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The Homes We Can't Live In

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Jungkook walked out the cave, carefully putting his recordpad into his bag without zipping it closed. He had collected enough data- that wasn’t the problem. The problem wasn’t the amount. It never was. In essence, his research company would be more than satisfied with the work he had put in. But he wasn’t satisfied.

He had dreams.

He was searching.

Jungkook was from a lonely planet.

He never felt like he fit in there.

He was good looking. Athletic. Creative.

“You’re normal,” Taehyung said in reassurance, “More normal than us.”

He didn’t feel normal.

But he had the whole stratosphere to explore so that’s where he went.

To the stars.

If he was honest with himself, he didn’t have work back on his home planet. He wasn’t suited for it. He’d play pretend: trying to smile and fit in with everyone else. He held normal jobs and did normal things. He worked in stores. He worked. He studied. He did as he was told. Normal things. Tinkering with machines. His planet was known for machines. He was good at it- had an aptitude. It didn’t matter if he liked it or not, he was good at it. Naturally, like Taehyung said- he was normal.

Normal passing.

The horizon was glowing gold from the strange colored sun- completely different from the distant blue he was used to.

He liked the clouds. They were dotting the sky for miles on out. They picked up the hues from the sun and extended out in tracks. It was lovely.

Jungkook took out his recordpad and snapped a picture.

He could be quiet like this. Not bother anyone.

The only one he liked on his whole planet was Taehyung.

Taehyung was categorized as abnormal, but Jungkook found his heart there.

“Come with me,” Jungkook begged, pulling from Taehyung’s embrace and eying the craft that was about to take him from BU-5417.

“I can’t,” Taehyung smiled despite tears threatening to fall.

And he couldn’t. Jungkook knew it was an impossible request. Taehyung had his family. Even if Taehyung was categorized (God how Jungkook loathed the categorization system) as abnormal, he was good. And he loved his family. He accepted his role. He would never fit in, but he would stay.

Jungkook was the one breaking everyone’s heart.

“I know you have to leave,” Taehyung said, his voice strangling, “I know it. But it’s just… fucking hard. It’s fucking hard to see you leave. I almost couldn’t see you off.”

Jungkook buried his face into Taehyung’s shoulder. He wanted to bottle Taehyung up and have him with him always. Always and forever.

But he couldn’t stay.

He knew he’d see him again. It wasn’t the first time Jungkook was leaving the planet.

This time it was different though.

It wasn’t just a trip. Jungkook was leaving.

Everyone knew he had to leave, but no one wanted him to. There was nothing for him at home. And out there, in the stars- the vast expanse of empty and dark and unknown he had something.

Jungkook’s body lumbered heavy in the spacesuit. There were sleeker versions available, but his company was fucking cheap. He wanted to change his job so bad; however, his contract had just been extended. He got a raise. And the benefits were good even if the hours were bad. It was all so stupid and pointless though, he didn’t know what to do with himself. Jungkook glanced back at the foot prints his boots had left once he reached his craft. They were solitary. He wondered when was the last time anyone had been on this planet or if they had at all.

When Jungkook went into his ship and slid into the captain’s chair, he let out a sigh a relief. The routine was so comfortable. He pulled off his helmet and set in the same spot as always- the mere thought of putting it anywhere else made him panic. Quickly hitting the required buttons in rapid succession, he left the planet. His stomach always flipped breaking out on atmosphere, but he had grown accustomed to it.

The night sky was a black expanse that stretched for miles. The only light that came was pin-pricking dots billions of miles away. But it was calm and quiet in a way that settled. Even in the dark, it wasn't lonely. In fact, it was the opposite. The darkness was like a comforter on the coldest winter day, soothing and warm and saying more than anyone could with all the words in every language. It didn't say "empty". It didn't say "small." It didn't say "alone".

It said, "You're home."

More home than BU-5417.

Jungkook put in the coordinates to a refueling station. It was unmanned. He wondered when was the last time he had seen another person.

Months? No. Years now.

He didn’t mind being alone.

He wasn’t supposed to sleep, but he was cruising on autopilot and the hum of the electricity in the ship lulled him.

When his ship slowed and shook from being coupled to engage the station, Jungkook shot awake. Refueling only took a few minutes, but often refueling stations had machines full of nourishment lined against the wall for solitary pilots like himself to indulge in. They had the popular snacks from all over the galaxy.

It was Jungkook’s guilty pleasure.

He groggily pushed the button, making one of his favorite drinks fall from the dispenser. He seemed to only get it at refueling stations these days.

“Holy shit,” the voice startled Jungkook so bad, he spun around in a single jump and clutched his chest.

“FUCK,” Jungkook gasped, “You scared the shit out of me.”

“Sorry,” The man said, adjusting his UV goggles, “Been so long since I seen somebody.”

“I mean,” Jungkook panted, his heart still racing, “Same for me, but holy shit. Don’t fucking sneak up on somebody.”

He laughed.

Genuine and hardy.

Jungkook had nearly forgotten what somebody laughing had sounded like.

“Listen,” He smiled, “I hate to do this to you.”

He sauntered over to Jungkook and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“I’m going to strip your ship,” His eyebrows raised and his smile never left, “Take you for everything you got.”

“What?” Jungkook shrugged him off his shoulder, “No you’re not.”

“Yeah, I am.” He grinned, and before Jungkook knew it a laser-rifle was digging into his belly, “Sorry, mate.”

Jungkook was promptly shoved against the drink machine, “Fuck.”

The tall, thin man eyed his ship, “You’re a researcher? Shit, I almost feel guilty.”

“You’re a piece of shit space pirate,” Jungkook spat. He had weaponry, but not on him.. This motherfucker would probably take that, too.

He laughed again.

Jungkook hated how he liked the sound of it.

He was seething.

“Yeah,” The pirate was smirking, “Open it up or you’re just particles.”

Jungkook was always just particles, he thought. And he even considered just letting him blast him into oblivion.

“I got a proposition,” Jungkook bounced on his heels, the heat from the machine warming his back, “What if- What if I join you?”

The pirate’s expression turned serious and he dug the tip of the rifle deeper into Jungkook’s skin, “Don’t ask for more than you can handle, boy.”

If this guy took his ship, he had nothing.

He already had nothing.

It was stupid, but Jungkook was desperate- he lunged for the gun.

The pirate was quicker.

With a hard thwack to his head, Jungkook went down limp in front of the drink machine- his vision blurring the pirate’s irritated face.

 

 

“Honey... Honey.”

Jungkook thought of his mother, but that wasn’t quite right. But something in the softness of the voice and the way the vowel came out long and slow felt like home.

“Y’gotta wake up.”

The light from the drink machine was bright, and Jungkook quickly shut his eyes again. His head was throbbing where the pirate had landed his blow. Two arms, slender but surprisingly strong, wrapped around him and started to pull him up. Jungkook stood with him, coming a head up and tried to open his eyes again.

“Y’gotta a nasty cut,” the other man said, “Walk with me an’ I’ll clean y’up?”

“You’re from BU-5417,” Jungkook tried to make his eyes adjust and focus on his face, “South side.”

“Sure am,” He laughed, clear and loud, “What gave it away?”

The other man stood a couple inches shorter than him with his hip cocked to the side, with full lips and gentle features.

“I’m from there,” Jungkook said, “From the Capital City.”

“Shoulda guessed, y’lost your accent,” The man smiled knowingly.

“No, I just have a Capital City accent,” Jungkook reached and touched his head, pulling it in front of his face to see red.

“Y’don’t see a lot of people from there. You’re prolly the second one I’ve ever even met out here,” He pulled Jungkook to a small cruiser tethered to the docking bay, “I’m Jimin, by the way. Park Jimin.”

Jungkook tried to get his bearings, but he wobbled as he tried to climb into Jimin’s small ship.

“Easy, easy,” Jimin chided, holding both of his hands and helping him inside, “He gotcha good, huh?”

“I’ll kill ‘im when I find ‘im,” Jungkook’s accent started to slip out, exhausted and Jimin drawing it from him. Jimin sat him down on top of a storage chest behind the captain’s seat and pulled out a first aid kid, grabbing one of the gel strips. Lifting Jungkook’s bangs, he carefully eased the medicated bandage over his wound.

“There, it oughtta heal in ten minutes,” Jimin whispered, bending to Jungkook’s face and smiling, “What’s your name?”

“Jeon Jungkook,” Jungkook blinked a few times, mesmerized by Jimin’s appearance. There was something in the way he moved.

“Pleasure t’meetcha,” Jimin dipped into a bow before straightening himself back up, resting his hands on his hips, “Hope y’don’t mind, I looked over your ship while you were out. Didn’t even see ya at first. It’s busted pretty bad.”

Jungkook groaned, sticking his hands in his head. It wasn’t even his ship. It was his company’s.

“It’s the work of a fella goes by Hope,” Jimin walked over to the glass bubble encasing the front of the cruiser and leaned on the dash, “I’d know his style anywhere. Didn’t even leave a pot to piss in.”

“You… you know who did this?” Jungkook looked up at Jimin, “Look, you’ve been more than friendly and I hate to ask this, but can you help me get to civilization?”

“We’re acquainted,” Jimin looked back over his shoulder and smiled, “And sure. We’re practically kin. Say, when did you leave BU-5417?”

“It’s been… gosh, five years already? During the seventh moon,” Jungkook touched the gel strip reflexively as it cooled his skin.

“I gotcha beat, but not by much,” Jimin grinned, “But us abnormals have a hard time there anyway.”

Jungkook opened his mouth to tell him that he was in fact by all accounts categorized as completely normal, but he thought better of it.

“M’glad you came and found me or else I would’ve been dead,” Jungkook sighed, “Guardian Angel Park Jimin.”

Jimin laughed and smiled coyly, “Now that’s a name I don’t get a lot. Now let’s get your ship hooked up. I’ll be your lil tug boat. Y’ever been to the New Sha-do district?”

“No,” Jungkook sighed. His company was headquartered on the capital planet SE-061, but his job had him everywhere but. Planet after planet with no one in sight. Jungkook couldn’t even daydream about the bustling city life.

“Alright, well, that’s where we’re headed. I got business there, and it’ll have everything y’need anyway,” Jimin said, already climbing back out the hatch to the side, “Y’look strong. Help me get the cables.”

Jungkook stood up carefully, the strip closing his wound quicker than he anticipated, and hopped out of the ship to follow Jimin to his ship.

It was a disaster.

“Fuck, for fucking fuck’s sake,” Jungkook bent to the large control panel. That asshole had taken everything down his fucking steering components. He must’ve been stripping them for precious metals to sell as scrap.

“Yeah,” Jimin was laughing as if he read Jungkook’s mind, “What a guy.”

“He knocked me out and left me for dead,” Jungkook glared at Jimin over his shoulder who simply shrugged, a smile playing on his lips.

“Haha, he’s like that. Anyway, let’s get you hooked up. Did he leave enough that you can turn ‘er on and put ‘er in standby mode?” Jimin walked over to the panel and leaned over.

Jungkook grunted in frustration and stood, swiping his hand over the panel, “Do you know how fucked I am? This is a company ship. They do diagnostic checks every 24 hours. I’m already fired.”

Jimin gave him a pitying glance and leaned down, tapping a few buttons, “That’s rough, kid.”

Jungkook sighed, having a seat in the captain’s chair (if you could call it that. Hope had taken the cushions) and turned his arm over on the armrest, linking his computer with the ship’s. It took about ten seconds to sync and download the status report. The pair scanned it, and Jimin burst into laughter.

“He took y’bed sheets,” Jimin doubled over in stitches.

“It isn’t funny,” Jungkook groaned, swiping the small screen on his forearm and putting his ship into standby mode to release the hooks. Wordlessly he left the ship, and Jimin followed behind quickly, trying to stifle his giggles. It only took a few minutes to get their ships linked with the two of them working together to haul the black cable and lock the hooks, tethering Jungkook’s larger ship to Jimin’s cruiser. Wiping the sweat from his brow, Jungkook turned to Jimin who handed him a cooling tab. Expensive little things. He tucked it in his cheek and followed Jimin back to his craft.

“Alright, strap in,” Jimin said softly, leaning over and hitting a few buttons on Jungkook’s seat. Jimin’s ship was small, but it was completely outfitted with every luxury down to the padding under Jungkook’s ass. It was a hundred times more comfortable than the company-sanctioned micro fiber excuse of a seat that for some reason the pirate thought was valuable enough to jack.

“Y’like music?” Jimin asked, but he wasn’t really interested in the answer as he already was dialing the sound up in the small cabin. Jungkook sighed, settling into his seat. He had no job and no ship, and he was stuck with somebody from BU-5417. He sulked and slumped down.

“Chin up, kid,” Jimin said, disengaging the ship from the dock and taking it out slow and steady.

“Easy for you to say,” Jungkook mumbled, feeling miserable, “I don’t know what you do, but you seem to be doing alright.”

“‘m an escort,” Jimin answered, leaning the steering forward to speed up.

Jungkook choked on his spit and coughed violently, sending Jimin into another fit of laughter.

Being an escort wasn’t illegal, but it was still a dangerous and risky endeavor as far as Jungkook was concerned. Not to mention as someone who had next to zero skinship for the past few years, the idea of being flown around by someone whose job it was to… to…

Jimin leaned towards Jungkook and grinned, “Don’t worry, m’not gonna come on to ya.”

Jungkook gulped, “D-do you like it?”

“Sure,” Jimin turned back, looking out into the vast black space in front of them, “What’s not to like?”

There was something remote in the way he answered so Jungkook decided to close his mouth and just enjoy the flight.

It went by quicker than he had imagined it would, and he had just nodded off when the ship came to a hard halt and jolted him awake.

“We’re here,” Jimin said in a sing-song, “New Sha-do.”

Jungkook didn’t know what he had expected. It was already night when they had arrived- tall buildings stretched for miles with a heavy cloud of fog… smog? Hung and haloed about ten meters up. The purple, pink, and blue neons illuminated the slick-wet black streets, and people were moving nearly shoulder to shoulder on the narrow sidewalks.

“Put on a mask,” Jimin said, smacking a compartment door with his fist, making it open. There was an assortment of miscellaneous items stuffed inside, but most prominently was a row of vapor-masks. Jungkook dutifully put one on.

“That bad?” He asked, watching Jimin do the same in-kind.

“Nah, but better safe than sorry,” Jimin’s eyes shut in a cat-like smile, “If you have y’health…”

The two stepped from the ship out on the street, Jimin hopping down and skipping the steps entirely. He turned back to Jungkook and pointed East.

“Seventh is this way,” Jimin waved Jungkook along and the two made their way down the street. As shoulders bumped against Jungkook’s shoulder, panic started to set in. He hadn’t had human contact in ages, and he was frankly overwhelmed. There was so many different smells and noises, he could hardly walk from the sensory overload. As he started to fall behind, Jimin took notice with his eyebrows shot up.

