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Our Velocity

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Kim Taehyung sits in a leather recliner, lights off, knees pressed against the cold glass that connects the floor to the ceiling of his office. This is his Friday night. This has been almost every Friday night for the last two months, if he was being honest. Alone in the dark, pants pooled around his ankles. Eyes fixed on the figure leaning against the balcony rail of the tenth story apartment across from him.

The air is stifling, filled with the static white noise of rubber on wet asphalt from the street that separates them below. The soft relentless sound punctuated only by the small huffs of air Taehyung lets slip as he trails his long fingers down the expanse of his tanned thighs. Back up to where the heat is just radiating.

He quietly curses the rain for distorting his view but this scene isn’t unfamiliar.

He could close his eyes and fill in the blanks if he needed to. Let his head just roll back and picture the muscular forearm of the dark-haired boy as he lifts his right hand to take a drag on a cigarette that will be replaced as soon as the red tip hits the filter. One after the other. It’s the way it goes until whoever is snaking his arms around the boys waist finally takes the hint and leaves.

Taehyung knows this now.

That they come without fail, yet they always leave. Men that take whatever they can get. A handful of ass and a rough stroke. Anything the beautiful boy across the way will give them, which Taehyung has learned is nothing more than a bit of tight, youthful skin and a warm but brief reprieve. A spent condom and quiet goodbye.

It’s the moment they leave that Taehyung lazily curls his hand around the base of his cock because he knows what comes next. His eyes stay fixed as the boy pushes off the rail, flicks his cigarette butt, still glowing, off the balcony to the cars below and retreats into darkness alone.

Taehyung waits for the light to come on. One, two, three, five seconds.

Then he’s there, naked in the warm glow of a single bulb suspended from the bathroom ceiling, this fucking boy, brighter than the light that illuminates him. Taehyung thanks Christ the kid doesn’t own any blinds because this is what gets him through the week.

He feels his dick kick hard in his hand as his eyes drift over the lean, strong body reflected in the mirror that gives Taehyung front row seats to the kids’ ass and cock at the same time.

Fucking heaven.

Taehyung watches as the boy begins to pump himself slowly, a languid hand attached to a muscular arm, his round bicep threaded with tasteful black ink. Arms that have seen a lot of action, good and bad, given and received, but that’s just conjecture. Just something Taehyung thinks about when he’s looking into the bottom of an empty glass or staring up at the ceiling as his heart races, unable to sleep like always.

He leans forward, straining to see the boys hand as it moves up and down his length through the driving rain, now forming rivulets across the window, breaking the boys perfect image into a thousand fragments.

Of all the fucking nights, it had to rain on this one.

Taehyung has seen this enough times to know that the controlled and purposeful movements will soon give way to something agitated and sloppy as the boys rhythm shifts to something fuelled by animalistic want or perhaps just frustration and impatience. His head thrust back, long neck exposed, hips jerking forward with each downward stroke, rutting into his hand.

Taehyung’s jaw goes slack and his heart thuds against his the wall of his chest. He hears the rush of blood in his ears, the hot pressure threatening to bust his veins wide open. It makes him feel dirty and weak that he wants this, that he loves this.

He grips his cock harder, fingers skillfully gliding over the head and smearing precome along the shaft, now aching for release. Soft moans escape his lips and he feels a stab of guilt for getting himself off to a total stranger, a pretty boy with a narrow waist and playful brown eyes. A pretty boy who is completely unaware there’s some 28 year old hot-shot lawyer three floors up and over, watching him jack himself in the mirror after being fucked into by some random guy while the rest of the city celebrates the start of the weekend with too many drinks in shitty bars full of shitty people. 

But the feeling passes quickly, replaced by a heat that licks through his stomach and burns a hole though his ribcage as he watches the boy bring himself to completion, hurried and careless, thick white spilling down into the sink between him and the mirror.

This is when Taehyung comes with a low groan, a croaky fuck spilling from his spit-slick lips. His hand continues to move until it hurts and then he lets his arms drop to hang limply at his sides. He still has his shirt on, the white cotton splattered with warm fluid that begins to cool the instant it leaves the body, becoming something wasted and foul. Something you don’t want touching your skin.

Taehyung’s glazed eyes are slow to regain focus. He leisurely tracks the boy’s movements as he rinses out the sink, washes the come off his hands and disappears into the shower. Only looks away when the billowing steam shrouds the room in a hazy white. 

Shows over. 

Kim Taehyung cleans himself up with a handful of tissues from his desk, dresses in silence and leaves his office at 11pm.

 


 

“Pack of Marlboro lights, 20 not 25,” Taehyung demands, more than he asks, pleasantries lost somewhere beneath the well-concealed embarrassment he feels from being so close to the boy who made him feel like he was going to lose his fucking mind just three nights ago.

“Yeah, yeah, you don’t have to tell me.”

The boy behind the counter shoots Taehyung an amused look before turning to grab the pack of smokes from the shelf.

“I don’t know why you don’t just get the 25 though, seriously. It’s cheaper, man. I mean, you smoke enough of these to buy them by the carton, so why don’t you?”

Because I don’t give a shit about the cigarettes, Taehyung thinks, knowing full well why he’s started smoking more, started buying smaller packs, started chewing more gum. He could walk through the door of this convenience store three times a day and it still wouldn’t be enough for him. He averts his eyes and pulls a card out of his wallet, holding it against the side of the machine that’s gripped loosely in the boys’ outstretched hand. Tap and go—we really are in the future.

“You complaining that I’m keeping you in a job?” Taehyung’s lips curl and uncurl so fast at the edges when the younger boy’s eyes crinkle in response, that you would only register it as a smile if you hit pause at exactly the right moment.

