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

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It’s not overt, but when he’s paying a particular amount attention, Taehyung can sense a certain nervous carefulness in the way that Jungkook treats him with an almost textbook amount of caution, giving him too much space, conceding a little too much, leaving certain things unsaid.

It’s like Jungkook doesn’t quite know where the line is in their relationship, and instead of stomping over it like he was before, he’s shuffling forward and flinching every time he thinks he’s hit it.

And it makes Taehyung’s heart clench a bit, watching him build behavior barriers to prevent himself from going to far, and it starts haunting him at night while he’s staring up at the ceiling, the guilt of the fact he knows he’s the cause of this consuming him as he tries to come up with solutions.

He’s pretty shit at it, and so he turns to his one trusty guru who’s managed to always kick his life into shape:

“What should I do?” Taehyung asks, one night, at two in the morning, the cool glass of his phone pressed to his ear.

“Um,” Jimin responds back, his voice sleepy and irritated even through the speaker. “Show him you care?”

And so that’s what kind of starts it, Taehyung’s new habit of delivering small gestures and reminders delivered in the dumbest of ways.

It’s stupid stuff like combing through Jungkook’s hair while they’re watching a daily drama in Taehyung’s living room, Jungkook curled in his arms and nodding off, eyes slipping open every once in a while to stare almost gazelessly towards the tv before his lids begin to droop again.

“Huh?” Taehyung suddenly stops, pinching a clump of Jungkook’s hair. “What’s this?”

“What’s what?” Jungkook murmurs, eyes opening blearily. “What’s where?”

“This,” Taehyung repeats vaguely. “In your hair.”

“Wait, shit,” Jungkook raises his head and frowns. “Is it lice or something—”

“No, it’s this,” Taehyung suddenly slips his hand in front of Jungkook’s vision, his hand folded into a finger-heart, his eyes folded into twin crescents, his lips pulled into a shit-eating grin.

“Uh—?” Jungkook squints at it with real intensity before recognition suddenly relaxes his features and he buries his head back into the crook of Taehyung’s neck and grunts, the tips of his ears growing red. “Oh. Ha ha, funny.”

Or like when they’re on a car date and sitting in parked in some parking lot and the conversation’s winding down the with night and Taehyung will pipe up:

“I just saw this ridiculously good-looking guy,” Taehyung tells his reflection in the window.

“Huh?” Jungkook whips around and narrows his eyes.

“Yeah, like, just now. He’s super fit, got great face, nice eyes, killer smile. Complete package.”

“Okay?” Jungkook’s face begins folding into a scowl, his eyes subtly scanning the deserted lot. “There’s no one else here but us.”

“Wanna see a picture?” Taehyung dodges the question, pulls up a photo on his phone, before flipping it around, beaming brightly as he points to it. “I’m head over heels with him. He’s totally my type.”

“Um…”  Jungkook squints, brows relaxing from apprehension into confusion. “That’s...just a picture of me?”

“Yeah.” Taehyung snickers. “Just look at you. Too good looking. Completely my type.”

“Oh my...fuckin’...” And Jungkook runs a hand over his face before Taehyung pulls him down to start what they really came there for.

Or it'll be something like Taehyung springing up from his chair when he needs a break from his work and somersaulting over the arm of his couch, feet landing into Jungkook’s lap.

“Um, hello,” Jungkook reels in surprise, blinking behind his glasses as he scoops Taehyung’s feet into his arms. “What’s up?”

“Nothing,” Taehyung snickers, “Just physically showing how I’m head over heels for you.”

“Amazing,” Jungkook tries to fight the smile spreading across his face and fails as he slips into a cough of a laugh. “You’re amazing.”

“Thanks, I know.”

Or like getting Jungkook a tiny bouquet of dried flowers:

“What’s this?” Jungkook gingerly takes it from Taehyung, paper and plastic crinkling as he scrutinizing it like its a suspicious package.

“Flowers,” Taehyung beams as Jungkook brings the bouquet up to his nose and gives it a suspicious whiff.

“I guess I mean why this,” Jungkook inspects a stalk with tiny buds, growing cross-eyed as he does.

“Just ‘cause,” Taehyung shrugs.

Jungkook just gives him a look and tosses them to the side (but later Taehyung will see them placed on a shelf over his fireplace, between a golden disk award and BTD’s first music show win trophy).

 

 

+++

 

 

It’s a few weeks before awards season when Jungkook stops by his studio late one night, peering around the door.

