.N: I dont think i am lol
KIM.N: maybe Zico hyung is
KIM.N: who knows tbh there's no accurate gauge for this kind of thing in the first place

JUNG.H: lol u have earned 50 reputation points

KIM.N: do you think youre a character in WoW

MIN.Y: what time is the event

KIM.N: ok that might be a problem
KIM.N: 2:30

JUNG.H: boi u better mean afternoon

KIM.N: I'll borrow Jin's car chill we're not going by cab fuck that

MIN.Y: I'm driving
MIN.Y: u stay at your apartment, I'll come over to get the car

KIM.N: wtf why

MIN.Y: um because I don't want to die

JUNG.H: I want to live a long life and have 4 kids

KIM.N: do you guys have such little confidence in me

JUNG.H: yes

MIN.Y: namjoon
MIN.Y: youre my best friend
MIN.Y: and I know you have my back
MIN.Y: but i also know you could break it by accident so just fucking leave the driving to me ok

JUNG.H: LOL

KIM.N: everyday I wonder why im friends with u two

*

Jimin waved at him excitedly from where he stood next to the glass doors, like Yoongi wouldn't be able to make him out of the crowd, which was frankly quite ridiculous all things considered. Yoongi would probably be able to pick Jimin out of a fucking Big Bang concert at this point. "Hey!" He beamed, tucking his nose under the scarf Yoongi had given him.

"Calm down, I'm here," Yoongi laughed, stretching out his hand. Jimin looked around nervously, but Yoongi didn't give him an opportunity to get nervy about it. He intertwined their fingers, leading Jimin into Seoul Mart and out of the cold. "Remind me to get milk, because I always forget," he told Jimin with a sigh as he got a trolley. "I don't understand why I always miss it, and then I have to buy the weird brand I don't like from the convenience store downstairs Namjoon and Jin's place."

"Now who has Alzheimer's Disease?" Jimin smirked, though he lowered the brim of his cap over his eyes. He was clearly more than a little self conscious, holding hands with Yoongi in such a public setting. This was the first time Yoongi had been so forward while they were out alone, too.

Snorting, Yoongi headed directly for the first aisle. He was a systematic shopper; starting from one end of the mart and ending up close to the cashiers. "Put your gym bag in," he gestured, letting go of Jimin's hand casually. He'd come from home, so he didn't carry anything other than his wallet. As Jimin did as he said, he let his hand hang freely, subtly letting Jimin know that he could take his hand again if he wanted to, but not pressing the issue. He didn't want to make the younger uncomfortable; the most important thing was letting Jimin know that Yoongi was open to things like this.

He could almost see the cogs turning in Jimin's head, the way he slowly lifted his gaze from Yoongi's free hand to his face. Reaching out, he curled his fingers around Yoongi's and smiled. It was a small and nervous little thing, but he'd been the one to make the decision. "Let's go," he said quietly, and Yoongi nodded, telling himself to calm the fuck down because this wasn't fucking real, none of it was and it shouldn't feel like this big of a victory.

"Mmm," Yoongi hummed, walking by the vegetables. He intended to bypass it entirely till Jimin tugged on his hand. "Ugh," he groaned. "What?"

"You have to eat vegetables, Yoongi," Jimin smiled sweetly, already picking up a packet of carrots with his free hand. "Do you like these? Or do you prefer baby carrots?"

"There is nothing here I prefer," Yoongi groaned, sagging. "Literally everything I'm buying is in the next aisle." The meat and seafood aisle, specifically. He might even consider picking up a little sushi for dinner so that Jimin didn't have to cook today.

Jimin rolled his eyes. "Don't be so dramatic, they're just greens." He set the packet of carrots down into the trolley, beaming as he spotted a fresh looking head of lettuce. "It's important to eat a balanced meal. If you skip on vegetables, you won't get enough vitamins, and then you'll just end up getting sick."

"Ugh," Yoongi made a face. "I feel sick already."

The dancer pouted at him. "I'll tell Jin-hyung on you," Jimin threatened.

Yoongi took the head of lettuce from Jimin's hands and put it into the trolley, docile and compliant. He'd learnt over the years that it was worth it to go to great lengths not to get a lecture from Jin. "Let's pick up some cucumbers," he suggested obediently. The latest tongue lashing he'd gotten for breaking their promise about Taehyung and Jungkook had been severe enough that it'd haunt him for months to come.

Jimin laughed brightly as they moved on, the cart slowly filling with an unusual number of greens.



SATURDAY

The day had been uneventful. As routine dictated, Jimin was out of the house by 10 in the morning, and Yoongi had spent his time in his work room playing a truly savage round of Overwatch with Taehyung and Jungkook. After the pair had left the game, he dropped out and continued working on his scale model. That had continued all the way into the evening. When Jimin had returned, the dancer cooked a simple meal of fried rice and they shared the bowl, watching a rerun of Running Man and laughing together. It had been nice. Everything had been nice these days.

He'd gotten out of bed after Jimin was sound asleep, quietly grabbing the change of clothes he'd prepared and getting ready in the living room. For now, he didn't want to tell Jimin he was checking out the underground scene again; he wanted to make sure it was something he wanted to get back into first. The last thing he wanted was to promise something he couldn't deliver. Things had gone smoothly from that point; he'd gotten the car at Namjoon's, they'd picked up Hoseok, and there was zero traffic at this hour of the night.

But.

"You know, you talk a whole lot of shit about knowing where you're going for someone who got us tragically lost on a straight road," Hoseok grumbled.

Yoongi glared at him. "I don't see you talking about how you told me to take a wrong turn 40 minutes ago, Hoseok."

"Why did you trust me?!" Hoseok complained, throwing his hands up in the air as they exited the car. "Who trusts me when I talk directions!?"

"He has a point," Namjoon said distractedly, looking around the area. The amusement park was dimly lit. He ducked around a trash cable car and spotted a bunch of flashlight left on the ground, lighting a narrow pathway that disappeared around the corner. "This way," he waved them over, lifting an eyebrow.

Yoongi pulled the brim of his cap down and his hoodie up over it, sighing. "Is it seriously okay that we literally parked next to the carousel? Because if I go back to find a parking fine taped to the windscreen, I'm not paying for that shit."

"It'll be fine, Jesus, strop being so twitchy," Namjoon deadpanned, climbing over a fallen beam.

"This place is a mess," Yoongi complained, stepping over the same beam. He immediately stuck out an arm to his right, and just as predicted, Hoseok stumbled on the damn thing and held onto Yoongi for dear life. "Watch it. Use the light on your phone if you can't see."

"Fuck that, I've played Slenderman before," Hoseok whimpered, his hand clamping down tight Yoongi's shoulder. Yoongi let out a long-suffering sigh. "The Slenderman is attracted to light."

"He's also attracted to sound," Yoongi said drily, though he didn't remove Hoseok's hand. "Does that mean you're going to man up and shut the fuck up now?"

Namjoon hopped onto the path, bending down and looking at the flashlights. They were industrial grade, and each had a sticker with the same symbol on it. "Hurry up and stop messing around, we're already late."

"I'm sorry, maybe I'd move faster if this fucking clown stops hanging all over me," Yoongi complained, dragging his feet onto the pathway and grabbing Hoseok's wrist. "You take him."

Rolling his eyes, Namjoon put an arm around Hoseok. "You can already hear the music, right?" He said, putting a finger to his lips and telling Hoseok to listen. True enough, there was the dull pound of music that echoed out into the night, however softly. "It's not so bad, so calm down."

"It's like this event is purposely put in this location to give me a heart attack," Hoseok grumbled, following Namjoon as Yoongi lagged behind. He turned to glance backwards. "Hyung, are you going up on the stage?"

"Obviously not," Yoongi snorted. He used to battle, but freestyle had never been his thing. He'd competed mostly in full-fledged song performances back in Daegu, which was why he won for the most part. "I'm a producer through and through; freestyling's more Joonie's thing, right?"

Namjoon made a turn, taking them into a square. He looked around, trying to reorient himself and find the concession building. "I'm not going up today," he said distractedly, toting Hoseok along as he strode decisively down the center of the open area. Hoseok seemed more relaxed now that they were in a more well-lit area of the park. "None of DaeNamHyup are. I don't know who's up today either; I never asked."

Yoongi grunted, putting his hands in his pockets. He hoped he wouldn't be disappointed.

"Oh," Hoseok lifted an eyebrow, spotting a few people milling about through a open corridor. They seemed to be smoking. "Through there?"

"I guess," Namjoon hummed, heading right for the crowd. "Events have been held here before, but it's the first time I haven't come with Zico-hyung, so I'm a little lost. Let's just ask them."

"Your easygoing attitude will get you mobbed in a foreign country one day," Yoongi grumbled under his breath, striding after Namjoon and Hoseok quickly.

One of the smokers noticed them approaching and lifted a hand, yelling something in fluent English. Namjoon beamed, letting go of Hoseok and jogging up to greet him. "I guess he's familiar with them," Hoseok shrugged, cocking his head as he and Yoongi took their time. "I haven't been to an underground event in a while."

"Tell me about it," Yoongi mumbled as he lifted a hand in greeting. Namjoon was in the middle of introducing him and Hoseok to the foreigner he'd run up to, speaking in rapid fire English. He waited till his best friend was done speaking to nod politely at the stranger. "I am Yoongi," he said awkwardly, holding out a hand. He was a simple guy; he didn't know any other way to introduce himself in English.

"Agust D," Namjoon corrected, grinning. "He's heard your tracks before, hyung."

The stranger shook his hand, laughing. "I'm Alex. Just a spectator," he slurred in Korean, clearly struggling with the foreign language. "Lived here for 2 years. Randa shared your music with me."

Yoongi lifted an eyebrow at Namjoon. "Did he, now."

"You going in?" Alex grinned, jerking a thumb over his shoulder. There were two large shutters behind him, one of which was slightly open. They'd have to crouch to get in. "You late. The battle is over, waiting on results."

"Shit," Yoongi cursed as Hoseok sighed.

"They might have a second round," Namjoon said urgently, grabbing Yoongi and Hoseok by the shoulder. "See you around, Alex," he shouted, rushing to the entrance. Alex waved, stubbing out his cigarette underfoot as he lit up another.

Yoongi grunted as Namjoon pushed him and shook his friend's hand off. Getting down, he ducked under the metal shutter and came up on the inside, his eyes widening. "In the ring was supposed to be an expression," he said loudly, speaking over the dull throb of music.

There were close to a hundred people gathered in the area, crowding around a raised concrete stage. Barring the absence of ropes and posts, it looked exactly like how a boxing ring would have in the 90's. They were too far away to see who was on stage, but Yoongi could imagine that the battle had been savage for the roars echoing through the place. Hoseok looked pumped as he started cheering with no regards to who he was even cheering for, getting into the spirit of things.

Namjoon shrugged, waving at a few people who perked up upon seeing him. He brought out his phone and unlocked it, the glow of his screen lighting up his face. "Zico-hyung's in front of the stage," he shouted over the din. "Let's get closer."

Yoongi nodded, grabbing Hoseok by the collar so that they wouldn't get separated. Slowly, they inched towards the stage, bypassing people with the help of Namjoon's reputation, Yoongi's small frame and the width of Hoseok's shoulders. Once they were finally face to face with the rappers atop the raised concrete, Yoongi's face twisted with blatant disgust. "Oh, fuck this," he deadpanned, turning on his heel. "I wasn't aware that the standard of the Seoul scene had dropped quite this much. I'm going home."

Hoseok's face was equally as steely.

Namjoon grabbed his arm, his eyes wide as he yelled. "YOONGI WAI—"

Aaand of course the MC would have picked that moment to cut the music to announce the results.

The entire crowd turned to look at them. On the other side of the stage, Zico straightened up and lowered his collar. "Namjoon?" He lifted an eyebrow. "What the hell are you doing?"

"Hiiiii hyung," Namjoon waved lamely from where he stood, frozen mid-grab.

"Yoongi?" B Free turned around slowly, looking down at them from his place up on the stage. There was a white bandage over his nose that looked completely ridiculous.

Staring up dispassionately, Yoongi lowered his hood and took off his cap. "Yoongi," he confirmed in the driest tone he could summon.

There was a beat of silence in which everyone could hear Hoseok groaning as he palmed his face. "I fucking told you this place was haunted," he glared at Namjoon, pointing at Seung Ho.

Namjoon could only sigh wearily.

*

So, to say things had gone downhill fairly quickly after that was a big understatement.

To make a long story short, Seung Ho had started shouting at the MC to clear Yoongi the fuck out of the event. Yoongi, who did not respond well to shit like that, said that he had every right to attend even though he'd wanted to leave literally 3.5 seconds ago. Hoseok, who felt sorry for interrupting the entire event, tried to placate Yoongi even though he wanted to stab Seung Ho in the eyeball, possibly with a rusty spoon. Namjoon, who wished right at that moment that he'd never been born, stood between Yoongi and Seung Ho in an attempt to placate the situation. The MC, who was bewildered, asked for an explanation and didn't receive any. Zico, who was equally lost, rounded the stage to Namjoon and got a crash course in the beef that existed between Yoongi and Seung Ho. The crowd, who boasted of swag and living the thug life while simultaneously devouring gossip and drama like oxygen, had started yelling to know what the fuck was going on.

So.

Yoongi was on stage now.

"Look, this asshole's the reason I'm fucking expelled," Seung Ho hissed to the MC, notably not lifting his microphone to his lips. "He fucking picked a fight with me over his boyfriend," ah, this, he said into the mic, causing murmurs to rippled throughout the area, "called in back up and pussied out by calling a teacher."

The initial rap battle had been completely forgotten, people were completely immersed in this debacle now, and Yoongi was getting sick and tired of his personal life getting aired like it was dirty laundry when it wasn't. Jimin could never resemble dirty laundry, and he hated the way that name sounded on Seung Shit's tongue.

"Ah," Yoongi lifted his hand like an honors student calling for attention. He stretched a hand out to the MC, who hurriedly handed him his microphone. "Thank you," he said politely, tapping the head of the mic. "Testing," he said quietly, preoccupied as he walked the length of the stage, conducting a thorough soundcheck and ignoring Seung Ho, because shit like that got on that idiot's nerves and Yoongi wanted him fucking pissed. After a solid minute, he stopped playing around and turned on his heel, regarding Seung Ho with the saltiest look he had in his arsenal of bitch faces. "Exactly what the fuck are you talking about?"

Seung Ho seethed, walking up to Yoongi and grabbing him by the collar. "You know exactly what the fuck I'm talking about, you faggot," he barked into the microphone. He roughly released Yoongi when the MC protested his actions, trying to separate them.

Out the corner of his eye, Yoongi saw Hoseok gripping the corner of the concrete stage, almost jumping up. He stopped him by holding out a hand, shooting him a calm glance before he turned his attention back on Seung Ho. "If you're talking about how you were bullying a single defenceless guy with two thugs and then got knocked out - and not by the punch that broke your nose, which was notable, I'm sure you'll remember it for years to come - but by a threat made by a kid probably half a decade younger than you to break your shoulder, I might have some idea of what you're talking about," he said evenly.

He could hear Namjoon snorting behind him.

The dull murmurs rose in volume to a full on buzz. This only seemed to infuriate Seung Ho more. He took his cap off, tossing it into the crowd and he stepped up close to Yoongi. "You think you're a big rapper from Daegu, coming up here to Seoul and trying to act like you know what you're doing in our scene," he spat. "Just because you produced a couple of shitty tracks—"

"Please," Yoongi smiled serenely, lifting a hand. "Back up. You're using a microphone; I can hear you just fine." He took a step back himself, casual and easy. "If I wanted to smell like bigotry and ignorance, I'd have asked."

The audience roared. Yoongi wasn't sure when this event had turned into a roast, but since it had, he supposed it was nice that he was winning.

"I'm giving you literally 1 minute to step off this fucking stage," Seung Ho roared into the microphone. The crowd quietened again, eagerly awaiting Yoongi's response. "1 minute. After that, you're dead, bitch."

Yoongi couldn't help it; he started laughing hysterically. The hall was silent as he threw his head back, the sound of his crazed chuckling reverberating around the enclosed room. It was just— Now that he looked at Seung Ho, really looked at the guy, there was literally nothing about him that was intimidating. At all. The fact that he was just standing there, looking all pissy and doing shit like telling Yoongi to leave when he was flat out getting roasted without a single coherent comeback— "I'm sorry," he wheezed, clutching his stomach and panting. "God. I'd love to see things from your point of view but I just don't think I could fit my head that far up your ass—"

The crowd was screaming as Seung Ho grabbed Yoongi by the neck. Namjoon and Hoseok leapt up on stage, trying to help the MC in his attempts to separate them, but Yoongi had to admit that Seung Ho was one strong motherfucker.

"I fucking warned you," Seung Ho hissed with wide, crazed eyes. "Don't blame me if you're the one that pissed me off—"

"Your lips are moving," Yoongi choked out, licking his canines, "but all I hear is blah, blah, blah—"

Zico got up on stage, furious. "Namjoon, this is fucking ridiculous. B FREE!" He yelled, genuinely pissed off. "What the fuck, man!? Let him go!"

Yoongi was laughing madly as Seung Ho finally released him, staggering back against Hoseok. "Same as always," he rasped. "He can't rhyme so he uses his fists, screaming shit that no one needs to hear on an outdated beat." Namjoon stepped between Yoongi and Seung Ho as the guy threateningly put a foot forward, barred by Zico's arm raised to stop him from attacking Yoongi again. "Ignorant fucks like you piss me off the most, if you were anymore inbred you'd be a fucking sandwich—"

"I said that's enough," Zico said with narrowed eyes. He snatched the microphones from both Seung Ho and Yoongi, turning them off before he spoke to Namjoon. "What the fuck is going on? I know you said they have a personal feud and I asked the MC to give them the stage to settle it." He glared at both Seung Ho and Yoongi. "I thought it was obvious, but apparently I need to spell it out for you; as rappers, you communicate through rapping. You fix shit through rapping. If you're given the stage, you don't do anything but rap. Are you actively trying to be fuckheads or does it just come naturally?"

"I have been rapping, I was rapping from the start," Yoongi smirked at Seung Ho, biting his lip as he straightened up. "I'm just winging it acapella; it's B Shit over there who doesn't understand how the scene works."

"Yoongi, we're good friends and I promise that if you're going to hell I'll drive the bus, but will you please shut up right now," Namjoon hissed, turning to Zico and ignoring Seung Ho's searing glare. "Look, even I didn't know this would happen, hyung."

Zico ran a hand through his hair, looking at the crowd that was gathered around the stage. "Now that an incident like this has happened, I can't resolve it as easily as you think," he glowered, leaning in. "Do you know what your friend has done? The circles will be talking for weeks; people are going to bug the shit out of me for this battle."

Namjoon shot Yoongi an uneasy look. "Hyung, you know he's been out of the scene for years," he murmured under his breath. "I don't know if—"

"I'll do it," Yoongi said abruptly, staggering forward and throwing his arms around Namjoon and Hoseok's shoulder. He felt like he could do anything right now. This was it; the ecstacy, the high of the stage and the battlegrounds. Fuck, he'd really missed this. "The rap battle. I'll do it. A full song, start to end. Produced from scratch." He levelled Seung Ho with a grin, licking his teeth. "Fuck, I'll do it with Namjoonie and Hoseok. I'll write it, I'll arrange it, I'll kill it."

Zico lifted an eyebrow. "You want a performance stage?" He glanced at Namjoon, who was staring at Yoongi with a prominent 'what the actual fuck are you doing' facial expression. "Do you have any idea what you're declaring right now?"

Seung Ho snorted, crossing his arms.

"Namjoon and I both had history with this jerk even before what happened recently," Yoongi said blandly, cocking his head at Seung Ho. He held out his hand for the microphone, smiling wryly at Zico. "The scene may have changed, but culture is steadfast. For rappers like us—"

"— Words are a fistfight," Zico finished with a weary sigh. "At least someone remembers how it works around here..." Cautiously, he handed the microphones to Yoongi. He narrowed his eyes at him as he passed by to leave the stage. "I hope you know what you're doing, Agust D," he murmured under his breath as the crowds roared, figuring that the show was about to resume.

"I think I've made it abundantly clear I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing," Yoongi snorted in response, unstrapping his cap from his belt loop and putting it back on.

Hoseok leaned in, his voice filled with panic. "What the hell? Hyung, I did not sign up for this shit—"

Namjoon was similarly distressed. "Hyung, I always knew you were batshit insane, but this is a little—"

Yoongi ignored them both, turning to look at the crowd. Switching one of the mics back on, he lifted it to his lips. "My name is Min Yoongi," he introduced himself to a chorus of cheers, raking his hair back from his face as he spoke. "B Free and I have some unsettled business with each other." Tossing the dead microphone to Seung Ho, he continued speaking to the audience. "As always, the people who gather in these places and spaces know how to fight." He paused, soaking in the riotous atmosphere. He lifted his microphone, encouraging the excited screams that shook the room.

Things quietened as Seung Ho spoke after Yoongi. He lifted his hand, three fingers raised and splayed under the harsh spotlight of the stage. "3 DAYS!" He roared, making Yoongi lift an eyebrow at him— they hadn't agreed on the date beforehand; this was a fucking dirty trick. Seung Ho smirked at Yoongi from where he stood, cocking his head. "A performance stage; a fully produced original track, a proper battle!" The roaring swept over them like a wave, and Yoongi's eyes narrowed when Seung Ho lowered his microphone, leaning in. "You can do it, can't you, Min PD?" He sneered sarcastically. "I'm sure 3 days is more than enough for someone with your many talents."

The deadline was set. Yoongi couldn't counter that or he'd lose the crowd before the battle even started, and he knew that. Seung Ho had gotten the jump on him, fuck. "Let's set our terms," he suggested drily instead, unable to contest the date but willing to take a look at the stakes. "What we want if we win."

"Yoongi," Namjoon frowned, stepping forward. "Think about this for a second—"

"If I win," Seung Ho said, his voice booming over the speakers, "I want you out. If I ever see your face in the scene again, I'll personally make sure it never sees the light of day." He had a nasty smirk as the crowd buzzed amongst themselves. "In case I'm not being clear enough— If I win, I want you to quit being a rapper."

"This is ridiculous." Hoseok glowered, his hands clenched into fists at his side. "How can you say something like that—"

"Fine," Yoongi readily acquiesced, escalating the tension in the room a hundred-fold.

"Hyung!" Namjoon shouted incredulously, turning on his heel to stare at Yoongi. "Why are you being so stubborn—"

"Stubborn?" Yoongi repeated, grabbing Namjoon by the shoulder and squeezing firmly. "Joon-ah, what the fuck are you talking about?" The hall quietened as he laughed, the audience hanging off his every word. "Look at where we are; this is it, this is the scene! Gamblers have their casinos, alcoholics have their bars— This is what we have, Namjoon!" He gestured wildly around, imploring his friend to look at the stage. He felt drunk on the stale air of the room, high on the tension and drugged by the spotlight. Above all of that was the burning fire he had in him to win, to make Choi Seung Ho lower his head in defeat for what he'd done, how he'd wronged Namjoon, him and Jimin. "Stubborn? We're rappers, aren't we?" He let go of his friend and looked down at the ground as his shoulders trembled with adrenaline. "What could be better than being stubborn!?"

Once again, a pin-drop silence filled the room.

Yoongi panted into the microphone, swallowing thickly as he straightened up and adjusted his cap. "If I win," Yoongi said lifting his head as turned around and drew close to Seung Ho, "I want you to get down on your fucking knees and put your forehead on the floor." He put the microphone closer to his lips and made sure every words he said was heard loud and clear. "As my reward, I want you to lay down your pride."

Seung Ho snorted, looking down his nose at Yoongi.

"If I win," Yoongi snarled into the microphone, "I'm going to have you apologize to Park Jimin."

*

"What have we learned today?" Namjoon deadpanned, staring into the rearview mirror from the backseat.

"That you should never allow me to talk in public, ever?" Yoongi suggested flatly, gripping the steering wheel. They'd been quiet for most of the ride back home, but apparently it was time to talk about what a fucking idiot he'd been back at Yongma Land.

Hoseok palmed his face. "Hyung, it's not a matter of you talking, it's a matter of you over promising," he whined. "3 days? To produce and write a song? Are you crazy?"

"I have verses for days," Yoongi said defensively, carefully signalling a left turn. "If I work on it properly, I can—"

"It's not that we're doubting you can do it," Namjoon argued, his face dark, "but how could you do something like this the second you reenter the scene?" He groaned, burying his face in his hands as his phone buzzed continuously on the seat next to him. "More than anything, I'm actually amazed you managed to cause such a big stir; my SNS is flooding with messages because of that stunt you just pulled."

"Is DaeNamHyup okay with you rapping outside of your crew?" Yoongi winced, feeling bad. He really shouldn't have roped Hoseok and Namjoon into this so impulsively, especially because the latter had his own obligations to other hyungs in the scene. "Seriously, if you need to pull out it's fine—"

"Are you kidding me? They're literally yelling at me to do it," Namjoon rolled his eyes, unlocking his phone and checking his messages. "Apparently someone uploaded a video of what happened and it's catching a lot of fire online." Yoongi glanced at him through the rearview mirror. "They're all saying that they're going to attend the stage on Tuesday; Kidoh-hyung even says he's going to take Wednesday off because he's staying for the celebrations." Namjoon squinted at his phone as he replied. "Is he crazy? Celebrations? It's not like we even won yet."

"Well, we're not going to with that attitude," Hoseok sang, shooting finger guns at Joonie before he sobered. "Seriously though, this could be a big problem. Do you even know how long it took me to write the lyrics for MAMA?" He let out a sigh as he rested his cheek against his fist, looking out the window. "You guys both have tons of materials in reserve; I'm the one that's going to struggle the most here."

Yoongi felt like shit. "I'm really sorry I got you guys involved," He said quietly, lowering the volume of the radio. "I shouldn't have done that without asking you first."

There was a short pause.

"I wanted to fucking kill him, to be honest," Namjoon blurted, like he'd been holding it in. "If you hadn't said something, I think I would have."

"Oh my god, me too," Hoseok confessed immediately, staring at Namjoon. Yoongi snorted, shaking his head. "What? Hyung, when I found out half the shit he was talking about you and Joonie during that hiphop panel thing you did, I was pissed off even though I didn't know his name back then." He narrowed his eyes indignantly. "When I realized he was the same guy bullying our cute Jiminie, that was just going too far."

"So actually you're both just glad you weren't the ones who declared war, but you're willing to fight," Yoongi clarified, shooting them sour looks. "Why have I been feeling bad by myself for the last hour in the car, then?"

"Oh," Namjoon lifted an eyebrow, ignoring Yoongi's saltiness. "They said it might be better if I have a different stage name if we're going to perform together in the future, too." He turned to look at Yoongi and Hoseok. "So that it separates me from the crew if we rap in a unit."

Hoseok made a quizzical noise. "Isn't it too soon for it?"

"It might be a good idea," Yoongi pointed out, finally turning into the school gates. They were going to drop Hoseok off first, and then Yoongi was going to sleep over at Joon's to work on the backbone of their performance. "I've been thinking about it too. Using a different name since it's been so long since I've been in the scene." There was something about coming up to Seoul. The atmosphere of the scene had been so different; Daegu's underground was green mountains and open air, but Seoul's was urban decay and saturated cigarette smoke. It wasn't bad; just... Really different. He just had to get used to it. "Well, Tuesday has to go well before we explore being a unit, though."

"Then let's think about it," Hoseok hummed, grinning. "A stage name, wow; I've never had one before."

Namjoon laughed as the car pulled to a stop, getting out of the back. "Since it's going to be your first, make it good," he encouraged, giving Hoseok a thumbs up as the dancer grabbed his bag.

"Yeah," Hoseok said thoughtfully as he closed the door. "I'd like it to be something positive, though."

"That's just like you," Yoongi smiled, shooting Hoseok a two-fingered salute.



SUNDAY

"Fuck, I'm so sorry Min," Yoongi apologized in a daze, massaging the side of his head as he blinked. God it was bright. "I should have told you."

Jimin sounded a little upset over the phone. "I was really worried when you didn't reply any of my texts," he complained. The dull throb of music could be heard in the background; it was almost noon and he had been at the dance studio for hours now. Even though it was a Sunday, Jimin was working hard on the routine with his dongsaengs because there wasn't much time left before their competition. "You were sleeping next to me last night, did you seriously sneak out after to meet Namjoon-hyung and Hoseok-hyung? It would have been fine for you to meet them if you told me; I was really worried!"

"Saying it like that sounds bad," Yoongi mumbled, sitting up. He glanced blearily at Namjoon, who was passed out on the sofa with an ink smudge on his forehead. Jin was trying to wake him, the same way he'd woken Yoongi earlier because his phone wouldn't stop buzzing. "Yeah, I was with them and I ended up I crashing at Joon's place; I'm really sorry I didn't pick up. I fell asleep." They'd made some progress on the song, but they couldn't really do more without Hoseok around. Yoongi could hear the guy's voice in the background of the call; just how much energy did Hoseok have that he was able to go to the studios after the rough night they'd had?

