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Seasons (Discontinued)

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Jungkook felt like he was being devoured. Taehyung was everywhere. His body was firm and hot, pressed tightly against Jungkook’s own, making the whole of Jungkook’s body sing with pleasure. Taehyung was nipping at Jungkook’s neck, the small bites were painful, but it was all worth it with the way the pleasurable pain made Jungkook’s toes curl against his soft cotton sheets. Taehyung’s tongue licked up the side of Jungkook’s throat and Jungkook couldn’t stop a small moan from escaping his lips.

 

He was burning up.

 

Taehyung was everything. Everything. He was the air Jungkook breathed, the blood in his veins, the small bursts of electricity that made Jungkook’s heart beat harder in his chest. He was everything Jungkook could feel, touch and see. His soft hair was between Jungkook’s fingers, the heat of his body pressed impossibly close against Jungkook’s own, his lips leaving kisses all over Jungkook’s face, his moans sounding like music in Jungkook’s ears as he tried to press closer the other and the beautiful brown eyes that stared at him in hunger whenever they broke apart long enough to look at each other.

 

Taehyung was everything. 

 

Jungkook had no idea where either of them ended or began. In this moment, they were one: Twisted together in an impossible mess on Jungkook’s bed. Jungkook could feel Taehyung’s heartbeat in time with his own, both of their hearts beating too fast. He could feel his own touch through Taehyung’s mind. He could read his soulmate like an open book, how Taehyung’s breath caught whenever Jungkook bit his lip gently, how the need to get closer bloomed in Taehyung’s head whenever Jungkook tugged his hair softly and how every moan and whimper Jungkook made was driving his soulmate completely crazy with need.

 

They were one, their bond singing with joy and Jungkook was absolutely drunk on the feeling.

 

Somewhere in the room one of Taehyung’s favorite songs was playing from Jungkook’s new speakers, the mellow gloomy English words mixing with the seductive saxophone filled the room. It was some old song Taehyung liked, sounding more like something Jungkook’s mother would listen to, but it fitted the heated mood. Jungkook was too distracted to listen though, one of Taehyung’s hands was slipping up underneath Jungkook’s shirt, his long warm fingers caressing Jungkook’s ribs softly, making goose bumps appear wherever they travelled.

 

A shudder went through Jungkook and he could feel Taehyung smile smugly against his cheek.

 

“Enjoying yourself, Kooks?” Taehyung whispered against Jungkook’s ear. His voice was dark and a little strained as he pressed his hips closer to Jungkook, who could only moan incoherently in reply. His whole head was a mess. “We only just started.” Taehyung teased, biting his ear gently, making Jungkook tremor once more.

 

Taehyung’s other hand cradled around Jungkook’s face, gently holding him still as Taehyung’s tongue gently licked into Jungkook’s mouth. Jungkook could feel how his lungs were burning with the strain but he didn’t care. Right now, all ideas about being careful with himself were out the window.

 

It was summer and all Jungkook needed was Taehyung.

 

Taehyung’s feelings were blossoming in the back of Jungkook’s head. An unfolding mess of lust, need and love – Jungkook felt intoxicated as they mingled with his own. Taehyung’s hand was like fire against Jungkook’s ribs – still a little too prominent to be healthy – as they caressed him gently, Jungkook’s toes curling and a moan escaping him at the intense feeling. Taehyung’s hands were always warm, the static from his touch had mellowed out after two months of almost constant touching but now it was back, the electricity dancing over Jungkook’s skin and making his muscles twitch restlessly.

 

Jungkook couldn’t get enough of Taehyung touching him, he always wanted more.

 

Taehyung let out a sigh, pressing even closer to Jungkook, his teeth biting into Jungkook’s neck gently. Jungkook shivered when he felt Taehyung’s lips pressing against the base of his throat. Jungkook couldn’t help but arch his back and bare his throat to his soulmate. Jungkook was completely Taehyung’s in that moment. Nothing existed besides Taehyung and the feeling of him against Jungkook. He felt Taehyung’s lips kiss along the long red scar on Jungkook’s throat, the kisses soft and tender, but tinged with bitter regret in the back of Jungkook’s head.

 

“Don’t, Taehyung,” Jungkook breathed, tightening his hand in Taehyung’s hair. He hated that Taehyung always focused on the scar. He touched it all the time, letting his fingers drift over it several times a day or kissed it softly as they held each other; his thoughts always tainted with sadness. Jungkook knew Taehyung regretted many of his choices, but so did Jungkook. There just wasn’t anything they could do to change the past. “Just kiss me,” Jungkook muttered, dragging Taehyung’s head up to kiss him clumsily.

 

Jungkook wasn’t good at kissing. Not in the way Taehyung was. Jungkook was still too shy and trapped in his own head to just throw himself into making out like Taehyung could, but Jungkook was getting better – at least according to Taehyung. Thankfully what Jungkook lagged, Taehyung made up for and it was only seconds before Taehyung was back to kissing Jungkook passionately, the regret getting diluted in the burst of lust that rushed through Taehyung’s head.

 

This was beginning to be a thing. The making out. It always started with a hug or a cuddle and then the soft kiss Taehyung placed on Jungkook’s lips deepened and before Jungkook really had time to think they ended up like this, a mess of intertwined limbs trying to hold each other closer, their breaths silent gasps and moans. Jungkook couldn’t even remember what they had been doing before, but he didn't care about anything but the beat of Taehyung’s heart and the small sighs that escaped his soulmate’s lips in-between kisses.

 

Taehyung’s hand moved from the bottom of Jungkook’s ribs and up to Jungkook’s shoulder, pressing their chests together and making Jungkook’s shirt slide up even further. Jungkook couldn’t hold back a shudder as Taehyung’s fingers drifted down his spine. Taehyung’s touch was almost addictive to Jungkook, he couldn’t get enough and even now he just wanted Taehyung closer.

 

“Please,” Jungkook sighed unsure what exactly it was he was asking, but he didn’t care. Taehyung could read his mind so maybe he knew. Jungkook couldn’t think. It was almost too much. His thoughts were muddled and he couldn’t even think, but he knew he wanted to keep going, that he wanted more. But he wasn’t sure how much more.

 

Something rushed through Taehyung and he whimpered, hips pressing against Jungkook’s own. Jungkook could feel Taehyung, through the cloth of his pants. The thought that Jungkook could make Taehyung feel like this, so needy and passionate was stupefying but Jungkook loved it and he wanted more.

 

Jungkook always wanted more.

 

Jungkook let his hand drift under Taehyung’s shirt, something he hadn’t done before. He wanted to touch more of Taehyung. His skin was so warm and so soft and Jungkook just wanted to feel all of his soulmate. Taehyung wasn’t as defined as Jungkook, less bony and almost impossibly soft. Jungkook’s hand drifted up Taehyung’s side enjoying how his finger tingled softly as they brushed against Taehyung’s soft skin, hands moving higher up along Taehyung’s ribs. Taehyung gasped, the sound making Jungkook daring as he moved his hand higher, grazing Taehyung’s chest. Taehyung made a pained sound and pressed further into Jungkook, shuddering as his hips slid against Jungkook.

 

The sound only urged Jungkook on.

 

With shaking hands Jungkook pulled free of Taehyung’s lips, tugging his soulmates shirt up over his chest, his mouth clumsily kissing the exposed skin. Taehyung sighed, shuddering as Jungkook kissed up his chest. Jungkook smiled when Taehyung pulled his shirt completely off, throwing it to the floor before he attacked Jungkook’s mouth again.

 

Jungkook would never get enough of the feeling of Taehyung’s lips against his. His lips against Jungkook’s made Jungkook feel like his world was being turned upside down. His whole body was buzzing, need flowing through his veins. He could feel it in Taehyung too, it was a stronger and much more violent feeling, but still the same as Jungkook felt. Taehyung felt like he was dying, with only Jungkook’s touch keeping him alive.

 

The feeling was exhilarating and intoxicating.

 

Jungkook allowed his hands to drift all over the exposed skin. He wanted to feel all of Taehyung, to burn the feeling of his soulmate into his skin. Jungkook had been so close to losing this. So close to losing his life and his love, now he wanted all of it. He wanted a full life, memories, happiness and a love that was never ending, but most of all he wanted Taehyung.

 

All of him.

 

“Fuck, Kooks,” Taehyung breathed as Jungkook once more let his hand drift over Taehyung’s chest, letting his touch linger as he softly pressed his leg between Taehyung’s, feeling his soulmate shudder as Jungkook’s thigh pressed against his length. Taehyung was so hard. It was astounding that Jungkook had done that, that he had made his soulmate feel like this. That Taehyung needed him so much. “You’re killing me,” he muttered almost pained, as Jungkook attached himself to Taehyung’s neck, trying to leave a mark, pressing his thighs closer to Taehyung, reveling in the deep moan Taehyung made as he pushed against Jungkook seeking friction.

 

Jungkook felt strong.

 

Taehyung was gone, his mind a mess of lust and Jungkook knew his soulmate was close. He could feel the frustration, Taehyung’s want to push even closer, Taehyung’s need to have Jungkook touch him more, the want to feel more of Jungkook’s naked skin and the deep desire to rub himself against Jungkook, chasing the high of an orgasm. Taehyung wanted more, no, Taehyung needed more and Jungkook wanted to give it to him.

 

Jungkook wanted Taehyung to have everything.

 

“Want you to feel me,” Jungkook muttered, hooking his other leg over Taehyung’s hips and pressing Taehyung harder against his thigh, own crotch pushing against Taehyung’s thigh in the process. It didn’t evoke the same feeling in him as it did in Taehyung, but it still felt nice and it made Jungkook wonder what would happen if they continued. He was definitely feeling his body beginning to react. The pained whine that escaped Taehyung’s lips made Jungkook smile in victory.

 

It was better than any music in the world.

 

“I want you,” Jungkook breathed, his hand drifting lower towards Taehyung’s pants. “I want all of you,” he added, nibbling at Taehyung’s throat as his hand grabbed hold of Taehyung, burning hot even through his soulmate’s jeans.

 

Before Jungkook even knew what had happened, his soulmate was across the room, the bathroom door slamming closed behind him with a resolute snap of finality.

 

Jungkook could only look in shock, lungs burning as he suddenly felt cold and alone.

 

He allowed himself to drop back on the bed, the pillows sighing as they got flattened under him. Jungkook knew what Taehyung was doing and he could only close his eyes, waiting patiently. It didn’t take long. It never did.

 

Jungkook could feel the need burn through the bond, how the desperation urged Taehyung on, Taehyung’s fingers hot against his own skin like an echo inside Jungkook’s head. He didn’t want Jungkook to touch him, but he had no problem doing it himself. Jungkook felt bitter. It felt like the worst kind of rejection, but he had no idea what to do about it. Whenever Jungkook tried to touch him, Taehyung ran away. This was the fifth time and Jungkook was getting tired of it.

 

The worst part was that Jungkook felt how he was still on his soulmate’s mind as he rushed himself to finish in the big bathroom. Jungkook knew his name was on his soulmate’s lips as he came hard into his own hands.

 

Euphoria rushed through Jungkook’s veins, but the feeling was weak, nothing but an echo from Taehyung. His muscles buzzed and he felt oddly relaxed. Even in its weak form the feeling was pleasant, almost calming. Jungkook knew that Taehyung didn’t know how much of his feelings bleed through the bond, because if he did, Jungkook knew he would do everything in his power to keep the feelings from Jungkook. The sensation and euphoria rushed through him, but shame quickly took its place, making Jungkook curse under his breath.

 

Some things ever changed.

 

Jungkook didn’t open his eyes as he heard the water run and he didn’t open his eyes as the door clicked open, Taehyung’s feet dragging over the carpet as he slowly returned to the bed. Jungkook could feel Taehyung’s shame and embarrassment like a heavy weight in the back of his head and it pissed Jungkook off.

 

“I thought you were going to worship me,” Jungkook said, eyes still closed. He hated that Taehyung always left, that he ran to the bathroom to take care of himself leaving Jungkook all alone on the bed. Jungkook felt left out, like he was still a child not ready to handle all of Taehyung’s emotions.

 

“I will,” Taehyung sighed, dropping down on the bed making Jungkook’s relaxed body jump along with the mattress. “But not before you want to, Kooks, and you’re clearly not there yet,” Taehyung said, voice tired and he laid down on the bed pressing into Jungkook’s unresponsive body.

 

“How do you know that?” Jungkook huffed. He knew he sounded annoyed, and he was. But he wasn’t angry, he was just disappointed that after everything they’d been through they were still stuck on something as pitifully simple as intimacy. “You don’t talk to me, Tae. I thought we were past the point of you thinking I'm a fucking child, but clearly you still think so,” Jungkook sighed, the annoyance draining out and replacing itself with exhaustion.

 

“Don’t feel like that,” Taehyung said, voice quivering as his hand touched Jungkook’s cheek and turned his head to the side. “Don’t feel like it’s not worth it. Not after everything we’ve been through. It was worth it. I got you, Kooks, I got to have you, please don’t ever take yourself away from me,” he breathed, his hand trembling against Jungkook’s cheek.

 

Jungkook couldn’t keep his eyes closed anymore. He blinked his eyes opened and was met with the huge brown eyes of his soulmate. Taehyung looked sad, not that it was any surprise since the back of Jungkook’s head felt like the soundtrack to a sad movie.

 

“I don’t want to die anymore, Tae,” Jungkook sighed hoping to god it wasn’t a lie, leaning into Taehyung’s touch. “But I do get tired when you don’t talk to me. It feels like we’re running in circles all the damn time. You keep telling me to trust you but the moment things get serious you run off. How do you think it feels lying here knowing my boyfriend is in the bathroom getting off on his own?” Jungkook huffed, hating how his cheeks still got hot whenever he tried to talk about sex.

 

“I was not-” Taehyung tried to protest but he shut his mouth when Jungkook gave him a judging glare. “Okay, I was, but you’re not there yet, Kookie. I can feel your emotions too and we were just on two different levels. I clearly want more than you do. You’re not responding like I am. And you said it yourself, you don’t know if you want more,” Taehyung huffed, his own cheeks blushing a little. “I mean, you like the kissing and the touching, but that’s not the same as getting naked together. I'm not about to force my asexual soulmate into having sex,” Taehyung mumbled, stroking Jungkook’s cheeks softly.

 

“Asexual people can have sex, Tae. I could be Demi or something, and in the end, I don’t give a fuck as long as I'm the one making the choices concerning myself. I should at least be able to have the fucking choice to do more if I wanted to. You don’t get to decide how I feel, Tae,” Jungkook said, voice deadpan and stiff with anger. “Sure, you can read my feelings, but you can’t actually read my thoughts. Why don’t you just ask me instead? I know I'm not ready to sleep with you, but that doesn't mean I can’t help you with other…stuff,” Jungkook added awkwardly, looking away.

 

“You don’t have to do that,” Taehyung muttered, turning to his back and staring at the ceiling. “I told you we would take things slow, and so we are,” he added, a tone of finality to his voice. It wasn’t often I happened, but sometimes Jungkook really wanted to hit his soulmate over the head.

 

“And I'm telling you I want to do more than kissing,” Jungkook snapped, getting up and straddling Taehyung hips. Taehyung made a weird expression, but Jungkook didn’t care. After more than two months with Taehyung he knew he needed to beat every shred of reason into Taehyung’s thick skull. “I might not feel like doing it myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to help you out. We’re one, Tae, your pleasure is mine so don’t you fucking dare run off on me like that again. I may be a virgin, but I'm not fucking innocent. I know sex isn’t just stuffing you dick into people repeatedly,” Jungkook huffed, enjoying the weirded-out expression on his soulmate’s face. He was beginning to enjoy saying shocking things, just so he could see Taehyung’s scrunch up his nose or widen his beautiful eyes in surprise.

 

“You’re gonna be the death of me,” Taehyung muttered, closing his eyes. “You have no idea what you do to me, Kooks, no idea at all. And this isn’t just about me, we’re two in this relationship. My pleasure isn’t more important than your limits. If you sleep with me just because you think it’s what I need, how do you think it makes me feel? You barely touched me and I was a mess, I really don’t think taking it further is a good idea,” Taehyung muttered, eyes still closed. Jungkook tried to prod at the bond but Taehyung was getting better at hiding his thoughts and feelings. It annoyed Jungkook to no end, but he couldn’t find the right words to tell Taehyung without hurting him.

 

Sometimes Jungkook felt like he was still stepping on glass.

 

“You trying to tell me you wouldn’t be able to stop if we went further? Because that’s bullshit,” Jungkook huffed, taking pleasure in how Taehyung frowned at his curses. It was small victory whenever Jungkook could remind his soulmate that he wasn’t some fragile damsel in distress. “Besides I used to be stronger than you, I think I could kick your ass if I needed to,” Jungkook huffed crossing his arms and looking down at Taehyung with a challenging glare.

 

“Kooks, please have mercy on me,” Taehyung said, his voice strained. “You have no idea what you do to me. Can’t you just let this go? We agreed to take things slow, Christ, you asked to live separately and now you say you want to sleep with me. Kooks, you’re not even healed up properly. Your lungs are still shit and you can barely breathe through a make-out session. I'm not having sex with you like this,” Taehyung rushed out, opening his beautiful brown eyes and looking at Jungkook in that special way that always made Jungkook feel like he was five years old.

 

“I'm not a child,” Jungkook spat, glaring at Taehyung. He reveled in the wince Taehyung made once he felt Jungkook’s anger. “I'm not sick and I'm not an invalid. I know when I can’t handle any more. Trust me, jerking you off wouldn't have influenced my lungs,” Jungkook spat angrily. He had no idea how they had gone from the wonderful kissing to this in less than ten minutes, but Jungkook was done. He had almost died once. He knew he had to speak up, if he didn’t nothing would ever change.

 

“For fuck’s sake, Kooks, I was ready to cum in my fucking pants and you weren't even hard,” Taehyung snapped, taking a hold of Jungkook and stopping him from moving away from Taehyung’s lap. “I just want what is best for you, don’t you get that?” Taehyung breathed soft and carefully like Jungkook needed to be cuddled.

