“Did everyone bring flowers because I swear to god if one of you motherfuckers showed up here without flowers—”
“Jimin, my god, chill,” Hoseok interrupted with a cackle, throwing his arm around Jimin’s shoulder even as the younger man scowled at him. “We all bought flowers and Namjoon bought a whole second bouquet because he was worried the bouquet he bought wasn’t roses and only roses are appropriate for graduation.”
Jimin tilted his head. “Why did he think that?”
“Because the booth selling flowers only sells roses,” Hoseok explained.
“Oh. Well, it is more traditional but I don’t think it matters…” Jimin mumbled.
“No, but we all did bring flowers, so relax.”
“I can’t relax! Do you know how hard he worked to graduate on time after switching programs so many times! We need to show our support!” Jimin snapped again, spinning away from Hoseok to survey the group gathered. Jungkook’s family wasn’t there yet, but everyone else had arrived and true to Hoseok’s words, they all had flowers. Even though Namjoon and Seokjin had come together they both had a separate bouquet, plus the extra one Namjoon had bought. The same was true of Taehyung and Yoongi, both of whom had drastically different flower choices. Jimin couldn’t help but notice Yoongi’s were closer to Jungkook’s style and he was once again validated in his earlier declaration that Yoongi and Jungkook were very similar.
“See, I told you,” Hoseok whispered cheekily.
“Oh shush,” Jimin hissed before clapping loudly. “When he crosses that stage, we are going to scream, do you hear me? I want his embarrassment to be visible from the next city!”
“Yes, Jimin,” Yoongi agreed, snorting as Taehyung whispered something to him. Jimin simply narrowed his eyes, making Yoongi hold up his hands in defeat. “We’ll scream.”
“Okay,” Jimin muttered mostly to himself as he once again checked his watch and glanced around nervously. It was getting close to the time they should go in and Jungkook’s family hadn’t arrived yet.
But even as he thought that, Jimin heard the loud bang of a door opening and then saw Mihi running in the room, dressed in a pretty dress and carrying an obnoxiously large bouquet with her husband and youngest son trailing behind. Their expressions showed equal parts worry and exasperation, telling Jimin that he wasn’t the only one who’d worried about time running short.
“Mom!” Jimin called back, his cheeks turning a slightly pink colour as he spoke. Mihi had long since demanded to be called mom and Jimin was still getting used to it. He liked it though.
“Traffic was bad. We aren’t late are we?” Mihi asked, panic lingering just below the surface.
“No, we were just about to go in,” Jimin assured before smiling and bowing at Jungkook’s father. “Dad.”
“Jimin,” Kwangsun greeted, scanning the group of people standing around. He'd only ever seen JUngkook's friends via video call and he was suddenly struck by them in person. “Why is everyone so…”
“Hot?” Junghee supplied, also looking at his older brother’s friends.
“I wasn’t going to say it like that but yea.”
Jimin blinked and looked around, seeing Yoongi laugh and smile up at Taehyung who was looking down at him with the real-life equivalent of heart eyes. Seeing Namjoon scrunch his nose at Seokjin who was waving his hand with a glowing expression, no doubt recounting something ridiculous in great detail. Seeing Hoseok smile shyly down at his phone and scratch his cheek before replying quickly.
“Your son has good taste?” Jimin offered.
Mihi patted Jimin’s cheek. “Of course he does. He chose you.”
Jimin’s eyes widened and he blushed, ducking his head while Mihi cooed at him. Thankfully, Kwangsun came to his rescue. “Leave the poor boy alone. We should get our seats.”
“Right!” Mihi agreed, spinning towards her husband with a determined expression. “I want to hear you yell, okay?”
Seokjin, who’d just finished telling Namjoon about a dating scandal at his company, laughed. “Oh, wow. Jungkookie is dating his mom.”
“Don’t— don’t ever say that again,” Jimin threatened before sighing. “But she’s right! Yell or go home.”
“Is that an option?” Taehyung asked playfully, only just managing to dodge Jimin’s swing by hiding behind Yoongi, who shook his head.
“Hyung has weird friends,” Junghee muttered. “Don’t know why I’m surprised.”
“Alright, enough chit-chat! It’s time for my oldest baby to graduate!” Mihi declared before once again darting away, leaving her husband and son to follow along.
“I love her,” Seokjin declared as he grabbed Namjoon’s hand and followed suit.
As if that acted as a signal, everyone else filed into the hall where the ceremony was being held. There was a lot of mumbling and shifting until everyone found their seat and then just silence as the event began. Graduation, as one would expect, was a long ceremony. There were hundreds of students and multiple degrees to work through. They were about halfway through when they reached the ‘Jeon’ section and from then on, the anticipation was clear.
By the time poor Jungkook crossed the stage, his hair slicked back and styled prettily, his face had turned bright red and his shoulders were near his ears. No one was really watching him. Instead, they were staring in mild horror and awe at the group of nine people screaming for Jungkook, some of whom were jumping. It was a lot and Jungkook wanted to melt into the floor. Even if he was beyond happy and couldn’t stop smiling, he was embarrassed. Even more so when the Dean handed him his degree and smiled with a quick you have a good family.
