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“Damn, okay, legs .”

Jeongguk glanced up from his sandwich, still chewing on the bland food, (he had run out of mayo yesterday) along with everyone else at Namjoon’s words.

On his left, Jimin let out a low whistle. “Damn is right. Wow, those are some long legs. I bet she’s a force to reckon with in heels.” Taehyung laughed, agreeing with his input.

Jeongguk shifted his gaze across the street to the woman they were talking about. She did have very nice legs, as she walked briskly down the sidewalk. She was wearing a pair of runners, loose-fitting shorts, and a baggy t-shirt that was tied in the back, showing off part of her midriff. Earphones in, she was not paying much attention to the seven constructions workers who were currently ogling her on their break. He swallowed, his throat dry.

Well, six of seven.

“I bet those legs would look nice wrapped around-” Taehyung started but was cut off when Seokjin cuffed him on the head. “Yah, what was that for?” He rubbed his head, miffed while Seokjin held him with a stern look.  

“Don’t be a pig,” He stated. The others laughed, poking fun at Taehyung for being scolded. Jeongguk stayed silent through this, nibbling on his sandpaper sandwich.

“Come on hyung, you can’t tell me you don’t think she was quite the catch,” Taehyung protested, craning his head to try and get a good look at her as she continued down the street, Jimin’s hands on his back as he also peered past him.

“You can appreciate her looks without being sleazy,” Seokjin spoke without taking his eyes off his food, though Jeongguk saw the way his own eyes had flickered up after the girl had disappeared from view.

“Her hair though, it looked so soft. Would love to run my fingers through it,” Hoseok commented from near the end, and Jeongguk smiled at the innocent comment. Hoseok tended to have sweeter things to say.

“Gukkie, what do you think?” Jeongguk’s head snapped up from his food to Yoongi on his right who was watching him, expression neutral save for a small smirk playing on his lips. Jeongguk tried not to wilt under his gaze and the gaze of the rest of the group as they all awaited his input.

“Sh-she looked pretty nice.” He felt his face heat up, more from the attention and what was going to follow, a blush running up his neck and cheeks as he bit into his sandwich.

Namjoon barked a laugh from his place near Seokjin. Leaning forward to see Jeongguk at the end of the line he raised an eyebrow. “You are never going to find yourself a girl if you don’t get more confidence there Gukkie,” Namjoon patronized. “You can come up with something better than ‘she looked pretty nice’ can’t you?”

“At least he is respectful of women, unlike you lot,” Seokjin commented before Jeongguk could respond - not that he had anything to say - giving Namjoon a side eye. Namjoon merely shrugged him off, sipping on his drink.

“Hyung, you are so mean,” Taehyung jumped in. “We are respectful, I’d never treat a lady wrong. Doesn’t mean I can’t speak my mind among my friends. And oh boy does it have a lot to say,” Taehyung remarked, earning laughs from Jimin and Namjoon, and a snigger from Yoongi.

“But Tae-Tae, what lady would give you the chance to anyways?” Hoseok quipped and that had everyone roaring with laughter, even Jeongguk had barked a laugh, reaching over to pat a disgruntled Taehyung on the head.

“But really, Jeonggukie, we will find you a woman. It’s my mission to take care of my boys on and off the worksite.” Namjoon made a vow, and the others all voiced their agreement in ‘getting Jeongguk some tail’. Jeongguk just hunkered down, cringing and finished his food, ignoring their comments and jibes. It was nothing new, but it only seemed to get worse over time.

Moments like this he wished they knew, and sometimes he would feel a surge of courage, entertaining the idea of blurting out the truth, laying himself bare for them to see. But then fear would take over. Nightmares and memories would vault to the forefront of his mind, warning him of what could happen if he were to reveal the truth to them. So like every other time, he kept his mouth shut, and let them think he was moping at their teasing.

“Alright, break’s over. Back to work.” Groans rang out at Namjoon’s words as they packed it in. “Quit your groaning, and smile like you love this job.”

Yoongi turned to Jeongguk as he put his half-eaten sandwich back in his bag - his hunger had dissipated and it wasn't all that great anyhow - and flashed him a big, mocking smile at Namjoon’s words.

Jeongguk stifled a laugh at the face. Yoongi turned to follow the rest of them, Jeongguk trailing along. He looked at the back of Yoongi’s head, watching the way his wavy locks tumbled in the breeze as he walked. Jeongguk knew what that hair felt like between his fingers when he would tease Yoongi by playing with his hair. His hand twitched at his side. He wanted to reach forward and let his fingers twist between the strands right now, but he couldn’t. Not without having to explain why he did it.

Jeongguk wanted to do a lot of things with Yoongi; more than he should. More than what coworkers -  friends - should do. The kind of comments his friends all seemed to want him to say he could totally manage. 100%, he was a grown ass man and could be as lewd as any in his own head.

It’s just he didn’t have those thoughts about girls. And that. Well, that was just it isn’t it?

 

 

Jeongguk tossed his keys and lunch kit on the counter as he kicked his boots off. He plugged his phone in to charge on the nightstand of his room, fiddling with it until it actually charged properly. He needed a new cord but he was lazy and didn't want to spend the money to get a nice one. He shed his clothes in one motion and headed into the bathroom to wash off all the sweat and grime from the day. Standing under the spray of hot water Jeongguk let out a suffering sigh for only himself to hear.

But really, Jeonggukie, we will find you a woman.

Jeongguk winced at the words that had been bouncing around in his head all afternoon. They hurt and he had no one to blame but himself. It was his secret he kept and he wished he could just come clean to his friends. But...

He ran his hand over his stomach, hands grazing the puckering of skin to the right of his belly button.

Deep down he knew they wouldn’t judge him, or probably even care at all. But he didn’t want to take the chance. They were his only family and he couldn’t lose them.

Finishing in the shower he dried off and changed into sweats and a tank top. He distracted himself with tidying up in the kitchen and made his lunch and dinner for tomorrow - another dry sandwich - then threw some leftover ramen in the microwave. He checked his calendar while he waited, double checking his shifts.

He had a second part-time job, working nights at a twenty-four-hour convenience store called Jung’s Convenience for the last two years or so. He worked there three or four nights a week. He hated it, it left him exhausted, but he was trying to save money so he could maybe go back to school. The hours changed all the time, some nights he’d go right after work until midnight, others he’d start at nine or ten at night and be done right before his day job.

It was a fairly lax job at least, but the customers were often either drunk or stoned, and some of them downright creepy, while others are just plain rude. He had quite a few stories, some of which he hadn’t told his friends so not to worry them. They already hated that he had this job, to begin with, as it wasn’t in the best area, nor were they very happy when he started picking up more shifts. He used to only work once or twice a week but he had been having a hard time with money as of late, so he asked for more.

His manager had been more than happy to give them to him, taking away shifts from some of their more, relaxed , employees. Jeongguk didn’t understand why he didn’t just fire them, but apparently, the manager would rather widdle your shifts away to nothing until you quit. He was finally starting to see the difference after the last several months, and it was gratifying as hell.

The microwave dinged, and he grabbed his food and a water bottle, flopped onto his bed with his food and checked his phone, seeing messages in the group chat.

 

       Seokjin: Are you all still coming for dinner on Friday?

       Taehyung: as opposed to any other friday when we dont come for dinner?

       Jimin: lol

       Jimin: I’ll be a little late parents stopping by after work

       Seokjin: Shut up, it’s good to confirm, you all don’t always come.

       Taehyung: thats like maybe once a month lololol

       Namjoon: I’ll b there as per norm

       Hoseok: Same here~

       Yoongi: yup

       Jimin: Gukkieeeeeeee

       Jimin: Where are youuuuuuuuu

       Jimin: Guuuuuuuuukkieeeeee

       Taehyung: hes left us

       Taehyung: gone forever

       Jimin: Rip Jeon Jeongguk

       Jimin: He was too young 

       Yoongi: will you two stop he’s fucking busy

       Yoongi: or he’s working at jungs

       Taehyung: too busy for us?

       Taehyung: for shame

       Taehyung: plus he doesnt work there on mondays

 

Jeongguk rolled his eyes at their antics, watching the speech bubble at the bottom as someone typed. He tapped in a response before they could continue.

 

       Jeongguk: I will be there (smile emoji)

       Jeongguk: I was making food, relax. 

       Yoongi: you mean reheating leftover ramen

       Taehyung: GUKKIE U LIVE

       Jimin: Our boi is back to us!!!!

       Jimin: (gif)

       Jeongguk: Food is food (food emoji)(thumbs up emoji)

       Seokjin: This is why I make these dinners, I know all you lot eat is ramen and rice. 

       Yoongi: it’s quick easy and cheap.

       Yoongi: just like tae

       Hoseok: OHH

       Taehyung: (angry react)

       Taehyung: HOW FUCKING DARE YOU

       Taehyung: I AM A GODDESS

       Taehyung: (gif)

       Namjoon: Jesus Christ

       Hoseok: That was beautiful.

 

Jeongguk reacted to Yoongi’s message with a laughing emoji then put his phone back down, grabbed his laptop from his desk and pulled up Netflix, chewing on his food. The chat continued for a little longer, mainly kept alive from Jimin, Taehyung, and Yoongi. Jeongguk, remembering that he was off early Friday due to a doctors appointment, sent Seokjin a text asking if he wanted any help preparing for dinner. Seokjin graciously accepted his help, telling him to head over right after the workday was done.

After eating he made the trek down the stairs to the laundry room in his apartment building. He was on the sixth floor but the elevator always took forever to arrive then go down the six floors, making creaking sounds the entire way. He genuinely feared one day he’d get in and it would just stop midway between floors, so he took the stairs. The idea of being in a small enclosed space for more than the ride was extremely unappealing to him.

The laundry room was empty, a few machines halfway through their cycles. Jeongguk grabbed a washer near the back, the one closest to the dryers. He hated doing laundry - some of the tenants in the building like to stare, particularly an elderly lady who seems to always be in there whenever Jeongguk was doing his underwear. Another reason he hated it. No one needed to see his underwear. Particularly his Marvel set.

He was putting his clothes in the washer when another tenant walked in, a man around his age, maybe older. He was never good at guessing ages. Jeongguk spared him a glance as he walked by. He recognized him, seeing him in passing every now and again. In his opinion, he was one of the prettiest men Jeongguk had ever seen; his sharp jawline contrasted by soft and more feminine features. He was only a little taller than Jeongguk, just under six foot, and had dark brown hair, almost black.

He blushed when the man turned and caught him looking, turning back to his laundry flustered. He hastily finished putting the detergent in and closed the lid, turning to leave. He felt his stomach twist when he saw the man was also leaving, his clean laundry in hand. Jeongguk hesitated for a moment before his manners kicked back in, opening the door and stepping aside to allow the man through first. He had his head bowed politely as he waited for him to pass by.

He watched the man’s feet - adorned in simple black slippers - stay stationary in front of him. Jeongguk could feel eyes on him and peered up to see the man staring at him. His eyes had a sly look in them as he gave Jeongguk an obvious once-over, an appreciative smile slipping on his face before finally making his way past, eyes dragging slowly away from Jeongguk’s form.

Jeongguk, after gaping for a moment, dashed to the stairwell, his face hot as he made his way back upstairs and into the safety of his apartment.

Once inside, Jeongguk felt his stomach bubble in a variety of emotions. Did he check him out? In a ‘boy checks out hot girl’ kind of way? Or was he just laughing at him? Mocking him? He didn’t know, and he couldn’t help the smile that played on his lips at the possibility. He didn’t think he had ever had a guy check him out. He caught a lot of female attention, but never a guy. Or at least not one so obvious.

Jeongguk could easily imagine all sorts of scenarios right away and he had to physically shake himself from getting over eager over quite literally nothing. He grabbed his phone and went to go message the group chat instead. Just as he started to tap out the message he stopped, fingers hovering over the screen. Excitement turned into despondent. Oh, right. He couldn’t gush about this to them because they didn’t know .

His smile faltered and he deleted the text, then let his phone drop back down to his nightstand. He sighed and dropped to his bed, staring at the ceiling. Melancholy and frustration flooded over him. It was times like this he really felt the divide between him and his hyungs. This secret created an invisible wall between them that only he could feel and he despised it. He was so close with all of them and he didn’t like that he was keeping such an important part of himself from them.

Rolling onto his side he looked at the photo on his bedside table, a group photo of them, all wearing their construction gear and leaning up against a work truck. It had been taken last year, after Namjoon got his promotion to foreman and became the crew leader. He looked at each one of his friends, lingering on Yoongi who, in the photo, was ruffling Jeongguk's hair as he flashed a peace sign. His eyes soft but endearing as he looked at the camera.

Jeongguk felt his heartache. His hyungs were everything to him, they were his family. His only family. They took him in and practically raised him for the past five years. He trusted them to take care of him, and he did everything he could to take care of them.

He let out a huff of breath, falling onto his back. He could just tell them if he pushed past his fear and told them, then maybe it would be alright. They had never turned him away before, not even in the beginning when he had been a quiet and shy boy, mostly avoiding the others as to not be in the way, and barely talking to anyone. A boy with so much hiding underneath the surface, waiting to break free. They helped him break from his shell.

Laying in bed his thoughts clashed in his head and he thought about how wonderful it would be to not have to lie to them, or to have to pretend around women. He was reaching his breaking point with it, scared that soon he was just going to snap and blurt it out in front of all of them.

It was a thought he entertained many times, one that always had various outcomes in his mind, and it plagued his dreams on occasion. Usually turning his dream into a nightmare.

He flipped over on his side, back facing the picture and argued with himself. Just do it, he whispered to himself, but the other side of his brain, the one that housed all his fears, reminded him of why he didn’t. It always overshadowed everything else.

Turning back to the photo again, he thought about how freeing it would be to no longer hold this secret, and as his eyes drifted once again through the people in the picture, he thought about Yoongi and what could maybe, possibly, in his dreams could happen..

He shook his head, letting his thoughts of Yoongi and the others scatter. Trying to avoid his train of thought, Jeongguk got up and did a light work out while he waited to change loads, using one of his weight sets. When he finally brought his clothes up from the laundry room, it was almost ten. He locked up his door and crawled into bed, scrolling through his phone for a bit before setting his alarm and rolling over.

Maybe one day I’ll tell them, were Jeongguk’s last thoughts before he fell asleep.

 

 

Jeongguk woke with a start, body bolting up as he gasped, leaning forward and tried to catch his breath. He reached over and turned his lamp on, illuminating the room as he placed his hands on the comforter, fingers curling around the fabric as he closed his eyes, breathing through his nose. Looking at his clock, said it was after three a.m., Thursday morning already. He had only gotten home from his night shift a couple of hours ago, barely slept for more than two hours. He could feel the strain in his limbs, his head pounding from the little sleep. He felt tears prick his eyes as a strangled whine gurgled from his throat, willing the tears back. He didn’t feel like crying right now and was trying to keep focused on calming himself down. His laboured breaths were loud in his ears, only beat by the thumping of his heart.

Nightmares like this were far from foreign to him, but they had been more frequent lately and stealing away the little sleep he already barely got. When he was younger, they had been every night, plaguing him constantly for months, the same one every time. Over time they lessened, his hyung’s support and time helping him heal, until he only ever had them once in a while, usually during times when his stress levels were at their highest. Over the last few months, they had started to return more and more, not going a week without having at least one. It was starting to become a problem, as they interrupted his already nonexistent sleep schedule.  

He twitched when he heard a car honk from outside, eyes flicking over to the window that overlooked the city streets, various apartment and office buildings just barely visible in the night.

He recognized that the nightmares were probably due to his heavy workload which had been weighing on him more and more as time passed, but what really made them so troublesome was the changes to the dreams. They had always been more or less the same thing, a moment from his past he wished he could forget, but now the twisted and dark memories were enhanced by the inclusion of his friends.

Jeongguk finally felt his heart rate even out, and he released the comforter, his hands a little cramped from the tight grip he had. He took a deep breath, holding it for a moment before exhaling and falling back onto the bed. The room was quiet except for the quiet hum from the fan in the corner, which did little to actually cool the room in the heat of the night. Sweat caused his clothes to cling to him, his sheets feeling sticky. He kicked his comforter off, followed by his shirt and sweats he had worn to bed. He hadn’t gotten home until after midnight and had pretty much fallen into bed and passed out.

He laid in bed, uncomfortable and sweaty. One of the corners of the sheets was slipping off the bed and he could feel the scratchy material of the mattress on his feet. After a while, he knew he wasn’t going to fall asleep like this and with a groan, he sat up and moved to his desk, putting the sheet back on the bed as he went. He grabbed his sketchbook and selected a pencil from his case.

The dream had started out as they always did. Same house, same eyes. But it twisted and changed, the previous monsters and terrors morphing into the familiar faces of his friends, except there was nothing familiar about their expressions. They were filled with disgust and hate, all their eyes trained on Jeongguk who was begging them to understand and to help him, but they just turned their backs, walking away, ignoring him, leaving him. Then the original demons from before came back, closing in on him, suffocating him and then he woke up.

He hated them, hated that his mind has taken and twisted his fears and insecurities into a visual form, that he had to see those looks on his hyung’s. He knew, he knew, they would never turn their backs on him, but in the throes of his nightmare, and the subsequent fall that came after waking, it was hard to remember that.

He brushed the sketch pad after erasing his pencil mark, leaning in close to work at the detail.

It was these times he really felt his insecurities. His sense of self-worth at its lowest, never feeling quite good enough for his hyungs, who were everything to him. Old scars resurfacing and transferring onto them, thoughts and actions they had never committed easily being mistaken in his mind. Not to mention the fear of whether or not it would happen if he opened up and told them his secrets, things he kept hidden from everyone but wanted to share so badly.

He leaned back, looking at the drawing. It was messy, few details, just enough to try and capture the emotion and not the story. Figures looming over a quick sketch of what was supposed to be Jeongguk huddled in a ball, looking small and weak, scared and alone. It was what most of the drawings in this book consisted of, as the dream never really changed, but the more recent ones had subtle differences that distinguish them from the others. Like how there was six figures rather than four.

Leaning back in his chair Jeongguk dragged his hands down his face, letting out a deep sigh. Looking at the clock it was now four in the morning. Fatigue was settling back into his bones and he dragged his heavy body from the desk and back into bed. He was supposed to meet Jimin at the gym at six. He would have to grab an energy drink on his way and try not to let Jimin see how exhausted he was. He doesn’t want to worry them, not yet at least.

Jeongguk knew these new nightmares had been brought about by his rising desire to tell his friends about himself, to tell them that no I don’t like girls I like boys, and once again he was facing the inner battle of whether or not just to tell them. It might help with the nightmares, probably would solve them to an extent, but said nightmares were one of the things that kept him from telling them.

He looked at the photo beside his desk again, wanting the last thing he saw before he fell asleep were his hyung’s smiling faces at him.

 

 

“Is everything okay there Guk?”

Jeongguk looked up from the weights he was lifting at Jimin’s concerned face. He finished his set then placed them on the ground and wiped his face with the hem of his shirt.

“Yeah? Why wouldn't it be?”

Jimin was standing above Jeongguk, towel around his neck and holding out a water bottle to him. Jeongguk graciously accepted it, downing half the bottle and wiping the back of his mouth then laid back on the bench.

“You’re quiet. More than usual.”

Jeongguk frowned at the ceiling. He didn’t think he was acting any different, but thinking about it, he had been lost in his own thoughts from last night.

“Am I? I didn’t notice.” He shrugged. “I’m alright though.”

Jimin held his gaze for a moment longer before dropping the towel on the ground and moving to the leg press. Jeongguk let out a sigh of relief that Jimin wasn’t going to press it and turned back to the weights. Checking his phone, they had another half an hour before they had to hit the showers and head to the office.

Jeongguk tried to join Jimin at the gym as often as he could, the other hitting the gym Monday to Friday almost every morning before work. Jin joined him a couple times a week and Jeongguk tried to go anytime he didn’t work his overnights. He used to work out at home, going on runs or working out in his living room, until a few years ago Jin invited him to go to the gym with him and Jimin. He had been shy at first, self-conscious at working out around others but he found he liked the competition, especially Jimin who was more intense than Jin and offered him a new kind of motivation to work out.

He still did his own routines outside of the gym, usually going on runs. He had a few sets of weights at home he still used most days as well. They called him a junkie. While Jimin certainly hit the gym more than he did, he only went hard when Jeongguk was there, usually doing a lighter routine when he was on his own. Jeongguk, on the other hand, tended to go hard every time. It was a good distraction for him.

Today though, it seemed even the competition with Jimin as they both worked side by side wasn’t enough to keep him out of his head. Last night's nightmare was weighing down on him heavily along with the exhaustion from the little sleep, and he couldn’t keep his focus on what he was doing properly.

He hadn’t even realized it, but Jimin was probably the hardest person to get anything by, aside from Yoongi, but like Yoongi, usually wouldn’t push anything unless he felt it needed to be addressed. Jeongguk was often grateful they didn't push, but always seemed to know when to push.

Jeongguk could feel Jimin’s eyes on him now, and it only furthered to add to his turmoil. Will he let it go this time though? Will he mention it to the others? Is he annoyed? He was putting a damper on the morning. The two of them were usually in high spirits, the excitement of competition increasing the adrenaline as they tried to best the other. The silence was uncomfortable now that it had been pointed out.

Jeongguk put his weights down, grabbing the spray bottle to wipe down the bench and dumbbells and moving to the leg press beside Jimin.

Jimin only glanced over at him while Jeongguk changed the weight, pulling out one of his earbuds as a way of acknowledgment before turning back to his set. They worked in silence, grunts and heavy breaths the only sound between them. Jeongguk glanced over at Jimin’s weight and he let out a sly smile as he moved to adjust his own again, going ten pounds heavier than Jimin.

Jimin noticed the change, and after a raised eyebrow, changed his own to match. A few minutes later, Jeongguk changed it again. Jimin followed suit. He glanced over and saw the sheen of sweat starting on Jimin’s brow, which was scrunched in concentration, but his lips were curled into a smile.

“You know, Jimin-ah, if you need a break,” Jeongguk started, aware that his tone was far more even than what he felt from the exertion.

“Ha,” Jimin huffed. “I’m completely fine, but if you need one, please feel free. And that’s ‘hyung’ to you brat.” Jimin leaned forward and increased the setting again. Jeongguk copied him.

This went one a few more times, the both of them now huffing and puffing as they pushed through, neither wanting to give in before the other. They kept throwing shit-eating grins to each other, making the odd shot between heavy breaths. Jeongguk’s earlier thoughts had dissipated the back of his mind as he competed with Jimin, enjoying the adrenaline it brought. Jeongguk glanced at the clock. They only had a few more minutes left, and he said as much to Jimin.

“Hmm, well I guess we better stop then,” He commented, making no effort to let up. Jeongguk leaned his head back, letting it roll to the side towards Jimin who flicked his eyes over to him. They maintained eye contact for a moment before the two shot forward with laughter, feet falling to the ground and off the press, the weights hitting the ground with a loud thunk.

“Hey! Be careful with the equipment!” Came an angry yell from behind them. They both twisted back, still laughing, waving apologizes to the attendant at the desk. The man sent them warning glares, muttering down at the desk as he started talking into the phone again that had been resting against his shoulder.

Jimin shoved at Jeongguk, who flailed for a moment getting his balance back before leaning over and shoving Jimin right off the machine. This started off another round of boisterous laughter, the two of them getting a mix of amused and annoyed looks from the other patrons at the gym. Jeongguk jumped up off the machine, going over to help Jimin up off the ground.

“You’re a brat, you know that right?” Jimin raised an eyebrow at him.

“A cute brat.”

“Hmm, sure.”

They wiped the machines off, heading to the change room to shower and change into their work clothes. They laughed and joked, Jeongguk’s earlier mood lighter now as he wrestled with Jimin, having stolen his pants and making him chase him around the room in his underwear to get it back, he himself shirtless. Jimin had finally caught up, holding him in a headlock and mashing his fist into Jeongguk’s head, telling him to give.

Jeongguk, realizing he was not going to get out of the hold, reach behind him and grabbed Jimin's side, pinching hard. Jimin howled, releasing him and Jeongguk darted away, throwing the pants at Jimin's face.

Yah! You are such a little shit,” Jimin yelled, eyes glaring but a smile on his face. “Why do you disrespect me this way? I am your elder here. I should be treated with respect.”

Jeongguk just stuck his tongue out at him, moving back to his stuff and put his shirt on.

“What are you, five?” Jimin came up and put his pants on, one last shove at Jeongguk. They gathered their stuff, exiting the gym and waving goodbye to the desk attendant who waved them off without looking up from his computer. The morning air was crisp, chillier than expected on a summer day. Jeongguk shivered, rubbing his arms. They made their way down the sidewalk towards work.

During the walk, there was a couple that passed them, two men, holding hands as they walked. They had large smiles on their faces as they went, arms swinging between them, talking animatedly to each other. Jeongguk tried not to stare as they passed, only taking a moment to look back and observe them. He watched in pained wonderment, at the ease in which they carried themselves, knowing that they were putting their affection for each other out on display for everyone to see. Were they scared? Did they care? Jeongguk wished he could have the kind of confidence and even more so, wished he could have someone to share it with. He didn’t notice Jimin watching him, taking in the pained expression on Jeongguk’s face that he didn’t realize he was making.

The gym was only a short walk from the trailer, and the two stopped at a small cafe they frequented enough to be recognized and to not even have to order, the barista already knowing it.

“The whole team or just you two today?” The woman, Seoyeon, asked with a bright smile at Jeongguk.

“All seven today, already got texts from the crew grumbling about their need for actual coffee and not the crap work provides us.” He replied with his own smile. Seoyeon giggled and set to work making the order. Jimin and Jeongguk waited on their phones, but Jeongguk noticed Jimin giving him the odd side look. He ignored him.

“Here we go, four americano’s, a steeped tea, a latte, and a cube latte.” She handed an americano to Jeongguk and Jimin, and then the tray holding the rest of the coffee. Jeongguk tapped his card, paying for the coffee’s then bowed his head in thanks. Seoyeon returned the sentiment, smiling widely as they left the shop.

As they walked down the street, he still felt Jimin's eyes on him. After a minute when the growing unease at the stare peaked, he snapped.

“What is it? Do I have something on my face or what?”

Jimin watched him for a moment, unaffected by Jeongguk’s tone. “You know she was flirting with you right?”

What?

“She has been for months. Not that subtly either, if I’m honest.”

Jeongguk thought back to all the times he had come to the store, with or without the others, and all the friendly smiles and easy chats. He really didn’t see it, but Jimin was usually the one to pick up on those things.

“Really? I mean, I didn’t realize. She doesn’t flirt like, other girls usually do.” Meaning she wasn’t throwing herself at him. “I’ve never even thought of her like that,” He stammered out, getting flustered and desperately wanting to change the subject.

“She is pretty cute,” Jimin commented casually, watching Jeongguk from the corner of his eye as he sipped on his latte.

“I mean, I guess,” He shrugged, the short walk to work suddenly seemed much, much longer than usual.

Jimin shrugged back, head tilting to the side, eyes back on the road. “Eh, she’s not your type.”

Jeongguk watched Jimin, who kept his eyes forwards. ‘Not your type’? What did he mean by that? As far as they knew, Jeongguk didn’t really a have a type, besides men but they didn’t know that. He was going to ask as much but was interrupted by a body slamming into his back and a low laugh in his ear.

“Good morning! How are my lovely boys this morning?” Taehyung singsonged into his ear, both Jimin and Jeongguk rolling their eyes, the latter holding up the takeout tray.

“We both know this is all you care about,” Jeongguk said dryly, walking onto the site with Taehyung still hanging off his back like a monkey.

“Jeon Jeongguk, I am insulted that you would even think that I am not even the slightest bit interested in how my dongsaengs’,” Jimin muttered an ‘I’m older than you dipshit’, “are doing.”

“So I guess I can just throw this out then.” Jimin grabbed a drink from the take-out tray, walking towards a garbage barrel by the trailer. Taehyung yelped as he scrambled off Jeongguk’s back, elbowing him in the head in his rush, running and yelling after Jimin who was now holding his latte hostage.

“You’d think the two of them were the youngest.”

Jeongguk turned at the sound of Yoongi’s voice behind him who was standing with Hoseok, the latter hollering at Jimin and Taehyung to give it a break. Jeongguk smiled at Yoongi with a ‘good morning’, offering the two their drinks - americano for Yoongi and latte for Hoseok. They thanked him, both returning the smile - Hoseok’s bright and far too bubbly for the early morning, Yoongi’s small but soft, fond, as he sipped at the drink.

“I’m going to go round those two up, I’ll meet you in the trailer,” Hoseok told them as he marched over to Jimin and Taehyung, who were both now crawling over the machinery while Jimin did his best not to spill both his drink and Taehyung's.

“This is way too much energy for me,” Yoongi groaned as he took big gulps of his coffee, Jeongguk snickering as the two moved to the trailer.

“You’re just a grandpa. Don’t forget your afternoon nap today.” Jeongguk opened the door, letting Yoongi in first, ducking when Yoogi raised a hand, muttering ‘brat’ as they got into the trailer. Namjoon and Seokjin were sitting at the table talking.

“Ah, blessed be.” Seokjin jumped up, grabbing his tea from Jeongguk. “I could kiss you.” Seokjin furthered the declaration by grabbing the back of his head and plopping his lips on his forehead with a loud mmwah. Jeongguk pushed at him, making a disgusted noise while the other laughed. Seokjin ruffled his hair and moved back to his place at the table. Jeongguk brought Namjoon’s coffee to him, who, thankfully, took it with far less fanfare than Seokjin.

“Where are the others?” Namjoon asked, all of them settling into their seats at the table.

“Hoseok is trying to wrangle up the other two. Jimin is holding Tae’s latte hostage.” Yoongi leaned back, head falling back with his eyes closed, likely wishing the day was already over.

“Does Jimin have a death wish?” Seokjin laughed, and they heard a loud crash from outside followed by Hoseok yelling, “Are you trying to kill yourselves? Get down now!”

The four of them looked at each other, (Yoongi kinda just tilted his head a bit) then at Namjoon who shrugged. “I’m not on the clock yet. Not my problem.” Yoongi snorted but otherwise didn’t move from his spot.

The door slammed open a minute later, Taehyung walking in, a happy smile on his face as he sipped on his cube latte, followed by a less than happy Jimin, hands empty and a stain on his shirt. Hoseok closed the door behind him, a look of exasperation on his face. The three sat down at the table, Jimin falling into the chair beside Jeongguk with a heavy flop, arms crossed and huffing as he glared at the table.

Everyone looked at him, then at Taehyung who sat there humming happily then finally at Hoseok.

“Jimin discovered why he really shouldn't get in between Taehyung and his cube latte.” Hoseok offered no other explanation, sitting down on the other side of Yoongi and began to pester the dozing elder. Namjoon and Seokjin shook their heads, going back to their conversation.

Jeongguk tried his best to keep the smile off his face as he turned to Jimin, wrinkling his nose at the unfortunate coffee stain on Jimin’s shirt.

“Did you at least get to drink most of it?”

Jimin’s glare was answer enough. Jeongguk pushed his own drink, a little over half left, towards Jimin. Jimin looked up at Jeongguk with surprise, then a soft smile.

“No, it’s fine Guk, I’m just moping. It was my own fault anyway, even if Tae went overboard.” He shot Taehyung a withering look, Taehyung only responding with a boxy smile. Jimin rolled his eyes, looking back at Jeongguk.

“Nah, it’s fine. Really, I know how you are without your morning coffee,” Jeongguk gave him a teasing smile, pushing it forwards again. “Plus I had an energy drink earlier. I probably don’t need this anyway,” He laughed.

Jimin relaxed his shoulders, arms uncrossing and falling to the table and wrapping around the coffee that was still warm.

“Thanks, Gukkie, you’re truly my favourite.”

“Hey, I thought I was!”

“You’re dead to me.”

 

 

Jeongguk leaned against the counter, eyes half closed as he dozed in and out of consciousness. It was almost three a.m. and he had had maybe one customer in the last hour and a half. He had run out of stuff to look at on his phone, and his eyes hurt too much to keep watching videos. He was exhausted, and just wanted to go to sleep, but he had to go right to his day job after this, then Seokjin’s place. At least he was off work early today. He could nap after his doctor’s appointment before he went to Seokjin’s.

Groaning he pushed off the counter and stood from the stool, stretching his legs. He did a walk around of the small convenience store, fixing the shelves for the third time that night. He grabbed an energy drink from the cooler, cracking it open and sipping on it as he wandered around idly. There was some pop song playing quietly through the speakers in the store, but someone had fucked with the radio dial and any music that comes out is distorted and static, so he had no idea what song it was. It was annoying as fuck but his manager had yet to actually fix it and no one else is allowed to touch the thing. Jeongguk was just glad it’s set at a quiet enough volume that he can usually tune it out.

A customer came into the store, some older man dressed in a construction shirt and ratty jeans, looking like he was still asleep as he stumbled over to the cooler Jeongguk had just been at, grabbing some drinks.

Jeongguk made his way back behind the counter as the man came up to the till, dropping the cans of energy drinks and asked for a pack of cigarettes. As Jeongguk rang him in the man commented on his own drink.

“You know, those aren’t very good for you,” he nodded at the can, and Jeongguk looked at him then at his own drinks and said nothing, just smiled and nodded at the man. Customer service was the bane of his existence but he was pretty used to that kind of behaviour by now.

The man paid then grumbled out a goodbye, before leaving. Jeongguk watched him leave, watched as he opened the new pack, immediately lighting the cigarette as soon as it was in his mouth, seeing the way he breathed almost in relief. Jeongguk frowned, looking away.

His phone dinged, pulling his attention away. It was three thirty in the morning, who would be texting him now?

Yoongi’s name flashed across the screen and Jeongguk smiled to himself. He shouldn’t be surprised, Yoongi didn’t have a normal sleep schedule, or one at all really.

 

       Yoongi: are you working

 

Jeongguk typed back a response.

 

       Jeongguk: Yup, another two and a half hours.

 

Ten minutes passed and he didn’t receive another message from Yoongi, assuming he just fell back asleep. He finished off the last of his drink when the door chimed again. Looking down, his eyes widened as he spotted the familiar bucket hat sitting atop of short, wavy black hair.

“Yoongi-hyung, what are you doing here?” Jeongguk asked, surprised.

“I was bored and figured you’d need some help staying awake.” He tossed Jeongguk some energy bars and a banana. Jeongguk looked at him questioningly.

“‘Cause I know you won't eat an actual breakfast before work and that’s all I had at my place.” He said nonchalantly as he leaned back against the counter, taking a bite out of an apple.

He thanked him, peeling the banana as they both ate in comfortable silence, Yoongi moving to browse the store when a customer came in buying smokes. When the customer left, Yoongi came back holding a bag of candy that he tossed at Jeongguk along with some change as he hoisted himself onto the counter, sitting facing the store.

Jeongguk rang in the candy, putting the money in the till as Yoongi opened the bag, tossing some of the gummies into his mouth and offering a few to Jeongguk.

“I don’t know how you do this job kid,” Yoongi commented after a few minutes of silence. The first signs of sunrise were starting to peek through the buildings, the traffic outside slowly starting to pick up as people got ready to start the day.

“What do you mean?”

Yoongi gestured to the store. “Sitting in a store all night with shit all to do, knowing you can’t even go to sleep after this.” Yoongi glanced back at him, looking over his shoulder. Jeongguk couldn’t help but think he looked adorably cute, the way the early light reflected in his eyes.

Jeongguk shrugged, indifferent. “It’s not so bad. You get used to it after a while. Plus it’s only temporary.” At least he hoped it was. It had been almost three years since he got this job, in hopes of saving up enough money to be able to afford school, but he felt nowhere closer to that goal than he did three years ago.

“Ah, yes. Your plans to be a schoolboy again.” Yoongi turned back to the store, swinging his legs. “I was glad to get out of high school. Don’t think I could go back to school again.”

Jeongguk just shrugged. Yoongi knew he hadn’t finished high school, and one of the things he was hoping to save money up to do was to also finish high school so he had the opportunity to go to college and get scholarships or bursaries. It would be easy enough to take the classes he needs at a college or university, it all just came down to money.

His hyung’s were encouraging to his desire to finish school. He had joined the company when he was barely seventeen, Yoongi, Seokjin, Hoseok, and Namjoon already working there, Jimin and Taehyung joining later after they had finished high school. That was almost five years ago now.

They asked him why he had left school, claiming he was a bright kid, that he was way above being some dirty construction job and shop boy. He always pushed off their questioning, changing the subject when he could. They had accepted that it was a topic he was sensitive about, but he was sure they had their theories. Jeongguk didn’t fit the stereotype of a dropout in their eyes.

They chatted some more, Yoongi moving and sitting behind the counter on the ground as customers started to become more frequent, spending most of the time trying to make Jeongguk laugh or trip up as he was with a customer.

At one point, Yoongi had run his hand up the inside of Jeongguk’s leg and Jeongguk had to hold back a squeak, kicking his leg out at Yoongi who let out a small yelp as Jeongguk’s foot connected with his arm.

The lady who had been on her phone while Jeongguk rang her items in looked up at him, her expression annoyed and questioning.

“Sorry, there was a bug.” Jeongguk watched out of the corner of his eye as Yoongi stifled a snigger. The lady just rolled her eyes, paying and leaving. Once she was gone Jeongguk kicked at Yoongi who let out a loud laugh, crawling away to avoid being hit by Jeongguk.

Soon it was six and the next shift arrived. Gathering his stuff and clocking out, he waved goodbye as Yoongi and Jeongguk left. They made their way right to the subway, settling in for the half hour ride to the office. He held his bag on his lap, his eyes fluttering as he tried his best to stay awake. Yoongi, who had been casually commenting on the people around him, noticed how Jeongguk was slowly swaying, eyes closed.

Rolling his eyes, Yoongi shook Jeongguk to get his attention, sleepy eyes turning in his direction.

“Take a nap, I’ll wake you when we are there.”

“I don’t want to leave you alone, plus you’re usually the one falling asleep.” Jeongguk resisted, not wanting the two of them to miss their stop.

Yoongi scoffed. “I can manage to stay awake for thirty minutes, kid. Get some rest. You’ll need it.”

Jeongguk relented, his own body already moving to sleep before he had even decided. He pulled his hood up on his sweater and leaned his head back against the glass, letting himself drift off to the sound of the subway car on the tracks.

Jeongguk was awoken by a soft shaking, and he slowly opened his eyes, blinking. Yoongi was talking to him.

“Jeongguk-ah, time to wake up.”

Jeongguk yawned, rubbing his eyes, then halted when he realized his head was no longer leaning back against the window but was resting on Yoongi’s chest.

He quickly pulled back, blushing furiously and now wide awake. Looking around, he checked to see if anyone had been watching him, if anyone was throwing him disgusted looks or heated glares, but all he was met with were equally exhausted people who gave them no mind.

He heard Yoongi chuckle beside him and he bent his head, letting his hoodie hide his face. Times like this he was glad he could pass these reactions off as just being a shy kid and not as something more. It's not like they weren’t all affectionate with each other - Taehyung and Jimin were often hanging off someone or grabbing at peoples hands. Jeongguk wasn’t as forward as them, but when in the privacy of their homes or the worksite, he would give in to the skinship.

Publicly though, he was reserved. Too scared at the idea of someone looking at him and just, knowing; especially with Yoongi. It was silly, but as usual, he was weak to his fears and insecurities always got the best of him.

They exited the subway and made the five-minute walk to the trailer, arriving at the same time as Hoseok, Taehyung, and Jimin.

“Ah, good morning!” Hoseok singsonged, greeting them all cheerfully while Jimin just kind of grumbled in response. He wasn’t a morning person by any definition without his coffee.

“Were you able to get any sleep Gukkie?” Taehyung asked as he walked up to Jeongguk, putting his arm around his neck.

“Yeah, I got a quick nap on the subway over.” He smiled, bumping his head against Taehyung's shoulder as the walked.

“That’s impressive that you didn’t sleep through your stop.”

“Yoongi-hyung was with me this morning, he woke me up in time.” Jeongguk glanced back to Yoongi, who was talking with Hoseok, a sleepy Jimin trailing behind them.

“That’s even more impressive, that Yoongi didn’t fall asleep and you both miss the stop ending up on the other side of the city,” Hoseok commented, poking at Yoongi who rolled his eyes.

“One time, it happened one time and you fucks never let me forget it,” Yoongi grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest and Hoseok laughed, draping himself over Yoongi’s grumpy form.

They laughed at the two as they got into the trailer, Seokjin and Namjoon already there as per usual, nursing their coffee’s. They looked up and greeted them as they walked in.

“There they are. How are my men doing on this fine morning?” Namjoon asked, standing as they entered. There was a chorus of ‘good’ and ‘glad its Friday’ along with Jimins incoherent grumbles as he stumbled over to the coffee machine. Namjoon laughed, ruffling his hair.

“Ah, my sleeping beauty, ready for the day as always.” He received more grumbling from Jimin as he took a gulp of his coffee. “Alright, you got ten minutes before we start the debrief. I’ll be back, just got to make a call to home base.” Namjoon left the trailer, and the others milled around, waking up. Jeongguk slid past to the bathroom so he could change into his work clothes, then stuffed everything into his locker. By the time he got his own coffee into his mug, they were all heading out to begin the day.

Jeongguk pounded back his coffee on the walk, Seokjin falling into step by him.

“How are you doing Jeongguk?” He asked as Jeongguk lowered the coffee mug.

“I’m alright, little tired.” He shrugged. Tired was an understatement, but he didn’t want to worry Seokjin.

Seokjin watched him like he was looking for something before speaking again. “You’re off early today?”

“Yup, doctors appointment. Just a routine check-up.” He smiled at Seokjin as they gathered around Namjoon. He went over the work order for the day, and then they set off into the work trucks, leaving the lot and heading to the work site.

They were working on a contract for a new, fifteen story office building. They were still working on the foundation, Namjoon and his team one of many working on it. Once they were there they jumped right back into where they had left off the day before.

Jeongguk was on the excavator for most the morning, mostly keeping to himself as they continued to dig out the ground. They took their first break, and it goes the same as usual; cute girls walking by, comments about said cute girls and shots at Jeongguk. The teasing wasn’t every day but it was enough. It had been bothering Jeongguk more than usual this week but he did his best to act normal as always, keeping his expression light.

After that, Jeongguk left for the day for his doctor's appointment, waving goodbye and telling Seokjin he’ll be over after work.

He got to the office with a few minutes to spare and the ladies at the reception greeted him warmly and by name. He smiled and moved to the waiting room until his name was called, sitting cross-legged in the moderately comfortable chairs, half paying attention to the news that was on a small screen in the corner.

“Jeon Jeongguk?”

Jeongguk looked away from the T.V., that was talking about a rash of robberies as of late. His doctor, Jin-Kyu, was standing by the desk. He greeted Jeongguk with a smile as he approached, leading him to the room. Jeongguk sat on the chair by the examinations table while Jin-Kyu sat on the stool at his desk.

“How are you Jeongguk?”

“I’m doing well, Seonsaengnim. And you?” He asked politely. The elder doctor smiled at him, amused by Jeongguk’s formal manner. Jeongguk had been seeing him for quite a few years now, but he was as respectful as always.

“I am well, thank you for asking.” He looked over his chart, crossing his legs. “So it’s just a routine check-up for today?” He peered at Jeongguk over his glasses.

“Yes, Seonsaengnim,” Jeongguk nodded.

“Well then, please seat yourself on the table.” He gestured to the examination table as he turned to his desk to type something in. Jeongguk moved accordingly, his legs dangling off the side. He watched Jin-Kyu, waiting. He had been his doctor since he first moved to Seoul from Busan and helped him immensely in the beginning. He was grateful for Jin-Kyu and all his help over the years, and his caring nature.

Jin-Kyu turned from his desk and grabbed the stethoscope from around his neck.

“Alright, Jeongguk, you know the drill. Deep breaths.” Jin-Kyu instructed as he brought the bell to his chest. They went through the standard procedures; lungs, heart, blood pressure, etc. Jin-Kyu moved down to look at the scar tissue on his stomach. Jeongguk shivered at the touch there, the skin still sensitive.

“You know, you can get this scar removed through surgery Jeongguk,” Jin-Kyu commented, glancing at him before moving to his desk to tap some information into his computer.

Jeongguk smiled at the doctor’s back knowingly. “I can’t afford that kind of procedure, Jin-Kyu-seonsaengnim.” It was something that he had mentioned in the past and Jeongguk had considered it before, but it was a cost he couldn’t afford right now. And if he was honest, part of him didn’t want to remove it, to keep the reminder.

They said no more on it, and Jin-Kyu deemed him healthy and good to go. He thanked him then left the office. As he stepped out into the fresh air, Jeongguk felt his exhaustion seep into his bones. He was totally drained and it had been a struggle to keep awake on the subway. He had a couple of hours before he had to be at Seokjin’s, so once he was home he ate a quick lunch then set an alarm, throwing himself onto his bed and passing out as soon as his head touched the pillow.

When his alarm cut through his dreamless sleep, he groaned, his eyes stinging and head stuffed. He dragged himself from his bed, not feeling any more rested than before. He really just wanted to crawl back into bed and sleep till next week, but Seokjin was waiting for him and he never likes skipping the dinners at his home. So he took a quick shower to help wake himself up and made his way out to Seokjin’s place.

The ride was long, Seokjin living the farthest away out of everyone. He used to live on the same block as him, but eventually moved out into a house on his own when he had saved enough money to do so. Though he lived right by a subway station which was always a bonus after the long ride when his legs were stiff from sitting. He walked across the street, turning onto another road passing a couple of houses until he got to Seokjin’s. It was small, quaint, even. It was a fairly simple, white with wooden trim, and an A-frame roof that hung off the front porch.

Jeongguk entered Jin’s house, the home as familiar as his own. They all spent much of their time here, whether as a group or on their own. Enough that Jeongguk wasn’t even bothered by the fact that Jin was in the shower when he arrived, just kicking his shoes off and throwing himself down on the couch. He scrolled through his phone as he waited, music playing from Jin’s laptop quietly in the background.

About ten minutes later he heard the shower turn off followed by some shuffling and doors closing. Couple minutes later, Seokjin came thumping down the stairs asking if Jeongguk was there.

“I’m here hyung,” He replied as he sat up from the couch into view.

“I thought I heard the door. Thank you for offering to help.” Seokjin walked down the hall to the kitchen, Jeongguk following closely behind looking around at the spotless house. Jeongguk always marvelled at how tidy Seokjin managed to keep his house. He was the only one of the crew to actually own a house, the rest of them renting apartments, and he found that hard enough to maintain. But Seokjin was always the most responsible of them all, at least when it came to being an adult.

“So what are we making?” Jeongguk asked as he watched Seokjin take out various pans and utensils.

“Kimchi and bulgogi.”

“That sounds wonderful.”

Seokjin glanced back at him. “Anything sounds wonderful to you. All you eat is ramen and leftover ramen.”

Jeongguk rolled his eyes as he moved to start cutting the vegetables while Seojin started to prep the beef. “As Yoongi-hyung said before, it’s quick and cheap.”

“This is why I feed you all. Mainly you young ones and Yoongi. Hobi and Joonie at least seem to eat somewhat reasonably.”

“Yes mom, I get it,” Jeongguk said, giggling at Seokjin’s exasperated look.

“Someone has to take care of you all. God knows your future wives will have their hands full.” Seokjin gave him a cheeky wink, focusing back on the beef.

Jeongguk sobered a bit at the off-handed comment, his body tense as he continued to chop the onions. He felt it again, the desire to just say it. He could blurt it out right now, then asking Seokjin if he thought it would rain later.

Instead, he just put the vegetables into a bowl to mix.

Seokjin, the ever observant, noticed Jeongguk's tense posture and lack of response to the jibe. “Jeongguk-ah, what’s wrong?”

“Hmm?”

“You’re quiet. Do you doubt you’ll meet someone? Because I know you’ll make a lucky lady very happy one day. Don’t worry about things like that, regardless of the boys’ teasing.”

Seokjin said it with so much compassion in his voice that it had Jeongguk flustered as he tried to find a response. He hated lying to Seokjin. It left a bad taste in his mouth and a sour feeling in his gut to lie to someone who had been more of a parent to him than anyone else in his life. He was always the one to curveball the boys teasing, seeing how uncomfortable he got. But he didn’t have another way out of it, besides actually telling him the truth, which was slowly becoming more and more of an option and it terrified him.

Clearing his throat while still chopping, he smiled before responding, “I know hyung, I’m just tired from work. I had a nap before I came here though.” He resisted the urge to grab a glass of water to wash away the false words.

“Tsk, you should go take another one. I’ll finish dinner.”

“No, I’m okay. I want to help.” Jeongguk insisted.

He tutted but relented. “Fine, but I know that’s not it. Something's been bothering you all week. You’ve been off, and I know the others have noticed it too.”

Jeongguk frowned, keeping his face down as he focused on what he was doing. Had it been that obvious? He knew he worried Jimin the other morning when his mood had been tainted by the remnants of his nightmare before, but it wouldn’t have been enough for him to mention it to anyone. Would it? It had only been for part of the morning, the rest of it had gone quite nicely he thought. Ever since Monday, his thoughts had been weighing on him more than usual but he didn’t think he had been making it known around the others.

“I’m fine, just more tired this week than usual. You know I go through slumps sometimes.” Not a lie, but not the complete truth. Seokjin didn’t look like he believed him though.

“Whatever it is Guk, you know you can always talk to me, and I’ll never breathe a word of it to anyone.” Seokjin’s voice was sincere as he looked at Jeongguk, his eyes searching as he tried to discern what was on the youngest mind that was dragging him down so much. It had been subtle, nothing glaringly obvious, but he noticed that the light in his dongsaeng’s eyes had been dimmer this week, his smile not always as bright.

Jeongguk squirmed a little under his stare. He wanted to tell him so badly, Seokjin was the one out of all his hyung’s that he would feel the most comfortable telling, but the usual fear flared and silenced him just as he thought about opening up.

“I know, hyung.”

They went back to work in silence. Once the meat was prepped and sitting in the marinade, they put it in the fridge to sit for a few hours. The first people probably wouldn’t show up for another hour, so the two got the dishes out and tidied the kitchen and had everything ready so they just had to cook the beef in the wok and serve it with the kimchi. Once that was done, they sat and decided to play some video games while they waited.

As they were playing, Jeongguk’s ears perked up as he recognized the opening chords to Holland’s song ‘Neverland’ that came through the speakers. He was an artist Jeongguk really enjoyed and looked up too, as the first openly gay idol in the industry. Jeongguk glanced at Seokjin, waiting to see his response.

Jeongguk had never heard them use derogatory language towards people who were gay, and he never got the feeling that any of them were homophobic, they were not those kinds of people. Jimin even mentioned once that he had a cousin who was gay, and he didn’t seem bothered by in the least. But still, they lived in a country where it was still very taboo, and it was part of the reason why he was so hesitant to open up.

When Seokjin made no visible response to it, Jeongguk decided to test it, making an offhand comment about the song and the artist.

“I’m looking forward to Hollands new song,” he said, waiting on bated breath.

“Me too actually. I’ve been following him since he debuted. It’s so wonderful to see someone taking a stand like that. I hope he will be the first of many.” Seokjin had a smile on his face, looking genuinely excited at the prospect.

Jeongguk felt his grip loosen then tighten on the control repeatedly as he stopped focusing on the game. Seokjin looked over at him, concerned as he gazed at nothing, his mind whirring as he was struck with overwhelming emotion.

“Jeongguk? What’s wrong?”

Jeongguk mumbled.

“What?”

“I’m gay.”

The silence that followed was agonizing for Jeongguk as he felt panic immediately bubble up in him replacing the courage that had briefly surged up within him moments ago. His breathing started to shorten as he tried not to let himself fall into a full blown panic attack. Did I just say that? Out loud? The worst possible case scenarios flashing through his mind, of Seokjin looking disgusted, of him yelling at him, throwing him out or even-

“Jeongguk, are you listening?”

Jeongguk was brought out of his thoughts by Seokjin’s hand on his shoulder. He looked at him, seeing the concern that coloured his face, eyes soft and warm as he ducked to meet Jeongguk’s gaze, which had been redirected to the ground.

“Take a deep breath. That’s it, just like that. Relax Jeongguk-ah.” Seokjin rubbed his back as Jeongguk got his breathing back to normal, though his body remained tense and wary, ready to bolt at the slightest hint of ill intent. He sneaked a peek at Seokjin who was staring at him with a kind smile. He felt his body relax a bit.

After a minute, Jeongguk hesitantly spoke. “Are- are you okay with that? Hyung?” Jeongguk asked, the words coming out in a stuttered breath.

“What, about you being gay? Did you think-” Seokjin’s face morphed from disbelieving to wounded. “Oh, Gukkie, did you really think I would be upset about that?”

Jeongguk cringed at the palpable hurt in his voice, quickly shaking his head.

“No, I mean, not really. Part of me, maybe.” Jeongguk let out a sigh, body sagging. “Most of me knows you wouldn’t be but the rest of me was… scared.” He bit his lip, looking up at Seokjin. “So, you’re fine with it? You don’t-” He swallowed. “Everything is okay?”

“Jeongguk, you being gay changes nothing.” Seokjin’s voice was stern, no room for argument. “I’m sorry if I ever gave you a reason to think otherwise.”

“No, you haven’t! It’s just,” Jeongguk paused, hesitating. Part of him wanted to open up more to Seokjin, to really explain why, but he wasn’t ready for that. He wasn’t sure he’d ever be ready to share that with someone. “I’ve told people in the past and the response... Wasn’t the warmest.” He mumbled the last bit, looking away. Seokjin got the feeling that he didn’t want to share more than that and he wasn’t going to push him.

“Jeongguk-ah, you are my family. No matter what, even if it is something I dislike or disagree with, you will always be loved and supported by me. I promise.”

Jeongguk stared wide-eyed at Seokjin, tears stinging the back of his eyes as he surged forward, hugging Seokjin tightly, trying to convey just how much it meant to hear those words, how much he needed to hear those words. Seokjin wrapped his arms around him, holding him for as long as he needed. He couldn’t understand how Jeongguk was feeling, and he was hurt that the boy had felt he couldn’t talk to him about this, but he wouldn’t hold it against him. He must have his reasons, and Seokjin would respect that.

After a few minutes, once Jeongguk felt more composed, he pulled back and wiped his nose.

“Thank you, hyung. I’m sorry for how I reacted. It’s just, not something I share with people, but I’ve wanted to tell you, all of you, for so long, but I never had the courage.”

“Ba, don’t apologize. Don’t thank me either, I’ve done nothing more than what is expected of me.” Seokjin smiled as he patted Jeongguk on the head who gave Seokjin a goofy smile. “Do the others know?”

Jeongguk's smile dropped. “No, you’re the first person I’ve told in years. And it wasn’t planned either. It just kinda came out.” He blushed, a little embarrassed that he just dropped the bomb like that.

“You know that they would have the exact same reaction as I right? None of them would judge you.”

Jeongguk shifted. “I-I know that I do. But...” He trailed off, looking back at the ground.

“But you’re scared.” Jeongguk gave a curt nod. “That’s understandable. I do think you should tell them, but I won't pressure you, nor will I tell them anything.”

Jeongguk sighed in relief, looking back up at Seokjin. “Thank you.”

Seokjin smiled at him, ruffling his hair. He had a sweet spot for him, they all did, as the youngest of them. They all felt protective over him, an unspoken agreement that they would take care of him, all knowing that they were all Jeongguk had, even if the boy himself had never confirmed it either way. He knew none of them would treat Jeongguk any different.

They returned to the game and not much longer after that, Hoseok and Namjoon arrived, followed by Taehyung and Yoongi. Jimin had messaged soon after saying he was on his way, and they all played games until he arrived, while Seokjin went back to the kitchen to continue with dinner.

They goofed around, being the rambunctious group that they are, only getting worse when Jimin arrived, Taehyung and Jeongguk practically tackling him when he walked through the door.

“Ack, can I get my shoes off at least?” Jimin screeched as Jeongguk hoisted him into the air over his shoulder.

“I’ll get them!” Taehyung said as he started to wrangle Jimin's shoes off, tickling as he went. He spasmed and flailed but Jeongguk had a good grip on him.

“Will you guys help?” Jimin yelled at the others, who were all doubled over in laughter. Yoongi was the first to recover.

“I’m not going anywhere near those two right now. Help yourself.” The others laughed while Jimin whined.

“Yah, Gukkie, you need to show off those muscles more often. You’ll be sure to get a girl then,” Namjoon commented as Jeongguk moved and dropped a now shoeless Jimin onto the couch. He just smiled at Namjoon in response, his awkwardness being mistaken for shyness as usual.

“Yeah, I’m honestly surprised you haven't scooped one up yet, not even a high school sweetheart!” Hoseok exclaimed, leaning over to poke at Jeongguk bicep. Jeongguk moved his arm away and kept the smile plastered on his face, hoping it still looked believable while looking for a way to change the subject. Lucky, Seokjin came to his rescue.

“Jeongguk, can you come help me for a minute?”

“On my way!” He eagerly jumped at the chance to remove himself from the situation, the others laughing as he ran, making jokes about his shyness. He noticed that Yoongi did not partake, watching him as he left the room.

Entering the kitchen he saw that Seokjin was almost done the cooking. “What do you need help with?”

Seokjin looked back at Jeongguk from the counter, moving closer to him. “Nothing, I just wanted to help you out of that situation there,” Seokjin commented then he put his hands on Jeongguk shoulders, lowering his voice. “It just hit me. All those times we’ve joked and harassed you about women, about being shy. I’m so sorry Gukkie. It must have been so awkward and uncomfortable.” Seokjin looked so sad and Jeongguk felt his heart break a little.

“Hyung, please, you all had no idea. You have nothing to be sorry for. It’s my own fault for being in those positions.” Jeongguk placed a hand on Seokjin’s arms, trying to sound as sincere as possible. “Plus, you never really partook. If anything, you took the attention off of me.” Seokjin was far too much of a gentleman to really get into the catcalling the others did.

“Still, even if we didn’t know, thinking back I could see how uncomfortable you were. And for that, I am sorry.” Seokjin placed a hand on his head as he looked him right in the eyes.

“And I forgive you, I forgive all of you, even though there is nothing to forgive.” Jeongguk smiled. “Now, is there something I can actually help with?”

Seokjin moved back, turning to the counter. “Everything is pretty much done, just have to serve it all. Want to wrangle up the boys for me?”

Jeongguk nodded as he turned back to the living room, calling them all in. Everyone hollered at the prospect of food and filed their way into the kitchen. Jeongguk waited at the doorway as he let them all pass. Yoongi was last and as he walked passed Jeongguk he glanced at him giving him a smile. It was quick and Jeongguk barely even registered it but it was enough to set a blush crawling up his neck. He was too weak.

He followed him to the table, all sitting down as Seokjin brought the food to the table, telling everyone to ‘dig in’ before sitting himself.

It was, as always, delicious, and everyone made sure Seokjin knew it. Jeongguk loved the look of pride on Seokjin’s face every time he made a meal that was loved by them. It was really the only reason they all made a fuss about it, seeing the way Seokjin lit up at taking care of them in any way he could. Jeongguk himself was surprised he hadn’t found himself someone yet, but he had noticed how Seokjin had been awfully chummy with one of the secretaries at work as of late.

After dinner, they lounged around for a while, playing games and some of them having a few drinks. At some point Jimin and Taehyung left as they both had to be up in the morning, going to visit Taehyung’s parents who lived outside of Seoul. Hoseok and Namjoon decided to stay the night, indulging in more drinks. Yoongi had yet to voice what his plans for the evening, nursing the same cooler he had started with earlier.

Jeongguk decided it was time for him to head home and actually indulge in a good sleep after the last few days of sporadic naps here and there.

He said as much to them, getting ready to leave when Yoongi offered to walk him home since Jeongguk's apartment was on the way home for him.

Jeongguk thanked him as his stomach did flips. It never mattered what they were doing, but being alone with Yoongi always had him feeling a mix of excited and nervous.

They chatted as they walked towards the subway, Yoongi telling him about a song he was working on.

“It’s almost done, I’m just trying to figure out some of the harmonies,” he explained as they boarded the subway.

“Can I hear it?” Yoongi nodded as he pulled out his phone and a pair of earbuds. Jeongguk was always excited to hear Yoongi’s music. Most people didn’t know, but he was actually a really talented writer - his words and lyrics always filled with so much emotion and meaning. Aside from Namjoon, who has known Yoongi for years, no one else knew much about Yoongi’s hobby with it. They knew he played around with music and sound, but only Jeongguk and Namjoon knew the extent of his talent and were lucky enough to actually hear it. He had confessed it one day when they two were hanging out at Jeongguk’s place and Yoongi spotted a guitar tucked away in his room.

“Hey, Jeongguk-ah. What's this here?”

Jeongguk poked his head into his room to see what Yoongi was talking about. He blushed when he saw him holding an acoustic guitar, covered in various stickers of different bands, games, shows and more.

Yoongi looked up at him. “Do you play?”

“Uh, yeah, sometimes,” Jeongguk answered, going back to the kitchen to finish pouring their drinks then came back into his room.

Yoongi raised an eyebrow at him. “Sometimes?”

Jeongguk ducked his head again, a shy smile on his face. “It’s a hobby.”

Yoongi passed the guitar to him and sat down on his bed, legs crossed and hands clasped, looking at him expectantly. “Well?”

“Well, what?” Jeongguk asked, confused.

“Play for me. Show me what you’ve got.”

Jeongguk spluttered at the request, protests coming on his lips that Yoongi silenced.

“Ah, play.” He demanded, and Jeongguk felt his face heat up considerably as he placed the strap around his neck, sitting on his chair and started to play.

He played songs he had done covers of in the past, not looking at Yoongi as he played, but very aware of his watchful gaze that sent shivers down his spine.

When he was done he hesitantly looked up at Yoongi who was looking at him with an unreadable expression.

“Not bad,” He spoke after a minute. “You have some talent kid. Do you ever write your own stuff?”

Jeongguk was surprised by the comment. “Uh, I’ve tried in the past, n-nothing concrete though.” He stuttered a bit.

“Can you show me?”

Jeongguk had always kept that as a secret, something that was more of an outlet than a hobby, private. He could have easily told him they were private or that he didn’t want to share and his hyung wouldn’t have pressured him. But he realized he wanted to share it with Yoongi, and doing so he learned about his own music hobbies and they often worked on things together, which was a gift that Jeongguk cherished and was more than worth a few embarrassing moments.

Jeongguk still kept a lot of his own, unfinished songs tucked away, some far too personal and raw for anyone, let alone Yoongi to see. But he enjoyed helping his hyung with his music, and sometimes would let him in on one Jeongguk was working on. Yoongi always pushed him to do more and take it farther. It was a nice dream.

Jeongguk put the earbud in and listened to the music, the soft tones and haunting melody drifting through. He was ensnared by Yoongi’s low tones as he rapped, the song about lost and found love, about pain and hope, how they were intertwined, one always present around the other, and how one will always win out in the end.

“It’s beautiful,” Jeongguk replied honestly, looking at Yoongi. Yoongi held his gaze for a moment before dropping his gaze to his phone. For a second, Jeongguk thought he saw some pink in his cheeks.

“Thanks, maybe you can help me with the harmony on the chorus line.”

Jeongguk preened, eagerly accepting the chance to work with him on it.

They exited the subway and headed towards Jeongguk's apartment. Once they reached it, Jeongguk noticed a familiar figure standing at the door. He felt the hair on his neck stand and he immediately ducked his head when he realized it was the guy from the laundry room early this week. He tugged his jacket close to him, hoping to hide in plain sight. He wasn’t ready to face this guy yet, not so soon after the fool he had made of himself, and especially not with Yoongi with him, who he noticed was giving Jeongguk a strange look as Jeongguk practically cocooned into his coat.

He prayed to any god that would listen that he could slip by unnoticed as he seemed to be waiting for someone or something outside. They had almost made it to the door when the guy turned back suddenly, and Jeongguk did his best to refrain from squeaking.

The guy smiled at Jeongguk. “Hey, it’s you again.”

His voice was deeper than Jeongguk expected, and he was thrown off guard by the greeting. “Uh, h-hi.” What a brilliant response.

The man looked at Yoongi. “Who’s this, boyfriend?”

Jeongguk blanched at the comment, both because of its ridiculousness and insinuation. “No! He’s just a friend.” He sputtered. Why was he even asking?

The man's smile turned to a smirk, turning his chin up and looking down at Yoongi then back at him. “Ah, well then.” A car pulled up then, and the man turned to it then back to them. “Catch ya later.”

He got into the car and Jeongguk quickly put his key into the latch and hurried inside.

“Who was that?” Yoongi questioned.

“Uh, just some guy that lives here. I run into him from time to time, just the other day actually we were doing laundry together.” When he caught me checking him out and maybe he checked me out too? But he wasn’t going to tell him that.

“Huh,” Yoongi replied as he looked back towards the door for a minute before back to Jeongguk.