“Hey,” Taehyung greets from where he’s curled up on his couch with his phone, his head nestled in the corner between the armrest and seat back as he watches Jungkook trundle across the room. He lights up when he spots the paper bag of fast food hanging from Jungkook’s hand, his stomach growling in anticipation, “Thanks, holy shit I’m starving. Did you get something for yourself?”

“Nope,” Jungkook drops the bag onto Taehyung’s lap. “I already ate.”

“Wait, shit really?” Taehyung says with dismay, frown tugging at the edges of his lips as he pulls the bag open, the enticing scent of preprocessed chicken sandwich and fries wafting up as he pulls them out with gusto. “You should have told me, I could have gotten it delivered or something.”

“You think I didn’t?” Jungkook raises his brow. “I haven’t left the building since I got here.”

“I’m a lot less impressed now,” Taehyung laughs.

“Forget I said that then,” Jungkook slips into the other corner of the couch, folding up his legs and resting his head against his hand. He watches Taehyung tear through his sandwich for a moment before he asks, “Wanna go to a house party tomorrow?”

“Um, sure? With who,” Taehyung licks his fingers before digging into the fries. He holds one tipped with ketchup up in the air, “Want one?”

“Friends. Yugyeom’s hosting it and the rest of the 97-line are gonna be there,” Jungkook blinks at it for a moment before he leans forward and takes a bite. “And a few other people.”

“What’s the occasion?” Taehyung mumbles through a particularly large bite.

“Just MAMAs,” Jungkook shrugs. “Since it’s one of the first award shows and a lot of us are going to be in it.”

“Oh,” Taehyung pulls down the wrapper. “Sounds like a party for the big leagues. Am I even allowed to be there?”

“Funny you should mention it,” Jungkook peters off as he pulls a card out of his jacket. “Did you know you’re a part of the ceremony?”

Taehyung pauses mid-bite, the words floating through his ears but not quite registering with his brain, “Sorry, repeat that?”

“You’ve been nominated,” Jungkook laughs as he hands over an embossed card. “For Male Rookie of the Year. Also for SOTY for Talking to Myself. And We the Best and Remember Me, but that’s not individual guess, still, haha, you absolutely killed it this year—”

“Oh my fucking god,” Taehyung tosses his sandwich onto the coffee table before he lunges forward, snatching the card from Jungkook’s hand, his heart starting to race with excitement as a grin spreads across his face. “No way.”

“Way,” Jungkook laughs. “You made it. Congrats on crushing it this year. I’m so proud of you.”

“I—I’m—” Taehyung loses his words as the excitement wells up and crashes over as euphoria, the giddiness rising as he scans the words of the nomination over and over again. He suddenly sits up straight and jerkily flails the card in the air, “I gotta tell Jimin. And Namjoon. And Yoongi and Hoseok and fuck, Luna, Jihoon, everyone, but, first—’

Taehyung grabs Jungkook by the shirt and pulls him in, falling backwards as their lips crash against each other as Taehyung kisses him as hard as he can.

“Thanks,” Taehyung breathes when they break. It’s almost compulsive, there’s no reason behind it, it’s just he’s so fucking grateful with no way to express it.

“For what?” Jungkook’s eyes level with Taehyung’s.

“For, um, just—everything.”

“What did I even do?” Jungkook asks bemusedly. “But you’re welcome, anyway.”

“For telling me, for getting me food, for being the best,” Taehyung starts rambling. “For being here, and for...for being inspiration for the song.”

“I was the inspiration?” Jungkook says, with fake surprise laced in his tone. “For Talking to Myself?”

“I mean...you sound like you know the answer to that already,” Taehyung narrows his eyes.

“Just making sure. The lyrics are kind of vague. Maybe there was someone else who also confessed to you in the snow, I don’t know,” Jungkook laughs as he picks himself up, narrowly dodging the swat Taehyung sends his way.

“No, just you,” Taehyung rolls his eyes. “Most people also didn’t ignore me for three straight hours before stopping me right before I’m about to drive home either, but, you know, that part didn’t quite make the cut for the song.”

“Sorry, I’m not super brave,” A smarmy grin is starting to spread across Jungkook’s face. “But, since I’m assuming the lyrics are accurate, at least I know now that you’re the happiest when you’re with me. Right?”

Taehyung chucks a pillow at Jungkook’s face, his face beginning to heat up as he stands up and heads towards the door, “I’m going to go to Jimin’s now.”

“You’re dodging the question,” Jungkook clutches the pillow to his chest and snickers as he calls out. “You make me the happiest, did you know that? I’m just glad it’s finally mutual.”

Taehyung pauses, one foot stepped out in the hallway, when he briefly looks over his shoulder and mumbles, “Yeah, me too.”

