Onsra; a #taekookau
“Isn't it Taehyung?” Jimin sips his drink and points the edge towards the guy on the dance floor.
Jungkook ignores Jimin's words, his eyes fixed on the guy sitting almost on top of his lap.
“Isn't he Taegeun's younger brother?” Jin wonders aloud.
Jungkook's eyes are immediately over to Jin and Jimin before he looks at the dance floor.
“Which one?” he wonders, eyes scanning the crowd.
“The leather jacket,” Jimin narrates, playing with the straw of his drink, “white shirt.”
Jungkook's eyes zeroes in on the guy, “oh.”
Jungkook takes a sip of his own beer, rolling his tongue inside his mouth while his eyes stay on the guy, Taehyung.
“Wasn't he supposed to be in Paris?” Jin wonders, “he is studying there. No?”
“No, I heard he shifted,” Jimin shrugs, “after their father's death. I guess.”
Jungkook ignores his friends' words. All he can think about is Taegeun, standing in Jungkook's bedroom with a disturbed expression on his face.
'It was just a fling, Jungkook,' his voice rings in Jungkook's ears, 'if you caught feelings, how's it my fault?!'
Jungkook looks at Taehyung and sees Taegeun's wedding. With his own elder brother. A wedding he was the best man of.
Jungkook takes a long gulp of the beer.
“Why wasn't he present for Taegeun's wedding?” Jin wonders.
“He had finals,” Jimin whispers, “remember Taegeun said?”
Jungkook swirls his tongue behind his teeth, jaw locking when Taehyung laughs. There is something eerie about Taehyung. He doesn't look like Taegeun at all. Yet, there is this familiarity that Jungkook just cannot unsee.
Jungkook gets up from his seat, ignoring his friends.
Jungkook walks straight up to the bar, ordering himself another beer. He sits on the stool, eyes glued on the bartender, who leaves the glass in front of him.
“One Piña colada, please.”
Jungkook looks over and his grip on the glass tightens, eyes snapping back to his drink.
“Uhh... hi,” Taehyung turns to Jungkook, eyes squinting, “are you...” he leans closer to examine Jungkook's face and then his eyes widen, “aren't you Jungkook?”
Jungkook winces, looking at the guy with a small nod of his head, “yeah.”
Taehyung offers him a wide grin, “Hi!”
“My brother married yours,” Taehyung has a friendly smile on his lips, “I have seen the wedding videos and photos,” he waves his hands as he talks, “I didn't see you once I moved here though. You don't live with your family.”
Jungkook chews his cheek, “yeah, I live alone.”
Taehyung's smile dims a little, “Jaehyuk hyung talks about you a lot,” he gives Jungkook an awkward smile, “sorry, am I intruding too much?”
The smile makes Jungkook's skin crawl. The friendliness reminds him of Taegeun. He looks up at Taehyung with a stoic expression.
Jungkook hates how similar the two brothers are in nature. He hates how Taehyung's friendly smile makes something ugly stir in him. He hates how he sees Taegeun when Taehyung stares at him. He sees his broken pieces scattered in that room when Taegeun left that night.
Jungkook shakes his head, “not at all,” he points at the stool next to his, “sit.”
Taehyung does so eagerly, “I just recently moved here. I am not really familiar with anything or anyone?” he chuckles nervously, “sorry if I am coming off very forward. I just...” he shrugs.
“A familiar face somehow,” Taehyung sips his drink, “sorry.”
Jungkook shrugs, “who are you here with?”
Taehyung points at the booth next to Jungkook's, “my senior' birthday. So, his friends threw a party here. I just came because hyung said I look like a lost kitty, so...”
Jungkook takes another gulp of his beer, “a familiar face is all it takes for you to take your guards down, huh?”
Taehyung smiles, a little embarrassed, “hey, you sound like my hyung,” he looks at his drink, “he is always worrying about me. Says I am too good for this world.”
Jungkook's eyes trace over Taehyung's side profile, his beer turning lukewarm in his grasp.
“Did Taegeun say something about me?” he wonders.
Taehyung looks a little confused, “that you are Jaehyuk hyung's younger brother…?”
“That's all?” Jungkook wonders, “I see.”
TAGS THAT I FORGOT IN MY HASTE -
- Somewhat friends with benefits
- Unrequited/one-sided pining
- angst with a happy ending
- ambiguous characters in stupid situations
- more tags will be added if the story needs it in the future
Taehyung looks at him, confused, “is there a problem with that?”
Jungkook's rage always blinds his decisions, as Jin and Jimin always tell him. His hurt clouds his mind, and he is yet to forget the wound Taegeun left behind. So, he looks at Taehyung with a shake of his head.
“Not at all,” Jungkook offers Taehyung a small smile, leaning against the counter, “unless,” he arches a playful brow, “you have a problem with me being your brother's brother-in-law?”
Taehyung smiles, wide and warm, “no?” he tilts his head, “that's a comfort, actually.”
“As I said,” Taehyung shrugs, “I know no one here,” he offers Jungkook a small smile, “it's nice to finally meet someone around my age.”
“I am six years younger than Jaehyuk and Taegeun hyung,” Jungkook makes a face.
Taehyung gapes, “so, you are two years younger than me?!”
Jungkook shrugs, getting up from his stool, “does it matter?” he stands in front of Taehyung, with a hand held out, “age?”
Taehyung looks at the offered hand and up at Jungkook with a small smile, “no, I guess.”
Jungkook hums when Taehyung rests his palm on top of his.
Jungkook can feel Jin's disapproving glare at him. He can almost hear Jimin screaming in his head.
He ignores it. It's easy to ignore it all when Taehyung is dancing against him, hands looped around Jungkook's shoulders. Jungkook's hands resting on his hips.
Eyes on each other.
Taehyung is a little taller than Jungkook, making it easier for the elder to loop his arms around Jungkook. Jungkook pulls Taehyung closer when someone moves a little fast behind them, making the elder jostle.
“Sorry,” Taehyung whispers, breathless.
Jungkook shrugs, “happens.”
He notices how Taehyung's eyes flicker down to the lip-piercing and then up to his eyes. He sees how Taehyung licks his own lower lip, maybe without even realizing it.
Jungkook feels the swirl in his chest. Something so primal roaring in him. A sense of vengeance fills him.
Taehyung's hands rest on Jungkook's chest, fingers curling on the black shirt Jungkook wears. Jungkook's fingers dig onto Taehyung's hips, eyes trailing down to Taehyung's lips and up to Taehyung's eyes.
He doesn't move, he lets Taehyung take the step. He lets Taehyung kiss him.
- How is it going? It will hurt a lot, so you all can just flop it and I won't write it. lol
- If it doesn't flop, I will continue tonight at 23:00 IST. Let's see. x
- If you want to support me, here's my kofi : ko-fi.com/aamyungv
☆☆☆ because my readers are masochists and here we are ☆☆☆
“Want to leave?” Jungkook asks against Taehyung's mouth, “I know a place.”
Taehyung's eyes are mirthful, “your bachelor pad?”
Jungkook has a motel in mind. The same motel him and Taegeun used to go to. He looks at Taehyung, he wants to take Taehyung to that same place.
Taehyung is kissing him again, and Jungkok takes a hold of Taehyung's wrist, pulling him out of the crowd. He will face Jin and Jimin tomorrow.
“Where to, sir?” the cab driver asks, looking at them through the mirror. Taehyung looks at Jungkook, a little breathless.
The motel's address is at the tip of his tongue. Jungkook knows the way there like the back of his palm. He looks at the man and feels Taehyung's hand in his.
The last time he went there, it was with Taegeun. On the night they broke it all off. A year-old relationship.
Jungkook still remembers each word Taegeun said to him. Those night outs, long drives, those dates.
'Let's not name it,' Taegeun would say, 'let's just go with the flow, kookie.'
Jungkook still remembers their each date and how Taegeun would insist on not calling them that.
He still remembers Taegeun's breathy moans. Still remembers the taste of Taegeun's kisses. He still remembers how Taegeun looked the night they ended it all.
'I can keep you just as happy!' Jungkook still remembers his own scream, 'I am still a Jeon! I am just as rich-'
'Listen, Jungkook,' Taegeun had a condescending look on his face, 'you are still not getting it! Whatever we had, was just a fling! A series of flings because you are just good in bed,' he had made a face, 'now, stop being so whiny about it! My God!'
Jungkook still can see it.
'I have no one but my brother, Jungkook!' Taegeun had said, 'I need to look after him and secure myself a position in this society! You are too reckless, you are the black sheep of the family! I can't let you ruin my life or my plans! Don't act like a pest!'
“Where are we going?” Taehyung's question breaks Jungkook's trance.
He looks at the man and back at the driver. Then he is narrating the address.
Taehyung squirms closer to him, taking a hold of Jungkook's cheek and turning him for a kiss. Jungkook pulls away.
Taehyung looks at the man and back at Jungkook, “oh, sorry.”
Jungkook never really cared about who is looking. He was never the type to care about other's opinions. But, Taegeun always dodged him in public. Always made it a point to be as far away as possible in front of others.
Jungkook looks at Taehyung. His eyes trace over the man's face, and Taehyung is looking back at him. Those large eyes are a little curious and a little cautious.
Jungkook lets out a breath, pulling Taehyung in for a kiss.
“If you don't mind,” he shrugs, “I don't, either.”
Taehyung's smile is noticeable against Jungkook's lips. The man squirms closer to Jungkook.
“I don't,” Taehyung shrugs, pulling away a little to look at Jungkook, “I am open about my preferences.”
Jungkook arches a brow, “and, am I matching those preferences?”
“Noticed you in hyung's wedding videos and all,” Taehyung bites on his lower lip, eyes a little hooded, “you're very pretty.”
Jungkook feels how his chest tightens at the mention of Taegeun and Jaehyuk's wedding. He hums, pulling Taehyung in for another kiss to change the topic.
The car stops and Taehyung is curiously looking out through the window. Jungkook opens the door of the car and gets out, Taehyung following behind him. Jungkook pays and turns towards Taehyung.
“Where are we?” Taehyung pulls the jacket a little tighter around himself, unsure.
Jungkook takes Taehyung's hand in his, tugging him forward.
“You wanted to see my bachelor pad,” Jungkook pulls Taehyung towards the gate of the building.
Taegeun was never here. He never wanted to because of the high security of this place. In fear of getting caught.
The elder Jeon's secretary didn't want to be seen anywhere near the younger one. Taegeun never wanted to be associated with Jungkook. Now Jungkook knows why. He had captured them both. If Jaehyuk didn't work out, Taegeun would keep it up with Jungkook. He had it all planned.
He wanted to loop at least one Jeon in his trap. The biggest entertainment company of the country and their family is one of the most powerful names too. Taegeun didn't want to lose it.
Jungkook pulls Taehyung in the elevator, pressing the button for the topmost floor.
“I own the topmost floor and the adjacent terrace,” Jungkook crowds Taehyung against the wall of the elevator, kissing down his throat, “you like that, hmm?”
Taehyung's fingers dig onto his back, “I,” he moans, “I don't care, really.”
Jungkook frowns, pulling back, “what?”
Taehyung looks a little dishevelled, breathing a little erratic, affected with whatever Jungkook is doing to him.
He looks at Jungkook with those large eyes and a small shrug, “I mean, I didn't grow up in rich. I don't have the fascination.”
Jungkook blinks, a little confused.
'I can't care less about your status, koo,' Taegeun's words ring in Jungkook's ears and the irritation under his skin intensifies.
The sick feeling of nausea hits him all over again.
Jungkook is thankful that the elevator stops right at that moment and they walk out.
He is furious. At Taegeun. At himself. At Taehyung. For no reason, he is furious at Taehyung, too.
He reminds Jungkook of Taegeun in so many ways, and yet he is not him.
Jungkook opens the door and Taehyung steps inside. Jungkook watches the man look around in fascination.
“Thought,” Jungkook pulls Taehyung to himself, pushing the jacket off of the man, “you were not interested in the place.”
Taehyung chuckles, “hey, it's still a new place. I was just curious.”
“Let's keep that aside for now,” Jungkook works on Taehyung's shirt next.
It's easy to get Taehyung to his bedroom. Taehyung reacts to his touches like he was starving for it. Jungkook is breathless when he sees Taehyung underneath him, stripped bare, welcoming. He takes his time with the guy, opening him up, kissing his moans and whines away...
“Tell me if it hurts,” Jungkook whispers against Taehyung's ear when he finally pushes inside.
Taehyung's arms are wrapped around his shoulders, “you were so cautious,” the man kisses down his shoulder, “you won't hurt me.”
Jungkook feels the words down his spine.
Jungkook pulls back a little to look at Taehyung. The moonlight casts a soft glow on his face. Those eyes are so large and on Jungkook. So trusting. Jungkook finds himself breathless.
How is Taehyung so... Jungkook searches for a word... beautiful?
How is he so beautiful?
He thrusts in Taehyung, slow, building up a tempo, while his eyes stay glued on Taehyung's face. Taehyung never looks away either.
It's silent, except for their breathy moans and groans. The sound of them moving, kissing. Taehyung smiles into their kisses. Jungkook burns inside.
“What's so funny?” Jungkook grunts, sweat building up on his skin.
“Nothing,” Taehyung throws his head back when Jungkook reaches deep in him, “just,” he looks back at Jungkook, “it doesn't feel like a hookup.”
Jungkook can feel the fire under his skin. He can't voice it.
The orgasm hits them at the same time. Both riding it out. Their moans swallowed between kisses.
Jungkook rolls away when done, looking at the ceiling and letting the burning settle in his chest. Taehyung is on his side, still catching his breath. Jungkook feels breathless.
He gets up and cleans himself, brings out a towel for Taehyung too.
“You can shower,” he says, not matching Taehyung's eyes, “the water is loaded.”
Taehyung shakes his head, getting up with a wince, “I will go,” he hesitates, “can you call a cab? I am yet to get the app-”
Jungkook nods, “sure,” he combs his hair back, taking his phone from the bedside table to book the cab.
He risks a glance at Taehyung, and Taehyung is picking up his shirt to wear it. Lips jutted out in a pout as he concentrates on the buttons. Jungkook watches him...
“Where do you stay?” Jungkook wonders.
“I live in my own place,” Taehyung looks at him, “where my father used to live. The quarter is empty after his,” he shrugs, looking away, “hyung worries. Tells me how I should move in with them. They have too many rooms in the house.”
Jungkook grips the phone a little tighter, “so, why don't you?”
Taehyung looks a little uncomfortable, “I mean,” he makes a face, “I can, but,” he winces, “I feel like a charity case. Don't get me wrong, Jaehyuk hyung never made me feel unwelcomed, but I still feel weird.”
“Right,” Jungkook nods, “fill in the address, then.”
He holds out the phone and Taehyung starts typing. Jungkook stands there, in his joggers and nothing else. He takes the phone from Taehyung when the man is done and books a cab.
“It will be here in a few minutes.”
“I will go, then,” Taehyung offers another smile to Jungkook.
Jungkook looks at the guy, watches how tired Taehyung looks, “the cab isn't here yet.”
“I will wait downstairs,” Taehyung waves his hand, “I don't want to overstay.”
“Are you always this cautious?” Jungkook wonders.
“I don't like to be overbearing,” Taehyung looks down at his hands, “sometimes I do it without realizing and when I do realize, I feel awful. So,” he offers Jungkook an apologetic look, “yeah, I should go.”
Jungkook watches Taehyung almost scurry out of the bedroom to leave.
“Hey,” Jungkook follows, reaching to take a hold of Taehyung's wrist to stop him, “maybe,” he looks at where he holds Taehyung, “I should drop you off.”
Taehyung blinks, “huh?”
Jungkook shrugs, “these services are not trustworthy, and it's too late. Let me drop you off.”
Taehyung is a little startled, “you... no, it's okay!” he chuckles nervously, “hey, I have been here for a month or so. I know my way around,” he waves his hand, “also, do you do this for all your hookups?”
Jungkook shakes his head, “but, you are not just a hookup. Are you?”
Taehyung frowns, “huh?”
Jungkook steps forward, “you are Taegeun hyung's brother,” he cups the side of Taehyung's face, “he will be upset if I treat you badly. No?”
Taehyung bites his lower lip, “well, you didn't treat me badly.”
Jungkook's eyes wander over Taehyung's face.
Jungkook gives a lopsided smile to Taehyung, “so, he would be upset if I treat you badly?”
Taehyung lets out a confused chuckle, “well, he has only me as family, and he has always been protective, but,” Taehyung shrugs, “you didn't treat me badly, and I won't tell him anything.”
“Yeah,” Jungkook steps closer to Taehyung, pulling him in for a kiss, “he doesn't need to know, but,” Jungkook's eyes never leave Taehyung's face, “if we,” he joins their hands together, “say, meet again... will you tell him?”
Taehyung looks confused, “meet again?”
Jungkook gives a small nod, “I am not sure if you would want that, Taehyung, but,” he offers a friendly smile to the elder, “I would like to have this again. If, that's not too much to ask?”
Taehyung's cheeks are dusted pink, “why?”
Jungkook thinks, “well, I liked it.”
Taehyung's eyes are a little wider than normal now. His fingers flex in Jungkook's grasp.
“What do you mean-”
Jungkook breathes out a soft chuckle, “we can hook up time to time, no?” he repeats the line and hears it in his head in Taegeun's voice, “I like how you make me feel.”
Taehyung's eyes are filling with the same hope Jungkook felt in his chest when Taegeun said the exact phrase to him. Jungkook feels a sense of satisfaction when Taehyung gives him a shy smile.
“Are you sure?” Taehyung wonders, “wait...” he hesitates, “hyung tell you something?”
“Tell me what?” Jungkook frowns, “about you? No...? Why? What is there to know?”
“I might have pointed you out too many times to him,” Taehyung waves his hand, not looking at Jungkook at all, “he asked if I had a crush on you or something. I think he was worried. So...”
Jungkook gives a small teasing smile to Taehyung, “did you? Have a crush on me?”
“Shut up!” Taehyung swats at Jungkook's chest, “I just thought you were very handsome.”
Jungkook wiggles his brows, “is that so?”
The phone rings and they both look at it and back at each other.
“I will go now,” Taehyung pulls away, “but,” he takes Jungkook's phone and types out his number, “you can call me. If you want.”
There is too much hope in that last sentence. Jungkook looks at the number and nods.
“I will,” he walks Taehyung to the elevator and watches him go.
Jungkook looks at the number and saves it.
He looks at the screen and lets out a deep breath.
“I hope you see how broken people look like, Taegeun,” Jungkook glares at the screen, “you won't look at me, fine, you will see it on the only person you love.”
He walks back to his apartment and closes the door.
Jungkook rips off the bedsheet and throws it into the laundry basket before lying down on the mattress. His eyes on the ceiling.
He closes his eyes and after so many days, he sleeps.
Taehyung chalks it all up as a one-time thing. A hookup and that's it. He doesn't really stop to think about it and goes back to his life. Busy with his new job.
So, it's a little surprising when his phone rings one evening, and it's Jungkook. Taehyung picks it up.
“Hello?” he stares at the compute screen.
“Hey,” Jungkook's voice is a little low, “am I disturbing?”
Taehyung logs out of the computer with a shake of his head, “not at all. I am about to leave the office.”
Jungkook hums, “I was wondering,” he pauses, making Taehyung frown.
“Wondering about what?” Taehyung asks, shoving his things in the bag.
“Would you like to meet?” Jungkook asks, “I am going to this dance showcase where one of my friends is performing. I have an extra pass.”
Taehyung grips the edge of the desk, “oh?”
Jungkook hums, “so?”
Taehyung sucks onto his lower lip, “uhh, are you sure?”
Jungkook chuckles, “well, yeah? Why? Do you have other plans? Then, you can tell me.”
“No, no,” Taehyung hurries, “just...” he closes his eyes, letting out a deep breath, “I didn't think we will meet again.”
Jungkook gives a short laugh, “trust me, Taehyung, you will see me a lot more.”
Taehyung can't help but smile, “that doesn't sound so bad.”
“One day it might,” Jungkook answers right away.
“Huh?” Taehyung frowns, confused.
“Nothing. I will pick you up in a few minutes.”
Taehyung hugs himself while he walks out of the building. His jacket buttoned to protect him from the cool breeze of the night. He looks around, waiting by the gate with his phone in his hand.
Taehyung notices the bike come to stop in front of him. The man takes the helmet off.
Taehyung holds his breath for a second while Jungkook combs his hair back. The younger gives him a small smile of acknowledgement, and something in Taehyung's chest flutter.
He will never tell Jungkook how gorgeous he finds Jungkook. Taehyung offers a small smile of his own.
“Hop on,” Jungkook jerks his head towards the seat, “here,” he holds out a helmet and Taehyung takes it silently.
He holds Jungkook on his shoulder and the man starts his bike.
“You look exhausted,” Jungkook talks over the wind, “let's stop for dinner first, yeah?”
Taehyung doesn't protest. Jungkook drives him to a roadside shop. They order egg rolls. Jungkook turns to face him on the bike, and they share a roll and another bowl of noddles between them.
They barely talk, content in the silence as they finish the food.
“Are you... crying?” Jungkook wonders, eyes a little wide in alarm.
Taehyung wipes his eyes with the back of his head, sniffling, “the food,” he blows a breath out through his mouth, “it was spicy.”
Jungkook stares, “you don't like spicy food?”
Taehyung shakes his head, “no.”
“Could have told me,” Jungkook reaches to wipe Taehyung's eyes, halting midway, “I would ask them-”
“It's okay,” Taehyung waves his hand, “I am fine.”
Jungkook stares at him for a few seconds before the man is facing the front and starting the bike.
Taehyung follows Jungkook inside the venue where the performance is taking place.
Jungkook waves at a guy and Taehyung notices, with wide eyes, how gorgeous that guy is.
“Who is he?” Taehyung asks, feeling a little breathless.
Jungkook chuckles, “Jin hyung. One of my friends.”
“He is gorgeous,” Taehyung murmurs, a little shocked.
He feels an arm loop around his waist then, “hey,” Jungkook speaks near his ear, making Taehyung jump almost, “eyes on me.”
Taehyung turns his head slightly to look at Jungkook. Their faces are inches apart. Eyes locked.
Taehyung feels a little winded, his eyes flickering from Jungkook's eyes to his lips.
“I am here to watch the performance,” Taehyung whispers, “so, can't really keep my eyes on you.”
Jungkook arches a brow, “well, then, keep your mind on me.”
Taehyung snorts, “how so?”
Before Jungkook can say anything, Jin is calling them. Telling them to hurry up. Jungkook takes a hold of Taehyung's hand and pulls him towards the seat.
Taehyung settles, “hi, I am Taehyung,” he waves at Jin who is sitting on Jungkook's other side.
Jin's throat bobs, “hi.”
Taehyung focuses on the stage when the host announces the next performance, Park Jimin. He cannot help but gawk at the man as he starts to perform.
“He is so graceful,” Taehyung feels breathless, “my, god!”
“Yeah,” Jungkook hums, “he is really good.”
Taehyung nods, mesmerized.
Jungkook watches Taehyung's eyes glued on Jimin. Those irises follow Jimin across the stage. Taehyung looks absorbed. His lips parting around soft gasps and a smile lighting up his face whenever Jimin executes a perfect move. Jungkook cannot help but stare at Taehyung.
He rests his hand on Taehyung's thigh, lips twitching when Taehyung jumps. Those large eyes finally look at him and Jungkook squeezes Taehyung's thigh.
“Tomorrow's Sunday,” Jungkook leans in to speak in Taehyung's ear, “come over to mine?”
Taehyung blinks, looking at him, “oh.”
Jungkook watches Taehyung lick his lower lip, thinking. He leans in, instinctively. Taehyung doesn't pull back when Jungkoo captures his lips for a kiss. Jungkook's hand tightening on Taehyung's thigh.
“Come over to mine,” Jungkook whispers against Taehyung's lips, “yeah?”
Taehyung nods, “yeah,” he breathes out, eyes closing when Jungkook kisses him again, “okay.”
After the performance, Jin insists that they go and meet Jimin backstage, but Jungkook refuses.
“We will leave,” he points over his shoulder, “it's already too late. I will call him.”
Jin looks at Taehyung and back at Jungkook. His jaw hardening.
“Don't do something stupid,” he hisses to Jungkook, “I swear, kookie-”
Jungkook rolls his eyes, “will you relax, dad?” he snorts, “I will call you two.”
“Just,” Jin glances at Taehyung, “take care.”
Taehyung frowns at them, a little confused. Jungkook takes Taehyung's hand in his and nods at Jin.
Jin looks at Taehyung, there is an unreadable expression on his face when he smiles.
“Stay away from this one,” Jin says, pointing at Jungkook, “he is not good for you.”
“Huh?” Taehyung blinks, a little startled.
Jin squeezes Jungkook's bicep, “he isn't good news.”
Jungkook rolls his eyes, pulling Taehyung to himself, “ignore him,” he looks at Taehyung, “he is teasing.”
Taehyung breathes out, smiling at Jin, “I will keep that in mind, then.”
Taehyung forgets about Jin's warning as days pass by. He forgets about those words every time Jungkook touches him, kisses him, takes him back to his apartment. Every time they have sex, Taehyung forgets a part of himself in that apartment. Leaves a chunk of his heart there.
He forgets a chunk of his heart in those messy bedsheets. He leaves a piece of his heart in Jungkook's hand every time he kisses the guy. Smiles into the kiss. Every time Jungkook comes to his office to pick him up, take him to places, Taehyung loses himself to the man.
“Stay,” Jungkook says one night, after three months of them hooking up, “it's raining heavily.”
Taehyung doesn't want to stay. There is this nagging jumble of words lodged in his throat. He cannot brush past. He looks at the man and shakes his head.
“No, it's okay,” Taehyung murmurs, getting up from the bed, “I will go now.”
He tries his hardest to ignore those words pushing against his throat, but he can't. He blurts it out.
“There's this guy in my office,” Taehyung keeps his eyes focused on his hands, “he asked me out.”
The silence makes Taehyung fumble, “so-”
“Great,” Jungkook gets off of the bed, pulling up his joggers, “that sounds great.”
Taehyung grips the shirt in his hand, looking down at it, “it does?”
Jungkook walks around him, going out of the bedroom, “yeah? You don't like it?”
Taehyung wears his shirt, “no, I mean, he is good.”
Jungkook is in the kitchen, pouring himself a glass of water, “then, go.”
Taehyung comes up to the counter, hesitant eyes fixed on Jungkook, “that's... okay?”
Jungkook arches a brow, confused, “yeah? Why are you asking me?”
Jungkook gives him a small laugh, “Tae, it's not like we are dating or exclusive,” he gulps down the water, “I am seeing other people too. It's not wrong-”
Taehyung feels how his heart drops, there is a pause where he is suddenly breathless. The words ringing in his ears.
Taehyung grips the edge of the counter, “you are seeing other people?”
Jungkook tilts his head, “am I not supposed to?” he leans his arms on the counter too, “Tae, we are just hooking up. You know that, right?”
Taehyung does. Yet... he looks away, trying to gather himself.
Taehyung looks at Jungkook then, his eyes never wavering, “I know,” he nods, giving Jungkook a wobbly smile, “I just... like an idiot, I stopped sleeping around with others. Not your fault,” he forces a smile on his lips, “no. I am at fault,” he shudders, “I am sorry.”
Jungkook's expression gives nothing away. His tongue swirling inside his mouth.
Taehyung takes a step back, “I can't do this anymore,” he whispers, forcing himself to look at Jungkook, “I can't-” his voice cracks, “I will go now.”
Jungkook lets out a sigh, “it's raining.”
Taehyung pulls out his phone, “I will get a cab.”
Jungkook rounds the counter, “Tae, listen to me, okay?” he reaches to take Taehyung's hand in his.
Taehyung steps back, shaking his head, “don't. Please, don't,” he swallows, “I have humiliated myself enough. Leave me alone.”
Jungkook curses, “what were you expecting me to say, Taehyung? That I fell in love with you? I never lied to you about shit like that. Since the start, it was very clear that all we had was a fling. I never lied to you.”
Taehyung books a cab, nodding, “that's why I need to go.”
“I started expecting more,” Taehyung whispers, eyes never leaving Jungkook's face, “and, that's not your fault. That's why I need to go.”
Jungkook crosses his arms over his chest, “so, this is it?”
Taehyung nods, swallows, “this is it.”
Jungkook watches Taehyung storm off.
Jungkook watches Taehyung go and searches for the satisfaction in him. Taehyung's teary eyes and broken expression flash across his mind, and Jungkook stands in the empty living room, searching that victorious part of himself.
He doesn't feel satisfied or victorious.
He looks at the closed door of his apartment and lets out a deep breath.
It will come, he tells himself. When Taegeun comes to know about it all, see Taehyung so broken, it will come. Jungkook goes back to his bedroom.
He doesn't fall asleep that night.
== A WEEK LATER ==
'Come over tonight,' Jungkook reads the message, 'it is my birthday. I want to have dinner with my family. I won't take no for an answer.'
Jaehyuk's message stares at him, and Jungkook is letting out a deep breath.
'Fine,' he types back, 'see you tonight.'
Jungkook picks up a wine and reaches his family mansion. With a deep breath, he rings the doorbell and their old butler opens the door. His warm smile makes Jungkook smile back at him.
“There you are,” Jaehyuk says from where he is sitting, “you missed the cake cutting.”
Jungkook rolls his eyes, walking inside, “you are too old for that shit and so am I.”
Jaehyuk chuckles, getting up, “come on. The dinner is already served. We were waiting for you.”
Jungkook grits his teeth as he follows Jaehyuk to the dining room, where he can hear Taegeun.
“Babe, he is here,” Jaehyuk calls out to Taegeun, “let's have dinner. Where's Tae?”
Jungkook freezes, his eyes going from Taegeun to Jaehyuk.
“Tae?” he whispers.
Jaehyuk nods with a smile, “he came over for the dinner too, ahhh, there he is.”
Jungkook looks over at the man.
Taehyung walks inside the dining room while wiping his hands. He looks at Jaehyuk and then at Jungkook.
“Taehyung,” Jaehyuk smiles, “meet my brother. Jungkook.”
Taehyung's throat bobs, and he offers Jungkook a small smile, “hi.”
Jungkook nods, looking away, “hi.”
“They can meet later, babe,” Taegeun smiles, “the dinner is waiting. Come on.”
Jungkook hurries to take his seat. Jaehyuk sits at the head of the table, on his left sits Taegeun and on his right sits Jungkook. Taehyung sits beside Taegeun. His eyes focused on the dish.
Jungkook busies himself with the food, nodding along to whatever the conversation is going around the table.
“Join the business,” Jaehyuk nudges him with a teasing smile, “how long will I handle it all alone?”
Jungkook rolls his eyes, “keep me out of that hellhole, thanks.”
As Jungkook eats, he feels it. A foot pressing against his leg. At first, he jumps, then he is looking up at Taehyung. His heart racing as he feels the foot rub over his ankle, slowly running up his leg.
Jungkook stares at Taehyung, while Taehyung never looks up from his plate.
Jungkook lets out a deep breath, sneaking a glance at Jaehyuk, and then he is looking back at Taehyung. Taehyung never matches his eyes, slowly eating his food, eyes downcast.
Jungkook frowns, his eyes shifting, and he pauses. Taegeun is looking at him, those eyes fixed on him.
Jungkook stares as Taegeun's lips curve up on a smirk.
Jungkook gets on his feet, startling everyone, “sorry, I will just,” he points at the direction of the washroom, “I got to pee.”
“Jesus, no need to announce that, go,” Jaehyuk snorts, sharing a smile with Taegeun.
Jungkook rushes to the washroom to splash some water on his face. He stares at himself, notices how pale he looks, before he is coming out of the bathroom and freezing. Taegeun stands outside and as soon as Jungkook walks out, he takes Jungkook's wrist in his grip.
Jungkook lets Taegeun pull him to the guest room attached to the bathroom. Taegeun pushes Jungkook inside and walks right in.
“What the fuck are you doing?” Jungkook hisses, “what the actual-”
“Kookie,” Taegeun whimpers, “oh, god, I missed you so much!”
tw// attempted cheating
He throws himself in Jungkook's arms. Eyes watering. Jungkook stands there, immobile, as Taegeun cups his face in his hands.
“I have tried to forget you, baby,” Taegeun sniffles, “I have done everything to tell myself that I don't feel shit for you.”
“But, who am I kidding?” Taegeun sniffles, pulling Jungkook's face down, “every time he touches me, I think of you,” his nails dig on Jungkook's face, “every day I look at him and wonder what would it be like if it was you I chose? What it would be like to be with you again...”
“Can't we?” Taegeun urges, eyes watering, “I was so immersed in everything, I didn't stop to ask my heart what it wanted and it,” he sniffles, “it wants you. I want you, kookie. I want you so much.”
Jungkook chokes on thin air when those lips capture his in a kiss.
Jungkook stumbles with the force, his hands grasping Taegeun's waist to steady himself.
From the corner of his eyes he notices movements and Jungkook looks over to freeze.
Taehyung stands by the door of the room, his eyes wide and face pale. Jungkook shoves Taegeun away.
“Whatever you are thinking,” Jungkook rounds Taegeun, completely ignoring him in favour to walk up to Taehyung, “that's not it, okay?! I didn't-”
Taehyung's eyes are glossy, he looks at Jungkook and back at Taegeun, “what do you mean you couldn't forget him?”
Before Taegeun can answer, Jaehyuk calls from the dining room.
“Guys, where did you all disappear? Come on!”
“Look,” Taegeun walks up to Jungkook, “please, don't tell him anything,” he begs Taehyung, “I will tell you everything. Just, don't tell Jaehyuk anything for now?”
“What did you mean by you couldn't forget him?” Taehyung asks again, his voice cracking, “hyung-”
“We were in love,” Taegeun whispers, “before all this, we both loved each other.”
Jungkook cannot stop and confront Taegeun. Not when he watches how Taehyung stumbles back.
Taehyung's face crumbles, his eyes shifting onto Jungkook and then back to Taegeun.
“Wh-what?” he mumbles, voice thin, “what do you mean-”
Taegeun's eyes find Jungkook, the longing clear in them, “we were so madly in love. I hurt him-”
“Shut the f'ck up!” Jungkook hisses.
He turns to Taehyung, “it's not like that-”
“Why are you explaining to him, Kookie?” Taegeun reaches to take Jungkook's hand in his, “what's going on?”
Taehyung looks down at their joined hands and back at their faces.
Jungkook jerks his hand free, “Get off of me, Taegeun!”
“You broke it all off because you wanted to marry hyung. You wanted him because he is the heir of the company!” Jungkook seethes, “you left me when I said I love you! What do you mean, you loved me too?!”
Taehyung's lips part on a soft breath, he takes a step back, “ohhh...”
Jungkook's eyes snap to Taehyung. Taehyung looks at him with a teary smile, a delirious smile at best.
“What is it, Tae?” Taegeun wonders, “why are you so upset?”
Jungkook waits for Taehyung to say it. He waits for Taehyung to lose it and spill something.
He holds his breath.
“That man outside?” Taehyung whispers, points over his shoulder, “loves you,” he grits out at Taegeun, “and, by the look of it, Jungkook loves you too,” he never matches Jungkook's eyes, “you should really be careful, hyung. Because, you are playing with two humans here.”
“No one deserves to be played with like this, hyung,” Taehyung wipes his eyes, “you have no idea how badly it hurts to know you meant nothing to a person who became an important part of you,” Taehyung steps back, “I hope you do what's right. I will go now.”