“Just saying,” the boy replies, brown hair falling over his eyes as he looks down to hit yes to print customer receipt?

Taehyung knows he’s staring. He thrusts his hand into a container filled with discounted jelly sticks and squeezes them between his fingers before he realises it’s probably not appropriate. He just needs to do something.

“You guys over there don’t really have to worry too much about money though, do you?” the boy quips, as he nods his head in the direction of Taehyung’s building.

“What do you know?” Taehyung huffs quietly, his large almond-shaped eyes narrowing. However, the name on building—Kim, Moon & Hastings LLC—states that he does know. He knows that Taehyung can spend whatever he wants on smokes and not lose any sleep over it.

And to prove it, the boy cocks his head to one side and laughs, “I know you’re a Kim, man.” Then to really drive it home, the boy stabs his index finger toward the sign, the large white letters feeling too big, too bold, too arrogant for 8am on a Monday morning.

“Yeah,” Taehyung drawls, consciously carding a hand through his hair, cheeks coloring slightly from hearing his name roll so easily off the boys’ tongue. ”And what are you?”

The question tumbles out of Taehyung’s mouth before he even realizes, his eyes shooting up to meet the boys gaze, as he quickly adds, “It’s only fair don’t you think? I mean you seem to know all about me, right? Got me pegged?” His tone is light and his face soft, a little coy perhaps, but his eyes don’t waiver and the intensity of his stare seems to extinguish the fire that had been dancing across the younger boys face just moments, seconds earlier.

“Hmmm.” The boy pauses to think. At least he pretends he does. Really he’s just buying time.

“Guess you could say hard to please, easy to love,” the boy finally says, giving Taehyung a playful wink before looking down to pick at his fingernails, which Taehyung notes are well manicured and impeccably clean. The boy knows Taehyung was just asking for his name, but he’s learned during their brief but frequent interactions over the past few months that this boy isn’t one to shy away from the opportunity to dance around a simple question, turn it into something else. Something loaded.

“Bored mostly, though,” the boy sighs. “But I can’t complain. Not when I get to see your cute ass all the time.”

He grins as he hands Taehyung his receipt, staring straight into and through the older man, making the hairs on the back of Taehyung’s neck prickle. Flattery, no matter how contrived, has always made Taehyung a little weak at the knees and it’s no exception when it comes from the boy in front of him.

What is the exception is that Taehyung always has a witty retort. Some equally evocative remark he can so easily spit back.

But now he has nothing.

Now he’s just nervous, worried that whatever he says will sound too brash, too crass or even worse—too clichéd. So he just smiles but it doesn’t reach his eyes.

His eyes express a different sentiment altogether, a piercing solicitation.

He’s never wanted something so badly. This boy with his perfect jaw and perfect doe eyes, perfect hands and perfect bunny teeth. This boy who lets strangers touch him in the most intimate places without so much as a glance in their direction. This boy who makes Taehyung feel like he’s suffocating, being buried alive, another shovel load tossed on every time they make eye contact.

The chime of the door rings out, bright and musical, breaking the silence that only lasted long enough for Taehyung to shove the pack of smokes on the counter into his pocket. He reminds himself he’s got places to go, people to bleed.

“See you later?” the boy asks but Taehyung, with his back now turned, is lost, his head swimming in thoughts of hungry fingers grabbing at the boys’ skin and cold lips leaving desperate ugly marks as they cling to their prize. 

“I’ll see you later,” The boy repeats, louder, now a statement rather than a question. And there’s something there. Something in the delivery that makes Taehyung question whether the boy knows. Knows that Taehyung gets semi-hard every time he walks into the convenience store that the kid lives above. Knows that Taehyung hasn’t been able to fuck anyone since he first saw this kid shirtless, bent over his dining room table with some guy three fingers deep in his asshole, because he can’t get these images out of his head.

“Y-yeah,” Taehyung stutters, a little dazed and slightly dumb. “Yeah, you will.”

He walks toward the door, flustered and on edge. He steps around an old man in a fluorescent blue vest who grumbles loudly as he jostles a stack of ramen boxes in his arms, trying to get a better purchase but failing miserably. Taehyung knows he's going to drop them but can’t bring himself to care. 

What’s his goddamn name?

The matches are in Taehyung’s hand before the door closes behind him. He squints into the sun as he stops to crack the fresh pack of smokes, hearing but not really listening to the old delivery guy complaining on the other side of the door—youth of today and all that crap. Taehyung’s about to head back over to his side of the road when he hears the old man call out in agitation.

“Jungkook! You going to just stand there or come help me?” followed by a few muted expletives. A blur of words lost in the blare of peak hour traffic.

But that’s it, all Taehyung needs to hear. 

Jungkook.

Taehyung smiles as he sticks a cigarette between his lips. He rolls the name around his mouth. Says it out loud in a hushed tone, too quiet for anyone to hear. Jungkook. He likes how it feels on his tongue.

 


 

Taehyung orders an Aperol spritz in a tall glass.

“The fuck?” A bony finger prods him in the side, easily felt through the thin black V-neck that clings to his lithe body in all the right places.

“Told you I’m easing into it, Hoseok. You know what I’m like if I don’t.”

“I know what you used to be like. Waking up in another country four days after the first shot! Remember that? Fuck. Gone soft, Taehyung.”

Taehyung shoots the tall, thin redhead a mirthless look, eyes hard, jaw set. 

“Besides,” Hoseok continues, “I think you’re just moping. Guaranteed you’re only drinking that Italian piss water so you’re still sober enough to drive yourself home in an hour. You’re gonna bail, I can feel it.”