The dancer sighed heavily. "Let's talk about it later," he said decisively— He must have been busy. Jimin's voice softened. "Hoseok-hyung looks a little tired here, so he's resting more today. Are you okay, though?"

Yoongi melted a little. "Yeah," he promised gently. "I'm alright; don't worry about me and work hard, okay?"

"I will," Jimin said quietly. "I'll see you tonight, Yoongi. Oh— Can you thaw the pork before I'm back? I'm going to make jjinmandu for dinner."

"I'll make sure to remember it," Yoongi said with a smile. They'd managed to hang up on a good note, which made him sigh with relief.

Jin was stroking Namjoon's back as he cocked his head. "Is Jiminie unhappy with you?"

"We're fine," Yoongi said dismissively, scrolling through his texts to see if he'd missed anything else. Nothing from his family though, and everything else was unimportant. "He was just concerned because I wasn't at home this morning and I didn't pick up his calls."

"Your phone kept buzzing, so I thought I should wake you," Jin said, looking a little guilty. "I felt bad since it didn't look like you guys got much rest."

"It's fine," Yoongi shook his head. He'd probably gotten only a couple of hours or so, but it was about time to wake up anyway— He needed to go home and do something about the audio. He hadn't come up with a good stage name either; he and Namjoon had mostly been working on the lyrics throughout the night. "Let Joon sleep some more or he'll get cranky; I'll get out of your hair."

"You can stay if you want," Jin said with wide eyes as Namjoon grunted, turning his head inwards and pulling Jin's sweater over his head to block out the light. "I'm not chasing you out."

"I know, but I don't think I can get more done if I stay anyway," Yoongi shrugged. He had all his equipment at home, too. "Also, it's really gross to see how married you guys are."

Jin ignored the jibe and picked up one of the sheets littering the floor, squinting at Namjoon's messy scrawl. "What is this? Are you working on a new song?" He sounded happy and excited, lifting puppy eyes to Yoongi. "Are you finally putting out a new track?"

Yoongi snorted, grabbing his bag and shoving his cap into it. He picked up his phone and pocketed it, making sure he had everything before he stood up. "Something like that," he said vaguely. He didn't want to be the one to explain things to Jin; they'd already agreed in the car that they'd invite Jin, Jimin, Taehyung and Jungkook to the event, but they wouldn't work on the song around them. It'd be a surprise; mostly because Jin would probably freak the fuck out, and Taehyung would be inconsolable that he hadn't been a part of this. "You can ask Joon once he's up."

"Hmm." Jin read the rejected lyrics curiously as Yoongi let himself out the door.

*

"You didn't have to pick me up if you were so tired," Jimin frowned, leaning in close and cupping Yoongi's face. His fingers touched the dark bags beneath Yoongi's eyes. "You look exhausted..."

"I wanted to apologize quickly in person," Yoongi yawned, taking Jimin's hand and intertwining their fingers as they left the studio. Hoseok had already gone back to his dorm to crash; he must have been lethargic too. He waved at Jimin's other club members, sparing a moment to pat In-Jung on the head when the kid passed them by. "And I needed to get a little fresh air; I've spent most of the afternoon cooped up in my work room." Producing was fun and Yoongi loved the process, but there were times you retreated a little too deeply into your own head. After years of doing what he did, he knew it was important to change up the scenery once in awhile.

Jimin swung their arms a little as they walked down the corridor to the school gate. "I hope it's that," he murmured under his breath. "I didn't want you to come just because you felt guilty..."

"I came because I like picking up my boyfriend," Yoongi said sharply, eyeing Jimin. "I would have come even if you weren't mad, so don't think that way."

The dancer's nose was flushed pink as he smiled, ducking his head. "I wasn't really mad," he said, waving at one of his dongsaengs as she ran back towards the studio building. She was carrying two bags of snacks from the nearby convenience store for everyone who was staying to practice. As someone who frequently made snack runs himself, Jimin found it amusing. "I was just wondering if something bad had happened... But I was glad Hoseok-hyung came to practice; he told me you were okay."

Yoongi found it endearing that Jimin worried so much about him. "We went to an underground event," he explained, lifting his head and looking up. Pinks and oranges chased each other in streaks across the sky; there were few clouds and the color was clear and beautiful. Even though he felt bone weary, he was glad he'd come out to get Jimin from the studio, or he wouldn't have gotten to see this sight. "It was in Jungnang-gu; we drove there."

"Did Namjoonie-hyung drive?" Jimin asked, alarmed by the thought.

"I have some sense," Yoongi said shrewdly with a roll of his eyes. "I drove. While we were there, uh... An opportunity arose," he said with a wrinkle of his nose. That sentence sounded weird; he should really explain this better. Yoongi wasn't naturally gifted with hiding things, or talking about something in a roundabout way— He'd always been the straightforward type. "There's a stage on Tuesday night. Joon, Hoseok and I are going to perform."

Jimin almost stumbled over a curb, his face lighting up. "Seriously?!" He exclaimed as Yoongi hurriedly tugged on his hand, pulling him flush against himself. "Yoongi, that's great! A stage? You're going to perform live?!"

"Can you please watch it?!" Yoongi barked, his eyes wide as he let out a breath of relief. He looked at Jimin up and down and then at the oncoming traffic. "Jesus— You could have gotten yourself seriously hurt there!"

"Sorry!" Jimin gasped. Yoongi pushed him to walk on the inside of the sidewalk, away from the road. "I was just really excited... It's so amazing!" He grinned, unable to contain his excitement as he squeezed Yoongi's hand. "You're already going up on stage this quickly? How did this happen?"

Pleased despite himself, Yoongi tucked his nose into the warmth of his scarf. "It's a long story," he replied vaguely. He wasn't sure Jimin would be this enthusiastic after hearing that he'd just been bumped back on stage because of a spat with B Shit. "But either way, it's going to be a performance stage; it means that the next few days are going to be pretty busy." He sighed as they paused at a traffic light, hitting the button so they wouldn't have to wait as long before crossing. "Namjoonie and Hoseok might come over too, so I'm sorry if it's a little rowdy for awhile."

"A performance stage?" Jimin blinked, cocking his head as he swung their arms. God, he was cute. "What's that? There are other types of stages?"

"Stages are battles where rappers fight," Yoongi explained patiently, tugging on Jimin's hand as the green man beckoned them to move. "Unlike freestyle stages that are verse-by-verse, you only fight another rapper with fully-produced songs when you stand on a performance stage. Since I'm not very good at freestyling, I've mostly competed in this area— I guess you could say it's a little more comfortable for me that way."

Humming, Jimin dogged Yoongi's heels with an inquisitive look on his face. "I never knew that the rap scene was this complex. Is it hard for you to remember all this stuff?"

"It isn't," Yoongi shook his head thoughtfully. "Maybe I'm used to it, though. There aren't that many rules in the underground; it's technically supposed to be a lawless thing in the first place." That was a similarity between the Daegu and Seoul scenes, even while they differed in other areas. He turned his head to look at Jimin once they stepped foot on the pavement. The weather was nice, and it was good that Jimin wasn't nervous about holding hands while they were out in public anymore. "For the most part, it's pretty grungey. That's what you call culture, I guess."

"It sounds like it'll be fun," Jimin said wistfully as they turned to walk up the steps to Yoongi's apartment complex. "I can go to support you, right?"

"Of course," Yoongi lifted an eyebrow. "Everyone's going, and I'll do better if you're there to support me."

The dancer grinned. "I've always wondered what you'd be like on stage," he confessed, looking a little shy. "I've heard your music, so it made me curious in the past... I'm happy that I'll be able to see the real thing."

The glass doors parted as Yoongi laughed. "Don't get too excited. It won't be a big deal; performance stages happen pretty often, and most tracks flop even after winning." That was just the nature of the underground scene— Yoongi hadn't felt resentment over it in a long time. He paused to check his mail, letting go of Jimin's hand. "Ahh, I still haven't decided on a good bass line..."

"I'll make dinner, so you can go ahead and go back to work," Jimin smiled, taking Yoongi's hand once he'd closed the letterbox. They walked towards the lift. "It must be hard, but I hope you're enjoying yourself."

"I am," Yoongi nodded with a gummy grin. He loved producing; it satisfied the part of him that was always yearning to create. "It might seem like I'm suffering sometimes, but I'm really having a lot of fun." The lift doors opened and they stepped in.

Jimin cast a soft look towards Yoongi, leaning in and pressing a gentle kiss to his lips. "I'm glad," he whispered, beaming as they went home together.

Chapter Text

MONDAY

"Yoongi," Jimin called out from the pantry. "Take a break and come here, you should try this."

"Hang on," Yoongi yelled from his work room, one earphone still in. He saved his audio file, frowning as he leaned back in his seat and stared at the program. It's not that he didn't like the general sound of the beat, but there was something still missing. He needed to call Namjoon and Hoseok over to figure it out. Shaking his head, he got up and took out his earbud, placing it on his desk before he padded out to the kitchen. "What's up?"

Jimin held out a gummy in the shape of a bear. "Here," he offered, a canister in his other hand as he waved the candy.

Yoongi stared at it, moving forward and closing his lips around the little thing. His lips lingered on Jimin's fingers for a second when he first tasted it. It was a little sweet, and... Orangey? He flushed as he came back to his senses, leaping back and clearing his throat as the gummy rested on his tongue. Jimin was equally as red, and he chewed hurriedly. "Uh," he said intelligently, mentally shaking himself. "Thank... you?" His eyes fell to the little bottle in Jimin's hand. "You're eating candies this early in the morning?"

"They're vitamin gummies," Jimin mumbled, showing Yoongi the bottle even with his eyes averted. "They're good for you..."

Yoongi couldn't help it; he snorted as he read the label. "Jimin, these are for kids aged 4 to 6."

"They're good for you regardless!" Jimin protested, pouting. Yoongi swallowed as he eyed the swell of his lip, full and glossed with lip balm. Jimin regularly applied the stuff because he said his lips cracked with the cold turn of the weather, but Yoongi had been the one suffering as he watched him shine his lip every other hour. The dancer shook the bottle at him, frowning. "Vitamins are good for you at all ages. This one replenishes your vitamin C! You should eat more of it because you don't like fruits and vegetables."

Vitamin gummies; un-fucking-believable. Was Jimin even a real human being? Yoongi rolled his eyes as he read the fine print on the bottle, swallowing. "Well," he said thoughtfully, "I suppose it doesn't taste like shit."

"What a glowing review," Jimin deadpanned, holding out his hand for his vitamins. "Truly, I am stunned by your way with words."

"I have a great way with words," Yoongi agreed distractedly, setting the bottle in Jimin's hand. "I can't believe you take vitamin gummies. Do these things even work?" They were shaped like fucking bears; Yoongi was dying from how cute Jimin was.

"Better safe than sorry," the dancer said shrewdly, popping another into his mouth. "I eat them everyday; my eomma sends a new bottle from Busan every month."

Yoongi got himself a glass of water. "They don't sell that brand here?"

"They do, but my eomma is a grocery store manager, remember?" Jimin giggled, setting the bottle down alongside a collection of supplements. Yoongi eyed the row critically, wondering exactly how many of those were age appropriate in light of his most recent vitamin gummy discovery about the dancer. "She gets everything at 20% off, so she sends me tons of things that she thinks I'll need."

"It's nice of your eomma to go that far," Yoongi smiled, lifting his cup to his lips. His mother and father sent him rent money, even though he told them he could get by on his part time job. He was grateful for their help though; all he had to really worry about was the utilities and other miscellaneous stuff, like calling a plumber if he needed one. He'd gotten pretty good at fixing things around the apartment though; it was the reason Jin usually called him first whenever Namjoon broke something at their house.

"She worries a lot about me," Jimin agreed, hopping up onto the counter and looking down at Yoongi with a gentle expression. "How's the producing coming along?" They didn't discuss the song itself; only how far Yoongi had progressed with it. It seemed that Jimin knew it was meant to be a surprise, and he kept his nose out of things respectfully, patiently waiting for Tuesday to roll around.

Yoongi made a humming sound as he drank, setting the glass down and licking his lips. "Alright," he said conversationally, cocking his head. "I might call Joonie and Hoseok over if they're free though. I feel like I need a second pair of ears right about now." Sometimes, as an artist, you needed to take a step back from your own work to see the bigger picture through another person's eyes. He supposed he'd reached that point right about now; and Yoongi needed to know how far Namjoon and Hoseok had gotten with their respective verses anyway.

"I don't think Hoseok-hyung will be sorely missed at the studio; he's not mentoring anyone right now," Jimin said, refilling Yoongi's glass with the pitcher and taking a sip. "If they're coming over, I bought some kimchi when we went grocery shopping. You guys should remember to eat something if you take a break."

"We decided to buy baechukimchi, right?" Yoongi frowned, glancing over his shoulder at the fridge. "Joonie prefers it because it's the type Jin makes."

Jimin nodded indulgently. "You mentioned that when I was wondering which would be better, so I chose it well." He swung his legs childishly with a grin. "But really, Yoongi... You have a bad habit of ignoring yourself where it comes to work so make sure you remember to eat, okay?" He frowned, leaning in and cupping Yoongi's cheek. He let out a small sigh as he touched Yoongi's eye bags. "They've gotten worse, what are you going to do..."

They hadn't turned in at the same time the previous night for the first time since Jimin had moved in temporarily. Yoongi had stayed up in his studio - it sounded so natural to refer to it as a studio now that he was actually producing in it - working through the night to nail down a solid audio track. It had to be something strong; a diss was always best delivered to a truly memorable bass line. For that very reason, he was still somewhat discontented with it now, but it didn't mean that he valued the process any less for his frustrations. At the heart of it, producing was still a passion of his. "They'll go away after Tuesday, so don't worry about me having them in front of your parents," he promised, moved that Jimin was so worried; it made sense considering they were taking the 3am bus back to Busan Thursday morning. Still, this was kind of normal for him when he was working; even though he looked fatigued, he didn't feel particularly lethargic. "If I don't feel well, I'll just eat all your vitamins," he teased.

"Yoongi, that's the kind of talk that will get you killed," Jimin said with a scandalized face.

Laughing, Yoongi shook his head and move to stand between Jimin's knees. "I'll be fine," he said quietly, smiling up at Jimin and putting his arms around his waist. "You don't need to worry about a thing."

Jimin dipped his head and kissed Yoongi tenderly. "Good," he said softly, brushing Yoongi's fringe aside. "Because I've been waiting to see you rap for years, so if you fall sick before your stage, I definitely won't forgive you."

This was going to be how Yoongi died, but what a way to go. "I won't disappoint you," he whispered, hugging the dancer tightly and smiling against his clavicle.

"I don't think that's possible," Jimin said, pressing his lips to the crown of Yoongi's head.

*

"There's just something really fucking weird with the hook," Namjoon complained, sucking on a lollipop. "I don't know what I find so weird about it, though."

"Thanks, you're a bundle of help," Yoongi said sarcastically, snatching his laptop back as Hoseok thudded his forehead against his desk repeatedly. "Hoseok-ah, I don't think you can afford to lose anymore IQ points so stop that."

"Hyung, I love and respect you, but shut up."

Jimin had left for the studios by noon, leaving Yoongi alone for a couple of hours before Hoseok and Namjoon showed up to work on the song with him. They'd been going in circles, making a lot of progress with their lines but none on the audio. It was driving them all a little mental; Yoongi could tell they just needed to find that one thing that would fix the track, but it seemed hard to detect it. "Should we call Zico-hyung?" He wondered aloud. "See what he thinks?"

"Let's not involve anyone else," Namjoon suggested, reaching for an earbud again. "I'll give it one more listen."

"I've been thinking," Hoseok suddenly said, making Yoongi and Namjoon turn to him. "For the hook, if you guys are giving it to me then I'd like to make it about the three of us."

"You mean you want to throw in our names?" Namjoon lifted an eyebrow. "That's pretty standard though."

"But the beat is strong for the hook," Yoongi argued in Hoseok's defence. "And I can kind of see it working out if it's Hoseok's voice. He has a style that would make it work." The tone of their voices all differed. Yoongi's signature style was to go hard and choppy; he preferred using simple words and making sure the sentences were easy to spit, and his performances were all attitude and fire. Namjoon liked to use big words and long sentences, throwing in obscure references to Korean culture and utilizing his varied talents in linguistics. Hoseok used even shorter lines than Yoongi; syllables even, delivered hard and fast. He focused on rhythmic delivery, which was why they'd decided to give him the hook parts in the first place.

"Even if that's the case, have you guys thought of anything?" Namjoon lifted his eyebrow. "Your stage names, I mean."

"I thought of one," Hoseok said, raising his hand. "It sounds a little awkward at first, but my roommate thought it was good after he said it to himself a few times; it's JHope."

Yoongi made a face. "I don't get it."

"It's English," Namjoon explained the meaning to Yoongi efficiently. "The second part. But it suits you a lot because you're so positive," he nodded, turning to Hoseok. "Is it because your family name is Jung?"

"Yeah," Hoseok nodded. "I used to think to myself that if I ever adopted a stage name, I'd want it to reflect something about my family. So I came up with JHope."

"Then you can be Rap Monster," Yoongi lifted an eyebrow, turning to Namjoon. "You said it in one of your raps and it kind of stuck with me; I like that it's in English too, and it's catchy."

"Woah," Namjoon turned to Yoongi with wide eyes. He reached out a hand, fingers splayed for a high five. "I didn't know you remembered that, but I was actually thinking of the exact same thing. Rap Monster."

"Holy shit," Yoongi blinked, reaching around Hoseok and smacking Namjoon's palm with force. "Are you serious?"

Namjoon looked shocked that they'd come up with the same stage name for him. "Yeah, Jin mentioned he liked it when he heard that rap. He said it was memorable."

"We're best friend goals, man."

"What about you, hyung?" Hoseok lifted an eyebrow. "Have you given yours any thought?"

Yoongi set his laptop aside and cocked his head. He'd thought about it a lot, but he was still a little uncertain. "It might sound like of weird, but I've been thinking about Suga."

"Suger?" Namjoon stared at him quizzically. "I'm surprised. Seems a little sweet for you, to be honest."

Hoseok pulled Yoongi in for a side hug. "I think you're very sweet, hyung," he said very seriously, proceeding to squeeze the literal life out of Yoongi.

"Thanks," Yoongi choked, shoving at Hoseok to let him go, "but that's actually not the reason." He let out a breath as Hoseok released him, placing a hand over his chest and heaving for a moment before he spoke again. "You guys know why I called myself Agust D back in Daegu's scene, right?"

"You released your first tracks under that name in August," Namjoon pointed out, "and you wanted the initials of Daegu Town to be in it, too."

Yoongi nodded. "Right." He raked his hair back, frowning. "Now, I figured that if I turn it around..."

Hoseok scribbled the letters on a piece of paper, squinting at the characters on the page till an understanding dawned in his eyes. "Ahh..."

Namjoon hadn't needed to do that. "So it's S-U-G-A," he spelt out thoughtfully. "You don't want to put D-T into it as well?"

"It's not like I'm in Daegu anymore," Yoongi shrugged, taking Hoseok's pen and cancelling out the unnecessary letters. "I want my new stage name to be related to my old one while at the same time announcing that it's a new era for me, so I figured this might be a good way to go about it." He lifted his eyes to Namjoon. "But still, it does sound a little too close to sugar. If you think it's a really bad idea—"

"Nah," Namjoon shook his head hurriedly. "Since you explained it, I think it makes sense. I thought you were just pulling it out of your ass earlier."

Hoseok snorted, mimicking the actions of a person in a cafe. "Like he wanted to add sugar to his coffee and thought to himself, 'oh, this isn't bad'~"

"I'm not that flippant about my music," Yoongi grumbled, mildly offended. He tapped the end of Hoseok's pen on the table as he stuck one of his earbuds in again to resume his work on their track. "Don't lump me together with that asshole we're battling tomorrow."

"So we've all decided?" Namjoon confirmed, looking at Yoongi and Hoseok. "We're going to go with Rap Monster, JHope and Suga?"

Hoseok had already written down their names on his sheet of paper, grinning. "I like it," he announced happily, holding it up. He'd drawn a heart as a replacement for the 'O' in his name, which made Namjoon laugh and Yoongi snort. "I think I can feel good, going with these."

Yoongi turned the letters over in his head. Suga. Suga. "Yeah," he said with a firm nod. "Let's go with that."

*

Taehyung barged past Yoongi into his own fucking house, screaming. "WE BROUGHT BINDAETTEOK AND DAKKOCHI HOW IS THE SONG IS IT DONE I WANT TO HEAR IT—"

Stunned, Yoongi watched as Taehyung disappeared around the corner of the hall, still in hysterics. Jungkook stepped in after him with 4 large bags of takeout, looking more subdued as he calmly nodded at Yoongi. Jin removed his shoes and drifted past him without a word, walking straight to his surprised boyfriend and pecking him on the lips. And last of all, Jimin sheepishly came into the house with a nervous smile. "Um," he said wryly, kissing Yoongi's cheek. "Surprise?"

"TAEHYUNG, WHAT TO HECK— GET OUT OF HERE," Hoseok roared from Yoongi's studio.

"WHY?!" Taehyung whined loudly. "WHAT'S IT GONNA BE CALLED? LET ME SEEEEEEEEE—"

"Oh my god, it's not finished, can you just—"

Yoongi palmed his face. "Why did you let Kim Taehyung into my house," he complained, resting his forehead tiredly on Jimin's shoulder. "And now, of all times? Do you know how done Namjoon was with him back when he was producing his mixtape?"

"VERY," Namjoon yelled, his arms around Jin's waist. "I WAS VERY DONE, IF I WERE A STEAK I'D BE WELL DONE." They retreated to the kitchen with Jungkook to prepare the food, getting plates and utensils for everyone.

"I might have accidentally said the 3 of you were here?" Jimin winced, laughing as Yoongi groaned loudly. "And he might have come to my studio... To harass me? About coming over?"

Hoseok screamed. "KIM TAEHYUNG, I SWEAR TO GOD—"

"JIMINIE TOLD ME, HE BROUGHT THIS UPON YOU—"

Flabbergasted at the blatant backstabbing, Jimin stormed away from Yoongi, so suddenly that he almost fell because he'd been resting against the dancer. "Kim Taehyung, you little—"

Jungkook drifted out into the living room, glancing around. He perked up when he found Yoongi. "Hyung, is there any soda?" Taehyung liked soda; he was addicted to the stuff.

"I can't believe this," Yoongi was gesturing, looking around him unseeingly as he flailed his arms. "The gall, coming to attack me in my own fucking home, I can't deal with this much Taehyung even on a regular basis and now that I'm producing— Is god trying to test me—"

"It's a forced break; you 3 never stop working once you get into the spirit of things. Namjoonie, get out before you break something," Jin advised, quickly kissing to Namjoon's temple to ease any hurt that might have resulted from the comment, even if it was true. "Jungkookie! Come here, fill the cups with ice, there's some Cola in the fridge. Check if there's any tea—"

"There's maesil tea!" Jimin called over. He popped his head out from the work room, trying to drag Taehyung off Hoseok's leg with his arm around the kid's neck. "I bought some recently, so if you'd like to then you can drink it!"

"Oh, I love maesil tea, it's so refreshing," Jin said serenely, humming as he set the skewers on a plate, separating them accordingly. Yoongi stared at him uncomprehendingly as he held up one of the sticks, winking. "It's lamb~ You've gotta have it, if it's... Baa baa que," he snorted.

Jungkook, who was standing beside Jin, gave him a look so dirty Yoongi thought about offering Seokjin the use of his shower. "Hyung," he said severely, "you do still want me to respect you, right?"

Namjoon sighed and walked over to Jimin, patting him on the arm. Once the dancer had released Taehyung, Namjoon grabbed the guy by his collar and yanked him off Hoseok in a single strong tug. As Taehyung whinged and whined, Namjoon literally swung him over towards the sofa, making him stumble onto it with a stunned expression. "Stop," Namjoon ordered fiercely, pointing his finger at Taehyung. "Sit. Stay."

Taehyung stared up at him with wide eyes, unmoving.

Hoseok quickly got out of the studio, closing the door behind him as he stared at Namjoon. "Woah," he breathed. "What is this level of obedience training? It's even better than the school we sent Micky to when he was a puppy—"

"He's Jin's best friend, Hoseok," Namjoon reminded him drily. "I've had to deal with this shit for years, it'd be weirder if I didn't know how to handle it at this point."

Jimin burst out laughing.

"How have I wronged you?" Yoongi asked his ceiling, sinking to his knees. He was still convinced god was angry with him for something. "Tell me what I can do to repent and make things right, do I need to go to a priest and confess my sins, or—"

Jin flapped a hand at Jungkook, who was trying to carry out all 7 glasses at one go. "Stop it, you're going to break something, don't pull a Namjoon—"

"Excuse me," Namjoon's head snapped towards his boyfriend as he scowled. "Did you just use my name as a verb?"

"It's accurate," Taehyung blinked up at Namjoon, snapping out of his hysterics. "What's wrong with it— OW STOP HITTING ME—"

Jimin grabbed a cushion too, smacking Taehyung in the face with it in vengeance for his comment earlier. Namjoon suppressed the kid with a pillow on his face, attempting to suffocate him as Jimin attached Taehyung's legs viciously.

Hoseok cracked his neck, surveying the scene in the living room and kitchen with barely concealed awe. "This is almost impressive, if not a little sad. In such a short time, the house turned into a war zone."

Yoongi put his hands together in a prayerful gesture.

"OKAY," Seokjin yelled, clapping his hands together. Everyone in the house stilled, eyes turning to him as he smiled pleasantly. "Come here and take a plate everyone; the food's ready." He popped a skewer into his mouth as Jungkook calmly walked past him, the remaining 4 of 7 glasses in his hands. "Taehyungie, go and get the movie you brought; let's watch it together while we eat, okay?"

Obediently, everyone quietened and walked to the kitchen.

"Wow," Yoongi said drily, getting to his feet. "So this is the power eomma has."

Jin handed a plate to Jungkook as Taehyung popped a DVD into Yoongi's player. "Here," he said patiently, holding out a handful of forks and spoons to Yoongi. "Help distribute these, Yoongi-yah."

He did.



TUESDAY

Yoongi keyed the door to his apartment, a little disgruntled. Si Won's father had forgotten to cancel their lesson before their family trip, which meant he'd just wasted a good 40 minutes— That was precious time he could have spent working on the song to tonight's stage.

Reentering the house, Yoongi cracked his neck and hung up his scarf on a peg. Pausing by the door, he took in the sight of Jimin's jacket hanging over the arm of his couch, the normality of it stunning him. His shoes were neatly arranged into a row, and Jimin's were in a neat line in front of it. There were cactuses on the sill of his window; one of them was flowering cutely. His apartment was slowly gaining character, becoming warmer, and Yoongi was under no delusions that it was because of himself.

"I'm home," he announced quietly, in case Jimin was still sleeping. The dancer had stayed up late the night before, reading quietly with his ears plugged as he accompanied Yoongi in his studio long after the others had left. He'd mentioned that he wasn't going to the studios today, instead opting to do all the chores at home so that Yoongi could focus on his producing. It was thoughtful of him, and kind. Yoongi drifted through his apartment, letting out a quiet sigh as he catalogued the many ways Jimin was coloring his apartment and his life.

When no answer came, Yoongi walked towards his bedroom to see whether or not Jimin was still sleeping. Once he caught sight of the dancer in his bed, his eyes grew wide and he stumbled back. Clenching a hand over his heart, he pressed his lips together into a thin line, turning on his heel and rushing to his studio as silently as he could manage. He snatched his hard disk off the desk and practically ran out of the house, locking the door with one hand and calling Namjoon with his phone in the other.

"Yo," Namjoon finally answered after a minute or so.

Yoongi hadn't calmed down; not at all, not even a little bit. "Park Jimin," he said slowly, struggling to breathe through his nose, "is disrespectful as all hell."

"What? Did something happen?"

"You know I tutor Si Won on Thursdays, right?" Yoongi started, pacing the width of the corridor outside his house frustratedly. "This morning, I went to his house as usual, but no one was home; they were on a family vacation."

"Okay..."

"So I came back home to work on the song," Yoongi explained, trying to fucking calm himself. "I come home, everything's fine and dandy. The house is quiet. Birds and singing outside, traffic is low key, everything's good. It's a good morning, a good day in my life to be alive, everything's peaceful and I'm contented. I'd even venture happy— I was happy."

Namjoon let out a yawn. "I'm sensing a 'but' somewhere—"

"But," Yoongi hissed, "I walk into my bedroom and there he is."

There was a long pause. "Jimin's in your bed. In your bedroom. In the house. The one that you currently share."