“Hey,” Jimin grabbed his hand, “We’re almost there.”

Seventh Heaven was located sandwiched between two huge buildings- barely enough room for the door, but it opened much bigger and seemed mysteriously large once inside. Anybody would’ve missed it if wasn’t for the garish neon sign glowing bright blue like the rest of the district.

It was dark and smoky, but Jimin pulled down his mask and wandered inside.

“Oh, my! It’s Mr. Park,” Someone called from a side table in one of the booths. He was a regular, and Jungkook tried to make his brain stop that train of thought in its tracks.

“Hey, Sweetheart,” Jimin cooed and blew kiss, “I’ll be right over. Lemme wet my whistle.”
Jimin hadn’t let go of Jungkook’s hand, and he was grateful. He pulled him along to the bar that was occupied by a blond man clad in black hunched over the edge.

“Hi, Hyung,” Jimin soothed and patted his back, “Are ya doin’ okay?”

“M’jusss fine, Jiminie,” He slurred and opened his eyes sleepily as he sat up, “M’perfect.”

“That’s Father Min,” Jimin said to Jungkook as Yoongi slowly laid back down on the bar.

“Father?” Jungkook’s eyebrows knitted and smile slowly spread on Jimin’s face.

“He’s a priest,” Jimin said, pulling the empty glass from Yoongi’s hands, “If y’can believe it.”

“I can hear you,” Yoongi grumbled and yawned, “It’s juss already late, is all.”

“Y’should prolly get home, huh?” Jimin leaned down to the bar.

“Nah, I’m meetin’ a friend in a minute, Minnie,” Yoongi sat up and blinked, “If anything, I’m too damn sober. Tae! Tae, where’d you run off to?”

Jungkook went straight as an arrow.

It couldn’t be.

There were a million names that started off with Tae. It could be anybody. Anyone.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m coming.”

He thought he was imagining things when Taehyung, his best friend, walked right in front of him looking like he hadn’t aged a day- well no, that wasn’t true. Suddenly his shoulders were a lot broader and his muscles were a lot bigger than he remembered.

“Taehyung?” Jungkook blinked in surprise, pulling down the mask.

Taehyung’s eyes went wide and he hurdled over the bar, straight past Jimin and Yoongi to pounce Jungkook into a hug.

“What the fuck, man?! I thought I’d never see you again!” Taehyung gasped out.

“What’re you doing here? Why aren’t you home?” Jungkook squeezed him back.

“You grew like a foot,” Taehyung held him at arm’s length for an instance, eying him up and down, “You look so good. God, I missed you. And, uh… it’s a long story. Hold on.”

Jimin and Yoongi shared a looked.

“Oh, shut up,” Taehyung glanced at both of them.

“Before we hear the tale of the boy who left BU-5417 for the fifty-leventh time, can I get a refill?” Yoongi lifted his glass.

“I can multitask,” Taehyung said indignantly under his breath, going back to the other side of the bar, “This version will be different anyway.”

Yoongi huffed, “How is that eve-”

“Shh,” Jimin cut Yoongi off, “Because his best friend is here. What a coincidence, dang. I know it’s a small planet, but I didn’t figure y’all knew each other.”

Taehyung poured Jungkook a drink, something that would be familiar- and set it down on the bar.

“I’ll skip the intro,” Taehyung leaned on the bar, looking completely delighted to have jungkook there, “Still can’t believe you’re here. I thought you’d be in a completely different quadrant.”

Jungkook had been in a different quadrant, actually, and was just stopping at that refueling station, but that didn’t matter.

“I can’t even believe you’re right in front of me,” Jungkook rasped and he took a seat next to Yoongi, looking down into the sunset-colored drink in his glass-hues of orange and red faded with a twist of yuja sat prettily at the top. He could cry, “Is this a Nectar 75?”

“Remember when we would sneak sips from our moms at parties?” Taehyung snickered, “I haven’t made one in forever. Don’t get a lot of people askin’ for BU-5417 drinks other than Jiminie.”

Jungkook took a sip, and a warm, cozy feeling of his childhood with Taehyung hit him like a wave.

“Jiminie,” A voice called from the other side of the bar, “Sweetie, are you busy?”

Jimin nodded towards Taehyung who slid him his drink, “Comin’, darlin’! ‘m on my way, just sit tight.”

He gave Jungkook a wink before disappearing into the booth, Taehyung’s gaze lost in his direction for a moment before he turned his attention back.
“Can I have another before you start your story?” Yoongi slid the glass to Taehyung.

“I think you’ve got a drinking problem, love,” Taehyung sighed but poured Yoongi another and shaking his head.

“I think you’ve got a Jimin problem, ’love’,” Yoongi bit back and nodded in his direction, “Why don’t you just tell him.”

“You know I can’t,” Taehyung twisted his mouth to the side, “And at least my problem isn’t killing me.”

Jimin’s light, musical laugh cut across the bar, and Taehyung’s eyes immediately flickered in his direction.

“Y’sure about that?” Yoongi gulped it down in one go. He hardly noticed the burn anymore. He smirked and slid the glass back to Taehyung.

“You’re a shitty priest,” Taehyung snorted, tearing his gaze to Yoongi.

“And you’re a shitty liar,” Yoongi rested his chin in his hand, “Say ten Our Fathers.”

“I’m not even a Tenshuist,” Taehyung sighed in exasperation, trying and failing to keep his eyes off of Jimin and the man whose hand was creeping up his knee.

“God will still forgive you,” Yoongi raised his and vaguely made a cross motion with his hand, but it was askew and more akin to a wavy X.

“Anyway,” Taehyung inhaled and looked back at Jungkook was nursing and quietly absorbing the interactions around him. Jungkook set it down and leaned forward, ready to hear what the hell happened to Taehyung. The last he had seen him, he was glued to the dark, black earth of BU-5417.

“After you left, it was only a matter of time before I had to enter my registration for work service,” Taehyung idly started to clean a glass as he spoke, “I made a mistake on my paperwork. No big deal, right?”

Jungkook nodded and tilted his head.

“Wrong. Big fucking mistake,” Taehyung flipped the glass over and picked up the next, “They audited me. You know, it would’ve been nice if my family had told me I was adopted.”

Jungkook choked on his drink, “What?”

“Illegally,” Taehyung sighed heavily, picking up the third glass. If he kept his hands busy, he could ignore the sting, “I was born in DA-360, and I’m not sure exactly how me as a baby wound up on BU-5417, and they best anyone can figure is my parents transported me down and left. Don’t know why. No reason, no note. No nothin’.”

“What happened?” Jungkook’s eyebrows knitted.

“Grandma found me and took me in, fudged all my paperwork. Not a surprise I got classified as abnormal. I ain’t even a native,” Taehyung laughed bitterly, continuing on to the next glass.

“Is your family okay?” Jungkook went rigid.

“They got slapped with fines, but I send ‘em money. I got exiled. I can’t even re-enter that solar system for ten years,” Taehyung set down the glass and put both of his broad hands on the bar, “So I had to start all over. I came here and started bartending and just kept saving and saving until I could open my own little place up. And here we are.”

“That’s… that’s incredible, holy shit. I’m so sorry for you and your family. God, the system is so fucked,” Jungkook lamented, taking another swig of his drink.

“Yeah,” Taehyung looked down, “I thought about you a lot when I left. I kept thinking, if Jungkookie can go out there and make it then I can, too. That was my little mantra.”

Jungkook glanced at Yoongi who had fallen asleep on the bar before answering, “I thought about you every day, Taehyung. Going from planet to planet- all different terrains… but I was always alone. I started to think about what you’d say or think if you’d see the places I went. All the memories of hanging with you kept me cheered up.”

Their tender moment was interrupted by a chilling, familiar voice.

"Father, I need your help."

It was that fucking space pirate.

He rushed to Yoongi's side, shaking him, "Can you sober up for your favorite sinner?"

"Depends on what you want," Yoongi yawned, his limp body being dragged back and forth.

"I need a place to crash," Hope’s eyes darted around nervously, "That pig is getting too close again."

"Do you know how stupid you are?" Yoongi blinked his eyes slowly awake, "He's my friend."

"Yeah, but no one goes over to your place,” Hope laughed, squeezing his shoulders, “Can we get outta here?”

“Touché,” Yoongi quipped, sliding his hand into his pocket to get his wallet. Neither of them saw Jungkook trembling next to them.

"You owe me 17 million yuenne," Jungkook muscled the pirate to the floor of the bar, knocking into Yoongi and causing his glass to break.

"Fuck, my drink," Yoongi reached out with about a three-second delay.

"Ouch. Fuck, shi-" Hope winced and laughed nervously as his face was pressed into the sticky, dirty surface, "Wait, wait, wait! Fuck! Easy there!"

"Seven.Teen. Million." Jungkook forced Hope’s elbow across his back, fuming, "With interest."

"Hahaha, okay, let's- FUCK that HURTS- haha, okay," He squirmed, trying to free himself, "Can we talk this out?"

"I have a log of everything you took and the cost. That navigation system was custom-made, you prick," Jungkook's eyes were ablaze, "Were you enjoying it?"

"Actually, ye- Yeowch FUCK that hurts," Hoseok whined as Jungkook put more pressure on him, "Let's work this out. I don't have seventeen million yuenne on me right this second like in my fucking pocket, but I can get it."

"Jungkookie," Taehyung leaned over the bar, his dark eyes peering into his old friend’s, "You're scaring my customers. Can you please assert your homo erotic dominance over this excuse of a criminal outside?"

Jungkook pulled Hope up by his arm, ignoring the whines that came from him. It was only some hours ago that this pirate was threatening to kill him, and now he was mewling like a kitten. Without his weapon and armor, he looked small and skinny and not the pillar of intimidation that had him pinned against the nourishment machines. Jungkook shoved him out of the bar and twisted him back against the bricks walls, grabbing fistfuls of his shirt.

“Where’s all my stuff? Did you hock it all?” Jungkook growled.

Hope laughed nervously, grabbing Jungkook’s wrist, “Ahaha. No, that’d mean I’d have at least some of your money. Worse. Much worse.”

“Whad’ya mean?” Jungkook was snarling, shoving Hoseok back harder into the wall.

“The brass. The cops. They confiscated all my loot and impounded my darling little Hix,” Hope frowned, and whimpered, “I ain’t got shit. It’s probably all already at police auction.”

“Well, you better figure something out fast,” Jungkook reached to the holster on his thigh, pulling out a small laser pistol and shoving it under Hope’s chin.

“Okay, okay,” He squeaked, the electric hum of the weapon making his eyes go wide in fright, “I know a job. I know a guy. They call him the doctor.”

“A doctor?” Jungkook sighed, lowering his weapon.

“Kinda. He’s a shrink,” Hope answered, smoothing his shirt down with his hands, “But he’s got a big ol’ ship. And if we can round up enough cash, he’ll take us where we need to go.”

“Well, news for you, I don’t have a single yuenne to my name,” Jungkook strapped the gun back into place, “Some asshole pirate jacked my ship and got me fired.”

“Maybe we can ask my friend Jiminie a favor,” Hope pushed him back to give himself room to breathe, “He’s probably inside, he’s always here.”

“You gotta be fucking kidding me,” Jungkook could’ve murdered him right then and there, “Your. Friend. Jiminie?”

“Y...yeah?” Hope’s eyebrows quirked in confusion.

“He’s the one who saved me from that God forsaken refueling station you left me for dead on,” Jungkook looked pained, “He’s your friend?”

“Well, to be fair, he’s everyone’s friend,” The pirate said coyly, and Jungkook had half a mind to blast him in his gut. Jungkook scoffed in disgust and marched back inside, scanning the different booths for Jimin.

He was wedged in a booth between a man and a woman, smiling and laughing. The man was moving his bangs from Jimin’s eyes while the lady was pressing kisses into his shoulder. Jungkook gulped and walked to the table.

“Jimin-sshi, I’m sorry to interrupt,” Jungkook had meant to walk up strong, but as the man hands slipped beneath the table, Jungkook found himself looking away and blushing, “I need to talk to you.”

“Mm?” Jimin threw his head back, “Alright, darlin’. Gimme just a second. Have a seat at the bar.”

Hope tagged behind him, following him back to the bar where Yoongi seemed to be sleeping peacefully and sat down.

“Alright, so tell me about the doctor,” Jungkook took another sip of his drink.

Taehyung perked up, “Doc? You mean Namjoon-hyung?”

“The one and only,” Hope grinned, “I got myself in a pickle.”

“You can say that again,” Taehyung smiled back, “And my Jungkookie was the wrong one to cross, Hoseok-hyung.”

Jungkook crossed his arms in front of his chest.

“As I’m starting to gather,” Hoseok looked wearily at Jungkook, “Anyway, like I said, the Doc- he’s a good guy. He’s a psychiatrist.”

“Psychologist,” Taehyung corrected.

“Whatever, anyway. He has a houseboat because he takes patients on sometimes and they stay with him as a part of their therapy, but he’s real agreeable. Does a lot of pro-bono stuff,” Hoseok waved his hand dismissively.

“And you’ll think he’ll take us?” Jungkook frowned, “Where are we going anyway?”

“Yeah, if we can cough up the cash,” Hoseok answered, “His big ol’ heart makes him big ol’ broke.”

A small hand found Jungkook’s shoulder, and he turned startled to see Jimin smiling at him warmly.

“Y’sure are jumpy,” He took a seat next to him, “I can only stay a second. Got an appointment. Whatcha need?”

“Uh, well… you’re familiar with the Doc?” Jungkook asked tentatively.

“Namjoon-hyung?” Jimin’s eyebrows shot up, “Yeah, I see ‘im all the time. Mental health’s juss as important.”

“Long story short, I need to,” Hoseok winced, “I can’t believe I’m saying this. Pay this kid back. Was wondering if you could spot us the cost for Joonie’s ship for a little… job. ”

“Jiminie, where’d you run off to, baby?” The men called from the booth.
“Comin’, Darlin’,” Jimin answered back before turning back to Hoseok, “Yes, but I got some terms an’ conditions. Tell ya what, get in touch with Namjoon-hyung then get back t’me. I’ll be free… lessee… tomorrow evenin’ ‘bout 5 o’clock. Let’s get an early supper.”

Jimin winked and waved, wandering back towards the booth.

It suddenly dawned on Jungkook that he had nowhere to sleep tonight as he watched Jimin saunter away and he turned to Taehyung.

“Hey, I feel like m’doin’ nothin’ but askin’ favors, but can I stay with you tonight, Tae?” Jungkook rested his elbows on the bar and put his chin in his palms. Taehyung pinched his cheek.

“Call me Hyung, and of course,” Taehyung leaned back and grabbed a set of keys with house-shaped key ring off a rack and handed it to Jungkook, “The bar closes in an hour, but make yourself at home. Just go down the hallway and it’s the third door on the left. I don’t have a spare bed, but the couch is all yours. The bedding is in the closet next to the bathroom.”

