फिर ले आया दिल; a #taekookau
Taehyung almost stops singing when Jungkook outstretches his hand. That smile reaching his eyes but those eyes hold nothing.
There's something breaking in Taehyung while he tries to move past that hand but just can't. He lets their hands touch.
Jungkook's hold burns somehow. Taehyung rounds the man and slowly pulls away. Lets their hands drop, walks to the farthest corner of the stage.
The cameras follow him, so his smile lingers. His eyes on the crowd that cheers a little louder. He tries to smile the brightest.
A canon compliant taekookau -
More tags will be added as we go, but hopefully nothing major.
Jimin is looking at him, his eyes worried and following Taehyung, while Taehyung tries to move past that small interaction.
He ignores Jimin, goes to his position to finish the song they are performing. It doesn't take long before they are rushing backstage to change.
“Tae!” their manager looks a little exasperated, “you weren't even trying!”
Taehyung dabs his face with the paper towel, “I did my best.”
“You didn't even look at him once,” the manager sighs, “he was at least trying to act like it! This won't break the media, Tae. Come on.”
Taehyung tongues the inside of his cheek, looking over at where Jungkook is wearing his jacket.
“What more do you want us to do? Since yesterday practice, we are all over each other!”
His manager, Yooshik, rubs his temple, “it was you two's idea. You two want to come out.”
“For that we don't have to be a couple,” Jungkook replies, busy fixing his chain, “for that, we can just individually come out.”
Yushik glares at the two of them, “do not ruin the plan and the publicity we planned for both of you! Do not go and do something stupid!”
“You two coming out and dating will be the biggest news of this year, and you two's albums will drop back to back. That publicity will help us bring in so much attention and create hype.”
Taehyung grips the paper towel in his hands, “as if, otherwise, we are going to fail.”
“You have discussed and agreed,” Namjoon slips in, looking from Taehyung to Jungkook, “you both agreed in the board meeting. You both wanted to come out, and you both agreed to this plan.”
They did. There was no other option to choose from anyway. Taehyung sighs.
“It's just a few hours,” Jimin tries to amend, trying hard to hold onto the two of them since the start of this fiasco, “come on, guys. We are friends.”
“We are not friends,” Jungkook snorts, nodding at the makeup noona before looking at Taehyung, “that ship sailed ages ago.”
Taehyung's heart skips a painful beat. He matches those eyes through the mirror and thinks, no. They are not friends. Not anymore.
What are they? He is not sure.
But they are not friends. Not since that kiss. Not since that fight. Not since 2020. They are not friends.
“Let's just get back to it,” Yoongi rubs his temple, knowing where both of their minds went, “you two are adults. You can work this out. Just... do what comes naturally.”
“Naturally,” Taehyung murmurs, eyes fixed on Jungkook, “I never want to look at him. Forget holding hands.”
Jungkook gives him a smile, the same empty smile Taehyung gets from him nowadays. So professional. Fake.
“Well,” Jungkook shoves his hands in his pockets, “at least, somewhere we do agree. At least, some feelings are mutual between us.”
Everyone sighs, walking out of the room.
The performances fly by. They are standing beside each other and bowing to their fans for the last time for that evening.
Taehyung's skin crawls when Jungkook holds his hand, bowing. When the lights dim, they both let go as if burnt. Steps away from each other.
“Do a live when you get back,” Yushik goes through his tab, looking over the rim of his glasses, “just try to look cosy. You know, like-”
“We are in love,” Taehyung murmurs, watching Busan rush past the window, “got it.”
Jungkook says nothing from where he is. He never does.
It's as if muscle memory. As if his body didn't forget what his heart tries every day to.
Pulling Jungkook in his arms, Jungkook's head resting on his shoulder or Jungkook squirming closer to him... all of those things happen as if their bodies are yet to forget each other.
Jimin and Hoseok look at them. Their eyes forlorn. Taehyung can see it clearly. They miss this. They miss them.
The tension in the group is never an easy thing to deal with, and the tension between the youngest two was never a thing. So, no one knows how to handle it.
“We are all going to visit Jungkook's house tomorrow,” Hoseok holds Taehyung's hand after the live, “come?”
Taehyung feels how heavy his heart goes at the mention of Jungkook's home. When was the last time he visited? Three years ago. He looks over at the younger.
