About being young and stressed out, about overachievers and laidback ones, about older brothers and soulmates, about small bed and warm hands, about silent whispers and steady breaths.
On that cold, November evening, BTS dorm was full of laughter and happy shouting. Members couldn't be bothered by freezing wind blowing outside and heavy rain drops hitting the roofs, streets and unlucky passers hidden under umbrellas. All of them gathered up in their living room, trying to squeeze together on the couch and few armchairs, so they could all see the tv. The atmosphere was, despite all the excitement, very relaxed and comfortable. Boys were wearing their pajamas and old, stretched out jumpers, their faces were free of makeup and naturally glowing from all the smiling and laughing, which put everyone in a very domestic mood. Evenings like that were a very uncommon event, considering their busy schedules and additional practices they were not really able to meet up all together and actually enjoy themselves, that's why that one evening felt so refreshing.
The main source of light in the room was the television screen, spreading soft, blue light across boys sitting in front of it. Right in the center, on a brown couch, Jungkook, Namjoon and Seokjin were sitting next to each other, with the last one in the middle. Couch wasn't very big, that's why it wasn't easy to get comfortable. The oldest boy didn't have much choice but to sit straight up with his back comfortably resting on a back of the couch, with Jungkook's legs spread across his knees, and Namjoon squeezed in a corner on the other side of the couch, his knees pulled up to his chin. All boys were focused on the screen, soft smiles spreading across their faces, Jungkook's head swinging from side to side in the rhythm of the music coming from the tv.
On their left side stood a small armchair, covered in light-brown leather, with a giant cushion in the same color laying across its seat. It was currently occupied by Yoongi, sitting up right with his legs tucked tightly underneath him. The giant pillow was trapped between his arms, serving also as a resting stop for boy's chin. Actually, just few minutes before it was Jimin who had been using the pillow as his seat, as there was no other place for him to sit on, and his last option was a wooden floor. To make it more comfortable for himself, he had put the soft cushion under his and leaned against Yoongi's armchair, but as soon as he had come back from the bathroom, the pillow was already in his hyung's arms, and there was no point in arguing about it. Yoongi wasn't really willing to share his armchair with anyone anyway, so Jimin just accepted his destiny and decided to just deal with the inconvenience for the moment.
On the right side to the couch there was another armchair, big, light-grey piece of furniture, and two figures occupying it. Even though the armchair was designed for only one person, Hoseok and Taehyung didn't seem to mind this unimportant detail. Even though the older boy was the first one to rest on the said armchair, he couldn't enjoy its comfortable cushions for too long, as Taehyung quickly decided to join him. That's why Hoseok was trapped in the corner of the armchair with his legs dangling off from one of the armrest, while Taehyung was comfortably sitting, or rather lying, on top of him. With his messy hair gathered in a small ponytail on the top of his head and relaxed, calm expression he looked nothing more than a puppy, resting his face on Hoseok's chest while his back was softly rubbed by his hyung. If we changed the surrounding and put those two, let's say, in a small, wooden cottage house, and changed the tv into a fireplace, added some blankets, cushions and empty bottle of wine, some would probably assume they're just a couple, tired after a whole day in the mountains, enjoying evening together. Even though Hoseok and Taehyung were only best friends and nothing more, other members could clearly see the special bound between them. It was all about those soft smiles that seemed to be reserved only for them, Hoseok's habit of checking on Taehyung during the night and how the younger boy would always get away with "borrowing" Hoseok's clothes. It was the kind of friendship that doesn't happen to everyone, when you can completely trust one another, not even caring about how the world perceives you.
The program they were watching was actually kind of a recap show, where one of the tv station was showing some of the best and worst music performances that had taken place in a particular month. As it was currently February of 2017, there had been actually a lot going on in January – New Year concerts, comeback stages and many other events here and there, so members of BTS decided to give it a go and see if they'd be mentioned in one of the segments.
