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A Man for All Seasons

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December 1995

You met Yoongi at Seokjin’s house in December of 1995. You were back in town for your first winter break at UCLA and Seokjin had invited a bunch of your high school buddies over to meet a few of his new college friends from Cal who were also local to the area.

You don’t recall much of him. You might have bummed a cigarette off of him as a few of you sat on the front steps of Seokjin’s house with only the dim yellow haze of the street lamps breaking the darkness. Like you, he was content to let the others carry the burden of conversation.

They laughed at you shivering in the cold in just a thin T-shirt.

“People usually put on clothes when they go outside, Y/N,” your old friend, Namjoon, teased.

“I don’t want my parents to smell the smoke on my clothes,” you replied. “I’d like to keep the fighting to a minimum for once.”

“It won’t do you any good - they’ll just smell it on your hair,” observed Yoongi.

You flicked the ashes off your cigarette into the air. “They won’t be up when I get home. I’ll wash my hair before I go to sleep.”

Yoongi just grunted in return.

---

Spring 1996

You saw him again during your spring break when Seokjin invited you over for a marathon poker tournament which you sat out because if you had wanted to be robbed, there were faster - and more pleasurable - ways to do so. Instead, you spent all day glued to the couch in Seokjin’s family room, carefully re-reading every single issue of The Sandman comic books to mark the release of the final issue.

Yes, you were that weird friend who participated in a social event by bringing over your crate of all original issues wrapped in cellophane and ignoring everyone else. This was your spring break - you would do what you wanted.

“Had I known it was an option, I would have brought my Slam Dunk manga and joined you,” Yoongi said when you had taken a brief break and wandered over to the kitchen in search of sustenance.

“Translated English versions or the original Japanese?” you asked.

“The Korean versions, actually,” he explained. “They’re a little more faithful to the original Japanese.”

You nodded in respect. “Did you have to go to Korean school every Saturday morning like I had to for Chinese?”

He laughed. “I moved here from Korea when I was in the third grade.”

“Ah,” you replied. “Born and raised in the Bay Area. 12 years of weekly Chinese school and I can barely read a damn thing. Passed out of my language requirement at UCLA though. How’s that for a commentary on our standards of fluency?”

“I learned some hanja - but I forgot it all.”

“I don’t blame you,” you commiserated. “The guys taught me how to read hangul a long time ago, but I think I’ve forgotten most of it. What good would it do me if I don’t understand what I’m reading?”

Yoongi got himself a soda from the cooler.

“Are you the same age as Seokjin, then? Did they hold you back a grade so your English could catch up?”

“Yeah. You’d think that would have helped with the math, but it did not.” Yoongi took off his cap, curved the bill a little bit more, and put it back on his head. “I’m gonna get in a quick smoke before I go back to taking all their money,” he said. “You interested?”

“Nah,” you replied. “I quit. I couldn’t get the smell out of my fingers.”

“Ah, as good a reason as any.”

You went back to your re-read and didn’t speak another unnecessary word until it was time to go home. Turns out it was the right decision to not play. No one could ever tell when Yoongi was bluffing and despite earning bragging rights, he only smirked vaguely later that night when he pocketed his winnings.

Seokjin had complained that he at least deserved a 10% agent’s fee for facilitating the transaction and providing a clean, neutral location. Yoongi just tossed an oddly folded $20 bill at Seokjin and told him not to spend it all in one place.

---

February 1999

You likely would have seen Yoongi again over summer vacation if you hadn’t stayed down for summer sessions. As it was, whenever you visited home during the rest of your school years, you rarely saw Seokjin without Yoongi. It seemed he had become more part of your old high school crew with Namjoon and Hoseok than you ever were.

You told yourself you weren’t jealous. After all, Seokjin always called your parents’ house during your school breaks to see if you were free. That was a lot more effort than you put in during the school year.

Your last year at UCLA, Seokjin, Yoongi, Namjoon, and Hoseok crashed at your apartment for a very long weekend. They were in town to visit Jimin, Yoongi’s high school friend who attended USC. Seokjin had persuaded you to leave Westwood and join them in K-town and you had reluctantly agreed.

“How did I get roped into being DD?” you griped. “This is patently unfair.”

“You love it,” said Seokjin. “I know you’d otherwise feel as if you’re imposing and crashing the party, but now we legitimately need you. Besides, you’re such a lightweight that alcohol is wasted on you.”

“I’m not a lightweight. I’m actually allergic, you asshole,” you said. “It isn’t because your Integra won’t comfortably fit you all? How did you all make the drive down?”

“It was… not pleasant,” commented Namjoon.

“Oh, shut it, Joon,” Hoseok complained. “At least you and Seokjin were in the front. Yoongi and I were squashed in the back.”

“It’s not my fault I have the longest legs!”

“I knew I should have pregamed,” muttered Yoongi. “Can you all please be quiet? It’s going to be noisy enough as it is. Just give me a few moments of peace!”

That night, you met your future ex-husband through Jimin and his friend, Taehyung. Jackson was a year younger than you and everything you were not. He was bright, handsome, and really charming. When you were paged multiple times by an unknown 213 number a few days later, you almost didn’t call back. Who wanted to pay for local long distance charges just to satisfy their curiosity?

Eventually, the need to know overpowered any thrifty Taiwanese instincts. You were flattered that such an attractive and interesting guy wanted to ask you out. You couldn’t understand what he saw in you.

You had insisted on checking him out and made Seokjin ask Yoongi ask Jimin about Jackson. Then, you had to patiently wait for the game of telephone to make its way back to you.

Jimin had said Jackson was a solid friend and really hard-working. He had also said Jackson was popular with the ladies - but that wasn’t surprising at all. Despite your initial misgivings, you agreed to meet him for Taiwanese shaved ice at Shau Mei’s.

He was attentive, funny, and genuinely seemed to like you. You were lost.

In retrospect, you often wondered if it was for your family’s business connections. Jackson came from a wealthy Hong Kong family specializing in hotels and your grandfather owned a small but profitable steel company in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Though you couldn’t imagine how Jackson would have known at the time, you hated how his betrayal made you question everything you had thought you’d known about the man who had promised to love you until his last breath.

---

September 2002

“Hey, Seokjin,” you said over the phone.

“Hey, Y/N,” he replied. “Long time no chat! What’s up? Are you in town?”

“Oh, uh, no. I wanted to let you know I’m getting married in October. And, um, I was curious if you were free to come down for the banquet.”

“OMG, CONGRATULATIONS!” Seokjin enthused. “I should be free next October! Thanks for the head’s up, Y/N. I’m so excited for you! Congrats again to you and Jackson!”

“Ah, not next October,” you interjected. “Sorry for the last minute notice. I totally understand if you can’t make it. It’s um, I mean this October. Like in a few weeks.”

Seokjin was very quiet as he processed the information. “Oh… I see.” You could practically hear his brain whirring through all the possibilities for such a rushed wedding and settling on the obvious and correct one. “Ah, that’s very exciting.” He replied politely. “I wouldn’t dream of missing it. I assume the guys are invited? We can drive down together.”

“Yeah,” you said softly. “Oh, do you have Yoongi’s number? I don’t actually have his because I only see him with you. But it doesn’t seem right for him not to be at the wedding.”

“Sure. Hold on, let me find it.”

“Oh, and Seokjin, you guys can bring your girlfriends if you want.”

“Thanks, Y/N.”

“Again, sorry for the short notice and no actual wedding invitation. They won’t be printed in time - but I will send out an email with all the details.”

“Are you registered anywhere?”

“No. We’re going old school Chinese style.”

Seokjin laughed. “Nothing better than cold, hard cash.”

“Not a damn thing,” you agreed.

“See you soon, Y/N. Be well.”

“Thanks, Seokjinnie. You, too.”

---

2003

Madison Yi-Ling Wang (王義靈) was born on March 23, 2003 at 6:24 p.m. after you were in labor for 36 hours and pushed for two more. She was a healthy 7 pounds and 2 ounces, 19 inches long, and was both tinier and larger than you anticipated. Time would tell if she would live up to her lofty name, “Righteous Spirit.”

Jackson was such a proud father and so in love, you could have never imagined then how he would abandon you both just two years later. Even then, he had had you all fooled.

Though you could have stayed home and lived comfortably on Jackson’s salary, you chose to return to your job in accounting after you finished up both your paid family leave and maternity leave. You didn’t like the idea of depending solely on Jackson to provide for the family, and you also didn’t want to leave so many years blank on your work history. Plus, you actually enjoyed your work and missed your co-workers.

You were a bit sad to send Madi to daycare so young, but you had found a nice Taiwanese lady who operated a small one out of her home. You comforted yourself that at least Madi would hear Chinese all day. It was hard, especially since Jackson resumed his constant traveling for work almost immediately.

It was very lonely.

There were benefits to being the first of your friends to have a baby though. Since you could no longer easily go out, and many of them had decent disposable income, they spent a good portion of it on Madi. She was the collective child and never wanted for adorable clothes she immediately outgrew, as well as a slew of aunties and uncles to hold her and play with her.

Jimin, Taehyung, and Jungkook, one of Jimin and Jackson’s workout buddies from the gym, visited often. They said it was because they missed Jackson, but half the time, he wasn’t even home. Jackson was exhausted from traveling and wanted to spend his spare time pursuing his hobbies by himself.

Looking back, you had found it odd that his activities never included any of his friends. Even then, you knew something wasn’t quite right.

2005

It spoke to how little you had been paying attention due to working full time and caring for a tiny human that it took you a year before you caught the financial discrepancies in your accounts. Due to the nature of your work, you were the de facto person in charge of finances in the relationship. Prior to Madi, you had religiously reconciled your credit card, banking, and investment statements with your receipts. You had gotten Jackson in that habit as well and he hadn’t minded because it actually made submitting his travel expenses much easier at the end of each quarter.

When you finally decided to restart the discipline, you had wondered why there was a payment to a credit card you didn’t have on file. You had initially missed it during your quick scans for obvious fraud in the last year because you had assumed it was from your joint credit card at the same company. You would have made another assumption that the credit card was maybe something Jackson had opened to get additional airline mileage or points and had forgotten to inform you, except that for some reason, you had been locked out of Jackson’s individual accounts.

He had changed his password.

You prayed for a bit of luck and tried his old password for his individual account on that credit card, betting that Jackson had neglected to change a password for an account he didn’t think you knew about.

You were in. You didn’t know whether to be happy or sick about it.

You immediately downloaded all the statements in case Jackson remembered and changed the password. Then, you downloaded all the transactions in CSV files for easy sorting. It turned out you didn’t even need to do that. He had literally spent thousands of dollars in the past year or so on both local and foreign restaurants, florists, jewelry stores, hotels, and more recently, flights to Hong Kong.

He must have confused his account numbers and posted your joint account for automatic payments instead of his individual account. And since you didn’t notice until just now, he likely thought he had set it up correctly.

You were shaking.