“If I was moping I wouldn’t be here with you, sunshine boy.”

Taehyung had just lost his first case in years. Moping didn’t even begin to cover it. He was angry, defeated, and had only agreed to come out with the hope of being provoked. It had been a while since he’d had a good fight and right now the thought sparked something both unpleasant and sating in his gut.

“Bullshit. I’m better than Xanax baby and you know it,” Hoseok counters, eyes on Taehyung. Hoseok takes in the slight pout and jutted jaw as the tall male, too attractive for his own good, scans the crowded bar, already raucous at 8pm on a Thursday. “I think you just need to get laid, Tae. Ease the stress.”

Taehyung sighs and offers a weary fuck off as he pulls a pack of smokes out of his pocket.

“Whatever.” Hoseok rolls his eyes, fake hurt in his voice. “No fun.”

Hoseok isn’t wrong. He needs to get laid. Sex used to be an outlet. Now he just avoids it. His standards had changed, had become somewhat singular, something to do with a particular someone and it was making him miserable.

Taehyung picks up his drink, the condensation cold and wet against his fingers. His light brown hair, mussed and parted across his forehead, shines pink in the light reflecting off the chandelier above them. Pink, then red, then purple. Warm sensual colors mixed with the pungent tang of cigarettes and overindulgence. He glares at the people around him, mostly lawyers, clerks and brokers; all rolled sleeves, loose ties and wandering hands. His dick shrivels at the thought of going home with any of them. 

Hoseok disappears toward a couple of guys seated at a high round table—Yoongi and Namjoon. Colleagues. Drinking buddies. Rivals. Taehyung stays put, leaning against the bar as he lights a cigarette. Yoongi hates the smell and Taehyung doesn’t want to get pinched again—his arm still sports a small yellow bruise from the last time Taehyung lit up in the too-near vicinity of the older, easily-irritated male. What Yoongi lacked in size, he made up for in strength, at least when it came to his hands.

Taehyung’s exhaling a plume of smoke, eyes closed, when he feels the heat of someone standing a little too close. He expects a woman, heels too high, dress too short, earrings too flashy. But when his eyelids flutter open, turning his head slightly to the side, he almost chokes.

“Hey.”

What the fuck? 

Taehyung’s eyes are wide and unblinking. “Uh—“ He promptly brings his glass up to his lips, to stop himself from saying something stupid—more stupid than he just did. Or didn’t.

“What are you drinking?”

Taehyung can’t remember, doesn’t even know what day it is. Jungkook, Jungkook, Jungkook. It’s the only word Taehyung can think of. Maybe his brain is broken. Jungkook. Standing right there next to him, head cocked to one side in question. 

“Aperol spritz,” Taehyung mumbles when he finally collects his thoughts. 

Jungkook snorts. “Really?”

“Gonna give me some shit too?” Taehyung’s eyes flicker toward Hoseok, who’s caught up in some story, arms flailing above his head, grinning like a fool.

"What? I—nah, man. I’m just surprised. Thought you’d be more of a straight spirits kind of guy. Whiskey, vodka. No bubbles, you know?”

“No bubbles?” Taehyung cocks an eyebrow, amused.

Jungkook laughs, “Yeah, no bubbles. Just the hard stuff. No fucking around.”

“Guess I’m full of surprises,” Taehyung says, voiced tight around the smoke he’s just inhaled. He tilts his head up to blow, and feels Jungkook’s eyes on him, searching. Feels the weight as they take in Taehyung’s deliberate gestures, slow and steady.

“Whatever, they’re just assumptions man. Got a smoke?”

“Assumptions get you killed,” Taehyung mutters as he offers up a cigarette.

“I’m sure most of them still apply,” Jungkook says then giggles. He fucking giggles.

“Yeah? Care to enlighten me?” Taehyung asks calmly, his outward demeanor clashing violently with the rapid thud of his heart against his ribcage, threatening to knock his lungs clean out of his mouth and onto the floor because Jungkook looks like he just stepped straight out of a goddamn wet dream.

“What will I get in return?” Jungkook grins slowly, his voice low, posture commanding. 

Taehyung feels dizzy from the smell of Jungkook’s shampoo, his cologne—a heady scent of oud and musk, maybe a hint of rose and citrus—and the thick insinuation of his question that still hangs unanswered in the air. 

Taehyung chooses not to bite. Instead, he looks the boy in the eyes and smiles. Smirks really, but it’s close enough.

“Can I taste it?” Jungkook’s tongue flicks out across his bottom lip absentmindedly, leaving a thin wetness that shines just enough to make it a thing Taehyung can’t look away from.

“Huh?” Taehyung asks, not really paying attention to the words.

“Your drink, can I taste it?”

“Are we already on those terms?” Taehyung’s eyes come up to meet the boys own. He can’t get a read on the situation and it’s making him tense.

“Really? Dude, I see you almost every day. Ever since I started in that shithole you’re there buying smokes and Xylitol like it’s your lifeblood or something."

“And I still don’t know your name,” Taehyung lies. 

“If you did, would you let me have a sip? Or you scared you’ll catch boy germs?”

Taehyung nods to the beer in Jungkook’s grip. “I know you won’t like it.” 

“You don’t know anything about me.” 

I know you let men twice your age fuck you open and come on your ass a couple of times a month. Taehyung takes a long deliberate drag. Shrugs.

“Jungkook.” The boy speaks up, when he realizes Taehyung isn’t going to say anything. “Jeon Jungkook.” 