“I can't,” Taehyung murmurs, shakes his head, “I can't.”
Hoseok grips his hands, “you know he won't mind. You know he will never not ask you to-”
“I can't meet uncle and aunty,” Taehyung chokes out, the thought is nauseous, “I can't drag them in this lie. I can't do this.”
Hoseok's face shows the sympathy, and Taehyung hates how his eyes prickle with tears.
“Is it too late?” Hoseok asks, dares to ask and hope, “can't you two sit and sort it all out?”
Taehyung can't sit and sort. Not when he can't stand being anywhere near Jungkook anymore.
“There's nothing to sort, hyung,” Taehyung looks away, throat bobbing, “we grew apart. That happens.”
“Not to you two,” Hoseok urges, “not to our taekook.”
That name burns his chest. Taehyung pulls his hands out of Hoseok's hold.
“I will see you tomorrow.”
He leaves the room.
They were each other's safe place. Jungkook came out to Taehyung on their bunk bed. Face buried in Taehyung's chest, arms tight around Taehyung.
His voice wavering and tensed, “I like someone, hyung,” he had said, “I like a guy.”
Taehyung had pulled the young one closer, “oh.”
Those wide, bambi like eyes were filled with tears, “I like a guy.”
Taehyung had felt the heartache, for the younger and for himself.
“You,” for the first time Taehyung had no words, none at all, “you…” will get over it? That guy will love you too? What would he say?!
“I don't want to get over him,” Jungkook had whispered, “I don't want him to see me differently. I don't want him to think I am weird-”
“You are not weird!” Taehyung had said, firm and angry, “you are not weird at all!”
Those eyes had glistened, “yeah?”
Jungkook had asked.
“We like who we like,” Taehyung had shrugged, trying to force a smile on his lips, “nothing is weird about it.”
“So,” Jungkook looked paler, worried, hesitant, “so... you won't find it weird if the guy... is you?”
It was just that. Just that simple. A confession.
“I think I like you,” Jungkook was seventeen, curled up against Taehyung, he had said the words that Taehyung never let himself even dream of hearing, “more than just a friend.”
Taehyung was nineteen when he realized, love was not enough. It never will be. He was so in love.
He had felt the bone-crushing sorrow and heart piercing pain right at that moment.
He looked at Jungkook and prayed for the younger to move on. He had prayed it was not as deep as he felt. He would never wish that pain on Jungkook. His Jungkookie.
“Oh, bub,” he had sniffled.
Taehyung had hugged Jungkook to him. Held the younger to his chest and prayed for the night to never end. He had held the younger to him and prayed, to whoever would listen, to never hurt Jungkook like that. He prayed, it was just a crush.
He could not hurt his love like that.
Taehyung knew what awaits them. He knew what hardships come with two bandmates dating. He knew Jungkook was too young for that.
“Don't tell anyone,” he knew he was breaking the younger, but he also knew, it was the easy way out, “Yeah? Don't tell anyone about this.”
“You will,” he had cupped the younger's puffy cheeks, puberty was yet to change that boyish charm his Jungkookie had, “you will get over it.”
Jungkook had gone still, looked at him with betrayed eyes, “that is not the point. The point is, I like a guy. I am not straight.”
“Also,” Jungkook's lips were jutting out, “you don't get to tell me that I will get over it.”
Taehyung had held the boy to him, buried his nose into that soft hair, “bub, nothing can come out of this. What do you expect from this?”
Jungkook was quiet, then he squirmed closer.
“Just don't hate me?” Jungkook had begged, voice heavy, “just don't think I am weird? Just don't hate me, hyungie. I won't be able to take it if you hate me-”
Just like that, Taehyung was broken. In between Jungkook's pleas, he broke into pieces.
“I will never hate you.”
“My baby bun, my sweetest boba ball,” he had cupped Jungkook's face and tried to smile while searching for those eyes, “your Taehyungie hyung will never hate you. He-” he loves you…
He could not say it. He could not burden a seventeen years old boy with his feelings.
So he buried it deep. He had pulled Jungkook in his arms, rocked him to sleep while assuring the younger that things were going to get better. Eventually.
Slowly, things got better. Jungkook grew up and probably grew out of that crush because he never repeated it again.
