[ fast forward—4 years later ]
Why was he here?
“He” as in Taehyung, 29-year old singer-songwriter at Ddaeng Entertainment, and “here” as in racing down the hallway with coffee in one hand, and a hot chocolate in the other for Seoul’s most promising candidate for Laziest Boyfriend of the Year.
It’s simple, it’s because Jungkook was too damn lazy to get his own damn drinks.
And that’s kinda why Taehyung’s counting the steps left to Jungkook’s studio as the heat from the cups begins to seep through the cardboard sleeves and scald the palms of his hands. There’s literally one more corner left, but it kinda feels like he’s holding literal lava, and so he loses a battle he’s created with himself and drops the drinks onto the nearest side table, frantically shaking out his hands as he hisses in pain as a few trainees wander by and give him odd looks.
He grins and gives them an awkward nod in greeting, and they raise their brow before tentatively returning it, whispering between themselves before they quickly shuffle away. Taehyung sighs, wringing his hands together before grabbing the cups again, the sear of heat beginning to singe his palms again as he hurries back down the hall towards the frosted glass door at the end of the hall.
How exactly did he get coerced into doing this? With a couple of carefully worded texts sent about half an hour ago:
I’ve been thinking about it
We’ve been dating for like
Four years now?
What about it
So fucking in love with you
Wow that’s your reaction?
Man I just bared my goddamn heart for you :(
As sweet as it is
You pretty much say that
To me every morning
Again it’s sweet
But it does lessen the impact
A little bit
Yeah but it’s true
Wow ur being so mean
I love you too
I’m crazy about you
Like I literally can’t imagine life without you
Ask you something
Go for it
I think it’s going?
It’s something I’ve been thinking about
For a long time
If you’re about to ask what
I think you’re about to fucking ask
Don’t you dare do this over text
When I’m literally
Sitting next door
What am I gonna ask?
Im going to call u
Pick up ur phone
Are you serious
Answer your fucking phone
You are not doing this over text
I’m coming over
Open your door
The love of my life
My other half
I said stop
You better NOT
NOT LIKE THIS
OPEN YOUR FUCKING DOOR
I KNO YOUR IN THRE
I CN HEAR U LAUGHIN INSDE
So will you
Make me the happiest guy alive
IF YOU DO THIS OVER TEXT
YOU ARE SO FUCKING LAME
And will you
I WILL SAY NO
I WILL ACTUALLY SAY NO
Get me some hot chocolate
I rly need sugar rn
But could you actually get me some
Thx you’re the best
And you’re the worst
Right where it hurts
You’re fuckin lazy
Where’s the lie though
Yeah. Seriously, the things he does for love.
He’s just outside the door, his elbow dropping down to pop the handle open when a tweenaged kid suddenly yanks it open, his head turned over his shoulder as he quicky bows, “Thank you so much!”
“Yeah no problem, but also thanks for dropping the thing off,” Jungkook leans back in his chair, his face peering in to view, his lips quirking into a grin when he spots Taehyung before they flick back towards the kid. “Good luck with evals. Let me know how they go.”
“Will do! Good luck with—shit,” The kid turns around suddenly and smacks straight into Taehyung, apologizing and bowing before he scampers back down the hall.
“Who was that?” Taehyung amusedly laughs as he nudges the door shut with his foot and heads over to Jungkook, quickly shoving the cup into his boyfriend’s hands.
“A trainee,” Jungkook takes a sniff before takes a sip. “Came for advice.”
“Ah,” Taehyung’s eyes wander around Jungkook’s workspace, over his producing equipment and post-its and decorations, and the awards all neatly lined up neatly on a shelf off to the side.
The last four years had been a wild ride. Kicked off with explosive start Taehyung inadvertently launched their public relationship off of with The Kiss, they, as a couple, had immediately grabbed entertainment headlines all over the nation (and in some parts of the world). The aftermath reaction itself was a mixed bag. His own fans were more or less estatic for him, the public pretty much completely lost interest with it within a couple of weeks, and Jungkook’s diehards were, to put it simply, post-National Sweetheart veterans and were not really that surprised.
The week after was probably the hardest, because that’s when deluge of dirt-digging hit posts started hitting social-media en-masse. What they were about, Taehyung honestly couldn’t tell anyone the specifics because he went almost completely off the grid for a month or two to weather the storm, but through what he gleaned later was the internet, with a few thousand armchair prosecutions, thought he was some iteration of being a hoe, an asshole, and a showoff (mix and match or choose all three, only while supplies last).
