Life isn't easy when you're best friends with a superhero. Taehyung, a journalist and Jimin's soulmate, can attest this. Especially when he gets kidnapped at least once a week by Jimin's archenemy, a supervillain that may or may not have a little crush on him.
At first it wasn't bad. Nobody knew who hid behind Angel's mask, so worrying constantly about his best friend's life was pretty much his only problem. Tbh it was pretty cool.
Then, of course, Jimin pulled an "I am Iron Man" and then everybody knew about Park Jimin: dancer, choreographer and the city's saviour. Taehyung was happy about not having to lie anymore. Jimin had all his support. Key word: had.
Taehyung loves his self-declared soulmate. He has known Jimin for ages and he will never leave him, will always support him. But. This is getting really annoying.
The first kidnapping scared the shit out of him. He doesn't remember much aside from the blindfold tied around his eyes and wailing pitifully for what felt like hours, then the loud crash caused by Jimin dropping through the ceiling and his worried face.
He had never seen Jimin so angry in his life. Eyes blazing and lips pulled in a snarl, he almost beat his kidnapper to death, which Taehyung didn't condone but couldn't reproach either. He would have done the same. Except he doesn’t have superhuman strength, of course.
Angel's fury and violence towards the one who tried to hurt Tae acted as a deterrent for a bit, and they both enjoyed their peace. Yet others took inspiration from that first event, wanting to exploit any of Angel's exposed weaknesses.
The second kidnapping was… better. He still cried, but his kidnapper was harmless and they sounded just as distressed as him when he started sobbing. They freed him before Jimin could, and Taehyung would later come to know that he was just a distraction for a theft in a museum.
Then it happened again. And again. And again. He was mostly used as a distraction and no one really hurt him, more preoccupied with carrying their evil plans that dealing with the teary hostage. Jimin beat all of them and always saved his best friend, of course.
Taehyung had a new, sudden understanding for Lois Lane and all the damsels in distress who populated his favourite comic books' pages.
Kidnapping n°14 was the worst.
The one who took him had no qualms about hurting him and he had feared for his life in a way he hadn't since his first kidnapping. The criminal (a freshly escaped con who had a grudge against Angel) interrogated him, asking for information about Jimin that would put him in danger
Taehyung didn't tell him anything. He had none of Jimin’s strength, but he would protect his best friend with everything he had.
Jimin found him faster than ever, but Taehyung still came out of it with a broken arm, a black eye and a renewed fear for his life.
The weeks after that were difficult. He got paranoid; every shadow looked threatening, every noise felt foreboding. Taehyung had always been a positive person, able to light up a room with his smile, but being under constant threat took a toll on him.
The worst part was the distance he put between himself and Jimin, knowing it would hurt them both but unable to look at him in the eyes and not feel resentful. He knew it wasn't his fault.
But it was easy to blame his friend, especially when Jimin shouldered the blame so readily, truly convinced that Tae had been hurt because of him and him only.
The two friends drifted apart, both hurting and missing each other. Until something brought them together again.
Funnily enough, it was another kidnapping.
Well, not exactly. It was close enough, though. Taehyung was dealing with his credit card at the bank, swearing because it didn't seem to work, when a commotion shook him out of his reverie.
He remembers thinking something along the lines of “oh, not again” before there was a loud voice screaming “Freeze! This is a robbery”. And before he could run away, there was a gun pointed at him.
The human mind is truly a strange place.
For weeks the young journalist had feared for his life, trembling and shaking every time a stranger came too close, but now that he was truly in danger, he felt calm. It was okay. Jimin would came to his rescue.
Besides, this time his captor didn’t seem that dangerous.
He held the gun like it was a toy, his grip so loose it would have been easy to steal the weapon right out of his hand. His gaze was trained on Tae, watching his every move, and he seemed uninterested about the robbery
going on behind him. For someone who was breaking the law, he seemed pretty chill.
"You are eerily calm." A moment of silence passed before Taehyung realized the criminal was talking to him and when he finally acknowledged the statement, he couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
“Would you prefer I start screaming?” he replied, strangely at ease. As long as he didn’t focus too much on the shiny barrel of the gun, he was okay. He told his captor that. “And honestly, I’ve been in worse situations. Those were worth a lot more panic.”
“So, no tears this time?” he asked Taehyung. His tone was light, almost teasing. Taehyung cocked his head and raised his eyebrows, feeling far cockier than he should have with a gun to his head.
“You don’t look that scary, especially with that,” was his answer, pointing to a bracelet hanging from the other’s wrist. It was a cute little thing, pink and with a charm on it, and Tae would’ve missed it if he didn't have a keen eye.
The criminal didn’t say anything, but Tae could see his ears turning red.
“You should be more worried about all of this.” The words rang true. Taehyung should have been worried. But it’s in that moment that he realized he would always trust Jimin with every cell in his body.
“/You/ are the one who should be worried,” he replied, a smile on his face. “Angel is gonna get you.” Because he was gonna save him, like always.
He did, of course. Him and Jimin are soulmates, after all.
(“Thanks for saving my ass. Again.” Taehyung had said that with his head hung low, ashamed by how resentful he had been lately, how bitter and mean. Jimin didn’t deserve that.
“Don’t thank me, Taehyungie. I love saving your cute ass.” He giggled and narrowly avoided the pillow thrown his way. “It’s a shame I couldn’t beat the one holding you at gunpoint, it’s a tradition by now. I feel robbed.”
“You couldn’t?” Jimin always roughed up a bit his captors. They triggered his protective instincts.
Jimin nodded. “Yeah, the police got everyone except the guy with you. And the other members insist they were only 5, so we got them all.
They usually sell each other pretty easily, it’s a bit strange.”
Taehyung had become pensive at that. That would be just his luck, being held hostage by someone who wasn’t even a robber. But it was a ridiculous thought.
“Strange indeed,” he said, stuffing his face with more japchae.)
After that, things took a strange turn.
It wasn’t noticeable at first, at least not to Taehyung nor to Jimin, but the kidnappings became… specific. A supervillain who had appeared quite suddenly took him hostage once and then became a constant presence in his life. It was Yoongi who made him realize it.
“You’re telling me you didn’t notice that he’s the only one who kidnaps you now?” Yoongi stared at him, brows furrowed and mouth agape. Taehyung shook his head. His hyung sighed. “You know, for being a reporter you’re really dense.”
Slightly offended by Yoongi’s words, Taehyung started to pay more attention. And yeah, it was true. No one except Bunny had kidnapped him after kidnapping n°14, if you didn’t take in account the bank robbery.
Bunny is a strange mix between Cat Woman, Robin Hood and the Punisher. “Why does he have that cute nickname? I feel like I’m the bad one,” had said Jimin once, whining to Tae during their cuddle time. The nickname is unsettlingly cute, that’s true, but it isnt random
Tae remembers Bunny’s first big appearance, when he exposed a corrupt politician and then proceeded to deplete his assets, streaming the whole act. The criminal hid his identity with a cartoonish face of a rabbit and the moniker stuck. That and the label of “supervillain”.
(“Why? He’s not the worst. He’s not like, Magneto level kind of bad.”
Jimin had regarded him suspiciously, but he had agreed with him in the end. “He has superpowers and he’s a criminal. I guess that checks all the requirements.”
It didn’t sit well with Taehyung for some reason, it still doesn’t. As a reporter, he values the truth over anything and it bugs him, to hear a label thrown so imprecisely. Not that he has a deep insight on the criminal or whatever. Still. It annoys him.)
Even after his numerous run-ins with Bunny, Taehyung still finds him difficult to understand. He steals from the rich to give... To himself, mostly, but also to people who have been wronged.
He toes the line between justice and crime, mostly stealing and hacking but occasionally serving his own kind of justice, not shying away from violence but not deploying it as the solution to everything either.
Not a supervillain, but not a good person either. Something in between. Someone who fights for the right things with the wrong methods, who has big ideals and isn’t afraid to get some blood on his hands.
Oh, and who flirts relentlessly with his hostages, apparently.
Which is why Taehyung is here, now, tied to a chair and being absolutely done with everything. "Listen, can I go home?” he sighs, trying to get the supervillain’s attention. He’s tired. And hungry. “I'll hide from Jimin until you're finished, I promise.
Just let me go and let me have my lunch. I'm starving"
Taehyung hasn't always been so outspoken during kidnappings, but they lose their threatening aura after the 30th time.
Especially if it's always the same person stealing him away for an hour or two, just to return him safe and sound right where he was taken.
"And let you out of my sight? I love your company." The supervillain has his face covered, but Tae knows he's grinning. This is ridiculous.
The ropes are tied tightly around Tae's body, enough to secure him to the chair without hurting him. They aren't even chafing; they feel almost soft against his skin. Still. He would prefer if they weren’t there at all.
"Listen," he tries again, his voice turning whiny. "We both know the drill. You capture me, Angel finds you, you barely manage to escape with whatever you hacked, stolen, whatever. Isn't it getting boring?" It’s surely getting boring for Taehyung. And annoying.
"Boring? With you? Impossible." Taehyung groans again, tilting his head back and closing his eyes. Maybe if he ignores him Jimin will come to beat his ass faster. Yeah, that sound nice. Really nice.
The place they are right now looks like it came straight out of a movie: it’s some kind of dingy, old, abandoned warehouse. Bunny’s tech is cluttering the place and Taehyung has always been curious about how he manages to move his stuff from one hideout to another so swiftly.
The last time he was captured was barely two weeks ago, not to mention the fact that Jimin thrashed the whole place. Bunny probably had to buy everything again. What a hassle.
“Where do you find all these things, by the way? Do you have some kind of online shop for villains? Do you get a discount on ropes?” Taehyung is only partly joking, because he really does wonder if something like that exists. Not that he’s interested in Bunny “work”, or whatever.
He’s just curious.
So the comment was mostly a joke, but – to Taehyung’s extreme joy – something in Bunny’s posture shifts, his gaze darting everywhere and his shoulders tense. As if he’s uncomfortable, as if he’s hiding something.
Taehyung is a reporter, so what do you expect? Obviously he wants to know more.
“Maybe you really do,” drawls Taehyung, a grin spreading on his face. Did Bunny just accidentally reveal something important? Is there really a place that sells things to supervillains?
Tae often gets told that he pries too much, that he’s too nosy. Curiosity killed the cat, after all.
But satisfaction brought it back.
It’s not often that he catches Bunny by surprise; his kidnapper usually keeps up his façade pretty well, looking smug most of the times. This is an opportunity for teasing, and Tae is gonna hold on to it. Oh, he’s gonna make him spill his beans.
Bunny turns, facing him. He has crossed his arms in a poor attempt at looking menacing and he would succeed (his arms look strong, muscles bulging under his sweatshirt) if it wasn’t for his childish huff or his bunny mask.
