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all i gave you was goodbye

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Jin’s first meeting with V was at one of the many forgetful after-parties he’d been coaxed to attend on the pretext of socializing for business.

It was a particularly extravagant one, but Seokjin had stuck to his corner booth with his whiskey in hand, bopping his head absently to the thumping music as he settled into his antisocial arena. This was where he belonged, in dark lonely corners of large crowded rooms. This kind of solitude, the quiet noise, the burning sensation as the whiskey slid down his throat- this was his comfort, his solace. 

When he’d started out, these parties were a necessity. This was the unspoken dealing ground. There were too many asses to kiss, too many favours to ask for and too many more to cash in on. Every conversation he initiated was to open a door; every person he befriended was an ally, till he realized there weren’t any real allies in this industry and felt lonelier in his huge bed than he did before.

Now, he was just here to maintain the acquaintanceships he had formed, wearing his Rolex, his third favourite silk shirt, and his bravest smile. Rather, he had been dragged by an unrelentingly persuasive force of nature.

Said force of nature, who went by the name of ‘Jung Hoseok’ and profession of ‘manager to Jin’, approached him an hour later, smiling with a hint of disappointment that years of reading faces had taught Seokjin to take note of. “Having fun?” He asked, taking the chair next to him.

“A blast,” Seokjin replied with a scoff, extending a hand around Hoseok’s chair. Namjoon was manning the DJ Booth today, which meant that Seokjin’s musical tastes were bound to be satisfied, but also that he would have to lose Hoseok for the most of the party. Honestly, as long as someone could hold his conversations for him, he wouldn’t mind tuning out to loud pop tunes instead of obscure house music.

“Contemplating the life, universe and everything?” Hoseok prodded, stealing the drink from his hand smoothly.

“No, just thinking about how much I want my drink back.”

Hoseok huffed disdainfully. “Just for that, I’m not giving it back.”

“I’m too tired to fight you back,” Seokjin sighed and slumped into the leather. “How did you manage to tear yourself away from Namjoon?”

“Give me a break,” Hoseok abandoned the drink on the table and followed suit, settling his head on the juncture where his shoulders ended and arms began. His eyes were trained towards Namjoon, the familiar look of barely hidden lust. “It’s young love, you know. It’s hard to keep my hands off him. You would understand if you were me…or if you didn’t have a tin heart.”

If he were a trusting man, he would tell Hoseok that he did understand. He did understand young love, and the way just looking at the other would elicit a rush of unexplainable emotions that could only be sated by physically expressing them. He’d tell Hoseok that it was okay to be this way, because God knew he had been worse.

“Go be gross then,” he said instead, shrugging his shoulders to get the weight of Hoseok’s head off them. “Why are you here?”

Hoseok furrowed his brows in thought. “Why did I come here?” he muttered, and instantly his expression eased in realization. “Oh yes, I have news.”

He looked around suspiciously before leaning in. “I had a talk with Min Yoongi today, and he’s not taking you on without an audition.”

Seokjin straightened in his seat, eyebrows raised in mild shock. “Seriously? I mean, not to toot my own horn but I thought I would be past that phase for smaller labels like his at least?”

“He wasn’t ready to budge, and I wasn’t ready to look desperate. He asked me to send in your portfolio, and he would see how things went from there on. Look, you can always turn your back on this. There are bigger, more rewarding fish in the pond.”

“For once I don’t want bigger fish, Hobi. I’ve had my taste of them, and I don’t care for them. I like the small fish, I am the small fish. It’s fine; I admire his integrity, even if it’s a huge blow to my ego. I probably needed it too.”

Hoseok smirked and smacked the back of his head, ignoring the glare he was thrown as he slid out of the booth. “Okay, my little common carp. Have what you want, but I’m hoping one day you’ll see the ocean waiting for you to move in. Shit, all this seafood analogy is making me nauseous.”

“Join the club,” he pointed to Namjoon, and earned another smack. His antisocial arena had been invaded and the nearly empty glass of whiskey was begging to be refilled. He stood up and tilted his head in the direction of the bar.

Hoseok fell in step with him, grabbing his arm to steady his tipsy self. “You have competition, by the way. Apparently I wasn’t the only manager who had approached him this week, so I pulled a few favours and did a little research. My sources tell me the guy is a newbie-”

“Okay, when are you going to admit that your sources are literally Namjoon having connections with everyone in the industry?”

As I was saying,” he ignored Seokjin’s knowing smirk and continued, “he’s just as eager, if not more - oh look, the new kids.”

Seokjin set his glass down and turned. The flashing lights gave him a window of seconds to catch their faces, half of which were turned away from him. Even if Hoseok knew everyone who came and went in the job, Seokjin could have alone deduced that they had little experience. They were an excited, young bunch of guys who still looked so mesmerized and hopeful, a gleam in their eyes that Seokjin’s had lost ages ago.

“There,” Hoseok said suddenly, and Seokjin’s eyes followed his finger to land on a very familiar face. Seokjin stilled immediately, watching as the man joined the young crew with their drinks in his hand, throwing his head back in tipsy laughter, swaying his body wildly to the trippy beat.

“There’s your competition Seokjin. If I remember his name correctly…V, I think?”

“No it’s not,” Seokjin whispered, a scoff escaping him involuntarily.

Hoseok turned to him curiously, and then nodded like he understood. “Of course it’s not, no one has a letter for a real name. I don’t remember if I knew his real name, though.”

Seokjin laughed bitterly, shaking his head in disbelief.

“Kim Taehyung, his name is Kim Taehyung.”

Hoseok snapped his fingers in realization. “That’s it, that’s his name. Handsome, isn’t he- wait, how do you know him?”

 


 

 

Seokjin’s first meeting with Taehyung was an eerie recreation of his favourite scene from his favourite movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Jungkook had invited him to Busan for his weekend break to celebrate his graduation; a party on the beach where he knew no one but his family and the host himself. He’d only agreed because he had nothing better to do and all his friends had fucked off to their hometowns, but something about how he felt right now - sinking his feet in the cool sand, alone in the crowd of humans, listening to the sounds of the waves and breathing in the sharp salty smell of the ocean – was worth the trip. He ran his hands through his hair, feeling a lot like the protagonist of an indie movie. There was a plate of food on his lap, lying untouched. He wasn’t allowed to eat mashed potatoes, but he didn’t the heart to reject Jungkook when he’d insisted.