It was Taehyung who shouted loudly to get everyone's attention when he saw their band on the screen. It was somewhere in the middle of "The Best" segment of the show and boys were already getting a little bored watching all of these girl groups and their flawless performances and stylist complementing their outfits, that's why seeing themselves shook of their weariness and made them focused on the screen once again. They watched their stage of "Blood, Sweat and Tears" not even trying to hide their excitement, pointing out the main choreography moves while Taehyung rapping flawlessly Hoseok's verse, trying to imitate his facial expressions.
"Hey, stop it!"
Hoseok tried to cover his dongsaeng's face with his hand and somehow make him stop rapping, but Taehyung seemed to be unstoppable, only making his voice louder and his expression even more over exaggerated, causing the rest of the members to lough loudly and Hoseok to give up and laugh with them, watching this parody of himself happening right before his eyes. The soft, but also firm pat on back was then enough to let Taehyung know that it had been too much already and he should calm down and let others watch the next performances. He and Hoseok managed to exchange a quick, relaxed smiles before the younger one rested his face on the other's chest again, tickling Hoseok's chin with his tiny ponytail.
"Do you think they'll show EXO's "Monster"? They were so good during the New Year concert, seriously…"
Hoseok's voice was quiet, but his face expressed sincere curiosity, which made other members just nod along his words. Namjoon slightly shifted his position and stretched his legs with a loud gasp.
"I'm sure there will be shown somewhere at the end, they always show the best ones at the end."
Seokjin just nodded his head again, sending Namjoon a quick smile.
"I was about to say the same, and they will probably save the worst mistakes for the very end so people will watch the program entirely. "
His words caused Yoongi to throw some curses under his breath about the stupid money-oriented media politics, and he didn't even stop himself from hitting Jimin when he started to make fun of his serious voice.
"I don't think it's fair though…" Hoseok picked up after a moment, drawing eyes of everyone to himself again. "There were so many dangerous stages this year. Do you remember this girl group who kept on slipping because the stage was full of puddles?"
Before he even finished his sentence the rest of the members started nodding their heads and spitting out all girl group names they could remember, trying to figure out which one Hoseok meant.
"It wasn't T-ARA nor AOA for sure."
Jungkook said confidently, taking the phone out of his pocket and trying to search for the viral video of the incident.
"Oh, oh!" Jimin suddenly shouted, so everyone could hear him from the floor. "It was I.O.I!"
And before he could even hear the reproving comments from Namjoon about how he could had even thought about I.O.I, loud humming could be heard, coming from the grey armchair.
"Pick me, pick me, pick me up!"
Taehyung's low voice couldn't reach the high key of the song, but that little detail didn't stop him from singing the chorus of I.O.I. hit song. He tilted his head back and rested his chin on the bride of Hoseok's chest, so his hyung could see all the sweet smiles he's sending him, adding some "Hyung, pick me!" along the song's lyrics. Other members were too busy arguing with Jimin to pay much of their attention to Taehyung and his singing performance, but he managed to completely melt Hoseok's heart and caused a bright smile to spread across his face. After few seconds they were already singing along together, and it could probably go on for some time if not Jungkook, who's loud "Hey!" interrupted Taehyung and Hoseok's mini-concert. The youngest boy was looking carefully at the tv screen, with some sort of shock painted all over his face. His mouth were open and hands shaking when he was reaching out for the remote control and turned the volume up. Well-known melody filled the room, and it would probably made everyone smile because of their song being mentioned, but not that time. Right in the top right corner there was a small banner. Simple white background with black letters saying "THE WORST", with them, BTS, performing during New Year's concert. If not the music playing from the tv, the room would have been perfectly quiet, all members focused on the screen, mouths open, skin wrinkled in-between their eyebrows, breaths stuck in their throats.
