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Jungkook grips onto the couch tightly, mouth open slightly in concentration as he watches the scene play out on the screen. 

 

“I…  have cancer,” the male protagonist whispers. 

 

No!” Jungkook gasps just as the show cuts to the credits. “What? You can’t leave it on a cliffhanger! How am I going to survive until next week?” 

 

Jungkook spends a few moments to bask in the events of the episode, trying to let the drama that was crammed within its last minute absorb. He finally turns off the TV and checks to see if the man had broken yet. 

 

Tied to a wooden chair with his own neckties and every finger broken, the paling man had been whimpering in pain for over the past half hour. Jungkook had left him in anticipation as he caught up on his drama, letting the pain sink in. In some cases, it was more effective that way, letting the mind catch up and exacerbate the injury to the extent that it inflicted trauma on itself. It made otherwise powerful men pliant.

 

“I plan on drawing blood soon. I hear that hurts.” Jungkook caresses a knife delicately to the man’s throat but his eyes have glazed over from pain and Jungkook isn’t entirely certain that his threat has been registered. The man had been so eager to let him into his home as well, eyes predatory even when he saw the ring on Jungkook’s finger. What a shame, he had been doing a noble job at resisting as well.

 

“Your fate is the same. Just tell me what I need about your business partner.” Jungkook shrugs in the very portrait of nonchalance. 

 

“Exactly, you’ll kill me. I just need to endure it a bit longer,” the man rasps, staring at a space above Jungkook’s head. 

 

“It’s impressive, how deep your loyalties run but it’s misplaced in a traitor.” 

 

"We've been friends since we were children. If you think that I can easily be bought with that stupid - "

 

"How did you think I found you here? Nice little holiday home in Jangseong, no paper trail whatsoever."

 

"I don't know, I presume that you're a professional," the man grits out, sweat dripping down his face. 

 

"That's true. But who do you think hired me?" Jungkook pauses for dramatic effect, watching it nurture the seed of doubt he had planted. "Although business? Is that euphemism for embezzling?”

 

"I ..."

 

Right at that moment, Jungkook's phone rings, shattering the tense atmosphere. 

 

"Ah shit. Mind if I take this?" 

 

The man can only shrug sarcastically as Jungkook answers the call. "Hey Seokjin-hyung," he says softly. The man narrows his eyes. So the assassin had an emotional bank after all. He's thinking about how to appeal to his humanity when with little ceremony, Jungkook stabs the knife into the man's jaw. It never ceases to fascinate him, just how quickly the scarlet blood gushes from a gash across the skin. The terrible, guttural scream that rings off the walls destroys his mesmerised trance as he drives the blade in deeper. 

 

"Hmm? What's that sound? Just teenagers, school must be out."

 

The man's hands fight against his binds, clawing into the wood of the chair until blood drips in rivulets from his nails, still howling at the top of his lungs. 

 

Start talking, Jungkook mouths, listening intently to his phone. The man speaks in a garbled rush, his words jumbling together like a single elongated word. "Bread? I can grab it on the way home. Bye, I love you." 

 

Jungkook hangs up, "Husband," he shrugs nonchalantly, but anyone could hear the pride in his voice. “See, was that so hard? Also, I lied. It was your sister that wanted you killed.”

 

“You’re a monster,” the man rasps. 

 

Jungkook rolls his eyes. 

 

His client had specifically requested for him to leave the body. In a home that only exists to those that he trusted, he won't be found until winter vacation. He’ll make a spectacular surprise to his family. Before he sends his client the photo to verify the job completed, Jungkook balances his calling card, a white card with 3 blue waves on top of the knife, marking the murder as his. With that, he takes his leave. 

 

"Welcome home.” 

 

Jungkook finds the owner of the voice, more a home than their brick and mortar house and brightens up immediately when he sees Seokjin hunched over his laptop in the study. 

 

"Hey," Jungkook says, leaning down to peck Seokjin's cheek and settling comfortably in his lap, relaxing almost instantly.  

 

"Did you get the bread?"

 

Jungkook's face falls. "Fuck. Sorry, I forgot. I'll go buy it now - "

 

"It's okay. I've always wanted to try baking bread," Seokjin says but the light doesn't reach his eyes when he smiles. 

 

"I'm really sorry," Jungkook says helplessly but Seokjin shakes his head, nosing against his temple in reassurance. 

 

But it feels off-kilter. 

 

It’s a trivial thing, Jungkook knows that but it’s also a small thing for Seokjin to ask of him. Next time, he vows. Jungkook watches the numbers that span across the screen in unrelenting columns. It makes his head spin, how does Seokjin spend day in and day out looking at it without sporting cluster headaches? Seokjin must have superpowers. "Did you have to bring work home again?" 

 

Seokjin nods, entirely focused on the screen. "Everyone at the company is working overtime trying to resolve why last month's figure have hit an all time low that haven’t been seen since 2003."

 

"That... doesn't sound good."

 

“No, it isn’t." Jungkook feels Seokjin sigh against him, interlacing their fingers where they rest on his thighs. A second sigh as Seokjin pushes his nose into Jungkook’s hair, murmuring what sounded like dark threats and inhaling the scent of his floral perfume. “How was your day? Better than mine, I hope.”

 

Jungkook chooses his words carefully, the afternoon’s assignment still fresh on his mind. “Clients are satan’s incarnate. This guy absolutely refused to tell me what I wanted. I had to get firm with him.” 

 

“Clients,” Seokjin agrees too heavily.

 

"Anything I can do to make it better?" Jungkook asks sympathetically, looking up from where he rests on Seokjin's shoulder. 

 

"Go get started on dinner. I'll join you later." 

 

Jungkook stands, about to leave when Seokjin curls his fingers around his wrist, pulling him down to leave a wet kiss between his eyes, a hint of a smirk at his lips. "Why are you like this?" he complains without bite. Seokjin makes a shooing motion with his hands, already looking back at his screen with that same crease in his brow. Jungkook watches him for a moment from the doorframe. Seokjin’s been looking so stressed lately, Jungkook squares his jaw, he knows what to do. 

 

Once he's sure that Jungkook had left, Seokjin collapses the dummy screen, bringing up the original files he had been looking at. 

 

Min Yoongi. 

 

Seokjin had received the call to act as the man's bodyguard. Useless now, given that he had been found with his face in tatters; most likely from the same knife that was stuck in his chest. There had been a calling card found on the man's body, a white card with 3 blue waves across it. As if he needed more verification that it was the work of another assassin. Particularly one who was infamous in the game for the sheer number of kills they performed a year only second to his own. How annoying, he’ll have to look to other means to afford that PS4 Jungkook keeps hinting that he wants.

 

Seokjin hears a flurry of footsteps and he quickly puts up the screen with numbers again, schooling a focused facade.

 

"Seokjinnie!" Jungkook chirps, appearing at the door with a solemn expression. "I can't open it. Can you open the jar for me?"

 

Seokjin raises his eyebrow, looking at the offending jar in Jungkook's hand to the too innocent expression on his face. "I know for a fact that you can open those on your own."

 

"Not this one. Please, hyung?" Jungkook pouts and if Seokjin denies his request one more time, the crocodile tears would make an appearance. Even knowing that Seokjin still caves like a house of cards.

 

"What'll you do if I can't open it either? What are those muscles you have for? Decoration?" Seokjin grumbles, reaching over to squeeze Jungkook's bicep for good measure before he twists the lid off that had most definitely been loosened beforehand. 

 

"Thank you, hyungnim," Jungkook says in a voice that's nauseatingly saccharine. 

 

At that, Seokjin finds himself chuckling, wrapping his arms around Jungkook's waist, a delighted smile comes across his face in response. Seokjin doesn't know many people that are so endearingly open with their emotions. In his world, that was weakness. Jungkook is a source of sunshine in his otherwise perilous life. “I’m sorry, I’ve been a bit stressed. There's been issues with an embezzler." 

 

Jungkook presses their foreheads together, entwining his arms behind Seokjin's neck. "Don't work too hard. I didn't want to tell you before, but I noticed that you're getting grey hairs. That's a trend you can't pull off." 

 

"We'll see you in five years when your job begins to take its toll. Design sounds just as stressful,” Seokjin says scathingly. 

 

They spend a moment just revelling in their closeness, drawing a serenity from each other. Jungkook giggles when Seokjin kisses him sweet and chaste and surges forward to kiss Seokjin five times in rapid succession.

 

"I'm really glad you married me," Seokjin breathes.

 

Jungkook cackles. "Eh, I can do better.” He presses in close to rest his head on Seokjin’s shoulder, hiding his shy smile.  “I love you, Seokjin-hyung.”

 

Seokjin thought guilt had been trained out of him. But when Jungkook looks at him like this, with such open adoration, a tool of manipulation with anyone else in his world, it keeps him up at night. How could he deceive someone so sweet? Jungkook deserves to be treasured, loved by someone that isn’t a monster. He deserves to love someone that was as pure and as good as him. Seokjin is determined to spend his entire lifetime to prove that he is worthy to Jungkook.

