Park Jaehyung/Brian Kang; Screen Talk
Summary: “What do I do now?” Jae asks. Is there like, some kind of protocol he needs to follow? Is idol etiquette even a thing? What does one even do after your favorite artist follows you on twitter?“
(Or: the one where Brian is still an idol and Jae’s a fan, but they somehow manage to fall in love anyways.)
Read on ao3 (where the formatting is better)
Jae is just about to take a sip from his mug of coffee when he hears a quiet chime to his left. Turning away from where he had been half-listening to Jimin rant about the new asshole who’s now chasing after her, Jae looks down to where his phone lays on the table and can’t help but stare wide-eyed at the bright blue notification that flashes back at him.
@youngk_5live is now following you!
Jae blinks at the screen, once, twice, and then promptly chokes on the mouthful of coffee he had been just about to swallow.
“Jimin,” he hisses, making a garbled noise at the back of his throat as he flails around for the girl’s attention. “Jimin,” he insists when he gets no reaction, tone borderline frantic.
“What,” the girl snaps back. She raises her head to look at him over the rim of her coffee mug, one perfectly plucked eyebrow raised high. Judging.
“Look at this,” Jae says. He thrust his phone in her face, almost making Jimin spill coffee all over her crisp white skirt. “Am I dreaming?” he asks, phone wobbling in his grasp from how much his hands are shaking. “Is this for real?”
Jimin squints at the phone for a second that seems to go on forever while Jae hold his breath, nails digging into the wood of the table in anticipation. He sees the exact moment when realisation hits Jimin, recognizes it in the way her eyes widen and her lips part in surprise.
“Holy shit,” she breathes, taking the phone from him and swiping her thumb across the notification to make sure it’s not a mistake, and then, when she’s certain it’s not, “holy fucking shit.”
She’s gaping, jaw hanging slightly open in disbelief. Any other time and Jae would have relished in the fact that he had managed to render her speechless, a true feat on its own. As it is though, he’s still too dumbstruck himself to enjoy the moment as he should.
“When did this happen?” Jimin asks as she hands him his phone back, which Jae takes with reverent hands.
“Just now,” he says, still working on believing it. “It just - it just happened.”
“Way to go, boy,” Jimin drawls, already back in control of herself, the complete opposite of Jae himself, who has to bite down on his bottom lip to keep himself from squealing like a schoolgirl. “You finally got your crush to notice you.”
“I do not have a crush on Youngk,” Jae huffs, glaring at Jimin when all she does is smirk at him. Jae knows she thinks he’s lying, but he digresses. So okay, his admiration for Brian Kang may go a little overboard at times, but that’s all it is. Admiration. Respect for a talented musician who just so happens to be a member of one of Korea’s most famous bands. And who’s maybe Jae’s phone wallpaper. Maybe. And his laptop’s screensaver. Not that that means anything, mind you. Jae does not have a crush. Jimin can smirk all she wants.
“What do I do now?” Jae asks. Is there like, some kind of protocol he needs to follow? Is idol etiquette even a thing? What does one even do after your favorite artist follows you on twitter? Apart from freaking out that is, though Jae seems to have that part down already.
“Say something to him,” Jimin answers as if it were as simple as that. Jae snorts. This is not some random guy on the street they’re talking, this is actual Brian Kang, 5LIVE’s bassist and national sweetheart. Jae can’t just treat him like he would anyone else. He needs - he needs to make an impression, make sure he’s remembered.
“This is what you’ve been waiting for, isn’t it?” Jimin asks, looking at him with narrowed eyes and taking absolutely no pity in his obviously frazzled state. “This is why you decided to post your cover, dumbass, to get him to notice you and he did. Now do something about it.”
Jae mumbles something that may as well be an agreement as it could be a plea for help, he’s not sure himself. Jimin is right of course. Jae did decided to post a small cover of 5LIVE’s latest song a few days ago. Jae, of course, had claimed he did it only because his subscribers on his youtube channel had been asking him to cover the band for a long time now. But Jimin, who’s known him since they were both gangly kids in middle school, had immediately figured out the real reason behind his bit-sized cover.
It’s no secret that Jae’s a fan of 5LIVE, anyone who follows him on twitter knows that. He goes on rants and talks about their music constantly, tweets and makes jokes. It’s gained him quite a public over the years - his follower count is somewhere around five digits now and steadily climbing higher. Jae knows people follow him for the covers he does in his youtube channel, both of korean and english songs, but he likes to think those followers stay for his random fact of the day tweets and his hashtags - which are awesome by the way, not matter how many times Jimin may roll her eyes at them - not to mention that his odd selcas here and there get retweeted a lot.