 

 

+++

 

 

The next night is pretty much a blur.

Like practically the second Taehyung steps off the elevator and into Yugyeom’s apartment’s rooftop garden, Jungkook a step behind him, he’s swarmed by a mob of people eager to get a word with him. It’s a lot of back-patting and congratulations, number-swapping and promises of future correspondence, a new drink being shoved into his hand any time the one in his own becomes half-empty, a lot of faces he’s seen on TV many times and a lot of names he’s already pretty familiar with.

Jungkook stands off to the side, with his own gathering of people waiting to talk to him, his eyes every so often flicking over and meeting Taehyung’s, sharing secret grins especially when some of the more enthusiastic have their moment, like Breakout Actor of the Year, a 20-year old guy who featured as the second-lead in the biggest daily-drama of the year, who starts gushing the moment he gets a word in with Taehyung.

“Holy shit,” Breakout Actor says. “Hi. I, um, I love your music. I’ve been a fan for such a long time, since your Soundcloud days. I honestly can’t believe I’m talking to you.”

“Same, you’re a legend,” Taehyung laughs. “You were so good during your drama. I was rooting for your character to get the girl.”

“I can’t believe you watched that,” Breakout Actor flushes, and mutters. “And luckily, between you and me, that’s working out a little better in real life.”

“Wait, you and—” Taehyung’s eyes widen as Jungkook glances over in curiosity. I’ll tell you later he mouths and Jungkook raises his brows, a knowing laugh already on his lips.

“We’re still in a ‘some’ relationship,” Breakout Actor grins, “But enough about me, your new song is actually the shit…”

After about an hour of meeting and greeting, with his brain starting to overload from all of the new information, Taehyung excuses himself for a break. He finds a secluded spot behind a wall of ivy, a nice little astroturf-covered niche lit up by criss-crossing strings of hipster lights bordered by a glass barrier overlooking the city below. He walks up towards the barrier, placing his drink down and leaning against it with crossed arms, watching the cars wind around the gently-lit streets below.

A breeze hits him, his eyes sliding shut as it rushes past, touseling his hair and playing with his clothes. It’s pleasantly warm and he almost loses himself in it until the sound of a phone camera shutter grabs his attention.

“Sorry,” Jungkook says, stepping down from the patio as he pockets his phone. “You and the background, it all just looked very picturesque.”

“It’s fine,” Taehyung pushes his glass and pats the barrier next to him in invitation.

And Jungkook accepts, stepping around floor lamps and a couch until he sidles up next to Taehyung, leaning back on the barrier with his elbows propped up on the top.

“Are you having a good time?” Jungkook asks, reaching around to grab Taehyung’s glass, giving it a tentative sniff before he takes a sip. “I told you everyone wanted to meet you.”

“Yeah, you weren’t kidding,” Taehyung looks back out towards the city, shifting his weight to his other leg. “Just wanted a breather though.”

“Makes sense,” Jungkook twists his head and glances over his shoulder before his eyes flick back towards Taehyung, as he comments, “Nice view.”

“It is, isn’t it?” Taehyung raises his hands in the air, gesturing at the speckled grid of lights below.

“I’m talking about you.”

And Taehyung immediately punches him in the arm.

“What?” Jungkook laughs as he grabs his bicep. “It’s true.”

“Alright,” Taehyung rolls his eyes and they lapse back into silence. It’s comfortable, with Jungkook’s arm pressed up against his, the breeze still rustling through his hair. It’s almost too comfortable, like, a level of comfort knows he doesn’t deserve, which sparks the question he asks when he turns towards Jungkook.

He takes the sleeve of Jungkook’s dress shirt and fiddles with the silk, eyes focused down on the grain of the wood underneath, and asks, “Why did you take me back?”

“What do you mean?” Jungkook says as he shifts, a hint of surprise in his tone.

“Like, I said some pretty shitty stuff and...” Taehyung chews on the inside of his lip. “And I hurt you pretty badly. Like, I’m not even sure I would take myself back at this point, so why did you?”

“Oh. Um...” Jungkook scratches his ear as he peters off. “It’s like, it’s not...it’s not just about whether you make mistakes—-I mean, actually, sure, in some sense it is. Like, yeah, I’d probably prefer it if you hadn’t strung me along or gone and fucked me up like you did in Hawaii. But, I get why it happened and that’s all in the past, and so it’s…” Jungkook blinks. “For me, at least, it’s more about what you did before and you do after and whether or not you’re willing to change. And knowing you, and watching you lately, you are willing. So the second chance seems like a no brainer.”