You spent the next month getting your financial ducks in a row. You changed the primary beneficiary on all your life insurance and personal and company retirement accounts to Madison. You re-titled your individual bank and investment accounts into Transfer on Death accounts so Madison would inherit all your money should you die prematurely.

You gathered all your important documents and identifications, inventoried the house, and relocated all your expensive jewelry and stash of emergency cash to your safety deposit box. You removed Jackson from your safety deposit box and all your health proxies and standing letters of authorizations.

You made sure you had as much of Jackson’s financial and tax information on hand for the last 3 to 5 years. You reviewed the pre-nuptial agreement his family had you sign prior to the wedding with a divorce attorney, as well as all your other legal documents. You were secretly grateful that you had never changed your legal name and that neither of you had added the other person on your individual car notes. Your attorney educated you on California divorce laws, on spousal and child support, as well as other liabilities.

You got blood tests done to make sure Jackson hadn’t given you HIV or some other STD.

You would not be the one caught with their proverbial pants down again.

---

2006

After the divorce was finalized, Jackson requested a transfer to the Hong Kong office of Deloitte. He granted you full custody and agreed to the child support payments. In lieu of spousal support, he agreed to waive the value of his half of the house you had bought together in South Pasadena. You were both relieved that he had been so amenable, and grieved that he didn’t fight harder for you and Madi.

Were you two that easy to leave behind?

Your mutual friends were stunned.

Since you hadn’t divulged Jackson’s infidelity, many took his side. Others distanced themselves from you as if divorce was a communicable disease. You were getting divorced before many of them had even gotten married. Your relationship was bandied about as a cautionary tale against marrying too early or for a pregnancy. Jokes about starter marriages abounded. They called you a gold-digger.

Jimin, Taehyung, and Jungkook, though originally Jackson’s friends, were one of the few people who did not abandon you. They had witnessed firsthand how rarely Jackson had spent time with you and Madi. Though you had never confided in them either, they weren’t stupid. People soon learned not to malign your name in front of them.

They continued to invite you to group events and always took special care of Madi. Madi adored her three sam chons.

She saw Jimin, Taehyung, and Jungkook more than she saw your older sister’s family and your parents, all who still lived in the Bay Area. Every month or so, they took turns watching Madi so that you could perhaps have some time to yourself, to date, or to see your other friends. Occasionally, two of them would watch Madi and the other would take you out to dinner.

You didn’t know what you had done to deserve such loyal friends.

In return, you helped them with their taxes, their investments, and gave them advice on grown up things like real estate and living trusts in unofficial capacities. You would make extra food when they came over and badger them to take the leftovers home. You always had their favorite snacks and drinks in stock for when they came by to play with Madi.

---

That Christmas, you, Madi, and Jimin drove back up to the Bay Area for the week. You dropped Jimin at his parent’s house and continued to your own childhood home. Madi was initially very shy with your parents because it had been a few months since she saw her ah gong and ah ma. It was nothing some well placed bribes of Pocky sticks and toys couldn’t quickly fix.

You called Seokjin to let him know that you were in town and if he was free, you’d love to see him. Seokjin was never one to turn down a reason for a gathering and before you knew it, there you were, seeing Jimin again - along with Yoongi, Namjoon, Hoseok and their respective girlfriends at Seokjin’s fancy new house.

Madi fell in love with Seokjin and burst into tears when she found out she couldn’t marry him. Seokjin’s fiancee very kindly sympathized with Madi and comforted her with ice cream and stickers.

You were surprised when Yoongi sat down next to Madi and regaled her with a story complete with different voices and sound effects. You hadn’t realized he was good with children - not that you would have ever had a chance to find out, you supposed. His girlfriend smiled fondly at him and you were happy your old friends had paired up with people who seemed to really love them.

Your heart twinged. You forcefully told yourself that Madi was all you needed, and that it was too late for you, anyway. The only men you knew who actively chose single mothers were generally predators. You would not be inviting that kind of energy into your life.

Even though you knew you should have taken Madi home earlier, it was so rare for you to see the guys all together that you went against your better judgment and let her run around with all these fun uncles and aunties. When it was finally time to go home, you found Madi curled up in Jimin’s arms, all sweaty and sticky.

“Ah, Jiminie. You should have gotten me,” you reproached. “I could have taken her home.”

“It was no problem, Y/N,” Jimin assured. “Yoongi and I were catching up and she was tired. Besides, I got to hear a Korean bedtime story that I haven’t heard since I was a kid.”

Yoongi looked a bit sheepish and waved off the attention. “I have a nephew about Madi’s age,” he explained. “I had fun.”

---

2007

Now that Madi was four and a year into preschool, you were feeling a little looser. Not because it was easier to be a single mom, but because she was a lot more verbal and independent. It was fun to see her emerge even more as a real person.

Those years with the Taiwanese ah ma had helped and you had found a local Chinese immersion preschool for Madi to continue her Chinese. It was important to you for Madi to retain your family’s language. If you’d had the bandwidth, you ideally would have found a way for her to learn Cantonese, too. But seeing as Jackson’s parents also spoke Mandarin and English, you figured Mandarin would be enough.

You made every effort to Skype Jackson’s parents once a week (just as you did with your own) so that she could get used to hearing their voices, seeing her grandparents, and having them in her life. You emailed them pictures and sent them photo books. You knew they loved her and once you got over yourself, you had reached out to them so they knew you still wanted them in Madi’s life.

As it was, you were just grateful you could even remember to speak Chinese - despite Madi rapidly outpacing your available vocabulary. You luckily met a few nice moms at the preschool and were happy to have other working moms nearby to ask questions of. They all had partners, though. So they weren’t totally able to understand, but it was better than nothing.

Eventually, you and Jackson had also worked out a calling and Skype schedule so that he wouldn’t miss out on Madi, either. They mostly spoke in English.

Both of you ended up swallowing a lot of pride and learned to be civil to each other. Jackson was going to make more of an effort to see Madi and was even considering moving back to the States. You refrained from making a snide comment about his girlfriend breaking up with him being the reason he was more available.

---

“Y/N, did you hear?”

“Hear what, Jiminie?”

“Yoongi is moving down to LA,” Jimin said, bouncing around in your family room with Madi.

“Oh?”

“Yeah. He got a new job at Disney and will be working in their Burbank offices.”

“That’s awesome! Is his girlfriend moving down, too?”

“Ah, Y/N. You really have been out of the loop. They broke up.”

“WHAT?!?”

Jimin scooped up Madi and twirled her around and around. “Yeah. A few months ago - maybe early in the new year?”

“They had seemed fine at Seokjin’s house.”

Jimin just shrugged.

“When is he moving down? Did he find a place?”

You wondered where all these nosy questions were coming from. You could easily just call Yoongi and find out for yourself. But though you had his number, the only time you had called it was for your wedding. You two didn’t have that kind of friendship.

“I think he’s coming down in a few weeks. He hasn’t found a place yet, but he probably has a sweet relocation package.”

“What’s he going to do with his house?”

Jimin just laughed. “I don’t know, Y/N. I’m not his mother. We only spoke briefly when he asked me for some advice about locations.”

“Men are useless. You never have the truly interesting information. How do you not ask?” You huffed. “Well, if he’s newly single, he probably doesn’t want to live in South Pasadena like we do,” you chuckled. “I don’t even know how you three aren’t bored out of your minds here.”

“Don’t lump Alhambra in with South Pas,” joked Jimin. “We’re an up and coming, happening place. Full of fun and excitement.”

“Riiiiiiiigggghhhhhttt.”

“Meh, the rent is reasonable and we don’t have to commute too far for work.” Jimin was now on the floor drawing with Madi. He was silent for a bit as he concentrated on drawing bunnies, tigers, and chickies for her to color in.

“You know,” he said after a while. “You have an extra room that’s not being used.”

“Excuse you, it’s my office/crap/storage/catch-all room.”

“Yeah, but then Yoongi doesn’t have to stress out about finding a place for himself right away, and you would get some rent money,” he reasoned. “Plus, you’ve known each other forever now. You wouldn’t have to worry about him.”

“I don’t know, Jimin. I’m pretty sure the last thing he’d want is to share living quarters with a four year old - let alone a 30 year old woman. Especially since we only have one bathroom.”

“Well, I think it would be cool,” said Jimin.

“Of course, you do, Jimin. You’ve known Yoongi since you were an actual child.” You considered what Jimin said for a bit. “Did Yoongi or Seokjin put you up to this? Did either of them ask you to ask me?”

Jimin burst into a cascade of giggles. “I promised not to say.”

“Which one?”

“It wasn’t Yoongi. Officially.”

You sighed. “Did Yoongi ask Seokjin to ask you to ask me?”

“I cannot betray the brotherhood,” laughed Jimin. “But I think if you suggested it to Yoongi, he would not be opposed. We would offer our house, but none of us want to share a room. It would, uh, put a damper on our social lives.”

“Well, I hope Yoongi doesn’t expect to bring his social life into my house,” you grumbled.

“That’s for you two to negotiate and decide.”

“I haven’t said I agreed to this idea yet.”

“Sure you didn’t, Y/N.”

---

First, you checked with Jackson to see how he felt about Yoongi moving in since Madi was also his daughter. Then, when you called Yoongi later that week, you couldn’t understand why you felt so nervous. Yoongi and you weren’t close friends, but you were used to seeing him socially and he had been a consistent background person in your adult life. Your best friends were best friends with him, so there really shouldn’t be a problem. But still. It’s not as if you knew each other well.

Afterwards, you were pleased that it wasn’t weird at all. You both hashed out some basic roommate boundaries and came to an easy agreement. You promised not to use him as a default babysitter and he promised not to bring back sexual partners and to let you know if he was going to stay over somewhere else. You assured him he could take his time looking for places and he promised not to overstay his welcome.

Over the next two weeks, you cleared out your office. You deep cleaned the bathroom and kitchen. (Okay, you hired people to deep clean the bathroom and kitchen.) Three weeks later, Yoongi moved down with Seokjin’s help and put the vast majority of his furniture into storage.

Neither of you could have predicted how the bursting of the housing bubble would change everything.

---

2008

Both you and Yoongi technically should have been insulated by a lot of the mortgage crisis. Neither of you had adjustable rate mortgages let alone with ballooning payments. Except that the renters in Yoongi’s house up in the Bay Area were in the mortgage business and they lost their jobs and could no longer pay rent.

Since Yoongi had purchased his home closer to the height of the market than the bottom, his mortgage wasn’t insubstantial and though his salary was high, covering the payments still ate up at least half of his monthly take home. And with so many people flooding the rental market, apartments and rental homes were in scarce supply with high demand. It was almost like highway robbery.

Though your salary in accounting wasn’t terrible, living in South Pasadena was still a bit difficult at times - especially since you still had to pay for daycare until August, when Madi would start Kindergarten. Even then, you would have to pay for after school care.

