Chapter 1: Taehyung and Yoongi
Taehyung thinks he may be dying.
Okay, maybe not dying.
A slight panic attack maybe (a cosmic-sized mental breakdown)? He doesn’t know for sure, all he knows is that his insides feel twisted, and he wants to throw up.
Also, is there no air? Why’s there no air?
He looks up and the door seems to have grown ten times the size it was a moment ago (that can’t be normal, right?). He feels almost like Alice in Wonderland after eating from the wrong side of the caterpillar’s mushroom: he has shrunk while the world around him has stayed the exact same size. Taehyung knows that nothing had changed, that none of this is real, and all he has to do is reach out and turn the handle, but… he can’t.
He just can’t.
“I can’t do this.” The silent hallway echoes the words back as though confirming his statement.
Taehyung turns to leave and but remembers why he’s here, or rather, who made him come. He can’t go home. He’d have to face Jimin and explain why he didn’t walk through the door. A sigh escapes Taehyung’s lips and he realizes he’s trapped, stuck in the hallway between his oversized imaginary door and the exit sign. He stands for a moment trying to gather his thoughts, the play button having been pushed in the video player of his mind as his conversation with Jimin begins.
“I don’t wanna,” Taehyung whines and considers stomping his foot, but then Jimin wins for sure, and he’s determined not to let that happen (again).
“You need this, Tae. Do you want to be a doormat forever? How many more times are you gonna come home exhausted and depressed because of something that happened at work or with your so-called friends, all because you’re too timid to speak up?” Jimin hits the enter button and just like that Taehyung is registered for a (very creatively titled) How To Manage Conflict class.
“Doormats aren’t so bad; they keep dirt out of your house. Oh, and they come in cute designs, and—”
Jimin cuts him off, “And nobody takes them seriously. You are going to this class Taehyung, no more arguing.”
He should’ve stomped his foot (he would have gotten something out of losing).
The irony of being strong-armed, literally (Jimin wrestled him for the laptop) into a conflict resolution class because “you shouldn’t be forced to do things you don’t want to do Taetae” isn’t lost on him.
Taehyung stands alone, nervous (and possibly hallucinating) - forced, okay, sternly encouraged into something he really doesn’t want to do, but probably should, he turns once again to face the door and his fears. This time, the distance between the threshold and where he stands seems prohibitively far; the door is a tiny speck, the walls stretch high over his head, and he isn’t entirely sure he’s even breathing (and seriously, his imagination needs to take a vacation). He can’t do it - he doesn’t want to.
He’s not ready to face his issues.
His life’s not so bad. Lots and lots of people depend on him, need him. Like his boss who needs his nonfat, extra light, no foam cap. And his coworkers who need him to do all the crappy, menial things they don’t want to do, and - who’s he kidding? Jimin’s right. He needs this.
He looks at the door with determination in his eyes. He can do this. Taehyung puts one foot in front of the other and repeats the process till the door in view is the right size, and the path to get there is no longer impossible.
Now all he has to do is step inside… just step inside; that shouldn’t be so hard, right?
So very wrong.
It’s not that Yoongi hates his job. It’s not. He loves it actually; who wouldn’t? He gets to visit far away, exotic places like Milwaukee (don’t knock it till you’ve been) and deal with cranky, old people and screaming children, all while being locked in a big metal box at thirty thousand feet in the air. It’s a dream job. And he’s fucking good at it, most days.
Most days he can deal with the tiny spawns of Satan disguised as adorable children, who can compete with (and possibly beat) any Opera singer for depth and range. Most days he can deal with people asking for water, soda, or tea over and over and over again, like your least favorite song stuck on replay. Most days he can handle nagging, irate passengers demanding to be given a seat in first class because their legs don’t have enough room.
Well fuck, when you booked the flight it said economy, right? You fucking got what you paid for then! (Yoongi knows better than to say it out loud)
Most days he can manage it all with a sweet smile and years of perfectly honed, poignant sarcasm passed off as charming and witty banter.
But not that day.
The day that has him at this moment sitting in his car looking up at the big, appropriately-depressing, brown building. The day when the passenger in seat C4 made it her sacred duty to destroy his perfectly constructed façade and break him of his silence. The day that his coworkers now refer to as Tentacles Day.
The day started out normal enough. The flight attendants had boarded the plane sometime before the passengers for preflight setup, and to prepare the cabin for departure. Yoongi is in a relatively good mood; his self-weather forecast states: sunny with precipitation at fifteen percent (he’s a realist, no one’s bright twenty-four seven).
His current state is not just because this flight will be taking him home (he misses his bed), but also because a certain steward with thick thighs, pouty lips, and possibly the sweetest most sugary smile Yoongi had ever seen is working the flight as well. He’s been crushing on the younger man for quite a while but has yet to make a move. Yoongi firmly believes today is the day to change that. Today, his conversation will consist of more than “Hiya, good luck in first class” (or so he thinks). Today he will have a real conversation with Park Jimin, complete with sentences filled with nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and possibly past participles (if he’s feeling adventurous).
When the first ding of the call bell sounds, Yoongi willingly volunteers (no, he is not trying to impress his crush, but Jimin smiled at him; smiling is a good sign, right?).
The woman in seat C4 looks frazzled, as though she has just spent a million days on a deserted island and had forgotten what it was like to commune with others. A small child lay clinging to her chest sound asleep. And Yoongi feels a connection to the woman. He’s had more than one rough day.
“Can I help you?” He reaches over to turn off the call light.
“Yes,” her voice is sweet and Yoongi thinks maybe this will be a great flight after all.
“Can I trouble you for a glass of water?”
“No trouble at all, ma’am.” He smiles, “Is there anything else I can assist you with?”
“No, thank you.” She returns the smile.
Yup, a great day indeed! Yoongi almost skips to the kitchen area.
He returns to his seat after delivering the water and a cup with ice (he's feeling generous).
The second time the bell rings, he’s the only one available. It’s the same passenger and he likes her, so he answers the call.
“Can I help you?”
“Oh, it’s you again,” she smiles sweetly.
“Yes, at your service.” He reaches over and once again turns off the call button.
“Can I possibly bother you for some juice?” Yoongi eyes the half-full bottle of water but says nothing. Maybe she just wants something with flavor, she can’t be faulted for that.
“Absolutely. We have apple, orange, cranberry, pineapple, and grape juice.”
“Pineapple sounds delicious.”
“Coming right up.”
The third time the bell rings, Jimin aka Mr. Pouty Lips is in the prep area, and he's sitting so close Yoongi could smell the man’s mint flavored toothpaste as he chats with Hani about a band they both like.
“Oh, I’ll get it,” Jimin says as he jumps up from his seat.
“But you’re working First Class,” Yoongi blurts out (suave, Min Yoongi, suave). “I mean… Thank you so much for offering, but I don’t want you to get in trouble for not being at your station. I’ll do it.”
Jimin smiles his sweet-as-pie smile, and Yoongi’s heart does somersaults and back flips in his chest. But when his crush steps forward and puts his hand on his shoulder and says, “thanks, hyung,” well, Yoongi is pretty certain his heart just shimmied down his spine, fell out his butt, and is now sitting on the floor in front of him.
He catches Nani’s eyes as he leaves to assist the passenger, and she gives him a thumbs up in approval. He smiles.
“Hello, again.” She greets him first this time, “Can I trouble you for a cup of coffee?”
A collection of half consumed beverages is beginning to grow on her drop down tray, and Yoongi wonders if the woman has some rare sickness that makes her thirsty, like dry-mouth or diabetes. He assumes his disease theory is correct when, on the fourth call, she requests a cup of tea.
Yoongi can feel his mood slowly changing and the chance of precipitation has gone up to twenty-five percent. He pushes down the feeling and reminds himself: it's going to be a great flight. The fifth time she rings, she’s moved on to food items, and by the seventh call, she has every food and beverage item the plane carries on her tray, like a Denny's sampler meal.
Precipitation at forty-five percent.
And Yoongi is no longer smiling.
Precipitation is at fifty-five percent, and dark clouds are beginning to roll in.
The sound causes chills to run down Yoongi’s spine; he doesn’t even look at the seating chart, he knows who it is.
“What can I get you?" (This time). He asks matter-of-factly, and for the umpteenth time, he turns off the call button.
“Uhm, do you have a softer pillow?”
And Yoongi almost balks openly at the question, but he catches himself in time.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, we don’t," (This particular brand only comes in brick, this is not Bed Bath and Beyond, lady).
She smiles and nods, “Do you perhaps have a different blanket? I think she may be allergic to this.” She points to a red blotch on the child’s arm.
“Again my apologies, but we don’t," (Blankets only comes in itchy as hell).
As he walks back to the kitchen, he wonders how much trouble he’d get in if he actually said the things he thought.
“Wow, that’s like the eighth time she’s buzzed. Maybe she has a crush on you, hyung. Can’t say I blame her.” Jimin says while walking past him on the way back to first class.
The statement should have kept him going the for the rest of the flight, it should have. And honestly, Yoongi thought it was enough, he really did. It’s not every day your crush initiates flirting, and it was enough to get him to through the ninth and tenth calls (precipitation dropping back down to forty-five percent and holding). But, but… everyone has a breaking point, and the woman in C4 was hell-bent on finding his.
Mealtime ends without much fanfare; the attendants are in cleanup mode, clearing trays and getting the cabin ready for landing. Yoongi is walking through the aisles, one arm filled with cups and various items to discard, and in the other hand he’s carrying a plastic bag for the passengers’ garbage.
As he passes C4, the woman shouts at him, “Steward, please clean my tray for me.”
Oh, hell no she did not!
Precipitation at one hundred percent, with hurricane-force winds and flooding.
Yoongi snaps, he’d gone to her seat no less than ten times today. Ten fucking times! He’d given this passenger every single goddamn item the plane had to offer. She had rang the bell so many times Yoongi is sure he’s going to have nightmares about buzzers. He’d smiled and made small talk, he even cooed at her damn baby, he’d been more than accommodating, and now, now she wants him, with his hands filled to the brim with crap -- to clean her tray?
Is she blind, do I look like an octopus?
The words fly out of Yoongi’s mouth before he can stop them.
“Madam, I have testicles, not tentacles.”
That statement (true as it might have been) is the reason Yoongi is sitting in his car bemoaning his bad luck. His boss having enrolled him in a How To Manage Conflict class. In all fairness he had been given a choice, “It’s either this or a two-month suspension, you decided.” He chose the class, he can’t afford not to get paid.
Yoongi gets out of the car, grabbing the brown paper bag from the passenger seat. He’ll need liquid courage and his mom’s kimchi if he’s going to make it through the next hour and a half.
He walks into the building and heads to the elevator. As he exits on the third floor, the first thing Yoongi sees is a tall, lanky (man, boy?) male, standing in front of the classroom door having a silent conversation (it seems) with himself. The man looks like he wants to run away and throw up and seems to be frozen in place, a few inches from the meeting room door.
Yoongi walks towards the door, trying not to make eye contact. Oh no you don’t, kid, crazy is what got me here.
But despite his best efforts their eyes meet, and Yoongi realizes (none too soon) there’s no escaping when the man states while staring at him with frightened eyes, “I don’t think I’m going to make it.”
And then… then lanky boy/man throws up like a scene from The Exorcist.
And Yoongi thinks to himself.
****Come by and chat. You can find me here: Tumblr****
Chapter 2: Grumpy Cat
The one where Taehyung realizes Grumpy Cats are hot.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Clean-up on aisle three, Yoongi wonders if it’s an appropriate time to think such things, no matter how apropos it is to the situation.
“Kid, you okay?” He asks in his characteristically slow drawl.