Tbh he can’t take him seriously when he has that thing on. He just looks like a kid who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
“I don’t get a discount on ropes. Or on anything. Not that I buy those things often,” he huffs out. Tae can’t prevent a loud laugh from escaping.
“You don’t? You are a supervillain, isn’t it like, your job?”
“You are the only hostage I have!”
“Oh wow, I’m flattered. So these ropes are all for me?” He knows he sound suggestive, knows it’s probably a bad idea, but he’s having too much fun.
“Can we stop talking about my purchases?” Even if he hides behind his mask, Tae can hear in his voice how tense he is, almost embarrassed. He can picture him gritting his teeth, his jaw clenching and his cheeks a bit more rosy than usual. He wishes he could see him right now.
“Stop talking about my purchases,” mocks Taehyung, his voice high-pitched. “You sound like a virgin who bought something in a sexy shop.”
Silence befalls them. No flirty remarks, no response of any kind. They are facing each other (as much as one with a stupid bunny mask +
can face another), Taehyung looking up at him from his chair. A chair which he’s tied to with ropes. Ropes which put Bunny ill at ease for some reason. Ropes that- oh no. This is not happening to him.
“Did you- are these /bondage/ ropes?”
Taehyung thought the silence before was deafening. The one he gets now it’s freezing, tinted with horror. Both on his and Bunny’s part, even if the latter also wants to shot himself in the knee and die.
“No! They- they are not- no!” Bunny’s answer comes quickly, too quickly, his tone panicked and awkward. Well, now his behaviour does make more sense. Taehyung is not that happy. He has to admit, he was aiming for some other kind of discovery.
“Oh my god. They are. I’m tied up with things you use when you do the nasty.”
Bunny makes a pained sound. “Please, never use ‘do the nasty’ in a sentence again. And no. These are clean.”
Bunny’s words aim to comfort, but they only confirm that yes, Taehyung is currently held hostage by some kind of pervert who uses sex toys on him.
“Oh, they’re clean. That’s so much better. Thank you, I appreciate it! Wow. What a treatment.”
“Please. Please believe me, they are new, ok? New.”
Taehyung snorts, even if it does makes him feel a little better to hear that. At least Bunny is a pervert with some regards for hygiene.
“So you are, what, testing them on me? ‘Oh don’t worry honey, they don’t chafe. My latest hostage said they felt divine’.”
“They feel divine?"
Taehyung doesn’t even have the energy to get shy at his slip up. “That’s not the point. The point is that I don’t like being your bondage mannequin doll.”
“You- oh my god. You are not my guinea pig for… sex things”
“Sex things” repeats Taehyung, his eyes trained on Bunny, who is getting more and more flustered by the minute. To be honest, Taehyung is enjoying himself immensely.
Bunny, not happy with the amount of shame that's already piling up on him, speaks again.
“Listen, they feel good, right?”
Is Bunny doing it on purpose? He can’t possibly be making all these innuendos on accident. Or maybe he does, because after every suggestive sentence he visibly tenses and stutters. It’s kind of cute.
“Do I really have to answer? What I’m supposed to- oh wait. I know.”
Taehyung grins, and it’s pure evil. A split second before he opens his mouth, Bunny gets an inkling of what he wants to say and splutters, already flushing at the thought.
He tries to stop him, his hands up in the air and open in a shushing gesture, but he doesn’t have the authority to shut him up right now. Tae is an unstoppable force when he wants to be annoying.
“Oh yeah, they feel good, /daddy/.”
Bunny, one of the worst criminal around, whines. He stutters out a series of syllabes - mostly some variations of “no” - and then apparently gives up, turning his back to Taehyung and leaning his head on the wall. Tae has never seen Bunny so rattled. This is gold.
“Do you want me to get more vocal about it? I can do it.”
“No! No, thank you. I got it. Feel good. Yep.” Taehyung can’t prevent a chuckle from escaping at Bunny’s visible embarrassment. It’s almost startling how easily he forgets he’s supposed to be a hostage, to be in danger.
Bunny is apparently debating if bashing his head on the wall would be beneficial, since he hasn’t moved it from there. Tae is giggling, too happy to be able to fluster him so much. If he had known that sexual innuendos were the way to defeat Bunny, he would have done it sooner.
The next thing Bunny says seems out of place. It makes Tae frown.
“I don’t want to hurt you.”
Bunny has a beautiful voice. Smooth and melodic, it makes every word sound better. It makes Taehyung want to believe him.
“That’s sweet of you, da-”
“I’m stopping you right now because I really don’t want to hear you say /that/ word again.”
Taehyung smirks. “Why not? You don’t like it, d-”
A hand, gentle but firm, comes up to cover his mouth. Bunny is right in front of him now, not imposing nor scary but still, the power is in his hands. Taehyung doesn’t know if it’s thrilling or just worrying.
“Don’t make me gag you.”
Bunny realises his mistake right away, but it’s too late. Taehyung starts laughing so hard that his eyes get teary. He can’t believe he’s getting the upper hand on Bunny because the criminal is a prude.
“Why don’t you? At this point.”
Bunny heaves a sigh. “I don’t want to. You probably don’t believe me, but I really don’t want to hurt you. And I won’t.”
“Easy to say that. Harder to believe.”
Bunny’s hand had slid down, away from Tae’s mouth, but now it hangs in the air, as if Bunny wants to touch him. As if he wants to reassure him. The hand drops and Taehyung shakes his head to get rid of silly thoughts.
“You still didn’t tell me why I’m all wrapped up in bondage gear.”
Bunny groans. His hands come up to his face and then tighten in tiny first, and that? That is cute as fuck. But if someone asks, Taehyung never had that thought in his whole life, ever.
“I told you. I don’t want to hurt you,” he says, sounding frustrated and shy, as if Taehyung isn’t getting something very obvious and he’s forced to explain it over and over again. And sure, Tae can be dense, but he isn’t stupid. Bunny’s attitude is starting to get on his nerves.
“Ok, you don’t wanna hurt me. Perfect. Clear. It doesn’t really explain the bdms stuff.”
A thought passes through his mind, fleeting, and it makes him frown. It doesn’t sound logical, but at this point what does? It’s worth a shot.
“Is it some type of reverse psychology thing? You don’t want to hurt me so you tie me up? Because buddy, I don’t want to burst your bubble but you’re not really getting… wherever you were trying to get with this.”
“Oh god- no. That’s absolutely not it. Jesus, this is humiliating.”
“Humiliating? Is this about your kinks?” At this point, Tae is just wildly guessing. If there’s a quality he likes in himself, it’s his perseverance. Jimin calls it stubbornness.
“Please, stop. Please. I’m begging you.”
Before Taehyung can make another comment about his sexual preferences and begging, Bunny stops him with a rush of words that only makes him more confused.
“Ropes hurt! Okay? They aren’t comfortable. I know that.”
The confused frown that now seems permanently etched on Taehyung’s face only deepens. Ropes hurt? Yeah. They are not made to be comfortable.
“Uh, duh? I really don’t know where you are going with this.”
“These ropes.” Bunny only mutters two words before falling silent again. He has his gaze lowered down, and if he was a puppy Taehyung swears that his ears would be flat on his head.
Poor him. Taehyung is gonna get the truth out of him anyway.
“These ropes… what?”
“They are, uhm, special.”
“They are made specifically for… pleasure.”
“They, uhm, yeah, they are good?”
“And it’s good. That they are good. Very good.”
Taehyung feels like he has to pull every word out of Bunny’s mouth using pincers and they don’t particularly make sense, either. Until Bunny doesn’t murmur something else.
“They don’t chafe.”
And then it clicks. The whole “I don’t wanna hurt you” thing, the question about whether the ropes felt good or not.
“So, tell me if I got this right. You wanted to get softer ropes so they wouldn’t hurt me and /this/ is the only solution that came to mind?”
Bunny’s head snaps up and it’s all the confirmation Taehyung needs. He can’t lie, it’s endearing. Thoughtful, even. But also fucking stupid.
“Have you ever considered that you could, I don’t know, not tie me up?”
Bunny crosses his arms, defensive. “You are still my prisoner. For the whole Angel thing,” he mumbles. If Taehyung wasn’t tied up, he would’ve smacked him. Not even his superpowers would be able to save him if he was free.
“And it didn’t cross your mind once that you could not kidnap me? What do you even need me for! You don’t even, I dunno, dangle me over a precipice or something.”
“Isn’t that a good thing?”
“Not threatening my life? Yes! You still keep me hostage. Stupid bondage ropes or not.”
The tone of the conversation has shifted, going from playful to angry. Bunny is defensive, trying to justify his action and make himself look good. Taehyung isn’t having it. /He/ is the one who is in constant danger. He’s the one who gets hurt.
Their conversation is now /this/ close to becoming a screaming match, both their voice raised and damn, Taehyung is still wrapped up in ropes and unable to move. The ropes may be silky, but they are tight and restrictive, trapping him.
He feels his breath become quicker, a bit ragged. Not enough to be noticeable, he hopes. Bunny is still ranting, stumbling upon excuses that sounds empty and insincere. Taehyung is a breath away from snapping at him.
“I just wanted you to be comfortable!”
“Comfortable? I’m tied to a chair!”
“With ropes that feel ‘divine’, apparently.”
“So you think what? That I’m having fun? That this is okay?”
The whole conversation started because he likes seeing Bunny squirming. It feels good, gives him a sense of payback for all those times he has been the weak one. But it doesn’t mean he feels comfortable with his predicament. And yet, Bunny seems to treat as a game.
It’s just- he has been a prisoner under Bunny multiple times. He is completely at his mercy. And for some reason this fact resurfaces in his mind now, because he’s thinking about power play, control, and all those times he was close to getting hurt. About that time he got hurt.
He won’t expose his weaknesses, though. Bad people take advantage of that. And like it or not, Bunny is a bad person. He’s a criminal, someone who thinks he’s above the law. Someone dangerous, unpredictable. A wild card.
So Taehyung puts on a smile that he hopes will look carefree and lies through his teeth. “If you like ropes that much, you should try them yourself,” he says with a smirk. He wanted to make it look playful. It looks feral, and a bit wild.
Bunny seems to sense that the change of tone and the return of his jokes hide something tense and wary, because he falls silent, regarding him without muttering a word. He cocks his idea to the side, a mannerism of his that Taehyung always finds cute.
Because the fact is, Taehyung has a problem. A big problem, because he doesn’t hate Bunny, even if the criminal captures him and ties him up constantly. Taehyung’s emotions regarding Bunny had changed during their… relationship, but he never really hated him that much.
He just feels a lot, all the time.
At first it was curiosity, because Tae has always been one to try to understand everything, even the inexplicable. Superpowers fascinate him endlessly, a fact Jimin can confirm.