Someone plopped down beside him an hour later, spilling sand around them as they sunk their legs in. Seokjin took a minute contemplating an appropriate reaction before turning to them; he wanted to be polite and firm at the same time, tell them he wasn’t looking for a friend or a partner or whatever they were expecting from him. Yet when he turned, he was stunned.

Adonis, he said to himself. There was only one way he could describe the man in front of him. His clothes were shabby, hair tucked in a worn-out beanie, nose red from the cold wind – but he was beautiful.

“Hi,” he uttered, and Seokjin fell in love just like that.

“Hi,” Seokjin said in a whisper, like he was afraid it would turn out to be a dream.

“I noticed you were eating alone,” he pointed to the plate, “or rather, not-eating alone.” The clouds parted slowly, and the sun was hitting his cheekbones in all the right angles.

Seokjin chuckled half-heartedly, too awestruck to form coherent responses. The guy seemed to be used to it, and snapped his fingers with an amused smile. “Back to reality,” he said in a baritone that could rival Barry White, and Seokjin’s insides were turning progressively into mush.

“I’m Kim Seokjin,” he extended his hand formally. It only seemed to amuse him further.

“Kim Taehyung,” he replied and took the hand with a mock serious expression, shaking it firmly like a confirmed business deal. Then he grinned at his own foolish act, and suddenly every one of his sharp, cold looking features melted into something soft, childlike and innocent. It was like an illusion, Seokjin thought he took in the boxy smile.

“Can I eat that, if you’re not? The mashed potatoes got over before I came.” He didn’t wait for an answer and grabbed a spoonful.

“Sure,” Seokjin said solemnly once the spoon had entered Taehyung’s mouth, and giggled at the way Taehyung tried to keep his food in between snorts of laughter.

“What do you do, Seokjin ssi?” he asked when Seokjin dumped the plate on his lap, and by the way he was looking at the plate, Seokjin wasn’t sure if he was interested in the answer. It reminded him all too much of his dog, Jjangu.

“I’m a sophomore, studying film arts at Konkuk. What about you Taehyung ssi?”

“Freshman, undecided major right now at Kyung Hee….I like doing everything and nothing, you know.”

He didn’t know. Seokjin hadn’t been good at anything but acting, so he hadn’t explored beyond his comfort zone. But he nodded anyways.

"Can I tell you something hyung? You seem like a smart person."

"Gee thanks," Seokjin snorted, rubbing the back of his head.

"No, I mean it. Like, I would take your advice if you gave me any; you seem to have it all figured out."

 He didn't show it, but Seokjin could tell he was a little embarrassed by the way he turned a little too quickly and looked towards the sun-kissed sea. Seokjin was good at reading people and compartmentalizing them, but Taehyung was all too much, all at once. Seokjin couldn't deny one thing though - he was too beautiful to be real.

He watched as Taehyung dropped back on his elbows and tilted his head to look at the party, and even in his casually thrown on outfit, it looked like he was posing for a high-end fashion catalogue.

"You should really try modelling," it escaped Seokjin before he could stop it.

Taehyung turned to him effortlessly, his gaze too powerful for Seokjin to hold. "Okay," he shrugged and smiled.

"But I'd like to try taking you out on dinner first."

 


 

“This may be the sorest I’ve been.”

It was 1 in the afternoon. Seokjin was (not) relishing his mildly salted chicken breast for lunch, nursing a dull throbbing headache that was a welcome distraction from the other, more painful discoveries they had made the previous night. Hoseok walked into the dining room with Namjoon in tow, bare-chested. Namjoon was biting the inside of his cheeks smugly, sneaking one arm around Hoseok’s tiny waist as he slowly wobbled his way to the kitchen counter.

“You say that every time you have drunk sex,” Seokjin said between mouthfuls. Hoseok glared at him and placed a reassuring hand over Namjoon’s. His nose was scrunched up in pain as he checked the coffee pot.

“When I’m feeling a little more alive,” he paused to yawn, “we’re going to talk.”

Seokjin felt his heart sink as he chewed on another bland forkful. He had been hoping all the alcohol in their system would have flushed out the memory, but he had conveniently forgotten that when it came to work, Hoseok had every little detail carefully catalogued and stored away in his brain.

“We talked enough yesterday, Hoseok.”

“No, what you did was drown in vodka in the backseat of your car, and then you left me with Namjoon and ran like a fucking chicken.” Namjoon cupped his mouth and tried to pass his chuckle off as a cough.

“Cut me some slack,” Seokjin muttered, standing up with his cleaned off plate. “I’m not good at confrontation…or people, in general.”

“You told me nothing apart from the fact that he’s your ex and you guys had a nasty breakup. Was it you or him? Is that the first time you saw him after it ended? Why haven’t you mentioned him before, it’s been 4 years? ”

Namjoon pulled a sour face. “Babe, let him be. This isn’t a criminal interrogation; he’ll share when he wants to.”

“That’s a real friend,” Seokjin said, clapping Namjoon’s bare back a little too hard.

 Hoseok rolled his eyes, his mean streak slowly coming on. “I need to know what I’m dealing with here. I’m not about to watch you lose to someone who isn’t even a year old in the industry, much less someone who broke your heart.”

“It wasn’t like that,” Seokjin frowned. “I’m not ready to talk about it, but it wasn’t like that.”

“To think this man could have fallen in love,” Hoseok muttered under his breath. Then he cleared his throat and said, “Anyways, I’ve sent your portfolio along to the label, but we can’t rely on just that. I have a plan for you to gain his attention outside the process, maybe earn a few brownie points.”

“Hobi, I swear, if you say I have to sleep with him-”

“-don’t even,” Hoseok cut him off. “We’re far beyond those days, and he’s straight. But being a little friendly never hurt anyone, right? He’s not known to be the most amicable person, but Namjoon says once you’re tight with him he’s the most loyal guy you’ll know.” Namjoon nodded his head as vigorously as his current state could allow.

Seokjin jumped onto the sofa, extending his legs across its length. “Not to offend you both, count yourselves out when I say this, but I don’t think loyalty is a thing that exists in this world. No one does others favours in the name of friendship, at least.”

“Yoongi hyung doesn’t work like that,” Namjoon supplied hesitantly. Hoseok turned to him with encouraging eyes, and he continued. “He built SUGA on literally his talent and nothing else. He knows how people are, which is why he interacts with only the people he needs to and for as long as he needs to. He isn’t cold or aloof without a reason, he just knows around whom to put his guard down. If you’re his friend, he’ll show you a very uninhibited wild side of him.”

