Notes: Dedicated to xs0xelectrikkx, as usual, and noelliex. It's 4178 words long, aka a monster of a story. I hope you like it. ♥
Summary: This is Jiyong, and this is Seungri. Jiyong doesn't know what he's doing anymore, and Seungri just doesn't know, period.
One of the first things Seungri forgoes in the entertainment industry is his sense of shame.
The arm around the waist or the head on the shoulder makes the girls scream, amusingly, and the most casual displays of affection are blown way, way out of proportion. It’s no secret that Seungri finds it both funny and slightly offensive – it’s like their own fans are so taken aback by the seemingly inconceivable idea that the members of Big Bang might actually like each other.
“Seungri-sshi, who are you trying to kid,” Jiyong or Seunghyun or Daesung or Youngbae will scoff. “You’re such a liar. You know you talk about it for like, weeks whenever anyone in DBSK even touches Junsu-hyung.”
“Yah, hyung!” Seungri complains. “That’s so not true! I don’t talk about it for weeks - I just, I just wonder about it, okay.”
“Yeah sure, maknae, whatever you say,” Jiyong sing-songs, before throwing an arm around him. “That’s okay; I will always accept you for who you are.”
“Hyung,” Seungri deadpans. “Hyung, I really, really hate you.”
“No problem,” Jiyong beams, but smoothes down Seungri’s bangs affectionately for good measure anyways.
Jiyong really plays it up for the cameras – he winds skinny arms around Seungri’s waist, backs him into corners and locked rooms, touches his face to Seungri’s. Seungri takes it all with a sigh of resignation, because at this point it’s just part of the job, like some boy band criteria that says the youngest has to be borderline sexually harassed by their band leader.
Jiyong’s particularly good at the physical closeness mostly because he’s affectionate by nature - because he’s always reaching out to tap on a shoulder, or to curl fingers around a hand; because he does it all the time anyways. Because it’s nothing new, and no one ever takes it seriously when it’s Jiyong. No one cares if Jiyong’s hanging off Youngbae’s shoulders or hanging a comfortable arm around Seunghyun’s waist or wrestling with Daesung or sleeping with Seungri.
It’s the last one that always raises some eyebrows and gets everyone asking, but everyone’s also indubitably disappointed to hear the answer.
First, it’s because management is cheap and it’s either double up or sleep on the floor.
Second, it’s because Seungri kicks when he sleeps and Jiyong steals all the blankets, and Daesung, Youngbae and Seunghyun are tired of staying up more than they sleep.
Third, it’s because that’s just how things happen and because Seungri gets kind of homesick sometimes and Jiyong’s the lightest sleeper and the best tea maker.
It’s not so bad though, because Seungri moves around too much to really get cold and Jiyong always wakes up with about ten layers of protective blanketing anyways.
“Hyung,” Seungri always complains, without fail. “I was really cold!”
“Liar,” Jiyong always replies cheerfully. “I think I have bruises from last night.”
Add a stage, microphones, ten cameras, and a couple thousand people and suddenly it sounds so much better.
The public innuendos, the flirting, the touches, the glances are so practiced, so well-rehearsed that no one even blinks an eye anymore when it happens in real life. Seungri’s using Daesung as his own private pillow again? No problem. There isn’t enough room on the couch so Seunghyun’s got a lapful of Jiyong? Every Tuesday. Youngbae and Seungri are feeding each other ice cream again? All the time. Jiyong’s trying to kiss Seungri? Alright, that one’s not so common, but it happens.
To be completely honest, Seungri is probably the one for whom it might not all be pretend. Seungri who still obsessively follows Xiah Junsu (despite his loud and many protests that he doesn’t), who doesn’t mind Seunghyun when he’s drunk and affectionate, who rolls his eyes but still puts up with the abuse from Jiyong.
But despite Seungri’s questionable tastes in romantic interests (or in spite of it), it’s Jiyong who’s most fascinated by the prospect, who’ll flirt with all the pretty boys along with all the pretty girls, for the sake of experimentation (or otherwise), he claims. It’s no surprise that his fellow band members are his favorite guinea pigs, if for the sole reason that they’re so used to it already, Seungri especially.