He wanted to know more about Bunny bc he was mysterious, almost magical.
Then it felt personal.
Bunny kept targeting him. Why? Did he have ulterior motives? Did Tae murder his family in another life or something? It was strange and he didn’t like to label something in his life as “strange”, because people use that word when they don’t understand what’s happening.
Taehyung is a reporter. His job is telling people what is happening in the world. Not knowing bothers him a lot, feels like a personal failure.
But as he spent more and more time with Bunny, his curiosity morphed in fascination and that, that is very dangerous. He knows what the Stockholm syndrome is. He refuses to take that path, because it’s sick and toxic.
Taehyung doesn’t have a crush on Bunny. He can’t, not without knowing more about him. But Tae feels that he could eventually develop a crush on the criminal kidnapping him on a daily basis and he really, really doesn’t want that.
Said criminal has kept silent this whole time. His head is still tilted to the side and Bunny can be so endearing some time, it makes Taehyung giddy and nauseous at once.
With a slow movement, Bunny takes a chair, flips it and sits on it, arms leaning on the back. It’s a classic “villain-preparing-to-do-his-speech” move, but the criminal does it so carefully that it doesn’t look threatening at all. He’s moving as if Taehyung is a spooked animal.
Bunny watches him. Or at least Taehyung guesses he does. Stupid mask.
“Are you afraid?”
The reporter startles, caught off guard. He didn’t expect that, and the question makes him a bit wary, makes him spit out the answer with a tone that’s just a tad resentful.
“What kind of question is that? You’re keeping me hostage. You threaten my friend. Yes, I am afraid. Less than I should be, but I am.”
“Are you afraid of me?”
This time the question feels different. It feels like it’s personal, like it has a value for Bunny.
Taehyung keeps his gaze ahead, steely and unwavering. He doesn’t lie.
It’s a movement so tiny it’s almost unnoticeable, but Bunny stiffens at that. He looks almost dejected. Like it’s a surprise that Taehyung fears him, the person who kidnaps and threatens his best friend on a daily basis.
The worst thing is that it’s not his powers that scares the reporter, nor his penchant for crime. No, Taehyung is afraid of Bunny because he doesn’t know how he will act around him, doesn’t know when he’ll toe the line between being sassy and being flirty.
He tries not to think about the fact that he probably crossed that line already. He tries to forget all the times he smiled because of Bunny, all the times his heart thumped a little louder in his chest hearing his laugh.
The scariest thing about Bunny, ironically, is that he doesn’t scare Taehyung at all. The scariest thing is that Taehyung trusts him, and he doesn’t know when he will regret it. He doesn’t know when Bunny will show him his true nature.
He tries to think objectively but it’s difficult, especially when Bunny looks sad just at the mere thought that Taehyung doesn’t trust him. It’s really fucking stupid. But it’s sweet too, and Taehyung doesn’t know how to react.
“Once you told me I wasn’t scary.” The tone is calm, but the reporter is listening closely and he can hear the lilt of his voice: petulant, almost whiny. Of course Bunny would be petty over it. Tae acts nonchalant.
“Yeah. It was pretty funny.” Taehyung can’t see Bunny’s face, doesn’t even know it, but he is absolutely sure that he is smiling right now. There’s just something in his voice, something soft and amused.
Taehyung hums, mulling on it. Tries to set aside his bias view and judge Bunny from a more objective point of view. Is he scary? Not in a traditional sense, not really. He hasn’t ever threatened him, nor hurt him. He’s pretty harmless from that point of view.
But that’s only if he bases his judgment on his interactions with him. Bunny /could/ threaten and hurt him, Tae needs to remember this. He has seen what he’s able to do, has seen the violence and the blood he left behind him. It never happened with Tae. It could.
“Maybe I was just bluffing.” It wouldn’t be a surprise. Taehyung is known for breaking a tense mood with a joke, to hide his fears behind a smile and a laugh. It wouldn’t be uncommon.
“Didn’t sound like bluffing,” is Bunny’s retort, voice a little irked, a little fond.
Taehyung doesn’t know what to say, so he keeps quiet. He compensates the silence of his words with the loudness of his actions - he fidgets, bouncing his leg up and down and looking everywhere except Bunny’s face. Mask. Whatever.
“You don’t need to be so tense around me.”
At this Taehyung snorts. Hasn’t he just finished telling Bunny that he’s afraid of him? The criminal is either dense or just plain dumb.
“It’s a bit difficult to be relaxed around someone who keeps his face hidden.”
He doesn’t want to fall back on the whole “I threaten you daily but I don’t really wanna hurt you” debate, so he settles for something simpler.
It’s not like it’s a lie, anyway; there’s something unsettling about talking to a face that never moves, that never changes expressions. Taehyung is starting to get why people are scared by dolls and puppets.
So it’s not a lie, but it isn’t the truth either. It’s just easier for him this way.
If Bunny tells him again that he doesn’t want to hurt him, Taehyung might just end up believing him.
Bunny reaches up with a hand to touch the bottom of the mask, like he’s contemplating removing it just to prove a point. Taehyung has a mild panic attack when he grasps the chin of his bunny mask.
“Don’t.” His voice is a whisper, but the only sound in the room is the whirring of Bunny’s computers, so he hears him loud and clear.
“Don’t take it off. Please.”
Bunny must believe he’s schizophrenic at this point, changing his mind in a matter of seconds. He doesn’t care. It’s already difficult enough not to get attached to Bunny when he’s a faceless entity, when he’s just a voice and a body. Taehyung doesn’t want to risk it.
Bunny might not understand, but he nods and acquiesces to his demand. The mask stays where it is, mocking Taehyung with that ridiculously cute face. And it’s pink. He can’t believe it’s /fucking pink/.
“It isn’t what you think.” It’s out of the blue, like most of their conversation. Taehyung waits, hoping that Bunny will elaborate or something, but only silence follows.
It isn’t what he thinks? /What/ isn’t what he thinks? Taehyung asks this, and he makes sure his displeasure it’s clear in his voice.
“The reason why I do it.” Bunny’s answer is clipped, and Taehyung feels like he’s back to some minutes prior, forced to pry every word from Bunny’s mouth. He seems to enjoy being cryptic today, going from chatty to almost mute, and Taehyung gets dizzy with the change.
He doesn’t understand, and it’s starting to get on his nerves.
The reason for doing what? Donning the mask? He always thought it was to protect his identity. Maybe it’s not that. Could it be that Bunny’s face is disfigured? Is that what Bunny is talking about?
“Are you talking about the mask?”
Bunny shakes his head. He’s still sitting in front of him, his arms resting on the back of the chair. He lays his head on top of them, the gesture so normal it feels out of place here, in a dingy warehouse among stolen tech.
“No. I was referring to the kidnapping thing. I don’t do for the reasons you think.”
The declaration makes Taehyung reel back with surprise. What- what does it mean? It’s not to rile up Jimin? It’s not to toy with his archnemesis through his best friend?
“Then why you do it?” he asks, his brow furrowed and his eyes wide. For a genius mastermind Bunny can be pretty irrational, but this is a bit much even for him. Kidnapping him without a real reason, he means.
“I’m not gonna tell you.”
Taehyung scoffs. Of course. Bunny always hits him with these revelations only to derail the conversation the minute the reporter asks for more.
“What do you mean? You can’t just throw that out and then not elaborate.”
“I can’t? Watch me.” And there it is again, that bratty, competitive part of Bunny coming out. He often shows it when he’s teasing Angel, and until now he thought it was part of the reason Taehyung ends up being his hostage more often than not.
After all, Taehyung is not that useful as a distraction when he’s in the same place as Bunny: the moment Jimin finds him, he finds the criminal too. But Bunny loves to taunt him, and stealing his best friend right from under his nose is a pretty effective way to do it.
“Why tell me if you aren’t going to explain? Just keep your mouth shut the next time.”
The tone is a bit angrier that what Taehyung wanted, his irritation showing in the way he’s straining against his bindings.
Bunny lifts his head from where it was pillowed on his arms and he straightens his back. In another situation Taehyung might feel threatened by the sight, knowing that Bunny can pretty much snap his back without even touching him, but right now he’s just angry.
He’s tired of Bunny’s games. Tired of being the rope (oh, the irony) in the middle of this game of tug-of-war, Bunny metaphorically yanking him left and right with his inconsistent behavior. Tired of constantly being at a disadvantage, of being helpless.
“I told you that to reassure you. I don’t take you with the intention of hurting you. Just know this.”
It isn’t enough. It’s Bunny’s words against his actions, and people always told Taehyung that actions speak louder than words.
But, and Tae knows he’s a fool for thinking this, he kind of believes Bunny, in a way. He wants to. And haven’t his actions been consistent in a sense? He has never really laid a hand on him. Maybe it’s because he never wanted to.
Taehyung knows he’s being naive, believing a pretty voice that belongs to someone he shouldn’t trust at all. But Bunny is sweet in his own way.
Like all those times he made him tea. It started when one time Taehyung asked if he could have something to drink and it ended up with Bunny offering him his favourite blend every time he can. He has no idea how Bunny discovered that ginger tea is his favourite.
Or that time when Tae fell asleep in front of him, sleep deprivation lowering his defenses to almost nothing, and when Jimin found him he was tucked in a bed in the corner of Bunny’s latest hideout, sheets that smelled fresh covering him.
Or that time he started crying - he was so stressed that day, his boss was giving him hell - and Bunny panicked so much Taehyung is pretty sure he started crying too. And there are more instances where Bunny acted gentle. Caring, even.
It’s dumb. Tae shouldn’t be swayed so easily when he knows who Bunny is, what he does. He hates himself for being so naive, so trusting. Jimin always tells him that his kindness is one of his greatest qualities, but is it still true when it turns so quickly into foolishness?
Is it still true when it prompts him to believe that everyone, even the worst people, is worthy of trust and faith? Because Taehyung might like to delude himself into thinking that Bunny isn’t so bad, but it ultimately doesn’t matter. He’s not a good person. Case closed.
It’s what he repeats to himself, but he knows he doesn’t believe it. He thinks Bunny is a good person. He thinks he’s cute and funny. He thinks he’s safe. He knows he’s wrong, but he doesn’t believe himself to be wrong. Head against heart, and the heart always wins.
“Okay, so you don’t wanna hurt me. I still want to know the reason.”
It feels like an admission, saying those words. Like he just acknowledged that he trusts Bunny, that he believes him. He can see Bunny relaxing the tiniest bit, and he knows he thinks that too.
“I’m not gonna tell you.” This time Bunny sing-songs the words, the serious mood lifted and the playful attitude back. Taehyung is grateful for it. He doesn’t want to think about his messed up feelings anymore.
