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Ugly Heart

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Yoongi would describe himself as a chill person. He certainly is when you take into account that he lives in a small apartment with his aunt and uncle, little cousins while working at a café and therefore dealing with annoying teenagers and stressed businessmen daily.

So yeah, he considers himself pretty chill because he’s able to sleep while his siblings are still yelling, he’s able to focus on writing when his cousins are playing tag in the tiny living room, his uncle singing his heart out along to the radio, other cousin complaining exactly about that and his aunt yelling from the kitchen for someone to help her cook. He’s able to refrain himself from hitting customers and lashing out at them when they order shit. Like, holy fucking shit! They do not have that drink. Certainly, Starbucks has that drink but they’re not fucking Starbucks!

So yeah, he’s chill, but this – this fucking guy! Just takes the icing off the fucking cake and Yoongi seriously considers forgetting everything he learned about customer service and fucking punch the guy right in his way too pretty face.

But maybe, Yoongi should first off all explain how he lost his fucking chill in a seemingly normal shift.

Well, at first, a shift at the lively café is never normal. Especially not the fucking early one. So, Yoongi opened today and had a shit ton of teenage girls order strange things that either aren’t on the menu or have to be low-carb or extra skinny or with almond milk and – yeah, Yoongi is aware of the fact that some people genuinely get sick when they drink normal milk or need the sugar reduced in their drinks but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s tiring and that 98% of these girls – and guys – were straight up assholes to him. Yoongi hates people who bitch about their order, like, okay, I get it, you want it to be made that way and yeah, I understood you the first time but I’m sorry, you need to order from the menu, no, you can not speak the manager at the moment because none is here or yeah, you can speak to the manager but he’ll tell you the exact same thing I just did.

It’s fucking exhausting and he went home with a migraine starting behind his eyelids, only to listen to his little cousins off-key singing because he proudly showed him that he’s participating in the choir from now on – Yoongi loves him to death but he also loves being able to hear, y’know? So, migraine, loud singing and then he got called back into work because some of the other baristas didn’t make it to their shift because of reasons and even though Yoongi worked the early shift, he still went to the last one. Angry, annoyed, frustrated and with a migraine but he needed the extra money.

So, he went. He went and fortunately the customers reduced by the time evening came around but at the exact moment, he began to clean everything because it’s been a fucking hour since the last customer walked inside, the fucking bell over the door rung. He was ready to fight whoever decided to come into a café this fucking late because who would be crazy enough to think that it was healthy drinking coffee this late apart from himself?

The shop would be closed in half an hour and he kind of wanted to finish early but now those dreams were fucking ruined. His co-worker clocked out fifteen minutes ago because, despite his migraine and overall shitty mood, Yoongi still has a soft spot for the college student girl who he knows has been stressed out about school because exam season is starting soon and he felt like doing something good. One good deed a day and that bullshit.

But now he wished she’d be still here because then he could have fled from serving the obvious annoying boy who just entered and the woman who just looked ready to devour him if he got her order wrong. The woman with wrinkles as deep as canyons reached the counter first and Yoongi instantly focused his attention on her.

The greeting died on his tongue because seriously? No one really cared and Mrs. Stuck-up-wrinkle had just started rattling down her order. Yoongi listened to her demands and no, fucking shit no, he would not fucking deal with this kind of customer at almost closing time and a raging fucking migraine. The woman was glaring at him like she was expecting to repeat her fucking obnoxious order.

But no, of course not. There was no fucking way in fucking hell that Min motherfucking Yoongi would have to need a repetition of such an outstanding order and there was also no fucking way in hell that he would make said drink. He just kind of tuned her voice out as his gaze shifted to the annoyingly pretty male who stood in the middle of the room. The guy just screamed Rich and Annoying and Brat – all with capital letters. Brand clothes paired with the face of a potential model.

Mrs. Bitchy-stick-up-her-ass cleared her throat and Yoongi figured he should probably say something. Something civil. Hopefully, something civil. He needed to be civil because he needed this job, he needed the money and he needed to get his temper in control in order to secure the former two things.

“Do you think this is a magic shop?” He asked her and the question seemed to throw her off. Obviously, she wasn’t used to the word ‘no’ but more like ‘yes, Queen of us all, I’ll do whatever you want.’ But of course, she hadn’t been quiet for long. She found her annoying high-pitched voice soon enough.

“Did you hear what I said?” Her tone was flat, red lips pressed into a thin line as she raised one of her very drawn on eyebrows. He heard her alright. Actually, he kind of wished that he didn’t but that wasn’t the point here right now. He got momentarily distracted by pretty-guy who was now wandering through the empty café like there was actually anything worth looking at. The woman was still glaring at him, face caked with make-up. Like, seriously? Green eyeshadow? If she’d paint her face a little paler she would be see-through and that hair. Who runs around like that, Yoongi is still wondering that. What look was the woman going for? Cruella de Ville? She sure looked like her impersonation. Dyed hair and a white fur coat – she got everything. Probably killed a few puppies too. Why did he always get stuck with these kinds of people?

Well, whatever because Cruella was. Still. Talking. How the hell did she do that? Seriously, Yoongi would be filthy rich if he got a won every time someone held the same fucking rant about his non-existent customer service and blah, blah, blah…

“Listen,” he interrupted her talking, one hand going up to point at the menu above his head, “This is a menu. It’s there for a reason. Choose something from it because I’m not going to serve you anything else at the moment. Geez, did you look at the fucking time? Choose something from the menu or get the hell out.”

Yoongi just sighed as Cruella deemed it necessary to lecture him about cussing in front of customers and human decency - decency?! Fucking drop that. She wasn’t the kindest person either. “Miss,” he hissed from between his teeth. “Order or get out. I’m sorry, the manager isn’t in and I’m seriously considering homicide if I have to listen to another word if it isn’t a thing that’s on the menu.”

Well, it sure sounds like it but Cruella de Ville isn’t the reason why Yoongi is seriously losing his cool right now. No, the reason is the guy who stands behind her and takes her place the second she huffs and leaves the café without ordering anything.

Pretty boy comes up to the counter, a sickeningly sweet smile on his lips as he casually leans on the counter and takes his shades off. Yoongi is greeted by large brown eyes. Almost puppy like they stare up at him. The boy looks younger than him but not by much. His hair has a soft blonde color – almost honey-like and Yoongi finds himself wondering if it feels as soft. He looks like a model, like one of those guys who are all over the media, playing leading roles in K-Dramas.

Before the guy even opens his mouth Yoongi catches the unmistakable stench of alcohol radiating from him. Of fucking course, he has to deal with a drunk too. Like Cruella hasn’t been enough already. He listens to the guy rattling down his order of the sweetest fucking drink they have on the menu – thank god it’s from the menu – and having the audacity to ask for extra sugar. Extra. Extra sugar. Seems like someone wants to die from diabetes tonight, Yoongi thinks as his hands fall in a practiced motion, preparing the drink.

He’s aware of the heavy gaze on him. Pretty boy is being not very subtle with his staring but Yoongi isn’t subtle either about blatantly ignoring him. He seriously does not have the nerve to deal with creepy drunk and sadly pretty boys at the moment.

“Enjoy your drink,” he hisses and pushes the cup over the counter. Pretty boy is still smiling, leaning forward a bit and the scent of alcohol almost makes Yoongi want to puke. A fucking mystery how the guy is able to seem sober while smelling like a whiskey shop. There’s a stamp of some nightclub on the back of his hand that Yoongi never heard of. He’s not the one to go clubbing. He prefers staying home and well, he doesn’t really have the time to go out anyway.

“Here,” Pretty boy’s fingers linger on his own for a second too long before he slides over a bill. “You can keep the change.”

Yoongi wants to roll his eyes because he could really pass on the coin he would get out of an order like that – wait a second. He does a double take at the banknote slipped over the counter and his eyes grow in size. What the fuck? It’s a 100 000 won bill. Who even carries around so much money only to spend it on a freaking coffee and telling the barista to keep the fucking change?!

Pretty boy is smirking at him, eyes hooded and a dreadful feeling starts to settle in Yoongi’s stomach. He feels like prey under the other’s gaze. This is ridiculous. He seriously doesn’t have the nerve to deal with this right now. He just wants to go home and sleep the whole weekend away. “Now, I would be delighted if you added your number to my drink.”

Ah, Yoongi thinks. People always want something from you. Obviously, pretty boy wouldn’t give so much money away only to not get anything in return. As if Yoongi would get so lucky.

“Did you just sorta paid to make it more likely that I give you my number?” He asks, turning the bill between his fingers back and forth. He’s ready to ring up the order and return the full change to pretty boy but then the other opens his mouth and Yoongi changes his mind. Now he wants to dump the diabetes-drink over the other’s unfairly handsome face.

“Listen,” Pretty boy has dropped the flirty tone and casual stance. Seems like he isn’t here to beat around the bush but to cut straight to what he wants. “We can also, like, get it on in the back. Even though I’m not a big fan of bathroom – or well, any sex that doesn’t take place in a bed or living room but well?”

“Are you kidding me?” Yoongi’s nostrils flare from the effort of keeping calm. He chants his inner mantra to refrain himself from actually decking the guy. You need this job. You need this job. Think of your family. You fucking need this job. “Take your fucking money and that fucking cup of obscenity before I pour it all over your fucking head.” At least he tried to be civil. Some people are just asking for it. Pretty boy certainly is, judging by his answer.

“You cuss a lot, you know?” God, Yoongi wants to fucking punch him right in the face. He seriously does not have the willpower to put up with Pretty Boy. The younger is leaning on his elbow, looking up at the other through his thick lashes and every time a word leaves his pinkish lips Yoongi catches the scent of alcohol in the other’s breath. “I mean, now it’s kinda sexy but nah. You should lay it off if you want to get laid.”

His patience is running out at record speed. “I’ll give you one more chance to shut the fuck up and get the fuck out before I make my threat reality,” Yoongi hisses.

“What if I don’t want to?” To his complete horror, Pretty boy has the freaking audacity to slide another bill over to him. Yoongi doesn’t understand. He must look like shit, he knows he should have showered before coming here, the rings under his eyes must be very prominent right now and he knows for a fact that his expression usually makes small children cry – then why, why is the boy (young man?) hitting on him? Why?! Yoongi just wants his fucking rest.

“Listen, pretty boy,” he slams the previous bill on the counter, “I’m not a prostitute, you can’t buy me.”

“Okay, you listen,” it doesn’t seem like pretty boy wants to back down. What the hell got him so desperate for Yoongi? The things alcohol does to you. “You don’t just tell me ‘no’. Do you know who I am?”

“Fortunately, I don’t.” Perfect. Not only is the boy drunk off his ass but he’s also a fucking rich and obnoxious kid. The kind of person Yoongi definitely doesn’t want to interact with at the moment. He hates this. He hates those people. Rich, full of themselves. They think they own the world and money can buy them everything. It makes Yoongi sick. Sick to the stomach.

“Kim Taehyung, pleased to meet you,” Pretty boy - Taehyung - somehow the name sounds oddly familiar but Yoongi can’t place it anywhere in his mind, “My parents own the Kim Corporation and I have the leading role in the newest K-Drama, maybe you should start watching Tv or something.”

“Okay,” Yoongi takes in another controlled breath. His hand is twitching towards the hot cup of coffee still standing between them but he keeps himself from dumping it over the head of the other. God, what would he give to see the dumb grin wiped off his face. He wants the boy to regret ever setting foot in this café. “Just because your filthy rich ass got everything handed to it on a silver platter does not mean that there eventually won’t be a day where someone tells you ‘no’. Surprise, this day is now, get out.”

“Uhm – Yoongi,” Taehyung leans closer, Yoongi involuntarily back, to inspect the nametag attached to the other’s chest, “Yoongi… You shouldn’t act so high and mighty when you work this shift with those cheap clothes.”

What the hell is that supposed to mean now? Yoongi feels his patience slip through his fingers, right by him and out of the window. Before he even thinks about consequences or anything of that sort he grabs the cup – the heat of the coffee is hot against his skin and he can only imagine the painful stinging the liquid leaves behind as he pours it over the boys head.

“What the fuck?!

He watches with a strange sense of satisfaction in his stomach how Taehyung furiously wipes his face with the sleeves of his long shirt, trying to get the coffee off his skin. Yoongi knows the drink hadn’t been hot enough to actually do any damage besides hurting a bit now – he’s not that low. “Guys like you think they own everything just because they’re pretty and have money but let me tell you, you’re a nothing. Get the hell out here.”

“Don’t think this won’t have an aftermath,” Taehyung seethes from between his teeth. At least the stench of alcohol emitting from him is replaced by the more pleasant smell of coffee.

“I don’t give a flying fuck,” Yoongi sneers, not the slightest bit intimidated by the drunk boy whose coffee soaked hair is clinging to his forehead, “I don’t care who you are and I don’t care how much money you own or how pretty you are – you’re ugly inside. An ugly heart with a pretty and rich exterior but you’re nothing more.”

 

-

 

Yoongi would like to say he doesn’t think about Taehyung anymore during the next weeks. But he couldn’t get the other male out of his head – no, obviously not because of how good looking he had been or because of his very nice personality. No. Definitely no. Every time his mind wanders to the drunk boy he feels anger rise in his chest, pumping like fire through his veins and he gets the weird urge to punch something with all his might.

Taehyung pissed him off. Taehyung pissed him off back then and okay, yeah, maybe Yoongi is being petty but who could blame him? Okay, he also might be overreacting a bit because seriously, it’s been weeks but it’s not his fault he had to see the other’s face around every corner during this time.

Fortunately, it hadn’t been his actual, real-life face because then Yoongi wouldn’t have been too sure if he could have controlled the urge to deck the guy. No, he’s seen his face on various posters advertising the grand final of the most popular K-Drama right now. Unfortunately, it seems that Taehyung must have some kind of talent as an actor when he’s able to grasp such a large lead role but, Yoongi supposes, he could have also bought his way inside of the production. After all, Taehyung seems like a guy who is convinced money is going to get him anywhere. Yoongi’s pants included, but he’s not that weak. And he’s definitely not that low.

Anyway, seeing Taehyung’s stupid pretty face plastered all over the city pisses Yoongi off so much that he had started taking a black marker with him and decorating each and every poster with the actor on it he came across. A smile tugs at his lips every time he passes a poster he already embellished with a mustache. It’s great. Masterpieces.

Over the last weeks, the knowledge that he’s been doing that had kept him in a somewhat good mood, considering the situation he’s in at the moment. The dire need of money claws at the back of his mind every waking second of the day. He could have used the money Taehyung offered him back then well. But he’s not quite ready to stoop that low, so what? Now he has to walk home by foot because he can’t afford the bus – It’s no big deal. He secretly eats the leftovers at the café – well, not secretly because basically everyone who works there knows in what kind of situation he is but he likes to pretend no one knows. Likes to pretend he’s just like them. He doesn’t need much food anyway. He’d rather spend the money he has on buying meals for his family. They need it more than he does.

That’s why he finds himself wandering the streets in pitch black darkness, one hand in his jacket, curled around the small bundle of cash - The tips of today. His heart warms but at the same time, he feels like he’s suffocating. He hates this. Hates how he’s being treated with pity because he’s too poor to live anywhere than at the subsistence minimum. They’re always giving him the tips – every tip that any worker earns over the day wanders in Yoongi’s pocket. He’s thankful. Of course, but it feels… feels kind of degrading? He isn’t sure how to describe the uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach.

He sighs as he turns the corner only to walk straight into something solid. Solid but not solid enough to be a wall. Also, a wall doesn’t gasp in surprise when someone walks into it. He lifts his head, hand curled around the money tighter because who knows what kind of people are lurking around here in the dark, his other hand already twitching to his jeans where he keeps his pocket knife.

At first, he thinks it’s a joke. That his eyes are playing some kind of trick on him because he hasn’t been sleeping well and this is the fifth late shift in a row but after blinking for a few times there is no mistaking it. It’s motherfucking Kim Taehyung staring down at him. Instantly a scowl settles on his lips as he lets his eyes roam over the boy in front of him. He looks different. His hair has a different color – a darker shade of brown and Yoongi supposes it’s his natural hair color –, there are no shades on his face, instead, there are dark rings which almost look like they were painted on, sitting under his dull brown eyes. He’s wearing a large black hoodie (still branded) and Yoongi shivers just looking at him – it’s cold during the night even though spring is approaching fast. He’s wearing jeans. Dirty at the knees and sneakers who must have also seen better days. Taehyung looks nothing like the confident rich boy he had been the evening he tried to buy Yoongi’s company. But the other has no time dwelling on the fact that Taehyung looks like he’s been through hell and seconds away from crying.

“Watch where you’re going,” Yoongi says instead, walking past the other and knocking against his shoulder on purpose. He expects the other to be angry or something. But Taehyung just stumbles slightly, head hanging low as he steps out of the way. Yoongi thinks that this is it, it’s karma. Taehyung had been an ass and now, he’s seeing him again looking like shit. But he’s been wrong. He’s almost around the next corner when there’s suddenly a voice yelling after him, a tilt of desperation to it. “Wait!”

Yoongi wants to keep walking – he desperately wants to keep walking and ignore the tremble in the voice of Taehyung but… But he can’t. He just can’t. With a sigh he turns around, eyes falling upon large brown ones. Brown eyes which are glistening with unshed tears and the desperation Yoongi had already heard in the other’s voice. “What is it?” He asks and Taehyung winces.

“We kind of met – how should I say this? We kind of got to know each other under bad circumstances – I just really need help…” Taehyung’s voice is quiet, a small tear escapes his eye and catches on his long lashes. The words seem to force themselves over his tongue and despite the obvious desperation in his eyes, Yoongi could still see the small hint of embarrassment. Yoongi sees the slight grimace on his face as he asks Yoongi, out of all people Yoongi. It gives him a small sense of satisfaction.

“Well, seems like it sucks to be you,” he drawls, eyes wandering from the boy in front of him to the flickering lamppost above them. The last time he has seen Taehyung, the younger has been in control of the situation. He had forced Yoongi to do something stupid, crowded against him at his workplace and made him feel all flustered and powerless. Now he’s the one in control. This time Taehyung wants help - help! - from him. Him!

Taehyung bites on his bottom lip harshly, sucking in a sharp breath before he seems to collect the rest of his courage. “Yoongi…” His name sounds weird rolling off the other’s tongue without cockiness behind it. “Please, I – I just need a place to stay for one night. I – I don’t have anyone… I can’t sleep on the park bench again –“

“Just – “ Yoongi interrupts him, pinching the bridge of his nose. He should have known there is something going on with Taehyung. He’s seen his name pop up over the last weeks in various news and on social media, he just never bothered to check them. And now this, sleeping on a park bench? He can’t quite grasp the idea that the filthy rich Taehyung should be sleeping on a bench outside. Well, it might explain why he looks like he had been living under a bridge. His greasy, unkempt hair, the dirt all over his clothes, the dullness of his eyes and the dark rings under them. He sighs again, one hand running through his own hair. He will regret this. He’ll definitely regret this. “– Shut up with your pity party. This doesn’t change the fact that I still think you’re an obnoxious, pretentious, insufferable little brat, okay?”

“Yeah…” Taehyung is avoiding his gaze.

“If I hear one complaint, I’m gonna throw your ass out on the street without batting an eye, you hear me?” Yoongi slightly shoves the other, just to make sure that he’s actually listening. Taehyung only mumbles in response but there seems to be a hint of a relieved smile playing along with the corners of his pinkish lips. “Loud and clear…”

 

 

Taehyung hasn’t opened his mouth once since he started trailing a step behind Yoongi on their way home. He doesn’t have any things with him, no bag, not even a jacket. He’s not even looking up, not when they’re in front of the rundown apartment building and not when they’re walking up the many stairs. It’s home. Home for Yoongi because in this building there are no locked doors. The people living here are all the same. All poor and with families they try to feed. Most apartment doors are left open over the day but even now, late in the evening, there are still people walking through the different hallways, from apartment to apartment, talking, laughing together. They hold together here. There here for each other.

There’s the smart young guy living across the hall from Yoongi’s apartment who provides the whole floor with wifi, the old woman who is always giving you cookies in exchange for spending a little time with her and listening to her stories. There is the man who works in a warehouse and often sneaks a few things out, giving them to those in need. They’re a big family here and Yoongi observes as Taehyung watches the neighbors walking around without reservations.

It must be weird for him, Yoongi thinks. Rich kids don’t understand the solidarity between people who are faced with the same problems, the same fate. It must be weird for him being here. Yoongi silently smiles at the way Taehyung’s eyes sparkle a little as he sees one of the neighbor’s kids running around the hallway screaming and laughing.

He’s barely opening the door to his own apartment when it’s already being yanked open. The two little kids behind it are squealing as they throw themselves at him. “Yoongi is home!” Chul yells. He’s the most hyperactive one. Don’t give him sugar, seriously. Yoongi is never making that mistake again. Once is enough. Chul is already six years old and he points that fact out any chance he gets. He’s so proud of it and it never fails to make Yoongi smile.

“Gigi!” The girl hanging from his other leg lisps. Jiae just lost her front teeth and has been speaking even cuter than before since then. She’s four years old and since she learned to speak she had trouble pronouncing Yoongi’s name, pouting every time she gets it wrong so Yoongi told her to use the very special nickname ‘Gigi’ for him. She had been delighted.

“Hyung –“ The oldest of his three cousins sticks his head around the corner upon the loud excited screaming of his younger siblings. Shin is twelve years old but sometimes Yoongi thinks he’s much older. It’s sad. He doesn’t want his cousins to grow up too fast. He wants them to enjoy their childhood, to have a childhood despite the poor conditions they live in. He doesn’t want them to be like him. Having to be mature, to be an adult too soon. That’s why he’s working so much. He provides for his family almost alone, his aunt can’t work anymore and his uncle doesn’t earn much with his job as a cleaner – especially not when his back has been acting up lately.

Shin’s gaze falls on Taehyung who is still standing behind Yoongi and looking horribly out of place. “Who is this?” There’s obvious distaste in his voice and Yoongi wants to smack him and hug him at the same time. For one, he always teaches his cousins to be nice to everyone but Shin has always been very perceiving when it comes to people’s personality. Seems like he’s not too fond of Taehyung – serves him right, Yoongi thinks as he remembers the way Taehyung acted like he owned the world the first time they met. Shin might be a little like a dog, sensing bad people.

“Hey, hey, let my leg go, okay?” Yoongi hums and gently pries the fingers of his small cousins off his legs before gesturing towards Taehyung who smiles a little uneasy at the three children in front of him, “This is Taehyung, he’s going to stay the night.”

“Stay? Where is he going to stay?” Shin exclaims and Yoongi understands. It’s not like they have a guest bedroom, they barely have room for themselves let alone an extra bed to spare. Yoongi knows that. He knows all that. He knows because his aunt and uncle sleep in the living room, his cousins sleep all in one room – the two little ones in a bunk bed and Shin in a single bed barely fitting inside the room. Yoongi is staying in the only other room, it’s small, it’s cramped and he sleeps on a mattress on the floor. He doesn’t have a bed frame. He shouldn’t have brought Taehyung. They have no room for him but he couldn’t just leave him out there. He’s not that heartless.

“My room or do you want him to stay in your bed?” Yoongi teases as he ruffles Shin’s hair. The younger pouts and wiggles out of the other’s grasp. “Ew, no, I don’t wanna sleep with your boyfriend,” he whines, eyes raking over Taehyung’s form once again.

“I’m not his boyfriend!” It’s the first time Taehyung has said anything since they arrived. And it’s something like this. His expression looks a little horrified and Yoongi does not understand. Like, he’s total boyfriend material? Taehyung hit on him before? Why the fuck does he act like it’s the worst thing on earth when someone assumes they’re boyfriends? It seems like he’s not the only one offended because there’s a chorus of offended gasps coming from him and all his three cousins.

“Rude,” Shin says before turning to look at Yoongi and fixing him with a disapproving stare, “Your boyfriend doesn’t seem very nice, I don’t think mom will allow him to stay.”

“He’s really not my boyfriend but –“ Yoongi glares a little at Taehyung “– He also doesn’t need to make it seem like I wouldn’t be a good catch. Rude.”

Taehyung just sighs and steps inside the apartment with a roll of his eyes. Yoongi follows behind him, taking Jiae in his arms, balancing the small girl on his hip as he calls out for the rest of his family. “Auntie?” There’s a crash coming from the kitchen. “Are you home?”

“Is that you, Yoongi?” A female voice yells back through the apartment and Yoongi fondly rolls his eyes. Who else is it supposed to be? “You’re later than usual- Who is this fine young man?” She rounds the corner, a pot and towel in both hands as her eyes widen once they land on Taehyung. Well, Yoongi has to admit even though Taehyung doesn’t look the best right now he’s still a sight to see. Sadly, sadly he’s still way too pretty for his own good. Yoongi hates it. How can some people be so gifted? Handsome and rich? Life is truly unfair.

“Taehyung,” Yoongi points at the other, “He’s going to stay for the night.” He hopes his aunt doesn’t ask any more questions, she usually is the type who needs to know every small detail but he really doesn’t have the nerve to explain why Taehyung is staying the night and especially why he’s staying the night here with them. She opens her mouth and Yoongi prepares himself to answer her as shortly as possible –

“Oh, well, we don’t have a lot of room, I hope it won’t inconvenience you too much,” his aunt says smiling. Maybe Taehyung just has that effect on people? Blinding them with a nice smile and good looks. It’s seriously unfair. How easy you can manipulate people with fake niceness – Yoongi doesn’t want to shatter the act though. He definitely doesn’t think Taehyung is nice. Then why are you letting him stay? A small voice inside of his head asks but he quickly shoves it away. Opposite to Taehyung he actually is a nice person. That’s why he lets him stay. It’s just out of pity – pity and caring too much for other people. He likes seeming cold on the exterior but deep down he always cares. Cares even too much sometimes.

“I’m sure it’ll be better than the park bench,” Taehyung smiles and Yoongi is once again amazed by the ability of the other to seem like he’s genuinely thankful and not – okay. He should stop. He doesn’t know Taehyung. He met him once and he has no idea why the other is currently sleeping on a park bench. He shouldn’t be too quick to judge. Maybe the other isn’t as much of an asshole as he was on that day? Maybe he’s different. Yoongi will give him a chance. Not an easy one but a chance regardless.

“Park bench?” His aunt exclaims, putting the pot away and slinging the towel over her shoulder to walk closer and hold one of Taehyung’s hands between hers. “Do you not have a place to stay? You can stay longer here if you don’t. Even though it’s small, it’ll definitely be better than a bench. Oh, and it’s so cold outside too.”

“He’s not going to stay for long,” Yoongi says and goes to pull Taehyung along, away from his slightly frowning aunt, “He requested just one night, so that’s what he’s gonna get.”

“Yoongi.” She says his name with an edge of warning to it. He wants to roll his eyes but understands where she’s coming from. For her, Taehyung is just someone who has no place to stay and a kind smile but to Yoongi the other male is the guy who offered him money to sleep with him, the one who drunkenly came into the café and acted totally out of line. (Maybe he isn’t the most innocent one either, after all, he did pour coffee on the other but well…) He might not be acting like the nicest person ever but at least he offered Taehyung a place to stay. That should give him good karma for the like, next five years.

“Aren’t you gonna play with us, Yoongi?” Chul asks from somewhere behind him, Yoongi halts, already halfway shoving Taehyung through the small living room. “Ah, I’m sorry but not tonight,” he smiles down at his cousin, hoping that it would turn his frown upside down, “I have to take care of this stray, okay?”

“Hey!” He ignores Taehyung’s exclaim at being called a stray, he just shoves him a little further. Hopefully, this night will be over in the blink of an eye. He’s way too tired to deal with anything right now and he has to work in the morning again, so he needs every second of sacred sleep he could get. Behind him, Shin is consoling his little brother, sadly to Yoongi’s disadvantage. He’s going to need weeks to get the idea of Taehyung being his boyfriend out of his families heads.

“Yoongi just wants to have some ‘adult-time’ with his boyfriend,” Shin snickers. And for god’s sake, the little devil knows exactly what he’s doing. (Like, he’s twelve. Who taught him all these sexual innuendoes he’s been saying lately – definitely not Yoongi… or…?) Yoongi is about to retort something when the door to the apartment opens once again. This time revealing his uncle.

“Whose boyfriend?” And great, it seems like he still heard what Shin said seconds ago. Yoongi is not awake enough to deal with this! Seriously, he also needs a break sometimes. But no, something always has to happen. “He is not my boyfriend!”

“Yoongi, you’re yelling and aren’t even gonna say hello?” His uncle chuckles but this time Yoongi doesn’t find himself laughing along to the deep rumble of the elder’s voice. He just wants to fucking get Taehyung into bed – not in a sexual way! – is that too much to ask for?! Just… sleep. He needs sleep.

“Hello Uncle, excuse me and this stray now,” Yoongi hurries to say, indicating very directly that he does not want to engage in any kind of conversation before he shoves Taehyung forwards again, “Auntie will explain everything and don’t believe anyone who tells you that Taehyung is my boyfriend. Because I’d rather lose a hand, to be honest.”

“Wow, who’s being rude now?” Taehyung stumbles a little on his way into Yoongi’s room.

“Shut up.” He quickly slams the door shut behind them, wincing at the loud bang echoing through the apartment and a second later the voice of his aunt follows the bang, “No door slamming!”

“Sorry!”

Yoongi is leaning his forehead against the closed door, taking in one deep and long breath through his nose and he feels his shoulders sag in exhaustion, tension slightly rolling off him. But of course, he’s not even granted one second of quietness because instantly there’s Taehyung again. Of course, there is.

“So…” The other male is standing awkwardly in the middle of the room and as Yoongi turns around he feels his cheeks flush in embarrassment. He doesn’t know why. Well, he does but he doesn’t want to be ashamed of his room just because it isn’t anything special. But that’s not true either. It’s special. It’s his.

Yeah, it’s small, there’s the table squeezed in the corner right under the window with the office chair he got from the guy who moved out opposite of them last year, the lamp on it also gifted by him. Heavy black curtains restrict light from coming in, right next to the door is the closet – it once belonged to a child given that there are still the remains of stickers Yoongi couldn’t get off all over the surface of the door. He doesn’t have a bed frame, his mattress is just laying like that on the floor.

It’s small, tiny even but it’s his home. He shouldn’t be ashamed. Taehyung is standing in the middle but they’re still so close to each other just because there’s literally nowhere else to stand in the room. The other’s eyes are raking over Yoongi’s things, catching on the laptop on his table – he got that one from his friend, Namjoon. The younger male had given it to him no matter how hard Yoongi protested but in the end, he felt almost just as happy as he felt guilty for letting his friend buy him expensive stuff. The speakers next to it are old but Yoongi got them cheap, fixed them and now they’re almost as if they’re new – on good days at least.

Still, he can’t quite get the image of Taehyung posing in the middle of his huge ass living room out of his head – so what?! Maybe he did google him! Sue him! Even with the dirty clothes – which are still probably high class and cost more than the rent of this apartment – Taehyung looks so lost in the room. So out of place that Yoongi finds himself once again questioning what he’s even doing here. He spent the last weeks hating the shit out of this guy and now, now he lets him stay in his room? That doesn’t make much sense but he can’t really throw him out again now, can he? At least Taehyung hasn’t acted like an asshole this time. Maybe he really isn’t that bad after all and Yoongi’s sleep deprived and headache suffering head just exaggerated their first meeting?

“This is my room,” Yoongi mumbles, head down as he brushes past Taehyung. “Don’t say anything, okay? Not everyone can live in huge penthouses, so you’ll just have to bear with this.”

“Did you google me?” That fucker has the audacity to tilt his voice to give it a teasing tone. Yoongi is in no mood for this but he still feels a twitch in the corners of his mouth. Maybe Taehyung could be a fun guy to spend the night with?

“Did I google you? Did I change your Wikipedia page – or rather correct it? Did I draw mustaches on every picture I saw of you? Maybe I did but you’ll have no way of ever knowing that.”

“I kept wondering who changed my wiki page,” Taehyung wonders out loud.

“I certainly didn’t.” Yoongi is reminded of the long hours he spent editing Taehyung’s Wikipedia entry, never once straying from his will to throw in as many insults towards the ‘actor/model/CEO son/beautiful angel’ (as he was dubbed on Wiki). It was really tiring, especially because some annoying people always changed his edits back to the original text and description. It had pissed him off almost more than Taehyung himself.

“Yeah, and you also didn’t draw the mustache on the poster down by the bus stop, right?” The younger smiles cheekily, slightly knocking his shoulder against Yoongi’s who just snickered in response.

“Definitely not.”

The short silence between feels comfortable. Taehyung is still looking around and it gives Yoongi the perfect opportunity to let his own eyes rake over the other’s face. He couldn’t argue with the rest of Korea, Taehyung is handsome. Face so symmetrical that even now, in shitty light, with dark rings and tired eyes, he still looks photoshopped. It’s unfair. They’re still standing pretty close, Yoongi is able to spot a few moles on the younger’s face and he gets the sudden urge to touch them. Gosh, what’s he even thinking right now?! He only lets Taehyung stay one night, only because he was raised to have good manners and care about others. There is no other reason, so he should stop trying to be all friendly with the younger. He’ll walk out the door tomorrow again and hopefully, they won’t see each other after that.

“We would have to share the mattress if you have any problem with that you are kindly invited to sleep on the floor,” Yoongi says a little harsher than he intended. The words have slipped his tongue before he really thought about them. The small smile slips off Taehyung’s lips and it really shouldn’t bother Yoongi that much. No matter how nice the younger acted until now, it could very likely only be because he can see that Yoongi can’t say no. Because Yoongi is too soft and cares too much. Maybe he’s just using him? The elder quickly shakes his head to get rid of those thoughts. What does he care? It’s not like he wants to be friends with the other.

“It’s alright, I don’t mind sharing.” Taehyung is awkwardly staring at his feet now while Yoongi chews on his bottom lip, eyes getting caught once again on the dirty clothes.

“Do uhm, do you want to have some clothes to change into?” He asks, aware of the sudden high pitch in his voice. Why the hell is he so embarrassed now?

“Children’s clothes?” The younger chuckles and Yoongi whips his head up, staring at him. No, he didn’t imagine it. The mocking tone of the other’s voice is mirrored in the way he stares down at him. Not only literally looking down on him. There’s that obvious glint in his eyes, like his stare is saying ‘I’m so much better than you.’ Yoongi gulps. Maybe an asshole after all. Yoongi doesn’t understand why his heart suddenly plummets down, almost falling to the floor.

“If you wanna be disrespectful you can step right out of this apartment again,” he threatens instead of getting angry again. And it’s like a sudden switch is turned, the arrogant smirk is replaced by downturned lips and Taehyung hurries to apologize. It feels weird. There is definitely something wrong with the younger but Yoongi doesn’t want to get too invested. He’s just letting him stay one night. That’s it. Nothing more and tomorrow he can live on and pretend he never met Kim Taehyung.

“Better,” he says in response to the stuttered apology. He’s opening his closet to search through his things. Now he really wishes he would have cleaned in here yesterday like he originally wanted to. Maybe he would find things faster now. “I’m aware they’re small, okay? Sorry, we don’t have anything bigger here.”

“Thanks,” Taehyung mumbles as he takes the clothes without looking up or acknowledging Yoongi’s apology.

“You can shower if you want or wait – Shower. You stink a little.” Yoongi once again shoves the younger around, this time out of his room and in the direction of their small bathroom. He knows they have to hurry or else his aunt and cousins will occupy the bath. “You should hurry a bit though if you want to have the room to yourself and warm water. We don’t get a lot and the old man downstairs is about to take his weekly shower – He always uses up all the hot water.”

“Okay.”

What has Yoongi gotten himself into?

Chapter Text

Yoongi wakes up with a dry mouth and a foul taste on his tongue. It’s hot – Holy shit why is it so fucking hot?! He tries to get out from under the blanket but there’s something holding him back… or rather someone.

Taehyung is wrapped around him like a koala and maybe Yoongi would have found his sleeping face kind of cute if it weren’t for the fact that he thinks the other is totally unlikable and that he’s burning the fuck up. Taehyung’s arms are wrapped around his middle, his legs between Yoongi’s own and the other’s hot breath against the sensitive skin of his neck. Just as he tries to wriggle out of the other’s deathly grip the door flies open and he’s greeted by his smirking cousin.

“Is he still not your boyfriend?” Shin suggestively wiggles his eyebrows and Yoongi groans as he struggles against Taehyung’s hold, accidentally ramming his elbow into the younger’s stomach which makes him sit up with a yelp.

“Shut the hell up, Shin,” Yoongi hisses and finally frees himself, standing up on his own two feet. Behind him, Taehyung is rubbing his stomach with a slight frown on his face, he looks absolutely ridiculous. His brown hair is tousled, standing up in all directions, there’s a dry patch of drool on his chin and the fact that Yoongi’s clothes cling to him makes him look even more like an overgrown baby.

“Mom!” Shin yells from the door, “Yoongi is cursing again!”

“You’ve always been a teller – Get down here!” Shin shrieks as he tries to get out the door but Yoongi is a millisecond faster as he pulls his cousin back, trapping him and tickling him from head to toe. Shin laughs so loud that Yoongi thinks his ears might fall off but before that, his face is probably going to split from the sheer width of his grin. There’s nothing he loves more than the laughter of his family. That’s all he ever wants in his life, for them to be happy. Especially his young cousins who still have their whole life ahead of them. A life that shouldn’t be shaped by poverty.

A life where they shouldn’t worry about how they’re gonna afford dinner. Or have to choose between the bus home at night or going by foot. Everything Yoongi is going through, everything he endures and gives up for his family is something he doesn’t want them to go through too. Something he doesn’t even want them to see. For his cousins he smiles every time he comes home, he plays with them and listens even though all he wants to do is fall asleep and have those few hours before starting his next shift but he stays with them. He buys them candy and toys even though that might mean he doesn’t have enough money for food for himself but that’s okay. As long as he sees their smiles and hears their laughs he’s content. And his job at the café is at least better than any job he ever got fired from before.

He hopes he’ll be able to keep that job despite his temper. It’s like his last resort. He knows he only got in because his friend Seokjin owns the café and did him a favor but if he messes up too much, not even Seokjin will be able to keep him and then he would be standing there with nothing at all.

When Shin eventually escapes his grips and seeks shelter in the kitchen with his mother, there’s suddenly a deafening silence in his room. Yoongi awkwardly stands in front of the mattress on which Taehyung is still sitting, brown hair tousled and the blanket around his shoulders.

“So…” he says, not really sure what to say and Taehyung doesn’t really look like he has an idea either. His brown eyes are wide, still a little unfocused from sleep as he stares up at him without moving his lips.

Yoongi coughs in his fist, turning around because the intense stare of the younger makes him feel like a deer caught in the headlights. “So, what are you going to do now?” He asks as he stares at the safety which is his half closed door. Behind it, he could hear the rest of his family preparing breakfast. At least he doesn’t have the early shift today and could actually eat with them for once. “I let you stay and now? What’s gonna happen?”

He could only imagine Taehyung’s clueless expression and once the first tone leaves his lips there’s another voice talking over him. “I-“

“Boys!” Yoongi’s aunt sticks her head through the door, he hair is still unkempt and up in a wild bun, gray strands falling out of it. “Yoongi come and help too!”

“We’ll talk after.” Yoongi pulls on his sweater and leaves the room, not waiting up for Taehyung. The living room/kitchen/bedroom/room for everything is in total chaos like always. Well, not really chaos, Yoongi would describe the room as one that looks like someone lives in there. It’s not picture perfect and yeah, there’s always something lying around and it’s cramped, mismatched furniture and people scattered over it but it’s home. His home.

 

 

Taehyung follows after the other male in slightly slower and less confident steps. Last night he had been a little too overwhelmed to take in the details of the small apartment he slept in tonight. The living room looks… well, messy. The couch is still not yet pushed back together and pillows and a blanket is still on top of it. There are toys lying around and the table in the middle of the room looks out of place with how big and sturdy it is.

He silently watches from the doorway how the family in front of him works in sync. It’s weird. He remembers things like that from movies or Tv shows but not once had he experienced something similar with his own family. Breakfast has always been ready when he had still lived with his parents, prepared by their maid like she did it for every other meal. There wasn’t a lot of laughter in the house of his childhood, meals were eaten in silence, his father often absent due to work and his mother never really paying attention to anything but the PR for their firm.

Taehyung has always believed that the way families were portrayed in those movies was a scam, after all, every one of his friends had told him the same. Their families were acting almost identical to his. Parents more focused on their own success and the future success of their children. It took him a while to learn that not every family was like his own. And Yoongi’s family seems to be like the ones he always deemed impossible to exist and only a phenomenon of Tv.