 

“I love you more,” Seokjin whispers, pressing his lips against Jungkook’s forehead. 

 

 

Like clockwork, Seokjin gets up at 5am everyday. 

 

When they were still in love, he would lay a hand on Jungkook's bare hip, lips pressing against his cheek. He would always remember stirring, just waking up enough to send Seokjin off, catching a hint of his smile through cracked eyes before he left for whatever he did at his desk job. That's a relic of the past. Now, when Seokjin gets up, the bed dips slightly from the loss of his weight and the cold steadily creeps in his absence until it awakens him. They're two strangers sharing the same bed on opposite ends. 

 

Jungkook wonders if Seokjin is having an affair. He finds that he doesn't really care. They avoid each other and when they do speak, it's overly formal like they haven't been married for 5 years. He had taken to their marriage giddily at first, it was a refuge. An entirely different world from his own. Safe. It was understood that assassins had a quick turnover. You were either killed or you were in the business long enough to have the desire to walk away drummed into you. 

 

Or you fell in love. 

 

Maybe that's his fault. He had loved Seokjin once upon a time, but he needed the rush that executing a mark gave him. Or maybe, Seokjin, in his mundane life with his mundane morals, actually did find his excitement in the mind numbing tediousness that their lives had become. Jungkook has no idea what a regular settled life is. It looks like this, their 2-storey suburban home with ugly carpet that was much too big for just the two of them. He swallows. Maybe Seokjin is expecting children. Maybe he should ask. 

 

What they have is routine. Consistency. A place they can come back to at the end of their day. But it's no longer a sanctuary, no longer a home. It's just a place now.

 

Stability came with being with a civilian. There is no ulterior motive with anyone that they met. Everyone is who they say they are. The mailman is the mailman. The electrician is the electrician. No one from Seokjin's world is out to kill him and he didn't have to live in a constant state of paranoia. It’s restful, serene. He didn't go to bed clutching a gun underneath his pillow. His firearms are concealed high in the drapes of their curtains and in the lining of his pants. When they first moved in together, Jungkook had insisted on being in charge of their laundry, so that if he forgot to remove them, he could quickly hide it with Seokjin none the wiser. He let himself be held at night, soothed by Seokjin's frame that was broader than his own, not fearing of being suffocated to death. Everything was a reassuring constant, that quickly gave way to dullness. 

 

Now, they don't sit next to each other but at opposite ends of the table where it feels like a chasm stretched between them and to hear each other, they'd have to scream. Jungkook sometimes forgets the sound of Seokjin's voice. He doesn't find himself irritated when he curls up on the couch with a book and Seokjin doesn't ask about his day. He doesn’t either - he just wants to know, once the whirlwind romance of the main couple settles, do they still look at each other and see happiness? Or do they see this, someone still in their rumpled suit after coming home three hours ago, staring listlessly at the TV. No ambition, no spark, no excitement. 

 

Consistency. 

 

Routine. 

 

His phone vibrates on the table with a new text. "Sorry, work needs me in to look over the design again. Something about a client not quite understanding why we opted for blue and not black." Even his own voice sounds mechanical to his ears. 

 

"What a coincidence. Work just called me in too." That might have been a stab at amusement but Seokjin just looks dead. Jungkook is an assassin but it’s the first time he’s killed someone so effectively. 

 

Seokjin reaches for his coat that Jungkook would’ve usually buttoned for him. Seokjin was always sensitive to the cold and even the mildest breeze would have him shiver. That used to work well for him, where they’d wrap their arms tightly around each other, an amorphous form of twisted limbs as they took up an entire sidewalk. They make their separate ways just like that. No asking the other when they'd come home. No goodbye kiss or any other acknowledgement that the other is leaving. 

 

Jungkook wonders if by Occam’s Razor, it is simply familiarity at seeing each other’s face day in and day out. Perhaps Seokjin had become his air where it's vital for his survival but so commonplace that he's forgotten his importance. His stomach turns at the thought of their marriage being nothing but a novelty that is no longer shiny and pretty anymore. Jungkook picks up the Razor again. The answer is simple, monsters like him don’t deserve happiness, he thinks with a sinking heart.  

 

 

Seokjin watches Taehyung with avid fascination. Never has Seokjin seen him use a chair properly, opting to contort himself into seemingly painful positions as he works on the computer. Seokjin could count the number of people that he trusts on one hand. They had held each other when their agency turned their bodies into machines and somehow managed to break free from the conditioning when it was made clear that they were disposable to them.That forged an unbreakable bond between them. Taehyung had wrestled with continuing to be what they made him to be. In the end, he chose to work as Seokjin’s pseudo-handler, finding him jobs and providing seamless covers to complete them. 

 

The only way that Seokjin could be considered working a desk job is if it counts that he sits on it rather than stare at a screen for 9 hours. He's kind of impressed that he's managed to conceal the true nature of his job from Jungkook for over five years of their marriage. He can just see the look of horror in his eyes once he realises that he's married to a contract killer. Or maybe not. Perhaps there'll finally be excitement in their lives. Nowadays, it all comes from executing his hit. He loves the rush of making prey out of the upper echelons of society and finding their weaknesses to exploit.

 

"So... how's the husband?" Taehyung asks distractedly. 

 

Seokjin had debated back and forth as to whether he should disclose his marriage to Taehyung even if their friendship is an anomaly. He had been happier then, filled with desire to tell everyone on the street that he was getting married to such a wonderful man. Seokjin twists the ring on his finger, now devoid of the euphoria it used to bring. A million things cycle through Seokjin's head about what he should say. Boring. Tedious. Instead, he says, "I might bring up adoption."

 

"You? A family man? Well, it would make your cover all the more believable," Taehyung scoffs. “Okay. We only have one shot at this. Dakota’s boy will be home for the holidays. Tonight will be a large family gathering where security is the typical. The manor is surrounded by nothing but fields, nowhere to set up a vantage point. So you’ll need to go in, posing as the cousin five times removed, make it work. Good luck.” 

 

Everything should’ve worked as simply as Taehyung painted it. It was effortless on Seokjin’s part in charming all these strangers that they were of the same blood as Seokjin scanned the crowd for the boy in the photograph. It was the gunshot that let Seokjin find him. In the fifth bedroom, already dead with a pristine white card bearing three blue waves cradled under the boy’s hand. 

 

Them, again

 

Seokjin sees a darkened figure, perhaps the same height as himself, shift across the window. This isn’t the first time that Seokjin has been beaten to the kill by an enigmatic assassin who leaves behind such a calling card but it’s first that he’s received additional physical proof of their existence. Beyond furious at having his target stolen from him, Seokjin whips out his gun and fires twice. From the figure’s sudden jolt, he had made his mark. Not fatal unfortunately, but their form was tilted to one side to accommodate for the pain in their left. Killing the bastard that has stolen his previous kills over the years would’ve been a worthy sacrifice. 

 

Seeing red, Seokjin returns to the body and without thinking, takes the card and tucks it away in a pocket. With three gunshots into the wind and the turmoil left brewing in the ballroom, Seokjin had to disappear. 

 

 

 

 

Jungkook barely gets home before Seokjin does, sprawling out on the couch. When Seokjin enters, there's a kind of cold fury radiating off him. Seokjin whirls to face him, ready to vent but after catching sight of his ashen complexion, it immediately softens into concern.

 

Seokjin quickly leaves, missing the broken look that Jungkook sends him and returning with a towel. "What happened?" Seokjin asks in a gentle voice, mopping at the sweat forming on Jungkook’s brow. 

 

"Would you believed me if I said I tripped and fell?" Jungkook asks through a strained smile. Whoever shot him was skilled, it's been awhile since he's encountered someone with that level of accuracy after realising that they had their target stolen from them. Or perhaps he'd gotten lax. No. The fucker was skilled. 

 

"Not with that tone," Seokjin quips back. Jungkook should've noticed that Seokjin was far too calm. Should've remembered that Seokjin had claimed to be faint around the sight of blood but it's been so long since it looked like Seokjin cared about him. He missed it. 

 

"I tripped and fell," Jungkook whines loudly and it's the first time he's seen Seokjin smile in a long time, and to know that he put it there, even as fleeting as it is, makes something stir in him.

 

Suddenly, Seokjin's expression shifts, into a cool contemplation that Jungkook has never seen before. Seokjin hovers his hand over the bandage on his left arm, staring at it intently before looking up into his face, cocking his head to the side. For a frightening moment, heart in his throat, Jungkook is utterly convinced that Seokjin knows exactly what he is. He knows. That’s impossible. Seokjin is just a civilian. Nothing but a civilian. 

 

Jungkook holds his breath as Seokjin brushes aside his bangs to lay a kiss on his forehead that feels vaguely threatening. "My poor husband works so hard," he says softly. 