“Well, I’ll see you later then. Thanks for walking me home.”

“Eh, I think I’ll stay here for the night,” Yoongi stated.

“What?”

Yoongi raised an eyebrow at him. “What, is that a problem?”

Jeongguk quickly composed himself. “No, no, not at all! Just surprised. You don’t really stay the night at our places.” Usually only Seokjin’s and even then not as much as the others.

Yoongi shrugged. “It’s a long walk and I’m tired. Let’s stop standing here and go.” He leaned past Jeongguk and opened the door to the stairway, waiting for him to move. Jeongguk felt his blush creeping back once again as he turned to the stairway, making his way upstairs, Yoongi behind him.

They entered his apartment and Yoongi immediately threw his stuff onto the counter and plopped himself onto the couch. “I’m going to bed,” He stated as he kicked his socks off and shed his shirt, snuggling under the blanket that was on the couch and a pillow that was sitting on one of the chairs.

Jeongguk wasn’t bothered by his antics, all of them used to his ability to fall asleep pretty much anywhere at any time at the drop of a hat. What he was a little bothered by was the way Yoongi had stripped his shirt off, stretching in front of Jeongguk, torso bare for a few seconds before disappearing under the blanket.

That damn blush came roaring back as he mumbled out a good night and scurried to his room.

Shedding his own clothes down to his boxers he crawled into bed, practically falling onto it in his exhaustion. It had been a long day and his mind was still whirling with the knowledge that Seokjin now knew his best-kept secret, and he had a shirtless Yoongi, asleep in his apartment. He really didn’t want to ponder on either of those thoughts, his body already starting to shut down at the prospect of sleep. He decided to let future Jeongguk deal with those ramifications.

He sighed to himself, thinking back on Seokjin’s words from earlier. Yoongi was another reason he never told them. If he did tell them, and they were all okay with it, they would probably still tease him and try to set him up. Under any other circumstances, that would be great. Having six guys try and actively find someone for you? Six, all fairly attractive guys? Jeongguk could probably have a boyfriend within a week if they all knew.

The only problem with that is Jeongguk already had someone. Or, he had someone in his mind. But it was a pipe dream - one he tortured himself by entertaining the idea more often than he should, but could you blame him?

He rolled on his side facing his door. If he listened carefully, he could faintly hear Yoongi’s quiet snores from the other side. Jeongguk could picture his face when he slept - soft and soft and soft. Jeongguk thought Yoongi looked the most peaceful when he was asleep and that the hardlines and darkness under his eyes faded. It never failed to make Jeongguk love him more.

And that was the biggest issue. He loved Yoongi, more than a friend, more than a family member. He thinks he might have fallen for Yoongi in the first week he met him. He was the first of them to treat him like an adult rather than a kid. Not that Namjoon, Hoseok, and Seokjin treated him like he was incapable, but they coddled him a lot and wouldn't let him take on as many responsibilities as the rest. He had been so young compared to them - barely seventeen, and he was so shy and quiet.

But Yoongi, he didn’t coddle. He was blunt and to the point and treated him as a true equal regardless of the age difference. Jeongguk had been terrified in the beginning, not totally realizing that Yoongi wasn’t being hostile. He honestly thought Yoongi disliked him. But Yoongi still showed him the same warmth as the others, just in his own way.

He gave Jeongguk the chance to show the others what he was capable of and over time, they all gave him the same respect. Jeongguk worked hard and always did his job well. He grew closest to Yoongi in that first year, often trailing around after him like a lost puppy, admiring his work ethic and his meticulousness in his job. The others bugged them both about it, and while Jeongguk would blush and cringe, Yoongi just laughed and told them ‘at least he’ll see what a proper construction worker does.’

Then Jimin and Taehyung joined the company and Jeongguk was ecstatic to have people closer to his age, and they helped him open up even more, giving into the teasing and shenanigans they often pulled. But it all started with him.

Yoongi was the first one to break through his walls, by treating him as his equal in every way. Showing him he was worth the respect. And Jeongguk thinks that's what made him fall in love with him. The rest followed after - the way he smiles with his whole mouth, his calm demeanour in stressful situations, his snarky humour and savage remarks. The way he can put his entire soul into his music, or his patience with everyone when it comes to learning new jobs or starting new worksites. It’s the way he always seems to know when Jeongguk isn’t okay but always knows how to help. Or the way he just exudes this - warmth, that Jeongguk can't get enough of.

Jeongguk could go on for hours about it, creating lists upon lists as to why he fell for Yoongi, but in the end, they don’t really matter. No one would ever get to know all the feelings that are constantly swirling around in his chest. Yoongi would never know.

Jeongguk felt his eyes droop, sleep dragging him down. His eyes lingered on the door, the only thing between him and the one thing he wished he could have, but never will.

Chapter Text

Jeongguk woke up slowly, enjoying the quiet of the morning. He took his time as he stretched out on his bed, a pleasant groan in the back of his throat. He dropped his arms that had been stretched above his head to his pillow as he closed his eyes again, enjoying the fact that he had nowhere to be today. His next shift at Jung’s wasn’t until Sunday night and it was an evening shift too, so he could actually sleep Sunday night before work Monday. It had been a while since he had a Saturday off.

He laid there in bed for a while before he could no longer ignore his bladder. Groaning at the idea of getting out of bed, he pushed himself up slowly, checking the time on his clock.

11:54 A.M.

He blinked a few times. It was noon already? He slept for more than twelve hours. To be fair though, he had been up for like forty hours, ignoring his little cat naps. Muttering about a wasted day he got out of bed and left his room to his bathroom. As he made it to the door something caught his eye and he looked over and barely contained a yelp of surprise.

Yoongi’s sleeping form was laying sprawled out on his couch, one arm hanging off the couch, the other laying on his chest. His bare chest .

At some point in the night, Yoongi had kicked his blanket off, probably from the heat of the summer night, and now he was laying on Jeongguk’s living room couch, the light streaming in and hitting his chest just right and Jeongguk nearly had an aneurysm. He forgot that Yoongi had stayed the night and here Jeongguk was, standing in just his boxer briefs, staring at Yoongi’s chest like a perv.

It was also then that Jeongguk realized that Yoongi’s eyes were open and staring at Jeongguk, a stupid, little, sexy, smirk on his face and Jeongguk literally wish he could just die.

Yoongi raised an eyebrow at him and Jeongguk mumbled out a good morning then hurried into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him and leaning back against it, his head falling against the wood with a thunk.

Last night's events played through his head, his confessions at Seokjin’s, dinner, Yoongi walking him home, Yoongi sleeping on his couch, Yoongi’s soft, clear skin shining under the sunlight-

Jeongguk stopped, resisting the urge to slap himself in the face. He pushed off from the door to relieve himself, washing his hands then scrutinizing himself in the mirror as he remembered another pressing event that had happened.

Seokjin knew now.

He rubbed his face with his hands, patting his cheeks and turning his face as he looked at himself. He leaned against the sink, leaning in closer to the mirror, his eyes flicking back and forth between his reflected ones.

He didn’t look any different, but he felt different. He felt a little lighter, but he also felt his gut twist and turn a bit. Would Seokjin feel differently over time? Would he tell the others? Would he end up coming to hate him? He didn’t see Seokjin doing any of these things but who knows? He didn't, not for sure.

Jeongguk-ah, you are my family. No matter what, even if it is something I dislike or disagree with, you will always be loved and supported by me. I promise.

He took a deep breath, pushing back from the counter. Seokjin’s words eased a few of his nerves, but they still remained, settled at the bottom of his soul. For now, he would trust Seokjin’s words to him.

Leaving the bathroom, he looked back over to the couch to see Yoongi sitting up on his phone, his shirt now back on, to Jeongguk’s relief. A shirtless Yoongi was not something he needed to deal with right now. Yoongi looked up at him as he exited the bathroom.

“The guys want to do something tonight since you actually have the night off.” Yoongi looked back at his phone, presumably back the conversation about tonight.

“What did they have in mind?” Jeongguk replied as he walked back into his room to change. “Also I’m going for a run.”

“I’ll join you if you have some spare clothes.” He heard Yoongi’s voice call back as he grabbed a pair of track shorts and a t-shirt, then rummaged around to find Yoongi some clothes. He came back out with his phone and the clothes, tossing them at Yoongi who was still looking at his phone, giggling at the surprised expression on his face when the sweats hit him in the face.

“Brat,” He grumbled at Jeongguk who walked to the kitchen to grab a water bottle and cereal. He heard Yoongi changing in the living room and he felt himself blush as he thought about Yoongi more than shirtless in the next room. He gave himself a shake, berating the impure thoughts about his hyung and shovelled the cereal into his mouth, checking his phone, messages from the group chat being the only ones of importance.

Yoongi walked into the kitchen now in Jeongguk clothes, a pair of sweats and t-shirt that fit him fairly well and Jeongguk once again had to continue to shovel cereal into his mouth. Yoongi grabbed a bowl from the cupboard and poured himself some cereal as well, taking a seat at the kitchen bar.

“Did you check the chat?” Yoongi asked him before taking a bite. Jeongguk shook his head. “There’s talk about going to a club or bar, been a while since we’ve gone to one.” Yoongi shrugged, seeming indifferent to the idea. Though usually when they do all go out to someplace like that he finds himself a dark corner and some headphones, glaring at anyone who tries to approach him.

Jeongguk cringed at the prospect, knowing it would just end in girls hitting on him and the guys trying to hook him up with someone.

“Ah, I don’t think I can handle a club tonight. Maybe a bar or pub?” Those weren’t as bad, fewer hookups and more drunken shenanigans. Jeongguk pulled out his phone to read the messages. He liked clubbing, but only when he’s had time to mentally prepare for the night. The group was all pretty divided on what they wanted to do, though neither he nor Yoongi had given their answers yet. He quickly typed in his response.

 

       Jeongguk: A bar sounds good to me. Maybe the one by Joon-hyung’s place?

       Seokjin: That’s another vote for the bar. Also, glad to see you are finally awake, hope you had a good night's rest. 

       Namjoon: Ah, u guys are no fun. We haven’t been to a club in so long

       Taehyung: yea come on! lets go dancing with some ladies (wink emoji)

       Jimin: Usually I would be all for that Tae, but I think a chill night at the bar with you guys sounds like a good time to me.

       Hoseok: I’m with Jimmie

       Yoongi: bar please

       Seokjin: Looks like the bar it is.

 

Jeongguk felt kinda bad for Taehyung and Namjoon - he knows how much they like going out to party (Jimin usually as well). So he taps out what will hopefully be a good compromise.

 

       Jeongguk: I can book off a weekend and we can all go to some fancy club and get wrecked. (wink emoji, prayer emoji)

       Taehyung: YAS

       Taehyung: PLEASE

       Jimin: Omg please.

       Namjoon: Sounds like a plan to me thx Guk I know you don’t like booking time off

       Jeongguk: (peace sign emoji)

       Jeongguk: Yoongi-hyung and I are going for a run. Let us know when we are meeting up. Bye~

       Jimin: Did you say Yoongi-hyung is running?

 

Jeongguk heard Yoongi grunt, and Jeongguk held in a smile.

 

       Yoongi: don’t

       Taehyung: YOONGI IS RUNNING

       Taehyung: YOONGI IS WORKING OUT

       Taehyung: THIS IS NOT A DRILL

       Jimin: YOU NEED TO SEND US PICTURES GUKKIE

       Jimin: PLEASE

       Yoongi: you fuck heads

       Yoongi: and that’s hyung to you, you disrespectful shit

 

“Alright, we’re going now.” Yoongi hopped off the chair, moving towards the front door, already plugging his earbuds in. Jeongguk let out a laugh, watching as the messages piled in from everyone poking fun at Yoongi. It was a well-known fact that Yoongi was the laziest out of them all. Not that he didn’t work out, Yoongi was very much in shape for him not too, they just never see him do it and he’s usually the first one on asking for a break at work, moaning about the heat and the sweat.

“You can’t blame them. They’ve never seen you do anything remotely like exercising.” Jeongguk grabbed a second pair of running shoes for him from his closest, then put his own on.

“Do I look like I do nothing all day?” Yoongi looked at him, eyebrow arched. “And you have seen me work out.”

Jeongguk tried not to blush at the question, his own answer, no, it certainly doesn’t, almost coming from his lips. “We go on the odd run together, yeah, though I guess this is the first time I’ve ever said so to them.” Jeongguk finished putting his shoes on then grabbed his own headphones from the counter, his water bottle and one for Yoongi, then the two set out.

They took the stairs down, Jeongguk doing knee ups and lunges on each level platform, stretching out. Yoongi snickered at him, and he knew how ridiculous it looked but he needed to make sure he was warmed up properly.

“We aren’t running a marathon kid,” Yoongi commented as they got to the bottom of the stairs, taking the side exit down the hall.

“I’m planning to run 5K, so I need to be stretched out. Loop around the park.” Jeongguk put his arm over his head, pulling his elbow as he walked through the door, then took his phone out and plugged his earbuds in once they were outside.

Yoongi snorted at him. “5K? Yeah right, like I’m running 5K.”

“What, can’t do it?” Jeongguk smirked at him as he selected his running playlist. “I mean, I know you’re getting old, probably too hard for you now, so I guess I can take it easy this time.”

“Yah, brat, what’s with all this disrespect today?” Yoongi glared at him but there was no real heat behind it. “Fine, you want to run 5K, lets run 5K.” Yoongi stepped up to Jeongguk, grabbing his shirt and he tugged his head down, so his lips were by Jeongguk’s ears.

Jeongguk let out a small gasp when Yoongi pulled him close, eyes wide and face red as he felt Yoongi’s breath against his ear, his lips skimming it ever so slightly. Oh, God. His brain was shorting out at the proximity to Yoongi and was barely paying attention when he spoke.

“But it’s a race.” And with that, Yoongi took off, leaving a stunned Jeongguk standing there, trying to process what just happened. After a minute of watching Yoongi’s retreating body, Jeongguk swore and tore after him. No way was he losing. Not at this.

He ran after him, a shit-eating grin on his face as he chased Yoongi. He was a competitive person, the most out of all of them, but he also worked out the most. He knew Yoongi wouldn’t keep up, so he started out a slow pace, keeping Yoongi in front a few paces, smiling every time Yoongi looked back.

They started the loop around the park, and Jeongguk marvelled at the day. It was sunny out, but there was a nice breeze, keeping him cool in the hot weather. Nodding at people as he passed, watching the life buzzing around him, he felt very at peace. The constant pounding of the pavement beneath his feet. He loved running, it was genuinely one of his favourite things to do. He loved working out in general but running was his favourite. It was so freeing.

He felt like he could go anywhere, escape anywhere, no matter what. It was a sense of freedom he could achieve whenever he needed it. He often let his feet take him wherever, exploring the city and not giving himself any boundaries (though he’s gotten lost a few times, and Seokjin had to come to find him once and take him home because it had gotten very late, which was followed by a lecture).

Running was how he dealt with most things in life if he was honest. Running from your problems.

He looked up at Yoongi, who he was steadily gaining on. Today he was running towards a problem.

Seokjin had told him to tell them all, that they would understand. Part of him still didn’t believe it, but if they were all okay with it, then it created another problem. Yoongi.

This morning was a perfect example. When he had caught Yoongi without his shirt on, and then he himself was caught staring, it would have very different meanings from a known gay man. Right now he could pass it off as being taken off guard (which he was), and just being surprised. There wouldn't be any reason to doubt him because why would a straight man be ogling his hyung’s chest?

If they knew he was gay though, he couldn’t pass those off as easily. And he had a tendency to do it with all his friends, not just Yoongi. They were all very good looking men, and he cared about them all deeply, so of course, he was going to find them attractive. Not that he would consider anything more than friendship with them if it were possible, but Yoongi was a different matter altogether.

If they knew and they caught him, would they be weirded out? Disgusted? Would they think he wanted to have sex with them all? He knew a lot of men (and women too) got really uncomfortable at being checked out by the other men. They would get weird around him, they would change how they acted around him. They all tended to be cuddly and very affectionate at times, and flirty too, but would that stop when they knew?

Now that Seokjin knew, was he going to stop? Would he treat him differently? Jeongguk really hoped not, and he was going to try and trust Seokjin’s words but words meant nothing if their actions did not support them.

No, for now, he would not tell the others. He would first see how Seokjin acted around him, but even if nothing changes, Seokjin had always been more of a parental figure to all of them anyhow. It was different for the rest of them.

Jeongguk pushed himself a little more as he closed the gap between him and Yoongi. Just gotta run, ignore it and run.

He caught up to Yoongi, who was starting to huff but kept his pace steady. Jeongguk himself was still breathing normally, barely affected yet.

“How’s it going hyung?” He aimed a pleasant smile at Yoongi, who glared at him as he tried to speak between breaths.  

“I’m doing swell.”

“Mhm, need a break?” Jeongguk asked, holding Yoongi’s water bottle out to him.

“No,” He puffed out, taking the water bottle and gulping the water greedily, Jeongguk watching the way his Adam's apple moved briefly before focusing on the path in front of him.

“Okay, I’ll see you back at the apartment then,” Jeongguk smiled and waved, then took off.

“Hey wait, what the hell?” Yoongi yelled after him, pushing to try and keep up.

Jeongguk turned around, running backward and took an earbud out. “This is a race, hyung. Try to keep up.” Jeongguk flashed him a wicked grin, turning around and plugging his earbud back in and focused on the run.

Jeongguk won, no surprise there, but Yoongi had managed to keep up for most of the way, Jeongguk having to push himself a little more than he expected. When they got back to the apartment, he was huffing pretty hard, but he felt pretty damn good.

Yoongi, on the other hand, collapsed onto the ground as soon as they stopped by the side door, taking deep breaths as he finished off his water bottle, gasping. Jeongguk snickered and discreetly took a photo of Yoongi practically passed out on the pavement.

“Hmm, I could keep going, want to go for another round hyung?” He teased Yoongi. Yoongi’s only response was his finger, unable to tell Jeongguk to fuck off verbally. Jeongguk threw his head back and laughed, reaching out to help Yoongi up then headed inside.

Yoongi looked at the stairs and groaned very loudly at the prospect of going up even one flight let alone six.

“I’m taking the elevator. I’ll meet you up there.” He pushed through the door to the main lobby, Jeongguk chuckling as he took the steps two at a time, still full of residual energy, high on the endorphins from the run and competition.

Once he was back in his apartment he considered just going right to the bathroom to shower, but decided to wait and let Yoongi go first, knowing he would want to shower as soon as he got up here and Jeongguk liked to take his time.

Almost ten minutes later Yoongi came bashing through the apartment door, Jeongguk looking up from the couch, smiling at the disgruntled look on his face.

“Why the fuck don’t they fix that stupid elevator. Honestly, it’s ridiculous. It shouldn't take five minutes just to come down to the lobby even if it was on the top floor.” Yoongi complained loudly, which just furthered Jeongguk’s amusement.  

“You could have taken the stairs with me and you’d already be in the shower by now,” Jeongguk commented as he watched Yoongi kick his shoes off with more force than necessary and toss his phone and earbuds onto to counter.

“I’d probably still be crawling my way up here, half dead,” Yoongi huffed, heading right for the bathroom. “What towel can I use?” He called from the bathroom.

“I’ll grab you a clean one.” Jeongguk got up from the couch, going to his closet to grab a towel and face cloth for him, then walked over and knocked on the bathroom door. Yoongi opened it up quickly, and once again Jeongguk found himself holding back a squeak when Yoongi was once again shirtless, but he also had his fucking pants off too, in just his boxer briefs.

He didn’t give Jeongguk much time to really process, taking the towel and cloth with a ‘thanks,’ then closed the door again. Jeongguk was pretty sure he had Yoongi’s nearly naked body burned in his mind forever. He thought about going for another run.

He sat back down on the couch, scrolling through his phone as he waited for Yoongi to finish in the bathroom. His ears perked up when he heard the shower stop, and a few minutes later Yoongi left the bathroom, hair damp and hanging in his face, the towel wrapped low on his hips as he looked over at Jeongguk.

Jeongguk was pretty sure his brain had stopped, all of his processing power gone towards not making a sound as he stared, wide-eyed, at Yoongi standing in his living room, in nothing but a fucking towel. Jesus Christ .

It took Jeongguk a minute to realize Yoongi was talking to him, too busy following the sharp, defined lines on Yoongi’s chest, water droplets accentuating the rivets across his toned stomach. Eyes moving down to his hips at the V that arched beneath the towel, Jeongguk licked his now dry lips at the sight.

His trance was broken when Yoongi snapped his fingers in front of his face, calling his name.

“What?” Was Jeongguk’s brilliant response.

“Yah, I said do you have any clothes for me? I don’t want to put my clothes from yesterday back on.” Yoongi asked eyebrow raised. “What was with the look there? You were totally out of it.”

“N-nothing, was just lost in thought.” Jeongguk jumped up from the couch, rushing to the bathroom to hide the more, awake, parts of his body. “Take anything from the dresser,” he called back to Yoongi as he closed the bathroom door behind him, taking a few breaths to calm himself.

Christ, he was actually trying to kill him. Jeongguk had seen Yoongi’s bare chest more times in the last twenty-four hours than he had in the last year. He was a more reserved person in general, including in the way he dressed, not one to really strip down or show off more skin. While the rest of them would roll their shirts up or just shed them on hot days, Yoongi might roll his sleeves up. Not to say he was a prude, just a little more conservative.

To be fair, the first two times had been because he had been sleeping, and not totally conscious. Although…

Jeongguk remembered Yoongi’s eyes one him earlier that morning when he had been blatantly staring at his chest, smirking.

Jeongguk entertained the impossible idea that Yoongi had wanted him to stare, had even liked it. Jeongguk groaned, knowing that he was no longer able to have the nice, hot shower he had wanted as he turned the tap to cold. He needed to calm down, having gotten a little excited at his previous thoughts. He wished that had been the case. More likely, Yoongi had been awoken by Jeongguk’s coming into the room. But it didn’t mean he couldn’t entertain the idea.

Yup, cold shower it is.

Once he had relaxed he turned the tap, warming the water up to the temperature he liked and started washing his body and hair. Fifteen minutes later he exited the shower, feeling refreshed. Drying off, he tied the towel around his waist, then checked his phone. The group had decided to meet at the bar at nine but could stop by Namjoon’s place anytime after six for pregame and dinner. Jeongguk exited the bathroom and headed to his room, keeping his eyes forward as he passed Yoongi who was lounging on his couch, more aware of his own naked torso than ever before around his hyung.

It was too early to start getting ready for the evening so he tossed on a pair of sweats and a tank top. Pocketing his phone, he went back out to his living room. Yoongi looked up when he entered, and Jeongguk had to hold back a smile at the sight of his hyung in his clothes.

Yoongi had grabbed a pair of joggers and a baggy t-shirt that hung off his smaller frame in a very cute and very endearing way. Jeongguk decided he liked seeing Yoongi in his clothes, not that he’d ever tell him that. Yoongi didn't always appreciate being called cute the way the others did.

Jeongguk plopped down onto the couch beside Yoongi, leaning over to rest his head on his shoulder as he scrolled through his phone. Yoongi moved his free hand to rest on Jeongguk’s thigh, rubbing circle into it. Jeongguk wasn’t sure what prompted the touch from Yoongi but he wasn’t complaining. He enjoyed the physical affection more than he let on to the others.

“Are you going to go over to Joonie-hyung’s before the bar?” Jeongguk asked, not looking up from his phone.

“Mhm, he has the best stash of booze that I plan to take advantage off. You?”

Jeongguk snorted before answering. “Hmm, probably. Looks like everyone's going to end up there anyway,” Jeongguk commented, scrolling through the group chat at the plans made for the evening, then looked up at Yoongi. “Are you going to go home before?”

“Yeah, I’ll probably head home before we go just to change into my own clothes. If you want to leave with me, we can walk to Joon’s together, if you aren’t bothered by my presence for a few more hours.” Yoongi looked down at him, eyebrow raised.

“Like I’d ever be bothered by your presence hyung,” Jeongguk replied. He’d never be bothered by any of his hyung’s presence, especially not Yoongi’s.

Yoongi smiled at him, bringing his hand up to ruffle his hair, Jeongguk leaning into the touch.

“Well, until then, we should probably eat something. Have anything other than ramen and rice in that fridge of yours?” Yoongi stood, Jeongguk sitting up and watching Yoongi rummage in his fridge and cupboards.

“We could order pizza?” Jeongguk offered, a sheepish smile on his face knowing Yoongi would find exactly that.

Yoongi huffed out a laugh, closing the fridge and turning back to Jeongguk. “You know, Guk, I was only half joking about the ramen thing the other day. You should have better food than this.” Yoongi had his phone out, ordering the pizza he assumed and leaned against the counter.

“You sound like Jin-hyung. And don’t pretend your kitchen looks any better.” Jeongguk pointed an accusing finger at him. Yoongi just rolled his eyes.

“You’re a growing boy,” he commented, looking up at Jeongguk through his eyelashes.

“I’m twenty-two, I’m hardly a boy anymore. I’ve been an adult for a few years now, in case you all forgot,” Jeongguk scoffed, rolling his eyes.

“You’ll always be the baby to us,” Yoongi smirked, knowing how much it irked Jeongguk that they all treated him like a baby at times, though if he was honest, part of him kind of loved it. Not that he would ever admit that. He had a reputation to keep.

They ordered the pizza and played some games while they ate. After Jeongguk got his guitar out and he helped Yoongi figure out the harmonies on his latest piece.

“Maybe add a baseline here, and then jump to the third after the third line?” Jeongguk demonstrated, strumming his guitar and humming the notes.

Yoongi scribbled some notes down from his place on the ground beside him, nodding as he went, playing the notes out in his own head. “Hmm, yeah. I’ll have to play around with it at home, but it’s a good starting point for me. Thanks.” He smiled up at Jeongguk, Jeongguk returning it brightly. Yoongi shuffled the papers around and moved them to the side. “Do you have anything you’re working on?”

“Ah,” Jeongguk rocked back, diverting his gaze form Yoongi.

“So that’s a yes.” Yoongi chuckled. “What cover are you working on now?”

Jeongguk shifted, biting his lip, gaze still downward. “I have one that I’ve been working on, an original.” He was still so shy when it came to showing Yoongi how own music, even though he had been nothing but supportive and enthusiastic about anything Jeongguk showed him.

“Oh?” Yoongi tried to keep his surprise out of his tone, but Jeongguk knew he loved it when he shared his music with him. He was trying to stay nonchalant for Jeongguk’s sake.

Jeongguk placed his guitar on the ground and got up from the floor, going to his room and digging the sheets out form his dresser drawer. He came back with the papers clutched in his hand. He sat back down on the floor and he slowly handed the sheets to Yoongi, stomach in knots.

This was a personal piece he had been working on, one that he wanted, no needed, to finish. It was different from his others, the majority of them in boxes or at the bottom of drawers, unfinished and never touched. They tended to be about him and his past. But this one was of now, and his future, and of his hyung’s. For his hyung’s.

He had started it a few months ago, after yet another failed attempt at writing after a particularly bad dream. He had been woken up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep, started to write. By four in the morning, he had stuffed the papers into his closest, frustrated and tired, tears stinging the back of his eyes. He had been too worked up to go back to sleep, even though he had to be up in less than three hours for work. He remembered vividly the turmoil he had gone through in the early morning.

 

Everything had been too much. His stomach was churning at the idea of facing the day and his head hurt from the lack of sleep and his heart ached from trying to write out his emotions. Thinking about his morning routine that he would have to start in just a couple of hours made him feel so nauseous, that he actually thought he might puke from the panic setting in. Holding back tears, he grabbed his phone and texted Namjoon that he was sick, and wouldn’t be able to make it into work.

He hated calling in sick even when he was actually was sick and doing it always made him feel guilty and had filled him with a heaping serving of self-loathing, but it was just too much at the time. Luckily he didn’t have to work at Jung’s that night too.

He had managed to fall into a light sleep after a while when his phone had gone off, startling him awake. It was after seven, so everyone had already started work. He grabbed his phone, seeing Namjoon’s name flashing on the screen. After a moment's hesitation, he answered it.

“Hello?” Jeongguk’s voice was groggy and quiet.

“Gukkie, sorry, did I wake you?” Namjoon’s voice filtered through the speaker, and Jeongguk felt some of his nerves settle when it seemed that Namjoon wasn’t angry, at least by the tone of his voice.

“Not really, was just kind of dozing.”

“How are you feeling?” Namjoon asked, and Jeongguk could hear the suspicion in his voice, and he felt his stomach swoop.

“Uh, I’ve felt better. Stomach ache kept me up most of the night. Do you need me to come in?” Jeongguk felt like crying at the thought of leaving his apartment, leaving his bed, but he would never let his hyung suffer just because he was having a bad day.

“Jeongguk-ah, don’t lie to me. If you are having one of those days, you know you can just say so,” Namjoon replied, voice soft but tinged with worry. “We’ve told you before, we may not understand it, but we won't be upset or angry when you have those days you can’t get out of bed. You know Yoongi and Jiminie have them too, and none of us treat them differently because of it.” Jeongguk heard a voice yell through the speaker, and there was a shuffle followed by a muffled Namjoon’s voice yelling back ‘just a minute!’ before his attention was back on the phone. “So let’s try this again, how are you feeling?”

Jeongguk felt a couple of tears slip free from his eyes at Namjoon’s words. “Not good,” he responded with a quiet voice, hitching at the end as he tried to keep his emotions under control.

Namjoon sighed. “Are you going to be okay baby?”

Jeongguk usually hated being called baby, but right now he needed that comfort, the comfort that came from a parent, and Namjoon was as much of a parent to him than any of them, next only to Seokjin.

“Yeah, I’ll be fine hyung,” He paused for a second before adding a quiet ‘thank you.’

“Nah, don’t be thanking me. When you’re better, we’ll be working you extra hard to make up for the time, particularly for Tae. He’ll be operating the excavator in your place today.” Jeongguk heard the smirk in Namjoon’s voice, and he laughed.

“He may complain about it, but Tae loves being behind the wheel of that thing. He just doesn’t want to be tasked with the chore of maintaining it too,” Jeongguk snickered.

“Is that so? Hmm, maybe I'll start giving him more responsibilities like he’s been asking for, then.” Namjoon let out a small laugh. “I’m sure one of us will check up on you later. Feel better Gukkie.”

“Thank you, have a good day Joonie-hyung.”

The call ended, and Jeongguk fell back into bed and his tears started to build up to quiet sobs that echoed through the room. His hyung’s support and love always amazed him, that they were so willing to listen and to help him and never judge him. They had found out about these a year ago, about his ‘slumps’ as he referred to it. He had a hard time calling it what it was; his depression. Mental health was yet another taboo subject in Korea. He didn’t really think he was depressed. Most of the time, he was as happy as ever, although the extra work at Jung’s had been really draining his energy, he had it fairly under control.

A few years ago it better suited him but his hyung’s had been the biggest help with it. But he still had his days, his weeks, where memories and nightmares swallowed him up, bringing back old fears and thoughts, that sent him into a tailspin of negative emotions and dark clouds.

It had been a while since his last episode, so he figured his hyung’s would have forgotten about it, assumed everything was fine, so he tried to lie. But as per usual, Namjoon and the others saw right through it. They were as patient as ever with him, always proving Jeongguk’s fears wrong time and time again, never upset when he needed to be reassured, though those times also had dwindled down over the years. They didn’t ever push him for reasons, for answers, even though he knew they were curious. He appreciated that the most, that they would never push him to reveal his past, even though he felt they deserved to know. He just couldn’t. Not yet. He didn't feel worthy of his hyung’s support and love, especially not right now, but he always did everything he could to be worthy of it.

His love for his hyung’s encompassed his entire being and he needed to get it out. He sat up, grabbing a notebook and pen as he began to jot down words, thoughts, lyrics, about his friends, his hyung’s, his family. He spent all day doing this, only interrupted by a facetime from Seokjin, or a triage of texts from Taehyung, Jimin, and Hoseok, or a quick phone call from Yoongi. All of them checking in, or trying to make him laugh, to remind him of his place with them like they always did in these moments.

By the time he finally put his pencil down, hand cramped from gripping the utensil for the past few hours, he had managed to write out a very rough draft of a song. Lyrics were a  jumbled mess of thoughts and phrases and there was almost nothing in the form of tune or melody. He had gotten much farther on the piece he had started and quit earlier that morning, but Jeongguk felt so much lighter, holding the physical manifestation of his hyungdeuls love for him. It filled him with hope.

 

Over the last few months, he had been slowly chipping away at it, working and reworking it. It had been a struggle at times, Jeongguk often wanting to put in the pile with every other original song, stuffed away and forgotten about, but it would have felt like a betrayal of his hyung’s importance, so he kept at it.

By now he only really had the chorus flushed out, and the lyrics were still a haphazard mess but he managed to filter them down enough to have a tangible piece. He had a basic tune set up as well but he hadn’t been able to make much more progress than that in the last month and had been debating furiously with himself on whether or not to ask Yoongi for help. He hadn’t decided if he was ever even going to show his hyung’s this, but part of him really wanted to. Even with what he had, he was proud of it, proud of his hyung’s, and he wanted to share it with them. He wasn't always the best with emotions and talking about his feelings, but this was something he could use to finally show them exactly what they mean to him.

Not to mention, the look of pride that he knew he would see from Yoongi if he actually managed to finish a song, was really what tipped the balance for him. So he sat there, biting his thumb and squirming around as he watched Yoongi read through it.

Yoongi kept this face neutral as he sifted through the notes and words which was driving Jeongguk crazy, not knowing how he felt about it. But after an agonizing few minutes, Yoongi’s mouth twitched and his lips formed into a smile.

His eyes flicked up to Jeongguk’s and a multitude of emotions were translated in that one look, Yoongi’s pride, happiness and love, and Jeongguk felt himself fall in just a little deeper.

“This looks good, really good,” Yoongi commented after a minute, handing the sheets back to Jeongguk. “And I hope you are going to show the rest of the group this piece when it’s done.”

Jeongguk looked down, a small, embarrassed smile on his lips. “Maybe.” Yoongi made a noise in the back of his throat. “I want too,” Jeongguk added, looking back up at him.

Yoongi’s lips twitched upwards, his eyes bright. “Play me what you have.”

They spent the next hour going over what Jeongguk had, tweaking and changing, and also helped him further the first verse and get a start on the second verse and bridge. They had only stopped when they realized it was after five already, needing to get ready and head to Yoongi’s.

“Go grab your stuff, you can get ready at my place.” Yoongi laid back, stretching after being hunched over on the ground for a few hours. Jeongguk gathered everything and took it to his room, tossing it on his bed for now as he picked out his clothes for the night. He decided on a white button-up and blue jeans. He tossed them in a backpack along with some hair products from the bathroom and his wallet and phone charger. The two of them slipped into their shoes, Jeongguk going with a pair of timberlands. As they left, Jeongguk snatched a hat from the closest then turned the lights off and locked up, shoving his keys and hat in his backpack.

“So, what made you start this piece?” Yoongi asked as they exited the apartment lobby to the sidewalk, turning right towards Yoongi’s place.

“I mean, I think it’s pretty obvious what it’s about,” Jeongguk commented, feeling a little uncomfortable. It was one thing to show Yoongi the song, it was another to actually talk about it.

“Well yes, I got that.” They walked in silence for a minute before Yoongi spoke up again. “I guess I’m just a little surprised. It’s different than the stuff you usually show me.”

Jeongguk gave Yoongi a questioning look.

“You usually show me stuff that doesn’t have much of a connection to you,” Yoongi continued. “And I know you have some stuff you don't show me. Don’t look surprised, you’re not the only one who writes songs, I have my own stuff tucked away for my eyes only.” Yoongi drawled, casting a side glance at Jeonguk. “This one though, it’s a personal song, one that comes from your heart.” Yoongi shrugged. “I’m just wondering what prompted the change. Not saying the other stuff is bad, it just lacks the passion a lot of the time.”

It was something Yoongi had said to him before once when he had shown him a song he had been working on. He usually showed Yoongi songs he was indifferent to, stuff he felt detached from. Yoongi had commented on it, saying that he needed to put the same passion he did in singing into his songs.

Jeongguk nibbled on his thumb before answering. “I just wanted a way to express my gratitude for everything you’ve all done for me.”

He didn't say any more on the topic and Yoongi seemed content with his answer. A comfortable silence fell upon them as they continued the walk. He decided that when the song was finished, he would explain it. For now, he would leave it at that.

They got to Yoongi’s apartment, it was a smaller building than Jeongguks but was a nicer one. It had a proper elevator for one, and while Jeongguk was still nervous about taking it, he could handle it as it never made any sounds or jolts and was regularly inspected. Though he still slipped through the doors as soon as they opened on the fourth floor.

“I don’t understand your fear of elevators Guk. Have you ever even heard of an elevator accident happening? And random news articles don’t count.” He added when Jeongguk went to respond.

“I rode it didn't I?” Jeongguk countered as he walked to Yoongi’s door, waiting for him to open it. “You’ve been in mine, the thing is unstable at best and it's broken down before, even if no one has been inside it yet when it has. Honestly, it’s not that bizarre of a fear. Hobi-hyung is scared of truck horns.”

Yoongi snorted as he opened the door. “Hobi is scared of everything,” he flicked the lights on, the two entering and kicking their shoes off. “You on the other hand, purposely watch horrifying movies and genuinely want to go skydiving.”

“Your point?”

Yoongi chuckled, shaking his head and mumbling under his breath. The two ventured further into his apartment.

Yoongi’s apartment was a bit bigger than Jeongguk’s but was more sparse. While Jeongguk had knick-knacks and useless items along littered all around his apartment along, Yoongi’s had mostly bare tabletops and shelves. He had a couple framed posters on the walls and the odd picture was strewn about. Jeongguk had posters that covered the walls entirely and pictures of his friends and him everywhere.

Jeongguk also lived in what he called an ‘organized mess’ with mismatching furniture, shelves and tables overflowing with objects and books and movies and whatever else he’s collected over the years (his friends called him a hoarder - he preferred collector). Yoongi had sleek, matching furniture sets, that complimented the colours of the walls. Everything was in order, table tops and shelves weren’t overstuffed with various objects, though there were articles of clothes laying in various places on the ground, and music sheets on the coffee table which was near a baby grand piano.

Though Jeongguk knew that Yoongi as a person wasn't really that clean, his studio proof of that. Yoongi had turned the master bedroom into a studio space (he wanted the en suite so he didn't have to leave the room to go to the bathroom and most of his possessions was his music equipment anyways) and it was a mess of sheet music, empty coffee cups, and energy drink cans, along with dirty dishes, take out containers, and clothes.

That’s really why it was so clean out here. Yoongi mainly spent his time in his room and studio, only really using his living room and kitchen when he was entertaining. Jeongguk and him often spent time on the piano, either practicing songs or just messing around. Yoongi would play a tune and Jeongguk sang along with whatever lyrics he could come up with on the spot. Some of his best memories were on that piano bench, hours spent filled with music and laughter. If he’s honest, Yoongi’s presence made the time more worthwhile.  

“I’m going to go get ready in my room, the bathroom is all yours,” Yoongi told him as he headed to his room, closing the door behind him. Jeongguk took his backpack off his shoulder and walked into the bathroom, placing it on the counter. He dug out his clothes and the hairspray and hairbrush he brought. He changed into the button up and the jeans then started fussing with his hair, opting to go with a messy ‘I want to look like I just got out of bed’ look, parting it a little at his forehead. Once he was satisfied, he left the bathroom, tossing his backpack by the door and walked to Yoongi’s kitchen where he could hear the other rummaging around.

He walked in on Yoongi mixing a drink into a coffee cup, Yoongi turning as he walked in, raising the to go cup at Jeongguk. “You want one for the road?”

“Sure, what do you have?” Jeongguk walked in further, trying to ignore the reaction he was having to Yoongi’s chosen outfit for the evening.

He had changed from the casual clothes Jeongguk had lent him into a white t-shirt that was complemented with a sleek black blazer, along with black leather ( fucking leather) pants. He tied it all together with a grey snapback and a pair of square sunglasses currently pushed up on his forehead. Jeongguk wondered if this was what swooning felt like.

He had been around Yoongi for five years, but every time, he still managed to evoke a reaction from Jeongguk.

“Just soju and juice. Little bit of whiskey left if you want that but I don’t really have any mix for it.” Yoongi shrugged, grabbing another coffee cup for Jeongguk, then moved aside for him to mix his drink. Jeongguk poured some of the soju into the cup, mixing it with the orange juice left out on the counter.

“I texted Joon that we would be leaving my place soon. He said Jin and Hoseok were already there,” Yoongi said as Jeongguk finished mixing his drink, turning around as Yoongi pulled his sunglasses down looking over at Jeongguk. “Ready?”

Jeongguk nodded and they put their shoes on and left for Namjoon’s. Namjoon lived about a twenty-minute subway ride from the closest subway station, which was a few blocks from Yoongi’s apartment. They made idle chat as they made their way there; Jeongguk goofing around and Yoongi giving him exasperated looks and amused smiles, joining in at times. Yoongi wasn’t as excitable as Jimin, Taehyung, and Hoseok, but he could be just as silly and outgoing as any of them when he felt like it. Jeongguk loved that side of him, and he tried his hardest to bring it out as much as he could. Yoongi’s laugh always made his heart flutter a bit.

It was almost seven when they arrived at Namjoon’s, buzzing in and heading up to his apartment on the top floor of the nine-story building. Namjoon’s apartment was the definition of a bachelor pad, the apartment one open room, bed right beside the couch and tv, which was across from the kitchen that was separated by an island. There was a set of stairs that led up to the roof, where they often camped out. Namjoon’s building was one of the taller ones in the area, away from the sky rises of downtown. Jeongguk loves being able to watch the sunset from there.

While Seokjin’s was the meeting place for get-togethers and family meals, Namjoon’s was the party place where they met up before going out or got together for ‘guys night’. It was the site of more than a few drunken escapades.

They walked in without knocking, Namjoon, Hoseok, and Seokjin all sitting at the island in the kitchen, drinks in hand and engaged in a lively conversation that halted when Jeongguk and Yoongi entered the room.

Hoseok let out a low whistle as they made there way over to the kitchen. “Damn hyung, sometimes I forget that you’re actually pretty hot when you try. Going to steal all the attention at the bar tonight.” Yoongi rolled his eyes at Hoseok, moving to refill his cup.

“Yoongi will steal the attention until anyone tries to approach him. I think the last girl who tried almost started crying,” Namjoon commented.

“Yah, you make me sound like such a dick,” Yoongi snapped, glaring at the smile that crept up on Namjoons face. “Don’t even,” he told him with a curled lip. “Some people just need to learn that ‘fuck off’ means fuck off.

That got a laugh from them. Yoongi muttered about how disrespectful everyone was to him all the time.

“Hey, this is a guy’s night out, no flirting or hookups,” Seokjin demanded.

“Ah, come on Jin, a little flirting is harmless,” Namjoon scoffed. “And try to tell Tae that. Kid’s been itching for a night out for a while. Might have to keep him on a leash tonight.” Namjoon waggled his eyebrows. Jeongguk rolled his eyes, huffing a laugh. Taehyung and Jimin were the worst out of all of them when it came to shameless flirting and hookups, especially the former when he hasn’t had a chance to get out in a while. Usually, him and Jimin go together, but he’s been complaining for a while that they all hadn’t gone to a club together in months, mainly due to Jeongguk’s work schedule.

“Where are Jimmie and Tae?” Jeongguk asked as he moved to mix himself another drink, taking a minute to scan Namjoon’s much larger selection.

“They’re going to meet us at the bar. They only got back from Tae’s parents a little bit ago,” Hoseok replied. Jeongguk nodded, deciding on soju again and mixing in some kind of fruity liqueur and juice. Taehyung and Jimin were roommates, friends from childhood. They got a place together after they graduated before they started up with the company. Namjoon and Yoongi also knew each other before they became a crew, the rest of them meeting the others for the first time when they started working.

“Hopefully they don’t get shitfaced before they make it there,” Yoongi commented from his place at the counter, leaning against it casually as he sipped at his drink.

“I say there’s a fifty/fifty chance.” Namjoon’s phone dinged and he snorted after picking it up. “Make that thirty/seventy,” He added, turning his phone to show them a snap Taehyung had added to his story, of Jimin and him taking shots with the caption ‘time to get lit’ along with a mess of haphazardly placed emojis.

“Hopefully they make it to the bar at all,” Seokjin muttered into the beer he was drinking.

“Oh, they’ll make it there alright. Not like them to miss out on a night out. Leave it to them to make the most of a night out to a local pub. I expect them to be dressed to the nines,” Hoseok laughed, checking his own phone. Jeongguk pulled out his and opened up snapchat, tapping through both Taehyung’s and Jimin’s stories. He held back snickers at the multiple pictures of them taking shots and getting ready. They had all sorts of makeup products strewn about, probably only using half of them.

“They do realize that the bar we are going to is mainly consistent of middle age men and cougars right?” Yoongi commented, also having looked at the snap stories.

“Let them have their fun. Too many people care about their appearances, it’s nice to see them going all out even just for a shabby pub,” Namjoon argued lightly. “I’ve heard them talking about going to a gay night club to, and I quote, ‘party with real men’. They even made a bet on who would get hit on by more guys.”

Jeongguk choked slightly on his drink, waving off Seokjin’s concerned look with a smile. The idea of going to a gay club had been one he tried not to entertain too often. It’s an enticing idea, but he could never go alone and he certainly wasn’t going to ask his hyung’s without having to explain why.

Though if Jimin and Taehyung were serious about wanting to go, then maybe it could finally be his chance to go. Then again, being surrounded by a bunch of really attractive gay men and having to pretend to be straight...

Maybe not.

Jeongguk noticed Seokjin giving him a look, a small smirk on his face as he sipped on his beer. Jeongguk refrained from blushing, not wanting to know what he was thinking.

The conversation carried on, comments on the ever-growing snap story from the boys. Jeongguk pulled his phone out to take a selfie with the group, Hoseok and Namjoon smiling, Seokjin blowing a kiss, and Yoongi flashing a peace sign. Jeongguk gave a toothy grin, showing off his bunny teeth that always made his hyung’s fawn over him.

“Aish, kid, you kill me,” Hoseok held his hand over his heart as he pulled up the image from Jeongguk’s story. “So cute.”

“It amazes me that between your adorable face and ripped body, which is still totally unfair by the way,” Jeongguk snickered. “That you still haven’t picked anyone up,” Namjoon commented as he looked at his phone. Jeongguk cringed a little, opening his mouth to change the subject but Seokjin spoke before he could.

“Hmm, we should start making our way to the bar, Jimmie and Tae are there already.” Seokjin downed his drink, placing the bottle on the counter.

“Mhm, yes, let’s get going before Yoongi drains my stash.” Namjoon shot an amused glare at Yoongi who was mixing yet another drink (which one, Jeongguk didn’t know) who looked over his shoulder at Namjoon like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Jeongguk looked over at Seokjin who winked at him, giving him a warm smile. Jeongguk returned it with a shy smile of his own. Seokjin knowing seemed to have some perks he didn’t think about before.

They grabbed their stuff, Yoongi and Namjoon both grabbing one more drink for the road. Jeongguk had finished up his fourth drink of the night and was starting to feel the buzz as he linked his arm with Hoseok, who happily joined him in skipping towards the elevator. The other three trailed behind, watching with amusement. They piled into the elevator, the alcohol in Jeongguk’s system helping in relaxing his nerves. Really, it was mainly his building that he refused to take the elevator, even if they all gave him a bit of anxiety.

It was a little over a ten-minute walk to the bar where they met with Taehyung and Jimin who were standing outside on the curb, giggling over Taehyung’s phone. As predicted, the two were dressed in slim, black dress pants, and sleek, blue jackets over top of tight button-up shirts. Jimin had a scarf wrapped around his throat, and Jeongguk was pretty sure he could see the odd fleck of glitter shining in Taehyung’s hair. It wasn’t too crazy, but they definitely stood out among the rest of them. They looked up as the group approached.

“You two look like a pair of hookers,” Yoongi drawled as they stopped in front of them.

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Taehyung dismissed, looking back at his phone. “It took you guys long enough. We’ve been waiting forever.”

“It’s been like twenty minutes since you guys texted us,” Seokjin shoved him lightly, rolling his eyes.

“Twenty minutes too long.”

“Alright, come on let’s get in there already.” Namjoon herded the group into the building, waiting as the three youngest got ID’d at the door.

“Aish, it’ll be nice when I’m not ID’d every time we go somewhere. It’s so annoying,” Taehyung leaned against Jeongguk, sighing dramatically. Jeongguk laughed, pushing him off.

“Enjoy it while you can, you’re youth and vivacity won't last forever,” Seokjin called over his shoulder as they walked to a booth, eyebrow cocked.

“You act like such an old man, Jinie-hyung.” Hoseok groaned, going up to drape an arm around Seokjin’s shoulders. “We should start calling you grandpa. Do you need a hand getting to your seat there? Wouldn’t want you to put your hip out”

Seokjin smacked Hoseok, the rest laughing at the offended whine from him.

They settled into the booth, Jeongguk situated between Jimin and Yoongi, who was on the end. They were in a circular booth, Seokjin at the end across from him. Jeongguk scanned the bar. It was fairly crowded, but that would be expected on a Saturday night. The music played loud enough to be heard clearly over the sea of mindless, chatting voices, but it was still low enough that no one had to yell to be heard. Jeongguk noticed the odd look sent their way - probably because of Taehyung and Jimin’s get-ups - but they paid them no mind.

The two of them along with Hoseok and Seokjin sometimes like to dress over the top when they went out so it wasn’t anything new. Jeongguk envied their ability to just not care. He cared too much.

Jimin clapped his hands together, pulling Jeongguk’s and the others attention, a bright smile plastered on his face. “So who’s getting the first round?” His eyes roved over the group like a vulture.

“Yah, I’m not supporting your drinking habits,” Yoongi rolled his eyes at him. “Buy your own drinks.”

Jimin pouted. “Come on, it’s the first time we’ve all been out in God knows how long, I think that’s reason enough to celebrate and what better way to celebrate than starting off with a round?” Jimin teased, eyeing up each person in the booth, waiting for someone to crack.

“Well, why don’t you buy the round then?”

“Duh, it was my idea.”

“Oh my God,” Jeongguk heard Namjoon mutter quietly, and he bit back a giggle.

“All the more reason. You want it so bad, then get it.” Yoongi’s deadpanned. The others seemed content to see who would win the battle, one that could very well go on the rest of the night knowing those two. Jeongguk groaned at the thought. He wasn’t in the mood to spend the entire night debating on who would by the first round. The sooner they got going, the sooner he could be drunk. So he played the card he knew would get everyone to fold.

“I’ll buy the first round hyung,” Jeongguk said as disgustingly innocently as possible, using his bunny smile and round eyes to its fullest advantage. He contained his pleasure as he watched everyone practically fall over themselves in dispute.

“No, Gukkie, you need to save your money-”

“I’m just joking around, I’m more than happy to buy the round-”

“Awh, that’s sweet, but you don’t need too-”

As they continued to argue now on who would be the one allowed to buy the first round, Jeongguk caught Yoongi’s eye, who was sending him a wicked smirk. Whoops, looks like he got caught. He responded with a cheeky grin, his nose scrunching up, and Yoongi sniggered into his hand. He knew he held a great power and he sure as hell was going to abuse it.

In the end, Jimin went up to buy the first round, Seokjin going with him to help bring the drinks back. They ordered a couple of plates of nachos, everyone immediately diving in and devouring the first few trays, quickly ordering more. Jeongguk went to grab the last bit from the first rounds, but Yoongi quickly snatched it from him, smiling at Jeongguk’s indignant sound.

“Hey, no fair,” He pouted. Jimin laughed from beside him, having seen the altercation. He patted Jeongguk on the shoulder.

“Better luck next time Guk.”

He huffed, crossing his arms. A hand tapped his shoulder and he looked to see Yoongi holding the last bit of nacho out to him. Jeongguk grinned, reach to grab it but Yoongi pulled back and tutted.

“Ah, ah, open up.”

Jeongguk blinked, then realized Yoongi expected him to let him feed the chip to him. He felt heat rush up his neck and made a noise of disagreement but Yoongi merely raised an eyebrow at him, cocking his head to the side slightly and held the chip up again.

“You want it, don’t you?”

He fought against the impulse to squirm because Jesus Christ did Yoongi even realize what he was doing to him with that fucking head tilt, eyes hooded and pinning him that stare as he asked Jeongguk if he ‘wanted it.’ He thought about the possibility of the roof collapsing on him.

“I’ll pass, thanks,” He mumbled, turning away with arms crossed. No way was he letting Yoongi feed him. He didn’t want his fingers anywhere near his mouth, for reasons he resolutely tried to ignore.

“Ah, don’t be like that,” Yoongi chastised. “Come on, open up baby. Be a good boy for hyung.”

The others laughed at the cooing from Yoongi, but Jeongguk tried to keep himself from flushing head to toe. The words from Yoongi’s mouth washed over him in a wave of heat straight down to his dick. Jesus Christ, did he seriously fucking say that to him? Of course, it would just seem like harmless teasing to the rest of them, but Jeongguk was pretty much ready to die from the hardon that was slowly making itself known from the words.

He could refuse, but watching Yoongi holding the chip up with a stupid smirk on his face, after calling him a good boy, well.

Tentatively, he opened his mouth and allowed Yoongi gently pop it into his mouth, his fingers just grazing his lips. Jeongguk repressed the urge to shiver because that would not be an appropriate reaction to his hyung feeding him food. It’s not like he’s never been fed before but usually it’s with a utensil and he’s sober.

He should be sulking at being treated like a kid, but all he could focus on was the momentary feeling of Yoongi’s fingers on his mouth, the urge to suck them into his mouth both overwhelming and embarrassing.

Some of the salsa had dripped off the corner of Jeongguk’s mouth and before he could swipe his tongue out to lick it up, Yoongi wiped it with his thumb, brushing it from the corner of his mouth down to his jaw.

“Yah, making a mess,” Yoongi muttered, retracting his hand and grabbing his drink to take a sip like he hadn’t just absolutely wrecked Jeongguk, and he was torn between the desire to curl up into himself or kick Yoongi in the face. Both sounded pretty great when he looked back at the table to see Hoseok holding his phone up, the other all cooing and giggling at it.

“Oh my god, that’s so adorable. Yoongi-hyung never feeds anyone. Too precious.” Taehyung had his hand over his chest, looking adoringly at the phone.

“Our little baby Gukkie,” Namjoon snickered, which grew into hearty laughter at the glare Jeongguk sent him.

“Did you seriously take a picture of that?” Jeongguk asked, leaning forward in hopes of seeing the image.

“Nope, I filmed it. It’s on my story now.” Hoseok gave him a wicked grin and Jeongguk wanted to die, right then and there. He was sure the mortification was plain to see on his face as everyone around him laughed, Yoongi as well. He elbowed him in the side, satisfied at the grunt and soft curse that followed.

“Let me out, I want another drink,” Jeongguk huffed. Nothing like drinking your problems away. Yoongi moved out of the booth letting Jeongguk past as he scurried up to the bar, trying to hide his boner as discreetly as possible. He tried thinking of dead babies and Hoseok’s pale ass, praying to any God that would listen to make him calm the fuck down.

He whipped his phone out while he waited in line to order, hastily opening up snapchat and tapping on Hoseok’s story. He groaned out loud, face burning as he watched the replay of Yoongi feeding him the nachos and the look on his face in the video made him want to curl up and die. He hoped it wasn’t as obvious to anyone else as it was to him the way he reacted to the moment, the way he had licked his lip after Yoongi had drawn back, something he hadn’t even realized he had done. At least the mortification helped with his little problem down under.

“Rough night?”

Jeongguk jumped, head snapping up at the deep voice. His eyes widened as he recognized the man that stood before him as the guy from his apartment. He stood there casually holding a drink, his other hand tucked into the pockets of a pair of dark skinny jeans, a stark contrast to the loose white v neck shirt he was wearing. He had a thin gold chain hanging around his neck and his dark hair pushed back with a headband. Jeongguk felt himself staring, entrapped by the lazy confidence that was exuding from the man in front of him. He watched as the guy raised an eyebrow, tilting his head at him that Jeongguk realized he had been asked a question.

“Ah, sorry, um, no, not at all.” He bit the inside of his cheek at the way he stumbled over his words. “Why do you ask?”

The man tilted his head to the side, giving him a closed-lip smile, his eyes narrow and dark. “I heard you groaning at your phone. Got stood up?”

Jeongguk tucked his phone back into his pocket as if to hide the evidence from the guy and wiped his palms on his pants. “Ah, no, just an unfortunate snapchat from my friend. I’m here with them.” He nodded over to the booth where the others were now digging into the second round of nachos, watching as Jimin threw a jalapeno at Taehyung who caught it with his mouth then proceeded to gag on it. Their laughter travelled across the bar to them.

The guy leaned over to look, letting out a small laugh before turning his attention back to Jeongguk. “Ah, guys’ night out. Always a good time.” He looked Jeongguk up and down like he had back at the laundry room earlier that week. “I’m Moon Seojun.”

He held out his hand too Jeongguk, a wide smile on his face that made Jeongguk shy away a little, a small smile slipping onto his own lips.

“Jeon Jeongguk,” He replied, taking Seojun’s hand. Seojun had slender hands and long fingers that wrapped around Jeongguk’s hand and squeezed, pulling him forward a little as he leaned down close to Jeongguk’s ear.

Can I buy you a drink, Jeon Jeongguk?”

Jeongguk, startled by the sudden deep and velvet voice in his ear, flounders at the question. He wants to buy him a drink? That’s something that people do when they’re interested in someone right? Is Seojun interested in him? How does he even know Jeongguk would be interested himself?

“A-ah, I don’t think that would be very appropriate, Seojun-ssi,” Jeongguk managed to get out with more confidence than he felt. Seojun pulled back a little with a laugh but was still very much within Jeongguk’s personal space and he wasn’t totally sure how he felt about it. His eyes, a dark brown they almost looked black in the low lighting, looked down at him through hooded eyelashes. They were sharp, defined by thin, angled brows, and Jeongguk felt as though they were looking right through him.

“And why is that?”

“Um, because I’m not-” He cut himself off, very aware of the people surrounding him and the words he was about to say aloud. He tried to see if anyone was watching or listening, but between the thumping music and the crowded atmosphere, people were paying Jeongguk and Seojun no mind.

“‘Cause you’re not gay?” Seojun laughed when Jeongguk’s terrified face snapped back to him. “Relax kid, it’s not like someone’s going to persecute you for it. And don’t bother trying to deny it. I saw the looks you were giving me the other day.” He raised an eyebrow at Jeongguk, smirking. Jeongguk flustered, both at the very informal way Seojun spoke to him and at having been caught.

“Seojun-ssi-”

“No need for the formality, not in a setting like this,” Seojun winked at him and Jeongguk didn’t think he could handle much more of this.

“Seojun-ssi,” He persisted. “I appreciate the offer, I really do, but I’d like to get back to my friends if that’s okay.” He tried to be as polite as possible, not wanting to offend him. If he was honest, part of him wanted to take him up on his offer, if just to see where it would go. He’s never been offered a drink from such a good-looking guy before - any guy really - and he couldn’t help but feel a little excited at the prospect. But he was here with his hyung’s, enjoying the first night out in forever, and that took precedence.

Seojun shrugged, an easy smile on his face. “I’m interrupting your night, I understand.” He turned to the bar, waving the bartender down. “I’ll let you go, but I can still buy you your drink?”

Jeongguk found he couldn’t resist the hopeful look in Seojun’s eyes, his smile stirring butterflies in his stomach and he nodded his consent before he really thought about it. They shifted over to the bar counter, Seojun ordering two beers, clinking his against Jeongguk’s.

“I’ll see you again, Jeon Jeongguk.”

“Yeah, see you,” Jeongguk responded. Seojun smiled, something warm and endearing, before turning around and disappearing into the crowd, Jeongguk losing track of him in the mass of bodies. Jeongguk stood there for a moment before making his way back to the table.

“Finally, you’re back,” Hoseok announced as Jeongguk made it back to the table, Yoongi moving so he could slip back into his spot beside Jimin. “We want to see the photographic evidence of Yoongi running.”

“Yah,” Yoongi drawled with a roll of his eyes. “Can you seriously give it a rest? My god.”

“But hyung, this is a monumental moment in the time we have known you.”

“You know, I do run on a somewhat regular basis. I’m not a complete sloth.”

Namjoon snorted from his spot across from him, earning a heated glare form Yoongi.

“I do have one photo,” Jeongguk commented with a sly smile at Yoongi, who looked at him in surprise before it morphed into suspicion.

“Let me see!” Taehyung leaned over Jimin, making grabby hands at Jeongguk who pulled his phone out.

“Sending it to the group chat.”

The phones around him all dinged, everyone pulling out their phones at once, followed by a chorus of laughter and a loud groan from his right.

“Oh my god, did you torture him?”

“What did you even do? Run a marathon?”

“Probably only a block- ow .”

Taehyung rubbed his arm and pouted where Yoongi had reached over and smacked him. Jeongguk giggled, quickly stifling it when Yoongi turned his glare onto him. Paybacks a bitch.

“I’m making this the group photo,” Namjoon commented, smiling at his phone. Yoongi groaned.

“Can we please move on?” Yoongi let his head fall back against the booth.

“Hey, Gukkie,” Jimin nudged Jeongguk to get his attention. “Who was that guy at the bar you were talking too?”

Jeongguk bit the inside of his cheek, embarrassed at having been caught. “Oh, uh, no one. Just someone from my building.” Jeongguk tried to keep his tone relaxed, hoping he didn’t sound too tense.

Jimin eyed him, suspicion colouring his face. “He bought you your drink.”

It wasn’t a question, and Jeongguk scrambled to find a good enough excuse for why a guy he barely knew would buy a drink for him in a totally straight and non-homosexual way. He felt Yoongi shift beside him and all the attention seemed to turn onto him.

“He offered to buy me one and I’m not about to say no to a free drink.” He kept his tone casual even though his heart was beating in his ears.

“We should invite him over, maybe he will buy us all a drink,” Taehyung joked. “Maybe he’s into pretty boys,” Taehyung smirked, flipping his hair a little.

“Guess you won't be getting a drink then.”

Jin-hyung!”

There was a round of surprised laughter at the jab made by the oldest. Jeongguk looked at him and Seokjin winked at him, before turning back to continue to tease Taehyung, easily shifting the subject. Jeongguk felt a warmth spread through him and he smiled softly.

He turned to Yoongi, hesitating when he noticed that his hyung was staring at nothing, a serious look on his face.

“Yoongi-hyung?”

His eyes flicked up to him, and he saw something flash in them before his body relaxed and he leaned forward.

“Sorry kid, got lost in thought there. What’s happening?”

His tone was cool, expression easy but Jeongguk knew that look. He wasn’t going to press though, knowing Yoongi would come to him if he wanted too. It was probably nothing anyway.

“Taehyung is getting teased.”

Taehyung is getting unnecessarily attacked. I don’t deserve this.” Taehyung was leaning back in the booth, pouting while the others continued to throw jabs and digs at him.

Yoongi laughed and added in his own comments. The night continued on like this, getting progressively more and more drunk save for Seokjin, who often opted to stay relatively sober in order to make sure everyone got home safely after.

It was close to two a.m. when they all started to shuffle there way out. Hoseok had Jimin and Taehyung hanging off either side of him, the three singing and dancing - as best as they could given their drunken state - taking the lead. Seokjin followed holding up Namjoon, who was having some troubles walking straight, a few times the two almost tripping over Namjoon’s legs. The crew leader kept leaning heavily into Seokjin, telling him what a good person he was, followed by Seokjin thanking him then telling him to walk straight.

Yoongi and Jeongguk trailed behind, Jeongguk having looped his arm in Yoongi’s, also having to lean a bit of his weight on him as he stumbled every so often giggling every time.

Hyung,” Jeongguk whined, drawing the word out. He shoved his face into Yoongi’s shoulder, peering up at him with one eye. Yoongi looked down at him, quirking an eyebrow.

“Hyung you drank more than me, how are you not stumbling around like Joonie-hyung,” Jeongguk huffed, turning his head to look ahead of him at Namjoon, who had both hands on Seokjin’s facing, staring intently at him as he told Seokjin that he was his second favourite mother. He kept his face on Yoongi’s shoulder, bent at a bit of an uncomfortable angle, but he craved the warmth coming from his hyung, the chill of the summer night seeping through his clothes into his skin.

“Because I can actually hold my liquor,” Yoongi replied. Jeongguk looked back up at him and if it weren’t for the slight flush on Yoongi’s cheeks, he never would have known he had been drinking. Yoongi was staring up ahead, his eyes flicking down to Jeongguk’s for a second. “Unlike some of you.”

Jeongguk scoffed, mumbling into Yoongi’s shoulder then shifting to tuck his face into Yoongi’s neck. He breathed in his scent, a mix of apples and spice and booze, and he sank into Yoongi’s side, letting it engulf him. He wasn’t sure why he wasn’t always doing this. It felt great.