Seokjin wasn’t as convinced as Hoseok looked, but he knew Namjoon’s words weren’t weightless. He’d been an admirer of the clothes for a while, but what really drove his desire to walk the ramp in them was the way it had risen to its current level.

“Alright,” He said after a moment. “If I get to know him better in the process, I don’t see the harm as well. What is your ‘plan’ to make us chummy, Hobi?”

And that was how he landed up in a new apartment complex a week later, a few doors down from Min Yoongi’s own apartment.

“He just moved, you can use the opportunity to bond over new beginnings and old people shit.” Hoseok watched over as the packers set the couch down. He didn’t have too many boxes to begin with, but looking at them now kept in the center of the huge unfurnished living room, it felt like he had brought along practically nothing.

“Okay, so Yoongi’s usually cooped up in his studio, but he stays up till 6 am on most nights. Bake him cookies, offer to water his plants, invite him over to watch a movie – do whatever you can to melt his stone cold heart.”

Seokjin laughed heartily. “What is this, some low-budget indie film where I woo him with cookies? I’ll do what I can, Hoseok. Let’s have a little more faith in my talent, shall we?”

Hoseok’s features softened into a guilty look. “Sorry. I got too carried away, didn’t I? I’m sure you won’t need personal connections to get this, Seokjin. It’s just that…never mind.”

“No, go ahead. You think Taehyung’s got a better chance than me?”

Hoseok shook his head immediately. “He’s good, I’ll give him that. He exudes that cool arrogant confidence that leaves you awestruck for a second, but his face isn’t too distracting to steal your attention off the clothes. It’s not what worries me, though. You’re better and I know it.”

“Then what’s bothering you this much?”

“He’s charming, Seokjin. He’s very charming and friendly. It almost throws you off, when you see him off stage; it’s like the ways of this job haven’t affected him at all. If you let your guard down, he might just reel Yoongi in with his charms, and you’ve heard how loyal he is. And you give up so easily, Seokjin. When it comes to emotions, you’d give up the fight in a snap.”

Seokjin opened his mouth to protest, but came up with no words. Hoseok sounds so similar to the voice inside his head that haunted him for hours, days, months. It was chilling, how much of himself he had let Hoseok see, and how accurately he inferred from it.

“As a manager, I want you to go after what you want…unless this is not it.”

No, it is.” Seokjin reached over and took his hand, small and warm. “Thanks for thinking that way, Hobi. Thinking as my friend right now would be of no use.”

Hoseok clutched his hand tighter and gave him a soft, assuring smile. “You’re good for a while? I have a few meetings to set up. The scripts are piling up too, if you have forgotten.”

“I’m not ready yet,” Seokjin asserted. “I’m not ready for a lot of things, huh?”

“You’ll get there, my little common carp.” Hoseok ruffled his hair and ignored his whining protest of how he was still a few months elder. Seokjin followed him to the door, heart falling slightly at the thought of being alone in the big, cold apartment. The elevator doors opened, and Hoseok turned around to wave one last time. Only, the person ahead wasn’t looking as well and crashed headfirst into him. A deep apologetic voice resounded from the man hidden behind Hoseok’s frame.

Seokjin’s suppressed giggles vanished just as soon as they arrived.

His heart sank further and further when Hoseok’s crumpled form straightened with the assistance of the man, and he watched Hoseok’s mild annoyance morph into barely hidden shock. Hoseok whipped his head towards the door, and that was the final blow.

“Seokjin hyung?”

His name still sounded the sweetest in Taehyung’s low, gruff tone, but there was no spite, no bite to his words. It felt like an annoying itch under Seokjin’s skin, the way his voice still sounded like it was dripping with affection for him.

Seokjin stayed mum, staring straight ahead. His mind ran through a million possible actions he could opt for, and none of them felt more appropriate than just allowing himself to stare. The expression in his eyes was so unreadable that Seokjin wanted to draw him closer, just to study it. He didn’t even notice the keys jingling in his hand, the way he slowly inched closer till he was in front of the adjacent door, the way he didn’t break the intense eye contact with Seokjin as he turned the lock smoothly and entered the apartment –

“Motherfucker, he lives next door,” Hoseok whispered incredulously from the end of the hall, but Seokjin was still thinking about Taehyung’s piercing gaze, trying to rally their indecipherable messages.

 


 

It was a Friday night when Seokjin found out.

Taehyung unlocked the apartment door and an unknown instinct overcame every warning bell in Seokjin’s head. He stuffed the letter between the sinking gap between the couch cushions and threw his arms open. Taehyung pounced onto his lap, limbs wrapping around Seokjin’s stretched out body.

“Hyung,” he whined sleepily, and Seokjin simultaneously grew happier and sadder. He wanted to kiss every inch of that face; he wanted to run.

And then Taehyung looked up at him, touched their noses together, looked up at him like he was his world, said, “I love you.”

It broke him even as he asked, “All of a sudden?”

“Always loved you,” he whispered back and touched his lips to Seokjin’s gently, like he knew Seokjin was breaking inside. “Always did since that day on the beach, always will.”

Maybe it was his sincerity, or maybe Seokjin was just too in love with Taehyung to hide it from him.

“I have to move to New York,” he said immediately. “Next month.”

“You got it?” Taehyung bounced in his lap excitedly, giddily.

“I got it.”

“Okay,” Taehyung said with a wide, disarming smile. “Marry me first.”

Taehyung scared him. Every second of being with him was frightening, because suddenly he wasn’t the guy with nothing to lose. He had made Taehyung his world, like Taehyung had made him his. He had someone who loved him unconditionally, who loved him not just with his flaws but for his flaws too. Just when he had finally become comfortable being alone, detached, loveless, just when he had finally gotten used to it, Taehyung had wrecked it all. Made Seokjin so dependent on him that it was hard to breathe when he thought of leaving him, but harder to breathe when he thought of being left.

They all left.

Seokjin knew that, he had accepted that and resolved to never let anyone get close enough to break him like that again.

The longer he stayed and the deeper he fell, the harder it would hurt when it would reach its inevitable end.

So he ran.

 


 

“Hello, I just moved in next door and baked a few too many cookies for myself so I thought I’d bring you some.”

Ugh, that sounds so domestic.

Yoongi considered him with an amused smile, blocking the entrance to his door. “How didn’t I find out that supermodel Jin was looking to move here?” He was shorter than his pictures, but far more intimidating. His accent still had hints of Daegu in it, putting Seokjin at ease.