“Oh,” Taehyung tells the barrier. “I see.”

“Yeah, ‘cause overall I think when I look at everything that you’ve done, for me and other people, despite all the shitty stuff hurled your way, you’ve got a pretty good track record,”  Jungkook says. “And that’s the kind of stuff that made me fall for you. I mean, who would put their whole career on the line for some teenage trainee? Not a lot of people.”

“Who told you about that?”

“Some good mutual friends.” Jungkook’s silent for a moment. “Do you have any regrets?”

“For what?”

“Choosing me. For BTD”

“Oh,” Taehyung looks up in surprise. “No. Why would I have any?”

“Really?” Jungkook asks with disbelief. “I feel like your life would have been so much easier if you hadn’t gotten involved.”

“Maybe,” Taehyung looks down at the urban sprawl below. “But I really don’t. Because just look at yourself.”

“What do you mean?”

“Look at everything you’ve achieved, everything you’ve become, you grew up so well. And I knew from the first day we met that you had it in you,” Taehyung lets his eyes slip shut as he leans forward and presses his lips gently against Jungkook’s, “I have a lot of regrets about a lot of things. But I’ve never had a single one about choosing you.”

 

 

+++

 

 

The first time Taehyung says it—like outloud, not in his head—it’s a total cop out. Because it’s 6 in the morning, Jungkook’s asleep and Taehyung mutters it under his breath.

Well to be fair, Taehyung also thinks he’s in a dream. Honestly, how could he not when it’s the same damn setting he’s been sliding into for the months when they were apart, when he was deepest in his REM cycle, lying tangled in the sheets with his forearm slung over the soft part of his stomach and staring, in a stupor, at the guy curled up next to him with the comforter drawn up to his nose as the sun rays scattered across the sheets sidle by with the hour, watching, in wonder, the way Jungkook’s slow breathing rhythmically flutters his bangs, the soft whistle the only sound cutting through morning silence

“Hey, I—” Taehyung clears his throat and tells Jungkook’s nose like it’s a test, “I, uh, I-I love you.”

And then Jungkook’s eyes flutter open, unfocused from sleep. He stretches, pulling his arms up over his head, face scrunching up before he throws his arms around Taehyung and murmurs, “Did you say something?”

“No,” Taehyung lies.

“Oh okay,” Jungkook shrinks under the covers and frowns. “Damn, I was having a good dream.”

“What was it about?”

“You told me—” Jungkook cracks an eye open before he shuts it and rolls away from Taehyung. “—nevermind.”

“What did I say?”

“Nothing,” Jungkook waves a hand. “Don’t worry about it.”

 

 

+++

 

 

The setting’s a little different the second time he says it.

It’s a lot less soft when he’s sliding down slow, arched back gliding against Jungkook’s chest as he moves, moans slipping from his mouth as Jungkook’s fingers find the sensitive parts on his chest. It’s not even what they intended to fall into when they started watching the movie, a fact probably evidenced by the sloppy way Jungkook was barely zipped out of his pants, Jungkook’s shirt lying where it was tossed halfway across the room, and the way Taehyung’s own was only being  carried as high as Jungkook’s roaming hands cared to go.

“Hey,” Taehyung  murmurs, hoping his words get lost as he lets them slip. He’s just so overwhelmed by the feeling thrumming in his chest and the heat building a little lower as he slides down. And the thought that he could let him know, should let him know, will let him know grows until on the way down it just kinda slips out and he sighs, almost too soft to hear, “I—fuck—I think— I kinda— love you.”

“Huh?” Jungkook hums lazily into Taehyung’s shoulder, pressing a kiss against his neck as he grips Taehyung’s waist a little tighter.

“I—mmm, oh shit,” Taehyung’s legs clench as he rides out a wave. The bravery goes with it, and he throws his head back onto Jungkook’s shoulder instead and mumbles, “...nevermind.”

“You just— kinda love me?”

“So—you did hear that,” Taehyung glances at Jungkook out of the corner of his eye and offers a one-eyed half-hearted glare. “You’re full of lies.”

“Yeah,” Jungkook snickers softly, voice vibrating in his chest, fingers digging light into Taehyung's waist. “I just wanted to hear you say it. Again.”

“You could have just—oh fuck, right there, ” Taehyung huffs. “—you know— asked .”

“Um,” Jungkook murmurs, “Nah. Too desperate.”

“What? I mean...” Taehyung throws him a strange look as he trails off, expression morphing from a reflection of incredulousness to ecstasy as he exhales  hard and bites his lip as a lax flick of Jungkook’s wrist coaxes him closer to the edge. “Shit, go faster.”