“So, Taehyung was it?” The male flinches at the mention of his name, eyes stuck on the bowl of cereal in front of him. The table is a little small for all of them, the little girl – Taehyung doesn’t remember her name – sits on Yoongi’s lap, happily eating her own cereal. “Are you gonna stay here for a while?” Yoongi’s uncle asks him with a smile on his lips, a smile that vaguely reminds him of the one Yoongi wore yesterday as he greeted his cousins. Taehyung tenses under the sudden attention that’s on him and Yoongi could see the nervous shiver that runs up his spine.

“Uhm, I don’t want to burden you – I’ll figure something out. One of my friends is going to return from vacation today and I’m hoping I can stay with him for the time being. But thank you for letting me stay the night,” Taehyung mumbles into his cereal, eyes darting left and right to avoid looking at anyone directly, “I can’t really pay you anything right now but I’m sure once I get back on track I’ll be able to compensate for my stay-“

“Oh dear, no,” Yoongi’s aunt interrupts him and Taehyung’s gaze snaps up, “No, you don’t have to pay us. We’re glad we could offer you a bed for the night.”

The confusion on Taehyung’s face is obvious and yeah, inside of his head too. It’s weird, it’s so weird that Taehyung is unable to wrap his head around the kindness he has received from those people. He doesn’t understand, he seriously just doesn’t understand why they’re being so nice to him. He can’t pay them – give them anything for their kindness. This is not how it’s supposed to be, right?

This is not like those things work. There is nothing free in this world. You never get anything for free, there’s always a price and in the past, he had been able to pay almost any price. Why is Yoongi’s family – and even more important, why is Yoongi himself – being so nice to him? It doesn’t make any sense.

“Okay… Thank you so much,” Taehyung mumbles and finishes the last of his cereal. He needs to get out of here. Seriously, he can’t stay in this cramped apartment a second longer. It feels like the walls are closing in on him. He can’t stay here. In the end, people always want something from him. What do they want? What could Yoongi’s family possibly gain from this? Yoongi knows who he is. He does, right? Does he want to expose him to the media?

He could already see the new headline: Kim Taehyung, back from the dead and sleeping on the street like a beggar!

Taehyung doesn’t listen to the other conversations taking place at breakfast, the only thing he hears is the blood rushing in his ears and the rapid beating of his heart. Out, out, out, he just wants to get out. It doesn’t matter where. Just out and away from prying eyes, judging stares and the frown on Yoongi’s face.

Going back into Yoongi’s room and changing into his own clothes again almost feels surreal, like it’s not really him who’s doing it. He feels like he’s watching himself and the small room does nothing to help the anxiety creeping up on him. What do they want from him? What?

“How can you live here?” The question spills over his trembling lips before he could stop it and Yoongi turns around to face him with another frown. It makes Taehyung feel so small, like a little child getting scolded by his father. It does things to him that he can’t explain and his heart speeds up again. He wants it to stop. He wants Yoongi to stop looking at him like he’s a little kid, a brat who doesn’t know anything. He needs to get out of here.

“What?” Yoongi asks cautiously like he’s daring him to say something wrong. But since when does Taehyung ever say something right? Since when does he ever do something right? Since when isn’t every step he takes not a mistake?

Out. Out, out, out. He kind of wants to cry but the words of his father ring in the back of his mind. Only weaklings cry, my son is not a weakling or is he? Certainly not. He wouldn’t be my son if he were a weakling. He’s strong. He’s good. He’s above people like Yoongi. Yoongi has no right to look down on him. He has no right to look at him like he’s a stupid little kid and suddenly Taehyung starts talking. He starts talking with the intent to hurt. Hurt Yoongi to get rid of that stupid frown on his face because if he doesn’t, Taehyung is positive he’s going to go insane.

“I mean – This, this is tiny and you live here with a whole family. You don’t even have a bed. It’s old and rundown and-“ This, this is familiar. Talking like that is what Taehyung is used to. This is how he grew up and it’s the only time when he feels confident in his own skin. Yoongi’s face falls and his eyebrows scrunch together in anger. Taehyung feels it deep inside himself, the slight regret but then he reminds himself that today is the last day that’s going to be like that. Bogum will take him in. Bogum will take him in and he’ll resume his old life. He’ll be able to pay Yoongi back for his kindness and then he would never see him again. That is a plan. A plan he needs to execute as soon as possible because there’s still the anxiety crawling into his limbs and making him restless.

“Stop. What the hell is your problem, huh?” Yoongi steps forward, one finger boring into Taehyung’s chest violently, “Is your head so full of shit that you don’t even know how to at least act decent? Instead of talking shit about my home you should be on your knees thanking me for being generous enough to let you stay the night.”

“On my knees? Kinky, aren’t we?” Taehyung chuckles and the cocky smirk on his lips feels so familiar, it feels safe. This is the only way he knows how to act. Hopefully, Yoongi will hate him enough to completely forget about him. To forget what he wanted to gain from offering Taehyung a place to stay. “And generous? Were you generous? I was sure you only wanted a pretty boy in your bed.”

“Listen, I didn’t let you stay because I think you’re nice, or you could pay me or because you’re handsome. I let you stay because I’m a decent person,” Yoongi hisses and he says it with such fervor that Taehyung almost believes him. Almost but not quite. There is no way that Yoongi is just being nice because he can. There’s no way he’s not expecting to get something out of this. That’s just not how life works!

“Sure you are,” Taehyung scoffs, he still has a playful smirk on his lips. Hiding the slight hurt behind it, hiding his own self behind it. He wishes Yoongi would just be honest with him, telling him outright that he only let him stay because of something he’ll later gain from it. And still… Still, he also kind of wishes that Yoongi’s not lying. That he’s genuinely being nice to Taehyung. He just wants one person – one single person to treat him with brutal honesty.

When he met Yoongi the first time in the café he had been taken aback by the other’s outright rejection and despite the sharp sting ripping through his chest when Yoongi called him out for being superficial, obnoxious – ugly inside, it was one of the first times he had been treated with honesty. There’s still the anger he felt back then when he thinks about it but then there’s the tiny voice in his head arguing that Yoongi is right. He’s right despite not knowing anything about him and that it’s so obvious is kind of terrifying. Taehyung is not ashamed of himself. He is just not happy with whom he is but not ready to accept that.

“Great that we established that – Now, leave.” Yoongi is gesturing towards the door. His gaze is hard, sharply piercing through Taehyung without room for arguments.

“I think I like you better when you pity me,” Taehyung chuckles. The smirk on his lips feels forced but he knows it doesn’t look like it, “You’re nicer like that.”

“Just get out.”

He leaves without looking back. The door behind him closes and it feels like he’s pushed back in the hard unforgiving world. Because somehow, that one night, that one morning he experienced in a family felt… it felt kind of nice.

 

 

Once Yoongi is back in the safety of his own room he takes his laptop and settles down on his mattress again. The blankets smell like Taehyung which is weird because the only thing the younger could have smelled of would be the shampoo he used here and that definitely isn’t a foreign scent to Yoongi. But somehow the smell invading his senses is slightly different from what he’s used to. It’s not bad but he still doesn’t like it. Somehow musky and sweet at the same time. Freshly picked strawberries, the sweet scent of the fruits mixed with the earthy scent of the ground.

He shrugs, trying to ignore it as he opens his laptop. It takes a while to boot but once it’s finally up Yoongi instantly searches for Taehyung’s name on google. He’s dying to find out what happened to him. Why the hell he has to stay outside and what those many articles and posts containing his name were about.

It’s a little overwhelming. There are so many articles and news about him – they’re all a little old. Maybe a week or so after he had first met the younger. He clicks on the first one that pops up and his eyes quickly scan the text.

Heartthrob Kim Taehyung on the downfall

The name Kim Taehyung should be familiar to everyone who keeps up with the latest news and no, this time the twenty-two-year-old son of the Ceo of the Kim Corporations is not being talked of because of his handsome face or his amazing talent for acting. Even though that’s what he’s known for, as the lead role in one of the best selling K-Drama’s so far and face for one of the best beauty product sellers in Korea. This time he makes headlines because of his excessive behavior.

Who would have thought that sweet and kind Kim Taehyung we all know from those various interviews isn’t as sweet and kind in real life?

He’s still young and often expressed how much he just wants to have fun as long as he’s able to but this so-called ‘fun’ has definitely gone too far now.

The pictures and videos of Kim Taehyung at different nightclubs, surrounded by hordes of girls – prostitutes, like a research revealed – has gone viral in the last days. Excessive consumption of alcohol seemed to have made his mouth and fists loose and there are numbers of videos showing his disrespectful, offensive and violent behavior towards other people. Not only has he been involved in various sex scandals (click here to get all the information about the leaked sex tape of Kim Taehyung and a prostitute), footage of him supposedly doing drugs are also coursing through the internet.
The police are still investigating the topic of the possession and consumption of illegal substances and have yet to announce anything regarding possible consequences for the actor.

Almost overnight he lost his popularity in Korea. Insiders stated that his modeling contract with the beauty line has been canceled and producers have drawn back their offers to let him play in one of their Dramas.

Kim Taehyung has yet to make a statement regarding his behavior but we’ve received insider information from an anonymous source who tells us that the young male has not only lost his popularity and career but also his money.

Now, bankrupt and at rock bottom of the high society, Kim Taehyung remains disappeared from the scene. His parents are also refusing any questions regarding their son’s behavior and his current whereabouts.

It’s always sad seeing such a talented person falling into disgrace but looking back on all of his mistakes, he had it coming.

Yoongi closes the tab. He doesn’t need to know anything else. Taehyung is exactly how he imagined him to be. Cocky, arrogant and throwing around with his money. The article is right, he did have it coming.

 

-

 

His skin is buzzing. It’s like electricity is running through his veins and Yoongi can’t really control what’s happening to him. He hates it when he gets like this. His temper had always been a huge problem for him and lately, he’s been on edge. He’s not even sure what got him feeling so agitated at the moment but he tries to get himself in check. It’s not something that comes to himself easily. His whole body hurts, anger hot and fiery under his skin and he wants to throw up and punch something until his knuckles bleed. Every noise he hears makes him even madder, sets him on edge and he tries to breathe calmy but he can’t.

The night air is cold against his hot skin but it does nothing to calm him down. It’s not far until he’s home but he also knows that he can’t arrive there like this. It’s not like it’s a secret. Their whole apartment building knows that he’s dealing with anger issues but he avoids coming home feeling ready to punch through a fucking wall. It’s not an uncommon sight for his cousins, he still tries to avoid facing them like this all the time.

He fights with all his might against the desperate tears collecting in his eyes as he presses his hands and forehead against the cool metal of the lamppost in front of him. Shock therapy. He is trying to numb the desire to destroy inside of him. Hoping the coldness can get him back down to earth. He needs to breathe. In and out. Slowly, very slowly. The tips of his fingers begin to get numb and he feels the tears running down his cheeks, dripping down on the pavement below him. That’s what he’s trying to concentrate on. Ignore the anger coursing through his veins, his rapid heartbeat and trembling limps. Instead, he’s trying to focus on the sensation of the cold seeping through his skin, the feeling of his hot tears sliding down his cheeks and the noise of his breaths which get calmer and calmer with every passing second.

It takes a while. It always does but he manages to calm down enough to think straight again. He’s sure to every possible passerby he must look like he’s crazy, out of his mind. But that doesn’t matter. It only matters that he hasn’t hurt himself or anybody else now. Slowly he lifts his head again, his hands are still trembling but the heat under his skin has reduced, the urge to let the buzzing energy inside of him out in a violent way vanishing gradually.

He hates it, hates this. Being unable to control his emotions and acting out of the way because of it. It has always been a huge problem for him, calming down, keeping his anger in check and his job isn’t really the best for someone who easily falls into searing anger when he’s put under stress. Yoongi knows… he knows, he knows it but he needs the money. He needs the money to provide for his family. And he’s gotten better. He really has… no joke, really. His episodes of rage have decreased over the years but the problem…. Yeah, the problem is that whenever he gives into the anger now it gets worse. All the tension he piled up inside of him over weeks releasing in one violent wave of buzzing energy he can’t control and he finds it more and more difficult to not lash out at innocent people or at the smallest inconveniences.

It’s not like he chooses to be like that. It’s not like he chose to be this rude to the woman back then, or make that one kid cry because he glared at her so much and he also didn’t choose to pour coffee over Taehyung all those weeks back. There are just situations where he’s not himself. His cousins call him the Hulk. A sensitive and soft person but once anger takes over he’s a monster. Someone else and he hates it. He hates it so much…

With a stuttering breath, he wipes the tear tracks from his cheeks, taking a second to collect himself before he turns around to continue his walk home. His steps are faltering a little, body now completely drained of energy and all he wants to do is curl up under his blanket and hide for the rest of the night.

He passes the familiar convenience store with the owner who doesn’t like him and like someone poured cold water all over him he remembers the promise he made to Jiae this morning. A groan is trying to spill over his lips but Yoongi swallows it back down. He promised.

The man behind the counter eyes him pointedly as he opens the door but Yoongi ignores him. He makes his way over to the back of the store, weaving his way through the stacked shelves only to stop dead in his tracks at the sight that greets him.

Fate must have a terrible sense of humor because right there, in front of him is again, none other than Kim Taehyung. Yoongi almost wants to laugh because this can’t be a coincidence. How high could the chances be that he runs in Taehyung yet again? This has to be a joke.

The younger male hasn’t noticed him. Yoongi takes a second to take the male in front of him in. Taehyung hasn’t changed, he looks… worse, actually. Four days. It’s been four days since he threw the younger out of his apartment and Taehyung looks exactly the same. Same clothes, the same desperate expression he had worn the evening Yoongi picked him up. It doesn’t make sense. Shouldn’t he be living with one of his rich friends by now? That’s what he said he would do, right?

Taehyung is fidgeting, eyes jumping left and right as his trembling fingers clutch rustling backs of food. He’s nervous, scared even and Yoongi almost wants to laugh at him. Almost, weren’t it for the sudden onslaught of memories invading his mind. He remembers himself, standing in the middle of small stores, nervous as hell as he tried to sneak things out.

“You tryna steal something?” He asks, coming up behind the other. Taehyung literally shrieks, dropping everything in his hands on the floor as he jumps back, eyes wide and stumbling over his own feet as he lands on his ass, knocking against the other shelf behind him in the process.

Before Yoongi could ask if he’s okay the shop owner rounds the corner, his expression immediately darkens as his eyes land on Yoongi. “I see you kiddo,” he scowls at him, pointing his index finger right at Yoongi’s chest in a warning, “Don’t try anything funny in here.”

Yoongi scoffs, crossing his arms in front of his chest as he takes a step forward. “I have money to pay,” he says, getting his wallet out to wave it in front of the elder man’s face. The man just glares a little longer before leaving for the entrance of the store again, probably settling back behind the counter. “Bastard,” Yoongi adds when he’s sure the man can’t hear him anymore.

Taehyung is still staring up at him, the things he so obviously had tried to sneak inside of his hoodie laying scattered around him. Yoongi just sighs as he bends down and picks the things up, making his way to the counter again. How does he always end up in these situations? And more importantly, why can’t he just walk away from Taehyung and abandon him to his fate?

He avoids the dirty glare of the shop owner as he pays for the food before he tugs Taehyung out of the store and back on the cold dark streets. “You don’t have the guts to steal something, not even from a convenience store,” he sighs, thrusting the things in the other’s hands. Taehyung isn’t answering him, instead, he just ducks his head in – in what? Shame? Embarrassment? Yoongi isn’t really sure how to exactly read the younger. It’s weird. Back then, the first time they met he found it pretty easy but the time after that and now… Taehyung wears masks over masks and Yoongi can’t seem to catch a glance at his real, genuine feelings.

“Things with your friend didn’t work out, huh?” Yoongi carefully asks just as the other male is tearing open a plastic bag. Once the words leave his lips Taehyung’s movements falter and he winces, his gaze quickly dropping to the floor.

For a few seconds, they stand in total silence in front of each other. Their bodies illuminated by the flickering lights of the sign above the convenience store and the lampposts lining the streets. The air is cold around them and white clouds appear every time a breath leaves their chapped lips. Yoongi carefully watches the way Taehyung is chewing on his bottom lip, the way he’s clenching and unclenching his fists. It’s kind of endearing. To keep his temper in check Yoongi has learned to focus his attention on specific things and watching, noticing small traits of other people, speculating about their life, their personality from the small sneak peek he gets has become something he almost does naturally by now.

The silence around them is only broken by the sudden wet sniff from the younger male. Yoongi watches as the first tears begin to spill. “Seems like no one’s my friend the second I’m broke and need help…” He looks pitiful and the longer Yoongi watches the shivering male the more he is reminded of a puppy being left out in the rain. All alone and with no one to save it from the cruelness of the world.

It’s a bad idea. Maybe the worst idea he’s ever had. The idea is even worse than allowing Taehyung to stay with him those few nights ago. Yoongi sighs as he turns around to walk away and he swears he hears a whimper leaving Taehyung’s lips. “Are you coming or do you want to sleep outside again?” He asks once he notices Taehyung isn’t following him.

Yoongi somehow wishes he would have his phone out to take a picture of the surprised expression on the other’s face. Taehyung is staring at him like he just grew a second head, tears on his cheeks and snot dripping from his nose. “I – I'm coming!” Taehyung quickly wipes his face with his sleeve and almost falls in the process of hurrying after him.

Yoongi really hopes he won’t regret taking Taehyung in once again. Sometimes he curses his soft heart.

Chapter Text

Yoongi forgot to buy the candy he promised Jiae.

Instead, of the candy, he has Taehyung by his side once he unlocks the door to their apartment. It’s late – later than usual and all the lights are already out, Yoongi feels his way through the darkness of the living room trying not to alert his aunt and uncle who are already sleeping on the couch.

Taehyung doesn’t follow him as gracefully, Yoongi is sure the younger takes a whole detour through the whole fucking living room and knocks against everything in it. The slight pang of annoyance shoots through Yoongi and he quickly grabs the back of the other’s shirt to pull him into his own room. “Do you know how to be quiet?” He hisses once the door closes behind them. The walls are thin here and his aunt isn’t the heaviest sleeper – he really doesn’t want to explain why Taehyung is here again in the middle of the night.

“Sorry…” Taehyung mumbles and his shoulders sag. He looks like a little kid in the semi-darkness of the room – the only light coming from the open curtains –, lost in the middle of the cramped room. Yoongi just sighs and starts taking off his clothes. The last time he had changed while Taehyung was showering, this time he doesn’t even care.

Yoongi pulls off his hoodie as he stalks over to his window, opening it to let the cold night air filter inside the stuffy room. His shirt follows and a chill runs up his spine as he hurries to pull on the large sweatshirt he usually wears to sleep. He can see Taehyung watching him from the corner of his eyes but it doesn’t matter. He struggles to take off his tight jeans and finally gets rid of the socks as he falls face first onto his mattress. As he turns around again Taehyung is still standing in the same spot as before.

“I mean,” Yoongi coughs slightly, shuffling to get his whole body under the blanket, “You can stay standing the whole night if you want to – but you can come down here and sleep on a mattress. Whatever you do,” he faces the wall, snuggling deeper in the blanket and his voice takes on a drowsy tone, “Please shut the curtain.”

There’s shuffling behind him, he hears Taehyung timidly moving around and the tell-tale sound of rustling clothes. The curtain shuts and now everything is dark, pitch black despite his wide-open eyes. Yoongi can practically feel Taehyung’s eyes on him, the weight of his gaze almost suffocating. He’s about to say something again but then Taehyung seems to have made up his mind because there’s a sudden weight settling behind Yoongi.

The last time he let Taehyung stay he had been almost asleep by the time the other had crawled next to him but today he’s more than awake. Awake and aware of his surroundings. Especially aware of the sudden heat emerging from the body behind him. The mattress isn’t big, it’s a single one, comfortably fit for one person but here they are – two grown men, one slightly taller and broader than the other.

Yoongi doesn’t move an inch as the other tries to get comfortable behind him. How is he even supposed to? One inch more forwards and his nose will be squished against the wall. They just don’t fit comfortably on the mattress. Instead of turning his own back to Yoongi’s, Taehyung has turned towards the elder male. Yoongi feels the hot puffs of the other’s breath against the back of his neck and he shivers again – this time not because of the cold. The skin on the back of his neck has always been one of his most sensitive parts and he tries to curl in on himself a little to avoid the sensation of the other’s breath.

The problem with this motion is that even though his neck is out of the other’s reach, his back is now pressed flush against Taehyung’s front. They’re both under the blanket and the inch of space that had been between them before is now gone. Yoongi feels his own face flush in embarrassment but the mortification of now moving back again is even worse so he just stays put. Holding his breath and eyes squeezed shut. He could feel the erratic heartbeat of Taehyung against his back and after the first tense minutes pass there’s a hesitant hand creeping up his side. He bites the inside of his cheek as Taehyung’s fingers accidentally brush the patch of exposed skin right above his hip bone.

“Sorry…” The younger whispers and his voice has somehow dropped even lower than the deep rumble it usually has. Yoongi doesn’t say anything, he thinks about the thought which has been building up in his mind since he decided to take Taehyung in one more time. He needs to approach this matter carefully – he might not be a big fan of Taehyung but he believes in people. He believes that everyone has a good side buried somewhere deep inside of them – after all, he himself comes across as a cold and uncaring asshole even though he is anything but that. He believes that behind Taehyung’s obnoxious behavior is something else. That there’s something good hidden to him. At least he hopes there is.

And he plans to find that good side in him. Hopefully, Taehyung might want to cooperate with him. If he doesn’t… then Yoongi can comfortably forget about him and his mind won’t return to the brunet male like it did over the last days. He has actually felt pretty bad for letting Taehyung out in the street again, despite the knowledge that the younger had planned to stay with a friend. Maybe this time will be different but it’ll only work if Taehyung agrees to change.

Yoongi isn’t sure where the idea of helping Taehyung came from. He doesn’t dare dwelling deeper on the matter because he’s a little afraid of what he might find out. But it shouldn’t matter, right? Helping other’s is what he does. It’s what he lives, what he’s been taught for all his life and it’s what he’s going to do for the younger.

Before he can proposition anything to Taehyung though, the other male is already speaking into the darkness of the room. “Why are you letting me stay?” The hand on Yoongi’s side tightens slightly. “I mean, I’ve been nothing but an asshole. You hate people like me. I’m like the polar opposite of you, our lives are – were completely different and you’re letting me stay. I don’t understand that. I don’t deserve this and I can give you nothing in exchange.”

There’s a tilt to the other’s voice that Yoongi can’t decipher. He takes a few seconds to think over the other’s question. It’s the problem he’s faced with. The problem without a solution. Why is he doing this? He knows… kind of. Like, half of the reason. The other half is territory he refuses to enter. “I don’t want anything in return. You know, money is not the key to everything. There are still people who rely on the kindness of others. I’m not heartless. I’m not going to let you sleep in the streets,” Yoongi moves his own hand towards Taehyung’s but right as he’s about to touch it he hesitates, “You’re right that I don’t like you.”

Taehyung tenses against him again and Yoongi bites his bottom lip. Yes, he’s still not necessarily a big fan of the other but he plans to become one. To some extent. He’s sure, Taehyung seriously can’t be as superficial as he seems to be. But he’s definitely unable to live without the comfort he had all over the years. (Yeah, okay, he might have been kind of researching the whole life of Kim Taehyung – the bits exposed to social media at least.) “You don’t understand how life works when it’s not handed to you on a silver platter. You value things that are totally unnecessary. You’re spoiled. You think a pretty face and money is the only thing in life that matters. Yeah, I don’t like you but you’re still someone who needs help and I’m able to give it to you.”

“So, you’re doing this out of pity?” Taehyung asks tensely. The way he pronounces the word ‘pity’ is what makes something snap inside of Yoongi. The distaste with which he laces the word is so similar to the way Yoongi himself has talked about it for years now.

“I’m not like you,” he replies calmly, “I’m doing this because I care about other people.”

“Do you think I don’t?” The voice of the younger has dropped to a mere whisper – just above a breath and Yoongi is only able to hear him because of the complete silence around them. He sounds unsure – like a little kid all over again.

“Not entirely…” Yoongi knows he might sound harsh right now but he just wants to tell Taehyung the truth. He doesn’t know him but the way he acted and still acts – it shows a lot about him. “I think you value different things than me.”

“Like?”

“Status. Fame. Money. Luxury. You think about yourself first. All of you people are like that.” He knows it’s harsh – it’s obvious in the way Taehyung winces and the grip on Yoongi’s hip falters. Harsh but true. Yoongi thinks that this might be the first time Taehyung gets confronted with these words. The first time anyone but himself might have accused him of being shallow.

“All of us?” The younger asks. Yoongi hesitates… he hesitates as he thinks about his answer because for once he wants to scream ‘yes’, yes he wants to throw all of Seoul’s high society into one bowl and call them out on their shallowness and their fixation on money but at the same time, he doesn’t want to generalize. He doesn’t want to treat people the way he doesn’t want to get treated. It’s the same when he calls all rich guys superficial as if someone else generalizes him by saying he’s poor, he looks like a delinquent so he’s gotta be one, gotta be a shoplifting, drug addict in a gang or something. Just because he’s poor.

He thinks about his choice of words because for once he wants to make clear why exactly he thinks so low of most rich people – it’s just his perception of them. He’s met a few at his job, seen them on Tv, in interviews, on radio and read about them. They’re different from the people around him, different in a way he doesn’t like. He doesn’t like the way a big chunk of society gets treated like they’re less worthy as other’s just because they’re poor. He hates that he has to put up with comments and prejudices because of what he looks like and where he comes from. There shouldn’t be a thing like ‘coming from the wrong neighborhood’. He knows kids who would be going places if they would just be offered the opportunity to. But no. Instead of helping the suffering part of their society the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Yoongi can’t really explain to Taehyung all of this in depth right now. He opts for the easier way. It may hurt – scratch that. It will definitely hurt Taehyung but if the boy doesn’t learn the harshness of reality there’s nothing Yoongi could do for him. He might have to throw him in the cold water but it’s for the best. He doesn’t dare thinking about why he cares about Taehyung so much when he hated his guts just days ago – maybe it’s the way his desperate eyes strangely remind him of his own just a few years ago. Maybe, Taehyung reminds him more of himself than he wants to admit.

“Don’t you think your so-called ‘friend’ would have helped you if he had been really your friend and not just someone who was interested in you because you were like him? Rich? Famous?” He whispers the words into the darkness surrounding them but even he could feel their sharpness in the air. “Once you lose all that, you can see who your real friends are and it seems to me that you have none. They’ve all abandoned you, right?”

Taehyung doesn’t answer him, not verbally at least. The hand on his hip vanishes and Yoongi can feel as Taehyung wipes his face just as much as he could hear the wet sniffle escaping the younger. Yoongi wants to turn around, he wants to turn around and cradle the crying boy’s face in his hand but he doesn’t. He doesn't because he is against caving in so quickly. Against giving in too fast. Like he always does. Too naïve, too soft – that’s what he often is. He has a heart bigger than his body and he quickly takes other’s in.

He knows, the second he looks at the crying boy he will let every resolve he built up fall down. All it took for Taehyung was to start crying and it activated Yoongi’s motherly instincts. Maybe… The reason why he suddenly wants to help Taehyung is not only because he reminds him of himself but also because the Taehyung behind him right now is not the one he met at the café and it’s neither the one who insulted him the morning after he let him stay. This Taehyung right now is crying, he’s crying because he’s desperate and alone. All alone in the world and there is no one voluntarily being there for him apart from Yoongi.

“You have me though,” Yoongi says because of that and this time he doesn’t hesitate. He shuffles a little, not completely laying on his back but not fully on his side either, whatever he does, it brings him closer to the younger boy. Actually, Yoongi is kind of grateful for the complete darkness around them now because Taehyung won’t be able to see him. He searches blindly for the other’s hand and laces their fingers together when he finds it. “Kind of… You can stay here as long as you need to. On one condition…”

Taehyung doesn’t respond but Yoongi is sure he’s listening. He takes a deep breath before continuing. “If you try to get up on your own feet you can stay here. You’ll have to learn how the real world works. You can stay but you’ll have to live by my rules. This is not your palace, you have no one who does the chores for you. Here, you have to work to get by. Every day. You can part of us here or you can go and try your luck alone on the streets again.”

There’s a long pause coming from the younger. The minutes of silence between them stretches and stretches but he never once lets go of Yoongi’s hand. The elder has started to slowly stroke his thumb over Taehyung’s hand in a reassuring manner, his own mother had always done that whenever he felt anxious. After a while, Yoongi suspects the other might have fallen asleep on him but then the grip on his hand tightens and there’s a sharp intake of breath behind him.

“…Okay,” His voice is so quiet that Yoongi almost doesn’t catch the hushed words but he’s glad he did, “Thank you…” And if he lets Taehyung slightly hug him through the night there’s no need to tell anyone about it. It was only because he had been half asleep already anyway.

 

 

“Didn’t you say he wasn’t your boyfriend and that he won’t come back?”

Yoongi should have known he wouldn’t escape the questioning of his family first thing in the morning and of course it’s Shin who sneaked into his room to wake him up once again and caught him with Taehyung’s arms around him. He carefully frees himself from Taehyung’s grip while trying to not wake the other up.

“Yes, and yes,” Yoongi sighs, pulling Shin and Jiae, who also appeared in the door, out of the room again, “The first thing is still true but you see… Taehyung – He doesn’t have a place to stay.”

This wipes the suspicious look on his cousin's face away and instead, places one of sympathy on it. “Ah,” Shin nods in understanding, one of his hand coming up to scratch at his chin, “I guess he can stay here. He looks nice?” Yoongi appreciates the effort. After Taehyung had left the last time Shin had told him that he seemed nice one minute and then changed the next second. A personality switch. Like it was with Yoongi and his temper. Shin always had a good perception, a good understanding when it comes to other people and their personality or feelings.

“Can I play with him?” Jiae excitedly asks and waves her doll in front of his face. Yoongi sighs, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to confront Taehyung with his hyper cousin the second he wakes up. Jiae can be… very demanding when it comes to playing. She’s very energetic, demands all the attention of her play partner and Yoongi doesn’t want to overwhelm the younger this early in the morning.

“No,” he gently says, patting her head, “He’s still sleeping maybe you can play with Chul?” The pout on his little cousin's face doesn’t really look like she’s excited to play with her brother.

“He’s not up!” She complains, stomps her foot once and before Yoongi can scold her for this behavior she has already dashed off – unfortunately in the direction of his room. Great, Taehyung will have a great time waking up now. Not that he cares, right? Right. Totally right…

Yoongi sighs once, turning towards Shin who is still standing in front of him, “Go and wake up your brother,” he tells him, only to get another annoyed groan in return. “But Chul is so hard to wake up!” He complains loudly, throwing his hands up in the air as he stomps away towards their shared bedroom, “Why don’t you go?”

“I have to talk to your parents now,” He yells after him, a chuckle on his lips as he adds, “And please tell Jiae not to bother Taehyung, okay?”

“Can’t make promises!”

Yoongi just rolls his eyes. His gaze strays towards the kitchen where his aunt is working, dread settles in his stomach. He shouldn’t have promised Taehyung anything – not when he hasn’t talked to his family beforehand. Throwing the younger out again after promising him to help him change his life is kind of a thing he doesn’t want to do? Like, really not.

He nervously chews on his bottom lip as he enters the kitchen. His aunt is humming along to the old antenna radio in the corner, turning around before he even gets a chance to speak. Not that Yoongi would have had any idea of what he could have said to start the conversation. ‘Hey, remember the guy I let sleep here a few days ago? The one I couldn’t stop complaining about after he left? Telling you how annoying and what a total brat he is? Yeah, can he stay permanently now? At least for as long as it takes for him to turn his life around again and be able to live alone – and afford it.’

He couldn’t just say that.

“Taehyung is back, huh?” His aunt asks with a soft smile. There’s a glint in her eyes like she knows exactly what goes on in Yoongi’s mind and what he’s about to ask her. Sometimes he thinks she can read minds and scarily she often actually knows what’s going on in other people’s mind.

“Yeah… I should have asked if it’s okay,” He mumbles, eyes still downcast – should he ask now?

“No, I didn’t mean it like that.” His aunt is walking around the kitchen while talking, Yoongi follows the movement of her feet with his eyes. “He’s the actor, right?” She asks before lowering her voice to a suspicious whisper, “Kim Taehyung? The one with the – the scandals?”

Yoongi momentarily freezes. He hadn’t considered that the others of his family might know about the rather unfortunate situation of the younger. What’s he supposed to say now? “Yeah…” He awkwardly replies, scratching slightly behind his ear – a nervous tick he developed since early childhood, “He’s all alone now.” Now, he thinks, asks her now. This is the best opportunity to casually drop it in this conversation. He takes a deep breath, “And he needs a place to stay. To stay for longer than a few days or even weeks…”

“So, you want to help him?” Yoongi has closed his eyes as if that would protect him from the answer of his aunt. Well, she hasn’t really given him an answer yet but there definitely hadn’t been a ‘no’ coming from her lips either.

“I want to help him, yes – I don’t know. I think I do. It just doesn’t feel right to let him wander the streets alone. He has no idea how life works. I can’t let him go out there alone and probably starve himself to death or get himself thrown in jail or something.” His explanation doesn’t particularly sound weak but his aunt must see right through him. He has no idea why he feels so… so responsible for Taehyung suddenly. The younger isn’t his responsibility, he shouldn’t feel pressured to make sure everything is fine with him but like he said, it just doesn’t feel right to leave him alone. It’s similar to the sudden parental urge to care for the hurt cat he once found when he was ten years old. Taehyung is like the cat with two broken legs, he can’t survive on his own and Yoongi can’t just tell him ‘no’. There’s nothing more to it. Definitely not…

“You’ve always been such a good guy,” His aunt smiles, one hand combing gently through his hair and Yoongi feels his chest tightening. The gesture so familiar and nice but awakening painful memories at the same time. “Your parents would be so proud of you.” He swallows the small sob threatening to spill over his lips back down, instead, plastering a wobbling smile on his face.

When he returns to the living room he sees Taehyung on the couch, Jiae is sitting next to him, her doll in her hands as she gestures wildly with it, mouth never stopping to move as she talks like there’s no tomorrow. Yoongi expected the younger to look at least a little annoyed with her but instead, he looks genuinely interested in what she’s telling him. His eyes are wide, solely trained on her as he nods along to her story. His reaction to her words are exaggerated, wide-open mouth, a vehement shake of the head and dramatic gasps – Just like Jiae likes it.

Yoongi catches himself smiling at them.

“He reminds you of yourself, right?” He flinches at the sudden voice behind him.

“Huh?” His uncle is chuckling behind him, settling down on one of the stools around the table.

“He’s like you,” He says and gestures for Yoongi to sit down too. He does, only because he’s curious though. Why should Taehyung remind him of himself? They don’t have anything in common. His uncle chuckles at his obvious confusion before he explains, “Lost and without someone to guide him. Desperate, scared and all alone. I know what you think about people like him but… he seems different. I don’t know but he has the same vibe coming from him you had when we took you in. I think there is a lot more to him than what he reveals to the outside.”

“Maybe… But maybe not,” Yoongi carefully says, eyes straying again to the couch where he sees Taehyung acting out a story for Jiae. He’s smiling wide, arms thrown in the air and voice full of emotion as he makes her laugh. “Maybe he’ll break the second he gets his old life offered back. Maybe he thinks he’s different when in reality he’s not.”

“You shouldn’t be too sure about that, Yoongi.” Yoongi doesn’t miss the warning undertone in the voice of his uncle and he knows. He knows. “Don’t judge too soon, right?” He knows he shouldn’t judge too soon but sometimes it’s just too easy to do so. He wants to treat everyone the way he wants to get treated. He wants to trust what Taehyung said last night, he wants to trust him that he actually wants to try to change and learn from him, stay here. But there’s still doubt rooted deep inside of him. The last time he let Taehyung stay he had also thought the younger was actually a nice person and then like someone flipped a switch, he had reverted back to an asshole. He doesn’t want that to happen again.

“This is already the second chance I’m giving him to prove himself, there won’t be a third,” Yoongi sighs, running a hand through his hair, “He already let me down once, I really hope it won’t happen a second time.”

“I think it won’t.” Yoongi just shrugs as he makes his way over to Taehyung and Jiae.

 

 

“My aunt and my uncle don’t have anything against you staying here for longer.” Is the first thing Yoongi says as Taehyung finally notices him standing in front of him. He had been too engrossed in the story he just told Jiae. His brain needs a few seconds to process the information before his heart leaps in his chest. He could stay?

“You sure? I really don’t want to be a bother…” Due to the excitement his voice trembles slightly. God, he feels like he might actually cry any second.

“It’s okay, Taehyung.” The smile which spreads his lips is so wide that it actually hurts his cheeks. Yoongi might not understand it, but those three words are so important for Taehyung that he just wants to hug the elder male. He doesn’t though.

It’s okay, Taehyung. He repeats it in his head a few times. Oh, how he wishes someone would have said that to him a few times before already…

Yoongi sits down on the couch next to them and closes his eyes. Taehyung watches him for a few minutes before he dares to call out to him again. But to no avail. He only reacts when Taehyung carefully shakes his shoulder to get his attention. He’s almost too shy to ask, “Can I shower here again?”

“Uhm, of course – don’t be too long though and be prepared for interruptions,” Yoongi smiles but the rise of his lips doesn’t look that nice – kind of the opposite actually. Taehyung gulps at the mischievous glint in the other’s eyes. Something’s up.

“Interruptions…?” He carefully asks but Yoongi doesn’t elaborate on his strange statement.

“You’ll see.” He winks before leaving for his own room again. Definitely weird but Taehyung just shrugs, excusing himself from a pouting Jiae as he makes his way to the small bathroom. He enters it and closes the door behind him, instantly he’s hit by some kind of claustrophobic feeling.

Like every other room, this one’s tiny too. The shower cabin has a flower patterned curtain, right next to it is the sink with various toothbrushes on it, a stepstool standing right under it on the floor. The toilet is forced in the last possible corner and the only other free wall has a shelf hanging from it with – yeah, with all kinds of things. In the middle of the room is a bright pink fluffy carpet which feels even fluffier once Taehyung gets rid of his socks. He throws another look over his shoulder at the closed door – it kind of bothers him that he can’t lock it but he’ll deal with it.

He quickly gets under the warm spray of the water – well, warm is an understatement. To be honest, Taehyung personally prefers water with a temperature bordering on boiling but here he is glad for at least lukewarm water. He quickly starts rubbing himself down, getting rid of the grease in his hair when there’s suddenly a noise. A noise which suspiciously sounds like a door opening. He stops his movements for a second to listen intensely but when he doesn’t hear anything else he’s convinced he just imagined it. He almost shrieks when someone suddenly pulls the curtain slightly back to look inside.

“TaTa?” The face of Jiae greets him and he had quickly dropped his hand to his private parts, trying very hard not to combust from the embarrassment.

“O-Oh,” He carefully takes another part of the curtain to hold it in front of him as some kind of shield. The little girl is sitting on the toilet, pants pooling at her feet and Taehyung feels like a fucking creep. What the hell is he even supposed to do now? What the fuck? He tugs at the curtain a little more insistently but Jiae doesn’t budge. “Hi Jiae…” he mumbles, “Can I have the curtain back?” With a shrug, she lets go and he breathes a sigh of relief. What a motherfucking morning.

He’s resuming showering when there’s suddenly another voice in the room. “Wait!” That’s definitely the smaller of Yoongi’s cousins. Taehyung isn’t too sure about his name – Chun? Chul? Something like that. “He’s showering, Jiae,” the boy scolds his little sister, “The water will turn cold when you flush now, wait until he’s finished.”

“Right!” She yells with a giggle and Taehyung hears her tiny footsteps as she runs out of the room. There’s still tension in the air – one cousin gone but the other right back in the room. And as if that isn’t enough already the eldest boy is also rushing inside.

“Move over,” Shin demands and something stumbles in the curtain. Taehyung almost falls flat on his ass from the shock. “I wanna brush my teeth too!”

“Don’t push me!”

He can hear them struggling a bit and prays to whatever god or deity there might be that none of them pushes the other so hard that they’ll end up in the shower with him. He would seriously never recover from this embarrassment.

“I swear to god, you two can’t stop fighting for a second –” Taehyung swears he’s never been more relieved to hear Yoongi’s voice. Hopefully, he’ll get his cousins in check. “– You stand there and you go there – Seriously.” He can still hear them grumbling under their breath but then the noise gets replaced by brushing and Taehyung sighs.

“Yoongi?” He asks tentatively, reaching out for the curtain to stick only his head out and check the surroundings while Yoongi seems to have the same idea. Ripping the curtain back to stick his head inside.

“Yeah?” This time Taehyung shrieks, stumbling back against the wall and knocking a bottle of shampoo over. The elder just smirks at him before retreating again, chuckling as he does so. “Told you there would be interruptions. We have one bathroom and many people having to get ready in the morning.”