Seokjin shrugged nonchalantly. “Maybe you were too busy with your new collection to take part in apartment gossip.”

His smile transformed into an unexpectedly cheeky grin. “You’re mad about that, aren’t you? Not used to small designers not worshipping your feet?”

“Not used to it, I’ll admit. But I’m far from angry. Can’t we keep work discussions aside and just interact as new neighbours?”

Yoongi narrowed his eyes playfully. “Alright, I can’t deny how good those cookies smell.” He beckoned Seokjin in, grabbing the plate before shutting the door.

Yoongi’s apartment was unpredictably cosy, Seokjin thought as he made himself comfortable on the couch. The lights hung low and dim, reflecting off brick walls and granite countertops. The centre table was covered with rough sketches and design books, as was the dining table. Seokjin definitely had missed out on the view by choosing the apartment on the opposite side; one could take the most picturesque shots of the lit up concrete jungle from here.

“Fuck, these are good.” Yoongi shut his eyes as he took another large bite, letting the crumbs fall as they pleased.

“So, you live here all alone?” Yoongi raised an eyebrow without looking away from the cookie. “ I mean, no family, pets…or significant others?”

"Are you hitting on me?" Yoongi asks disinterestedly, attention completely centred on wiping the plate clean. "I'm flattered, but I've known you for literally, 30 seconds."

"You're flattering yourself then," Seokjin huffed indignantly. "I'm just curious, the place is huge. Don't you ever get lonely?"

Yoongi shrugged. "You just get used to it. What about you, do you have pets or people to fill up your huge apartment?"

"No," Seokjin replied, immediately regretting his conversation starter topic. "I don't have the time to care for a pet, and as for a person...Well, I don't really know the answer to that."

Yoongi hummed empathetically. "And have you been looking for someone?"

He could have lied, and he should have too. He barely opened up to the so-called friends he had made in his time, with the exception of Hoseok and Namjoon. But Yoongi felt sincere, like he knew how it was for Seokjin, like he had been through the same thing.

"I don't want to."

"And is it because you already love someone, or you won't let yourself love anyone?" Yoongi leaned in, gazing straight at him.

Seokjin smiled wistfully. "Would it be the wrong answer if I said both?"

Yoongi smiled wider. "If it is, then my answer would be wrong too. Like I said, Jin ssi, you get used to it because you won't let yourself choose any other alternative. Whew," he whistled lowly. "A heavy subject for a first conversation, wasn't that? I usually don't share more than my business card; maybe your cookies have some kind of truth exposing potion."

Seokjin ignored his attempt to lighten the mood. "It seems like we've been through the same thing."

"It depends. Have you loved someone and ran away because you were too afraid of your feelings?" 

Seokjin chuckled bitterly. "Yoongi ssi, we have a lot more in common than we thought."

“That’s good then,” Yoongi said. “I don’t have too many friends.”

“Neither do I,” said Seokjin. “The industry is full of fucktards.”

“Could not agree more,” Yoongi shook his head in agreement. “Jin ssi, do you like lamb skewers?”

“You can call me Seokjin, I’d prefer it. And yeah, love them.” Seokjin shut an eye lazily as he sank into the leather. The word pinched him more than he had expected, memories of Jungkook relishing them flooding his head.

“What about that place down the street, one of these days? I’ve been having a craving, and we can get a chance to talk more.”

Seokjin nodded, albeit a bit hesitantly. He hadn’t expected to like Yoongi as much as he did, but with the surprising turn of events he had almost forgotten his purpose. Everything felt too fast, and he barely knew anything about Yoongi but his offer sounded too sincere to refuse, and Seokjin felt like he had found a future confidant who would be able to see things from his side of the coin.

He stood up with his heart a little lighter, conscience no longer pressing him about the fact that the only reason he was reaching out for friendship was a job. “I’ll get going then, goodnight Yoongi ssi.”

Yoongi walked him to the door, leaning on the frame as he watched Seokjin enter his apartment. Just as he was about to wave goodbye, the adjacent door opened.

“Yoongi hyung, hello!” Taehyung’s enthusiastic greeting echoed in the hallway.

“Hello, Taehyung-ie,” Yoongi said, his face transforming into a look of pure adoration. “Going out?”

“Just to meet my cats,” Taehyung replied as he walked towards the elevator in the direction of Yoongi’s door. “One of them is about to give birth.”

“Sounds exciting,” Yoongi said, sounding genuinely interested. “Keep me updated.”

Seokjin watched as Taehyung disappeared into the elevator, not realising he had been holding his breath.

Yoongi’s words haunted him as he tossed and turned sleepless in bed. Seokjin had lived all his life adjusting and accommodating. He had gotten used to the backstabbing nature of his colleagues, to the lasting stench of cigarette smoke on his clothes, to the way people blatantly disregarded his personality and only saw him for his face. He had become used to it all without as much as a word of complaint.

If only he could have gotten used to being loved by Taehyung.

 


 

The next 2 weeks went by relatively smoothly, work keeping him too occupied to gnaw at his worries. Seokjin learnt that Taehyung liked to wake up at 6 am and hang out in his balcony, and brought in a range of houseplants that gave him the excuse to use his balcony at the same time. Gratefully Taehyung didn’t pay him any regard when he saw him, carrying on with his routine. Sometimes he was humming songs from old musicals under his breath, sometimes feeding the pigeons. On days when Seokjin was too overwhelmed, too afraid and too guilty all at once, he would sit down with his back to the wall on Taehyung’s side, making sure he wasn’t seen. He’d listen to Taehyung whistling gaily along with the chirping birds and calm his heart, tell it that Taehyung was fine.

It never worked. Nothing worked, because it made him sick just knowing that Taehyung had somehow taken up this terrible job too, and Seokjin had seen enough of it to know what it did to even the most cheerful people. And here was a guy who had his heart broken.  Sometimes after work he’d go out into the balcony, hoping for the familiar face, and smell the cigarette smoke too strong to be coming from his clothes.

“What a sneaky rat his manager is,” Hoseok ranted on the phone in the living roomas Seokjin watered the houseplants he had grown strangely attached to. “I taught Park Jimin everything he knows, and that’s how the tiny piece of shit decides to repay me?”

Seokjin sighed in resignation. “Calm down a notch, for the love of God. It’s okay, so he lives next to me and he’s friends with Yoongi. What’s the big deal?”

“He’s already friends with Yoongi, that’s the big fucking deal.” Hoseok angrily kicked the leg of the dining table, immediately wincing in pain. “Fuck, what if they’re already super close? What a fucking plot twist.”