The accusations that he was V flared up again, and that’s when Taehyung came to peace about that whole deal being his own personal PR herpes. All of the posts that were the detective work of their budding relationship are brought to the forefront again (the couple clothes, the emojis, the supposed dates), leaving netizens wondering what was actually blatant evidence of a loud couple agenda and what was symptomatic of broken clocks being right twice a day.
Needless to say, the day after The Kiss, BigCube’s upper management had freaked the fuck out, and Taehyung had never felt more sorry for Jin, who he knew was thanking the brunt of the fury. And overall it wasn’t terrible for Taehyung, even if he did get thoroughly chewed out at the handful of disciplinary meetings set up to berate him, because of his contract expiration and the fact that he had a graceful transition lined up to Namjoon’s new agency, Ddaeng Ent.
Jungkook’s exit wasn’t quite as clean.
Most of it was done behind closed doors, kept under such tight wraps that even Taehyung wasn’t privy to any of the happenings, Jungkook clamming up and shaking his head whenever he broached the subject. But what Taehyung had wheedle out of Jin after a night of drinking was that there had been plenty of pleading and yelling and finger pointing (largely over how the dating thing had been handled) that amounted into a strange passive-aggressive PR hit piece released to Osen decrying Jungkook as a lazy SOB who was somehow paradoxically parting ways amicably by letting his contract expire but also was being deliberately axed for being an undisciplined employee and would be leaving BigCube within the year.
Oh and what about Heartking?
That ended kinda, um, unexpectedly.
After a thorough investigation stemming from the break-in of Taehyung’s studio when she had dropped the envelope of the incriminating photos on his coffee table, Heartking was eventually caught on charges of breaking in and entering and was revealed to be salary worker who, to put it kindly, needed to get a life.
“What are you going to do about it?” Jungkook asks as they speed down the freeway, the highway lights zipping past. “Now that they caught her. Jin said they could press charges if you wanted to.”
“I…” Taehyung blinks. “I’ll probably just forgive her.”
“Yeah,” Taehyung shrugs. “She’s like the same age as me.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“I mean, even if she almost ruined mine, I don’t wanna ruin her life,” the car speeds along a bridge and Taehyung’s eyes watch the way the water ripples in the dark. “I tried that once with Fuckface, felt pretty empty after. And besides, if they lock her up I’m pretty sure she’ll never let that grudge go. I don’t necessarily want to punish her, I just want her to leave me the fuck alone.”
Ironically, as Taehyung finds out a couple months later, the decision does the exact opposite:
New fansite: Prince TAE
I’m happy, happy, to announce the grand opening of a new fansite for the one and only super lovely Taehyung.
I know there will be some controversy because I used to be Heartking, but I’ve turned a new leaf and become a better version of me. It’s all thanks to of Taehyung’s incredible kindness and generosity, which pulled me out of the dark place I was in and gave me this second chance.
Needless to say, I fell in love with that! His happiness is seriously my happiness and...
“What the,” Jungkook’s jaw drops when Taehyung shows him the new twitter. “What the actual fuck. How did you...what the fuck. ”
“I dunno,” Taehyung laughs. “Killing them with kindness sometimes works, I guess.”
“I thought you wanted her to stay the fuck away from you.”
“This works too,” Taehyung shrugs as he scrolls down her feed.
“But I want her to stay the fuck away from you, with this, we’re like, back at square one again—”
“I think she’s changed,” Taehyung muses as he stops on one particular picture.
“How did you know? All she’s done so far is posts pictures of you—”
“Because this is the first one she posted,” Taehyung flips his phone around.
It’s a screencap of the encore after very first time they performed together, from slightly below that scuffed stage with confetti streaming down from the rafters and the two of them wrestling and laughing together, Taehyung looking down as he tries to whack Jungkook’s confetti-filled hand away and Jungkook beaming at Taehyung like he was his whole world.
And the caption?
A pair of tiger and bunny emojis sandwiched between a smattering of hearts.
“Huh,” Jungkook brings the screen close to his face and squints. “Huh.”
“Yeah, we’ll see,” Taehyung takes his phone back with a laugh. “But I have a feeling that things are going to be alright.”
But yeah, the rest of the years between were a blur.
There’s no real stand out favorite moment, just a growing collection of simple small ones, like coming home after they’ve moved in together to a lit apartment, a hoodied-Jungkook twisting around from the couch and greeting him with a grin, moonlit walks with their new puppy down by the river the quiet stretches along the river, fingers linking loosely when no one else is around, stolen kisses in hidden corridors the agency, and the music show studios, and in darkened sidestreets just a few blocks away from the hustle and bustle of the main roadways.