Because yes, yes he did.
Even if they made him want to roll up into a blanket burrito and never come out.
Despite all their planning, no one had actually thought about the aftermath of their little celebration. Mostly because there were still a couple of hundred students to announce and now they had to just sit there patiently and wait. It was easily one of the most boring afternoons of Yoongi’s life, but he enjoyed it. Enjoyed seeing Jimin flit around nervously, wanting Jungkook to have the greatest graduation. Seeing his friends talk excitedly about how proud they were of Jungkook. Seeing Jungkook’s parents practically glow with pride and the begrudging if hidden smile of his younger brother who couldn’t help but pretend his hyung wasn’t cool.
It was, quite honestly, the dynamic Yoongi had wanted growing up. It was the way he wanted his parents to look at him. He was a bit sad thinking about it and found himself watching Mihi and Kwangsun fawn over Jungkook while he was on stage and then after when he found them in the crowd, his face still flaming red. If he saw his parents, would they look at him like that?
Taehyung noticed his mood and moved closer, his arms winding around Yoongi’s waist. “You okay?”
“Yea. Jungkook has great parents.”
“He does,” Taehyung agreed softly, squeezing Yoongi closer. They didn’t really talk about Yoongi’s parents, but Taehyung understood so he held Yoongi close in silent comfort.
Yoongi, however, didn’t have time to linger on that feeling because Mihi was nothing if not diligent and spun around, waving her arms. “Alright! All of you get together! I need a picture of all my sons!”
“Mom, you can't just adopt people,” Jungkook whined like a broken record.
“You can’t tell me what to do. Now get in!” Mihi ordered, physically shoving Namjoon and Seokjin into the group. Only when all seven were together, their smiles wide and genuine, did she take the picture. She stared down at it for a moment, then smiled. “Good!”
“Alright, now one of the family!” Taehyung declared, grabbing his camera and waving the Jeon family into a group much as Mihi had done but with more professional authority. They were finding their positions when Kwangsun reached out and grabbed Jimin’s collar, hauling him into the picture. Taehyung caught the moment Jimin realized ‘family’ meant him. The moment his eyes widened and turned shiny, his lips trembling. It was as sad as it was happy, and Taehyung was glad he’d captured it.
A few dozen photos later, several of which included Jungkook bullying his younger brother while he laughed, the group began moving towards their cars. Mihi was just about to declare they should go out for dinner when Seokjin interrupted her with a sly wink and turned to Namjoon. “How about we go to our place and have dinner?”
Namjoon nodded. “That would be wonderful.”
“You don’t mind, hyung?” Jungkook asked, his eyes darting to his family.
“Of course not. It’s been a while since I’ve really entertained. Plus, Yoongi can help me cook, right?” Seokjin asked, looking at Yoongi, who nodded eagerly.
“Then let’s go!” Seokjin declared. “You can follow me there.”
Seokjin liked to think that the apartment he shared with Namjoon was understated and normal.
It was not.
That much was clear based entirely on the wide-eyed expressions of Jungkook’s family as they pulled up to the complex and as they stepped inside the apartment itself. It reeked of money in the way only generational wealth could and though Seokjin was determined not to let that define him, it leaked into the way he decorated and the places he chose to live. Namjoon, never one to fight over something as insignificant as an apartment location, had noticed but didn’t mind. The Jeon family, however, wasn't used to this. Everyone else had been there multiple times though, so they broke apart naturally, each going to where they’d usually go while Jungkook’s parents and brother lingered awkwardly.
“Jimin?” Mihi called.
“Um… is Seokjin…” Mihi waved vaguely.
“Super rich?” Jimin guessed. “Yes. He’s the CEO of a company his grandfather started.”
“I see,” Mihi murmured, looking around again. “He doesn't seem like that.”
“No, he’s good at hiding it until he needs to use it.”
“Use it?” Kwangsun repeated.
Jimin frowned. “Like if perhaps a certain man showed up and caused a scene and we needed assault charges to stick.”
“Ah,” Mihi said knowingly.
“Cool,” Junghee whispered, suddenly looking much more interested in his older brother’s friends.
“Or, more benevolently, if someone needs a job or a really good reference,” Jimin added.
Mihi shook her head. “You boys.”
“Mihi, my love, I do hope red wine is okay?” Seokjin interrupted, holding out a glass.
Kwangsun blinked. “I’m trying not to be offended.”
“You shouldn’t be. Your wife is a goddess,” Seokjin told him. “If I was just a little less gay…”
“And dating me,” Namjoon cut in from the other room, his tone light.
“Yes, well of cour—”
“HYUNG!” Jungkook interrupted, making Seokjin widen his eyes before running away in a flurry of rushed words and haste.
“What just happened?” Mihi asked, genuinely confused.
Jimin shrugged. “I’m not sure but Jin-hyung always seems to know and judging by that cackle Kook is letting out, he was right.”
“I’m very happy,” Mihi declared loudly, her observations of Jungkook’s friends only being further confirmed by their interactions during the graduation and now, before sipping her wine. “Now leave me and the dimpled one alone to talk.”