So yeah, Jae’s a fan, has been since the band first debuted in 2015, but he had never expected for this to happen when he decided to post a small video of him messing around with his keyboard, too afraid of making a real cover, scared of messing up such a great song. He had been hoping for some kind of recognition yeah, but now that it he has actually gotten it, he has no clue what to do with it.
“Hey,” Jimin says then, snapping Jae back to attention. “It’s going to be fine.” The girl reaches out a hand and squeezes Jae’s shoulder, expression softening the tiniest bit. “Just tweet whatever. A thank you, a rant, how you’re feeling. Do as you would normally. Forget he’s Brian Kang,” Jimin says and Jae nods, thankful.
Jimin’s right. Brian Kang is just another musician, he’s just like him. Jae has no reason to be nervous. He can do this.
Jae fucks up.
As soon as he gets home to his dorm in the far east side of the university he bundles himself up on the couch and logs into his twitter account to check his feed.
It’s blowing up. He’s got a fresh new wave of followers and people asking him if he’s seen the new follow, most of them as surprised and elated as he was when he first realized what it meant. There’s a lot of screaming in all caps and keyboard smashes, but there are are also quite a few honest congratulations, which Jae takes grateful note of.
He opens up a new note on his phone and starts typing his answering tweet. Jae rereads it a few times and then deletes everything with an annoyed groan, fighting the urge to stomp his feet down in frustration. This shouldn’t be as hard as it is really, but Jae can’t for the life of him find the right words, much as he tries. In the end, it takes him about fifteen minutes to come up with something passable. It’s a short message, straightforward but thankful and with just the right tags to keep it from becoming too formal. It’s not very him, but it’s something at least and right now, Jae will take what he can.
He is just about to tweet his overly-edited response to Brian’s follow when a notification pops out on his screen, leaving Jae scrambling all over again.
An unholy sound of surprise tears its way out of Jae’s throat. He bites down on the edge of his blanket to keep himself from screaming and waking up his neighbours as he stares at his phone in a shock, blinking at the screen to convince himself that this is real.
And it is real, because the tweet isn’t going away. Instead, it’s getting retweeted and liked and Jae can do nothing but stare as he watches it spread like wildfire.
Say what you’re feeling, Jimin had said, forget he’s Brian Kang. Jae doesn’t think he can do that, at least not the forgetting part. This is 5LIVE’s bassist talking about him, recognizing his work and fucking praising him for it, the musician Jae has admired for two years now is finally taking notice of him.
So no, Jae doesn’t think he can forget who he’s talking to - doesn’t really want to - but he can at least make his response honest and open. Taking a deep breath, Jae deletes his revised answer and types in another one instead.
The response is instant. His phone blows up with notifications and Jae watches in horror as his message gets retweeted and commented on. He regrets posting it almost immediately, but there’s nothing he can do about it now. So Jae turns off his phone for the sake of his sanity and drags himself towards his bedroom where he crashes on the bed as soon as it’s on reach. With a groan, Jae shuts his eyes and settles for ignoring the outside world for the night. He’ll deal with the repercussions in the morning, when he’s not as exhausted as he’s now.
He just hopes he didn’t ruin whatever chances he had of impressing Brian. He wouldn’t forgive himself if he did.
so i’m you’re senpai now?
The message blinks at him, expectant. Jae swallows loudly, rubbing his palms over his ripped jeans to keep them from sweating. He knows he has to answer, he knows, but it’s been three hours since he first read the message on twitter and he still can’t find it in himself to type anything in.
God, how could he have been so stupid. Now Brian must think he’s a creep or something. Jae regrets everything.
Still, creep or not, Jae has to say something back.
it was a joke i’m sorry
it’s ok man I was just messing with you
just wanted to see if you were really as cool as you said you were :)
are you calling me liar
I’m the coolest dude
haven’t you seen my hashtags
you named yourself chicken little
excuse me if I was a little skeptical
Jae bristles. His nickname is awesome, thank you very much. It was given to him by his yellowpostitman subscribers back in 2011 and Jae has stuck to it ever since. He looks around the hall where he’s lounging around killing time until his next class starts and quickly snaps a photo, sending it before he can lose his courage.
don’t you see the resemblance
doesn’t mean you have to call yourself a chicken dude
you’re just jealous brian
what kind of name is young k anyway
a better one than chicken little for sure
and don’t call me brian
whatever you say brian
Jae mutes his phone before he can see Brian’s - he refuses to call him Young K - answer.