Wide eyes look up at him with a mixture of embarrassment and fear, the man’s hands are covering his mouth, and Yoongi really wants to laugh because one, this is fucking hilarious, and two, yes this is my life I am a beacon for crazy people. When the man makes no attempt at an actual answer and only continues to stare in dumbfounded fright, Yoongi sighs and scans the hallway. When his eyes land on the sign for the restroom, he reaches forward and grabs the stranger by the arm.
The man’s eyes grow wider with fear (a feat Yoongi did not think was possible), and Yoongi sighs again, Why me? Why is it always me?
“Look, kid, I am not going to do anything bad, alright?” He points to the bathroom sign, “I’m just taking you there so you can get cleaned up, okay?” Yoongi tries to dial his voice down to soothing and gentle, but he knows he doesn’t really have that setting.
Understanding finally dawns on the man (boy? person?), and he nods his head and succumbs to Yoongi’s lead.
Their time in the bathroom is quiet and awkward as the boy (man? child?) tries to avoid making eye contact, which is a hundred percent fine with Yoongi. He did not sign up to babysit some colicky man-child with a penchant for throwing up, no matter how attractive he finds the man’s fear-laden, cat shaped eyes, and olive colored complexion.
No! Min Yoongi, no. This kid just threw-up in a hallway after talking to himself. You will not be finding him attractive. Just think of Park Jimin.
"Thank you.” The sound is a whisper, barely there, but Yoongi hears it anyway, and he nods. He looks at the man (boy? child? What the fuck is he?) and takes the other’s appearance in entirely.
The man is tall and lanky, although his height is hard to calculate because he stands with his shoulders slumped in front of Yoongi. Either way, Yoongi knows the other is taller than him by a lot. The boy’s hair is brown and soft and bounces to life with the slightest movement, and the action reminds Yoongi of the wind rustling leaves on a tree. The other is beautiful in an ethereal way. His features by themselves are nothing spectacular, but the way they are arranged on this particular boy is nothing short of amazing. Nonetheless, the kid is loony as a lark and Yoongi plans on not getting attached.
“S’okay,” Yoongi says after a while, sensing that the other is waiting on a reply.
The air feels tense as they stand in the bathroom trying to avoid being the first to break the silence.
“I’m sorry for, uhm…just sorry.” The voice is still low but somewhat audible this time.
“Are you not feeling well?” Yoongi asks, hoping to break the tension and maybe find an escape from the bathroom (okay mostly to find an escape).
“No, n-not really,” the man finally looks up and fuck he really is breathtaking. Yoongi wants to facepalm because, Seriously, he was just talking to himself in the hallway, he is NOT attractive. Do you hear me Min Yoongi? NOT attractive.
“I’m just nervous.” The man’s voice is beginning to get stronger. “Anyway, thank you for helping me.” The boy bows, then turns and grabs a handful of paper towels from the canister on the wall. He wets several pieces, bows to Yoongi one more time, then walks out of the restroom.
Moments later, when Yoongi enters the hallway, he sees the man on his knees cleaning up the mess he had caused on the floor. Yoongi’s plan is to step past the man, pretending that none of this had happened. However, the closer he gets to the kid/boy (man?), the more he starts to feel the pull of guilt (why? He owes this boy nothing.) He sighs for the third (no, fourth?) time before kneeling next to the man and silently picking up a stray paper towel to help.
“Hyung, no!” the man says, mortified.
‘How do you know I’m your hyung?” Yoongi asks off-handedly.
“I-I, Y-you,” the man stops talking, a look of confusion on his face, and Yoongi thinks this look suits the other substantially better than fear. “I don’t know. I just assumed, I guess.” He says thoughtfully, and Yoongi thinks the man’s voice is nice.
“You know what happens when you assume don’t you?” Yoongi says jokingly.
“No. What?” The boy asks so frankly that Yoongi can’t help the laugh of surprise that escapes.
“Kid, I think you’re going to make this class fun,” Yoongi says as he drops the soiled paper towel into the trash can. The boy smiles at the statement and a slight flush colors his cheeks and Yoongi thinks, maybe the class wouldn’t be so bad after all.
The walk down the hall is less traumatizing the second time around, and Taehyung suspects that it has something to do with the kind (somewhat grumpy looking, with a hella deep voice) stranger that had taken the time to help him. He sneaks a sideways glance at the small man with the silver-gray-grandpa-colored hair and wonders how the man manages to make the color so sexy. The man is shorter than Taehyung by several inches, yet his presence seems to take up the space they’re inhabiting, and Taehyung feels small in comparison.
“What’s your name kid?” The man’s drawl is like coffee: warm, dark, and smooth as it tantalizes Taehyung’s ear.
“T-Taehyung, uhm, Kim Taehyung,” Taehyung says as he bows and offers his hand.
“No need for formality kid. My name is Min Yoongi, but you can call me hyung.” Yoongi says with a slight smirk and Taehyung wishes he wasn’t so socially awkward because he can feel the heat as it rises from his neck to his face.
Taehyung nods, at a loss for words as Yoongi opens the door to the classroom. As they cross the threshold he can feel his heart rate rising. The beats start out slow, but by the time they make it all the way inside the big square room his heart sounds like a drum in a marching line. Taehyung looks around, hoping to distract himself and bring his out of control heart rate down. People are scattered around the room, and Taehyung does a mental head count. Six, eight with him and Yoongi? Yes, eight.
The first person he notices (apart from Yoongi) is a girl sitting alone on one of the chairs arranged in a semi-circle in the middle of the room. He notices her because she’s beautiful and flawlessly so, with long silky looking brown hair pulled back in a ponytail that highlights her high cheekbones, and bright brown eyes. She smiles a bit when she catches Taehyung’s eyes, and her smile is angelic and sad and Taehyung wonders at the contrast. To her left is a loveseat, occupied by a man and a woman whom Taehyung assumes are married based solely on their matching rings. Taehyung turns to Yoongi at the thought and makes a mental note to ask the man what happens when you assume.
In the corner by the food tray stand two men. One is tall and lanky with blonde hair and black-rimmed glasses, and Taehyung smiles unconsciously because the man reminds him of a character from the Professor Strange Love manga with his perfectly coiffed hair and thick full lips. The man next to ‘The Professor’ (Taehyung’s official name for the tall blonde), is shorter and wears the brightest smile that Taehyung has ever seen, and he wonders why someone with a smile like that would need to be here. The smile is as bright as sunshine and Taehyung thinks it’s weapon enough to diffuse any argument or disagreement.
“Alright everyone, let’s find a seat.” The voice is melodic yet authoritative and Taehyung turns to focus on the owner. “Hi, my name is Kim Seokjin, but you can call me Jin. I will be navigating you through this process of conflict resolution,” Jin says with a smile that warms Taehyung’s to his core.
The man gives off a nurturing almost motherly aura, and Taehyung sits on the loveseat to the left of the man. He’s not sure why but Jin’s presence make him feel a lot calmer. When Yoongi joins him on the loveseat a small hum (of joy?) escapes his lips, and he prays that Yoongi doesn’t hear.
“Okay everyone, let’s start with introductions.” Jin turns to The Professor. “Namjoon why don’t you start?”
The blonde clears his throat and straightens the glasses on his face before speaking. “Hello, my name is Kim Namjoon, I’m a Junior Professor of Science at KAST. I came here to get a better understanding of conflict. Like what causes it and how we handle it. I have never had a problem with conflict, to be very honest. But the study of it intrigues me.”
“Uhmm, okay,” Jin says hesitantly, then turns and motions to the man next to Namjoon.
“My name is Jung Hoseok, and I work for an accounting firm. My boss says that I’m passive-aggressive, whatever that is. So here I am.” The man smiles his thousand watt smile and again Taehyung thinks it’s blinding.
“Hi, my name is Eric Nam, and this is my wife, Krystal-”
“I can introduce myself,” the woman cuts the man off in a huff, and Taehyung doesn’t need superhuman deductive reasoning to know why they’re here.
“Krystal, I appreciate that you can speak for yourself,” Jin gives the woman a disarming smile, “but one rule of this class is that we never cut off someone when they are speaking. Conflict often comes from misunderstanding, and misunderstandings happen when we don’t hear everything that is being said. Eric, please continue.”
Jin gives the man his full attention and Eric starts again without introducing his wife. Krystal follows, and there is a slight edge of irritation to her voice as she talks about herself. Next to the bickering couple is the woman that Taehyung noticed when he first entered.
“Hi, my name is Im Jin-ah, but everyone calls me Nana. I’m a student at Seoul University of Art. I signed up for this because I, and this will sound strange, but I think people only see what I look like on the outside and miss who I am on the inside, and, uhmmm…well, it makes me mad, and I’m not sure how to handle it. Oh my lord, I’m rambling. I do that when I am nervous. So, yeah.”
Jin turns his gorgeous smile toward the woman.
“It is fine to babble here. This a safe place, Nana. Here we can voice our opinions without judgment.” Taehyung catches Jin as he levels his gaze on Krystal and nearly laughs out loud.
It’s his turn next, and Taehyung’s not sure what to say, and he hates public speaking the most, and ‘oh God Jimin what have you gotten me into?’
Jin is staring at him with kind eyes, and he doesn’t want to disappoint the man (the stranger who doesn’t know him, why is he worried about disappointing him?) so he opens his mouth.
“My name is Kim Taehyung, and, uhmm my roommate and best friend (for forever) signed me up for this class.”
“Why do you think he did that Taehyung?” The instructor is staring more intently, and Taehyung feels like a caged animal. He must have looked like he was going to throw up again because Yoongi came to his rescue.
“Well, I’m not sure about the kid, but I’m here because I told a passenger that I have testicles, not tentacles. Which I’d like to point out is the truth, so why am I being punished for it?”
“You’re very right-” the therapist pauses staring at Yoongi, and Taehyung swears he sees Jin swallow down a smile.
“Yoongi, Min Yoongi,” Yoongi replies to the man’s unasked question.
“Ahh…you are very correct Yoongi. Your answer was accurate but inappropriate. Conflicts can also come about when we use incorrect methods to deal with an unfavorable situation,” Jin continues patiently.
Yoongi turns to face him and Taehyung mouths the words, “thank you,” believing that the man purposely embarrassed himself to rescue him.
“Hoseok-sshi,” Jin turns to the man,”I’m looking over my list, and I don’t see you registered for the class.”
“What?!” Hoseok’s eyes are wide with shock, “But I paid and received a confirmation email.”
“Well, I don’t see your name. Unfortunately, you have to be registered to take the class. I will have to ask you to leave. If you can bring back the confirmation email you received we can easily settle the issue.”
“Look,” Hoseok’s voice rises, and the sunshine smile from earlier has disappeared. “I paid for this stupid class because I was forced to do so, because my dumb ass boss thinks I have issues. So I will not be leaving. I suggest you check your numbers one more time and fucking fix whatever the hell you did wrong.” Hoseok is up on his feet, stepping towards Jin aggressively.
Taehyung watches in stunned silence as the class becomes a virtual war zone.
“Hey, you don’t have to use such language,” Krystal replies, pissed off look still plastered on her face, only now Taehyung thinks the look makes sense.
“Shut up, no one is talking to you lady,” Hoseok snaps at the woman.
“Hey, don’t talk to my wife that way.” Eric gets up and stands nose to nose with Hoseok, not backing down, ready to defend his wife’s honor.
Taehyung’s eyes widen even more when Yoongi gets up from his seat and walks over to the two men. Placing a hand on each of their chests he pushes lightly, putting distance between the two.
“Hey, hey, let’s all calm down. I am sure there is a reasonable explanation for what happened Hoseok. I am sure-” Yoongi starts to say.