“You know, though,” Jungkook adds as he acquiesces. “Feel free to tell me again, whenever you want, by your own accord.”

“Just fuckin —ask me to—then.”

“No.”

“Why? Oh fuck .”

“Because.”

“That’s not an answer.”

“But it’s my answer.”

“That’s not a good answer.”

“It doesn’t have—to be, but I’m not gonna ask.”

And so Taehyung decides to indulge him, but on his own terms, and he so waits until Jungkook’s getting close, and he pulls away from Jungkook’s lips for a moment, as they’re both breathing hard.

Jungkook looks almost offended at the change, a wordless ‘ wat the fuck are you doing’ twisted across his face before he leans back down again, and that’s when Taehyung drops it, locking his legs around Jungkook, right before Jungkook’s lips touch his, he lifts himself up, nose brushing against Jungkook’s hair—

“I love you,” he breathes into the shell of Jungkook’s ear, letting himself fall back down to the sheets staring him dead in the eyes, a grin spreading across his lips.

And then, like that, with astonishment ripping across his face, Jungkook’s done.

“Oh— fu-fucking fuck,” he swears as he shudders to a halt, slumping over when he’s spent, his ears the reddest Taehyung’s ever seen them.

“Wait...did you —?” Taehyung cackles, watching Jungkook dazedly pull out. “Is that actually your kink?”

“Shut up. No.” Jungkook covers his face and mumbles. “Okay, maybe. Kinda.”

“Oh shit, that’s adorable,” Taehyung props himself up on his eyebows and flicks the underside of Jungkook’s chin, the biggest grin on his own face as a warmth curls itself in his chest.

“Stop,” Jungkook grumbles into his hands.

“Wait,” Taehyung laughs, roping his arms around Jungkook’s neck and pulling him down into his arms. “I mean, like in a good way.”

“Is it though?” Jungkook’s head lands in the crook of Taehyung’s neck, his hair jutting up and tickling Taehyung’s nose.  

“Yeah,” Taehyung inhales, the scent of Jungkook’s shampoo filling his lungs. He revels in the silence for a moment, before he adds, “Though I still can’t believe that actually made you c—”

“Oh okay , you know just for that—” Jungkook suddenly gets up and pushes him back down, slipping two fingers in as soon as Taehyung’s back hits the sheets, a glint in his eye as he starts moving them with a mission. “How about I give you a lesson?”

“On—” Taehyung gasps as he throws his head back. “— what?

There’s a vindictive glint in Jungkook’s eye, “So I’ve noticed you’ve been driving a lot more lately—”

Taehyung’s back arches involuntarily, “Is that— no —”

“—and so some advice I’d like to share is that,” Jungkook’s barely masking the grin on his face. “you should really make sure to—”

“Don’t you fucking dare—!” Taehyung gasps, fingers digging into Jungkook’s back.

“— respect traffic safety ~♪” Jungkook starts serenading.

“No!” Taehyung protests.

Jungkook leans down, nose brushing against Taehyung’s ear and whispers as he crooks his fingers. “ Don’t accelerate ~♪”

“Oh my fucking— do not.”

“For safe traffic~

“No traffic safety—in the f-fuckin bedroom!”

“Remember to stop at red lights~ ♪”

“F-fuck you!”

“For safe traffic~

“Y-you’re the shittiest boyfriend!”

Jungkook suddenly stops, mouth slack, “What did you just call me?”

“The shittiest!”

“No, no, no the other thing!” Jungkook waves his hand.

“You’re!” Taehyung covers his eyes with his forearm and grabs the sheets.

“You know what I meant.”

“The!”

“Fine if you’re not gonna answer,” Jungkook shifts his fingers just right and whispers into Taehyung’s ear, “Ecodrive~

Oh —” Taehyung curls around Jungkook, limbs hugging him tight as he shakes to the finish. “F-fuckin’ hell.”

And Jungkook just starts laughing his head off as he slips out and off and dashes to the bathroom.

“You’re the worst!” Taehyung yells at him as he gingerly steps of the bed. “I hope you know that!”

“Eye for an eye,” Jungkook calls back, his voice echoing off the marble walls, the sound of the shower starting, the rain of water rushing in the background.

“What if I actually develop some weird-ass kink for your traffic song?”

“Sounds like a personal problem.”

It’s later, after the aftercare and after the lights are out and they’re back in clean sheets, on the cusp of sleep that Jungkook asks about it again.

