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May 3, 2021

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#taekookau getting out of a toxic relationship, all taehyung wants is protection this time around—after all the crazy things he was used to chasing before. a contract with his ex’s rival company doesn’t sound too bad. if it means watching that bastard reach his downfall.

tags: - tw // toxic relationship / abuse / manipulative behaviour (not between taekook) (will be tagged) - bartender taehyung x director of a company jeongguk - fake dating / contract dating - angst with happy ending - slight nsfw (will be tagged) - the ex is an oc

- more tags will be added whenever required. - dramatic :D - quote retweets are appreciated

[ wildflower ]

• “Fvcking bastard.” Taehyung winces as he grazes his finger against the cut on the corner of his lips, the blooming red staring right back at him through the mirror. “I cannot believe you’d actually do it.” Yoongi snorts, as he walks into the dimly lit bathroom.

Taehyung groans and turns towards the blonde haired guy. “I should have left him sooner before I found out he was a manipulative jerk. Wouldn’t have been this hard.”

“You say that every time you break up with one of your exes.” Yoongi rolls his eyes and walks out, Taehyung quietly following behind. There’s a few waiters preparing to open the bar, Yoongi and Taehyung tying their apron as well, taking their place behind the bar counter.

“It’s shocking that you’re still alive and well after all the dirt you’ve collected from those old geezers.” Yoongi muses out loud. “I forgot you don’t have that protection anymore now.” Taehyung sighs. “They were always not /old/.” He defends himself, slightly offended.

“Besides, Kang Hajoon was really a catch. Atleast before he became crazy possessive.” Taehyung shudders. “This is the fifth time I asked to break up with him and even then I had to /escape/ because he refused to let me go.”

“Even if it means you won’t be able to splurge his money like you’re used to?” Yoongi glances at him. Taehyung really did live a life of comfort when he was with Hajoon, there was no lie there. But...maybe it was too much.

Taehyung hums. “It was him who liked spending money. Knowing how much of a jerk he is, he’ll probably come by here when he finds out I left. I’ll probably have to be on the move atleast until he gives up. Or find someone who can give me protection from him.”

“Is he that controlling and possessive of you?” Something dark looks over Taehyung, his skin tingling in a familiar fear that grips his stomach and scratches uncomfortably against his chest.

“Anyways. I am not going back to him. It’s probably my last day working with you too.” “Sounds hard.” Yoongi mumbles, going back to his work. Taehyung smiles, taking it as Yoongi’s form of comfort. They were not that close to comfort each other in the first place.

Taehyung didn’t really have a plan as to what he should do next. He’s never had to run away like this before from a crazy ex. He always had something to hold over them just because he caught the interest of someone more powerful than his previous partner.

It worked in his favour quite well. He had blackmail material if he was ever in trouble but most importantly, he had someone to back him up because those people in power somehow got hooked to Taehyung and the way he knows how to /love/them.

Kang Hajoon, CEO and heir to one of the biggest business empire, seemed to be just as whipped for Taehyung as the rest. Taehyung knew he was seductive and alluring. He knows how to use it to his advantage. Living a hard life, he needed something he can use for himself.

Needed something that would keep him protected as much as he wanted love—even if he received it in the form of money, luxurious gifts and intimacy. He was fine with it. He also thought he was smart. That he could wrap Kang Hajoon around him and his bubble of love.

Except, this time around, Hajoon was the one who had Taehyung wrapped around him instead. Atleast he managed to get out of that cage for now. Except, he knew he wouldn’t be as safe as he felt all the other times before.

Kang Hajoon really was crazy and Taehyung hates the fact that he fears the man more than he fears death. Especially when Taehyung also had someone he needed to protect. He really jumped into a lion’s den this time and he had no idea how to move far from it.

“You’re spacing out.” Yoongi nudges at Taehyung, bringing the latter out of the daze he is in. “I guess we have a VIP customer.” He nods towards the VIP section and sure enough, Taehyung sees a bunch of men in suits surrounding someone who’s seated on one of the chairs.

“I wonder who it could be.” Taehyung sighs, moving around to check on the alcohol bottles. - “Is that him?” “Yes, Director Jeon.” Jin, his secretary answers, thumb sliding across the tablet and placing it in front of the man seated.

The pictures in the tablet are of Kim Taehyung, walking with his hands wrapped around the arm of Kang Hajoon, his business rival. “My sources say they’ve had an...ugly breakup just recently.”

Jeon Jeongguk hums. “Bring him over. I’d like to see if we can come to an agreement then.” “Okay, sir.” Jin says before walking downstairs towards the bar counter. Jeongguk watches with rapt attention and intensity as Jin falls into a conversation with him.

Taehyung listens, eyebrows rising in surprise before he moves his head and his eyes come into direct contact with Jeongguk, who’s looking right at him. Then he slowly smiles, making Jeongguk smirk in certain anticipation. Maybe this wouldn’t be that bad if an idea after all.

🌺 When Seokjin arrives after his brief conversation with Taehyung, Jeongguk is a little curious as to why Taehyung didn’t follow him—instead, working on an order, the bar starting to fill up gradually.

He keeps his eyes trained on Kim Taehyung’s movements, the way he moves behind the counter, his gaze lifting to clash with Jeongguk’s once in a while along with the subtle lift of his lips as he looks away just as quickly. As if taunting him.

“” Seokjin hesitates to speak when he stands beside Jeongguk’s seat. “He asked you to go to him if you have business with him.” Jeongguk hums, the start of a bass boosted song resonating around the dimly lit bar.

“Very well.” He unfolds his leg and stands up straight, walking towards the counter—Kim Taehyung very much aware of his movements yet slyly pretending not to notice. Jeongguk finds it amusing.

“Playing hard to get?” Yoongi murmurs as he mirrors Taehyung’s action and prepares an order while glancing at the rich businessman walking their way. Taehyung doesn’t look up. “It’s always them who comes to me, Yoongi. If not, if they’re too shy, I make them.” He winks.

Yoongi lets out a disbelieved laugh. “You’re nuts.” There isn’t room for continuing the conversation because Jeongguk makes his presence known between the two co-workers and Yoongi shrugs, murmuring a “all yours” before tending to some other customer.

“What would you like to have, sir?”” Taehyung asks, turning towards Jeongguk, not an ounce of shame shown in the way he blatantly looks him up and down before his eyes stay locked with the dark yet amused irises.

“Your time. I’d like that. If possible.” Jeon Jeongguk—Taehyung remembers the man from earlier, Kim Seokjin, telling him—says, not wasting a breath. Taehyung smiles, leaning against the counter, his open buttons exposing his collarbones.

He even notices the way Jeongguk’s eyes briefly glance down at it. His smile grows sly. “Right off the bat, I see.” Taehyung muses. “I don’t like wasting time beating around the bush. Unlike others.”

Taehyung knows Jeongguk is referring to him. There’s a certain edge in the way Jeongguk is speaking to him. Casually but there’s a pinch of a warning hidden amidst his playfulness. It makes Taehyung shiver.

“Why’d you send your man over earlier when you could have prevented /wasting/ time by coming over yourself then?” Taehyung raises his eyebrow as he stands straight, arms folded in front of him.

There’s a split second where their gazes clash, an intensity rumbling between them until Jeongguk blinks and nods. “Touchè.” “I can give you my time.” Taehyung continues speaking when he receives another order and starts preparing for it.

“But only after my shift.” He glances at Jeongguk and smiles easily. “As you can see, I’m a busy man. Also, if you want something, you should wait a little.” “I can see that. I’ll wait. When does your shift end?” Taehyung pauses.

He had thought Jeon Jeongguk would be an impatient man. He looked that part for some reason but maybe it was an assumption which favoured until he had to see it for himself.

“You’ll wait?” Taehyung is pleasantly surprised. “You must be really into me.” He laughs, pushing a glass of martini before Jeongguk—a free drink so to say. “Let’s say that.” Jeongguk muses, accepting the drink and tipping it towards Taehyung before taking a sip.

Taehyung bites his lips. Jeon Jeongguk /is/ a handsome man, no doubt. A handsome man, who’s also really rich, implying his interest on Taehyung feels like a jackpot deal for him. He’s curious, interested and turned on.

He knows he’s playing with fire because the name Jeon Jeongguk is not unknown to him.

Especially when Kang Hajoon had made sure to express his distaste for Jeon Jeongguk on more than one occasion and Taehyung knows just what kind of people irked Hajoon:

the ones who had the upper hand, who were mostly relentless and tenacious even. This should be fun.

“Two hours.” Taehyung says, heart thumping a little too loud. “You know where to find me.” Jeongguk says, taking his drink and walking away towards the VIP section. Taehyung doesn’t stop staring until Yoongi nudges at him.

“You both were literally eye-fvcking each other. Disgusting.” Yoongi shudders. Taehyung snorts. “We’ll probably be doing more than that by the end of my shift.”

“You think he can give you the protection you need?” Yoongi glances at the VIP section which were filled with men who seemed like bodyguards. “He seems like a big deal.”

“Probably.” Taehyung hums. “Let’s see what happens.” He sighs. The rest of his shift, Taehyung feels that burning gaze all over him. And strangely enough, he likes it. More than he’d like to admit.

🌺 Two hours later, Taehyung discards his apron in the back room and gets hold of his jacket, deciding to hold it in his arms instead of putting it on.

One of the reasons being him wanting to physically appeal to Jeon Jeongguk. Another reason being it was just a little hotter inside the bar. He has a feeling they would be having a long conversation, among other things.

When Seokjin approached him, he had thought he could have some good time with a man adorned with luxury until he pointed out that Jeon Jeongguk wanted to talk to him first. The name did catch his attention.

Mostly because he had the privilege of witnessing Hajoon lose his cool at the mention of Jeon Jeongguk, and Hajoon hardly looses his cool. Of course Taehyung would be interested to know what Jeongguk had to talk to him about.

And with how their very short conversation transpired at the bar counter, Taehyung is sure he wouldn’t mind having a taste or let Jeongguk have a taste of him as well. Why waste something that came barreling straight towards him?

“I talked with the boss.” Taehyung says to Yoongi when he walks out and passes by the bar. “I’ll probably have to be on the run after tonight.” “You seem pretty happy about that.” Yoongi points out Taehyung’s obvious grin, which is plastered on his face.

“It’s been a while since I felt that thrill.” Taehyung laughs and Yoongi just sighs because he doesn’t know if Taehyung is joking or actually being serious. He could never read Taehyung anyway. “Then see you whenever?” Taehyung smiles. “Sure.”

When Taehyung turns towards the VIP section though, there is no sign of Jeon Jeongguk or his men in suits. For a split second, he wonders if he had just been played, which would have been very disappointing. He doesn’t know why. He had thought he didn’t have any expectations.

But that thought gets washed down when a big burly man, in a suit, suddenly steps infront of Taehyung. “Director Jeon has booked one of the VIP suites. I am to take you there.” Taehyung raises an eyebrow but nods. “Fancy. Lead the way big guy.”

Upon entering the VIP suite room, which is a room for more private business and gatherings, Taehyung notices Jeongguk seated on one of the plush couches,

a glass of whiskey on one of his hands while the other is holding his phone—the dim lights not taking away his handsomeness one bit.

There are lesser bodyguards this time and there is no Kim Seokjin even. Taehyung grins and makes his way towards Jeongguk, instead of the adjacent couch the big burly man was ushering him to, directly sitting down on the man’s lap and wrapping his arms around his neck.

“You waited.” He greets Jeongguk, his cheeks a dusty pink— the effect of the few shots he had taken during the course of his shift. “I told you I would.” Jeongguk replies, placing the glass on the table and shifting a little so that Taehyung is seated more comfortably.

His words contradict his actions though, when he continues speaking, “There are a lot of empty seats.” Taehyung tightens his arms around Jeongguk. “I think this is the most comfortable spot.”

Jeongguk smells really good, Taehyung observes—the scent of an expensive perfume, it makes him dizzy yet he cannot get enough of it somehow.

They’re staring at this point, so Taehyung just says fvck it and decides to go for it, leans in to capture Jeon Jeongguk’s lips, which would probably taste like expensive whiskey—only for a finger to press against his lips, preventing him from leaning further.

Taehyung’s eyes are questioning, hints of frustration sparkling in his hazed orbs. It’s obvious that there is some tension between the two of them, so why? Taehyung is just about to protest when he gasps, as he feels Jeongguk squeezing his hips instead.

“Don’t try anything and go sit on the couch. We need to come to an agreement first.” Jeongguk speaks, the same tone he used earlier. Casual, yet a warning hidden somewhere there. “Then are we going to continue with this after we.../discuss/ whatever we have to?”

Jeongguk squints his eyes up at Taehyung, not saying a word but Taehyung can sense the edge in his gaze. Jeongguk really is warning him. Well, maybe he thought wrong about a good sex. “Fine.” Taehyung pouts, moving away from Jeongguk’s lap and plopping on the couch instead.

“You’re no fun.” Taehyung groans, leaning his head against the couch. “You seem to have gotten everything you wanted until now for you to be whining like that.” Jeongguk muses and Taehyung hates the fact that his stomach twists in wild arousal.

🔞 mild nsfw He lifts his head up and looks at Jeongguk. “So you really won’t give it to me?” “Give what?” Jeongguk raises an eyebrow and Taehyung can see that he’s challenging him in a way. Maybe Jeongguk doesn’t know Taehyung is shameless. He smirks. “A good fvck.”

The bodyguards react as Taehyung expects them to. Some clearing their throat and some just looking plain uncomfortable. “Or are you not confident?” Something dark looms over Jeongguk’s eyes but it goes away as quickly. Taehyung smiles knowing he somehow got to him.

“This is not what I came here for. Let’s get down to business, shall we?” Jeongguk sighs, leaning back against the couch. “I’m curious.” Taehyung nods, leaning the back of his head against the couch again.

It is in that moment then, when the door to the room opens and Seokjin walks in, a suitcase in his hand. He nods at Jeongguk first before turning to Taehyung and doing the same.

Taehyung is just really curious now. He had been sure that Jeon Jeongguk was interested in him but it didn’t turn out to be so—much to his own disappointment. So what could Jeongguk be interested about that involves Taehyung directly?

Jeongguk folds a leg over the other before ushering at Seokjin. “Everyone else, out.”

The bodyguards file out of the room at the command while Seokjin sits down opposite to Taehyung, pushing the suitcase towards him on the table as soon as the door closes and the three of them are the only ones in the room.

Seokjin then opens the suitcase and there’s money inside. A lot of it. Taehyung stares at it for a moment before lifting his gaze up at Jeongguk. He may appear calm on the outside but he’s just as shocked and surprised at the amount of money placed in front of him.

“There’s 2 billion won. It’s all yours if you sell us information about Kang Hajoon and his dirty business tricks. Preferably all his illegal dealings.” Taehyung lets out a laugh before he’s comfortably settling on the couch, eyes relaxed and not giving anything away.

“And what makes you think he talks to me about whatever tricks he pulls during his business dealings? I might have just been a pretty arm piece for him. Someone who only satisfies him and nothing more?” He raises an eyebrow, anticipating Jeongguk’s reaction.

“You say that but the fact that you’re cautious tells me you’re smart. The rest just jumped at the chance before I could even finish my sentence.”

// mentions cheating Taehyung lets out a disbelieved noise, quickly shifting in his seat and leaning in straight. “You mean to tell me that jerk had relationships other than me? When we were together?”

Seokjin nods. “During my investigation, I found out he had two other partners in each of his Gangnam and Songpa-gu penthouses. Both males and in their 20’s.”

“Wah.” Taehyung nods, leaning back again. “I didn’t think he would be the cheating type but turns out he’s an asshole through and through.” He bites his lips. “I mean, if he had other partners, why the hell was he so obsessed with me? He can easily go to them. Right?”

Taehyung doesn’t understand. He’s a little irked at the fact that he was being cheated on even though he had expected it at some point in his two years relationship with Kang Hajoon.

But with the way Hajoon was treating him, maybe he was a fool to believe that he was the only one for someone as twisted as Hajoon. The lies he was fed when kisses were shared, making him want to cocoon in that warmth that he was being provided with. Taehyung feels angry.

“That’s why we came to you. He’s obsessed with you.” Jeongguk says. “Meetings, dinner parties, even his own office, he used to take you everywhere. You weren’t hidden like the other two are.

Even if you say you might be an arm piece for him, I’m pretty sure you observed what was going on during those kind of dealings. Maybe you pretended to play dumb around him but like I said, you’re smart.”

“And you think what you’re doing is morally ethic as well?” Taehyung questions. “You’re literally offering me money to snitch on my ex-boyfriend the same day I broke up with him. You looked into our relationship even. What makes you think I’ll help you?”

Jeongguk subtly smiles and grabs his glass of whiskey, swirling around the alcohol inside it. “There’s a difference between breaking up and running away, Taehyung-ssi.” Taehyung stiffens. Just how much does Jeon Jeongguk even know?

“What I’m doing is not exactly illegal either. I’m paying you for your services. Just a little less professional, is all. Or do you need more money?” “Are you doing this fuelled solely by your hatred towards Hajoon?” Taehyung wonders out loud, ignoring Jeongguk’s question.

Jeongguk sighs. “I’m not petty like him. But I also don’t condone anyone messing with me and my company. He had this coming for him.” Taehyung smirks. “Seems to me that you’re petty yourself. Maybe a little less than him, but petty none the less.”

“We’re not here to talk about me.” Jeongguk scrunches his eyebrows and Taehyung notices the start of frustration seeping in. Maybe Jeongguk is not as composed as he seems to have shown him to be. “Do you need more m—“ “How old are you, Jeongguk-ssi?”

Jeongguk presses his lips together. “Do you have a knack of straying out of a conversation randomly?” “I just wanted to know how old you are.” Taehyung shrugs, blinking innocently. Jeongguk pauses. “27.” “Wait really? I’m 29. You can call me hyung.” Taehyung grins.

Jeongguk sighs, yet again, before leaning back and ushering Seokjin to go out—probably to get another suitcase of money. When Seokjin leaves though, Taehyung leans in and examines the open suitcase filled with money. “Is there really 2 billion won here?”

“Yes.” Jeongguk responses. “Money really is used for everything huh.” Taehyung muses before closing the suitcase down. “But, I don’t need your money for that.”

“Can you consider—“ “No no, I’ll help you. He has too much pride, that Hajoon.” Taehyung shudders. “But I have a different proposal.” “What kind of proposal?”

“Of course I’m not saying no to money.” Taehyung smiles, sliding his fingers across the suitcase. “You can spend on me however you wish to. But, I need protection more than money.”

Jeongguk is surprised. “Protection? From Hajoon?” Taehyung thinks about it. “Well, if you looked into me, you might have come across the people I’ve been in a relationship with the last decade. Be it openly or as a dirty secret.

I have quite a lot of information that can ruin careers if I choose to open my mouth.” Taehyung pauses, noticing the way Jeongguk is even considering it all. Cute.

“So it’s pretty obvious word about my break up with Hajoon has reached the ears of those who were waiting for a chance to take me down. Hajoon was a shield but I could not accept it anymore so I’m more or less in danger, be it from Hajoon, that psychotic bastard,

or the old geezers who are too scared of letting me out freely. How much ever I think, you have the upper hand over all of them. No one would dare touch Jeon Jeongguk’s possession right?” Jeongguk looks at Taehyung, obvious frustration present in his gaze.

“You are not anyone’s possession. Don’t say that.” Taehyung finds it weird. The way warmth spreads across his chest at those words. It’s different than the words he had been used to hearing.

“Anyway, as I was saying. Keep me beside you. Atleast until I help you out and find a way to get away from all this. I do want to travel a lot so maybe I will keep the money as escape funds for later.” Taehyung wonders out loud.

Surprisingly Jeongguk chuckles, which in turn surprises Taehyung. He does have a nice laugh. “So a dating contract?” Jeongguk hums.

“Yes. Maybe 6 months? I mean I do want to see Hajoon crumble seeing me with his enemy.” Taehyung laughs. “If he’s as obsessed as he makes it out to be. He is very meticulous when it comes to his image in the business world. I’m sure he won’t try anything in broad daylight.”

He grins. “I’ll be satisfied just seeing him not able to do anything for once.” “Usually, people would be too scared to taunt an already wounded person.” “I’ll be delighted.”

Jeongguk cracks a smile. “Very well then. I help you get your own twisted revenge if you help with mine. Plus the money.” Taehyung pauses for a moment before he stands up and plops down next to Jeongguk, face leaning dangerously close. Jeongguk doesn’t move.

“You sure you don’t want anything else? Sex doesn’t have to have meaning all the time, you know?” Jeongguk sighs and flicks Taehyung’s forehead making the latter move back in pain, lips jutted out in an annoyed pout.

“Value yourself more.” Jeongguk just says. Taehyung feels warm all over again.

🌺 To sum up Taehyung’s night, it turned out to be undoubtedly eventful. Who would have thought Jeon Jeongguk himself would be coming to see him? Or that Taehyung would fall into a contract dating scheme with Jeongguk for that matter?

Bizarre, yet eventful. After he accepts Jeongguk’s offer to drive him home for the night, he stands in front of his apartment and faces Jeongguk who had surprisingly walked him to his door.

“Are you the type to treat your partner really gently and with mannerisms on top of that?” Taehyung asks, as he leans against the wall next to the door. “It’s a sweet gesture but not really my type. I’d rather you come inside, you know?”

Jeongguk clears his throat and Taehyung notices the tips of his ears getting red. He looks different than the time he had talked about his business. Is Jeon Jeongguk not used to relationships?

“Then, goodnight. I’ll send a car tomorrow so that we can meet and go through our end of the bargain.” Jeongguk says instead and Taehyung sighs in disappointment.

“Sure. Thanks for walking me home.” Taehyung pushes himself away from the wall and waits, leaning his face closer to Jeongguk. Jeongguk looks confused for a second. “What?”

“Not even a goodnight kiss?” Taehyung blinks up and that makes Jeongguk sigh. “What are you so shy for? We’re dating now, aren’t we?” He smirks. “Or is this y—“

Suddenly, Taehyung’s back is pressed against the wall and Jeongguk has his hand rested on the wall next to Taehyung’s head, lips hovering right above Taehyung’s, warm breath fanning over so gently, it sends shivers down his spine.

“You really do test me.” Jeongguk says, eyes glancing down at Taehyung’s lips before he looks up and gets locked in his gaze instead. “Don’t.”

“I’m not sure.” Taehyung leans even closer, lips brushing slightly, knowing that if he moved even a little, they would be kissing. “I think I’d like to see how much I can test you. It’s kind of fun. You holding back when all you want is to let go.”

Taehyung feels Jeongguk’s gaze turning dark, like it did at the bar and he smirks, thinking that Jeongguk will give only for the latter to lean and lightly peck Taehyung’s cheeks before pulling away completely, the cold air seeping between them in the next instant.

He rolls his eyes and glares at a smiling Jeongguk. “You got your goodnight kiss. I’ll be leaving then.” “You sure you don’t want a proper kiss? Lips on lips? Tongue on tongue?” Taehyung calls out as Jeongguk walks away. “Goodnight Taehyung.” He says instead.

It doesn’t fail to bring a barely there smile on Taehyung’s face though as he opens his door and walks in for the night. He is relieved knowing that Hajoon does not know of this apartment of his, him having to keep it a secret ever since he had planned to leave.

But he still considers changing it just in case. He lets out a frustrated laugh, wondering just what kind of situation he had fallen into. Not a pleasant one at all.

It’s only a few minutes later when Taehyung is making his way towards the bathroom when the doorbell rings. A smile makes its way to his face as he walks towards the door, chest buzzing in slight excitement.

Did Jeongguk come back because he realised he was losing out on his offer? The thought makes Taehyung feel giddy somehow. He unlocks the door and pushes it open. “Did you change y—“ only to pause when he finds two men he has never seen, standing in front of his door.

Quick to react, Taehyung tries to close the door but one of the men holds it tight and pulls with so much more strength than Taehyung that the latter is yanked forward as well.

// mentions kidnapping Don’t create a scene and we won’t hurt you.” The other man says. “We have been given permission to do whatever we want to you as long as we bring you alive so it’s your choice.”

The smile Taehyung receives is sinister and he knows they won’t hesitate to use violence if he protests. “Is Kang Hajoon the one who sent you?” He asks nonetheless, hands trembling a little.

They don’t say anything, instead pulling Taehyung by the jacket. Taehyung can just sigh and prepare for what he has to face.

🌺 A continuous buzz brings Jeongguk out of his thoughts and he looks at the front where Seokjin is sitting next to the driver. “Your phone’s been buzzing for a while now.” Jeongguk says, looking out of the window.

“It’s not mine.” Seokjin looks confused as he looks behind. “Not mine either.” The driver informs when he notices both their stares on him.

“Then wh—“ Jeongguk stops speaking when he notices the phone on the seat beside him—where Taehyung had been sitting when they drove him to his apartment. It was placed upside down, so that’s why it got blended with the seat covers.

“Taehyung left his phone.” Jeongguk sighs, grabbing it and eyes immediately squinting when he notices the caller ID. It reads “Die bastard!” but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it is meant for Kang Hajoon.

Jeongguk suppresses a smile only for it to completely wipe off when the phone stops ringing and the notification bar pops up. Missed calls (867) Messages (1648)

“What kind of psy-“ He sighs and turns the phone off. “Take a U-turn.” “Sir?” The driver looks at Jeongguk through the rear view mirror, while Seokjin does the same while turning behind. “Turn the car. To where we dropped Taehyung off.”

“If it’s about returning the phone, you can do so tomorrow.” Seokjin offers but Jeongguk’s intuition says something is wrong. “Something feels off. I need to see him now.”

Seokjin nods and ushers the driver to turn around, and all through the ride back to Taehyung’s apartment, Jeongguk cannot stop shaking his legs and the anxious feeling that had suddenly overtaken.

🌺 Taehyung knows he can’t go back to Hajoon now. Not after all he had to go through to escape from his penthouse—which was more of a secured cage. If he allows the two men to drag him there, he doesn’t know when he’ll be able to escape again.

He doesn’t want to go through it all. Not when he had tasted freedom after so many months.

They’re walking towards the alleyway, further from the main road, one of the men’s hands still firmly gripping on Taehyung’s jacket. It’s dark and Taehyung finds it difficult to even see, stumbling a little once in a while.

But he suddenly gets an idea when the dim lights from the street lamp ahead shows him a pile of bricks and sand lying on the side of the narrow alleyway.

With a thumping heart, Taehyung wills himself to gather all the courage he can muster and pretends to stumble and completely fall down next to the pile of bricks.

“Shit. Can you watch where you’re going?” The man who was holding Taehyung’s jacket scowls, trying to get him to stand up. “Can you chill? I think I twisted my ankle.” Taehyung mumbles, pretending to be in pain. “It’s dark first of all so of course I’ll—“

// violence The man who had been silent for a while now yanks Taehyung’s hair and lands a punch right on his jaw. “Cut your bullshit and keep moving. We don’t have time.”

“Fuck!” Taehyung shouts, eyes watering at the impact. He grits his teeth and sneakily grabs a half broken brick with one hand while the other grabs a fistful of sand from underneath his thighs, where he’s seated.

“Hey. Get up.” The other man tries again when Taehyung makes no move to stand up. But he slowly gets up, only to throw the sand into both of their eyes.

In the confusion and shouts that follow, Taehyung closes his eyes and lands a hard blow on with the brick on one of the man’s head and makes a run for it, the faint curses reaching his ears from behind.

His goal is to reach the highway near his apartment at least. There are people there and they can help him. He stumbles a few times because of the dark but he keeps running, his chest getting tighter with every step, pants leaving his lips.

“Shit!Shit!Shit!” He curses over and over again because if he fails to run this time, it would be bad for him. Really bad. The thought causes dread to rise up along with his breathless pants. He reaches the highway thankfully and turns only to bump straight into a person.

“Taehyung?” The relief that washes over Taehyung at the sound of the familiar voice almost has his knee trembling and he stumbles yet again. But Jeongguk is there to catch him this time.

“What are you doing here?” Taehyung asks, struggling to catch his breath as he turns to check on the men following him. “Fvck. No time for a conversation. Let’s go.” Taehyung pulls Jeongguk’s arm towards the busy night street.

He cannot go to the apartment, for obvious reasons, but he needs f— Taehyung is suddenly pulled back and he notices Jeongguk holding his arm instead. “What’s wrong? Did you run or something?”

“Ran for my life.” Taehyung murmurs, trying to look behind Jeongguk in the sea of people. He notices the two men and he’s suddenly alert but they only glare at Taehyung and walk back in the opposite direction.

Of course they don’t want to create a scene with a lot of people around. Hajoon would hate that more. When the people are no longer in Taehyung’s sight, he releases a loud sigh and rests his head on Jeongguk’s shoulder,

his heart still beating loud and fast with all the adrenaline from earlier. “Let’s go to your ap—“ “No. Not there. I don’t want to be alone. Not after what happened just now ?”

Jeongguk pauses, not making a move to even push Taehyung away. “Did he come to see you?” “He sent some of his men. If I go back there again, there’s no telling if he will be the one to come this time.” Taehyung bites on his lips.

“I need to move places. Even more discreetly than last time. I don’t even know how the fuck did he know of this address.” But then again, it’s no surprise. Hajoon has connections everywhere.

“Come with me.” Jeongguk sighs, grabbing Taehyung’s arm and pulling him towards where his car is parked. Taehyung lets him. “What were you doing here though?”

“I was on my way to your apartment. You had left your phone in my car.” Jeongguk explains, handing out the phone to Taehyung. “There’s….a bunch of missed calls and messages.” Taehyung scoffs, checking the notifications before stopping in his steps.

He switches off the phone, takes out the sim, breaks it in half and throws both of it in the trash can nearby. “Better.” Taehyung dusts his hand and keeps walking forward. “You can buy me a new phone, right?”

“Sure.” Jeongguk says, following Taehyung from behind as a laugh escapes his lips.

Seokjin is nonetheless, surprised when he notices Taehyung get in the car, a smile and a wave thrown his way in greeting, along with Jeongguk. He questioningly glances at Jeongguk but the latter just shakes his head.

The drive to Jeongguk’s penthouse suite is silent for the most part—although Jeongguk had expected Taehyung to be the one talking—he was silently looking out of the window, like he had a lot to think about.

Halfway through, Taehyung falls asleep, the tiredness finally getting to him in the comfortable and warm car. When they do arrive, he wakes up when he feels someone shaking his shoulder and notices it’s Jeongguk,

who had already stepped out and had Taehyung’s side of the door open for him to step out as well. “You’re a heavy sleeper.” Jeongguk says when Taehyung yawns and sits up straight.

“Tired.” Taehyung rubs at his eyes before stepping out and letting Jeongguk talk to Seokjin about something before the car drives off. “Carry me.” Taehyung says when Jeongguk comes to him.

“You can walk.” “I know.” Taehyung deadpans. “I want you to carry me because I’m tired of walking.” “You sure want a lot of things.” Jeongguk rolls his eyes but it’s nothing but playful.

Jeongguk continues walking forward so Taehyung gives up trying to get him to carry him and instead latches himself onto Jeongguk’s arms. When Jeongguk looks at him questioningly, Taehyung smiles, pecking Jeongguk’s cheek.

“We need to show we are close.” He shrugs. “Who knows, someone might be watching.” “Were you asking me to carry you because of that reason?” “No.” Taehyung says. “I just really wanted you to.” He grins.

🌺 Jeongguk shows Taehyung the room he can use and leaves to go on his own. It’s big and spacious...but it feels lonely. A lot of things happened the same night and if Taehyung is being honest, he’s pretty shaken up. It just starts to hit him in the silence of the room.

What would have happened if the two men had succeeded in taking Taehyung back? What would Hajoon have done to him? Taehyung does not even want to think about it. He walks towards the connected bathroom and decides to shower the day away.

When he’s almost done, he hears a knock on the glass wall which is now fogged up. “I’ve left some clothes here for you.” Jeongguk says. “I’ll be waiting in your room.”

“You don’t want to join me?” Taehyung asks, smiling to himself. “Take your time.” Jeongguk says instead and walks out, leaving Taehyung a little frustrated and a little disappointed again.

Taehyung walks out after a few minutes, donned in the loose sweatshirt and pants Jeongguk had left for him, a towel around his neck. As informed, Jeongguk is in the room, leaning sitting down while leaning against the bed, fingers typing away on his phone.

Upon noticing Taehyung though, he sends one last text and puts his phone down. “I asked my men to bring your stuff here from your apartment. If you find it uncomfortable having them in your space, we can go and oversee the process as well. I’ll be with you too.”

Taehyung shakes his head. “I don’t have much stuff anyway.” He plops down on the bed and curls into a ball next to Jeongguk. “And I don’t want to go there.”

Jeongguk stays quiet for a while until he catches a few strands of Taehyung’s hair. “You’ll get the bed wet.” Taehyung sighs and sits up, facing Jeongguk.

He stares at the younger for a while until he asks him a question, “Are you impotent or something?” Jeongguk chokes on thin air. “What? N-No, I’m not. I’m perfectly healthy, thank you very much.” He scowls. “You really ask the most random questions, Jesus.”

Taehyung furrows his eyebrows. “Am I not pretty enough for you then?” He pauses and gasps. “Or do you prefer women? I didn’t even ask that before, sorry.” Jeongguk sighs. “It’s getting late. Sleep.”

“You always try to avoid this conversation.” Taehyung frowns. “I’m not going to cry over it, I’m just curious.” There’s a pause. “I prefer both.” Jeongguk says. “So the problem is me?” Taehyung asks, a glaze passing through his eyes without meaning to.

All the times he tried to prove himself to his partners, the memories and feelings involved then, washes down on him in waves. His chest stings. Jeongguk watches as the different emotions passes by Taehyung’s eyes in split seconds, then he lifts his hands up to caress his face.

“You have a good face.” Jeongguk says and that makes Taehyung smile somehow even though he’s rolling his eyes at Jeongguk’s supposed compliment. “You suck at compliments.”

Jeongguk smiles back, gently grazing his thumb across the soft skin, hand moving down to the juncture of Taehyung’s neck and shoulder instead. Taehyung sucks in a breath, Jeongguk’s touch sending tingles down his spine.

“The point is, you’re gorgeous.” Jeongguk says, taking his hand back only for Taehyung to hold it and bring it back to his cheeks, leaning against the touch. “Then why don’t you want to sleep with me? I told you, it doesn’t have to have meaning all the time.”

Jeongguk sighs and rubs at the tip of his nose before he’s looking at Taehyung again. “You being gorgeous does not mean it can be defined just by sleeping with you. You don’t need to feel validated just through sex, you know?”

Taehyung lets Jeongguk’s hand fall back. He wonders if it’s okay that way. Because Taehyung had always been told he’s good and that he’s gorgeous only when he’s under his partners. That’s the only way he knew that they still found him pretty enough to keep him around.

“You’re lying.” Taehyung says instead. Hajoon had told him that’s the only way to show his worth. Hajoon had to— Taehyung winces as he feels a headache coming through. Hajoon. That manipulative bastard.

The fact that he had been on the road to being brainwashed by that obsessive and psychotic jerk makes Taehyung shudder. He fights the thoughts that’s raging his mind and finally looks at Jeongguk who’s looking at him worriedly, almost pity.

“Don’t look at me like that.” Taehyung smiles warily. “You should go. I want to sleep.” Jeongguk looks like he wants to say something more but Taehyung looks like he doesn’t want to listen to anything. So he squeezes Taehyung’s hand and leaves the room.

Later in the night, when Jeongguk is laying wide awake, he hears a soft knock on his door. He sits up, watching as the door opens and Taehyung walks inside holding a pillow. He doesn’t say anything as he closes the door and climbs into bed next to Jeongguk.

“The bed was too big. I got lonely.” He simply says and snuggles closer to Jeongguk, putting an arm around his torso, face pressed against his side. “This okay?” Jeongguk nods and lies down as well, Taehyung shifting towards his chest instead. “It’s okay.”

🌺 “Here’s your new phone with a new sim card.” Seokjin says, handing the box to Taehyung who happily accepts it. “It’s already set up for you.” “Thanks hyung!” Taehyung smiles. Seokjin clears his throat when Jeongguk passes him a look.

“When are we meeting with Mr. Lee Gunho?” Jeongguk asks, sipping his cup of coffee while Taehyung looks through his new phone on the couch next to Jeongguk. “He should arrive at the office by 1:30. He has a court case earlier today.” Seokjin answers.

“Who’s Lee Gunho?” Taehyung asks, curious of the conversation taking place. “A lawyer of a firm that represents our company. You’ll be meeting him a lot to talk about Kang Hajoon. He’ll take care of the rest if you give him a tip-off.” Seokjin explains.

“So you’re doing it the legal way?” Taehyung muses. Seokjin nods. “We have no interest in doing dirty business like he does.”

“We can play dirty like him but we’re not him. His business ethics contradict a lot with the values my father set up the company with. I can’t stoop that low.” Taehyung leans against the couch, as if thinking.

// mentions murder Do I start off gentle or just go strong?” Taehyung smiles. Jeongguk and Seokjin exchange looks before their eyes land on Taehyung who looks as relaxed as possible.

“How gentle and strong are we talking about here?” “It as gentle as bribery and as strong as murder.” Jeongguk’s eyes darken. “Murder?”

“Of course he doesn’t get his hands dirty so you might not find anything that leads it directly to him but he has given orders for a few.” Taehyung presses his lips. “Just because he got pissed off. On of the reasons why I wanted to leave him. He’s crazy.”

“How much do you even know?” Seokjin looks disbelieved. “Did he ever think you wouldn’t be leaving or telling all of those to someone else?” Taehyung brings his knees closer to his chest and wraps his arms around him, a sudden chill raining down on him.

“The thing is he wasn’t letting me leave. Maybe he had planned to keep me with him forever.” He mumbles, chin resting on his knees. “He’s possessive and gets really scary when things don’t go his way. I wish I had seen the signs earlier but I guess I was too blinded as well.”

