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(Maybe I Love You) We're Too Young For That

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part i: If I ever feel better

 

someday this mess will make me laugh
i can't wait, i can't wait, i can't wait
—phoenix
if i ever feel better

 


 

[fan-talk] Doesn’t TAE look a lot like V?

  

 

 

 

 

TAE’s concept photos just got released, and I think he looks a lot like V!!

Just look at these pictures side by side. I can’t find a picture with the top half of V’s face (I don’t think he ever posted one? But it’s harder to find photos now since his insta’s been deleted for years...) so I know it might be a stretch but their body profiles seriously look so similar, like even the birthmarks on their faces

[images attached]

 

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[+1,209, -102]

 

 

  1. Who’s V?
    1. A popular Instagram model who disappeared years ago after a scandal
      1. I thought netizens found out he was a escort too or something
        1. That was a witch hunt accusation from that one guy’s fangirls
          1. No smoke without fir
            1. You and I both know fans will set fires for their own agenda
  2. That’s a name i haven’t heard in a really long time, wow, crazy if true. I remember there being rumors he worked in the entertainment industry, maybe there was truth behind them
  3. They do look really alike, wow, if TAE’s really V then...good luck to him ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ  he’s got two scandals to deal with before debut
  4. Didn’t V date that actor guy who’s getting really big these days
    1. Date? I guess, if that’s what kids are calling getting railed these days
    2. YG entertainment never confirmed it
      1. YG never confirms anything
    3. Ah, yes, the infamous selca was daebak
      1. “Practicing first aid on a friend” ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ legendary. how stupid did they think we were
  5. Wow the resemblance is undeniable. hk_info_2’s been on fire recently

 


 

[fan-talk] I think Jungkook is dating!!

  

 

 

 

 

He’s shining so brightly these days + some of his mannerisms are changing. Like, he never used to never wear bright colors, but look at this Gucci shirt he wore to the airport last week, ahha, it totally looks like someone else dressed him.

And look at this GIF where he froze last night in the background when the hosts were talking about Christmas dates on Inkigayo + Yugyeom/BamBam laughing and glancing at him

[GIF attached]

Fucking cute ahha. I hope he’s happy, and his SO is a pretty person inside and out because pretty people should date pretty people!!!

{\___/}
( • ▽ •)
/  > ♥

 

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[+2,209, -902]

 

  1. What he does in his own time is his own business, as long as he doesn’t shove it in my face with a lovestagram or something, I don’t really give a fuck about what his personal life is like. I just wanna fangirl in peace.
  2. My friend is a trainee at BigCube and she says it's an open secret it’s TAE
    1. ㅋㅋㅋ I can do this too: my friend is a ceo at BigCube and he says it’s an open secret it’s GDragon
    2. Is this a thing now? My friend is a figure skater and she says it’s an open secret it’s Kim Yuna
    3. Let me try: my friend is the president and he says it’s an open secret it’s Drake
    4. Fuck ㅋㅋㅋ if this is true i don’t know what I would do. I hope jk has the sense to not date an iljin
  3. I think this is just a coincidence ㅋㅋㅋ your evidence is so weak what the fuck, that GIF is like 6 pixels, you can barely tell it’s JK much less what he’s doing. Aigoo I don’t care if he dates but don’t make him trend for delusional shit like this
  4. Wow, look at all these fans pretending to be cool about it~ Remind me in month when he gets exposed to check out how you all are dealing with this ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ, I’ll be here with the popcorn
  5. All this recent idol dating news just reminds me how I’m going to be a motae solo for the rest of my life ㅋㅋㅋ boys where are you, I wanna date tooooo

 

 


 

[fan-talk] Proof Jungkook and TAE must be dating

 

  1. They have a few couple items, like this T-shirt from that one time some fans saw TAE at Burger King. Jungkook’s been seen in that shirt before in some practice videos. Also their cars are the same ㅋㅋㅋ celebrity couples are something else. [images attached]
  2. They hang out together a lot [images attached]
  3. They make the same hand gestures [images attached]
  4. Jungkook went to Milan in October and had a Balenciaga bag (the shirt is sticking out in the corner), and TAE was wearing a balenciaga shirt with that same pattern in November [images attached]
  5. Announcer mentions her new obsession is TAE, look at JK’s face ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ so funny [images attached]
  6. Taehyung and Jungkook were together at chimaek place and a bunch of soft photos were taken [images attached]
  7. Okay this is not really evidence, but kyah~ it was too cute not to share. Walking down a sidewalk, TAE slipped on some ice and fell and was just lying there. Then Jungkook threw snow onto him instead of helping him up, it was so cute. kyah~ they look like they’re having so much fun. [video attached]

 

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[+680, -302]

 

COMMENTS (Sorted By: Top)

  1. Stupid and a stretch, especially the car ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ wtf is this
  2. This level of coincidence makes it undeniable now, I thought JK would be more careful, especially since he’s about to hit daebak. And with this iljin of all people? Shitty taste, that’s all I can say, I’m so disappointed
    1. Sigh, I’m a fan of JK and I thought he would be different, but I guess it’s always looks > personality on the end. It’s like, out of everyone, why choose TAE?
  3. Kyah~~ at the chimaek pictures. You get the sense they really like each other. And let’s be honest, they do match very well ㅎ
  4. If he’s dating TAE because of these things, then Jungkook must be dating Suga too ㅋㅋㅋ look here he is buying Gucci and here is Suga wearing some Gucci and here’s them walking outside together, here’s Jungkook hanging out in Suga’s studio, etc, this is how delusional this post sounds
    1. Honestly I would be more okay with him dating Suga than TAE though
  5. Wow isn’t TAE also V or something? That fox sure knows how to get around. Fangirls, be careful none of your oppas are safe now ㅋㅋㅋ, they tell you they’re not dating in interviews but they’re really just spending your money on dates behind your back
    1. He’s V???
      1. Haven’t you seen: [link]
        1. Shit ㅋㅋㅋ, daebak, he really gets around
    2. No, we knew something was up since the Cozy Conversations promotions, we’re not blind. Most fans don’t care or are really happy for him, the unhappy ones are in the minority.
      1. Well then your minority is f*cking loud then, ㅋㅋㅋ, check the cesspool comments at the bottom, they’re losing their shit
      2. Wait until the fansites start closing and the saesangs start releasing the dirt and creating controversies, that’s when you’ll see how cool fans actually are about it

 

COMMENTS (Sorted By: Controversial)

  1. [vote score too low, comment hidden] f*ck ahha TAE is like a sentient *** box for rising stars in the big d*ck club. If you search up ‘slut’ in the dictionary it would just be a picture of his face. He’s always all over Jimin, Bogum, Minho, those actors, and that trainee, Jihoon recently, disgusting~~~ I’m glad he’s not friends with my bias~~~
    1. By your logic, your bias probably has a tiny d*ck then ㅋㅋㅋ
    2. Too far, get a fucking life you crazy bitch
    3. V was only caught with one guy, it was unconfirmed, and it’s just speculation that TAE is V. Stop spreading lies.
  2. [vote score too low, comment hidden] I wonder if JK can even keep TAE satisfied ㅋㅋㅋ, his thing isn’t nearly as big as TAE’s ex’s, he’s just gonna leave JK as soon as he finds an idol with a bigger d*ck ahha
    1. How the fuck would you even know
      1. [img][img]
        1. Ew, fuck, why are you zooming in on their crotch? Isn’t this sexual harassment? You guys are honestly as bad as those hannams from the male communities who harass female idols with those fancams zoomed in on their butts and chest
          1. It’s part of their job and you can’t sexually harass a guy
            1. What kind of backward thinking is this
    2. [vote score too low, comment hidden] Probably when they fuck, tae’s just like “did you even start” ㅋㅋㅋ
  3. [score too low, comment hidden] wasn’t v into 50-shades-level shit? Didn’t think jk would be into freaky shit in bed
    1. Judge for yourself, here’s the picture [img]
      1. People think this is bdsm? Clearly you guys are virgins, sad
  4. [score too low, comment hidden] thank you hk_info_2, you always pull through
  5. [flagged] How about you kill yourself, OP-yah?
  6. [flagged] that ugly cockslut better not get within a 100m radius of our Jungkookie or I will slit his throat and then take a…[post censored for: distressing content]
    1. Reported
    2. What the actual fuck
    3. ???????? I feel so bad for TAE holy shit, I’m his fan and even though they're cute, I think they really shouldn’t date only because it’s not worth it if he has to deal with crazy bitches like you
    4. You know they can track you by your SSN why would you even say something like this?????
    5. Get help
    6. Why is BigCube staying silent?? These are actual threats, this crosses a major line, they need to do something

 

 


 

[fan-talk] Jungkook’s usage of “Tiger”

  

 

 

 

 

We all know that he refers to himself as a rabbit, and I think when he uses tiger (either the emoji or the word), it refers to TAE? Some people noticed that it pops up from time to time on his stuff.

“Tiger” is actually a pretty obscure reference to TAE that only long-time fans of his will know, but there’s this picture that was really famous with his fans back when he was just signed with BigCube, where he went to Lotte world and bought a tiger headband and wore it for a week or so.

[imgs attached]

Most of his fans don’t really know because TAE was a total nugu back then and just went by his real name, but he referred to himself as a tiger for that entire week and ended every tweet with a tiger emoji, so his longtime fans occasionally still refer to him as one.

Here’s the instances when Jungkook’s used a tiger emoji:

Screencapture from GotKid’s Yugyeom self-broadcast when he went to go visit Jungkook in a waiting room: you can see a playlist with a tiger emoji on it on Jungkook’s laptop.

[image attached]

Jungkook posted a picture of TAE on instagram a few months ago, and a bunch of his friends commented with Bunny + Tiger emojis. A lot of his fans thought he was referring to his pets, but he mentioned in an interview he doesn’t have any interest in getting any. He also recently deleted that photo, but screenshots still exist:

[image attached]

When he was posting some of his #backstageJK photos, he first uploaded a video of TAE with a tiger emoji, and then deleted it and reuploaded it without it. I can’t find screenshots because it was up for less than a second, but i remember it happening, you’ll just have to take my word for it ;;

I’ll acknowledge that these next few are stretches, but put in context they add to the evidence:

Someone asked him a question on a post-it to draw him the first thing that comes to his mind at a fansign a week ago and he drew a tiger

[image attached]

Jungkook’s thanks to on his albums for the past 7 years always thanks someone with the initials ㅎㄹㅇ, which could be an abbreviation for tiger and could refer to TAE. He never adds a special message, just refers to them by initials and always puts them in the line where he thanks the other producers. So it might be TAE? Considering he’s a producer too, and he’s never been listed.

[images attached]

Out of all the stickers he could have chosen at this naver promo video (including a rabbit), he chose a tiger.

It could all be a coincidence, but this kinda feels like a pattern, no?

