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Lost and Found

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From: Jungkook

Hey cuddlebug?

From: Hoseok

.-. Yes?

From: Jungkook

Nothing important. Just wanted to say hello.

From: Hoseok

Go away.

From: Jungkook

But I bet you don't really want me to go away, cuddlebug. :)

Are you playing hard to get, my little fluffy wuffy cutie patootie honey bunny cuddlebug?

From: Hoseok

G o o d b y e

From: Jungkook

Haha, okay.
Have a nice day ♥

--

From: Jungkook

Hey, my little fluffy wuffy cutie patootie honey bunny cuddlebug ♥
Are you missing me?

From: Hoseok

No. Don't you have something else to do?

From: Jungkook

But why would I wanna do anything else when I can talk to my cuddebug? :)

From: Hoseok

Go find your passport and send me the details.

From: Jungkook

Hm. What will my reward be if I do that, cuddlebug?

From: Hoseok

Uh...a honeymoon?

From: Jungkook

Fair enough.

--

From: Jungkook

Hey cuddlebug?

From: Hoseok

I'm gonna change my number.

From: Jungkook

But why, my little fluffy wuffy cutie patootie honey bunny cuddlebug?
Is someone bothering you? :O
Tell me who it is.
I'll tell them to leave my cuddlebug alone unless they wanna fight me.

From: Hoseok

...

From: Jungkook

Don't worry, I'll protect you! ♥

From: Hoseok

When will you stop?

From: Jungkook

Never. ♥
Anyways, I have a question!

From: Hoseok

If it involves the word "cuddlebug" I don't want to hear it.

From: Jungkook

Haha :D
It doesn't though.

From: Hoseok

In that case, yes? ¬_¬

From: Jungkook

Would you be willing to pick me up from Jimin hyung's house?
We can go to my grandma's house together.

From: Hoseok

Sure. Text me the address.
What time do we need to be there?

From: Jungkook

Before 6?

From: Hoseok

Will I need to leave work earlier?

From: Jungkook

Probably by 15 or so minutes. Will that be a problem?

From: Hoseok

Nah. I'll be there.

From: Jungkook

Thanks cuddlebug ♥

From: Hoseok

Angel, please.

From: Jungkook

>:)

--

Hoseok reaches forward before Jungkook can quickly, pressing the doorbell with his forefinger, and gives the younger boy a wide grin when Jungkook turns to look at him, the boy's eyes narrowed and hand still extended to ring the bell. Chuckling softly, he utters, “I win.”

 

When Jungkook remains still, almost as if frozen in spot, glaring at him, Hoseok drops a swift peck against his cheek with a laugh, murmuring with a smile, “I’m winning this too, by the way.”

 

Jungkook shakes his head at the statement, a smile stretching across his lips without meaning to, and he doesn’t reciprocate the gesture, muttering, “I’ll let you win today.”

 

“Hey, hey, that’s not fair!” Hoseok complains, frowning at him. He turns his cheek towards Jungkook and asks, “Come on, angel, don’t you wanna get even?”

 

Jungkook pushes him away with a snort at the same time as the door opens, and Hoseok grins a little to see Minchan standing on the other side, looking between the two before turning to his brother, “Did you two come together?”

 

“Hello to you, brother-in-law,” Hoseok greets him, tipping his head forward.

 

“Brother-in-law-to-be,” Minchan emphasizes the last two words clearly, giving Hoseok a pointed look.

 

“Same difference,” Hoseok shrugs, smiling.

 

“Not yet,” Minchan’s smile doesn’t reach his eyes as he exchanges a look with Jungkook. Turning back to glance at Hoseok, he looks the younger man up and down quietly with an unimpressed expression, “What? Did your mother dress you?”

 

“No, she didn’t,” Hoseok responds without missing a beat, and tilts his head, observing Minchan from head to toe in turn with lips pursed in displeasure. “Did yours really let you step out of the house looking like that?”

 

Jungkook laughs beside the two of them, pausing to lightly hit the back of Hoseok’s bicep, “Can you two not? Hyung -”

 

“Wait, which one?” Minchan stops him with a hand.

 

“Channie hyung,” Jungkook says tightly, shaking his head when Minchan suddenly seems to perk up, “can you move or should we go back?”

 

Minchan makes a face, but steps aside to let the two of them in. He catches Hoseok looking around the place as he takes his shoes off and puts on house slippers, grabbing both his and Jungkook’s bags from by the front door and setting them down gently a little further into the house. Minchan watches him quietly and walks up the two steps between the front door and the main hall when Hoseok’s gaze starts to turn expectant, seemingly looking around for people. Once his search turns up empty, he turns to Minchan with a questioning looking, asking, “Where’s everyone? I thought we came kind of late.”

 

“Are we late?” Jungkook asks, eyes a little wide as he pulls out his phone to check the time. He lets out a sigh of relief when the screen lights up, “We’re not late. It’s not six yet.”

 

“Everyone’s around - maybe in their rooms or something,” Minchan mutters, waving his hands around dismissivley before shoving them back in the pocket of his pants. Hoseok looks surprised clearly at the information, the small “oh” that falls out of his mouth a mix of disappointed and uncertain.

 

“Ah, they probably weren’t expecting us to be early,” Hoseok says suddenly, standing up straight and nodding his head as if trying to convince himself of the excuse. He doesn’t see the way Minchan and Jungkook exchange a look or the way Minchan ruffles his younger brother’s hair with a gentle smile.

 

“Since you’re a bit early, do you think we could talk for a bit?” Minchan asks, tone sombre enough to make Hoseok’s eyebrows furrow. He turns around, glancing between the siblings and then tilts his head at the older brother.

 

“Talk about?”

 

“Just some things,” Minchan tells him, face blank. “Jungkook, eomma’s in the kitchen. Can you go and let her know that you and Hoseok are here?”

 

“Yeah, sure,” Jungkook nods his head, and turns to glance at Hoseok whose lips and eyebrows are both tugged down in confusion. He gives the older man a small smile, “I’ll be back.”

 

“Okay,” Hoseok nods his head, blinking as Jungkook leaves, and then turns to Minchan. “Before we talk, where should I put my bag?”

 

“Just leave it there,” Minchan waves him off, gesturing for Hoseok to follow him down the hall. “Someone will take you to the room you’ll be sleeping in eventually. Grab it then.”

 

Hoseok follows after him, face still twisted in confusion, even more so when he finds himself being led to what seems to be the servants' quarter. He walks faster when Minchan with his much longer legs paces forward, creating a larger distance between them, and in his quest to catch up to the older man, he nearly collides into Minchan’s back when the man suddenly stops.

 

They stop in a rather obscure corner, and Hoseok glances around the dimly-lit archway before fixing his gaze on Jungkook’s older brother who’s leaning against the wall, face contemplative. Shoving his hands into the pockets of his pants, Hoseok stands there and waits, and gives the older man his utmost attention when he speaks, sensing whatever it is that Minchan wants to discuss must be quite important.


“Listen.” Minchan’s voice is oddly gentle, his tone one that Hoseok’s never had directed towards himself from the other man. It makes his eyebrows furrow, especially when Minchan slouches against the wall a little, looking at the ground instead of at him. It takes the older man a few seconds to raise his head, and by then there are already warning bells going off in Hoseok’s head. Minchan sighs, looking off to the side and then back at Hoseok, and it’s then that he notices how the man’s hands are fisted.

 

“What is it?” Hoseok prompts Minchan with a serious expression.

 

Minchan pauses for a few seconds, staring him down as if he’s got the ability to look into Hoseok’s soul. Hoseok meets his gaze head-on, without faltering, and then watches how the older man shakes his head, the clouds of conflict in his eyes clearing. Taking a deep breath, Minchan speaks, “Listen -”

 

“Listening,” Hoseok tells him with a pointed look, interrupting him.

 

Minchan rolls his eyes but ultimately ignores the response; instead, he says, “We…this family isn’t really anything like yours.”

 

Hoseok’s frown deepens, his face twisting in confusion, “Uh…okay?”

 

“No, I’m serious,” Minchan’s voice leaves no room for doubt. “This family is fucked up, alright? I know most family have issues, but this one has a shitload more than the average one.”

 

Hoseok blinks at him, and then speaks slowly, as if he's talking to a child, “You’re talking about your own family. You know that, right?”

 

“Yes, I do,” Minchan tells him firmly, looking off to the side. “I’m not joking, though. You’ll see eventually, but if you think that my family will be anything like yours, then you’re sorely mistaken, alright? Whatever you’re expecting, whatever happy-and-always-there-for-each-other sort of mold that you’re trying to fit us into - we’re not anything like that. So, it’d be best for you to lower your expectations. Matter of fact, don’t just lower them, expect the worst possible scenario.”

 

Hoseok’s face is completely devoid of emotion by the time Minchan’s finished speaking, staring at the older man with guarded eyes. When the younger man doesn’t say anything, looking at him expectantly, Minchan takes it as a sign to continue, “It’s not even a matter of one person or a few adults. They’re all messed up and a-grade assholes. If this wasn’t mandatory, eomma probably would’ve gotten the two of your married without you ever meeting my dad’s family.”

 

“Isn’t that…” Hoseok pauses, his mask faltering for a few seconds, “a little extreme?”

 

Minchan snorts, crossing his arms and leaning back, “Not in the slightest. We don’t have enough time for me to explain to you our complicated family dynamics, but just know that you’re going to see and hear a lot of things today that you won’t like. Things that’ll make your blood boil, and that’ll make you want to say things back. It’s been 20 years and I’m still not used to any of their bullshit so the likelihood of you adapting within the span of a few hours is completely unlikely.

 

"Regardless," Minchan pauses for a few seconds, "a lot of things depend on how well tonight goes, Hoseok. You wanna think of it as a performance? Go right ahead. Just don’t screw up anything. Be absolutely polite, completely courteous, and smile so wide that just looking at you will leave them unnerved. Just know that you need things to go right today."

 

“And if they don’t go right?”

 

“Then you might as well kiss this marriage goodbye,” Minchan’s tone of voice leaves no room for doubt and Hoseok’s eyebrows furrow, lips tugging down into a heavy frown. “If halmeoni doesn’t like you, doesn’t think you’re good enough, then it all ends today. If she says no, my father will most likely never agree to this relationship, irrespective of whether Jungkook likes you or not.”

 

Hoseok sucks in a deep breath, exhaling it out slowly, and looks off to the side, contemplating and digesting everything Minchan had told him. They’re not words he’d been expecting, unmindful of exactly what he was stepping into today. He wonders if things truly are as bad as Jungkook’s older brother is making them seem, unable to wrap his head completely around the described situation. Their seemingly dysfunctional family is a strange contrast in Hoseok’s head compared to his own, but he nods his head in acceptance, still, “Okay. I’ll try my best to stay in control, then.”

 

“Good,” Minchan looks satisfied by his answer, nodding as well. He stands up straighter, murmuring, “I know it must sound weird to you, but it’s the truth. My grandmother’s raised all six of her kids and this entire company by herself virtually, on her own back. It’s by all means an admirable feat, something she deserves a lot of respect for, but it doesn't give her an excuse to act the way she does. She’s got an iron will and will not waver or compromise for anyone. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that she’s an easy woman, because she is everything but. She’s extremely conservative and likes things done a certain way - deviance from her methods isn’t acceptable.”

 

Hoseok blinks, and then shrugs, “Isn’t that to be expected, though? Based on how she’s lived her life, it’s probably extremely hard for her to learn to compromise.”

 

“It’s more than just that, though. It’s probably weird for you to hear me say this, but she isn’t a nice woman. If she dislikes something or someone, she doesn’t rest easy until she’s made their life a living hell. I’m not even exaggerating, here. Don’t piss her off, okay? My father’s her favourite out of all her kids and he loves her back just as dearly. He won’t go against her will if she doesn’t like you. She favours him over the rest of his siblings, and twenty years ago, if it had been someone else who’d even as much as suggested adopting some kid with no family history, last name, or birth certificate, she’d have disowned them and removed them off the family register without a second thought.”

 

The words makes Hoseok’s head snap up, his eyes widening at the revelation before narrowing. His face twists into an angry expression, and he looks off to the side, remembering Jungkook and the things the boy had told him a few nights ago outside of his home. It dawns on him, then, exactly what Minchan is implying, and his fists unknowingly clench. Turning back to the older man, he hisses, “What do you mean?”

 

“You know exactly what I mean, Hoseok. Don’t play dumb,” Minchan tells him outright. “I’m talking about Jungkook here. Halmeoni didn’t want him to be part of the family, still doesn't want him, but she had to accept him into the family because my father couldn’t tell my mother no. And just because she ultimately allowed for him to be added to the family didn't really mean anything either. I wasn’t old enough to understand everything, but I was old enough to understand enough.

 

Taking a deep breath, he shifts on his feet and continues, "It was my mother first who had to bear the brunt of everything first for an entire year, for even suggesting a thing such as adoption as if it’ll I don’t know…fucking taint the family or something. But if she’s had it hard, then Jungkook’s had it worse. The woman abhors him, Hoseok. If that woman can treat a five-year old child the way I've seen her treat my younger brother, then she's capable of anything. Oddly enough, though, I can understand halmeoni’s stance, because she’s a mad woman, but what had that five-year old child done to my uncles and aunts? Nothing!”

 

Hoseok watches Minchan carefully, eyes flitting over his face as the older man rants less to Hoseok and more to himself. He can sense the pent-up hatred and anger the man’s been keeping locked inside of himself for what seems like years now. Trying not to be too affected by it, Hoseok reminds himself to think and make decisions rationally today, regardless of what Minchan’s told him, knowing that it’ll do him no good to be swayed by someone else’s anger. His mother's words of always treating people the way they treat him instead of the way they treat others echo in his mind, but the beginnings of the fire within him begs to differ.

 

“The kind of shit they’ve done to him - I still don’t understand what their reasoning is. My younger brother’s been their scapegoat for the last 20 years, Hoseok. I don’t know if it was because they just wanted to side with halmeoni - stay in her good books - or if they were, I don’t know, jealous of my father and targeting Jungkook for it. I don’t fucking know what their issue is, but you have to watch out for them, too.” Minchan pauses to give Hoseok a meaningful, pointed look. “They’re going to treat you like you don’t exist first, most likely, and then turn around and make comments that’ll make you want to punch them. So just…be careful.”