“Well done, everyone!” Jin’s voice cuts Yoongi off. “Hoseok and I planned this before class, a small impromptu exercise to see how each of you deals with conflict,” The therapist explains a little too excitedly.
Jin signals everyone back to their seats. “Thank you for your help Hoseok.”
The man gives the therapist a bright smile.
“That was an act?” Eric asks, and a slight irritation can be heard in his voice.
“Yes,” Jin replies matter-of-factly before turning to the man’s wife. “Krystal, you take conflict by the horns, not afraid of confrontation. Eric, you approach conflict with aggression, but be careful because volatile reactions often lead to more conflict. Nana, you seem to observe conflict without trying to resolve or intervene. This can be good or bad; we’ll explore this later in the class. Yoongi, I am the most surprised by your reaction given your reason for being here. I really liked that you tried to find a solution. Instead of adding oil to the fire you offered alternatives.”
When Jin turns in his direction Taehyung knows, he knows he looks like a deer caught in headlights. Throughout the entire event he had been looking for a means of escape. However, to get to the door, he would have had to cross the line of fire (and he’s allergic to bullet holes). He hates conflict more than the dentist (and he really hates the dentist).
“Taehyung,” Jin’s voice is soft, “you looked like you wanted to run away and hide.”
“I-I just think everyone should get along,” he murmurs and if his voice quivers around the statement, well, he happily denies it.
“Me too kid, me too,” Yoongi says beside him, and Taehyung instinctively moves closer to the man.
The remainder of the class goes by without incident, and Taehyung feels more and more at ease with the motley crew that has assembled for the course.
“Okay,” Jin says with a clap of his hands, “in our next meeting we’ll be doing real life conflict resolution exercises, so come prepared to bring conflict, to conflict.” The man smiles at his wordplay, and Taehyung has to bite back a laugh when Yoongi openly rolls his eyes at the therapist. “Also, and this should go without saying, what happens in this room is confidential. Please do not discuss with people outside of the class.” With those words, Jin claps his hands again and dismisses them.
Taehyung automatically follows Yoongi out the door, and down the hall, and into the parking lot, like a puppy trotting obediently behind its owner.
“Uhm…you coming home with me too?” Yoongi’s voice snaps him from his unconscious stalking.
He’s too mortified at his actions to answer properly (he was doing so well, why’d his personality have to show up?) Taehyung shakes his head, bows, and run as quickly as he can in the opposite direction. Only when he’s a good distance away from Yoongi does it dawn on him that he had actually parked in the same area as the man.
“Well done, Taehyung,” he laughs at his own silliness, runs his hand over his face then through his hair, then turns in the direction of his car.
Yoongi watches through the windshield as Taehyung walks back to his car, and a smile unconsciously spreads across his face, that kid is a riot and a half.
His phone buzzing in his pocket has him taking his eyes off of Taehyung and looking at the device. He swipes his finger across the screen.
“Hyung,” he can hear the laughter in Jungkook’s tone, and Yoongi instantly regrets answering the call. “How was testicle induced purgatory?”
“I hate you, you know that right?” Yoongi replies.
“We both know that’s a lie,” Jungkook responds with a little too much confidence.
Yoongi nods his affirmative, but only because Jungkook was unable to see it.
“Did you call just to make fun of me?”
“Yes.” Jungkook is laughing hard, and Yoongi wishes he could teleport to where the kid is and kick his firm ass. “Okay, not really, but I won’t lie; I enjoyed it. I’m calling to see if you wanted to hang out tonight. Tuan and I are going to check out that new underground bar in Itaewon. I’ve heard through the grapevine that the DJ spits fire there.”
“First of all, Mark is your hyung, brat. Address him properly.”
“Why? It’s not like he’s here.” Jungkook is completely unfazed. “You coming or not?”
For the second time tonight Yoongi rolls his eyes. Had it been anyone other than Jungkook he would have persisted till they saw the error of their ways, but he has learned from experience that arguing with Jungkook will only lead to throwing his arms up in frustration and defeat.
“Nah, I have a date tonight-”
“What? A date!” Jungkook cuts him off.
“…with my bed. We’re totally gonna sleep together.” Yoongi continues.
“D’fuck! I’m hanging up now.”
Yoongi laughs as the line goes dead. He’s not sure why, but irritating Jungkook always leaves him feeling like he has a new lease on life. He starts the car and pulls out of the parking lot, scanning the lot for Taehyung as he leaves, but he doesn’t see him. Yoongi is startled to find that he is disappointed that the man has left.
“Oh, no you don’t Min Yoongi. No, you don’t.” He reprimands himself for the stray emotion. Taehyung is off limits, the man is a participant in his group meeting and nothing more, or so he tries to convince himself as he drives home with the feeling of disappointment still clinging to him.
“Hey, how was it?” It’s the first thing Taehyung hears when he steps through the front door of his shared apartment with Jimin.
He walks to the shorter man, his best friend since forever, and throws himself into Jimin’s arms.
“Hug,” He commands, and Jimin obeys with a small laugh.
“That bad, huh?”
Taehyung nods into Jimin’s shoulder.
“Are you angry that I signed you up?” Jimin asks cautiously.
Taehyung sighs into Jimin’s neck before answering, “Not really, it was awkward at first. But it honestly isn’t that awful.”
When they separate from the embrace, Jimin grabs his hand and leads him to the couch.
“You know I did it for your own good, right?” Jimin starts.
“I know Jiminnie, I do. I’m not mad at you. The truth is I should thank you. Oh, and I met a nice hyung. He helped me clean up vomit, and he’s grumpy looking and handsome at the same time. That’s weird right, being grumpy and good looking at the same time?”
“Not really, there’s a hyung I work with that’s grumpy and hot. Wait, vomit?”Jimin eyes widen with concern.
“I may have thrown up in the hallway, a little,” Taehyung says sheepishly. “I was so nervous and hallucinating. For a moment there I felt like Alice in Wonderland, or like that time we smoked your brother’s weed stash and thought we were monkeys in the wild. I'll never forget the look on your mom’s face.”
“Dude she grounded us for like weeks,” Jimin says through laughter.
“Which I still think is unfair, I’m not even her child!” The statement only makes Jimin laugh harder, and the sound is so addicting Taehyung soon finds himself joining in.
“So, you met a hyung? What hyung? I didn’t sign you up for a dating class, Kim Taehyung.” Jimin’s eyes are smiling as he looks at him, and Taehyung punches the man in the arm.
“It’s not like that.”
“Mmm, then what is it like?” Jimin pushes for information.
“He helped me when I threw-up, and he sat with me in class. Also, he kinda stepped in and saved me when I felt cornered by the therapist leading the class…who happens to be very nice by the way and wasn’t trying to corner me at all.”
“How’d he save you?” Jimin asks.
“Well, he told this story about how he..oh, wait, I can't say.” Taehyung remembers Jin’s warning about privacy.
“How come?” Jimin asks as Taehyung scoots closer and leans his head on his friend’s shoulder.
“Cause Jin hyung said we’re not supposed to share, it’s private,” Taehyung says sleepily. The events of the evening are weighing him down, and he sinks willing into Jimin’s warmth allowing sleep to claim him.
“Is Jin the nice hyung?” Jimin’s question goes unanswered as Taehyung’s breathing evens out.
Later when Jimin guides him to his room and tucks him in and he falls asleep for real, Taehyung does so with a smile on his face. He dreams of frolicking in a field of beautiful, vibrantly colored flowers with his gray-haired grumpy cat, appropriately named Yoongi, by his side, swatting at butterflies and trying to eat the flowers. As Taehyung sinks deeper and deeper into dreamland Yoongi goes from cat to human form and Taehyung wonders:
How can someone so grumpy be so beautiful?
Come talk to me here, we scream about squishy vmin together.
Hey guys, happy update day! It's been a while since I updated, sorry about that. I hope you enjoy this chapter. I hope you enjoy the new chapter. Lots of really fun interactions such as cute vmin and snarky sugakookie. Let me know what you think, comment and upvote if you enjoyed the update.
Also a big thanks Bug for making my writing readable.
Chapter 3: Slapping Cats And Things Yoongi Doesn't Hate
Yoongi discovers something he doesn't hate.
All the people subscribed to this story are saints. SAINTS. You have been patient for almost six months. SIX! I'm so sorry. I've been stretched to my limits with no time for anything. I never meant to become the kind of author who doesn't update for months and months. I will do my utmost to make sure I don't do this again. Thank you so much for your patience.
“Woah, is that a smile I see?” Jimin’s staring at him with wide-eyed curiosity, a glass of orange juice in hand.
“Mmm. I woke in a good mood this morning,” Taehyung replies as he takes the glass of yellow liquid being offered.
“Good. I love when you smile Tae. Does the nice hyung from last night have anything to do with your good mood?” Jimin’s tone is playful.
“I can neither confirm nor deny if hyung has played a part. I will, however, say that I had a dream about a very adorable grumpy cat last night.” Taehyung swallows down the glass of orange juice and walks out of the kitchen.
“Grumpy cat?” Jimin questions. “Hey, you haven’t had breakfast.” He yells after Taehyung.
“I’ll eat after I shower.”
Taehyung hums as he walks the hallway of their tiny two-bedroom apartment. It’s been a while since he’s woken up ready to face the day, wanting to face the day. He feels light, carefree, and happy, like he can meet any challenge the day brings and actually overcome.
An idea pops into his head as he steps out of the shower.
“Jimin-ah,” Taehyung shouts, sticking his head out the bathroom door, too excited to wait.
“What?” comes the reply from down the hall.
“We should get a cat.”
“Yeah, but a grumpy looking one. Like the memes and stuff. A cat that looks like it’d bitch slap you if it could, like it’s just over all the shit. I want that cat.”
“You want a cat that wants to slap people?” Jimin’s voice is getting closer.
“No, just looks like he wants to, but is really sweet and kind,” Taehyung explains through the door.
“Your cat reminds me of a hyung I work with,” Jimin says with a laugh.
“Do you like this hyung? Because your voice is doing that thing it does when you like someone.”
“You know, it should be creepy, the fact that you know me this well, but it’s not.” Jimin giggles on the other side of the door.
“It’s my good looks and smashing personality. They disguise my hidden creeper, lulling you into a sense of calm.”
“Uh-huh, sure. Anyway, a cat would be fun. Let’s talk about it later.” Taehyung can hear Jimin walking away. “Also, breakfast is ready.”
“I’ll be there in a bit.”
Taehyung dries off and walks across the hall to his room. Once dressed, he strolls back into the kitchen.
“Wow, you look really hot. Seriously, what’s going on?”
“What do you mean? Can’t a fellow look nice just because?” Taehyung asks as he shoves toast in his mouth.
“You have a meeting today, don’t you?” Jimin gives him a knowing smile, “I know you as well as you know me, Kim Taehyung. You like nice hyung, don’t you?”
“So, about the cat-” Taehyung tries but fails to change the subject.
“Oh no, cat talk is for later. Nice hyung talk is what’s on the agenda for now.”
“I dislike you a bit right now.” Taehyung looks down at his eggs. Yoongi’s not a topic he can discuss, mostly because he has no idea why he feels so intensely about someone he just met.
“You could never dislike me. I’m lovely, and you love me,” Jimin says matter-of-factly, and Taehyung can only agree.
“Mmm… sadly it’s true,” Taehyung says with a giggle, ducking out of the way just in time to miss
Jimin’s arm swinging in his direction. “Violence isn’t the answer, Minnie.”
“It is today,” Jimin says. “I have a late flight tonight. I won’t be home for dinner.”
“Okay.” Taehyung gets up from the table, looking at his watch. “Gotta go. Have a safe flight Jimin-ah. See ya later.”
“Thank you. Have a good day,” Jimin replies, “and Tae?”