He felt Yoongi tense for a moment then relaxed. He unlatched his arm from Jeongguk then wrapped it around Jeongguk’s shoulders, allowing him to snuggle more into his side. He let out a content hum as the continued to walk, eyes half closed as he trusted Yoongi to not let him fall.

“Hey,” Jeongguk opened his eyes at Seokjin’s voice. “I’m taking these idiots back to my place. Are you two coming?”

Yoongi looked down at Jeongguk who answered by squeezing in tighter to Yoongi’s side and making a noise of disinterest.

“I think the kid wants to go home.” Yoongi adjusted his grip on him, his hand sliding down to Jeongguk’s waist prompting a small noise of approval from Jeongguk who seemed to no longer be able to make coherent words. “I’ll make sure he gets home safe.”

“Let me know when you are both home safe.” Seokjin’s voice was muffled in Jeongguk’s ears, half paying attention as he was more focused on the feeling of Yoongi’s pulse in his neck against his nose. Jeongguk felt the urge to place his mouth on the pulse point, to feel the soft pulsing skin against his lips.

“Yeah, yeah, I know the drill-” Yoongi’s voice cut off at the end, pitch going up. Jeongguk barely registered it as he had shifted his head, letting his lips trace along Yoongi’s skin, pleased with the feeling of the thump-thump of his pulse. He felt the pace quicken, and he furrowed his brows, his muddled brain trying to understand why Yoongi’s heart rate had seemed to spike.

“Hyung, are you okay?” He spoke into Yoongi’s neck, his lips sliding over the skin there as he spoke.

“F-fine. I’m fine. We’re almost at the station.”

Jeongguk turned his head to look out in front of him and he felt Yoongi’s shoulders drop. The others were gone. He could see the small building of the subway station a couple of buildings down. He huffed, knowing he had to release his grip on Yoongi in order to go through the gates to the subway. He slowly detached himself from Yoongi, though he kept his body leaning slightly against him as they came to the doors. He fumbled with his wallet, trying to get his subway card out, tapping it on the gate as he followed Yoongi through.

They stood by the rails waiting, the two of them checking their phones. He giggled at the snaps he had from the group, most of the blurry and indiscernible from Jimin, Taehyung, and Hoseok, along with one from Seokjin - who was holding Namjoon by his shirt collar - telling everyone to let him know when they were home.

He tucked it away as the subway rolled up, the two-stepping in and sitting near the doors. Jeongguk immediately leaned back into Yoongi’s side, eyes closing.

“I forget how cuddly you are when you’re drunk.”

Jeongguk hummed in response. Yoongi huffed a laugh then placed his arm around him. Jeongguk felt like he was on cloud nine. The alcohol numbed his mind, only allowing pleasant thoughts in the forefront. He became extremely tactile and everything was hypersensitive as he rubbed his cheek against Yoongi’s shoulder, licking and smacking his lips, the feeling of Yoongi’s skin still lingering there. He wanted to tuck his head back into Yoongi’s neck but he found the effort he needed to move his head was far more than what he had so he was content to stay snuggled into his side.

He opened one eye at some point, feeling like he was being watched. Looking around lazily he saw a young man watching them. Jeongguk tried to glare at the guy but ended up just squinting at him.

The man realized he had been caught and Jeongguk watched as he flushed and quickly looked down. Jeongguk relaxed his face and observed the man.

He looked younger than Jeongguk, barely an adult. He was wearing a fairly plain outfit, black pants, black shirt. He had a plain black choker around his neck and his hair was sticking up at various angles, a vibrant silver, similar to a style Jimin sported a couple of years ago. Jeongguk noticed his bag on his lap that the kid was clutching, had a couple of buttons on them, one being a rainbow button.

Jeongguk wasn’t the most versed in LGBT culture - he knew more about the hate than anything - but he knew what the rainbow typically signified nowadays.

His eyes flicked back to the kid who also glanced back at Jeongguk and Jeongguk offered him a soft smile. The kid’s eyes widened, a small smile of his own creeping onto his face before ducking back down to look at his lap.

Satisfied, Jeongguk closed his eyes again, sighing happily. He must have fallen asleep because the next thing he knew he was being shaken awake by Yoongi.

“Our stop is next kid,” his voice was soft as Jeongguk blinked and shook himself awake a bit. He glanced over to where the kid had been sitting, seeing the seat now occupied by a couple of giggling girls. He frowned a little but was distracted by Yoongi tugging him up to get off the subway. He stumbled a bit when he stood, head spinning.

The walk back to Jeongguk’s apartment was quiet, the sounds of Seoul’s nightlife surrounding them. Jeongguk had his arm looped with Yoongi’s again, dropping his head to rest on his shoulder. Jeongguk was having a hard time keeping his eyes open and Yoongi had to continuously jostle him awake so he wouldn’t drop all his weight onto him. Yoongi wasn’t weak by any means, but he certainly couldn’t carry Jeongguk’s dead weight.

Yoongi reached into Jeongguk’s pockets to get the key to the building and directed him to the stairway, the small part of him still aware of his surroundings grateful he didn’t try to herd him into the elevator.

Yoongi shouldered his way into Jeongguks apartment, huffing as he guided Jeongguk into his room, gracelessly dropping him onto his bed.

“Jesus kid, you may look small but fuck do you weigh a ton.” Yoongi bent over with his hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath. Jeongguk mumbled into the comforter as he landed face first onto his bed.

“What was that? I can’t hear you when you talking into the bed.”

Jeongguk huffed, pushing himself up. “I said,” He rolled over, leaning back on his elbows. “That’s because I have muscles. You should get some.” Yoongi snorted and shook his head, ignoring the comment.

“The room is spinning.”

“That’s because you’re drunk.”

Jeongguk whined. “Hyung make it stop.”

Yoongi walked over and maneuvered Jeongguk so he was laying length ways in his bed. “I know I’m pretty impressive kid, but even I can’t help you there.”

“My clothes itch.” Jeongguk moved to start taking his pants off but was stopped by Yoongi’s hands. Jeongguk peered up at him questioningly. He had a slight blush on his face. Just from the booze.

“Ah, slow down kid. I’m still in the room.”

“So?”

So? ” Yoongi’s voice pitched up a bit. “I’m going to get you some water while you get ready for bed. Think you can handle that without passing out?”

Jeongguk nodded and Yoongi released his grip on his hands and left the room. Jeongguk wriggled as he pushed his pants and boxers down his legs, kicking until they were off his body and fell to the ground. He grabbed the ends of his shirt next, tugging it over his head and having to sit up a bit to get it off. Tossing it onto the ground somewhere near his pants, he laid in bed, naked. His head was spinning from the exertion. He decided that we wasn’t going to move again.

“Okay, I have water and some pain kill- Jesus fuck.

Jeongguk looked over to see Yoongi standing at the door, one hand holding a glass of water and some pills, the other placed firmly over his eyes, his mouth set in a grim frown.

“Gukkie, honey, why are you not wearing clothes?”

“Because this is how I sleep?” He replied confused, not understanding what the problem was. He had told Jeongguk to get ready for bed, hadn’t he?

A pained noise came from Yoongi. “Okay yeah but,” He sighed. “Just, get under the covers Guk.”

Jeongguk nodded and slipped under the blankets, snuggling into his bed. It felt so nice and he never ever wanted to leave. Yoongi uncovered his eyes slowly, and after seeing Jeongguk covered by the comforter, slowly moved over to stand by the bed, placing the glass and pain meds on the dresser beside him. Jeongguk looked up at Yoongi through heavy eyes, smiling up at him.

“Jeongguk-ah,” Yoongi murmured, leaning down to run a soft hand through Jeongguk’s hair. He hummed, leaning into the touch, eyes falling shut.

“Aish, kid. You’re killing me.” The tone was soft and Jeongguk opened his eyes.

“Hmm?”

“Nothing. You have a good sleep, I’ll let Jin-hyung know you are home and tucked into bed. You’re going to have a nasty hangover tomorrow.” Yoongi smiled at him softly, moving away and taking his hand form Jeongguk’s hair.

Jeongguk wasn’t sure why, but he felt himself start to panic at the idea of being alone. Blurred memories of towering figures and cowering fear filled his mind and he acted without thought, reaching up to grip Yoongi’s wrist, who looked down at Jeongguk questionably.

“Please stay.”

Jeongguk watched a series of emotions play across Yoongi’s face, before settling on a look of soft pity.

“I’m tired kid, and I want my own bed. I’m sure you understand.”

Jeongguk made a pained sound in the back of his throat. “Please, just until I fall asleep?”

He watched as Yoongi contemplated the request, eyes darting back and forth before he sighed, settling himself down on the edge of Jeongguk’s bed. His hand moved back to his hair to card through his locks.

“Just until you fall asleep.”

Jeongguk gave him a bright smile, though it was softened by his droopy eyes. It wouldn’t take him long to fall asleep but he felt safe with Yoongi by his side, watching over him and scaring off any demons that might try to worm their way into Jeongguk’s dreams.

“Thank you hyung,” He mumbled as he settled into bed, closing his eyes, feeling himself drift off with the soft and reassuring touches from Yoongi’s nimble fingers. Yoongi only hummed in response.

“You’ll protect me from my nightmares?” Jeongguk muttered, not aware he had said the words out loud, halfway into the realm of sleep.

“What was that Guk-ah?”

But Jeongguk didn’t respond, having fallen into a deep sleep. Yoongi sat there, hand’s stilling in Jeongguk’s hair as he watched the boy. He brushed the bangs from Jeongguk’s forehead and leaned down to places a chaste kiss on his brow.

“Goodnight Jeongguk-ah.”

Chapter Text

Jeongguk held the smile on his face long enough for the customer to leave the store before it slipped into a scowl, dropping his head down onto his arms on the counter. The pitter patter of the rain on the pavement outside felt like nails being hammered into his temples, and he was about ready to throw himself in front of the next truck he saw. His head throbbed, even after all the painkillers he had taken through the day and into the night, and he had no one to blame but his stupid ass, lightweight self.

He knew he should have taken it easy last night but when everyone else around you is pounding them back one after another, knowing you don’t have to be up the next morning, it’s kind of hard to resist. Not to mention it had been months since he really let loose like that.

He wasn’t that much of a lightweight, at least compared to Hoseok and Namjoon, who after three beers needed to each have their own personal babysitters, but he isn’t too far behind. He had lost count of how many drinks he had had last night along with the shots Jimin and Taehyung kept ordering and now he was paying the price.

He tilted his head so his chin was resting on his arms, huffing at his misfortune. He hated being hungover. Normally he remembered to drink lots of water and eat proper food when drinking but he hadn’t done that this time, which led to the God awful headache he was currently nursing. Not to mention he got roped into doing an overnight when it was only supposed to be a five to midnight shift, but someone called in sick so here he was, at two a.m., pondering his life choices.

But it had been a really fun night out with his friends and as much as he wanted to die right now, it was worth it.

His phone vibrated to his right. He sluggishly moved his hand to grab it, keeping his head firmly in place on his left arm as he brought the phone in front of his face to see the text that was sent to him.

 

       Yoongi: how’s the hangover

 

Jeongguk felt his cheeks heat up with a raging blush at seeing Yoongi’s name. The only thing worse than the headache he had were the blurry memories of the cringe-worthy actions from last night.

When he had woken up this morning, groggy as all hell and trying to figure out if he was hungry or if he had to puke, he noticed a note on his side table along with a glass of water and painkillers he didn’t remember grabbing. He reached across his body, groaning at the way his stomach churned and snatched the piece of ripped paper.

Make sure you drink lots of water today and take your pain meds otherwise tonight's shift is going to be a bitch. Enjoy the day.

There was no name, but Jeongguk easily recognized the small, messy writing, and lasts nights events came to the forefront of his mind, albeit a bit fuzzy. He recalled Yoongi walking him home and how he all but groped him, hanging off him like a love-drunk child and how his hyung had pretty much tucked him into bed.

Jeongguk didn’t remember much of what was said between the two of them once they had reached his apartment but he did remember stripping down bare and then asking Yoongi to stay with him.

Jeongguk had been mortified at the realization and it had been enough to trigger his already unsteady stomach that had him vaulting from his bed and hurdling, buck ass naked, to his washroom.

His embarrassment hadn’t ebbed even the slightest as the day went, and he had been too shy to text Yoongi at all during the day at all, though he probably slept most of it. He had managed to forget about it while at work, but now looking at the text, he found himself once again wanting to throw himself in front of a truck. Or a plane.

 

       Jeongguk: Filling me with regret. (skull emoji) Massive headache. You?

       Yoongi: ha thats what poor life choices get you. And i don’t get hungover i’m not a little bitch

       Jeongguk: Better a little bitch than a grumpy old man

       Yoongi: sure lets go with that

       Yoongi: did you have those painkillers

 

Jeongguk really didn’t want to address anything that had to do with last night, but he didn’t want to seem rude since Yoongi did make sure he was home safe and it had been the first dreamless sleep he had had in a while. Though he was going to thank the alcohol for that, it was far safer.

 

       Jeongguk: Ya I did. Thank you for that btw, wouldn’t have managed that on my own that's for sure. And sorry for, well, last night.

 

The door chimed, signalling a customer. Jeongguk put his phone under the counter, replacing his sullen frown with a smile that said ‘no really, I love being here and don’t want to end my life’ which he proceeded to almost choke on when his gaze met a familiar pair of sharp, penetrating eyes.

“S-Seojun-ssi?”

Jeongguk watched a slow smile spread across Seojun’s lips, casually walking over to the counter. He heard his phone buzz and resisted the urge to check it.

“Ah, Jeon Jeongguk, what a surprise meeting you here,” He rested his elbows on the counter, hands clasped. Jeongguk took a slight step back, creating space between them. Seojun didn’t seem bothered by the action, casually leaning on the counter, watching Jeongguk with an easy smile that contrasted the sharpness to his gaze.

“So, is this what you do for a living? Shop boy?” He eyed Jeongguk up.

Jeongguk scratched the back of his neck, trying to keep still under the look Seojun was throwing him. It made him squeamish and he wasn't sure if it was in a good way or not. He was dressed surprisingly well for what he guessed was a late night snack run, dressed in black slacks and a white button up with the sleeves rolled up and the top button was undone. Jeongguk, in his ratty sweats, the atrocious, yellow, store provided polo, and hair thrown back into a ridiculous ponytail to keep the hair out of his eyes was feeling less than satisfactory, especially to the artfully messy hair Seojun was wearing. Without the headband that he had on at the bar, he could see that the sides were cropped in close, and the top was a mess of loose curls that he refused to believe were natural.

“Uh, sort of. This is just a part-time job. I work full time in construction,” He answered. “The group I was with last night is my crew.”

“Hard worker, that’s hard to find these days for kids your age.”

Jeongguk scoffed lightly. “I’m hardly a kid, I’m twenty-two.” What was it with people always calling him a kid? He paid taxes.

Seojun tipped his head back and let out a laugh that Jeongguk found a little tantalizing. “My bad. You’re still younger than me though.”

“You don’t look much older than me,” Jeongguk figured he was closer to Seokjin’s age than his own, the way he conducted himself was enough of a reason to believe so.

“That’s awfully kind,” He gave Jeongguk a smirk, but refused to offer anything more, and Jeongguk wasn’t about to ask him. It was disrespectful.

The conversation fell into a lull, Seojun just leaning there, watching him and Jeongguk shuffled there awkwardly, part of him wanting another customer to come in to break the silence.

“Is, uh, there anything I can help you with Seojun-ssi?” He might as well do the job he was being paid for.

Seojun raised an eyebrow. “I’m pretty sure I told you to drop the honorifics, hmm?” He countered, disregarding Jeongguk’s question.

“I barely know you.” Jeongguk was a little uncomfortable at the insistence from him at dropping the formality, being raised with the importance of respect as one of the number one rules from him childhood. It had taken quite a while before he had dropped them with his friends, and even then he still used them, though they were more of an endearment than a formality.

“Well, yes, I guess that is true,” Seojun acquiesced, pushing off the counter and moving to wander through the store. With his back turned Jeongguk ripped off his ponytail, running his hand through his hair, trying to smoothen it out. He could feel the dried hairspray from last night and he scowled, cursing himself for not having a shower before. Sleep had been much more enticing. He watched as Seojun moved through the items in the store, sometimes pulling them off the shelf to inspect them before putting them back as he spoke. “All I know about you, Jeon Jeongguk, is fairly minimal.”

He was on the other side of the store when he turned his attention back to Jeongguk, who was trying to not to react to the way he said his name.

“Guess there’s only one way to fix that problem, isn’t there?”

“Uh,” Jeongguk floundered, the situation leaving him very much out of his depth.

Seojun broke eye contact, going back to perusing the store, slowly making his way back.

“You’re probably wondering,” He started, holding up a packet of chips. “Why I’m all dressed up. It’s the middle of the night on a Sunday after all, most people are tucked into bed, pretending tomorrow isn’t the beginning of yet another week of the same, dull, mundane life.”

“The thought crossed my mind, yes,” Jeongguk replied hesitantly, the change in topic abrupt. His phone buzzed again. He ignored it.

“I had a business dinner tonight,” he glanced at Jeongguk. “Well, my father did, and I was a guest.” He put the chips down and with slow, graceful steps, came towards the counter again. “Dreadfully boring, business dinners. A lot of stiffs in suits, with too much money and not enough restrictions, talking around each other and coming to the business plan that suits them the best.” Seojun leaned back down on the counter again, his eyes on Jeongguk’s who hadn’t left Seojun’s form the entire time.

“The restaurant though was exquisite. It wasn’t the largest but was elegant all the same, and the food was delightful. Much more suited for a candlelit dinner rather than a stuffy meeting hall for old, arrogant tycoons.” Seojun eyed Jeongguk.

“Ah, that’s.. Unfortunate?” Jeongguk wanted to crawl under the counter. Seojun was so out of his league it wasn’t even funny, with the easy way he spoke, the words pouring from him with such a flourish, no hesitance. He was oozing easy confidence, while Jeongguk was spending all of his computing power to not completely turn into a human equivalent of a puddle of goo. “The restaurant sounds nice. You could always go back?”

“Would you like to go, Jeongguk?”

Jeongguk felt his eyes widen marginally and he refrained from releasing the squeaked ‘ me? ’ that was on the tip of his tongue.

“Are you asking me out on a date?” Was the genius response he decided to go with. He was going to ignore the way his voice pitch upwards at the end.

“I’m asking to get to know you better, and I just happen to know of a wonderful little restaurant that I’m just dying to go back too.” Seojun stood up from the counter, grabbed a chocolate bar from the rack and tossed it on the counter. Jeongguk immediately grabbed the item, scanning it on reflex, though his gaze never left Seojun’s.

“That’ll be two thousand won.” Jeongguk waited as Seojun tapped his card, completing the transaction. He handed Seojun the receipt, then watched silently as Seojun pulled a pen out of his pocket, (a pen? Who carries around a pen? Not anyone Jeongguk associated with) and jotted down a number on the back, handing it to Jeongguk.

“Text me, if you decide you want to get to know me better too.” He tucked the chocolate bar in his pocket, and with a wink, he exited the store, leaving Jeongguk with the lone thought of What the fuck just happened?

 

 

 

“Jin-hyung?”

Seokjin stopped his approach to the door, turning back to Jeongguk who had called his name. The other’s voices faded in the background as they exited the trailer, done for the day. Seokjin had been following right behind until Jeongguk grabbed his attention.

The easy smile he had on his face when he turned back fell, Jeongguk’s tense posture and worried hands cause for concern. Jeongguk bit his lip and watched as worry quickly coloured Seokjin’s expression.

“What’s up, Guk-ah?”

“Are you busy tonight?”

Seokjin let the door close, leaning back on it with arms crossed. “Not particularly, no. Why?”

Jeongguk stopped wringing his hands just to bring one up to scratch the back of his head. Come on, spit it out. It’s Jin-hyung. “Could I come over tonight and.. Talk?”

A wide smile spread across Seokjin’s face and he walked over, hand reaching to ruffle his hair. “Of course you can. You know you are always welcome.”

Jeongguk welcomed the gesture of affection, helped him relax. He didn’t typically ask to talk, and his easy (and somewhat eager if he was honest) acceptance took some of the anxiety away. Seokjin was someone who took great joy in being a confident for people, helping them through whatever turmoil they may have going on.

“Come on, let’s go.” Seokjin placed an arm around Jeongguk’s shoulders, guiding him to the door. They exited the trailer to see everyone had left, except for Yoongi, who was standing near the gate.

Jeongguk felt his stomach churn a bit. After Saturday night he had spent most of the day avoiding Yoongi, out of embarrassment more than anything. He had read his messages after Seojun left, of Yoongi telling him it was fine, and not to apologize, but it did very little for his distress over the situation. And in pure Jeongguk fashion, he chose to handle the situation in the best way he knew how. Avoidance.

“Why are you still here?” Seokjin asked as the two approached him.

“I was waiting for Jeongguk, we take the same route after all.”

“Jeongguk is actually coming home with me tonight,” Seokjin responded. Yoongi moved his gaze to Jeongguk, who nodded in what he hoped was in an indifferent manner.

“Ah, well then, I’ll see you guys tomorrow.” He nodded at the two of them, gaze lingering on Jeongguk as he turned and walked away, plugging in earbuds as he went. Jeongguk felt guilt tug at his heart and a sense of longing as he watched Yoongi walk away, his form getting smaller. He tore his gaze away when Seokjin directed him in the opposite direction. He would talk to him tomorrow, make sure everything was okay and hopefully just forget about the whole incident.

“I was planning to make gamjatang tonight,” Seokjin spoke, breaking Jeongguk’s train of thought.

“Sounds good to me, hyung.”

“Not that you would say otherwise,” Seokjin gave him a sideways glance with a smirk. Jeongguk just shrugged.

“I like whatever you make hyung, it’s all good.”

“As long as there’s meat.”

Jeongguk only responded with a smile, making Seokjin laugh. “Mhm, and now I know just how much you love meat.”

Jeongguk sputtered causing him to choke on his own spit. He whipped his eyes to Seokjin, who was looking straight as if he hadn’t just said that. He stared wide-eyed at Seokjin, who had a straight face for about three seconds before it broke out into a grin that bubbled up into a laugh.

Jin-hyung,” Jeongguk reprimanded, aghast, pushing Seokjin’s arm off of his shoulder. This just made him laugh more, clapping his hands together, his screeching laugh boisterous. Jeongguk struggled to keep his own smile off his face and turned to stomp off ahead, Seokjin calling after him, jogging to keep up.

“Ah, come on Guk,” Seokjin huffed a laugh as he got back beside him. “You have to admit, that was pretty good.”

“I don’t have to admit anything.”

“Aish, so stubborn.” Seokjin pinched his side. Jeongguk letting out a squeal, pulling away from him.

“Yah,” He whined, dragging it out. “You’re so mean to me hyung.” He would never admit that the little jab had actually filled him with relief. Having Seokjin joke about it, tease him, it was normal . It made him feel more comfortable in his own skin than he had in a long time.

“If I was so mean, would I be feeding you dinner tonight?” Seokjin raised an eyebrow at him.

Jeongguk pouted at him, earning a ‘tsk’. They got to the station just in time to catch the arriving subway. They chatted for a little bit but Jeongguk ended up taking a nap for most of it, using Seokjin as a pillow. He was drowsy when Seokjin jostled him awake, and Seokjin had to help lead him to his house.

“Did you want to take a nap? I’ll wake you up when dinner is ready,” Seokjin suggested as they got into the house, shedding their jackets and shoes. Jeongguk was practically dead on his feet. The subway had lulled him right into a deep sleep and now he could barely keep his eyes open.

“I don’t want to be rude, I should help you with dinner,” Jeongguk slurred a little.

Seokjin waved him off. “You can’t even keep your eyes open, you’ll be a danger more than anything in the kitchen, and I value my dishware.” Seokjin gently guided Jeongguk up the stairs to the spare bedroom. “Rest, Guk, you need it. I’ll still be here.”

Jeongguk relented, his body and mind already shutting down on him with the prospect of sleep. Seokjin left the door open just a sliver as he left, leaving Jeongguk on his own. He moved to the dresser in the room, opening the top drawer that had spare sleep clothes for them to use whenever any of there were over, courtesy of Seokjin. He grabbed a tank top and shorts, quickly changing and crawling into the inviting bed. It was a queen sized bed, with a large, fluffy, dark grey comforter that Jeongguk easily got lost in, wrapping it around his body.

He let out a sigh of relief, being off his feet and in the comfort of a bed. God, he was ready to sleep for a week. It didn’t take long at all for him to fall into a deep sleep, the quiet sounds of Seokjin rattling around in the kitchen drifting through the door, but it wasn’t the dreamless sleep he was hoping for.

As he drifted off, the room around him changed, the soft beige tones of Seokjin’s walls darkened to almost a black, and the fluorescent light that had been peeking through the door slipped away and was replaced with the orange glow of candlelight that was on the table he was now sitting at.

He was alone, sitting at the only table in the room. There were no doors, and the windows were covered by thick, red drapes, that Jeongguk felt he wouldn’t be able to move even if he tried.

The table had a white tablecloth draped across it, with only the candle adorning it. It was tall, the flame at eye level with Jeongguk as he sat there waiting. He didn’t know what he was waiting for, just that he had to wait.

What could have been seconds, or hours, a figure appeared across the table from him.

“I’m glad you could make it tonight, Jeongguk,” Seojun smiled at him, but Jeongguk couldn’t quite see him, the candle obscuring his view.

“It’s really nice in here,” Jeongguk responded, lifting his glass to his lips to take a sip. When did they have drinks?

“Do you like my outfit?” Seojun asked. Jeongguk looked and saw that he was wearing a three-piece suit, with a maroon dress shirt underneath. The bow tie he had on was askew, and the jacket wasn’t buttoned properly. He looked under the table and saw that he only had one shoe on, the other foot clad in a white sock. Jeongguk sat back up, looking at him through the candle. Did the flame get bigger?

“It’s very nice, better than mine,” Jeongguk replied. He didn’t know what he was wearing.

“I want to know everything about you.” Seojun’s voice was low and even, and Jeongguk wished the candle was gone so he could see his face. The flame flashed, licking towards Jeongguk’s face, and he flinched at the heat.

“Tell me everything about you.”

The candle was gone now, and the room was dark. He wasn’t sure if Seojun was still there.  Jeongguk sat in the chair, or was he standing? Waiting.

“Tell me everything about you.”

The words echoed through the darkness, bouncing off the faint outlines of walls that were slowly coming into view.

“Tell me everything.”

Jeongguk felt himself shrinking, the voice, Seojun’s voice? He wasn’t sure anymore. It was surrounding him, suffocating him. He didn’t want to tell him, he couldn’t tell him. It wasn’t safe. Why wasn’t it? It just wasn’t safe.

“Tell me.”

He wrapped his hands around his head, trying to shield himself, to block out the words, but the voice only got louder. It was warped, and he didn’t recognize it anymore. They echoed around him, multiple voices now, and he felt the words slam against him, like a physical object. They pushed and shoved, squishing him down as he tried to curl into himself more. There was a buzz to his skin, that vibrated through his entire body.

Then all at once, it stopped. The buzz vanished, and the voices halted. The room was silent, and Jeongguk felt he could breathe again. He stood, the room still dark but he could see everything as clear as day.

He was in the same room, the red drapes, that now looked grey, were still hung in place over the windows but there was a door now. It was closed but Jeongguk could see light pouring through the cracks. He heard a voice, someone calling his name. It was coming from the door.

He walked towards it, the faint, muffled sound of his name growing clearer and clearer as he moved towards it. The voice was low and had a rumbled quality to it. It almost sounded familiar? It said his name with such a keen familiarity, that Jeongguk must know the owner of it.

There was no handle on the door, but it was locked all the same. He put his hand flat on the door, pushing against it, in hopes that it would open but it didn’t give in the slightest.  

“Jeongguk.”

The voice startled Jeongguk. It was louder than before and sounded as if it was right on the other side of the door.

“Hello?” Jeongguk called out, but he got no response. It was quiet.

He tried to push on the door again, shoving harder when the voice spoke again.

“Jeongguk.”

“Where are you? I can’t see you.” Jeongguk felt panic course through him but he didn’t know why. Just that he had to see who was behind the door, who was behind that voice. He knew them, could just barely picture the outline of a person, their slender frame, and wavy, dark hair. He could see them through the door now, the barricade seeming to slowly dissipate, and whatever was on the other side slowly coming into view.

“Who are you?” He screamed and hit the barrier, but it was just as solid as the door.

“Jeongguk.”

He pulled back and with everything he had, threw himself against the barrier, awaiting the impact as he hit it, the sound of something splintering hitting his ears as he felt himself break through the wall-

“Jeongguk!”

Jeongguk gasped as he shot up in bed, his head hitting something hard. He heard someone curse, but he was too preoccupied with understanding his surroundings to be concerned. His eyes were wide and his breathing heavy as the room spun, but he recognized the familiar setting of Seokjin’s spare bedroom, helping ground him in the moment as the last traces of his nightmare dissipated.

There were hands on him, touching his face. He let his head be turned to meet Seokjin’s worried eyes.

“Hey, you’re okay,” Seokjin used soothing tones, helping to scare away the last bit of Jeongguk’s panic. He leaned into the touch, letting out a long breath, the tension easing out of his body.

Jeongguk searched Seokjin’s face, who looked relieved now, though there was still a touch of concern in his face. Jeongguk noticed a red spot on Seokjin’s nose.

“What happened to your nose?”

Seokjin stared at him, nonplussed before letting out a small huff followed by a smile.

“You’ve got one hell of a headbutt there, Jeonggukie.”

At Seokjin’s words, he could feel a dull throb in the middle of his forehead and along with the curse he had heard from Seokjin before, he connected the dots.

“Oh,” He brought a hand up to rub shyly at his forehead. “Sorry,” He gave a sheepish smile which Seokjin just rolled his eyes at and released his face, but stayed crouched by his bed.

“Don’t worry about it. That must have been one hell of a nightmare, I could hear you thrashing around from the hall.” Seokjin commented, the twinge of worry in his eyes coming back.

“I.. I don’t really remember,” Jeongguk breathed, scrunching his brows together. The dream that had gripped him, leaving him with a sense of panic and foreboding, started to scatter into fragments the moment he woke up. Even now, as he tried to grapple with the remains, they only withered away faster, leaving him with only the feeling, and the sound of a voice calling his name.

Seokjin watched with concern as Jeongguk brought his hands up to grip his arms, face crumpled in frustration. He stood, which broke Jeongguk concentration, looking up at Seokjin. He placed one hand on his hip and the other extended towards Jeongguk, a warm smile adorning his features.

“Well, whatever it was, it’s over now. Come, dinner is ready and it’s getting cold.”

Jeongguk nodded, taking Seokjin’s hand and let him lead them back downstairs to the kitchen. He didn’t bother changing from the clothes he had changed into, far too comfortable in them. He noticed Seokjin himself had also changed at some point into his own casual wear, and the two sat at the table.

“Do you feel more rested at least?” Seokjin asked just as they began to dig into the soup.

Jeongguk took a moment to consider the question. His body felt heavy and if he was honest,  he could probably go back to sleep for another few hours. But he was no longer falling asleep where he stood and he did feel a bit more refreshed.

“A bit, yeah. To be honest, I’m so far behind in sleep at this point I could probably sleep for a week, but I’m not going to pass out anymore.”   

“Good. After dinner, you can go right back to sleep if you want.”

As much as the idea of crawling back into bed made him want to straight up moan, he came to see Seokjin for a reason.

“I still need to talk to you,” He trailed off, feeling a little uncomfortable. He knows Seokjin had accepted him and he seemed okay with it, but it didn’t mean he was ready to actually listen to him actively talk about his love life, if he could even call it that. He didn’t know what to make of Seojun and his proposition, the receipt from last night tucked away in his wallet, crumpled from the amount of fiddling and wringing he did through the last leg of his shift.

“Mm, yes, that was the whole reason you came tonight,” Seokjin responded as he took another mouthful of food.

“I came for the food too,” The words came out muffled, food in his mouth as he smiled at Seokjin.

“Yah, don’t talk with food in your mouth,” Seokjin berated.

They chatted about nothing while they ate, clearing the dishes after. Seokjin left the dishes in the sink to do later, and the two settled into the living room. Jeongguk sat on the couch facing the T.V. and Seokjin beside him, angled towards Jeongguk, waiting.

Jeongguk cracked his knuckles and chewed on his lip, stealing side glances at Seokjin who had a patient look on his face. He was waiting for Jeongguk to start, not going to push him.

“I.. I met someone,” Jeongguk started, eyes flicking over to Seokjin. He watched his lips twitch, but his face remained neutral, passive. He nodded for Jeongguk to continue. “His name is Seojun, he, uh, he lives in my building.”

“Is he cute?”

Jeongguk spluttered at the question, his cheeks going red. His head turned to Seokjin, who still looked as passive as ever. “What?”

“I asked if he was cute,” He repeated.

“I mean, I guess- I never-” He trailed off, face hot.

Seokjin facade broke when he let out a laugh, which just further Jeongguk’s embarrassment. “Hyung,” Jeongguk whined.

“Why are you so nervous, Kook?” Seokjin asked when his laughter died. He moved closer, placing his hand on the back of Jeongguk’s neck.

“I’ve never really, talked about this before,” Jeongguk mumbled, head hanging down.

“What, about having a crush?” Seokjin sounded a little incredulous at the confession. Jeongguk shifted in his seat.

“It’s not like I could, all my crushes have been on guys, and seeing as no one knew I was gay..” He trailed off, and he felt Seokjin’s hand tighten reassuringly on his neck, rubbing.

“I didn’t think about that,” He spoke softly. “But you can talk to me now, I’m not going to judge you if that’s what you’re worried about. It’d be no different if any of the other boys were telling me about a girl they liked. Now come, answer my question.”

Jeongguk peered up at Seokjin, a smile tugging at his lips. “Yeah, yeah he’s pretty cute.”

Seokjin’s face scrunched into a smile, which proved infectious as Jeongguk felt his own finally break free and a large grin spread across his face. Jeongguk felt the tension and anxiety in his body ebb, his fears being nullified. Seokjin’s easy acceptance of the situation filled Jeongguk with unbridled glee, and it filled him with hope. He finally had a place where he could be fully himself, and maybe, one day he could find that in everyone.

“So how did you meet him?”

Jeongguk told him about the laundry room, which he responded with relentless teasing, and about the following run-ins with him, up to early this morning at work.

Jeongguk pulled out the receipt, crumbling it. “I don’t know what to do.”

“Do you like him?”

Jeongguk thought about the question. Did he like him? He was certainly very attractive, and he had a mysterious air about him that Jeongguk had to admit was alluring. His confidence was refreshing, too. But that was all he really had to go on.

“I don’t really know much about him, other than his name and that we live in the same building. I don’t even know how old he is.” Jeongguk shrugged.

Seokjin frowned a little. “I’d assume he wouldn’t be too much older than you.”

“He called me a kid, but so do Tae and Jimin. He looks closer to your age if I had to guess.”

Seokjin made a noise in his throat, his eyebrows knotting together. “I’m five years older than you.”

Jeongguk raised an eyebrow at him. “So?”

“So? You don’t think that’s a little old?”

Jeongguk scoffed. “Five years is hardly that big of an age gap, and it’s not like I’m a kid, as much as you all seem to think I am. There are couples out there with much larger age gaps than five years.”

“I know that, but you’re still young, Jeongguk. I know you’re not a kid,” He added on quickly at Jeongguk’s mouth opening to retort. “But at your age, five can still be a big gap.”

Jeongguk huffed and fell back against the couch. “Hyung, come on, I don’t need the lecture. I haven’t even agreed to see him again, that’s why I came here, for your help.” Jeongguk closed his eyes, rubbing his hands over them. “I’ve never really had this opportunity before, and part of me does like him, or at least wants to get to know him, but I’m scared too.”

Jeongguk dropped his hands and looked back to Seokjin.

“I know,” Seokjin gave him a sympathetic smile. “I’m just concerned. You’re still a kid to me, Jeonggukie.” He leaned over and ruffled his hair. Jeongguk pushed his hand off, but he had a smile on his face.

“I guess someone has to be the mom, and you’re the closest thing I’ve got.” Jeongguk gave him a half smile, but it was full of warmth and love.

Seokjin’s eyes widened the smallest amount before he smiled back at him, pulling Jeongguk by the shoulder and into a side hug. They sat there for a moment, Jeongguk having let his head fall onto Seokjin’s shoulder before Seokjin broke the silence.

“What is it that scares you?”

Jeongguk didn’t respond to the question, and Seokjin looked down at him. “Jeongguk?”

“I..” He didn’t know how to explain it to him. Sure, there was the fear that would come with any potential connection with someone, not wanting to screw it up or scare the other away. But there was more to it, a fear that ran a lot deeper.

“Kook?” Seokjin pulled forward, so he could see Jeongguk’s face. Jeongguk looked pained, his brow tense and lips in a frown. Seokjin hesitated a moment before speaking up. “Whatever it is, you know you can tell me right?”

Jeongguk met Seokjin’s eyes, and as always, he saw the love and concern and most of all acceptance. Always acceptance. He felt a surge of confidence.

“I.. there’s stuff that, that happened in my past that has me scared,” He spoke slowly, dragging the words out, fighting the gut-wrenching fear of bringing anything about his past up. “Scared that it will happen again.”

“What happened?” Seokjin asks softly, carefully. His brow was pinched with worry at the reaction form Jeongguk.

Jeongguk bit his lip. He thought he could tell at least some of it to Seokjin, but just thinking about his past was making him physically ill. The memories from his past, the people. He shook his head, feeling himself retreat again, taking the small boost of confidence with him. God, he hated how scared he was just to talk about it, to Seokjin of all people, but he couldn’t fight his gut reaction.

“I can’t, I’m sorry, I can’t-” He sucked in a deep breath, trying to keep himself calm.

“Hey, it’s okay. You don’t have to tell me anything.” Seokjin soothed, moving to wrap his arm back around Jeongguk. He kept it loose, not to crowd Jeongguk, who was always a little finicky with touch when he was getting worked up.

“I know - we know - that you had something happen to you in the past.” Seokjin continued while Jeongguk tried to keep himself relaxed as possible. “And as much as I wish you could tell us, I won't push you. It’s your past, and I’m more concerned with your future, and with right now. And right now, I think you should give yourself a chance and see what could happen with this little crush you’ve got here.”

“Even if my little crush is an older man?” Jeongguk commented, humour slipping into his tone. Even if things went down the same way they did in the past, he would have his hyungs to take care of him.

Seokjin breathed through his nose. “Even if he’s an older man. Just make sure you tell me where you’ll be going. And when you’re home. And through the night.”

“Yes, hyung.”

 

 

 

 

Jeongguk threw his sketchbook down in frustration, tearing out the third piece of paper, crumpling it and throwing it vaguely in the direction of his trash bin. He ran his hand roughly through his hair, tugging slightly on it. He dropped it with a huff before bringing it right back up to rub at his face. Using his feet he pushed back from his desk and surveyed his room before his gaze landed on his phone, the current crux of his frustrations.

He stared at it for a minute, chewing absentmindedly on his pencil before getting up to retrieve it and plopping down on his bed. He thumbed through his notifications, most being status updates and some random messages in the group chat. He unlocked his phone, the screen opening to his messaging app. Seojun’s number was still typed in the address bar and the word hey in the message box.

That had been about as far as he had gotten in his plan to actually message the man and pursue any type of relationship with him. Seokjin had urged him to give it a shot before he left after his hyung had fought down his own reservations about the man he knew nothing about solely based on the undetermined age difference. Jeongguk had had every intention to reach out to Seojun but when he had arrived home and went to actually message him, he froze.

That had been about an hour ago and he had opted to sit at his desk and try to sketch something as a distraction, but everything he drew he hated and it just furthered his irritation.

He sat up quickly, hunched over the phone in his lap as he stared wide-eyed at it.

Come on, get over yourself. It’s just a text.

He twiddled his thumbs over the keyboard, typing and deleting.

Hey! It’s Jeongguk :) - No, too high school.

hey its Jeongguk - Ugh way to chill.

Hey Seojun, it’s Jeongguk.

He watched the blinking text bar after his name, chewing on his lip. Jesus Christ, he’s acting like he’s fifteen and it’s his first crush. Though, it might as well be. It’s not like he’s ever had the chance to do this before. There had been one guy, a long time ago, but he tried not to think about him.

Jeongguk could hear Seokjin’s voice in his head, egging him on. Seokjin had done a lot to help quell his fears even if he didn’t fully understand them, but Jeongguk still had a niggling of anxiety. What if he didn’t answer him back? Maybe he was just playing a game. How could someone like Seojun be interested in someone like Jeongguk? He wasn’t exactly high-class material, which Seojun seemed to ooze. He was a construction worker and ate cheap ramen more than what is recommended.

And what if he did answer back? Then Jeongguk would have to navigate himself through a field of something he knows nothing about. He doesn’t know how to date, how to flirt. Not to mention the stuff that comes later...

Jeongguk groaned, rolling his eyes as he fell back onto his bed. That was a whole other subject that he had barely even thought about. God, he felt like such a novice.

He pulled up his recent contacts and hit call, waiting as the phone rang.

Hello?

“Hyung,” Jeongguk dragged out the words, a slight whine to his voice.

He heard Seokjin giggle through the speaker. “ Yes, Jeongguk?

“I can’t do this, what if this actually goes somewhere and I have to actually date someone?”

Oh, the horrors. How could you possibly fathom the idea of being in a happy relationship with someone? ” Seokjin mocked, exaggerating his tone.

“I’ve never dated someone before! I don’t know how to flirt, or act, or the, ya know, other stuff..” He trailed off and felt himself blush at Seokjin’s laughter. “It’s not funny hyung, this is serious.”

Oh Gukkie, stop overthinking this. Just text this guy. If he has you in this much of a tizzy, you must want it to some degree. Just act naturally, let him like you for you, which in my opinion, he would be stupid not to see what a wonderful man you are.

Jeongguk smiled at the praise, feeling a warmth spread through his chest. “Thank you, Jin-hyung. I know this probably seems so silly to you.”

Not at all. I know this is a big deal for you. Just, let it happen okay? Deal with one obstacle at a time, and you know your hyung’s will be there for you. I’ll be there for you.

“You’re the best, hyung.”

I know. Now go get ‘em, tiger .”

“Oh my god,” Jeongguk laughed as he said his goodbyes and hung up the phone, holding it back up in front of his face. He could do this. It was just a text, no biggie. He checked the time and decided that eight thirty wasn’t too late yet for a text. He opened up the messaging app and after typing and deleting a few different messages, settled with just the hello and his name. He’d let Seojun handle the rest. He hit send and then immediately tossed his phone onto the bed like it would bite him, grabbing a pillow and hugging it to his chest.

After five minutes passed with nothing happening, Jeongguk decided it was a bit pathetic to just stare at his phone, waiting for Seojun to text him back. He decided to go have a shower, and had to make a genuine effort to not speed through the process, trying to relax and enjoy it.

When he came back into his room - a late night snack and some banana milk in hand - he saw the notification light on his phone blinking. He took a sip of his drink before setting it down and jumped onto his bed, fumbling with his phone. He felt his heart fall a little at seeing nothing from Seojun, but he did have a text from Yoongi.

 

       Yoongi: hey kid, idk whats up, but if there's an issue let me know? Seems like you’re upset with me.

 

Jeongguk felt guilt claw its way up to his throat. He didn’t want Yoongi to think he was upset with him, he just sucked at dealing with his problems.

 

       Jeongguk: No, I’m not upset with you. Sorry, stuff on my end, and still feeling a little shameful from the other night. I’m sorry if I made you think I was upset with you.

 

Jeongguk bit his lip as he sent the text. He hated the idea of Yoongi being upset because he thought he was upset with him. He could never be upset with Yoongi, not really.

His phone dinged and he grabbed it anticipating Yoongi’s response only to see another name pop up. Seojun’s.

He hastily opened the message to see the reply.

 

       Seojun: Hey Jeongguk, I’m glad to see your message :) I’ll be honest, part of me was thinking you weren’t going to text me, but I’m happy to have been proven wrong.

 

Jeongguk felt butterflies in his stomach, biting his lip when he felt a smile tugging at them. Okay, the hardest part was over, now just for the rest of it; actually maintaining the conversation.

 

       Jeongguk: Haha! How are you tonight? Sorry for the late text.

 

He got a quick reply.

 

       Seojun: No worries, I’m somewhat of a night owl myself. I’m going alright, better now ;)

 

Jeongguk’s heart fluttered at the text. Oh, god. He’s flirting. What was he supposed to say back to this? During his crisis, a message from Yoongi popped up. He opened it automatically.

 

       Yoongi: you really don’t have to be sorry. it’s not like you haven’t done more embarrassing things than that.

 

Jeongguk sent a quick reply to Yoongi so he could go back to obsessing over his response to Seojun.

 

       Jeongguk: Thanks, that makes me feel much better lol but I am sorry about that. We all good? (smile emoji)

 

Jeongguk opened up the conversation with Seojun, trying to figure out how to respond and not seem like a total idiot.

“Just act naturally, let him like you for you.”

Jeongguk took a relaxing breath at Seokjin’s words in his head and typed back a response, ignoring Yoongi’s incoming message to focus on the task at hand.

 

       Jeongguk: I’m glad I could improve your evening (smile emoji)

       Seojun: You’re too adorable.

       Seojun: So, would you like to go out for dinner with me?

 

Jeongguk hesitated again. God, why was this so hard? It was kind of terrifying but he had to admit, there was a thrill to it, and excitement he hadn’t felt in years. Not since he had first met his hyungs and found a family in them.

 

       Jeongguk: I would love to (happy emoji)

 

Jeongguk felt as though a weight settled on his heart, but it didn’t feel like a bad one. As he awaited Seojun’s response he opened up Yoongi’s message.

 

       Yoongi: we’re always good, guk-ah.

 

Jeongguk felt his heart squeeze, imagining Yoongi’s soft voice as he read his name. He felt doubt start to creep in, his own true desires making a ruckus in his mind, but he squashed them down. Yoongi was a distant dream that as much as he entertained the idea, would never happen. He needed to find a way to move past his admittedly colossal crush, and Seojun was offering him that. He needed to focus on the possibilities right in front of him. His phone dinged.

 

       Seojun: Wonderful! I’ll send you the details, I made reservations for Friday at 7.

       Jeongguk: I thought you weren’t sure about me?

       Seojun: What can I say, I’m a gambler.

       Seojun: Dress fancy.

 

Jeongguk giggled like a schoolgirl before screenshotting the conversation and sending it to Seokjin, who proceeded to keyboard smash back to him. It was a new feeling, sharing this part of him with someone and getting positive responses. He found it addicting.

He got ready for bed, plugging his phone in. As he rolled over to fall asleep, he heard his phone vibrate against the side table. Rolling back over, he squinted at his phone in the dark.

 

       Yoongi: goodnight guk

 

That earlier unease came back, and Jeongguk typed back a quick ‘goodnight hyung’ before locking his phone again and laying on his back. He thought about what tonight had given him and while he still felt the nervous excitement and thrill of Seojun, a small part of his mind whispered to him, is this the right path?

 

 

 

 

“Do you even own anything besides t-shirts and sweats?”

Jeongguk threw Seokjin a sour look over his shoulder then continued rifling through his closet. “ Yes, I do thank you very much. They just happen to be... In abundance.”

Seokjin scoffed from his place in front of Jeongguk’s dresser, holding up yet another baggy t-shirt - this one white with some grease stains on it, most likely from work. “That’s an understatement.” He tossed the shirt onto the ever-growing pile of ‘no way’ on Jeongguk’s desk chair, which promptly fell onto the floor due to the overflowing mound that had been built up over the last half hour.

“I don’t see what the issue with it is. You can’t ever have too many comfortable clothes and that’s what they are.” Jeongguk turned to Seokjin, holding up a black, knitted turtleneck against his body. “This?”

“Hmm, definitely in the maybe pile,” Jeongguk tossed it onto the substantially smaller pile of clothes on his bed then turned back to his closet. “Comfortable and style are not mutually exclusive there, Jeonggukie.”

Jeongguk tsked as he bent over to look through his shoes - most of which were either tattered work boots or timberlands. “Excuse you, but I happen to rock the comfortable style, thank you very much. Ah ha!” Jeongguk exclaimed. “I knew they were in here somewhere.” Jeongguk stood with a triumphant smile on his face as he held up a pair of black derbies. He bought them a couple of years ago on a whim, but he had only worn them maybe once or twice, so they still looked brand new despite a couple of dust spots.

“I’m impressed that you actually own something other than sneakers or boots.” Seokjin closed the drawer he was in and then threw one more shirt onto the ‘maybe’ pile - a navy blue dress shirt that had an overlap that hid the buttons almost seemingly.

“Yeah, I’ll give you that one. Pretty sure this is the only pair of dress shoes I have.” Seokjin made an offended sound as Jeongguk closed the closest and looked at the fashion disaster that was his room and pouted. “Why didn’t you just leave the ‘no’s’ in my dresser hyung? Now I’m going to have to put everything away again.”

“Good, it will give you the chance to go through everything and trash some of those clothes. I’m actually offended by some of the things you have in there.”

Jeongguk scowled at him, which Seokjin only responded with a perfectly arched eyebrow, daring him to disagree.

“Not all of us waste all our money on the designer clothes that you and Tae like to wear.” Jeongguk started sorting through the clothes on his bed, laying them out for judgment.

“I am nowhere near the level of Taehyung's fashion obsession, who I’m pretty sure owns a pair of shoes worth more than your apartment, but it’s not like the stuff I wear is that expensive,” Seokjin moved to stand by Jeongguk to survey their choices. “You just need to know where to shop. And thrift stores are not the place to shop.”

Jeongguk rolled his eyes, dropping the topic. He really didn’t get the issue. Clothes were clothes. It’s not like he owns ugly clothes. He wasn’t a complete slob. But his style tended towards joggers, jeans, and baggy shirts, whether they be t-shirts, button-ups, or hoodies, they were still nice clothes. Just not nice enough for a candlelit dinner.

And therein lies the problem. Jeongguk was meeting Seojun in the lobby in less than three hours and he had zero clues as what to wear. He had all but begged Seokjin to come to his apartment to help him figure out what he shoulder wear. By some act of God, they had finished the day a little after two, having finished their task early.

“Why you left this to the last minute, I don’t know. I should be home cooking dinner right now and readying my house for five hungry men.” Seokjin groaned. Jeongguk snorted at his dramatics. He knew for a fact that Seokjin was more excited for this date than he was (Jeongguk still wasn’t sure if he was feeling excitement or utter dread yet) and all but jumped at the chance to help him.

“Speaking of,” Seokjin turned to Jeongguk. “What’s the excuse you are giving the boys that you won't be at dinner tonight?”

“I’m just going to tell them I’m at work.”

“You almost never work Fridays, specifically so you can go to dinner each week.”

Jeongguk shrugged. “I’ll just tell them someone called in sick for the evening shift and Jaeho was desperate. It’s not like it’s that hard to believe.” Jeongguk looked at the clothing laying on his bed and let out a huff. “So, which do you like?”

Seokjin let his eyes wander slowly through the selection, hand at his chin as he looked at each one with a critical eye. Jeongguk held back a smile, finding his total concentration amusing. Eventually, he grabbed the navy button up and slim fitted black trousers, handing them to Jeongguk.

“Put these on.”

Jeongguk quickly changed, not bothering to turn around. Modesty was something that you got over quick with his friends, and he’s seen more of Hoseok’s pale ass than he ever wanted to. He grabbed a pair of black socks and slipped on the shoes too before allowing himself to be surveyed by Seokjin. Jeongguk watched as Seokjin’s lips twitched and motioned for Jeongguk to spin. Refraining from the eye roll he wanted to give, he did a slow turn for him. Seokjin looked at him for another few seconds before his mouth slipped into an easy smile.

“I hope Seojun has life insurance because you’re going to kill him.”

Jeongguk sputtered out a laugh. “You haven’t seen this guy yet, I’m sure he’s surrounded by people who would make me look like a mutt even on my best days.”

“Yah, no dongsaeng of mine shall talk about themselves like that,” Seokjin scolded. “You are pretty high up there in the looks department there Jeongguk. Almost as high as me.”

Jeongguk swatted at Seokjin, the former laughing in response. “Now that that is sorted, I need to go home and start cooking. I would recommend letting them know you aren’t coming soon as to avoid suspicion. Your evening shifts start at five, and it’s already four.”

Jeongguk glanced over at his clock, reading the time of 4:02, giving him two hours until he was meeting Seojun. God, how did it get so late already?

“I expect to you to text me once you’re home,” Seokjin gave him a stern finger, one eyebrow raised. “If you are going to be out late, let me know or else I’ll assume the worse and send out the search party.”

Jeongguk rolled his eyes, huffing loudly at Seokjin. “I’m not your fifteen-year-old daughter, relax.”

“No, you’re my twenty-two-year-old baby.”

Jeongguk kicked at his shins and Seokjin yelped. “Get out of here, don’t you have food to cook? Hobi-hyung is probably already rummaging through your pantry.” Jeongguk shooed, desperate to get him out.

“Yah, this is the gratitude I get for coming all the way here to help dress you so you make a decent impression on his guy? The disrespect.”

“Yeah, thanks, bye!” Jeongguk grinned as he started shoving him out of the door.

“Well I never,” Seokjin started as he was herded out into the hall, clutching his bag to his chest. “That’s the last time I help you with anything .”

“We both know that’s a lie,” Jeongguk smirked, earning an eye roll and twitch of the lip from Seokjin.

“Cocky shit. I blame Yoongi for that.” His expression softened into something a little more serious. “Seriously though, you’ll let me know when you’re home for the night, alright?”

Jeongguk let out a slightly exasperated sigh. “Yes, I will let you know when I am home, promise.”

Seokjin narrowed his eyes at him, mumbling what sounded like brat under his breath. “Good luck tonight, not that I really think you need it. I want to hear all about it.” Seokjin slipped into an easy smile, shouldering his bag.

“You’ll be the first one I tell.” Jeongguk gave him a wry smile, which got a huff from Seokjin. They said their goodbyes and Jeongguk closed the door, taking a minute to lean against it and took stock. It was ten after four, leaving him less than two hours. He pulled out his phone and set off the text to the group that he wouldn’t be at the dinner tonight, which was met with a lot of whines and complaints, that Seokjin quickly shut down. Bless his soul.

Jimin also said he wouldn’t be able to make it - a cousin of his was in town for a visit and he was going out for dinner with them. That only inducted more whining, especially from Taehyung as he was being ‘left for dead’ among the older members. He rolled his eyes and put his phone on the counter and let out a breath. Shower first, then he was going to eat a little. He had a fairly big appetite and he didn’t want to look like a pig in front of Seojun but also didn’t want to go hungry, so he would have a snack. Game plan ready, he headed to the bathroom.

He took a little extra time in the shower, making sure his hair was washed thoroughly and brushing his teeth twice. He dried himself off then walked to the kitchen to make a small dish of ramen that he quickly slurped down before he went back to his room to change.

He probably took far more care in the act of putting his clothes on than he needed, but he was irrationally scared of ruining the clothes somehow. So after ten minutes, he had his outfit on, holding his shoes as he left his room and dropped them off by the front door. Back in the bathroom, he started to style his hair, running the modelling gel through his slightly damp locks. He parted it so his bangs swooped to the left, falling just over his one eyebrow and pushed the hair on his right back out of his face.

Looking in the mirror, he was satisfied with the look. About to leave the bathroom, his eye caught sight of the small makeup bag that sat pushed into the corner of his counter. It didn’t have much in there, just the bare necessities that he sometimes indulged in on the rare occasion they all went out to a club. A place like that - dark and crowded, everyone looking through alcohol blurred eyes - he could feel more at ease with the makeup on. Jimin and Taehyung often put it on for those nights, Hoseok and Seokjin sometime as well. Outside of that? Jeongguk didn’t dare. Too many scenarios of being called out by strangers were created in his head for him to have the confidence to do so. Which was funny, because on those nights, under the flashing lights and heavy music, that little bit of eyeliner and foundation gave him more confidence than he ever had on a regular day.

But tonight? He was going out on a date with another man. He could still pass it off as a night out with a friend, but Seojun didn’t strike him as someone who was overly concerned with something like that, and he wouldn’t put it past him to act as it was anything other than a date.

Jeongguk licked his lips and leaned against the counter, the air leaving his lungs. He hadn’t even thought about the fact that he was going to be out in public, on a date, with another man. Surrounded by prying eyes and on display for the world. Oh God, why did he agree to this? He should have said no, or at least suggested somewhere more private. He checked the time and saw it was a quarter after five. He couldn’t cancel now, it would be rude and he could kiss any chance with Seojun goodbye.

He could feel the buzzing under his skin that was always going at a low hum increase in intensity. He gripped at the counter and stared himself in the mirror, willing his body to relax. This was not the time to freak out. He tried to take calming breaths and it helped, but he still felt like he was going to puke. Why had he not thought about this until now? He had been so focused on the fact that Seojun was even interested in him to consider the finer details, like how he was going to be putting himself out in the open for judgement. He could see himself sitting in the restaurant, the eyes, glares of people around him suffocating him, their thoughts that meant more to Jeongguk than he liked to admit. God, he couldn’t do this. He thought about calling Seokjin, for advice, but they would be right in the middle of dinner right now and he didn’t want to bother him with this.

Jeongguk needed to handle this. He was always telling everyone that he was an adult and he needed to start acting like a goddamn adult, and that meant going on dates. Things people did all the time. He needed to find the courage himself. It’s not like he was going with a flashing neon sign over his head announcing it to the world. It was one restaurant. One that Seojun had some kind of business dealings at, if he remembered correctly, so they obviously would know him. He wouldn’t do something to jeopardize his job, not something like this. He needed to trust in that, and at least try to trust in himself for once. Just for tonight.

He took another stabilizing breath before looking back at the makeup bag. Pushing down the fear, he snatched it from the corner and hastily opened it before his sudden surge of confidence left. He pulled out the black eyeliner and blush, along with a small bottle of foundation. Placing them on the counter he put some of the cover-up on an old sponge and applied a little over a couple of small red spots. He was fairly lucky to have pretty clear skin, but when you worked in manual labour, the sweat was bound to produce some amount of acne.

After he lined his eyes with the liner, smudging it just the slightest and then the mascara on his top lashes as an afterthought. He finished it with the slightest dusting of blush over his cheekbones. Looking back at himself in the mirror, he still felt nausea churning in his gut. but he could feel something else rising within him. A sense of power and boldness. He liked how he looked, and a part of him felt that Seojun would like it too.

With one last look in the mirror and a nod at his reflection, he walked out and grabbed the stuff he would need for tonight. He threw on a nice but simple grey jacket and slipped into his shoes. It was almost six, so he left his apartment and headed down to the lobby. The entire way down the stairs he kept repeating to himself it’s going to be fine, just take a breath and suck it up like a mantra until he exited into the lobby.

He was thankful for the small mercy that no one was there, and he moved to stand by the mailroom for a small amount of seclusion.

He refrained from biting his nails in anticipation, a bad habit from when he was a kid, waiting for Seojun. The nausea was starting to build back up again, doubts swirling around in his head when the elevator dinged and the doors slid open. He watched with bated breath as Seojun exited into the lobby, head twisting as he looked for Jeongguk, face forming into an easy, confident smile when his eyes landed on him. Jeongguk had removed his hand from his mouth - he hadn’t bitten his nails, just played with his lips, he swears - as soon as he saw him, grabbing his arms before dropping them and trying his best to act as casual as possible. Play it cool, don’t freak out.

“Jeongguk, wow,” Seojun stopped just a foot away, his eyes dragging across Jeongguk’s body in a way that made him feel bare. He resisted the urge to cross his arms across his chest, to hide himself. Seojun reached down to grab one of his fidgeting hands and brought it up to his lips, placing a chaste kiss to the top of his hand while keeping his eyes on Jeongguk’s face.

“You look stunning.” He breathed over his knuckles, triggering a small shiver from Jeongguk, who felt his mouth go dry at the affectionate gesture. Jeongguk took a minute to regard Seojun. He found himself biting his lip as he took in the fitted slacks and tight, a white dress shirt that was adorned with a teal blue tie that matched the pocket square tucked into the pocket over his right breast. He had slicked his hair back, with a few strands artfully curled over his forehead, and a jacket slung over his shoulder.

“So do you,” Jeongguk managed to say without stuttering, and he meant it. Seojun was breathtaking, and so out of his league it wasn’t even funny, and to hear him call Jeongguk good looking was both exhilarating and terrifying.

Seojun pulled back with a smile, trailing his hand along Jeongguk’s arm to his elbow, cupping it gently and pulled him forwards.

“My ride is in the parking garage, we better get going if we want to make our reservation on time.” Jeongguk followed as Seojun led him to the stairwell, glad he hadn't decided to take the elevator, though most of the residents knew that for the trek of one floor was far quicker with the stairs than the elevator.

Based on what Jeongguk had seen from Seojun’s personality and grace, he was expecting a higher class vehicle like a Mercedes-Benz or BMW, or something along those lines. But as a helmet was shoved into his hands, he couldn’t keep the surprise off his face as Seojun hooked a leg over a sleek, red and black Hyosung motorcycle.  He looked down at the simple black helmet in his hands, a pair of large, clunky goggles sitting atop of them, and back up at Seojun, who was giving him an amused smile as he slipped on a pair of gloves then his jacket.

“Have you ever ridden a motorcycle before Jeongguk?”

Jeongguk shook his head. Seojun’s smile spread into a wide grin as he pulled his helmet over his head - a full one with a visor - and motioned for Jeongguk to get on. Jeongguk hesitated only a moment before he walked over. Seojun watched him as he approached, patient as Jeongguk swung his leg over the seat and slid in behind Seojun. Once he was settled in he put the helmet on, securing the chin strap and brought the goggles down, fiddling with them a bit until they were somewhat comfortably sitting on his face.

“You all set?” Jeongguk rolled his shoulders as he gave him the go ahead. He wasn’t sure how he felt about this; the most experience he had with anything like this was an ATV ride he took as a kid back in Busan during a summer camp, and that had been set not to exceed the speed of forty kilometres an hour. This was a high powered motorized vehicle that could easily end his existence in the blink of an eye, but he had to admit, he was excited to give it a go. He was a bit of a secret thrill seeker, in the sense that he loved amusement parks and horror movies (he disregarded elevators because fuck those, they were an actual threat), and the adrenaline rush they gave him. So when Seojun started the engine, the motor coming to life with a high rev then settling into a low hum that vibrated his body, he couldn’t help the twitch of his lips as a smile snuck its way up to his cheeks.

Seojun kicked his feet up and the bike took off down the stretch of garage towards the exit ramp with a jolt. Jeongguk felt his body lurch back and he flung his arms forwards to latch onto Seojun jacket. He felt Seojuns body shake with what he assumed was laughter, but it might have just been the vibrations of the motor. They got to the ramp and waited for the door to open. Just as it reached the top Seojun turned back and said in a low voice, “Hold on tight,” and took off.

Jeongguk held onto Seojun, grabbing his own arms as they twined around Seojun’s waist. They popped onto the road, and Jeongguk turned his head to watch as they passed by cars and buildings, the lights from storefronts and headlights streaking by as they swerved in and around the traffic of Seoul.

Seoul, with a population of close to ten million, made getting around by car damn near impossible. Jeongguk always took to walking or taking the subway before any kind of taxi and had no real desire to purchase a vehicle, at least not any time soon. Between the traffic and then having to find parking, he felt it was a needless stress (not to mention expense) that he easily worked around.

But seeing Seojun duck and tuck around cars, squeezing past vehicles that were barely moving, he could see the appeal. He never really gave much thought to owning a motorcycle, mainly for money reasons, but the feeling of the wind whipping past him, and sound of the motor revving whenever Seojun picked up speed after having to slow down, it filled him with a new kind of adrenaline that he usually only got from the more intense rides at theme parks, but even then those only last a few minutes, and they didn't have the added thrill of danger to them.

Jeongguk rested his head against Seojun’s back, squeezing a little tighter. Seojun moved his arm, reaching back and placing a hand on Jeongguk’s thigh, giving it a quick squeeze and a rub before pulling it back to the handlebars. Jeongguk felt himself blush. He wasn’t used to this kind of attention that Seojun gave so willingly. He was used to skinship with his friends, but that was different. This was new and terrifying and just as intoxicating as the ride he was on.

The ride lasted about forty minutes, but it could have lasted forever and Jeongguk would have been none the wiser. They rolled into the back behind the restaurant that had a small parking area and Seojun slipped in between two cars smoothly. Jeongguk got off and took his helmet off, handing it to Seojun who locked them to the handlebars. Jeongguk took his phone out and tried to discreetly check his hair. He was sure the helmet would have mussed it up to some degree. He felt a weight on his shoulder and he contained a squeak when Seojun draped his arm around Jeongguk shoulders, leaning in close to his face.