It was surprisingly easy to talk to the other, at least after Jae got over the fact that he was an idol. Brian didn’t make a big deal out of it and he didn’t seem to find Jae annoying, if the way he answered his texts quickly was anything to go by. (Jae likes to think it is.)
Jae looks down at his watch and winces. He’s running late for his music composition class, having lost track of time talking to Brian. Shrugging his bag over one shoulder Jae makes his way out of the hall, feeling lighter than he has all morning.
Maybe he didn’t fuck up so bad after all.
“-ehyung. Park Jaehyung.”
Jae startles so hard he knocks his knees on the underside of the table, sending his music sheets flying all over the library’s floor.
“Goddammit Jimin,” Jae hisses, turning to glare at the girl standing before him. “What is wrong with you?”
Over by the front desk the librarian makes a shushing motion, glaring at them over the rim of her glasses. Jae grimaces.
“What’s wrong with me?” Jimin huffs, taking a seat in front of him and primly rearranging her plaid skirt. “I should be asking you that. I must have called your name a dozen times. Who on earth are you texting that has you grinning so much?”
“No one,” Jae says, clicking his phone shut before Jimin can take a peek at it.
“C’mon, who is it?” Jimin prods, no doubt taking pleasure in the way Jae squirms in his seat under her piercing stare. “You can tell me,” she croons.
“It’s none of your business,” Jae snaps back, defensive. It’s a mistake. Jimin latches onto his reticence like a hound to blood, grin turning into a smirk that bodes nothing good for him.
“So that’s how it is.” She points a finger at him, crimson red nail polish glinting under the lights. “It’s Brian, isn’t it? The idol? You never look like that unless you’re talking about him - to him now, I guess.”
“I, uh - I don’t,” Jae begins but then grows quite. It’s not like he can deny it. Because it is Brian. Ever since the bassist send him that first message they have been talking constantly, exchanging messages back and forth until well into the night where it’s so late it becomes almost early.
It’s been about a month since Brian first followed him on twitter and Jae no longer hesitates before answering his messages. Instead, he finds himself teasing the other, ranting at him about schoolwork and his awful music theory professor that makes Jae want to fall asleep every lesson. And Brian, he listens, says just the right things back, like he’s known Jae too long for their conversations to be anything but comfortable and easy.
It’s kind of amazing really.
Still, Jae’s dead if he ever tells Jimin that. The girl already teases him enough about his supposed crush as it is. Jae really can’t take more embarrassment.
“Fine, keep your secrets,” Jimin says, waving a dismissive hand his way. Jae can tell she’s a bit hurt. Jae would tell her. Honestly, he tells Jimin just about everything, she’s his best friend after all, but something always stops him before he can come clean to her about this. He wants to keep this to himself just a little bit longer, this side of Brian only he gets to see.
This Brian, the one who whines about his diet and asks Jae about his opinion on the new lyrics he’s writing, the one who sends him stupid memes and silly selcas, that Brian is not the same Youngk the public sees, he’s not the one Jae has to share with other fans.
So yeah, maybe Jae is being selfish, but he has never claimed to be otherwise, so he’s going to keep this close to his chest for as long as he can, until Brian gets bored of him and moves on to something better.
Just then his phone pings and Jae, so attuned with the sound now, barely wastes any time in opening up the message.
dowoonie broke the ceiling
lmfao what was it this time
wonpil saw a bug, flipped, and asked him to squash it
sungjin is going to murder them both
and you’re gonna help him hide the bodies aren’t you
also junhyuk made me download snapchat
idek how it works
go add me anyways
Jae doesn’t notice he’s grinning at his phone until he spots Jimin smirking at him out of the corner of his eye. Self-conscious now, he schools his face into something more calm, but it’s too late, she’s already caught him. Thankfully, Jimin decides she’s teased him enough for a day and all she does is stand up and ruffle his hair.
“I’m gonna go now, loverboy,” she says, amused. Jae swats her hand away from his hair and scowls at her. “I’ll see you Friday though, right?”
“What?” Jae mumbles, attention already back on his phone where Brian has just send him a pic of his broken ceiling followed by a candid of Sungjin’s enraged face with an explendid background of Wonpil’s and Dowoon’s horrified expressions.
“Jackson’s party. Friday.” Jimin looks at him, judging. “You didn’t forget, did you?”