 

“Don’t worry,” Hoseok assures him, hesitantly reaching out and putting a hand on the older man’s forearm lightly, “I’ll be careful. I’ll make sure things go well.”

 

Minchan lets out a deep breath of air, eyes downcast, and gives the other man a small nod, “Thank you.”

 

“Thanks for telling me,” Hoseok says sincerely. “I probably wouldn’t have reacted well if I’d gone in unaware.”

 

“Yeah. I just…I just want Jungkook to be happy, and as much as I hate to admit it, it seems like you make him happy,” Minchan mutters the last part until his breath, his tone one of disbelief. His words make Hoseok chuckle lightly, and he shrugs in response cockily.

 

“What can I do? I’m a natural-born charmer,” Hoseok’s smirk is a mix of cheeky and confident and upon seeing it Jungkook’s older brother curls his lips in disgust.

 

“You aren’t. I think Jungkook’s just got really bad taste.”

 

“Oh?” Hoseok raises an eyebrow, and then grins widely. “How hurt will your brother be when he realizes that's what you think of him?”

 

“Hey! Don’t you dare!” Minchan steps forward in warning. His 6-feet frame looms over Hoseok’s threateningly but the younger man does nothing but laugh at him lightly, “Don’t you dare tell him that. We’ve already fought ‘cause of you once.”

 

Hoseok’s smile is bright and teasing, and he crosses his arms mockingly, “So, it’ll be your second time then?”

 

“What are you two doing?” Jungkook’s voice is quizzical, looking between the two of them standing inches apart with narrowed eyes. Hoseok and Minchan look at him in surprise at first before a bright smile takes over Hoseok’s face while his brother takes a few steps away from the younger man.

 

“Your brother,” Hoseok grabs his chance and speaks up immediately, pointing to his left, and then pauses to smile at Minchan sweetly, “or no, Minchan hyung was just -”

 

“Please don’t call me that,” Minchan’s voice is strained when he interrupts Hoseok as if he’s in a great deal of pain. “Anything will do, just not that.”

 

Jungkook lets out a small laugh, tugging on Hoseok’s wrist, “Stop bothering my hyung. Let’s go, now. We don’t want to make anyone wait.”

 

“Alright,” Hoseok nods in agreement, stepping away from the wall, and drops a kiss against the younger boy’s cheek. “Let’s go.”

 

“Don’t do that in front of everyone, okay?” Jungkook tells him softly, his tone serious, and Hoseok pauses to glance at the boy.

 

“Okay,” Hoseok nods, and he knows his ready acceptance takes Jungkook by surprise if the boy’s furrowed eyebrows are anything to go by. Looking over his shoulder, he glances at Minchan briefly and then turns back to Jungkook, “What about hand holding?”

 

“Probably safer not to do that, either,” Minchan speaks from behind them, making both of them turn. He shrugs at their look, shoving his hands into his pockets, “Just sayin’. I’m sure you’ll survive having to settle for making googly eyes at my brother for a few hours.”

 

--

 

“Ah, you already found the room?” An unfamiliar voice greets Hoseok and he turns around, glancing at the door to find a tall, fairly young boy standing by the threshold. Nodding his head, Hoseok gives him a warm smile, “Yeah, someone else showed it to me. Am I sharing your room with you tonight?”

 

“Yeah,” the boy nods his head, walking closer and then hesitates before sticking out a hand. “I’m Jeon Sangjoon.”

 

Hoseok chuckles, eyeing the extended, finding the gesture cute coming from someone so young. He tilts his head back, the boy taller than him, and then meets Sangjoon’s eyes before moving forward to shake the boy’s hand, “Jung Hoseok. Nice to meet you. How old are you?”

 

“I’m 15. How about you?” The boy asks nonchalantly, walking around to plug his phone into the charger by the night stand.

 

“Only 15?” Hoseok’s eyes are wide, his expression incredulous, as he follows Sangjoon with his gaze. “You’re really tall! Height must run in your family, huh? Jungkook’s tall too.”

 

“Jungkook hyung’s not family,” Sangjoon’s response is lightening quick, his face twisted oddly into an expression that conveys not only confusion but also disbelief, as if he’s not quite sure why Hoseok had ever thought that. “Also, he’s like adopted, too.”

 

Hoseok’s face tugs into a deep frown before he can even control it, but he smooths it out seconds later, settling for awkwardly nodding, “I guess.”

 

“Yeah,” Sangjoon tells him pointedly, eyebrows raised, and flops onto his own bed. “Plus, he isn’t even that tall. He’s shorter than most if not all of the guys in my family.”

 

Licking his lips, Hoseok runs his tongue across the inside of his cheek, nodding his head in understanding without saying anything else.

 

“Well, anyway,” the boy shrugs, turning to Hoseok. “We should go downstairs if you’re done dropping off your stuff. Also, if you…uh, need anything today, you can, uh, let me know, okay? My parents said to make sure you were, well, um, comfortable since you were gonna be like family now.”

 

“Huh,” Hoseok makes a soft sound of surprise, tilting his head. He tries his best to smile sweetly, making sure annoyance doesn’t leak from the corners of his lips, and gives a slightly amused chuckle, “Family? But if Jungkook isn’t family, how could I ever be?”

 

The boy stares at him, face a little surprised as if he’s not quite sure he’s heard Hoseok right. Hoseok maintains his facial expression, lips stretching a tad bit further when Sangjoon hastily looks away and mutters, “That’s a valid point.”

 

“Sangjoon,” Jungkook’s voice from the doorway interrupts both of them, and Hoseok turns in surprise, finding the younger boy standing there, leaning against the doorframe. Giving him a small, stiff smile, Jungkook turns towards his younger cousin, “You can go downstairs. I’ll handle it here, thanks.”

 

“There’s nothing to handle, though,” Sangjoon’s eyebrows are furrowed. “We were going downstairs, anyway.”

 

“Okay, then go,” Jungkook gestures towards the door, and Hoseok glances at the younger boy just in time to see him make a face.

 

“Alright, don’t forget that you’re expected downstairs in five minutes,” Sangjoon mutters as he walks towards the exit. “You have a habit of being late, hyung. At least make an effort today.”

 

Jungkook presses his lips together, his expression muted, and Hoseok watches him carefully, taking note of each emotion that flickers across the younger boy’s face until his cousin’s outside of the room. Raising his head once to meet Hoseok’s gaze once Sangjoon is out of the room, Jungkook gives the older man a shaky smile, “Hey.”

 

Stepping forward, Hoseok gestures for Jungkook’s hand, heart clenching at how hesitantly Jungkook gives it to him. The boy pulls it away a second later, taking a few steps back to push the door, leaving only a sliver of gap. Walking closer, Jungkook smiles at Hoseok, the stretch of his lips a touch easier, “Sorry you had to see that.”

 

“I’m sorry your cousin’s a brat,” Hoseok says back giving Jungkook a comforting smile. “I really wanted to knock some sense into him.”

 

The response makes Jungkook chuckle a little and he shrugs, “I think everyone does. He’s a little…spoilt, being the youngest and my uncle’s only son and all. Sorry if he said something rude to you.”

 

“He was fine to me. I just didn’t appreciate what he said about you,” Hoseok’s lips pull into a dissatisfied line, and his expression further tightens when Jungkook lets out a soft sigh and meets his eyes hesitantly.

 

“They’re…they’re all like that,” Jungkook says softly, avoiding Hoseok’s gaze again. “I’m sorry. They really aren’t anything like your family.”

 

“Hey, hey,” Hoseok’s voice is soft as he wraps his fingers gently around Jungkook’s wrists, tugging at his hands. “Angel, why are you apologizing?”

 

“I don’t know, but I feel like I should.” Jungkook’s voice is quiet, eyes still downcast, settled on Hoseok’s pretty, long fingers. He pulls his hands back a little, until Hoseok’s fingers are by his palm, and then intertwines their hands together. “It’s embarrassing. I’m sorry you have to put up with it and deal with it for today. I’m also sorry if they say something to you. I’m really sorry if they do that.”

 

“Hey,” Hoseok lifts the boy’s face gently with a finger under Jungkook’s chin. “You don’t have to apologize over that, okay?”

 

“No, I do,” Jungkook insists, shaking his head. “I’m the reason you’re here, aren’t I? So, I should apologize. I’m really, really sorry, but they’re really not like your family. They’re different people.”

 

Hoseok’s unable to do anything but stare as Jungkook meets his gaze. The boy’s voice taking on a pleading tone as his fingers tighten their grip around Hoseok’s hand, as if trying to hold onto him, “Please, please don’t mind anything they say. Please don’t take it to heart.”

 

The boy’s eyes are shining, and it’s with a start that Hoseok realizes that Jungkook’s close to crying, especially when he starts to sniffle, “I know, I just know that they’re going to say something provoking, something that’ll make you angry. But please, please don’t listen to them. Please don’t pay their words any attention, hyung. Please? They’re really not like your family. I swear I’ll make it up to you.”

 

“Hey, hey, don’t worry. I won’t,” Hoseok promises, cupping the boy’s cheek. He strokes Jungkook’s face softly, and reassures him, “Don’t worry, okay? It’ll be fine. Just a few hours, then it’ll all be over, and before you know it, we’ll be getting engaged, yeah?”

 

A small smile flickers across the boy’s lips at the mention, and he watches Hoseok’s face for an entire minute, eyes staring into the older man’s. Jungkook responds with a nod after, looking content, and his gaze turns a little shy suddenly, “Okay.”

 

“Watch, I’ll go pick up our rings tomorrow, and by then we’ll already be laughing all about today, hm?”

 

Jungkook lets out a small laugh at that mental image, raising his eyes to meet Hoseok’s, “Really?”

 

“I promise, sweetheart,” Hoseok leans up to press a soft kiss into Jungkook’s forehead and pulls back with a smile. “Just wait. It’s like you have no faith in how much of a charmer your cuddlebug is.”

 

Jungkook’s eyes are bright with giddiness at the sudden mention of the nickname, and he steps closer, making a sound of surprise, leaning forward teasingly, “My cuddlebug, huh?”

 

“Hush,” Hoseok gives him a playful glare. “Not a single word. You’ve bothered me enough with that nickname today.”

 

“It’s growing on you, isn’t it?” Jungkook’s eyes turn gleeful. “Isn’t it? I should really keeping using it frequently until you fall in love with it.”

 

Rolling his eyes, Hoseok holds up a hand, “That’ll never happen, love. Ever.”

 

“Never say never?”

 

The door opens up behind them all of a sudden, and Jungkook jumps away from Hoseok immediately, putting a hand on his chest and breathing out a quick sigh of relief when he finds it to be his mother, “Eomma. Jeez, you scared me!”

 

“Sorry,” the woman’s apology is empty as she glances between the two of them. “Hurry up. You two need to be downstairs before your grandma and uncles arrive. Come on!”

 

“Give us a sec?”

 

“One second,” his mother holds up a single finger, lips pursed unpleasantly and a warning in her eyes before she walks out of the room.

 

“Plot twist,” Hoseok whispers. “What if it isn’t really your family, but just some otherworldly force in this house that brings out the worst in everyone?”

 

“Yeah, right,” Jungkook snorts, rolling his eyes, and then smiles at Hoseok. “Either way, though, thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome. Let’s go downstairs for now.” Hoseok squeezes Jungkook’s hand comfortingly and adds teasingly, “And we’ll discuss how you can make this up to me later.”

 

Jungkook laughs, pulling his hand away, “Did I promise that?”

 

“Uh huh,” Hoseok nods, pointedly raising his eyebrows at the younger boy. He turns Jungkook around, leading him forward with a hand on the small of his back, “And you’re sorely mistaken if you think I won’t make use of this wonderful opportunity, angel.”

 

“Bet it won’t even be that bad,” Jungkook leans closer to whisper into Hoseok’s ear quickly, “cuddlebug.”

 

“Hey, I think I’ve already figured out how you’re can make it up to me,” Hoseok grin’s is wide, eyes shining brightly with mirth as he watches the realization of his words dawn on Jungkook.

 

He laughs when the boy turns horrified eyes on him, uttering, “No. You can’t ask me to stop calling you cuddlebug. I won’t do it. Anything but that. I won’t do it!”

 

“Well, we’ll see,” Hoseok smiles, turning his head to give Jungkook a quick wink.

 

--

 

An uncomfortable silence of sorts settles in the drawing room after all the introductions are complete, and Jungkook’s grandmother, a sharp, robust-looking, 80-year-old woman, finally settles her gaze on Hoseok. Her eyes are wise but also a touch wicked, like those belonging to a woman who’s seen a lot more than she should have. They train on him like a hawk, and the longer she stares at him unblinking, the more like a prey Hoseok feels.

 

She looks between him and Jungkook first, both of them making sure to sit a respectable distance apart, and her lips curl disapprovingly when her eyes take in her own grandson who meets her eyes timidly, a stiffness to his posture. Then she glances at Hoseok, her dark eyes piercing into his soul, as if she can peer into his mind and know exactly what he’s thinking. Hoseok meets her gaze without the slightest bit of hesitance, eyes unwavering and completely steady. She reminds him of somebody, he thinks after a few seconds, but of whom he can’t quite place.

 

“Jung Hoseok, correct? Second child and only son of Jung Sungok and Han Mira?” The older woman speaks, breaking the minutes-long silence that had settled into the room, and raises her teacup to her lips, waiting for a response.

 

“Yes,” Hoseok nods, giving her his most affable smile. He tilts his head at first, until Seokjin’s voice sounds in his head, telling him he doesn’t look cute in the slightest when he does that. Straightening up, he asks, “May I call you halmeoni?”

 

The woman snorts, raising an eyebrow at his straight forward request, and then replies coolly, “Well. Not yet.”