Taehyung’s wonders how many beers Jungkook has had. Whether he’s a little buzzed. How far he would go if he had a couple more.

“Nice to properly meet you, Jeon Jungkook. Kim Taehyung.” He extends his hand and Jungkook hesitates before he takes it then squeezes firmly. Taehyung is surprised at the strength—and the warmth. Holy fuck, its so warm and soft.

“Taehyung. Yeah, I know. Sometimes Tae Tae, right?” Jungkook’s front teeth peek out front beneath his upper lip as he let’s out a chuckle. He pulls his hand away from Taehyung’s, fingers grazing the inside of his palm and lingering just a moment too long at the older boys’ fingertips.

Taehyung coughs, glancing sideways, before he mumbles just loud enough for Jungkook to hear over the music, “Where the fuck did you hear that?” 

“You were buying gum once, on the phone to someone. A loud-talker. I heard them call you Tae Tae.” Jungkook steps forward and leans in a little, eyes mischievous, before exaggeratedly adding, “cute.” 

Taehyung feels the colour drain from his face and his neck flush. He prays it’s too dark for Jungkook to see the visceral reaction.

“So now you know my name, give me a sip of your drink, Tae Tae.”

Taehyung doesn’t know what else to do. Just hands it over like an idiot, mouth hanging slightly open.

He watches Jungkook swallow, his Adam’s apple bobbing in the light. The grimace is instantaneous and Taehyung stifles a laugh. 

“Jesus.” Jungkook thrusts the drink back at Taehyung. “How the fuck can you drink that?”

“It’s an acquired taste. You’re probably too young to appreciate it.” Taehyung’s eyes glint, shoulders shaking slightly in a quiet snicker as they fall into the conversation. He brings the glass up to his lips and tastes something sweet on the rim, strawberry lip balm perhaps. He sucks his bottom lip into his mouth, dragging his teeth across the plump flesh, wondering what else Jungkook tastes like and where, then curses himself for being so desperate.

“I guarantee you’re not much older than me,” Jungkook scoffs, draining his beer to get rid of the bitter orange taste in his mouth.

“22? 23?” Taehyung probes, curious.

“25.” Jungkook wipes the back of his hand across his mouth. “And you’re what? 30? 31?"

“28.”

Jungkook’s eyebrows shoot up, knitting together slightly in confusion. They both say nothing, mulling over the newly acquired information, equally surprised. 

“I mean—I didn’t mean. I didn’t mean you look old or anything. Like, you don’t at allthe opposite, in fact. It’s just your job and shit, you know. I just assumed you’d be older.” Jungkook struggles with the words, clumsy and breathless. 

“Again with the assumptions,” Taehyung snaps, jokingly affronted.

“I guess. But, you know, you don’t give me much to work with. Pretty reserved and all that.”

Jungkook’s arm goes up to rub his hand over the back of his neck and Taehyung’s gaze follows the line of his bicep as it bulges from the white t-shirt, perhaps a size too big, then down along the prominent veins that run the length of his forearm to the hand disappearing behind his head. He thinks about what he’s seen that hand do and he feels a dull throb below the waist. He lets his eyes trail down Jungkook’s hard chest, then lower to the thick, muscular thighs that strain against the black denim. Taehyung wonders how they’d feel wrapped around him. He snaps his head up, realising his depravity is showing and their eyes lock. It’s electric, the tension between them.

“You, errr…” Taehyung chokes, mouth thick with saliva. “You look good. Outside of work, I mean. You look good.” Again, he’s speaking without thinking and as soon as the words are out he wants to retract them because Jungkook just looks at him blankly, blinking owlishly. Then something else steals in, something dark, a heavy thing that they both feel the weight of, feel a pull toward.

“I’m not the only one,” Jungkook offers quietly but steadily.

“You want another drink?” Taehyung asks, voice a little hoarse, a little telling.

Jungkook is about to answer, when Hoseok smacks Taehyung in between the shoulder blades, pushing him forward and knocking him off balance enough that Taehyung automatically puts his hand up, palm splayed against Jungkook’s stomach.

It burns. The heat is too much. Taehyung blushes as he pulls his hand away, quickly shoving it into his pocket. Jungkook looks from Taehyung’s pocket, to his face, then back to his pocket before Hoseok pokes his head out from behind Taehyung’s broad shoulders.

“Hey, it’s the guy that sells us cancer! You’re like the last person I thought I’d ever see here! Jesus, they must be getting lax on the door, Tae. We need to sort that shit out.” Then to add to the indignity, Hoseok yells, “What the fuck are you doing here, man? Isn’t that store open 24 hours? You on delivery or something?” 

Taehyung looks at Jungkook, the boys’ lips pursed in a tight line, eyes sharp and slightly homicidal. But then he smiles past Taehyung to Hoseok – a thin, murderous smile. “Sometimes they let me out of the cage and I like to come look at the sheep.” 

“Touché.” Hoseok grins, unphased.

He claps a hand on Taehyung’s shoulder. “C’mon, we’re leaving. Joonie wants to go meet up with Jin at that rooftop place we went to a few weeks back.”

Taehyung stays rooted in position, eyes searching Jungkook’s apologetically. Hoseok peeks around his body then moves to face Taehyung, blocking his line of sight. “Did you hear me?” He waves a hand in front of Taehyung’s blank face. “C’mon. Night is young and all that bullshit. Let’s go.”

He tugs at Taehyung’s arm until he reluctantly starts moving before stopping to shake Hoseok off him. “Just give me a sec.” Hoseok gives him a questioning look, shrugs then makes his way back toward Yoongi and Namjoon.

When Taehyung turns back around Jungkook is already walking away and into the crowd.