 

“I'm so tired of you trying to use my sexuality against me like you know better. No, sex isn’t important for me but that doesn’t mean you get to decide what I do. If I want to fuck you, Tae, I do it. If I don’t I'm grow up enough to tell you to fuck off and go to hell. God,” Jungkook exclaimed pulling his hands free of Taehyung’s grip. “I'm so damn tired of you ‘sexuals’ and your idea that you need to protect us and decide what we do. Sexuality is a fucking spectrum and I and nobody else gets to decide where I fit in. I am my own damn person, Tae, and I can fuck whoever I want to. I could have slept with Hwanhee, I could have slept with any Godforsaken person in this city and you will never have the right to tell that it was wrong. You of all people should know not to fucking judged and presume, Tae,” Jungkook hissed, knowing full well he was pouring gasoline on a burning fire, but he was beyond caring.

 

“Kooks, for fuck’s sake, I didn’t mean it like this,” Taehyung snapped, finally allowing Jungkook to move away. It felt so childish, but Jungkook just didn’t want to look at Taehyung anymore. He sat on the edge of the bed, his back to his soulmate as he just glared out the window as a deadly silence settle in the room, both of them too stubborn to do anything about it.

 

He still wasn’t used to the new view, and Jungkook wasn’t gonna lie. He missed his old place sometimes. It was nice living with Yoongi and Jimin and it had gotten even better once Namjoon and Seokjin had moved in next door, ensuring that Jungkook could freely jump between each set of parents as he wanted. But it still wasn’t the same as being on his own. He knew he couldn’t take care of himself, not by a long shot. So as much as he hated to admit it, Taehyung was right: Jungkook’s lungs were shit. He couldn’t walk up the stairs, he could barely walk the short walk down to owner Noona’s café that was mere minutes away.

 

Jungkook felt pathetic. Things were getting better but some days he felt like he was trying to climb a mountain that was growing taller with every step he took. It really didn’t help that Taehyung kept pointing it out. Jungkook knew he couldn’t erase his bad decisions by just getting better, but being told by your own soulmate that you couldn't even take care of yourself hurt like hell. They were still going to therapy, but sometimes it felt like Taehyung didn’t want to cooperate. Even after three months out of the hospital Taehyung still tried to keep secrets and Jungkook had no idea how to talk about it. It wasn’t like Jungkook could play holy since he almost killed himself to keep the fact that Taehyung was his soulmate a secret.

 

Sometimes it felt like they were stuck, but still moving along in some weird twist of time.

 

Jungkook allowed his eyes to roam around the room. He had finally managed to get his stuff unpacked and it was beginning to look like his. Even with the bland white walls and huge windows, it was beginning to look homey. His books were taking up the shelves, his desk was a mess of photos, papers and camera equipment. But the oddest thing was how bits of Taehyung had just mixed into the room. It had been three months, but one of Taehyung’s sweaters was hanging on one chair, some of his books had sneaked into the shelves.

 

It really shouldn’t surprise Jungkook, but Taehyung had just slipped into his life like nothing and it scared Jungkook. It was hard to believe that he and Taehyung would get to have any kind of happily ever after when they still couldn’t talk to each other. Sure, both of them were working on finding each other, trying to get their relationship to work. But it just didn’t feel like it was enough.

 

“I’m an idiot,” Taehyung suddenly said, flopping around on the bed behind Jungkook. “I keep telling myself not to fuck up and then I go right ahead and do it anyway,” he sighed tiredly. Jungkook didn’t have to turn around to know that Taehyung was glaring up at the ceiling.

 

“You are,” Jungkook muttered taking a deep breath and trying to reel his anger in. “But I pushed you, I'm sorry about that,” he added, hating how the words tasted like defeat on his tongue. Even now he couldn’t stand up to Taehyung, not really.

 

“I'm sorry, too,” Taehyung said, rolling on the bed until Jungkook felt his arms embrace him from behind. “I should listen to you more. But, it’s not you who aren’t ready yet,” Taehyung whispered softly. “I mean, I’ve done so much, but this time it’s different. It’s not that I don’t want to do more, I just want to do it right. You mean the world to me, Kooks, I need you to be different. I need us to be different,” Taehyung said softly, holding the unresponsive Jungkook close.

 

“You sound like you’re from a damn drama,” Jungkook said after a moment of silence, finally allowing himself to lean into his soulmate. He was allowed to do that now, to enjoy Taehyung’s warmth, the feeling of his strong body… Jungkook was allowed to love Taehyung like he always wanted, but he wasn’t sure how to do it anymore. How to just love Taehyung without trying to stop himself. Old habits die hard after all. “Just…Let me at least decide for myself, Tae. You know I hate it when you take the decisions out of my hands. If I don’t want to do something I’ll stop you, okay?” Jungkook said softly, letting his head fall back against his soulmate’s shoulder.

 

“Okay,” Taehyung sighed, pressing Jungkook tightly against his chest, his head oddly quiet. “And I’ll do the same, promise,” he added with his lips against Jungkook’s temple.

 

“I love you,” Taehyung said, holding Jungkook almost like he was afraid he would dissipate into smoke. “I love you more than I can ever put into words,” he breathed tilting Jungkook’s head so he could kiss his neck.

 

“I know.”

 

***

 

“Kooks is going to be the death of me,” Taehyung groaned, dropping onto Jimin’s bed, making the mattress groan under him. Jimin of course barely looked up from the book he was reading. Taehyung expected a little more reaction out of his best friend, Jimin could at least pretend to care. “I said, Kooks is killing me, Chim,” Taehyung repeated, looking up at his best friend with a frown.

 

“You said that last week,” Jimin muttered around the pen in his mouth. He did look up at Taehyung though which Taehyung took as an improvement. “And the week before, and every single time ever since you met him,” Jimin added after have taken the pen out of his mouth, giving his friend a knowing look.

 

“It’s different now,” Taehyung protested, rolling on to his side so it didn’t seem like Jimin could look down on him. “This time he really is killing me. I have no idea what to do, Chim, he’s just so…” Taehyung trailed off, having no idea to exactly put the wonder that was Jeon Jungkook into words.

 

“Beautiful, amazing, drop dead gorgeous, the reason you’re queer as fuck, sex on legs and the hottest dude-sundae-with-extra-cherries you’ve ever seen? One of those?” Jimin asked with a smirk, twiddling his pen between his fingers. “Because, as I said, you kinda talk about Kookie like that all the time,” Jimin grinned, finally closing his book and putting his homework away.

 

“But it’s different this time, Jimin,” Taehyung complained, frowning at his amused best friend. “Have you seen him? He’s getting prettier. How is that even possible?” Taehyung added, with a soft sigh. Jungkook was indeed getting prettier. He was beginning to fill out, his muscles returning slowly and his ribs getting less hollow by the day. He was beginning to look like he did before the Hanahaki, but there was something different about him now. Like he was more mature, the little baby fat he had was gone, but Taehyung was pretty sure the round cheeks wouldn’t come back.

 

The thought made him feel odd.

 

“It’s really not that different, Tae,” Jimin grinned, clearly amused by his childhood friend’s dramatic antics. “He’s pretty much the same as he was before. He’s just more…grown up, I suppose,” Jimin shrugged, leaning further back into the pillows behind him. “I really can’t imagine Kookie being mean to you, you sure you’re not just being a little dramatic?” Jimin asked, giving Taehyung a knowing look.

 

“Have you seen him wearing a white t-shirt?” Taehyung looking exasperated at his best friend. “It’s rude!” Taehyung huffed, rolling on to his back so he could stare up at the ceiling. He felt some of his happiness escape him. It was happening more and more lately. He would go from being normal to feeling all of this…darkness. It was like it was cluttering up his head, making it hard for him to breathe.

 

“He got mad at me,” Taehyung said quietly to the white painted wood above him, “I was trying to watch out for him and protect him and he just got mad at me instead,” Taehyung sighed feeling a frown settling on his brow. His head was a mess lately, like he couldn’t figure anything out.

 

“Were you treating him like a child again?” Jimin asked, his voice hesitant as he laid down facing Taehyung. “I mean, Kookie never gets really mad. He only does so when you act like he is younger than he actually is,” Jimin said cautiously, a hand reaching out to touch Taehyung’s shoulder almost comfortingly.

 

“I know you mean well, but you got to admit, Tae, you do have a problem with seeing Jungkook as an adult,” Jimin said softly. Taehyung could only sigh deeply, but Jimin had known him so long they hardly ever needed words anymore. It was almost as if they could just read each other’s minds.

 

Everything was just easier with Jimin.

 

“He tried to sleep with me… or at least go a little further than just making out,” Taehyung confessed, feeling his cheeks get a little red. It wasn’t the first time he and Jimin talked about sex or their partners, but it was the first time Taehyung talked about Jungkook like this. Like something more than a fantasy or a utopian dream. “And when I stopped it he got really upset,” Taehyung sighed, still staring at the ceiling above him like that would give him any answers.

 

“Did you explain why you stopped or did you just run out like the idiot you are?” Jimin asked, huffing at Taehyung’s silent reply. “You and Yoongi are too much alike,” Jimin muttered and Taehyung didn’t even have to look at his childhood friend to know Jimin was rolling his eyes.

 

“We are not,” Taehyung scoffed more out of practice than actual protest.

 

“Remember how I used to complain about Yoongi making all the decisions for me?” Jimin asked knowing full well Taehyung remembered. Sure, that period in Taehyung’s life hadn’t been the best and he hadn’t been completely lucid for most of it, but he did remember the hours Jimin had used complaining about his soulmate. “That’s you right now, Tae,” Jimin said, slapping his friend shoulder softly.

 

“It’s not,” Taehyung huffed, crossing his arms.

 

“It is,” Jimin teased, ruffling Taehyung’s hair. “And I’ll tell you, there is nothing worse than when your soulmate goes know-it-all on you. Just imagine if Kookie did what you did, how would you feel?” Jimin asked softly. The words bounced around Taehyung’s head. He couldn’t stop himself from frowning a little at the thought of Jungkook leaving him alone, even if it was just for a second the thought was uncomfortable.

 

“But…” Taehyung trailed off unsure of what to say.

 

“Can you remember how mad I used to be at Yoongi when we began dating?” Jimin asked fingers playing with the sleeve of Taehyung’s t-shirt. “How mad I got about him making all the decisions without even asking me? I mean, he used to treat me like I was some frail little princess and not a man just like himself, it was pissing me off. I can only imagine Kookie feeling the same way if you keep running off because you don’t want to come on to him too strongly,” Jimin sighed, poking a little at Taehyung when his friend refused to look at him.

 

“But, Chim, he’s just so pure.” Taehyung sighed, feeling his cheeks heat up again. It was different talking about Jungkook than it was talking about the sex he had had with random people. Taehyung knew that it was because that there were feelings involved this time, but still he knew he had to talk to Jimin about it. Jimin was the only one who would know how Jungkook felt. “I feel like I'm coming in with all my needs and desires and are just pushing them on to him. I don’t need him to sleep with me, I love him no matter what, but… it’s hard,” Taehyung finally huffed, feeling unbelievably tired.

 

“I don’t doubt it was,” Jimin smirked, completely unaffected by the glare Taehyung sent his way. “But seriously, Tae, Kookie isn’t a shy violet. You should hear some of the jokes he cracks. Besides you’re aren’t even his first boyfriend. Don’t you think he and Hwanhee did at least a little groping?” Jimin said, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.

 

“Don’t remind me,” Taehyung groaned, his face twisting in disgust. “I'm not over the fact that Hwanhee has had his hands on Kooks,” Taehyung muttered. He knew it was silly but he just couldn’t get over that Hwanhee of all people had kissed his soulmate. It was just wrong.

 

“Well, considering you banged one of Hwanhee’s girlfriends I think you’re being a hypocrite right now,” Jimin huffed, poking hard at Taehyung’s stomach. “And I know for a fact that Hwanhee hasn’t seen Kookie naked - he complained about that – so you’re the one being an idiot,” Jimin added, still poking Taehyung hard, completely ignoring his friend’s pained groans.

 

“Stop poking me,” Taehyung whined, trying to give Jimin his best puppy eyes. Clearly, it wasn’t working. Perhaps they had known each other for too long. “I know I'm an idiot, give it a rest goddammit,” Taehyung huffed trying to shimmy away from his friend with no luck. Sure, Jimin and Yoongi’s shared bed was huge, but not big enough that Taehyung could wiggle too far away without landing on the floor.

 

“And don’t remind me that you and Hwanhee are friends now,” Taehyung scoffed frowning at nothing. Everything had made so much more sense when they had all found out that Jimin had changed his major and had been studying business economy alongside Hwanhee for the last year, now only minoring in dance. “Besides have Yoongi forgiven you for lying about changing your major yet?” Taehyung asked hoping that it would make Jimin drop the subject.

 

Yoongi had been really mad as he wanted Jimin to outlive his dream as a dancer, but Jimin had been firm in his decision to continue with economy. Taehyung knew Jimin had done it so he could help Yoongi out once he and Namjoon started their own company. Yoongi was too creative and narrow-minded to make the money side of the business run and they all knew not to allow Namjoon to control anything that had something to do with money. The man was a genius, but he spent money like a lunatic.

 

“Don’t try and change the subject. Me and Yoongi are fine. He just needed to be reminded that I make my own decisions and that the way he reacted was the exact reason I didn’t tell any of you. Besides, I really don’t get where you have this idea that Kookie is some shy blushing virgin from,” Jimin huffed, shaking his head at his best friend. “I swear it’s like you overhear his dirty jokes on purpose or something, Tae. You should try listening to him sometimes. He’s on my and Yoongi’s case all the time. That kid is vicious,” Jimin said, looking at Taehyung with a lifted eyebrow.

 

“He isn’t. Kookie blushes if I just mention underwear,” Taehyung protested with a frown.

 

“Maybe if it’s your underwear, Tae, but not mine. Christ, he asked me and Yoongi too cool it last night or he would film us and start living as a porn distributor,” Jimin said dryly, pursing his lips at Taehyung. “And that was after the threw popcorn down my shirt to prove a point about me showing off too much chest in front of him,” Jimin added with a small huff. “The worst part was when he and Yoongi cheered over him scoring three in a row,” Jimin muttered trying to sound annoyed. The small smile playing in the corner of his lips ruined it a bit though.

 

“I…He…” Taehyung stammered feeling lost for words.

 

“Yeah, thought so,” Jimin smirked, leaning in over Taehyung so he could stare his childhood friend in the eyes. “He’s a perv like the rest of us, Tae, you really need to let go of that pure Kookie inside your head,” Jimin said dropping back on the bed next to Taehyung.

 

“I know it has to be hard trying to find a balance after all the shit you and Kookie went through, but you have to try, Tae. You and Kookie are depended on each other now, you both need to talk to each other. Christ, just look at what happened the last time both of you refused to talk about your feelings,” Jimin muttered, a shiver going through his body.

 

Taehyung couldn’t blame Jimin for hating the memory of Jungkook in the hospital. Taehyung still had nightmares of Jungkook never waking up.

 

“It’s not that I don’t want to talk,” Taehyung sighed as he stared up at the ceiling. It was still odd being in this new bed and staring up a ceiling that in Taehyung’s mind didn’t belong to Jimin. Whenever Taehyung spent a night at his own place he had this odd feeling of not belonging, but at least he knew every grove and granny from hours and hours of staring at their ceiling like this. It wasn’t the same here in Jimin’s new place, it was too nice and clean. “I just don’t know how, Jimin. It’s like every time I try to speak with him I fuck up. Even when I prepare a whole speech I managed to ruin it. It’s… I don’t want him to feel like he has to give me everything. I'm happy as I am, I don’t need any more,” Taehyung said, looking away so he didn’t have to see Jimin’s eyes.

 

Jimin was the only one who understood how hard it was for Taehyung to open up.

 

“Just tell him that, Tae. You don’t need to say anything more. The important thing is that Kookie knows why you need some space. If he doesn’t you leave him to draw his own conclusions and I know from myself how badly that ends,” Jimin said, scooting a little closer to Taehyung who still couldn’t really look at his friend. “I mean communication is everything, especially for you two with the whole…” Jimin trailed off. And Taehyung was glad Jimin didn’t finish, he didn’t need to hear about how Taehyung idiocy almost killed the one person Taehyung actually loved.

 

“I just can’t find the words, Chim” Taehyung breathed feeling that familiar ball of nerves twist in his stomach. “I mean how do I tell him I can’t fathom that he is mine and I still expect to wake up without him close. I just can’t, Jimin, he has so much on his plate with his recovery. He might never be able to dance again, Jimin. His lungs are shit and they aren’t getting better like they should. He might have to spend the rest of his life on oxygen. And that’s without mentioning the kidney. I love him, Jimin, but I'm so afraid of losing him.”

 

“Tell him that,” Jimin sighed. “He can feel your emotions, not read your mind, you idiot. Kookie is your soulmate, Tae. He loves you, odd bits and anxiety included,” Jimin muttered, resting his head on Taehyung’s shoulder and rolled over so he was lying half on top of his friend. They used to lie like this when they were kids and the easy familiarity calmed Taehyung down, settling a little of the painful twisting in his gut. 

 

It had been ages since he and Jimin had been this close.

 

“More importantly; have you tried talking about this with your therapist?” Jimin asked, pressed hard against Taehyung’s chest. “I honestly think she’ll be better at helping you out with this than I am,” Jimin muttered, fingers stroking Taehyung’s side.

 

“I don’t like her,” Taehyung said instead of telling the truth; that he didn’t tell his therapist anything. He hated how she asked questions and tried to dig into memories that Taehyung felt were better left unmentioned. “I dunno why, but I don’t feel like talking to her,” Taehyung muttered, happy that Jimin couldn’t see his face.