 

 

post reaction
[+390, -93]

 

 

  1. Did you sprain yourself with how hard you’re reaching? Some of these are so laughable, it’s not that deep
  2. Heol, that was a while ago on this IG post..amazing, all the fans were trying to figure it out but in the end it was a lovestagram. Wow, he’s so ungrateful towards his fans.
    1. How was that a lovestagram? His friends commented that, not him
  3. Be happy, Jungkook, if this is true, this noona can no longer be a fan
  4. That’s such a reach, fuck, why are all these posts coming out today
  5. Heol, that’s all I have to say about this. The fact that the playlist is full of love songs says everything. Did he take his fans for fools and think they couldn’t read them because the titles are in English or something? He has a lot of international fans too, seriously careless.
    1. 99% of pop songs are love songs these days, it doesn’t really mean anything
    2. If you watched the full video, he switches off the screen really fast, so it’s not like he was showing it off or something
      1. Isn’t that worse? He’s hiding it from his fans then
        1. We don’t care about his personal life
        2. Something something artist-fan boundaries
        3. Could be a coincidence

 


 

TAE used to be V? BigCube says no comment

 

 

 

 

 

The agency does not control TAE’s affairs outside of his professional work. We are aware there are a number of trending topics right now concerning our artist’s personal life due to the great amount of interest in his debut, however we have no interest in investigating these matters at this time.

-BigCube Entertainment

 

post reaction
[+203, -137]

  1. So suspicious
  2. That’s just a yes isn’t it?
  3. We demand a clarification!!
  4. Not a yes and not a no, but it was so long ago why does anyone care?
    1. The guy that V got caught with just won a Blue Dragon award ㅋㅋㅋ ofc it’s going to be news
  5. They didn’t mention anything about the rumors with Jungkook ㅎ

 


 

Taehyung hides his phone as soon as he feels a pair of arms wrap around his shoulders and leans back on the couch in Jungkook’s living room, trying to stop the feeling that he should have seen this all coming from lighting an anxiety fuse and blowing up his composure.

“Everything okay?” Jungkook asks, propping his chin on Taehyung’s head.

“Yeah,” Taehyung feels Jungkook bury his face into his hair, and wonders about how much he knows. “Um, what are you doing?”

“Your hair smells good today.”

“Thanks?” Taehyung raises a brow. “I used your shampoo.”

“Oh, I know,” Jungkook leans down and takes another sniff, exhaling with a contented sigh. “Wow, good job—me. Wow, I make such great choices.”

“I swear Jin’s rubbing off on you,” Taehyung shakes his head. “By the way, are you free tonight?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Wanna get drinks with a friend of mine?”

“Oh,” Jungkook blinks. “Sure. Which one?”

“Um...they’re not actually not really a friend. More like an acquaintance.”

“Uh okay...which one?”

“Actually less of an acquaintance,” Taehyung swallows and wonders why it’s so hard to say. “More like an, um...ex?”

“Oh,” Jungkook stiffins. “...again, which one?”

Why is it so hard to just say? Taehyung demurs, “I think you’ve only met one.”

“That YG model guy?”

“Yeah,” Taehyung can’t look at him. “Plus someone else I don’t know.”

“I see,” Jungkook says. “Yeah. Sure. I’m down.”

“Great. Because I already told them you were coming.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

+++

 

 

If there was any moment that Taehyung would appreciate the earth opening up and swallowing him whole, it would probably be now.

“So,” Jungkook beams his insincere camera smile straight at YG Model (or YGM for short, as Jimin calls him) “What do you do for a living again? Sorry, I forgot.”

“I act, but just dabble in it really,” YGM demurs. “Right, Taehyung?”

“Um,” Taehyung shrinks a little further as three sets of eyes swivel towards him. “Seems accurate.”

The weird part about all of this is that it strangely felt like a double date, Taehyung thinks as he awkwardly sits on the floor, slouching against the base of the couch, fingering the cuff of his ear as he makes himself as small as he can without being completely obvious. Which, in most other cases, could be fun. But this one kinda wasn’t, especially when the cast was composed of what was clearly one of the awkwardest possible combinations of people possible, as in, sitting with him in a living room surrounded by more alcohol than a 19-year-old girl should reasonably have in her apartment were his ex, his new thing, and—

“Your fake modesty is so annoying,” RTAOTY hits YGM with her hand, “Oppa, you ‘dabbled’ enough to win a Blue Dragon Award.”  

Of course, out of all the actresses in the world, it had to be her.

“Tell me more about you, Jungkook,” YGM squints like he’s thinking. “You, um, like dance or something, right?”

“Among other things,” Jungkook’s grin doesn’t reach his eyes. “Right, Taehyung?”

“Yeah,” Taehyung shrinks again. “It’s true.”

”You know he’s more than that! You should hear him sing,” RTAOTY gushes to YGM. “He’s practically the perfect idol.”

“Am I?” Jungkook glances down at Taehyung as RTAOTY giggles her ‘yes’ in the background.

“You’re alright,” Taehyung mutters and thinks about how he would just really like to leave.

“Oh, you guys,” RTAOTY giggles, fingers covering her lips. “You’re all so silly. Also, Jungkook o-ppa~” RTAOTY giggles at Jungkook over her glass. “Why don’t I already have your phone number?”

Taehyung shrinks a little further into his couch corner, picking at his lip with his fingers. Yup, he was practically having the time of his life.

“Haha, I don’t know?” Jungkook grins awkwardly, with less reluctance than Taehyung would really like.

“I’ll give you mine,” RTAOTY taps the table insistently. “So hand over your phone.”

And Taehyung knows that Jungkook knows he’s in-between a rock and a hard place by how wide his eyes were growing and how he was glancing at Taehyung for help out of the corner of his eye, and being petty, Taehyung intentionally doesn’t provide any indication how he feels about it, choosing instead to inspect the hem of his pants, and relishing a bit in the way he can tell Jungkook’s squirming inside.

“Um…” Jungkook flicks his eyes towards Taehyung again.

Say no, Taehyung thinks.

“Please?”

“Why do you need it?” Jungkook says lamely.

Just fucking say no.

“Aren’t we friends?”

“Um...yeah?”

It’s not that hard.

“That’s why,” RTAOTY drums the table with her fingers impatiently.  

Jungkook sighs and hands his phone over, “Okay.”

Taehyung intentionally stares at his fingernails as RTAOTY detours a bit to take a selca.

“Check your homescreen~” RTAOTY says as she hands the phone back.

“Huh?” Jungkook glances down at his phone, and Taehyung catches a glimpse of RTAOTY’s selca adorned as the wallpaper. “Oh, haha.”

“Like it?”

“Uh...haha” Jungkook lifts his brows and offers. “It’s certainly different.”

“You should use it as my contact photo~ Or no wait, I want to take a different one for that, gimme your phone again,” RTAOTY says, making grabby hands, before a tap on Taehyung’s shoulder captures his attention.

He looks up just in time to see YGM lowering himself down to sit right by him, so close that their shoulders are pressed together. It’s awkward because the coffee table prevents Taehyung from scooting further, and so he just sits there, helplessly squished up against YGM.

“Hey, so, what have you been up to?” YGM suddenly turns and asks, so close Taehyung can feel his mint-laced breath fan over his face.

“Nothing much,” Taehyung shrugs. “You?”

“Nothing much? Seems like you’re having a fuckin’ big year,” YGM chuckles. “Cozy Conversations was so good, they kept playing it on set,” YGM laughs, eyes crinkling at the edges.

“Oh really? Wow,” Taehyung says, watching Jungkook and RTAOTY take a picture together out of the corner of his eye. “I’m glad you liked it.”

“Liked it is an understatement. But yeah,” YGM lifts his arms and yawns. “Haven’t been up to that much either.”

Taehyung snorts, “Yeah, says the guy having his breakout year.”

“Oh,” YGM cracks an eye open. “You heard about that?”

“Yeah, I mean, haven’t all of your movies been blockblusters this year? I feel like I can’t go to the theater without seeing your face in at least three different posters in the lobby.”

“Is that a bad thing?” YGM quirks a brow. “Or a good thing?”

Jungkook glances at them, an apparent frown of his face.

“Neutral,” Taehyung clears his throat and says, a little louder than necessary.

“That’s the Taehyung I know,” YGM snickers before casually dropping his arm over Taehyung’s shoulders, and murmuring into Taehyung’s ear, “Hey, this kinda feels like a double date doesn’t it?”

Taehyung cranes his neck away, “What do you mean?”

“Like us and them,” YGM leans closer and whispers into his ear. “I’ve missed you, you know.”

The hairs on the back of Taehyung’s neck immediately shoot up as YGM leans back with a grin, but before he can reply, a bowl of pretzels—crumbs and all—tumbles off of the coffee table and spills across the actor’s lap.

“Fuck,” YGM swears as he stands up, shaking his shirt off.

“Oops,” Jungkook holds up a hand, staring right at Taehyung, eyes wide with fake innocence. “My bad.”

“You’re so clumsy,” RTAOTY giggles at Jungkook before scowling at YGM. “Oppa, stop doing that, you’re getting pretzels all over my carpet!”

“Sorry, sorry,” YGM holds his hands up and steps on a pretzel with a crunch, wincing as dust from the crushed snack grind into the fibers on the floor. “Ugh, sorry again.”

“OPPA,” RTAOTY yells before miserably peering into the bowl and pouting. “Don’t make it worse. I’m already sad, I really wanted pretzels, they’re my drunk food.”

“Sorry, sorry,” YGM laughs. “I’ll buy you more to make it up to you.”

“Right now?” RTAOTY asks.

“Yeah, sure,” YGM starts heading towards the door. “You should come too Taehyung. I know you don’t like soju that much, so you can buy whatever you really wanna drink.”

“Um,” Taehyung glances at his untouched glass. He was starting to get pretty bored of water, and so he stands and starts following YGM, “...alright.”

“I’ll go too,” Jungkook immediately stands.

“No, wait,” RTAOTY shoots a hand out. “Stay with me here and help me clean up.”

“Uh, I...uh...” Jungkook looks pleadingly at Taehyung, who just offers an apathetic shrug.

“Please?”

‘Help me,’Jungkook mouths frantically when RTAOTY bends down to scoop up some pretzels.

‘Help yourself,’ Taehyung mouths back pettily as he steps out the door. 'Oppa.'

Jungkook’s beginning to raise his middle finger when RTAOTY turns back towards him and his fakeass smile returns to his face.

“Do you know to use a vacuum?” she asks, finger on her lip.

“Uh,” Jungkook quickly puts his hands down. “Yeah?”

“Then would you,” RTAOTY points at the pile of crushed pretzels and clings to Jungkook’s sleeve. “teach me how?”

“For sure, but after I go—” Jungkook steps towards the door.

“Oh,” YGM holds out a hand and laughs, gripping the door handle. “We don’t need three people to buy a bag of pretzels. Too many cooks, ya know?“

“I don’t think you’d need two people either,” Jungkook weakly protests. “So uh, Taehyung, maybe you should stay.”

“Oh he doesn’t like the sound of vacuums,” YGM assures. Which wasn’t untrue. “I’d totally volunteer but haven’t touched a vacuum in a decade. But you should just stay here and help her, you looks like you’re good with your, uh, hands.”

“OPPA,” RTAOTY protests, glowing red.  

“Um—” Jungkook’s crisis eyes are the last thing Taehyung sees before YGM door shuts behind them.

“Sorry,” YGM says as they walk down the hall. “She seems kinda bratty, but she’s honestly a good kid.”

“Oh really?”