 


 

Taehyung would be lying if he said he didn’t go back to the office at a 1am just to check if Jungkook was home.

His thoughts drift as he sits in the large boardroom, all monochrome and modern monotony. Sleep-deprived and distracted, he barely listens to the settlement offer his partner is making to the men opposite on his client’s behalf. He grips his coffee a little too tightly as he thinks about Jungkook’s dark apartment, no sign of life. Maybe he was already in bed, fast asleep, dreaming about sunny beaches and fruity drinks. Some sweet fucking life, free of classist assholes.

But Taehyung knows better. Knows he wasn’t home. Was probably getting fucked six ways from Sunday by anyone but Taehyung. His chest hurts. His eyes hurt and his head hurts because he’d sat at his desk watching the boy’s apartment, drinking scotch until 4am and seeing nothing but his own reflection in the painfully clean glass.

He feels an uncomfortable squeeze between his temples, his mind taught elastic, ready to snap. Anxiety tightens his throat and the air gets a little thinner. He likes to think it’s the hangover, not the worst he’s had but enough to make his nerves raw, blood acidic. But he’s not an idiot, knows it’s less about the booze and more about a boy. Some breathtakingly beautiful boy.

His brain and his body lose contact and he stands abruptly, pushing his chair back so forcefully it tips back on its legs and threatens to topple. The room goes silent. 

“Excuse me,” he apologises. He’s going to suffer for this later, Yoongi will make sure of it. He fastens the buttons of his suit jacket and straightens his shoulders. 

“I have to step out. Mr. Min knows everything I know and that you need to know, so listen to him carefully. You have my number if you need further clarification on anything we’ve discussed.” He bows quickly, purposely not meeting Yoongi’s eyes and walks out of the room.

He’s across the street before he knows what his feet are doing, the chime of the door announcing his entry into the convenience store. When he spots the young girl behind the counter, smiling as he approaches, his stomach drops. It’s Friday. Jungkook always works on Friday. Taehyung pushes down the disappointment to ask whether Jungkook will be coming in.

“Nah. He called in sick. Sounded bad. Flu or something. We’ve all had it.”

She laughs, bringing her hand up quickly to cover her mouth. “He was so determined he wasn’t going to catch it. I doubt he’ll be in for a few days. Want me to leave a message?”

“No, no, it’s fine. Thanks.” Taehyung exits and paces a while outside the store, not really sure what he’s doing. From his periphery he catches the door of Jungkook’s apartment complex opening and he lunges, apologising to the man leaving as he knocks his bag off his shoulder in haste.

Then he’s standing in the foyer. What the fuck are you doing, Taehyung? He’s lost his mind, clearly. He’s never walked out on a meeting and he’s never stalked a pretty boy in his own home. I mean sure, he’d been spying on the guy like a pervert for a couple of weeks, maybe a month, maybe two. Who was counting? But this was a whole new level.

Fuck it, he thinks, hits the up button on the elevator and waits for the ding.

Taehyung walks down the hall in the direction he thinks Jungkook’s apartment is in, not knowing the number. He looks out the window at the end and tries to orientate himself. Left. The apartment is on the left. He stands in front of the door, nerves charged but fraying. His mouth tastes of metal, probably blood from chewing on the inside of his cheek because he has no idea what the fuck he's going to say.

He knocks louder than he intends, and winces when he hears a cough and a slow shuffle from the other side. A bolt clicks but the door doesn’t open. Taehyung focuses on the small pinhole at eye level in the centre of the door, sure that Jungkook is looking through it and directly at him right at that moment.

Then the door opens, quickly, making Taehyung recoil.

“The fuck are you doing at my house?”

“I, um…” Taehyung’s voice trails off and he struggles to find it again. 

Jungkook looks awful – as awful as someone with that kind of bone structure can. His skin is covered in a sickly sheen and his cheeks are ruddy with fever. Taehyung can almost feel the heat radiating off him.

“I—I heard you were sick. Just now. Like, the girl behind the counter told me.”

“Hyorin.”

“Yeah, whatever. I thought I should check whether you needed something. She said you were really bad. I don’t know, I just—“ 

“I’m good,” Jungkook snips, words betrayed by the sudden sneeze that forces it’s way out of his skull. “Thanks for stopping by.”

He goes to close the door but Taehyung puts his foot out.

“Please, I—I wanted to say sorry. About last night, you know? Hoseok can be a real ass. I’m just...I’m sorry. I wanted to tell you that. I mean maybe it didn’t even bother you but it bothered me. I—“ He’s babbling, scared that if he stops Jungkook will shut him out. He doesn’t want Jungkook to shut him out.

“Apology accepted.” Jungkook pushes the door against Taehyung’s foot but it’s weak. Something about the pressure tells Taehyung to keep talking.

“Jungkook, please. Can I get you something? You look terrible. I—I want to do something for you.”

Jungkook peers up through his messy fringe, and Taehyung thinks he just looks so small. Like a little lost boy, despite him only being a couple of years younger.

“Why?” he asks cautiously.

“I don’t know. Just let me, ok? I mean, unless you have someone else—“

Taehyung goes quiet. It hadn’t actually occurred to him that he might be intruding when he was marching up here with such uncompromising intent. That Jungkook might not be alone. He blushes and exhales shakily, expecting to be told to leave.

“You’re annoying,” Jungkook huffs and rolls his eyes. “And the worst thing you can say to someone who you’ve already pissed off is you look terrible.”

“I’m sorry.” Taehyung offers a small smile, blinking as he glances up through long eyelashes. “Let me make it up to you.” His blood is literally sprinting through his veins.