“I still don’t understand why he’s obsessed with me while still having other flings but I’m not going back to him. I rather see his downfall from somewhere far before he even gets to me.” Taehyung shivers. “He’s really crazy.” Seokjin sighs when the silence stretches.

“I’ll have to leave for now. There’s a meeting I need to oversee.” Seokjin says, standing up and looking at Taehyung, hesitating to say something but leaving after nodding at Jeongguk. It’s silent after that, just Jeongguk and Taehyung sitting next to each other.

“Are you looking at me with pity?” Taehyung suddenly asks, without even looking at Jeongguk, as if afraid that he won’t like the said emotion in Jeongguk’s eyes.

“Not really, no.” Jeongguk says. “I’m awed, surprisingly. You’re smart and have amazing observational skills. Hajoon must have known that too. Yet you still managed to escape from that cage.” “When you say it like that, I am pretty amazing, aren’t I?” Taehyung chuckles.

“You are.” Jeongguk simply says. A pause. “Did he...” When Jeongguk trails off with his question, Taehyung finally looks at him and notices the younger looking at his lips, specifically on the cut in the corner of his lips.

// mentions physical abuse “Did he hit me?” Taehyung asks it for Jeongguk and the latter’s silence confirms it. “He did slap me when I acted out and said I wanted to leave.” He scrunches up his nose. “He used to say he does it out of love.” He laughs humourlessly.

“Maybe I was too used to being treated that way before, that I accepted it as it was when it first started with Hajoon. He would shower me with immense affection and gifts and kisses after that so I always used to let it go.” Taehyung pauses. “Maybe I was the crazy one too.”

( a/n: a reminder that this au will have tws related to mentions of murder, mentions of abusive and manipulative behaviour (not bw taekook), mentions of panic attacks and an unhealthy mentality. it will show gradual character development so pls bear with me and the pace.

there will also be mentions of mild smut / nsfw stuff so minors pls don’t interact. tw will be added accordingly so you can stop reading if it’s not your cup of tea. now, back to the story )

“You’re not. With how you lived and with your circumstances, I may not understand it properly but, I going to say it’s what led you to to believe him and his twisted form of affection.” Taehyung turns to look at Jeongguk, cheeks resting on his knees. “You’re sweet.”

Jeongguk stares at Taehyung as well until Taehyung leans forward to kiss him but before Jeongguk can move away, Taehyung quickly grabs the back of Jeongguk’s hand while the other closes over Jeongguk’s mouth.

Jeongguk is confused but Taehyung just smiles and kisses on the back of his own hand, right over where Jeongguk’s lips are supposed to be. “Seokjin hyung was saying we were going somewhere?” Taehyung asks, moving back as if that didn’t happen at all.

Jeongguk blinks and gains comes out of his stupor when Taehyung stands up and stretches. “Uh yeah. There’s a business gala in a few days. I though we should go shopping for it and some other things while we’re at it.”

Taehyung’s eyes light up. “Did you say shopping?” Jeongguk nods. “I love shopping. I hope you’re ready to spend money on me, daddy.” Taehyung laughs as he runs towards his room, leaving a red faced Jeongguk behind.

Shopping is something Taehyung has always enjoyed. He was used to it, in a way—how his previous partners used to adorn him with luxury, a matter of showing-off on their parts, while Taehyung simply enjoyed the gifts he was bestowed with.

He had given up trying to find meaning behind every gift he was given, had given up trying to look for any sincerity behind the luxury, the next better than the last.

In the end, he concluded that emotions were fleeting, so he lived and loved recklessly, as long as he was needed until, he was not. He did not mind that way of living at all. He was showered with longing affection, be it as an equal partner or a decorative piece.

Until he met Hajoon of course. His psychotic and obsessive tendency was something Taehyung could not handle; no matter how much he used to say he loved him. His gifts did make Taehyung feel seen and loved at one point, it always had a lot of thought that went into it.

It never failed to make Taehyung’s stomach flutter when he received them. He begins to wonder when that fluttery feelings turned tight and suffocating.

Taehyung sighs, mulling over why he is even thinking about Hajoon at a time like this. It starts to piss him off.

He quickly looks towards his right where Jeongguk is sitting, scrolling through his iPad—office work maybe. It had been silent like this, ever since they stepped out of his penthouse and towards the mall where they were supposed to go shopping for the gala.

“Why are you staring?” Jeongguk suddenly asks, eyes not even lifting from the files he is reading through. “Just thinking how hot you look when you’re working.” Taehyung honestly answers.

He receives no reaction except the subtle red on the tip of Jeongguk’s ears. “But seriously, do you have to work now? I am right here. Pay attention to me.” Jeongguk looks at Taehyung then and the latter does the same until Jeongguk turns and keeps his iPad away.

It makes Taehyung smile. “We have around fifteen minutes to get there.” Jeongguk says, looking at his watch. “Do you have—“ With Taehyung suddenly moving close to him, lips leaving fluttery kisses on Jeongguk’s neck, it has the director sitting still in surprise.

“What are you doing?” Jeongguk points the question at Taehyung, but also noticing the way the driver is glancing at them through the rear view mirror, quickly looking away and concentrating on the road instead when he meets Jeongguk’s icy glare.

Taehyung smiles against Jeongguk’s neck, kissing a spot there before sitting up straight but making no move to go to where he was initially seated on the far left, instead sticking close to Jeongguk,

moving his arm up front so that he is holding Jeongguk’s hand and keeping their entwined hands on his lap. “Getting a little frisky.” Taehyung says. “You looked hot so I wanted to mark you up. Too bad you’re wearing a necktie.”

He tsks, glaring at the clothing accessory donned around Jeongguk’s neck. “You should have told me first.” Jeongguk sighs again, rearranging his necktie which Taehyung had pulled down a little during that moment of “marking him”.

“You don’t like me doing that? We’re dating aren’t we?” Jeongguk glances at the driver, who is clearly listening in to their conversation. He wonders if Taehyung is doing this to lay the base of their relationship to the driver. Is it even needed?

No one except them and Seokjin know that they have a soon-to-be-official contract binding them to a fake relationship.

He had thought he would get used to Taehyung’s personality and random whims regarding the physical aspect in their relationship but maybe there is a lot of time before he gets to that.

“I don’t like it when you do it without asking me.” Jeongguk chooses to stay instead, focusing on their entwined hands. It feels warm. “Okay then.” Taehyung smiles. “Can I kiss you?”

Out of the two of them, Jeongguk realizes he is probably the surprised one because Taehyung is anything but surprised. He smiles, gentle yet teasing, as if waiting for Jeongguk to make the first move, even when he is the one who asked for it. He really is a sly one.

"Can I?" Taehyung asks again, voice almost a whisper, and Jeongguk is well, /tempted/. He knows that he has been ignoring the obvious tension between him and Taehyung ever since they met last night.

He's not stupid to not know that they find each other attractive, but under the circumstances that they had met and the events that followed after, Jeongguk did not want to seem like he is taking advantage of Taehyung, or that he has other motives just because of their agreement.

Even if Taehyung is the one offering and open to something intimate between them. There is always that hesitance present whenever it happens. Taehyung suddenly moves back and the movement brings Jeongguk out of his trance.

"It's just yes or no." Taehyung mumbles, resting his head comfortably against the leather seats. "If you don't say anything even when you look like you want to devour me, it'll make me confused, you know?"

Jeongguk looks out of the window, thinking if he really looked that way to Taehyung. He doesn't say anything though and Taehyung doesn't ask anything else either, the previous silence making itself known between them again.

Their hands stay interlocked throughout the rest of the drive, Jeongguk unconsciously rubbing his thumb across Taehyung's skin and if Taehyung is aware of it, despite his closed eyes, he doesn't comment on it, delving into the subtlest bit of comfort it provides for him.

15 minutes later, Jeongguk and Taehyung both step out of the car in front of the huge JEK centre, the biggest shopping mall in the country, with more brand stores than any other.

Taehyung is in awe at the structure, eyes literally lighting in excitement when he looks around, waiting for Jeongguk to finish talking to the driver before he makes his way next to Taehyung.

"I always wanted to shop from here." Taehyung says, holding Jeongguk's arm, slightly enjoying the attention they are receiving. He notices the two bodyguards who had suddenly appeared behind them, realizing that Jeongguk really is an important person.

The bodyguards might have attracted attention from the people walking around the mall but it doesn't change the fact that their eyes are on the couple as well. "You never shopped from here?" Jeongguk asks, nonetheless.

"Not in person." Taehyung responses. "Hajoon didn't really like it when I said I wanted to come here." Jeongguk snorts at that, his laugh almost amused. "Of course he didn't." Taehyung is confused. "Do you know something I don't?"

Before Jeongguk can reply, a man in a suit, followed by a few employees in uniforms, rush towards the couple. "It's so great to have you come in person Mr. Jeon." The middle aged man leading the entourage says, bowing in greeting, the rest following suit.

"The gala is in a few days." Jeongguk nods in greeting. "I thought I should come and select our outfits myself. Especially my partner's. This is his first time attending.” "Oh! You have a partner this time." The man laughs heartily before turning towards Taehyung.

"Hello. I am Kim Daho, the managing director of JEK shopping centre. It would be an honor to show you around, sir." Taehyung blinks, a little taken aback, but he nods, shyness creeping up his neck.

"Shall we?" The man smiles. Jeongguk nods, letting the man lead the way. Taehyung leans in a little closer towards Jeongguk when there is a considerable distance between them and asks, "Are you that big of a deal that the managing director had to come welcome you?"

"I guess?" Jeongguk muses. "You guess?" Taehyung snorts. "I mean, I know you're some big shot but to be welcomed like this." He hums, as if trying to crack a difficult case.

"I think it's okay because I'm the owner of this centre amongst many. I did tell Mr. Kim that it was fine, that he didn’t have to show us around, but he insisted." Jeongguk answers for Taehyung instead.

"Right you are the o--" Taehyung pauses before looking at Jeongguk. "You're the owner of this place?" "That's what I said."

Taehyung lets out a sound of surprise mixed with amazement. "So I can come shop here anytime for free? DOo I get dating privileges?"

"It doesn't work that way." Jeongguk laughs while Taehyung grumbles. "I can give you my card though. You can come here anytime you get bored at home." "Sweet." Taehyung grins, leaning in to peck Jeongguk's cheek, surprising the latter once again.

Taehyung the quickly runs towards Mr. Kim, talking to him about the brands available in the mall, while Jeongguk just sighs and follows them quietly.

a little late but i made a playlist for this au :)…

ana · Playlist · 25 songs · 185 likes…


ana · Playlist · 25 songs · 185 likes

🌺 Jeongguk taps his fingers on his thigh as he watches Taehyung move around a particular branded store with ease. They have already walked into at least three of them—the many bags held by the bodyguards, a proof of Taehyung’s very delightful shopping spree.

“You look like I’m spending /all/ of your money.” Taehyung grins as he settles down next to Jeongguk, sipping an iced tea from a cup he had asked one of the bodyguards to bring for him. “If you’re that worried, you can use the money you were going to offer me, you know?”

“I’m not worried about that.” Jeongguk says, looking at his watch. “I’m just wondering how you’re not tired yet.” “Aww. You’re worried about me.” Taehyung coos, pinching Jeongguk’s cheeks, a few employees stifling their laughter at Jeongguk’s unimpressed expression.

“I did tell you I love shopping.” “Yes but you need to stop now. We have to go meet the lawyer, remember?” “Oh right!” Taehyung exclaims. “I was having so much fun that I forgot about it.”

“Now you know.” Jeongguk stands up, holding out his hand for Taehyung to take. Taehyung happily accepts it.

“Like I said,” Jeongguk pulls Taehyung closer and brushes the hair out of his eyes, their gazes clashing with a pull they are both resisting in the moment, “you can come shop from here anytime. Boyfriend privileges.”

Taehyung sneakily laughs, noticing a few people looking and whispering around them, so he snakes his arms around Jeongguk’s waist, hugs him tight and then smiles wide. “Best boyfriend ever.”

Jeongguk cannot help but laugh at that, wondering just how good they are at playing pretend. It felt too…natural, for someone he had met just a day apart, but he chooses to dismiss it instead.

“What the fuck is this?” Kim Namjoon sighs, before scrolling through the pictures one after another, instead of saying anything. Maybe he is just procuring the right words, maybe because he is just as shocked.

“I asked what the fuck is this Namjoon.” Hajoon grits his words out, eyes blazing in animosity and just pure rage. Namjoon does not even have to see it to know just how furious Kang Hajoon is.

“They are pictures of Taehyung spotted with Jeon Jeongguk at JEK center. Probably shopping for the gala.” He answers nonetheless, slightly nodding his head while glancing to the side,

after which the other men present in the room besides the two of them, shuffle outside just to save themselves from Hajoon’s wrath. After all, Kim Namjoon, their boss’ secretary and right hand man, is the one they trusted to calm the situation down before it escalates.

“I don’t care about the fucking gala. I want to know what Taehyung is doing next to Jeon fucking Jeongguk.” Hajoon spits out, eyes still boring holes into the electronic device.

“There are news articles saying they’re dating.” Namjoon says, flinching a little when Hajoon grabs the tablet and throws it across the room, the sound of something breaking following right after. It misses Namjoon’s head by a few inches.

“Bullshit. He was just with me yesterday morning. I know I upset him but he wouldn’t do that to me. No. He’s supposed to come back to me. Like all the other times. I-I didn’t mean to hit him.

He just made me angry saying he wants to leave. I really didn’t mean to. He will forgive me, right Joonie?” Namjoon gulps, words he wants to say right on the tip of his tongue.

The pictures of Taehyung smiling next to Jeongguk flashes in his head, an incoming headache making him want to sigh but he refrains from doing that in front of a baffled Hajoon. Namjoon knows what might happen.

“He will.” He chooses to say. Hajoon seems to like that answer because he laughs and lays down comfortably on the couch, eyes moving up towards the ceiling. “I knew you would agree with me.” Namjoon grits his teeth.

“He will forgive me. He must.”Hajoon says, smiling, until something dark looms over his eyes. “Jeon Jeongguk thinks he’s all that just because my precious Taehyung opened his legs in front of him. It’s okay, I’ll forgive him for this one. Taehyung /is/ irresistible.”

Namjoon clenches his jaw, finding his shoe interesting. “Namjoon.” “Yes?” “Prepare for the gala.” Namjoon blinks. “You’re going?”

“I just want to give my angel a visit. He’s still clearly upset. I need to make it up to him so that he’ll come back, shouldn’t I? It’s not nice of him to leave me for far too long.” Hajoon smiles, nothing affectionate about it. Namjoon nods. “Okay, sir.”

When Namjoon is finally outside the office door, he leans his back against it and sighs loudly. “Just what are you up to Kim Taehyung?” He says to no one in particular, his question getting unanswered and drowned in the silence of the empty hallway.

🌺 "What are you doing here?" Taehyung is confused with Jeongguk's question—mostly because he thought the person currently sitting down on the office couch would be the lawyer Lee Gunho Jeongguk had told him about. Apparently not.

"He had an urgent case come to him last minute." The man says, smiling, eyes glancing at Taehyung for a split second before it is back on Jeongguk again. "I'm offended you didn't come to me first."

Jeongguk rolls his eyes, sitting down on the couch in front of the man, Taehyung doing the same right next to Jeongguk. "I didn't because I knew you would be too excited about it. I need someone level-headed and you are not as composed when it comes to Kang Hajoon."

The man tsks. "I'm hurt that you would describe my work drive that way." He then turns and looks at Taehyung, the latter feeling scrutinized under the man's watchful gaze.

"You must be Kim Taehyung. I'm Jung Hoseok. A prosecutor at Jeonghwa. I've been handling all of Kang Hajoon's cases for a while now."

"Nice to meet you." Taehyung politely says. "It must have been frustrating not being able to win even one." He smiles. Hoseok's smile thwarts towards looking a little irked and discontented but he keeps it on nonetheless.

"It is." He agrees, much to Jeongguk’s surprise. Jung Hoseok is a man of pride, not willing to bow down to his failures. But maybe he is just as frustrated at this point because of Hajoon’s backhanded methods

"Kang Hajoon knows how to get away with his deeds. I believe you'll help me win my first case against him then?" Taehyung smiles, excitement brimming out of his eyes.

"Of course. You'll probably have enough leads when I'm done telling you what I know. I have a feeling Hajoon has no idea I would know all these but years of dating experience has instilled a blackmail-material-finding hobby for me. Amazing right?"

Hoseok lets out a laugh and looks at Jeongguk. "I like this guy. I thought Hajoon is a smart guy. Maybe he had finally met his match? Well then, Taehyung-ssi, shall we start?" Taehyung just smiles back, not noticing the slight uneasiness in Jeongguk’s stance.

The following days go by in a blur for Taehyung, especially because he is alone most of the time.

Hoseok comes by once in a while, or talks to him on the phone to convince him to testify but Taehyung refuses saying whatever he said would lead to Hajoon’s downfall if they tried hard enough to gather alternate evidence.

He knows he’s being petty but he does not want to face Hajoon like that. A business betrayal won’t affect him as much as seeing Taehyung by another’s side, loving them as he once did Hajoon.

He just wishes everything would align perfectly, regarding both the legal matters and his feelings. Taehyung had also planned on getting a new apartment unbeknownst to Hajoon but the memories of almost being taken to said person, made him dread that decision.

There are times when Taehyung feels helpless and frustrated that Hajoon had to impact a major part of his life and feelings. He hates when those happen. So, when Jeongguk offered that he could stay with him Taehyung did not hesitate to say no.

He is not really used to being alone, it always made him lonely. But this time, he is rather much more scared than feeling lonely, even if he does not show it. Jeongguk's place seemed like a better option with the high security.

It's the night before the gala and Taehyung has just taken a bath, the day having exhausted him from all the skin care he had been doing.

He has no idea if Kang Hajoon would be attending the gala, since his reason for not going the last two years, used to be spending time with Taehyung instead.

// mentions physical abuse While Taehyung felt special then, he rather not relive the memory either because all he remembers is tears and a bruised body in the name of making love. The rougher it was, the more live shared apparently.

Taehyung shudders, looking at his milky white skin in the bathroom mirror, fading bruises staring right back at him, reminding him of how he was ‘loved’. He feels disgusting. He clenched his teeth at his reflection before putting on the bathing robe and stepping into his bedroom.

He’s blow drying his hair when he hears the front door open, indicating Jeongguk’s arrival. They hadn’t been able to see each other in a while because of Jeongguk wanting to finish up as much work as possible before the gala.

The fact that Jeongguk is here early, before Taehyung has gone to bed, has the older excited for a number of reasons. Mostly because he wanted to just talk to someone.

He finishes drying his hair and ruffles it a bit before making his way towards the spacious living room in just the bathrobe, discarding the thought of putting on his clothes because he’s going to sleep soon anyway.

Carefully treading towards the couch where Jeongguk is currently seated, the back of his head leaning against the headrest, Taehyung smiles.

“You’re early tonight.” He says, coming from behind Jeongguk and wrapping his arms around his neck in greeting, cheeks gently brushing against Jeongguk’s own.

He scrunches his nose though when he smells something different than Jeongguk’s usual earthy scent. “Did you drink?” Taehyung asks, moving away from behind Jeongguk and walking towards the in-built bar counter in the corner of the living room.

“Should have invited me too.” He pouts, pouring himself a glass of wine. “Just a few glasses.” Jeongguk mutters, sluggishly removing his tie. “A few friends wanted to meet up. It would be distracting if you were there.”

Taehyung pauses his movements and looks towards Jeongguk with a sly smile. He seemed to be an honest drunk. “Really?” Taehyung asks, taking his glass of wine along with the bottle and plopping down next to Jeongguk. “How would I be distracting?”

Jeongguk turns his head to look at Taehyung, and only then does the latter notice the flush of his cheeks because of the alcohol, the haze in his eyes and him lazily blinking up at Taehyung, as if studying his face.

"My friends would be all over you." Jeongguk says, eyebrows scrunching as if frustrated. "I don't think I would like that." Something warm blooms in the pit of Taehyung's stomach, similar to the time in the bar. He cannot help but find Jeongguk's honesty endearing.

Maybe because Jeongguk had been treading on eggshells around Taehyung everytime they are together. So careful, as if afraid to make mistakes.

He wants to tease and pry a little more, wants to know just how honest he can get. "Why wouldn't you like that?" Taehyung asks, lifting his free hand to graze his fingers on the side of Jeongguk's cheek, barely touching but also making Jeongguk very aware.

Jeongguk just stares at Taehyung for a while before he sighs, looking away. "I don't know." "Want me to tell?" Taehyung offers. There is curiosity swimming in Jeongguk's gaze when he turns to look at Taehyung again, so Taehyung takes that as a yes.

"Because if they would want to touch me I would, maybe, let them." He whispers against Jeongguk's ears, feeling the shiver that rakes through his body.

"How would it feel to know that you could have done the same but you don't so your friends would have me instead? You won't like that, would you?"

Taehyung then takes a sip from the glass of wine, making eye contact with Jeongguk's now hazy ones, chest /preening/ as he watches Jeongguk visibly holding himself back.

He wonders just how thin the thread is, that's holding Jeongguk from doing what he actually wants. Taehyung is frustrated that Jeongguk does not want him the way he wants Jeongguk.

Maybe he /is/ spoiled, always getting what he wanted, /anyone/ he wanted. He knows when to not cross the line but he is frustrated because Jeongguk says another thing but his eyes fail to lie every time he looks at Taehyung.

He places the wine glass on the low table, leaning even closer to Jeongguk, grabbing his hand and bringing it to his face, resting his cheeks against the warmth of Jeongguk's calloused palm.

"How would it feel when you might witness your friends kiss me first before you even get to know how I taste like?" Jeongguk feels his breath hitch as Taehyung slides his hand down and brings it to his lips, leaving a soft kiss on Jeongguk's palm,

gaze not breaking from his for even one second. “Don’t you want to know how I would taste like?” Taehyung asks, smiling softly, lips an inch away, gently brushing. “If I taste like this wine I just drank or something sweeter when you explore deeper?”

"Can I ask you something?" Jeongguk asks instead of what Taehyung is expecting at this point. He is taken aback but he nods, continuing to play with Jeongguk's hand, not wanting to let go of that warmth yet.

Jeongguk is surely drunk so Taehyung had thought he would be honest with his actions as much as he is with his words. Just how much restraint does this guy have, he doesn’t know. He would be lying though, if he thought it didn’t make him curious.

“Are you okay with being intimate with no feelings involved?” Taehyung is confused. “What’s wrong with that?” “Isn’t it sad?” There’s a thump in Taehyung’s chest, it’s painful and unpleasant, resurfacing feelings gripping at his throat. He hates it.

“What’s there to be sad about?” Taehyung sighs, moving away from Jeongguk and grabbing the glass of wine again, gulping down a generous amount, the sweet taste turning bitter. “It’s just physical. Feelings need not be involved. They’re transient...feelings are.”

“But at the cost of not feeling yourself worthy of protecting what’s yours? I don’t think they’re transient enough to sell your worth like that. For just a few moments of pleasure. Is it worth it?” Taehyung looks at Jeongguk, eyes blinking shut, looking tired than he did.

“You’re drunk.” Taehyung concludes. “Are you the kind of drunk who gets all philosophical when you’re high?” He snorts. “Let’s get you to bed.” Jeongguk sits up straight and pulls at Taehyung’s wrist, pulling him closer.

It surprises Taehyung. The loud beating of his heart is because he’s surprised. “Can I kiss you?” Taehyung wonders why that question is affecting him the way it is. Didn’t he ask the same question a few days ago?

Why does Jeongguk suddenly want to kiss him? Did he finally crack? Taehyung lets out a laugh. “Of c—“ Before he can answer though, Jeongguk falls slump on his shoulder and Taehyung blinks in shock. “Hey. Jeongguk?” No answer.

He grits his teeth and huffs loudly, falling down on the couch, Jeongguk falling right on top of him, soundly asleep. “I can’t believe you fell asleep on me like that.” Taehyung sighs, looking down to see Jeongguk resting his head on his chest. “Idiot.” He murmurs.

🌺 The next morning, there’s a certain shift in the air that Jeongguk cannot exactly pinpoint. And of course, it has to do with Taehyung. He seems…angry.

They see each other during breakfast, Jeongguk having woken up with a hangover. He should have just denied the invitation for a couple of drinks but one of his college friends was getting married and he did not want to appear rude.

They hadn’t met up for a long time because of their busy schedules anyway. But even then, he has no idea why Taehyung would be angry with him.

He stares at Taehyung, who is purposefully avoiding him while moving around the kitchen, an obvious furrow of his eyebrows expressing clear frustration.

But the way Taehyung has the front of his hair tied up in a ponytail just makes Jeongguk hold back a laugh instead of his growing concern. “Why are you laughing?” Taehyung finally asks, bewildered.

Jeongguk, still smiling, leans his elbows on the kitchen counter. “You’re finally talking to me.” Taehyung, upon realisation, scowls and quickly looks away, pouring milk on a glass, as if going back to ignoring Jeongguk again.

“But what’s wrong? Did I do something? You seem angry at me.” Jeongguk presses, not being able to hide his curiosity anymore. “Ask yourself that.” Taehyung mumbles, going back to his room with his bowl of cereals and glass of milk.

Jeongguk sighs, deeply thinking of what he could have done. He rewinds his memories and goes back to the night before. He remembers coming home, Taehyung joining him, him flirting as usual, he asked some questions, Taehyung answered and that’s it.

He must have passed out after that. Because of the still present hungover headache, Jeongguk stops thinking altogether and proceeds to take his coat and phone, having to go to work. He walks towards Taehyung’s door and softly knocks on it.

“I’m going to work.” Jeongguk informs but receives no answer. He smiles. “I don’t know what I did. I’d like it if you told me so that I can make up for it.” Still no answer. “Alright then, I’ll see you tonight. Be ready.”

He does hear a faint “have a good day” but he keeps it to himself, not noticing Taehyung peeking out of his door with a deep sigh.

Jeongguk finishes up the meetings which are scheduled for that day and goes through a few reports and paperwork before leaving to get ready for the gala.

The gala is an assemblage of important and well known people in various fields and industries, from a small recently launched company to celebrities and actors to the ones /leading/ the economy.

It is a gathering to make connections and investments, a charity auction underway as the highlight, for those present to show-off or to just be generous. It is a big event. Will Taehyung be alright?

Jeongguk suddenly remembers the events of that morning. He wonders if Taehyung is still upset with him. “Take a right from here.” Jeongguk tells the driver, who does as told. “Where are we going, sir?” “Go to Park’s Boutique.” “Okay, sir.”

🌺 “You should really have booked an appointment, Jeongguk.” Park Jimin scowls as he parades inside Jeongguk’s penthouse after the latter lets him in.

“You’re lucky I’m going to the gala myself. Otherwise I would have been booked the whole day. Do you know how many people I had to reject for being their stylist?” Jeongguk rolls his eyes. “Okay okay. I’ll pay you double.”

Jimin’s eyes sparkle and he latches himself onto Jeongguk’s arm. “Then, should we start dressing you up? I can’t believe you’re finally letting me dress you up. It was long overdue in our friendship.”

Jeongguk sighs, pushing Jimin away. “I’m still not going to let you dress me up. I have my outfits already chosen so I can do it myself. Just help me with my hair later.”

“Then why’d you—“ Jimin notices the bag Jeongguk has been holding. “Come to think of it, you also bought something from the store. I’m pretty sure it’s not for yourself. Who is it? Come on, tell me. Your girlfriend? Boyfriend? How come you didn’t tell me?”

“Calm down.” Jeongguk says. He cannot really tell Jimin the contract thing regarding his relationship with Taehyung. It’s not like he doesn’t trust his long-time friend. He just doesn’t want to worry him needlessly. Jimin tends to worry a lot.

“It’s uh—“ The door to Taehyung’s door finally open and he steps out in nothing but a bathrobe again, halting his steps when he sees the two of them.

“I heard voices.” He says, blinking his eyes at Jeongguk before looking at the person standing next to him, eyes going wide in realization. “You!” Park Jimin gasps first before looking at Jeongguk. “What is he doing here?”

“You know each other?” Jeongguk looks between the two of them. Taehyung scoffs, rolling his eyes and leaning against the doorframe with his arms crossed. “It’s the assuming midget.” “Who are you calling a midget?” Jimin fumes, glaring hard at Taehyung.

Taehyung smirks. “You know how they say, “Embrace yourself”? It’s who you are.” “You—“ “Alright you both.” Jeongguk comes between them, having no idea what to make out of the obvious animosity between them.

It’s like they had some kind of history. But a bad one. Did he do wrong by bringing Jimin to become Taehyung’s stylist?

A few minutes later, the three men are seated in the living room, Taehyung and Jimin seated opposite to each other while Jeongguk is seated adjacent to them. The silence is booming, the tension so thick with how Jimin is glaring and how Taehyung isn’t backing down either.

Jeongguk finally sighs and is about to ask how they knew each other again but Jimin beats him to it. “Jeongguk, why is he here?” “Well, he—“ “Why don’t you ask me? I’m right here.” Taehyung answers instead.

“Oh? Maybe I don’t want to talk to you?” “I think we need to because if not, you’ll start assuming shit again. But wait, that’s what you’ll probably do anyway, am I right?”

“Can I know what went down between you both? It’s making me frustrated not knowing and getting caught up in your emotions. Someone, explain.” Jeongguk speaks up. “Remember Jaehi?” Jimin glares at Taehyung who sighs and rolls his eyes. “Your cousin?”

// mentions cheating You know how she got divorced three years ago because her husband cheated on her?” Jeongguk nods. It was a messy divorce. “Well, this guy is the one her husband cheated on her with.” Jeongguk gapes looking at Taehyung, who’s listening in very calmly.

“If this guy hadn’t butt in between their relationship, she would have been happy. They were in love before they even got married and he ruined everything for her.”

“Are you done?” Taehyung raises an eyebrow and Jimin fumes again, maybe at the nonchalance oozing out of Taehyung at the accusation, which was more of a fact.

“You call me a home wrecker but shouldn’t you be thanking me that your cousin found out about her husband’s dirty little secret? She would have been more miserable now than she was then.” Taehyung says.

Jeongguk notices something passing by Taehyung’s eyes but it disappears as quickly. “How da—“ “I admit I am someone easy, that I am not a person of dignity nor someone who’s worth so much to be fighting for, be it towards anyone,

but I don’t want to be called a homewrecker when a man like that approaches someone else while /knowing/ he has a family. I was a stranger he met one day and decided to keep me as a dirty little secret.

Would someone like that be willing to tell me all the events in his life or even form a proper relationship if it's not about warming his bed on nights he wants to?” Jimin just silently glares at Taehyung, maybe because he has a point.

His sister was doing so much better now. She had even told Jimin one day that she is thankful she came to know about it sooner than later. Maybe it was the love and worry Jimin had for his sister to still hold onto that grudge instead of her.

“You run your pretty mouth at me but did you do the same to the other three he used to see before me?” Taehyung sweetly smiles. Jeongguk blinks in shock and so does Jimin. “What?”

“Oh you didn’t know?” Taehyung innocently blinks. “Don’t you think it's too harsh that you’re pouring all your anger out on me alone? I was a fraction of his many secrets, you know?”

It’s a shame Taehyung could not say anything then, especially because it all happened so fast, he got wound up in the disappointing feelings that had shrouded over him then.

Jimin feels a little shameful. He had not known about the others at all. Jeongguk had an idea how Jaehi’s husband was not at all faithful to his wife but he had kept it to himself because it was not his family matters even though Jimin used to come to him to complain about it.

While he had felt guilty, he had also not known it would have been Taehyung. Taehyung did admit about glimpses of his past but to be interlinked this way has him a little surprised.

“Anyway, it was three years ago. If you’re still angry at that cheating husband, take your anger out on him and not me because I have nothing to do with him anymore. It's obvious you want him to suffer. I have a lot of information I have been carrying. I can help you with that.”

“Why would you do that?” “Because I like you.” Taehyung says as if it is the most obvious thing in the world. Jimin flushes red both in embarrassment and surprise. Jeongguk is confused, also a little frustrated, even if Taehyung is smiling sarcastically.

“Um…I’ll just be…in the kitchen.” Jeongguk says, standing up and awkwardly shuffling towards the kitchen to give them space to talk. Taehyung smiles at his awkwardness before he faces Jimin again.

“Also because I didn’t get to take my revenge on him for pulling me into this mess. Let me redeem myself and you get your revenge as well. Isn’t that great? I’m all up for revenge these days. The more, the better.” Taehyung claps his hand.

“Ha!” Jimin lets out a disbelieved laugh. “ I still don’t understand why you would want to do that.” he pauses. “Don’t you hate me or something?” Taehyung thinks over his words for a while before he gives Jimin a tight-lipped smile.

“It’s a little frustrating to have been blamed just because of how I am, especially because I leant into the slightest bit of affection I was receiving, without knowing anything. But I also understand where your anger must have come from.

I just wish you didn’t have to slap me so hard in front of my favourite restaurant that day, before even talking to me. It was so embarrassing.” Jimin looks away guiltily. He did create quite a scene then. But well, he saw his sister cry and he was angry.

“With this, I can redeem myself because I really did feel bad for your sister, for marrying a jerk like that. I don’t condone cheating even if I have a loose character you know. And well, you can do something for me later if you’re sorry enough.” Taehyung smirks.

For a few seconds, Jimin looks like he’s thinking this through. “Fine.” He finally says and clears his throat. “For starters, I’m sorry for slapping you that day.” Taehyung laughs. “Apology accepted.”

It’s a deal for Taehyung. To owe something and to be owed in return. He thinks of it as just creating a plain road for his future.

When Jeongguk gets back to the living room from the kitchen, he pauses in his steps, looking so confused at the scene unfolding in front of him. Jimin is next to Taehyung now, both engrossed in a conversation he has no idea about.

“No way! He used to do that?” Jimin asks, when Jeongguk is within earshot. “Among other things.” Taehyung shudders, nodding seriously. “Wow. He turned out to be a much bigger jerk than I thought he was.”

“Sources say he’s cheating on his current wife as well.” Taehyung grimaces. Jimin sighs. “He really should be taught a lesson. What a jerk. My sister might have moved on but I really want to see him suffer.” He shakes his head before noticing Jeongguk.

“Wait. You didn’t tell me what your relationship with Taehyung is.” “Oh we’re dating.” Taehyung smiles. Jimin chokes on thin air.

“I brought you here to style him up.” Jeongguk sighs, sitting down next to Taehyung who instinctively cuddles next to him, Jimin looking at them in playful disgust. “We’re going to the gala.” “Hold on.” Jimin stands up before pulling Jeongguk up as well. “Let’s talk?”

“Why? Talk here.” Taehyung grumbles having lost Jeongguk’s warmth, momentarily forgetting the fact that he’s supposed to be angry at him. “I still don’t like you, really.” Jimin scrunches his nose while Taehyung rolls his eyes.

“And I thought we’d become BFFs. Or even better, revenge partners.” Jimin stares at Taehyung. “Hold that thought.” He says before pulling Jeongguk inside his bedroom, Taehyung going into his own after a while.

“Okay, explain.” Jimin says once he’s alone with Jeongguk. Jeongguk walks towards his closet room, Jimin following closely behind.

“I thought you were not ready for a relationship yet? Isn’t that what you were telling my mom when she talked to you about potential marriage candidates? How come you’re suddenly dating a guy you don’t even know properly? And Kim Taehyung? You know his past right?”

And what about it?” Jeongguk questions looking at Jimin. “His past will not define our relationship Jimin. While we’re both in this relationship, it’s about us.” Jimin sighs again. “But still, he’s not…your type. He’s not the gentle type. He’s loud, sassy and very mysterious.

He says less than he holds. If he has information about people he’s dated, don’t you think he’d snoop around your business too?” Jeongguk wonders if Taehyung would do that. Would he hold something over him after their contract is over and go to someone else?

Somehow the thought of him being with someone else irks him more than Taehyung having something to blackmail Jeongguk with. “It’s nothing serious. Don’t worry, Jimin.”

“Hard to believe Jeon Jeongguk is not serious about a relationship when you have always been the type to be in a serious one. It’s out of character, even for you.” Jimin says, folding his arms. “You sure you’re not hiding something from me?”

“Maybe I wanted a change?” Jeongguk offers. Jimin looks like he doesn’t believe it but he nods, backing away for now. “Also, style Taehyung please. You know what works best for a gala. It’s our first public appearance as a couple.”

“Another suspicion. You /never/ take anyone to the gala. Why take him if it’s nothing serious?” Jeongguk stills, stares Jimin down, not wanting to talk about it.

Jimin backs off and turns to look at the outfit hanging in front of a wardrobe. “Is this your outfit?” Jeongguk nods. “Fine. Give me 20 minutes top.” Jimin says walking out of Jeongguk’s room. Jeongguk just smiles.

[ jeongguk’s outfit ]

[ taehyung’s outfit ] (imagine a harness inside that blazer top :D )

Jimin walks into Jeongguk’s room just as he finishes putting on his outfit. “Did you buy all that stuff for him?” Is his first question. Jeongguk chuckles. “He loves shopping.” Is all he says.

Jimin sighs yet again, before he’s moving forward and arranging Jeongguk’s outfit. “Can’t believe a time came when I have to see you as the sugar daddy you were born to be.” Jimin snorts and that makes Jeongguk blush a little.

“I just wanted to get something nice for my boyfriend. What’s wrong with that?” “Something nice does not equate to the whole store.” Jimin pats down Jeongguk’s shoulder. “But anyway, he’s ready. Want me to do your hair?” “Yes please. What about you?”

“I’m having my outfit delivered here since you oh so effortlessly dragged me here to style your boyfriend. I don’t have time to go back home and get ready.” “Alright. Thanks for coming though.” Jimin hums.

With casual conversation Jimin keeps Jeongguk engaged in, the latter does not know when Jimin gets done with his hair, in addition to a natural makeup look. It’s a pretty simple hairstyle which matches his outfit so he does not really have complaints. (his hairstyle👇)

He trusts Jimin’s choices. “Let me click a few pictures for my instagram.” Jimin winks, quickly whipping out his phone.