“You still look dazzling darling,” He purred into his ear and this time Jeongguk actually let out a squeak at the voice that sent a pleasant chill down his spine. “And I forgot to mention earlier, but I like the makeup.” Seojun pulled away but not without letting his lips graze Jeongguk’s ear. He held his arm out to Jeongguk, a smirk on his face and eyebrow raised.

“Shall we?”

Jeongguk stuffed his phone in his pocket and with a shaky breath, he accepted the arm.

Seojun led them to the front of the building - tall windows covered by thick drapes - the sign of the restaurant depicted in scripted gold letters, Gihoe , painted on the window.

“Interesting name for a restaurant,” Jeongguk commented as Seojun queued up at the end of the small line that was formed at the front door. Jeongguk couldn’t see inside, so he had no idea how long the line actually was.

“Hmm? Oh,” Seojun looked at the name with a shrug of his shoulders. “I guess so, I’ve seen some weirder names than Chance for restaurants. I never gave it much notice.”

Jeongguk nodded and went back to observing his surroundings. The men and women in front of them were all dressed in black tie wear, the men in suits and the women in tight, sleek dresses of varying lengths. He noticed one couple near the door giving the two of them disapproving looks and Jeongguk felt himself cower a bit, wanting to pull away from Seojun and the judgemental looks. This was exactly what he wanted to avoid.

Seojun felt him tense and looked over to see the couple and their upturned noses before letting out a huff.

“Don’t worry about people like that,” He spoke to Jeongguk with soft, comforting tones. “They’re hardly worth the time, and the fact that we are here is enough for them to do nothing more then send us childish glares.” Jeongguk looked up at him. “This is a hard place to get reservations for; being here is enough of a statement for us as it is for them.”

Jeongguk looked back at the couple but they were inside the restaurant now. Was this place really that high end? It wasn’t necessarily in a fancy area of the city. If he was correct, they were just on the edge of Yeouido (they couldn’t go any farther without needing to take a train or subway) which was the main business hub of Seoul. He did say his father was a businessman, so this could be a place frequented by owners, CEOs, the like.  He was starting to feel a little out of his depth. He wasn’t a high-class citizen - Christ, he worked in construction and at a convenience store. The fanciest he usually got was the club in Seocho-gu that they rarely go to, usually having to save up for a night out in that area.

Seojun grabbed the arm that was still linked with Jeongguks, giving it a reassuring squeeze. “Relax,” He told him, shooting him a warm smile. Jeongguk took a breath, and then another. He let his body relax as they made it into the restaurant. While Seojun confirmed their reservation with the hostess, Jeongguk observed the room.

It was gorgeous, the outward appearance doing it no justice. The closed blinds hid the high vaulted ceilings that had simple but beautiful chandeliers hanging above each table. The walls were painted a neutral grey with mahogany trim around the ceiling and floors, with light, intricate patterns woven along the walls. The tables were square and covered in white table cloths that hung down almost to the floor. The place was fairly full, the two of them passing guests as the hostess led them to a booth that was near the back.

He held his breath as they passed the table seating the couple from outside, but they were busy with their own waiter to notice them. The booth was a little secluded from the rest of the room, the booths at the back each separated by walls creating little nooks. The hostess lead them to one in the back corner that was adjacent to the back of another booth, almost cutting them off from the rest of the restaurant.

Jeongguk let out a breath as they were seated, relaxing a little at being hidden from the view of prying eyes. Seojun slipped in across from him, thanking the hostess who told them a waiter would be with them shortly.

Seojun grabbed the cutlery, unravelling the cloth and placing it in his lap. Jeongguk copied it, though with far less grace and ease as Seojun. He winced when the cutlery clanged on the table, blushing at the chuckle Seojun gave while he smoothed the cloth on his lap, playing with the ends.

“You don’t need to be so nervous, Jeongguk. I don’t bite.” Seojun quirked an eyebrow at him. “Much,”

Jeongguk gave an awkward chuckle, nerves making his skin buzz. His eyes kept roving over the restaurant, what he could see. The room was fairly packed, men in tuxedos and women in sparkling dresses. The chatter was muffled with so many voices flitting in and out around them. Jeongguk noticed a pair of girls sitting a few tables down from them. They were eating their dinner, both talking animatedly. One of the girls said something that made the other laugh, and Jeongguk noticed below their table how their feet nudged and rubbed against each other affectionately.

“Jeongguk?”

Jeongguk’s attention snapped back over to Seojun who was looking at him expectantly.

“Huh?” Was Jeongguk immediate response. He cringed immediately at the disgustingly casual sound but Seojun just smiled at him softly.

“I asked if you had any idea what you wanted,”

Jeongguk saw the menu in Seojun’s hand and he looked down at his own sitting on the table in front of him. “Oh, yeah. Sorry,” He felt his cheeks flush as he picked the menu up. He tried his best to hide his reaction at the prices lining the right side of the page. Jesus, he could afford a month's worth of ramen and rice with these prices.  

“Just relax, it just two guys enjoying a nice dinner,” Seojun spoke, looking back down at his own menu.

“Nice is one word for it,” Jeongguk said under his breath. He could barely afford a glass of water here. By the time the waiter came to their table he managed to find the cheapest meal he could on the menu - he would still have to take an extra shift this week to make up the difference though - and gave his order. Seojun followed and also ordered a bottle of wine.

“What kind of wine do you drink?” He asked Jeongguk.

“Uh,” The only time Jeongguk ever had wine was one night at Seokjin’s and that had been bottom of the shelf, cheapest they could find wine. Jeongguk had barely been of legal drinking age then, and he found the taste of it rather horrible.

But the waiter was looking at him impatiently, and Seojun expectantly. Seojun probably drank fancy, imported wine that’s made from like, gold, or something and Jeongguk had spent most his adult life drinking cheap beer and market brand soju. He couldn’t say that, nor could he say he didn’t drink wine because classy people drank wine and every table around him had a bottle of wine. Not to mention it was probably three times the amount of his meal.

Jeongguk’s head was spinning and his skin was still buzzing.

“Whatever you’d like, Seojun-ssi,” Jeongguk replied, trying to keep his voice even.

Seojun watched him for a second then turned to the waiter to order. Jeongguk didn’t catch the name, more focused on remembering how to breathe. He really needed to relax. Seojun was probably uncomfortable with how uncomfortable he was. This restaurant was so above anything he ever goes to. Everyone here only has to take one look at him to know he doesn’t belong, and on top of that, he’s out here on a date with another man-

“Hey, Jeongguk, earth to Jeongguk,” Seojun waved a hand in front of Jeongguk’s face. Jeongguk blinked, bringing his attention back to Seojun. “If you aren’t comfortable, we can always leave and go somewhere else-”

“No,” Jeongguk practically yelled, eyes wide. “No,” He said a little quieter. “I’m sorry, this is just all very new for me. I don’t really go to places like this or, I don’t really date, if I’m honest.” Jeongguk rubbed his neck with a puff of laughter.

“Are you going to be okay?” Jeongguk looked at Seojun and he looked a little concerned. He thought he could see a flash of annoyance but he figured it was his own stressed brain imagining it.

“Don’t worry about me, I just need a little longer to settle in.” Jeongguk flashed him a smile and Seojun’s expression relaxed into something fond. Jeongguk did his best to remember that he was on a date and it’s supposed to be fun. He gave himself a small shake and focused on Seojun and pushed the rest of the restaurant into the background.

The waiter brings the bottle along with an appetizer Seojun ordered. Seojun poured them both a glass of the red wine with a foreign name. Jeongguk watched Seojun grab the glass first before copying it and bringing the glass to his lips to try.

The smell of it wasn’t too bad, but as soon as it passed his lips he was hit with the tangy, bitter taste. He tried his best not to show it but he was sure he winced a little. He pulled the glass back and placed it on the table, grabbing his water and taking a gulp. Okay, so that's a no. He looked to see if Seojun had noticed but he checking his phone.

“Sorry,” He said as he pocketed his phone. “That was just work. No more phone though, I told them that I’m busy for the rest of the night.” And then he winked.

Jeongguk figured he might have a heart attack before the night was done.

“How was the wine? Was it to your liking?”

Jeongguk could just say he wasn’t a fan but he wanted to impress Seojun. And for whatever reason, liking the same wine he did was the best way in his mind.

“Yeah,” He lied, “It’s good.” He smiled, and to further his point, took another tentative sip, trying to ignore the burning in his throat.

“Good! I’m glad,” Seojun smiled. “Maybe I should order another bottle for us, just in case.”

“Oh, I don’t think I’ll drink that much,” Jeongguk licked his lips then immediately regretted it, the wine still stuck in his mouth. “One should be enough.”

Seojun pursed his lips, watching him before letting out a small chuckle.

“You hate it,” He asked.

“No, it’s-” Jeongguk stopped, watching Seojun’s amused smile. He sighed, “Okay, so it’s not my favourite,” He trailed off.

“You don’t have to pretend to like this stuff for my sake. I want you to enjoy tonight, Jeongguk.” Seojun reached across and grabbed Jeongguk’s hand. “So please, just be yourself.”

Jeongguk bit his lip but nodded, warmth spreading through him. He was being silly. He needed to take both Seokjin's and now Seojun’s advice and just enjoy himself as himself. He gave Seojun a smile which he returned. They started to pick at the appetizer - breadsticks that Jeongguk was willing to sacrifice his image just to order three more orders for when they left - and made idle chat.

“So what exactly is your job?” Jeongguk asked, using the napkin to wipe the grease off his hands rather than lick them clean like he usually would do.

“I work under my dad, he’s a Regional Vice President at his company and I’m being trained to take over his position,” Seojun explained. “He’s retiring soon and I was hired into the company right out of school specifically for the role.”

“Oh, wow,” Jeongguk was impressed and fairly intimidated. It was just further proof that Seojun was so out of his league it wasn’t even funny. “What’s the company?”

“Ah, it’s a conglomerate company, nothing too exciting or anything,” Seojun brushed off. “What about you? I know you work in that shop and you said you work construction? Tell me more about that.”

Jeongguk was a little startled at the abrupt change in topic. He guessed Seojun wasn’t very interested in talking about his work. Maybe it was private stuff? It sounded like a pretty important job.

“Uh, yeah, I work Doyoon Construction full time, but I’m at Jung’s convenience part-time.” Jeongguk did his best not to feel embarrassed about his occupation.

“Oh, yeah, Kim Doyoon’s company right?” Seojun asked, recognition in his voice.

“Yeah, he’s the owner I mean. I’ve never actually met him or anything. That’s leagues above my position at the bottom of the ladder.”

Seojun noded. “We regularly use his company whenever we need buildings or parkades built. My dad works pretty closely with him.”

“Oh, I’ve probably worked on a building then. We are putting up an office building right now in Jung-gu,” Jeongguk explained, a little amazed at the fact that they had something like that in common (sort of).

“Not one of our as far as I know,” Jeongguk deflated a little at that. “Why the second job?”

Jeongguk shrugged. “Saving money,” He supplied vaguely.

Seojun raised his eyebrow. “For anything specific?”

“Uhm, I’m trying to save up to go to school.”

“Oh, nice! That's a good goal to strive for. Any idea what for?”

Jeongguk blanched. He hadn’t really thought that far ahead if he’s honest. He’s still a long ways away from having the money for it yet. He entertains the idea of going to one of the performing arts school to study music and dance, but he’s fairly sure he will have to settle for something a little more realistic.

“Ah, not as of yet,” He chuckled awkwardly. “It’s still a bit of a pipe dream right now but hopefully one day.”

The food came then and Jeongguk was grateful. He didn’t really like talking about himself. He didn’t think there was much that was worth talking about. Seojun, on the other hand, was very worth talking about and learning about. He was still a mystery to him and he wanted to learn more.

They dig into the meal and Jeongguk lets out an involuntary moan at the taste. God, he’s never tasted something so good. His palette, which had grown accustomed to rice, ramen, and kimchi, was reeling. Seojun chuckled and Jeongguk blushed, apologizing.

“No need, I’m more than happy to see you enjoying yourself,” He smirked a little and it did nothing to help his blush.

They made more small talk, trading hobbies and childhood stories. Seojun was an only child and spent his entire life in Seoul. He has a dog that he adopted when he was a teenager, and his favourite colour is red. Jeongguk, in turn, told him he was from Busan, moved here a few years ago to find work. He liked to work out and spent a lot of time with his friends.

“They’re basically family. Helped me through a lot,” He explained, having finished his meal. Seojun was still diligently working at his soup, his eyes trained on Jeongguk.

“That guy who was with you the other day when we ran into each other outside the building,” Seojun’s tone was casual, but it sounded a bit forced. “He one of your friends then?”

“Oh, Yoongi? Yeah, he was already with the company when I got there. Showed me the ropes.” Jeongguk felt the smile that always accompanies talk of Yoongi. He couldn’t help it.

“You two are close?”

“I mean, I’m close with all of them,” Jeongguk shrugged. He didn’t say that he spent the last five years pining after him. Probably not the best thing to say on a date.

Seojun nodded. Jeongguk felt a weird atmosphere settle over them, and he wasn’t sure what brought it about. He didn’t have long to dwell on it before Seojun smiled at him.

“Shall we order some dessert?”

The staff cleared away their plates and the bottle of wine that was barely touched. Seojun ordered a couple of pastries for them to try and Jeongguk found himself looking around the restaurant again. The two ladies from before had left, an elderly couple in their place. He felt eyes on him and he scanned the room, noticing two waitresses and a host standing on the other side, whispering and looking at his table. He also noticed a couple of other people scattered about sending looks at them.

After the waiter left, Jeongguk told Seojun about the eyes that were on them.

Seojun brushed it off. “My dad and I are regulars here. Probably wondering why I’m here alone and with such a pretty boy,” He winked at him and Jeongguk felt the all too familiar blush on his face. The comment distracted him from the niggling feeling in his gut. Didn’t he say he had only been at this restaurant once before? He must be remembering wrong.

The dessert didn’t take long, and Seojun insisted on feeding him a piece. He accepted it, embarrassingly, and tried to ignore the fact that all he could think about was Yoongi’s fingers on his lips.

They finish and the bill comes. Jeongguk is a little scared to even look at it, knowing it’s going to be much more than he can really afford but Seojun snatched it up before he could take a look.

“Ah ah, I asked you out, I pay the bill,” He sing-songed to him, pulling his wallet from his jacket pocket.

“I can pay for my half,” Jeongguk argued half-heartedly. It may be selfish but he felt a lot of relief at not having to pay.

Seojun shook his head, already taping his card on the machine the waiter presented to him. Jeongguk tried to sneak a peek at the price but Seojun had already tucked the receipt in his wallet and he couldn’t see the machine.

They leave the store once the bill is paid, Seojun once again offering his arm to Jeongguk who took it with more smiles and less blushing this time around. The exit and head towards the parking lot. The night air is cool and Jeongguk shivers a little as they walk up to the bike.

Jeongguk isn’t as worried to get on the second time, taking the helmet with some excitement bubbling within him. He climbs on after Seojun, easily wrapping his arms around his waist. The motorcycle starts and Jeongguk’s heart still skips a beat as they take off out of the parking lot and back on the road.

The air bites into his skin through his shirt and he held on tighter to Seojun. The high of riding on the bike made him feel kind of like he was floating. He feels happy, feels so content. IT may have been awkward to start but Jeongguk really enjoyed himself. He hopes they can do it again, but maybe something a little more low key so he could be himself more.

He starts to recognize the buildings around him and knows they will be home soon. Jeongguk wonders why Seojun lives in a building like this when it’s clear he is in a higher class of living just based on his tastes. They aren’t bad apartments but they certainly aren't high-class restaurant, regional vice president housing. He decides he ask him at some point. It’s not really any of his business. Soon they pull up to their building and down into the parking garage.

Seojun parks the bike and Jeongguk detaches himself from Seojun. He hands him the helmet and Seojun straps it into place, then offering his arm to Jeongguk. They walk up into the lobby and Seojun hits the button to call the elevator. Jeongguk tries not to shift too much. He doesn’t want to tell Seojun about his fear of elevators because it’s honestly kind of mortifying, and it would be a nuisance too. But he hasn’t been in this elevator for since he first moved in here three years ago and he’s not keen on breaking that streak.

The doors open and Jeongguk sucks in a quick breath at the slight squeak they make as they slide. Seojun gives him a side eye but doesn’t say anything as they walk in.

The squeaking continues and Jeongguk wants to scream but he needs to keep it together. He’s not about to ruin this date with his childish fears.

He pressed the button to his floor and the elevator started to move, groaning the entire way. Jeongguk noticed Seojun didn’t press a button.

“Do you live on the same floor as me?” Jeongguk asked, surprised. He was pretty sure he knew most the people on his floor, or at least recognized them in passing. And he knows he wouldn’t forget a face like Seojun’s.

“Hm? Oh, no. I’m on the ninth floor,” He answered. “It be rude not to walk you all the way home though,” Seojun smiled at him and Jeongguk almost forgot about the death trap he was in.

Ninth floor - penthouse suites. Jeongguk can’t say that surprises him.

The doors opened and he exited as quickly as he could without it looking weird. He led the way to his door when he was struck with the notion that Seojun might expect him to invite him in. And Jeongguk isn’t sure what to do about that.

He stops in front of his door and he turns to Seojun, nervous.

“Well, this is me,” Jeongguk says with a nervous laugh, shrugging his shoulders. Seojun looks at the door then back at Jeongguk and Jeongguk feels his stomach drop, and he prays that he won't ask to come in because he’s seen T.V., he knows what that really means and he’s nowhere near ready for that and he hasn’t cleaned his apartment in weeks and there's a half eaten bowl of rice in his kitchen he's pretty sure and -

His inner monologue is stopped when he feels a hand on his waist. He looked up at Seojun who was smiling down at him, eyes amused.

“I had a very good time tonight,” He spoke, voice low. Jeongguk watched the way Seojun ducked his head just a little, bringing their faces closer.

“I did too, Seojun-ssi,” Jeongguk mumbled, distracted by the large, warm hand on his waist. Seojun chucked as he placed his other hand on Jeongguk’s arm, rubbing gently.

“I think I’ve earned the right for you to use just my name don’t you?”

Jeongguk licked his lips, a little aroused and a lot terrified. He’s pretty sure Seojun wants to kiss him. He’s pretty sure he wants to kiss Seojun too.

“Y-yeah,” Jeongguk breaths as Seojun brings his head down further and presses his lips to Jeongguk’s.

Jeongguk takes a breath through his nose, warmth curling in his gut at the warm feeling of Seojun’s lips on his. Jeongguk isn’t sure what to do with his hands, but Seojun seemed to have the covered, moving his hand on Jeongguk’s arm and guiding it so it was resting on Seojun’s side. Jeongguk placed his other hand on Seojuns arm.

Jeongguk was hesitant, not sure what to do. He’s kissed before but it’s been a long time. He’s inexperienced, but Seojun doesn’t seem deterred. He moves his lips against Jeongguk’s, slow and steady and Jeongguk lets him take the lead. He feels the hand tighten on his waist and guide him back a little until his back hits the door. Jeongguk lets out a small gasp and Seojun takes the opportunity to push his tongue inside Jeongguk’s mouth and it makes his toes curl.

The warmth in his gut folds, turning into something more and it freaks him out a little just how turned on he is from kissing Seojun. Enough that he finds him pushing slightly at Seojuns arm, wanting him to pull back and give him some room to breathe.

It takes Seojun a minute, but he pulls back, breath hot on Jeongguk’s face. Jeongguk sucks in a breath, chest heaving and his pulse was beating wildly and just wow -

“Seojun,” Jeongguk breathed, still trying to catch his breath.

“I like the way you say my name like that, all breathless,” Seojun grinned wickedly at Jeongguk and Jeongguk felt his face flush bright red, his brain short-circuiting. This was a lot and he was getting overwhelmed and was pretty sure he was sporting a semi and Seojun was still really close.

“Um, that was. That was nice, and,” Jeongguk stuttered, completely lost for words.

Seojun threw his head back and laughed, pulling the hand one his waist away and Jeongguk felt his chest loosed a little. Seojun looked back down and Jeongguk with a smirk on his face and mirth in his eyes and something else, something more intense.

“You’re too adorable, you know that?”

Jeongguk gave a sheepish smile, not trusting his words.

“Good night, Jeon Jeongguk,” Seojun spoke, leaning down to place a small peck on his cheek, looking him in the eyes as he pulled away, hand lingering on his arm before pulling away too.

“G-good night Seojun,” Jeongguk replied, watching him walk down the hall before quickly turning and scrambling to unlock his door, practically running inside.

Okay.

Wow.

Jeongguk felt laugh bubble up and punch out of him. He giggled, something high and light. That just fucking happened. To me. He was reeling in disbelief. It had been perfect, or as perfect as he could imagine it. Seojun was everything he was expecting him to be but with so much to learn. He hadn’t had the chance to get to know anyone since his friends in the past few years and he didn’t think he would find it this exhilarating. And add - that - to the mix, and Jeongguk was on cloud nine.

He touched his lips, trying to keep the feeling of Seojuns lips on his. As much as it excited him it also scared him. If this keeps going they’ll eventually do more stuff and the thought both excites him and terrifies him. He’s sure a guy like Seojun had tons of experience in that department and JEongguk will just end up embarrassing himself.

Jeongguk’s phone buzzed three times, pulling him away from his thoughts. He pulled it from his pocket, seeing a multitude of text from Seokjin along with one from Jimin and one from Yoongi, as well as a swell in the group chat. He swiped and pulled up the messages from Seokjin.

 

       8:06 pm

       Seokjin: How is it going?

       Seokjin: Everyone is whining about you and Jiminie not being here

       8:49 pm

       Seokjin: How’s the restaurant?

       9:35 pm

       Seokjin: Are you dead?

       11:03pm

       Seokjin: It’s already after 11

       Seokjin: I told you I wanted updates

       Seokjin: I will call you while you are on your date don’t think I will

 

The typing bubble was going and Jeongguk quickly tapped out a response.

 

       Jeongguk: Hey, I just got home.

 

The response was immediate

 

       Seokjin: Why didn’t you message me

       Seokjin: I was serious about that

       Seokjin: How was it??

       Seokjin: Are you okay? Did he treat you properly??

 

Jeongguk didn’t even get a chance to read the messages before his phone lit up with Seokjin’s face staring at him. Jeongguk huffed a laugh, answering the call.

“Hello hyung,”

Don’t you ‘hello hyung’ me, Jeon Jeongguk,” Seokjin screeched through the speaker. “ You don’t message me at all, all night and leave me worrying if you’re even alive still.

“Jesus Jin-hyung, we went for dinner,” Jeongguk defended, exasperated. “Two adults went for dinner. Stop acting like I’m your teenage daughter you just had her first date.”Jeongguk slipped his shoes off, then went to the kitchen to grab a glass of water.

You might as well be!”

“I take offence to that.”

Seokjin sighed and Jeongguk shifted the phone between his shoulder and ear so he could fill his glass up from the tap. “Well?”

“Well, what?” Jeongguk asked, going to sit on the couch, slipping his pants off. He let out a small sigh of relief at having the garment off.

“How did it go?”

“Are you done yelling at me now?”

“Kook-” Seokjin made a frustrated sound and Jeongguk giggled.

“It was amazing,” Jeongguk flopped down onto the couch with a smile on his face. “He’s such a gentleman, and funny and suave as hell. He took me to this really fancy restaurant where the meals are more than my paychecks.”

“Way to set the bar high on the first date.”  

“He even walked me to my door, and, um,” Jeongguk hesitated, feeling the blush from before return.

“What?” There was a pause then an intake of breath followed by Seokjin yelling, “Did he kiss you?!”

“Jeongguk bit his lip, holding in a laugh. “He might have given me a goodbye kiss.”

“Was he any good?”

Jeongguk sputtered at the question. “Why do you need to know?”

“Why wouldn’t I want to know? I want to make sure you’re going to be taken care of.”

Jeongguk squawked and Seokjin laughed.

“I’m not answering this.”

“Awh, come on Jeonggukkie, tell hyung the juicy details.”

“I’m hanging up now,” Jeongguk told him, ignoring the shouts of protest.

“Don’t you dare hang up on me-”

Jeongguk ended the call, and Seokjin called right back.

“I can’t believe you actually hung up on me,” Seokjin huffed as soon as Jeongguk answered the phone.

“Then don’t ask questions like that,” Jeongguk rebutted.

“Can you at least tell me if he’s a decent kisser or not? I mean, as far as I know, it’s not like you’ve had a shit ton of experience in that department.”

“First, fuck you, at least I’m getting something right now unlike you,” Seokjin gave a sharp hey. “Second,” Jeongguk rolled over on the couch, phone squished between the cushion and his cheek. “It- it was nice. Really nice.”

Jeongguk was sure Seokjin could hear his raging blush from here.

“He is an older man, we tend to have more practice in these areas.”

“Yeah, okay Jin-hyung.” Jeongguk rolled his eyes.

“Are you happy Jeongguk?”

The question gave Jeongguk pause. Jeongguk didn’t think he’d ever have a chance at something like this. He’s still a little bewildered that a guy like Seojun was interested in him, but he had an amazing time regardless of the rocky start. Seojun was funny and confident and Jeongguk really enjoyed his time with him.

And on top of that, he’s sitting on his couch, gushing about his first date - and kiss - to his friend, another thing he never thought possible. He’s had so many firsts this week and for once, Jeongguk actually was looking forward to future.

“Yeah,” He whispered, smile softening on his face, but bright bright bright. “Yeah, I am.”

Chapter Text

Jeongguk smiled at his phone, tapping away, only looking up when he’s hit in the face by a wet towel. He looks up with a scowl at Jimin who looked exasperated.

“What?” Jeongguk asked, refraining from looking back down at his phone at the silly meme Seojun sent him. He sent a lot that were a little dated but Jeongguk found it endearing as fuck.

“I called your name like, five times,” Jimin huffed, grabbing the towel as Jeongguk threw it back at him.

“You did not call my name five times,” Jeongguk rolled his eyes.

“I did! If you weren’t so absorbed in whatever is on your phone you would have heard them all.” Jimin sat down on the bench beside him, grabbing a set of twenties and doing arm curls.

“That doesn’t really make sense,” Jeongguk said, looking back down at his phone and stifling a giggle at a gif of a cat being scared by a cucumber. It’s one he’s seen before, but getting it from Seojun was cute. Jeongguk typed out a response along with his own gif.

“You know, gyms are meant to be worked out in. You’ve barely done anything since we got here,” Jimin side eyed him, breathing through his curls.

Jeongguk shrugged, tucking his phone by his water bottle and laid back on the bench to do some cable flies. He didn’t want to admit that Jimin was right. After they met at the gym and changed, they had been barely five minutes into their warm-up stretches when Jeongguk’s phone went off, Seojun sending him a sweet good morning text, causing Jeongguk to drop what he was doing and put his sole attention on his phone.

Ever since his date, Seojun had taken to sending Jeongguk a good morning text each day. It was only Monday, but Jeongguk found himself eager and excited to receive it. It was one of those cheesy things he read about or seen on T.V. that he would secretly yearn for but openly mock it with his friends. Knowing that he’s the first thing on someone's mind when they wake was a bit of a rush.

The conversation had mainly just been Seojun and him sending funny pictures and gif back and forth and Jeongguk was living for it.

“What’s even got your attention this early in the morning?” Jimin asked.

“Nothing, just looking at shit on Reddit and stuff,” Jeongguk huffed back his response through each weight lift. “What did you want my attention for that you had to throw your sweaty rag at me?”

Jimin rolled his eyes. “I was going to ask if you wanted to leave a little earlier, Tae texted me asking for donuts from that cafe near the park. I figure I’ll go there and you can grab the coffee.”

“Sure.”

They finished their sets, talking a bit about their weekend. Jimin spent most of it with his cousin who was visiting from Ulsan. He hadn’t seen her in a few years and it was nice to catch up. Jeongguk told him he spent it sleeping and working. Jimin asked how his Friday night shift was and Jeongguk felt a little guilt swirl in his gut when he waved it off as a usual night shift. He was lying a lot more as of late to his friends and it didn’t sit well with him but what other choice did he really have?

They left the gym and a little way down the street they parted ways. The cafe was the direction of work but a couple of streets over so it was a bit out of the way. Jimin said he would meet him on a street corner a couple of streets from work. Jeongguk refrained from the joke he wanted to make and told him what he wanted then made his way down the street.

He got to the coffee shop, heaving a deep sigh at the long line. He got to the back and pulled his phone out to see if Seojun had messaged him but he had yet to answer his last message. He tried not to feel too dejected at that. He’s at work, relax. Jeongguk pulled up his other messages, scrolling through the group chat of the others inquiring about coffee and donuts. Everyone was throwing their orders at Jimin, Hoseok and Seokjin both changing it every few seconds and Jimin threatening to get them nothing if they didn’t decide on something.

He got to the front after a few minutes, Seoyeon greeted him with a cheerful smile as always. Jeongguk returned it, though it was hesitant. Ever since Jimin told him Seoyeon had spent the last months flirting with Jeongguk, he had a hard time engaging in the easy chatter they used to. He still managed, Seoyeon was a sweet girl and Jeongguk still wasn’t sure he believed Jimin. She was just good at her job. He’d watched her talk and giggle with other customers the same as she did with him. He tried to push it out of his thoughts as he ordered.

“For everyone today, please,” He ordered, fishing his wallet out of his bag.

“Of course. Good workout today?” She asked as she rang it in.

“Alright, little lazier today. It is Monday,” He chuckled and she laughed with mirth. He moved out of the way for the next customer to give their order, messaging Jimin to let him know he was just waiting on the drinks. Jimin responded that he was just about to leave the cafe.

“Here’s your order Jeongguk-ssi,” Seoyeon got his attention, handing him two trays. Jeongguk nodded in thanks, grabbing the drinks and leaving the store. He just got out, readjusting his hold on the trays so he could tell Jimin he was on his way when he noticed something written on one of the Americanos. Jeongguk grabbed the cup and inspected it, eyes widening at the neatly written phone number in silver sharpie along the side of the sup along with the words ‘call me some time - Seoyeon’.

Jeongguk felt his stomach drop. It had to be for him. Seoyeon only every really saw Jimin and sometimes Seokjin at the store, and Seokjin got tea anyways. And it couldn’t be a coincidence it was left on one of the first times in a while Jeongguk was there without Jimin. Which meant Jimin was right and Seoyeon had been flirting.

Jeongguk put the coffee back in the tray and hurried along to meet Jimin. How was he supposed to go about this? He didn’t think of her in that way - couldn’t. Not to mention he wasn’t technically single right now. He was seeing Seojun.

That gave him pause. They had only been on one date, it wasn’t like they were together or anything yet. How did it even work? Jeongguk knew some people went on a series of date before announcing that they were ‘together’ officially. He also knew people who saw the dating part as not necessarily being off the market, so to speak.

Did Seojun think that way, or was he a one man at a time guy? Did Seojun only like guys? He might like girls too. He never thought to ask. Jeongguk didn’t think he’d be able to date more than one person at once for various reasons, the main one being he wouldn’t actually ever be put in that situation. It was a miracle to him Seojun was spending his time with him.

He checked his phone to see if Seojun had messaged him back at all yet. Nothing. It only furthered to make his gut churn more. He was being irrational, but maybe he wasn’t. He was totally new to dating. He didn’t know how it worked, not really.

His thoughts plagued him all the way to the corner where he was meeting Jimin. Jimin waved to him, eye’s crinkling in a smile before dropping, taking in Jeongguk’s disgruntled expression.

“What’s wrong with you?” He asked, and Jeongguk barely opened his mouth to respond before Jimin’s eyes dropped down at the drinks before they widened slightly. “What's that on your drink?”

Jimin reached out and snatched the coffee before Jeongguk could stop him, Jimin examining the number and note on the cup.

“Shit, she finally got the guts to give you her number,” Jimin spoke, sounding a little impressed. Jeongguk took the coffee back, sliding it in the tray and walked forwards towards work. He heard Jimin’s ‘ hey ’ before he caught up to him.

“What did you say to her?”

“What?” Jeongguk looked at him, defensive. “Nothing! I didn’t even know she had done it till I left the shop,” Jeongguk defended himself even though he wasn’t sure why he was getting so worked up.

Jimin put his hands up in defence, the paper bag of food jostling around as he did. “Woah, relax. I’m just surprised.” Jimin lowered his hands and they walked in silence for a minute. Then, “So what are you gonna do?”

“What do you mean?”

“Are you going to text her?”

Jeongguk sputtered a bit. “No!”

Jimin cocked his head. “Why not?

“‘Cause,” Jeongguk floundered, at a loss for words. “I don’t like her like that. And what if it doesn’t work? It would make getting coffee awkward. We would have to go somewhere else and then the hyung’s would whine about not getting their coffee-” He stopped abruptly, realizing he was rambling. He shrugged, trying to save face.

Jimin held back a smile at Jeongguk’s nervous babbling. He shouldn’t tease him but he loved seeing him get all flustered. It was comical as all hell. “Hmm, yeah, Seokjin would never let you forget it.”

Jeongguk let out a sigh of relief, hoping Jimin was going to leave it there.

He should know better than that.

Just as they got to the yard, Jimin immediately stole Jeongguk’s coffee and took off towards the trailer, yelling.

“Guys! Guess who gave Jeongguk their phone number!”

Jeongguk swore and ran after him, cursing his name. “Jimin! Get back here!”

He burst into the trailer, putting down the tray on the shelf by him and jumping on Jimin’s back as he held the coffee for everyone to see.

“Yah! Get off me,” Jimin yelled as Jeongguk reached around to grab the coffee.

“Jesus you two, it’s too early on a Monday for this shit,” Yoongi whined, leaned back on a chair, feet on the table.

“What are you two yelling about?” Namjoon asked, moving to grab the coffee’s Jeongguk left by the door.

“A cute barista gave Guk her numb-” the rest of his words were cut off when Jeongguk wrapped his hand around Jimin’s mouth.

“You got someone’s number?” Namjoon perked up, looking surprised and excited. The others also looked intrigued, even Yoongi sitting up a bit, a small frown on his face.

“He’s lying, it was for him,” Jeongguk reached again for the coffee only to have Jimin elbow him in the gut, distracting him enough for Jimin to shake him off. Jimin ran on the other side of the table, behind Namjoon who eagerly turned to see the cup.

“I went and got food from the cafe. Jeongguk was the only one in the coffee shop,” Jimin smiled sickly sweet at Jeongguk who was sending him the dirtiest look he could.

“Ha!” Namjoon clapped. “Look at that! Got a girls number, didn’t think you had it in you there Gukkie.”

Jeongguk felt himself go beet red. It was too early to deal with this.

“Is she cute?” Taehyung asked Jimin, knowing Jeongguk probably wouldn’t answer.

“She’s pretty cute yeah, been flirting with Jeongguk for months.”

Months? ” Hoseok squawked. “And it’s the first we are hearing of this?”

“I didn’t know she was flirting with me!” Jeongguk defended. He looked over at Seokjin for help, offended to see him holding back his own giggles. Seokjin sent him an apologetic look. He couldn’t ignore the comedy factor here.

Jeongguk moved his eyes to Yoongi who was regarding the coffee cup with an expressionless look. His eyes flickered over to Jeongguk and Jeongguk sent him a pleading look. Yoongi was his last ditch effort to get out of this.

Yoongi must have seen the despair in his face. He pushed up from his chair with a groan, throwing a pair of gloves at Namjoon who was busy ogling the coffee cup with Hoseok. “It’s seven, stop your teenage girl gossip and let's get to work.”

Namjoon scowled at him but relented nonetheless. Ever the professional. “Alright, Yoongi’s right. Off we go, get to the trucks.” He looked over at Jeongguk, pointing. “This isn’t over young man,” He said with a smile, snickering at the way Jeongguk blanched.

They tumbled out of the small trailer towards the trucks. Jeongguk beelined for one of them, climbing into the passenger seat and moping. He really didn’t want to deal with this today. He knew after a while they would forget and drop it, but until then, Jeongguk was going to have to deal with merciless teasing from them. He cursed Jimin again. He can workout by himself this week.

The driver’s door opened and Yoongi slid into the seat. Jeongguk was a little surprised - Yoongi usually doesn’t like to drive, using the time to get in just a little more sleep, but he wasn’t complaining. He was the least likely to tease. He’s glad Namjoon didn’t jump in.

Yoongi started the truck, turning the radio to the station he liked and slipping on a pair of sunglasses.

They pulled out of the yard after the other two trucks. Jeongguk bobbed his head to the music playing, rolling the window down a bit, enjoying the cool air tumbling through. The summer day was barely beginning and it was already warm. He could tell it was going to be a hot day. The first few minutes were quiet, neither of them speaking, music filling the truck cab. Yoongi was the first to break the silence.

“Are you considering messaging this girl?”

Jeongguk looked over at Yoongi’s voice. His tone was nonchalant, not teasing, but not really sounding overly curious either. His eyes flicked over to him before back on the road.

“Uh, no. Probably not,” Jeongguk responded, shifting in his seat. Yoongi is the last person he really wants to talk about this with.

Yoongi hummed in response. He didn’t say anything further for a few minutes. Then, “Do you think she’s cute?”

Jeongguk almost choked on his coffee, really wishing he had tried getting in with Seokjin now.

“I mean. Yeah, she’s cute. A sweet girl,” He got out, cringing.

“Any reason why you aren’t interested in her? I’m not pushing or anything,” He said quickly, “If you aren’t into her, you aren’t into her. I guess I’m just wondering why. Most guys would jump at the chance, especially if it’s their first.” Yoongi’s eyes flick over to him again, and Jeongguk thinks he sees something there, something behind his words but Yoongi looks back at the road again.

“I don’t know,” Jeongguk breathes. “I’m just - not. I don’t want to jump into something if there's nothing making me feel it.”

“Feel it?”

“Like,” Jeongguk tries to gather his thoughts. He could hear the traffic through the open window, rolling it up. It created a heavy silence all of a sudden. “Like how they show in the movies. When you meet someone and you just feel it, that sense of ‘ wow, I want to know you,’ ” Jeongguk huffed. “That sounds dumb.”

“No,” Yoongi cut in. “I get it. It’s that feeling when you meet someone, when you talk with them and get to know them and it almost feels like they were always there. They just kind of - slot into your life with no effort at all. Like they belong”

Jeongguk nods, a little breathless at Yoongi’s words. It brings him back to when he met his hyungs. When he met Yoongi. Yoongi took him under his wings, and even when he thought Yoongi didn’t like him in the beginning, not understanding Yoongi’s way of showing respect and affection through his gruff exterior, he couldn’t deny the way he fell into step beside Yoongi even then.

“Yeah,” Jeongguk croaks. He keeps his eyes on the dash, trying to push down the swell of affection he felt towards him. He was trying to get past this. He had Seojun, someone who actually showed an interest in him. Wanted him. He didn’t necessarily feel that familiarity with Seojun, but there was something. It was better than nothing he told himself.

Yoongi looked over at Jeongguk, saw the way his face had fallen slightly, deep in thought. Yoongi reached over and ran his hand through Jeongguk’s hair. Jeongguk’s leaned into the touch, the comfort of Yoongi, who at the end of the day was his best friend, his hyung.

“Regardless of what the boys say, go at your own pace, Jeonggukie,” Yoongi tells him with a gentle tone. “You only have your own path to follow, no one else’s. You’ll come into things when you feel comfortable too. When you’re ready.”

Yoongi pulled his hand back and Jeongguk missed it immediately.

He thought about Yoongi’s words. He thought about Seojun. Was he maybe rushing it a bit? Was it too fast? Part of him he knows - even though he tries to ignore it - is trying to find a way to get over Yoongi, to finally be able to see what it’s like to be in a real relationship with someone. Does that mean dating Seojun is a mistake?

No. He does like Seojun, he does. He tells himself that all day through work, through the lunch break and incessant teasing from his hyungs save Yoongi and Seokjin, until he gets home and gets a call from Seojun, who just wanted to talk to him for the evening, hear about his day. He feels giddy and nervous and he lets those feelings reaffirm that he’s on the right path. He is.

Yoongi’s words still follow him to sleep that night, a small, niggling twist of doubt settling into his mind.





“Bowling?” The sound of the balls hitting wooden pins crashed around him, though not loud enough to mask the disbelief in his voice. He looked at Seojun. “This was the surprise?”

Seojun just smiled at him, something big and Cheshire like. He lead Jeongguk over to the counter where he asked for a lane for two. Jeongguk surveyed the bowling alley, taking in the screaming children and the birthday parties. There was a group of teens a little way down, two couples by the looks, and past them a group of middle-aged men and women in matching shirts with some kind of atrocious bowling logo. It was loud and lights shining everywhere and most importantly, it was busy as hell.

Don’t get him wrong - he likes bowling. He used to bowl when he was young and picked it up again for the last couple of years. He’s pretty decent at it, though he’s pretty good at most sports he plays to the dismay of his friends. But as a second date? It’s kinda cute he figures, but there are so many people and it comes back again to the fear of being called out, of being seen and demeaned. But like last time, Seojun looks unfazed so he tries to follow suit.

When Seojun had knocked on his door earlier this evening saying he was taking him out somewhere, refusing to tell Jeongguk where, he assumed it was going to be another dinner or maybe even a movie or a romantic stroll in the park. In his flustered state after Seojun had all but demanded he get dressed and go with him (he had caught Jeongguk in boxers and a baggy t-shirt and Jeongguk tried not to think about the way Seojun had looked at him before he scurried his way into his room with a squeak) he thankfully didn’t bother to dress to fancy, his black jeans and cleanest white button up being more than appropriate for a bowling alley.

Seojun similarly was dressed fairly casual - jeans and a long sleeve, knitted sweater. He still managed to look beyond good in the outfit and Jeongguk was only a little jealous.

The guy behind the counter asked him his shoe size then grabs the colourful bowling shoes for the two of them to change into. Jeongguk grabs his wallet, expecting to pay half but Seojun waves him off, having paid for it already.

“Seriously, let me pay you for my half,” Jeongguk insists as they sit on the couch in their lane to put the shoes on.

“I’m the one who took you out for a surprise date. It’s only fair I pay,” Seojun countered.

“Fine, but I’m getting us food.”

Jeongguk returned shortly with a plate of nachos and two beers for them. Seojun had the game set up, their names flashing above their heads. Seojun was first up.

He got up and Jeongguk tried not to obviously check out his ass as he threw the ball. Seojun managed to hit six of the ten pins, then missed only one in the second throw. He seemed mildly proud of himself.

“Don’t worry if you aren’t the greatest,” Seojun said to him as Jeongguk stood up, looking at the balls, deciding which one he wanted. He seemed to think Jeongguk was hesitant to grab a ball. “I used to bowl a lot as a kid, but it still kind of stayed with me.”

Jeongguk smiled at him, refraining from smirking. He grabbed a pink ball, lining up in front of the lane. He held it up, taking a breath, then released it as he swung his arm back, stepping forward and releasing the ball in a graceful motion, leg stuck out straight behind him and to the side, arm curved around his body. He watched as the ball rolled down the lane, striking the head pin and successfully knocking them all down.

Jeongguk popped up with a satisfied smile, grinning at the look of disbelief on Seojuns face.

“I’ve been bowling for a long time,” was his response as he sat down, motioning for Seojun to take his turn. He tried not to laugh at Seojuns grumbled ‘show off’.

The first game went much like that, Seojun doing well, but Jeongguk doing better. They talked more about themselves, Seojun telling him more about his childhood and Jeongguk talking about his friends and the stuff they get up to. Seojun tried to pry into his past, asking more about his family and hometown but Jeongguk always gave terse and quick answers. Seojun eventually backed off. The conversation started to curve as the game neared the end, Seojun falling behind in the last few frames.

By the end of it, Seojun had a sour look on his face, and Jeongguk felt a little dread wiggle it’s way into his chest. Maybe he should have let Seojun win? He did pay for this after all. Jeongguk shouldn’t be such a try hard.

“Second round?” Jeongguk suggested a little timidly. Seojun looked at him and the grimace faded into a warm smile.

“Yeah, for sure. I’m going to get another beer first. Be right back.” He got up and headed towards the bar. Jeongguk bit his tongue about Seojun getting another beer when he drove them here. He trusted he knew his limits. He didn’t want to come across as preachy.

He set up the next game then checked his phone. He had a message from Yoongi.

 

       Yoongi: when are u free next? I have the song pretty much done.

 

Jeongguk smiled, excited. He loved hearing Yoongi’s music but it always gave him a small sense of pride when it’s one he helped with.

 

       Jeongguk: I’m free sunday during the day

       Yoongi: cool cool. Come over to my place whenever

 

Jeongguk sent him a smiley face and was startled when Seojun said his name.

“What’s got you so immersed in your phone?” He asked, sitting down as he sipped at his beer.

“Oh, nothing. Just texting my friend, making plans,” Jeongguk replied, pocketing his phone.

“Which friend?”

“Yoongi-hyung,” Jeongguk got up from his seat. “Ready to start the next game?”

Seojun gave a non-committal hum and Jeongguk went up to take his turn. He made sure to start off with a spare.

“Have you told them about me?”

Jeongguk freezes, his back still turned to Seojun. “Um, Seokjin-hyung knows, but he’s the only one.” He turned back to Seojun. “He’s also the only one who knows that I’m, um. That I’m gay.”

“So you lie to them?” Seojun asked casually as he got up to take his own turn.

Jeongguk bristled. “I’m not lying, I just. Haven’t told them yet.”

Seojun threw the ball. Strike. He turned back to Jeongguk.

“Are you going to? You make it sound like you’re very close to them. Especially that Yoongi.”

“I’ll tell them when I’m ready,” Jeongguk defended, his irritation growing and covering the feeling of guilt that always swirls just below the surface. “And what makes you think I’m closer with Yoongi?” He got up to take his next turn.

“They way you talk about him. It’s different than the others,” Seojun paused. “Almost sounded like you have a crush on him.”

Jeongguk stuttered mid-swing, ending with his ball in the gutter. He bit the inside of his cheek and grabbed another ball for his second throw. “That’s ridiculous. Besides, Yoongi doesn’t swing that way.”

Seojun chuckled but it didn’t sound very humorous. “Oh come on, you can tell me the truth. It’s kinda cute.” Jeongguk threw his ball and managed to knock down six pins.

Jeongguk turned back with a scowl on his face. “I don’t have a crush on him, I just have a lot of respect for him.”

Seojun got up and stepped in front of him, hand on his arm and face close. Jeongguk took a small breath in at the sudden proximity and the intense look in Seojun’s eyes.

“I don’t believe you, but it doesn’t matter. You have me now,” Seojun’s lips quirked up into something dark, penetrating, and Jeongguk wasn’t sure if he liked it. Part of him, the horny teenage boy part, was immediately taken by the heavy look on Seojun’s face and how good it looked on him. But there was something about the look, the way he grasped his arm, that sent warning bells through him, the need to back away and escape very strong. He was a second away from asking Seojun to back off but Seojun stepped away, the look gone and replaced by something far kinder and almost bashful.

“Ah, sorry, that was a little much,” He chuckled, moving around Jeongguk to grab his ball. Jeongguk watched him, eyes a little wide. Seojun threw his ball then turned back to Jeongguk, stepping up to him again but with much less intensity.

“I tend to get a little.. Jealous,” Seojun explained, moving his hand to rub gently against Jeongguk’s cheek. “I’m just so enamoured with you, it brings out this side of me that I don’t usually show.”

Jeongguk is aware that they’re in a very public place and he can feel eyes on them but he’s drawn into the soft touch of Seojun’s fingers and the sweet words, and maybe he came off really strong then but if it’s just because he liked Jeongguk that much..

Jeongguk smiled at him. “Well, you don’t have anything to worry about,” Jeongguk said, pushing down the uncomfortableness in his gut and letting the feeling of being wanted and desired and having Seojun right here take over and fill him with a high he still hadn't gotten used to. Still didn’t believe he was in the position he was in.

Seojun chuckled and backed away. Jeongguk tried to stay relaxed.

They kept on with the game, the talk back in lighter territory. Seojun didn’t bring up how he acted and Jeongguk didn’t bring up his hyungs. Seojun ended up winning the game by a couple of points and they moved into one more game, laughing and joking. Jeongguk saw people looking at them and he caught a few disgusted looks but he found he didn’t care as much. He was having fun and he wanted to enjoy his night.

Halfway through the third game, the two took to trying to distract the other in hopes of making them screw up their throw. Jeongguk would throw jabs just as Seojun pulled back to swing and Seojun would flirt with him. When Jeongguk was feeling particularly ballsy, all earlier discomfort gone and replaced with content, he got up and grabbed the ball just as Seojun swung back. It had been perfectly graceful and Jeongguk laughed at the bewildered look on Seojun’s face.

“Why you,” Seojun started, grin on his face as he lunged for Jeongguk. Jeongguk playfully yelled when Seojun wrapped his arms around him, pinching and poking his side. He tried to hold back his laughter as to not cause much of a scene. When he almost dropped the bowling ball on Seojun’s foot, did Seojun finally pull back, keeping his hands on Jeongguk’s waist. Jeongguk couldn’t stop his giggles though.

Jeongguk ears perked up when he thought he heard a familiar voice, but Seojun grabbed him gently by the chin and gave him a quick peck on the lips.

Jeongguk immediately flustered, pulling away stuttering and going to take his turn. Seojun laughed at him.

Had he not been distracted, he would have seen a confused and irritated Taehyung, questioning why Jimin was quickly pushing him out of the bowling alley after just getting there. Seen the way Jimin looked back troubled, his eyes replaying the scene he was positive he wasn’t supposed to see.





Jeongguk opened the door calling out to Yoongi, letting him know he was here. He heard Yoongi’s voice call out from within the apartment. He toed off his shoes and took his bag off his shoulder, letting it hang in his hand as he moved into the apartment, heading towards the studio.

He found Yoongi there, hunched over his keyboard, headphones half on and hand clicking away furiously. There were energy drink cans stacked on his right and coffee mugs sitting in takeout containers on his left. Jeongguk sighed, shaking his head. This isn’t new for him, walking in on Yoongi, deep within whatever projects he’s working on, and surrounded by chaos. He easily gets lost in his work and forgets about the outside world. Jeongguk, while not a fan of how the studio tends to end up smelling after a few days of this, admires the way Yoongi can completely immerse himself in what he’s doing. He wants a passion like that, something he can lose himself in. He can never seem to quite reach that motivation,

“Hey,” Yoongi mumbled distractedly, barely nodding his head in greeting. “One sec, almost done this.” He tugged his headphones back onto his ears.

Jeongguk rolled his eyes, plopping down on the small love seat in the room and pulled out his phone. ‘One sec’ was anywhere from a few moments to half an hour in Yoongi speak. Jeongguk scrolled through twitter for about ten minutes before Yoongi made a grunt and sat back, removing his headphones and letting them sit around his neck. Yoongi rubbed his eyes a little then looked over to Jeongguk.

“Hey,” Yoongi repeated to him. Jeongguk smiled.

“Hey, you have a song to show me. Right?”

“Actually, about the song,” Yoongi hummed, swivelling his chair towards Jeongguk, leaning back a little. “It’s basically done, I’ve done my recording and shit and mixed it for the most part.”

“I assumed you asked me here to get a second opinion on it before finalizing it?” Jeongguk asked, putting his phone back in his pocket.

“I want to record you singing a few lines for it,” Yoongi said.

Jeongguk froze, eyes widening a little. He wanted him to sing? On his song?

“Really?” Jeongguk couldn’t keep the surprise out of his voice.

Yoongi gave him a small smile. “Yeah, just some harmonies for over the chorus and a bit on the bridge. If you want.”

Jeongguk wants . He does. Yoongi’s music is unbiasedly (mostly) some of his favourites. He listens to it regularly, only Namjoon being the other person who actually gets the treat of being able to hear it. Jeongguk sometimes bugs him to tell the others and let them get a taste of it, but Yoongi always refuses. Says he will when the time is right. He’s working on an album, has some singles he’s posted on Soundcloud along with demos and such from his current stuff. He seems to be waiting until he finds it all perfect before he decides to share it with the others.

Jeongguk couldn’t be more honoured to be on one of his songs, but.

“I- you’d be posting it online, right?” Jeongguk asks timidly.

“Well, yeah,” Yoongi shrugs. “Eventually. It’s for the album. I’ll throw the demo up when it’s done.” Yoongi looks at him, eyes a little sharper. “Is that a problem?”

Jeongguk squirms a little. “I’d love to be on your song, I can’t even tell you how much. I just don’t know how comfortable I am with it being public.” Jeongguk flushes a little. He almost feels embarrassed over that. It’s just that he’s only ever sung for Yoongi in the safety of their homes. He’s aware that he has a good voice, he’s not that modest. Yoongi has told him before too, and Yoongi doesn’t compliment for the sake of complimenting. Still. It’s scary, putting something of himself out there for anyone to see, anyone to judge.

“Jeongguk-ah,” Yoongi speaks softly, but there's a stern undertone. “You know I won't make you do anything you aren’t comfortable with, but sometimes it’s good to step out of our comfort zone.” Yoongi put his hand on Jeongguk knee, comforting.

“I know,” Jeongguk snaps a little. If only Yoongi knew how much he’s stepped out of his comfort zone the last couple weeks.

Yoongi gave a little sigh. “I get that it’s scary, trust me. I was fucking terrified the first time I uploaded a song.”

That perked Jeongguk’s interest. “Really?” Yoongi always seemed confident with his music. The way he talked about it, how he commanded such rapt attention from Jeongguk whenever he talked about the technicalities and process of making music. But Yoongi had been doing music for years before Jeongguk met him, back when he was a teenager. He’s had a decade to work, hone, perfect his style and work. The years to build the confidence he has now.

“Really. I almost didn’t do it, kept putting it off until I said ‘fuck it’ and uploaded it, then didn’t touch my computer for almost two days.” Jeongguk chuckled at that, picturing Yoongi nervously avoiding his desktop, fear of rejection or dismissal for something he was so passionate about.

“When did you stop being afraid of it?” Jeongguk asked.

Yoongi huffed a laugh. “I haven’t stopped. I’m always a little afraid to share something I’ve made. You never know how people will react. Never know what kind of reception you’ll get when you share something that's a part of you. But if it’s something you’re proud of, then that's all that really matters. Fuck what anyone else has to say.”

Jeongguk found himself nodding. It’s hard to picture Yoongi as someone afraid. He always carries such an easy confidence, an attitude that can come across as not caring or indifferent. To hear Yoongi admit that he gets scared too, scared when it comes to revealing a piece of yourself, it fills something in Jeongguk’s heart that he doesn’t want to acknowledge and gives him just that much more respect for him. That much more love.

There's a metaphor in there somewhere, with the music and sharing yourself even with the fear of rejection. Jeongguk tucks it away to examine later.

“Can I.. if I do it and I can’t take that step?” Jeongguk asks hesitantly.

“Of course. I’d never do anything you weren’t comfortable with Jeongguk-ah.” Jeongguk feels this heart fill a bit more, the sincerity in his voice too much.

“Okay, let’s do it then.”

Yoongi shows him what he has, explaining to him what he wants. It’s mainly just some oh’s and ah’s, with some echoing of the lyrics. Jeongguk finds himself getting more excited as they work, Jeongguk practising over the song until him and Yoongi feel he’s got it then he starts recording.

It’s a little weird, using the equipment. He’s got a cheap mic at home that he uses sometimes to record covers of songs that he keeps tucked away in a folder within a folder on his laptop. It’s okay quality, but it’s nothing like the industry level stuff that Yoongi has. Yoongi makes a bit of money from the stuff he’s posted over the years, enough to be able to keep up to date with his equipment. He knows Yoongi has his dreams of making it big one day, but for now, he’s happy just being able to indulge in what he does in his free time.

Yoongi is sitting in front of him at his computer, headphones on as he listened to Jeongguk through that. Jeongguk watches him, the way he bobs his head a little, foot tapping to the beat. Jeongguk watches Yoongi’s lips quirk up at some parts when he sings, tries not to let it fill his heart too much, make his stomach swoop to low. He drags his eyes away from Yoongi and focuses on the singing.

They record a few takes of each section. Yoongi gives him his headphones and lets him listen to them and give his opinion on which ones he likes, then gives them back to Yoongi who goes in and starts putting things together a bit.

Jeongguk sits back on the couch while he works. He checks his phone - he’s got another couple hours before he has to leave for work. Yoongi had said he’d feed him before he went, just wants to set the tracks up to work on again later. He’s about to pull up his twitter feed again when his phone vibrates, a text from Seojun coming through.

 

       Seojun: Hey babe, what are you up to?

 

Jeongguk allows him a minute to fluster over the pet name, amazed at Seojuns ability to turn him into a disgusting mess from one text. He goes to answer him - I’m at yoongi hyungs - then stops. He thinks about Seojuns words from the bowling alley. Jeongguk doesn’t want to make Seojun upset and he has a feeling he wouldn’t like hearing that Jeongguk is at Yoongi’s alone. But then that means lying, which he is equally uncomfortable with.

Jeongguk bites his lip. If he was with anyone else, he would just say so, but it’s Yoongi. Yoongi is his friend, but he’s also so much more. He would never try anything, besides the fact that nothing could happen anyways, but he also assured Seojun that he didn't have a crush on Yoongi. Which, he does. More than a crush.

He feels something ugly curl in his gut. Guilt. He feels guilt over the fact that he’s still here pining over Yoongi, over someone who will never see him as more than a friend, while Seojun is here, showing him just how much he does want him, giving him the attention and care in a way that he hasn’t really had. He feels ashamed of himself.

His eyes flick over to Yoongi. He isn’t sure he will ever stop loving Yoongi, but he needs to try and not (he doesn’t know how to do that). For Seojun’s sake. It’s not fair to him. He needs to try harder. Maybe he needs to put a little bit of distance between them.

His heart physically aches at that, but it’s probably the only way to do it. He had told himself before that he needed to get over his infatuation with Yoongi, but he hadn’t really been doing anything about it. He figured seeing Seojun would help, but he couldn’t just leave it to that. It wasn’t right. He needed to put more of an effort into it. He just needed enough to lessen the constant longing and ache in his chest every time he sees Yoongi smile, or laugh, or just be.

Jeongguk felt shaky, his emotions overwhelming him. He looked at Yoongi again, eyes mapping out the planes of his face that he already had memorized. He took in the concentrated look in his eyes, the gentle slope of his nose, the soft frown on his lip. Jeongguk figures he could draw Yoongi from memory alone from the amount of time he’s spent just watching Yoongi. It was too much.

Yoongi took his headphones off his head, setting them down on his desk. “Alright, that’s good for now. Let’s get something to eat, I’m starving.” He pushed away from his desk and looked over at Jeongguk, then frowned. “Guk? You alright?”

Jeongguk flinched a little at his voice. “Y-yeah, I’m good. Um.” Jeongguk stood, grabbing his bag. “I actually gotta go, worked asked me to start early.” He shouldered it, ignoring the surprised and somewhat disappointed look on Yoongi’s face.

“Just tell them you’re out or something. Have you even eaten yet today?”

“I already said I would, and I can grab something on my way.” Jeongguk was already making his way out of the room, heading to the door. Yoongi immediately followed him.

“Jeongguk, seriously, what’s up?” Yoongi could hear the slight shake to Jeongguk’s words, see the jerkiness of his movements. “Did something happen? Are you upset about the song?”

“No,” Jeongguk said quickly, pulling his shoes on, almost stumbling in his haste. “No, I’m. I’m glad we did this I really am.” Jeongguk got his shoes on then turned to Yoongi, giving him the most convincing smile he could. “Sorry, work said it was an emergency. I gotta run, but I’ll text you.” Jeongguk moved to give Yoongi a hug but stopped himself, opting to give him a small, awkward wave. “Bye hyung,” and he turned to walk out the door, barely hearing Yoongi’s own confused goodbye.

He rushed down the stairs, blinking at the sudden wetness in his eyes. He felt like he just lost something, lost Yoongi. He told himself that he was overreacting, that it wasn’t like Yoongi was gone from his life, he was just… being moved to the sidelines temporarily. Until he could get his feelings together.

His phone buzzed in his pocket. He grabbed it as he exited Yoongi’s building, seeing Seojun’s name flash across his screen.

 

       Seojun: I know you read my message :P where are you silly boy?

 

Jeongguk cringed, guilt still eating at him.

 

       Jeongguk: Sorry! I got distracted after I read your message. I’m not doing much. I work in a bit.

       Seojun: Have time to get a quick bite before work?

 

As if on cue, Jeongguk felt his stomach grumble reminding him that he did, in fact, need to eat something before work. He considered saying no, still feeling anxious and emotional, but he figured the more he saw Seojun and spent time with him (and not with Yoongi) the better. So.

 

       Jeongguk: That sounds awesome (smiley emoji) theres a small diner near my work.

       Seojun: I know the one :) I’ll see you there soon.

 

Jeongguk got to the bus stop and let out a breath, trying to shake the feelings out of him. He knew this was the right thing to do but it felt so wrong. It continued to feel wrong through his lunch date with Seojun, where they joked and laughed and Seojun kissed him goodbye with a ‘ have a good night , through his night shift where he dealt with less customers and more passing the time, trying to ignore the ache in his heart that wouldn't go away, following him into the next day where he dragged himself to work and pretended that everything was normal, that he wasn’t using momentous amounts of effort to not look at Yoongi while still working with him.

It was with him when he pretended not to notice the look of confusion and - hurt, on Yoongi’s face when he gave him his coffee with barely a good morning, or when he went to stand between Hoseok and Taehyung at lunch, or when he would tell him to leave for home already cause he wasn’t going home (he waited around the corner until he was confident that Yoongi would be almost home). He saw it in the way Jeongguk would, casually as possible, reject any touch from him. Every time he would feel even the slightest touch from Yoongi it would set his nerves alight and he would immediately pull back from fear of falling in too deep.

Jeongguk knew that eventually Yoongi would corner him and ask what was going on. Eventually, the others would take notice too. It was common knowledge that where Yoongi was, Jeongguk was often not far behind. He made sure that he still spoke to Yoongi like normal, teased him with the others, but there was a distance that wasn’t ever there before. A body between them, a worksite separating them. Nothing that seemed anything other than happenstance, as he still appeared normal, laughing and joking and working hard, even though there was a hurricane of emotions whirling in his chest.

The only one who would notice is Yoongi. And Jeongguk hated himself just a little bit more.




Jeongguk held his pose for another few seconds until the instructor clapped her hands and he dropped immediately, taking in deep gulps of air. Jimin and Hoseok both reacted in a similar manner, though less winded. They already knew the dance though, unlike Jeongguk who was learning on the fly since it had been a while since he dropped by.

“Here,” Hoseok said from beside him, tossing a water bottle. Jeongguk graciously accepted it, drinking half the bottle before handing it back and wiped his mouth.

“Alright, you got ten minutes to catch your breath before we run it again,” The instructor told the group before moving to talk with one of the other members.

Jeongguk let himself flop onto the ground, Hoseok giggling at him. “Why are you so out of breath? You literally work out all the time.”

“I’m trying to keep up with the rest of you. This is the first time I’m even really doing this routine,” Jeongguk huffed.

This was a dance group that met every two weeks on Wednesdays. It was run by a woman and her husband who used to dance professionally before retiring when she got pregnant. Now, they run this group which will partake in different competitions and events. It was for fun, but you were expected to take it seriously and give your best effort, show up for the rehearsals, go to the competitions and so on. It was the only real rule they had.

Hoseok had been the one to tell him about. A few years ago Hoseok had been talking about a dance troupe he was in and that they were looking for new members. Jimin had jumped at the opportunity, having been open about his love for dance before. Jeongguk had gone up to Hoseok later when he could get him alone, timidly asking if he could join too. Hoseok had been surprised but more than happy at his interest. It was one of the first things the others found out he liked to do.

He went to the tryouts (you didn’t really need experiences but they wanted you to be able to at least keep up) and had surprised both Jimin and Hoseok at how well he actually could dance. Half was to his natural ability to be good at things, namely anything sport related, but he liked to dance when he was young, spent a lot of time in his room learning dances to different songs, learning the routines. He had spent a lot of time in his room as a kid.

They asked him to join along with Jimin. Jeongguk had been blown away the first time he got to see him dance - it had been so elegant and intense, the control he had over his body. It had a small fee to join, they had to keep the troupe running somehow, and he’s been with the group for the last three and a half years.

He almost left when he started working extra hours at Jung’s. He hadn’t been able to dedicate every other Wednesday anymore either because he worked or because he was too exhausted to go. He hadn’t wanted to leave, it was something he really enjoyed and was another way to burn off steam and let his energy go, but they had a strict rule on attendance.

Hoseok said he should try talking to them, that he would go with him. They loved Jeongguk, and Hoseok told them they’d probably make an exception for him. Which they did - as long as he was able to keep up with the routines and not fall behind. He was also expected to pay full fees still, but Jeongguk was more than willing if it meant he didn’t have to leave.