“What if I charm it out of you?” He says it with a smirk to his lips, tilting his head back in a way he knows looks good on him. He likes being back to the teasing, the almost-flirting. Even with all the suffocating overthinking, Tae is more prone to instinct than rationality.
Bunny laughs, and it’s light and airy. He has a good laugh, the kind that makes you want to join the fun, the kind that makes Taehyung wish he could see his face. It’s a wish Taehyung makes often. He’s just too cowardly to act on it.
“You think you can do it?” It’s there again - that edge in his voice, Bunny’s competitive streak coming out. The tone feels mocking, but in a way that playful more than irritating. Bunny likes to win.
He doesn’t know how much Taehyung likes it, too.
He blames the next words on that, on his desire to prevail, to come out on top.
“I’m sure I can. Why don’t you use that drool-worthy arms for something and untie me, pretty boy? So I can charm you properly.”
He regrets his words the second they leave his mouth. He laid it on thick, didn’t he? He never reciprocated Bunny’s flirting, so this is pretty new for him. He has never really tried to woo him before, not like he’s doing now.
As much as you can woo someone while tied to a chair.
Taehyung doesn’t have the best impulses. He recognizes it and he’s trying to work on it. His efforts haven’t been that effective for now, but he believes in himself.
The more he thinks back to the words, the more he cringes. What was he thinking? Drool-worthy arms? /Pretty boy/? Can he be more embarrassing? Now Bunny knows he’s a thirsty bitch. Tae wants to bury himself in the ground.
Trying to maintain his saucy grin (which is quickly slipping into an embarrassed grimace), he looks at Bunny. Gauging his reactions has never been easy, not with the mask in the way, but Taehyung tries anyway.
To his credit, Bunny doesn’t react to the compliment or the pet name. Or so Taehyung thinks, until he realizes that there’s a cardboard box behind Bunny (probably one filled with illegal stuff) that’s just kinda… floating. Another one on his right does too.
And one of his laptops, as well as several smaller objects in his range.
They aren't flying towards him, they aren't being thrown at him. They are just... floating around, suspended in the air like air balloons.
Taehyung doesn’t know the extent to Bunny’s powers, but he does know that he’s infamous for his ability to move things with his mind. It’s not a power that he abuses, so when he does show it, you know it’s not good.
But maybe this time it is. It sounds delusional and crazy, but the reporter is observing Bunny, trying to read him, and he looks tense. Flustered. Embarrassed, but the way you are when a person you like gives you a compliment.
Jimin’s superpowers are more passive so it’s difficult to compare him to Bunny, but he has mentioned more than once that strong emotions influence his powers.
Jimin had explained it to him like this: the more heightened the emotions, the more the perfect control he has on his powers slips. It doesn't make him dangerous. Just a bit more unpredictable.
His jumps get even higher when he’s extremely happy or angry, and he has smashed so many of Taehyung’s glasses when he was overcome with emotions that the reporter invested in a steel cup just for him.
So the stuff floating around could mean that Bunny has strong feelings about something. And it could mean that Taehyung’s words made him happy. Or they made him angry, and now the reporter is gonna die a painful death.
Well, Bunny always flirts with him. It would be hypocritical of him to react too badly. All Taehyung has ever done about it was roll his eyes and try to hide his blush, maybe throw him a snarky comment once or twice.
The floating objects and the possibility of Bunny getting flustered by compliments make Tae bolder, more confident. Suddenly his line doesn’t feel so cringy anymore.
Emboldened by the results of his flirting (if you can really call it that), Taehyung leans forward, as much as the ropes allow him. He tries not to think about his restrains, ignores the little voice in his head that reminds him how awful they feel, and he smiles.
“Is someone flustered?”
The line gets him an immediate reaction: Bunny stands up suddenly, his hands gripping the back of the chair. He shakes his head, but it’s a movement so jerky and curt that Taehyung is pretty sure it’s involuntary.
“Me? Oh no. Why should I? This is fine. Good. I’m fine. No flustering here.”
Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt, it seems. The boxes and laptops are still floating around, probably because Bunny isn’t even realizing what he’s doing.
Taehyung stifles his laugh. He wants to toy with Bunny a bit more before telling him that he can literally see that his words have an effect on him, as the objects flying around clearly display it.
“So you don’t mind me calling you pretty boy?"
“You don’t even know if that’s true,” mutters Bunny, sounding dejected. He plays a bit with the bottom of his mask, and for a second Taehyung is almost convinced that he’s gonna take it off just to prove him a point. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen.
The reporter really isn’t ready for a face reveal yet. He means, never! He’s never gonna be ready for a face reveal. Because he doesn’t care of course. Why would he? He has no interest in learning the features of Bunny’s face. Nope. Not at all.
But let’s get back to getting Bunny to splutter and blush like a teenager.
“I do think you’re pretty,” he says, and it isn’t a lie. He’s truly convinced that Bunny has a handsome face, even if he never saw it.
Bunny tells him as much but Taehyung shakes his head. Oh well. He exposed himself already, he can take a step further.
“First of all your body looks really good, so you got that already. You have strong hands and arms, not to mention your thighs. Kudos to you, really."
"But I can tell you have good facial features too. The line of your jaw looks pretty sharp, and I can see a bit of your cheekbones too. It looks like you have great bone structure, so you should be at least mildly attractive.”
He ends his speech there, only slightly flustered by it. Bunny doesn’t always have the same mask, and some let him see more of his face than others. He doesn’t want to reflect on how hungry he has been (and still is) for the smallest piece of skin revealed.
No matter how much he denies, he wants to discover Bunny, map the lines of his body like he’s tracing out a star chart. It isn’t even sexual, not entirely, not only. It’s more, a deep desire to know and explore, and it scares Taehyung more than he’s willing to admit.
Once again, Bunny is initially silent after the downpour of words. Only for a moment, thought.
“Sounds like you pay a lot of attention to me.” The tone is hesitant, half flustered and half smug. As if he wants to be cocky after the compliments, but they were so out of nowhere that he’s shy about them.
Taehyung raises an eyebrow. “Well, I do spend a lot of time with you. You know, with the kidnappings and all.”
“And it’s always a pleasant time, isn’t it?” and there it is back again, the cockiness and self-assurance. Taehyung can’t repress a smile then a laugh, one that he knows is wide and genuine.
“It really is” he admits, lowering his head but still smiling, forgetting about Bunny-the-criminal and instead enjoying his time with Bunny-the-boy, the one who flirts and cracks jokes, the one who makes him feel safe even if he shouldn’t.
When Taehyung lift his gaze again, he’s surprised to see that Bunny seems taken back. He’s standing much nearer, his chair not a barrier between them anymore. He’s looking down at him, the bunny mask tilted down towards him, but it doesn’t feel threatening.
It feels intimate, the space between them shrunk down to nothing even if in reality they are still apart. Taehyung’s keen eyes catch the twitch of Bunny’s fingers, curling and uncurling like he doesn’t know what to do with them.
Like he wants to touch, as Taehyung does. Like he wants to feel, trace figures on his skin with his fingertips. Like they share more than passing glances and flirty words. Like they share something deeper, something more. It’s silent. It’s intimate.
Too intimate. Maybe that’s the reason why Taehyung decides to cockblock himself.
“So, does your stuff usually do that or you’re just happy to see me?”
Bunny’s body, which was leaning towards the reporter, snaps back, like a coil returning to its shape after being stretched. He tilts his head to the side and Taehyung nods towards the floating objects with a smug grin.
Bunny turns his head, and Taehyung knows immediately that he was absolutely unaware of his powers acting out, but he knows exactly what prompted the sudden levitation.
“You should probably let those down before you break som-”
Taehyung doesn’t even get to finish his sentence before everything that was floating - the boxes, laptops, a cute mug filled with pens - comes crashing down, as if suddenly remembering that gravity is a thing.
He winces when he sees the screen of one of the laptops cracking, but does he regret it? Absolutely no. With Bunny still turned away from him, the reporter has a perfect view of the side of his face and he delights in the ruby color of Bunny’s ear.
“Is my pretty boy flustered?” he asks with a shit-eating grin, the pet name coming easily out of his mouth. His own flirting is making his cheeks warm, but he feels too powerful and shameless to stop. Plus, this is really fun.
“Oh my god, just shut up okay? This is a mess.” Bunny thumps his head against his closed first, the impact with the mask making a dull 'thunk'.
“Are you talking about your feelings or about all the stuff on the ground?”
“I’m talking about you”
Tae widens his eyes, then pouts. “Wow. That was rude” he whines, knowing that he sounds like a 5 y.o throwing a tantrum. If his arms were free, he would have crossed them, but since he can’t do that he resorts to kicking his legs up and down. He can almost feel Bunny judging him.
“I’m not a mess.” His grumbles seem to amuse Bunny. The criminal is chuckling, Taehyung can tell, even if Bunny is trying to stifle his laugh.
Taehyung is losing his upper hand and, since he’s a little competitive shit, he can’t let that happen.
So far the best way to get to Bunny has been flustering him. He has to get on back to the flirting, it seems. What a shame.
“Unless you were talking about a /hot/ mess, of course. In that case, thank you.”
Bunny sighs, for once not rattled by the flirty words. Taehyung immediately frowns at that.
“You're not a mess. Not you yourself, I meant you for me. Me and you. Us.”
Taehyung raises an eyebrow, barely refraining to make a humming sound. Interesting.
“Us? There’s an /us/?”
Bunny lowers his head, the mask bobbing with the movement, and whispers something under his breath that sounds like “I wish”. But maybe that was Taehyung's wishful thinking, because when he tilts his head back up, hos words are different.
“Of course there’s not. We are nothing- we aren’t even friends.”
It hurts, Taehyung can’t deny it. He knows it’s true of course, but until this moment they never voiced aloud their own thoughts: that they are little more than strangers, barely acquaintances, surely not friends.
Yet he bites his lip and doesn’t lose his hopeful smile.
“I guess we aren’t, pretty boy.”
He hopes his voice doesn’t crack. God, he’s hopeless, isn’t he? He’s begging a criminal for affection, craving his friendship and maybe even something more. This is exactly the kind of ridiculous situations Taehyung always puts himself into.
There’s a tension in Bunny’s arms that wasn’t there before. He notices because Bunny is fucking ripped and his arms are good enough to bite, currently exposed because the sleeves of his black hoodie are pushed up.
The veins and tendons stand up more like this, especially with his fists clenched, and this is probably a moment when Tae should feel in danger, more alert.
He doesn’t. Call him dumb, but the tension in Bunny’s body doesn’t feel like it derives from anger. Frustration maybe, but not anger. He gets his confirmation with the next words.
“I just- I know it sounds ridiculous but I care. I care about you, Taehyung”
Hearing his name in Bunny’s sweet voice affects him more than he thought it would. The feeling of this being an intimate moment returns, stronger than before now that Bunny is admitting that Taehyung is /someone/ to him, not just a face or a name.