“Ow, hyung, get off me,” Seungri winces, pushing at Jiyong’s arms around his waist. “Jiyong-hyung,” he whines, “Why can’t you go bother Seunghyun-hyung or Youngbae-hyung instead?”
“Because you’re the baby. And besides, hyung and Youngbae aren’t as cute as you are!” Jiyong says, beaming. He digs his chin in Seungri’s shoulder, and no one points out that there aren’t any cameras around, because oh well, Jiyong’s just like that.
It’s only because Seungri’s so cute when he’s flustered, Jiyong claims; because he’s so easily annoyed. Just because it’s funny to see Seungri all worked up, Jiyong claims, that makes it so easy to pick on him.
Then again, Jiyong also claims that he doesn’t play favorites and that’s a blatant lie, just ask Seungri.
“Hyung’s so annoying,” Seungri complains to Daesung, nursing his shoulder after Jiyong’s pointy chin has assaulted him yet again. “God, he’s always doing that too.”
“Because you’re so cute, of course,” Daesung coos, and Seungri punches him in the arm. Hard. “Ow, I was just kidding! What are you going to do if I can’t ever use this arm again?”
“Suck it,” Seungri tells him cheerfully, trying (and failing) to flex his muscles. “That’s what you get when you mess with me.”
“Ow, hyung,” Daesung whines, snagging Jiyong by the sleeve as he walks by. “Ow, maknae’s being mean to me again, hyung.”
“Is he really?” Jiyong says, trying (and failing) to look disapproving and instead looking very delighted, much to Daesung’s dismay. “That’s terrible, Seungri; you should be nicer to Daesung.”
Seungri fixes him with a withering (and therefore not intimidating at all) glare, which only prompts Jiyong to coo, “Awww, Seungri’s so cute!”
“Just kidding,” Jiyong says, grinning when he sees Seungri’s affronted face. Quite suddenly, he slings one arm around Seungri’s shoulders and another around his waist before pressing his lips to Seungri’s forehead.
Oh shit, Jiyong thinks a moment later, when his brain’s caught up with his mouth. “Uh - ,” he begins, but then Seungri’s wiping at his forehead, making a face and saying, “Ew, hyung, you’re so gross. That’s gross. Ew, Jiyong-hyung! Why?” It’s such a routine reaction that Jiyong’s relieved, and he’s pretty sure it’s written all over his face.
Daesung is (totally unhelpfully) mouthing obscene things and winking and giving the two of them a thumbs up. Jiyong promises him a painful death from over Seungri’s head, and abruptly releases his hold on Seungri, this time pressing a loud kiss to Seungri’s cheek. “I only do it because I like you so much, Seunghyun,” he sing-songs, watching the tips of Seungri’s ears turn pink. “You better appreciate it.”
“You’re so dumb, hyung,” Seungri tells him flatly. “Watch your back when you sleep, okay, I’m still taller than you, you know.”
“By like, a centimeter, Seunghyun,” Jiyong replies cheerfully, flicking him on the forehead before beating a hasty retreat. “Don’t get too ahead of yourself now.”
Behind closed doors, Daesung shoots Jiyong worried, suspicious, knowing raised-eyebrow looks. Daesung probably knows – Jiyong’s not exactly the best actor in Big Bang, and that soft spot for Seungri’s awfully obvious.
“What are you worried about,” Jiyong tries to say flippantly, and it’s more like he’s trying to convince himself rather than Daesung. “I’m Kwon Jiyong. What do you have to be worried about?”
“Don’t know,” Daesung says, shrugging. “I just worry too much, I guess.”
“Yeah, you do,” Jiyong almost snaps, because, well, damn.
I hate Seungri, he thinks when Daesung starts laughing and making inappropriate comments but takes it back a second after.
“Yah, Jiyong-hyung,” Seungri says, poking him in the cheek. “I forgive you for being mean to me this afternoon.”
“What?” Jiyong cries in mock outrage. “When am I ever mean to you, Seunghyun?”
This time, Seungri really shoots him a withering look, before stealing all the blankets. “All the time, hyung,” he says, sticking his tongue out. “You’re always making fun of me.”