“Yeah, it’s actually a miracle she’s this restrained I honestly feel a bit bad for her,” YGM frowns.
“Like she’s one of those child-actresses who got pushed into the industry by her parents. I think she was, what, seven, when she landed her first drama? Crazy. And it was a hit. Got nominated for awards and everything. She’s never had a childhood since, and no one ever really tells her ‘no,’ so I’ve kinda filled in for the ‘big brother’ role with her over the years,” YGM sighs. “And she’s kinda crazy over Jungkook.”

“Ah.”

“Says his music pulled her out of a dark place. I honestly don’t get the hype myself, but even if they don’t know each other that well, he makes her really happy, so what can you do?”

“I see,” Taehyung says stiffly.

“So yeah, thanks for coming with,” YGM laughs. “I was trying to get her some alone-time with him.”

Oh. “No problem,” Taehyung grits out.  

“Although honestly…that’s kinda a lie,” YGM scratches his head and stops just outside the elevator. “It was more selfish than that. I really wanted some alone-time with you, as well.”

Oh shit, Taehyung starts to get a bad feeling as YGM starts fidgeting with the sleeve of his shirt.

“You, uh,” YGM fills the silence. “You look really good tonight.”

“Um...thanks,” Taehyung takes a step back

“So, um, I know we kinda ended up on a bad note, but...I-I just wanted to say I haven’t stopped thinking of you since we broke up. You’re kinda the one that got away, I guess, I should have fought harder for you,” YGM takes a step forward and takes Taehyung’s hand. “And I know it’s years way too late, but I really wanted to apologize for how I reacted.”

“Okay?” Taehyung blinks. Fuck, is this what he thinks it was going to be?

“And, um,” YGM hesitates, nervousness suddenly rippling through his tone. “I wanted to tell you, I haven’t forgotten about you—or u-us rather. So, um, so, if you’re not seeing anyone right now, would you wanna—“

Suddenly there’s a bang, and a pattering footsteps that grow louder as they rain down the hall, pounding until Jungkook appears around the corner, hair swept back and brows furrowed. Taehyung immediately rips his hand from YGM’s grasp and takes a step back.

“Whoa, uh,” Jungkook skids to a stop and dumbly holds up an unopened bag. “Um, I finished vacuuming and found more pretzels, so, uh, you guys don’t need to go—”

“Um...thanks?” YGM says, beginnings of an irritated frown working its way on his face.

“No problem,” Jungkook looks back and forth between them, “Am I interrupting something?”

“Oh, sorta,” YGM’s eyes flick towards Taehyung. “We were talking.”

“Oh? About what?” Jungkook presses as he goes and stands right next to Taehyung, chest pressed up against Taehyung’s arm.

Taehyung shoots him a warning glance, but it’s a moment too late as he feels Jungkook’s arm start to snake around his waist.

“Nothing, uh, important…” YGM’s eyes flit down as Jungkook’s hand appears on Taehyung’s hip, fingers possessively curling over his jeans just long enough to stop YGM mid-sentence before letting them fall.

The world seems to slow and it’s suddenly hard to even move as fear locks Taehyung’s muscles.

“Yeah?” Jungkook raises a brow, and it’s so fascinating to Taehyung how fine he is with what just transpired.

“Oh. Shit,” YGM raises his hands and steps back, shock ripping across his face. “Sorry, whoa, you two are—? Shit. I didn’t mean to—I seriously had no idea.”

“It’s okay, no hard feelings,” Jungkook winks as he pulls Taehyung by the hand into the elevator, their fingers aggressively interlaced. “Gets confusing.”

YGM’s stunned expression is the last thing Taehyung sees before the doors close.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

+++

 

 

Jungkook’s stewing as he drives back to the agency, grumbling about everything he’s ever disliked about YGM, reaching as far back as his trainee days, and Taehyung’s only half-listening, glancing out the window as YGM’s words ring through his head.

His phone vibrates and shakes him out of his stupor, and he glances down at the incoming texts.

 

Fuckboi One

 


 

Hey so

Don’t worry

I’m seriously not going to tell anyone

You looked kinda upset

Also I’m really sry

For everything again

 

It’s okay

I’ve forgotten about it

 

Lol kinda doubt it, so, apologies, again

Also there’s something

You should probably know

There’s some rumors going around about you two

Among my circles

Obviously not super convincing yet

Or I wouldn’t have tried anything

But just letting u know, there’s some talk out there

So

If you actually wanted to keep it on the downlow

Might wanna tell him to be a little more careful than that LOL

He was not exactly subtle

 

Loool

 

He’s a lucky fucker tho

I haven’t ever seen you that happy with someone

Like ever?

So I approve

 

Uhm, thanks

I guess

 

Never thought that fucking kid would actually win in the end

 

What does that even mean lol

 

LOL don’t worry about it

Btw gl with it all!

Hope your single gets number one :D

I’ll be streaming it for sure

O yea and

If u ever get tired of him

You got my number ;););)

 


 

 

 

Shit,” Jungkook suddenly glances over his shoulder and takes a turn onto a street hard enough for Taehyung to slam into the door.

“Um,” Taehyung grabs the door handle as Jungkook guns down the sidestreet. “Everything okay?”

“I think someone’s following us,” Jungkook glances at his rear view mirror. “Yeah, fuck, see that car that just made a turn behind us?”

Taehyung peers at the side mirror, “Yeah?”

“Been trailing us ever since we left YGM’s place,” Jungkook curses again and turns down another street. “Either it’s a really unlikely coincidence or...yeah.”

“Do you recognize the license plate?” Taehyung asks, his grip tightening on the handle as the feeling of unease unfurls in his stomach.

“No, but they usually hire cars, so the numbers are always different—fuck, ” Jungkook slams on the breaks just as a light flicks to red. He’s chewing on his thumbnail, eyes flicking from the light to his rear view mirror.  “Do you mind if we chill at the office for a while? I don’t think it’s a good idea to go to either of our places right now,” he starts rapidly tapping his finger against the car wheel. “Fuck, what’s wrong with this light? They’re catching up.”

“Um, yeah, sure,” Taehyung says, sinking down into his seat as the car slides into the lane next to him.

Suddenly Jungkook’s phone, jammed into mount stuck to the front window begins buzzing, the screen changing from the navigation to a caller ID, a familiar number ending in 3444 glowing on the screen.

And Taehyung feels his heart stop.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Jungkook rips the phone out of the holder and throws it at his feet. “Out of all of them it’s her.”

“Her?” Taehyung asks, voice so soft he can barely hear it. He finds himself magnetically turning his head towards the car, subtly shaking as he stares at the tinted windows.

The ringing stops for a half a second before it starts again, the screen softly glowing with the same number.

“Yeah, she’s a saesang, ” Jungkook suddenly starts yelling at his phone as the ringing starts up for a third time, pure anger seeping into his tone. “Holy fuck, just FUCKING. STOP.”

Jungkook suddenly looks at Taehyung, and there must be some sort of terrified expression on his face because Jungkook immediately calms down, “Sorry, didn’t mean to lose my cool. Don’t worry. It’s just, she’s been following me since a few months ago. Won’t stop calling me on some nights either. Sorry you had to see this. It’, uh, super, uh—” the light turns green and Jungkook cuts across two lanes almost horizontally, makes a quick u turn and starts speeding away. “—frustrating, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah,” Jungkook turns down another street, and BigCube glows like a beacon in the dark. “It’s the reason I changed my number like three times this month. I need to figure out who in my contacts keeps selling it to them, because it’s getting so fucking tiring..”

“I see,” Taehyung says, watching out of the side mirror as the car turns onto their street about three blocks down just as Jungkook slides into the garage, the gate closing quickly behind them.

“I have a feeling it’s one of my agents, but, yeah, don’t know for sure, and don’t want to throw around false accusations...” Jungkook trails off as he worriedly glances over at Taehyung. “You okay?”

“Uh,” Taehyung shakes his head to dispel the chill creeping up his spine. “Y-yeah. Just tired.”

“Okay,” Jungkook pulls into a spot and parks the car.

“Thanks for the ride,” Taehyung gets out of the car, so much more wary now, irrationally glancing at all the dark corners as he hurries towards the lobby. And Jungkook’s on his heels, still griping about YGM under his breath as he scuttles along. “I can just chill here myself though, I got some shit to work on so I’m a bit behind.”

“I can keep you company.”

“You don’t have to. You should go home and get some sleep, don’t you have an interview tomorrow? Get some sleep,” Taehyung says as they enter the building, their footsteps echoing through the mostly empty lobby. He flashes his badge at the security guard who waves them along before stopping at the elevators. “I’ll be okay.”

“Nah, it’s fine,” Jungkook says as he hits the button and waits. “I wanna keep you company, and, uh, provide you with some, um...” Jungkook’s fingers ghost over waistband of Taehyung’s jeans. “...moral support.

And Taehyung’s about to retort something when the elevator doors open and the last person he wants to see saunters out.

It’s Fuckface McGee, still in his work uniform, not even a quarter as shocked as Taehyung is to see him, and he lifts a brow at the two of them before walking away like he belonged there.

“What the fuck is he doing here?” Taehyung asks no one in particular when the elevator doors close. “What the fuck is he doing here?”

“No idea,” Jungkook shrugs, almost irritatingly unbothered. “But his uncle still works here, right? Don’t worry about it.”

“Yeah, but...” Taehyung grips his jacket tighter around his shoulders.

“But?”

“Nevermind,” Taehyung says as the elevator doors open and they exit.

They’re halfway down the hallway when Jungkook suddenly stops and points over his shoulder.  “Hey, so actually,” he says, “I have to go get something, you’ll be in your studio right?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay,” Jungkook winks. “I’ll see you there.”

And so Taehyung enters his studio alone, pushing the door open and flicking on the lights, going on autopilot as he dumps his wallet and keys onto a table with a clatter. It’s when he turns towards his desk that a manila envelope resting on his coffee table  that definitely wasn’t there when he left catches his eye, and his blinks with surprise.

The lack of a return label probably should have tipped him off, but half-past-midnight him doesn’t like to think about things, which is also probably why when he slips the contents, the full implication doesn’t strike him right away.

It’s two pictures: one of him stepping out of Jungkook’s apartment that one morning he wandered off the Burger King, and a second under the streetlamp in Mapo-gu, Jungkook’s hands wrapped around his waist and their faces just an inch apart.

A post it flutters to the ground, a message crawled neatly across a tiger post-it:

 

 

 

 

 

I warned you~ and I’ve got more

Messing around with him is OK, since I know he’s got “needs.”

Just stay in your lane and don’t try to be something more.

With a history like that, you’ll only cause him trouble ;)

Also, try not to worry Jungkook on your way out

Because, Dispatch would love these~

 

He stuffs everything quickly back into the folder, and buries that into a drawer, twisting his clammy fingers together while his heart and mind race and everything grows a bit numb.

He knew this was coming.

He knew, deep down, to some extent he was just skirting the inevitable, that the walls are closing in on him, that it was only a matter of time, that this was all to good to be true. The fear hits him then, at the desk in his studio, just how scary it all is, and he has to stabilize himself with two arms braced against the tabletop as everything swims before his eyes and chills run down his spine, the one question he had been asking himself for the better part of the month running through his mind:

Is this worth it?