Scattered among those kinds of moments were the months that their schedules hurtled them on opposite sides of the world, and were probably the worst. Like earlier that year when Jungkook spent several weeks in LA after Jin manages to turn an KCON invite into an opportunity for a mini media-blitz and concert combo, extending what should have been a three-day trip into three weeks and a half.
And Taehyung actually doesn’t think much of it even after he sends Jungkook off at 5 in the morning, draped in an oversized sweatshirt, sleepily waving at him from their bedroom door, or when, from the moment he lands, Jungkook starts sending him a bunch of photos of random things and people in LA, or even when a selca with an idol friend makes it to the ‘gram and sets off a mini-flurry of cheating rumors among netizens.
It hit Taehyung in the morning on the third day when he woke up alone, wrapped around nothing but a pillow and his sheets and realizes he’s really fucking grumpy. Like, frown on his face, something’s obviously missing, he feels like shit, level of grumpy.
“Well yeah,” Jimin said while they’re eating lunch in the cafeteria after Taehyung spelt it out for him. “I could tell.”
“Look at a mirror,” Jimin had laughed. “It’s written all over your face.”
It doesn’t really hit Taehyung why until Jungkook returned dutifully a month later, clearly exhausted and jetlagged when he, straight from his plane, arrives at an impromptu kickback between the seven of them and he sags onto the couch next to Taehyung, head supported by his hand.
What starts as sitting side by side slowly evolves to Taehyung somehow worming himself until he’s sandwiched between the couch and Jungkook, koala-hugging his boyfriend’s back with his chin propped over his shoulder as he lethargically watches the rest of them play a drinking game.
“Damn, Jungkook,” Jin had shaken his head at Taehyung right before he took a shot. “You were gone for what, a couple of weeks?”
”Three weeks and five days,” Jungkook had laughed, his voice vibrating through his chest.
”Also eighteen hours, thirty-six minutes, four seconds and nine milliseconds,” Taehyung has grumbled, holding his phone up, the stopwatch with the time receipt glowing for everyone to see. “If you wanna be really precise.”
”Look what you did to him,” Jin had squinted before shaking his head.
Jungkook has turned his head and glanced down, eyes drooped and a loopy grin across his face, and let out a huge sigh, “I know, and he called me every night too. Clingy as fuck.”
Everyone had laughed and Taehyung had wordlessly tightened his hold, peering up with a glare and raising a middle finger to no one in particular.
“See,” Jungkook triumphantly gestured at Taehyung's arms as if it proved a point that hadn’t already been made. “Clingy.”
“Oh, don’t give me that pretend-exasperation bullshit,” Yoongi squinted at Jungkook and points an accusatory finger. “Your face says it all, you fucking love this.”
Jungkook glanced down at Taehyung, a grin threatening to break across his face. He bites his lip and lifts his brows, “And what if I do?”
And when Taehyung had buried his face deeper into the crook of Jungkook’s neck, his arms wrapping tighter around Jungkook’s navel as he inhales the soft familiar scent of his boyfriend's detergent, it struck him then that the unease he had been feeling in the months prior had completely dissipated and that by sitting here, with Jungkook in his arms, everything just felt completely right with world.
And that he honestly couldn’t imagine anyone else by his side.
That was probably the catalyst for scheduling the appointment with that hype designer jeweler on Tuesday, during one of Jimin’s rare breaks to get a quote for a custom ri—well, actually, forget he mentioned that, he was getting ahead of himself.
The squeak from the office chair suddenly shakes Taehyung from his thoughts and plunks him back in Jungkook’s studio, the awards glittering in the background as Jungkook swivels around and stares up at Taehyung.
“Everything good?” Jungkook asks, reaching up and adjusting Taehyung’s collar. “You’re being unusually quiet.”
“Yeah,” Taehyung rubs at his eyes. “Just a lot on my mind lately.”
“I feel,” Jungkook laughs softly, carding through his hair with his pinky.
They lapse back into a comfortable silence, broken by the faint background sounds of Jimin whistling as he headed down the hall, Jin yelling at Yoongi to wake up from somewhere in the distance, Hoseok laughing and Namjoon singing.
Taehyung’s straining to figure out what song Namjoon’s working on, trying to catch any of the fragments of notes and lyrics that he possibly can to piece together into a mental framework when he sees Jungkook get up from his chair.
“Hey,” Jungkook taps him on the shoulder. “So I have an important question to ask.”
And when Taehyung turns around and glances over, his heart stops straight in his chest.
Because Jungkook’s getting down on one knee, his wide eyes locked on Taehyung’s and his lips curving into nervous grin.