“No,” Jiyong says, pouting, “Never. Ahh I’m sorry, Seunghyunnie. Forgive me, yeah?” He asks the question in English, crossing his eyes at Seungri.
“…fine,” Seungri concedes grumpily. “You’re lucky I like you, hyung.”
“Course!” Jiyong replies. “I’ve always been lucky, maknae.”
“Yeah, whatever,” Seungri mumbles, eyes already falling shut. “Sure, hyung.”
“Yeah, whatever,” Jiyong echoes, staring up at the ceiling. “Night, Ri.”
“Night, Jiyong-hyung,” is the muffled reply as Seungri shifts closer to press his forehead to Jiyong’s shoulder.
After a few hours of restless tossing and turning, Jiyong sits up and Seungri’s head falls back to his pillow with a soft thump. Jiyong almost wavers, but then he swings his legs out of bed, yawning as he walks to the kitchen.
“Ouch,” he mutters when he turns on all the lights.
“Ouch,” he says again when he burns his finger boiling water for coffee.
Two cups of coffee later, the frustration (and the burn) hasn’t gone away and all Jiyong feels is really, really awake.
“Yo, Jiyong.” Jiyong turns to the doorway, where Seunghyun’s shielding his eyes from the light and yawning. “Jiyong, it’s like 3 in the morning. What the hell are you doing up?”
“Don’t know,” Jiyong shrugs, pouring himself more coffee and knowing full well it’s definitely not helping his insomnia. “Couldn’t sleep.”
“Writing?” Seunghyun nods to the paper in front of Jiyong, with a few lines of Jiyong’s indistinguishable chicken scratch. He sits down, cracking his back and taking the paper.
“Kind of,” Jiyong says, picking up his pen and twirling it. “It’s crap, though. I’ve learned to never try songwriting at 3 in the morning under the influence of coffee ever again.”
“I could’ve told you that much,” Seunghyun says, snickering when he tosses the paper back at Jiyong. “Seungri doesn’t exactly rap.”
Jiyong looks down blankly, coughing in embarrassment when he realizes he’s got himself and Seungri instead of himself and Seunghyun down for a duet rap. “Haha?” He tries lamely, grimacing before pouting at Seunghyun. “Yah, it’s not my fault you’re both Seunghyun, hyung!”
“Got Seunghyun on the mind?” Seunghyun gently teases. Jiyong kind of stares and gapes dumbly for a few seconds before Seunghyun laughs. “Well, of course you would,” he answers for him. “I mean, my namesake would obviously be as beautiful as me.” When Jiyong continues looking at Seunghyun with a look that’s in between horrified and guilty, Seunghyun rolls his eyes before flicking Jiyong between the eyes. “Go to sleep, oh fearless leader,” he says. “Seunghyun will be worried. You know how the kid gets if you’re not there.”
Jiyong’s heart almost stops for a second before he remembers how often he’s had this conversation before; if not with Seunghyun, then with Youngbae or Daesung or Seungri’s mom or even that one time with their manager.
“Oh,” he says, “Yeah, sure. Right. Wouldn’t want Seungri falling off the bed or something. ‘Course. Night, hyung.”
“Night, Jiyong,” Seunghyun replies, giving Jiyong a weird look. He wiggles his fingers at Jiyong before drinking his coffee, that lazy bitch.
Seungri’s fine when Jiyong gets back in bed. He’s snoring quietly, even when Jiyong builds a wall between them with his blankets.
“Jiyong-hyung? He’s kind of cool, I guess,” Seungri says slowly in answer to an interview question. Then he makes a face when Jiyong grins in triumph, doing an obnoxious dance in his seat, “ - actually I’ve changed my mind. Hyung’s a terrible leader, I would probably be better. Yah, manager-sshi, remember that, okay?”
“Yah, maknae!” Jiyong cries, practically ensuring that Youngbae will never ever have children in his scramble to decapitate Seungri or worse. “Don’t forget who’s writing the songs!”
Seungri grins, hiding behind Seunghyun and sticking out his tongue. “Please, hyung,” he says, scoffing. “Everyone knows your songs wouldn’t sound half as good without me.”