So here he was, dying and sweaty on the ground, trying to keep up with the rest of the group. Hoseok had been showing him some of the moves in his free time - sending videos of himself dancing the routine for Jeongguk to practice on his own time - but he had been distracted as of late and he’d fallen a bit behind.

“Did you not watch the videos I sent?” Hoseok asked, standing above Jeongguk.

“I sorta did,” Jeonguk huffed, reaching his hand up. Hoseok grabbed it and lifted him to his feet.

“You’ve been weird lately, you’re usually pretty on top of this. Is there something going on?”

“No, I’ve just been pretty tired lately with work,” That’s been his excuse for the past few weeks anytime anyone asks him what's up. Only Seokjin does he tell some of the truth too, but he doesn’t know how he feels about Yoongi so he’s still even lying to him.

He felt eyes on him and he looked to see Jimin watching him. When he noticed Jeongguk, he averted his eyes. Jeongguk narrowed his in response. Jimin had been also acting a little weird lately. He found him watching Jeongguk for the past week or so, lingering glances here or there, sometimes they looked a little pained, but then someone calls his name or he snaps out of it on his own and everything is normal. He figured he should ask him about it but he also knows Jimin will come to him if there’s an issue.

“You really need to quit, or at least reduce the shifts there,” Hosoek said, worry colouring his tone. “You’re going to burn out. Plus I’ve been hearing about a bunch of robberies happening lately.”

Jeongguk laughed. “The place isn’t going to get robbed, Hobi-hyung. We don’t even keep enough money on hand to make it worth robbing.”

“Still, you are going to burn out eventually,” Hoseok told him.

“I’m fine, seriously,” Jeongguk assured. Hoseok didn’t really looked convinced but then his name was being called by the instructor. He excused himself and went over, leaving Jeongguk to walk over and check his phone. He ignored the messages he had from Yoongi asking if they could talk. He usually just gave him some excuse about being busy to avoid it. He couldn’t outright ignore him because that would cause even more worry and then the rest of his friends might get involved.

“Hey Guk,” he turned at Jimin’s voice, who was now standing right behind him, looking cautious.

“What’s up Jiminie?”

“Can I talk to you after practice?”

Jeongguk hesitates only for a second. If Jimin was going to talk about what seemed to be bothering him then maybe he could help with it. “Yeah, for sure. Did you wanna come over or?”

“We can just stop by a cafe or something.” Jimin offers which is probably for the best. It’s a half hour trek back to his place and Jimin’s apartment is in the other direction.

“Sounds good,” Jeongguk replied. He watched Jimin who seemed to be a little unsure as what to do. It was weird and a little concerning. Jimin always had an energy surrounding him, one that was bright and sure. Seeing him look so lost wasn’t normal and Jeongguk hoped everything was okay.

He was going to ask as much but then the break was over and they were being called back to practice. Jimin smiled at him, looking a little more normal, and held his hand out. “After you.”

The second half went a little better, Jeongguk wasn’t nearly as run down by the end of it though he was definitely going to be sore tomorrow. They did their cool down while their instructors debriefed them on upcoming events and what to work on for next time. Hoseok said his goodbyes to them, parting ways outside the building. Jeongguk and Jimin crossed the street to go to a coffee shop that they could sit in. They ordered some smoothies - Jeongguk got a donut - and they grabbed a seat near the front window.

“I’ll have to see if I can convince Jaeho to give me some time off for the competition in October,” Jeongguk said as they sat down. “The last one was hell trying to finalize the routine and work.”

“Still don’t see why you just don’t quit,” Jimin prompted, stealing a piece of Jeongguk donut. Jeongguk swiped at his hand.

“Get your own if you’re hungry. And I’ll quit when I have enough money too.”

“Mhm,” Jimin replied, unbelieving.

“So what’s up? What did you want to talk about?”

Jeongguk watched the way Jimin immediately averted his eyes. He rubbed at his arms and Jeongguk didn’t think he’d ever seen Jimin look this uncomfortable. Not when he was with him. Jimin was usually the one pushing him into the uncomfortable talks and situations. Seeing him so nervous worried him.

“So,” Jimin started. Jeongguk waited patiently for him to start. He was never very good at coaxing words out of people. “Tae and I went out last Thursday, and Tae wanted to go bowling for whatever reason. Something about how the two of us needed to do more normal, family things whatever the fuck that meant,” Jimin waved his hand and Jeongguk snorted a little.

“Anyways, we decided to go bowling and when we got there, I, uh, I saw you. And another guy,” Jimin trailed off, eyes flicking to Jeongguk’s.

It almost hurt how quickly Jeongguk felt every muscle in his body tense. His eyes widened and he looked at Jimin in shock, his words just barely translating into what they meant. He saw him and Seojun. At the bowling alley. On their date.

“O-oh,” Was Jeongguks response, brain still trying to grasp what Jimin was telling it. “Yeah, um. That was Seojun, he’s a friend of mine.” Jeongguk didn’t know what Jimin saw, maybe he didn’t see anything. “I didn’t see you there?” If he was there wouldn’t he have come to say hello?

Jimin fidgeted some more. “Uh, as soon as I saw you I made Tae and I leave. It didn’t look like you and your.. friend.. wanted to be disturbed.” Jimin licked his lips, hesitating before continuing. “I saw the two of you- I saw him kiss you, Guk,” Jimin took a breath, watching Jeongguk carefully.

Jeongguk just stared at Jimin, his brain trying to process the fact that Jimin saw him and Seojun on their date, and saw them kiss. If he had come at any other time he might have been able to play it off as nothing, just a new friend. But that..

Jeongguk felt himself start to shake, a tremble in his hands that rocked through his body. Jimin knew, Jimin knew, Jimin knew. That’s all that kept going through his head. Jimin knew his secret and he was going to hate him and push him away and leave him-

Jimin grabbed Jeongguk’s hand and as quickly as he could, moved his chair so he was sitting beside Jeongguk.

“Guk, hey, Jeongguk, it’s okay, breathe baby. Take a breath,” Jimin soothed, interlocking their fingers. “I’m sorry, I didn’t want to upset you,” Jimin sounded genuinely upset and Jeongguk did his best to calm himself enough to answer.

“No, no it’s just- I didn’t- I haven’t-” Jeongguk took a deep breath. “I wanted to tell you guys, I really did, but I just. Haven’t yet.” He sagged, letting the words die. He didn’t know what to say.

A silence fell around them for a bit, Jimin still holding Jeongguk’s hand and rubbing small circles on his arm. Neither of them really knew what to say. Jeongguk wanted to ask him if it was okay, if he still cared about him, still wanted to be his friend. But he was scared to break the silence. Finally, though, Jimin was the one to break it.

“So, were you on a date then? With.. Seojun was it?” Jeongguk flicked his eyes over to meet Jimin’s own. Jeongguk nodded.

“Second date, actually,” Jeongguk mumbled.

“Ah.”

Another silence. Then, “You’re gay then?”

Jeongguk was a little surprised by the bluntness of it, but it was better than beating around the bush. “Yeah,” He replied quietly.

Jimin nodded and Jeongguk looked at him again. He seemed thoughtful. “Is.. that okay?”

Jimin watched Jeongguk for a moment before his lips quirked into a smile. “If I’m honest, I kinda guessed you were.”

“What?” Jeongguk’s eyes widened again. “Really?”

Jimin nodded. “I couldn’t say for sure, but the way you never really jumped into the flirting the rest of us did or how you never seemed to be interested in any woman who gave you any attention while ignoring the rest of us,” Jimin poked him in the arm. “And sometimes I’d catch you staring, at other gay couples. There was a longing in your eyes that was so strong.” Jeongguk flushed a bit at that. He didn’t think he had been that obvious.

“I didn’t think anyone would ever guess,” Jeongguk admitted. Jimin shrugged.

“I’m a lot more observant than the others,” Jimin smirked, and Jeongguk gave him a small smile.

Another couple of seconds passed. “You know it doesn’t change anything right? You being gay or having a boyfriend.”

Jeongguk sputtered. “I don’t have a boyfriend! Seojun and I are just.. Dating. We’re not like, official.”

Jimin raised an eyebrow at him. “Do you want it to be official?”

“I don’t know, maybe,” Jeongguk grumbled, sinking down in his seat. Jimin threw his head back and laughed.

“You’re adorable, you know that right?”

“Go away,” Jeongguk swatted at him, giggling. Jeongguk felt himself relaxing into his chair. Jimin was joking with him and teasing him, and that meant things were okay.

“Does anyone else know?” Jimin asked, settling into his chair, but keeping his hands near Jeongguk as a sign of support.

Jeongguk bit his lip before responding. “I told Jin-hyung about two weeks ago. It hadn’t been planned, it just kind of came out,” Jeongguk looked at Jimin sheepishly, hoping he wouldn’t be upset that he had Seokjin and not him.

“Is he the only one? You haven’t told the others anything?”

“He’s the only one. Like I said, it hadn’t really been my intention to tell any of you,” He looked off to the side. “I was going to tell you guys, eventually. When I was ready.”

Jimin placed his hand on Jeongguk’s arm again. “You don’t have to explain yourself Jeonggukkie, I get it.” Jimin smiled at him softly. “I’ll be honest, I was kind of shocked to see you with someone, and I’m sad that you felt you couldn’t share that with us. You know you can tell us anything. Even if it’s something we may not like, it will never change the way we feel about you.” Jimin’s voice was filled with sincerity and the words echoed Seokjins almost perfectly.

“What if I told you guys that I killed someone?” Jeongguk joked to hide from the emotion filling him once again at the acceptance of his friends. Especially when Jimin had found out on his own rather than Jeongguk telling him.

“Then we’d help you hide the body. I mean, all that construction equipment has to be good for something,” Jimin didn’t skip a beat and the response sent Jeongguk into a fit of giggles. “Are you going to tell the other then?”

Jeongguk’s laughter faded away and his smile slipped a bit. “I..” Jeongguk trailed, then shrugged. “I probably should tell them all, now that I’m d-dating.” He couldn’t help the blush that filled his cheeks. It was still weird to think that he has a dating life now.

“It’s up to you, there's no pressure in it. It’s yours to share,” Jimin replied. “But you have me and Jin-hyung who will support you when you decide to tell them. And I’m sure Seojun will support you too.”

Jeongguk hadn’t thought about that if he was honest. Seojun didn’t seem to be bothered that his friends didn’t know, but again, they’d only been on a handful of dates. “I know.”

“So,” Jimin slapped his hands down on the table, startling Jeongguk. He looked at Jimin who now had his elbows on the table, chin in his hands. “Tell me about him.”

Jeongguk was sure he looked like a deer in Jimin’s headlight. Just like with Seokjin, he didn’t really know what to say. “Um,”

“I know what he looks like already, so you can skip describing to me how good he looks and how much he turns you on,” Jimin rambled, ignoring the way Jeongguk choked on his own spit, whipping his head around to see if anyone heard him. “If he funny? Smart? Strong?” Jimin wiggled his eyes at the last one.

Hyung, ” Jeongguk hissed through his teeth. “Can you not? We’re in public.” Jeongguk kept his voice low, looking over his shoulder.

Jimin raised his eyebrow. “No one's listening to us, Guk. You’re just avoiding the question.” Jimin leaned forwards a bit, eyes shining with mischief. “So? Are you going to give me the details? And I mean all the details.”

Jeongguk’s cheeks were on fire and he couldn’t get anything out besides useless stuttering. He pushed back from the table and stood. “I’m leaving,” Then rushed out of the store. Jimin’s surprised yell followed him out of the store, then his footsteps as he ran after Jeongguk who was already out of the store.

“Oh my god, Jeongguk you can’t just leave, ” Jimin got out between laughter, hand squeezing Jeongguk’s shoulder.

“Don’t ask me stupid questions then,” Jeongguk bit back, perturbed by the fact that Jimin seemed to want to know the details of more private parts of his life and the fact that he had none to give him.

“Hey, I’m sorry for asking,” Jimin apologized though he was still giggling. “Didn’t mean to touch a nerve there.”

Jeongguk shrugged, crossing his arms. “It’s fine, sorry. I just don’t. I haven’t really done anything like that,” He mumbled, half hoping Jimin missed it.

“Really?” Jimin’s eyes widened. “Awh, you really are a baby.” Jimin reached out to pinch Jeongguk’s cheeks. Jeongguk pinched him in the side, hard.

“Fuck you.”

“Save that for Seojun.”

“I’m regretting our entire friendship.”

“I’m your favourite and you fucking know it.”

“Jin-hyung is actually. He feeds me.”

Jimin scoffed, offended. “He feeds everyone. You’re not special.”

That got a laugh from Jeongguk. He tickled Jimin’s sides, Jimin yelping and almost running into someone. He apologized and bowed repeatedly to the irritated woman before running to catch up with Jeongguk who kept walking. “You got me in trouble. That lady was mean.”

“Maybe you should watch where you’re going then,” He smirked.

“You’re such a brat.”

“I think we’ve covered this before.”

Jimin rolled his eyes. They kept walking towards the subway station, the evening air warm. It was dark now, the sun had set while they were in the shop. Jeongguk checked his phone to see he had a text from Seojun asking how dance practice went. He replied to the text when Jimin spoke up again.

“I’m a little surprised Jin-hyung was the first one you told,” Jimin said thoughtfully.

“Really?” Jeongguk replied, not looking up from his phone.

“I mean, he’s definitely one of my first choices to tell things too, the mother that he is. I guess I figured you’d tell Yoongi something like that.”

Jeongguk faltered in his text to Seojun, sending it preemptively and cutting off his sentence. He sent the rest of it before answering Jimin, not looking at him. “What makes you think that?”

“You mean besides the way you trail around him like a lost puppy at times? Or that you two have this weird unspoken language that the rest of us can never hope to understand.”

Jeongguk scoffed. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Oh please,” Jimin scoffed. “We all know hyung is soft on you. More than the rest of us. He’s always on our asses at work or throwing jabs and teasing like he can’t stand us. You, on the other hand, he never corrects you at work and you always get away with teasing the shit out of him.”

Jeongguk tried not to think about how true Jimin's word were. It just made his heart hurt knowing he was trying to push that away. “Like I said, I hadn’t planned to tell Jin-hyung. It just came out.”

“Still, I just figured he’d know by now too.” Jimin shrugged. “He’d probably be the safest to tell. You’d get the least teasing.”

Funny, since he’s going to be the hardest for me to tell, if ever. Jeongguk thought to himself. “Hmm. Yeah,” He said aloud. He kept his eyes down, missing the pensive look Jimin gave him.

They got to the subway and parted ways, Jimin leaving him with a tight hug, whispering into this ear how he still loved him and he was proud of him. Jeongguk tried not to cry in the middle of the subway station.

Jeongguk plugged his earbuds in and let his thoughts wander while he was on the subway. Jimin and Seokjin both knew now, and both had given him better responses than he ever expected. He should be happy but he felt this weight in his gut. The fact that Jimin found out tells him that he needs to be more careful or else others are going to see it and they might not be as understanding as Jimin. Having three people know his secret made him feel anxious. He’d rather it be no one or all of them. Doesn’t like this feeling that he’s making his friends lie to each other. They’ve always been so open and honest with each other. Sure, they all probably have their own secrets, but this felt different. This was part of who Jeongguk was.

He pulled his phone out and text Seokjin.

 

       Jeongguk: Jimin knows

 

His phone buzzed in his lap a minute later.

 

       Seokjin: That you’re gay?

       Jeongguk: And Seojun. He saw us on a date

       Seokjin: How did that go?

       Jeongguk: Good? He reacted pretty much the same as you.

       Seokjin: I did tell you they would all be fine with it

       Jeongguk: I know

       Seokjin: How do you feel about it?

 

Jeongguk took a minute to think on that before he responded.

 

       Jeongguk: I’m glad he knows.

       Jeongguk: But I don’t like that the others dont

       Jeongguk: But I’m not ready to tell the others yet.

 

Jeongguk wants them to know. Now that Jimin knows too, the pull to tell them all is stronger than ever before. But he wanted to wait until he knew what was happening with Seojun first. That was still a very unstable and new thing in his life and he wanted that to be under control before he threw his life into a tailspin again.

 

       Seokjin: In your own time. Jimin and I will be there for you.

 

Jeongguk smiled at that.

 

       Jeongguk: Jimin said the same thing

       Seokjin: Great minds and all that.

       Jeongguk: More like the fact that you two share the same brain cell

       Seokjin: That's Jimin and Tae. Also, (middle finger emoji) go to bed

 

Jeongguk giggled to himself. He sighed and leaned his head back against the wall of the subway car. The song changed and he immediately recognized the opening notes into one of Yoongi’s songs. Jeongguk almost skipped it, not ready to listen to Yoongi’s voice. But then the opening verse started and Jeongguk felt his hands still. Yoongi’s voice filtered through his head, voice low and hoarse. Jeongguk remembered the first time he heard this one. It was one that was going on his album. One that he wasn’t sure he was going to include because of what the lyrics said. They told his story - his struggles, his defeats, his battles - but Jeongguk had told him when he heard it, after wiping a stray tear from his eye, that he had to. He had managed to put his soul into this song and Jeongguk knew that people needed to hear it. Yoongi had just nodded, not having said a word to Jeongguk vehement response.

Jeongguk closed his eyes, feeling them sting. He let the music fold around him and swallow him. God, he was utterly helpless. And screwed. He shouldn’t be listening to this, out of all of Yoongi’s songs, but he did. He let himself fall a little deeper again, telling himself that it was okay - just this one time. Just this one song. This one memory.

Jeongguk put the song on repeat.

 

Chapter Text

Jeongguk shrugged his yellow polo shirt on, leaning against the sink in the cramped bathroom in the work trailer. His muscles were still sore from dance yesterday, it came with the fact that he didn't get to attend as often anymore and now he gets to go stand through a seven-hour shift at Jung’s. They had a stool to sit on, but it was a small and metal and hurt his ass after a while.

Jeongguk could hear the others moving around and getting ready to leave outside the bathroom. Part of him wanted to stay there until they were all gone but he knows that Yoongi would probably end up waiting for him and then he’d corner Jeongguk. He doesn’t think he’ll be able to last much longer before Yoongi starts knocking on his door.

He’s thought about maybe just telling Yoongi. Tell him he’s gay and that he has this stupid little (not) crush on him that he’s trying to get over it, he is . Yoongi is his friend. He’d probably understand, maybe even keep his distance after finding out which would make things easier. 

Yoongi would probably stop running his hands through his hair casually when they sat together so it wouldn’t be taken the wrong way. He would probably stop inviting him over when he’s working on songs to sit on his couch and sit by him to listen to whatever new track he’s working on so Jeongguk could have the time he needed to get over him. He would stop teasing him, stop protecting him, maybe stop loving him the way he already does because it’s weird when your gay friend has a crush on their straight friend. And that should be enough for Jeongguk but it’s not, but it has to be because if he told him he’d lose what he already has-

Jeongguk slammed his hand against the sink, his head falling forwards against the mirror with a thunk. He tried to push the spiralling thoughts out of his head before he drove himself straight into a panic attack. 

He can’t say anything. Not until he’s over him. When that time comes he can tell Yoongi everything and he can get over this stupid crush on him and things can go back to normal. He lifts his head back up to look in the mirror again. There's the beginning of dark rings under his eyes. He looks tired. He feels exhausted. He splashes water on his face, pats his cheeks and tries to pretend that he’s okay.

Jeongguk exits the bathroom to see that only Jimin, Taehyung, and Namjoon were still in the trailer. Yoongi was, surprisingly, gone.

“Did Yoongi leave?” Jeongguk found himself asking before he could stop himself.

“Yeah, he was hanging around for a bit but just left,” Taehyung said from his spot on the couch with Jimin.

Jeongguk tried to ignore the pang of hurt that went through him. All week Yoongi had stuck around, trying to talk to Jeongguk and Jeongguk successfully ignoring him. Today was the first time he actually left and that’s - good. It means he doesn’t have to worry about avoiding him on his way out or waiting for him since he has to leave for work, and Yoongi isn’t wasting his time waiting like he has been. Yet it hurts and it’s childish and pathetic that he wants Yoongi to be there waiting now that he isn’t.

“Ah,” Was all Jeongguk responded with. 

“What's your shift tonight?” Jimin asked as Jeongguk walked by the couch. Namjoon was sitting at the table. Sometimes the guys will stick around and talk for a bit and Namjoon tends to stay until the last person leaves since he has to lock the trailer up.

“Five to midnight.”

Taehyung made a noise of discontent. “Man, fuck that.” Jeongguk nodded in agreement. “You’re off tomorrow though, right? Coming to dinner?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Jeongguk waved him off. He grabbed his bag and hefted it over his shoulder, making sure he had everything. 

“‘Cause I’m still upset at you two for ditching me last time.”

“Oh my God, that was two weeks ago already. Let it go,” Jimin groaned pushing at Taehyung beside him.

“Do you have any idea how much teasing I was subjected to?” Taehyung continued. “It was a lawless wasteland with them. I think I might be permanently scarred for life.”

“I can actually scar you for life if you want,” Namjoon commented, eyebrow raised. “I can tell you about the time Seokjin and I went down to Incheon-”

Taehyung and Jimin both covered their ears, yelling at Namjoon to shut up. “Jin-hyung has told us enough about your two’s trip to the water park and the horrors that entailed.” Taehyung looked at him with wide eyes, hands firmly placed over his ears.

“I’ll never look at the teacups the same way again,” Jimin moaned, seeming to be in pain just remembering whatever Namjoon was talking about.

“What are you three even talking about?” Jeongguk asked, bewildered.

“Before Jin and I joined the crew we-” Namjoon was cut off again by Taehyung and Jimin.

“You don’t want to know Gukkie, run now and save yourself the pain,” Taehyung got up and started to push him towards the door.

“It’s not worth your innocence being taken away,” Jimin had dramatically thrown himself over the couch after Taehyung had gotten up.

“You two are fucking weirdos and have no chill,” Jeongguk scoffed at them, trying to get Taehyung to stop shoving at him.

“That’s rude Guk, isn’t that rude Jiminie?” 

“The rudest dongsaeng ever.” Jimin nodded. Jeongguk rolled his eyes.

“Alright, I’m going to work.”

“But you’re already at work.”

Goodbye.

Jeongguk scurried out the door, the goodbyes from his friends following him. He shook his head, trying not to smile at the ridiculousness of them. He headed to the exit where he paused. 

Yoongi was leaning up against the fence, looking straight at Jeongguk who had stuttered and stopped in his path for a second before continuing. He must have gone out here to wait so Jeongguk wouldn’t be able to avoid him, and while there was a part of him that was glad Yoongi hadn’t just left like he thought, it was drowned out by the thumping of his heart at the fact that Yoongi had managed to corner him.

He walked with quick steps towards the gate. Yoongi pushed himself up from leaning against the fence when he got close.

“Hi hyung, I’m just heading to work, I’ll see you tomorrow!” He rushed through his words with false cheer, trying to slip past him but Yoongi shot his hand out and grabbed at the sleeve of his shirt, stopping him.

“Jeongguk, can we talk for just a second?”

“Sorry, I have to go to work. Later?” Jeongguk tried to pry Yoongi’s hands off of him but Yoongi just held on tighter.

“We’ve barely spoken all week and I want to know what’s going on with you.” Yoongi was looking at Jeongguk with an even expression, one that was hard and didn’t show any emotion, but Jeongguk knew Yoongi and he could see the fear and hurt in his eyes, through the pinched brows and he desperate curl of his fingers. It broke Jeongguk’s heart, but he didn’t know what else to do.

“Look, nothing’s wrong. I’m just busy and tired okay? I have to go to work.” Jeongguk didn’t look him in the eye as he again tried to shake him off.

“I call bullshit on that kid. I’ve seen you when you’re ‘just busy and tired’ and this ain’t it,” He argued but he released Jeongguk’s wrist. “Tell me what's going on. You know you can tell hyung anything.” His tone took a slightly pleading turn and Jeongguk felt horrible.

“It’s nothing really, just stuff. I’ll tell you about it later okay? I got to go or I’ll be late.” Jeongguk turned away with a quick bye and took off. He pretended he didn’t hear Yoongi say he was going to hold him to that. Jeongguk didn’t know when later would be, if ever. Maybe he’d just have to accept that he’d never get over Yoongi. That thing about first loves and all that. But this isn’t the movies and he’s stronger than that - he hopes. 

The sky darkens a little and Jeongguk looks up to see clouds covering the city in a blanket. A chill curls around him, a shiver running through his body. He picks up his speed a little, worried about getting caught in the rain.

Jeongguk gets to Jung’s and tries not to let the overwhelming feeling of dread take over him that typically accompanies him whenever he enters Jung’s Convenience before his shift. The other cashier sees him and Jeongguk can see the sag of relief in her body now that she’s done.

“Thank God. It’s been so fucking dead today and Jaeho has been freaking.” Bohyun whines, immediately taking her polo off revealing a much nicer shirt underneath. “And the A/C is down again.”

Jeongguk groaned. “Fantastic.” Jeongguk drops his bag behind the counter. “Why is Jaeho freaking?”

“There’ve been all those robberies happening lately and he seems to think that we’re next,” Bohyun rolled her eyes. “Why anyone would bother robbing a crap shoot like this place is beyond me but regardless, be ready for a riveting half-hour speech on ‘what to do if there’s a gun waved in your face’.” Bohyun grabbed her own backpack and slipped on a pair of sunglasses. “Enjoy!” She wiggled her fingers at him with a smile and left the store. Behind him, Jaeho came out of the office.

“Oh Jeongguk, good you’re here. I need to talk to you.”

Jeongguk closed his eyes and took a calming breath. 



 

Jaeho had spent forever explaining to him the procedures if someone tries to rob the place, stuff he had to do when he first got the job here, safety training that everyone had to slog through. He mostly tuned it out, nodding and responding when he needed to. Jaeho had brought up the idea of bringing in another staff member for the night so Jeongguk wasn’t alone but no one wanted to come in for a last minute night shift on a Thursday. Jeongguk was fine with that. He got along well enough with his co-workers but not enough to spend 6 hours with.

Jaeho had taped up crappy security feed pictures of the suspects under the cash along with with the note ‘call the police if you see them!!!!!’ like that wasn’t a given.

“If you need anything, don’t hesitate to call me,” Jaeho had told him when he got ready to leave for the day. “My phone will be on all night and I’m a light sleeper.” 

Jeongguk assured him he was going to be fine but that he would if anything was wrong. After reminding him for the third time that night where the emergency button was under the till he finally left and Jeongguk could breathe again. 

Jeongguk looked around the empty store. During Jaheo’s explanations, it had started to rain. He watched as people scurried along the sidewalks, jackets and bags overhead in feeble attempts to keep dry in the sudden downpour. Cars drove by splashing water up, faint honking and yelling due to rush hour. Jeongguk was looking at a slow night ahead of him.

A few customers come in during the first couple of hours, just enough to keep him from getting too bored, but by eight it slows to a crawl, rain still falling consistently. He hopes it’ll be done before he finishes work.

He tries to keep busy on his phone, messaging Seojun a bit but he’s not responding too much. Said he’s working late tonight. The group chat started to die around nine, most of them getting ready to go to bed. Yoongi and Taehyung were still up, but they couldn’t really keep up much of a conversation since neither Jeongguk nor Yoongi were being very chatty with each other.

Jeongguk groaned, rubbing at his eyes. He put his phone down on the counter behind him to charge. He almost killed it exhausting his library of mobile games in an attempt to keep himself occupied. It was a quarter to ten, still over an hour before his shift was done. He folded his arms on the counter and laid his head on them, huffing. His eyes flicked up to the clock that was on the wall across from him, watching the second-hand tick tick tick . He tried to let that keep his focus, lest his head start to get lost in thoughts he didn't feel like entertaining when he was alone and bored.

He started tapping his finger on the counter as each second passed, but on the offbeat between ticks - something he was having more trouble with than he should - when the door chimed.

His eyes flicked over to see two customers walk in. 

Two men, dressed in black with face masks and baseball caps with brims pulled low. Water drips from their clothes from the rain that he notices is finally starting to let up a bit. They sauntered in, give the store a quick once over before one slowly walked around the back of the store and the other hung around up front.

Jeongguk stopped tapping his finger. 

He pushed up from the counter slowly, feeling apprehension coil in his gut. The guy near the front looked at him and Jeongguk nodded to him hesitantly in greeting. The guy grabbed a couple of chocolate bars and threw them on the counter. 

“How much?” His voice was low, a little gravelly.

Jeongguk took the bars and scanned them, watching the other guy who was making his way to the left of the store. He was just a few feet away from Jeongguk as the counter only stretched across maybe two meters from the wall, with nothing blocking anyone from walking around behind the till.

“Five thousand won,” Jeongguk responded. The guy scoffed.

“For two chocolate bars? That’s ridiculous.” The guy pushed the chocolate off to the side. Jeongguk’s eyes flicked over to the paper that had the photo’s of the robbers, and he felt his mouth go dry when his mind easily matched the outfits and statures. 

His eyes were brought back to the guy when he leaned in forwards, his eyes boring into Jeongguk. “How about we take all the money in your till instead?” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a knife, laying it on the counter. 

Jeongguk’s eyes widened, heart, dropping hard. He was aware that the other guy was now just at the edge of the counter, blocking any exit, his hand in one of his pockets - probably his own knife or worse . Jeongguk felt his heart rate pick up, fear slowly rising as he recognized the situation he was in. Oh my god, they’re here to rob the place rails through his head. He wished he had paid more attention to Jaeho now.

“Let’s go, pretty boy, we don’t have all night,” The man grunted at him, placing his hand the knife. 

He moved to the till with jerky movements, muscle memory hitting the button to open the till. The guy dropped a bag on the counter for him to put the money in. Jaeho had made it clear to follow whatever orders the robbers might have and not to pull any heroics. Try to hit the button only if you can. 

He would have to reach under the counter to hit the button and the two guys would definitely see that. Instead, he started placing the money in the bag with shaky hands

“That's it?” The guy said when he finished. He jumped when the other guy who had yet to say anything walked up to look in the till himself, body close enough that Jeongguk could smell his crappy cologne. Seeing it was empty he turned to Jeongguk.

“You got a safe or something? There's barely anything in here.”

One of the precautions his work had was regular drops into a safe under the counter. Jaeho only liked to have maybe three hundred tops in the till at any given time for reasons like this one.

“Nn,” Jeongguk could barely speak, the proximity of the second guy sending waves of fear through him. The guy was about the same size as him but he leaked malice and anger and it made it feel like he towered over Jeongguk who felt small - smaller than he had in a long time.

“Spit it out kid, we don’t have all fucking night,” The guy sneered, grabbing Jeongguk by the collar of his shirt. He whimpered, his own hand coming to grab at the guys, and he could feel tears stinging his eyes but he willed them back.

“Under th-the till, but I don’t know the c-code,” He managed to stutter his way through. The guy let go and bent down to look under the counter at the safe. Jeongguk stumbled back, hands grasping the counter behind him as he watched them with wide, terrified eyes. The first guy leaned over as far as he could to try and get a look. The second guy cursed.

“What?” He stood up.

“It’s bolted to the ground, so no way we are gonna be lugging it with us.”

“Get the kid to call his boss and get the code.”

“And get the cops on us? Yeah fucking right. We should just leave with what we have.”

“With this pocket change? We’ll get eaten alive by the boss.”

Jeongguk stood as still as possible, watching the two of them bicker about what to do. They seemed to have forgotten about him for now but he didn’t want to wait and see what they would do when they remembered.

His eyes flicked down to where the emergency button was then back up at them. If he moved slowly, he might be able to hit it. He thinks he remembered Jaeho saying it only takes about five minutes for the police to respond - he’s praying that’s what he said at least.

He keeps his eyes on them as he slowly moved his hand to the counter. He goes at an achingly slow pace but he doesn’t risk going any faster and alerting them to what he’s doing. He lets his hand slide against the counter, slipping it underneath to the underside of the counter. He feels around for where it should be, getting desperate the longer it takes to find.

He’s sweating, breaths coming in heavy and he tries to keep himself quiet. He almost sighs in relief when he feels his hand touch the edge of the button. He just has to push it and -

“Hey,” A hand wraps around his arm and yanks. He yelps when he’s pulled forward towards the guy, who’s glaring at him intensely. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”

Jeongguk doesn’t respond, eyes wide and panic spiking through him. He’s not sure if he managed to hit the button or not but it doesn’t matter. They’re gonna kill him before anyone can get here anyway.

The guy holding him lets go of his arm only to grab his hair with a harsh grip and slams his head down onto the counter. 

Jeongguk gasps, stars dancing across his vision as pain floods his head. The guy yanks him up so he’s looking at him again and this time he holds the knife up to his face.

“You’re gonna call your boss and get that code or you’re dead.” He snarls but Jeongguk doesn’t hear it. His gaze is focused on the knife in his face. It looks like a pocket knife, maybe three inches long. It’s got a black handle and words engraved in the blade. Or rather - the knife he sees in the memory that overtakes him does. A knife that had been waved in his face just like this, being trapped with no way out just like this. Alone just like this.

“Are you listening kid? Do you wanna die tonight?”

“I could kill you, Jeongguk. Right now.”

“Come on, we’ve been here way too long already.”

“You’re nothing without me. Pathetic.”

“He’s fucking out of it, just dropped. What the fuck do I do?”

“I control you, Jeonggukkie. You’re mine.”

“Shit, the cops. Let's get out of here.”

“What about the kid?”

“Just leave him, we gotta go!”

Jeongguk was vaguely aware of the guys leaving the store. He thinks he can feel something trickling down his face through the fog of his memories - something warm and wet. There’s ringing he can here, too. The door chimes and he can hear what he thinks are sirens, blaring loudly around him. Footsteps approach him, voices. He tenses involuntarily when someone is beside him again. They’re talking to him, but it’s not with an angry or demanding tone. It’s calm and gentle. He felt hands on his head, softly applying pressure. He can feel the floor under his hands, not sure when he ended up there.

He blinks and the store comes into view. There's a person sitting in front of him and two standing behind them. They have uniforms on and are talking into walkie talkies. Red and blue lights flash across the store.

“Hey, you with me now?”

The woman at his side speaks. Jeongguk looks at her, taking in her standard emergency response uniform. He blinks at her then a second later nods slowly. His throat is dry and he doesn’t trust his voice right now. She smiles at him.

“Think you can stand?”

He frowns, brow furrowing. He pushes himself up, the lady keeping her hands on him for support. His head spins, pain spiking. He stumbles but the hands on him to keep him from falling. He so tired , exhaustion hitting him like a freight train. He brings his hand up to his head, surprised to find some kind of bandaging there.

“You have a cut on your head, but it doesn’t look too bad,” The lady tells him, slowly leading him out of the store. The other officers in there give him looks but he avoids them, feeling shame climb its way up to his neck. He probably looked like a fool, completely blanking out in fear. He keeps his eyes on the ground in front of him. “I’ll check you over at the ambulance and we’ll decide if you need to go to the hospital.”

She led him to the ambulance, Jeongguk stumbling from exhaustion and dizziness, sitting him down on the edge of it and wrapped a blanket around him. The rain had all but stopped, a light spritz still falling around them. She bustles about, taking his blood pressure, checking his head, etc. She’s got a stethoscope on his chest when he heard a familiar voice calling his name.

His eyes widen when he looks up to see Namjoon being blocked by an officer, his face the picture of worry.

The EMT he’s with yells to let him through and he immediately runs over, crouching down beside Jeongguk, hands on his shoulder and thigh. 

“Jesus, are you okay? What happened to your head? Are you hurt anywhere else?” Namjoon fired off at rapid fire. 

“What - What are you doing here?” Jeongguk blinked at him. The last thing he expected was one of his hyungs of show up. 

“They called me, saying your work was robbed and that you were injured,” Namjoon explained, fussing over him. It clicked, then. Jeongguk had Namjoon as his emergency contact, so they must have called him when they got to the store, checking his I.D. when he was out of it. He had been coming back to himself slowly, his surroundings becoming more concrete along with his thoughts. 

When that knife had been pointed at him, he had completely frozen, memories flooding him and holding him in their grasp as he was powerless to stop them. Memories of him and his hands and that knife and the searing pain he had felt, worse than anything he had ever felt.

He kept those memories shoved into a box deep down inside himself, locked up tight. They had rushed up so fast, blindsiding him. Now they were scattered all around his mind, memories of him and fear and loneliness and pain and it was suffocating him. He tried to put a wall up around himself to keep him from breaking down in the middle of the street, but it was hard when all he wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cry until he passed out. 

“He’s got a concussion and he’s still in shock. He wasn’t responsive when he got there, but he seems fairly coherent now,” The EMT said to Namjoon. “He doesn’t have to go to the hospital but I don’t want him going home alone, and I want him to stick around for a bit longer so I can monitor his blood pressure levels. The officers also will have some questions for him when he’s ready.”

“Thank you,” Namjoon responded. She smiled at him then jumped up into the back of the ambulance giving them a little privacy.

Namjoon leaned in and wrapped his arms around Jeongguk. Jeongguk leaned into the embrace, letting Namjoon body envelop him in warmth and safety. He felt the tears that had been at the brink of falling slip past, just a few. He quickly wiped them away. Namjoon didn’t need to deal with him breaking right now. He tucked his head into Namjoon’s neck to hide his face.

“God, I was so scared when I got that call. All they said was that Jung’s had been robbed and that you were hurt. I thought I was going to get here and you’d be bleeding out or dead.” Namjoon let out a watery laugh. 

Namjoon pulled back, and Jeongguk could see how scared he was. He tried not to let him see how much he was falling apart inside when memories of him were still floating around. He was too tired to pull them back in.

“I’m okay, Joon-hyung.” Jeongguk tried to assure him but he was shaking his head.

“Don’t do that, Guk. You don’t have to pretend you’re okay. I can see the way you’re trembling.”

Jeongguk looked down at his hand, seeing the way they shook slightly. He looked back up Namjoon who had a sad smile on his face and grabbed at Jeongguks hand, holding it tight. “It’s okay to let it out. I’m here now, so don’t worry about holding it in. That’s what hyung’s are for so let me do my job, hm?” Jeongguk felt the wall he had tried to keep up fall at Namjoon’s words. Tears fell down his cheeks, ducking his head as he felt a sob hitch in his throat. 

Namjoon wrapped an arm around his back, pulling him closer. Jeongguk dropped his head to Namjoons lap, enclosed and shielded from everything else and let him break, just for right now. Sobs wracked his body, from the fear he felt from the robbers, from before, all the stress that had been eating away at him these last few weeks, the confusion and guilt he felt. 

He wasn’t sure how much time passed when he felt another touch on his back, one all too achingly familiar. He looked up with wet eyes to see Yoongi standing beside him, his expression a mix of concern and warmth and - love he thinks. Maybe.

Jeongguk looks at him for just a moment before throwing his arms around Yoongi and holding him close. He feels Yoongi wrap an arm around his shoulders, the other tangling in his hair. He leans down so he can speak softly into Jeongguk’s hair. 

“You’re okay, hyung’s here now, you’re safe.” He whispers to him, keeps telling him that he’s safe, that he’s okay, and Jeongguk starts to believe it.

There’s a voice in the back of his head that's telling him he shouldn’t be leaning on Yoongi so much but he shoves it back, back. He’s scared and hurt and he didn’t realize how much he wanted his hyung until he was standing there in front of him. Jeongguk buries his face into Yoongi’s stomach, whining a little. He breathes in his scent and lets it cocoon him.

He can hear Namjoon talking to someone, probably an officer or something. He doesn’t care. He just keeps himself tucked away in Yoongi for as long as he can. Eventually though, Yoongi taps his head.

“Hey bun, there are some police officers here who want to ask you some questions,” Yoongi talks to him quietly. Jeongguk whines a little in response, holding on tighter. Yoongi huffs a laugh into his hair. “It won't take long, then we can head home. I’ll make you some hot cocoa and you can curl up in bed. Doesn’t that sound better than sitting in the back of this ambulance?”

Jeongguk weighed the options in his head and he found he certainly did like that idea much more. Reluctantly, he pulled away from Yoongi but he kept a hold on the sleeve of his sweater. Two officers stepped up to him and started asking him questions about the guys who robbed the place.  

How much did they steal? Did you see their faces? Could you describe them to me? What did they say to you? Namjoon and Yoongi stayed on either side of him offering silent support.

When they finished asking questions they gave Jeongguk a card with a number on it, saying to call them if he remembers anything else or if he sees them again. Jeongguk shivers at that thought. They also gave him his phone and charger along with his bag that was in the store. He thanked them with a bow of his head, shoving his phone and cord in the bag.

The EMT tells him he’s fine to go now, explaining how to change the bandages and if there are any problems to come to the hospital immediately. She looks at Yoongi and Namjoon and tells them to make sure he isn’t left alone for the next twenty-four hours and not to hesitate to bring him in if he seems to get sluggish or stops responding at any point to them. She hands them a small pack of gauze and disinfectant that Yoongi puts in Jeongguk’s bag. 

“We’ll take care of him, ma’am,” Namjoon smiles, thanking her for her help and concern. Jeongguk gave her a quiet thank you from his place beside Yoongi. He was pushed up against his side, Yoongi having put a protective arm around him. His thumb was rubbing against Jeongguk’s shoulder and he let his mind focus on the pressure and warmth coming from it. 

The EMT jumped back into the ambulance and it drove away, leaving the three of them standing on the street. Namjoon turned back to them. 

“Time to go home now?” Namjoon directed the question at Jeongguk, who nodded. Home sounded great right now. Namjoon smiled at him tiredly, letting out a sigh.

“Well, you scared the shit out of me, and I’m going to have a field day fending off the others tomorrow when they find out.” Namjoon’s tone was teasing, laced with a bit of residual fear from the whole situation. He ruffled Jeongguk’s hair then pulled him into a tight hug. 

“Yoongi’s gonna walk you home. You better not even try to come into work tomorrow, Yoongi will make sure your ass stays home.” Namjoon pulled back, hands on his shoulders, looking him in the eyes. “Got it?”

Jeongguk giggled weakly. “I think I’m going to sleep for the next week, so no worries there.” He figured it was midnight by now, and the exhaustion he felt in his bones was weighing him down. He could probably sleep soundly on the ground at his feet right now. 

Namjoon turned to Yoongi. “Keep me posted, yeah?” 

Yoongi nodded. “Yeah, I will.” Yoongi turned to Jeongguk who had found his way back under the safety of his arm and shouldered Jeongguk’s bag - He downright refused to let Jeongguk carry it. “Alright Guk, let’s go.”

They waved good-bye to Namjoon and started the walk back to Jeongguk’s. The bus ride was quiet, along with the ride on the subway. Jeongguk almost asked if they could walk the entire way, not entirely comfortable with being surrounded by strangers, even if there was only a handful this time at night. But that amounted to an almost forty-minute walk that he didn't have the energy for and he didn’t want to put Yoongi through that, almost positive he would have said yes if Jeongguk asked. 

Instead, he sat between Yoongi and the walls of the bus and subway, head pressed into Yoongi’s shoulder, hiding away from any looks he might be getting. Yoongi did his part to relax him, arm still wrapped around his body, safe and warm.

Jeongguk pulled his phone out of his bag on the subway, seeing messages from Namjoon, reminding him of what the EMT said and not to worry about coming into work tomorrow and to text him when he’s home safe. He had a message or two from Seojun, along with Jahoe, but he didn’t look at them. He would deal with that tomorrow. He didn’t want the guilt seeping in now when he was curled protectively in Yoongi’s arms.

“Hyung,” He asked as they got off the subway end exited to the street.

“Hmm?” His eyes flickered over to him.

“How did you know to come to Jung’s?” Jeongguk hadn’t even thought to wonder why Yoongi had shown up earlier - just glad he was there. 

“Namjoon called me,” His eyes moved back to the sidewalk in front of them. “He figured you’d need someone to stay with you and called me since I live the closest.”

Neither of them mentioned the fact that it probably had little to do with the fact that he lived the closest, and more to do with how they all knew the two of them had a closer bond with each other than the rest. If Jeongguk had to choose who he’d want to be with after this ordeal, it would have been Yoongi. It will always be Yoongi.

And neither of them mentioned the fact that even when Jeongguk had been blatantly avoiding Yoongi all week, he still dropped everything to be there for him. How Jeongguk immediately let him in and let himself be swallowed by his presence. It just made Jeongguk feel even more guilty.

They finished the walk to his building in silence, taking the stairs and Jeongguk unlocking the door to his apartment. It’s quiet in there, and he feels any tension that was left fall away as soon as the door closes. He kicks off his shoes and goes to the kitchen where he downs a glass of water.

Yoongi is standing at the mouth of the kitchen, leaning against the door frame, arms crossed. Jeongguk fills his glass back up, taking a few more sips then wipes his mouth and leans against the counter. His head had been steadily throbbing the entire way home and he may have drunk the water a little too fast but oh well. He’ll be asleep soon enough.

“Come on,” Yoongi says, pushing off the frame. “We gotta change those bandages off before you get into bed.” He followed Yoongi to the bathroom, sitting on the toilet lid as Yoongi unwrapped the bandages from his head.

His hands were gentle, and he felt his eyes flutter closed at the feeling of them in his hair. It had only been a week since he started to distance himself but it might as well have been years. He missed the feeling of Yoongi being close to him, the assurance that there was someone who always seemed to know what he needed, whether it be a hand on his back or fingers in his hair or just a silent presence, no words needed just being in each other’s company enough. 

He tried not to cry as Yoongi threw the used gauze away and pushed his bangs back to check the wound. “It doesn’t look bad, but I’m not a doctor so what the fuck do I know,” that got a small snort from Jeongguk. “I’ll clean it up and wrap it again then we can go to bed.”

“I think I was promised hot cocoa,” Jeongguk reminded, looking up at Yoongi who smirked, eyes fixed on what he was doing.

“I guess I did say that, didn’t I?” He sighed. “Alright, this, cocoa, then bed.”

Jeongguk chuckled, letting silence fall again. Yoongi finished up wrapping the gauze in place securely, taking an extra minute to gently brush Jeongguk’s hair back, letting his hand fall along the side of his face. They looked at each other for a moment, something deep in the depths of Yoongi’s eyes, something that Jeongguk couldn’t understand. Then it was gone. Yoongi broke the contact, turning away and beckoning Jeongguk to follow. 

Jeongguk let out a breath before following.

Yoongi rummaged through his kitchen, knowing where to find the mugs and the pan. Jeongguk grabs the cocoa and sugar and milk. Yoongi sets to boiling the water and adding the ingredients to it. Jeongguk hops up on the counter, watching him as he grabs the milk and vanilla, stirring the cocoa at the same time. Jeongguk thinks about what it would be like to have something like this every night, the two of them, cooking late after Jeongguk gets home from a night shift. Both sleepy but content in each other's company. He finds he has to physically push the thoughts out of his head.

Yoongi pours the hot cocoa into both their mugs, leaving the pan on the stove to wash tomorrow. He hands one to Jeongguk who takes it with a thank you, wrapping his hands around the mug enjoying the warmth it radiates. He blows on it then takes a tentative sip, careful not to burn his tongue. He hums pleasantly at the taste.

“Perfect, as always,” Jeongguk compliments Yoongi.

“You say that as if you were expecting something different,” Yoongi raises an eyebrow. Jeongguk just shrugs which pulls a snort out of Yoongi. “Drink your cocoa. It’s after one already and you need to sleep. I can see how exhausted you are.”

Jeongguk nodded. He was exhausted. He was having a hard time keeping his eyes open, especially now with the hot cocoa settling pleasantly in his stomach. His bones were heavy and the idea of his bed was a very good one.

They finished drinking, Yoongi watching him over the lip of his own mug. They put the mugs in the sink, turning the lights off and moving to his bedroom. 

Jeongguk stripped off his shirt and grabbed a pair of sweats to change into. He grabbed some shorts and a shirt for Yoongi. He crawled into his bed while Yoongi changed, sitting under the covers.

“You can take a pillow from my bed, and there should be a blanket on the couch from last time.” Jeongguk fiddled with his hands. What he really wanted to say was stay here and keep me safe and hold me tight, please, but couldn’t for a bunch of reasons. He didn’t want to be left alone after tonight, the memories and monsters still on the edge of his mind. He knew they would come forth as soon as he closed his eyes and he was scared.

“I think it would be better if I stay here with you,” Yoongi replied. Jeongguk looked up at him, noting how Yoongi wasn’t looking at him directly. Was that a blush on his cheeks? “In case there are any issues with your head or whatever.”

Jeongguk nods, not trusting himself to speak. Yoongi moved to the other side of his bed and crawled in beside him. Jeongguk slid down so he was laying on his back, reaching over to turn off the lamp beside his bed. The room was plunged into darkness, and Jeongguk held his breath, not sure what to do.

Yoongi had stayed over at his place many times, and Jeongguk at his, but it was always in separate beds/couches. The only people he had ever shared beds with was Taehyung and Jimin and that was more them forcing him into their beds whenever he stayed over. They were vicious cuddlers.

This was the first time Yoongi and him had shared a bed and it was very different from anything he had ever imagined (and a lot more innocent). The silence sat in the room for a few minutes before Jeongguk felt Yoongi shift and a hand was on his arm. He looked over to see Yoongi on his side, eyes fixed on Jeongguk with what looks like a question on his lips. 

“Hyung?” Jeongguk whispered but it sounded loud in the quiet of the night.

“I- can I just-” Yoongi stops then lets out a quiet fuck and wraps his arm around Jeongguk, pulling him close. Jeongguk’s eyes widen as Yoongi tucks Jeonguk into his arms, hooking his head on top of Jeongguk’s so that Jeongguk’s face was pressed against his chest. Yoongi slipped his other arm under Jeongguk and he pulled him close. Jeongguk could hear Yoongi’s heart beating wildly.

“I just need you close right now,” Yoongi whispered. “When Joon called me and told me what happened, I was so scared. I thought the worst and after this week and whatever is going on between us I didn’t-” He cut off with a sigh, tightening his grip on Jeongguk.

Jeongguk held his breath, worried that if he spoke it would be too loud in the silence. He didn’t think about how Yoongi would be feeling. He had put on such a strong front the entire time, being Jeongguk’s rock - steady and solid. He kept all his own fears and worries under wraps until now, with Jeongguk here and needing to reaffirm in his own mind that he was okay.

Jeongguk moved his arms, wrapping them around Yoongi’s waist and pulling tight. “I’m okay, hyung. Little banged up and spooked, but I’m okay,” He whispers. Yoongi grunts in response, nuzzling his face into Jeongguk’s hair. 

Jeongguk listened as Yoongi’s heartbeat levelled out, his breaths slowing until he was asleep with Jeongguk wrapped securely in his arms. Jeongguk let himself revel in the feeling, knowing that come morning he would have to deal with the ramifications. Yoongi would want to talk and Jeongguk will have just spent the night wrapped in his arms and will be weak - weak enough that he won't be able to fend off Yoongi's pleads and questions about what was going on. Jeongguk thinks he might cave and tell him the truth and he's surprised to find that the thought doesn’t fill him with the same dread that it had in the last few weeks.

It could have something to do with the fact that he’s currently in the arms of said man, who he loves, loves so much, and anything seems okay right now, but maybe. Maybe in the morning, when he wakes to Yoongi smiling down at him in the morning light, it still won't be so scary.

Jeongguk drifts off with that thought in mind, his heart full full full, and falls into a sleep filled with dreams about Yoongi. 





Jeongguk is confused as to why he wakes up at first. He was in the middle of a dream about him and Yoongi. They were on a boat, sailing on the water that shone like it was made of diamonds when something sharp and trill rang out around him. He blinked and found he was no longer standing over a rail, smiling at Yoongi with the sun shining behind him like a halo, but on his back, staring at the ceiling and warmth surrounding him.

There was an arm draped across his stomach, legs tangled up in his own. Yoongi’s face was tucked into his neck and he could feel his breath against his neck in slow puffs, tickling a little. Jeongguk looked down to see Yoongi sleeping peacefully, the subtle rise and fall of his shoulders, arm curled around Jeongguk’s waist casually. 

Jeongguk blinked a few times, trying to clear his vision. He almost thought he was dreaming, but last night slowly came back to him in the morning fog of his brain, the store and the robbers, Yoongi walking him home and holding him as he slept. He could feel a blush rising in his cheeks at the solid warmth of Yoongi’s body against his, a smile curling at his lips. He shouldn't be enjoying this as much as he was, knowing what was going to come later when Yoongi was awake, but maybe that was all the more reason too. 

He heard his phone ding, and he was reminded of the sound that had awoken him to begin with. He reached over to grab his phone, a silly smile spreading across his face when Yoongi immediately tightened his hold on him in his sleep.

He clicked his phone on, noting the time 8:34 AM blinking at him. Still early then. He looked at the notifications and his stomach dropped at the numerous texts and missed calls, all from Seojun. 

(There were some from Namjoon and the others, a quick glance telling him that they were hoping he was okay and to take it easy. He was sure he’d hear from them later.) 

He bolts up, hearing Yoongi grunt a little behind him, but he’s focused on the messages that he is now frantically scrolling through.

 

       11:55 PM

       Seojun: Finally got home from work. How’s your shift going babe?

       12:07 AM

       Seojun: Hellooooo

       12:12 AM

       Seojun: Fine don’t answer me then (pout emoji)

       12:18 AM

       Missed Call from Seojun 

       7:45 AM 

       Seojun: Good morning, you gonna answer me now?

       7:56 AM

       Missed Call from Seojun 

       7:58 AM

       Seojun: What's this report I saw about your work being robbed?  

       Seojun: Are you okay??

       8:04 am

       Missed Call from Seojun 

       Missed Call from Seojun

       8:13 AM

       Seojun: Jeongguk, pick up your phone

       8:19 AM

       Missed Call from Seojun

       Missed Call from Seojun

       8:22 AM

       Seojun: The report said everyone was fine, so I don’t know why you're not answering me

       8:28 AM

       Missed Call from Seojun

       8:31 AM

       Seojun: I’m coming down to your apartment

 

As if one cue, Jeongguks hear a sharp knock on his front door. He whips his head over and practically scrambles out of bed. He vaguely hears Yoongi sleepily call his name out but he ignores it. He throws open his bedroom door, tripping over his own two feet as he runs to the front door which is still being knocked on insistently. 

He almost slammed into the door, unlocking it quickly and throws it open. Seojun is standing there, mid-knock. Surprise flashes across his face quickly before being replaced with irritation and concern.

“Jeongguk, what the hell?” He asks, pushing his way in. He grabs Jeongguk, a little roughly, and looks him over. Jeongguk can’t help but compare it to the gentle caresses he got from Yoongi when he first saw him. Seojun touches the bandage on his head, a little of the irritation bleeding out and a bit more concern colouring his features.

“What happened? I’ve been calling you and texting. Why didn’t you respond to me?”

Jeongguk was breathing a little heavily, still half asleep and not ready for the barrage of questions being thrown at him. 

“I-I’m sorry, last night was a lot and I wasn’t really all there-” 

“Guk?”

Jeongguk freezes, horror spreading through him as he turns and sees Yoongi who was rubbing the sleep from his eyes, still in Jeongguk’s clothes that were rumpled from sleep. He was still soft from sleep, his face open and warm, and Jeongguk felt his stomach plummet even further. He blinks at Jeongguk and Seojun, confusion clear on his face. 

“Yoongi,” He starts, aware he was only wearing sweats and Yoongi very clearly came out of his bedroom. Seojun snapped his head back to Jeongguk, eyes hard as anger starts to morph on his face.

“Oh, I see. You don’t call me because you had Yoongi-hyung, ” He practically hisses Yoongi’s name. “Here to look after you.”

Jeongguk looked back at Seojun. “No, it’s not like that-”

“And who the fuck are you?” Yoongi asked, eyebrow raised. Jeongguk could hear the annoyance in his voice. The sleepy and warm expression gone, replaced with something harder.

“I’m Seojun, Jeongguk’s bo-”

“Friend,” Jeongguk quickly interrupted. He looked at Yoongi, half desperate. “He’s a friend. He heard about the robbery and came to check on me.”

Seojun sneered at that. “Yeah, friend. And now that I’m here, you can go.” He directed at Yoongi. His other brow raised up at that, disbelief morphing into a snort. 

“I don’t think so. If anyone needs to leave, it’s you.” He stepped forwards, coming up to Seojun. Seojun had a good few inches on Yoongi, but the power that Yoongi was exuding more than made up for it. Jeongguk thought he saw Seojun flinch, just a little, but it was gone as soon as it came. Seojun stood a little straighter, staring down at Yoongi. Jeongguk was left between them, desperately trying to diffuse a hopeless situation.

“I’m not going anywhere, pipsqueak. Jeongguk wants me here, isn’t that right, Jeonggukkie?” Seojun looked at him, a smirk on his face. 

Jeongugk cringed at the way Seojun used Jeongguk’s name, none of the usual affection the rest of them used when they spoke to him like that. Yoongi didn't seem to like it either, something close to a growl coming out from him.

“Jeongguk, would you like me to kick this ass out of here? Say the word.”

Jeongguk looked between the two of them, Seojun staring him down, and Yoongi burning holes into Seojuns face. Jeongguk wanted to leave himself, not wanting to be in the middle of this situation at all. He didn’t want Seojun here right now, not with how he was acting. He wanted to crawl back into bed with Yoongi, snuggle back up into his arms and pretend that everything was okay. Wanted to have a slow morning, where he could watch Yoongi slowly wake up, like he belonged there, in Jeongguk’s bed, beside Jeongguk. It felt so so right. He wanted to spend every morning like that. But-

“Yoongi-hyung,” Jeongguk whispered, looking at his feet. “I need you to leave.”

He couldn’t see but he could imagine the way Yoongi stiffened, his head wiping over to Jeongguk’s, brows scrunched in confusion, hurt, as he said “Guk?”

“Please. It’s okay, you can go to work. Seojun can stay with me.” He took a shaky breath, still not looking up. “I’m feeling better anyway, and they can’t afford to miss both of us.”

“Guk, are you serious-”

“Did you not hear him?” Seojun bit at Yoongi. “He said leave.”

Jeongguk looked up at Seojun, irritated by his tone with Yoongi. “Seojun,” He snapped. Seojun looked at him, lip curled a little but he didn’t say anything else. Jeongguk looked over at Yoongi and tried not to flinch at the confused hurt on his face.

Jeongguk wanted nothing more than to tell Seojun to leave, to have Yoongi stay. But having woken up with Yoongi like that, giving him the smallest taste of what it could be like to be with Yoongi, knowing he could never actually have it - it was too much. He didn’t think he could take it. He thought maybe he could tell Yoongi the truth, but he had been half delirious with exhaustion and shock and his concussion. If he told Yoongi, and Yoongi rejected him, after spending all night wrapped in his arms, it would be too much. He needed to stop this now, even if it felt like he was ripping his heart in half.

“Jeongguk,” Yoongi spoke, turning to Jeongguk and putting his hand on his arm, but Jeongguk pulled away. It physically hurt, but he had to. He couldn’t handle the feeling of Yoongi’s touch right now. Yoongi looked like he had been slapped. Jeongguk never rejected his touch. He might shy out of the other's arms and hands, but Yoongi’s was always welcome. “Jeongguk, what’s going on? I don’t understand.” 

Yoongi’s eyes flicked over to Seojun’s, who was glaring at Yoongi but thankfully staying quiet. “Is it him? Has this been why you’ve been so distant lately?”

“No, it’s not -” Jeongguk started but Yoongi cut him off.

“Jeongguk, tell me the truth. What’s going on-”

“Stop!” Jeongguk burst, startling Yoongi. “I told you, its nothing! Now, will you please leave?” Jeongguk shouted in anger because that was the only other emotion he could manage when all he wanted to do was cry. He needed Yoongi to leave. The longer he stayed, the harder it was for him to stand his ground. Yoongi always had an easy time breaking through his walls.

Yoongi looked at Jeongguk for a minute, searching for something. Jeongguk suddenly felt very vulnerable, standing in the middle of his apartment in only sweats, stuck between the man he loved and the man he was trying to love. Yoongi was looking at him like he could see right through him and he couldn't handle it.

Jeongguk huffed and walked back into his room, gathering Yoongi’s things and throwing on a shirt while he was in there. He brought them back out and shoved them into Yoongi’s arms, who stumbled back a step at the force. He looked at Jeongguk with wide eyes and Jeongguk fortified himself.

“Leave. Please.” He grit out. 

“I’m not leaving you here like this,” Yoongi responded and Jeongguk snapped.

“Can’t you take a fucking hint? I don’t want you here!” Jeongguk yelled. Yoongi looked taken aback, Jeongguk had never yelled like that, not at him. Jeongguk didn’t like to yell at all - yelling made him uncomfortable and scared yet here he was. Yelling. Because he was uncomfortable and scared. 

Hurt flashed hard across Yoongi’s face, so much hurt in his eyes that Jeongguk almost took it back but then Yoongi schooled his features into something neutral and grim.

“Fine, whatever.” He shoved his shoes on and turned, shouldering Seojun on his way to the door. He opened it and looked back, and Jeongguk could see hurt and anger but there was something else there, something that made his heart stutter. 

Yoongi opened his mouth, then closed it, shaking his head. He glared one more time at Seojun then turned and walked out the door, slamming it on his way out.

Jeongguk stood there, breathing hard. There was a heavy silence that fell across the room and Jeongguk felt like he was suffocating. He had to blink back the tears threatening to spill. God, he felt like absolute trash. The look of hurt on Yoongi’s face kept replaying over and over in his head and he felt like he was going to puke. I did that. I hurt Yoongi. I did. He was human garbage.

He was so lost in his own turmoil and self-depreciation that he forgot Seojun was even still in the room until he was standing in front of him. He looked up and then shrunk under the scrutiny of his gaze.

“Did you sleep with him?” He asked directly.

“N-no!” Jeongguk yelped. “I mean. He slept in my bed with me but we just slept.” Seojun’s face contorted in anger and Jeongguk quickly jumped to defend himself. “I had a concussion and he had to make sure nothing happened to me.”

“Why was it him to begin with? You should have called me. I’m your boyfriend. ” Seojun bit out, stepping forwards and Jeongugk stepped back. “I knew you liked him! I knew it!”

Jeongguk almost corrected him, saying it was never made official but he didn’t think that go over well. “I didn’t call him I swear! Namjoon-hyung is my emergency contact and he called him because he lives the closest to me and, and I was scared and confused,” Jeongguk felt the tears start to fall, his breath hitching, unable to speak coherently anymore. He brought a hand up to his mouth, trying to block his sobs. His body hunched over and he felt his entire body just cave in him, panic engulfing him. It seemed like all he did lately was cry like some pathetic baby. He could barely keep it together anymore.

He sank to his knees and Seojun followed, wrapping his arms around Jeongguk. He pulled Jeongguk’s head to his chest, rubbing his back soothingly while he cried.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean- I was- I’m sorry,” Jeongguk cried into Seojun’s chest.

“Shh, it’s alright. I know you’re sorry. I forgive you. I was just scared that you were hurt, then I saw Yoongi here, after you telling me you don’t like him. I got upset. You can understand that, right?” Seojun spoke in soft tones, rocking Jeongguk side to side

He nodded. It did make sense, at least to Jeongguk who was helplessly crying in Seojun’s arms, angry and hurt and filled with guilt. His emotions were twisted and warped inside him, overwhelming him and he didn’t know what the fuck to do at this point. Everything felt so wrong and fucked up. He felt so wrong.

“It’s okay baby, I’m here. I can take care of you. All you need is me.” Seojun kissed the top of his head and nuzzled it. Jeongguk was shaking - trembling.

Jeongguk grasped onto him, trying to find any comfort he could within the confines of his own mind. He felt wrong, this felt wrong, but he needed comfort, so he left himself fall apart in Seojun’s arms. He tried not to think about how he was going to have to go to dinner tonight and pretend that he wasn’t falling apart. He would have to see Yoongi and act like he hadn’t screamed at him to leave, that he didn’t want him there.

Or worse, Yoongi will have told the others and they’re mad at him now for being too cruel. Maybe they won't want him there tonight. Who would want someone like him there anyway? He hurt Yoongi. Yoongi. The one person who is the strongest and never seems bothered by anything. But he saw it, the look on his face - it hasn’t stopped playing in his head like a god damn movie - and he never thought he’d be capable of inflicting that on anyone, let alone Yoongi.

“I’m sorry, sorry, sorry,” He kept repeating. Seojun shushed him, told him it was okay, but he wasn’t talking to him. He was talking to Yoongi and wishing he could call him and beg for forgiveness, except that would defeat the whole purpose. He would have to apologize eventually, providing he didn’t just destroy his friendship with Yoongi. And that - that just brought on a whole new batch of tears, as the idea of him losing Yoongi completely filled him with so much anguish. 

He just sat there and cried and cried in Seojun’s arms. He wanted them to be Yoongi’s arms. 

Eventually, his sobs ebbed into silent tears, the shaking stopped, and he was just silently laying in Seojun’s lap who was petting his hair.

“Are you okay now?” Seojun asked and Jeongguk nodded even though he wasn’t. How could he be? “Are you sure?”