He really doesn’t want much out of life. Just wants to have fun and chill with cool people and make sick beats. Live his best life, live without worries, live pressure-free. He had enough on his plate already, with the upcoming release and corresponding promotions, this extra layer of stress (fear?) was really something he could do without.

So is this worth it?

Because, even if Jungkook like from the same fucking wavelength, even if YGM was to be believed and Taehyung’s the happiest he’s ever been, even if his new deepest darkest secret has been, for a while now, that the first thing he wants to see the morning and the last thing before he falls asleep at night is Jungkook’s face, it’s still not clear what the answer would be.

Because the fact of the matter is, if it ends, that there will always be another.

Another person, another man, another Jungkook. Even if it’ll suck for a while, life doesn’t end after a relationship does, Taehyung knows, because he’s picked up the pieces off the ground and put himself back together many times before.

So how is this worth it?

He didn’t sign up for this level of scrutiny. And he’s not out there to prove a point, not there to fight the current, not there to be a martyr for the cause. And even though Jungkook makes him happy, shit, Taehyung squeezes his eyes shut, he really fucking does, he'd never live his life just for someone else.

His phone vibrates, cutting through his thoughts, and he sinks into the corner of his couch as he glances down at a few incoming messages from Namjoon.

 

Namjoon


 

 

Just heard the track

D a m n

I think it’s safe to say

The student has surpassed the master

Haha seriously good job

Def a top 10

And if you play your cards right

Could be looking at a future no. 1

Just

Lol

I know you have a lot going on rn

But try not to go out of your way to invite trouble

Just my advice

 


 

He’s staring hypnotically at the texts, letting the words swim infront of him when Jungkook comes back, a pair of headphones cradled in his fingers like a trophy.

“I got these back,” Jungkook holds them up proudly. “Yoongi stole them from me like six months ago, first time since I’ve been here that he hasn’t so I took them back.”

“Nice,” Taehyung lets out a weak laugh.

Jungkook’s about to say something when suddenly he rips his phone out, the device vibrating with a call before he unlocks it and yells into it, “Hey—I told you already, this is the wrong number so stop CALLING ME,before he turns it off and chucks it onto the couch.

Taehyung feels his throat dry, his hidden hands shaking in his lap. He doesn’t know but he needs to fucking know, “Same person?”

“Yeah,” Jungkook walks over to the blinds, pokes his face out for a second before swearing. “Fuck, the car’s still out here. Might be better just to hang out here for the night.”

Whoa, okay, a fresh wave of fear hits him then. It’s all too much. It’s just, wow, Taehyung can’t handle it, his mind’s going fuzzy and he just wants everything to stop.

Because one thing is crystal clear: he can’t live like this.

“Well since we have all night,” Jungkook closes the blinds walks over to Taehyung with a smarmy grin on his face, and the extra layer of guilt makes a noxious combination with the nausea already residing in his gut. “Want some of that moral support now?”

Taehyung doesn’t say anything, just lets Jungkook climb onto the couch next to him and slide a hand casually under his shirt.

How does he even start this conversation? He closes his eyes as Jungkook kisses him, leans into it like nothing’s wrong, shifts his position like everything’s fine. And why is it so hard when he’s done it so many times before, the words are getting stuck in his throat, his thoughts are freezing, the dread is creeping, the guilt is seeping when Jungkook smiles at him, so unaware of what Taehyung’s about to do next.

“I really didn’t like how YGM was all over you,” Jungkook whispers, fluttering kisses along his neck like he’s trying to erase something, undoing his belt with practiced dexterity. He slides in one finger as he murmurs,  “I wanted to tell him to back off.”

Taehyung can’t find the words, can’t get over the guilt to respond because how can he indulge Jungkook when he’s actually thinking thoughts like, how does he make a clean cut? Leave no room for debate, cauterize the wound before it begins to bleed out. Maybe Jimin can help put Jungkook back together when it’s all said and done, he’s always been way the way more tactful one, the one with the right words, the one who’s done this before, who pulled Jungkook up from the hell Taehyung left him in after debut.

Jungkook slides home and goes slow, kissing him deep with his eyes closed, heart beating rapidly in his chest.

He’ll try let him down easy, cut him off slowly, ease the bandaid off slowly rather than ripping it off all at once. Taehyung bites back the moans, stares up at the stucco at the ceiling instead of at the way Jungkook’s looking at him.

He can’t do this anymore, he should really end this now.

Yeah, Taehyung feels a wave of nausea rise in his chest.

It’s for the better.

Taehyung begins softly, “Sorry.”

“What are you sorry for?” Jungkook asks bemusedly.

“I’m so sorry. I—”

“What are you talking about?” Jungkook stops, lifting himself up, and peering down at Taehyung, grin slowly fading.

“I-I—” Taehyung says softly, covering his eyes with his forearm as his fingers dig into Jungkook’s back. “I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression—”

Jungkook suddenly stills.

“—but I don’t really want to make this serious with you.”

The rest of the explanation dies in his throat, he’s bracing for some kind of negative reaction first instead, something antagonistic or disbelieving that he can bounce his improvised reactionary excuses off of.

But it never comes.

Instead Jungkook just murmurs the perfect answer, “oh, aight, that’s cool,” and kisses him softly without missing a beat, pins him against the couch like nothing’s changed, does it like this is all they were meant to be.

And, oh yeah.

That would be mistake number three.

 

 

 

 

+++

 

 

part ii: iffy

 

how much more do i have to work
for people to not forget my name?
—sik-k
iffy

 


 

 

 

[  rewind—few weeks before debut  ]

 

Taehyung’s relationship with YGM could best be described as “toleration for the sake of benefits” for lack of a better phrase.

And Jimin cracks up about it when Taehyung describes it just as such one night, when the three of them—Jimin, Jungkook, and Taehyung himself, are hanging out in the practice room, the two trainees taking a well deserved break, lounging on the ground next to Taehyung as they talk.

“That’s all you have to say about it?” Jimin laughs, arms crossed and body falling into Jungkook, “It’s progressing?

Jungkook snorts and looks down at his phone as he cards his bangs with his pinky.

“Yeah,” Taehyung shrugs. “I mean, we’re moving forward, I guess. We, uh, just went exclusive? Kinda.”

Jimin’s brows rise, “Was that your idea or his?”

“His.”

“And you’re okay with it?”

“Yeah?” Taehyung shrugs.

“That’s so weird coming from you,” Jimin props his head on his hand.

“I mean,” Taehyung rubs his nose. “It’s still not serious. Like it’s not an actual relationship. I just stopped...shopping around, haha, pretty low effort. And as a plus, now I have a legit excuse to use on that one dude—Proposal Guy—remember him?”

“He’s still harassing you?” Jimin notices the confused look on Jungkook’s face and explains. “Some guy proposed to Taehyung after a week, it was weird. Then went nuts after Taehyung cut it off.”

“Oh,” Jungkook frowns. “What?”

“Yeah, that was my reaction,” Taehyung snorts. “You’d think because he’s promoting, he’d have a sense of self-preservation and just lay off, but, nope. He’s so fucking annoying, he’s just asking to get caught.”

“I swear, you only attract weirdos,” Jimin shakes his head and Jungkook coughs in the background. “You need to start setting standards.”

“My bar for FWBs is—well, was—surprisingly very low,” Taehyung closes his eyes. “Be at least 20. Be human. Be attractive. Be...actually that was about it. But I’m a loyal guy now, Jimin, I don’t sleep around anymore. YGM changed my ways.”

“How honorable,” Jimin laughs. “But still, I’m kinda confused, like, why YGM? You sound so...lukewarm about him.”

“It’s more like ‘why not,’” Taehyung shrugs again. “Man, I’m going to sound even more like an asshole, but it’s literally just because he takes me cool places and lets me meet his cool friends, and he gives me something to do on Friday nights—”

“Do or do,” Jimin wiggles his brows.

“Real mature,” Taehyung snorts. “Both. But I’m honestly thinking it might be nice to have a change of pace, as in having something stable with someone for once. And he’s decent enough and so even if he’s kinda boring—”

“Boring?” Jimin snorts as he takes out his phone. “If you consider a runway model-actor who takes you to exclusive parties boring,” Jimin points to himself and Jungkook. “Then what are we supposed to be?”

“Extra boring,” Taehyung snickers.

“I’m offended,” Jimin fake-gasps as he puts a hand on his chest. “I mean, I know Jungkook is a gigantic snooze-fest, but me?”

“Haha,” Jungkook grunts monotonously, knees drawn to his chest, nose buried in his phone. “Too funny.”

“Aren’t I?” Jimin slumps onto Jungkook again, and juts his bottom lip out in a pout at Taehyung, “I thought we were best friends.”

“We are, I just hold the people I’m dating to a higher standard,” Taehyung snickers. “I mean, honestly, he’s actually fine. Can’t have it all, and I really don’t see any better options than him at the moment—”

“Uh,” Jungkook suddenly stands up, slinging his duffel onto his shoulder, bangs covering his eyes as he jams his hands into his pockets. “I think I’m going to take off.”

“Oh okay,” Taehyung waves without looking at him. “See you.”

“Yup,” and Jungkook books it for the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

+++

 

 

Namjoon manages to get Taehyung onto the 2HOM single with little trouble, and even if it’s not the song Taehyung really wants, it keeps him busy enough to raise his spirits. He throws himself at songwriting with so much zeal he doesn’t realize he hasn’t left the studio for three days until Jin knocks some sense into him.

“You should really take a break,” Jin comments during lunch on a sunny afternoon. “This can’t be good for you.”

“Yeah I know,” Taehyung brings his can of coke up to his face for a sip, falls asleep for a microsecond and wakes up just as his hand tips over and spills soda all over the table. He doesn’t even look up at Jin, who’s probably shaking his head, as he sighs and takes a napkin to mop it up. “But I feel like I’m almost done, just like, I keep thinking if I put another day into it, it’ll be that much better. Especially since it feels like something’s missing.”

“Let me listen? Maybe I can help.”

“Sure,” Taehyung plays the track.

“What if,” Jin says after the song finishes. “You put Jungkook on it?”

“Like as a feature?”

“Yeah,” Jin nods. “It feels like it’s missing a higher voice. And it be a two-birds one-stone type of thing, like get his name out there and build him some pre-debut hype. I could try to get him on the music video and stuff, I think that it would really help his face if he gets enough predebut fans.”

Jungkook agrees almost immediately, and the resulting track flies through the approval process so fast, Taehyung’s a bit winded when he finds himself slouching at the edge of the music video set a week later, his song playing in the background on loop as staff flutter around him getting the props ready.

True to Jin’s word, he gets Jungkook casted as the main focal point of music video, and the boy himself waddles out of his dressing room in a ridiculously frilly schoolboy sailor-uniform getup with shorts shorter than Taehyung’s idol tenure and a golden crown with gaudy ruby heart insets, like an illusionary king of the girl’s dreams.

“Nice, uh...” Taehyung takes a glance and holds the snicker. “...outfit.”

“I don’t wanna hear it,” Jungkook grumbles as he adjusts his shirt.