 

“Tae, she’s the third one you been to since June,” Jimin huffed and Taehyung could practically feel his childhood friend’s disapproval. “You have to talk with one of them or at least try to like one of them. It’s not like you have to be best friends with her or anything, she’s there to help you okay. I mean the therapist I saw was kind of nice. I doubt me and Yoongi would have made it if it wasn’t for some of her advice,” Jimin said softly. It was rare for him to talk about the six months after he and Yoongi had met, back when they were dragging each other down and almost killing themselves with their stubbornness.

 

Thinking back there was a lot of things Taehyung wished he had done differently.

 

“I’ll try,” was all Taehyung said, hoping to God Jimin couldn’t hear the lie in his voice. Taehyung was fine. He didn’t need some stranger messing with his thoughts. It was just a bump he and Jungkook needed to get over. Maybe if Taehyung tried harder he and Jungkook wouldn’t get in a fight the next time they talked.

 

“Good,” was all Jimin said, a heavy silence settling over the room. It wasn’t uncomfortable. It never really was with Jimin. It had always just been them against the world and Taehyung would never forget the day his mother had torn him away from the kid he had considered his brother. Taehyung had many things he wanted to blame the universe for, but he would always be happy that it brought him back to his brother.

 

“Do you think Kooks has changed?” Taehyung suddenly heard himself ask, his deep voice loud in the quiet room. “I mean, he seems…different,” Taehyung finally breathed, hoping that Jimin would understand what he was trying to say.

 

Jimin always understood, even when Taehyung didn’t make any sense.

 

He didn’t deserve Jimin

 

He didn’t deserve anyone.

 

“Yeah,” Jimin said after a short while, finger beginning to fidget with Taehyung’s t-shirt sleeve again. “He has, but then again haven’t we all changed,” Jimin said thoughtfully, “but I don’t think it’s a bad thing.”

 

“Hmm, I guess you’re right,” Taehyung sighed, folding his arm around Jimin and holding his childhood friend close. He was beginning to feel restless, missing Jungkook, but having Jimin close always calmed him down. “I don’t know, it’s just…odd,” Taehyung muttered with a frown to the ceiling. It was hard to say that he didn’t know what to do with Jungkook at the moment. It had been a few weeks since he coughed up petals, but Taehyung still had this nagging doubt that Jungkook still didn’t fully believe that Taehyung loved him.

 

Taehyung was worried.

 

He worried all the time and even if Jungkook was a weak, but constant presence in his head he couldn’t let go of the fear that Jungkook would collapse, that the petals would come back or that Taehyung wouldn’t be there this time to save Jungkook. That Taehyung would lose his soulmate, and the only person he had ever truly loved.

 

Taehyung could feel Jungkook breathe, he knew Jungkook was out with Namjoon doing something secretive that no doubt had something to do with the older couple’s anniversary in a few weeks. He knew Jungkook was safe, Taehyung knew his soulmate was breathing but even if Taehyung could feel Jungkook’s happiness through the bond, could practically feel him giggle about something, the fear never disappeared. It was a constant pressure, stuffing Taehyung’s lungs up slowly and making him feel like he was being suffocated.

 

“I know this is probably a horrible thing to say,” Jimin whispered, his soft voice dragging Taehyung out of the whirlwind of misery he was slowly winding up inside his own head. “But I think I like this Kookie better. I mean, he speaks his mind, I know when he is happy or when he is sad. I don’t have to worry too much because he finally says things. There are no more lies, no more secrets. I finally know when Jungkook is feeling bad because he will tell me when he wakes up and his muscles ache, he will tell me when he needs a break because his lungs are hurting. I can finally sleep, Tae,” Jimin rushed, voice barely a whisper. It was almost as if Jimin was confessing some dark secret.

 

“I finally feel like he trusts me, Tae,” Jimin said, fingers almost nervously pulling at a tread on Taehyung’s t-shirt. “It’s like he wants to burden me with his problems because he knows I won’t abandon him. It’s freeing. I know the others feel the same way. We didn’t know before, but we only got to know half of Jungkook. Now he is finally allowing us to get all of him, and it’s…nice,” Jimin breathed and Taehyung could feel his friend smile against his chest.

 

Taehyung couldn’t say anything.

 

“I feel like we can be a real family now, Tae,” Jimin hummed, pushing himself closer to Taehyung and hugging his childhood friend closer. “You’re going to get help and get better and Kookie is already stronger. It’s just a matter of time and we can all finally be happy,” Jimin grinned, his happiness so infectious that Taehyung could practically feel it in the air.

 

“Yeah, a real family,” Taehyung said hoarsely, hoping by God Jimin wouldn’t pick up on the chaos inside Taehyung’s head. How could he ever tell them? How could he tell them he wasn’t alright, that he was feeling like he was falling apart? The dark shadows in Taehyung’s mind gathered, threatening once more to overcome him, to suffocate him inside his own head. Taehyung should have gotten better, he shouldn’t be feeling like this anymore. He felt cheated and robbed out of a happily ever after, because how did you get to the fairy-tale sunset with our soulmate in your arms when you never felt truly happy?

 

Taehyung wasn’t alright.

 

“Taehyung!” Yoongi yelled from the door, making both of them jump on the bed. “You and your fucking useless shoes!” Yoongi shouted, kicking at something, most likely Taehyung shoes that he had forgotten to put into the shoe rack. Again.

 

“Yoongi!” Jimin cheered, jumping up from the bed and running out the door. Taehyung couldn’t help but look at his best friend. Jimin’s eyes sparkled as he looked at Taehyung over his shoulder, the brightest smile on his face as he skipped to the door. When Yoongi was near Jimin transformed; he became even more beautiful.

 

Taehyung could only fall back on the bed, eyes returning to the ceiling as the sound of Jimin and Yoongi’s voices filled the apartment.

 

Taehyung just wished that one day he could make Jungkook as happy as Yoongi made Jimin.

 

One day.

 

***

 

Jungkook stretched, feeling his back pop. He wriggled his toes, the floor cold against his feet. The sun was shining outside and Jungkook knew it would be another day where he would thank the universe for the apartments air condition. His body was still feeling a little abused after physical therapy the day before. Jungkook had made his therapist push him as hard as his body could handle so he could recover as fast as possible. He had to admit the woman hadn’t slacked on her promise, but she wasn’t afraid to kick him if she felt he was over-doing it.

 

Jungkook looked down at his arms feeling proud of the weak indentations of muscles visible. It was going slow and Jungkook was still eating to regain all the weight he had lost, but now his body didn’t look like a corpse anymore. He was feeling better and could walk more. His lungs were still shit and his doctor had told him in that direct way of hers that he shouldn’t expect to run any marathons anymore. Dancing might still be a possibility but never on the level he had been on before, his lungs simply couldn’t take the strain.

 

Jungkook knew he should be sad, feel like he had lost an important part of himself, Taehyung sure made it out to be like that. But Jungkook was honestly just happy to be alive. Things weren’t perfect, far from it. He and Taehyung still argued, but as Jungkook tried to remind himself, so did Jimin and Yoongi and they were perfect for each other.

 

Jungkook sighed as he looked out the big window again. It was only the end of July, it was way too early for everything to be perfect. It was just hard to remember that just because they had been through hell and lived, they wouldn’t just magically be okay.

 

Even if Taehyung had woken Jungkook up like a fucking fairytale.

 

Jungkook grinned and shook his head fondly. If that still wasn’t the biggest joke. Jungkook wasn’t a princess, he was just an idiot. But as his therapist kept telling him; Hindsight made anyone seem silly and there was no point in blaming his past self for things he couldn’t change, it was energy wasted that he could use on making his and Taehyung’s life better now.

 

Jungkook knew she was right, but it sounded a lot easier in theory that is was in reality. He couldn’t stop blaming himself. He knew Taehyung wasn’t much better off. Jungkook felt his stomach twist. They still hadn’t really talked, about anything. In the beginning, they hadn’t been able to talk about why Jungkook hadn’t just told Taehyung that they were soulmates. Jungkook had practiced the conversation inside his head multiple time, but it had never really come up.

 

Jungkook was beginning to wonder if Taehyung even wanted to know or if he was just happy with how they were now. Sure, Jungkook was more willing to speak his mind, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t still a bit of a coward. Jungkook just didn’t want to bring it up if it would ruin what they had together now.

 

After all, Jungkook hadn’t coughed in a few weeks, and while he still doubted Taehyung’s feeling some days, he was getting better at figuring out what was real worry and not just his anxiety speaking. Taehyung hadn’t left him yet, not after the days Jungkook was so bad he couldn’t move, not after the days where his anxiety was so bad he barely could go out. Taehyung had stayed through all of it, the good and the bad, so why should he leave now Jungkook was slowly beginning to return to his former self?

 

Jungkook shook his head. There was no point in thinking about it right now, but Jungkook needed to bring it up when they were at their next joined therapy session. Perhaps Taehyung was just waiting for Jungkook to bring it up.

 

Jungkook finally got up, stretching once more and secretly enjoying the pull of his muscles. He had missed being able to feel like tired and sore, but in a good way, the way that made him feel alive. Jungkook knew it would only be a few hours before he needed to nap again, but still, he had to enjoy what little progress he had.

 

He sighed as he stepped into the huge living room. The place felt larger when he was here alone, Jimin or Yoongi’s presence not there to take up the space. Still it was nice to have a lazy morning to himself. Jungkook hummed along to the song playing on the radio, he could feel Taehyung softly in the back of his head. There was a feeling of focus and slight frustration telling Jungkook that he was working on his summer course homework. Jungkook had hoped Taehyung would have taken some time off, but with the many weeks in the hospital Taehyung had been too far behind to take his finals so he had to retake them over the summer instead. 

 

Jungkook staggered into the kitchen his feet still dragging with tiredness. He pressed a few buttons, making the oddly advanced coffee machine Yoongi had bought – with the help of Seokjin - buzz and groan as it started up. Sometimes Jungkook was surprised at how fast he had settled into his new life.

 

Jungkook leaned against the kitchen counter looking around the big kitchen. It was different than Seokjin’s, but it was still homely. Jungkook’s mom had been impressed when she and his dad had been by a week ago to check up. She still wasn’t all that happy with Taehyung, but somehow she seemed to have fallen in love with Jimin and Yoongi, cooing over them like they were family instead of her son’s best friends.

 

Still, Jungkook missed Taehyung. After having had him around all the time in the hospital it was strange not having his soulmate by his side all the time. But Jungkook was glad they had made the decision to live separately for a little while. While it was odd feeling Taehyung live his own life, Jungkook knew they both had the need for space. Taehyung needed to know Jungkook wouldn’t control his life and Jungkook needed to show Taehyung that they could still be separate people even if their souls were all tangled up in each other.

 

Jungkook smiled remembering that he had plans to go out for lunch. He just hoped Taehyung wasn’t too suck in his homework, but if he were, Jungkook would just get them some take-away. As long as he was with Taehyung it didn’t really matter what they were doing. Jungkook had a bunch of books he wanted to read anyway. If there was one thing he knew after the whole Hanahaki ordeal it was that he wanted to keep on taking pictures. Dancing didn’t matter as long as he had his camera. He couldn’t start back up in school alongside the others, his body simply wasn’t well enough and he still had to wear a face mask if he just thought about opening the window so he wouldn’t get dust in his lungs, but he could study slowly on his own for now.

 

The coffee machine hummed and Jungkook looked down happy to see his coffee was ready. Sure, a lot had changed but things like Jungkook’s coffee addiction still remained. Jungkook took his mug and walked over to the little dinner table in the corner. They usually always ate at the big table in the living room, or rather they usually walked over to Seokjin and Namjoon’s apartment to eat dinner, but Jungkook liked having breakfast at the little table when he was on his own.

 

Jungkook sighed and inhaled the steam from the coffee. Because Jungkook was lucky and his lungs were shit the steam annoyed his lungs enough to make him cough. Jungkook cursed as he felt his whole chest contract, his lungs freaking out like he had gotten something down the wrong pipe. Jungkook’s chest hurt, but it was nothing like the coughs the Hanahaki used to cause him. But it still hurt nonetheless. Which was probably why Jungkook didn’t feel Taehyung’s panic before his phone began to ring.

 

Jungkook was still struggling to get his lungs to relax, tears welling in his eyes from the coughs, but he knew that if he didn’t answer the phone Taehyung would panic. Jungkook had forgotten his phone in the bed room, not even considering bringing it with him in the first place. If Jungkook hadn’t been busy trying to get his breath back he would have scoffed at the notification of Taehyung’s three missed calls. Jungkook was trying his best, but he actually had to move across the apartment.

 

Taehyung and no patience.

 

Jungkook was in the middle of trying to call Taehyung back when the phone began to ring again. Another cough forced its way through his lungs as he put the phone to his ear.

 

“Kookie, I love you, I will always love you. Don’t cough. Sit down and breathe deeply, remember what the doctor said, don’t fight the petals, just let them out,” Taehyung rushed before Jungkook could say a single word. Taehyung was so loud that Jungkook had to pull the phone away from his ear as he coughed again. Fucking reflexes. Of course, Taehyung had felt the pain through the bond and decided to panic instead of figuring out what was wrong in the first place. 

 

“I'm okay, Tae,” He gasped, voice sounding strained and hoarse from the coughing. “Just some steam.” He rasped, his lungs burning a little with the strain of the coughs.

 

“Fuck, I forgot where I put the list of thing is should say, just breathe, Kooks,” Taehyung rushed, his voice getting even more panicked as Jungkook could hear his soulmate throw stuff around on the other side of the line. “I only remember that I should tell you I love you, but there was more, fuck, Kooks, I'm so sorry, I'm a shit soulmate. Breathe,” Taehyung rushed as more things were thrown about.

 

“Tae, I'm fine,” Jungkook said again, his voice a little clearer this time. The phone made an odd sound and Jungkook could hear even more stuff being thrown about on the other end, a distant ‘fuck’ being heard at regular intervals.

 

“You did not just drop me on the floor again,” Jungkook said, knowing full well that was what had happened. Taehyung was still a mess of panic and annoyance at himself as he continued to look for the list of things Taehyung needed to do if Jungkook began to caught up petals again. It was list their doctor and therapist had made up, mostly to comfort Taehyung. Jungkook knew it was just a matter of getting past the bad days. Taehyung had a harder time accepting that Jungkook had bad days where nothing seemed alright, than Jungkook himself did. So, to make his life easier he had gotten the list, which he, of course, kept forgetting he had hung up on the fridge.

 

“You better not have cracked the screen again,” Jungkook said tiredly into nothingness, Taehyung was too far away in his panic to even listen. “You really are an idiot, Tae,” Jungkook huffed as he pulled the phone from his ear and hung up. With a few fast clicks on his screen he was calling the only person that might actually be able to help.

 

“Why is there a wild elephant loose on my new roommate’s room?” Hoseok asked, and Jungkook just knew the other man was staring judgingly at Taehyung’s door, waiting for Jungkook to call.

 

“I inhaled some steam and coughed,” Jungkook sighed feeling like going back to bed. He looked despairingly at the clock that showed it was barely ten. “I tried to calm him down but he was way beyond reason,” Jungkook sighed, feeling tired already. This really wasn’t how he had seen his day going.

 

“Better than that time you hit your toe and put him in a frenzy, this time the pain was at least from the right part of the body,” Hoseok said dryly, his eye roll pretty obvious in his words. “I’ll go calm him down before he remodels the place completely. If we get complaints Yoongi will just use it as an excuse to make us move into your building. He’s been harassing that poor divorced man on the floor below you for months about maybe moving,” Hoseok muttered tiredly. Jungkook could feel his stomach twist with guilt. There was so much Hoseok had to deal with because of Jungkook, but he never complained.

 

“Go make tea and coffee and I’ll pack up the idiot and bring him over. If he doesn’t make too much of a fuss we’ll pick something up to eat on the way,” Hoseok said, voice growing a little softer. “And stop worrying about me, I really don’t mind helping out, Jungkook,” Hoseok said just as something crashed on the other end.

 

“I really have to go, see you in a minute,” Hoseok rushed before he hung up. The dial tone filled Jungkook’s ear as he stared out the window.

 

Perhaps everything wasn’t as okay as he had thought.

 

***

 

Jungkook huffed into his face mask, mouth twisting in annoyance as the girl he was trying to take a picture of turned, her face becoming visible. Now he was feeling like a creep. Jungkook lowered the camera and turned away. He never took pictures of random people if you could see their face. It just felt weird to have a folder of strangers from the park lying around on his computer, but still, coming to the park to take pictures like today was the best practice.

 

Jungkook turned to speak with Hwanhee, but his friend was nowhere to be seen. Thankfully it didn’t take too long until Jungkook found his friend, smiling cheekily from a park bench.

 

“Are you okay?” Jungkook asked worriedly, sitting down next to Hwanhee. Jungkook couldn’t help but wince a little, his muscles aching in relief as he finally sat down. Jungkook really needed to watch out or he would overdo it. His body was still recovering and while he was feeling much better, he still got easily tired. He couldn’t help but worry about Hwanhee, this was the fourth time he had wandered away from Jungkook to sit down.

 

“I'm fine,” Hwanhee smiled, pulling a water bottle from his backpack and holding it out to Jungkook. “Water?” He asked, looking content just sitting. As Jungkook took the water bottle, Hwanhee leaned back, clearly settling in for sitting around for a while.

 

“You sure nothing is wrong?” Jungkook asked as he untwisted the cap, his lips pursing when he noticed Hwanhee had opened it so Jungkook didn’t have to strain himself. It wasn’t that Jungkook didn’t appreciate the gesture, but Jungkook was perfectly capable of opening his own bottles.

 

“Completely,” Hwanhee said, eyes straying to something and a small smug smile appearing before he turned his eyes back to Jungkook. “Why’d you ask?” He asked, waving at a child being rolled past them in a stroller.

 

“This is the fourth time you left me so you could sit down. If you’re feeling unwell we can go home,” Jungkook said, hoping nothing was wrong with Hwanhee. He wasn’t really sure what Dongyeol would say if Jungkook returned Hwanhee home in less than perfect condition. The fact that Dongyeol wasn’t flipping tables right and left over the fact that Jungkook and Hwanhee were still friends was enough to impress Jungkook. The fact that Dongyeol was slowly becoming Jungkook’s friend as well was equally baffling.