“Yeah,” Jeongguk croaked, his throat sore. He cleared it then spoke again. “Yeah, I’ll be okay. I’m sorry for all that,” He waved his hands, blushing.

“It’s okay. As long as you’re fine now.” He ruffled Jeongguk’s hair with a smile. Jeongguk bit the inside of his cheek. He felt like a bother. 

Seojun looked at his phone then blew out a breath. “I’m sorry, I gotta go to work. I’m already late as is,” He looked at Jeongguk apologetically and it just furthered his feeling of being an annoyance. He made Seojun late to work with all his blubbering. 

(He also thought how Yoongi would have stayed regardless.)

“Yeah, no, go,” Jeongguk wiped some of the stray tears off his face, trying to conjure up a smile for Seojun. “I’m sorry.”

Seojun flicked him on the nose. “Stop that, silly.” He leaned in and pecked Jeongguk on the lips then pushed himself off the ground, dusting himself off. “I’m going to have to work another late night again, but maybe tomorrow we can go on a date? My treat. Something to take your mind off of everything.” 

“Sure,” Jeongguk replied without much feeling.

Seojun smiled at him. “Awesome! I’ll talk to you later. Call me if you need anything okay? I’ll be there.’” He smiled one more time at him and then he left. 

The silence came back and Jeongguk sat there on the floor, feeling cold and alone and so drained . It was almost ten a.m., and he had nothing to do until tonight. If he even went. If he was wanted. He had to push back a fresh wave of tears at that thought. 

He eventually managed to push himself off the floor and ventured into his room to grab his discarded phone. He had thrown it on his bed in his panic when Seojun had come barging in. He unlocked it and saw a multitude of messages from his friends. They were all worried and wanted him to message or call them. He ignored them, not having the energy to deal with it.

He was about to pocket his phone when it started ringing, Namjoon calling. His breath hitched and he thought about not answering it, but then that would probably just cause more problems and possibly have them banging on his door. He answered the call with a hesitant hello?

“Jeongguk-ah! How are you feeling?” Namjoon asked, cheer in his voice. Jeongguk felt the void in his soul fill up just a bit at the sound of his voice.

“I’m okay, Joon-hyung, just tired.” He let his exhaustion through in his voice, hoping it would mask the emptiness he felt.

“You better be resting. Is Yoongi still asleep? He hasn’t been answering my calls.”

Jeongguk tensed. “Uhm, yeah, he’s still asleep.” Jeongguk lied, hoping it sounded convincing. He would deal with the fallout of that later.

“Ah, big surprise. He’s supposed to be looking after you,” Namjoon laughed. Jeongguk gave a strained chuckle.

“Gukkie!” He heard a yell, then Taehyung’s voice was suddenly on the line, hearing Namjoon cursing in the background. “Gukkie, how is my boy? Are you okay? Are you still hurt? You better be resting. Do you need me to leave work and look after you?”

“Uhm,” 

“You fucking brat.” That was Namjoon again. Taehyung yelped and Jeongguk assumed Namjoon pushed him away to get the phone back. “Everyone is worried about you, so you better come to dinner tonight if you’re feeling up to it. Though be ready to be coddled,” Namjoon chuckled.

Jeongguk could hear more yells from the background, Jimin joining in and Namjoon yelling at both of them to get back to work. Jeongguk let out a genuine chuckle and he hoped to God he didn’t destroy what he had with this. 

After a bit longer, Namjoon reminding him what to do if he felt ill or dizzy and how to take care of his wound (again), he hung up. The conversation moved to the group chat, where they wished him well and teased Yoongi for being asleep still. He held his breath when he saw Yoongi typing, ready for him to out him, telling them that he left, that Jeongguk told him to leave that he didn’t want him but-

 

       Yoongi: yeah yeah. I’m awake now.

 

He blinked. Yoongi typed again.

 

       Yoongi: jeongguk and i are fine. Go back to work you nosy fucks. Leave us alone.

 

That started a whole new mess of chats before Namjoon silenced it. Jeongguk stared at his phone, shocked that Yoongi acted along, saving him from what could have been a very ugly mess on his end. Yoongi was still protecting him. Even after how Jeongguk had treated him. He cried again.

Later, when he had managed to take a shower and eat something, Yoongi messaged the group chat again.

 

       Yoongi: I’m home now, i won't be at dinner tho. Something came up

       Jimin: awwwwwwwh hyung! But jeonggukkie needs all our love and affection!

       Jimin: he had a traumatizing event

       Yoongi: you’ll smother him with more than enough. 

       Yoongi: he doesn’t need me anyways

 

It felt like a punch to the gut, Jeongguk physically bending over at the words. he really didn’t think he could cry anymore today but he feels the tears build again, tumbling down his face. The others disputed Yoonig’s words, but he dismissed them, saying he was sorry, that he would try to make it if he could. Jeongguk wanted to tell him how wrong he was - how much he needed him, needed his hyung, wanted him so badly his body ached for it. But he couldn't. 

It hit Jeongguk then. Jeongguk knew he wasn’t going because of him. Yoongi was avoiding Jeongguk, something he had been doing to him all this time, what he wanted Yoongi to do to him. He got what he wanted. 

And nothing could hurt more.

Chapter Text

Jeongguk spent most of the weekend in his apartment.

He had gone to the dinner Friday and had spent most of the evening being coddled and fretted over by his friends. He had practically been attacked the moment he walked into Seokjin’s home by Taehyung and Jimin.

“Gukkie!”

The yell was followed by two bodies slammed into him, resulting in the three of them to fall back onto Seokjin's front steps as Jeongguk hadn’t even had the chance to close the door behind him yet. He landed with a grunt, squished by Jimin and Taehyungs bodies on top of him.

“We were so worried!”

“We wanted to come to see you today but the others made us stay,” Taehyung pouted.

“This is exactly why you over-excited fucks,” Came Seokjin voice. Jeongguk looked up between Jimin and Taehyung’s heads to see Seokjin standing there, arms crossed and a scowl on his face. “Will you two give him some space? God, it’s like looking after puppies.”

Seokjin bent down and grabbed the two by the back of their shirts, and pulled them off Jeongguk. They yelped at the force Seokjin brought them back and whined.

“Why are you so mean to us? We just wanted to show Jeongguk how much we care.”

“You can do that from the comfort of the couch. He hasn’t even got his shoes off yet,” Seokjinshoved them towards the living room and turned back to Jeongguk, who had picked himself up off the ground, closing the door. Seokjin’s expression softened immediately, and he opened his arms up for a hug that JEongguk gratefully accepted. Hugs from Seokjin were the best hugs.

“Hey! You just gave us shit for hugging him then you go ahead and do it too!”

“In what world is what you two did considered a ‘hug’?”

Jeongguk had found solace in his hyungs, but even as he had taken in the familiar faces of his friends, he still felt his heartache when he couldn't find the one face he wished he could see. He knew Yoongi wasn’t going to be there but he held out hope that maybe.

He tried not to let himself mope too much. His friends went to great lengths to try and cheer him up, and he didn’t want to let them down. So he tried to enjoy it, tried to jump into conversations, into the teasing they all enjoyed so much - which, thankfully, had been steered away from him for once. He sat close to Seokjin, who easily slipped a comforting arm around his shoulder whenever he was near.

Jeongguk wished he could have a moment with Seokjin. He wanted to talk about what happened with Seojun and Yoongi, needed someone to tell him what he should do. ‘Cause everything felt wrong.

After Seojun had left and he had had time to come out of his wallowing, he went over the altercation with them and he couldn't help but pick out some things that weren’t quiet right with Seojun. But he wanted to talk to Seokjin about it because he wasn’t sure. He wasn’t sure what to think.

But he never got the chance. Most everyone stayed late and drinks got busted out from Seokjin's liquor cabinet - much to his dismay - and it all kinda went from there. Everyone but Jeongguk drank. He had been bugged by the others to let loose a bit but he knew if he started drinking he’d end up a blubbering mess by drink four and he didn’t want the hangover tomorrow. Drinking when he wasn’t doing the greatest mentally was never a good idea for him.

Seokjin had tried to get him to stay the night with the others, but he passed. Maybe he should have stayed, might have been able to talk the next day and he would be surrounded by his friends, but he didn’t want them to see how much he was hurting because then he would have to explain things and explaining things meant admitting to how much he fucked up.

So instead he walked home - he took a detour that made his walk take an extra half hour just to avoid going to an empty apartment. When he finally got home he crawled into bed and he pretty much hadn’t left it all weekend. Seojun had supposed to take him out Saturday, but he had to cancel - work, he said. Jeongguk couldn’t say he was all that upset which probably said a lot. The more he thought about his budding relationship with Seojun, the more he felt that maybe it wasn’t the right choice. Maybe he wasn’t right for Seojun. At least not right now. The idea of being in a relationship sounded exhausting to him right now, even though before that was all he wanted. 

But again, it wasn’t just a relationship he wanted, but a relationship with Yoongi. Yoongi, who even after all the pushing and distancing, had been there for him in an instance. Who had always been there. All the times Jeongguk had pushed him away before all this shit with seojun and his crush, when he had been reserved and quiet and didn't let anyone in, Yoongi was always there to fight back. He took Jeongguk’s cold shoulders and silent treatments. He took his brattiness and disrespectful behaviour. He always put Jeongguk in his place, but he also was always there. 

And for the first time in Jeongguk’s time knowing Yoongi - he wasn’t. Jeongguk had pushed too hard this time.

Jeongguk looked over at his phone and before he even had the chance to doubt himself he grabbed it and opened up his messages. He clicked on Yoongi’s, opening it to see all the unanswered messages Yoongi had sent him in the last couple weeks. He felt guilt swirl in his gut and typed out his message.

 

       Jeongguk: I’m sorry, for what I said. I didn’t mean it.

 

Jeongguk kept the messaging app open and watched as his message was read, but no response came. It hurt, but he deserved it. He typed again.

 

       Jeongguk: I want to explain. I just need a little more time. 

 

He watched the message be read again, and then the typing bubble popped up. Jeongguk felt his breath catch in his throat. It started and stopped a few times before a message was finally sent. 

 

       Yoongi: you keep saying that. Im tired of waiting

 

Jeongguk shrivelled up at the terse text. 

 

       Jeongguk: I’m sorry

 

He didn’t know what else to say. Yoongi had been waiting for him to explain and he kept putting it off. Kept making excuses. Excuses only work for so long. He had been so used to Yoongi always being there that he selfishly assumed he always would be. 

 

       Yoongi: sorry doesn’t fix things

 

Yoongi was right, he was always right. But Jeongguk didn’t know how to fix things. Telling him the truth might come with the same consequences. Yoongi might not even believe him anymore. Because really, who treats the person you supposedly love like that? 

Jeongguk locked his phone and tossed it away from him. He fell back into his bed, letting himself wallow in his own self-pity at the situation he put himself in. He did that right up until Monday, dragging himself through his morning routine. He felt exhausted even though he didn’t do anything. He wasn’t working at Jung’s for the foreseeable future - it had been closed for a couple of days for an investigation and Jeongguk told Jaeho he needed some time off which he had accepted. His hyung’s had told him just to quit which he was seriously considering now. 

So he really didn’t have much of a reason to feel like his bones were made of lead or for his eyes to have dark circles around them. 

He did his best to liven up before work, put on some makeup to hide the bags. He brought it to work knowing he’d have to reapply it throughout the day since he was bound to sweat it off. He looked in the mirror in his bathroom. He scanned his face, taking in every feature he had memorized for years and found he didn't recognize himself. It sounded dramatic, and maybe he was being a little over the top, but he felt so out of place standing there. He didn’t feel real. 

He felt like that on his entire commute to work, kind of in a daze. The whirlwind that was Thursday night and Friday morning followed by the nothing all weekend left him feeling heavy, weighed down. The torrent of emotions had settled into a sinkhole in his gut that was swallowing him whole.

He didn’t want to go to work and face his friends. Face Yoongi. He wanted to keep hiding and pretending that the world didn’t exist. He wanted to be a coward for a little longer.

But he had to face the music. He fucked up and now he needed to deal with that. He needed to try and get Yoongi to forgive him. 

But it seemed Yoongi had other plans.

He got to work and went through all the morning greetings and grumbles. He saw Yoongi sitting on the couch. He hadn’t greeted him when he came in, barely acknowledged him. Jeongguk walked over to the couch, to say - something. He didn’t really know what - but before he could even get a word out, Yoongi abruptly stood up, and walked over to Namjoon to ask him a question about the work order. And that was how the rest of the day went.

Every time Jeongguk tried to talk to Yoongi, he would immediately go and talk to someone else or walk off and do another job separate from Jeongguk’s. He was ignoring him, so blatantly too that he could see the looks from the others. He caught Hoseok and Jimin staring at him after one attempt that had left him blushing red in embarrassment. 

He wanted to be mad. He wanted to grab Yoongi and ask him what the fuck his problem was. But - he was doing to him exactly what Jeongguk had done. Jeongguk may have not been as obvious or rude about it, but it didn’t matter. Jeongguk had hurt Yoongi and now he had to deal with it. Lay in the bed he so eloquently made for himself. 

 

 

It continued the next day and the next. Jeongguk would try and talk to Yoongi and he would be rejected. He figured he should just give up - wait until Yoongi wasn’t so angry, for him to come to Jeongguk - but Yoongi didn’t deserve that. And maybe that was what Yoongi wanted, for him to leave him alone, but Jeongguk wasn’t going to let up. He needed to talk to Yoongi. To try and explain at least some of it. To say he’s sorry, show he’s sorry. 

The others were getting worried, and as much as they tried to stay out of it, it couldn’t just be ignored. 

Namjoon was the first to say something. He had come to Jeongguk, asking what was going on. He had tried to talk to Yoongi already but he didn’t get anywhere with that - Yoongi was never one to talk about his problems - So he narrowed in on Jeongguk.

“What's going on?” Namjoon asked him when the two of them were working loading the truck with bags of sand.

“What do you mean?” Jeongguk asked weakly. Namjoon gave him a stern look.

“You know what I mean, Jeongguk. Whatever this thing is between you and Yoongi, you two need to settle it.”

“It’s nothing you need to worry about,” Jeongguk told him a little irritably.  

“You’re on my crew and it’s affecting you and everyone else.” 

“We’re still getting the job done.”

“I don’t give a shit about the job, what I do give a shit about is the atmosphere the two of you bring in every day.” Namjoon dropped a bag onto the back of the truck and turned to Jeongguk with his arms crossed. “It’s tense and everyone can feel it and it’s starting to affect the others.” Jeongguk didn’t look at him while he continued to throw bags onto the truck. Jeongguk, look at me.”

Jeongguk did, hesitantly and with his shoulders hunched. He watched Namjoon heave a sigh, and a little of the stony expression ebbed off a bit.

“I won't get involved, not yet. But you two need to resolve whatever argument you are having.”

“He won't let me,” Jeongguk whispered. “I’m trying to hyung, but he won't let me.”

Namjoon sighed, dropping his arms. “Yoongi hyung can be a stubborn ass when he wants to be, but he’ll eventually get over it. Maybe give him some space? He’ll come to you.”

Maybe Namjoon was right. Maybe pushing too hard was just making Yoongi angrier. But he didn’t want Yoongi to think he had given up. That he didn’t care. Yoongi had been ignoring his messages and attempts to call him. Maybe he needed to go to his apartment. Demand he listen to him. The idea of that made him shiver - confrontation was something he despised - but what other options did he really have?

It was Friday now - a full week of this back and forth with Yoongi. They were about to go on lunch when one of the lead hands from another crew came over to them.

“There's a guy here for Jeongguk,” he told Namjoon. “He’s waiting by the gate.”

Jeongguk looked over at the front gate and was surprised to see Seojun standing there. He looked over at Namjoon and said he’d be right back and jogged his way over.

He hadn’t seen seojun since last Friday. He had been busy with work all week and kept pushing back the supposed date he was going to take him on. They still texted and talked on the phone, Seojun sweet-talking him and saying how much he missed his face. Jeongguk found it not quite as endearing as it had been before.

He was torn with Seojun. After last week, he felt like something was off. He felt a little uncomfortable around him after he had left him alone. Maybe he was being needy, but he wished he had stayed with him. Jeongguk had been a disaster and it seemed like he left far too easily. But then again, he had been texting and calling all week. Claiming that work was keeping him away. 

“Seojun,” Jeongguk called as he approached him. Seojun’s smile lit up his face and Jeongguk couldn’t help himself from smiling back at him. Seojun really was beautiful. 

“Hey there, I was in the area and I thought I would say hi,” He gave him a hug and he tried to give him a kiss on the cheek but Jeongguk dodged it. He gave Seojun a look that he just brushed off. 

“How did you know I was here?”

“On our first date, you said you were working on a building in this district. Wasn’t too hard to figure out.”

Jeongguk did remember that, but he also knew that there were tons of buildings being built in this district, a few by the company he works for. Then again, Seojun had said his company had relations with his. He wondered if he looked up where he was stationed. It was a thought that sat uncomfortably with him. 

“I don’t have much time, got to get back to work.” That was a lie - his lunch was now but he didn’t want Seojun to ask to go for lunch and have to awkwardly decline him. Wasn’t sure how he would explain that to his hyungs.

“Awh, I was hoping we could go get lunch,” Seojun pouted, “Is it not your lunch yet?”

“Ah, not yet. I don’t like to leave for lunch either, in case something needs to be done.”

“Hard worker there,” He patted Jeongguk’s head. Jeongguk pulled away with a small laugh. “Well, we could go on that date tonight?” He asked with a suggestive smile. 

“I’m - I have a dinner tonight, at one of my friends,” Jeongguk replied. 

“I’m sure you could skip that. That’s that weekly dinner you guys have or whatever?” Seojun put his hand on Jeongguk’s arm. “I’m sure they won’t mind.”

“I don’t really want to skip,” He replied, hesitant. He didn't want to offend Seojun but he was going to try and use tonight as a way to maybe talk to Yoongi. He had still been ignoring him but he hadn’t been as harsh anymore. He figured maybe he was finally getting somewhere.

“We haven’t seen each other all week though,” Seojun pouted more, his brows twisting. “Are you really going to blow me off?”

“We could go tomorrow?” 

“I can’t tomorrow. I really wanted to go tonight,” Seojun stepped closer so he was right in Jeongguk’s personal space. The hand on his arm tightened a little. “I thought maybe we could have some fun,” He whispered into his ear.

Jeongguk shivered, but not in a good way. He took a step back. “I- I don’t want to hurt my friend's feelings by cancelling last minute.”

“Can’t you just leave early? When do you guys usually have dinner?” Seojun pushed. His grip was still firm on Jeongguk’s arm.

“Usually at about six but-”

“Well there! I can pick you up around eight then. Plenty of time for both.” Seojun smiled, and finally, let go of Jeongguk’s arm.

“I-” Jeongguk started but Seojun was already walking away.

“Text me the address,” He called back and blew him a kiss.

Jeongguk stood there for a minute, the phrase what the fuck swirling around in his head. He turned and walked back to his friends, who were all enjoying their lunch and looking at him curiously.

“Who was that?” Taehyung asked as Jeongguk sat beside him and grabbed his own lunch.

“Oh, just a friend from my building. He wanted to say hi,” He mumbled out. He saw the look that Seokjin and Jimin shared. Jeongguk ignored them. He was sure the two of them had gossiped about him and were probably thinking all kinds of shit. “By the way, I’ll be leaving a little early tonight.”

“How come?” Seokjin asked, who was doing a horrible job of hiding his stupid smirk.

“My friend, he uh, wanted to go get a drink together,” Jeongguk explained. “He’s usually pretty busy so.”

“Hmm, that’ll be fun,” Jimin commented and Jeongguk sent him a glare.

“Sure,” Jeongguk replied. The conversation drifted. Jeongguk was nervous. He didn’t really want to go out tonight. He wanted to stay at Seokjin’s and enjoy the night and maybe fix things with Yoongi. But Seojun hadn’t given him much of a choice and he was right about not seeing each other so it was only fair to go out with him for a little bit. But Seojun suggestive tone from early didn’t sit well with him. He hoped he wasn’t expecting something more than a date.

He looked up around him and he caught Yoongi looking at him. He held his gaze for a moment or two before Yoongi dropped it. Jeongguk wondered if he saw him with Seojun, what he might be thinking if he figured it out. It would be easier if he did and then confronted Jeongguk about it. Then he wouldn’t have to do it himself. He laughed to himself. Man, he was such a coward.

They finished up the day and they all parted ways with plans to meet at Seokjin’s later. Jeongguk was only home long enough to shower and change into something that was nice enough to go out. He assumed they were going to a restaurant or something, so he grabbed a pair of black pants and a white button-up. It was casual enough still he wouldn’t get any weird looks from his friends. Other than Jimin and Seokjin, of course. 

Jeongguk settled into the subway ride to Seokjin’s, his stomach curling in unease. He really didn’t want to go out with Seojun tonight. The closer the time approached, the more his gut churned. He knew he shouldn’t be feeling this way about someone he was dating, someone he was supposed to like. Seojun was nice... But the butterflies he felt in the beginning had gone, replaced with a  sense of weariness that told him that something was wrong.

He thought that maybe it was because of what happened with Yoongi that was throwing him off so much, that he was projecting onto Seojun, but when Seojun had stopped by work he felt uncomfortable. He felt scared, almost. Which made no sense because he knew what fear felt like, and Seojun hadn’t done anything to instill it the way it had been in the past. But he couldn’t help but correlate this sick feeling too it. The feeling of Seojun’s hand on his arm, the intense look he pinned him down with at times.

Jeongguk shivered. He had seen those before, felt them before. He had been like that, but so much worse.

Jeongguk didn’t want to think that Seojun was like that. He was bashful and apologetic. He took him bowling and played with him. He actually enjoyed himself with him, in the few dates they had gone on. 

Jeongguk wanted to talk to Jimin or Seokjin about it. They had been in relationships, they had more experience than him. Maybe they could see something he was missing, see if his fears were founded or not. He figured he could catch Jimin after dance practice again, or grab Seokjin after work. And tonight would give him a chance to really pay attention to Seojun, and to what he’s feeling. 

His stop was called and he tucked away his thoughts, tried to ignore the pit in his stomach. He walked to Seokjin’s, entering to see that Jimin and Taehyung were already there. 

And so was Yoongi.

Jeongguk paused at the door for a second, his brain registering Yoongi sitting on the couch, beer in hand, talking with Seokjin. He honestly forgot about the fact that he would have to be in close quarters with Yoongi tonight, that he was supposed to try and solve everything tonight.  

Yoongi’s eyes flickered up, catching him staring. Jeongguk didn’t look away this time, holding it for a moment before Jimin and Taehyung jumped up to greet him, pulling him down to play Mario Kart on Seokjin’s Wii with them.

He could still feel Yoongi’s eyes on him. He looked over at and met his gaze again. Yoongi looked like he was searching for something, his eyes flicking back and forth between Jeongguk’s. Jeongguk’s chest felt tight with how hard he was watching him, and noted it was nothing like the looks Seojun would give him.

Jeongguk bit the inside of his cheek and offered Yoongi a tentative smile. He had been ready for it be ignored, Yoongi going back to his discussion with Seokjin. Instead, he surprised Jeongguk with a small smile of his own. It was the smallest curl of his lips, but it was more than he had given him all week and Jeongguk felt his heart jump at the acknowledgement, his mind hollering at it. 

Yoongi was dragged back into his conversation with Seokjin, and Jeongguk had been kicked by Taehyung to pick his character so they could play. Namjoon and Hoseok showed up soon after and then dinner was being served - japchae and rice. They talked and joked, food got thrown across the table by accident (Namjoon) and then on purpose (Jeongguk) and both were scolded (Seokjin). 

At one point Jeongguk had choked on his drink after Seokjin told a bad joke that only he really found funny, and Yoongi had made fun of him for it and Jeongguk hadn’t even thought of fighting it, just beamed at the fact that Yoongi talked to him. Jeongguk felt a small part of him click back into place.

The joyful mood was cut short, however, when he checked his phone to see it was already seven-thirty and Seojun was asking for the address to where he could pick him up.

Jeongguk felt the smile that had been on his face all dinner slip off. His friends were still joking and talking, dinner having been finished but no one really wanted to clean up yet. He really didn’t want to leave. Not when he was having so much fun with them after feeling so horrible all week. Not when things with Yoongi were starting to mend, just a little.

Seojun texted again, asking again. Jeongguk told him to pick him up at the subway station that was near Seokjin’s. He didn’t want to give out Seokjin’s address, nor have him pick him up in front of his friends. 

Jeongguk pocketed his phone and let out a breath.

“Guk?”

He jumped a little when Hoseok said his name from beside him.

“Everything okay?” 

“Yeah, yeah. Just my friend, I gotta go soon,” He offered a smile, hoping it didn’t look as strained as he sounded.

“You should just invite your friend here,” Taehyung piped up, his feet resting on the table. Seokjin swatted at him. “We have plenty of drinks and this will be the first friend of yours we get to meet!” 

“That’s my alcohol you were offering you brat,” Seokjin scowled.

“Uh, I don’t think he would want too,” Jeongguk dug his fingers into his leg under the table. “He’s kind of socially awkward.”

“So is Yoongi-hyung, yet he still hangs out with us,” Taehyung deadpanned. Namjoon snorted into his drink and Yoongi pinched his side from around a cackling Jimin.

“Fucking mystery to me as to why,” He growled. 

“Aish, let the kid go,” Seokjin cut in. “Probably be nice to spend some time with people other than us.”

“I love being with you guys,” Jeongguk hastily responded, echoed by Taehyung’s “Why would he do that?”

“Go see your friend,” Seokjin told him, sending him a wink only he could see. “Be safe.”

Jeongguk tidied his stuff from the table, washing them off and putting them in the dishwasher. He grabbed his stuff from the living room and was putting his shoes on when he heard someone walk up behind him.

He turned to see Yoongi standing there, arms crossed and leaning against the wall. Jeongguk could recognize the tension in his stance, probably feeling as awkward as he was, standing there with the rest of their friends laughing in the background. 

“Hey,” 

“Hey,” Jeongguk waited for him to say more.

Yoongi shifted. “Your friend, is he the one from the other day?”

Jeongguk thought about lying, but thought better of it, if he wanted to resolve things with him. “Yeah,” He replied quietly.

Yoongi just nodded. He didn’t speak for a few seconds and then - “Can we talk? Properly. Tomorrow maybe,” Yoongi sounded unsure and Jeongguk hated seeing him like that with him. He never wanted Yoongi to feel unsure around him, but he guesses that’s his own doing. 

“Yes,” Jeongguk blurted, relieved and a little terrified. “Yeah, I’d like that.”

Yoongi nodded, a little smile on his lips. “I’ll see you tomorrow then,” He paused, biting his lip. “Be safe tonight.”

Jeongguk heard the weight behind his words, though he didn’t quite understand the meaning. “I will,” He nodded.

Yoongi gave a curt nod then turned to head back to the kitchen. Jeongguk let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding and left. He stopped when he was outside the house, looking up at the cloudy sky. It was darker - darker than it should be on a summer night. Jeongguk thought he could hear rumbling in the distance. It made him shiver, foreboding. 

Seojun picked him up on his bike, taking his helmet off to kiss Jeongguk on the cheek before handing him his own to wear. Jeongguk hopped on the back, holding onto Seokjin. His stomach started to crawl again after he left Seokjin’s house and being on Seojun’s bike made it worse. He wasn’t able to enjoy it like he had been, just very aware of the speed and the way the other cars looked as they weaved in between traffic.

Seojun turns off the road and into a parking lot and Jeongguk is surprised and more than a little wary when Seojun parks in front of a bar.

It’s not one he recognizes but he can hear music faintly from outside and there’s already a fair amount of people for this early on a Friday. There people smoking out front and there's a smell wafting around. 

“I thought we were going for dinner?” Jeongguk asks as he takes his helmet off. 

“I figured a bar would be fun and you ate anyways,” Seojun killed the engine, taking his helmet off. “Seems silly for you to have two dinners.”

“I don’t know if I really want to be in a bar,” Jeongguk was already apprehensive of being out with Seojun and a bar just made that feeling worse. 

“Oh come on,” Seojun nudged him, offering his hand to Jeongguk who was still seated on the bike. “It’ll be fun. We can have some drinks, dance,” His tone was suggestive and Jeongguk felt his apprehension rise. When Jeongguk didn’t answer Seojun huffed a little. “Please? It’s just for tonight.”

Jeongguk let out a breath and forced a smile on his face. “Okay,” He took Seojun’s hand and let him pull them into the bar.

It wasn’t as nice as he was expecting it to be, seemed a little lower than the standards he held Seojun up too. There were a couple of pool tables to his left and a small dance floor on his right. VLT’s lined the walls with seating areas ahead of them. The bar itself was at the back of the room, with two staff working out front and a couple of waitresses flitting about bringing drinks and food to tables. It was dark and the music was loud but not so much that he was overwhelmed by it.

Seojun drags them back to the bar and orders them both a beer.

“None for me,” He quickly tells the bartender. Seojun gives him a look. “I don’t feel like drinking.”

“Really? Not even one? It’ll loosen you up.”

“Really.”

“Are you sure? We’re at a bar,” Seojun gestured to the surrounding area. “And I’m offering to buy you a drink and you aren’t gonna take it? A little rude don’t you think?” 

Jeongguk bristled, irritation flaring along with a twist in his gut at being berated. “I appreciate the offer, but I really don’t want any alcohol. Not right now at least.”

He wouldn’t want any at all, but at least that seemed to appease Seojun a little. He paid for his beer and they moved to sit in a booth that was tucked near the back corner by the VLTs.

“So how was your dinner?” Seojun asked once they were seated. 

“Fine,” Jeongguk answered distractedly. He found himself scanning the room, feeling on edge. He didn’t like being in bars without one of his hyungs. He trusted them to take care of him. Usually, Seokjin or Hoseok would offer to stay relatively sober to make sure they all get home okay or to avoid someone getting lost. If Jeongguk ever found himself in one without them, he chose not to drink. He felt safe with them. 

“Just fine?” Seojun leaned in a little, placing his hand on Jeongguk’s thigh. Jeongguk was tense and he resisted the urge to push Seoju’s hand off, instead shifted in his seat to try and move away, but Seojun followed.

“It was fun, the same as our usual nights.” Jeongguk noticed that Seojun had already had half his beer. When he leaned in closer, he could smell it on his breath. He wondered if had already had some to drink before he picked Jeongguk up.

“Why are you being so closed off,” Seojun leaned in closer and Jeongguk leaned back. “We’re at a bar and you have a cute guy beside you,” Seojun moves to Jeongguk’s neck, placing an opened mouth kiss there while sliding his hand towards the inseam of Jeongguk’s pants.

Panic spiked through him and he pushed Seojun back a bit. “Please don’t, I don’t want that.”

“Ha, okay, whatever you say babe,” He chuckled but pushed his hand in further up Jeongguk’s pants towards his crotch. Jeongguk jumped a little, pulling Seojun’s hand away and shoving at him.

“I said I didn’t want it.” Jeongguk hissed through his teeth, his heart pounding. Seojun gave him an incredulous look, a scowl creeping on his face. Jeongguk figured some kind of retort was coming but he excused himself to the bathroom before he could hear it.

He pushed his way through the steadily building crowd, throwing ‘ excuse me’ ’s and ‘ sorry’ ’s as he went. He managed to find the bathrooms and locked himself in a stall. His heart was pounding in his chest, anxiety and fear , it was fear he felt. Whether it was of Seojun or just the setting, he wasn’t sure. All he knew was that he wanted to be gone.

He thought about calling someone to come get him, or maybe someone to call and pretend they needed him. Yeah, maybe Seokjin or Namjoon. They’ve all done it in the past, bad date or awkward situation that they needed saving from. He’s saved Jimin and Taehyung from more than their fair share of horrid blind dates.

He opened his phone with the intention of texting Seokjin but he saw a message from Yoongi, telling him to have a good night and that he hopes tomorrow’s talk with clear stuff up and he finds himself messaging him before he can even think about it.

 

       Jeongguk: Can you call me in about 10 minutes?

 

His response was almost instantaneous, and Jeongguk almost cried after getting almost complete radio silence from him all week. 

 

       Yoongi: sure what wrong

       Jeongguk: I just need an excuse to go home.

       Yoongi: are you okay?? Should i come get you?

 

Jeongguk did cry, a couple of tears slipping past. Here Yoongi was again, ready to drop everything for him regardless of what he had done. 

 

       Jeongguk: Im fine. Just need an excuse. 

       Yoongi: ill call in ten

       Yoongi: call if you need anything

 

Jeongguk pocketed his phone and let out a breath. He had to compose himself before he went back out to Seojun. He was scared. He figured Seojun was going to be angry or worse, he would try to touch him again. Jeongguk really just wanted to have Yoongi come get him, but he didn’t want to start anything with Seojun. He doesn’t think Seojun will hurt him, but he still feels wary around him right now.

Jeongguk took another minute before he flushed the toilet and exited the stall. He washed his hands at the sink, wiping at his face and avoiding any gazes of the other patrons in the washroom.

On his way back to the table he Saw seojun before he could see him. He was smiling down at his phone, another beer on the table in front of him. Jeongguk paused a little, watching him as his eyes crinkled at whatever he was reading before tapping at his phone. After a minute he tentatively settled back into the seat beside him.

“Hey,” He addressed Seojun quietly. “Sorry.”

“Hmm?” Seojun looked up from his phone and Jeongguk could see no trace of anger or irritation that was there earlier. “Oh, there you are. Hey, my dad texted me. Turns out I have to go into the office for a bit. Some kind of emergency with a client.” Seojun tucked his phone into his pocket. “Sorry,” He shrugged, looking somewhat apologetic.

“Oh,” Jeongguk hadn’t been expecting that, and he felt relief at the fact that he didn’t have to worry about making an excuse to leave. It overshadowed the doubt he had at Seojun’s reason for leaving. 

“I’ll drop you off at home, yeah?” Seojun offered with a perfect smile, one that seemed too pleased.

“Yeah, thanks,” Jeongguk responded flatly, moving out of the seat and waiting for Seojun to shrug his coat back on. He pulled his phone out while they exited the bar to text Yoongi. Jeongguk could hear thunder rolling by, the ground spotted with rain but it wasn’t currently.

 

       Jeongguk: You don’t have to call anymore

 

Jeongguk saw the typing bubble pop up but they were at Seojun’s bike and Seojun was handing him his helmet. He put his phone in his pocket and accepted the helmet, placing it on his head then jumping onto the bike.

Jeongguk put his arms around Seojun’s waist, holding onto his jacket. He didn’t feel as uneasy this time around, just eager to get home. He felt guilty for how relieved he was that Seojun had to go, that he had to go into work, although he wasn’t sure he believed that. Maybe Seojun felt as awkward as he did after that and found his own excuse to leave. He figured he should be more upset by that but he wasn’t.

The drive back home was over swiftly, but during the clouds had opened and the rain was falling steadily. Jeongguk could feel it soaking his shirt and he was grateful to be home. Jeongguk took his helmet off and handed it to Seojun to tuck it onto the bike. He turned to Seojun who was looking off to the side for a moment. His eyes narrowed before looking back at Jeongguk, then he took his helmet off too.

“I’m going to get a kiss goodbye, aren’t I?” Seojun asked innocently. 

Jeongguk bit the inside of his cheek but leaned into peck Seojun’s cheek. Seojun had other plans though, as he turned and grabbed Jeongguk’s face, dragging their lips together in a somewhat intense kiss. His lips were wet from the rain, tasteless. Jeongguk floundered for a moment, taken by surprise, but pulled back. Seojun let him, giving him a wicked smile before tugging his helmet back on.

“Enjoy the rest of your night, I’ll text you later okay?” Seojun said over the sound of his engine firing up. Jeongguk nodded, waving a weak goodbye as Seojun took off. He let out a breath, tension slowly releasing from him the farther Seojun got. He rubbed his face before turning to head into his apartment building. He dug his keys out but stopped short when he looked up at the building entrance. Standing in the doorway with fury blazing in his eyes, was one Min Yoongi. 

“Yoongi-” Jeongguk barely choked out before Yoongi was storming up to him, looking up to Jeongguk. He may be shorter than him, but his presence was enough to make him cower. His hair was dripping into his eyes, his clothes already soaked. He must have walked here in this.

“Is this why I didn’t need to come to get you? Got your boyfriend to come to your rescue?” Yoongi seethed and Jeongguk could count on his one hand the number of times he had seen Yoongi this angry.

“No, it’s not-” Jeonggulk tried but Yoongi was having nothing of it.

“Not like that? Not like what? That you’ve got a boyfriend that you’ve been hiding? That you even like boys?” Yoongi threw his hand up, gesturing towards where Seojun had exited. “What the fuck, Jeongguk? Is he why you’ve been so distance? Got something better so we can just go fuck ourselves right?”

Jeongguk had fear and panic running through his body but there was a spark of anger there too. “Fuck you, it’s nothing like that. If you would let me explain-”

“Oh, ‘cause you’ve done such a good job at that,” Yoongi snarked. “You know, I had my theories, what after the way you threw me out last week when that sleazeball came strutting in like he owned the place, but I figured you would have better standards than that.” Yoongi laughed humorlessly. “Guess I gave you more credit than I should have.”

“Why do you even care?” Jeongguk burst, his panic coming out in anger, annoyed that Yoongi wasn’t even giving him a chance to talk. “Why do you care who I date?”

“I care when my closest friend didn’t even tell me he was gay, ” Yoongi yelled back, their voices clear over the thundering storm around them. A few pedestrians scurried by, throwing half glances at them but they both ignored it. “That he was seeing someone. Instead, he ignored me, pushed me away, and for what? Some hotshot with a dick?”

“I’m sorry okay?” Jeongguk shook, the yelling affecting him more than he wanted to let on. He felt tears on his face, mixing in with the rain streaming down. He hoped it was enough to hide them. “I fucked up, I get it. But will you just shut up and listen to me? All week I’ve been trying to get you to talk so I could give you exactly what your yelling about.”

“I’m done listening, Guk,” He bit out his name like a curse and it felt like a slap to the face. “Enjoy your time with that guy. He’s obviously more important to you.”

Yoongi turned but Jeongguk grabbed his arm, halting his steps. 

“Let go,” Yoongi hissed. “I don’t want to hear it-”

“I was scared okay?,” Jeongguk blurted. Yoongi froze, eyes widening a fraction and Jeongguk took his chance. “I was scared to tell you, or anyone for that matter. I didn’t know what I was feeling and - and I didn’t -” Jeongguk stuttered to a stop, not sure what to say. The words I love you were on the tip of his tongue, threatening to come forth. 

“I love you all like family,” more than that, “And I didn’t want to lose you.”

Yoongi stepped closer, anger still simmering in his eyes but it had lessened, the fire dimming. “That’s a stupid reason.”

“Is it?” Jeongguk counters. “You don’t know what’s happened in the past.”

“You’re right, I don’t ‘cause you never tell us.” Yoongi’s lip curled a little but his tone wasn’t as biting as it could have been. “I get that we all have our secrets, but damn it, Guk, you have to let us in. Let someone in.” 

Yoongi reached up and put his hand on Jeongguk’s face, holding him. “Please, let me in.”

Jeongguk’s breath hitched. His eyes flitted between Yoongi’s who was searching his just as intensely. They were close, Jeongguk’s own hand coming up grasp at Yoongi’s shirt. He was still crying, breathing heavy. His eyes flicked down to Yoongi’s mouth. His lips looked chapped even in the rain. They shined bright red and Jeongguk wanted to taste them. Wanted to lean in and take take take, something he’s wanted for so long. 

His eyes move back to Yoongi’s who is looking at him, his gaze hard and holding so much emotion but Jeongguk can’t tell what it is, but it causes his breathing to stutter and it holds him, pinned. He watches Yoongi, who has leaned forward just a bit, almost to small an amount to notice if it weren’t for Jeongguk watching him so intensely. Jeongguk forgets about the thunder and rain, forgets the water clogged clothing that is sticking to his skin, the same he is sure for Yoongi, and holds his breath waiting for something - he doesn’t know what. He just knows that the moment they are in is something big and potentially life-altering.

“Yoongi,” Jeongguk breaths and it was the wrong thing to do because the sound of his name seems to snap him out of whatever he had been caught in. He blinks hard, pulling back from Jeongguk and letting his hand fall. Jeongguk feels the air leave him all at once, body sagging and he feels drained.

“Let’s.. let's get out of this rain and.. Talk,” Yoongi says, taking a step back and waiting for Jeongguk.

“Yeah, sure.” His words come out breathy and he averts his eyes as he walks over to the entrance, unlocking the door for the both of them.  The silence between them as they make their way up the stairs is painful. Jeongguk hates it. He wonders how they got to this point, as the enter his apartment, Yoongi taking a tentative seat on the couch, Jeongguk the chair, and they sit in a thick silence. Only a couple weeks ago could they easily sit in silence, just comfortable in each others company.

Jeongguk shifts in the chair and he knows he should speak up - he’s the one that owes Yoongi an apology and explanation, but as usual, Yoongi beats him to it. Always the better man than him. Then he’ll ever be.

“I’m sorry, for freaking out,” Yoongi speaks softly, and Jeongguk can hear the embarrassment in his voice. “It caught me off guard when I saw the two of you.”

“Please don’t,” Jeongguk replied, strained. “God you shouldn’t be apologizing to me, Jeongguk sighed, bringing a hand up to rub his forehead. “I’m - I’m the one who's sorry,” he looked at Yoongi who was watching him with a neutral expression. “For the way I’ve been acting.”

“Just. I don’t understand, Guk. Why did you push me away, lie to me?” Yoongi sounded pained, almost desperate. Jeongguk felt horrible.

“I was scared,” Jeonguk whispered. When it was clear that was all he was going to say more, Yoongi prompted him on. “I was scared that I would lose you.”

“That's stupid,” Yoongi remarks, but it was gentle, not scolding necessarily. It made Jeongguk give a small chuckle.

“I suppose so, but at the time, it was what kept me quiet.” Jeongguk pursed his lips and looked Yoongi steadily in the eyes. “I’m gay, hyung.”

Jeongguk couldn’t describe the amount of relief that flooded him. It’s silly, really, considering Yoongi already saw him with Seojun, but nonetheless, it helps ease some of the tension in his body.

Yoongi is silent at first, eyes roving over his body, face set. Another moment passed before he cracks a small smile, one eyebrow crooked. “You don’t say?”

Jeongguk purses his lips again to bite back a smile.

“You know, I had you pegged about two years ago, so I can’t really say I’m that surprised.”

This has Jeongguk jaw-dropping, eyes open in surprise as he sputters out, “W-what?”

Yoongi leans back in his seat, the uneasy tension leaving the room quickly and replaced with a more familiar atmosphere. “I mean, I wasn’t one hundred percent sure, but really, Guk, the way you got around girls? You aren’t that shy,” Yoongi gives him a pointed look and Jeongguk blushes as he tried to stutter out excuses before giving up and deflating into the chair with a sigh and a giggle.

“Well, I think you’re the only one who picked up on it.”

“That’s because the others are oblivious idiots and I had an edge,” Yoongi replies.

“Oh?” Jeongguk raises his own eyebrow. “What edge is that?”

“I’m pansexual.”

Jeongguk didn’t think he could have been so continually surprised by the man sitting in front of him but here he was, staring wide-eyed at Yoongi (at this point his eyes were just perpetually wide) and silence filled the room again.

“That - so you’re like me?” Jeongguk whispered, a little bit of awe in his voice.

“In the sense that I don’t conform to modern societies views of heterosexuality, yes,” He smiled gently at Jeongguk. “I’m like you.”

Jeongguk knew what pansexual was - it had come up across his searches late at night when he had been desperate to understand what had been wrong with him, and later understand that he was never inherently wrong. He knew it meant that Yoongi essentially didn’t care whether the person he dated was male, female, or otherwise. And a large part of Jeongguk immediately picked up on the fact that that meant Jeongguk was most certainly in that range.

Is it even worth letting my hopes get too high? 

“I never would have guessed that,” Jeongguk replied, trying not to let his thoughts run too wild. “Does anyone else know?”

“I don’t exactly advertise it, and it really doesn’t matter that much seeing as I’ve never been all that interested in dating, to begin with,” Something flashes in Yoongi’s eyes but it’s gone before Jeongguk can even guess what it means. “And Namjoon, Jin, and Hobi all know.”

“They do?” Jeongguk wasn’t too surprised that Namjoon knew - the two of them had been friends since childhood. The others, though.

“Namjoon was the first person I ever told, one of the scariest things I had ever done in my life,” Yoongi smiled wryly. Jeongguk took great comfort in knowing that Yoongi had been in the same place as him before, especially with how comfortable he seemed to be now about it. “The other two found out because I had been seeing a guy when we all started at Doyoon together.” Yoongi’s mouth twitched, a small frown on his face. “He wasn’t the greatest guy, we only lasted maybe a couple of months. But Hoseok and Jin happened to be in at my and Joon’s place for drinks back when we lived together, when he had come storming in, piss drunk, asking me to give him another chance.”

Yoongi chuckled softly. “I had already started thinking up excuses to tell the two of them while trying to get him out when Seokjin put his drink down, picked the guy up and tossed him out in the hallway, then closed the door and sat back down like he hadn’t just deadlifted a full-grown man without breaking a sweat.”

Jeongguk couldn’t help but laugh at that mental image, one he certainly had no issues with creating. “That sounds like something he would do,” Jeongguk remarked.

“Now, maybe, but back then when we first all knew each other, he had been quiet. He was always the mother hen, but he had been a lot more subdued about it. Kind of like you when you first came to the company,” Yoongi smiled at him.

“Really?” Jeongguk scoffed. “Jin-hyung, timid?” 

Yoongi laughed. “I know, hard to imagine right? He used to be shy around people but he came out pretty quick with us and especially with the help of Joon.”

“So what happened after that? Were they both okay with it?”

“After I got over the initial shock, I told them the truth, and that was that,” Yoongi shrugged. “It had taken Hobi a little bit to process it, I think. His family has always been pretty against that stuff, but his sister never was and she kept him from being just like them.”

“Wow,” Jeongguk breathed. “But Tae and Jimin don’t know?”

Yoongi shook his head. “No, and not for any other reason than it just never came up. I’m not ashamed of it or worried about people knowing, but I don’t really care about making sure people do know. You know I’m a fairly private person and there's never really been a reason to say so.” Yoongi shrugged. “They’ll find out eventually I’m sure.”

Jeongguk nodded but said nothing. He got lost in his thoughts, trying to wrap his head around the fact that he wasn’t as alone as he thought he was. Yoongi was like him. He probably had his own realizations and fears, his own moments of coming out to people that he cared about. He wanted to ask about his family, or about his ex, but he didn’t. It wasn’t his business and he knew they were questions he wouldn’t answer himself either.

“Jin-hyung and Jimin both know,” Jeongguk said after a few minutes of silence. He looked up to see if Yoongi was hurt or surprised by this but he merely encouraged him to continue. “I told Jin-hyung a few weeks ago when I went over early after my doctor's appointment. It had kind of just.. Come out. It hadn’t been planned,” Jeongguk breathed slowly. “Jimin saw me while I had been on a date,” He didn’t bother saying with who. “And confronted me about it.” Jeongguk wrapped his arms around himself. “They were both so understanding and accepted it so quickly. I’ve wanted to tell all of you, for so long, but I was scared. So scared of losing the only family I have left.” His eyes started to burn but he ignored it. 

“Why were you so scared, Jeongguk?” Yoongi asked gently, quietly. Like he was worried that if he asked too loudly that Jeongguk would run and close himself back up. “I can understand the fear of coming out and not being accepted, but I know there’s more to it than that.” 

Jeongguk bit his lip, his fingers digging into his arms. He stayed silent.

“Guk, you know I’m not the one to pry. Shit, I usually avoid these kinds of talks at all costs,” Yoongi huffed. “But this is obviously something that is causing all kinds of shit and if you don’t deal with it, then nothing will get better. It doesn’t have to be me either, anyone one of us will listen and support you like we always have.”

Yoongi sounded so earnest, trying to get Jeongguk to listen and open up to him, to them. Jeongguk always wanted to put his past behind him - leave it to gather dust and be forgotten one day. And for the most part, he got by. He got through life, got better with the help of his friends. He had days that were hard and days that were harder. Memories came unbidden in the forms of nightmares and there was always something curled up deep down in the pit of his stomach, holding him back, keeping him from truly being free from it all. 

He had been running from it for so long, the demons of his past. He wasn’t sure if he even could talk about it - he had been silent for so long. But Yoongi was here. Yoongi, who had always been here, no matter what Jeongguk did, how he may have pushed, what he may have said. Yoongi was here, asking Jeongguk to trust him , trust him the way they all trusted him. Trust him the way he has trusted him before. Trust him to love him.

That made something inside him loosen and unfurl, the fear inside him that resided in his soul easing up just enough for him to allow a little bit of courage to seep in, spreading through his body. Jeongguk was good at being a coward - hiding from his friends, his fears, his heart.

He figured now was a good a time as any to be brave for once.

“When I was fifteen I met a guy,” Jeongguk started before he could back out. The room felt cold, memories from so long ago all rushing forth as he spoke. “I had just realized I was different from other guys. I hadn’t wanted to admit it to myself. I tried to force myself to like girls and for a while I had myself fooled. But then I met Insu when I started high school.” 

Jeongguk pursed his lips remembering the boy who had been the start of it all. 

“I don’t know what it was about him, but the first time I saw him, it felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. I remember thinking that I had never seen a more beautiful person in my life.” He remembers his soft, light brown hair that fell in natural waves across his forehead and soft eyes that had met Jeongguk across the cafeteria. Jeongguk had looked away after being caught staring, but when he looked up again, Insu hadn’t moved his eyes from Jeongguk. He gave Jeongguk a small, barely-there smile before he looked away. Jeongguk could remember the way his heart pounded and how confused he felt. It nearly tore him apart every time he would see Insu, trying to ignore his feelings but Insu had had other ideas.

“We were in some classes together, had interacted every now and again, but it wasn’t until near the end of our first year we were made partners for a project. I remember nearly shitting myself when the teacher put our names together,” Jeongguk laughed quietly. “I had been really struggling with what I had been feeling and the last thing I wanted was to be forced into close quarters with him. But, it turned out I wasn’t the only one with confused feelings.

“We had to meet outside of school quite often to work on the project, so we would usually go to each other's houses. We got along really well and I realized I had developed my first crush,” Jeongguk brought his legs up, curling them beneath him. “I was never going to say anything because the idea of that had been horrifying when I hadn’t even accepted my own sexuality yet, but Insu,” Jeongguk paused for a second, taking a breath. 

“One night at his house, we had finished working on school work and were just messing around, watching videos on YouTube. We had been sitting on his bed beside each other and I looked up and found him staring at me and before I could ask him what was wrong, he kissed me.”

Jeongguk almost wanted to laugh at the vaguely surprised look on Yoongi’s face. It was probably the same look he had when Insu had put his lips on him but about ten times worse. He remembered it too well - Insu’s lips against his, how it had hurt a little because he had pushed forward to hard, his lips pursed and against Jeongguk awkwardly, inexperienced. It had been over quickly, Insu pulling back and looking at Jeongguk with a mixture of hope and terror on his face.

“I - I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that. Oh my god,” Insu looked like he was panicking and it prompted Jeongguk out of his stupor.

“No!” He threw his hands out, grabbing onto Insu’s hands, halting his rambling. “I.. I liked it,” Jeongguk stammered out, his face heating up. “Can.. can you do it again?”

Insu looked just as shocked as him, but then he smiled, something sweet and adorable that made Jeongguk’s fifteen-year-old heart flutter and then he was kissing Insu again.

“We didn’t do much - I don’t even think we did more than just small little kisses. But it made my heart race so fast, it felt like I was doing something forbidden, which I guess I kind of was.”

“What happened after that?” Yoongi asked, and by the hesitant tone of voice, Jeongguk could guess Yoongi knew where this was going.

“We didn’t bring it up again for a couple of days. I think we were both too scared to talk about it, admit what we felt, what we were. I was terrified my dad was going to find out. He never agreed with it - made his opinions on gay people very clear from time to time. It wasn’t until almost a week later Insu pulled me aside one day during school and told me that he liked me.”

He followed Insu as he dragged him underneath the bleachers during lunch break.

“What’s going on?” Jeongguk asked, nervous to be alone with Insu.

“I think I like you, Jeongguk.” Insu blurted out. Jeongguk breath hitched, his heart fluttering again.

“I think I like you too,” He told him quietly, a smiling fighting his lips. Insu beamed at him, looking relieved. He stepped up to Jeongguk and Jeongguk closed his eyes as Insu kissed him.

“Hey, what the hell are you doing to him?!”

“He kissed me after that, but we didn’t realize that some of his friends had followed us,” Jeongguk continued, voice dull, remembering the first time his heart started to break.

Insu pushed away from Jeongguk, ripping away like he had been burned. Jeongguk stumbled, looking up to see some of his other classmates standing at the entrance to the bleachers, pointing at him, anger and disgust on his face. “What?”

“Were you two kissing? What, are you some kind of fag?”

“He did it!” Insu shouted. Jeongguk whipped his head over to Insu who was backing away from him towards his friends, leaving him to stand alone. “He asked me to talk about a project then he just forced his lips onto mine!"

Insu was shaking, fear at being caught causing him to do whatever he could to save himself. And in doing that, he destroyed Jeongguk’s life.

“It didn’t take long for it to spread around the school,” spoke to the ground, not meeting Yoongi’s eyes which he was sure were full of pity. “I was ostracized, the few friends I had ditched me and I was ridiculed and harassed every day. I had to hide the bruises and cuts from my family in fear of them finding out and calling the school, but it hadn’t mattered anyway because once a teacher found out what was going on, they were told next,”

“Jeon Jeongguk, get your ass down here right now!” Jeongguk’s father bellowed from downstairs. Jeongguk closed his eyes, trying to control his breathing. He wiped his eyes of the tears that had been non-stop as of late and tried to keep his shaking under control as he walked down the stairs to see his entire family standing in the living room, his father up front, face twisted in fury.

“What’s this I’m hearing from the school that you got caught kissing another boy?”

“It wasn’t-” Jeongguk tried to defend himself but he was cut off.

“That you forced yourself on him?”

“No, he was the one who kissed me!” Jeongguk cried. His mother gasped a little and his father pursed his lips.

“He forced himself on you then?”

Jeongguk could have lied - told them when Insu had told everyone else. But then his father would call the school and then both families would be brought in and it would become a huge mess, one that would cause the same issues for Insu as he had for him. He didn’t want that, for the first boy he ever liked, that seemed to be just like him.

“No, we - we like each other. No one forced anyone, I wanted it to happen” Jeongguk told him, nails digging into his palms. He watched the anger on his father face twist even further into a rage at his admission.

“I won't have some faggot living under my roof!” He roared. “Get out!”

“Dad?” Jeongguk cried, eyes wide and the utter display of fury on his face. He knew his dad didn’t like gay people, but this was more anger coming from his father than he had ever seen. Even his mother and brother flinched. It terrified him.

“I said to leave!” His dad yelled again. “Leave until you learn how to be normal. I don’t want to see your face again until you’ve fixed yourself.” He picked up the t.v. remote and threw it to the ground, shattering it. Jeongguk jumped along with his mother who asked her husband to calm down. His brother hadn’t even looked at him the entire time, just stared at the floor.

“I will not calm down! He is a freak of nature and I want him out of my house!” His father looked back at him and Jeongguk cowered in fear. “Get out now!” He took a step towards Jeongguk and it was all Jeongguk needed to bolt out the door. He barely slipped his shoes on as he ran, the sound of his parents rising voices following behind him.

“After my dad kicked me out, I ran. I ran for hours with no real place in mind. Eventually, I ended up at the train station right as a train headed for Seoul was about to leave and with barely a second thought, I snuck on board and left. I was sixteen then.”

He had run until he couldn’t, tears long gone and dried by the time his legs slowed and he found himself standing on the side of the road, huffing, muscles screaming at him. It was cold, late in November and the sun had set a little while ago. His body was shaking, though that was less from the evening chill and more from everything else.

He kept walking until he ended up at the train station. He went in with the intention of warming up, and he tried to call his home from a payphone, hoping that maybe his father had calmed down or that it was a mistake, that he was sorry and wanted him home. But when he made the call and his mom picked up, she told him that he should stay away.

“Mom?” Jeongguk choked out.

“Jeongguk,” She breathed. “You shouldn’t be calling.”

“But mom,” Jeongguk choked on a sob, his heartbreaking at the less than warm tone of his mother's voice.

“You’re father made it clear that you need to fix yourself before you come home, okay? I’ll try and calm him down but you’ve really disappointed us. I wish things were different, but you know how your father is.” She sounded sad, disappointed. She wanted him to stay away. Fix himself. They thought he was wrong. 

“But what if I can’t?” Jeongguk whispered. 

“Then I’m afraid you won’t be able to come home.” The call ended with a resounding click, and Jeongguk was left clutching at the payphone, the operator telling him to insert more coins if he wanted to make a call.

“I knew I would never be able to change for them, and they made it clear that I wasn’t welcome home as long as I was like this,” Jeongguk whispered. It hurt so badly, reliving it again through his memories. He lost his entire family within one night and had been left alone. 

Jeongguk had started crying at some point through this, tears steadily trailing down his cheeks. He wiped them away then looked up at Yoongi who he had been steadfastly avoiding.

Yoongi was looking at him with so much pain and anger and sorrow in his eyes. All for him, and it made Jeongguk cry even more. Yoongi said nothing, just held his arms open and it was all Jeongguk needed. 

He pushed himself from his chair and threw himself down beside Yoongi, curling his body into him. Yoongi wrapped his arms around his waist, one arm curling up to cradle his head into Yoongi’s neck. Jeongguk was practically sitting on his lap and it couldn’t be comfortable for Yoongi but he held Jeongguk close, rocking him back and forth while he cried.

“I’m sorry, so sorry you had to deal with that, Guk. At such a young age. No one should have,” Yoongi spoke to him in soothing tones. “You didn’t deserve it, any of it. There was never anything about you that needed to be fixed.”

Jeongguk had thought he had come to terms with all of this long ago, but after the words left Yoongi’s mouth something inside him snapped into place and it felt like he could breathe. A weight that had been always sitting there, the feeling that he had been wrong, that he should have tried to change himself for his family that he hadn’t been able to completely dismiss, lifted just a bit more.

Yoongi didn’t say anything else and just held him while Jeongguk cried tears he never thought he’d have to cry again over a family that had abandoned him. Jeongguk was glad that Yoongi didn’t try to fill the silence, tried to cheer him up. He just let Jeongguk get everything he needed out and held onto him as tight as he could. He didn’t say a word until he had levelled out his hitching breaths, his tears stopped. Yoongi wiped his cheeks dry and Jeongguk readjusted himself so he actually was sitting in Yoongi’s lap, his head gently bumping against Yoongi’s.

“Did you ever try contacting them again?”

“I tried calling a few months later,” Jeongguk’s voice was rough and it cracked a bit. “But the line had been disconnected. I even travelled back to Busan, only to find that a different family was living in my childhood home.”

It had been jarring to see a stranger open the door to the house he had grown up in. The young woman who opened the door had a toddler on her hip, looking at him impatiently. After the shock wore off he stuttered a half-assed apology and ran from the step. He never looked back.

Yoongi hugged him tighter, a silent sorry. “What did you do when you got to Seoul? You didn’t join with us until the fall after you turn seventeen so that's, what, ten months you after you got here?”

Jeongguk recalled the gruelling time between when he was kicked out and when he ended up at Doyoon and found his current family. It had been filled with hungry days and sleepless nights, times where he thought his life was over, times where he didn’t see a point. It was filled with a hollow soul and Him. Jeongguk wasn’t ready to relive that.

“Another day, hyung,” Jeongguk mumbled, closing his eyes to fight off the demons, tucking them back in his box for now. Some had broken free tonight, but they didn’t burn him quite the same way now.

“Okay,” Yoongi whispered. “Thank you, for telling me. I know that wasn’t easy. You did good Jeongguk,” Yoongi spoke gently into his ear, voice fond and full of so much love. Jeongguk curled into Yoongi more, snuggling up to him.

“Thank you for always being there hyung, even when I fuck up.” Jeongguk punctuated the sentence with a yawn, exhausted from the evening and the tsunami of emotions that he had been through tonight. He felt warm in Yoongi’s arms. Safe and lighter than he had in a long while.

“We all fuck up when we’re scared. That’s why we have friends and family that are there to catch us when we fall,” Yoongi replied but his voice was getting distant as sleep slowly started to descend on Jeongguk.

“Hmm,” Jeongguk hummed. “I’m glad I have you, Yoongi-hyung. You always seem to catch me when I fall.”

Yoongi chuckled. “You do the same for me, bun.” Yoongi brought a hand up to Jeongguk’s head, playing with his hair, running his fingers through it. “Why don’t you go to bed?”

But the request fell on deaf ears as Jeongguk had already drifted off, light snores coming from the sleeping boy. Yoongi smiled sadly at him, a little broken-hearted at the pain he had suffered through and wishing he could take it all away. Using all the strength he could muster, he carried Jeongguk to his bed, cursing his weight and size the entire way there. He tucked him into bed and leaned down to place a kiss on his forehead. He lingered there for a moment longer than he needed before pulling away. He left a note for Jeongguk, telling him to call him in the morning and that he loved him. He gave him one last lingering look filled with so much that he couldn’t say before leaving Jeongguk to sleep what he hoped was a dreamless sleep. His demons had terrorized him enough.

Chapter Text

“Hey Jimin, can we talk?”

Jimin lowered the water bottle he had been sipping from, breaths laboured from dance practice. “Yeah, of course.”

“Can we go to that cafe again?” Jeongguk asked hesitantly. 

Jimin eyed him, giving him a small smile. “Yeah, sure.” 

They packed up their stuff and said goodbye to Hoseok who was talking with the instructors, going over some minor choreography changes. Jeongguk kept a tight grip on his bag to try and avoid fidgeting with his hands. He was nervous, and the nerves kept amping up as they got closer and closer to the cafe. Jimin gave him a sidelong glance, moving his bag to his other arm before casually bumping their arms together, letting his pinky curl around Jeongguk’s own. 

Jeongguk’s lips twitched into a soft smile, curling his own hand. His anxiety eased just a little.

They got into the cafe, ordering a drink each for themselves then settling back into the same seat they had last time, Jeongguk placing his phone on the table beside him. Jimin leaned back in his chair, watching Jeongguk. Waiting. Jeongguk swallowed hard.

“Yoongi-hyung found out about me,” He started, eyes flicking up to Jimin then away. Jimin’s eyebrows rose, but other than that, he said nothing. “He saw Seojun and me outside my apartment. We had an... Argument. Which we resolved, and we talked. But yeah, he knows now.”

“How do you feel about that?” Jimin asked, sipping on his coffee.

“Relieved? Happy that he knows now,” Jeongguk hesitated. “It had been... Strained between us for a bit,” Jimin cut him off with a snort.

“No shit. Neither of you was overly subtle.” Jeongguk cringed and Jimin softened a bit. “You two seemed better this week though.”

Jeongguk nodded. It had been. All cold shoulders and uneasy tension had all but disappeared, thanks to the talks they had had this weekend.

After Jeongguk had woken up Saturday morning, he had been worried about where he stood with Yoongi after revealing so much about himself. He was scared that Yoongi would run from that. But then he saw the note next to his bed and he felt his worries vanish, replaced by warmth and love. He called Yoongi, the two of them talking about the night before, Yoongi assuring Jeongguk that it was okay that he told him, that he was still his friend, that he still loved him the same. Jeongguk felt so relieved to hear that.

Eventually, Yoongi had shifted the conversation to him and Seojun.

“How long have you two been dating?” Yoongi’s voice crackled across the phone.

“Uhm, a few weeks? Not very long,” Jeongguk replied, a little uncomfortable to be having this conversation with Yoongi.

“You like him?”

Jeongguk couldn’t tell by Yoongi’s voice what answer he was looking for, but he could take a guess that he wasn’t a fan, given the way Yoongi had reacted to Seojun last time.

“I guess,” Jeongguk answered because at this point he wasn’t even sure if that was true. He had really liked Seojun at first, but now he felt uncomfortable when he was with Seojun. Even texting him made him uneasy, the forceful way Seojun would message him, constantly demanding his attention. After the bar, it was obvious what he expected from Jeongguk and he was in no way ready or even wanted to give that to him.

Yoongi, as usual, can read him perfectly even over the phone. “That sounded convincing.”

“Can we not talk about this right now?” Jeongguk asked, a bit of a whine to his voice. 

“I just want to make sure he's not pressuring you into dating him or anything. He seems like a dick and not your type at all.”

“What exactly is my type, hyung?”

“Uh, I mean,” Yoongi stuttered. “He just seems like a playboy. I didn’t like the way he talked to you and me the other day. And your text last night - was that about him?”

“Please, can we just - not? Not today.” 

Yoongi must have heard the desperation in his voice. He sighed, “Okay, for now.”