 

The entirety of the room bursts into synchronous laughter, as if the woman’s cracked some great joke, and Hoseok turns to glance at Jungkook’s family, blinking at them. He meets Minchan’s unamused gaze, the man looking like he’s rather choke on his own spit than be here, and it makes him chuckle slightly, joining the laughter but for an entirely different reason. He nods his head at Jungkook’s grandmother in quiet acceptance, and smiles pleasantly, “Not to worry, I’ll be sure to ask again.”

 

She scoffs this time, and Hoseok wonders if he’s said something wrong, until he sees a hint of a smile at the corner of her lips. He’s not quite sure if it’s directed at him and his response or there due to what she’s about to ask next.

 

“How’s your grandfather doing?”

 

Hoseok pauses, surprised, and recovers quickly, tone serious as he replies, “Much better than the doctors had expected him to be doing, if I’m honest. However, at the end of the day, it’s still a disease with no known cure, and medical help will only prolong his life so far. We’re optimistic, though. He seems to be recovering a little every day.”

“That’s good to know,” her words are completely empty, devoid of any sincerity or compassion, and it makes Hoseok frown a little inwardly. “Who’s going to take the chairman’s seat after him?”

 

Hoseok’s eyebrows furrow, but he tries to not let his confusion show when she prods him further about the company. Keeping his voice controlled, he pretends to not know too much, “Well, as of now, it seems like my grandfather’s younger brother. He’s certainly got experience and intelligence on his side.”

 

“Is that so?” Jungkook’s grandmother’s voice is soft, barely carrying across the silent room. She gives him a knowing smirk, “That’s not what I’ve heard, however, if the rumours are anything to go by.”

 

Hoseok pauses, falters in step, and then it hits him, understanding what she’s trying to assert through her demeanour and question. He gives her a wide smile, almost taking her by surprise, and chuckles, nodding. Goading her, he says in an impressed tone of voice, “In that case, I would definitely go by what you think. I’m pretty sure you know much more about the company restructuring than even I know!”

 

She looks pleased at the praise, shrugging, “Years of experience, I suppose. You have to keep your eyes and ears open for everything.”

 

“That’s for sure,” Hoseok nods his end, trying to divert the topic towards her instead. “But still, I think you’re a little unmatchable, halmeoni. Handling kids and work both the way you did isn’t an easy task.”

 

He turns his head to the side, giving Minchan an amused smile, and nearly laughs out loud as how surprised the older man looks. Minchan glances at him, the disbelief of how well Hoseok’s strategy seems to be working written clearly across his face. He turns back to the older woman, triumphantly noting at how she hadn’t objected to him calling her ‘halmeoni’.

 

“Well, it wasn’t, I’ll tell you that, but somehow I managed. Minchan’s father was a huge help – he took care of his siblings when I couldn’t.”

 

Hoseok glances at the man and the way he smiles at his mother, and then nods his head in understanding, murmuring, “Of course.”

 

“Anyways, enough about company politics, ma,” Jungkook’s father complains. “Aren’t you going to ask Hoseok anything about himself?”

 

“I already know most of what there is know about him,” the woman tells her son pointedly, changing gazes at the last second too met Hoseok’s eyes. She gives him a smile, but it’s not warm or sincere, “You’re interested in marrying Jungkook?”

 

Hoseok blinks, the question direct enough to take him by surprise, but he nods his head, making sure not to look too eager, “Yes, I am.”

“And Jungkook in you?” She turns her gaze towards her grandson, and Hoseok wonders if the distaste that flickers across her faze is an automatic reaction.

 

“Well, I certainly hope so,” Hoseok says with a small laugh, turning to glance at Jungkook who tries for a small smile, fingers curled together tightly in his lap.

 

“He is a little too picky, I think,” the woman upturns her nose, sneering a little. “I don’t think it’s good for kids to be so spoilt and demanding, especially when they have nothing to offer, but some things are just innate a person’s personality. No matter how your nurture them, you simply can’t get rid of some flaws. He sure was quick to reject every single one of the marriage dates I had picked out for him, but it seems like he didn’t quite dislike you.”

 

Hoseok’s eyes widen at the information, and he glances at Jungkook’s mother for a few seconds before looking back at Jungkook’s grandmother. Painting on a quick smile even when he notices how rigid Jungkook’s gone beside him, the boy’s face chalk white, no doubt surprised at the revelation, Hoseok murmurs a soft, “Ah.”

 

Jungkook’s grandmother pauses, looking like she wants to say more, when her oldest son interrupts, “Ma, let’s not focus on the past, but on the future, okay?”

 

“Alright, alright,” the older woman nods her head in acceptance, and Hoseok wonders if she’d have reacted the same way if someone else had said those exact words.

 

Sipping her tea once again, she places the cup and saucer on the table in front on her, and turns back to Hoseok, “You’re 28, correct?”

 

“Yes, turning 29 next year.”

 

“Any previous marriages?” The woman gives him a knowing smile, and Hoseok blinks at her for a few seconds.

 

“No, none at all. This,” Hoseok turns to glance at Jungkook who’s looking at him, “would be my first one.”


“I see. Twenty-eight is a little late to be getting married, don’t you think?”

 

“Well, I suppose,” Hoseok gives her a polite, pleasant smile. “But I think it’s also particularly important to find the right person.”

 

The older woman scoffs, giving him an amused laugh as if he’s said something funny, and asks, “And you think that’s Jungkook?” Her tone is a little repulsed as she says the younger boy’s name and a little disbelieving like she can’t fathom why someone like Hoseok would pick someone like Jungkook. Hoseok’s lips curl into a triangular shape at her response, the dimples on his cheek popping, and he barely manages to soothe over the expression into something friendlier. She likes him, that much he’s starting to become aware of, and he really wishes he could say the same for her.

 

After a few seconds of thinking, he picks his words carefully. Glancing at Jungkook, he gives the boy a small, reassuring smile, especially when he sees the worry tugging at the younger boy’s eyebrows, “Well, I would certainly like to think so, but at the same time, you can never really be completely sure until the end. It’s much easier to say things in retrospect. Like they say, hindsight is 20/20.”

 

The woman’s lips are pursed, whether in dissatisfaction or thought, Hoseok’s not sure. He doesn’t change his stance, though, trying his best to appear confident and sure of himself. Her gaze is unnerving, the longer it stays on him, but at the end she gives him a nod of acknowledgment, “That is correct. Still, I would think someone like you would be long married before the age of 28.”

 

“He’s not even that old, halmeoni,” Minchan chooses that time to speak up, almost all the eyes turning towards him. He doesn’t falter at the attention, pursing his lips in disdain, “I’m older than he is and I’m still unmarried. How come you’re not looking for a nice woman for me to marry? Shouldn’t I get married before my younger brother does?”

 

The woman goes quiet at the words, and Hoseok almost has the urge to snicker. He doesn’t, however – only smiles when Jungkook’s grandmother turns to glance between him and Jungkook. Opening her mouth, the older woman says, “Don’t worry, Chan-ah. After your younger brother gets married, we’ll look for someone for you. Matter of fact, I already have a few people in mind who I think you ought to meet. We’ll find someone good for you like we’ve found someone good for Jungkook.”

 

It’s a small victory, her words that is, and Hoseok’s grin widens immediately after, turning to find Jungkook’s eyes a little wide in surprise. The boy turns back to look at him for a few brief seconds, and they both know that even though it hadn’t been a yes, it had been a step in the right direction.

 

The conversation between them flows a little more smoothly after that, Jungkook remaining quiet through the entire thing even as other people start to contribute, adding in their own opinion and tidbits here and there. It’s not an unpleasant experience, Hoseok thinks as he only half-listens to one of Jungkook’s aunts talk, only managing to nod in all the right places as the woman continues to speak.

 

They don’t ignore him or say anything too provoking, Minchan’s warnings proving to be empty, and Hoseok starts to relax a little, realizing it’s not too bad. He wonders if they’re all trying hard to put a convincing pretense of a good family or if it had really just been the pent-up frustration that had Jungkook’s older brother expecting something far worse.

 

Regardless, whatever it is, it’s manageable, and Hoseok manages to ignore all the little jabs that Jungkook’s grandmother and family manage to slip in between their conversation. They’re not serious or frequent enough to make Hoseok think that they’re trying to imply he’s making a mistake by wanting to marry Jungkook, but it does makes him wonder if those little remarks against Jungkook are simply habit for all of them at this point.

 

--

 

“So, you’re the Executive Vice President?” One of Jungkook’s uncles whose name he can’t remember for his life asks Hoseok as he sits down at the dinner table next to Jungkook. Hoseok blinks in surprise, and then smooths over his expression quickly, giving the man a nod and wonders how often Jungkook’s family tends to bring work to the dinner table – a forbidden topic at his own family dinners.

 

“Yes, the Director of Finance, if you’re looking for something more specific,” Hoseok gives the man a charming smile, laying his napkin onto his lap. He prays the man doesn’t ask more, but much to his dismay, it seems to have piqued the other man’s interest.

 

“A very respectable position,” one of Jungkook’s aunts comments, sitting diagonally across from Jungkook, “especially when compared to…” The woman trails off after her comment, giving Jungkook a pointed look and then beaming at Hoseok.

 

Hoseok sucks in a breath of air throw his nose, glancing for less than a second at Jungkook sitting beside him with his head hung, and gives the woman a polite smile, “Ah, well, my parents always taught me that work was work, and no job was really less or more respectable. At the end, isn’t it all just a means of taking care of your family and putting food on the table?”

 

Minchan meets his gaze from across the table, lips pursed together, and when he gives Hoseok a warning look, the man understands to tone himself down. Jungkook’s aunt is completely silent at his response, staring at Hoseok, and only looks away when Jungkook’s father speaks up, “The boy’s right, Dajung-ah, work is at the end of the day just work.”

 

Hoseok’s grateful for the interruption, even more so when Jungkook’s father changes the topic to something mundane, but that well-intentioned intervention still doesn’t make him feel any better about the man. While everyone’s distracted in conversation, all the dinner occupants waiting for Jungkook’s grandmother to arrive at the table, Hoseok moves his hand to touch Jungkook’s fingers lightly under the table, feeling daring enough to give them a squeeze, and then pulls away.

 

The boy’s head rises a small centimetre after it, face turning just the slightest bit towards Hoseok to give him a nod of acknowledgement, and it makes Hoseok’s smile widen. He catches Jungkook in the midst of biting his lip to hide his grin, and the action only serves to make him happier. Hoseok reaches for Jungkook’s fingers again, pulling his hand closer and links their pinkies, the two of them discreetly resting their hands at the edge of their respective chairs until dinner officially starts.  

 

Hoseok’s smile tightens several times during the conversation that carries out through dinner and after the meal is over, especially when Jungkook almost visibly flinches at some of the thinly veiled insults hurled at him. However, Hoseok keeps it in, chanting over and over again what Minchan had told him as a mantra in his head, and even when his mouth starts to hurt from the constant smiling, he doesn’t let his grin slip or become less bright.

 

Biting his tongue several times, Hoseok’s barely manages to catch himself in certain instances, almost about to say something back especially whenever the lack of information on Jungkook’s parentage keeps mentioned. He fixes his gaze on Jungkook’s mother each time, noting how her hand tightens around his chopsticks, the woman pausing her chewing for inordinately long amounts of time as her in-laws speak.

 

Jungkook’s family’s behaviour and determination to constantly remind Hoseok that his future fiancé is adopted, as if such a thing is a sin, leaves him feeling disgusted and queasy. He doesn’t have much of an appetite after hearing them talk, but he still swallows down most of the food he scoops onto his plate. It comes off as a surprise to him how easily Jungkook’s able to ignore their talk and swallow his food, when Hoseok is having a hard time doing so, and he wonders how used to such comments a person has to be in order to behave like that.

 

He wonders if the issue of adoptions is really such a big deal for them, especially with the way they keep mentioning it without fail. It’s not exactly a fault nor a flaw, Hoseok thinks, and the way they seem to blame Jungkook, as if he’d done something to deserve such a fate, makes his blood boil.

 

The nadir of the evening, however, his biggest challenge of the night, is when Jungkook’s grandmother, casually sipping her post-dinner tea, mentions surrogates, turning to Hoseok to ask him if they’ve started looking into them. He gapes at her, unable to stop his mouth from falling open at her suggestion, especially when she implicitly tells him adoption isn’t a respectable option.

 

Hoseok hears Jungkook soft, shaky intake of breath from next to him, the entire table falling silent and looking at him curiously. The old woman continues to speak when he doesn’t give her an immediate response, twisting her words so they don’t speak ill of orphans directly but the insinuation within her words are clear to everyone at that dinner table.

 

His heart breaks, going out to Jungkook, and wondering how the boy must feel to be so publicly called out in front of the entire family. In that moment, Hoseok feels a sudden, colossal urge to talk back to her, to pull the woman down from her high horse. Anger floods his system, and he promises himself that every single one of his future children will be adopted – whether the woman likes it or not.

 

He barely keeps himself in check, almost about to ask her if she’s in the right state of mind. Hoseok wants to tell her that if it wasn’t for Jungkook’s mother adopting him, he really wouldn’t be here, sitting two seats away from her and having dinner with her family. He’s really about to open his mouth and say something terrible back, something he knows he’ll regret, until he feels Jungkook reach for his hand under the table.

 

It’s not as discreet a touch as the earlier one, and he’s sure with the way he stills in place, turning to look back at Jungkook, a few of the table occupants must have noticed. However, he doesn’t care. Not in the slightest. Not when Jungkook looks back at him, his eyes pleading, and Hoseok tries to pass off their meaningful exchange as something casual when he turns back to face the younger boy’s grandmother.

 

He takes the easy route out of the conversation, chuckling softly and painting a bright, charming smile onto his lips. Hoseok leans forward, eyes a little playful, and asks the older woman if her question means that she’d approved him as a match for her potential grandson because he’d been told that until she had, he shouldn’t consider anything final. The older woman’s a little taken aback, and her surprise makes Hoseok feel a little proud, triumphant even, and he mentally counts it as a victory when she laughs a little at his teasing.