“Oh god,” Jimin whispered. Namjoon was about to get a Mihi-style interrogation like they’d all received and Jimin couldn’t help but laugh and shake his head. “Well, Junghee, you want to see what kinda damage your hyung did?”
“Always,” Junghee agreed, following Jimin into the main room where Seokjin had disappeared.
Left alone, Kwangsun wandered into the main room, his eyes scanning the men gathered there. He saw Yoongi and Hoseok in the middle of an in-depth conversation centred around something on his phone. Jungkook and Seokjin either wrestling or trying to kill each other while Jimin and Junghee watched. His wife questioning a very flustered-looking Namjoon. And, just off to the side, with a Coke in his hand, Taehyung standing and overlooking it all.
Sliding up beside him, Kwangsun nodded and turned to look at the room as well. It was like a chaotic explosion and honestly, it reminded Kwangsun of a normal day raising two boys and that gave him great comfort. But that wasn’t why he’d decided to stand by Taehyung. “It’s nice to finally meet you.”
“Me?” Taehyung asked, looking over.
“Yes. And Yoongi,” Kwangsun added. “I’ve heard quite a bit about you from my wife.”
Taehyung raised a brow. “Oh?”
Kwangsun hummed. “She… identifies with Yoongi.”
“I overheard her story,” Taehyung confessed, “which she is aware of.”
“I know. That’s why I’m talking to you.”
Confused, Taehyung tilted his head. “Okay?”
Kwangsun frowned slightly. “I’m not exactly sure how to say this…”
“That what you’re doing is harder than you think it is.”
“I don’t understand,” Taehyung said honestly.
“No, you wouldn’t,” Kwangsun replied. “When I met Mihi, she had gone through a lot and she needed someone stable and caring. Someone who could and always would be there.”
“And with that comes a bit of responsibility. Unlike people without her background, she reacted to things that otherwise would go overlooked. She was more sensitive and attune to things. My emotions for one but also those of our children and the people around her. The day she stopped exhibiting signs of trauma wasn’t the day I stopped being aware of those triggers and traumas. It’s a whole life thing.”
“Is this… supposed to scare me?” Taehyung asked.
Kwangsun smiled. “No, not really. If you were the type to be scared of that kind of commitment, you wouldn’t have stuck around this long and Mihi wouldn't like you. I’m just saying that I admire what you’ve done to help your friend and now boyfriend. I know, from personal experience, that you didn’t do it for praise but I’m giving it anyway.”
“But just because he’s doing good now doesn't mean you still won’t have to help in the future.”
Taehyung nodded. “As long as hyung wants me, I’ll be there.”
Scanning Taehyung’s face for a moment longer, Kwangsun nodded. “That’s what I said too.”
“And look how that turned out,” Taehyung mused, his eyes once again drifting to the living room and noting Seokjin and Yoongi had disappeared, likely to start dinner.
“Wouldn’t change a thing,” Kwangsun softly agreed, his attention on his wife and two sons. Taehyung followed the direction of his gaze and smiled. The Jeon family really was amazing and Taehyung was grateful he got to see it up close. Add to that the way they took Jimin in so easily and made sure he was included no matter what and Taehyung would say they were the best.
Second only to, of course, their little family of seven. Nothing topped that.
After being cornered by Mihi, Namjoon was in what could only be described as a daze. He saw but he did not experience. He saw Taehyung and Jungkook playing video games while Junghee yelled loudly. He saw Mihi and Kwangsun watch over them fondly. He saw Sungwoon hovering awkwardly by the door, looking around nervously. He saw Jimin push Hoseok forward so hard he stumbled. He saw Yoongi laughing as he travelled between the kitchen and dining room to set the table. And, most importantly, he saw Seokjin moving between burners effortlessly, a slight sheen of sweat on his forehead as he cooked them dinner while playfully bickering with Yoongi.
It was, by no stretch of the imagination, a perfect evening. Taehyung and Yoongi had committed to each other, Jungkook had graduated, Jimin was gaining a new family, Hoseok was finally getting over himself and reconnecting with Sungwoon. It was perfect.
But he felt like he was underwater. Mihi’s sly eyes and knowing smile flashing in his mind every time he looked at Seokjin. It was perfect because his friends were happy, sure. But to Namjoon, it was only perfect because Seokjin had pulled them all together. Because he had suggested dinner. Because he was spending time cooking rather than enjoying the atmosphere like everyone else. Because he was Seokjin.
“Joonie?” Seokjin called, looking up from the pan. “Are you okay?”
“Yes… I’m great.”
“You know, if you want to be subtle, perhaps don’t fondle the little box in your pocket so much dear,” Mihi said with a small smile.
“W-what?” Namjoon stuttered, his panicked eyes darting around the room.
“Oh, no one noticed but me,” Mihi reassured him. “But I do have a question.”
“What’s stopping you?”
“You’re sure?” Seokjin asked again.
“Jin, will you marry me?”
Stunned, Seokjin turned slowly towards Namjoon, his mouth opening and closing wordlessly. In the background, absolute silence overtook the apartment. As if every single person had held their breath.
“Y-you’re kidding,” Seokjin managed.