Jungkook watches Taehyung leave and for a second he just stands there before he is rushing out of the room too. He blindly follows Taehyung, who marches out of the house.
“Taehyung, listen to me-” he grabs Taehyung by his elbow.
“Don't!” Taehyung hisses, “don't touch me!”
“Don't touch me,” Taehyung breaks, his eyes watering, but he doesn't let a single drop roll out of his eyes, “don't touch me. Don't ever touch me.”
Jungkook stands there, helpless, “please-”
“Why?” Taehyung whispers, “why did you drag me in this mess? What did I do to you?”
“All those times you touched me,” Taehyung whimpers, “were you thinking of him?” his face contorts, “what was going on, Jungkook? I don't get it,” he shakes his head, desperate, “what did I do to you?! What did I do?! Why am I here hurting for something I had no part of?!”
“Tell me!” Taehyung shouts, “tell me, what did I do?!”
“I wanted to hurt him,” Jungkook whispers, looking away from those piercing eyes, “by-”
“Breaking me,” Taehyung lets out a delirious laugh, “you thought you will hurt him by breaking me. I didn't tell him shit, Jungkook!”
“And, I never will,” Taehyung shakes his head, “you are not the first one who had him in mind while being with me. You are not the first one who wanted him and not me. I grew up under his shadow. I have always been the second choice or a mean to get to him. I know it by now.”
“He is always the best,” Taehyung wipes his eyes, “to our parents, relatives, friends. He is always the best and I grew up accepting it. So, no, Jungkook. You didn't do something that I didn't face growing up. I just wish...” he sniffles, “it stopped hurting this bad every time.”
“I hope you all sort your shit out,” Taehyung wipes his eyes with the back of his hand.
Jungkook reaches for Taehyung, “Tae-”
“I beg you to leave me alone,” Taehyung shakes his head, “please.”
Jungkook stands there, watching Taehyung run down the path towards the main gate.
“Where to, sir?” the cab driver asks.
Taehyung blinks up at him, a little disoriented. He doesn't want to go home and be alone with his thoughts right now. He doesn't want to hurt himself by overthinking it all. He blurts out the address he wants to go to.
Taehyung isn't sure how he got out of the cab or took the elevator. He doesn't remember how he came here, but he is pressing the doorbell and waiting.
The door opens and Taehyung lets it all crash against him. The entire day comes rushing back, and he is bursting out in tears.
“Tae?” Yoongi looks alarmed, “what's wrong?”
Taehyung stumbles inside, arms wrapping around the elder as he cries. Yoongi goes still for a second before his arms wrap around Taehyung too.
“What's wrong?” Yoongi whispers, “Tae?”
Taehyung cries harder, unable to voice anything.
Yoongi closes the door, his arms secured around Taehyung tightly. Taehyung lets himself break in those arms. A sense of assurance in him that Yoongi will gather him up if needed.
Yoongi doesn't move away, he stands still, letting Taehyung cry against him as long as he wants.
“He used me, hyung,” Taehyung whimpers, the words breaking him all over again, “he used me in their sick game. He used me.”
Yoongi frowns, arms flexing in reaction, “who? What?”
“Jungkook,” Taehyung breaks down again, “he loves Taegeun hyung.”
Yoongi blinks, “huh?”
Taehyung buries his face against Yoongi's neck, “he used me to get back to hyung. For leaving him. For-”
Yoongi's jaw hardens, his eyes glaring at nothing in particular, “then, fck him,” he pulls back a little to cup Taehyung's face, “fck him. His loss. Fck him.”
“It's not your loss, Tae,” Yoongi wipes his eyes, “it's never your loss. You didn't lose anything. What did you lose? A manipulative bastard?” he shakes his head, “you dodged a bullet. You hear me?”
Taehyung sniffles, “hyung loves him too.”
Yoongi pauses, “isn't he married?”
Taehyung's face contorts, “yes. To his elder brother.”
Yoongi swallows, his face showing how disgusted he feels, “then, they deserve each other. Let them be. He is not worth your time or feelings.”
Taehyung looks at Yoongi, “I was starting to like him. You know?”
Yoongi gives him a small smile, “then, isn't it good that you found out now? Before you got more invested?”
Taehyung shrugs, looking away, “I can't forget the fact that he used me. He-” his voice cracks, “what did I do, hyung? What did I do to deserve this? What did I do?”
“You didn't deserve this, no,” Yoongi pulls Taehyung towards the couch to make him sit, “the world is mostly cruel to good people. For no reason at all.”
Taehyung looks down at his hands, “I feel so cheap. Humiliated. He was probably laughing behind my back, oh, god...”
“Come here,” Yoongi pulls Taehyung in for another hug, lips pressing on top of Taehyung's head.
Taehyung buries his face against Yoongi's chest, sobbing all over again.
“You know, the worst part?” Taehyung looks up at Yoongi, “I can't wish him to hurt. Even now. I can't.”
“I still think he had his own fucked up reason to act the way he did,” Taehyung chuckles, “I am still trying to reason that he was hurt and that hurt blinded him. I hope that,” he snuggles closer to Yoongi, “he heals. From whatever hurt he is still carrying in him.”
Yoongi's throat feels dry. His arms tightening around Taehyung. He looks down at the younger, and Taehyung has his face buried against Yoongi's chest. Yoongi rubs Taehyung's back.
“Don't be this good, Tae, you are too full of love and empty people will keep taking from you.”
“They will come and fill up themselves and leave,” Yoongi whispers, voice rough, “leave you a little more empty. A little more unattended. Don't be so giving. This world will see you as a defenceless idiot. They don't understand how much it takes to be so forgiving always.”
“People take innocence as idiocy in this world,” Yoongi wipes Taehyung's cheeks, caresses those high cheekbones, “they are too cruel and selfish. Keep yourself guarded, Tae. The world is a cruel place, and you have to, at least, try to be a little more selfish. Yeah?”
Taehyung blinks up at Yoongi, “are those...” he swallows, “are you crying for me, hyung?”
Yoongi blinks, breathing out a tired chuckle, “you just reminded me of someone.”
Taehyung frowns, a little confused, “who?”
Yoongi hugs Taehyung closer, “the past me. He was an idiot.”
“Don't end up like me, Tae,” Yoongi buries his face against Taehyung's head, “don't end up so empty. Preserve yourself for someone who is worth your feelings. Who is worth it. Yeah?”
Taehyung nods, closing his eyes, “yeah,” he lets out a deep breath, “yeah.”
Jungkook opens the door of his apartment when the bell keeps ringing. He curses as soon as he does.
Taegeun storms inside and closes the door behind himself.
“What are you doing here?” Jungkook crosses his arms over his chest, “I told you to stay the fck away from me!”
“You have to listen to me, kookie,” Taegeun whispers, eyes watering, “please, I know I messed up, but, the moment I realized you are sleeping with Taehyung-”
Jungkook blinks, more alert now, “you... you knew?”
Taegeun gives a snort, “my brother can't hide shit from me, kookie.”
“He has always been too transparent,” Taegeun jerks his shoulders, “he had an interest in you since he saw you in my wedding clips and photos. Kept asking who you are and all that. Then, last month, I went to visit him, and he kept talking about a guy he is seeing.”
“The way he kept waving my questions off about the guy's details, but he would spill a few things here and there,” Taegeun chuckles, “I know him like the back of my hand. Of course, I figured it out.”
Taegeun walks up to him, “and, you know what I realized?”
“That, I was still in love with you,” Taegeun clutches onto Jungkook's shirt, “I love you, Jungkook. I didn't say it in fear in the past. I was so worried about the future, and I was blinded by what your brother was offering. A security. I fell for it. I am sorry. Please.”
“So, you knew about Taehyung's feelings and you still hurt him for your own gain? Seems like you never changed.”
Taegeun jumps, looking over Jungkook's shoulder at Jimin.
Jimin has a disgusted expression on his face, “did you knowingly hurt your own brother?”
“What are you doing here?” Taegeun whispers, a little breathless.
Jimin snorts, “I was in the bedroom,” he arches a brow when Taegeun blinks, “don't worry. Everyone is not dying to bed Jungkook,” Jimin rolls his eyes, “also, I don't owe you an explanation why I am here.”
“I didn't hurt Tae,” Taegeun whispers, eyes glued on Jimin, “I saved him. Jungkook doesn't love him. He loves me. He still loves me. I saved Taehyung-”
“No, you didn't,” Jimin snorts, “you just selfishly realized you want Jungkook for yourself. Well, you two deserve each other.”
“Because, Jungkook has feelings for you,” Jimin snorts, “and, you clearly have whatever you have for him. I guess you two belong together,” Jimin's lips twist, “I wish, you two didn't involve two innocent people in this mess. They didn't deserve this. Taehyung and Jaehyuk hyung.”
“I hope you come clean to Jaehyuk hyung-”
“I will,” Taegeun turns to Jungkook, hopeful eyes wandering over Jungkook's face, “I will come clean to him. I will break it all off. I realized I can't do this. I didn't want him to figure out, but if that's the only way to have you-”
“Are you sure?” Jungkook wonders, ignores how Jimin glares at him, “are you sure you won't regret this?”
Taegeun sniffles, cupping the side of Jungkook's face, “no, baby. No,” tears roll out of his eyes, “I regret letting you go. I won't regret it. I just want you. Only you.”
Jimin looks green in the face. Jungkook risks a glance at the elder, and Jimin is gnawing on his lower lip, eyes burning on Jungkook.
Taegeun is looking at him too, eyes hopeful and teary.
“I want you to come clean to hyung,” Jungkook murmurs, “can you do that?”
Taegeun nods eagerly, “yes! I can.”
Jungkook crosses his arms over his chest, “I will think about this only after you come clean to hyung.”
Taegeun nods again, “okay, okay. I will.”
Jimin combs his hair back, looking more frustrated now.
“Call him now,” Jungkook tilts his head, “tell him everything.”
“He is out of town,” Taegeun gulps, “can I tell him when he comes back?”
Jungkook shrugs, “whenever. But, if you don't tell him, we are not doing this, Taegeun. I refuse to get involved with you otherwise.”
Before the conversation can move further, Taegeun's phone rings. He pulls it out and lets out a sigh.
Jungkook's muscles lock, his eyes on Taegeun as the man speaks.
Taegeun sighs, “what do you expect me to say, Tae? What? Are you never going to see me again?”
Jungkook watches Taegeun rub his hand down his face, looking more frustrated.
“Let me explain it to you-” he curses out loud, “god, Taehyung! You know I don't owe you an apology. Don't make it hard for me. I didn't do shit to you! Did I?”
Jimin curses, “I will go.”
Jungkook grabs Jimin's wrist, “hey, no-”
“No, seriously,” Jimin jerks his hand away, “I can't stand here and listen to him. I want to punch him so bad, Jungkook. You don't understand! This is,” Jimin shakes his head, looking at Taegeun, “he disgusts me.”
Jimin looks up at Jungkook with a miserable expression on his face, “and, I want to leave before you start to disgust me too.”
Jungkook watches Jimin, “Jimin-”
Jimin shakes his head, his face contorting, “I can't do this,” he steps away from Jungkook, “I can't do this, kook.”
Jungkook watches Jimin storm out of the apartment. He looks back at Taegeun as Taegeun cuts the call.
“I asked Tae to be there when I tell Jaehyuk about us,” Taegeun walks up to Jungkook, “you can come clean to Taehyung? We can leave it all behind together, yeah?”
Jungkook lets Taegeun hug him, face burying in his chest, “is that okay, kookie?” Taegeun whispers, “we can do this, right?”
Jungkook lets his arms move around Taegeun in a hug, “will you forgive me for pulling Taehyung in this mess?”
Taegeun sighs, “yeah. I understand.”
“Love makes you blind,” Taegeun whispers, leaning up to press a kiss against Jungkook's jawline, “I get that. You shouldn't have done that, but I understand.”
Jungkook looks down at Taegeun. He says nothing. Tageun gets back to hugging him, face hidden in Jungkook's chest.
Taehyung feels sick to his stomach when he sees Jungkook again. He looks at the man and back at his own hands on his lap. He feels nauseous every time he hears Taegeun's voice. He isn't sure why he came over, either. He shouldn't have. Now he regrets it.
Jungkook's eyes are on him, Taehyung knows. He keeps staring at his lap. Taegeun comes to sit on the couch next to his, and Taehyung squirms. He feels physically ill to be near Taegeun.
“What did you want to discuss?” Jaehyuk wonders, “called all of us here...”
“There's something I need to tell you, Jaehyuk,” Taegeun's voice wavers, his eyes glued on Jaehyuk, “about me and Jungkook.”
Taehyung gulps, risking a glance at Jaehyuk. His heart aches for the man.
“What is it?” Jaehyuk wonders.
Taegeun looks pale as he speaks up, “we...”
“I met him when you hired him as your secretary,” Jungkook speaks up, “before we knew it, we were hooking up. Sleeping around.”
Taehyung bites down on his lower lip, bile pushing up his throat.
“Wh-what?” Jaehyuk whispers.
Jungkook nods, “yeah. It went on for a year or so.”
“I caught feelings,” Jungkook doesn't falter, his eyes never leave Jaehyuk's face, “so, I confessed to him. He rejected me. Saying, how it was just a fling, and he wanted nothing to do with me. So, I pushed it all behind me and stayed quiet when you announced you will marry him.”
Jungkook swallows, “I thought, if you are happy, and he really liked you enough to marry you, then I should forget about it all. I mean, he was kind of right. It was indeed just hook-ups. Past. It hurt me terribly, but, yeah,” he shrugs, “anyway, fast-forward to last week...”
“He told me he still has feelings for me,” Jungkook looks at Taegeun who is already looking at him, “and, he couldn't forget me. No matter how hard he tried... am I correct?”
Taegeun swallows, looking at Jaehyuk, “y-yes,” he sniffles, “I am sorry, Jaehyuk. I tried to love you…”
Taehyung looks at Jaehyuk, his heart cracking when he sees how pale Jaehyuk looks. His eyes glistening. Taehyung grasps his hands together to not reach out for the man. He squeezes his eyes shut and prays for this to be over soon.
“I love Jungkook,” Taegeun sniffles, “so much.”
Taehyung feels breathless, he squirms on the spot. Eyes moving from Jaehyuk to the floor.
“What... what do you want me to say?” Jaehyuk whispers, “what are you two trying to sa-”
Taegeun wipes his eyes, “I know I have wronged you, I know. But, I can't hide my feelings anymore.”
“I love him,” Taegeun cries, voice shaking, “I can't deny myself that. I love him and I don't want to lie about my feelings anymore. I can't, Jaehyuk. I can't-”
Jaehyuk swallows, blinking at Taegeun and back at Jungkook. He coughs, nodding to himself. As if deciding something.
“And, you won't tell me about how you kissed Jungkook?” Jaehyuk whispers, “or, how you were being all flirty with him during my birthday dinner?”
Taegeun blinks, eyes widening, “how-”
Jaehyuk's expression is painful, but he offers a small smile, “you weren't going to, no?”
“Who told you...” Taegeun looks at Taehyung, disbelief clear on his face, “you?!”
Taehyung looks at his brother, tired eyes fixed on Taegeun. He doesn't say anything.
“Jungkook did,” Jaehyuk murmurs, “that very night. He told me all about you two.”
Taegeun blinks, confused.
“I just needed it on record,” Jaehyuk murmurs, “so, we had to drag it here like this.”
Taegeun looks at Jungkook, “why? Why are you-”
Jungkook has a blank expression on his face, “whatever feelings I had for you, flew right out of the window when you pulled that stunt on me.”
“I thought, whatever shit you pulled on me, that was it,” Jungkook shrugs, “that, you won't stoop low enough to cheat on hyung. I hated you for leading me on, but I never took you for a cheater,” he shakes his head, “I had to let hyung know. Hyung deserved to know.”
Taegeun stands up, desperate, “so all those promises that we will get back together-”
Jungkook snorts, “you can't be mad at me for not wanting a snake like you back in my life now, can you, Taegeun?” he leans back against the couch, “I just wanted you off hyung's back too.”
Those eyes flicker over to Taehyung then, and Jungkook's blank expression falters.
“I only owe one apology and that one is to you,” he swallows when Taehyung's eyes finally move to his face, “it won't mean shit. But, I had to start somewhere. I am sorry. For everything I did.”
“I dragged you into a mess you had nothing to do with.” Jungkook grips his hands together, feeling the guilt course through him, “in my rage and hurt, I was so blind to not realize I hurt someone who had nothing to do with this mess. I just wanted to hurt Taegeun.”
“I didn't think about you or how it will make you feel,” Jungkook watches how Taehyung looks away, blinking faster, “I didn't think how stupid I was being. How mean and selfish. In my rage, I turned into Taegeun myself. I know I can't do shit for you to forgive me, but...”
“I want you to know, you are not him in any sense,” Jungkook digs his fingers on his palms, digs until it hurts, until the pain grounds him, “you can't be his shadow because he is pathetic, and you are far from it. I made you feel the worst, and I am sorry for it. Really.”
“I hope, down the road, someone makes you feel the way you deserve to feel. I am really sorry,” Jungkook clears his throat, “I am not asking for forgiveness. I won't forgive myself for a long time. But,” he shrugs, “I had to let you know. I had to apologize at least.”
Taehyung doesn't say anything. He doesn't acknowledge Jungkook with any words.
“I am filing divorce,” Jaehyuk looks at Taegeun, “you will either sign it quietly and leave. Or, we can see each other in court. You decide. But, you are leaving this house today itself.”
Taegeun looks at Jungkook, his eyes never leave Jungkook. Jungkook's eyes are stuck on Taehyung. Taegeun looks at Taehyung then, his eyes hooded.
“Then, I should move in with Taehyung,” he murmurs, “no?”
Taehyung flinches, looking up at Taegeun, “no,” he shakes his head, “no.”
“What do you mean, no, Tae?” Taegeun chews those words out, “there's no other place I can afford right now, and you live in our dad's place! I own that place legally!”
Taehyung shakes his head, “I am not sharing the place with you. I refuse to.”
“Then get out,” Taegeun hisses, “find your own place. I am moving in there, Taehyung. I don't need your permission for it.”
Taehyung blinks at him, “hyung-”
“Ask your boyfriend to move in with him,” Taegeun snorts, “what? You are fucking the Min Entertainment's heir, no?”
Jungkook's eyes flicker over to Taehyung, and Taehyung is frowning at Taegeun.
“That lazy piece of shit?” Taegeun laughs, “stop acting so innocent, Tae. It's okay! Just accept you are with that addict-”
“Enough!” Taehyung gets up, his jaw hardening, “enough, hyung! Shut up!”
“You want your place back?!” Taehyung demands, “fine! But, don't say a single word about Yoongi hyung-”
Taegeun arches a brow, “oh? So much love for him already? That shame of a scoundrel son of a bi'ch! Do you relate with him, Tae?! Both are a shame to their family!”
Jaehyuk gets up from the couch, “you can stay here, Taehyung,” he nods when Taehyung looks at him, “as long as you want. Don't listen to him. A cornered snake hisses the loudest. He lost everything and now is spurting bullshit. Don't mind him. He is spiralling right now.”
Jaehyuk chuckles, eyes fixed on Taegeun, “you could have gone away with your dignity, but you lost that too, Taegeun. You are not doing yourself a favour by acting like this.”
“Get out of the house,” Jungkook gets up, “we will pack your shit and deliver it to you.”
“Jungkook, you-” Taegeun reaches for Jungkook and Jungkook is flinching away.
“Don't,” Jungkook shakes his head, “don't.”
Jaehyuk turns to Taehyung, a small and welcoming smile on his lips, “if you want, as long as you want, you can stay here. I offered before too, Taehyung.”
Taehyung pulls out his phone, shaking his head, “no, hyung. Thank you,” he bows his head, “I won't be able to stay here. I will find a place. Don't worry.”
Taegeun laughs, “what? Calling your boyfriend-”
“There's nothing wrong if he is,” Jungkook steps up to Taegeun, “okay?”
“Why are you trying to shame him for having a boyfriend?” Jungkook frowns, “if he wants to move in and that person has no problem, why are you taunting him for that?”
Taegeun gapes, “because, it's Yoongi?! You know, the scandal?!”
Jungkook snorts, “we both know it was a scam.”
Taehyung ignores them, the phone ringing. He holds it to his ear with bated breath.
Taehyung closes his eyes momentarily after hearing that gravelly and grounding voice, “hyung,” his voice wavers, “I need a favour, hyung.”
“What is it, Tae?” Yoongi sounds alert.
“I will fill you up with the details later but,” Taehyung feels his face heat up with embarrassment, he hates being a burden, “I need a place to stay, hyung. I don't know whom to ask, I don't know anyone-”
“You know me,” Yoongi chuckles, “and, my doors are always open for you.”
“I don't need an explanation,” Yoongi hums, “come over whenever.”
“I will try to find a place as soon as possible-”
Yoongi chuckles, “no need. My place is too huge for me anyway. Just stay here. But,” he pauses, “what are those voices? Where are you?”
When Taehyung doesn't answer, Yoongi sighs, “you want to me come and pick you up?”
Taehyung doesn't want to accept it verbally but he feels alone. So utterly alone in this mansion, between these people. He bites back a bile clogged in his throat.
“Can you?” he wonders.
“Yeah, hyung will be there, just send the address.”
Taehyung sends it after cutting the call. He turns back to see Taegeun and Jungkook still shouting at each other. Jaehyuk looks as exhausted as Taehyung feels.
Taehyung hopes Yoongi to show up as fast as he can.
Yoongi shows up in his formals. Taehyung springs up on his feet when the butler guides Yoongi to the living room.
“Yoongi ssi,” Jaehyuk holds his hand out, “it's been long.”
Yoongi shakes the hand, nodding, “yeah,” his eyes flicker over to Taehyung.
Taehyung forces a smile.
Yoongi sees right through it. His expression changes into a tender one.
“You are fcking him,” Taegeun laughs, “damn, you did bag a psycho but at least he is rich.”
Yoongi's eyes move onto Taegeun and then he looks at Jaehyuk, “you left hoba to marry this guy. Was it worth it?”
Taehyung blinks, eyes focusing on Jaehyuk who looks at Yoongi with a stoic expression.
Jaehyuk doesn't say anything, and Yoongi doesn't wait. He turns to Taehyung.
“Ready to leave?” he asks, “I have called the moving company. They will get your things to mine. Don't worry.”
“This is not over,” Taegeun hisses, “you ruined everything for me, Tae! I knew I should have left you in Paris. You always bring bad luck-”
“No, hyung, I don't,” Taehyung turns to Taegeun, “since childhood you always guilt-tripped me, always made me believe I was inferior.”
“You always showed me my place with your sweet lies and manipulation,” Taehyung grips the hem of his shirt, “you made me an insecure mess. You fucked me up emotionally since childhood. Your desperate need for attention always shadowed me from everyone. You actively ruined me.”
“Remember the first time I tried to sing in that family gathering, you laughed and patted my back but told me I was terrible at it,” Taehyung chokes out, “hugged me to console me and everyone said how caring you were but no, hyung. You broke my confidence forever.”
“You always made fun of my interests, made fun of my paintings, my style of clothes, my point of views,” Taehyung feels his chest tighten, “you were the golden boy of the family, and you took advantage of it. You were always outgoing, people pleaser. Everyone loved you...”
“Loved how well-behaved you were, how polished you were, but, I was an introvert,” Taehyung sniffles, “a mess of insecurities that you planted in me. I was rusty, stuttering through every family gathering because I didn't want to get anyone's eyes on me. I hated people.”
“You always made it look like you are the best brother anyone can ask for,” Taehyung wipes his eyes furiously, “you made it seem like I was the odd one for always avoiding you or anything related to you. But, in reality, you were just downplaying me. Since the start.”
“You have no idea how much I struggle to get past my insecurities that you birthed in me,” Taehyung's voice cracks, “I always talk fast, try to finish my point as fast as I can because in my head, I hear you telling me to hurry up because otherwise, I might bore that person.”
“I ramble when I try to talk because I feel nervous that I am being a pest and lose the point I am trying to make,” Taehyung whispers, “in my head, you laugh at me whenever I try to share my views about things. I spend my days struggling with the inferiority complex you gave me.”
“I don't know what bad luck I brought in your life, hyung,” Taehyung takes a step back, “but, you sucked the life out of me since we were kids. So, no, you don't get to tell me shit. Not anymore. I refuse to listen to your bullshit anymore. I have had that enough growing up.”
Yoongi chuckles, his hand resting on Taehyung's back, “forgive him, Tae,” his eyes are fixed on Taegeun, “you know why people manipulate others like this? Because they are insecure of themselves and know how empty they are. So, they attack the ones who are perfect. You.”
“He was probably jealous of the attention that you got when you were born,” Yoongi looks thoughtful, “the insecurity when the pampering shifted from him to you. Maybe that's where his resentment was born. Whatever it is, you are in no way defined by how he made you look.”
“Don't waste your time on people like him,” Yoongi gives Taehyung a tender smile, “you have no idea how good you are, Kim Taehyung. Don't ever let him hold you back.”
Taehyung bites back a sob, nodding, “I am trying hard. I will overcome it some day. I will.”
“Let's go,” Yoongi looks over at Jungkook, his jaw hardening, “enough of getting hurt for things you had no business with.”
Jungkook's eyes shift to Yoongi and Yoongi glares. Jungkook doesn't say anything, his eyes never leaving Yoongi's face.
Taehyung moves, “yeah, come on.”
“So, what, Jungkook? You will never try to mend things again?” Jin throws his hands up, “you will never try to earn his forgiveness?”
“I apologized!” Jungkook groans, face buried in the pillow, “I don't want to nag him.”
“Oh, really?” Jimin slaps his ass, “are you serious?!”
“Stop spanking me,” Jungkook kicks blindly, “what do you two want me to do?! Show up to Min Yoongi's mansion and get chased out of there by his security?! What can I possibly do or tell him for him to forgive me and why? Wh-”
“You added to his insecurities and I know how it feels when someone plays with your already bloodied wounds,” Jimin sighs, “you owe him an apology that he can accept. Don't seek anything from it, kookie. Do it for him. He deserves a clean apology that you really mean.”
“How do I do that?” Jungkook peeks from the pillow, “I know I owe him that, but what do I do? How do I even get anywhere near him? You have no idea how strong Yoongi's security team is-”
“Jin hyung is friends with Namjoon hyung,” Jimin smiles wide, “you and I know Hobi hyung.”
“No, I don't want to force him,” Jungkook shakes his head, “he will chalk me up with those other people who hurt him, and eventually he will move past it all. I don't want to keep showing up and opening the wound for him.”
Jimin looks at Jin and Jin nods, “he is right.”
Jimin shrugs, “fine. Whatever sails your boat.”
Jungkook buries his face back into the pillow, “can you two leave? I really want to sleep.”
“You are sleeping for two days now!” Jin curses, “just get out of bed and come to the club with us, will you? It will cheer you up!”
Jungkook sits up on his bed, ruffling his hair, “maybe you are right. I just need to get laid.”
“That's so not what I said,” Jin deadpans.
“Too late,” Jungkook gets off the bed, “that's what I heard.”
Jimin curses, “will you ever stop to think before barrelling into troubles?”
Jimin curses, watching Jungkook go, “you know what?” he looks at Jin, “fuck wrong and right.”
Jin blinks, “what are you up to?” he watches Jimin run out of the room, “Park Jimin! If you are causing more trouble-” he stops, “these two will cause me grey hair some day!”
“Sir? Mr. Park is here for the appointment.”
Yoongi looks up at his secretary, “bring him in.”
He fixes his tie and focuses on the files of their deals when the door of his office opens.
Yoongi clears his throat, getting up, “welcome, Mr. Park-” he pauses, confused, “who...”
“Hi,” Jimin walks up to the table, “I am sorry for doing this but it's really hard to get a hold of you, and I had to beg my appa to fix a meeting with you-”
Yoongi frowns, “what is going on here...?”
Jimin gives an awkward smile, “I just really needed to talk to you.”
Yoongi pushes his tongue against his cheek, “about what? I don't know you.”
Jimin nods, “about Taehyung,” he holds his hands up when Yoongi's eyes sharpen on him, “listen to me, okay? Just, I will not take long. I promise.”
“You are already wasting my time,” Yoongi deadpans.
“I am Jungkook's friend,” Jimin starts, “and-”
“Get out,” Yoongi points at the door, “right now.”
Jimin blinks, “what?”
Yoongi nods, “you heard me. Get out. Whatever it is, I can't help you.”
Jimin frowns, “I am just trying to say, Taehyung-”
Yoongi glares, “don't!”
“I am just trying to-” Jimin stops when Yoongi holds up a hand.
“Listen to me, you spoilt brat,” Yoongi points a finger at Jimin, “you are already getting on my nerves. You wasted my time by this false meeting, and now you want me to expose Taehyung to that friend of yours?!”
“My friend is not a virus and yours is not a weak immune system,” Jimin deadpans, “expose him? Really?” he rolls his eyes, “just help me out here. Okay?” Jimin puts his hands on the table, “Taehyung deserves a heartfelt apology, and he deserves to know he is worth the effort!”
“Or, you are jealous?” Jimin offers a playful smirk to Yoongi, “that Jungkook might be able to steal him away from you?”
Yoongi lets out a deep breath, “either you take yourself out of my office or I call the security.”
Jimin crosses his arms over his chest, “help me out here.”
“I don't know what goes on with your friends, but, Taehyung is really struggling to cope with everything your friend put him through,” Yoongi grits out, “he is trying hard to get over it all, and I don't think seeing him all over again will help in any way. He is not doing well.”
“That's why he needs to see Jungkook,” Jimin begs almost, “that's why he needs a proper closure. He needs to forgive Jungkook to get past that situation himself. He can't heal until the wound is properly treated. Can he?”
Yoongi glares at Jimin, saying nothing.
“I mean, I would want the one who hurt me to apologize to me and really mean it, so I can put it all past me,” Jimin grips the strap of his bag, “please?” he swallows, “I beg you. I will owe you. A big one. Please?”
Yoongi snorts, “your father already owes me enough. Please.”
“I can't care less about your business,” Jimin rolls his eyes, “can you help me in this?”
For a long second Yoongi just stares at him, and then he is going back to sit on his chair, “what do you want me to do?”
Yoongi chokes on a breath when Jimin breaks into a grin.
“We will be going to this club tonight,” Jimin holds out his hand, “if you can bring Taehyung there.”
Yoongi looks at Jimin's outstretched hand, “what?”
Jimin sighs, “your phone. I need to get your number. So, we can share the address and all.”
Yoongi arches a brow, “really?”
Jimin shrugs, “I can take it from appa too, you know?”
Yoongi holds out his phone, “this is the first and last time I want to see your face. Am I clear?”
Jimin nods, busy typing out his number, “you are clear. See you tonight.”
Yoongi watches Jimin rush out of the office.
“I am sorry, okay?” Yoongi sighs, getting inside the club with Taehyung, “just... I don't know why I agreed.”
Taehyung shrugs, “it's okay, hyung. It's one night. I will be fine. I don't have to see him again.”
Namjoon and Hoseok are ahead of them, already inside the club.
Taehyung holds his breath as they walk inside and Yoongi guides him to the booth.
The tension is thick in the air. Or, maybe just Taehyung feels it.
Namjoon is bowing to Jin, his cheeks are a little warm when Jin smiles pleasantly at him. Hoseok sits down beside Jimin.
Taehyung feels Yoongi's hand on his back, and he lets out a breath before sitting down.
His eyes roam over the people in the booth, and he lets out a deep breath.
Jungkook is not there yet.
“Kookie is by the bar,” Jimin says, smile wide, “getting us something to drink.”
Taehyung feels nauseous, it's like déjà vu. He looks anywhere but at the bar. Yoongi's presence is a comfort to him as he sits there idly.
“Here are the drinks,” Jungkook comes back, “if you all need anything else, just order yoursel-” he pauses when he sees Taehyung.
Taehyung looks away as soon as their eyes meet, and Jungkook does the same. Both of them can feel eyes on them. The other five trying hard to not look directly, but they are watching the two of them.
Jungkook coughs, feeling awkward, “anyway,” he sits down beside Jimin.
Jimin winces as soon as Jungkook sits down. Jungkook pinches him, hard.
Jimin digs his nails on Jungkook's thigh right away.
“A warning is all I needed!” Jungkook hisses under his breath.
“To not show up?” Jimin hisses back, “now, take him somewhere private and talk!”
Jungkook glances at Taehyung and back at Jimin, “you realize Yoongi is like,” he shrugs, “glaring holes at me right now, right? If I even utter about taking Taehyung anywhere, he might actually rip me in pieces.”
Jimin sighs, “let me distract him. Okay?”
Jungkook stares, “huh?”
Jimin takes a shot and gets up, “dance with me,” he holds his hand out for Yoongi.
Yoongi blinks, a little startled, “sorry?”
Jimin offers a wide grin, “dance? The dance floor? Dance with me?”
Yoongi shakes his head, “I don't dance.”
Jimin grabs Yoongi's wrist, “come on!”
Yoongi almost stumbles, “I literally never moved unless I have to-”
“Then you have to,” Jimin drags Yoongi towards the dance floor.
Jungkook watches how Taehyung gapes at the scene, and he is leaning over.
Taehyung jumps, a little startled himself, “huh?”
Jungkook gulps, “can we talk?”
Taehyung looks away, “what's there to talk about?”
“Please?” Jungkook begs almost, “please, Taehyung. Please. Just this once, okay?” he lets out a deep breath, “I won't disturb you ever again. I promise.”
Taehyung looks back at him, thinking.
Jungkook leads Taehyung out. The back alley is dimly lit, a few smokers loitering around. Some are huddled close together, a few couples here and there.
Taehyung stands awkwardly, looking anywhere but at Jungkook. Jungkook clears his throat, trying to sort his thoughts out.
Jungkook looks at Taehyung and thinks how he doesn't really have any feelings for Taehyung except for the immense guilt. He lets out a deep breath.
“I don't know how to start,” Jungkook murmurs, breaking the silence, “just... when I saw you that night, I wasn't thinking.”
“There was still this hurt in me and I didn't know how to channel it,” Jungkook looks past Taehyung's shoulder, “seeing you,” he gulps, “I didn't think it through. Taegeun mentioned how he loves you and I wanted him to hurt by hurting you-”
He stops when Taehyung looks at him.
“I have no excuses to make,” Jungkook shakes his head, “none. I messed up. Badly. I wish I could reason or try to back myself up but there's nothing I can say that will excuse whatever I did,” he looks down at their feet, “I am sorry. I really am. You didn't deserve any of that.”
“After the first time, I contacted you because I wanted to move forward with my plan” Jungkook pauses to give Taehyung some time, “I had to find an excuse to just,” Jungkook frowns, a small chuckle escaping his lips, “god, now that I am saying it, it feels so pathetic of me.”
“I was so blinded by my own hurt, I didn't stop to think how low I stooped to hurt someone who had nothing to do with any of this,” Jungkook swallows, “just that... when he said he has to think of you and I saw you, in my mind I pinned our breakup as your fault. Stupid of me.”
Taehyung has his hands clasped in front of him, his eyes boring on them. Jungkook looks at him with a tired sigh.