 

Jungkook’s heart soars when he sees that, sees how easily Hoseok’s managed to wrap his grandmother around his fingers, playing her with just a smile. He feels lighter in that moment than in any other the entire evening, wanting nothing more than to pull Hoseok closer and kiss him senseless. He fights the urge, however, settles only for gripping Hoseok’s fingers tighter and doesn’t even smile when Hoseok squeezes right back.

 

Jungkook watches Hoseok and his grandmother’s exchange in amazement, the older man making it look so easy as he convinces the woman about how rushed their entire relationship has been and how little they’ve gotten to see each other the last few weeks. Hoseok excuses them out of the question easily, tells her that they haven’t even had the time to discuss the details of their honeymoon, much less future kids, and emptily assures her that they’ll look into it soon.

 

The younger boy’s impressed by the time Hoseok’s done, the entirety of the room looking content with his response, and he catches his mother’s gaze from across the table, giving her a small smile when she meets his eyes. She’s incredibly impressed, too, he can tell by the smile on her face. She looks as pleased as Jungkook feels, and when she nods her head to herself, Jungkook’s wondering if she’s congratulating herself on finally make a good choice.

 

Hoseok breathes out a sigh of relief once the family shifts back to the drawing room, the change of scenario leads to a change in conversation. The topic finally moves on, onto something lighter that doesn’t circle back to Jungkook, but Hoseok also feels a little disappointed when Jungkook pulls his fingers away at the end.

 

He stays quieter during this round of talking, preferring to listen more than speak and assess everyone’s personalities. Hoseok gives all of them nicknames in his heads, making them as quirky and ridiculous as possible to make it feel better. He suddenly wishes for Seokjin to be there beside him, knowing how much the older man would enjoy coming up with names, and how well he’d be able to put everyone in their place without as much as breaking a sweat.  

 

As his gaze drifts around the room, Hoseok eyes land and then narrow at a man he isn’t yet able to gauge or understand – Jungkook’s father. Throughout the evening, even during dinner, the older man had looked seemingly unaffected, in Hoseok’s eyes, by whatever his siblings said about his younger son. It makes him wonder if perhaps, judging by the older man’s lack of surprise, Jungkook’s father had been completely aware of what went on in the house, unlike what Hoseok had thought before, and that despite knowing, the man had willingly chosen to not do anything, ignoring it. Upon deeper inspection, though, Hoseok finds that there is indeed a stiffness to his father-in-law-to-be’s spine whenever Jungkook is mentioned, but he finds a trace of something else there. Embarrassment? Guilt? Regret?

 

He doesn’t let himself ponder on it too much, however, a little concerned at how quiet Jungkook beside him has gone – an empty shell of the bright, playful, vibrant boy that Hoseok has grown to know and like. Hoseok's fingers itch to reach for Jungkook's hand again and to rub slow, soothing circles into the skin of the back of his hand, but he quells the urge every time it rises. Instead he settles for shifting in his seat, pulling the cushion behind him into his seat and makes sure to purposely bump his knee into the younger boy's while passing it off as an accident.

 

Jungkook looks at him in surprise when their joints make contact, the touch jolting him, and Hoseok gives him a big grin, murmuring a soft apology. He doesn't break eye contact, though, refuses to do it, until Jungkook smiles back at him. The younger boy eventually does so while also rewarding Hoseok with an eye roll that makes his insides feel lighter. Jungkook seems to relax beside him after that, and Hoseok shifts, scooting a little closer until their thighs are lightly touching.

 

Hoseok's got eyes on him, more than a few pairs not missing the exchange between him and Jungkook, but he ignores them. Raising his head with purpose and poise, Hoseok meets every single one of their glances with an affable smile, challenging them to call him out. They don't. Merely looking away once he doesn't look to waver, and Hoseok hopes his confidence and refusal to submit doesn't land them in hot water.

 

He meets Jungkook’s brother’s gaze after that, staring at him for several seconds, and when the man discreetly nods his head in approval, it makes Hoseok feel like he’s done something right. The evening progresses well, and Hoseok notes how Minchan and Jungkook’s mother both seem to look a little surprised at the turn of events, a small flicker of hope within their eyes as they start to take part in the conversation slowly. Things are going well, a little too well, and Hoseok barely manages to convince himself that it's due to Jungkook's family's eagerness to marry the boy off.

 

--

 

Jungkook wakes up with a gasp, sitting up in bed and looking around the room frantically. The place looks unfamiliar at first, and his breathing is heavy, sweat beaded at his forehead. Panic grips him, making him rush off the body until he spots the body next to his, belonging to his brother. He stills, panting, and runs a hand through his slightly damp hair, suddenly remembering where he is.

 

He takes a few steps away from the bed, holding his head in his head, and closes his eyes, willing the horrific images he’d woken up to leave his mind. Sucking in a deep breath, he gives Minchan one last glance before rushing out of the room, heart still thudding at a mile a minute. He stumbles out of the dark room into the dimly lit hallways, and stinks onto the floor, putting his head between his knees.

 

The light relaxes him a little, helping him breathe easier, and he jumps when he hears a sound from past the staircase leading downstairs all of a sudden. Head snapping up in response, he glances in the direction of the staircase, fear wrapping its long hands around him. He has a few flashes of the images from the nightmare he’d been having before he woke, but he still stands up on shaky legs and takes a step away from the room.

 

He hears another sound, something that sounds like a metal stool scrapping against the floor, before being followed by a sound of a soft voice. The cursing is familiar to him, Jungkook recognizing the voice a little too easily, and he hurries towards the staircase, hunching to peek at the ground floor. He spots the familiar silhouette he’d been expecting immediately, safe and sound unlike in his nightmare, and Jungkook nears flies down the stairs in relief.

 

Hoseok’s head snaps to look at him immediately, eyes wide in fear when he sees a figure rapidly approaching him, and he nears stumbles back a few steps in response. Jungkook stops at the edge of the staircase, however, only taking a few hesitant steps forward, and Hoseok relaxes instantly upon spotting him.

 

Walking around the stool he’s been sitting on, Hoseok takes quick steps closer to the younger boy, shortening the distance between them even faster after seeing remnants of a frantic expression on Jungkook’s face. He stops a few inches away from the boy, looking concerned and calls out his name softly in question, “Jungkook? You’re awake? I thought I heard the sound of a door opening from upstairs.”

 

 

“Y-yeah,” Jungkook gives him a small nod, and runs a quick hand through his hair, fixing it. “I, uh, I woke up by accident.”

 

Hoseok looks at him, eyes taking in the hesitance, fear, and vulnerability dancing across Jungkook’s face, and tilts his head knowingly, “Nightmare?”

 

Jungkook doesn’t tell him ‘yes, only nods, and it’s enough for Hoseok’s face to soften instantly, asking, “Are you okay?”

 

“Yeah, ‘m fine now,” Jungkook mumbles, ducking away from Hoseok’s gaze and breathing out a sigh of relief. “Just a bad dream." He freezes, going completely still, when Hoseok’s arms wrap around him, one around his shoulder and the other snaking around his waist, and the older man pulls him into a gentle embrace. Only hesitating for a few seconds, it doesn’t take Jungkook long to give into the warmth of the other body, and he sags against Hoseok, resting his head against the other man’s shoulder, letting out a shaky breath.

 

“It’s okay. It was just a nightmare,” Hoseok murmurs in his ear, rubbing his back soothingly. “You know what my grandmother always said?”

 

Jungkook is quiet for several seconds, before he asks in a quiet voice, closing his eyes and sinking deeper into Hoseok, turning his face to breath in the smell of the other man, “What did she say?”

 

“She always said that dreams always hold a meaning of some sort – some mean something good, some mean something bad. They can either represent exactly what it is dream about or something else, but that meaning, whatever it is, only comes true if you share them with someone else. So, she always told me that if I have a bad dream, or one that leaves me feeling uneasy, then instead of sharing it, I should try to forget about it. Because if I did that, if I let the dream just hover in the realm between the sky and the Earth, then whatever it was that the dream meant, it wouldn’t come true.”

 

Hoseok turns to glance at Jungkook after he’s finished, the boy looking deep in thought, and waits a few seconds. Jungkook raises his head an entire minute later, eyes uncertain as he asks, “Really?”

 

Humming, Hoseok nods and gives the boy a smile, “Yeah. She always told me that if I didn’t speak about my dream out loud then whatever bad thing wouldn’t ever come true.”

 

“Do you think what she said was true?” Jungkook asks with wide, curious eyes, looking genuinely curious. The expression makes Hoseok smile, hand moving the boy’s bangs out of his eyes, and he shrugs in response.

 

“I kind of do. Maybe if I told someone else my age that they’d be skeptical, maybe even laugh for believing such a thing, but I don’t know. Things and stories like that which you grow up hearing, it’s hard to just dismiss them so easily, you know? Feels a little like I’m killing the child in me.”

 

“So, you believe it?”

 

Hoseok hums, nodding affirmatively at Jungkook, giving the boy a small smile, “Is that weird?”

 

Jungkook meets his eyes after a few seconds of thinking, and then shakes his head and smiles back, “Not really. I think it’s nice.”

 

Grinning, Hoseok leans up to peck the boy’s nose, and murmurs, “Go back to sleep, okay?”

 

Jungkook takes a step away from him, fingers still clutching the side of Hoseok’s shirt, before he asks, “What about you? Shouldn’t you be sleeping?”

 

“I tried, but I really can’t fall asleep. I thought I might as well watch something to amuse myself,” Hoseok says with a frown, turning his head to glance at his cell phone and headphones lying across the counter of the island in the living room. He gives Jungkook a small smile, “You should go back to bed.”

 

“But I don’t want you to stay up all night,” Jungkook frowns back, and Hoseok laughs, reaching for his hand and giving it a soft squeeze.

 

“I’ll be fine, angel. Don’t worry about me.”

 

Instead of listening Jungkook drags Hoseok over to the island, glancing down at his phone, “What are you watching? Can I watch it with you?”

 

“Absolutely not.” Hoseok voice is adamant. “Darling, go to sleep, okay? Please.”

 

“Don’t wanna,” Jungkook takes Hoseok’s old seat, picking up his phone, and tilts his head at the unfamiliar characters taking up the screen. “What drama is this?”

 

“You don’t need to know,” Hoseok gives him a small glare, narrowing his eyes and taking the phone out of Jungkook’s hand. Closing the screen, he cards his fingers through Jungkook’s hair, the boy leaning his upper body to the side until his face rests against Hoseok’s stomach. Once the younger boy lets out a sigh of contentment, eyes fluttering close, Hoseok tells him, “Go back to bed, Jungkook.”

 

“Don’t wanna,” Jungkook murmurs back and tilts his head back to grin at Hoseok, “cuddlebug.”

 

Hoseok flinches at the nickname, eyes squeezing shut, and exhales a deep breath through his nose, looking pained. His expression makes Jungkook laugh lightly, and when the boy rises up from his seat a little to give him a quick kiss, Hoseok turns his head in the other direction, making a face. Jungkook’s lips land against his jaw instead, and the boy, a little surprised by it, drops back down into his seat, looking back at Hoseok with furrowed eyebrows.

 

“Jungkook,” Hoseok’s voice is serious, “go back to sleep, okay? I don’t want you to stay up. You have work tomorrow.”

 

“You have work tomorrow, too,” Jungkook tells him pointedly.

 

Hoseok sighs, bending down until he’s at eye level with Jungkook, and strokes the boy’s cheek, “Love, go sleep.”

 

“No,” Jungkook shakes his head. “Don’t wanna.” He turns his head to the side, glancing at the three-seater couch towards his left and asks in a hopeful voice, “Come lie down with me?”

 

Jungkook bites his tongue immediately after he voices out the question, wondering if it’s perhaps too intimate a gesture for them at the moment. However, he relaxes a little when Hoseok turns to glance at the sofa as well, giving it a contemplative look, “Will you go to sleep if I do?”

 

“Eventually,” Jungkook promises with a smile.

 

Hoseok nods, his lips stretching as well, and he says a soft, “Okay. Deal.” He hears Jungkook slips off the stool as he turns to walk but a tug at the back of his shirt stops Hoseok in his tracks. He pauses on his way towards the couch, and turns around to find Jungkook holding onto his shirt tightly, a strange vulnerability to his expression.

 

“Hyung?” Jungkook voice is soft and hesitant, barely carrying through to him, and laced with an uncertainty Hoseok’s fingers itch to erase. The younger boy’s tone makes him turn around completely until he’s facing Jungkook, and he then makes a move to step closer, eyebrows furrowed. He reaches back for the hand still clasped into the material of his top, and brings it in front of him to link their fingers gently.

 

Squeezing Jungkook’s hand reassuringly, Hoseok gives the boy a soft smile, “Yeah?”

 

In the dimly lit living room, there isn’t enough light for Hoseok to pick up on details very clearly, but he still watches Jungkook carefully, taking note of each emotion that flickers across the boy’s face. He doesn’t miss the way the boy avoids his gaze, before looking up at him slowly.

 

“Are you,” Jungkook starts off quietly, barely meeting Hoseok’s eyes, “are you still mad at me? Over what happened Tuesday night?”

 

“No,” Hoseok responds, shaking his head, and his face is a mixture of surprise and confusion, not having expected this question from Jungkook. He shakes his head again to reiterate his point, and asks incredulously, “Why, angel?”

 

“Are you sure?” Jungkook doesn’t look convinced.

 

“Of course, I am,” Hoseok restates firmly, squeezing Jungkook’s hand softly. “What made you think that?”

 

Jungkook stares at him for a few moments, before he ducks away from the older man’s gaze, shrugging, “I don’t know.”

 

Hoseok’s eyes soften, and he steps closer. Reaching out with a hand, he gently lifts up Jungkook’s face to meet his gaze, and asks, “Hey, what is it?”

 

“It’s just,” the younger boy squirms a little, waving his hand around aimlessly, before sighing and peeking at Hoseok, “are you sure you’re not mad, still?”

 

“Darling, I’m not. Not in the slightest. We talked about this last night, didn’t we?” Hoseok reminds the younger boy patiently. He pulls Jungkook closer by the hand until there’s very little distance between their bodies.