You knew that you were lucky to be in a decent paying job with good benefits, but even so, Yoongi’s food, utilities, and rent contributions had eased your burdens a bit. It allowed you to set aside that amount for your property taxes (which were a very non-zero amount) and tuck away more for a rainy day.

For those reasons, you had told Yoongi he could continue renting your spare room as long as he wanted to. That if either of you wanted that to change, to give each other at least 60 days notice. He had readily agreed.

You offered to clear out your garage if he wanted to take his things out of storage and he smiled gratefully. Jungkook brought his truck and the guys helped Yoongi clear out his space. You agreed that his couch was better than yours and further intermingled your household with random things like additional pots and pans, better knives, and apparently, a massage chair.

You exchanged some sharp words about why the massage chair had not been added earlier. He just shrugged and said he’d forgotten all about it. You requisitioned it for the family room.

You ordered several large pizzas, went to Ranch 99 for several bottles of soju, and stopped by the local Korean mom and pop restaurant for kimchi jjigae, japjae, tteokbokki, and kimbap, and mandu dumplings. When you couldn’t tear Madi away from her four drunk Korean sam chons, you let her stay up way past her bedtime until she fell asleep on Taehyung.

---

You told yourself you were pleased for financial reasons - and of course - that awesome massage chair. It had nothing to do with Yoongi’s thoughtfulness or general good humor or how he looked in the morning, hair mussed, pajama pants slung low as he muttered a greeting and stumbled into the bathroom.

It had nothing to do with Yoongi fixing random things that needed fixing around the house without you asking. In fact, you didn’t even know you could ask. You and Jackson had meant to remodel the older home when you had bought it - but with the new baby and both of you working, you had never gotten around to it.

There were plenty of odd things about the house that annoyed you and you groused about that would disappear. One day, a stuck kitchen drawer or cabinet door or a wobbly chair would just be unstuck and unwobbly. It was like magic.

It had nothing to do with that ugly churning in the pit of your stomach on the occasional nights he would text you to let you know that he wouldn’t be home and not to worry.

It had nothing to do with Yoongi taking out the garbage and recycling or him offering to make dinner several nights a week. It had nothing to do with him picking up Madi on nights you had to work late or when he would take her to the park on weekends.

It had nothing to do with Yoongi buying and installing a regulation sized basketball hoop in your driveway and teaching Madi how to dribble in the evenings and hoisting her on his shoulders so that she could sink baskets to his sports announcing and loud acclaim.

And it most definitely had nothing to do with how much Madi loved him - especially his bedtime stories. Yoongi had taken to spending at least 30 to 45 minutes reading or telling fantastical tales complete with growly voices and sound effects to her every night. You had to force yourself not to listen because it made your heart twist something fierce. Instead, you would do the dishes, prepare lunches for everyone, and tidy up the house.

No. It had nothing to do with any of these things at all.

---

2009

“Hey, Yoongi,” you said as you knocked on his open bedroom door. “Jungkook is coming over on Wednesday to watch Madi.”

“Oh, I can watch her, Y/N. It’s no problem.”

“Jungkook doesn’t mind. He complained he hasn’t had enough of Madi lately,” you replied. “Besides, I promised not to use you as a babysitter, remember?”

“Fair,” he said. “Do you have to stay late at work or something?”

You cleared your throat and felt your face heat up. “Jimin wants to introduce me to his coworker.”

Yoongi’s face shuttered for a second and then returned to a bland smile. “Ah, a date. Good luck, Y/N.”

“I doubt it will amount to anything,” you said. “I have a somewhat terrible track record with Jimin’s friends.” Realizing what you had just said, you backtracked, “Um, present company excluded, of course. Not that, I mean, I met you before I knew Jimin - and you’re great - not that we have dated - and actually, Taehyung and Jungkook are also Jimin’s friends - not that I’ve dated them either -- I--”

If you could have died right then, you likely would have chosen that option except that would leave Madi motherless and you’d prefer to avoid that if possible. So, you just sighed and deflected. “Way to let me just keep digging myself deeper, Yoongi.”

“It was diverting,” he chortled. “I was waiting to see if you were going to list every single friend you and Jimin had in common - going all the way back to when you met.”

“We’d be here forever. That’s ten years!”

“He was my friend first, you know,” he teased. “Just as you were my friend first.”

“Very well, Yoongi. I will concede to your friendship primacy.” You blew out a breath and leaned against the door frame. “Fuck, we’re old.”

Yoongi lifted an eyebrow. “Careful, Y/N. I think you’re about to dig yourself into another hole.”

“I think Jimin’s co-worker is even younger than he is.”

“Jungkook is younger than Jimin is. You get along just fine.”

You barked a series of bemused and bitter laughs. “Yes, but Jungkook doesn’t want to date me. No kid his age wants to date a 32 year old single mother with a 6 year old child.” You picked at your nails. “I’m going to cancel. I should cancel.”

Yoongi’s face was inscrutable. Finally, he said, “You should go. Have a good time. Jimin is a good judge of character - and his coworker would be lucky to date you.”

“I think you have a severe conflict of interest, Yoongi. How can you possibly say otherwise unless you wanted a rent increase?”

“Now that you mention it, that does seem like an unfair power balance.” He pretended to reconsider deeply. “Nope. Still mean it. You’re great, Y/N. You’re smart, capable, and a fantastic mother.”

You made a face. “Yes. That’s exactly what young men are looking for in their dates.”

“If they don’t, they should.”

“You make me sound as desirable as a dishrag.”

“Some of us want more than a quick suck and fuck, Y/N. Some of us want a woman who is smart, capable, and a fantastic mother because that’s what we want in a partner, a lover, and a mother for our children.” Yoongi got up from his bed and stalked to you. He leaned into your space and backed you further against the door frame. “And for the record, you are very desirable. Much more so than a dishrag. If Jimin’s friend can’t see that, he’s an idiot and doesn’t deserve you.”

Yoongi’s mouth was so close to yours, all you had to do was move the space of an inch to meet his lips with your own. You froze, stunned and unsure of what this meant, if it meant anything at all.

Yoongi stepped back, ran a hand through his hair, and went to the bathroom. He ran the shower and didn’t come out for a long time.

—-

“How was your date?” asked Jungkook after you got in late Wednesday night.

Yoongi looked up from his seat on the couch. They had been chatting mindlessly when you walked in and apparently your date was much more interesting.

“Oh, um, it was okay,” you responded.

Jungkook winced. “That doesn’t sound promising.”

You shrugged. “It happens. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with him.”

“Yes. That’s how we all wish to be gushed over after a date,” commented Jungkook drily.

“He was very nice.”

Jungkook winced again. “This just sounds worse and worse. Was he ugly or something?”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake, Jungkook. I am not that shallow of a person. He was good looking enough.”

“Hmmmmmmm.” Jungkook glanced sidelong at Yoongi and a sly smile tugged at his lips. “Then what was so bad? Did he smell funny? Was he boring? Was he dumb? What?!?”

“Ah, Jungkookie,” you commented. “He was none of those things. If I were a few years younger or didn’t have Madi, I likely would have been charmed.”

“So what’s the problem? You’re not that old, Y/N.”

“He just seemed so young, that’s all. Like he would need reminding to take out the garbage or something. Like he had never taken care of another person ever in his life.” You shook your head. “And he was like mid-twenties. I’m a bjillion years older than him. It’s not like Jimin to be so wrong about --” You suddenly paused. “That bastard.”

Jungkook and Yoongi exchanged a puzzled look.

“Thanks, again, Jungkook,” you said. “I’m so sorry to be rude, but please excuse me. Good night, guys. See you in the morning, Yoongi.”

---

You didn’t care that it was late. You called Jimin anyway. “You conniving Slytherin,” you growled in lieu of greeting.

“I’ll take that as a compliment, Y/N,” trilled Jimin. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“What are you doing, Jimin? What are you playing at? Has this been your end game since you suggested he move in?”

“Yes, Y/N. I masterminded the entire subprime mortgage crisis and ensuing financial collapse just to matchmake you and Yoongi.”

“I wouldn’t put it past you,” you griped into the phone.

“Besides, Yoongi’s the one who asked about your extra room in the first place.”

“But how did he even know I had a spare room and would consider letting it to him, Jimin?”

The stretch of silence was all you needed as confirmation.

“Does he know?”

“Know what, Y/N? You’re going to have to be a little more specific.”

“What you’ve been trying to do, Jimin. Does he know you’re trying to get us together?”

Jimin was quiet for several long beats. “Y/N, I think everyone except you has figured out that Yoongi loves you and you love him. The two of you are practically married already.”

“I --, he --,” you stuttered. You drew a ragged breath. “Marriage is a lot more than what we are, Jimin.”

“Is it?” he mused. “I suppose you would know more than me in that respect. But I always figured marriage was exactly what you and Yoongi were like - except, perhaps, more sex.”

“We’re not having any sex, Jimin. There is no sex.”

“Well, then having sex would inherently be more then, wouldn’t it?”

“I --, I hate you.”

“You love me, Y/N.”

“You know as well as I do that to love someone is not the same as to be ‘in love’ with someone.”

“In your case, it’s not that different at all, but you tell yourself what you want. We all see it in every action you both do but are careful not to say.”

“I have to think of Madi,” you finally said.

“Oh, you sweet summer child,” laughed Jimin. “Do you not know your daughter at all? Yoongi is all she talks about to me, Taehyung, and Jungkook. We count ourselves lucky that she still remembers our names.”

You had no reply for him.

“Yoongi’s not Jackson, Y/N,” Jimin said. “Jackon was and is still a fun guy, don’t get me wrong. He wasn’t a bad friend. But he cared most about himself and what was good for him. If it happened to coincide with what you wanted or was good for you, that was a happy accident.”

Jimin continued, “Yoongi is none of those things. He’s not the most exciting person, but he is alway kind, steady, and ready to help. He does things without asking, and he is dependable and funny. He is one of my oldest friends.”

“What is it with you guys and your boring descriptions of people?”

“What are you talking about, Y/N?”

“When Yoongi was trying to encourage me about the date, he called me smart, capable, and a good mother. It’s like you both want to bore a person to death,” you whined.

Jimin inhaled deeply, as if trying to contain his frustration. “Y/N, is excitement what you really want?”

“Yes! I mean, no. I don’t know,” you lamented. “It’s not that I don’t want what you described. Or that I want drama. It's just that I want to be seen - that I’m more than a reliable adult and mom. That maybe I could be young and sexy and pretty instead of what I am - which is tired.” You stopped your ranting. “I’m so tired, Jiminnie.”

“I know, baby. I know.”

“No more meddling, Jimin.”

“You might as well tell me not to breathe.”

“Jimin, I’m serious. Please,” you implored. “Let it go. Let us figure it out - if there’s anything to actually figure out. I don’t want it to happen because you forced it upon us.”

“As you wish, Y/N. As you wish.”