“You’re a lifesaver,” Jungkook clutched the keys and glared at Hoseok, “I’ll see you tomorrow. I trust you’ll get in touch with the Doc?”

“Yeah, yeah. I gotta head out, too,” Hoseok was lifting Yoongi out of the chair and wrapping his shoulder around his own, “Never know when that cop is gonna come sniff around. I’ll meet you back at four tomorrow.”

“If you ditch me, I will murder you,” Jungkook warned, “That’s a fact.”

“Look, if we pull off this job I’ll not only pay you back, I’ll make a mint,” Hoseok smiled, dragging a passed out Yoongi toward the entrance, “Got nothin’ to lose.”

The small flat above the bar could lovingly be described as cozy or modest in affectionate terms with an outdated computer interface.

“Hello,” a woman’s voice called once Jungkook turned on the light, making Jungkook jump. Jimin was right. He was jumpy.

“Welcome home, Tae,” The computer interface said soothingly. He knew she was an older model because she didn’t even scan him at the entrance to distinguish that he wasn’t the chief resident. Jungkook opened the closet door and pulled the softest blanket he had ever felt down from the shelf. Maybe Taehyung didn’t have much, but he had what counted.

Taehyung’s couch was up against the rear window that led to the balcony, just above the ring of fog hovering in the city. The blue, purple and pink neon peeked through the grey, and out above was a horizon of endless stars stretching as a backdrop for the skyscrapers. Jungkook settled in, looking out- the moons missing. It was a rare night for neither of the two to be hanging, drowning out the small blinking lights. The faint noise of traffic whizzing by the window was enough to distract his thoughts that seemed to bounce aimlessly in his head. Here, in Taehyung’s blankets, were recollections of an entire lifetime ago. He had spent years holding onto his best friend’s boxy grin and deep, drawing eyes, his laugh, the way he’d shove him after a joke- but here in the flesh he realized he didn’t know him at all. He had a life, scraped together with new people surrounding him. And something in him changed. He was hardened. The one he had known was a ghost- an image created and keeping Jungkook company as he explored planet after planet. And Jungkook was surrounded in his scent that was simultaneously same but different- reminding him of everything that once was and never could be.

But he guessed that Taehyung must’ve been having near-identical thoughts about himself.

The tumult of the day disappeared as a distorted memory of BU-5417’s night sky drifted into his mind, sleep taking him deep and far away.

Chapter Text

Jungkook awoke to the smell of fresh, hot rice and soup wafting in from the small metal kitchen. Taehyung was humming to himself as things clattered around, some song that Jungkook didn’t recognize. When was the last time he had something someone cooked?

“Mornin’,” Taehyung called, sticking his spatula under the vegetables and flipping them as Jungkook lumbered in, still half in dreams.

“Smells good,” He mumbled, rubbing his eyes.

“Thanks,” Taehyung said in a punchy tone, half vocalizing the song that was playing in the background and bouncing around the kitchen, “It’ll be ready in a sec.”

Breakfast was eaten in a hurry, but Jungkook was overjoyed to have a home-cooked meal after what seemed like- no, was most definitely years since he had even seen fresh vegetables. All of his meals had been vacuum-sealed pouches of micro-nourishment. Not that he particularly minded them, but he couldn’t even remember the last time he had something hot and with a texture and made by an honest to god human- It was heaven.

“Sorry for rushing you out the door,” Taehyung smiled, fixing the beret on his head and brushing his hands over his long overcoat, “You’ll be okay in the city on your own for a while?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” Jungkook smiled back, tugging on his bag. He felt strange and out of place being back in such a populated space, but it didn’t faze him. He thought about saying more, telling Taehyung that it would be an adventure, that he traveled over all kinds of terrain and he had gotten used to the unexpected and doing things alone. But he spent so much time thinking about the words that Taehyung was already walking away.

It was just as well.

Jungkook wandered down the empty street, grateful that the New Sha-do district came alive at night. During the day there were a few locals like Taehyung who lived at their establishments that came out to do their usual daily routines. Women in sweats with their hair pulled up and their faces covered in masks- free of the constraints of whatever line of work they were in- walked alongside Jungkook into the convenience store to purchase packs of filters.

There were rows and rows of goodies on the shelf, and Jungkook spent money he didn’t have buying nothing but snacks, a small notebook, and holo-pen. When he walked out of the shop, he was negative 35 hundred yuenne but with a little more bounce to his step.

With the slow morning pace, Jungkook felt less overwhelmed than the evening before. Even as he strolled into more and more populated areas, it was gradual and kept his nerves at an even tilt. He had a whole day to kill until he was supposed to return to Tae’s bar in the early evening to meet “The Doctor.”

Jungkook pulled out his recorder and began to snap the city, surveying it the same way he did for his job. Back on his ship (before it was desecrated) he had gone through all the footage, samples, and data and picked out his favorites. His bedroom wall had become a holo-snap collection of alien skies, rock formations in every hue, a few small critters that roamed the mostly desolate planets, samples of earth that Jungkook gathered and put into small containers- it was like his private museum of where he had been and what he had liked. That horrible fucking pirate even took the pictures he had taken off the wall. And for what? To sell? They were worthless except to Jungkook. Now he had to start over with new additions of a completely different kind of study: one filled with lived in spaces with touches of bustle marked across them, constructed buildings, shadows of people.

He had spent so much time recording that he lost track of the hours, and it wasn’t until he was on some bridge in between skyscrapers that he realized he was starved. Opening his backpack, he frowned. He had been munching the entire morning and his rations were entirely depleted. Twisting his mouth, he zipped it shut and marched onward in his search for food.

It was easy to find in the city, and Jungkook felt spoiled as there were rows of street vendors at the end of the bridge. He slapped his card on the reader at the front stall of some very juicy looking morsels that were carefully skewered on a stick, but the lady shook her head.

“We don’t take that kinda pass,” She said, furrowing her brows, “Try up the road at a cafe.”

Jungkook nodded in thanks and embarrassment and continued on, staring at the card. It hadn’t even occurred to him that he wouldn’t be able to use it in some places.

Every window a few blocks down had holographic images of the menu on display, and Jungkook examined each as he walked. He stopped in front of a small, quiet looking place that looked like they served something similar to the cuisine of BU-5417. The door slid opened and chimed as Jungkook walked in and he was escorted to a small booth in the back.

“What’ll you have?” The blue glint in her eyes and the unnatural pitch of her voice made Jungkook realized she was a fully automated android. He had only ever seen the kind that was in his field, built to collect data and would occasionally rendezvous with his ship to drop off their findings. It was completely different from the service drone that was made to look pretty. Jungkook shifted uncomfortably.

“The number seven, please,” Jungkook cleared his throat and looked away.

“Coming right up, sir,” She said, smiling strangely and disappearing back to the kitchen.

His order came up on the small screen built into his card and he waved his hand over it to confirm.

His food came out too quickly, and it wasn’t quite right. The sauce next to the rice was a shade too light, the spices were heavy and included things not native to his planet- but the meat was tender and it was tasty enough even if it wasn’t authentic.

With his meal finished, he thanked her- unsure if it was normal or not and was taken by surprise when a shy pink colored her cheeks. It was strange, so strange, and Jungkook hurried out of the cafe. When he pushed the door open, Jungkook was nearly shoved back into the restaurant. In the time he had taken to eat, the street was suddenly jam-packed with the lunch rush. He tried to cut through the crowd, but it was swarming and suddenly Jungkook’s heart started to race. He was getting overwhelmed.

Someone’s shoulder knocked into him and he was jostled off of the sidewalk into the street. He gulped hard, his vision blurring and the shapes in front of him losing focus. Breathing fast and shallow, he walked in desperation up a small flight of steps that was slightly less congested and through a large pair of doors.

It was so quiet inside, and Jungkook took a few deep breaths to find his center.

One. Two. Three. Breathe In.

One. Two. Three. Breathe Out.

Opening his eyes and glancing around, he realized he was in a library. Maybe he could take shelter there until the lunch hours passed.

He walked deeper into the building, the shelves of catalogues reminding him of the ones on his ship- perfectly in order and labeled with any sort of data.

“Are you here for the presentation?” A voice behind him called.

Jungkook had wandered to a shelf next to a small room, not even noticing the sign floating a meter away. He spun around and squinted.

The Psychology of Distance: A Rope of Sand

“Uh, yes,” Jungkook answered to the taller man, peering into the room behind him. It didn’t seem as if there were too many people in attendance.

“Me, too,” The man said, a big excited grin plastered on his face, “Should we go take our seats?”

Jungkook followed after him and sat at the back while he took his spot a row ahead, pulling out a recorder and a pen for notes. He gave Jungkook a warm, friendly smile before immersing himself in the lecture.

“...the change in stimuli after prolonged self-seclusion in space can have profound effects on the human mind. There are a number of disputed symptoms, but we, as scientists, must carefully take note of each reported issue. Brain scans over time of those trying to socialize show a spike in brain activities in areas related to stress…”

Jungkook furrowed his brows, trying to keep up with the dense information that was coming at him too quickly. It was impossible, but he could gather bits and pieces. When it was over, he stood slowly. Surely by now, the crowds had dissipated a bit. Jungkook’s ass had fallen asleep, he had been sitting so long. He sighed, putting his backpack on, and started to walk out of the door.

“How’d you like it?” The man who had been a row up took a few fast strides to walk alongside Jungkook.

“Uh, fine, I guess,” Jungkook rubbed his eyes, “It was a little verbose for my taste.”

The other man laughed loudly, ”Yeah, Professor Li can be a little wordy. So- um, are you a student?”

“No, not a student,” Jungkook replied, bewildered that this person was sticking him to make conversation as they walked toward the staircase.

“Sorry, that’s rude of me to ask, isn’t it? It's just that I've never seen you at one of these lectures before. I’m Kim Namjoon,” He gave a bow.

“Kim Namjoon? The Doctor?” Jungkook froze and turned himself completely. What were the odds?

“Oh, you’ve heard of me?” Namjoon blinked in surprised, “From… from my academic work?”

“From Jimin-hyung,” Jungkook blurted before he realized what that might imply, “He found me stranded and helped me.”

“Oh, I see,” Namjoon didn’t change his cheerful expression, “We’re not supposed to be friends with our clients, but Jimin is sort of a special case. He’s one of the most well-adjusted people I’ve ever met.”

“Did he contact you about this evening?” Jungkook cocked his head to the side.

“Oh, he did! But Jimin is so funny in how he tells me things,” Namjoon shrugged, “Something like, ‘Namjoon-hyu~ung, y’free fa dinner? Can y’make a house call? Or a bar call, I guess? Got some real lu-cra-tive business t’discuss withcha,’ I think is how he phrased it.”

,“Yeah, sounds like him,” Jungkook smiled hearing Namjoon mimic Jimin’s drawl perfectly.

“I’m guessing you’re a part of said house call?” Namjoon grinned, “Funny you ran into me here.”

“Shall I spoil the surprise?” Jungkook pushed opened the door to the library that led back out to the street that had thankfully cleared, “And yeah, what a coincidence.”

“It’s serendipity,” Namjoon answered, sliding his hands into his pockets as he walked, “Spoil away.”

“Well, to make a long story short, I heard you have a pretty big craft?” Jungkook skipped a little in his step as the pair walked.

“Yes, I suppose you already know I’m a therapist. My craft is my office. I have rooms for sessions and also rooms in case clientele need a safe place to stay,” Namjoon explained.

“Well, I'm not sure if you'd be up for it, but uh, we'd like to borrow it for a while,” Jungkook wasn't quite sure how to lay out all the details or if he even should. The entire ordeal was sketchy, and Namjoon seemed like an upstanding, by-the-law kinda guy.

“Borrow?” Namjoon arched an eyebrow.

“My ship got compromised and Jimin’s is too small for all of us,” Jungkook started to babble, moving his hands in the air.

“Who is ‘all of us’?” Namjoon tilted his head.

“Well, Jimin, now you if you'd like, myself, and um… Do you know who Jung Hoseok is… Or, uh, Hope?” Jungkook was praying he didn't.

Namjoon laughed.

“Oh, yeah. I know Hoseok-ah,” Namjoon's eyes glinted, “So what's this really about?”

“Err, well, you know how I said my ship is compromised?” Jungkook touched the back of his neck nervously.

“Let me guess, our dear pirate was the one doing the compromising?” Namjoon was walking back toward the direction of new Sha-do.

“He took everything I had,” Jungkook said in a single breath.

“Alright. Another guess: Seokjin-hyung confiscated it before you could get it back?” Namjoon offered.

“Seokjin-hyung?” Jungkook did a quick mental check, but he couldn’t recall the name being said by anyone at the bar.

“Oh, you… you don’t know. That’s okay, you’ll figure it out soon,” Namjoon said cryptically, and his grin widened as Jungkook gave him an annoyed, confused stare.

“Well, if he’s confiscating… he’s a cop?” Jungkook sighed at the game.

“Bingo. You’re quick,” Namjoon shook his shoulder briefly as some kind of congratulations.

“And he takes Hoseok’s stuff a lot? I guess? Otherwise, you wouldn’t have asked,” Jungkook added.

“Yeah, but there’s more to it than that,” Namjoon shoved his hands in pockets as they strolled back, “But there always is. To everything.”

The walk back into the district seemed longer than the way out, Jungkook’s body weary from the day. Namjoon seemed to take note of the slump in his posture and forced him into a shop on the way to grab a caffeine strip, smacking it on his arm without prompting. The bounce in his step returned, and Jungkook felt a sense of relief as his surroundings became familiar once more as they approached Seventh Heaven. Namjoon pushed the door open and let Jungkook walk in first- they were early, but it didn’t really matter.

Yoongi was in the exact same position as the previous night, down to the arch of his back as he leaned on the bar. If Jungkook hadn’t seen him leave and awoke to an empty bar, he would’ve thought he had never left. Taehyung looked perturbed as he dried the glass with hard wipes. They seemed to be in the middle of something.

“-just wish he would consider his choices a little more,” Jungkook caught Tae saying.

“Now, do you mean his career choices or-” Yoongi rolled up, resting his head on the palm of his hand, “do you mean his romantic choices?”

Taehyung growled in frustration and slammed the glass down on the bar.

“Don’t psychoanalyze me,” Taehyung bit, glaring at Yoongi.

Namjoon and Jungkook approached the scene, but Namjoon seemed completely unaffected by Taehyung’s outburst. Jungkook couldn’t recall him having a temper before, and he held his breath. If he had thought about it a bit more, he would’ve realized he himself had changed quite a bit as well since their days back on BU-5417.

“Hey, that’s my job,” Namjoon said playfully, taking a seat next to Yoongi, “Are you looking for a new line of work?”

“No, thanks,” Yoongi said flatly, picking up his glass, “I don’t need to dabble in more careers I’m ill-suited for.”

“If you sobered up, you wouldn’t be a bad therapist,” Namjoon sighed.

“If I sobered up, I wouldn’t be a bad priest,” Yoongi retorted.