“I messed up so badly, I am sorry,” Jungkook tries to find Taehyung's eyes, but Taehyung refuses to look up at him, “if I can do anything to show you how much-”
“You can't do anything for something that's past now,” Taehyung finally looks at Jungkook, “you can't turn back time. If you could, I would ask you to take me back to that night when we met and change it. But, you can't and that's that. It happened, whatever it was, it did.”
“You apologized, and I appreciate it,” Taehyung nods, “that's all you can do. You did. There's nothing more I would ask of you. There's nothing more we would need to spend time on. It's enough that you realized where you went wrong and owned up to it. I don't need anything else.”
“I have forgiven you,” Taehyung shrugs, “because, if I didn't, I will be stuck in that loop of time, and it will do me no good. So, for my own peace of mind, I have forgiven you and moved past it. You don't need to do anything for me. But, if you are feeling guilty, then…”
“That's something you need to work on,” Taehyung nods, “I have forgiven you.”
Jungkook stares at the guy, his eyes never leaving Taehyung's face, “I kind of thought at some point you will slap me or scream-”
“I am not the type,” Taehyung shrugs, “even the thought tires me out.”
“I am not big in confrontations,” Taehyung looks away, “I have screamed at you in my mind. I can't do it verbally, though. So,” he looks at the door of the club, “whatever. It happened and it's done. I don't want to keep dwelling on it.”
Jungkook gives him a small nod.
“I will go now,” Taehyung juts his chin out towards the door, “if that's all...?”
“It is,” Jungkook breathes out, “I am really sorry. It doesn't cut any bullshit I put you through, but I am. Really.”
Taehyung nods, “I appreciate your apology.”
He rounds Jungkook and leaves.
Jungkook pulls out his phone and scrolls through his contact. His thumb hovers over the one he was searching for.
For a second, Jungkook stares at it before he deleted the number and deletes everything related to Taehyung from his phone.
When Jungkook gets back inside the club, Taehyung is sitting beside Jimin. Jungkook watches how excitedly Jimin is explaining something to Taehyung, and Taehyung's expression says he is interested.
Jungkook sits down on Jimin's other side, reaching for a shot.
“I can show you, or you can come over at mine anytime!” Jimin grins, excitement clear in his voice, “I have a collection of Ghibli movies!”
Taehyung sounds a little breathless, “are you sure...?”
“Yeah?” Jimin frowns, “I told you! You can come over whenever! Really!”
“I will leave now,” Yoongi gets up, “Tae, you are you coming or, Hoba can drop you off?”
Taehyung shakes his head, getting up, “no, no,” he smiles at Jimin, “I will go.”
Jimin pouts, “fine,” he glares at Yoongi and smiles up at Taehyung, “I will call you.”
Jungkook moves his legs for Taehyung to leave the table. Jimin loops his arm around Jungkook's elbow, resting his head on Jungkook's shoulder.
“Is it bad that I want him for myself?” Jimin lets out a dreamy sigh, “he is so pretty.”
Jungkook grimaces, “get off of me, man!”
Hoseok leans in towards them, “I think we three can leave together?” he winces, “these two are getting gross with the clock.”
Jungkook looks over at Jin and Namjoon. Namjoon has a dreamy look on his face while Jin explains something to him.
“Yeah, let's leave,” he gets up too.
The divorce goes smoothly. Jungkook and Jaehyuk sees Taegeun again. Taehyung doesn't show up for it. Taegeun doesn't drag the divorce, either. Jungkook thinks Taegeun doesn't want to get his name out so negatively because then his career will suffer the blow.
Things get back to normal again. Jungkook finds himself falling into a routine. Hooking up here and there, going to his internship. Spending time with his friends.
He sometimes wonders how Taehyung is doing, a passing thought, but he moves past it gracefully.
There are nights he sits by the balcony and thinks of Taegeun. How badly the man messed him up. He hates thinking how he hurt Taehyung. That Jungkook is a chapter of his life, he doesn't recognize. He is not like that and no matter how many times he tries to forget, he can't.
'Were you thinking of him when you were with me...' Taehyung's question keeps him up at night.
He finds himself staring at the ceiling and answering Taehyung that no, no he didn't. He couldn't say it. Even in that club, he couldn't say it to Taehyung. But, he didn't.
“I just have to accept that in his story, I will forever stay a villain,” Jungkook tells Jin one day, “and, I don't know why it's so hard to accept that simple fact.”
Jin sits on the floor of the balcony, nodding, “maybe because, Taehyung shouldn't have a villain in his story?”
Jin looks out at Seoul from the balcony, “he, out of all of us, shouldn't have a villain in his story.”
Jungkook lies down on the floor, eyes on the sky, “I keep beating myself up over it. It's like... he knows a part of me that's the worst of me, and I am ashamed of it.”
“Why can't I just forget about it?” Jungkook groans, “not the first time someone would hate me. I mean, I am not a great person in so many people's life, but this one I did deliberately, and it's eating me alive.”
Jin rubs Jungkook's legs that rest on his lap, “right.”
“Well, him and Jimin became really close,” Jin chuckles, “over ghibli movies and whatnot. Watching them is like babysitting two toddlers,” he squeezes Jungkook's ankle, “you never show up for our Saturday night movies since Taehyung joined in. You can come over, you know?”
“I think if you two eased into a friendship of sorts, it might get easier with time,” Jin nods when Jungkook looks at him, “as a friend you can be there for him. He can slowly learn that you are an absolute idiot who barrels into trouble, but not really a fully bad person.”
“Your guilt is eating you alive and facing it will make you think running from it is better, but, not really. Just break through that hesitation and do it for your own conscience.”
Jungkook looks at the sky, thinking about Jin's words, “why would he ever want to be my friend?”
“But, just so you know, Yoongi and him,” Jin gives Jungkook a pointed stare, “are kind of a thing. So, don't try anything-”
“I had a thing for his brother,” Jungkook sighs, closing his eyes, “I am not about to start having a thing for him. Calm down, will you?”
Jin massages the pad of Jungkook's feet, “then good. Just friends is what I am saying. Don't mess it up.”
“I won't,” Jungkook shakes his head, “okay? I am not even sure if I will pick you up on that offer either. Just… let's see.”
Jin doesn't push at anymore.
When Jungkook moves and lies down with his head on Jin's lap, Jin silently scratches his scalp. Both of them looking at the night of Seoul.
“How is Namjoon?” Jungkook wonders.
Jin lets out a soft sigh, “perfect.”
Jungkook risks a glance at the elder, Jin doesn't meet his eyes.
The man has a charming smile. His smile titls his lips up while Jungkook kisses him. A giggle bursts out of him when Jungkook's hands skim over his waist, pulling him closer. There is a sense of urgency but playfulness when he chases Jungkook's lips for another kiss.
Ilsung, Jungkook thinks the name is pretty, just as the guy himself. He takes Ilsung to the motel he last went to with Taegeun. He asks for the same room in the reception, and it's thankfully not booked. Jungkook takes Ilsung to that room, opening the door to stare inside.
Ilsung walks in, pulling Jungkook in with him. Jungkook closes the door behind himself and stops to stare at the bed and the room where Taegeun broke it all off with him.
It doesn't hurt.
It doesn't hurt to think back about that memory anymore.
It doesn't feel as awful as Jungkook thought it would be. The memories don't haunt him, fill him up with agony, as he thought it would be.
Ilsung is turning to him and pulling him in for another kiss, and Jungkook goes easily. A sense of relief filling him to the brim.
Jungkook lets Ilsung unbutton his shirt and push him down on the bed. He watches Ilsung straddle him. A playful smirk on Ilsung's face, that Jungkook reciprocate with a soft smile of his own.
He watches how the moonlight peeks over Ilsung's face, leaving him in a soft glow.
'𝑊𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑡𝘩𝑖𝑛𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑓 𝘩𝑖𝑚 𝑤𝘩𝑒𝑛 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑡𝘩 𝑚𝑒…?'
Jungkook swallows. The moonlight lightens up a side of Ilsung's face, and Jungkook finds himself thinking back about that night.
The moonlight reflecting in Taehyung's eyes...
'𝐼 𝑎𝑚 𝑠𝑎𝑓𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑡𝘩 𝑦𝑜𝑢.'
Jungkook sits up, leaning back against the headrest. Ilsung stares at him.
“Anything wrong?” he wonders.
Jungkook looks at the guy, trying to come up with an excuse. He sighs.
“What's wrong?” Ilsung wonders, a little concerned.
Jungkook throws his head back, hiding his face in his palms to groan into them.
“He probably forgot all about it,” he speaks, loud, “he is probably not even as hurt as he was. Why can't I let it go?!”
Ilsung looks at him, alarmed, “okay, what's going on? You can tell me.”
“Nothing, I was thinking about someone else,” Jungkook looks at Ilsung, snorts, “literally can't stop thinking about him every waking hour. It's turning into a bad obsession, and I don't know how to get out of this loop.”
Ilsung tilts his head, “ex-boyfriend?”
“No,” Jungkook squirms out of the bed, “no. He was…” he can't find a word, then he chuckles, “he was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life. I hurt him. Terribly. Now every day I am trying to move past it, but I just can't. I wish I can just accept I hurt him and forget it.”
“Why did I ever think it would be a good idea?” Jungkook curses, “maybe it would hurt less if he was as terrible as Taegeun, but,” Jungkook looks at Ilsung, “did I kill your boner by now? Because mine is dead.”
Ilsung snorts, “well, the night is ruined. Might as well hear it.”
Jungkook looks out through the window, “he forgave me. You know? That hurt the most. He simply forgave me. I wish he made me work for it. At least served me some kind of punishment. It's killing me that he simply forgave me. I wish he made me go down on my knees for it.”
“I wish he made it hard,” Jungkook leans against the cool glass of the window, “I wish he was cruel about it. I wish he was different,” his throat feels tight, “I wish he was just like his brother. I would be able to justify myself then. He is a good person, and it's killing me.”
Jungkook feels his eyes burn, he closes them, “he trusted me defencelessly, and I tore him apart for something he had no business with. His eyes,” Jungkook curses, “shit, I close mine and I see his eyes. They are so trusting, and the last time I saw them, they were in tears.”
He presses his forehead against the glass, “and, I caused it. I added my name in the list of people who hurt him. I am one of those people and it's killing me. I wish he would do something. Slap me, make a scene, humiliate me, try to get back at me. He just left. Silently left!”
“You know what hurts the most?” Jungkook hates how his voice cracks, “he would look at me and always smile. There was always a smile on his face whenever we met, and when he left, I wiped it off of him. I know he will smile at someone again, but I lost the smile that was for me.”
“He will never look back at those three months and smile,” Jungkook grits his teeth, his vision blurring, “he will have someone in his life who will make him see how worthy he is of happiness and love and care but I added myself to the list of people who didn't. It fcking hurts!”
“I messed up so bad, and I am running in this loop where I want to beg for forgiveness that he already handed over to me,” Jungkook shakes his head, “he already forgave and moved on. Then, why can't I move on? Why I keep thinking about it? Why can't I just accept it and leave?”
“My worst nightmare is, one day we will meet, and he might smile at me, and it will be friendly and warm, just as he is, but,” Jungkook swallows, “it won't be the one that was for me. It would be a smile he gives everyone, and it doesn't make sense, but-”
“You don't want to be just another person in his life,” Ilsung whispers.
Jungkook breathes out a chuckle, “okay, that made no sense.”
Ilsung sighs, “I don't know what went down or what you did, but, we all make mistakes. Terrible mistakes. Only few regret it this badly. Yeah?”
“Guilt is the first step of redemption,” Ilsung sighs, getting out of the bed himself, “so many people hurt others without feeling a remorse of guilt. It divides you from them. You are not a bad person, Jungkook, you just made a bad, terrible choice. Sometimes, it happens.”
“You need to forgive yourself now,” Ilsung sighs, “if he forgave you, then there's not much you can do than forgive yourself. You can't keep bringing it up to him and opening up his wound that he healed. Right? It's your wound you need to heal now. Forgive yourself.”
“If that's all there is, then forgive yourself and try to move on,” Ilsung watches how Jugnkook doesn't respond.
He smiles, a small smile curling his lips up, “it's not just that. Is it?” he wonders, “you really want him to smile at you like he used to. It's that important.”
“Don't be ridiculous,” Jungkook turns away from the window, “you don't know-”
“If you don't want anything out of it, then there's nothing else to do except for forgiving yourself,” Ilsung chuckles, “literally, nothing else. If that's all there is.”
Jungkook shrugs on his shirt.
Ilsung picks up his shirt too, his lips still curved upwards. Jungkook hurries, buttoning up his shirt and going to put on his shoes while Ilsung follows.
Jungkook drops Ilsung off near his house, and Ilsung holds his wrist before Jungkook can leave.
“Just one question.”
Jungkook arches a brow.
Ilsung has a flirty smile on his lips, “was I more beautiful than him?”
Jungkook can't help the small laugh that escapes his lips. He watches Ilsung, throat bobbing.
“The moonlight looks better on him,” Jungkook starts the bike, leaving Ilsung behind.
Taehyung can't escape Jungkook. His presence is everywhere in Jimin's apartment or Jin's. Whenever he visits. There are pictures of the three in both apartments. There are stories they share, both of them keeping Jungkook's name out, but it's implied. Taehyung knows.
Sometimes he calls when Taehyung is over and Jimin takes it to somewhere else. Taehyung hears them talk. He hears Jimin or Jin laugh at whatever Jungkook is saying. They never make an excuse, or Taehyung never asks. He never sees Jungkook though. As if he deliberately stays away.
So, it's a little surprising to go to Jimin's apartment one day and see Jungkook on the couch. He is fast asleep and Jimin has thrown a blanket over him. Taehyung stares, a little breathless, how the morning sun rays illuminate his pale face, long hair falling all over his eyes.
“Sorry,” Jimin comes up behind him, “I wanted to reschedule, but your phone is unreachable.”
Taehyung waves his hand, “it died, and I forgot to charge it. It's okay.”
Jimin looks at Jungkook, “he stayed over. Jin hyung and him had a bet going on. He got too drunk to go home.”
“Minion, close the damn curtains!” Jungkook groans, turning his face away from the sun, “I swear, you little button, I will throw you out of the window!”
Jimin curses, going to close the curtains, “it's blood one in the afternoon! You know?!”
Taehyung watches Junkgook groan.
Taehyung holds back a gasp when Jimin walks up to Jungkook and kicks him in the ass.
“Get up!” Jimin screams against Jungkook's ear, “you are hogging the couch and people need to sit!”
“Who is people?” Jungkook curses, “you can fit in a cupboard! Go away!”
He slowly sits up.
Taehyung looks away when he notices that Jungkook is not wearing any shirt. The man scratches his bicep, yawning, head bowed.
“Go and bring me some coffee,” Jungkook rubs his hands down his face, “I am dying, Jimin ssi, I am dying.”
“Please, I prayed for that,” Jimin glares.
Taehyung stands there, awkwardly watching Jimin go to the kitchen anyway to pour Jungkook a mug of coffee.
Jungkook turns to face the front, eyes still closed, as he leans back against the couch with a groan.
“I am never drinking again,” Jungkook sighs, trying to blink, “shit!”
“Tae, come here,” Jimin calls, “ignore that whiny asshole.”
Jungkook snaps up, his eyes shooting open, and Taehyung jumps. Those red-rimmed eyes are on him, and Taehyung feels frozen.
Jungkook swallows, wide eyes finally focused on Taehyung. Taehyung is not sure what to do.
The next moment, Jungkook lets out a loud curse.
“Shit, shit, shit,” he groans, rolling away, “aww, that hurt!”
Taehyung reaches out on instinct, pulling back right away as he watches Jungkook go through it.
Jimin comes to give him the coffee, “here's coffee! Also, a shirt.”
Jungkook blindly reaches for the coffee and snorts, “the optimism you have to think I will fit in your shirt.”
Jimin throws it at Jungkook's face, “Tae, you sit. I will get dressed and then we can leave. Let him rot in his post-drunk haze!”
Taehyung watches Jimin go.
Jungkook struggles with the shirt, not acknowledging Taehyung, who is also trying to not acknowledge Jungkook.
Jungkook curses, “my arm doesn't fit in this shirt!” he throws it on the couch.
Taehyung forces himself to move and sit on the kitchen stool.
Jungkook gets up.
Taehyung looks away when the man starts searching something on the floor. His one hand scratching at his neck.
Taehyung focuses on anything but Jungkook, who moves around the room until he finds his shirt and is shrugging it on.
“I will leave now,” Jungkook calls for Jimin.
Taehyung watches, eyes a little wide, as Jungkook drags his feet towards the door.
Taehyung looks at the bedroom where Jimin disappeared and back at Jungkook, who is rubbing his temple and moving towards the door, “you're too hungover to drive now!”
He hates his own voice.
Jungkook freezes by the door, his back tensing up. Taehyung hates how his face heats up. His voice hanging between them. The silence stretches and he finds himself fidgeting. When Jungkook looks over his shoulder, Taehyung swiftly turns to face away from him. His eyes closing.
The embarrassment sits heavy on his shoulders, and Taehyung wants to slam his forehead against something. Maybe the counter itself.
He can't help the words that bubble out of him, “sorry.”
Jungkook doesn't reply, and Taehyung bites down on his lower lip, teeth digging there.
He hears the door close and his shoulders sag. A breath escapes him. Taehyung is not sure why it still leaves a hollow feeling in his chest.
“Tae?” Jimin comes out of the bedroom, “ready to leave? The film starts in an hour!”
Taehyung swallows, nodding, “ye-yeah. Let's go.”
“Oh, look who found his beer spilled shirt,” Jimin snorts, “damn, you look horrible.”
Taehyung sucks in a breath, eyes fixed on his hands on top of the counter.
“Get out, minion,” Jungkook grumbles.
“This is my house!” Jimin throws his hands up, “did you hit your head?!”
“Drop me off at my house,” Jungkook sighs, “I am too hungover to drive.”
Taehyung's fingers clasp together tighter, his eyes closing on their own accord. Air fills his lungs, and the same air burns his chest. He hates how that voice has that effect on him. He hates it.
Jimin beams, “or, you can come to the movies with us,” his eyes widen, a smile breaking on his face, “yes! Come with us! I was already feeling like an odd one out!”
Jungkook frowns, “huh?”
“His boyfriend is coming,” Jimin points at Taehyung, “I was feeling like a third wheel!”
Taehyung doesn't correct Jimin. He is tired of doing so. Also, a part of him doesn't want to correct Jimin today. He wants to have that protection around him. A sense of importance. He doesn't want Jungkook to think he is single, since Jungkook did that to him a month ago.
So, when Jimin drags Jungkook with them, Taehyung follows silently. He doesn't protest every time Jimin addresses Yoongi as his boyfriend.
“You should see how he treats Tae,” Jimin snorts, parking the car, “like Tae is made of glass or something.”
“Good,” Jungkook murmurs.
“I will join you after I buy myself a change of clothes,” Jungkook points at the shops, “go and get the tickets.”
Jimin nods, taking Taehyung's hand in his.
Taehyung follows Jimin to the escalator. Yoongi is waiting by the top floor.
“You are late,” he stares at Jimin.
Jimin ignores Yoongi, going to the ticket counter to buy the tickets.
“The audacity this guy has?” Yoongi hisses, “I am here waiting for an hour!”
Taehyung blinks, “but... hyung, the movie starts at three.”
Yoongi blinks back at him, “he said it starts at two?!”
Taehyung bites back a smile when he realizes what happened. Yoongi catches on quickly.
“He made me wait an hour for no reason, didn't he?” Yoongi deadpans.
When Taehyung doesn't utter a word, Yoongi marches over to Jimin, grabbing him by the elbow. Taehyung bites back a laugh.
Taehyung leans on the railing, looking down at the other floors of the mall. His eyes find Jungkook, who is taking the escalator now. Holding a packet and shoving his wallet in the new jean's pocket. He is dressed in all black. Taehyung stares, watches Jungkook all the way up.
Jungkook combs his hair back, fixing his sunglass over his eyes.
Taehyung braces himself when Jungkook steps away from the escalator, looking around. Taehyung watches Jungkook and looks back at Yoongi. He already feels a headache coming up when Yoongi finally sees Jungkook.
Yoongi's eyes sharpen and Taehyung winces. He is ready to reach for Yoongi when Jimin steps in front of the man.
Taehyung watches Jimin say something to Yoongi that makes Yoongi look at him. Jimin shakes his head, still speaking. Yoongi looks at Jungkook and back at Jimin.
“We should get inside,” Jimin calls for Taehyung and Jungkook, “me and Tae will get the seats. You two get something to eat for us!”
Jungkook stares, “is this because I called you a button? You know, buttons are cute, right?”
Jimin drags Taehyung with him, “be serious, kookie!”
Jungkook watches, helpless, as Jimin and Taehyung leave. He looks at Yoongi and Yoongi is already looking at him. Unimpressed.
“I don't know if the glasses are hiding some bruise you got or…” Yoongi trails off.
Jungkook sighs, “are you really going to be a pain in the ass?”
“Loosen up, old man,” Jungkook goes for the counter, “you already won. Let it be.”
Yoongi frowns, following him, “won...?”
Jungkook orders popcorn, leaning against the counter and watching the boy make it.
Yoongi orders the drinks, “be nice to Taehyung.”
Jungkook and Yoongi walk inside the hall and looks around until Jimin is hollering at them.
“God, is he always that loud?” Yoongi mutters.
Jungkook snorts, “you have no idea.”
They walk up to the seats. Jimin and Taehyung are already sitting, leaving two seats empty for them.
Jungkook sits beside Jimin, and Yoongi sits between Jimin and Taehyung. Jungkook hands out the popcorns.
“The non-spicy one for him,” Jungkook tells Jimin when he hands over the tray.
“Tae, here you go,” Jimin hands it over and leans up to Jungkook, “how do you know?”
Jungkook sips his cola, shrugging. Jimin doesn't ask again. He looks up at the screen as the film starts.
Jungkook leans back against the seat, feeling the tiredness slowly pull him in as he closes his eyes. The darkness of the theatre helps as he slowly drifts off to sleep.
“They are so cute together,” Jimin elbows him in the middle of the movie, “holding hands and all.”
Jungkook blinks, feeling well rested as he sits up, “who?”
Jimin points with his eyes, and Jungkook looks over to see Yoongi and Taehyung holding hands. He snorts.
“Which grade are we in?” Jungkook wonders aloud, “that's cringe.”
Jimin rolls his eyes, “you are seriously an anti-romantic! It's very cute!”
Jungkook rolls his eyes, “you find everything cute-”
His words die in his mouth when he catches Taehyung smiling at Yoongi.
The smile is warm, those eyes are trusting as they focus on whatever Yoongi is saying. Yoongi has a smile on his lips too, describing something to Taehyung.
Taehyung's lips stretch around a bigger smile, a boxy one. Yoongi laughs too. They both look back at the screen.
Jungkook doesn't care if they hold hands or end up making out.
But, that smile reminds him of how Taehyung looked at him that morning. A little startled, caught off-guard, and then swiftly turned away. His lips pressed in a thin line.
Jungkook looks away.
“I wish I had a boyfriend now,” Jimin leans his head on Jungkook's shoulder, “kookie, set me up on a date!”
Jungkook elbows him, “you have people lining up to date you. You don't need my help!”
Jimin whines, burying his face against Jungkook's neck, “come on!”
Jungkook squirms, a short laugh escaping his lips, “don't snuggle me, it tickles!”
Jimin giggles, “the movie is so boring, kookie! God, why does it have such a good review?! Get me out of here!”
Jungkook grabs Jimin's hands when they reach to tickle him, “you chose this!”
As they scuffle, Jungkook looks up and pauses. Taehyung is watching them. Those eyes fixed on them as Jimin giggles against Jungkook, and Jungkook has a bright smile on his lips too. The smile slowly dims when Taehyung's eyes finally match his.
There is a small smile on Taehyung's lips. He looks at Jimin and back at Jungkook. That smile curls the corners of his lips even more. Then he is looking away.
Jungkook looks away too, a little dazed. A little confused.
As the movie ends, they all groan in relief.
“That was the most terrible two hours of my life,” Yoongi gets up, “like, literally.”
Jimin yawns, stretching as he stands up, “who wants something to eat? I am starving!”
“I know a place,” Jungkook looks at his watch, “it will be opening now.”
Yoongi looks at Taehyung, “do you want to go with them or...?”
Jimin frowns, “hey, it's our day out. You and Jungkook added on. He is coming with me!”
Taehyung chuckles, “I am hungry too. I don't mind.”
Yoongi looks at Jungkook, his eyes still calculative. Jungkook sighs.
“Let's go,” Jungkook takes Jimin's hand in his, pulling him forward.
Yoongi and Taehyung follow.
“Are they dating?” Yoongi asks Taehyung.
Taehyung looks at them. Jungkook holding Jimin around the shoulder, both of them pressed together.
“Mimi said they are childhood friends.”
“Oh?” Yoongi arches a brow.
Taehyung nods, “their fathers were college time buddies, and they are like,” he shrugs, “inseparable since childhood. Jin hyung joined in around primary. I guess.”
Yoongi makes a face, “it shows. They are comfortable around each other.”
“I wish I had a friend like that, you know?” Taehyung gives a small smile, “who would know me since childhood. Literally know everything about me, so I don't have to fill them in on everything. It must feel nice to have someone with you for that long. Like a chosen family.”
The restaurant Jungkook takes them to is a small one. He gets them a window side booth. All of them sit down face to face.
As Jimin and Taehyung start to skim through the menu, Yoongi leans his elbows on the table.
“So, what's up?” he asks Jungkook.
Jungkook blinks, “huh?”
“With you, what's up?” Yoongi shrugs, “you know, is this like those childhood friends to lovers kind of thing where you have feelings for your childhood friend and to cope with it, you sleep around until he realizes it and confesses?”
Taehyung chokes, “hyung!”
“No, I know one of the Jeon brothers from Hoba's side,” Yoongi focuses his eyes on Jungkook, “didn't like him. At all. He was the worst person for Hoba. If you are like him… it would make sense. Because, otherwise, how do you make sense of whatever you do? How do you excuse it?”
“Are you high, or you are watching cheesy romcoms too much?” Jimin frowns, “first of all, him and me?” he makes a face, “I am about to throw up all over the table! Second, just because you have no one to get laid with, doesn't mean everyone has to be like that? The hell?”
Jimin holds up a hand when Yoongi tries to open his mouth, “no, I get it. He is Taehyung's culprit. I will not move an inch if Taehyung asks this or, hell, beats him to death in front of me. I won't. But, you or me, we are no one to get our head in this? Shut up, sir?”
“One thing, hooking up is not wrong,” Jimin arches a brow, “if both parties want it, there's nothing wrong in hooking up or one-night stands. You are not about to judge him for that! Also, you know very well what's the case with him and Taehyung. Why are you being a petty bi'ch?”
Jungkook grips Jimin's thigh, “chi-”
“No, really,” Jimin waves Jungkook off, glare fixed on Yoongi, “I am done with you protecting Taehyung like he is at flight risk!” he points at Taehyung, “he is an adult. He can speak for himself! You don't need to fight his battles for him!”
“This was supposed to be his dayout with you, and you brought Jungkook in it,” Yoongi places his hand on the counter, glaring at Jimin, “did you stop to ask how Taehyung would feel about it?”
“Yes, in fact, I did,” Jimin leans forward to, “when we first started hanging out!”
“I asked him if it was alright if some day Jungkook shows up, or I invite him over,” Jimin shakes his head, “I would never throw Taehyung in a situation he is uncomfortable in. That's the point, hyung. You think no one else can care for Taehyung. But, I do. I really care!”
“But, unlike you, my care doesn't come with terms and conditions,” Jimin snorts, “I don't choose his battles and try to fight it for him. I am here, trying to make things less awkward. Our friend group is somewhat the same, he has to face Jugnkook. Might as well, make it easy!”
Taehyung takes a hold of Yoongi's hand, “hyung, it's fine. I am fine. It's okay. Let it be.”
Yoongi doesn't look away from Jimin, and Jimin doesn't falter either.
“He didn't suffer as much as he should,” Yoongi looks at Jungkook, “you got off so easily for the shit you pulled!”
“You have no idea how he has to-”
Taehyung grips Yoongi's elbow, “stop, please, hyung.”
Yoongi looks at him, watches how Taehyung almost begs with his eyes, and he lets out a deep breath.
“I told you I don't want to be here,” Yoongi whispers, “told you, seeing him will-”
“I know I got off too easily for the shit I pulled,” Jungkook's voice makes them both look over, Jungkook is staring resolutely at Yoongi, “I know. I don't owe you shit, but I will still tell you. No, I don't think I deserved getting off the hook so easily. Trust me, I know!”
“It keeps me up every night thinking how easily I got off the hook,” Jungkook's jaw tightens, “you might want to see me physically suffer because every struggle shows if it's physical. But, mentally, I am suffering every day. I am. I wish I knew what can I possibly do to get +
my peace of mind back.”
Yoongi arches a brow, “so, even here you are selfishly thinking of yourself.”
“Yes, I am,” Jungkook gives a curt nod, “because, I am not used to guilt. I never felt guilty of things I did. I am not a bad person,” he grits out, “I just made a bad choice!”
“And, I have learnt that the world will see you the way they want to, like you judged me after knowing my brother and having no idea how I am. You never tried, you just saw him and chalked me up with him. So, in that case, I can't care less what you think of me. But...”
“I care about my own image of myself,” Jungkook swallows, “I care about how I see myself because I know myself the best and after what I did, I hate myself. That is why I feel like I deserved some sort of punishment. Because, the inner me is suffering, and it's fcking painful!”
“You decided to punish me for what my brother did,” Taehyung whispers, making them all look at him, his eyes are stuck on the table, “you did what hyung is doing to you now,” those eyes finally match Jungkook's, “hurts, doesn't it? To be judged without a fair chance?”
Taehyung gives a tired sigh, “I like to think the world works like that. What goes around, comes around. What you did, was wrong. What you are feeling is the punishment for that. But,” he shrugs, “I forgave you. I am fine now. I moved on. You, too, should try to do the same.”
“As you said,” Taehyung lets out a deep breath, “you are not a bad person. You made a bad choice. Maybe, you need to start believing it again.”
“Every time I look at you, I know you will never believe that thought,” Jungkook swallows, “and, that never lets me believe it myself.”
“I look at you with Jimin,” Taehyung whispers, his hands tightening on his lap, “I see how happy you make him, I want to believe it. But,” he looks away, “I don't know that Jungkook. I didn't know that Jungkook. So, it gets hard. The Jungkook I knew was cruel to me.”
Yoongi rubs his hands down his face, “how are you saying you moved on is beyond me. You are still hurting, and it's pretty clear to me.”
Taehyuyng doesn't look at any one of them, “hyung...”
“This is a crazy idea,” Jimin holds his hand up, “but, hear me out. Okay?”
“How about you two try to form a friendship?” Jimin holds both his hands up when Yoongi gapes at him, “listen to me! I know what Jungkook did was terrible and Taehyung thinks he forgave him, but Taehyung is still hurting. I think Jungkook owes him that healing. Don't you think?”
“Let's order something that has an olive branch in it and give each other that,” Jimin looks at the two of them, “friendship. It is the purest relation and it heals people. Slowly, gradually, you two can come to know each other and one day, you might actually forgive and forget!”
“If my order comes with an entire olive branch, I am complaining,” Yoongi arches a brow.
Jimin lets out a deep breath, “taking everything in me to not flip the table at your face, sir. Please, stay quiet!”
Yoongi shakes his head, “this is ridiculous! What you just said-”
Jimin looks at Taehyung, “you clearly didn't forgive him, Tae. I am not blaming you, I know you want to, but you haven't. Every time you look at him, your expression dims. You look betrayed and hurt. I know how you feel, trust me, I do,” he reaches for Taehyung's hand...
“I stay up every night wishing that person who broke me comes back. Puts an effort to try to mend it all back together.” Jimin murmurs, “I know I will heal some day, but I want that person to acknowledge what he did, and I still think if he did, I would heal better. You know?”
“I know each people heals different or hurts different, but it always feels good to know the person who caused it is trying to mend it,” Jimin forces a smile on his lips, nodding at Taehyung, “for your peace of mind, Tae, let him put in some effort. He owes this to you.”
“He was a piece of shit to you, you don't owe him your friendship or time, but,” Jimin grips Taehyung's hand in his, “you owe this to yourself. You need that peace and let him work up to it. Yes?”
Taehyung lets out a deep breath, “I guess...” he swallows, “you make sense.”
Since that day, it gets a little easier between the group. Jimin invites him over and every time Jungkook will be there, he alerts Taehyung. Taehyung doesn't mind. After a day's worth of work, he likes to hang out with the other six.
The tension between Jungkook and Yoongi is still there. They both dance around each other and play it cool. Taehyung is grateful for that. Since he came back from Paris, he didn't make a lot of friends. These people make him feel comfortable. On days when he misses his family.
Taegeun doesn't call him. He doesn't reach out, even for once. Taehyung doesn't either. He won't say it doesn't hurt, but he has accepted it. Somehow made his peace with it.
“There's something we need to tell you guys,” Jin says when they all gather in his apartment one night.
“Namjoon and I,” they share a look, “are dating!”
“Quick, people, act surprised!” Hoseok claps his hands.
“That's brand-new information,” Yoongi holds his glass of wine up.
“I had no damn clue!” Jungkook holds his hand up.
“I am still in denial!” Jimin deadpans.
“Congratulations,” Taehyung smiles, “ignore them.”
“This is the only one we are adopting,” Jin ruffles Taehyung's hair, “this is the only kid I am having!”
Namjoon snorts, “now that, that's out of the way, we invited you all over for some dinner and movie!”
Taehyung goes over to the counter to help himself with whatever Jin and Yoongi are cooking. He stands close to Yoongi, peeking over his shoulder.
Jungkook is chopping vegetables on the counter.
“My appa met Taehyung yesterday,” Yoongi speaks up, “told me he likes Tae better!”
Taehyung feels his face heating up, “shut up, hyung.”
Yoongi smiles, “he really said, he likes Tae better than me, and he is glad I am spending my time with Tae.”
“Father approves, I see,” Hoseok wiggles his brows.
Yoongi rolls his eyes, “you really need to shut up, hoba.”
Taehyung looks up to see Jungkook looking at him. As soon as their eyes meet, Jungkook offers him a small smile. Taehyung gives a small smile of his own.
“There's nothing to drink in your fridge,” Jimin whines, “the beers are expired! Come on, hyung!”
Jin winces, “shit!”
“Kookie, go and buy some,” Jin throws his keys to Jungkook, “Tae, can you go with him? I don't trust him to not crack one open in the car itself!”
“The hell?” Jungkook frowns, “when did I ever?”
“Just go with him, Tae,” Jin waves his spatula, “we all drank and can't drive!”
Taehyung nods, following Jungkook out of the apartment to the lift.
“Just so you know,” Jungkook presses the button for the ground floor, “I never really drank and drove!”
Taehyung risks a glance at him, “sure.”
Jungkook turns to him, “I didn't! I really didn't!”
Taehyung's eyes find Jungkook again, “if you say so.”
“How reckless do you think I am?” Jungkook follows Taehyung out of the lift, “they were clearly pulling my leg!”
Taehyung holds his hand out, “let me drive.”
Jungkook sighs, giving Taehyung the keys, “fine!”
Taehyung gets in the car and Jungkook turns on the radio.
Taehyung focuses on the road, while Jungkook fuses with the songs. He stops at a song, and Taehyung tenses up.
It's the song that was playing in the club when they first met. Taehyung hates that he remembers.