---

You took off the first week of Madi’s summer vacation because Yoongi had just purchased all the DVDs for Avatar: the Last Airbender and you really wanted to watch them. Oh, and Madi would probably like it. She was finally old enough for a good, long binge, and you really didn’t want to spread it out piecemeal over the next few weekends.

What was the point of being a grown up if you couldn’t questionably parent in the name of bonding?

Yoongi had raved about it during the course of the show and had invited you to watch with him, but you hadn’t wanted to start a show mid-run (and truth be told, for the sake of your heart, you had refused). Plus, you were still aggrieved you had never finished Battlestar Galactica and you hadn’t had the energy to commit to a cartoon when you’d barely had enough to get through the day.

When you had asked Yoongi if you could watch the DVDs, he had decided that such an important moment in Madi’s life could not be missed. He also took the week off.

---

You were in love. You couldn’t help yourself.

The animation was beautiful and of course, you had to rave and point out all the Chinese cultural and written references to Madi. Yoongi joined in and pointed out all the Korean influences. Sometimes, you argued with each other which was which. (The answer was both.)

You sighed over Prince Zuko and Yoongi mocked you for being attracted to a cartoon - who was sixteen, by the way - and you just said you found Zuko a million times more compelling than Aang. Very early on, you declared the real story of the show would be Zuko’s redemptive arc. Yoongi just hid a secretive smile.

You both agreed that Uncle Iroh was superior to all other characters and the reduction of Princess Azula into a crazy person was criminal.

Madi just begged you both to be quiet and demanded a stuffed Appa and Momo. You immediately went online and overpaid for a stuffed Appa and Momo from the Nickelodeon website.

You and Yoongi spent so much of the time arguing and discussing the various points and nuances about A:TLA that often, when Madi had lost interest and needed to take a break, the two of you, without the bounds of work and school to adhere to, kept talking about all the different tropes you loved in stories of all kinds.

Yoongi’s main references were manga and anime, and yours were graphic novels, sci-fi, and fantasies. You had forgotten how fun it was to talk with someone who loved the same things you loved instead of discussing the minutiae of your daily lives.

You felt sparkly and alive.

---

2010

“Y/N, can I ask you a big favor?”

“Sure, Yoongi. What’s up?” You looked up from your reading of Zahrah the Windseeker.

“Our department is throwing a weekend retreat for the leadership team next month where you can bring your family and spouses and I, uh, I --” Yoongi cleared his throat and looked deeply uncomfortable. “I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind -- I mean, like as friends -- but if you would want to go with me?”

You just examined him.

“Jimin said he and the guys could watch Madi and the company is paying for everything and if you want to do other stuff at the spa, I’ll take care of it as a thank you. I’ll be stuck in training and team building exercises for some of the time. But it’s super fancy and they have one every year -- I just -- I just don’t want to go to this thing alone again. It’s exhausting.” He examined the floor.

“Okay,” you said.

“Okay?” he confirmed. “We’ll have to share a room and a bed, but we’re grown ups. That should be okay, right?”

You pushed the idea of sharing a bed with Yoongi out of your mind. “It should be fine,” you reassured him. “Do I have to pack fancy clothes?”

“Oh, yeah. I think there are two upscale dinners, and otherwise, it should be a relaxed dress code.”

“Okay.”

“Okay,” repeated Yoongi. “It’s a date -- I mean, it’s not a date -- GAH -- you know what I mean!” He refused to meet your eyes; he was so flustered.

You bit back a grin and let him off the hook by returning to your book.

---

“Tell me you’re going to buy new dresses,” demanded Jimin.

“Nooooo… what’s wrong with my dresses from before?” you bemoaned.

“He’s probably seen them all at every wedding you have ever attended from college until now.”

“Sooooo…?”

“Are you or are you not going to take advantage of this perfect setup? It’s literally a romance genre trope.”

“Fine. I will go and buy a dress.”

“Two. Two new dresses. And you’re taking me and Taehyung with you.”

“Whatever for? You are being ridiculous.”

“Trust me. Who do you think buys our girlfriends’ dresses? Hint: it’s not them.”

“You’re some throwback to the patriarchy, Jimin Park.”

“Pick me up after work and Taehyung will meet up with us,” ordered Jimin. “This is non-negotiable if you want us to watch Madi. Oh, and we’re going to pick up at least one new bikini, too.”

---

On the Friday of the trip, you left work early and met Yoongi at home. Both of you seemed far more nervous than friends going on a casual weekend trip warranted. You tried to quell the array of butterflies taking residence in your stomach. This was Yoongi Min, your friend of near 15 years. As he placed your weekender bag in the trunk and you got in, you realized that you’d never actually been in his car.

It suddenly occurred to you that Yoongi’s car resembled yours - which surprised you. You had always assumed it would be clean and neat, but instead, he had a booster chair in the back, a pack of baby wipes, a box full of Madi’s books, toys, and beloved stuffies, and miscellaneous kid accessories strewn all over the back seat. If you hadn’t known better, you would have assumed this was the car of a parent.

You found yourself choking up. Yoongi peered curiously at you, arching an eyebrow as if to ask if you were okay. You nodded and waved him away, choosing instead to stare out the window at your neighbor’s house.

“Do you care what kind of music we listen to?” he asked as he backed out of the driveway.

“Driver’s choice, right?”

Yoongi agreed and soon, the familiar sounds of Tupac, Biggie, JayZ, and Nas blared out his speakers. You smiled when Yoongi rapped along. You vaguely recalled Namjoon telling you that he, Yoongi, and Hoseok had formed a rapping and dance trio back in the college days, but nothing had ever come of it.

On a whim, you asked, “Do you still rap or write music?”

“Hmmmmm?”

“Namjoon said you, him, and Hobi used to rap and dance together. Do you still rap or do music?”

Yoongi snorted. “Nah,” he said. “I grew up, I guess. Quit smoking. Got an MBA. Got a good job. Became the establishment I used to rail against.”

“And here I thought you were a bad boy for life,” you cracked.

“Turns out, bad boys make bad boyfriends,” Yoongi observed. “But sometimes, Marketing Directors do, too. Especially when they’re reformed bad boys.”

“Ah,” you said. You let the Fugees carry the conversation for a bit. “Well, if reformed bad boy Marketing Director boyfriends are anything like reformed bad boy Marketing Director housemates, I think they’re perfect.”

Yoongi flushed and focused straight ahead. You also felt a bit embarrassed.

“Well, maybe perfect is impossible,” you amended. “But pretty close to it.”

The two of you left your words hanging in the air as Yoongi continued along the 134 West. You were in for a very long drive to Santa Barbara if you continued to say dumb awkward things like that.

You closed your eyes.

You were never one for witty repartee. You were usually the one on the side, trying to read a book while everyone else was chatting and being clever around you. Jackson had been the fun one of your relationship. He was that bright and shining star your mutual friends had orbited around. That’s what you had found so attractive about Jackson in the first place. You had just wanted a place in his sun, to perhaps reflect some of the light he bounced onto you.

Instead, you had faded and disappeared under the glare of his personality.

You wished you had paid better attention to Yoongi instead of relegating him to a background person in Seokjin, Namjoon, and Hoseok’s lives as you yourself had been considered the backdrop to Jackson’s. Yoongi was soothing to be around. And he was incredibly clever when he wanted to be.

What a fool you had been, attracted to glittering personalities with no substance when a person of character and kindness had been in front of you this entire time.

“So, uh, my coworkers are probably going to tease us about dating,” Yoongi brought up suddenly. “I’ve tried to explain multiple times that we’re just friends who live together, but they insist we’re like an old married couple with a kid. They, um, they consider Madi my daughter - and I’ve corrected them a million times but they still do it - so please don’t get offended or weirded out. I’m sorry I work with assholes but they’re also very sweet people who love me and you and Madi so please don’t be mad.”

“Oh, um, wow,” was all you could squeak out. “Why do they consider Madi your kid?”

Yoongi mumbled, “I may talk about her a lot. And I have her pictures and drawings all over my cubicle.”

“Oh, Yoongi,” you replied softly. “That is so very sweet.”

“You don’t think it’s creepy? I’m not trying to steal her from you or overstep my bounds as Resident Sam Chon. I know she’s yours. I can’t help talking about her, though. I love her so much, Y/N. Madi makes my life so full.”

Your eyes stung with unexpected tears. “Thanks, Yoongi. Thanks for loving Madi.”

“How could I not, Y/N? How could I not?”

You both retreated back into your own thoughts for the remainder of the drive. You tried not to wonder if this whole time, what you read as Yoongi perhaps loving you was actually him loving Madi instead. It seemed very Jerry Maguire-esque and you never quite believed that Tom Cruise’s character actually wanted Renee Zellweger’s character. He either loved her for her kid or he loved her for what she made up for in his lack. It was always about him and not so much about her.

You hated that movie.

You must have dozed off because the next thing you knew, Yoongi was gently shaking you. “Wake up, Y/N. We’re here.”

---

Bacara Resort was even more spectacular than the website photos could do justice. The buildings gleamed white, the pools sparkled like aquamarine jewels, and the manicured lawns were lined with picturesque paths.

You pocketed several green apples nestled invitingly in a large rustic bowl sitting on a communal table in the lobby.

“What are you doing, Y/N?” whispered Yoongi. “You don’t even like green apples.”

“Didn’t you ever watch Friends? You gotta take the room rate in free things, Yoongi. Everyone knows that - especially us Asians. Did your parents teach you nothing?”

“Unbelievable,” he muttered. “Please just don’t incur any charges. My credit card is still the one on file for our room.”

You just giggled as you swiped another few apples. “I want to see how many apples we can get away with taking home. Madi likes green apples.”

You could not help but laugh at the appalled look on his face.

---

“What do you want to do, Y/N?” Yoongi asked once you both had settled in your room. “The only event on the schedule for tonight is the wine tasting at 7. I know you can’t drink but at least the food should be good.”

“I will eat extra food,” you commented from your seat on the bed. “And you can drink my wine.”

“I have been training for this all my life,” quipped Yoongi. “Too bad it’s not whisky.”

“I’m sure it’s all equally revolting, at least from what I’ve smelled of it. I definitely have the better end of the deal.”

“Do you want to go to the beach? We could just walk around in the sand.”

“Sure.”

“Or we could nap.”

“I knew we were friends for a reason.”

He paused. “Didn’t you fall asleep in the car ride here?”

“Um… maybe. I don’t see what that has to do with napping now.”

Laughing, Yoongi said, “A valid point. Seems a shame to waste the location, though.”

“I think the real shame would be wasting this very comfortable bed.” You regretted your words as soon as they left your mouth. Your face burned. There wasn’t enough air in the room.

Yoongi coughed and inspected the blank television. “Maybe we should get some fresh air.”

“I hate fresh air,” you grumbled. “It’s totally overrated.”

“Come on,” he said as he pulled you up by the hand.

You resisted the urge to hold onto his hand longer and dropped it as soon as you were up on your feet. You busied yourself with slathering on sunscreen and finding your big floppy hat.