“No,” Namjoon said, far more confidently than his blurted question would suggest. “I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I-I’ve been carrying around a ring for like three months.”
“Ring?” Seokjin repeated, still mostly in shock.
“Um, yea,” Namjoon confirmed, scrambling forward so quickly he tripped and ended up on his knees. “This is fine.”
“No, seriously. It’s perfect. Jin, will you marry me?” Namjoon asked again, this time actually presenting the small box Mihi had noticed and opening it. Inside were two simple platinum bands with the day they’d met on one and the day they’d started dating on the other.
Seokjin reached out hesitantly, his fingers trembling as he touched the rings. He looked up at Namjoon’s wide, somewhat scared eyes, and felt his eyes well. “Of course I’ll marry you, you awful, awful man!”
“Awful?” Namjoon repeated, smiling.
“I am sweaty and in sweats while I’m cooking, Joon! What is this timing!” Seokjin wailed even as he took the ring and shoved it at Namjoon so he could put it on properly.
Namjoon stood up and did as he was directed, finding that the ring fit as it should. “This is when you’re the most beautiful.”
“Shut up, I hate you,” Seokjin protested before throwing himself at Namjoon and crushing their lips together. In the background, the silence was overwhelmed with screams and cheers and Yoongi, being the only one with a brain apparently, slipped into the kitchen and turned off the burners so dinner wasn’t ruined before sneaking out again and joining Taehyung on the floor with a small smile.
“This family really is chaotic,” Kwangsun observed quietly.
“It is. I like it,” Mihi agreed.
“Yea. It’s good.”
“I’m happy for them,” Sungwoon murmured almost to himself.
Hoseok turned and nodded. “They’re good together.”
“Even before I knew they’d end up together. There was just something about the way they looked at each other,” Sungwoon added.
Sungwoon nodded. “Yea. Like they’re the centre of the universe, I guess. Jimin looks at Jungkook like that and Taehyung looks at Yoongi-ssi the same way.”
“Young love,” Hoseok commented, not unkindly.
“You used to look at me like that too,” Sungwoon said after a moment.
“Guess you can’t base the future on a look then,” Hoseok observed, glancing back at Sungwoon.
Frowning slightly, Sungwoon sighed. “Maybe if I hadn’t left…”
“But you did.”
“I did,” Sungwoon agreed. “I did.”
Hoseok rubbed his forehead. He’d invited him because he wanted to mend the bridge as it were. Seokjin, Jimin, and even Yoongi had been pretty insistent and Hoseok would be lying if he said he didn't want the same. He had genuinely loved Sungwoon once. He just never knew what to say when they were actually together.
“Seokie, can I ask a question?” Sungwoon asked softly.
Sungwoon hesitated. “Do you… actually want to hang out with me? I won’t be offended if you say no. Honest.”
Hoseok looked over again, scanning Sungwoon’s face. He looked earnest and serious. If Hoseok didn’t know him as well as he did, he’d have missed the sadness that lingered just under the surface. But he did. “It’s not that I don’t want to hang out with you, it’s that I don’t know what to say.”
“What to say?” Sungwoon repeated.
“We used to know everything about each other but I’m not the same person now. Neither are you. How do we just… move past that?”
“Ah,” Sungwoon murmured, smiling slightly.
“Why are you smiling?” Hoseok demanded.
“You always were an overthinker.”
Hoseok blinked, remembering Sungwoon saying something very similar to him when he’d been planning this huge dinner just to confess. It had been nice but he’d been so stressed he’d barely enjoyed it and botched the actual confession part. He had not told Yoongi that part of the story for obvious reasons. But Sungwoon had just laughed and cupped his face, telling him he loved him too: ah, Seokie, you’re beautiful even when you overthink.
“I guess I still am.”
“See, not everything has changed,” Sungwoon pointed out, his eyes bright and a bit hopeful.
Biting his lip, Hoseok smiled and nodded. “Maybe you’re right.”
Sungwoon’s smile was blinding as he looked at Hoseok. All he’d wanted was a chance to make up for his mistakes and it looked like Hoseok was finally giving him the chance. He wouldn’t mess it up again.
Thanks in part to Yoongi’s quick thinking, dinner actually went well and was consumed at a frankly scary speed. But with the food coma came a moment of calm before the alcohol was brought out and chaos once again reigned. For now, the early chaos settled into a quiet sort of comfort with people falling into side conversations. This is when, for what felt like the first time that night, Jungkook found Jimin.
Dropping down onto the couch just beside him, Jungkook threw his legs over Jimin’s lap and rested his head on Jimin’s shoulder. “Hey, hyung.”
“Hi, Kook,” Jimin whispered back.
“Thank you for today. I know you organized it,” Jungkook replied, his voice equally as soft.
“I didn’t do anything. Everyone came because they wanted to support you.”
Jungkook smiled and rubbed his nose on Jimin’s collar bone. “I know. Thank you anyway.”
“You’re welcome,” Jimin said after a moment, his arm snaking around Jungkook’s waist and pulling him closer. “Someone’s in a good mood.”