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Taehyung interjected, “You can’t blame alcohol for you being a dick. I’ve seen you sober, it’s even worse.”

“I’m a happy drunk,” Yoongi took a sip, “Nothing but goodwill and cheer. Life of the party.”

“At least you’re self-aware,” Taehyung snorted, finally picking up a second glass to dry.

“Unlike some people,” Yoongi smiled wryly before shooting Namjoon a wide-eyed look and pointed at Taehyung with his thumb with the grace and subtlety of an outdated starship engine plagued with a broken valve system.

Tae stared at Namjoon and then looked back at Yoongi utterly unamused, “I don’t need a shrink.”

Namjoon softened, ignoring Yoongi’s antics, “Taehyung, it’s not how you imagine it is. It’s just me. We can just talk.”

“Joonie, he said he doesn’t need a shrink. And I don’t either. I just go see you for shits and giggles,” Yoongi smiled and winked, “Or just to talk.

“You’re such a fucking asshole,” Taehyung picked up the third glass to dry, “You know that?”

“And that’s why you always come crawling to me- your best customer- for advice,” Yoongi looked smug.

Check. and Mate.

Taehyung stared at him blankly for 14 seconds before groaning in disgust.

“This conversation literally started with ‘Tae, you know what your problem is-’”

Yoongi waved him off dismissively, “Details.”

“What’s the problem?” Namjoon persisted, keeping a friendly smile.

“There isn’t one,” Taehyung closed his eyes.

Yoongi laughed, “So if I say a certain somebody’s name, you’ll have no reaction, right?”

“Will you please shut the fuck up?” Taehyung’s eyes snapped open, but the aggression in his voice came accompanied by a creeping blush in his cheeks that betrayed the tone.

“Y’see lover boy over here--” Yoongi gestured at Taehyung in a grand, sweeping motion.

“You’re cut off.”

“-is perfectly okay without a doctor hearing his non-problems which he doesn’t have. Is what I was gonna say before you interrupted me,” Yoongi shrank, clutching his glass like a spoiled child.

Tae shook his head, looking past the two gentlemen seated at the bar to Jungkook standing about a meter behind them, leaning against a pillar. He mouthed “save me” in his direction. Jungkook, who had been watching with an amused smile the entire conversation, chuckled to himself. Who was he to interfere?

“You’re no help,” Taehyung grumbled.

Jungkook stepped forward and took the seat on the other side of Yoongi, “You’re a terrible priest. Aren’t you supposed to try to live a life of purity?”

“At least I confess my sins,” Yoongi rolled his eyes before pulling down the sunglasses that had been sitting on top of his head.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Jungkook scoffed.

Before Yoongi could answer, a sweet, melodic voice came from behind them.

“Hi, y’all. Am I late?” Jimin panted as if he had jogged there, a faint pink touching his cheeks.

“Right on time,” Yoongi yawned. There was no way he had any clue what time it was.

“Hoseok-hyung ain’t here yet?” Jimin looked around before locking eyes with Jungkook and adding, “Don’t worry. He’ll show. He’s always like this.”

“Always like what?” Hoseok came up just after Jimin and put his hands on Jimin’s petite waist, startling him and making him jump, “Handsome? Incredible? Dashing?”

“Idiotic. Reckless. Childish,” Jimin pursed his lips and twisted around to face Hoseok, swatting at his hands, “Don’tcha forget y’got yourself in this pickle.”

“Spoilsport,” Hoseok pouted, thumbing Jimin’s cheek with a degree of too much familiarity before shifting his eyes to Namjoon, “Hiya, Doc. It’s good to see ya.”

“Hey, Hoseok. It’s been a while,” Namjoon nodded at him, “So what’s this about you all needing my ship?”

“Okay, so it’s a funny story,” Hoseok was already laughing at himself.

“It isn’t,” Jungkook soured.

“Y’know that shitty little refueling station seventeen clicks from here?” Hoseok continued, “The one with the vintage yellow machines? They have the turbo bars you like so much.”

“Oh, the Nucleo ones? I can’t find those anywhere,” Namjoon said excitedly.

“Yeah, those. Anyway, I was just making a stop when I saw a peach of a ship. You know my converters went bad, right? So I figured, y’know, get what I need and go,” Hoseok shrugged and everyone seemed unfazed but Jungkook scoffed loudly.

“You saw my ship and you took a lot more than just converters,” Jungkook bristled.

“Right, you’re right. So I was on my way and stopped at JE-70 to sell what I could, but I guess my timing was shit. My bestest bestest best best friend in the whole God Damn quadrant was there,” Hoseok wiggled his eyebrows, “You can guess what happened next. He saw Hix and thought to himself, hmm, what a perfect opportunity to fuck up Hoseok’s day.”

“Don’ be so dramatic, he’s juss doin’ his job,” Jimin gave Hoseok a playful shove.

“Yeah, the job of being a royal pain in my ass- and not even in the way I like,” Hoseok shoved Jimin back.

Namjoon rolled his eyes, “So the usual little choreography you two do happened for the hundred millionth time. You tried to hock it, he intercepted, you ran away, he pursued, you slipped out of his reach.”

“You take all the fun out when you say it like that, Joon,” Hoseok was pouting before beginning his dramatic tale of adventure, “I was clever! I outsmarted him. There I was, in the market- in full gear. My helmet covering my eyes. My identity protected. But you know those security checks at the edge of the market? I had to remove it. And I knew if Seokjin-hyung spotted me I was a dead man He’d know it was me all along. So I grabbed two long fruits, a recovery tarp, and three pins from the tent. That cop was lurking nearby, but I was just tucked out of sight in the shadows-”

“He juss lets you go ‘cause he’s a big softie. Honestly, I think he’s havin’ the time of his life,” Jimin interrupted with a coy smile plastered on his face.

“How would you know?” Hoseok soured at Jimin cutting his daring recount short.

“I don’t kiss and tell, Hobi-hyung,” Jimin winked and Hoseok stuck his tongue out in disgust.

“As entertaining as this story is, can we get to the point?” Jungkook had taken a seat and already downed half a glass of grass wine.

“Anyway, Joon-ah, my dear darling,” Hoseok said in a slow exhale, “I’ve found myself as our Jimin would put it, in a ‘pickle’.”

“I can infer, but I want you to ask me properly,” Namjoon said, giving a nod to Taehyung as he accepted his drink.

“We need your ship,” Hoseok’s face turned serious, “There're some jobs around the quadrant so I can pay Jungkook back for… for what I took.”

The words seemed to come out in a troubled stutter, and Jungkook’s forehead tensed.

“You’re fucking right, you piece of-”

“Hyung, I’ll cover the expense,” Jimin said sweetly, sliding his hand down Namjoon’s arm, “M’sure I’ll get it back.”

“You’re asking me to violate my ethics code,” Namjoon sighed. Yoongi snorted, and Namjoon shot him a please-shut-the-fuck-up look.

“Please, Namjoon-ah?” Hoseok stepped forward, nudging Jimin to the side and clutched his hands, “You’re my only hope. And you’ll just be driving us around. You won’t have to do any jobs or participate or nothin’.”

“You’ll be able to get good medicine with the money, Hyung,” Jimin said softly, “The right medicine.”

The offer was too sweet for Namjoon to ignore. After all, what was the worse that could happen?

“I’ll agree on one condition,” Namjoon touched his chin in thought.

They bristled.

A percentage? A cut? A restriction on where they could go? Some rule about bringing the stolen goods on board?

“We eat dinner together,” Namjoon smiled, “Every night.”

The group looked at each other in confusion.

“For what?” Jungkook finally said,”What’s the point?”

“My ship, my rules. Simple as that. Otherwise, you’ll have to find someone else to chauffeur your little escapades,” Namjoon smiled.

“It’s a psych thing,” A grumbly, drunken voice came from the bar.

“It’s not a psych thing,” Namjoon craned his neck. Yoongi lifted his head and propped it up on his hand to look at Jungkook.

“He always says that, but trust me. It’s a psych thing.”

Jungkook considered his options. If they rejected Namjoon, he wasn’t sure if they could find a ship or if Jimin would even be willing to pay.

“Fine. Done. Whatever. How early can we leave?” Jungkook huffed in an impatient sigh.

Namjoon’s eyes traveled to Jimin who was still standing with a soft, muted smile on his lips.

“If Jiminie can finance the supplies and fuel, we can leave tomorrow,” Namjoon said.

“Tomorrow?” Taehyung leaned on the bar, “What about your patients?”

“I’m part of a network so we have a close-knit set of alternatives,” Namjoon shook his head and shrugged, “And the way I operate, I’m more of an acute recovery therapist.”

“Sound like you got all your bases covered, Doc,” Hoseok nodded to Taehyung and motioned for a drink before making eyes at Jimin who responded with an annoyed sigh and slapped a few yuenne down.

“Now that we have that sorted, what’s this supposed job you have lined up?” Jungkook watched the exchange with disgust. Hoseok downed the drink in a single swallow.

“Let’s get dinner first,” His voice was rough from the alcohol burning his throat and nudged Yoongi who had seemingly drifted to sleep, “Care to join us?”

“No, thanks,” Yoongi answered quickly, refusing to open his eyes.

“No. You’re going. You need food. I’ll close up Seventh for a while. There’s no one here but y’all anyway,” Taehyung forced a glass of water into Yoongi’s hands.

Namjoon clapped his hands together and rubbed them excitedly, “Perfect.”

“We need carbs,” Taehyung gave Yoongi a gentle push to get him upright, “Lots of carbs.”

Hoseok came up from behind Yoongi and helped him to his feet, holding the back of the glass of water until he gulped its entire contents down.

“Well, if y’need him to sober up, I know juss th’place,” Jimin ran his hands through his hair and cocked his hip to the side, giving a mysterious wink.

The Place was literally called The Place, and it was located about ten minutes south of Seventh Heaven. Jungkook’s eyes widened in surprise as the dark and grime were juxtaposed against the pristine the further they went. The tempting whispered nightlife of New Sha-do was pressed against the elite River District. It was like walking on the surface of a new planet. Brand names and fashion and exclusive restaurants were stacked on top of each other past the blanket of fog that always seemed to sit and halo the buildings. Jimin looked completely at ease as he walked, but Jungkook had a passing thought that Jimin would probably look at ease just about anywhere- he was an unspoken but understood intersection of both worlds.

“My treat,” Jimin said with a smile before leaning over to the maitre d and whispering a few words. She pulled away and flashed a smile in return, seemingly knowing who he was before disappearing into the back. When she returned, she gave him a small nod and extended her arm.

“Right this way, Mr. Park,” She seemed pleased and led the group through the main dining room to a small lift, stepping inside and tapping the small pale circle with the number 37. The other five of them stepped into the elevator after Jimin, bewildered. Jungkook unconsciously shifted closer to Taehyung as they shot up through the building. When the elevator doors opened, they were greeted with a private table nestled against the windows. They were above the clouds and all they could see were the stretch of endless stars pin-pricking the dark.

Without a single word exchanged, drinks were brought to the table- a pink to white drink was placed in front of Yoongi.

“Drink this first,” Jimin patted his shoulder, “This always cures me.”

Yoongi wrapped his hand around the bottom of the glass as he pulled it close, giving it a sniff before cautiously beginning to sip it. Without ever seeing Jimin order anything, the table was soon filled with dishes from edge to edge with the finest delicacies SE-041 had to offer. A special course tailored for Yoongi was laid out in front of him who slowly had a more healthy color returning to his cheeks as he nibbled. Taehyung looked visibly relieved.

“Alright,” Hoseok said, leaning back against the cushion and patting his stomach, satisfied beyond measure, “Let me tell you about the job. Have any of you ever been to the Blue Ridge section of the quadrant? There’s a planet called DO-7140 that’s a kind of hub since it’s close to the border. Anyway, there’s a real douche of a guy who takes advantage with importing and exporting, but he’s got a fat load of rare shit he essentially swiped and collected in his private villa. And I happen to know there’s a big reward for getting that shit back, but because DO-7140 sits in neutral space and he’s got a fucking armed guard, there’s no way to get it. I could never pull it off because I work solo, but now that we’ve got a little team here-”

Hoseok motioned to Jungkook, Jimin, and Namjoon, “I think I can tackle all the big jobs I had passed before.”

The three of them shared a looked.

“What do you mean?” Jungkook blinked in surprise, “You want to drag us down with you?”

“It’s perfect, we’ve got the brain,” Hoseok pointed to Namjoon,

“The bait,” then Jimin,

“The muscle,” then to Jungkook,

“And the street smarts,” And finally to himself.

Taehyung and Yoongi both snorted in stereo.

“You’re not as smart as you think you are,” Yoongi smiled, “How many scrapes have I gotten you out of? Remember when I had to pull my priest card and come find you and bust you out of that holding cell in the Red Cloud region? Told them you needed to make a confession.”
“Don’t forget when I had to play distraction in the Astro system-” Taehyung added, “That was a weird day.”

“I’ve never seen a person so fascinated with you in my life,” Yoongi nodded in agreement, looking at Taehyung in awe, “How did you even get that guard to talk to you about his childhood? I swear to God your ability to get people to tell them their innermost secrets completely surpasses Namjoon and myself. He was crying on you, talking about his mom, and thanking you while Hoseok was pulling out his holocards under his nose.”

“If you think I’m so damn incapable then why don’t you just fucking come and chaperone, Mom and Dad,” Hoseok crossed his arms in front of his chest.

“I’m not Mom,” Yoongi said quickly.

“I could close the bar for a while,” Taehyung said thoughtfully, ignoring Yoongi, “Jiminie and Yoongi-hyung were my best customers. I mean, if you’ve got room for two more, Hyung.”

“Sure, and it’d be nice to keep an eye on Yoongi-hyung, too,” Namjoon scratched his head.

“First of all, I’m right fucking here. Second of all, I’m not a kid-” Yoongi protested.

“It’ll be real fun, Hyung,” Jimin nudged Yoongi good-naturedly, “I know you like usin’ yer holiness t’somebody’s benefit.”

“I’ll cut you all in, of course. It’ll take me longer to pay Jungkook back, but I ain’t a cheat,” Hoseok leaned on the table.

He was, in fact, a cheat.

“Well, s’all settled,” Jimin smiled wide, his eyes disappearing before motioning to the wait staff and handing her a small gold holocard that Jungkook had never seen in his life, “Canya program a business receipt, darlin’?”

Jungkook returned back to the bar with Taehyung, saying goodbye to the other four one by one as they returned to their respective homes- gathering the last of whatever they needed and putting things in order to disembark on a sudden, whirlwind heist led by the local notorious pirate Jung Hoseok.

“Try and get some sleep,” Taehyung said, reading Jungkook’s face as he pushed the door open, “Big day tomorrow.”

It was crazy. It seemed crazy. All six of them were dropping everything in forty-eight hours to pursue something that might fuck them all over- and for what, exactly? As Jungkook climbed the stairs of his childhood friend’s house a million miles from their home planet, he realized that they had a single string connecting them.