 

“Then why haven’t you kissed me since Tuesday?” Jungkook mumbles softly, looking down at the ground. “Isn’t it cause you’re still mad?”

 

Hoseok stares at the boy in front of him for several seconds, blinking dumbly, and then bursts into a smile when Jungkook hesitantly lifts his head up to peek at his expression. He leans forward teasingly, “Is that what this is about, angel? Because I haven’t kissed you?”

 

Jungkook gives Hoseok a sour look, lips curling into an adamant pout, but he doesn’t deny the older man’s claim. The warm feeling in the pit of Hoseok’s stomach explodes into a thousand butterflies when Jungkook looks away, giving him the smallest of nods, and Hoseok doesn’t even bother to warn the younger boy before he swoops forwards, capturing his mouth with his own.

 

Jungkook’s eyes widen in surprise at the action, feet staggering backwards with the force of Hoseok’s body, but he’s quick to recover - eyes fluttering close and body pushing back into Hoseok’s, closer to the warmth of the older man’s. He fists his hands into Hoseok’s shirt, pressing himself closer just as the other man lets go of his hand and cups his cheeks instead to tilt his head down slightly.

 

Shifting closer as Hoseok’s lips expertly move against his, Jungkook eliminates whatever distance existed between them before, their chests pressed together, and loops his arms around Hoseok’s neck. He kisses the man back with everything he’s got, making sure Hoseok knows exactly how long and eagerly he’d waited for him. Their mouths move together in sync, Hoseok’s lips feeling and tasting oddly familiar – as if Jungkook’s spent the last several years kissing them.

 

Taken aback by how enthusiastically Jungkook responds Hoseok doesn’t hesitate in parting his mouth against the younger boy’s when Jungkook nips at his upper lip meaningfully. He breaks away for a second to angle his head better, preventing their noses from clashing, and then dives forward into Jungkook’s hot, awaiting mouth.

 

Jungkook makes a soft, surprised noise at the back of his throat due to the suddenness with which Hoseok plunges into his mouth, and his grips on the older man only serves to tighten when their tongues brush against each other. Hoseok pulls the muscle back briefly for a few seconds, repeating the movements against, and it doesn’t take long for Jungkook to realize that the older man is teasing him.

 

He pulls away indignantly, about to give Hoseok a piece of his mind, but the older man seeming to sense it, laughing before leaning forward to capture his mouth again. Hoseok kisses him properly this time and Jungkook sighs against him, fingers carding through the hair at the nape of the older man’s neck before tugging at them lightly. Jungkook’s rewarded with a surprised moan as soon as he does it, especially when his nails scratch Hoseok’s scalp, and he takes it as a cue to repeat the movement.

 

Jungkook smiles mid-kiss when Hoseok nips at his lips playfully in response, and then lets out a rather loud whine, moving forward when Hoseok tries to pull away from their kiss. Hoseok stops immediately, leaning back for a few seconds to meet his eyes, and then chuckles when Jungkook’s eyes widen, realizing how vocal he’s been.  

 

Hoseok’s chuckle and darkened gaze is all the permission Jungkook needs to slots their mouths together and he curls his tongue in a way that makes the older man forget even what he’d been laughing at. Jungkook kisses Hoseok heatedly the second time around, not hesitating in being a little daring or a little rougher, and heat pools in the pit of his stomach when he realizes just how much Hoseok enjoys it, if his soft moans are anything to go by.

 

A small part of Jungkook wonders if they’re being too loud, not even bothering to curb their sounds, but the pleasure spreading through his entire body, making his toes curl, makes it a little hard for him to think or bother about it for too long. His hands move away from Hoseok’s hair to trace the man’s shoulders, cold fingers slipping into the neck of Hoseok’s shirt from the back. Jungkook grins into the kiss when Hoseok involuntarily shudders against him, but he’s not left smiling for long when Hoseok slides the heels of his hands up Jungkook’s chests slowly and meaningfully, eliciting a soft gap.

 

They break apart for air regrettably eventually, and Jungkook opens his eyes slowly to find Hoseok smiling at him softly, both of their breathing heavy. It makes his cheeks heat up, and he ducks away from the older man’s gaze, staring at Hoseok’s shoulder instead. He’s pulled closer in response, into a hug, and he can Hoseok’s heart breath and the way the older man struggles to draw in a breath while one of his hands runs across the side of Jungkook’s neck before curving around the back.

 

“Was that good enough?” he whispers in Jungkook’s ear seconds later, and the younger boy nods, not trusting himself to speak at first.

 

“On second thought,” Jungkook adds on softly a few seconds later, pulling back, a mischievous twinkle in his eye as he states, “it was definitely good but maybe not enough.”

 

The heart-shaped smile that blooms on Hoseok’s lips in response nearly splits the older man’s face into two. He leans forward, shortening the distance between their mouths, and asks teasingly, “Is that so?”

 

“Yes,” Jungkook whispers back, and Hoseok doesn’t need to be told twice before he kisses him again. The younger boy opens his mouth under his touch without any coaxing, and Hoseok doesn’t tease him this time at all. He gives the kiss his all, offering Jungkook all he can, and in return takes everything the boy provides him with.

 

Jungkook’s knees feel weak under Hoseok’s ministrations, the other man’s lips and tongues moving sinfully enough to leaves his body completely pliant in Hoseok’s hold, and he grounds himself using the older man’s shoulder. A steady arm wraps around his waist, holding him close, and Jungkook lets himself lean into the older man’s chest.

 

Hoseok breaks their kiss briefly, smiling and pulling back to tilt his head a little, and then lunges forward, barely giving the younger boy time to catch his breath. Jungkook whines low in his throat in response, especially when Hoseok makes the move to suck on his tongue, wrapping his lips around the pink muscle, leaving Jungkook feel defenseless.

 

They lick around each other’s mouths enthusiastically, eager to taste and explore, sharing kiss after kiss, standing in the middle of the Jungkook’s grandmother’s barely lit living room, two hours past midnight. Lost in each other, Jungkook barely notices it when his hands start to move, almost on their own accord, just as eager to map their way across Hoseok’s body like Jungkook tongue is currently doing with Hoseok’s mouth.

 

Hoseok doesn’t let his hands linger in one spot either in response, running down the length of Jungkook’s spine meaningfully. The younger boy arches against him, engaging in a full body shiver as he feels the trail of warmth cascade down his spine, able to feel the heat of Hoseok’s hand through his thin, plain white shirt. Hoseok smirks against his lips at the reaction, but instead of trailing his hand back up slowly, in the opposite direction this time, he slips it under the younger boy’s shirt.

 

Jungkook’s mouth drops open, and he freezes at the feeling of the warm palms against his bare skin. Hoseok pulls back immediately after he does, removing his hand and gauging Jungkook’s expression, but it’s not discomfort but rather something more akin to desire than he finds colouring the younger boy’s face. Jungkook lifts his head to meet Hoseok’s gaze shakily, and it makes warmth flood the older man’s vein, especially at the odd mix of lust and tenderness dancing in Jungkook’s eyes.

 

Hoseok moves his hand, cupping the younger boy’s cheek, and kisses him sweetly with an immense amount of softness. He whispers promises, reassurances, and dreams into Jungkook’s mouth, pulling away only when the younger boy smiles against his lips. Jungkook looks at him fondly, moving his hands to place both of them against Hoseok’s cheeks, and then leans forward to give the older man a chaste kiss.

 

“Okay?” Hoseok asks quietly, watching the smiling boy carefully.

 

“Yeah, I was just surprised,” Jungkook tells him with a nod before pressing forward for another kiss. Hoseok chuckles against his lips, whispering something along the lines of “insatiable”, but doesn’t deny his request. He’s a lot more careful with his hands the second time around, much to Jungkook’s chagrin, the younger boy’s actions being answered with fleeting touches – Hoseok’s hand curling around his waist including the occasional thumb stroking a strip across his hipbone through his shirt.

 

Jungkook doesn’t let Hoseok’s hesitance to touch him deter him from doing as he pleases, however, and as Hoseok sucks on his bottom lip, asking for permission to be let in, he drags his hand slowly down the front of the older man’s chest, teasingly. Hoseok pauses in his movements when Jungkook does that, but the younger boy, anticipating it, distracts him by parting his mouth before Hoseok can pull away and break the kiss.

 

The hands roaming across his chest pointedly makes the desire in Hoseok’s veins thicken, his heart threatening to beat out of his rib cage in anticipation when Jungkook’s hands run across his stomach teasingly. The younger boy pulls him closer, tugging at his shirt to achieve that, and Hoseok kisses him harder in response, his insides feeling like they’re on fire due to the desperation with which Jungkook kisses him.

 

They devour each other’s mouths readily, exchanging breathless, mind-numbing kisses, not even pausing for a single second to let the other person breathe, and the way Hoseok’s tongue plays him like an instrument leaves Jungkook feeling light headed. They break away when the burning in their lungs gets harder to ignore, pulling away reluctantly, and Jungkook rests his forehead against Hoseok’s shoulder, breathing hard.

 

He pants heavily against the older man, and when he lifts his head up, the sight of his spit-slick, thoroughly-kissed lips nearly make Hoseok lunge forward to kiss him again. Keeping himself in check, however, Hoseok gives him a smile, pressing his lips against the younger boy’s forehead, who’s still holding onto him tightly, fingers fisted in the side of hem of Hoseok’s shirt.

 

“Was that enough for you, angel?” Hoseok teases him, and Jungkook laughs at the question, hiding in the older man’s shoulder as he nods. “Or do you want more?”

 

 

Grinning, Jungkook raises his head to give Hoseok a quick peck, “Well, personally speaking, I’m always up for more. It’s just that I don’t think you could handle me.”

 

Hoseok quirks an eyebrow at the dare, “Is that a challenge, sweetheart?”

 

“Only if you’re up for it,” Jungkook smiles at Hoseok innocently, laughing softly when the older man shakes his head in disbelief.

 

“Completely insatiable,” Hoseok informs him with a smile he has a hard time curbing. “Have you ever even been completely satisfied? You’re going to tire me out.”

 

“Wow, a few kisses and you’re tired?” Jungkook looks at him in mock disappointment. “I was hoping you’d at least keep up with me.”

 

“Don’t you worry your pretty little head, angel,” Hoseok whispers against his lips as he cups Jungkook’s face in his hands with a smirk, a dark but promising glint in his eyes. “I’ll keep going until you’re begging me to stop and let you rest.”

 

Jungkook’s entire body shudders inwardly in desire at the confession, pure lust thrumming through his veins, and he pushes forward for another kiss this time. The older man’s hold on him is steady, and Jungkook whines in disappointment when Hoseok doesn’t respond to his feverish kissing with equal fervor; instead, Hoseok kiss him softly, sweetly, almost as if he’s giving him parting kiss.

 

Jungkook’s hand bunch up Hoseok’s shirt, pressing forward and asking – begging – for more, but the older man only laughs in amusement against his lips. It’s only when he slips his hand underneath the black fabric covering Hoseok’s torso, running gentle fingers across the skin of the older man’s stomach that Hoseok reacts, gasping into their kiss, mouth falling slack. Jungkook smirks at the response, scratching Hoseok’s abdominals lightly, and then presses a hand flat against them, feeling them up.

 

The older man’s quick to pull his hand out from under his shirt, and Jungkook giggles when Hoseok glares, holding onto his wrists tightly. Widening his eyes in mock-surprise, Jungkook declares, “You’ve got abs! I didn’t know that. They feel nice!”

 

“You…you –” Hoseok balks at the boy’s response and his mouth hanging open like that makes Jungkook laugh harder, trying his best to not be too loud.

 

Smiling mischievously, Jungkook leans forward with gleaming eyes and whispers, “Yes, I have them, too. Wanna see?” Jungkook pulls his hands out of Hoseok’s hold with ease, the older man’s grip unknowingly going slack, and he looks down, gripping the hem of his sleeping shirt and teasing lifts it up. Not missing the way Hoseok’s eyes drop down, even it’s just for a second, Jungkook grins triumphantly, his smile stretching when the older man’s tugs his shirt back down with his own hands, covering his stomach.

 

“This is highly inappropriate,” Hoseok tells him, but there’s not bite to his glare.

 

“Good,” Jungkook tells him pointedly, raising his chin, but takes a step away for Hoseok when the older man doesn’t smile back. He shrinks into himself when Hoseok raises an eyebrow, and asks softly, “Sorry, was that too much?”

 

“Maybe a bit for our second make out session,” Hoseok tells him softly, and then sighs. “We both got kind of carried away, though.” Taking a deep breath, he steps forward and gives Jungkook a chaste kiss, “I know it’s annoying to be the one in the relationship to keep saying this, but let’s take it slow, okay? I don’t want to go too fast and crash and burn later.”

 

Jungkook lets out a resigned sigh, but he nods his head. He perks up a few moments later, and smiles, “So, I guess you really weren’t mad after all.”

 

“Definitely not,” Hoseok tells him with a laugh, and then joins their hands, pulling Jungkook towards the couch. “Come on, now come lie down with me for a bit, angel.”

 

--

 

“Thank you,” Jungkook murmurs softly in the crook of Hoseok’s neck. The couch is tight squeeze for the two of them, but they manage to fit themselves on it, Hoseok lying with his back pressing into the back of the couch while Jungkook lies facing him, hovering close to the edge. The older man’s arm is settled around Jungkook’s waist, holding his close enough to ensure he doesn’t fall off.

 

“For what?” Hoseok’s response is a few seconds late, eyebrows twisted in confusion.

 

“You were so good, today,” Jungkook tells him quietly, whispering it into his skin. “You did so well without being someone else, hyung.”

 

Hoseok’s smile is soft and he shifts until Jungkook and his faces are inches apart, “It was for you, sweetheart.”

 

He feels the way Jungkook intakes a quick, surprised breath of air, murmuring with fond eyes, “For me?”

 

“Of course, baby,” Hoseok leans forward to drop a kiss against Jungkook’s hair. “All for you. You wanted this, right?”

 

“Yes,” Jungkook lowers his eyes, staring at Hoseok’s jaw, and nods. “Very, very much.”

