Jungkook wakes up to a cacophony of beeping and clicking, mechanical whirrs lulling him softly from his state of hibernation. Beyond the glass windowpane of his little cubicle, people rush from corridor to corridor in an urgent type of hustle and bustle that seems particularly potent in hospitals. The fluorescent lighting overhead only adds to the scene, and it makes Yoongi’s entrance that much more dramatic – like a cut from one of the stupid dramas his mother used to put on back home.
His boss strides through the doorway, shoulders back with his head held high, just like how he looks on television, and takes the stool next to Jungkook’s bed with an air of grace one can only achieve through duteous practice.
The expression on his face is hard to read. If Jungkook had to guess, he’d probably suggest “impossibly grateful” or “hopelessly smitten,” but perhaps that’s wishful thinking.
Perhaps he’s projecting.
“Hey, boss,” he croaks out, making an effort to sit up, but only succeeding in amplifying the pain that radiates from his abdomen. He tries not to read too far into Yoongi’s grimace. “Why so tense?”
He’s joking. Easy, comfortable, like they always do – on or off the job – but Yoongi doesn’t laugh. Yoongi doesn’t so much as crack a grin, doesn’t do anything except shift his ass on the stool and look him clear in the eyes to deadpan,
It almost hurts as badly as the bullet wound in Jungkook’s side.
But this is not where their story begins.
Jungkook comes from the backwoods of Busan.
A small fisherman’s town without a point or plot on the map, but somehow managed to carve out a special space in local knowledge. A town that could only be found in two rights after the left and go straight until you see the big pine tree; while you’re there, stop at Sungwoon’s and tell him a friend sent you.
Right up until his enlistment, Jungkook worked on the family farm. He’d wake up at five every morning to feed the chickens, let the dogs out, milk the cows, sort and stack the hay, and collect firewood – all before lunchtime. It was taxing work, but it was simple; familiar; comfortable; easy.
The military was overwhelmingly different, but comfortingly similar at the same time. The alarm at five didn’t sound for him to collect eggs or pluck feathers, but instead for routine inspection. He handled not shovels or rakes, but rifles, handguns, sometimes blades. What he took comfort in, though, were the mindlessly physical tasks – it didn’t take a rocket scientist to know how to fit two pieces of machinery together, or how to drop and give twenty. As time passed and as he began to climb the ranks, the work became simple; familiar; comfortable; easy.
All this fundraiser, charity event, kickstarter bullshit?
Jungkook is a decorated marine, celebrated by many for his courage, his bravery, his integrity, and his loyalty.
It’s a bit hard to remember this when he’s about to keel over making small talk.
To be fair, the woman he’s speaking with has her dog stuffed tightly into her purse (a Chihuahua? Maybe? It’s one of those rat-looking things) and it’s black, beady eyes seem to stare straight into Jungkook’s soul.
Her laugh is shallow and tinkling, like the ice cubes swirling around against the glass in her champagne, and Jungkook gets the vague idea that he should be laughing and he would have laughed had he been paying attention to anything this poor woman was saying to him instead of how clammy his hands feel, or how tight his “perfectly tailored” suit fits on him.
It was in his contract to accompany Yoongi to any major events he attends, and Jungkook really didn’t think that would involve (attempting to) entertain women twice his age in dresses that probably cost more than his parents’ farm.
And maybe that’s what it was – the blatant display of wealth, everyone showing off and showing out like it was a competition, like they weren’t all gathered there to contribute to helping the less fortunate; or maybe it’s how heavily social these things always are, with haughty, empty laughter and shark-like grins and sentences filled with innuendo.
Regardless of what it is, Jungkook can’t stand going. He can’t stand the suit he’s poured into, can’t stand the people who don’t take the hint from the ear-piece and shades that he’s just the bodyguard, can’t stand how they talk down to him and laugh when they hear his country twang.
He just wants to leave.
Yoongi, he cries telepathically, if you can hear me, rescue me.
A touch at his elbow comes not a few moments later and,
Well. Speak of the damn devil.
“Ah, Mrs. Choi, looking as lovely as ever tonight.” Jungkook tries not to make too much of a face – it always tickles him seeing Yoongi butter people up. “Terribly sorry, but I’ve got to steal him away, just for a moment, you don’t mind, do you?” And before the woman (who’s apparently Mrs. Choi, though Jungkook hadn’t managed to catch that after what felt like hours of conversing) can respond back to Yoongi’s swift sentences, Jungkook is being pulled and guided by the small of his back through the crowd of Seoul’s elites. All around him, he can only make out painted faces and ballooning skirts, roaring laughter, flames leaping from extravagant fire pits; it reminds him all too much of a circus.