“No, no, of course not,” Jae is quick to reassure. Honest, he didn’t forget, it just - slipped his mind for a moment. “I’ll be there, don’t worry.”
“You better,” she says, a clear warning in her tone. She turns on her heels and heads for the door, throwing a jaunty wave over her shoulder as the door slams shut.
Jae opens his mouth to shout something back but just then a notification pops up, taking his attention away.
what is a filter
why does my face look like a dog
HAHAHAHA this is gonna be fun
In the end, Brian figures out the workings of snapchatting faster than Jae would have liked him to. He only manages to gather a few embarrassing selcas for blackmail before the other gets a hang of the app, sadly enough.
Much to Jae’s surprise, Brian turns out to be an avid snapchatter. His phone light ups at least once an hour with a new notification to the point where Jae just assumes it’s Brian whenever he hears his phone chime.
Not that Jae has a problem with that, mind you. If Brian’s an avid snapchatter, then Jae’s nothing but an addict. That’s why as soon as his composition lesson is over and Jae can breath fresh air again he takes out his phone and snaps a quick picture.
The reply is instant, as always, and Jae can’t help but grin when he sees Brian’s response.
Something warm curls around Jae’s chest when he catches sight of Brian’s smile, fluttering around his heart and settling there, making a better job of keeping the cold autumn wind at bay than his jacket does. Still, Jae does his best to squash the mushy feeling down. This is dangerous territory he’s heading into and Jae knows himself well enough by now to realize that this thing he has going on with Brian, whatever it is, is only going to get him hurt.
Somewhere in between the days he spend talking with Brian the admiration he felt for the musician he thought he knew thanks to recorded fanmeetings and interviews turned into a something else. It’s not disappeared, not at all. If anything, it has only grown bigger. Now that Jae knows just how much work Brian puts in into his music, the endless hours he spends rehearsing and writing and composing until Jae has to remind him to eat and go to sleep has made him realised just how incredible the other really is.
Jae refuses to call it a crush, but much as he tries he can’t deny that a simple message from the other boy can turn his day around, can’t deny that he would do almost anything to get a glimpse of the boy’s dimpled smile, even just through a blurry picture.
Because, and Jae knows this without a doubt, he has gotten to know the real Brian Kang,
not the bassist he shows himself to be in front of the public. Even if they have never met face to face Jae knows him. He knows that Brian hates mornings almost as much as he hates anyone apart from his band members touching his bass, knows that Brian owns at least twenty pair of picks and even more mismatched socks, knows that when english words start slipping into his messages it means that the other boy is homesick, missing Canada but not letting it show.
It’s kind of daunting really, being trusted with this side of Brian. It’s also dangerous, because Jae can feel himself slipping further and further into that something he refuse to put a name to whenever he manages to piece together another part in the puzzle that is the younger boy. Jae is smart enough to know that this thing they have going on is bound to end eventually, because even if it no longers feels like it, Brian is still part of one of korea’s most famous bands. He’s still an idol, and that immediately puts an expiration date on this budding whatever they share now.
For all that Jae is aware of this though, he can’t find it in himself to put a stop to it. And yes, maybe he should end it now, pull away before Brian does it himself so that he can fool himself into thinking it hurts less, but he can’t . He’s going to keep stubbornly clinging to this until it’s forcibly pried away from him.
So when his phone lights up with another message, Jae does the opposite of what he should and opens it.
Jae smiles, helplessly and despite himself. He sends a quick answer back before starting the long walk back home, trying not to feel like there’s a clock somewhere out there counting down until the day when this expires and Jae is forced to go back to the time where he was just another fan, forever on the other side of the screen.
It’s one in the morning, the bass is pounding in his ears, loud enough to drown out his own thoughts and make his head spin. The buzz of the crowd has faded into a dull white noise and Jae is now squinting to see in the darkness of the frat house looking for Jimin, having lost his glasses half an hour ago somewhere near the beer pong table.
It’s one in the morning, and Jae is drunk as fuck.
“Jimin,” he slurs, throwing an arms over the girl’s shoulder and pressing his face to her back as soon as he spots the girl by a corner of the living room. “You know I love you right?” he asks, paying no attention to the guy who had been leering at the girl and who’s now trying to bury Jae six feet under just by glaring at him.
“Sure I do,” Jimin says, beyond amused. She’s not even tipsy, even though Jae is pretty sure he saw her chug down a few shots like ten minutes ago. “That doesn’t mean I’m not going to lord this over you once you’re sober though.”
“It’s okay,” Jae mumbles, patting her on the head, slipping into english without realizing it. “You only do that with the people you love. Like Brian, Brian does that too.”