“Fine,” Jungkook decides. Then he smirks, his face clouding with something that tells Taehyung he’s going to regret laying any kind of offer on the table.

“You can get me some soup. Something nice. I’m thinking chicken. Real good for colds. And a coffee, a real coffee. Starbucks shit, you know? Not that watery crap from downstairs.” He pauses to sneeze, not fast enough to cover his face but not really sorry that it sprays in Taehyung’s direction. “And pain killers. My head feels likes it’s going to explode. Tissues too, the soft kind—toilet paper is destroying my nose. Got all that, Taehyung?”

“I think I can accommodate," Taehyung smiles, a little taken aback by the brazen list of demands from an essential stranger but still willing to comply, because he was the asshole who showed up at Jungkook’s door univited at 8.30am.

It’s all kinds of absurd really, so when Taehyung bows dramatically and asks anything else your majesty, before making a face he’s sure looks like that stupid Lenny meme—the one his little cousin texts him all the time—he doesn’t care that Jungkook cringes. He’s actually delighted at the sight of his red nose wrinkling and pink lips pursing, and he’d be lying if he said he didn’t feel like a lovesick teenager.

“Look, dude. Don’t be a prick. You’re the one begging to do shit for me like a bitch for God-knows what reason.” Jungkook sighs. His nose drips and he raises his arm to wipe it away with his sleeve. Gross, but adorable all the same.

“Okay, okay.” Taehyung puts his hands up and backs away from the door. “I’ll be back soon. Just—just buzz me in.”

 


 

Taehyung returns 30 minutes later with ginseng-chicken soup, an Americano and a latte (having neglected to ask how Jungkook takes his coffee), a pack of cold and flu tablets, aspirin, honey and lemon tea, aloe vera tissues and a tub of vitamin C. He stands in Jungkook’s apartment as the boy riffles through the bag Taehyung has dropped on the kitchen counter.

“Wow, you did good. Like, for real.” Jungkook smiles a genuine, appreciative smile and it makes Taehyung feel giddy and stupid. Stupid giddy.

“But seriously, aren’t you supposed to be at work right now?” Jungkook asks, grabbing two mugs from a cupboard above the sink. He takes the lids off the coffees and pours half of each into one of the mugs and pushes it toward Taehyung. He then does the same for himself and pops a couple of pills.

“I had a slow morning. Haven’t got much on.” Taehyung is a fucking liar. He’s missing another meeting right now, and the continual buzzing from his phone in his suit jacket pocket is a repeated question. Where the fuck are you?

He watches Jungkook shuffle to the couch, coffee in hand, tissues under his arm and a khaki knitted blanket wrapped around his waist. Green looks nice on you, Taehyung thinks. Then sighs at how pathetic he is. 

“What’s up?” Jungkook asks, clearly having heard Taehyung’s quiet exasperation. 

“Nothing. I—nothing.” Taehyung brings his hand up and pinches the bridge of his nose, a little done with himself.

“You know, I should really be the one apologising to you,” Jungkook says out of the blue, voice stuffy, a little higher in pitch than normal.

“For what?” Taehyung removes his fingers and frowns, confused.

“I drank your drink dude. You are so gonna get this.”

“Ah—oh.“ Taehyung scowls at the realisation. He can’t remember the last time he was sick. Always jokes that the smokes kill everything, viruses, bacteria, himself included at some point.

“I’ll be fine. Never get sick. Really.”

“Yeah right. That’s me exactly one week ago.” Jungkook chuckles, his words muffled by the tissue he proceeds to blow into then toss onto the coffee table. 

“You didn’t look sick last night. You just wake up with it or something?” Taehyung probes, voice quiet and eyes inquisitive, not because he’s worried about getting whatever is wreaking havoc in Jungkook’s body, but because he wants to know whether he woke up with this cold in somebody else’s bed. Whether he got laid. He fakes distraction, swirling the coffee and sipping it slowly. It tastes surprisingly good—creamy but strong.

“Nah, fever hit me around 10, not long after I saw you. God, I was fucking sweating. Friend drove me home and I was out cold by 11. Could’ve been taken to Mars and I wouldn’t have known.”

The relief that washes over Taehyung is instantaneous. Like taking a piss after you’ve held on for 6 hours.

Jungkook laughs again, softly, shaking his head. ”You are definitely going to get this.”

He then gets up, shuffling off in the direction Taehyung guesses is toward the bedroom.

“Make yourself comfortable if you’re going to stick around,” Jungkook calls over his shoulder, as he waddles down the short hall, so damn cute.  

It gives Taehyung a chance to look around the room. It’s clean. Like really clean and surprisingly well decorated. A few nice pieces of art on the walls, good appliances, a big TV, a freaking Eames chair—legit, not fake. He drags his fingers idly along the back of the couch, tasteful dark blue velvet—probably a real bitch to clean—wondering how Jungkook affords to live like this on a store clerk wage. Then his eyes settle on the dining table in the middle of the small lounge. The clear glass surface upon which Jungkook was splayed out just last week, taking it like the good boy Taehyung thinks he might be. 

Fuck. Just, fuck

His eyes flick from the table toward the bedroom, to the direction of the bathroom and finally settle on the small balcony just outside the room he’s currently standing in—the places Taehyung’s familiar with. The places he’s watched Jungkook have sex and gotten off to it. All the times he’s derived pleasure from Jungkook’s private life. Cracking it wide open and spilling it all over his hands.