The performance they were watching seemed to go smoothly, they were lining perfectly, their moves were on point, no-one forgot any choreography. They started wondering if maybe that was some kind of mistake, but then the camera suddenly zoomed in on Jungkook's face, who was in the middle of singing the bridge of the song. And then, there it was. The highnote. Jungkook didn't hit it. Most of the people didn't even realised as the song was pretty fast, audience was cheering loudly, and - let's be honest - not everyone was a music expert. He was very close though, about semitone too low, but when they started repeating the unfortunate moment over and over again, the mistake just became even more obvious. And what had made the whole situation worse, were those comments made by the presenters. "Golden maknae who? Where?" followed by irreverent laugh was way more cruel that it should had been.
Everyone were so shocked that nobody dared to say a single word or even move a muscle. They were all staring on the screen, long after the show ended, trying to process what have actually happened. It wasn't that they should be over those kind of shows, but because how those people talked about them. The showed performance compared with the rest of the segment was a joke. This kind of mistake didn't deserve being mentioned, and even if the writer of the show decided to do so, it's not a reason to use such disrespectful words towards someone who's still learning and developing. All members were just shocked how the tv station had handled it. They admitted that yes, it was not a perfect highnote, but it clearly didn't deserve such amount of abhorrence.
Jungkook was actually the first one to break the silence. His loud inhale drew everyone's eyes on him, eyes filled with a mixture of worry, shock and irritation. Even Taehyung, who just few minutes earlier had been all cheerful and smiley, now seemed to be sinking even deeper into the cushions, his arms tightened around Hoseok's waist, who was himself more that confused. Jungkook's face was also full of different emotions. His eyes were opened wider than before, overflowing with sadness, but his fists were clenched so tightly his knuckles turned white. He looked like he could either burst out crying or hit something any time, but he remained completely still, eyes still glued to the screen.
"Kookie, don't wo-"
Namjoon's voice was quiet and comforting, but before he could even finish his sentence, Jungkook shook his head quickly, making his leader swallow the rest of the unsaid words. He leaned back on the couch, trying his best to contain all this anger inside of him, but his body didn't seem to be following his instructions, as tears began slowly flowing down his cheeks. Jungkook quickly wiped them away, however he couldn't stop his chin from shivering, so he just hid his face behind his hands, sobbing quietly for a few seconds, before screaming loud "I'm such a failure!!!".
The rest of the members were shattered with the whole situation. Namjoon didn't want to make Jungkook feel worse so he decided to stay quiet. And then there was Seokjin, who simply wrapped his arms around Jungkook's shaking body, pulling him close to himself, despite maknae's attempts to escape the embrace.
"Don't even think about it. Your voice is amazing and they showed this small mistake just to gain viewers."
The oldest boy said softly, rocking from left to right, just like mothers do while trying to calm their children. Even though Jungkook loved working out a lot and was one of the tallest members, he never looked as tiny and fragile as in that moment. His unsteady hands were constantly trying to wipe away the tears marking his already wet cheeks, and even Yoongi, who always tried to stay calm and collected, had a hard time controlling his emotions.He was looking at Jungkook with concern, wondering if there was anything he could do to make him feel better. When exchanging quick glares with Jimin didn't help him find any solution, he just sighed heavily and got up from his seat, grasping Jimin's sleeve and pulling him up from the floor.
"I'll get the car keys and let's go eat. Don't think about this bull show, Jungkook."
Yoongi said in his usual, untroubled manner, making his way across the living room. He stopped just for a few seconds to pat maknae's head and send him an encouraging smile, spitting some reassuring words before he disappeared in his room.
"You're better than you think you are, kid."
All members nodded their heads in agreement and started adding other complements and sending warm grins in Jungkook's direction, who seemed to be much calmer now, looking around the room with his sad eyes and trying to force a small smile on his face. It was all red and puffy already, that's the result of such a sudden and intense outburst, and even though all members had seen each other crying many times, this kind of situation made them more worried then ever before. They were all well aware of the amount of hours Jungkook was spending in the studio, practising different styles and ways of singing, he was a perfect example of a perfectionist, who wouldn't stop unless everything was flawless. While everyone else was working very hard too, their youngest member seemed to sometimes aim much higher than he was able to reach. And it's not about setting yourself goals, because those are usually meant to me reachable, but Jungkook also tend to overachieve when it came to his abilities, and every little mistake always made him upset. However, he had never reacted as extremely as he did now, that's why the rest of the group felt a bit lost, not knowing how they should deal with it.