“Did you know pictures with your face gets the most likes and engagements? It is certainly nice to be able to use an influential friend’s assets for business.” Jeongguk stays put, not really opposing because he feels this is the least he can do for Jimin anyway.

Even if no help is needed, given Jimin’s own influence and talent in the fashion and makeup industry. Jimin’s clothes arrive in the next few minutes and when Jeongguk is left alone in the room, only then does he notice the bag he had brought earlier.

He retrieves it from his bed and walks out of the room, agreeing to Jimin using his room for changing, before he stands outside of Taehyung’s bedroom door, softly knocking on it.

He feels like that certain tension has disappeared for now, at least until Jimin had pulled him away from the conversation they were having.

He is aware that Taehyung must have acted close just to show where their relationship stood to Jimin, so he is not sure if Taehyung would still be avoiding him.

Technically, they will have to resolve that tension either way because they had to attend the gala as a couple and it wouldn’t have much effect with the visible awkwardness and tension. He still does not know why Taehyung is mad at him.

“Come in.” Jeongguk hears Taehyung say and he does. Now, Jeonngguk does not know what kind of expectations he carries as he steps inside Taehyung’s room. Or rather, he forgets what he had been expecting as soon as his eyes land on Taehyung.

He knows Taehyung is beautiful, gorgeous even. He had admitted it to Taehyung himself. But he sees him now and, evidently, he is left breathless.

Taehyung’s usually messily ruffled hair—because of his unceasing habit of messing it around, is softly curled, forehead slightly exposed, the mullet adorning the back of his neck.

has worked his magic with makeup on Taehyung’s face, bringing out Taehyung’s beauty in an even more beautiful way, if that was even possible. Not that Taehyung needed any to prove that.

But it makes him more /known/ and /present/, in a way people might just not be able to look away. The clothes donning on him makes it so very Taehyung, his clothes speaking his personality for people who will be seeing him for the first time.

(taehyung’s hair kinda like this)

“You’re staring.” Taehyung says and it’s like his words pull Jeongguk out of the trance he had fallen into. Taehyung /does/ look bewitching, the subtle smokey eye make up making him look all the more alluring.

Jeongguk is sure they have had this conversation before, but his train of thoughts seem to be wary and unsorted at that moment. “I know.” He simply says.

“You’re getting cheeky now. What is this character development I’m sensing?” Taehyung smiles, coming closer to Jeongguk, yet there’s a subtle hint of blush scattered on his cheeks. “You look nice.” Jeongguk gives him a smile back.

“Just nice?” Taehyung scrunches his eyebrows. “/Nice/ is not really for me.” It evokes a laugh out of Jeongguk, mostly because he himself knows that just nice isn’t really enough for complimenting Taehyung.

“Hm. What do you want me to say?” That probably displeases Taehyung because he tsks and is turning his back on Jeongguk. But before he can, Jeongguk gently holds his wrist, making him stay where he is, right in front of him.

“You look devilishly stunning.” Taehyung slowly smiles as if shy but it doesn’t take more than a second for it to turn sly. “Well, I’ll take it. I know I look sexy, all eyes will be on me. Needed to make myself look worthy enough to stand next to you. Do I reach your standard?”

The smile slowly falls from Jeongguk’s face and he sighs, taking out the gift he had brought for Taehyung. It’s a red and gold silk scarf. Jeongguk folds it, feeling Taehyung’s gaze on it, before he lifts it up around Taehyung’s neck.

“I don’t think you realise you might probably have all eyes on you with or without me, tonight.” Jeongguk says, softly tying the scarf, eyes gazing up at Taehyung’s once in a while. “You don’t need to /prove/ you’re worthy for anybody.”

Taehyung slightly shivers when Jeongguk’s cold fingers graze his exposed neck now prettily adorned with a silk scarf. “You look beautiful.” Jeongguk smiles. “I don’t get you.” Taehyung pouts, playing with the edges of the scarf, heartbeat getting a little loud.

( taehyung’s neck scarf. i’m a hoe for tae in neck scarves okay? )

“How so?” Jeongguk asks, curious yet pretending not to be. Taehyung slides his hands against Jeongguk’s, delving into the warmth. “You speak as if you can’t bear to lose me to something, yet you won’t even kiss me to make me stay.”

There’s a thump, loud and clear against Jeongguk’s chest. It constricts and it hurts for a moment. But then he sees Taehyung’s smile, soft and barely there, eyes looking down, not even meeting his. Somehow, the sight hurts him more. Taehyung looks pitiful.

“Ah!” Taehyung suddenly says. “This reminds me that I am supposed to be mad at you.” “What? How does it co-relate?” Jeongguk blinks, suddenly confused.

Taehyung deeply sighs before stepping right into Jeongguk’s space, leaning in so close that his vanilla scent wafts around Jeongguk’s senses.

Taehyung leans in and Jeongguk thinks they’re going to kiss. He doesn’t move away. He freezes because of it being too sudden. Only for Taehyung to leave a kiss on the corner of Jeongguk’s mouth. “Figure it out Sherlock.” He winks before completely moving away.

🌺 Jimin leaves first, because his car arrives and he needs to pick his mother up on the way as well. Jeongguk gets his car ready too, Taehyung following behind him towards the entrance of his building.

He’s still thinking about the almost kiss. Taehyung’s lips were soft against his skin. How would it feel right on his lips? It did manage to evoke more than what was supposed to be mere curiosity. As if he /wanted/ it now.

Did Taehyung intentionally do that? Or did he change his mind last minute? Why was he ready to receive the kiss and kiss him back? Was it the mood? Probably that, right?

He sighs, realising the more he thinks, the more questions he’s accumulating. But on the other hand, he does remember why Taehyung might be made.

Drunk him was probably more braver than sober him and although he’s glad that their kiss did not happen when he was drunk. He knows Taehyung might be disappointed because of that but he doesn’t know where his own disappointment comes from.

After they are both seated in the limo Jeongguk had prepared, they make their way towards the venue, the sky getting darker as they drive by the illuminating city lights. Jeongguk notices it makes Taehyung’s eyes shine, with the way he’s looking out of the window.

“I heard from Yoongi.” Taehyung suddenly speaks, closing the window and turning towards Jeongguk. “Yoongi?” Jeongguk asks, confused. “Oh, my bartender friend? He was there the night we met.” Jeongguk nods. “What did you hear?”

There’s a pause and that makes Jeongguk look at Taehyung’s way while the latter seems to be thinking something, a darkness looming over his features. “That Hajoon’s attending the gala.” Jeongguk understands the silence then.

Taehyung had always been confident from the moment Jeongguk had met him. It hasn’t been long yet the times they have interacted, Jeongguk had always been in awe of Taehyung’s personality, bold and blunt and very confident with his words.

So to see Taehyung quiet, as if he’s unsure about something, unfurls a series of twists in Jeongguk’s stomach. “You know,” Jeongguk starts speaking, “there are plenty of chances where we can meet Hajoon. It doesn’t have to be this gala.”

Taehyung slowly smiles and looks at Jeongguk. “I didn’t dress this way to have it go to waste. Jimin would also definitely kill me if I didn’t show off his style in front of high society. He’s a passionate one, that one.” Jeongguk chuckles.

“I also think if I run away now, I’ll keep running away forever. I /am scared. I know he won’t do anything that might make him look bad, and you’ll be there as well.” Taehyung smiles. “But, I don’t know, I’m just a bit nervous. It’s been a while since I’ve seen him.”

Jeongguk knows first hand, how it feels to face a past you have been running from. He can notice the slight tremble of Taehyung’s hand, how he’s fisting them and then opening, just to be a little calm, even though his expression doesn’t give it away.

He offers his hand towards Taehyung, who looks at it for a few seconds before slipping his own hand against it. It’s warm but he needs more so he shifts next to Jeongguk, leaning his head against his shoulder. Jeongguk lets him without saying a word.

🌺 It’s tiring. Taehyung always finds these business gatherings tiring anyway. Especially when he’s amidst a crowd he does not belong in. And he definitely does not belong in this room full of pretentious people, subtly looking for a scandalous reveal.

In a way, Jeongguk and Taehyung’s relationship is a scandal, yet nobody questions it directly. Taehyung wonders if they’re too scared or if they’re just waiting for a chance.

He had been beside Jeongguk ever since they entered the venue building. Taehyung smiles at Jeongguk, leaves a quick peck on his cheeks once in a while when he feels eyes on them, Jeongguk doing the same.

It becomes natural after Jeongguk introduces Taehyung as his boyfriend to a few people who come to greet him and that’s that. “I thought galas like this were supposed to be brazen.” Taehyung says when they’re standing in a corner, champagne glasses on their hands.

“People are shameless with their eyes more than their words.” Jeongguk offers, lifting his glass up to his lips. Taehyung smirks. “Well, I did see the way some were looking at me. Not at all dignified and sophisticated as they seem to be.”

Jeongguk stares hard at Taehyung. “And you liked having them look at you like that?” “Can’t say I hate it.” Taehyung sips from his own glass. “It’s nice to receive it, subtly shrewd as it may be. Since there is one who refuses to give me my deserved attention.”

Jeongguk knows he’s being referred here, and it makes his restraint let loose somehow. It’s annoying.

“Well, /baby/,” Taehyung says, sliding his hands up and down Jeongguk’s arms. “It seems you will be a little preoccupied.” He nudges towards a group of people coming Jeongguk’s way. Jeongguk sighs.

“I’ll get us some drinks.” Taehyung smiles, bowing at the arriving group in greeting. “Wait for me.” He leans in and presses his lips on Jeongguk’s cheeks before walking away, a certain sway in his steps.

“You both are quite the talk of the event tonight.” A woman says, eyeing towards Taehyung’s way. “I thought it would be the perfect time to announce my relationship. Before the media turns it into something scandalous.” Jeongguk smiles.

“The good ones are slowly getting off the market.” Another man laughs, clapping Jeongguk’s back, making Jeongguk smile on return. “He seems familiar though.” Another woman ponders and it makes Jeongguk alert. “I think I saw him with…Kang Hajoon before?”

Jeongguk grits his teeth before giving them a forced smile. The previous lady nudges at the woman who made the remark and she quickly reprimands herself.

“Well, the past doesn’t matter, I guess? Just be careful though, people like him, who changes partners that quick in high society might just be trouble, don’t you think?” Jeongguk just presses his lips. “I think I’ll know better.” And he really does.

Taehyung turns to look back, noticing that more and more people are swarming around Jeongguk, so he takes another glass of champagne from the table and leans against a pillar nearby, sipping from it while keeping his eyes on Jeongguk.

He stands out from the rest obviously. He’s young and very successful and important in the business world. Taehyung starts to wonder what would have happened if he had met Jeongguk first. “Would it be boring?” Taehyung hums.

Taehyung suddenly startles though when someone grabs his hand and pulls him behind the pillar, away from wandering eyes. “What are you doing?” Taehyung sighs at the voice and inspects his hand after he’s let go, wincing a little.

“I think you should control your strength.” Taehyung calmly says, arranging his sleeves. “Kim Taehyung, I asked what the fuck are you doing?” Namjoon asks, restraint anger threatening to spill.

“I was going to try out the free food. What else would I be doing?” Taehyung scowls, pushing Namjoon and about to walk out to the hall, but he gets held again and pulled back to where he was. “You know what I mean.” Namjoon grits his words out.

“Why don’t we talk over free food?” Taehyung suggests with a bright smile but it falls as soon as he feels Namjoon’s unyielding glare on him. “I didn’t help you escape just so you could come barreling straight to him, Taehyung.” Namjoon sighs. “And with Jeon Jeongguk?”

“What’s wrong with Jeon Jeongguk?” Taehyung scowls, offended. “Out of all people?” Namjoon deadpans. “He’s hot. And surprisingly sweet.” Taehyung mumbles. “Taehyung!” Namjoon whisper-yells, quickly looking around to see if anyone is looking their way, finding none.

“He’s looking for you. He knows you’re here.” Namjoon says. “I know.” Taehyung quietly says, looking down. “You wanted to leave.” “I know.” “Then why would you risk yourself like this?” Namjoon sighs. “Because I want revenge.” Taehyung smiles, looking at Namjoon.

Namjoon looks bewildered. “And I know it’s not possible with me alone so I’m taking Jeongguk’s help.” “Don’t tell me—“ Namjoon cannot even finish his sentence, his exasperation getting the better of him. “You know I’ll have to tell this to the boss.”

“You won’t.” Taehyung simply states, his expression getting chilly, something Namjoon had been too used to seeing the last few months. It renders Namjoon speechless, his loyalty and betrayal hanging by a thread.

“Now go before he finds out you came to see me before him.” Taehyung ways, eyes turning warmer. “Thank you for helping me then, but I realised I can’t let him ruin my future again. I can’t keep running until he knows I don’t have anything to do with him anymore.”

“You’re crazy.” Namjoon says, gently caressing Taehyung’s cheek. Taehyung smirks. “When was I not?” Namjoon gives him a dimpled smile and retracts his hand back, Taehyung’s warmth settling on his fingertips. “Just, take care, alright?” “Will do.” And then Namjoon is gone.

It’s weird how on the other side of the pillar, there are people, so many of them, laughing and chattering the night away and yet here Taehyung is, on the other side, feeling surprisingly chilly and alone. He stumbles a little, getting ahold of the pillar to steady himself.

His heart starts to beat erratically. He met Namjoon, that only means Hajoon is somewhere in the hall. he can see the latter anytime. Is he even prepared to face him? Taehyung bites his lips down.

There’s a thought that hovers over Taehyung’s head: What you fear doing most, is what you usually need to do.

Taehyung does fear Hajoon, even if he may seem fearless to the people he’s encountered until now. Jeongguk probably thinks he doesn’t fear anything.

Yet, Taehyung wants to laugh at the irony. Here he is, hiding behind a pillar just to gain his bearings, to stop his hands from trembling at /just/ the thought of carelessly bumping into Hajoon. He is scared, but he wonders until when exactly does he need to be this way.

He has decided on facing Hajoon anyway. He needs to do this. For his peace of mind. For his hurt conscience. For a love that is lost.

After calming down a bit, he is about to move out towards the sea of people, when he gets a text message from Jeongguk.

No doubt, a subtle smile appears on Taehyung’s face, kind of amused, kind of flattered. It makes him giddy enough to replace that viable uneasiness. A time-out at the balcony with Jeongguk doesn’t sound too bad.

Taehyung pockets his phone and arranges the belt around his waist, takes a deep breath and then walks out, a few eyes already watching his way. It’s a relief that the way to the washroom was next to the pillar, so people might think he had gone to the washroom.

He feels piercing-- angry gazes—from the ones he’d share a bed with in secret, judgmental stares, and the mere curious ones, looking him up and down. It makes him realize he cannot lose his cool, because if he does, he'll get pounced.

He has no desire to get trampled on from the people he can easily trample himself. Taehyung thinks of it as a game he’s playing. Kind of like hide and seek, except he isn’t found, is not reached, hiding behind those with more power.

Jeongguk as sweet as he is, helps a lot in his case. So he walks with that confidence, doesn’t care about the disconcerting whispers and walks with grace and his head held high.

What can people even do except show their obvious envy and disgust? He couldn’t care less.

People /are/ watching and he knows it’s not just simply watching, more like hoping for something to happen. They might just be /that/ bored. Taehyung snorts.

Seeing the entrance of the balcony, Taehyung picks up a glass of champagne from a waiter’s tray and makes his way there, immediately breathing in the cool air once he steps outside in the chilly night.

He looks around for a familiar face, shoulders sagging in slight disappointment when he does not find the man he's looking for. Didn't Jeongguk say he would be waiting?

"I knew you'd be here." Taehyung suddenly freezes at the familiar voice, his fingertips running cold by just being aware of the unwelcomed presence.

He notices the slight tremble of his hands so he clasps it around his glass of champagne, breath hitching as he tries to maintain his stance. He does not have to turn around to know Kang Hajoon is coming nearer to him.

The way the weight of just his presence alone is unpleasant and suffocating. He quickly walks towards the other end of the balcony, not even wasting his time to turn around and look at Hajoon, who seems to have understood Taehyung’s intention to not be near him.

“You never really liked parties.” Hajoon speaks, walking towards where Taehyung was standing before. “That’s why I knew you’d be here.” Taehyung sighs, feeling the cool breeze hit his cheek, eyes turning cold. “You’re wrong. I was enjoying myself. I like parties.”

“You don’t.” Hajoon immediately says, shutting Taehyung down. Taehyung lets out an unamused laugh. It has always been this way. Hajoon disregarding everything Taehyung says and manipulating it to his own beliefs about Taehyung. Taehyung hates it.

He wonders where Jeongguk would be, what would he have said to Hajoon, why he is not where he said he would be. He’s thinking so much that he doesn’t notice Hajoon coming nearer to him again. When he does, he whips his head and takes a considerable amount of steps back.

He’s looking at Hajoon now, sees the way his eyes immediately darken in surfacing anger. He also notices how he’s trying to tame it down. He has an image he needs to take care of, obviously.

Hajoon rubs the tip of his nose and looks at Taehyung, as if he’s warning him, nothing gentle about it in contrast to the words he utters. “Come on, angel. You’ve punished me enough. Let’s go back home, hmm?” Taehyung just stares back at him. “We broke up, Hajoon.”

The darkness looms over his features again but Taehyung stands his ground. “I don’t recall. The alcohol must have gotten to you.” Hajoon smiles, cold. “I have a recording. Wanna listen? Maybe it will help you recall?” Taehyung raises an eyebrow, fishing out a small recorder.

The smile falls from Hajoon’s face, head probably filled with memories of a certain night. “If you wanna leave, leave. I’d like to see you try.” Taehyung repeats Hajoon’s exact words. “I managed to leave. So why do you want to take me back?”

“Taehyung.” Hajoon calls his name out, another warning. Taehyung shivers, chills spreading deep in his bones. He still stands his ground. “And what did you say? Home? Don’t fucking make me laugh.”

Taehyung glares at Hajoon, even though he can hear his own heartbeats, even if his hands are trembling. He fists them and stares back at him, not backing down. “You and I both know that wasn’t home. It was a cage. For you to keep me locked up.”

“I was keeping you safe.” “From what?” Taehyung grits his teeth. “You should be the one I should be kept away from. I always wanted to leave and now that I’m free, stop trying to get me back. I don’t want to come back.” “You don’t mean that.” Hajoon says, walking forward.

“I do. I really fucking mean it. You didn’t love me. You just wanted to own me. To keep me as your prized possession.” Taehyung lets out another unamused laugh. “To think I once thought it was okay.”

“I don’t know what bullshit got fed through your head but you’re coming with me.” Hajoon sighs, as if this conversation was tiring him out. Taehyung’s eye twitches, edges turning red because of tears he wants to spill but does not want to waste on someone like Hajoon.

“You’ve had your fun. Don’t make this hard for me.” Hajoon says, gaze icy cold. “Go back to the ones you’ve hoarded and kept.” Taehyung spits out. “You just feel like you lost a prize. It won’t matter after a few days pass.”

Hajoon tilts his head. “How did you know? Are you acting out because of that? If it was just that, you could have told me, angel.” He smiles as if relieved, coming closer to Taehyung and cupping his face. Taehyung moves his head away.

“I’ll end whatever relationship I have with them. You know you’re all I want.” “Stop doing this, Hajoon. We broke up. I’m not coming with you. I’m with Jeon Jeongguk now.” Hajoon suddenly turns quiet and the silence is so heavy it suffocates Taehyung again.

// mentions manipulative behaviour, physical abuse, toxic behaviour

“You look cute when you’re lying.” Hajoon speaks and it evokes a certain kind of fear in Taehyung again. He didn’t believe him. “You really think I would believe that?” Hajoon then grabs hold of Taehyung’s jaw, pushing Taehyung against the railing, not letting him move.

“Sure, let me say I believe you. You went to my long time rival just to rile me up, you got what you wanted, I’m angry and upset, so it should be fine right? Game’s over so why not just quietly come back with me?”

“Let me go.” Taehyung grips at Hajoon’s hand and tries to push at him. Hajoon is stronger and broader than Taehyung, so it’s harder to even make him move, specially in the position he is in.

Tears pool at his eyes because this was the man he once loved and Taehyung never loved nor received love before. It hurts him but it scares him too. Hajoon upon seeing Taehyung’s tear filled eyes immediately let’s go of him.

“Why do you always make me want to hurt you?” He sighs, trying to cup Taehyung’s face again but he slaps his hand away. “You’re sick and disgusting.” Taehyung grits his words out. “I’m saying this for the last time. We broke up. Leave me alone.”

Taehyung tries to leave but Hajoon sighs and holds his hand, roughly pulling him and pushing him against the wall, the impact hurting Taehyung’s side and making him cough in pain. “Don’t make me repeat myself. It’s not over until I say so.”

“You did. Own up to it, you fvcker.” Taehyung smirks, holding his side. “I have nothing to do with you anymore. Accept it in that stuck-up brain of yours. I have Jeongguk now and he’s far better than you can ever be. He actually loves me, unlike you.”

Taehyung knows he’s just pushing Hajoon’s buttons now. He’s scared but the look of displeasure in Hajoon’s face seems worth it somehow. They’re in the balcony, the music and chattering drowns out their conversation so he’s a little wary but he cannot show it it Hajoon.

“He doesn’t love you, angel.” Hajoon says, coming to Taehyung again. “He can never love you like I do. He’s just breaking your heart.” Hajoon pulls Taehyung up and leans closer, nose rubbing against his cheeks. “You might be deluded into thinking that for now.”

“I’m just looking out for you. Come back to me. I know you love me.” Hajoon tries to press his lips against Taehyung’s. “I hate you.” Hajoon freezes.

“I hate you so much.” Taehyung blinks his tears away. “I don’t love you anymore. Not after what you did to me. Not after what you’re doing to me. I despise you with my whole heart.” Taehyung bites his lips down.

Hajoon takes a step back. “You don’t mean that.” Taehyung’s legs doesn’t seem to have the strength to stand up so he falls on the ground instead, infront of Hajoon.

Taehyung could never tell Hajoon how he feels before. After their fight, he had just escaped, words left unsaid. Now that he’s saying it, a small part of whatever he wants to say, if hurts him. He cries for himself.

“Taehyung, take that back.” Hajoon simply says and it makes Taehyung laugh at the absurdity of it all. “Leave me alone.” “Y-“ “Taehyung?” It’s like all the stress in Taehyung’s body melts away when he hears Jeongguk’s voice.

He wants to cry in relief, drown in his warmth and have Jeongguk hold him for a while. He suddenly feels tired.

Jeongguk quickly rushes towards Taehyung and helps him up, Taehyung’s iron like grip holding Jeongguk’s arms and head resting on his chest, finding comfort in his loud and erratic heartbeat. Taehyung wonders if he’s scared as well.

“You’re not hurt are you?” Jeongguk holds him tight, checking to see if anything’s wrong but Taehyung shakes his head, gaze shifting to Hajoon’s who looks expressionless. Jeongguk immediately turns towards Hajoon and does not back away from glaring at him.

“You must be Kang Hajoon.” Jeongguk gives him a cold look, trying to be as professional as he can in front of a psychotic bastard ljke Hajoon. “And you must be Jeon Jeongguk.” Hajoon immediately smiles, traces of fury flickering in his eyes.

Taehyung hold’s Jeongguk’s arm tighter. “I cannot really say it’s a pleasure to meet you.” Jeongguk says. “Have a good night.” He guides Taehyung out of the balcony when Hajoon speaks. “It’s not nice to take other’s leftovers, you know? Specially when not offered.”

Jeongguk halts in his steps and so does Taehyung. He feels sick to the stomach. “What did you say?” Jeongguk asks, turning around. “It’s not nice to touch what doesn’t belong to you.” Hajoon raises an eyebrow. “You’ve had your fill so I’d like you to return him back.”

Jeongguk tongues his cheek and walks towards Hajoon, Taehyung not moving from where he stands. “Taehyung does not belong to anyone.” Jeongguk smiles. “He has his own wishes. And he wishes to not be around you longer than he has.”

“You can’t decide that for him.” Hajoon says. Jeongguk lets out a laugh and rubs at his forehead. “And you think you can? You don’t have the right to push a person around your whims. Specially if they don’t want to.” Hajoon grits his teeth.

“Let me be clear Kang Hajoon.” Jeongguk looks straight at him. “You messed with something dear to me the first time. Did you get brave thinking I’m not doing anything? I really won’t hold back if you try to get involved with me the second time. Specially through Taehyung.”

Taehyung looks away and waits for Jeongguk to come to him, holding his arm tight when he’s near enough. Hajoon doesn’t say anything, watching them walk away from him.

🌺 Leaving the venue isn’t too much of a problem, with Jimin taking care of Jeongguk and Taehyung’s absence. Taehyung is quiet the whole way home, looking out of the window and not at all turning Jeongguk’s way.

Jeongguk wants to comfort Taehyung more than anything. He doesn’t know if Taehyung would appreciate it or if he wants to be left alone. “Hey.” He tries none the less. Taehyung doesn’t respond.

As soon as they both enter Jeongguk’s penthouse though, Taehyung immediately slides down on the floor, big fat tears rolling down his cheeks. Jeongguk is surprised at his sudden outburst, quickly closing the door and crouching at Taehyung’s level.

Taehyung’s cries get louder as he holds onto Jeongguk, wanting that constant warmth instead of the bone chilling emptiness that’s starting to shroud his resolve. “J-Jeongguk.” Taehyung says in between sobs. “I need you, please.”

The grip on Taehyung’s waist tightens and Jeongguk bites down his lips at the request. “Taehyung.” He softly calls, right next to his ears. “I’m right here.” “Y-Yes I know, so please, p-please just—“ Taehyung pulls back and grabs a hold of Jeongguk’s suit.

Jeongguk gently holds Taehyung’s hand, the latter looking at him in bewilderment, as if offended to have been stopped. “We can’t do this. Not right now.” Jeongguk is firm, as he holds Taehyung’s face in his palms.

Taehyung slaps his hands away. “Why?” He asks, cheeks getting wetter with his fallen tears. Jeongguk gulps down his guilt, for not being there earlier, for letting Taehyung face his fears alone, gulps down his inability to offer more than his presence alone.

pushes down the words that are on the tip of his tongue. “A-Am I still not good enough?” Taehyung says in between sobs. “What d-do I have to do? I’m telling you I need you so why?”

Jeongguk suddenly lunges forward, holding the back of Taehyung’s neck and bringing him closer until his forehead is resting on Jeongguk’s shoulder. “You did so great tonight. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there with you earlier. But you did so well.” Jeongguk says instead.

The words halt Taehyung’s clouded thoughts, the fog slowly lifting as he processes it slowly. “I-I did?” “You have been so strong all this while. I’m proud of you for holding up like that. It’s okay to cry and feel hurt and angry. It’s okay. I’m right here, so it’s okay.”

Taehyung sniffles, hiding his face on Jeongguk’s shoulder as more tears threaten to fall down. He wraps his own arm around Jeongguk’s back, warm and just…/there/. He cries for a long time that night.

🌺 Taehyung isn’t sure if it’s a dream or a fragment of his forgotten childhood days. But in that scene, he feels the warmth of the sunlight kissing his cheeks, as he looks up to the clouds passing by.

He hears someone calling him. It’s a woman. He hasn’t seen her face but just her voice carries comfort. Taehyung feels light, wants to bask in that feeling forever. “Taehyung.” The voice calls out again but this time it’s deeper, yet the warmth it carries is the same.

Before he can see who is calling him though, he opens his eyes. It’s bright and Taehyung feels sore all over. His throat feels parched and he tries to sit up, body aching a little as he does so. As he looks around, memories of last night rush in and he sighs.

Did he fall asleep while crying? Where was Jeongguk? He turns to look at the empty spot and pats on it, surprised at the warmth. “He must have slept with me.” Taehyung murmurs, suddenly feeling embarrassed at his breakdown the previous night.

He looks down at the clothes he’s wearing and he realises he’s changed too. He gets embarrassed all over again. “You’re awake.” Jeongguk’s voice suddenly reaches his ear and Taehyung startles a little before he’s looking at the man walking in with a tray of food.

“Y-Yeah.” Taehyung says, clearing his dry throat. He really needs to drink some water. “Here.” Jeongguk offers him a glass of water, Taehyung immediately downing it in satisfaction.

Jeongguk just stares, even after Taehyung is done drinking, hands lifting up to gently caress the edges of his eyes. “You cried a lot.” Jeongguk comments. “Ran a fever too.” Taehyung looks away. “Must have been surprised you. Sorry you had to see that.” He cracks a smile.

Jeongguk scrunches his eyebrows. “It would have been more surprising if you hadn’t cried.” Taehyung bites his bottom lips. “I made some porridge. You didn’t even have dinner last night. This will do for now. I’ll try to cook something after you finish this.” Jeongguk says.

He arranges the bed table for Taehyung while the latter just watches Jeongguk moving around. “You’re staring.” Jeongguk says, without looking, placing the bowl of porridge on the table. “I know.” Taehyung says and only then does Jeongguk look up.

“You have something to say?” Taehyung pauses. “What about you? I’m sure you have questions.” “Not for now, no. There’s plenty of time to talk.” Jeongguk says, suddenly moving forward and checking Taehyung’s forehead. “Get. better for now. You still have slight fever.”

Taehyung blushes at the close proximity, confused at his own reaction as he moves Jeongguk’s hand away. “Thanks.” He quickly says before he’s diving for the porridge. Jeongguk just smiles.

🌺 Jeongguk is plating the food in the kitchen when he feels a pair of arms around his waist. It’s enough to alarm him—because of his always cautious state—but he welcomes it the next second when the familiarity washes down over him.

“What are you cooking?” Taehyung asks, resting his chin on Jeongguk’s shoulder, inspecting the assortment of food laid out on the countertop. “Bibimbap.” Jeongguk answers, moving the plates around. “My mother sent some ingredients over so I thought why not make some.”

Taehyung hums, unconsciously playing with the hem of Jeongguk’s sweatshirt. His head starts to fill with the thought of Jeongguk’s family.

He knows that they’re not close enough to be talking about family, but then the Jeons were a respectable and loving household as far as he knows. With Jeongguk casually mentioning his mother, he wouldn’t think they weren’t close.

“Uh…Taehyung?” Taehyung comes to his senses and when he does, he realises that his hands have slipped under Jeongguk’s sweatshirt and is caressing his torso. He also notices the tip of Jeongguk’s ears getting red. Is he embarrassed? Shy?

“Ah. You have abs.” Taehyung comments before pulling his hands back and instead helping in placing the dishes around. Jeongguk sighs and shakes his head before taking a seat on the chair while Taehyung does the same.

“Oh. Hoseok hyung called today.” Jeongguk suddenly says and that has Taehyung’s attention. “Any progress with my information?” Taehyung cannot help but ask. As much as he enjoyed seeing Hajoon’s powerless expression, he wanted to destroy him in every possible way he can.

At least until he has the power to do so. Hajoon is not stupid, Taehyung knows. Sooner or later he will also come to know what Taehyung is up to and might try to hide the traces of his illegal doings.

“They have gotten hold of a considerable amount of leads.” Jeongguk says, a little uneasy. “But the justice authorities might have been bribed. Hoseok is being careful about his investigations until he figures out how he can take Hajoon to court.”

Taehyung sighs, his appetite no longer there. He did know there might be obstacles to what he’s doing, knows about Hajoon’s link with the corruption of all the important and influential figures, and knows it will not be easy.

“He’ll find a way.” Jeongguk suddenly says and Taehyung looks at him. “Hoseok is driven with passion when it comes to his work so he will find a way.” Taehyung chooses to believe Jeongguk for now.

It’s a little weird for Taehyung, now that he thinks about it. There’s a certain tension weaving around him and Jeongguk since morning and it’s not the kind of tension that was surrounding them before.

It makes Taehyung frustrated because he does not like this kind of tension. The kind where he does not know what he should be saying, where he feels like he should /think/ before saying anything, it’s…awkward. And in the way that Taehyung really dislikes.

“Are you still not feeling well?” Jeongguk questions when he notices Taehyung stalling. “Should I make something simple?” “You’re being annoying.” Taehyung says, looking straight at Jeongguk. Jeongguk raises an eyebrow, more amused than being offended or hurt. “How so?”

“I don’t know. I’m just feeling annoyed at you for some reason.” Taehyung grumbles. “You’re being vague.” Jeongguk presses. “It doesn’t need to have meaning.” Jeongguk pauses. “Do you always get away with things because you don’t put meaning into it?”

“It’s simple that way.” Taehyung answers, pressing his lips. “Maybe only for you? What if it puts the other person in a bind? What if they start to overthink?” Taehyung sighs, standing up. “Sounds like a you problem.” Jeongguk chuckles. “You’re really cruel, huh?”

Taehyung pauses, choosing over his words, which annoys him the more. “Sometimes it really is the way it is. If you try to look for answers, you might be disappointed.” Jeongguk doesn’t know why but those words serve as a whiplash for something he hasn’t even started seeking.

It holds a weight, completely steering clear of the conversation they were even having in the first place. Taehyung said sometimes, but what about the other times when seeking for answers might lead to anything other than disappointment? Should it still be left as it is?

There are questions Jeongguk wants to ask Taehyung, maybe because he knows Taehyung will be blunt with the answers in his own way which might not even help his cause. But Taehyung really does look troubled. So Jeongguk lets him go back to his room.

🌺 “Something is wrong with me.” “And you realised it just now? I thought everything was wrong about you the day I first met you.” Yoongi answers back, the sound of glasses clinking spread across the background.

Taehyung scrunches his nose, putting the phone on speaker and placing it next to his head on the bed he is laying on. “I think I’m crazy too.” “Again, did you realise it just now? I though you were—“ “Stop. Stop. I get it.” Taehyung scowls, hiding his face in the pillow.

“Also did you call me just to tell me things I already know about you?” Yoongi asks next. “I don’t think we’re close enough to do that.” “I know.” Taehyung says. “But you’re the only other number saved on my phone besides Jeongguk and Seokjin hyung.”

“Wow. You’re friendless.” “I don’t need friends.” “And yet you call me.” “We’re not friends.” Taehyung huffs. “That’s what. This is weird. Hang up.”

Taehyung starts to laugh then, finding it amusing. “Guess you’re busy at the bar.” “I don’t have a sugar daddy to take care of me like you.” Yoongi hums, and Taehyung hears him moving around.

“He’s not exactly my sugar daddy.” Taehyung says. “He refuses to even have sex with me.” “Finally a man with taste.” Yoongi snickers and Taehyung’s eye twitches. “There are reasons for that. It’s not like he isn’t attracted to me. He’s just…unnecessarily sweet.”

“And that’s bad?” Taehyung pauses. “It’s annoying.” Yes it is. Jeongguk is sweet and he respects his boundaries but Taehyung is just…pent up. He suddenly gasps and sits up with his phone. “I got it!” “Got what?” Yoongi questions, confused.

“I just need to have sex. Doesn’t have to be Jeongguk. It’s not like we’re dating or we have some rules to follow. I need to get laid. I think not having sex is messing with my head.” Taehyung somehow feels relieved coming to that conclusion.

There’s a scratching feeling but he ignores it, basking in the comfort of his conclusion. “Ew. No. I didn’t sign up for this.” “You, my friend, needs to get laid as well.” Taehyung sighs. He hears the phone go silent after that. Yoongi hangs up on him.

🌺 Taehyung puts on the hood of his jacket and looks around the bar he is at. He had texted Jeongguk about wanting to go out, refused his offer of taking a bodyguard or a car and had somehow reached to the other side of the town.

Because it was far from where he usually frequents, he does not feel wary of watching eyes or lingering stares. Yet, somehow, the feeling grows on him. He grabs the glass of cheap beer and downs it in one go, the annoying feeling growing in his chest.

He sighs and looks around, body’s entangled on the dance floor, music playing a little too loud for him—which adds to his growing headache.

He feels like he made a mistake going there, but he also pushes down that thought just because he doesn’t want to complicate his decisions further. He pulls down his hood and waits for someone to approach him, fingers gripping another filled glass.

“Hey. You alone?” A voice greets him and Taehyung turns to look. An average looking man who just wants to shoot his shot. “I’d like some company.” Taehyung smiles, pulling the man by his shirt and kissing him smack on the lips. He will do.

🌺 Jeongguk stares, no, /glares/ at his phone on the table before checking the time. It’s almost 1 am and Taehyung isn’t home yet. He hadn’t called nor is he picking up Jeongguk’s phone. It’s enough to get Jeongguk worried.

Various possibilities fill Jeongguk’s head and it has to do with a certain Kang Hajoon. Along with the worry, he starts to feel guilty for not persuading Taehyung enough to take a car or even one of his men.

He sighs, quickly standing up and putting on his hoodie before grabbing his phone only for it to start ringing. It’s Taehyung. Jeongguk quickly answers it. “Taehyung? Where are you?”

There’s no answer for a moment and Jeongguk is about to repeat his question when he hears a quiet sniffle. “Taehyung.” Jeongguk gently calls out. “Can you tell me where you are? Please?” “In front of the apartment building.” Taehyung answers. “It’s a nice view.”

Jeongguk sighs, relief washing over him but he keeps moving. “Stay right there. I’m coming.” He hangs up the call and walks out the door, to where Taehyung says he is.

🌺 When Jeongguk arrives at the entrance of his apartment building, he looks around for a familiar face. There are a few cars driving past him, even less people walking in the distant but there is no sign of Taehyung.

When he does look in front of him, on the other side of the road, he finally notices the person he is looking for, leaning against the wall of the park located in front of the building.

It’s like the worry washes away for split second before another series of worry starts to take over. Why did Taehyung not come in? Where had he gone? Did he get into some kind of trouble? Is he okay?

Jeongguk quickly crosses the road and reaches to Taehyung, who looks like he has been crying, cheeks looking a little flushed under the street lights. Taehyung is staring at the huge apartment building, it’s light reflecting in his glossy eyes.

Jeongguk moves, so that he’s leaning next to Taehyung as well. There’s the faint smell of alcohol that Jeongguk picks up on, which atleast tells him that Taehyung had been drinking.