 

“Well, there you have it, then.”

 

Jungkook smiles, leaning his head back, “Does that mean you’ll give me anything I want?”

 

“Now, now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Hoseok’s tone is teasing, his lips stretched wide, and Jungkook chuckles. He shuffles closer, as close as he can get, and rests his hand on top of Hoseok’s side, clutching onto his shirt.

 

“Alright, I won’t. But just you wait, slowly I’ll win you over,” Jungkook announces confidently, murmuring it into Hoseok’s shoulder. Hoseok snorts in response, about to tell him that he mostly won’t even need to, but decides against it.

 

“Was this all your father’s side of the family?” He asks instead.

 

There’s silence from Jungkook for a few seconds, but the younger boy nods, the top of his head bumping against Hoseok’s chin, “Yeah. My mum’s parents passed away a few years back, so she’s only got one older brother left now. There’s definitely people in her extended family, but from her immediate family, it’s only him.”

 

“Where is he right now?”

 

“Japan. He lives there with his wife, so he wasn’t here today. Although even if he was in Korea, I doubt he would come today. He doesn’t particularly get along with my father’s family – he’s a bit of a wild, carefree spirit which doesn’t sit well with any of them too swimmingly.”

 

Hoseok hums in response, taking the information in, “You probably don’t see him often then.”

 

“Not anymore, no,” Jungkook’s voice is a little sorrowful. “I used to see him a lot when he was younger. He would always be coming over with something – candy, toys, gifts. But since he moved to Japan for work, he only comes over a few times a year.”

 

“Is he coming for the wedding?”

 

Jungkook shifts a little, adjusting his body to be more comfortable in Hoseok’s arms, “Yes, he is. He told me he couldn’t make it to the engagement because it was too short notice, but he’ll definitely be here for the wedding. I’m happy to see him. Why?

 

“No reason, just wondering.”

 

“Sorry,” Jungkook’s voice sounds a little embarrassed. “It’s weird, huh?”

 

“What’s weird?” Hoseok’s hand start to rub slow circles into the skin of his back and the touch unknowingly relaxes him.

 

“Just my family,” Jungkook replies quietly.

Hoseok smiles, pecking the boy’s hair, and whispers, “No, it’s fine. I mean no family’s really perfect, right?”

 

“Yeah, but mine is far more messed up than a regular one.”

 

“Don’t worry,” Hoseok whispers reassuringly, “I’ve seen some just as bad. At least their hatred is unmasked. You never know when someone will stab you in the back, otherwise.”

 

Jungkook shifts backwards, nearly hanging off the couch, and takes in Hoseok’s face, “Your family was really nice, but then why do you sound like you’re speaking from experience?”

 

The words and Jungkook’s narrowed eyes make Hoseok chuckle, and he deflects the question, “Am I?”

 

“Are you?”

 

Hoseok shrugs, smiling, and then shakes his head when Jungkook frowns, “I don’t mean mine.”

 

“Okay,” Jungkook murmurs, satisfied, leans back into Hoseok’s warmth. They lie together for a little while silently, Hoseok’s eyes closing and hand coming up to stroke Jungkook’s hair soothingly to try to lull the boy into sleep.

 

“Hey hyung?”

 

“Hm?”

 

Jungkook leans back again to put distance between them, and the action makes Hoseok open his eyes quizzically. Pressing his lips together for a few seconds in thought, the younger boy asks, “Remember a day or two after we had our marriage date we talked over the phone at night?

 

Hoseok blinks and the nods, face twisted in confusion, “Yeah, what about it?”

 

“You told me then,” Jungkook starts off slowly, picking his words carefully, “you told me that night that trouble was brewing which is why they were going to rush the wedding. Do you remember that?”

 

“Yeah, sorta. Why?”

 

“Well,” Jungkook lowers his gaze fiddling with the material of Hoseok’s shirt, “it’s just that later on your parents said and today you told my family that we were rushing the wedding because your grandfather was sick.”

 

Hoseok laughs before the younger boy can ask or say anything else, and his gaze is fond as he strokes Jungkook’s cheek and asks, “You’re a smart one, aren’t you?”

 

Jungkook’s face falls at the words, body stiffening as he asks, “So who was lying? You or your parents?”

 

“Technically,” Hoseok’s smile is genuine as he closes his eyes and lets out a deep sigh, “neither. The trouble I had been speaking of is kind of directly related to my grandfather being sick. My parents had wanted me to get married before any complications arose within the company structuring once my grandfather, who’s the current chairman, left his post.”

 

Jungkook takes the information in slowly, the wheels in his heads starting to turn, and after an entire minute of pondering over Hoseok’s words, he asks, “Are you vying for a higher position, hyung?”

 

“Not me, per say. I’m probably too young and inexperienced to go any higher than where I am without screwing things up.”

 

“Then?” The younger boy prompts him, frowning when Hoseok stares at him for a few seconds without replying. Venturing a guess, Jungkook asks, “Your dad?”

 

Hoseok stays quiet before he sighs, almost in defeat, and nods his head, “Yeah.” His hands come up to stroke Jungkook’s hair softly, eyes apologetic as he fixes his gaze on the younger boy’s forehead, avoiding his eyes, “Sorry, I don’t really mean to be secretive. There’s no point in hiding anything from you since we’re getting married but it’s a bit of a private subject.”

 

“That’s okay. I understand that,” Jungkook reassures him, scooting closer for warmth. He wraps a hand tighter around Hoseok’s middle, and burrows himself into the older man’s chest. Hoseok embraces him back, and Jungkook hesitates a little in voicing out what’s on his mind. His lips press against the base of Hoseok’s neck, and he asks quietly, “But if it was all a matter of company politics, hyung, then why’d agree to marry someone like me?”

 

“What?” Hoseok leans back this time, frowning at Jungkook.

 

Jungkook snuggles right back up to him before Hoseok can even chance a glance at the boy’s face and murmurs, “I can’t give you anything. I barely have any shares in my supposed family company. I can’t even promise you any support.”

 

Hoseok doesn’t answer him at first and it makes Jungkook’s heart sinks, but when he finally does, his heart plummets even further. It isn’t like he’d been expecting sweet words or reassurances in the first place, but he still isn’t expecting confirmation from Hoseok either, “I suppose not. Your father, though…”

 

“Oh,” Jungkook’s voice is soft, a little disappointed. “It was a strategic proposal after all, huh?”

 

“Yeah,” Hoseok nods against his head, and a whispers a quiet apology into the younger boy’s hair. “I didn’t particularly want to get married under such circumstances, either, if I’m being honest. Didn’t want my relationship with my future husband to have such a…manufactured start. Until – until I met you, that is. I gave my parents a hard time, too, with all the blind dates before I met you.”

 

“Really?” Jungkook sounds surprised as he tilts his head back to glance at Hoseok. The older man tilts his face down until their eyes meet, and gives him a small smile and a nod.

 

“Yeah. They didn’t really discuss the whole thing with me as much as I would have liked them too, before starting to throw prospective partners at me left and right. It made me angry and I might’ve been a bit of an ass to people who didn’t really deserve it.”

 

There’s a faraway look in Hoseok’s eyes as he speaks, and Jungkook wonders if the older man’s really speaking to him or his own self. There’s an annoyance and a touch of disappointment to the curl of Hoseok’s lips as he continues, “But I just wanted them to have asked me once – to have asked me if I was ready for this instead of deciding that I was a marriageable age, to have asked me what kind of person it was I wanted to marry instead of setting me up with whoever struck their fancy, to have asked me if I really wanted this, wanted to get married, instead of deciding that I did.”

 

“Do you?” Jungkook asks him softly as Hoseok winds down, letting out a soft exhale against his hair. “Do you want to get married, hyung?”

 

Hoseok smiles at him, cupping his cheek and giving him a soft, sweet kiss that melts Jungkook, reduces him into a pile of goo. Pulling away, he whispers against Jungkook’s lips softly, “You’ve asked me that before, angel, and I’ll tell you exactly what I told you then – yes, I do. To you, I do. Even if it’s not the most ideal marriage, with you, it’s hard to mind.”

 

Jungkook’s smile is soft, and he grins ducking his head down shyly when Hoseok continues to gaze back at him tenderly. His actions make the older man chuckle, and he hears the soft, husky laughter reverberate through Hoseok’s chest

 

“I’m suspicious, though,” Jungkook says suddenly a few seconds later, raising his head so swiftly he takes Hoseok by surprise, nearly knocking the crown of his head against the older man’s chin. His eyes are narrowed when Hoseok glances down at him, but there’s still a soft playfulness to his features as he asks, “Why’d you agree so easily for me when you gave them a hard for the others?”

 

Hoseok smirks, and gives Jungkook a wink, “What can I say? You were too hot to resist. Especially when you first turned those angry eyes on me. Man.”

 

“Hyung!” Jungkook exclaims, hitting Hoseok’s arm when the older man starts to laugh against him, body shaking next to Jungkook’s own. “Seriously. What changed?”

 

Tilting his head closer to Jungkook’s, Hoseok confesses softly with a small, genuine smile, “Honestly speaking, it was mostly cause of noona.”

 

“Dawon noona?” Jungkook looks confused.

 

“Yeah,” Hoseok nods, sifting his fingers through Jungkook’s bangs softly. He remains quiet for a while, and then adds, “She talked to me after a date with a friend of hers ended really badly. Explained the situation, helped me understand things a little better, and promised me that she’d personally pick someone out for me instead of our parents doing it without taking anything into consideration. She promised me that first and foremost, she’ll pick someone she knows I’ll like and then someone who could be…resourceful. That’s what changed.”

 

Jungkook smiles at the revelation, adding in a quiet “aaah” in response.

 

“Well,” Hoseok has a teasing look in his eyes, “that, and the fact that you didn’t actually want to marry me.”

 

“Excuse me?” Jungkook’s eyebrows jump up to his hairline, giving Hoseok a look of disbelief.

 

Hoseok grins widely, his lips forming the shape of a heart, and mock whispers, shifting closer, “It felt like a challenge. It felt like fun - something I wouldn’t mind.” Hoseok’s voice softens after, “And then when you told you didn’t have a choice, the words resonated with me. I mean…I ultimately wasn’t going to say yes after the date since you didn’t want me to, but at the end of that night, you dropped your “angry at the world” act, and showed me a bit of the real you. And boy, did I fall after that. You got me hook, line, and sinker, angel. Hook, line, and sinker.”

 

Jungkook shakes his head, a small chuckle making its way out of him as he tilts his head back and cups Hoseok’s face. Pressing forward, he gives the older man a quick peck, and murmurs, “You’re unfairly smooth, cuddlebug. Unfairly smooth.”

 

Placing his own hand on top of the hand still resting against his cheek, Hoseok slowly intertwines his fingers with Jungkook. He smiles, the stretch of his lips a little strained before softening, “I’m sorry if it upsets you how orchestrated this whole thing was, but I swear, angel, I really do like you.”

 

“I know you do,” Jungkook tells him reassuringly, dropping a kiss against the little dimples that protrude at the corner of Hoseok’s lips. “I don’t particularly like the whole set up, either. But I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t expected at least a little something since that night we talked over the phone.”

 

They descend into a comfortable silence soon after that, lying there and smiling at each other for what seems like hours. It’s Hoseok who speaks first between the two of them, asking something that had been nagging at him for a while, “What about your parents?”

 

“Hm?”

 

“What about your parents? Why are they trying to get you married?” Hoseok asks and then pauses. “Well, based on what your grandmother said today, it seems like she’d been the one to suggest the people, but why did you parents agree to it? Especially when your older brother isn’t even married still? Is it a similar issue to mine?”

 

“No.” Jungkook’s tone of voice is blank, and he stares at Hoseok’s shoulder for several minutes before sighing. “Not at all. I didn’t…I didn’t even know it was my grandmother who was behind all of this until today, actually, but I guess ultimately it doesn’t change anything.”

 

Hoseok hesitates, not wanting to pressurize Jungkook from saying more, but unable to sate his growing curiosity, he lifts a hand to gently run it up and down the younger boy’s back, “Can I ask what it was then?

 

Jungkook lets out a small sigh and plays with the fabric of Hoseok’s shirt for a little bit before confession, “It’s to help me.”

 

“Help you?” Hoseok’s eyebrows burrow and his voice sounds completely confused as he asks, “In what sense?”

 

Jungkook bits his lips, chewing on them slowly, and shifts up a little on the couch until they’re both lying face to face, a little bit of a distance between their bodies. He stares at the sofa from over Hoseok’s shoulders, thinking quietly, and then says, “Maybe help is the wrong word. Instead of help, it was more…to save me.”

 

“Save you?” Hoseok’s expression doesn’t ease up, lips pinched together into a frown while he gazes at Jungkook with confused eyes. There’s a dissatisfaction on his face at the lack of an explanation, but Jungkook waits for him. Hoseok lips are still pursed in displeasure a minute later, but his expression is clearer as he asks, “Save you from whom?”

 

“Look at you, cuddlebug,” Jungkook teases the older man, leaning forward to kiss his cheek, “Pretending to not know things when you actually do.” He raises a hand to stroke Hoseok’s cheek softly, thumb dancing across the man’s cheekbones, and he gives Hoseok another kiss, murmuring, “It’s who you’re thinking of. I know, I know that it doesn’t look that bad – that they’re not really that bad – but I just, I can’t take this anymore. It’s just year upon year of the exact same treatment, and hyung –”

 

When Jungkook chokes on his words, Hoseok’s quick to shush him. He pulls the boy into an embrace as Jungkook gasps softly into his neck, nearly on the verge of crying, and rubs his back, “Hey, hey, it’s fine. Don’t say they’re not that bad, because if today was one of the better days, then I don’t even want to know how bad the worse days get. It’s okay, baby, I’m here, alright? Don’t cry, angel.”

 

Jungkook whimpers into his neck, and presses a grateful kiss onto Hoseok’s tanned skin. Hoseok holds him close until the boy relaxes, running his hands through his hair the entire time, and wonders what it must have felt like – 20 years of constant taunting, ignorance, and insulting remarks. He forces himself not to get angry, trying his best to stay calm and focus on the boy in his arms, to console Jungkook. He succeeds, but only in part, the flame of anger still burning on low as Jungkook thanks him.