“Hmmm. My family is here and happy. Jin-hyung and Namjoon-hyung are getting married, Yoongi-hyung and Taehyung-hyung are so cute I’m going to throw up, Hoseok-hyung is flirting with Sungwoon-ssi, and you’re holding me. It’s a good night.”
Jimin looked over at Hoseok, seeing the way he leaned in as he was talking to Sungwoon, and smiled. “You’re right. It is a good night.”
“Hyung?” Jungkook asked after a moment of silence. “Do you believe in fate?”
“I don’t know,” Jimin said honestly.
“Me neither,” Jungkook admitted. “But it kinda feels like we’re all where we’re supposed to be, you know? Like all the bad stuff led us here.”
“Maybe,” Jimin allowed, his eyes drifting to Yoongi who looked like he’d fallen asleep in Taehyung’s lap. He didn’t want to think that Yoongi had had to suffer to get this happiness. Nor that Mihi had had to go through the same. But he did feel like they were finally at the end of their story. Or rather the beginning. Like they were starting the boring, everyday stuff that made up the best and worst parts of life. The parts he couldn’t wait to experience with Jungkook and his friends. He didn't know if that was fate but he was ready for it regardless. “Maybe.”
The night of Jungkook’s graduation had been long and honestly, Yoongi didn’t remember most of it. Taehyung did and he had pictures but he didn't tell anyone that. At least not yet. That was for another time when he needed something embarrassing. Something to lighten the mood.
Now, Taehyung was tense which was only made worse by Yoongi’s rigid form beside him. Jungkook’s graduation had been good and Seokjin’s immediate wedding planning stressful, but it was nothing compared to this.
“You don’t have to do this, hyung,” Taehyung whispered, his anxiety skyrocketing every time the little bell above the cafe door jingled announcing a new patron.
Yoongi, who hadn’t looked away from the door either, nodded slowly. “I know. But I want to.”
Taehyung bit his lip. “If they try anything, I will punch an old lady.”
Snorting, Yoongi rolled his eyes in Taehyung’s direction. “No, you won’t.”
“No, I won’t,” Taehyung agreed with a sigh.
Truth be told, he’d been anxious ever since Yoongi had even suggested talking to his parents again. He knew very little about them other than the fact that Yoongi had been ‘missing’ for the better part of a year and they hadn’t looked for him nor had they intervened when they knew what Minhyuk was doing. So, no, Taehyung didn’t know a lot but what he did know was very negative.
But Yoongi wanted to do this so Taehyung wouldn’t complain.
“How did you convince me to do this?” Taehyung whined, hoping to distract Yoongi as much as let out his displeasure at the entire situation.
Yoongi raised a single brow. “By asking.”
“Right,” Taehyung conceded.
If Taehyung had thought waking up next to Yoongi on a normal day was good, it was nothing compared to waking up wrapped around a still naked Yoongi cuddled into his chest. Taehyung decided then and there he would sacrifice a great many things for this to never end. Which prompted him to hug Yoongi tighter and bury his face in Yoongi’s hair, making the smaller man groan in displeasure.
Yoongi sighed and cracked open an eye. “You really aren’t going to let that go are you?”
“No, never,” Taehyung admitted easily, his smile only widening.
“Right,” Yoongi muttered, before borrowing deeper into Taehyung’s chest with a small, content sigh. “I don’t want to move.”
“My thoughts exactly.”
“We will have to eat eventually,” Yoongi added thoughtfully.
“I’m sure we can convince Jungkook to bring us food.”
Yoongi giggled. “We would still have to get dressed.”
“Shhhhh,” Taehyung whispered. “There’s no proof we’re naked under the covers.”
As his giggles turned to laughter, Yoongi leaned back and smiled up at Taehyung. “I love you a lot, you know.”
Taehyung was suddenly struck physically. Or it felt like he was. It was like someone dropped kicked him in the chest all over again. All he could do was duck his head and hold onto Yoongi tightly. “Never stop saying that.”
“I won’t,” Yoongi promised, his hand sneaking out to thread through Taehyung’s hair. Taehyung signed into the motion and shifted so he could rest his head on Yoongi’s chest, effectively wrapping himself around Yoongi’s waist and thighs like a koala. Yoongi smiled down at him before relaxing back into the pillow. Truth be told his lower back and ass hurt a bit, but that was to be expected and Taehyung had taken such care the night before he couldn’t bring himself to complain. Not because he was hiding pain but because he wanted to linger in this atmosphere for a bit longer.
And they did.
For the first time since coming to Seoul, Yoongi spent most of the day in bed, indulging himself in Taehyung. He’d lost count of the number of times he’d come but he was pretty sure it was high because his limbs were loose and heavy. It was a good day. Partially because he’d spent most of it having sex, but also because he didn’t feel guilty about that. The closest he got to guilt was when he’d mentioned being thankful for the soundproofing since Jimin and Jungkook were surely home. Taehyung had responded by seeing how loud Yoongi could be. Which, for the record, was loud. Louder than he’d ever thought possible. It made him blush just thinking about but he liked it anyway.
The sun had started to go down when Yoongi had shifted the mood completely.
“Can you come with me to meet my parents?”