Everyone’s laughing as Youngbae wrestles Jiyong back in his seat, still wincing. It’s not so much oversight as it is revenge when Youngbae ‘accidentally’ cuffs Jiyong in the head with his elbow as he turns to grab the microphone, but the burn in Jiyong’s face is not so much shame (because, Jiyong, feel shame? Right.) as it is frustration.
“Hey,” Youngbae says later. “What was that today?”
“What are you talking about?” Jiyong tries to ask casually and he doesn’t even need Youngbae’s raised eyebrow of disbelief to know that he’s always been a crap liar.
“Don’t play dumb,” Youngbae chastises, “You know you’re a crap liar.”
“Yeah, well,” Jiyong says grumpily, shrugging. He turns back to the mirror, tugging his brush through his hair. “It’s nothing,” he finally says, not meeting Youngbae’s expectant gaze.
“Yah!” Youngbae scolds, “I told you not to play dumb. Seunghyun says that kind of stuff during interviews all the time. Hell, he says it to you outside of interviews all the time. Why are you so angry today?”
“I know he does,” Jiyong mumbles, looking much like a petulant child. “I’m not angry,” he continues unconvincingly, and Youngbae lets out a snort of derision. Shooting him a dangerous look, Jiyong closes his eyes because he doesn’t want to see Youngbae’s reaction and tips his head back. “I’m just tired of it, you know?”
Youngbae doesn’t say anything for a long time, and when Jiyong finally opens his eyes again, Youngbae’s looking at him with a completely unreadable expression.
Oh shit, Jiyong thinks again in so many days, feeling his heart sink. “Uhh,” he stalls, stumbling over his own words. “I mean - that is – just. Well, you know how it is…”
“Sure,” Youngbae finally says, “Sure I know,” and hell if he doesn’t know it by now. Hell if everyone (but Seungri, of course) doesn’t know it by now.
“You should do something, you know,” Youngbae tells him once he’s over the weirdness of the idea that their band leader, the kid he’s known the longest, Kwon Jiyong, has a crush on their not-yet-legal baby of the group. “Like, tell him, maybe?”
Jiyong only shoots him a horrified look. “Are you crazy?” He hisses, and looks around nervously to make sure Seungri’s not around. “I couldn’t do that.”
“Why not?” Daesung wants to know, popping out of nowhere and scaring ten years off Jiyong’s life. “It’s pretty obvious you’re Seunghyun’s favorite hyung, you know.”
“Being someone’s favorite isn’t the same as – as – you know,” Jiyong replies stiffly.
“When it’s Seungri, it pretty much does,” Seunghyun points out.
Daesung makes a coughing noise that sounds suspiciously like “Xiah Junsu.”
“Hyung!” Jiyong says instead, blushing a bright red. “Yah, Daesung. Youngbae. Guys, what is this, some kind of intervention? I don’t need help, thank you very much. Besides, how do you even know I like - ” Jiyong breaks off his sentence, not wanting to give himself away.
“Yah, leader-sshi,” Daesung says. “Do you even know how obvious you are?”
“You’re a totally crap liar,” Youngbae informs him calmly (again). “It’s written all over your face, you know.”
“How could we not know?” Seunghyun asks, now looking as if he can’t believe he’s giving advice to Jiyong on how to confess his (not so) secret love to Seungri…which he probably can’t. “God, Jiyong, you’re so stupid. I don’t want to talk about your annoying moping anymore. Just know that if you don’t tell him, I will.”
“Hyung, that’s not fair!” Jiyong’s anguished cry does nothing to the unmovable Seunghyun, who only looks at him grimly.
“Jiyong-hyung, sorry to tell you, but you are kind of a huge boob,” Daesung says apologetically. “I mean, I don’t care. We don’t care. Seunghyun’s not going to care either, so what’s the big deal?”
“This is stupid,” Jiyong finally says, avoiding the question. “Why are we even discussing this? It doesn’t mean anything; it’s just like everything we’ve always done. I just got carried away for a bit there, that’s all.”
“Jiyong,” Youngbae tells him, always the voice of reason. “Jiyong, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.”