“Don’t let anyone steal the smile you woke up with, okay?”
“I won’t. Love you Minnie.” Taehyung ruffles his friend's hair on the way out of the kitchen.
“Love you more.”
Taehyung kept his positive attitude when he walked in to find a mountain of work on his desk, none of which actually belonged to him. He held tight to his positive outlook when the secretary forgot to order him a meal for the office luncheon, which left him paying for his own food. He clung to his positivity like a man hanging from the side of a cliff leading to a thousand-foot fall when he was blamed (once again) for a mistake that he didn’t make.
By the time Taehyung reaches the door of his support class, his positive attitude has been replaced by a need to scream and yell and beat the shit out of all the harassing, unfair, minute details of his day which have stacked one on top of the other and are now mountain-sized.
“Hey,” a voice says from behind him.
Hey. It was all that was said. The voice is familiar and warm and gruff, and it hits Taehyung how much, how much, how fucking much, he needs to hear that voice, wants to hear that voice. He’ll forever blame his next set of actions on his emotional breakdown, on the stress of his day, and on the fact that Yoongi said “Hey,” because it sounded like an invitation.
He feels Yoongi stiffen then relax when he walks directly into the man’s arms like it was a door to walk through or his favorite sweater (the one with the holes that his grandma gave him when he was fifteen). Yoongi shifts and coughs when Taehyung’s head drops into the crook of the man’s neck, the younger man’s back hunched over, conforming to the height difference, and Taehyung sighs, he freaking sighs because it feels right, so right… but it’s not.
“Uhm.” The voice sounds uncertain, and it dawns on Taehyung that he’s known Yoongi for less than forty-eight hours and maybe, just maybe, this is a bad idea.
Stepping back would be the right decision and Taehyung knows it, but he’s not going to obey. Instead, he snuggles deeper into Yoongi’s warmth, clutching his button-up and whispers into the man’s neck, “I’m sorry, but can we stay like this for just for a bit, hyung?”
Yoongi’s day didn’t start out in a positive way, and not because anything bad happened. He just dislikes waking up. His alarm and the sun staged a coup, and he’s bitter about it. The cell phone vibrating against the table startles him, and he almost spills hot coffee on himself. He picks up the offensive device and swipes his thumb across the screen to read the text.
Hyung, you awake?
You go back to work today right?
Good luck, don’t get caught ogling
Your coworker with the thick thighs and pouty lips
Don’t want you to end up in a sexual harassment class next
Yoongi rolls his eyes and turns the phone face down on the table, only to have it vibrating, jumping atop the table. He picks it up and laughs out loud at the message.
I had an urge to sign off my name at the end there,
but then I remembered that there's only really one Jungkook in your life.
and if there isn't, then I'll make sure there's only
one Jungkook in your life by the time you read this. :)
“Geesh, this kid.”
Yoongi get’s up from the table, dropping his cup in the sink on the way out. Inside his room, he grabs his work clothes from his closet and makes his way to his bathroom to get ready. Today will be his first day back since his suspension, which everyone thinks is a vacation (his boss is a saint). As he dons his work dress he’s filled with a nervous, excited energy, akin to the anticipation one gets on the first day of school. He’s only been out for three days, yet butterflies of anxiety are fluttering in his stomach, and he can’t seem to calm them.
Shaking his head slightly, Yoongi tries to take his mind off his nervousness by focusing on the fact that he’ll get to see Jimin today. Adorable, smiley Jimin with the half-moon eye smile and the makes-even-the-grumpiest-heart-feel-at-ease personality is who Yoongi should be thinking about, but instead he finds himself wondering how Taehyung is doing. Nervousness has been replaced by curiosity and intrigue, because…why is Taehyung on his mind?
He doesn’t have time to ponder Taehyung’s invasion when he looks at his watch and realizes he’s a good twenty minutes behind schedule. He grabs his keys off the table on the way out the door as he rushes to the elevator. Once inside the metallic box he hits the button to the garage and leans against the wall. The ride down finds his mind once again filling with images of the tall, lanky boy with the square smile and the wide eyes. It surprises him to feel the corners of his lips turning up, an unconscious smile escaping from within him. Yoongi’s even more startled when he realizes the reason for the smile -- he’ll see Taehyung tonight.
“Min Yoongi, don’t you dare… just don’t you dare,” he mumbles the warning to himself as he steps out of the elevator and walks to his car, ready to face the day, ready to see Park Jimin, and yes (even if he tries to fight it) wanting to see Taehyung.
“Hyung! You’re back. How was your time off?” Jimin’s sugary voice is the first thing he hears as he steps through the doors of the staff room.
“Uhm, good, it was good.” He’s thrown off guard by Jimin’s sudden appearance.
“You look rested hyung, different somehow. Did something good happen?”
Yoongi has a brief flash of Taehyung’s face, he shakes his head frantically, because in no universe in the world will he be giving up his chance with Park Jimin for a crazy kid who almost threw-up on him when they first met.
“You okay hyung?”
Yoongi stops his bobblehead movements.
“Yes, sorry, thought I saw a bug.”
“A bug? Where?” Jimin’s eyes are wide and Yoongi chuckles.
“I think I scared it away.”
Yeah, he lied, but could he really have said I had a flash of a crazy boy, with big innocent eyes that almost throw up on me… a boy whom I’ve been thinking about way too much? No. No, he couldn’t.
“You’re my hero hyung,” Jimin says, a big, bright smile on his face.
“I do what I can.” Yoongi laughs when Jimin giggles.
“Are you ready to be back at work? I always find it hard to come back to the grind after time off.”
“Yeah, I’m ready. The time off as good, but I like to work.”
“Are you on a flight today?” Jimin asks expectantly.
“No, not today. I’m working the counters. I have an appointment later.”
“Ahhh, that’s disappointing. I was hoping we’d be on the same flight.”
The overhead announcement comes on before Yoongi can answer, before his brain catches up to the fact that Jimin, Park fucking Jimin, wants to work a flight with him and is disappointed because he’s unable to do so. There is a God, and apparently, he likes Yoongi.
“I gotta go, hyung,” Jimin says as he starts to walk away, then turns back to face him, “but, uhm I was, you know, wondering if you like dinner?”
“Do I like dinner? I guess, it has its perks and not starving is good.” Yoongi wonders at the oddity of the question.
“Uhm, I mean with me, I…would, uhm… would you like to have dinner with me, uhm…sometime?” Jimin’s cheeks are red, his ears are red, and a portion of the younger man’s neck is tinted crimson as well, and Yoongi has never been a fan of the color until now.
Yoongi knows that he’s smiling like an idiot and probably looks like a special needs recipient, but he doesn’t care because Park Jimin just asked him out!
Keep calm, keep cool. Don’t answer in desperation, Yoongi repeats to himself, trying to calm his insides so he doesn’t squeal his answer like a twelve-year-old girl.
“Yeah, sure, sounds fun,” he answers, hoping his voice doesn’t sound as shaky as he feels.
“Cool! That’s cool.” Jimin’s smile is blinding, and Yoongi has a moment of confusion wondering why the smile, Jimin’s smile, reminds him of Taehyung.
The overhead announcements come on once again, and Jimin rushes out with a wave, promising to work out the details. As the boy leaves the room, Yoongi is standing completely dumbfounded. Jimin just asked him out. It’s everything he’s ever wanted, so… why’s Taehyung the one on his mind?
“What the actual fuck, Min Yoongi?” It’s all Yoongi can think to say to the now empty room.
All he said was, “Hey,” when Taehyung came into the room looking like the world around him had crashed and burned to the ground, like his favorite things had all died, like he didn’t know which way was up. There’re a thousand different things Yoongi could’ve said, such as, “Are you okay?” or, “Is something wrong?” but, “Hey,” was all that came out.
The tall, lanky boy crashes into him like a plane with no pilot, a car with no driver.
“Uhm,” Yoongi chokes out awkwardly, and yes, goddamnit, he’s winning at language today.
“I’m sorry, but can we stay like this for just for a bit, hyung?” Taehyung sounds tired and sad and needy.
Yoongi’s not a fan of emotions, he not a fan of unsolicited touching either; but he loses all his words when Taehyung walks into his chest and buries his face at the juncture of his neck and shoulder and begs to stay. His breath hitches at Taehyung’s plea, his heart thumping hard against his ribcage at the sensation of Taehyung’s breath against his skin, and Yoongi’s confused, confused, confused, because…well, he doesn’t hate it.
Come chat me up here or yell at me for updating so late.
Chapter 4: Conflict, Conflict, Conflict
Everyone's in conflict, but Yoongi's the most conflicted of them all.
I know Taegi's not a popular ship and I'm a bit saddened by that. Thank you so much to all the people who read this story it means the world to me. I hope you continue to enjoy it.
I'd also, like to thank Bug who makes the writing process fun, corrects my mistakes, and listens to my complaints.
Taehyung makes a firm decision, maybe (?), yes, firm. He will not be going to his meeting tonight, not after his koala bear experience, hanging off of Yoongi (who he’s known for all of a minute) like a vine from a branch. Just thinking about the moment has his face burning hot with the fever of embarrassment. He will not be attending tonight’s meeting. Definitely not. Nope. Not gonna happen. Plus, missing one session, maybe two, three tops, won’t hurt anything, right?
Stripping off his work clothes he decides to take a shower. The day has been less than ideal with people pulling him in every which direction, making him feel like a stretched out slinky. Warm water beating against his skin is just what the doctor ordered. He walks into the bathroom and turns on the tap, letting it run for a bit as he takes off the remaining articles of clothing. The shower is exactly the right medicine for his tired, broken body and spirit. The water feels like drops of refreshing elixir, healing him from the outside in.
Once he’s done, he dries off and throws a towel over his wet head and another around his waist. He feels refreshed, rejuvenated, and clean. His brain is charged to near capacity, and his faux pas with Yoongi stings a bit less.
“Hey, I didn’t know you were home?” Taehyung jumps, startled by Jimin’s voice.
“Mmm, just had the world’s most fantastic shower,” Taehyung replies.
“How good?” Jimin asks, waggling his brows, and it takes Taehyung less than a second to figure out what his friend is thinking.
“You know, I’m capable of enjoying a shower without jerking off.”
“I know, but why would you want to?” Jimin giggles, and it dawns on Taehyung that it’s his favorite sound.
“Not gonna lie, you have a slight, teeny tiny, like so small you can’t see it with the naked eye point.” Taehyung pushes his thumb and index finger together as an illustration.
Jimin thumps him in the arm lightly, not enough for it to hurt, but Taehyung screams anyway because he can, because it’s fun, because it means he wins when Jimin jumps in shock at his response.
“Really? I barely touched you. Hey, don’t you have a meeting tonight?” Jimin asks as he trots down the hall towards his room.
There it is, the thing Taehyung is trying not to think about…Yoongi. Okay, not Yoongi, but yes, Yoongi. Jimin didn’t say Yoongi, but Yoongi is the thing Taehyung is trying not to think about because the man probably thinks he’s crazy, because he spent the majority of the last session with his face hidden in Yoongi’s neck and his hand gripping onto Yoongi’s shirt. Yoongi, who he really doesn’t know and who really doesn’t know him. He doesn’t want to think about Yoongi.
It’s already been decided. He’s not going. Nope. Not gonna happen.
“Are you not going?” Jimin comes out of his room having changed into sweats and a baggy white t-shirt with a low cut neck, exposing his collar bones.
Here’s the dilemma: if he says no then Jimin is going to ask why not, and he can’t lie to Jimin; it’s not how their friendship works. Theirs is a relationship built on trust and honesty. However, he’s not ready to talk about Yoongi, not just yet, because he can’t, because he doesn’t want to think about Min Yoongi, because he can’t explain Min Yoongi, because the man and Taehyung’s attachment to him are a mystery that he has yet to solve.