“Thank you,”

They spent the rest of the day talking on the phone, Yoongi asking some more questions about his childhood - safe ones like what school he went to, his favourite subjects, the places he would play as a kid to get away from the world. Jeongguk, in turn, asked his own questions. About Yoongi’s sexuality, how he knew, how he dealt with it. He asked about his past relationships, but the conversation didn’t go far, Yoongi not too eager to share and Jeongguk respected that. He understood.

After they said their goodbyes and hung up, Jeongguk was left with the fact that Yoongi wasn’t straight like he always assumed, and that in turn meant that he had a chance. As small of a one as it is. 

And that was the reason he was here with Jimin, facing the fact that he was still head over heels for Yoongi, his crush taken to new heights with the new hope he found himself feeling, but he also was dating Seojun who he honestly had no idea what to do about.

“Things are okay now with hyung and me,” Jeongguk told Jimin. Then he stopped, having no idea how to continue this conversation.

“So,” Jimin prompted after a minute of silence. “Everything is good then?”

“Uhm,” Jeongguk readjusted himself in his seat, pursing his lips and biting the inside of his cheek. “So, I wanted to talk cause-” He stopped again. He let out a breath then took another. He fortified himself and then just blurted it out. “I like Yoongi.”

There was a moment of silence, Jeongguk waiting for Jimin’s response. He was expecting surprise, or maybe disgust at him liking someone who had basically been a brother to him for years, or maybe he didn’t want to talk about it at all. 

What he got instead was - “Again, no shit.”

Jeongguk really didn’t think his friends could still knock him on his ass, but here he was again, confused by the genuine indifference. “Come again?”

“Jeonggukkie, I love you, the baby brother I have adopted and helped to raise into the biggest shit I possibly could, but you are not subtle, like, at all,” Jimin chuckled at him, leaning forward on his elbows. “After I guessed you were less than straight, my next realization was this not so little crush you have on Yoongi. You practically make heart eyes at him every other day.”

Jeongguk gaped at him.

“I mean, the others probably still assume it's just hero worship but as we have already discerned, I’m much smarter than the others.”

“Why do I bother even talking to you,” Jeongguk grumped, crossing his arms. What was the point of making all this effort over confessing things when people already seemed to know? 

Jimin laughed at him, cooing. “Awh, don’t be like that. I’m not trying to make fun,” Jimin assured. “So you like hyung, have you told him?”

“What? No, of course not,” Jeongguk spat. “It’s not like he would like me back anyways.”

“Why not?” 

Jeongguk bit his tongue. He knew Yoongi didn’t care who knew about his sexuality, but it didn’t feel right to tell Jimin. Yoongi should be the one to. He had originally wanted to talk to Seokjin about this since he already knew, but he felt like he bothered Seokjin too much already and plus he knew Seokjin would talk about this more from a parental point of view rather than a friend, and that’s what he needed. 

Jimin had always been a good friend to talk to about anything - he was the perfect balance of blunt truth and sugar-coated reassurances. Which was exactly what he needed.

“He sees me like a little brother who’s followed him around for years. And who says he even like guys?”

“I’m almost positive hyung likes dude,” Jimin countered.

“What? Why?”

“I snuck onto his phone once cause I wanted to fuck with him by changing the language on it to Spanish, and I found gay porn in his history bar.”

Jeongguk choked. He really didn’t need to know that Yoongi had gay porn saved on his phone. He was already having a hard enough time keeping it cool around him these last few days.

“So, I’m just guessing he’s not straight. Either that or he’s just really kinky,” Jimin continued like he hadn’t just rocked Jeongguk’s entire world view of Yoongi. Shit, he was going to be thinking about that later.

“Anyways,” Jeongguk needed to change the subject and get back to the issue at hand. “I like Yoongi. He will probably never like me,” Jimin went to protest but he continued on. “But then there’s Seojun.”

“Oh, yeah,” Jimin breathed. “How has that been?”

Jeongguk bit his lip. “I don’t know,” He replied honestly. 

“You don’t know?” Jimin raised an eyebrow.

“It was really fun in the beginning,” Jeongguk started, unease curling in his gut. “I was still trying to get over the fact that someone even liked me, let alone a guy and one like Seojun. He was sweet and smooth as fuck, and the first couple dates went well but after the robbery when Yoongi had stayed the night Seojun showed up and things got bad,” Jeongguk finished grimly.

“Bad how?”

“Seojun guessed that I liked Yoongi,” Looking back Jeongguk guessed he was pretty obvious if both Jimin and Seojun had picked it out. “And I could tell he didn’t like it. And then he came over and Yoongi was there, and well,” Jeongguk shrugged helplessly. “You can guess he didn’t like that. The two of them argued and I kicked Yoongi out.” Jeongguk watched Jimin’s face morph into surprise.

“Why would you kick hyung out?”

“Because of how much I like him,” Jeongguk averted his eyes, ashamed. “I tried to distance myself from him a bit while I dated Seojun ‘cause it wasn’t fair for me to try and possibly pursue something with him while I was pinning after Yoongi. And then they were both arguing and telling the other to leave and I just kind of panicked.

“I wanted Yoongi so much and it scared me ‘cause I know I could never have that. And Seojun was there and it just seemed like it was the right thing to do at the time.”

“Guk,” Jimin’s tone had a hint of disappointment in it and Jeongguk cringed.

“I know, I know, it was stupid of me to do. I regret it. I know how much I hurt Yoongi.”

Jimin sighed. “Yeah, that wasn’t the smartest thing you’ve ever done, but I can understand why you felt it was the right thing to do.” Jimin gave him a small smile of comfort. “Between you and Yoongi-hyungs communication skills, I’m amazed the two of you can work anything out ever .” 

Jeongguk gave a small laugh at that. He wasn’t wrong.

“So Seojun? You said things had started out good,” Jimin prompted.

“It did, but after that argument, I don't know. Something changed. He left soon after Yoongi had the day after the robbery-”

“Wait, he just left you alone?” Jimin exclaimed. “After you were attacked and injured he just left you on your own?”

“He had to go to work,” Jeongguk weakly defended but even he felt the same as Jimin after he had had more time to think about it. Jeongguk had been a mess and it hadn’t seemed like Seojun had had much trouble leaving him there.

“Stupid excuse,” Jimin mumbled.

“He started acting more aggressive and possessive? He came to work the other day as you saw and really pushed to go out that night. I hadn’t really wanted to, but he guilted me into it. He took me to a bar and he tried to like, make a move,” Jeongguk made a gesture towards himself, not sure how to phrase it. Nothing really happened, but Jeongguk could remember how panicked he felt in that moment when Seojun had touched him. It almost made him shiver to remember it. 

Jimin leaned forwards, expression intense and serious. “Did he touch you?”

“Nothing happened,” Jeongguk assured. “He, uh, he put his hand on my thigh and kissed my neck but I pushed him off and went to the bathroom. When I came back I said I had to go and he said work called him in anyways so he drove me home.”

He watched Jimin grind his teeth. “Did you tell him not to?”

Jeongguk scratched the back of his neck, uncomfortable with the intensity of Jimin's gaze. “I mean, I did yeah. I think he just thought I was playing hard to get or something.” Even as the words left his mouth he knew how ridiculous he sounded.

“If you tell someone no, it means no Jeonggukkie,” Jimin pressed, forcing Jeongguk to look him in the eye. “No excuse. Don’t play it off as anything else, you hear me?”

Jeongguk just nodded, and he suddenly felt the urge to cry. It was like he was realizing all the things Seojun had done that were not okay. He didn’t understand why it took Jimin telling him for him to realize it. He just figured it was normal or that he was reading too much into it. It’s hardly the worst thing that people have gone through. But Jimin was so serious and Jeongguk knew he wasn’t one to overreact about anything.

“I don’t know what to do. Part of me does kind of like him still - the first couple weeks were really fun. And maybe he was having a bad night and I wasn’t exactly in the greatest mood,” Jeongguk shrugged, trying to make excuses. He didn’t understand how he felt.

“Not really an excuse for shitty behaviour,” Jimin replied. “What are you going to do about it?”

“I don’t know. Should I give it another chance?” 

Jimin sighed. “You’re the one who has to decide what you want to do about Seojun, but in my opinion, he seems like a jerk and I don’t think he’s worth the time. Showing possessiveness that early? Not to mention the obvious issue with a little thing called consent,” Jimin curled his lip. “You can do a lot better.”

Jeongguk bit the inside of his cheek and nodded. Jimin eyed him before adding casually, “Like say, Yoongi,” 

Hyung,” Jeongguk whined and Jimin snickered. “Stop it, that’s not happening.”

“You don’t know that. As obvious as you are with your crush, Yoongi has shown some hints here and there too.”

“You’re ridiculous,” Jeongguk argued, not wanting to even entertain the idea of Yoongi liking him back.

Jimin put his hands up in surrender. “Alright, but seriously. I don’t think Seojun is right for you. And with your feelings for Yoongi, trying to date this guy while you’re figuring all this crap out? Probably not the best course of action.”

Jimin certainly had a point. A lot of points actually, and Jeongguk knew he should end things with Seojun. But the idea of that conversation made him want to curl up and die. He knows it won't be an easy conversation at all and it practically made him nauseous thinking about it. 

As if the Gods were listening and truly wanted to punish Jeongguk, his phone buzzed beside him, Moon Seojun popping up on the caller ID. Jimin made a surprised noise that Jeongguk ignored in favour of answering the phone with a hesitant “Hello?”

“Jeongguk! Hey, are you busy right now?” Seojun chirped through the phone.

“Uhm, I’m with my friend Jimin right now. We went and grabbed a snack after dance practice,” Jeongguk replied, nervous. He shouldn’t feel so nervous just telling him what he was doing.

“Ah, darn. I wanted to see you. Are you free tomorrow night? Maybe you can come over to my place,” His tone was suggestive and Jeongguk looked up at Jimin for help but Jimin was looking intensely as his own phone. 

“Um, I think, maybe. Can I let you know?” Jeongguk deflected. He didn’t want to give an answer right now. 

“Do you have plans already?”

“Uh, Jin-hyung asked me over for dinner but I can see about changing it to another night,” The lie came out weakly and he hoped Seojun believed it.

“Ah, well, let me know. Don’t keep me waiting,” His voice dropped into a low tenor as he spoke, something probably meant as seductive but sounded almost dangerous. “Bye-bye.”

Jeongguk ended the call, letting out a shaky breath. He looked up to say something to Jimin but then a phone was shoved in his face, a picture of Seojun on it.

“Is this the Seojun you are seeing?” Jimin asked, shaking his phone a bit. Jeongguk grabbed the phone, giving Jimin a look before looking at the phone more closely. 

It was open to a Naver page with an image of Seojun who looks to be trying - and failing - to block the photo being taken. The page was some kind of article talking about various scandals he had been involved in.

“Yeah,” Jeongguk’s brows furrowed in confusion. “That’s him,” Jeongguk handed back the phone to Jimin.

“Shit man, you’re dating that Seojun?”

“What does that even mean? Who is he?” Jeongguk asked, confused.

“He’s the grandson of like, the biggest developer in Seoul. I’m pretty sure half the property in the city is owned by them. Doyoon is one of the companies that works for them. The building we are working on right now is for them.” Jimin explained. 

Jeongguk’s eyes widened. “Wait, like Gyeong Dev ? That company?” 

“Yeah, that's the one,” Jimin confirmed. “Seojun is supposed to take over the company when his granddad steps down, but from the tabloids I’ve read, he’s not exactly the business elite. All sorts of scandals that he’s been involved with that his dad - who works in the company - and the company have kept fairly quiet due to their influence, but the guy is a huge player and class A douche is the tabloids are anything to go by.”

Jeongguk leaned back, processing. Seojun had said his dad was with some kind of conglomerate company - that he worked under him. He said Doyoon worked with them, not for him. Or rather, for his grandfather. He supposes that his dad may indeed work as a Regional VP, but he still didn’t tell him the truth about his place in the company. 

And the other day, when he came by his work. He said he had just wandered by the area, but if he’s going to take over the company that owns his, then it makes sense that he would know exactly what building was being done under Doyoon.

“Holy shit,” Jeongguk breathed.

“He didn’t tell you?” 

“No, I had no idea.” Jeongguk pursed his lips. It seemed there was a lot more to Seojun than he had ever expected. All this new information was overwhelming and Jeongguk felt like the world's biggest idiot.

“So basically I got duped real fucking hard by this guy,” Jeongguk chuckled but it was without humour. He had been tricked - lulled into a false sense of security. Again he was tricked by kind words and fake smiles. And he fell for it, like an idiot. Jimin’s face fell at the tone of Jeongguk’s voice, concern flooding it.

“Jeongguk,” He started but Jeongguk waved him off.

“It’s fine,” Jeongguk gave him a weak smile. “At least now I know what I’m going to do right? This all made it a lot easier if anything.” Jeongguk checked the time on his phone. It was just after nine. “In fact, I think I’ll go talk to him now.” Jeongguk stood up from the table.

“Woah,” Jimin grabbed at his sleeve stopping Jeongguk. “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

“You’re the one who said I should end it. Sooner than later, right?”

“Yeah, but maybe when you’re a little calmer. I can see how agitated you are,” Jimin’s eyes flicked over Jeongguk’s body taking in his clenched fists and locked jaw.

“I’m fine Jimin, I want to do this now,” Jeongguk huffed a short laugh. “Probably the only time I’ll have the confidence to do so.” 

“Guk,” Jimin warned but Jeongguk shook him off. 

“Seriously, I’m good. I’ll see you at work tomorrow, okay?” Jeongguk was already halfway to the exit, barely giving Jimin a chance to respond. Jimin quickly gathered his stuff and followed after him.

“Just, call me tonight? After. Let me know how it goes?” Jimin asked when they walked outside, worry colouring his tone. Jeongguk nodded, giving him a small smile before waving goodbye and turning the other way.



Jeongguk spent the entire trek home stewing and building himself up for the impending confrontation. He almost backed out a few times but he knew he needed to deal with this. Knowing that Seojun had been dragging him around like he was some kind of toy - lying to him and dancing around different subjects. Treating him like he was his. Jeongguk was angry. He was hurt, and sad, but he was also angry too. And he was doing his best to fuel that the most because it was easier to deal with than the ever-mounting anxiety the closer he got to home.

Jeongguk almost wanted to barge in demanding answers, or better just end it and walk out. All kinds of scenarios had played out in his head, some having satisfying endings while others depicted worst-case scenarios. But he couldn’t just go in and lose his shit. He still lived in the same building and would have to see him - something he was trying very hard not to think about as it was a good enough reason for him to not do this. He needed to handle this with some class.

It hurt a lot to know that this wasn’t as serious for Seojun as it was for him. Seojun had probably just thought he looked like an easy target and jumped at the chance. He wooed him easily because he was pathetic and fell for it all. It furthered his anger and his self-pity.

He got to his building and made his way up to the ninth floor. He knew his apartment number from previous texting conversations and once he was on the floor he walked up to apartment 904 and rapped on the door.

He held his breath as the door opened, Seojun standing there in slacks and no shirt.

“Jeongguk!” Seojun looked surprised for a moment before it morphed into an easy calm. “Hey, I thought you were with your friend?” 

“Can we talk?” Jeongguk asked, his voice struggling to stay level. All his gusto had basically vanished as soon a Seojun was in front of him and he was confronted with it. He couldn’t help but quickly appraise Seojun’s bare chest, something Seojun noticed and his smile widened.

“Of course, come on in baby.” Seojun stood aside and Jeongguk hesitated for a moment before stepping in. Seojun went to put his hand on Jeongguk’s waist but Jeongguk stepped away, further into the apartment.

He had yet to be in Seojun’s place - it was very much what he would describe as a bachelor pad. The layout was the same as his own, but the ceilings were taller and the rooms a little bigger being a penthouse along with an extra bedroom (he knew from floor plans posted on the different levels). The walls were a sort of burnt umber with one being a cream colour. All the furniture was expensive looking and modern, set up to make the room look very open and spacious. The kitchen countertops had been replaced with the standard granite of the building with marble tops. The place screamed money.

Jeongguk turned to look at Seojun who closed the door, leaning back on it. He looked at Jeongguk, a smile playing at his lips. “So, what do you want to talk about?”

“Why didn’t you tell me your company was Gyeong Dev?” Jeongguk asked, straight to the point.

He expected Seojun to look surprised or even worried that Jeongguk had found out about it. He didn’t expect for Seojun to laugh, for his head to tip forward and for him to say, “Ah, you figured that out, eh?”  

Seojun sighed, stepping away from the door and to Jeongguk. Jeongguk looked up into his eyes, the narrow slant of them he at first had found alluring but now they looked cruel. “Are you upset about that?”

Jeongguk sputtered. “Of course I am! You lied to me about that, how you knew where I worked.” Jeongguk took a step back and Seojun followed. He felt it get hard to breathe. 

“I didn’t lie, I just omitted some stuff,” Seojun shrugged. “Does it really matter? I didn’t want to make a big deal about my granddad and his company. It’s annoying when people know just how well off I am. The only reason I live in this shit hole is my dad's way of teaching me a lesson in respect,” Seojun scowled. 

“Too many scandals?” Jeongguk shot. Seojun laughed.

“Ha, nice to see some of that fire in you from the other day with that runt of a friend you have.”

Jeongguk’s anger flared at the callous way Seojun talked about Yoongi. “ Yoongi is a wonderful person. Better than you are. He treats me with respect, unlike you have.” Jeongguk went to push past Seojun but he grabbed Jeongguk’s arm and pulled him back.

“Excuse me?” Seojun’s eyes flashed, something dark and angry. “What is all that shit about? I’ve treated you just fine! I’ve taken you out to nice places, dotted on you. What more do you want?”

Jeongguk wriggled out of his grip, standing his ground in front of Seojun. “You’ve dissed my friends, lied to me, and you treat me like I belong to you. I don’t.” Jeongguk took a breath, trying not to get too worked up. “I came here to tell you whatever we had going is over now. It was fun, but I’m not ready to date right now.” Jeongguk held his breath, waiting for whatever Seojun was going to say next. He watched as Seojun frowned, not looking pleased at all.

“You’re dumping me?” He practically shrieked, incredulity in his voice and expression. “No, no, no, you don’t get to dump me,” Seojun snapped, grabbing Jeongguk’s shoulders, grip tight. 

Warning bells started to go off in Jeongguk’s head and he tried to get out of Seojun’s grip but he didn’t have any intentions of letting go.

“I’ve spent money on you, acted like this awkward innocent act was actually cute rather than tedious as fuck, and you’re going to just fuck off without giving me anything in return? Oh, I don’t think so.”

Seojun moved them backwards until Jeongguk’s back hit the wall. His breath hitched, his bag falling off his shoulder. Fear spiked in his mind. He froze, his body not reacting in a state of panic as Seojun brought his lips down on his, pulling him into a bruising kiss. 

Jeongguk didn’t respond at all, not until he felt Seojun’s hands move down his body and slip under his shirt did his body move.

He brought his arms up to push against Seojun’s chest, his yells muffled by Seojun’s mouth on his. But Seojun was stronger than him and his hands caught his arms, pushing them against the wall. His hands felt cold and hard against his wrists where he held. It made his skin crawl, burning where he touched him. He moved his mouth down Jeongguk’s jaw and neck, biting as he went. 

Tears stung Jeongguk’s eyes, panic raging through his body through ragged breaths and hitched breathing. “ Stop,” He yelled, struggling as hard as he could. He threw his body around, trying to get Seojun’s mouth off his body. 

Seojun pulled back and released one of his arms to smack him across the face. Jeongguk’s head jerked before being pulled back harshly by his jaw to look at Seojun.

“I’m taking what I’m deserved,” He growled. He moved Jeongguk to the couch, pushing him down before climbing on top of him. He pinned his body down, mouth going back to his and his hands on Jeongguk’s chest.

Jeongguk wanted to scream or cry but he couldn’t make a sound with Seojun’s body pressed down on him. He felt like his lungs were being filled with water, like he was drowning. They burned with the need to scream for help, to scream to stop. 

He couldn’t believe what was happening, and his mind flashed back to another time, another set of hands touching him and the way he fought against them as hard as he could. Fists on flesh and running, running for his life. It reminded him of that moment so much, the fear and weakness he felt then. Something he vowed not to let happen to himself again. 

He felt Seojun’s hand travel farther down and cup him roughly and he snapped. He wasn’t going to be weak this time.

Seojun stuck his tongue down Jeongguk’s throat and Jeongguk bit down hard. Seojun howled, pulling back and gave Jeongguk the chance to bring a leg between them and kick at Seojun’s chest. 

Seojun tumbled over onto the ground with a groan and Jeongguk scrambled off the couch and bolted for the door. Seojun reached up as he went, grabbing onto his shirt. Jeongguk jerked away, resulting in his shirt ripping, Seojun taking a chunk of the fabric. The force left him falling back to the ground and Jeongguk ran to the door.

He grabbed the handle but it wouldn’t open. He cursed, realizing Seojun must have locked it when he was leaning against the door earlier. He unlocked the handle and the deadbolt with jerky movements, aware that Seojun was getting to his feet and about to grab at him again. 

Jeongguk cried out when he got the door opened, throwing it open and bolting out the door. He could hear Seojun yelling after him, cursing his name but he ignored it, throwing open the next door to the stairwell and hauling his ass down the steps. He ran all the way down and out the door, barely missing other tenants on his panicked rush out of the lobby and onto the sidewalk. 

He didn’t check to see if Seojun was still following him - he just ran. His feet slapped on the pavement, the resulting stomp sending jolts through his body but he ignored it. He just needed to getaway. Get somewhere safe. His cheek stung and he could feel tears running down his face. He was probably a sight to see - shirt ripped, crying, as he ran at full tilt down the sidewalk, weaving through other pedestrians. 

Jeongguk didn’t realize where he was going until he found himself outside Yoongi’s apartment.

There was no hesitation, no second-guessing. He pushed his way through the front entrance and made his way up the stairs to Yoongi’s floor, running the entire way. He didn’t stop until he was banging on Yoongi’s door, yelling out for him and praying to anyone that would listen that he would open the door, please, God, open the door right now-

He staggered forwards when the door suddenly opened, revealing a startled and confused Yoongi who caught him as he pitched forward.

“Woah, what the - Jeongguk?? What the hell,” Yoongi yelped, just managing to keep Jeongguk from falling onto his face. His hands were on Jeongguk’s arms, a direct parallel to Seojun’s except completely different. These hands made him feel safe, not trapped and scared. He helped Jeongguk balance himself so he was standing in front of Yoongi, heaving in exertion.

Hyung, ” Jeongguk gasped.

Yoongi looked him over, his eyes latching onto his neck and he saw the rage cloud over his face.

“Jeongguk, what happened?” He demanded and Jeongguk tried to respond, he did, but everything just crashed down on him and he felt his knees give, buckling forwards once again. And again, always, Yoongi caught him.

“Woah, hey,” Yoongi slipped Jeongguk’s arm over his shoulder and helped him over to the couch. Jeongguk felt the first sob bubble over and then the next followed right after until he was shaking uncontrollably. 

Yoongi sat them down on the couch and Jeongguk immediately curled into Yoongi, taking shelter from the world around him that seemed to constantly throw him into these horrid situations, testing him again and again and again. He was so tired of it, of falling for this shit, of being weak. He felt so weak, fear still running rampant through him. He could feel the ghost of Seojun’s hands on him, the bruising grip and sickening feeling of his lips on his skin. He curled up more into Yoongi, trying to hide. He felt disgusting.

“Jeongguk, baby,” Yoongi whispered after a few minutes of Jeongguk crying into his chest. “I need you to tell me what happened.” Yoongi carefully turned Jeongguk’s face so he was looking at him. He cupped his cheek so gently, thumb rubbing over his jaw where Seojun had kissed and bit, soothing the pain.

Jeongguk hiccuped, but he tried to hold back his sobs enough to answer him. “S-Seojun, I went to - went to end it, and he. He tried to force,” Jeongguk choked, realizing the gravity of what happened. What Seojun tried to do. If he hadn’t been able to get away, hadn’t been strong enough... He didn’t even want to think about it.

Yoongi turned his face away and cursed softly. He closed his eyes, breathing deeply before turning back to Jeongguk with a soft expression. “Can you tell me everything? From the start.”

Jeongguk nodded, sitting up a bit more and taking a minute to let his sobs subside, then he told Yoongi everything. How Jimin and he figured out exactly who Seojun was, how he lied and deceived him, to him storming over to Seojun’s to end it, to Seojun not taking no and trying to take what he felt was his.

“He said,” Jeongguk explained on a wobbly breath. “That he was ‘taking what he was deserved’.” He was hugging his knees to his chest, looking down as he spoke. Yoongi sat beside him, a hand on his knee. Jeongguk had slowly pulled away, feeling too crowded. 

“That bastard,” Yoongi sneered, his eyes shining with rage, so much so it almost scared Jeongguk. He didn’t want anger, he wanted safety, comfort. He let out a quiet whine, one that Yoongi heard and he watched the anger dissipate, replaced with concern and pity. 

“I managed to kick him off me and I ran all the way here.” Jeongguk shrugged as if it was no big deal. Which of course, was not true in the slightest. But now that he had calmed down he felt a degree of embarrassment. How many times had he lost it in front of Yoongi in the past week alone? He felt like a child constantly needing to be consoled and comforted. Pathetic. Especially with the pity in Yoongi’s eyes.

“I’ll kill him,” Yoongi’s words were curt, decisive, and Jeongguk believed him.

“I think that would only cause more problems, hyung,” Jeongguk replied dryly, tear tracks having dried on his face. His nose was stuffed and his head felt like it was full of cotton. He ran a shaky hand through his hair. “Do you think I could stay here for tonight? I don’t really want to stay the night in my apartment in case..” He trailed off, letting the words hang in the air. 

In case he comes back.

Yoongi snorted. “You’re staying here until we get some kind of restraining order on him.”

Jeongguk’s eyes widened comically. “Restraining order? Isn’t that a little drastic?”

Yoongi looked at him disbelieving like he didn’t really believe what he just said. “Little drastic- Guk, this guy attacked you. He tried to force himself-” Yoongi paused, taking a stabilizing breath. Jeongguk noticed a slight tremor in his body. He looked back at him. “He’s dangerous, and he obviously seems to think he can take what he wants. A restraining order is the least we should be doing.”

Jeongguk shifted on the couch, hugging his knees closer. “I don’t know if we can,” He murmured.

“And why is that?” Yoongi’s lip curled.

“I told you who Seojun is, his status. From the little bits I read from the tabloid Jimin showed me, I don’t think a restraining order is going to do much if it even goes through. Not to mention,” Jeongguk’s throat tightened on him. “What judge is going to even look at my case when I tell them I need a restraining order on a guy I dated?”

That gave Yoongi pause, and it was enough to leave Jeongguk feeling hopeless. Even if they could manage to get a restraining order on a guy like Moon Seojun, the fact that it was because they had been dating, two guys dating, Jeongguk didn’t think it would go too far. He couldn’t even imagine the idea of having to admit in front of a court and judge that he was gay. Not a fucking chance.

“Well we have to do something,” Yoongi stood up, pacing in front of Jeongguk. “He’s not getting away with this.”

Jeongguk gave a weary smile. Yoongi’s defiance gave him some comfort, as futile as it was. He knew he would be safe with Yoongi nearby.

Yoongi ran a hand through his hair, pulling slightly. Jeongguk watched him, the tenseness of his posture, how he was wearing a hole in the floor with his pacing. He kept muttering to himself, most likely trying to figure out a way to get away with Seojun’s murder. It was exhausting to watch.

“Hyung,” Jeongguk called. Yoongi snapped his attention to Jeongguk. “Can we just leave it for now? There’s nothing we can do right now.”

Yoongi looked like he wanted to protest, but Jeongguk looked at him pleadingly. He just wanted to go to bed and sleep away this night. 

Yoongi’s shoulders dropped and he gave Jeongguk a sad smile. “Fine, I’ll leave it for tonight. But we are dealing with this.” 

Jeongguk gave a sigh of relief and Yoongi offered to make him some food. Jeongguk didn’t have much of an appetite, but he shyly asked if Yoongi would make him some hot cocoa. So the two of them sat back on his couch, sipping at the hot drink.

At some point, Jeongguk went to the bathroom. He went to wash his hands then stopped short, eyes locked onto the mirror, or more specifically, his reflection in the mirror.

His eyes were rimmed and puffy - something that had become more commonplace than he wanted - and there were the beginnings of dark rings under his eyes. He was still wearing the ripped shirt, some of his stomach exposed. His face was red from where Seojun had hit him, just starting to bruise. But what really had him frozen at that moment was his neck.

It was covered with bruises. The bottom left of his jaw down the side of his neck to his collar bone was a mix of red and purple. There were bite marks on the crook of his neck. He brought his hand up to touch at it, remembering the feeling of Seojun’s teeth sinking in there.

Jeongguk ripped his hand away like he had been burned and took a long breath. He felt like crying again. It looked horrible, and Yoongi had been looking at it the whole time. No wonder he looked so furious when he had first got there. He had noticed him taking quick glances at it all night. He didn’t blame him, he looked like someone had taken a brush and painted across his neck. It almost didn’t look real on his skin.

He tore his eyes away, washing his hands and exiting the bathroom and asked Yoongi for a hoodie.

As he was putting it on, he stopped and groaned. 

“What?” Yoongi asked as he pulled the rest of his sweater on.

“I don’t have any of my work stuff here. It’s still at my apartment,” Jeongguk replied, anxiety creeping back up.

Yoongi scoffed. “You shouldn’t even go to work tomorrow.”

“I’ve missed enough work as it is. I’m going,” Jeongguk spoke with finality. He wasn’t budging on that. Yoongi rolled his eyes but didn’t argue.

“Fine. We can grab your stuff on the way to work tomorrow.” Yoongi grabbed Jeongguk’s empty mug and disappeared into the kitchen.

“Actually,” Jeongguk followed Yoongi into the kitchen. “Do you think we can go get my stuff now?”

Yoongi paused, hands in the middle of washing out the mugs in the sink. “Are you sure that's wise?”

Jeongguk shrugged, trying to feign nonchalance. “He’s not going to expect me to be back tonight anytime soon, and I’m worried if we wait till tomorrow he might be waiting for me.”

It was kind of ridiculous, and probably only made sense in Jeongguk’s anxiety-riddled mind, but it would bring him a lot more ease to go get all his shit now rather than wait and put it off.

Yoongi sighed, putting the mugs in the dishrack to dry then turning to Jeongguk, watching him for a moment. Jeongguk tried not to squirm under his scrutiny. Eventually, Yoongi rubbed at his forehead, muttering something Jeongguk couldn’t hear then said, “Alright, let’s go then.”

Jeongguk nodded, moving to grab his shoes by the couch. He had kicked them off earlier after he had calmed down. After he got them on he turned to see Yoongi standing by the door, hands in his pocket. The two left, Jeongguk sticking close to Yoongi and giving anyone they passed a wide berth. He felt twitchy and had this feeling that people were staring at him, like they knew. His eyes kept darting around, watching the shadows for.. Something.

On the walk there Jeongguk remembered his dance bag which he had left at Seojun’s in his panic to leave. He immediately wrote everything off that was in there - gym clothes, his runner for dance, water bottle, and his phone charger. He was glad he put his wallet and phone in his pockets rather than tossed them in his bag.

Replacing the charger and water bottle wouldn’t be an issue, but the shoes had been an investment he made a while ago and he’d have to see if he could afford another pair. His clothes were nothing special - just sweats and a white t-shirt.

As they approached his building, his stomach stirred, anxiety bubbling up. He had had his hands in his pocket but he took one out and searched for Yoongi’s hand. He grasped it, Yoongi immediately intertwining their fingers in a tight grip. He noticed Yoonig look at him but he kept his gaze forward. 

They got in the lobby and Jeongguk let out the breath he didn’t realize he was holding when he found it empty. They walked over to the stairwell and up to Jeongguk’s apartment.

Jeongguk pulled out his keys to unlock his door but stopped short. The door was opened, just a crack. Lock busted.

“Yoongi,” Jeongguk breathed. Yoongi saw the door and immediately pushed Jeongguk behind him, pulling out a knife from his pocket. Jeongguk didn’t even have the time to marvel at the fact that Yoongi brought a knife with him, but glad he did. He moved slowly to the door, Jeongguk right behind him. He listened for a moment then pushed the door open.

What Jeongguk saw almost made him lose it all over again.

The place was trashed. 

Shoes and clothes were thrown all over the place, cushions ripped from the couch, posters and pictures were torn down from the wall, some laying in scraps. In the kitchen glassware was shattered on the floor, his dish rack upturned. His soap bottle had been drained on the floor.

“Jesus,” Yoongi breathed. Jeongguk stood frozen in horror at the state of his home, then took off for his bedroom, ignoring Yoongi’s cries for him to wait. His bedroom door was opened. He skidded to a halt, taking in his room that was in the same disrepair as the rest of his apartment. 

His bed was flipped off the frame, clothes thrown out from his dresser and closet. His eyes, wide and frantic, searched his desk. He made a choked noise at the sight of his sketchbooks all torn open and ripped apart, some even look like they were burned. Sketched of his friends, of different areas of Seoul, of scenery back in Busan, he sometimes finds himself missing. He ran his hands over the paper, aguish filling him slowly from the depths of his soul and rising fast.

He turned to his closet and stumbled forwards onto his knees to see his guitar, smashed on the ground, covered by the sheets of music he had kept hidden in the bottom of the closet. Found from having everything ripped out and thrown about. With trembling hands, he picked up the papers, the songs he had worked on, ripped and shredded, words almost indiscernible in the carnage. The one on top barely recognizable as the song he had been working on for his hyungs.

A painful, dry sob ripped from his chest. He felt tears sting his eyes, a couple falling as he clutched the paper in his hands. He looked back out through his room, surveying the chaos. This was his safe place. Somewhere he could retreat and hide in, and it had been invaded and desecrated. Some of his most valuable things had been ripped apart by a man who could never understand what he had done. 

His eyes stopped on the night table beside his bed. His choked sounds stuttered to a stop and he pushed himself up slowly, walking over to the table. There was a frame face down, the photo of him and his hyungs, his family. With trembling hands, he picked it up. He made a choked whine.

The glass of the frame had been shattered, and black sharpie had been used to mark out Jeongguk’s face, along with scratches made across the entire photo.

The anguish that had been building in Jeongguk since he walked into his apartment suddenly just - vanished. No, not vanished. It was still there, but buried under this empty nothing, that had filled him. His body felt weak, all his energy completely drained from him. 

“Jeongguk, where - Oh,” Yoongi skidded to a stop by his door, looking around his room before eyes falling on him. Jeongguk looked up at him with sad, destroyed eyes. He didn’t even know what to say.

“Oh Guk,” Yoongi breathed. He reached out and grabbed him, pulling him to his feet. He went willingly. 

Yoongi placed him on his couch - the cushions had been put back - and Yoongi began to pace, muttering to himself. 

“That mother fucker, if I see him I’m going to kill him. Fuck, fuck, ” Yoongi was riling himself up into a rage and he pulled out his phone. He tapped at it and the Jeongguk felt his phone buzz in his pocket. He ignored it, still clutching the framed photo.

Yoongi was talking to someone but he didn’t pay any mind. He carefully took the photo out of the broken frame, holding with both hands, carefully, like it was made of the broken glass that once held it. He looked at it and he tried to remember what it looked like before it had been defaced. Before he had been scratched out of it. It was like his worst fear depicted - him, taken out of the life he was in, away from his friends.

Jeongguk crumpled the photo in his hands.

He was startled out of his turmoil when Yoongi suddenly sat down beside him. He looked over at him, seeing a mix of rage and pain on his face, more emotion than he thought Yoongi was capable of showing. It paired well with the numbness he felt inside him.

“The others are on their way.”

That sparked something out of him. “What? Why?”

“I called them, told them to come here.”

“Why would you do that?” Jeongguk dug his fingers into his thighs, needing something to distract him, something to focus on. It was disturbingly familiar. 

“Because this is a whole other level of fucked up and they need to know what's going on,” Yoongi explained. “And we can’t deal with it alone.”

“But- But then they’ll know about me and-” Jeongguk didn’t want the rest of them to find out like this. That he was gay and had got himself into this mess.

Yoongi put his hand on Jeongguk’s shoulder. Jeongguk flinched at the contact but didn’t pull away. “I’ll make something up. Something like he was stalking you or an angry boyfriend or something. You don’t have to tell them yet, but you should tell them. You know they won't judge you. They’ll just want you safe, just like me.”

Jeongguk just nodded, turning away from Yoongi and curling up into himself on the couch. He had a tight grip on his arms, digging them in again. He vaguely realized what he was doing - physical pain to drown out the emotional - and he would deal with that later. He knew when he was more lucid he would have to talk to someone, lest he wants to fall back into old habits. He very much did not want that.

But for now, it was the only thing keeping him from losing it all. He felt like he was standing on the edge of a cliff, or that he was a bomb just waiting to explode. He could feel his heartbeat like the ticking timer, thump, thump, thump, counting down to its inevitable detonation. 

He quietly watched Yoongi moved around his apartment, cleaning up the mess Seojun made. It was obvious it was him, who else would have done this? And right after what happened? It made him sick to think he really liked Seojun. He was just as much a monster as all the other demons in his life.

He ought to help Yoongi with his cleaning - it’s his apartment after all - but he couldn’t bring himself to move from the ball he was curled in on the couch. So instead he followed Yoongi with his eyes as he picked up the remains of his posters and photos, putting aside the ones that could be salvaged, putting his shoes and clothes back in the front closest and on the rack which had also been tossed, the top rack having popped off.

This was all done silently, neither speaking. Jeongguk left Yoongi to stew in his ever spiralling rage at every new piece of damage he found, and in turn, he let Jeongguk focus on keeping himself from falling apart.

Eventually, there was a frantic knocking on the door. Yoongi had propped a chair under the doorknob at some point, seeing as he didn’t currently have a lock. Yoongi tensed at first, going up to check the peephole. His posture relaxed though, and he opened the door to reveal the rest of his friends.

“Hey, so what's - Jesus Christ,” Namjoon exclaimed. He was the first one to enter the apartment, followed by Seokjin, Hoseok, Taehyung, and Jimin. He was surprised that they all showed up together given they live in different areas, but he spotted the car keys in Seokjin’s hand and guessed he picked everyone up. He rarely drives unless it was an emergency or not somewhere he could get using transit. 

“Oh my god, what happened here?” That was Hoseok, looking around the room with wide, horrified eyes. Seokjin met Jeongguk’s eyes and he watched the way his face fell, pity and concern open for anyone to see. He quickly made his way over to Jeongguk, sitting beside him and opening his arms, letting him choose to take the comfort.

And he did, he leaned sideways, letting Seokjin wrap his arms around him. Jeongguk revelled in the warmth that came from it. Seokjin was the closest thing to a parent he had and that parental comfort and safety you get was exactly what he was craving right now. 

In fact, as worried as he was at having all his friends here to see this mess, he couldn’t deny how much better he felt with them here. He was still standing on the edge, but he could feel the support of his hyungs building beneath his feet as both Jimin and Taehyung made their way over to him, Jimin sitting beside him and Taehyung crouched by his legs, placing a gentle hand on his knee.

“Gukkie,” Jimin sighed, putting his hand on Jeongguk’s. His eyes flicked to his cheek and down to the neck of his sweater, and he watched them harden. Jeongguk pulled the sweater strings tighter around his neck and head. “What happened?”

Jeongguk looked up to Yoongi who was standing in front of him with an equally concerned Hoseok and Namjoon. He saw Yoongi go to speak for him, likely have come up with a story for them but he beat him to it.

“I was dating someone, and I broke it off and they didn’t like it.”

Yoongi looked at Jeongguk in surprise. He looked at him, the words are you sure clear between them. Jeongguk gave him a small nod. His friends being here made him realize just how safe he felt with them. If there was any better time to tell them all, it was now.

He heard Seokjin’s sharp intake of breath and felt Jimin’s hand tightened on his. They likely put the rest of the story together.

“What? You were dating someone?” Namjoon blurted, eyes wide in astonishment. Jeongguk almost wanted to laugh at the way his jaw dropped. 

“Some crazy chick did this? Seriously?” Hoseok commented, looking around the room in awe.

“His name’s Seojun,” Jeongguk said, almost cringing in the way everyone’s eyes snapped to him, but he kept his resolve. “I’m gay.”

You could hear a pin drop in the silence that followed. Jeongguk almost couldn't believe that he just blurted it like that. It was actually pretty funny if not for the situation they were in. Seokjin and Jimin kept their soothing touches on him, already knowing this, but Taehyung’s hand had frozen on his leg, lifting up an almost imperceptible amount. Namjoon and Hoseok were looking at him like he had a second head - shocked and just a little disbelieving.

“You like guys?” Namjoon clarified. Jeongguk nodded. “And a guy you were dating, Seojun, did this?” Again, Jeongguk nodded. 

He bit his lip, feeling that familiar panic crawl it’s way up to his throat. He didn’t like how they kept looking at him in shock. He wanted them to just move on but he knew that wouldn’t happen. He couldn’t blame him. Yoongi and he had dropped quite the bombshell on them, and it wasn’t even everything. 

Taehyung made a noise and everyone looked at him. He looked up at Jeongguk, a twitch on his lips. “Well,” He started. “That explains a fucking lot then.”

There was a moment that passed then Jeongguk laughed, an actual, full laugh. He heard Jimin and Seokjin chuckle beside him, and the tension in the room dispersed a bit. He smiled down at Taehyung who squeezed his knee reassuringly.

“Well,” Namjoon spoke up. He scratched the back of his head and gave Jeongguk a sheepish smile. “I have to agree with Tae, it does explain a lot.” He looked at Seokjin and Jimin. “You two knew already?”

“Jimin figured it out and I told Jin-hyung,” Jeongguk spoke for them. “Same with Yoongi. I wanted to tell all of you, but it was hard.”

“Did you not think we would be okay with it?” Taehyung asked, hurt laced in his tone. Jeongguk felt his heart squeeze. 

“No, it’s - it’s a long story,” Jeongguk replied. He looked over to Hosoek who had been quiet. He was watching Jeongguk, his expression unreadable. Jeongguk tried not to read too much into it. He knew about Yoongi, and Yoongi said he was okay with it, right?

“A story for another time,” Yoongi cut in. “Right now, we need to deal with the guy who attacked Guk and then trashed his apartment.”

“Attacked?” Namjoon whirled on Yoongi then back to Jeongguk. “He hurt you?”

Jeongguk gave Yoongi a distressing look. He didn’t want to show them, it was pathetic. He felt ashamed that he had let someone do this to him - that he fell for it again. But Yoongi just looked at him with a reassuring smile and nodded at him and Jeongguk tried to remember that he was surrounded by his friends. His family.

Jeongguk pulled away from Seokjin and Jimin and slowly pulled his sweater off. He kept his eyes downcast but he heard several small gasps and felt Jimin’s fingers gently brush against his neck. He flinched, and that hand was quickly gone. He gave Jimin a small smile, telling him it was okay.

“Guk,” Hoseok whispered and Jeongguk looked up to see the pain in his eyes. “What happened?”

“Not here,” Yoongi cut in. “I don’t want to keep Jeongguk here longer than he needs to. As much as I’d love to run into Seojun, I don’t think it would be good for him right now.”

Hoseok nodded and Jeongguk couldn’t agree more. His home was no longer his home. Home was supposed to be safe, and he couldn’t use that word to describe his apartment anymore.

“He’s staying at my place tonight, so you’re welcome to come with.” Yoongi offered, and the others nodded.

“You don’t have to,” Jeongguk jumped in. He had no idea what time it was but he was sure it was the middle of the night. “You all have to work tomorrow and I don’t want to keep you up.”

“Guk, I think I can speak for us all and say none of us give a shit,” Taehyung piped in, standing up and offering a hand to Jeongguk. “Now let’s go get your stuff together and head over to Yoongi-hyungs. I can’t remember the last time he willingly let us all come over to his cave of a home.”

“Yah, don’t make me regret this offer,” Yoongi grimaced. “I’m only doing it for Jeonggukie.”

“Hmm, all for you,” Jimin whispered in his ear from beside him and Jeongguk tried not to blush. 

They all gathered his things - just the necessities that weren’t trashed. They would deal with the rest another time. 

As they went, everyone joked lightly and bantered, and Jeongguk found, even though the situation was dark, that it brought a little bit of light back into him. Which was probably exactly why they were doing so. It kept him from falling back into his own mind. Looking at them all, the way they all accepted him and are here now to help him. He was sure there would be many questions and a lot of talking, but it didn't matter. He was surrounded by his family, and as long as he had them, he could make it through anything. Together. 

Chapter Text

Jeongguk blinked at the ceiling, letting out a sigh. He had been staring at this small, black scuff on the ceiling above him for a while now, the snores of everyone around him filling his head with a continuous droning.

He turned his head, looking out into the apartment, his friends curled up in various positions around him, fast asleep.

Hoseok, Seokjin, and Namjoon had arranged themselves side by side by side on the ground beside the couch, sharing one blanket that Yoongi threw at them with pillows under each of their heads. Namjoon was snoring loudly, mouth hanging open. He had been ordered by Seokijn to sleep with his head by their feet because he refused to deal with Namjoon’s snoring. Namjoon had grumbled but didn’t bother arguing. Hoseok had ended up turning on his other side in his sleep and was now cuddling Namjoon’s feet. Seokjin had starfished on the floor, with only part of the blanket still on him. 

Taehyung and Jimin had snatched the armchair, the two of them folded around each other at awkward angles, with Taehyung snoring beneath Jimin and Jimin’s soft breaths and drool falling into Taehyung's hair. Jeongguk smiled a little, amazed at how they were even able to fall asleep like that.

He looked around, noticing that one person was missing.

He carefully peeled back the blanket on him and tiptoed around the bodies on the ground as quietly as he could. Jeongguk checked Yoongi’s studio - sometimes he would go in there and work on projects if he couldn’t sleep - but the lights were off and desk empty. 

He looked down the hall towards Yoongi’s room. The door was slightly ajar and a dim light spilled out into the hall. Jeongguk chewed his lip. He had been in Yoongi’s room only a handful of times, usually not for long. Yoongi spent more of his time at Jeongguk’s, and when he was at Yoongi’s, it was in his studio. He wasn’t sure if he should intrude on that space. Last he had seen him, he had been sound asleep, back against the couch near Jeongguk.

But Jeongguk couldn’t shake the emptiness in his chest that followed the group discussion they had when they all arrived at Yoongi’s.

They left Jeongguk’s apartment after Namjoon took photos of all the damage. Jeongguk tried to stop him but he insisted and Yoongi had agreed with it so Jeongguk left the apartment with Seokjin, Taehyung, and Jimin, while the others documented the damage. The walked back to Yoongi’s place, everyone trying to keep the atmosphere light. Jeongguk didn’t talk, just clutched the bag he packed to his chest, glad that he was surrounded by his friends.

It wasn’t until they were seated around Yoongi’s living room, all eyes on him, that he started to think it might have been better to be alone.

Jeongguk ventured down the hallway carefully, standing before the door. He gathered his courage and gently knocked on the door. He held his breath, but there was no response. After a moment of deliberation, he pushed the door open slowly. The door creaked, and more light that was coming from a beside lamp filled his vision. He noticed that the bed was made neatly, minus the comforter which was currently sitting on the couch - but no Yoongi.

He heard a car horn and saw that the balcony doors were open, and in the faint light from the lamp, he could see Yoongi standing out there, leaned up against the railing.

Jeongguk walked through the room, making noise to make sure Yoongi was aware of his presence and had the time to tell him to get lost if he wanted to be alone. Yoongi merely glanced at him when Jeongguk saddled up beside him, a cigarette hanging from his lips. Jeongguk frowned.

“I thought you quit.”

Yoongi took a drag from the cigarette, plucking it from his lips and blowing out the smoke. He gave Jeongguk a somewhat guilty smile. “I did, but sometimes the cravings win out.” He chuckled dryly. “Don’t tell Namjoon,” He added as an afterthought. “He doesn’t need to worry about that.”

“And I do?” Jeongguk nudged him, meaning it as a joke, but it fell flat as Yoongi frowned, looking away. “I won't tell him,” He whispered, and they fell into silence. Jeongguk looked out at the city. They weren’t too high, being on the fourth floor, and most of his view was other apartment buildings and businesses. It was dark out, with just the first hints of light pushing their way through the darkness. The city was in that moment between night and morning where there was a sort of peace settled over it. There wasn’t much happening, the odd car driving by or group of friends staggering home from a night out. Jeongguk felt the band around his chest ease a little.

“Couldn’t sleep?” Jeongguk asked when the silence became a little too much. Yoongi only shrugged as his answer. “Yeah,” Jeongguk mumbled. “Me either.”

Jeongguk sighed, leaning down to rest his chin on his arms that were folded on the railing. 

“Hyung?”

“Mmm?”

“Do you really think I should press charges?”

Yoongi sighed and took another drag of his cigarette. Jeongguk looked away, digging his chin into his arms.

It had been the main point of discussion that night before everyone decided to go to bed. They all wanted Jeongguk to press charges, for both the assault and damage. Jeongguk on the other hand… 

“Why can’t we just pretend this never happened?” He pleaded, desperate for them to all drop it.

“Because you were fucking sexually assaulted and your apartment destroyed?!” Seokjin screeched. He was standing in front of him, eyes wide and angry. “Why do you want to act like this never happened?”

“Because I fucking wish it didn’t happen, but it did and now it’s over and I don’t want to drag it on,” Jeongguk countered. “Besides, do you really think it would go anywhere? This guy is practically untouchable. It wouldn’t even make it to court.”

“You don’t know that,” Namjoon piped in, looking decidedly more calm than Seokjin, but Jeongguk could tell he was just as frustrated, his hair sticking up from the amount he had run his hands through it. “There’s no harm in trying, and we have evidence of it, the damage and the mark's on you.”

Jeongguk flinched at that. Jimin, who was sitting beside him on the couch, hugged him closer and sent Namjoon a glare at his blunt words. 

“And if it does go to court?” Jeongguk asked voice strained. “Then I have to confront the fact that I’m gay in front of strangers, people of the law who are in the position to do all kinds of things and powers to do what they want. What if I get someone who would be more than happy to see me suffer? And not to mention Seojun can afford any kind of lawyer he wants. I would never win anything, except humiliation.”

“He can’t just get away with it,” Hosoek spoke up. He was leaned forward, elbows on his knees, looking pensive, his face tight with tension. “He hurt you. You haven’t even told us the full story yet.”

Jeongguk hadn’t wanted to retell the story again. He was exhausted and didn’t even want to be having this conversation, but they wouldn’t let it go. He looked over at Yoongi, who hadn’t said a single thing the entire time. He was just standing by the kitchen, looking at the ground.

“Maybe we should call it a night,” Taehyung spoke before Seokjin could go off again. He was the most obviously bothered by the fact that Jeongguk didn’t want to go to the authorities, and had worked himself up quite a bit. “It’s two in the morning and we are all pretty emotional. We should leave this for tomorrow night.”

Seokjin and Jeongguk both opened their mouths to protest - Jeongguk on the part of talking about it tomorrow - but Namjoon beat them to it. 

“That’s a good idea. Let’s all get some rest.”

Jeongguk hadn’t been able to stay asleep, and he figured it was about four a.m. based on the sky. He wondered if Yoongi had been awake as long as he had. 

“We can’t force you to do anything you don’t want to Guk,” Yoongi eventually said. “God knows you’ve had enough of that. But you can’t just pretend it didn’t happen.” Yoongi took one more puff before dropping the cigarette and putting it out under his shoe. 

“It’s worked with everything else in my life,” Jeongguk mumbled. 

Yoongi snorted. “And that’s worked out so well,” Yoongi commented, voice heavy with sarcasm.

“Fuck off,” Jeongguk scowled, but couldn’t help but crack a smile. He couldn’t deny that Yoongi had a point. Didn’t mean he had to agree though. 

Yoongi dropped down to the ground, leaning up against the railing. Jeongguk moved and sat beside him, immediately curling into Yoongi’s side when he raised his arm, inviting.

Jeongguk put his arm across Yoongi’s stomach, playing with the hem of his shirt. He could feel Yoonig’s heartbeat, and he felt himself blush a little at the intimacy of the moment. He’s been in this position a million times with Yoongi, but there was something about the moment, sitting out here in the still moments before dawn. Everyone just inside, but at that moment he felt like they were the only people alive. 

“Do you think I should tell them everything?”

“That’s up to you,” Yoongi replied. “It’s your story. They’ll support you no matter what. They might understand a bit more why you don’t want to press charges.”

“Does that mean you do understand?” Jeongguk looked up at Yoongi. 

“I can understand the fear of coming out, and the fear of ejection,” Yoongi looked down at him. Their faces were so close. “And I know there's more that has happened than what you’ve told me.”

Jeongguk averted his eyes. 

“You don’t have to tell me either,” Yoongi continued. “But I’m here to listen if you ever want to.” Jeongguk looked back up at him, and he was hit with the sudden urge to spill every last secret to Yoongi, to bare his soul and leave nothing left of him hidden. What it would feel like, to finally let all of that go.

But it wasn’t the right time. Not now, in the aftermath of Seojun, where he was still feeling so empty and scared and in the turmoil that he hadn’t felt in nearly five years. But at least being here with Yoongi, it all felt a little easier.

He was again hit with the notion that if he just tipped his head up, just a little, his lips would brush Yoongi’s. It was a little disconcerting how often he felt the need to just - kiss Yoongi. Ever since he found out Yoongi wasn’t straight, his feelings had become even stronger, driven by hope. And now, after all this shit, Yoongi was the one person who he felt completely safe with. And it was messing with his already confused emotions.

Looking into Yoongi’s eye’s he could feel himself falling so deep, and it terrified him. He felt so... Broken right now, and Yoongi made him feel whole. It scared him how strongly he felt. 

Yoongi brought a hand up and brushed Jeongguk’s hair back, twirling his finger around a strand of hair.

“Hyung?” Jeongguk asked.

“Your hair is starting to get long,” He murmured absentmindedly. 

“Is it?” Jeongguk hadn’t gone to get it cut in a while. He found him pushing his bangs out of his eyes a lot lately. “I guess I should go for a hair cut soon.”

“No,” Yoongi’s eyes snapped to his again. “Don’t cut it.”

Jeongguk bit the inside of this cheek. “Why not?”

“It looks good,” Yoongi mumbled.

Jeongguk breathed in. “Maybe I’ll grow it out. Think I could get it into a ponytail?” He joked, but he saw the way Yoongi’s eye’s cut into his, in a way that caused Jeongguk’s breath to hitch.

“Maybe,” He murmured, impossibly close.

Jeongguk’s heart picked up and he held his breath waiting, waiting to see what Yoong would do. Because it would have to be Yoongi. Jeongguk wasn’t brave enough.

In the end, it was neither. Just when Yoongi looked like he was going to say something, someone called out from within Yoongi’s room.

Yoongi pulled back quickly from Jeongguk, who also looked into the bedroom, heart still beating and just a little disappointed, but also glad that there was something to break the intensity of the moment.

“Jeonggukie? Are you here?” Jimin poked his head in, eyes sleepy but worried. They immediately softened when he saw the two of them.

“Chim, why are you up?” Yoongi asked. 

“I got up to go to the bathroom and noticed Jeongguk was gone and I just got worried.”

“Sorry,” Jeongguk blushed. “I didn’t mean to worry you. I just couldn’t sleep.”

“It’s alright. I’m going back to sleep, I just wanted to check-in. Sorry for interrupting,” Jimin smirked, and Jeongguk wished he had something to throw at him. Maybe just throw him off the balcony.

Jimin left and the two of them sat in silence. Jeongguk fidgeted, not sure what to say. He felt Yoongi move and turned his head to watch him stand, looking out at the city. “We should probably try and get at least some sleep.” Yoongi held out his hand to Jeongguk who took it, moving to his feet. “Well, I should. You aren’t going to work tomorrow and don’t even try to argue with me.”

Jeongguk huffed. He didn’t like missing work, but even he could recognize that it probably wasn’t the greatest idea to go work with heavy machinery after everything.

Yoongi turned and pulled Jeongguk into his room, kicking his shoes off as he went. He expected Yoongi to go to the living room but instead, he pulled the two of them onto his bed.

“I’m not sleeping on the floor in my own home.” Was Yoongi’s only explanation as he pulled the sheet over them, tugging Jeongguk to his chest. He could have gone back to the couch himself, given Yoongi his own bed, but he knew that Yoongi didn't want him to leave, even if he didn’t say it. So Jeongguk let himself curl into Yoongi’s arms, revelling in the safety it brought him. He looked out the balcony doors, seeing the sun’s light just starts to peak through the buildings, and he finally felt himself drift off into sleep. 




Jeongguk didn’t wake up the next day until the afternoon, surprised to find Yoongi still beside him in bed. He had shifted in his sleep, his back to Yoongi who had his arm flopped over his side, laying there relaxed. The sun was shining through the blinds, warming his skin and Jeongguk wanted to lay there longer, enjoying being the little spoon, but needed to pee.

Carefully, he detached Yoongi’s arm from him and crawled out of bed. He had kicked off his pants at some point and was in just a shirt (borrowed from Yoongi) and boxers. Yoongi shifted and turned to lie on his stomach in Jeongguk’s absence, his hands reaching for him. It made Jeongguk smile softly, endeared. 

Jeongguk padded out in bare feet to the bathroom across the hall, rolling his eyes at the fact that Yoongi used the master bedroom as his studio space solely so he didn’t have to leave the room when on one of his music benders.  

After he finished, he decided he was hungry and figured he could make Yoongi and himself some breakfast. He wandered out into the living room, chuckling at the disarray it was in. He figured it was quite a commotion this morning, having the five of them getting ready for work in one small apartment. He was surprised he slept through it all.

He went into the kitchen and rummaged in Yoongi’s fridge, pulling out some eggs, cabbage, and butter. He grabbed a frying pan and dropped a spoonful of butter, letting it melt and sizzle before placing a few slices of bread. He plopped a piece into his mouth while he mixed the eggs and cabbage together in a bowl. The bread hung from his mouth while he removed the toasted bread, then poured the eggs and cabbage onto it.

He chewed on the bread idly while the egg mixture cooked, trying not to think too much about the previous night. He knew the talk tonight would be inevitable, but for now, he could pretend that nothing happened. It was a little childish, but it was better than stewing over shit he couldn’t change.

And truth be told, he was scared to delve too deep. That emptiness deep in his gut still hadn’t left him. It felt like it did in the past when he was plagued by memories and insecurities. Back when he found it hard to go day to day but kept pushing on, if just for his hyung’s. And to prove the people in his past wrong. It was just below the surface, a constant, low hum that was just enough to worry him. 

But he was stronger now, or he liked to think he was. And he knew how to handle this. And he had people to handle it with him.

He finished the eggs and grabbed two plates. He put the bread on them, splitting the eggs and dividing it up between the two. He rummaged around Yoongi’s pantry and cupboards and made a small ‘ah-ha!’ when he was able to find the brown sugar. He poured it on right from the package on the sandwich, pleased with the amount. 

He grabbed two mugs and some Tassimo cups and brewed a cup each, and grabbed the plates and put them on the small dining table Yoongi had. He walked over and grabbed his phone which was left on the couch overnight, some messages from the others. He blinked at the time, 1:14 PM. Damn.

He opened the messages, mainly just everyone telling him and Yoongi to have a good day and call if they needed anything. And reminders that they would all be back later tonight to talk . He was about to lock his phone when his breath hitched. 

He had an unread message from Seojun.

His thumb hovered over the chat, debating on if he should open it or not. He had an android phone to Seojun’s iPhone, so he didn’t have to worry about him knowing he read the message. What he was more worried about is what it said. He could only see the beginning of the message, and it started with ‘If you tell anyone about this’. He could only imagine what the rest of it sent.

He knew he should delete it and block Seojun from his phone, but his morbid curiosity got the better of him. He opened the message.

 

Seojun: If you tell anyone about this, you can bet it’ll be the last thing you do. You have no idea what I’m capable of. You don’t say no to me, Jeonggukkie.

 

Jeongguk’s stomach dropped, a shiver running up his spine. He locked his phone and threw it back on the couch as if it burned him. The fear from last night came rushing back to him all at once. This is why he didn’t want to do anything. Seojun could do anything to him. He was just an insect under his boot, nothing more than an annoyance to be dealt with. He should just lay low until it blows over and Seojun forgets about him. He figures he can find another apartment building easy enough, though he will have to dip into his savings which. Isn’t ideal, and it kind of makes him want to cry for a whole other reason, but it’s better than living that close to Seojun.

Images from last night hit him, hard. The feeling of Seojun’s hands on him when he pushed him up against the wall. Jeongguk gripped his arms, digging his nails into his skin. He had the sudden urge to shower, to wash this feeling off of his body. He knew it was just in his head - it was just like last time. It was worse last time because he had been alone, living in constant fear. 

But this time it wasn’t some nobody like Jeongguk. This was a person in a position of power - someone who could actually do something. Follow through with that threat made. And unlike last time, he wasn’t alone. His friends could be hurt, caught in the crossfire that they are trying so hard to put themselves into. 

God, what was he thinking, involving them in this? He’s put them in harm's way because of his own stupid decisions. He was a horrible friend, he hadn’t even thought about that. 

His train of thought is broken when he hears Yoongi enter the room with a yawn. He spins around to see Yoongi tiredly scrub his face with his hands, seating himself at the table in front of the food. 

“Mm, the smell woke me up,” Yoongi mumbled with a soft smile. Jeongguk stayed in his spot in the living room. 

“You’re almost worse than me,” Jeongguk quipped, voice barely stable. Yoongi snorted, taking a large gulp of coffee. Jeongguk sat at the table, gingerly lowering himself into the seat. He didn’t want to tip Yoongi off that something was wrong. He seemed to be in a decent mood this morning. He feels like all he’s done is cause Yoongi pain, and he wants to keep him as far away from this shit as he can. Seojun had made it clear he wasn’t a fan of Yoongi, and he’s worried that Seojun will come after him as well.

Not to mention, they were all worried enough about him as it was.

“Are you sure you put enough sugar on there?” Yoongi pointed at his food with his fork, commenting on the small pile of sugar that was considerably bigger on his than Yoongi’s.

“It’s not proper toast without a shit ton of sugar on it. Why eat it otherwise?” Jeongguk commented, immediately digging into his food to avoid having to talk.

Yoongi gave him a weird look before taking a fork full of his own. They ate quietly, just the sound of their chewing and cutlery on ceramic. Jeongguk tried to find something to talk about, but his mind was too focused on the threat from Seojun. He must know he would go to one of his friends. What if he tries to contact them? Or hurt them? That would probably be the worst thing he could imagine. It would devastate him if they got hurt because of his fuck up. 

“What’s wrong?” Yoongi asked after Jeongguk hadn’t moved, the fork tines pushing into his bottom lip. His attention snapped up to him, who had put his fork on the table, all his attention on Jeongguk.

“Nothings wrong,” Jeongguk replied, cringing at how unbelievable the words sounded.

“Did something else happen?” Yoongi pressed.

“What do you mean?” Jeongguk felt his body tense. 

“You’re being weird.” 

“Weird?” Jeongguk scoffed. “In case you’ve somehow forgotten, a lot has happened in the last twenty-four hours. I think I’m allowed to act a bit off.”

“You know I can tell when you’re lying,” Yoongi pointed his fork at him, unphased by the sharp tone. “Talk to me.”

Jeongguk shrugged. “I just started thinking about everything, and what Seojun might do,” Jeongguk frowned. “I’m scared and I don’t like being scared. I’ve spent enough time in my life feeling scared.”

Yoongi watched him, sympathy and barely contained anger in his eyes. “No matter what happens, we’re all here. We won't leave you to face this alone.” The conviction in his voice was almost enough to make him believe it, but the text that was on his phone, just a few feet away, had him doubting. Doubting the people he should be able to always put his trust in.

He just nodded, not trusting his voice. Yoongi offered him a wry smile and went back to eating. Jeongguk lost his appetite and took to just pushing his food around on his plate. He hates how easy he is to read. He had done a decent job keeping his emotions and shit deep enough below the surface over the years, but Seojun had brought up so much that he tried to bury. His thoughts were everywhere, his emotions haywire. He felt like anyone who passed him on the street would be able to tell what a mess he was and he hated it. He felt vulnerable and weak.

He needed something else to focus on before he got lost in his downward spiral and before Yoongi would start grilling him again on how he’s feeling. 

“Why are you home by the way?” He asked Yoongi, trying to sound as casual as possible. “I thought you were going into work with everyone else.”

“We all figured it would be best if someone stayed with you, so you weren’t alone. Just in case,” Yoongi explained, leaning back in his chair. He had finished dinner and was watching Jeongguk intently. Jeongguk made a show of eating his food. 