 

"Do I get anything?" This is the longest conversation that they've had in a long time and something feels different, charged. It's not the first time he's come back from a job with an injury that was disproportionate to his cover as a graphic designer. He should've said he was a construction worker when they first met, that would've made explaining away the cracked ribs and shattered kneecap a lot easier. For 5 years Seokjin had been blissfully unaware, all ruined in a single moment.

 

"Whatever you want," Seokjin promises, looking like his usual self, such a startling change from before that a lesser person would’ve dismissed it as a figment of their imagination. 

 

"Could you make soufflé? I remember that being really good,” Jungkook asks, hoping that the desperation didn't bleed into his words and saying the first thing that he thinks of. 

 

"Of course, anything for you." Seokjin kisses him again and a content smile forms on Jungkook's face. "But not anytime soon. Grocery shopping night is in a few days, can you hold up until then?" 

 

"If I must," Jungkook says with a deep sigh that pulls at his wound, causing him to wince slightly. 

 

"Poor baby," Seokjin says, more sarcastic than concerned, patting his cheek, the warmth of his hand lingering. 

 

"I'm hurt and this is how you treat me?" Jungkook doesn't want their conversation to end, not when it feels like he's glimpsing through a looking glass to how they used to be before. Where all their exchanges had an undercurrent of playfulness and the light never left Seokjin's eyes. 

 

"You'll live." With the end of their conversation, the doors to Seokjin close again and they sit on opposite ends of the table once more.

 

After Jungkook’s shower, Seokjin is already in bed, curled up on his side. Jungkook stares at the familiar sight built over a year of Seokjin’s shoulders stretching his thin shirt, wondering if he should say more. 

 

"Goodnight, hyung."

 

Seokjin turns, an unsettled look in his eyes. “Night, Jungkookie.” 

 

Tonight was a strange night of firsts. Even as Seokjin turns away again, it’s the most restful sleep that Jungkook’s had in awhile. 

 

 

”Do you have ID on the asshole that shot me?" Jungkook demands, balancing his phone between his shoulder and ear as he attempts to wrangle the laundry basket at the same time. 

 

"Somewhat. Not many people know about the existence of Dakota's illegitimate son. Only people in high places and deep pockets do. I'm sure you have an idea don't you?” Jungkook could practically see the raised eyebrow in Hoseok’s tone. 

 

"I have a few ideas," Jungkook mutters. "You'd think people just as corrupted would trust you more. Who the fuck thought it was a great idea to hire assassins from separate agencies?“

 

"It got the job done didn't it?”

 

After reaching the laundry room, he sets the phone down on a shelf, setting it to speaker as he unloads the clothes into the washer, removing the weapons from his clothes, as well as the sniper rifle he had stashed there and tucks it hidden from view under the sink.

 

“I won’t be able to work for awhile, not with this arm.”

 

"Don't be a baby, with that new salve Namjoon devised, it should've healed up an hour ago."

 

"My husband called me that too," Jungkook says suddenly, running his fingers over the bandage before he untangles it, finding unblemished skin. "I fucked up," Jungkook groans. "I might've blown my cover. He just ... accepted it. Is that …weird?”

 

“How did he react?"

 

"There were actual emotions in his eyes for starters. That was nice. And then it got… weird. This is obviously not a tripped and fell injury but he just took it in stride."

 

"Well, your husband is either very trusting or very stupid. Or guilty." Hoseok adds as an afterthought. 

 

Jungkook shrugs. "He could be having an affair. I don't know him anymore." At that admission, he feels heavy.

 

"Do I need to give him the shovel talk? As your handler, your wellbeing is my highest priority.”

 

"No, he probably won't survive that," Jungkook laughs, then he sighs, casting his gaze to the side bitterly as he confesses the doubt that’s been pressing down on him for years. “He… he loves or loved the me that goes to the organic markets with him every weekend or the one that’s far too invested in romance novels. He can’t know about the me that does the laundry obsessively to get the blood out of his clothes so that he doesn't realise that he’s married to a monster. He doesn't deserve that.”

 

"Even if he's unhappy, that's no reason to cheat on you. You should talk to him. I hear that communication is key in every relationship.” 

 

“I wonder why Cosmopolitan keeps saying that.” Jungkook rolls his eyes, despite the fact that Hoseok couldn't see it. 

 

“Don’t play it cool, I know you read it like it’s your bible,” Hoseok says, clicking his tongue. “I don't know, take him somewhere nice. Buy him flowers. Couple-y stuff. Although… you’ve kept this cover for a long time haven't you? You’ve used Jeon Jungkook for over 7 years. Maybe it’s time for you to get a new identity.”

 

Jungkook trusts no one in this business. Trust was a one way ticket to getting a knife buried deep between your shoulders. Even if Hoseok is more of a friend than his handler and treats him like a human instead of a murderous cyborg. How can Jungkook say that one of the reasons why he’s kept this identity for so long is because of how much he likes the name falling off Seokjin’s tongue with so much affection like a soft caress? Prior to Seokjin, he had no idea what a home was.

 

As he runs his hands across one of Seokjin’s dark pants, mentally rifling through a list of restaurants Seokjin likes, he feels something rigid in a pocket. Seokjin rarely forgets anything in his clothes, maybe a pen or some loose change. The last thing Jungkook expects to find is one of his fucking calling cards. 

 

Jungkook wishes Seokjin is having an affair now.

 

—-

 

None of Seokjin’s turbulence shows as he smiles demurely at his target, letting them pull him in close. He had all but begged Taehyung to give him a mission. He needed this, some tiny fragment of normality to keep himself from spiralling, forcing himself to focus on the task at hand. 

 

“Mind if I cut in?” Dread courses through him at the familiarity of the voice. Seokjin was naive to think that fate would be so kind. 

 

“Of course not,” his target says, not taking their eyes off Seokjin as they sit on the fringe of the ballroom floor. 

 

“Jungkook,” Seokjin says heavily. He dressed up for the occasion. Bangs carefully styled off his face and a bit of scarlet lip tint to add colour to his complexion. Red had always been his colour and Seokjin had loved how it looked on him. With eyes bloodshot from the dramas he forces Seokjin to watch, his lips bitten red by Seokjin himself and the beautiful blush adorning his cheeks when he climaxes. Seokjin had forgotten how handsome Jungkook had looked. There was something to be said about looking your best for a funeral. Seokjin narrows his eyes, it won’t be his. 

 

“I was lonely waiting for you at home.” Jungkook pouts, like whenever he was trying to convince Seokjin that he was too tired to clean out the garage or wants Seokjin to stay longer with him in bed. He is very much a predator here despite stepping in close for Seokjin to place his hands on him. Surreptitiously, Seokjin runs them across Jungkook’s body for the telltale sign of weapons. Jungkook only looks mildly amused at his assessment and every confirmation that Seokjin gets is another step away from what they used to be, away from a life they can’t return to. “So that’s your target, huh?”

 

“He’s mine.”

 

“I can see you working the same charm that worked on me. That’s cheating, your face does half the work for you. If you’re not careful, you might give the old bastard a heart attack.“ Jungkook smiles, eyes crinkling and it makes Seokjin’s heart jolt against his ribcage. “I’m not here on business. I just wanted to see you.”

 

“Likely story.” 

 

“You can believe whatever the hell you want,” Jungkook says in a cavalier tone, resting his head on Seokjin’s broad shoulder like he belonged there, inhaling the clean scent of his cologne.

 

Seokjin refuses to let it soothe him but when Jungkook peeks up at him through his lashes, Seokjin has to repeat his mantra through gritted teeth. He's been trained to be any person that he desires and he can easily kill you the moment you let down your guard. He tightens his hand on Jungkook’s waist subtly in silent warning.

 

Seokjin is puzzled at how closely Jungkook presses against him. Between their layers he can feel Jungkook’s heart beat against his own. Unable to stop himself, Seokjin pushes his nose into Jungkook’s soft hair, the smell of his peaches shampoo, the one that he rapidly goes through in a fortnight floods his senses. They used to spend their nights entwined around each other, before they eventually migrated to opposite sides where the bed barely held them together.

 

“So how long have you been in the business?” Jungkook asks curiously. 

 

Seokjin debates lying and the silent treatment until Jungkook gets bored but Seokjin finds himself wanting to be honest. “Since I was a kid.”

 

“Revenge?” He asks casually.

 

“Bankruptcy.” At least Jungkook had the decency to look mildly sympathetic. “You?”

 

“High school. Don’t answer ads that look too good to be true,” Jungkook says warningly, a hint of a smile playing at his lips. 

 

“Did you really dress up in a suit just to crash my assignment? I know you think that those pants are uncomfortably tight,” Seokjin says curtly. 

 

“You can’t lecture me on theatrics when your proposal involved a horse-drawn carriage,” Jungkook says disparagingly.

 

“Who requested a second ride after they accepted the proposal again?” Seokjin throws back. “Why did you accept it? Was I just a cover to you?”