 

“I'm completely fine,” Hwanhee laughed, shaking his head fondly as he looked at Jungkook. “More important, how are you? We’ve been at it almost two hours so you should be pretty tired by now,” Hwanhee asked, eyes still glittering with laughter.

 

“I'm fine,” Jungkook, having to stop himself from pouting like a child. He was just glad that he was sitting down so Hwanhee couldn’t see that his legs were trembling a little. It pissed Jungkook off how frail and useless he was. “But if you’re fine why are we sitting down?” Jungkook asked, leaning back and feeling his muscles scream in relief as some of the strain was removed.

 

“Because me just walking away is the best way to make sure you rest,” Hwanhee grinned as he winked at Jungkook. “If I ask you to rest you’ll just tell me how ‘perfectly fine’ you are and drag yourself along ignoring how you need to relax. But if I sit down it takes you about two seconds to notice and sit down yourself. So, in short, I'm sitting because your stubborn ass needs to relax,” Hwanhee smirked.

 

Jungkook could only frown at his friend.

 

“I don’t like it when you use unfair tricks,” Jungkook huffed, as he glared at his the still smug Hwanhee. “Does Dongyeol know you’re this manipulative?” Jungkook muttered feeling his cheeks heat up a little. He didn’t like that Hwanhee could see through him like this, it was weird. Jungkook had never had friends who acted like this before.

 

“Dongyeol loves me when I'm manipulative,” Hwanhee smirked, the glint in his eyes immediately making Jungkook fear for what was coming next. “It makes him all hot and bothered,” Hwanhee added with an exaggerated eyebrow wiggle.

 

“Ew, that is just gross,” Jungkook groaned, hiding his face in his hand, making sure his camera was still safely balanced on his knees. He wasn’t about to lose his most precious possession just because Hwanhee was being an idiot. “I do not need to know what you two do alone, yikes,” Jungkook muttered, yet he couldn’t help but smile. There was always something carefree and relaxed about the time he spent with Hwanhee. He didn’t need to worry about hurting his feelings or offending him by touching upon Jungkook’s disease.

 

“Besides isn’t that a bit rich coming from a man who didn’t even have the balls to ask the man he had been in love with for years out. Hmm, Hwanhee,” Jungkook asked, eyes narrowing as he looked at his friend’s crumbling smirk. “If it hadn’t been for Dongyeol you two would still be a pining mess,” Jungkook added, feeling proud as Hwanhee began to sputter.

 

“My pride, Kookie, my manly pride. You just tore it pieces,” Hwanhee said dramatically, throwing his arms around before he clutched his chest, looking at Jungkook with wide eyes. “Why would you hurt me so? I thought we were friends,” he huffed, his voice never becoming too loud. Jungkook could only love his odd friend a little more. Hwanhee always tried to keep Jungkook comfortable by keeping people’s eyes only on him, allowing Jungkook to be his unnoticed shadow.

 

“I'm trimming your ego. The universe will know it has grown too big lately. If I don’t do something it’ll grow so large you’d have to redecorate the whole apartment to make room for your inflated head,” Jungkook grinned, eyes unwillingly flickering to the people walking past.

 

Nobody was looking.

 

While Jungkook was getting better and he was now able to name his feelings as social anxiety, it didn’t make it go away. But still, being able to tease Hwanhee like this, to be rude and crass for fun was something Jungkook was able to do now. He knew Hwanhee wouldn’t be upset, he knew Hwanhee wouldn’t stop being his friend and Jungkook knew Hwanhee would say something if Jungkook crossed a line. Jungkook wasn’t as afraid anymore.

 

The feeling was liberating.

 

“Well, there might be something to that,” Hwanhee laughs, a proud shimmer in his eyes as he looked at Jungkook. While they both wouldn’t be as close as Jungkook were with the others, they cared for each other deeply and Hwanhee was proud of every little step Jungkook took. Even if his own pride had to take a beating. “Just never say that to Dongyeol or I will never have peace. He is entirely too smug about being the one who made the first move,” Hwanhee huffed with a soft smile, his love for his boyfriend clear in his eyes. It made Jungkook feel warm inside, but also a tiny bit jealous. He doubted Taehyung would ever look like that when he spoke of Jungkook.

 

“So, are you ready to tell me how things really are or are you gonna evade the question like you did twenty minutes ago?” Hwanhee asked, giving Jungkook an almost challenging look.

 

“You’re terrible,” Jungkook huffed, scowling at his friend. “Things are fine,” Jungkook muttered and looked away, fidgeting a little with his camera.

 

“Maybe try that again with some conviction,” Hwanhee said soft, his hand gently touching Jungkook’s arm. Jungkook couldn’t help but wonder why he no longer felt uncomfortable with the other man’s casual touching. “So, let me guess things are still awkward between you all sometimes,” he asked, gently taking the camera from Jungkook and putting it down in the bag he had been carrying.

 

“Hoseok is still a little weird,” Jungkook confessed, feeling the words escape him a little better without Hwanhee’s eyes on him. “He still jumps away when Tae is there, but he at least hugs me now. Namjoon and Yoongi are actually the only ones who bring ‘it’ up,” Jungkook trailed off unsure what to add to that.

 

“You almost died, I guess they don’t know what to say,” Hwanhee said softly, eyes flickering away from the bag as he zipped it closed.

 

“We were watching a drama the other day, you know. All of us,” Jungkook said, eyes following a kid as he raced past them his mother hot on his heels. “And apparently the big secret plot twist was that the female lead got Hanahaki. I mean, it was really well done, it looked so realistic with her coughing rose petals and all, but…” Jungkook looked at his hands, they were still bony and ugly, his hands covered with weird scarring from the IV.

 

Jungkook had so many scars.

 

“Everyone got really weird and didn’t wanna talk about it,” Hwanhee finished for Jungkook.

 

“Yeah, I mean Hoseok got all pale and Jimin began to bring in snacks, like everything they had. You couldn’t see the table once he was done emptying the kitchen. He even brought in a bag of rice, Hwanhee, a whole fucking bag of rice,” Jungkook huffed, nervously tugging at his sweater sleeve. Sure, it was summer and hot outside, but Jungkook still got easily cold so he always had to wear at least a thin cardigan. Besides, he didn’t want anyone to see how horrible his body looked.

 

Jungkook was never going to be normal again.

 

“Somehow, I'm not surprised,” Hwanhee giggled, eyes still thankfully on the people around the park and not at Jungkook. “Jimin does the weirdest things when panicking. I mean, I can’t even remember how often he has thrown his phone in my face because Yoongi was calling him during study group. And we both know Yoongi is a genius, but it’s not like he was going to find out Jimin was studying economics behind his back just from a phone call,” Hwanhee laughed softly shaking his head fondly at the memory. “You know that was actually how he lost his phone back in January, freaked and threw it out the window. Still, the rice might have been a bit too much,” Hwanhee said with a soft voice, placing his hand on Jungkook’s knee.

 

“It didn’t get better when Yoongi decided to break the tension by pointing out how fake some of it was and then Namjoon chimed in trying to point out every single historical inaccuracy,” Jungkook muttered feeling glum. Beside him Hwanhee was laughing so much it sounded a little bit like he couldn’t breathe. “Jin tried to make both of them stop but when that failed he joined Jimin in the snack transfer from the kitchen, only Jin tried to clear the table for odd food items as Jimin continued to drag in odd shit. Hoseok was looking like he was about to burst into either laughter or tears and Tae…Well, Tae just sat there doing nothing. It was a mess,” Jungkook huffed, feeling a little lighter with Hwanhee’s laughter. It was nice someone else could see how absolutely ridiculous the whole thing had been. Jungkook finally felt comfortable with looking at his friend again.

 

“Fuck, I wish I could have seen it,” Hwanhee gasped, holding his stomach and trying to catch his breath. Eyes briefly flickering to Jungkook’s before he returned to look at the people strolling past. “So, I take it you being sick is still a sore subject,” he grinned, nudging Jungkook softly with his elbow.

 

“You don’t say,” Jungkook huffed, leaning back and finally allowing his frustration to rush out. “I know they worry, and I get it. It’s not like we can all sit down and go ‘hey remember when Jungkook was an idiot and almost killed himself only to find out his soulmate also kinda loved him back? Yeah fun times, fun times’. I…I can’t even talk with them about it. Yoongi, Hoseok and Namjoon are the only ones who act natural. And Hoseok still looks like a kicked puppy if I try to ask him how he is. It…” Jungkook trailed off, fists clenched in frustration by his sides.

 

“Is frustrating,” Hwanhee finished calmly, reaching out to take Jungkook’s hand. “I mean, I get how they feel, I wasn’t particularly fond of almost losing you either,” Hwanhee sighed, squeezing Jungkook’s hand tightly.

 

“Why is it so easy for you to talk about it?” Jungkook asked, leaning into Hwanhee’s side and relaxed. He was getting a little tired so the cool breeze suddenly seemed colder than it actually was.

 

“I don’t know,” Hwanhee frowned, leaning his head against the top of Jungkook’s. “But there is no point in not talking about it. It happened and you all need to move on. There will be other dramas, movies or books with Hanahaki. If you deny it happened you just cut the wound deeper, making the scarring worse,” Hwanhee muttered, voice deep and calm.

 

“This is slightly worrying,” Jungkook said in a displeased voice. “You’re making sense. Should I expect the end of the world within the next few days? Because after all the shit I’ve been, that would be anticlimactic,” Jungkook huffed wryly, unable from stopping a smirk forming on his lips.

 

“Be nice.” Hwanhee grinned, tugging at Jungkook’s hand. “Or I'm texting Tae to talk about how wonderful a date we’re having,” he teased, making Jungkook close his eyes and groan.

 

“Please don’t,” Jungkook begged, eyes still closed. “He was working himself into a huff about me being here with you alone. It’s a minor miracle that he didn’t try and hide in my camera bag,” Jungkook said, eyes flickering open. For a second Jungkook swore he could feel Taehyung’s presence but he shook it off. Taehyung was out running. The restless, searching feeling he always got when exercising flowing through the bond. 

 

“It’s a joy to know I freak him out just by walking around next to you,” Hwanhee smirked, sounding a little too proud of himself.

 

“You two really need to get over what the fuck happened because I'm not getting involved,” Jungkook muttered with an eye roll.

 

“So how is darling Tae?” Hwanhee asked, releasing Jungkook’s hand in favor of throwing his arm over Jungkook’s shoulder. “Is he getting used to having a soulmate or is he still acting like the ground you walk on turns to gold?” Hwanhee asked, holding Jungkook close and making him feel warm again.

 

“Tae is…” Jungkook trailed off unsure what to actually say. Things were better now. Tae was finally listening to him, but there was still sometimes where it felt like Taehyung was hiding something. Jungkook knew it had to be hard for Taehyung to accept being straddled with something he didn’t want, but Taehyung genuinely did seem to love Jungkook, so he wasn’t sure exactly what it was that was eating away at Taehyung.

 

“So Tae is being his usual closed-up self? Typical.” Hwanhee sighed, eyes looking very the people passing them. “I keep forgetting that we used to be pretty close friends,” Hwanhee smiled when he felt Jungkook look at him curiously.

 

“You ever gonna tell me what happened?” Jungkook asked with a sigh. He had tried to ask Taehyung so many times, but his soulmate was impossible. Sometimes it felt like Jungkook knew nothing about him.

 

“I already told you, that’s not my place,” Hwanhee replied softly. “Tae needs to tell you himself, besides I only know my side of the story. I have a feeling that Taehyung’s version is a bit different,” Hwanhee said, eyes flickering down to Jungkook. “I know Tae is a dick and hard to live with, but he does love you,” Hwanhee added with a soft squeeze around Jungkook’s shoulders.

 

“I know,” Jungkook muttered, eyes flickering away from Hwanhee’s dark eyes. “It’s just… hard.”

 

“That’s life for you, Kookie,” Hwanhee said, a bitter tinge to his words. “But remember you made it this far. You know for sure that you’re soulmates, you know there will never be anyone else and you love each other. Sure, things won’t be perfect, but you have the opportunity to live the happily ever after everyone dreams of if you just dare to take it,” Hwanhee mumbled as he looked down. Jungkook couldn’t help but remember how he and Hwanhee had talked about Dongyeol being Hwanhee’s soulmate. Jungkook was pretty sure they had to have had a bond, it had just been weak until they got together. But he couldn’t blame his friend for being afraid.

 

Jungkook was lucky. He had Taehyung and he knew there wouldn’t be anyone else. It was the whole point of soulmates, that once you fell in love it was practically impossible to fall out of again. Jungkook knew Taehyung would love him to his dying breath, but Hwanhee didn’t have the same security.

 

Hwanhee would never be sure if the bond he had with Dongyeol was just a weak soul-bond of if it really was the real deal. Jungkook had done so much research on soulmates that he knew it wasn’t unusual to have more than one soulmate. Sometimes the other soulmate was platonic, but that wasn’t always the case. Jungkook knew both Dongyeol and Hwanhee would spend the rest of their life waiting for someone to take the other away, for some bigger and grander love to come and sweep the other of his feet. It was in some way a silly fear, because they were clearly meant for each other, but Jungkook knew all too well how a little stray thought could almost ruin everything. Because how could you rule out that the person you loved wasn’t meant to be with someone else?

 

Jungkook felt an uncomfortable twist in his stomach. After seeing Taehyung fool around with Jihyo he knew how Hwanhee had to feel. It was a terrible thing, loving someone so much and having to live with the fear that they would one day stop loving you.

 

“You are soulmates,” Jungkook said, leaning into his friend’s side and trying to push all his sincerity into his words. “Even romantic soulmates have weak connections sometimes. It takes times, Hwanhee. Trust me, I think I know more about soulmates than anyone,” Jungkook added, trying to make his tone a little lighter.

 

“Dongyeol loves you, nobody will ever be able to take that away. It isn’t the bond that makes you fall in love, it just gives a kick where it’s needed,” Jungkook muttered, eyes following the many people walking past them.

 

It was late afternoon and the sun was shining. Jungkook could see groups of people in school uniforms walk around, some of them their way home, some of them on their way to cram school. But there was also a lot of couples. Some walking hand in hand, others just side by side, their closeness so obvious they didn’t even need to touch for you to know they belonged together.

 

“Don’t be me,” Jungkook muttered, eyes following an older couple as they walked by. “Don’t let your fears ruin your life,” he added with a weak voice.

 

“You didn’t ruin your life,” Hwanhee said, his voice scolding Jungkook softly.

 

“I almost did,” Jungkook said, his throat clogging up with shame. “I almost fucked it all up. I mean just imagine if I had died after Tae formed the bond. I would have killed him, Hwanhee, I would have killed the one person I tried to protect,” Jungkook muttered, surprise rushing through his body when he felt tears dripping down his cheeks.

 

“Kookie,” Hwanhee sighed deeply, before wrapping his arms around Jungkook and engulfing him in a tight hug. “You shouldn't cry about things that didn’t happen. You’re both alive. That’s the important thing,” Hwanhee said firmly, still holding Jungkook close.

 

“But I could’ve-” Jungkook tried to say, his words strangled by all the horror scenarios rushing through his head. It was an ever-present shame, a bitter tint to Jungkook’s happiness. It had all been so close to going wrong. Looking back Jungkook could only stare at everything in horror. It looked more like a miracle that they both hadn’t ended up dead. The good scenarios involved Taehyung never returning from Daegu, the bad would have cost Taehyung his life. The SSS that should have had killed Jungkook would have taken Taehyung with it as well. “What if I hadn’t woken up, what if I had died? Hwanhee, I almost killed him,” Jungkook sobbed.

 

This wasn’t the first time Jungkook was hit with the all-consuming panic of how close he had been to ruining everything. He had cried about it with his therapist and even spent a whole joined therapy session with Taehyung trying to force out how sorry he was between broken sobs. Taehyung had like always brushed it away, seemingly never wanting the apologies Jungkook needed to give.

 

“And it didn’t happen,” Hwanhee said softly, holding Jungkook close, shielding his tears from the people walking past their little quiet corner of the park. “You both made it and that is the important part. Besides if you’re gonna run around telling me not to worry about Dongyeol you shouldn’t worry about something that didn’t even happen.” Hwanhee muttered against Jungkook’s hair.

 

“Now you’re making sense again,” Jungkook hiccupped, the flow of tears slowly ebbing out. It was still difficult to get a hold of his emotions sometimes. He felt like he was an unstable teenager again, but after having almost all of his emotions suppressed for so long it really wasn’t a wonder that they just burst out of him at odd times now they were free to be expressed. “You have to stop sounding so smart, you make me doubt waking up. Clearly you saying something sensible could only happen in a coma dream,” Jungkook huffed, pressing in closer to Hwanhee.

 

Jungkook heart felt a little lighter when he felt Hwanhee begin to shake in laughter. It was nice that Jungkook could speak freely and crack jokes about him almost dying without hurting his friend’s feelings. Hwanhee had been right. Jungkook almost died, there wasn’t any getting around that and maybe Jungkook needed to find a way to talk to the others about it. Yoongi and Namjoon weren't a problem, they had already talked with Jungkook about it several times. Perhaps Jungkook should try and talk to Hoseok.

 

There was no point in trying to talk to Taehyung.

 

Not yet at least.

 

Jungkook’s soulmate needed more time.

 

“You okay now?” Hwanhee asked after a few minutes in silence. The tears had stopped a while ago, dried by Hwanhee’s t-shirt.

 

“Yeah,” Jungkook muttered, squeezing Hwanhee one last time before he released his friend. Jungkook sometimes wondered what he would have said if people had told him he would end up being this close to Hwanhee after he met him the first time. Jungkook was pretty sure he would have thought they were high or something. He was glad though, to have Hwanhee as his friend now. “I-” Jungkook tried to say, but he hardly got a word out before he was interrupted by Hwanhee.