It’s kind of embarrassing to be found out, Jiyong realizes, especially when there’s a lot of not-discreet-at-all winking and nudging whenever Seungri and Jiyong are in the same room. Seungri just looks around in confusion, annoyed that he’s left out of (what he thinks) is a great big joke, and Jiyong just shoots them all looks of fury and vows to kill them all in their sleep.
The thing is that even though Seunghyun, Daesung and Youngbae have all received the news relatively well, Jiyong’s not so sure what he thinks about it himself. On one hand, he tells himself, it’s Lee Seunghyun. On the other hand, he thinks, it’s Lee Seunghyun.
Sometimes he thinks about what it’d be like if he told Seungri and Seungri didn’t think it was really awkward and Jiyong can’t even imagine it.
“Yah, hyung,” Seungri calls loudly. “Hyung! I’ve been calling you for like, the last five minutes.”
“Huh, what?” Jiyong asks, confused. “Oh, sorry. I was distracted by…the movie?”
“Um, okay…” Seungri says with a tone that suggests he is worried for Jiyong’s sanity, and Jiyong belatedly realizes that they’re watching a talk show. “Whatever, hyung. Yah, can you move over? Seunghyun-hyung’s asleep and I don’t really want to sit on his face.”
He gestures to where Seunghyun is sprawled all over the other couch, snoring softly. In his mind, Jiyong curses Seunghyun, but in real life, he smiles up at Seungri. “Sure, maknae. You know, if you want to sit in my lap, you could just ask.”
Seungri is the one who gives him a horrified look this time. “You wish, hyung,” he says, before settling comfortably at Jiyong’s side.
Yeah, maybe I do, Jiyong agrees silently.
“Yah, Seungri,” Jiyong suddenly says out loud. “Seunghyun, I like you.”
“Kay,” Seungri replies, not even looking over. “I like you too, hyung.”
I hope so, Jiyong thinks glumly.
The thing about Seungri and Jiyong is that there’s always been a line, and it just depends on who will be the first to cross it.
When Seungri gets too close, knowingly or not, Jiyong is the one who backs off, who turns to Youngbae or Seunghyun or Daesung because they’re safe, and not like Seungri, who will press up against Jiyong’s side or absentmindedly lean back when Jiyong’s got arms around his waist (as a joke, of course, always as a joke).
When it’s Jiyong who gets too close, Seungri doesn’t do a thing and Jiyong has no idea anymore what that means, or maybe he doesn’t want to think about what it could mean. So it’s still Jiyong who backs off, who gets scared and can’t even imagine what it would be like if he should ever cross that line.
In the meantime, Jiyong’s terrible at acting, yeah, but he’s good at doing what he does, and if doing what he does calls for remembering how far he can take his affections for Seungri, he’ll do it. He’ll kiss pretty girls in secret, and keep the kisses he has with pretty boys even more secret; anything to keep himself far, far away from Seungri.
There are thousands of pretty people who can’t wait to kiss Jiyong, and he bets he can charm a thousand more into doing so, but even when he’s got a hand wrapped in someone else’s hair, it’s still Seungri he imagines kissing, no matter how many times he tells himself it’s wrong and I shouldn’t think like this, Seungri’s not even legal yet and Jiyong, imagine if someone found out, that would be the end of it all.
And the thing is that Jiyong knows, he does. But he still can’t stop himself from wanting it, wanting Seungri so badly that he can feel it in his bones.
So Jiyong spends a few more sleepless nights writing bad songs, accidentally writing ‘Seungri’ when he means ‘Seunghyun’ for the rap parts and doing whatever will snap him out of this ridiculous situation he has gotten himself into. Sometimes Youngbae joins him, sometimes Seunghyun, even Daesung once. They all tell him the same things though, so Jiyong just smiles and nods and thinks about what to eat for breakfast instead.
He gets something like three hours of sleep each day and at this point, Jiyong’s blood is so caffeinated he feels like he is made of coffee.
“Yah, hyung,” Seungri says one day, and tonight is Seungri’s night, Jiyong supposes; it was bound to come eventually. “Why are you up? It’s like four in the morning, hyung. Is this why the circles under your eyes are even darker than mine now?”
“Can’t sleep,” Jiyong says, frowning when he realizes he’s almost out of coffee. “Besides, I wanted to finish this song.”