 

Jungkook falters and for a second he looks wildly unsure before his previous unruffled composure takes over. “Why did you propose? Was it for your cover?”

 

Seokjin can’t give him any more ammunition. But seeing that raw hurt in Jungkook’s eyes has cast everything in doubt once more. Its mere existence was enough for it to be destroyed before it could plant roots and grow. Seokjin knows all too well of assassins that can play the long con, acting as a character for years to lull their target under a sense of false security. Make them love them until they all but rolled over, begging to be killed.

 

Seokjin fell for the Jungkook with his refreshing honesty, the way he spoke so passionately about things that intrigued him and how gentle he was whenever Seokjin’s conditioned instincts make an untimely appearance. How many times had Seokjin cut himself open and laid himself bare at Jungkook’s feet trusting that he could never hurt him?

 

All of that was for his cover. 

 

None of it was real. 

 

But Seokjin was.  

 

The longer that Seokjin spends with Jungkook, the more time his target has to walk away. But he can’t seem to pull himself away. He’s vividly reminded of their first dance at their wedding. He had been more concerned with downplaying his grace, tripping on Jungkook so often that he began to giggle until they were both messes stumbling over the other, uncaring that they were the centre of attention. They had been so happy then. Anyone watching would’ve said they were in love. It sickens him to think that every precious memory between them was tainted now. Right at this moment, in this ballroom, what would anyone watching have to say about them? They’re two strangers now.

 

“Do you remember when we first met?” Jungkook asks suddenly. 

 

“What are you doing?” Seokjin warns. 

 

“I’m feeling sentimental. Indulge me, my dear husband. You owe me that at least,” Jungkook says bitterly. 

 

“At the airport,” Seokjin says curtly, unwilling to say more. 

 

“Your calling card… is it the one with the red lips? Beat me to the kill.”

 

“Guilty.”

 

“I remember looking around frantically for anyone. I should’ve questioned the timing of it all when I saw you. I remember thinking that you were the most beautiful person I had ever seen… I was actually scared to approach you.” Jungkook laughs hollowly, the irony overwhelming. 

 

“So what made you? The fear to save your own skin?” Seokjin asks snidely. 

 

It's easier to feign nonchalance but Seokjin recalls that day vividly. Assassinating the politician was easy. Getting out was another matter. The gates came crashing down on all routes of escape and they were looking for a lone traveller. Taehyung urged him to find anyone and make it seem like they were attached. But passengers were quickly rounded up and the airport was desolate. If he was caught, his agency would claim ignorance. They had a dozen to take his place. Just when Seokjin thought he was going to spend his life rotting away in a cell, someone tapped his shoulder and hesitantly called him sweetheart. The man was handsome, with the prettiest doe eyes. Perfect. Seokjin smiled, prepared to ensnare this man in his inescapable web until he smiled back, so painfully sweet with his teeth peeking out from behind rosy lips. And Seokjin knew he was the one that ended up falling instead. Seokjin had been so intoxicated on relief that he never questioned why Jungkook had been as equally frantic to play along with his facade of a married couple.

 

“You looked at me with that smile of yours and filled me with so much warmth… like we really had been together for years. I should’ve known. If you could lie so easily then … “ Jungkook’s nails dig into the back of Seokjin’s neck, grounding him into the dreaded present. “I loved you. I thought it took years for you to become a stranger to me. You’ve been a stranger, this whole fucking time.”

 

Seokjin feels Jungkook trembling in his arms and he desperately wants to believe him. But he’s seen the bodies that Jungkook had left in his wake, all the clean kills of a trained assassin. Everything was a fabricated act. That’s all it was. 

 

All the emotion melts from Jungkook’s face and his breathing grows even. Jungkook leans forward and he isn’t the Jungkook that Seokjin knows anymore. “Enjoy the rest of the night. By the end of it, one of us will be a widower and it won’t be me,” he says, cool and detached, breath tickling Seokjin’s neck. 

 

“Don’t we get to have one last dinner at least? To 5 years of marriage?”

 

Again, Jungkook looks so vulnerable that all Seokjin wanted to do is draw him in closer and comfort him. He could almost forget that he had just threatened him. “Fine. I’ll see you at home, my dear husband.” Jungkook grazes his lips against Seokjin’s before he turns, weaving effortlessly through the crowd of dancers and leaving him in a mild state of shock. 

 

Feeling murderous, Seokjin stalks towards his target who perks up upon seeing him again. “Who was that?”

 

“My husband. He finally agreed to yield all his assets,” Seokjin says, his smile plastic.

 

“You’re divorcing?” The man couldn’t have looked more delighted. 

 

“I won’t see him again after tonight.” 

 

 

Jungkook hasn’t even bothered to lift his utensils, watching Seokjin carefully from across the dining table. Seokjin’s arrival home had been denoted by a bewildering amount of noise. Jungkook had followed him silently to the kitchen where he watched Seokjin pulling out ingredients from the bags he carried, utterly mesmerised. The carrots had been tossed into the air before he caught them, held them to the light as if Seokjin could determine which was sweetest. Seokjin was always a storm in the kitchen, never still as he sliced the onions with a resounding thump of the knife, sifted the flour and darted over to preheat the oven. A tiny smile formed on Jungkook’s face. When Seokjin reached for the Christmas apron that Jungkook had bought him over 2 years ago, Jungkook couldn’t stay idle any longer. Seokjin didn’t tense when Jungkook approached him and wordlessly tied the apron around his waist. Even his gratitude seemed sincere. 

 

He’s a stranger, Jungkook reminded himself, he betrayed you, but he still felt so warm in his presence. When Seokjin began to weave a believable tale of some office drama as an explanation to his whereabouts in the last several hours, Jungkook found himself nodding despite the scent of cologne that Seokjin only saved for special occasions that still hung about him like a smog.

 

“Look! I went grocery shopping! So I can make you the soufflé you wanted!” Seokjin said triumphantly, the too familiar sparkle in his eyes so enchanting.  

 

There's a smudge of flour across Seokjin's nose and without thinking, Jungkook dusted it off with delicate fingers. Seokjin's eyes betray a flicker of unease before it disappeared, the only indicator that their encounter in the ballroom wasn't a figment of Jungkook's imagination. 

 

"Thank you," Seokjin said quietly, strangely subdued.

 

Jungkook had to leave. Seokjin can have this, this last piece of finality. 

 

Unlike Jungkook, Seokjin is eating with great zeal, lighting up with each bite. This should be the only reality. Seokjin, his beloved husband, working a dead-end job who does crosswords on the weekends. Not a ruthless killer. 

 

"You're not eating," Seokjin frowns.

 

"I'm not hungry."

 

"Liar," Seokjin says playfully. "Do you still want the soufflé then?"

 

"I always want soufflé," Jungkook says firmly.

 

"Then I'll go get it. Hopefully it hasn't sunken. Those things are so finicky to make. Curse you and your pretentious taste," Seokjin groans, walking out of sight to the kitchen. 

 

Jungkook folds his arms behind his head, leaning back against his seat with a sigh before he throws himself to the ground, narrowly missing being skewered by the kitchen knife Seokjin was using earlier. Well, that was confirmation that Seokjin was indeed the skilled bastard that shot him. Jungkook keeps his head down, pulling out the gun he keeps attached to the underside of the dining table.

 

Jungkook can imagine his conversation with their neighbour, Park Jimin now. 

 

"So we spent our weekend at a wine tasting. What did you and your husband get up to?"

 

"Oh, you know the typical.  We tried to murder each other! You know what it's like when you hit your 5th year of marriage, you can't stand each other! … Have you seen him by the way? He never came back home on Sunday…” 

 

And yet, Jungkook thought as he took aim towards the kitchen, he's never felt more alive. Seokjin has to die. This is just another hit, this will just be like one of his other hits. That's it. Not his husband of 5 years. Although did that fucking matter when he’s deceived him for just as long as well? The plaster from the wall and the vase that Seokjin made for him in an ill-advised pottery class shatters from the spray of bullets.

 

Just when he thought it was too still, another round of bullets fired above him and he tears into the living room, the cushions exploding into a maelstrom of white. Fluffy feathers coalesces through the air as he keeps his steps muffled, avoiding the third step from the bottom because he knows it creaks like a siren. 

 

"Still alive, honey?" he hears Seokjin call out. 

 

That shouldn't sound as sensual as it did, the goosebumps that erupt along his skin are wholly inappropriate considering that Seokjin is very determined to kill him. He watches Seokjin stalk out from above the stairs, a refined grace that could only have been forged through years of being in the field. Beautiful. As though magnetised, Seokjin looks straight up at him, firing immediately without hesitation and Jungkook responds back in kind, bits of wood and debris choking the air. Seokjin definitely couldn't have gotten unscathed from that. 

 

Jungkook kicks apart the wreckage, instinct taking over as he ducks down, throwing Seokjin over his shoulder. That barely holds him back as although impervious to pain, Seokjin lunges at him again, a cold hardness in his eyes. 