 

“Don’t say you’re sorry. I would much rather have a wet t-shirt than a sad Kookie,” Hwanhee said softly. “Besides you need to get it out. If my shoulder can help you get through this mess then you can borrow it as much as you like. Just remember that Dongyeol needs it at night otherwise he can’t sleep,” Hwanhee added with a cheeky smile and a small wink that made Jungkook struggle not to burst into laughter.

 

“You’re an idiot,” Jungkook huffed, pushing the other away and scowling at his friend. He didn’t want to make himself sad again. “I was actually going to say I want coffee,” Jungkook said, smirking at Hwanhee who brightly smiled back.

 

“That can be arranged,” Hwanhee said, getting up and wordlessly extending a hand to help Jungkook up from the bench. Jungkook muttered a few curse words under his breath but took the hand anyway. He really was worn out. Still coffee sounded like just the thing right now. “Here, you can borrow this,” Hwanhee said, pulling off his jacket and handing it to Jungkook with a smile.

 

“You were feeling cold a little while ago,” Hwanhee replied to Jungkook’s confused look. “I know you get cold easily and I for one do not want to get yelled at if you get sick or something. I honestly don’t know who would be scarier; Jin or your doctor,” Hwanhee grinned, helping Jungkook with the jacket before he picked up Jungkook’s camera bag and effortlessly slung the heavy thing over his shoulder like it was nothing.

 

Show off.

 

“Yoongi,” Jungkook replied, moving so he and Hwanhee were walking side by side. “Jin will be loud yes, but we both know Yoongi would murder you without leaving a trace,” He added with a teasing smile. He took a deep breath, enjoying the fresh air, even if the face mask did kind of ruin some of it.

 

“I had forgotten Yoongi,” Hwanhee shuddered with a wince, no doubt imagining the havoc Yoongi could unleash if anything ever happened to Jungkook. The older man was very protective –

Jungkook dying in his arms had only made it worse. “Yeah, definitely better you wear that jacket,” He grinned, looking at Jungkook with a smile as they turned down the path that would take them to the park exit. They were just about to reach it when Jungkook suddenly looked up, eyes automatically finding Taehyung’s.

 

“Tae?” Jungkook asked surprised as he soulmate changed direction and jogged over. Taehyung looked tired, but mostly sweaty like he had been running for a while. Jungkook couldn’t help but frown a little because Taehyung only ran at night when it was colder and less crowded. “What are you doing here?” Jungkook asked confused, tilting his head a little to the side as he stared at Taehyung.

 

“Running,” Taehyung gasped, eyes lingering on Hwanhee’s jacket around Jungkook’s shoulders. “I didn’t expect to see you here,” he said, sounding a little too bright considering how worn out he looked.

 

“But I told you I was here with Hwanhee,” Jungkook said, still a bit confused. Taehyung’s composure fell and some of his embarrassment leaked through the bond. Taehyung had gotten good at hiding his emotions from Jungkook oddly fast. It was a relief – because there were sometimes you didn’t want to feel everything your soulmate felt – but at times like this it felt like Taehyung was just pushing Jungkook away.

 

“You did?” Taehyung asked, his surprise feeling a little too bright to be real. Jungkook narrowed his eyes ready to call Taehyung out, but he didn’t get to say a word before Hwanhee began to speak.

 

“It is funny, I could have sworn you were looking for us when you ran past us,” Hwanhee said, his voice oddly innocent. “I mean, you seemed to be searching for something. I saw you run past us at least three times, though it might have been four now that I think about it,” he smirked, stepping a little closer to Jungkook. As expected Taehyung immediately glared at where Jungkook’s and Hwanhee’s shoulders were touching.

 

“I give up,” Jungkook sighed, looking at Taehyung. “Can you just hit each other, kiss and make up or something to get over this shit?” He asked, eyes flickering between his soulmate and his friend.

 

“I'm not kissing Tae again,” Hwanhee grimaced. “Once was more than enough,” he added with a small shudder. Jungkook felt his eye brow go up as he looked at his soulmate in shock.

 

“It was a dare, okay!” Taehyung huffed, scowling at Hwanhee in a way that would have made Yoongi proud. “I won one hundred thousand won and that was the only reason. Stop making it sound like we did something wrong,” Taehyung hissed at Hwanhee who just looked smug and shrugged.

 

Jungkook considered just leaving them and going home alone, but he didn’t want to leave his expensive camera alone with them. They might use it to hit each other over the head.

 

“I don’t even care,” Jungkook sighed, taking Taehyung’s sweaty hand in his, a proof of pure love if you asked Jungkook because that was just moist in all the wrong ways. “Tae, we’re going home to my place, you need a shower and while we wait for you to finish up, Hwanhee can tell me why the hell you decided to kiss. I mean, I understand you did it for the money, but Hwanhee usually has higher standards,” Jungkook huffed, smiling at Taehyung’s offended ‘hey’ and Hwanhee’s laughter.

 

“You deserved that one,” Jungkook muttered, tugging at both of them to follow him. Taehyung followed somewhat unwillingly, but he did lean a little into Jungkook’s side. Jungkook knew Taehyung wouldn’t stop worrying, but perhaps he could get Taehyung to at least trust Jungkook enough to be alone. “I know you’re just here to make sure Hwanhee carries my stuff and that I don’t overdo it, but, Tae, this is too much. You have to trust that I can be on my own and not faint,” Jungkook huffed, hoping Taehyung could feel that he wasn’t mad, just a tiny bit tired.

 

“I know, I know,” Taehyung sighed, shoulder relaxing at he glared at Hwanhee. “I just don’t see why I couldn’t help you when I had the day off,” he said, sounding like a child that had been tricked out of a trip to the movies.

 

“Because I need to be with other people, Tae,” Jungkook said, trying to keep his voice soft. “We already have plans tonight. And besides I was just taking pictures, it wasn’t that exciting,” Jungkook mumbled with an eye roll. He was glad Taehyung could see his smile beneath the face mask. It would have ruined his scolding if Taehyung knew how happy Jungkook were to see him. It had only been a few hours, but Jungkook had missed his soulmate so much.

 

“I’ll try to behave next time,” Taehyung sighed like he was surrendering. “I just worry, I’m allowed to as your soulmate, Kooks,” he huffed, making Jungkook’s stomach flip happily with his words Jungkook would never grow tired of hearing Taehyung call him his soulmate.

 

“I know,” Jungkook said, hoping to God that Taehyung could feel all the things Jungkook couldn’t put in to words. “I'm still telling Namjoon though,” Jungkook said, knowing full well Namjoon would start one of his lectures about personal freedom and the ways of healthy relationships. Jungkook had that talk plenty of times the last few month, it was about time Taehyung suffered as well.

 

The little muttered curse from Taehyung was all Jungkook needed to hear. They were gonna be okay, Jungkook was gonna make sure of it.

 

Jungkook was never letting go of Taehyung again.

 

***

 

3 missed call Yujin

 

Yujin 12:05

Tae, pick up your phone.

 

Yujin 13:23

You can’t keep ignoring me

 

Yujin 13:49

You haven’t picked up your phone in a week, answer me for fucks sake!!!!

 

Yujin 13:49

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Yujin 14:07

You serious? Nothing?

 

Yujin 14:10

TAE

 

Yujin 14:10

ANSWER

 

Yujin 14:10

ME

 

Yujin 14:11

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Yujin 14:12

For fuck’s sake Tae, you can’t keep this up. The fuck happened? You’re even more silent than usual

 

Taehyung 14:17

I'm fine. Just busy. School.

 

Yujin 14:17

Fucking finally, you’re alive. Hurray. Answer you phone or text me back, will you?

 

Yujin 14:18

And school my ass, I know you, Tae, something is up. Spill it.

 

Yujin 14:26

I’ll call Jimin if you don’t answer

 

Yujin 14:30

I mean it, Tae, don’t test me

 

Yujin 14:34

Why won’t Jimin talk to me?

 

Yujin 14:43

TAE ANSWER ME!!!

 

Yujin 14:47

The fuck did you do this time Tae? Did you do something stupid? Please tell you didn’t have to go to the hospital again. I kept that shit secret last time, I won’t do it again. I don’t give a shit how much you beg, if it happened again I'm telling so you can get help

 

Taehyung 14:48

I didn’t do anything. I told you it was an accident last time, okay? And would you stop bringing it up. It’s been over a year. I just have things to do.

 

Yujin 14:49

The fuck is up with you? What aren’t you telling me?

 

Taehyung 14:53

Yujin, will you fucking relax? Just, I have things to take care of okay. Nothing bad but I really don’t have the time for this shit. I'm fine, fit as a fiddle. Ask Jimin.

 

Yujin 14:57

I don’t wanna ask Jimin, I wanna hear it from you. It’s you I want to talk to Tae. It feels like you cut me out of your life completely and I hate it. I was really looking forward to seeing you last time

 

Taehyung 15:02

I had things to do, I told you I was sorry. Don’t see why you need to rub it in all the time. Something came up.

 

Yujin 15:04

I didn’t mean it like that Tae, I just wish you’d come back to Daegu.  Just a day or two. I know you have work and all, but couldn’t you get two days off? You haven’t even met Junyoung yet.

 

Taehyung 15:05

He’s your soulmate, I really can’t see what he needs to see me for

 

Yujin 15:07

Because you’re my fucking brother, you idiot! I want you to meet the man that makes me happy. Aren’t you going to show me your soulmate when you find them?

 

Taehyung 15:10

Sure

 

Yujin 15:12

That sounded comforting, thanks, Tae. I know the thing with Dad did a number on you, but not all soulmates are bad. I'm sure yours will be really nice. They kinda have to, if they have to be settled with your sorry ass.

 

Yujin 15:13

By the way, Mom and Chiwon have been asking about you. They really missed you at mom’s birthday.

 

Taehyung 15:14

Would you stop bringing that up? I said I was sorry. I had things to do.

 

Yujin 15:17   

I didn’t mean it like that Tae, honestly, we all just miss you like crazy. I haven’t seen you in a year. If it wasn’t for Jimin’s Instagram I wouldn’t have known how you even look

 

Taehyung 15:17

Can we not talk about this? I'm on my way home from work

 

Yujin 15:17

Sure, then you can tell me why you didn’t tell me you moved. I got one of my letters sent back.

 

Taehyung 15:19

Jimin moved in with Yoongi. I got his room. I'm closer to the others now.

 

Yujin 15:20

Hmm, good, I guess. But isn’t it a little far away from your faculty? Also, are you ever gonna tell me about this ‘Kookie’ Jimin keeps tagging on Instagram? Looks like the kid is practically living with him. Is he Hoseok’s soulmate or something??

 

Taehyung 15:21

No, just a friend.

 

Yujin 15:23

Okay, still he looks adorable. Actually, if you don’t have time to come to Daegu, do you have an afternoon where I can come to Seoul? I mean even if it’s just a few hours I wanna meet up. And Jimin could keep me company the rest of the day. I haven’t seen him since last year and I really wanna meet Yoongi again.

 

Taehyung 15:25

Maybe, I don’t know. Can we talk about it later? I have an appointment

 

Yujin 15:25

Sure, just think about it, okay? I miss you

 

Taehyung 15:25

Sure, will do

 

Yujin 15:26

So cold, sigh

 

***

 

Jungkook was feeling warm and sleepy. He had had a busy day with both therapy and some shopping with Jimin so it was hard not to doze off.  It was nice lying on the green couch in the café his head on Hoseok’s lab, his best friend’s fingers running through his hair. Jungkook could only hum contently as Hoseok softly scratched his head. 

                                                             

“Don’t fall asleep, Kid,” Yoongi grinned teasingly. Jungkook barely opened his eyes and glared in the direction of his friend. Yoongi just smirked, his head peeking out from behind Jimin who sitting on his lap. Jungkook wanted to stick his tongue out, but that would be too much effort. Instead he just grumbled incoherently under his breath and closed his eyes. Jungkook was way too comfortable to even move.

 

“Let him be,” Seokjin grinned, and Jungkook didn’t even have to open his eyes to know Seokjin was leaning into Namjoon’s side. “Kookie is tired. It’s been a long day. I'm sure Jimin dragged him all over the city,” Seokjin teased. Jungkook could only sigh, because Seokjin wasn’t wrong.

 

Jimin had been by to pick Jungkook up from therapy and upon seeing Jungkook looking sad, the older man had decided to cheer Jungkook up by taking him shopping. Jungkook wasn’t sure it was the way he would have preferred to be cheered up, but he had to give it to Jimin; Jungkook was in a much better mood.

 

The therapist had been talking about Jungkook’s trust issues and how he needed to open up and talk with Taehyung but worst of all she kept talking about how he had to feel, how he had to be mad at Taehyung in order to forgive him properly. Jungkook understood what she was saying, but he felt like he had already forgiven Taehyung. It wasn’t his soulmate’s fault and it wasn’t Jungkook’s either, it had just been rotten luck and bad timing. But her words still kept haunting him.

 

Was Jungkook still mad at Taehyung for rejecting the soul-bond?

 

“So, when did Tae say he would be here?” Namjoon asked. The mention of his soulmate’s name automatically pulled Jungkook out of his own thoughts. He opened his eyes just enough to focus on Namjoon, the older man’s arm around Seokjin’s shoulder on the other couch.

 

“After therapy,” Jimin said, pulling his phone out from his pocket and frowning at it for a second. “Which should have been like thirty minutes ago.”

 

“Sometimes he needs a walk afterwards,” Jungkook mumbled, leaning a little more into Hoseok’s touch, making his best friend laugh softly. Jungkook tried to feel for Taehyung through the soul-bond but all he could feel was frustration and that odd tint of sadness that was clinging more and more to Taehyung’s thoughts. Jungkook knew he should try to ask Taehyung about it, but every time they even breached the subject of Taehyung’s feelings he closed up. He could talk about how much he loved Jungkook for days, but something as simple making Taehyung admit he was having a bad day was like pulling a tooth. “He needs to clear his brain,” Jungkook added, when Jimin continued to frown.

 

“Cut him some slack,” Yoongi muttered at everyone’s surprise. Even Jungkook opened his eyes completely to look at Yoongi. He never defended Taehyung. Never. “This is the first time in months he’s been a little late,” he huffed as a reply to the other’s surprised looks.

 

“I should have let you to beat each other up ages ago,” Jimin muttered dryly with an eye roll. Jungkook didn’t miss how he leaned closer to Yoongi, who was hugging his soulmate tighter. “Who would have known that a fist fight and a few months to get out the last insults would result in this new wonderful friendship?” Jimin teased, kissing the top of the now glowering Yoongi.

 

“I am not his friend,” he huffed and Jungkook had to bite his lip not to begin giggling because Yoongi’s sounded anything but convincing. “I just think Taehyung needs to be given a break considering his model behavior since Jungkook got better. He hasn’t stood us up in ages,” Yoongi muttered before he hid himself behind Jimin under the pretense of leaning back in the couch.

 

Jungkook couldn’t help but smile fondly. While Taehyung and Yoongi were still rather awkward around each other, things were definitely getting better. Taehyung seemed thrilled about the change. Yoongi, not so much. Jungkook couldn’t help but have the oddest feeling that Taehyung and Yoongi had history together. Jungkook knew it involved Jimin, he was the only one Yoongi cared about enough to ever hold a grudge as strong as the one he used to have against Taehyung.

 

Jungkook looked at his friend, some of his still black hair peeking out from behind Jimin’s shoulder. Jungkook missed the old colorful hair his friends used to have. Only Jimin had dyed his hair so it was now a soft pink, looking almost like Seokjin’s hair the first time Jungkook had seen him. Seokjin’s hair was still black, the same with Yoongi and Hoseok, though Namjoon’s was a soft dark brown. Jungkook didn’t dare ask them if they were still keeping their hair dark for him, of if they suddenly had decided to stand less out. It wasn’t an easy question.

 

Besides Jungkook wasn’t sure he would like the answer.

 

Jungkook allowed his eyes to drift over his friends. They looked happy, he mused, smiling as Namjoon continued to tease Yoongi despite his glare. He knew he had changed after the Hanahaki, not just physically, but something had shifted inside his head. Jungkook wasn’t the same anymore.

 

Perhaps he wasn’t the only one feeling like that.

 

“You’re thinking too loudly,” Hoseok said softly so the others wouldn’t hear. Jungkook looked away from the laughing Seokjin, rolling over so he could stare up at his best friend. Hoseok looked pretty, eyes crinkling in the corners as he smiled and Jungkook felt warm inside.

 

Hoseok was smiling again.

 

“And how do you know that?” Jungkook asked, smiling back at his friend.

 

“Your head was making weird noises and I was afraid it was going to explode from overwork,” Hoseok teased, his smile getting even wider as he softly tugged at Jungkook’s hair.

 

“So mean,” Jungkook huffed with a fake pout that made Hoseok giggle. “I will have you know I was thinking about hair colors,” Jungkook said, moving a little so he was lying better on the couch. His sock-clad feet slipped a little against the worn fabric of the couch. Jungkook still wasn’t sure how he was getting away with lying like this, but Owner Noona had only made the rule that there were no shoes allowed in the couches the first time Jungkook had fallen asleep in the café.

 

“Hair colors?” Hoseok asked a little confused, wrinkling his brows. “Why in the world are you thinking about hair colors?” He said, eyes flickering towards Jimin’s newly dyed hair for a second.

 

“I think you would look good with orange hair.” Jungkook mused, narrowing his eyes a little as he looked at his best friend. He tried to change Hoseok neutral brown hair with the bright color inside his head and he had to admit it would change Hoseok completely. He would be even more striking with such an attention-catching hair color. “You know a ginger-like orange, like Jimin used to have. It would suit you,” Jungkook added, secretly enjoying Hoseok’s perplexed expression.

 

“Orange?” Hoseok mumbled, still looking at Jungkook a little weird. “You want me to color my hair orange?” He asked again, sounding a little disbelieving.

 

“Hmm,” Jungkook nodded softly, blinking slowly a few times. He was always so tired. “You’d look pretty,” he smiled, pushing his head against the hand still in his hair.