“Yes! Yes, I do. But, uhm, I’m…running late?” It comes out loud and like a question, like he’s asking Jimin for the time.
“Okay?” It’s the second time in less than an hour that Jimin has given him a strange look.
“Alright, good chat. Gonna go get dressed now.” Taehyung hightails it to his room, leaving behind what he’s sure is a very confused Jimin.
He walks through the door of the meeting room as everyone’s preparing to walk out.
“Is it over?” He asks, befuddled. He’s not that late.
“No, field trip,” Jin says with a bright smile and a much too chipper voice
“You’re late.” Yoongi’s deep drawl comes from behind him, and for a brief moment Taehyung freezes.
“Yup, I was in conflict.” He turns to face the man.
“So, you’re here to deal with it?” Yoongi questions, hand barely touching Taehyung’s back, guiding him to the door.
“Nope, to avoid it.” Taehyung wisely doesn’t add that right now Yoongi touching him is his biggest conflict.
“So, what you’re saying is you came to a conflict resolution class to avoid conflict?” Yoongi’s gummy grin is contagious.
“Yup,” Taehyung replies as they walk to the van in the parking lot.
“Taehyung, I knew you were gonna be the most interesting part of this class when I first met you. I love when I’m right.” He’s not sure if the words are a compliment, but he’ll take it.
The grocery store is cold and packed with people picking up last minute or forgotten supplies for dinner. Taehyung dislikes the supermarket, not because he hates shopping, but because people like to talk to him. Random strangers will, for reasons he’ll never comprehend, just start telling him their life woes. On his last visit an elderly foreigner regaled him about her guilt over not attending her daughter’s wedding, and it was awkward, and he wanted to cry for her and for himself at having to listen without being able to adequately respond.
Jin calls the group to attention.
“I bet you’re all wondering what we’re doing here,” Jin starts, and Taehyung nods his head in reply to the rhetorical question. “We all know that conflict is a pesky creature that rears its head unexpectedly, and many times our conflicts are caused by external events, people, places, and things outside of our control. However, the focus of today’s exercise is how we handle being the object of conflict.”
“We will be causing the conflict?” Namjoon asks.
“That’s right,” Jin says with a smile that Taehyung thinks borders on evil. Clearly the man loves his job.
“Uhm, why?” Krystal asks in a voice that lets everyone know she’s less than pleased with whatever is about to go down.
“Well, Krystal,” Jin continues, and the way he says the woman's name seems to Taehyung like a battle of wills, as though the man is throwing down a gauntlet and daring Krystal to take it up. She doesn’t. “Conflict can often stem from our perceived beliefs of what others think about us. So, by creating a conflict where we know that we’re the stressor, then we are better able to handle those perceived beliefs. We’ll delve more into this point during the classroom discussion next week, but for now-”
“This is a fascinating concept,” Namjoon says cutting the proctor off. “So, the goal is to learn to deal with conflict by creating it.”
“Intriguing, very intriguing. Ahh, sorry for interrupting. Please continue,” Namjoon says with a wave of his hand.
“The object of this exercise is to stall in the line as long as you can. I want you to feel the heat of the conflict arising around you because you’re holding up the line.” Jin smiles, and again Taehyung thinks the action is a bit sinister. “As an incentive, I’ve decided to give a prize to the team that holds up the line the longest. The winner will get gift vouchers to Okitchen3.”
Oohs and ahhs surround Taehyung, and if truth be told he is a little impressed himself. Okitchen3’s reputation for fantastic food and exclusivity has him wondering how Jin was able to get more than one voucher.
“We’ll be splitting up into groups. Two groups of two and one group of three.” Jin continues.
“Oh my God, I’ve always wanted to go to that restaurant,” Nana leans in, whispering to Taehyung.
“Me, too,” Taehyung answers back. “We should team up.”
No, he is not trying to avoid Yoongi. He’s not.
“Okay,” Nana smiles.
Jin begins to hand out colored cards, and Taehyung picks green.
“Okay, now find the person with the same color as you. Once teams are established I’ll hand out scenarios.”
Taehyung prays silently, asking God to not let Yoongi have a green card as well. Unfortunately, God’s plans are in direct conflict with his, much to his chagrin, Yoongi turns to him with a green card in his hand.
“Howdy partner,” Yoongi says, walking over to stand at Taehyung’s side.
“Alright, now that we have our groups, here are your missions.” Jin hands out another round of cards. “Good luck everyone.”
Yoongi fiddles with the card turning it about in his hand. The action leaves Taehyung fixated, staring in near wonder at the hand that is flipping the object around. Yoongi’s hands are small and veined, and Taehyung has a thing for hands. His roommate and bestie holds the record for cutest hands ever, but right now Yoongi is giving Jimin a run for the title.
“Hey, did you hear what I just asked?” Yoongi snaps his fingers, and Taehyung wakes up from his revery.
“Sorry,” Taehyung replies, and he’s still a little groggy from his stupor, still a little slow brain-wise, still in a bit of a daze which is why the next words escape his lips. “Your hands are just so pret-” he catches himself, but he knows Yoongi knows, God and the Universe know; it’s too late.
He doesn’t look up, doesn’t see Yoongi’s reaction. He doesn't want to. He waits patiently for the man to respond, to ask what the fuck is wrong with him, but it never comes.
“So, you want me to read our mission?” Yoongi asks, and his voice doesn’t sound strained so Taehyung dares to look up.
“Do I wanna know what it says?” he asks, hoping his voice sounds just as normal as Yoongi’s.
“Probably not.” Yoongi begins to read the card, “Partner one, haggle the cashier claiming you were short-changed. Partner two, escalate the situation by acting agitated and claiming you’re in a rush. I’ll do number two.” Yoongi pauses after the statement, and yes Taehyung does giggle at the words, number two. “I meant the second one.”
“Sure you did, hyung,” Taehyung teases, and it’s okay. He’s okay, Yoongi’s okay, life’s okay.
“Shut up brat,” Yoongi says, and there’s no bite. They really are okay.
Yoongi’s in conflict. His issue? Well, he’s not a hundred percent sure. He came to this class unwittingly (all right he was forced), but since starting almost three weeks ago he has been finding it harder and harder to find reasons not to show up (you know, apart from not wanting to lose his job). God, he doesn’t want to admit it, but he looks forward to it. That’s it. That’s all he has to say on the matter. He’s most definitely not going to delve into the why; he doesn’t need to know why. Okay, so maybe he knows why, possibly. However, he will not be thinking about why, especially not when the why (possibly?) is standing just within his reach, manhandling a bag of persimmons.
Yoongi’s in conflict, because, because Jimin asked him out. Three years of crushing on the younger man, three years of finding ways to secretly stare at the man, watching his every move as though he was the lead in Yoongi’s personal drama, three years of him changing his flight schedule just so he can be locked in a steel can at thirty thousand feet in the air with the man. It’s been three years of hard work and excessive stalking, but it led to the moment when Jimin asked him out.
Yoongi’s in conflict because, and, well fuck, he just doesn’t want to think about it. Okay, fine, he will. It’s because Taehyung thinks his hands are pretty. What does that even mean? It’s because Taehyung likes to cling and nestle, and Yoongi never realized how much he likes those things until Kim Taehyung walked through the door of the classroom and straight into his arms and stayed. He understands that he doesn’t know Taehyung, not really. He also didn’t spend three years of his life trying to get Taehyung to notice him. Taehyung is, well, he doesn’t know. He just doesn’t know. With that, Yoongi mentally raises his middle finger… fuck conflict .
“Hyung, do these look ripe to you?” Taehyung asks, holding up two pears, and it feels oddly domestic, like they’re dating.
“Yeah, I guess so. You about done? We should head to the line,” he says as he walks closer to Taehyung, peering in the cart. “You have a cat?”
For reasons Yoongi doesn’t understand Taehyung starts to laugh, really laugh. Yoongi learns that Taehyung laughs with his whole body.
“Something like that,” Taehyung answers after a while, wiping a stray tear from his eye. “My roommate and I are in discussions. We both want a Grumpy cat. He has a hyung he likes that reminds him of one, and I know y- I just want a cat.”
“Ahh, I had a goldfish once, but it died a week after I got it. We had a funeral in the bathroom, and as I watched its tiny body swirl around the toilet bowl, eventually going down the drain, all I could think was, ‘a dog would never make it down that hole.’ I was traumatized by that. I never wanted another pet.” Yoongi had forgotten all about Blessed the fish until just now.
“You’re so cute, hyung.” Taehyung’s smile is fond and reminds Yoongi of ice cream, sweet and refreshing.
“So, what’s your roommate like?” Yoongi asks as they wait in the line.
“My Minnie? He’s the best friend ever. He’s smart and funny and cute, and he understands me, you know?” Taehyung crinkles his nose as he speaks, and his eyes are sparkling. It’s the first time in their very short acquaintance that he’s seen the younger man look so free, so unencumbered
“Taehyung how’d you end up here? In the class I mean.” Yoongi’s not sure why he’s asking. He doesn’t need to know, but he wants to know.
Taehyung’s quiet for a bit, and Yoongi wonders if he’s overstepped whatever invisible line society has set up for moments like this.
“I’m not very assertive. I mean, I used to be, but then I… uhm.” Taehyung’s silent again, and Yoongi can almost feel the conflict and discomfort the man is going through.
“S’okay, you don’t have to say, but if you ever needed to, you know, like, talk, I’m here.”
What the hell just happened? It’s what Yoongi thinks as they inch closer to the cashier. He is not the benevolent let’s-talk-about-your-feelings type so he’s baffled by his offer. It seems Taehyung is also shocked because he’s currently staring at Yoongi wide-eyed, his mouth slightly agape.
“Really? You don’t think I’m crazy, hyung?” The boy’s voice is soft, and the vulnerability in the tone hits Yoongi like a ton of bricks.
“No. Well, yes, but not in a bad way. More like in the way where everything you do is surprising, but I like surprises.” He doesn’t like surprises, not really, but he’s also not lying. Taehyung’s a pleasant surprise.
“Ahh,” Taehyung replies with a nod. “I thought you did after, you know, last time.”
“You mean the night you held on to me with a death grip and crumpled my favorite shirt beyond ironing? That last time?”
Taehyung’s head bounces up and down, and there’s a slight pout on the boy’s lips.
“Mmm,” Yoongi scratches his head for dramatic effect, “I don’t seem to recall anything like that happening, though.”
Taehyung’s smile is brilliant, like a thousand-watt bulb, and Yoongi can almost see the relief as it floods the younger man. Well done, Min Yoongi. You did a good. He mentally pats himself on the back for his righteous deed. He may get into heaven after all. Maybe.
They’re the next to be checked, and he glances at the girl behind the register. She’s young, no more than sixteen or seventeen, and he almost feels a sense of guilt for what they are about to do to her... almost.
“You ready?” he says to Taehyung under his breath.
“No, not really,” Taehyung replies, and there is no hint of doubt hidden beneath the statement.
“You can do this, Taehyung,” he says, giving a fist-pump of encouragement. Taehyung responds with a weak smile and a deep sigh, and Yoongi thinks that’s something at least.
“That will be twelve thousand two-hundred and thirty won, please,” the cashier says with a stiff, work-appropriate smile on her face.
Yoongi watches as Taehyung hands her the payment then begins fidgeting with his long, lean fingers.
“Here you go,” she says, handing Taehyung his change. “Thank you for shopping with us, come again.”