“You could have warned me a little better,” Taehyung pouts as he picks the bottle up again, almost slipping on the wet tiles.

“Sorry,” Yoongi apologizes and doesn’t sound sorry at all. Taehyung has turned off the water by now and the second he starts thinking about how he’ll reach the towel by the door without showing everyone everything he has when Yoongi sticks his arm behind the curtain, towel in hand. “I’ve brought you fresh underwear – uhm, the rest of the… the clothes. We’ll figure that out after you’re dressed again.”

 

When Taehyung has dressed in his own clothes again – and Yoongi’s boxers – he notices that the elder must have tried to get rid of a few stains on his things. His clothes still look ready for the garbage but hey, Yoongi tried and somehow, it makes a smile bloom on Taehyung’s lips. Just a small, little, innocent smile. It’s barely there but he can feel it.

Yoongi stands in front of him, his right hand is scratching behind his ear as he chews on his bottom lip, eyes jumping around without ever focusing on anything. He looks nervous, Taehyung just doesn’t have any idea why. He should be nervous. After all, he is the one who doesn’t have anything at the moment. He is the one who could be thrown out of this apartment any second again. He is the one who has to rely on someone else’s help at the moment.

“Do you want to wash your clothes?” Yoongi asks carefully, nodding towards the dirty clothes on his body, “I sure hope you do because they stink. You can wear some of mine but yeah, we established already that they’re too small…” Now he looks embarrassed, Taehyung almost chuckles at the slight blush on the elder’s cheeks.

“I… yes, I mean, I have nothing but this…” He chokes out, stumbling over his words. (Why again does his mind only supply him with the word cute when he looks at Yoongi? Somebody should explain this to him.)

“Okay, maybe we should work on that first, I have friends about your height,” Yoongi holds his hand up to Taehyung’s height, measuring him, “Maybe they have some clothes to spare because I can’t take you out running around like this anymore.”

Chapter Text

Taehyung doesn’t know anything about the friend Yoongi takes him to. Well, nothing isn’t quite true either. Yoongi calls him hyung so he must be older than both of them. He’s about Taehyung’s height and his name is Seokjin. Furthermore, the mysterious Seokjin-hyung is the owner of the cozy café Yoongi works at.

Taehyung doesn’t feel really well as they enter a lighter part of downtown. Green trees are lining the streets here and the apartment complexes look nicer, not as rundown as they do where Yoongi lives. They stop in front of a nice three-story building and Yoongi rings the doorbell.

“Come right up,” A voice speaks over the intercom and Taehyung feels himself relax a little. The guy sounded friendly. The opposite of what Yoongi looks like right now. His glare almost makes Taehyung shiver but beneath the sharp gaze, he could detect nervousness, insecurity in the elder’s eyes. It’s kind of weird. At first, he had thought he would have Yoongi figured out pretty easily, a cold person, an asshole. But then the elder went and took him in – twice – and his view changed drastically. He supposes that Yoongi is only someone who heavily guards himself, someone who wants to appear as strong and confident while it’s, in reality, hard for him to even express the simplest feelings.

It’s like there are high walls build around the elder and once Taehyung thinks he catches a glance at the real person behind those walls Yoongi manages to slip through his fingers once again. There are moments where he looks weak, where his walls lower but these are rare. Small snippets of genuine smiles directed at his family, laughter louder than Taehyung could have imagined and a warmth emitting from him that he deemed impossible after seeing the coldness the elder surrounds himself with. It’s kind of sad – the way Yoongi does everything humanly possible to make life as easy and fun for his family, especially his cousins, while totally ignoring himself along the line.

“Behave,” Yoongi hisses but his voice doesn’t carry any spite nor real annoyance. It’s like a plea. Taehyung mutely nods and follows him up the stairs. The hallways are clean and bright, windows huge and letting sun inside. It looks cozy with show racks in front of almost every door, shoes aligned perfectly or in a perfect mess of children and larger shoes.

They stop in front of a door with a floral wreath hanging from it. There’s even a doormat with a cursive written welcome on the floor. Yoongi has barely knocked one time when the door practically flies open and Taehyung quickly takes a step back. His heart is in his throat, hammering too fast to be normal and he suddenly feels nervous again – scared even. Maybe this has been a very bad idea.

“Hello Yoongi and Yoongi’s friend,” Seokjin says and his eyes trail up and down Taehyung’s slightly shaking form. The male looks nice, he has wide shoulders and an inviting smile. He’s taller than Yoongi and even an inch or so taller than Taehyung himself.

“His name’s Taehyung,” Yoongi says and the younger is eternally thankful because he doesn’t know if there would be any chance that a coherent sentence would leave his lips right now. He feels more than intimidated by the other male and it’s just weird. Meeting Yoongi’s friend. Maybe he’ll judge him? Maybe he doesn’t want anything to do with him once he finds out who Taehyung is? This has been a bad idea. He wants to leave again, like right now.

Seokjin looks expectantly at him and only then does Taehyung notice the hand extended towards him. His face instantly flushes red with embarrassment as he takes the other’s hand. “Nice to meet you,” he mumbles, eyes cast towards the floor and, wow, very pink socks on the feet of Seokjin. The eldest male laughs as he shakes Taehyung’s hand and honestly, he doesn’t look intimidating at all but Taehyung can’t help the scared feeling bubbling up in his chest. He’s normally good with new people but that has been before he lost everything that had defined him for all his life.

“I’m Seokjin and I have to say… you look kind of familiar,” The eldest says and squints his eyes, he still hasn’t let go of Taehyung’s hand.

“Yeah, I…” He trails off, worrying his bottom lip. This is what he’s been dreading. Seokjin will recognize him and then he’ll hate him. Then he’ll tell Yoongi to get him away. He’ll –

“Oh! The actor, right?!” He exclaims and Taehyung’s heart drops. The excited expression on Seokjin’s face upon recognizing him changes quickly though. And to the youngers surprise, it isn’t replaced by disgust or something similar. Instead, he looks a little awkward with that sympathetic smile on his lips. “Ah, I knew it. You’re the one with the…”

“Well,” Yoongi clears his throat, drawing the attention away from Taehyung who feels like crying, “He doesn’t have a place to stay at the moment so he’s living with me. Actually, I was hoping we could get a few of your old clothes? Just things you don’t need anymore. We’ll go and hit Namjoon up too but your place is closer.”

“Clothes?” Seokjin asks confused and he finally drops the younger’s hand.

“Yeah, Taehyung needs some and we’re not really in a position to buy some and I thought, I have such great friends with huge closets who would definitely help out someone in need with a hoodie and pants, y’know?” Yoongi laughs awkwardly, scratching behind his right ear but there’s a playful glint in his eyes.

“And Yoongi’s things don’t fit me,” Taehyung finds himself saying before even thinking about it and he almost slaps his own hand over his mouth in shock. He quickly glances at both of the other males faces and searches for the damage he might have done with this.

“What did I say about behaving?” Yoongi asks but he’s smiling.

“Let the kid be, Yoongi,” Seokjin laughs and pulls Taehyung inside, one arm hanging over the younger males shoulder as he pushes him forwards. Yoongi follows them while disbelievingly shaking his head. “I like you already, come on, we’ll find you something. I hope you like pink.”

 

-

 

Taehyung returns home with a few clothes and is already wearing his new favorite piece, a huge rose-colored hoodie whose sleeves reach past his fingertips and ends almost in the middle of his thighs. Another addition to his clothes is the comfortable sweatpants Namjoon gave him even though it has a small hole at the right knee Taehyung has been more than thankful.

Meeting Namjoon was a lot like meeting Yoongi’s other friend. He lives in a smaller apartment full of books and technology which Taehyung has no idea of the use. But he’s also very nice and neither of Yoongi’s friends had acted awkward towards him once they learned who he is or rather, what he was. They were welcoming, nice and overly friendly. Something Taehyung needs to get used to. It’s weird, everyone he met since he came to Yoongi was different from all the people he met previously in his life. Neither of those people were as friendly and selfless as Yoongi’s friends and acquaintances.

But this isn’t what he’s worried about at the moment. The problem he’s faced with is in the cellar of Yoongi’s apartment complex and develops into an even bigger mystery with every passing second.

Taehyung has followed the elder male down the stairs with a basket full of laundry, including his own dirty clothes. There were two washing machines in a cellar room where ropes lined the ceiling and laundry dried on them. The machines look old but similar to the one Taehyung had at his old apartment but that doesn’t mean he has any idea how to work with them. Yoongi has stepped back and lets him figure things out on his own. A bad idea if someone were to ask him. But no one does.

At least he knows where the clothes go in and that he has to close the door. Been there, done that but now he’s clueless. There are buttons and settings and symbols and things Taehyung doesn’t understand. The detergent has to go somewhere too, right?

“How the hell does this machine even work?“ He curses under his breath as he eyes the different options in front of him. He slightly twists the biggest button so it’s pointing at one of the settings. The display to the left shows now a time but he has no idea why.

Yoongi shakes his head as he crouches down next to him. “I mean, sure, these washing machines are old and do have a few quirks but you really have no fucking idea how to work with this, right?” He sounds like he expected more from Taehyung. Well, sorry to disappoint.

“Not to sound too rich or something but I’ve never even loaded a dishwasher in my life,” Taehyung sighs, there’s a small smile on his lips, a playful one, “I don’t even know where the washing machine in my apartment was. I mean, I had someone do the chores for me. My dirty clothes vanished and then they appeared in my closet again, clean.”

“You’re unbelievable,” Yoongi chuckles before pushing him lightly to the side. He starts pointing at the different buttons on the machine and Taehyung tries to follow his explanation, “Come on, I’ll show you… You turn this, right here… push this button down… the detergent goes in there and then you close the door and press start.”

Taehyung warily tries to do exactly what Yoongi says. He takes the detergent and puts it inside the machine, twists the button to the setting Yoongi just showed him and pushes the button he doesn’t know the use of. He quickly glances at the elder to make sure he did everything right before he presses start.

“It’s not starting.”

“It’s because the door’s not properly closed,” Yoongi shrugs as he nods at the machine.

“How can it be closed even further?” Taehyung’s sure he properly closed it. Like, there are only two options and the door definitely isn’t open at the moment.

“You just have – You have to be gentle and – “ Yoongi gently pushes Taehyung aside before he kicks against the door, hard. Very hard and not gentle at all. The machine rumbles for a few seconds and then it starts.

“Gentle… I see,” Taehyung smiles up at the elder’s smug grin. There’s a weird fluttery feeling in his stomach but he chooses to ignore it in favor of staring at Yoongi for a second longer.

 

 

“So, we need to get you a job, we can’t afford a freeloader here,” Yoongi says the second they settle down at the table again.

“Of course.” Taehyung knew that. He was totally aware of the fact that he just couldn’t expect Yoongi to let him live here without doing anything himself and the elder made more than clear what he wanted from him last night. He still feels nervous about it though. Apart from acting he never had a job. He doesn’t even have, like, any experience with interviews or shit like that. He basically knows nothing about work, at all. What could he even work as? He has zero qualifications and zero experience – who would even want to hire someone like him. Especially after knowing who he is.

Even though that issue has been kind of not that big. At least not as big as Taehyung imagined it would be. The first weeks, the weeks after he got kicked out and all those articles about him were written were bad. But all this hype about him died down, he doesn’t look like he used to. He knows he’s gotten thinner, his hair longer and not blonde anymore, his style changed and people weren’t looking twice at him anymore. He was like a regular guy walking through downtown. No one special anymore. But there are still those occasions where people will try to take pictures of him or start whispering to their friends the second he passes by them. He hopes that one day he’ll be able to just live.

He must say those past weeks he spent on the streets wasn’t the best but he felt liberated. Not constantly being in the spotlight is something he never expected to be so calming.

“I can – There’s a girl at Seokjin’s café who wants to quit to focus on college,” Yoongi interrupts his thoughts as he scratches behind his right ear – Taehyung has seen him doing that a lot when he seems nervous, mostly when he was around the elder, “We can align your shifts the way that I’ll be the one to break you in on how things work around here.”

Taehyung doesn’t even need to think about it. “I would actually love this,” he exclaims, averting his eyes instantly because of his obvious eagerness. It would be so much easier for him to get the hang of things if he has Yoongi guiding him until he would be able to do things on his own. The anxiety from before slowly rolls off his shoulders.

“Okay, I can talk to Seokjin and we’ll see,” Yoongi says and there’s a tiny smile tugging at the corner of his lips. Taehyung finds it so endearing that he can’t help but mirror it, only bigger. And more rectangular.

 

-

 

Yoongi has thought he was a genius for suggesting that Taehyung would work along with him but the downside to all of this is that he’s now constantly and he means constantly without any exception surrounded by the younger male. This is nothing bad per se, he’s grown accustomed to Taehyung over the past week that he spent with him but it seems like Taehyung has too.

And an accustomed Taehyung is a loud Taehyung. He reminds him a lot of Jiae with the way he never seems to be able to sit still, attracts and actually demands sometimes all of the attention from everyone around him and his smile and laugh are so fucking addicting that Yoongi can’t help but smile or laugh along.

Again, this is nothing bad per se but Yoongi really starts feeling on edge. It’s been quite some time since he lost his temper which might have to do with the absence of a certain group of guys which is kind of suspicious because they seek Yoongi out almost regularly. Anyway, now that he’s stuck with Taehyung all the time, even when he’s sleeping, he has no time alone and that sets him off.

He’s just used to at least have the nights to calm down from the rush of the day, to collect his mind and be away from conversations, noise, and other people. But now there’s always a warm body next to him, another person breathing in his so much needed silence and there’s always touching. Even if it’s just a foot against his leg. He needs his space sometimes. Tonight again he found himself breathing harshly, tears of frustration gathered in his eyes as he fought against the last straw that breaks the camel’s back.

He watches from the side as Taehyung leans on the counter, head tipped to the side as he smiles at the two blushing female customers in front of him. Once the two leave, still blushing bright red and giggling to themselves he makes his way over to the smug grinning male.

“You know,” He asks, “You have to actually work and not flirt with every customer in front of you? Just be polite and get this over with as soon as possible.”

“But no one’s complaining,” Taehyung smiles at him and Yoongi forces himself not to give in to that smile. The problem is, he totally understands the girls. When Taehyung wants to he’ll make you blush with one glance and a simple twitch of his lips. It’s ridiculous and Yoongi totally tries ignoring it.

“Yet,” He adds.

“You’re just jealous the customers like me better than you already,” Taehyung sticks his tongue out at him and he thinks he should be offended or irritated but he’s… not? There’s no malice behind Taehyung’s words. No intention to make fun of him or hurt him or anything else. It’s just a joke. A joke and nothing more. Somehow Yoongi finds himself laughing as he flips him off. Taehyung laughs along and this might be the first time he actually heard the younger’s loud and real laugh. Somehow it makes something in Yoongi’s stomach tingle.

 

-

 

Living with Taehyung doesn’t really cause any other inconveniences in Yoongi’s life. And neither of his family members complain about the presence of another man. It has been only two weeks but Taehyung has grown to become a reliable member of the family and sometimes Yoongi thinks Jiae likes the younger more than him.

“Hey, leave a bit for Yoongi.” He’s snapped out of his thoughts – and from staring at Taehyung who is quietly talking to Chul – by his aunt and he looks away from the two. (Yoongi would have never guessed that his introverted and really shy cousin would so quickly open up to basically a complete stranger but he has taken a liking to Taehyung from the very first day. And it’s very hard to get Chul to hold a whole conversation with you but Taehyung seems to be an expert.) “He hasn’t had his first portion yet,” His aunt slightly scolds Jiae who is reaching for the last of the food on the table.

“It’s alright,” Yoongi quickly interjects before she could even start to pout, “I already ate at the café, you can have it.” The feeling of his empty stomach gets overshadowed by the beaming face of his younger cousin.

The other’s quickly avert their attention to something else than this small incident but Yoongi can feel the intense stare of Taehyung on him and his empty plate. He knows that Taehyung knows. After all, they’re together almost all the time and Taehyung knows that Yoongi definitely hasn’t eaten at the café. But he doesn’t mention it.

Not when they sit at the table, not afterward when they play with his cousins and not before going to bed. But when Yoongi arrives in his room after his shower he finds Taehyung breathing steadily already, eyes shut and chest moving slowly up and down. This is nothing new, Taehyung is able to fall asleep almost on command. No, what’s different is the cupcake in the middle of the room.

The cupcake Yoongi knows belongs to Taehyung. He knows it because he remembers Seokjin gifting it to him today.

“Just eat it,” Taehyung whispers and Yoongi almost jumps from the shock. Seems like the younger isn’t asleep yet. He considers arguing with him but then his stomach growls loudly and he feels another wave of slight nausea hit him and he just doesn’t find it in himself to struggle against this act of kindness.

Neither of them addresses this incident the next day.

 

-

 

“Okay guys,” Seokjin motions at them to all gather around him at the counter, “I counted the tip jar, who wants their share?”

It’s a typical evening and they’re about to close the café – Seokjin, Taehyung, Yoongi and the quiet college boy who rarely talks. Distributing the tips evenly under his staff has always been a thing Seokjin did. The quiet boy raises his hand and receives a third of the money inside of the jar and a comforting pat on the shoulder once he mumbled about having to finish a paper until tomorrow. He bids goodbye like he always does, a wordless nod towards them.

“So, none of the early shift guys wanted the tips so I’m leaving them to you two,” Seokjin smiles, placing the money on the counter before he throws Yoongi the key. It’s Thursday and everyone knows Seokjin wants to be home on time for his favorite cooking show so Yoongi is responsible for locking up – especially convenient because he’ll start the early shift tomorrow and can easily open up too.

“I don’t need them,” Taehyung says while worrying his bottom lip between his teeth.

“Tae,” Yoongi knows his voice has taken on a warning edge. With good reason. He knows Taehyung noticed that most of the time all the tips get left for Yoongi because everyone kind of knows he needs the money the most. Yoongi had stopped arguing with them after the first two weeks working at the café. But that Taehyung does it too makes him feel uneasy. “You can take your half. Most of the money is because of you anyway. How are you supposed to save enough money to be independent if you give things like this away?”

“But – “

“I take no buts,” Yoongi interrupts him harshly as he slides the notes over the counter, “You take your half and save it. Don’t you dare use it for something for my family or me. This is yours. You already pay money from your income for rent and food but you have to save something for yourself too. That’s very important. Especially if you don’t have much.”

“You never save something for yourself,” Taehyung says matter-of-factly and okay, critical hit towards Yoongi’s argumentation but he has other people to worry about. For him, it’s more like denying himself a lot of things in order to provide for his family rather than saving money for himself. He can’t think like that but Taehyung can.

“That’s because I have a family to feed,” He explains, “You are a person who wants to become independent and that means you have to provide for yourself. You better learn it early.”

 

-

 

Yoongi’s eyes jump to the clock hanging above their entryway for the tenth time in the last five minutes. It’s midday. His and Taehyung’s day off. It’s midday and Taehyung hasn’t left the mattress yet. Not even once. Yoongi felt generous and let the other sleep in because he had really worked hard the last week but this is unusual.

Very unusual for the younger because normally, he couldn’t sit still for three seconds and he was often up way before Yoongi. A morning person. So, it’s unusual and weird for him to still haven’t emerged from the other’s room and to be honest, Yoongi is starting to get really worried. Maybe Taehyung fell sick overnight?

He spends another three minutes contemplating if he should go and check up on him or not. He feels the stares of his family on him and he understands them. What a picture, he’s sitting at the table folding laundry – supposedly folding laundry but instead, he just watches his own bedroom door with a scary intensity. In the end, he can’t take it anymore and gets up.

He lightly knocks on the door before he enters. “Hey, Taehyung –“ He doesn’t see him at first, too busy balancing the laundry basket on his hip while lightly kicking the door shut behind himself. “I know it’s your day off but it’s like midday and – Taehyung?”

He stops talking once his eyes are able to identify the lump on the mattress as the younger male. The darkness of the room doesn’t really help him. Taehyung is laying in the middle of the mattress, blanket pulled up all the way under his chin as he keeps staring motionless at the ceiling. Yoongi knows he must have heard him but the other doesn’t react to him at all. He doesn’t even blink and if it wouldn’t be for the barely there raise of the younger’s chest under the blanket Yoongi would have feared that he died.

“Taehyung?” He tries getting the younger’s attention again but he still doesn’t move an inch. “Taehyung, is everything alright?”

He doesn’t respond but at least this time he reacts to the elder’s words. Even though it’s really not something to calm Yoongi’s nerves. It makes the sinking feeling in his stomach only worse than before. Taehyung slowly moves his head to catch Yoongi’s eyes and the sadness, the pure and raw desperation inside of them almost knocks the air out of the elder’s lungs. He drops the basket to the floor and rushes to Taehyung’s side, carefully kneeling next to him as a single tear makes its way over the younger’s cheek and makes a small damp spot appear on the blanket.

“I don’t… feel good,” Taehyung’s voice cracks and it sounds so weak, so defeated. He didn’t even sound that desperate back when Yoongi took him in the first and second time. The first thing coming to Yoongi’s mind after hearing those words is that Taehyung must be hurt somewhere. He must have hurt himself and needs help.

“You gotta tell me what’s wrong,” Yoongi pleads in a soft voice as he carefully tugs the loose strands of hair behind the younger’s ear. Taehyung only sobs wetly and curls in on himself, as if he’s trying to hide from Yoongi.

“I don’t feel good at all, to be honest… I don’t know when the last time was that I felt good – happy. I just, I…” It’s like a dam breaks as tears just continue flowing down the younger’s cheeks like waterfalls and with no end in sight. Yoongi is left to stare at him in confusion. He wants to help him, his own heart hurts just looking at the broken boy in front of him and seeing tears on his face is a sight he had almost forgotten.

His own chest tightens as he awkwardly pets the other’s head in an attempt to soothe him but it only manages to make him cry even harder. Taehyung stumbles over his heartwrenching sobs, choking on short breaths he tries drawing in one after another while the pillow under him dampens quickly with salty tears.

“Taehyung…” Yoongi feels so helpless. So out of place as he watches the boy cry. This isn’t one of his cousins and it’s neither his uncle or aunt. This is Taehyung, the boy who had always worn a ridiculous smile on his face since he grew accustomed to his new surroundings and its people. He doesn’t know how to handle this Taehyung. He feels utterly helpless and it frustrates him. He just needs to know what’s going on. Taehyung just has to freaking tell him or else he won’t be able to help him.

“Hey,” He speaks extra softly, trying not to agitate the younger even further, “What is going on?”

It takes Taehyung a few minutes to calm down enough to breathe properly again. The sobbing has almost completely died down but the tears are still steadily leaking out of his empty brown eyes. Yoongi continues stroking his hair even when Taehyung starts speaking, the petting seems to soothe him because he has started pressing back against the hand. Almost like a cat.

“I don’t – “ He coughs loudly before his teary eyes lock onto Yoongi’s again. “I don’t… I don’t have my pills anymore…”

“What pills?” Yoongi has a feeling where this is going to and it doesn’t help the unsettling sensation spreading through his body.

“Antidepressants… “ Taehyung’s voice is low and scratchy from the crying, Yoongi almost doesn’t catch the mumbled word.

“Are you depressed?” He instantly wants to slap himself because, seriously? He always knew he became more than awkward confronted with an overflow of emotions, especially when there were tears of other people involved but oh god. He didn’t just seriously ask Taehyung if he was depressed after the younger told him he usually swallows antidepressants? How stupid can he become? Is this level of stupidity and insensitivity even allowed? Taehyung doesn’t look too offended though.

“Obviously,” He chuckles hollowly and quickly wipes at his still slightly dripping eyes, “I mean, it shouldn’t be surprising.”

Yoongi sees the turmoil flashing over the other’s face. He wants to tell him it’s okay, it’s okay to talk to him. Yoongi wants to listen, he wants to know the things Taehyung keeps hidden from everyone around him. He wants to know why the younger is the way he is because there are always things not making sense with the way he sometimes acts. Yoongi wants to find out why. He wants to know to be able to help Taehyung. But the question is, does Taehyung even want help? His help?

Yoongi’s gaze shifts to the younger’s hand which is tightly grasping the blanket around him. So tight that his knuckles turn white and before he even finishes thinking about it he reaches out to untangle the fingers and intertwine them with his own. Taehyung looks surprised for a second before another sob escapes his lips and he squeezes Yoongi’s hand in a silent thanks. This seems to tip him over the edge and he starts to spill.

“I’ve grown up in a house without love and with expectations, I couldn’t meet placed on my shoulders since I’ve been able to think,” Taehyung sniffles and Yoongi starts to unconsciously draw circles on the back of Taehyung’s hand with his thumb, “Taehyung, get better grades. Taehyung, don’t laugh so loud. Taehyung, behave yourself. Taehyung stop crying, real men don’t cry. Taehyung, stop being such a disappointment. Taehyung, go and make us proud and don’t you dare disappoint again. Taehyung, why can’t you be more like the other, successful people your age? Taehyung, why can’t you do anything right?

His voice has climbed up a few octaves as he’s been retelling those things. Yoongi’s own heart clenches as he listens to the things Taehyung had to hear from his parents. He couldn’t even imagine his own parents or his aunt or uncle ever saying things like that. There’s definitely no surprise that Taehyung hasn’t been used to the way things were working around here when he grew up under kinds of those circumstances.

“I just – I made my parents proud for like a day and then I started acting up because I thought, hey, I finally have something for myself but I didn’t. I thought once I made my acting debut everything would get better but it never did,” He sighs, closing his eyes and grimaces as if it actually physically hurts to remember these times, “I had my own thing with acting but they never stopped pestering me and I never got rid of their voices in the back of my head. I just wanted to break out of the cage they had locked me in for all my life. I fell into alcohol, drugs, parties, sex – you name the rebellious act, I did it. I destroyed myself but while I was doing it – it felt good. It felt real. Life – I felt more real when I was drunk or high.”

He started to cry during his talking again and Yoongi quietly wipes his cheeks with his free hand. Taehyung doesn’t even seem to register the feeling of the other male’s fingers against his reddening skin.

“I tried to forget and lost myself, actually,” He draws in a shuddering breath, squeezing Yoongi’s hand again, “I lost myself the second I tried to please my parents. I’m an emotionless robot, I’m a failure, a disappointment and now I’m not even that to my parents anymore – I’m basically dead to them.”

“Taehyung…” Yoongi doesn’t know what to say. All these information overwhelm him slightly but what he does know is that he wants to take the pain in Taehyung’s voice away – He just has no idea how he’s supposed to do that.

“I’m sorry,” Taehyung lets go of Yoongi in order to wipe his face with both of his hands, basically hiding behind them, “You probably don’t even want to hear this – I’m just – “

“Stop, stop doing this,” Yoongi quickly interrupts him, prying his hands away from his swollen face to force him to look into his own eyes – seeing the sincerity in them, “I want to hear and I want to help. Taehyung, you’re not a stranger in this house. You’re not a stray we’ve picked up and chose to keep. You’re part of the family now. You’re part of my family.”

Taehyung stares at him for a tense second and Yoongi deeply hopes that he hasn’t overstepped a line or something but then the younger just starts to wail again. His whole face scrunches up and tears flow down his already wet cheeks again. His red and swollen eyes are closed, there’s snot dripping from his nose and his hands tremble as they tightly hold Yoongi as if he never ever wants to let go again – and even though he looks pretty ugly right now Yoongi’s heart skips a beat and the elder fears the reason why. He pushes that thought to the very back of his mind as he tries to smile down at Taehyung.

“Go and shower and then we can lay down again, alright?” He softly asks, letting himself smile genuinely as Taehyung nods in agreement and manages to get up. Yoongi gives him a change of clothes and instantly slumps on the mattress once the younger has left the room.

This definitely clears things up. Things that seemed weird about Taehyung at first, about his personality and his weird switches. One second he’s nice and thankful and the next he talks like a snobbish rich again but it’s starting to all make sense now.

Yoongi almost feels bad for the way he treated him in the beginning – scratch that, he definitely feels bad now. He’s been acting like a complete asshole because he assumed Taehyung wasn’t any different from the average rich and obnoxious people who think they’re better than everyone else. Okay, he can kind of excuse his behavior towards him the first time they met. Taehyung had been drunk – he should have taken this into consideration before assuming this was the way he normally acted too – and dumping the cup of coffee all over his head had definitely been an overreaction on Yoongi’s side. As much as he hated to do that but he had to blame that on his temper – he regretted doing it the second he had cooled down again but there was nothing he could have done. Apart from apologizing when he met Taehyung again but Yoongi quickly silences the voice who keeps telling him that.

He had taken Taehyung for someone who only thinks about money, who never had to work for anything, a person who never had to ask for anything because everything had gotten handed to him on a silver platter. This kind of explained the embarrassment visible on the younger’s face and in the way he acted as he desperately asked Yoongi to let him sleep at his apartment for one night. Yoongi had just assumed the younger had acted so weirdly because he never had to ask for help and especially not form someone like Yoongi but that wouldn’t have explained the way he acted at the apartment.

He was almost shy, so out of place in a family. Yoongi hadn’t understood. He never understood why Taehyung looked like he was in a movie, he had assumed it was because he wasn’t used to living under these conditions but the younger had seemed extra uncomfortable as soon as they were in a family setting. Like he never had something like a family around him. Now it makes sense, kind of at least.

Embarrassed and unwilling because he was taught to never show his weak side to another person. He was taught to look down on people like Yoongi because they were worthless. He didn’t understand how a family worked like Yoongi’s did because his own hadn’t been close to acting caring and loving. He wasn’t used to getting something without another thing in exchange. He wasn’t used to kindness. It isn’t even that he isn’t used to doing a lot of things because he’s been rich his whole life but being confused by things like setting the table together because you actually enjoy eating together.

Taehyung had been more than wary about meeting Yoongi’s neighbors and especially his friends. No wonder that he’s been like that. His friends weren’t interested in him, they were interested in his status and none of them were willing to associate themselves with him once he lost everything he had before and really needed their help. It must have been devastating for him to find out that he actually has no one. That he’s all alone in this world. A world he had always seen through money and now he has been suddenly confronted with the coldness, the sharp edges and the betrayal of its reality.

It must have been weird to see people who had by his definition nothing to smile and laugh like they had everything in the world. And over the last three weeks, he’s grown into it too. Laughing and smiling at them so much that Yoongi never even once considered that Taehyung could carry such a heavy weight on his heart, such a sadness inside of his chest.

There’s no wonder Taehyung acts like he does, he said it himself, he never really got rid of the voices of his parents in the back of his mind and sometimes they win over him and he finds himself saying things and acting a certain way he actually doesn't want to. Like the day after Yoongi let him stay, it must be some kind of coping mechanism by now. Acting all strong and tough, degrading people who weren’t like him just because it’s the way he’s expected to act. The way he got taught to act, the way he needed to be to even gain any kind of recognition from his parents. He’s acting like that to hide what he’s really like. Hiding his sadness, his pain – his weaknesses from everyone, even from himself.

Yoongi wants him to be free. Maybe he can help him to finally overcome the things holding him back because Taehyung is actually such a nice and unique person who deserves happiness and freedom like any other do. He’s a bird that has been locked inside of a cage for most of its life. A cage where it had been trained to be a certain way and now it doesn’t have any idea what to do. He’s a bird that needs help getting out of his cage even though the door is already opened, he needs help because no one ever taught him how to fly. Yoongi wants to teach him, even if he has to throw him down a roof in the process because, in the end, it’ll only help him. He needs someone who forces him to be the him he really wants to be.

Yoongi is still laying on the mattress when the door opens again and Taehyung carefully tiptoes inside of the room. His hair his all wet and messed up, long strands hanging in front of his still slightly swollen and red eyes. But he looks better. He doesn’t dare meet the elder’s eyes as he shuffles next to him on the mattress. Without any further ado, Yoongi wraps his arms around the younger. The boy stiffens. But he relaxes quickly into the other’s hold and after a few quiet minutes his breath evens out.

Yoongi wants to see him fly.

Chapter Text

Yoongi and Taehyung have grown closer since the younger has revealed his inner demons. At first, he had been afraid Yoongi will look at him differently and this fear came true – kind of at least. Yoongi does look at him differently but not in a bad way and to be honest, Taehyung likes the new attention on him and it feels like Yoongi lets himself open up to the younger too. Like he finally allows himself to really be friends with him and Taehyung couldn’t be happier.

Well, right now he could.

It’s not like he’s never seen Yoongi’s friends before. He knows Namjoon and he knows Seokjin. He also knows a guy Yoongi often calls on the phone by the name of Hobi but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a little nervous (scared) when meeting the rest of the elder’s friends. It’s a twice in a month occurrence. Yoongi leaves Friday evening and comes home very late from his friend's place. This time, he makes Taehyung tag along. “It’s about time you meet new people and get friends too,” he had said.

“I have you,” Taehyung had argued, “And I know Seokjin and Namjoon. I don’t need anymore.”

But in the end, Yoongi had won and this is how Taehyung finds himself one Friday evening in a dark alleyway. They’re still in downtown this time, not where Seokjin or Namjoon live so the get together must be at the place of one of the others. It’s not like Taehyung is bad with new people, he’s great with customers but he isn’t really trying to be friends with those and spends at max a few minutes with them. Meeting Yoongi’s other friends is something else and the scary dark alley isn’t really helping his nerves.

“Sure is dark in here,” he says, eyes jumping from left to right. This can’t be an alleyway meant to be passed through. It’s dirty, dark and doesn’t smell so good. People get stabbed in alleys like this one. In every single movie or TV show, he’s seen people never leave these kinds of places unharmed and he really doesn’t want to know if he would be able to not piss himself when confronted with a man and a knife threatening him.

“I’m not scared or anything,” He quickly adds but the slight jump at a noise proves something else. “I mean, who’s scared of the dark these days? Not me.” He steps a little closer to Yoongi and almost shrieks as a cat suddenly emerges from the shadows. His hands have found Yoongi’s arm on their own and now he’s almost hanging off the other, clinging to him in fear. This is bad. What kind of friends does Yoongi have if they live somewhere in this alley? Probably people who rob other’s here.

“Do you want me to hold your hand?” Yoongi asks and Taehung could hear the amused undertone in his voice. He vehemently shakes his head because of two very important reasons. Number one is that he really doesn’t want to seem like such a weakling who’s scared of the dark and of meeting other people. Even when in reality, he actually is scared of these things but Yoongi doesn’t need to know that, does he?

The second very important reason is how much Taehyung actually wants to hold his hand. Not because he’s scared but because it would be holding hands with Yoongi. It surprises him day after day how much he’s started to want to touch the other, hold him, hug him and yeah, hold his hand. But the mere thought of any of these things actually happening makes his heart pick up speed, his stomach flutter, breath stutter and brain dissolve into a sticky mess. For the sake of his own health, he couldn’t hold the other’s hand –

Something clutters behind them and on reflex, Taehyung grabs Yoongi’s hand tightly. “Yes, please,” He almost whimpers and starts walking impossibly close to the other. He could feel his warmth through the jackets and his skin tingles where Yoongi strokes it with his thumb. If he’s going to die tonight in this alley it would at least be while doing something he really enjoys. Holding hands with Yoongi.

Despite still being scared he feels a little safer now. But maybe that’s only because there’s a sudden warmth pooling in his chest and things that suspiciously feel like butterflies run wild in his stomach. This is bad. But it feels too good and he couldn’t help but gaze down at their intertwined fingers and how perfectly they seemed to fit together.

He’s so busy with staring at their hands that he doesn’t notice when they stop in front of a stone staircase, not until Yoongi slightly nudges him with an amused grin on his face. Like he just caught Taehyung doing something he shouldn’t have seen. And to be honest, he kind of did. “We’re here, you can let me go now,” He laughs and Taehyung’s gaze drops to their hands for the fraction of a second.

A sudden rush of confidence runs through him and he raises his gaze again with a challenging smirk on his own lips. “What if I don’t want to?”

“Ha ha,” Yoongi laughs dryly and pulls Taehyung up the stairs – He doesn’t let go of his hand. “Let go now, they’re probably waiting for us already.” Inside, they climb up the staircase and stop in front of a door with peeling green color. Yoongi turns to talk to him before he knocks, his face looks serious again. “Listen, before we go in there – I know you’re a good person but I know you can be awkward too. These are nice people, please try to be on your best behavior because this is the only thing I do besides work and looking after the kids.”

“Yoongi, I know how to behave myself. I’m good at making new friends – well, meeting new people and pretending to be friends right off the bat,” Taehyung chuckles awkwardly. A few weeks ago he might have taken this comment from Yoongi as offending but not anymore. He knows it’s the elder’s special way of expressing concern for someone else. Yoongi often has problems articulating exactly what he wants to convey but Taehyung has quickly learned to differentiate between Yoongi’s clumsy way of expressing himself and a comment he makes to be not so nice.

“I know that but these people – the people inside of this apartment are my extended family. Here is no pretending and I’m sure they’ll be delighted to meet you so… uhm, I just hope you’ll be able to do this.” He scratches behind his right ear again. So, he’s nervous too. Well, of course, he is. He’s probably afraid his friends won’t like Taehyung but he hopes that won’t happen. Taehyung will do anything to become friends with those people if it’ll make Yoongi smile and if they’re friends of the elder they must be very nice. Just like Seokjin and Namjoon are – so this might as well be a win-win situation for everyone.

“It’s gonna be okay, you can have your time off and I’ll mingle with your friends too,” Taehyung smiles – his nerves have settled a bit but not to the extent that he’s calm again. “Don’t worry.” The words leave his lips just as the door in front of them flies open and two guys try to fit through the frame at the same time.

One of them is slightly smaller and the first one to speak to him. “You must be Taehyung!” He says, smiling wide and his eyes form crescents on his cute face, “My name is Park Jimin – “

“You can call him shorty,” the other guy interrupts Jimin as he shoves him to the side, making him stumble as he leans in the doorway. Black hair swept over his forehead and teeth almost bunny like as he smiles at them.

“Yah!” Jimin shoves him back, the light brown strands of his hair falling into his eyes as he glares at the other boy, “I’m not afraid to hit you!”

“It’s so cute when you try to threaten me but can’t even reach my face,” the other boy coos, bending down so that he and Jimin are on the same eye level. Taehyung couldn’t help the smile on his lips. They seem like fun people.

“Listen here you little shit – “

“Okay, guys, calm down?” A third person enters Taehyung’s vision. This one has a smile as bright and blinding as the sun. “I’m Hoseok,” He says before nodding towards the tall black haired guy, “And this disrespectful brat is Jeongguk.”

“Nice to meet you, I’m Taehyung.” He smiles at them, feeling a little more confident because of the three smiles he gets in return. Why was he even worried? The three of them look extremely nice –

“We know,” Jimin says and his smile transforms into something more like a smirk as he quickly glances at Yoongi. Taehyung is a little confused by the silent exchange between them but the other two males seem to know exactly what’s going on because they’re stifling their laughs. “Yoongi can’t stop talking about you – “

“I crave a drink!” Yoongi interrupts his talking and quickly pulls Taehyung with him, “Let’s go inside.”

The hallway is narrow and stocked with shoes of different sizes and jackets in various colors. Yoongi lets his own jacket fall on top of a huge black one while simultaneously toeing off his shoes and kicking them on the heap with the others. Taehyung stalls once he’s inside the apartment. Is it rude if he leaves his things just like everyone else on the floor?

He stands there, a little lost until the smaller male – Jimin, he reminds himself, Jimin – urges him to drop his things and join the rest in the living room. The other two males – Jeongguk, Jeongguk the dark haired one and Hoseok, Hoseok the energetic one – push past him quickly in order of fighting for the last spot on the couch.

“Hey Jin, Namjoon,” Taehyung timidly waves at the two who are already on the couch. Seokjin complaining loudly over Hoseok’s knee in his stomach while Jimin tries to balance himself.

He stays put in the doorway, smiling shyly at the greeting of the two on the couch and accepting the glass of water Yoongi offers him as he comes back from the kitchen. The living room has a cozy atmosphere, it’s similar to Yoongi’s place – it looks like people really live here. Textbooks strewn on tables, CD cases, and video game cases on the table and a lot of pictures on the walls. Posters of bands, polaroids on which Taehyung recognizes the other six. But there are also a lot of photographs which look almost professionally made – landscapes, sunsets, buildings, the sky and an awful lot of what looks like Jimin.

There’s the particular one which catches Taeyhung’s eye. A rooftop, the sun shining brightly in the background but the focus of the picture is on the male jumping gracefully in the air. It’s Jimin – at least Taehyung thinks it is. It looks like a jump straight out of a classic ballet and Taehyung can’t seem to keep his eyes away.

“Beautiful, right?”

Taehyung flinches as the voice speaks up next to him.

“Jeongguk is a talented photographer,” Yoongi says with a small smile playing on his lips.

