Sometimes Jungkook wonders whether he means as much to Yoongi as Yoongi does to him. When he sees Hoseok making Yoongi laugh uncontrollably with the simplest of jokes, when he sees Namjoon engaging Yoongi in conversation that Jungkook can't even begin to wrap his mind around. He sees how much Yoongi enjoys his time with others, how much they mean to him, thinks how could I compare.
Then he remembers the soft smiles that Yoongi casts across the plastic table when they get lamb skewers, shining bright against the night sky. When he says I'll pay, I'm your hyung, after all, and always manages to stop Jungkook from paying, no matter how early he tries to slip the waiter his card.
He remembers when he was just starting to get into photography and would ask Yoongi for help, cracking his studio door open in the early hours of the morning. Yoongi would turn around in his chair and go through each of Jungkook’s pictures slowly, no matter how busy he seemed. He would examine every aspect of the photos like it was important, like it mattered. He would compliment some parts, give advice on how to fix other parts, and Jungkook would sink into the smooth sound of Yoongi’s voice. The exposure is a little too high here, you could bring out the blues in this more, emphasize the contrast there. He speaks softly in the haze of the early morning, everything adorned with a gentle smile and a you’re doing well though, kook.
He remembers afterwards, when he was about to leave the studio and he felt Yoongi’s fingers around his wrist. Wait, he said, here’s the passcode to the studio, if you ever want any more help, i’m always available. His touch had felt like fire across Jungkook’s skin, setting all his nerves alight.
He remembers when he dyed his hair red for their tour, so worried that it didn’t look good, and Yoongi had been the first member to see him. He was rushing to get somewhere but had still stopped, staring at Jungkook’s hair. He walked up, running his cold fingers through the newly dyed strands and mumbling, it looks good… really good, kook, almost too soft for Jungkook to hear. But he was already so used to hanging off of Yoongi’s every word, so used to catching every syllable that he grabbed them as soon as they floated out into the air. Yoongi had shuffled away after that, leaving a dusting of pink over Jungkook’s cheeks so deep that it nearly matched his new hair.
Jungkook remembers and feels like maybe, maybe it's not so bad.
There are other times, though, times when Jungkook craves more from Yoongi and he feels so selfish. He already gives you so much, how could you ask him for more?
But Jungkook can't help the way his eyes sometimes linger on Yoongi’s lips for too long, wondering if they’d taste like sugar sweet honey. On his hands, wondering how they'd feel on his overheated skin, exploring everywhere. On his fingers, wondering how the calluses would scrape against his cheekbones, his jawline, his wrists, his fingertips. On his nose, wanting to place a soft kiss on it when it scrunches up as Yoongi laughs. On his smile, wishing that he could be the cause of it every time it shows up on his face.
Once, Yoongi was watching a video with Jimin and Taehyung, something the two had only wanted to show Yoongi for some reason. They were both pressed up against Yoongi’s sides, all three of them laughing uncontrollably at whatever the video was. Jungkook had walked into the room right as they burst into laughter again, and he suddenly felt a sharp pang in his chest.
An urge to run out of the room rose up like bile, clawing at his throat as ugly jealousy spread all over his body. His mood plummeted, voice like broken glass as he snapped at all the members whenever they would try to talk to him. He would immediately regret it as soon as the biting words left his mouth, turning the anger back towards himself. Anger at his unwarranted jealousy over the smallest things, over things that he doesn't have the right to feel jealous of.
His mind whispers, sounding so loud in the silence of the night,
selfish, selfish, selfish
Yoongi’s birthday comes around.
Jungkook wants to get him something expensive, wants to take him out for a proper dinner instead of the cheap lamb skewers they get all the time, wants to take him on a walk by the Han River at night when the moonlight sparkles on the surface of the water, reflecting the stars. He wants to buy him blooming flowers smelling like spring rain, petals as pretty as Yoongi (do such flowers even exist, he thinks in the back of his mind, nothing is as pretty as yoongi). He wants to hold Yoongi’s hand to warm his fingers up, wants to end the night with a kiss, Yoongi’s soft lips against—
Jungkook exhales, reels his imagination back in.
He’s there when the members give the cake to Yoongi, yelling out happy birthday with them when Yoongi turns on the lights, getting crushed in their group hug around him. He laughs loudly as Yoongi pretends to grumble in annoyance, the light blush of happiness on his cheeks giving him away. The members shout as they try to smear Yoongi’s face with some of the frosting on the cake, making him let out a screech. Jungkook can’t stop laughing, chasing after all of them as they run after Yoongi.
Later, when the sun has dropped and the stars have replaced it, Jungkook knocks quietly on Yoongi’s studio door, even though he knows the passcode. He waits outside the door, holding a small cupcake with a thin candle on it, separate from the bigger cake that the other members got him. It takes a bit, but eventually the door clicks open, Yoongi peeking out from behind the door. His eyes look sleepy, lips pursed a little in confusion. He sees Jungkook and his mouth opens, about to ask a question but then Jungkook holds up the cupcake.
Happy birthday, hyung
The corners of Yoongi’s lips slowly, slowly tug upwards. He takes the cupcake from Jungkook, fingertips brushing slightly against each other and—
he blows out the candle.