“You are such an old Taiwanese lady,” observed Yoongi when he saw your hat. “I take it you won’t be sunbathing by the pool later.”

“Nope,” you agreed. “You’ll thank me when we’re old and gray but I still have this perfect face.” Goddammit. “I -- I’m just going to not talk anymore today.”

You studiously ignored the flash of wistfulness that crossed Yoongi’s features.

Yoongi exhaled. “Let’s go, Y/N. We’ll pretend to enjoy the outside and then come back and get ready for the tasting.”

---

The two of you wandered silently along the pretty paths and then removed your shoes and walked barefoot down the beach. The tension ratcheted as your fingers occasionally brushed and neither of you made to move away. You were both quiet as you stood and contemplated the expanse of the Pacific. Yoongi edged closer to you and this time, when his index finger hooked your pinky, neither of you let go.

You just continued to face the ocean.

On the walk back, your whole being tingled as if electrified. Your fingers were still linked.

---

Living in a one bathroom household had at least prepared you for the logistics of getting ready in the same hotel room. You showered first and when it was Yoongi’s turn, you did your hair, spritzed on Kate Spade, and put on your makeup, jewelry, and finally, the new cocktail dress Jimin had hounded you to buy. The dress Taehyung chose was reserved for tomorrow night.

You were leaning forward to put on your lipstick when you saw the mirror reflect Yoongi as he walked out the bathroom. He stopped short as his eyes traveled down the exposed expanse of your back. Your dress was cut low enough that he would correctly surmise you were braless. You watched as his eyes followed the curve of your spine down the line of your crimson dress as it hugged your bottom just enough and then swung tantalizingly away, ending just above your knees.

You drank him in.

He was freshly shaved, hair still damp, and in an undershirt and boxers. You studied him in the mirror as he pulled on the fitted pants of his dark gray suit. Yoongi held your gaze as he slipped his arms through and leisurely buttoned his light blue shirt. You swallowed. He shook out his sleeves and worked heavy links into the cuffs. He tied his tie, snapped on his watch, and put on his blazer.

You released the breath you hadn’t realized you’d been holding.

He wet his lips with his tongue. “You’re stunning,” Yoongi stated.

Smiling, you replied, “Thank you. You’re not so bad yourself.” You finally moved and stepped into your very high black heels and grabbed your clutch.

Yoongi kept his distance until you had both exited the room and closed the door. Then, he lightly placed his large, warm hand in the bare hollow of your back and steered you down the hallway.

It felt as if his hand would burn through your skin. You yearned to set your whole body on fire.

---

You weren’t sure how you were going to make it through the evening. The flights of wine seemed endless as you debated how early you could reasonably escape from the room full of very nice and polite strangers. You consumed the small plates accompanying the glasses of wine that you dutifully passed along to Yoongi. And though your brain registered the food as delicious, you tasted nothing.

Yoongi’s hand never stopped touching you. His constant resting position seemed to be at the base of your back, but sometimes, he would move it to your covered thigh, his heat radiating even through the thin material of your dress.

“So, Y/N,” a bright voice cut through your reverie. “Why haven’t you snatched up our Yoongi yet?”

Yoongi choked.

“That rather disregards consent, don’t you think?” you wondered. “Can a person consent if one is snatched?” You paused to gather your thoughts. “Being snatched implies being stolen - and there is a power differential between the one who steals and the one who is stolen, wouldn’t you agree? Can consent exist within such an equation?”

The slightly inebriated middle-aged white woman seemed very confused.

You took pity on her given your sober state. “I really should, shouldn’t I?” You squeezed Yoongi’s arm gently. “He’s a wonderful man.”

That seemed to appease her and she lurched off to meddle in another unfortunate soul’s affairs. You glanced back to Yoongi only to find that his inscrutable face had returned. You lifted your hand.

Yoongi swirled the remains of his glass and downed it. “You wanna get out of here, Y/N?”

“They haven’t brought out dessert yet. You sure you want to miss it? Don’t you want to get the most alcohol for your money?”

“I’ve had enough wine,” he said as he stood. Yoongi pressed his hand into your waist and whispered into your ear. “I have other desserts in mind.”

You stilled. Heat flushed through you and though you were sober, the room felt dark and hazy. Finally, you slid off the bar stool and stood flush against Yoongi. “I’m ready if you are,” you said.

Yoongi’s eyes narrowed and the corner of his mouth pulled up, revealing his teeth. He wound his arm around your waist and escorted you to the exit.

The trip back to your room felt interminable. You fervently hoped neither of you would lose your nerve because you felt like a bowstring drawn taut. If he didn’t pluck you soon, you’d riot.

---

The door snicked shut behind you.

Yoongi took off his suit jacket and hung it on the back of a chair. He pulled his tie loose in three abrupt movements and threw it over his jacket. He undid his cuff links, placing them on the table with a clink. He unbuttoned his shirt with efficient flicks of his fingers.

You stared.

He shoved his hands in his pockets, slouched against the seat back with his legs spread, and regarded you. His shirt gaped open, the blue bright against his white undershirt. “Y/N,” Yoongi said, his voice a low scrape.

You snapped your eyes to meet his. “Yoongi.”

He pulled his right hand out and gestured for you to come closer. You stepped forward until you were a few feet away from him. Yoongi tutted and gestured again. When you moved close enough to him, he hooked you by the waist and drew you between his legs. His arms loosely linked under your bottom.

“I’m gonna kiss you now, Y/N. And then I’m gonna fuck you. And then I’m gonna make you come. Maybe not in that order. Maybe more than once,” drawled Yoongi. “Is that acceptable to you?”

You dipped your head in assent.

“Say it for me, Y/N.”

“Yes, Yoongi.”

“‘Yes, Yoongi,’ what?”

You rolled your eyes but your voice came out breathless. “Yes, Yoongi. That’s acceptable to me.”

“That’s my girl.”

Yoongi thumbed your bottom lip and smeared your lipstick along your jaw. He traced the curve of your neck lazily with the back of his fingers and followed the line over your clavicle, across your shoulder, and down your arm.

You shivered.

He dragged you into him and kissed you with surprising gentleness. You had thought for sure your first kiss would crash into each other with a desperate desire. Instead, his large hand cupped your neck, his thumb lightly stroking your cheek as he seduced you with his tongue. Yoongi sucked on your lower lip and you sighed, ceding yourself to him.

You entwined your fingers in his hair, tugging the ends in tandem with your pants and whimpers. He kissed better than you had hoped. Yoongi’s hands were busy. He roamed from place to place, alternately grasping, kneading, and teasing. He fondled and groped your soft parts; you longed to touch his hard parts.

He stripped you from your dress and it dropped into a pool of red cloth by your feet. He raked his eyes over you as you stood in only a suggestion of panties and black heels. You would likely have felt more self-conscious if it weren’t for Yoongi’s face.

He was ravenous.

He descended upon your breasts with his hot, wet mouth. You arched into him, desperate for more contact with his heat and swirling tongue. He nipped, suckled, and caressed you with his warm, lithe muscle. Yoongi’s fingers hooked into the lacy band of your underwear, and you clenched in anticipation.

You clasped his head closer to your chest, wishing he could devour you. You divested Yoongi of his button down shirt and though you grieved the momentary loss of his mouth on your tits, you also managed to remove his undershirt. You blindly fumbled at his belt buckle and whined at the difficulty you were having.

Yoongi chuckled mid-bite on your nipple and helped you out.

When you heard his belt loosen, you groaned a petulant “Finally.” You eagerly unbuttoned and then unzipped his pants.

You moaned in relief when you snaked your hand through the open placket and palmed his hard cock over his boxers. You really did love holding the heft and weight of a man and Yoongi was hefty and weighty in all the best ways. You rubbed him over the thin cloth and after a bit, you decided that was not enough. You needed the feel of his skin on your skin.

As you pulled his pants and boxers down, Yoongi stood up to accommodate your actions. He walked you back towards the edge of the bed. He proceeded to kick off his shoes and clothes and crouched over you as he laid you down.

You glanced down and upon seeing Yoongi clad only in his black dress socks, commented, “Is there a camera set up somewhere I should know about?”

“Why? Is that something you’d be into?” he queried as he returned to licking, sucking, and mouthing the golden spread of your skin. He laved the swells of your breasts and pinched your nipples with his wicked fingers.

“Not really,” you confessed. “Though I suppose I could be persuaded.”

“Mmmmmmmm,” he hummed against you as he kissed his way down your sternum and the slight round of your belly. He spanned his hand across your hip, ghosting his thumb over your panty covered mound.

His kisses became wetter and his thumb more urgent. Yoongi left a lascivious trail of lips and spit as he pulled your waistband lower and lower. He grazed over your clit and your hips twitched.

“May I?” he asked against your center after he slid your panties off entirely.

You spread your legs wider and pushed his face into your pussy as answer.

“I’ll take that as a ‘yes,’” Yoongi remarked and got to the business of fucking you with his tongue.

The room was silent save for your harsh breathing and the sticky sounds of Yoongi slurping at your entrance, licking between your slick folds, and sealing his lips over the heart of your desire. He had pulled you to the edge as he had knelt on the floor at the foot of the bed. Yoongi opened you further with both hands, pressing your thighs into the mattress. He thrust in his tongue and you loosed a low, throaty moan. He thrust into you again and your breath stuttered.

The more Yoongi pumped his tongue into you, the more you unraveled. Your hands fisted the sheets. He pressed three long fingers around your clitoris and rubbed in rough circles. The harder he pressed, the louder and faster you vocalised his name.

All you could think of was the mounting pleasure radiating from your core. Your focus narrowed to the aching need pulsing under his ministrations. “Please, Yoongi,” you begged. “Please.”

“Come for me, Y/N,” Yoongi commanded. “Come for me and let me taste you.”

With a few more vigorous thrusts, you came apart under his mouth. He lapped you through wave after wave as you undulated against his face. When you finally stopped moving, Yoongi licked you off his lips and wiped his mouth with his arm. He kissed you softly on your inner thigh.

“Thank you,” you breathed raggedly. Still coming down from your high, you propped yourself up on your elbows. “Yoongi,” you exhaled. “Did you bring any condoms?”

“Yeah,” he said, voice muffled. “Let me go get them.” He reluctantly hauled himself off of you, went to his overnight bag, and rifled through for a bit until he found the condoms. “I want you to know that I didn’t invite you on this trip to sleep with you. I wasn’t planning on it - I just always pack condoms in my toiletry bag.”

“Hmmmmmmm, that’s a shame. Cuz that’s definitely why I packed condoms for the weekend.”

Yoongi regarded you carefully. “Is that right?”

“Mmmhmmmm…” You leaned back against the mattress. “You want the heels on or off, Yoongi?”

He huffed. “Off, of course. Hygiene is important.”