“I went to a bar on the other side of town.” Taehyung suddenly speaks, as if sensing Jeongguk’s questions without him even speaking. “Was in the mood for some cheap alcohol. All you have are expensive ones.”

Jeongguk cracks a smile before it falls. “Still, could have told me so that I didn’t have to worry.” “Battery died.” Taehyung responses almost immediately. The silence follows soon after and Taehyung does not seem to have any intention to move, so Jeongguk looks at him.

“You’ve been crying.” He states, doesn’t ask, giving Taehyung the upper hand to tell if he wants to or drop it if he wants to. Taehyung nods, looking somehow displeased about that fact. “So I have been. It was surprising for us really.” “Us?” Jeongguk is confused.

“I forgot his name.” Taehyung wonders out loud. “Was it Heejoon? Hejun? Must be one of those.” He mutters. “And who’s that supposed to be? A friend?” Taehyung snorts. “Just a random guy I met at the bar who I was supposed to sleep with.” Jeongguk freezes.

// mentions self-objectification, sex, abuse , controlling behaviour , toxic relationship

“I was feeling annoyed lately.” Taehyung says. “I concluded its because I hadn’t gotten laid for a while now. So I went to the bar to meet someone and have some meaningless sex. We were even about to go at it but I suddenly started crying. I think I scared Hejun.”

Jeongguk looks down, rubs at his neck before pushing himself from the wall. “Let’s go inside first.” “Can’t we just talk here?” “It’s cold. You might get sick again. You haven’t even recovered properly.”

Taehyung weighs down his reasons and finally nods, following Jeongguk inside the building. The couch looks comfortable enough as soon as they enter so Taehyung stumbles towards it, plopping down immediately, his hazy eyes wandering across the ceiling.

“Do you want water?” Jeongguk curtly asks. Taehyung looks at him and shakes his head. “No. I’m fine.” Jeongguk nods, staying silent again. “Are you mad at me?” Taehyung tsks, looking back up at the ceiling again. “I don’t understand why you would be.”

Jeongguk does not understand as well. Taehyung and him, they have a business relationship. He does not remember them having a deep talk involving feelings or the life they’ve lived. They haven’t pushed towards getting to know each other except the glimpses they’ve seen.

But then, Taehyung doing something like this, something reckless and careless, especially after they met Hajoon has him frustrated. “Yes I’m mad.” Jeongguk chooses to say, sitting down on the armchair. Taehyung looks at him again. “Why?”

“Because you asked for protection.” Jeongguk firmly says. Taehyung is a little taken aback as if he just realises that as well.

“And you go out alone like this, without caring if you’re being followed or not, wanting to sleep with someone without worrying if it was someone who intentionally approached you, do you know how dangerous it could have been?” He says, voice a little loud.

Jeongguk rubs at his eyes. “You even just met Hajoon, declared your new relationship and while you should have been more careful now, you instead put yourself in even more danger.” He’s about to say more but stops himself when he sees Taehyung’s tear filled eyes.

“Stop yelling.” Taehyung says, words breaking as he turns the other way, curling himself into a ball. “I—“ Jeongguk sighs, realising his voice had turned loud without meaning to.

“Stupid fucking tears.” Taehyung says and roughly wipes at his eyes but the more he holds himself back, the more he starts to sob into the couch. Jeongguk stands up and walks towards him, before kneeling infront of him. “I’m sorry.” He says, rubbing Taehyung’s back.

“It’s not your fault. Why are you saying sorry?” Taehyung sits up and wipes at his eyes. “I don’t know why I’m even crying. I’ve been crying since before.” “I’ll get you water.” Jeongguk says, standing up but Taehyung holds his wrist. “N-No. Just stay here.” He says.

Jeongguk is hesitant but he sits down none the less, Taehyung right beside him, trying to calm down. “You know,” Taehyung speaks when he feels like he can, “I don’t really like to talk about this but I feel like I’ll go crazy if I don’t.”

“I don’t have friends, I have always lived according to my partner’s wishes and there are a lot of things that are wrong because of that. After meeting Hajoon, I’ve been feeling annoyed with how things are now and I-I don’t know why. It’s all messy in my head.”

“You’ll probably look at me with pity. Yoongi once did and he didn’t even know the whole thing. I think I vowed to not be looked at that way after that but now I don’t really seem to care.” Taehyung lets out a laugh, kind of sad and tired. Jeongguk bites down at his lips.

Taehyung holds his knees instead of latching himself onto Jeongguk like he usually does. He looks small that way and Jeongguk wants to comfort him somehow but if it’s Taehyung who didn’t approach first, Jeongguk is not sure if Taehyung would welcome his touch.

“When I was young, my mother married a rich man.” Taehyung starts to speak, in a way that Jeongguk feels Taehyung is sorting it out for his own self as well. “She loved the life of luxury and told me to always take care of how I looked if I wanted the same life as her.”

Jeongguk scrunches his eyebrows, already thinking how wrong it was to tell a young child that his only value would be through his face. “It was a comfortable life. I didn’t have to stay hungry. My mother wasn’t sad or angry anymore and her husband treated her well.”

“But even that started to change when they started to fight everytime, something about her husband liking younger women. I was too young to understand then but he was a cheating bastard like the people I’ve come to know.”

“My mother was sad again, trying her best to look pretty for him yet being neglected. I think it drove her mad.” Taehyung says, with no remorse. “She used to take her anger out on me but she never once touched my face.”

Taehyung pauses for a while, as if reliving memories from his childhood. “You’re so handsome.” “You’re beautiful”. “People will want you.” “If not, make them want you.”” Taehyung pauses again.

“It didn’t make sense then but it did when she passed away and I was taken to the orphanage. My foster parents were well off and they needed an ideal child. They chose me because of my face.” Taehyung smiles sadly.

“Although that didn’t last for a long time.” Taehyung lets out another laugh. “After being abandoned the first time, I didn’t want to go through that again. So I made use of my face to get what I want and you know what, it was damn easy.”

“People like owning beautiful things. No matter what level of attachment they have, just owning something beautiful gives them a sense of satisfaction.” Taehyung gives Jeongguk a small smile.

“I didn’t mind being that beautiful thing for them. As long as I got that security and company I wanted.” Taehyung sighs and rests his head on his arms. “Although just being a decorative item was not enough. If I made them want me, I’ll be allowed to stay, was what I thought.”

“I was pretty, I was beautiful and I was doing whatever I was told, yet if they find something even more beautiful, they’d want that more than me, abandoning me.” Taehyung pauses. “I didn’t understand it then. Again. It just made me petty and angry.”

“And people with power had secrets. The more power they had, the more secrets. That’s why I started collecting information as blackmail material. Although, I’ve never got to blackmail even one of them yet, which sucks.” He lets out another laugh.

He suddenly turns quiet and Jeongguk stares at Taehyung then, noticing the way how his emotions were going haywire in his eyes, despite his calm state. “And then you met Hajoon.” He offers.

“Yes.” Taehyung agrees. “I think he was my most regrettable choice as a partner. I approached him first, made my move first and just like the rest, fell into my trap. He had more power than the people I had been with, was dignified yet feared, which made me curious.”

“But he didn’t see me as just a decorative piece. I thought he was a nice person, untainted and with actual feelings. He made me feel nice about myself, for the first time. That maybe there was more to me than just my face even though he rained me in compliments.”

“I let my guard down infront of him, shared him my fears and he said that he understands me better than anyone else, and that no one else could.” Taehyung shivers. “Maybe I should have been wary of him since then.”

“You have no idea how wonderful it felt to be understood. I was falling for him despite my wariness and he made sure I did.” Taehyung sighs deeply. “Slowly, I was restricted to do a lot of things.

“I thought it was because he cared about me. And it felt nice to be cared about. But he got more possessive, asking who that person was I talked to, to who that person was that I even bumped into. When I told him I didn’t know, he would look like he didn’t believe me.

But then he would kiss me take me to bed to show he was just worried and that he loved me. I felt good and taken care of. I didn’t mind.” Taehyung shivers again. “The first time he genuinely got angry was when I talked with an old colleague I knew and when I asked him

what was wrong with just talking with him, he hit me for the first time. Said he was scared of losing me. And that angered and scared him. I can’t believe I thought it was fine then.”

“After that, there was no telling what methods he would use to keep me inside and beside him. I started to feel like I was a decorative piece again, a treasure only he was allowed access to. But I didn’t want to feel abandoned. I was addicted to Hajoon’s form of affection.”

“He noticed that, used it in his favour and grilled words into me. He was rough with me in bed, telling me this is how people show they loved a person, what use was love if someone cannot show it using their body. I agreed to his whims and wishes.”

Taehyung stops speaking again as he bites his lips. “Namjoon, his right hand man, brought me to my senses. He didn’t say anything. Just looked at me with pity and I wondered why he did that. What was so pitiful about me wanting love the way I was receiving it?”

“It made me angry but it also made me think. Atleast I still had my conscious talking to me before I completely lost myself to Hajoon’s manipulative ways. The more I thought about it, the more wrong it felt. So I tried to leave.”

“The first time I brought up breaking up, he locked me up in my room and told me to reflect over it. It just made me more scared but I needed to do something to get out of there before I turned insane. I had to say I was sorry for thinking that way.”

Taehyung’s lips wobbles. “He told me I was a good boy and said no one would love me like he does. That he knows my body best and that I wouldn’t be able to feel satisfied being with someone other than him. I felt disgusted this time but I had to accept it.”

“The more time passed, the more I realised just how wrong everything was between us. Hajoon didn’t love me. He was obsessed with me and possessive of me. I was scared to be with him, to run away. I didn’t know what to do.”

“When I could not take it anymore and cried myself to sleep, Hajoon would hold me and tell me again and again that he was the only one who’d accept this vulnerable side of me. No one else can. I wasn’t being comforted one bit.”

“I just quietly lived my life beside him, doing what was told in fear that he would use violence, collected information, observed more than I showed, until I cornered Namjoon one day and told him I wanted to leave. If he felt pity for me, he’d help me.”

“Namjoon denied at first. The boss’ most loyal dog would obviously deny it. Somehow Hajoon came to know about it and abused me for it, even cried for making him want to hurt me. Namjoon was in charge of tending to my wounds and injuries after that day.”

“I would beg him everyday, used my situation to gain more sympathy, I just wanted to get out of there. I asked him if I was his brother and he saw him being treated that way, what would he do?” Taehyung sighs. “That cracked him. He finally agreed.”

“We set a date but the day before that, Hajoon came to me and spewed some bullshit about love and I didn’t want to listen to him anymore. I said I didn’t want the kind of love he wanted to give me, that it wasn’t even love.

Before he could do anything, I just locked myself in. He said if I wanted to leave, I can try to do so.” Taehyung snorts. “He had to leave the country the other day and Namjoon had made plans to help me escape then. And I did.”

“I was thinking of running away but—“ Taehyung stops speaking, as if wanting to say something but hesitating to do so, “—but you came to meet me. And you know how it turned out.”

“Even with you, someone with so much power, I thought you’d want something more than just information. There was no way you wouldn’t want more, everyone did. But you said things like “value yourself more”, didn’t look at me like I was some kind of trophy,”

Taehyung pauses, “it all confused me and made me frustrated because this was not what happened to me even once. I even thought you had ulterior motives and thought I should just break your resolve instead.”

“You weren’t giving in, instead you were sweet and kind and went along with my promiscuous way.” He lets out a chuckle. “I even wondered how it would have been if I met you first before Hajoon. Would I have valued myself more? Although I don’t get the point of it yet.”

“Hajoon’s actions towards me were like drugs. I was addicted to it even if I knew it was wrong. After I met him again, I started to crave for that affection but didn’t know how to gain that. You weren’t willing and I wasn’t going to push you for it.

You don’t even like meaningless sex so I went to get laid. But when I was making out with that guy, I remembered you saying I did well, you were proud of me, that I faced my fears and did well to stand my ground. I started crying because it felt good to be reminded of that.”

“Then I wondered just what I was doing, I got more confused and cried the more. Hejin, that random guy was nervous and gave me some water and told me I shouldn’t force myself if I didn’t want to sleep with him. I cried the more because I thought I wanted to.”

“Maybe I felt guilty because you told me my worth isn’t going to be determined just with sex alone. I felt guilty of ignoring your kindness towards me. I’m so confused with it all. I don’t know what to do anymore.” Taehyung holds his legs tighter.

Jeongguk moves closer and takes Taehyung’s hand. “The way you lived and the people you met gave you a the twisted form of how affection should be perceived. It’s not that way at all.” Taehyung looks at their entwined hands.

“Thank you for telling me. You’re so brave to do that.” Jeongguk softly says, offering Taehyung a smile. “It can be confusing to know what kindness means, to understand that there can be other forms of affection and it will take time, but I promised you protection, did’t I?”

Taehyung nods. “Then it means you have a long way ahead of you to learn and understand a different kind of affection and love. You don’t need to rush to know it. The warmth of a hand, the gentleness in a smile, the safety in a hug, you can learn it all again.”

A tear falls from Taehyung’s eyes and he holds onto Jeongguk’s hand, focusing on the warmth it provides. “Like the warmth I feel from you?” Jeongguk blinks but he nods. “And like the warmth I feel from you.”

Taehyung stays quiet for a moment before he looks into Jeongguk’s eyes. “Can you hug me? It feels nice when you do.” Jeongguk immediately wraps his arms around Taehyung, his own heart constricting for the man in his arms, wondering how hard it must have been to live,

to live the life he had been forced to live in, the people who pushed him in a corner and engrained their beliefs into him. He feels sad and angry for Taehyung.

Taehyung, on the other hand, has received hugs before. He had asked for it when he felt too lonely even in the company of his partners, he had been held because he asked for it. Hugs were always warm, humans are hot-blooded creatures after all.

Yet, every-time he had his head carefully settled on a person’s chest, arms around him, he still felt a spine-chilling coldness that refused to leave him. Hajoon’s warmth had started to feel like a burning rope tied around him yet he thought it was how it is supposed to be.

But Jeongguk hugging him, without expectations, even if he /asked/ him to, just because it felt nice—felt so much more different. Like a warm blanket laid around him, free of reign, just…warmth. It really does feel nice.

Taehyung thinks if it’s okay to want to learn how different affection really can be. Thinks if Jeongguk will be okay and willing to show it to him. It seems far-fetched, since Jeongguk has always had that hesitance with him, when dealing with Taehyung.

But for now, as he snuggles closer to Jeongguk’s chest, his ear right on top of his beating heart, he feels his suffocation fading away. This feels nice.

a/n: this is a work of fiction, and in no way do i link the characters here to the members irl -.- also stop saying i’m writing tae as a weak character. he is anything but weak 💀 stop reading if you don’t like how this is going. i’m deleting those cc’s anyway so don’t bother.

🌺 “Get ready, we’re going out.” Taehyung places the magazine he’s reading and stares at the person who just entered the room. “Why am I going out with you?” Taehyung asks, eyes squinting.

“Because Jeongguk is busy and I need to talk to you about my sister’s husband.” Jimin averts his eyes. “Ooh. Was little Jimin bored?” Taehyung smiles, standing up from his spot from the comfortable couch and walking towards his room, Jimin following behind him.

“I am actually a busy man. And stop making fun of my height. I’m not that short.” Jimin sighs. “So who sent you? I can’t believe you’d want to hang out with me on your free will. You have your pride.”

Jimin sits down on the bed and stares at Taehyung. “Okay fine. Jeongguk asked me to spend time with you today since he’s busy and you might appreciate some company.” Taehyung’s smile gets wider. “I did want to go out of the house too.”

It had been a few days after Taehyung had opened up to Jeongguk about his past and his feelings. Jeongguk had said he had time, so he tries not to dwell on his confusion longer than necessary.

Although, there are times when he wonders if it’s okay for things to go this way, with no extra expectations, it’s still early, he tells himself.

But being cooped up in the house had seemed to bore Taehyung out a lot. He had expressed his boredom last night while trying to annoy Jeongguk from falling asleep, just so they could talk some more.

Jeongguk hadn’t given him any alternative solution other than to watch a movie or pick up a hobby then, but Taehyung cannot help but smile that he had been thinking of ways to give him a solution. Be it in the form of Jimin—who Taehyung is sure does not really like him still.

Jimin, even though he pretends to not be interested, helps pick out Taehyung’s outfit—his profession coming to play here which leaves Taehyung crying in laughter because of his strict fashion statement about streetwear after Taehyung says ‘it’s just clothes’.

Jimin was fun to be around. “We’ll be accompanying you both today.” A bodyguard says when Jimin and Taehyung walks towards the car Jeongguk has prepared, the other bodyguard opening the door for them.

“I always thought Jeongguk was a powerful figure, but I feel like I’m an important person today.” Taehyung whispers to Jimin as they both get in. “That guy is influential indeed. Although the security comes from his parents. They dote on him a lot.” Jimin whispers back.

“I think Jeongguk is just as worried for your safety. Especially after the gala.” Taehyung looks at Jimin. “So you know about Kang Hajoon and me?” “I don’t. You just looked pretty shaken up that night.” Jimin says and Taehyung is thankful he doesn’t press further on it.

“How did you meet Jeongguk anyway?” Jimin asks when they’re seated at a rooftop cafe, an open view of the city in front of them. “I’m asking because Jeongguk gives me vague answers so I’d rather hear from you.” “Are you curious?” Taehyung leans against the table.

“I would be lying if I said I was not.” Jimin sips on his drink. “And you suddenly came into the picture so I’m worried too.” “You probably think I did it for the money.” Taehyung smiles. Jimin clears hit throat and sits up straight. “The thought did cross my mind.”

Taehyung hums. “Well yes, he did offer me 2 billion won.” Jimin looks at him with wide eyes. “2 bil-what?” “I needed escape funds.” Taehyung scowls, throwing a tissue Jimin’s way.

“Why on earth would you need escape funds? Are you going to betray Jeongguk? Why did he offer money in the first place?” Jimin asks, exasperated and that makes Taehyung laugh until his stomach hurt. “Oh geez. You’re so funny.” Taehyung says.

“We met at the club I worked at, and he offered to help me because I was in some kind of trouble. And the rest is history.” Taehyung smiles, innocently. He didn’t really lie so it should be good. “I know you don’t trust me but I have no intention of betraying Jeongguk.”

He pauses. “But I might reconsider if it’s the other way round.” He smiles again. Jimin shudders and throws the tissue back at Taehyung again. “I’ll really be keeping my eye on you.” “Be my guest.” Taehyung laughs.

Being with Jimin is kind of like Yoongi, Taehyung thinks. They’re both honest yet pretend a lot. Like the way Jimin says he has no interest in shopping that day but he’s the one who picked a lot of Taehyung’s outfit (Jeongguk had given him his card to use).

Or like the way Jimin says he does not belong in the arcade scene until Taehyung pulls him and he gets competitive with Taehyung while trying out different games, with excitement in his eyes. They have a lot of fun that day and Taehyung wishes they can be friends at least.

He never had friends but it seemed fun to have one to do stuff like he did with Jimin that day.

Later at night, after Jimin leaves the house, and Taehyung takes a shower, he thinks he should cook dinner, as a thank you, for Jeongguk. The thing is, he doesn’t know how to.

He puts on his apron though and chooses something simple as an omelette rice recipe from youtube and gets to work. Three failed attempts later, Taehyung looks at the plate of omelette rice he had made and sighs deeply.

“Is it even edible?” Taehyung thinks, leaning against the counter and glaring hard at the plate. “What is?” Taehyung startles at the sudden question and turns around to see Jeongguk curiously blinking down at him. “When did you get here?” He breathes out.

“Just now. You didn’t hear?” “As you can see,” Taehyung says pointing towards the messed up kitchen counter, “I was busy.” He murmurs, suddenly embarrassed. Jeongguk hums, looking around. “That you were.” He then looks at Taehyung and smiles. “So what did you cook?”

Taehyung quickly blocks the plate of omelette rice from Jeongguk’s way and stares at him instead. “Nothing.” Jeongguk squints his eyes. “You definitely did.” “I didn’t.” Taehyung stands his ground.

Jeongguk doesn’t say anything until he walks closer, so close Taehyung can feel his breath on his cheeks. Then he leans in, causing Taehyung to suck in his breath only for Jeongguk to move his lips next to Taehyung’s ear.

“I smell something nice though.” And in a hurry, Jeongguk gets hold of the plate and moves around, leaving Taehyung in shock and surprise. “Ooh. Omelette rice.” Jeongguk checks the plate and grabs a spoon. Taehyung glares at him. “If it’s not edible, I already warned you.”

Taehyung is nervous. He had never cooked before. It was his first time wanting to try cooking something since Jeongguk had always been the one to do so if the housekeeper who comes by every alternate day is not the one doing it.

He gingerly watches as Jeongguk places the plate on the countertop and puts in a spoonful of the rice in his mouth. “I didn’t know you could cook.” Is what Jeongguk says with a smile. Taehyung blinks, not believing it one bit. “Let me taste it.”

When Taehyung puts his own spoonful of the omelette rice, he’s pleasantly surprised. “Huh, I guess I do have the potential.” He concludes, making Jeongguk laugh. Dinner goes by smoothly after that, both of them sharing the same plate of food while talking about their day.

Taehyung tells him about Jimin and his day out, about how he told him the foundation of their relationship minus the contract, of course. Jeongguk in turn, tells him about his office work after Taehyung insists when Jeongguk says it would bore him.

He tells him about Hoseok coming to meet him with the details of Hajoon’s case and to look into some more regarding their latest loss because of Hajoon’s company.

It’s nothing serious, just them talking casually, a conversation that did not involve them being wary of each other, that did not include secret smiles or hesitant gazes. Taehyung likes it a lot.

It’s after they both retire in their rooms and Taehyung comes out of the shower when Jeongguk enters. “Oh um,” Jeongguk blushes a little when he sees Taehyung just has a towel wrapped around his hips.

“Like what you see?” Taehyung questions, finding amusement in Jeongguk’s reddened cheeks. “I just wanted to ask you if you wanted to come drink with me.” Jeongguk clears his throat, his shy gaze lingering over Taehyung’s neck and chest before they meet his eyes.

“You don’t have to go to work tomorrow?” Taehyung asks. “I have a free day tomorrow.”

Taehyung nods. “I’ll join you after I change.” He pauses. “Or I can just come like—“ “I’ll wait for you.” Jeongguk quickly says before walking out of the room and closing the door, Taehyung’s laughter following after him.

Changing into a loose t-shirt that he stole from Jeongguk and cute pajama shorts, Taehyung ruffles his hair and walks out into the living room where Jeongguk is already drinking his first bottle of soju.

“You brought soju? I didn’t notice.” Taehyung says, sitting down right next to Jeongguk, as the latter offers him another open bottle. “Haven’t gone drinking lately and work has been stressful.” Jeongguk sighs.

“Is it that hard?” Taehyung wonders out loud, back resting against the couch. “Want to try running a company?” Jeongguk muses, smiling the more when Taehyung shudders.

“Not my thing.” Taehyung says. He then turns to Jeongguk. “You earn the money and I spend it. Sounds nice, doesn't it? I can spend it well.” Jeongguk hums. “I can see that from the notifications filling my phone.”

“Wait. You get those?” Taehyung looks surprised. “I do. My bank account is linked to my phone number.” “Even for the things I order online?”

Jeongguk pauses, knowing where this conversation is going. “Yes.” He says, looking away and taking a gulp out of his bottle. “Oh my god.” Taehyung rests his head on the table in obvious embarrassment.

Jeongguk chuckles. “I can pretend to ignore that I saw the messages about you ordering some…toys.” “Yes. Let’s do that.” Taehyung quickly sits back up and gulps down his soju, cheeks a little red—more from embarrassment than the alcohol.

After the unfateful day of him crying in front of his supposed one night stand, Taehyung did clear his mind—even by a little— after talking with Jeongguk. The idea about him wanting sex for validation was something he needed to get out of his head.

But he was still pent up, and he wasn’t going to see himself short again, which made Yoongi tell him about an adult shop he could check out, which then led to him ordering a few toys just for his self-satisfaction with Jeongguk’s card. Clearly not a good idea.

Because the air suddenly turned awkward between them, which started to happen quite a lot after their talk, Taehyung quickly grabs the remote. “Let’s watch a movie.” He declares, putting on an ongoing movie. It would have been fine. If it was not a confession scene, that is.

The male lead professes his love for the female lead and they both start making out in the rain, until the scene changes to a room where they start making out on the bed. Taehyung switches the television off.

Taehyung sighs and look at Jeongguk, who looks at him and then suddenly out of nowhere, both of them start to laugh. “It’s a weird night.” Taehyung declares, opening another bottle of soju, Jeongguk doing the same, before clinking their bottles together. “Agreed.”

Somewhere between them switching their alcohol preference to beer and pouring in another bowl of snacks to go along with it, Taehyung curiously stares at Jeongguk.

“You’re staring.” Jeongguk says after a while. The familiarity of those two words ignites a fluttery feeling across Taehyung’s chest, and it makes him smile before uttering two more familiar words that always follow, “I know.”

“Why?” “Because you have a nice face.” Taehyung keeps staring, observing from the moles adorning Jeongguk’s face to the tiny cheek scar that probably has a story he doesn’t know about.

“Do I?” Taehyung nods. “You do.” Jeongguk then moves and leans his elbow on the table, his cheeks resting on the palm of his hand. “Then does this mean I can stare at yours?” Taehyung is surely taken aback.

“You’ve become bold with your flirting.” Taehyung looks away first, grabbing his can of beer. “Have you been practising?” “Learned a thing or two from the master himself.” Jeongguk replies, referring to Taehyung.

“I feel proud, somehow.” Taehyung laughs, gulping down his beer again and turning fully towards Jeongguk with a sly smile. “What more have you learned?” Jeongguk bites his bottom lip, as if contemplating something. “Am I allowed to show?” Taehyung nods.

They both know they’re tipsy at this point. Taehyung feels light-headed, but he’s sober enough to know what’s going on. He remembers how Jeongguk is an honest drunk, so the boldness may probably be because of that.

He’s anticipating, half amused, half nervous because he has no way to know what Jeongguk will do next. Jeongguk moves in his seat, closer to Taehyung. It makes Taehyung blink down his amused smile, instead focusing on Jeongguk’s face coming close towards him.

It’s like everything zeroes into Jeongguk just coming closer and Taehyung forgetting how to breathe at the sudden move. “Close your eyes.” Jeongguk whispers and because it is so sudden, Taehyung quickly complies, shutting them tightly. It makes Jeongguk stifle a laugh.

He moves a little more closer until he’s eye to eye with Taehyung and stares at him for a moment, finding amusement in the way Taehyung scrunches his eyebrows as if confused, wet lips jutted out as if waiting for a kiss and Jeongguk is /so/ tempted.

“On second thoughts, I think you should keep them open.” Taehyung, again, immediately complies and opens them only to let out a small gasp when he finds Jeongguk even closer.

Jeongguk gently smiles and leaves a quick kiss on Taehyung’s nose before moving back completely, leaving Taehyung in a still state. “The beer’s getting warm.” Jeongguk says, smiling as he takes a gulp out of his cane.

When he turns towards Taehyung though, he is immediately grabbed by his sweatshirt and yanked towards Taehyung’s face, their noses almost touching.

It makes Jeongguk a little dizzy, with the alcohol mixing with Taehyung’s vanilla scent, and just Taehyung there, his head seems to be in a daze. “A nose kiss? Really? I think you didn’t learn well enough.” Taehyung tsks.

Jeongguk can just gulp, sensing the fierce shine in Taehyung’s eyes, gaze swiftly lingering down on his lips which is just centimetres apart from his own, before it’s back up again. He knows he’s in trouble.

“You think you can be satisfied with just a kiss on my nose?” Taehyung asks, intentionally looking down at Jeongguk’s lips, moving closer until he swerves and smiles against his ear instead. “Think again, baby.” Jeongguk shivers.

Taehyung smiles, kind of satisfied, as he pulls back and sees Jeongguk’s bashful expression, the redness on his cheeks and the haze in his eyes. They’re still very close, knees touching each other, Taehyung’s hands resting on the couch behind them, behind Jeongguk.

“The key point of flirting is to keep them wanting more.” Taehyung says, sliding his slender finger from Jeongguk’s cheek, down to his neck. “To make them know that you’re waiting for them to make a move as much as you do. Deliberately, as shrewd as you can be.”

Taehyung moves his hand on the back of Jeongguk’s neck and tugs at it, gentle yet firm. “Make sure to make eye contact. Don’t waver. Be confident.” Jeongguk gulps again, noticing the way Taehyung is subtly biting his lips.

“Jeongguk.” Taehyung calls out, smiling as Jeongguk looks back up at his eyes. “Eye contact.” He teases.

Jeongguk frowns. “It feels like you’re teaching me how to seduce more than how to flirt.” “Oh.” Taehyung keeps smiling, moving his lips towards Jeongguk’s neck. “Did I get caught?” He asks, before leaving a soft kiss on the side of his neck.

“Taehyung.” Jeongguk calls out when the latter leaves another kiss and another, one hand holding Jeongguk’s shoulder, while the other placed against his chest. Jeongguk is definitely in trouble.

“Did you learn something?” Taehyung laughs, placing both of his arms on Jeongguk’s shoulder, tilting his head innocently.

Jeongguk scrunches his eyebrows and he immediately wraps his arms around Taehyung’s waist and pulls him up on his lap, making Taehyung release a surprise gasp. “W-What are y—“ “Can I kiss you?”

Taehyung remembers the night when Jeongguk had asked the same question. He wonders what he was feeling then. Satisfaction that Jeongguk was breaking his resolve? Excitement?

Because now, being asked that again, Taehyung is more surprised than any other emotions causing a rampage in his head. He’s hesitant for the first time, even if Jeongguk’s hazy eyes tell him he wants him.

“Are you going to sleep on me again?” Taehyung asks, hearing his own heart beat getting faster, feeling the right grip on his waist. Jeongguk shakes his head. “I won’t.”

Taehyung pauses but he leans in, gently brushing his nose against Jeongguk’s, eyes closing shut as he sighs. “You know we might cross a line.” He tries to reason again. “I know.”

Taehyung opens his eyes and looks at Jeongguk’s. “We can pretend this never happened when we wake up tomorrow if you want. Something mean—“ Jeongguk frowns. “I don’t want it to be something meaningless.” Taehyung gulps. “Then kiss me like you mean it.”

And Jeongguk does. He leans in and meshes their lips together, clumsy in the way it is rushed just because Jeongguk /wanted/ to feel and he does /feel/.

He kisses Taehyung like he means it, because it does, in the way their lips caress the seams, gently, yet turning rough in the next second, just because they cannot seem to get enough.

He wants to show that he had been meaning to do this for a long time, not because Taehyung is beautiful—in every sense, but because it’s Taehyung, someone who had one day strangely wound his presence around Jeongguk’s heart, tugging at it softly yet roughly, yet again,at times.

But it’s never not okay. Because it is, Jeongguk doesn’t want it any other way. Taehyung tastes sweet, mixing with the bitter aftertaste of the alcohol they shared together. He tastes warm and fierce altogether, tastes like Jeongguk might get addicted.

It’s not subtle teasing, it’s not just wishing, it’s not lingering touches anymore. Jeongguk then holds Taehyung’s waist and pulls him up to the couch, moving over him without their lips even breaking apart, as if scared that this might be a dream.

Taehyung grips at Jeongguk’s shirt though, tugging at it before he’s pulling away, chest heaving up and down in pants, lungs begging for air.

“Jeongguk.” Taehyung gasps out, hazy eyes looking up at Jeongguk, saying he wants more, as if pleading. It tugs at Jeongguk’s heartstring. Jeongguk realises he can never have enough, now that he’s tasted Taehyung, now that he knows what it’s liked to be kissed by him, like sin.

Yet he wants to devour him and get devoured in return. Jeongguk leans down again, lips pressing a kiss on both of Taehyung’s eyelids before meeting his lips again. It’s slow, it’s gentler, but Jeongguk definitely kisses Taehyung like he means it all over again.

🌺 Waking up this time around isn't as hard for Taehyung. It is not a sudden jerk, nor the rush of sudden heartbeats that usually accompanies him most mornings, as if he had a scary dream that he does not remember.

His eyes just open, as if someone had aimlessly whispered in his ears for him to wake up.

He opens his eyes and tries to make sense of his surroundings, the softness below him, the warmth around and over him, gaze landing on the open window which allows a gentle breeze to sway the flimsy white curtains.

Taehyung feels relaxed to have woken up, despite the slight incoming headache, as though he is being enclosed in a cocoon of just warmth and comfort.

Only when he moves to settle in comfortably does he note the arm enclosing his waist. That is enough for last night's memories to rush in with such force that it causes a splitting headache, making Taehyung wince a little.

He calms himself down and looks around carefully, noticing it isn't his room but Jeongguk's.

He then gazes on the arm safely craddling him, feels the warm breath hit on the back of his neck and it's enough to make him flush in embarrassment for all the words spoken and rushed kisses shared.

They probably might have fallen asleep while kissing because the last thing Taehyung remembers is Jeongguk kissing him all the way to his bedroom and making him lay on the bed while still leaving lazy kisses here and there before sleep had overtaken their will to stay awake.

They were probably tired after the previous day's events, the alcohol kicking in when they made contact with the bed.

Taehyung tries to sit up, maybe walk away to his own room before Jeongguk wakes up, because suddenly he is not sure anymore.

Last night’s event can be concluded as them being under the influence of alcohol, even though they were not really drunk—it did manage to make them give in to their desires rather than the usual play of subtleties around each other.

A part of Taehyung feels like something uncertain is slowly falling into place and it brings him peace, but there’s another part, that’s nagging and uncomfortable scratching against his chest, bringing forth the fear of wanting something he had never received before.

Jeongguk had said it was okay but is it really? Taehyung really dislikes the mornings after he drinks, mostly because he thinks a lot about the consequences and wallows in self doubts and uncertainties despite him wanting to be nonchalant about it.

Deciding he needs to take a shower to cool his head, Taehyung tries to stealthily get out of bed and think about the what-ifs and now-whats later. Jeongguk’s arm is heavy on his waist but he succeeds after a while.

He heavily sighs and turns to look at Jeongguk’s sleeping face, quite defenseless and innocent under the morning light. It makes Taehyung want to kiss him again. Will he be allowed to? The question feels like a double edged sword for himself so he quickly looks away.

He’s about to stand up when he has his wrist grabbed and he’s suddenly pulled down into the bed again, back pressed against a solid chest, the familiar strong arms holding him in place.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Jeongguk’s groggy, morning voice, asks against Taehyung’s neck, breath a little too hot yet it sends a shiver down Taehyung’s spine.

“Were you thinking of leaving before I woke up so you didn’t have to face me?” Jeongguk asks next, lips still slightly grazing Taehyung’s neck. It makes blush rise up all the way from his neck to the tips of his ears.

He also feels a little guilty because that is exactly what he was planning to do. “I—“ Taehyung gulps, aware of the fact that Jeongguk’s hold had gotten a little tighter, lips pressing fluttery kisses on Taehyung’s neck and shoulder. Its ticklish and it makes him smile.

“Stay a little longer?” Jeongguk asks and with how Taehyung’s chest bursts in pools of warmth and want, he cannot really say no.

“But I really have to go.” Taehyung sighs gravely, and that makes Jeongguk suddenly alert. He loosens his hold on Taehyung’s waist and urges him to turn towards him.

When Taehyung does, he notices Jeongguk’s saddened expression, as if knowing his expectations had been met and not a good one at that.

“Taehyung.” Jeongguk speaks, eyes wavering like he’s trying to make sure he says it properly. “If you’re worried about what happened last night, if you’re uncertain or feel that I didn’t actually mean it, I did.” Jeongguk takes a deep breath, palms caressing Taehyung’s face.

“I know we still have to talk about what to do from now on or where we stand but I want you to know I don’t regret it one bit and that I’m not acting because of the mood, I just—“ Taehyung presses a finger on Jeongguk’s lips making the latter stop talking

and look at him in confusion. “I understand. And we’ll talk about it. But I still have to go.” He pauses. “I really need to pee.”

When realisation dawns on Jeongguk, he gives Taehyung the stink eye while the latter starts laughing at Jeongguk’s sulking expression before he throws a pillow Taehyung’s way.

“You ruined the mood.” Jeongguk says, laying on the bed while Taehyung gets off. “Well, I was planning to go and then come back to wake you up with kisses but then you had to wake up first.” Taehyung teases.

Jeongguk looks at him and squints his eyes, knowing well enough that Taehyung is lying. “I’m offended you don’t believe me.” Taehyung walks towards the door. “Hard to when I already knew you were probably going to avoid this conversation.” Jeongguk sighs.

Taehyung pauses near the door and bites his lips before he turns back. “I did think of avoiding it altogether.” He admits, noticing the day Jeongguk’s expression changes to something sad.

“But that warmth is getting addicting.” He smiles. “I’ll be back.” He says before exiting the room and closing the door. Jeongguk stays lying on his bed for a while, smiling a little at Taehyung’s will to take this step with him. It makes him a little giddy.

He knows Taehyung will be uncertain about many things along the way, so Jeongguk hopes Taehyung will be patient enough to want to stay and sort through their feelings together. Does Jeongguk like Taehyung? He does. Likes how Taehyung is teasing, likes how he’s strong and brave,

likes how he stands his ground. Jeongguk likes him but is not sure if Taehyung likes him the same way. And even then, Jeongguk is surprised that he’s willing to get hurt for Taehyung. He did accept his hand for this first step. He hopes he doesn’t let go now.

🌺 Taehyung moves around the room, feeling Jeongguk’s conspicuous gaze on him the whole time. It isn’t unpleasant, but it /does/ make Taehyung a little conscious while doing his chore of collecting the laundry.

Not able to take the pressure, Taehyung sighs and drops the empty laundry basket on the floor, before turning towards Jeongguk--who seems to perk up at the attention he has been evidently waiting for.

“What is it?” Taehyung asks directly, arms folded and eyebrow raised in curiosity. “You’re glowing, somehow. You’re really pretty.” Jeongguk says just as directly from his position on the couch.