"Oy, Jungkookie! Let's go and eat some noodles, hm?"
It was Hoseok this time, with his bright smile and warm, encouraging voice. He was trying to get up, but Taehyng didn't want to cooperate with him, clinging tightly onto his waist, with gaze almost as sad and hurt as Jungkook. Everyone knew that he loved psychical contact, he would hug anyone anytime if he was in the mood, and oddly enough Hoseok was his ultimate favourite person to cuddle. Probably because of his caring attitude and friendly personality, going along with his own need of attention. But in that moment he would really appreciate if Taehyung would kindly get off him so they all could head to car and cheer up their poor maknae. After withstanding dozens of whines such as "Hyung, stop moving!" or "But Hobi, I'm comfy now!" and managing to push Taehyung on the floor (with a great laughter of other members as a reaction), Hoseok went up to Jungkook and reached out to him. He was then met by his dark eyes, still full of tears, and small, shy smile, before maknae slipped his hand in Hoseok's and stood up from the couch. The rest of the members were back on their feet again, stretching slightly and making their way to the entrance door. Everyone took time to pat Jungkook's shoulder and note that the show was complete garbage and that presenters don't know know anything about music anyway, and it didn't take long until maknae was laughing again at one of Taehyung's joke.
The dorm was completely dark and quiet, only loud snoring of Namjoon could be heard echoing around the walls of his room next door. Everyone were seriously trying to come up with an explanation on how in the worlds could Seokjin be able to stand this kind of concert every night, and the only reason they could think of was that their oldest hyung was a really deep-sleeper. Yoongi on the other hand didn't even considered sharing a room with such a noisy person, especially that he really valued a good night sleep, and that's why decided to move in with Jimin and Taehyung. Even though it might sound a little bit crazy for such a grumpy hyung to share a room with two young and very energetic boys, but he only agreed on that because Hoseok already had a roommate and there was not enough space in his and Jungkook's room to put in another bed for Yoongi. So that's how it was: Seokjin stuck in a room with a snoring Namjoon, Taehyung, Jimin and Yoongi sleeping tightly in their own room, and Hoseok sharing his with the youngest member, Jungkook.
It was past 2 am when Hoseok's bladder woke him up and forced to go to the bathroom. When he woke up in the middle of night, the first thing he did was to look to left and check on Jungkook. The room was completely dark and quiet, and youngest member seemed to be sleeping as deeply as the rest of the group, tired and full after eating together. Hoseok hated waking up at night as it always happened when he was in the best position, and when he went back, he couldn't get comfortable anymore, but the pressure in his stomach hurried him up and made him leave the bed with a deep sigh. He tried his best to be quiet and not make unnecessary noise on his way to the bathroom and back to the room, but as soon as he closed the door, he noticed a faint, blue light peeking out from under Jungkook's blanket. Hoseok just sighed loudly and lied down again on his own bed.
"Kookie, why are you not sleeping?"
His voice was soft and quiet, but it sounded very intrusive in the sleeping household. It made the big lump move a bit on Jungkook's bed, until his head popped out and rested on the pillow again. Hoseok could hear him shuffling in his bed before a silent bang announced that poor earphones landed on the floor.
"I can't stop thinking about it."
Jungkook said weakly, and a faint sniff followed his words.
"I wish I could sing carelessly and freely and it would still come out great, you know, hyung?"