"YES," Yoongi whisper-screamed down the line. "IN THE BED. BUT WEARING NOTHING BUT ONE OF MY JERSEYS. AND BOXER BRIEFS."

"Holy shit," Namjoon murmured. He sounded a little more awake now. Yoongi was panting as he tried to steady his breathing, gripping onto the railing of his kitchen window from the outside. "Dude. Dude."

"I can't wait to die," Yoongi whimpered, clutching his head and massaging his temple. He'd never be able to get that image out of his mind; Park Jimin in one of his fucking sleeping shirts, his hair sleep mussed and splayed on one of his pillows, his sheets tangled around Jimin's leg, the way that he still slept on only one side of the bed even though Yoongi wasn't there— "I am suffering, Joonie. I never asked for this life, I didn't sign up for this shit, I have 99 problems and Park Jimin is all of them—"

"Okay," Namjoon interrupted, "okay. You need to calm down, hyung—"

"Calm down?" Yoongi repeated after him incredulously, his eyes bugging out as he laughed hoarsely. "CALM, DOWN?"

"On hindsight, I realize that it's an impossible feat for you, so I take it back," Namjoon corrected himself wryly. "... Did you take a picture?"

"What the fuck Joonie? No, because I'm not a fucking pervert like you and I ran out of there like my ass was on fucking fire." Even if he had taken a picture, Yoongi was pretty sure it'd have been blurry with how much his hand was shaking anyway. "Who am I? Why was I put here, on this planet? I don't deserve this, this is ridiculous, my entire life used to be so simple and now it's in fucking shambles—"

"Jesus Christ," Namjoon groaned. "Look, what are you going to—"

"I'm coming over, he's literally right there and I can't deal with this, I can't focus here, be there in 15, see you in a bit," Yoongi interrupted in a rush, sinking into a squat and hanging up on Namjoon. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, trying not to think about anything.

Not about the slope of Jimin's thighs. Not the way the collar of Yoongi's oversized shirt had exposed the curve of his shoulder, the way Jimin's lips were slightly parted as he slept peacefully. The cute habit he had of curling up around one of Yoongi's arms when he was in bed, and wriggling his toes in his sleep. Yoongi tried not to think of the sharp V of Jinin's hipbone, the way his slightly tanned skin had glowed with the rays of the morning sun cast against it. The softness of his facial expression, the way his chest had moved with each breath and the way his boxer briefs had stretched over his as—

"OKAY," Yoongi said aloud, surprising even himself as he jumped with shock. He blinked rapidly, slowly getting up and slapping his own face as his cheeks heated. "Okay," he repeated with wide eyes, turning to walk towards the lift. "Alright. I'm fine. Everything's normal, everything's okay."

Everything was not okay.

*

The drive to Yongma Land would have been nice and quiet if Taehyung and Jungkook weren't around, but apparently Jin wanted this event to be a Bonding Activity™. Yoongi was glad to see that Jungkook seemed to have regained a semblance of his former self, content to seemingly ignore all traces of his crush on Taehyung till further notice. The latter was being distinctly persistent though, and it was beginning to grate on Yoongi's nerves. He didn't need this before a stage.

"Aren't you going to practice?" The guy whined, desperate to get a preview of their song. "Why aren't you practicing it in the car?"

"We're practicing it in our heads," Yoongi said dully, smacking the back of Taehyung's head from his seat at the very back. He had one of his ears plugged with the audio track, and he'd been listening to it attentively almost the entire way. Jimin was curled up against him, catching some sleep; he'd been working hard on cleaning the house while Yoongi had been at Namjoon's, preparing for the stage they were going to right now. He'd texted his brother to tell him he'd Skype him when he wasn't otherwise occupied, and Seung-gi hadn't asked too many questions; probably because he'd been busy himself. It was almost 1:30am; the stage was scheduled to start at 2 in the morning. "These event timings are absurd. Why aren't they at a more reasonable hour?"

"What, you want to rap battle at 7pm in the evening?" Namjoon rolled his eyes, glancing back over the curve of his chair. "You're such a old man."

"No old man spits fire like Yoongi-hyung, though," Hoseok pointed out, reaching back for a high five. Yoongi indulged him, smacking his palm as viciously as he dared while being careful not to wake Jimin. "We've sent over our audio file, right? I hope the reverb isn't too hard on the speakers; it makes it a little hard to hear if the place is too echoey."

Jungkook was staring out the window, his eyes wide. "It's so far away," he murmured. "Tae-hyung, have you ever been to Yongma Land?"

"No, because I want to stay alive," Taehyung shivered, clutching onto Jungkook's arm. The maknae's cheeks flushed, making Yoongi cover his mouth to hide a smirk. "Don't you know? That place is haunted."

"Right?" Hoseok gasped, pointing at Taehyung and glaring at Yoongi and Namjoon. "I called it. I told you. I'm not the only one who believes it; the rumors are true about this place, you know."

"Why are you proud of believing something Taehyung believes in?" Namjoon piped up serenely, making Hoseok pause as he parsed the truth in that statement. Taehyung made an offended noise as they turned into the gates of the amusement park. "Jin, you can park pretty much anywhere, they always cut surveillance a couple of hours before any events."

"We are going to park in a parking lot like civilized human beings," Seokjin frowned at his boyfriend before turning his attention back to the road. He followed a winding trail, carefully following road safety parameters. "I can't believe I'm breaking into government property after hours; exactly how many laws do you want me to break here? I'm a good, contributing member of society, Joonie."

Yoongi snorted loudly.

"What was that, Min PD?" Jin said sweetly, turning into a surprisingly well-lit carpark. Several other cars were already parked, and Jin cruised around to find a good spot close to the building entrance. "I could've sworn you just said that you'd like to walk your salty ass all the way back home."

"OOOOOH," Hoseok yelled. "Hyung, I can refer you to the nearest burn centers, free of charge—"

Yoongi glared at him balefully as Jimin was startled awake with wide eyes. "Hey," he said quietly, stroking the guy's hair. "We're here. You okay?"

Jimin yawned and blinked a few times, letting out a sigh. "I'm okay," he murmured, managing a tiny smile as Jin reversed the car into a lot. "It's better that I took a nap in the car so I won't be so tired later."

They all got out of the car. Hoseok put his arms around Namjoon and Yoongi's shoulders, walking them ahead of the other 4. "I'm a bit worried about your part, the English bit," he frowned at Namjoon. Hoseok was a joker and he loved playing around, but he knew when to be serious. "Will it be okay?"

"I've been going over it a lot in my head," Namjoon promised as they approached the building entrance. He waved to the smokers outside, and they grinned in recognition as the 3 of them walked past. "I don't think it'll be a problem later on; I just really need to get into the spirit of it."

"Exactly how big did you say this event blowed up to?" Yoongi lifted an eyebrow, glancing at Namjoon suspiciously.

"I don't know," Namjoon shrugged. They ducked in unison to fit under the shutters again, careful not to hit their heads. "But whatever it is, it can't be that bi—"

"HEEEY, MEN OF THE HOUR!" The MC yelled into the mic, prompting riotous cheers from a massive crowd. "Here we go, the main characters have just stepped into the building everyone, make way for them to come to the front— Oh, they've brought cheerleaders, this is going to be an exciting one, I hope everyone's ready for this stage—"

Yoongi froze, his throat tightening as Jimin stood up slowly beside him. The room was packed from wall to wall, and they'd even opened up additional rooms to accommodate the number of people. "Holy shit," he breathed, tucking his hands into his pocket. Namjoon's jaw had dropped, and even Hoseok seemed speechless as they were clapped on the back by strangers, urged to do well. The spirit of competition had filled the room, making the air heavy and cloying. Yoongi staggered forward in a daze as Taehyung pushed him gently, standing in line with Namjoon and Hoseok as they took everything in.

"After a savage battle last Saturday night, we witnessed a fight erupt on this very stage, ladies and gentlemen," the MC shouted as Namjoon strode forward, leading the group. Yoongi shifted uncomfortably, his hand clenching around Jimin's, who was staring at the number of people with wide eyes. "The battle was declared by Min Yoongi-ssi, an uninitiated rapper from Daegu's scene, against our very own B Free, Choi Seung Ho-ssi—"

"Wait, what?" Jimin stilled, his face twisted with confusion. "Yoongi, what is he talking about? You never said—"

Aw, fuck. Yoongi winced; he hadn't wanted to do this right now. "Remember I told you it's a long story?" He said nervously, turning on his heel and tugging on Jimin's hand. They started moving again, so that Jin, Jungkook and Taehyung could continue walking towards the stage as well. "What I actually meant when I said that was that I may have, ah... I may have challenged Seung Ho because I was pissed off at him, and—"

"Oh my god," Jimin murmured, palming his face as he blindly followed Yoongi. "I can't believe this, why did you—"

"—As a reward for the win, Min Yoongi-ssi has declared that he wants B Free to lay down his pride, apologizing for a personal matter! Rumor states that it has something to do with his... Boyfriend?" The MC announced dramatically to the throb of the crowd's murmurs. "If B Free wins, he's determined never to let Min Yoongi-ssi back into the scene again..." A chorus of oooh's and aaah's followed this statement, excalating the tension in the room. "The stakes are high this time; it's bound to be a spectacular stage, so stay right where you are!"

"You agreed to that?!" Jimin gasped as they stopped at the foot of the stage, spinning Yoongi around and leaning in. "Are you crazy?! You're only just getting started again!" He eyed the stage nervously, quickly averting his eyes once he found Seung Ho sneering at him between two unknown rappers from the other side. Yoongi snarled at him, baring his teeth. "Yoongi, stop this. This is way too big of a risk; you didn't even demand the same thing that he did! What are you going to do if—"

"I don't need to demand anything from him because I know the difference between trash like him and rappers like us," Yoongi snorted, cracking his neck as he got into the thick of things. He let the cheers fuel him, the heat of the stage call to him. "Two-bit rhymers like Seung Shit appear every once in awhile, and they always fade out without even a whisper." He palmed the back of Jimin's head, pressing their foreheads together. "But I'm different. I'm not going to lose this battle, so just get ready to be apologized to once I come back."

Jimin stared at him mutely as Yoongi turned away, slapping Namjoon and Hoseok's back as he got up on the stage first.

Taehyung's face was dark as he looked at Seung Ho. Jungkook eyed him warily, ready to stop him if he was going to do something stupid. Jin squeezed Namjoon's shoulder as both he and Hoseok followed after Yoongi, each being given a microphone.

"Finally decided to make an entrance?" Seung Ho snorted, lifting his head and looking down at Yoongi arrogantly. "I thought you weren't showing, honestly."

"Ah," Yoongi said, tapping the head of his mic as he switched it on. He ignored Seung Ho - as usual, it riled him the fuck up, this guy never learned - and paced the length of the stage. "Testing." He looked around the room, trying to find the sound technician. Once he'd spotted him, he waved a hand to get the guy's attention and pointed to his mic, checking the label. "Volume up for number 2, please."

"Testing," Namjoon said into his. "It's a little... Could you reduce the echo on this mic plea— Ah, okay. Ah. Ah. Okay, that's good, thank you."

"Ahhh~" Hoseok grinned. The sound technician shot him a thumbs up, and Hoseok returned it. "Mine's fine, thanks buddy!"

The MC stared between the 3 of them and Seung Ho. "Alrighty," he cleared his throat, "let's get this event started. First things first, could you step forward and introduce yourselves to the audience, guys?"

Seung Ho moved to center stage. "B Free here, many of you have been to my battles in the past," he said, prompting several cheers. Yoongi supposed there were kind people who still wanted to support this asshole; who would've thought. "We're here today to settle a personal grudge; it seems like a fight in our university didn't end there."

"That was less of a fight and more of a one hit K.O. on your part," Taehyung shouted, making Seung Ho's attention snap to him. Jungkook was trying to hold Taehyung back, but the guy was hard to get ahold of once he was agitated. "You bullied my best friend, asshole, don't think I'll ever forget it. I would have broken your shoulder back then and I'd still break it right now!"

"Taehyungie!" Jimin said sharply, stepping past someone to clamp a hand down on Taehyung's shoulder. The crowd started to murmur around them, and Jimin grew red with embarrassment at having the spotlight on him.

"What, you still want to go?" Seung Ho laughed, shrugging his shoulders nonchalantly. "If you want to take a swing at me, I'm right here. We can go at it on this stage right now, you or that faggot—"

Jimin flinched, chewing on his lip. Taehyung bent down and picked up a broken brick, licking his teeth as he set one hand on the concrete stage.

"Yah, seriously," Yoongi complained as he cocked his head at Seung Ho. "I really don't understand you. I have to admit though; it's kind of amazing to me that even if you were twice as smart, you'd still be stupid."

To his left, Hoseok sputtered and hid his face in the crook of his elbow. Namjoon sighed tiredly, palming his face.

Jin stepped between Taehyung and the raised platform, his face serene. "MC," he called out, making the commentator jerk to attention. "If you allow this one to get up on stage, he'll really do some damage, so please continue." Jungkook wrestled the brick out of Taehyung's hands, to Jin's approval.

"Mommy defending you, kiddo," Seung Ho jeered. The crowd began to buzz again, but this time it seemed the comments were mostly against Seung Ho's aggressively personal comments. Namjoon's face was dark; he looked as though he was personally considering murdering Seung Ho right where he stood for even speaking his boyfriend's name— Yoongi could relate to that feeling.

But Jin could handle himself just fine. "Yeah, that's right," he said evenly, tilting his head back as he looked at B Free. "Even if I'm his eomma; so what? I'm only warning you once; this kid is savage. Don't you know that children learn from watching their parents?" He took the brick from Jungkook, slamming it down on the concrete stage with a slow tilt of his head. "If our Taehyungie manages to get on stage, he's sure to make sure you bleed for what you've done and said." His eyes were glinting under the stage lights as he spoke calmly. "You better consider what will happen if I go up there instead."

"Don't get hard," Hoseok warned Namjoon under his breath, leaning in.

"Too late," Namjoon sighed, shaking his head. "God, I love Jin so much. I'm so turned on right now."

Yoongi snorted. "You are a gross, gross man," he pointed out blandly.

"Ooh," Namjoon made jazz hands, hissing at Yoongi. "Throw more established facts at me, hyung."

"OKAY," The MC shouted nervously, standing between the rappers and Jin. "Alright! We're barely into it and the tension's already peaked, everyone, I'm sure we're all anticipating a lot more from this stage than usual! B Free, who are the rappers who are joining you?"

"Couple of friends," B Free glanced over his shoulder as the two other rappers stepped forward. "Since we're 3-on-3, I gave them parts. But the song was entirely produced and written by me."

Yeah, Yoongi would bet. He would also bet that B Free had this song in his pocket for ages; mildly tweaking it to suit the current situation. He rolled his eyes passionately and stepped forward when cued, kind of annoyed on the other 2 rappers' behalf that they didn't get to introduce himself. They didn't seem to have any enthusiasm for the stage, either. "Hi," he said into the microphone. Already, he was met with applause so loud it shook the building, and he smirked indulgently. It was a little petty, but he liked the fact that people cheered louder for him than they did for Seung Ho. "My name is Min Yoongi. I'll be performing under the stage name Suga from now on, so please treat me kindly." Short and neat.

"Sugar," B Free lifted an eyebrow, mispronouncing it on purpose and curling his lip. "How cute."

"It's really not that hard to be cuter than you," Yoongi bit back, making B Free glare at him. "You look like someone set fire to your face and they tried to put it out with a fork, so." He shrugged nonchalantly, cocking his head. Out the corner of his eye, he spotted Jimin looking a little less tense as he slowly settled into the environment with Jin's help. He hoped that he wouldn't disappoint the dancer with his performance and smiled reassuringly at him.

Namjoon stepped forward before things could escalate. "Hello," he greeted the same enthusiastic cheers that had met Yoongi's introductions. "Some of you know me as Runch Randa from DaeNamHyup—" He laughed as the volume increased, grinning. One of his hyungs from his crew yelled his name, waving madly from the back. "Oh, there's Supreme Boi-hyung, everyone, I'm not sure if you saw his stage about a month ago, but it was epic. He's also just dropped a really sick track on—"

"Are you filming a CV for Supreme Boi?" Hoseok asked drily, making the room burst into laughter and bringing up the mood. In the back of the room, Supreme Boi was doubled over, snorting loud enough that they could hear it even from the stage. "Do you want his sign or something? Are you going to fanboy on a performance stage, Namjoon-ah?"

Sheepishly, Namjoon cleared his throat. "Ah, right. Well, because this is not one of the activities with my crew, I'll be rapping under a new stage name with these two— Rap Monster," he gestured to Yoongi and Hoseok at his side, smiling. The audience buzzed appreciatively, and Namjoon moved to his left so that Hoseok could stand in the middle when he introduced himself.

"Everyone, it's nice to meet you!" Hoseok started with a wide smile, instantly earning him goodwill. "I've been to a few of these events but this is actually my first time on stage! This is JHope," he sobered, making a tick with his hand beneath his chin. "I am a good bean, so please take care of me like you will Suga-hyung in the future."

The MC had to wait for almost a full minute as the cheers and the laughter died down to a low murmur. "We have a lot of stakes on this battle," he said excitedly, bringing up the hype as he regarded the huge audience. "Our live stream is looking really good right now as well. We haven't had numbers like we did on our betting site since we last saw Deepflow, everyone, so thank you for showing up and tuning in, even though it's mid-week!"

"Please be careful not to hurt yourselves," Namjoon cautioned kindly, lifting up his hands. "The crowd looks big, so make sure you're steady on your feet."

"Yes, safety is very important," the MC nodded, looking pleased with Namjoon's consideration. "Now, the big question; who's starting first?"

Unlike when a rapper freestyled, it was generally a bad move to go first in a performance stage. Yoongi had confidence though, and he lifted his hand. "We can go first," he said, lifting an eyebrow at B Free. "Does the Seoul scene have the knockout rule too?" Back in Daegu, Yoongi had induced a handful of knockouts in his time. It happened only on performance stages; if the response to the first performance was intense enough that the second rapper would have to throw in the towel by default. The room quietened as Yoongi spoke of it, and he lifted an eyebrow at everyone. "What?" He asked blandly. "Does it?"

"Well," Namjoon turned to Yoongi. "We do, but—"

Seung Ho scoffed. "You're a fucking rookie up here," he chided, drawing up to Yoongi and staring him down. "You think someone like you can talk about the knockout rule? Just how much pride do you have?"

"Pride, I have in abundance," Yoongi said, reaching into his hoodie and putting up his middle finger. "I have enough pride to build dreams on it. What do you have?" He pulled his hand out, flipping Seung Ho off casually. "Half-baked delusions cooked up in your mother's basement?"

The rapper's face twisted with fury, and the MC quickly intervened. "We do abide by that rule," he said hurriedly to Yoongi, eyeing Hoseok and Namjoon nervously. It was like he was telling them to leash Yoongi, but it didn't seem like his friends minded how savage he was being. Why would they, after all? "The terms are generally the same; we'll have it dictated by the crowd and how positive their reaction is. But ah," he scratched the back of his head wryly. "It hasn't happened in a long time..."

"Stop wasting time. Hurry up so that I don't ever have to see your face again," Seung Ho hissed at Yoongi, narrowing his eyes as he retreated back to his side of the stage. One of the rappers tried to grab his shoulder, but he shrugged them off rudely. He crossed his arms, drawing a line across his throat with a steely gaze.

Yoongi rolled his eyes dismissively before he turned to Hoseok and Namjoon. "This is it," he said, calming himself as he breathed deeply. The audio technician signalled them to tell him when they were ready to begin.

"You're all-in now," Namjoon warned Yoongi seriously. "We better not mess this up, hyung. There's a lot more you have to give to this stage now that you're here."

"We can kill it. Let's hurry up and do this," Hoseok smirked, hooking his arms around their necks and bringing them in. "The sooner we finish, the sooner we see B Shit on his knees."

"Tell me about it," Yoongi snorted, giving the audio technician a thumbs up behind his back. "That's going to be my nice thought for the rest of the year."

*

Yoongi opened his eyes as Suga.

"EVERYONE, THIS IS CYPHER!" Rapmon shouted, raising his free hand to the crowd as they screamed with anticipation.

JHope and Rapmon were on either side of him, each of them hopping to the beat as they prepared themselves. Suga adjusted his SnapBack - he'd borrowed one from Min - so that the brim covered his eyes, shielding them from the spotlight. Closing his eyes, Suga allowed the rhythm to tide him, the chants of the audience serving as a backbone to his performance. He bounced from foot to foot, hooting into the mic and feeling it as JHope began with the hook.

"Nugu ttaemune? Jeihop ttaemune," he began, addressing the crowd as he patted his chest. "Nugu ttaemune? Raemmon ttaemune. Dasi nugu ttaemune? Syuga ttaemune," and here he pointed to Suga, who dutifully lifted his mic up to address the audience. "Modeun seutailgwa heureumeun da rapline ttaemune—" He lifted his hand, knees bent as he cocked his head at the crowd. A sea of raised cellphones met his eyes, and he responded with a blinding grin. "21 segi hallyureul ikkeul aedeurui tto sijakdoen nori, urin ilgop mari neukdae—"

"JHOOOOOOOOOPE," Taehyung screamed, almost choking Jungkook with an arm slung around his neck. "JHOOOOOOOO—"

"Hoseokie-yaaah!" Jin screamed, holding up the same camcorder they'd used to film Jimin and JHope's shoecase as the dancer watched the performance attentively. The crowd was pressing, moving to the heavy bass line and nodding along to JHope's rhythmic rapping.

"Rapline ssaipeo right here, ssaiko right here," JHope spat, backed up by Suga and Rapmon. He walked up to B Free and flung his arm out with a piercing glare; he would have slapped him if he were any closer, and Seung Ho flinched backwards. "Ringe nuga itgeon urin da igyeo, rap fighter right here—"

Suga closed his eyes and shook his head, preparing for JHope to drop his bars. Next to him, Rapmon was licking his lips in anticipation, watching JHope with a hawk-like gaze.

JHope turned away from B Free sharply, looking out to the audience as the siren in the audio began to wail. "Nan hiyeo, neon byeyeo, bullan taieo, urin dallyeo," he snarled into the microphone without pausing for breath, "fire, hot choir, daejunggayo jabeul ssaiyeo!"

The atmosphered was keyed up, everyone throwing their hands forward and cheering as JHope launched into the next part of his verse. Rapmon cracked his knuckles in preparation for the drop, fire burning in his eyes.

"Nae raep geodaehan tteokdae ni gwiedaga daenoko, fuck that," he cursed, flipping B Free off with relish. "Yeokdaero gyeokhaejin urimanui pokhaeng. Gin mal pillyo eobsi raebeuro seolmyeonghae," he shrugged, backing off Seung Ho with a lift of his eyebrow. He crossed the stage and pointed at Rapmon, grinning madly at the crowd. "Rapline, follow the leader jigeumbuteo gohae, what."

Rapmon rubbed his nose. "R-r-r-right," he started off low, smirking out to the ecstatic audience. He made sure to face them properly as he rocketed into his first verse, bending down low and rapping directly to someone's cellphone camera. "Nan raep waipeo, wanjeon ssaiko, naega daiseoramyeon imma nan daiseu da isseo," he straightened up and glanced at both JHope and Suga over his shoulder as they backed him up. "Ssaipeo! Niga nicemyeon imma nan nicer, niga peuraideumyeon. Imma nan keuraiseulleo that mean imma priceless!"

Suga broke his gaze from Rapmon to look for Jimin in the crowd. Pressed up against the concrete stage, his boyfriend's eyes were firmly trained on him even though he wasn't the one rapping. The heated look in his eyes made Suga inhale deeply, swallow thickly. Namjoon's voice dulled as he looked at Jimin for a moment, a still point in the entire crowd that made his mind whirl with dizziness. 'I have to focus,' he thought to himself, looking away from the dancer and calming himself as he waited for his part to come.

JHope was amping the crowd up, lifting his hand and bouncing back on his feet as he spat syllables, tagging onto the last of every line that Rapmon preached. Suga joined him, looking down his nose at the crowd that had grown manic with a fever that only existed in the scene. 'Ah,' he thought to himself as he watched them scream through half lidded eyes, feeling the sweat bead on his forehead under his cap. 'This is it. This is why I wanted to stand up here again.'

This felt like coming home.

Rapmon broke formation, walking over to B Free with heavy steps and spitting lines in his face. "Nideuri mwonde nae raebe nideurui sikgyeoneuro jeomsureul maegyeo, rapper?" He scoffed, flapping his hand at Seung Ho dismissively and rolling his eyes. "Yeogin wonpiseu, nan huinsuyeom neonen geunyang ginsuyeom, han madiro megiyeo, fuck that!" He bit into his lip, savagely raking his hair back as he snarled. "An garigo ssakda jaba tumseuton, knock knock knock out, fire in the hole beat BING BING POW POW!"

"JOONIE!" Seokjin yelled, his fist clenched in the air. "JOONIE-YAAAH!"

"NAMJOON-HYUNG!" Jungkook shouted over the din, aggressively slamming his hand against the concrete platform. "KILL IT, HYUNG!"

The air had changed. Suga had never seen a room this fucking charged, not in his entire career as a rapper in the scene. People were shrieking, some of them were ignoring Namjoon's earlier warnings and mobbing, getting hurt. There were people going home with bruises today, and that was because of them. Suga stared uncomprehendingly at the madness that had settled within the building, the stage vibrating beneath his feet from the stampede. This was flat out insane, and he felt it. He fed off it, could feel it filling him, driving him, overtaking him.

This was the type of hunger that existed only in the underground.

"Na on sesangeul nae hyeo wie ollyeoda nochi, keun deseo nora, I ain’t spittin low shit," Namjoon drew up to Seung Ho, dragging the spotlight onto him as he drew close enough for their noses to touch. "On the CD, or the TV, you can see me, envy me, it’s a pity, gee gee, BITCH!"

The mob had grown to be one, hanging off Rapmon's every word. "OHHHHH!" They chorused at the straight up savagery, taking a sadistic pleasure in Seung's Ho's fury as his face twisted with murderous intent.

"I’mma monster I rap with a prospect, yeah I rap with a mindset, I’m a suspect," Rapmon continued, backing up a little from B Free as he licked his teeth smugly. He looked around the room as though searching fruitlessly for something. "Sucka where yo rhymes at, where your lines at? I’m da king, I’m the god, so where ma emperors at?"

"RAP MONSTER!" His hyungs from DaeNamHyup had fought their way to the stage, one of them with a bleeding cut on his shoulder for their efforts. "KILL IT, NAMJOON-AH!"

"I parachute on my Neverland," Rapmon lifted the microphone, turning to the audience momentarily and patting his chest with wide eyes. "I’mma Peter Pan, so this will never end—" He held Seung Ho down with a snarl and a prideful look as he jammed a finger into his shoulder. The siren wailed once again, and so did the crowd alongside it. "You know when I ride on my G5, you sit first class and satisfy and I keep giggling!"

Suga couldn't help but laugh. The fucking nerve. The absolute fucking nerve, the way Rapmon got like this on stage but was literally the valedictorian of their university, the fucking angelic student that every lecturer wanted to adopt as their own son. That was Namjoon, but this was Rap Monster; he shone the brightest when eclipsed, spitting fire in the middle of the night and letting loose. B Free was starting to look unsteady on his feet, and Suga swore that he was going to flat out achieve a knockout as he watched the crowd move in time with Rapmon's final verse. They had this. They could really do it.

"Jideura raebina jom jalhago tteodeureo," Rapmon breathed into the microphone, his skin slick with sweat as he drew away from B Free, slapping Suga's back as though passing the torch. He sniffed and turned his back on Seung Ho, waving a hand over his shoulder like he was telling him to fuck off. "Ninen raep motage haeya dwae, beobeuro."

The beat jacked up once more, prompting JHope to approach the front of the stage again. "Nugu ttaemune? Jeihop ttaemune. Nugu ttaemune? Raemmon ttaemune." He thrust his hand towards Suga, smirking as he took center stage. "Dasi nugu ttaemune? Syuga ttaemune—"

Suga took in a deep breath, the throb of the audience fading. When he opened his eyes again, the mobbing crowd was dizzying; all he could see were the jerky hand motions above a sea of unfamiliar faces. This kind of thrill, this kind of vibe... He'd been searching for something like this for a long time. He lifted the mic to his lips, ducking his head as he threw himself into his own verse. "Nae domein dopeman.com, maikeuro yeoreot honnaetji," he growled, his hand gesticulating as he rocked himself back and forth. "Eonhaengeun jokswae gateo, nae joemyeongeun hyeoro pokhaeng—"

"MIN SUGAAA!" Jimin yelled. Suga's eyes snapped sharply to him, picking him out in a heartbeat. It was the first time he'd heard Jimin's voice since they'd started. "YOONGI!"