They had nothing to lose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

It’s so oppressively hot in the marketplace that Jungkook is sweating- the exhaust from the nearby ships coming and going from the dock adjacent to the market making it worse. And it’s crowded. Really fucking crowded. But he’s okay, even in the heat and being shoulder to shoulder with strangers, he has Hoseok by his side. He’s standing a meter away at a booth, hand on his cocked hip and examining different tools. It’s weirdly comforting to Jungkook, even if he doesn’t like the guy. With his focus on the task at hand, the sea of people moving around him barely registers.

“What’s that for?” Jungkook asks, pointing to some ropes that were wrapped tight in a careful circle.

Hoseok shrugs.

“Y’never know,” Hoseok nodded to the sales-droid and swiped his card on the pad, lifting his purchase up and over his shoulder. He turned the card over before pocketing it, mumbling a small prayer, “Bless Jiminie.”

Jungkook’s bag was already stuffed to the brim with supplies thanks to their patron saint, Park Jimin. He had shoved one of his cards to Hoseok and said, “It’s pre-loaded. Got more than y’need.

He didn’t know how much Hoseok had already spent, but he sure looked gleeful every time he swiped the card across the payment panel hinged the front of the different booths. Hoseok tugged Jungkook’s arm through the crowd toward the spaceships that were docked at the far end. They never said anything about it, but at the beginning of the day when they set out together and the midday shoppers started to swarm, Jungkook fell behind. His chest got tight, and the air didn’t seem to quite fill his lungs. Without saying a word, Hoseok walked back through the bustle, linked arms with Jungkook and continued on their way.

Hoseok didn’t let Jungkook stray too far from him the rest of the day, peeking his head up to keep track of where he was- careful not to let him get swallowed up by the crowd.

“We’re all set,” Hoseok said finally, nodding toward Namjoon’s ship. It was grander than he could’ve anticipated and looked different from any starship he had ever seen. While most ships at port had a sleek, modern grey design, Namjoon’s was an oddity. It was round and so dark brown it was nearly black with something like an observation tower stuck on the back. As they approached, Yoongi was lying flat on his back half under the ship while Namjoon looked on. It took a few seconds for Jungkook to realize what was going on.

“It looks okay,” Yoongi said from underneath the vessel, “Your panel just came loose. That’s probably what was giving the error.”

“Thanks a ton, Hyung,” Namjoon sighed in relief, “I looked it over, but once it said valve error I panicked. Last time I tried to fix a valve, I broke three.”

Yoongi slid out from underneath, wiping the sweat from his brow. He handed Namjoon the small tool and sat up, catching Jungkook and Hoseok standing a few meters away.

“How'd the shopping go?” Yoongi asked, dusting off his hands on the sides of his black pants.

“They had a sale on power converters,” Hoseok grinned and pointed his thumb to Jungkook’s bag.

“Please tell me you actually bought things we need,” Taehyung’s low voice carried from the top of the ladder as he scaled down.

“He was very obtuse about everything he picked out,” Jungkook sighed and shrugged his shoulders up to adjust the load on his back, feeling like a pack mule.

“Hey, hey,” Hoseok frowned, his mouth turning into a small triangle, “I assure you that every single item I selected was something that will most definitely become necessary.”

“Explain the ten packs of StarCrossed Bubble Chew,” Jungkook huffed, “It’s taking up a third of the backpack.”

“It was on-”

“I swear to God if you say ‘sale’, Hyung, I’m going straight back to Seventh and you can go plunder the galaxy by yourself,” Taehyung interrupted as he reached the bottom of the steps.

“Don’t say the Lord’s name in vain,” Yoongi shoved Taehyung playfully.

“-on my list of things I need for our very first mission,” Hoseok corrected, laughing and patting Taehyung on the back a little too hard.

“Am I late?” Jimin said, running his hands through his hair as he came up behind Jungkook. He was huffing as if he were out of breath, just the same as yesterday.

“Right on time,” Yoongi answered with a smile- Jungkook realized that he looked a lot different than the past two days he had seen him. He was sober.

“That’s good- couldn’t find a dang place t’park,” Jimin frowned, “Don’t bother makin’ any jokes about ‘Park’ Jimin, Hobi-hyung.”

Hoseok quickly opened and shut his mouth.

Namjoon quirked his eyebrow.

“Why didn’t you just bring your cruiser here? Could just get her into the ship now while everything is getting loaded,” He asked, shoving the tool from Yoongi back into the kit on the ground. Jiminie whined and pouted.

“Didn’t think t’bring the’hook up t’properly connect everythin’ on land,” Jimin turned around in the presumable direction of his cruiser.

“Don’t worry, Jiminie. When we’re in space I’ll open up the hatch and you can park your cruiser in my docking bay,” Namjoon offered.

“Isn’t it usually the other way around?” Hoseok blurted and covered his mouth, laughing. Jimin sucked his teeth and punched Hoseok in the arm.

“Well, the gang’s all here. Jiminie, let’s rendezvous in just a bit. We’ll lift off and just hang in standby mode. Radio me, okay? Are the rest of you guys ready?” Namjoon asked, ignoring Hoseok and securing the toolkit into the side of the ship. The rest of them looked at each other and gave various silent replies in the form of nods and shrugs.

“Alrighty. See y'all in a jiff,” Jimin smiled his radiant smile and waved before turning on his heels and walking away. Namjoon waved back before starting his way up the stairs to the entrance, glancing back to make sure his newfound crew was accounted for.

Namjoon’s ship was just as unique on the inside as it was the out. As Jungkook walked in, he blinked in wonder at the interior. Most ships had a clinical, sterile feel, but Namjoon’s- ironically, was cozy and warm and felt more like somebody’s mom’s house. It existed in warm shades of golden brown and black with bronze and copper lining. It felt as if it were out of a different time- and Namjoon even had holo-art on the walls. Soothing stuff like waterfalls and shit.

But it was nice.

“This is your room,” Namjoon said, sliding his hand over the panel, “If you keep going straight down this hall it opens to a big room. Get settled. I’ll take her up and then we’ll have a little get-together to figure out what the hell we’re doing.”

Jungkook nodded and walked in, the door sliding shut behind him.

His room matched the exterior decor- nearly all in black save for the honey-colored sheets which suited him just fine. His old ship was company-sanctioned grey on grey on grey. He hadn't given it a second thought when he was there. It was easy to accept the blasé scenery because he could always put up his photographs and findings above his bed which served as a personal touch among the dull.

But here, on Namjoon's ship, he didn't need to add a thing. Namjoon had obviously taken great care to have the rooms feel welcoming for his patients. The lighting was low in the room and a small bookshelf sat concave next to the bed with some paperback books. It was unusual, but Jungkook could understand why Namjoon had chosen to add it.

Jungkook walked to the shelf and traced his finger down the spine of a creamy-hued book, pulling it out and flipping through the pages. The paper had its own scent, and Jungkook felt a wave of nostalgia crash into him. He was so used to the glaring screen of his holopad, he had completely forgotten what books smelled like.

A small tone rang out and the indicator light above the door changed from green to red- Namjoon's voice cut in from an invisible intercom.

"Hi, everyone. It's your captain speaking- ha ha," Jungkook wondered if Yoongi was rolling his eyes, "Please secure yourself. Should be smooth, but sometimes leaving New Sha-do's atmosphere is a little rough. Just in case I put the safety light on. When it's green I'll meet you all in the conference room. If you have your holopad, you'll have access to the ship's schematics. I already unlocked them for you. See you soon!"

With the silence filling the air, Jungkook took a seat on his bed and put his hand on the panel next to the small window. The wall changed from opaque to transparent along a barely visible line.

Within seconds, the crowd of people that had always made him feel overwhelmed shrank and disappeared into nothing as they broke through the heavy blanket of fog into the edges of SE-061.

And Jungkook never felt better in his life.

But that was something he was going to keep to himself.

The black stretching out beyond the horizon made the air trapped in his chest push out in a sigh, eased by the freedom of the quite literal space. Chiming for the second time, Jungkook swiveled to the indicator that had flipped back to green. He'd have to check out the view later when he returned.

The conference room was easy to find. He followed down the hall, passing room after room to the archway. Touching the panel, the door slid open for him to see Namjoon sitting at the head of the table with a large smile on his face. Hoseok was already next to him, leaning back with his feet propped on the surface and looking relaxed as always. Jungkook took a seat next to Namjoon on the opposite side, and it wasn't long before Yoongi and Taehyung lumbered in after.

"You should try doing this for longer," Taehyung was mid-conversation, his hand still on the panel as Yoongi walked into the room ahead.

"You'd lose your best customer," Yoongi quipped, "How much of your money is my money, you think?"

"Well, we have a new venture and now I'm not vampirically draining your bank account. Even more reason," Taehyung followed after, "We'll both be making money."

"You know, you're a lot more convincing than Namjoon," Yoongi laughed, taking a seat next to Hoseok. Taehyung walked around and found a seat next to Jungkook, shaking his shoulder briefly as he sat.

"I'm offended," Namjoon scoffed, leaning his chin onto his laced fingers, "We've made so much progress, Hyung."

"Yeah, but you always wanna talk feelings," Yoongi frowned, "I'm more fluent in money."

"You and me both," Taehyung smiled.

"Make that three," Hoseok added.

"How 'bout four?" Jimin appeared in the doorway, beaming.

"Jiminie, did you dock okay?" Namjoon lifted his head and absent-mindedly elbowed Hoseok before he could open his fat mouth to crack a joke. He could hear Hoseok groan and shift, but his eyes didn't leave the young man leaning on the door frame.

"Sure, no problem at all, Doc," Jiminie plopped down next to Taehyung, cheerfully bouncing in his seat, "Did I miss anythin'?"

Taehyung spared him a glance before meeting Yoongi's eye- whose eyebrows promptly shot up- and turned his head quickly toward Namjoon in silence.

"Nah, we haven't even started," Hoseok rubbed his side where Namjoon had dug in, "Your timing is impeccable."

"Alright, so start," Jungkook said finally after listening to the back-and-forth, "What's the job?"

"Well, I already told you the basics last night," Hoseok leaned and put his feet back on the table, but Jimin stood, leaned over and shoved them off, mumbling 'manners'.

"Export-import guy," Yoongi added for clarification.

"Yeah, export-import guy. Name’s A. J. French. Okay, so here's the setup: we'll divide into two teams- me, Namjoon, and the kid will infiltrate this dude's house. You should all be bowin' down to me 'cause I got the security codes to his place-" Hoseok grinned, "It was great. I was real clever about it, so I was talking to the automaton butler, and-"

"What do I need to do?" Namjoon interrupted.

"Joonie, you gotta use your big brain to cause a distraction with the staff. They're all robots. You're like a genius, right?" Hoseok felt around his pockets before pulling out a pack of filters, "While you do that, me and the kid will sneak in grab the stuff."

"That's... it? This is the plan?" Jungkook's tone was incredulous, but he was more perplexed than anything, "We'll get caught."

A silence fell on the room before the group broke in individual levels of amusement, Hoseok smirking wide enough that his teeth were showing.

"Don't you know, Jungkook-ah?" Jimin leaned over the table to look at him, "Nothin' can stop Hope."

Jungkook blinked and turned back to Hoseok who looked utterly pleased with himself.

 

The space pirate Hope, did, in fact, get stopped.

 

But that's for a little later in our story so let's continue.

"I'm a psychologist, not a robotics engineer," Namjoon corrected, but his voice was uncharacteristically small. Hoseok's eyebrow quirked.

"Are you tellin' me, Doc, that you don't know everything there is to know about those little machines?" He snorted knowingly.

Namjoon narrowed his eyes and fell silent.

"What about the other team? Can we have team names? Can we be Team Shadow Galactica? Wait, no Team Supernova. No, no- Team Star Raiders," Taehyung rambled excitedly.

"We don't need team names. Just team A and team B," Jimin offered, chuckling softly.

"Then we're team A," Yoongi added.

"Okay, so, this is what I got- I had to cash in a few favors, but I got the schedule from his staff. Wasn't that hard: everyone hates him. Even the bots," Hoseok pressed a filter to the burner slot on the table, "I won't tell you the whole routine because, frankly, it's boring and borderline disturbing in some parts, but anyway- he takes an early dinner at five-ish. After that, he heads to a well-known spot and does one of two things. This is where Team Star Raiders comes in."

"Team A is fine-" Jimin puffed his cheeks.

"He'll either sit at the bar and get shit-faced, your favorite past-time, padre, and start singing bar songs really loud and pay for everyone's drinks or option B, he'll start cruisin' your type that pick up Johns there. I gotta tell ya, Minnie- you gotta, like, slum it. You're too high class for that place. He likes spaceport transit gay-for-pays, not posh sex kittens," Hoseok's eyes traveled up and down Jimin.

"You're disgusting," Jungkook's face scrunched. Jimin waved his hand ambivalently in Jungkook's direction, his radiant smile returning.

"Alright, I'll get my civilian clothes," Jimin looked deep in thought, and Jungkook wondered if he owned anything that cost less than half a million yuenne.

"You gotta change your make up. Do that smoky eye thing. And you gotta change how you walk- you can't slink-"

"I don' slink," Jimin clicked his tongue.

"Yeah, you do. It's goddamn beautiful, but if this is gonna work, you gotta forget it for a while," Hoseok sucked deep on the filter and puffed out vapor in rings.

"You don't gotta do this," Jungkook squirmed, "Can't we just go with the Yoongi-hyung-plan?"

Jimin laughed musically and winked at Jungkook.

"Sounds like fun. Don' worry, Jungkookie," Jimin bounced in his seat and pulled up to the table.

"Jiminie's just back up, kid. If we got this goin' right, Yoongi-hyung and Tae are the perfect duo to get this dude drunk off his ass," Hoseok slid the filters back into his pocket.

"Okay," Namjoon was sliding his finger over his holopad, "We should arrive in DO-7140 by 1500 hours."

"That'll give us two hours to get in place," Yoongi looked at Hoseok, "Is that enough time?"

"More than we need," Hoseok grinned.

 

It was, of course, barely enough time at all.

It was a quarter past as Namjoon, Hoseok, and Jungkook sprinted toward the location of their target- Jungkook cursing out Hoseok as they ran.

"Just what the hell are we doing, exactly?" Jungkook asked, crouching with the other two against the wall.

"It's all about timing," Hoseok answered, periodically sneaking glances up over the wall.

"I don't want to hear that from you," Namjoon huffed, "You're the one who made us late in the first place."

"I always tell people things early in case I need to detour," Hoseok's eyes flashed as a smirk tugged on his lips, "Watch this."

He nudged Jungkook and nodded to the gate swinging open, a black hovercar jetting out leaving a trail of pollutants behind. Hoseok grabbed Jungkook's arm just as he had in the marketplace and tugged him inside as Namjoon kept on their heels. As if it had been perfectly choreographed, there wasn't a human or android in sight.