Taehyung hums in response, heart calming down again because Yoongi has stepped out of his personal bubble again. It’s so weird. He feels so weird whenever the elder is too close and it’s especially hard at night. He knows Yoongi is awake but he himself pretends to be asleep just to not have to explain why he can’t seem to fall asleep with the other so close.

“He takes a lot of pictures of Jimin,” He notes and Yoongi chuckles at that, mumbling something under his breath that the younger couldn’t quite catch. “Come on,” Yoongi nudges him, “Socialize, my friends are all thrilled to meet you.”

 

Actually, even though Taehyung has doubted Yoongi’s words, his friends were thrilled to meet him. Once Jimin and Hoseok made him a part of the conversation he’s quickly got the hang of interacting with them. They’re great. He doesn’t even know why he had been afraid of meeting them before.

After a little while, the group of seven have split into three smaller groups. Namjoon and Seokjin are in the open kitchen, both leaning with their elbows on the counter as they converse quietly. Hoseok and Yoongi are both on the couch now, their legs tangled in the middle and Taehyung swears he’s never seen the elder laugh this much – and he’s been living with him! It’s… nice. Seeing him smile. Nice and distracting. Very distracting. No matter how much butterflies explode in his stomach when he sees the smile, there’s always the tight feeling of slight jealousy in his chest.

He keeps glancing at the two on the couch from the corner of his eyes, even as he’s seemingly immersed in the conversation with the other two youngest in this motley group. Jimin and Jeongguk are easy to converse with, the three of them hit it off almost immediately and Taehyung somehow already feels like he’s known them since forever. He never had those kinds of feelings with his so-called ‘friends’ from before. It scares him a bit but it feels just so nice. Having someone to talk to. Not like Yoongi is someone he can’t talk to, it’s just that it feels nice to talk to someone else once in a while.

“So, what’s it like living with the scariest of them all,” Jeongguk asks with a laugh, popping another piece of Jimin’s chocolate in his mouth.

“Yoongi is actually a softie,” Taehyung giggles, remembering just this morning when Yoongi has been sitting in the kitchen at five am, eyes slipping shut every second, hair tousled, shirt slipping off his shoulder and rocking a sleeping Chul back and forth. How can someone like this be scary? “I don’t think he’s very scary.”

“You… you don’t know?” Jimin’s answer is a bit – cryptic, to say at least.

“Don’t know what?” Taehyung asks confused. Is there something he doesn’t know? There can’t be, right? He’s living with Yoongi. He sees him almost 24/7, there’s no way he doesn’t know a thing about what Yoongi does and what he doesn’t do. The elder goes to work, he plays with his cousins, he goes grocery shopping, he picks his cousins off from school and he sometimes meets his friends. He helps their neighbors – he does nothing else. What’s there to know that he doesn’t know?

But there seems to be something. Especially judging by the long look Jeongguk and Jimin share before both of them turn towards him with huge smiles while simultaneously saying, “Nothing.” As if that would convince anyone.

“Okay…” Taehyung draws out the ‘y’ and he considers for a moment calling both of them out for their obvious bullshitting but Jeongguk has already started up another conversation again and he thinks, he thinks he could just ask Yoongi what the other’s have been talking about.

 

 

He doesn’t ask Yoongi about anything. The evening had lasted longer than he would have anticipated and once it had been over he had totally forgotten about the cryptic not-finished conversation he had with the other two.

He might not have found out what Yoongi’s supposedly scary streak is – like, okay, the other can look scary with his glare and the dark clothes but seriously? That’s just his appearance – but he found more friends and two especially close ones.

The three of them quickly become very close, exchanging phone numbers and texting back and forth every chance they get. (Taehyung is so glad he had his phone with him when he left his old apartment.) They meet often too but since all three of them are actually pretty busy – Jeongguk with college, Jimin and Taehyung with their respective jobs – the other two males visit Taehyung at the café a lot. They hang out there and every now and then, when it’s calm and no customers demand his attention, Taehyung chats with them.

Today is such a day, it’s late. Taehyung has the last shift and the honor of locking up – a serious sign of Seokjin’s trust. The last week he’s been picking up different shifts, not dependent on Yoongi’s guidance anymore he’s now sometimes working when Yoongi’s not. The fact that the elder works more shifts than anyone else often makes them still work side by side but today is one of the rare occurrences where Yoongi isn’t here.

Which is weird. Because normally it’s his shift. Normally, Yoongi works today but he’s been weird this morning. Everything’s been weird this morning and Taehyung can’t quite put his fingers on it – especially because no one tells him a damn thing. Ever. But since Yoongi disappeared around midday, without any explanation (everyone but Taehyung seemed to know where he went to though), the atmosphere at the apartment hadn’t been the best.

The usual laughter, giggles, and music aren’t there and Taehyung has a hard time keeping his own spirits up while not knowing what the hell is going on. He wants to know what’s going in with Yoongi. Actually, he wants to know everything there is a to Yoongi. Every little, insignificant thing.

His heart flutters just thinking about the elder and he can’t keep the slight smile from creeping up on his face. Of course, this doesn’t go unnoticed by Jimin and Jeongguk opposite from him. The two of them have been making fun of his – how they call it – ‘crush’ on Yoongi for the whole time they’ve been here. Now, they’re the last two customers inside, the last two persons save for Taehyung and the other boy behind the counter.

They see his smile and because of whatever psychic abilities they possess, they’re able to tell exactly what or who he’s thinking about. “Yoongi on your mind again?” Jimin snorts before erupting into giggles again. It’s unfair, how easy people can tell when he’s thinking about the elder male. The last weeks have changed his life, himself so much that he had firstly struggled to develop a new identity for himself. A new him. And this new him, the one who is happy and content, the one who felt like he belonged somewhere definitely secluded a special place for Yoongi in his heart.

He can’t help it. And he doesn’t think that he wants to. It feels nice – the nervousness, the fluttering nerves, and racing heart. It feels nice liking someone and it definitely feels very nice liking Yoongi. Even though he doesn’t know everything about the elder, even though the elder builds high walls around his emotions – that all doesn’t matter because Taehyung feels willing to like the other despite that.

That’s scary and new for him. He’s used to people falling head over heels for him, he’s never pined after someone – He never had to and he never felt the need to. Why take a permanent liking to someone if you had various people being willing to sleep with you wherever you went? Taehyung never felt like he needed to find someone to like but then… then Yoongi came along and now Taehyung couldn’t help himself.

“So, like, Yoongi has a pretty smile,” Taehyung mumbles a little absentminded, eyes unfocused as he keeps staring off into space. He’s glad none of the other two are conscious enough to take a picture of his dreamy expression.

“He looks like a cat who just pushed a glass to the floor and is very satisfied with it whenever he smiles.” Jeongguk takes a sip from his now probably cold coffee as he raises an eyebrow at the other. Well, he’s kind of right. Yoongi looks like a cat sometimes. Feline like eyes, cute button nose and in the morning he stretches just like a cat would do.

“Yeah, cute, right?” He asks and somehow the picture of Yoongi with cat ears and drawn on whiskers appears in his mind – This is dangerous territory. Dangerous territory for his heart. God, he could feel the heat rising to his cheeks. Thank god there is no one who’s able to read minds or he might have to shoot that person. Knowing someone knows what he thinks about Yoongi sometimes would be way too embarrassing.

“Sure,” Jimin laughs, winking at him and somehow Taehyung thinks – no matter how ridiculous it sounds – that Jimin knows what he just thought about. But before he could test that theory Jeongguk is speaking up again, “Hey, have you noticed that he keeps staring at you?”

“Yoongi?” He asks.

“Who else!?” Taehyung could see the boy behind the counter flinch at Jeongguk’s sudden exclamation. He feels a little sorry for him, especially because he lets him clean behind the counter all on his own – well, he’ll clean all the tables in exchange.

“Chill – Of course, I do. I can feel his eyes on my body, I can feel them undressing me with every look he takes,” Taehyung smirks a little. There’s an amused undertone in his voice because a part of him is joking but another part of him actually isn’t. He’s aware that Yoongi has been looking at him an awful lot in the last time but he has no idea why. He likes joking about the things he actually wants happening – a little wishing never killed nobody, right?

“I don’t know man,” Jeongguk snorts and Jimin adds chuckling, “Yoongi isn’t laughing when he looks at you.”

“Ha ha, very funny guys,” Taehyung deadpans, “I’m serious though… does he really look at me?”

“Like you’re a star or something,” Jimin chuckles and the spark of hope inside of his chest gets instantly overshadowed by the sudden anxiety rising within him. He winces but tries not to show any emotions to the others. After all, for them, there is no real reason for him to react badly towards being called a star. Seokjin remains to be the only who recognized him and Taehyung guesses the other’s just don’t really follow the gossip being discussed in media. Not that he minds that. He actually enjoys being treated like a normal human being for once in his life and if he’s being completely honest… He doesn’t really think he ever wants to return to the gossiping high society he comes from.

“I really like him… I just – I don’t know. At least I think I like him a lot? My heart – it flutters whenever he smiles and I just, I can’t sleep anymore. He’s so close to me all the time and I can’t – my heart can’t take it. Sometimes I’m almost about to just grab him and kiss him,” Taehyung confesses. Quickly trying to talk over the bubbling anxiety inside of him, trying to forget about the heaviness weighing down on his chest.

It's silent for a few seconds – the other two look at him like they’ve seen a ghost. It’s probably because they’ve been teasing him a lot but he’s never confirmed his liking to the elder male. “That’s the cutest shit I’ve ever heard,” Jeongguk gasps, breaking the silence between them and suddenly he and Jimin couldn’t stop giggling like they’re here, talking about a crush in middle school or something.

Before he’s able to even react to their childish behavior his phone vibrates in his pocket. That’s weird – he’s muted the group chat he’s in with the other six and Jimin and Jeongguk are both sitting in front of him, that would leave Yoongi to text him. It would be very weird if it was from one of the other three – they’re not as close and mostly communicate through the group chat.

He fishes his phone out of his pocket – it’s Yoongi. His heart skips a beat and another stupid smile rises to his lips but vanishes as soon as he reads the message. Now, that’s weird.

If you get home, don’t go to our apartment. The other’s will be waiting for you in 2B.

“What is it?” Jimin asks once he sees his expression. Yeah, what is it? What the hell is going on? Why shouldn’t he go home? It’s not like he doesn’t like hanging out at the old lady’s apartment one floor down – no, it has nothing to do with the fact that she always has home baked cookies – but he has a strange feeling that Yoongi won’t be there.

“Just a weird message from Yoongi… I think – I think I’m gonna go home now.” He ignores the questions of the other two in favor of getting up. “Hey,” he addresses the boy behind the counter, “It’s alright, I’ll finish here and lock up. Go home.”

The scene from this midday replays in his mind again. Back then he had been afraid of asking what’s going on, now he wishes he had. He wishes he would have asked about the tension, the tears running down Jiae’s cheeks as if she’s sure Yoongi would never return from wherever he’s going to.

Something must be definitely wrong and he won’t let himself be lied to. He wants to know exactly what’s going on. Everyone else seems to know and he lives in that apartment too – He deserves to know at least a little bit. Leaving him so in the dark is just plain unfair.

 

 

When Taehyung arrives at the apartment building he contemplates just going straight towards their apartment and not 2B. He’s sure Yoongi will be there but why does he tell him not to come? Why aren’t the others there too?

It’s unusually quiet in the building, it seems like the heavy, tension-filled atmosphere has overtaken not only their apartment but the neighboring too. The sinking feeling in his stomach only intensifies once he reaches the staircase. In the last second, he decides to do what Yoongi told him and opens the door to 2B – it’s unlocked. Like always.

The apartment is quiet, not entirely but the old lady normally has her turntable playing some jazz music to fill the silence – the only noise now is the quiet murmur of voices from the living room.

“Hey…” He calls out uncertainly. The murmuring stops at his voice and there are sudden footsteps hurrying towards him.

“TaTa!” Jiae yells excitedly and at least, she seems to be the only one currently not being affected by the bad atmosphere around here.

“Hey my girl,” Taehyung coos and picks her up, she immediately wraps her arms around him and buries her face in his neck. A second later there’s someone else clutching at his left hand and as he looks down he stares straight into the large dark eyes of Chul.

In his opinion, Chul seems to be the one who is the most affected by the obvious tension in the air. Taehyung quickly learned that Chul is a very introverted person, someone who doesn’t trust easily and rarely speaks. The boy prefers sitting alone instead of playing with his siblings or demanding attention. He liked coloring, drawing but Taehyung has also noticed that he took a liking to him right from the beginning. The little boy can talk without interruption if he wants to but he’s been quiet the whole day – even more quiet than normal. He must have noticed the vibe, the tension because he’s been always good at picking up shifts in moods and surroundings.

“Taehyung.” He looks up as his name is called. Yoongi’s aunt stands in the middle of the room, her hair is held up messily and she looks even more tired than she did earlier this morning. But the tiredness and exhaustion in her expression look like something more than just a night of not enough sleep.

He wants to hug her. Comfort her but before he could do that he needs to know what’s going on. “Why are we here?” He asks.

She grimaces like it actually hurts her just thinking about whatever’s going on and Taehyung can’t take it anymore. He needs to know what’s going on! “It’s… I think it’s not our place to tell you…” She sighs, raking her hand through her hair as the other’s appear behind her.

“You see, Yoongi – Yoongi sometimes gets into certain moods…” The elder’s uncle tries to tell him without actually telling him and it just further frustrates Taehyung.

“Moods?” He asks – still not smarter than before and as confused as ever. Why won’t anybody tell him what’s going on?

“He’s the Hulk,” Chul whispers and his voice is so small and quiet that Taehyung almost doesn’t catch it.

“Hulk?”

“Yeah, they call him the Hulk because it’s the only way they understand what’s going on with him,” Yoongi’s aunt explains carefully, stepping closer to thread her fingers through Chul’s hair.

“He’s not himself when’s angry,” Shin adds and slumps down on the couch in the middle of the room, “You don’t wanna see him like this.”

Okay, now Taehyung definitely wants to see him even more than before. Especially after getting such cryptic information about what’s exactly going on with the elder. He needs to see him – even if it’s just to check if he’s alright if he’s okay.

“We’ll stay here for tonight,” Yoongi’s aunt says as she drags a reluctant Jiae out of his arms – it’s way past her bedtime anyway but the little girl can be pretty hard to put to sleep. “Don’t worry too much, by tomorrow everything is going to be alright.”

“But where is Yoongi?” He hopes he’s in the apartment.

“He is upstairs…” Taehyung breathes a sigh of relief, almost not catching the whispered ‘thankfully’ added to the end of the sentence.

“It’ll be okay by tomorrow,” Yoongi’s uncle says but Taehyung definitely doesn’t think so. He’s going to check on Yoongi and there’s no one who can stop him.

Actually, he’s pretty sure the elder’s aunt could stop him easily that’s why at least pretends to stay here for the night. He’s supposed to stay out and sleep on the couch, all the other’s are cramped in the guest bedroom and even though Jiae has complained, there’s seriously no room for her on the couch too.

For good measure, he waits for a little until he sneaks out and climbs the stairs to the third floor. When he tries the door to their apartment he’s not surprised to find it locked. He never thought his mission would be easy but he would also never give up because of one locked door. He just wants fucking clarity and if it’s better when Yoongi tells him everything – well, then he wants his answer now. (And make sure that Yoongi’s alright.)

“Yoongi…?” He calls out carefully, knocking tentatively against the wooden door. A loud thumping noise comes from the other side and he knocks a little harder, voice growing louder. “Yoongi?”

He swallows thickly as strong steps approach the door and it gets ripped open with such force that Taehyung is surprised it didn’t come off its hinges. He jumps back in shock.

There, on the other side is Yoongi but he doesn’t look like the Yoongi he knows. There’s concern swimming in Taehyung’s stomach but there’s also something else – something very close to fear, threatening to consume him.

“I told you not to come here, didn’t I?” Yoongi yells at him and makes the other flinch. He looks… furious. And not only that, he looks like he’s been in a fight. There’s blood on his lip, his knuckles bloody and dirt smeared over the right half of his face, a few scrapes here and there. “I fucking told you, Taehyung! Are you stupid? Piss off!”

“Yoongi, I – “ Taehyung can’t even get a whole sentence out. He doesn’t know what’s going on with Yoongi. The elder – he can’t even explain how the elder looks like. It’s the whole vibe coming from him that makes alarm bells ring in Taehyung’s mind. There’s something in Yoongi’s eyes, a raw and almost animalistic glint which makes the younger want to run away and hide. He might have a few inches on the elder but he still feels like cowering before him. But the angry fire in his expression is underlaid by a desperation that pleads for someone to help.

“Go the fuck away!” Yoongi snaps and for the first time, Taehyung notices the obvious tremble in the elder’s body. Like he’s fighting against something. His hands tremble so hard that Taehyung is afraid they might fall off and he’s pale. Pale as a piece of paper. Pale, with a disoriented gaze, ragged breathing and there’s still blood dripping from his knuckles. “You can’t even listen to simple fucking orders!”

“You’re bleeding,” Taehyung whispers for the lack of a better answer. Yoongi looks like a desperate animal backed into a corner and the younger is just waiting for him to blow up in his face like a bomb. His heart beats in his throat and his mind screams at him to run away but he can’t leave Yoongi like this. Not when he obviously needs help at the moment. Even though he doesn’t recognize him now.

“Wow, so you have eyes to see?!” Yoongi asks and a breathy chuckle escapes his bleeding lip. He doesn’t sound amused, more like he’s a psychopath laughing and Taehyung shudders at the sound when the chuckles edge off into hysterical yelling again as tears stream down the elder’s face. “Get away, away, away, away! I – I can’t – Leave, leave me alone!”

Taehyung almost falls flat on his ass as he stumbles back in shock because Yoongi suddenly punches the doorframe. He winces at the sound – that must have hurt a lot but Yoongi doesn’t even flinch. He starts pacing up and down, cursing under his breath as he desperately rubs at his eyes until the skin around them is raw and red. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” He yells, “What are you doing here?” His voice cracks at the end and he chokes on a sob.

“Yoongi stop – “ Taehyung says as the elder starts raking his nails up and down his forearms, leaving thick, red lines behind. But the second he reaches out towards Yoongi, the elder forcefully shoves him away and this time he actually lands on the floor but not before his back hits the opposite wall painfully.

“Don’t tell me what to do!” Yoongi yells and Taehyung knows these symptoms. He knows a panic attack when he sees one even though it looks different on Yoongi than it does on himself. During a panic attack he curls in on himself and breaks down into a small boy but Yoongi is kicking and yelling and aggressive. Taehyung shakily gets up on his feet again, wincing at the pain in his back. “Don’t – fucking, don’t boss me around. I – fuck, I can’t!”

Yoongi is close to hyperventilating now and Taehyung just can’t stand watching and not doing anything to try and help the other. Some people like to be held during panic attacks, other people can’t stand it – Taehyung doesn’t know where the thought of holding Yoongi comes from but before he knows it he’s stepping forward already.

He accepts the hits against his chest as he engulfs Yoongi in a tight hug, he lets himself be yelled at but he holds onto the other. They sink to the floor, the door still open and the frame digging painfully in the sore spot of Taehyung’s back. Yoongi’s hits are slowly getting weaker and soon he’s clinging onto Taehyung’s shirt, tears soaking the fabric as he chokes on sobs and breaths. Taehyung rocks them back and forth on the cold floor, pressing Yoongi’s face closer to his chest.

There are tears of his own running down his cheeks and he’s not even sure why. Fear? Empathy? Just because? He’s supposed to be there for Yoongi now, to catch him as he obviously falls but he’s weak again. Too weak to comfort Yoongi the way the elder did with him before.

He doesn’t know if his body trembles because Yoongi shakes so bad or because he is shaking. The tears leave a salty taste on his tongue as the fear and tension from before fall off his shoulders. Now he just feels weak. Like he’s the one coming down from a panic attack and feeling absolutely and utterly exhausted.

It feels like hours passed until Yoongi’s whole body relaxes against him and his breathing evened out completely. Taehyung is careful not to wake him up again as he picks him up and carries him into his room. Yoongi looks so small on the mattress, curled into a ball, hair matted to his face and oh god, there’s still blood all over his hands and lips. Taehyung looks down at himself and yes, there’s blood on his shirt now but that’s a problem he’ll deal with later.

His steps are shaky as makes his way back down. He stops in front of the door and his heart stops. There’s light coming out from under it which can only mean one thing. He’s been caught.

“Taehyung!” Yoongi’s aunt whisper yells the second he opens the door. “What did you think you were doing?!”

He feels like crying again. His hands tremble and it’s only now that he realizes how tensed he’s been. All the fear comes crashing down on him and he chokes out a small sob. “I just, I wanted to help,” he whispers and again, like before there’s a small, warm hand enclosing his own. Chul holds onto him tightly. As if he wants to comfort him without really knowing why. So he does it in his own way. Silently but at the moment Taehyung couldn’t be more thankful because of the hold of this tiny eight-year-old boy.

“Did he hurt you?” Yoongi’s aunt gasps once her eyes land on the blood on his shirt and he has half the mind to shake his head as she’s fussing over him. “He gets like this regularly, he knows how to deal with it on his own. There’s a reason why he wants no one to see him like that.”

“I’m sorry but… he’s asleep now. We can go up again…”

Taehyung understands. He understands it now.

Not completely. He still has no idea what’s going on but he understands why they’re hiding down here. Why Yoongi told him not to come home. He was only protecting him and Taehyung should have listened to him. That’s what he’s still thinking about as they all make their way up the stairs again. No one talks once they reach the apartment and soon Taehyung finds himself staring at a sleeping Yoongi once again.

Maybe he should have listened – but if he did Yoongi would have gone through this alone. He’s already bloody, Taehyung doesn’t like to imagine what else could have happened or what Yoongi might have done if he hadn’t come up here.

He slides down the wall opposite of the occupied mattress and lets his head thump against the wall. This is going to be a lot to explain tomorrow morning but for now, it’s important that Yoongi is okay and asleep.

For now, this is enough.

Chapter Text

“Tae…”

When the quiet and raspy voice reaches his ears Taehyung finally stirs awake. His eyes shoot open only to be still met with darkness around him. It takes him a few seconds where he’s completely disoriented, his gaze panicky darting around the room and heart beating too fast.

His eyes slowly catch up to the darkness just like his mind catches up to the situation he’s in. He moves only to wince as pain shoots through his whole body. He’s been leaning against the wall, his legs are drawn to his chest and his neck bending at an uncomfortable angle. His whole body is stiff and as he tries to move up he hears all his joints crack and a quiet groan leaves his lips.

“Yoongi?” He asks, still shaking out his limbs as he makes out the mattress in the darkness. With slow and careful steps – he remembers the Yoongi from a few hours ago, the one who was almost ready to punch him in the face – he approaches the elder, slowly settling down next to him.

“I… I’m… “ It’s hard making out his face in the dark but it’s not hard hearing the tremble in his voice, the obvious hitch in his breath. Taehyung quickly shushes him, shaking his head even though Yoongi isn’t even looking at him anymore – The elder is shaking badly now, grasping the blanket tightly around his body and starting to breathe shallowly. Almost on the verge of hyperventilating now.

Taehyung isn’t new to the aftermaths of panic attacks. He knows the vulnerability that follows, the feeling of loneliness, the crave for someone to help make the void and exhaustion go away from you.

“It’s okay,” he whispers soothingly, gently pressing against Yoongi’s vibrating chest to push him back in a laying position. “I’m back in a second, alright?”

Yoongi doesn’t answer immediately, he doesn’t even acknowledge that Taehyung said something but the younger waits. He waits until Yoongi is looking at him again, eyes wide and brimming with tears. He waits until Yoongi nods his head slightly, releasing the tight grip he had on Taehyung’s hand earlier. Only then he gets up, tiptoeing through the dark apartment. His eyes are used to it by now and he knows the outlay of the living room by heart which makes it easy to maneuver through it without startling Yoongi’s aunt and uncle sleeping on the couch.

He keeps the light in the bathroom off, trying to make as little noise as possible as he searches for the first aid kit. He knows it’s supposed to be under the sink but someone must have put it away. It doesn’t take long for him to find it again though, then he fills up a small bucket with warm water and takes a towel with him. Tiptoeing his way back into Yoongi’s room and closing the door quietly behind him.

The elder is sitting up on the mattress now, the blanket hanging from his shoulders as he leans against the wall. His breathing has slowed down again, he’s not trembling anymore but there are tear tracks glistening on his soft cheeks. He stiffens slightly as soon as Taehyung enters but the younger decides not to pay any mind to this. He busies himself with arranging the things he brought in – setting down the bucket of water and placing the towel next to it before he opens the first aid kit and searches for bandages and alcohol to clean the wounds with.

“Can you show me your hands, please?” He whispers while holding out his own hand for Yoongi to put his on top of it. The elder doesn’t meet his eyes and he doesn’t reply but he does give him both of his hands. Taehyung doesn’t try to communicate with him further, instead, he slowly turns the elder’s hand around to look at his knuckles. The blood is dried by now and he has no idea of the kind of injury he’s going to be faced with once he cleans the skin – and he has no idea where the elder went and how he got himself in this situation. But he pushes that thought to the back of his mind.

He focuses first on carefully trying to wipe the dried blood away with the wet towel. From the corner of his eye, he sees how Yoongi winces but he continues to clean until he can see the open skin on his now already bruised knuckles. This looks pretty bad – whatever fight Yoongi got himself into, it turned pretty messy. The elder hisses when Taehyung dabs a cotton pad soaked in the alcohol over the scrapes and wrapping bandages around the knuckles after that.

His other hand looks pretty much the same. Taehyung really doesn’t try to think about the reason for this. Doesn’t try to think about the way Yoongi’s family has acted like this is normality. Like having Yoongi throwing a fit and being beaten up isn’t something unusual to see. This can’t be it. It shouldn’t be like that. It shouldn’t be something that happens so regularly that they’re just taking it.

He bites his bottom lip to distract himself as he rubs the dirt out of Yoongi’s face, avoiding the split lip for now. He uses the alcohol for that again, and for the scrapes on his other cheek. Yoongi takes it without ever voicing discomfort, without interrupting Taehyung or hindering him from treating his injuries.

Once the younger deems his work done he sits back on his heels to stare at the other. “Are you hurt anywhere else?” He asks.

Yoongi doesn’t answer for a long time again but then, slowly, very reluctantly he lifts his shirt all the way up to expose his ribs and Taehyung gasps at the dark blooming bruises over them. He stops himself just in time, right before his fingers actually touch the skin of the elder.

“I can get you something for cooling…” He trails off, eyes still raking over the other’s exposed upper body and the way the bruised skin stretches over Yoongi’s ribs. He looks too thin. Something inside of Taehyung’s stomach churns as he thinks about all those times Yoongi refused to eat in order to let his cousins have more or the times he desperately searches for some change in his pockets only to find barely enough money to buy something for his family but nothing for himself. Taehyung feels guilt washing over him when he remembers how much food he and his own family wasted – let alone all the other people at Gala’s and parties – wasting things many people can’t afford daily. He only had to find himself in the same position as these people to realize how good his living condition really was. It makes him feel bad. Way too bad and he swears to himself that he’ll do anything to try and make up for his past with being the best he can right now. With being the most supporting person he can be for everyone he encounters now – especially for Yoongi though.

And Yoongi needs his support now. Support and help.

He helps the elder laying down again, settling next to him but still in a sitting position, leaning against the wall. Yoongi’s head is on top of the younger’s thigh, a pillow making the position more comfortable for him and his eyes are almost shut completely. Taehyung begins to think the other fell asleep as he continues raking his fingers through Yoongi’s hair but suddenly the elder speaks up.

“I’m so sorry for scaring you…” He whispers. Taehyung looks down at him and sees the way the elder squeezes his eyes shut like it makes it easier for him to talk, to let the quiet and strained words spill over his trembling lips. “I… I can’t think when I’m – I’m…”

Yoongi chokes on his words again and his hands keep clenching and unclenching around the blanket he grips too tightly. Taehyung fears the elder will make the wounds on the knuckles bleed again. He reaches out to stroke the trembling hands and tries to calm the thunder inside of the other male.

“You’re like the Hulk,” He whispers slowly and feels Yoongi stiffen under him before a breathless chuckle escapes his lips.

“They told you.” Taehyung is sure that it’s supposed to be a question but Yoongi doesn’t tilt his voice at the end. It sounds more like a statement but it also doesn’t seem accusing, Taehyung still feels the need to reassure Yoongi that his family has not told him anything in detail about his condition.

“Just that part,” he mumbles. His fingers are still lightly running over the back of Yoongi’s hands, over his rough skin, feeling the bumps of veins and bones under his fingertips. These hands went through so much – they raise three small children, they care for his aunt and uncle, they count tiny bills every day, they burn every day because of serving hot coffee and they have the most gentle touch ever.

Taehyung hasn’t even realized that he zoned out completely while staring at those bandaged hands he has in his own. Yoongi’s hands are cold but he slowly feels them warming up in his grip, like this he transfers some of his own body heat to Yoongi and when he concentrates hard enough he could believe that he transfers even more. Maybe some of his own good energy? Some of his feelings. His feelings for the elder male.

“Sorry… I,” Yoongi releases a shuddering breath and squeezes Taehyung’s fingers for just a tiny second – it makes his heart skip a beat, “… I get that you’re scared, so, I’ll go sleep somewhere else and you can take the mattress.” His grip loosens and panic flares inside of Taehyung as the elder moves to stand up. He quickly pulls Yoongi back down – being careful of the other’s injuries.

“No, no, Yoongi,” Taehyung hurries to say and his frantic voice gets softer again, he carefully threads his fingers through the other’s hair in a soothing manner. “Sure, I was a bit scared but that wasn’t you. I know it wasn’t you, I know that,” He tries smiling down at the elder and his heart warms as Yoongi’s own lips twitch a little in response. Like he’s trying to mirror his action. “I just didn’t want you to wake up again, that’s why I didn’t get in bed with you. Not because I was scared of you… If it’s okay, we can just continue sleeping together on the mattress now.”

Yoongi stares at him for long and tense seconds before he drops his head and pulls the blanket up to his shoulders. “Okay…” He whispers and turns around so his back is facing Taehyung. The younger smiles slightly and lays down behind him, he’s instantly hit by the warmth of the other male as he slowly loops his arms around Yoongi, careful of the bruises on the other’s ribs.

 

 

The next morning isn’t as tense as Taehyung has expected it to be. Everyone acts like nothing happened last night, no one mentions the injuries of Yoongi, no one asks a question. It hits him again how awfully normal situations like that must be for Yoongi’s family and his chest tightens in pain. He’s not sure what emotion he might be feeling right now but he just knows that he doesn’t want to feel it anymore. And the only solution for this is to make sure that Yoongi is safe, that his family doesn’t have to worry about him anymore – that him getting beaten half to death isn’t a normality anymore.

“Yoongi?” He asks the elder as he cleans the wounds on Yoongi’s knuckles again. It takes a moment for the other to answer.

“Yes?”

This time it is Taehyung who hesitates. He stalls a bit and searches for new bandages under the sink. Yoongi doesn’t push him to talk but he could feel the elder’s gaze on him. Heavy, searching and waiting for him to say something. Taehyung takes a deep breath before looking up again only to be met with the hard gaze of the elder. He shies away from it as he wraps the other’s knuckles up.

“Why were you like that?” He asks in a low voice.

“Angry?”

“No, I mean kind of – Everyone is angry once in a while but you were… kind of extreme…” Taehyung doesn’t know how to voice this. He’s curious. Of course, he is. But he still wants to protect Yoongi’s privacy, the elder shouldn’t feel obligated to tell him everything just because of his own curiosity. But Yoongi doesn’t seem like he feels uncomfortable telling him. He looks – kind of relieved like he waited for Taehyung to ask just so he wouldn’t have to start the conversation by himself.

“I – Yes,” Yoongi takes a deep breath as he starts playing around with the hem of his shirt, “I have anger issues. Feelings – Feelings are complicated for me, especially anger is difficult to handle. I can’t – Sometimes I can’t control it inside of me and it feels – feels like electricity is running through my veins, energy ready to explode and it’s blinding. I lose control easily. The – The littlest things are able to set me off sometimes and then the anger comes crashing down on me like a wave and I can’t breathe anymore.”

Taehyung is still kneeling on the cold tiles of the floor as he stares up at the heavy breathing male. The door behind them is slightly ajar and he could hear tiny footsteps running through the apartment and the voice of a radio host filtering through to them. But nothing distracts his attention from Yoongi who is currently taking a deep and calming breath. Out of reflex Taehyung reaches out to grab the other’s hand and starts drawing soothing circles on the back of his hand. He doesn’t even realize he’s doing it but it calms Yoongi down enough to let him continue talking.

“I have a constant buzzing of irritability, anger, and anxiety inside of me and sometimes the smallest thing can make me burst. I hate that. I mean, I’m always getting better at controlling myself but that only means that I’m repressing my emotions – my anger. And when I lose control, I lash out worse than I could expect. I went to therapy as a kid and I’ve learned a few things to control myself but… you know, therapy is expensive and my parents already didn’t actually have enough money to pay for it and as you can see my aunt and uncle don’t have money at all…” Yoongi trails off, shrugging lightly as if what he’s talking about isn’t a bid deal but Taehyung knows it is. A big deal for Yoongi and everyone around him.

His friends know the younger thinks, Yoongi’s friends know about his issues and he had been living with the other male for a few weeks already but never suspected a thing. He should have paid more attention, he should have seen that Yoongi is struggling but he didn’t.

“What happened to your parents?” He asks. It’s another thing he doesn’t know about and he never questioned. Something must have happened to them or else Yoongi wouldn’t be living with his aunt and uncle. The second the question tumbles over his lips he regrets it. Yoongi tenses and drops his hand.

“That’s – a story for another time,” the elder says and his voice has taken on a hollow tone.

“Okay,” Taehyung whispers and the guilt inside of his stomach makes it hard to breathe. His fingers itch to hold the other’s hand again but he doesn’t want to push Yoongi. He doesn’t want to force himself on Yoongi and make him even more uncomfortable. For now, he just waits if the elder wants to continue talking or not. He waits, he waits for Yoongi to do something, anything.

Yoongi sits on the toilet lid for a long time. Sometimes Taehyung quickly glances up at him but he always finds the same picture. The same damn lost expression on Yoongi’s face as he stares off into space. His knees start to slowly hurt from the tiled floor and he’s getting restless. Taehyung has never been the best at staying calm and in the same position for a long time. His attention span is too short, he gets bored too easily.

He has started to drum his fingers on his thighs in an imaginary rhythm when Yoongi suddenly speaks up again. “I’ve lost a lot to my temper, friends, family, and jobs,” He sighs, blowing the hair out of his face, “Seokjin’s café is kind of my last chance. Every job I’ve had before fired me because I was in a mood – If I act up at Seokjin’s he won’t have a choice but to fire me too and I have no idea what would happen then… I’m so scared of that…”

Taehyung nods. He understands, kind of. He’s been through something similar. Only that it has been completely his own fault. When the articles were written about him, about his drinking, the drugs, the sex – everything, had been his fault. No one wanted to be associated with him anymore. There were no more directors wanting to cast him, there were no job offers anymore and he had been cut off from society in the blink of an eye.

If Yoongi loses his job he won’t be able to provide for his whole family. Taehyung can’t understand that fear, the fear of not being able to be the one person his whole family needs to rely on. That’s a fear, an inner terror he can’t even start to understand.

He bites his lip and his gaze falls down to Yoongi’s knuckles again.

“Did you punch a wall or something?”

“Not directly,” Yoongi avoids the question, the drastic change in topic. Somehow it makes Taehyung feel uneasy.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” He laughs awkwardly, leaning back on his heels as he stands up on his feet again. His joints pop back into place and he winces slightly at the strain in his back.

“Okay, sit down for a story,” Yoongi laughs slightly at the offended expression on Taehyung’s face. Like he didn’t just watch him stand up and then instantly told him to sit down again. Taehyung just pouts at him before he leans against the sink next to him.

Yoongi sighs, leaning back and looking up at the ceiling. Taehyung could see the bruises blooming on his face in different shades of purple and blue. “When I was a teenager I was a big problem child. I couldn’t keep up with anything in school, the teachers were pressuring me, I didn’t have any friends and I was new at my aunt and uncles place. I always had trouble organizing my thoughts inside of my head and simultaneously keeping up with what happens around me. Life happened too fast around me and I lost control all the time. School was hard for me – I didn’t understand why no one wanted to help me but kept pressuring me to do better even though I just couldn’t. So, I just gave up on trying and I regret that…” He trails off again, fingers nervously picking at the sleeves of his sweater.

“We already had trouble with money back then even though my aunt hadn’t even been pregnant with Chul yet. I tried working a lot of part-time jobs but I was only sixteen – I didn’t earn much money and we struggled a lot, especially because I kept lashing out. You know, my anger gets worse when I’m put under stress and I guess those years were the most stressful ones for me. I fought with my temper more than I did now because I was under more stress and couldn’t manage myself well – barely at all.”

He stops talking again, shifting on the seat to face Taehyung. His eyes look teary, wet and his bottom lip trembles slightly but he doesn’t stop telling his story, “There were a few guys at my school – Older guys who always hung out around the gates and spoke to struggling troublemakers like me,“ Yoongi sighs and his face falls into a frown – those memories seem to make him upset, “They recruited me when I was sixteen and I’ve been doing runs for their gang since then. Drug dealing and things like that, kind of a servant guy.”

He coughs, glancing up to meet Taehyung’s eyes as if he expects him to react to his words. To be honest, Taehyung doesn’t know how to react at all but he nods at Yoongi, encouraging him to continue. “Anyway,” He drops his gaze again, “I got involved in a lot of gang shit – like I said, delivering drugs and then underground fighting too. Back then it felt great, the fighting. It was an outlet for me and I could pour all of my anger out of my body but when it was over – I felt like I died inside. And eventually it all got a little too much for me,” His voice trembles now and he keeps clenching and unclenching his fists. Taehyung eyes the bandages warily – he hopes the wounds don’t open again, “Especially when they threw me into prison – for youths but it was still prison –“

“You’ve been to prison?!” Taehyung interrupts him with a shocked yell. Prison, Yoongi’s been to prison. Why the fuck has Yoongi been to prison? All kinds of possible reasons run through Taehyung’s mind as he continues to stare at the elder with mouth agape and wide eyes.

“Well, yeah,” The elder shrugs.

Sometimes Taehyung’s mouth works faster than his mind. He got himself in all kinds of awkward situations because of this but what comes out of his mouth next is really something that might go down in the top five times Taehyung definitely said the worst possible thing anyone could have ever said. “Did… did you kill someone?” He instantly slaps his hand over his mouth as Yoongi gasps in front of him.

“What the fuck, Taehyung?” The younger isn’t completely sure if the shocked expression on the other’s face is as serious because there’s also a small smile hidden somewhere on his lips. Yoongi looks at least a little amused by his weird assumption and it makes Taehyung take in a small breath of relief.

“What? You look like that kind of guy!” He jokes, letting the chuckle which had built up inside of his throat roll over his tongue.

“A murderer?” Yoongi laughs and Taehyung swears his heart does a somersault. After yesterday he’s been afraid whether Yoongi would be able to smile again – he sure as hell didn’t look like it.

“It’s the eyes,” Taehyung jokes and Yoongi laughs along with him. But as quickly as the happy atmosphere came it drops again and Yoongi starts frowning again.

“I’ve… I shoplifted one too many times, they wanted to set an example and scare me off. They also knew I had something to do with the local street gangs but couldn’t hold anything against me regarding that - fortunately,” He dryly chuckles, “Okay, and I might have gotten into a fight with one of the owners and happened to carry my pocket knife – like I always did. I didn’t even want to rob the shop, I just wanted something to eat but the owner had his eye on me for quite a while now. They made me out to be an armed robber. You know, if you’re known for stealing, live in the wrong neighborhood and have no one to bail you out the police does terrible things to you. Being poor simply sucks, you know?”

Taehyung swallows thickly, eyes cast downwards to his feet again. Yoongi takes another deep breath before he speaks up again, “Anyway, it got too much for me and I dropped out of their business,” He scratches behind his right ear again. Taehyung would have cooed at him – he loves those little things that show Yoongi’s nervousness but at the moment the tension in the air is too heavy.

Yoongi has been doing things for a gang. He’s been dealing and stealing. And he’s been to prison before. Good, that’s – seriously some shit to take in but Yoongi has only been doing all of these things to provide for his family. And he got out. He got out and turned his life around but what – goddamn, what has this all to do with his bleeding knuckles right now?

“Sometimes they try to hit me up again. They try to get me back involved in a lot of illegal street fights because I was kind of strong whenever I lost my temper back then. I still easily lose it when I see them again and they try to bring me back into some illegal shit. I’m not that person anymore and I never want to be like that again.”