"Niga jihaeseo nol ttae Rapline jisangeseo none, bamsae jam peojilleo jan neoe bihae, I’m workerholic, shopperholic," he hissed into the mic, Rapmon and Jhope dogging his lines as he did theirs earlier. They walked around the stage, engaging the audience and encouraging the cheers. Even this far out in Yongma Land, Suga wondered if they'd be reported for the noise this event was sure to be making by now. "Ni fen boda manheun pen gwasobi, hamyeo all in chamyeon goal in!" He strode rapidly over to B Free, who was aggressively stepping forward to meet him this time. "Goal in, I’m ballin," Suga spat, his eyes baleful as he lifted the brim of his cap, turning his SnapBack around. "Ni raep deureumyeon to ssollim, ni yeochindo hollineun nae moksorin jom kkollim!"

"OHHHHH," the crowd chorused again, flapping their hand at Suga's diss.

Taehyung screamed, spasming where he stood in a truly Hoseok-like fashion. "YOONGI-HYUUUUUUNG!" He was so excited he smacked Jungkook in the face; the look of alarm that bloomed on his face as the maknae staggered against Jin was hilarious.

Seokjin was so preoccupied filming his motherly instincts had died; he didn't even react. Beside him, Jimin's hands were clenching on the edge of the concrete stage, and it looked like he was barely breathing with how intently he was taking in Suga's performance.

Suga gestured for B Free to follow him to center stage, his brow lifted as he clicked his tongue. He was far from done with this asshole. "—Neohuin sokhi maikeureul naeryeo nokil," he continued as Seung Ho followed him, his brow pinched with anger. "Naega haeramyeon neoneun dal, naega tteul ttaemyeon jinikka! Hiphap jinpummyeongpum saekkideura, geopum wieseo naeryeowa."

Seung Ho grabbed him by the collar, ignoring the booing that ensued. "You fucking—"

Suga glared at him coldly, his hand clamping down on Seung Ho's wrist. "Ya i gaegujaengideura gaegujin, ni raebeun geunyang sinse taryeong," he spat, shoving the rapper back from him hard enough for B Free to stagger on his feet. Released, he lifted his arm, making a gun with his fingers and pointing it towards Seung Ho, advancing on him with a snarl. "Niga gidaryeoon sigan swida, oryeom—"

"—Go back to Hawaii—" Rapmon cooed patronizingly, smirking at B Free from across the stage.

"—jibe garyeom," Suga finished, shrugging at B Free as he backed away from him, turning his attention back to the crowd when they erupted with cheers, because they deserved it more than that half-baked rhymer. "Naega eodikkaji gana bwara, sseogeun ppuril ssak da gara, eopeo modu hanpan yesanghaji motan paran," he roared, holding out his hand to the audience like he was asking them a question. As they screamed his name like a prayer, he turned on his heel and walked towards the side of the stage where Jimin was standing at, because this next part was lit as fuck and he wasn't going to be satisfied unless he saw his boyfriend's face. "Noryeok eobsi hantanman haedaemyeo maksang, kkore eumak handapsigo nol ttae alba jarina—"

Jimin's eyes widened as he watched Suga approach him, his chest heaving with a deep intake of breath. Suga dropped to one knee, his eyes only for Jimin as the crowd behind the dancer went wild, rushing to take photos and film him as the siren began to blare again. Suga lifted his hand, looking right into Jimin's eyes as he lifted a finger with each line. "Deo arabwara neoui jjarpgo ganeudaran, keorieoroneun hana mana getjiman kkok saranama, kkujunhi jjuk sseogeo ama nideul kkoripyoneun ama, CHUEO GATEUN INSAENG NEOHUI RAEBEUN ANABADA!"

"OOOOOH!" The crowd chorused as one, all clamoring to get his attention. Suga ignored them, stroking the line of Jimin's jaw with the back of his index finger and a quick lick of his lips. He watched the dancer's Adam's apple bob as he swallowed thickly, his eyes naked and raw with something powerful. Indescribable.

Suga smirked as he stood up and returned to center stage. "Akkyeo sseugo nanwo sseun flowreul, badasseugo tto geugeol dasi sseuneun neo," he continued seamlessly, rocking back and forth as he pandered to the crowd. JHope and Rapmon amped it up, tagging his lines and shouting into their mics as Suga worked towards the end of the song. "Hey beat, jjok pallin jul areo, neo 24 madie neoneun jari pyeogo arha nuwo—"

Rapmon and JHope were all over the fucking place, yelling into the crowd and pumping their fists, just waiting for the massive kick that came with the ending. Suga stalked over to them, placing himself into the middle and lifting his head up high, soaking in the mindless roar of the crowd as they essentially moshed against the stage.

"Ni deongchie bihae raebeun ganyalpeo, ni bumocheoreom neol bol ttae mada mam apeo," he roared into the microphone, lifting his free hand slowly and drawing a sharp line across his throat, "nan ni eumagui keorieo dongmaege machimpyoreul GEUEO!" He tossed his head back, hysterical and dazed as the lights above him blurred and mingled, the taste of victory sweet and cloying on his tongue. God, this was it; he could get hard over something like this— The adrenaline of the stage was seriously no joke. He laughed, feeling crazy and high as he clutched his microphone tightly in his hand. He bared his teeth at the audience, raking his hair back and glaring at all these bastards. In that moment, that one heavy second as the room quietened to listen to him, he felt invincible. Untouchable. "YAH!"

He panted heavily into the microphone as sweat trickled down the side of his face, facing the crowd and licking his lips. His mouth felt dry, drier than it had ever been, and his breaths came harsh and heavy. He hung his head as he braced his hands on his knees, bowing to the audience as he squeezed his eyes shut, trying to put himself together. Trying to set aside his alter ego, to get back to calm and rational Yoongi. Bath bombs Yoongi, Yankee candle Yoongi; soft blankets Yoongi and liked Jimin's bear-shaped vitamin gummies Yoongi.

Suddenly, all hell broke loose. Jimin, Taehyung, Jungkook and Jin were the first ones on stage, but only just barely. Yoongi was pulled into a tight hug, his nose recognizing the familiar and comforting scent of Jimin's shampoo as the dancer screamed something indecipherable in the roar of the mob. He was pretty sure he'd just lost Jimin's SnapBack, that someone had elbowed Hoseok in the eye in their flurry to reach the group, and that Namjoon had almost fallen off stage onto the wild crowd below. Sooner or later, someone was going to get seriously hurt, but Yoongi couldn't find it within himself to give a fuck.

The MC picked up his microphone, turning it on with a deafening screech of feedback. He paid it no mind, lifting it to his lips and climbing up the fire escape ladder to evade the frenzy on the ground. "K-KNOCKOOOOOOOUT!" He announced gleefully, watching the chaos that reigned on the ground. People swarmed the stage like insects; it was a frenzy down there. "IT'S A KNOCKOUT, EVERYONE; THE CROWD IS FUCKING UNREAL RIGHT NOW! LIVE STREAMERS, ARE YOU STILL WITH US?! WE HAVEN'T SEEN A BATTLE THIS VICIOUS IN YEARS!" He flailed an arm wildly, almost losing his balance and falling off the ladder. "IT'S A KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCKOOOUT!"

B Free threw his microphone to the ground, cursing loudly, but no one paid him any attention. He tried to leave, but the two rappers he'd been with stopped him, yelling at him to man the fuck up and abide by his promise to Yoongi. They barred his way to the exit, and that was probably a fight waiting to happen, but that was a problem for later. Right now, Yoongi was busy savoring their win. His win, his first in years.

Hoseok and Namjoon grabbed him by the arms, sandwiching him between them and laughing ecstatically.

Yoongi tilted his head back and looked up at the stage light, his hand tangled in Jimin's hair. He grinned into the lens of the camera Seokjin was holding up above the heads of everyone else, unable to help himself. His first stage back, and he'd earned a knockout with his best friends. Jimin was in his arms, holding him like he never wanted to let go. Everything else could wait.

"Ahh, seriously..." He murmured, his eyes sliding shut. "I can't help but think tomorrow is going to be a good day."

*

The MC awkwardly shifted on his feet as B Free glowered at Yoongi. Jimin was standing behind him, nervously shifting from foot to foot. "Ah," the MC cleared his throat. "Then, as promised..."

Jimin grabbed onto Yoongi's arm, frowning as murmurs flowed amongst the slightly more dispersed crowd. Most of the audience members had left, having work or school the next day, but some were still milling about the area, watching or chatting with acquaintances. "Yoongi, this is really awkward," he winced, chewing on his lower lip. "Seung Ho-hyung was already expelled, I really don't want to cause any more trouble—"

"I already told you not to call him hyung," Yoongi frowned. "And besides, he promised it. I bet my future as a rapper on this; what the fuck does he have to get so defensive about?" He declared loudly, his voice carrying even without a microphone. He stepped forward, shrugging off Jimin's hand and stepping aside so that Seung Ho could look directly at his boyfriend. "It's just a fucking apology, so get on your knees and stop wasting my fucking time." He pointed at the floor in front of Jimin. "Remember, your forehead needs to touch the ground."

"Woah," Zico paused mid-conversation, prompting the members of DaeNamHyup to look up at the scene unfolding. "Namjoon-ah, has Suga always been like that?"

"Suga-hyung isn't the type to get pissed off easily," Namjoon hummed, scratching the back of his neck. He reached out for Jin, pulling him closer. "He's fairly easygoing. But when he does, it's not easy to calm him down."

Meanwhile, Seung Ho snorted, crossing his arms. "As if you were going to peacefully leave the scene anyway. You're telling me that if you'd lost, you would have bowled out of rapping for good?"

Yoongi cocked his head. "I'm someone who's serious when I give my word." He covered his mouth with his hand, smirking as he lifted an eyebrow. "If you'd won me fair and square, you'd never have seen my face in the scene again. I would have done it, so don't think that I'm anything like you."

Jimin glanced between them nervously as Taehyung lifted his hand, getting the MC's attention. "Since the battle is over and we won, if B Shit breaks his promise, will I be stopped if I throw this brick at him?" He pointed at the same brick he'd initially picked up, the one Jin had slammed against the stage earlier with deceptively wide and innocent eyes.

The MC took a step in the opposite direction from Taehyung. "Yeah, if you don't know how to aim," he murmured into the microphone.

"I can get closer," Taehyung added, making a motion as though he was going to jump up on stage. "That's not a problem."

Hoseok stared at him. "You have literally zero chill right now, TaeTae."

Jungkook sighed, crossing his arms. "What did you expect? Tae-hyung never lets go of a grudge. He can still remember the name and address of some guy who made fun of me when I had acne, and I doubt that person even exists anymore."

Taehyung grinned toothily.

Yoongi sighed, holding out a hand to stop this bloodthirsty kid. He looked at Seung Ho, unamused. "Yah. Are you going to do it or not? Just get it over and done with and go home; if there's anyone here who needs beauty sleep, it's really you."

Seung Ho scoffed. "I already said it; I don't think it's fair that I didn't get to perform." He thrust a hand out behind him at the two rappers who he'd brought to the stage. "We could have continued with the stage, but the crowd made a rash decision—"

One of the rappers lifted his hand. "I wanted to bowl out," he confessed, looking at Yoongi. "Sorry, but I could tell that everyone had a hand in producing the song on their side; you just thoughtlessly assigned us parts, and your attitude sucks." Shrugging, he looked remorselessly at Seung Ho, who was infuriated. "It crossed my mind a couple of times, that you might have even pre-produced the song and kept it in reserve. It could never have beaten Cypher in the first place, and you know it." He crossed his arms and sighed. "Honestly, I thought you were alright guy before this, but I'm not sharing a stage with you again, B Free."

The other rapper seemed to be in agreement, even though he didn't say anything.

"This is taking too fucking long," Yoongi deadpanned, impatient. "Don't blame the crowd; however you feel, the stage is over. We won. Are you going to deliver or not?"

"And if I say no?" Seung Ho glowered, pissed off and cornered.

Calmly, Yoongi stepped towards a fidgeting Jimin and put an arm around his waist. "Then Taehyung," he called out, turning around with a scoff, "I guess the stage is yours." And the brick's.

Seokjin and Namjoon both tried to make a grab for Taehyung, but the kid jumped up onto the stage with an eagerness and speed that even Jungkook couldn't match. He beamed as he made a beeline for B Free, but the rapper then reached out, his fingers splayed as his hand got alarmingly close to Jimin's hair, obviously trying to make a grab for it. Taehyung's eyes widened and his lips parted. "Jimini—"

Yoongi had sensed something was off the second Tae's face had begun to change. He pushed Jimin towards Taehyung, turning around and moving sideways. Seung Ho's fist grazed his shoulder, making him stagger back a little, but he thrust his own arm forward. His fist met Seung Ho's healing nose with another alarmingly painful sounding crack, causing a round of gasps and exclamations to waft through the room. The rapper stumbled back, holding his nose and choking, his eyes watering from the agony. Paying it no mind, Yoongi stepped forward and grabbed Seung Ho by the collar. "Did you think I'd let you go twice?" He asked, his eyes burning as he cracked his knuckles. "You got off lucky before, but there are no lecturers to call you an ambulance here, Choi Seung Ho. You better prepare yourself."

Jimin ran up to him, grabbing him by the elbow and shaking his head. "Don't," he pleaded, looking at Seung Ho. His own eyes were filled with concern as his brows knitted. "Yoongi, stop. Just let it go."

"WHY?!" Yoongi shouted, fucking pissed off. Seung Ho flinched, blood streaming down his chin. "How many times am I supposed to let someone like this treat you like you less than them?!" He turned and looked at Jimin with rage in his eyes. "Did you think I was satisfied with how things ended!? That what I did to him was even remotely enough?!" He shook Seung Ho, releasing him roughly and letting the guy fall onto the ground, listening to him whine as he clutched his nose. "Yah, Park Jimin. Make no mistake about it; the only reason why I don't have that brick in my hands," he shot the article in Taehyung's grip a glance, "is because I want to feel every bone in his body break under my fists." Even if it hurt him too. Even if he broke his own bones in the process.

The room was quiet following his outburst. All eyes were now on the stage as Yoongi panted harshly, glaring down at Seung Ho.

The dancer looked at him with teary eyes. "Back then, when I was worried, you said that he couldn't hurt you," he said quietly, moving closer to Yoongi and tilting his head. "Because he wasn't important." He ducked his head, his voice almost a whisper. "And you said I was."

Gritting his teeth, Yoongi stubbornly forced himself not to look into Jimin's eyes as he was being spoken to.

"If that's true, then he can't hurt me too," Jimin continued, looking at Seung Ho with pity in his eyes. "And I don't want anyone I care about to be hurt anymore, so let's just stop this." He crouched, opening his satchel and reaching in for a face towel. Folding it into a square, he swallowed thickly and offered it to Seung Ho. "Please use this," he said nervously. His hand was trembling slightly. Your nose, it's..."

The rapper stared at the blue towel in Jimin's hand for a long time. He let out an incredulous snort before looking at Jimin with so much hatred that it made Yoongi growl. "I don't need anything from you," he muttered, cradling his nose with one hand and supporting his weight on the other. "Just stay far away from m—"

Taehyung threw the brick.

It hit Seung Ho squarely on the head, bouncing off with a fairly loud thud. Within seconds, the rapper had passed out; this was the second time the kid had pulled this shit. Tae's hand was still poised midair, and he was blinking rapidly as Jimin scrambled to get up, his eyes wide with horror. "Um. Reflex?" He said, looking around the room and shifting from foot to foot nervously. "I had a knee-jerk reaction—"

"To throw a fucking brick?!" The MC shrieked, kneeling down beside Seung Ho. "What the fuck is wrong with you?!"

"So many things," Taehyung said simply, trying to peek at what the MC was doing. "But hey, at least I didn't miss! So I have good aiming, right?"

The MC looked up at him balefully, unamused.

"Is he dead?" Jungkook asked conversationally, hopping up onto the stage and peering at B Free over Taehyung's shoulder. "Like, dead, dead?"

"Good riddance," Yoongi scoffed. "I'm just sorry I wasn't the one to knock him the fuck out myself. Taehyung, if he's not dead and you hog the spotlight one more time, I swear to god—"

Jin walked around the stage, cocking his head. "MC, is he alive?" Jin asked, pretending to be worried as he cupped his cheek, shaking his head. "I don't want my son to go to jail."

Taehyung beamed. "Thanks for caring, Jinnie-hyung."

Seokjin shot him a cheerful thumbs up.

"He's breathing, and it's even," the MC pronounced with a relieved sigh. He turned to glance at Taehyung, who seemed wholly uninvested now that he was sure Seung Ho wasn't going to die. "But he probably has a concussion, you hit him pretty hard."

"I'm at least 80% sure that was the idea," Hoseok confirmed, looking serious. "The harder the better. It would be nice if he didn't wake up for a long time..."

"It's not like brain damage could possibly lower his IQ any more," Namjoon shrugged. "So technically, as long as he's still breathing, we can't get into any trouble."

"I have to give it to you, Namjoonie," Zico breathed, looking between Seung Ho and Yoongi. "If nothing else, you lead a seriously charmed life."

Namjoon smirked knowingly. "Well, I can at least promise the scene will get interesting with Suga-hyung around," he said wryly, "so please take care of us."

"More than happy to," Iron snorted, crossing his arms. "You guys are a fucking riot; I'm looking forward to your friends over there dropping mixtapes ASAP."

Jimin was still unsure of what to do. Looking at how lost he appeared on his own, Yoongi felt a pang of misery. It was truly unfortunate that Jimin's first experience with coming out had been this unpleasant, and he wasn't sure how to make it better... But he had to try. "Give it to me," he said awkwardly, stretching out a hand. when Jimin just stared at him, Yoongi sighed and took the towel from his hand, wiping his own face. "Ahhh. If you had something like this, you should have given it to me earlier... I would have used it well." He put it around his neck, taking Jimin by the arm and leading him off the stage firmly. They shouldn't linger in a place like this now that they were done with what they came to do. "GUYS! Let's go."

"Let's get some beers and go to your place!" Hoseok suggested with a wide grin. He grabbed Taehyung and Jungkook, following Yoongi. "I'm still flying high here; there's no way I'm going to sleep."

"Celebrating... That's not a bad idea," Yoongi said thoughtfully. He wanted to bring Jimin's mood back up, too; it was upsetting that the night hadn't ended well. They could order beer and chicken. "Jin-hyung, do you know anywhere that deli—"

"I'll ask Joonie to settle it in the car on our way back, so give us a minute," Jin waved, joining Namjoon. "You guys go to the car first."

The dancer kept glancing back over his shoulder, a worried look dawning on his face as he realized they were seriously just going to leave. Namjoon was saying his goodbyes to his hyungs, and Hoseok was guiding Taehyung and Jungkook to the exit so that they could go home. "Yoongi, what about—"

The MC beat him to it. "Guys!" He shouted, absolutely bewildered as he stared at Seung Ho's prone form. "What am I supposed to do with this?!"

Yoongi lifted a hand, waving over his shoulder as his free arm curled around Jimin's waist. "I'd suggest putting him on eBay and selling him to the highest bidder," he said drily, "but I've never known anyone who would willingly buy a fake product." Turning to Jimin, he pressed a kiss to his forehead. "Let's go home."

"Yeah," Jimin agreed quietly, ducking under the shutter with Yoongi's hand on his head, just to make sure he didn't hurt himself. He seemed to breathe easier once outside, and he cupped Yoongi's cheeks. "You were so good," he said, his voice cracking as tears filled his eyes again. "I couldn't believe it. You're amazing."

It had taken long enough, but Yoongi finally wanted to believe that. "You have your stages, and now I have mine," he murmured, leaning in and smiling when their foreheads bumped together. "From now onwards, let's both continue doing well, Park Jimin."

Chapter Text

The others had ended up staying till around 5 in the morning, talking together and messing around. By the time they'd fucked off, Yoongi was exhausted, and he collapsed in bed on top of Jimin with a loud and painful hiccup. "Ugh," he groused. "Hnnng."

"Yoongi, oh my god," Jimin giggled, wriggling. "What are you doing? Stop making noises and go to your side."

"Don't ask me to do anything right now, all you're going to get is disappointed," Yoongi mumbled, burying his face in his sheets. His bed was beginning to smell like Jimin, and it was kind of nice to wake up to the scent of apples in the morning. "Why do you always smell like apples?" He asked dopily, because he apparently had no brain-to-mouth filter when he was tipsy.

"You're so drunk, I can't believe this," Jimin laughed, rolling over and making Yoongi grunt. "Get off! I can't sleep like this—"

Sighing, Yoongi more or less balanced himself on his elbows and dragged himself off Jimin, collapsing tiredly on his side. "That's enough exercise for the year," he decided wryly, his head tilted at an awkward angle as he mumbled. "I don't think I felt this drained even after finals week."

"You shouldn't have challenged Jungkookie to a drinking contest," Jimin scolded, turning over on his stomach and looking down at Yoongi. "What were you thinking?"

"There was no thinking involved," Yoongi lamented, throwing an arm over his eyes to block out the light. Considerately, Jimin got up and ventured out into the living room, making sure to switch off all the lights outside before he returned to the bedroom and did the same. He set down a glass of water and the pitcher from Yoongi's kitchen on the bedside table, along with two tablets of aspirin. "It was the opposite of thinking; I feel like I was intentionally trying to be stupid tonight."

"It's actually genuinely surprising how coherent you are when you're drunk," Jimin pointed out, sitting on Yoongi's side of the bed and shaking his shoulder. "Get up and drink some water."

"How are you so... Not like me right now?" Yoongi grumbled, somehow managing to arrange himself to hang off Jimin's lap. His fingertips touched the cold floor and he hummed. That was nice. "You drank a lot too."

"I ate a lot too," Jimin lifted an eyebrow at the back of Yoongi's head, a hand gently carding through Yoongi's hair. "I'm not going to be drunk in front of you a second time; I have some pride as a man, you know."

Turning over so that he was looking up at Jimin, Yoongi took in the sights with his head still laying atop the man's thighs. Fuck, even with his vision blurry and the lights out, Jimin was so beautiful. Better than anyone. Yoongi hadn't felt this way in a long time. "You're so beautiful," he slurred, blinking blearily up at the dancer.

For a moment, Jimin's face froze. "Wow, you're wasted," he said quietly with a shaky laugh. "Yoongi, come on. Drink some water and go to bed; you really need to sleep."

Grunting, Yoongi put a hand on Jimin's shoulder, pulling himself up and looking at Jimin. He was swaying a little, but it wasn't like he didn't know what he was saying. "S'not because I'm drunk," he said carefully, taking care to sound as sober as possible. Jimin needed to know this. It was a matter of great importance. "I think that you're beautiful." He lifted a hand and put it on the side of Jimin's neck, stroking heated skin beneath his thumb and finding the dancer's pulse. He felt the vein throbbing under his touch, and for a second he allowed himself to believe it was because of him instead of copious amounts of alcohol. "I don't... I don't just say shit like that. Even if I'm— Even if I'm tipsy."

Jimin's jaw was clenched. "Yoongi, stop this," he warned under his breath. "Please."

Fuck. Shit. "I know," Yoongi started, his voice cracking. "I know it's not... Real. I know that. But I'm not lying. Not about this." He swallowed thickly and tried to steady his breathing. This was the worst time for him to talk to Jimin about this, but he was infamously shitty with words, and he didn't believe he had the courage to tell Jimin how he felt once he was sober. "I think you're kind, and thoughtful, and I've never met anyone as hardworking as you—"

"Yoongi—"

"—You're the most passionate person I've ever met, and I can't help but think," Yoongi took in a deep breath, "that I'm just— I'm just happy to have met you at all."

Jimin closed the distance between them.

Yoongi's eyes slid shut immediately, his hand moving from Jimin's neck to cup his cheek as he shifted closer. He'd learnt, over the past month, that Jimin was a good kisser. There were times he didn't know what to do with his hands, but his lips were soft and they closed over the swell of Yoongi's bottom lip, gentle and slow. Belatedly, Yoongi realized that this was probably the deepest and most intimate kiss he'd ever had with Jimin.

He wanted more. So much more.

He nipped Jimin's lower lip, eliciting the quietest, most perfect, 'ah' sound from Jimin. Yoongi moved, taking Jimin by the shoulders and guiding him to lay down. Looking dazed, the dancer stared up at Yoongi as he hovered above him, his chest rising and falling with each quiet breath. Yoongi looked at him and felt his heart throbbing. Fuck. This was the opposite of what he should be doing. Dipping his head, he nosed the spot beneath Jimin's ear, feeling the dancer turn his head to accommodate him. "I shouldn't be doing this," he whispered, torn and stressed and just— Exhausted. All he wanted, all he thought about these days was Jimin. "We shouldn't be doing this."

"Then don't," Jimin whispered back, one of his hands resting at the small of Yoongi's back, rubbing circles into his skin. "We— We don't have to. If you don't want to."

"But I do," Yoongi blurted, feeling ashamed. Jimin had told him about his crush, had confided in him. This wasn't fair to him, but— "Min, I want to so badly. You don't understand."

"I think I might." Jimin whispered. He turned his head, his hand cupping the side of Yoongi's face so that they looked each other in the eyes. "Do it," he said, his voice raw as his thumb traced Yoongi's lower lip. "Even... Even if it's only for now, Yoongi. Kiss me."

They'd been kissing for days, but something about tonight broke Yoongi open. The day had been a wild ride in and of itself, and he was so fucking confused; he'd gone through an adrenaline high, probably gotten hard on stage - hell if he knew - came home and gotten pissed drunk. He was bone weary and keyed up at the same time, and his mind was a giant motherfucking mess. Emotions roiled within him as he lowered his head, dragging his lips up the column of Jimin's neck. "I— I don't want to go too far," Yoongi whispered drily, the shitty side of him wondering why he was still making words when he could be doing far more productive things with his tongue.

"Then we won't," Jimin rasped drily, sucking in a breath sharply as Yoongi nosed his jawline. "Whatever you want, Yoongi."

No; Yoongi wanted everything. He wanted all of Park Jimin, but he knew he couldn't have him. Jimin belonged to someone else, someone better, someone who wasn't him, and he wasn't going to have sex with a guy he was supposed to leave the fuck alone in a couple of days. He couldn't do it. Yoongi wasn't made for shit like this; he couldn't handle something like that. "I— I don't know what I want," he confessed. "I don't know what's— I can't think right now and I don't know—"

Jimin tilted his head slightly on the pillow so that their noses brushed. "Then stop thinking by yourself," he whispered, a pretty flush on his cheeks as his lips lifted into a nervous little smile. "I'm here. Whatever it is, we can figure it out together."

Yoongi thought about the past few weeks. How they'd met in a coffee shop, how they'd learnt about each other in stages, phases. He thought about the way he'd fought for Jimin, had gone up on stage for Jimin, had written and produced again because of Jimin. He thought about the times they'd done chores together, the times they'd sat in the same space doing their own things, comfortable and warm. He thought about each and every time Jimin had asked him if he was alright, had worried for him, had cooked for him and cared for him. He thought about how far he'd gone to make sure Jimin was safe, offering the dancer refuge and giving up the usual obsession he had for routine and privacy.

They shared a house now. There were two toothbrushes in his bathroom, and a stack of magazines on the mantelpiece that didn't belong to him. He made coffee for two, eggs for two, toast for two— If he was even the one cooking breakfast in the morning. He set the table for two, slept on one side of the bed, worked on half the space of the coffee table even when Jimin wasn’t in the apartment. There was a peg in the kitchen he'd put up for Jimin's apron, and an extra set of keys hanging on the wall behind his door. Yoongi thought of all these things and lowered his head, resting his forehead against Jimin's clavicle as he struggled not to cry.

It had all culminated into this moment.

Just like that, somehow, Yoongi realized he had fallen in love with Park Jimin.



WEDNESDAY

They hadn't had sex.

In fact, after Yoongi's big epiphany, they hadn't done anything at all. Jimin had seemed to sense a change in the mood and kindly turned on his side, telling Yoongi that he should rest. "Maybe we shouldn't have started this," he'd said timidly, trying to smile even through his obvious anxiety. "Let's talk more in the morning, okay?"

It was morning now.

Much as he'd like to wallow in misery for 3 solid days as per the usual status quo, they lived together now. Yoongi sat up alone in bed; Jimin was outside preparing breakfast, because he was an actual fucking angel who did shit like that even when Yoongi had been a dick to him.

Again.

Fuck, Taehyung was going to do a lot worse than brick him if he found out.

This thing was, Yoongi wasn't great at emoting. He ran through a pretty limited range there, and this love thing was entirely off the spectrum. He'd never looked at someone and thought, 'hey, there's someone I wouldn't mind seeing every day for maybe the next 5, 10 years,' but that was exactly how he'd felt looking at Jimin the night before. It was unexpected and untimely as hell, but he'd never expected to fall in love with the piano or rap either. All the great things in Yoongi's life had pretty much turned out to be happy coincidences. He'd met Namjoon over a broken table in the library, for fuck's sake, and the guy was now his best friend.

Seung-gi was going to laugh at him for years, if he ever got around to telling his brother the full story.