“Yoongi and I are going out to the lamb skewer place down the street tonight.” Seokjin said easily, waiting for Hoseok’s reaction.

Hoseok ran to the balcony and cornered him against the wall. “You are what? How?”

“He invited me,” Seokjin said smugly. Hoseok cupped his face, squishing his cheeks proudly. “That’s my boy!”

“He’s actually a nice guy, Hoseokie. We chat once in a while, complain about our annoying managers.”

“Do whatever you want to; just become his best friend alright?” Hoseok says, slapping his cheeks lightly before letting go of his face.

“And replace you? Never,” Seokjin said dramatically, grabbing Hoseok into a back hug. As Hoseok struggled to get away, Seokjin heard the adjacent door open and immediately shoved Hoseok out, hiding behind the wall. Sure enough, it was Taehyung, but he wasn’t alone.

“Taehyung-ie, we haven’t been out in ages. Come on,” the other guy begged. Seokjin peeked to get a glimpse. He had bright pink hair, and was a whole head shorter than them but undeniably cute. 

 “I’m not really hungry, chimchim.” Taehyung said, and Seokjin’s chest clenched tightly. It was an affectionate nickname, and his mind immediately ran to the worst case scenario.  Taehyung is allowed to move on too, he reminded himself. In fact, it was the best thing that could happen, him moving on with someone who deserved him. It did not help ease the pain, though.

 “Taetae, please? I’ve been waiting for ages for your schedule to clear, and I’ve made reservations too. See, you can’t let me go alone to a reservation for two. ” Chimchim whined. There was shuffling, and soon Taehyung was giggling uncontrollably. Seokjin ached to take another peak, see Taehyung laugh uninhibited again.

“Okay I’ll come tonight; I’ll come, let me go now!” Taehyung said in between giggles, and their collective laughter subsided into pants.

“That’s a good boy,” Chimchim said, and silence fell over, broken only once by Taehyung’s contented hum. A few minutes later, he heard the door slide open and close again.

“Seokjin hyung, you can come out now.”

 Seokjin froze. It was the first time he had spoken to Seokjin, and it sounded like bliss to his ears. But the fear overtook him; he contemplated running out of the balcony and forgetting it all.

“What’s wrong? Planning to run away like you weren’t here? Wouldn’t be the first time.” He laughed listlessly.

Seokjin came out, biting his lip nervously as he braced himself on the railing. He looked ahead and waited for Taehyung to say something.

“How are you, hyung?”

“I…I’m fine,” Seokjin stutters. “…and y-you?”

 “I’m great,” he answered promptly, and Seokjin heard the sound of a lighter. He finally tore his eyes away from the view and found the courage to look to his right. Taehyung was standing with a cigarette in his hand, blowing puffs of smoke.

“You smoke now?” it escaped Seokjin before he could stop himself. Taehyung shrugged and took another long drag.

“You should stop,” Seokjin said as if on autopilot. “It’s not good for you.”

“You don’t like it?” he asked innocently, and Seokjin shook his head in reply, waiting for Taehyung to remind him how it didn’t concern him any longer.

Instead, Taehyung said, “Okay,” and chucked the cigarette and lighter down the balcony.

 Seokjin stared at him in shock. “What did you just do?”

“I just quit,” Taehyung supplied, the ends of his lips curved in a smile.

 “Because I told you to?” Seokjin asked in bewilderment.

“Well.” Taehyung looked ahead, and Seokjin felt the air being knocked out of his lungs. Once again, it was all too much, all at once.

“Taehyung, do you hate me?” Seokjin asked with bated breath. “You have all the rights to, and I wouldn’t be surprised-“

“-but I don’t,” Taehyung said, looking at him like he’d said something impossible. “How could I hate you when I don’t know why you ran away? What if it was me, what if I was the reason for it? How could I blame you for something I did?”

“You weren’t the reason I ran,” Seokjin said firmly, his eyes burning with emotion. “You should blame me. I’m the only one at fault here.”

“Seems like you realized your mistake then,” Taehyung assured. “I don’t need to inflict any more pain on you than you did to yourself by leaving.”

“As always,” Seokjin smiled as they watched the sky turn pink. “You’re always too perfect for me, Kim Taehyung.”

“Maybe Kim Taehyung is too perfect for you, but V is not perfect in any sense.” He moved as close as possible to Seokjin's side. “Anyways, I’m saying too much.” He turned to leave, and Seokjin panicked.

“Was that guy your boyfriend?”

Taehyung stopped, back turned to him.

“Now you’re saying too much.”

“Sorry,” Seokjin said, hanging his head down.

“No, he’s not,” Taehyung turned around, pursing his lips like he was trying to contain his glee. Seokjin had to do the same to control the bursting joy in his heart. “He’s my manager, and my best friend.”

Best friend, Seokjin thought, clenching his fists excitedly. And then he remembered. “How is Jungkook?

“Pissed,” Taehyung tilted his head in amusement. “Don’t go near him, he has vowed to break your nose.”

Seokjin chuckled. “I miss him. I miss home, I miss the beach-”

“-why didn’t you come back home then?”

Seokjin looked up, and Taehyung’s eyes were staring right through him. “I’m a coward, Taehyung. I can’t even find the strength to bear the consequences of my own decisions.”

“I’m a coward too,” Taehyung said, “Couldn’t find the courage to let you go even after all these years.”

Don’t let me go.

Please.

Taehyung cleared his throat and shook himself. “Stay right here.” He ran in, and Seokjin was left all alone wondering what he did to deserve this forgiveness. He hadn’t even apologized yet, and Taehyung was treating him like nothing had happened. Like his mistakes were just pages of a book he could tear off without a second thought.

 Surprisingly, he wasn’t scared this time around.

Taehyung returned with two cups of coffee and passed one over to his balcony. “How did you even live without my coffee?” he said, hair falling over his eyes as he looked up from his cup.

If he wasn’t completely in love already, Seokjin fell all over again.

 

 

 “Seokjin ssi, where are you?”

“Oh fuck,” Seokjin swore, pacing around the dining table. Taehyung was still outside by the balcony, and he was officially late by an hour for dinner.

“Yoongi ssi, I’ll need to take a rain check for tonight.”

“Everything alright?”

Seokjin suppressed a smile as he said, “It wasn’t up till now, but it’s about to be.”

Yoongi sighed. “I guess I’ll have to give up my dream of ever eating lamb skewers with another human.”