 

“I’ve never ever worn the sweaters you’ve knitted me, they’re hideous,” Jungkook says tauntingly, when he knocks the gun out of Seokjin’s hand and advances on him with a knife. 

 

Seokjin’s eyes scream murder. “I’ve never liked the dramas you force me to watch. They’re all the same!” 

 

“You take that back, they’re masterpieces!” 

 

It would’ve been exhilarating being this evenly matched if there wasn't only one brutal end. Seokjin moves as efficiently as a machine, like he had been rolled from some production line. Seokjin manages to slip past his defences, ramming his knee with astonishing force into Jungkook’s abdomen, throwing him against what was left of the bannister and sending him sprawling against the stairs in a pained heap. 

 

“It’s almost like you’re trying to kill me,” Jungkook groans weakly, groping for the gun he keeps stashed in the shoe closet.

 

“I’ll give you a mercy killing. Darling, hold still,” Seokjin commands, advancing on him steadily. “Fuck.” he hisses loudly, disappearing down their hallway and clutching at his arm where the bullet pierced his skin. 

 

Jungkook is transfixed at Seokjin’s blood that had dripped onto the floor in front of him. That’s Seokjin’s blood. Jungkook did that. He hurt him. It gleams in the moonlight, haunting him. What the fuck is he doing? He’s pointing a gun at Seokjin and aiming to kill. What the fuck did he expect? This is no time for pity. He curses himself for being weak when Seokjin hasn't hesitated once in his assault.  

 

It's silent. 

 

"Are you dead yet, sweetheart?" Jungkook can't help but call as if they're playing a harmless game of hide and seek, prowling along the darkened hallway and peering into the study. 

 

Seokjin answers by suddenly materialising and kicking him in the side, raising his gun only for Jungkook to sweep his legs out from under him. Just when he thought he has the upper hand, Seokjin swings a teapot at him, shattering it and using the pieces to cut deeply into him.

 

"Hey, that was my birthday present to you!" Jungkook protests, blood gushing through his outstretched fingers. 

 

“It’s ugly and ostentatious,” Seokjin bites back.

 

"If I’d known you didn't like it, I wouldn't have agonised buying it over a PS4!" Jungkook snorts. 

 

Confusion flashes in Seokjin's eyes, frozen long enough for Jungkook to throw him against the glass cabinet, shattering the glass into a million fragments and the photo frames within, all  broken beyond recognition. Photos of them, this life that they had built together, bit by bit over the years. Now settled in dust around them.  

 

In the finale, they're holding revolvers to each other's head and Jungkook is hesitating. Seokjin looks at him, furious at the display of weakness. "Do it!" Seokjin urges, a clear challenge in his eyes, his hold on his gun unwavering. 

 

"I..." Jungkook suddenly recalls the first time that he ever woke up before Seokjin. His face so utterly serene and angelic. A face Jungkook wanted to wake up to everyday and then feeling an inexplicable happiness that warmed him to the very core because he could, because they were married. Then Seokjin stirred, a gentle smile forming when he saw Jungkook awake as he pressed their foreheads together, still hazy from sleep. " I can't ..."

 

Seokjin lets out a cry of frustration as Jungkook slumps to the ground. Seokjin points the gun between his eyes and Jungkook can't look away from him. He can see how hard it is for Seokjin to maintain that coldness. There's indecision warring in his head and if his life was to be taken by Seokjin, there wouldn't be the slightest hint of regret. A tense heartbeat... followed by another… then Seokjin drops the gun in disgust, turning away. 

 

“Seokjin-hyung," Jungkook calls softly, almost pleading. 

 

Seokjin is onto him in an instant, lips crashing against his and a hungry look in his eyes. Jungkook gasps, pulling off his shirt as Seokjin does the same. There's feathers in his hair from the cushions that were torn apart from the gunfire but he doesn’t care. All he feels is Seokjin’s soft lips on his neck and his hands, the same hands that could easily snap a man's neck, gripping his hips hard enough to leave bruises as he tugs Seokjin closer. In a show of trust, Jungkook tilts his head back, exposing more of his throat for Seokjin to mouth against. Because Seokjin is his oxygen and all at once, he’s remembered just how important he is to him. Jungkook doesn't see the killer anymore, he sees his Seokjin looking at him with so much love again, whispering his endearments into the crevasses of Jungkook's body as they tangle together, ecstasy coursing through him.

 

Unwilling to move too far from their destroyed hallway, Jungkook shoves another forkful of the soufflé Seokjin had made earlier into his mouth, the sounds of his chewing loud in the darkness that seemed to stretch for miles. 

 

"Urgh. Sunken and burnt," Seokjin growls in distaste, placing his bowl next to him. 

 

"It's the best thing you've ever cooked," Jungkook smiles from where he's resting on Seokjin's thigh, his hair fanned out in soft waves. 

 

After they had recovered their breaths and haphazardly gotten dressed, Jungkook ended up wearing Seokjin's shirt in the confusion and noticed that the sleeve was dotted with blood. Starkly, Jungkook recalled that he had shot him. With an actual gun, so misplaced in the suburbia that they resided in. Despite lying in the wreckage of their home, hearing their neighbours laugh raucously over their boardgames night, it feels like they've entered some bizarre twilight zone. 

 

"Let me see," Jungkook had whispered urgently but Seokjin waved him away dismissively.

 

"It just grazed me. I'm okay." But he let Jungkook fuss over him, carefully applying antiseptic before wrapping a bandage around it as Seokjin watched his face the entire time. They alternated in tending to each other, treating the other as delicately as glass; a stark contrast from before where they were trying to break each other as they now hurried to put each other back together.

 

Seokjin leans against the wall, a warm glow enveloping his features and smiling down at Jungkook in a way that makes butterflies flutter in his stomach. "So dreamboat, what did you do today?" He asks, maintaining the facade of a mundane married man, running his fingers through Jungkook's sweaty hair and attempting to dislodge some of the feathers to no avail. 

 

"Well baby, I discovered that my darling husband of 5 years is actually an assassin and we just spent most of the night trying to kill each other. What about you?" Jungkook raises an eyebrow in challenge. 

 

"What a startling coincidence that my night was exactly the same!" Seokjin cries out theatrically and Jungkook giggles around his fork, cheeks still painted a pretty pink from his orgasm.  

 

"I don't know if I should be ashamed or impressed that we managed to carry on for this long," Jungkook muses. "Do you remember our wedding? I almost missed that. I had to hijack a plane. You nearly had a nervous breakdown."

 

"Only on top of you being missing for hours, someone was assigned to kill me and I barely managed to get the blood out of the damn suit."

 

"Blood?" Jungkook asks concerned, resting a hand on Seokjin's side even though their wedding was years ago.

 

"Theirs," Seokjin elaborates reassuringly, laying his hand over Jungkook's. "Messier than my usual, no one told me that weddings were stressful affairs."

 

"Wait ... you didn't mince them up and serve them as our appetisers did you?" 

 

Seokjin laughs. "No. But that was why when you came into the dressing room extremely unannounced but very apologetic that I nearly fell apart. If you had turned, you would have noticed a severed arm behind the mirror.”

 

"I do recall you doing an extremely good job at distracting me with your body," Jungkook hums. 

 

What Jungkook had thought was their lives is a gradually forming picture with each piece falling into place with every uncovered secret. Jungkook remembered cursing out Hoseok the entire time because he couldn't miss his own goddamn fucking wedding. But Hoseok had calmly reassured him that how Seokjin would react would be more telling of him as a person than years of marriage. As it happened, he expected Seokjin to be upset but it seemed like he was trying to hold back something more sinister. "How did you dispose of the body?"

 

"I have a clean-up crew on call. I had to get them to come in suits so that it wouldn't draw suspicion but - "

 

"Long lost friends my ass," Jungkook realises, recalling the sudden arrival of a group of guests that Seokjin proclaimed to have known since high school. Jungkook had let it slide only from the sheer relief of making it mostly in one piece. "I had a bullet in my shoulder that I couldn't remove until we got to our honeymoon hotel. I was on the verge of blacking out all night." 

 

"And I thought you were just nervous, you pretty much sweated through your shirt," Seokjin marvels. "Ahh... so that's why you kept your shirt on in bed for the entirety of our honeymoon…I thought you were self-conscious and tried to avoid bringing it up. Wow, I should’ve known… as soon as you’re home you’re shedding your clothes off like a snake.” 

 

“Well I appreciated the … oh. Is that why you kept calling me beautiful and pretty baby in bed? I thought you just wanted me to pay for all our meals,” Jungkook laughs as Seokjin let out a despaired wail. 

 

“Is Jeon Jungkook really your name?" Seokjin demands. 

 

"It was when we met," Jungkook shrugs. "I don't have a family, no name to inherit."

 

“Thank god you stopped me from taking a name of a cover,” Seokjin groans. 