Taehyung, being the considerate hyung he was, continues to ruthlessly make fun of him for it for the rest of the hour, and Jungkook gets kind of mad, especially when Taehyung shoves a camera into his face and laughs at the resulting picture.

Soon, Jungkook’s whisked away to act. It’s mostly cute shit like bicycling down a street or carrying balloons or strolling down a pastel village street. The scenes are haphazard at best, though the pivotal moment comes when Jungkook “confesses” to his love interest, an adorable trainee from another mid-tier company (who, from the looks of it, didn’t need to actually act during her ‘smitten’ scenes), with an obnoxiously large paper heart, shoving the thing towards the camera in front of a solid pastel background in what later becomes the music video’s thumbnail.

None of it really tickles Taehyung’s sensibilities, but then again, he’s pretty aware he’s not in the target demographic anyway and so he doesn’t really voice his opinion about it outside of continuing to heckle Jungkook about it when they rewatch it later, with all seven of them in Taehyung’s apartment, because, again there’s just something so amusing about just how irritated Jungkook gets when Taehyung brings it up.

“I keep telling you, it’s not actually my style,” Jungkook grumbles, fingers ghosting over the new gauge lodged in his earlobe, the cuffs of his ears tinting with their trademark pink. “I wear streetwear stuff normally, I just put that on for the music video.”

“But it should be, since you looked so fucking cute~” Taehyung shoots a pair of fingers over to pinch his cheek that Jungkook promptly whacks away with practiced precision.

“I think I would actually would hate to have you as an older brother,” Jimin says dryly, watching the two of them from the corner as they begin to wrestle.

Taehyung sticks his tongue out, flopping over Jungkook and hanging on him like a deadweight before the kid shoves him off, “Good thing I’m the youngest in my family then.”

“It shows,” Jimin shakes his head, as Jungkook gets up and shuffles towards the door, muttering something about going to the bathroom.

Apparently people out there really like the music video though, enough to land Jungkook a non-trivial number of stans and his first dedicated fan site that immediately starts posting photoshoot-grade photos of Jungkook mundanely existing in public spaces. Which as a trainee, pretty much was limited to a promotional performance at a coffee shop, taking public transportation and leaving and entering the agency building at any and all hours of the night.

For what it’s worth, the sudden attention doesn’t really change Jungkook, except for the fact that he now regularly wears a mask in public even when he’s not sick and he starts getting stopped randomly in stores and on the street and pieces of his personal life begin to filter out as the curious manage to root out tidbits from the online accounts he had forgotten to delete and acquaintances spill whatever beans they have in their arsenal. Apparently he had been a pretty vanilla individual, since nothing noteworthy surfaces beyond the revelation that Jungkook had once painstakingly wrote a thoughtful review for every single brand of banana milk on a forgotten blog when he was 10.

And it does the job.

As soon as various malicious posts emerge (that are almost 100% certainly from someone whose name rhymes with Duckface) of various “scandalous” things that needed some skilled deep-diving to unearth—a photobooth selca where he’s kissing an abashed instagram-famous ex from less than a year ago, a post detailing his connections to an estranged aunt that had married into a morally dubious chaebol family, a fan account about Jungkook being “rude” for not interacting with diehard fans waiting outside the agency at 2 in the morning, and a scathing review of his botched coffee-shop debut performance noting that he was slightly flat, his voice cracked twice and he completely froze when the host asked him for his name—the fansite master swiftly and efficiently shuts it all down.

And her love certainly turns important heads, particularly when 2HOM’s song enters its second week hovering just within the Top 20 in the charts and she ferries over a generous contribution to the pile of fanmail and gifts that show up for Jungkook at the agency in congratulations.

“Shit,” Taehyung whistles as Jungkook unwraps limited-edition designer dress shirt and gently places it next to his unboxed third iPhone. “You’ve got some fans.”

“Yeah,” Jungkook reaches over a glossy print of his face taken during his first live performance and starts inspecting the seams of a pair of kicks that cost at least a couple hundred thousand won. “Though most of the gifts are from one fansite.”

“Who?”

“Uh, it’s in english, wait a sec,“ Jungkook picks up a card and squints at the label, and sounds it out, “<Heart King>?”

And it enters one of Taehyung’s ears as a meaningless set of phonetics and instantly drops out the other, “What does that mean?”

“Dunno,” Jungkook shrugs, pulling a freshly-unwrapped S/S Supreme sweatshirt over his head. “But she takes great pictures.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

+++

 

 

But yeah, going back to YGM, ‘bumping along’ pretty much defined their relationship, especially since Taehyung’s work starts picking up and he begins seeing YGM less and less outside of a bedroom-setting on non-Friday nights, and Taehyung finds himself committing to things on a basis of ‘why not’ more than having actual motivations to do so.

Like, for instance:

  • Getting couple shoes? Why not.
  • Drinking the bottle of ultra-expensive wine YGM brings over one Friday night? Why not.
  • Joining YGM on his photoshoot tour in Bora Bora? Why the fuck not.

And so Taehyung easily commits to all of them. It’s all good, clean fun, and it’s pretty satisfying seeing the jealousy on people’s faces at work (especially the ones who had written him off) when he’s able drop lines like:

“Sorry Saturday won’t work, I’ll be in Bora Bora.”

That’s probably why he starts an instagram, because, let’s be honest, he’s 18 and for the first time in his life he’s going places. And so he sets up an account under the moniker “V” and begins posting all the pictures of his “adventures” and general snapshots of living life in excess: flying in a helicopter over the tropical beaches, drinking henny in a penthouse on a wednesday night, propping his gucci kicks onto the front of YGM’s foreign as they zip down the freeway during the night.

It’s the validation from the likes and his exponentially growing list of followers that keeps him around for as long as he stays, because it’s not YGM’s personality or skills in bed and certainly not the way the occupants of YGM’s world treat him.

It’s really laughable, how he brags about the exclusive cocktail parties YGM gets him into to Jimin because it makes him feel better when Jimin tells his anecdotes from his own, especially when he begins to dread them. Because the gatherings are mostly glorified networking sessions where it’s made clear from the beginning he has little to offer to the other participants.

The generational gap is one thing, since he’s usually the youngest by about half a decade, but it’s really the subversive questions that really get to him, the ones that ask one thing on the surface but are really needling him for something else.

For instance: where do you live , is not just innocent interest in which neighborhood he chooses to sleep at night, it’s coded question for how expensive of a neighborhood can he afford to buy into. Or where are you from, is not just a polite question about his childhood but rather one about kinship and pedigree.

It starts feeling like a series of interviews, each notable basically asking him, is it worth my time is it to speak to you, and he pretty much fails each one. To some extent he gets it, there’s only 24 hours in a day, and for notables with places to go and people to see, they’re just trying not to waste time with posers.

But being labeled as one kinda sucks major balls.

“So you’re a friend of…?” Almost A-List, an actor who was one hit movie away from being a top star,  leans against the bar and gestures with his drink towards YGM, who’s chatting a few feet away with a movie studio executive. “Or a friend.”

“Um,” Taehyung’s hand tightens around his glass, unsure of how much he should let on.

“Just pulling your leg, I already know. I heard about how hard he chased you,” the guy nudges him and winks. “He’s one of my best buddies, so treat him well. He might look like a player, but he’s the softest guy you’ll ever meet.”

“Haha,” Taehyung smiles nervously. “Is he?”

“Yeah. So what do you do again?” Almost A-List asks, sipping his whiskey as he raises his brows. “He mentioned you sing or something?”

“Sorta? I’m a producer.”

“Oh, sick,” the guy’s brows rise. “Are you, like, with a label or something? Sorry, I don’t really know how music works.”

“Uh yeah, I am.”

“Which one?”

“BigCube?”

The guy shakes his head, “Not familiar.”

“It’s a small one.”

“Oh cool,” Almost A-List says, and Taehyung knows he’s already made a misstep as boredom starts seeping into the guy’s tone. The guy takes out his phone and frowns, “So, what’s, uh, a song you’ve worked on?”

“I just released something for 2HOM,” Taehyung glances at Almost A-List, who has a blank expression on his face. “They’re, um, ballad group, not sure if you’ve heard of them.”

“Nope, but sounds dope,” and Almost A-List looks away, complete disinterest written all over his face. They awkwardly stand in the silence for a moment before Almost A-List turns his back to Taehyung and seamlessly picks up another conversation with the Victoria Secret Angel lounging next to him.

It’s that moment when Taehyung realizes Almost A-List hadn’t even bothered asking for his name, and precisely just how out of his element he really is. No one comes to talk to him after that, and he shrinks into the shadows, awkwardly watching as people around him mingle and he nurses his drink.

He gets a bit fucked up after that, ingesting more shots in a hour than he probably should to stave off the nerves. And if people begin to look at him like he’s an uncouth outsider, well, with his emotions cushioned by alcohol, it doesn’t really bother him anymore. It’s not like he belonged before, so at least now he doesn’t care.

 

Jungkook


 

 

1:02AM

 

Jungkooook i’m so bored ):

 

Haha aren’t you at that party?

 

Yeh

But i’m stil l borde )’:

And i fel lke sht LMAOO

 

 

Oh D:

Where’s YGM?

 

 

idunno LOOL

But fck im, im sitting alone

I d rather be hngaing out wif you

Cuz ur way mroe fun

shudd i leave?

 

Jungkook is typing...

 


 

Taehyung watches the notification disappear and reappear a couple of times before he zones out, and YGM finds him like that, slumped over his phone, halfway asleep. He’s laughing as he pulls Taehyung into a darkened hallway and out of sight from the main floor.

“Hey,” YGM murmurs as he sits down on a bench and pulls Taehyung in close. “I know it’s not the most exciting event, but thanks for coming with me.”

“No problem,” Taehyung glances down the hall. It’s empty and so he turns back.

“Also, I just want to you to know, you’re the best thing to happen to me.”

“Yeah?” and Taehyung giggles, partly because of the amount of soju he ingested, and partly because how amusingly lopsided their relationship is.

“Yeah,” YGM says, leaning in dangerously close. “I’m like, so fucking in love with you? I’d do anything for you. It’s crazy. You drive me so crazy.”

“Really?” Taehyung giggles again. He feels so little in return, and he can’t help it, he’s just not in love, and in the haze, it’s seriously hilarious how fucked up it is, he is, this is.

As he slips into a moment of sobriety, he realizes it makes him feel kinda sad, actually, the lucidity spinning the needle on his moral compass and wiping the smile from his face.

It should be a crime how little effort he put into this and how much he’s getting back, how he’s getting tenfold in return of what he invests. It’s so easy, too easy, the tide of hilarity ebbs out, leaving his psyche strewn with overwhelming sense of pity and himself staring at the bared truth:

For the both of them, he should really end it now. Yeah, actually, that was a good idea.

And Taehyung’s about to open his mouth and make his opening argument when YGM loops his arms around Taehyung’s waist to drag him closer, and looks at him like he’s the world.

Okay, Taehyung glances over his shoulder, and thinks about how difficult this was going to be, and that fuck, maybe now wasn’t the best time to break a heart, and that he’d do it soon.

And then the second shot kicks in, 90-proof seeping into his veins, making his chest warm and his mind fuzzy, and he’s back to giggling again.