It's like he’s trying to trick him into thinking that they are normal people in a normal situation. Taehyung resents him a bit, because he’s succeeding, even after they just acknowledged that they are not friends, barely a little more than strangers.
“Why would you?” he asks, because ultimately this is the question that plagues him.
What does Taehyung have that makes him special? He’s not Jimin - fearless, always ready to get back up, heroic. He’s regular Taehyung - bluffing his confidence, easily tricked into getting attached to someone as soon as they give him affection,
scared to be honest and let everyone see him for what he is. Because at the end he’s just a needy, clingy crybaby, with too many weird ticks and habits to be considered just “quirky”.
And it’s pathetic to think that Taehyung wants to impress Bunny, a criminal who hurts people and doesn’t regret it, but he does. He does because Bunny is gentle with him, treats him like he’s special.
Taehyung is weak. He falls in love so easily, with everyone he meets. The waitress who remembers his order and smiles at him. The guy on the bus who’s always reading philosophy books.
He’s pretty sure he fell in love with Jimin and Yoongi too at some point, until that blurred into a strong friendship. Can you blame him? Jimin is gorgeous and sweet. Yoongi is gentle, showing his care silently but steadily.
Taehyung has no problem seeing the best in others, amazed by how wonderful people can be when you give them a chance. It’s more difficult to do that for himself. Too focused on having faith in others, he often forgets that he should try to see the best in himself, too.
But he doesn’t. His self-esteem has its ups and downs, sure, but even when his morale is high he doesn’t think he’s special, better than others. He’s just Taehyung.
So he doesn’t understand what Bunny sees in him, why does he care.
“How couldn’t I care, Taehyung? You are amazing.”
Now that Bunny got a taste of his name on his tongue, he doesn’t ever want to stop saying it. He never really allowed himself to say it like this, aloud and clearly. It was always a whisper, trapped in the space between his ribs or frozen behind his lips.
Finally it got out, slithered between his teeth towards freedom, and now Bunny is addicted to the sound of those syllables together, to the look in Taehyung’s eyes when his lips form the word. A look that’s a bit surprised, a bit starstruck.
“Amazing? I’m just a reporter with bad luck and a very cool best friend. There’s nothing special about me”
Bunny makes a sound between a scoff and a laugh, like he’s incredulous. Disbelieving.
"You really think that your best trait could be your friendship with Angel? Knowing a stuck-up superhero doesn’t make you special”
It’s odd to hear such a thing from Bunny's mouth. It’s not like Taehyung lives in the shadow of Jimin’s fame or something like that - he’s his own person, thank you very much.
But at the same time his most recognizable attribute, the reason why he’s somewhat famous (or infamous, really) it’s being his best friend. People who kidnapped him knew his name, but referred to him as “Angel’s friend”. Other reporters approach him to try and pry some secret
about Jimin’s life, hardly ever because they want to compliment his pieces. Taehyung’s life doesn’t revolve around Jimin, but everyone else thinks it does and they treat him accordingly. It bothers him sometimes. He tries to get over it.
Hearing Bunny telling him that it isn’t important, that there’s more to him than that… it makes his heart beat a little faster. Even if it’s a lie.
“He isn’t that stuck-up. Just knows his strengths.” Defending his soulmate sounds better than fishing for compliments, and less dangerous, so he sticks to that. If he asks Bunny more about his supposed special traits, he’s afraid the criminal wouldn’t be able to come up with
anything and then /that/ would be the most humiliating thing. Imagine the absolute shame of witnessing Bunny trying to come up with some compliments, just to flounder when nothing comes to his mind.
Something similar happened to Taehyung, when a hottie in a club didn’t manage to follow up with his flirting. Worst experience in his life, ever. And he has been kidnapped and threatened multiple times.
But it seems this is not the case with Bunny, who apparently doesn’t need prompting to praise him.
“You’re an accomplished reporter. The newspaper you work for has become popular thanks to your pieces. Everyone started talking about the supernatural after the Boom, but you did
in a way that spoke not only to the ones who feared it, but to who was involved too."
The words keep pouring out of Bunny's mouth, so fast he's almost tripping over them.
"You didn’t settle for being a cashier or flipping burgers in a MacDonald. You are talented and
determined, and it shows. You’re selfless and kind, the type of kind that people don’t believe exist anymore."
He pauses, just for a second. Even with the mask as a barrier between them, Taehyung can see that his eyes are clear and honest. His breath gets stuck in his chest at
"Don’t downplay yourself just because you can’t lift buildings or shoot lasers out of your eyes. It’s easy to be special when you’re genetically abnormal, but doing it all on your own… that’s real.”
Bunny ends his speech with a soft voice, one that feels misplaced for the dirty floors of the warehouse. It’s a voice for soft pillows and warm blankets, a voice for the moments right after you wake up, when you are awake but the world is still asleep, quiet.
Taehyung is speechless. He’s gaping like a fish and he feels so warm. Warm in his chest, his heart beating like the wings of a hummingbird, and warm in his cheeks. His face feels hot and he bets his skin is flushed red, the apples of his cheeks tinted crimson.
This is nothing like the flirting they did before. This is genuine admiration in Bunny’s words, other than a knowledge of Taehyung’s personal life that makes his mind reel.
If Bunny knows that Taehyung has been writing for Other News since the beginning, back in 2013, it means he searched stuff about him.
Bunny probably /googled/ him. Bunny. I-make-the-headlines Bunny. What if he read some of his old articles? What if he read one of the really embarrassing ones, when he was still a newbie and he wrote like a 13 y.o?
Self-consciousness grips him in a tight hold. Taehyung is proud of where he is now, of what he accomplished on his own, but - like a teenager facing his long-time crush - he feels as if his achievements are suddenly dumb, unimportant.
What’s being a simple reporter in the face of being a super- well, technically a super-villain but, yk. It’s a big deal. Bunny wasn’t the only one blessed with powers but unlike others he uses them, takes advantage of them. Like Jimin does, even if they operate on opposite sides.
And Bunny helps people, too. He destroys some of them, sure, but he helps others in a roundabout way. Taehyung doesn’t condone violence. Really, he doesn’t. Even if he gets starry-eyed for Bunny, he still doesn’t approve of his methods. He never will.
So he doesn’t agree to /how/ Bunny does things, but /what/ he does… it’s not all bad. Which means that among some people, Bunny is a sort of celebrity in his own right.
A celebrity that either has gotten hold of Taehyung’s cv for his own nefarious purposes, or has stalked him so thoroughly that he reached his facebook’s posts dated back to 2013.
Either option makes Taehyung shake with embarrassment. He doesn’t know what’s worse: his 2013 selfies or the cringy, over-polite self introduction where he lied about every single one of his personality traits to make a good impression.
“You sure do know a lot about your hostages. Did a whole background check.”
There’s a fake smile plastered on Taehyung’s face, a feeble attempt at controlling his emotions and hiding his frame of mind. Which, for the record, he knows only the general state of.
He knows he’s embarrassed and stunned mostly, maybe a bit flattered too. A part of him is also worried about just how much of his personal information Bunny knows, except that Bunny is a professional hacker and Taehyung is probably dumb enough to leave his info around the web.
He tries not to, especially with the whole “oh let’s kidnap him to get to Angel!” situation but. He’s a reporter. Some of his information has to be accessible. So if Bunny wanted his cellphone number or his address, he could’ve found it ages ago.
What really worries his right now is how much of his embarrassing teenage years Bunny could’ve seen, which he realizes he shouldn’t be that worried about because who cares? Taehyung. Taehyung really cares immensely about what kind of photos and videos Bunny could’ve found.
It’s really dumb, he knows. Taehyung has never claimed to be a genius.
So. His main emotion right now is confusion, followed in equal part by shame and a giddy kind of feeling that makes his heart beat faster. He’s so out of it that he almost doesn’t hear Bunny’s answer.
“Hostage. Singular. You’re the only one.”
Taehyung wants to make a snappy remark, something along the lines of ‘aaw so I’m special, I’m so flattered’, but his mind is stuck on what exactly Bunny could've seen about him.
Quicker than ever, his mind sadistically supplies the memory of that time he got drunk and posted a whole set of photos on facebook - including one where he almost deep-throated a beer bottle.
Jimin stopped him before he could do it. Taehyung is very grateful.
He’s probably exaggerating. Just because Bunny knows a bit about his past it doesn’t mean he knows /everything/.
“So I’m the only one you stalked on Instagram?”
“You’re not on Instagram”
The silence that follows is absolutely humiliating. For Bunny, because he didn’t mean to blurt it out. For Taehyung, because it’s the confirmation that Bunny doesn’t know things about him because he has a file on him, like the FBI does in movies.
“Oh my god. You really stalked me on social media.”
Taehyung wants to bury himself 6ft underground. As soon as he’s home he’s going to delete his facebook profile, and then hopefully find a way to delete himself off the Earth too.
“I just searched your name on the web. That’s not illegal.”
“No, but it’s incredibly creepy.”
Bunny crosses his arms and huffs, affronted. “I didn’t do anything weird, I swear! I just wanted to know more about you.” Bunny’s voice is strangely quiet as he says this, almost.. shy.
It’s not endearing. Nu-uh. Absolutely not. It’s bad, awful. Bad Bunny.
Taehyung feels a headache coming and it’s 100% Bunny’s fault. For being an evil mastermind, Bunny sounds really dumb sometimes, not to mention socially inept. Was he raised by a pack of wolves or something?
“Have you thought about asking me? Like a normal human being?”
“Ask you? Are you crazy? I can’t!”
Inhale and exhale, Taehyung. Keep your calm. You can do this. “And could you tell me, for the love of everything holy, why not?”
Bunny takes a deep breath. “So, answer me truthfully. A criminal uses you as a bargaining chip to get to your annoying superhero friend-”
The villain makes a sound, like talking about Angel physically pains him. “Yes. Whatever."
"So let’s say that this hypothetical criminal asks you, I don’t know, what’s your favorite book, or movie. Your favorite season. Would you answer?”
“See? That would’ve been a dumb thing to do.”
Taehyung takes a deep breath. A really deep one, the type of breath you take when someone is testing your patience, because Bunny sometimes is so irrational that it makes him want to tear away his stupid mask and wack him on the head with it.
“Okay so let me get this straight. First of all, you think that asking me personal questions is a no-no but somewhat /flirting/ is fine? And second of all, you think it’s better to pry the answer to those questions from the internet instead of asking me?"
His tone is rising, more than he planned too. There's just something behind Bunny's actions that makes his blood boil. It's probably the fact that he acts so familiar and chummy with him sometimes, and absolutely the opposite the others. It makes Taehyung's head spin.