 

“Hey, I was totally ready to take your name,” Jungkook sniffs. “I still can’t believe… I did a full background check on you before our first date. Everything checked out! You said you specialised in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration, which is oddly specific by the way - “ 

 

“I actually got that from Friends.” Jungkook scoffs in utter disbelief. “And excuse you, so did I! … you didn’t do those works to uphold your cover as a graphic designer did you?”

 

“I just photoshopped some images from Naver.” 

 

“Oh my god,” Seokjin buries his face in his hands. “Wait. Who walked you down the aisle at our wedding?" 

 

"Theatre student."

 

"I thought he looked too young to be your father!" Seokjin cries out, mock-outraged. "Wow. And I actually brought my real parents to this sham of a marriage... and they love you more than they will ever love me, stranger." 

 

"Did you love me?" Jungkook asks, voice small. He knows it’s unbecoming for a hired gun to be so transparent with their emotions. He searches Seokjin's face for the slightest trace of deception, feeling so delicately fragile. But he’s never been one to conceal his emotions around Seokjin. 

 

Seokjin rushes to placate him, like he couldn’t stand to see Jungkook in pain. ”You were never a cover. I loved you. I asked you to marry me because I hoped that you wanted to be with me as much as I wanted to be with you. Did you love me?"

 

"If I didn't, I wouldn't have accepted.” Seokjin looks so relieved that a small smile graces Jungkook's lips. He presses a kiss to the back of Seokjin's hand, leaving a ring of chocolate there. 

 

"You're gross," Seokjin groans, wiping the back of his hand against Jungkook's shirt as he cackles at him, slightly lightheaded from all the events of the day. "I still can't believe that we built up this life purely because we thought the other was a civilian. Did you even want to live in a house in the fucking suburbs? I had to fight you for a large kitchen." 

 

"The commute is a pain in the ass but I do like the greenery and the quiet. You’d miss that living in the city."

 

"Did you want kids?"

 

Jungkook chokes. "W... what? What makes you say that?!"

 

"You wouldn't settle for anything less than a 3 bedroom house," Seokjin frowns. "It's felt like a timebomb."

 

"Because I thought you wanted children! Isn't that the typical thing married people do?" 

 

"So if I did, would you have been okay with it?" Seokjin demands.

 

"No! I don't know ... I was... actually going to bring it up," Jungkook mumbles, heat rising to his cheeks. 

 

"Same but ... " Seokjin reaches for his hand to interlace their fingers together and Jungkook smiles. "I feel like we should get to know each other again. Also, I'm open to the idea but very closed to it."

 

“Noted. Do you feel guilty? For what we do?" Jungkook asks curiously, watching Seokjin carefully for his reaction. He's never asked this before, never trusted anyone enough to. Even if they had just spent the last couple of hours trying to kill each other, once all their cards had been revealed, they've been nothing but honest with each other. He thinks he can trust the person he's spent the last 5 years sharing his bed with. 

 

"No. They're just targets to me. Money. I always sleep so soundly after one."

 

"Huh, me too." Jungkook smiles, reaching up to caress Seokjin's face, pleased that he leans into his touch.

 

Jungkook places the bowl aside, claiming Seokjin’s lap as his seat. Leaning his head against his shoulder, it feels like Jungkook belongs there. Especially when Seokjin’s hands settle lightly on his hips, cautious about stifling him. It’s this, how considerate Seokjin was then, when he couldn’t have known about Jungkook’s trained instincts and now, when he does, to do everything to ascertain that he wasn’t a threat, that makes his chest feel so light with affection. Jungkook feels Seokjin’s breathing hitch when he smiles shyly at him. 

 

“Do you promise not to kill me?” Jungkook asks, he feels delicately fragile all over again, like when he had engaged Seokjin in the ballroom to catch him off guard but left himself vulnerable instead. 

 

“I do,” Seokjin says in that earnest way Jungkook is all too familiar with. “Do you promise not to kill me?” There’s no trace of humour in his words, Jungkook knows that the moment Seokjin deems him a threat, he will kill him. And he would do the same. 

 

“I do.” 

 

The possibility that Seokjin was still playing his flawless cover was very real. But Jungkook isn’t thinking of that as they both lean in, sealing their lips together in a kiss, soft and sweet, full of the aching familiarity that had gotten lost in the past few years, a contrast from the fire they had before. Only this time, it was laced with a new level of intimacy of knowing that they were each other’s demise but their weakness as well.  

 

The vow they made years ago, one marked by fanfare and elaborate extravagance, both overcompensating for what they thought passed for mundane, pales in comparison to the sincerity of this new vow they make in the darkened hallway of their ruined home. 

 

 

 

 

Seokjin doesn’t hold him the first night, there’s something within their bed that drags out that ugly part of their conditioning again. 

 

“It’s okay, hyung,” Jungkook says, when he sees Seokjin’s hesitance. “We have eternity to work things out.” 

 

Seokjin looks mildly surprised before his features soften. “I like the sound of that.” But he stretches his hand across the chasm and finds Jungkook’s even in pitch-black darkness, slotting their fingers together.

 

Instead of existing like identical ends of a magnet, they’ve made greater attempts to communicate with each other. Jungkook thinks that bleeding over their pasts makes it a fitting occasion to finally use the champagne they had been given from their wedding. If it was going to be painful, they had better make a celebration over it. Seokjin disagrees and Jungkook suspects that the special occasion that he was saving it for was for it to be buried alongside of him. Jungkook swiftly gets his comeuppance when the only clean cup available was his collectible Iron Man mug and Seokjin’s eyes flash far too vindictively as he rinses it under the faucet. 

 

At opposite ends of the couch, learning about Seokjin’s past agency that turned humans into machines was a lot easier to stomach with a mouthful of champagne that costed over several hundred dollars. Especially when Seokjin says, far too matter-of-fact that they took it a step too far and locked him in freezers to imbibe an immunity to the cold only to succeed in trapping him in nightmares of his training instead. Jungkook tugs the blanket around him tighter and there is a relieved set to Seokjin’s shoulders. 

 

And then it’s his turn. Jungkook details how he had been passed from home to home like someone else’s problem to deal with. He learnt how to be quiet because there were people who would turn over every rock in hell looking for you to vent their ire. He tells Seokjin about how he had been desperate to escape and answered an illegal ad for what he thought was a bar asking for underaged waiters. What it turned out to be was even more heinous. Cage Fighting. Two kids tossed into a cage with a gun at the centre as the crowd around them, howled and beat down on the railing, shaking on the metal bars until it felt like the whole place would collapse on them. 

 

Seokjin's eyes are flat and expressionless like he's compiling a hit list of every figure from Jungkook's past. Jungkook breaks the trance by placing his hand on Seokjin's ankle, gently tracing circles into the bone to soothe him. 

 

"It's okay, it was a long time ago.”

 

“Is that why… in loud places…” Seokjin trails off. 

 

Seokjin never pried into his past probably to circumvent scrutiny on his own. Despite that, Jungkook was grateful. He didn’t want to give him a bunch of prettied up lies. Yet, Seokjin had been quick to pick up on his sensitivity to noise and they swiftly switched carnivals, movies and popular restaurants in favour of art galleries and hole in the wall cafes. It was on one particular date at the aquarium where they sat before the cavernous tank, so large that it seemed to stretch into the night sky and watched as prismatic shapes lurched mysteriously in the water that Jungkook had never felt so safe and hopeful when Seokjin’s lips found his temple.

 

All his words are driven by relief, over eager to rip off the fabricated veil on their lives to uncover the sordid truth. Jungkook quickly tells him that’s how he was scouted. From some organisation that fancied themselves a messiah, taking troubled children under their wing to turn them into weapons.

 

He has no more secrets now.

 

Seokjin downs the remaining champagne in the mug and there’s conflict warring across his face again as Jungkook waits, hopeful. Then Seokjin is reaching out for him and Jungkook all but throws himself at him, clutching onto Seokjin just as tightly as Seokjin was onto him, like they were each other’s lifelines. 

 

Jungkook can’t hide his smile when Seokjin sits next to him at the dining table, their shoulders brushing. He gets to see Seokjin flustered when he finally manages to locate his spreadsheet full of ways that he considered proposing and the date last modified was a week before his own. It’s riveting that every quirk they possessed was never fabricated to uphold their cover. Unbeknownst to Jungkook, it was his tendency to be dramatically emotive as he was reading books that had Seokjin spellbound. Seokjin said it was because of the tiny gasps that he couldn’t help but emit and the way he holds the book so close to his face that his nose almost brushes against the page, eyes flitting intensely as if he was was watching a thrilling tennis match. Jungkook hasn’t even noticed that he has an audience, he is just eager to tell someone about the most exquisite twist the story had taken and startles at Seokjin already watching him. 

 

“Have I ever told you how cute you are?” Seokjin asks candidly.

 

“All the time.” At Jungkook’s smug grin, Seokjin tries to push him off his lap. Jungkook flails, gripping onto Seokjin’s shoulders tightly to prevent being dislodged before Seokjin concedes defeat. Jungkook’s soft kisses along his jaw adding insult to injury.  