“Were you being serious about it earlier?” Jungkook mumbles into Taehyung’s chest, breaking the silence.

“About what?”

“You know...when you said I-I was...”

“Yeah,” Taehyung mumbles, chin nestled into the crook of Jungkook’s neck, arms winding around his waist and his back, fingers carding through his hair. “I was.”

Jungkook hugs him a little tighter, buries his face deeper in the sheets, his hair tickling Taehyung’s nose as he mumbles, “Really?”

“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?” Taehyung’s eyes flutter shut. “Because I’m...“

He peters off, because how does he even start to explain it? Why there’s a nonstop warmth heating his chest these days, the reason why he loves waking up in the mornings and falling asleep at night lately, why he’s laughing more, living more, loving more. It’s because he’s so happy. He’s in love. He feels complete. All true, but there must be some broader reason for it all—

“Because you’re…?” Jungkook, cast in the moonlight and the city lights, murmurs, adjusting his arms around Taehyung, his breath fluttering against his chest.

“Because—” And the answer suddenly hits him, and he sighs contentedly, carding a finger through Jungkook’s hair, “I’m all yours.”

 

 

+++

 

 

The third time he says it, it’s—well, it’s hard to explain without context.

So let’s start with some.

History always has a funny way of catching up to Taehyung. The net of it is that it’s zero sum, neither good or bad to him, it’s some sort of chaotic neutral entity that both tends to bite him in the ass on one day and send him miraculous blessings the next.

When he wakes up the morning before MAMAs, his bed’s empty and the sound of Jungkook’s voice is floating through the closed door. It’s too low for Taehyung to hear and so he dozes of back into almost-sleep when Jungkook steps back in, face-blank.

“Everything good?” Taehyung blinks blearily at him as Jungkook starts pulling on outsidewear.

“Whoa,” Jungkook jumps and gives Taehyung a thin grin before pulling a sweatshirt over his head. “Um...yeah, I guess.”

“Who were you talking to?”

“Jin,” Jungkook steps over to the night stand and shoves his wallet and keys into his jeans pocket.

“Are you leaving already?” Taehyung sits up, rubbing his eyes. “What time is it?”

“Six,” Jungkook says. “But yeah, I need to go in before my flight.”

“For rehearsal?”

“And other things,” Jungkook pauses before bending down and kissing Taehyung hard, leaving him breathless when he finally breaks it. He stares at Taehyung for a bit, eyes searching for something, before he snaps out of, murmuring softly, “Jin wants to talk to you before you leave.”

“Oh okay,” Taehyung blinks dazedly, “Are you sure everything’s okay?”

“Yeah.”

“I’ll see you tonight then?”

Jungkook pauses at the door frame before glancing back at Taehyung, eyes wide. Then he turns away, knuckles white against the door and says, “Yeah.”

 

 

+++

 

 

What happens next is so overwhelmingly predictable that Taehyung should have seen it coming from at least ten miles away. And so when Jin pulls out chair with a sign, sits down with a cautious heaviness and covers his hands with his eyes, inhaling loudly through his nose, Taehyung has a feeling he knows roughly what he’s going to say before he says it.

“So,” Jin exhales and starts fiddling with an office toy sitting on his desk. “How do we start?”

“Who found out?” Taehyung’s mouth spits out before his mind really has time to catch up, the familiar feeling of numbness slowly rising like a tide in his chest.

“Oh,” Jin raises his eyebrows. “So you know already?”

“No, I guessed,” Taehyung picks at the hem on his pants and gestures around Jin’s office. “But the setting and your face and the cryptic notification all told me this isn’t going to be a lovely afternoon chat between two old friends.”

“Ah, yeah” Jin blinks. “Well, I already told Jungkook about all of this, so he knows.”

“And what did he say about it?”

“Wanna hear the context first?”

“Sure,” Taehyung shrugs. “Shoot.”

“So, um, we were contacted about a statement about you guys,” Jin glances up at Taehyung. “From Dispatch.”

“Oh,” Taehyung feels his mouth dry, his heart beginning to pick up in pace.

“And you’ve probably put this all together by now,” Jin blinks again. “But you two are going to be their New Years reveal. It appears an outside source tipped them off on a lead, and I think we both have a good guess on who that source could be.”

“Heart King?” Taehyung asks with dread.

“Yeah,” Jin pinches the bridge of his nose. “Fucking hell. She already hit Jungkook with National Sweetheart, but this time, she must have really wanted to maximize damage.”

“Do you know what pictures Dispatch have?”