"How did you do that?" Jungkook asked in wonder, scanning the area.

"I'm the cleverest sonofabitch you'll ever meet," Hoseok strolled to the front door as if he was meant to be there all along.

"Don't believe him- it's dumb luck," Namjoon whispered.

Jungkook smirked and dropped his bag to the floor, unzipping and examining its contents. Namjoon bent and pulled out his personal satchel that he had prepared earlier with whatever he had needed for their little adventure and removed a handful of small silver discs.

“Alright- these are the jammers,” Namjoon held one up between his fingers and flipped it back to front, “You want to put these around the house as you go deeper. The androids are class level AR-37. Susceptible to radio waves. They made a lot of androids in this class level of varying intelligence and capabilities. they're more expensive than their worth, but also really versatile and useful. They break down easily though and are prone to errors, but they don't die. They're really durable despite their malfunctions."

“Okay, so what?” Hoseok took the bag from Namjoon peering in, “What’ll they do?”

“I have the jammers linked to my holopad,” Namjoon pulled it out, swiping his finger across the screen, “I coded it so that they’ll treat you like a member of the house and essentially ignore you. They won’t find anything strange about you being there and taking things. But the jammers are short wave which means you have to keep putting them down one to two meters apart.”

“Got it, Doc,” Hoseok nodded, taking the disc from Namjoon’s fingers and putting it back into the bag, “Just keep stickin’ these babies around the house and Jungkook and I can get in, get out, and hightail it.”

“That’s the idea,” Namjoon nodded, “I’ll be out here. Just ring me if there’s any trouble.”

“Should be easy as pie,” Hoseok smiled.

Jungkook shot him a look, “Let’s just get it over with.”

“See you in a few, Doc,” Hoseok gave him a quick wave and drug Jungkook into the house straight through the front door. Namjoon had jammed all the androids in the immediate vicinity, and the one or two that passed through didn’t pay the pair any mind. Jungkook stepped warily, wondering how far exactly the boundary was.

“You wanna just lay these around? What if they touch them?” Jungkook asked as Hoseok removed the first small device. Hoseok smiled for his answer and motioned for Jungkook’s bag, pulling it open and taking out one of the cartons of the StarCrossed double chew.

“You’re kidding,” Jungkook said, watching as Hoseok popped a piece of the candy in his mouth and handed one to Jungkook.

“Cheaper than sealant putty- and works better, too,” Hoseok pulled the gum from his mouth and stuck it under the table at the edge of the room, positioning the disc.

“So we gotta chew gum the entire time we’re walking through here?” Jungkook’s face was pained.

“Good thing there’s two of us,” Hoseok laughed and pulled Jungkook to the next room.

Each room was more extravagant than the last- while the foyer they had passed through was floor to ceiling polished marble, the next room served as something akin to a lounge or parlor. Antiques and holo-art filled the space, and Hoseok strolled over to a particular piece. The small statuette looked like a figure dancing in water, frozen perfectly in place and made of some sort of black opalescent stone. He stood up, checked around out of habit, and carefully removed it from its stand.

“Is that on our list?” Jungkook quirked an eyebrow, pulling a piece of gum from his mouth and followed behind Hoseok- searching for a good place to put the next disc.

“I just like pretty things,” Hoseok answered, flipping over the statue to look at the bottom and examine the writing, “The genuine article.”

“May I help you, Master?” An android stepped to Hoseok, smiling warmly.

Jungkook froze, but Hoseok didn’t skip a beat.

“Yes, ma’am. Y’see, we were invited by Mr. French to take an inventory for appraisal,” Hoseok started, lifting the statuette up.

“Oh, I see. How may we be of service?” The AR-37 asked, tilting her head to the side.

“My esteemed colleague here,” Hoseok patted Jungkook’s shoulder, “Lord J. Carlos, heir to the Holo-Yum Candy and Sweets Corp., would like a tour of your lovely home. Say, does your model chew bubblegum?”

“If we are programmed to do so, then yes,” She answered sweetly, “Which most of us do.”

“Swell,” Hoseok pulled Jungkook’s bag off his back and dug in, pulling out a carton, “It’d mean a whole heck of a lot to Mr. Carlos if y’all would try his gum. There’s a new flavor and they’re checking the appeal with the synthetic-types like yourself.”

Jungkook smirked at the absurdity as the machine opened the box up and carefully removed the papers, handing out pieces of gum to the staff around her. In no time, five androids were next to them chewing bubblegum. Hoseok’s story didn’t really make any sense, but it didn’t need to. With Namjoon’s reprogramming, the androids were dumb as dirt. They were blindly handing over piece after piece of gum as they walked through the house- he was getting all the work done for him.

Jungkook stuck another disc under the tea table and smirked.

Hoseok really was a clever bastard.

 

About 20 minutes away, Jimin sat in the back of the bar at an empty booth. The way the room was arranged, the tables against the wall were separated and lined for privacy. It was skeezy, but that wasn’t something he paid any mind to. His eyes were fixed on Mr. French and his two new companions- laughing hysterically at something Taehyung said that Jimin couldn’t quite catch.

“Bet I can drunk this one fastest than you,” Yoongi said in a slur, picking up the shot glass and winking. It was all an act- in reality, Yoongi’s tolerance level was ridiculously high.

“Y’got this, Frenchie. Ol’ Yoongi-hyung can barely hold the glass let alone finish a shot,” Taehyung said smugly.

“Alright, whas’the bet?” Mr. French asked leaning forward to collect his glass. He was most definitely drunk off his ass and leaned on the bar to stabilize himself.

“If I win, y’buy a round of drinks for the bar,” Yoongi winked.

“Okay, but if I win, I buy a round of drinks for the bar,” French nodded.

“Sounds fair,” Taehyung smiled, “On my count. One, two, three-”

The men threw their shot glasses back, the burning liquid hitting their throats simultaneously.

“Fuck,” Yoongi wobbled, “Guess you’re buyin’ the bar a round.”

“Drinks on me!” French shouted to the patrons who cheered uproariously, leaving him with a satisfied, smug expression.

Jimin smiled to himself, watching the little spectacle unfold. Taehyung and Yoongi really were the perfect tag team. He sighed, carefully adjusting his bangs and pouting his bottom lip, feeling like he was completely unneeded after all.

“Hi, there,” A stranger appeared in front of him with a seedy expression, smiling incompletely and dark, “You takin’ appointments?”

Jimin perked up, his expression just as soft as always, “Sure, mister. I’ll be right back- just gotta freshen up. Have a seat an’ we’ll talk ‘bout all the facts an’ figures.”

He slid out the seat, giving a soft, embarrassed giggle and pointed for the bathroom before walking away. His face fell as soon as his back was turned, mentally retching. Pushing the bathroom door open, Jimin sauntered to the bathroom. He tilted his head, running his hands through his hair in front of the mirror. He looked just as beautiful as always- even in the overdone makeup and the mesh shirt that he found at the bottom of his closet. It was just a costume. Everything he was doing was just a costume.

Placing his hands on the sides of the porcelain sink, he stared down at the drain. He turned on the water and let it run, feeling soothed by the noise. He closed his eyes, breathing out slow. By his calculation, they just had to keep this up for another 45 minutes or so. He could do this for 45 minutes. That was entirely reasonable.

Sliding his hand to the faucet handle, he stopped the water and pushed off the sink.

Back into the fray.

As he reached for the door, it swung open and he was promptly bumped into by the one Mr. French.

“Oh, my,” Jimin said, brushing the other man’s shirt, “Excuse me.”

“Whaddya think you-” Mr. French stumbled a little before his eyes focused on Jimin, eying him up and down, “-Wow. Damn. I mean, it’s okay. M’lucky to get bumped into by someone as pretty as you.”

Maybe Jimin could help after all.

“Gee,” Jimin twirled his finger into his hair, “That’s awfully nice of ya t’say. I heard ya buyin’ us all drinks. Y’sure are nice.”

“Oh, it’s nothin’,” He said, but his face was proud, “What do you drink, beautiful? I’ll buy you ten.”

“Don’ think I need quite ten,” Jimin laughed musically, stepping closer and touching his arm, “Juss one tall drink will do.”

Mr. French smiled, but he was visibly flustered even in his drunken state. He took a step toward Jimin, diminishing the space between them.

“Say, didn’t I see you sittin’ at the back in the booths? I’ve never seen ya around before,” Mr. French said, moving the hair from Jimin’s eyes, “Hon, you’re real cute, but you gotta know. I don’t think anybody told you.”

“Told me what?” Jimin’s eyes went wide and innocent, turning his face ever so slightly like a cat getting pet.

“Well, not to be crass,” Mr. French’s eyes narrowed, “But that’s where all the whores hook their Janes and Johns.”

“Oh,” Jimin blushed, looking at the floor before lifting his eyes to Mr. French, “But I do know.”

He could nearly hear Mr. French’s breathing come to an immediate halt.

“What?” He croaked, but the blood was already rushing through him excitedly, “Maybe I’m too drunk, but did you just say you’re a-”

“I prefer the term escort if ya don’ mind,” Jimin shrugged coyly and pressed himself against Mr. French. With nervously, sloppy motions, Mr. French’s wide hands slipped down and settled on Jimin’s back. There was an audible gulp.

It was almost too easy.

“Why don’ we get outta here?” Jimin mumbled breathily, clutching the fabric of his shirt, “Y’can show me how nice y’are.”

Mr. French walked backward with Jimin against the door, keeping him in his arms securely. With a twist, he turned the lock.

“I make a lot of money, baby,” Mr. French puts his hands on either side of Jimin on the door, “And we’re already somewhere private. Why don’t we have a little fun right here?”

Jimin laughed nervously.

Usually, under normal circumstances, this was breaking all of his rules about client interaction. They were as follows:

1. See a client in an introductory meeting
2. Run a background check for any deal-breaking behavior (there wasn’t much- mostly it was to check their bank account)
3. Exchange payment before rendering services
4. Make a log of his location that was ready to send to Jin in a single swipe on his holopad
5. Decide on an agreed location and timeframe as well as expectations, kinks, turn-offs

Jimin had done a grand total of zero of these things with Mr. French.

“M-mister,” Jimin stuttered, feeling back against the door and reaching for the handle, “Don’ ya wanna get comfortable? I can do a lot more on a bed.”

“So we’ll start here, and then I’ll fuck you on a bed,” Mr. French said hoarsely in Jimin’s ear, already grinding between Jimin’s legs. When his hand found the lock and he started to twist it, Mr. French’s fingers wrapped around his wrists and he pulled them up above Jimin’s head.

“Wait,” Jimin squeaked, trying to free himself, “Y’gotta sign paperwork.”

Mr. French chuckled deep, dragging his tongue along Jimin’s neck and thrusting his hips against him, “Never met a whore who did things by the book.”

Jimin’s stomach turned and a slight panic started to fill him. The word whore was heavy on his tongue, and the way it came out didn’t seem right. Nothing seemed right.

“Alright, forget th’paperwork,” Jimin cooed, rolling his hips against Mr. French and moaning as he nibbled on his neck, “What d’ya wanna do in here?”

“Be a good little boy and suck my cock,” Mr. French was pressing his erection hard to Jimin’s thigh and let go of his wrists in favor of sliding his hand into Jimin’s hair, “Open your mouth.”

He shoved Jimin by his head down onto his knees and pulled his head back, making Jimin whine from the pain. That was going to purple. Jimin furrowed his brow in irritation- he didn’t allow marks.

“Mister,” Jimin started to say in protest with a serene smile, “Can ya be a lil’ more gentle? ’m sensitive-”

Jimin was promptly cut off by a half-hard dick being shoved into his mouth.

“You talk too damn much, baby boy,” Mr. French growled, thrusting so deep that Jimin immediately choked around him. He smirked at his discomfort, holding Jimin’s head and continuing to push his cock in- growing completely erect by the second thrust, “Suck daddy’s cock real nice, and I’ll spoil you later.”

Jimin absent-mindedly wondered if he could get to the pistol tucked away on him in such a horrible position. If he could reach behind him unnoticed, maybe- he carefully moved his hand to get to the hidden holster. Jimin was a hundred percent sure this dude wasn’t going to be missed. And he was completely prepared to blast this stupid fucker back into stardust. His thumb and finger just made it to the loop of the trigger.

Just then a large loud knock on the door interrupted them.

“Mr. French?” Taehyung’s voice came from the other side, “You okay in there? Yoongi-hyung’s gotta pee.”

“Baby boy, you’re makin’ my friends wait,” Mr. French said roughly, thrusting harder past Jimin’s lips, “Make me cum already, you filthy little whore.”

Jimin let out a yelp of distress- and it took the entirety of two seconds for Taehyung to break the door. It took less than one for him to observe the scene- Jimin’s cheeks flushed red and his makeup running- to pounce him to the floor. Yoongi slipped his arms around Jimin to pull him up as Taehyung landed punch after punch- splitting the skin on his own knuckles as they collided with Mr. French’s face.

“Don’t watch, Minnie,” Yoongi said softly, pulling Jimin away and pulling the handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his face, “You don’t need to see that.”

 

Back at the mansion, Jungkook and Hoseok had run into a little problem.

“Doc,” Hoseok lifted his arm to talk into the small panel on his wrist, “We’ve run into a little problem.”

“The androids are glitching out,” Jungkook whispered, wide-eyed, “They’re like collectively freezing and then coming back to life. It’s fucking weird.”

“For a split second they know we’re not supposed to be here before your programming kicks back in,” Hoseok added, “It’s makin’ me nervous.”

“Oh,” Namjoon answered, “Probably because of the number of discs you guys are using. They’re stretched thin.”

“Well, can ya fix it?” Hoseok asked, staring at the door, “We’re at the last room already, and we need to get back out.”

Just then three of the androids that were standing idle went limp, their arms dangling. It was unsettling. When they booted back up, one blinked in confusion at Hoseok.

“Excuse me, who are you and why are you here? This is Master French’s private office,” She asked, irritation rising in her voice.

“Doll, listen-” Hoseok smiled sheepishly, “We were sent to do an appraisal for Mr. French.”

“There’s no such thing on the schedule. I’m sorry, but you need to leave,” She said harshly, “Immediately.”

“Namjoon,” Hoseok whispered loudly into the panel, “Fucking help.”

“On it, on it-” Namjoon’s voice came through, “Putting a new code in. Wait, shit-”

The androids went limp again and Jungkook took a step closer to Hoseok. He grabbed his arm to tug him toward the safe.

“Let’s just get what we need and get the fuck out of here, please,” Jungkook begged. Hoseok nodded, and the two of them rushed around the room. The list of items was already programmed on their wrist panels, and they weren’t hard to locate. Hoseok had already shoved his fifth priceless antique into Jungkook’s backpack when the familiar hum of electricity came back and the androids rolled up their backs and blinked as if they were coming out of a dream.