It surprises Taehyung for a second before he clears his throat and waves away the embarrassment of being complimented that way. He has been called pretty before, just not this gently. “Tell me something I don’t know.” Taehyung retorts, the smile giving away his amusement.

“Come here.” Jeongguk suddenly ushers Taehyung over to him, and as curious as he may be, Taehyung complies because he had kind of missed being wrapped around Jeongguk’s warmth, especially after the morning cuddles.

When he is near enough, Jeongguk gently holds Taehyung’s hand and tugs him forward until Taehyung is seated with his back resting against Jeongguk’s chest, the latter’s arms curling around Taehyung’s torso.

“This is better.” Jeongguk says, a smile in his voice as he rests his chin on Taehyung’s shoulder, breathing in the soft, sweet scent Taehyung emits.

“You’re actually clingier than I thought.”Taehyung muses, playing with Jeongguk’s hand. “Was it all an act? When you pretended you weren’t interested in me?”

Jeongguk sighs and holds Taehyung tighter, deciding it’s better to talk now. “To be honest, I had no intention of seeing anyone. I am usually busy with work, especially with the new developmental plan, giving me no time to date.” He pauses.

“I think the last time I dated was two years ago when my mother introduced me to a girl. We broke up after a few months because, well, I didn’t have time.”

Taehyung hums, leaning his head back against Jeongguk’s shoulder. “There is no such thing as being too busy. If you cared enough about the person, you would have made time for them.” Jeongguk wonders if he really had not cared about his girlfriend.

He had tried his best to be a good boyfriend but he really had not wanted to date anyone because emotions and feelings felt like a waste of time then.

He suddenly remembers the mountain of work he has to finish but had taken the weekend off instead, just so he can be with Taehyung and relax. He really does care about Taehyung, huh? The conclusion warms his chest.

“Maybe.” Jeongguk agrees. “Even when I came to meet you, I had not intended on anything else other than a business proposition.” He mumbles, a little guilty.

Taehyung turns a little to look at Jeongguk. “Let me guess. After you had someone look into my background, you thought I was definitely after money, didn’t you? That’s why you offered me 2 billion won?”

Jeongguk is amazed at Taehyung making light of his presumption, yet it saddens him somehow. Taehyung looks like he doesn’t care about it while Jeongguk feels as guilty as he can for having thought of that at all.

It amazes him, but saddens him to know just what kind of assumptions he had been cornered into, to be immune to even those which questioned his character and personality. Jeongguk almost wishes if Taehyung can be a little angry at him for that assumption alone.

“Yes.” Jeongguk gulps down the lump in his throat at the confession. “What I received was a history of your dating life. All with influential people in the business world. So, I did come to that conclusion. I’m sorry.”

Taehyung laughs and leans his head sideways to look at Jeongguk properly. “You have a miserable expression on.” Taehyung smiles.

“Why do you have to be sorry? Of course people will assume from what they see and observe first. You’re only human. You didn’t know everything then. Besides, it was easier to live under those assumptions than to try and correct them, you know? I tried, it was tiring.

It wasn’t completely wrong either, I /did/ go after money and power.” Taehyung grins, softly bumping his head against Jeongguk. “So remove that guilt from your conscience. It will only make me feel bad.”

“Will it make you feel better if I do?” Taehyung nods against his shoulder. “Absolutely. Besides, we were talking about your interest in me. Let’s talk about that instead of these unpleasant things.”

“Nothing about you is unpleasant.” Jeongguk immediately says. “There were some unfortunate incidents and situations which may have influenced your decisions but nothing about you is unpleasant.” Taehyung stays quiet, as if saying something might take away that reality for him.

That’s why I couldn’t understand you when we first met, you know?” Jeongguk continues. “You were alluring, interesting, smart and bold. You knew what you wanted, your eyes were clear yet there were hints of desperation behind that gaze.

But you were also really driven to the point where you failed to see your worth if it was not through your body. It upset me even though I didn’t know a thing about the life you had lived.

You are so much more than just your face and your body yet seeing you resort to using them without much of a thought, like it was nothing, like it shouldn’t mean anything to be doing that, upset me.

I didn’t want to give in to your whims no matter how attracted I was towards your personality, because all you knew was how to receive attraction through your body. I didn’t want to take advantage of that.

What use was it, if I couldn’t be able to tell you I saw you more than that? I was more scared that it wouldn’t reach you instead of just telling you.” Taehyung at this point, stops playing with Jeongguk’s hand, his head hanging low.

Jeongguk wonders just what kind of expression Taehyung is making. “It almost makes me wish I’d met you sooner.” Jeongguk adds, a certain sadness occupying his chest along with the loud beating of his heart.

“You are beautiful, no doubt, but your mind is just as beautiful.” Taehyung smiles. “We may have met through a agreement, an unprofessional and unsteady one,

but you trusted me enough to help take Hajoon down, you trusted me enough to tell me your story, and you trusted me enough to let me l--” Jeongguk stops speaking when Taehyung suddenly moves from his arms, shifting so that he’s facing Jeongguk instead.

The latter’s eyes widen a little in surprise when he sees Taehyung’s tear-filled eyes. Taehyung is trying hard not to let his tears fall, teeth biting down his bottom lip from trembling.

“I thought I was done crying. You’re speaking too much for someone who doesn’t say much.” Taehyung says before wrapping his arms around Jeongguk’s neck.

Taehyung searches Jeongguk’s face and finds nothing but genuine sincerity. He sighs and slightly smiles, leaning in to press his lips on Jeongguk’s, a tear escaping his closed eyes, before he pulls away.

“You are a good person.” Taehyung says with a subtle smile. “So it made me wonder if I’m allowed to lean in to your warmth because of my selfishness. I’m far from good.

I’m tainted, I might probably betray you if I get too scared, my past probably won’t leave me for a long time and yet here I am wanting to cling onto you for a sanity I desire. I’m being selfish.”

Jeongguk rubs his hand over Taehyung’s back and pulls him closer, pressing his lips over Taehyung’s this time. “Then be selfish. I’m asking you to.”

“That request has a lot of depth.” Taehyung says, resting his forehead against Jeongguk’s. “You might regret it.

“It’s a fall I’m willing to take. I don’t think I will regret it though.” Jeongguk smiles, his hands now gripping Taehyung’s hips, skin soft and warm against his fingertips,

“You’re getting confident over something uncertain.” Taehyung smiles, moving to rest his head on Jeongguk’s shoulder instead. “It’s just enough if you say yes.” Jeongguk says, pulling away. “The contract was a mess anyway.”

It makes Taehyung laugh and lean back, eyes glimmering in a hope he had not allowed himself to feel in a long time. “I did plan on running away after six months, you know? It’s just the first month. What are we doing?” Taehyung asks, eyes wavering.

“If you still want to run away after six months, I won’t stop you.” Jeongguk gives Taehyung a sad smile. “I don’t want to restrict you from the freedom you had desired when you proposed the contract. I’ll be a little sad but maybe I’ll also be waiting.”

“Again, you’re being confident about something uncertain.” Taehyung frowns. “Why?” “Because I’m confident in my feelings for you atleast. It’s slowly growing. I’ll be satisfied if I can make my feelings reach you, if I can show you my way of treasuring you.”

“And you’re okay getting hurt?” Taehyung asks, voice breaking. “If it’s you, yes.” Deeply sighing, Taehyung hugs Jeongguk again, mind an awry mess. “You’re an idiot. Why would you do that to yourself?” “I don’t know. I just know I’m willing to.”

“Really an idiot.” Taehyung mumbles. “I might run away with your money.” “I did offer you your escape funds.” Taehyung leans back and scowls at Jeongguk, making the latter laugh. “So tell me quick. Do you want to date for real? No contracts but you’re free to run away.”

Taehyung cups Jeongguk’s face. “You do realise this sounds even absurd than the contract we made?” Jeongguk thinks about it. “You’re right. It does.”

“I never knew you were this crazy.” Taehyung pecks Jeongguk’s lips. “But I’ll try.” “Try what?” Taehyung smiles. “Not to run away.”

a/n : adding this here because i wrote the legal parts solely based on my kdrama watching experience :’) forgive me if i write something wrong or it does not add up T^T



May 17 21View on Twitter

not @ me writing the next part of the updates while knowing nothing about legal proceedings 💀 pls forgive me

Show this thread

🌺 “He agreed?” Hoseok springs up from the chair he was sitting on, a few of his colleagues looking up at him because of his sudden outburst. Realising his actions, he bows apologetically and swiftly turns towards his subordinate who had come bearing with the news.

The subordinate, Yeonjun, nods, handing him a file, which Hoseok quickly flips through. “It was not easy to convince him because Kang’s Co. is a huge deal and not many would like to be involved with it,

but four days of stake outs and a painfully tiring dinner proposal did the trick. That man eats like a pig. He was just playing with us, I swear.” Yeonjun scowls, tired from even standing.

“You did a good job.” Hoseok pats Yeonjun’s back. “At least he agreed for a testimony. I need to meet him to make sure he will keep his end of the bargain.” Yeonjun tilts his head and clicks his tongue, as if unsure. “But something didn’t seem right.”

“What do you mean?” “It felt like he already knew why we were approaching him, before I even told him the whole thing. He acted like he wasn’t interested for a while until he finally agreed as if his denials didn’t exist in the first place.

He didn’t look the slightest bit scared to go against Kang Hajoon after days of refusal. Don’t you think it is suspicious?” Yeonjun frowns. Hoseok nods, “It definitely is. Schedule a dinner meeting with him so that I can meet him myself.

The chief is arriving tomorrow so I better get the court approvals from him. Captain Gaho is terrible at trying to push this case under the rug.”

“Yes, Sir!” Yeonjun bellows before laughing and rushing down the hallways, leaving an annoyed Hoseok behind. As soon as Yeonjun is out of sight, Hoseok sighs at the file in his hand, before fishing out his phone and dialing a certain number.

It gets accepted at the third ring. “Hey. Can we meet?”

- “He is going to betray you on the day of the trial if it gets approved.” Hoseok dumbfoundedly stares at Taehyung who elegantly leans back against the couch, his legs folded. Jeongguk walks up behind Taehyung and puts his hand on the couch, gazing at Taehyung.

“How are you so sure?” The three of them are in Jeongguk’s office, after Hoseok had called to meet them, especially Taehyung. “You’re presenting the case related to the illegal slash fund activities during Lee Daeho’s position as the manager before he got fired, aren’t you?”

Taehyung asks and Hoseok nods, slightly amazed how Taehyung would know which case because of just a person he said he was meeting.

After talking with Taehyung for the first time, Hoseok had realised that the slash funds case would create a lot more havoc to Kang Hajoon’s power hierarchy if approved for trial.

His investigation had led him to Lee Daeho, a man fired because of suspicion regarding the illegal fund activities because of the raid conducted by the justice department.

It reached national news because of the office being related to Kang’s Co. and the chaos it had ensued about Daeho fighting for a few months for being wrongfully accused but giving up when the lawyer fees went too high. Daeho was a perfect man to bear witness.

“Lee Daeho is a greedy man. Do you know he still manages the slash funds outside of the company which hasn’t actually been accounted for?” Taehyung asks instead. Hoseok coughs. “Wait what?” This was news to the prosecutor, even to Jeongguk.

“It was during the time before Lee Daeho got fired, when I heard Hajoon talking to someone on the phone, to make a show about firing someone, and the next day Lee Daeho arrived at Hajoon’s suite and was offered a hefty sum and a contract.

I don’t know the details of the contract but Daeho is greedy enough to be used as bait if anything goes wrong in the company. Doesn’t mean it would have stopped when he was fired. Of course I tried not to be interested in it but I overheard a lot of things.” Taehyung smiles.

It’s the kind of smile that knows a little too much, making Hoseok--a composed and level-headed prosecutor shudder in intimidation. Or maybe it is the icy, cold shadow in Taehyung’s gaze, he is not sure.

He is just amazed and surprised how Kang Hajoon, a painstakingly meticulous businessman—according to the SK’s young businessmen magazine—trusted Taehyung enough to keep him around while proceeding with his illegal doings.

“And...what did you hear?” Hoseok tries his luck anyway, despite Taehyung’s smile turning mischievous. “Should I tell you everything? Won’t you have it easy then? You’re okay trusting me alone without any investigation?”

Taehyung asks and Hoseok hates the fact that he knew Taehyung would say something like that. “I’m desperate at this point. Hajoon is buying everyone in power and you’re the only one who is actually going through your revenge plan or whatever it is. So yes, I trust you.”

“You trust so easily for being a prosecutor. You don’t even know me well.” Taehyung muses, eyes shining in obvious mischief. “I could be lying or leading you astray from your route of investigation.”

Hoseok sighs and looks at Jeongguk. “But I know Jeongguk and if he trusts you, then I do too.” Taehyung and Hoseok go into a staring contest for a few seconds until Taehyung looks away. “You’re no fun. Mind games are supposed to be fun.”

Hoseok cracks a smile. Jeongguk does as well, looking down at Taehyung who winks up at him. “I’ll just tell you two things related to this case though. You’ll probably find out more if you investigate it thoroughly.”Taehyung says, looking back at Hoseok.

“Good enough for me.” “One. Go to Starlight club in the east of Yongsan and ask for someone named Razor. Say T sent you. He’ll know.” Taehyung mysteriously smiles. Hoseok is confused. “And what will I get from Starlight club and how is it related to this case?”

“Let’s just say I’m not the only one who wants revenge. There are people just waiting for opportunities.” Taehyung says. There’s an uneasy glint in his eyes but he waves it off quickly. “The guy called Razor will probably explain it to you, which brings me to number 2.”

“Go on.” “It’s more than just exposing their illegal slash fund activities.” Hoseok exchanges a hesitant look with Jeongguk before bringing his gaze on Taehyung’s again. “What...more?”

// mentions drugs / drug trafficking Taehyung simply smiles. “A drug trafficking ring.” Hoseok’s eyes widen in shock.

“Wait wait.” Hoseok pinches the bridge of his nose and seriously stares at Taehyung. “So you mean to tell me Kang’s Co. is actually linked to the drug trafficking case we have been sweating our butts off to locate and it is all in one place? The Starlight Club?”

“I don’t know the details.” Taehyung says .”But a part of the dealings happen in Yongsan. The club can be a storehouse of information for you. Again, the guy Razor will explain. You cannot trust Lee Daeho’s agreement to testify alone.

Investigate the club and you’ll have a new and a much more damaging case in your hands. That is, if you managed to find a link between the drug trafficking ring and Kang’s Co.”

Hoseok sighs and leans against the couch, eyes dancing across the ceiling. “Holy shit.” He simply mumbles. “You can come find me if you need more help.” Taehyung offers a smile, which is not at all a kind one.

Hoseok chuckles, standing up. “I’ll lose my pride as a prosecutor if I always come to you for help.” Taehyung hums. “Can you also do me a favor?” “With the information you just gave me now, I can do you more favors.”

Taehyung smiles. “I just need one.” “Okay. What kind of favor.” “When you meet Razor, tell him T does not owe him any anything anymore please.”

Hoseok glances at Jeongguk who’s curiously looking Taehyung’s way. He is just as curious but he decides it is better not to be curious about it. “Sure.” “And a word of advice for you. Do not trust anyone in the Starlight club, except Razor. It may save your life.”

Hoseok senses a darkness looming behind those words but he already has an idea what he is getting into anyway. “Be careful.” Jeongguk says and Hoseok nods, leaving the room with a grateful glance Taehyung’s way and a heavy hurt.

“Guess it’s ramen for dinner tonight.” Hoseok mumbles to himself, the way towards his car somehow appearing seemingly long.

“Aren’t you curious?” Taehyung asks once they are alone in the office. Jeongguk stretches out his open hand and Taehyung places his own on it, stomach fluttering as Jeongguk lifts his hand up and kisses his knuckle.

“Would be a lie if I say I am not. You can tell me if you want to.” Jeongguk smiles down at him, gently booping Taehyung’s nose with the back of his finger.

// mentions violence / assault “I was 20 when I found myself in Starlight Club, looking for my next prey.” Taehyung smiles, a little painful from a memory he suddenly had to dig out.

“Razor was a bouncer then. I guess I can say he saved my life from some men who were violent towards me. I had really thought that was how my time on earth would come to an end. I’m just doing this as a favor for him so that I don’t owe him anything

because the club he swore to protect had turned to something sinister because of Hajoon. He hates Hajoon. And he’s reliable with the information.” Taehyung says.

Jeongguk takes his place next to Taehyung and pulls him into a warm, yet tight, embrace. “I’m glad you’re here.” “Funny how I’m glad too.” Taehyung smiles, snuggling closer to Jeongguk.

A knock interrupts their cuddle time and Jeongguk is reluctantly removing himself away only for Taehyung to tightly hold onto his arm and make him sit beside him, not letting go at all. Jeongguk smiles and kisses his cheek before looking at the door. “Come in.”

“Oh, hey hyung.” Taehyung greets when Seokjin is the one entering, nodding towards Taehyung in greeting. “What happened?” Jeongguk asks.

“It’s about the charity auction hosted by the Angels Organization. An invitation has been sent for you to attend.” “Oooh. I love auctions.” Taehyung grins. “When is it?” “A week from today.”

“Isn’t that when the meeting with our international benefactors has been scheduled for?” Jeongguk asks, confused. “Yes, but,” Seokjin glances at Taehyung, “your mother has asked you to attend the charity instead. With Taehyung.”

Jeongguk freezes and so does Taehyung. “Wait. Your mother asked me to attend?” “With your appearance at the gala last week, the tabloids have been interested in your dating life. Mrs. Jeon has been keeping updates as well.” Seokjin explains.

Jeongguk sighs. “She should have told me directly. Is she coming as well?” “Yes.” “Great.” Jeongguk mumbles. “Hold on. I’m meeting your mother next week? This soon?” Taehyung blinks, obviously surprised.

Meeting people hasn’t been a problem for Taehyung. But meeting a parent of his boyfriend, a person he actually cares about, is definitely a different feeling. “Well…” Jeongguk clears his throat.

Taehyung removes his hold from Jeongguk and squishes his cheeks instead. “What are you hiding from me Jeon Jeongguk?” Taehyung asks with furrowed eyebrows. “My mother might have been pressuring me into seeing marriage candidates before I met you.”

Jeongguk clears his throat, trying to get Taehyung to stop squishing his cheeks in front of Seokjin who is doing a terrible job at stifling his laughter. “And after the gala appearance, she has been curious about my boyfriend.”

Taehyung sighs and lets go of Jeongguk’s cheeks, in a state of evident distress. “Boyfriend equals to me.” He mumbles. “It’s just introducing yourself.” Jeongguk rubs Taehyung’s back. “Let’s run away if she pressures you about anything else.

Taehyung looks at Jeongguk and pouts, worry obvious on his face. Jeongguk just smiles and kisses his pout away. “I’ll be there with you the whole time.” “It’s not that. I’m just...worried that your mom won’t like me.”

There’s blush scattered all over Taehyung’s cheeks when he says that, but it sure sends Jeongguk’s heart into overdrive. It shouldn’t be a big deal, Taehyung tries to reason within himself, but for some reason, he doesn’t want to appear lacking in front of this person.

“I have a feeling she will like you.” Jeongguk smiles. Taehyung has a hard time believing that but it does lessen his worry a little bit.

🌺 "Lee Daeho has asked for an increase in amount." Hajoon grips the file he's holding and pushes it away, a tell-tale sign of frustration seeping through. "That greedy bastard is getting greedier by the day.”

He tosses the file aside before a thought takes over. “If he confesses during trial, how long does he have to stay in jail?" Namjoon purses his lips. "If his confession rules in, the maximum term would be three years."

Hajoon hums and swirls around his chair, a plan forming in his head. "We probably need to send word inside prison to finish him off then. Too bad. I actually had plans for him after he would be released." He smirks.

"Make it look like a prison feud though. He's getting a little too cocky.” "Yes sir." Namjoon says.

"I'm curious though, why would that prosecutor want to look through a case regarding our company? I thought we swept everything under the rug when we fired Lee Daeho?" Hajoon stops swirling and leans forward on his table, eyebrows furrowed in frustration mixed with curiosity.

"Did you find out anything about the prosecutor? I thought I knew everything about him but he's moving a little too fast for my liking. Jung Hoseok, was it?" "Yes. He is very aware that he is being watched and has tried to lose our tail on him multiple times."

"Has he been successful?" "Everytime. He's meticulous and careful with his investigation."

Hajoon nods. "As expected of someone hired by Jeon. Too bad the legal way might not quite be in his favor. We need to find a way to get rid of him before he gets hold of more information. Keep your eyes on him." "But—“ Namjoon pauses, not liking the plan very much.

“You have anything to say?” “Jung Hoseok, he’s the son of the assemblyman Jung. Getting rid of him might be—“ “That man chose this line of work, Joon-ah.” Hajoon cuts him off. “There are unexpected accidents waiting for him during field work, don’t you think?”

Namjoon bites down his lips, preventing him from letting out a sigh in front of Hajoon. He can only nod. “Yes sir.” “As expected of you.” Namjoon doesn’t want that kind of expectation at all.

"What about Taehyung?" The question has Namjoon tensing for a short moment. Hajoon had not directly asked about his “ex-lover” for a few days now. Even though Namjoon is okay with it, it just makes him more wary because Hajoon is unpredictable at times like those.

Hajoon always had a twisted perception about certain things. Feelings are also added to that mix. He has an obsession about things and people he’s attached to and Namjoon had witnessed it first hand with Taehyung.

It was pitiful, to say the least, especially because Taehyung had not expected that side of Hajoon when they first started seeing each other. Even Namjoon had not expected Hajoon, with his closed off feelings, to be so obsessed with someone like Taehyung.

So, the silence for the past few days, after witnessing Hajoon destroying his office on the night of the gala, had Namjoon on edge. And to be asked about Taehyung, in an eerily calm state, has him guarded and wary.

“There have been no other movements except him accompanying Director Jeon to his office.” Namjoon informs, nonetheless. "Poor Taehyung." Hajoon mumbles. "He is unnecessarily getting caught up in this little game pulled by Jeon Jeonngguk.

Namjoon tenses again. "He probably has no idea he's being toyed with, right? He’d always been naive and wanting to please anyone who showered him with affection. Did Jeon really think he can get to me by stealing Taehyung's precious heart? He will pay if he hurts Taehyung."

Namjoon wonders if it really is that way and not the other way around. Taehyung seemed to be the one holding the reigns between these three people. He wonders if Hajoon will never consider Tehyung as a traitor instead of believing that he is a pawn.

He is pretty sure, Jung Hoseok investigating the case was because Taehyung told him something about it. How will Hajoon even feel about that? Heartbroken? Revengeful? Resentment? He just knows it will not be a pretty sight to see.

Taehyung is definitely risking his own life playing this game of revenge even after knowing what lengths Hajoon can go to. He just hopes Taehyung knows what he’s doing.

🌺 The closed door of the cramped up bathroom rattles when Jeongguk gets pushed against it, Taehyung pressing close to his body, lips latching against lips.

“Tae…” Jeongguk breathes out, loving the feeling of Taehyung’s lips sliding down on his neck, sucking and biting down a little too aggressively. “Wh—“

Jeongguk’s words dies down in his throat when Taehyung brings their lips together again and he’s lost in the feeling of kissing Taehyung, warmth pooling in the pit of his stomach, chest fluttering in obvious giddiness.

“Taehyung.” Jeongguk finally regains his composure, despite his muddled mess of a head, chuckling when Taehyung tries to chase his lips but Jeongguk leans his head further back, enjoying the look of slight frustration on Taehyung’s face.

“Can’t we kiss a little bit more?” Taehyung asks, eyelashes fluttering prettily under the bathroom lights and it makes Jeongguk smile, hand lifting up to caress Taehyung’s cheeks.

“I’d love to but my presence is…kind of significant at tonight’s event. And where am I? In the washroom, making out with my boyfriend. Not so dignified as a Jeon now, am I?”

Taehyung tsks, his innocent act dropping in seconds, arms folding in front of him. “Can’t be helped then.” Jeongguk smiles the more when he sees the small pout forming on Taehyung’s lips.

He grabs Taehyung’s jaw and makes him turn towards him, lifts his chin up and presses his lips against Taehyung’s, softly and barely there. Taehyung almost whines when Jeongguk pulls away.

“For the record, I really want to take you and run away from here. You look absolutely stunning tonight.” A fluttery sensation escapes from Taehyung’s stomach, spreading all the way to his chest, his cheeks tinting a little red.

He needs to thank Jimin for picking the outfit. “You look quite dashing yourself.” Taehyung cracks a small smile, leaning forward and tidying up Jeongguk’s tie, which had come loose during their heated makeout session.

Taehyung makes the mistake of glancing up at Jeongguk’s lips and dammit, he really does want to continue kissing his boyfriend. “We can leave after we meet my mother and hand in the donation. It isn’t necessary to stay for long.” Jeongguk rubs his hand on Taehyung’s back.

“You’re important around here.” Taehyung lightly slaps Jeongguk’s chest. “We can’t just leave. Come on. I need to put on a damn good show as your partner too. You know, build connections, show some sneaky admirers their place.”

Jeongguk laughs then. “Are you really jealous because of what happened earlier? That woman was a model for a campaign we did a few years ago. She’s just familiar with me and my staff because of it.”

Taehyung scowls. “Doesn’t mean she had to go and latch herself onto you even when I, your boyfriend, was standing right there. I really need to show some people their place.” Jeongguk grins. “So you pulling me in here and making me up was because of that?”

Taehyung glances at Jeongguk before looking away with red cheeks. “Maybe. You don’t notice because you’re too kind. But there are a lot of hungry eyes looking your way. I am not that kind of partner to just wait and watch it unfold.”

Jeongguk leans and presses his lips on Taehyung’s forehead. “You’re cute when you’re jealous. I’d like to see you putting some people in their place.” Taehyung smiles, a triumphant look overtaking his features. “Let’s go then, darling. We’ve got a mother to meet too!”

The charity event isn’t as grand as the gala Taehyung had attended with Jeongguk, yet it is still as significant because of the people gathered there. Taehyung recognises a few celebrities, a few influential businessmen and people from the higher class society.

He is not as nervous now because he has an inkling of what goes down in events like this. Also because there is no sign of Hajoon, like in the gala.

“They are investors for a project hosted by our company.” Jeongguk whispers against Taehyung’s ear when a family walks over Jeongguk and Taehyung’s way. Taehyung makes sure to lean closer to Jeongguk when the daughter eyes the Director with nothing but impure intentions.

He had seen a lot of expressions like hers to know. “Good evening Director Jeon.” The old man, the father of the family, greets, hugging Jeongguk in familiarity, same with the mother. They must be close, Taehyung thinks.

“Good evening, Mr. Lee, Mrs. Lee.” Jeongguk greets back with his charming smile. “I recently received news about a new developmental plan.” Mr. Lee states. “We should meet sometime to talk about some investments.”

Jeongguk smiles. “Of course. I’ll ask my secretary to schedule an appointment.” “Enough about work.” Mrs. Lee waves the conversation off and eyes Taehyung with disdain in her eyes, even though her calm demeanour masks it pretty well. Taehyung wants to scoff.

“Is he your partner?” “Yes, he—“ “Kim Taehyung.” Taehyung introduces with an easy smile. Mrs. Lee nods. “I’m sorry I’m not quite familiar with your name. What business does your family run?”

There it is, Taehyung thinks, the condescending gaze, as if looking down on him. “Have you heard of Kim Taesoo?” Taehyung smiles nonetheless. The woman’s eyes blink in surprise. “O-Of course. He’s the CEO and founder of the biggest entertainment agency in our country.”

Taehyung nods. “I’m his son.” Even Jeongguk, who turns to look at Taehyung, is surprised. He didn’t know that. But again, he doesn’t know a lot of things about Taehyung. Maybe he can ask more about his life later.

“I see.” The woman says, eyeing Taehyung before looking at her daughter. “Have you met my daughter, Director Jeon?” She ushers her forward. She’s a beauty, Taehyung can tell, but he still feels he can rival her any time of any day.

“I think I did a long time back.” Jeongguk smiles and bows to the daughter in greeting, her doing the same as she stands a little too close to Jeongguk, making him uncomfortable.

“She graduated from her college two years ago and is preparing to take over our company. It would be nice if you’d look after her. Maybe build more…intimate relations?” “Why? Is she not capable?” Taehyung questions, eyes dripping in innocence.

Both the women glare at Taehyung while the father excuses himself because of a phone call. “I think I’m pretty capable.” The daughter says, starting to list down her achievements which Taehyung does not bother to listen to.

“Then isn’t it only fair to work hard in what you do instead of depending on people to build….intimate relationships?” Taehyung questions.

“Connections are just as important but it sounds too easy for an overachiever like you to make business relationships outside a professional setting. Or are you talking about a different kind of relationship?” Taehyung’s eye twitches despite him smiling.

“While knowing who he is with? That’s pretty desperate for someone high in society like you, don’t you think?” “You—“

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Lee.” Jeongguk cuts in. “But if it’s about connections, I’m happy with Mr. Lee wanting to invest to expand his own business. Wouldn’t want him to lose that now, do we?” He smiles but there’s a warning to not cross the line.

The mother and duo group just glares at Taehyung while the latter holds Jeongguk’s arm tighter and shrugs at them both, before they walk away.

“Sneaky bit—“ Taehyung stops himself before he can curse and apologetically looks at Jeongguk who just chuckles at him. “That was quite a show.” At the sound of the new voice, the couple turns around. “Mother.” Jeongguk greets making Taehyung tense up.

Taehyung had been nonchalant about meeting Jeongguk’s mother until now. Mrs. Jeon or Jeon Jihee is an intimidating woman, with the way she commands attention her way despite her petite frame. She has sharp eyes and an even sharper stance.

Taehyung wonders if it’s really the “free-spirited and lively” mother Jeongguk had told him about before they had arrived to the event. “You didn’t tell me when you would be arriving.” Jeongguk says, hugging his mother and kissing her cheek in greeting.

“It’s called arriving late in fashion.” Mrs. Jeon smirks slightly before looking at Taehyung who tenses up again. “And you must be Kim Taehyung.” Taehyung nods, stepping in and holding her outstretched hand, kissing on it as greeting. “I am.”

“Kim Taesoo didn’t tell me about a son named Kim Taehyung, though.” She states, and Taehyung gives her an easy smile. “No father would admit to an illegitimate child in the presence of a respected person.” Taehyung says.

“And yet you still use his family name?” Mrs. Jeon raises an eyebrow. “The high society are like hawks waiting for their prey. Can’t fall for the likes of them. So I make sure to keep leverages at my disposal. Works well in my case.” Mrs. Jeon smiles. “You’re smart.”

But the smile falls in the next second. “Although a risk taker. Do you think your leverages can help you in the long run?” “With the right kind, I’d like to believe so. If I know how to use it to my advantage.” “Are you using Jeongguk as a leverage then?”

Taehyung pauses, looks at Jeongguk, who just smiles at him, as if he knows Taehyung might use him one day. It stings Taehyung’s heart a little. “For now.” He smiles. “Not planning to forever.” Mrs. Jeon then looks at Jeongguk and stares at him for a while.

“This is surprising.” She sighs. “How you’re okay with all of this. But I’ll trust you.” She says, looking at her son. Jeongguk smiles. Mrs. Jeon then turns to look at Taehyung. “Then, Taehyung, can you drink?” “Huh?” Jeongguk groans. “Mom! You’re not supposed to drink.”

“I finally met my son’s boyfriend. I really thought you had some dysfunction problem when you stayed single for a long time.” “Mom!” Jeongguk blushes, shocked. “Good to know that’s not the case. Let’s go celebrate!” “Don’t we have to attend this event?” Jeongguk frowns.

“You think I’d like to stay amongst this pretentious people trying to gain my favour? I invited you both here because I wanted to see how Taehyung would fare honestly. He did well so now I’d like to drink with my son and his boyfriend.”

Taehyung cannot help but laugh out loud at the silly conversation taking place in front of him. Mrs. Jeon may have been intimidating but he understands why Jeongguk had said she was a lively and free-spirited person.

“He’s really a beauty.” Mrs. Jeon mumbles when Taehyung tries to calm down. Jeongguk keeps staring. “Tell me about it.”

🌺 It’s late into the night, when Taehyung walks out of Jeongguk’s en-suite bathroom, still a little tipsy despite having just taken a shower. He does not bother to put on his clothes, movements tired and sloppy, tugging the bathrobe right around his waist.

He looks around the room, not finding the person he’s looking for so he treads outside, after discarding his towel on the nearest armchair. The penthouse is dimly lit, and it somehow makes Taehyung sleepy but he still needs to find Jeongguk for now.

It was a long night of drinking and talking with Jeongguk and his mother. Mrs. Jeon, even though intimidating when she needs to be, was just as free-spirited as Jeongguk had first described. She didn’t hold back, she was honest and blunt and she knew how to drink.

Taehyung had an enjoyable night where Mrs. Jeon would tell him stories of young Jeongguk while the latter tries to stop her from embarrassing him further. It had been a long time since Taehyung had fun like this. He does not even remember the last time.

When he enters the living room, Taehyung sees Jeongguk working on his laptop, the light from the screen drowning the dim lights. “Still working?” Taehyung asks, blinking sleepily.

Jeongguk looks towards him and smiles, and for a second, Taehyung wonders if his heart skips a beat at just that smile alone. “Almost done.” Jeongguk says, yet he closes the laptop and offers his palm out for Taehyung to take, and he does. “You could have slept first.”

“But you weren’t there. It would have been lonely.” Taehyung murmurs, yawning as soon as Jeongguk pulls him down on his lap, Taehyung’s back comfortably resting on Jeongguk’s chest. Jeongguk wonders about it for a moment, hands gently tracing circles on Taehyung’s stomach.

“I was wondering…” Jeongguk starts to speak, noticing the way Taehyung moves so that he’s lying on Jeongguk, head resting on his chest and closing his eyes. “If you’re curious about something, about me, just ask. It’s not like I have anything to h—“ Taehyung pauses. “Just ask.”

“Kim Taesoo.” Jeongguk says. “Is he really your father?” Taehyung moves his head and rests his chin on Jeongguk’s chest instead, eyes blinking up at the director, a smile adorning his features. “You don’t believe me?”

Jeongguk wonders just what Taehyung had to go through to ask a question like this with nothing but a nonchalant smile. Usually, a question like he had asked Taehyung could be linked to something to do with trust.

It’s like Taehyung expects Jeongguk to not trust him and he’s even okay with it. Jeongguk sighs, grabbing Taehyung’s face before pressing their lips together. The kiss is slow, gentle and so careful. Taehyung’s heart stutters yet again. He’s not used to kisses like this.

“It’s not that I don’t believe you. I just realised I don’t know a lot about you.” Jeongguk says. “You want to know about me.” It’s not a question that tumbles out, rather a statement as if repeating it would make it make sense for Taehyung.

“Yeah.” Jeongguk cards his fingers through Taehyung’s hair then. “What your favourite colour is, why you don’t like to sleep alone, your likes, dislikes, everything.” Taehyung frowns, passing for a moment. “But I’m fine with anything you’re fine with. I’m not one to complain.”

Jeongguk is the one to frown now as he cups Taehyung’s face again. “Taehyung, I like scallions as garnishing. I’ve seen you pick it out of your meals. I like taking cold showers, you always need hot water. I like coffee. You don’t.” Taehyung blinks. And then he blushes.

Jeongguk smiles and pecks his forehead. “You may not be one to complain, and you may even be fine with what I am fine with, but you are also your own person, you know? Sometimes you may like something, sometimes you may not. It’s okay to voice it out at times like those.”

Taehyung rests his head on Jeongguk’s chest again. “I hate mushrooms.” He says after a while and that makes Jeongguk laugh. “Okay.” “I also hate the strawberry scented shower gel you use sometimes.” “I’ll make sure not to use it again.”

Taehyung pauses for a while until he snuggles closer to Jeongguk. “I like it when you hug me close like this.” Jeongguk gulps down his raging feelings. “I like it when you smile at me. I like it when you kiss me slow even though it’s confusing at times.”

Taehyung lifts his head up after that and Jeongguk leans in again, capturing his lips and kissing him slow, just like he says he likes. It makes Taehyung smile. “What about you?” “Me?” Jeongguk asks, confused.

“I…” Taehyung bites his lips. “I want to get to know more about you too. Your likes and dislikes.” Jeongguk smiles and pulls Taehyung closer by his waist. “I can tell one thing about me for now.” He leans closer until he’s eye to eye with Taehyung. “I like you.”

Taehyung blushes as he playfully hits Jeongguk’s chest. “You think you’re smooth, huh?” “Probably. If it made you blush like that.”

Taehyung lays his head down again, a smile forming on his lips. It’s silent after that, and it’s comfortable, too comfortable. It makes Taehyung ponder if being in a relationship is supposed to be this…simple and easy.

Just talking casually, asking about each other’s likes and dislikes, with a few lazy kisses here and there. It’s the first time Taehyung does not think about having to give and take, while being in the arms of someone. He wants to fall into the comfort and never get back up.

“About Kim Taesoo,” Taehyung suddenly remembers, “he is actually my father. He abandoned me and my mother when I was very young so I don’t remember much of him.” He listens to Jeongguk’s heartbeats.

“I met him when i was 23, and was surprised to know just how similar I looked like him. I wanted to see how far he would go to keep me as a secret.” Taehyung smiles, tired. “In the end, he let me use his family name in case I needed to, like today.”

“Otherwise, I don’t have anything to do with him. I have no intention of destroying his already perfect family. It disgusts me.” Taehyung holds Jeongguk tighter.

There was a time when Taehyung had thought how nice it would be to have the support of a family too. But he was young when he realises that a loving family was never written in his fate, at least not as much as a family name which he can use to his advantage at times.

Family, huh? Taehyung still thinks sometimes, like that night when he witnessed Jeongguk and his relationship with his mother, how a having a family would feel like.