“Did you fight them?” Taehyung asks and this time he doesn’t shy away from the guilty look in Yoongi’s eyes.

“Yeah…” Yoongi admits shyly, “It’s not the first time either. They try quite frequently and I just – I can’t stay away. I go out to see them just to fight them. Just to let the anger out for once but I… I know it’s not right… I know everyone is scared when I go… Because all of them know where I’m going and what I’m doing,” He sighs, letting his head hanging low in shame.

“So that’s why the other’s were so down,” Taehyung says, “Not only because you were angry but because you went out to actually get angry and fight with some gang guys.”

“I know I shouldn’t go but it’s… I can’t.” Yoongi sounds desperate, close to crying and even though Taehyung wants to hug him and tell him that everything’s going to be alright he can’t. As responsible as Yoongi normally acts, by doing this he risks more than his own life and health.

“You’ve got to stop going there, Yoongi. It’s dangerous,” Taehyung says, stepping closer to the elder and staring at him, intending to not break eye contact with him. Yoongi squirms slightly under his intense gaze.

“Like I don’t know that,” Yoongi pouts while Taehyung fights against the thoughts calling the elder cute, which invade his mind, “But I always come out as the winner.”

“You look very beaten up,” Taehyung gestures towards the injuries but Yoongi just huffs.

“You should see the other guy.”

“This is not funny Yoongi,” Taehyung scolds and he holds Yoongi’s hands again. The skin is cold on his own but it instantly feels better to feel the others hand again. “I may have only gotten to know you for a short amount of time but I see the love for your cousins, your family – I saw them yesterday and they looked like they were convinced you wouldn’t come back. They know. They know you leave to fight and they accepted the possibility that you wouldn’t return. They shouldn’t have to worry about things like that, Yoongi.”

The elder isn’t looking at him. And even though Taehyung can’t see his face he’s sure there’s guilt etched into the elder’s features. His hands tighten around Taehyung’s slightly bigger ones but he doesn’t respond.

“If you continue this you’ll be leaving for the last time sooner rather than later,” He insists, voice calm and low but stern at the same time. Preferably, he would just force Yoongi to never go out and fight those guys again but he knows he can’t. But that still doesn’t make it easy for Taehyung to accept that it has to be Yoongi’s decision to stop. He still wants to help him.

“It’s not that easy, Taehyung. Those guys set off my fight or flight mode and I go and fight,” Yoongi tries to explain, bottom lip caught between his teeth. Taehyung quickly raises a finger to release the trapped lip because he fears the cut might open again once Yoongi starts chewing on it – another nervous habit of him.

“Fight or flight?” He asks, trying to catch Yoongi’s eyes but the elder is insistent on avoiding him. “In 90% of the cases, flight is the better option. It keeps you alive. So, stop fighting them. Don’t let them get to you.”

“You say that like it’s easy,” Yoongi scoffs slightly, shaking his head.

“I don’t know how you feel when you’re angry – how could I? I don’t understand what’ll go on in your head but I want you to know that it doesn’t define you. I… I suffer from depression but the sadness and anxiety aren’t what defines me as a person. You told me that I could come to you when my feelings overwhelm me,” Taehyung squeezes his hands tightly, “Will you do the same?”

“Tae… This is different from the anxiety or panic attacks you go through,” The elder tries hard to explain but it seems like he just couldn’t find the right words to express what he really wants to say. Taehyung patiently waits for him to sort his thoughts out. “I could seriously hurt you and I couldn’t forgive myself if I did. I could never forgive myself if I would hurt anyone – that’s why my family is never around when it happens.”

“But you shouldn’t be going through these hard times all alone,” He complains, still set on not letting this topic go. There’s just something – anything he can do to help Yoongi and of that means getting hit like last night, he’ll accept that. He can deal with it, for Yoongi’s sake. No one deserves to be left alone when they’re falling apart. “I had to promise you to tell you whenever I feel bad, no matter how hard it is to tell you because I feel like I might be too clingy, like you might not care or that I’m annoying and bothering you. Do the same. I want to help you. Let me…” He’s pleading now – almost outright begging.

Yoongi is staring at the floor for a long time, a very long time until he finally lifts his head and Taehyung is greeted with tear-stained cheeks. “…okay…” The elder whispers barely audible but there’s the tiny hint of a smile on his lips and it makes Taehyung’s heart flutter.

“Thank you.”

 

-

 

Yoongi doesn’t know when it happened. Doesn’t know since when seeing Taehyung sitting on the floor in the rundown apartment and playing with his little cousins became something so normal that he only finds himself smiling when he comes home from work. Opening up to the younger and letting him do the same has improved their relationship immensely.

Relationship, huh?

Is that the right word to describe them? Do they have a relationship or a friendship? Are they more than friends? Are they family? Maybe a little bit of both. Well, Taehyung might be belonging more to the family than Yoongi could have imagined when he took him in and it seriously hadn’t been that long already. About three months maybe? He isn’t sure anymore. But he definitely sees Taehyung as a constant in his life, a constant in his family.

At first, this doesn’t even occur to him as something out of the ordinary, like he hadn’t resented Taehyung the first times they met each other. Like he hadn’t been thinking of Taehyung as an intruder, a stray he took in out of pity. He changed that view a long time ago and he already told the younger he was part of the family but when he comes home and sees him interacting with the other’s like he’s been part of them right from the start, it hits him once again how important Taehyung became for everyone.

Taehyung helps his aunt cook all the time, he prepares the food with her and listens to the same stories she tells over and over again. He talks with his uncle about Jazz music and is one of the few people to join the old man in his singing – Yoongi won’t admit that goosebumps erupt all over his skin whenever Taehyung sings with his deep voice. The younger plays basketball with Shin outside, he helps him with schoolwork whenever Yoongi is too busy or too tired. Honestly, having Taehyung around has been such a relief for Yoongi and it might have been the reason why he hasn’t had a serious episode in such a long time.

Taehyung has reduced the stress on his shoulders – he is another person who brings home money, he’s another person who can help taking care of the children and he’s been a shoulder to lean on for Yoongi. The elder has never had much time for himself but with Taehyung around he has gotten more sleep, more calmness for him and he has felt how this has improved his mental condition and he feels happier with the younger around.

It’s weird. Taehyung comes into the room and it feels like an invisible weight has been lifted off his chest and he can breathe normally again. A smile spreads his lips almost involuntarily and he couldn’t explain the surge of electricity which runs through his veins whenever Taehyung smiles in his direction or heaven forbid touches him – even if it just might be the tiny fleeting sensation of fingertips on the back of his hand.

And then he sees the other interacting with the two smallest of his cousins and his heart could melt at the picture of them. Jiae adores him, she loves the different voices he uses whenever they play with her puppets and she gets him to sing her goodnight every evening. And then there’s Chul. The shy and introverted boy who doesn’t know how to properly articulate himself opens up whenever he’s around Taehyung. It happened slowly at first but the small boy latched onto Taehyung quicker than Yoongi could have seen it coming. Chul talks with him and he talks a lot, he laughs and smiles – he’s loud and it makes Yoongi smile wider than he ever did before.

Yoongi can’t help the warmth spreading through him when he watches Taehyung or when he just thinks about him. It’s like his body and mind are doing it on their own and he can’t do anything to stop it. Not like he wants to, it just confuses him too much. Taehyung is confusing but Yoongi stops thinking about it. He shoves all those weird thoughts and confusing feelings to the back of his mind and leaves them there.

Today is different. Yoongi feels tired. Way too tired after a long day at the café and he wants nothing more than to get home and fall face first on his mattress to sleep. He hears them before he even has to open the door. There’s the distinct sound of his uncle singing, the radio is way too loud again but the neighbors don’t really complain here.

The small smile on his lips widens once he steps inside of the apartment and his gaze lands on the couch. He could see Taehyung sitting on his knees in front of the coffee table, opposite of Chul whose tongue is slightly sticking out of his mouth in concentration. Taehyung mirrors his expression as he’s also coloring the pages of a coloring book. It’s the most adorable sight Yoongi has ever seen and at that moment his heart does a weird jump, his breath gets punched out of his lungs and his mind blanks for a solid second.

When he first met Kim Taehyung he was sure he hated him but then he got to know him. He saw the real Kim Taehyung, the small insecure boy hiding behind big words and alcohol. A boy who feels like he doesn’t belong anywhere and no one wants him. And he stopped hating Kim Taehyung.

There’s a thin line between love and hate and sometimes when people struggle and lose their balance for even a second they find themselves with one of their feet planted firmly on one of the two sides. And somehow – somehow Yoongi finds himself with one and a half foot in the sector of love. He’s not sure if that what he feels already counts as love but if it’s not, it’s something very similar to it and it slightly scares him. No, scratch that. It scares him a lot. Too much actually.

But then he looks at the younger, really looks at him. He looks at his soft hair which falls over his forehead, he looks at his prominent eyebrows which makes his brown eyes seem that more outstanding and capturing. He looks at the small mole on the bottom of his beautiful sculptured nose and then at the pretty pink lips which form that boxy smile. He looks at Taehyung’s hands, the long fingers which splay over his back and hipbone whenever they go to bed. He looks at his wide shoulders which make it possible for him to totally engulf Yoongi in a hug while he’s asleep.

He looks at the younger and that warmth spreads through him, his nerves are on fire, butterflies exploding in his stomach and goosebumps over his skin.

Yoongi sees the huge smile on Taehyung’s face as he finishes coloring the page in front of him and his heart skips a beat. Maybe not hating Kim Taehyung but kind of loving him instead isn’t actually so bad.

Chapter Text

Taehyung has always liked flowers. Their different colors and pretty petals have always attracted his curious eyes since he's been a little kid.

Yoongi doesn't look like he's a person who likes flowers. He doesn't look like he would be stopping on his way to work and take the time to admire the first blooming flower in this early spring. Taehyung has actually been pretty happy when the first signs of spring started showing around their shady neighborhood which isn't actually as shady as some might think. Ok, yes, there are certain streets you shouldn't enter alone at night and yes, there are also people you should keep your distance from but it seriously isn't a bad place to be at.

At day the streets are filled with children, they make the dark asphalt bloom in all kinds of colors when they draw with chalk on it. While the teens around make the walls their canvases and rely more on long-lasting graffiti than chalk. To be honest, Taehyung has accompanied both groups several times already. The teens had been a little cautious of him at first but now he gets along with them perfectly fine.

He plays with them too. Kids, teens and everyone else - age here doesn't determine whether you can participate in an activity or not. Taehyung actually lost pretty obviously against an old man in streetball and a little girl in soccer.

Since spring began the streets are getting fuller with people who come out during the day. The weather gets warmer and sun rays tickle you awake in the morning. Taehyung loves it. He even manages to get Yoongi to tag along with him and the elder’s cousins. Because of Taehyung’s salary and the amount of money he gives to Yoongi’s – his – family the elder could drop a few shifts at the café and didn’t have to work as much and as long as he had before. It shows – Yoongi looks happier. His smile is brighter and he isn’t as sleepy and irritated as before.

At first, it was obvious how much Yoongi struggled when he suddenly got a little time on his hands – time for himself, time he doesn’t spend working or looking after his cousins. But now he’s more used to it. Taehyung lives for the small moments when Yoongi seeks him out – even if it’s just asking him to keep him company in his room. They don’t even have to talk but Taehyung knows he’s not the only one feeling comfortable just being in the other’s presence.

Taehyung feels his heart flutter whenever he catches Yoongi looking at him and the elder looks at him a lot of times. Small glances during breakfast, the brush of a finger against his own and a sheepish smile at lunch, a wide smile and a warm hand on his knee during dinner and warm breath against his neck when they’re going to sleep. Yoongi’s eyes follow him like the lens of a camera trying to capture every single one of his movements. Taehyung doesn’t know what to make of these glances, these looks which are directed at him like silent secrets. And that’s how it is between them – silent. Glances burning like fire, innocent feather-like touches and smiles shared almost like no one’s watching them but it stays silent between them. Neither of them addresses the tension between them, neither of them seems to feel the need to clarify their situation.

Taehyung is afraid of asking Yoongi. He’s afraid of breaking him because the elder is as fragile as the fresh flowers blooming outside. The flowers spring brings – the season of change. Spring changes the world from a dark cold winter to a new beginning. With the season of change comes Yoongi, Yoongi who doesn’t seem like a flower appreciator but it seems like Taehyung has to change his view of the elder.

Taehyung loves flowers and he’s especially fond of all their unique shapes and colors but what always gets them is the smell. Maybe Yoongi is a flower-boy after all because Taehyung isn’t the only one looking fascinated at the shop around them.

It has been a surprise when the elder asked him this morning to accompany him to a secret location. Okay, Taehyung only calls it the ‘secret location’ because it sounds cooler than Yoongi just telling him to come along or not without mentioning where the hell they’re even going. He doesn’t know what kind of place he expected once he had boarded the bus behind the elder male but it definitely wasn’t the flower shop they’re currently standing in front of.

“They have more flowers than usual,” The elder mumbles absently as he goes through the wide-open double doors, past pots of colorful flowers. Taehyung follows him inside, a small smile crooking his lips as the wind chime above the door plays.

“Hey, Yoongi?” Yoongi only hums as an answer and strides through the shop like he knows exactly where everything is and what he wants inside. Taehyung follows him through the maze-like aisles filled with seemingly thousands of different flowers.

“What are we doing here?” He asks and almost bumps into the other’s back when he decides to stop once they reached the back of the shop where the counter is located.

“Well, obviously we’re buying flowers,” Yoongi shrugs before turning towards the counter. “Excuse me?” The woman – maybe in her late thirties or early forties – perks up at his voice and drops the scissors she had used to cut the plant in front of her.

“Yoongi,” She greets him with a warm smile. Like they’ve known each other for a long time already. Taehyung wonders why Yoongi never mentioned her or the flower shop but coming to think of it, even though he thinks he knows everything about the elder, he surprises him every day again. “I have your usual flowers in the back,” The woman says and there’s something else than kindness in her smile, in her brown eyes. Taehyung just can’t figure out what the gaze she sends Yoongi could mean.

“Thank you,” Yoongi almost whispers, his lips set in a thin line while the corners of his mouth alter between twitching up and downwards. Like he seriously tries to smile when all he wants to really do is be sad.

“No problem,” The woman reassures him before vanishing behind a green door. Yoongi drops his gaze to the floor then, shuffling a little.

“You’re often here?” Taehyung asks the question burning on the tip of his tongue and instantly notices the way Yoongi stiffens under his gaze. The elder’s long fingers start playing with the loose threads hanging from his sleeves and he turns his body a little more away from Taehyung.

“Not directly,” he mumbles and even though the answer is vague and inviting to question him further Taehyung doesn’t. He can take a hint. There’s no way he wants to make Yoongi uncomfortable and just knowing that the elder took him here, a place that he never mentioned before but seems to visit quite frequently has to be enough for now. Taehyung won’t push him because even though it sometimes takes some time for Yoongi to open up – He always ends up showing more parts of himself to Taehyung.

Well, whatever. Taehyung has to find a way to distract Yoongi now. He wants a smiling and comfortable Yoongi and not a frowning and uncomfortable Yoongi. Okay, quick, he can think of something super quickly. It has become one of his new talents recently, cheering Yoongi up and taking his mind off things he worries about. He glances around the shop and suddenly his eyes catch a pot full of the prettiest lilac flowers he’s ever seen.

“Oh, look how pretty those are!” He exclaims loudly, instantly rushing towards the flowers and dropping to his knees in front of them to be at eye level with the blossoms. He reaches one careful finger up to touch the petals and the wide smile on his lips almost split his cheeks.

“You want them?”

“I…” Taehyung’s head snaps back up at Yoongi’s question. What’s that supposed to mean? ’You want them?’ Well, yes he does. They’re pretty. Is Yoongi implying that he would buy them for him because Taehyung can pay for himself. He has money with him – not a lot, yes but probably enough for one of those lilac flowers. He’s about to tell the elder exactly that when the green door behind the counter opens again and the woman steps out with a huge bouquet of vibrant yellow sunflowers.

“Yoongi-ssi,” She sets the flowers on the counter, brushing one of her brown strands out of her face as she smiles at them, “Here are they.”

“Thanks but this is pretty huge. I don’t think I’ll be able to pay for so much –“

The woman stops his rambling with a wave of her hand as she pushes the bouquet forwards in his direction. “Don’t worry, I won’t charge you extra for the flowers I added. I know how important this is for you.”

Taehyung expects Yoongi to decline her offer. After all, he’s a very humble person but to his surprise, Yoongi only drops his gaze to his fidgeting hands again. “Thank you, I really appreciate it,” He whispers and Taehyung could swear he heard a small tremble in the other’s voice.

“That’s all, right?” The woman asks.

“Actually,” Yoongi turns around and Taehyung freezes in his spot. Still sitting on the floor and one hand raised to feel the petals of the gorgeous flowers. He follows Yoongi’s movement with his eyes as the elder crouches down to grab three of the lilac flowers and puts them on the counter. “I’d like those too.”

“Oh, yes of course,” The woman says, smiling knowingly at Taehyung who quickly snaps out of his initial shock and surprise. He quickly gets up, leaning against the counter next to Yoongi. The elder doesn’t need to buy him flowers for god’s sake! He can do it himself. And anyway, doesn’t it awfully feel like something a boyfriend would do? Buying him flowers feels like something way too intimate for the supposedly platonic relationship they share.

Even though they’re close – closer than friends and close in a different way than family members are. But neither of them dares to cross the line to find out what exactly they are, where they stand and it seems like they’re also both comfortable with the way things are at the moment. But Yoongi buying him flowers? It feels awful like crossing that particular line they’ve been dancing around.

“You don’t have to buy them for me,” Taehyung argues. It would definitely be the thing which will push Yoongi over the line and force them to admit that there’s something. Something between them that they both don’t really know how to call. Even though his heart starts beating like crazy when he thinks about Yoongi buying him flowers. Just the sheer thought of the elder doing something so boyfriend-like has him almost going crazy.

“It’s okay,” Yoongi shrugs and slides money over the counter. Embarrassment flushes Taehyung’s cheeks red at the wink the woman sends him. Yoongi is buying him flowers – Oh my god!

Yoongi is buying him flowers.

Yoongi is buying him flowers!

Yoongi is buying him flowers!

The woman is still smiling as she wraps a fitting lilac band around the stems of the flowers before handing them Taehyung who takes them with a choked out, “Thanks.”

“And who is this fine young man?” She asks once she has turned her attention back to Yoongi. She probably has taken pity on the younger who doesn’t look and doesn’t really feel like he could talk a coherent sentence at the moment. “Yoongi-ssi, in the years I’ve seen you, you always came alone. Is he your boyfriend?”

Taehyung chokes on his spit, almost feeling like he’s going to throw up a lung. What the hell?! Boyfriend?! Do they seem like boyfriends? Do people look at them on the streets and think they’re together? He thinks he needs someone to teach him how to breathe again – or to say it simply, he’s freaking the fuck out. Contrary to him, Yoongi doesn’t seem as fazed by the question because his only reaction is a low chuckle – god, that chuckle sends shivers down the younger’s spine. “That’s Taehyung,” He nods towards the younger and slowly, he raises his right hand to scratch behind his ear – he’s nervous! Embarrassed! “He’s only accompanying me today.”

“I see,” The woman nods to herself before pushing the bouquet into Yoongi’s hands, “Maybe this year you’ll come by another time? Instead of waiting until next year.”

“Maybe.” Yoongi smiles and the woman returns it. Still, Taehyung has a feeling that the elder’s answer is the same everytime the woman asks him this question. That ‘maybe’ feels like a ‘you know I won’t be coming by.’ He follows the elder outside of the shop, a warm breeze blows the long strands of his hair into his eyes. He needs to get a haircut soon. Seriously or else he can totally start braiding his hair.

They’re walking down the street, the sun warm, almost a little hot on the skin of his face and Taehyung quickly goes to shrug off his jacket. The breeze feels amazing on the bare skin of his arms and a sigh leaves his lips. Spring is great, the warmer weather makes it easier for Taehyung to feel content, happy. He glances over at Yoongi, almost stumbling over his own feet because of what he sees.

In the entire time that he has stayed here with Yoongi and his family, he’s never seen the elder with bare arms. Yoongi wears long sleeves wherever he goes, Taehyung has seriously considered that the other doesn’t even own a single T-shirt but guess he is wrong. Yoongi stretches his arms over his head and the short sleeves slide down all the way until they meet his shoulders.

It shouldn’t be something special, seeing Yoongi’s bare arms for the first time because they look exactly like Taehyung imagined them – is it weird to imagine other people arms? Well, Taehyung has only been curious. Yoongi’s skin is pale, his arms thin but not too thin, it isn’t until the elder turns around to check why Taehyung isn’t following him anymore that a gasp spills over his lips.

“It’s rude to stare,” Yoongi chuckles once he catches Taehyung’s gaze on him. The younger knows he must seem like a creep and staring is something he always found rude about other people but he just couldn’t look away. Yoongi’s left arm looks like it went through a shredder at one point of the elder’s life. The nasty scars rake all over his forearm and even disappear under the sleeve of his shirt and up his shoulder.

He wants to ask. He really does but should he? Will it make Yoongi uncomfortable? Maybe. Maybe not. And maybe this is the elder’s way of trying to tell him something he doesn’t want to say just like that. Yoongi isn’t good with words and expressing himself – maybe this is a hint Taehyung should take so that he’ll be the one opening the conversation. Why else would Yoongi suddenly show his arms? This must mean something. He takes a deep breath before falling into step with Yoongi who had started walking again. “Where did you get these scars from?”

Yoongi doesn’t tense but he raises his right hand to scratch behind his ear while answering, “Accident. Car.” His answer is short, two words but he doesn’t sound put off by talking about it. Still, Taehyung has no idea how to proceed from here.

“Oh,” He says eloquently, forcing a dry chuckle from Yoongi.

“It’s okay,” The elder says, stopping next to the bus stop they got off earlier. “It’s been years.”

Years since the car accident. Taehyung doesn’t know what happened. Yoongi’s family doesn’t own a car and something like an accident was never mentioned before, not even implied anywhere. He doesn’t want to pry too bad, Yoongi will probably tell him everything when he’s comfortable with it. “You normally wear long sleeves….” Taehyung mumbles, a small pout forming on his lips as he refuses to look Yoongi in the eyes and rather keeps himself busy with counting the petals of his lilac flowers.

“To hide the scars,” Yoongi confirms the other’s suspicion. Something must be different today.

“Why not today?”

“It’s the anniversary.” Taehyung isn’t sure if that what he hears inside of the elder’s voice is sadness or something else. He can’t decipher the expression on his face and in the blink of an eye, there’s a reassuring smile on Yoongi’s lips again once he leans down to smell the sunflowers.

“Of the accident?” Taehyung asks. Just because, he doesn’t need to listen to the elder to know the answer. The anniversary of the accident, this explains the tension in the air. He’s probably again the only one not knowing what’s going on but now he has at least a clue. A car accident Yoongi was involved in.

“…yeah,” The elder says, a faraway look in his eyes. Before they could continue their conversation the bus stops in front of them and Yoongi pulls him along onto the vehicle.

The bus rattles under them and the sun which breaks through the windows they’re sitting by is burning hot through Taehyung’s jeans-clad thighs. Yoongi isn’t talking but the silence between them can’t really be described as uncomfortable.

Taehyung looks down at his flowers, the lilac petals shining in the light. His cheeks flush again in embarrassment as he thinks about it. Yoongi buying him flowers – it kind of feels like something straight out of his daydreams. He leans down to smell the flowers and a pleasant, warm feeling spreads through his whole body. A different warmth than the sun rays hitting his legs emit. His lips involuntarily turn up into a smile and he leans back against the seat.

The smile falters for a second when he turns his head to sneak a glance at the elder next to him. Yoongi is unconsciously playing with the big, yellow petals of the bouquet of sunflowers in his hands. His eyes are directed to the scene outside, seemingly not really looking at the city rushing by them. Yoongi sometimes zones out, it’s normal but this right here still feels slightly different.

The whole day feels different. It’s not like that one time when Yoongi had left to fight – the tension in the air today is different but still kind of similar. Everyone just seemed extra careful today, quiet and a little down. In the morning Taehyung had been met with silent nods and tight-lipped smiles. It’s weird. And again it seems to have something to do with the location Yoongi goes to – the only thing different from back then? Now, the elder takes Taehyung with him.

They get off at an unfamiliar stop and Taehyung stumbles after Yoongi. A breeze ruffles the younger’s hair and he blows the stray strands out of his eyes before noticing that he lost sight of Yoongi. The second he slightly begins to panic as he looks left and right Yoongi shows up again, sticking his head out from behind a wall.

“Are you going to move or…?” He asks and Taehyung chuckles, following behind the elder through a huge iron gate. His gaze gets caught on the sign next to it. Cemetery. His heart stutters and even though the sun is supposed to spread warmth over his skin, he feels the blood in his veins running cold.

“What are we doing here?” His voice is quieter. Because their mere presence on the cemetery suddenly makes everything around him feel different from the happy go lucky vibe going on outside of the walls because of the sudden outbreak of spring. Yoongi is still walking ahead of him, absently smelling the sunflowers in his hand and he doesn’t even stop to turn around as he talks.

“Visiting,” The elder says, “Come on, just follow me.”

And that’s what Taehyung is doing. He lets his gaze wander of the wide expanse of green grass and the methodical array of tombstones scattered over the meadows around them. There are grave’s full of blooming flowers, stones which were so old that the inscription is barely or even not visible at all. It’s weirdly eerily quiet around them like the birds decided not to nestle in the trees standing on this ground. It’s kind of scary. The atmosphere feels like they’re kind of in another world.

The path they’re walking is plastered with gravel and every step they take is accompanied by crunching. Taehyung wants to ask – he wants to know who they’re visiting but he thinks that he kind of knows it already. By now, it’s obvious. Still, it still feels like a punch in the pit of his stomach when they stop in front of a simple grave, the tombstone clean but modest and then there’s the inscription.

“Are those…” He doesn’t finish his question – He doesn’t have to because Yoongi knows what he wants to ask.

“My parents. They died. In the car accident,” His short sentences sound checked off and weird coming from his mouth in this monotone voice. Yoongi sounds like a broken record – like he said those things so many times before and just can’t help but replay his words. “They both loved sunflowers so I never forget to get them some every year,” Yoongi whispers. He reaches his hand out to smooth over the names of his parents, sweeping away a few stray leaves which have littered the graves.

“Why am I here?” Taehyung asks timidly. It feels weirdly intrusive to him, being here, like he witnesses a moment which is only meant for Yoongi and his parents – in whatever way they’re here at the moment. He awkwardly shifts his weight from one foot to the other.

“You wanted to know right?” Yoongi asks. “What happened to my parents? Where they are?”

He swallows thickly, eyes roaming over the two tombstones, “Yoongi…”

“No, I want to tell you,” The elder sighs and he starts playing with the petals of the flowers again. Taehyung watches one of the yellow leaves slowly sinking to the ground. “I don’t often talk about this, not even my friends know the full story. They just know that I don’t have my parents anymore…”

“You really don’t have to tell me,” Taehyung stresses. The last thing he wants of Yoongi is to feel pressured to open himself up to him just because he lays his soul almost completely bare in front of the elder. But if he thinks about it, that’s something Yoongi would never do. The elder always does everything at his pace, he opens up but only if he feels like it. He said he wanted to tell Taehyung but it’s still something else. The most personal story – only Yoongi’s anger issues coming close to it. But there’s still that slight difference that Taehyung would be a special person, one of the chosen few to know about this part of Yoongi’s life.

Getting to know this feels so personal – intimate – that Taehyung couldn’t help but double-check if Yoongi’s sure about telling him this.

“I would feel better if I did. I want you to know… I want you to know as much about me as possible because… just because,” He sighs before moving to sit on the ground, legs crossed over each other, “It still hurts, thinking about them, about what happened but it’s been years. I got over it. I’m still sad but I try remembering only the good moments I had with them. It’s okay, I want to tell you everything there is to know about me because I trust you. A lot.”

Taehyung still feels hesitant. He’s… scared? Scared of reaching a new level in his relationship with Yoongi because he’s not sure what the elder wants from him. What he sees him as? As a friend? A family member? Maybe… maybe something more?

Yoongi is patiently waiting, still sitting crossed legged in front of the two graves without starting to talk. With a start, Taehyung realizes that the other waits for him to agree, he won’t tell him the story if Taehyung doesn’t want to hear it. He gives him the chance to refuse this intimacy but Taehyung can’t do that. Not only because he’s curious – it’s mostly because he feels like Yoongi needs someone to talk to.“…okay,” He says, “Tell me.”

Yoongi visibly relaxes, the tension rolls off his shoulders and he lets them drop before a long sigh escapes his lips. A small breeze makes the one petal which fell off the bouquet fly away, Taehyung follows its path with his eyes as he waits for the elder to start talking. Yoongi takes his time but he starts talking soon enough – his voice sounding way too loud in the quiet graveyard.

“My parents were good. They loved me unconditionally and even though we were pretty poor they always made sure I had everything I wished for. They made sure that my childhood was great. I loved them dearly but I lost them too early. They taught me all about life, about acceptance, about giving everyone a chance and they loved me so much even though I always got angry so easily. We didn’t have enough money to afford a long-term therapy and definitely no medication,” He sighs, raking his free hand through his hair. Taehyung listens silently, eyes boring into the back of the elder’s head.

“I was fourteen when I had an episode,” Yoongi continues, “They would drive me around in the backseat of the car until I calmed down – it really helped, today it just makes everything worse. Well, we drove around town and I was screaming and crying but my parents sat in the front, humming along to a melody of a song I don’t know the name of and helped me calm down. I was tired after I stopped crying, exhausted and I fell asleep. “

There’s a moment of hesitation in Yoongi’s voice. He cuts himself off too quickly for it to sound natural but Taehyung doesn’t ask, he just waits for Yoongi to give him the answer on his own accord. And he does.

“When I woke up – or when I was woken up it was by a loud scream. A car horn and then it felt like I was flying before suddenly crushing down to earth again. I don’t know what happened – one second I opened my eyes to be blinded by bright lights and the next everything was dark.”

This time it takes a few minutes until Yoongi continues talking and when the younger sees how his shoulders shake he wants nothing more but to reach out and engulf him in a hug but he restrains himself. Respecting limits and waiting for consent. He knows that there are moments when Yoongi just needs to be left to himself, moments where simple touches can trigger something very dangerous inside of him and he definitely doesn’t want Yoongi to have a panic attack or an anger episode right now.

So he waits. He waits for him to either give him permission to calm him down or for him to continue telling his story. Yoongi coughs a few times and they sound wet, Taehyung is more than sure that he’s crying. Still, Yoongi talks through the tears, even though his voice is rough and cracks a few times, “A truck caught us head on – my parents were crushed in the front and I was stuck in the back of the car. We skidded off the road and the side of the car got crushed, my arm – the one with scars – was the worst physical injury I took that night.”

Taehyung gasps once, a chill running up his spine as he tries to imagine the feeling. But he can’t. He can’t even try to imagine how something like this could possibly feel like but he’s sure it hurts like hell. Not physically but mentally. There’s something inside of him wishing to take all this pain away from Yoongi but he knows that’s not possible. The only meaningful thing he could do is listening to Yoongi, being there for him and showing him his support.

“I still feel –,” Yoongi chokes on a small sob, “Until today I still feel the fingers of my mother around my wrist. She had held my hand during the drive and after we got hit – she never let me go. Not even when she wasn’t there anymore.”

“I’m – My apologies,” Taehyung gasps out. He doesn’t know what to say. His brain is literally blank. What do you even say in those moments? Yoongi turns around at the sound of his voice and yet again the breath gets knocked out of the younger’s lungs.

He’s seen Yoongi cry, he’s seen him angry, happy, frustrated, annoyed, content – But he’s never seen him look like this before. Yoongi’s lips are slightly curled in a weak smile, tear streaks running down his red cheeks and beautiful brown orbs glistening in the sunlight. Ethereal. There isn’t another word to describe the other.

Taehyung smiles back but he doesn’t know if he actually managed to lift the corners of his lips or if he’s just pulling a grimace. Whatever it was, it makes Yoongi giggle and the younger swears he feels his heart doing a somersault in his chest. They hold each other’s gazes for a few seconds before Yoongi drops his eyes to the floor, a red blush starting to cover his cheeks.

“I… Usually I talk with them – You don’t have to stay,” He explains bashfully, fists clenching and unclenching in embarrassment. Taehyung doesn’t really understand why he’s no way someone who would ridicule another person for talking to their dead parents. Not when he had lived his whole life talking to literally anything whenever he found himself alone.

“If you don’t mind me,” He reassures the elder and kind of makes sure that he’s not overstepping a boundary by wanting to stay an listen. After all, this is still something very personal. “I’ll stay.”

“Okay,” Yoongi gets up on his feet again, smelling the flowers before gently placing the bouquet on the graves and shuffling forward to caress the engraved names on the tombstones. His voice drops to a softer tone, a tone which reminds Taehyung of the one he uses with his little cousins but there’s still something slightly different even though he can’t really say what.

“Hi mom, dad – It’s me again,” Yoongi says and Taehyung could see another tear slowly making its way down his cheek before chuckling lightly, “Well, it’s been another year and I’m – We’re still doing good. I mean, money’s tight like always and uncle had to stop working but we’re holding up just fine. There’s something important I want to tell you,” The elder quickly glances back at him, “We have an addition and it’s another child. Auntie isn’t pregnant again – You thought, right?”

Yoongi laughs at his own little joke and Taehyung even joins him. He already knows it – he’s the child. The new addition. The new family member. “No… I have managed to deal a little better with my anger but then there was this one evening where my whole day had been extra shitty. I had the early shift and a pounding headache, all I wanted to was to sleep it off but I got called into work again – shitty, right?”

Taehyung isn’t a hundred percent sure what Yoongi is talking about now but he’s got kind of a hunch already. And there’s a guilt dripping inside of his stomach, a dark heavy feeling uncurling in his chest.

“Well, I sent my co-worker home early because she was so tired and I thought no one would come in close to closing time but I was wrong.” Okay, now he’s sure what day Yoongi’s talking about and shame makes Taehyung’s cheeks flush in bright red. He doesn’t really remember the details of that night but he knows he offended Yoongi and got coffee dumped on himself because of it. But if he wouldn’t have done that, he wouldn’t have met Yoongi and he wouldn’t be where he is right now. So, even though it’s kind of a memory he wants to forget and erase, it’s still something precious to him now. The first encounter with the guy who changed his life.

Maybe… Just maybe he changed Yoongi’s a little too?

The elder chuckles again, hands never stopping to caress the stones, “There was this lady who was an absolute nuisance and I was about to snap her neck, to be honest. It had been a long time since I had been this angry and I was afraid to trigger another episode so I had hoped for the last customer to not be an asshole – “ Taehyung winces slightly, his rude behavior flashing back into his mind, “Unfortunately he turned out to be one. Drunk and rich – a pretty face. That’s what he was to me and then he offered me money to sleep with me and I almost lost it. I mean, I still dumped my coffee over his head. I met him a few days later again and he asked for a place to stay for the night. I wanted to turn him down but you always taught me not to judge based on first impressions and to help those in need. So I did.”

This time Yoongi looks directly at him before responding, “He wasn’t very nice the next morning and I thought I’d never see him again but I did. He was trying to steal some food but was shit at it. I bought him some and brought him home. He’s been staying with us since then,” Yoongi smiles, a small smile which doesn’t even look that intentional but he’s got that fond look in his eyes which always sends Taehyung’s mind into questioning what relationship they really have and what they could have. “And even though I started off as seeing him as nothing more than a superficial celebrity like they exist everywhere all over the media, he turned out to be different.”

Taehyung feels the butterflies in his stomach again, they march around in there, fire their guns and make him want to vomit his wildly beating heart out.

“His name is Taehyung and he’s been such a big help and relief for everyone. My friends like him. He gets Chul to talk, isn’t that great? I’ve never seen him as happy as he is with Taehyung around,” Yoongi says and his voice wavers again but this time it doesn’t seem to be out of pure pain and sadness but rather something more in the direction of happiness. “I’m happy with him around.”

“I miss you a lot but I know you’re always here with me,” The elder whispers, letting his eyes stray back to his parent’s graves, “I love you.”

The breeze picks up again and more yellow petals begin to whirl in the wind. It’s silent between them for a few minutes, a heavy tension in the air but neither of them feels the need to relieve it. Not until an idea pops up in Taehyung’s head. Maybe… maybe like this, he could convey a little of his feelings to the elder. Maybe he could give him a hint of what he feels. Maybe.

“Hey…” He shyly asks, one hand resting on the elder’s shoulder, “Do you think I could talk to them, too?”

He has to wait for a few awkward seconds until Yoongi answers him, “Uhm, if you want to… go ahead.” He gestures towards the graves, stepping aside to let Taehyung pass.

“Okay,” Taehyung steps forwards and awkwardly half kneels and half crouches in front of the tombstones and briefly bows. He takes a deep breath, “Okay, I’ve never done something like this before uhm… Hi? I am Taehyung, the uhm, the Kim Taehyung, Yoongi has talked about before. So, I, well, I just wanted to tell you that I’m very thankful for the person you raised Yoongi to be. You have a very great son and I’m so glad that I had the luck to meet him. I’m happier with him around too.”

He feels his own eyes getting teary, voice getting choked up and suddenly there’s a warm hand carefully rubbing circles on his back. “If… I’d like to uhm, to speak with them – alone, for a second. I swear it won’t take long –“

“Hey,” Taehyung interrupts him, “It’s okay. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll find my way back to the gate. I’ll just wait there for you.”

 

 

The whole ride back hasn’t been silent, the younger couldn’t stop talking about everything and nothing at the same time. Not that Yoongi minded that but he also couldn’t help but notice the way Taehyung seemed to stick even closer to him than usual. It’s normal for the younger to initiate a lot of body contact and he seems to want to draw everyone’s attention on him but he’s also aware when to back off and when to tone it down but he doesn’t usually act like this.

They’re walking back to their apartment now and somehow the younger’s fingers have found their way between his own, clasping tightly as he talks without any interruption. Yoongi waits for a second in which the other takes a breath and he uses this pause to butt in. To say what he wanted to say the second Taehyung realized where they were headed today, “Thank you for coming with me…”

It’s kind of embarrassing but Yoongi can’t say why. He avoids looking at Taehyung but instead, his eyes trail down to their intertwined hands. His heart skips a beat and he unconsciously squeezes his fingers together around the other’s hand.

“No, it was my pleasure,” Taehyung smiles down at him, that wide rectangular smile which makes the day seem even brighter than it was before, squeezing his hand back and it suddenly feels like something inside of him snaps. Not in a bad way though, just in an ‘I need to do something right now’ way. He stops walking, just freezing up on the sidewalk and Taehyung turns around to face him confused.

“What’s wrong, Yoongi?” The younger asks.

Yeah, what’s wrong? Yoongi can’t say it because technically there is nothing wrong but why does he feel like exploding at the moment? Why does it feel like his body tries to hold too many emotions inside and he needs to let all of them break free? He knows this feeling – it’s similar to anger wanting to get out of him but this time it’s something else. Something warm, soft but electric and exciting at the same time. He doesn’t even realize that he opened his mouth when those three words already tumble over his lips.

“I like you.”

Taehyung just gapes at him. Unable to reply with something more intelligent than, “Wha…” And Yoongi wonders, yes, he really does wonder why he isn’t freaking out? Why doesn’t he deny everything? Explains that he doesn’t mean ‘like’ in the way it could be interpreted by the younger but why should he do that? It feels… liberating. Exciting and scary at the same time but he’s kind of glad he put his feelings out in the open like that. Now, he only needs to hear what Taehyung has to say. If the younger finds his voice again.

“I’m sorry but I,” He laughs again, head thrown back as he draws in a deep breath to say those meaningful words once again. “I like you, a lot,” He feels the warmth of them on his tongue, in his throat and deep in his stomach.

“You mean like… as a friend or…?” Taehyung asks warily – His face is void of any emotion. His face which normally shows everything the younger thinks but this time Yoongi finds himself unable to read him. He doesn’t know if that’s something good or bad – He only hopes for the good.

“Not as a friend and not as a family member,” Yoongi explains and he drops his gaze to their hands again, seeing their fingers intertwined and the fact that they’re still intertwined must be a good sign, right? “I like you… like-like you.”

“Yoongi…” Taehyung whispers and he seems to struggle with his words but Yoongi doesn’t even give him a chance to find his words.

“You don’t have to return my feelings – obviously. And no matter what your answer is, you’ll still be able to stay with us. Don’t worry about that,” He rushes to explain, eyes cast downwards as he squeezes Taehyung’s hand tightly in his – Just to relieve some of the stress building inside of him. Maybe confessing hasn’t been such a great idea after all.

