Having a professional cook in the kitchen during the holidays wasn’t exactly preferable.
Especially if you were golden maknae Jeon Jungkook and you were trying to prove to all your friends that you could make a decent meal without overcooking the turkey.
The green beans were doing just fine marinating on the stove. But was that enough for Mr. Kim Seokjin and his degree in culinary arts (whatever that meant)? No, apparently not. He’d come in and shoved his two tupperwares into someone else’s arms so he could come over and push Jungkook out of the way with a berating, “Oh no, no You can’t leave it like that, on one will like it.”
Jungkook would like it, Jungkook thought bitterly. But he let Seokjin take over the green beans as Jimin, who was the unlucky one to be saddled with Seokjin’s tupperware, worked to find free counter space to set the containers on. They looked like they held two casseroles, but undoubtedly, they were something much more devine. It made Jungkook squirm. He could probably cook something that good.
He instead made himself useful by preparing his potatoes. They’d already been steamed and all, they just needed holes poked in them and could probably be lathered with a bit more butter so they wouldn’t be dry. Of course the second he had a fork in one hand and a potato in the other, Seokjin’s eyes had snapped away from the green beans. “What do you think you’re doing?”
Jungkook made a sound and frowned at the other man. “I’m making these potatoes better--”
“No, you’re not.” Jungkook’s frown deepened and his eyes deadpanned. “Put them down,” Seokjin ordered. “They’re buttered enough. Any more and you’ll give someone acid reflux.”
Jungkook begrudgingly put his potatoes down. He stepped to another part of the counter to collect a few cans of creamed corn because surely Seokjin wouldn’t try to mess with Jungkook’s preparation of his own homemade corn casserole? A can and a can opener and--
“Put those down. If you make it now, it will be cold before we eat.”
The force with which Jungkook slammed the can and its opener down was enough to make Namjoon look up from the book he was reading at the dining table. Jungkook threw his hands up in surrender, then dropped them into fists as he stormed out of his own kitchen like an outcast.
By passing a still bewildered Namjoon and a Jimin who’d joined him at the dining table (with a stolen cookie from the dessert table), Jungkook planned on storming all the way to the bathroom to wash his hands and cool down a little, but he was intercepted in the hallway by Yoongi.
The older man made a small ‘oof’ sound and from the way he almost literally fell back from that small bump alone, plus the way he was rubbing his eyes, Jungkook could only guess he’d woken up from one of his, self-titled, ‘god-worthy naps on the couch.’ Jungkook spat out an indirectly bitter, “Sorry, hyung,” and tried to slip past him.
Yoongi’s arm shot out before he could though, effectively cutting him off. The blonde man yawned, and brushed the sleep out of his eyes with a fist. “What’s the rush?” He asked, voice a little slurred from sleep. “Did the kitchen catch on fire?” He snickered at his own joke.
Jungkook bristled. It sure did seem like the kitchen was on fire. He shook his head with a soft tisk. “No, hyung. Seokjin’s just arrived and the kitchen seemed a little crowded.”
Yoongi nodded his head but then narrowed his eyes. “He kicked you out of the kitchen didn’t he?”
Jungkook cast his eyes away, opened his mouth and then closed it. Not wanting to wish ill fate on his hyung, he shrugged. “Seokjin hyung’s a professional. He knows what he’d doing in there.” Jungkook was just an amature cook.
Yoongi nodded once again seemingly understanding, but reconsidered with narrowed eyes, again. “Seokjin may be a professional, but sometimes it’s nice to have food that isn’t always Grade A quality. It’ll mess with your tastebuds. Believe me, I’ve been eating that stuff for years. And also.” He let his arm drop and looked into Jungkook’s eyes. “It’s your kitchen. He may be older but you can kick him out if you need.” Only then did Yoongi drop his arm and slip past Jungkook, leaving him standing lamely in the hallway.
Yes it was his kitchen, but it was also his hyung. Which one did he respect more?... Definitely his hyung. But his also had his pride to protect…
With a groan, Jungkook made his way back to the bathroom and washed his hands. He didn’t really need to do this, but it helped calm him down. He looked up to his reflection in the mirror and licked his lips. ’It’s your kitchen.’ It was his kitchen wasn’t it? This was his home! He cooked plenty of times. He was deserving of the title chef just as much as Seokjin was! His mouth knit into a prideful smile and his shoulders squared. He was a cook.
When he walked back into the kitchen, Yoongi had fallen into a dining chair next to Jimin-- had fallen almost into the same chair-- and was draped over Jimin’s shoulder to bug him. Seokjin was still in the kitchen, now fussing over another pot Jungkook didn’t remember putting on the stove. He realized this was a pot Seokjin had put on.
This here was the turning point and Jungkook wasn’t even mad anymore. His pride only wiltered a little bit. He stalked back into his kitchen and propped his hand on his hips. Seokjin did spare him a small glance, but kept his attention on the pot, saying nothing. Jungkook huffed. “Can I talk to you?”
“That’s what I want to talk to you about.”
Seokjin looked up. “Something’s wrong with my cooking,” he concluded, standing up a little straighter and putting down the spoon he was stirring with. “What is it? Is there too much pepper? I can--”
“Argh. It’s not about the cooking itself!” Jungkook snapped. His hands fell from his hips and his shoulders sagged. “Your cooking is fine,” he said, exasperated and Seokjin visibly relaxed. Jungkook continued, agitation dying a little bit. “What’s wrong is that you’re coming into my kitchen and taking over my cooking. Jin hyung this is my meal and I’m thankful that you came and brought a few of your own dishes but if we were going to have you cook we would have held dinner at your house.”
Seokjin leaned back a bit. “You’re not a cook,” he said.
Jungkook’s spirits fell. His mouth opened and closed and opened again. “Well-- No… I mean, not like you but… Can I not at least try?” His voice kicked up on the last syllable unfavourably. Maybe he didn’t have a damn degree in culinary arts or whatever bullshit that was, but it wasn’t like he couldn’t cook nor was he being tested, nor was he serving high class people. These were his friends and he highly doubts they would hate him purely because his potatoes were dry or something was a little bit cold.
Jungkook felt hot tears of shame in his eyes. God, was he really about to cry? He just wanted to please his hyungs. He wanted to continue to be their golden boy and show that he could make some sort of dinner for them. He just wanted to impress Seokjin, but his eldest hyung had just shunned him and essentially told him he wasn’t worth it. And if this didn’t hurt, then he didn’t know what did. So as he stood in the doorway of his own kitchen, willing away the tears pooling his his eyes, he failed to notice the arms around his torso until they were squeezing like a vice and Seokjin was speaking.
“Kookie-ah,” he murmured. “Calm down. Come on now, I didn’t mean what I said. Do you really think I-- That we wouldn’t love whatever you made us? Dry your eyes. I’m sorry about what I said and did. What you started was perfect.”
Jungkook shook his head and let himself been enveloped in Seokjin’s hold. He sniffed a little, though no tears had fallen. “I might not be a cook like you,” Jungkook protested. “But I’m not entirely useless, you know.”
Seokjin nodded. “You’re not useless,” he amended. “That was entirely wrong of me to kick you out of your kitchen. You belong here just as much as I do.” He pulled back and cupped Jungkook’s face, hands warm and thumbs soft beneath the other man’s eyes. “Come on now, dry those eyes.” Seokjin patted the side of Jungkook’s face. “Wash your hands and clean up that face because I think some potatoes need to be buttered and some corn casserole needs to be made, yeah?”
Jungkook sniffled one last time. “Yeah.”