When they step inside of the men’s room, Yoongi sweeps his gaze underneath the stalls before concluding that they’re alone, and locks the door behind him.
“Jungkookie,” he begins, and the tension is already melting from Jungkook’s shoulders, leaking from the little indents left by the bulletproof vest underneath his suit, sliding down and out the constricting legs of his trousers, laid bare on the gritty tile floor of the restroom.
Just the shift from public to private – from Candidate Min Yoongi and his Security Detail Jeon Jungkook to Hyung and Jungkookie – is enough to have him slumping against the wall.
“Oh, baby.” Yoongi takes a step, and then two, until he’s close enough to cradle Jungkook’s cheek in his warm palm. His thumb strokes over an old scar, just an inch or two below Jungkook’s waterline, and the scent of cedar massages itself into his skin. “These things are shitty, I know. But we have to.”
Jungkook groans, shifting his face further into Yoongi’s palm.
He anticipates the cooing before it comes. “Sweetheart…”
“Nooo,” he whines petulantly, like he isn’t a grown, twenty-five-year-old man. It registers, vaguely, that he should be at least a little embarrassed at how he’s acting, but his heart is still racing and his brow is still a tad too wet for reasonable doubt and his breathing still sounds like he’s just come out of a marathon, so Jungkook thinks he gets a pass this time.
“Kookie.” It’s evil of Yoongi to bring out the pet names, but that doesn’t stop him. “You know hyung doesn’t like it, either. When my social anxiety acts up I have something special that I do, but we don’t have the time for me to teach you that right now, so I’m just going to suck your dick until you feel better. Okay?”
“Oh-okay,” he tries to whisper, but Yoongi’s already sank to his knees.
“Is kissing babies an actual plank in your campaign, or does someone in PR just really hate you?” Jungkook murmurs lowly, amusedly, striding down the sidewalk alongside Yoongi’s swift gait.
“Well, Jeon, when you’re the first openly queer senator to run in history, you’re gonna need any bit of humanization you can get.”
Two weeks on the job and he’s already managed to offend the boss. His father had always warned him about his cheeky remarks, his snarky back-talk, and he never took that to heart – being the cheeky, snarky, back-talking brat that he is – but in this moment, Jungkook kind of wishes he’d listened to his father. Learned how to filter himself. Even the military hadn’t been enough to stamp it out of him, it seems.
“Oh, I – sorry, sir, I didn’t mean it like that, I just…”
“Relax. I’m fucking with you.” Yoongi shoots him a grin.
It does nothing to calm Jungkook’s rolling innards.
What it does to is stir up some unwanted sensations in Jungkook’s chest – the wolfish way Yoongi’s upper lip curls over his teeth, how his eyes are narrowed in mirth, how literally all of his suits fit him better than sex and, wow, today really isn’t an exception.
(Also – who the fuck manages to actually pull off a bowtie without looking dumb as hell?
Answer: Min Yoongi.
Min Yoongi pulls it off. And one of these days, he’s going to give Jungkook a heart attack.)
It doesn’t take long before they’ve reached the daycare center where Yoongi had been scheduled to visit. The staff workers are awed by his laidback, easy charm – one young woman even asks if she can get his autograph. Seeing Yoongi in his element like this makes Jungkook marvel every time he’s out on the job with him; for all that he is crass and blunt and cynical away from the public eye, Yoongi really does care about the people he represents as a prospective senator. From how he takes the time to shake everybody’s hands, to looking them in the eye when they speak to him, it’s clear as day to anyone watching that Yoongi values the individual, not just their ballots.
(Or maybe only Jungkook is looking this hard.)
When introductions and small talk is finished, they’re lead into a classroom of children who couldn’t be more than two years old, at the most. Kids have always made Jungkook a little uncomfortable – he’s never known how to properly interact with people his own age, let alone children who require something interesting enough to keep their attention. He shifts closer to Yoongi’s side.
One of the workers – “My name’s Hana, Mr. Min,” she’d said through pursed lips and batted lashes – lifts up a baby girl and walks towards them with a bright smile. “This is Soojin,” she coos, “say ‘hi’ to Mr. Min, Soojin-ah!”
This is where things go wrong.
Instead of reaching for Yoongi like she’s supposed to, like how Hana had intended with her complete disregard for Jungkook’s existence, like what the Newscasters and the PR team’s cameras were expecting, Soojin swerves in the hold around her and lunges for Jungkook.
Several things happen at once.