Hoseok just nodded in response, keeping his eyes shut and just listening to maknae's voice. There were times when Jungkook was significantly worried about something and it would take him days to get over it, that's why members knew the best way to help him out was to let him speak out and let everything out of him - all of the anger, disappointment and worry. He was very talented, but still young and full of doubts, and all Hoseok could do for him was to offer his comfort and a safe place to release the tension.
"Do you know Ed Nash?"
The name didn't sound familiar at all, so Hoseok his side and looked across the room on Jungkook's face showered by the blue light from his phone.
"Can I show you his songs? I want to sing like him."
Without even waiting for a response, Jungkook jumped out of the bed, quickly grabbed his earphones from the floor and head over to Hoseok's bed, who was already making some space for the maknae to lay down. The youngest boy slipped under his hyung's blanket and rested his head on the pillow next to Hoseok, clumsily putting earphones in their ears. It took him around a minute to finally find a comfortable position, and Hoseok was on the each of kicking him out on the floor, but he managed to stop himself from doing so, just to be treated with some up-beat indie song echoing in his left ear. He couldn't lie, he really liked the sound of it.
"The music is nice."
"Don't mind the music! Listen to him singing, hyung!"
Jungkook whined resentfully, turning his head to face Hoseok and send him a curious smile. He loved sharing new music with s, especially Hoseok. His hyung was always open-minded and interested in everything he wanted him to listen, and never criticised anything, even though it was clearly not his style. He would always point out the things he liked in the song, just to ensure Jungkook that his music taste it great. It wasn't different that time. As soon as the last instrument finished his part, Hoseok opened his eyes just to find out that Jungkook face is right next to his and his big, brown eyes are looking at him in the dark expecting him to share his opinion.
"Well, I think you should try singing this song, your voice may sound really good in this key."
Hoseok just smiled back at his dongsaeng and pulled the earphone out. Of course he was being honest, he wasn't deaf, he knew, how good Jungkook's voice was and what key is the best for him. He heard him every single day practising, also during production of their songs Hoseok always keeps in mind to choose the right key so it suits all members well. That's why he was sure that that one particular song would be great for Jungkook to try out and maybe attempt singing in a bit different style.
"We can go to the studio tomorrow and try it if you want."
The older boy added after a while, watching Jungkook's face light up. Even though the room was completely dark, their eyes already got used to it, that's why Hoseok would clearly see the big smile crawling on Jungkook's lips as he was speaking. And suddenly, despite all the unpleasantness that had met them during the day, the younger boy started giggling, throwing his phone on the bedside table and shuffling his way through the blanket to come closer to his hyung. He threw his arm across Hoseok's chest and mumbled quiet "Thank you so much, hyung, you're the best." before snuggling his face in the crook of his neck.
Hoseok was a bit surprised as he was still hoping to get his bed back all for himself, but he guessed he had to deal with the situation and accept Jungkook as his unexpected guest for the night. The younger boy didn't seem to be going anywhere and was already dozing off, and in Hoseok's famous kindness, he didn't have a heart to kick him out. He knew that the boy needed that, he needed some intimacy, some warmth, a safe place and assurance that it all was going to be fine. So without any hesitation, Hoseok grabbed the edge of the blanket and pulled it up higher to cover maknae properly and then settled himself comfortably on his back. He could feel Jungkook's breath tickling his neck and his arm tightening around his torso, and he couldn't lie, it felt really cozy and homely. It wasn't that Jungkook was mostly cold to him, both of them were really close to each other, but not in physical way. That's why the situation caught Hoseok off guard, but the only thing he could do is to take it as complement and support his friend no matter what.
He finally closed his eyes, letting out a silent sigh, and was ready to start setting off to dream-land when he heard footsteps in the corridor. He lifted up one eyelid, just to see the bedroom door opening and a figure entering the room. Despite complete darkness, Hoseok knew exactly who it was, as there was only one person to wake up suddenly in the middle of the day, sneak out of his room, tip toe across the whole house and come to Hoseok's bedroom. And when the intruder finally made his way to bed, there was a loud, annoyed whine, and it just made Hoseok sigh again.