Jungkook leans back against his seat, eyes outside. Taehyung grips the steering, his eyes focused on the street ahead of him. He reaches for the radio and changes the channel.
“What's wrong?” Jungkook wonders, “you don't like the song?”
Taehyung swallows, “no. I hate it.”
What Taehyung hates more is, only he seems to remember it. Only he seems to be in that loop. He bites back those words.
“It's not the song, is it?” Jungkook wonders, his eyes focus outside again.
Taehyung risks a glance at Jungkook, “what?”
Jungkook sighs, “it's not the song.”
Taehyung takes a turn, “so, you knowingly played it. Why?”
Jungkook leans back, putting his feet on the dashboard, “just wanted to check.”
“That if you are still an asshole or not?” Taehyung glares ahead.
He can feel Jungkook's eyes on him. They shift over his face.
Taehyung lets out a deep breath, “you get on my nerves nowadays.”
“I am doing nothing,” Jungkook murmurs, eyes never leaving Taehyung's face.
“You do,” Taehyung never looks away from the road, “you knowingly put me in situations where those memories come back. Why?”
“I am sorry,” Jungkook's voice is low, “I don't-”
“Last week, you bought us all ice-creams. The same one we used to have in your apartment after,” Taehyung swallows, “the same brand and everything! You keep making my food-”
“Because you don't like spice,” Jungkook frowns.
“No, you don't have to!” Taehyung slams his hand on the steering, “you don't have to, Jungkook! All those things remind me that you know things about me, I wish you didn't!”
“But, I do know, and what can I do about it?” Jungkook sits up straight, “I know things about you.”
“I know you like that brand of ice-cream. I know you hate spice. I know you like a certain genre of music. I know you don't like beans in your food, and you don't want to talk about it, so you just say you are allergic. I know you like vintage things. I know-”
“Why do you know?!” Taehyung stops the car at the side of the road, “why can't you just start over?! You know all this, and it's,” he waves his hands, “I told all these to that Jungkook. That Jungkook in my head was always thinking about my brother when he was with me!”
“Every time you remind me that you know all this about me, I wonder how much more you know about hyung. How much more you hid from me. How many times you compared us. It kills me to think I told you all that, when you probably felt like I was boring you! God, Jungkook-”
“I stopped comparing you to him after the first night,” Jungkook looks away, “at least, physically,” he shrugs, “you can't be insecure about your looks now. Can you?” he looks at Taehyung and when Taehyung just looks back, Jungkook blinks, “you are insecure about your looks?”
When Taehyung looks away, Jungkook's eyes widen, “how- what-” he takes a deep breath, “Taehyung, you can stand in front of a mirror and chalk that one out yourself! Literally! You are,” he stops for a second, “you are the most handsome guy I know.”
“Also, physical appearance is not it,” Jungkook looks down at his hands, “after that night, I was comparing him to you. Not, you to him. Do you get it?”
“No,” Taehyung sighs, “no, I don't get it.”
Jungkook takes a deep breath, “I am sorry. The comparison comes undeniably.”
“I was in love with him, Taehyung,” Jungkook gulps, “his habits, his manners, his everything is noted in my head. I can't help but compare,” when Taehyung looks at him, Jungkook offers a wobbly smile, “would you rather, I lie to you?”
Taehyung looks tired, “don't.”
“Don't lie to me,” Taehyung leans back against the seat, “if you still love him, just tell me-”
“You helped me see through that haze,” Jungkook chuckles, looking ahead himself, “you broke that spell somehow. You helped me understand Taegeun was not the standard. Ever.”
“He has impeccable manners,” Jungkook chuckles, “his words were always measured and right. In every situation, he knows how to talk or how to behave. He has that charm about him. He never slips. He is always perfect and I fell for that. You,” Jungkook closes his eyes...
A small, melancholic smile on his lips, “you are more heartfelt. Your manners are there but you are not bound in them. You have that personal touch. Which makes you so...” Jungkook sighs, “warm. You make everyone feel comfortable. Your presence isn't intimidating, it's soothing.”
“You know, we all dress up to go to those five-star restaurants, have to act a certain way to blend in there, we like it for a few hours,” Jungkook chuckles, “by the end of the night, we feel suffocated and want to be home. He is that five-star restaurant, and, you...are home.”
“Your aura is comforting, it feels like no one has to pretend to be anyone else around you. You are welcoming, god, you are so welcoming. You don't judge, not even a little bit, your eyes move onto a person and that person can see the sincerity in those eyes. You are so pure.”
“When you talk, you often ramble, and you think people will lose interest?” Jungkook snorts, “you have that captivating lure in you, Taehyung. I can sit and listen to you talk about absolutely nothing for hours. I know everyone does. Stop selling yourself so short. Really.”
“You were talking one night, as I was making dinner for you, and it hit me,” Jungkook clears his throat, remembering that night, “I kept forcing myself to stay at that restaurant. The bill kept piling up. I kept ignoring that the restaurant can never turn into a home.”
“And, if it does,” Jungkook snorts, “I would hate to stay at that restaurant, in those fake conversations, following those etiquettes for the rest of my life. I have to go back home to be free, and,” he closes his eyes, “I realized, he was never going to be that for me.”
Jungkook pauses, “that night, I realized I moved on. But,” he swallows, “you were there, and I realized, I can't afford that home. I can't, because,” he laughs, closing his eyes, “you are like a family home, and I am bankrupt from my overstay at the restaurant.”
“So, I did compare you two but you didn't lose,” Jungkook shakes his head, “you didn't really lose anything. Your value,” he makes a face, “I can't afford it. Taegeun can't even think of it. So, in both ways, you didn't lose, Taehyung.”
Taehyung doesn't answer.
Jungkook dares himself to look at Taehyung, “Yoongi hyung looks like he can afford it, you know?” he gives a small smile to Taehyung, “he treats you like you deserve. You have no idea, Taehyung, you don't have to believe me, but, seeing it feels good. You deserve it. That care.”
“I broke you,” Jungkook grips his hands together, “your own hyung is an absolute filth. I am glad you have someone in your life who knows your worth and can afford it. I am just trying to fill in the cracks I left,” he looks away, “that's all I hope of doing.”
“Which night are you talking about,” Taehyung stares at the steering.
Jungkook gulps, “the night you asked if I was sleeping around. The night you were last in my apartment.”
Taehyung's eyes snap closed, “you were sleeping around-”
“No,” Jungkook sighs, “I lied.”
“You... lied,” Taehyung tastes those words.
Jungkook rubs his hands down his face, “yes. I panicked because why won't I sleep around. So, I lied. It was easier than telling the truth, somehow. To you, to myself.”
Taehyung sighs, “then, a week later, I saw you and hyung kiss.”
Jungkook curses, “he kissed me. I was so shocked at first, my brain stopped working. I mean, I didn't take him for a cheater!”
Taehyung bites down on his lower lip, “I followed you to ask if we can date.”
The silence falls like a heavy weight between them. Jungkook feels it.
He feels the chill rush down his spine. Taehyung chuckles hopelessly.
“I liked you enough to gather that much courage and ask you if you would like to go on a date with me.”
Jungkook feels his chest tighten. His eyes squeezing shut. Taehyung sounds broken all over again.
“I saw hyung with Jaehyuk hyung and thought, some day,” Taehyung pauses, gulps, his eyes blurring, “maybe,” his voice is heavy, “we can invite them to dinner or something. I don't know what I was thinking.”
“Shit,” Jungkook hides his face in his hands, “shit, stop talking!”
“I missed you so terribly throughout the week and like a loser, even when you said you slept around, I thought I will just ask you out. I was fine with the thought that you might reject me, but,” Taehyung blinks faster, “that was never the case. No? You never gave a fuck.”
Jungkook feels tears burn behind his eyelids, “I am sorry,” his voice cracks, “shit, Tae, I am so sorry. I don't know that Jungkook,” he looks up at Taehyung, ignores how tears roll out of his eyes, “that Jungkook feels like a nightmare I lived, and I hate the choices he made.”
“That Jungkook is you,” Taehyung whispers, “the worst of you, but, you. And, that Taehyung is me,” he wipes his own eyes, “you didn't-”
“I was going to come clean to you that day too,” Jungkook reaches blindly, grasping Taehyung's hand, “after leaving the house, I was!”
“I didn't think you would be there,” Jungkook shakes his head, “I didn't think I would see you there. I thought, after that visiting them, I will go to your place and tell you everything. I,” Jungkook bites back a sob, “maybe not date, but I didn't want to lie anymore.”
“I would have appreciated it if you told me,” Taehyung's lips quiver, “I would live my entire life without having to have that image of you kissing hyung in my mind.”
Jungkook's hands feel cold when Taehyung snatches his hand back. Jungkook feels the cold seep in his veins.
“I wish I could make you understand how it feels,” Taehyung rubs his hands over his arms, “you don't know, Jungkook. You didn't like me, but I liked you, so, it hurt terribly. If you liked me, I would say, how would you feel if you saw me kissing Jaehyuk-”
Jungkook turns away.
Taehyung snorts, “oh, you do know. You have seen Taegeun hyung kiss Jaehyuk hyung.”
The silence stretches between them. Then Taehyung sighs.
“But, whatever it is, thanks for talking about it,” he bites his lower lip, “it helps. It felt nice to talk it out.”
Taehyung clears his throat, “anyway, all of that is in the past. The more we keep looking back, the more we are holding ourselves back.”
“Do you know how to mend something you broke?” Jungkook wonders, “because, I want to. But, I seem to find myself always at a loss.”
“You can't,” Taehyung starts the car, “it's like an abyss. You can only hope that some day a river's worth of memories fill it up and the darkest memories get hidden under the tides. Time doesn't heal shit. It just fills us with other memories until the sad ones get overlayered.”
Taehyung stops in front of the market and gives Jungkook a look, “but, those memories stay, Jungkook. They linger at the bottom of the river. We dive deep some days and see those memories. You can't really escape them. They are a part of you and they forever will be.”
Taehyung gets out of the car. Jungkook follows him to the market. Silently, they pick up the drinks and get back in the car. This time, Jungkook takes the wheel.
Taehyung sits, leaning against the glass of the car. His eyes following the buildings as they go.
“I will fill it up with memories then,” Jungkook murmurs, making Taehyung twitch.
Taehyung looks over and Jungkook is not looking at him. He is looking ahead at the road.
“I will fill the abyss up to the brim and keep filling it. Until you can't reach the bottom. Ever.”
“I will work on that,” Jungkook's throat bobs, “keep the tides high. Keep the river flowing. You will never be able to dive that far down. I won't let you touch the bottom,” he looks at Taehyung, “I promise. Every time you stand near the shore, the river will be full.”
Jungkook kills the engine in front of Jin's building and turns to Taehyung, “you said a river. I will give you an ocean, Kim Taehyung. Not even the sun will be able to reach the bottom of it. I promise you.”
He reaches across Taehyung to open the door for him.
Taehyung gets a little surprised when Jungkook texts him the next day. Right before Taehyung is about to leave the office.
'Want to go bowling?'
Taehyung stares at the message for a few seconds before he is typing out, '?'
Jungkook starts typing right away, 'please?'
Taehyung gets in the elevator and types out another message.
'Fine. I am about to leave the office.'
Jungkook's reply is instant, 'I am waiting outside.'
The breath is caught in Taehyung's chest. The message is like a déjà vu that he is not sure if he likes or not.
Taehyung walks out to see Jungkook waiting. He pauses when he notices how Jungkook is not in his usual spot. Taehyung shakes his head, going over to the man with a nod when Jungkook looks at him.
“What if I disagreed?” Taehyung wonders.
Jungkook shrugs, “then, you disagreed.”
Taehyung gets on the bike, gripping the back of it, instead of holding onto Jungkook. Jungkook looks over his shoulder and notices it. He doesn't say anything. Taehyung notices how the man goes slower than he normally would. Taehyung focuses on the road instead.
“Are you good at it?” Jungkook wonders, looking at Taehyung, who is focusing on the pins.
“I am not bad at it,” Taehyung shrugs.
Jungkook chuckles when Taehyung rolls the ball, and it takes down all the pins.
“Modest, I should have known,” Jungkook gives a clap.
Jungkook can't help but notice how Taehyung focuses. His tongue peeking out from the corner of his lips, his eyes sharp on the pins. The ball held protectively against his chest.
Jungkook sits and watches Taehyung throw it and stare, eyes wide, as the ball rolls.
A smile forms on those lips, and it slowly grows into a grin. Then Taehyung is turning on his feet, hand pointing at the pins. Those eyes glistening with excitement.
“Did you see?! I did it again!” Taehyung bounces on his feet.
Jungkook feels breathless, “yeah. I saw.”
At that moment, in that bowling alley, in Taehyung's smile, Jungkook places a bookmark. A memory in his book he will come back to. A rock he hopes Taehyung adds in his abyss, to fill up the void just a little.
“You lost,” Taehyung juts his chin out.
Jungkook sighs, “I did.”
Jungkook drops Taehyung off in front of Yoongi's house. He looks at the man and Taehyung is holding out his helmet.
For a second, they both are hesitating, not sure what to say or do next.
“Thank you,” Jungkook speaks, “for agreeing to come with me.”
Taehyung nods, shrugging.
“What are you doing tomorrow?” Jungkook wonders.
Taehyung sucks onto his lower lip, “Yoongi hyung's appa is turning sixty. There's a party.”
Jungkook groans, “ugh, yeah! I forgot. My brother is dragging me there too. Some partnership crap.”
Taehyung nods, “yeah.”
Jungkook waves his hand, “I guess, I will see you there?”
Taehyung nods, “sure.”
Jungkook is not sure what else he can say. Taehyung doesn't let him anyway. He turns and goes inside the building. Jungkook watches the gate for a few seconds before he leaves too.
Jungkook goes to the party to represent the Jeons because Jaehyuk had something important to take care of. Jungkook tries to tell himself that at least, Jimin will be there.
The party is classy. Not too flashy or loud. A fitting representation of the Mins.
Jungkook pauses when he sees Jimin. Jimin comes running up to him, leaving his father's side right away.
“Oh, thank God, you are here,” he whines, “can we ditch the party? I am so bored!”
Jungkook chuckles, “I just got here. I didn't even give Mr. Min the bouquet.”
Jimin sighs, “god, just hurry. We need to leave as fast as we can.”
Jungkook ignores Jimin and walks up to Mr. Min, “happy birthday, sir,” he bows his head, holding out the flowers, “sixty never looked this handsome before.”
Mr. Min laughs, “you flatter me, Jungkook. Thanks.”
“The party is really speaking for you,” Jungkook chuckles, “it's really classy.”
Mr. Min sighs, a warm smile on his lips, “it's not really for my birthday. I am too old for this. It's,” he holds his hand out, “ahh, there they are,” Mr. Min smiles wide, “Yoonie, Tae, come here.”
Jungkook looks over and his breath catches in his chest when he notices how gorgeous Yoongi and Taehyung look beside each other. They both look at Mr. Min and walk over to him.
“My son finally decided to ask Tae,” Mr. Min puts his arms around Yoongi and Taehyung.
Jungkook stares at Mr. Min and looks at the two afterwards. He stares when Mr. Min picks up his glass and calls for attention.
“Tonight,” he starts, voice loud for the room to hear, “this party is not about me. It's about my son,” Mr. Min grins, “taking over my company, and...”
“Finally having a fiancé.”
The claps are loud. Jungkook watches how Yoongi puts his arm around Taehyung's waist, a small, warm smile on his lips. Taehyung returns it, there is no hiding the warmth in those eyes. Jungkook feels Jimin come up beside him, grasping his sleeve.
“I told you, we should go,” Jimin's voice sounds hoarse, “you know?”
Jungkook looks at Jimin, a little confused, “why?” he looks back at Taehyung and Yoongi, “if they are getting engaged, that's their shit. Why are you thinking that it will affect me?”
Jimin stares at him.
“I told you before, Jimin ssi,” Jungkook elbows Jimin lightly, “I want his forgiveness and nothing more.”
Jimin looks at where Yoongi is turning towards Taehyung. The spotlight glistening on them. Taehyung smiles when Yoongi pulls out a small box, opening it to a diamond ring.
Jungkook looks at Jimin, notices how pale Jimin looks.
“Is everything alright?” he wonders.
Jimin blinks, as if coming back in the room, “y-yeah,” he coughs, “I will,” they look over when the murmurs and cheers rise, Yoongi taking Taehyung's hand in his, “I will go outside.”
“What's wrong?” Jungkook reaches for Jimin's elbow.
“Nothing,” Jimin shakes his head, swallows, “just, the room is too suffocating and warm.”
Jungkook watches Jimin march outside and he turns back to see Yoongi put the ring on Taehyung. He claps with everyone.
Jungkook doesn't understand the tightness in his chest. He doesn't understand the feeling of hollow when Taehyung looks at Yoongi and offers him a small smile.
Yoongi pulls his hand up to press a kiss against Taehyung's knuckles. Taehyung blushes.
Jungkook feels suffocated too.
Jungkook walks out of the room too. He looks around, trying to find Jimin. When he does, he frowns.
Jimin is out on the terrace, looking at the darkness of the city. Jungkook walks up to him, leaning against the railing.
“What's wrong, chim?” Jungkook sighs, “tell me.”
Jimin snorts, “just forgot my place,” he pulls out a cigarette, “won't happen again.”
Jungkook shakes his head when Jimin offers him one. He stands there, letting the cool breeze calm him down. Jimin smokes in silence. Jungkook can see the tremor in Jimin's hand.
“You are hiding something-” Jungkook bows his head, “I know you since you were in your diaper. We had conversations when words were not our forte. Since that age. Come on. What's wrong-”
“I don't want to talk about it,” Jimin whispers, voice cracking, “please.”
“It makes me feel cheap already,” Jimin wipes a hand down his face, “telling you, and waiting for you to judge me,” Jimin shakes his head, “forget it. Okay? I will be fine,” he nudges Jungkook, “let's just say, your chim is stupid. That's all.”
Jungkook knows when to let go.
Eventually they have to walk back inside the party. Jimin goes directly to his father, sticking by his side. Jungkook lingers by him, too. His eyes on the newly engaged couple who are sharing a slow dance with others. Talking and smiling at each other.
“Can we go now, appa?” Jimin asks, “it has been an hour-”
“Jiminah,” his father clicks his tongue, a sympathetic smile on his lips, “bub, we just arrived. This is great news. We can't simply leave. Please. We are under the Mins for our business. Please be nice.”
Jungkook watches Taehyung bow out and slowly slip out of the room. Jungkook glances at Jimin and back at the open door. He walks out of the room too.
Taehyung is down the corridor. Jungkook follows him to the washroom.
“I think I owe you a congratulation?” he calls.
Taehyung jumps, turning to Jungkook, “you didn't just follow me to the washroom to tell me that!”
Jungkook chuckles, “sorry. I will wait outside.”
Taehyung breathes out, leaning against the sink counter, “no. I just... needed a few moments to gather myself.”
“What's wrong?” Jungkook wonders.
Taehyung swallows, his eyes vulnerable when he looks at Jungkook, “I got engaged.”
Jungkook nods, a little confused, “yes, you did. Congratulations.”
Taehyung looks at the ring, a child-like wonder in his eyes, “he proposed last night.”
“I agreed because,” Taehyung has a faint smile on his lips, “he makes me feel so good, you know?” he rubs his thumb over the ring, “I didn't have to think twice. I would love to have a man like him beside me forever.”
Jungkook watches how Taehyung's face contorts.
“I just,” his eyes shine then, glistening, “I wish I had someone to share this happiness with.”
Jungkook watches, breathless, how Taehyung hurries to wipe his eyes. He looks at Jungkook with a small grimace.
“After appa, I would always call hyung to tell him everything.”
“I gave in and called him last night,” Taehyung closes his eyes, “he blocked me, you know?” he breathes out a chuckle, “everywhere.”
Jungkook feels the sharp pain shoot through him. He is reaching out to take Taehyung's hand in his.
“You can share it with me,” he whispers.
When Taehyung just blinks, Jungkook shrugs, “I know, I am not the person you can consider close to you or whatever I did, I don't deserve-”
“You wanted us to be friends,” Taehyung murmurs, “are,” he nods, “are you sure?”
Jungkook swallows, “I am. Anything for you, Taehyung.”
Taehyung sighs, “I feel nervous. I am not rushing, right?”
Jungkook leans against the sink, lips pursed, “well, you two did get engaged out of the blue-”
“Not out of the blue,” Taehyung makes a face, “we went on a few dates.”
Jungkook gapes, “I didn't know that.”
Taehyung snorts, “well, we are not really close for me to discuss my dating life with you.”
Jungkook holds his hands up, “guilty,” he looks at Taehyung, “he is good to you?”
Taehyung lets out a long breath, his lips twitching, “he is best to me.”
Jungkook feels each word.
“He understands me,” Taehyung hugs himself, “he is always there for me. He is so,” Taehyung waves his hands, “available, you know? He is so emotionally available. So mature too.”
Jungkook chuckles, “yeah, he is four years older than you. Of course, he is mature.”
Taehyung has a faraway look on his face, “he is everything nice. I know.”
Jungkook hums, “then, there's your answer. You aren't rushing. If he makes you feel safe, taken care of, loved, what else a person need in a relationship?”
Taehyung's eyes find Jungkook.
“I will tell you when I get the answer,” Taehyung straightens up, “we should go.”
Jungkook stands up too, nodding, “hey,” he holds Taehyung's hand in his, “you know you deserve it, right?” he nods when Taehyung frowns in confusion, “you deserve the way Yoongi hyung treats you.”
Taehyung looks down at the ring on his finger with a thoughtful expression.
“I know,” Taehyung whispers, as if to himself, “I know I do. Just...” he looks away from Jungkook, “it feels surreal. I don't know how to describe it. It feels too perfect.”
Jungkook frowns, confused.
“I have never been in love, Jungkook,” Taehyung murmurs, “does it feel perfect? Does it feel,” he tries to find a word, “I don't know how to say it, we are always perfect. All the time. Is that normal?”
“I mean,” Jungkook blinks, “a healthy relationship should be like that. No?”
Taehyung looks at the ring, “my appa would always say, love is never perfect. It costs you something. It leaves you a little cracked, through those cracks, love seeps in, and it feels like kintsugi. It never feels so perfect.”
Jungook blinks, a little overwhelmed, “oh...?”
Taehyung's shoulders slump, “I keep thinking we are so perfect, so in sync, so balanced. I like everything about him, and he says he likes everything about me too. We are like a perfectly choreographed dance routine. I wonder what will happen if the rhythm breaks some day.”
“I wonder if we step on each other's toes, what will be our reactions,” he rubs his hands down his face, “I am thinking too much, am I not?”
“You are,” Jungkook nods, “Yoongi is not a bad man. Even if differences come, you can sort it out. That's how relationships work, yeah?”
“I mean,” Jungkook's lips twitch, “your man is the most eligible bachelor in the country for a reason. He must be doing something right?”
Taehyung breathes out a laugh, “you are right,” he inhales deeply, “I am just overthinking as always.”
Jungkook hums, “that's okay.”
Taehyung waves his hand, “let's go. Others are probably waiting for us.”
Jungkook nods, “yeah. Also, hey,” he stops Taehyung, “you look stunning tonight.”
Taehyung stops for a second and then he is looking away, “t-thank you.”
Jungkook watches Taehyung leave.
When they get back to the celebration room, Taehyung looks back at Jungkook.
“Where did Jimin go? I told him about the engagement, and since then I haven't seen him.”
Jungkook looks around, “I don't know.”
“Here you are,” Yoongi walks up to them, “I kept searching for you.”
“I just went to the washroom,” Taehyung points at Jungkook, “got busy talking.”
Yoongi hums, “appa wanted you to meet a few people. Just signal for me if he starts to bore you.”
Taehyung rolls his eyes with a smile and goes over to Mr. Min.
Yoongi stands beside Jungkook.
“We weren't talking about anything ba-” Jungkook stops when Yoongi scoffs.
“I trust him, Jungkook,” Yoongi looks at Taehyung while the man walks with Mr. Min, “I don't need an explanation on who he is with or what they talked about. Drop it.”
Jungkook lets out a deep breath.
He looks around for Jimin, frowning when he sees Mr. Park alone at the corner. He is talking to Mr. Min and Taehyung now. Jungkook chews the inside of his cheek.
“Did you see Jimin?” Jungkook wonders, “I can't find him.”
Yoongi shakes his head, “he came to the party?”
Jungkook blinks, “yeah...?”
Yoongi picks up a glass of champagne, “didn't notice.”
Jungkook watches Yoongi for a second before he is shaking his head and walking up to Mr. Park.
“Where is Jimin?” Jungkook asks.
Mr. Park gives him a tired look, “he left. Wasn't feeling well.”
Jungkook feels the worry settle in. He nods at Mr. Park and pulls out his phone. He can feel eyes on him and when he looks up, Taehyung is watching him.
“I will go now,” Jungkook bows to Mr. Min and the others, “again, happy birthday, sir, and, congratulations to you two.”
Jungkook gets out of the party. He messages Jin and when he shows up in front of Jin and Namjoon's building, Jin is waiting. They both go to Jimin's apartment.
Jimin opens the door with a tired smile, “knew you two would show up.”
Jungkook and Jin share a look before going in.
The ring sits snug on Taehyung's finger and Taehyung feels the presence all the time. He looks at it throughout the day while working and when he goes home, he watches Yoongi in the kitchen and thinks how peaceful life will be from now on. Yoongi feels like a dream to Taehyung.
One day, Taehyung comes home early. He stands by the door Yoongi's home office and watches the man work. He just got home from office and came directly to find Yoongi.
Yoongi looks dishevelled, a little disturbed and stressed. He looks like he can do with a break.
He walks up to the man and leans on the chair's backrest, “let's go on a walk, hyung.”
Yoongi tilts his head, looking up at Taehyung with a small smile, “I am busy, Tae.”
Taehyung kneads Yoongi's shoulders, “that's why, you need a break. So do I. The office was shit. Come on?”
Yoongi leans back on the chair, holding Taehyung's hands in his.
“Where are we going?” Yoongi wonders.
Taehyung shrugs, “anywhere, I just,” he rests his chin on Yoongi's head, “just want a break. Everything is feeling so overwhelming nowadays.”
Yoongi is quiet, listening.
“I was talking to Jimin today,” Taehyung sighs, “he told me I got used to bare minimum and now that I am having so much, it's overwhelming me. I think he is right.”
“What did he suggest then?” Yoongi wonders, “for you to leave me? To not feel overwhelmed?”
Taehyung smiles, nuzzling in Yoongi's hair, “no? Why would he say that? I know you take him as a brat, but he is a really nice guy, hyung. He told me you might feel the same, and we can talk it out. That's what I am doing.”
Yoongi looks up at Taehyung, “I am glad, then.”
“I am not Seongho, hyung,” Taehyung presses his lips on Yoongi's hair, “I won't leave you because someone said something to me. I am not that easily manipulated.”
Yoongi gets up from the chair, “I know you are not,” he takes a hold of Taehyung's hands, “I am glad you are not.”
Yoongi looks troubled then, his eyes searching Taehyung's face.
“Does it matter to you, my past?” he wonders, “the hookups I had after Seongho? Do you want to know about them?”
Taehyung tilts his head, “no. I mean, we all have a past. Who cares who you slept with?”
Yoongi grips Taehyung's hands in his, “I think you should know-”
“No, really,” Taehyung steps closer, looping his arm around Yoongi's neck, “right now, I just want to go on a walk with my fiancé. That's all.”
Yoongi's shoulders slump, “right. We are engaged.”
There is a slump in the conversation. Both of them looking at each other. This is where their conversations take a pause. Each one of them.
There is supposed to be something more. A kiss, a touch, something intimate.
But, Taehyung can't bring himself to and Yoongi never does.
“We are not going further until we have this talk,” Yoongi murmurs, pulling away, “you need to know, but,” his face morphs into something surreal, “fine, not now.”
“Whatever it is,” Taehyung shakes his head, “I don't want to hear it now. Unless you are cheating on me.”
Yoongi's shoulders shake as he laughs, “too much work goes into cheating, Tae. Planning it, doing it, having the fear of getting caught, lying about it. Too much work for a lazy ass like me. So, no. I am not cheating.”
Taehyung pulls Yoongi after him, “good. Then, not now.”
Taehyung walks side by side with Yoongi and they both are silent. The silence comes easy to them. Both of them find it soothing somehow. Taehyung looks at the sky, slowly turning dark with the evening.
“It's the perfect time for a long drive,” he murmurs, “you know?”
Taehyung thinks about the fresh evening air breezing past his face. His eyes closing on their own accord as the bike-
Taehyung pauses. His entire body locking.
Yoongi doesn't drive bikes. He hates them for the security reasons. Taehyung bites down on his tongue.
There it is.
The sense of longing. The ache that thrums through his veins. No matter how many days pass. No matter how many times Taehyung buries his thoughts, they keep resurfacing like this. Out of the blue.
He feels it physically. The nausea. The self-loathing right after.
He clutches onto Yoongi and tries to make his touches register to his brain.
He looks at the pink sky and the image is right there. A bike tearing through the road, reckless, a little edgy, a little freeing. Taehyung wants to forget how holding onto that waist feels.
He feels cheap every time his mind takes him back to that man. He feels nauseous every time he idly thinks of a future scenario, and there's this man whose face is too familiar. Taehyung can't count the nights he stayed awake just to not see that man in his dreams again.
He wants to overwrite those memories of mere three months, but Jungkook is so alive. He is so bright in his presence, it's hard. Taehyung wants to give in, wants to accept defeat, but for what? Jungkook has no feelings for him. He doesn't want to be a fool again. He doesn't.
He meets Jungkook and their conversations flow. Jungkook takes him to places. They stop by those small restaurants by the roadsides. Jungkook treats him like he treats Jin or Jimin. Taehyung notices it. It makes him feel good and at the same time vindictive.
“Have you ever wished for something that made you feel you are the worst person alive right away?” Taehyung asks Yoongi.
Yoongi snorts, “so many times. I wished death upon a person and then felt miserable the next moment.”
Taehyung sucks in a breath, “I wished worse.”
“I wished that person stood where he left me,” Taehyung looks at the pink sky, “and, this time, I leave him. I wished for someone to play him like he played me. Worse, I wished it while he tried to mend it all. I sat, smiled at him, and wished he cried like he made me cry.”
“The next moment I felt terrible,” Taehyung bites down on his lower lip, “for even thinking so low. I felt anger towards him for bringing out such a part of me. I felt nauseous because, that's not me. Yet…”
“When the affection is strong,” Yoongi mumbles, “the hate is stronger.”
“Why can't I move past it?” Taehyung lets Yoongi entangle their hands together, “my life is going so well. I have so many loved ones around me. You, uncle, hobi hyung, Joonie hyung, Jin hyung, Jiminie... why can't I focus on you all and just be happy and forget about others?”
“Because it's hard,” Yoongi squeezes Taehyung's hand in his, “it's terribly hard to let go of someone who made you feel,” he looks ahead, “anything. Everything. It takes time and it's okay. It will get better. I promise.”
Taehyung really hopes so. He nods at Yoongi.
“There is something I need to tell you, about Jimin and I,” Yoongi swallows, “you can't marry me without listening to it, Tae.”
Taehyung looks at Yoongi, frowns, “what's wrong?”
Yoongi takes a deep breath, “we slept around for a bit. It was,” Yoongi curses, “bad.”
“Why?” Taehyung frowns.
Yoongi clears his throat, not matching Taehyung's eyes, “he started it to get close to me. To have some sort of leverage on me. I found out and,” Yoongi tongues his cheek, “held it against him. A sort of power play. To see him break. It was twisted.”
Taehyung looks at Yoongi, shock clear on his face, “what?”
Yoongi nods, “wanted him to back out. Wanted him to break it off and bow out. He didn't.”
“Then, what happened?” Taehyung swallows, “wha-”
Yoongi sighs, “you told me you wanted to marry me to escape Jungkook.”
Yoongi looks at Taehyung, gives him a small smile, “I found a way to break it all off. A cowardly move, but, I never said I am not one.”
Taehyung looks away, “if you have feelings for him, we can break it all off.”
“I don't,” Yoongi whispers, “he evokes guilt and nothing else.”
Taehyung lets out a deep breath, “when I offered the plan, I didn't know this.”
Yoongi snorts, “well, I didn't tell you,” he looks at Taehyung, “I like you, Tae. We discussed this. We both want to give us a fair chance.”
“Are we though?” Taehyung wonders, “doing that?”
“I like you, hyung,” Taehyung gulps, “but, I am trying to do this, so I don't give in to Jungkook. I like you and you like me. I think that's all it takes to go through a marriage, anyway. But, do you want the same? Don't you want more? Is there ever going to be more between us?”
“Habitual love, I guess?” Yoongi snorts, pulling out a case of cigarette to light one, “I don't want anything more or ever hoped for more, Tae. So, I will be fine. But,” he takes a look at Taehyung, “if, at any point, you feel suffocated, just tell me. We will find a way.”
Taehyung does. He feels suffocated the next time they all meet up.
Jungkook comes with another guy. Taehyung watches Jungkook guide the man towards the couch. He sits and pulls the guy down beside him.
“Who is he?” Jin asks, “introduce him, at least?”
“Ilsung,” Jungkook reaches for the beer Namjoon holds out for him, “we are dating.”
The room is quiet. All the eyes on them. Jungkook takes a sip of the beer and looks around them.
“What's wrong?” he frowns.
Taehyung sits and watches Jin ask so many questions.
Taehyung isn't sure what to say when Jungkook started introducing them one by one.
“This is Taehyung,” Jungkook says, pausing, “he's...”
Ilsung picks up from there, “another friend?”
Jungkook lets out a long breath, “yeah. Another friend.”
Taehyung bows to Ilsung.
Taehyung sits beside Jimin, Jimin's arm wraps around him. He leans against Jimin and keeps his eyes on the screen as they start to watch a movie. From the corner of his eyes, he can see Jungkook and Ilsung cuddling. Covered in one blanket. Taehyung feels suffocated.
“Is Yoongi coming to pick you up?” Hoseok asks, “or, you drove here?”
Taehyung shakes his head, “I took a cab. I will be fine.”
“You can come with us,” Ilsung offers, “I got my car. We can drop you off.”
Jungkook nods, “of course, Tae. Come with us. His house is near hyung's.”
Taehyung doesn't know how to say no. He agrees silently.
Taehyung can't help but notice how sweet Jungkook is around Ilsung. He is caring. Goofy. He is, Taehyung swallows, loving.
As they get out of Jin and Namjoon's apartment to go home, Jungkook takes the front seat.
Taehyung watches how easily Jungkook's hand reaches to rest on Ilsung's thigh. Ilsung drives, both of them talking in soft voices. Jungkook making Ilsung smile and roll his eyes at whatever he is saying.
Taehyung feels suffocated.
They are bickering over something and Ilsung is blabbering about why he is right.
When the car stops by the signal, Jungkook slowly leans over to press his lips on Ilsung's, making him pause.
“That will shut you up,” Jungkook smirks.
Taehyung pushes the door of the car open.
“I will walk from here,” Taehyung points at the direction of a small café, “I forgot to get something for hyung before I reach home. You guys go ahead.”
He almost runs towards the café and pushes the door open. The café is almost empty, except for a couple at the front booth.