Hana loses her grip on Soojin, Jungkook scrambles to catch the baby (huffing out a sigh of relief when he does), at least a dozen camera shutters go off in the span of ten seconds, and a News reporter begins to speak, gesturing behind her to where Jungkook stands, frozen, no doubt crouched awkwardly from his dive to catch Soojin. On live television.
“-ust look at how he’s connecting with members of our community, no matter how big or small,” the reporter says, and then she pivots, obviously expecting Yoongi to be standing there holding the child – so Jungkook hands her off to him as quickly as he can, but not quick enough that he misses Yoongi’s low murmur of, “the baby recognizes a fellow baby.”
Jungkook has to dive out of the shot to avoid having all of Korea see the state he’s in approximately three seconds after his (very attractive, very witty, very intelligent, very queer) boss pretty much just hit on him.
In the weirdest fucking way.
(Jungkook is still thinking about it when he goes home that night.)
It’s not a fancy fundraiser that they’re made to attend, this time; just a simple dinner held at the capitol building with the rest of the senate candidates, hosted by the current senator. It’s a small crowd, no more than thirty people at the most. The attire was even business casual – this was as relaxed as a night out with Yoongi on the job could get.
The hair at Jungkook’s nape stands at attention.
He feels…jittery. On edge.
Something isn’t right.
Usually, he can deal with the empty smiles that barely breach higher than cheekbones, the hollow laughter, the shifty gazes.
But there is a sinister undertone to what should be nothing more than harmless falsities. Tonight, there is charged hostility in the air. Granted, there should be some allowed, given that they’re all competitors, but the quick cutting comments, the raised eyebrows, the passive-aggressive jokes…it all seems to be directed towards…
“Sir,” Jungkook says low, urgently into Yoongi’s ear, the two of them away from all the mingling in the center of the room near the food, “I don’t think it’s a good idea to be here.”
“…Jungkook,” Yoongi begins slowly, “are you feeling anxious again?”
“ No! ”
How does he get him to understand?
“I- don’t know how to explain. But it isn’t safe here, I can feel it, and I really, really think it’s time for us to leave.”
“ Leave? ”
A deep, familiar voice sounds just above his ear, entirely too close for comfort. “What’s all this talk about leaving, gentlemen? Surely you’re enjoying yourselves?”
Ahn Changmin. Yoongi’s direct competitor in the polls.
Well known in most political spheres for not being afraid to play dirty.
Jungkook whirls around on his heel so he’s facing Changmin while creating a subtle barrier between him and Yoongi. He doesn’t trust him, he doesn’t trust this party, and he will not have anything harm a fraction of a hair on Yoongi’s head. Not while he’s around to help it.
“Lovely evening, eh, Ahn?” Yoongi glosses over it smoothly, sipping lightly from his wine glass.
“Indeed. Say, friend, that looks rather empty, shall I go and get you another?”
“You don’t suit wait staff, Ahn.” And it’s supposed to be a jab; Yoongi is supposed to smirk, Changmin is supposed to flush and excuse himself, and then Jungkook can continue trying to convince Yoongi that they need to go.
None of that happens. Which is the first sign.
“Nonsense,” Ahn chortles, “excuse me for a moment.”
He strides away towards the food tray in the central table and as soon as they see his back disappear in the crowd, Jungkook turns back towards Yoongi. “Sir,”
“ Hyung …”
Their eyes meet and the rest of the world seems to fall away. The background jazz music, the dim lighting of the room, it all melts, leaving only Yoongi’s gaze, boring holes into Jungkook.
“Please,” he whispers, “trust me.”
Jungkook knows what it will look like. Yoongi leaving early from a dinner party coordinated by his opponents – who all seemed to have a collective alliance against him. The last thing Yoongi wants to do is look like he’s backing down.
But his safety is not a price worth paying.
Yoongi’s mouth opens and it looks like he’s about to give in, like he’s about to let Jungkook do his damn job and get them out of there, but then Changmin is back, arm outstretched to Yoongi with a fresh glass of wine at the end of it.
Smells have always had a greater impact on Jungkook than on those around him, and this night is no different; the smell that comes from the glass handed to Yoongi would probably set off no alarm bells for anyone else who didn’t have a freakishly sensitive nose. Fortunately, Jungkook’s nose is as big as it is useful and the scent that’s wafting towards him smells nothing like the glass Yoongi previously held in his hand.
This is the second sign.
The third sign comes in how Changmin avidly watches Yoongi raise the glass to his lips with an unsettling amount of attention, his eyes glued to the progression of Yoongi’s hand in the air, gaze resting heavy like he’s viewing it in slow motion, and the gleam in his eyes looks too much like sadism for Jungkook’s liking. So, he steps in.