“I’m so sorry, Yoongi ssi. I didn’t know things were going to go the way they did tonight.”

“It’s alright,” came Yoongi’s reassuring voice. “I told you, I’m used to it. You can make up for it by sending me another plate of those cookies?”

 “I’ll send you two,” Seokjin said, sighing in relief. “Come over another time, and I’ll make you dinner.”

“Definitely,” Yoongi said. “Best of luck to you with whatever is going on.”

Seokjin hung up guiltily, wondering how 3 hours had passed without him realizing the sky had gone dark or that he had a dinner scheduled. He entered the balcony again, and Taehyung was dozing with his head on the railing.

“Taehyung,” he called out, “Taehyung-ie, wake up.”

Taehyung jerked awake, looking everywhere but ahead frantically. “Seokjin hyung, don’t go! Oh, you’re here.”

Seokjin winced inward but hide it under his smile. “You’re sleepy. Go to your bed, where you won’t catch a cold.”

“Wait, I was supposed to have dinner with Jimin.” Taehyung frowned, scratching his head.

“Too bad,” Seokjin said sarcastically. “It’s too late for dinner now.”

“You haven’t eaten as well, hyung. Do you want to come over?”

Yes. Seokjin wanted to go over, kiss him senseless and hold him close till he was warm enough. “Maybe another time,” he said reluctantly. “Goodnight, ba-“he bit his tongue, but Taehyung perked up at the sound.

“Were you about to call me babe?” his voice dipped down to a whisper.

“My brain isn’t really working today.” Seokjin smacked the back of his head, not meeting Taehyung’s eye. “I don’t know what overcame me, sorry.”

Taehyung jerked his head cheekily, making his way to the door. Seokjin lingered back, waiting till Taehyung disappeared.

“I guess old habits die hard, don’t they?” Taehyung’s voice drifted farther away, and the door clicked shut.

Seokjin grinned foolishly to himself.

“I guess they don’t.”

 


 

They were late afternoon cuddles, they were stolen kisses in supermarket aisles, they were hands glued to each other on busy streets, and then they were this.

Seokjin looked around the mess. Taehyung was lying by him, face dusted with flour, hands coated in jam and chocolate sauce. The remnants of their baking attempt turned food fight were all over the kitchen, including the pink-stained ceiling. He licked the whipped cream of his fingers and reached around for the can.

“What an eventful third date,” Taehyung announced beside him, hands splayed across his stomach.

Seokjin hummed in agreement, finally finding the can and shaking it well. “Stay still,” he ordered and lined Taehyung’s eyebrows and lips with the cream, leaving a small spot on the top of his nose. He leaned back and took in the sight, his giggles slowly converting into loud cackles.

“Not fair,” Taehyung whined playfully while he waggled his eyebrows. “Now help me get it off.”

“With pleasure.” Seokjin swung around till he was resting on Taehyung’s thighs. He leaned in, first licking off the little dollop on his nose. Taehyung giggled under him, taking his hand as Seokjin moved to kiss the cream off his lips.

“Hyung,” he whispered between kisses, “It’s our third date.”

Seokjin pulled away reluctantly, bracing himself on his arms. “I know.”

“You know what that means?” he asked, raising an eyebrow and letting the cream fall onto his long eyelashes.

“Yeah, I was getting to it, Taehyung.” Seokjin said, dipping his head down again.

“No,” Taehyung turned away, turning beet red. It was surreal watching his confidence dissolve into coyness in seconds. “You’re supposed to give me a cute nickname.”

Seokjin picked off the cream from his eyelash and wiggled his finger. “Cream?”

“Eww,” Taehyung slapped it away, pulling a disgusted face. “That sounds like I’m either a stripper or a rabbit.”

Seokjin chuckled, extending a hand towards the counter. “What about ‘honey’ then,” he said, pulling the bottle down.

“I’m leaving,” Taehyung said in mock anger, trying to push Seokjin away without even detaching his hand from the elder’s.

Seokjin leaned in till Taehyung stopped struggling, dropped kisses on his forehead till Taehyung’s face was glowing with a lazy, content smile. “Babe, you’re so cute.” He whispered into Taehyung’s ear, collapsing on top of him.

“Babe,” he heard Taehyung say as he tugged on his earlobe. “I like it, sounds…..official.”

Seokjin stopped immediately, heart racing at the mere word. He tried to pull away, but Taehyung cracked an eye open and asked, “Can I call you babe too?”

“Anything you want,” Seokjin said and meant it, melting under his touch as he kissed him some more.

 


 

 “You’re fraternizing with the enemy?”

Seokjin jumped at the voice in his ear, and turned around to see Hoseok glaring at him. “Why are you here, and why is it that all our conversations lately start with you shouting at me?” he pressed the buttons to the elevator and took a large gulp of his morning coffee.

“Because you’re doing stupid things!” Hoseok yelled, and Seokjin ignored him by tucking his earphones deeper. “I didn’t sit through 6 months of you lusting over his collections and yearning to be his showstopper just to watch you give it up to a newborn baby you have history with.”

“It’s not as simple as that alright?” Seokjin retorted angrily. “It’s more history than you know.”

“But you never want to tell me what that history was! How am I supposed to work with what you’re giving me?”

“I can’t share this, Hoseok. I’m sorry, I can’t bring myself to. But it was very serious, I can tell you this much. Anyways, all we do is hang out in our own balconies together, why are you getting your panties in a bunch over this?”

“Because you’re missing out on time you could rather spend bonding with Yoongi,” Hoseok supplied as they walked out into the building lobby. Through the glass doors, he could see Taehyung on th street and the undeniable childlike glee spread across his features. He swung the door open, and opened his mouth to greet him, when he noticed.

“Jeon Jungkook?”

His ex-best friend and Taehyung’s stepbrother turned to look at the voice, and his smile fell immediately, replaced by pure rage. He knew exactly what Jungkook would do and took a few steps back in anticipation.

True to his nature, Jungkook charged forward, throwing Seokjin off balance as he grabbed him by the collar. His right hand curled into a fist, and Seokjin was prepared for it to make contact with his face.

“Jungkook, don’t hurt his face, he has an audition tomorrow.” Taehyung yelled and appeared by their side along with Hoseok, trying to drag them apart.

“Let me go!” Jungkook roared, struggling under Taehyung’s grip. “You still talk to this asshole?”

“You guys should probably back up a little; we have a few things to talk about.” He eyed Hoseok, blinking to let him know it was okay. Hoseok pulled Taehyung away, watching from a distance.