Taehyung shot up like he’d been struck by lightning. “Your parents?”
Yoongi blinked, surprised by Taehyung’s reaction. He scanned Taehyung’s face for a moment then sighed. “Ah, you’ve heard about them then.”
“I have. Nothing… concrete,” Taehyung admitted.
“Well no one really knows anything concrete so that makes sense,” Yoongi said with a sigh.
“You… want to see them?” Taehyung asked.
Yoongi shook his head. “Not really. Not now. But I want to talk to them eventually. I have a lot of baggage there and I want to get rid of it. And them. I just want to say what I need to say and move on.”
Taehyung reached forward and brushed Yoongi’s hair out of his eyes. “Okay. I’ll be there whenever you want me to be.”
“No problem, hyung,” Taehyung answered softly, his expression gentle.
It had taken Yoongi longer than he’d expected to work up the nerve to call his parents. Months in fact. The thing that had motivated him the most was seeing Jungkook’s parents at his graduation. He wanted closure, one way or another. But even then it had taken nearly a month to convince his parents to actually come to see him in Seoul.
Yoongi was eternally grateful Taehyung was good at dealing with his emotions because there had been moments where Yoongi had seen Taehyung’s eye twitch like he was going to lose it, then he’d take a breath and offer comfort instead and Yoongi needed that. It shouldn’t be so hard to get his parents to come to see him. Especially not when he’d been missing for nearly a year. But that was just not the way his parents operated apparently. That had been the topic of several therapy sessions over the past few months and that was pretty much the only reason he was as calm as he currently was.
“Thank you for coming, Taehyung,” Yoongi said after nearly jumping at the sound of yet another bell jingle. His parents were nearly fifteen minutes late now.
Taehyung turned to Yoongi and reached down to intertwine their fingers. With a light squeeze, he leaned forward and kissed the side of Yoongi’s head. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
Yoongi closed his eyes and leaned into the soft kiss on his hair and sighed, feeling the tension drain from his body. “I know that’s not true, so thank you anyway.”
“If you want me here, then that’s where I want to be, hyung,” Taehyung replied firmly.
“Okay,” Yoongi whispered back before his eyes snapped open at the doorbell jingle again.
This time, unlike every other time, it was actually his parents. Yoongi moved immediately, his shoulders straightening and tensing. Taehyung frowned at Yoongi, his expression sliding towards displeasure and general indifference. It was what he deemed his most intimidating expression—which Jimin and Jungkook agreed with—and he figured now was the best time to use it. It seemed to work too, because Yoongi’s parents visibly paused when they met Taehyung’s eyes before continuing toward the table and taking a seat.
“Mom. Dad,” Yoongi greeted, his hand shaking in Taehyung’s while Taehyung appraised them. He didn’t really look like either of his parents, Taehyung decided after a moment. But then again, neither did Hongki. For some reason, Taehyung liked that.
“Yoongi,” his father, Min Yongjae, returned, his eyes darting over Yoongi’s face. “You’ve gained weight.”
Taehyung’s eye twitched but he didn’t say anything to that. Mostly because Yoongi didn’t even react. He just nodded which told Taehyung all he needed to know about growing up in the Min household.
“It suits you though,” Yoongi’s mother, Cheon Yunhee, added. “But you could use a haircut.”
“I know,” Yoongi agreed, his fingers nervously touching the ends of his hair. He’d been meaning to cut it for months. Since Taehyung had made him put it up in a ponytail at Christmas in fact. But he loved the way Taehyung played with it so he couldn’t bring himself to book the appointment.
“So, why are we here Yoongi? Seoul isn’t exactly close,” Yongjae cut in.
Yoongi darted a look to Taehyung, who’d long since stopped looking impassive and had shifted to downright upset now, before making eye contact with his father. “I, um, wanted to talk about why I moved to Seoul.”
“Moved?” Yunhee repeated. “Minhyuk told us it was just temporary.
“You… talked to Minhyuk,” Yoongi said slowly, “about me moving?”
“Of course, who else would we ask?” Yongjae replied.
“Well, not moving. I stopped by to have lunch and he was saying you were acting out but you’d be back soon,” Yunhee explained quickly, as if what she’d just said wasn’t incredibly demeaning.
“Acting out,” Yoongi echoed. He’d always suspected his parents knew what Minhyuk was doing to him but they never talked about it nor acknowledged it. Hongki had been too loud for them to not know but still, they’d pretended.
They weren’t pretending now.
Yongjae sighed. “Seriously, Yoongi. What is going on?”
Yoongi blinked, feeling Taehyung’s hand wrapped tightly around his and using it as a centre. “I wasn’t ‘acting out,’ mom. He hit me one too many times and I left.”
“Think before you finished that sentence,” Taehyung interrupted calmly, his eyes fixed on Yoongi’s father, who’d been speaking.
“I’m sorry, who are you?” Yongjae asked. “This is a family conversation.”
“This is Taehyung and I want him here,” Yoongi said firmly. “He helped me.”
“So he’s the reason for all this...” Yunhee waved vaguely.
Yoongi furrowed his brows, unsure why this was going so poorly. They weren’t even letting him talk. They hadn’t even asked about Minhyuk hitting him. “Why aren’t you surprised?”