 

“Don’t worry,” Hoseok whispers into his ear when the boy’s calmed down, and then adds on almost on a whim, knowing it’ll cheer the boy up, “your…cuddlebug’s here.”

 

Jungkook’s head snaps up and the boy leans a few inches away from where he’s pressed into Hoseok’s chest. He shifts, glancing at Hoseok with a surprised look, and when Hoseok meets his gaze plainly, Jungkook’s eyes gleam with affection and mischief. He smiles and exclaims softly, “You like the nickname!”

 

Hoseok frowns despite his resolve not to, lips tugging down at the corner, and he shifts, adjusting the arm that’s underneath Jungkook’s head a little. He tries to pull the boy closer, still frowning, but Jungkook maintains the few inches of distance between their faces with wide, incredulous eyes as Hoseok shakes his head in denial, “Do not.”

 

“Do too!” Jungkook throws back at him with a big, triumphant grin, hitting Hoseok’s chest lightly with one hand, the other trapped between their bodies. “You do too…cuddlebug.”

 

“Do not!” Hoseok pouts, leaning forward to seem intimidating, but it has quite the opposite affect, the younger boy quickly bursting into quiet laughter he tries to muffle behind a hand.

 

Jungkook looks at him with new eyes, cups his cheek with one hand and smiling fondly. Leaning forward to give Hoseok a teasing, chaste kiss, Jungkook utters, “You definitely do, cuddlebug. Who’d have known, huh? That you’d like being my little fluffy-wuffy-cutie-patootie-honey-bunny-cuddlebug!”

 

“I don’t!” Hoseok whines, letting out a groan as the sounds only seems to widen the already big, bright smile on Jungkook’s face. He protests, “Stop it.”

 

“Never!” Jungkook mock whispers, a satisfied glint in his eyes. “You definitely like being called cuddlebug!”

 

Hoseok lets out a loud, defeated huff, rolling his eyes, and then looks over Jungkook’s shoulder before shrugging and muttering, “Well, it’s better than the rest of that atrocity.”

 

Jungkook gasps dramatically at his words, hitting his chest again, and the actions make Hoseok smile unknowingly especially when the boy adds, “It’s not an atrocity! It’s my loving nickname for you. You’re hurting my feelings now, cuddlebug.”

 

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you, angel?” Hoseok raises an eyebrow, playfully glaring at Jungkook while a soft smile also plays on his lips.

 

Jungkook laughs brightly, making sure to keep it soft, and there’s nothing but mirth and mischief in his eyes. The sight makes Hoseok smile, lips stretching further when Jungkook leans forward to give him a swift peck and asks, “You really do like it, huh?”

 

“Shut up.” Hoseok mutters with a soft smile, avoiding the younger boy’s eyes.

 

“Don’t be mean, cuddlebug,” Jungkook’s lips form an exaggerated frown.

 

“Oh, shush,” Hoseok rolls his eyes and then swoops forwards to kiss the boy. Jungkook smiles into the kiss, breaking it when he starts to giggle quietly against Hoseok’s mouth in glee, an idea striking him.

 

Grinning innocently, Jungkook pinches Hoseok’s cheek, laughing when his hand is batted away. Leaning forward, he quietly whispers, “You’re cute, my little fluffy-wuffy-cutie –”

 

Jungkook gets cut off mid-sentence when Hoseok kisses him once again, surprising him but also effectively shutting him up. He pulls away from the man’s lips with a ‘mmph’ quickly, turning his head away to avoid Hoseok’s mouth, and lets out a tinkling laugh as he continues, “My little fluffy-wuffy –”

 

Hoseok’s hand immediately turns the giggling boy’s face back towards him, and before Jungkook can finish the nickname, he’s being silenced and pulled into another kiss. A laugh makes its way out of him at the older man’s slightly petty behaviour, and Hoseok takes good advantage of the chuckle by slipping into Jungkook’s mouth and coaxing a soft, pleasure-filled sigh out of the younger boy’s mouth easily.

 

Jungkook’s attention is temporarily diverted by Hoseok’s tongue, eyes fluttering close, and he can’t help but let himself drown in the mind-numbing kiss, uncaring about his startlingly easy defeat. He moans softly at the back of his throat, momentarily forgetting what it is that he’s supposed to be doing as his hands fist into Hoseok’s shirt, pulling the older man as close as he can, eager for the warmth of another body.

 

The kisses Hoseok showers him with leaving him feeling like he’s both soaring in the air and a puddle on the ground. His insides feel like molten lava, igniting a fire that spreads throughout his entire being, and it takes him an embarrassingly long time to recover from the kiss when Hoseok finally pulls away to let him breathe.

 

Panting and feeling more than just a little out of control, Jungkook barely manages to give Hoseok a small smile after they part. The heavy breathing sounds out throughout the quiet living room, and Jungkook notes with a bit of envy how Hoseok looks not even half as out of breath and affected as the younger boy feels, smirking at him knowingly.

 

The smirk edges Jungkook on, and once he manages to gather his senses a little, he smiles innocently, leaning forward to whispers, “Fluffy-wuffy-cutie-patootie –”

 

Jungkook nearly shrieks in delight, immediately halting his words, when Hoseok roughly shoves his shoulder with a hand and turns them over swiftly on the sofa, Jungkook now lying on his back while the older man hovers over him. Hoseok braces himself with his hands on either side of Jungkook’s head, staring down at the body with dark, unamused, desire-filled eyes.

 

Just the look by itself has Jungkook feeling like his body’s on fire, a flame igniting within his veins, and his breath hitching softly when Hoseok’s eyes drop down to his thoroughly-kissed lips, tracing lower slowly. He lies there, arms on the side, expectant, but Hoseok doesn’t make a move, eyes raising back up to meet Jungkook.

 

The younger boy lifts his arms up instead, then, looping them around Hoseok’s neck. He waits with abated breath, and eventually resorts to pulling Hoseok down and closer to himself, tangling his fingers in the hair at the back of the older man’s head. A sudden creak jolts both of them, making them glance towards the staircase suddenly, but when no footsteps or further sounds are heard, they both turn back to each other, chuckling softly.

 

Lowering Hoseok’s head until the man’s lips hovers a few inches out of reach, Jungkook whispers softly, “My little fluffy –”

 

Jungkook doesn’t get very far before Hoseok swoops down to overcome whatever distance lies between them and recaptures his mouth. They kiss unhurriedly – their lips moving against each other slowly and tenderly. There’s an affectionate undertone, a fondness, to it – the languidness and gentleness with which their mouths move against each other unfamiliar.

 

Hoseok swallows up each and every single sound that he goes to tremendous lengths to coax out of the younger boy’s mouth – pulling every string he can just to be rewarded with a small moan or a breathless whimper. They both part away smiling, their combined heavy breathing sounding like sweet song to their ears.  When Jungkook’s smile becomes a touch brighter, stretching a little further, Hoseok instantly knows what’s coming, and the younger boy barely has time to open his mouth to speak before the older man takes it as his cue to kiss the boy again.

 

Hoseok makes sure to give Jungkook kisses that’ll leave the boy feeling lightheaded and unable to breathe. He kisses Jungkook as if his entire life depends on it, as if it’s the only thing he knows how to do and the only he ever wishes to do. His dizzying kisses leave Jungkook panting, barely having enough time to catch his breath, much less speak, before Hoseok is lunging forward for his mouth again.

 

The knowledge that he can manage to reduce Jungkook to this state makes Hoseok smile inwardly, the grin stretching with each moan and each whimper that falls out of Jungkook’s mouth. He gives the boy less and less time between successive kisses, being a little cruel and refusing to let the other boy up until Jungkook nearly gasps under him, breaking their kiss, and the boy’s mouth falls open to suck in a shaky gulp of air.

 

Hoseok laughs against Jungkook’s lips lightly as the boy takes in shuddering breaths of oxygen, and then moves back a little to take in the blissful expression on Jungkook’s face. The boy’s eyes are closed, his mouth slack, and chest heaving up and down in sync with Hoseok’s own, and it makes the older man briefly consider diving back in to suck on the boy’s tongue.

 

Jungkook tilts his head down, eyes flying open at the soft sound of laughter that escapes Hoseok, and despite his panting, he still manages to tell the older man to shut up, accompanied by an empty glare, narrowed eyes, and incredibly flushed cheeks. Hoseok gives Jungkook a playful grin back, also breathing a little hard, but the smirk is also laced with something a little darker, something a little wicked, and Jungkook’s body nearly shivers in pleasure just at the sight of it.  However, Hoseok doesn’t do anything more, only caresses his side gently through the process of him regaining his breathing, and then gives him a sweet, chaste peck.

 

“If,” Hoseok’s voice is husky and deep as he pulls away from Jungkook mouth, “you try to call me that again, angel, it doesn’t matter if we’re all alone or in public, I’m going to kiss you just like that until you forget all about that nickname, got it?”

 

Stunned, Jungkook can’t think of anything of do in response to that request except nod, and his lack of a comeback makes Hoseok gives him a pleased smile and a soft murmur, “Good.”

 

As soon as the older man’s defenses fall, however, Jungkook’s struck with a thought. He wraps his arms around Hoseok’s shoulder, pulling the man down on top of his chest, and with twinkling eyes, he asks, “Promise to kiss me every time I say it?”

 

Hoseok blinks at the unexpected request, barely managing to croak out a blank, “…what?”

 

Jungkook giggles at Hoseok’s confused response, and says quickly before he can be interrupted, “Mylittlefluffywuffycutiepatootiehoneybunnycuddlebug!”

 

Hoseok does nothing except stare at Jungkook with an expressionless face, blinking slowly at the boy in disbelief. The younger boy frowns at him playfully after a few seconds pass, and then resorts to glaring at Hoseok accusingly, “You didn’t kiss me, cuddlebug! I thought you said you’d kiss me each time I said it!”

 

“I think,” Hoseok looks away from Jungkook’s face, staring down at the couch beneath the boy, with his mouth open in surprise. “I think my plan just backfired.”

 

“Yeah?” Jungkook asks teasingly, smiling wide.

 

“Jeez,” Hoseok mutters, shaking his head in bewilderment, but there’s a smile on his lips, stretching further across his face with every passing second. Looking down at Jungkook in astonishment once again, his smile softens when the boy giggles back at his incredulous expression and raises a hand to trace his cheek softly. Hoseok leans into the touch, and then reaches down to kiss Jungkook on the mouth softly first, drops more kisses against the boy’s cheeks, nose, and forehead next.

 

The barrage of soft, quick kisses leave Jungkook giggling under him, “What are you doing?”

 

“What does it look like?” Hoseok throws back with a grin, giving Jungkook’s forehead a final kiss. He leans to the side, gesturing for Jungkook to move from under him until they’re both lying on their sides again, facing each other. He pulls the boy close, embracing him as tightly as he can for several seconds before loosening his hold, and mutters, “Jeez. I wish I could just fast forward a week and three days into the future.”

 

The smile that Jungkook gives him in response is pleased but soft. The boy pinches his side through his shirt playfully and chides, “Don’t be impatient, cuddlebug. We’ll get married soon enough.”

 

“Can’t wait till we do,” Hoseok tells him gently, kissing his nose, and adds softly with a smile. “Can’t wait till I can call you mine.”

 

Colour blooms across Jungkook’s cheeks, and the boy tries to save himself by rolling his eyes. He pulls Hoseok’s arm out from under his head, linking their fingers instead, and curls his own arm under his head as he asks, “Are you going to e this flirty and cheesy after we get married, too?”

 

“Baby,” Hoseok’s voice is smooth and deep, leaving Jungkook’s entire body tingling, “I’m holding myself back for you, right now. I assure you that I’m going to be a thousand times worse after we get hitched.”

 

Jungkook’s eyes widen, and he stares at Hoseok in horror, especially when the older man smirks at him, “You can’t possibly get any worse!”

 

“Oh,” Hoseok grins innocently, “but I can, sweetheart. This is nothing. You should be ready, okay?”

 

Jungkook groans, burying his face in Hoseok’s neck, and then shakes his head, “Please, no. I can’t handle much more.”

 

“Well, that’s too bad, angel,” Hoseok lets out a soft laugh, stroking the boy’s hair.

 

Jungkook whimpers in response, making a soft noise of complaint against Hoseok’s shoulder. He hugs the older man tighter, pressing his forehead harder against Hoseok’s collarbone, “Then, I want a divorce!”

 

“We’re not even married yet.” Hoseok reminds him with a laugh and pulls away a little to glance at Jungkook’s face. “Ask me that once we get married, okay love?”

 

Hoseok smiles, chuckling when Jungkook’s eyes narrow at him and his mouth curls into an adamant pout, the younger boy raising his chin at him in dissatisfaction. Leaning forward, Hoseok kisses the pout off the boy’s lips easily, leaning back and laughing when it only makes the boy frown. He gives Jungkook another kiss, and then tilts his head to the side to softly kiss the tip of the boy’s jaw.

 

He hovers there, waiting for Jungkook’s response, and when the younger boy tilts his head to the side a little, giving him permission, Hoseok trails kisses up his jawline softly, trekking his way up to the back of Jungkook’s ear. It’s a slightly awkward angle, Jungkook’s right cheek digging into the arm under his head, but he doesn’t complain.

 

Hoseok pauses by the boy’s ear, and then leaves soft, open-mouthed kisses down the boy’s neck next, being as gentle as possible and completely alert for any indication to stop from Jungkook. However, the only sighs he receives are that of the younger boy’s breath hitching and then quickening, his head automatically tilting to give Hoseok more access to his neck.

 

The actions make Hoseok smile, and he nuzzles the boy’s neck softly with his nose, eliciting a soft sound of surprise from Jungkook. He presses a soft kiss against the base of the boy’s neck, and then pulls away shifting back to take in Jungkook’s expression. The boy stares back at him for a few seconds after he does that, his expression making it seems as if he’s got something to say. Ultimately, however, Jungkook remains quiet, only snuggling forward into Hoseok’s chest and letting out a soft sigh of contentment.