 

It’s different now. Comfortable. Now that Seokjin knows, it’s easier to talk to him. They’ve gotten extremely nonchalant about discussing their jobs, likening the assassination of a mayor to suggesting that they should get their floors redone.

 

Jungkook paces back and forth as he steels himself. “I have an assignment in Nagoya, I will be leaving tomorrow,” he says mechanically from the residual uncertainty.

 

Seokjin barely looks up from his crossword. “Okay, baby. Have fun, stay safe. Bring me back a souvenir.” He pecks Jungkook’s cheek and he pouts in response, slightly put-out from the wasted stress of worrying.

 

Trust between them only grows. Neither considered this mindfulness tedious when it’s what they’ve always done, watching the other carefully for their reaction and quickly adjusting. Seokjin starts deliberately scuffing his steps so that Jungkook could hear him approach, knowing that his usual silent tread would alarm him if he suddenly materialised in a room. When Jungkook freezes in Seokjin’s arms, Seokjin pulls away immediately, pressing his hands against the mattress, where Jungkook can see them as he overcomes the vigilance. Jungkook wonders where this compassion comes from since they were both instilled with the belief that an empathetic assassin was worthless. 

 

“I’ll take the other room,” Seokjin says but Jungkook reaches out for him, pulling him back onto the bed and resting his head on Seokjin’s chest. 

 

“What’s the point of saying that when we both know you’ll end up crawling back into bed?” 

 

“Don’t act like you don’t do the same.” 

 

Jungkook whines so much that Seokjin laughs at him, gently squeezing his cheek as Jungkook settles against him, content.

 

Nowadays, Seokjin wakes Jungkook up by unceremoniously throwing his work out clothes into his face. The first time Seokjin pins him against the mat, he can’t deny the tension that thrums through him, being in such a helpless position. Then Seokjin leans down and pecks the tip of his nose and the thrill of competition takes over. Jungkook pins Seokjin down next, placing a deliberate but gentle kiss over his throat, feeling his breathing hitch. The way Seokjin moves, it's art. Elegant. All his movements are with purpose, a dance that only he can hear the dark melody it's performed to. It's such a contrast from his own style where it's just short of a brawl. Unrefined. Where he uses his strength to overwhelm an opponent, a style born from ugly survival. It's been so long that Jungkook had felt challenged in a fight and for it to come in the form of his husband no less is electrifying. Afterwards, they take turns massaging out the kinks in each other’s muscles, who they are seamlessly blends into the life they’ve already created with each other.

 

The intimacy that comes from the post-mission care is unparalleled. For over five years Jungkook had been used to dealing with his injuries behind locked doors. He doesn’t even trust Hoseok to touch his body. It is a surprise to see Seokjin at home now that he didn’t need to fulfil the facade of a 9 to 5 desk job. Seokjin’s eyes sweep over the unnatural placement of his shoulder as Jungkook watches with bated breath. But Seokjin pops his shoulder back into place almost clinically before he presses an ice pack against the swelling, carefully bundling Jungkook up in their blanket and comforting him with soft words and softer touches. 

 

Jungkook is choked with nostalgia over the night of their wedding when they had arrived at their hotel. Seokjin had been so happy, using every excuse to call him husband and whatever stress that had happened during their wedding, would’ve melted away, if it wasn’t for the bullet still lodged in his shoulder. Jungkook waited for Seokjin to fall asleep, before he took to the bathroom with a jar of glue, a pair of tweezers and a bottle of vodka. He had to keep silent as he teased the bullet out from under his skin. It was like an ugly part of his world was threatening to collide with the one with Seokjin just beyond that door. The world with a bed full of pretty rose petals, an island that didn’t know any season other than summer and a husband that absolutely doted on him.  

 

It sounds like a delusion. 

 

Somewhere then, he starts crying. Seokjin presses a kiss to his temple when he had thought of himself as nothing but monstrous. Seokjin as a killer, one that intimately understands every aspect of this life feels more than a fever dream than his cover as a civilian. If there’s anything that can qualm his doubts its that look of adoration in Seokjin’s eyes that can be nothing but divinely real.

 

 

 

 

Perhaps they should make it a rule to forbid taking on any mission around an anniversary. The date seems to invite all sorts of ordeals. A few years ago, Seokjin was stranded in Florida by a tropical storm. Now he knows that Seokjin was leaving a very prolific shell company CEO-less but they had spent their long anniversary night in a very expensive long distance call. Another year, Jungkook was held hostage, believing that he was his employer's son, much to his immense disbelief. He had slaughtered everyone that held him captive but he had arrived well after the last train had left. Seokjin's quiet disappointment had scalded him more than any torture could. They found a cheap motel to stay for the night where Jungkook had been forced to swallow his guilt, wondering how many times who he was was going to clash in their world.

 

Seokjin starts when he sees him at the stairs. “I told you to wait for me at the restaurant.”

 

“Take off your shirt,” Jungkook says instead. 

 

“Are we skipping the date? I was looking forward to it,” Seokjin says but he does as he’s told, pulling his shirt over his head and performing theatrical spins. “See? Nothing. We can still make our reservation.” 

 

Jungkook runs his hands carefully over Seokjin’s body, feeling him falter where he touches him but finding no injuries. Seokjin’s resilience to pain proved to be a double-edged sword in more ways than one. Jungkook makes it a point to check after every mission he returns from, otherwise, Seokjin would be carrying a forgotten bullet in his side for over a day.

 

“There’s blood on your neck. Go take a shower, I can tell them to prolong our reservation. We can’t have you mentally scarring our waiter.”   

 

“Not everyone jumps to the conclusion of a contract killer. It could’ve been a razor going awry,” Seokjin suggests soundly, kissing his cheek before he leaves for the bathroom. 

 

Jungkook waits for Seokjin, outstretched on their bed. When Seokjin sees him, he curls into his side like a cat, tucking his head under Jungkook’s chin and doing a marvellous job at convincing him to never leave the bed. “Let’s stay at home. We can change into our sweats and put on any movie that you want. We’ll dim the lights, I’ll make popcorn and we can cuddle,” Seokjin cajoles. Seokjin is alluring whether he’s dressed in a striking suit all distinguished lines and broad shoulders or like this, appealing to him with large, captivating eyes that makes him more adorable than he should be allowed to be. 

 

“Do you want to stay at home?” Jungkook asks softly, combing back Seokjin’s bangs. “We can if you want.” 

 

“You put in effort though.” Seokjin brushes his thumb over his lip where Jungkook had carefully applied red lip tint, making them look so kissable. “So pretty,” he breathes, before his lips are on Jungkook’s in a gentle kiss.“We should celebrate our anniversary that doesn’t involve one of us locked in a cellar… or combating tsunami warnings.”

 

“Or one of us bleeding out on a table.” 

 

“That. And I did call twice a day for a month in order to secure it,” Seokjin hums. “Alright, let’s go.” 

 

It actually surprises both of them that they arrive at the restaurant at all. A fitting time of firsts, it feels strange to mourn the tradition of them hastily making the most out of their anniversary in the aftermath of destruction. The restaurant is cozy and in the darkness, it seems like they are the only patrons. Seokjin sucks in a deep breath, always overzealous at putting on the air of a typical married man, muttering something about investments and shrouding his mission in a web of euphemisms. He’s already managed to call Jungkook ‘husband’ fifty times in under a minute. Over the soft glow of the candlelight, Seokjin’s eyes shine so prettily and he seems to embody happiness as he holds out his fork to feed Jungkook bits of his dessert. Try as he might, Seokjin still had yet to best the chocolate soufflé that he had made on that night that feels like another lifetime ago.  

 

“I like this place,” he says and Seokjin flushes in pleasure. “We should come here again next time.”

 

“You do the booking next time. I’m not going to make three hundred calls again, makes me feel needy.” 

 

“That’s reserved only for me, right?” Jungkook smiles unabashedly when Seokjin glares at him. “What have you gotten me this year?” He peers around Seokjin’s chair to see if he was concealing a bag. 

 

“Life isn’t about materialistic pleasures. Isn’t my presence enough?” Seokjin demands. “You’re hardly great at buying presents. Your last gift was a tea set and we know how that ended up.”

 

“Urgh, so many wasted presents over the years. I should’ve just spent the money on myself,” Jungkook whines. “Was there any gift that was useful at all?”

 

Seokjin thinks for a moment. “Thermals.”

 

“I’m never getting you anything else. Even if we run out of space and we’d live knee-deep in thermals, that’s all you’re getting for every birthday, anniversary and Christmas,” Jungkook warns. 

 

Seokjin smiles at that. “It’s been an eventful year,” he murmurs, suddenly melancholic. 