“Of course. Can’t have them on the bed,” you agreed as you toed them off. You relocated yourself to sit against the headboard. You threw him a cheeky look. “Too bad, though. I had bought them specifically for you.”

You had to respect Yoongi’s confidence. There he was, packets in his hand, naked as a jay-bird except for his socks, standing with his erect penis jutting out. He didn’t even flinch under your blatant examination.

“Did you now?” Yoongi said casually as he took off his socks. “Didn’t I just eat you out in them, you greedy little thing? I suppose you could wear them later when I bend you over the bed and fuck you from behind." He crossed to the bed, threw the prophylactics on the nightstand, and pulled you into his lap. “Would you like that, Y/N?” he rasped into your ear. “Is that what you had in mind when you went shopping with Jimin and Taehyung?”

“Yes,” you gasped.

He manhandled you a bit, hands rough in all the best ways. “Wanna see you bouncing on my dick now, Y/N.” Yoongi reached for a condom, ripped the foil, and handed it to you.

You took it out, shifted your position, and rolled it over his dick. You heard Yoongi’s rumble of satisfaction as you lined him up and slowly sank yourself onto him. The lewd squelching served only to arouse you again.

You rolled your hips slowly and bent down to kiss him, ignoring the uncomfortable position. When the discomfort became too much, you threw your head back and rode him, enjoying the feel of his dick sliding against your inner walls. The burn in your thighs was a reminder of how out of practice you’d been.

Yoongi took a breast into his mouth and spread your asscheeks as he lifted you by the hips. You couldn’t comprehend how he could split his attention in so many ways whereas you could only think of his dick and maybe his mouth. He drove himself up into your sweet warmth as he held you in place. You arced over him, propping your arms against the headboard to support yourself against the snapping of his hips.

Yoongi’s movements were getting more erratic and just when you thought you couldn't bear it any longer, he grunted out a cursory, “I’m gonna come soon.”

“Okay,” you panted. “Come inside me, Yoongi.”

Yoongi pistoned up as he moved you down a few times more. “I’m coming,” he gritted out.

You rode him through his orgasm and trailed light kisses along his forehead and hairline. Yoongi pulled you down for an intense kiss. “Do you want to come again, Y/N?” he asked against your lips.

“It’s okay, Yoongi,” you said as you held the base of his penis to make sure the condom stayed in place and lifted yourself off of him. You winced. “I’m a bit out of practice and it stings a bit.”

“You should have said something, Y/N. I don’t want to hurt you.” Yoongi carefully rolled off the condom and tied it in a knot.

You handed him a tissue and waved off his look of concern. “It’s fine, Yoongi. I didn’t not enjoy it.”

“A ringing endorsement,” Yoongi observed. “It’s up there with, ‘There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with him.’”

You laughed and leaned over to kiss him on the nose. “Did I wound your pride, Yoongi?” You patted him on the cheek. “You were amazing. I saw stars. I am ruined for all others.”

“Now you’re just mocking me,” he sulked.

“Just a little bit.” You kissed him again and rose from the bed. You picked up the discarded clothing, folded them, and set them on the table. “I did come, you know. I don’t expect to come twice in a night. That seems like too much pressure for everyone involved.”

You went into the bathroom to pee, hissing at the burn. You cleaned yourself off with a warm washcloth and washed your hands and face. When you came out, Yoongi was already half asleep over the covers.

You unceremoniously yanked the blanket out from under him as he muttered while you remade the bed with him under the covers. You put on your pajamas, found the packed library copy of Old Man’s War, and crawled into bed to continue reading where you had left off the night before. You had one and a half days to finish it along with the other three books in the series before you were forced to be a responsible adult again. You were going to make the most of it.

---

When Yoongi woke up briefly around 5 a.m. to relieve himself, you were deep into The Ghost Brigades. You barely acknowledged his presence when he kissed you sleepily on the shoulder. You finally finished the second book when the sunlight streamed bright through the windows.

Your mom brain registered when Yoongi woke up and showered quietly and promptly passed out again when he left for his team building.

---

The door opening with a whir and a click woke you. Disoriented, you sat up in bed, still partially under the covers.

“Oh, good. You’re awake,” cracked Yoongi as he took in your mussed hair and rapid blinking. “You want to get up, eat lunch, and then get a massage or something?”

“Coffee,” you croaked. “I need coffee.”

“How late did you stay up last night? Or should I ask how early?”

“Mmmmm… I think I passed out around 7? 8?”

“Living that teenage life, eh?”

“The best life,” you sighed. “Why were we in such a hurry to grow up?”

“I don’t mind being a grown up so terribly,” reflected Yoongi. “I remember us during the end of our teenage years. We’ve definitely improved.”

“Speak for yourself, Min.” You got really quiet. “This was not how I thought my life would turn out: divorced and a single mom at 33.”

“Ah, well, I’m single and 34, Y/N,” Yoongi rejoined. “By your and my parents’ measurements, I’m a failure, hmmm?”

“That’s not what I meant, Yoongi. You know it’s different for men. You’re a catch by any standard,” you said. “You have an MBA, a good job, a nice car, and a house. You just need to get a ring, I guess, but you’re super attractive. So combined with the aforementioned, that shouldn’t be difficult.”

Yoongi just hmphed.

Unsure if you wanted to know the answer, you asked, “Why haven’t you dated more, Yoongi?”

“I have never lacked for company, Y/N,” he responded drily.

“Is it me and Madi? Are we blocking your game?”

Yoongi scowled. “How can you even ask me that after last night?”

You feigned a nonchalance you did not feel. “Last night could have been many things, Yoongi. It could have been us resolving sexual tension and then going back to being friends. It also could have been that you had too much to drink.” You got serious very quickly. “Were you drunk, Yoongi?”

He sat down next to you on the bed. “Y/N, I wasn’t drunk.” Yoongi reached out and turned your face so he could look at you directly. “I don’t need to be drunk to want to sleep with you. It’s pretty much my default state.” He held your hand. “Surely, you must know that I want to be with you. That I haven’t moved out because I love you and Madi. That I love our life together.”

“You don’t have to be in love with me to love Madi, Yoongi. You can still be in our lives like Jimin, Taehyung, and Jungkook.”

“Have you been thinking that I stuck around for Madi this whole time, Y/N?” He stroked your hand lightly. “I’ve totally messed this up, haven’t I?”

“I -- I don’t know, Yoongi. I guess this is my way of asking you.”

“First of all, I resent you thinking I’m Jerry Maguiring you. God, I hate that movie. Second, I really like you, Y/N. I have for a long time. I didn’t say anything because I thought you only saw me as a friend - at least I did until these past few weeks. I didn't want to make things weird between us. But now, I’m thinking I may have misread you again.”

You lunged for his mouth, smashing your lips against his.

“What was that for?” he questioned against your inquisitive tongue and insistent teeth. “Not that I’m complaining.” He opened his mouth to you as you plundered him.

“Many reasons,” you replied. “The least of which is our mutual disdain for that terrible movie.”

“Y/N, I just told you I liked you and that’s your response?” chided Yoongi, still kissing you.

“Hmmmmmmmm, sorry. I like you a lot, too, Yoongi.” You sucked on his lower lip. “I think I would like you a lot more if you were inside of me right the fuck now.”

“That can be arranged, Y/N. I’m very obliging.”

“Please oblige me with your dick,” you fussed as you scrabbled at the fly of his shorts.

He snickered as he lowered you to the bed, bracketing you with his arms. “Give me a little bit more time, Y/N. I’m not as young as I used to be.”

You sighed dramatically as you threw back the covers and pushed down your pajama pants and underwear. “I demand to speak to the manager. This is terrible service.” You shoved his hand in your mouth and coated his fingers with your saliva. Then you brought his hand to your throbbing entrance. “Touch me, please, Yoongi.”

He dipped his moistened finger into you and then decided to change course since your body wasn’t quite ready yet. Instead, Yoongi raised his hand to your breast, alternating between caressing and teasing your nipple over your shirt. He rolled you between his fingers, brushing back and forth over you with his palm.

You could not help but writhe and rub your thighs together, desperately trying to relieve the increasing ache in your sex. You remembered to give Yoongi some attention but you could barely think let alone coordinate your hand to stroke his dick properly over his clothes.

He flicked his tongue at the seam of your mouth and you opened for him. You trembled under his touch, your breath staccatoed.

Yoongi was merciless. He kept squeezing and soothing your abused peak as you literally felt the wetness gather at your slit.

“Please, Yoongi, please,” you entreated. You gamely tried to pull Yoongi’s shorts and boxers down.

“Please, what, Y/N?”

You could hear the smile in his voice. “I need your dick inside me, you smug bastard. Please.”

“Such language,” he reprimanded. “Don’t think we’re done with our conversation, Y/N. But since I’m not a cruel person…”

Without warning, he plunged his finger inside of you, evoking a sob from your throat. You fisted his shirt as he dragged his finger along your inner walls and then pushed back in repeatedly.

“Jesus, fuck, Yoongi,” you cried. “Pleasefuckmepleasefuckmeplease,” you whimpered into his chest.

Yoongi took pity on you and grabbed a condom from the bedside table as he let you pull his cock out. You hadn’t even bothered pushing his clothing beyond his thighs. You were that impatient. You snatched and tore open the foil and unfurled the condom upon him.

He entered you deliberately and you thought you would die.

“Faster, Yoongi. Faster,” you urged as you grabbed him by the ass and pulled him in deeper to you.

“Y/N,” said Yoongi through gritted teeth. “Slow down, babygirl. I won’t be able to last if you keep this up.”

He fucked you slow and sweet. You were reduced to a quivering, babbling mess. By the time Yoongi started pounding into you, you had forgotten everything but his name. At last, the more you begged, the faster he worked - and he was working hard. You tried to meet him halfway, but truthfully, you were barely keeping yourself together.

“This fast enough for you, Y/N?” growled Yoongi.

Your broken keening was the only response you could eke out.

“Come for me, Y/N,” bade Yoongi. “Come on my dick. Wanna hear you fall apart.”

You dutifully chased your release and when it finally caught, you tumbled over, Yoongi’s name your only lifeline.

Yoongi fucked you through your orgasm, whispering praise and filth. His hips jerked unsteadily a few more times. He came, exhaling a harsh, “Fuck.”

He collapsed on top of you and you relished his weight, basking in the aftermath. You kissed him softly, cupping his face and whispering your thanks. Yoongi gingerly pulled out and you immediately missed his fullness. You could barely keep your eyes open and drifted off to sleep.

---

The rest of the weekend was a blur of checking in on Madi, ignoring very nosy questions from the guys, sex, eating, reading, and more sex. The two of you barely made it to the dinner on Saturday night because you were in the dress Taehyung had chosen for you all of ten minutes before Yoongi almost ripped it off of you. Yoongi made good on his promise to bend you over the bed and fuck you from behind.

You could not comprehend how any woman would have let Yoongi go after experiencing him in the flesh.