Yoongi had ex-boyfriends. He'd even dated a girl for awhile, back when he'd been in high school and experimenting. Every single one of his past relationships had ended off on a pretty amicable note; even his latest romantic venture in his freshman year with the Russian transfer student. They'd all said one thing in common about him, though— That he didn't seem particularly invested in keeping the relationship alive, or that they couldn't relate to him on an emotional level. It was pretty much what backed up every lecture he'd received from Seokjin or his brother for being incapable of embracing his feelings, or even talking about them. Yoongi had once tried to climb out of Namjoon's window when the guy was lamenting a fight he'd had with Jin over something dumb.

So yes; this latest revelation that he was pretty much head over heels for Park Jimin was probably not going to be fun. At all.

The one thing that solidified Yoongi's belief that the dancer was firmly off the table was the talk they'd had a couple of weeks ago while watching TV together, the second night Jimin had moved in. The way Jimin had looked as he talked about his crush, the gentle tremor of his voice and the way he'd twiddled his thumbs in his lap— Yoongi knew that what Jimin had for this guy wasn't a crush. People didn't look like that talking about a crush; it had to be way, way more than that. Jimin was in love with this guy, and he probably had been for a while now.

He had been resigned to not doing fuck all about his feelings for Jimin at that point, but his convictions were being heavily, tragically tested here.

This was basically Yoongi's worst nightmare; everything had he'd been afraid of had come to fruition. He'd known that Jimin was unavailable, but had still shared a space with him. Had still made memories with him, had still taken his hand and kissed him. Had done chores with him and grocery shopped with him, had eaten his fucking stupid bear-shaped vitamin gummies and brushed his teeth next to him. How cocky had he been, thinking that he could hold his feelings at bay back then? What was he going to do if he couldn't hold them at bay now?

Taking a long moment to steel himself, he took in a deep breath and smacked his cheeks. Whatever he felt for Jimin, he couldn't falter now. Not so close to Chuseok. "3 more days," Yoongi told himself quietly, trying to project more calmness than he really felt. "You can do it. It's just 3 days."

"What's just 3 days?" Jimin asked from the door, scaring the shit out of Yoongi. He was still wearing his apron. "Chuseok at my parents? Are you really that scared?"

"Jesus Christ, I need to put a bell on you," Yoongi groaned, putting his head in his hands. Slowly getting up, he turned to Jimin and grit his teeth. First order of business; he needed to fix this and make sure things weren't awkward between them. No one was going to believe they were in a relationship with this cloying tension hanging between them. "Listen, Min, about yesterday night—"

"Ahh," Jimin laughed, flapping a hand. Was Yoongi imagining it, or was the dancer avoiding looking at him in the eyes? "You were drunk. Don't worry about it; I wasn't expecting you to be the cuddly and affectionate type, so I was just a little surprised," he added with a pitchy giggle. Turning on his heel, Jimin gestured for Yoongi to follow him as he disappeared around the corner to the living room. "If you don't come out now, I'm going to eat your share too, so you better wash up quickly!"

Jimin had been perky. Too perky.

Yoongi stared at the empty doorframe, wondering if things were really okay.

*

They'd smoothly, if not a little quietly, gotten through breakfast. Though it was been kind of awkward, Yoongi had reached out in the middle of the meal, setting his hand on the table. After a moment, Jimin had curled his fingers into Yoongi's palm with a small and shy smile, and things had gotten better after that. Feeling lighter in the chest, Yoongi hoped he'd be able to get through Chuseok without doing anything fucking idiotic. The last thing he wanted was to hurt Jimin, and he fully intended to carry out what he'd promised the dancer from the very start.

He just needed to keep his emotions in check. He and Joon could go out and get roaringly drunk once he was back in Seoul, and he'd bitch and whine about his shitty luck and timing then. For now, he had obligations.

They were packing. Though they were only going to Busan for a couple of days, Yoongi made sure to bring 2 extra sets of clothes, just in case Jimin and his brother wanted to go to the beach. They were each filling a small suitcase, collecting various articles of clothing from the wardrobe or the laundry rack that was standing in Yoongi's balcony. It was a peaceful time, and the monotony of the task gave Yoongi a little time to collect his thoughts. Abruptly, he remembered something and sat up straight.

"Do you want to go out to buy some souvenirs for your family?" Yoongi asked, cocking his head as he folded a blue turtleneck over his lap. "That'd be a good idea, right? And it's not rare to exchange gifts during Chuseok?"

Jimin looked up from his phone, in the middle of changing the song over Yoongi's speakers. "Hmm," he hummed, considering the idea. "I wouldn't know what to buy for them, though?"

"Your eomma is nice enough to send stuff for you, so maybe she'd like things like food that we can only buy up here. And your brother... We could find some art materials from a nice store or something, since he likes that sort of thing, right?" Jimin nodded, and Yoongi felt relieved that he hadn't forgotten anything from when they talked about their families. "If we go out together, we should be able to pick some nice stuff," he hummed, wondering if his SLR battery was charged. He'd get on that before they went out; he wanted to take some pictures if they had the time to wander about. "Personally, I'd like to bring something if I can."

"What a model boyfriend," Jimin laughed, changing the song to Taeyang's Wedding Dress. He leaned over and nudged Yoongi as the gentle opening bars of the piano filled the room. "Are you trying hard because you feel like you messed up yesterday night?"

"There's a saying that a woman only receives flowers when she's been wronged," Yoongi joked, glad that they were easing back into this camaraderie. He wasn't sure about considering the previous night a mistake though; it had made him understand what he was feeling towards Jimin, even if it wasn't going to work out. He was the type that preferred to know rather than not. Shaking his head to clear it, he took in a deep breath and put his turtleneck on top of the three shirts he was bringing. "I'm not packing much, so we can put the gifts in my bag."

Jimin peered into Yoongi's suitcase. "You're almost done already?"

Yoongi nodded. "I just need to pick up a couple of things, maybe some of those little toiletries. I'm not going to bring my toothbrush; it's probably better to use a new one."

Jimin smiled warmly and stood up. "Okay. Let's go out."

*

They walked down the street together, their fingers entwined. "We didn't have to go all the way to HOMI," Jimin pointed out with a laugh, holding up the bag. "It's inconvenient, why did you choose that store?"

"I searched on Naver," Yoongi explained, glancing at the store's logo on the side of the bag. "They only sell this set here. It's an Anniversary Set, so it's limited edition; just give it to your brother happily."

"But you paid for it," Jimin protested, frowning at Yoongi. "You should be the one to give it to JiHyun!"

"It's embarrassing, so just say it's from you," Yoongi said dismissively, looking down at the packages cradled against his arm. They'd gone around the area, and it was nearing the evening now that they were going home. "Tell your parents the Soju and the red ginseng is from you too; I'll just say I bought the Makgeolli for them."

"I didn't pay for any of those things aside from the ginseng," Jimin argued, pouting as he adjusted unravelled Yoongi's scarf. "I only paid for half the soju too, so I'm only telling them that I bought those."

Yoongi sighed. "You're so difficult."

"I'm just being honest; you're too tsundere," Jimin retorted, scrunching up his nose cutely. Yoongi wanted to kill himself. "Just tell them the presents were from you— Oh," his eyes widened as he almost tripped. Yoongi tightened his grip on Jimin's hand as he righted himself, blinking with wide eyes. "That was close."

Grunting, Yoongi paused at the roadside. "Let's take a taxi back," he decided. This was the second time Jimin had almost missed a step in the past hour. "You're a walking hazard when you're tired, and we need to get in some sleep before we board the bus to Busan anyway."

"We don't have to do that," Jimin said, clutching the bags to his chest as Yoongi looked out for a cab. "It'll be expensive; let's just take the bus or the train."

"Oh, there's one," Yoongi lifted his arm as he ignored Jimin's suggestion, flagging down the taxi with a triumphant grin. As it slowed to a still, he opened the door as smiled at the driver politely. "Hello ahjussi, thanks for stopping. Could you please open the boot?"

Jimin shook his head and walked around to the back of the car, lifting up the trunk lid. "We could have taken the bus," he mumbled grumpily, loading what he had been carrying into the boot.

"You can take it yourself, if you want," Yoongi smirked, laughing at the indignant glare that Jimin shot him. The alcohol had to stay with them in the taxi because it was fragile; Yoongi didn't want the glass bottles to roll about and break in the trunk. He held out his free hand, nodding towards the open car door. "Stop whining and just come; let's hurry up and go home to finish packing so that we can nap."

Taking his hand, Jimin huffed and climbed into the backseat of the car.



THURSDAY

Yoongi grumbled, turning over and squishing his face into Jimin's shoulder. "Nooo," he whined, squeezing his eyes shut.

"It's time to get up," Jimin sighed, shaking Yoongi. "If we don't go now, we won't catch the bus..."

"I'll just get Joon to drive us," Yoongi promised nonsensically, slapping an arm over Jimin's chest and trapping him so that he couldn't get up. "More sleep..."

The dancer huffed. He was probably pouting and glaring at him. Yoongi could see it even with his eyes closed; even if he didn't want to. "Yoongi, come ooon," he whined, shoving him. When Yoongi didn't stir, Jimin ripped the sheets off and clutched the hem of Yoongi's shirt. "Alright, fine. You brought this upon yourself—"

Yoongi's eyes snapped open, widening in alarm. "Woah, hey, don't—"

Jimin yanked up the fabric and blew a giant raspberry on his bare stomach.

Immediately spasming, Yoongi choked and grabbed Jimin by the shoulders. "J-Jesus," he sputtered helplessly, squirming as Jimin didn't let up. He laughed like a 5-year old as he writhed, caught up in the sheets with his fingers digging into Jimin's side. "Yah! Park Jimin, stop it, seriously, I'll hit you—"

"That's domestic abuse," Jimin said sweetly, not looking worried at all. He knew Yoongi would never hit him. "Are you getting up now?"

"I'm up, I'm up!" Yoongi struggled to breathe, wincing as the dancer finally pulled back with a satisfied smirk on his face. "God, what kind of fucking wake-up call—"

"If it's effective, I'm not complaining," Jimin pointed out, grinning mischievously as he ventured to the bathroom. He seemed fully awake; likely looking forward to seeing his family soon. Yoongi just wasn't feeling the same vibe when he'd just been rudely woken up with Jimin's lips on his fucking stomach. "Hurry up and come here. You have to brush your teeth, we need to leave soon."

Yoongi turned on the bed and grabbed a pillow, silently screaming into it and willing his erection to fuck right off.

*

An Interlude; Jimin's Point of View

Jimin sat up straight, looking out the window.

Next to him, Yoongi was sleeping silently with his head pillowed on his left shoulder. The ride had been uneventful for the most part, and Yoongi had dropped off only 5 minutes into the bus journey. He was likely still exhausted from the events of the past few days; Jimin suspected that the hardcore schedule of producing for his performance stage against B Free had worn on the pianist more than he'd let on.

The quiet ride gave Jimin some time to organize his thoughts, but it felt like he'd need more than a couple of hours.

Honestly, the past month had been a wild ride and a half. From what had happened with Seung Ho at school to the rap battle just the night before, they had all been experiences that were new to Jimin. There were good things and bad things that happened, but they were all with Yoongi by his side. Letting out a deep sigh, Jimin leaned his head against Yoongi's and looked down at their interlaced fingers, propped securely on his thigh. The sight was natural to him by now— Something comfortable and expected. It had become normal to see it, easy even for him to initiate the intimate gesture.

He wasn't going to get to do this after 2 more days.

'That's not true,' he told himself, trying to channel his inner-Taehyung and gather some confidence. He closed his eyes and shook his head mildly as he attempted getting rid of his negativity. 'You're going to confess to him. Don't say that when he hasn't given you a proper answer yet.'

Yoongi stirred and he froze, but the pianist just huffed and readjusted his head, nuzzling against his neck in the process. Jimin sighed fondly, relieved that he hadn't woken the other as he turned his attention back to the passing scenery outside the bus. Yoongi would need to sleep now to keep up with JiHyun's infinite energy later in the day.

Jimin returned to his thoughts.

Much as he'd like to believe otherwise, there was no guarantee Yoongi would accept his confession— Jimin knew that. Taehyung and Jungkook seemed sure that Yoongi would readily agree to be more than friends, but Jimin wasn't so sure... Especially after what had happened last night. The way Yoongi had hesitated, had withdrawn himself to the point of not being able to look him in the eye... It had hurt, but Jimin knew that this was the reality. Everything they had was built on an arrangement; a lie that he'd told Yoongi in Hoseok's cafe all those weeks ago.

His parents had never met Taehyung. He could have just as easily asked his best friend to go with him, but he hadn't. When faced with the option on that day itself, Jimin had wanted Yoongi.

And that hadn't been the first time he'd met the pianist either.

When Jimin had been 15, he'd lost motivation and found himself stuck in a rut with his dancing. Feeling defeated and pathetically sorry for himself, he'd childishly run away on a whim, causing a lot of problems for those around him. It hadn't taken long for him to realize that he couldn't go far with the allowance he'd saved up from his parents, but he'd been determined to make his absence felt. He'd ignored his cellphone, taking a bus to Daegu and wandering the streets aimlessly like a delinquent. The freedom had unsettled him; he was used to being in the studios, and the air of the city carried a different scent from the musky streets of Busan.

He'd given up quickly, clenching his teeth as he strode to the train station under the heat of the afternoon sun.

On the way to the platform, Jimin had heard the gentle melody of a piano wafting through the halls, soft and sweet. Curiously, he'd ducked under the arms of businessmen and women, all of them rushing home after a long day at work. He'd searched the station, ears attuned to that simple and innocent sound. It sounded familiar and homely, and he'd been hard pressed trying to recall where he'd heard the song before. When he'd finally located the source of the music between platforms B and C, Jimin had sifted through the ring of people surrounding the busker, somehow drawn to the front by an indescribable urge to watch.

Jimin remembered gasping when he'd first laid eyes on Yoongi.

The pianist had been thin as a teenager; his frame small as he hunched over a synthesizer in the middle of the crowd. He'd played fluidly, his fingers moving across the keys like he was born to play. It wasn't so much the sight of him that had stunned Jimin, making him still in his tracks, but the amount of genuine fondness Yoongi's eyes held as he gazed down at his hands. Even back then, Jimin had known that Yoongi loved the piano with everything he had. Somehow, the sight was moving and it drew the crowd that was surrounding the young pianist, even as he was immersed in his own performance without a care for the anything or anyone else.

'Ah,' Jimin had thought to himself immediately. The scene had jerked his memory of the song, and how he'd first come to hear it. 'So this is Gloss.'

Yoongi had been wearing a thin black pullover, the lower half of his face concealed by a white mouth mask. In a pair of ripped jeans and boots, he gave off an air of confidence as he seamlessly ran his fingers over the keys, from one end of the synth to the other. His hair had been blonde then, and it hung over his eyes. With a pierced ear and a pair of thickly-rimmed glasses, Jimin had thought he looked dashing and somewhat mysterious, and he had been surprised when he felt his heart pounding.

He hadn't spoken to Yoongi then, instead turning on his heel once the song had ended. He'd walked away listening to the sound of Yoongi thanking everyone, the deep timbre of his voice and the slur of his satoori as he shyly accepted the pocket change of strangers. Jimin had boarded the first train back to Busan and headed straight to the studios from the station, bowing down to his teacher and apologizing for his insolence and the trouble he'd caused in being so childish.

And he'd never skipped a day at the studio following that first encounter he'd had with Yoongi.

The second time Yoongi had popped up in his life had been at the cafe where they'd first agreed to this absurd fake boyfriend thing. And as with most other things that went wrong with his life, it had all been Taehyung's fault.

It had all started just the week before that. Jimin had been careless, leaving his laptop open in his room while he'd taken a piss in the toilet. He'd returned to Taehyung watching the video he'd been loading, eyes wide with surprise as he cocked his head. Jungkook was relaxing against the headboard of Jimin's bed, idly staring at one of Jimin's Big Bang posters and tracing their signatures with his index finger.

"I didn't know you watched stuff like this," Tae had said, turning Jimin's laptop around. On the screen, there had been a video open of Agust D playing the piano. Jimin had been listening to his music almost everyday; it was soothing and his piano pieces usually helped lull Jimin to sleep. "Is he— Do you know who he is?"

Jimin hadn't even protested Taehyung's presence in his room; he was far too accustomed to his best friend's weird proficiency with breaking and entering. "I saw him busking at Daegu station once, but I don't know him personally." He'd smiled at the screen just then; it was frozen on a still of the pianist focusing all his attention on the piano beneath his fingers, as usual. Jimin had developed a little bit of a crush on the YouTuber; not that he'd ever thought it would matter. It had made him sad when he'd first realized the channel was steadily declining in activity, and he was regretful when no new content appeared for months. Still, Jimin listened to the guy's music, both his old and new stuff on YouTube and on SoundCloud. "I found him a while ago for an assignment back at my dance academy in Busan, and I've always liked his music since then."

"He's kind of handsome, I suppose," Taehyung had commented with a snicker. "If not a little grumpy-looking."

"I think he looks fine," Jimin had protested, sitting down on the bed beside Taehyung. "Look, even if he keeps a poker face, he smiles when he plays. You can tell that only people who enjoy what they do look like that." He'd pointed at the screen, lifting an eyebrow. "He loves playing and I just think it's endearing. Sweet."

"You seriously like this guy?" Taehyung had asked, sounding oddly serious. "You haven't dated anyone seriously ever, but this is the first time I've seen you look at someone like that, even if it's through a video."

Flushed, Jimin had averted his eyes and crossed his arms in embarrassment. "So what if I like him?" He'd pouted, ignorant of the way Taehyung's mind had already gone into overdrive at that point. "I've only met him once, and I think his music is great. He's kind of cute, but it's not like I really know him that well—"

"Hang on," Jungkook had lifted his head, blinking at the screen before drawing closer to the computer. "Is that—"

Taehyung had nodded. "We know this guy," he'd said mildly, cocking his head at Jimin. "His name is Min Yoongi, and he hangs out a lot with Jin-hyung and Namjoon-hyung."

"No way." His eyes widening, Jimin's lips had parted with shock. "Seriously?" If Taehyung had been yanking his dick right then, Jimin was going to throw him out of the fucking window.

Nodding, Jungkook had grabbed one of pillows on Jimin's bed, holding it to his chest. "He goes to school here. He's an Architecture student."

Taehyung had leaned back into the soft plush, shooting Jimin a considering look. "You mentioned that you wanted to come out to your family this Chuseok, right?" Tae asked, blinking at Jimin. "Maybe you shouldn't be bringing me for that."

It had taken Jimin almost a whole minute to realize what Taehyung was saying. "You want me to ask someone who's essentially a stranger for a favor like this?" Jimin had laughed incredulously, smacking his best friend on the shoulder. "Yeah, Tae. I'm sure he'd be ecstatic. Go ahead and ask him for me, will you?"

Taehyung had shrugged easily. "Sure," he'd hummed, unpausing the video and relaxing against the pillow atop Jungkook's chest. The gentle melody of First Love wafted through the room from the speakers of Jimin's laptop. "I'll keep you posted."

Suddenly, Jimin remembered, he'd experienced a sense of foreboding that his internet crush wasn't going to remain under wraps.

And of course, he'd been right. Taehyung, though undoubtably air-headed at the best of times, was capable of scheming and plotting the same way everyone else was. He'd gone behind Jimin's back, talking to Jin and Namjoon and probably the entire of South Korea about arranging the deal that had eventually taken place. It had blindsided him, and he hadn't spoken to Taehyung for a full day when he'd found out. He'd decided to tell Yoongi the truth once he'd met him, and to simply get on with his life and tell his family about his choices, whether or not Taehyung was going to come with him back to Busan for Chuseok.

But then he'd actually met Yoongi.

Expecting a caustic and rough encounter after Jungkook and Taehyung's initial comments about the guy, Jimin had instead been pleasantly greeted and apologized to because Yoongi had been late. The pianist had been awkward and kind of shy, but endearing and genuinely kind. He was straightforward, more than Jimin had expected him to be, and it was kind of... Nice. Yoongi spoke from the heart, and it was plain to see that he had a sense of honesty that functioned as a foundation for him to stay true to himself— From the little things, like the words he spoke, to the big things, like his sexuality.

Jimin had wondered what it would've been like to be born with that courage.

As a teenager, he had looked at Yoongi and found him beautiful. And 6 years later, absolutely nothing had changed.

He hadn't had a chance at the coffee shop, really. He'd chickened out of telling the truth, Yoongi had assumed a great deal of things right off the bat, and just like that, they'd entered a fake relationship. It was the best and worst split-second decision he'd ever made.

Yoongi was definitely none the wiser, but Jimin had been a complete mess for the past month. Segueing easily from being a friend to behaving like lovers, Yoongi had done things like hold his hand in public, kiss him on the cheek and putting his arm around him. They'd gone out several times, and Jimin grew into appreciating the public displays of affection and accepting them. Understanding that he had a right to them, even if he was with a man. He'd even started initiating them, as of late, and the thought brought a flush to his cheeks.

He was, and always had been, a shy guy by nature. From looking good in leather jackets and ripped jeans to picking Jimin up at the studio with an isotonic drink in hand, Yoongi had no business doing some of the things he did. How was Jimin supposed to react when Yoongi had made him feel everything from wanting to hold him and wrap him in blankets, to pushing him up against the wall and kissing him till neither of them could breathe?

Jimin rightfully thought of Yoongi as a force to be reckoned with. Though acerbic and somewhat complex, he had an undoubtably simple approach towards others that mimicked the relational capabilities of a child. Yoongi did not follow the societal norm of making friends through similar interests; he seemed to place a higher priority on a person's character and the manner in which they conducted their own lives. He wasn't a man of morals or standards created by societal norms; he instead created his own principles and stood by them with a diligence to be admired.

When he'd been younger, his eomma had given him this piece of advice. "Look at the way she treats everyone other than you," she'd told him, stroking his hair back with a smile. "Back then and even now, your father always has a kind word for everyone, even strangers. I fell in love with him not because he was good to me, but because he was capable of loving everyone, of respecting others and caring for someone he didn't even know the name of." Jimin had looked up at her, confused and too inexperienced to understand the weight of her words. She'd laughed and beamed at him with a shake of her head. "It's easy for you to be good to your girlfriend, Jimin-ah," she'd explained, "but is it easy for you to be good to JiHyun, even after he breaks one of your pencils or borrows your clothes without asking for permission?"

Jimin had wrinkled his nose back then, annoyed even by the thought.

"That's why," she'd said shrewdly, "you have to watch how your girlfriend treats others instead of only how she treats you."

It had been the best piece of advice she'd ever given Jimin. It was the rule by which he'd made friends with Taehyung and Jungkook in high school, and it had also been the rule by which he'd fallen in love with Yoongi.

A month was more than enough time for him to realize that Yoongi's fuck-it-all persona was nothing more than a big, fat lie. Yoongi cared far deeper than anyone could possibly assume; after observing both Yoongi and the way he treated those around him over the past month, Jimin knew this to be true.

Yoongi complained about Taehyung a lot, but he'd always made sure that Tae knew his presence was appreciated. He'd bought green tea for Jungkook and kept it in his refrigerator, even though he didn't drink it himself and often grumbled that he didn't want anyone coming over to his house. Yoongi had, more than once, left the house on short notice to fix something Namjoon had broken before Jin returned home, saving his best friend from a lecture. He'd cheered the loudest for Hoseok, and sent him a long text to tell him how moved he was by the performance during their Chuseok showcase. Even though he hated vegetables, Yoongi had read up on a few recipes to include them in his diet, just so Seokjin wouldn't worry about him.

The pianist had been awkward about Jimin's club members at first, but he soon grew comfortable enough with them that they could carry long conversations about music and hiphop culture. He'd stopped correcting In-Jung when he was called a sunbae, instead patting the guy on the head and smiling fondly. Yoongi answered as many of his own classmates' queries in their group chat as possible, even though he wasn't close to them. Even when they had gone out to restaurants with poor service, he'd treated waiters and waitresses politely and kindly.

Yoongi wasn't a people person, but he was more than capable of being good to people.

That wasn't even mentioning the loyal streak in him. Though generally a subdued and rather lethargic person, Yoongi quickly grew protective and defensive when his friends were threatened. While he was annoyed easily, Yoongi only truly got mad when the people dear to him were hurt. Jimin hadn't just witnessed this when Yoongi had fought with Seung Ho over him, but god.

Yoongi had fought with Seung Ho over him.

To the point where his lip was busted, where he had a cut on his face and his knuckles were bruised. Jimin hadn't actually been able to comprehend just how pissed off Yoongi was, or why. When faced with the dean, Yoongi had casually declared them to be partners in a same-sex relationship, defending Jimin and essentially claimed full responsibility for the incident to protect Jimin and his friends. Even though their relationship had been fake, Yoongi had gone to that extent to reassure Jimin that he'd been wronged. That there was no reason for him to tolerate the shit that he'd gone through because of Seung Ho, that there was nothing dirty about their relationship, that the kiss they'd shared on stage was simply a display of affection between lovers.

It hadn't been the only time Yoongi had been considerate of Jimin's feelings. He'd never gone further than what Jimin had been comfortable with, had slowly eased them both into a more tactile relationship. Yoongi had been subtle but respectfully generous with his affection, both in private and in public. He'd offered his hand, but gave Jimin an option to take it or to leave it. He'd put his arm around Jimin's shoulders, but moved the second Jimin was tense. He'd put his arm around Jimin's waist, but released him the second he moved away or even shifted uncomfortably on his feet.

Carefully, tenderly, Yoongi had coaxed Jimin into understanding the values of such small, intimate gestures between partners. As a whole, the dynamic between them had been built on a foundation of trust and respect. Yoongi had been caring and observant and thoughtful in ways no one else could possibly expect, and Jimin had never felt pressured into anything with Yoongi, not even once. Everything they'd done had been consensual; even, he reflected with a heated face, the things that had happened just the night before.

In theory, he'd always known that his sexuality wasn't something he had to hide. But it was Yoongi who had demonstrated that to Jimin diligently, patiently, over the course of the past month. He'd taken everything as an opportunity to show Jimin that it was okay for people to love others of the same sex. Yoongi had risked hurting himself, expulsion, and even his reputation in the underground hiphop community to teach Jimin this. He'd gone that far for a man he barely even knew.

Jimin was in love, and he knew it.

He hadn't known things would get this far. Palming his face tiredly, Jimin let out a long sigh that was lost in the rumble of the bus engine. He'd learnt a lot of things about Yoongi, but he's also learnt that the pianist's generosity would not extend to compromising his own feelings. More than anything, it was Yoongi's kindness that wouldn't allow him to date someone out of sheer pity. He was above doing something like that, and Jimin wasn't confident that Yoongi felt the same way for him.

There was, in fact, a very high possibility that Yoongi would not accept his feelings for him. And Jimin was terrified of that.

Chapter Text

"Yoongi, can I please sit down?" Jimin cocked his head, pouting into the camera lens.

Because they'd arrived at 5:15 in the morning, Yoongi had decided it'd be better for them to wander about the area before heading to Jimin's house, just in case everyone was still sleeping. They'd ended up in Igidae Park; one of Busan numerous scenic trails. At this time of the morning, no one was around, and it had just been the two of them slowly making their way to the first check point. Yoongi didn't really fancy a hike, but the first check point wasn't very high up, and there were benches along the trail. He'd left their luggage bags on one of them and started taking pictures close by, waiting for the sun to rise.

"One more," Yoongi murmured, lowering his SLR and fiddling with the settings. This part of Busan was saturated; it felt like a beautifully vintage place. In the distance, more developed areas of the city were sparkling and shiny against the pale beginning blues of sunrise, but here, where they stood along the trail, the scenery was mellow and gentle on the eyes. Yoongi liked it; preferred it even. "I want to take lots of pictures while I'm here."

Jimin sighed, blinking wide eyes as he stared out into the ocean. "It's just Busan," he commented with a small shrug. "I don't get what's so interesting about it..."

"You grew up around all these things; of course it wouldn't be interesting to you. But if I brought you to Daegu, you'd be intrigued, right?" Yoongi pointed out, finally managing to settle on an aperture he found more suitable. He should have brought more lenses, though; he regretted that a little. "When I visited Hoseok in Gwangju last year, I had to empty out the pictures in my SD card 4 times so that I could take more pictures."

Laughing, the dancer crossed his arms and grinned. "You're such an old man," he added, spinning on his heel. "Why don't you take pictures together with me?"

"I didn't bring a tripod. Besides, I don't really like taking pictures of myself," Yoongi pointed out. While Jimin had often sent him selcas over the past month, Yoongi preferred to be the one behind the lens. In addition, he usually took pictures of inanimate things like nature. Panoramas of cities and skylines. Jimin was an exception though; Yoongi wanted to keep these pictures, because he was a huge fucking masochist and he wanted to cry over these pictures once he returned to Seoul. What a life he led; Namjoon and Jin would hit him. "Hang on, stay just like that."