“Really,” YGM murmurs, leaning his forehead drunkenly against Taehyung’s chest. “I wish I could tell everyone out there, right now, that you’re mine.”

Fuck no. Taehyung pushes YGM back and glances down the hall again, giggles a third time, this time with a bit of alarm, and shakes his head, “That’s not a good idea.”

“Probably not,” and maybe it’s the alcohol speaking, but YGM sounds so profoundly sad. “But I don’t like the way people are checking you out.”  

Okay, maybe he’ll break things off tomorrow.

“Don’t let it get to you,” Taehyung shakes his head. “Because both you and I know I’m with you. And that should be enough.”

Or, maybe Friday?

“Yeah. You’re right. See what would I do without you? You’re my voice of reason,” YGM looks up.

Or maybe—whatever. Soon. Just soon.

“I’m a pretty shit voice of reason,” and he thinks maybe he could pull a Leo DiCaprio and incept the idea into YGM’s mind. “You should find a better one.”

He just needs to end it soon. For many reasons. Nominally because playing with someone wasn’t a kind thing to do.

“No, you’re amazing, ever since I met you, you’ve made me so happy,” YGM slurs. “You fucking build me up. You make me feel so confident about myself. I never would have gone for that drama role if you hadn’t encouraged me. Have I ever told you that? You’re like my fucking...vitamin or whatever.”

Or wait, nominally because if someone finds out, Taehyung would be eaten alive by online rage.

“Nope.”

Or wait, nominally because, just, even if, like, what, there were so many reasons that it was just a terrible idea.

“Well you are,” YGM leans in again. “Hey, wanna dip and go back to my place?”

Taehyung checks one last time down the hall and shrugs, “Sure.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

+++

 

 

 

Jungkook


 

1:02AM

 

I d rather be hngaing out wif you

Cuz ur way mroe fun

shudd i leave?

 

Honestly yea

Did u need someone to get u?

I can ask Jin or something

 

1:42AM

 

???

Is everything okay?

 


 

 

 

Jimin


 

 

2:21AM

 

Ay when u get the chance

Can u text jk back

I told him not to worry since i know ur prolly

Uh

“Busy”

But yeah

Hes kinda freaking out rn lol

And idk what else to do

 


 

 

 

Jungkook


 

 

2:32AM

 

If you need help

Just call me

 

3:43AM

Ima go to sleep now but

Hope you get home safe

 

10:32AM

 

Oh shiet

Sry just saw these

Went back to his place and lost track of time LOOL

My bad ;;

Thanks for the concern tho!!

 

read 10:33AM

 


 

 

 

 

+++

 

 

part iii: love drought

 

tell me, what did I do wrong
love drought
—beyonce


 

[ the present ]

 

Maybe the biggest reason Taehyung’s lulled into a false sense of security is that nothing really changes between them.

Immediately, anyway.

They still hangout. They still hook-up. And behind closed doors and away from prying eyes, Taehyung occasionally still lets Jungkook hold his hand.

It’s a weird fine line that’s marked with double standards and blurred at the edges, but it works for them, at least Taehyung assumes it does, because Jungkook still is as cocky and cheerful as ever. And so Taehyung thinks everything’s cool, even if the crease in Jungkook’s brows grows increasingly deeper when he thinks Taehyung isn’t looking.

As a sort of “thanks everyone for the bomb-ass fiscal year,” some head honcho of the agency decides to hold their annual holiday party in Hawaii this year, a fact that Taehyung doesn’t remember until there’s 5 hours left to go, when Jimin calls him over a question about straw hats.

(“Do you think it’ll look too touristy if I wear it to the airport?”

“Why are you going to the airport? Oh, wait, SHIT, I FUCKING FORGOT—!”

“HOW DO YOU FUCKING FORGET—?”)

Thirteen stressful hours later, he’s standing at the edge of a private beach near Waikiki, letting the warm waters lap over his feet and his toes sink into the sand as he gazes out over the expanse of endless ocean, watching Jimin and Yoongi struggle with surfing.

Yeah, he thinks, feeling the waves swirl around his toes and the sun warm his back, he could get used to this.  

He feels something wet slap against his back, and when he turns around, he finds one of the new, friendlier stylists giggling behind him, fingers curled delicately around a lump of wet sand.

“You were looking too relaxed,” she explains, winding her arm back for what looks like another pitch.

“Oh my god, do I still look relaxed now?” Taehyung pulls a face and starts to run away as she lobs her sand bomb. It hits him straight in the back, “Fuck, ow.”

“Yeah, you do,” she winds her hand back for another pitch.

“Hey!” Taehyung shields his face and laughs as she flings it at him, takes a step forward and catches her by the wrist. “Stop, that hurts.”

“Sorry,” she says, batting her eyes with a pout on her lips. “But, not sorry. It was funny.”

Taehyung’s about to retort when something hits him bluntly in the back, sending him falling face-first into the waves. He’s trying to rub the salt water out of his eyes, the stylist skittishly fluttering around next to him as she offers her help, when a shadow falls over both of them.

“Sorry,” Jungkook emerges from his silhouette, zero amusement in his eyes, a surfboard in his hand. “But not sorry. It was funny.”

“Fuck that actually hurt,” Taehyung scowls. “Could you watch where you’re fuckin’ going?”

Jungkook just shrugs before turning around and shuffling off into the waves. And of course that sets Taehyung off, and he stomps after Jungkook, grabbing his wrist and spinning him around.

“What’s your fucking problem?” Taehyung hisses lowly, keeping an eye on the stylist as she watches them curiously.

Jungkook yanks his arm out of Taehyung’s grasp and just offers a wordless glare.

“If you have something to say,” Taehyung hisses, his head suddenly throbbing with a toxic combination of anger and lack of sleep. “Just say it.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Jungkook mutters, looking away.

“Clearly it does,” Taehyung growls. “Just say it.”

Jungkook finally murmurs, “I don’t like how close she’s getting to you. It bothers me.”

“Why?”

“It’s.." Jungkook twists his head away, biting the bottom of his lip as he hesistates. "It's so obvious she wants you.”

“So? I don’t feel the same. And, anyway, what’s it to you? It’s not like we’re s—”

“So?” Jungkook cuts Taehyung off. “It’s annoying.”

“That's it?"

"...Yeah.'

"Okay? Why's that got you all like—” Taehyung gestures wildly at Jungkook’s face. “—this?”

“Because—fuck. Just forget about it,” Jungkook begins stomping back towards the waves.

"Jungkook—!" Taehyung begins to hiss, grabbing at Jungkook's arm, the sea-spray soaked limb slipping easily out of his grasp. 

Jungkook abruptly stops anyway, calling over his shoulder a little louder than Taehyung would have liked. “And, oh, yeah, before you mention it again—I fucking know we’re not serious. You don’t have to remind me.”

 

 

 

 

+++

 

 

Taehyung doesn’t see Jungkook again until sundown, when the whole company is shuttled over to a private luau for their first of a week’s worth of company “events”. He makes sure to get a table as far from Jungkook as possible, pulling Namjoon and Jimin over to one of the further tables, and turns away when he’s pulled up onto the stage along with Jihoon and Yoongi to learn the hula from the dancers.

It’s so stupid, he was the one to break it off and yet he’s the one still watching Jungkook like a hawk, letting envy creep vines into his chest as he watches a girl, some staff member he’s seen around the agency before, hula her way over and share a smile with the idol. Jungkook doesn’t look his way once, and when the lesson is over, he, like a gentleman, helps her down the stairs and sits right next to her at a table by the stage.

That’s when Taehyung turns around, half-listens to Namjoon drunkenly talk about his pipedream of starting his own agency with Hoseok as he mopes into his plate of kalua pork, watching the reflection of the flames from the fire dancers flicker against the walls as he knocks back his Mai Tai.

Three more acts pass like that before he realizes he really has to take a piss, and so in the middle of a Tahitian number, he abruptly stands up.

“Where are you going?” Jimin’s eyes are plastered on the stage.

“Bathroom,” and Taehyung takes off, eyes sweeping across the room and unfortunately registering the fact that Jungkook and the girl’s chairs were now vacated.

He has a bad feeling when he steps out into a courtyard and the first thing he hears is an airy giggle, a couple clearly having fun behind a fern and conveniently right next to the very bathroom Taehyung was looking for. And Taehyung steps back, racking his brain for other options before he realizes he’s a bit to drunk for that and gives up. And so he warily heads for it, sandals crunching over the gravel before the guy facing his direction comes into full view.

And of course Taehyung’s heart jumps into his throat and of course it’s Jungkook, sucking face with that girl behind a fern by the bathroom like the fucking fool he is, and before Taehyung has the sense to pick his jaw up off the floor and walk away, Jungkook glances up and locks eyes with him.  

His partner notices his change in demeanor and turns around, spotting Taehyung before gasping and darting away, and before Taehyung can turn heel and leave as well, Jungkook’s already striding over, blocking Taehyung against the wall with a well-placed arm.

“She’s one of my backup dancers,” Jungkook explains without being asked, his breath laced with beer, and his eyes slightly unfocused. He staggers a bit before he snickers, “You jealous?”

Taehyung stares hard at the ground, balls his hands into fists, and shakes his head.

“Oh really? Well we’ve been talking for the better part of the day and she asked me out on a date,” Jungkook continues, eyes searching for something in Taehyung’s expression. “And I told her—”

No.

“—yes.”

Even though he has no right, Taehyung feels his heart plummet.

“I normally don’t, especially with staff, like you know, the whole don’t shit in your own backyard thing, but sometimes I make exceptions and I happen to think she’s really pretty and nice,” Jungkook hesitates, squinting, taunting him like the immature brat he is, “You know, if we were dating, I would have told her no in a heartbeat, but like you said, we’re not,” Jungkook continues, giggling to himself as he methodically narrating the play-by-play of it all in monotone, each sentence driving into Taehyung like knives, “So I’m gonna dip from this in like a minute and take her out to dinner. It’s on the other side of the island and it’s fucking fancy and afterwards I’ll probably take her back to my—”

“Nice,” Taehyung feels a flash of anger. “Sounds lovely. I hope you have great time.”

Jungkook regards him for a moment, grin wiped from his face, “That’s all you have to say?”  

“Yeah? It doesn’t matter to me.” But it does, it really does, wow, fuck, Taehyung’s frown deepens as a sinister feeling starts coursing through his veins. “Take some fucking pictures, even. In fact, post them online, since you’re clearly you’re fine with fucking around in broad daylight like this—”

“Is that really how you feel?”

“Yeah. I don’t care. Do what you want.”

“You don’t care,” Jungkook repeats.

Yeah. I don’t. But that sounds like that’s not the answer you wanted me to give,” Taehyung sneers as his head pounds. “How do you want me to react? Just tell me and stop the games. What do you really fucking want me to say?”

 Jungkook leans close, his hand gripping Taehyung's forearm lightly in uncertainty, his nose brushing against Taehyung’s ear in hovering hesitation, so silent for a moment that Taehyung can hear the soft whistle of Jungkook's inhale right before he murmurs quietly, “I want you to tell me to reject her." Then his hand slips down, fingers ghosting over Taehyung's before he speaks again, with a little more resolve, "I want you to tell me to not go.”