Taehyung suddenly feels the shame might kill him. He’s not a creep. He’s doesn’t sniff underwear and hide in bushes outside public toilets. He didn’t even mean for this to start happening, didn’t even know that anyone could ever make him feel so damn aroused until the first night he saw the light come in Jungkook’s apartment and the boy pushed roughly against a hastily closed door, another man’s chest flush to Jungkook’s back. Never to the front, he noted. Jungkook didn’t fuck from the front. Didn’t kiss them. Didn’t clutch at shaking shoulders or whine softly into sweaty necks. It was just a cold exchange of hot bodies. Meaningless sex. Hell, Jungkook never even came when he was with them, always waited until they left.

It’s that part that bothers Taehyung the most. Sits like a brick at the bottom of his stomach. He got off on the fact that Jungkook denied them, denied himself—but why? And if it were Taehyung there in their place, would Jungkook be the same?

He begins to spiral when his brain raises the question he’s tried to suppress too many times, thinking that it’s just impossible. Irrational. That Jungkook’s just not that kind of guy. But now he’s standing in Jungkook’s apartment, adding up all the numbers—the noncommittal fucking, the expensive boots at the door, the coffee machine Taehyung knows wasn’t cheap because he owns exactly the same one, state of the art sound system topped with a KAWS wooden bearbrick—there’s a great big neon sign flashing right between his temples that he can’t turn off. Do they pay him? And then it just gets worse. Am I just a potential transaction?

Taehyung feels too hot, palms clammy. He can’t get enough air into his lungs. All he can see is a pair of hands gripping Jungkook’s waist and slamming into him from behind. 

“Jungkook!” Taehyung calls out, suddenly needing to leave. He drops his mug onto the kitchen counter.

Jungkook walks back into the room, his hair brushed, wearing a different shirt and holding a facemask that Taehyung assumes is for him. Taehyung panics.

“I gotta go. I—I. Here’s my number.” He pulls a pen out of his jacket pocket, scribbles his digits down on the back of a receipt from the store Jungkook works at and thrusts it in the boys’ direction. “If you need something call me.” 

Jungkook notes the tension in Taehyung’s voice. The seriousness.

“Ok. Thanks for the stuff, Taehyung. Like really….” He offers a small smile, brows furrowed, not sure what’s caused the sudden shift in temperature.

“S’ all good. And I’m sorry about last night.” Taehyung withdraws toward the door. He hits the frame and jolts, hands shooting behind his back to grip the wood, a feeble attempt to steady himself.

“Taehyung, are you cool?” Jungkook raises his eyebrows, concern on his face.

 “Yeah. Yeah. Take care, Jungkook—”

And then he’s out the door and down the hallway. Sweat pools in his lower back. In the elevator he has to brace himself against the wall, thinking he might throw up, nauseous from the guilt. Feeling like so much more than a just a creep, because somewhere between the masturbation and his incessant need for cigarettes and gum, he’s developed feelings for this boy. Lust and filth and desire and his raging voyeurism mixed in with wanting to take him to the movies and wash his hair and hold his hand.

Taehyung groans audibility as the doors open at the ground level. This isn’t the start of a beautiful relationship; of this he is completely sure.

 


 

Unknown Taehyung, you awake?

Taehyung’s phone vibrates at 11.30pm, two nights after he walked out of Jungkook’s apartment. He’d gone back to work, making some bullshit excuse about a forgotten appointment, and tried to get through the rest of day without throwing himself off the roof. He still feels like a piece of shit but he’s on his fourth whiskey for the evening, the second bottle in two days, and it’s smoothed out all the edges. Dulled the things he doesn’t want to think about.

He picks his phone up off the bedside table and his mouth goes dry. No name, just a number. It could have been anyone. A client, an ex, a friend with a new phone. But Taehyung just knows who it is.

Me Jungkook?

Unknown Yeah, did I wake u?

Me No.

Me What’s up?

Unknown That’s kind of what I wanna ask u

Taehyung watches the grey dots buffering, waiting for Jungkook to continue, afraid of what’s coming.

Unknown U kind of freaked me out the other day. I mean u don’t owe me anything or whatever but it seemed like something happened. I don’t know, maybe it was just the codeine kicking in…

Taehyung’s thumbs feel too big and slow as he types.

Me I’m fine.

Unknown Are you angry?

Me No.

Unknown Ur angry  

Me No. I’m not. Why would you say that?

Unknown Ur putting full stops after everything

Taehyung's lips twitch, a semblance of a smile playing across his face. He didn’t peg Jungkook as such a sensitive baby. 

Me Habit.

Unknown Ok. Well u almost broke down my door to get in then ran away like a weirdo. And I guess I’ve been thinking about that

Jungkook is blunt, no doubt about it. Taehyung feels a little too lubricated for this conversation, may say something he doesn’t mean, or worse, does. He chooses to steer the conversation in a new direction, out with the smothering anxiety, in with the insufferable small talk.

Me Are you feeling better?

Unknown Yeah, heaps  

Unknown Total lie. I’m still pretty shit tbh. Ur not sick r u?  

Me No. I told you I’d be fine.  

Unknown Cool…but u know, long incubation periods and all that. I’d say ur still in the game ;)  

More grey dots.

Unknown seriously tho Tae. I gotta ask. Was it me? Did I do something?

The insecurity in the questions catches Taehyung off guard. He types fast, his eyes flickering back to the nickname as he’s writing, its use a soft plea, a gentle nudge. Taehyung knows how insecurity works. It’s quick to surface when feelings colour a situation and Taehyung can’t help but wonder what Jungkook feels when Taehyung is standing in front of him, whether everything is magnified and slow and burning hot white like it is for him.

Me No. You didn’t do anything.

Unknown R u sure?  