“By what, dear?”
“Minhyuk hitting me,” Yoongi clarified, his voice pitching dangerously. “Why aren’t you mad?”
“You’ve always been so… rebellious, Yoongi,” Yunhee explained with a small sigh. “We couldn’t do anything about it. You never listened. But you listened to Minhyuk.”
“Because he was abusing me,” Yoongi hissed, his voice cracking.
“Hyung,” Taehyung said immediately, leaning forward and placing a hand on Yoongi’s shoulder. Thankful, Yoongi relaxed and leaned into the pressure on his shoulder, using it to calm himself down.
“I see,” Yongjae muttered. “You left with another man.”
“What?” Yoongi gasped out, shocked. He felt like he was going to pull his hair out. They weren’t even listening. Why weren’t they listening?
“We met after he escaped,” Taehyung said. “Not that we need to explain ourselves.”
Yunhee frowned. “You’re quite rude.”
“I’ve been called worse.”
“Look,” Yoongi interrupted, pulling his hand from Taehyung’s so he could slam them both down on the table. “I called you here because I wanted to talk about the fact that Minhyuk abused me for years and I finally escaped and I’m doing well now. I don’t understand— did you know?”
Taehyung darted a glance in Yoongi’s direction, unsure why he was asking that. He knew that Yoongi suspected. That everyone suspected. He didn’t get why Yoongi was purposefully trying to hurt himself here. It was obvious from the way his parents were reacting, or rather not reacting, that they knew.
“Abuse is such a strong word, Yoongi,” Yunhee chastised softly.
Yoongi laughed bitterly. “Of course it is. Please tell me what word you’d use.”
“More like… discipline.”
“Hyung,” Taehyung snapped, his own anger skyrocketing as he turned towards Yoongi, who only dropped his hands and looked at his parents blankly.
“Right. Well, that discipline landed him in prison.”
“Prison? Yoongi, what did you do?” Yongjae asked.
Taehyung closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He wasn’t going to snap. He wasn’t going to snap— “Don’t you think that’s a bit harsh? He was only trying to—”
“You people are disgusting and I thank god Hongki-hyung and Yoongi-hyung got away from you!”
“Hyung, they are blaming you! ‘Yoongi this’ and ‘Yoongi that’! They think it’s your fault!” Taehyung explained harshly, his voice tinged with desperation and a little bit of sadness. He could deal with a lot but hearing Yoongi's parents talk to him like that was his line. It was so far past his line it wasn't funny.
“I don’t know why you think you can just—”
“This was a mistake,” Yoongi interrupted. “I thought— I don’t know what I thought. Maybe I hoped you hadn’t known or you’d apologize but I just— it doesn’t matter. This is done.”
“Hyung? I’m sorr—” Taehyung began, worried he’d messed up.
But Yoongi shook his head. “It’s not you. It’s them.”
“I nearly died twice,” Yoongi interrupted. “You didn't visit me, you didn’t ask. You cut out Hongki-hyung and you left me alone to suffer. I’m happy now. I have friends and a job and a life and I have Taehyung. No one thinks I need discipline or whatever here. I just— this is over.”
Shocked, Taehyung watched as Yoongi pushed himself up, the chair dragging loudly on the cafe floors, and walked away. Taehyung stood up as well but paused and looked down at the flabbergasted expressions on Yoongi’s parents’ faces. “I hope he never contacts you again and you have to spend the rest of your lives wondering how you managed to alienate two children.”
Taehyung heard Yoongi’s father calling after him but he ignored it and sprinted after Yoongi. He didn’t have to run far. He found him sitting on the ledge of a shop a few doors down, his eyes fixed mindlessly on the passing cars. “Hyung?”
“Sorry,” Yoongi answered. “I don’t know why I thought that’d go better.”
Taking a seat next to Yoongi, Taehyung crossed his arms and looked straight again. “Because it should have. If this was a story, your parents would have been oblivious and so upset for you. Or at the very least sorry for how they underestimated the severity. But it’s not and they aren’t like that.”
“No. I always knew— they had to have known,” Yoongi said. “I knew they knew but I hoped— I just wanted them to not be like that.”
“I know, hyung,” Taehyung whispered, pulling Yoongi close. The smaller man went willingly, his face immediately pressing against Taehyung’s chest. With a small sigh, Taehyung began stroking Yoongi’s hair, letting him cry it out. No one wanted their parents to be like that and Taehyung suspected Yoongi had experienced enough good from them that he was able to hope for something different. They hadn’t liked music production but they’d let him do it. They hadn’t liked that he was gay but they’d accepted it. The bare minimum, but enough that Yoongi could hope. Taehyung was so incredibly sorry he hadn’t been right. So sorry that Yoongi had to find out quite painfully that his parents were more concerned with image than comfort or happiness.
“Thanks,” Yoongi said after a while as he sat back and wiped his eyes.
“Of course,” Taehyung replied softly, his hands already moving to brush away the stray tears that Yoongi had missed. Yoongi leaned into Taehyung’s touch, his expression relaxing the longer they sat on the side of the busy street, beside the busy day but removed from it.