It’s not like he’s completely opposed to the idea of a family, he has just accepted that fact that he wouldn’t be having one in the long run. “You also asked me why I can’t sleep without anyone by my side right?” Taehyung quickly changes the topic. Jeongguk nods.

“I can actually.” He says. “It’s just that I don’t like feeling lonely sometimes. And I did say I liked your warmth. It’s comfortable. So let’s just say I cannot fall asleep if it’s not with you beside me these days.” He lets out a laugh. “I’m getting too used to all this.”

“It’s okay. I asked you to be selfish, didn’t I?” Jeongguk smiles. “You did.” Taehyung agrees. “You’re giving me too much freedom, you know? Shouldn’t you, I don’t know, set a limit or something.” He murmurs. “Nah. I quite like it this way.” Jeongguk sits up.

Taehyung is confused when Jeongguk stands up after that but he lets out a squeal when Jeongguk carries him bridal style. “It’s late. We should go to sleep. You must be pretty tired. Mom took a lot of your time tonight, huh?”

Taehyung wraps his arms around Jeongguk’s neck and smiles. “I had fun.” He closes his eyes, already feeling sleepy in that cocooned comfort. “Let’s do it again sometimes.” Jeongguk lays Taehyung down on the bed when he reaches his bedroom and leaves a kiss on his head. “Sure.”

🌺 Ever since they both decided to be lovers without a contract establishing their relationship, Jeongguk observes the way Taehyung keeps texting him at random times of the day. It’s endearing really, to receive even a “what are you doing?” or a “did u eat? don’t skip lunch!”

So when Jeongguk receives a call that day, he’s pleasantly surprised, mostly because Taehyung feels like talking face to face is always better than on the phone and he doesn’t like disturbing the director when he’s working with a call.

He is happy, nevertheless, and he makes sure his happiness is heard through the phone when he picks the call up. “Hey.” “…why do you sound so enthusiastic?” Taehyung asks, some shuffling heard from his side in the background. “You called. Of course I’m happy.”

A staff comes towards Jeongguk with a file but the director waves him away to not be disturbed in that moment. Taehyung hums. “Maybe I should call you often then.” “You should.” Jeongguk seriously agrees. “But is there any reason as to why you called?”

“Should there be?” Taehyung asks and Jeongguk can pick up the teasing hint in his voice. “Should there be a reason for why I called my boyfriend?” The word evokes a series of flutters in Jeongguk’s stomach so he just sighs blissfully. “No.” He says with a smile.

“Although I do sense you called for a reason this time. Are you bored? Want me to call Jimin again?” “No no. I can call him if I’m bored.” Taehyung denies. “But yes, there is a reason why I called.” More shuffling is heard, as if Taehyung is zipping something up.

“I’ll be going out for a while.” Taehyung says. Jeongguk frowns. “Okay. Make sure to take t—“ “Alone.” Jeongguk pauses. “May I ask why?” “… may not.” This time, Jeongguk does not stop himself from sighing out loud.

“Tae—“ “I know I shouldn’t be going out alone now. At least not until I know Hajoon won’t harm me but—“ Taehyung pauses, “—I need to kinda go? It’s important for me.” “And you cannot really tell me why?” Jeongguk asks. “I’m just worried. You never know with Ha—“

“I had a talk with Hoseok.” Taehyung cuts Jeongguk off. “He said he has prepared the reports for the trial and has gotten it approved. Hajoon will probably be busy with that. He won’t know.” Jeongguk pinches the bridge of his nose. “But he might send someone to tail you.”

Taehyung doesn’t say anything, the silence and distance between them getting heavier and larger. “I was going to go without telling you anything, you know?” Taehyung suddenly speaks and Jeongguk tenses. “Taehyung.” He pauses. “Thank you for telling me.”

Taehyung hums. “But I’m really worried. There are a lot of possibilities that could happen if you leave alone.” Taehyung stays quiet. “Can you come then?” “Huh?” Jeongguk blinks. “Are you busy now?” “Not really.” Jeongguk looks at the time.

“Okay then. Come with me.” Taehyung says, somewhat hesitant yet determined. “Are you sure? You must have a reason for wanting to go a—“ “Will you come before I change my mind? I’m trusting you with this.” Jeongguk pauses. “Alright. I’m coming to pick you up.” “Thank you.”

Taehyung has always been somewhat of a mysterious enigma for Jeongguk. It’s taking time to uncover layers of himself but Jeongguk is not complaining, patiently unravels his mind along with Taehyung. But there are times like this that just makes him a little too curious.

When he picks Taehyung up, the latter is dressed in a hoodie and a cap, along with a mask, as if he does not want to be recognised. Yet he still does not tell Jeongguk to change or anything. Instead, Taehyung gives Jeongguk a kiss and an address to go to before he turns quiet.

And it worries Jeongguk, because Taehyung is never quiet like this, unless he has a lot going on in his mind. With that conclusion, Jeongguk doesn’t press further on why he needed to drive to the address Taehyung had given him. He just types it in the gps and drives quietly.

There is a lot of things he doesn’t know, that makes him curious about Taehyung’s secretive outing like this one. But if Taehyung had said he trusts Jeongguk, it’s only fair he does the same. Not like he would not have trusted him. Curiosity can be a devious thing though.

The address Taehyung gives isn’t someplace specific, just a street a little away from the highway. “Is this the place?” Jeongguk asks, parking on the side of the road. “Yeah.” Taehyung says, sighing deeply. “We have to walk a little.”

Jeongguk nods, taking out his keys and stepping out of the car as Taehyung does the same. He walks over to Taehyung’s side and gently takes his hand, wanting to be a form of comfort, even if by a little.

Taehyung appreciates it in the way he squeezes Jeongguk’s hand a little tighter and pulls him towards a certain direction.

“I wasn’t going to do anything specific.” Taehyung says, tipping his hat upwards. “I just come here to check up on something.” He pauses. “Or rather someone.” “Are you close with that person?” Jeongguk asks when they take a turn in that busy street.

“Can’t say I am.” Taehyung chuckles. “I don’t think they know I exist.” Jeongguk doesn’t question further despite him wanting to. Taehyung seemed to be taking his own time to tell Jeongguk so he trusts his pace instead.

Where Taehyung stops walking is in front of an open air cafe. He looks at another open air opposite to the one they’re standing in front of, until Taehyung pulls at Jeongguk and enters inside. “Let’s have some coffee.” He suddenly says.

Jeongguk, as curious as he is with Taehyung’s words and actions, comply anyway and follows Taehyung inside and gives their order before taking their place in the outdoor seating area. Taehyung keeps looking at the cafe on the opposite side of the street.

There’s nothing special about that cafe. A few regular people and some staff walking around with the ordered drinks and food. “Taehyung.” Jeongguk calls out when Taehyung keeps looking out there without much of a word.

When he realises Jeongguk’s curious gaze, Taehyung sighs and leans against the table. “It’s pointless of me doing this.” Taehyung explains. “Coming here and just…staring…like a creep.” “Who are you looking for?” Jeongguk questions.

Taehyung looks up at Jeongguk before looking at the cafe on the opposite side again, Jeongguk following his line of vision. A staff suddenly walks outside with a bright smile. It’s a boy, looks quite young. “Him.” Taehyung says. “My brother.” Jeongguk looks at Taehyung.

“Your br—“ Jeongguk pauses, slowly taking the information in. “Well not exactly my brother. A half brother. Remember when I told you mom married a rich man?” Taehyung offers Jeongguk a forced smile. Jeongguk nods. “She was already pregnant then before the marriage.” He sighs.

“She gave birth to a baby boy a little before nine months so her husband got suspicious. Took him a few years to finally realise the child may not be his so he secretly conducted a DNA test. Turns out he was not his child after all.”

“It was ugly at home after that. Mom gave him up for adoption without a second thought because her husband didn’t want him. I didn’t know better but I always wondered what happened to him, you know?” Taehyung looks at the boy.

“I found out about the orphanage, begged them to tell me where he got adopted and somehow got news that he had started working here. So I just come to check up on him at times.” Jeongguk looks back at the boy and he notices the slight resemblance he has with Taehyung.

“He’s turning 19 this year, I think.” Taehyung continues speaking. “His adoptive parents are from a respectable family and treat him well.” Jeongguk looks back at Taehyung. “And you don’t want to meet him? As his br—“ “He’s doing fine.” Taehyung quickly cuts Jeongguk off.

“My life has always been a mess. I don’t want to bring him into that. He is better off not knowing about his past. Especially me.”

Jeongguk somehow understands Taehyung’s want to stay away from his brother’s life. But there’s a lingering hint of self-deprecation there. Not the good kind at that.

He leans forward and grabs Taehyung’s hand, rubbing the pad of his thumb on the back of his hand. “You’re a good brother.” Jeongguk says and Taehyung keeps looking at their joined hands. “You could have just left him alone yet you still check up on him.”

Blushing, Taehyung looks away. “It’s j-just to ease my guilt. Nothing more.” Taehyung frowns. Jeongguk smiles at tugs at their joined hands. “This gave me us an excuse though, don’t you think?” “What kind of excuse?” “To be on a date.” Taehyung flushes red again.

Taehyung is used to the lavish lifestyle. Even if he likes it or not. He’s used to fancy dinners in private restaurants, expensive champagne brought in to luxurious rooms, even a trip abroad if he wanted to.

But, sitting in a normal cafe, drinks and cakes on the table outlining the impromptu date, and a smiling Jeongguk in front of him, hands gently clasped, Taehyung realises he likes this so much more. And he really has no idea where this satisfactory elation stems from.

“What kind of dates have you been in?” Taehyung asks, leaning forward as he rests his chin on the palm of his hand. Jeongguk looks like he’s thinking. “Every Friday, Seokjin hyung used to book restaurants for me and my partners.” Taehyung scrunches his nose.

“You never involved yourself in planning a date?” It’s just innocent curiosity in Taehyung’s part. Here is Jeongguk, who looks at him in pure adoration, yet somehow who never dated ‘properly’. He’s curious over everything else.

“Like I said, I wasn’t necessarily interested. I just did it to satisfy mom’s investment in my dating life.” Jeongguk softly smiles. “My partners said I was boring.” “I think you’re anything but boring.” Taehyung mumbles.

“Probably because I actually really like being with you.” Jeongguk shows Taehyung his handsome grin and even though it sets off another moment of him flushing red, Taehyung cannot help but shyly laugh at the declaration. It does make him feel good.

The fact that Jeongguk involves himself in their relationship this way, his gentle flirting, the smile he always offers—which probably speaks more than he allows himself to. Taehyung likes this a lot.

He has been on the receiving end of expressions of gazes he wishes to forget at times. Lustful, desirous, lascivious and vulgar a lot of times. He used to not give it much thought until it settled deeply in his mind, that it was just how people viewed him as.

Hajoon showed a kind of craze Taehyung almost deemed passionate, different from how he was used to but how wrong he was at his observation. He regrets it the most.

That’s why, Jeongguk’s gentle gaze with no expectations lingering for Taehyung, just soft and warm and worried at times, was new for him. Mostly confusing, but it did not take long for Taehyung to want to be looked at that way for a long time.

It was simple and easy this time around and although they had stages to cross over, Taehyung didn’t mind the pace nor the order of his relationship with Jeongguk. “You’re thinking hard.” Jeongguk gently bumps his knuckle on Taehyung’s forehead. “Penny for your thoughts?”

Taehyung looks at Jeongguk. “I was just thinking how nice this feels.” It doesn’t surprise Jeongguk, maybe because that is how he feels as well. “Noted.” He answers, sipping his drink. “For more future dates.” Taehyung smiles wide at that.

🌺 “I need to talk to you.” Taehyung pauses in his steps and frowns as Hoseok walks into the penthouse. “Why don’t you ever ring the doorbell or atleast tell me when you’re coming?” Taehyung asks, proceeding to walk towards the kitchen, Hoseok behind him.

“Jeongguk gave me freedom to come whenever even before you arrived here.” Hoseok responds and that somehow irks Taehyung but he knows he has no say in it. “I should have texted though, sorry.”

“What is it?” Taehyung sighs, pouring juice in a glass. “Last I heard, it was your first win? How does it fell to win against Hajoon?” “Pretty fucking great.” Hoseok takes his place on a stool. “But Hajoon didn’t take the fall so I’m also kind of pissed.”

Taehyung smirks. “Did you think it would be easy?” Hoseok sighs. “You knew it wouldn’t be easy.” “You should have looked further in before rushing for a court date, you know?” Taehyung hums. “Now you just pissed Hajoon off and he’ll probably be even more careful.”

“During the investigation, there were a series of obstacles you didn’t tell me about.” Hoseok glares at Taehyung. Taehyung shrugs. “I thought you were the best at your job?”

It evokes a sigh out of Hoseok. “Anyways, Hajoon did lose a hell lot of stashed away funds. But he was careful in making some other company take the fall. The lawyer representing them might have had that information beforehand which led them to provide alibis and evidences.”

Hoseok groans and rests his head on the cool countertop. “The drug ring looked like a breakaway but I lost that chance by an inch.” “So what did you want to talk to me about?” Taehyung presses, although Hoseok has an inkling that Taehyung already knew.

“Strong cases. I need information on something dangerous that Hajoon did. Something that guarantees his stay in prison for as long as he can.” Taehyung tilts his head. “If he did do something, that is.” “What do you mean?”

“Hajoon runs a company. A respected and feared company whose founder, his father, is known for his morals and clean image. But we both know the cleaner their image is, the dirtier their backstory is.” Taehyung smiles.

“So—“ “I thought you were smart.” Taehyung tsks when Hoseok looks more confused. “Well then stop speaking in circles.” It makes Taehyung laugh.

“In simple terms, Hajoon’s family will always back him up if anything goes wrong. So it’s difficult to find something against him, especially when he’s careful to not get his hands dirty. He has a total of three men who watches over the illegal doings Hajoon orders to do.”

“One. Kim Namjoon. Hajoon’s right hand man. They grew up together and their families have a master-servant relationship. It’s complicated but I’m pretty sure Namjoon does not like his boss doing stuff like that. He’s loyal as a dog though so it might be hard to crack him.”

“Second. Lee Joon Jae.” Taehyung sighs. “He is also another loyal dog but he looks over the financial status of Hajoon’s company, aka, he is in charge of bribing the higher authorities. He’s also pretty good at his job, that jerk.”

“You have a personal grudge against him?” Hoseok asks, suddenly curious in the way Taehyung’s eyes light up in animosity. He pauses. “I shouldn’t care now but he liked to rile me up a lot when I was with Hajoon. He was Hajoon’s ex, and probably didn’t like me.”

Hoseok snorts. “And third, Jang Min Jee. She’s neutral. Will do anything for money so Hajoon has always been a little wary of her.” “So we take down these three to take down Hajoon as a whole?” “The one thing Hajoon hates the most is betrayal.” Taehyung smiles.

“So we somehow get those three to betray him?” Hoseok asks. “Hajoon has the tendency to go berserk when he loses control over things he ‘owns’.”Taehyung shudders, wrapping his arms around his shoulder. “Those three are close to cracking even though they don’t show it.”

“But they have people to lose, that’s why they’re bounded by the fear Hajoon has imposed upon them.” Taehyung sighs. “Still, I have some information that might set them up for a round of betrayal towards their lovely boss.” He smiles.

Hoseok let’s out an amazed snort. “You really are one scary person. I’m surprised you’re still—“ “Alive?” Taehyung offers. Hoseok hesitantly nods. “I had my ways to stay alive. Survival is all I know ever since I was young.” Taehyung waves him off.

It’s silent for a while until Hoseok looks at Taehyung. “You’re really strong, you know? And I respect you for how you’ve lived and what you’re doing even now.” Taehyung’s heart stutters at those words, as he wonders if anyone had ever told him they respected him flat out.

It sounds silly in his head. “You’re making me cringe.” Hoseok cracks a smile. “So, shall we discuss more then?” Taehyung scrunches his nose but he takes a seat in front of Hoseok. “Sure.”

🌺 In the next few days that follow, Hoseok keeps updating Taehyung about his progress, just in case he missed something. It seems like the days go by too quickly for Taehyung, but again, he wants it that way.

Wants to ruin whatever Hajoon worked for while disregarding so many people and their feelings, wants to take away everything from him just like the way Hajoon picked out Taehyung piece by piece.

He feels he’s rushing through it at times, but maybe he wants to feel accomplished for what he had willed to do from the start, now that he had dipped his feet into the comfort of Jeongguk and a life that seemed normal enough for him.

Is he being selfish? Maybe. But he had also never felt this urge to /want/ something this strong before, and for the first time, he wants to be as selfish as he can be.

Because in that moment, gently laying in Jeongguk’s arms, as he listens to Jeongguk telling him about his day, softly caressing his waist, there’s a tightness surrounding Taehyung’s chest. It almost makes him cry as his head fills with questions he wants answers to.

Is he allowed to drown in this sea of convenience? Is he allowed to really be selfish for himself? Is he allowed to experience a kind of affection that is gentle and warm and all for him to unravel?

The want for answers may have stemmed from the way he had always needed to wait for an accord—which seemed pretty one sided at times—but even with Jeongguk telling him it’s okay, Taehyung cannot help but let the questions sink in. He does not want to think about those for now.

He has been helping Hoseok with the cases—providing leads, giving suggestions, and lately all he had to think about was his past life. It had started to become suffocating.

So being with Jeongguk—who had been busy with his own work—when the two of them finally got time to relax, Taehyung wants to do just that—relax.

But relaxing proves to be a…little difficult. Not when he’s overly conscious of Jeongguk unconsciously caressing his hips, his intent, presumably, as innocent as it can be. But for Taehyung, it just makes him writhe as an irritable itch spreads across his chest.

“—and so Hoseok had to come to the office f—“ Jeongguk pauses when he realises Taehyung been moving a lot, as if wanting to find a comfortable position. They were both seated on the couch, the drama playing in the screen long forgotten, two glasses of wine on the table.

“What’s wrong?” Jeongguk asks then. “Want to go cuddle in bed? Is the couch uncomfortable? I should get it changed.” If it was any other time, Taehyung would have probably laughed at the comment, but Taehyung at that moment, just sighs and looks up at Jeongguk.

Now, Jeongguk thinks Taehyung is absolutely stunning. Every day he gets to see his face and feel a sense of euphoria filling his chest at the sight of Taehyung.

But as Taehyung looks up at him, eyebrows furrowed topped with the pleading gaze in his eyes, a haze starting to surround his irises, lips slightly jutting out and cheeks tinted a crazy pink, it makes Jeongguk blink and release a shaky breath.

// semi- nsfw ha ha (minors look away 💀)

Gulping, Jeongguk looks away, his own cheeks tinted pink because his thoughts were really bordering to something more, even by just looking at Taehyung being that way. “Jeongguk.” Taehyung says, sitting up this time, and Jeongguk still has his hands on Taehyung’s waist.

Taehyung starts to kiss Jeongguk’s neck then, and it’s nothing soft and fluttery about it in contrast to the usual kisses they share. It’s open mouthed, wetness trailing down as Taehyung’s lips trail down, biting at his collarbone. Jeongguk bites his own lips at the gesture.

Wanting to feel the softness of those lips against his own, Jeongguk grabs Taehyung’s face and brings him up to his lips, tongue probing at the seams until he’s able to taste the sweetness inside of Taehyung’s mouth.

It’s rushed and sloppy, tell-tale signs of the alcohol in their system along with the heat of the moment lulling their movements, although it does not stop them from wanting to taste, to touch, to explore more than they had allowed themselves to until now.

They do need to part at some point, the need to breathe preventing them from bruising their lips altogether. Heavy pants fill the room when they pull back but Jeongguk soon enough latches his lips on Taehyung’s smooth melanin skin, sucking, biting and marking trails on his

unmarked neck, eliciting a moan out of Taehyung’s lips, not at all shy. “You’re so beautiful.” Jeongguk says against his skin, hot breath sending chills down Taehyung’s spine, all the way to the curl of his toes. Taehyung almost whines as he brings Jeongguk’s lips to his again.

Taehyung grabs Jeongguk’s hand, not breaking away from the kiss even once, and places it against his waist, breaking apart from the kiss to moan at the feeling of Jeongguk kneading on it gently. It just feels too good.

With heavy breaths as he pulls away, Taehyung properly moves to sit on Jeongguk’s lap, feeling his arousal against his pants and he deliberately presses down on it, teeth biting down a smirk while Jeongguk playfully warns Taehyung to stop teasing him.

Taehyung leans against Jeongguk’s ears and bites on it. “Need help with that?” He breathlessly asks and feels Jeongguk tighten his hold on Taehyung’s waist. When he receives no answer, Taehyung leans back and looks at Jeongguk, seeing the uncertainty swimming in his eyes.

And Taehyung can obviously see it’s not because Jeongguk does not want to. Can see he wants this as much as Taehyung wants. But still, he’s hesitant about /something/ and Taehyung might have an idea about what it could be.

“Hey.” Taehyung says, hands cupping Jeongguk’s face. “I’m not selling myself short this time.” He gives Jeongguk a small smile. “It’s no—“ “Do you want this, Jeongguk? Be honest.” Jeongguk stares right back at Taehyung and nods.

Taehyung leans in and kisses Jeongguk’s forehead. “Me too. We like each other, right?” Jeongguk gently smiles and wraps his arms around Taehyung’s small waist. “You do?” Taehyung then blushes, realising this is the first time he’ll actually be confessing to it.

“I do.” He fidgets in Jeongguk’s hold. “I like you and it’s crazy because I like this feeling a hell lot. I just want to feel more of this. With you.” He caresses Jeongguk’s face. “So..” He presses down on Jeongguk making the latter groan, “…please?”

“Fuck.” Jeongguk rests his head on Taehyung’s shoulder and breathes in deeply. “Fuck, okay.” He says and leans back, securing Taehyung’s legs on his waist before he lifts him up by his thigh and waist.

“Thank you.” Taehyung kisses Jeongguk’s lips as he takes the two of them to his bedroom, their chests bursting with anticipation as they take this mutual step towards their relationship.

Taehyung had always thought sex to be some kind of outlet. Yet for some reason, as he feels Jeongguk’s gentleness surrounding him in a safe coccon, feels his slow thrusts filling every part inside him,

feels the words of praises coming his way, feels the kisses of unadulterated want and pure desire, Taehyung cannot help but want to keep drowning in this feeling because what the hell?

Jeongguk is careful, and is gentle for their first time and it makes Taehyung shed tears when every feeling raging inside him, from confusion to just pure contentment fills him up perfectly to the brim, yet it overflows just because he feels more and more.

Jeongguk is there to kiss it away, is there to carefully lace their hands together and offer him with that steady, unwavering gaze, is there to smoothen out the creases, the hurt, of his skin from his past. Taehyung, as blissed out as he is, decides it must be love.

He is not familiar with the word as dubious as love. He thought he was in love with Hajoon. But it soon became clear it was his desperation to gain something out of a relationship which seemed different from what he was used to.

He thinks he is in love with Jeongguk. If the overwhelming sensation overpowering his heartbeat says anything, if the feelings he feels in that moment of intimacy says anything, if the smile he receives and the want to keep it protected says anything,

if the warmth and safety he feels around Jeongguk says anything, if the way he feels respected and adored and wanted says anythingC then Taehyung is sure he is in love. The realisation emits a sob out of Taehyung as he wraps his arm around Jeongguk’s neck.

“You okay?” Jeongguk asks, worry laced in his words and even those words dripping down Jeongguk’s lips stings Taehyung’s chest, the good kind. “Yeah.” Taehyung sniffles, letting Jeongguk pull back and look down at him, sweat beads on his forehead.

“I just—“ Taehyung really does struggle to get his words out. “Thank you.” He settles on saying that instead, tear filled eyes trying to say more that he does. Jeongguk nudges at the corner of his eyes and kisses his lips sweetly in response. Taehyung takes it as it is.

🌺 The next morning, Taehyung wakes up to the sunlight directly falling on his face, the stinging feeling causing him to move his face against a pillow. “Hey baby.” He suddenly hears Jeongguk call him and he tenses, slowly moving his face towards the person in question.

“What did you call me?” He croaks out, letting Jeongguk get into the spot next to him despite him being fully dressed. “Baby?” Jeongguk laughs, kissing Taehyung’s neck. “Say that again.” Taehyung giggles when the kisses turn fluttery and ticklish against his skin.

It’s sweet, the way Jeongguk repeats that word of affection again and again, and it fills Taehyung heart to the brim, the morning already promising a good day to come. “Are you going to work?” Taehyung asks once he’s comfortably settled in Jeongguk’s arm,

pulling at the collars of his shirt. “I have an early meeting.” Jeongguk sighs. “Although I’d rather stay here with you.”

Although it makes Taehyung want to shy away, he looks up at Jeongguk. “You see me everyday. I’m not going anywhere, you know?” Jeongguk hums, pulling Taehyung closer. “That does not seem enough.” “You flirt.” Taehyung laughs, slapping at his chest.

“You want to come with me today?” Taehyung pauses and looks up at Jeongguk. “At the company?” Jeongguk nods. “I’m mostly free after the meeting. We can go shopping, or go on another date, anything you want. We didn’t get to…properly relax last night.” He clears his throat.

Taehyung grins and sits up, his elbows supporting his weight. “Or we can just do it again? I think it’s pretty relaxing.” He smirks. Jeongguk smiles. “Very tempting.” He kisses his cheek. “But I really have to go to this one meeting. Come with me?”

Taehyung hums and lazily sits up straight. “Okay.” Jeongguk kisses his head and ruffles his hair before he makes his way outside his room, giving time to Taehyung to get ready.

🌺 It’s not the first time Taehyung had tagged along with Jeongguk to his company, and yet the states and murmurs follow the two of them as they enter. Taehyung does not care, obviously, hands gently clasped around Jeongguk as they walk past the cubicles.

“Hyung! Good Morning!” Taehyung greets when he sees Seokjin walking towards them with a file. “Good morning.” Seokjin smiles at him before bowing to Jeongguk in greeting as well. “On your way to the meeting?” Taehyung asks, glancing at Jeongguk who is speaking on the phone.

“Yes. Is Hoseok coming to meet you today? I wasn’t informed.” Seokjin looks puzzled, confused at Taehyung’s presence there. So Taehyung shakes his head. “Jeongguk couldn’t get enough of me and asked me to tag along.” He winks and Seokjin hides his laughter behind a cough.

Especially because Jeongguk is suddenly giving him a pointed look at Taehyung’s declaration. “I didn’t lie, did I?” Taehyung innocently smiles at Jeongguk, who just sighs and kisses the side of his head before he’s back to talking on the phone.

“Between you and me, he does get quite restless when he misses you.” Seokjin whispers and that makes Taehyung giddy enough.

“The meeting is on the third floor. Is it okay if you go up to my office and wait for me?” Jeongguk asks as he ushers Taehyung towards the elevator, Seokjin following behind. “Sure. How long will it take?” “An hour at the most?”

“Okay. I’ll wait for you like a good boy.” There’s a teasing hint in his voice and Jeongguk scowls, glancing at Seokjin before looking at Taehyung again.

“You really are a tease.” Jeongguk sighs. “But thank you for willing to wait. I’ll see you soon.” He kisses Taehyung and watches him get inside the elevator. Taehyung does not forget to throw a kiss and a wink Jeongguk’s way and catch Jeongguk’s adoring smile.

Upon reaching the floor of Jeongguk’s office, Taehyung walks out towards the direction of the room from memory, very much aware of the curious and judgemental glances. As he’s about to walk through the door though, he gets stopped by a petite looking girl.

“You can’t enter without an appointment.” She says. Taehyung raises an eyebrow at her. She seems like a bee employee considering everyone in that floor almost knew who Taehyung is.

“Okay.” Taehyung says, taking a step back and smiling at her. There’s a light tremble in her stance as she breathes in relief. “What’s your name?” “Huh? Me?” She asks, pushing her glasses back. “Yes, you.” “Oh, um, Kim E-Eunji.”

“Are you new here?” Taehyung asks, tilting his head to the side. “Yes!” She immediately answers, as if caught off guard by his question. “Started just today. I’m training to be Mr. Jeon’s secretary!” “Cute.” Taehyung smiles. “You’re doing good.”

Eunji smiles in relief. “So is it okay if I make an appointment through you?” Taehyung asks next. The question makes the girl fumble around her desk as if searching for something. “Kim Eunji, breathe.” Taehyung calms her down. She almost looks like she’s about to cry.

“I-I’m sorry. I’m just stressed because it’s my first day and it hasn’t gone well so far.” She says before she closes her mouth at the words of complaint towards a total stranger. Taehyung hums and takes a seat on the chair beside the secretary, looking around the table.

“You are chosen as a secretary in training for Mr. Jeon.” Taehyung says. “Doesn’t that say a lot about your potential?” Eunji looks at Taehyung. “Pardon?”

“It’s okay to feel stressed on the first day, especially with the responsibility you will be carrying from now on. But don’t you think it will be better to focus on building your confidence towards your job now? You will be the backbone of Mr. Jeon’s image during business.”

Eunji let’s the words sink in and she nods a second later. “Y-Yes. You’re right. I need to be confident because I was the one chosen.” “That’s the spirit.” Taehyung smiles.

She seems young but Taehyung can see the dedication she has, various sticky notes and filled notebooks lying on the table. Suddenly, an older employee walks towards the duo, gives Taehyung only a side glance before throwing a file on the secretary’s table.

“Did I not tell you to recheck the report from the meeting? There are so many that could have potentially made us lose the deal!” She yells, making Eunji cower in front of her. “I-I did recheck it.” Eunji stutters out in defense only for the employee to smack the file again.

“Then how can you explain the mistake I found in the estimated costs? And the report isn’t even in detail. Just because you got your position doesn’t mean you should slack off.” Taehyung watches, leaning against the table. “I sense jealousy.” He murmurs.

The two women look down at Taehyung. One in complete horror, the other in anger. “Excuse me?” “Oh? Did I say that out loud? Sorry, I tend to talk to myself at times.” “And who might you be? Do you have an appointment with the director?”

“I’m not someone you should be concerned about.” Taehyung smiles back. “H-He has made an appointment through me and is waiting for the director to arrive from the me—“

“Whatever.” The older employee says, sighing. “Just do your job properly before I report your sloppy work ethic to HR. Be thankful I caught hold of /your/ mistakes.” After giving Taehyung another unpleasant glance, the employee walks away.

“I spent the whole night doing this.” Eunji mumbles, grabbing the file and flipping through the pages. “So you’ll be redoing it all again?” Eunji sighs. “Probably, yes.” Taehyung taps his foot on the ground. “Want me to help? I’m good with estimations.”

Eunji immediately shakes her head. “You can’t do that! You’re not even an employee!” “I don’t have anything to do for the next one hour and I love money so I love numbers, so you can trust me with the accuracy.” Taehyung winks.

“I’ll just show you an easy way to do it so you don’t have to feel guilty about it. Might learn something new while you’re at it.” Eunji is hesitant.

She’ll probably lose her job if anyone finds out, but the number of reports and calculations she has to do in that day itself eats her out. “F-Fine. Just the estimations.” “I swear this will stay between us.” Eunji sighs and takes her seat.

An hour later, Taehyung is leaning against his chair, watching Eunji use his method for the calculations when Jeongguk arrives at the sight, a confused scrunch of his eyebrows in place. “Taehyung?” Taehyung grins when he notices Jeongguk and stands up. “Oh hey.”

Eunji, upon seeing the director and Seokjin—her mentor—stands up abruptly as well. “Um, g-good morning Director Jeon.” Jeongguk nods at her before glancing at Taehyung who’s walking his way. “What are you doing here? You should be waiting inside.”

“Don’t worry about it. I was having a good time with Eunji. A very dedicated and smart girl she is.” Eunji blushes. “Mr. Kim booked an appointment and has been wai—“ “What do you mean appointment?” Jeongguk is more confused.

Eunji blinks in confusion as well. “Can I know why my boyfriend needs an appointment to come see me?” Jeongguk pinches the bridge of his nose. “B-Boyfriend?” “Jeongguk stop scaring the girl. She was doing her job and I respected that.” Taehyung shushes Jeongguk.

“But still, you sh—“ “I would have been bored waiting for an whole hour. Eunji has been a nice company.” Jeongguk sighs and nods, rubbing Taehyung’s arm. “Alright. Good job, Miss. Kim.” Eunji blinks quickly and bows respectfully.

“I hope you’ll remember my face for next time.” Taehyung smiles at her and she nods, smiling right back before Jeongguk holds his hand and pulls him inside the office.

“You could have comfortably waited inside.” Jeongguk says once the door closes and he leads Taehyung towards the couch. “I was very much comfortable outside.” Taehyung smiles, booping Jeongguk’s nose with his own. “If you say so.” Jeongguk sighs.

“How was the meeting?” Taehyung asks, snuggling closer to Jeongguk. “Good. There were a few complications but nothing I cannot handle.” “That’s sexy of you.” Taehyung chuckles, kissing the corner of Jeongguk’s lips.

Jeongguk is clearly not satisfied with just that as he grabs hold of the back of Taehyung’s neck and connects their lips together, Taehyung smiling amusedly at Jeongguk’s impatience.

“Where do you want to go?” Jeongguk asks once he pulls back instead of completely giving in, memories of the night before washing through, head getting a little dizzy when he notices the marks on Taehyung’s exposed neck.

“A shopping date? Maybe lunch after. And ooh, I always wanted to go see the flower show at the park near Han River. Jimin told me there is a flower show today. And then we can finish the day with dinner.” “You have it all planned?” “An hour is a lot to think about.”

“Touché.” Jeongguk nods before standing up. “Let’s go then.” “So excited.” Taehyung smiles, kissing Jeongguk’s cheek.

The day seems to go by evenly for Taehyung and Jeongguk for it to be a ‘date’. Taehyung had already experienced that short moment of peacefulness-accompanied by the flutters in his stomach-during their time at the cafe.

So he doesn’t expect anything extravagant again, or think about keeping up appearances this time. It’s just him and Jeongguk, enjoying each other's company and honestly, Taehyung does not want it any other way as well.

Jeongguk decides to drive the two of them instead of the driver, with the bodyguards following quietly behind them, unseen, so that they don’t really attract attention from the people they had to pass while walking around.

During their shopping spree, Taehyung makes Jeongguk change out of his crisp looking suit and into something casual.

As much as he likes seeing Jeongguk in a suit, he does not think he is strong enough to resist pulling Jeongguk into an enclosed space and kiss him senseless. Taehyung is still healthy and Jeongguk is just really hot.

Still, Jeongguk in casual clothes, hair ruffled down with that charming smile already adorning his face makes Taehyung pull him back in the changing room to sneak in a few kisses just to satiate his growing desire for now.

Jeongguk does not fail to tease him all the way out of the store and though Taehyung pretends to be annoyed by it, he isn’t, really.

Their lunch date after that, is in Taehyung’s choice of restaurant, which turns out to be a small tonkatsu place he randomly picks out while scouring through the restaurants lining the street they are in.

Again, Jeongguk does not mind, gently holding Taehyung’s hand and entering the restaurant with a smiling Taehyung in tow. The food is good and while talking and flirting in between each bite of food, they are done with lunch as well.

The flower show, much to Taehyung’s, and even Jeongguk’s, disappointment, gets cancelled for the day because of a certain delay in the delivery of flowers at the venue,

but Jeongguk surprises Taehyung with a flower each from every flower stand or store they pass by as they decide to take a walk instead. “So corny.” Taehyung laughs when Jeongguk presents Taehyung with the last flower, his hand firmly holding all of them in place.

But Jeongguk just smiles and kisses Taehyung’s lips, an “only for you” slipping past his lips before Taehyung pulls him for a kiss again just because he has the urge to. He’s happy. He hasn’t felt this happy in a long time.

The rest of the evening is spent with them just walkig around the small park they are in, Taehyung clicking a few pictures here and there until its time for them to be on their way for dinner, Jeongguk's pick this time.

Taehyung is sitting in the passenger's seat, admiring the flowers in his hands, a soft smile on his face, when he realises that Jeongguk is taking a little more time for a quick phone call.

He looks outside the window, watching as Jeongguk paces back and forth a little further away, the frustrated scrunch of his eyebrows not going unnoticed even under the dim parking lot lamps. A few minutes later, Jeongguk walks back in the car, a deep sigh leaving his lips.

"Everything okay?" Taehyung asks, his hand immediately holding Jeongguk's, giving it a light squeeze as if to tell he's there, even if it's just listening.

Jeongguk thankfully squeezes his hand back. "It's just work. There's an issue with one of our deals and I needto go check it out." "Is it a big deal?" Taehyung asks. Jeongguk nods. "An international one."

"Okay then. If you're needed, you can go." "Sorry we can't go for our dinner date." Jeongguk says, genuine frustration lacing his voice but Taehyung just smiles and leans in to give kiss on Jeongguk's cheek. "It's not like we cannot have any more dinner dates."

"I'll drive you back home. If this issue gets sorted out soon, I'll come back early and cook something nice for you." Taehyung smiles. "A candle lit dinner at home. Sounds much better. But dropping me off and going back to the office might make you late." He frowns.

"Just drive to your office for now and let's have someone drive me home. I want to say I'll be fine going alone but I know you won't let me." Taehyung playfully rolls his eyes. Jeongguk laughs guiltily. "Just until things with Hajoon dies down. I'll even buy you a car after."

That makes Taehyung laugh because knowing Jeongguk it is not exactly impossible. "Sure." He lightheartedly waves it off for now.

🌺 “I’ll send the housekeeper over to cook something if I feel like I’ll be late. You can sleep and not wait up for me. I’ll call you if I’ll be coming back early or even if I’m late. You can h—“ Taehyung quickly grabs the back of Jeongguk’s neck and kisses him silly.

“It’s just a few hours.” Taehyung says. “Don’t worry too much. I’ll wait for you. No matter how late you will be.” “You don’t have to if you’re tired.” Jeongguk says, leaning back and caressing Taehyung’s face through the open window.

“Fine fine. I’ll sleep.” Jeongguk smiles and exchanges a short conversation with the driver and the bodyguard accompanying Taehyung before looking at Taehyung again. “Be safe. I’ll see you later.” “Mhmm.”