“God, you’re such a lightweight.” Jimin rolls her eyes, taking Jae’s beer away from him. Jae whines, making grabby hands at her. “No, you’ve had enough,” she says, firm enough to make Jae pout.
She’s right of course, but that doesn’t mean Jae has to like it. Honestly, Jae hadn’t meant to drink that much. He still doesn’t know how one beer turned into three and then into five, but he thinks it had something to do with the photos Brian had been spamming him with all night.
The younger boy is currently on tour with 5LIVE, a small one, just in Korea. Still, all the photos Brian had been sending had him grinning brightly in front of a bunch of fans or backstage, just about to perform. Seeing him like that, it just served to remind him that Brian was still miles ahead of him, both metaphorically and figuratively.
And so with every picture Jae got, he had poured himself another beer and drunk himself into a stupor until he couldn’t remember why it was a bad idea to do this:
The reply comes barely a few minutes later, making Jae preen. He stumbles his way out to the backyard, past where Jaebum and Youngjae are making out near the pool and waving away Jackson’s attempt to engage him into a girl group rap battle. Jae plops himself down near the edge of the frat house, where the music fades into more of a dull echo and he can focus only on Brian, like he should.
how is it that you can come up with all this ridiculous names
and still dont call me youngk
is not that hard hyung
youngk is stipid
you hurt me
Something uncomfortable clenches around Jae’s chest at the sight of Brian looking so dejected. He fumbles for his phone, clumsy in his drunken stupor, and types in a quick reply. Much as Jae hates the name ( because that’s what the fans call him, it’s impersonal and public and not Brian) Jae’ll call him whatever he want just to get him to smile. Jae sighs, he’s honestly so gone for this boy.
Youngk is an amwesome stage name
Im screenshotting this btw
when ar you comin back hone
today was the last show
should be back in seoul the day after tomorrow
do you miss me? ;)
And maybe it’s the alcohol, clouding his judgment, or maybe it’s the prospect of having Brian near again (not near enough, never near enough but still better than miles away) but Jae can’t find it in himself to lie.
maybe a bit too mcuh
Before he can see Brian’s response he feels a hand come down on his shoulder, a quiet tut, and then his phone is being plucked away from him. Scowling, Jae looks up the see Jimin standing with her hand on her hips, looking down at him with narrowed eyes.
“You don’t text when drunk, idiot,” she says as she hauls him up to his feet. She’s tiny, especially in comparison to Jae, but somehow still strong enough to carry him all the way back to her car parked in front of the house and shove him into the passenger seat.
“Give me back my phone,” he slurs, trying to make a grab for it.
“Not until you’re sober,” Jimin says, buckling him in and starting the car. Jae relents, letting his head hit the window and turning away to look at the city as they speed by.
“I’m in trouble,” he mumbles, trying not to think of Brian and failing.
Jimin’s fingers clench on the steering wheel for a second before she reaches out a hand to card through his hair, something not quite like pity but close to it on her voice when she says, “I know. I’m sorry.”
Jae just shuts his eyes, letting the low rumble of the car and the passing streetlights lull him to sleep.
In Jimin’s purse his phone lits up, unnoticed.
it’s okay hyung
I do too
The next few weeks pass by in a blur of exams and overwhelming stress. Finals means that Jae spends every waking moment drowning himself in coffee and pouring over adagios and half-diminished chords, tempos and melodic lines.
His social life suffers for it. He hasn’t posted a cover in two weeks and his subscribers are getting restless, asking him to upload something. He hasn’t seen Jimin in five days either. Last he saw of her she was heading to the library to cram for her financial economics exam. She hasn’t returned since.
So when when finals weeks finally ends and Jae turns in his last exam, praying to every god above to let him pass, please, the first thing he does is go home and take out his guitar.
It’s instant, the calm he feels take over him as soon as he strums his fingers over jenny’s strings. He hasn’t had the chance to play in a long time and the need to make music is itching underneath his skin, making him listless.
Jae spends almost an hour just strumming, tuning his guitar and letting himself get used to the feeling of having her in his hands again. It’s only when the pads of his fingers are red and sensitive that he grabs his pick and sets his camera to record.
He uploads his cover of Sunday Morning to his channel with a quick message saying sorry for disappearing for so long and doesn’t even bother changing out of his clothes before he crashes into bed.
He wakes up the morning after to hundreds of comments and likes, people praising him for his singing, happy that he’s back on track. Jae skims through them, thankful as ever, but it’s the direct message he finds on his twitter that actually grabs his attention.
finally done with exams i see
got your life back now?