“Shit, Namjoon-” Hoseok called as they rushed to their sides.

“Oh, Master,” One said, clasping her hands together, “How may we serve you? Please command us.”

“Yes, yes,” The second chined, dropping to her knees and bowing, “Give us instruction.”

The other two quickly followed suit, “We were programmed to assist in anything you require.”

Jungkook and Hoseok blinked at each other before Hoseok broke out into a smirk. He pulled up the list on the panel and pressed a button underneath, projecting a holographic image of his prize.

"Yes, my pets. I need the vase of Quadrant Seven. I need to leverage it because of a drug deal that went bad, and unless I want a gang war on our front steps, I need to sell it to the Duchess of the Middle Nebula. Go and fetch it,” Hoseok shooed them away.

“Yes, master,” The three of them turned on their heels, and in a matter of minutes, the entirely of their little grocery list was stacked in front of them.

“Very good, very good,” Hoseok checked each item, “Thank you, my dears.”

“It’s our pleasure, Master,” Number One said, “We are delighted to perform any service for you.”

“Rub his feet,” Hoseok pointed to Jungkook. Jungkook bristled and back away as Number three immediately went down to the floor.

“Are you insane?” Jungkook grabbed her by her shoulders and picked her up off the floor, “We need to leave.”

“When are you going to relax?” Hoseok stuck out his lips like a duck.

“When you pay me back my seventeen. million. yuenne,” Jungkook could barely zip the bag shut.

"Okay, okay. Let's get outta here. Seeya, cats and kittens. Get the car ready and load it with all these things,” Hoseok shoved the bag into One’s and Two’s hands.

“Oh, Master,” Number Two said, “Thank you for letting us be useful to you.”

“It’s been an honor serving you,” Number Three said, doe-eyed.

“Please let us know if you require anything else,” Number One said finally, leaving the room with the other two.

Jungkook and Hoseok followed behind, pulling the discs quickly from each room as they left the mansion. Once outside, they loaded the contents into crates and filled up the backseat of one of Mr. French’s hovercars. Namjoon walked over to them, looking flustered and stressed.

“Thanks for the reprogramming, Doc,” Hoseok said, shutting the door, “What code did you put in anyway?”

“Uh-” Namjoon blinked, his cheeks turning pink, “It’s called an absolute subservience code.”

A silence fell between them as they got into the car, Hoseok jamming a fake card into the ID slot and powering it up. Hoseok shifted the gear and checked everything over.

“We’re all set,” Hoseok smiled at Namjoon before turning to look at Jungkook who was staring out the window at One, Two, and Three waving them off, “Hey, Jungkookie.”

“Hm?” Jungkook unconsciously smiled and waved back, “What is it?”

“Y’ever get your dick sucked by a robot?”

Namjoon choked on his spit, sputtering and coughing as three of them left- bound for customs.

Chapter Text

The trio had lugged Mr. French out of the bar, Taehyung had taken off his hoodie and dressed him in it to hide his bruised and battered face as Taehyung beat him into unconsciousness.

“I was handling it,” Jimin whispered harshly in Taehyung’s ear before smiling and waving at the bartender, “Fella had a lil’ too much. Gonna get him home.”

“You weren’t handling it,” Taehyung said angrily, pushing the door open with his foot.

“Don’ white knight me, Taehyung,” Jimin said back, his eyes narrowing.

“White-” Taehyung laughed indignantly, pulling Mr. French into the alley next to the bar, “Are you seriously suggesting that?”

“I can take care of myself,” Jimin helped prop him against the wall, “I don’t need to be rescued.”

“I know that, Minnie,” Taehyung stood up and kicked him once more in his side for good measure, “It’s not about that.”

“Then whaz’it about?” Jimin asked, pulling his hoodie over his eyes, standing up in frustration.

Taehyung turned to Jimin, his face flushing red. He opened his mouth and closed it, “Just forget it.”

"Listen, this is fun n' all, but we got a problem. Can y'all fuck or punch each other or whatever later?" Yoongi asked, checking his holopad.

“What’s th’matter?” Jimin sighed.

“Namjoon and them already left. We’re late,” Yoongi quickly typed a message, “Jimin, you gotta go.”

“Shit,” Jimin opened the panel on his wrist, dialing for a taxi, “See y’all around.”

“Are you okay by yourself, Jiminie?” Taehyung puffed his cheeks.

Jimin snapped the panel shut and walked in three swift steps to the curb, bending forward into the street. He was already halfway in the hovercar when he turned back to Taehyung and Yoongi.

“M’fine.”

 

With fists clenched, Jimin walked through customs trying to locate the spot Hoseok had relayed. His heart was racing still, a small fury in his blood that he was keen on ignoring.
He just had to pick up the boxes, load them on his cruiser, and get back to Namjoon's ship.

Simple.

Of, course, though, nothing is ever simple. Why would it be? That's not how life works, and no one knows that better than Jimin. With a huff, Jimin crossed his arms and started to look around the hub. There were so many people coming and going, it took him a minute to identify where the luggage was processed through security. With an aggravated sigh, his eyes narrowed, The boxes were pulled to the side out of line for special inspection. If he didn't do something, they were fucked.

Jimin walked and leaned against the wall, a few feet from the objects of his desire and separated by a security laser. If he crossed it, he would set off an alarm. He was lost in thought of how to get it through when he heard a familiar voice snap him from his daze.

"Jiminie?"

Jin blinked several times, unsure if it was just his overworked mind playing tricks on him or what, but he could swear on his life he'd seen--

"Sugar, what are you doing this side of the system?" He approached the short man with a lighter step than he'd placed his entire shift, delighted to see his lover's figure despite the peculiarity of the location. "This place isn't exactly your typical route?"

"Hyung," Jimin's expression spread into a relieved smile, and a small laugh escaped his lips. What a coincidence. He leveraged his weight and pushed himself off the wall, taking a few short steps to meet Jin halfway. Unconsciously, his hand briefly slipped to Jin's hip before he pulled it away, biting his thumb.

"Had a potential client," Jimin leaned his head to the side and his flickered his eyes up at Jin, "Coulda been lucrative, but didn't work out. Y'know how it goes."

It wasn't a total lie.

Kinda.

"Whatcha doin' here?" Jimin bit his lip and took a step back, admiring Jin in his uniform. He hardly ever got to see him in it since most of the time they bumped into each other mid-transit, Jin clad in spacesuit. But, fuck, Jimin thought, he looked good.

Jin might've thought it a bit odd that Jimin would have any clientele in a facility like this, but he dispersed the thought. Jimin had business in far more odd places, he was sure. Besides, he'd heard about some of the men around these parts.

He sighed in heavy exasperation, rolling his eyes and looking at the customs checkpoint at Jimin's question. "I think the higher-ups thought it would be a fun post for my last day before vacation to put me in charge of customs inspections," He tilted his head toward the gathering of boxes Jimin had been eyeing, completely oblivious to the other's intentions. "I have to go through all those to make sure everything's in line. Apparently, there's been some serious drugs and stolen goods being carted across the border."

He shook his head and turned back to Jimin, the smile on his lips full of admiration.

"You doin' okay?" He tugged his bottom lip between his teeth in an effort to stop himself from leaning down to capture Jimin's in a heated kiss.

Jimin went straight as if a whip cracked at his backside, shaken from his daydream of Jin half out of his uniform and back to the to the boxes. Right.

Fuck.

If Jin opened up those boxes, he was entirely fucked over and everything he had just gone through would be laid to waste. Of course, there was no trace of Jimin anywhere on those boxes and he could escape unharmed- but Hoseok. It would trace back to Hoseok.

"M’fine, Hyung. But that sounds borin' as heck," Jimin pouted, keeping his cool and lifting his hand to Jin's bangs to brush them to the side, "And a lotta paperwork. Can y’put it off? How much longer y'here?"

Jin hums at the touch and his smile softens. He checks the timecard on the device on his hip and furrows a look at the younger.

"Looks like I've still got several hours, Sugar. I doubt it's worth the wait, and there's nothing here besides dirty old grumpy workers and druggies. Not the kind I'd like you to mingle with," Jin looked over the boxes and screwed his mouth into a twist, thinking over the paperwork he's got left.

He opened his mouth to say he hasn't got the time to chat, but something in the way Jimin's shuffling uncomfortably on his feet and the curious look in his eye changed Jin's mind. He's always had a weak spot for the blond.

"I-- Yeah, I think I can spare an hour or so. I've already overclocked this week anyways."

Jimin got him.

He knew he got him.

He took a step forward, just enough to create electricity between them- just close enough that Jimin bumps into him if he twists his hip. His eyelids drop halfway, and he parted his lips in a soft exhale before licking them quickly to wet them before he speaks.

"Leave it for th'next guy," Jimin mumbled, his drawl dropping low and rough, "I've been missin' ya so bad, Hyung. Can we go somewheres?"

Jin shut his eyes in defeat, but a toothy grin gave him away. He hated when Jimin caught him in his trap when he knew he shouldn't let him win. Like treating a child for bad behavior. But Jimin was certainly no child and should know better, and the danger of being caught on duty lit a fire in Jin's gut that had him grabbing onto Jimin's wrist - probably tighter than he should. With a swift movement, Jin was waving the small remote device over a scanner on the wall and the laser security cut out for a moment, long enough for them to slip past without any alarms.

"There's a sort-of break room for officers on the other side of the inspection area. It's cozy, but I think it's fine for now," Jin breathes, his tone darkening. He has just enough self-control to get to the room, but he struggles with the urge to push Jimin against the wall in plain sight. A small whine escaped from Jimin's mouth as Jin tugs him along a little too hard, but it only serves to make Jimin's heart race. He knew even making small little whimpers would rile Jin up, and he delighted in flirting with Jin's limits. But he couldn't help it.

When the door clicked behind him, Jimin pressed himself backward to flatten himself and get a good look at Jin. He was fucking gorgeous. Beautiful. A god, in Jimin's eyes. He really, really couldn't help it, he'd swear. Because he's just as addicted to Jin as Jin was to him.

"Hyung," Jimin panted before chewing his bottom lip and beckoning him with eyes. He was rolling his hips back against the door, feeling himself get worked up.

He just prayed he could distract Jin long enough for the rest of those fuck-ups to intercept the goods.

Jin took a deep breath once they were behind the locked door, feeling as though the last of his self-control was leaving him in the exhale.

He rounded on Jimin and slipped himself seamlessly into his space, capturing his thick lips in the same moment his fingers wrapped around his thin neck to squeeze lightly at his pulse point. He kissed Jimin with intent, adding his tongue into the mix as their waves seemed to crash together, and all Jin could breathe was Jimin.

After a moment, he removed his mouth from Jimin's, though his eyes stayed locked on their red pucker.

"Jimin-ah," His gaze flickered back up to his lover's dark eyes with a devilish grin, "Do you want to use your colors?"

"Yes," Jimin said in a breath, a little too desperate and excited. He felt his cock stir in his pants. Only Jin, only Jin, could rile him up so fast. He shut his eyes and bucked against Jin's hips, the slight pressure on his artery making him light-headed and more needy, "Green."

He knew that Jin would never push him too far, but the look in Jin's eyes made Jimin feel like he was about to get taken apart piece by piece under his nimble fingers. He had Jimin's body memorized like a book, and it wouldn't take long at all for him to completely fall apart. Jimin took Jin's free hand in his own and brought it to his plumps lips. He opened his mouth slowly and began sucking on Jin's fingers and grinding between his thighs. He wanted to get his fingers nice and wet, and he watched Jin's expression carefully.

Jin could practically feel his eyes dilate at the sight of his fingers disappearing into Jimin's wet, hot mouth. The roll of his talented tongue against the pads of his digits sent his mind to the other places. It was heavenly. It didn't help that Jimin was gyrating his hips into Jin's, causing his dick to take notice.

But no, this wasn't fair. Jimin was taking too much for himself and leaving nothing for Jin to hold onto.

With the click of his tongue, Jin removed his fingers and tightened the grip on Jimin's neck for a second before stepping away entirely, leaving him panting and rolling his hips against the door. Jin's cock was already achingly hard, but he had a role to fill.

"Strip," He ordered with no room for argument in his clipped voice. He gestured to the counter to his left: a small counter space with a metal plate drilled into the wall as a makeshift mirror next to a vanity sink on the far wall, "And bend over. Be a good boy and I'll consider going easy on you. You know better than to interrupt me at work and tease me, sugar. Don't you?"

Jimin struggled to keep himself upright at Jin's words, his legs ready to give. He was right, of course, but that didn't stop Jimin. He was right, of course, and that didn't stop Jin.

"'m so sorry, Hyung," Jimin whined, his hands tugging at his own zipper down the front of his spacesuit. He knew just how to move to make it a show, but he didn't draw it out. If he went too long that he'd be testing Jin's patience- and that was a dangerous game.

"I juss-" He dragged it down, glancing up to check if Jin's gaze was on him. Opening his jacket, he began to slink his arms out of the sleeves. His hands found the edges of the bottom hem of his blank tank, and he pulled it off over his head. Topless, he walked over the counter and turned to face the mirror, a hand carding through his hair before he looked over his shoulder back at his lover.

"’m cravin’ ya so bad, I-" He watched Jin as he unclasped the pants of his suit, dragging the skin-tight material down his legs and revealing pink lace panties clinging to his ass. Looping his fingers under the material, he slipped it down to his thighs and obediently leaned on the counter with his ass exposed to Jin.

"Can't help myself," Jimin's eyebrows furrowed and a deep pink crept on his cheeks.

"You seem to have that problem often, sugar," Jin said off-handedly, distracted by the lacy pink of his lover's intimates, taking note of the wet spot near the front where Jimin's cock had been leaking. "Pink? A fitting color, seeing as your ass should match it soon. What'd'ya say, sugar? Think you can handle ten?"

Jin was rubbing Jimin's ass, using his thumbs to tease the younger and spread him apart, exposing his puckered hole to the cool air of the room.

He hummed in delight as Jimin tensed around nothing.

"Ten," Jimin swallowed the air, and leaned back against Jin's hands and squeezing his eyes shut. The pain that was sure to come only sent a jolt of excitement through Jimin. He gasped as Jin held him open.

"I-I think I can," His answers were stuttering, but he couldn't hide his cock twitching eagerly. Inhaling deeply, he slid further down the counter and let his mind focus on the sensation of Jin's broad, warm hands tracing along his sensitive spots.

"Good boy," Jin grinned, soothing a hand over Jimin's plump behind before dropping down to spread his thighs apart slightly. He undid the zipper on the pants of his uniform, pushing them down along with his boxers, leaving them to pool at his ankles. He stepped between Jimin's thighs so his cock could slide in the crack of his lover's ass. "Count for me, and remember your colors."

The first hand was soft- a prelude, a warm-up for the rest. He was getting impatient already, but he loved this part. Jimin never ceased to tease him outside of their rendezvous and it was times like these, before he sunk deep in his tight heat that Jin could seek his revenge.