"Like this?" Jimin smiled, curling a lock of hair behind his ear as wind swept through his silvery locks. He glanced at Yoongi over his shoulder. "I'm not even doing anything."

'You don't have to,' Yoongi thought, bending at the knees. The shutter went off several times as Jimin took in the scenery of his own hometown, his lips gently turned up at the corners. He looked nostalgic as he kicked at a little rock close to his left shoe, and Yoongi lowered his camera. "What's wrong?" He asked shrewdly, tilting his head as he approached the dancer. Jimin almost never moved unnecessarily. If he fidgeted, it was typically because he was working up the nerve to say or ask something.

"Are you nervous?" Jimin asked after a moment, turning his head and glancing at Yoongi. "About meeting my parents?"

Humming, Yoongi put his arm around Jimin's waist and drew him closer, letting out a sigh. "Well, I don't know about that," he said honestly. "It takes a lot to get me nervous. More than anything, I'm worried you might be edgy later." They should talk about how they wanted to approach this matter.

Jimin leaned his head back against's Yoongi's shoulder. "Even though my family is conservative, I'm not so worried about my eomma," he confessed. "We're close, and I'm always talking to JiHyun too. My grandmother— My halmeoni... I know how much she loves me. I don't think these three will take the news too badly." He pulled the swell of his lip between his teeth, chewing gently. "But my dad comes back from his business trip to Incheon tomorrow evening for Chuseok, and..."

"You're not close to him?" Yoongi asked, rubbing circles on the curve of Jimin's hipbone, trying to soothe his nerves.

"Not as close as I am to my eomma," Jimin shook his head. He paused, looking out at the sea with a dull look in his eyes. "He's also the most traditional out of everyone in my family, even more than halmeoni. If it's him..." He ducked his head, brows pinched into a small frown. "... I guess I'm a little worried."

Yoongi wasn't sure what to say, so he took off his camera and held it by the strap. Putting his arms around Jimin's waist, he hooked his chin over the dancer's shoulder and looked at the same sunrise as him. As pinks and oranges streaked across the sky, they listened to the sound of birds cawing in the distance and watched Busan slowly crawl to life under the sun. "I've already said this before," he mumbled eventually, "but I'll be here with you. No matter what happens, I won't leave."

Jimin tipped his head back and smiled, his eyes closed as he inhaled deeply. "I know," he whispered, setting his small hands over Yoongi's pale and slender fingers. "Thank you, Yoongi."

*

Jimin's mother was just like him. She was slender and slightly tanned, with kind eyes and a face that had aged gracefully. Yoongi could see the resemblance; Jimin had the same pouty, full lips as the woman that opened the door to them. "Jimin!" She explained, a wide smile pulling her lips up into a familiar, fond grin. "Oh, my— Come here."

Beaming, the dancer leaned into his mother's embrace. "Eomma," he greeted softly, hugging her to him and grinning. Yoongi hung back, his hand curled around the handles of his suitcase with his other arm cradling the liquor he'd bought for Jimin's parents in a brown package. After a long moment, the pair parted and Jimin cleared his throat. "Um," he said with a wobbly, nervous smile, "I said I'd be bringing someone for Chuseok, remember?" He glanced back at Yoongi. "This is... Um—"

Yoongi stepped forward, bowing sharply at a 90 degree angle with his eyes half lidded. Taking in a deep breath, he calmly greeted her as he and Jimin had discussed earlier; it was better to rip off a bandaid quickly and see where they could go from there. "My name is Yoongi. Thank you for letting me come, eomeonim."

Jimin stilled, his shoulders tense as the honorific spilled from Yoongi's lips.

His mother stared at Yoongi with wide eyes as he straightened up. It quickly became obvious that Jimin had been deliberately vague, and that his mother had been expecting a woman. She seemed flustered as she stared between Yoongi and her own son, one of her hands lifting to hover over her chest. "Oh," she breathed, blinking. "... Oh."

Swallowing thickly, Yoongi waited for a verdict of some sort. Jimin stepped back to stand beside him, nervously fiddling with the hem of his back pocket.

"W-Well," Jimin's mother said eventually. "First things first, I think you boys better come on inside."

*

All things considered, Jimin had been right in saying his mother would take the news fairly well.

In the two hours that had passed, Jimin and his mother had a calm and rational discussion over the kitchen table. Yoongi had sat next to the dancer, quiet but attentive. He answered the occasional question later on in the conversation, things like, "are you a student at the university as well?" (yes, I am), "how old are you?" (I've just turned 23 last March), "so you're Jimin's sunbae?" (no; I'm an Architecture student under the Design faculty— I'm not from his course or his club), and, "then how did you meet my son?" (through Jimin's best friend, Kim Taehyung, who happened to be close with a friend of mine).

There were also slightly more personal questions pertaining to their relationship, such as, "when did you both start going out?" (we more or less agreed to start dating a month ago), "have things been going well?" (very much so; I enjoy spending time with Jimin and I believe he feels the same way), and, "what are your intentions towards my son?" (I intend to treat him very well for as long as he would have me, eomeonim).

"Jimin," his mother had finally said, "it's already 9. Go and wake your brother, and let me speak to Yoongi alone for awhile."

The dancer had turned wide eyes on her. "Eomma!"

She lifted an eyebrow at him. "Now, Jimin."

Turning alarmed eyes on Yoongi, Jimin was already halfway out of his seat on pure instinct in response to his mother's tone. Wordlessly, Yoongi shot him a small smile and nodded, making a waving motion with his hand to tell the younger he'd be fine. Once Jimin had left, Yoongi turned his full attention to the dancer's mother, trying to settle himself. He hadn't realized he'd be nervous once he was left alone without Jimin by his side, but apparently that was the case.

There was a long pause before she spoke. "My son hasn't brought back a single gir— partner." She quickly corrected herself. Yoongi considered it a positive thing that she wasn't flat out denying Jimin's sexuality. "Never. It does make me wonder what it is about your current relationship that compelled him to do so this Chuseok." Leaning forward, her brow furrowed with concern. "Would you care to shed some light on that, Yoongi?"

Clearing his throat, Yoongi placed his hands in his lap and interlaced his fingers. "Honestly," he started, "Jimin spoke to me about his grandmother when we first started seeing each other. He mentioned that one of the reasons why he'd invited me to come with him to Busan was because he wanted to tell her the truth."

"That he's... That he's gay," she clarified, parsing and processing everything Jimin had told her over the morning.

Yoongi nodded. "He told me about you as well, eomeonim. And JiHyun, and his abeoji." Calming down a little, he let out a quiet sigh. "To be honest, the reason I agreed to come was the tone he'd had when talking to me about his family." He looked at Jimin's mother steadily, his face gentling as he remembered the tenderness on Jimin's face when he'd shared more about his grandmother. His parents, and his brother. "He loves you all very much. If there's one thing I've learnt about Jimin, it's that he's a genuine and earnest person." Pausing, Yoongi took in a deep breath. "I don't— I don't think he wanted to continue hiding who he was from his family. That was why he'd wanted to bring me."

"You mentioned his grandmother first," she pointed out sharply. "... Did he have any particular reason why—?"

"He told me she was old," Yoongi told her truthfully. As much as possible, he didn't want to lie to Jimin's mother. "I believe he worries about her a lot, especially because he's schooling far away."

She took a long moment to collect her thoughts. It left Yoongi resisting the urge to crack his knuckles just for something to do, but thankfully, she spoke before he started debating the consequences of doing something so rude in front of his alleged boyfriend's mother. "I know my son," she said quietly, almost as though she was speaking privately to herself. "I do."

"I don't doubt that at all," Yoongi blurted hurriedly, worried she'd taken offence to something he'd said. "I didn't mean to insinuate—"

"No, no," she lifted a hand shaking her head. "Don't misunderstand me, Yoongi. I may not understand why he made the choices he did, but I'm not upset with him for... For making them." Getting to her feet, she journeyed to the kitchen and picked up a kettle of cooled water that had been boiled. "I just know Jimin; it must have been hard for my son not to talk to any of us about it." She returned with the water, pausing by the table before she leaned over. Her eyes were slightly wet as she spoke softly, a tremor in her voice. "It's... It's a little upsetting, knowing that he felt like he had to hide it all these years. Keep it all to himself."

Yoongi kept silent as she returned to fill up their empty glasses on the table. He didn't know how to comfort Jimin's mother. He probably didn't even know how to comfort his own, god.

"I don't blame you for anything at all, Yoongi, and I have nothing against you," she added reassuringly, glancing at him. Yoongi determinedly met her eyes, listening attentively as she sat back down. "It's just that— Jimin may not have told you this, but we're quite a conservative family."

"He's mentioned it," Yoongi said with a nod, reaching for his glass. His throat felt dry as hell even though he hadn't really spoken that much.

"Then he must have also told you that his father..." She paused, letting out a long sigh. "My husband isn't a very... He used to be a pious and devout Buddhist, and he hasn't let go of some of his religious practices to this day," she tried to explain. Glancing at Yoongi, her cheeks were very faintly flushed. "Because of his beliefs, he's quite a traditional man, and he generally finds it hard to wrap his mind around... New concepts."

Yoongi sipped slowly before setting aside his glass. "I'm assuming homosexuality will be an entirely new concept to him," he said tactfully, lowering his eyes.

"Indeed," she said quietly.

"What do you propose I do?" Yoongi asked, regarding Jimin's mother with a frown. "I'm your son's boyfriend. I can't mitigate whatever happens between him and his father." Surely that'd be overstepping a fuck ton of boundaries?

"I'm not asking you to do anything other than what you should already be doing, Yoongi," she said wisely, shaking her head. Leaning in, she took in a deep breath and cupped Yoongi's cheek gently. "I just want you to take care of my son. Show his father that it's possible to love in other ways than what he has with me, his wife." She looked upon him fondly, and her eyes crinkled in the same way Jimin's did when he was smiling. "And don't worry so much. It helps a lot, you know, that you look at my son like he means the world to you."

Mutely, Yoongi blinked up at Jimin's mother. Suddenly, he was struck with the urge to cry. "Okay," he said dumbly, incapable of saying much else. "I'll do my best, eomeonim."

*

Things went exponentially easier with Jimin's brother when he came barreling down the stairs, yelling about the Gouache Anniversary Set Yoongi had purchased for him. "HYUNGNIM, THIS COSTS LIKE—"

Luckily, Jimin's mother had gone to the bathroom. Panicking, Yoongi executed some kind of complex parkour move he hadn't even known he was capable of, leaping over the couch and slapping a hand over JiHyun's mouth. "Hi," he rushed to murmur under his breath. "I'm Yoongi, Jimin's boyfriend, and it's really nice to meet you. If you want to keep those paints, you better not say a word about the price, because I told your brother it was less than 82,000 won, and I'm really not keen on him, or your mother, finding out how much it really cost." He glanced up the stairs worriedly, hoping Jimin hadn't heard a thing. "Okay?"

JiHyun stared at him, nodding slowly.

With the pace of a drugged snail, Yoongi cautiously removed his hand from JiHyun's mouth. This kid was going to get him killed if he blurted out the wrong thing here.

"You're too good for my brother," JiHyun breathed. He had the Geranium Primary tube squeezed in his hand as he regarded Yoongi with wide, unblinking eyes. "Holy shit. The whole set? I can't believe—"

"Don't fucking curse, you're like, 5," Yoongi murmured under his breath, palming his face tiredly. "I saw it on Naver, so Min and I went to HOMI to buy it—"

"JiHyun!" Jimin groaned from the top of the stairs. "Did you take my boardshorts?! Again!?"

"Oh my god," JiHyun glowered, turning on his heel to shout back as their mother returned to the kitchen from her trip to the bathroom. "EOMMA WASHED THEM BECAUSE YOU WERE COMING HOME, DON'T BLAME EVERYTHING ON ME—"

Their mother walked into the living room and smacked JiHyun upside the head. "What are you doing being so loud when halmeoni is still sound asleep?!" She hissed, putting her hands on her hips as JiHyun groaned and clutched his head. Jimin came down the stairs to find his board shorts. "Jimin, your shorts are hanging out the back."

"Why aren't you scolding hyung," JiHyun complained, massaging his skull as he retreated back up to his room, presumably to change into something else. "Yoongi-hyungnim, we're going to the park!"

"Are we?" Yoongi asked, cocking his head at Jimin.

"We are; we're going to Dadaepo Park," Jimin smiled pleasantly, passing his mother and pressing a kiss to her cheek. "Thanks, eomma." Over her shoulder, he glanced at Yoongi worriedly, wondering if their talk had gone well.

Yoongi nodded reassuringly, watching the dancer smile as he left through the back door of the house to the yard where the Park family apparently dried their laundry. He turned to Jimin's mother, who flapped a hand at him with a perennial smile and a friendly chuckle.

"You better go get changed, Yoongi, before my boys leave you behind," she advised, mildly taking her apron off its peg and tying it around her waist. It reminded Yoongi of Jimin cooking at his own apartment. "Those two boys are Busan born and bred; they really love the ocean, you know."

"AHHHHH, IT'S THE OCEAN!" Jimin screamed, running into the shallow waters like a child. "AHHHHH—"

"So," Yoongi grunted from where he stood at a safe distance, the brim of his cap shading his eyes, "this is what your mother meant."

"I missed this sooo much," Jimin cooed, splashing about and giggling as a large clump of seaweed tangled around his ankle. "Oh, woah," he laughed, stomping giddily and trying to get rid of it. "Why won't it come off? Is this secretly an octopus?"

Yoongi sighed, taking off his slippers on higher grounds and going over. "Jesus, you're so much work," he complained teasingly grabbing Jimin's hand and putting it on his shoulder. "You're the hyung, but it's JiHyun who's sitting down quietly over there and painting; aren't you embarrassed to be this high maintenance?" He made sure the dancer could balance before he gently lifted Jimin's leg, freeing it of the slimy green seaweed. "Oh, ew," he wrinkled his nose.

"You don't go to the ocean much?" Jimin giggled, putting his foot back down on the sand safely after Yoongi tossed away the massive tangle of weeds. "The beach brings out the kid in everyone, you know."

"Apparently not JiHyun," Yoongi snickered, poking the brim of his cap upwards as he glanced back at Jimin's brother.

"I can hear you," JiHyun yelled, not lifting his eyes from the canvas pinned to his frame. "You gave me paints, did you expect me to calmly wait to use them after Chuseok gone?"

"That was the general idea," Jimin rolled his eyes at his brother, annoyed. He turned to Yoongi with a shake of his head. "Don't worry; he's like that once he gets struck with inspiration. If he doesn't paint right then and there, he thinks it's a wasted opportunity." Grinning, he interlaced their fingers and began walking along the coast, digging his toes into the sand gleefully. "I find it kind of cute how serious he is about it, honestly."

Yoongi matched Jimin's pace, leaving his slippers behind. "Do you guys generally bicker a lot?" It was nice, being outside like this for awhile. The weather was good in Busan; the cold season had pretty much completely fucked off and Yoongi was free to walk around in a t-shirt and shorts like he was right now.

"No," Jimin shook his head with a smile. "We used to when we were younger; now we mostly just rib on each other out of habit, it doesn't actually mean anything."

A bit like him and Seung-gi, then. "When I was younger, my hyung and I weren't close at all," Yoongi confided conversationally, letting their arms swing between them as they walked the length of the beach little by little. They'd stop before they got too far from JiHyun and turn back. "Because we had different principles on somethings, we couldn't agree on a lot. It frustrated both of us, especially because we shared a room when we were younger."

"No way, you seem really close to him now," Jimin chuckled, squeaking when a wave crashed up against his leg and hit his thigh. He stumbled against Yoongi, helplessly dissolving into giggles again. "Ooh! It's kind of cold. Why? Even though the cold season has passed—"

Yoongi automatically pulled Jimin against him so that the younger wouldn't stumble. "Even so, back then was different," he continued seamlessly, leaving his arm around Jimin as they continued walking. The grains of sand beneath his feet slid through his toes; it felt relaxing and nice. "Hyung and I argued a lot because I struggled with a lot of things when I was a kid. He wanted to help, but he didn't understand how; especially because I wasn't very good at communicating with people." He paused, scratching his cheek with the index finger of his free hand. "... Well, technically, I'm still not very good, I think."

"Aren't you the best at talking through music?" Jimin pointed out, ducking his head and looking up at Yoongi inquisitively. "Songs you had on your channel like First Love... When it's lyrics, you're really good. I could understand it."

Smiling, Yoongi tousled Jimin's hair, ignoring his indignant squawking. "Yeah," he nodded. "I guess you're right." He continued walking on as Jimin fixed his hair, grumbling.

Pouting, the dancer jogged to catch up. "Meanie," he accused under his breath.

"Brat," Yoongi smirked, looking dead ahead as he stuck his hands in his pockets. He turned to Jimin before the dancer could call him another name, fixing him with a serious and fond look. "Honestly, even though we weren't close at all as kids, I got through a lot with my hyung's advice and help when I was in university. It's nice to have brothers, whether they're older or younger," he said quietly. Looking over Jimin's shoulder, he waved at JiHyun, who'd just so happened to be looking in their direction. The kid waved back. "He didn't seem to take the news badly at all."

"I spoke to him while you were downstairs with eomma. JiHyun's been exposed to more stuff now that he's older," Jimin explained with a smile, casually linking his arm with Yoongi's. "He's been watching American sitcoms and lots of shows on Netflix lately... I think that's why he wasn't as heavily affected."

"TV really influences a lot of kids," Yoongi grunted, sidestepping a large rock. "Be careful there; it looks sharp."

Jimin skipped over it, humming. "I'm glad that he's taking it well," he said quietly, smiling down at his feet as he waded through the shallow waters.

It must have been a big relief to Jimin. Yoongi nodded, leaning over and pressing a kiss to Jimin's temple. "I'm happy too," he said simply, taking Jimin's hand again. "Let's go back to him."

The dancer looked at Yoongi fondly. "Alright."

*

Like the dancer himself, Jimin's grandmother was slight in frame and had the fragility of a senior citizen. Still, she carried herself strongly, with personality in excess. "Come here, Jimin," she grinned, showing off a pristine set of pearly teeth. "You've grown taller since I last saw you; what business do you have growing up without your halmeoni's permission?"

"He didn't grow taller at all," JiHyun snickered, earning him a discreet punch to his shoulder from Jimin. "Ow!"

"Halmeoni," Jimin greeted happily, rushing to his grandmother and putting his arms around her. He grimaced, backing away almost immediately. "I'm sorry, we went to the beach. I'm a bit sticky—"

"Your halmeoni's sticky all the time," his grandmother brushed aside, rolling her eyes with a passion. Her eyes turned to Yoongi, and he subconsciously stiffened. "This must be your boyfriend," she said to Jimin with a lift of her brow.

Jimin flushed, taking a step closer to Yoongi with his lower lip caught between his teeth.

Surprised, Yoongi looked over Jimin's grandmother's head at his mother, who shot him a wry smile. It seemed he would narrowly avoid going through round 2 of the talk they'd had this morning thanks to Jimin's eomma. He approached the elderly woman and bowed deeply with respect, relieved that everything had already been explained. "Halmeonim," he greeted politely, smiling as he straightened his back after. "It's a pleasure to meet you; thank you for letting me come."

"Well, I didn't know back then that you were dating my grandson, but I don't suppose that changes anything," she brushed off dismissively, shooting him a wry look. Startled, Yoongi shot Jimin a bewildered look, unsure what to say or do at this point. Before he could come up with anything, Jimin's grandmother shooed all three of them upstairs by flapping her hand. "You boys go wash up and get changed. After that come down and help me so your mother can take a break for once in her life."

"Eomma," Jimin's mother protested. "I'm fine. You and the boys should rest—"

"Don't spoil them, Jae Hee," Jimin's grandmother snorted. "They're young; they won't get tired from chopping a few onions. And I've been napping the whole day, I'm going to lose my mind if I sit around for one more second." She smacked Jimin and JiHyun's butts lightly, chasing them out of the kitchen. "Hurry! There's squid to gut, dishes to wash and and potatoes to peel."

"DIBS ON THE POTATOES," JiHyun yelled, running up the stairs and cackling at having reserved the easiest task.

Jimin's jaw fell open. He dashed after his brother, protesting loudly as he rushed up to the second floor as well. "JIHYUN, THAT'S NOT FAIR—"

Yoongi blinked as he watched Jimin go, feeling bulldozed. His house was never this rowdy; as children, he and Seung-gi would have gotten so much shit making this much noise while their parents were around. "Is it always like this when they're both at home?" He asked meekly, gratefully accepting the glass of water Jimin's mother pressed into his hands before she went back to washing the vegetables.

"Yes," she answered serenely, switching on the tap again. "Now go on and use the shower. Come down with the boys and help your halmeoni too, Yoongi."

Jimin's grandmother grinned toothily at him. "Better hurry, or you'll have to gut the squid." She snorted and turned to her daughter, picking up a metal bowl with chicken thigh meat in it. "He reminds me of your abeoji. The black hair and the sharp look in his eyes... Jimin could have done worse," she chortled.

"Eomma," Jimin's mother sighed exasperatedly, but Yoongi could see the tell tale sign of a chuckle as she coughed into her fist.

Without further ado, Yoongi hurried up the stairs to shower. Jimin should have warned him that his grandmother had a Personality™ and a half.

"Oh," Yoongi winced, looking down at the board. He winced as the beady eye of a squid stared back at him. "Oh, I'm sorry."

"Why are you apologizing to food?" Jimin's halmeoni scoffed, moving over to Yoongi and looking at the job he'd done. "That's right. After removing the tentacles, you remove the entrails from into the head; take out that clear looking thing as well—" She watched as he followed her instructions, pleased. "Yah, my useless grandchildren who have never gutted a squid in their life, shouldn't you learn from Yoongi over here?"

"I'm too busy peeling 4000 potatoes, halmeoni," JiHyun pointed out drily, smacking the peeler against the side of the bin between his legs to get rid of the skins stuck to the blades.

Jimin peered over, thoroughly impressed. "I don't usually cook with seafood, because it can be more expensive in Seoul," he pointed out shrewdly to his grandmother.

"Pah. Everywhere has expensive seafood compared to Busan; we have Jagalchi Market," she scoffed, returning to the pot that was on the stove. She lifted the lid and the heavenly scent of galbijjim filled the kitchen. Yoongi made an appreciative noise alongside the two Park brothers, and Jimin's grandmother smirked. "Ooh... That's the way to prepare good braised ribs," she boasted, smacking the ladle on the side of the pot and removing it. Picking up a tablespoon, she dipped it into the thick broth and collected some of the syrupy stew. She blew on it a few times before lifting it up, her other hand carefully hovering beneath the curved metal surface. "Yoongi, come here."

Blinking, Yoongi paused in his task and leaned over, his lips parting to taste the soup. It was rich and flavorful, and his eyes widened. "It's very good, halmeonim," he said truthfully, wondering how she'd achieved the rich flavor.

"It better be," Jimin's grandmother snickered, giving each of her grandsons a taste when they clamoured for one. "I used the fancy red ginseng you gave us from Seoul."

Jimin moaned, licking his lips as he savoured his grandmother's cooking. The sound went directly to Yoongi's— "— I've missed your cooking so much, halmeoni," Jimin whined, scrubbing the bowl in his hands viciously with a sponge. "I was to hurry up and eat; how long will all this take?"

"If you hadn't kept getting distracted, we could have sat down half an hour ago," she pointed out with a roll of her eyes, replacing the lid on the pot and turning off the flame of the stove. "Stop mooning over your shiny new boyfriend for 5 minutes and maybe we can have dinner at some point tonight, Park Jimin."

The dancer colored instantly, even the tips of his ears heating.

Yoongi turned his face into the crook of his elbow as he snorted, unable to resist laughing.

"Don't you snicker, Yoongi-ssi," she added, smacking Yoongi on the shoulder with a frail hand. "I've seen you looking at my boy more times than you have that squid in the eye for the past 5 minutes." She clapped her hands together, masking the sound of JiHyun's laughter. "Focus, focus! I have to eat on time at my age, you know!"

Jimin and Yoongi's eyes met momentarily before they each snapped their gazes back to their task, thoroughly embarrassed. Jimin's grandmother smiled at both of them fondly from behind, before turning on her heel to check if she had remembered to make any more of her special ssamjang.

*

Dinner had gone well. They'd polished off almost everything that had been prepared, and Yoongi was pretty sure he'd never eaten more in one sitting in his entire life. Both Jimin's mother and grandmother had forced extra helpings on him, claiming he was too thin. "I'm going to throw up if I move right now," he whispered to Jimin, feeling bloated as he gulped down the last of his maesil tea.

Tiredly rubbing his face, Jimin nodded severely. "I know how you feel," he complained under his breath. "Every time I come up here it feels like I gain 5 kilos..."

"Your halmeoni is old, not deaf," Jimin's grandmother sniffed. "Back in my day, a good man was a man who could eat. Nowadays, they have all those underweight boys and girls dancing around on stages— It's ridiculous." She rolled her eyes and set her empty glass down with a loud sigh. "All I want to do when I watch MBC or KBS is feed them."

"They're idols, halmeoni, it's probably in their contract to diet," Jimin laughed. He stood up to refill his grandmother's glass with another finger of soju. "Do you want ice?"

"Are you asking me if I want to dilute my soju?" She lifted an eyebrow, making Jimin smile as he sat back down.

"Of course not, halmeoni."

"Every time, you ask the same question, and every time she gives the same response," JiHyun rolled his eyes. "Why are you like this?

Jimin shifted in his seat, but before he could say anything, his grandmother lifted her glass to her lips. "It's because if one day, I tell him to bring me ice, he knows something is wrong," she said wisely, sipping as the table quietened. She shot JiHyun a piercing gaze. "Your hyung is a good boy; he worries about things before they happen, even if it's completely unnecessary."

"Eomma," Jimin's mother said gently, placing a hand on her own mother's shoulder. "Perhaps it's time to stop—"

"You can stop me when I get drunk, Jae Hee, but not one second sooner," Jimin's grandmother cut her daughter off sharply. Sighing, she got out of her chair and made to move it around the table so she could sit next to Jimin, but Yoongi bolted out of his own and offered it to her readily. With a smile for him, she sank down next to her nervous grandson and wasted no time in pinching his cheek. "I'm not going to waste away like all my other foolish friends, Jimin-ah," she chided. "Did you think I wouldn't notice this fear in you? I don't know what has you so worried about me, but your halmeoni is alive and kicking, you know?"

Jimin turned in his seat, taking his grandmother's hand into his own. "I know," he insisted with a frown, his eyes filled with love and tenderness so earnest that it made Yoongi's heart ache. Had he ever looked at his own grandmother like that? His own mother? When was the last time he'd met her and done something to this magnitude for her? "I know," Jimin repeated. "It's just... You're my halmeoni; of course I'll always worry about you."

JiHyun frowned, chewing on his lower lip— Obviously a distinct habit that ran in the Park family. Standing up, Jimin's mother began collecting the empty plates, silently moving everything back to the kitchen.

"I'm glad that I have such a filial grandson," Jimin's halmeoni grinned toothily. "But look at you, Jimin. You and you brother have so much talent and potential. You've made us all very proud and you're going to go far in life; further than I or your eomma and abeoji have ever gone. There's nothing you can do that would make us happier than just living your life well and keeping yourself healthy." Her eyes twinkled as she smiled at him, glancing at Yoongi. "More than that, you've finally brought someone home to meet us. I've never been happier for you than now, my Jimin-ah."

Jimin's lower lip wobbled as his grandmother spoke to him, and Yoongi averted his eyes, swallowing as he looked at his feet. "Thank you," he whispered, bowing his head and pressing his forehead to his grandmother's wrinkled, warm hands, clasped between his own. His tears fell freely as his shoulders shook. JiHyun stood up mutely, glancing at his hyung once before he accompanied his mother and helped to clear the table. "Thank you, halmeoni."

His grandmother smiled indulgently down at the top of his head, and Yoongi let out a vicious, though quiet, sigh of aching relief.

3 members down. Jimin's father to go.

*

After that emotional ordeal, they'd all retired to the living room to watch Jimin's showcase on a DVD. Yoongi had made sure to bring it, checking it numerous times to make sure the file was in the correct format on his computer back at home.

"Oooh, hyung!" JiHyun grinned, watching his brother on screen. "You're doing really well!"

Jimin flushed next to Yoongi, and he put his arm around the dancer with a subdued smile. "Your hyung's solo received a standing ovation," he bragged, wondering why he was so proud like this. "One of my friends was elected the president of the dance club; he says that Jimin is one of the best members they have."

"If you're this good, won't they recruit you even for those American shows, like Dancing with the Stars?" Jimin's mother giggled into her hands, beaming. "Jimin, you look so handsome on stage like this. You even sang for the soundtrack; I always told you that you had a beautiful voice."

"Eomma," Jimin protested, leaning into Yoongi's side and laughing. "It's just the Chuseok showcase; it's not as big as the University Open House."