Taehyung goes straight to the last booth and sits down. He clasps his hands together and bows his head to rest on them. He feels too much. He feels anger. He feels how life is so unfair to him right at that moment. Taehyung tries to breathe through it, the searing pain.
Taehyung feels the cold seep into his veins, and he is freezing. He keeps his head on his fists and tries to ignore the voice.
“Taehyung,” Jungkook's voice is soft, “what's wrong?”
Taehyung feels a laugh bubble up his throat, he forces it down, tries to.
“Stop it,” Taehyung whispers, “stop coming after me over and over again. Stop it, Jungkook. Nothing's wrong. I need some space, and you need to get out of here.”
Jungkook doesn't move, “you just ran out of the car like that. I had to follow.”
“No,” Taehyung snorts.
“No, you don't have to follow,” Taehyung closes his eyes, “your boyfriend is waiting. Go.”
“I don't!” Taehyung screams, it tears out of his throat, in a second he is standing up to glare at Jungkook, “I don't understand! I am not as good as him then! Yeah?!”
“I don't understand your need to suffocate me!” Taehyung shouts, “I don't understand your need to inflict pain without even trying! I guess, you are just,” Taehyung snorts, “it's like you are water to my fire. You wipe me out. Every time I try to get better, you wipe me out.”
“What did I do wrong?” Jungkook reaches, grasps Taehyung's elbow, “tell me? I just got a boyfriend-”
“I can't do this, Jungkook,” Taehyung whispers, “I can't do this,” he sits down again, putting his head in his hands, “I can't even try to pretend to be okay around you anymore.”
“We can't be friends, Jungkook,” Taehyung looks outside through the window, “I can't be your friend. Seeing you,” he closes his eyes, “it hurts. I thought I was strong enough, but I am not. I can't see you anymore. Please, leave. Leave me alone.”
“Are you seriously upset because I have a boyfriend now?” Jungkook sits down in his desperation, “Taehyung, you are getting married. We decided to be friends-”
“I can't be your friend,” Taehyung murmurs, “why can't you understand, Jungkook? I can't be your friend.”
The sheer fear of losing Taehyung hits Jungkook then. The fear is like a snowball, it fell off the cliff the day Taehyung realized what Jungkook did. Then the ball was a small thing and as Jungkook sits there, the ball hits him. Now as big as a boulder and it hits hard.
He reaches blindly, grasping at Taehyung's hand, “I will break up with Ilsung,” he says in one breath, winded, “I will never date again,” his grip on Taehyung's hand tightens when Taehyung tries to pull away, “I am stupid. I didn't know it will hurt you. I am sorry. Taehyung...”
“I can't live being just a stranger to you!” Jungkook begs almost, his voice cracking, “I can't,” he shakes his head, that crippling fear eating at him, “I can't not have any excuse to be near you. This can't be the last time I am talking to you. Taehyung, please-”
“Taehyung,” Jungkook begs, his chest tightening, “please. Please. I can't. I can't.”
“I can't be your friend, Jungkook,” Taehyung shakes his head, not matching Jungkook's eyes, “I can't let that happen. It still hurts so bad. I can't do this to myself anymore. I am sorry.”
“Don't do this, Taehyung,” Jungkook sniffles, his eyes burning, “shit, Taehyung. I will break it all off with Ilsung-”
“Don't,” Taehyung sounds tired, “you did nothing wrong. You found a guy you like and you started dating him. You are not at fault for that. I am.”
“Every time you treat him so right,” Taehyung looks at where Jungkook is holding his hand, “I wish you did the same for me.”
The silence is palpable. Both of them feel breathless.
Jungkook's throat bobs, “you are getting married.”
“I know,” Taehyung pulls away, “I know.”
“We are a lost game,” Taehyung pushes his hands between his thighs so Jungkook doesn't reach for them anymore, “we are lost, Jungkook. You have to accept it and go. I can't do this anymore. I can't be selfless when it hurts so badly. You have to find a way to make peace with it.”
“It's okay,” Taehyung tries to force a smile on his lips, “it's not like we knew each other for long. Three months of pretence and two months of whatever this is-”
“I can't lose you,” Jungkook whispers, his eyes glistening, “shit, Tae, I can't lose you.”
“I made my peace with you being my friend, I made my peace with you getting married, I told myself I should feel blessed for whatever you are ready to offer,” Jungkook shakes his head, “I can't lose all of you. I can't,” his voice cracks, “shit, I will break up with him. Please?”
“Tell me, what do I do to keep you?” Jungkook chokes out, “tell me, teach me, please, tell me. I can't lose you. It has been a few months but I,” Jungkook swallows, “I lived these few months. I can't lose you, Taehyung. In any way, in any term, stay. Please. Don't leave me.”
“I only ever loved my mum,” Jungkook bites back a sob, “she died when I was very young. My dad was a great person, but he was always busy with his work and shit. He was caring, loving, but I wasn't emotionally attached to him because he was never home.”
“The day they took her away,” Jungkook bites down on his lower lip, “I was just nine. I stood on the step and waited for her to return home like she would after a day at the office. I kept waiting and she never came home. It felt like I lost someone and I could do nothing.”
“You know why I am telling you this?” Jungkook shakes his head, “tonight I am feeling the same. I am losing you, and I know I can't do shit for you to stay. I know I never had you to demand anything from you. I know I didn't do shit to deserve your stay, but it hurts so bad...”
“You can't guilt-trip me into staying, Jungkook,” Taehyung looks at Jungkook, “you can't. You hurt me. I don't owe you more. I don't owe you anything.”
Jungkook watches Taehyung, “if me kissing someone still hurts you, then why are you marrying Min Yoongi?”
“If it still hurts to see me with someone else, why are you marrying him?” Jungkook reaches for Taehyung again, squeezing his knee, “why?”
Taehyung pulls away, gritting his teeth, “I don't owe you answers, Jungkook. I don't! It doesn't matter what I feel. You feel-”
“I feel like dying every time he touches you,” Jungkook whispers, “I feel like someone is reaching inside me and turning me inside out when you smile at him like you used to smile at me,” Jungkook looks away, “it kills me when your eyes fill with warmth when you see him.”
“I can't say it, can I?” Jungkook makes a face, “I can't say it when I am barely in your life. I can't say it when I am nothing to you. I can't demand shit from you when you gave it all to me and I lost it. I can't let it show because then you will cut me off anyway.”
“I don't want to lose the fragment of you I have,” Jungkook looks up at Taehyung, “please. Keep me,” he begs, “keep me as a nobody. I will never catch your eyes. I will just be around. A regular face in your friend group. Just… don't cut me off. Please. That's all I ask of you.”
Taehyung shakes his head, “you are not a nobody, Jungkook,” his voice comes out steady, Taehyung is thankful for that because he feels anything but steady, “I wish I could treat you like a nobody. I can't. You and I have history, and it's ugly. It's painful. I can't. Sorry.”
“I need to cut you off to keep me sane,” Taehyung's lips wobble, “I need to cut you off as a damaged finger before the infection spreads. I can't keep you. You are like a thorn lodged in my vein. I need to get you out before you reach my heart and burst it.”
“Knowingly or unknowingly, you hurt me, Jungkook,” Taehyung lets his vulnerability show, “you affect me. I can't have you. I can't be friends with someone who broke me for no reason. I can't do this. I am tired of hurting so badly. Please, leave me alone.”
“We have the same friend group, how will you avoid me?” Jungkook tries again.
“I won't avoid you,” Taehyung looks away, “if you leave me alone,” he looks down at his hands, “I will just pretend you don't exist at all.”
Taehyung gets up, “I need to do that to keep myself sane.”
Taehyung chuckles, “fake it till you make it. One day, I will look at you and feel nothing. One day, you will move on from the guilt you feel, too. It will be okay. We will be okay. Till then, please, leave me alone.”
Jungkook doesn't budge. He sits there, looking at Taehyung.
Taehyung looks Jungkook in the eyes, “don't break up with him. Don't,” his face contorts, “don't hurt your present for your past. You keep running in the same loop. Don't. I refuse to be a Taegeun in Ilsung's story. Please. Don't make me.”
Taehyung pushes past Jungkook to leave.
Jungkook sits there while Taehyung leaves. He looks at the waiter when the guy comes up to him to know if he will have something.
“A cup of coffee,” he whispers, not even sure what they have.
He sits in that booth, eyes focused on his own hands that keep folding and unfolding.
There is a sense of dread that fills him slowly. With each passing second, with the ticking of the clock, he feels the sour taste fill his mouth. He closes his eyes when his vision blurs.
It's not guilt. The emotion that swirls in the pit of his stomach. Not 'just' guilt.
It's something scary. It's paralysing. Jungkook finds himself shackled to it. That feeling hits him throughout the day. Out of nowhere, that thought bursts in him.
'Taehyung is getting married.'
The thought is so stupid, because, of course, he is. Why shouldn't he?
He is probably doing his daily chores and suddenly that feeling bursts in him. Spreads through his veins and he is immobile. That feeling has no name. It physically aches him. It makes him feel sick. It terrifies him.
It feels a lot like anxiety. Anxiety of losing someone.
Jungkook, in one of those moments, reached for Ilsung. Asking him on a date in a desperate attempt to break free from that shackle. Ilsung is a good distraction. Physically. But, mentally, Jungkook still can't cope. Every time he touches Ilsung, there is a part of him that hurts.
Jungkook doesn't understand that voice in his head, and it makes him frustrated. He gets angry. Some days he is downright angry. With himself. For bringing this upon himself.
He told Ilsung that their relationship will be a casual one. He doesn't like commitments.
Ilsung is a free spirit. He didn't have a problem. Instead, he found it relaxing because there won't be any expectations.
Jungkook nods when the waiter leaves his coffee in front of him. He stares at it.
'I hate coffee,' Taehyung's whiny voice rings in his ear, 'don't kiss me.'
That day is clear in Jungkook's memory. Both of them in his kitchen. Jungkook trying to steal a kiss from Taehyung, while Taehyung try to push him away.
'You hate beer too, so what? I shall never kiss you?' Jungkook had said, laughing against Taehyung's cheek.
Now that Jungkook think, there was no need. No need to kiss Taehyung so many times. No need to keep him around for that long. Even for a plan, even for his own gain, there was no need to chase him around like an idiot for a stupid kiss.
Those memories haunt him now.
Jungkook takes a sip of the coffee, closing his eyes.
'You said you aren't going to drink beer anymore,' Taehyung had said, letting Jungkook kiss him, 'what about that diet?'
Jungkook had nuzzled closer to him, 'have to finish the ones I already bought. No? Just ten left.'
Jungkook leans back against the booth, eyes casting outside. He watches the cars pass by. Nowadays, he just finds himself stranded like this. Just sitting around and doing nothing. Just trying not to think.
Jungkook didn't know that would be so hard.
As he finishes his coffee, his phone buzzes. Jungkook pulls it out to see Ilsung's message. Asking him if everything is alright or not. If he reached home or not.
Jungkook dials Ilsung's number.
“Hey,” Ilsung sounds breathless, “did you reach home? Is Tae fine? What happened?”
“He is fine,” Jungkook takes another sip of his coffee, “I had to check up on him. Sorry for leaving you like that.”
Ilsung chuckles, “yeah, no problem. If you want, you can come over?”
Jungkook shakes his head, “no. I just…” he swallows, “I have some cleaning to do.”
“Need help?” Ilsung asks, “I can come over.”
“No, it's okay,” Jungkook sighs, “I will see you tomorrow.”
Ilsung is quiet for a second, then he hums, “you are okay, right?”
Jungkook looks outside, “yeah. I am fine.”
He cuts the call then, getting up and leaving the café.
Jungkook gets to cleaning the mess that is his apartment. He silently works throughout the night, wondering since when his apartment became this messy. When he is done, he takes a shower, face tilting up to feel the warm water on the skin. His eyes burn from inside.
'It's time I let you go,' Jungkook thinks to himself, 'you are right. It's time I stop being selfish and let you go. You don't owe me your forgiveness. This is the guilt I will battle with alone,' Jungkook gets out of the shower, 'you don't owe me anything.'
Jungkook sleeps on the bed face first after pulling up a jogger. He wakes up to the pillow soaked and his eyes feeling itchy. He silently turns the pillow around and gets out of the bed.
“Hyung,” he calls Jaehyuk, “can I join office?”
Jaehyuk chokes, “wait, what? Who are you?”
Jungkook sighs, “come on, hyung.”
Jaehyuk smiles, “you can join the office any time, kook. You know it.”
Jungkook looks around his apartment, “I was thinking, maybe,” he goes to this kitchen, starting the coffee machine, “I can work at any of our overseas branches?”
“Why?” Jaehyuk sounds alert now, “kook? What's wrong? Is,” he pauses, “is Taegeun disturbing you in any way? I got a restraining order for him. Is he not-”
“It's not him, hyung,” Jungkook sits on a stool, looking at the living room in front of him, “I want to start afresh.”
“Is everything okay?” Jaehyuk asks, “I mean, Jungkook, you need to work under someone's supervision for now. I would like to be that person, I am not sure, going overseas will help.”
“I will manage,” Jungkook rubs his temple, “I want to start at the lowest of the ladder too.”
“Is this about Taehyung?” Jaehyuk asks, “Jungkook?”
Jungkook bites down on his lower lip when it wobbles, “no.”
Jaehyuk lets out a deep breath, “is he the reason you are thinking of leaving?”
Jungkook feels the heavy weight on his shoulders, and he crumbles, “I can't anymore.”
Jungkook buries his face in his arms, letting the tears roll out of his eyes.
“I can't do this anymore, hyung. He wants space, I want to give him that. I want to do everything he asks of me, and that's the only thing he asks. To not see me again.”
“He won't see me somehow, but I am seeing myself every day, hyung,” Jungkook sobs, “this apartment, where I come back after a day, haunts me with memories. Every wall closes in on me and every night I wake up in a cold sweat. My memories, our memories, are itched on these walls.”
“I can't escape, and I know I deserve hell for what I did but I can't take this anymore,” Jungkook feels the searing pain spread over his chest, “how did we get so messed up in three months?! How did we make memories worth lasting a lifetime in just ninety days?! I don't get it.”
“You can come back home,” Jaehyuk whispers, “or, I can get you another apartment-”
“This city reminds me of him,” Jungkook whispers, “the places I took him, the roads our bike travelled. The nights and days we spent together, I can't stay in this city anymore.”
“He is not out there in your apartment, Jungkook,” Jaehyuk mumbles, his voice tender, “he is not out on those streets. He is in your head. You...” Jaehyuk pauses, “feel for him.”
Jungkook squeezes his eyes shut, “yes. I feel guilty-”
“No,” Jaehyuck's voice sounds melancholic.
“Accept it, Jungkook,” Jaehyuk whispers, “acceptance is the first step of healing. You can't heal until you know what's hurting you.”
Jungkook shakes his head, “I will break completely if I accept it. I can't. I can't let my stupid brain catch up with it. I can't. I am scared.”
“I am scared, hyung,” Jungkook whispers, “I am scared that I will never recover if I voice it. I am running from it, and I hope one day I exhaust it out of my system. I can't accept it. Nothing good is ever going to come from it-”
“You have feelings for Taehyung,” Jaehyuk says.
The bile rises to his throat. Jungkook is dropping the phone and going over to the sink to empty his stomach. The way it tears out of his throat, Jungkook feels his head swirl.
He grasps the edge of the sink and tries to ground himself while he empties his stomach.
He has feelings for Taehyung, and Taehyung will always have resentment and sorrow for him.
Jungkook hasn't eaten anything last night, he feels nauseous. He slowly wipes his mouth, ignores Jaehyuk's questions about the noise, and slowly sinks to the floor. It all starts to crash.
Jungkook sits on the kitchen floor, knees bent and hugging them closer to his chest. He hears Jaehyuk's frantic voice but he can't reach for the device.
'If it's love, it shouldn't hurt so bad,' he heard it and he is not sure if the writer was right or his feelings are.
“I am drowning,” he says to no one in particular, “and, I sunk the boat myself. Now I am drowning and I have nowhere to go. I am drowning,” Jungkook hides his face in his hands, “and, it's all my fault. It's all my fault. What was I thinking? What was I thinking, hyung?”
Jungkook wipes his eyes, “there's nothing I can do. He has all the right to want nothing to do with me. I am just a baggage, and he has every right to tell me off. But, I am so selfish, hyung. I want this pain to leave. I want to sleep peacefully again. I want to stop!”
“I want to stop looking at his smiling face and have the mental image of him broken in front of me. It gives me nightmare, he gives me nightmares,” Jungkook buries his face in his lap, “his smile lures me in to sleep, and then he breaks, and I find myself paralysed on the bed.”
“It's like, he sits heavy on top of me and breaks into pieces. He screams at me, in pain, asks me, 'what can you do? How can you stop this?' and I can't move, hyung! I lie on my bed and watch him break, and I can't move a muscle to stop it. And each day he gets heavier on me.”
“It's like sleep paralysis,” Jungkook whispers, “and he is that nightmare. I lie and watch him break every night, and I can't gather his broken pieces. He screams in my face for me to do something, and I can't move an inch. So, I stopped sleeping. I just don't go near the bed.”
“When I do, it's because I am at my wit's end and exhausted enough to just pass out,” Jungkook shivers, “even then, I wake up in tears and I have these vivid dreams where I am running towards him, but the distance keeps getting worse, and my screams don't reach him anymore.”
“I am coming,” Jaehyuk sounds rushed, “kook, hold on, okay? I am coming.”
Jungkook doesn't hear it, he keeps rambling, “I am not a bad person,” he shakes his head, “I fcked up. I fcked up, and now I can't erase that. I can't stop thinking about it, and I can't do this anymore.”
Three months shouldn't take a toll like this. He wonders why it didn't feel this bad with Taegeun. There was more anger and vengeance than this gut-wrenching pain.
Losing Taehyung feels like a constant hollow, and Jungkook keeps falling. He keeps falling and it keeps hurting.
He succumbs to the darkness, not sure when he loses consciousness.
Jaehyuk comes in with his spare keys and carries Jungkook to the bed. He sits by the bedside and calls the doctor because Jungkook is burning up.
Jaehyuk calls Jin too, informing him about Jungkook.
“His stomach is empty,” doctor Choi makes a face, “he consumed too much coffee on empty stomach and that's why he vomited. The fever though,” he looks at Jaehyuk and Jin, “it's coming from mental stress. You said, he isn't sleeping much and going through some rough time. Right?”
Jaehyuk nods, he risks a glance at Jin, but Jin is staring at Jungkook. His eyes glossed over. Jaehyuk watches how Jin bites down on his quivering lips, hand clutching onto Jungkook's wrist.
“I think a vacation or change of air will do him good,” Dr. Choi says, “he needs rest.”
Jaehyuk watches Jin cup the side of Jungkook's face, wiping his closed eyes. Jin's hand trembles, his eyes never waver from Jungkook's face.
“Also,” doctor Choi looks at Jungkook, “I would suggest a psychiatrist. Whatever you told me, he needs to unload all those somewhere.”
Jaehyuk leads the doctor out and comes back to Jin sitting there, immobile.
“I don't want him to leave this country,” Jin whispers, still staring at Jungkook, “he doesn't take care of himself. I have to look after him all the time. What will he do overseas? In this state?”
Jin takes Jungkook's hand in his, lips pressing over those knuckles, “I can't let him go that far. He will be alone, and I won't be able to rest knowing there's so much distance between us. If he does something stupid,” Jin breaks down, “Jaehyuk, I can't. Make him stay here-”
“He needs to have some time away from here though, Jin,” Jaehyuk murmurs, eyes focused on Jungkook, “but, I am terrified of letting him go alone too. I don't want him alone with his thoughts.”
Jin nods in agreement, “I will go with him.”
Jaehyuk blinks, “your job and all?”
Jin doesn't look away from Jungkook, “you know, when he started all this, I warned him. I know him. I knew this is out of character for him, and he will end up hurting himself. He did just that,” he looks at Jaehyuk, “but, I want to be here for him to heal. I will find a way.”
“Should we,” Jaehyuk hesitates, “inform Tae-”
“No,” Jin wipes his eyes, “Tae is hurt. I love Jungkook, but I know what he did. Tae is reasonable in his demand. He doesn't need to be dragged in this mess anymore. He is going shopping today for his wedding. Let him be.”
“He and Jimin called me to show me the suits Tae is trying on, he,” Jin lets out a deep breath, “he looked happy, Jaehyuk. I don't want to ruin it for him. He is getting married. Let him enjoy the steps. Also,” Jin looks at Jungkook, “they both are harmful for each other.”
“They need to part ways in every sense now,” Jin watches Jungkook frown in his slumber, “Tae is to marry Yoongi and Jungkook needs to move forward. He is guilty, but it is what it is,” he looks at Jaehyuk, “he needs to learn to live with it and that's all we can hope for.”
“When is Taehyung getting married?” Jaehyuk asks, “you know?”
Jin nods, “in two weeks.”
Jaehyuk sucks in a startled breath, “that's... that's fast.”
Jin snorts, “I know. How about,” he thinks, “how about me and Jungkook stay out of the country for that few days?”
“What about Jimin?” Jaehyuk chuckles, “you three J come as a package deal. So...”
Jin falters, “Jimin offered to be Tae's best man as Tae has no one coming to his wedding. So, he can't come. It will be just the two of us.”
Jaehyuk nods, “fine, then. I will get everything done.”
“Hyung, just go home,” Jungkook walks out of the bedroom, “I will be fine. Okay? This is embarrassing. It's like you are babysitting me.”
“I am doing that since we met, what do you mean it's embarrassing to you now?” Jin asks, feigning hurt, “sit and have some dinner.”
Jungkook looks at the bowls and his stomach twists. He sits down anyway, knowing Jin won't let him go without eating at least something. He watches Jin plate the kimchi at last and push the bowls and dishes towards him. Jungkook starts to eat hesitantly. His head still hurting.
“You finish this,” Jin rounds the counter, “I will be back tomorrow morning.”
“Don't,” Jungkook shakes his head, “we are already going on a trip in a week. Namjoon hyung must feel left out. Have some time with him. I will be fine,” Jungkook gives Jin a teasing smile, “trust me.”
“He is busy with Yoongi,” Jin shrugs, putting out the meds Jungkook has to take, “I will send Jimin tomorrow morning then.”
“I don't need a babysitter, come on,” Jungkoo groans.
“He can do with some company,” Jin whispers, “think of this as you taking care of him instead.”
Jin comes up behind Jungkook to hug him from the back, nose buried in Jungkook's hair, “I will see you soon?”
Jungkook soaks up the warmth, his throat feeling tight, “yes,” he squeezes Jin's forearms, “yes, you will.”
Jin leaves and Jungkook goes to bed after taking the meds.
Jimin looks paler, the faded colour under his eyes speaks about his sleepless nights. But, that's all he shows. His antics, his words, his smiles, nothing shows anything more.
“How is the wedding preparation coming along?” Jungkook asks, huffs out a laugh when Jimin looks alert.
“I am not going to break if you share with me, chim,” Jungkook pulls Jimin down beside him, they are watching a movie, “you can share.”
“It's coming along great,” Jimin leans his head on Jungkook's shoulder, “it's a destination wedding. The preparations are already starting.”
“We just did the cake testing,” Jimin waves his hands, “three tiers and the design is so good, kookie. I was in awe. Also, the place they chose is like phenomenal. It's a palace, and we will be leaving two days ahead of the schedule to get everything ready-”
“Are you okay?”
Jungkook's question makes Jimin freeze for a second. Those eyes finally find him, and Jimin just stares for a second. Then a small smile curves those lips.
“They are so happy,” Jimin whispers, “it's hard to think of yourself so selfishly when they look so happy together.”
“Tae's family was only his father, he died. His own brother doesn't keep contact with him. If I am not there, he has no one,” Jimin swallows, “I have so many people around me who love me, kookie. I can't take myself away from him. He only has me.”
Jungkook stares at Jimin.
“Tae keeps telling me he will be fine,” Jimin chuckles, “he keeps asking me if I am fine. I think he picks up on my emotions but I can't look at his expectant face and tell him that I don't want to be a part of his happiness. I can't be that selfish to Tae. It's just impossible.”
“He gets overwhelmed with so much going on,” Jimin whispers, “he is not used to this lifestyle. He needs someone to fall back onto, and I am all he has.”
Jungkook pulls Jimin to himself, “and, you have us. You will always have me and Jin hyung.”
Jimin nods, “I know.”
“I will join you two after the wedding though,” Jimin smiles, “I will take care of myself then. I will leave as soon as the wedding is done.”
Jungkook's grip on Jimin's shoulder tightens, “how did we end up here?”
“Well, you royally f'cked up,” Jimin snorts, “so did I.”
“We will go on this trip,” Jungkook lists, “we will get shitfaced drunk and do all the sightseeing, be as irresponsible as possible,” he grins at Jimin, “we will make quite a few bad decisions and add more regrets to our list so this one gets buried underneath. Yeah?”
Jimin is quiet for a second, his eyes fixed on the television screen, “I don't want to call my first love a bad decision,” he lets out a garbled laugh, wiping his eyes, “shit, that sounds so corny! I,” he looks down at his hands, “am sorry.”
Jungkook swallows, watching Jimin.
“I feel like a fraud of a friend when Taehyung is in front of me,” Jimin's voice is thick, “I love his fiancé. I am trying to stop, Jungkook,” he looks at Jungkook helplessly, “trust me, I would rather die than bring trouble between them. I stay as far away from Yoongi as I can.”
“But, I haven't told Tae because I don't know if Yoongi would want Tae to know or not, and I feel so cheap,” Jimin's face crumbles, “he calls me his closest friend and I break every time. The day he finds out, he might never want to see my face, Jungkook. I am fearing that day…”
“We will get over it,” Jungkook kisses the top of Jimin's head, “you get it? We will get past this. Those two can have their happily ever after, and we will go back to our life. Okay? It will be fine.”
There is a sense of comfort, a twisted sense of comfort in Jungkook.
Knowing Jimin is in the same boat as him. Feeling the same way as he does, it feels assuring. He is not alone, struggling to stay afloat in the vast ocean with no land nearby. Having a person who feels the same is a comfort. Jungkook clings to it.
They will be fine.
“How was the session?” Jin asks as soon as Jungkook comes home from his first day in therapy.
“They do talk some shit,” Jungkook snorts, “but, I guess, I did well.”
“You don't have to keep a tab on it like it's a competition, kook,” Namjoon sighs, “just be yourself.”
Mr. Lee asked him to accept his feelings and voice it. At least to himself. Jungkook would rather die.
He eats dinner with Namjoon and Jin. Ignoring how they both dodge the elephant in the room. He would laugh at the way Namjoon swipes his hand over the coffee table...
To swipe off the invitation card from Jungkook's view. He ignores the heap of papers Namjoon has on the coffee table. His speech for the wedding.
Jungkook dutifully ignores Jin when he gets a message from someone that he hides his phone under the table to reply to.
“We are leaving the day after tomorrow, right?” Jungkook asks, “for the trip? I will go home. I haven't packed shit.”
Jin lets out a deep breath, “yeah. Yeah, tomorrow. You need any help?”
Jungkook gets up, waving his hand, “no need. I will be fine.”
He leaves their apartment.
As he gets on his bike, he gets a text from Jimin.
'We are leaving for the destination tomorrow.'
Jungkook sends a thumbs up. He feels nauseous. Jungkook doesn't go home. He finds himself on the highway, going for a drive that he is not sure leading where.
The phone call makes him stop on his track. He frowns when he sees the unknown number.
There's no reply. Jungkook looks at the road, his bike ready to join the track.
“Who's this?” he sighs, “okay, enjoy your solitary then.”
He cuts the call.
Jungkook is about to start the bike when his phone rings again. He picks it up. The same number.
“Hello?” he frowns, “can you hear me?”
Someone is on the line. Jungkook can hear other voices. Albeit dim, but they are there.
Jungkook rubs his temple, “whoever you are, just-”
Jungkook blinks when the call ends. He puts his phone in his pocket. He starts the bike and turns towards his apartment.
When he gets home, the security of his building gets up to bow to him.
“Sir, you had a visitor.”
Jungkook pauses in front of him, “a visitor? Who?”
“Min Yoongi,” the man says, “he waited for a few minutes before he told me to tell you to call him whenever you get home. Right away.”
Jungkook frowns, “I don't have that bastard's number. What does he think of himself?”
The man holds out a paper, “here's his number.”
Jungkook gets in the elevator and dials the number.
“Jungkook. I presume.”
Jungkook wants to punch someone, “pretentious prick, I presume,” he snorts, “you left your number here, man. Who were you expecting?”
Yoongi lets out a sigh, “I will ignore your unnecessary sarcasm.”
“As you know, I am getting married in a day,” Yoongi starts.
Jungkook snorts, “as you know? Damn, you make it sound like you are a king or something, and we all are your peasants-”
“For once, sound mature,” Yoongi sounds tired, “I am barely holding onto my temper right now.”
Jungkook doesn't answer to that.
Yoongi lets out a loud breath, “Taegeun showed up to my house today.”
Jungkook walks out of the elevator, pausing in the hallway, “what…?”
Yoongi hums, “congratulating Taehyung and saying it was from you both.”
Jungkook stops, “huh?”
“Telling him how him getting married is the best thing that happened because you ran to him,” Yoongi grits out, “listen, I can't care less where you run to, but since Taehyung heard it, he is spiralling. He is downright spiralling. I don't know what to do. I am not sur-”
“You are getting married to him,” Jungkook opens the door of his apartment, “don't you think it's your responsibility to take care of him and vice versa? I can run to anyone, I don't owe my loyalty to an engaged man, do I?”
Yoongi chuckles, “and, Jimin said you can help.”
“I am afraid, I can't,” Jungkook locks the door of his apartment, “Taehyung is not my business anymore. I don't know what you expect me to do here. Taehyung said himself that he doesn't want to do anything with me. I can be with whoever I want. I don't owe Taehyung an answer.”
“You owe me an answer,” Jimin's voice comes through the line, “Kook! I won't ask this of you if it was anyone else. You clearly don't owe any answer in that case, but this is Taegeun. He ruined Taehyung and you too. I need to know that you didn't run to him. Please.”
Jungkook sits on the couch, “I didn't,” he stares at the ceiling, “I would rather die than be anywhere near him. I don't know how that answer will help anyone.”
“Taehyung can do with that truth,” Yoongi whispers, “he broke down after hearing it.”
Jungkook closes his eyes.
“Let me get this straight,” Jungkook murmurs, “he is breaking down, and you left him to come and seek me out? And, now you are with Jimin? Where is Taehyung?”
Yoongi is quiet for a second, then he answers, “he doesn't want to see any of us right now. Refuses to see us.”
“And, you are still going to marry him?” Jungkook whispers.
Yoongi answers right away, “yes.”
Jungkook gives a sardonic smile, “I will hang up now. I hope it all gets sorted.”
He cuts the call and throws the phone across the room. The exhaustion fills him to the brim slowly.
When he wakes up the next time, it's still dark. The doorbell ringing makes Jungkook wince. He curses, almost crawling out of the couch to go and open the door.
When he opens it, blood drains from his face.
Taegeun stands there, his eyes focused on Jungkook.
Jungkook grips the doorknob, “what are you doing here?”
Taegeun steps inside, closer to Jungkook, “I missed you, kookie,” he reaches for Jungkook's shirt, grasping onto it, “I missed you so much.”
Jungkook's skin burns where Taegeun touches him, “are you out of your mind?”
Taegeun whimpers, “I tried to forget you, kookie. I just can't,” his eyes fill with tears, “I made a mistake-”
“You are legally bound to not be anywhere near me!” Jungkook hisses, “get off of me!”
Taegeun loops Jungkook's waist in his arms, hugging him desperately, “please.”
Jungkook shoves Taegeun away, “fuck! Get away from me,” he takes a step back, “get out, Taegeun. Get out before I punch you in the damn face!”
Taegeun takes another step forward, “I am not leaving tonight. You have to hear me out. I am done missing you, Jungkook. I am done.”
Jungkook watches, disgusted, “what are you doing?” as Taegeun starts to unbutton his shirt, “Taegeun-”
“Reminding you how I was,” Taegeun whispers, eyes focused on Jungkook while he shrugs out of his shirt and lets it drop on the floor, “how madly you wanted me.”
Jungkook feels repulsed. He doesn't want to reach out and take a hold of the man to throw him out of the apartment. He doesn't have it in him to move to get anywhere near Taegeun. He watches the man strip and turns away, feeling the bile rise to his throat.
“Shit, stop it!”
Jungkook recoils when those arms wrap around him, face burying on his back. Taegeun's fingers grasp at Jungkook's shirt. Jugnkook braces himself, ready to elbow the man and then punch him-
“I think he said to get off of him.”
Jungkook freezes, so does Taegeun.
Jungkook turns to see Yoongi by the doorstep. The man's face set in stone. His eyes focused on Taegeun.
“This is harassment, and you are going to be legally punished for it, you understand that, right?” Yoongi steps inside.
Jungkook elbows Taegeun, getting out of his grip.
Taegeun glares, “what the hell are you doing-”
“Sorting out your mess,” Yoongi murmurs, places his boot on the shirt and kicks it towards Taegeun, “now wear this. You don't have dignity, but I don't deserve to see such a repulsive view for long.”
Jungkook turns away from them.
He trembles as he walks up to the sink to splash some water on his face. He feels drained all over again.
“Don't open your damn mouth,” Yoongi hisses behind him, “get out of here. I will handle you later.”
Jungkook stands by the sink, listening to the footsteps.
Jungkook slowly turns to see Yoongi watching him. He can't even bring himself to be hostile. Jungkook feels like vomiting as he still feels Taegeun's touches.
“Take a shower,” Yoongi murmurs, “Jimin is in the car. I will call him up.”
“Why are you here?” Jungkook asks.
“To tell you Taehyung called me,” Yoongi murmurs, “he broke off the wedding.”
Jungkook just blinks for a second, Yoongi stares back. Both of them quiet.
Yoongi is the first one to break the silence, “he doesn't want to emotionally cheat on me. That's what he said.”
Jungkook is not sure what that means. Yoongi gets it from his expression. He snorts.
“God, you are a coconut head,” the elder rubs his temple, “you didn't get it. Anyway,” Yoongi looks away, “that's not my business. I just came here because I thought he might be here.”
“Where is he?” Jungkook pushes off of the counter, fear surging up in the pit of his stomach, “what do you mean you came to find him here?! Where is he? How the fuck did he leave your house?! Isn't it secured?! How did no one-”
Yoongi's eyes are observant, “I will find him.”
Jungkook rounds the counter, going to his landline and grabbing it, “the hell you will. You are here wasting your time!”
Yoongi watches Jungkook, “what are you doing?”
“Calling him,” Jungkook curses.
Yoongi blinks, “you... have his number memorized?”
Yoongi's phone rings, “yeah?” he nods, “oh, yeah, I am coming.”
He looks at Jungkook, “it was Jimin. He got where Taehyung is.”
Jungkook springs up, “where?”
Yoongi sighs, “in Jimin's apartment. He told Jimin he wants to be alone for now.”
Jungkook lets out a breath, “right.”
Before Yoongi could speak, Jimin comes to the door. He walks inside with a tired sigh.
“Tae wants us to leave him alone for now,” Jimin rubs his hands down his face, “I told my security to let him in. He will be there. He doesn't want to see any one of us right now.”
Yoongi watches Jimin go to sit on the couch, he looks back at Jungkook.
Jungkook sits on the stool, his eyes focused on the counter in front of him.