“Aren’t you tired?” Seungri asks, sitting down across from Jiyong and yawning. “Hyung, you’re going to collapse again if you keep working like this.”
“It’s not a problem,” Jiyong mumbles. “I can take care of myself better than that, Seunghyun. Worry about yourself, maknae.”
“I take care of myself,” Seungri replies defensively. “At least I get enough sleep, hyung.”
“Just don’t worry about it,” Jiyong says finally, and gets up to flop down on the couch, not wanting to think about the way Seungri still looks at him with admiration and the way he will inevitably let him down.
“Hyung,” Seungri complains, “don’t think you can just brush me off like that.” He follows Jiyong to the couch, sitting down heavily and poking Jiyong in the ribs, eliciting an oof, followed by some not-very-manly giggling.
“Yah, Seungri!” Jiyong finally says breathlessly, “I give up! Ah – stop, that tickles - Seunghyun, please.”
Seungri’s charm is in the way his eyes are lit up with mirth, in the way his lips quirk trying to hide a laugh, in his warm hands, in the way his bangs stick up because he slept on them funny, in his slightly unfortunate eyebrows and the way his smiles always turn out lopsided because he spends so much time trying to hide them.
Jiyong sits up and grabs Seungri’s wrists and before he even knows what he’s doing, he’s quietly moving forward to ghost his lips against the crooked line of Seungri’s smile, to trace the curve of Seungri’s jaw and Jiyong’s kissed girls before and he’s kissed boys before, but he’s never kissed Seungri before. The sudden realization hits him like a sucker punch to the stomach, and he lets go of Seungri’s wrists, looking at a point over Seungri’s shoulder, at the way Seungri’s collarbone dips into his shirt, at everything but Seungri’s face.
“Hyung,” Seungri finally says, obviously confused, “Jiyong-hyung, wait, what – ”
“Seunghyun,” and Jiyong’s quiet, but there is a hint of desperation in his voice, “Seunghyun, just tell me no, and I’ll never do it again. If you tell me to stop, I will.” Nervous fingers play with the hem of Seungri’s shirt, worrying the thin material until he realizes he’s stretching it out.
Calm hands pull the shirt away from Jiyong’s careful ministrations, and Jiyong’s heart is sinking and he’s already stammering apologies when Seungri knocks foreheads with him gently.
“Hyung,” Seungri says, and he’s grinning; that’s hope, right? Maybe Jiyong won’t have to kill himself tomorrow after all. “Hyung, what are you apologizing for? I didn’t say anything yet.”
“Oh,” Jiyong says, breathing again, but before he can think of something to say, like maybe a deft way of changing the subject and hoping that Seungri will just completely forget that he just kissed him, Seungri’s sliding forward until he’s almost in Jiyong’s lap, knees knocking together.
“I didn’t say,” Seungri says in careful, measured, hopeful words. “I didn’t say that I minded.”
Jiyong blinks, and he opens his mouth – to say what, he’s not sure. Maybe are you sure? or what? or wait, can you say that again?
But before he can even get out a syllable, Seungri’s tugging at Jiyong’s wayward bangs, pulling him forward until their mouths are meeting, and damn - this is what Jiyong’s been waiting for, this is what makes up for all the sleepless nights, all the miswritten songs.
Seungri’s got arms resting on Jiyong’s shoulders, thin fingers mapping out the contours of Jiyong’s back. Jiyong’s hair is in his face, but he’s numbering Seungri’s ribs as he numbers the seconds Seungri’s mouth is sliding against his, and he could really, honestly care less.
“Yah!” Seungri answers, laughing. “What kind of question is that? Of course I like all my hyungs! I can’t just pick someone I like better!”
“Oh, come on, Seungri-sshi,” the interviewer says, wheedling. “I’m sure there’s someone you like a little more, right?”
“Well…” Seungri says, as if he’s thinking really hard, and Seunghyun, Daesung, Youngbae and Jiyong are all making exaggerated motions in Seungri’s direction. “Well,” Seungri finally says, lopsided grin curving wickedly. “Well, if I have to choose, I guess I’d say Jiyong-hyung.”