 

“I’d look like an orange,” Hoseok huffed with a smile, softly scratching Jungkook’s head against.

 

“Can I get my soulmate back for a hug?” Taehyung’s voice suddenly interrupted and both Hoseok and Jungkook turned their heads in perfect synchronicity. “I haven’t seen him since last night,” Taehyung said with a tired smile. Jungkook didn’t miss the tight edge in Taehyung’s voice, and he definitely didn’t miss how his soulmate’s eyes lingered on Hoseok’s fingers in Jungkook’s hair. Jungkook tried to search the bond, but there was no jealousy, just an odd tinge of frustration leaking through.

 

Jungkook could feel how Taehyung was trying to keep him out.

 

“Hey,” Jungkook grinned softly getting up and taking the single step needed to throw his arms around Taehyung. Jungkook felt calmer the moment he folded his arms around Taehyung’s shoulders. Jungkook could feel Taehyung relax the moment they touched, and Jungkook couldn’t stop himself from sighing in relief when the knot under his chest loosened. He had missed Taehyung.

 

“You okay?” Jungkook whispered so softly the others wouldn’t hear, as he clung to Taehyung, breathing in the smell of Taehyung’s shampoo and the warmth coming from his soulmate. Jungkook would never get enough of being this close.

 

“I'm fine,” Taehyung breathed, squeezing Jungkook so tightly to his chest Jungkook felt his breath catch in his throat. “Just exhausted,” he sighed, pressing his head into the side of Jungkook’s neck and breathed in deeply. “It’s been a long day,” he muttered with a last sigh before he pulled back and smiled tiredly.

 

“Come sit,” Jungkook smiled, pulling at Taehyung’s hands. “I’ll get you your coffee,” Jungkook said, running off before Taehyung could protest. Even though Jungkook was doing better and could do plenty of things, for some reason, Taehyung still thought Jungkook couldn’t hold a single cup without collapsing.

 

Jungkook made his way to the counter, ignoring how a customer looked oddly at the fluffy bunny slippers on his feet. Jungkook hadn’t been that impressed with them when Owner Noona had presented them to him but he had to admit it was more practical to slip into the slippers instead of having to take his shoes on everything he went to have a new drink.

 

Jungkook still didn’t know why it had to be bunnies though.

 

The girl in front of him was still waiting for her coffee so Jungkook let his eyes drift over the counter. He couldn’t help but sigh as he looked at the special customer of the month board. It was a new thing Owner Noona had made back in February to stop people from telling her off from being too negative. Jungkook remembered how she used to only have Sleepyface – her longest ever employee – written on the board, but since Jungkook had been discharged, his name had been the only one on the board.

 

Beside the soft blue board with Jungkook’s name on it – surrounded by big pink hearts, because Owner Noona never did anything halfway – hung a big professionally framed pictured of Taehyung covered in bad coffee beans. Jungkook knew it was Yoongi who had given Owner Noona the picture. But why the older woman had decided to hang it in the café was a mystery. Jungkook looked at it, remembering perfectly the day it had been taken. It felt like ages since Taehyung and he had been in that fight.

 

Still, it was not something Jungkook would ever forget.

 

Jungkook looked over his shoulder and smiled as he saw Taehyung being hugged by both Seokjin, Jimin and Hoseok at the same time. Things were different now though. There was no denying that. It wasn’t only Jungkook who was being cuddled anymore. It wasn’t that Taehyung hadn’t been touched by the others, it was just something Jimin had mainly done. Jungkook’s smile got wider when Namjoon got up and also gave Taehyung a big hug. Jungkook knew Taehyung struggled with the feeling of not belonging, but he hoped that it was different now. It wasn’t hard to see how much the others cared for Taehyung now he finally allowed them to show it. The woman in front of Jungkook moved and he hurried to step forward, smiling brightly at owner Noona.

 

“A-” was all Jungkook got to say before the older woman set a cup right him front of him. Jungkook blinked a few times, before he looked up at the smirking woman. “I should really stop being surprised,” Jungkook smiled as he took the cup with a smile. He couldn’t help both breathe in the sweet scent of coffee and vanilla. Even months later it was oddly liberating finally allowing himself to enjoy the drink without hating its connections to Taehyung.

 

“Nah, it makes it all the more entertaining,” Owner Noona grinned, she looked more stunning than usual in her red t-shirt. It made her black eyes look darker and even more cunning than usual. Without a word she reached out and taking a chocolate muffin and sat it on a small plate, a lock of her hair escaping her tight bun. “Here give him that too. Hyper looks like he’s about to kneel over and I’ve had enough of that in my café. You’re a bunch of fainting daisies the lot of you,” she huffed making Jungkook wince.

 

“Okay, in Tae’s defense he didn’t faint. He just got dizzy because his blood sugar was too low,” Jungkook muttered, remembering how his soulmate had just suddenly collapsed a few weeks prior. Jungkook had never been more afraid in his whole life. Thankfully Taehyung was just an idiot who had forgotten to eat anything the whole day. Still, it had been a horrible reminder for Jungkook. He understood the others so much better now, how afraid they must have been, the thoughts running through their head.

 

He wished he could talk to them about it.

 

“Which is why I'm giving you a fainting-preventive muffin,” Owner Noona smirked, giving Jungkook a look that suffocated all his protest. “Go cheer Hyper up, his long face is making me annoyed,” she huffed, turning away before Jungkook could even hand her his money.

 

“One day you have to let me pay again,” Jungkook said loud enough for her to hear even at the other end of the counter.

 

“Go away, Cutie,” She smiled back, stuffing the lock of her black hair behind her ear. She turned and smiled brightly at him, reminding Jungkook that she was barely a few years older than himself. She really was beautiful and if Jungkook didn’t know she would kill him for even asking, he wished he could take some photos of her. She would look stunning if she posed like an old historical empress or something. “I'm not taking your money, now go and kiss your soulmate while I'm not looking,” she winked before turning to the confused-looking customer, her teasing smile turning into a sour glare.

 

Jungkook could only shake his head fondly, sighing in surrender as he walked away. He would never understand Owner Noona but he had the oddest feeling they were kind of friends now. Or maybe she was his sassy new godmother there to kick ass for him and then kick his ass for not standing up for himself.

 

“Here,” Jungkook said as he put down the coffee and muffin in front of Taehyung. “You’re not allowed to faint from low blood sugar anymore, I think,” Jungkook added when Taehyung stared at the muffin in surprise.

 

“I didn’t faint,” Taehyung huffed, looking over his shoulder where Owner Noona was proudly showing off the picture of Taehyung covered in coffee beans to someone. “But when offered it’s impolite to refuse,” Taehyung muttered giving the muffin a hungry look, as Jungkook sat down next to him, slipping his feet out of the slippers and cuddling into his soulmate’s side. As soon and Jungkook was comfortable against Taehyung he swung his feet up into Hoseok lap, immediately feeling his best friend wrap his fingers around Jungkook’s ankle.

 

The familiarity of the touch made Jungkook smile contently as he pressed against Taehyung who was trying to eat his muffin without dropping it on Jungkook’s head.

 

“So, Tae,” Jimin said, suddenly serious as he twisted a little on Yoongi’s lap so he could look at Taehyung a little better. “Yujin called. Again.” Taehyung glanced up at Jimin, his eyes oddly cold by the mention the unfamiliar name.

 

 “Who’s Yujin?” Jungkook asked, looking between them. He had never heard Taehyung mention anyone named Yujin, but going by the way Jimin was looking at Taehyung he had a feeling that whoever this Yujin were, they meant a great deal. Jungkook tried to look at Hoseok thinking he might know who they were talking about, but his best friend looked just as confused as Jungkook was. Only Yoongi seemed to know what the hell was going on. But Jungkook knew Yoongi would never tell.

 

“It’s nothing. You don’t need to worry about it.” Taehyung said, his voice hard and indifferent giving Jimin a sharp look. The two childhood friends stared at each other for a moment and Jungkook could almost feel how they were communicating silently with each other. The silent exchange ended when Jimin huffed and looked away a second.

 

“It on you then, Tae,” Jimin said, looking up again and gave Taehyung a look that clearly meant he had more to say, but would keep his mouth shut. For now.

 

Jungkook looked between the two, not really sure what to do. It wasn’t like usual for Taehyung and Jimin to act like this.

 

“So how was work then?” Jimin asked tensely. He leaned backwards, arms crossed and lips pursed in annoyance as he scowled at Taehyung, but he moved a little too quick, almost toppling off Yoongi’s lap. Yoongi had to grab a hold of Jimin’s waist to stop him from falling to the floor and Yoongi let out an impressive string of curses that made Jungkook lift his eyebrows due to their creativity.

 

At least something didn’t change.

 

“Boring,” Taehyung mumbled as he stuffed the last bit of muffin in his mouth, acting as if he and Jimin hadn’t just had a silent fight. “But at least nothing was wrong so I got to make homework while I observed today so that was something,” Taehyung said as he leaned forward to take a sip of his coffee. Jungkook couldn’t help but groan as he was jostled.

 

He had just gotten comfortable.

 

“You’re cuddly today,” Taehyung grinned as he put the cup down and leaned back so Jungkook could go back to rest against his chest.

 

“Bad time at the therapist,” Hoseok said softly, squeezing Jungkook’s ankle. “And Jimin dragged him around the city to shop, the poor child is tired,” he teased, grinning at Jungkook who no doubt looked like a child as he pouted in protest. Jungkook could feel himself grow tired again.

 

“I didn’t drag him,” Jimin protested loudly, making Yoongi look up at his soulmate with a glare. “He came willingly,” Jimin added, crossing his arms so quickly he almost slid off Yoongi’s lap again.

 

“Will you stop shouting?” Yoongi snapped, as he once more grabbed hold of Jimin’s waist. “I need my ears to make a living. Also sit still or I'm letting you fall to the floor the next time,” he hissed, narrowing his eyes at his soulmate.

 

“You would never,” Jimin huffed, giving Yoongi a challenging look. “You love me too much to bruise me,” Jimin smirked, leaning into Yoongi and coming awfully close. Jungkook frowned a little. He really hoped they wouldn’t start kissing and get thrown out. Again.

 

“You wanna test that?” Yoongi asked, leaning even closer into Jimin.

 

“Oh my God stop it,” Hoseok whined, hiding his head in his hands. “I do not want to see your foreplay nor do I want to hear about your freaky kinks. Keep it private. There are children present,” he huffed, lifting his head and gesturing at Jungkook.

 

“I'm not a child,” Jungkook huffed at the exact time both Yoongi and Jimin protested; “That wasn’t foreplay!”

 

“I was talking about Namjoon.” Hoseok huffed at Jungkook, before turning to the couple. “Yes, it was. I used to live with Jimin. I would know how your foreplay looks.”

 

“Well, this took an interesting turn,” Seokjin said, looking from the blushing soulmate pair to Jungkook who was back at pouting at Hoseok. “What about you my dear?” He asked turning to look at Namjoon who looked a little awkward, “You got anything to add to this mess?”

 

“Not particularly, no,” Namjoon replied, coughing a little as he looked away from Jimin and Yoongi who was now bickering in hushed voices at each other. “Though I do have to say you look incredibly beautiful today,” Namjoon said with a soft smiled, giving Seokjin a sappy look.

 

Jungkook didn’t miss the pink tint to Seokjin’s cheeks and had to bite his lip not to start laughing at how married they were. Jungkook really hoped one of them would give in and propose soon. Now he had been out to buy rings with both of them and it was getting harder and harder to keep the whole thing a secret.

 

“Jungkookie,” Hoseok whined, gently falling sideways so he was awkwardly lying over Jungkook’s legs. “You have to stop them, they are being couple-ish and gross,” he groaned, voice muffled against Jungkook’s stomach.

 

“It’s okay, Hoseok,” Jungkook grinned, clapping his best friends shoulder. “If they get too bad I can just kiss Tae and they will all run away,” he teased, something settling his chest as he looked at his friends. It was so normal and perfect that Jungkook could help but beam, his heart swelling in his chest.

 

It was times like these he was glad he was alive.

 

He felt Taehyung lean in over him to kiss his temple. Jungkook twisted his head to look up and felt a strange happiness flow through the bond.

 

“You’re happy,” Taehyung smiled softly as response to Jungkook’s inquiring look. Jungkook’s heart beat a little faster in his chest and he didn’t know if he wanted to cry or laugh because Taehyung hardly ever smiled like that.

 

“And now you’re doing it too,” Hoseok whined from Jungkook stomach. “I don’t even have to look up, I can feel you giving each other sappy looks. Stop it,” Hoseok complained, his antics making Jungkook giggle.

 

“I’ll stop,” Jungkook grinned, messing with Hoseok’s hair a little. “You can come back to the world now,” Jungkook added with a smile as Hoseok lifted his head.

 

“I don’t like any of you,” Hoseok muttered with an exaggerated eye roll.

 

“You love us, admit it,” Jungkook grinned, wriggling his feet in Hoseok’s lap.

 

“That I do,” Hoseok said, voice suddenly serious. “And I wouldn’t know what to do without any of you,” he added softly, looking Jungkook directly in the eyes.

 

Jungkook could only smile, all the words he wanted to say getting stuck in his throat.

 

“Okay, enough,” Yoongi grumbled from the other couch. “This is getting too sappy for all of us. Namjoon, find something else to talk about,” he commanded, holding Jimin a little closer than before.

 

“The economy, climate change, or, if people are feeling particularly daring, maybe the effects on toxic masculinity on modern society?” Namjoon asked, head leaning onto Seokjin’s shoulder.

 

“Okay, something that does not requires me to get depressed afterwards,” Yoongi huffed, rolling his eyes and hiding his face in Jimin’s side.

 

“Well then, Hoseok how are your graduation project going and are you ready to graduate this spring?” Namjoon asked, all eyes turning to Hoseok who suddenly looked very uncomfortable.

 

“Can we not talk about my project because none of you are actually interested in poetry and I still don’t know what to do? I was thinking about becoming a teacher, but I don’t really wanna be my dad,” Hoseok said leaning back in the couch, looking defeated.

 

“I still don’t get why you keep talking about all these odd jobs,” Yoongi huffed, peeking out from behind Jimin. “We all know for a fact that you’re going to work with me and Namjoon at the entertainment company,” Yoongi said, giving Hoseok a sharp look.

 

“We’ve been over this, Yoongi,” Hoseok said a little tired. “What would I do? You don’t need anyone with a literature degree. What would I even do?” Hoseok asked, head falling back on the couch. Jungkook nudged his best friend with his feet. He didn’t want Hoseok to be sad, but he also wondered why Hoseok was resisting so much when he obviously wanted to work with both Yoongi and Namjoon.

 

“Lyrics, choreography, final approval of the songs, talent scouting,” Yoongi rattled on, eyes narrowing at Hoseok. “Jimin finally confessed he’s been studying business economy on top of his dance degree for the last year, so he will need help with the dance part. He can’t be our receptionist, book keeper and main choreography leader, so that will be you.” Yoongi shrugged, resting his head against Jimin’s arm.

 

“Yoongi is right,” Jimin chimed in, giving Hoseok a hesitant look. “If I'm on the business side of things so I won’t have time to teach dance. And your lyrics are really good,” he added with a bright smile.

 

“Can I at least think about it?” Hoseok sighed, staring up at the ceiling. “I mean, I don’t graduate yet, and there are other things I need to consider first,” he huffed, giving Yoongi a sharp look.

 

“Sure sure,” Yoongi hummed, smiling knowingly. “As long as you think about it and agree,” he grinned.

 

“You’re impossible,” Hoseok sighed deeply, pointedly ignoring Yoongi’s smug expression. “Can we talk about something different?” he huffed, clearly wanting to move on.

 

“Well, I'm still up for the talk about the negative effects of toxic masculinity in modern society if people are interested,” Namjoon said, looking around genuinely interested.

 

“Joonie,” Seokjin said, taking his soulmates face between his hands. “Never ever change, you absolutely amazing man,” Seokjin said before he began to laugh, the others soon joining in. It was Namjoon’s complete confusion that made Jungkook begin to laugh.

 

He looked around the group, feeling happiness bobble in his chest. This was his life now, pressed against his soulmate and sharing his body heat, his best friend holding his ankle and his other friends laughing around him. Jungkook felt complete and so happy he could burst.

 

Jungkook twisted his head to look at Taehyung. As soon as their eyes met they both smiled brightly. Taehyung finally allowed some of his feelings to leak through the bond and Jungkook was met with the same blinding happiness that was humming inside his own chest. Once more he wanted to thank the universe for giving him Taehyung, for giving him his friends. Jungkook didn’t care about the pain and the suffering of all the problems lurking in the corners. Jungkook had his friends and he had his soulmate and that was all he needed.

 

Jungkook was happy.

 

***

 

Jungkook 14:46

Are you okay?

 

Tae 14:46

Sure, why?

 

Jungkook 14:47

You just felt oddly sad all of the sudden, like really really sad. You sure you’re okay?

 

Tae 14:47

Oh, well I was reading up on some endangered species and doing some population calculations and more of them would die out than I liked. That must have been it

 

Jungkook 14:47

Oh, remind me to hug you when you get over then.

 

Tae 14:48

I promise I'm fine

 

Jungkook 14:48

Yeah yeah, just, you seemed really sad, Tae.

 

Jungkook 14:48

You’d tell me if something was wrong, right?

 

Tae 14:48

Of course, I would, don’t be silly

 

Jungkook 14:49

Good, don’t do more of those calculations. Go look at pandas. They’ve rebounded and are no longer endangered

 

Tae 14:49

Will do, and thank you

 

Jungkook 14:49

You’re my everything, Tae, I get to worry too much, okay?

 

Jungkook 14:50

And I really feel like you need all the hugs

 

Jungkook 14:50

You free tonight?

 

Tae 14:51

Yeah, just have a few more questions to answer and then I'm done for today

 

Jungkook 14:52

Why don’t you come over? Hoseok is out with Yoongi anyway and Jimin has a dance class to teach.