"If i’m not comfortable with answering them then i’m probably not comfortable with you knowing the answer to them," he continues, fired up and unafraid to tell him the truth. "Sneaking behind me in secret doesn’t make you a better person.”
The words are a bit harsher than Taehyung intended, but no less true. There’s a small part of him thinking that what Bunny did is not so different from looking at your crush’s social media.
It’s the hopeless, naive side of Taehyung, one he has to keep in check if he doesn’t want to end up as the stereotypical heroine of a bad romance novel.
A small consolation: Bunny seems properly chastised. His head hangs low and he’s wringing his hands, tormenting the fingers and picking his nails. At some point one of his hands even comes up to his face, knocking against his mask like he forgot it was here.
Oh. That was easier than expected. Taehyung didn’t expect him to understand or relent without trying to justify himself. It’s refreshing, if he has to be honest.
“It was invasive of me to do, you’re right. I’m not your friend. I don’t have any right to know that stuff about you. I’m sorry.”
His apology sounds pitiful, but sincere. Like he genuinely didn’t realize what he was doing wrong until everything was laid out in front of him.
Taehyung bites his bottom lip. He doesn’t want to admit it, but the words tug at his heartstrings a bit. Bunny sounds so young like this, a little lost. Maybe the Bunny mask isn’t the only facade he’s keeping up.
He sighs. This is exactly why everyone manages to fool him so easily.
“I can’t pick just one book, but lately I’ve been reading Sylvia Plath and I love her works. For the movie it has to be About time with Rachael McAdams. I love fall.”
“What- what are you doing?”
“Answering your questions. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not forgiving you this quickly. But I don't think I would be in more danger if you know I like to watch romantic movies and bawl my eyes out.
I mean, if the next time you want to hurt me by making me watch Grave of the Fireflies then you’re a sadistic bastard and I will make Angel beat you up.”
Bunny scrutinizes him for what feels like hours. The absence of a reaction is making him squirm, not exactly regretting his bout of honesty but wondering if maybe Bunny doesn’t really care about any of it. Again, it’s Bunny himself that shuts his self-doubt up.
“You really are amazing.”
Taehyung flushes at the praise. Even if Bunny already said it, the tone of his voice - tinted with admiration and something strangely similar to fondness - makes the compliment even more real, more honest.
“You’re not that bad yourself,” he says, and it’s meant to be a witty, sarcastic remark. It isn’t. It can’t be, not with the soft smile that blooms on his face while he says it, not with low, breathy quality of his voice.
Bunny takes one, two steps, and now he’s right in front of Taehyung. He’s towering over him and it doesn’t feel threatening at all. Bunny raises one hand towards him, so slowly that he looks like he’s moving through molasses, trapped inside a jar of honey-thick substance.
Taehyung’s breath gets caught in his chest. His eyes are wide, deep pools of brown filled with an emotion he’s afraid to name. Bunny gets lost in them - drowns in them, searching for something, anything. Maybe he finds it.
He holds one hand right next to his cheek and when Taehyung doesn’t flinch with the close contact, he gets bolder. The hand touches his face so lightly, so softly, Taehyung isn’t even sure it’s happening.
But then he feels Bunny’s thumb caressing his skin, the contact more comforting than he cares to admit. He wishes he could see his eyes right now, because he’s sure he would find something there, an insight into Bunny’s mind, an explanation for all of this.
He has to settle for the slight tremble of Bunny’s fingers, the sound of his quivering breath.
The moment feels endless. There’s something unmistakably caring about the way Bunny is holding his face, and Taehyung wants to understand. There’s a sudden urge to reciprocate the caress, to touch and hold and feel, so strong it takes his breath away.
And then a figure in white breaks through the ceiling. Jimin - that showy dumbass - doesn’t even announce himself and he jumps towards Taehyung, a smile on his face.
For the first time ever, Taehyung is cursing his friend and his speed in finding him.
He watches in a daze as Jimin and Bunny briefly battle, only for the latter to grab some of his tech and flee. Taehyung may have imagined it, but he’s almost sure that Bunny’s gaze fell on him one last time before the criminal disappeared.
He wants to /scream/. Wants to punch Jimin for his terrible timing, punch Bunny for leaving him hanging, punch himself because he doesn’t know what the fuck was happening but he knows that he wanted it.
He feels the ropes binding him falling apart, carefully cut by Jimin. He doesn’t move. His brain is still stuck on the feeling of fingertips on his face, a gentle hand, and so he stays there, sitting in a creaky chair among dusty tables and some cracked laptop screens.
“Tae? Everything ok?”
Jimin’s voice brings him out of his reverie. He looks up to him, feeling a little lost, a bit adrift. Like he’s not all there, like Bunny stole a part of him, pick pocketing a bit of his soul just before leaving.
But he doesn’t want to worry Jimin, so he shakes his head to clear his thoughts and then he smiles. “Everything’s fine, Chim,” he says, lying through his teeth. “I’m happy you got here in time.”
They both know by now that Bunny is not a threat to Tae, so his last words sounds off. He cringes at himself for his poor acting skills, but Jimin leaves him be and pats his shoulder.
“Of course I got here in time. I’ll always rush to save you.”
He really doesn’t deserve Jimin. He may be the city’s Angel, but Jimin has always been Taehyung’s personal protector, long before he got his powers. They’ve always been together since highschool, sticking through thick and thin. Taetae and Minnie. Minnie and Taetae.
“Ever told you that I love you?” he asks. Maybe Jimin’s timing is horrendous, but he’s such a good friend that he’s forgiven.
(Bunny though, leaving him high and dry like this? He’ll have to beg for forgiveness. If there’s another time. IF.)
Jimin just smiles, happiness taking over his whole face and making his eyes narrow crescents. “Maybe. Never hurts to hear it tho.” He holds out a hand to the reporter, who takes it gratefully. His knees feel like jelly and Jimin’s moral and physical support is much appreciated.
Taehyung murmur a thanks into Jimin’s hair and places a kiss there, the superhero giggling at the action. A strong arm wounds itself around Tae’s waist and he feels safe, grateful. Now he just wants to go home and rest. Maybe get lunch.
“Sure you’re okay?” Taehyung nods.
“You worry too much. I’m used to these things now. Should get an award for it or something. A membership card, at least.”
Jimin laughs again and Taehyung can’t help but smile. He notices his friend checking him, looking for wounds or bruises. God, Taehyung really loves him.
“I worry the right amount.” It’s not true, of course it isn’t, but this is just how Jimin is. His wonderful, caring soulmate. “I’m just glad that- uh." Jimin pauses, looking at the hand that isn't holding the reporter's waist. There's a frown on his face but it's confused, not
concerned, so Taehyung doesn't worry.
"What's up?" he asks, leaning even more on his soulmate.
"It's nothing, just... These ropes. Feel kinda strange.”
Taehyung lets out a tired sigh and blushes crimson. “Please. Don’t. Let’s /not/ talk about it.”
and that's it for a while! When I started writing this was the only scene I had in mind, it got wayyy longer than expected. I have some other stuff planned for this au, but i would love to hear if you have ideas for some scenarios with them!
((also this is a bit late but if you're a ghost reader could you please like this tweet? I just want to know how many people read my stuff ))
Namjoon’s voice is loud and more than one person part of Other News’ staff turns around. Taehyung cringes. He knows what he’s going to tell him.
“You got kidnapped? /Again/?”
Yep. There it is.
“Kidnapped is a strong word,” he says, forcing a fake, reassuring smile. Most people in his life have somewhat accepted that his life is dangerous, even if they don’t like it. Yoongi and Jimin are never happy about it (of course, who would?) but they don't question it anymore.
Namjoon is different. Maybe because he feels responsible for Taehyung after being his boss for 3 years. Joon can be a protective worrywart and Taehyung loves him for his caring nature, the others’ well-being the first thing on his mind.
Really, he loves him for that. Usually.
“I can’t believe it happened again”
Namjoon stands right in front of him now, arms crossed and brow furrowed. With a beige jacket thrown over a hoodie, he’s the perfect mix between serious and relaxed - balancing between editor-in-chief of a rising newspaper and worried friend.
Taehyung huffs. He doesn’t like his business discussed in front of everyone, especially ppl who work with him. He had always despised talking about his problems and worries, so he doesn’t approve of Namjoon making him look like a damsel in distress in front of his colleagues.
“You know it was nothing, hyung”
He grits the words out, annoyed. To be honest, he’s still a bit shaken by the last kidnapping episode, but not for the reasons Namjoon thinks. Or for any reason anyone could think of when talking about a kidnapping.
The victims don’t usually mull over the sexual tension between them and their kidnapper, wondering if that was really an almost-kiss moment or if they just imagined that.
Yeah, he really hopes /no one/ usually thinks about that. It would be very problematic if that happened.
“Nothing? You can’t be serious. You’ve been lucky with Bunny until now but what if it doesn’t last forever? He could hurt you.”
Taehyung feels himself close to snapping. He has had this type of conversation with Namjoon a lot of times, so many that he lost count, but today
it feels different. He’s on edge, confused by his feelings and whatever happened in that warehouse with Bunny, and his friend’s kind words sounds condescending, reproachful. Namjoon is going to voice all his doubts right in the open, say what Taehyung should do and feel.
Not because he’s a bad person or because he thinks he knows better than him. But Namjoon was there when Taehyung hadn't learnt how to stand for himself yet, when he was young and he let people push him around because no one takes a wannabe journalist seriously until they make it
Sometimes Joon forgets that Taehyung grew up. That he isn’t 20 y.o. and scared of the world anymore, that he learned how to stand his ground a long time ago.
It is in no way malicious, but Namjoon is feeding his insecurities and Taehyung feels anger boiling inside him.
“Tae, you need to do something. Hire a bodyguard. Buy a guard dog.”
‘Be rational’ he tells himself. ‘Stay calm’.
“I don’t need a guard dog. I already have a dog.”
Namjoon scoffs, incredulous, and he can feel his skepticism, how he is losing his patience too.
“Yeontan is 20cm tall. I’m serious, you need-”
“And /you/ need to mind your own business, Namjoon.”
It’s mean and undeserved, he knows, but he can’t help it. It's unbearable hearing Namjoon be his Jiminy Cricket, offering his advice when it's unsolicited.
Namjoon is looking at him worriedly, the way he does every time he hears about his latest kidnapping, but there’s an edge of anger now. “You have to take care of yourself. It worries me how /carefree/ you are about this, you-”
His shout is made even louder by the screech made by the chair when he stands up. He regrets it immediately when he feels all his eyes on him, when he sees the hurt in his friend’s eyes.
He knows. He knows he should be more careful, more guarded.
But it’s so easy to forget it when he’s talking with Bunny, teasing each other like they are old friends. He doesn’t need Joon to point it out.
He knows. Really, he does.