When Taehyung doesn’t say anything for the next few moments the butterflies in his stomach die down and get replaced by a painful dread settling down there. Yoongi bites his bottom lip as he fees himself get choked up again. Not like he hasn’t cried enough already, right? He loosens his grip on the other’s hand.

“No, Yoongi, I’m not worried about that,” Taehyung hurries to say and to the elder’s surprise he grips his hand tighter again, even going as far as to clasp his other around them too, “I just, I don’t know what to say!”

“You don’t have to say anything,” Yoongi sighs, trying to wrench his hands out of the other’s vice-like grip. He knew it from the start. There’s no way in hell his feelings could be returned. Why should they? Taehyung knows everything about him – He wouldn’t want to date himself either. “I knew right from the start that someone like you wouldn’t fall for me.”

His heart squeezes and he feels tears of embarrassment brimming in his eyes. This is the most humiliating thing he’s ever done. There won’t ever be another moment where he feels as vulnerable and bad as right here, right now. He releases a shaky breath, about to completely turn away from the younger when Taehyung suddenly lets go of his hands and puts them on Yoongi’s cheeks, forcing him to look up again.

“That’s not – I don’t know what to say because I’m just so happy!” The younger exclaims and his brown eyes shine brighter than the sun above them.

“What?” Yoongi asks confused. The word comes out a bit muffled due to Taehyung still squishing his cheeks together – He probably looks like a fish right now.

“Happy, you know that emotion, right?” Taehyung asks, chuckling lightly as he squeezes Yoongi’s cheeks again. The younger does look happy? The only question remaining is the reason why. Why his lips are stretched into this adorable rectangular smile Yoongi loves so much. “I’m happy because I…,” Taehyung gasps, seemingly unable to contain his excitement because he literally vibrates, “I like you too. Like-like you.”

Yoongi stares at him for a second. He searches for any signs of lying, for any sign that Taehyung might just play a prank on him but there’s nothing. As soon as he realizes this his heart stops again, a shock running through his veins and he could feel the blush rising all the way from his chest to the top of his head. “Are you… Is this real? Because if you don’t mean this then I take everything back and you can go sleep on the streets for all I care –“

“No, I’m serious,” Taehyung insists, “I mean it. I like you too. For real.”

“Oh, thank god,” Yoongi whispers, eyes slipping shut and he doesn’t even feel embarrassed of the small tear making its way down his flushed cheeks. Definitely not when Taehyung gently brushes it away with his thumb. They stay like this for a while, Yoongi leaning forwards into Taehyung while the younger continues caressing his cheeks with gentle strokes.

“This is the adrenaline speaking because I normally wouldn’t be brave enough to ask you but can I kiss you?”

Yoongi isn’t even sure how many times his heart could stop or skip a beat just because of something Taehyung says or does but he swears this can’t be a healthy amount. He opens his eyes to look at the male in front of him. The absolutely gorgeous male in front of him who looks ready to kiss the living daylights out of him.

“Okay…” Yoongi whispers and he has barely time to close his eyes before two lips attack his own.

It’s a little awkward at the start but the elder could still feel fire searing through his veins. Taehyung kisses like he does everything else, a little clumsy, a little without having a plan and mostly relying on intuition. Their teeth clack together a few times, their noses get in the way but it’s still kind of perfect.

Just because it’s Taehyung who’s kissing him.

Chapter Text

They’re not really keeping their relationship a secret. Seriously, they’re just not really telling someone about it. Especially not Yoongi’s family but Taehyung isn’t really sure how long they’ll manage to not act suspiciously. Like, all he wants to do is cuddle Yoongi, kiss his lips, nose, eyes, cheeks, chin – just everything. How is he supposed to act like he’s not head over heels for the elder male?

That’s just an impossible task.

Taehyung knows there’s not really any harm in exposing their relationship, Yoongi said it’ll happen when it happens but still, there’s this tiny part of the younger that thinks Yoongi might actually have a reason to keep them a secret. Because of embarrassment? Maybe he’s shy? After all, he’s not used to this whole relationship thing. That’s what he told Taehyung. He’s never really been together with someone, shy of pda and things like that. Or maybe he just doesn’t want to let anyone know he’s together with Taehyung.

Of course, he knows that all those things are just his insecurities talking. Yoongi isn’t embarrassed because of him but keeping a secret still kind of bugs the younger. He convinces himself that it’ll happen when it happens, Taehyung. Yoongi’s reasoning is understandable. They’re not obligated to announce their relationship to anyone, they don’t need to yell it out for the world to hear but if someone were to ask them, they wouldn’t deny a thing.

Is it so wrong that Taehyung absolutely wants someone to ask them so he could just say it for the first time? He just wants to yell it from every rooftop. Even though Taehyung also doesn’t really has experiences with dating – well, he’s been more of a one-night stand kind of guy in his previous lifestyle – but he has seen a prime example of how not to handle a relationship. He knows he should talk with Yoongi about his struggles, his insecurities and normally this wouldn’t be a problem. But now, he won’t talk with Yoongi his crush about this but with Yoongi his boyfriend.

It’s somehow different.

But there are still things which stayed the same.

The sun outside has already set, the only light coming from the different lamps in the living room and open kitchen. They cast an orange glow on everything, making a warmth bloom in Taehyung’s chest which only gets warmer the longer he looks at the persons around him. His family. It’s still weird thinking about them like that but there’s no other word to describe them. They’re his family now – the first persons to care for him unconditionally without any ulterior motives.

The table in front of them is packed like it hadn’t been in the last weeks since Taehyung has been helping them out with money Yoongi’s family hasn’t been as deep in a pinch as they’ve been before. He’s glad he could make the people who saved his life smile so much, glad he could give something back to him. He would give them the whole world if he could but he knows that all they would want from him, in the end, is his love.

His attention snaps towards Yoongi’s cousin, Shin, who yells something incoherently. His mouth is still stuffed with food, making it impossible for the other’s to understand a simple word leaving his lips. Before his mother could chide Shin, Yoongi accusingly points his chopsticks at his cousin, “I didn’t raise you to speak with your mouth still full!”

“Aren’t you speaking with your mouth full too?” Taehyung snickers, smirking at Yoongi’s exasperated face.

“I’m not,” the elder argues loudly. But well, there is definitely food in his mouth because something definitely hits Taehyung’s cheek.

“I literally have half-chewed bread on my face,” He deadpans, raising one hand to wipe his cheek clean again. Still, even this heavy proof doesn’t seem to waver Yoongi’s insistence on the fact that hasn’t spoken with his mouth full.

“Prove it’s mine!” He yells, a glint in his eyes which makes Taehyung break out into loud laughter. God, he really does like him. His heart skips a beat and in that exact moment, he feels as if time might stop, Yoongi’s laughter filling his ears and his bright gummy smile on full display. This is it, he wants to spend the rest of his life being surrounded by these people and with Yoongi being the one waking him up in the morning, the one falling asleep in his arms at night.

“There’s still bread coming out!” Taehyung argues, lightly pushing Yoongi back who struggles to find purchase on the table, almost knocking his glass over.

“Okay, both of you –“ The elder’s aunt interrupts their friendly bickering, staring them down for a second. “Cut it out. That’s disgusting. Swallow your food before you talk. Basic manners, what are we? Barbarians?”

Yoongi’s aunt manages to calm both of them down, still, Taehyung couldn’t contain his small giggle and also doesn’t refrain from sticking his tongue out at the elder as soon as his aunt isn’t looking at them anymore. Taehyung expects a smack or something for his childish behavior, after all, he’s used to that by Yoongi. That’s just how they work, their dynamic seeming maybe strange to outsiders but their doing just fine. Even though their personalities seem so different, Yoongi being the more quiet one, appearing serious, mature, the one who often seeks the loneliness and isolation. While Taehyung being the one who’s loud, jokes around, mostly appearing nothing close to mature and seeks the presence of people whenever but they click especially well because of their differences.

Taehyung can be quiet and calm around Yoongi, he can just exist in his presence in silence and be content with everything happening around him. Yoongi can be loud and childish around the younger, he can be clingy with him but he doesn’t have to be. Both of them can be exactly the way they need to be around each other.

The chatter around the table resumes like nothing happened but Taehyung still feels as of he and Yoongi share their own kind of bubble, like their own little world. The elder rolls his eyes at his childish antics and Taehyung is about to stick his tongue out again when there’s suddenly a hand nudging his own under the table. He raises his eyebrow at Yoongi as the elder grabs his right hand under the table and squeezes.

It’s not an uncommon thing to happen between them, Yoongi’s favorite kind of physical contact, of skin ship, is holding hands. Taehyung early noticed how Yoongi’s seems to cling to people’s hands like a lifeline whenever he feels anxious or nervous or just needs someone to be by his side. Taehyung doesn’t complain, of course, he likes the way Yoongi’s hands fit perfectly on his own. It’s during these moments, at dinner, that Taehyung is glad he’s ambidextrous so he can continue eating with his chopsticks with his left hand without anyone noticing that his right hand is occupied doing something else.

His eyes scan the table, all the other people are busy talking to each other and none of them are really paying attention to them. He leans over to Yoongi, seeing the other tense slightly once his breath hits the elder’s ear. “Do you wanna go out tomorrow?” He whispers.

Yoongi glances at him shortly, before looking around if anyone is listening to them. Taehyung knows they’re not. “Where?”

“Surprise,” Taehyung laughs, leaning back in the chair with a smug expression at Yoongi’s annoyed nose scrunch. Another habit of the elder, if he’s irritated by something or annoyed he scrunches his nose up in with the most adorable way possible.

The elder huffs before leaning back in to whisper, “But we gotta hurry or else we’ll get caught and forced into cleaning duty.”

“But isn’t it Shin’s day?” Taehyung wonders out loud.

Yoongi’s aunt is a very organized person – a thing not really getting noticed by the always rather messy state of the apartment but this is mostly due to the kids. Every weekend the whole apartment gets cleaned and she set up a schedule to decide who is in charge of what. It’s supposed to be Shin who cleans tomorrow but well, Taehyung knows how easy the small boy is able to deceive the people around him.

“That little devil easily manipulates his mother and she is convinced that it’s easier if everyone helps,” Yoongi whispers back, eyes jumping around as if he’s ready to catch anyone secretly trying to listen to their very important conversation.

“Then why does she even make the cleaning schedule?”

“Because that’s how she is,” Yoongi huffs, his fingers around the younger’s hand tighten slightly, “If we leave early enough we can get away.”

“What are you two whispering about?”

Both of them snap their head up to look with wide eyes at Yoongi’s aunt – not suspicious at all. “Nothing,” They say in unison and Taehyung almost breaks out laughing. He squeezes Yoongi’s hands, praying that no one would question their obvious behavior.

“Not suspicious at all,” The elder’s uncle laughs but he doesn’t pry further, it’s the other’s aunt who is still staring at them with a piercing gaze. Yoongi just smiles innocently at them and Taehyung couldn’t help but mirror the elder’s action.

His hand tingles where it rests on Yoongi’s and the warmth spreading through him feels exhilarating. He’s really got it bad.

 

 

The first days Taehyung has spent in the Min household had been quite challenging for him and it took a lot of time – a few weeks – for him to get used to the bathroom situation. The problem is that this is a seven-person household and they have to share one small bathroom. So, especially the privacy of a shower is not guaranteed and yeah, Taehyung has been managing with either getting up way too early for his liking or sleeping long enough so that everyone will be finished with their business in the bath before he sets a foot in the shower. He should have woken up earlier today instead of sleeping in.

The water runs over his back lukewarm, he doesn’t even remember the days where he prayed for a little hot, scalding water, right now nothing gets him more awake and energized than an almost cold shower. He could already hear the old radio playing and the other’s bustling in the apartment. Maybe he should have woken Yoongi up - but he looked so cute - they have a busy schedule after all and they have to escape the clutches of cleaning duty.

He’s just about to get his hair wet when a person stumbles into the bathroom, cursing under their breath like a sailor. There’s only one human who curses like that and just thinking about the elder makes Taehyung’s chest explode in warmth and a smile appearing on his lips.

“Why the fuck didn’t you wake me up?” Yoongi growls and Taehyung could hear him moving around behind the curtain.

“I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware that I’m your personal alarm clock,” He chuckles, running his fingers through his hair to get every strand wet. God, he could feel the tension melting off his shoulders with the water droplets running over his skin.

“Well, I am sorry because now you’ll have to get out because I need to shower too and we have to hurry,” Yoongi demands and he could vividly imagine him standing there, already stripped down to his underwear, hands in his hips and that glare which make shi look like a mad kitten on his face. He almost coos at the image alone.

“I haven’t even washed my hair yet – it’s not even completely wet!” Taehyung whines, hoping it would help him somehow. Yeah, he knows they have to hurry but it’s not like he doesn’t need to wash the grease out of his own hair. He also needs a shower. Yoongi wanted to shower yesterday evening, it’s definitely not Taehyung’s fault that the elder decided he was too tired.

“Not my problem, now get out,” Yoongi says like it’s the obvious thing to do. When it’s obviously not, Taehyung is about to argue that it really is the elder’s problem but then an idea pops up in his mind which could change everything. A mischievous smirk plants itself on his lips as he tries to make his voice sound as innocently as possible.

“Or… You could just get in here with me?”

There are a few seconds of silence before Yoongi’s scandalized voice fills the air again.

“What?”

“Think about it, we’ll save water and time – just get in.”

“But…” Yoongi hesitates but from the tone of his voice, Taehyung knows that he’s got the upper hand.

“Oh come on, are you getting shy now?” He teases, knowing full well that it’ll spike Yoongi’s competitive streak, “Just get your ass in here.”

“You’re so vulgar,” The elder complains.

“Look who’s talking.”

“I still don’t want to.” Okay, maybe he’s harder to crack than the younger thought he would be but by the slight waver in the other’s voice, he knows that this hesitation is just a mere façade. He just needs to expose – ha, expose as in getting naked – the elder’s scam.

“Why? Are you embarrassed to see me naked?” He laughs and a satisfied feeling spreads through his body at the spluttering noises from the other side of the curtain.

“No, I just don’t want to explain to my family why we’re showing together,” Yoongi says but he doesn’t so convinced of his own argument.

“What? I just told you two reasonable excuses. I mean, it’s not like we’re gonna fuck in here… or are we?” Taehyung asks and he knows how easily he can get Yoongi to blush and stutter because of the mere mention that they would get intimate with each other. He knows Yoongi is shy, so he doesn’t push him but he also likes it when the elder squirms with embarrassment and in situations like this he can perfectly use that to his advantage.

“You – Why aren’t you embarrassed!?“ The elder shouts, oh, how much Taehyung wishes he could see his face right now.

“Oh, me? I just have no shame –“ A very horror movie like shriek escapes Taehyung’s lips as he scrambles to covers himself the second the curtain gets ripped open with force. He was smart enough to grab on the wall to avoid slipping on the wet tiles under his feet.

“I thought you had no shame?” Now it’s Yoongi’s turn to smirk at him, a smug expression on his face as he stands stark naked in front of an equal naked Taehyung.

“I do not,” The younger pouts, collecting himself again and standing up straight, “But my heart is weak. Don’t scare me like that.”

“Just shut up and let me under the water,” Yoongi huffs and closes the curtain behind them again.

“Yes, sir.”

 

It’s not like this is the first time Taehyung sees the other naked. They share a room, they share a single mattress and they’re in a relationship – even though they haven’t been intimate yet. But they change in front of each other all the time, so this is nothing new.

Well, it still is a little new because like, normally they’re not cramped in a small place and they’re not wet from head to toe. But it’s alright, all peachy, Taehyung can definitely handle this. Nothing is able to phase him and the fact that he’s concentrating on not staring at the elder has nothing to say about this matter.

They’re showering in silence, both making quick work of massaging shampoo in their hair and getting ready to rinse it again when there’s suddenly a timid voice speaking up behind the curtain.

“Taehyung?” That’s definitely Shin speaking. Both of them freeze, Taehyung glances down at Yoongi only to see his own panic mirrored in the elder’s eyes. What the hell are they supposed to do now?

“Tae?” Shin asks again and Yoongi roughly pinches the younger’s side, gesturing towards the curtain wildly but totally quite.

“…Yes?” Taehyung tentatively answers, not taking his eyes off the elder’s face in front of him. He watches one droplet of water running down Yoongi’s cute button nose and wouldn’t they be in this situation right now he would probably kiss it away.

“Did you see Yoongi?”

“Uh…” Taehyung stares at the elder who looks just as lost as him. Is he supposed to explain to Shin that technically he’s already speaking with the person he searches for, even though he’s not aware of it?

“Because –“ Shin keeps talking, “I need to know if he’s in his room because like, I may have stolen one of his favorite shirts and now it’s ruined and I have to get it back in his room and make it seem like it was his fault or something.”

“Listen –“ Taehyung doesn’t even have time to reply and just barely enough to drop his hands in front of his private parts again before Yoongi rips open the curtain to reveal a more than shocked Shin who looks like he’s a second away from pissing his pants.

“You did what?!” The elder yells – Now that Taehyung thinks about it, he darkly remembers Yoongi complaining about not finding his favorite shirt again and then seeing Shin wearing a similar shirt just a day later.

“Oh my god!” Shin gasps, seemingly recovered from his initial shock, “Why’re you in there together?”

And as quickly as Yoongi had gotten mad at his cousin he reverts back to a blushing and stuttering mess. “We – That’s – Saving time and water!”

“Yup,” Taehyung smiles before deciding to mess with the elder a little. He takes a step closer to delicately place his chin on Yoongi’s shoulder and he winks at Shin.

“I… I knew it!” The boy instantly yells out loud.

“You know what?”

“You two,” He says, fingers point between them, “You are boyfriends!”

“Pssht!” Yoongi immediately hisses, scrambling to cramp his hand over the young boy's mouth, “Not so loud, please. We don’t want to tell anyone yet.” Taehyung raises an eyebrow at that but shrugs. They’re not not telling everyone, they’re just waiting for them to find it out on their own. They don’t need Shin running around, telling everyone about their relationship.

Shin, who seems to be used by this behavior, licks his cousin's hand to get him to back off before coughing a few times. The second he looks back at them Taehyung is more than convinced that there’s some kind of intimidation gene is running in Yoongi’s family because Shin definitely looks ready to end them.

“My silence is gonna cost,” the boy says, pulling an innocent face which doesn’t work one bit on either of the elder ones.

“How about I just don’t kill you because you ruined my shirt?” Yoongi propositions and okay, Shin definitely still has a lot to learn because in comparison to Yoongi’s expression the younger looks like a scared little kitten trying to stand its ground against a wild tiger. But well, that kitten still has a fighting spirit inside.

“I don’t think that’s enough –“

“We’re not gonna tell your mom about the crush you have on that girl,” Taehyung pipes up and okay, seems like no one expected a sneaky cat to win the match because as soon as the words leave his mouth Shin drops his attitude instantly.

“Okay!” He yells, “I saw nothing.” And he turns around, running out of the bath in an instant. The other two are left to stare after him.

“He has a crush?” Yoongi asks, as he closes the curtain again and turns the water on to finish rinsing the shampoo out of his hair. Taehyung follows his example, “It’s a secret, don’t tease him.”

 

Well, they did wake up later than they wanted to so it’s really lucky that they’re only stuck with taking the laundry with them on their way out. Yoongi’s aunt caught them at the door, ready to leave and instantly hit them with the you’re going down anyway, so take it. They couldn’t refuse. Yoongi carries one bucket and Taehyung is quietly whining behind him because he has to carry the heavier one.

“Go on ahead,” Taehyung says as soon as they’ve put both buckets down in the stuffy and cold cellar room, “I’ll put this in quickly.” And who is Yoongi to refuse such an offer?

He barely reached the top of the stairs when a loud bang followed by a glass-shattering yell of agony leads him to rush back down, almost stumbling over his own feet on the way.

“Motherfucking shit!” Taehyung continues cursing loudly and by the sound of it he must have definitely been stabbed or lost a hand or something equally painful. What Yoongi doesn’t expect is the picture he sees once he rounds the corner again.

“What happened?” He asks, eyes sweeping over the mess and Taehyung right in the middle of it. Of course.

“I broke my toe!” The younger yells, face scrunched up in agony as he keeps rolling from side to side on the floor, “My motherfucking toe is fucking broken and I can’t stand anymore!”

Yoongi almost laughs. Almost because it’s just too funny.

The washing machines are both running behind Taehyung as said male lies in a pile of knocked over washing powder all around him, clutching his left foot like his life depends on it and still groaning in pain. How the hell Taehyung manages to always clumsily hurt himself and knick something over is beyond Yoongi.

“Quit whining,” He sighs as he crouches down to start sweeping the powder up again and cleaning up the mess, “Come on, we need to go.” It was Taehyung’s idea to go to the mall after all and they’ll miss the bus if they won’t start hurrying soon.

“I’m literally dying!” Taehyung whines in frustration, moving over so that Yoongi can clean under him as well but making no move to help at all.

“You were the one who wanted to go out,” Yoongi huffs, going to try and wipe the powder off Taehyung’s clothes. At least now the younger is helping a little bit even though he hasn’t stopped whining at all.

“But I’m dying,” He argues, sticking his bottom lip out in a pout as he makes his best attempt at puppy eyes. Yoongi doesn’t budge though – even though he’s pretty close, Taehyung is a master at doing puppy eyes, only surpassed by the one and only true master Park Jimin.

“You’re a big baby,” He says, dusting off his own pants, “Get up now or should I carry you?”

“Please?” Taehyung reaches his hands out like a toddler – very similar to what Jiae always does when she’s tired of walking and wants to be carried around instead.

“Come on,” Yoongi rolls his eyes and tugs the other up in a standing position. He’s not going to miss the bus after going through all this trouble this morning and having Taehyung talk his ear off the whole evening because of this mini trip to the mall.

He doesn’t get why it’s so special.

 

When they’re at the mall he still doesn’t realize what’s so special about it and why Taehyung wanted so bad to go here.

It looks just like a normal mall. A big building, bright artificial lights and no windows or clocks around. Making people forget about the time they’re spending in here, the air smells like different kinds of food that you can buy here and the smell of new textiles Yoongi despises. It always makes him nauseous. It isn’t particularly packed but not empty either. People walk together in front of them and all around them and even though they’re all keeping a normal distance Yoongi is annoyed by most of them. He hates those people who slowly walk through malls like they have the whole freaking day to waste.

It’s not special here and Yoongi doesn’t understand the other’s excitement.

“It’s just the mall,” He says, grabbing Taehyung’s hand a little tighter when they pass a larger group of people who eye them up and down. Yoongi is about to stick his tongue out at them when the younger suddenly pulls him around another one of the million corners inside of this gigantic maze of shops.

“Yeah, just a mall with a new thrift shop!” He exclaims excited and then stops abruptly in front of a darker shop, hip hop music coming out of it and windows sprayed with graffiti. All for the aesthetics, Yoongi thinks and follows Taehyung inside.

“You dragged me out on my free day for thrift shopping?” He asks, raising one eyebrow to dare the younger to confirm his suspicions. He could be sleeping right now. He could be huddled under his blanket with the curtains drawn and noises drowned out by his earplugs and –

“I think that’s a better first date than going to a cemetery,” Taehyung remarks and Yoongi feels a laugh bubbling up in his throat. “Okay, you’re right but – wait. First date?”

“Yep, that’s our first date right here and we’ll spend it on thrift shopping for the lol’s and for your monotone closet,” Taehyung explains and he’s already letting go of the elder’s hand to look through the different clothes around them. Yoongi dumbly follows him. Like he always does when he doesn’t understand what the hell Taehyung is doing – which is a lot of times.

“Monotone closet?” Yoongi asks, “I have plenty of different things in there.”

“You do but your definition of colors is wearing not only black but maybe something dark gray too,” The younger says as he turns around to drop a few hideous colored pieces of clothing into Yoongi’s arms. Oh my god, like he’ll ever wear something like that. Is that a Hawaiin shirt? No way in hell.

“Don’t insult my clothes,” He pouts, still, he doesn’t object and just continues following the other. Like a damn lost puppy. Taehyung is supposed to be the puppy following him around, the one being lost but well, sometimes the tables turn.

“I’m not,” Taehyung shrugs, putting a fedora on his silky hair and pulling a stupid grimace as he turns around to look at Yoongi.

“Sure.”

 

Yoongi doesn’t comfortable in most of the things Taehyung makes him try-on. He has like, the sixth different outfit on again and as he draws back the curtain of the changing room Taehyung breaks out into uncontrollable laughter. To be honest, Yoongi can’t blame him but he could have also told him right from the start that any neon color doesn’t suit. Especially not in the form of this ridiculous sweater.

He sighs, before twirling once to give the younger the opportunity to look at the whole outfit – a thing Taehyung insists on no matter how bad the clothes look on Yoongi.

“I look ridiculous,” he says.

“Okay, yeah you do but try this on,” Taehyung throws another set of clothes at him that he barely catches.

“Is this how rich people go shopping? Just getting things thrown at them without looking at the tag?” Yoongi asks chuckling.

“Sometimes?” Taehyung laughs before ushering into the changing room again to try the new outfit on.

 

At last, they’ve found a few more colorful things to add to Yoongi’s closet and despite his protests, Taehyung has paid for everything himself. Considering the things weren’t expensive per se, they cost more than what they would usually pay for just like that but Taehyung is Taehyung and he insisted.

Now they’re sitting on one of the benches, Yoongi clutching his bag with new clothes against his chest when Taehyung speaks up again.

“You wanna get something to eat?” He asks.

“You still have money?” Yoongi can’t believe it. He knows that he doesn’t have the money to afford a mini shopping trip like this and they could save money because there’s definitely something edible at home. So, why does Taehyung try so hard to spend money on Yoongi?

“I might have been saving up for this day a lot,” The younger explains, a blush high on his cheeks and his fingers play with the tissue he’s been clutching for the last minutes, “I mean, hopefully, there’s no rush in getting me to move out so I can spend some of my extra money on dates with my boyfriend.”

Yoongi can’t even retort something, he just blushes and hides his face burning face in the crook of the younger’s neck.

God, he’s definitely so in love with Kim Taehyung.

 

-

 

It’s rare that they’re alone at the apartment. Very rare but tonight is one of those rare conditions. It’s only six in the evening and Yoongi sits cuddled up to Taehyung with a content smile on his face. Shin is sleeping over at a friend’s place and the other’s are at the cinema. Chul and Jiae had been delighted when they got the news that they would be able to see the new children movie they’ve obsessed over in the cinema – Yoongi happily cut down on a few meals the last week to make this possible. Especially because he gets to cuddle his boyfriend now.

He’s missed him. It’s not like he’s been gone, he still sees Taehyung every day but for quite some time the younger has started to go out more. Meeting with Jimin and Jeongguk and who knows who. It’s not that Yoongi has something against this but he may have gotten too used to Taehyung always being only around him that this change of behavior is just weird. He wants Taehyung to have a healthy social and not stay home all the time because of his clingy boyfriend. It’s not like Yoongi never goes out on his own – just not as much as Taehyung but this is just a thing he needs to get used to. The younger is still his own person and can do what he wants to.

It’s still nice finally having him for himself again and this time really just to himself, no one to interrupt him for another good three hours. Yoongi feels himself flush all the way up to the tips of his ears at the jump his thoughts have immediately taken as he thought about them being alone. If Taehyung notices how he suddenly starts squirming a bit he doesn’t comment on it.

Yoongi has thought about it – even before they really got together but now it’s a thing staying in him back of his mind all day. The problem is that Taehyung makes everything a little harder because of his obliviousness. Yoongi likes kissing and he definitely likes kissing the younger but Taehyung absolutely loves kissing and so that’s what they do every chance they get to. And Yoongi can’t really complain but…

But that’s all they’re ever doing and seriously? He’s had enough of cold showers because he’s never fucking alone to even take care of his problem himself. So there’s that.

Maybe now is the only chance they’ll get for a long time and Yoongi – especially Yoongi junior – is not about to pass out on such an opportunity.

He shifts a little so he’s able to peer up at Taehyung, the younger is lovingly smiling down at him and for a second Yoongi forgets all about sleeping with him and just feels himself explode in giddiness. He really, really, loves the younger. So much.

“You do?”

Yoongi gasps a little, cheeks quickly turning red as he realizes that his mouth has moved on its own accord but Taehyung is still smiling down at him and it seems to be even brighter than before. “Yeah,” he whispers instead of freaking out like he would have normally done, “I do.”

“I love you too,” Taehyung whispers back and he plants a kiss on Yoongi’s forehead. Warmth spreads through the elder’s body and he doesn’t even realize how fast his heart is beating or that his hands are trembling slightly because he just feels like flying and like nothing could ever go wrong. Everything’s perfect at the moment. Everything but one tiny detail.

“Do you want me to show you how much I love you,” He asks, a smirk playing on his lips.

“What do you have in mind?”

“Well,” He pretends to think for a second, “No one’s gonna be home for a long time and I was kind of thinking… if we could…”

“You mean…?”

“If you want to?” Yoongi barely has time to finish his question before he shrieks as Taehyung whirls him off the couch and crashes his lips onto his. Out of reflex, Yoongi wraps his legs around the younger’s waist as he carries them towards the elder’s room.

“I take that as a yes,” Yoongi chuckles when he breaks the kiss for air.

“Definitely,” Taehyung smirks and instantly his lips are back on the elders.

 

-

 

Yoongi comes home to – surprise! – an apartment lacking the presence of a certain male with a rectangular smile. A smile which Yoongi hasn’t seen much in the last week. To be honest, he hasn’t seen much of Taehyung at all for a few days now. Precisely this distancing of the younger definitely started after they slept together last week. Yoongi had been convinced it would bring them closer, the intimacy and yes, that happened right after it they cuddled closer than ever, naked bodies pressed together. Taehyung couldn’t keep his hands off him for the whole next morning but then he left around lunch and after that everything changed.

He doesn’t know what’s going on but there’s something going on. And he hates not knowing what’s going on especially if he’s directly involved in the matter. Taehyung seems to be glued to his phone lately, leaving the room to take a call to avoid anyone listening to him and shielding his screen whenever he gets a text. And Yoongi is really not someone to snoop around but he just happened to see the other’s screen light up with a message when the other was in the bathroom. Really, his phone had just been lying there and then it lit up with a message from a certain person saved as Noona^^ asking if they’re still meeting for dinner. Taehyung hasn’t been eating with them that evening. This noona had a very pretty profile picture and Yoongi couldn’t help it as his mind jumped to conclusions.

That’s the problem. He keeps telling himself that Taehyung would never do something like that but sometimes he wonders what is that Taehyung isn’t telling him. Because, yeah, there definitely is something he keeps as a secret.

 

Yoongi is thankful for the silence of the apartment. He knows Shin is doing his homework right now which means that everyone is trying to be as quiet as possible for his sake. The silence is welcoming, like a good warm hug after a long exhausting day. He could see his aunt sitting on the couch, watching Chul drawing in his coloring book, his uncle is drying the dishes in the kitchen and he knows that Jiae is sleeping in her bed. Chin sits at the table, not even looking up as Yoongi softly closes the door behind himself.

His aunt looks up at him, a small smile tugging at her lips but it quickly vanishes again when she catches sight of Yoongi’s questioning gaze. She shakes her head lightly, a little sad.

It hasn’t only been Yoongi who’s affected by Taehyung’s absence. Everyone has noticed that something seems to be off about the younger’s behavior. It’s just that no one dares to ask him about it. They’re all just kind of dancing around each other, like all of them are walking on glass – afraid of getting cut or startling someone into accidentally cutting themselves.

Yoongi sigh, of course, no one knows where Taehyung is and with the often occurring absence of the younger, the past week quickly threw Chul back into his old behavior of shutting himself in. The small boy had started to isolate himself again and Yoongi knows that seems to be the only reason Taehyung even stays home anymore. Just to not leave Chul completely alone. Yoongi tells himself that this must mean something, that they still mean something to Taehyung.

He has no idea what could have gone wrong but he’s too afraid of asking. It’s been a week only but a bad week and when Yoongi thinks back, then the secretive behavior started already about three weeks ago. And during this time where he feels the most insecure, he can’t help but lose against the small, evil voice in the back of his mind. That voice whispering to him that he’s been right about Taehyung all along. The younger is only here to exploit them and for nothing else. He’ll drop him soon. He never loved him. He really is nothing more than a pretty face with an ugly heart.

Yoongi knows – at least he thinks he knows – that all those things aren’t true but with every day Taehyung leaves and refuses to act the way he did before, he couldn’t stop these thoughts.

He sighs, sitting down at the table opposite of Shin who’s still concentrated on the papers splayed in front of him. Yoongi puts the mail he collected down and starts sorting the different letters.

Bill. Bill. Ad. Bill. Ad and … Lawyer?

He picks the strange letter up. Even the envelope looks high class, the paper having a totally different feel from the others. It’s addressed to him and Yoongi could feel his stomach sinking. Why would he get a letter from a lawyer? Who the hell did he manage to piss off so much that he felt like taking legal actions? If it’s another demand for money – He doesn’t have the capacity to pay anything more than their normal bills. He doesn’t recognize the name of the lawyer on the back of the envelope and with shaky hands he opens it, scanning the page.

And during the few seconds, it takes him to read the text, Yoongi could feel his world falling apart around him.

Chapter Text

There was one childhood memory which stuck with Yoongi until now. The day he was having fun on the playground, laughing and yelling for his mother to look how high he could swing. He left the swingset in favor of the monkey bars which seemed so far away from the ground but so exciting to climb. It was all fun and games until he hung there, strength leaving him and instead of just letting go like he normally would he felt himself being seized up by fear.

He was so far above the ground, heart pounding in his throat and he couldn’t even yell for his mother to help him before he slipped. The ground came nearer faster and faster and no matter how much he had tried to hold on, he could do nothing against the fall.

Right now he feels like being a little kid, the little kid falling from the monkey bars. He tastes sand in his mouth, his ears are ringing and head pounding from the hit. He couldn’t open his eyes properly, hands scraped open from trying to lessen the impact and his right arm hurting like hell because of the way he twisted it during the fall.

Everything hurts and he doesn’t know how something making him so happy and being so much fun could transform into so much pain in the span seconds. It feels impossible but it’s happening right now.

He thought he’s seen it all, experienced it all, that there is nothing which could faze him anymore but he was wrong. Nothing he ever experienced could compare to the collision of feelings inside of his chest right now. Not even the accident of his parents compares to this – but only because both situations are so different. The death of his parents – the only emotion he remembers is sadness, emptiness, a void in his heart no one could ever fill. But now years have passed and yes, he hasn’t found a person to fill this emptiness but he found a lot of different persons who all worked together and slowly made that void disappear.

But this right here right now is different. There’s so much going on inside of him. So many emotions and thoughts swirling around and he couldn’t catch onto anything. He’s lost, lost between anger, sadness, betrayal, hurt and confusion. There’s too much in his head. He can’t focus on anything. To be precise, Yoongi feels like he’s drowning. The blood is rushing in his ears, heart pounding in his throat and he doesn’t even realize he’s panting until Shin speaks up.

“Hyung?” He sounds scared. Yoongi immediately snaps his head up, to his horror he could feel hot tears pooling in his eyes. Why’s he crying? He shouldn’t be crying. He doesn’t cry in front of his family – He’s the strong one. He’s the one everyone comes to, the one to listen to everyone’s worries while swallowing down his own. He’s the safe haven, he needs to be strong for everyone. He can’t be weak, he needs to be strong to hold them all together. But he could feel himself breaking ever so slowly.

“Yoongi?” This time it’s his aunt. He just stares at her, mouth not able to move as she blurs right in front of his eyes. “Are you okay?” I’m not, he wants to scream, wants to yell, wants to cut into the wood of the table in front of him. But Yoongi couldn’t answer. It’s like someone is squeezing his throat, he can’t even move but stare straight into the worried eyes of his family.

What’s happening? This feels different than anything he’s ever experienced. It’s similar to a panic attack but not quite one. He can’t describe it. It just feels like he’s slowly falling apart, his body not responding to him as his mind screams at him to do something, anything!

The paper between his fingers feels as heavy as lead and his eyes drop on the printed words again. The black ink blurs before his eyes, the tears start running down his cheeks and stain the paper. His body trembles with the force of his silent sobs. He wants to throw up, to scream, to yell, to tear the paper apart, burn it and then burn the ashes but he couldn’t do anything at all. The voice inside of his head isn’t whispering anymore, now it’s screaming at him. I told you. I told you. I told you. I told you from the start and I was right.

He couldn’t even argue against it, couldn’t do anything to stop it because why should he? It really is right after all. It is right and Yoongi is the biggest idiot in the entire universe, in the entire history of the human race and he can’t believe he let himself be fooled like this.

He scans the paper again and the written words engrave themselves on his carefully sewed together and beat up heart, only to pull at the seams trying to break it again.

Dear Min Yoongi,

On these papers, you’ll find a non-disclosure agreement regarding the whereabouts of my client Kim Taehyung. We sincerely hope that you will understand how important it is for my client to not further damage his image. The official story about his vanishing has already been made public and now all we need of you is to sign this and agree to not tell a soul about what has really happened.

This contract has been put together on the request and under the supervision of my client, Kim Taehyung and we all hope you also understand the importance of this. By signing this contract you not only agree that you will not talk about what happened but this includes anyone you have already told something. So, if your friends or your family members or anyone else you’ve told about Taehyung goes to the press, we’ll be able to sue you.

In exchange for your signature on the contract, we’ll offer you a high financial compensation. The details about everything are written in the following papers. Please read them carefully and make the right decision and keep in mind that this is Taehyung’s wish.

Regards Kim Taehyung and lawyer.

Yoongi just wants to throw the contract away but he can’t. Why, why does this happen? Yoongi doesn’t understand. He can’t even fathom an idea of what might go on and why Taehyung is doing this. He said he loved him. Love… Did he lie? Did Taehyung really lie to him? He must have. No one who loves him would do anything like this, right? Right?

“Yoongi,” His aunt is standing up now, her voice full of concern but still reassuringly soft, Yoongi doesn’t notice though, “What is wrong?”

His ears are still ringing and he feels himself falling deeper and deeper into a downward spiral while his mind is slowly shutting down. He can’t do anything but watch as it happens. A lie… Everything has been a lie. He can’t believe it though. He just can’t believe that Taehyung spent all these months lying to him. But why should he get a fucking lawyer involved without even telling him anything about it in the first place? He thought they were close enough to talk about everything – he was sure they were close enough. But maybe every ‘secret’ Taehyung ever told him had also been a lie and Yoongi had believed it all.

He’s so stupid… And even though the proof is staring right at him he still can’t quite believe it. His hand twitches towards his phone on its own accord. What should he expect? Is there anything new at all? Is there a lot? The non-disclosure contract makes it seem like it. The name Kim Taehyung gets him hundreds of results, hundreds of newsflashes over every social media platform. Like he’s in a trance he clicks on the first article to maybe find out a little bit more about the situation he’s in.

Kim Taehyung – Does this name ring any bells?

That’s right, according to a reliable source the actor is back in the scene. To refresh your memory we’ll quickly tell you what went down with Kim Taehyung a few months ago.

The twenty-two-year-old male has been the rising star of Korea’s Dramas but once his dark secrets got unraveled he’s lost everything. From getting roles offered from every direction to getting kicked out of a cast and directors refusing to work with him – That’s the story of Kim Taehyung. The young star actor who got himself involved in various scandals including a leaked sex tape, videos of him doing drugs, drinking alcohol, fighting in bars and definitely not behaving like he should.

But it’s been months since then and Kim Taehyung had been off the radar throughout this time. The public lost sight of him but now he suddenly returns to the spotlight. In the last two weeks, he’s been spotted with two very important people.

The first one is none other than the famous youngster Drama director Park Bogum (24). People have seen them in the city on various occasions and rumors get around that Taehyung is supposed to be the main actor in Bogum’s future Drama which is supposed to start production soon. Which brings us to the second person Kim Taehyung has been hanging out with. Buckle up because it’s the confirmed female lead of Park Bogum’s new Drama and the one and only Jung Eunji. Might this be enough confirmation for Taehyung’s participation in the production of the new Drama?

But this isn’t all. While the meetings with Park Bogum were held professional we’ve seen pictures of Kim Taehyung and Jung Eunji being closer than people who are just co-stars. Is there a new couple? We suspect this might be more than true considering how often they’ve been seen the last weeks, sneaking around even at night. Especially this picture of them sitting so close at a water fountain fires the dating rumor up.

You might ask yourself now why Kim Taehyung is back in the picture and where he’s been the last months. This is the first time his parents have agreed to open up about his whereabouts. And it’s been confirmed by them and Taehyung’s lawyer that he ran through withdrawal in a rehabilitation clinic – finally saying goodbye to drugs, and alcohol. Kim Taehyung is supposed to have completely redeemed himself.

We’re happy that the talented actor found back on track and welcome him back.