“Taehyung, you’re my rock, my soulmate, my second half. You’re my everything, you literally mean the world to me. So will you—”
Taehyung’s hand flies up to cover his mouth, his heart racing in his chest, his answer ready to launch itself from his lips, plans to cancel his appointment already forming in his mind when he suddenly notices Jungkook sliding onto all fours and awkwardly patting the ground, eyes darting around the carpet as he ducks his head under his desk.
“—will you help me find my pen? I just dropped it and I really need to sign off on this endorsement deal by the end of the day—”
“Oh...my...fucking...” Taehyung covers his face with his hands in embarrassment. “No. You can’t do that twice to me in one day.”
“Do what?” Jungkook grins up at Taehyung. He face falls into an expression of mock-astonishment. “Oh wait, oh shit, you thought this was a—? Oh, fuck, I’m so sorry.”
“Right,” Taehyung rolls his eyes. “Keep talking like you totally didn’t make it look like a—”
“Again, I’m sorry,” Jungkook laughs. “I just really need this pen. But anyway, while I’m down here,” Jungkook reaches behind the leg of his desk, and pulls out a tiny box. “Related question.”
He’s laughing and fumbles and nearly drops it, and Taehyung’s heart stops for a moment in his chest, as Jungkook regains his balance and pops it open.
“I really meant everything I told you earlier,” Jungkook raises a brow and beams, a ring glinting in its box, “So, Taehyung, will you—?”
“Uh...so is that a—?”
[ rewind—fourteen years ago, in a dance studio in busan ]
“So which agency do you think you’re going to choose?”
Jungkook blinks at that question, he’s 13 with big dreams and a wide-open future, but all he knows is how to parrot what his parents want, using words and metrics he doesn’t really understand. But what he is sure about is that he’s really excited for the shot at being an idol, most kids don’t even get one opportunity, and he, well, he’s got seven .
“JYP probably?” Jungkook responds. “They’re part of the Big Three and have a, a, uh, proven track-record and also an, um, explosive second quarter of growth and—”
“Uhhhh,” his friend makes a face. “What does any of that even mean?”
“Honestly,” Jungkook admits, biting his lip. “I don’t know. But my dad is very excited about all of that. We’re taking the tour tomorrow.”
“Nice! Can you get me Sohee’s autograph if you run into her?”
“I doubt I’ll see her,” Jungkook laughs. “But I’ll try.”
“Sweet. Also—wasn’t BigCube one of your companies?”
“Yeah, but they’re at the bottom of my list. My dad said something about, what was it?” Jungkook places his index finger over his upper lip as he flicks his eyes towards the lights on the ceiling. “Potential bankruptcy? It sounds like a risk.”
“I don’t know anything about that, but isn’t RM there? I know you like his stuff.”
“Wait, really? ” Jungkook’s eyes widen. “Yeah, I’m such a huge fan.”
“Yeup, and Suga and Jhope. Seems like they’re really banking on their producers."
"That's cool," Jungkook wrinkles his nose. "But I'm not sure I wanna do hiphop."
"Oh, about that, I also found this guy on soundcloud the other day,” his friend takes out his phone and fiddles with it. “He just got signed and released a few songs. I think most of the online hype is about his face honestly, but you should take a listen, it’s the kind of basic shit you’d like.”
“What’s his name?”
“Tae...hyung? I think, lemme check,” his friend squints at his phone. “Yeup, Taehyung.”
“Never heard of him,” Jungkook shakes his head. “How good is he?”
“Pretty good? He’s not like, RM or anything—”
Jungkook wrinkles his nose again.
“Look, all I'm saying is he might change your mind,” his friend shrugs as he hands over his phone. “It’s not like he’s gonna change your life.”
Skeptical, Jungkook presses play.
And, of course, what happens next could be a whole story of its own.
So here’s a question: was this all a result of chance or fate?
It really doesn’t matter.
Because what is the difference between the two when the course of time can’t be altered? And regardless of whether it’s by destiny or design, after the first time they collide, when 17-year old Taehyung steps out with his future that day in the form of a finalized producer-contract clutched in his hand and really appreciates Seoul’s urban jungle for the first time in a long time and a 14-year old Jungkook slips into a small practice room and introduces himself nervously in front of a judging crowd of trainees, whether it’s by luck or some predestined plan doesn’t change a thing. They’re still the same two guys with big dreams and an unforgiving industry to take on.
Even though this story’s winding its way down, this certainly isn’t their end. They’ll keep on going, since there will always another mountain to summit, another path to take, another goal to reach, and who really knows how far they’ll go or where they’ll end up.