(also amazing cover!!! as always)
Jae flinches. Brian doesn’t seem to be upset but Jae can’t help but feel guilty. They haven’t talked nearly as much as they used to, Jae too busy with finals and Brian just a few weeks away from another comeback. Still, Jae knows he could have made more of an effort to keep their conversations going. It’s just that everytime he went to open their message thread his mind went back to his embarrassing drunken confession and he got cold feet. Jae has never felt more like a chicken than he did those times.
He doesn’t know what Brian took from that message, what he thought Jae meant, what he didn’t mean. Their relationship hasn’t changed, neither for better or for worse - though Jae doesn’t even know what that means anymore - but Jae still feels like that night brought up a few things neither of them were ready to talk about yet. So Jae did what he does best and ignored the whole issue in hopes that it would go away.
Brian though, he doesn’t seem to share the same opinion.
hyung you there?
I can breath again
and thanks! appreciate it
great cause I wanted to ask you something
Jae swallows, sitting up on his bed. This - this sounds serious. Fingers trembling, Jae types in a response.
shoot I guess
we’re having a small concert before our comeback
its at a small convention center
do you want to go?
you know i would but im a college student remember
kinda broke dude
And I’m part of the band remember
tickets are not a problem
Even if his answer is collected, Jae is anything but calm. He’s clenching his fists into his blanket, trying to keep them from shaking. He’s going to meet Brian, like in person, where he can see him smile and laugh in real life and not just through pixels. Jae doesn’t know if he should cry or laugh. He’s leaning towards both.
also bring your girlfriend if you want to
Jae stares at his phone in disbelief. His what now?
what are you on about
Brian takes a little longer to answer this time and Jae watches in apprehension as he types.
the one you’re always posting pics of???
Jae stares, again. He doesn’t know what to think. Just to sole idea of him and Jimin being anything even close to romantically involved is enough to make him nauseous. They’re almost brother and sister, but he can kinda see why Brian would have thought otherwise. His twitter is filled with photos of them and Jimin has appeared on his youtube channel a few times as a guest to sing with him in a few of his covers.
DUDE THATS JIMIN
gross she’s like my little sister
*annoying little sister
Brian doesn’t reply for a few minutes but when he does, it goes something like this:
that’s a great then
not the girlfriend part I mean
you could totally get a girlfriend
that’s cool too
Despite himself Jae lets out a laugh, relief flooding him like from head to toe. Brian hadn’t really struck him as the type to judge, but he couldn’t be sure. Knowing that he doesn’t have a problem with his sexuality lifts a weight of his shoulders he hadn’t know had been there until it went away.
thanks for ur faith in me I guess??
no sorry its just
I didnt know
its ok man
ill see you at the concert then?
I’ll text you the info later
can’t wait to meet you in person hyung
In the end, Jae does end up taking Jimin to the concert.
As soon as he’s done talking to Brian, Jae phones her and spills everything. Jimin listens in silence and then, when Jae’s done rambling, the girl chews him out for not telling her what had been going on and calls him stupid in more ways than Jae thought it was possible to.
Still, she agrees to come to the concert with him as moral support. Jae doesn’t think he’ll be able to go through with it alone, at least not without losing courage and hightailing it out of there, so he’s grateful for her presence, even if she teases non-stop him when he spends a bit more time than usual when choosing what to wear.
And so Friday comes, faster than expected, and Jae finds himself in Jimin’s car, driving to the convention center where the concert is taking place. He’s trying not to show it, but he’s the most nervous he’s been his whole life, even more so than when he posted his first cover in youtube back in 2011.
It’s nerve wracking really. Much as Jae had hated it sometimes, talking to Brian only through Twitter had had its advantages. Jae had the time to think his answers through and keep Brian from figuring out how much of a mess he could be sometimes, especially when the other boy became involved. Now that safety net is gone and Jae can feel himself getting more and more tense as he and Jimin make their way into the concert hall.
Brian had lied, the concert it’s nothing small. There must be about a thousand people milling around, girls and guys of all ages standing in line, waiting for the doors to open up so that they can go in. Most of them are wearing some kind of merch, shirts and bandanas and whatnot, but Jae can also see a few Brians in poster form scattered here and there. It’s strange, almost disquieting, to see the image of the younger boy held in other people’s hands. Jae finds comfort in the thought that no one but him has pictures of Brian half-awake, face bare and puffy from sleep, saved in their phones.