Things were better. They were the youngest members of the biggest group in the world, and things could not be better.
Until it wasn't.
Taehyung sits in his hotel room and thinks how it all went downhill. How a stupid drinking game got everything out of hands.
Taehyung gets under the duvet, trying to fall asleep. It takes some hours. In unknown places, unknown hotel rooms, it takes him some hours before he falls asleep.
Taehyung hugs the pillow to his chest, trying hard to not think how he misses a certain someone in his arms.
He falls asleep to the sounds of those giggles. The sound of that voice telling him to sleep. He falls asleep to that voice promising to stay. Stay forever.
He wakes up to that voice accusing him. He wakes up to that voice shouting at him that he ruined everything.
He looks out of the window to see it's already morning. He still feels exhausted. He takes the phone, checks it and groans.
There are numerous missed calls from the guys. A few messages.
Taehyung ignores them after a look. All of them are asking him if he wants to come along.
One stands out. It's from Jungkook.
Taehyung opens the message with shaky fingers.
“𝑇𝘩𝑒𝑦 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑢𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑣𝑖𝑠𝑖𝑡 𝑡𝘩𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑎𝑐𝘩 𝑡𝑜𝑔𝑒𝑡𝘩𝑒𝑟. 𝐿𝑒𝑡'𝑠 𝑔𝑜 𝑡𝑜𝑛𝑖𝑔𝘩𝑡 𝑎𝑓𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝐼 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑏𝑎𝑐𝑘.”
Taehyung sends back a thumbs up. Turns the phone off.
The entire day he spends watching stupid shows and eating room service. By the time night falls, Taehyung is wide awake because of the nap he took around the afternoon.
The slow knock on his room's door makes him sigh. He checks himself one last time before opening the door.
Jungkook is wearing a leather jacket. He leans against the doorframe with a bored expression. Taehyung sometimes wonders where that Jungkookie went and who this person is. Sometimes he wonders if this person ever misses his Taehyungie hyungie or not.
“You are wearing that?”
Taehyung looks down at himself, “what's wrong in what I am wearing?”
Jungkook eyes his grey hoodie and slacks and makes a face.
“It looks like you didn't even try.”
Taehyung shrugs, walks out and closes the door, “because, I didn't. Don't tell me you tried.”
“Between the two of us,” Jungkook's voice is a little whisper, “it's only me trying.”
Taehyung freezes for a second, looks over his shoulder at the younger, “huh?”
Jungkook shakes his head, “nothing. Keep moving.”
“We are taking your bike?” Taehyung wonders, “really?”
Jungkook gets on the bike and Taehyung hops on. He grips the man's shoulders and for a second thinks how muscled those shoulders feel since the last time he touched them.
When was the last time? Taehyung can't remember.
Jungkook takes them to the beach in a few minutes.
“How would anyone know we are here?” Taehyung wonders, shivering in the cold breeze, “this is a stupid plan!”
Jungkook rolls his eyes, “just post a picture of yourself at the beach. Fans will wonder who you went with. Then I will post a day later. No one else will. Enough hint.”
“If the hints worked, fans should think we are married by now,” Taehyung sets off towards the beach.
“Majority of them think so,” Jungkook follows, pulling out his phone, “are you not keeping up with the internet?”
Taehyung is not. Those speculations, those posts… he can't.
“I don't keep up with lies,” Taehyung pulls his hoodie up, ties it and looks at Jungkook to pose for the photo, “I never did.”
Jungkook clicks his photo, a few of them, “funny, how you can spurt it but can't hear or see it.”
He walks ahead of Taehyung.
Taehyung takes out his phone, looks at his feet and clicks a photo.
If nothing stays, if all is a lie, this will. That, tonight, in Busan, he was here with Jungkook. A memory Taehyung shares with the fans and thinks, with a snort, how they are also like the sand under his feet.
Slipping away with time. No matter how tightly Taehyung tries to keep those particles in his grasp, they seep away. Making him feel like he is slowly drowning, and he has no one who would save him.
“Come on,” Jungkook calls over his shoulder, “click some of my photos.”
Jungkook's photos are of him walking by the seashore. His hands in his pockets and head bowed. Taehyung looks at the pictures and nods to himself.
“Here,” Taehyung holds the phone out, “we are done.”