Taehyung leans his head against the window when the car drives through the city and towards the penthouse. It’s quiet in the car, the tiredness seeps through his body along with the occasional murmur of the bodyguard talking with the driver lulling Taehyung to sleep.

He does not know until when he sleeps but a slight shake on his shoulder wakes him up. “Excuse me, Mr. Kim. We’ve arrived.” The bodyguard says from the open door and Taehyung notices they were parked in the entrance of the apartment building.

“Oh okay. Thanks.” Taehyung yawns, stretching a little before getting hold of the shopping bags and the unorganised flower bouquet and stepping out. He notices the bodyguard still following him so he stops and turns towards him. “What’s your name?”

“Um, Kang Minjoon.” The man says and Taehyung nods. “Well, Minjoon-ssi, you can go.” “Are you sure?” Taehyung nods. “I overheard you talking about some security job you have to go to after this. You don’t have to come all the way up.”

The bodyguard looks hesitant but Taehyung nudges at him. “Just quickly go. Thanks for accompanying me home.” “Okay. Goodnight then, Mr. Kim.” “Yeah. Goodnight.” Taehyung yawns and turns on his heels and towards the entrance again.

He greets the security guard and the receptionist before properly holding the flowers in his arm and taking out his phone to text Jeongguk.

As Taehyung sees the elevator door open, he’s about to step in, but he pauses. There’s a strange pull against his chest and it feels uncomfortable for some reason. As if something bad is about to happen.

He turns to look behind him and just sees random people walking around, nothing out of the ordinary. Should he have just let Minjoon accompany him? Taehyung sighs and quickly gets inside the elevator, right when it’s about to close. It’s probably nothing, he concludes.

He’s alone in the elevator, eyes trained on the small box where the number of floors keep changing as it goes up. It feels so long for Taehyung in that moment, stomach feeling uneasy at nothing in particular.

The elevator stops at floor 8, and he jolts in surprise when the elevator doors open and a woman walks in. Taehyung tightens his hold on the flowers and looks away, sighing deeply. He doesn’t know where the uneasiness is coming from.

The woman gets down two floors above and Taehyung is left alone again. His mind starts to drift towards the memories accumulated throughout the day instead and a small smile appears on his face when he opens his phone and sees his messages with Jeongguk.

Atleast that helps him ease down a little. But it is short lived when the elevators door open at floor 12 and Taehyung’s breath hitches when he sees a familiar face staring right back at him. It’s Hajoon.

// mentions toxic behaviour, non respect of consent , threats , mild anxiety attack

“Oh? What a coincidence.” Hajoon speaks first, not making a move to walk inside the corridor but he does put his foot in between to not let the doors close just yet. Taehyung takes a step back towards the corner, his hands already trembling.

For a fact, Taehyung knows it’s not a /coincidence/. Hajoon looks too relaxed to call it one. “Where did that smile go?” Hajoon hums, taking a step closer, making Taehyung take another step back but colliding with the elevator wall instead. “Aren’t you happy to see me?”

“Fuck off.” Taehyung says, breaths getting a little raggedy, being cornered in the enclosed space making him dizzy as it is, making him stumble a little. “Come out.” Hajoon says, voice firm. Taehyung keeps looking down. “What makes you think I’ll listen to you?”

Hajoon sighs. “You look like you’re about to faint. Do you want to come out by yourself or do you want me to carry you out if you faint?” The thought that Hajoon could basically do anything if he loses consciousness makes Taehyung shudder so he looks up, eyes wavering.

“Move.” Hajoon raises his hand and swiftly moves to the side but not far enough for Taehyung to close the doors and go to the comforts of Jeongguk’s penthouse. Taehyung silently curses.

Taehyung takes quick steps and walks out of the elevator, standing in a considerable amount of distance from Hajoon. “What? You don’t even want to be near me now?” Hajoon questions, turning to look at Taehyung.

Taehyung scoffs. “Think why I don’t want to. You’ll find your own answer.” Being out in the hall does give Taehyung time to breathe and calm down, he even sees a few people walking around so he tries to not get too worked up.

Or show that Hajoon’s presence is in fact, affecting him still. He hates it. Hajoon walks towards Taehyung but stops when Taehyung takes a few steps back again. “Stop moving away from me.” Hajoon grits out.

“I think I made it clear I don’t want to be near you. What the fuck are you doing here?” Taehyung asks, his eyebrows creased in frustration and confusion and all emotions mixing unpleasantly.

Hajoon stays quiet for a while before he puts his hands in his pocket. “Came to meet a friend. Work-related.” “Liar.” Taehyung says. “Let’s talk.” Hajoon says, ignoring Taehyung’s remark. “I promise we’ll only talk.” “I’d rather not.” “Don’t be stubborn.” “Says you.”

“Taehyung.” Hajoon says, voice commanding and firm and it makes Taehyung jump a little at the sudden tone. It just makes him angrier. “Don’t call my name. I hate it when you do.”

“No you don’t.” Hajoon takes a step closer. Taehyung realises he has no where to go. Maybe he can just ru— “Don’t think about running. I have my men at the end of the hallway.” Taehyung lets out a dry laugh. “So you’re resorting to kidnapping again?”

His hands are trembling against his hold on the flowers and the bags. The last thing he wants to do is go back with Hajoon. He really doesn’t know how that will work out. He has already riled Hajoon up enough. Taehyung just doesn’t want to show Hajoon he’s scared.

“I said I just want to talk so don’t make it hard for us. Hmm?” Hajoon smiles, face so close to Taehyung’s. Taehyung looks away. Another sets of footsteps catches Taehyung’s attention only for him to freeze when he sees Namjoon, owning a blank expression when he sees Taehyung.

“The room is ready.” Namjoon says. “Great.” Hajoon leans to grab Taehyung’s hand but sees him holding the bouquet of flowers. “Those aren’t even fresh. Namjoon. Get rid of them.” “Don’t—“ Taehyung grits his words out as he glared at Namjoon, “—don’t you dare touch these.”

Hajoon sighs again and grabs Taehyung’s arm instead, gripping it tighter when Taehyung resists. “You’re being too stubborn now. You weren’t like this before, angel.” Taehyung just glares at him.

“Did Jeon sweet talk you to fall into his trap? Poor baby. It’s okay. We’ll talk and you’ll definitely realise it after that. How he’s playing your heart.” Taehyung scoffs and tries to resist again but Hajoon pulls at his arm harshly.

“Don’t be stubborn.” He smiles instead and it makes chills run down Taehyung’s spine. Hajoon quickly takes Taehyung’s phone from him in that moment and tosses it towards Namjoon.

“Switch it off. I don’t want anyone disturbing our conversation.” Hajoon says, pulling Taehyung towards a room despite his weak protests.

The room Hajoon takes Taehyung in is a lavish looking room. Taehyung is not sure who’s it is but he knows if he somehow gets out of this mess, he’s gonna ask Jeongguk if they could move. “I can tell you’re curious about whose apartment this is.” Hajoon smiles.

Taehyung looks straight at him, heart pounding mercilessly despite his calm demeanour. “Just get this over with.” Hajoon hums. “It really hurts to see you acting this way, angel. I miss you.” Taehyung shudders. “Quit bullshitting and just speak.”

Come sit.” Hajoon pulls Taehyung towards a made up table with lit candles and empty plates. “You must be hungry too. I ordered pizza for you, your favorite. It must be on its way.”

“Can you stop?!” Taehyung yells, feeling unpleasant by the minute. “I want to leave already. I don’t want to /sit/ and /eat/ with you. Just tell what you have to say and let. me. go.” Taehyung grits his teeth. The light dims from Hajoon’s face and darkness looms over instead.

“I. said. sit. Taehyung.” Hajoon says nothing more and Taehyung hates the fact that it makes him want to comply. He’s alone and he’s scared. He hesitates, looks over at Namjoon who’s just standing there with gritted teeth, before he slowly takes his seat on the chair.

“That wasn’t so hard, was it?” Hajoon smiles as if he wasn’t looking scary enough a second ago. “You’ve learned to talk back quite a bit. Does Jeon Jeongguk tell you it’s alright to talk back?”

“If you’re going to manipulate me into coming back with you, think again you sick bastard. I’m done being toyed by you. Get it in your head already.” “Toy?” Hajoon laughs with no amusement present. “Namjoon, did you hear? Apparently I toyed him around. Ah you’re so cute angel.”

“But isn’t that what you did?” Taehyung scoffs, pure disdain present in the way he glares at Hajoon. “I loved you, Taehyung. I still do.” Hajoon says. “I didn’t /toy/ you around. You said you loved me too, didn’t you? What do you mean I toyed you around? Huh?”

“Love, huh?” Taehyung cracks a tired smile. “That’s right. I did.” Hajoon smiles, satisfied. “Until I realised I never really did.” The smile falls from Hajoon’s face.

“You know the first time I realised that?” Taehyung asks, leaning in his seat. “When you hit me for the first time.” “I told you I didn’t mean to.” “And then you did it, again and again and again again—“ “Stop. I apologised for it. You forgave me.”

“Did I?” Taehyung raises an eyebrow. “Or did you make me forgive you?” Hajoon tenses. “Love, you almost made me believe it was love, you know? But Hajoon, you and I, we’re not the same. We never were. So no, I never loved you. Please let me go.”

“You’re holding on to me because you think we are the same. Whatever we had to go through as kids, whatever our feelings were left to become. It’s not love. It’s just an unhealthy obsession. If I can run away from it, so can you. So—“

The bell suddenly ringing has Taehyung pausing in his words. Namjoon looks over at the door and is about to walk towards it when Hajoon stands up. “I’ll get it.” The merciless pounding against Taehyung’s chest starts again. He feels something bad is going to happen again.

Taehyung tries to look over at the door but he cannot see who’s there. He sighs, frustrated, until he jolts when Hajoon starts to laugh.

“It’s your pizza, Taehyung.” Hajoon smiles, too sweet for Taehyung’s liking. “Come on in. Please set it for us.” The delivery boy walks in and Taehyung feels his blood run cold. It’s his brother. “Doesn’t he strangely look like you?” Hajoon walks back in, smiling.

“You look young. How old are you?” Hajoon asks, sitting down on his seat from before as Taehyung’s brother observes the tension in the room before smiling. “I’ll turn 19 this year.” He answers, opening the pizza box. “And you already work? Impressive.” Hajoon pats his back.

Taehyung tries not to look, biting down on his lip as he tries his hardest not to show any kind of emotion, even fear, fear for someone else. “Ah no, my family owns the pizza shop and we were short on staff today so I offered to help.” He smiles.

“Helping out your family. You’re a good son.” Hajoon smiles. “What’s your name?” “Ki—“ “Is this necessary?” Taehyung quickly speaks, glaring at Hajoon. “We can do this our—“ “No it’s alright! It’s my pleasure.” His brother smiles, innocently and brightly.

Taehyung looks away again. “You work hard. Are you an only child?” “I have a sister.” He answers. “It’s only us two.” Taehyung bites his lips again, hands gripping the flowers hard. “Taehyung, are you okay?” Hajoon directs his question at him. “You look…pale.”

“Oh um, I carry this.” Taehyung’s brother says as he digs into his pocket and takes out a ginseng medicine packet. “You can take it if you’re not feeling well. On the house.” “How sweet.” Hajoon leans on the table. “You almost look like brothers.” Taehyung glares at him.

“I don’t want it.” Taehyung pushes the packet away. “Take it and leave.” “Now, don’t be so rude to a delivery boy, angel.” Hajoon says. “He’s just concerned. Here.” He takes out the cash for the pizza and few more. “I added a tip for you too.”

The boy smiles, as he receives the money and bows. “Thank you! Please order from us again.” “Will do.” Hajoon says, watching as the boy leaves the room, closing the door in the process. Taehyung stands up abruptly and punches Hajoon right in the face. “You fucking asshole!”

Hajoon just laughs as Namjoon holds Taehyung from behind, preventing him from hitting the shit out of Hajoon for pulling a trick like this. Tears pool in his eyes as he struggles against Namjoon’s grip until Namjoon whispering something in his ears stop him from moving.

He falls to the ground and sobs uncontrollably, everything feeling useless and out of his reach now. “Stop crying, love. I thought you only wanted to see your brother. So I brought him to you. You think I wouldn’t know about the lone trip you used to take once in a while?”

“Aren’t you happy to have met him face to face instead of looking at him from afar? Don’t cry.” Hajoon pats Taehyung’s head. “I hate you.” Taehyung glares at Hajoon with tear-filled eyes. “I hate you so much.”

🌺 “Are you sure I can take it home?” Jeongguk nods. “I’ll explain what you have to do. Won’t take long so you can take the file for tonight.” Eunji nods. “Yes sir!” Jeongguk looks at his phone, feeling a little restless because of Taehyung’s phone being switched off.

One of the reason he left early for home was because the housekeeper had called him saying Taehyung wasn’t home. Even his phone was switched off after a cryptic message with a room number written on it.

“Oh?” Eunji suddenly gasps and Jeongguk looks at her. “What’s wrong?” “Oh I, I just saw my brother there.” She says pointing at a kid talking to the security guard. Jeongguk’s eyes widen, recognising that face. It was Taehyung’s brother.

“Noona!” The boy says when Eunji walks towards him and grabs his arm. “What are you doing here this late?” Eunji is confused and so is Jeongguk. “I’ll explain later. But I think someone’s in danger.” The boy frantically explains. “What?”

“Yeah. The room I went to deliver pizza in, there’s this guy who looked really uncomfortable and there were two other guys who were hella intimidating. It looked like the guy wanted to run away.”

Jeongguk freezes. “Do you know the room number?” “Yes! 201.” The same number in the message he had received.

Jeongguk had never been afraid of a lot of things in life. He used to be afraid of the dark as a child, until he grew out of it when he made up his mind about it not being as scary as he perceived. And he doesn’t remember what else.

But with the fear that grips into his chest and squeezes out his heart in gut wrenching pain, Jeongguk realises he’s afraid of two things now. To have anything bad happen to Taehyung. To lose Taehyung.

With a pounding heart, Jeongguk runs towards the elevator, a few guards already informed and following after him, Eunji and Taehyung’s brother as well. His mind is chanting just one thing. For Taehyung to be alright.

He had already felt guilty before, to not have been there with Taehyung to face his fears and the same has repeated even now. He grits his teeth and wallows in his guilt, until the elevator doors open and he rushes towards the room mentioned in the text.

- “You know, coming with me would be much better than staying with Jeon. Can he keep your brother safe?” “You’re the fucking danger here.” Taehyung sobs. “Don’t underestimate Jeongguk.”

“Taking sides, huh? I admit he resorted to using the legal ways to take me down and it is pretty annoying.” Hajoon hums, moving to sit on the chair while Taehyung is still on the ground, the flowers all scattered on the floor.

“But don’t you think my backhanded ways can be more effective? I can have someone run a truck over him too, you know?” Taehyung freezes. “Or have someone shoot a bu—“ “Stop!” Taehyung yells. “Stop.” He releases a shaky breath.

Hajoon smiles. “Point is, if you’re with me, everyone will be safe. I only care about you, angel. If you come back to me, leaving Jeon’s pathetic kind of ‘love’, I won’t have to care about anybody too!”

“I—“ Taehyung’s vision is blurry, fat tears rolling down his cheek. Hajoon suddenly grabs Taehyung’s jaw and yanks his face forward. “You said we’re not the same. But we are. Nothing can change that. That’s why fate brought us together. Accept that.

“I’ve been patient so far, Taehyung. I’m even ready to forgive you for running away. Just come back to me, huh? Only we can love each other, no one else.” Taehyung looks straight into Hajoon’s eyes, seeing the obvious excitement to be seen Taehyung cry like that.

He wonders how Jeongguk would have looked at him if he cries. Gently like he did before, worriedly yet silently staying beside him and giving him time. “…Jeongguk.” “What?” “I said I fucking miss Jeongguk, you asshole.” Taehyung spits his words out.

“You—“ The doorbell suddenly rings like crazy and that has all of the three men’s attention towards the door. “What the—“ Hajoon stands up, roughly letting Taehyung go and Taehyung quickly stands on his feet, turning to look at Namjoon who nods.

The door opens though, courtesy of the guard who brought in the extra key, and Jeongguk rushes inside, his eyes landing on Taehyung first before it lands on a confused looking Hajoon.

// violence , blood Without a word, Jeongguk gets hold of Hajoon’s shirt and lands a hard punch on his face, sending him stumbling back.

“You fucking dared to pull this shit!” Jeongguk punches him again without giving Hajoon time to recover, this time causing his nose to bleed.

“Jeongguk!” Taehyung yells and Jeongguk whips his head towards Taehyung only for his eyes to widen when Taehyung moves towards Hajoon and hits his head with a wood decor, the room falling in silence after Hajoon’s unconscious body hits the floor.

The security guards who arrive a second later stop at the sight and looks at Taehyung holding the wood decor. “It was self defense.” Taehyung says before letting the decor fall and he stumbles back only to have Jeongguk rush to his side.

“I-You okay?” Jeongguk cups Taehyung’s face, as his eyes frantically search for any injuries, gaze hardening when he sees the red rimmed edges and the bruise forming around his jaw. “I-I’m fine. I t-think.” Taehyung says, hands still trembling as he stares at Hajoon’s figure.

He turns away, hiding his face on Jeongguk’s neck and holding him tight, as if afraid to let go. Jeongguk makes sure to hold him just as tight. “He’s unconscious.” A guard says as another looks around to observe the scene.

“I called the police.” Taehyung stiffens at the voice and Jeongguk notices it, looking up to see it was Taehyung’s brother who had said that. “Ah. I’m sorry but I told my brother to.” Eunji bows apologetically. “We’ll be leaving n—“ “No!” Taehyung immediately turns around.

“I-I mean, J-Ju—“ “You can go back to your room.” Namjoon finally speaks, and all eyes turn on him. “I’ll be with the boss.” “Hyung.” Taehyung stands with the help of Jeongguk and walks towards Namjoon. “If I ask you to go against Hajoon, will you?”

Namjoon just gives Taehyung a small smile. “When prosecutor Jung comes to me, I’ll do what I need to do. You go and take some rest. I’ll deal with the police. They’ll probably come to you to. You’re shaking now so rest up.”

Jeongguk takes Taehyung’s hand and gently tugs at it and when Taehyung turns to look at Jeongguk, he feels his chest stinging. Jeongguk is here. It’s okay. He’ll be okay.

Taehyung nods and holds Namjoon’s hand, squeezing it a little before he lets go and leans closer to Jeongguk. He then stops infront of Eunji, his eyes lingering towards his brother a little longer before he looks away. “Can you both come with us please?” Taehyung asks.

Although confused, Eunji nods and follows Taehyung and Jeongguk out. Taehyung does not even turn back once as he walks out.

🌺 Taehyung is leaning against Jeongguk on the couch as he stares into nothing, focusing on the warm circles Jeongguk is rubbing on his back. Eunji and her brother were kind and willing enough to sit and wait, talking to the police,

while Jeongguk helped Taehyung shower because he felt drained enough to do so himself. Taehyung shudders and sheds a few tears when the sudden fear grips him, when his brain relives the events from earlier, but this time Jeongguk is there to ease him as much as he wants.

Jeongguk hasn’t said anything and Taehyung can feel the waves of guilt raining down on him as he locks gazes with him everytime. “It’s okay.” Taehyung says, kissing Jeongguk’s eyes, wishing he could wash away that guilt but he knows,

just like how the water isn’t washing away the memories he had to go through that day, it isn’t going to wash away Jeongguk’s guilt as well. Taehyung can just wait and show Jeongguk, that he’s really okay and that his presence is what he needs the most anyway.

The police had already talked to Taehyung and had left, and Jeongguk is biased towards Taehyung not giving them the full statement. Still, he has an inkling Taehyung might have other plans, doesn’t want to stress him out more than he already is.

“Um, Taehyung-ssi.” Eunji suddenly calls out and Taehyung turns to look at her, eyes glancing towards his brother for a moment before it’s not. “Why….are we here?”

Taehyung doesn’t know what to say to that. For all he knows, Hajoon might have already set out men to keep their eyes on his brother, and now Eunji too. He’s just scared that something might happen to them, after years of trying to keep his relationship a secret,

Hajoon had somehow found out about it. He feels guilty for being curious and seeking out his brother. Of course Hajoon wou—“ “You really do look like me.”

Taehyung tenses when he hears his brother say that and he looks at him with wide eyes, his grip tightening on Jeongguk’s hand. “Taeyang!” Eunji scolds, softly hitting his back. “Your…name is Taeyang?” Taehyung asks, blinking, his heart shuddering. It was his birth name.

“Yes Kim Taeyang. I decided to keep my birth name even though I was adopted.” “You—“ Taehyung breathes in deeply. “—You knew you were adopted?”

“I wouldn’t have but I overheard mom and dad talking about how someone was asking about me in the orphanage I was in, a few years ago. They said it was my brother, Kim Taehyung.” Taehyung looks down, suddenly shameful.

It’s silent in the room and Eunji is just as shocked but she silently pieces it together. She did think Kim Taehyung kind of resembled Taeyang for a second before she had dismissed it as a coincidence. “You were looking for me. And still came to watch over me, didn’t you?”

Taehyung lets out a laugh and quickly wipes his eyes. “I thought I was hiding well.” “Someone as handsome as you is hard to miss.” Taeyang grins. “I guess it runs in the family.” Taehyung stops laughing at the word family. “Don’t you hate me?”

Taehyung realises he is not ready to hear an answer to that yet, not when all of this is so sudden, not when he had asked the question without meaning to, not when the silence stretches and settles uncomfortably around him. He turns to look at Jeongguk, as if pleading.

“Hate you? Why would I?” Taehyung whips his head at his brother. “It wasn’t you who abandoned me. I’m fact, you were the one who didn’t give up on me even if it meant I never found out about you. That’s what a family does. I can’t hate you for something you didn’t do.”

Taehyung feels something else with the relief that washes through him. He doesn’t know what to name it, he had never felt it before. The way something heavy lifts from his chest, the way tears start to pool into his eyes yet again.

He had imagined once before, how it would be if he did meet his brother yet all he could picture was the look of disdain towards someone like Taehyung. “You talk a lot for just being 18.” Taehyung snorts. Jeongguk nudges at him. “I think he’s like you.”

“Whose side are you on?” Taehyung scowls but when he looks at his brother, there’s no disdain there. There’s awe and amazement, as his eyes shine curiously yet patiently. Taehyung wonders just what good had he done for him to receive something as pure as this,

the people around him, a family,…love, he’s absolutely baffled. But he doesn’t want to trade it for anything else, really.

🌺 “Why the fuck didn’t anyone tell me about this? I had to hear it from a subordinate.” Hoseok rushes inside the room, steps and face furious, eyes zeroing in on Taehyung who is currently huddled next to Jeongguk. “Kim Taehyung.”

Taehyung sighs and looks around the room, gaze landing on Taeyang and Eunji. Jeongguk somehow notices Taehyung’s hesitance and looks at Hoseok. “First, I want some officers accompanying them back to their home. Get a few of them stationed there as well. They received threats.”

“You did?” Hoseok turns to look at the two of them. “Who…are you?” “Uh…His family.” Taeyang points at Taehyung. Hoseok glances at Taehyung as well but it does not last long. “Fine. You can head downstairs, I’ll send some men with you.”

Eunji bows in gratitude and pulls Taeyang up. “Hyung.” He calls and Taehyung stiffens, yet he looks at his brother. “Can I meet you again?” Taehyung looks at Jeongguk but shyly nods. “If you want to.” “Great. Please take care, hyung.” It makes Taehyung smile.

When it’s just the three of them, Hoseok sighs and sits down. “Just what the fuck happened?” Taehyung bites his lips, kind of hesitant. Jeongguk looks at Hoseok and nods towards the kitchen. Hoseok nods back and stands up. “Five minutes.” He says.

Jeongguk then turns to Taehyung and takes his hands. “For the first time in my life after a long while, I was truly afraid.” Jeongguk says, squeezing Taehyung’s hand. “I really don’t want anything to happen to you or the people you care about, Taehyung.”

Taehyung keeps looking down at their joined hands. “Hajoon, he’s capable of doing even more horrible things, and I’m sure you know it better than anyone.” And Taehyung knows, he knows the lengths Hajoon can go to if he’s truly angry.

“He put so many people in danger.” Taehyung closes his eyes, when he remembers the feeling he felt when he saw his brother enter through that door the first time, not knowing anything, remembers what Hajoon told he could do to Jeongguk himself.

“You’re so strong for putting up to him like that Taehyung, but until when? How long until he finally gets to you? The statement you gave the police, he can easily get away with it. I promised you protection and yet I let this happen to you. I’m starting to get a—“

“I—“ Taehyung stops Jeongguk from speaking anymore. “I need to speak with Hoseok.” Jeongguk sighs and pulls Taehyung in for a hug. “I’m sorry if it feels like I’m pushing you to do this but I really don’t want to lose you. I’m /scared/.”

Taehyung wonders if Jeongguk knows just how much /he/ doesn’t want to lose the latter, not after Hajoon told him all those things—which was not impossible if it was Hajoon. It genuinely scares him too.

“You’re not pushing me.” Taehyung says. “You don’t even know how you are one of the reason I was able to stand up to him like that. I would have failed if I hadn’t met you, you know? You made me stronger no matter how much you say I’m already strong.”He smiles.

“So don’t be sorry. I’ll—“ Taehyung takes a deep breath. “I’ll really ruin that bastard.” Taehyung then slowly leans in and presses his lips against Jeongguk’s. “Also, I might have something to say once this is all over. Will you wait?” Jeongguk nods, smiling. “Always.”

Taehyung and Hoseok speak for a long time after that, Jeongguk being right beside Taehyung, listening and being there if Taehyung wanted to lean on him.

Some information were shocking but the way Taehyung had given the details to start the investigation gave Hoseok a lot of comfidence. Taehyung, at one point, goes to the room he never really uses and brings out a small box he had taken when he had escaped from Hajoon’s place.

It had a few memory cards and usb files. “These contains evidences for some of the information I told you about. It should be enough to send him to jail for a long time.” “You…” Hoseok takes the box. “…had this all along.”

“I know I hid this but I didn’t trust you at first. Sorry. Some of the police officers, the higher ups were the ones pushing his illegal doings under the rugs. I didn’t think you’d be different. But I’m deciding to genuinely trust you this time.”

“Thanks.” Hoseok nods. “For trusting me.” Taehyung waves it off, snuggling closer to Jeongguk. “I wanted to tell you that the two underdogs of Hajoon, I had a meeting with them and they decided to go against Hajoon too. I met Kim Namjoon on the way up and he said he’s +

+ ready to talk with me. It’s looking good for you, Taehyung. I’ll make sure to give Hajoon as many years as possible. Think of it as the fruits you receive after working hard to raise a sapling.” Taehyung nods. “I really want him gone.”

“You should rest. It has been a long day.” Jeongguk looks down at Taehyung’s who’s already closing his eyes. “It has.”

🌺 It’s the first time in a long while that Taehyung wakes up feeling tired. His body feels sore all over, his throat feels dry and painful, he is sporting a headache and he does not want to wake up, at all.

He moves to the side though, to settle in comfortably and maybe sleep a little when his arms rest around something raised. Without even opening his eyes, Taehyung moves even closer, a certain heat pulling him in,

lips eliciting a relaxed sigh when his cheeks press against the softness of the covers over something hard. “Good morning.” Jeongguk’s voice greets him and a thought passes by his head, that it really is nice to be able to hear Jeongguk’s voice first thing in the morning.

It really comforts him. “Morning.” Taehyung croaks out, finally opening his eyes and realising that he has his head resting on Jeongguk’s thigh as the latter is sitting with his back pressed against the headboard, a file already on his hand. “Aren’t you going to work today?”

Jeongguk looks down and leaves a kiss on Taehyung’s ruffled hair, carding his fingers through it after. “I will be working from home for a few days. Meetings will be held online only if absolutely necessary.” He answers for Taehyung.

Jeongguk gets out of bed then, pouring a glass of water for Taehyung, passing it to him as he gratefully drinks it down. “Go wash up, I’ll make some breakfast.” Jeongguk smiles walking out of the room.

After washing up though, Taehyung tells Jeongguk he’s not really hungry and that he wants to rest for a while, so he pulls Jeongguk back to bed and rests his head on the director’s thigh while Jeongguk proceeds to read through his work file, the other hand patting his head.

Taehyung is quiet for a while, focusing on the feeling of Jeongguk’s fingertips gently brushing his hair, and then he looks up at the director. “Is it because of me?” Jeongguk doesn’t reply right away. “I just want to be with you for a few days at least.”

There clearly is an invisible line in front of the questions Taehyung wants to ask. Is it because Jeongguk feels guilty for having left Taehyung alone the other night? Is it to satiate even the slightest bit of the heavy regret settled in his chest?

Is it because Jeongguk is just scared even if Hajoon is probably in jail for now? Taehyung suddenly sits up, the covers softly falling off of his bare shoulders as he properly faces Jeongguk.

“You know it was totally uncalled for, right? We wouldn’t have known it was going to happen.” Jeongguk sighs and places his file on the side table. “But if only I ha--”

“If only you had what? The what ifs and the if onlys, it’s meaningless now. It already happened and I’m here now, you’re here too. Dwelling on it will only make your regret grow. I told you it’s okay.” Taehyung feels upset.

He does not understand why Jeongguk’s regret is so big. He’s fine. Shouldn’t it matter more than the what-ifs?

“If it had not happened last night, Hajoon would have done it some other day, just as uncalled for. He would just be getting crazier and would have used another backhanded method, more dangerous next time. Aren’t you glad we’re at least getting somewhere now rather than later?”

Taehyung wants to understand Jeongguk’s feeling of guilt and regret but he also wants Jeongguk to understand that it’s okay to let go of those feelings too.

Jeongguk bites the inside of his cheeks and looks away. “It...It’s just that my heart might take a little more time to accept what I already know in my head.” Taehyung feels the familiar stutter in his chest as he looks at Jeongguk who has his eyes casted downwards,

a bleak and dreary gloominess surrounding his features despite the day being particularly sunny and bright.

“Because it’s you, and the promise I made to you, I feel like you have been doing everything on your own with so much strength and bravery and I wonder if I’ve even done anything remotely more than the little bit of support I can give. It’s j—“

Taehyung suddenly leans forward and hugs Jeongguk, arms tightly holding him in place, face hidden in the crook of his neck, eyes wavering and heartbeats pacing quicker, and not in a good way. “You’re not planning to avoid me are you?”

“No.” Jeongguk immediately says, his own arms going around Taehyung’s frame and holding him just as close. “I think I would be the more miserable one if I did that.”

“Sorry. I just felt like you would be avoiding me to save me from some hurt when you said that.” Taehyung murmurs. “Don’t you dare do that.” “I won’t.” Jeongguk cracks a small smile, and Taehyung is instantly comforted, the slight anxiety backing down for now.

"You're wrong for saying that though." Taehyung says after a while of basking in that contentment. "You don't understand how much you've helped me. Your support is not something.../little/. It holds more significance than what I even did, and I did not even do it on my own."

Taehyung pulls away and looks at Jeongguk, the sleepiness and sluggishness from when he’d woken up, being replaced with something close to determination, just so he can be a little help to Jeongguk, to not let him regret anything as much as he does in that moment.

"If I hadn't met you, I would have run away, and I would have kept running until I could not anymore. I would have been in a state where I would have thought it would be better to stay beside Hajoon instead of meaninglessly running away because I really had nowhere to go.

I would have just accepted my fate of being wound around Hajoon's illusioned love for me. You gave me support, a way out and I started hoping that maybe I don't have to keep running anymore,

that I can exact revenge on someone like Hajoon who had taken away the one thing I had always possessed: my freedom. You gave it back to me and made me realise I can be hopeful for a freedom I had almost lost.” Taehyung pauses. “And something more."

Jeongguk carefully looks up, noticing Taehyung’s benign gaze. “I wouldn’t have stood up to Hajoon the first time I met him after I escaped, if not for you.

I wouldn’t have even thought to use the information I had collected because I didn’t know who could have helped me or who could have sold me back to him, if not for you. You showed me kindness even when I thought I didn’t deserve it.

You showed me that maybe I am capable of surrounding myself with different kinds of feelings than I was used to, that I’m more than just my face and my body. You were patient with me, understanding and gave me the strength you talk of, little by little, you know?

And honestly, you helped a great deal for what I’m about to do next, Jeongguk. I’m about to fight back instead of running away because of you, /for/ you.

So don’t you ever think or say that you haven’t been doing enough for me. You have no idea how grateful I am to have someone like you beside me and I d—“ Jeongguk immediately pulls Taehyung closer, holding him tight like he’s accustomed to,

hearing Taehyung say that he /did/ help, despite his conscience telling him otherwise. Coming from the person he had started to care about so much, Jeongguk decides to believe Taehyung instead.

His heart soars in adoration and pride for the man in his arms, a shaky breath eliciting from his lips when Taehyung moves and settles properly against him, warm hands rubbing his back and shoulders.

He starts to wonder if Taehyung knows how much /he/ means to Jeongguk, coming into his life headfirst with a smile and gaze so coy yet mysterious, every little moment accumulating to having Taehyung in his arms like this, wild yet calm.

He had just wanted help and was ready to help instead, had seen and observed Taehyung’s perception of himself and the people he had met and had yet to meet, wanted to show him it was not all that.

He just had not expected that in the process of letting Taehyung know and figure out that there was much more to him and the world, he would be the one falling into Taehyung’s unravelled personality,

feelings and emotions combined, something he had already possessed along with his uncertainties. His kindness and the ability to give love without even meaning to, to people he had not even met,

Jeongguk had found himself drawn to that selflessness mixed with his raw wildness and had let himself fall into that abyss without weighing out the pros and cons like he usually does,

showing just how much he had wanted himself to get pulled in and unravel all those layers with Taehyung. And to hear Taehyung say how he had been of help to him despite Jeongguk being the one to watch and observe the strength Taehyung portrayed so bravely,

those words wring Jeongguk’s heart and squeezes it a little tightly, telling him it’s okay to have regrets but not to forget his own significance in Taehyung’s heart. Jeongguk chooses to believe that.

It’s really bizarre how it happened, but Jeongguk just knows that he cannot afford to lose Taehyung and the growing feelings he holds for him now.

“Yeah okay.” Jeongguk simply states, breathing in Taehyung’s sweet smelling scent. “Let me just stay beside you for a few days though.” Taehyung smiles against Jeongguk’s shoulder. “Okay.”

🌺 Despite wanting to stay with Taehyung, Taehyung understands it can be distracting for Jeongguk if he stays around him doing nothing for long. “It’s fine.” Jeongguk had said when Taehyung voices his concern,

and it had been fine for a while until the warm circles on his arm or neck turned into heated make out sessions or kisses were shared in between Jeongguk’s phone calls. Yep, no work had been done so far.

“I’ll be honning my masterchef’s skill.” Taehyung randomly declares amidst another makeout session, chest heaving up and down and face flushed so red, Jeongguk rather kiss him senseless than let him go /hon/ his skills but he does let him go at some point.

Taehyung looked determined enough. So now, in front of the ingredients laid out in front of him while Jeongguk works in his closed study, Taehyung really tries to focus, except cooking has not really been his thing.

He’s almost pouting and thinking if he should just go rest up, when the doorbell rings and catches his attention. Taehyung tenses up for a moment before telling himself it’s fine, that it might be Hoseok or someone else behind that door.

He’s about to go open when Jeongguk steps out of the study and notices Taehyung looking tense. “I’ll get it.” Jeongguk reassures him and it seems to work a little for Taehyung in that moment.

Jeongguk walks towards the door and Taehyung can hear the door opening and a murmured conversation being exchanged before Jeongguk comes back inside with Jimin in tow. Taehyung finally relaxes completely. “Hey. Heard you swung at the CEO of Kangs Corps?” Taehyung laughs.

Jeongguk exchanges another short work related conversation with Jimin, kisses Taehyung on the lips and quickly disappears into his study. “Is he always this dedicated?” Taehyung asks when it’s just him and Jimin in his unused bedroom.

Jimin, who’s sitting down on the armchair nods, his gaze following Taehyung who is sitting on the bed, a pillow in his arms. “He has been goal-oriented for a long time. It’s surprising to see him so whipped for another person but here we are.”

Taehyung smiles and wiggles his eyebrows at Jimin. “Aren’t you glad he’s with me?” “Honestly?” Jimin tilts his head. “Not really.” Taehyung scowls. “I know you don’t like me but don’t scrutinise our relationship.”

“It’s nothing to do with me liking you or not.” Jimin raises an eyebrow. “You are clearly a people’s person and it’s hard not to like you. You have a kind of charm around you that’s attractive.” Taehyung playfully gasps. “Are you confessi—“ “No I’m not.” Jimin rolls his eyes.

It makes Taehyung snort, seeing the bewilderment in Jimin’s face. “Alright alright, go on with your monologue.” “You’re so annoying.” Jimin sighs but Taehyung just grins. “Anyways, as I was saying, you have a knack for attracting people. How about you work for me?”

Taehyung blinks. “Say what?” Jimin cracks a small smile. “It’s just a suggestion I’ve laid out for now. Obviously, a lot of things have happened and a lot of things /might/ happen but until when do you plan to live off of Jeongguk?

That’s what I don’t like about this relationship.” Jimin bites his lips. “Jeongguk won’t mind it because he’s really into you and may be ready to support you financially, but realistically speaking, you need to fend for yourself too, you know?”

Taehyung cracks his own little smile. “For someone who’s just a friend, you really are invested in our relationship, Jimin-ssi.” Jimin groans. “I’m just worried as his hyung. For him, even for you. And the whole ordeal between you both, it’s hard to take in.”

Taehyung lays down on the bed and looks at the ceiling. “If this was like any other relationship, I would have been fine with leeching off of him, you know?” Taehyung admits. “That’s what I always did before because there were no expectations between me and my partner.”