“Ah, I don’t think Mr. Min should be having any more of those, tonight,” Jungkook laughs, tinkling and high like he has learned how to at these social events, swiftly yet firmly intercepting the trajectory of Yoongi’s hand and swiping the glass clean out of his grasp, “You’ve still got the rest of the night ahead of you, don’t you, sir?”
No one says anything for a long moment, still shocked at Jungkook’s audacity to snatch a drink away from his boss, so he takes the opportunity to drag Yoongi away from Changmin with a “we should probably go find some water, actually, it’s been nice chatting,” and leads him into a different corner, this one more secluded, bracketed by empty display tables with a potted fern to their left.
“Jeon, you better have a damned good reason for embarrassing me like th-“
Jungkook promptly pours out the wine glass into the plant, and the two men watch wordlessly as the leaves begin to fall, withering up and deteriorating on the tiled floor, stem shrinking and browning the longer the stream continues to hit it.
When the glass is empty, he sets it on the ground next to the pot. Straightens up, looks Yoongi square in the face. Cocks his head to the side. Waits.
“…You may have been right,” Yoongi begins.
“May? Hyung, that plant could have been you just now. I was totally right. Admit it.”
And Jungkook says it half-teasingly, still delirious off the adrenaline that comes with avoiding a potential murder attempt, expecting Yoongi to rise to his bait and begin the easy back-and-forth that they’ve developed over the past month of Jungkook’s employment.
Yoongi does not crack a grin.
He shifts his body completely towards Jungkook’s, grabbing his hands and fixes that piercing stare on him – the one that seems to capture Jungkook in its clutches and reels him in deep, letting the boy lose himself in the dark depths of Yoongi’s steady eyes.
“Thank you, Jungkook,” he murmurs, lowly, seriously, “you – you saved my life, just now.”
“It’s my jo-“
“I know it’s your job. But still. Thank you.” He brings one of Jungkook’s hands up to his mouth, kissing his knuckles gently.
A slow smile rolls itself across Jungkook’s face. “No prob, boss. Now let’s get outta here before there’s any more funny business.”
Yoongi nods, all too eager.
It’s common knowledge that Yoongi is high profile.
But damn. Jungkook didn’t think he’d ever have to deal with office break-ins.
Slowly, with his gun drawn up to his chest, Jungkook sneaks along the walls of Yoongi’s office building, never letting his eyes stray from the light that comes from Yoongi’s personal quarters. What would somebody want in there, anyway? The framed picture he keeps of his dog next to the other framed picture of his dog?
Well, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter; someone’s broken in and Jungkook is the only one in the building at two in the morning to stop them.
As soon as he reaches the door, he lets his hand drift towards it steadily, silently, and when he gets a solid grasp around it, he counts to three in his head before yanking the door open and putting up the gun.
“Freeze!” He yells, “This is security! Hands above your – Yoongi hyung?”
Sure enough, his boss raises his head from the mountain of coffee cups that surrounds his slumped form on the desk.
Horrible purple-black bruises stain the underside of his eyes like he’s been hit; a dried trail of drool crusts up attractively along the right corner of his mouth to the tip of his cheekbone, and his suit jacket is long-gone, white dress shirt unbuttoned thrice from the collar and his tie hanging loose and haphazard from his neck.
This earns him an indecipherable moan.
“Jesus, okay, come on, it’s bed time. No, Min Yoongi, don’t touch that computer unless it’s to save your work. Yes. Yes, good, now shut it down. Okay, come here, I’m taking you home.”
When Yoongi stands from his chair, he sways dangerously, and that’s all the convincing Jungkook needs to be at his side in a flash, lifting his arm over his shoulder and wrapping one around his back until the two are intertwined and Yoongi is leaning against Jungkook, feet barely dragging against the carpet.
“I leave early for one night,” Jungkook nags, shutting off the lights and guiding them both out of the room, “one night, and you work yourself half to death, hyung?”
“ Mnn. ”
“Oh no, don’t back-talk me. You are in so much trouble. As soon as you’re hydrated and comfortable and well-rested and have more than just six cups of coffee in your system, it’s over for you, hyung. Just you wait.”
“ Hnng. ”
“Of course this is within my jurisdiction. I’m more of your PA than a bodyguard, anyways. Come on, in the car you go.”
“ Annn …”
“Don’t be difficult. I have a Taser. Ow, hell, why would you kick a guy with a Taser?”
The invitation e-mail comes from Ahn Changmin late on Thursday.