Jungkook hesitates, looks at the sea and back at Taehyung.
Jungkook reaches, takes Taehyung's hand in his, focuses his camera on their joined hands. Taehyung sucks in a breath as the shutter goes off.
“I don't know when we will meet again after tonight,” Jungkook whispers, pulling Taehyung closer, “this... we can keep to post.”
The thought is just that. Quicksand under Taehyung's feet. It slips out of Jungkook's mouth and leaves Taehyung breathless.
He doesn't know when they will meet after tonight. Their working place maybe the same, but their schedules aren't together anymore. Just like them.
Jungkook goes behind him, wraps his arms around Taehyung and gives Taehyung the phone.
“Make the angle artistic,” he murmurs against Taehyung's nape, “our fans might know but don't give it fully away.”
Taehyung leans into those arms, nods, “y-yeah. Okay.”
He angles the camera.
The hand trembles the moment Jungkook buries his face against Taehyung's neck. Taehyung feels those arms tighten around him and it's so heartbreakingly familiar. All of it. It's like coming home and knowing you are to vacate that place soon. You are to leave your home. Soon.
[ Song that inspired the entire story ]
The lens blur, just as Taehyung's eyes. He stands there, in Jungkook's arms, and forgets to click anything. Jungkook pulls him closer, face still buried against Taehyung's nape.
“Did you get it?” he murmurs.
“No,” Taehyung forces out, “just stay a little longer.”
“I will,” Jungkook whispers, his voice heavy, “just tell me how long.”
Forever. Stay forever.
Taehyung closes his eyes, “just...” his throat bobs, “just...”
Jungkook's arms tighten around him, and Taehyung's lips tremble around so many unsaid words.
“Just long enough for it to hurt less when you go,” Taehyung whispers, “long enough for it to be easy to let you go.”
“But, you will let me go,” Jungkook smiles, lips pressed against Taehyung's neck, “you always let me go. It should be easy. Doing this since I was seventeen.”
“I have learnt just that from you,” Jungkook steps back, “that I am very easy to let go.”
Taehyung whips around, shaking his head, “Jungkook-”
Jungkook takes the phone, chuckles, “hey, it's okay. It doesn't mean shit anymore. I mean, how long before someone gets numb to it?”
“I didn't let you go!” Taehyung reaches out, desperate, “Jungkook-”
Jungkook smiles, steps back, “you didn't. For letting someone go, you need to first let them in. You never did,” his smile dims, leaves behind a sour expression, “I was never worth the fight. Never will be.”
“I get it now,” Jungkook shrugs, “I am not seventeen anymore. It's not like I am still stuck on you. I got it and we moved past it. I am just saying.”
Taehyung watches the man in front of him, “I loved you. I told you. I told you-”
Jungkook chuckles, “just not enough.”
“It's okay, Taehyung,” Jungkook walks around Taehyung, “it's not like we are still those teenagers. Let it be. It's not worth it.”
Taehyung can't say anything over it. He agrees. It's not worth it.
Whatever they had, a love, a crush, an attraction... it was never worth it.
*LYIB&G time flashback* lmaoooooo! Good night, people. Not sure if this is good enough to continue or not. You can't even let me know because I am priv. But, yeah.
Here's my kofi, if you want to support me : ko-fi.com/amyungv
*.·:·.☽✧ ✦ ✧☾.·:·.*
“Keep them guessing, keep them on their toes,” Yushik speaks, hands in his pockets, walking from one end of the room to another, “go out. Have some almost public dates-”
“Outings,” Jungkook interrupts, “not dates.”
Yushik gives Jungkook a long looks, sighs, “yeah, that.”
Taehyung lounges in his chair, leaning on his hand while he looks at the manager who is detailing them for now.
“You two need to spread the speculation,” Yushik holds out two papers for them, “make it look like you are just hanging out, but it will feed the curiosity.”
Taehyung is done feeding curious minds. He is done doing all this. He wants to take back whatever he said, he wants to go back on his words and stop whatever they have to do now.
“Look at your schedule. Read and tell me if everything seems alright or not.”
Taehyung looks down.
1. A movie date. The theatre will be booked entirely for you two.
2. A dinner date. Just the two of you.
3. Staying over at one another's apartments. Choose-
“Why do we have to stay at one another's apartment?” Taehyung frowns, reading the third point, “why is that needed?”