His grandmother snorted, pointing at the screen. "You can perform that on the Olympic Stage, what are you talking about?" She grinned toothily as she leaned back on the couch. "See? Even through the video everyone is clapping and cheering. You're the only dancer on stage; who else could they be praising?" Sniffing, she crossed her arms. "You can sing and dance. You could go and join those thin boys and girls on KBS."

"To be an idol?" Jimin smiled, placing a hand on Yoongi's knee as he leaned forward. "Actually, Yoongi wrote and produced the second song that I danced to. He raps well."

Jimin's mother's lips parted around a gasp. "Oh, Yoongi," she blinked with wide eyes. "Did you really?"

Embarrassed, Yoongi scratched the back of his head and nodded. "It was a long time ago," he said, feeling a little shy as he elbowed Jimin. "I never expected for Jimin to use it like that for his solo. I didn't know about it till I heard it in the performance hall."

"How romantic," JiHyun snickered childishly, making Jimin roll his eyes.

"My husband played the piano," Jimin's halmeoni smiled. Nostalgia colored her tone, and she glanced over at Yoongi. "Did Jimin tell you we have a piano? It's an old, upright model."

"No, he never mentioned it," Yoongi frowned, turning to look at Jimin quizzically. "And I don't believe I saw a piano when I went upstairs..."

"That's because it's in my room," Jimin's grandmother grunted, slowly using the armrest of the sofa to get up on her feet. "And this old woman stays on the first floor; knee problems, you see." She beckoned him with a hand. "Come, Yoongi. I'll show you."

He stood up hurriedly, shaking his head. "Ah, halmeonim, there's no need for you to go to such lengths—"

"I've told them before, but they always forget. Your harabeoji," Jimin's grandmother ignored him as she spoke to her grandchildren, "worked as a musician in a bar when he was even younger than you." She waited for Yoongi to offer his arm, taking it and going towards the door of her room on the first floor. Jimin, JiHyun and their mother trailed behind them. "He wasn't very famous, but he enjoyed his work and it was good, honest labor. When he enlisted in the military, he was trained well. Eventually though, they decided to have him play for the officials because he had a good taste for music."

"That's interesting," Yoongi said quietly as he entered her room. It was cosy and heavily decorated with handicrafts; almost everything seemed patched together to create a warm and homely nest. Yoongi wondered if she took up activities like knitting or embroidery to keep her mind sharp, so that she wouldn't worry her family in her old age. It seemed like the sort of thoughtful thing this lovely, bright and energetic old lady would do.

"Pah," she scoffed teasingly, sitting down on her bed and casting a fond look at the piano at the foot of her bed, hidden beneath a red, velvety sheet. "He was a softy; even if he knew how to handle a gun, my husband couldn't hurt a fly. Maybe that's why music was the best for him." Jimin and JiHyun had to move an assortment of handmade photo frames elsewhere for the moment, as their mother removed the cover that concealed the instrument.

Instantly, Yoongi's eyes softened. He took a step towards the old piano, his fingers lightly splayed over the dark, unpolished wood. "... This is a Francis Bacon piano," he said quietly, wondering just how such an antique and beautiful instrument had wound up in the Park home. "It was created and manufactured in New York a very long time ago."

Jimin sat down beside his grandmother with a fond smile. "The piano was given to harabeoji at the end of his service to the nation, right?"

She looked surprised Jimin had remembered, but nodded. "That's right. He played it everyday till he was bedridden," she grinned, squeezing Jimin's shoulder and drawing close to her grandson. "He always grumbled that neither Jimin nor JiHyun took a shine to the old thing, but he always smiled when they whined for him to play a lullaby." She patted the center of her bed, chuckling at her grandsons. "You two used to listen to your harabeoji and fall asleep right here, curled up together like kittens."

"I remember that!" Jimin's mother laughed, patting JiHyun's shoulder. "You used to cling to Jimin like a koala bear! The pair of you bickered like oil and water when you were awake, but you fell asleep properly like loving brothers; it was so sweet."

"Eommaaa," JiHyun whined as Jimin giggled into his fist.

There was so much warmth in this household. It was abstract and foreign to Yoongi. That wasn't to say that he believed there was any love lost between him and his family members, but they'd never been as open and honest with each other about their feelings. Yoongi found it refreshing, if not slightly daunting. Respectfully, he inclined his head towards Jimin's grandmother. "May I, halmeonim?"

She laughed and nodded, gesturing for Yoongi to sit down on the bench. "Of course."

He did, solemnly running his hand over the fall board before he lifted it up. Emblazoned on the bottom was golden lettering; the words "FRANCIS BACON" and "Established 1789 New York" shone under the dim glow of the lights in Jimin's grandmother's room. Swallowing thickly, he lowered his hands on the keys, unsure and hesitant.

"Yoongi," Jimin said gently, hugging his halmeonim, "just play anything."

JiHyun stood next to the piano, resting an arm atop the upper panel and waiting. Jimin's mother smiled and nodded encouragingly as Yoongi racked his brain for a good song to play. Abruptly, a melody came to his mind, and he lowered his fingers on the black and white keys with a certainty, his eyes half lidded. Letting out a breath, he watched the keys rising and falling, the familiar bars wafting through the room at a sedate and calming pace.

Jimin stood up, rounding the side of the piano bench and sitting down with an indescribable expression. His lips parted as he began to sing, gentle and quiet. "Mianhae mianhae hajima, naega chorahaeji janha," he smiled, his eyes sliding shut as he leaned his head on Yoongi's shoulder, "ppalgan yeppeun ipsullo, eoseo nareul jugigo ga, naneun gwaenchanha..."

Eyes, Nose, Lips by Taeyang had been the first song Jimin had ever sung to Yoongi. As he continued to play the piano, Yoongi remembered the way Jimin had looked back then, the soft timber of his voice lilting in all the right places, his hair framing his face as he flushed shyly under Yoongi's scrutiny back at that restaurant. It had been the first time Yoongi had picked him up at his studio, the first time they'd really gone out together for lunch on a date. They'd talked about their hobbies; what they did on their days off and the types of places they frequented. Their similarities and differences... It had been a short time, but they'd learnt a lot about each other.

It had somehow become a precious memory, one that Yoongi could call to mind in moments like this. As he smiled, it felt bittersweet, listening to Jimin sing about a one-sided love in this fashion. 'If only you knew,' he thought privately to himself as he listened to the pleasant and almost barely perceptible slur of Jimin's voice around familiar lyrics.

Setting a hand on Yoongi's leg, Jimin sat up properly so that he could hit the high notes of the chorus. "Neoui nun, ko, ib... Nal manjideon ne songil, jageun sontopkkaji da—" His hand tightened briefly on Yoongi's thigh, making the pianist glance at him as he soulfully watched Yoongi's hands flow over the piano. "Yeojeonhi neol neukkil su itjiman, kkeojin bulkkotcheoreom, tadeureogabeorin uri sarang modu da—"

Yoongi's vision blurred as his eyes listed towards Jimin, helpless against taking in the beauty of his profile. The curve of his jaw, the swell of his lips as they parted around words so gently; it was as though he couldn't look away. He played without looking at the keys, his mind already a bar or two ahead out of experience, and it was just so, so easy to lose himself in the soft gaze that Jimin held in his eyes for Yoongi's hands on the piano. It was so easy to pretend they were really in love, that Yoongi wasn't about to lose something before he'd even really had it.

Even though it was painful, Yoongi continued. Jimin singing right next to him as he played the piano... This, too, he was sure, was going to become a precious memory for him.

*

"Couldn't sleep?"

Yoongi turned around, almost dropping the glass of water he had in his hand as he jerked to attention. To his surprise, Jimin's grandmother was sitting on the porch, her sharp eyes twinkling with mirth at his shock. "Halmeonim," he greeted, stunned. "It's... It's very late."

"I slept a lot today before cooking dinner; I should have woken up earlier to tire myself out by now," she sighed, calling him over with a wave of her hand and a smile. "What is that in your hand?"

"Water," he answered immediately, offering her the glass. "Would you—"

She huffed, reaching for it. "Water is for plants on a day like Chuseok," she said dismissively, throwing the contents into the bushed off the side of the porch. Yoongi's eyes widened as she held out the empty glass towards him with a mischievous grin. "How about it? Let's finish that soju together, Yoongi."

He took the glass, conflicted. God, it was like 3am in the morning; he'd only come downstairs because it was proving impossible to sleep next to Jimin; the dancer was flat out angelic when he was snoozing and he liked to cuddle and Yoongi was highkey suffering with a boner 25/8 these days. "Halmeonim, are you sure—"

She flapped her hand at him. Yoongi was pretty sure she communicated at least 80% of the time with that single gesture. "Go, go."

Dutifully, he retreated back into the house, careful not to stumble and make a ruckus. Rinsing out another glass from the dish rack, he pulled the bottle of chilled soju out of the fridge; it was still 3 quarts full. Silently, he padded back out onto the porch and closed the screen door behind him. "I didn't drink with you earlier," he said, a little embarrassed as he poured her a careful measure. Setting the bottle between them both, he gave her the glass and respectfully inclined his head. "I was concerned that you and eomeonim would have a bad impression of me."

"I lived through a war, Yoongi," she said wryly, lifting her glass with both hands and turning towards the garden. "A man who can't drink holds no appeal to an old timer like me... Though that might have been a good call in front of my Jae Hee; she can be no fun sometimes." She winked at him and knocked back the first drink formally like it was nothing; Yoongi could see that this was a woman who had a lot of experience in a social setting. "Would you like to use the same glass?"

"Ah, it's fine," Yoongi replied, quickly lifting the second glass he'd brought. Jimin's grandmother took it, filling it and returning it to Yoongi, who received it with both hands. "Thank you, halmeonim." He quickly downed the soju she'd given him in a similar fashion, never having liked all these formal customs and wanting to get them over with so that they could drink comfortably. "How did you meet harabeonim?" He asked conversationally, filling her empty glass before offering her the bottle.

She filled his, smiling fondly as she reminisced. "We met when he'd already finished his vocational training, so he was already playing the piano by then," she told Yoongi, lifting her glass to her lips. After a sip, she placed it on the small table beside her, leaning back in the old wooden chair as Yoongi folded his legs on the ground, getting comfortable. "I first met him at a formal military event, and I was on the arm of another man."

Childishly, Yoongi grinned.

"Don't look at me like that, we don't live in a fairytale— I wasn't going to marry just any man my parents set me up with," she scoffed mockingly as she smacked Yoongi on the shoulder. She sobered as she remembered the events of her past, sighing heavily. "I was just a young and foolish girl back then, ignorant of the way the world worked. It was the first time I'd ever heard someone make music with so much soul," she explained, lifting an eyebrow at Yoongi. "Your harabeonim was a fine pianist, even though he was not renowned outside of the military."

"He had no greed for fame?" Yoongi asked quietly, drinking as he listened to her story.

Shaking her head, Jimin's grandmother laughed. "Absolutely none at all. He was a shy man, much like our Jimin," she teased, grinning at Yoongi. "Though I'm sure you'd know all about that, mmm?"

Rubbing his nose, Yoongi hoped it wasn't too obvious that he was flushing. The connotations of her words were too clear, and Yoongi never expected Jimin's grandmother to be this forward about something so... Taboo, and private even between straight couples. "Halmeonim— please continue," he pleaded, busying himself with his glass.

Laughing, she conceded and launched back into her story. "Oh, he played with soul," she said gently, looking out into the night sky. Now that she was talking about something so personal to her, it was plain to see that her husband's passing had clearly affected her in more ways than she wanted to let on to her family. There was a loneliness in her that was sad, but she masked it well with her exuberant personality and her strength. She sipped from her glass, letting out a contented sigh. "I was curious, and I approached him to talk to him."

"You fell in love right there and then?" Yoongi asked, cocking his head.

"Yoongi, I already said this wasn't a fairytale," she laughed wryly. "We ended up arguing at the event; he thought I was a naive little girl and I thought he was an arrogant pianist that made it big. Looking back, it was such a silly thing to fight over, but it really agitated both of us." She finished off her drink, setting it down on the table again. On cue, Yoongi got up on his knees and filled it. "We ended up crossing paths more often than I had ever thought we would, especially after I took a job delivering post throughout a military base— I hadn't known he was stationed there." She smiled fondly at Yoongi, reaching out and patting the top of his head as he sat back down. "It was only two years after we'd first met that we even decided to date— And 4 years after that that we decided to marry."

Inquisitive, Yoongi crossed his legs again and picked up his own glass, only half done. He wanted to pace himself. "... It sounds like it was a good and solid relationship," he said carefully, looking up at Jimin's grandmother. She inclined her head, gesticulating for him to elaborate more on his thoughts. "I... It's never been easy for me to have relationships," he explained, somewhat embarrassed that he was talking to her about this. "I've never been good with people."

"You seem very good to me," she lifted an eyebrow. "And my grandson is very much enamoured with you."

It wasn't real. Yoongi sighed, scratching the back of his head with frustration as he tried to piece together a proper sentence to explain what he wanted to say. "Even if that's the case... I guess what I'm saying is, how did you..." He flailed an arm, frowning as he changed his angle. "You and harabeonim were in love."

She nodded. "Yes; that's right."

Looking down at his hands, Yoongi interlaced his fingers and left his drink alone. "For... For many years, I've always struggled on my own. Having a relationship is hard, and when I was growing up, I never wanted to be the sort of person to depend on someone else." He lifted his eyes warily, glancing at Jimin's grandmother. More than anything, he felt like he was a child again as he opened himself up to her in this fashion, making himself vulnerable. "I'm not usually very outgoing, because I'm the introspective type... I'm not an exceptional person, and I don't think I'm very talented. But your grandson, Jimin..." He laughed drily, palming his forehead and rubbing his face, "he's my opposite in every way, and yet for some reason, he seems to think highly of me. It's..."

"It's frustrating?" She guessed shrewdly, pointing at Yoongi's glass with intent. "Because you don't trust his words?"

Yoongi lifted his drink to his lips and polished it off, feeling the cold soju chill his throat as he swallowed. Jimin's grandmother bent over and filled his glass again. "I just want to understand how it's possible for someone to find so much strength in someone else, the way I do with him. How can you trust their feelings, or the things they're seeing in you?" He let out a deep sigh as he buried his face in his hands, weary. "Jimin scolded me in the past, and he's complimented me. But some of the thoughts I've had about myself have been with me my entire life," he swallowed thickly, feeling upset and confused. "How is it possible that someone could just come into my life and change everything, could make me feel this way?" He looked up at Jimin's grandmother, his shoulders tense. "I've never felt this way before, and it's painful sometimes, just looking at him." Sometimes, it even got hard for Yoongi to breathe.

She lifted her glass and sipped from it slowly, considering Yoongi's words carefully. "Yoongi," she asked quietly, "are you asking me if what you're feeling is really love, or if it's something else?"

He didn't know what he was asking. "No," he blurted, before squeezing his eyes shut and shaking his head. "Yes. I don't—" He picked at a thread on the hem of his sleeve miserably and felt like dissolving through the wooden boards of the porch. He believed he was in love, believed that this was definitely something a lot bigger than a passing attraction, but... "... I don't know."

"Listen to me, Yoongi," she said kindly, leaning over and cupping his cheek. The wrinkled skin of her palm heated his face, and he slowly lifted his head as she guided it upwards so that their eyes met. "If you're anything like my late husband, you're the type to overthink things, yes?"

He nodded pathetically.

"Then stop thinking," she sighed, smiling fondly as she patted his cheek and leaned back. "Love isn't science or math. You wouldn’t get an answer no matter how much you think about it. If it's love, it doesn’t need thoughts or reasons. Why do you think I accepted my grandson bringing home a man?" She looked up at the sky and raised her hand, pointing towards it with a trembling hand as Yoongi blushed. "Let me try to explain it to you in a way you'll understand. Right now, if I had to choose one person to share this view with me no matter what, it would still be my dear husband." Her eyes were shining as she beamed. "I love him, and miss him dearly."

Yoongi looked up at the sky, sucking in a sharp breath at the number of stars that were visible to the naked eye. He hadn't even noticed it before, but this wasn't the kind of view you could find in a city as lit as Seoul. He suddenly yearned to have Jimin by his side. Just as he thought of that, he turned to look at the dancer's grandmother, who was grinning at him wisely with her glass in hand.

"It's not science or math, my child," she repeated shrewdly. "Oddly enough, sometimes you will only be aware of it when that person is not next to you."

Chapter Text

"Jimin's nervous," Yoongi commented absently, pushing along the cart as JiHyun carefully set a tray of eggs into it.

"You think so?" JiHyun lifted an eyebrow.

The three of them had been sent out on errands after lunch by the boys' grandmother, armed with a list of ingredients she'd forgotten or was short on. The morning had been lazy and Yoongi had slept in while Jimin played video games with his brother, so he felt well-rested and refreshed even though he'd only turned in at 5am. Yoongi glanced ahead at the dancer, who was shifting from foot to foot as he eyed two different brands of starch noodles. "He's fidgeting," Yoongi observed, jerking a thumb in his alleged boyfriend's direction. "Jimin doesn't usually move this much unless there's music. He's edgy about something."

JiHyun whistled lowly. "You're observant, hyungnim." He lifted his head, taking in the back of his older brother. "... You know abeoji's coming home today," he said solemnly, not seeming capable of elaborating.

"It's probably that, although I wonder if he's worrying too much about it after how well things went with your mother and grandmother," Yoongi said, drumming his fingers on the handle of the trolley. He turned to JiHyun. "If your dad really that traditional?"

JiHyun shrugged, eyeing a misplaced box of chocolates on a condiments rack. He picked it up, eyeing it critically. "Eomma says abeoji was a devout Buddhist, but he wasn't by the time I was born." He tucked the box under his arm.

Yoongi smiled, thinking he was going to put it back in the proper section till he realized JiHyun was probably going to buy it with his mother's money. Sneaky brat. "I'll pay for that separately, so don't put it together with the other things," he said, pointing at the chocolates with narrowed eyes. JiHyun grinned at him as they proceeded down another aisle. Jimin was still staring between the two packets of noodles even though they'd already left the section, distractedly walking wherever his feet took him. Watching him from behind, Yoongi skimmed through the limited knowledge he had about Buddhism and cocked his head at JiHyun. "Do you think Buddhism is against homosexuality?"

"No," JiHyun said immediately, surprising Yoongi. "At the very most, I think it's just frowned upon because it's not the conventional choice. The Dalai Lama released a statement a while back— something about it being wrong for Buddhists, but not for society as a whole." He walked along the lines between each tile on the ground, frowning thoughtfully. "It's kind of confusing, but I think... I think that technically, till the scriptures are reexamined and reinterpreted to suit a more modern social context, there's nothing theoretically prohibiting it."

He must have looked it up to be so sure of it, and it made Yoongi smile. No matter what, siblings cared for each other in their own ways, it seemed. "You did some homework there?" He teased, grinning at the flush that bloomed on JiHyun's cheekbones. Oh yeah— just like his older brother.

"I was just curious," he lied badly, averting his eyes as he cleared his throat. Quickly sobering, JiHyun's face grew thoughtful again. "There are many sects of Buddhism, and many of them follow different practices and beliefs... But the bottomline is, abeoji's not even religious anymore; he's just kind of old-fashioned and really conservative." He side-eyed Yoongi. "I hope hyung will be okay, because honestly, I'm not holding out much hope dinner will go smoothly." The kid turned his eyes elsewhere, rubbing his nose and shivering as they passed the frozen foods section.

That made Yoongi a little nervous himself. As he mentioned the day before, he was wary about overstepping his boundaries. Shaking his head to clear it of negative thoughts, he glanced over at JiHyun and sighed heavily. Apparently both the Park brothers were unable to dress for the occasion. "Here," he grunted, shrugging off his oversized hoodie and throwing it over JiHyun's shoulder. "If you catch a cold because of something dumb like this, eomeonim and halmeonim will kill me."

"I don't need it, hyungnim," JiHyun protested, trying to return Yoongi the jacket, but Yoongi just ignored him. Grunting, the kid set the chocolates under his arm into the cart, shrugging on the jacket and staring at the perfect cut of it on his shoulders. "Thanks," he murmured, embarrassed as he stuck his hands into the front pockets.

Yoongi was a little annoyed his hoodie fit JiHyun so well when it hung off him like a fucking sack. He wasn't about to say anything about it though; he had pride.

Jimin had finally stilled a few meters away, and he looked up as they approached. "This brand has a really good promotion right now, but do you think—" He paused, cocking his head. Frowning, he narrowed his eyes at JiHyun. "Are you— Is that Yoongi's jacket?"

"He started sniffling by the chillers, so I gave it to him," Yoongi shrugged easily.

"JiHyun!" The dancer scowled indignantly. "Return Yoongi his jacket; you could have just borrowed mine!"

"Oh my god, hyungnim gave it to me!" JiHyun repeated frustratedly.

"It doesn't mean you should take it!" Jimin seethed, jabbing his index finger into his younger brother's shoulder so hard that the kid staggered back. "Right now, Park JiHyun!"

"I'm wearing a long-sleeved shirt," Yoongi pointed out, not that anyone was listening.

"Woah, Jesus, okay," JiHyun's eyes widened as he took a step back, hands raised in the universal gesture of surrender. "I know he's your boyfriend, but you don't have to freak out or anything, hyung."

Yoongi snorted as Jimin looked around the aisle, eyes wide. There were no other shoppers nearby, and the dancer rounded on his brother with a glare. "You are so lucky we're related," he hissed. "Eomma would be devastated if I killed you and I hate seeing her cry; if we weren't brothers, I would have wrung your neck by now."

"Stop bickering," Yoongi rolled his eyes, putting his arm around Jimin's waist. "I feel fine; just let him keep it for now and stop wandering away from me." He peered over at the packets of noodles, unable to differentiate a single thing between them. It seemed like a waste of time to ponder so much over something so small. "And just pick one of those," he shrugged. "We've been walking in circles for almost half an hour already; we need to move on to getting all the other things."

"But which one?" Jimin pouted, staring down at the packages he had in hand. "I'm pretty sure this is the one halmeoni usually uses, but this one is 540 won cheaper because it's on offer..."

"Holy shit, you sound like eomma," JiHyun groaned, flailing his arms. "This is why I never grocery shop with her; every five seconds it's, 'this costs 200 won less at my grocery store' or 'the produce at my store is fresher'—"

"I doubt the taste of halmeonim's cooking will be very affected by something so trivial." Yoongi grabbed the packet closer to him - the cheaper one - and frowned at the number of portions contained within. Comparing the two, he saw no notable difference and hummed, tossing the more inexpensive option into the trolley. "There, choice made," he said determinedly, taking the unchosen packet from Jimin and handing it to JiHyun. "Put this back so we can keep moving."

"Where did you even get this from?" JiHyun complained to his brother, staring at the packet and up at the signs along the ends of the aisles to find his way. He left without waiting for a response from his older brother.

As JiHyun disappeared around the corner, Jimin glanced around. Once he was sure they were alone, he sagged back against Yoongi's chest tiredly.

Frowning, Yoongi put an arm around the dancer's waist and pressed his lips to the back of his head. "What's wrong?" He asked quietly. "You're worried about your abeoji?"

Jimin palmed his face, sighing. "I know I shouldn't," he murmured into his hands, "but I keep thinking about how it'll go, and I can't stop imagining the worst possible scenario." Laughing humorlessly, he turned around and rested his forehead against Yoongi's shoulder, mumbling into the fabric of his shirt. "Things like, 'what if he hates me,' or if he says I'm not his son anymore..."

"Hey, come on," Yoongi protected mildly, cupping Jimin's cheek. "If he's anything like your eomma or your halmeoni, I know he wouldn't do that." As Jimin refused to look at him in the eyes, Yoongi realized just how bad Jimin's nerves really were, likely since the morning when he'd been sleeping in. Guiltily, he leaned in and kissed the dancer on the cheek, hugging him tightly with one hand buried in his hair. "Min, I spoke to eomonim yesterday, okay? Even if it takes him a while to come to terms with it, he's not going to say anything like that."

Jimin sniffed once, burying his nose against the pulse of Yoongi's throat. "It's just... It's really hard for me to put it out of my mind," he confessed quietly, lips half on the collar of Yoongi's shirt and half on his skin. Their proximity was, for once in the past 48 hours, not bothering Yoongi in any way— The matter at hand was far too personal for petty shit like hormones to even register in his mind. "Even though, logically, I know my abeoji wouldn't do or say things that I've been thinking about..."

"Yeah," Yoongi said gently, his eyes softening as he heard the tremor in Jimin's voice. "It must be hard." He couldn't claim to understand how Jimin was feeling, not even a little bit. Even imagining how awful Jimin must have been feeling all this time made his head hurt in the worst way. Slowly, he withdrew from the dancer till they could look at each other in the eye, their noses almost touching. It seemed absurd, but even when stressed, Jimin still possessed a gentleness in his facial expressions that could make Yoongi smile. "But hey," he whispered, bumping their noses together. "I'm here, remember?"

Jimin seemed startled for a moment before the wrinkle between his brow eased away. "I remember," he said under his breath, eyes half lidded. They drew closer, lips almost meeting as Jimin inclined his head slightly—

"Oh, no. NOPE," JiHyun yelled from the end of the aisle, fumbling with a medium-sized container of doenjang and almost dropping it. He clearly wanted to cover his eyes, struggling with the damn thing as Yoongi and Jimin sprang apart, both with heated faces. "Oh my god, I did not sign up for— I feel so attacked right now, I am— Fuck, shit," he whined, eventually giving up and just turning his back on them both. "HYUNGNIM," he groaned loudly, startling other shoppers who were passing by on the way to the cashier. "WHY, I JUST—" Exasperated, he turned on his heel and grimaced as he walked away. "A fucking grocery store, I am so done— No respect—"

"Don't curse, YOU'RE 5," Yoongi barked after the kid on instinct. He scratched the back of his head, lamenting the interrupted moment as Jimin groaned into his palms. "Let's go," he mumbled, kind of embarrassed as he set a hand on the handle of the cart. JiHyun had a point after all; they'd been in the middle of a supermarket, god help him. Still, he glanced one last time at Jimin, noting that his shoulders were significantly less tense than they'd been before. Did that mean that he'd helped, even a little? If he had, a little embarrassment was worth it. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Jimin replied softly. He took Yoongi's free hand and squeezed it gently, silently thanking him for the pep talk. "I'm better now. Let's go."

*

"Your abeoji is going to be even later than expected," Jimin's mother sighed, opening the cupboard and standing on her tiptoes. "He says that if he's not home by the time we're done, we should start eating without him— JiHyun, get the salt for me, it's too high up."

Pretending he wasn't annoyed at not being asked to get it - the salt was perfectly within reach for him, okay - Yoongi continued with his assigned task— preparing the kongnamul and sorting the good sprouts from the bad. "Is there a reson why he'll be later?" He asked politely, worried. "Is everything alright?"

She rolled her eyes. "He's probably exaggerating again; making assumptions based on heavy traffic." She took the tumbler of salt from Jihyun and patted his shoulder in thanks. "My husband is a dramatic man."

"So that's where Min gets it from," Yoongi snorted under his breath, earning him a slap to the back from the dancer. He grinned down at his hands, carefully plucking off the heads that looked too brown for consumption.

"It's Chuseok, it's heavy traffic everywhere," Jimin pointed out, busying himself with the sauce for the japchae. "I hope he'll be able to come by dinner time."

"We'll never have dinner if you all don't stop chit chatting," halmeonim barked, lifting her head from her work of skewering the pasanjeok. She was so loud that Yoongi jumped, almost tipping over the basket of sigeumchi next to his wrist. "What's the point if he's here and we're still in the kitchen? Step it up so the food will be ready!"

"Yes, halmeoni," JiHyun droned, turning to his brother. "It'll be boring if we don't talk, so can you bring your speaker?"

"What happened to yours?" Jimin lifted an eyebrow. "Did you break it again?"

"My friend sat on it," JiHyun defended himself with a huff. "It wasn't my fault."

"And like I've said a million times, how does something like that happen?" Jimin's mother sighed heavily, touching her temple with the ball of her wrist to mime having a headache. "Honestly... That speaker was a gift from your abeoji. Jimin still has his; you should have taken better care of it, JiHyun."

"Jimin's here like less than a month out of a year, why would his speaker spoil while he's gone?" The kid balked at his mother, spreading his arms. "Also, I'm being maligned. I said it wasn't my fault! My friend sat on it!"

"And exactly which friend of yours could have broken a speaker with his butt?" Jimin's grandmother scoffed, glancing at him. "I'd like to meet this friend of yours. It must be impressive to have such destructive capabilities; maybe we can hire him to destroy that terrible excuse of a shoe rack your father built 4 years ago."

"Maybe you should invite Namjoonie for Chuseok next year," Yoongi stage whispered, making Jimin giggle.

"I want to leave my house intact, Yoongi," the dancer replied shrewdly, washing his hands and leaving the kitchen to find his mini speaker.