But like all things good or bad, the weekend was coming to a close. You had offered to drive on the way back since you’d slept more than he had, but Yoongi had just told you he was fine. You were sad to return to your real life, but you also missed your Madi. You tried not to be too hurt when Madi had said she missed Yoongi’s bedtime stories more than you. Yoongi had tried not to gloat but his grin had lit up the room.

You were in big trouble.

---

“We should talk, Y/N,” Yoongi finally said about 15 minutes into the drive back.

You were surprised he had restrained himself for that long. “Okay,” you replied.

“I want to be with you, Y/N, in every sense of what that means. I think that’s what you also want? But I would rather we make things clear.”

“Okay,” you said and then waited.

“That’s not helpful. Could you, perhaps, be a little more precise?”

“I will take what you give me, Yoongi.”

Until you spoke those words aloud, you hadn’t realized just how pathetic that sounded. You were mortified and trapped in a moving vehicle and could not think of how to escape without imminent death.

“That makes me so sad, Y/N,” Yoongi finally said. “You can want things, you know. You can want me. You can ask what you want of me and I will tell you if I cannot give it.”

Your vision blurred. A low panic welled in your stomach. You scrutinized the passing scenery. You were grateful that Yoongi had never been afraid of silence. And so you both were until you finally found your voice again.

“Jackson was so big, you know. I loved that about him.” You picked at your fingernails. “He was so vibrant, so loud, so flashy. We were like birds: he, the brightly colored male, and I, the drab female. A perfect pair.”

You stopped to organize your thoughts into more cogent arrangements.

“He loved to be admired,” you finally said. “And I was more than willing to be a mirror and reflect back what he wanted to hear and see. I was so busy being a mirror that I never thought about what I wanted until I had all but disappeared. And then Madi was born and I only thought about what she needed - which I do not regret.”

You drew in a deep, stabilizing breath.

“I don’t think I thought about what I wanted until I found out Jackson was having an affair - and even then, it was in terms of what I did not want. I did not want to be with someone who didn’t see me. Who could treat me as if I were nothing. I did not want to be taken advantage of. I did not want to lose Madi.”

You paused again. “I want to be seen, Yoongi. I want to be desired and wanted. I want to be enough.”

“I see you, Y/N,” Yoongi said quietly. “I see a woman who is sexy and beautiful. A mother who loves her child enough to make an effort with her ex and ex-in-laws, even when it is hard. A daughter and friend who is kind and thoughtful to her family and friends. A person who works hard, loves stories, and is brave.”

Yoongi reached towards you and held your hand.

“I see a woman for whom I can spend a lifetime loving and caring. A woman with whom I can raise my children. A woman with whom I can make a good and joyful life.”

“Oh,” you replied, wiping at your tears.

“I see you, Y/N, and I want to know if you see me. If you see me as a man for whom you can spend a lifetime loving and caring. A man with whom you can raise your children. A man with whom you can make a good and joyful life.”

You squeezed his hand tightly.

“I’m not asking you to give me your whole future right now, Y/N. I just need to know if it’s a possibility for you. For you to imagine a life like that with me. And if you can’t, that’s okay, too. I just need to know - because this weekend was a lot of fun, but I can’t live like that on a protracted basis. I want to be seen, too.”

“I see you, Yoongi,” you said. “And I would like to see you in my future - and Madi’s - in all the ways you said.”

Out of the corner of your eye, you saw Yoongi smile his shy gummy smile. Your heart lurched so you squeezed his hand again, pulsing twice.

“I love you, too, Y/N,” laughed Yoongi. “I love you, too.”

---

As you had hashed out the details of him moving in a few years ago, so you two hashed out the majority of the big fault lines of your relationship on the ride home and over the next few weeks. It helped that you had already been used to living together for years and were already good friends.

Nothing actually changed except that you started to have sex regularly with Yoongi. Oh, and apparently, a lot of money exchanged hands between Seokjin, Namjoon, Hoseok, Jimin, Taehyung, and Jungkook. It mostly flowed in the direction of Jimin and Taehyung - though Seokjin complained that they’d had home court advantage. Yoongi demanded 10% of the cut because he took umbrage that he didn’t get a chance to place a bet.

You just called them all disgusting. They defended that the bet wasn’t about sex - it was about when you two would finally get together. It wasn’t their fault it was one and the same in this case.

You told Madi that you and Yoongi were dating. Since she sometimes woke up in the night to get you, she could find Yoongi in your bed. You’d rather she not find out then.

“Finally,” she said and then returned to her drawing and coloring.

“Madi, if you ever have questions about it, you know you can ask, right?”

“I know, Mom.”

“Okay.”

She contented herself with coloring for a bit. “Are you and Yoongi sam chon having the sex?”

You knew she was going to ask. It was your own fault for telling her about consent and sex from a very early age. “Yes,” you replied.

“But you’re not married!”

“What did I tell you before, Madi?” you queried gently. “Do you have to be married to have sex?”

“No,” she said. “But how can you have a baby if you’re not married? I want a baby brother!”

You glanced at Yoongi who was failing very hard at suppressing a smirk. “You don’t have to be married to have a baby, Madi.”

“Can I have a baby brother, then?”

“It doesn’t work like that, sweetheart.”

“Sure it does! You and sam chon have the sex, and then you make a baby! I promise to help take care of him, Mommy. Please?”

“Ah, I’ll think about it.”

“That just means, ‘No,’” she said forlornly.

“It just means that we have to discuss it, Madi.”

“We’re discussing it right now!”

“Me and Yoongi have to discuss it, Madi,” you sighed. “You are not part of that conversation.”

Madi pouted. “I never get anything I want.”

“Alright, my sweetling,” interjected Yoongi. “Let’s go work on your dribbling outside. Come on, then.”

---

It turned out that Madi was prescient and you were not a little mad about it. You were on the pill but had recently been on a round of antibiotics for a recurring UTI. Though you’d had every intention of not having sex, Yoongi was very persuasive. He had used a condom but of all the luck, it had broken inside you as he was pulling out. You had immediately gone out the next morning to procure Plan B and other than some mild nausea and a headache, you had thought you were in the clear.

But when your breasts stung under the shower and you felt off a few days before you expected your period to arrive, you knew. What were the odds that you were really that fertile? There was only one way to find out.

You knew you should tell Yoongi but you kept flashing back to when you and Jackson had gone to the grocery store to buy an overpriced 3-pack of pregnancy tests. After 3 positive tests in a row, Jackson had promised you that everything would be okay. That he would do the right thing and marry you and you’d be a perfect family and live happily ever after.

That had turned out fucking spectactular.

If Yoongi offered to marry you, you wouldn’t be able to bear it. You refused to become another man’s obligation ever again. You briefly considered taking a test and then taking care of it without telling him if you were pregnant, but you knew what it was like to be on the receiving end of such a betrayal of trust.

It would tear you apart just as surely as it tore you and Jackson apart. You could not do such a thing to Yoongi.

And so, you found yourself hovering outside Madi’s door that night, eavesdropping on Yoongi’s sacred nightly story time. He was re-telling his version of the Three Little Pigs including voices and color commentary. Madi enthusiastically played the straight man to his obvious antics, patiently answering his criticisms of the story.

“How are the pigs supposed to build a house with their little pig feet? They don’t have opposable thumbs,” complained Yoongi.

Sam chon, they could hire subcontractors.”

“But that’s so wasteful! And also, this entire story is ridiculous. What kind of lung capacity does this wolf have to blow down an entire house?”

“They’re pigs, sam chon, so the houses aren’t very big. Besides, it's made of straw! That’s super easy to blow down.”

“But what about the sticks, Madi? And how could the wolf expect to blow down bricks?”

“You’re taking this way too seriously, sam chon. Animals can’t even talk. Why are you like this?”

“Be grateful I’m teaching you critical thinking skills. Say, ‘Gamsahabnida, sam chon.’”

Gamsahabnida, sam chon,” Madi repeated.

“There’s my best girl.” Yoongi kissed her and got up from the bed. “Good night, Madi.”

“Good night, Yoongi sam chon.”

Yoongi walked out the room and shut the door. He smiled when he noticed you standing in the hallway and raised a questioning eyebrow when he noticed the look on your face. “Everything okay, Y/N?” he asked, voice lowered.

You just shook your head. You picked up his hand and led him into the bathroom and closed the door. “Yoongi,” you whispered. “I think I’m pregnant.”

Yoongi’s entire countenance lit up and then fell when he saw that you were not thrilled. “Do you need me to go buy a test?”

“No, I bought some on the way home.”

“You’ve been worried about this all day? Ah, Y/N, I’m so sorry,” he said as he pulled you into a hug. He stroked your hair. “Whatever the result is, you know I love you, right? I will love you and support you in whatever way you need.”

You nodded into his chest and listened to his steady heartbeat for a few moments. Then you stepped back and said, “Well, time to pee on a stick.”

You peed on a stick. Two pink lines appeared almost immediately. You handed Yoongi the test and exited the bathroom. You headed to your room and sat on the edge of the bed. The millions of scenarios that had rushed through your mind all day were no longer blurry but sharp and in stark relief.

When you finally looked up, Yoongi was leaning against the door frame, studying you. “Do you want to be alone, Y/N?”

“I don’t know,” you said, voice flat.

“Do you want to talk about it? What we want to do? How we’re feeling? What we’re thinking?” he asked. He sounded so careful, as if you were a fragile bubble about to burst.

“I don’t want to get married, Yoongi.”

“I don’t recall asking yet, but, okay. That’s good to know.” He frowned. “May I ask why?”

You shook your head and tried to make your churning thoughts go still. “I can’t believe this is happening to me again.” You laughed, a bitter, ugly thing. “I can’t believe that two forms of contraception and one emergency form ALL failed because, of course. Of course they would. My life is a joke to the universe.”

“Do you not want to keep it?” Yoongi asked. You could barely hear him, he had spoken so faintly.

It was his plaintiveness that broke through to you. You suddenly remembered that though you were freaking out, you had been through this before. But for Yoongi, this was all new. You gestured for him to come sit next to you.

“I can’t get rid of it, Yoongi. Even if you wanted me to.” You huddled into yourself. “I don’t judge women who do since I’m not in their situations, but at this point in my life, I personally can’t bring myself to do it. I understand if a baby is not what you want right now - or ever.”

“I want it,” he said.

“Okay.”

Yoongi hugged you. “I’m sorry you’re upset, Y/N. I’m sorry it’s not what you wanted.”

You shrugged, resigned to fate. “Aren’t you bothered? We’ve barely started dating. And now, we’re going to be linked forever by a soon to be human we made - defying all odds.”

“What can I say, Y/N? I have potent sperm. I’m amazing.”

“Typical man, taking credit. I was on birth control when I got pregnant with Madi, too. Why do you think you’ve been using a condom all this time?”

“I just thought you didn’t like the mess and condoms were neater.”

“That is… not why.”

You watched as Yoongi let that information sink in.

“Wow.”

“Yup.”