There is a silence none of them knows how to break. Yoongi stands.
Jimin speaks first, “I will stay here for the night.”
He doesn't match Yoongi's eyes, “you can go.”
Jungkook lies his forehead down on the counter, feeling the cool marble against his warm forehead. Yoongi's voice is low.
“I know Tae doesn't want us anywhere near him but,” Yoongi pauses, thinking, “I should drop by to check?”
Jimin nods, his head in his hands, “do whatever.”
“It's your house,” Yoongi deadpans.
Jimin looks up then, matching Yoongi's eyes with his red-rimmed ones, “my security team know you very well. They won't stop you. You can leave now.”
Yoongi doesn't move an inch.
Jimin gets up, “kook, I am using your shower. Get me some clothes.”
Jungkook can't care less. He stays where he is, eyes closed, trying to regulate his breathing. He hears Jimin slam the bedroom door with force.
“Leave,” Jungkook looks up at Yoongi, “us here. We will be fine.”
He notices how Yoongi's eyes are stuck on that closed door. Jungkook stares at the man. The look on the man's face makes a laugh burst out of Jungkook. Yoongi's startled eyes find Jungkook, and Jungkook is giggling. He feels delirious.
“God, you are not even upset.”
Yoongi looks over at Jungkook with a frown.
Jungkook wipes his eyes, “shit, you are not even upset about the wedding. You are,” Jungkook hides his face in his hands, laughing, “you are relieved. God, look at you!”
Yoongi gives him a long look, and then he turns and leaves.
Jungkook walks inside his bedroom and flops down on the bed. When Jimin doesn't come out in quite some time, he goes to his closet to find the man some clothes that he leaves on the sink counter.
“Are you crying in the shower like those saps?” he wonders aloud.
“I have access to your shampoo and body-soaps,” Jimin replies from the inside, “I will pour them all out if you don't leave me alone.”
Jungkook chuckles, “we are going for that trip together now. Okay?”
Jimin is quiet. Jungkook waits.
“Yeah,” Jimin answers then, “okay.”
The news is everywhere. The channels eating up on the possibilities like starving Piranhas. Jungkook sees how they camp outside Yoongi's house. The gossip is spreading like wildfire. Another scandal involving the Mins. Jungkook is glad he is leaving the country for a few weeks.
He sits in the plane, eyes cast outside. He nurses the wine and all he can think about is how Taehyung is holding up. He looks over at where Jimin is, lifelessly looking outside. Jin is sleeping.
Jungkook toys with the drink, turning it sour in his mouth.
He doesn't want to reach out. He doesn't want to overwhelm Taehyung because Taehyung was pretty clear about not wanting anything to do with him. But, he looks at Jimin and thinks, Taehyung has no one with him right now. He is probably not even talking to Yoongi.
He squirms on his seat, forcing himself to forget about it. He is not going to cross the line. He is not going to reach out and disturb Taehyung. He is the sole reason Taehyung is in this situation. He would much rather follow the only wish Taehyung had.
'Stay away from me.'
But, the urge doesn't go away. When they reach Hawaii, all Jungkook can think about is what Taehyung is doing right now. He wants to ask Jimin, but Jimin is looking so sick, Jungkook doesn't want to bother him. Jin is strict about them not talking about anything from home.
“I will take a walk,” Jungkook tells Jimin and Jin around the evening, “you want to come?”
Jimin shakes his head, “I need to sleep.”
Jin looks at Jungkook, “I am jet-lagged. You go ahead.”
Jungkook finds himself alone on the beach with strangers.
He looks up at the moon and lets out a deep breath.
“It will be another mistake,” he tells himself, pulling out his phone, “he thinks the worst of me anyway. He will add this to another time I ignored his direct wish.”
He dials Taehyung's number. Taehyung doesn't pick up.
Jungkook dials again, burying his toes into the sand.
On the last ring, Taehyung picks up. He doesn't say anything, but he doesn't cut the call either.
Jungkook digs his foot into the sand some more, his throat feeling dry all of a sudden. They stay on the line like that.
The more time passes, the more Jungkook's vision blurs. Taehyung doesn't cut the call, and Jungkook can't bring himself to utter a single word. He closes his eyes when the tears start to roll out of his eyes. The silent tears leave his cheeks warm, blotchy. Jungkook shudders.
“Every word that comes to mind feels too less and too wrong,” Jungkook whispers.
The other side is silent. Jungkook looks up at the moon.
“I tried to leave you alone-”
“You did,” Taehyung finally says, “I am completely alone.”
Jungkook shudders, “I keep fucking up.”
“Find someone to fuck it out of your system,” Taehyung's voice is monotonous, “to forget one, fuck up another. That's the plan. No?”
Jungkook grips the phone closer to his ear, “right.”
Taehyung sounds exhausted, “and, I joined in. Fucked up that one person who cared the most.”
“No,” Taehyung laughs, “no, I fucked up Jimin too. His name is dragged too. The media found their photos and now spreading lies that Yoongi hyung was cheating on me with him. Those photos are old. Media don't care. Neither does the country. They just want a gossip. A scandal.”
“You know the worst part?” Taehyung whispers, “hyung still calls me every hour to check up on me. Mimi still makes sure I am doing fine. But, I fucked them up,” he snorts, “maybe, in those three months, I learnt how to hurt the innocent ones from you well. Ehh?”
“Fck you, Jungkook,” Taehyung breaks down, “fck you.”
Jungkook watches the sea, “it's all my fault.”
“Yes, it is,” Taehyung hisses, sniffles, “it's all your fault. You are the reason we are all in this mess. You started this all, and now you escaped like the coward you are!”
“I wish you would do something,” Taehyung sounds desperate, “I wish you would hurt just as terribly as you keep hurting-”
“Why didn't you marry him?” Jungkook wonders, feeling the hollow in his chest grow bigger with Taehyung's each word, “if he was so perfect, why didn't you?”
“If he is so caring, so loving, so perfect, why didn't you?” Jungkook can't help the rage that storms in his brain, “if he is everything perfect, then why didn't you? You wanted me to stay away, I did. You wanted me to suffer…” he swallows, “you wanted me gone. I left.”
Jungkook lets out a delirious laugh, “what? You want me dead or something?”
The silence is heavy. Jungkook holds his breath. He wants Taehyung to say it. He, in his heart, begs for Taehyung to say yes. The messy side of his brain wants Taehyung to say yes.
He holds his breath.
“What I want,” Taehyung gives a hollow chuckle, “repulses me. Every day, when the sun comes up, the thought repulses me because my logical mind stands against it. But, then the night comes and there's something surreal about the darkness. At that moment, my heart fails my brain.”
“I don't want you dead,” Taehyung whispers, “I would never want you dead. That's not a thought I nurse at any time of the day. So, no, Jungkook. That's your mind and your guilt playing tricks on you. It's not me.”
“What do you want, then?” Jungkook wonders, “what repulses you?”
“You,” Taehyung mumbles, “you repulse me.”
Jungkook pushes his tongue against his cheek, closing his eyes, “that's always great to hear.”
Taehyung is quiet then. Jungkook doesn't say anything either.
Jungkook slowly moves, going to stand where the tides touch his feet.
“You know, my therapist told me, I should be honest with people,” Jungkook smiles at the tides, “let them know what's going on in my mind. It's supposed to make me feel lighter,” he sucks in a breath, “I wish you were here.”
Taehyung sucks in a startled breath.
Jungkook leans against a boulder, “I wish you were here. Telling me all this on my face,” he closes his eyes, “I would pull you in a hug. I want to,” his voice cracks, “I want to hold you in my arms because it feels like I am slipping away, and only you can ground me.”
“It feels like tide after tide is coming in and taking chunks of me away, and I just want to hold onto you,” Jungkook swallows, “you can punch me, kick me, shout at me. I will let you. I just want to hold you one last time. I just want to feel you in my arms one last time.”
“I wish you would come to me, just to leave,” Jungkook chuckles, blinking up at the moon, “I don't mind you leaving. Just, come to me once. Let me hold you for myself once. I didn't let myself feel anything in those 3 months. This time I want to feel it all. Once and for all.”
“I know this love is not here to last,” Jungkook feels tears trail out from the corners of his eyes, “so, I want to feel you in my arms one last time before you go. Please.”
Taehyung's voice sounds scared, he sounds breathless, “love?”
Jungkook closes his eyes, “yeah.”
“Are you out of your mind?” Taehyung chokes on his words, “is this the time you are confessing-”
“I am not,” Jungkook shakes his head, “confession is for the romantic, hopeful ones. I am stating a fact. Knowing, we drifted apart ages ago. Now, this is not a confession.”
“This is that bittersweet feeling that you are not here to stay, I don't deserve you to stay,” Jungkook feels his chest tighten, “this is me telling you that you didn't waste your time on me. You are leaving a shell of me behind. I am not the same anymore, and I never will be.”
“That feeling of worthlessness you talk about? When you say how I made you feel, I feel worse than that nowadays. You hurt because of me, I hurt because of myself constantly nowadays. Your efforts, your feelings, your time wasn't wasted, Taehyung. I felt it all.”
“And, I will feel it all for a long time,” Jungkook swallows, “you will move on and find that 'confession' type of love. But, I will be here for a long time. My feelings carved on me like burnt wounds that I created myself. I will carry it all, so you can let it go now.”
“I kept thinking what did you want, now I know,” Jungkook feels his knees weaken, “you wanted me to love you, and you wanted to leave knowing I loved you. So, here we are, Kim Taehyung. Here is your wish granted. I love you, and you can leave it all behind now.”
“Now I know what you wanted me to feel,” Jungkook grips his shirt, trying to regulate his breathing, “you wanted me to feel that helplessness where I want you in my arms but at the same time I know you deserve so much better and I have to accept it. Because, that's all I can do.”
“You felt humiliated that day when you saw me with Taegeun,” Jungkook mumbles, “you felt worthless. You probably kept asking yourself if your presence meant anything at all. It did,” Jungkook hates how his throat tightens up, “you taught me to love selflessly. You know?”
“So, yeah,” Jungkook leans fully back on the boulder, eyes on the sky, “you wanted me to feel the pain, and you wanted me to understand how you felt. I do. I am,” he breaks down, “so fucking sorry. Shit, I keep saying it, but I know it doesn't reach you. I am sorry. So sorry.”
“This is where I wanted you,” Taehyung whispers, “every waking hour, every minute, I wished for you to be here. Telling me these words. I wanted you to feel it. You don't know, I prayed for you to be here.”
Jungkook nods, “I am here now.”
Taehyung sighs, “now, I can move on.”
Jungkook feels those words in his heart. Each one slices through him. He bites back the physical pain that he feels. He swallows around the bile that rises to his throat.
Hope is a fucked up thing. It never dies. Jungkook watches his hope tear apart in front of him.
“Just so you know,” Taehyung murmurs, “I will never wish death upon you. You get it?”
“Yeah,” Jungkook answers monotonously, “that would be freeing. I get it,” he blinks back the tears that gather in his eyes, “I will go now.”
Taehyung hums, “goodbye.”
Taehyung cuts the call.
Jungkook feels Jimin's hand in his, both of them walking on the beach. Jin is talking to Namjoon as he walks ahead. Jungkook takes a long look at Jimin, and Jimin looks up at him.
“What?” Jimin wonders, “you keep staring.”
Jungkook rubs his thumb over Jimin's knuckles, “Chim…”
“Is everything alright?” Jungkook stops, pulling Jimin to a halt too, “you are barely here.”
Jimin tries to smile up at him, “I am fine.”
“Don't bullshit me,” Jungkook frowns, “you are fooling no one.”
Jimin swallows, “I am dreading the return. You know? I don't want to.”
“The news is still raving about you and Yoongi?” Jungkook pulls Jimin in a side hug, starting to walk, “let me talk to hyung. He can address it-”
“Don't,” Jimin shakes his head, “my father doesn't want to involve your family in this. He found a solution. I'll just trust him.”
“I don't trust that man,” Jungkook shakes his head, “if anything,” he gives Jimin a cheeky smile, “we will get married and run away. We don't have to ever face that country again.”
Jimin smiles, his old, warm smile that fills Jungkook with warmth, “you are like a brother to me.”
“I have wiped snot off your nose when you would hurt yourself during playtimes or lunch in school,” Jimin shakes his head, “so, no. I am not marrying you. But, yeah. We can run away platonically.”
Jungkook wants to. He doesn't want to go back home either.
Taehyung doesn't contact him after that day and Jungkook doesn't expect him to. He is glad Taehyung didn't. He is not sure what he would say to the man. He is taking his time sorting himself out. Jungkook texts Ilsung, calls him up later that night to break it all off.
He dials Jaehyuk's number to tell him about Taegeun.
“I want him behind the bars,” Jungkook says, “file a case of harassment and stalking against him, hyung. I have proofs. My security footage will back us up.”
He spends most of the days wandering around, lost in himself.
“I will just join the office,” Jungkook tells Jaehyuk, “Jin hyung won't let me out of his sight and it will be good. Jimin works for you. I will have some known faces around me.”
Jaehyuk laughs, “you have literally your brother working here, but, okay. Whatever sails your boat.”
When the day finally comes, they will leave, Jungkook watches how sick Jimin looks.
“It will be fine,” Jungkook rubs his back, “you are going to be fine.”
“My dad won't tell me what he planned,” Jimin frets, “he just told me I will know when I land.”
Jungkook holds him close.
When they land, the media is crowding the gates. Jungkook and Jin stare at the amount of cameras and the flashes start to get off the moment they see Jimin. Jungkook feels Jimin's hand go clammy in his clutch and Jimin's eyes are wide, startled, looking at those hounding cameras.
“Just hold onto me,” Jungkook says, gritting his teeth, “we got this.”
'After cheating with Mr. Min, did you go on a vacation with Jeon Jungkook?' 'Are you still friends with Mr. Min's ex-fiance?' 'Are you two dating?' 'Is it true Mr. Min broke off the wedding for you?'
Jungkook grabs a camera that is almost up Jimin's face and smashes it on the floor. Jin grasps onto Jimin's other side, glaring at the crowd.
“Come anywhere near him,” Jungkook glares at the flashes, “I will tear you apart!” He looks at Jimin, “follow me. I got this.”
“If we knew, we would call our guards,” Jungkook hisses, “why didn't your dad tell you this can happen?!”
Jimin shakes his head, “no idea,” he stutters, “can we hurry?”
Jungkook groans, pushing the crowd, “I am trying. God, there are too many!”
Jungkook feels suffocated.
Jungkook is about to shove a few more out of the way when he sees the guards rushing towards them. They surround the three.
“What is going on?” Jin wonders, looking around, “kook, you called Jaehyuk?”
“Do I look like I got the time?!” Jungkook huffs, “probably Jimin's dad?!”
“This way, sirs,” one guard leads them towards a black SUV.
“We got a car,” Jungkook frowns, “we don't need-”
The door of the car opens, Yoongi steps out of it.
“What are you doing here?!” Jungkook grits his teeth, “what the hell-”
Yoongi's eyes are on Jimin, “get in.”
Jungkook stands between Yoongi and Jimin, “no. He is not going anywhere with you.”
Yoongi's eyes find Jungkook, “he can't afford not to,” his eyes flicker over to Jin, “you are the mature one here. Understand. He needs to come with me.”
Jin hesitates, “but, why alone?”
Yoongi shrugs, “he needs to. Decide if you want to silently come with me or want to create a drama and feed the vultures more.”
Jimin places a hand on Jungkook's back, “I will be fine.”
Jungkook goes to protest, but Jin holds him back, shaking his head.
While Jimin goes inside the car, Yoongi turns to leave. Jungkook grabs Yoongi's elbow.
“If anything happens to him,” Jungkook steps up to Yoongi, towering over him, “you have no idea what I will do.”
Yoongi's lips curl as if he is watching a kid, “I know what you can do, kid.”
He pats Jungkook's cheek, “create a mess for yourself, that's all you can do,” Yoongi chuckles, jerking his hand free and going around the car to get in.
Jungkook watches the car leave, “What did that old d'ck plan?!” he looks at Jin, “What is it?!”
Jin shakes his head.
Jungkook goes home and keeps checking his phone to see if Jimin calls or answers his messages, but nothing.
When Jimin doesn't reply to him till the next day, Jungkook goes over to his house.
When the door opens, Jungkook falters.
Taehyung holds the door, eyes on Jungkook.
Jungkook feels his heart pound against his ribcage. Taehyung looks at him with no expression on his face. Jungkook, on the other hand, feels breathless, his eyes stuck on Taehyung. The urge to reach out, to see if Taehyung is really there or not, is palpable in him.
“Hi,” Jungkook whispers, cringes at himself right away.
Taehyung nods, “mimi is sleeping. He just fell asleep. I don't think this is the right time for you to wake him.”
Jungkook blinks, “who...” then he shakes his head, “chim, right. Yeah,” his face warms up, “I forgot.”
“You... forgot?” Taehyung blinks.
Jungkook doesn't match Taehyung's eyes, “anyway,” he waves his hand, “I will wait. I want to talk to him. You can leave-”
“You can't tell me what to do when I opened the door and you are still outside,” Taehyung deadpans, “I am his friend too.”
“What are you going to do?” Jungkook arches a brow, “slam the door on my face?”
“I mean,” Taehyung shrugs, “I can, if I want.”
Jungkook snorts, “I would like to see you try!”
Taehyung stares at him for a second before stepping back and pushing the door forward.
Jungkook places a hand on the door, pushing it back, “are you out of your mind?!”
Taehyung shrugs, “you literally just came and told me off. You deserved it.”
Jungkook gapes at the man while Taehyung struts over to the couch to flop down on it. Jungkook closes the door slowly.
“Don't make noise,” Taehyung starts the television, “he just fell asleep. Don't disturb him.”
“He is my friend first!” Jungkook hisses, “stop narrating him to me like I don't know him better than you do!”
“He called me his soulmate,” Taehyung holds his chin out, “so…”
Jungkook blinks, “if he called me something that cheesy, I would knock his head somewhere. That's why he called you that.”
“Grapes are sour, but whatever,” Taehyung flickers through the channels.
Jungkook feels oddly furious. The more he looks at Taehyung, the angrier he gets.
He goes to the kitchen to pour himself a glass of water. His eyes boring holes on the back of Taehyung's head. In his distraction, Jungkook drops the glass, the metallic sound makes Taehyung look over.
“One minute,” Taehyung says, “you just came in a minute ago and look at you!”
“You can't just follow simple rules, can you?” Taehyung gets off the couch, coming over, “a glass, you can't even hold that?!”
Jungkook bends to pick it up, “it slipped.”
“Surely,” Taehyung crosses his arms over his chest, “accidents just happen around you. Not your fault.”
“Nothing ever is your fault,” Taehyung stands against the counter, leaning against it casually, “things just happen to go south around you. You are not to be blamed-”
“Shut the fuck up!” Jungkook turns to face Taehyung, his eyes fixed on a glare, “I have had enough of you!”
“Stop taunting me,” Jungkook slams the glass down on the counter behind Taehyung, “but then, you are not talking about the damn glass, are you?”
Taehyung doesn't falter seeing Jungkook so close, “you talk like you have everyone figured out in that little head of yours.”
“I have you figured out,” Jungkook steps closer, eyes never wavering from Taehyung's, “you, at this point, just want to blame everything on me. Just everything.”
Taehyung watches him, expression never wavering from blankness, “you are an idiot, and you keep proving that.”
Jungkook feels days' worth of frustration course through him, “maybe I should act on it, then.”
Taehyung arches a brow, “you always do? You are always acting on your stupidity. Are you trying to tell me, you weren't acting on your stupidity up until now? You always-”
Jungkook reaches around Taehyung to take a hold of his nape, “well, I am already a stupid. No need to try to act all mature around you then,” he surges forward, pulling Taehyung into a kiss.
Taehyung's hands fly up to grasp onto Jungkook's shirt, nails digging on his chest.
Jungkook knew it was coming. The shove that has him stumbling. He looks at the man who is panting. His lips moist. Jungkook feels maddening. He stands there, breathing erratic, waiting for Taehyung to probably slap him. He expects it at this point.
Taehyung's glasses are askew on his nose. He wipes his lips with the back of his hand. Jungkook holds his breath when Taehyung just stares at him. Both of them daring the other to do something.
When Jungkook doesn't move, Taehyung takes that one step forward. Jungkook stumbles, losing his footing, when those arms loop around his shoulder and Taehyung is pulling him in another kiss. This time leading it himself. Jungkook grasps onto Taehyung's waist to steady himself.
“What are we doing?” Jungkook wonders, hand travelling under Taehyung's shirt.
“Being stupid,” Taehyung kisses him again, “being you. An idiot.”
Jungkook bites down on Taehyung's lower lip, earning a hiss from the elder, “we will regret it.”
Taehyung hums, “I know. Later.”
Jungkook takes a hold of Taehyung's glasses, “get these off,” he pulls it off, “keep coming between us.”
Taehyung lets Jungkook lead him to the counter, place the glasses on top of it, “now I am blind.”
“Old man,” Jungkook kisses down Taehyung's throat, “I see.”
Taehyung pulls away when the sound of the door opening reaches them. He wipes his mouth and picks up his glasses to wear. Jungkook is a little dazed, confused, watching Taehyung while Taehyung turns to see Jimin walking out of the bedroom.
“Good morning,” Taehyung smiles.
Jimin looks over and nods, absent-mindedly going to sit on the couch. Jungkook frowns when Jimin doesn't acknowledge his presence. He goes around the counter to sit beside the man.
“Hey,” he takes Jimin's hand in his, “are you okay? You didn't reply to my texts.”
Jimin's eyes find him and there is nothing in them. Jimin looks lost. Jungkook squeezes his hand, looking over at Taehyung, who comes to sit on the tea-table, looking at Jimin.
“I didn't know how you will take the news,” Jimin whispers, “so, I called Tae.”
Jungkook looks over at Taehyung quizzically, but Taehyung doesn't look at him.
“I am marrying Jaehyuk hyung,” Jimin whispers, his hand twitching in Jungkook's grip.
“Huh?!” Jungkook chokes on his word.
“What?!” Taehyung gapes.
Jimin nods, “that's the only solution here.”
Jungkook springs up on his feet, “there's no way you came to this solution?! What the f'ck, chim, you don't hear yourself, do you?!”
Taehyung looks at Jimin, “why, though?”
Jungkook lets out a delirious laugh, “are you, out of all of us, asking why? Because, of you!”
Taehyung looks at him then, brows furrowed in confusion, “what do you mean by that?!”
Jungkook laughs, “what do I mean by that?! You and your Yoongi hyung tore him apart piece by piece. Now you have the audacity to act like you know nothing!”
Taehyung stares, “what?”
“You have to be blind to not know your Yoongi hyung used him and when he realized chim has feelings for him, he fled,” Jungkook throws his hands up, “you knew, and you kept him around-”
Taehyung whips around to face Jimin, “you like Yoongi hyung?!”
Jimin recoils, “no.”
Taehyung grasps onto Jimin's hands, “you like him? Mimi, I thought it was just a hookup!”
Jungkook huffs out a laugh, “god, you are so naive-”
“I am naive,” Taehyung glares at Jungkook, “learnt it the hard way, trust me! You would know!”
Jungkook rubs his temple, “stop that!”
“I apologized, I begged for mercy, what more do you want?!” Jungkook demands.
Taehyung springs up on his feet, “you were physically present to create the mess. Your verbal apologies mean shit to me!”
Jungkook gapes, “you told me to leave! You told me you don't want to see me!”
Taehyung lets out a laugh, “you really did what I said? Or, it was the easiest way to take?! You just chose to ran because you knew there's nothing you can do to change my mind!”
Jungkook grits his teeth, “you need to decide what you want from me, really! I am tired of this!”
“I want nothing to do with you!” Taehyung hisses.
Jungkook snorts, “was singing quite a different song in the kitchen, though!”
Taehyung shrugs, “people make mistakes. You, out of all of us, should know about that!”
Jimin lies down on the couch, “wake me up when you are done.”
Taehyung looks at Jimin and kneels by his side, “mimi, I had no idea. You have to believe me. I would never come between you two-”
“Yeah, right,” Jungkook kneels by Jimin's side too, “god, you are so blind for this.”
Taehyung curses, “hyung said it was nothing but a hookup!”
“He is right,” Jimin takes Taehyung's hand in his, “it was just a hookup. You have nothing to blame yourself for,” he gives Jungkook a pointed stare when Jungkook opens his mouth, “also, it's a closed chapter. Why are we even talking about it?”
Jungkook sighs, “Jaehyuk, really?”
“He said he will take care of dad's business,” Jimin swallows, “eomma looked so relieved, Kookie. I couldn't say no.”
Taehyung sucks on his lower lip, “but, do you want this?”
Jungkook shakes his head, “you had a crush on him growing up. Does that help?”
Taehyung grimaces, “you talk like an idiot. Of course, that didn't help. Why would he look this miserable if it helped?!”
Jungkook glares at Taehyung, “now you can understand how he feels by his expression? Were you blind during your wedding ruckus?!”
Jimin groans, “not again.”
Taehyung looks at Jimin, “but-”
“Look, I am not trying to find a solution,” Jimin shakes his head, “I don't want you two to get all defensive or shit like that. I am okay with this,” he looks at Jungkook, nodding, “hyung is good to me. I like him. I can't ask for better.”
Taehyung swallows, “I thought the same about Yoongi hyung. He is best to me, he treats me like I am made of something precious. He is nice to me. But,” he looks away, “those reasons start to dwindle in front of the realization that you don't really... have feelings for them.”
Taehyung looks anywhere but at their eyes, “that realization comes out of nowhere, and it hits you that... you will have to 'learn' to love that person and that's the scariest thought. You know?”
Jimin looks at Taehyung, “how did you get to it?”
Taehyung snorts, “well...”
Taehyung shakes his head, “I don't want to talk about it. I just think, when you are tied to a person and you console your heart into falling in love, that's not really... I don't know how to say it. That's not it.”
Jimin sits up, shaking his head, “I feel different, though.”
“In that room full of people, he stood up for me,” Jimin looks at his hands, “he told my own father off and stood up to Mr. Min who kept accusing me for ruining his son's perfectly planned life. I think I am past that age where your type of love gets me going.”
“I don't believe in love at all, to be honest,” Jimin shrugs, “I believe in mutual respect. I can live my life if my partner respects me. That's enough for me. Really.”
Jungkook sighs, “damn, it's cringing me out to think of you as my brother-in-law.”
Jimin laughs, “shut up.”
Taehyung squeezes Jimin's hand in his, “you look sick to your stomach, mimi. You don't look like a person who is relieved.”
Jimin shakes his head, “hey, I just went through shit yesterday. I am reeling from it. You two need to shut up and just stay by my side for today. Please.”
Taehyung gets up to sit beside Jimin, hugging him from the side, “you have me.”
Jimin pulls Jungkook on his other side, “that's enough. Cuddle me.”
“When is this wedding taking place?” Jungkook wonders, “hyung didn't even tell me.”
Jimin snorts, “it's just a court wedding.”
Jungkook looks at Jimin, his chest tightening, “you might not believe in love, but, you had your entire wedding planned with me and Jin hyung in that. It wasn't supposed to be a court marriage.”
Jimin's eyes gloss over, “well, turns out, life doesn't go as per my plans.”
Taehyung snuggles closer to Jimin, “it will be fine. I am sure hyung is a good person,” he looks at Jimin, “he will be good to you.”
Jimin gives a small smile, “thank you, Tae.”
Jungkook still looks a little hesitant, but Jimin pulls him in and Jungkook hugs him back.
When Taehyung's phone rings, Jungkook sees who is calling. His jaw locks while Taehyung picks up the call and leaves the room.
Jungkook looks at Jimin, “Yoongi called him.”
Jimin sighs, “drop it, kookie. They are close. Why can't you accept it?”
Jungkook simply can't.
He watches Taehyung come back to the room, sitting down beside Jimin.
“Do you want anything to eat?” Jungkook gets up, “I will make something.”
Jimin looks at Taehyung, “are you staying? We can order something.”
Taehyung hesitates, “I... uhh...”
Jungkook rolls his eyes.
Dern, a #yoonminau
“All you have to do is be his friend,” Mr. Park spreads the files on the table, placing another hand on Jimin's back, “be on his good side and earn us this partnership. Yeah? There's nothing wrong, Minnie. You are just being a friend. Don't think too much.”
“You can leave if you have to, Tae,” Jimin smiles, “I don't mind.”
Taehyung shakes his head, “no, no. I will just tell-”
“Don't hold yourself back on my behalf,” Jimin waves his hand, “if you need to meet Yoongi hyung, you can go.”
Taehyung gapes, “how did you-”
“You can't really hide your emotions, Tae,” Jimin nods, “it's fine. Go.”
Jungkook sits beside Jimin, flicking through the channels.
“No,” Taehyung sits down too, “I will reschedule, I really,” he looks at Jimin, “I really don't want to leave you right now. He'll get it.”
That night, when Jimin falls asleep, Jungkook pulls the quilt over him. Taehyung dims the light and they both walk out of the bedroom.
Taehyung looks outside, it's raining. He lets out a deep sigh, checking for cabs on the phone. Jungkook shrugs on his jacket, eyeing him.
“I can drop you off,” Jungkook murmurs, looking at anything but Taehyung, “it's almost midnight, you won't get a cab-”
“Can we talk?” Taehyung asks, voice giving away nothing, “cut to the chase, Jungkook. I am not really fond of going round and round. Let's talk.”
“What's there to talk-” Jungkook pauses when Taehyung speaks up.
“We kissed,” Taehyung's voice gives nothing away, “you told me how you feel about me. Are you really going to run from it all?”
“Does any of that matter?” Jungkook wonders, “does it? I don't think it does.”
“I can't move on from what we had,” Taehyung says, “I don't think I moved on from what we had. That night, when Taegeun hyung told me you went back to him, it felt like that wound was opened again, and I was reliving that nightmare.”
Jungkook has nothing to say to that.
“I realized, I was trying to bury the hatchet, but I never left that place,” Taehyung gulps, “and, then you called me, told me about how you felt...” Taehyung's face contorts, “what were you expecting me to say?”
“That you understood,” Jungkook whispers, “you get it?”
Taehyung gives a short laugh, “get, what, Jungkook? That in that messy three months, you fell that deeply for me?” he shakes his head, “that, you claimed to love Taegeun hyung and now you are doing just the same about me?”
“What do you want me to say?” Jungkook wonders.
“I called you that night,” Taehyung swallows, “after Taegeun hyung left, in my blind state, I called you. Twice,” his voice cracks, “and, that scared the living shit out of me. That, I was still expecting something from you. A denial. A refusal. It felt so important to me.”
Jungkook steps up to Taehyung in his desperation, “I didn't go to him,” he swallows, shaking his head, “I didn't. He means nothing to me-”
“If we start it all over again,” Taehyung whispers, “this time, we both know what we have and what it means. Will you accept?”
Taehyung's eyes hold Jungkook in place, “I want that control over the situation, I realized. Last time, seeing you like that, I felt like a puppet,” Taehyung murmurs, “played while you held the strings. This time, I want to be in control of myself. Will you accept?”
“Accept what?” Jungkook wonders, clueless.
Taehyung gives him a small smile that doesn't reach his eyes at all, “to be in an open relationship with me? Just sex. Nothing else. Just as it was. I never experienced something more from you, so I don't want more. Just this much.”
“What do you mean by open?” Jungkook wonders.
Taehyung chuckles, “well, it means, you are free to sleep around. So am I. Just,” he shrugs, “we can sleep with each other too. I think I am physically attracted to you.”
Jungkook feels breathless, his head pounding, “I'm confused.”
“Ask me anything, Jungkook,” Taehyung's smile is mirthful, “trust me, unlike you, I will be honest.”
Jungkook ignores the jab, “why do you think I will agree to this?”
“I don't,” Taehyung shakes his head, “I am just putting forward an offer. You can clearly deny it.”
“Date me,” Jungkook tries, reaching to take a hold of Taehyung's wrist, “we can date. This time, we can date-”
“I don't want to date you though,” Taehyung tilts his head, “I don't want to get in that deep with you. But, I can't move past you, either. So, this is all I offer.”
“You can break it off any moment,” Taehyung smiles, “this time, I will be prepared and it will be a clean closure. No?”
Jungkook's grip on Taehyung's wrist tightens, “you just want revenge.”
“I am offering,” Taehyung jerks his shoulders, “you can choose. We are grown-ups here.”
“I just need to rewrite the past,” Taehyung says, “and, you sounded like you want to get past that guilt too. Because,” he gives Jungkook a smile, “there's no way you fell in love with me, Jungkook. You don't know what love feels like. You confused guilt and want with love.”
“Anyway,” Taehyung tugs on his jacket, buttoning it, “you can decide. Whatever it is, it's just going to be casual. You can't ask me who else is in my life. I won't ask you the same. It's just sex and that's it. I was clear, right?” he rounds Jungkook, “see you around, Jungkook.”
Jungkook watches Taehyung go for the door and he can't watch Taehyung leave all over again. There is this part in him that gets blinded by the fear that this time Taehyung will be gone forever. A sick part of him wants Taehyung. In any way, in any shape, he would have Jungkook.
“If you start to see someone,” Jungkook murmurs, “then we will break it off. Right?”
Taehyung stops, looking over his shoulder at Jungkook, “of course, it's an open relationship, Jungkook. If I find someone I want to settle in a proper relationship with, we will break this off.”
Jungkook walks up to Taehyung, right in front of him, “and, if, down the road, you realize, my feelings are true,” he takes Taehyung's hands in his, “if you feel my feelings for you are more than just need, will you give us a chance? A fair chance?”
Taehyung nods, “yeah.”
“Can you do this?” Taehyung wonders, voice husky, “can you lower your self-respect to that standard where you accept this?”
Jungkook hears each word and hears the sarcasm laced through them. He knows Taehyung is testing his limits. Jungkook knows Taehyung expects a denial.
“I told you to keep me, remember?” Jungkook murmurs, “I told you to keep me in any way you want.”
Taehyung's eyes widen just a little, but the man composes his face right away, “so...”
Jungkook holds his breath, nods, “let's do this. Let's be in an open relationship.”
Jungkook is angry, at himself, for accepting something like this. But, he knows he wants Taehyung to be near him. In any way.
Taehyung lets Jungkook entangle their fingers, pull him closer.
“You will think about us,” Jungkook asks, “right?”
Taehyung hums, “of course.”
Jungkook captures Taehyung's lips in a kiss, “you are lying.”
Taehyung smiles against Jungkook's lips, “you would know.”
Jungkook lets go of Taehyung's hands, holding onto his waist. The kiss is desperate. It breaks him, piece by piece. With each passing second.
Taehyung cups his face, kissing him deeply, “I missed you.”
That ache in Jungkook intensifies, he squeezes his eyes closed, “another lie?”
Taehyung's lips move against his, “I will let you figure it out. Now,” he looks at Jungkook, pulling away, “your place or mine?”
Jungkook pulls back, “mine.”
Taehyung shrugs, “lead the way.”
Jungkook takes Taehyung to his bike. It's raining. He takes Taehyung home.
“Go and shower,” Jungkook whispers against Taehyung's lips, “I will bring you clothes.”
Taehyung chuckles, “no need. I will leave soon.”
Jungkook pulls away, “take a shower before you catch cold,” he kisses Taehyung's temple, “go on.”
Taehyung hesitates, looking around and back at Jungkook. Jungkook nods. When Taehyung goes to shower, Jungkook sits on the kitchen stool. His head held between his hands.