“I’m glad I did that. Even if— even if it means we don’t have a relationship anymore, I’m glad. Call it closure.”
Taehyung smiled. “Then I’m happy for you.”
Yoongi hummed. “Can we walk for a bit? I don’t want to go back yet.”
“Then let’s walk,” Taehyung agreed, standing up and reaching out a hand.
Staring at that hand for a moment, Yoongi smiled up at him. “Why do you always do that?”
“You always reach out like that,” Yoongi explained, gesturing to Taehyung’s outstretched hand.
Taehyung flexed his fingers. “Because that way it’s your choice to come or not.”
“I like that,” Yoongi told him as he grabbed the hand in question and intertwined their fingers.
“Good because I’m not stopping anytime soon.”
Yoongi snorted, shifting so he was holding onto Taehyung’s arm as well as his hand. He liked this position. It made him feel clingy but safe too so he liked it. Especially since it meant he was close enough for Taehyung to kiss the top of his head quickly, which Yoongi was a huge fan of. They probably looked ridiculous and were showing far too much PDA but Yoongi didn’t care. He just let himself bask in it as they wandered the streets of Seoul, alternating between talking and window shopping.
A few times, Yoongi had to physically stop Taehyung from buying him something, but it ended up being more of a laughter-filled bickering match than anything else and Yoongi enjoyed that. In fact, there wasn’t much Yoongi didn’t like about his new life. He hadn’t been exaggerating. He had a job he liked and a prospective future at the company since the CEO had liked his song, or so Namjoon said. He had friends who loved and accepted him, who were willing to help him no matter what. He’d gotten music back. Producing still took a lot of work. Still made him anxious. But it was getting better. One day at a time. He had a doctor who helped him work through his issues and understood him. He had a brother who loved him and would drop everything to fly to him at a moment's notice. A soon-to-be sister-in-law who teased him and treated him well. And finally, he had Taehyung.
All those arbitrary things he’d listed to Taehyung on their date at the dog cafe were his and in such a short period of time. The list he’d thought would take years to complete was already done.
Now he just had to add to it.
With that thought in mind, Yoongi looked up at Taehyung, his chin resting on Taehyung’s shoulder, and smiled. Taehyung glanced down, his answering smile somewhat confused. “What?”
“Nothing. I’m just happy.”
“Remind me to take you on more walks,” Taehyung murmured even as he continued to smile.
Yoongi snorted and turned his face away, his eyes idly scanning the shops on his left. When they settled on a large picture window with a cat tree and cage, he halted in his tracks. There, in the middle of a small pink blanket, was an even smaller floof of black and brown fur. Instantly, Yoongi was transported back to his daydream from his time in Jeju. The dream of a little puppy he and Taehyung had adopted together. It looked exactly the same.
Nearly running, Yoongi dropped Taehyung’s arm and approached the window. His movement startled the small floof awake and it blinked up at Yoongi before wagging its tiny tail.
“Shit,” Taehyung muttered, already in the process of pulling open the door to the store and stepping inside. Yoongi scrambled after him quickly and followed Taehyung to the counter where he was already mid-conversation. “—window?”
“Oh, the Pomeranian?” the saleswoman asked.
“I suppose,” Taehyung answered. “Small, brown and black?”
“Yes, he’s a Teacup Pomeranian,” she confirmed then sighed. “But I’m afraid he has some health issues.”
“Is he sick?” Yoongi asked, his eyebrows furrowed.
“No, no,” the woman assured. “He will just require extra care and that costs money. He was surrendered to us along with a whole litter but he’s the only one left.”
“I want him,” Yoongi said firmly.
The woman blinked. “When I said it would cost more—”
“I know. I don’t care. I want him,” Yoongi interrupted hastily.
“O-okay. Um, I’ll go get him?” The saleswoman said before leaving the counter and heading to the window.
Taehyung watched her go then smiled. “Remember when you said I shouldn’t let you adopt a dog until you got your shit together?”
“Yup,” Yoongi agreed easily, his hands reaching out as the woman returned and placed the small dog in Yoongi’s palms. He was so small, his whole body encompassed by Yoongi's hold. “Oh, he’s so cute, Tae.”
Taehyung blinked, his eyes flitting beside Yoongi’s elated smile and the small puppy in his hands. If it was possible, he fell a bit more in love, endeared by Yoongi’s softly cupped hands and even softer expression. Reaching forward, Taehyung scratched the puppy’s back, making him roll over and stick his legs up in the air, earning a giggle from Yoongi. “Yea, we’re definitely taking him.”
The saleswoman smiled at the pair before pulling out the paperwork for adoption with the additional file of health issues and treatment for the small puppy. It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough that most people wanted a ‘normal’ puppy and chose another one instead. “This is the health info I was telling you about. You’ll need to sign off that you’re aware of the extra expense and attention he’ll require.”
“That’s fine,” Taehyung murmured, turning back to Yoongi. “We’re used to giving extra attention to those who need it.”
Yoongi smiled, the dog now unceremoniously pressed against his cheek and his eyes full of love and happiness. “You could even say we’re experts.”