Yushik gives them a tired glance, “because, we will appoint media. They will spread the news that you are spending some quality time alone with each other, like people who date, do.”
Taehyung grits his teeth, “the whole night?!”
Yushik shrugs, “a few hours will do too.”
“An hour then,” Taehyung looks back at the paper.
“More than an hour,” Yushik sounds close to pulling his hair out, “we have to make it look like you two were busy. Doing-”
Taehyung glares, hopes and prays the man doesn't say it.
Yushik says it.
“An hour is enough for that,” Taehyung grits out.
“An hour is an insult to my stamina,” Jungkook murmurs, eyes on the paper, he is frowning, “don't know about you, but that's an insult to me.”
Taehyung gapes, feels his ears turning hot, “I-” he risks a glance at Yushik...
Yushik is indeed pulling his hair, glasses long forgotten on the table.
Taehyung sympathizes with the man. He looks back at the younger, to protest.
“Make it four,” Jungkook looks up at Taehyung, dead in the eyes, “you got a deal.”
Taehyung wants the ground to swallow him.
He feels his cheeks heat up, and he buries his eyes on the paper in front of him.
“Okay, that happened,” Yushik coughs, “I heard that from the guy I used to take to school. Okay, okay,” he rubs his temple, “now, just sign the papers. My God.”
Taehyung does it as fast as he can.
“Just out of curiosity,” Jungkook points at the papers, “the last point is a public breakup. How?”
Yushik shrugs, “well, we have not thought of it, but you two of course will have a public breakup because it has to end. The fiasco. So, you both can go your separate ways.”
Taehyung nods, “when are we starting?”
“As fast as we can,” Yushik hums, “Jin's album just released. Next is yours. We got little to no time. Do the first point tomorrow. Get it done quickly. We need to keep the buzz going. Can't lag. Yeah?”
Taehyung hums, “yeah. Okay.”
“Avengers is the best choice,” Jungkook is giving him a frown through the screen.
Taehyung wants to curse. Fast. He holds back and glares at the screen of his phone.
“One more time I see Captain America's ass, I will beat yours!”
Jungkook arches a brow, “kinky! I see.”
“How about The Godfather?” Taehyung offers.
“One more time I see that old man, I will grow grey hair,” Jungkook gives a deadpan look.
Taehyung curses, “you know what?! Just let them decide. Whatever they choose, we watch!”
Jungkook shrugs, “that's best. I like that.”
That is how they end up in a movie theatre with 'The Kissing Booth' playing in front of them.
“Whoever chose this, needs a good ass whooping,” Jungkook grits out, “what is going on here?!”
Taehyung stares at the screen, “forget everything, this is so unhygienic!”
“How can you go around in a fair, eating so much garbage and then kiss someone? Also, how can the guy allow that? It's like inviting every type of disgusting smell and taste in your mouth!”
Jungkook looks at Taehyung, “way to ruin the point.”
Taehyung rolls his eyes.
“There is no point up until now,” Taehyung leans back on his seat, “woah, what is going on?”
“The guy is hot,” Jungkook hums to himself.
Taehyung stares, “well, I can give him that, but what is the story?! That's her first kiss! Oh, God, no!”
Jungkook's eyes are on the screen, he munches on the popcorn, “it's not like your first kiss was ever that perfect.”
Taehyung stills. For a second, he just watches nothing and goes back to his first kiss. He gulps, focusing on the movie.
“It was not,” he agrees, “no.”
Jungkook is not looking at him. His jaw works. It tightens. The sharp edges of his face are prominent under the lights of the screen.
Taehyung looks at the younger, “neither was yours.”
Jungkook chuckles, “are you acknowledging that we were each other's first kiss? Finally?”
Taehyung grips the armrest, “when did I not?”
Jungkook snorts, looking down at the popcorns, “when did you ever?”
“There was nothing to acknowledge,” Taehyung watches the movie, ignores the scene and talks, “it was nothing you deserved. Not what you deserved.”
tw// underage drinking
“A bathroom stall, two drunken idiots, crammed together because they both were hiding from their hyungs,” Taehyung can't help but wince, “tasting of the cheap beers they stole from the kitchen cabinet, where Jin hyung would hide it from us. What was there to remember?”