Yoongi’s head is about to explode. He can’t think anymore. Why? Why? Why? Why? Just why did Taehyung do this? How could he? How could he betray them all like this? Out of the blue? After all that happened, after all, that happened between them?! Maybe he’s missed something. A small tiny detail which would explain everything. Did he not get the memo stating that he – that they don’t mean a single fucking thing to Taehyung?

Even though his fingers twitch towards his phone again Yoongi forces himself not to look up the girl – actress – mentioned in the article. Yoongi recognizes her face, he’s seen it before. As a contact photo in Taehyung’s phone and suddenly, everything falls into place.

He has hoped that everything he just read is a scam, a cruel joke set up but it’s not. Definitely not. Taehyung has been meeting with this guy and with his Noona^^ - Jung Eunji. He can’t believe it. He feels so small, a little kid lost in the darkness. He let himself be fooled by a pretty face and an Oscar-worthy performance. He let himself be played with like a stupid puppet.

It’s true and Yoongi doesn’t know why but it is true. Taehyung has started to build his old life back up again and the question ‘why?’ just remains in the elder’s mind. The word jumps around there like it owns the place because there’s no answer. No answer to the question why this is happening. Yoongi thought the other was happy, happy here with them – with him. But it seems like he wasn’t, now he understands why the media has been so obsessed with the younger’s acting skills. He’s astounding, making Yoongi believe every lie he told him.

That’s it. Taehyung lived here in poverty with them and now he has the chance to return to his old, luxurious life and he just selfishly leaves them behind, without a second thought. Maybe that’s been his plan all along, just using them to stay away from the streets until he could return.

Yoongi feels like trash, like everything that happened in the past months has been fake. And the proof that it really has been fake is staring him right in the eyes. He can’t deny it. There’s no way to misunderstand anything here. Taehyung never loved him. Taehyung was never his, to begin with. Taehyung and the actress – Yoongi is sure he’s going to throw up.

Taehyung is cheating – is it even considered cheating if Yoongi is just someone he used to survive in the harsh world outside? Is it cheating when he never considered Yoongi as a real partner in a relationship?

His mind is blank, face pale and he can’t function. He’s just sitting there, staring at the blurry words in front of him as he lets himself get drowned by hurt, betrayal, by everything.

The door opens behind him and Yoongi turns his head so fast that he’s afraid of actually getting a whiplash. Everyone’s eyes are glued to the door where Taehyung stands like a deer caught in the headlights. Normally Yoongi would coo at his cute expression or feel overjoyed because wow, he’s home early but right now the mere sight of the boy makes him see red. The betrayal, hurt and sadness only fuel his anger and no matter how hard he tries, he can’t think of a moment where he’s been angrier than right now.

The anger rises under his skin like a tornado and he’s ready to unleash it all. His whole body is shaking, tears burning like fire on his cheeks. Taehyung enters the apartment carefully, closing the door behind him softly as he stays put right in front of it, not moving further inside. He seems to sense the tense atmosphere and his eyes look so concerned – so real as he stares at Yoongi. Like he means the concern like he isn’t acting at all.

“Yoongi –“ The soft tone of his voice makes the elder want to scream and strangle him. Stop lying, he thinks but Taehyung continues talking like he really cares about the reason for Yoongi’s emotional breakdown right in front of him. It feels so real, too real but Yoongi knows it's not. “– What is wrong?”

The elder is standing up now, legs wobbling as he grasps the cursed piece of paper tighter in his fist. “I thought you changed… “ He whispers, his voice doesn’t even sound like his own as it leaves his dry throat. He can see the confusion on the younger’s pretty face. He wants to punch him. He wants to wipe this expression off his face.

“What?” Taehyung is taking a step towards him now but instantly stops when Yoongi flinches away from him. He’s partly aware that his whole family is watching them in confusion right now but he couldn’t bring himself to care. There’s only Taehyung in front of him. The man he loves, the man who’s supposed to love him back. The man who told him he loved him so much that he would take a bullet for him but now it turns out it’s Taehyung pulling the trigger to shoot him down.

“Dating …? New Kdrama?” His voice comes out hoarse and as soon as the words leave his lips he sees the way Taehyung’s face falls. So it’s true. Everything is true and Yoongi is the biggest idiot in the whole world. The confirmation of the younger makes the anger inside of Yoongi boil up again and he couldn’t help but start to yell, “And this – this contract?!

He thrusts the paper forwards not even caring that he’s crumpling it in the process. It’s not like he wants to sign it. He would love to tear it apart in front of the other’s eyes right now but what would he gain from that? A small moment of satisfaction? Maybe. But why shouldn’t he sign? Taehyung doesn’t want him.

“Yoongi…” Taehyung reaches out towards him but Yoongi slaps his hand away. He doesn’t want to be touched by him ever again, he can’t bear it. Not when he remembers all the words Taehyung whispered against his naked skin, the way his fingers have trailed over every part of him with so much gentleness and love that Yoongi had believed they would last a lifetime. Not when all those touches were nothing but lies. He can’t bear to have the other near him ever again.

“I truly believed you changed but once money gets you offered you’re dropping us – dropping me!” He yells loudly, somewhere behind him another door gets opened and from the corner of his eyes he sees Jiae entering the living room. Now they’re all here and no matter how much Yoongi would want to spare them from seeing, from hearing this he can’t. He ignores them for now, settling for dealing with explaining everything to them later.

“Rehab center? What the fuck, Taehyung?! What the fuck? If you thought I would keep quiet and continue being your fucking dirty little secret then you haven’t learned anything about me in the last months!” His voice grows louder and stronger with each word and the anger inside of him does too. Lies, lies, lies, everything has been all lies.

“Yoon –“ He doesn’t let Taehyung even finish this one word. The way his name rolls off the other’s tongue sends shivers down his spine. It still sounds so real, so sincere but it’s all a lie. He means nothing at all to Taehyung. Nothing.

“I thought – I was sure you’ve changed!” He scoffs, turning around to avoid looking at the other’s face. It only makes everything harder. The weight on his chest is almost crushing him, the pain close to being unbearable. He remembers the first time he met the younger and the strange urge to laugh overcomes him. Didn’t he know right from the start what kind of person Taehyung is? He should have listened to himself back then. “I said it once and seems like it still applies to you… You’re nothing more than a pretty face with an ugly heart. Don’t come crying to me again. Leave.”

It hurts. It hurts like hell telling the younger to go but everything else hurts so much more. “Please…” For a second he could feel his resolve starting to crumble at the desperate tone of the younger, the obvious tremble in his voice indicating that he’s about to cry. But he just sucks in a sharp breath, gathering all the hurt inside of him to stay strong against the urge to give in. Taehyung is just going to manipulate him again – manipulate him into signing the stupid contract so that Yoongi won’t ruin his future career.

Get out!” He snaps, hugging himself tightly to somehow ground himself. There’s the floor under his feet – steady, solid. There’s air flowing through his nose, into his lungs and out again – rhythmic. There’s his apartment around him – familiar. He’s okay, he’s going to be okay, he won’t let himself be swept away by all these emotions, he’ll –

“Yoongi,” Taehyung interrupts him in trying to calm himself down. “If you would just let me explain –“

But Yoongi isn’t having it. Taehyung had plenty of time to explain everything to him. If he could take the time to meet with his stupid lawyer to put together this contract he could have taken the time to sit down with Yoongi and explain everything to him. But obviously, he didn’t want to. Obviously, Yoongi wasn’t worth getting an explanation other than the fucking contract. What did Taehying think? That he would just easily give everything up, sign this thing and pretend like nothing ever happened?

“I’m done, Taehyung,” He says, voice hard and unforgiving as it slices through the tensed air like a knife. “Were you even going to explain anything? Were you? I found your phone a few days ago, you know? I – I didn’t look into it but it all adds up now, right? You were sneaking off to meet with her, right? With her and with him too. I just –“

“Yoongi…” Taehyung’s warm hand rests on his shoulder and Yoongi has never turned around so fast in his life. He shrugs the other’s hand off and pushes him back, hard. Taehyung stumbles, catching himself only as he grabs on the wall to steady himself. Yoongi doesn’t care.

“I trusted you!” He shouts, pushing him once more for good measure. He knows he should try to calm down in order not to lose control of his anger but right now he couldn’t focus on that. His attention is solely on Taehyung and the fact that the younger has been lying, lying, lying to him. “I gave you everything! Everything I had! Seems… seems like as long as money and fame aren’t involved nothing is good enough for you.”

He wants to hurt him. He wants to pierce the other’s soul with words the same way he did to him. He wants every sentence which leaves his mouth to feel like a punch in the face to Taehyung. He needs him to hurt as much as he does.

“Yoongi!” It’s the first time the younger raises his voice at him since he entered. Yoongi’s a little taken aback by the sudden force of the other. Taehyung is yelling right back into his face like he’s the victim here, “You’re being really unfair right now!”

Yoongi wants to laugh. Where is he the one being fucking unfair? He’s the person getting lied to all these months and now he’s unfair because he’s calling Taehyung out on his bullshit. He could definitely explode right now, the anger is blinding him, searing behind his eyelids and it all gets too much way too fast. He knows he’s going to slip – going to slip into something more violent but he still fights it. A noise close to choking escapes his lips as he hits the wall next to him in his frustration.

He doesn’t even feel the pain, doesn’t see the way Taehyung flinches away from him even though he hasn’t even been close to hitting him. His hand stings a little but that’s all. Taehyung looks a little scared though but he doesn’t back off, he continues standing his ground against the force that is Yoongi.

“I’m being unfair?!” The elder barks, amusement lacing his voice because really? That’s just a ridiculous accusation. “What about you?! Huh? You – you came here with nothing and I gave you a life. I gave you a family. I gave you a real home. I gave you my heart and you… you’re just going to betray me and all the others like that. Without a second thought?”

The fire which previously had started to burn in Taehyung’s eyes dies down as quickly as it came. He seems to shrink under Yoongi’s fierce gaze and sharp words. “Tell me,” the elder demands, “Really, tell me how you would have explained this? ‘Oh, hey it was nice knowing all you but I’m going back in my own life. I’ll be acting again and you all won’t say a thing about where I’ve been because if you do the whole world will know that I was living on the streets and weren’t in rehab. Oh, and you’ll get sued too. Isn’t that great?!’ I mean, seriously? You give us a fucking contract to sign?!”

Yoongi huffs, stomping his foot to release the pent-up tension inside of him but it does little to nothing. He knows he won’t be able to keep control for long and continuing to yell his lungs out does nothing to help his situation but he can’t help it. He’s so mad, so mad at Taehyung that he almost wishes to lose control. Almost.

“And then? How would you have explained her? ‘Ah, and while I’m at it, Yoongi, we were never anything serious, I never loved you because look, this is my super hot actress girlfriend who I’ll spend the rest of my life with. You know, the girl I saw behind your back, the one who is way richer than you and obviously better because of it –“ This time it’s Taehyung pushing him and Yoongi is surprised by the violent reaction of the younger.

“This is not about fucking money, Yoongi!” The younger hisses loudly, baring his teeth in the process. His eyebrows are pinched together in frustration or anger. Yoongi doesn’t really care either way. “Why do you always have to act like you’re worthless because you’re poor?!”

The words hit him like knives. Poor. Worthless. They’re the ones he keeps engraved on his scarred soul at all times. The words he tries to escape every day but knows will haunt him forever and always. “Because it’s true!” He wails and a new wave of tears begins trailing down his cheeks. He wishes his family wouldn’t hear what he’s saying but he can’t stop talking. It’s the thing he keeps telling them all the time: Being poor doesn’t mean being worthless. But it’s been too long since he believed that. He doesn’t want them knowing that though. “I’m telling you it’s not but let’s face it, in reality, you are nothing without the needed money to guarantee yourself a living! Of course, poor people are going to be seen as more worthless than a rich person. I keep telling everyone that I don’t see it that way but I don’t believe it myself!”

“That’s not true,” Taehyung whispers, obviously taken aback by the other’s outburst, “That’s not you speaking. I know you don’t see it like that –“

“Just shut the fuck up!” Yoongi interrupts him again, he’s pushing against the other’s chest, shoving him to the door while tears continue to blind his vision and leave a salty taste on his tongue, “I don’t want to see your lying face ever again! I hope you get fucking happy wherever you’re going now and don’t even think about ever contacting any of us again!” Yoongi breaks away from him, leaning his weight against the table to be able to stay upright. He’s panting, his whole body still trembling and it’s silent.

He could see Taehyung just standing motionless in front of the door, eyes wide open as they jump from one person to the next. Yoongi’s family is also frozen in their spots, none of them dare to move. It feels like the calm before the storm. Chul and Jiae are both clinging to their mother as they cry, Shin is still awkwardly sitting on the other side of the table and Yoongi’s uncle is looking at them without any expression at all.

Yoongi raises his head to look back at the younger male and suddenly all the anger vanishes. He just feels weak. Weak, small and scared. Crushed to the bone as exhaustion catches up to him and he lets himself fall down on one of the chairs. There is no fight left in him, only a hollow emptiness where his heart used to be. Maybe he’s a masochist because he asks what has been burning his tongue since he doubted Taehyung’s love for him.

“I never meant anything to you… right?” His voice is barely above a whisper and he couldn’t stand watching Taehyung any longer. He knows he wouldn’t be able to watch him look at him with pity or whatever. “I was someone convenient who let you stay and showed you how the world works… nothing more, right?” Taehyung stay silent and there it is again – the weird urge to laugh but what comes out of his mouth is more like a garbled mess between a chuckle and a sob.

“You never loved me right?” He asks, daring to look up only to find Taehyung biting his bottom lip and silently staring at the floor.

He scoffs, swallowing the sob back down before he looks down at the crumpled paper in his hand. “Can’t even deny it…” He wetly chuckles, “I gave you my heart, I loved you with every fiber of my being. You know, I would have followed you to the end of the world without a question and I thought – I really thought you felt the same about me, funny right? Must be hilarious for you – a proof that your acting skills are otherworldly but I don’t understand why you did this. I don’t understand why you made you believe that you loved me back. I don’t get it – why would you be so cruel?”

He isn’t even sure what he’s feeling at the moment but it doesn’t matter because whatever it is, it feels like it’s never going to pass. He’s sniffling softly, wiping his dripping nose with the sleeves of his shirt but doesn’t bother trying to dry the endless flowing tears.

“I was overjoyed when you told me you returned my feelings,” He confesses. He could still vividly remember the day like it only happened yesterday. “I thought someone like me would never have a chance with someone like you, someone so far out of my league. Must be fun for you, right? Humiliating me like this. I’m the stupid worthless guy who thought you loved him but I was never anything to you. Was it fun convincing me that you loved me? Do you feel satisfied now? Now that you made me feel so – so worthless?

“Yoongi –“

“Shut up!” Yoongi yells. He can’t bear to hear the voice he loved so much anymore. It’s all too much for him. “I can’t promise anything if you continue to talk… I can’t listen to you anymore. Leave. Leave and never come back here again…”

His hand trembles as he grabs a pen and slowly signs the contract in front of him. This is it. His end with Kim Taehyung and from now on he’ll do anything to forget he ever fell in love with caramel skin, chocolate eyes and a honey voice. It never happened.

“Don’t forget this!” He throws the crumpled contract at Taehyung’s face, the younger catches it with a blank expression on his face but makes no move to leave. “Go to hell!” Yoongi turns around and waits, he waits until the door falls closed behind him until he lets the ugly sobs spill over his lips.

Taehyung left without another word.

He buries his face in his hands, crying as hard as he needs to. His wails are heartwrenching and every sob hurts in his chest. He has already forgotten about his family being in the same room until a tiny and scared voice timidly speaks up.

“Is he coming back?” It’s Chul. The small Chul who has loved Taehyung with all his heart, who came out of his shell and learned to laugh like a kid – the small boy who must be crushed and confused by the scene which has outplayed just now. That’s what Yoongi would normally think and normally he would run and hug his little, crying cousin to his chest and tell him how everything’s going to be alright but he can’t. He’s still too far wound up in his own emotions.

“No, he’s not fucking coming back!” Yoongi yells and right now his mind is so clouded by hurt and anger that he couldn’t even feel bad for the violent, scared flinch running through Chul at his loud voice. He’s not right in the head at the moment. He can’t think and he can’t look at anyone. He just… He can’t.

Everything is blurry through his teary gaze but Yoongi doesn’t even care as he bumps into almost everything painfully on his way to the bathroom. There’s bile rising in his throat and he can’t think. Can’t think. Can’t think.

The bathroom door slams shut behind him and Yoongi quickly drops to his knees to empty all contents of his stomach into the toilet bowl.

Yoongi loves being right but at this moment he wishes he hadn’t been right the first time he saw him.

Taehyung has been a boy so pretty… but with an ugly heart.

Chapter Text

Taehyung doesn’t really like to remember his childhood. It’s not like he had a bad one, he got bought everything he wanted to have. He was never alone. He had friends and he did well in school. But all those things only made his childhood something he doesn’t want to remember.

It wasn’t easy growing up as the only son of two successful, rich and way too influential people. Yeah, it was nice getting everything he wanted to have but he would have preferred his parents by his side than their expensive gifts to make up for their absence. His nannies were all nice women but none of them were his mother and sometimes, he just wanted her to hold him but that never happened so he stopped hoping. He stopped hoping for his mother to kiss him goodnight or his father telling him that he was doing a good job. It became his norm and he thought it was like this everywhere. A cold and distant household.

He had friends at school. Just, these friends weren’t really his friends. Kids of other rich parents who all had to befriend each other because they were part of the same social circle. Taehyung never really liked any of them and he knew that they felt the same about him. He knew they were talking about him behind his back because he was too loud, too hyper and could never sit still. He got scolded by his parents quite a lot because of that, because of his behavior and over the years he lost his childishness in favor of getting cold and distant like his parents.

Grades never were that big of a problem for him but he often spaced out during lessons. Another thing his parents didn’t appreciate. He was supposed to be perfect, fit to be shown off to all the other rich people and their families. Good grades were important for that. His parents made him understand that early. They were never home, never paid much attention to him but as soon as he brought back a bad grade he would get yelled at and had to study as long as he could manage to stay awake. He hated that. Always.

But it was just normal, right?

His parents weren’t different from all the other parents. They disciplined him with everything they got, they yelled at him to be more normal like all the other snobbish kids, he should get perfect grades and behave. He was supposed to be the perfect son and for the outside world, they were a perfect family living high in a castle made out of silence, coldness, and loneliness. And they were perfect, no one questioned them ever but no one knew what went on behind their castle walls. No one ever saw Taehyung fall and become someone he never wanted to be, not even he noticed it.

He slowly became the son his parents wanted and he hated it. The only thing making his life worth living was acting. An interest he had taken in young years and until today it remains a secret how he managed to not lose his passion of acting when it got shoved down his throat the second he voiced his interest in it. His parents saw a prosperous future for him and so he had to work hard to become the greatest actor of all time. It was tiring, exhausting and Taehyung often wanted to give up but it remained his passion. Being someone else, even for just a second, helped him not falling into something very dangerous.

With his success as an actor came rebellion. Rebellion against everyone but especially his parents. With every sip of alcohol he took, he could see the disappointed face of his father and it just made him feel great. He should have known that he wouldn’t be able to live out his rebellious phase without consequences but back then he didn’t care. He just wanted to make his parents angry, to make his father look at him, really look. He wanted their attention, he wanted to show them that he could do whatever he wanted to. He wanted freedom but in the end, everything failed.

He just wanted something that his father hasn’t decided for him already. Something he didn’t force him to do. Because that is the worst thing about this man, the situation doesn’t matter, every time something happens, his father patronizes him. Decides things above his head or without his knowledge or approval.

 

Taehyung doesn’t care about the confused stares he gets as he sits on the park bench, tears drying on his cheeks. His mind is blank as he stares ahead in front of him, watching people walk by him without really seeing them. He hasn’t felt like this in a long time, so completely empty and void of any emotion. Normally he would go to Yoongi now, talk about anything just to get warmth spreading through him again because of the mere presence of the elder male but he couldn’t.

He fucking couldn’t and it just hurts. He remembers the way Yoongi had looked at him, so broken, betrayed. Just the thought of it makes him choke again and pain explodes behind his ribs. It’s all his fault – He knows he should have told Yoongi about the talks with Bogum but he was scared. He doesn’t even know what scared him because no reaction could have been worse than what went down earlier this evening.

He sighs, wiping his face with the back of his hand to get rid of the remains of the tears and snot. His gaze falls on the paper next to him and he carefully smoothes it out. The longer he reads over the printed words the angrier he gets. By the end of it, he’s trembling, anger thrumming under his skin and fresh tears prick at his eyes.

This can’t be real. This must be a cruel joke. Nothing about this can be true. He knows who must be behind this and he would want nothing more than to punch them at the moment but before that, he has to confirm something else. He gets his phone out and searches for his own name. A lot of articles come up and dread settles in his stomach.

No, no, no, no, this can’t be true.

He hasn’t even noticed that he’s already dialing the number when the other person picks up.

“Hello – “ Taehyung just sees red as soon as he hears the voice and doesn’t even let the person finish before he starts yelling. He doesn’t care about the other people around him, doesn’t care about the stares he might get. Not right now.

“What the actual fuck?!” His furious gaze travels over to the two people who have stopped a few feet away from him and as soon as their eyes lock they quickly hurry along. He’s glad, he doesn’t actually want someone to listen to his conversation. It would be better if he were somewhere private but it’s not like he can just go somewhere. At least the late evening approaches fast and most of the people are gone from the park by now.

“Taehyung, language!” The man on the other line scolds him harshly but Taehyung only gets angrier because of it. He spent a good chunk of his life listening to him and if not now, then when should he really rebel and fight against the voice keeping him small?

“You know what? Fuck you, dad.” His heart is pounding in his throat and the grip on his phone is so tight that his knuckles hurt but that doesn’t matter right now. He knows why this happened. Who is behind tearing his world apart and breaking Yoongi like that. It’s his father, it has always been his father who ruins everything for him and has his nose in everyone’s business. “What the hell have you done?!”

There’s a long groan on the other side of the line and the voice of his father is laced with sarcasm and annoyance. Just like it has always been. Always cold and distant with Taehyung. Never soft or encouraging or reassuring. No. It has always been like this. “Taehyung, I’m no mind reader, you’ll have to tell me what I have supposedly done – “

“The fucking contract! You’ve sent Yoongi a non-disclosure agreement!” He hisses through his teeth and just thinking about it again makes his anger boil. How the hell did his father think this would work out? Taehyung had no idea about the contract but he also had no idea how to tell Yoongi that he was about to start acting again without letting the other misunderstand anything. That’s a thing which might start to bother him about Yoongi. His short temper. It’s not his fault, of course, it’s not but that doesn’t mean Taehyung isn’t allowed to feel a tiny bit annoyed by the way the elder blows up in seconds without letting anyone explain the situation. This time though, this time he can’t blame anything on his short temper. He would have reacted the same way if the roles were reversed. Yoongi kept himself in check pretty well.

The contract set up by his father isn’t the only thing though. There’s the press too. He’s been talking with Bogum, yes. And he’s been meeting a lot with Eunji too but he had planned to make this whole story public once he would start his career again. Not hide behind a lie. But his father has taken this choice away from him once again. “And not only that – no, it’s not enough to lie one time by stating that I was the one to request this! No, you already told the press a story about where I’ve been! That’s a lie. You’re lying to them.”

“Taehyung, listen, if you ever want to return to the top again you have to lie your way up –“ He could almost feel the iciness of his father’s voice through the phone. A shiver runs down his spine as he’s reminded of all the times that cold voice has scolded him, yelled at him, degraded him. “The things you’ve done and where you’ve been the last months are not going to make you famous again.”

“And that’s the only thing important, right? Fame,” Taehyung scoffs. He can imagine his father’s face, disappointment etched into his sharp features already and eyes like ice, piercing through everything he looks at. He used to be so scared of him, he used to cry and cower before him but now he’s different. He changed – he really did. “What about me being happy? Huh? Is that unnecessary? Inconvenient for you?”

“You’ll instantly stop talking to me like that,” his father hisses but it only fuels the fire burning in Taehyung’s chest. He ruined everything for him. He ruined everything he carefully built up over the last months, he ruined the best thing Taehyung ever had in the whole world and his father deserves to know how much he detests him not only because of this but because of everything he’s ever done.

“Or what?” He laughs, hysterically. This is all so ridiculous. Who does his father think he is? A puppet master and Taehyung is his puppet? What the hell? “You’ll take everything away from me and make me survive on my own with nothing on the streets?”

“I’m doing you a favor here!” His father roars and Taehyung flinches slightly, the hair on the back of his neck rises in fear. He gulps, grip tightening on his phone again as he settles down on the bench behind him. His knees have gone weak. Everything that happened this evening is just too overwhelming, too much for him to handle. The exhaustion slowly catches up to him. “Only because of me you’re accepted back into society and if the public finds out about you and your – your fag of a friend you’ll be nothing. I’m just helping you.”

His heart stops for a moment, a ringing starts in his ears as he takes a deep, controlled breath. “What – what did you just call him?” His voice is low, dangerous almost threatening because he couldn’t believe what his father just said about Yoongi.

“A fag, that’s what he is and you too but if he decides to live his life in gross indecency no one will care but they’ll care if you do the same,” The man explains like it’s the most simple thing on earth. Taehyung just wants to punch him, he had often wanted to do that throughout his life but he just knows if the man would stand in front of him right now, he wouldn’t be able to hold himself back from breaking the other’s nose. It’s one thing when his father does what he’s always doing and insults him but it’s something else when it’s directed at Yoongi.

“I… I don’t even know what to say right now,” He breathes. His hands are trembling by his side and he focuses his gaze on the trees in front of him. The shadows are getting longer around him, the sun slowly setting and a shiver runs down his spine at the cold breeze sweeping past him.

“How about ‘Thank you’?” His father asks in a sweet voice – not really sweet though. It’s the kind of sweet that makes you feel sick to the stomach, like smelling amazing candy and then discovering that it tastes awful and glues your teeth together, sticky everywhere in your mouth until you want to throw up but are unable to do so because you can’t open your mouth anymore.

“Over my dead body,” Taehyung snarls. He going to fucking kill his father when he sees him again. It’s his fault, only his fault. Not anyone else’s. Everything bad that ever happened in Taehyung’s life can be traced back to his father or mother. And once he thought he got rid of them forever, they come crashing back in his life like a hurricane to destroy everything again.

“Taehyung, remember your place. You’ll come back and you’ll live how I tell you to. You’re going to be famous, rich and our image will be clean again,” His father says threateningly. It’s a command. Taehyung knows it. Not something he could decide over and in the past, he would have followed the demands of his father with a bowed head but now he can fight against him.

“This is all you’ve ever cared about,” Taehyung scoffs, his hand pushing his hair back. “I’m not doing this.” He’s about to put down the phone to hang up but his father’s voice cuts through the air, halting him midmovement. Not because of what he says but because of the way he says it. So menacingly, like he knows something Taehyung doesn’t. The young man swallows in fear.

“You will.”

“What makes you believe that?” He hates how his voice trembles slightly at the end. He hates how much influence his father still has on him even though he thought he would have changed from the him he was before, even the one who was already rebellious but not in a good kind of way. But it seems like his father can still play him however he wants to.

“Because you don’t have another choice,” His father states conceited, “This has always been your life. And you wouldn’t want your fag friend to get involved in anything, right?”

It feels like a punch in the stomach. The air gets knocked out of his lungs in a second. “You wouldn’t dare,” He whispers but he knows that’s a lie. His father would stop at nothing if it means getting what he wants. The mere thought of getting Yoongi hurt, even more, makes Taehyung’s mind spin into an abyss.

“Try me, Taehyung, I dare you,” His father threatens and Taehyung fully believes him, “You will come back to your old apartment and you will act in this goddam drama and make the world love you again or so help me god I will destroy your friend. Hasn’t he been to jail already? How about we lock him away for a long time now? Who will care for his family then? Or what about your other friends? It would be easy shutting down that small pathetic café. You don’t want to disobey me, son.”

His throat is tight, he can’t make a single sound as the words of his father keep resounding in his mind like an echo that gets louder with each passing second. He hasn’t noticed that there are tears running down his cheeks again or that the nails of his fingers dig so deep into his hand that they form slightly bloody crescent marks. His father will stop at nothing.

“I better not read any bad news about you,” His father drawls and the trembling of Taehyung’s body increase again, “I hope for his sake that your fag friend has signed the contract or I will send someone over there who won’t be very nice to him.”

“Don’t,” Taehyung chokes out, panic lacing his voice as he imagines the people his father could send after Yoongi, after his family. No matter how much experience the elder might have with illegal street fights or gangs, the men of his father are professionals who would squish him like a fly. “I have his signature. I have the contract with me.”

“Good,” His father sounds more pleased than before but Taehyung still just wants to throw up, “Now go and sort out things with Bogum about your confirmed work with him. You’ll have to give interviews soon, the press is burning to speak with you and find out about everything that happened and I probably don’t have to remind you to behave and tell the official story, right? Nothing else or better, deny any questions, not concerning the upcoming Drama.”

Taehyung only nods mutely. Silenced by his father again just like he had always been for his whole life. He never escaped that cage. He never spread his wings to fly, everything has only been an illusion Taehyung willingly lived to make himself feel better. It would have been too good to be true to lead a happy life with Yoongi, his family and his passion for acting altogether.

His father continues talking, explaining what he should and shouldn’t do, “Questions concerning your relationship with Jung Eunji: Don’t give definite answers but you can imply that you two are together, everything is arranged with her permission. She is good PR for you. And don’t – for the love of god, don’t you dare and meet up with that fag or his friends. Do as I say, you don’t want to disappoint me again.

He hangs up the phone. His father knows that Taehyung will obey everything he demands of him. He doesn’t have a single choice.

“I’m so sorry…”

-

Yoongi doesn’t remember why he wakes up in the bathroom. At first, he’s confused until everything comes crashing down on him again and he lets himself cry some more. It’s important to cry, to let yourself be sad and Yoongi does exactly that. He calls in sick for the weekend, promising Seokjin to explain everything after he talked to his family.

He dreads the conversation, his insides twisting and turning at the mere thought of having it but he knows that it’s better to get it over with as soon as possible. They sit on the couch, everyone listening to him silently and carefully. Chul is leaning against his chest while Yoongi runs his fingers through his hair apologetically, he feels really bad for yelling at his little cousin who isn’t to blame for anything that had happened. He cries again while explaining the whole situation to his family.

In the end, his throat is sore, his head hurts, his heart is aching and he’s just exhausted. He feels like he could and should sleep for the next century. But he still needs to fill his friends in on what happened, he just doesn’t feel like talking anymore.

His mind is still spinning and everything around him feels kind of surreal, like the last hours haven’t happened. Tears prick at his eyes again but this time he forces himself to keep them in, he cried enough.

It’s surprising his body even has enough water to produce more tears given how dehydrated he feels. The screen of his phone keeps blurring before his eyes as he removes Taehyung from their group chat and tries to type the hurricane of events which happened in a single message. He keeps deleting it again and again before he finally settles on one text and hits send. He doesn’t have the strength to call each and everyone or even a single one of them and explain everything again so he hopes that they’ll be satisfied with a text too.

First of all, sorry Jin for not coming to work but I don’t think I’ll be able to leave the apartment this weekend, I’ll be back by Monday and explain everything in detail. Right now I just want to sleep and forget everything that happened today. I… Honestly, I don’t know how to explain this over text but I’ll try. Please don’t add Taehyung back and don’t. Don’t try to contact me this weekend. I, Taehyung has been lying to us about everything. I don’t know if any of you keep up with the media but if so you might have already heard. It seems like he’s going to act again and rumors say he’s dating his co-star – a girl I found in his contacts and he sneaked off to meet. The public believes he’s been in rehab this whole time and he made me sign a non-disclosure contract stating that they’ll be able to sue me if I or anyone who I told about his real whereabouts goes to the press or the public. He’s been lying all these months and I just, I don’t think I’ll be okay but I’ll try. I just need to be alone for a while, please understand and don’t go and kill him or confront him about anything. I just want to forget any of this ever happened.

He stares at himself in the bathroom mirror for a few minutes. He looks horrible. His dark hair is standing up in all directions, his eyes are red and puffy, still glistening with the remains of tears. His nose is running, lips chapped and dry. The tears streaks on his cheeks run over red blotches that always appear on his pale skin when he cries. He feels horrible. There’s still the distinct taste of bile in the back of his throat and he bends down to drink water only to get rid of it.

When he went to therapy those few times as a kid he remembers the woman telling him to clean himself after crying. Clean everything, your body, your clothes, strip down your bed and redo it only to go and lay into something freshly made. Maybe it’ll help to forget the crushing void in his chest for a little while.

The ringing in his ears hasn’t stopped for a moment but he supposes it’s better than the complete silence he would have to endure otherwise. A silence in which every dark thought of his could come creeping in with practiced ease. He starts by taking off his shirt, chugging it in the corner of the room. He pulls off his socks one by one and then his sweatpants follow. He stares at himself in the mirror again, without really recognizing himself. The pale and fragile boy staring back at him is nothing like the him he used to know. The him that was strong, fierce and loved with his whole heart. The boy in the mirror looked like he would break because of one feathery touch.

He pulls off his underwear and steps under the lukewarm stream of water. As he stands there motionless he keeps thinking about the water bill but he couldn’t bring himself to hurry or turn off the stream again. He lets the water roll down his whole body like that, lets it numb the pain in his muscles because it’s the only one he could do anything against. The pain inside of him keeps growing.

The water cleanses his skin and maybe he cried a little again but he couldn’t be sure. After what feels like an eternity he rubs shampoo in his hair and tries to clean his whole body of his smell. Taehyung’s smell which he couldn’t possibly catch but thinks he does. It’s impossible but Yoongi scrubs his skin until it turns an angry red. He scrubs so violently that it almost hurts as if he wants to erase the feeling of the other’s hands on his body. It’s like he feels his fingers trailing over his spine, down his arms, on his cheeks and he just wants to get rid of the sensation. He scrubs until his whole body is red and the water has started pooling around his ankles.

He spends the weekend alone – only accompanied by his family. His friends do as he said, there are a few messages in the group chat but no one comes around, no one calls and no one messages him privately. Not even the two most motherly people in their group, Seokjin, and Jimin both stay out of his business for those two days. He needs those days. He cries until there seem to be no tears left but he continues to sob. In the night his cousins, all three of them, sneak into his room and he wakes up smothered by three children in the next morning.

They’re all acting like they’re walking on eggshells around him and basically they are. He feels like breaking every time he thinks of what happened. It’s – He still can’t believe it. He wakes up both mornings thinking that everything has been nothing but a bad dream. Unfortunately, the hole in his chest is very real and hurts so much that it’s hard to breathe properly.

 

Yoongi returns Monday night from his shift at the café and as he looks in the mirror he can’t help but agree with all of his friends. He does look horrible, like a wreck. It should have been hardly surprising that more than one customer asked for his wellbeing today. But to his credit, it’s been two days since the incident and he spent the whole Saturday and Sunday not doing anything but wallow in self-pity.

No matter where he looks he sees snippets of Taehyung and every time his heart breaks a little more even though he thinks it must have been ripped to shreds by now. But every time it surprises him again and again. He can’t go on like this. He can’t afford to be like this for a long time. He has a family to care for, people who depend on him, people who need him to survive and he’s not going to let a heartbreak keep him from doing everything he can to provide for his family. No matter how bad it hurts, he can’t afford to suffer all the time.

Back in the days, he has really been into journalism, even thinking about doing that in the future but then the accident happened and his life went even more downhill than it already had been before. Still, he had liked journalism for a long time. Serious journalism, so how he ends up on one of BuzzFeed's articles is beyond him.

The headline glares at him in the darkness of the room like a lion ready to pounce and devour him. 19 Things Everyone Should Do After A Break-up. He can’t believe he’s doing this. But he can’t fall asleep, Taehyung is the only thing on his mind even though he’s the only thing he tries to forget so desperately. Maybe somehow this dumb article would help him. He can’t cry forever.

1. Change your bedsheets

Yoongi smiles to himself. That’s an easy first task and even though he has already done that after his crying session he does it again, just because. He’s as quiet as possible because everyone else is sleeping or trying to sleep by now. He strips his sheets off the mattress and throws it along with the blanket and pillowcase in a corner of his room. Somehow it feels liberating.

He tiptoes through the living room and gets new sheets. This one has flower patterns and as soon as his bed is freshly made he falls face first into it. The fresh smell invades his senses and he inhales deeply. This is great. He looks back at his phone again, next step:

2. Hide your ex from all social feeds ASAP.

Well, that’s easy. He doesn’t possess any social media other than messaging apps and blocking Taehyung has been one of the first things he’s done. So, that’s a definite check number two.

3. Create a break-up playlist.

That’s gonna be fun, he thinks and then stops. Fun, huh? That’s been the last thing on his mind for the last three days. Music, one thing which could settle his mind from everything else. A thing that silences every bad thought in his head.

He settles back against the pillows and gets out his phone. This should kill the time he wouldn’t have spent sleeping anyway tonight. Sometime around 2 o’clock, Yoongi is finally completely satisfied with his playlist. Or playlists, to be precise. He’s made several – depending on his mood. One for when he just wants to cry, feel the pain of his loss and betrayal pierce through him. Then there’s the one which just makes him feel good, still break-up songs but mostly things like Taylor Swift. And the last one is for when he feels angry at the younger for putting him through all this.

Yoongi bookmarks the website before going to sleep – way too late. And even though he’s almost falling asleep during his shift the next day, it was totally worth it.

He keeps replaying the playlists over and over again. Especially to check off point four on the list of nineteen things everyone should do after a heartbreak.

4. Let yourself be sad.

Holy shit does Yoongi do this. He lets himself be sad anywhere and everywhere. He curls up on the couch and watches Dramas on his old laptop, rewatches Jennifer Aniston movies which make him cry all night long. He lets himself be sad when he’s in the breakroom at work or when he’s on his way home and in the food aisle at the grocery store because he sees Taehyung’s favorite snack.

He lets himself be sad whenever he feels like it. He cries in the shower, he cries when someone orders the same drink as Taehyung – even though he doesn’t do it in front of the customer but in a more private setting, later – and he cries when he’s playing with his cousins. When he sees it in their eyes and just knows what they are thinking. They want the younger back just as much as he wants him back.

The problem is, they don’t understand why Taehyung is gone. What he’s done and Yoongi doesn’t have the heart to tell them that none of them ever meant anything to the younger male. He thinks it’s better to let them suffer from the loss at the beginning and not break them like Taehyung did to him.

 

Over the course of the next weeks, he’s slowly continuing to follow every step on the list – repeating some more then other’s. For example, he keeps updating his playlists or he has days where he doesn’t need to let himself be sad but then he has other’s where he can’t help the overwhelming pressure behind his eyes and the empty void in his heart.

5. Go on an Ex detox

Yoongi would say that this step is easy peasy or that’s what he thought. His number is already blocked but there are still the unread messages sitting in his chat. He doesn’t dare to open them – He can’t. But there are also Taehyung’s things around the whole apartment. Small snippets Yoongi hasn’t even acknowledged before but now he can’t help but feel like they’re piercing through him the second he spots them.

Loose shirts throughout his room, a little too big to belong to his oversized collection. The bright pink toothbrush next to his own, the freaking shampoo which smells like strawberries – the first time Yoongi catches the scent again he almost throws up on the spot. It reminds him too much of the younger.

He takes all the things – everything that belongs to the younger and puts it in a box. He planned to put the box into his cellar to leave them there because he would feel bad for destroying everything – even though he sometimes wishes he would do that. All sort of clothes originally belonging to him get thrown in the washing machine to get rid of the smell of Taehyung. The smell somehow still haunting Yoongi even though he doesn’t have any idea what could probably be the cause of it. He’s sure he got rid of everything.

Only the memories remain.

He ignores step six and seven in favor of linking five and eight together. 8. Ask a friend to hold on to your keepsakes and mementos. The box in the cellar goes to Seokjin’s house and then all the pictures he had – every single one he would like to delete gets sorted into one folder and sent to Jimin’s phone. The younger is keeping them for him, maybe someday Yoongi will be able to look back on all of this as nothing more than a memory. Right now it doesn’t feel like this. It feels like he’ll never be able to be happy again like his heart has been torn apart a second time in his life. And now, there won’t ever be someone who’s able to put it back together.

 

It’s been two weeks and Yoongi decides to continue with his secret bucket list of getting over his heartbreak. Step number six comes in handy because he already thought for the last few days that he needs to change something, anything. This seems to be a good opportunity.

6. Try out a new look you’ve always wanted to rock.

The idea comes to him when he’s grocery shopping again, pockets a little bit fuller than normal because there have been a lot of tips today. He knows he got a little money to spare, money he should put aside but his eyes stay glued to the pack of hair dye in front of him. Step number six appears in his mind and he thinks, why the fuck not?