“ Jungkook! Jungkook, fuck, get up. Holy – holy Hell, Jungkook, get up- “
“I just don’t see why we both need new suits. You’ve already got, like, a bajillion – each with a different matching bowtie – and mine still fits me.”
Yoongi raises a brow.
The tailor raises a brow from where he’s bent over with measuring tape around Jungkook’s waist.
“Okay! Fine! I can’t help the fact that I’m a growing boy!”
“You’re twenty-five.” Yoongi closes his magazine and sets it on the upholstered seat next to him, smiling up in amusement. “And you know why we need new suits. Men in the public eye can’t look anything but their best, but you’ll have no problem with that, hmm? Always so handsome, my Jungkookie.”
At this, Jungkook can feel his entire face promptly burst into flames. The tailor is still taking his measurements, and can probably feel the slight tremor that’s picked up in his bones.
“Sir…” He tries to save face, extremely conscious of another person in the room, literally on him, witnessing Yoongi’s shameless flirting, but Yoongi doesn’t seem to care. He just grins, boyish and toothy and sly, and Jungkook wishes he didn’t find it as attractive as he does.
“You know it’s true. I can never keep my hands off of you at these things, I swear-”
“ Hyung …”
The tailor excuses himself swiftly, and Jungkook tries to ignore the bubbling laughter that follows him.
“Hello, yes, 119, my... he’s just been shot, someone just shot him,”
The tuxedo is fitted to perfection. It curves elegantly along the mountainous slopes of Yoongi’s broad shoulders, cuffs coming down to lick delicately at his wrists, one of which adorned with his beloved Rolex; it’s a three piece, all black, the dark fabric hugging Yoongi’s silhouette in all the right ways.
Jungkook is frozen at his place beside the car, openly gawking because how can he not when Yoongi looks this fucking good.
He has seen him in suits before. Jungkook has seen him half-delirious at two in the morning with only a pack of ramen and six cups of coffee to his name. Jungkook has seen him in his casual clothes, in his work-out sweats, in his Sunday’s best.
Jungkook has never seen Yoongi dressed to the nines.
It is a completely life-altering experience.
“Hyung,” he breathes when Yoongi draws near enough, “You’re…”
“I’m...?” Yoongi teases, but the bite is lessened by his bashful grin, how cutely his nose scrunches up in embarrassment, the smattering of teeth that are exposed when he parts his lips in an airy, nervous chuckle.
And it’s not like Jungkook would have finished his sentence, anyways, what with Yoongi stealing his words, his breath, his heart. It’s always a bit hard to speak around the elder, his tongue always seems to elude him even when he needs it most, like right now, because something inside Jungkook is telling him that Yoongi needs to know how beautiful he looks – how beautiful he is – to Jungkook.
Yoongi needs to know that he is the hardest working person Jungkook knows. Yoongi needs to know that their relationship extends far beyond the workplace, far beyond Sir and Jeon, far beyond the boring, grey office building that Jungkook finds himself having to drag Yoongi out of on a bi-weekly basis to keep him from killing himself with work. Yoongi needs to know that Jungkook doesn’t mind doing this, that Jungkook thinks it an honor to be able to see him at his most vulnerable, his most unguarded.
But Jungkook says none of this.
What he does say:
“Let’s – ahem – let’s go. We wouldn’t want to be late.”
He tries to ignore the knowing smile Yoongi flashes him when they link elbows, cheeks hot and lips bitten raw. It doesn’t matter, Jungkook tries to tell himself as he opens Yoongi’s car door for him and ushers him inside, it doesn’t matter, he already knows, he already knows.
There’s still an unfortunate pull at his gut that tells him he needs to profess his love for Yoongi now – like if he doesn’t seize this chance, it’ll be gone for good.
But Jungkook says none of this.
As soon as he slips into his seat of the car, they’re off towards Gangnam. The flashing lights pass overhead and paint the two men in vibrant hues of electric green, aqua blue, fuchsia pink, and Yoongi looks so ethereal underneath it all that Jungkook must force himself to speak, to change the topic on his mind, or else he’ll do something stupid, like confess his undying love.
“Bit late in the season for a dinner, huh?”
Yoongi nods, conversationally, agreeably, but then slows down with a furrow of his brow, like he’s actually contemplating the fact that he’d been invited to a dinner so late into the campaigning season.
All at once, the hair on Jungkook’s body begins to prickle uncomfortably.
“Sir, have any of your constituents confirmed that they’d be there?”
They both pause, and look at each other meaningfully. The car they’re in is a car sent for them by Changmin – the driver is obviously one of his men. They’re well over halfway to their destination.