Me Totally. Absolutely.  

There’s so many questions Taehyung wants to ask, wants answered. Instead, he waits for Jungkook to say something else, wants the interaction to continue. Wonders whether Jungkook’s also in bed, watching bad Sunday night TV in an oversized hoodie, hair tousled and looking just the right amount of sexy, or if he’s leaning on the counter of the store, bored out of his mind under the hard fluorescent lights. When nothing else comes, minutes later, Taehyung types.

Me Sorry for being weird. I mean I am weird, generally. But sorry.

The response doesn’t come straight away, but when it does Taehyung realizes he’s been holding his breath, hanging on Jungkook’s every word. Whipped. And they haven’t even gotten to first base. Taehyung’s not even sure if there is a first base when it comes to Jungkook.

Unknown It’s cool. Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t gonna have to put a picture of ur ugly face up in the store for like, people to stay away from u

Unknown The weirdo lawyer from over the road u know?

Me I think you’re confused.

Unknown Wha?

Me Ugly. My face isn’t ugly.

Unknown Beg to differ ;)  

Me Whatever. I saw snot drip out of your nose.

And then it’s too easy, the comfortable back and forth. Taehyung likes this. Hasn’t had this in forever. He forgets about how overwhelmed he was the last time he was with Jungkook and the reasons for it, feeling comfortable in a whiskey haze, everything warm and golden. So he just goes with it, the ebb and flow. Minutes turn into an hour and it’s just past midnight when Taehyung is launched straight out of the frying pan.

He’s sitting on the edge of the bed, having gone to clean his teeth at some point he can’t remember.

Unknown Tae, can I ask u something? 

Me Haven’t you asked me enough questions already?

Unknown Shut up. I need to ask u one more

Me Shoot.

Unknown Do u want to get a drink? This week? Like with me. I mean, if ur free?  

A shiver works its way up Taehyung’s spine, a pleasant tingle that spreads to his extremities, happy and warm. He blinks at his phone, not knowing how to respond. Hasn’t yet figured out where Jungkook’s interests lie. Doesn’t want to get into something he’s going to regret, or worse, doesn’t want to fall any deeper for a boy who might not fall at all.

Another message comes through and Taehyung realizes he has just been staring at the screen. 

Unknown Don’t feel like u have to say yes. But like… say yes  

Taehyung bites the bullet. 

Me Sure you’re up for it? Drinking? I mean, you’re still sick.

Unknown I’m always up for it ;)  

The sentence strikes some sort of discord in Taehyung, an unpleasant churn in his gut but he shakes it off and opens the calendar on his phone. 

Me free Thursday?

Unknown YESSSSSS. I mean not until after 6 but yeah  

Me Ok.

Unknown That’s it? Just Ok? Jeez

Me What do you want? I can draft up a contract if you like?

Unknown Shut up. Stop texting me, I need to sleep

Me Whatever. I was done talking to u anyway.

Taehyung smiles at his phone as he reaches across the bed to plug it in and flicks off the bedside light. Another text comes through, a dim glow in the dark room. He glances at the screen and smiles again, a satisfied puff of air leaving his nose. 

Unknown Night Tae  

He lies there for a minute, thinking about not saying anything, thinking about the kind of chaos he was walking into. How Jungkook makes him feel more vulnerable than the first time he stepped into the courtroom, a raging mess of need and nerves. But against his better judgment, he grabs his phone. 

Me Night Kook. Sleep well.

 


 

Taehyung isn’t all that surprised when he wakes up on Thursday morning drenched in sweat, joints screaming and head throbbing. He knew it was coming, felt the odd tickle behind his nose the night before, along with the comfortable numb that precedes a fever—one that he was now enduring at full throttle.

He writhes around in bed for an hour then calls work, whining to his secretary about rescheduling meetings, thankful that he isn’t due in court for the rest of the week. He fields texts from Hoseok calling bullshit and Yoongi telling him to man the fuck up. None of which bothers him, because he’s wallowing so deeply in the heavy disappointment of having to cancel on Jungkook that someone could probably set him on fire right now and he wouldn’t care.

He brings up Jungkook’s number.

Me So about that incubation period…

JK ur fucking kidding me. The reply is immediate despite the ridiculously early hour.

Me No :(

JK Really? This isn’t just some lame excuse to ditch me?

Taehyung laughs and pain rips through his sinuses to the base of his skull. Fucking Jungkook. 

Me I’m here literally dying because of you and you’re calling me a liar? The level of disrespect. 

JK Lol Tae. OMG  

Me You think this is funny?

JK Kind of  

Me Fuck you.

JK Tbh would let u. Even if ur sick  

Taehyung chooses to believe it’s just a hallucination from the fever and not real words he’s reading on his screen because Jungkook did not just say that. 

Me Don’t mess with me when I’m weak. It’s unfair.

JK Who says I’m messing with u?

Taehyung actually throws his phone across the room and buries his face into the pillow, moaning as his nose chooses that exact moment to unblock and unleash a wave of viscous fluid that pools against his face. In a stupor, he stumbles to the bathroom, takes a bunch of pills, grabs a box of tissues and retreats to the warmth of the covers.

It’s 7pm when he wakes up.

The streetlights outside his window cast shadows across the room, bathing everything in a comfortable sodium glow. He groans as he gets up to search the floor at the foot of the bed for his phone, which he vaguely remembers tossing, although it could have just been a dream. When he finds it he's surprised to see the screen filled with texts from Jungkook. He unlocks it and goes to the most recent message, the blood draining from his face.

JK I’ve got ur address. Coming over. Sent at 6.30pm

And this is how it starts.