“I’m not going to do that,” Taehyung snorts as he pushes Jungkook away, “I’m not that kind of person. That’s entirely up to you.”

“But—”

“For the last time, I told you,” Taehyung glares at the cracks in the floor. “I don’t fucking care.

And at that Jungkook curls his fingers around Taehyung’s collar and yanks him into the bathroom and into the nearest stall, latching the door before pushing Taehyung against the wall.

“At least look me in in the eye,” Jungkook mutters, face way too close. “If you’re going to say that kind of shit.”

“Fine,” Taehyung snarls, looking up with his eyes blazing. This was starting to be a stupid game, but he’d be damned if he wasn’t going to win it, “I. Don’t. Fucking. Care—

And suddenly Jungkook is kissing him hard against the tiles, hands roaming over and under things, and Taehyung bends to his touch, because even though it’s been only days, it’s been too fucking long and Taehyung might be slightly fucking addicted and that’s certainly a problem and—

“Still don’t care?” Jungkook breaks it and breathes hard, hand ghosting over a prominent piece of evidence in Taehyung’s shorts.

“Nope,” Taehyung lies with his heart pounding in his ears.

“Alright,” Jungkook says as he sinks to his knees.

This must be dysfunction in motion, Taehyung’s fist clenched Jungkook’s hair as his mind screams at him to keep his resolve, Jungkook staring at him unnervingly, daring him to let out a sound as a couple of drunk tourists wander in and make a fuss by the urinals, Taehyung feeling himself cliffdrop over the edge in the seconds after the group leaves and heartbeats before Jungkook spits it all out in the toilet like a chore, wiping his mouth off on the back of his hand without a word and yanking the door open with a bang, revealing Taehyung for all to see as he totters out.

You know, a fucking warning would have been nice,”Taehyung hisses, flipping up his middle finger as he scrambles to pull his swimshorts up from his ankles.

“That would require me to care,” Jungkook turns from where he’s washing off his hands at the sink, eyes flicking down to where Taehyung’s hurriedly tying the drawstring on his shorts. “And you’ve made it pretty clear we’re past that.”

What a fucking edgelord.

Before Taehyung figure out the best way to indignantly squawk about how being impassive about public indecency and being impassive about whatever the fuck was going on between them were really not at all the same, Jungkook turns on his heel.

“Have fun on your date,” Taehyung quips with a scowl.

“Thanks,” and with that, Jungkook stumbles out the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

+++

 

 

Taehyung doesn’t see Jungkook during the day for the rest of the week, which is just as well, because for what must be the first time in his life, he wouldn’t really know what to say.

And it doesn’t really matter anyway, because Hawaii has so much to offer by way of a vacation, that Taehyung’s having a grand ol’ whirlwind of a time, doing cool shit like helicoptor-ing and ATV-ing and totally not thinking of—

“Are you feeling okay?” Jimin asks as they’re lounging on a yacht zipping along the coast of the island, sun idyllically high in the sky and dolphins trailing alongside them in their wake.

“Yeah? What makes you say that.”

“You just seem kinda off lately.”

“I’m fine,” Taehyung shakes his head and tries not to wonder what Jungkook’s doing. “Don’t worry.”

“Alright,” Jimin says, clearly unconvinced. “I’m here when you wanna talk.”

He never comes up with anything to say.

 

 

 

 

+++

 

 

Of course, at night it’s a different story.

It starts with incessant knocking on his hotel door at 1 in the morning that reveals a drunk-out-of-his-mind Jungkook as the source, and just how Taehyung finds himself going from standing with his arms crossed and arguing in hushed tones in the hallway to burying his moans into the crook of his elbow on his bed within five minutes is anyone’s guess, but what he does know when he finds himself in similar scenarios, curling up in the sheets post-coitus as the door clicks shut somewhere behind him, not once or twice but four nights a row, is that a) it’s a pattern and b) they have a fucking problem.

“Why can’t I quit you?” Jungkook slurs one night, completely out of it as Taehyung leaves a mark on his neck as his fingers dig into Taehyung's back, his eyes glisten in the dark.

And Taehyung pretends like he doesn’t ask himself the same question, just answers it by wordlessly sinking a little deeper, a little harder instead until Jungkook’s rendered incapable of saying anything else, and tries to live in the moment and minimize the regret he’ll inevitably feel in the morning. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

+++

 

 

 

By the fifth day, the island fever is setting in and he’s starting to get sick of these nightly company functions for more reasons than one, they’re boring, they’re long, and (mostly) they’re unbearable because he has to deal with his demons and exist amicably in the same room as Jungkook for more than a couple of hours.

Tonight is extra dry, it’s a dinner party where the executive awards are being handled off, AKA senior management engaging in a huge circlejerk and everyone has to sit stuffed into suits and just clap all night long, and so to prepare, Taehyung’s wandering around, wondering why he bothered to show up early and trying to source alcohol to get as hammared as possible before it to numb the boredom.

Jungkook’s not here yet He’s not looking for anyone in particular, but he spots his first familiar face out on the balcony, and quickly makes his way over to the railing.

“So,” Taehyung sidles up to Jihoon and punches him in the shoulder. “Congrats on making it onto WANNA TEEN, I was rooting for you. Tell Daniel and Mingyu congrats too.”

“Oh hey!” Jihoon turns around with a smile. “Thanks man, you helped us out a lot.”

“I didn’t do anything, it was all you guys.”

“Nah,” Jihoon shakes his head. “You definitely put at least me over the edge.”

“You’re too modest,” Taehyung just shakes his head.

“I’m going to have to disagree,” Jihoon laughs. “Also your tie’s loose, hyung.”

“Oh is it?” Taehyung frowns down at it. “Well, whatever, it was a struggle to get it to here.”

“Here let me try to fix it,” Jihoon takes his hands out of his pockets, steps close, and begins adjusting it.

And Jihoon’s almost done when suddenly and hand shoots out of nowhere and pushes him away. Taehyung’s suddenly half-way across the room, a hand death-gripping his arm as he’s yanked across the floor. The entire room falls into a hush, all eyes on the two of them like the spotlight of Taehyung’s worst nightmares. He can’t wrestle himself out of Jungkook’s grip without making a scene but he’s completely aware that by letting him haul him across the floor, that in of itself is a scene. So he just bows his head and lets Jungkook wordlessly drags him over into a waiting elevator. The second the doors close, Jungkook’s all over Taehyung with zero finesse, alcohol on his breath and sloppily shoving his tongue down Taehyung’s throat like he’s a teenager again with something to prove.

The thing is, Taehyung lets him do it. Keeps track of the floor they’re on and doesn’t think about why he melts like putty and it’s not until that the elevator door opens that he snaps out of it, the anger returns with a flash and seizes the opportunity to shove Jungkook off of him and grab him by his collar and pull him down the hallway until they’re at his room. As soon as he gets the door unlocked, he throws Jungkook in and slams the door shut behind him.

What the fuck was that about?!” he hisses menacingly as Jungkook stumbles in and slumps down onto the floor against the bed.

Jungkook stares at the ground defiantly, silent and stubborn.

“Answer. Me.”

“I’m drunk and heartbroken,” Jungkook recites monotonously like he’s rehearsed this prior, then grins to himself like it’s actually funny. “Get off my case.”

A flash of irritation strikes Taehyung, and he raises his voice, You think this is some kind of joke?! What the fuck is your fucking problem?!”

“I’ll tell you what my fucking problem is,” Jungkook looks up and the grin slides from his face as he narrows his eyes. “I put myself out there for a guy who keeps fucking playing with me. And that same guy seems to really get off on hitting on other people infront of my face. That’s my problem. My problem is you.”

“Playing? Hitting on? What the? If anything, I made it clear and you’re the one that’s—”

“So you let all your friends touch you like that? You two out there were getting really fucking close, you should have gotten a room—”

”He was fixing my fucking tie! And besides, he’s just a friend—”

“You can be someone’s friend and still wanna fuck them,” Jungkook snorts. “I can tell you from experience it’s not mutually exclusive, if anything—”

“Why does that matter? And why are you acting like this? Again, I told you I don’t want to make things serious with you, and so part of that—”

“You know, telling me why would have been, like, nice.”

“—and so part of that,” Taehyung speaks over Jungkook. “Means you don’t get a say in how I interact with people.” Because I’m not yours, Taehyung almost adds in spite, but catches it before it slips off his tongue. “So, again, what’s your fucking problem?”

“I still want you.” Jungkook says immediately, not looking up from the floor. “I still want you so fucking bad. I wanna be something to you beyond a fuckbuddy. I wanna call you mine. I wanna be able to tell other people to back the fuck off. And I wanna be yours. And right now I’m fucking drunk enough to finally say it outloud, but sober enough to still remember you don’t want me back. So, sorry. I’m fucking sorry. I’m trying to move on, but I’m kinda having a fucking shitty time.

“Even if you’re having a shitty time,” Taehyung hisses and points down the hallway. “How is it remotely a good idea to make a scene out there? I mean clearly you’re going off the chain, the luau was evidence of that, but what the fuck is going through your head to justify it being a good idea?!”

“I don’t have a dating ban. What’s there to hide?” Jungkook scoffs. “Am I supposed to be celibate for my whole life? I was seeing people even when I was in BTD anyway, what’s the difference?”

“The difference? No one else fucking knew!”

“I don’t care if they know.”

“But I do!”

“Why?” Jungkook challenges. “Because I’m not worth it to you? Oh wait, hold up, you don’t have to say anything, I already know the answer to that.”

“Holy fuck,” Taehyung lets out a scornful laugh, “Why are you making this about you?”

“Because I’m involved! I don’t know if you realize this but you’re kinda breaking my fucking hea—”

“Okay,” Taehyung pinches his eyes shut holds up a hand. So yeah, this is why I don’t fucking date your kind anymore.”

“What do you mean by my kind?”

“Celebrities, media-personalities, socialites, whatever,” Taehyung narrows his eyes. “You all think the world starts and ends with you, and I guess that’s inevitable when you have people constantly dick-riding you 24/7. I kinda hoped you’d be different, but—”

“I-I’m,” Jungkook flinches, “But I’m not like that. It’s just, it’s just, y-you’re literally telling me I’m not worth to you, I think I’m allowed to react like this. Like what am I supposed to be? Fucking happy—?”

“How about considering things happening outside of your bubble? You’re not the only one suffering,” Taehyung cuts him off, “Like, for instance, how someone’s been fucking following me for the fucking past month.

“...what?” Jungkook looks up, startled, “You never told me! How was I supposed to know?! What the fuck? Did anything happen to you?”

“No.”

“What? Are you sure it’s actually happening then?”

“They’re harassing me online. Someone broke into my studio and left me compromising picture and a threatening note. That saesang who keeps calling you found my  number. I mean...” Taehyung laughs helplessly.

“I…” Jungkook stares straight at him, he blinks, his brows draw together into disconcerted frown. “Holy shit. Why did you not tell me?”

“I didn’t want you to worry,” Taehyung laughs blithely, “And what could you realistically have done?”

“I could have done something, like, I don’t know, hired a guard, call the police, I don’t know, at the minimum, fucking been there for you,” Jungkook stares at him and asks quietly. “Why did you not tell me?”