It’s too late.
A heavy silence permeates the car after this realization. There is no telling what they’re going to walk into, and for once, Yoongi doesn’t tease Jungkook about the bulletproof vest underneath his suit.
Damn, been working out much? he’d ask, punching the vest and winking, trailing his hands down past its length and onto the actual flesh of Jungkook’s abdomen, with his explorative, hungry fingertips.
This time, though, Yoongi just lets his gaze linger on where he knows the vest lies underneath Jungkook’s crisp dress shirt, pupils shaky on his otherwise stony face. Jungkook meets his eyes softly, tenderly, and tries desperately to communicate everything he’s been thinking since Yoongi had first stepped out into the moonlight.
Hyung. I love you, please.
If Yoongi can understand his attempted telepathy, he doesn’t show it.
It’s not long after that do they arrive at their location. The e-mail had said it would be a well-known, high-rise hotel, an address in the middle of Gangnam’s nightlife – but the car rolls up to a desolate alley. Grimy brick walls barricade them in a dead-end and Jungkook is about to take Yoongi’s hand, Jungkook is about to charge out through his door and drag Yoongi with him, but the unmistakable snick of a safety being clicked off has his bones chilled frozen.
“Out of the car.” It’s the first time the driver has spoken all night. When Jungkook chances a look to the front seat, the barrel of a gun stares straight back at him.
Jungkook nods, silently, and opens his car door slowly. His eyes meet Yoongi’s and flicker away to the open street, then back to Yoongi, then again to the open street. Once he’s out of the car, he grabs Yoongi’s outstretched palm with three fingers.
It should make him nervous, how the driver takes his time advancing on them, never once letting the steady aim of his gun falter or drop. From the way he handles the weapon – fingers tight around the grip, index suspended impossibly still in front of the trigger – it’s clear that this man has experience around weapons, around assault weapons.
It should scare Jungkook.
But it doesn’t.
He’s been through hell and back. He is not a decorated marine for nothing.
In the end, it’s just a man with a gun. A man with shaking pupils and stuttering steps and lips bitten raw; a man who couldn’t land on a station in the entire thirty-minute duration of their car ride; a man whose lids refuse to stay neither open nor closed, fluttering distractedly, lashes batting away the bullets of perspiration that stray from his brow.
A man with a gun who is bothered. He is outnumbered, has no backup, and clearly the plan was not thought through enough – he had parked in an open alley.
Jungkook is not scared.
Maybe he should have been.
Yoongi had caught on to the plan just as swiftly as Jungkook knew he would, and Jungkook only needs to snatch his hand before they’re both running, making a mad dash for the mouth of the alley, Jungkook one-handedly yanking his gun out of its holster and firing backwards behind them, only sparing a glance long enough to watch his bullet graze his target, to watch the man fall.
The man still has a gun.
And his grip never faltered.
It might have been wishful thinking to escape unscathed. Jungkook was not prepared, however, for a searing pain to explode just above his right hip as soon as they skid around the corner of the alley’s entrance.
In the military, they’d tried their best to prepare the soldiers for pain, for grit, for loss, for making difficult decisions with no time left to overthink them. They’d broken Jungkook down until he was nothing, until he was a little boy on the farm again, excited to wake up and watch the cows get milked for the first time, a little boy who cried for his mother every night that they spent apart, a little boy who sobbed out all the waters of the rivers and creeks he’d stuck his pudgy little fingers in to catch dinner that night.
Then they’d built him up into the man who’d been assigned as a security detail to Korea’s first openly gay senator. They’d given him the knowledge of how to handle all twenty-seven weapons on his person at all times, they’d shown him how to tackle and debilitate the man who’d tried to infiltrate Yoongi’s building with guns and knives, and they’d even taught him how to carry a full-grown man over his shoulder, so he could lug Yoongi out of the office when the elder worked himself past the point of return.
Despite all this,
nothing could ready Jungkook enough for the blinding, burning, bursting sensation not of the bullet lodged in his abdomen, but the look of pure anguish on Yoongi’s face.
“Jungkook,” he breathes, now dragging Jungkook’s struggling body through the back-alleys of Gangnam, voice pinched and lungs heavy, “Jungkook, get up, come on, we’ve got to go,”
To his credit, Jungkook does try. The last thing he wants to do is burden Yoongi – not when he’s the one who’s supposed to be guarding his life – but the dark fuzziness that surrounds his vision seems to encroach upon his pupils, masking everything in a shade of perpetual twilight, until the only backdrop he has to accompany the overwhelming agony in his stomach are Yoongi’s pleas.