Yoongi tentatively held your hand. “I’m sorry, Y/N. I know you’re upset about this, and I feel like I’m betraying you since I’m not the one who has to carry the baby in my actual body, but I’m really, really happy. I really, really want to be a dad - and I’m really, really glad it’s with you.”

“Oh.”

Yoongi huffed in amusement. You knew he was used to your inability to expound on your feelings. You were glad he accepted it rather than tried to change you too much.

“I still don’t want to get married,” you added.

“We can talk about that later.”

“I’m serious.”

“I know, Y/N,” said Yoongi. “But I really want to marry you someday. And when that time comes - and not because of the baby - I’d appreciate you considering it. For me.”

You nodded.

---

To say Madi was ecstatic about having a possible brother or sister was an understatement. She absolutely could not wait and told everybody. She told her Jimin, Taehyung, and Jungkook sam chons before either of you could. They congratulated you all and saved the incessant teasing for the group chats. Seokjin, Namjoon, and Hoseok wisely let the younger men draw all your ire. Yoongi just amicably set up a pool for guessing the sex and birth date of the baby.

You made sure to inform your parents, Jackson, and his parents before Madi had the chance to spring the news on them. It was sooner than you would have preferred, but it was impossible to expect an excited eight year old to keep quiet.

Your parents lectured you for a very long time. When you finally interrupted and told them you had used two methods of birth control as well as emergency contraception and was an actual responsible adult, they changed their tune. They decided that it was God’s will and this baby was meant to be and destined for greatness. You chose to leave it at that. They did not pester you for a wedding this time around.

Yoongi’s parents were relieved that someone finally wanted to be with Yoongi long enough to procreate with him. They asked if there was going to be a wedding and were disappointed that none was planned. His mother sighed, saying at least she got a traditional Korean wedding with Geum-jae and his wife. Yoongi had to explain to you what happened since you didn’t actually understand any of the conversation given that it was conducted mostly in Korean.

You were newly sympathetic to Yoongi when he had listened in on your call with your parents. At least that had been in Chinglish since you had no idea how to say sex, birth control pills, condoms, or emergency contraception in Chinese.

Jackson’s parents congratulated you and said all the proper words and well-wishes. You knew it could not possibly be what they really thought, but you also knew they appreciated you making an effort to give them time with Madi and likely didn’t want to jeopardize the relationship. It was actually very kind of them - and totally not expected of your Hong Kong ex-in-laws. You were grateful for people’s capacities to change.

Jackson was kind. “Are you doing okay?” he asked.

“All things considered, yes.”

“To be honest, I’m surprised it took this long.”

“For me to get pregnant again?”

“That, and to get together with Yoongi,” Jackson answered. He cleared his throat. “He’s a good man, Y/N. And I -- I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t keep my promises to you and Madi. I don’t regret her - or you, Y/N. I know I’m not the best father and was definitely not the best husband. I made terrible choices that I do regret - but I have never once regretted marrying you or having our beautiful girl.”

“Oh,” you said. It was all you could manage.

“I wish you happy, Y/N. You deserve good things in your life. You and Madi deserve all the joy and happiness. I’m grateful to Yoongi - and jealous of how much Madi loves him - but I guess I deserve that, too.”

“Thank you,” you whispered. “You know, Jackson. It’s not too late with Madi. She loves you - and Yoongi cannot replace you. You will always be her baba. And you have done alright for being on the other side of the world.”

“Thanks, Y/N.”

---

2011

Christopher Hyun-Woo Min (민현우 / 閔賢祐) was born on May 18, 2011 at 2:24 p.m. after you were in labor for 12 hours and pushed for 30 minutes. He was a stout 9 pounds and 6 ounces, 22 inches long, and resembled a small turkey. Though it would remain to be seen if Christopher would be “virtuous” like his name, both sets of grandparents joked that the “divine intervention and blessing” had already been fulfilled. It seemed his conception would be forever commemorated in his name.

Having a baby the second time around was no easier than the first time. You concluded that in order to ensure the promulgation of the species, evolution had engineered it so that no parent could accurately recall how much sleep loss, pain, and suffering the newborn months were. You, Yoongi, and Madi muddled through.

Madi and Yoongi were utterly in love with Toph. Yes, they petitioned - separately, you might add - to call him Toph instead of Chris because of Avatar: the Last Airbender. You couldn’t bear to disappoint their nerdy little hearts, so you agreed even though you secretly thought Chris sounded better. But who were you to disagree? You were only the child’s mother.

---

2013+

Two years later, on purpose this time, Sarah Hyun-Joo Min (민현주 / 閔賢珠) was born on July 2, 2013 at 5:42 a.m. after you were in labor for 8 hours and pushed for 15 minutes. She was a lucky 8 pounds and 8 ounces, 21 inches long, and perfect in every way. She was very round so you reasoned, at least for now, that she lived up to her name of “Virtuous Pearl.” It seemed a very Asian name to give.

After she was born, you gently informed Yoongi that if he ever wanted to have sex with you again, he was getting a vasectomy. He promptly made an appointment and only complained a little bit of the pain to you. You wouldn’t allow him near you until the doctors confirmed he was only shooting blanks.

---

You continued to refuse to marry Yoongi, and he eventually stopped broaching the subject. You knew you were being stubborn and superstitious. You even knew it was a bad tax and financial decision. But you didn’t care. You wanted to know that he was sticking around because he chose to, not because some document from the state forced him to.

It did make for tricky legal acrobatics - especially for Madi’s guardianship, school, and medical decisions, but you willfully ignored it all. You had done as best as you could to protect all your children and provide for them should your untimely death occur, but you knew the law protected those in legal marriage the most.

You would likely have continued to hide your head in the sand and disregard Yoongi’s feelings except the unexpected death of Prince in 2016 and the messy financial morass he left behind made you stop and reconsider.

“We should get married, Yoongi,” you said on a random Tuesday night after the children were asleep.

“Oh?” replied Yoongi. “And why is that?”

“It makes financial sense. Less legal confusion.”

“I see,” he said.

You were relieved when he did not state the obvious. After all, the financial and legal reasons had always been there. Nothing had changed except that a childhood idol had died in an accidental overdose and suddenly, you didn’t seem that young anymore.

“Let’s get married, then.” Yoongi swallowed hard and went back to his work.

Later, he murmured promises of forever as he made love to you sweet and slow; you were come undone.

---

The wedding was a simple affair. You, Yoongi, your three children, Seokjin, and Jimin had gone to the closest Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office in Montebello on Friday, August 12, 2016 and got married in a civil ceremony. You met up with Namjoon, Hoseok, Taehyung, Jungkook, and their families for dinner to celebrate.

You endured Yoongi referring to you as “wife” for about an hour before it drove you crazy. You held your peace as a wedding gift to him. He would never know how much it cost. You pretended not to see Yoongi tear up when Madi called him, “Appa.” The guys all got uproariously drunk and you didn’t mind at all.

At the courteous and firm request from both sets of your parents, the five of you drove back up to the Bay Area during Labor Day weekend and suffered through a weekend of Korean and Chinese restaurants and an endless parade of your parents’ friends. You allowed your parents to show off the children’s passable Chinese and Korean and told yourself it was good for your kids to see their cousins on both sides as well as spend time with your collective families.

You stowed the generous cash gifts into all your children’s accounts and bowed more than you had in a very long time. You admitted to your sister that the weekend was not entirely terrible. She just chuckled and hugged you long and hard.

---

You had finally arrived home after the seven hour drive. Yoongi was settling the children down with an epic retelling of some gory Korean story and you were unpacking and putting things away. You took a shower and slid into bed to finish the just released Empire of Storms. You had been making your way through the book the last week or so and had patiently waited for this moment. You heard Yoongi puttering around the house and eventually turn on the television.

When Yoongi found you a few hours later, you were sobbing.

“How did the pretend people hurt you this time?”

“They were maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaates!!!” you wailed. “She called in all her debts!!! They have to save heeerrrrrrrrr!!!”

“I literally have no idea what you’re talking about,” Yoongi said.

You rolled over and let him hold you and kiss the top of your head. He stroked your back and made all the appropriate comfort sounds. His hands wandered lower and lower and soon, he was kneading your bottom with one and slipping his other up the back of your shirt.

“Don’t cry, Wife,” he soothed. “The mean author can’t attack you anymore.”

“She loves him so much and she broke his heart to save him,” you sniffled.

Yoongi lifted your chin and kissed you, mellow and soft. “Let me make you feel better, Y/N.”

He drew small and medium sized circles on your back as he kissed you again. Yoongi nipped at your bottom lip. He shifted you so he could more easily access your ears and the sensitive skin on your neck.

You let your legs fall open and pulled him so he could settle on your body. You loved the reassuring weight of him on you. You took off his worn t-shirt and sucked tiny bruises along his clavicles and shoulders. You ran your fingers up and down his back. When Yoongi tongued your ear, you arched into him and begged him to strip you.

He did so with great alacrity. While he was at it, you helped him off with the rest of his clothes, too.

You reached between Yoongi’s legs and fondled his awakening cock. He hummed pleasantly as you petted and stroked him.

“I love you, Yoongi,” you breathed. “You know that, right?”

“I do, Y/N,” he confirmed. “I do.”

“Okay.”

You resumed the melding of your mouths, a heady mix of tongue, teeth, and lips. You revelled in the ways he knew you and your body. When you determined Yoongi was sufficiently hard, you guided him to your entrance and exhaled contentedly as you welcomed his cock. You relished the stretch and accommodation your body made to his familiar form.

And when Yoongi rocked into you, you held him close and tight. Though you were not one for words, you thanked him for waiting for you, for loving you, and for being a good man. You thanked him for being a man you wanted to spend the rest of your life loving. A man who raised your children with you. And a man who made a good and joyful life with you.

You kissed him with an open mouth and heart, and he kissed back, giving you his sweetness and kindness.

“I love you, Y/N,” Yoongi said, his words hitching as his hips sputtered. “I love you so much.”

You lifted your hips to meet his thrusts and gave yourself over to the rhythm of his movements. Yoongi continued mouthing his casual inventory of all the ways he found you sexy and beautiful. Sometimes, he used actual words. You felt seen.

“I’m gonna come soon, Y/N,” he gasped. “You feel too good, babygirl. I’m sorry.”

“Come inside me, Yoongi. Want you to come.”

Yoongi pumped a few more times and you smiled when he finally grunted, “I’m coming, Y/N. I’m coming.”

You wrapped Yoongi in your arms, satisfied to have pleasured him.

“I’m sorry, Y/N. I promised to make you feel good.”

“You did, Yoongi. And you do.”

He pulled out of you and went to get a wipe. You cleaned yourselves up and put your clothes back on. Yoongi kissed you on the forehead and climbed under the covers. You heard his breathing even out almost immediately.

You fell asleep to his soft snores, confident that whatever the next day would bring, Yoongi would be there, constant and life-giving like the sun.