 

Tae 14:52

Uhh, inviting me over when the parents aren’t home

 

Jungkook 14:52

You were just wriggling your eyebrows and making a pervy face, weren’t you?

 

Tae 14:53

I might have, yes

 

Jungkook 14:53

Whatever did I do to deserve you, sigh

 

Tae 14:54

I'm really not sure, but I'm not complaining. Besides there’s no refunds, I'm all yours. But I would love to come over. Take out and a movie?

 

Jungkook 14:54

Sounds just like what we need. You need cuddles. Finish that sad homework and come over

 

Tae 14:54

Will do

 

Tae 14:57

I love you

 

Tae 14:57

You’re my everything

 

Jungkook 14:57

I know

 

***

 

The nightmares all start the same way.

 

Jungkook is back at the hospital, cheeks hollow and eyes sad again. He sits on the bed, those fucking cherry blossoms dangling over his head as Jungkook looks out the window. Taehyung usually walks in, making Jungkook turn and look at him. Taehyung always knows he is dreaming, but he still hates seeing Jungkook like that. His soulmate looks like a mere shell of himself. Like a shadow about to melt away in the sun.

 

Even in his dreams Jungkook is beautiful. His eyes are so large and dark brown, his smile blinding in its splendor. Jungkook’s hair is too long, falling into his eyes and making him look much younger than he is. He’s wearing Taehyung’s sweater, the baggy thing hanging off Jungkook’s shoulders in all its fluffy gray glory. There is nothing but Jungkook and the many flowers around him.

 

The whole scene looks just like when Taehyung was leaving for Daegu.

 

Taehyung wants to wake up.

 

“Taehyung,” Jungkook beams in his dreams, his voice sounding like it normally is yet somehow different. Taehyung knows what will happen, but he is powerless, his sub-consciousness bringing him closer to his nightmarish projection of his soulmate. “I was hoping you’d come back,” Jungkook grins from the bed, hands reaching out to grab Taehyung’s hands.

 

“I’ll always be here,” Taehyung says, holding on to Jungkook. He knows what will happen, knows exactly the words Jungkook will say in a moment. It’s the same every time, but the words still tear Taehyung to pieces.

 

“But you weren’t there,” Jungkook says, voice dull and lifeless. His hands are cold and stiff in Taehyung’s and suddenly Jungkook isn’t breathing. They are no longer in a hospital room but in a morgue taken out of a crime show, the light blueish as Taehyung looks down on Jungkook’s dead body. There are pink petals everywhere, blood still staining Jungkook’s blue lips and Taehyung wants to cry.

 

But he can’t.

 

He never can.

 

“You were too late,” a voice says, sounding like Jungkook but Jungkook is dead. He is lying there, lifeless and barely covered by a white sheet. “I loved you, Tae, but you weren't there,” he says, words as hard as a whip.

 

They burn in Taehyung’s soul, slicing him apart as if he was actually being whipped.

 

“I didn’t know,” he begs, falling to his knees as he holds Jungkook’s hand to his face. “I didn’t know, Kooks, I'm so sorry I shouldn’t have left. Please, please don’t leave me,” Taehyung begs, feeling his chest hurt. Even if it is a dream the echo of the pain he feels is enough to make him gasp. It feels like his whole world is gone, like he is dead too. There is nothing but pain and the cold feeling of Jungkook’s dead hand against his cheek.

 

“See why I didn’t tell you,” Jungkook hisses in his head, the petals seem to multiply under Taehyung so he is now sitting in a pile, the soft petals pressing against him from all sides. “I knew you weren’t worth it, Tae. I knew it was stupid to love you. Dying was better, you couldn’t even be there to save me,” Jungkook snapped, making Taehyung sob.

 

Jungkook was right.

 

“I loved you, Tae,” Jungkook says again, voice soft inside Taehyung’s head. “I loved you so much, but you threw me away, how do expect me to love you now?” Jungkook asks, voice as soft as velvet but the word hitting Taehyung like knives.

 

“I love you!” Taehyung cries loudly. He knows there is no point. Jungkook is dead, he won’t come back. Taehyung could have had everything he ever wanted, but he blew it. Taehyung could have had Jungkook but he was too stupid to even recognize his own soulmate. It was all his fault. “Please, Kooks, please. Don’t leave me,” he cries, a sharp pain tearing through his lungs.

 

“I loved you, Tae,” Jungkook’s voice says again, his words almost caressing Taehyung. “Why couldn’t you love me back?” Jungkook’s voice asks, voice hoarse and broken.

 

Thorns dig into Taehyung’s lungs, tearing him apart as a rose breaks through his ribs, blood covering the pink petals on the floor. A single rose blooming as Taehyung screams.

 

 

Taehyung’s eyes slammed opened as he sat up in bed. He slapped his hands over his mouth, trying to quell a scream that was half formed in his throat as the echo of his dream’s anguish rushed through his entire body. His heart was beating hard against his ribs almost like it was trying to escape. Not that Taehyung could blame it. He didn’t want to be part of himself right now.

 

His eyes flickered down to his side where Jungkook was moving a little restlessly. He was no doubt feeling a little of Taehyung’s phantom pain in his own dreams. Taehyung just hoped Jungkook didn’t wake up. It was enough that Taehyung suffered from bad dreams and lack of sleep. Jungkook had already suffered enough because of Taehyung’s idiocy, there was no reason for him to suffer more.

 

Taehyung gently untangled Jungkook’s hand from his shirt, trying not to wake the younger boy up. Sure, Jungkook was doing better but he was still tired all the time so he should get all the sleep he could. Besides, Taehyung didn’t want him to know about the nightmares. He didn’t want to burden Jungkook with any more of his shit.

 

Taehyung swung his legs out of the bed and stepped onto the cold wooden floor. He wasn’t completely sold on this new apartment, but at least the floors didn’t creak like they did at his new place. Hoseok knew about the dreams only because he heard Taehyung walk around at night.

 

Taehyung made sure to close the door to the bathroom firmly before he turned on the light. Taehyung winced as the bright light hurt his eyes. He blinked a few times before he staggered over to the sink, splashing water into his face and washing away the cold sweat the nightmare had left behind. He felt horrible. He didn’t even have to look at his phone to know he had barely gotten a few hours of sleep.

 

Sure, it wasn’t like he and Jungkook had gotten to bed early, they’d been so caught up a discussion about a movie that it had gotten too late for Taehyung to go home. Bedsides, it wasn’t like they wanted to be apart. With all the extra homework Taehyung had, they hadn’t been able to spend as much time together as Taehyung would have wanted to. He knew Jungkook was fine without him, but Taehyung missed Jungkook’s presence all the time.

 

Taehyung lived for the nights he got to sleep pressed against Jungkook.

 

It was usually the only nights where the nightmares left him alone. Until now that was.

 

Taehyung looked at his own reflection winching at how horrible he looked, there were dark smudges under his eyes and he was looking a little pale. It wasn’t too bad but the oddly pale fluorescent light sure as hell wasn’t making it better, but it was bad enough that Taehyung knew he needed to sleep or the others would begin to ask questions.

 

Taehyung sighed as he looked at his hair. Yoongi was right; he looked like an idiot with only the tips of his hair bleached a tired blond. He really needed to get it fixed somehow, but Taehyung just couldn’t take that step. All he needed to do was just dying his hair another color, actually just making sure that he erased every evidence of him having looked like an overcompensating idiot in an attempt to charm a woman he never even liked that much.

 

But Taehyung couldn’t do it.

 

Taehyung felt that if he dyed his hair he would wash away the last proof of what had happened. Unlike Jungkook Taehyung hadn’t changed. He didn’t look any different. He wasn’t getting sharper, or unfolding his personality in new ways. Taehyung was still the same shithead he had always been, he had just somehow fooled Jungkook into loving him.

 

Taehyung looked at the incongruous hair. A few more weeks and even those last bleached locks would be cut away by Seokjin. No matter how much Taehyung wanted to keep it, it would change and grow out. It was a proof that everything was changing, even his own hair, but Taehyung remained as ruined as he had always been.

 

Taehyung turned around and sat down on the toilet. There was no point in staring at his own reflection. It wasn’t as if it would make a difference if he just kept staring at himself, nothing would ever change. Taehyung couldn’t turn back time. He couldn’t help but sigh deeply, feeling his whole body ache with tiredness. He really needed to sleep but he also knew there was no going back to sleep right now. The nightmare was still too fresh, clinging to his bones and refusing to leave him alone just yet.

 

Taehyung was no stranger to nightmares, actually after his stay in Daegu and the accompanying verbal abuse he had gotten from his uncle, Taehyung had gotten rather used to waking up with bile lurking at the back of his throat and his heart racing. But the old nightmares were nothing like this. They upset him sure, but they had never left Taehyung feeling this shaken. Even now his heart was still beating hard and he could feel his fingers tremble.

 

It annoyed Taehyung because he didn’t use to have nightmares when he was together with Jungkook. The only nights he had nightmare were the ones he spent alone. It was actually partly the nightmares that had made him so reluctant to leave Jungkook alone in the hospital. Well. That and the fact that Taehyung got freaked out by being away from Jungkook for too long.

 

It was odd, Taehyung had used so much time resenting having a soulmate, but now that he had one, he never wanted to be without. Taehyung had had issues imagining living without Jungkook before the bond formed, but only after a few months of them being connected Taehyung couldn’t even imagine not having the comforting presence of Jungkook in the back of his head. Sure, the bond could sometimes be more trouble than good – especially when Taehyung only got Jungkook’s emotions and not their intention.

 

Sitting next to a clearly annoyed Jungkook and having to figure out if it was Taehyung holding him that pissed him off or if it was something else was still a challenge. Taehyung knew that Jungkook felt the same way, and sure sometimes they misunderstood something, but that at last they were getting better at that.

 

Or rather Jungkook were.

 

Taehyung felt like banging his head against the sink. Like always Jungkook was perfect. Logically Taehyung knew Jungkook had had months to get used to the bond, but Taehyung just felt like a bumbling idiot. Jungkook could spend hours without Taehyung but Taehyung still couldn’t go more than an hour or two before he began to frantically text Jungkook. Jungkook never had trouble sleeping, but if Taehyung was alone he couldn’t relax and his sleep would be riddled with nightmares.

 

Sometimes it was frustrating that Jungkook could effortless be without Taehyung, but Taehyung couldn’t function at all if Jungkook wasn’t near.

 

Taehyung leaned back, his whole body aching for the feel of a mattress underneath him. It was like his body was falling asleep but his mind was still wide awake, buzzing with leftover panic and frustration.

 

It felt like they had everything build up perfectly like castles in the sky, but Taehyung was a crack in the glass. A tiny fleck of weakness that would make it all come crashing down around their heads.

 

Taehyung turned his head around as he heard the door click open.

 

“Tae?” Jungkook asked, his voice slurred with sleep. “Why are you up?” He asked, leaning into the doorway almost as if he was propping himself up so he wouldn’t fall over sleeping.

 

“I was just getting a drink of water,” Taehyung lied as he got up from the toilet. “Why are you up?” He asked as he walked the few steps over to his soulmate.

 

“I woke up and you weren't there,” Jungkook muttered as he leaned forward, trusting Taehyung to catch him one hundred percent. “I missed you,” he breathed as he nuzzled into Taehyung, somehow trying to make himself smaller so he could fold into Taehyung’s arms and rest his head on Taehyung's chest. Unfortunately, Jungkook seemed to have forgotten that he was both a little broader and taller than Taehyung so he only ended up being bend awkwardly into Taehyung’s embrace, his head lying uncomfortably on Taehyung’s shoulder. Jungkook whined pitifully and Taehyung couldn’t help but smile a little at his soulmates antics.

 

“Come on, back to bed,” Taehyung grinned, feeling the panic from his nightmare finally dissipate now he was holding Jungkook in his arms. Jungkook always made Taehyung feel better. Without Jungkook Taehyung would die. “You’re falling asleep standing up, you idiot,” Taehyung teased, kissing the side of Jungkook’s head softly. He was feeling much better now, though the thoughts were still there, they were just silenced for a brief second by the wave of calmness that Jungkook’s touch always brought Taehyung.

 

“Then you sleep too,” Jungkook mumbled, eyes closed as he hummed softly, pressing closer to Taehyung.

 

“I will, Kooks,” Taehyung smiled, sneaking in a last peck. He didn’t know why, but he couldn’t stop kissing Jungkook when he was close like this. There was something soft and adorable over Jungkook when he was sleepy and Taehyung just couldn’t get enough. “Promise, but we have to get back to the bed first, okay?” Taehyung added, nudging Jungkook hoping to get his soulmate to move a little.

 

“Sleepy,” Jungkook mumbled and sleepily kissed whatever he could reach of Taehyung – in this case his collarbone – before detangling himself and sleepily stumbling over to the bed. Taehyung didn’t follow right away, choosing instead to stay at     the door watching his soulmate, alive and well, waddle to bed. A sense of calm filled Taehyung and he understood why Yoongi still napped with his head on Jungkook’s chest and why Hoseok so often held onto Jungkook’s wrist.

 

Sometimes it was hard to believe that Jungkook was still alive.

 

“Tae?” Jungkook asked, sitting half up in bed and looking accusingly at his soulmate. “You promised,” he pouted and Taehyung felt his heart swell with love. How the universe had ever come to the conclusion that he deserved Jungkook as his soulmate was a mystery to him, but he was selfish enough to take it.

 

Jungkook was everything.

 

“I'm coming,” Taehyung grinned, loving how silly Jungkook was when he was sleepy.

 

Taehyung turned off the light, walking over and settling down next to Jungkook. He was about to roll up and curl around a pillow like he had done before, when he felt Jungkook scoot closer. Confused he turned over, facing Jungkook only to suddenly find his arm filled with the other man. Taehyung could only lie stunned as Jungkook wiggled about, finally settling with his back pressed firmly against Taehyung’s chest as Jungkook tugged at one of his arms to fold around him.

 

“I sleep better when you hold me,” Jungkook yawned, almost as if he could read Taehyung’s confusion. He probably could, but Taehyung still felt a little thrown. He didn’t hesitate to immediately fold himself around Jungkook as well as he could, his whole body buzzing pleasantly from their closeness.

 

“Night, night,” Jungkook muttered sleepily, almost fully sleeping already.

 

“Night, Kooks,” Taehyung said softly, his whole body finally relaxing. He was suddenly feeling sleepy, his head less of a mess. He didn’t know if it was the bond, or just Jungkook’s sleepiness that affected him, but he was grateful. Taehyung’s heart skipped a beat when Jungkook pressed Taehyung’s hand against his chest. “I love you,” Taehyung muttered, closing his eyes and breathing deeply.

 

There was no response.

 

Jungkook was already fast asleep.

 

***

 

Namjoon 10:21

Jungkook I forgot the ring

                                                                                                   

Namjoon 10:22

Fuck

 

Namjoon 10:23

Oh, no I have the ring it’s in my jacket pocket

 

Namjoon 10:25

KOOKIE THE RING IS GONE

 

Namjoon 10:26

Oh no, it’s still in my pocket. Oops

 

Jungkook 10:31

Seriously, Namjoon, you need to relax. I promise it’s gonna be okay. It’s not like Jin will say no

 

Namjoon 10:31

Don’t jinx it! Gotta go, Jin is looking at me weird.

 

Namjoon 10:32

But thanks kid. Still really bad timing he wants us to go to the museum after all the time it took to plan tonight.

 

***

 

Jin 10:33

Joonie is acting weird. Do you think he guessed I'm gonna propose?

 

Jin 10:33

Now he’s flipping over something. He keeps yelling keys… Has he told you anything?

 

Jin 10:33

Shit the ring!

 

Jin 10:33

Phew I got it, but Joonie is still looking a little pale.

 

Jungkook 10:34

You two really are perfect for each other

 

Jin 10:35

I feel like you mean more to that, but we’re at the museum now so I’ll talk to you later. I’ll be too busy hearing the love of my life complain about the lack of female representation in art

 

Jungkook 10:35

Shut it, you love him and wanna marry him

 

Jin 10:35

That I do ha ha, I just hope he’ll say yes

 

***

 

Jungkook 12:57

So??? What did he say

 

Jin 13:04

I haven’t asked him yet. There were so many people at the museum

 

Jungkook 13:04

Jin! You took him to his favorite place so you could ask him there

 

Jin 13:04

Yeah, well we’re on the way to the café now. I think I'm going to do it there

 

Jungkook 13:05

Are you sure?

 

Jin 13:05

Yeah, Joonie is really happy. I knew he’d like the special exhibition.

 

Jungkook 13:05

That was sorta the whole point of you trying to keep it a secret for him for two whole months. You even went and deleted his newsletters so he wouldn’t go without you

 

Jin 13:05

Don’t be mean to me or I won’t cook you dinner tomorrow. Okay we’re here, wish me luck

 

Jungkook 13:06

Good luck, and ask him!

 

***

 

Namjoon 13:20

I need to take you to the museum. You have to see this exhibition Jin found. I hadn’t heard about it at all but, wow, Kookie you need to see it

 

Jungkook 13:20

Have you asked Jin yet?

 

Namjoon 13:21

No, too many people. Besides I’ll do it tonight. So far he just thinks I’ve booked a table to celebrate our move to Seoul

 

Jungkook 13:21

You two are too much

 

Namjoon 13:22

Hey be nice, I will ask him. He’s getting me coffee right now before we’ll head to the park. Owner Noona seems a bit odd. She keeps glaring at me for some reason. Did I do something wrong?

 

Jungkook 13:23

Not as far as I can remember, no. I mean you did kinda forget to listen to her at all the other day because you were lost in your book. But she usually forgives you for that with a burnt coffee.

 

Namjoon 13:23

Ugh, yeah I got that yesterday. Now she’s glaring at Jin…Anyway he’s coming back now. Two hours till the dinner

 

Namjoon 13:24

FUCK THE RING

 

Namjoon 13:24

It’s still in my pocket

 

Jungkook 13:24

Why Jin loves you is a fucking mystery

 

***

 

Jungkook 14:04

Soooo?