He is panting, the outburst draining him of his energies. He can deal with this right now so he leaves, Namjoon’s call of his name following him outside the newsroom. He needs space before he implodes, before he can humiliate himself further by bursting down crying like a child.
His eyes are already tearing up and he feels so weak, feels powerless and pathetic. He runs towards the exit, mind a mess. His steps are heavy and so is his heart, beating like a war drum and blocking every other noise.
“ - and now I’m in the park, alone, bawling my eyes out because I’m pathetic. I know where he comes from, you know?”
An affirmative grunt.
“I know he’s like this because he cares but it feels like he thinks I can’t take care of myself. I’m no Jimin, sure, but I’m not helpless. I’m an adult, you know?”
Another mumbled sound, a positive answer.
“You know I’m not someone who usually rants,” he says, voice low, and it’s true. He tends to bottle things up until they explode in his face. It’s a bad habit of his that Jimin is trying to wipe out, which is why he’s on a call with Yoongi right now, sitting on a bench
as he complains and lets out his frustration. “But I need to figure out… stuff. And Namjoon is not being helpful.”
Yoongi grunts again, this time with a “ah-ahn” sound. Taehyung frowns.
“Are you listening to me?”
“What was I talking about?”
“You were whining.”
Taehyung gasps, betrayed. “Hyung! I need you to /listen/. Don’t ignore me!”
“I /was/ listening Tae. You know Namjoon is just worried about you and to be honest, he has every right to. It isn’t normal, getting kidnapped every other day.”
The silence that follows is heavy, Taehyung’s eyes tearing up. He knows. He knows he knows, he fucking knows. When he speaks again, his voice is small, unbearably soft.
“But I don’t need to be worried. Right?”
Yoongi sighs. It’s always so easy to speak with him, to voice his worries aloud. The connection he has with Jimin is incomparable, but sometimes he feels like his best friend is already overwhelmed by the city claiming him as its hero, by the expectations everyone has for him.
It feels selfish to put his thoughtless worries on his shoulders too, another weight he will carry with no complaint because that’s how Jimin is. Selfless to the point of being self-destructive.
“You don’t. You are safe, always.” There is a resigned fondness in Yoongi’s voice and he wonders if maybe he has taken a liking to his boyfriend’s archenemy. Yoongi has always had a surprisingly chaotic side to him and he will preach against the establishment and their
capitalistic society when he’s tipsy. He might like Bunny for his actions against the rich and the oppressors, even if he won’t be caught dead saying anything positive about him when Jimin loathes him so strongly.
Taehyung feels a bit better now. Yoongi knows what he went through, how scared he was for a while. If he doesn’t think that Taehyung is crazy for trusting Bunny, then maybe it’s ok.
He leans back on the bench, eyes pointed towards the sky.
He breathes slowly, inhaling first with his abdomen and then with his chest, like his therapist thought him.
‘Imagine a glass filling. From the bottom to the top. And then when you empty it, from the top to the bottom.’
He truly feels like a glass - easily broken and transparent, letting everyone see whatever is inside him. And he doesn’t know (again, when does he? He’s ignorant, lost) what is filling him up, what is whatever he feels towards Bunny.
He can’t trace the limit between infatuation and genuine like, finds it impossible to do when the recipient of his feelings hides himself behind a mask.
Maybe this is his answer. If he doesn’t know, he should leave it alone. Forget it, follows everyone advice.
It’s a pity that Taehyung has never liked listening to what others tell him.
“Have you calmed down a bit?”
Yoongi’s voice is low, soothing, bursting with gentle care. Yoongi is just like this - always supporting but never showing it off, silent gestures and quiet compliments.
Opposite of Jimin - loud and big with his affection.
Taehyung gets a bit teary with the force of the love he has for his friends, all so caring, so attentive. And Namjoon is one of them, a bit blunt and awkward sometimes, but so warm it makes his heart ache.
Yeah, he has to apologize.
“I think so, hyung. I need to talk to Joon.”
Yoongi hums, the approval in his voice clear. He doesn’t like unresolved tension and untold feelings (which should be a joke because how long he and Jimin danced around each other? /Ages/), so he must be
happy to hear that Taehyung is going to resolve his issues with Joon.
He doesn’t look like it, but Yoongi is as soft as a marshmallow.
Taehyung sniffles, his eyes still teary even when his frustration gone. What a sorry sight must he be, alone and wailing in a park bench.
He gets up and slaps his cheeks lightly, trying to leave behind his depressing thought and be positive. Taehyung is an optimistic, always trying to see the good side of things, and he doesn't like to linger, dwell on the past.
Breaking down in front of everyone and then wailing like a baby in the park while Yoongi was on the phone? That's the past. Life goes on. He'll embarrass himself many more other times, so it's no use thinking about it.
He cringes anyway. He hopes no one saw him.
That's it for now! But I want to let you decide what scene I'll show you next :3 please choose an option I'll try to update again Friday!
♡ Poll results ♡
✘ : Jeongguk isn't a stalker, he's just.. observing his crush. His friend Hoseok points out that's that what stalkers do.
✓ : being a cashier is terrible, but Jeongguk does what he has to do. And his night is going to get interesting, anyway.
[I want to publish this in ao3 in the future so don't worry, you'll eventually get to see the "deleted scenes"!]
It’s a necessary evil. He doesn’t keep for himself a lot of the money he takes away from moneybags and corrupt companies - since he tries to give it back to people who were robbed of that - so he needs a real, /legal/ job.
Even if he has quite some money stored in a safe place (for emergencies and for his future), he never uses it for his daily life. No, that’s something he has to figure it out on his own, with no cheap tricks.
Still. No matter how long he had this job, staring at a wall in the dead of night for hours is the most boring thing he’ll ever have to do. He can’t even keep himself entertained with his mobile since the battery is dead.
He lets his head bang on the counter. Sana - his coworker - probably heard him, but she’s too busy cleaning the floor where someone has spilled some orange juice to pay him any attention.
The shop stays empty for the next hour, him and Sana switching places at the counter even if there isn’t anyone to attend to. He walks around the isles aimlessly, swaying to some beat he remembers Hoseok using in one of his dance classes.
With nothing keeping him occupied, his mind wanders. Like always, he ends up thinking about Taehyung.
It was a crush, at first; admiration towards this kind, cool boy that worked his ass off to fulfill a dream that was becoming more and more within his reach.
For Jeongguk (a boy who was forced by the circumstances to find a shortcut), Taehyung represented a role model. He wished to be like him. Not in the naive, childish way of someone wanting to dress and act like his idols; no, he wanted to have a fraction of his will, of his fire.
He wished he had the strength to run after what he wanted.
So it started as a crush. Understandable: Taehyung is wonderful, both in looks and personality, and Jeongguk has always been easily dazzled. Cuties made him weak.
But can he still call it a crush when he wants to reveal everything to him - their real first meeting, his own face? Can he still trick himself into thinking it’s just admiration when he wants to bare himself, lay at his feet and show him everything?
He doesn’t think so.
His biggest problem was when he started talking to him. Admiring him was easier when he knew him mostly from his writing, maybe the occasional twitter post. But then things happened, Angel started to hinder him more and more, and so before he knew it
he had Kim Taehyung, reporter and love of his life, handcuffed to a chair and looking up at him with his big brown eyes.
From then on, not falling for Taehyung was impossible.
He was just as Jeongguk thought he would be, except that now that he could talk to him, see him, he got to discover other parts of his personality that made him even more endearing.
It was like seeing a photo of the Grand Canyon and then standing right before it - sure, you had an idea, a pretty image in your mind, but it can’t compare to seeing the real thing. It takes your breath away in ways you couldn’t even imagine.
So Jeongguk ponders on the butterflies in his stomach, on what happened more than a week ago. What would’ve happened if Angel didn’t come? The image of Taehyung looking up at him, starlight in his eyes, torments him with sweet delight.
For a while only the buzzing of the neon lights accompanies his thoughts, the shop still empty. Then, for some strange reason, at 2am people start coming in. A group of tipsy students at first, buying some beer and then leaving; then a woman buying a pack of cigarettes.
Some other people go in and out, the store momentarily busy. He goes to the counter to help out Sana, even if no one is in a rush at this hour.
It’s the beautiful side of the night - everyone and everything is a bit quieter, a bit calmer.
As if the dark gives people some peace, makes them forget to live their day in a constant rush. Jeongguk feels his thoughts quiet down, his inner turmoil made silent by the alienating process of scanning items and listing off the price.
After the 2am rush, things get a bit quieter again. There’s almost no one in the store now, just an older man and someone who looks like a broke college student.
With nothing better to do, he observes them. They aren’t much interesting - people coming in the store in the middle
of the night rarely are, despite the common misconception that they might be. If you enter a 24/7 store in the middle of the night, it usually means that either: a) you got a craving for something; or b) you were too lazy to do your grocery shopping during normal hours.
Judging by the bags of chips in the older man’s arms, he’s case “a”.
The student is probably the second case. He’s wandering around sleepily, dragging his feet like they weigh tons and hiding his face behind a grey hoodie.
He has some sliced bread and some milk in his hand, and now he’s staring at the instant noodles section, contemplating the different flavors. Then he turns towards the counter-
Holy fuck. Jeongguk drops down on reflex, crouching behind the counter and lifting the hood of his sweatshirt over his head. Fuck. Holy hell-
“Jeongguk? Are you ok?”
Sana’s voice is slightly concerned and he feels bad when he hits her thigh, shushing her. She looks at him with a mix of worry and bewilderment, but she must notice the panic in his eyes and so she keeps quiet, facing the counter yet again.
Fuck. He peeks over the counter, hoping with all his heart that he saw wrong but nope. His eyesight is good as ever. That’s not a college student.
Taehyung finally chooses chicken as a flavor for his noodles, piling as many packs as he can in his arms.
He yawns, tilting his head back and letting the hood slide away from his mussed brown hair. He blinks cutely, unable to dry his teary eyes with his hands full. Jeongguk almost coos.
Almost because no, he refuses to let Taehyung see him face to face the first time like this. The counter is high enough for Jeongguk to hide behind with no one seeing him, and Sana can deal with two customers without his help. Yeah, he’s staying here for the foreseeable future.
IMPORTANT!! PLEASE READ!!
*in the second pic it's "something I wrote" not someone, of course
Now, on to the update
“Jeongguk, you’re worrying me a little. Is there a problem?”
Oh, dear kind Sana, curving towards him with a hushed voice. She has a look of pity on her face and Jeongguk wonders which kind of conclusion she came up with after
seeing him diving behind the counter like he was taking cover from bullets.
“Is that your ex or something?”
Wonderful. Spectacular. He loves this song.
“No. Yes. No- I just don’t wanna see him.”