“We have nothing to talk about, stay away from my brother!”

“Jungkook, I know you’re upset-” Seokjin started, but Jungkook only tightened his grip on Seokjin's shirt.

“Do you know what you did to him? He wouldn’t leave your apartment for weeks at a time, thinking you would come back. He was so afraid of everything he said or did, like he could drive everyone out in his life with one small mistake. He kept telling everyone he was fine, that he was moving on. But every week he’d go to that stupid beach of yours and sit there alone for hours. He’d go on dates and never call them back. Even when he left home, he left it for you. Even when he looked for a job, he looked for the one you told him to try. He was so insanely in love with you, and you threw him away like stale meat!”

And without a thought, Seokjin swung his fist right at Jungkook’s nose.

“You were my best friend,” Seokjin spat out bitterly as Jungkook winced in pain. “You knew who I was, you knew this was what would happen. You knew I loved him with every fibre of my being. Sorry, if you expected more but I gave you, Jeon Jungkook, no reason to do so. And for the record, we’re just friends. There’s nothing going on between us, so you don’t need to worry that fucking brain of yours.”

Taehyung rushed with blown eyes, wrapping Jungkook in his arms as he tried to get a better glance of his face behind Jungkook’s hands.

“You do not deserve my brother,” Jungkook said, handkerchief clutching his bloody nose. “Stay away from him.”

 He took a look at Jungkook, and turned to walk out when Taehyung called him out.

“What did you just tell him?”

“I can’t do this right now, Taehyung.” He grimaced apologetically and turned around. “Take care of him, make sure he’s okay.”

 


 

He was fairly aware of how the process worked, but it had been a long time since he had been required to go through it. He had almost forgotten how brutal and exhausting it was, thanking the stars he didn’t actually have to approach the several other labels he worked with in this way.

There were 30 other models seated in Yoongi’s studio, eyeing him curiously. There was a mixed bag of reactions that he observed during his waiting time. Some of them were clearly starstruck, sneaking glances at him in a failed attempt to be stealthy. A few others looked resigned to their fate, expressions fallen like they had already been rejected. The third group of people were the ones who were trying to bore holes through his skull, looking as though he had no right to steal the only opportunities they had a chance at. He almost felt guilty about it.

Kim Taehyung was nowhere to be seen.

He had been deftly avoiding running into him in the hallways, and neither had his next door neighbour made any move to initiate conversation. But sometimes Seokjin wished foolishly that the walls between them were thinner, that he could hear what was going on across it, if Taehyung was laughing enough or eating dinner on time; if he was okay.  He gave up speculating when his mind entertained the thought that he might get someone back home, because even if it happened it was none of his business. He was over Kim Taehyung; he reminded himself again and again. But he couldn’t ignore the feeling that he didn’t feel as alone in this huge apartment, and maybe, just maybe it had something to do with what was on the other side of the wall.

Yoongi entered 5 minutes later, with Taehyung in tow. Seokjin’s eyes followed him as he crossed the distance to the empty chair in no time. Slowly, Yoongi’s voice became clearer and clearer in his head, till he jerked his head away to look ahead.

 “Thank you for coming today,” he said politely, glancing at everyone in the room once. He began explaining the concept in detail, pausing every now and then to check if everyone was still on board.

“The theme is ‘fallen leaves’, quite season appropriate. I found them very fascinating as a child, but like other kids were wont to do, I’d collect them instead of crunching them under my feet. The colours are magnificent, but I didn’t quite agree with the symbolism of shedding the old to make way for the new.” He smirked a little, looking into his diary. Yoongi felt like a sturdy old oak, growing higher and higher but still rooted to the ground firmly. It was so refreshing that Seokjin completely lost himself in Yoongi’s ideas, forgetting his surroundings, forgetting his reason of being here. “I’d like to preserve the dead leaves. I’d like to hold on to old memories, no matter how painful they are. It’s what shaped me to be who I am today.”

It hit too close to the heart, like Yoongi was speaking at him. Seokjin knew if he snuck a glance now and someone noticed it would look suspicious, but he did it anyways. Taehyung seemed unaffected, his attention completely towards Yoongi. It was probably for the best if words like those didn’t trigger anything in him, but something in Seokjin ached despite it.

Yoongi snapped his book shut at the end of the briefing and regarded them. “Okay, let’s get to the auditions.”

Casting time meant patience, and Seokjin had lost that virtue a long time ago. It was particularly harder to have the other models grill him while Taehyung was sitting a few feet away, chatting happily with presumably a close friend.

“What’s a supermodel doing here?” said the guy two spots away on the couch. “You’ve been downgraded to auditioning with the rest of us? For a label like this?”

“Not really,” Seokjin shrugged, trying to look humble and smug at the same time. “And if you’re auditioning for a label, it would do you good not to mock it.”

Taehyung broke away from the conversation to look at him through hooded eyes. Seokjin turned to see the same unreadable expression in his eyes, and felt his heart thump louder than the nervous hearts of his colleagues. Burning with guilt, Seokjin looked away and hid his eyes behind huge round sunglasses. He got up and excused himself to the washroom.

Just as he took the turn to the hallway, Taehyung had him pinned against the wall, face dangerously close to his. His breath smelt like the familiar cheap wine he used to love, and Seokjin turned his head away.

“Did you mean it, what you told Jungkook?” he asked calmly.

Seokjin remained mum. “Hyung, look at me,” he pleaded, and Seokjin did. The tears were pooling in his eyes, threatening to drop if he blinked.

“Did you mean what you said, that we could only be friends?” his eyes stayed pinned on him, and for a second Seokjin wanted to run again. Run anywhere Taehyung wouldn’t be, anywhere he could breathe without suffocating under his own thoughts.

“Jungkook is right; I’d only hurt you more. We tried once, Taehyung and it did not work.” He said at last, steeling himself to look up. Taehyung’s lip trembled nervously, and Seokjin was so petrified he could break the man in front of him with anything he said. He held his words back and paused, thinking of an appropriate answer but nothing came to mind, not when all that his mind wanted was to wipe Taehyung’s tears and let him back into his arms.

“Fine,” Taehyung said shakily, letting one of his hands drop, giving Seokjin the chance to leave. “Have it your way.” Seokjin stood numb, looking down in shame. He didn’t know what he wanted anymore.

“Just teach me how to fall out of love with you, Hyung.”