Jungkook tries not to wonder about what he wished for.
Yoongi keeps sending him snippets of songs, and Jungkook keeps sending him clips of his singing. They started doing it several months ago, asking the other for critique. After awhile though, the requests for critique faded away, but the clips had remained.
Jungkook falls in love with all the different beats that Yoongi weaves together, intricate and detailed, and he tells him so. Yoongi messages him back, your voice sounds beautiful too, as always, and Jungkook has to resist typing it’s because i sang it thinking of you.
The two don't match though, Jungkook’s voice a tad too soft for the rough instrumentals that Yoongi creates. The two of them have always been like that - mismatched puzzle pieces from the same box, almost fitting together but not quite.
They make it work, somehow.
Sometimes, Jungkook thinks that telling Yoongi might be worth it. That his feelings are so strong that they'll never go away unless he confesses. He knows it’s stupid, but he still likes to pretend that there’s just the slightest off-chance that his feelings are returned, and the urge to act on that off-chance crashes over him every so often.
He thinks about what it would be like if Yoongi accepted his confession, if the two of them started dating. He’d be beyond ecstatic, of course, every one of his dreams he’d had since their trainee days coming true, and a shiver runs down Jungkook’s spine at the thought. He sits next to Yoongi during dinner, in the car, at the waiting rooms in the venues and wonders what it’d be like if he could just turn his head and kiss Yoongi on the cheek, or to reach over to hold his hand, what it’d be like if that were normal between them.
The thought of concert venues reminds him of their millions of fans, and suddenly the pleasant buzz of his imagination turns into sharp acid, shocking him back to reality. There’s no way this would be able to get out to their fans, to anyone without serious repercussions. It would put not just him, but his entire group in jeopardy. Jungkook imagines the reactions of the company, management, his own members, and fear crawls back up his throat. He doesn’t even think that anyone knows that he likes boys, much less likes Yoongi. The thought only makes Jungkook feel choked, so he doesn’t think about it. Pushes the idea of dating Yoongi, the sound of his voice saying I like you too, kook, down down down into the depths of his mind.
He steers his mind the other direction and thinks about the Way More Likely chance that his feelings aren’t returned, and how telling Yoongi would make things weird, or awkward between them. Yoongi has always distanced himself from things that make him uncomfortable, silently slipping away from the situation. Jungkook imagines a life without Yoongi’s eyes curling up as he smiles at one of Jungkook’s jokes, or his fingers brushing over Jungkook’s wrist every so often as he looks over his photos, or his conversations with Yoongi over lamb skewers and drinks, where they talk about things they’re always too scared to talk about in the light of day. Jungkook imagines it all and gets so scared that he buries that consideration even deeper, so far down that he feels like he could almost forget about it.
But then he sees Yoongi with wild bedhead after waking up, sees him downing four water bottles during dance practices, sees him scrolling on his phone whenever the members get too loud for him. He sees him playing piano, producing songs, or just smiling, and the same three words keep popping into his mind. Three small words that mean too much, so much that he's afraid to even think them fully. He feels like if the thought forms, it'll live on the tip of his tongue, under roof of his mouth, in the hollows of his cheeks until it all becomes too much, and he’ll have to say it.
And that’s… the last thing he wants.
Jungkook thinks about all this but always returns to the same thought: feeling (knowing) that he’s being selfish, but also knowing he’d never let that selfishness get to the point that it comes between the two of them. Their friendship together is already so much, so satisfying that he knows he’d never risk it for anything else. He'd much rather keep the friendship they have right now, kindling the flames that are already alive, than to extinguish the light and lose him altogether.
Jungkook’s birthday comes around.
It’s a busy day, schedules packed so tightly that they barely even have time to eat. They have a glorious hour of break in the afternoon though, and the members manage to squeeze in time to surprise Jungkook with a cake and presents. Even though the members were all yelling around him, Yoongi’s eyes were half closed the entire time, looking like he could pass out at any given moment. He catches Jungkook’s eyes as Seokjin tries to smear frosting on his cheek, and a sleepy smile spreads across his face as Jungkook yelps in surprise.
Late that night, so late that it’s unclear whether it’s morning or night, Jungkook hears gentle knocking on his door. He sits up from his bed, soft around the edges from fatigue. He pulls the blanket around his shoulders and drags it with him as he gets up and slowly opens the door.
Yoongi stands in front of him, holding up a cupcake with a slightly bent candle in it, not meeting his eyes. It was the only one I could find, Yoongi laughs, scratching the back of his head. Sorry it’s past midnight too, it was so hectic today, feels like I barely saw you.
Jungkook looks at him like he’s hung all the stars in the sky.
His heart thumps quietly but rings so loud in his ears. They just look at each other for a moment, the small flame acting as the only source of light between them. It casts a pretty glow on Yoongi’s face, soft and dancing.
Yoongi breathes and says:
Make a wish, Jungkook.
All the words that Jungkook wants feels too heavy on his tongue to even dare consider wishing for it.
He closes his eyes (don’t think about yoongi), shrouds his heart in quiet darkness (don’t think about yoongi), and—
blows out the candle, unspoken wishes evaporating with the smoke.