Jae and Jimin go to stand in line. Brian had sent him two tickets a few days earlier, right by the front of the stage, and Jae fiddles with them nervously as they wait, watching as the line slowly crawls closer to the entrance.
They’re just about to go through the doors when Jae feels his phone vibrate in his pocket. Hurriedly, he takes it out and unlocks it to read the message that just popped up on his screen.
hyung where are you?
waiting in line
I can’t go out
we’re just about to start
we can meet after
I’ll wait for you backstage then
just show them the pass I gave you and you should be able to get in
break a leg
Then, before he can talk himself out of it, Jae adds:
dedicate a song to me
just because its you
gotta go now
Jae smiles and pockets his phone, handing the tickets over when asked and then making his way inside the hall. It’s a bit crowded in there and Jae is forced to grab a hold of Jimin before he can lose her tiny form in the crowd. Thankfully, the people attending are respectful and no one makes a fuss - Jae only gets hit in the head with a Wonpil face once and the girl responsible for the sudden attack apologizes profusely after, so there’s no harm done, at least not to him. Fake-Wonpil does get a hole on his nose though.
After a few minutes of standing around the lights dim, casting the hall into an almost-darkness. The buzz of the crowd dies down into an excited hush. Then, suddenly, the stage lights up in a myriad of colors and the first notes of a familiar song ring clear through the space, echoing against the walls.
The crowd screams, stomping their feet in time with the fast beat of How Can I Say just as a white beam of light settles front and center on the stage, illuminating the band.
Jae is dumbstruck, gaze fixed on the right corner of the stage. There, a few feet in front of the keyboard, back silhouetted against the red background, is Brian. He’s grinning, smile brighter than the lights of the stage, blonde hair held back by a bandana and his bass held firmly in his hands. He’s there, barely a few paces away from him, so close that Jae could reach out and touch him.
The song passes by in a daze for him, too busy watching Brian play to care much about what is happening around him. But then, just as the first verse dies down and the lights do a sweep of the stage, Brian’s eyes shift. There’s a moment, a beat of silence in between notes where their eyes meet and Brian grins, big and bright and beautiful, making Jae helpless to smile back.
After that, the concert blurs together. Jae had meant to take a few videos, maybe tweet something, but all that is left forgotten because Jae can’t do nothing but stare at Brian as he plays song after song.
It’s only when the concert comes to end and the band is taking their final bows that Jae seems to return to himself. And just in time to, because is when the crowd calls for an encore that Brian finds him in the public again, sending him a smile, one made softer by the yellow lights. Or, Jae thinks - hopes - maybe by something else altogether.
Brian leans in to whisper something in Sungjin’s ear and Jae sees the look of confusion the passes over the leader’s face before he straightens up and nods at Brian.
“So,” Sungjin says into the mic, swinging his guitar over his shoulder again. “At Youngk’s request we’re gonna do one more song tonight.”
The crowd cheers at that, excitement kicking up again. All Jae can do is watch in confusion as Brian takes his position again, strumming his fingers once over the bass’ strings as the song starts to play.
The first chords of Say Wow echo around the hall and Jae laughs, because is all he can do not to let the mess of emotions he feels take over him. Brian grins at him over the lights one last time before the songs ends and the band is ushered out, leaving the stage empty and dark.
“Hey,” Jimin says, grabbing his sleeve to get his attention. Jae turns down to look at her. Something in his expression must make her hesitate because she brings her hands up and rests them on his shoulders, squeezing once. “I’m going to go wait by the car okay? Take your time.”
“Okay,” Jae says back, voice choked but still grateful. “Thanks.”
“Don’t thank me, idiot,” she says, rolling her eyes. “I enjoyed myself too. Now go, there’s someone waiting for you.”
Jae swallows, nods once and then leaves in search of the backstage entrance. It takes him a while to get there though. There are a few fans with VIP tickets who also have passes like his crowding the entrance, but eventually he finds the changing room by the back of the convention center and makes his tentative way inside. Through the gap on the door Jae can see both Wonpil and Dowoon lounging around on a couch, and he thinks he spots Junhyuk somewhere in the back picking up his keyboard, but there’s no Brian. Jae swallows.
“Um, hi,” he says, knocking lightly in the door to announce himself.
The members’ heads snap up at the sound of his voice. Jae shifts on his feet awkwardly when he feels their attention focused on him.
“Who are-” Wonpil begins but then his gaze settles on his glasses and his blonde hair. His eyes widen, face breaking out into a grin. “Oh,” he says. “You’re him!”