"What is he doing here?!"
Taehyung sounded so resentful that it almost made Hoseok felt like a cheater. He quickly shushed the newcomer down, reminding him that is was middle of the night and they should keep it quiet. Additionally, he had a sleeping Jungkook glued to himself, and after what he went through that day, Hoseok really wanted to let him rest.
"He couldn't sleep so I comforted him. What's with you, uh?"
Taehyung just send him a hurtful stare, then rested his hand on his stomach.
"My belly hurts. I can't sleep."
Hoseok sighed, well, once again, because it was so obvious that it would happen that he was irritated he hadn't forecasted it earlier. He knew too well that Taehyung didn't come to him for medicine or other solution for a stomachache. He came there to cruelly invade his already not that big bed and have his belly rubbed until he fell asleep. Hoseok knew all of it already, it was a pattern that would repeat after every big feast or culinary experiments – Taehyung would come to his bed just to cuddle with him and fart under his blankets. And as much as Hoseok loved this weirdo and wanted the best for him, he was already pulled out of his sleep and serving as a pillow for Jungkook, and another attention-hungry person would cause him to not sleep at all.
Hoseok send Tae an apologizing look before he opened his mouth again.
"I'm sorry, but there's not enough sp-"
And before he even managed to finish the sentence, Taehyung was already slipping under the blanket on the right side of the bed. It wouldn't be so bad after all if only there was enough space to lie down on, but in reality, Hoseok ended up not only with Jungkook nestled up to his left side, but now also Taehyung, lying half on the bed, half on top of him. Hoseok wanted to get mad, he wanted to get mad so badly, until he saw Tae's face, so close to his own that he good see a painful grimace painted all over his dongsaeng's face. He waited a few seconds until he settled down for good before embracing Taehyung fondly and pulling him even closer to himself. He was his best friend after all, he couldn't just send him back to his room and let him suffer. That's why sometimes Hoseok hated Taehyung – not because he was a bad friend or an awful person in general, but because he meant so much for Hoseok that it went far beyond an ordinary friendship.
"Do you want me to rub your belly?"
Hoseok's voice was quiet and soft, and so were his eyes when they met Tae's wistful stare, almost asking him for a little bit of comfort, looking up at him from his chest where Taehyung rested his head. But he didn't respond, he just nestled his face in Hoseok's tshirt and slipped his small hand into his hyung's palm.
"Just hold my hand, Hobi. Just hold my hand for a bit."
Hoseok squeezed his friend's hand, their fingers intertwined, and planted a small kiss on Taehyung's head. He received a small giggle in response and a tiny peck somewhere along his jaw, before they both settled down and closed their eyes.
Hoseok was lying down in his bed, darkness and silence all around him. He could feel Jungkook's warm breath on his skin. He could feel Taehyung's hair tickling his chin. He could hear both of their steady, quiet breaths, and even though he couldn't move a muscle, Hoseok never felt more appreciated and happy.
That was new. That situation and feelings were new. Taehyung was a weird person but something in the way he was that night was new, it was warm and soft and tender and it made Hoseok's heart beat a little faster.
There was something about how their legs were all tangled up under the blankets, how Tae's hand fit in Hoseok's and how calm he looked while sleeping. There was something new about the way he wrapped his arms around Hoseok's waist and hold onto him like he was everything he needed in that moment.
There was something new in what happened in the morning, when Taehyung kissed him right in the corner of his lips, thinking that he's still sleeping. There was something new about his smile that was first thing Hoseok saw after he opened his eyes. There was something new about how Taehyung whispered "Good morning".
There was something new about how Hoseok just leaned forward and kissed him without any hesitation. There was something new about how Taehyung kissed him back, just to smile afterwards and go back to sleep.
And there was something completely new about how intimate and homely it felt. It felt so good that Hoseok fell asleep again, wishing this moment would never end.