Taehyung thinks. “I was even thinking of running away with the escape funds.” He chuckles. “He really offered you escape funds?” Jimin scrunches his eyebrows. “What do you think?” Taehyung grins, looking at Jimin who just shakes his head and leans back comfortably.

“But I did think I should do something for myself if I had decided not to run away, to be capable enough to stay beside Jeongguk. I mean, him dating me has already tarnished his image as it is, I see the articles. They should have included better pictures of us though.”

Jimin let’s out an amused laugh. “Understandable. What changed?” Taehyung is quiet for a few seconds. “I love him.” Jimin’s eyes widen. “You what?” Taehyung suddenly sits up, as if admitting it out loud is a whole different experience of feelings and maybe it really is.

“Well, good for you?” Jimin offers because Taehyung looks /elated/, he’s glowing and he looks genuinely happy. He suddenly realises something. “And you haven’t told him.” “Are you crazy? Not yet!” Taehyung groans falling back into the pillow. “I want it to be special.”

Jimin blinks at Taehyung. “It’s just three words.” That makes Taehyung sit back up and look at Jimin in pity. “You haven’t been in love, have you?” “S-Stop looking at me like that!” Jimin scowls but that makes Taehyung laugh.

“But yes, I did think I should do something, get employed and start a life after this shit with Hajoon ends. I was thinking of going to work at the bar I used to work at because it paid well but your offer seems tempting too.” Jimin pauses. “Consider my offer first.”

“You’re pretty desperate.” Taehyung grins. “Maybe I’ll agree if you be—“ “I take back my offer.” Taehyung laughs out loud at be disgusted face Jimin makes. “Thank you, Jimin. I really like you.” Jimin flushes a little. “You’re not too bad yourself.”

“Although, not yet. I’m sorry I have to live off of Jeongguk for a little while more.” Taehyung grins. “Of course. We can slowly figure it out after this issue with Kang Hajoon settles down. No rush.” Jimin nods. “And don’t tell anything about it it Jeongguk.”

Jimin looks at Taehyung but seeing the plead in his eyes, sighs and nods. “Fine. Also, I didn’t get to tell you this earlier but I’m glad you’re okay.” Taehyung slowly smiles and leans forward before pulling Jimin out of his seat and on the bed.

“What the—“ Taehyung puts his arms and legs around Jimin, keeping him in place. “Let’s cuddle for a while. You’re so small. You can be the little spoon.” “I told you not to make fun of my height!” Jimin struggles against Taehyung’s hold. “And do this with your boyfriend!”

“He’ll understand.” Taehyung grins, holding Jimin tighter. Jimin gives up after a few seconds and aimlessly stares at the ceiling. Suddenly his stomach growls and so does Taehyung. “I’m hungry.” Jimin says. “Yeah, me too.”

“Shall we order something?” “I have Jeongguk’s card.” Taehyung grins. “You know what? It’s nice to live off of this rich man at times.” Taehyung laughs. “Totally. Let’s go.”

🌺 Jeongguk does work from home as promised and Taehyung tries his best not to disturb him when he’s busy. There are times when he occasionally brings him coffee or light snacks, or there are times when Jeongguk takes a short nap with Taehyung in his arms between work.

But he is meticulous and diligent with the files and reports he needs to go through before approving, Seokjin and Eunji comes by once in a while and they exchange short conversations before they have to leave.

“Taeyang talks about you a lot to our parents.” Eunji tells Taehyung one day and the latter blushes a little. “What does he even say? I’m nothing.” He gives her a small smile. “He says you’re really cool and brave and strong and that he’s glad to have you as his brother.”

The smile on Taehyung’s lips fall but he flushes again because acknowledged like that by the one person—his family, his brother—whom he had silently loved and looked from afar, feels like an achievement.

“Please let him know that he can come over with one of the guards stationed at your place. He’s…welcome here. If he wants to meet up, or chat.” Taehyung says, a little shy. “I would have come and said hello to your parents too but you know the situation now, right?”

Eunji smiles and nods. “He’d be delighted!” She pauses for a moment before shyly looking up at Taehyung. “Can I call you oppa too? I really feel like you’re my older brother as well.” Taehyung cracks a smile. “Sure. I’d love to have a little sister too.”

“You’re still here.” Jeongguk asks, coming to stand beside Taehyung. “Oh yes sir. I’ll be leaving now.” Eunji bows with the file in her hands. “Bye oppa. I’ll convey what you told me to Taeyang.” “Thanks.” Taehyung just smiles, watching Eunji walk out the door.

“Oppa?” Jeongguk questions when it’s just the two of them. Taehyung grins, putting his arms around Jeongguk’s neck. “Maybe I gained a sister too.” Jeongguk then smiles, seeing the pure contentment in Taehyung’s face. “Happy for you.”

“You don’t have any work for now?” Putting his hand on Taehyung’s waist, Jeongguk brings the latter closer and rubs their noses together. “Not for today. I’ll have to go to the office from tomorrow though.”

“Hmm. Want to do something?” Taehyung bites his lips. Jeongguk, upon noticing that subtle movement, grabs on Taehyung’s waist tighter, sending shivers down Taehyung’s spine.

“What do you have in mind?” Taehyung grins and presses the front of his body against Jeongguk. “Let’s go to the bedroom and I might tell you?” Jeongguk lifts Taehyung up by his thighs and holds him there. “Like this?” Taehyung laughs and kisses his lips. “Yep!”

🌺 Hoseok comes over with some news a few days later. “Hajoon had been released on the night of the incident itself.” Hoseok sighs. “He’s a bastard, that lawyer of his.” Taehyung cannot help but feel restless sitting next to Jeongguk who makes sure to hold his hand.

“But with the evidence you have provided, we have a solid case in our hands. I’m compiled everything, did a few investigations of our own and with his image being tarnished by the media, many victims have been stepping forward.”

Hoseok then gives Taehyung a small smile. “Some of the victims I’m talked to have told me how they got the courage to come forward after what you decided to do, Taehyung. You gave a lot of them courage.” Taehyung gulps down the overwhelming feeling that takes over him.

He blinks away his tears and nods. “I’m glad.” “I’ll talk with the chief and the judge to set a court date but we should have enough charges to arrest Kang Hajoon soon enough. Are you really okay with testifying? Kim Namjoon and the other two will be testifying as well.

And their confirmation to all of the charges we’re holding Kang Hajoon accountable for will be enough to put him behind bars.” “I know but I still want to testify. I want to see the look on his face when he realises everyone he thought he owned goes against him.” Taehyung says.

“It really will be a sight.” He gives Hoseok a cold smile. Hoseok nods. “Fine. Don’t come out of your house until we arrest him. You might be in danger still. Jeongguk, you should take care while going to work as well.”

Taehyung sighs and looks at Hoseok. “Thank you so much.” “No thank /you/. I’ve always been after Hajoon, you know? But he had always been 3 steps ahead of me. It feels gratifying to be able to put him behind bars. And it’s all thanks to you.”

“I’m glad it’s you who’s handling this case too.” Taehyung smiles, finding comfort in the way Jeongguk rubs his arms. “This will all get over soon.” Hoseok says. “I promise.”

🌺 It’s a few days later when Taehyung wakes up to some shuffling in the room. He feels sore all over, memories of what happened earlier that day rushing in and making him blush, as he snuggles closer to the covers.

“You can sleep some more.” He hears Jeongguk say and he quickly pulls down the covers and stares at his boyfriend, who is all ready to go somewhere. “I don’t know, I think I want to make love again.” Taehyung teases, leaning against his elbow and openly checking out Jeongguk.

Jeongguk chuckles and pulls at his cuff after putting on his coat. “Like what you see?” “You know I always do.” Taehyung pushes the covers a little further away, exposing his melanin skin littered with Jeongguk’s marks.

Jeongguk’s stares right back. “Aren’t you a sigh right now?” “What are you waiting for then?” Jeongguk smiles softly and kneels on the bed, leaning down to kiss Taehyung’s lips, but he pulls away before it gets too heated.

“As much as I’d like to devour you, again,” Jeongguk smiles against another kiss, “I have somewhere to be now. I’ll be back soon though.” Taehyung looks at the clock. “Now? It’s almost 6 pm.”

“Mhm. Just work-related. It’s important.” Jeongguk caresses his cheeks. “You can rest up a bit. I have a surprise for you when I return.” Taehyung’s eyes light up. “Ooh I love surprises.” “You’ll love this one.” Jeongguk says, kissing his head and moving away.

Jeongguk gets into the car and the bodyguard closes the door for him before taking his seat in the passenger’s seat. Seokjin is already seated inside, going through his phone. “Are you sure, sir?” Seokjin asks when the driver starts the car.

Jeongguk nods, taking out his own phone and texting someone. “I’m sure. Where did you say he wanted to meet?” “At Geumhi’s, Gangnam. It’s a private restaurant.” Jeongguk hums. “As expected. He wants to keep low.”

“Isn’t it too easy though, how he accepted your invitation a little too quickly?” Seokjin voices his concern but Jeongguk just smirks. “He has a lot to lose now.” Seokjin nods, understanding.

The ride after that is silent, with Jeongguk texting Hoseok and soon enough he arrives at the restaurant. The manager is the one who receives him and leads him to the private reservation.

The door opens, his bodyguards waiting outside instead as Jeongguk enters the room with Seokjin in tow.

“You’re late.” The gruff voice states, glaring up at Jeongguk. “I just think you’re early, Mr. Kang.” Jeongguk smiles. It’s Kang Haesoo. Hajoon’s father. Seokjin gulps, trying to glance between the two biggest business tycoon of the country. He hopes this meeting goes well.

🌺 There’s a crippling silence in the private room for the new time few minutes. The waiter who arrives with the food senses the heavy atmosphere between the two businessmen, wanting nothing more than to get out of there.

“You already ordered?” Jeongguk asks, looking at the assortment of food on the table. “Didn’t even wait to ask what I wanted.” He tsks. Mr. Kang leans back against his chair and folds his legs. “I assumed you’d still have the same taste as 6 years ago.”

Jeongguk gazes at the older man with an icy glare. “You like spicy food, don’t you? Or did your taste change along with your age?”

“It definitely did.” Jeongguk says, leaning forward and picking the glass of red wine. “Still, it would be disrespectful to ask for a change considering you’re older. I should be mindful.”

“You don’t seem like the type to care about a person’s age these days, you brat.” Mr. Kang grits out his words, his own icy glare clashing against Jeongguk’s own, despite his growing smirk.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m just being respectful.” “Respectful, my foot.” Mr. Kang sighs, clearly frustrated now that he drops his composed act. Jeongguk somehow feels satisfied with his reaction. He takes a sip out of his wine glass.

“I thought you’d /always/ want to stick to your father’s business ethics. Isn’t that what you decided 6 years ago? Why are you playing dirty now?” The older man questions, a weight in his question that makes Jeongguk sigh and look out of the tall glass windows.

The city lights look grand from where he is seated. He wonders if Taehyung would like a place where he could see the city below instead of the tall buildings surrounding the penthouse. It would make for a nice view.

“Jeon Jeongguk.” Mr. Kang grits his words out, noticing Jeongguk’s obvious disinterest. It irks him the most because he feels Jeongguk has finally given up being oblivious and professional around him,

like he always used to do even though their businesses do not clash paths anymore. It’s like he’s finally showing his true colours in front of him.

Eyes no longer shining bright like an innocent kid who had vowed to work hard to prove something, but with a fierceness Kang Haesoo remembers seeing in Jeongguk’s father when they had started a business together. It makes him shiver.

“Your son started it.” Jeongguk smiles. “The son you had placed all of your expectations to lead your business forward, no matter what method he used.” Kang Haesoo keeps looking at Jeongguk.

“How does it feel to know that same son is the source of all of your disappointments now?” Jeongguk says, giving the older man time to retort back, but when he receives only silence, he continues. “For the record, I know you don’t care about any of your children.”

“You don’t care what happens to whom as long as they don’t tarnish the image you’ve built for yourself. How does it feel, having to witness the same son bringing your hard earned business to a downfall just like that? And don’t be mistaken, I don’t /steal/ clients like you.”

“I simply just offered them an opportunity you could never at a time like this. Fair and square. It was up to them to want to take the offers provided so it’s absolutely not my fault if they didn’t want to be associated with Kang Corps.” Jeongguk explains with a smile.

// mentions murder “Do you know the charges Kang Hajoon is accounted of? I’m sure you know since you’ve been his /mentor/, but even murder? What would people think about how he was raised? Or are you not surprised because you’ve taken that step yourself as well?”

Kang Haesoo sighs and leans against the chair. “You’re being pretty bold, accusing me of something you have no idea about.” “Sure.” Jeongguk says, but the two of them know there is a lot of bad history swept behind them.

Jeongguk really was being respectful to the deceased by not bringing it up entirely while Kang Haesoo wanted a clean slate, wanted a dark past be just that: a dark past.

He knows Jeongguk knows more than he should but with everything happening around him, he feels like he should be wary instead. He could use something backhanded, but he does not want to, just because of the kind of hassle it would be.

“What do you want?” Kang Haesoo asks instead. Jeongguk smirks, leaning forward. “Glad you asked.”

“You’re probably thinking of ways to clear Hajoon’s crime.” Kang Haesoo tsks, picking his glass of wine and gulping down a considerable amount before slamming it down on the table. “He messed up this time, that good-for-nothing.”

“What if I asked you to not do anything to back him up?” “Why should I listen to a stranger instead of helping my own son out?” “Well, he’s not exactly your son now, is he?” Kang Haesoo tenses but a sarcastic smile appears on his face. “Of course you’d know that.”

“A bastard son messing up this badly, do you want to still keep him around What’s to say he wouldn’t do it again?” “Oh he definitely would. I taught him well.” The older man agrees. “Fucking bastard.”

Jeongguk ignores the slight tingle against his chest but he keeps his calm. “But why are you involving yourself so much with Hajoon’s business? I thought you and your family had nothing to do with what I do with my business.”

“It was until Hajoon started poking his nose in the Jeon’s business. You should have leashed him well.” Jeongguk glares. “But up to this extent?” Jeongguk pauses, his memory zeroing on Taehyung’s tears, Taehyung’s smile. He grits his teeth.

“I’m just protecting my business from some shady dealings in the future.” Kang Haesoo hums, taking out a cigar and lighting it up, as he takes a drag and lets out the smoke in the room. “Dedicated as ever, I see.” The older man says. “What do I get in return?”

🌺 “Do it more on the right. No, no, a little to the left. That’s too much on the left, do it on the right!” Sighing in exasperation, Taehyung slams his hand on the table and glares at the phone. “You’re making fun of me aren’t you?”

Yoongi snickers, putting a potato chip in his mouth, from the other side of the screen. “You looked funny all concentrated like that.” “I knew it. I should have asked Jimin instead.” “Who’s Jimin?” “Park Jimin, search him up. Hang up now. Bye!”

“Just put the frost anywhere you like. The cake looks good as it is. Did you taste?” “Yes. Fortunately.” “Some sugar for your sugar daddy, might lead to a sugary ni—“ Taehyung hangs up the call, the screen going blank.

He knows Yoongi is probably cracking his ass off at that horrible joke. With nothing to do after Jeongguk had left for work, Taehyung had suddenly decided to bake a cake as a return surprise, the housekeeper being kind enough to bring the ingredients he had asked for.

He just had to add the whipped cream frosting—which was delayed because of Yoongi—but he should be done i— The sound of the door opening catches his attention and he quickly stands up straight in surprise, wiping his hands in the apron before going towards the door.

“You already came?” Taehyung asks when he sees Jeongguk’s smiling face. “Should h—“ He pauses when he sees another figure coming in after Jeongguk. “Hi hyung!” “Taeyang?”

“Jeongguk hyung came to pick me up.” Taeyang grins as he takes off his shoes and enters inside the house. “Well, um, uh, welcome?” Taehyung stumbles over his words. He looks over at Jeongguk who walks over to him and kisses his temple.

“Eunji said he didn’t know when to come meet you so I went to pick him up after. He’ll be staying the night so you both can talk about whatever you want to. Do you like your surprise?” “It’s a surprise, all right?” Taehyung murmurs but he kisses Jeongguk’s cheek. “Thank you.”

Taehyung truthfully didn’t know what he should talk about. Jeongguk has gone to take a shower and it’s just Taehyung and his brother in the living room, both not sure where to start talking.

“So you’re dating Jeongguk hyung?” Taeyang asks first and the fact that it’s something to do with his dating life makes him embarrassed. “Yes.” “He’s cool.” And there’s that awkward silence again.

Taehyung sighs and leans against the couch comfortably. “Are you in high school?” Taeyang immediately lights up and sits up straight. “Yes! Last year. Top of my class actually. But I’m also interested in sports.” It makes Taehyung smile. “You’re popular.”

“I wouldn’t say popular but I have many friends.” Taehyung hums, as he listens to his brother talk about his high school life, his friends and teachers, his pet fish that he takes care of, and it makes Taehyung feels at ease somehow, that he’s had a good life.

Somehow the regret that he had carried, of his mother abandoning this child, it seems to fade the more Taeyang smiles as he talks about the life he’s lived and is living so far. Taehyung is glad he didn’t have to face what he did.

“Hyung. What was our mother like?” Taeyang suddenly asks at one point of their conversation. Taehyung tilts his head. “What do you want to hear? The truth or the illusion you’ve created in your head about her?”

Taeyang fidgets a little in his seat, as if contemplating. “You have a good life, Taeyang.” Taehyung says with a small smile. “Let hyung carry the ugly part of our past, yeah?” Taeyang bites his bottom lip. “But we’re family, aren’t we? Why can’t I know?”

It’s silent after that and it’s not exactly uncomfortably but bordering towards awkwardness. Taehyung sighs. “She was a woman who was strict when it came to appearances, but she did love me and you in the way she knew how to.”

Taeyang scrunches her eyebrows. “But she—“ “There are decisions that makes you regret for the rest of your life.” Taehyung cuts him off.

“Before she passed away, she did tell me she regretted giving you away and that she did love you even if her will for something else overtook her. It’s up to you if you want to resent or forgive. But that’s all there is to it.”

Taeyang keeps quiet for a while before he sighs. “I was upset for a while when I found out I was adopted, you know? But mom and dad did not give me any reason to be sad about the life they gave me so it didn’t matter after a while but I had always been curious I guess.”

“It’s okay to be curious when you had found out something major about yourself. But I’ll admit I’m glad she gave you away.” Taeyang seems shocked by that statement, almost a little hurt.

“I wouldn’t have wanted you to live the way I did, at least. The life we both lived, were world’s apart but still, I’m glad for your second chance more than anything.

You have loving parents, a loving sister and a wonderful life where you’re happy. That’s what I had always wished for you even though we had never met before. I wanted you to stay away from the life you could have potentially lived.

In a way, it’s funny how you got tangled in it anyway because of me.” Taehyung gives him a pained smile. “But not for long. I’ll protect you.” “You say some pretty cool stuff, hyung.” Taeyang gives him a strained smile. “Thanks. For not giving up on me.”

There are still unanswered questions in Taeyang’s head but the gaze in Taehyung’s eyes look sorrowful when he’s deep in thoughts and genuinely happy when he looks at Taeyang, so he lets it go. Why should the past matter when the present and future is there for him to unravel?

“Are you guys still talking?” Jeongguk walks out after a while and leans his hand on the couch behind Taehyung’s head. “Oh right. We should have dinner. Taeyang, you must be hungry right?”

As if on cue, Taeyang’s stomach growls and Taehyung stifles his laugh at the blushing teenager. “I-I can help cook.” Taeyang volunteers. “Oh? You can cook?” Taehyung stands up, making his way to the kitchen but Jeongguk holds his shoulder and brings him back to the couch.

“You can sit here and rest. I’ll cook with Taeyang’s help. What do you say big guy?” “Yes. I want to cook for hyung!” Taehyung blinks, pink dusting his cheeks which Jeongguk kisses in the neck moment. “B-But—“ “It’s okay. Let us cook for tonight.” Jeongguk smiles.

Taehyung sighs and gives him his own smile. “Fine. It’s not like I can cook.” He mumbles. It makes Jeongguk laugh while Taeyang makes his way to the kitchen. “Who said that? You’re a master chef, aren’t you?”

“Maybe even masterchef’s need to be pampered.” Taehyung sighs, puckering his lips up towards Jeongguk who gently kisses him. “Of course. I’ll pamper you lots. Be a good boy and sit here, baby.” Taehyung whines when Jeongguk winks at him and walks away, but a smile appears.

Maybe this isn’t so bad, after all.

Dinner turns out to be more fun than expected. Mostly because Taeyang finds out the cake Taehyung had made for Jeongguk and the two adults let him eat the most of it because he has a sweet tooth.

Jeongguk secretly sneaks in a happy kiss when the teenager is not looking, thanking Taehyung for the cake, the latter agreeing to make another one solely for him. It makes Jeongguk happy.

“Your mother sent some side dishes through the housekeeper earlier.” Taehyung says as he goes through the refrigerator and takes out a few boxes. “We can eat them tonight then.” Jeongguk replies, going back to cutting the vegetables to be used.

Taeyang just silently sits perched on the counter, eating a slice of the cake, glancing in the way Taehyung and Jeongguk move around, softly speaking and sharing gentle smiles. “How did you two meet?” He asks his question, making the two of them look straight at him.

Taehyung glances at Jeongguk and the latter does the same, a smile appearing on each of their faces. “At a bar.” Taehyung answers for the two of them. “I used to work as a bartender.” “Your brother was very…charming.” Jeongguk replies, a sly smile on his face.

“You both look happy together.” Taeyang comments, eating up the cake. Taehyung wonders if he really does look happy to Taeyang, there’s no doubt he isn’t but the fact that someone seeing his relationship and coming to that conclusion makes his heart soar. Yes, he’s happy.

After dinner, the three of them just watch a movie, occasionally talking about random things—which mostly involved Taeyang asking questions and Taehyung concludes he is a very curious person who speaks his mind a lot. “Kinda like you.” Jeongguk whispers somewhere in between.

Taehyung doesn’t deny it because he had been a curious child who spoke his mind as well, still does maybe, but he finds the similarity comforting.

When it’s time to sleep, Taehyung leads his sleepy brother to his unused room and is about to go when Taeyang hugs his brother, a “I’m so glad I met you, hyung”, getting slurred out in his sleepy state. Taehyung keeps it to memory, ruffles his hair and steps out of the room.

Jeongguk is taking off his sweatshirt when Taehyung enters in the room, directly walking towards him and wrapping his arms around Jeongguk’s bare torso, lips pressing a light kiss on his neck. “Thank you.” He simply says.

Jeongguk kisses his head in return and wraps his own arms around Taehyung, making him feel warm. “You’re welcome.” Taehyung smiles and quickly enough latches his lips on Jeongguk’s lips, probing at the seams for a deeper kiss and Jeongguk easily complies.

Taehyung giggles when Jeongguk lifts him up and gently pushes him on the bed, his back colliding with the soft mattress, and him immediately positioning himself on top of him. They kiss again, an urgency in the way they move their lips and press their bodies together.

“J-Jeongguk.” Taehyung presses on Jeongguk’s shoulder, stifling a moan when Jeongguk starts to slowly grind down. “Not tonight?” Jeongguk asks, lips barely brushing against Taehyung’s. Taehyung nods, blushing a little.

Jeongguk just smiles, kisses his lips and gets off of him and lays beside him instead, Taehyung immediately curling next to him, head on Jeongguk’s chest. “Are you okay?” Taehyung suddenly asks, the pads of his fingers drawing random shapes on Jeongguk’s stomach.

“Why do you ask?” “I noticed you were feeling out of it at times earlier, as if you were disturbed about something. Is everything okay with your work? You said something about an international deal a few days ago.” Jeongguk rubs Taehyung’s arms. “You noticed that?”

“Hard not to.” Jeongguk sighs. “I went to meet Kang Haesoo tonight.” Taehyung freezes. “What?”

“Do you know why Kang Hajoon…hates me? Putting aside the fact that I’m with you.” Jeongguk asks.

Taehyung thinks it over. “The first time I saw him openly expressing his dislike for you was when you came on the news because of a campaign you did. I didn’t ask him because I was never involved in anything related to his business nor did he talk about you.”

Jeongguk hums. “We never met personally until the night of the gala but the Kangs and the Jeons have a deep rooted history.” He explains and Taehyung listens because it’s new even for him. “My dad and his dad, Kang Haesoo, started a business together a long time ago.”

“Because my dad already had a family background, he got the support of his family and Kang Haesoo felt like he wasn’t doing much, wanted easy success just to make that name for himself.” Jeongguk sighs.

“But he resorted to backhanded methods, bribery, extortion, fraud and when my dad came to know of this, they split up as business partners. My dad had a morally ethical picture for the company he wanted to build but Kang Haesoo’s ideals were always different.”

“He had a daughter, Hajoon’s half sister.” Jeongguk gulps. Taehyung is confused because he never knew Hajoon had a sister. He heard of his younger brother but not a sister. “You know that Hajoon is an illegitimate son, right?” Taehyung nods.

“Before that old man came to know of Hajoon’s existence, he was very involved in his daughter’s upbringing so that she could take over the company.” Jeongguk explains. “I met her during my college days when I was a freshman and she was a senior.”

Jeongguk sadly smiles and sighs deeply. “She was different from her father, a true leader so to say. I looked up to her a lot during college. Because we were abroad and on our own, we stuck together because we were both training to take over our respective companies.”

“She was bold and morally strong, so so creative and charming to everyone who was in her presence. She wanted to change the outlook of the company.” Jeongguk sighs again. “But I guess she got a reality check when she went home for vacations.”

“When she came back, the light in her eyes were gone, she was no longer energetic or involved in projects and she started to distance herself from everyone.

When I kept asking her, she finally broke and told me her father had already appointed someone else as the heir. Kang Hajoon.” Jeongguk grits his teeth. “Apparently their father had given them a task to get them to sign a deal and Hajoon was able to do so very quickly.”

// mentions murder and death “And in the way that old man liked and deemed good enough.” Jeongguk pauses and thinks something over.

“I didn’t get to see her after that year because she graduated and when I returned back to Korea, I heard that she was involved in a shady dealing with Hajoon and got murdered.” Jeongguk pauses. “And her dad was the one to give the order.”

A bone-chilling shiver racks through Taehyung’s body. “She was someone I looked up to at one point and hearing that made no sense whatever. A father doing that to his own daughter. My father then made me promise that I should not have anything to do with the Kang’s.”

Taehyung quietly listens. “The Kangs were involved with a lot of organisations but after her death, Kang Haesoo might have probably regretted his decision, I don’t know what happened, but the illegal activities stopped for a while.”

“I still saw him at business parties sometimes but we would never exchange conversations. I hated that old man but I also couldn’t do anything, and there was the promise I made with my father.”

“During that period I heard people saying how he was trying to build back his company without the organisation’s help, and during that time was when he used to take the Jeon’s example a lot while imposing it on Hajoon. Hajoon hates me because he liked the old ways.”

“There were reports of his illegal doings which his father did not know about while he appeared to be the ideal son and future leader of the empire he’s building. But there is one thing Hajoon probably has not deciphered yet.”

“What is that?” Taehyung asks, his hold tightening around Jeongguk. “His father really does not care about his children. Not six years ago, not now. And when he’s losing so much, I had to go meet him with an offer.”

Taehyung tenses up again and he sits up. “What did you do?”

Jeongguk gently smiles. “It isn’t anything bad don’t worry. All his clients have been interested in my business instead. So I asked him to strip off Hajoon of his family name and instead make his youngest son the CEO. He’s a good kid and he’ll probably do well.”

“I agreed on a business proposition if his son takes over the company instead. Because The Jeon’s promised never to directly get linked with the Kangs, I’ve presented a bunch of other companies who might be interested.” Jeongguk chuckles dryly. “He agreed in a heartbeat.”

Taehyung lets the silence settle between the unsaid words, the heartbeat beating loud and fast against his chest, his shoulder dropping down. “That means—“

“Hajoon will not be backed by his family name and will receive complete consequences of all the charges he is accounted for.” “Oh my god.” Taehyung breathes out.

Taehyung had taken this path of revenge because of what he had to go through, but slowly, the number of lives that were taken, the families who had lost much more, Taehyung feels his chest getting tighter for all the emotions he had not even experienced.

Jeongguk sits up as well and pulls Taehyung in his arms, letting the silence and the comfort of his body settle him down if possible. “It will all be over soon, Taehyung.” It will be.

🌺 Then next few months…is crazy for Taehyung. Hoseok quickly makes up the cases and gets it approved for a date, there are so many arrests, of influential figures, of politicians, of organisations into hiding.

The news keep talking about Kang’s Corps and they do suffer a lot of damage but as promised, the youngest son takes over the company instead and some stocks start to increase, not so much as what is lost though.

Taehyung, on the other hand, spends his days in anxiety at times, the day of the trial arriving sooner, Taeyang, Eunji, Jimin and even Yoongi coming over at times to spend time with him when he’s alone.

He realises he’s surrounded with a lot of good people and he slowly starts to feel like his life will finally be good to him. He’s still wary because the court case has not even started yet and the results are not as concrete, even though it feels otherwise.

At night, when Jeongguk comes home work, Taehyung clings into his warmth like he’s used to. Sometimes they make love, sometimes they just lay in each other’s embrace. It’s comforting and rewarding in ways Taehyung had never dared to think.

“You’re staring.” Jeongguk says one night as they are tangled in each other, Jeongguk’s hands carding Taehyung’s hair and Taehyung just propping his chin on Jeongguk’s chest. “I know.” He replies, smiling a little.

“Why?” “Because I can?” Taehyung offers but when he sees Jeongguk’s smile, his heart stings painfully, but the good kind.

The words of love are right on the tip of his tongue and he continues staring and when Jeongguk looks at him, with the gentleness that comes along with him, Taehyung almost lets it spills.

“I’m not telling you can’t.” Jeongguk laughs. “But there might be a reason. What’s going on in that pretty head of yours?” /Because I love you./ “I’m thinking of tomorrow.” He says instead. “And when this would all be over.” /I cannot wait to tell you/

Jeongguk worriedly looks at Taehyung. “Are you really sure about this?” He asks again, just in case. “Yes.” Taehyung says with a conviction like never before. He wants to show Hajoon that he’s happy without him, that he’s not the same as him despite a similar past.

Wants to see how he would feel to know that everything he had done comes with a prize no matter how powerful and feared. That wanting to “own” people is nothing compared to “earning trust” the right way. Taehyung wants to see it all unfold.

🌺 “Taehyung.” Taehyung’s hold on Jeongguk’s hand gets tighter when he hears his name being called. He does turn around though and comes face to face with Namjoon who has his wrists cuffed, a few policemen behind him. “Hey.” Taehyung softly smiles in greeting.

“So you decided to come testify, huh? I didn’t believe it when Prosecutor Jung said you agreed to do so.” Taehyung lightly chuckles. “I didn’t want to miss this whole thing.” Namjoon nods and then keeps looking at Taehyung. “You’ve changed.”

Taehyung blinks, exchanging a look with Jeongguk beside him. “I did?” Namjoon nods. “You always had a certain kind of fear in your eyes before. It’s not there anymore. If anything, you look happy. It looks good on you.”

Taehyung smiles wide and leans forward until he leaves a small peck on Namjoon’s cheek. “I am happy. Thanks to you, hyung. I wouldn’t have achieved all these if you hadn’t helped me.” “You did say to imagine if it was my brother facing all that.” Namjoon looks down.

“I do have a brother and I couldn’t imagine it.” He then looks at Jeongguk and nods curtly. “Thanks for your help to Mr. Jeon. I don’t have to worry about my family while I serve my sentence.”

Taehyung looks at Jeongguk in confusion. Jeongguk waves it off before Namjoon is taken towards the courtroom. “What was that?” Taehyung asks when it’s just the two of them. “I agreed to sponsor his brother’s education and help with his mother’s cafe financially.”

Taehyung heart swells in a tightness and he nods, looking at Namjoon’s retreating back. His father did owe a lot to the Kangs but with Jeongguk’s help, they can be rest assured for a while. “You’re kind.” Taehyung smiles, looking at Jeongguk.

“I just thought I’d ease his burdens a bit. He never wanted to do all of what he did in the first place.” “Like I said, you’re kind.” Jeongguk blushes a little and pulls Taehyung forward. “It’s time for the trial. Hoseok is probably in the court room.”

The trial to say, evoked a lot of emotions in Taehyung. He meets Hajoon’s eyes from across the room and while he appears cold and indifferent, Hajoon’s burn with fury. He probably hadn’t expected Taehyung to be the one to disclose most of his secrets.

Hajoon’s eyes didn’t hold the affection it once held for Taehyung, didn’t have that hint of desperation he showed when he wanted Taehyung to come back, didn’t hold that craze of an illusioned love.

If anything, it held fury with a hint of hurt and a whole lot of betrayal. Taehyung basks in it. Namjoon along with his two underdogs plead guilty for all the things they had done, testifies against a lot more Taehyung didn’t even know Hajoon had done.

When Taehyung’s turn arrives, he’s trembling a little bit Jeongguk is right there to hold his hand and give it a little comforting squeeze. And Taehyung walks to the confession box with a stance which would not have been possible a few months ago.

Hoseok asks the questions and so does Hajoon’s lawyer and Taehyung answers with confidence, unwavering.

When he does make eye contact with Hajoon, who has just been silently listening everything, his shoulders sag and it fills with defeat and a hardness that he’s not backing down anymore. He even looks at him in pity, for the sake of the times they spent together in deluded+

+conviction that the two of them were made for each other. Oh how wrong they were. And how liberating it is to be free off of that thought. It makes Hajoon more furious though.

He creates quite a scene, hurling curses at everyone that went against him, a “I loved you” thrown Taehyung’s way. Taehyung just stares, wondering if Hajoon will ever realise he never did. That it was his desire to own something that fabricated a feeling of love instead.

The trial gets adjourned for another week but the first step does prepare Taehyung for many more (potentially stretched) trials.

It takes atleast two months at the most, with more evidences, more witnesses and Hoseok’s will to prove Hajoon guilty, Taehyung being kept updated on the news from tv and even from Hoseok and Jeongguk.

And finally, the day comes where Hajoon is sentenced to life imprisonment. Taehyung feels numb for a moment, his hands slightly trembling. Is it over? It is, isn’t it?

He comes to his senses when Jeongguk rushes out of the room and towards Taehyung, gently grabbing his shoulders. “Tae.” Jeongguk softly calls out his name. “Shit.” Taehyung curses under his breath, his body starting to tremble now. “It’s over.”

“Yes baby, it is.” Jeongguk says, cupping Taehyung’s face. “It’s over.” “Yes.” “It’s really over.” “It is, it is.” “I love you.” Jeongguk freezes.

It’s just them staring for a while and the way it stretches makes Taehyung think if it was very random. Jeongguk does look surprise. He quickly ducks his face down, cheeks heating up, all flustered and shy and confused.

“You’re staring.” Taehyung says when he feels Jeongguk boring holes in his head. “I know.” He hears Jeongguk say along with his loud heartbeats. “Why?” Jeongguk brings Taehyung’s face up and makes him look at him. Jeongguk is smiling. “Because I love you too.”

A tear slips out of Taehyung’s eyes a warm feeling spreads all across his chest. He wonders if it was necessary to feel all the pain, love the wrong person, to cry and fight, just to meet someone like Jeongguk because all he knows is /this/ is how love is supposed to feel like.

The warmth of just a touch, the gentle gaze, the flutters in his belly, the comfort, he had always known, but for it to be returned as if Jeongguk means to say Taehyung is giving him all of that as well, it overwhelms him and soon enough more tears follow down his cheeks.

“I love you.” Taehyung whispers when the first sob racks out of his lips and Jeongguk is there to kiss it away. “I know. I love you too.”

“I love you.” Taehyung whispers yet again, forehead resting against Jeongguk’s and Jeongguk is there to gently hold his hand, intertwining it with his own. “And I love you.”

“I love you.” Taehyung smiles amidst another series of sobs that threaten for more tears to spill. And Jeongguk is…there. He gently holds Taehyung’s chin and lifts his face up. “And I love you.” He whispers against his lips before he presses deeper for a proper kiss.

Jeongguk, for Taehyung, was an unexpected surprise, but also a construing moment, someone who never even once demanded him to prove his worth, who patiently danced with him in darkness, who didn’t leave even when light came upon them.

And Taehyung, with all that rawness behind every coy smile, sending heart-throbbing thrills and lighting Jeongguk’s soul on fire. Someone who gave so much more than what he thinks he deserves to received, and Jeongguk /will/ make sure to shower him with everything he deserves.

When Jeongguk pulls back, Taehyung laughs out loud at the liberating feeling that shrouds down on him, laughs at the way he feels free, free to love and dive deep into an intimacy he had started to crave.

“Did you know it’s going to be six months of us meeting in a few days?” Taehyung asks, arms around Jeongguk’s neck. “Is it?” Jeongguk wonders. Taehyung nods.

“Do you still want to run away?” Jeongguk asks, a soft smile adorning his features, the pads of his fingers rubbing against his arms. Taehyung leans in and kisses Jeongguk’s lips. “I want to stay.” And he definitely will.

🌺the end 🌺 (please read to the end of this thread ) if you’d like to support: if you want to leave something:

a/n: lemme scream first. AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH ok im done. - but thank you so much everyone who read this from the start till now :’) thank you so much for being patient, for interacting, leaving all your sweet comments.

- there were a lot of though process involved in this au and i don’t know if i have been able to deliver it well but i hope i was able to deliver at least half of what I expected of myself haha - i’ll miss writing the updates for this and i’ll miss tae and koo of this au :(

- some parts might be lacking or there might be loopholes too :’) (im sorry for that) but this is basically how i envisioned the au to go and end so i hope it satisfies you to some extent. - again, thank you so much for being a part of this journey! it was really fun! ana 🌺

a/a/n : i’m halfway through the epilogue which i’ll probably post in a few days but it should give you the closure to wrap this whole au up ☺️ gn!

the epilogue is here!

#taekookau [ wildflower epilogue ] “You also have a scheduled meeting with Kang Min Joo, the actress, after the fitting with the models. It’s for the award show next month.”

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