“Him who?” asks Dowoon from the side, staring at Jae with a puzzled look on his face.
“Hyung’s secret twitter guy,” Wonpil answers, grabbing Jae by the hand and pulling him into the room. “It’s nice to finally meet you,” he says to him, smiling brightly. “Younghyun always gets super shy and blushy when we ask him about you so we don’t really-”
Before Wonpil can finish, a door Jae hadn’t noticed by the right side of the room opens up and Sungjin walks out, followed by Brian. The younger boy stops dead on his tracks when he spots Jae sitting sandwiched in between Wonpil and Dowoon, jaw going to tiniest bit slack when Jae waves sheepishly back at him.
“Hyung,” he breathes, so quietly that Jae is not sure he heard him say anything at all. “You’re here.”
“I told you I would be,” Jae says back, shuffling to his feet. He makes a move to take a step forward but he stops, hesitant as to what to do with all the other members still in the room.
Thankfully, Sungjin chooses that moment to step in. “Okay guys, c’mon,” he says, hauling Dowoon up to his feet and motioning for Wonpil and Junhyuk to follow. “We gotta go pack our things.”
“I already did that though,” Dowoon mutters but then Wonpil digs an elbow into his ribs and nods his head towards Brian, who’s still standing by the door, almost frozen, and the drummer’s eyes widen. “Oh.Oh. Yeah, uh, let’s go,” he says, grabbing his backpack and then walking out of the room with the rest of the band.
The door slams shut behind them and then there’s just Jae and Brian, together in a room for the first time without a screen separating them.
Jae coughs. He opens his mouth to say something, anything, but before he can there’s a shuffling noise, a strangled gasp, and then Jae finds himself with an armful of Brian.
Jae had never noticed it - never had to chance to - but Brian is actually kind of small. Jae doesn’t mind it though, it just means that he fits perfectly in his arms, just the right height for Jae to tuck the younger’s blonde head under his chin.
Before Jae can get the chance to tighten his arms around him like he wants to Brian pulls away, face red as he rubs a hand over the back of his neck and glances sheepishly up at him.
“Sorry,” he says, grinning shy and small. “Sorry, I just - I’m happy to see you, hyung.”
“It’s okay,” Jae answers because it is, having Brian this close could never be anything but okay. “I’m happy too.”
“How was the show?” Brian asks, taking a seat in the couch and pulling Jae down next to him. He can’t seem to stay still, moving around and jiggling his leg in a nervous gesture that makes Jae want to reach out and calm him down. He doesn’t though, can’t bring himself to.
“Amazing,” Jae answers, even if all he can remember of it was the flashes of Brian’s smiles. Jae’s sure it all went well though. “You were - you guys were great.”
“Thanks,” the younger boy says before he grows quite. Then, “did you like your song?”
“My song?” Jae asks, swallowing hard. “Yeah, I- I did.”
“Good,” Brian mumbles. “That’s good. I’m glad.”
The silence stretches, filling up the room until it becomes almost deafening. Jae is at a completely loss. He’s been waiting to meet Brian for what feels like forever, but now that he actually has him here, sitting so close to him that their thighs are almost touching, it feels like Jae has reached to end of the line, like there’s simply nothing more he can get out of this. It’s a horrible feeling.
“So, what now?” Jae asks, when the silence gets too heavy to bear.
“What do you mean?” Brian asks, turning to look at him.
“I mean, is this it?” Jae presses because he has to know for sure. Now that they have met, where do they go from here? Is this - this whatever they have going on something else than they have been pretending it to be or is it just him, looking for something where there’s nothing to search for.
“I, uh,” Brian mumbles before he takes a deep breath, gaze turning determined. “No,” he says then, tone firm and sure and everything Jae doesn’t feel, everything he wants to hear. “No, this is not it - at least I hope it isn’t. I - I really like you, hyung.”
“That’s - that’s good,” Jae croaks, heart jumping up to his throat and settling there, making it hard to speak. “Because I really like you to.”
Brian smiles at that, not bright, not big, just a small quirk of his lips that somehow manages to feel more real than any other kind of smile Jae has gotten from him before.
“Does that mean I can get your number now?” Brian asks, threading his fingers through Jae’s own and winding his other arm around his waist. “Twitter is getting kind of tedious.”
Jae laughs then, loud and hard and completely unrestrained. “Yeah, you can,” he says, trying not to chuckle and falling. “Of course you can.”
“Good,” Brian says before he leans down and shuts him up with a kiss.