“Nothing too damning, the cards they showed us were just pictures of you two walking out of his apartment and getting into a car,” Jin flicks his eyes up. “Why, were you guys being careless?”

“Not really,” Taehyung shakes his head. “But I mean, do you think they have photos from…”

“Heart King? Probably not, I’d guess she just gave them leads. But since she overstepped her bounds, it probably isn’t the smartest thing legally for them to get tangled in her deal. But yeah, whatever she has she’ll dump it all there anyway. She’s probably just waiting for them to reveal it before posting her proof.”

“Ah I see,” Taehyung slumps dejectedly into his chair. “So what did Jungkook say about all of this?”

“He said that it’s entirely up to you.” Jin holds his hands in his lap, “He said he’d even understand it if you wanted to end things.”

“And what do you think I should do?”

“I think...I don’t know,” Jin hangs his head. “Historically, lesser names have come back from worse, bigger names have been destroyed by less. It depends on how we play our cards,” Jin hangs his head. “The grooming stuff won’t really come out anymore, that was so long ago and after they arrested the producer for it, it was pretty clear the blind item was about him. I also think in some sense you need to live your life, since you’re relevant now. You have enough clout and this kind of scrutiny will never really go away. But I also think there’s a smart approach to things and a less smart way to approach them. I think, especially since we’re all moving to a new agency in a few months with limited bandwidth, some battles are honestly not worth fighting.”

“So given all of that,” Taehyung buries his hands into his pockets and leans back, leg jittering nervously against the ground. “What do you recommend I do?”

“There’s a couple of options,” Jin pulls up a few articles on his computer. “You can make yourself comfortable, this will take a while...”

 

 

+++

 

 

Fuckboy 6

 


 

Hey

So

Jin just told me

About the dispatch thing

 

Yeah?

 

And I

I think

We need to talk

 

Fuckboy 6 is typing...

 


 

 

+++

 

 

If he thought the party was a blur, the MAMAs are a whirlwind.

He’s pretty much in a daze from the moment he sits down in a chair to get prepped in his hotel room, BigCube’s biggest makeup and hair stylists fluttering around him as the clothes stylist wheels options on a rack around him. Then he’s herded into a van and shuttled off to the red carpet, where he awkwardly steps out and nearly trips as a flurry of camera flashes and screams hit him, the fans flanking the sides zoning in on him the moment he comes into view.

He honestly can’t even really remember anything after his interview, one moment he’s blinking at RTAOTY in her diamond-studded ball gown as he answers questions about his year, the next moment he’s back in a chair infront of a light-studded mirror, and the next he’s standing on a scuffed platform just under the stage, re-adjusting his mic as the murmurs from the crowd turning into screams as the lights dim.

Somehow, with his miracle skills, Jin had slid him in as the opening act, and as excited as he was, the part of him that would but fine that wasn’t starts protesting loudly as the platform begins to rise and the opening notes of Talking to Myself begin to play.

The performance itself feels like a dream, watching the lightsticks in the audience sway to the beat, the chorus of everyone singing along with him right until the last notes fade along and he grins at the camera as the stage lights fade and he steps off to backstage.

Then a third wardrobe change later, he’s sitting in the artist area, perched at the edge of a bench between Monster Rookie Girl Group and the rest of the artists from BigCube, Jimin to his left, and Namjoon, Yoongi, Hoseok and WANNA TEEN all lined up in a row.

“Hey,” Jimin elbows Taehyung when Representative Female Rapper leaves the stage. “Isn’t your award next?”

“Yeah,” Taehyung says as That One Actor Guy slips around the panel, a camera-ready grin slapped on his face. “It is.”

“Hey who’s the second announcer—?” Jimin suddenly stops.

Taehyung follows his gaze and his heart halts in his chest when his eyes fall on Jungkook.

He looks so good, in his suit and with his hair, his eyes glittering in the lights, the trophy clasped in his hands, and Taehyung can’t find it in him to look away. And yet Jungkook’s not looking at him to an almost militant degree, eyes darting everywhere out in the crowd except anywhere near Taehyung’s vicinity, smiling like everything’s fine.

And it kind of makes sense, Taehyung thinks and yet his heart sinks a little, especially when Jungkook makes eye contact with someone in the crowd and gives them a shy grin.

Once the crowd quiets down, Jungkook leans down to the mike, his nose nearly brushing it as he recites, “There’s a lot of talented guys who step on the scene every year, and this year certainly is no exception.’

“Each one of these guys have brought us a fresh perspective on pop and has really raised the bar for everyone else,” That One Actor Guy steps back and points at the screen behind him. “Here are the nominees.”