The girl then moves her attention to Yoongi, but his attention is focused on Taehyung who seems to be frozen in place. He stares at the younger man hard, hoping that he will look up. After what feels like years (really just five seconds) Taehyung looks up, and their eyes meet. Yoongi smiles encouragingly, or at least he hopes it’s encouraging. Jungkook once told him he’d rather have dental surgery than have Yoongi encourage him. Admittedly he’s not good at pep talks, or pep anything, to be honest. It seems the smile worked because Taehyung opens his mouth.
“Uhm, excuse me. I think this change is off by a won.” Taehyung’s voice is shaky, but he spoke, and Yoongi can’t ask for anything more.
“Are you sure? I know I counted correctly. Did it maybe fall on the floor?” the girl asks, leaning over the register as both she and Taehyung look at the ground below.
“No. It doesn’t seem to have fallen,” Taehyung says, his tone becoming more firm.
Thata boy, Taehyung!
“Hey buddy, it’s just a won. Can’t you just let it go? Some of us have things to do today and don’t want to spend the day in line.” Yoongi begins his part of escalating the situation and immediately regrets it when Taehyung looks up, shell-shocked with wide doe-eyes.
A streak of pink runs from Taehyung’s cheek to the tip of his ear, and yeah, it’s adorable; Yoongi can’t lie. However, the mission for the day is not to discover Taehyung’s cute.
“Fine, fine. Get your “correct” change. I respect your right to be the avenger of miscalculated monies.” Now it’s the cashier who turns a shade of red, and Yoongi is just so over it.
“Uhm. I’m owed the proper amount of money, and I’d like my won, please,” Taehyung says, looking up at the cashier nervously, and Yoongi has to fight the urge to help solve the issue.
Now, now he’s pissed because when did he become the kind of person that wanted to fight other people’s battles? He is not.
“Look kid, I’m sure your change means a lot to you, but when I got into this line my hair was black.” Yoongi pulls at a strand for effect. “Look at it now, it’s green. Moss has grown on my head from all the time I’ve spent in this line.” Yoongi feels like a hero when he sees Taehyung trying to hide a smile.
Okay, okay. It’s good, they’re good. It’s all good.
“Look if you must know,” Taehyung starts, and Yoongi is on pins and needles anticipating the boy’s next few words, “right before my grandma died she gave me her lucky won. It was from her first paycheck. So, wons have a special meaning to me. They remind of my grandma, and so, so… I’m not leaving without my proper change.”
Yoongi expected a lot of things to come out of Taehyung’s mouth, but a story that had the line behind him in tears and random people dropping their spare change on the register for the boy to keep was not one of them.
“That was amazing,” Yoongi tells Taehyung after they finally check out.
“It was the first thing that came to mind,” Taehyung replies, leaving out the fact that the story is true. “Do you think we won? I mean, collecting all that change took some time.” Taehyung looks down at his pocket, plump with the crumpled bills.
“Okay, everyone gather around,” Jin beckons them over. “Excellent work today everyone. You all did a really great job confronting conflict in a very public way.”
“Hand over our vouchers,” Eric jokes, making grabby hands at Jin.
“Actually, Eric, the winners are Taehyung and Yoongi,” Jin announces while handing the tickets to Taehyung.
“What, really?” Eric seems genuinely shocked.
“Yup, by my calculation Yoongi and Taehyung beat you by six seconds.
“I told you we should have taken the price stickers off,” Krystal says somewhat accusingly.
“Krystal,” Jin says the woman’s name in a calm, even voice, “the point of the exercise was not to win but learn to handle stress in a public way. It might be better to say ‘I feel’ to express your thoughts. This way you are expressing your feelings, instead of accusing another person.”
“Fine. I FEEL that it would have been better to take off the tags,” Krystal counters.
“Excellent. Eric, would you like to respond to that?” Jin gives the man a chance, and the moment feels like a shootout at the Ok Corral.
Eric looks at his wife then looks at Jin, opens his mouth then closes it, then shakes his head.
“Okay then. So, before we leave I’m giving you guys a field assignment to be completed before our seven weeks together comes to an end. Staying in the groups you have now, I want you to find the person you have the most conflict with and confront them. Your partners will be there for moral support.”
Jin leads the way out of the grocery store and into the van. They soon arrive back at the familiar brown building, and they bid each other a good evening as they file out of the van.
“So,” Taehyung says slowly, fiddling with the tickets for Okitchen3. “Uhm, about the vouchers, what would you like to do? I mean, if you want them you can have them.”
“Really?” Yoongi’s surprised by the sudden offer. “Well, there’s a person at work that I’ve kind of had my eye on. That person recently asked me out, and this would definitely go a long way in impressing them.”
As the words leave Yoongi’s mouth, he realizes two things: 1. he regrets saying them and 2. he wants to celebrate this win with Taehyung, uhm as partners. Just as partners. Nothing else because that’s all they are.
“Oh, okay.” Taehyung hands him the vouchers and turns to walk away. “Night, hyung. I hope you have a good time on your date.”
He watches Taehyung walk away with his shoulders hunched and head hung down, and damn it to hell, it shouldn’t matter that Taehyung looks sad, defeated. He shouldn’t want to know why, and he most definitely should not want to fix it.
“Hey, Taehyung,” he yells to the younger man.
“Yeah, hyung.” Taehyung turns around.
“Look, we won this together. So it’s only right that we should use this together. Maybe we can pick a date to have dinner next week.”
“Really?!” Even the distance couldn’t dim the shine of the smile on Taehyung’s face. “I’d like that.”
“Okay then. I’ll text you later, and we can choose a day. Have a good night.”
“Night, hyung. Get home safe.” Taehyung waves like an excited child, and Yoongi can’t help the gummy smile that escapes.
Yoongi’s in conflict, conflict, conflict . His conflict has a boxy smile and innocent eyes. His conflict likes to cling and is unaware of just how disarming he is. Most importantly his conflict has a name, and to Yoongi’s surprise, the name is not Park Jimin.
Chapter 5: No Longer A Wallflower
Yoongi has several conversations
Taehyung can't find his monkey socks
Jimin just needs to sleep
And Jungkook...well, he's a brat
Guys, look an update! I had a lot of fun writing this chapter. I hope you all enjoy reading it.
I'd like to once again say a big thank you to Bug (bugarungus) for taking time out of her day to make sure my stories are Englished properly. She's amazing guys, read her stories. Also please comment, kudos, and subscribe if you want to read more stories by me. Thank you for the support, I love you guys.
It’s way too early in the morning when Yoongi’s phone starts to buzz and light up.
[Private Chat – Min Yoongi IS old and grumpy]
justinseagull: hyung, hyung you awake?
justinseagull: hyung are you ignoring me?
justinseagull: hyung you know I can do this all day, right? Just answer
GENIUS: d’fuck’s wrong with you? It’s 5 in the morning.
justinseagull: oh, so you’re not awake?
justinseagull: is it because you’re too old to stay up late?
GENIUS: I’m deleting this chat from my kakao page
justinseagull: so grumpy
justinseagull: my bad go back to sleep grandpa
GENIUS: I question the validity of our friendship
justinseagull: as you should
Yoongi’s cranky and somewhat sleep deprived when his eyes finally open at three minutes past eight in the morning. He’s dreamed of several gruesome ways in which to punish Jungkook for his lack of respect for the elderly. Stretching his legs, he rolls to one side, tangling himself further in the alternative down comforter, his bones crackling as though begging him not to move. It’s a free day, and he giggles maniacally at the thought of not doing anything.
A Friday with no flights, no crazy passengers, no one telling him what to do, how to feel, or how to deal with his unresolved childhood issues. Briefly, he wonders if Jimin’s working. The thought is fleeting because the moment Yoongi’s mind pictures the smaller man with the chipmunk cheeks and the dangerous derriere, the image is immediately replaced.
Springing up to sit in the bed, Yoongi’s confused by what’s occurring. Why instead of crescent moon smiles does he see boxy ones? Why instead of mischevious flirty glances does he envision innocent, curious ones? How did Kim Taehyung take over his mind when Jimin’s all he’s looked at for three years? Shaking his head like it’s an etch a sketch, he tries to remove Taehyung from his mind. It doesn’t work. In frustration, he runs his hands through his hair, disheveling his locks, then picks up his phone. He needs a distraction.
why the early morning chat?
did you drunk message me at five in the
me? when did I…
you little shit you disrupt my sleep, and it’s not
even for a good reason
what Tuan got the good stuff
again he’s your hyung
again he’s not here
plus you should feel flattered
???? flattered ????
aren’t you touched that even in an inebriated state
I still want to talk to you the most :) :)
I’m deleting this convo
but you texted me
Yoongi contemplates the consequences of what he’s about to do. Handing over more ammunition to Jungkook is possibly not the wisest move he’s ever made, but he needs some clarification, a perspective less cluttered than his own. He takes a deep breath and proceeds to type.
so I have this friend and
so you then
can’t you read? It says friend
you have a “friend”
He can almost picture Jungkook making air quotes with his fingers, and Yoongi grimaces. It's a bad idea, but it’s too late now. Looking at the phone once again, he blows at a stray lock that’s slightly covering his right eye; he needs a haircut.
right, so my friend has liked one person for a
really long time
AKA flight attendant with the hella firm ass
that kid’s delicious hyung
oh, the things I could to that ass
uhm, no, that ass is off limits
u little perv and it’s not him
secondly, he’s not a kid, he’s your hyung
uhm, he’s not here and secondly,
I can’t hyung, a person you’ve been
talking about banging for like two years
when have I ever?????
also, hyung’s not dependant on location he’s
older no matter where he is
fine hella firm ass HYUNG
and you did that night at
Ken’s party when you got
drunk called Taeyeon noona a bitch
and proceeded to barf in the punch bowl
BEST NIGHT EVER
It’s confirmation, really. He’d known that asking Jungkook for advice was a mistake, but he’s desperate, damn it, and the kid, for all his jock like bravado, always seems to hit the nail on the proverbial head, ultimately saying exactly what Yoongi needs to hear like some idiot savant of random advice.
I’m gonna live as though that night never
happened -- back to my friend, so he’s liked this
person for a while but now there’s this new
person that keeps invading his space and taking
up his thoughts and my friend may like it, a lot,
and he’s not sure what to do because the
person he likes has finally noticed him even
asked him on a date, sort of
shit firm ass hyung asked you out
uhm, er, no? my friend, remember
are you even reading this?
sorry thought we’d given up that game
okay fine, so your “friend”
does he like this new person?
he doesn’t…know he could
shit I don’t know I can’t even tell if he’s human
half the time I'm pretty certain he’s slightly touched
he was talking to a wall when I, er, my friend first met him
tell your “friend” that he
should give new person a chance
stop it with the “quotes” also why shouldn’t my
friend go after his long-standing crush who’s
finally noticed his existence, after 1000 years?
despite liking firm ass hyung for
that long new person still managed to make an impact
your “FRIEND” should follow the
white rabbit see where the rabbit holes goes
hyung, you’ve been hung up on a fantasy for too long
whoever this other person is, they’ve somehow
managed to break through all your defenses
you owe it to yourself, to find out why
damn it I said it was my friend
Anything you say hyung ;)
and uhm, thanks man
I’ll tell my friend what you said
if it works out for you and new person
can I get firm ass hyung’s digits
I’m deleting you from my contacts
After hitting the end button, Yoongi tosses the phone on the bed before throwing himself backward on the mattress, joining the handheld device. Jungkook’s words have him feeling conflicted as they swim in the ocean of his mind. He’s pined after Park Jimin for so long, it’s more a matter of principle that he try with the man, almost as if not pursuing him after he’s shown interest would be a waste of Yoongi’s three years of one-sided attraction.
Taehyung’s an unexpected turn of events. Not once as he was being forced to sign up for the class did Yoongi think he’d find anything that would make him thankful for losing his cool with the with the world’s most obnoxious passenger. But here he is excited, dare he say happy, to spend two days out of his week in a room filled with people with varying degrees of emotional conflict.