The rest of them moved comfortably around each other in the kitchen, trading jibes casually and making small talk. Yoongi was asked about his course, and he in turn questioned JiHyun about his interests in the arts. Halmeonim talked up her grandson's many achievements - apparent JiHyun had won several small competitions in the past with his paintings - and eomeonim promised to show Yoongi some of Jimin's baby pictures later that evening. Everything was going fine till Jimin yelled something unintelligible from his room.

Yoongi immediately stopped working, patting his hands dry on a cloth. "What happened?" He shouted, brows furrowing. "Are you okay?"

"CHECK YOUR PHONE," Jimin shrieked, thundering back down the stairs with his speaker in hand. "I can't believe this happened while we were away, of all the ridiculous—"

Yoongi cautiously fished his phone out of his back pocket, frowning. "I haven't received anything major," he reported, glancing at Jimin, who was scrolling through his music. Checking his inbox again, he refreshed it and saw a fresh wave of texts pouring in, his eyes widening. "Oh, it's here—" He fished through the unimportant stuff and found that their group chat had exploded with texts, mostly in capital letters from the others and Jimin. He rolled the timeline back up to the first new message - from Jungkook - and found a picture attached. "What is this—" His eyes widened.

It was a picture of him and Taehyung in bed. The latter was snoozing on Jungkook's bicep, his face turned inwards to the maknae's neck. They were both noticably unclothed, with a sheet pulled up to Tae's arm so that he was sleeping comfortably. Despite the dimly lit shot, it was obvious that the kid was sleeping peacefully, with a little smile on his face that made him appear far more angelic than he rightfully should. On the other side of the screen, Jungkook's face was bright and happy as he took the selca, covering the corner of the photo with his thumb.

JEON.J: [image attached]
JEON.J: happy chuseok

KIM.S: THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN HAPPY CHUSEOK

JUNG.H: IS THIS THE REAL LIFE
JUNG.H: IS THIS JUST FANTASY

KIM.N: finally

KIM.S: I CANNOT BELIEVE U FINALLY GOT IT TOGETHER I AM SO EMOTIONAL RN

KIM.N: its true lol
KIM.N: he's screaming and crying in front of his parents im dying lmao

JUNG.H: MY LONGEST YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO EVER

PARK.J: WHTA TH W FCUK
PARK.J: I CATN EBLIEVE

KIM.N: congrats you idiots, viva 2017

Yoongi stared at the screen with barely concealed awe. Had he unknowingly set something into motion the day he and Jungkook had argued in the middle of the night over Jimin? He exited the chat with wide eyes and noted that Jungkook had messaged him privately.

JEON.J: your turn, hyung.

His hand clenched around his phone. That fucking little shit. Yoongi was going to throw him into Han River.

"What happened?" JiHyun asked, eyes wide Yoongi's face darkened. "Hyungnim, did something happen with your friends?"

"What are friends?" Yoongi seethed, locking his phone and tossing it on the counter. "I have no friends."

"I'm so done," Jimin hissed, viciously stabbing the jack of his speakers into his phone as he ignored his younger brother. "How could they pick the one time I'm not there to do this? 6 years, I spent 6 years with this nonsense and they can't even bother to at least let me be around? Rude?" He returned to Yoongi's side, turning around as he hooked the apron over his head. "Who do you think asked? Kookie? I bet it was Kookie. I should go back to Seoul right now and smack the soul out of him."

"No you won't," Yoongi scowled. He reached for the strings of Jimin's apron and tied them into a neat bow at the small of his back, all the while plotting murder. "Not if I get there first."

*

Dinner was fucking delicious.

Maybe it was the fact that he had a hand in preparing it - he'd never helped out at home because his parents had always hired a helper to prepare meals for them - or because of the company, but Yoongi was talking more and being happy and it all seemed a little surreal. Everyone was giggling at some shitty pun about elephants he'd bummed off Seokjin, and chatting about Jimin's showcase. Somehow, along the line, he'd perfectly assimilated himself into this warm family, and he'd forgotten all about his solemn creed to distance himself from the idea that this was going to be permanent.

Jimin's abeoji came as a sharp wake up call.

The moment everyone at the table heard the lock of the main door turn, a thick silence descended upon the table. Jimin began to fidget, his thumbs locking together under the table. JiHyun had plastered on this mock-serene face, trying to be cool but clearly losing his shit on behalf of his brother, and their mother seemed to immediately grow 20 degrees more subdued. The only one who remained bright at the table was halmeonim, who was presently attempting the complex method of eating bo-ssam that Yoongi had demonstrated earlier.

Yoongi tried to keep his nerves at bay, but all he could think about was that fucking GIF from The Office with Steve Carell screaming for everyone to stay calm.

There was the sound of someone kicking off his shoes with a satisfied sigh. "I'm home," Jimin's father called out from the doorway, striding towards the dining room at speed. "I'll go upstairs to change before I come down."

"Alright," Jimin's mother responded agreeably, cupping a hand around her mouth delicately. Yoongi was stumped, because this was the same woman who had smacked him with a leek earlier in the kitchen because she couldn't stop laughing. "We've already started, yeobo."

"Mmm," came the distant reply, "that's good. I'll be down shortly."

"Well, I suppose this makes one thing very clear," halmeonim said to Yoongi conspiratorially once they'd heard the door of the master bedroom slam shut, "it's obvious how poorly you all think this'll turn out."

Jimin flinched. Yoongi colored, swallowing thickly. "I—"

"Eomma!" Jimin's mother cut him off, glaring. "Stop that; we don't need any more nerves."

"You're the one who's most nervous," the old lady retorted with a scoff. "Whatever happens, it's still just Seojun. My sawi isn't going to do anything stupid to the point where he can't fix it with an apology."

Her words didn't seem to ease any of the tension that weighed down the room. Yoongi glanced at Jimin, holding out his hand under the table. 'I'm here,' he mouthed silently, squeezing Jimin's fingers once the other had taken his hand. They didn't let go. 'Don't worry. I am right here.'

"Who's that with you, Jimin?" Jimin's father called out as he came back down the stairs. They all looked up as he rounded the plaster wall separating the living and dining room. "What a feast," he grinned jovially, sitting down beside his wife on the other side of the table. "I didn't know you were bringing anyone for Chuseok." He turned to his mother-in-law and inclined his head in greeting. "Jangmo."

Halmeonim grunted.

"You're forgetful," Jimin's mother said quietly, taking his bowl and filling it with stew. "I told you last week."

"Did you?" The man grinned, scratching the back of his head before he smiled at Yoongi. "Well, it's still a pleasure to meet you," he said to Yoongi with bright eyes. "Jimin hasn't brought anyone back for Chuseok before; you must be very close."

"Oh, they're very close," Jimin's grandmother rolled her eyes passionately, tucking into the kongnamul Yoongi had prepared. Her daughter stared at her with wide eyes, her jaw clenched with nerves.

Yoongi let go of Jimin's hand and stood up, bowing deeply. His mind was foggy as he remembered Jimin's instructions from earlier, to avoid using the same approach as they'd had from before with his mother. The dancer had wanted to tell his father in his own way, especially knowing that his response was probably going to be unfavorable. "My name is Min Yoongi. It's a pleasure to have been invited."

Jimin's father nodded as he picked up his chopsticks. "You're not celebrating with your own family?"

Small talk, he could do. Yoongi was good with small talk; it was pretty much the only talk he ever conducted regularly. He didn't make many close friends because of that. "My parents are commonly overseas on business," he explained, trying to steel himself for the inevitable. His fingers entwined with Jimin's beneath the table once he sat down again, and he glanced worriedly at the dancer once his father's eyes were turned. "This Chuseok, my brother is also out of town, so I would have stayed in my apartment in Seoul if Jimin hadn't invited me."

"I'm glad you're here," JiHyun said quietly all of a sudden. Yoongi lifted an eyebrow in surprise. "That you joined us, hyungnim."

"Jimin's always made fast friends, and luckily with good people," Jimin's father grinned over at his son, who smiled nervously. "You're his age? Ah, no... Older? A sunbae?"

"I'm 23 this year, but I'm not Jimin's sunbae," Yoongi said frankly, looking at his food. He didn't have an appetite at the moment, but he wondered if it'd be more natural if he forced some food down his throat. Suddenly the delicious meal had lost it's flavor, and his stomach was churning with anxiety. "I'm an architecture student at the university; it's part of the design faculty."

"Yoongi is on an accelerated track in school," Jimin's mother stepped in with a smile, pouring her husband some of the makgeolli Yoongi had brought as a gift. "He's a good student."

"Ah, that's good, that's the way it should be," the older man said with a hearty laugh. "An architecture student... Does your father own a firm?"

"Yes, he takes on international clients for medium to large scale projects," Yoongi nodded, reaching for his glass of water and sipping. "My hyung may have chosen to be a paralegal, but luckily, I have an interest in my abeoji's profession." It was expected that he was going to take over his father's company once his old man was ready to retire.

"Abeoji, you're interrogating him," Jimin said under his breath, looking subdued as he chewed the insides of his cheeks. Yoongi gently squeezed his hand, taking in a deep breath to calm himself down as well. He hadn't realized he'd be this nervous, but now that it was time to tell Jimin's father about their 'relationship,' Yoongi had to hold himself back from fidgeting in his seat.

Jimin's father ate well. He chewed quickly so that he could continue speaking, swallowing an enormous mouthful of japchae. "I'm not interrogating him," he retorted, frowning at Jimin. "It's normal for us to want to know more about your friends, Jimin, we only see you a few times a year now." He shook his head, oblivious to the awkwardness that remained in the wake of his words as he tucked into his next choice of dish. "Oh, jangmo, you've really outdone yourself this time."

"Every meal I cook tastes better and better," Jimin's grandmother snorted, waving her hand dismissively. "But this year, it's especially good with the three boys helping me."

"The only thing that would have made it better would have been Jimin finally bringing a girlfriend home," his father continued with a chuckle, oblivious to the way everyone had frozen save for his mother-in-law. After a long beat of silence, he lifted his head and stared around the table. "What?" He frowned at Jimin, who was looking down at his lap with hunched shoulders. "What's wrong?"

Jimin's mother leaned towards her husband, gently setting a hand on his shoulder. "Yeobo," she said softly, "I think Jimin has something he wants to tell you."

"What's happened?" Frowning, the man set down his chopsticks and turned to his son. "Jimin? Is this about your two week suspension from school? Because your woman and I received a letter, and—"

The dancer's lips parted, but no words fell from his lips.

As Yoongi let out a breath, he could feel Jimin's hand trembling in his own. It made him hurt to know that Jimin was so terrified, and yet all he could do was stay still without interfering. It was infuriating, how powerless he felt when he couldn't comfort the younger. Keeping his eyes firmly on his food, he didn't look up till Jimin finally began to speak.

"Abeoji," the dancer murmured quietly, and Yoongi was startled to realize that Jimin was lifting their hands. It was surreal, even up to the point where Jimin set their hands on the table in full view of everyone. "This is—" He stared at their intertwined fingers with a dull look in his eyes before he lifted his eyes to his father. "I— I won't be bringing a girl home any time soon." Almost as quickly as he had made eye contact with his father, he lowered his head. "Yoongi is my boyfriend, and I'm... I'm gay."

Pin-drop silence graced the dining room of the Park home, and Yoongi wondered if this was what it was like to drown underwater. The atmosphere was thick with tension, and his heart was beating so loudly he was sure people across the street could hear it and would soon come to complain at the door.

"Jimin," his father said after a long time, completely bewildered. "I don't understand. What are you—"

"He's dating Yoongi," halmeonim said drily, reaching for more cabbage. "Seojun-ah, your son is gay and he's brought back the man he's seeing for Chuseok. Is this very difficult to understand?"

Yoongi winced, huffing out nervously as he lifted his head to look at Jimin's father. The man looked absolutely stumped; he seemed almost childlike in that moment with his obvious confusion. Though he was anxious, his first priority was Jimin, and he glanced at the dancer, squeezing his hand in support as he stood up. "Abeonim," he greeted respectfully, bowing at the waist formally the same way he had to Jimin's mother. If nothing else, he'd want to be remembered as a courteous man, so that the Park family would know it was possible for their son to be happy even if they couldn't comprehend his sexuality.

Shaking his head slowly, Jimin's father stood up. "I don't— Jimin," he breathed, mouth gaping slightly. "I thought— When you were in high school, there was that girl who—"

"Chae-won was just one of my classmates," Jimin frowned. "She came over that time just to deliver homework because I was sick; I don't understand why you remember that incident so well." He uncurled his fingers from Yoongi's and placed them in his lap, crestfallen as he regarded his father seriously. "I decided to finally be honest with you, eomma, JiHyun and halmeoni. Is it hard for you to realize I'm still the same son you had before?"

His father remained silent, leaning back in his seat. He turned towards Yoongi, who stiffened on pure instinct.

"Yeobo," Jimin's mother murmured, his hand squeezing her husband's shoulder, but she moved back as he stood up.

"Please excuse me," Jimin's father said formally, not looking at anyone in the eyes. "I hope you continue to enjoy the meal." There was a hard expression on his face as he left the table, and he went upstairs to his room. They all the heard the door to the master bedroom close, and the lock turn.

Jimin buried his face in his hands, heaving a heavy sigh. Immediately, Yoongi put an arm around him, his heart clenching as he felt Jimin's shoulders shaking. The dancer sobbed silently, only two wheezy, breathless sounds escaping between his fingertips. Jimin cried like a damn had burst; big fat tears falling from his knuckles and running down his arms as he trembled violently with his efforts to hide how painful his father's actions must have been for him. Yoongi was falling apart listening to and watching the man he knew he loved, because he knew the trill of Jimin's laughter, the exuberance of his smile. This was the opposite of how he wanted Jimin to look and sound, ever.

His mother came around the table, wrapping her arms around her son as Yoongi let go of him. "I'll talk to him," she promised quietly, slowly maneuvering Jimin so that he sat up and she could hug him properly. "You know your father; he's an obstinate man, but he's full of love for you. He'll come around, Jimin-ah," she soothed him, rubbing his hand and running her fingers through his hair as Jimin wept into the junction of her neck and shoulders. "He'll come around..."

JiHyun shifted uncomfortably in his seat, looking as miserable as Yoongi felt. As their eyes met across the table, they both let out an enormous breath that made their shoulders sag.

Halmeonim reached over and snagged the untouched glass of makgeolli that her daughter had poured for her son-in-law, downing it like a shot. When everyone turned to stare at her save for Jimin, she lifted an eyebrow in response. "What," she huffed, "as if none of you need a stiff drink right now? 5 minutes ago?" She glared balefully at the stairs. "It's not like that idiot's here to drink it."

Wordlessly, Yoongi finished the rest of the water in his glass and reached for the bottle himself.

*

Jimin had calmed down slightly by the time 10 rolled around. His father hadn't come downstairs, but everyone else had stayed by the dancer's side to watch a movie. Curled up in the warmth and acceptance of his other family members in the living room, it gradually became easier for Jimin to breathe. In the past hour, the dancer had even begun to lean into Yoongi's side, though Jimin had been having trouble reinitiating contact with him at the table after the big blow his father had dealt him by leaving.

Yoongi wasn't someone who appreciated the typical genre of movies played at this time of the year. Rather than watching something sentimental, he preferred psychological movies that kept him on the edge of his seat with suspense. Because of this, he was slowly getting lulled to sleep by the typical family-oriented film till he felt his phone buzz in his pocket. Budging as little as possible so that he didn't encourage Jimin to move away from him, he retrieved his phone and stared at the screen.

His father was calling. Shit, Yoongi had forgotten to greet any of his own family for Chuseok, and the day was almost over. Guiltily, he patted Jimin on the shoulder and wriggled his phone in his hand. "Min, I really have to take this," he said, wincing apologetically at Jimin's dejected face. It was painfully clear that the dancer didn't want to be left alone right now, and truth be told, Yoongi didn't want to leave him either. Ever, possibly. "It's my... It's family."

Jimin shifted silently, chewing his lip as he turned back to the screen.

Frowning, Yoongi got up and quietly left the room, going through the kitchen to the back yard. He wanted to talk to his father, but he also knew that Jimin needed him— Hell, he needed Jimin too. The day had just been rough and while everything was not as bad as it could have been, it was nerve wracking to imagine how he was going to face Jimin's father before they left the next afternoon. He picked up the call with a muddled mind, lifting it to his ear as he closed the screen door behind him. "Appa," he greeted mildly, mentally and physically drained.

There was a beat before his father responded. "My son," he said, and Yoongi basked in the warmth and familiarity of his abeoji's voice. The smooth timbre, the low baritone. Though he was not close with his parents, they always had his admiration and respect. It amazed him how that had never changed even though the toughest years of his life. "How have you been?"

Yoongi didn't know how to answer that honestly. "Fine," he managed to say, sitting down on the piece and curling his toes into the grass. The evening was cool, and his eyes slid shut as a mild breeze swept through his hair. His parents hadn't seen any letters delivered to their home in Daegu regarding his two week suspension because both of them were overseas, and he'd already decided to deal with it when the time came. "Everything is going well, abeoji."

His father hummed absently. Yoongi could hear a rustle of papers in the background, and he wondered if his father was working right at this moment. "Happy Chuseok," he said, the celebratory words sounding odd on the tongue of such a stoic man.

"Happy Chuseok," Yoongi replied nonetheless, unable to stop a smile from curving his lips. That his father had bothered to call him on this day made him happy; his abeoji didn't often initiate conversations. "I'm sorry I didn't call you before. Are you resting well?"

"I will set aside work to have some soju with my colleagues later when the sun sets here," his father said wryly. "One of them brought a bottle from Korea with us; he felt it would be apt to bring in Chuseok with liquor from home."

Yoongi chuckled, cocking his head and looking up at the sky. "I see."

For a long time, neither of them said anything. There were too many thoughts going through Yoongi's head, and he found himself distracted till his father let out a long sigh. "What's wrong, abeoji?" He blurted immediately, concerned. He should have asked more, enquired after his old man's health. "Are you unwell? Do you need to see a doctor? If you're tired—"

"Yoongi," his father cut him off, "you're rambling."

Flushed with embarrassment, Yoongi distantly thought that his father sounded oddly like Seung-gi had a couple of weeks ago, during his Skype call with his hyung when he was still stubbornly ignoring Jimin after his showcase. "... I apologize," he said quietly, palming his face and trying to calm himself. He shouldn't be thinking about other things while talking to his father; they already spoke rarely enough. "But you shouldn't be working on Chu—"

"Are we going to continue this mundane chatter or will you finally tell me what is wrong, Yoongi?" His father cut him off sternly.

This startled him. Fidgeting because no one was around to see him, Yoongi quickly caved to the comfort of his father's presence over the line and let out a laborious sigh. "How could you tell that something was wrong?" He asked, wincing. Was it the rambling? Was that a nervous habit of his? He needed to cut that shit out, Jesus.

"Yoongi," his father replied calmly, "do you remember what you called me at the start of this conversation?"

He frowned. "Abeoji?" He guessed. It had been what he'd called his father for years.

"You called me appa," his father corrected, surprising him. "And the last time you did that, it was the day after you woke up in— When we had to admit you." He cleared his throat, sounding oddly choked for a second there. "To the hospital."

A relic of the past they never talked about; Yoongi's suicide attempt. He swallowed thickly, remembering how he'd wept upon waking; not because he was relieved, but because he hadn't managed to finish the job. Then he'd cried seeing his parents and Seung-gi, and how red-rimmed their eyes were. They'd refused to let him go for hours, staying way past visiting hours, and it had been the first time Yoongi had realized how his world encompassed far more than just himself. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he felt the familiar weight of guilt well up within him at the memory, and he bit the inside of his cheek to keep his silence.

"Though we have not spent much time with each other recently, a father will always know when his son is wavering on his feet." His abeoji sounded old in that moment; so fragile and tender that it made Yoongi's heart ache to see him, to hug him and make sure he was alright. He missed his mother and Seung-gi, too. "Son, what is troubling you?"

He wasn't going to lie to his father. Nervously, his fingers tightened on the slim body of his phone and he steeled himself. "Abeoji... I think— I believe that I've fallen for someone." Trying to parse his words, Yoongi squeezed his eyes shut and tried to picture his father in front of him, the comforting warmth of his familiar palm against his cheek. "Seung-gi and eomma knows; I've spoken to them about him, and I— It hasn't been long since I met him, and I know I am young and you probably believe I am just being frivolous when I say that I think I'm in love with him, but—"

"Yoongi," his father cut him off a second time, making Yoongi's jaw clamp shut with an audible click of his teeth. "Listen to me." After a while, his abeoji spoke again, this time sounding unbearably tired. "... When you were a child, I did not teach you to embrace your emotions."

Okay, so this was way out of left field. Yoongi pulled his phone away from his ear and stared at it, completely bewildered for a long moment before he put it back so that he could hear his father's words. "Abeoji?" He said uncertainly with a blink, wondering exactly where this was going.

"It is uncommon for a man to preach sensitivity in Korea, as we are a conservative people," his father continued serenely. "In this, I have failed you as a father."

"That isn't true," Yoongi protested, though he didn't really know how to back up his statement. With a lot of discomfort, Yoongi had to admit that his father was right; his parents had never truly led him to embrace his emotions as a child. As a family unit, they existed in their own individual spheres, barely overlapping and almost never all at the same time now that he and Seung-gi were older. He hadn't met all 3 members of his family together in the past 3 years. After experiencing the warmth of Jimin's home, he wondered if they could have had that, too, if they'd just tried a little harder.

"It is," his father spoke, firm and sure. "And we both know it. Your eomma and I..." There was a rustle over the line, and Yoongi assumed his father was setting down his things to speak to Yoongi without distractions. "You know that we were married due to an arrangement."

Yoongi nodded. His mother had told him and Seung-gi this even when they were children.

"But I am a lucky man. I fell in love with your eomma. Slowly, and patiently," his father added, making Yoongi's eyes grow wide. This was truly a day filled with surprises; he would never have expected his abeoji to say even half the things he was saying right now. "We waited for 5 years to have Seung-gi. Did you ever wonder why?"

"I'd always assumed it was a financial decision," Yoongi murmured, leaning down and picking at a long blade of grass. It was a little awkward to speak to his father about these things, not to mention completely new. He felt like he was treading on thin ice here. "Am I wrong?"

"It was because we wanted to give ourselves time to grow accustomed to living together, even as I courted her following our marriage," his father told Yoongi wryly, sounding amused. "You have to understand that arranged marriages were very common back then, Yoongi, but they rarely ever turned out well. Your eomma and I were very aware of this. Though it was expected of us to have children almost immediately, we made the decision to wait; it seemed ridiculous for us to even consider having children if our marriage was unstable."

Yoongi grinned, somehow feeling a little childish as he imagined his characteristically impassive father buying flowers for his mother. "You wooed eomma? How?"

"The usual ways a man woos a wo— A man woos another," his father corrected himself shrewdly at the last moment, and Yoongi smiled at his father's consideration. As a stoic man, his abeoji showed his kindness in subtle ways; his meticulous care for others often shone through in the most unpredictable ways. "I bought her flowers on special occasions, and any food that she craved no matter the time. When she complained of the weather, I shed my coat for her. I would walk on the side of the pavement closer to the road so that she would be safe, and I picked her up from work every day that I could. I remembered her birthday like it was my own."

Absently, Yoongi thought about all those things and realized he'd been doing them for Jimin, too. His lips gentled into a smile; it seemed that he and his father were more alike than he'd thought. "Those are the basics," he said agreeably. It was somehow nice to imagine his parents when they were younger, bumbling through a relationship even with a marriage certificate already in hand.

His father cleared his throat, sounding slightly embarrassed. It was novel to Yoongi, hearing his abeoji sound like this. "Yes. But the reason why I told you this is not to highlight the finer points of the bond I share with your eomma," he pointed out, "but to show you that people fall in love in different ways. You should know this; we have all been exposed to Seung-gi's... Turbulent, introduction to romantic affairs."

Yoongi couldn't help laughing, throwing his head back. "Definitely." His brother's relationship with his girlfriend had started out pretty unexpectedly, to say the least.

"Then you will know that no two relationships are the same," his father spoke shrewdly, bringing Yoongi back into the serious mood of the conversation. "Your hyung allegedly took 5 seconds to fall in love with Hyun-mi, and your mother and I took 5 years." He paused allowing Yoongi some time to consider the truth of his words. "If it is a matter of time, there is no reason for me to doubt the sincerity with which you told me that you love this man, Yoongi. Even setting that aside, I have no doubt your feelings for him are genuine."

"How can you be so sure?" Yoongi prodded, frowning."You haven't even met him..."

"Perhaps. And perhaps I never will," his father agreed. "But I am your abeoji, Yoongi, and I have been for 23 years." There was a short lull in the conversation, and Yoongi heard his father gulping down something on the other end of the line. Likely tea; his father liked green tea. "I know you well, and no son of mine would proclaim his feelings voluntarily about something or someone unless he knew it to be true in his heart. Not Seung-gi, and certainly not you."

"Are you telling me I'm emotionally constipated, abeoji?" Yoongi deadpanned, mildly offended. "Wasn't harabeoji the same way?"

"In other words, this nonsense has been going on for 3 generations now, and it needs to stop. That's why I'm telling you that I'm accepting responsibility for this negative trait of yours," his father retorted sharply. "As I had mentioned earlier, it was my failing that I never taught you to appreciate the finer nuances of... Processing your emotions healthily." Yoongi wanted to laugh at how much his father sounded like he was wrinkling his nose before he continued speaking. "At any rate, I don't want you to feel like your eomma and I would not fully support your choices in your partner. As long as you are happy and healthy with this man, and the relationship is a positive and mutually strengthening one, I see no reason to object— I believe she would say the same."

God, Yoongi wished Jimin's father reacted as positively to his coming out as his parents did. "This conversation just got 10 degrees more embarrassing," he complained under his breath, standing up. He paced the length of the porch, glancing into the house at the flickering TV screen, made blurry by a translucent curtain. Peeking through the opening, he could see Jimin watching the movie with his knees pulled up to his chest, and he sighed. "... Abeoji," he said softly, "what if he doesn't want to be in a relationship with me?"

"What if he does?" His father shot back in the same breath. "What if he's waiting for you to ask?"

Jimin had a crush on someone else. Yoongi knew this, had known this for over two weeks now. "I don't think he's waiting for me to do anything," he breathed, watching the TV cast brilliant blues and greens over the bridge of Jimin's nose, coloring the swell of his lips with pinks and oranges. He looked beautiful. "I— I think he wants to be with someone else," he whispered, keeping his voice down. "Someone better."

"If you are not good enough, then make yourself better," his abeoji said bluntly, making Yoongi wince. "Do you think we will ever reach the pinnacle of our expectations? Yoongi, if I had waited to be the man I wanted to be before your mother and I had Seung-gi, neither you nor your hyung would even exist."

"That is not what I'm—" Yoongi massaged his temple, exhausted. "It's just— I am not as strong as you are, abeoji."

"And you will never be as long as I am alive," his father scoffed in a rare teasing voice, bringing a small and shaky smile to Yoongi's face. "... But I believe," he spoke after a short pause, "that if my marriage has taught me anything, it is that a man will never be strong enough to love himself as much as another will love him. And that love - the love that we do not create on our own, but receive from another - that love gives us the strength to be better." He sounded like he was smiling, wistful and wise. "Your eomma is every bit a warrior as much as me, Yoongi, and she knows it. We empower each other; and that is what a truly healthy and loving relationship does to people. It is capable of many things."

Yoongi listened to his father, his eyes sliding shut as he leaned against the cool concrete of the side of the house. "What do you suggest I do?" He said quietly, sinking into a squat with his head thudding back against the wall. "You think I should confess my feelings for him?"

"I recommend that you think very carefully about what life would be like knowing you let him go," his father said shrewdly, "and whether or not you'd be willing to accept that with grace."

"And if I can't?" Yoongi asked, trying to keep the edge of desperation out of his voice but not quite managing it. He sounded as lost as he felt, and it was honestly a fucking embarrassment that his eyes were filling with tears. He just— It was overwhelming. Receiving so much acceptance from his father made him happy, but the fact that this would be his last day as Jimin's boyfriend if he didn't do something about it was filling him with pain. After his conversation with Jimin's grandmother the night before, he was all the more sure that what he had for the dancer was no passing fancy; he had fallen in love, and it was hurting him. "If I can't let him go?"

"Then I will likely meet this man soon," his father said solemnly, "and I will call him adeul, when we sit at the same table."

Yoongi hadn't known it would take only a few words from his father to make him cry. He covered his eyes as he wept, biting his lower lip viciously to avoid sobbing out loud. Relief tore through him like a fire. "Thank you, abeoji," he said hoarsely, broken apart. He'd never appreciated or understood how lucky he was to receive so much support from his parents, and it was clear now that he had been taking so much for granted. "Thank you, appa."