“I won't let you change,” Jungkook whispers, “I won't,” his voice clogs up, “I won't be the reason you turn into someone like your brother. I won't, Tae,” his vision blurs, “this is you hurting. So, I will make sure you stop hurting and then, if you want, I will leave you alone.”
Jungkook changes himself and comes to the kitchen to cook something for dinner. Taehyung comes out of the bedroom, dressed in Jungkook's clothes. A jogger and a T-shirt. For a second, Taehyung hesitates, then he is walking up to Jungkook.
“I told you I didn't come to stay.”
Jungkook nods, eyes on the bowl, “I know you are not here to stay,” his eyes find Taehyung then, he gives a small smile to the elder, “but, as long as you are here,” his voice dips, turning hoarse, “let me treat you right.”
Taehyung's expression falters for a second, “I'm fine.”
Jungkook takes Taehyung to sit on the stool, holds out the bowls. He sits beside Taehyung. Taehyung picks up the chopsticks hesitantly, risking a glance at Jungkook and then starting to eat.
Something twists in Jungkook while he watches Taehyung eat. Lips jutted out as he chews.
Taehyung's cheeks rounding up as he slurps the noodles. The habits are there. All those old habits. The Taehyung Jungkook knows play hide and seek with him in those habits. That Taehyung he lost in his stupidity peeks through those cracks, and Jungkook cracks further.
Jungkook takes a hold of Taehyung's chin and turns his face to kiss him. Taehyung tastes of the noodles, his eyes a little wide.
Jungkook savours it, pulling back to watch the man, “held myself back so many times,” he whispers, “this time, I won't.”
Taehyung looks breathless.
“You look beautiful when you concentrate on eating,” Jungkook murmurs, “pouting so cutely,” he kisses Taehyung's lips again, “your eyes filling up with tears if there's a single shred of spice in the food,” he caresses Taehyung's cheekbone, “you are so beautiful, Taehyung.”
Taehyung wipes his lips, looking away, “what are you doing?” he wonders, voice breathless.
“Telling you everything I hid those three months,” Jungkook cups Taehyung's face, “you want to have control over the situation, have it. I will gladly let you if that frees me.”
He peppers kisses all over Taehyung's face, “if you take the control, I can lose it,” he pulls Taehyung in a hug, nose buried in Taehyung's hair, “I can trust you to lead us wherever you want us. I will just do what my heart says,” he pulls back, “and, you have to take it.”
“I didn't come here for this,” Taehyung pulls away, “you can't...”
“We can have sex,” Jungkook whispers, “but, you have to wait,” he points at the bowls, “I need to wash those.”
Taehyung blinks at those and back at Jungkook. Jungkook nods.
As he goes over, Taehyung follows.
Taehyung watches Jungkook wash the dishes. He sighs, taking them from Jungkook to wipe them dry. Jungkook pauses, the muscle memories taking him back to those months when they would do this. Taehyung would help him without him asking. Jungkook can't believe he lost it all.
When done, Jungkook leads Taehyung to his bed. He lies Taehyung down, hovering over him. The déjà vu hits him like a truck, and Jungkook feels tears well in his eyes. He doesn't hide them. He presses kisses on Taehyung's eyelids, slowly going down till his lips.
“The moonlight looks so beautiful on you,” Jungkook whispers, “you know that, right?”
Taehyung doesn't say anything. He watches Jungkook, lets Jungkook kiss him.
“I missed you,” Jungkook buries his face against Taehyung's neck, “I missed you here. So close to me.”
“I won't stay,” Taehyung reminds him, “I am not here to stay.”
“I know,” Jungkook nods, “you are not here to stay.”
Taehyung lets Jungkook roll them over, pulling Taehyung to his chest.
“You can take the lead,” Jungkook murmurs, “do whatever you want. Go on.”
Taehyung hesitates for a second before he pulls Jungkook's shirt off. He is propped up on his elbow, his eyes trailing over Jungkook's tattoos and Taehyung lets his hand trace those lines, he takes his time mapping out the patterns while Jungkook lies there, watching him.
Taehyung's eyes never waver from Jungkook's tattoos, “never got to do this,” he speaks, as if to himself, “you were always rushing. Hurrying through it all.”
Jungkook feels the touch burn, his heart cracks all over again, “didn't want to linger. Didn't want to get caught.”
“Caught in your lies?” Taehyung wonders.
“Caught in your web,” Jungkook answers right away.
Those eyes find him, and Jungkook is breathless. Taehyung leans in, kissing him. Jungkook lets the man take whatever he wants. Taehyung kisses him for ages, slow, languid, breathless.
Taehyung pulls back to watch Jungkook, his own eyes glossy. Jungkook watches how Taehyung falters, his hand stutters on its glide. Jungkook reaches to pull Taehyung to his chest.
“What are you doing?” Taehyung says, “you are killing my boner here.”
Jungkook hears the crack.
“Then, let's not,” Jungkook murmurs, “let's not do it,” he blinks back tears, “let's sleep.”
Taehyung shakes his head, pulling away, “I am not here to stay. If you don't want, tell me, I will leav-”
“Maybe in the morning,” Jungkook tries, holding Taehyung to himself, “not now?”
“I can't stay,” Taehyung pulls away, turning his back to Jungkook, “I told you, if you don't want, just tell me.”
“I want you,” Jungkook sits up, hugging Taehyung from the back, “but,” he places his chin on Taehyung's shoulder, “you said I killed your boner. So...”
“Stay,” Jungkook hears the way that word escapes him, as if he is on his knees, begging, “stay,” he holds Taehyung tightly, afraid of the moment Taehyung will pull away, “please. Stay, Taehyung,” he buries his face against Taehyung's neck, “it's raining so heavily outside.”
“Stay till it stops raining,” Jungkook swallows, “stay till the sun's up. Please.”
Taehyung looks at the window, his shoulders sagging, “it's raining.”
Jungkook nods, “yes. Heavily.”
Taehyung looks at him, those eyes guarded, “I will leave as soon as the rain stops.”
Jungkook watches Taehyung lie down, and he wonders how will the rain stop if Taehyung leaves. He lies down behind Taehyung and wonders how will he face another day if Taehyung decides to leave. That thought is terrifying, and Jungkook is pulling Taehyung closer.
He turns Taehyung on his back, takes the pillow Taehyung was hugging. He replaces it with himself. Jungkook lies on Taehyung's chest, face buried in Taehyung's neck. Tears roll out of his eyes when Taehyung's arms wrap around him.
He falls asleep to a dreamless sleep after ages.
The first thing he feels is the coldness underneath him. The next thing he feels is the mattress. Jungkook yawns, arching his back and rolling over. For a second, he looks at the ceiling and wonders why he feels so hollow right away. Then it hits him.
Taehyung. He was here.
Jungkook gets out of the bed, almost toppling over to reach the washroom. No one is there. He walks out to check if Taehyung is in the kitchen. Maybe making his favourite tea. He is not.
Jungkook takes those dreaded steps towards the shoe-stands. Taehyung's shoes aren't there.
For a second the hollow grows in him, and then Jungkook lets in a deep breath, filling his lungs. He shouldn't expect more than Taehyung promised. He shouldn't expect the man to stick around when he said he won't. Jungkook goes back to the bedroom. Sitting down at the edge.
He watches the rain still falling steadily. He smiles at the droplets over the glass of his window.
He lies down, on his back, looking at the ceiling. With a tired sigh, he closes his eyes. The sound of the rain is soothing in a sense. He picks up his phone from the nightstand.
'I hope you reached home safe,' he types, 'good morning.'
He closes the phone. He is not going to wait for a reply, he is sure never going to come. Jungkook is glad he has things to do that day. He is joining his job, he is glad he will be busy for the rest of the day.
When he is sitting in his cubicle, in the middle of work, he picks up his phone again.
'I don't know if we should have discussed this, but, I will just write to you,' he types, 'you can ignore or mute, yeah? I joined the office today. I hope it goes well. You take care. Bye.'
Jungkook eats his lunch in his cubicle, refusing his brother's offer to join him. He doesn't want to take advantage of being a Jeon. He pulls out his phone, notices Taehyung didn't read his texts. Or, maybe he has the option off where Jungkook would know he read it or not.
Jungkook puts the phone down, going through his lunch and then going back to work. When he is done for the first day, he walks out of the office and rides his bike to the nearest bookshop. He goes to the alley where sell comics. He had seen Taehyung read those with fascination.
He buys a few and walks out of the shop. When he dials Taehyung's number, Taehyung doesn't pick up. Jungkook goes to his building.
He dials the number again. This time Taehyung picks up.
Jungkook holds his breath, “there's something I need to give you.”
“I am out for the night, Jungkook,” Taehyung speaks, there's music playing behind him, “I can't tonight.”
“No problem,” Jungkook shakes his head, “I will leave it with the security. Yeah?”
“Yeah, okay-” Taehyung stops when there's another voice.
“Tae, hurry up,” someone says.
Taehyung speaks through the line, rushed, “I will go now. Bye.”
The call ends. Jungkook looks at the device for a second. Then he puts it back in his pocket and goes over to the security to give him the comics and explain to him who it is for.
He goes home afterwards.
Jungkook eats, something playing on the screen that he doesn't really pick up on. His eyes are focused on the screen, though. He washes the dishes thoroughly and then goes to sit on the balcony.
'Good night, Tae,' he types on his phone, pauses, 'tell me if these disturb you.'
Nothing comes, and Jungkook doesn't expect anything. He goes to sleep. The next morning, he takes a picture of the sun and sends it to Taehyung.
'You said, you never saw a sunrise,' he writes, 'here. It's not a myth, sir. You just wake up so late.'
He goes to office.
It's around midday when he sees a notification from Jin.
'Party alert,' Jin writes, 'Namjoon's birthday. We are throwing him a surprise party tomorrow.'
Jungkook sends back a thumbs up and checks Taehyung's messages. There's nothing. He goes back to work.
Jungkook calls Taehyung after leaving the office again. Taehyung doesn't pick up. Both times. He buys a bouquet and goes to Taehyung's building. He leaves the bouquet with the security again.
“Did he say anything last night,” Jungkook asks, “when you gave him the parcel?”
The security is a kind, middle-aged man. He shakes his head.
“He took it with his mails and left,” he says.
Jungkook nods, he wasn't expecting much, “thank you.”
The security nods. Jungkook goes home. He falls asleep on the couch, watching a movie that bores him to sleep.
'I wish I knew how you look in the morning,' Jungkook writes the next morning, 'I never got to see it. I wonder if you are a grumpy person or a refreshed person in the morning. I wish I didn't mess up so bad and kept you. So, I knew. Good morning, Tae. I will go now.'
'I am so bored in work today,' he writes in the middle of the lunch break, 'I have to do this for the rest of my life. I hope your day is going better. Are you coming to the party? I will be there. See you, yeah?'
Jungkook goes home to shower, change and leave for the party.
When he reaches there, the party is going on full blast. Jin invited their co-workers, friends and the entire building. Namjoon himself looks a little breathless. Jungkook watches Jimin at the corner, talking to someone Jungkook doesn't know. He goes over to Namjoon to wish him.
As he is finishing up, Namjoon looks over and gives a small smile.
“Happy birthday, hyung. Sorry, I couldn't find anything else.”
Jungkook turns to see Taehyung holding out a bonsai, a purple ribbon tied around the tub. Namjoon grins, already in love, as he takes it.
Jungkook feels breathless. Taehyung is wearing a loud red jacket over a silk white shirt. His denim jeans almost printed on his legs. He looks bubbly, his smile wide at Namjoon.
Namjoon looks over Taehyung's shoulder at someone, and Taehyung pulls the guy beside him.
“This is Seojoon hyung,” Taehyung says, smile a little wider, “he is my supervisor-”
“Not out of work,” Seojoon has a calm smile on his lips, “out of work, I am his friend.”
Taehyung looks up at the guy with a soft smile, “right, friend.”
They share a small smile.
Taehyung's eyes then find Jungkook and his smile dims, “oh, I didn't see you,” he says softly, “hi.”
Jungkook swallows, forcing a small nod, “h-hi.”
'Did you get the flowers?' 'Did you read the comics?' 'Did you read my messages?' 'Do you have me muted?'
Jungkook wants to ask.
Taehyung looks at Seojoon, “let me introduce you to my friends,” he smiles at Namjoon, “excuse us?” he looks at Jungkook with a nod and pulls Seojoon towards Jimin.
Jungkook watches him go.
“Let him go.”
Jungkook flinches, looking at Namjoon, “huh?”
Namjoon's eyes are sombre, “you pushed him off of the cliff,” he says softly, “now, you can't pull him back up. The more you hold onto him, the deeper the cut will be,” Namjoon squeezes Jungkook's shoulder, “now, all you can do is, let him go and hope he finds his safety net.”
Namjoon matches Jungkook's eyes with a nod, “and I think,” he looks over at where Taehyung and Seojoon is, “he will be falling into a safety net. You regret it, you tried, you did everything but sometimes, you have to learn to let it go. Your everything can mean nothing to some.”
“All your efforts can be seen as nothing to some,” Namjoon sighs, “at that point, you have to accept it and let it go. You can't forever stay rooted in that spot, Jungkook. You have your path waiting. Walk. You can't keep hurting and hoping he gets it. He might never. Then what?”
“If it was Jin hyung,” Jungkook whispers, “whom you hurt, would you just give up like this?”
Namjoon watches him, “I will know I did wrong. I will try to mend it and if he doesn't accept it, I will forever regret it but never try to reach for him again. You know?”
“Well,” Jungkook looks over at Taehyung, “I will give up the day I feel like I can't take it anymore,” he watches how Taehyung laughs at something Seojoon says, “I have no expectation, hyung. I just hope to make him see he is worth it and that's it. I don't want anything else.”
Namjoon pats his back, “I am here, just so you know. Along with Jin hyung. I am here. You can talk to me.”
Jungkook groans when he sees Yoongi, “oh, god,” he turns on his feet, almost rushing to leave the space before he does something stupid.
Jungkook goes to Jin, helping the man with everything. He keeps looking over, to see how Yoongi goes to join Taehyung and Seojoon. He lets out a snort when Jimin leaves them to come over to Jungkook and Jin.
“He really repels us, eh?” Jungkook asks.
Jimin sighs, “shut up.”
“God, he could be ugly,” Jin says, stacking the red cups one by one, “it would be easy to hate him! He is hot!”
Jungkook watches Yoongi, “I don't see it.”
Jin sighs, “you are blind then.”
“Can you two stop?” Jimin hisses, “let's focus on that Seojoon guy. What's the deal?”
“What's the deal?” Jin wonders.
“He is hot!” Jimin whispers, “and, I kind of melted as he started talking.”
“You are...” Jin blinks, “you are engaged!”
Jimin rolls his eyes, looking over at Seojoon, “no, but look at him.”
Jungkook groans, “stop being so thirsty all the time!”
Jin looks down at the plates in front of him, “your fiancé is coming over with them. Shut up. Act cool!”
Jungkook blinks at Jin, “your 'act cool,' is pouring random drinks in one cup?”
“Is there something to drink?” Yoongi asks, looking around.
“I forgot to buy the liquid poison,” Jungkook smiles, “give me a moment. I will be right back.”
Yoongi ignores him, taking a bottle in his hand and pouring himself a glass. Taehyung peeks over his shoulder.
“I will have something non-alcoholic, please. Hyung?”
“Self-help counter,” Jin says, “whatever you want, get it yourself.”
Taehyung looks at Seojoon, “what do you want, hyung?”
Seojoon looks at Yoongi, “whatever he is having. Looks good.”
Yoongi pours a glass for him, and Taehyung stares at the drinks.
Jungkook sighs, “wait.”
He pours some soft drink in a glass and holds it out for Taehyung. Taehyung takes it hesitantly, sipping slowly. Jungkook watches him lick his lips and then look away. Jungkook lets out a sigh when Taehyung takes another sip.
“Do you dance?” Taehyung asks Seojoon, “hyung?”
“Sure,” Seojoon looks over at the dance floor that is the living room, “but, just so you know, I am terrible at it.”
Taehyung smiles, “I won't judge.”
Jungkook watches Taehyung leave the glass on the counter to go with Seojoon.
Jimin sighs, “so, there goes my chance.”
Yoongi snorts, making himself another drink, “yes, because after having Tae, you think he would spare you a glance.”
“Hey,” Jungkook snatches Yoongi's cup from his hand, making him startle, “talk like that to him in front of me again, I will punch you! Be respectful!”
“There are too many bottles,” Jungkook hisses, “you won't want one smashing on your head, would you?”
Yoongi chuckles, “I would like to see you try.”
“I will,” Jungkook steps up to Yoongi, “I have a record of acting before thinking. I will, and this time I won't regret it!”
“Let it be,” Jimin holds Jungkook's hand, pulling him back, “ignore him, kook.”
“No,” Jungkook glares, “enough is enough. I don't care, in front of me, you better be respectful to him. You get it?”
Yoongi takes his cup and rolls his eyes, walking away from the counter.
“God, how do you even tolerate him for a minute?!” Jungkook looks at Jimin, “I want to strangle him so bad!”
Jimin waves his hand, “I ignore him, now, come on. Let's dance.”
Jungkook lets Jimin pull him on the dance floor, both of them swaying side by side.
Jungkook can't help but look over. Taehyung is talking to Seojoon. Their heads bowed closer, Taehyung's lips against Seojoon's ear.
“Don't look at them,” Jimin says, “I have learnt it. Ignore what hurts you if you can't do anything about it.”
Jungkook swallows, “like Yoongi?”
Jimin snorts, “he doesn't hurt anymore,” he looks over Jungkook's shoulder at the man, “he told me we are free to sleep around. Even after our wedding,” Jimin looks up at Jungkook, “so, that's fun.”
Jungkook looks back at Taehyung, seeing the distance between them close slowly.
Seojoon's hand is low on Taehyung's hips, his smile fond while he moves with Taehyung.
“Don't look at them,” Jimin murmurs, “kookie. Don't look at them.”
Jungkook looks at Jimin, his eyes burning, “I have no reason or rights to feel like this. He owes me nothing. Nothing.”
Jimin's eyes reflect the hurt Jungkook feels, and it's somehow grounding. Jimin hugs him.
“Just for that reason,” Jimin says, “don't look at them.”
Jungkook can't help it. He watches how Seojoon says something to make Taehyung blush, and then they are off the dance floor.
Jungkook pulls away from Jimin, “I will go home,” he shakes his head, “I need to rest.”
Jimin reaches for him, “let me go with you-” he pauses when an arm loops around his waist, Yoongi right behind him.
Jungkook turns to leave, he doesn't want to be here anymore.
Jungkook gets out of the apartment and freezes when he sees Taehyung and Seojoon at the end of the corridor. Taehyung is leaning against the wall with Seojoon right in front of him. There is a flirty smile on Taehyung's lips. His hand playing with Seojoon's jacket.
Jungkook swiftly turns his back to them, rushing for the elevator. He gets inside and presses the button. He feels nauseous.
Jungkook doesn't let himself think, he goes to the bike and starts it. That night, he finds himself by the Han river. Slowly riding, deep in thoughts.
He buys a white rose from a shop that's almost closing and goes to Taehyung's building.
The security guard gives him a smile this time, “hello.”
Jungkook holds out the rose, “did he take the flowers last night?”
The security guard nods, “he came home very late at night.”
“Around dawn,” the guard nods, “the flowers were withering by the time I gave them to him.”
Jungkook pauses, “around dawn?”
The guard nods, “yes.”
The hollow in the pit of his stomach grows, and Jungkook is dismissing it.
“Thank you,” he bows, “for doing this.”
Jungkook goes home then.
'Good night, Taehyung,' he writes when he curls up on the bed, 'I think I have nothing to tell you tonight.'
When Jungkook wakes up, there is a message from Jin about him leaving without any words. Another from Jimin, asking if he is okay.
He opens Taehyung's chat first, ignoring his last night's message.
'I hope you got the rose,' Jungkook types, 'I think I will get you something else from now on. Something that won't wither by the time you receive it. I will think something up, good morning, Tae.'
That night, he leaves a rose he makes out of paper. The guard looks at it and back at him. Jungkook gives an awkward smile.
“It won't wither,” he says, “no?”
There is something on the guard's expression, he swallows with a small smile, “no. Gifts like these never do.”
Jungkook hates himself for asking, “did he come home last night?”
The guard nods, “he did.”
Jugnkook can't bring himself to ask anything more. The guard watches him, probably expecting something. When Jungkook doesn't ask anything more, he sighs.
Jungkook swallows, “alone?”
The smile the guard gives is tender, “yes,” he nods, “he was alone. I went to the washroom. He was waiting for me to come back, so he can ask if you left anything or not.”
Jungkook feels the words hit him, he balls his fists, “oh,” he bows, “thank you.”
“I told you,” the guard nods, “gifts like these never wither.”
Jungkook doesn't stay any longer. He turns and leaves. When he reaches home, he clicks a photo of the moon and sends it to Taehyung.
'The moon is beautiful tonight.'
Jungkook is about to fall asleep when his phone pings.
He sighs, pulling it to himself to look at it. When he does, he freezes.
It's Taehyung. It's a single message.
Jungkook feels the way his heart tears into pieces. He lies down, staring at the message.
'Don't reply to me,' Jungkook writes back, 'don't give me a piece of hope to lure me in. I am doing good, just speaking into the void. Don't show me hope, Tae. Don't reply to me. I don't want you to reply to me.'
Jungkook sends, closing his phone for the night.
The next morning, he ignores that one text. Chalks it up as a mistake from Taehyung's side.
It's Sunday. Jungkook makes himself some breakfast and sits on his couch.
'I am so bored,' he writes to Taehyung, 'wish we could go on a bike ride,' he sighs, 'wish you were here.'
Jungkook stares at the last line.
'Wish you were here.'
He stares at it until his vision is blurring. He wipes his eyes, typing again.
'Ignore that, lol, I am too sleepy,' he hurries, 'how are you? Have a great Sunday. Enjoy, yeah?'
He sends it and locks his phone.
Jimin's call makes Jungkook jump, “yeah?”
Jimin sounds bored, “I need to go buy a ring, join me?”
Jungkook sighs, “why me? What ring?”
“The wedding ring,” Jimin hisses, “Jin hyung is busy with Namjoon hyung. Taehyung is on a weekend trip with Seojoon hyung-”
Jungkook gulps, “I will go with you. Just pick me up.”
Jimin cuts the call and Jungkook opens his chat with Taehyung.
'It is,' he wonders if Taehyung was looking at Seojoon while thinking this. He wonders if Taehyung was beside Seojoon when he sent this.
'I think I know how you felt when you wondered if I was thinking about Taegeun while being with you,' Jungkook types, chuckling, 'today I am in your shoes and you were right. It hurts to think the person who is on your mind non-stop isn't even thinking about you.'
He hits send.
“He is home,” the guard says when Jungkook shows up.
Cho Hayoon, the guard, is like a friendly elder to Jungkook after almost two months of their interactions.
“He just got home,” Hayoon says, “you can give him the gift yourself tonight.”
Jungkook holds the rose in his hand.
Jungkook looks at the elevator and back at the man in front of him. He swallows, in has been two months since Jungkook is dropping by here every night. Two months since Taehyung's message. After that one message, he went back to ignoring Jungkook. As if that never happened.
“No,” Jungkook places the rose on the small counter in front of Hayoon and forces a smile on his lips, “it's okay, hyung. You can give it to him.”
Hayoon looks at him with a sombre expression, “Jungkookah,” his eyes wander over Jungkook's face, “take care, okay?”
Jungkook nods, “you too, hyung,” he goes over to the parking lot where his bike is.
As he is leaving the complex, he watches a man walk inside through the main gate. Jungkook's bike slows down when he sees it's Seojoon. The man hasn't seen him, walking towards the building.
Seojoon is in his casual clothes. He is carrying a paper bag with him. Jungkook watches the man go, and he faces the front. There is a heavy feeling in his heart as he bikes out of the complex.
That night, Jungkook types a long message like any other night and deletes it. He stares at his screen for a long time before letting out a deep breath.
'Good night, Taehyung,' he sends just that before going to bed himself.
Nowadays, there's this feeling before Jungkook types the messages. That he is imposing. That he is being a bother. That Taehyung is nice like that, and he can't really tell Jungkook off on his face. So, he just ignores the texts. There is this hesitance in Jungkook that grows.
'You can tell me off, you know?' Jungkook types one day, sitting in his cubicle in the office, 'if I bother you with these texts. You can tell me. I will just leave you roses and stop this. Tell me, okay? I won't disturb you.'
He scrolls their chat. Watching only his messages.
Jungkook closes the app, looking at the screen of the computer in front of him. He submits the works he has due and goes back to open the new tasks that are stored in his email.
It's like a routine by now. He works, hangs out with Jin and Jimin, then goes home.
“The wedding will be a huge one,” Jimin says that night, lying on the carpet, head resting on Jin's lap and legs on Jungkook's, “you can bring one date.”
Jungkook looks at the man, “I thought you said it would just be a court wedding.”
Jimin shrugs, “we got into a fight.”
Jin winces, “how does a fight led to a huge wedding?”
Jimin sucks onto a straw, eyes on the screen, “I chunk a vase at him for saying that I deserve that minimum effort. Then I went to whine to his grandma,” he looks at Jin, “you should see the power she holds in that house.”
Jungkook chuckles, “and, she likes you.”
Jimin hums, “I didn't want a huge wedding either but the way he turns purple every time he has to attend the preparations,” Jimin smirks, “I love it. He can't deny his grandma and I can't stop watching him suffer.”
Jin sighs, “oh, god.”
Jungkook watches the television, “well, I will go alone. I don't have a date.”
Jimin and Jin share a look. Jimin sits up, looking at Jungkook.
“Maybe,” Jimin takes Jungkook's hand in his, “you should have a date?” his voice is soft, “I mean, it has been months since you-”
“No, I am fine,” Jungkook shakes his head, “I will go alone.”
Jimin's grip tightens on Jungkook's hand, “come on, Kookie, it has been months. How long will you just wait around for him to come back?”
The question catches Jungkook off guard. Those two pairs of eyes are on him.
“I don't want him to come back,” Jungkook frowns, “this is not about him, okay? I just don't want to get involved with someone right now, okay? I am taking this time to look after myself. As my therapist said, I should revive myself before I get into anything serious.”
“Fine,” Jimin lets go of his hand, “just so you know, he is bringing a date. He said so himself,” his eyes are accusing on Jungkook, “I am just telling you, so you can brace yourself.”
“I don't hav-”
Jin shakes his head, “you can lie to the world, kook. No need to do it to us.”
“I don't know why you are doing this,” Jin swallows, “why you are putting yourself through so much, but if this is what you need to do, we will support you. If this is the way you want to revive yourself, go ahead. Just don't tell us you want nothing in return. Please.”
“It's clear that you want him,” Jin looks down at his hands, “I have seen you around Taegeun and you were not like this. Whatever you had for him, it was, even in physical, reciprocated for that one year. Here you are, almost two and a half months into this mess. Alone.”
“I won't judge Tae,” Jimin shakes his head, “he doesn't talk to me about you. He is quiet and he never opens up. I don't know what's going on with him, so I won't judge him. But, I know you and I see you struggle. You have overpaid the debt, Koo. I really think you did.”
“That's the point, chim,” Jungkook looks at anywhere but them, “you can't compare hurt. You can't compare the intensity of hurt. You can't go around and tell someone they overpaid or underpaid hurt. I have learnt people hurt differently and heals different too.”
“I keep wondering what he is feeling, what he is thinking,” Jungkook whispers, “I think, according to you, he has taken enough time, I have given enough effort. But, you don't know how he feels. Maybe he heals slower than us. Maybe his hurt runs deeper. I don't know.”
“He kept hurting because of Taegeun since he was a kid, and, I hit him right on that nerve,” Jungkook swallows, “maybe, the front he made for himself with all those years' worth of effort broke in my hands and I did that. I still feel I haven't done enough. I still feel guilty.”
“I know, I should stop and one day I will,” Jungkook chuckles, “I am a human too. One day I will dry out too. I just hope, I can show him that I tried till I dried out. I just hope he knows I tried till there was nothing left of me to go on. I don't want to give up before that.”
“Because,” Jungkook's voice comes out tight, “I saw him break down to nothing in front of me. I saw him shatter in pieces in front of me. I want him to know I saw him break. I understood his hurt that I caused. I want him to understand that he changed me. I hope he knows.”
Jimin's voice breaks his trance, “you will never dry out, kookie,” he wipes his eyes, throwing himself on Jungkook to hug him, “me and Jin hyung will keep filling you up. You got us. You are loved, too. And, at least from us, you should hear this. You deserve love too.”
Jin crowds them, pulling them both in his arms, “yes. You know there are different levels of punishments for crimes, right? You did your time and I hope Taehyung gets it. If he doesn't, that's okay. We get you. We love you. We will always love you.”
Jungkook lets them hug him.
“So, if this is what you need to do,” Jimin nods, “do it. Whenever you feel drained, turn to us. We will be right here. Because we know you are a human, not a god, you made a mistake, we all do. You regret it, that's something not all of us feel. Some never feels regret, and +
“even less own up to their mistakes. You owned up to yours, and you are trying to get past it. I am proud of that.”
“We both are,” Jin rubs his back, “you owned up to it, you are working your ass off to pay back for it. That's all you can do.”
Jungkook hugs them, “thank you.”
The frame is a little crooked. Taehyung fixes it, watching it go back to being crooked. He sighs, sitting up on his knees and fixing the frame again. He traces the flowers in the frame with his eyes, holding the frame for a few moments.
He sits down on the bed, eyes still fixed on the frame. He watches the flowers, his eyes never wavering. He is not sure how long he is sitting on the bed, just staring, but he doesn't want to be anywhere else anyway.
'They won't wither now,' he thinks back to that message.
Taehyung wraps his arms around himself, eyes glued on the flowers over his headboard. He feels his eyes blurring.
'You can tell me off, you know?'
Taehyung hurries to wipe the tear that rolls down his cheek. He blinks back the moisture in his eyes, forcing them back.
His eyes go to the vases he keeps those paper roses in. Those newspapers folded and curved into perfection. He watches them. Counts them one by one. There are 72 of them by now. He might buy another vase soon.
Or, maybe... Taehyung swallows, he can ask Jungkook to stop.
He feels selfish. Every time Jungkook sends a text, he feels selfish for holding on. He feels selfish every time he sees Jungkook. He wants to tell Jungkook to stop. Tell him it's okay. He is forgiven. He really is. Taehyung is doing fine. With each passing day, he is doing fine.
'Would you like to go to this party,' Seojoon's voice rings in his ears, 'it's a couple only event,' the elder's ears are a little red, 'you know?'
It's Seojoon's way of asking him out on a date. On a first date. Taehyung watches the man and thinks how Seojoon is so different.
Seojoon doesn't come with baggage of his past. Seojoon doesn't come with any ill intention. He doesn't come to remind Taehyung of a past that time to time still makes him falter. He is a clean slate. He is a fresh start. He is not related to anything messy.
Taehyung picks up his phone, his eyes travelling to the frame one last time before he opens the chat.
'You should stop now,' he types, 'I moved on, Jungkook. I am past it all,' his eyes blur, 'I found reasons to believe I am good on my own.'
He looks at those roses, one by one.
He hits send. He watches the screen and chokes on a breath when he sees the bubbles appear. He grips the phone, staring at it. There is this palpation, there is this tightening of his chest that he can't explain. One message comes and he is shuddering.
'Okay, whatever you want.'
'One last time, good morning.'
Taehyung sees the notifications pouring in. Seojoon sending a few memes and good morning texts. The notifications keep piling up over Jungkook's text, and Taehyung keeps swiping them away, one by one. Impatiently wiping them off of the screen.
One wrong swipe, and he is taken to Seojoon's chat box. Taehyung rushes, closing it to get back to Jungkook's chat. There is nothing more. There is never going to be. He cut it off. For good. He doesn't want to string Jungkook along anymore.
There won't be any more roses. Where were he going to put them anyway?
He doesn't have to go and buy another vase. Good riddance.
He doesn't have to go and check with the security guard every night for those. Good riddance.
He doesn't have to look forward to each night.
He doesn't have to go through the entire day in a rush because nothing interests him but coming home to that one rose anymore.
He doesn't have to come keep checking his phone so obsessively anymore.
He doesn't have to read those texts over and over again. He is free now.
Taehyung places the phone on the bed.
He doesn't have to cry himself to sleep anymore. He doesn't have to question himself over and over again. He doesn't have to shout at himself for...
Taehyung gets off the bed to go to shower.
He leans his head against the tiles, and he lets his tears finally roll out of his eyes.
“I am tired of making excuses to myself,” Taehyung says to the emptiness around him, “for waiting for your texts. For looking forward to having that one rose every night. I am tired of it.”
“I am tired of lying to myself,” Taehyung tilts his head up to let the shower hit his face, “telling myself I am fine being this cold to you. I am tired of being a person I am not,” he trembles under the shower, “I am tired of pretending to be someone I am not.”
“But, I have no other choice, do I?” Taehyung hides his face in his hands, “how do I even start to explain to myself that I have feelings for you. You. How do I ever look at myself and accept it? How do I look at you and tell you, I want you, even after what you did.”
“How do I explain my feelings to my self-respect?” Taehyung sniffles, “how do I accept that with each text, with each rose, with each passing day, I keep falling for you and that terrifies me. I can't let you know. I can't let you know about my feelings. Never.”
“It will lead nowhere,” Taehyung sinks on his knees, sitting down on the floor of the shower, “when someone asks why would you fall for someone who hurt you so bad, what would I say? What reason do I have? What if you think you can get away again? What if you hurt me again?”
“What if you hurt me again?” Taehyung buries his face in his arms, “I can't take that risk. I am too afraid to test myself like that. I am terrified, Jungkook. I am so terrified. I thought I will be able to hurt you. To be a completely different person and play you.”
“I thought I will let you see how much it hurts to be played like that, but,” Taehyung hugs himself, “with each unanswered text, with each rose, I feel like I am breaking myself more than I am breaking you. I can't be vindictive, apparently. I can't be that cold. I can't.”
“I read your texts and imagine myself in your place and it fucking hurts so bad. I look at those roses and know you came to drop them off even on rainy days. It doesn't make me feel good. I feel worried, and I keep asking the guard if you looked fine. I am not doing anyone good.”
Thank you so much for this beautiful moodboard, @.aishverse_
The quotes, each one of them, are love. The way you found quotes to express their feelings. Thanks!
Taehyung jumps when the doorbell rings. He gets off of the floor and hurries to dry himself before slipping on his clothes. When he opens the door, it's Yoongi.
“Hyung,” Taehyung lets out a deep breath, “god, sorry, I was in the bathroom.”
Yoongi waves his hand, “it's okay.”
Taehyung watches the man get inside and sit down on the couch. Taehyung is supposed to go with Yoongi for a business deal.
“I will be ready in a few minutes, okay?” Taehyung goes to the kitchen, “you want anything?”
Yoongi watches him, “why are your eyes so red?”
Taehyung's hands pause in their way to open the fridge. He forces out a chuckle and pulls out a beer.
“Nothing,” he comes over to hold it out for Yoongi, “nothing. I just-”
“Cried again,” Yoongi takes the beer, unscrewing it, “over the same topic. Over the same person.”
Yoongi watches how Taehyung look away, fumbling for words.