He smiles, his mind playing a short film of his interactions with Taehyung from the wide-eyed terror of their first encounter in the hallway, to the koala clinging which had Yoongi’s heart beating faster than it should have as long fingers crumpled forever-creases into his favorite shirt. The grocery store exercise, that’s the moment,; Yoongi thinks to himself when things changed--up to that point, Taehyung had just been a person with a random personality that kept things interesting.
A wayward sigh escapes as he pictures Taehyung standing before him, bottom lip worried between his teeth and vulnerability dripping off the younger man like a waterfall, washing over Yoongi, burying him in its flood. Taehyung’s refreshing; he’s innocence and truth. He reminds Yoongi of that part of himself that he lost, and he hadn’t realized that he missed it until he met the boy.
Rolling over, he reaches over and retrieves his phone; his fingers caress the screen running, a thumb over the recently added number. A war rages in Yoongi’s mind, a battle over whether to contact Taehyung or go back to sleep.
“Hey Minnie, have you seen my favorite socks? The ones with monkeys?” Taehyung asks, head pressed against the carpet as he peers under the bed.
“Uhm, I think I saw them in the laundry basket, maybe?”
“Ahh, okay.” Taehyung jumps up, nearly bumping his head on the mattress hanging a few inches off of the box spring.
His phone buzzes and jumps on top of the nightstand; he chuckles because it reminds him of a Mexican jumping bean, which come to think of it, he’s never actually seen, but still, it’s what he thinks.
hey so when do you want to do this thing
who is this?
I didn’t give you my contact
when I took yours
so, uhm, about
for winning, the exercise
when do you want to do it?
hyung how are you?
are you good?
I can’t believe you actually texted me
I’m so happy :) :)
His cheeks hurt from smiling as he walks to the laundry room his phone in hand, giddy with joy, waiting for Yoongi to respond.
“Wow, I think that's the biggest I’ve ever seen you smile.” Jimin sneaks up on him. “What’s the occasion, you find your socks?”
He could tell Jimin the truth; he could, he should, it’s what they do, tell each other the truth. But he’s still not ready to talk about Yoongi because he doesn’t know what they are apart from attendees of the same class.
“Uhm, yeah, I did. Thanks, Minnie,” he lies, and he feels horrible.
“Okay. Good. I’m going to take a little nap before work tonight. Don’t forget I have an overnight flight, so I won’t be back until tomorrow afternoon.”
“Oh, right.” Taehyung pouts, “I’ll be home alone tonight. It’ll be lonely.”
His phone buzzes in his hand, and he jumps when it tickles his palm.
“I’ll miss you too. If you go out, don’t stay out too late, okay?” Jimin says with a yawn.
“I won’t, I promise,” he reassures his friend. It’s heartwarming the way Jimin acts like the parent in their relationship at times. “Go to bed, Jimin. You’ve only been home for an hour, and you’re going back to work tonight. You need to rest.”
“Mmm. Night Tae.”
“Night. Well, morning, rest well.”
As Jimin walks to his room, Taehyung holds up the phone and swipes his index finger across the screen.
why wouldn’t you believe?
I told you I would text you
you did but in the third grade
Minah said she’d let me eat all the strawberries
on her birthday cake, but she didn’t
people don’t always do what they say hyung
It’s a known fact. Taehyung doesn’t say it out loud, but he reminds himself that his broken spirit is a by-product of someone not doing what they promised.
well if I ever have a birthday cake with
strawberries on them, they’re all yours
about, dinner you still up for it?
that would be great
I’m free whenever
how about tonight?
like today’s tonight?
Texting Taehyung, Yoongi thinks, is as interesting as talking to the man in person. He stares, blinking at the question on his phone. Yoongi chuckles out loud, cackles actually, and is suddenly very happy that he lives alone. He’d be embarrassed having to explain why he’s looking at his phone like he’s reading alien code and laughing. It dawns on him that he’s known Kim Taehyung for all of four weeks, and already he’s aware that what he’s reading is classic Taehyung.
uhm, is there another meaning for tonight?
what if you meant
or like one of next week’s tonight?
“Oh,” is Yoongi’s first thought after Taehyung’s response. He contemplates explaining the meaning of tonight to the man but decides that not engaging is the best course of action.
yes, today’s tonight
what time? :)
how about 6?
we can beat the late night rush
that’s a great idea
you’re so smart hyung
No, Yoongi is not rolling around his bed and giggling like a high school girl because Taehyung called him smart. He absolutely is not.
so do you want to meet there?
yes, I’ll be there at 6
see you then
Yoongi’s about to put his phone down so he can take a shower and get some chores done before he meets up with Taehyung, when it jumps to life in his palm the screen flashing brightly with a notification.
The sound of his cell phone hitting the floor as it falls from his grasp wakes Yoongi from his momentary shock-induced trance. Jimin texted him. Park Jimin, he of soft smiles and crescent moon eyes, has just sent Min Yoongi a message. Jimin, Park freaking Jimin, has reached out and made contact, and Yoongi’s mind may have exploded. He’s not sure. It must have since he’s having a hard time forming sentences. He stares at the phone, reading the greeting over and over again, as though it’s in binary code and he needs to find the solution before he can respond. After what feels like three thousand years, his brain finally decides to work.
how are you?
can I help you with something?
do you need someone to take a flight for you?
Yoongi’s mind is reeling, trying to find a valid reason for Jimin, the Park Jimin, to contact him.
From: my-1000-year crush
you’re so sweet hyung
no, I don’t need anything
I have to an overnight flight tonight
but I wanted to uhm, see if
we could maybe
uhm possibly set a date
to uhm hang out
The phone drops from his grip a second time, and Yoongi thanks the heavens the screen is still intact. He scans his brain for an appropriate response, deciding against fuck yes.
when were you thinking?
I’m on desk duty for the next two months
so, my weekends are free
so next Saturday then?
From: my 1000-year-crush
we can iron out the details in the week
I’m gonna get some sleep before my flight
I’m looking forward to Saturday
have a good rest Jimin
The screen goes black once the communications end, but Yoongi continues staring at the hand-held. He’s not sure why; he doesn’t expect any further messages, but he can’t look away. He’s still so stunned by what occurred. Standing up from the bed, he finally puts the phone on the nightstand and walks to his closet to get some clothes before heading to the bathroom. He decides on his favorite black Stussy sweatshirt and a pair of skinny black jeans, ignoring his mother’s voice in his head telling him that people only wear all black to funerals.
He’s been awake for approximately two hours, and so much has happened. Things that he’d planned for and things he never expected in a million years. He ponders Jungkook’s follow the white rabbit comment. For the last three years, Park Jimin had been the rabbit hole he wanted to jump down. He can’t help chuckling at the idea of jumping down Jimin’s hole. Shaking his head, he tries to erase the errant thought from his mind; he combs his fingers through his hair and stares at his reflection in the mirror.
Five weeks ago deciding between tuna or egg salad for lunch was the hardest choice Yoongi had to make. Five weeks ago Yoongi didn’t have Park Jimin’s number, and Kim Taehyung didn’t exist. Five weeks ago Yoongi’s biggest dream was for Park Jimin to say hello to him and maybe acknowledge his presence. Five weeks later his dream has come true; not only has Jimin noticed him, but the man had made the first move. Yoongi should be ecstatic, he should be over the moon with joy, but all he feels is guilty, which is ridiculous. He’s not taken; he’s a free agent, able to date whomever he chooses.
As he continues to look at his reflection in the mirror, all he sees before him are Taehyung’s sad eyes, looking like a kicked puppy, pouting lips and toe kicking at the ground. Yoongi’s left-hand flies to his heart unconsciously. The thought of seeing that look in Taehyung’s eyes for a second time has a dull ache spreading across his chest.
“This is stupid, what the hell’s wrong with me? I’m not interested in Kim Taehyung. I’m not. I’m not. I’m not.” As the words cross the threshold of his lips and make their way into the open air, Yoongi’s aware they’re all lies. “Shit.” He bangs his fist on the counter in frustration.
The day spins on, and Yoongi feels like a character in an indie film, walking through the day but not really connecting to anything, as though every scene is a dream sequence that he can’t wake up from. He thinks about Jimin and about Taehyung and wonders what he wants, who he wants... wonders if he even wants either or if he’s just happy to be noticed. Maybe he’s been a wallflower for so long, lurking in the shadows, that the thought of finally being the object of affection has gone to his head.
He’s two hours away from his dinner plans with Taehyung; he refuses to call it a date because it’s not a date. Had they not won the exercise, he wouldn’t be going out with the man in the first place. It is not a date; it’s merely the coming together of two individuals to celebrate a mutual victory. The fact that he’s changed his outfit three times is simply a matter of finding something he’s comfortable in and has nothing to do with wanting Taehyung to find him attractive.
Three hours later, as Yoongi sits across the table from a blushing Kim Taehyung, he’s is thrown off center, the axis having been knocked out from under him. He’s bobbing like a buoy anchored in the sea, a marker pointing out the dangers that the boy sitting in front of him brings. The candlelight reflects, no frames, yes frames, Taehyung’s features, accentuating the young man’s illogically stunning good-looks. Has he always looked like this? The answer doesn’t really matter, because right now, as Taehyung smiles shyly and looks at Yoongi expectantly through thick lashes, all Yoongi can think is...
Fuck, it is a date.
Chapter 6: Similarities And Realizations
Yoongi finds out that he and Taehyung may not be so different after all, and makes a discovery that changes everything.
Yoongi realizes Taehyung's pretty, really really pretty.
Happy update day! This chapter is mostly background and Taegi getting to know each other better. Yoongi makes a realization. I hope you enjoy it. Please comment and upvote if you do.
Logically Yoongi knows that Taehyung’s handsome. He has eyes, and they’ve confirmed the man’s undeniable good looks. However, right now, right now, framed by candle light, Taehyung’s freaking stunning. The younger man defies description, but Yoongi tries anyway. Taehyung’s soft eyes are sparkling with laughter, and it’s beautiful. He’s excitedly chattering nonstop about kittens, sunshine, and his best friend Minnie, and it’s beautiful. Taehyung’s blushes, embarrassed, tinting his cheeks and ears a lovely shade of pink, and it’s beautiful. No matter what other characteristics Yoongi thinks to add, it boils down to one undeniable truth: Taehyung’s fucking beautiful. And it’s distracting as hell.
“Do I have something on my face?” Taehyung asks and raises a hand to wipe his face.
“No,” Yoongi answers too quickly.
Yoongi knows something now that he didn’t know before. He knows bright eyes and boxy smiles and excessively excited chatter that makes his heart flutter. Something’s changed, everything has changed, maybe nothing’s changed at all; he’s not sure. All Yoongi knows is that Taehyung’s busted into his world and broken through the walls he didn’t know he’d built around his heart, around his soul.
“Are you sure? You keep staring. Are you disappointed you came here with me and not your crush? You didn’t hav-”
“No,” again, said too quickly, but he needed to cut Taehyung off. Yoongi thinks to himself that he’s feeling a lot of things right now, more than he can voice or explain, but regret’s not one of them. “I’m staring because your eyes are striking in the candle light. I’m staring because you’re different somehow and I can’t quite put my figure on it, but I’m not staring because I'm thinking about someone else or wanting you to be someone else. I can assure you, that is not the case.”