 

They lie pressed together for a long while, and when Jungkook’s eyes seem to become heavy with sleep, Hoseok runs a gentle hand through the boy’s soft hair, murmuring, “You should go up to your room if you’re sleepy.”

 

Jungkook yawns in his neck in response, his lips moving against Hoseok’s warm skin, “What about you?”

 

“Don’t worry about me,” Hoseok reassures him, rubbing his back. “I’ll try to sleep.”

 

Jungkook stays still in his arms for several seconds after his response, before his hand reaches up, fingers tangling in the hair at the back of the older man’s head softly. Hoseok’s smiles knows no bounds when the boy shifts further up the sofa a little, fingers starting to sift through Hoseok’s dark locks gently, sorting out the occasional tangle. The boy kisses his cheek after seeing the smile and whispers, “In a bit. We’ll go in a bit, cuddlebug.”

 

Hoseok’s eyes flutter, already starting to feel heavy as the touch lulls him towards dreamland, and his voice comes out a little thick with sleep as he reasons, “We should go now, angel, or else we’re going to fall asleep here. You family might throw me out of the house if they find us like this tomorrow morning.”

 

“What’s so wrong about the two of us cuddling on the couch, anyway?” Jungkook throws back with a frown, even though he knows Hoseok’s right. “We’re getting engaged in two days.”

 

“Yeah, we are, but still…” Hoseok trails off.

 

“It’s okay,” Jungkook lets out an amused snort. “They’ll probably throw me out before they throw you out. I think they might like that chance.”

 

Hoseok pulls the boy tighter against him in response, resuming rubbing Jungkook’s back but the touch is more there to console the older man than the boy, “I won’t let them. Just put up with it a few more days for me, love. Just a bit more, hm?”

 

Jungkook’s bottom lip quivers at the words and he bites it, the promise in Hoseok’s words making his heart thud harder in his chest. He barely manages a nod back, adding a soft, “Okay. Okay, I will.”

 

They lie together in silence after that, both of them deep in thought about the same things before Hoseok speaks up, “It wasn’t –”

 

“Hm?” Jungkook makes a soft noise of question, leaning back to glance at the older man’s face.

 

Hoseok’s eyes flit over his face quietly, making Jungkook feel self-conscious, and his eyes drift to the side with one of Hoseok’s hand comes up to curve around his cheek, “It wasn’t really the world – outsiders – telling you all that stuff you told me that day, was it? It was your own family, wasn’t it?”

 

Jungkook gives the older man a disarming smile, turning his head to press a quick kiss into his palm, and tucks his head into the older man’s neck, avoiding eye contact. Hoseok’s arms tighten, giving him the physical comfort he seeks, and the older man’s thumb strokes his hipbone softly as he whispers against Jungkook’s hair, “Was it for the whole of the 20 years, baby? Did they give you a hard time for the entirety of 20 years? Since you were five years old all the way to now?”

 

Hoseok doesn’t expect a response, not verbally at least, and as predicted, Jungkook doesn’t confirm or deny his statement. However, he does press a soft, reassuring kiss into the base of Hoseok’s neck, and that is enough for the older man to understand – a flare of anger and a desire for revenge lighting up in the pit of his abdomen in response. He presses a kiss into Jungkook’s hair, murmuring a soft apology, the one he knows the boy deserves not from him but other people.

 

“It’s okay,” Jungkook tells him, almost as if sensing how ticked off Hoseok feels. “You took your sweet time, Prince Charming, but at least you’re here now.”

 

“I’m hardly Prince Charming,” Hoseok whispers back sombrely.

 

Jungkook smiles and teases the older man, “I know you’re not,” and then adds on softly a beat later, “but you feel like it.”

 

Ignoring the last half of the statement, Hoseok leans away, narrowing his eyes at Jungkook playfully, “You know I’m not?” He smiles when Jungkook giggles in response, eyes crinkling at the corners, and mutters, pretending to be angry, “Such a terrible person.”

 

“But I thought I was an angel,” Jungkook’s smile is triumphant, proud, even as he lowers his gaze and adds on shyly in a voice so soft Hoseok has to strain his ears to hear it, “your angel.”

 

Laughing at the comment, Hoseok hugs the boy close to him, and murmurs against Jungkook’s hair, “Even if you’re terrible, you’re still definitely my angel. And not to worry, in return, I’ll be your Prince Charming, okay?”

 

Pulling away from the embrace, eyes gleaming with mischief, Jungkook gives Hoseok a knowing look and pinches his cheeks, “Nice try, but you’re going to be my cuddlebug forever, alright?”

 

“But why?” Hoseok whines, his lips a mix between a frown and a pout. “Why can’t we settle on Prince Charming?”

 

“Cause I like cuddlebug better,” Jungkook raises his chin, daring Hoseok to argue. “Deal with it.”

 

Hoseok ‘hmph’s quietly, but doesn’t argue. He’s surprised when both of Jungkook’s hands come up to cup his cheeks, and the boy murmurs, brushing their noses cheekily, “My little fluffy-wuffy-cutie-patootie-honey-bunny-cuddlebug!”

 

Hoseok settles for staring at the younger boy after he’s done, and only cracks a smile when Jungkook frowns at him, eyes narrowed accusingly, “You didn’t kiss me again! Already making false promises before we’re even married?”

 

Leaning forward, Hoseok offers with twinkling eyes, “Baby, I’ll give you all the kisses in the world if you’d just stop calling me that.”

 

“Sorry,” Jungkook laughs, shaking his head. “Don’t think that’s possible.”

 

Hoseok shrugs, “I guess that just means no kisses. I think I’ll change the rules. Now, every time you call me cuddlebug, I’m going to put you in a 6-hour no kisses time-out.”

 

“Okay sure, cuddlebug. We’ll see how you fare with that rule,” Jungkoook pats the older man’s hair condescendingly, belatedly remembering to caress it, grinning at the way Hoseok’s eyes flutter a little in response. Adding in a soft voice, he promises, “There will be definitely be kisses, okay? Whether you like them or not.”

 

“Oh, you’re on, angel,” Hoseok smirks, “you’re on! Let’s see how cracks first.”

 

--

 

“Chan-ah!” Hyunseo shakes her oldest son awake by the shoulder, her eyes a little wide and lips curled into a frown. “Chan-ah!”

 

Minchan swats her hand away, peering at the clock beside the bed, noting that it’s not working when it tells him the is a few hours before he went to sleep last night. Glancing back at his mother with a pinched face, he rubs at his eyes, “What is it?”

 

“Where’s Jungkook? She asks him frantically, hitting his forearm lightly when without looking Minchan points to the empty space beside him.

 

“Right here. He’s very big, hard to miss.”

 

“He’s not here, Chan-ah, where did he go?” She repeats her question, standing up straight. “Did he tell you anything?”

 

“No, eomma, he didn’t,” the man whines, turning over onto his stomach. “Check the bathrooms, might be in there.”

 

“He isn’t, I’ve checked every single one and he isn’t here either. Come on, get up and help me find him.”

 

Minchan sighs, cracking open an eye, and he moves out of bed with a lot of complaints. Rubbing at his face, he asks, “Is Hoseok in his room?”

 

The woman frowns at his question as they exit the room that Minchan and Jungkook had slept in, and asks, “I haven’t checked. Should I?”

 

Nodding, the man hums, gesturing towards the door sleepily, “You should go check if he’s in his bed or not.”

 

Leaning against the wall, he almost nods off by the time his mother returns, telling him, “He’s not in bed, either. Do you think they went somewhere? But where would they even go at this time? It’s only 5:30 a.m.”

 

Minchan sighs, and starts heading towards the staircase, “Let’s go see if his car is still outside. If not, they might’ve gone somewhere.”

 

“But where at this time of the day?” The frown in his mother’s voice is apparent to the man even without looking at her.

 

He sighs, shrugging and dragging his feet down the hallway, “Maybe they ran off to elope or something. I don’t know, eomma. Have you even checked the whole house? Maybe they’re downstairs.”

 

“Why would they be – oh,” the woman murmurs softly, stopping in her tracks as her and her son both spot the turned-on lights past the staircase. They descend down the steps softly, looking around and frowning when they find no one there. They turn in opposite directions, Hyunseo heading towards the kitchen island and Minchan towards the seating.

 

“Oh,” Minchan’s voice is soft, an exclamation that attracts his mother’s attention. He stands there with his hands in his pockets, peering over the back of the three-seater sofa, “Found them.”

His mother rushes towards him immediately, stopping right beside him, and Minchan turns to glance at her when she lets out a shaky sigh, “If we hadn’t look for them, who know who would’ve found them like this.”

 

“Yeah,” Minchan nods in agreement, rubbing at his eyes. “Should I wake them up?”

 

“Please do,” the woman responds, holding her head in her hand. “I can’t believe these two.”

 

“They’re allowed to do this, eomma,” Minchan reminds her softly. “They’re getting engaged this weekend, married the next. There’s nothing wrong with them liking each other, you know. Hoseok’s good to him.”

 

“I know that and I’m grateful, but if someone had seen them – your grandmother is going to be up in 10 minutes. If instead of us, it had been her who’s found them fast asleep all wrapped up together on the couch, what would have happened?”

 

Minchan scowls, “What’s the big deal though? It’s not like their naked.”

 

His mother huffs at him, “Just wake them up, okay? I’m going to get started on breakfast.”

 

“Just leave it to the servants for one day,” he calls out after her softly, but she doesn’t listen. Turning back to the two currently asleep figures on the couch, he takes a deep breath and reaches forward to shake his brother first.

 

Jungkook reacts like expected, giving him not even a single sign of acknowledgment, dead to the world. Minchan shakes his harder, successfully pulling a groan out of him before the boy smack his hand away hard and burrows deeper against Hoseok. Luck’s on his side, however, when Hoseok seems to stir with the motion, opening his eyes a little.

 

“Hi, up here,” Minchan points out politely, crossing his arms and gesturing to himself. He takes a bit of glee in how fast Hoseok’s head snaps towards him, the look in the younger man’s eyes incredulous before he starts looking around, noticing the way Jungkook’s wrapped around him. Minchan hears Hoseok curse softly under his breath, shifting away from Jungkook a little, but ends up helpless when the boy clings to him.

 

“He’s like a koala when he’s sleeping,” he tells Hoseok softly, pointing to his brother. “He’ll cling to you as tight as he can until you wake him up.”

 

“Uh, okay, um, sorry,” Hoseok stumbles over his words, running a hand through his hair, and shakes Jungkook by the shoulder. “Hey, hey, Jungkook? Wake up?”

 

“Might want to hurry,” Minchan reminds him with a smile. “Halmeoni wakes up in about…five minutes. I see elopement in your near future.”

 

The words get Hoseok moving, and he manages to pry away Jungkook’s arms from around him before crawling over the boy and standing up on his feet. Hoseok slaps the younger boy cheeks lightly a few time, calling out Jungkook’s name softly, and Minchan watches in amusement as his brother slowly starts to wake up.

 

“Come on, sweetheart, get up,” Hoseok tugs at the boy’s wrists, Jungkook blearily blinking up at him in confusion.

 

“Cuckoo, you might wanna listen to him,” Minchan contributes quietly, his voice catching his brother by surprise. “Our lovely grandmother is going to up any minute now.”

 

Jungkook springs off the couch at the mention of the woman immediately, and Minchan gestures for them to go upstairs immediately. They skip up the steps hand in hand, dashing down the hallway, and then quietly slip into the room Jungkook has been sharing with his older brother.

 

“Jesus, I think I just lost ten years of my life,” Hoseok says softly, collapsing onto the ground by the door. Jungkook mimics him, sitting down and lets out a small laugh. “Why wouldn’t you wake up?”

 

“Sorry,” the younger boy apologizes sheepishly, feeling wide awake all of a sudden. “I’m a heavy sleeper. We dodged a bullet there, didn’t we?”

 

“Yeah, I told you to go back up to your room,” Hoseok chides him, reaching forward to pick a stray eyelash off Jungkook’s cheek.

 

“It’s okay, this was more fun!” Jungkook tells him with a grin. “Plus, you got some sleep, too.”

 

Hoseok shakes his head at him, but ultimately doesn’t say much else. He stands up a little later, offering Jungkook a hand, and hauling him up quietly. The younger boy stretches, shirt riding up, and then sighs, yawning, “Are you going to go back to sleep?”

 

“No,” Hoseok tilts his head from side to side, rolling his shoulders. “It’s almost 6. I think I might shower and just get dressed. I was thinking of going into work early, anyway.”

 

Jungkook frowns and steps closer, hugging the older man and yawning into his shoulder. Hoseok’s arms wrap around him, and when they do, he murmurs, “You better not keep such hours after we get married.”

 

“I make no promises,” Hoseok whispers against his hair with a smile, making Jungkook frown. He kisses the younger boy’s forehead and says, “But you have permission to tempt me into wanting to come home early.”

 

Jungkook laugh lightly into Hoseok shoulders and asks, “Was that an innuendo? Because that’s all I got from that.”

 

“You’re ridiculous,” Hoseok slaps his back slightly, and then pulls away a little reluctantly. “I’m going to go get dressed. You should sleep for a bit.”

 

“Okay,” Jungkook nods his head at him, and then stops Hoseok from leaving with a tug on his wrist, wrapping his fingers around the base of the older man’s hand.

 

“What happened?”

 

“What time are you leaving for work?” Jungkook asks with a yawn, remembering to cover his mouth this time. “If it won’t make you late, do you think you could drop me off, too?”

 

Hoseok nods his head in acceptance, stroking the sleepy looking boy’s cheek, “Sure, I’ll do that. Are you okay with leaving at 7?”

 

Jungkook pouts a little, “Meaning no more sleep?”

 

“Well, no,” the older man brushes the boy’s bangs to the side, and then smiles, “but it means we can both get out of here faster.”

 

Laughing, Jungkook reaches forward to presses his lips against the older man’s cheek, whispering, “Deal.”


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