Seokjin jerked at the tremble in his voice, and saw Taehyung’s crumpled face and freely flowing tears. His hands reached out, but Taehyung was quicker to catch them in their path.

“No,” his throat choked up. “Don’t do that. Don’t break me down and try to put me back together again. Do you know hyung, that I was always so sure you didn’t love me back? I’d wait after every fight, for you to say it. That you’re leaving me, and never coming back. But you didn’t, you came back after every fight and apologized for your shitty words and made me forget. I really forgot, like a fool. I forgot and let myself fall without any caution; I trusted you to cushion that fall. And you didn’t even leave me because of a fight.

Even when you left, I kept thinking of the first time you said you loved me, how sincere it sounded, how it erased every doubt in my head. I kept hoping that you still meant those words, that you still had that tiny bit of love for me in the corner of your heart. So I came right after you, into this fucked up world, and I waited for a chance to meet you. And after all this, you still can’t admit that what I saw that night in your eyes wasn’t love? I didn’t break last time hyung, because I lived on foolish hope. I’ve grown wiser thanks to you but unlike you, I won’t let my baseless fears conquer me. Maybe you should try it too.”

Taehyung turned away, but Seokjin pulled at his hand. “Where are you going?”

“Back home.” Taehyung stormed off, and Seokjin sunk to the floor lifelessly.

 

“Seokjin ssi, are you ready?”

Physically, Seokjin was standing in front of Yoongi and his colleagues, waiting to be judged; mentally, he was far back in the past, the day he’d bid Taehyung’s sleeping form goodbye with just a kiss to his sleeping forehead and a letter. He hadn’t even considered the pain Taehyung had been in, blind as he was, drowning in his own insecurities.

“Are you ready?” Another man asked, but his Seokjin didn’t register the words.

Taehyung had come back for him, and he had once again managed to push him away.

“Are you crying?”

Seokjin touched his cheeks and felt them, damp and cold.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered and wiped repeatedly at his wet cheeks.

“What are you sorry for?”

Yoongi was staring at him, clueless.

“Are you okay, Seokjin ssi?” he asked, but Seokjin couldn’t manage to reply through his tears. He fell to his knees and Yoongi knelt down beside him, pulling out his handkerchief to dab at his face.

“I need to go after him,” Seokjin said and pushed himself up only to fall back again. Yoongi held his hand, steadying him till he could stand straight. “Seokjin, hold on. Who do you need to go after?”

“Taehyung,” Seokjin said, supporting himself on the wall as he walked in search for an elevator. “He’s going home, I need to stop him or go after him.”

“Stop, You can barely walk straight,” Yoongi reprimanded, watching helplessly as Seokjin refused his assistance.

The elevator opened and Seokjin turned one last time. “I don’t want to live like this Yoongi. I don’t want to be used to being lonely, I want Taehyung. I want to get him back.”

Yoongi went wide-eyed for just a moment, but seemed to understand. “And what about the audition?”

“With all due respect, I couldn’t give a flying fuck about the audition right now, Yoongi.”

 


 

Seokjin had no game plan when he stuffed a bag full of clothes and ran out in hope that Taehyung wouldn’t have left. He’d searched every subway station and every bus stop that would go towards home, but Taehyung really had vanished.

So Seokjin let his intuition take him to Taehyung.

He got off the bus to the smell of the salty wind, the sound of waves crashing and the flood of memories they brought. He took in a deep whiff, drinking in what his heart had longed for, for 4 years, for all the joys in life he had been denying himself.

He took off his footwear, digging his feet into the cold sand with every step. His spot was right in front of a weathered down shack; it had witnessed both monumental and inconsequential events of his life. It was where he had first fallen in love with Taehyung and where he had first confessed those feelings.

As he drew nearer, his hopes started sinking. Taehyung wasn’t in sight, but he decided to sit and reminisce nonetheless. The sun was sinking into the sea, painting the sea shades of red and yellow. It was always an exquisite sight to see, but right now it only reminded him of how Taehyung would play around, trying to ‘push’ the sun down with his palm and get stupidly excited about it.

“What would I even tell him?” Seokjin thought out loud, with no one around to hear.

“You could start by apologizing for breaking my brother’s nose.”

Seokjin whipped around, and Taehyung was standing at the shack door, looking thoroughly wrecked.

“He had it coming.” Seokjin said, trying to act nonchalant but feeling a lot like a giddy high schooler with their crush. “Are you living here or something?” He asked, taking in his dishevelled hair and day old clothes.

“Or something,” Taehyung echoed, crossing the distance between them. He landed right next to Seokjin, spilling sand everywhere like he had on their first meeting. “Why are you here, hyung? And remember, there’s a wrong answer to this.”

“I was standing at the audition after you left, and I couldn’t think.” Seokjin took Taehyung’s hand hesitantly, only grabbing it tighter when Taehyung blinked hard to assure him. “They were putting my face on billboards outside my apartment window, but all I wanted to look at was the dumb chimes you used to buy. They gave me gourmet meals, but all I wanted was your shitty unseasoned cooking. Somehow, every thought routes to you, and I didn’t realize till yesterday. I was afraid of this very thing, that I’d become too dependent on you to survive without you. I’m still scared, because it’s still true. But I’d like to deal with my fear differently this time around, preferably by keeping you close enough that I never have to experience again how it is to be without you again.”

“Well, aren’t you a sap?” Taehyung mocked, guiding their hands to his lips. “Just talk to me when you’re scared next time. Please. I can’t have you running off for 4 years every time you chicken out.”

“I promise, I won’t even leave for 4 hours.” Seokjin said, feeling his chest lighten just with Taehyung’s touch.

A comfortable silence washed over them, before Taehyung asked, “What about Yoongi hyung’s show? We both fucked up our auditions – well you did, to be precise.”

Seokjin shrugged disinterestedly. “I put in too much effort into the wrong thing.”

"Jimin's going to be disappointed," Taehyung chuckled, resting his head on Seokjin's shoulders. "He planned all this because of your crazed interest."

"You mean-"

"-sorry hyung," he looked up sheepishly. "I'm more of a Gucci boy at heart."

Seokjin couldn't help but giggle, shaking his shoulders and Taehyung's head along with it. "Shall we leave? I have to check up on Jungkook-ie's nose."

He stood up to dust himself, and in the final fading rays of the sun, Taehyung looked like the angel he rightfully was. He wanted to ask Taehyung to move in with him, marry him, for everything all at once. 

"Just a little bit longer." He asked instead.

and Taehyung always gave him what he asked for.