The montage plays, the screams resounding for each of the clips, but none as loud as for his own, which erupt when a second for the We the Best music video plays, the bit flashing across the screen where Taehyung awkwardly floats by the screen in a pool floaty with his reflective glasses, singing as he points at the camera.

“Fuck, that’s the clip they went with?” Taehyung whispers into Jimin’s ear, his nerves starting to get to him a little just as the camera focuses on him, suddenly blinking embarrassedly as his wide-eyed expression hits the monitors as Jimin snickers next to him.

Jungkook stands expressionless as That One Actor Guy fumbles with the envelope, nearly dropping it before he finally gets it open.

“Whoops. And the winner is...” That One Actor Guy pauses, glancing down at the envelope and feigning surprise. The fans scream, and he leans into the mic, grinning teasingly, “...TAE!”

The chorus from Talking to Myself swells, and Taehyung gets up, buttoning his jacket and bowing to the competition as he makes his way to the stage.

Jungkook’s still refusing to look at him, his eyes aimlessly pointed out in the crowd until Taehyung gets near. He diverts them to the ground instead, hands wrapped securely around the trophy, lips pressed thinly together.

He only flicks his eyes up when Taehyung stops right in front of him, the subtlest hints of worry woven into his brows just barely visible through the impassiveness, holding the trophy out for Taehyung to take.

“Congrats,” Jungkook whispers, barely audible over the music.

“Thanks,” Taehyung reaches out tentatively, hand hovering near the trophy for a split second before he suddenly shoots his arm past it, grabbing Jungkook by the tie.

Then Taehyung pulls him in for a kiss.

And all hell breaks loose.

Jungkook goes beet red, the fans break out into a fresh wave of screaming, the cameras go crazy, the phone in his pocket begins buzzing like no tomorrow, their contemporaries in the artist area are anywhere from a range of bemused and livid, he can see Jimin and Hoseok catcalling, Yoongi shaking his head, Namjoon looking at the ground with a big grin on his face, he knows somewhere backstage Jin is ripping his hair out, upper management’s going to be on both their asses tomorrow, and he pretty much nullified his performance since the headlines were going to be dominated by just this moment, all of social media was going explode with debates of whether or not this was a publicity stunt the minute the broadcast delay catches up, netizens from all corners of opinion were going to drag them from hell and back, and his interviews for the next three months will contain a question about his intentions, guaranteed, but—it doesn’t matter.

Because when it's all said and done, when the crowds and the lights and the noise eventually fades, this is the truth that will remain:

“Hey, so, um—you’re mine,” Taehyung covers the mic and grins nervously when they break, as the uproar from the crowd descends on his ears. “Just makin’ that clear.”

“Oh,” Jungkook says in a daze, his face flickering with white from the flashes from the cameras. “Cool. Me too, thanks.”

“I also just want you to know,” Taehyung whispers into Jungkook’s ear. The screams rise in volume and the camera shutters explode with rapidfire clicks again. “You make me so happy.”

Taehyung then takes a step back, loafer scuffing over the stage, and gives Jungkook his biggest beaming grin and a subtle index-and-thumb finger heart (a well-placed fancam still catches that one), sniffs and wipes his eye and throws in a shitty giggle to drive the point home, “I’m so fucking in love with you, Jungkook. Like, really, I am.”

Yeah that was his crime. But he could own it now, a wise man once told him that lesser names have come back from worse.

Jungkook goes impossibly more red and gapes at him like a fish before sputtering, mind clearly overloading, expression flickering between bewildered delight and cognitive overload, “I m-mean, I mean, when we talked about releasing the notice ourselves, not that I necessarily mind this, but I didn’t mean it had to be like this—”

“Yeah, yeah, tell me later,” Taehyung lightly pushes him away, takes the award and faces the lights. He uncovers the mic, leaning down awkwardly to reach it, hand slightly shaking, heart thrumming in his chest, drops his voice down a quarter of an octave, looks out into the crowd, and speaks to his fans, “S-so, um, I’d like to thank you guys, first of all…”





+++

 

 


 

[Article] JK♥TAE, a New Celebrity Couple is Born

  

After the shocking reveal at the MAMA awards, it has been confirmed by their agency that top stars TAE and JK are dating. BigCube Ent has released an official public statement in response:

“As it’s been reported, they have been dating for 4 months. The two have been friends since they were young and have had a close sunbae-hoobae relationship for awhile now. They have only recently developed feelings.

We hope that you cheer them on.”


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  1. Heol, this is surprising...but they match really well!! It may not always be easy going forward, but wishing them a happy relationship~!