Taehyung blushes, full-on blushes, and Yoongi wants to take a picture of the moment, frame it, and hang it in his bedroom on the ceiling above his head. Since their arrival at the upscale restaurant some twenty or so minutes ago, Taehyung has been the one talking, and it’s not because Yoongi has nothing to say. The thing is, Taehyung’s rendered him speechless, dumbstruck by the man’s ethereal beauty. It makes no sense to Yoongi, none whatsoever, that the angelic being sitting before him should be in a class to learn how to deal with conflict. In Yoongi’s humble opinion, Taehyung’s smile can cure all the world’s issues. He needs to know why, what happened in Taehyung’s past.
“Taehyung.” The younger man looks up from the menu at the mention of his name, and he looks so innocent that Yoongi feels guilty for the question he’s about to ask. “How’d you end up in the class?”
Taehyung stares silently for a moment, and Yoongi wonders what thoughts are going through the man’s head.
“My roommate signed me up,” he starts before sighing so deeply Yoongi feels it in his soul. “I wasn’t always like this, scared of people. I like interaction; I like talking and touching. I like touching a lot. It's comforting to me. It’s not usually sexual, it’s just how I’m wired you, know?” It’s a tangent and Yoongi knows it, but he makes a note of the information for, uhm, science. “I dated my boss for a while; he’s older by few years. He was gentle and loving and really nurturing when we first met. I’d just moved here from my hometown, Daegu. I missed my family, especially my dad. Looking back now, maybe he was just a surrogate-”
Taehyung sighs again, and Yoongi wishes he could take the boy’s burden and bury it in the depths of the sea. He wants Taehyung to continue, but at the same time, he doesn’t want the man to rehash memories that are painful to him.
“-which, thinking about it now, was unfair to him. Anyway, one day it dawned on me that I wasn’t in love. I loved him, but didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with him. I thought, what’s the point of staying together if I knew it wasn’t forever, so I broke it off. I mean, what if our soulmates came but didn’t approach because we were together?”
Taehyung looks so serious that Yoongi thinks he could believe in soulmates. Hell, right now he’s willing to accept anything Taehyung says, he finds the younger man so mesmerizing.
“Things were okay until-” Taehyung sighs again for the umpteenth, “until he started spreading rumors about my character. He’d tell people almost truths. At first, I ignored it. You know, rumors don’t tend to stick around, but then people started to look at me differently, began to whisper when they saw me. Stories then became truths that people believed, and I couldn’t fight them, so I guess I shut down, you know?”
Taehyung’s quiet for a bit, and Yoongi nods, looking at the younger man. The shine from earlier has left the younger man’s eyes, and there’s sadness and what looks like regret in its stead. Words of comfort have never been Young's forte. Right now, however, he wishes he had that gift.
“It went from just thinking people at work were talking about me, to believing that everyone, even strangers were. Logically I know it’s not true, but I just can’t shake it off. The fear has become a habit, I guess,” Taehyung says wistfully, and it’s the saddest tone Yoongi has ever heard.
“Taehyung, I’m shit at saying the right things. But anyone that believes lies about you is an idiot. What I don’t understand is why you believe things you know aren’t true about yourself?”
“I don’t know, to be honest. I thought it would blow over, and when it escalated instead, it was overwhelming. Other people believed it so wholeheartedly that even when I told them it wasn't the truth, they'd say I was lying. Then I guess I started to wonder if it was true once it got to that point. I lost all control.”
“Taehyung, no one should ever have so much power over you that they can make you believe things about yourself that aren’t true. Also, your boss is an A plus asshole, and I hope I have the pleasure of saying that to his face someday,” Yoongi states angrily.
He looks up to find Taehyung staring at him; there’s a Look on the younger man’s face that’s hard to read. There’s a flutter, a rumbling, a flurry of butterflies taking up all the space in Yoongi’s gut; there’s something in Taehyung’s look that he wants to understand, that he wants to ask for further clarification on, but he’s worried the answer may not be what he wants to hear. Yoongi finds it ironic that he’s more anxious that the answer may be exactly what he wants to hear.
do that hyung?” Taehyung’s eyes are wide, like a child surprised with good news. really“Would you
“Do what?” Yoongi asks, curious as to Taehyung’s reaction.
“Stand up for me? Would you do that, for reals?”
“You mean would I tell your boss he’s and ass-wipe?”
Taehyung beams, his smile so bright it rivals the sun, making Yoongi feel warm.
“Thank you, hyung.”
“You’re welcome. Wait, I was so caught up in the story, did you say you’re from Daegu?” Yoongi’s brain just finally filtering all of Taehyung’s conversation.
“Because I’m from Daegu originally too,” Yoongi says, a little more enthusiastically than necessary.
“Really? Wow, how’d you end up here?”
“Well, I had a small disagreement with a passenger on a flight, and here I am,” Yoongi replies.
Taehyung’s facial expression makes him chuckle. The boy’s look is somewhere between “huh” and “wtf,” and Yoongi is confused as to why.
“You ended up in Seoul because you disagreed with a passenger?”
“No,” he giggles his answer, yes giggles, and he’s slightly annoyed.
“No, that’s how I ended up in the class. I came to Seoul for college and just never left. I miss home though; I haven’t been back in a couple of years. Maybe you and I can take a trip some time,” Yoongi says without thinking, the words came out naturally on their own. It’s not until he looks up and sees the look of pure shock and excitement on Taehyung’s face that he realizes what he’s said.
“Really?!” Taehyung’s eyes are bright once again, and Yoongi can’t help but nod happily.
“Mmm, we’re friends, right? Not just that, we’re Daegu boys. we should take a trip in solidarity.”
Taehyung smiles, and Yoongi throws back a gummy one of his own; the moment feels a bit cheesy romantic comedy esque, that moment where the characters find their common ground.
Their meals arrive, and they eat in silence for the most part, conversing only to tell each other how good the meal is. It’s been so long since Yoongi has felt this comfortable with another person, so long since he’s enjoyed an evening out that didn't have him feeling out of place or out of his league. Ironically, in a perfect world, Taehyung would be very much out of Yoongi's league in many respects. The boy is stunning, beyond fashion model good looks. He should be walking the runways or jet setting around the globe. Yet, here he sits at a table across from Yoongi, happy about the possibility of going on a trip with him. Suddenly Yoongi’s glad for the world’s imperfections.
“Hyung, if we go on one trip, can we go on another one after?” Taehyung questions.
“Uhm, sure, I guess. Where to?”
“Busan. I wanna go to the beach. The last time I went I was four, I think. I just remember it being a delightful time. Minnie’s from Busan, maybe he can come too. You’d like Minnie; everyone does. He’s lovely.” Taehyung rattles happily about their possible trip, and the man’s excited chatter makes Yoongi feel warm on the inside.
After dinner they decide to go for a walk by the pier. It’s dusk, and the sun is out though somewhat dim. The air is temperate, not too hot or too cold, perfect for strolling aimlessly. They stop at a booth to buy cones. Taehyung gets strawberry, and Yoongi gets vanilla mint.
“I had so much fun tonight, hyung,” Taehyung says suddenly, licking at the edges of his ice cream cone, trying to keep it from dripping down his arm, the action reminding Yoongi so much of a child.
“Me too. It’s been so long since I’ve gone out and done anything like this. I’m glad it was with you.” Again the words come out without thought; it’s the natural flow of his subconscious saying what it feels.
“You are?” Taehyung stops walking so suddenly that Yoongi almost walks right into his back.
“I am what?”
“Are you really glad you came with me? Because I am too, happy that it was you,” Taehyung says shyly. A hue of pink flitters up his skin, and it’s like watching an artist paint on a canvas.
Yoongi is not a man of words, nor is he a man of actions, but right now he has the overwhelming urge to pull Taehyung into his arms and write sonnets into the man’s olive skin with his lips. He doesn’t. Instead, he takes a step back so he can breathe before responding.
“Yes. I’m happy we partnered up and even happier that we won so that we could enjoy this evening together.”
It starts slowly, the smile that spreads across Taehyung’s face. First, the left corner of his lips pulls up, then the movement continues across until it’s shining from Taehyung’s eyes and dancing on his face. It’s glorious and breathtaking, and Yoongi’s in a trance, so taken by the man’s countenance. Taehyung’s just too beautiful for description, and Yoongi’s heart feels like it’s about to burst. He takes another step back.
“Me too, hyung. Me too,” Taehyung says, taking a few steps forward minimizing the distance that Yoongi’s been unconsciously trying to create.
“So what do you do, Taehyung?” Yoongi realizes he knows nothing about the younger man, apart from the fact that he talks to inanimate objects and is illogically stunning.
“Me? I’m an art curator,” Taehyung says proudly, and Yoongi is somewhat astonished, he’d expected something far less cultured given Taehyung’s insecurities.
“So, like for a museum? That sounds like quite the swanky position?”
“It’s not really. I oversee photo exhibits and cultural artifacts. It’s fun, and I like pretty things,” Taehyung explains.
“Are you an artist as well?”
“I love to draw, but photography is my favorite. Black and whites are my favorite medium because you get to see the rawness of the subject.” Yoongi’s shocked that, yet again, he and Taehyung found another similarity.
“Wow, I love photography. My grandfather was a photographer for the Seoul Gazette, and he did freelance on the side; made a pretty good living at it too.”
“Wow, hyung, we have so much in common,” Taehyung says, and Yoongi can only nod.
“We should start walking to the train station. It’s getting late,” Yoongi says to Taehyung, and he’s a bit disappointed at how quickly their time as passed.
“Mmmm,” Taehyung murmurs, sounding equally disappointed.
“Maybe, you know, we can do this again. Lunch, or coffee, like a support group outside of group meetings, uhm, something like that.” Yoongi rubs the back of his neck awkwardly.
Honestly, he wants to ask Taehyung out again, but he’s not sure he’s ready. Jimin is still on the outskirts of his mind, and Taehyung talks a lot about his roommate, who Yoongi may be a tad bit jealous of because there’s fondness in Taehyung’s eyes each time he mentions the man.
“Really, hyung? You’d hang out with me on purpose, without being forced?” Taehyung seems truly surprised.
“Yeah, you know, without a real reason,” Taehyung explains.
“We made a tentative promise to go to Daegu and Busan, and there was no real reason for that,” Yoongi reminds the younger man.
“But there are reasons, hyung,” Taehyung starts. “We both want to go home, and we both want to go to the beach. But if we had lunch again, that would be, well, I’m not sure why you’d want to without a reason.”
Yoongi’s not sure where the bubble of anger comes from or why it’s directed in Taehyung’s direction. He also not sure why grabs the man by the wrist, pulling him to a complete stop directly in front of him. He’s really, really not sure why he closes the distance, so much so that not even air could pass between them. What he is sure about is that Taehyung’s lips are impossibly soft, and his desire to kiss the man until he can’t breathe can’t be measured with existing technology.
Taehyung sinks into him like an anchor falling to the bottom of the sea, without hesitation or resistance, and it’s perfect, so perfect. Taehyung tastes like ice cream, and Yoongi licks deeper into the man’s mouth, relishing and savoring the flavors. Placing a hand on the back of Taehyung’s neck, holding him steady, Yoongi deepens the kiss, and everything else falls away. Time stands still, and the world stops spinning. Taehyung’s taken control of all of Yoongi’s senses, and nothing else, nothing else matters.
“Yah! Get a room. People have to walk on these streets,” a stranger yells from somewhere outside of the bubble Yoongi and Taehyung are wrapped in.
They pull apart breathless, panting and slightly embarrassed.
“You’re wrong, Taehyung. I have a reason. You. You’re the reason.” He’s about to say more when his phone buzzes in his pocket.
Yoongi swipes the screen.
Yoongi doesn’t swipe the screen, doesn’t read the message. Instead, he drops the phone back in his pocket.
“Aren’t you gonna answer?” The boy asks.
“No,” Yoongi says with a sigh. “I already have my answer,” he replies as he grabs Taehyung’s hand and heads into the train station.