"One," Jimin said softly, but he knew the ease of keeping count wouldn't last. He moved his ass gingerly against Jin's cock, half in temptation and half to self-soothe.

The next hand came down just as quickly as the words left Jimin's lips, sending a ringing sound through the small room. Jin soothed the reddened patch before striking once more.

"Two- fuck, three," Jimin gasped and hissed, trying to keep up. He moaned as Jin massaged his cheek.

Jin was rolling his hips against Jimin, harder- the pressure on his cock easing the ache just enough to get through the punishment, but his resolve was wearing thin.

Another two slaps on the other side of Jimin's ass rang out in quick succession.

"Four- ah, Hyung. F-five," Jimin was panting now, beads of sweat forming on his skin from the beating. Jin's voice was honey, and Jimin could barely keep it together.

"You looked so damn irresistible standing there, Sugar. You're goddamn illegal," he gasped.

"Arrest me, then," Jimin said coyly, gathering himself enough to look back and watch Jin's cock slip and down between his cheeks. He moaned loudly but didn't break his stare.

Jin chuckled, "Maybe later, my handcuffs will still be good for somethin' on vacation, at least."

“Seven. Jin-hyung-ah. E-eight.” Jin could barely hold back his own moans as Jimin counted out the next two strikes, satisfied with the way the younger's as was bright red and hot to the touch. He soothed his hands over each cheek.

"Baby, you got lube on you? Mine's in the ship."

"I don't need any," Jimin whispered, embarrassed and blushing furiously, "M'already ready."

Jimin hadn't really expected to get fucked, but whenever he was meeting a client sometimes things happened suddenly. And even if it was a fake-client, Jimin hadn't been sure just how he would have needed to go. Sure, it was messy, but with Jimin's line of work he had it down practically to a science. So there he was, leaned over the counter with Jin teasing his ass and an already worked open hole- ready to swallow up his cock.

"Mmm, fuck," Jin closed his eyes and stopped his thrusting, pulling Jimin's cheeks apart and letting his cock slip down only to have his swollen and leaking head put pressure on Jimin's rim. He opened his eyes again to lean down over Jimin, pressing a sloppy kiss on the juncture where his shoulder met his neck.

He took a deep breath and let the shiver of pleasure run down his spine. Jin loved it- absolutely loved it- when Jimin was fresh from a job and ready to go. Not to say that he hated foreplay and prep, but God did Jin love just being able to sink into him immediately.

In his haze, he barely registered that he'd been easing himself into Jimin's heat and he inhaled sharply.

"Fuck, f-fuck it, Sugar. I think you've learned your lesson. How 'bout I just fuck you hard against the counter, leave you with pretty bruises? Do you have any jobs soon?"

"N-no," Jimin stammered, the head of Jin's cock pushing just enough into him that his brain is going blank, "Nothin' on the books right now. Just some potential client meetings."

If he wasn't so lost in the feeling, he'd feel smug that Jin caved. But he didn't have the wherewithal- not with how much he needed it. He edged backward, forcing the head of Jin's cock past the tight ring of muscle. The truth was that Jimin was a mess, and he needed Jin as deep as he could go.

"P-please, Hyung," Jimin begged, "Fuck me."

If Jin had longs days at work, he could only imagine how Jimin's went. He adored the younger man, he admired his strength and confidence. And maybe it was a kink of his, but Jin was always hardest like this, with Jimin begging beneath him, loose and ready for his cock, too needy to wait for him to be off the clock.

He got off on the feeling of being the only one to make Jimin come undone so easily, so well, like putty in his fingers. And despite being a professional, Jin found dizzying satisfaction in the fact that he could make Jimin blush and get flustered with a simple touch.

His hips rolled and he seated fully inside of Jimin, moaning his name and at long last finding the freedom of being able to suckle a dark red bruise into his neck.

"Sugar, tell me something," Jin grunted, pulling back his hips just enough to thrust hard and deep, reaching up to grab a fistful of Jimin's soft hair. "Tell me how much you need me, baby."

"Hyung," Jimin whined, the sensation of Jin filling him up so perfectly making it work to come up with an answer. It took a few thrusts for Jimin to collect his thoughts- throaty moans raked out of him as his lover slammed into him hard. It was rough in the way that Jimin liked it- loved it.

"Need you the most," Jimin sputtered, bracing against the counter, "Always wan' your cock. Nobody fucks me like you do. Nobody feels s-so good."

Jin throbbed inside of Jimin at his words. He needed him the most. A moan ripped through him and he drove harder into Jimin.

He tightened his grip in Jimin’s hair and stood up, tugging his lover along with him so his back was pressed against Jin’s chest- his free hand keeping a bruising grip on Jimin’s waist. Jin peered over Jimin’s shoulder at him through the mirror and smirked, kissing Jimin’s cheek chastely.

“Nobody takes my cock so well, Sugar. You’re the only one for me, baby, and you know just how to drive me crazy, don’t you?” Jin hummed as if answering his own question. “I fucking love you, Jiminie.”

Jimin scrambled backward, holding onto Jin as he fucked into him deeply.

He was so exposed- forced to watch himself in the mirror, completely surrounded and held by Jin as he got slammed into. His own cock was a swollen dark red and had been leaking pre-cum down to his thigh since before Jin had told him to strip.

"I love you," The words slipped out quiet and raw- he was nearly in tears from how hard Jin's cock knocked into the nerves inside, but it felt so fucking good. Overstimulated and needy, he was about to cum without either of them laying a hand on his cock.

"Hyung," Jimin shut his eyes, groaning low, "Gonna- gonna-"

“Fuck, baby, cum. I’m- fuck, I’m cumming, too,” Jin growled, gripping Jimin harder, thrusting erratically faster, pushing them both hard into the rough counter. Their breaths were hot and loud and Jin could feel himself teeter over the edge, waiting for his lover to carry him there. Jimin gasped and thick white streaks splattered all over the counter and the mirror. He moaned out his lover's name, gripping the edge of the vanity white-knuckled. All of his limbs went loose, and he began to tremble violently as hot, white cum continued to pump out of him. It was the hardest he had ever cum in his life.

Jin followed shortly after, fucking himself up into Jimin with a couple final thrusts before feeling the tension break. He filled Jimin’s hole and came so hard he could feel it as streams of milky cum leak out of his lover. His ears were ringing and his fingers relaxed in Jimin’s hair but he didn’t let go, opting instead to curl him tight against his chest, moaning as he kissed his neck, jaw, and finally his lips deeply. Jimin melted against him, completely slack and spent in his arms. All he could do was move his lips gently against Jin's, opening and closing slowly and sensually as a small sigh escaped his mouth.

Nothing felt more safe- more at ease- than being in Jin's arms. He had nothing to prove there. It's freeing and it's perfect and it's safe.

Jin is his home.

All Jin cared about or wanted to to do was kiss Jimin forever. Post-orgasm, his lover glowed like the lightning bugs in the swamps Jimin had always regaled to him in dreamlike stories- ethereal. Jin turned him around and propped him up on the counter, never once disconnecting their lips.

“Stay with me tonight,” Jin’s hand cupped Jimin’s cheek, caressing his cheekbones and down to his bottom lip. His eyes watched Jimin’s, feeding off the warmth he radiated. Jimin was his everything, his lover, his soulmate-

And identically, silently, secretly he dared to think of the same thing that Jimin had thought.

Jimin is his home, too.

He leaned in to kiss him tenderly, lips barely even pressing together, “I need you, Jiminie.”

“Hyung,” Jimin was drowning in Jin, and he never wanted to leave. Not after all the shit happened today. Not ever. He was perfectly contented to stay in his arms the rest of his life. Jin slipped his arms around Jimin's thin waist and pulled him close, disconnecting their lips so Jin could rest his head on his shoulder. He only had a few more hours of work until his vacation, but it felt like he might as well have a few days left. He didn't want Jimin to leave. The look in his eye sucked him in. He nuzzled deeper into Jimin's neck, kissing his skin tenderly.

"Can you wait until I'm off work? I'll give you my key card," Jin leaned back and looked Jimin in the eye again. He could melt all over again in that warm chocolate gaze, "You can wait in my ship, watch that show you always make me sit through and I'll be done before you know it. I want to have you for more than a few hours." Jin chuckled, kissing his lips.

"Yeah, I can wait there," Jimin said easily, squeezing Jin possessively to himself and returning his kiss in short pecks, "And th'Holopad is the best darn piece of cinema in five whole centuries, just so ya know."

There was a beat in between, and Jimin's chest felt tight with ache. He gave Jin a long, slow lingering kiss before taking a step to collect his things. He didn't want to move from Jin's embrace for even a second, but he had already taken too much of his time, "Mind if I use y'shower? I'll be fresh as a moon bloom when ya get back."

Jin watched as Jimin bent down to pick up his clothes, itching to touch him. He didn't have the control to hold himself back, wrapping himself around Jimin once more when he'd stood back up to face him.

"Of course, Sugar, you can do whatever you'd like," Jin thought for a second before a smirk twisted on his lips, "If I might suggest, though, there's a drawer I made especially for you in my room. Third one down in the dresser. You should wear something from there, baby. I made sure they'd be things you're comfortable in."

Jimin nodded and smiled, suddenly relieved. That saved him a shopping trip in the shops on the other side of customs. Usually something that Jimin quite adored, but in this moment he simply wasn’t in the mood. Jimin locked eyes with Jin- his heart about to burst.

Jin pressed a kiss to his lips and groaned.

"I don't want to leave."

Sliding his hands up Jin's back, he slipped his nails along his scalp and tangled his fingers into his hair, "Don' say that."

"I'll just be a lil’ ways away. In your ship, in your room- ready an' waitin'," Jimin's voice was barely a whisper, any louder and it would break. The thought of leaving Jin's side just got impossibly more difficult. He'd just as soon drag Jin away to the ship with him. His lips went up Jin's neck in a slow crawl of kisses to his earlobe, and he nibbled on it affectionately.

Jin moaned and gripped tightly at Jimin’s waist. His chest tugged hard, he really didn’t want to leave.

“That’s a dangerous thought, Minnie. You know what that kinda thinking leads to,” Jin huffed, pushing out his bottom lip in a pout. “You’re impossible and irresistible. I could eat you for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”

Jin groaned painfully and planted a final deep kiss onto his lover’s lips before leading them to the door. He subtly slipped his key card from his pocket into Jimin’s hands and smiled down at him. “Wait for me, baby. There might be some snacks if you want, but I’ll make dinner for us once I’m off, sound good?”

Dinner. Shit. Jimin was going to have to message Namjoon about their little agreement and get an exception for himself.

"Sounds perfect," Jimin purred, slipping the key into a small pouch and letting his eyes fall all over Jin in want, "Y'know I love y'cookin'. Don' tell Mama Park, but yours is better."

Jimin grinned and went up on his tiptoes to nuzzle Jin's nose with his own in pure affection. He leaned backward and put his weight on the door handle, stepping back into the bustling hall.

Jin smiled toothy and wide, chuckling as Jimin opened the door. “I love you, Minnie. I’ll see you for dinner.”

“I love you, Hyung,” Jimin waved and bounced happily away in the direction that he came in. As he passed the security point, his eyes slipped to the stack of boxes that he was supposed to pick up. They had been moved- just slightly enough that no one would notice. One of the boys had been there. Thank fucking God.

Jimin meant to go straight to Jin’s ship, but he couldn’t help detouring to the port shops despite himself. It was his favorite way to blow money. He walked around, buying a couple of bags of unusual snacks and some bath products he had been wanting to try. Two of Jimin’s weaknesses. After wandering around for 30 minutes with a cup of grass-fruit tea, he found himself at the end of a tech and robotics shop. He peered in. Hadn’t Jinnie been talking about some game?

He slurped his drink through the straw and walked in, lighting up at seeing the one he had mentioned in passing. Pleased with himself, he tucked the packaged up digital code into his pouch and headed for Jin’s ship. He’d surprise him with it later.

With a relaxed sigh, he walked into Jin’s quarters and placed the key card on the table. He needed to bathe so bad, he wanted to soak in hot water and melt right into it. Exhausted, he peeked around until he found the drawer that Jin described.

Jimin laughed.

It was all pink.

On top of all the pastel clothes was a small heart-shaped note.

Minnie, I rubbed my face on three dozen pieces of clothes to find these. These are the softest in nine galaxies. Get comfy and relax for me, baby. You deserve it.

Jimin smiled to himself and pulled the top one out- it was a perfectly oversized sweater made of, what Jimin thought, was in fact the softest thing he ever felt. Other than Jin’s lips anyway. Taking his clothes, he walked to the bathroom and started to draw the hot water. He pulled up his holopad. Of course, there were 300 missed messages. 2 from Namjoon, 1 from Yoongi, and 297 from Taehyung.

 

Doc <3: Hey, Jiminie. Just checking if you’re alright.
Doc <3: Message me when you get this.

Father Min: just fuckin text him jimin he wont stop crying and im tired and he wont shut up

TaeTae: ARE U OKAY
TaeTae: THIS IS ALL MY FAULT
TaeTae: MINNIE
TaeTae: R
TaeTae: U
TaeTae: THERE ??
TaeTae: ??????????????????????????????????????????
TaeTae: I just wanna know you’re okay
TaeTae: sorry 4 spamming u
TaeTae: listen i was an ass
TaeTae: i dont wanna like
TaeTae: white knight u or whatever

Jimin sighed and messaged the following back:

Me: Tae, I’m sorry, too. Can we talk later? I’m fine, I promise. Please don’t worry. I’m going to take a rest tonight. I’ll rendezvous with you tomorrow.

Me: I messaged him. Please take care of him, Hyung. Can someone pick up the boxes? They’re still stuck in customs.

Me: Doc, I request an exception for dinner tonight. I have plans I can’t cancel. I’ll take a penalty or do some make-up work or something.

Jimin set down his holopad and threw some powder in the bath, a cloud of sweet-smelling vapor rising from the water on contact. His holopad chimed.

Father Min: no problem. someone will get them. take it easy, Minnie. see you tomorrow.

Jimin picked it up and swiped his last message of the evening to reply.

Me: Thanks a lot. Don’t worry, okay?

Jimin quickly disrobed and turned off the water, easing in. The warmth was biting hot, but Jimin moved slow to let his skin adjust to the temperature. Jin had installed a huge bath- probably just enough to make room for his shoulders- and Jimin felt tiny in it. He sank down until his nose was just above the surface of the water and he eyed the purple on his knees, frowning. He hated marks.

He looked down finding the one from Jin’s thumb just an inch above his hip and touched it gingerly. He remembered Jin sucking hard on his neck, and he traced that one with his fingertips as well.

Somehow those two meant an infinite amount of difference than the violence he had sustained earlier. Not the ugly, disorienting treatment from someone who doesn’t know what it is to be human.

No, the marks from Jin were small little whispers of adoration. Promises on his skin.

They meant Jimin was his.