 

This isn’t the kind of conversation that they should be having outside anymore. It’s just about time they leave, the uneventful evening is starting to make Jungkook restless. The journey back seemed to only be a blink before they’re home. Their bed had became their holy of holies, nestled within sheets, a place where they could lower their guard without fear. Stripped of their clothes and faces clean of any makeup, only sincerity could be coaxed. 

 

It still strikes Jungkook as incredible that he’s married to such a wonderful person. That he can go home everyday seeing the face that he adores and makes his heart feel so full. It astounds him that Seokjin thinks that he’s the lucky one in their marriage. Laying side by side, Jungkook draws Seokjin into a deep kiss, feeling Seokjin smile. 

 

“Happy anniversary,” Seokjin whispers when they part, pressing their foreheads together. 

 

“I never believe it when one comes,” Jungkook murmurs. “Is it strange that something didn’t happen this time or have I become overly superstitious?”

 

“Very strange,” Seokjin echoes.“But I think we’ve received enough tribulations haven’t we? Still, I’ll take it. All the pain in the world to be with you.”

 

Jungkook laughs, nose crinkling and gazing at Seokjin fondly. “You’re always so disgustingly sappy. Your handlers would be rolling in their graves.”

 

Their marriage is an impossibility. One of them should be dead. None of this familiarity came overnight but it’s made worthwhile with how Seokjin looks at him with such tenderness, never shying from showing the depth of his affection like when he brings Jungkook in for another kiss, murmuring I love you, against his lips. There’s never been regret for allowing himself to be vulnerable. Seokjin hasn’t and would never hurt him. 

 

Seokjin mouths against the expanse of his shoulders, slowly etching a path to his neck as his fingertips dance delicately across the lines of his muscles. Jungkook arches his back into him, a breathy moan escaping his lips. He holds the hand that Seokjin caresses his face with, the one that bears his wedding ring and lays a tiny kiss to the inside of his palm. Under Seokjin’s heady gaze, he feels like melting. He gasps as Seokjin traces a single finger down the length of his body. Warmth spreads through him where Seokjin touches him, sending pinpricks of sparks through his body. The knowledge that a killer's instinct courses through Seokjin, whilst he is only ever so gentle with him heightens the intensity of their intimacy. 

 

Even in this state, hazy and so pliant beneath him, Jungkook could still easily kill someone. His greatest weapon was always how innocent and sweet he looked, at odds with how built he is. There have been times where a target had loomed over him, eyes raking over his body predatorily. People got intoxicated off control. By the time, the whisper of suspicion entered their head, it would be too late. Prey, they all thought of him, until he had roughly discarded the sheep’s clothing and ruthlessly ended them. The hands that wander across Seokjin’s body have killed everyone that they’ve encountered. All but Seokjin. 

 

It should fear him, how conditioned he is to Seokjin's touch, just how well Seokjin knows his body and how exactly to make him come undone. Yet, Jungkook only pulls him closer. Jungkook clasps Seokjin’s wrist when the latter’s slicked fingers stretch him open, moving in tandem with him. Seokjin watches every minute change of his expression attentively, ready to stop at the slightest form of discomfort. 

 

“Are you okay, baby?” 

 

Jungkook nods, stirring at his words. “I want you, hyung.”

 

He sees Seokjin shiver, his eyes darkening. His lips part in a silent moan as Seokjin slides in home, waiting for him to adjust as he bottoms out. Seokjin presses soft kisses along his jaw, combing his fingers through Jungkook’s sweaty bangs as he leans down to murmur in his ear, his senses entirely flushed with Seokjin.

 

“You’re doing so well. My pretty baby.” Seokjin hums against his throat as Jungkook whines, pushing against his hips until Seokjin moves. 

 

The slow rhythm Seokjin sets and his intense gaze above him, is almost too much, setting everything aflame. He pulls Seokjin down, crashing their mouths together and shuddering when Seokjin bites down on his lip, marking it red. Jungkook decides that it isn’t fair that he has to be the only one unravelling tonight and uses his strength to flip them over. A startled sound bursts from Seokjin's lips at suddenly finding himself pressed firmly against their bed, Jungkook's bright smile looming over him. Jungkook laughs, a pure sound, weightless and euphoric. It's rare that he can catch Seokjin so off guard, and Seokjin looks so shocked that he can't contain his peals of laughter. Seokjin looks awestruck, gazing at him with such unguarded reverence that Jungkook has to lean down and kiss him, pressing giggles along his jaw and his mirth against his lips. 

 

Jungkook thrusts back against him, and watches Seokjin's face contort, throwing back his head and baring the line of his beautiful neck. Seokjin hands claws against the bed for something to hold before they find Jungkook's hips and he laces their fingers together. Jungkook knows he must be a sight to behold. Sweat gleams on his body, throwing the sharp planes of his muscles into sharp relief. Bottom lip caught between his teeth, full of concentration until Seokjin is moaning, their bodies moving in unison like an impassioned dance.

 

“I’m close,” Jungkook manages to gasp, the pace he set faltering. Seokjin grazes a hand up Jungkook’s chest to steady him and he loses himself in the slide of Seokjin stroking him and the sounds of his own moans tearing from his throat. Jungkook grips Seokjin’s shoulders like they’re his lifeline when he comes, sobs of Seokjin’s name on his tongue, splattering between them. 

 

He's lost count of how many times they’ve kissed, neither of them willing to part for too long. Seokjin nuzzles against his cheek before he's leaning in again, cupping the side of his face with a tenderness that has him aching for more. “Come in me,” he whispers, rolling his hips in a way that makes Seokjin groan. 

 

Fuck,” Seokjin gasps. 

 

“Aren’t we already doing that?” 

 

Jungkook’s laugh is as wispy as air when Seokjin turns the tables on him, flipping him over. “Is this good?” Seokjin’s voice, low and sultry never fails to make him keen. In answer, he winds his thighs around Seokjin’s waist, pulling him in impossibly close like he was drawing in a breath. He looks up at Seokjin through hooded eyes, lashes brushing against his face.

 

“You’re so beautiful,” Seokjin sighs as though he was simply assenting to the existence of gravity. The words bring another rush of heat to Jungkook’s cheeks in pleasure, luxuriating in his praise.

 

“You’re my everything,” Jungkook whispers but it rings loud and clear for the two of them. 

 

The weight of his words makes Seokjin groan, arousal sparking through him as he fucks Jungkook through his orgasm with a slow, coiled strength. Eyes glassy, Jungkook runs his fingers over and over through Seokjin's hair until Seokjin finally tips over the edge. His hand slips to squeeze the back of Seokjin’s nape gently until he raises his head, where they just watch each other in silence, breathing as one. Seokjin plants gentle kisses all over Jungkook’s face until a breathless smile curves his lips. 

 

He’s reluctant to let Seokjin leave and curls onto his side when Seokjin returns with a dampened towel to clean them both up. Jungkook pulls on the blanket until only his wide eyes are showing, knowing how weak Seokjin was to them. It had been a hilarious realisation, that the cold killer was swayed by their potency. Seokjin kisses his forehead, cupping his cheek over the blanket before he tugs it down to press a kiss against his smile. Jungkook traces Seokjin’s lips lazily as he nestles into Seokjin’s side, humming as Seokjin envelops him in his arms.

 

In his afterglow, Seokjin looks resplendent, Jungkook can’t believe there was ever a time that Seokjin’s eyes never held this light. Jungkook caresses Seokjin’s cheek, marvelling the beautiful rosiness. He never thought it was possible for him to fall in love with Seokjin more and more, affection blooming in his chest every time Jungkook looks at him. 

 

Seokjin toys with the strands of his hair, tucking it carefully behind Jungkook's ear that makes him feel so cherished. “Maybe we should go somewhere for our next anniversary.” 

 

“Our next? Are we tempting fate here? Why not shoot for every anniversary until eternity,” Jungkook suggests boldly, daring Seokjin to contradict him. 

 

Seokjin looks every bit as determined and nothing else could fill Jungkook with more happiness. “I was thinking about surprising you with a travel package but I didn’t want to presume. We’ve always talked about it, going on a second honeymoon, a holiday, anything. Clear a week, a month, a year if you’re feeling ambitious. Let’s go somewhere.” 

 

“Anywhere?” Jungkook asks hopefully. 

 

“Anywhere.” Seokjin repeats firmly.  

 

This feels more permanent than the house that they had both signed their names for. A future that continually moves forward. They left that place far behind them, the one where they were only going through the motions and were desperately hoping that it was more than routine that kept them bound together. Jungkook can't believe and believe all at once that there is someone in the world that knows exactly what he is and still loves him for it, loves him more because of it. He can detail the grievousness of his mission in explicit terms and all Seokjin will do is suggest better methods for his next kill. He can come home with his body riddled full of holes and Seokjin will put him back together. Now, Seokjin won't choke on his silence and trusts Jungkook enough to be vulnerable to him. They’re unequivocal equals now. 

 

“I love you,” Seokjin says fervently. 

 

“I love you more,” Jungkook says, pressing his smile against Seokjin’s lips.