This is not something one would like to hear after saving their boss’s life.
“Wh-“ he sputters, this time succeeding in sitting up, the shock of the statement enough to pull him from the mattress, “You- I- But-“
“No ifs, ands, or buts about it, Jeon. As soon as you’re discharged, I want your badge on my desk by nine in the morning, Monday of next week.” Then Yoongi stands, almost wobbling on his knees as he makes his way to the door and looks back one last time, the look in his eyes just as mystifying as it had been when he’d walked in.
Yoongi says nothing, and closes the door behind him.
It’s been a week without word from him.
Every day, Jungkook goes through the same routine:
Wake up thinking about how he must have made Yoongi angry enough to fire him.
While the nurse checks his vitals, wallow in the fact that he’s probably never going to get to speak to Yoongi ever again.
Eat lunch while remembering how Yoongi’s eyes shone when he spoke to him.
Aimlessly sift through the basic cable the hospital offers, trying to find anything to take his mind off of the fact that he is now unemployed and has no source of stable income.
Eat dinner and try to ignore the tears that come with the realization that it was probably disappointment and not anger that lead to his termination.
And, finally, fall asleep to the memories of Yoongi’s laugh, the phantom of Yoongi’s careful hands against his skin, the flush that would run rampant all down his body when Yoongi had looked at him like that.
Jungkook feels like his life is some tragic novella. He hates it.
Halfway through the week, it does get better. His roommate, Jimin, another former marine, who hasn’t skipped a day without bringing a different flower and teddy, arranged for Jungkook to be sent back to Busan to live with his parents until he’s properly healed and can sort out his employment situation. It was kind of him to work it all out and it brings a smile to Jungkook’s face, being so obviously cared for.
There is still a nagging feeling, though. The feeling of being so far away from everything he’s come to know for the past two years.
“Urgh,” Jungkook groans, shoving his head into his hands, “stop thinking about him! He’s gone! Out of your life! Get over him, loser!”
A nurse shifts uncertainly from foot to foot in the doorway, clenching at her rolling rack of medical meters. “I – Mr. Jeon, you’re due for me to check your vitals, but if you need a moment…”
“No. I’m fine. That was – sorry. Sorry, come on in.”
The digital clock next to him reads three-twenty-one in the morning. Jungkook cannot sleep.
Why would he do it? Why?
“ Please, Kookie-kookie, stay awake with hyung, don ’ t close your eyes- “
The day of his discharge, Jungkook bids goodbye to his doctor, his nurses (making sure to avoid the one who’d walked in on one of his numerous breakdowns), collects his meager belongings, and heads outside to wait in the parking lot for Jimin to pick him up.
Right as he steps out of the automatic sliding doors, a great clap of thunder sounds from overhead.
Because it just had to rain on the day he’s already feeling miserable, on the day where his chest feels as heavy as the clouds that hang above him, his eyes as leaky as their bosoms.
Jungkook is about to turn back to head inside, to shield himself from the near-torrential downpour that’s decided to spring up, but freezes in his tracks when an umbrella comes to cover his head at the last second.
The first thing Jungkook notices is the shoes – worn sneakers with their tongues tucked into the washer-strained denim of the blue jeans, held up by an all-too-familiar black leather belt, one Jungkook is sure has his fingerprints all over it; a white dress shirt hangs casually, the silken fabric blowing wildly in the wind, and Jungkook almost can’t bring himself to drag his eyes up to his face.
“Look,” Yoongi begins, “I know you’re planning on going home, but can I have an hour of your time?”
Jungkook stays silent.
“…Jimin’s supposed to be coming for me any minute now.”
“I already talked to him. Please, Jungkookie.”
It’s evil of Yoongi to bring out the pet names, but that’s never stopped him before.
He’s been through some shit. So, the fact that getting into a car of all things is what has his brow wet, his knees knocking and his heart beating wildly against his chest; granted, the last time he was in a vehicle, he’d been staring down the barrel of a gun and not soon after been shot, so it’s not like it doesn’t make sense.
Riding in Yoongi’s fancy limousine has never made him pant and sweat before – and Jungkook knows why it does, obviously, but still.
(Yoongi takes his hand the moment they step in and he plays with his fingers, seemingly absentmindedly as he gazes out the window, but Jungkook knows better.)
When they pull up to the governor’s mansion, it kind of throws Jungkook for a loop. Being ushered down the crisp, clean hallways carpeted in velvet and painted to perfection is almost as intimidating as all the people in fancy suits that greet him and Yoongi when they’re ushered into the receiving room. Jungkook almost wants to ask what the fuck he’s doing here, but when Yoongi stands before him, cordial and stiff with his arms behind his back and his top lip puckered tight, he knows.