“I told him off,” Taehyung decides to say, “I finally told him off for good this time.”
Yoongi takes a sip of the beer, “and, that made you cry.”
Taehyung helplessly turns away, “I will get dressed, hyung. Just wait-”
“If letting go hurts, then don't.”
Taehyung freezes. His eyes stuck ahead of him, but his ears picking up on the words spoken behind him. He looks over his shoulder at the man, and Yoongi nods at him.
“If letting him go hurts so bad, then, don't,” Yoongi shrugs, “you know?”
“You-” Taehyung frowns, turning towards the man, “you hate him.”
Yoongi chuckles, nodding, “I did,” he takes another sip of the beer, “for what he did, I did hate him. But,” he jerks his shoulders, “I am seeing his efforts to own up to it too, you know? For months now.”
“You have no idea, Tae,” Yoongi's smile dims, “how much I will give to see those people who wronged me try to, at least, own up to it,” he looks down at the beer in his hands, “accept what they did and apologize. You have no idea how much guts it takes to not walk away.”
“It's so easy to just never accept that you can be wrong, your actions can be wrong, and move on with life. We always turn blind eyes to others' troubles and he could have done the same. But,” Yoongi leans forward, “he kept owning up to it. Over and over again.”
“I am no one to tell you to accept it, it's your decision,” Yoongi nods, “you can clearly choose someone better. You can select no one and be yourself. But, if letting go is hurting so much, maybe think about not letting go?” he arches a brow, “this time you put down the terms.”
“He looked like he will let you,” Yoongi chuckles, “in that party. He looked like he would let you have anything you want. You can surely not, but you can also ask for a clean slate. You can start over. See where it goes. But, if it's too much, surely, you don't need my advice.”
“Why are you taking his side, he hates you,” Taehyung winces, “I mean...”
Yoongi gives a short laugh, “well, from his point, I took you away from him. I am also marrying his best friend, who means shit to me. He has reasons to hate me. I don't mind. His hate doesn't bother me.”
“Also, his features are very baby like, so his threats are nothing but yapping to me,” Yoongi leans back on the couch, crossing one leg over the other, “so,” he shrugs his shoulders carelessly, “that's that.”
Taehyung swallows, “I will get dressed.”
He goes inside.
Taehyung is glad when Yoongi doesn't talk about it against when they get inside the car. He looks over to see Yoongi wearing the engagement ring.
“The ring is huge,” Taehyung murmurs, eyeing it, “and, flashy.”
Yoongi grimaces, “never mention that. I ignore it.”
Taehyung looks at Yoongi, “the wedding ring is different, right?”
Yoongi nods, shoulders sagging, “It's the family one. It won't fit his finger though,” Yoongi rolls his eyes, “he has tiny fingers. I don't care. He can find a way. I won't bother with it more than I have to.”
Taehyung sighs, “be nice to him, will you?” he looks away, “whatever it is, I don't know. But, I don't think mimi can do anything to provoke such a strong reaction out of you.”
“You don't know him,” Yoongi murmurs, “I hope you never know his that side. I really hope.”
Taehyung doesn't talk about it after that. He closes his eyes, trying to force some sleep before they reach the destination. Yoongi looks at Taehyung for a few seconds. Notices the dark circles around his eyes, the hollow of his cheeks and hopes Taehyung would be better soon.
Jungkook sits on the couch, watching Jimin reject one suit after another as the pile goes up.
“Just choose one!” Yoongi thunders, “will you?! Just choose one! All looks terrible on you! Just pick one!”
Jungkook is about to say something but Jimin throws a suit at Yoongi's face.
Jungkook watches how Yoongi flinches, throwing the suit on the floor.
Jimin looks at the salesman, “ignore him. He is suffering from anger issues-”
Jungkook pinches the bridge of his nose when Yoongi marches over to Jimin. They are starting to argue all over again.
“I can't believe I had to come to this hell because Tae is working overtime!” Yoongi curses, “god, the suits aren't the point. You are not looking good in them and that won't cha-”
“How does my ass look in this one?” Jimin asks Jungkook, “spankable?”
Jungkook stares, “uhh...”
Jungkook purses his lips, “it can be a little more prominent-”
“Are you really giving notes on that?” Yoongi gapes, “are you serious?”
Jungkook looks at Yoongi, shrugs, “he wants to look spankable. So, he looks spankable.”
Yoongi gapes, “are you two fine in the head?”
“Listen,” Jimin holds up his hand, “I am getting married to you. You. You are already going to look as boring as the theme your dad chose for the wedding. Someone has to look interesting, no? I want to look hot. So,” he looks at Jungkook, “tighter pants?”
“Tighter jacket too,” Jungkook observes, “show off your curves. A person should feel itchy to hold that waist.”
“I like that,” Jimin nods, pulling the jacket tighter around himself, “yeah, more fitted so someone looks at me and thinks around wrapping their hand around my wai-”
“The only person around you will be me,” Yoongi hisses, “and, I won't hold your damn waist! So, stop it! Will you?”
Jungkook gets up, “okay, I have to leave,” he waves his hand, “I need to get back to my job. The lunch is over.”
Jimin sighs, “don't leave me with him!”
Jungkook plants a kiss on Jimin's temple, “gotta run. I will see you later.”
He points at Yoongi, “You are on my watch, by the way.”
Yoongi rolls his eyes, “get out.”
Jungkook turns on his feet and leaves, while he hears Jimin and Yoongi going back to arguing with each other.
Jungkook gets home around evening and by the time he is finishing making dinner, there is a storm brewing. Jungkook plates his foods and looks outside to see the heavy downpour. He sighs, picking up the plates and turning towards the couch.
'Tae is doing overtime.'
Jungkook pauses on his way to the couch. He looks at the clock. It's almost eight. He looks at the window again. The rain is picking up speed. The thunders making Jungkook shiver inside the room. He places the plates on the table and sits, trying to focus on the food.
Jungkook pulls out his phone and remembers that Taehyung has blocked him. He puts his phone down, thinking how Taehyung has blocked him on every device. He curses.
“He is probably home,” Jungkook tells himself, “by now. Or, he must have a ride.”
Taehyung doesn't have a car.
Jungkook keeps the plates on the table and gets off of the couch. He picks up his leather jacket and helmet.
“Let's see,” he tells himself, “I mean, I will just check. No worries.”
He picks up the keys and leave the apartment.
When he reaches the Min Entertaining, it's eight.
“Hi,” he shivers as he feels the cold water droplets roll down his neck. Some got away through the collar of his jacket, “can you please tell me if Kim Taehyung is in the building, or he left?”
The receptionist nods, checking, “he is still working.”
Jungkook nods, “oh, okay.”
He hesitates, “can I wait here?”
The receptionist nods, “of course. The couches are there, sir.”
Jungkook gives a small bow and goes over to sit on a couch, shrugging out of his jacket. He feels chilled, the air cooler not helping. He sits there, looking at the elevator.
He is not sure when he falls asleep. He is waking up to someone calling his name. Jungkook blinks, looking around and then at the source of the voice.
Taehyung, wrapped in his long coat, his eyes on Jungkook.
Jungkook springs up, “h-hi.”
Taehyung stares, “why are you here?”
Jungkook looks at the clock over the reception. It's past eleven. He winces. The company runs 24*7, the lobby is still filled with workers and visitors. He looks at Taehyung.
“I thought,” he feels stupid voicing it, “it's raining so badly,” he waves his hand, “so...”
“You don't have a car,” Jungkook hurires, “and, Yoongi hyung will be with Jimin-”
“I have a ride,” Taehyung murmurs, his eyes fixed on Jungkook, “I have a ride back home.”
“Tae, come on. It's raining so bad,” Seojoon says from the door then, “hurry up.”
“He has a car,” Taehyung murmurs, eyes never leaving Jungkook's face, “so, it's better. Because,” he pauses, “I won't get drenched.”
Jungkook nods, small and timid, “o-of course,” he doesn't match Taehyung's eyes, “you should go. He is waiting.”
“Yeah,” Taehyung whispers.
Jungkook combs his hair back, feeling jittery all of a sudden. He is rooted to the spot. He wants those large eyes off of him. He wants Taehyung to walk away. Fast.
Jungkook feels the bile rising to his throat and he holds his breath. His eyes start to gloss over.
“Tae?” Seojoon calls again, “come on!”
Taehyung looks over at Seojoon and back at Jungkook, “I will go. It's late.”
Jungkook nods, looking at Seojoon instead. Focusing on him instead.
Taehyung turns on his feet and slowly walk up to Seojoon. Seojoon reaches for his back.
Seojoon puts his arm around Taehyung's shoulder, and they walk out of the office. Jungkook watches through the glass doors, Seojoon open an umbrella that he holds over Taehyung's head more than his own.
Jungkook lets out a burst of giggle, “see, you didn't have an umbrella.”
He slowly sinks on the couch, “you don't have a car. Of course, he won't go with you. You are such an idiot. You will get him drenched. He might catch a fever. Why do you never think?” Jungkook hisses, “why do you always act before thinking? Why can't you think things through?!”
He tries to breathe through the clog that lodges itself on his throat. He forces himself to breathe through the bile that is rising to his mouth.
“You are such an idiot,” Jungkook keeps repeating to himself, “came to give him a ride. He doesn't need you!”
He gets up slowly.
He shrugs on his jacket and picks up his helmet. With tired feet, he drags himself out of the lobby. The rain is slow now, but pouring non-stop. Jungkook lets it pour down his head. He holds the helmet in his hand while making his way towards the parking area to go home.
He freezes when he reaches his bike. The parking area is almost empty. Only a few cars and his bike standing there.
Taehyung stands beside his bike, his one hand shoved in his pocket and his other holding the umbrella.
Jungkook doesn't dare to move. He thinks he is dreaming.
Taehyung looks at him, for a second they both just stare at each other.
Then Taehyung speaks, soft and low, “did you get another helmet, at least?”
Jungkook answers in a daze, “no.”
Taehyung looks at him, “oh, great.”
Jungkook walks up to him, “what happened to the car?”
Taehyung shrugs, eyes never wavering from Jungkook's face, “turns out, I prefer the bike.”
Jungkook chokes on thin air, his eyes watering, “what-”
Taehyung looks away, “can we go now? I am tired.”
Jungkook walks up to him, “yes, but, first,” he holds out his helmet, “wear it.”
Taehyung looks at it and back at Jungkook, “and, you?”
Jungkook never looks away from Taehyung, steps up to stand under the umbrella, “I will be fine.”
Taehyung takes the helmet and wears it. Jungkook goes to the bike, starting it. He looks over at Taehyung, waiting.
Taehyung closes the umbrella and comes to sit on the bike. Jungkook's eyes snap closed when those hands come to rest on his shoulder. There is air stuck in his lungs and it hurts. Jungkook starts the bike, focusing on the road.
When they reach Taehyung's apartment, Taehyung gets off the bike. He looks at Jungkook and back at his apartment.
“You look exhausted,” Taehyung whispers, “come in,” he offers, “stay till the rain stops.”
Jungkook looks at Taehyung, “just as you did the last time?”
Taehyung's eyes snap to his, he is quiet. Jungkook doesn't want to let this go. He would stay as long as Taehyung wants.
“Are you sure?” Jungkook asks, “about it?”
Taehyung shrugs, “just for the night. Just till the rain stops.”
Jungkook breathes out, “fine.”
He parks the bike and follows Taehyung inside.
On their way to the elevator, Jungkook looks at the security post.
Hayoon is sitting on his usual chair. He is staring at them. A small but warm smile breaks on his face when he watches Taehyung lead Jungkook to the elevator.
Jungkook doesn't want to think how this is the first time he is going into Taehyung's apartment. He follows the man quietly. Taehyung points at the shoe-rack and Jungkook leaves the shoes there.
“Um,” Taehyung looks over his shoulder, barely meeting Jungkook's gaze, “come in.”
Jungkook looks around to see a few paintings on the walls. He stops to stare at them one by one.
Taehyung goes to stand in front of his bedroom, “wait here.”
Jungkook nods, eyes still stuck on one painting. He looks over when Taehyung walks out of the bedroom again.
“You should take a shower,” Taehyung says, still not looking at Jungkook, “I left some towels and clothes. Go and shower.”
“What about you?” Jungkook asks, “you are drenched too.”
“I am fine,” Taehyung goes to the kitchen, “just, hurry up.”
Jungkook goes to the bedroom.
Jungkook risks a glance at the bed and around the room before he goes to take a shower. He doesn't let it plague his mind that his roses are nowhere in the apartment. Jungkook tilts his head up, feeling the warm water on his face. He won't think about it. He won't.
Jungkook doesn't dare touch any of Taehyung's products. He rushes to finish up and get out of there. He stares at the clothes Taehyung left for him. The shirt is fine, the jogger is a little big on him, as Taehyung is taller. Jungkook walks out of the washroom, drying his hair.
“I am done,” Jungkook says, coming to stand in the middle of the living room, awkwardly rubbing his hair with the towel.
Taehyung startles, looking over at him, “oh,” for a second he just looks at Jungkook, and then he nods, “I will be back. Sit. You can watch the TV.”
Jungkook sits at the edge of the couch, still feeling a little uneasy. He doesn't open the television. He pulls out his phone, scrolling mindlessly there. Taehyung comes out after a while, too. Freshly showered and smelling of sandalwood. Jungkook watches the man, breathless.
Taehyung glances at him and back at the window, “it's still raining.”
Jungkook looks over at the window, nodding, “the wind's picking up.”
Taehyung goes to the kitchen, “I already had dinner. Do you want anything? Or, you ate too?”
Jungkook shakes his head, “I ate too.”
Taehyung looks at him, “okay, then,” he turns the lights of the kitchen off.
Jungkook watches Taehyung go inside the bedroom and come back with a pillow and a blanket.
“The couch is big enough,” Taehyung observes, “right?”
Jungkook gives a nod, “of course. It is.”
Taehyung places the pillow on the couch and keeps the blanket neatly beside it.
“I will go to sleep,” Taehyung whispers, looking at the window, “the rain might continue for the night. You can leave when it stops.”
Jungkook can't stop looking at Taehyung, “thank you.”
Taehyung nods, “there are water bottles in the fridge. You can get it, or do you want one here?”
“No, no,” Jungkook waves his hand, “don't bother yourself. I will get it if I want.”
Taehyung watches him for a second, then he nods, “good night.”
Jungkook hums, “sleep well.”
Jungkook watches Taehyung go to the bedroom and hears the door click. He lies down too, eyes on the ceiling. He wants to fall asleep, but he is hungry.
But, at the same time, he doesn't want to disturb Taehyung after he came home from an overtime. Jungkook closes his eyes.
The room feels too warm. Jungkook kicks the blanket off of him and rolls over to see the window. He sits up and looks at the watch. It's been two hours since he forced himself into a slumber. He gets off the couch to go and crack the window a little. To soak up the fresh air.
His stomach growls and Jungkook is walking towards the fridge. He opens it to pick up a water bottle, and his eyes find the ice-cream tubs. Taehyung's favourite ones. Jungkook looks over to see the instant ramen stacked on a cabinet. He hesitates before turning away.
He sips the water, leaning against the windowsill. Eyes stuck on the road that he can see from the corner. The street is almost empty. A few cars passing by. Jungkook tries to count the black ones, something to distract himself. He finishes the bottle of water pretty soon.
Jungkook sits on the windowsill, eyes cast outside. He looks at the rain and back at the road. Then he looks at the closed bedroom door and back at the road again.
Maybe he should leave. Taehyung was being a good host, maybe he shouldn't have accepted the offer. Maybe…
Maybe Taehyung didn't think he will accept the offer.
The thought is sudden and Jungkook feels a slap.
What if Taehyung just said it out of courtesy and like a fool, Jungkook accepted it? He springs up on his feet, face heating up.
Shit, Taehyung was just being civil.
Jungkook goes to his clothes, they are damp. He shrugs out of Taehyung's T-shirt and wiggles inside his shirt. A shiver runs down his spine when the material touches him. It's cold and sticking to his skin. He ignores it, reaching for the leather jacket.
“What are you doing?”
Taehyung looks alert, a little ruffled, his eyes furrowed. He stands by his bedroom door, looking at Jungkook.
Jungkook wants to disappear in thin air. He looks at the ground and hopes it swallows him. He doesn't want to answer that. He doesn't want to utter a word.
“I was,” Jungkook's wide eyes move away from Taehyung, “going.”
Taehyung looks at the window and back at Jungkook, “it's raining heavily. Where are you going to go?”
“J-Jin hyung,” Jungkook mumbles, “he lives a few blocks away. I will,” he forces a smile, “I will go to him.”
Taehyung fumbles, “can't you sleep on the couch? Is it uncomfortable?” he looks inside the bedroom, “then, I will sleep here. You can take the bed-”
“No, no!” Jungkook rushes, “no. Please. You have already done enough. I don't want to impose.”
Those last words ring in his head.
“If I felt like you are imposing, I would let you go from the gate,” Taehyung mumbles, “trust me, I don't owe you a place to stay. I didn't ask you to come and pick me up. I am not feeling like you are imposing. I really think you should stay. I am not feeling anything else.”
“Also,” Taehyung hesitates, looking away, “you stay up pretty late and eat pretty late too. Well,” Taehyung frowns at the floor, “as much as I remember, then again,” he chuckles, “I don't think I know the real you. But...” he looks at Jungkook, “did you really eat? Don't lie.”
Jungkook looks at the door and back at Taehyung.
Taehyung waits for him to say something. Anything. Jungkook swallows, looking over at the kitchen and back at Taehyung. He doesn't want to accept that he is starving. He doesn't want to humiliate himself like that. It feels weird.
Taehyung notices his hesitation and nods, “I will just make some ramyeon, I can do with some midnight snack,” he turns towards the kitchen.
Jungkook lets out a deep breath. He still can't move from the door.
“Get out of that soaked shirt,” Taehyung says over his shoulder.
Jungkook notices how Taehyung keeps his back to him. Resolutely. As if to give him the sense of privacy. Jungkook is grateful for that. He walks over to the discarded T-shirt and wears it, leaving his soaked one on the couch.
Jungkook coughs, not sure how to address Taehyung.
Taehyung looks over then, notices the shirt on the floor and frowns, “how is that supposed to dry on the floor?”
Jungkook picks it up, now confused.
Taehyung lets out a deep breath, “put it outside on the balcony,” he pours water in a pot, “It will be air-dried.”
Jungkook goes to the balcony, sees the rack for clothes there and leaves his on one hanger before he comes inside. He watches Taehyung rub his eyes, yawning.
“I can cook,” Jungkook walks up to him, “you don't have to-”
“It's okay,” Taehyung waves his hand, “I am fine.”
Jungkook shakes his head, “no, please,” he walks around the counter, “let me. I don't want to bother.”
Taehyung looks at him, “you are not,” he looks down at the pot, “also, you are a guest here. I can do this much.”
A guest. Jungkook nods, pulling back. He feels out of place.
Jungkook looks at the window, “do you mind if I open the window a little?”
Taehyung shakes his head, “no.”
Jungkook walks over to do it, leaning forward to let himself breathe. Just breathe. The wind is cold, Jungkook soaks it up, anything to not feel so suffocated.
Jungkook feels the itch under his skin. He looks over at Taehyung and notices the man leaning against the counter. They both are quiet. Jungkook looks back at the rain.
“Did you throw away the roses?” Jungkook blurts out, eyes snapping closed the next moment, “it's okay though.”
THERE'S A THUNDERSTORM BREWING AND MY ELECTRICITY WENT OFF
Taehyung is quiet. Jungkook doesn't dare more. He swallows when Taehyung doesn't answer him.
Jungkook startles, looking at Taehyung, who came up to him with a bowl of rameyon. Jungkook takes it, their hands touching. Jungkook pulls back as fast as he can.
Jungkook can't help when he reaches and grasps Taehyung's wrist before the man can turn away. Taehyung looks down at where Jungkook is holding him and back up at Jungkook's face.
“Did you?” Jungkook asks, begs almost, “throw them away? Tell me. Please. I just want to know.”
Taehyung watches him, “when you give something away, you shouldn't keep expectations from it. You know?”
Jungkook swallows, “I know. But, just-”
“I have them,” Taehyung looks away, “I don't throw away gifts. No matter who gives them to me.”
Jungkook lets go of Taehyung then.
Taehyung goes to pick up his bowl, slowly eating. He doesn't look at Jungkook, and Jungkook focus on the food. He eats a mouthful, but he can't push it down his throat. He simply can't shove it down because a bile is rising to his mouth. He forces himself to swallow.
Jungkook shakes his head, “no, I,” he puts the bowl down, “I will go. I just,” he looks at Taehyung and back at the bowl, “I can't. I can't do this.”
“Do what?” Taehyung frowns.
Jungkook combs his hair back with both of his hands, frustrated, “I can't be a guest to you.”
Jungkook lets out a wobbly laugh, “I can't be a guest to you. I can't be a friend of yours. I want you,” he whispers, “and, it's killing me.”
Taehyung watches him, the silence stretches.
Jungkook nods, “it's pathetic. I know. You don't owe me shit. I know. But, I want you.”
“I want you so damn bad, it hurts,” Jungkook whispers, “so, please. Either be a stranger or,” he swallows, “be mine. I can't hang in the middle like this anymore.”
Taehyung puts the bowl down, looking away, “bold of you, really, to demand anything from me.”
“I am not.”
“I am not demanding,” Jungkook takes a step back, “I am just telling you. You want me to be honest. No? I am telling you,” he takes another step back, “I have feelings for you. I can't be this to you. I can't. So, I think, I should go. I can't do this anymore.”
“I can't look at you and be fine when you overlook me,” Jungkook shakes his head, “I can't watch you leave with someone else-”
“It's all about you, then,” Taehyung snorts, “like always. It's all about you.”
“It's about you,” Jungkook whispers, “I am letting you go.”
“I told you to move on,” Taehyung sighs, “I told you to get over it. Didn't I? I am just offering this place because it's raining-”
“I will be fine,” Jungkook chuckles, “trust me, here I feel like I am dying.”
“Then, go,” Taehyung murmurs, “let's not be where you are dying.”
Jungkook nods, his eyes stuck on Taehyung,
He turns on his heels, blindly going for the tea-table where he left his keys and wallet. He shoves them in his pocket and looks around for his phone before snatching it off the couch too.
“Goodbye, Tae,” Jungkook murmurs.
His eyes one last time seek out Taehyung in the kitchen. Taehyung is looking at him. Jungkook's feet root himself in place when he notices those eyes brimming with unshed tears.
As soon as Jungkook notices it, though, Taehyung is turning away. His head bowed, hugging himself.
Jungkook feels how his shoulders sag, he shakes his head. The man's back makes him frustrated. Before he can think about it, he is marching forward.
“Why are you crying?” he demands, rounding the counter to stand in front of Taehyung.
“I am not,” Taehyung says, “it's the food.”
“You asked me to not lie,” Jungkook gets closer, “you can't lie to me now,” he doesn't reach for Taehyung, makes sure to keep his distance, “please. Taehyung.”
“Don't take my name like that,” Taehyung hisses, eyes glistening.
“Like what?” Jungkook wonders, “like, what, Tae?”
When Taehyung doesn't answer, Jungkook says it.
“Like a prayer?” he wonders.
Taehyung's eyes snap to his. He doesn't utter a word. Jungkook can feel his throat closing in. He can feel his own eyes burning.
“Like, that's the only name in my mind?” he whispers, “is that it?”
“Like, that's all I think about?” Jungkook asks again, “like, it breaks me?” he wants to reach for Taehyung, but he holds himself back.
“Like I broke you,” Taehyung murmurs, his eyes sharing the same pain Jungkook feels, “when it has always been the other way around.”
Jungkook shakes his head, tears toppling over the rim of his eyes, “can't you see? Can't you see?” he begs, “Tae,” he chokes on the word, “can't you see?”
Taehyung's lips wobble, “I can't believe. That's the problem. I can't believe. I saw last time too.”
Taehyung shakes his head, tears rolling out of his eyes, “I can't believe. I can't believe. I saw it last time too. You would hold me and I see it in your eyes. Whatever it was, I fell for it, look where it got me-”
“Maybe it was there, even then,” Jungkook whispers.
“Maybe I was falling in love with you then,” Jungkook murmurs, “and, you saw just that.”
Taehyung goes still. Jungkook nods, ignores how his mind reminds him this is the first time he is saying it to Taehyung face to face.
“I beg you to give me a chance,” Jungkook sniffles.
Jungkook reaches to take Taehyung's hands in his, his forehead bowing to touch on those knuckles.
“One chance,” Jungkook breathes out, tears smearing across Taehyung's palms, “one chance. Please. I know you don't owe it to me. That's why I am asking. Begging. Please.”
Jungkook can't look up. He can't let go of those hands. Because, it feels like that will be it.
He has nothing else to ask for. He has nothing else to offer. He has to leave if he looks up and Taehyung is still not looking at him.
Jungkook hides his face in Taehyung's palms.
Jungkook breaks down, hidden in Taehyung's palms. He cries, lets out the months' worth of feelings that he ran from, that he tried to bury. He cries with the rain that pours outside.
When Taehyung pulls his hands away, Jugnkook knows, this is it. He lost it all this time.
Jungkook feels the weight on his shoulders. It's crashing. He feels faint, the months' worth of struggle comes to an end at that point.
He stares at the floor.
Watches Taehyung and his feet. Almost touching.
He takes a step back, he has to leave now. He has to go.
Then he feels it, those hands cupping his face. Taehyung wipes his eyes, pulling him closer. Jungkook stumbles, his feet too heavy to work properly.
Taehyung holds him, balancing them both. He wipes Jungkook's eyes, cheeks and then pulls him into a hug. A bone-crushing hug.
Jungkook finds his face buried in Taehyung's chest, and he inhales the elder's familiar perfume.
Something cracks in him, the fight leaving him through that crack.
Jungkook breaks, lets his insecurities, overthinking, worries, everything take a backseat and burst out crying.
“Is this your way of saying goodbye?” Jungkook wonders, cries harder, “if it is, tell me. Tell me, before-”
Taehyung pulls him closer, face buried in Jungkook's neck, “stay,” his voice comes out deeper, tight, “stay, because when you are gone, I don't make sense to myself.”
Taehyung pulls back a little and grunts when Jungkook's hold on him tightens. As if on reflex.
“We have too much to work through,” Taehyung cups Jungkook's face, “you hear me?” when Jugnkook nods, cheeks bunched up, nose scrunched, Taehyung gives a small smile, “but first, eat.”
“You didn't eat, did you?” Taehyung asks, wiping Jungkook's eyes again with his thumbs, “I can tell.”
Jungkook sniffles, “how?”
Taehyung shrugs, “you fall asleep right away when you are full,” he smiles a little, “no?”
Jungkook feels breathless, “I didn't know that about me.”
“We've established that you are an idiot,” Taehyung nods, leads Jungkook to the couch and brings in the bowl for him with a glass of water.
Jungkook takes the glass of water when Taehyung holds it out and takes a sip. His throat feeling parched. Then Taehyung gives him the bowl.
Jungkook eats it, his eyes never wavering from Taehyung. Taehyung sits, hands folded on his lap, eyes stuck on Jungkook. Jungkook holds out some ramyeon for Taehyung and Taehyung takes it, slurping it up.
“It's good,” Jungkook nods.
Taehyung hums, “I know. It's your recipe.”
Jungkook pauses, his eyes on Taehyung, the ramyeon half in his mouth, half in the bowl. Taehyung looks a little self-conscious, he looks down at his hands.
“That's the only thing you would make for me, after,” he waves his hand, shrugs, “I made it every time I missed you.”
Jungkook feels his heart twist, and he is taking Taehyung's hand in his. Their fingers laced together.
“I will make you food every day,” Jungkook swears, “all full-course meal. I will, just watch me! I-”
Taehyung gives a small smile, “I won't remember those. I suck at cooking.”
“You don't have to remember those,” Jungkook whispers, “because, from here on, you won't have to remember me by a recipe. I will be right by your side. As long as you keep me.”
Taehyung's eyes are glossy, his throat bobs, “okay.”
Jungkook nods, vision blurring, “okay.”
They eat in silence, sharing glances while eating. When done, Taehyung leaves the plates in the sink and comes back to Jungkook on the couch.
“If you want to sleep,” Taehyung says, “you can-”
“Come here,” Jungkook pats the space beside him, “let's talk? If you aren't sleepy?”
When Taehyung sits down, Jungkook hesitates, not sure how to act.
“You don't have to be so alert,” Taehyung says, noticing Jungkook, “be yourself, please,” he watches Jungkook with tender eyes, “I need to see you being yourself. Don't worry, as long as you are honest, I'm here.”
So, Jungkook picks up the blanket and wraps it around them. Taehyung's eyes go a little wide and then his face is warming up.
Jungkook settles them on the couch. Taehyung lying on his back, Jungkook on top of him. His head resting on Taehyung's chest, listening to his heartbeat.
“Are we,” Jungkook closes his eyes when Taehyung's hand comes up to card through his hair, “dating, then?”
Taehyung hums, “well, would you like something else?”
Jungkook looks up at Taehyung, chin resting on Taehyung's chest, “whatever makes you my boyfriend.”
Jungkook feels the way Taehyung's breath stutters. He looks at Jungkook, eyes searching. Jungkook doesn't look away.
This time, he has nothing to hide.
“Is there,” Jungkook swallows, “is there something you need to settle?” he looks away, “with Seojoon, I mean.”
Taehyung lets out a deep breath, “I won't be here with you like this if there was something to settle with him. He is a good friend.”
Jungkook watches Taehyung, “that night, in the party you two were in that corridor-”
Taehyung arches a brow, “we were goofing around.”
Taehyung sighs, “also, he is really into Wooshik hyung,” Taehyung waves his hands, “I kind of set them up? Wooshik hyung is my colleague too. You know? They both love me like their younger one. Nothing else.”
Jungkook lets out a deep breath, “oh. Okay. I was just asking.”
“Yeah, right,” Taehyung rolls his eyes, “just asking.”
Jungkook lies down on Taehyung's chest again, “so, they are like, in a relationship?”
Taehyung hums, “yeah. Why?”
“Nothing,” Jungkook shrugs, “just asking.”
Taehyung tugs onto Jungkook's hair, “stop being an idiot.”
“I'm just asking!” Jungkook winces.
“I'm going to have friends, okay?” Taehyung snorts, looking at Jungkook, “you can't ask who is single and who is not,” his smile turns soft, “as long as we are not single, you have nothing to worry about.”
Jungkook lets out a deep breath.
“There will be people who might like me, or you,” Taehyung shrugs, “ask us out. As long as we know we are with each other, we got nothing to worry about. Right?”
“Right,” Jungkook lies down on Taehyung's chest against, nuzzling closer, “yeah.”
Taehyung ruffles his hair.
“I need you to get me my roses though,” Taehyung whispers then, “I don't want to come home to nothing.”
Jungkook looks up at him, eyes a little wide, “huh?”
Taehyung swallows, a vulnerable smile on his lips, “don't think just because you got me, you will stop working on us.”
“What...” Jungkook trails off.
Taehyung's hands trace lines over Jungkook's hairline, curling into his locks.
“Kept them all,” Taehyung murmurs, eyes never matching Jungkook's, “there were days, where I went on because of those gifts. I can't come home to nothing anymore.”
“You kept them?” Jungkook knows his eyes are blurring again, “those roses? You didn't throw them away?”
Taehyung snorts, looking away, “I kept the tickets of the fest you took me to,” his voice cracks, “kept the tulip you gave me playfully from that street-vendor.”
“The first time you made me ramen, I, like an idiot, kept the used packet,” Taehyung whispers, tears rolling out from the corners of his eyes, “the first time we went on a long drive, I have that receipt of the food. I am a hopeless idiot, Jungkook. I know these are cringe-”
“I should get rid of those but,” he looks at Jungkook, “I can't. I hold memories very close to my heart. Those are fragments of memories-”
“I love you,” Jungkook buries his face against Taehyung's throat, “I am sorry. I am so sorry.”
Taehyung hugs him, “yeah, I know.”
“I need time, a little time, to say it back,” Taehyung murmurs, “yeah?”
Jungkook nods, earnest, “take as long as you want. I am fine. I will wait forever.”
Taehyung looks at the ceiling, “that's a long time.”
Jungkook chuckles, “we will manage.”
Taehyung closes his eyes.
Jungkook doesn't realize when he falls asleep. Taehyung, sleeping right underneath him.
He wakes up to the crackle of the thunderbolt. Jungkook looks at the window to see the sky is slowly fading towards dawn. He looks down at Taehyung's sleepy face. A smile blooms on his lips.
He watches how Taehyung sleeps with his eyes a little open, irises moving. Maybe he is dreaming. Taehyung's hair is a mess, falling all over his face. Jungkook lies down on Taehyung's chest again, listening to the man's heartbeat. He feels the way his own heart matches that beat.
He gets off of Taehyung after a while, going to brew some coffee. Jungkook sits by the window, cracking it open a little. He leans against the windowsill, watching the horizon slowly turn a lighter shade of blue. The stars fading slowly. He watches the rain, reaches out to them.
“You left me alone.”
Jungkook looks over to see Taehyung. Wrapped in the blanket, head peeking out of it. His lips jutted out.
Jungkook holds his hand out, silently asking and Taehyung gets it. He slowly walks up to him and sits on his lap.
Jungkook hugs him, tightly, “sorry.”
Taehyung leans against Jungkook, watching the rain, the darkness, with sleepy eyes.
“I don't want to move on from this,” he says, “I don't want to get past this moment.”
Jungkook feels it too, he rests his chin on Taehyung's shoulder, “then, we won't. We will come back to it.”
“Years and years from this day,” Jungkook snuggles closer to Taehyung, “whenever Seoul rains throughout the night, we will come back to this night and think, we started our journey together on a rainy night like this and how we never parted.”
Taehyung closes his eyes, “okay.”
“A promise?” Taehyung looks over his shoulder at Jungkook, “are you sure?”
Jungkook takes Taehyung's hand in his, “I lost you once,” he shakes his head, “I will fight with my everything to never lose you again. Hold me to it.”
Taehyung's face blooms with a smile, “I will.”
When Jugnkook leans in, Taehyung pulls back a little.
“Morning breath,” he says, “eww.”
Jungkook chuckles, cupping the side of Taehyung's face, “yeah, eww.”
He watches the first ray of dawn paint a soft glow on Taehyung's face. Those large eyes reflecting a new sunrise.
“Forgive me,” Jungkook whispers, “okay?”
Taehyung frowns, confused.
Then his eyes widen, his lips captured with Jungkook's. Taehyung closes his eyes, turning slightly more to accept the kiss. Both of them eager, desperate. Both of them too absorbed to care about morning breath.
Taehyung feels tears slowly making their way out of his eyes, and he takes solace in the knowledge that Jungkook's tears mix with his. They both cry into the kiss, smiling when they both sniffle. Their foreheads resting against each other when they pull back to breathe.
Jungkook looks at Taehyung, so close, his eyes are almost going crossed.
He pulls back to stare at the man, “I prayed to see you like this,” he murmurs, “under the first ray of the sun.”
“Which one looks better on me, then?” Taehyung wonders, “the moonlight or the sun rays?”
Jungkook observes him with starry eyes, chuckles breathlessly at last.
“I can't choose,” he kisses Taehyung again, “let's just say, I want to go to sleep with the moonlight beaming on your face and wake up to the sun rays replacing it. I don't ever want to choose.”