“Mhm. So you’re babysitting me.” Jeongguk knew it was for the best someone to stay with him for right now, but it made him feel like an inconvenience. He also knew he probably wouldn’t get a moment alone for the next while and he knew that was going to cause some issues at some point. 

“It’s not babysitting,” Yoongi frowned. “It’s just until we figure out what our next move is.” 

“Our? There’s no ‘our’,” Jeongguk snapped. “I don’t want to make any move. I just want to move past this. You guys are the ones who are trying to push me into doing something I don’t want to.”

Yoongi looked a little taken aback at the harsh tone but quickly scowled at him. “You can’t just ignore this. This is serious, Jeongguk, he assaulted you. He destroyed your apartment, and who knows what would have happened if you had actually been there ,” Yoongi choked on the last words, then took a breath before continuing. “We need to deal with this.”

“No, I need to deal with this. You guys should just stay out of this before you guys caught up in it.” Jeongguk pushed away from the table, grabbing his plate and cup and dropping them in the sink with a loud clatter. 

“What is going on with you?” Yoongi snapped, following Jeongguk to the kitchen. “Why are you fighting this so much? I get that you’re upset, you have every reason to be, but you need to think about this rationally.”

Jeongguk whirled on him, eyes blazing with anger that was barely containing his fear. “Rationally!? I am thinking rationally. I’m the only one that is! Does no one realize what could happen if I actually try and accuse Seojun of this? He’ll sweep it all under the rug like it never happened and then come after me.” Jeongguk yelled.

“You don’t know that,” Yoongi countered, his voice annoyingly level, though Jeongguk could see the fire in his eyes. “We don’t know anything. But whatever happens, we are all going to be here to help you. Protect you.”

“I don’t need you to protect me.” That was a lie. He needed them all, to protect his heart and protect him from what Seojun might do next. But that put them in danger, and he couldn’t be that selfish. Not after everything they’ve done for him. “Weren’t you just saying last night you wouldn't push me into anything? ‘Cause it sure feels like that's what you’re doing.”

Yoongi let out a frustrated sigh, scrubbing harshly at his face. “I’m not - look,” Yoongi started an edge of irritation to his voice. “I’m not pushing you into anything. I’m just trying to understand. I know you’re scared and angry. But let's just leave this for tonight. No point in hashing this out right now when we will have to bring it all up again later.”

“No point in hashing it out later either, but I don’t seem to have a say in that either,” Jeongguk muttered, pushing past Yoongi. He stomped over to the bathroom and tried his best not to slam the door closed. He knew this anger was misplaced but he felt suffocated. By their concern, his fear, his memories. It was too much right now and he really really didn’t want to talk about it tonight, but he knew he wasn’t going to be able to back out.

He started the shower and shed his clothes. He tried to ignore the mirror. He didn’t want to see what might be looking back at him. 

He stepped in, letting the hot water wash over his body. He stood under the spray, eyes closed, and tried to will himself to relax. He grabbed some of Yoongi’s shampoo and rubbed it into his hair, massaging his head. It helped ebb some of the tension from his body, and he spent much longer than necessary doing it. He washed it out and grabbed for the body wash, using and extra cloth he had grabbed from under the bathroom sink. 

While he rubbed his body, earlier thoughts of Seojun’s hands trickling back. The feeling crawled up his skin and weaved around his body, leaving this feeling of grime on him that the water couldn’t rinse off. He felt himself scrub harder, using his nails along his skin. He watched as his skin turned red at the force, and warning bells went off in his head but he wanted that feeling to be gone. He wanted to feel safe, to feel okay, to feel strong and secure and at peace, God, he just wanted to feel peace in his soul. 

His eyes stung, but no tears came out. It seemed like he may have actually run dry. Or maybe they were mixing in with the water, hidden. He grit his teeth, turning the water up hotter, scalding his skin. It helped, a little, but not enough. His breathing becoming ragged as he continued to scrub his skin, his anger and fear wrapping together and building, building in him and about to burst.

He let out a cry, one that punched out from his throat and was filled with so much anger - anger at Seojun, at his family, at him. Anger at himself for allowing himself to fall into these situations time and time again, not learning ever. Anger at not being worthy of the friends he had who just wanted to help him, but couldn’t understand that he couldn’t be helped.

Jeongguk threw the cloth against the wall of the shower with a shout. He grabbed at his hair and kept yelling, yelling and yelling, trying to let out this shit storm inside of him. He dropped to a crouch, still under the spray of water, pelting his back. He pulled at his hair to the point that he felt his scalp tearing, but he couldn’t stop. He felt like there were thorns under his skin trying to break free. He wanted to keep yelling and throwing things. He wanted to break things.

He heard a banging on the door, followed by Yoongi’s frantic voice calling out to him. The door swung opened and Jeongguk just watched as the shower curtain was ripped open, Yoongi’s worried face searching Jeongguk’s body. He heard him say his name, and then the water stopped. He shivered at the sudden coolness that hit him, letting out a low whine. 

And all at once, the fury and rage that had encompassed him left his body in one fell swoop. With it, it took his energy and he slumped back against the shower walls, shaking.

Yoongi must have realized that he wasn’t going to be moving anytime soon because the next thing he knew, he felt a body against him. Yoongi had crawled into the tub, maneuvering them so that Jeongguk was between his legs, pressed up against his chest. Jeongguk should be embarrassed -  he was naked and Yoongi was holding him, and getting himself soaked. But all Jeongguk could do was curl up more, shaking, leaning against Yoongi who had his arms wrapped around him, whispering into his ear. 

“I’m sorry, sorry. It’s okay, you’re okay, please,” Yoongi kept repeating. Jeongguk wanted to reply, tell him he was okay, but he couldn’t. Because he wasn’t okay, and maybe something should be done about it, and Jeongguk needed to face some of these things. But for now, he just let Yoongi hold him.

“Maybe we shouldn’t talk about this tonight,” Yoongi murmured after a while. Jeongguk had stopped shivering and had almost completely dried, the sound of the bathroom fan loud in his ears. 

Jeongguk snorted. “Tell the rest of them that,” Jeongguk commented. Yoongi’s arms tightened on him. It was the first thing he had said since Yoongi found him.

“You back with me?” He asked gently. Jeongguk nodded. He had come out of the funk he had been in. He was tired, but that was a constant companion as of late.

“I’ll talk to them tonight,” Yoongi replied and Jeongguk nodded again. He didn’t think Yoongi would be able to stop them, and part of him didn’t want him to, he realized. Because maybe talking about it all was the best thing for him. Or it’ll be the worst. He didn’t know. He found he didn’t care right now.

What he did know, though, was now that he was back in his own head, he was very aware of the feeling of Yoongi’s clothes against his skin.

His naked skin.

His cheeks were flaming, mortified at the position he was in now. He sat up a little, Yoongi’s arms around him loosening until they fell to his sides. He reached for the towel resting on the lid of the toilet and quickly wrapped it around himself. He carefully stepped out of the tub, not looking at Yoongi but could feel him getting out as well, standing behind him.

“I’m sorry about that,” Jeongguk stuttered, embarrassed. He wasn’t helping his case of being ‘okay’ with stuff like this happening. 

“It’s fine,” Yoongi replied quickly, a little too quickly. Jeongguk glanced back and saw Yoongi looking at the sink and pointedly avoiding looking at him. Jeongguk looked ahead again.

“I’ll just,” Jeongguk motioned to his clothes lying on the ground. 

“Hmm? Oh, yeah,” Yoongi shuffled past him, opening the door. “I’ll, uh, I’ll be in my studio if you need me.” Yoongi looked at him, his eyes moving down his chest then back up, then he nodded, a quick ‘yup,’ then left, closing the door behind him.

Jeongguk stood there, feeling a little lost at what that was. He thought maybe he had seen a flush on Yoongi’s cheeks. Had he felt embarrassed over the situation too? He wouldn’t blame him. 

Jeongguk quickly put his clothes on, trying to tamp down on the shame in his gut, and went back out to the living room. He saw his phone still on the couch and immediately turned around. He didn’t want to see that message again. 

He went to the kitchen, puttering around and doing the dishes. He wiped down the counters and the oven, trying to find things to keep him busy. Unfortunately, Yoongi’s disuse of most things in his apartment left it relatively clean so he was left with nothing to do after about fifteen minutes. He figured he could go back to Yoongi’s room, maybe have a nap, but on his way there he stopped in front of Yoongi’s studio.

It was a new feeling, feeling nervous to go in there. He’s spent numerous nights in there, sitting along Yoongi while he worked on his music, showing and testing ideas on Jeongguk, or Jeongguk getting him to help him with his own music. 

He felt uncertain in his place with Yoongi right now. Part because of the feelings he had for him, always lingering close by, but also because of everything that had happened. He felt like he was bothering Yoongi, taking up all his time with his shit. But he also desperately didn’t want to be alone and needed something normal. And sitting in his studio was as normal as it could get. 

He pushed open the door quietly, Yoongi sitting at his desk, headphones on. His right ear pad slipped back a bit off his ear. He guessed it was to keep an ear out for him and it made his heartache.

Yoongi turned, looking surprised to see him but giving him a kind smile. He pulled his headphones off and gestured for him to sit on the couch beside him.

“Hey,” Yoongi said when he was settled beside him.

“Hey,” Jeongguk replied, quiet. “What are you working on?”

“I was just working on some old stuff, things I never really finished,” Yoongi shrugged. “Just kind of screwing around.” Jeongguk nodded and Yoongi watched him for a second, then “Do you wanna give it a go?”

Jeongguk perked up, trying not to look too enthusiastic. Yoongi didn’t usually let him play around on his equipment much, usually because he was working on his own stuff. Every now and again though, if he wasn’t feeling it or done with a track, he would let Jeongguk screw around. It didn’t happen much, and Yoongi usually had to reteach him how to use the programs and tools, Jeongguk didn’t mind. He liked it. Yoongi was a good teacher and he liked how into it he got.

Yoongi gave a soft chuckle, then got out of his chair, disappearing for a minute to grab a chair from the kitchen to sit right beside Jeongguk.

“Okay,” He started as Jeongguk settled into the big headphones that were warm from Yoongi wearing them. “Remember when you open a new track, you have to get your presets right,”

Yoongi walked Jeongguk through the steps, steps that Jeongguk did actually remember, but he liked the sound of Yoongi’s voice, so he pretended and let him explain every detail to him like it was the first time. Jeongguk felt something in his gut settle into something almost peaceful. Something almost whole. He couldn’t remember why he doubted his place with Yoongi. Yoongi, who always seemed to know how to handle him even at his worse. Who wasn’t afraid to push him when he pushed back. 

They went on for what must have been hours, Yoongi let Jeongguk play and practice, giggling at his mistakes and full out laughing when Jeongguk made a short track that resembled the John Cena theme, which almost got him kicked off. They were so wrapped up that Jeongguk forgot about what was going to happen until he heard a knock on the door, Namjon peaking in.

All at once, the sense of calm that had fallen over him was ripped out from under his feet, and anxiety crawled it’s way back up.

“Hey,” Namjoon spoke softly, sensing the shift in the atmosphere. “We’re all here and ready whenever you are.”

Yoongi looked at Jeongguk, watching, waiting for him to make the first move. Jeongguk knew if he gave Yoongi a sign, he would do everything he could to push this moment back again. And Jeongguk wanted to take him up on that. Avoiding was something he was good at. And that was the reason why he merely nodded, rolling his shoulders in a resolution that both of the men in the room could see. 

Jeongguk could avoid things as much as he wanted, but it would never fix anything. He needed to face his fears and a good place to start was having this conversation, surrounded by people he knew cared for him and wouldn’t judge him. Who only wanted what was best for him.

He didn’t know if he was ready for this, but he did know it was worth a shot. He reached out for Yoongi’s hand, finding it close by like Yoongi always was. It gave him the strength he needed.

“Okay.”

Chapter Text

Jungkook followed Namjoon and Yoongi out to the living room, Jeongguk’s fingers curled around Yoongi’s sleeve as he trailed behind. He’s trying to regulate his breathing. He feels silly about how worked up he’s getting about this. He keeps reminding himself that he will be around friends and they won't force him to do anything he doesn’t want to.

The room comes into view, Jimin sitting on the couch, with Taehyung - who’s eating a sandwich - on the armchair beside him. Seokjin is sitting in a chair he pulled from the table near Taehyung and Hoseok at the dining table. Jeongguk could see the exhaustion in their faces and he felt a stab of guilt. They wouldn’t be like this if it weren’t for him. 

Namjoon gestures for Jeongguk to sit down and with a quick glance at Yoongi, who gave him an encouraging nod, he lets go of his sleeve and moves to sit on the couch with Jimin who immediately puts a comforting hand on him. Jeongguk noticed his phone and quietly put it in his pockets. He tried not to think about the message Seojun sent. He knew he should tell them, but it might make things worse. So, for now, he was quiet.

Yoongi took a chair at the table with Namjoon, moving to form a circle, with all the focus on Jeongguk. He watched as their eyes roved over him.

No one spoke at first, not really knowing how to start. Jeongguk’s throat felt dry and he didn’t think he would be able to start even if he wanted to. 

After a few moments, Namjoon shifted in his chair, clearing his throat and all eyes turned to him. “I’ve been thinking a lot about this,” He looks at Jeongguk. “I understand you don’t want to report this. But you have to see this from our point of view Jeongguk. This guy hurt you. He attacked you and destroyed your apartment. He’s shown how dangerous he is. I think I can speak for all of us when we say that we want to do something about it.”

Everyone looked at him unexpectedly. Jeongguk took a deep breath, trying to calm the storm in his stomach. He met Namjoon’s eyes. “I get that, I can’t say if it was one of you, I wouldn’t want the same thing.” Jeongguk looked over at everyone, hating all the focused attention on him. “But it was me, and I don’t want to report this. Seojun would win anyways.”

“Not if we get all the evidence,” Seokjin piped up. Jeongguk remembered the fire in his eyes from last night - he seemed the angriest with him for wanting to drop this. “We have the images from your apartment, we have the injuries to your body. Not to mention, we would all testify against him.”

“What would you even say?” Jeongguk countered. None of you really got to see anything about him. I kept it quiet. Jin-hyung, you were the only one who I even told and you helped encourage me. None of you can say anything against him that will really be incriminating at all.”

Seokjin flinched at Jeongguk’s statement. Jeongguk felt bad, but it was true. He didn’t blame Seokjin for it at all - he was being a good friend, helping Jeongguk make his move. Neither of them could have known at the time that this would be the end result.

“Still - we have enough to press charges.” Seokjin continued. 

“It doesn’t matter how much we have, Seojun will be able to win against it.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Actually,” Jimin cut in, hesitantly. “I did some more digging on him after I showed Jeonggukkie the tabloids about Seojun, and he’s had a lot of allegations and shit made against him, and every time he’s come out of it without even a slap on the wrist.” Jimin bit his lip. 

“See?” Jeongguk pointed to Jimin, but he didn’t feel good about it. It made him feel worse, knowing that there really was no hope in this.

“That doesn’t matter,” Seokjin glared at Jimin. “We should do something, not let him fucking win.”

“I’m not saying I disagree,” Jimin defended, annoyed. “I’m just saying we need to make sure we go about it carefully.”

“How about not at all?” Jeongguk snapped. 

“Jimin,” Namjoon ignored him, directing his attention to Jimin. “What kind of charges were laid against him?”

Jimin shook his head. “There were never any charges. Just allegations. Mainly about sleeping with other women and cheating on partners. Some petty crime and gambling. But nothing ever stuck. Probably due to his grandfather.”

“Was there ever anything about sexual assault charges?”

Jimin’s eyebrows furrowed. “There was one, a guy from a few years back. It was dropped pretty quick though, by the guy who charged him.”

“Did it give you a name?” Namjoon pushed.

“Why does that matter?” Seokjin asked annoyed. “Why do we care about some tabloid garbage? We should be focused on the issue at hand.”

Namjoon shushed him. “Jimin?”

“I don’t remember, I’d have to go look it up again.”

“Joon,” Yoongi questioned. Namjoon looked over at Yoongi, the two of them having a silent conversation. Jeongguk watched the gears turning in Yoongi’s head, slow understanding dawning on him. Jeongguk himself was lost, as was everyone else.

“Are you going to share with the class?” Seokjin snarked.

Namjoon looked back at everyone. “We will need to do a little more digging, but I think the best way we can win against Seojun is by finding other people who have been victimized by him in the past.”

“How does that help us?” Hoseok asked. His tone was curious, unlike Seokjin’s.

“My guess is Jeongguk isn’t the only one who this has happened to. As Jimin said, there was at least one other guy who tried to press charges against him.”

“Yeah, but he dropped them right after,” Jimin pointed out. “It could have possibly been nothing.” 

“Seojun could have threatened him, made him drop the charges.” Namjoon countered. “We could always try and find this guy and question him-”

“Enough!” Jeongguk interrupted. He had been silently following the conversation, and when he figured out what Namjoon was proposing, he’d had enough. “No more of this, I’m not letting you guys get involved in this.”

“We’re already involved, Guk. And this is the best chance we have at trying to get justice on this guy.” Namjoon commented, calm as ever.

“How would we even go about this? We don’t even know this guy’s name.” Jeongguk argued.

“Baekhyun,” Jimin read from his phone. He looked back up at everyone. “His name is Byun Baekhyun, and I think he’s from Seoul.”

Jeongguk faltered for a second. “That- that changes nothing. We’d never be able to find him. Even if he is still in Seoul, it’s a huge city.”

“I have a friend who works for the KNP. He’s a Senior Officer. I could probably pull a few strings with him, he owes me a favour,” Namjoon smirked.

“We should start by looking more into the charges and stuff filed against him. Maybe you can ask your police friend too,” Hoseok added. Namjoon nodded.

They started talking about different methods and ways to get information. Even Seokjin was adding his input, his earlier irritation gone and replaced with something close to excitement. Jeongguk felt his skin prickle, the noise of them all pushing him over the edge. They weren’t listening to him .

“Just, stop!” He yelled, the room falling into a hush. “I won’t let you guys do this.”

“You aren’t ‘letting’ us do anything. We want to do this, we want to help.” Jimin tried to reassure him, but Jeongguk just pushed him away. 

“If you do this, he’ll hurt you too.” Jeongguk needed them to understand that. “I don’t want anything to happen to you guys.”

“What could he possibly do to us?” Seokjin questioned. 

“I don’t know, but he’s dangerous.” Jeongguk pushed. “His message-” Jeongguk stopped himself, but it was too late. 

“What message?” Yoongi asked. He had been fairly quiet the entire time, choosing to let the others talk this out. “What message Jeongguk?”

Jeongguk didn’t respond right away, eyes wide as he stared at the floor. Stupid, stupid. You’ve done it now.

“Jeongguk,” Yoongi’s tone was cold. “What message?” 

Jeongguk sighed. He wasn’t going to be able to avoid it now. “Seojun, he sent me a text message,” Jeongguk grabbed his phone, opening it up to his messages. He didn’t have the voice to read it, so he passed it to Jimin who read it aloud.

“‘ If you tell anyone about this, you can bet it’ll be the last thing you do. You have no idea what I’m capable of. You don’t say no to me, Jeonggukkie.’ ” Jimin finished. His lips lifting into a sneer by the end.

The room was quiet for a minute before Yoongi and Seokjun both exploded. 

“Why the fuck didn’t you tell me he sent you that?”

“That mother fucker. He’ll pay for this.”

“Jeongguk,” Yoongi walked over and kneeled in front of him. “You need to tell us everything that happened with him. If you keep hiding things from us, we won't be able to protect you from Seojun.” He was angry. Jeongguk didn’t blame him. How many times had he lied or withheld things from him now?

Jeongguk nodded, but Yoongi shook his head. “I need to hear you say it. I need to know I can trust you to tell us.”

Jeongguk looked at him. His words hit him hard. He never realized that he would lose their trust, Yoongi’s trust. But it made sense. He kept lying to him, pushed him away, hurt him. Lying and withholding things that could put him and all of them in danger now.

Jeongguk didn’t want to press charges, he didn’t want to try and find others who may have been tricked by Seojun as he had. If he was honest, he just wanted to sleep. But he had to start telling them the truth and trust his friends too. He brought them into this mess, it was the least he could do.

“I won’t lie to you anymore. I’m sorry,” Jeongguk told him, and he was serious. He was sorry. Sorry for everything.

Yoongi searched his eyes for a moment, but the hard look in them dissipated, and he gave Jeongguk a small smile that Jeongguk tried to return. He pulled back and took his seat again.

“I think this just gives us more reason to go with Namjoon’s idea,” Seokjin continued. Jeongguk could see the way he was seething, trying very hard to keep it together. Jeongguk didn’t really understand why he seemed so angry about him not wanting to press charges. Even Yoongi was doing a better job at understanding his side about this and Jeongguk was fairly sure he might kill Seojun, given the chance.

Was he angry at him? Was he mad about more than just him not wanting to press charges? 

“Guk, please. We need you on board with this.” Jimin pleaded. “We don’t want to do anything against your wishes, but this could really work. Don’t you want Seojun to pay for this?”

“I just want to forget about it and move on,” Jeongguk moaned. “There's been so much that has happened in the past and I was able to move past it, to heal. I’ll do the same here.”

“Have you really healed?” Yoongi asked. Jeongguk turned sharply to him. Yoongi didn’t say anything more though, and Namjoon took over. 

“Guk, this could work. You don’t even really have to do anything. We can take care of it. There’s no way Seojun will know. Let us help.”

Jeongguk was going to deny them again, but Taehyung spoke up, for the first time the whole evening. He hadn’t said a thing all night, just sitting in the chair, chewing on his sandwich. His hands were in his lap, folded together. Jeongguk noticed that his knuckles were white. His eyes were on Jeongguk though, and there was something haunting in his expression.

“If you let this go Jeongguk, if you ignore it, this will just happen to someone else, and that’ll be on you.”

Jeongguk’s eyes widened and he felt like he had been slapped.

“Taehyung,” Seokjin hissed. “What the hell?”

Taehyung ignored him, keeping his eyes trained on Jeongguk. “You have a chance to stop this. You can keep this from happening to someone else.”

“Tae,” Jimin put his hand on Taehyung’s leg, but Taehyung didn’t break his gaze.

Jeongguk felt the others fade away as he got stuck in his own thoughts. Taehyung was right. Seojun would just do this again. He’d hurt someone else. They already had enough proof to assume Seojun had done this in the past, what's to say he wouldn’t do it again? 

Seojun liked to play. Jeongguk had figured that much out. He liked to toy with people, make them think he cares to get them to do what he wants. He didn’t want to think about what he may have done to others - people who were alone or didn’t have his past. People who were still suffering because Seojun was still free. How he could suffer. 

Yoongi asked him if he had really healed from his past, and before he would have said yes, but after all of this, maybe he hadn’t fully healed. There hadn’t been any closure. And if he forgot about this, there would be no closure there either. For him or for anyone. 

Jeongguk had a chance to help not only himself but others as well. Could he really say no to that? Could he be that selfish? That much of a coward?

Jeongguk knew what his answer needed to be.

“Excuse me,” Jeongguk stood suddenly, and he quickly rushed from the room. He ignored the others calling after him. He ran into Yoongi’s room, closing the door behind him. He leaned against it, letting out a breath. He was glad to be alone for a moment. He needed to think in peace. 

Something caught his eye. He turned and paused. It was a mirror - standing in the corner of Yoongi’s room. There was a sweater hanging off the side and a hat. Jeongguk found himself drawn to it. His feet moved with no input from his brain. He was still wearing only his boxers and one of Yoongi’s shirts. It hung low on his collar bones and didn’t hide any of the mark's on his skin.

Jeongguk’s breath hitched. He looked at himself in the mirror. He took in the bruises that had started to darken - blues and purples and blacks - and the darkness under his eyes. He hadn’t really slept properly in a while, with the nightmares and Seojun. He looked tired. He looked defeated. 

He looked like he had years ago, when he had been weak and alone. When he had been running and running with nowhere to go.

Jeongguk didn’t want to be weak. He didn’t want to be a coward. He was tired of running his life under those words. He had a place to run to, a home and a family now.

He looked in the mirror and he saw someone on the brink of breaking. But he didn’t want that. Not anymore.

He turned away from the mirror and stepped out onto Yoongi’s balcony. The evening air was warm tonight. It was settling into late summer, and the humidity was settling in with a vengeance. He leaned on the railings and looked out of Seoul.

Seojun was out there somewhere, probably already stalking his next prey. Jeongguk could do something about that. He could save someone, and maybe in the process, he could save himself. 

Hearing Baekhyuns name - it moved something inside him. It made him address that he not alone in this. Others have suffered and others will. Baekhyun had suffered. Maybe he could save Baekhyun. Taehyung’s words rang in his ears. Doing nothing could get someone hurt. He didn’t want that.

Jeongguk knew what he needed to do by the time someone came out looking for him. He turned back and was surprised to see Seokjin stepping out onto the balcony. 

“Hey,” Seokjin started, settling in beside Jeongguk.

“Hey,” Jeongguk replied.

“We figured we’d give you a minute. Sorry if we overwhelmed you.” Seokjin looked at him, his face apologetic. 

“It’s okay, I know you just want what's best for me.” Jeongguk quirked his lips.

Seokjin gave him a sad smile and looked out at Seoul at the slowly setting sun. He was silent, but Jeongguk could sense he had something to say. He figured that was why it was him that came out and not Yoongi, who he expected.

“I know I probably pushed too hard,” Seokjin began after a few minutes. “I should have listened to you better and not have gotten so angry.”

“Why did you?” Jeongguk asked. Seokjin looked at him. “I know you’re all upset about what happened, but you seem angrier than the rest. You almost seem like you’re angry with me.” Jeongguk asked hesitantly. 

He had been thinking about Seokjin’s anger. He wondered if he was mad at him for getting into this situation, to begin with. He didn’t want that to be the case, but he wouldn’t blame him. Seokjin was hesitant about Seojun in the very beginning because he was older. He should have listened to him. 

Seokjin’s eyes widened comically. “No! God, no, I’m not mad at you Guk. Frustrated that you won't see reason, but not mad.”

Seokjin turned so he was fully facing Jeongguk. “I’m mad at myself for letting this happen.”

Now it was Jeongguk’s turn to be surprised. “What? There's no way you could have stopped it hyung.”

“I encouraged you to go out with him, even when I was skeptical about him in the beginning. I just wanted to be a good hyung and support you. You came out to me first, trusted me, and I wanted to steer you in the right direction.” Seokjin turned away from him. “Instead I steered you into a monster.”

He sounded so - sad. And guilty. Jeongguk couldn’t believe he even thought for a second that this was his fault. He grabbed Seokjin’s shoulder and pulled him so he would look at him.

“Seokjin-hyung, this is not your fault.” He tried to be as stern as he could, to make him believe. “You were the best hyung for me. You helped me gain some confidence, made me realize that my friends would love me regardless. You treated me like I was normal and I don’t think you understand how much that meant to me.

“You have always been like a big brother, guardian, and parent all rolled into one. I know you will always look out for me and steer me in the right direction. I’m glad you helped me go out with Seojun. Yeah, it turned out pretty horrid, but I found a confidence in myself I never would have without you.”

Jeongguk will regret ever getting involved with Seojun, but it was an obstacle he never would have faced without Seokjin in regards to actually going out with a guy. There was no point in playing the 'what if’s’ game at this point. It happened, and he’ll deal with it. With all of them behind him.

Seokjin’s eyes were wet at the end of Jeongguk’s speech. He didn’t say anything, just grabbed Jeongguk and pulled him into a tight hug. Jeongguk returned it and he could hear Seokjin sniffle softly against his shoulder. 

“I’m sorry. I wish this hadn’t happened to you. You don’t deserve it.” Seokjin’s body shook, but Jeongguk could tell he was trying not to break down. He knew he was trying to be strong for Jeongguk. But Jeongguk could be strong for him too.

“It’ll be okay, hyung. I have people like you taking care of me. How could I not be okay?”

“Yah,” Seokjin let out a half cry, half sob. “Don’t make me cry brat. I ugly cry and no one wants to see that.”

Jeongguk laughed, and it was genuine. He pulled back from Seokjin with a smile. Seokjin wiped his eyes, taking a deep breath and shaking himself. Once he finished collecting himself he looked at Jeongguk, and his eyes grew sad but tender.

“You’re so strong, you know that right?”

Jeongguk’s smile dropped and he looked away. He didn’t feel strong, but he was trying to be.

“Hey, none of that,” Seokjin tsked. “You are. And if you don’t believe it, you have six people who can believe enough for you.”

Jeongguk would normally cry at a sentiment like that, but it seemed he was finally cried out. Instead, he pulled Seokjin in for another hug, whispering a thank you into his neck. 

“Why don’t we go back in?” Seokjin suggested after a beat. “I think the others want to share with you the plan they have.”

Jeongguk pulled back from the hug and nodded. He followed Seokjin back inside and into the living room. Hoseok, Namjoon, and Yoongi were sitting at the dining room table now, talking amongst themselves. There was a notebook with Namjoon frantic scribbling on it and the three were deep in conversation when they walked in. 

Taehyung had moved to the couch and Jimin was talking softly to him. Taehyung had withdrawn into himself, his eyes blank. Jeongguk wondered what had happened, what had given him such a haunted look from before. He was sure Jimin knew. It was probably from before they join the crew. He wanted to ask but he knew better than anyone that everyone has their secrets.

Everyone stopped talking when they walked in and Jeongguk tried not to wither under then attention. 

“Um. Sorry, for running out. I just needed a minute.” Jeongguk apologized, embarrassed.

“It’s okay Guk, no one blames you. It’s a lot to take in.” Namjoon smiled at him. Jeongguk nodded and sat down at the table beside Namjoon. 

“Jin-hyung said you guys have a plan?” Jeongguk asked.

Namjoon looked at Yoongi and Hoseok before addressing him. “We do.” He hesitated. “Do you want to hear it?”

Jeongguk looked back at Taehyung who met his eyes. Jeongguk saw a deep hurt in there, something he could recognize all too easily. He wondered how Taehyung had kept it hidden so well for so long. He was always so cheerful and positive. It goes to show that anyone can be hurting underneath it all. 

Jeongguk made up his mind and Taehyung must have been able to see the resolve because his lips quirked up and he gave Jeongguk a short but encouraging nod. Jeongguk turned back to Namjoon.

“Yeah, I wanna hear how we’re going to take Seojun down.”

Namjoon smiled at him. “Let's get to it then.”





Jeongguk found himself out on the balcony again. It was late, almost midnight. Everyone had left and it was once again just Yoongi and Jeongguk in the apartment. Jeongguk had changed into actual pyjamas, his own from what he brought back with him from his apartment. He stood, arms crossed on his chest, pensive. 

Yoongi was rustling around in the room behind him getting ready for bed. He wasn’t sure if he would get any sleep tonight - there was too much going on in his head, all the ideas and plans they laid out. Jeongguk wasn’t sure if he was excited or terrified for the coming weeks. Probably a bit of both,

He turned slightly when Yoongi joined him on the balcony. He was dressed in sweats and a t-shirt, one that Jeongguk had gotten him for his birthday a couple of years ago. It had tiny font on it that said ‘ if you can read this fuck off’ and he had loved it. 

Yoongi stood just close enough for their arms to brush each other. 

“So,” Yoongi started.

“So,” Jeongguk copied.

“It’s going to be a long few weeks.” Yoongi looked at Jeongguk out of the corner of his eye. “Are you sure you’re up to this?”

“I don’t know,” Jeongguk replied without taking his eyes of the Seoul skyline, and it was the truth. He didn’t know if he was going to be ready for what came next. Namjoon had explained the plan to them, and he was worried about his involvement. 

They had been tasked with digging up as much information on Seojun as they could, and Namjoon would take that, along with what happened to Jeongguk, and meet with his police friend and see if they could get any more information on Baekhyun or anyone else who had pressed charges. 

Jeongguk was expected to come with them if they do find Baekhyun. Namjoon guessed he would be spooked and not willing to cooperate and that maybe Jeongguk could help with that - shared experience and all. Jeongguk wasn’t sure about that, but he had to try. He had come to the decision that he was going to do everything he could to bring Seojun down. The more he thought about others that Seojun would hurt, the angrier he got.

Seojun felt he had the right to take what he wanted simply because he wanted it. He preyed on Jeongguk’s innocence and insecurities to twist him into what he wanted. And he would do it again. He had done it before it seems, to this Baekhyun. Jeongguk wanted to save them, and if it saved him on the way, then great. But he didn’t care much about that right now.

“You have us,” Yoongi spoke softly. “You have us no matter what.”

Jeongguk looked at Yoongi and smiled. “I know.”

Yoongi smiled back. Jeongguk reached down and took his hand, interlocking their fingers.

“Do you think we will be able to win this?” Jeongguk asked after a minute.

Yoongi didn’t answer right away, but Jeongguk was glad he didn’t. He was actually thinking about the answer. Jeongguk didn’t want false hope. He wanted the truth.

“It’ll be hard,” Yoongi started. “But I think we have a good chance. If we can get the support of others who have faced this in the past, I think we can get Seojun to answer for his crimes.”

Jeongguk nodded. It actually helped settle his nerves. Having Yoongi believe it was possible was enough to fill him with the hope that they’ll win.

“I don’t want to be afraid anymore,” Jeongguk whispered. He hadn’t completely meant to say it out loud and Yoongi seemed to guess this. He could always read him. Better than Jeongguk could read himself. Yoongi just squeezed his hand.

“Let’s go to bed,” Yoongi suggested. Jeongguk looked at him for a moment, then nodded. Yoongi led him to the bed, the two crawling under the covers. Yoongi pulled Jeongguk close to him and Jeongguk wondered if he was holding him because he was still scared for him, or because he wanted to.

It was only two nights ago when Jimin had mentioned that Yoongi had given hints that he liked him. Only a week ago, he even found out Yoongi liked guys . With everything going on he hadn’t had much time to dwell on it, but it had been seeded in his mind. 

Everything Yoongi did, he couldn’t help but wonder if there was more meaning behind it. He started to pour over everything Yoongi had done and said to him over the past five years of their relationship and he noticed that at some point, something had shifted.  

He had been crushing on Yoongi for almost as long as he had known him, that hasn't changed, but Yoongi had. At some point, Yoongi had changed the way he acted around him. He touched him more than he touched the others. He would spend hours alone with him, while he would avoid the others, needing his time alone. He never truly disciplined him, not how he would with the rest of them, minus Seokjin.

Jeongguk could easily play that off as them being close. Yoongi was the one he felt closest with. But Namjoon and Yoongi had been friends for twice as long as they have, and their relationship, while close, is different than his and Yoongi’s.

He could pin it down to Yoongi thinking of him as a younger brother, but again - Jimin and Taehyung are just as important to him. And he didn’t hold them the way he held Jeongguk.

He laid there, back against Yoongi’s chest, his arms wrapped securely around him. Jeongguk knew his relationship with Yoongi was special. He never gave it too much thought past his own pinning. But maybe Jimin was right. Maybe there was something?

Jeongguk turned around carefully and looked at Yoongi. He was asleep which he was happy for. Yoongi needed sleep, he could see the dark bags under his eyes. His forehead was creased in worry. Jeongguk frowned. He brought his hand up and gently rubbed his thumb against Yoongi’s forehead, humming contentedly as he watched the skin smooth out, Yoongi giving a sigh in his sleep.

Jeongguk didn't know what their relationship was, but he knew it was special. Knew it was something he could examine more thoroughly after everything with Seojun was taken care of. When he had a chance to heal from this. Maybe they could be something Jeongguk always dreamed about. 

Jeongguk leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on Yoongi’s cheek. 

For now, though, they would just be Jeongguk and Yoongi.

Chapter Text

Namjoon tugs his jacket collar close to his face and stepped in farther to the alleyway as a group of teenagers stopped at the mouth. Namjoon watched them as they chatted, one of the boys reaching into his bag and pulling something out to show the others before the moved on. Namjoon let out a breath and tugged his coat tighter. 

He was waiting in an alleyway somewhere on the edge of Itaewon and Yongsan. His friend Chanyeol worked at the Seoul Yongsan Police Station and had agreed to meet him halfway. Namjoon had advised discretion and they agreed to meet in this alley. Namjoon was a little worried due to how close it was to the Yongsan Army base but he had yet to see any soldiers who were monitoring the area. He wasn’t doing anything illegal, but he was sure he looked suspicious standing in the back, coat pulled tight around him.

He opened his coat to check on the documents he had tucked in there for the sixth time since he got there. It was everything they had gathered on Seojun since the incident almost a month ago. He had documents from when they reported the break into Jeongguk’s landlords to articles and reports over the years of Seojun’s possible victims of the same things Jeongguk went through.

After they had reported the break into the landlord, it was taken to the police, and the security camera from both Jeongguk and Seojun’s floor were handed over. They hadn’t thought about security cameras - Jeongguk didn't even think they were operational, just more of a deterrent - but it hadn’t matter anyway. Nothing ever came out of it. They weren’t exactly surprised. Seojun had managed to stay out of trouble for this before. Namjoon’s thoughts about Seojun’s family having cops in their payroll was confirmed when Jeongguk had received a mocking and threatening text from Seojun about it a few days later.

It was one of the things he had documented, along with the photos of Jeongguk’s injuries and the destruction to his apartment. He got more photos when they went back and salvaged anything they could from Jeongguk’s apartment, and brought it all over to Yoongi’s. They all agreed that he would stay with Yoongi until further notice. No one wanted him living in this building and Jeonguk was still working on getting out of his lease. Namjoon thinks they've been lucky so far not to have run into Seojun. He’s not sure what any of them would do if they did.

He hears a car horn followed by some yelling. He checks his watch and its five past their meeting time. Namjoon was getting a little antsy. He was fairly sure Chanyeol wouldn’t be a cop that had been corrupted by Seojun’s family. He didn’t know how big of a reach they may have, but after their research, he was starting to see some of these ties ran deeper than just Seojun covering up some of his crimes. 

He had dug more into the company Gyeong Dev and his grandfather and father on his own time. He didn’t tell the others what he had found, he wanted them to focus on Jeongguk, but he suspected that the family had deeper ties in the crime world than they ever expected.

Because of this, he was worried about taking this to any cop. He had no idea who would be dirty. But he knew Chanyeol. He was in his class when they both attended KNPU before Namjoon dropped out after the first year. He was a good man, he wanted to be a police officer to help people. Namjoon trusted his gut and his gut told him Chanyeol could help.

He wasn’t close with Chanyeol, but they kept in touch after he dropped out. None of the others, aside from Yoongi, know that they know each other from school. As far as the others know, Namjoon never went to post-secondary, just joined Doyoon with Yoongi right after highschool.

Chanyeol had tried to convince him after he dropped out to come back, but he couldn't. But Chanyeol never stopped pestering him to go back to the University and finish what he started. But it was out of the question now. Namjoon tried not to let the ‘what if’s’ and ‘what could be’ rattle around too much in his head. He was happy with his life, with his friends. He was. Besides, he couldn’t go back even if he wanted to.

Namjoon was knocked out of his thoughts when he heard someone approaching. He looked up to let out a sigh to see the tall figure of Chanyeol walking up to him. 

He was dressed in casual clothing, with a jacket wrapped just as tightly around him. Back in KNPU, he had been tall and scrawny, gangly limbs and bright eyes with a mop of red hair on his head that he often tied back. Now, he was still tall, but he filled out, his body seemed thicker under the coat and his face more defined. His hair was black now, cropped, and his eyes were dimmer than he remembered. He could see years of weight on them. He wonders what demons he can see in Namjoon’s own eyes.

“Chanyeol-nim,” Namjoon greeted, with a smile. He was glad to see him, it had been years, since just after he dropped out. He was glad to see him in good health it seemed.

“Namjoon, it’s good to see you,” Chanyeol returned the smile. “And drop the honorific, please, I’m not here as an officer. I’m here as a friend.” 

Namjoon gave a nod. “It’s good to see you Chanyeol.”

Chanyeol smiled at him before dropping to a more serious expression. “So why did you want to meet? Sounded urgent.”

Namjoon took a breath.

“Do you know the name Moon Seojun?”

Namjoon watched Chanyeol's reaction carefully. He saw his eyes widen just a bit, but only for a second. Namjoon could tell he wasn’t expecting to hear that name. 

“I’ve heard of him. Son and grandson of the owners of Gyeong Dev. Causes a lot of trouble and is overall a reckless idiot. He’s set to take over the company.” Chanyeol eyed Namjoon. Namjoon knew there was more than he was letting on. This is where he needed to trust his gut about Chanyeol.

“Over the last few years, there have been reports and allegations towards him that have never gone through the initial stages of an investigation. They all got swept under the rug. They’re scattered about, but I’ve been looking into them for the past month. So far I’ve only managed to find one name in all of these,” 

Namjoon pulled out the folder from his jacket, handing it to Chanyeol. “A man named Byun Baekhyun, who had gone public with his charges before they were dismissed by him.” 

Namjoon saw Chanyeol's hand faltered a little when he grabbed the folder. So he knows that name too. Interesting. “Everything I have found on him is in that folder.”

Chanyeol paged through the folder for a moment then looked back up at Namjoon. “Why are you showing me this?”

“Because about a month ago, a close friend of mine was sexually assaulted by Seojun.”

Namjoon felt the anger and sorrow bubble in him just at the mention of what happened to Jeongguk. He hated himself for letting it happen, for not being more observant. He had wanted to be a detective when he was younger, and he had missed it. Missed everything. And he hated himself for not being someone Jeongguk could have confided in.

So he’s been working non-stop digging up everything he could on Seojun in hopes of having enough evidence for Chanyeol to do something. It was all he could do to make it up to Jeongguk. 

Chanyeol gave him a sympathetic look. “I’m sorry,” was all he said. Namjoon was grateful he didn’t try to pry.

“Seojun has threatened him about trying to tell anyone, and we went to the police because he broke in and trashed his apartment, but it was dropped before we even thought about pressing charges,” Namjoon explained.

“His name comes up around the station sometimes,” Chanyeol started, carefully, while he looked back at the documents. He didn’t seem overly comfortable to be talking about him. “He’s caused trouble for us and other posts. But it either gets dropped by the person or the chief tells us it’s being taken over by a different branch.” Chanyeol closed the folder and looked back at Namjoon. “Still doesn’t explain why you are telling me all this.”

“I was hoping you could find out where this Baekhyun is so we could speak with him.” 

Chanyeol’s eyebrows rose. “You want me to track someone down for you? You do realize that’s illegal. I could lose my job over this.” His tone wasn’t accusatory, he was just stating the facts.

“I know. But this man has gotten away with too much, and he deserves to be locked up. I don’t know who I could even go to in the police force given the companies ties.”

“And what makes you think I’m not one of Seojun’s cops?” Chanyeol challenged. “Who’s to say I won’t just burn all this evidence and report it to Seojun?”

Namjoon didn’t flinch. “Because I know you, and I remember why you joined the police. You want to help people. You wouldn’t go dirty like that.”

“That was a long time ago,” Chanyeol moved his gaze to some spot behind Namjoon, lost in thought. “A lot has happened since then. I just want to live my days in peace.” Chanyeol handed the folder back to Namjoon, but he didn’t take it.

“I know the man you were back then - a good man. That doesn’t change, not really.” Namjoon pushed Chanyeol's hand away. “Please, Seojun hurt my friend and I’m not going to let him get away with that.”

“And you think you can, what, throw him in jail? By yourself? You’re not a cop, Namjoon. You had that chance. What can you do now?” Chanyeol challenged. 

“I can try. No one else is, and Seojun made the mistake of hurting my kid.” Namjoon challenged right back, not backing down. “He’s hurt others too, this Baekhyun, and whoever else. They all deserve justice. But I can’t do it on my own.

Chanyeol’s gaze was heavy on him. He was analyzing him, he could tell. He hoped by using Baekhyun's name would push his cause. The name meant something to him.

“Not to mention, there is that favour you owe me from back in uni.” Namjoon casually mentioned.

Chanyeol groaned and rolled his eyes. “Really? You’re going to play that card? Fine.” He huffed, putting the folder in his own coat. “I’ll look into it and contact you if I find anything.”

“Thank you,” Namjoon said, and he meant it. Chanyeol’s annoyance eased a bit and he looked at him with something softer and sad. 

“This friend, he must mean a lot to you?” Chanyeol asked.

Namjoon nodded. “I’ve looked after him since he was seventeen. We’re all he’s got.”

Chanyeol nodded in understanding. “I get it.” Chanyeol turned to leave but Namjoon stopped him. Chanyeol turned back and Namjoon moved in a little closer.

“I included some information about his father, Moon Young-jin, and his grandfather Euijoo Gyeong. If you don’t mind taking a look.” Namjoon gave Chanyeol a pointed look. Chanyeol gave a curt nod, then left.






Namjoon knocked on the door and it opened a moment later, revealing Yoongi. Namjoon watched as Yoongi deflated and moved aside, letting him in. He had been tense all month, his guard always up. Not that the rest were any better. Everyone was on edge all the time. He was grateful that Taehyung and Jimin still managed to keep the energy going at work with their antics, but it was toned down. And Jeongguk...

Namjoon walked into the living room where Jeongguk was curled up on the couch, watching something on his phone. He looked up at Namjoon and he could see a few lasting bruises on his cheek. Most had faded, and the last remains would probably be gone by next week.

He couldn’t say the same for the bruising under his eyes. Dark circles there highlight just how exhausted he was. Yoongi told him Jeongguk doesn’t sleep too much anymore, and he had taken up Taekwondo again - something he had taken as a kid. He’s been pushing himself too hard, but no one really has the heart to stop him. Yoongi at least said he managed to convince him to eat again. He hadn’t been eating anything during the day, ignoring it in the place of doing more research or working out. 

Even though he had been against doing anything in the beginning, Jeongguk had become the most dedicated. He told them he wants to take Seojun down and find justice for the others they had discovered.

“Hyung,” Jeongguk exclaimed, taking the earbuds out and putting his phone away. “How did it go?”

Namjoon dropped onto the couch beside him, angled towards Jeongguk. “Good, I think.” He turned to Yoongi who moved and sat on the chair. “He told me he’d look into it. I think he knows something about it, at least about Baekhyun. He seemed to know both his and Seojun’s name.”

“And we can trust him?” Jeongguk asked, chewing on his lip, eyes wide. Namjoon gave him a reassuring smile.

“Yes, I trust Chanyeol. He’s a good guy.” Namjoon hoped. He truly didn’t think Chanyeol would be dirty, but the look in his eyes, it had been bothering him the whole way here. He wasn’t sure Chanyeol was quite the same man he used to know. But then again, neither was he. 

“Good,” Yoongi spoke, a smile directed at Jeongguk. It as a smile, Namjoon noted, that was reserved for Jeongguk only, had been for years. “That’s good. Now we just wait.”

Jeongguk sighed, sinking into the couch. He was chewing on his nails now, something he had always done when he was worried and had been a near-constant presence as of late. Jeongguk looked up at Namjoon. “How do you know this cop anyways?”

Namjoon hesitated, thought about lying. But lying, hiding the truth, had caused more than enough issues in Jeongguk’s life as of yet. And it would be nice, he thinks, to tell someone else.

“I met Chanyeol in school, we went to the Korean National Police University. We attended together during his first year, but I left after that. We keep in touch.”

Surprise coloured Jeongguk’s face. He sat up a bit, curling his legs under him. “You were in school to be a cop?” Namjoon thought he could hear wonder mixed in with the astonishment in his voice and he kept back a chuckle. 

“Yeah, I wanted to be a detective when I was a kid.” Namjoon shrugged.

“Why did you leave?” Jeongguk asked.

“Ah,” Namjoon’s eyes flicked over to Yoongi. Yoongi gave a slight shake of his head, a silent no. He looked back at Jeongguk who was still looking at him with wide eyes. “It wasn’t as much fun as I thought it would be.” Namjoon shrugged, giving Jeongguk an easy smile. “School wasn’t for me in the end.” 

Namjoon could see the way Yoongi’s head dropped, the guilt he could pick up off of him. He saw Jeongguk opening his mouth for another question, but Namjoon quickly changed it.

“So we figured for your birthday we would all go to Jin’s for dinner. Have some cake and drinks after.” 

Jeongguk looked startled at the change in the subject but went with it. “Oh. Yeah, that’s this week.”

“Did you forget your own birthday?” Yoongi teased. His mood had eased into something lighter now, looking at Jeongguk with a smile pulling on his lips. 

“It isn’t exactly a priority right now,” Jeongguk scratched head. “It’s not really a big deal.”

“Still, we could use some fun right now,” Namjoon suggested. “We dropped all the info off to Chanyeol, and all we can do is wait now. Might as well make the most of it.”

“Yeah,” Yoongi agreed. “It’ll be fun. Besides,” He looked at them with a pinched smile. “Depending on what Chanyeol comes back with, it could be a long few months.”

Namjoon sniffed, looking over at Jeongguk who had again sunk into the couch, his eyes glazed over. “Yeah, it will be.”







Namjoon stayed for a bit to go over some details of Jeongguk’s birthday - They would go to Seokjin’s on Saturday around three and there’d be food and drinks. Nothing crazy, just the seven of them, together. Jeongguk was quite happy with that. It would be the first time the seven of them would be together and not all researching and scouring for information. Those were tense and stressful times, and tempers flared on more than one occasion. Jeongguk hated how high strung everyone was, but there wasn’t anything he could do about it anymore.

Namjoon left after that, giving Jeongguk a tight hug and Yoongi a pat of the shoulder and a meaningful look. It was dark now, and Jeongguk and Yoongi started to get ready for bed. Jeongguk had set up a small workout area in Yoongi’s living room, and he did a quick session, ignoring the exasperation from Yoongi. He thought Jeongguk was pushing himself too hard but this was the only way to keep Jeongguk in the right headspace. He had to keep moving and doing things lest he falls back into his head.

Right now he was thinking about how Namjoon had been in university to be a police officer. It wasn’t the most far fetched thing - Namjoon was smart. Really smart. And he always enjoyed mystery, whether in books and shows, or over who took the last k-cup at the trailer. He had dug up the most information on Seojun, had been the one with the plan. He was more focused on the fact that he left, and that it was serious enough that he never bothered to tell anyone or go back. 

Well besides Yoongi. He saw the look Namjoon threw him, the way Yoongi gave a minute shake of his head. They probably figured he would have missed it but he had become a lot more perceptive since Seojun. And he had spent most of the last five years watching them and his friends and was able to pick up on subtle exchanges between them.

Something happened then, that involved Yoongi. Jeongguk knew they were friends from before he joined the crew, before they joined too, but not much more than that. He knew they were childhood friends, but that’s all he really knew about their pasts together.

Jeongguk put down his weights and sat on the chair, looking over at the kitchen where Yoongi was, doing the dishes from dinner. Jeongguk could hear the clinking of dishware and the shadow of Yoongi being cast into the living area. 

Whatever happened he obviously didn’t want to share. Jeongguk couldn’t help but feel annoyed by this. He had shared his past - things he had never told anyone - and yet he still barely knew anything about Yoongi from before they met, other than his dick ex. It didn’t feel fair.

He knew that was a childish way to think, but Yoongi had been pushing him to let go and speak about his past but he didn’t seem keen on returning the favour. Jeongguk knew Yoongi had his own demons. He understands him too much for that. He wished Yoongi would rely on him as well, the way he was asking him to rely on Yoongi. Jeongguk brought his under his shirt and rubbed at his scar, thinking about demons he had yet to share.

He sighed, forgetting it for now. It wasn’t a conversation he was about to have tonight. He was too tired. The anxiety building up to Namjoon’s meet with Chanyeol, and the relief that it had gone okay, and the mounting apprehension in what could come next, Jeongguk felt drained. He certainly didn’t have the energy to get into it with Yoongi.

He wiped his forehead with his towel and walked over to the kitchen, leaning on the frame to watch Yoongi. 

Yoongi’s back was to him but be looked over when Jeongguk approached, smiling quickly before moving back to the dishes. He was in sweats and a tank top. Yoongi usually sticks to long sleeves, but having lived with him for a month now, Jeongguk had seen him dressed in tank tops and shorts, sometimes walking around in just boxers in the early hours of the morning. They had been the sources for more than a few heart attacks in Jeongguk. He still wasn’t used to being able to see Yoongi’s arms let alone everything else. 

They were a lot more toned than he would have thought, though he does the same manual work like the rest of them so it stands to reason he was just a fit. He watched the way the muscles moved in his arms as he worked in the sink, scrubbing at a pan. Jeongguk looked away. He tried not to stare, but Yoongi made it so hard. Being in such close quarters with him all the time made his stupid crush just flourish and hurt so much more.

Jeongguk felt guilty living with Yoongi when he had such feelings for him. Yoongi was helping him, taking care of him as a friend, and he was here, ogling at him and feeling feelings that he had no right to.

And those feelings just kept coming. They come in the early morning when they are getting ready for work and Yoongi stumbles, barely awake, but always has coffee ready for him. They come when Jeongguk stays out late at dance and taekwondo and the gym, not getting in until it's later than late and Yoongi is still up, waiting for him. He’s never mad or upset, just offers him the food he knows he didn’t eat and asks him about his day. They come when Yoongi sees he’s struggling and he doesn’t say a thing, just wraps his arms around him and holds him till it’s almost okay.

They come when he gets to watch all the habits he never got to experience before, like how Yoongi puts his socks on before he puts anything else on, or how he waits until he finds a show or movie to watch before he will even touch his food, or how he twists his lips when he's been thinking too long about something like he’s tasted something sour, or how he only showers at night because it takes up too much time in the morning. 

Yoongi turns around, drying his hands and says, “Ready for bed?” and Jeongguk nods and he follows Yoongi to his bedroom.

They come now too, when Jeongguk changes into pyjamas, crawling under the covers with Yoongi, immediately slotting into his front and Yoongi wraps an arm around him and it feels right. They come the worst in these moments. Ever since he had had a bad nightmare a week after they had made the plan to gather information and Yoongi had come out to see Jeongguk on the ground, having fallen off the couch, in a fit of fear and rage. After he asked Jeongguk how often these nightmares happen and Jeongugk gave a whispered every night , and Yoongi grabbed his arm and led him to his bed, wrapping him up like he had the night he told everyone.

Ever since then Jeongguk had been sleeping in Yoongi’s bed. He had tried to go back to the couch but Yoongi told him it was okay and Jeongguk was weak weak weak. He couldn’t resist sleeping with Yoongi after getting a taste. And he kind of hated himself for it - because it meant so much more to him. 

Jeongguk can feel Yoongi breathing, even and peaceful and he falls asleep. Jeongguk closes his eyes to hold back tears. It’s not right. He shouldn’t be doing this, using Yoongi’s kindness and loyalty like this. He knew Yoongi was letting him sleep there to help his nightmares. And they had. He barely has them when he’s with Yoongi. All he can think and dream about these nights is Yoongi which is almost worse.

A part of him knows that it's more than just that to Yoongi. He can see it, see that it’s more. But Jeongguk can’t get the rest of him to believe it. Before he thought, maybe, maybe there's something more. But after living with Yoongi, seeing how good it felt to live with Yoongi, be around him in moments that should just be for him, see him in a way no one else can, he wants him more than ever before. And the idea of losing it hurts more than he could imagine.

Jeongguk was supposed to be finding an apartment, somewhere else to live. He’d been putting it off, Yoongi too. Neither of them had talked about it much more than a passing ‘ in your next place,’ and Jeongguk knew he shouldn’t be avoiding it. But he didn’t want to go to his ‘next place’. He wanted to stay with Yoongi. It was selfish, but he wanted to be selfish for a bit longer if it meant getting Yoongi to hold him like this for a little longer. 

And if Yoongi did want him like he did, or even just a bit more than a friend, he also hadn’t said a thing. And It’s not like Jeongguk was subtle. He had been in love with Yoongi for years, love that had changed and grew from puppy love and adoration to something deeper and filled with longing, into where he is now, where he feels like he’d drown without Yoongi. 

He supposes it’s probably not the healthiest, his attachment that built far too quickly in the past month, but neither is Yoongi’s. He never lets Jeongguk leave without telling him where he’s going, checks in on him every few hours, checks in with the other if he’s with them. He freaks out if he doesn’t know where Jeongguk is at any given moment. 

He’s worried for him, he says and is trying to protect him, but Jeongguk thinks Yoongi is just as attached to him. He just doesn’t know if it’s the same way. If it was, wouldn’t he have said something? Whether it was to confirm his own feelings or to tell Jeongguk that he didn’t feel the same? He couldn’t believe Yoongi had no idea of his feelings. They were too obvious, too hard to contain.

Jeongguk looked at Yoongi. It was something he did a lot at night. He didn’t sleep much, his dreams either of Seojun, his past, or Yoongi, and all of them are too much. So instead he watches Yoongi, memorizes the lines and patterns on his face, tries to sear his image in his head so he never forgets. 

He doesn’t know what he’d do if he lost Yoongi. There's a dark, nasty part of him that keeps saying he’s going too, like everyone else. He can usually ignore it but it’s still there. At night it gets loud - all his emotions do. It’s the only time he can let everything he’s feeling out because Yoongi is asleep and it’s the only time he really gets alone.

This is when he can let his tears fall, can let the full force of his love and guilt and pain bleed through the wall he’s put up. Until the morning when he needs to cover it up again because there’s too much else going on, and he doesn’t want Yoongi to see, to scare him or hurt him. 

Jeongguk lets out an unsteady breath and turns away from Yoongi onto his back. 

He figures it is time to really look for a new place. It’s not fair to Yoongi or him. He needs to give himself space as much as he hates the idea of living somewhere alone or with strangers. God, he might have to move in with roommates, people he doesn’t know. He doesn’t have the money to afford a new place and replace all the things that were destroyed. He’d been slowly buying more clothes and dishes and products in the past month, but it’s nowhere near enough and to get a new place he’d have to use his savings. 

That's another reason he had been putting it off. He knew he would have to use most of the savings he had already accumulated in order to put a deposit down on a new apartment especially if he wanted to live alone and in the area he was living. All the time saving, wasted.

He could feel his anxiety creep up just thinking about it. He shook his head, deciding he would deal with all of this after the party. Maybe he could ask them ideas of what he could do. They would help him. They always did, even if he didn’t always deserve it.

Jeongguk turned again, away from Yoongi. He told himself to go sleep on the couch. He told himself to pull away, not to touch. He kept telling himself that as he slid back again, pushing into Yoongi and pulling his arm around him. He kept telling himself that it would be okay until he fell asleep.





Jeongguk walked into the dance studio and is immediately attacked. His heart stops for a moment, fear skyrocketing before Taehyung’s familiar laugh rings in his ears. The sound impedes the panic that had been building and he relaxes, adjusting to accept the hug Taehyung was giving him. He took a deep breath. You’re okay.

“Jesus Tae, you just about gave him a heart attack.” Jimin’s voice floats to him as Taehyung releases him. Jimin walked up, a scolding look on his face. 

“Awh, come on. I haven’t seen him in days. I missed my Jeonggukkie.” Taehyung pouts, then squeaks when Jimin pinches his side.

Jeongguk giggles, and Taehyung smiles at him. “See? He’s fine. Relax Chim.” Jimin rolled his eyes and walked back over to where he was stretching with Hoseok. Jeongguk met his eyes and Hoseok quickly looked away. Jeongguk felt a pang in his cheat. Hoseok had been weird around him ever since he told them. He didn’t talk to him as much anymore and would avoid him sometimes. Jeongguk tried not to let it bother him but it was hard. Yoongi had told him to give it time, it had taken him a bit to adjust to Yoongi too. He hoped that was the case.

The fact that Hoseok was there just as much as everyone else when it came to researching is what made it harder to understand. He probably contributed the most after Namjoon and Yoongi, stopping by the apartment to check in often, even if it wasn’t for long. It just served to make his behaviour all the more confusing. 

He turned to Taehyung, pushing it back for now. “How was your trip home?”

Taehyung wrapped an arm around Jeongguk, his smiled widening. “It was really nice, I hadn’t seen my Aunt and Uncle in a few years. They left the same time as me. It was good for my mom too. I know she missed me Uncle.”

Jeongguk smiled, happy to hear about his friend's families. It used to be painful, but over time he learned to be grateful that his friends had loving families they could go back to.

“My mom asked when you’ll be coming out for another visit,” Taehyung continued. “She said you should come out this Christmas if you wanted.”

Jeongguk laughed, his cheeks a little warm. He had gone with Taehyung and Jimin home for Christmas two years ago. They had pestered him for a while and he finally relented, but it had been hard. Brought up a lot of old memories. But Taehyung's family was wonderful, and his siblings were adorable. Maybe it would be better this time, and he did miss them.

“Maybe, but it’s not even Fall yet,” Jeongguk replied. “We can talk about it more another time.”

Taehyung shrugged, content with the response. He let go of Jeongguk so he could do his warm-ups. He sat down beside Jimin and said hello, then offered a timid hello to Hoseok.

Hoseok smiled at him but it seemed a little strained. “Hey, Guk,” was all he got. Jeongguk deflated. At least Hoseok still acknowledged him. He didn’t completely cut him out.

He talked with Jimin and Taehyung. Taehyung had been gone for the last few days, visiting home because some of his extended family were visiting for a bit. He was retelling the experience and Jeongguk loved seeing the joy on his face. It had been sorely missed these last few weeks.  

When the practice started, Taehyung moved off to the side, switching between looking at his phone and watching them. He sometimes comes by the dance studio to watch them, Jimin usually showing him the dances when they went home. They all urged him to join the troop with them, but he always turned them down. Jeongguk thinks he’s embarrassed by his dancing, though Jimin says he’s pretty good.

Jeongguk likes it when he comes. Taehyung will often try and make him laugh during it and Jeongguk takes it as a challenge to stay straight-faced. A few times Taehyung had managed to break him and he would mess up the formation, resulting in stern words from both Hosoek and the instructors. 

Seeing Taehyung partake in that now, just a little, made him happy. He had been subdued the last while as well. He was glad to see his trip home seemed to put him back in high spirits. 

They paused for a break and Taehyung walked over, starting to tell Jimin about all the mistakes he made which Jimin threw his water bottle at him and Hoseok laughed. Jeongguk would have laughed too but something caught his eye. He stared.

Through the window in the studio, on the other side of the street, there was a man. He was dressed in dark clothes and a long jacket. He had a hat and face mask on. That was fairly normal, but it wasn’t what caught his eye. It was the camera in his hand, that was pointed right at him.

Jeongguk tensed and quickly moved from the view of the window. He pushes himself up against the wall, his breathing stuttering.

“Jeongguk?” he looked over to see Jimin quickly coming over to him. Taehyung and Hoseok followed, standing behind him. They looked concerned. 

“Th-there’s a man out there with a camera,” Jeongguk stuttered out. Their eyes widened and Taehyung moved over to the window. Jeongguk went to stop him, but Taehyung was already peering out the window. 

“I don’t see anyone,” Taehyung reported,

“He was across the street, dark clothes and a long brown jacket,” Jeongguk said, bringing his arms up to rub at his arms.

Taehyung looked again, then shook his head. “They’re gone now, I don’t see them.”

Jeongguk let out a breath and inched over to the window, peeking out. The spot where the man had been standing was now vacated. Jeongguk turned away again, closing his eyes and breathing.

“He was there, I know it.” He said when he opened his eyes again.

“We believe you,” Jimin said, worry lines on his face. He looked at the others. “Maybe we should leave.”

Taehyung shook his head. “What if he’s hanging around still?” The thought made Jeongguk shudder.

“Let’s wait till the end, then we can leave with the rest of the troop, in the crowd,” Hoseok said, moving to the window and closing the blind. “Then we will walk Jeongguk back to Yoongi’s.” 

Jimin and Taehyung agreed and Jeongguk looked at Hoseok with gratitude. 

“Thank you, hyung,” Jeongguk said. Hoseok seemed a little taken aback, but he smiled, and hesitantly brought a hand up and ruffled his hair. 

“Don't sweat it, kid.” He removed his hand and he walked over to the dance instructor who had been looking at them, confusion and worry on her face. Jimin and Taehyung moved to either side of him, moving in close. 

“Do you think it was him?” Taehyung asked, tentatively. 

Jeongguk shook his head. “I don’t know. Maybe? I don’t know why,” Jeongguk admitted. “Other than the odd message reminding me to stay out of his way, Seojun has mostly left me alone. Though I don’t know who else it would be so,” Jeongguk breathed. 

Every so often he got a message from Seojun, usually mocking him and how helpless he was. The others had wanted him to block his number but he convinced them that it was better for more evidence when they do go after him.

“It’s gotta be him, he’s probably watching to make sure you don’t do anything,” Jimin sneered. The thought scared Jeongguk, thinking about being watched.

“We don’t know that,” Taehyung shot back, giving Jimin a look. “Let’s not make assumptions. Maybe he was just taking a picture of the building or the scenery or something. Let’s not panic.” Taehyung’s tone was calm as he spoke, trying to bring placate both Jeongguk and Jimin.

“Yeah,” Jeongguk replied, looking at the now drawn blinds as they moved back to resume the practice, thinking about how when he had looked out, that camera lens had been trained directly on him. “Maybe.”