And he’s pissed.
The decent thing to do would’ve been waiting to fire him after the bandages and gauze and tape have had time to peel off of his skin and leave him with some sense of bravery, courage, or confidence – no matter how shallow any of the three may have been.
Yoongi’s decided to make a public ordeal out of terminating him, and didn’t even wait a day until he’d been discharged to do it.
A fucking camera is rolling.
Jungkook is going to yell. Jungkook is going to scream and throw things and spit in that motherfucker’s face because no, he will not be fired, he saved Min Yoongi’s goddamned life and the least he deserves is a raise, for Christ’s sake, the least he deserves is a thank you or a hug or maybe…maybe one last “I love you,” the kind Yoongi would tuck under the layers of his tired skin for safe keeping, warm and bright and reassuring against the beat of Jungkook’s heart.
It stings to realize that Jungkook will not be getting any of that. Instead, Jungkook is going to get a fuck you in the form of a pink slip and a-
“Would you marry me?”
This is not on the agenda of Horrible Things Min Yoongi is Going to do to Jeon Jungkook.
This is at least on the agenda of Wonderful Things Min Yoongi is Probably Never Going to do But Jungkook Still Has Sappy Drama-Esque Dreams About it Anyways.
“Marry me,” Yoongi repeats, sinking to one knee and pulling out a velvet box from his back pocket. Cameras flash, excited whispers thrum through the room in an excited murmur, but all Jungkook can focus on is the big ass fucking rock that’s being presented to him by Min Yoongi, the man who’d just fired him a week ago?
“Jungkook,” he begins, “you’re probably wondering why I fired you.”
Dumbly, Jungkook nods.
“I can’t watch you almost die like that ever again – especially not because of me. It…I was a mess. Hell, I was ready to resign and take up the full-time job of nursing you back to health. So, fuck no, you aren’t my bodyguard anymore.
Working for me is not the only way that you can be close to me. And we’ve definitely found other ways to be close to one another, I trust you know that as well as I do-“ here, he winks, and Jungkook kind of really wants to die because why is Yoongi making innuendoes when a reporter for The Korea Herald is standing right there, “-but I want intimacy with you, Jeon Jungkook. I want to wake up at three in the morning from an awful nightmare and be soothed, instantly, by your presence. I want to go grocery shopping with you and duke it out in the fresh produce aisle over whether or not the house needs any more lentils. I want our dogs to be friends – even though Cloud is ugly – and I want to watch them grow up and grow old together. Like us. Jungkookie, Kookie-kookie, sweetheart, I want you. And if you’ll have me, I’m yours.”
The room is silent, all eyes on Jungkook, who’s still stood motionless. Yoongi looks up with gleaming eyes and a hopeful, toothy smile that grabs into Jungkook’s guts and twists.
“You tell me I’m fired,” he begins lowly, slowly striding towards Yoongi’s knelt form, “then, you don’t talk to me for a week after, even though I’m in the hospital recovering from a bullet wound. And after I’ve made plans and bought tickets to head back to fuckin’ Busan, your ass proposes?”
Yoongi’s gulp is audible.
“I thought you hated me,” Jungkook whispers, all of his emotions from the past week, the past two years of being at Yoongi’s side now crashing down on his quaking shoulders, “I thought you were disappointed in me. I thought you didn’t want me anymore.”
“No, sweetheart, no, oh, baby,” and when Jungkook falls to his knees, Yoongi catches him, buries his head into his shoulder and strokes his back, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Never, Kook, I could never not want you.”
Jungkook sniffles. “Sure felt like it.”
“Never again.” Yoongi whispers it with reverence, with a type of conviction not even his speeches hold, not even his platform or his party promises or anything Jungkook has ever seen him do – nothing compares to how he looks at Jungkook, how his eyes glisten as he takes his hand and how his fingers tremble slipping the ring over Jungkook’s finger. “Never.”
Jungkook feels a bit childish – a bit like a baby, how he looks up at Yoongi through his tears and quivering lip and asks this grown man to promise not to hurt his feelings.
But Yoongi nods fast and quick, brings their foreheads together and then their lips, constructing their own little alcove of privacy amongst the flashing lights and cheering and clapping, the beeping of pagers and incessant chatter of reporters to their camera screens; Yoongi just cradles Jungkook’s face in his hands and hums into his mouth, “yes, I promise, always, forever.”
Jungkook could get used to that.