The other customer in the store chooses that moment to dump at least 8 packs of chips on the counter. He widens his eyes when he sees Jeongguk, crouching behind the counter with his eyes trained on the customer clad in a grey hoodie, but he (thankfully) doesn’t comment.
He keeps stealing glances at him though.
As soon as the man is out of the store, Jeongguk grabs Sana’s elbow. “Just please, don’t tell him I’m here. I’m buying you food if you don’t out me.”
“For me and Nayeon?”
“What? No. I’m not buying food for your girlfriend-”
Sana turns around, her face displaying no particular emotions even if her intentions are evil.
Jeongguk tugs on her arm before she can raise her voice, garbling out a panicked sound. “Ok, jeez. You’re a menace AND a blackmailer. I will remember this, mark my-"
“Good morning! How can I help you?”
Taehyung is still far enough for Jeongguk to duck down and hide without being seen. Sana has a cheery smile on her face, the kind of overly sweet expression that can’t be anything but false.
Taehyung seems a little weirded out by the cashier being so cheery at 3am, but he looks more surprised than disgusted, maybe a little amused.
“...Good morning, I guess. I just, uhm, just have to pay these.”
Jeongguk hears the crinkling sound of plastic bags hitting the counter.
Sana hums and starts scanning the items, but he can tell that she’s taking her sweet time.
“How was your day?”
She’s doing this to make him suffer. No cashier enjoys small talk, she’s just doing it because Jeongguk is acting strangely enough to amuse her and she will milk the situation as much as she can.
He will /poison/ her and Nayeon’s food when he buys it.
Well. Maybe not Nayeon’s. She’s a sweet girl.
“It was.. Not the best, actually. Kind of stressing. I came here because I couldn’t sleep.”
Taehyung has a voice that’s deep and soothing, the kind that would be perfect to read a bedtime story. Still, there’s an edge of tiredness that makes Jeongguk’s heart ache.
He wonders if maybe it is his fault. The tiredness, the heaviness.
“Sorry to hear that.” Sana is genuine when she tells him this. She’s mischievous but sincere, and she would never be rude to strangers just to be mean.
Jeongguk is another story, though.
“What happened? Problems with some ex?”
He whips his head towards her, mouthing a “what the fuck” even if she can’t see it since her gaze is fixed straight ahead, where Taehyung is gaping like a fish.
Jeongguk debates if punching her leg would be worth it, considering that at that point
Taehyung will surely notice that there’s someone crouching behind the counter like an awful game of hide-and-seek.
But Taehyung takes it far better than Jeongguk expected. The reporter laughs out loud, the kind of unprompted, genuine chuckle you get with a well-placed joke.
When he speaks again, his voice sounds warmer, lighter.
“Oh no, that wouldn’t be an issue. I’ve been single for so long that my ex wouldn’t recognize me after I hit puberty.”
This time is Sana that laughs, pausing from scanning his purchases to cover her mouth with her hands.
Jeongguk’s ears perk at that. So. No /boyfriend/. That’s double good news.
Jeongguk was almost sure that Taehyung was either gay or bi, but if there’s something queer people have in common is that they won’t believe you’re queer unless you explicitly state it.
It isn’t like they don’t pick up the signals - they do, believe me. But you can never trust unspoken signals fully. Better not to assume anything and wait for the metaphorical neon sign.
Maybe Taehyung using the word “daddy” so spontaneously /was/ his metaphorical neon sign.
Well. This is a confirmation, then.
“You should enjoy the single life, have fun! To cheer up, I mean.”
Jeongguk mind conjures up an image then, completely unprompted. Taehyung living his single life - dancing in a club, drinking and laughing with his friends.
Taehyung prefers comfort in his style of clothing, even if that doesn’t hinder his fashion in any way. He has his own style, colorful and peculiar, with wide pants and large sweaters.
He wonders how would he look like in a party getup.
With skinny jeans or elegant slacks, maybe with a shirt in some bold color. Would he be shy, flushing red like when Jeongguk complimented him? Or would he be daring, like he was even when tied up?
Jeongguk is blushing before he can stop himself.
He can’t think of Taehyung and pretty clothes and the words /tied up/ if he wants to, you know, not be a total creep. Because if he lets himself he will think about it and his mind will wander, curious and ready to fill the blanks, creating images out of nowhere.
He’s realizing more and more that he knows just a fraction of Taehyung’s life and he’s starving for more - he wants to discover him like he’s an uncharted territory, wants to know /everything/ he can.
“Maybe I should.”
He can almost see what kind of expression he’s making. The sultry eyes, the wiggle of his strong eyebrows. Taehyung must be wearing the same bold charisma he had when he called him /pretty boy/, when he toyed with Bunny like he would with clay - shaping
and molding him so easily, Jeongguk so pliant it was almost laughable.
Bunny is the one with superpowers, but Taehyung? He must be a witch, weaving enchantments in his words, because Jeongguk is always left mesmerized. The journalist has far more power over him than anyone else.
The journalist is silent for a while, maybe pondering Sana's suggestion. When he speaks again, there's some determination in his tone.
“It has been a long time since I let myself go a little, you know? I’m always so busy.”
Yeah, with his work and getting kidnapped at least once a week. Jeongguk feels in equal parts guilty and smug - he doesn’t want to hinder Taehyung from having a normal life, but at the same time he’s petty and he basks in the fact that Taehyung is spending time with him.
(And yeah, he doesn’t do it voluntarily. He knows that. But last time Taehyung said that he enjoys their time together and he has always been sincere, to the point of being blunt. So Jeongguk believes him. He always does.)
“Go out then! Live a little! You’re young and, if I might add, quite good-looking.”
Jeongguk is going to hit Sana the moment Taehyung is out of sight. Is she /flirting/ with him? She has a girlfriend! And Taehyung is- well, he’s single. And free. And admittedly stunning.
Suddenly the idea of the journalist "living his best life" doesn’t sound so appealing anymore.
“Me? Ah, no,” he mutters, and Jeongguk just /knows/ there’s a blush high on his cheeks, knows that there’s something shy and flustered in his stance.
He considers looking for a mirror so he can see him without peeking out of the counter, but he doesn’t have one and he doubts that would work well anyway.
From the sound of things being put in a plastic bag, he guesses Sana must be done with scanning his stuff.
They exchange some more words. Taehyung pays and then he’s gone. Jeongguk wonders if he lives nearby. He hopes so, the streets are never safe at night.
Now that silence is reigning again he lightly slaps Sana on the leg. He wants to tell her off but honestly? His brain is fried.
He’s still crouching behind the counter, a little shell-shocked.
He can’t believe he was so close to the journalist without the mask protecting him, without the identity of Bunny to hide behind. It felt like meeting a celebrity while you’re grocery shopping.
He feels warm and giggly and he wants it again. He wants to be the one chatting with him while he scans his items, he wants to talk and ask how his day went and see him smile when he makes a joke.
He gets some of this even when he’s under the guise of Bunny of course, but it’s different. Less natural. Less normal.
He wants normalcy. He wants a Taehyung who doesn’t have to put up walls, facades. He wants all of that, and he doesn’t know if he will ever be able to get it.
So immersed in his thoughts, he almost forgot about Sana. She's has been silent, but he should've known it wouldn't last for long.
“So. That your crush or something?”
“He’s so /cute/.”
“When I complimented him, he hid his face behind his hands and he had this big smile? Like, so big-”
“So big it takes over his whole face!! I know!! And you heard his giggle-”
- Gguk asked Sana her phone to scream on twitter. He has Tae's notifications on.
- Jimin is a worried soulmate
- socks are great!!
- Tae is a tiny bit dramatic
- you know when you reflect on your life and realise that you never had a true romantic connection with anyone and maybe it's because you are destined to be alone? yeah me too ahaha
- throwback to the beginning
- let's talk
“Let’s say that I, hypothetically, think I have a crush on someone”
“Yeah Jiminie, keep up. I’m telling you a hypothetical situation”
“Yeah, ok. Go on.”
“So let’s say I have a crush on someone but. How do I really know?”
“... I’m lost. How do you know what?”
Taehyung exits the metro station, being careful not to lose his messenger bag in the crowd. He doesn’t have to be at work today, but he’s working on an article and he focuses better when he’s out. When he’s home he tends to procrastinate.
“How do I know it’s a crush and not an infatuation. Like what if I try to pursue this hypothetical thing and then I know them better and it ends.”
“Tae, it’s not that deep. If you like someone, go for it. If you don’t like them anymore, stop dating them. Easy peasy.”
Taehyung huffs. Yeah sure. He knows how this works - either the other person dumps him or he realizes he never really liked them that much in the first place and then he won’t dump them because he’s a coward and he’ll suffer until the other party will cut ties with him.
Yeah, his last relationship didn’t have exactly the /best/ ending.
“First of all, no one mention dating. Second, it is /not/ that simple. But I thought, maybe if I go out more and put myself out there I’ll realize if this is truly a crush or not.
Or if it’s just an infatuation because I’m lonely and every ounce of affection makes me fall for someone”
“Well. It isn’t a bad reasoning, I guess. If you have a crush-”
“... if you HYPOTHETICALLY have a crush and you still think about them when you’re looking at other people, then I guess it’s a way to be sure of your emotions. If that’s what you need.”
“I don’t know Chim. I feel like all I’ve done lately is- oh, sorry”
Distracted by the call, Taehyung accidentally collides with another passer-by. Their shoulders knock together forcefully, almost enough to make Taehyung lose his balance.
He stifles a curse. Getting angry at random people won’t be beneficial to anyone and he was the one who wasn’t paying attention. He glances at the person he knocked his shoulder against and his eyebrows raise in interest.
The guy that almost shoved him to the ground is hot, he realizes, the type of hot that makes you turn your head because it’s impossible not to notice. Dark hair, pierced ears, wearing a modernized hanbok that doesn’t hide his strong frame.
Taehyung doesn’t exactly ogle him but he takes him all in while apologizing profusely. The guy watches him silently for a moment and he wonders if maybe he noticed he was low-key checking him out. He hopes not.
“Really, I’m sorry. I was distracted.”
He repeats himself, a bit worried by the silence. But the hottie waves his hand as if to disperse his worries and Taehyung relaxes, even if the other’s expression remains stony. Taehyung apologizes again and the guy nods, not a sound coming out of his mouth, then goes on his way.
He reminds Taehyung of someone, but he can’t seem to remember who. Probably some idol he thirsted over recently, or some side actor in a kdrama he doesn’t remember right now.
Or maybe he reminds him of someone else, someone who has been on his mind constantly in the last weeks.
But everything and everyone reminds him of /him/, so it probably doesn’t count.
Well. It’s not like it’s important anyway.
“Sorry Chim, I’m back. What was I saying? Oh yeah, the hypothetical situation…”
- the handsome guy in a hanbok isn't as collected as he seems