“It was my 18th birthday,” Jungkook murmurs, “it was my first kiss.”
“I vomited all over you right after,” Taehyung wants to bury himself somewhere, “it was anything but perfect. I keep ruining things for you.”
“Yeah, you do,” Jungkook nods, “by deciding that it's a ruin.”
On the screen, the couple are kissing in a gazebo. Taehyung is not sure how they ended up there, or if he wants to talk about it at all.
He looks at Jungkook, “I was always a ruin for you,” his throat bobs, “that night, when you told me how I suffocate you, I got it. You know?”
Jungkook looks ahead, frowning, “you think I meant that?”
Taehyung knows it's the truth. He doesn't care if Jungkook meant it or not.
“I do, though,” Taehyung leans back on his seat, pulls his legs up, “I never really respected your boundaries. I hate the young Taehyung.”
“He was loud,” Taehyung frowns, throat hurting, “so, so stupidly oblivious of others' boundaries. He was so childish-”
“He was innocent,” Jungkook speaks as if recalling someone he lost, “he was like a warm, sunny day after a gloomy week. He was...” his voice wavers, “comfort.”
“To that young Jungkook,” Jungkook frowns, blinking rapidly, “he was home in this big and scary city. He was that grounding force that young Jungkook needed to break his shell. Because he finally knew if he faces an obstacle, his home was right there. To take him back, to rest.”
“I would trade you for him any day,” Jungkook stands up, “because, when you started changing, you took away my safe place from me too. I will never forgive you for that.”
Taehyung gets up, the movie forgotten, “I did not change. I am right here!” he begs almost, “I am right he-”
“You are not the same,” Jungkook takes a step back, his eyes accusatory, “you hate him. He told me it was okay to like a guy,” Jungkook shakes his head, “you called me names for it.”
Taehyung curses, “I didn't mean it!” he screams, “how many times do I have to tell you, I-”
“I didn't mean any of that!” Taehyung reaches out, “I am bisexual myself! I don't mean it. I didn't mean a single word I said that night. I was-”
“You were you,” Jungkook shakes his head, taking several steps back, “you were just trying to save yourself. I got it. I know it.”
“My parents were there, Jungkook,” Taehyung whimpers, “I got so scared! Your parents were there! You were always so brave. You were always so mentally strong. I am not!” he feels his eyes fill with tears, “I got terrified. I was not ready. I blurted out shit I didn't mean!”
“They were our parents!” Jungkook hisses, “they would understand-”
“But, what if they didn't?!” Taehyung screams, “what if they didn't?! What if they don't?” he wipes his eyes angrily, frustrated, “you can't guarantee it! You can't dismiss my fear! It's not easy, okay?”
tw// — internalized homophobia, the path of self-acceptance
“I grew up thinking there's something wrong with me,” Taehyung murmurs, choking on his words, “because, where I grew up, no one ever talked about other sexuality. It was a given that a girl likes a boy and vice versa. I didn't know anything else was remotely possible!”
“The first time I heard of a guy liking a guy, it was because that boy was in my school and his own mother told mine that he was sent to rehab to 'treat' his 'illness,'” Taehyung's face contorts...
“Then, the other students' mums started gossiping how that boy was found kissing another boy,” Taehyung whispers, “I remember standing there and being introduced to that 'difference' as something that needs treatment. I was just thirteen! I was terrified, Jungkook!”
“I tried everything in my power to make your introduction to your sexuality be far from mine, but I could not shrug off that fear,” Taehyung hugs himself, “I know my parents are not the same. I know yours are not, either. But, that woman was a mother too. No? She was a mum too.”
“I never saw that boy again,” Taehyung whispers, “they left the town and went somewhere. I hope, wherever he is or if a person right now is going through something like he did, they find peace and acceptance because it fucking hurts to hear your sexuality is an illness to some.”
“It was that fear that my parents will act that way, if not them, yours will, that made me blurt out shit I didn't mean,” Taehyung shakes his head, “I could not put you in that position without you choosing to do so. I could not do that to myself either. I needed time, Jungkook.”
— This is getting heavier than I planned. This Taehyung will be the closest to myself I will probably write something. This journey is very personal to me. I will update soon. Good night.
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