 

Jin 14:04

Yerin kept glaring at me. I couldn’t

 

Jin 14:04

Sorry, Owner Noona. I keep forgetting you guys don’t use her name

 

Jungkook 14:05

I know who she is. She named me ‘special customer of the month’ every month since I got out of the hospital, remember? It would be polite of me to at least know her actual name. She barely lets me pay for coffee anymore

 

Jin 14:06

She loves you, it’s cute. She keeps huffing about how unfair it is that I got to adopt you first.

 

Jungkook 14:06

Go ask your soulmate to marry you

 

Jin 14:07

Yeah yeah, he got us a table at my favorite restaurant. He wants to celebrate our anniversary of us living together. I mean, it wasn’t what I planned, but it’ll be perfect

 

Jungkook 14:07

Seriously Jin! Don’t you dare chicken out of this now

 

Jin 14:07

I won’t. Promise. And what happened to having respect for your elders

 

Jungkook 14:08

Doesn’t happen when the elders wanna chicken out of making themselves happy and married. You promised you’d make a man out of my father figure.

 

Jin 14:09

Don’t make me soft. I made a sound and now Joonie wanna know why I was cooing at my phone. And I will make an honest man out of Joonie, just give me time to find the perfect moment.

 

Jungkook 14:09

Make it the perfect moment

 

Jin 14:10

Such a bossy child

 

***

 

Namjoon 17:47

Jin is acting weird. I mean all the time in the café he was moving around. He kept on talking about something and then changed the subject

 

Namjoon 17:47

It was weird. Even Owner Noona was acting up.

 

Jungkook 17:49

I'm sure it was nothing.

 

Jungkook 17:49

Tae says hi by the way

 

Namjoon 17:49

You haven’t told him right???

 

Jungkook 17:50

No, but if I had he would think you were dragging your feet as well. No he just asked why I was texting all the time. He was afraid it was Hwanhee

 

Namjoon 17:50

Tae needs to get over Hwanhee

 

Jungkook 17:50

He does and I just told him so

 

Namjoon 17:51

You need me to talk to him?

 

Jungkook 17:51

No I need you to propose to Jin. And shouldn’t you be in a restaurant right about now?

 

Namjoon 17:51

Almost there, we’re in the metro.

 

Jungkook 17:52

Good, go woo Jin!!!

 

***

 

Namjoon 19:07

I can’t!

 

Jungkook 19:08

No, don’t you chicken out! The fuck happened?

 

Namjoon 19:08

He took my hand and looked me deep into my eyes and then…I ran to the bathroom.

 

Jungkook 19:09

You. Ran. To. The. Bathroom…

 

Jungkook 19:10

I'm telling Tae so we can laugh at you together

 

Namjoon 19:10

I panicked

 

Jungkook 19:11

The ring is in your pocket, Jin will love the ring because I helped pick it out, you planned this for ages and Jin loves you so if you get to philosophical halfway through the proposal he won’t mind. What is there to panic about?

 

Namjoon 19:11

…When you put it that it does sound silly

 

Jungkook 19:11

Your soulmate, who you’ve known since you were four, took your hand and you ran to the bathroom to hide.

 

Namjoon 19:11

 

Jungkook 19:11

Yeah

 

Jungkook 19:12

Now go tell Jin you wanna marry him and adopt all the babies

 

Namjoon 19:12

Once you were so sweet

 

Jungkook 19:12

And then I got to know you and it all changed. Now go propose to Jin! Or do you want me to call Yoongi and tell him you’re about to chicken out?

 

Namjoon 19:13

Fuck no! We both know he would actually come down here and do it for me

 

Jungkook 19:13

Good, now go!

 

Namjoon 19:13

Yeah yeah

 

***

 

Jin 19:07

He ran to the bathroom

 

Jin 19:07

I took Joonie’s hand and he ran to the bathroom

 

Jin 19:07

I’m not doing this

 

Jin 19:07

I can’t.

 

Jin 19:07

I'm just gonna eat my food, smile and then find some other day to do this

 

Jungkook 19:08

I did not survive Hanahaki just for you to chicken out on marrying Namjoon

 

Jungkook 19:08

Oh my God, I didn’t mean it like that

 

Jungkook 19:08

I'm so sorry

 

Jin 19:09

Calm down. I know. And you’re right. Can’t keep telling you that you should have just told Tae when I can’t even propose to Joonie.

 

Jungkook 19:09

I didn’t mean to make you sad

 

Jin 19:09

Kookie, the thought that I almost lost you will always make me sad. But I didn’t lose you. And you and Tae are working it out now.

 

Jungkook 19:10

I'm here to take pictures of your wedding

 

Jin 19:10

You are

 

Jungkook 19:10

Ask him

 

Jin 19:10

Will do

 

Jungkook 19:10

Love you

 

Jin 19:10

Love you too, sweetie

 

***

 

Namjoon 20:33

he said yes!!!!!!!       

         

Jin 20:33

He said yes!


***

 

“Seriously those two,” Jungkook muttered at his phone. Taehyung looked away from the television, staring at his soulmate with some confusion. He had hoped that they would have had some more time just the two of them since everyone else were busy, but Jungkook had been oddly fixated on his phone all day. Taehyung knew it was childish, but he felt ignored.

 

“Namjoon and Jin again?” Taehyung asked, forcing his eyes to return to the television. Honestly, he had no idea what was happening in the movie, but it would be weird to just stare hopelessly at Jungkook while he was texting. Taehyung had worried about who had been able to take so much of Jungkook’s attention, but Jungkook had been quick to scold him when he asked, rambling something about how both Namjoon and Seokjin needed him to kick their ass to have anything done.

 

“Yeah,” Jungkook muttered, dropping his phone on his stomach. “I’m waiting for them to reply. If I don’t hear anything soon I'm gonna call Yoongi and have him kick their ass,” Jungkook muttered, head tilting so he could scowl at his phone.

 

“And you still can’t tell me what the fuck is going on,” Taehyung asked, repressing the sigh in his chest. He knew it was so hypocritical of him, but he hated when Jungkook kept secrets. It made him feel on edge. There wasn’t even anything in the emotions coming from Jungkook that was able to clue Taehyung in on what was going on. Taehyung could only feel excitement and impatience from his soulmate. Taehyung looked away from the television, and down to where Jungkook was lying on his chest. His soulmate seemed only content just lying against Taehyung and not doing anything but texting.

 

It was almost as if Taehyung’s presence was all Jungkook needed to feel happy.

 

“Nope,” Jungkook said, popping the p. He twisted his head up meeting Taehyung’s eyes and smiling widely. “It’s a secret,” he grinned and for just a second he looked like the old Jungkook, softer and more childish. Taehyung’s heart twinged painfully at the memory. If it hadn’t been for him and his idiocy, Jungkook wouldn’t have changed.

 

Taehyung couldn’t stop himself from searching his soulmates eyes. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for, resentment, anger, disappointment or love. It didn’t make sense inside his head that Jungkook loved him. Taehyung could feel the warm feeling coming from Jungkook, but it felt different than his own and it confused him.

 

“I love you,” Taehyung said, eyes still locked with Jungkook’s. The air between was charged and Taehyung wanted to reach down and kiss Jungkook. He wanted to hear his soulmate sigh as their lips met, feel how Jungkook relaxed and how he finally allowed Taehyung to feel everything he was feeling without holding back.

 

“I know,” Jungkook breathed, eye flickering down to Taehyung’s lips and up to his eyes again. “You’re my everything,” he said, pushing himself a little closer to Taehyung. All Taehyung could think about was kissing his soulmate.

 

A single loud beep rung thought the apartment and Jungkook jumped in his arms. Another beep followed and before Taehyung could even think, Jungkook had turned his head away and was fumbling for his phone.

 

“YES!” He yelled as he looked at his screen, turning to look at Taehyung with a blinding smile. “Namjoon and Jin are engaged,” he grinned sitting up and beginning to furiously type away at his phone no doubt writing both Yoongi, Jimin and Hoseok. Taehyung felt his own phone buzz and with a tired sigh he pulled it form his pocket seeing a line of notifications appear as it buzzed in his hands. Now they were all in the group chat.

 

Taehyung huffed, looking to where his soulmate was grinning and even if he wanted to be annoyed he couldn’t really muster the feeling. Not when Jungkook looked like Christmas had come early and all Taehyung could feel form the bond was blinding joy. He opened up his phone and sent a quick congratulation to both Namjoon and Seokjin. It really was about time those two got their shit together.

 

He dropped the phone on the table and learned forward, wrapping both arm around Jungkook’s middle.

 

“Something tells me you were involved in this,” Taehyung hummed, resting his head on Jungkook’s shoulder. He couldn’t stop his eyes from flickering to the red scar on Jungkook’s throat. Taehyung knew it would never go away. Sure, the scar would fade, leaving only a strip of pale skin, but it would forever be a reminder to Taehyung that his soulmate had needed to have his throat cut open just so he could breathe.

 

It would always remind Taehyung about how close he had come to lose the only person he had ever truly loved.

 

“I helped both of them buy rings,” Jungkook grinned unaware of Taehyung’s dark thoughts. Taehyung would always be happy that he learned how to separate his feeling from the bond. He never wanted Jungkook to feel any of the darkness swirling inside his own head. “I helped Jin out in early spring and then about a month ago Namjoon asked me to help him out with buying a ring as well. Since then both of them have been planning to propose today,” Jungkook added, relaxing completely against Taehyung, his head falling a little to the side so Taehyung could kiss the side of his throat.

 

“Those idiots,” Jungkook grinned as he got another text. “They proposed at the same time,” Jungkook said shaking his head. Taehyung couldn’t help but smile. Jungkook looked so fond and happy it was hard to stay sad.

 

“I'm not surprised,” Taehyung grinned, kissing Jungkook’s throat again. Now that he could just kiss Jungkook whenever he wanted, one kiss was never enough. “I think those two will merge into one being someday. I don’t think I’ve even seen a soulmate pair that closely connected before,” Taehyung hummed, watching Jungkook’s fingers dart over the screen of his phone. Taehyung could hear his own phone buzz, but he didn’t want to move because he knew that Jungkook would tell him all the important details anyways.

 

“Jimin and Yoongi aren’t far behind,” Jungkook muttered a little distractedly, frowning a little at the phone. “You should see them in the morning. It’s like they practice who goes where and does what. I still haven’t figured out how they do as they do,” Jungkook said, the frown disappearing as he began to giggle. “Speaking of Jimin and Yoongi, you want BBQ or do you want to try this new place Jimin has found tomorrow? We’re going out to celebrate the engagement and Jimin and Yoongi are currently auguring over where to go as usual. Me and Hoseok thinks BBQ is the safe choice since we’re all going and that way we can all get something we can eat. You know how Namjoon is about shellfish and you’re pickier than any of us,” Jungkook said softly, wriggling a little as Taehyung accidentally tickled his throat.

 

“BBQ,” Taehyung sighed, beginning to feel ignored again. “And I'm not picky-” he protested before Jungkook interrupted him.

 

“You’re just careful about what you eat,” Jungkook finished with a laugh. “Yeah yeah, we know, Dear,” Jungkook sniggered sounding awfully much like Seokjin in that moment. “Just be happy that we love you, Cream puff,” he added using a nickname he knew annoyed Taehyung.

 

“I knew it was a mistake to let you and Yoongi live together,” Taehyung grumbled knowing full well that Yoongi had begun to call him that lately for some unknown reason. Yoongi said it was something about Taehyung having ‘ditched his previous tough image and having become soft because of Jungkook’. It was some complete nonsense, but Taehyung couldn’t really complain. Jungkook sounded so cute when he called Taehyung a ‘cream puff’.

 

“Shush,” Jungkook giggled, “Hoseok and me overruled Jimin so now Yoongi is bragging. Yoongi pays since he is being a dick,” Jungkook grinned, finally dropping his phone and leaning back into Taehyung’s arms.

 

“You must be happy, now one set of your parents are getting married,” Taehyung hummed, enjoying Jungkook hands pressing Taehyung’s arms closer to his stomach. When they were sitting like this and Taehyung could feel how little there was left of Jungkook, it was hard to imagine that Jungkook was actually taller than him now. Jungkook always felt so small. 

 

Sometimes Taehyung wished he could turn back time and ensure that Jungkook would never have to suffer, to make sure Jungkook didn’t know what it felt like to die, what it felt like to have his lungs filled with petals, or worst of all the harsh feeling of being unloved. Taehyung had so many regrets he would never be able to make right. Not in this life at least.

 

If he could go back, he would change everything.

 

“Yeah, now I just have convince Yoongi and Jimin to marry each other and I will come from only happy homes,” Jungkook teased, beginning to sway softly from side to side in Taehyung’s embrace. “I'm happy for them though. I can’t wait for the wedding,” Jungkook sighed happily.

 

“I'm sure you’ll be man of honor,” Taehyung grinned, the mental image of Jungkook in flowery white clothes and a flower crown too cute for him to bear.

 

“You be careful,” Jungkook huffed, “Or I’ll get Jin make you the MC of the night and convince him you’ll have to wear flowers in your hair,” Jungkook teased, twisting his head so he could look up at Taehyung.

 

“And I’ll look handsome as ever,” Taehyung scoffed with a smile. Jungkook looked beautiful, cheeks flushed from happiness and his eyes sparkling with joy.

 

Taehyung could have lost him.

 

“Not with your hair like that,” Jungkook huffed, reaching up and messing with the blonde tips. “You need to re-dye it, Tae,” He suddenly said, voice no longer teasing. “I know it’s a sore subject for all of you, but you really need to fix your hair,” Jungkook said, giving Taehyung a serious look.

 

“It’s fine as it is,” Taehyung said, looking away from Jungkook’s judging look. He wasn’t sure he was ready to let go, to forget all they’d been through. Not yet.

 

“The color of your hair won’t change anything,” Jungkook said his voice suddenly small. “I know you all try to act like nothing happened, but you all need to move on. I'm not dying anymore. I'm not coughing up petals anymore. I won’t die so you should all stop this nonsense and dye your hair again,” he said his voice rushed as he spat out the words.

 

“I'm not going anywhere, so seeing you let your hair look like a mess just to remind yourself of a mistake hurts me, Tae,” Jungkook continued, he pulled free of Taehyung’s arms so he could turn and look at his soulmate properly. “I'm never leaving you again, Tae, you’re my everything,” he added and Taehyung felt like he had been hit with a baseball bat in the stomach. The words were followed by a rush of emotions, everything from grief to anger to love was thrown at Taehyung at full force through the bond.

 

“I just don’t know what color to choose,” Taehyung said, blinking a few times. His head was a mess of his and Jungkook’s emotions and Taehyung couldn’t really find anything to grasp a hold of. He couldn’t admit to Jungkook that he had been right, that Taehyung was trying to stop himself from moving on by keep his hair the same.

 

“I liked the red,” Jungkook muttered, eyes looking away from Taehyung as his cheeks got a little pink. “Or maybe color some of it green like when I first met you,” Jungkook said, those big brown eyes looking up at Taehyung, eyes sparkling like he was hiding whole galaxies inside of them.

 

“If you help me,” Taehyung said, a rock forming in his stomach, he didn’t want to move on, but he knew he had to. For Jungkook he had to move past it all. “If you help me, I’ll dye my hair any color you want. Maybe even brown,” he said making a silly face he knew would make Jungkook laugh.

 

“True love,” Jungkook laughed, and Taehyung's heart swelled at the sound. “Getting to dye your hair brown,” Jungkook added, almost throwing himself back into Taehyung’s arms.

 

“Thank you,” Jungkook said, voice muffled against Taehyung’s chest. “Thank you for loving me,” Jungkook said, holding Taehyung so close Taehyung almost felt like his ribs were going to break. He wanted to say something, to say that it wasn’t him who should have any thanks, that it was a miracle that Jungkook even loved him, that he wanted to be better, but none of the words would form. Instead he just held Jungkook close and hoped Jungkook knew just how precious he was to Taehyung.

 

“Will you be my date to Namjoon and Jin’s wedding?” Taehyung managed to ask after several moments of silence. The movie was still playing on the television, the sound of unnecessary explosions filling the room. Damn it, Michael Bay.

 

Taehyung didn’t know what else to say.

 

“Always,” Jungkook replied and Taehyung felt relief rush through him at the sound of the smile in Jungkook’s voice. Taehyung leaned bend his head twisted his head and kissed Jungkook’s hair. He would never be able to say just how happy he was about having Jungkook in his life.

 

It was the sound of Taehyung’s phone buzzing loudly with a call that made them break apart, Taehyung let go of Jungkook reluctantly, awkwardly reaching for his phone so they wouldn’t have to detangle from one another, both of them unwilling to let of the feeling of being close. 

 

Taehyung’s heart stopped in his chest as he looked at the screen, the Mom calling making him feel like someone had taken a hammer to the perfect world Taehyung lived in and smashed it apart like it was made of glass. He didn’t even think before he pressed ignore, his phone falling silent in an instant.

 

“Who was it?” Jungkook asked confused, tilting his head to the side as he looked at Taehyung. But Taehyung couldn’t tell him. He couldn’t tell him why he was running from his past, the secrets not even Jimin knew about. Taehyung couldn’t taint Jungkook’s second chance with his past.

 

“Unknown number,” Taehyung lied with a shrug, pressing the button on the side of his phone making the screen go black and hiding the ‘missed call Mom’ from the world. Taehyung wouldn’t talk with her, not now when he was finally walking away from all his shit, not now when his fragile world was family looking like more than a fragile dream.

 

Taehyung looked at Jungkook and smiled, he didn’t need his family, Jungkook was his world and as long as he had him he was sure everything would be okay. One day it would be him who made Jungkook happy, one day Taehyung would be able to tell Jungkook how much he meant as Taehyung would slide a ring onto Jungkook’s finger.

 

One day Taehyung would be good enough to make Jungkook truly happy.