“What’s the point? You know why that wouldn't work and I didn’t want to make you worried—”

“Well, I’m fucking worried now—!”

“—and I really don’t think any of that would stop them.”

“There’s ways to protect you!” Jungkook throws his hands up. “Holy shit, Taehyung, you don’t understand, you’re not used to this, if you had just told me, I could have—”

“I don’t understand? I’m not used to it? I’ve gotten caught before, if anything I’m—”

“That’s not the same and you know it! It was your instagram persona and it was 100% YGM’s fault, I would never do something so fucking stupid—”

“Even without stupid mistakes, I’ve been getting harassed by your saesangs ever since Cozy Conversations. I don’t really want to deal with this anymore. I’m not an idol for a fucking reason! I thought the phone call threats were bad, but the stalking is next level—”

“Fucking say something about it then! If you don’t tell me, I can’t fucking help you! I’ve been dealing with this kind of shit since I was 15, I could have fucking protected you,” Jungkook runs a hand frantically through his hair. “Taehyung, you don’t get it—

“I don’t get it? I don't get it? Why do you keep blaming me?” Taehyung asks, growing more livid with ever word. “Why is it always my fault? Why is it always something I should or shouldn’t have done?”

“I’m not blaming you—it’s, just, it’s—you can’t change them , but you can change how you—”

“Why,” Taehyung’s voice rises as he works himself into a frenzy. “If we can agree there’s shitty people in this world who are going to do whatever shitty thing they’re going to do no matter what, why can’t we just agree it’s sometimes better to pick a better battle and just let it go—”

“I can’t let it go because, because I’m fucking in love with you,” Jungkook raises his voice, unbridled anger seeping into his tone, staring Taehyung straight in the eyes like it’s supposed to mean something to him. “I’m sorry, it’s hard because I’m just really fucking in love with you.”

At that Taehyung lets out an incredulous bark of a laugh, narrowing his eyes. “In love? In love. We’ve been fucking for like two weeks, I don’t even think it’s been half a year since you were still treating me like shit—”

“T-that wasn’t, that wasn’t because I—” Jungkook cuts in. “I didn’t mean to—”

“—do you usually just toss around that phrase with everyone you’re with like it’s nothing? Or are you just that naive that you think you're actually in love with me after a few fuckin' weeks, because either way, that’s—”

“It wasn’t weeks. It was longer than that,” Jungkook suddenly spits out, staring hard at the floor, his brows creased in a deep-set frame for his growing frown. “Way longer.”

The retort dies in Taehyung’s throat. “What?”

“Try years. Eight of them. Yeah, shit, it’s really been eight fucking years,” Jungkook says, curling up into a ball, his forearms shielding his head. “Since the day I met you.”

No. Taehyung can’t even process this, it doesn’t make any fucking sense. All this fucking time? Then wait, that means it goes back to when—

“So, I think that’s a long enough time to figure that out,” Jungkook mumbles. Gone is the sharp venom in his voice, replaced with a growing waiver. The knuckles on his fists grow whiter, “So yeah, sorry, again, it’s sorta difficult for me to just, just, just let it go.”

For that long? What were the other six years about? The questions are swirling around his head, but all that escapes is a quiet: “Why?”

“I mean...you believed in me when I was at my lowest and gave me almost everything that made me into who I am now. My first song, confidence, my first friends, a sense of purpose, you made me, you were everything to me,” Jungkook looks up, eyes unfocused, expression wiped blank as the corner of his eye shines through the dark. He blinks, and a tear slips down his cheek as his voice cracks, “Who wouldn’t fall in love with that?”

Oh. Fuck. He can see the guilt speeding like train in the distance, hurtling toward him at lightning. This is bad. He can’t deal with this too, he needs to make it clear, he needs to come straight, he needs to get rid of this burden, he needs to right some wrong, he needs to—

“Why do you think I helped you?” Taehyung starts. This can also be a solution, “Like, you, specifically?”

“I...I don’t know.’

“I did it to take down Fuckface,” Taehyung says quietly. “Did you know that? And to make it more painful for him, I chose you. Because you were the worst trainee in the group and I thought it would be funnier. That’s it,” but was it? Taehyung’s never bothered to figure it out, and so maybe that was an answer in of itself. “I’m not a good person, so you shouldn’t be idolizing me as one.”

“I mean...to some extent, I knew that,” Jungkook says, head hanging low, defeat in his tone. “I knew. Deep down I knew. I knew. I knew.Not specifically why, I mean, when you say it aloud like that, it’s little, I don’t know, fuck, like, wow. But, sure, to some degree I was aware.”

Taehyung says nothing.

“Because, you know,” Jungkook tells the carpet. “I always asked myself, every time we used to hang out, why would someone like you would waste time with a kid like me? And I knew, deep down, the answer wasn’t because of anything I had control over.”

“So why did you stick around then?” Taehyung says quietly. “I’d personally hate me.”

“I didn’t care,” Jungkook laughs breathlessly.  “Pathetic, right? It made me feel validated, like I was important or something to you, at least at some level, at some point in time. I would have felt like that even if I weren’t in love with you. It kept me going even through the disaster of our debut album, it was like, I dunno, a light at the end of the tunnel? That someone believed in me, that I deserved to be there. Because I knew I wasn’t the ideal. So yeah, you telling me—especially now—that it was literally because I was the worst, that’s a little...” Jungkook sharply exhales, and another tear drips down his face. “...haha, like, shit?” Jungkook squeezes his eyes shut and turns his face away from Taehyung. “That gets to me a bit, I’ll be honest. Was I really not worth anything more to you?”

“I mean, what do you want me to say?”

“Haha. Fuck,” Jungkook wipes his eyes. “What kind of question is that? I don’t fucking know. Fuck.”

They lapse into silence, Jungkook’s stifled uneven breathing the only thing audible in the room. The edge of the tabletop digs uncomfortably into Taehyung’s leg, the silence hangs in the air so heavily that his heartbeat is almost audible. The darkness blankets the room, save for the patches of moonlight that casts everything into contrast, the lamps, the bed, the ugly pattern on the carpet on the floor.

And the two of them, motionless figures at a standstill.

Taehyung’s so numb now, he barely registers what he’s saying. He’s tired, he’s frustrated, he’s drunk, and he just wants this to to end. And he’d love nothing more than to curl up in his sheets and sleep until everything’s okay. Maybe that’s why he lets the worst in him take control for a split second and asks it, a simple ad hominem attack, a succinct summation of the latent resentment that he regrets the minute he lets impassivity droop his eyes to half-lids.

“Why are you crying?” The question slips past his lips before he fully realizes what he's asking, his own voice sounding detached and foreign to his own ears, the sick satisfaction of getting a jab in almost immediately drowned by the suffocating remorse that rushes in behind it in it's wake.

“I—" Jungkook snaps back immediately before he suddenly blinks, the moment he processes Taehyung's words apparent in the flickers of his expression. His brows draw together and his voice wavers and cracks, "I—shit, sorry, I...I can’t help it,” Jungkook’s expression squeezes into a contorted frown, another tear slips out and he quickly wipes his eye off on the collar of his t-shirt. “I’m just so fucking, like...sad? I dunno. Sorry. I’m still kinda wasted too, I’m just...Sorry. I’m not capable of handling this all right now, it’s a lot, too much—I-I—” Jungkook takes in a shuddering breath and furiously wipes his face with his hand. “—sorry. I’m sorry. I don't, I can't—fuck—I-I don't know why. I’m sorry.”

It’s okay is what Taehyung means to say, but it dies on his lips, killed by timing and fear of sounding disingenuous, and so he just stares blankly instead.

“I—I think—” Jungkook continues, without prompting. “Some of it...some of it is that I didn’t understand why you started ignoring me—and I still don’t—but I thought, maybe one day, if I worked hard enough, if I achieved everything I was capable of, if I became the person I wanted to be, I could one day make myself into someone who could stand next to you. And I guess I was wrong. Yeah, sorry,” Jungkook curls himself into his arms. “I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m just, it's just, the impossibility of it all is starting to hit me,” Jungkook takes another breath. “Just like, it feels like I was never meant to be with you.”

“Yeah,” And Taehyung thinks he should stop, but he’s always been so good at twisting knives. “I think...yeah. I think, also, that this has made it really clear that it’d be better if we stop hooking up at this point.”

Jungkook stares at the ground in stunned silence.

“Yeah,” Taehyung bites. “Let’s end it. It’s too toxic.”

“No,” Jungkook’s hands ball into fists. “Wait—”

“I don’t think you can handle it,” Taehyung looks at him coolly. “I’m serious.”

"I—" Jungkook mumbles into his elbow. “I can.”

“I can’t have you flipping out every time I, like, even just talk to someone else. That's crazy. What you did out there just now, what you did out there at the luau, what you did out on the beach, that's crazy."

"That's—I'll stop—"

"Like between that and your fans, I just..." Taehyung laughs exasperatedly, running a hand through his hair to clutch at his bangs. "I can't handle it. I'm not equipped to deal. And since I know that now, I don’t want to keep leading you on,” his voice is deadly quiet at this point. “I want to stop. There’s no point.”

“Wait, no—”

"Jungkook, I can't give you what you want," Taehyung says quietly. “We’re not good for each other.”

Jungkook doesn’t move, doesn’t say anything, and remains in his curled up position on the floor. After a minute, Taehyung gathers his stuff and heads towards the door. His hand is almost on the door handle when he feels Jungkook grab his arm.

“Can we...” Jungkook’s hand clenches a little tighter around his elbow, “One last time?”

Taehyung knocks it off with his own, “I don’t think this is a good idea—"

“I need closure,” Jungkook pleads.

Taehyung’s not sure why, but at that, he nods. It’s not a good idea, his brain is telling him, as Jungkook kisses him gently and unbuttons his shirt, but the heart wants what it wants.

And so, for once Taehyung closes his eyes and actually listens, melancholy settling in his chest somewhere between the pain and pleasure. Jungkook’s so transparently desperate with the way he holds Taehyung, the way he moves, the way he sounds, the way he wants him, it’s almost embarrassing how much of his heart is exposed, and Taehyung’s glad he’s face-down most of the time because it hides the fact he feels the same. It feels like in some ways Jungkook’s trying to convince Taehyung to change his mind, and Taehyung is forced to admit to himself, as he braces himself against his forearms and buries his gasps into the sheets, that it almost works.

Jungkook flips him over at the last minute, kisses him through it sweet and slow with his eyes closed and his brows furrowed. And Taehyung knows this because he forces himself to keep his own eyes open as a strange victory to himself. Because it proves to himself that his heart is guarded, he’s in control, and most importantly, he’s not in love.

It doesn’t matter if it’s not necessarily true.

There’s a fraction of a second when he falters and forgets this is the last time, when he wonders if it could really work between them, when silence settles, when Jungkook reluctantly slips into sleep clutching Taehyung by the waist, when Taehyung watches the way Jungkook’s chest rises and falls outlined by the lights outside, when he cards his fingers through Jungkook’s hair and when it hits him hard that this is something he probably really wants.

So he winds his other arm around Jungkook, holds him a little closer, and for one last time, in the quiet hours before dawn, he lets himself pretend.

 

 

sorry, i’m just scared of the future
—childish gambino
3005 (from Because the Internet)