Because even now, in the present, there’s still no written conclusion for their story yet, just another milestone being paved into their trail, the binder already being smoothed down onto the ground when they (attempted to) take their engagement photos in a series of poses that dissolve in the chaos, like, for instance, Taehyung trying his best to carry Jungkook bridal style, the veins popping out of his neck and his brow twitching as Jungkook throws his arms around Taehyung’s neck, gracefully sticks his foot into the air, and spreads a shit-eating grin across his face), or Jungkook ruining another shot of staring lovingly into each others eyes as they classily sip from champagne flutes by pulling a face at an inopportune moment and causing Taehyung to dissolve into waist-bending snickers, spitting his mouthful of champagne all over Jungkook in the process.
But really, just looking at the one relatively successful shot they get—standing together on a grassy hill with their arms wrapped around each other as the sun sets in the background, laughing together with their eyes screwed shut the split second before Taehyung wrestles himself out of Jungkook’s grip to avoid the hidden tickling jabs his fiancé was non-stop prodding into his waist—the rest of their story seems like it’s shaping up to be the happiest one.
Seriously, how could this possibly be their ending? Especially with scenes like this one from a heartbeat ago: a moment from an idyllic, cloudless mid-summer’s evening, set in the ballroom of one of Seoul’s nicest hotels, under an ornate awning adorned with twisting vines & blooming roses—
( “...um, lets see...” Taehyung takes a step back and grins . “Gimme a moment, I think I need a moment to think about this one.”
“F-fucking—no,” Jungkook hisses. “Fuck no, Taehyung, now is not the fucking time—“
“Hey,” Taehyung snickers. “I’m sensing some double standards. You gave me so much shit with the proposal. Let me have this one.”
“Yeah, okay, but the difference is it wasn’t in front of a thousand people—”
“And?” Taehyung looks out into the crowd and squints. “Wait, we didn't even send out a thousand invites, there are like seven hundred here at the most? And I highly doubt our nextdoor neighbors really came, especially after that midnight noise complaint.”
“I told you not to be so loud.”
“Yeah, you know, that’s real easy to demand when you’re not the one—”
“Hey, guys,” Yoongi grimaces. “TMI.”
“Sorry, sorry,” Taehyung waves in apology. “What I’m trying to say is that there are at most six hundred and ninety-eight people here. Not even close to a thousand.”
“Not the point,” Jungkook hisses. “ Just, like, hurry up. I’ve, I’ve, I've waited fucking years for this—“
“Okay, okay, sorry...I—wait, Jungkook,” Taehyung peers at Jungkook . “Oh my god, are you crying—?”
“No—guh,” Jungkook sniffs indignantly and scowls. “Just—oh my god—say it already—”
“Actually, wait, can I, like, take a picture?” Taehyung starts patting his pockets. “Since this is a, um...once in a lifetime moment and—oh wait, what am I talking about? Haha, I don’t need it,” Taehyung cackles and turns to his best man and smacks him in the arm. “Jimin, Jimin, dude, I won our bet, look, he’s actually—”
“No way,” Jimin’s jaw drops as Namjoon begins laughing into the palm of his hand and Hoseok shakes his head. Jimin groans, covering his eyes with his hand, “Jungkook, you schmuck, you just lost me a fucking watch. You had one job—“
“What—? Wait. No. I—no, this my fucking day, my job is to—guh—no. Do not fucking pin that on me,” Jungkook holds his hand over his face as Yoongi and Hoseok lean out to cop a look. He starts trying to subtly wipe his eyes as he hisses, “Wait, why are you giving me shit for this?! You’re crying too, Tae!”
“Oh am I?” Taehyung grins as he quickly wipes his eyes off with the heel of his hand, his fingers curling into his palm. “I guess I am.”
“What even—oh my—ugh—we’re the same!”
“No we’re not. Unlike you, I can own being a little bitch—”
“Okay, okay, okay, sorry,” Taehyung presses his hands together and takes a deep breath. “I...wait—just—give me a second, I, uh, forgot my line. Line?” Taehyung grandiosely waves a finger into the air and Jin completely loses it.
“Tae. Hyung. It’s. Two. Fucking. Words, ” Jungkook hisses. "This is not funny.”
“Okay, okay, I’ll cut the jokes,” Taehyung takes a deep breath. Then pauses. “I—wait—actually, hold up one more time,” he squints and surveys the crowd. “I would really like to appreciate all of this for just one more moment—“
“Okay, Okay,” Taehyung beams and takes Jungkook’s hands into his . “I...um—”
“Just fucking say it!“
“I do.” )
—clearly, this is just another start.