He grabs the pack and makes his way back home with quicker steps. It only takes about an hour but after Yoongi steps out of the shower again he looks into the mirror and doesn’t recognize himself at first. Which is a good thing? Change, he needs to change in order to move on and forget about Kim Taehyung.

The wet, blonde strands are a big contrast to the dark brown he’s used to but that’s okay. He smiles a bit at himself. He’s going to be okay. He’ll get through this. He went through worse shit. Some guy breaking his goddamn heart isn’t going to ruin his whole life forever. He has been through worse and he will survive this.

7. Post a killer new profile pic.

Okay, that’s not what he’s gonna do. He stares at step seven for a little while longer. He supposes he could do that. His Kakao profile needs an update anyway and he just got a new hair color. It would be good to let everyone who has his contact know that he looks different now. Yes, he should totally do that.

If someone would ask him why he spent extra thirty minutes in the bathroom he definitely wouldn’t tell them it was because he tried to take a selfie he found decent. Not to mention that it was kind of hard trying to fake a smile, he’s never been good at posing for pictures. How Taehyung got him to do it so many times is beyond him.

There it is again. A thoughtless wander of his mind and he feels like crying again. He misses Taehyung. He hates him for what he did but he still misses him the most. He has been the first person to treat him like that, to love him like that and Yoongi is positive he would never find someone like him again. Which would be a logical thing considering that Taehyung has only acted, only pretended he loved Yoongi like he did. How did he ever let himself believe that someone like Taehyung would fall for someone like Yoongi? Someone so out of his league and obviously not fitting with him. Yoongi repeats step four once again and he lets himself cry for a little while.

 

The more he tries to complete the list, the more he stumbles upon points he feels rather uneasy about. Or points he won’t be able to complete. Like step nine.

9. Get your heart rate up.

Yeah, when has been the last time he took part in any physical exercise which isn’t climbing flights of stairs? But he is desperate and open for new things. He starts his new motivation on a Thursday, after his shift in the café finishes he goes to change in the backroom just as Seokjin walks in.

“What are you doing?” The elder asks warily, eyes traveling over Yoongi’s form clad in sweatpants and a thin cotton shirt. He’s still trying to pull on the old running shoes of his uncle which have been catching dust for a few years now.

“Changing,” He responds curtly. Struggling with the laces of one of the shoes.

“Yeah, I see that but why – are those running shoes?” Seokjin exclaims like he only noticed the usage of the shoes now. Given that he’s been losing sleep because he barely finds someone to cover the shift of the boy who just quit last week it’s understandable that he’s a little slow. Yoongi would help him if he could but he really can’t take any more shifts.

“Yup, old ones from my uncle but yeah, running shoes,” He replies, silently cheering as he manages to pull on the second shoe. Small victories, he takes small steps towards getting better every day.

“Why?”

“I’m going to run home.”

“Excuse me, you’re going to do what?” Seokjin splutters, almost dropping the cup of coffee he had brought along.

“Running, sports, is that so unlikely?” He chuckles lightly.

“A little, considering it’s you we’re talking about,” Seokjin remarks and Yoongi can’t help but agree with the elder.

But against his expectations, the running actually feels liberating. It’s exhausting and his muscles ache like hell the next day but now he runs home from the café almost every time. He saves the money for the bus and is able to get high of endorphins flooding his body after a few minutes of running.

 

The steps are his only way to cope in the next weeks. Weeks turn into months and Taehyung pops up again everywhere around him. They have started to promote the Drama and no matter where Yoongi looks, Taehyung’s face is staring back at him in the form of posters, or from various displays and screens. He tries to ignore it but sometimes he can’t. He relies on the steps to catch him.

10. Have some cat cuddles.

He visits Hoseok and his cat frequently, talking shit with him about the new soap opera airing and just enjoying the younger man’s company. The male has always been easy to be around with, especially if Yoongi could use some cheering up.

Cat cuddles aren’t enough for him though. He’s also a regular visitor to Namjoon and Seokjin and their respective dogs. Both of them gladly take him along to their walks or just let him inside and be quiet, with his own thoughts while petting their dogs. Yoongi couldn't wish for – he couldn’t imagine better friends than the ones he has.

11. Party with your BFFs.

Yoongi doesn’t like partying too much. He doesn’t go clubbing and he doesn’t drown himself in alcohol. His definition of partying with his BFFs is their monthly Friday movie night. It gets altered. Now it’s bimonthly, twice a month they get together and just laugh, watch silly shows or movies and Yoongi can forget everything for a few hours.

He loves it. His friends have made it their goal to cheer him up, to make him laugh and not feel alone. It’s hard to get all six of them together but two or three or even four is more likely. Yoongi gets visited by them more often, they come to the café whenever they can to chat with him and Seokjin. They do everything they can for him and Yoongi can’t even express how grateful he is for that.

12. Get your flirt on.

Well, that’s something he’s never been good at. He doesn’t want to flirt either. He’s not ready for that yet – and probably never will but that has nothing to do with his broken heart. He hasn’t flirted with anyone before this whole incident either.

Does it count as flirting when he’s being extra nice to the old lady who sits behind the counter of his favorite corner store? Maybe? Probably not but Yoongi checks the step off his list anyway.

13. Go on a trip.

A trip to the aquarium it is, due to the absence of money and his need to still take care of his family. He takes the trip with his family and his heart beats faster again when Chul doesn’t seem to be able to keep his mouth shut during their whole stay.

As much as he loved the trip, he also kind of hates it. It remembers him of Taehyung again. Way too much. They way Chul talks about every fish, in the same animated voice Taehyung has always used to describe things he was passionate about is more than similar. It hurts Yoongi but he doesn’t let it show.

He can let himself be sad when he’s home again. He can’t start crying everywhere anymore. It’s been a long time already but his heart doesn’t feel any better. The pain is still there, thrumming against his ribs like a constant reminder of what happened. Maybe it dulled, the pain or maybe he only got used to it by now.

 

Step fourteen is easy for him. Don’t be afraid to stay in. He does. He stays in whenever he feels like it, canceling plans with his friends while feeling less and less guilty every time because he slowly realizes it’s his right to do what he needs to do in order to feel better. It’s his right to say no and to look after himself if he needs to.

Stay in days are days spent mostly with his family. He tries to loosen up Chul again, getting him out of his shell and he encourages Jiae’s wild imagination the other kids mock sometimes and then he continues to support and motivate Shin in his advances towards everything he shows interest in. The eldest gets so insecure easily and he wishes he could take that self-doubt away with the snap of his fingers but he can’t. That doesn’t mean he won’t try.

But sometimes stay in days mean that he’s locking himself up in his room, headphones on and blasting one of his playlists or sleeping in or just sitting there doing nothing. Sometimes he needs that and he realizes how much time he actually has even though he’s working as hard and as long as he did before he even met Taehyung. He doesn’t know why but somehow it doesn’t feel as exhausting and tiring as it did back then. The only thing making his motivation suffer is the sadness that sometimes drops down on him and stays above his head like a continuous raining cloud for the whole day.

 

15. Get outside of your comfort zone.

Well, Yoongi thinks that this is exactly what’s trying to do in the last months and it’s working. The biggest step for him though is when he searches out the leader of the local street gang he’s been involved with. He knows, he knows that they only come and seek him out again and again for fights because he always gives in. Because they knew that he needed the fights to blow of steam, he needed them back then but Yoongi doesn’t want to need them anymore. When he left the gang back then he never really left. That’s what they knew and used. He would still willingly perform in the street fights but he doesn’t want that anymore.

That’s why he goes, despite a racing heart, despite clammy hands and bad memories tied to the place he’s been regularly seeing for some part of his life. A part of his life he wants to finish, to lock away in the past. It’s been easier than he thought it would. The members – especially the leader – he’s been rather close to them. He’s been young and looked up to them back then but now he’s an adult and he doesn’t want to be involved with them anymore. Strangely, they understand. They’re not the mafia, of course not. They're a local gang of small drug dealers, shoplifters, and fighters in a bad neighborhood. Not the Japanese mafia where you won’t be able to get out off. He shouldn’t have worried so much. Especially given that he’s never been more than a small errand boy and someone who came by sometimes to blow off steam with fighting.

Yoongi explains for what feels like hours why he wants to cut all ties with this part of his past. “I have little children to care for, a family I needs to provide for. I try to manage my anger without getting into fights anymore. I’m not a teenager looking up to you anymore, I’m an adult and I just wants to be left alone.”

The leader lets him go easily. Promising to tell his people to not look for him again. They’ll leave him alone from now on. If he had known how easy it would have been he would have done it years ago. Okay, maybe he wouldn’t have. Maybe not because he hadn’t been like he is right now.

He tells himself he’ll fulfill step number sixteen when he has the time to do it and appreciate a good book like it deserves to be appreciated. Especially if it comes from Namjoon’s recommendations. The other male is the best to go to if you want good and thoughtful recommendations on anything, books, music, movies – whatever.

 

17. Pour your heart out to your best friend.

That’s a thing he does with every one of his friends alone. Every single one of them is different and that’s how Yoongi appreciates them and their differences. He goes to Seokjin to have someone his age to talk to, someone who can be serious when he needs to but lightens the mood with jokes all the times.

He goes to Hoseok when he just wants to be quiet. It seems like a paradox, that he goes to one of the loudest and energetic people of his friends to seek out silence and calmness. Then there’s Namjoon, the person he goes to when he doesn’t want to talk or think. The person who can talk to him for hours with his soothing voice and stroke his fingers through his hairs while making him feel so, so comfortable.

Jimin is the person he’ll go to when he needs physical contact. The young boy believes he could end every problem in the world with a big hug and a bright smile. He’s the one with the soft hands which trail over your back, murmurs of understanding and reassurance in your ear and the feeling of laying on a white, fluffy cloud.

Still, he can’t talk with any of them about every small detail. Not with any of them but Jeongguk. He asks the youngest for listening to his most heartfelt thoughts because he’s the one who understands him the most. Every one of his friends fits to have a deep conversation with but he chooses Jeongguk out of them because he struggles with the same things. Jeongguk can’t really voice his emotions, he has troubles expressing himself at times or even recognizing the different emotions swirling in his chest. Just like Yoongi does.

He feels the most comfortable with the younger while talking about everything, about the deepest emotions in his heart and the most complicated thoughts in his mind because he knows the other will understand him the best.

 

Yoongi is sure he’s making progress. He does a lot now. He feels better most of the times and he manages to smile more often. That doesn’t mean the Taehyung shaped hole inside of him isn’t there anymore. He still wakes up facing the crushing feeling of being left alone, of being betrayed like that and treated like a worthless joke.

His eyes read the last two steps and that’s when he cries again.

He’s sitting up on the roof of their apartment complex. The night air around him is cool, the stars barely visible through the thick layer of clouds and smoke from the emissions. And it’s now that he remembers the promise Taehyung made to him one evening they spent up here.

”Hyung, I promise to take you somewhere to watch the stars with me. Somewhere prettier than here. Somewhere where I can try to count them all because I would dedicate my whole life to counting them just to prove how much I love you.”

Yoongi cries until there are no tears left and he only feels exhaustion. He’s made so much progress… so why does he feel like standing at square one all over again?

 

 

18. Appreciate the positive things about your relationship.

 

19. Forgive and forget.

Chapter Text

Taehyung spends almost every minute of every day thinking about Yoongi.

 

His old apartment looks the way he remembers leaving it months ago, the dust has collected on every available surface and the air is stuffy. When he looks around he’s reminded of a life he hasn’t really been living. A past that feels like centuries ago even though it’s only been a few months. It’s like stepping into a time machine and traveling back because here he stands, not at all the same person who had to leave months ago but this place looks like he’s never really been gone.

The living room looks as spotless as the day he left because he never really spent his time here. The kitchen is empty too, it reeks, the takeout boxes with half eaten food must have caught mold. Obviously, they have. He opens the fridge door not surprised to find nothing but two bottles of beer staring back at him, an opened bottle of some expensive champagne next to them. He closes the door again and sits back.

He remembers how much he had missed the luxury of his apartment. How he realized that things he considered normal and being present in every household were things reserved for people like him. How many nights has he laid awake dreaming of his king sized bed, his soft mattress or his tub filled with hot water and salts? Too many to count but being back now… It doesn’t feel good at all.

His feet carry him through the living room and into the spacious bathroom. There is the huge shower cubicle made of glass right next to his tub where two people could easily fit. His sink is under an enormous mirror almost covering the whole wall. All his things are still there, his shampoo bottles, the conditioners, body wash, his toothbrush, his beauty products – everything. But it doesn’t feel good.

He leaves the room behind and enters his bedroom. The curtains are drawn like always, he’s never opened them because he would just wake up with a hangover and curse the light filtering through the huge windows. This time he does open the curtains so he can look over the pathetic sight of his room.

The bed is unmade, clothes are strewn across it, there’s even a used ashtray next to his pillow. The stench inside of this room is worse than in the kitchen. Alcohol bottles cover the floor, plates with unfinished food and takeout boxes joining them. It’s disgusting and Taehyung quickly opens the window to let fresh air inside. His gaze falls on his wardrobe, one door open the other is closed. He catches his own eyes in the mirror and sees the pure exhaustion in his features. God, he feels like crying again.

As he looks through the drawers of his desk he pulls out several small packets of weed and cocaine he forgot about. The memories quickly catch up to him and now he really does cry.

This feels nothing like coming home after a long time. It feels like being caged again like he got a taste of freedom for some while only to be locked away again now.

Yoongi hasn’t been right about him. He did change. He’s not the same Kim Taehyung he was before meeting the elder. But he would never be able to prove that to the other, not when he would risk his safety in the process. It’ll hurt, it already does but he would rather feel guilty for the rest of his life than risk Yoongi’s health and safety or his family. It’s the best for him if he stays away from the elder.

His eyes slowly get droopy, he has been walking all night, trying to clear his head but nothing helped. Now it must be around seven in the morning but he doesn’t feel like going to sleep. Even though exhaustion makes it complicated for him to continue moving or staying awake and focused. He feels energy running under his skin, ready to be released.

If he can’t prove to Yoongi that he has changed then he could at least prove it to himself.

Without even giving it much thought he gets up from the chair and retrieves a big plastic bag from the kitchen – he might have searched a little too long for it to be considered normal but it’s not like he really knows where everything is. He had a maid who did all chores and sorted through his things, he has never moved one lazy finger in this apartment. His parents must have gotten rid of her the second they got rid of him. Poor woman, he remembers her sometimes talking about her small son. Not like he really gave her any pity back then but now, now he’s changed.

He starts in the kitchen, shoving all the trash into the back and moves on to the living room. He searches a little until he finds the remains of cigarettes under to table and two half-empty bottles of vodka under the couch. His bath looks fine so next up is his bedroom.

As he steps into it the air is already a little better than before, less stuffy and better smelling – fresher. He works quickly through this too, hardly sparing half of the things that wander into the bag a glance. Bottles, the packets of weed and cocaine, cigarettes, old bottles of lube and expired condoms. It’s disgusting what he finds somewhere but he supposes it fitted the lifestyle he lead back then. Under his bed is a bra and panties from a different set of underwear and they vanish in the bag as quickly as everything else.

His clothes come next, he pulls off the ones he’s wearing and changes into something far more comfortable before picking all the other loose articles of clothing up from the floor. He locates the door where his old maid kept all the cleaning supplies easily and among them is the washing machine. To be honest, this one makes him a little scared. It’s – It looks different from the one in the cellar of Yoongi’s apartment complex. It looks – more high tech and Taehyung feels a little bit lost at the many buttons in front of him.

“Okay,” He whispers to himself, eyes zeroing in on the Power bottom, “This can’t be so hard.” The display comes to life. Well, at least some things are the same as he’s used to. He opens the round door and stuffs his laundry inside as he scans the options presented to him. There are too many. Way too many and he just presses one on pure luck before searching for some kind of opening to put the washing powder in. As he finally locates it he’s confronted with yet another problem. There are four different kinds of washing powders in front of him and he chooses randomly again. When he presses start he expects the machine to roar alive with a sound akin to thunder, like he’s used to but the machine starts running without making a sound. He eyes it with suspicion but it’s really working so he leaves to take care of the other things still waiting for him.

He puts the bag full of trash next to the door before opening his fridge and pouring all the remaining alcohol down the drain. The bottles go next to the bag. At least he feels slightly better now and he wants coffee. Normally he hates the taste but he needs something to keep himself awake. Just as he’s searching through his cupboards for everything he needs to brew himself some fresh coffee he hears keys jingle in front of the door and then it opens.

“Hello?” He calls out and looks around the corner to catch his old maid gasping in shock as she sees him.

“Master Kim!” She exclaims, holding her knees as she heaves. “You scared me. I – uhm – I didn’t think you would be awake this early.”

He smiles at her timidly and her eyes grow wide like she’s seen a ghost. Well, this might be the first time he smiled at her. A few months ago she was invisible to him, working around him and vanishing during the night only to come back the next day and care for everything. He has treated her like shit and he feels so guilty at the moment. He doesn’t even remember if she looks different from the last time he saw her and that’s just sad.

“I arrived here only early in the morning,” He explains and lowers his gaze to the ground. He wants to apologize for treating her like this all the time but he feels like words wouldn’t be enough. He’s changed, if he can’t prove it to Yoongi then he can prove it to himself and to the woman who did everything for him without ever complaining. “I didn’t go to bed at all.”

“Oh,” She sounds pretty awkward. Taehyung imagines what she had done the time he was gone – cleaning his apartment wasn’t it. Had she cleaned at his parent's house? Was she fired and hired back after he was set to return to his apartment? He would want to ask but he’s a little scared of the answer. “You should go to sleep now then, master Kim,” She says and he looks up to see her attempting to take off her coat and walking toward the kitchen, “I’ll start cleaning right away, I’m sorry you had to find your apartment in such a state but I only got the key back this morning and I hurried here as fast as I could but my son is sick and –“

“It’s okay,” He interrupts her quickly, raising his hands reassuringly, “You don’t need to worry, I – I'm glad you’re here, to be honest. I mean, this apartment feels… it doesn’t matter. I started cleaning already, I mean I’ve gathered the trash from all the rooms and started on doing laundry –“

“You… You what?” The woman asks and the disbelief on her face is more than obvious. Taehyung couldn’t blame her, after all, she has never witnessed him doing anything to help her with the chores and anything that hadn’t to do with acting or partying.

He smiles sheepishly, a step to reconciliation. “We can relax for a while if you want? I was about to make coffee?” He phrases it more like a question than a statement, shy of rejection because of his past mistakes but the woman only nods slowly before carefully walking toward him and the kitchen. His smile gets brighter and bigger with each step she takes. The apartment feels less scary with someone familiar around. It feels a tiny bit more like coming home.

“Please drop the ‘master Kim’, you can just call me Taehyung.”

 

-

 

Taehyung hasn’t got much time to think about Yoongi once they start recording the Drama and he’s glad because of this. It makes him worry less because there’s literally no capacity for guilt or something else to creep inside. Not when his head is filled with line after line of text, not when his body is busy with remembering when he’s walking where, when he raises his hand and when to look at Eunji like she’s the most beautiful star in the whole galaxy.

He doesn’t have time to think about Yoongi because when his mind isn’t busy with the things above then he’s either rehearsing for himself or sleeps. It’s busy but he can’t forget about Yoongi for long. The elder follows him like a predator who caught his smell and is slowly creeping up on him, waiting to pounce when he’s the weakest. If he’s not thinking about him while he’s awake, then the elder appears in his dreams and it’s only a matter of weeks until he feels like suffocating without seeing Yoongi.

Every day his eyes stray to his phone and the candid shots of Yoongi in it. Them laying together on the elder’s mattress, Yoongi’s cheek squished to his chest and a little drool stuck to his lips while his lashes still fan over his cheeks beautifully. Yoongi standing behind the counter at the café and making a face at the camera because he noticed Taehyung taking pics of him. Yoongi animatedly playing with Jiae and her puppet on the couch. Yoongi with a big smile on his lips as he holds Chul on his shoulder. Yoongi with food smeared on his cheeks. Yoongi with tears in his eyes. Yoongi with swollen lips because they had made out for a long time. Yoongi, Yoongi, Yoongi just Yoongi.

 

 

They don’t have a lot of recording left to do. It’s the second last day already and summer is over, fall almost too and winter approaches them fast. The producers hope to put the movie together perfectly timed for Christmas spirit to influence the people into watching it. After all, it features the magic of Christmas time to help two people fall in love with each other. He’s kind of glad it’s over, for now, the recording but they’ll still do a lot of interviews and promotional work but at least he’ll be able to rest a lot more now. It’s been an exhausting time.

His hood is pulled over his head and a mask up over his nose, as he sneaks away from the filming location. The early darkness of the evening helps him hide in the shadows even further. He can’t afford anyone noticing where he goes to regularly in the evenings and he definitely didn’t need some fans spotting him and hindering him to go to the place he longs to be every second of the day.

Until now no one has ever caught him, no one knows what he’s doing in secret and he supposes it’ll stay like that if he just continues being as careful as the first day. His face is plastered everywhere now and people recognize him easier. He can’t sneak away if there’s always attention on him in some way.

“Where are you going?” The voice makes him stop dead in his tracks. His heart is beating in his throat and cold sweat starts breaking out all over his body. He slowly turns around, shock obviously pulling on his facial expression only to come face to face with a confused looking Bogum. “I thought we’d go drinking?” The sigh of relief he was about to heave gets stuck in his throat at the question – at least it’s just Bogum who caught him. The elder male has become his closest friend over the last months they spend recording second after second for his movie.

“Uhm, I’m sorry, I forgot I was already busy,” He lies quickly and where is his acting talent when he needs it the most? His lie must have been so fucking obvious but he needs to pull through with it now. He remembers telling Bogum he would accompany him tonight but he has – he needs to be somewhere else more urgently. “Maybe next time?”

“Sure,” Bogum smiles and waves slightly. Taehyung can’t believe it, he bought it. He bought the lie and he’s already turning around again when Bogum makes another comment which really sends him into a panic. “Just make sure no one recognizes you when you see him.”

He winces, stops walking and his shoulders drop in defeat. “Please don’t tell my father,” Taehyung whispers in fear. He hopes he judged Bogum right, he hopes – he prays that the elder isn’t like most people around him. He prays that he won’t blackmail him because he knows what Taehyung is up to when he sneaks away.

“Tae, we’re friends, right?” Bogum’s voice is soft as he speaks and he raises one eyebrow at the other in question. Taehyung slowly nods and his doubts slip away a bit – hopefully, Bogum will remember that they’re friends when someone asks him about Taehyung’s whereabouts and whether he sees Yoongi or not. “Why would I sell you out? I wouldn’t gain anything from that so why do you even think I would do that?”

“… I don’t know,” Taehyung whispers, head hanging low in shame. Over the course of the last months, Bogum has become his closest friend, a shoulder he could cry on and someone who would support him and talk him out of his insecurities. But he still couldn’t have helped the small spark of fear running through him because the elder seems to know about his visits to Yoongi.

“I’m not an asshole. You can trust me and I mean, I’ve known for a long time now,” Bogum continues to talk and Taehyung lets the tension drop from his shoulders once the elder’s hands come down on them and start to massage them lightly, “You give him money, right? From your salary? That’s why you ask for two different checks, so your father doesn’t ask what you use the money for.”

He bites the inside of his cheek as he feels tears bubbling up again. God, it’s really pathetic. How he can still easily cry after months of leaving Yoongi by just talking about him. The thing is, Bogum is right. Completely right. Taehyung does give a certain amount of money to Yoongi every month, the check is delivered by himself. He knows when he can sneak into the building and leave the envelope behind for the other’s to find. He feels guilty for doing it but like this, he can convince himself that he’s trying to help Yoongi. He still wants to support him but it looks like the elder male doesn’t give a shit about it. Taehyung is sure that money must be pretty tight for them again, now they have to pay more for heating too and Yoongi is again the only one working but not one of the checks has been cashed in yet.

He has been strong the first few weeks and apart from the first check he hadn’t even thought about Yoongi but then he broke. Easily like a twig, without any fight. Establishing a routine was easy but hiding not so much. Now he opts for sneaking around in the darkness of the evening, hiding his face behind masks and a hood to stay anonymous and then he would spend his time across the street from the café. If anyone has noticed him hanging around the area more than normal and looking pretty suspicious then no one has reported him yet to anyone. He’s almost invisible while he stays in the shadows and watches through the glass front how Yoongi works behind the counter.

Sometimes he even dares to go during the day, once he even entered the café but the second Yoongi turned around to look through the room he fled. Too afraid of being recognized – or too afraid of looking him right in the face? To be honest, Taehyung feels nothing more than fear and guilt eating him alive every time his mind settles down from his stressful days. He wants to see Yoongi, he wants to see his brown eyes again but he’s too afraid of seeing the betrayal, the hate in those orbs he loves so much. Still loves so much.

“Yeah…” He confirms Bogum’s question and his voice trembles a bit with the effort of sounding calm and collected when all he wants to do is break down sobbing again, “He, I mean, he hasn’t cashed in any of the checks, yet.”

“And you still try?” The elder raises one eyebrow in question and Taehyung just nods.

“I know it’s too dangerous to talk to him or something but that doesn’t mean that I won’t try to support him. He’s the innocent one in all of this and I am the one who fucked up…” This time he couldn’t help but let his voice crack at the end and to his horror, he feels one of the tears he so desperately tries to hold back slipping from his eye. He quickly looks up and the sad expression on his friends face tells him that he’s seen it.

“You still love him,” Bogum states.

“Well, of course, I do,” Taehyung laughs but there isn’t any amusement in his voice. It sounds more hollow like he’s lost all hope of ever laughing out of happiness again. And maybe that’s true. “If you’d know him you would understand.”

“I think I know what you mean and maybe, one day I’ll meet him for real.”

“My father has to be dead first,” Taehyung jokes before wiping his face clean and nodding to Bogum. He turns around to go and see Yoongi working the late night shift again.

“Be careful.”

He ignores Bogum’s words and leaves without a goodbye. The tears continue to drip down.

 

-

 

Jimin has tried to support Yoongi even more than before. He knows his friend needs him more than ever and he tries to be there for him every second of the day but his job is preventing him from doing so. It’s not like he could call in sick almost every day, he can’t just leave early all the time and he needs to meet his deadlines too. But he still tries as much as he can.

When he got to know Yoongi he was intimidated by him at first, only convinced that he wouldn’t murder him on the spot because Seokjin and Hoseok both pledged that he’s just rough on the outside. And he quickly found out that his friends were right from the start and through the friendship with Min Yoongi he found more friends. Jeongguk, the shy boy who looked up to his two older friends like they knew everything in the world. And then Namjoon, the oldest friend of Yoongi and someone who Jimin too kept close to his heart.

Anyway, during the years he now already knows Yoongi he’s never seen him like this. He admired the elder because Yoongi is a fighter, no matter how bad a situation may look he always keeps going, a smile on his face to reassure his family. He gives up everything to provide for his family and works himself to the bone and Jimin admires this dedication but he also worries a lot about him. They all do but Yoongi refuses to accept money by anyone. He says that their mere presence in his life is enough support and that he can get through this on his own. Surprisingly he always does.

Jimin has seen him overcoming his struggle to find a job. He’s seen him getting Shin on the right track and study for school and not skip classes to smoke behind the gym with his so-called friends. He’s seen him taking care of Chul so careful and gentle and full of patience even though the small boy still wouldn’t utter a single word until he finally did. He’s seen him worked half to death but still smiling. He’s seen him giving his family everything and not getting anything for himself. But he survived every hardship he’s been faced with but Jimin has never seen him like this.

Yoongi survived so much so he wouldn’t have thought that it would take a heartbreak to tear the elder apart completely. But that’s exactly what happened and is still happening. Taehyung came into Yoongi’s life, ripped his heart out and took it with him along with the Yoongi who managed to survive every situation. No matter how hard the elder tries to keep the loose ends of himself together, no matter how many makeshift bandaids he applies to deep cuts which really need stitches and no matter how many times he tries to convince everyone that he’s fine they can all see he’s not.

The elder accepts their help, he lets them cook sometimes, he lets Seokjin and Namjoon pick up the kids after school, he lets Jeongguk come over and play with Jiae and he lets them drag him out of the apartment sometimes but nothing more. He isn’t talking with anyone about Taehyung, well, Jimin supposes he sometimes talks to Jeongguk but that’s it. Yoongi locks himself up in his own mind and they all know it’s only gonna be a matter of time until he’ll break completely. Rip through the makeshift fixes and falls face first on the cold, unforgiving ground.

To say that Jimin is angry at Taehyung is an understatement. If it weren’t for Yoongi who practically begged them to just forget about the whole thing and pretend like it never happened he would have waltzed right past security and onto the set of the fucking movie Taehyung is shooting right now and would have punched him right in his pretty face. But he doesn’t even sent him any angry messages or gives him furious calls for the sake of Yoongi. He tries to calm the fire in his chest by thinking that blocking the other is enough. (It’s not, at least not for him.)

Jimin enters the apartment of the elder with Jiae sleeping on his shoulder. He’s extra quiet and careful to not wake her up again as he closes the door behind him. Yoongi’s aunt greets him with a thankful smile but her eyes are rimmed red like she’s been crying. Her husband is in the kitchen, stirring something in a pot, his expression is grim and he doesn’t even move at Jimin’s entry. The living room is empty apart from them.

“Is Yoongi still sleeping?” He asks the adults. When he picked up Jiae to play with her Yoongi has been going to take a nap, that was over two hours ago and Jimin just wants to check on him – maybe tell him about his next assignment but only if he deems the elder stable enough not to break because of the news.

“He’s –“ Yoongi’s aunt shakes her head and a tired sigh leaves her lips, she balances Jiae on her hip, “I think he found one of his shirts, one that he left behind and he hasn’t stopped crying for over an hour now…”

A crying Yoongi who is hiding in his room is a Yoongi who just wants to be left alone with his own sadness for a while. Jimin knows that but it doesn’t lessen his urge to check up on the elder. It only increases it.

Yoongi doesn’t notice it when he carefully opens the door a little to peer inside. What greets him breaks his heart. He knows how Yoongi sounds when he really cries, when he cries of desperation, filled with sadness and like he’ll never be happy again but nothing could have prepared him for the sight in front of him now. Yoongi is kneeling on the mattress, feet tucked under him and his face buried in a sweatshirt he clutches like his life depends on it. The cries leaving his lips are filled with agony and send shivers down Jimin’s spine. Goosebumps break out over the other’s skin and just listening to Yoongi hurts like someone is squeezing his own chest until it feels like he’s going to suffocate.

It’s a heartbreaking scene and Jimin swears to himself that he won’t let Taehyung get away with ruining Yoongi like this. He can’t let him get away with living a good life now after ruining someone else’s like this. He’s got a plan and he’ll ignore Yoongi’s wish of not confronting the other. Someone has to do it, someone has to make Taehyung see what he destroyed with his own selfishness. And if that someone has to be Jimin then he gladly takes that responsibility.

 

-

 

The car is buzzing under him, city lights flashing past him as they drive through the busy streets of Seoul this evening. Taehyung keeps chewing on his bottom lip, his leg jumping up and down with nervousness. He hasn’t been able to have a clear thought since the second he woke up this morning. It’s the day, the big day of the premiere and the day where Taehyung couldn’t avoid any of the questions thrown at him by various reporters.

His heart is thumping in his throat, ears ringing and his hands are trembling. He doesn’t remember any of his previous premieres to be this nervewracking and he couldn’t just calm down. Bogum sits next to him in one of the comfortable seats, his hand is splayed over the younger’s knee and draws soothing circles on it. Even though it’s a nice gesture, it doesn’t help Taehyung at all.

“I think I can’t do this,” Taehyung’s voice trembles and he starts getting lightheaded. He doesn’t want to go out there, he doesn’t want to face all these paparazzi asking him questions about his supposed relationship with Eunji, forcing him to lie. He doesn’t want them to look at him trembling in fear and confirm all the things people have been saying about him. As if he had sworn off alcohol and drugs for good – people with bad habits stay bad. As if he’s been cast as a lead because of his talent just out of the blue. He probably paid Bogum or his father did. People haven’t been as welcoming to him as he might have wished for and he can’t take it anymore. The constant lying makes him sick to the stomach, he just wants to scream out the truth and properly explain everything to Yoongi. He doesn’t want all this. “I feel… I feel like I can’t breathe! Bogum, you gotta tell them that I’m not coming. I – I can’t –“

“Taehyung,” The elder grips Taehyung’s hands tightly which have started kneading the fabric of his suit jacket, crinkling the material. The younger clings to him like he’s his lifeline. “Take a deep breath and calm down. It’s okay. Tell me what’s up.”

“I don’t want to do this.” He heaves and is barely aware of the tear slipping from his eye again. It’ll ruin his makeup, he’ll probably be all over the media tomorrow for a little-smudged eyeliner around his eyes, crinkled clothes and raw bitten lips. “I don’t want to lie to all those people too. I won’t be able to dodge any question and I think they’ll all see. I mean they believe I only got the job because of my father or because I’m friends with you anyway. After everything that happened no one believes I’m all that talented and I –“

“Okay, stop,” Bogum interrupts him harshly. He tightly grips him by the shoulders and forces him to look at his face. “Your father might have told you that it’s his credit that I cast you but I decided. I wanted you to play for me and not anyone else. And for that lying, you could stop it now. You could tell them the truth, you could finally break free from your parent's clutches.”

“But he’ll hurt Yoongi,” Taehyung whispers – oh, how much he wished it would be so easy. But if he would tell everyone the truth Yoongi would be caught in the crossfire and Taehyung isn’t able to protect him on his own. He doesn’t have a set of connections to all kinds of influential people supporting him from behind like his father does. He would be powerless against him. “I can’t do that.”

“I know your father is – brutal and unforgiving but you aren’t alone. No matter what you think. You don’t fight him alone –“ The car turns around a corner and suddenly there is already a flurry of camera flashes. Taehyung feels himself getting even tenser as the car starts slowing down, preparing to stop in front of the red carpet to let them out. He could see other cast members just getting off the car in front of them. “– You’ve made yourself a name again, a lot of influential people are on your side again and I’m here. Let him try what he wants to do because, with all the support you now have, we can bail your boyfriend and his family out of everything. I promise you.”

The car stops and the driver walks around to open the door for them. As soon as it happens the formerly quiet air around them is filled with shouts of reporters trying to catch their attention, screaming for them to pose for pictures or trying to catch them for a quick interview before they’re going inside. Bogum quickly wipes around Taehyung’s eyes and fixes his crumpled shirt.

“Trust me,” The elder says as he leaves the car, sending a blinding smile Taehyung’s way and strangely it helps to lift the weight off his shoulders a little. That’s right – he just thinks he’s alone but he really isn’t. There’s Bogum, Eunji, there are the other cast members – he’s not alone in this and as he walks down the red carpet, a smile plastered on his lips, he makes a decision which could be the wrong one but he’s ready to risk it. He will protect Yoongi with everything he has.

And he has to stop lying. It’s been too long already.

Chapter Text

Taehyung settles in the middle of the long table, to his right sits Eunji and to his left Bogum just sits down. He lets his eyes roam over the huge room in front of him which is filled to the brim with people of the press, huge cameras are rolling and live recording this all for the Tv and the people watching this event at home. The nerves come back to him, creeping in quickly and he feels himself getting restless again.

“Deep breaths,” Bogum whispers next to him, one hand coming down on his thigh under the tablecloth to reassure him. Taehyung nods, more to himself than to his friend. He can do this. He will do this. This is just a press conference, a press conference which could change everything. From the corner of his eyes, he could see his parents standing in a secluded area, free of the press and with all the other people who were invited despite not being cast in the drama and so not a part of the conference taking place before the premiere. Two wide-open doors separate him and the other guests, him and his parents but it feels like they’re directly behind him, their hands on his throat, ready to squeeze if he makes one mistake.

He looks away, concentrating on not stumbling over his words as the whole cast introduces themselves before the questions begin. In his head, he’s still working out the perfect way to explain everything, letting all the other people answer the questions as he tries to collect his thoughts when a cough from Bogum makes him snap back to reality. One of the reporters is standing up, speaking in his microphone as he looks expectantly at Taehyung.

“Yes, hello, my question goes to Kim Taehyung and Jung Eunji,” The reporter says and Taehyung searches for his gaze in the crowd, as he lets his eyes stray for a second he catches sight of a familiar face. His heart stops beating for a second as he stares at the furious expression on the small male. Jimin stares back at him with so much fire that Taehyung fears the other will climb the stage in a second and murder him in front of all these people without caring for the consequences.

What is he doing here? Why – Taehyung doesn’t understand it and he feels himself starting to break out into a cold sweat. He tries to take calming breaths, maybe Jimin isn’t here to – to what? What could be his plan?

“Ex – Excuse me, what is your question again?” Taehyung stumbles over his words, the short Jimin – crisis having kept him from listening to the other reporter and his question. The male looks a little offended but repeats the question nonetheless. “Are those dating rumors about you two true? It’s been a long time since they arose but neither of you has confirmed or denied them yet.”

“Yes uhm –“ This is it, he thinks. The perfect opportunity to explain everything. It feels like someone his closing their hand around his throat and he coughs a little, to get rid of the suffocating feeling. Bogum is still squeezing his thigh under the table and Taehyung is thankful for his help to ground himself. He looks over at Eunji who just nods at him. “I think you’re all expecting the same from us, right? Confirming the rumors. Confirming the dating… Well, I’m sorry but if you came here for this I have to disappoint you.”

A murmur goes through the crowd and more than half of the reporters jump to their feet, hands raised and shouting question after question but Taehyung doesn’t pay any of them any mind. “It’s all a lie. I’m not dating Eunji-noona. It’s nothing more than a rumor.”

“And,” The same reporter's voice sounds above everyone’s else. The security is trying to calm them all down and slowly the commotion settles again but the murmurs don’t stop. “Would you be able to tell us about the time you spent away from all media. Before the movie. Your time in rehab. Some information about that? Since you’ve been back you have refused all interviews up until now. The people are interested in what happened to you.”

“I should apologize because –” He takes a deep breath, preparing himself for all hell to break loose and as he releases the air from his lungs again he feels all the tension slip from his shoulders and he starts talking without any regrets or doubts, “Because this is all just another lie. I haven’t been away because of rehab. I wasn’t supposed to tell you the truth, no one was supposed to know. I should have just disappeared from the face of the earth forever and until Eunji and Bogum it was going fine.”

His shoulders shake with the effort of holding an almost hysterical laugh back, by now he has forgotten about the reporters, about the cameras, about the people watching him because he just wants to get everything off his chest for now. He catches the gaze of his father through the double doors and the warning expression on his face should make him scared but it doesn’t. It only fuels his urge to tell them everything that happened. “It was going fine, right father?” The man takes a step toward the doors but he doesn’t go further. “I’m not good enough for you but the second I could bring you fame and profit I’m interesting for you again? This is ridiculous.”

He chuckles again, looking back at the audience in front of him. “I mean – It was obviously true that there was an offer from Bogum to appear in this movie, an offer I quickly accepted but this here, the last months we spent filming were my project. I’m not doing this for anyone but myself. Not for my parents who’ll never care about me and not for the fame that comes with it – I’m doing this because I want to fly. I want to spread my wings and be free for once in my life.” He imagines Yoongi sitting somewhere in front of a Tv and watching him. He imagines the elder smiling because Taehyung is doing what he told him. Wanting to fly. He imagines Yoongi watching him as he breaks out of his cage. “And I know that things have been bad for me before and I’m taking this opportunity to apologize for that too.”

“Yes,” He sighs and now he drops his gaze to the microphone in front of him. Shame coloring his cheeks red. “I’ve made mistakes. Bad mistakes. Alcohol, drugs, prostitutes – I can’t just overlook those mistakes and you all shouldn’t either. It’s something that will follow me forever, a stain on me that I’m willing to wear because without it I wouldn’t have had the best time of my life. But this time didn’t happen in rehab. That’s just a made up story by my parents trying to preserve their image. Because how would they look if the world found out what really happened with their son? Who he lived with? What they’ve done to him?”

“Kim Taehyung –“ But Taehyung interrupts his yelling father before he could even continue uttering another vowel. “You don’t get to talk now,” He spits, “I’m not a puppet you can control anymore. I’m my own person and I decided to tell everyone the truth like I wanted to right from the start. I’m not listening to you anymore.” He turns back around, “I’ve been depressed for years now, caged inside my own mind and own home. Being told over and over again how I’m not good enough. Get better Taehyung, have better grades, look prettier, don’t raise attention if it doesn’t give you any profit. Make us proud. Those words accompanied me all throughout my childhood and further. I’ve made mistakes to get away from my own life which was suffocating me.”

The murmurs in the crowd have completely died down by now. Taehyung raises his head to see an ocean of faces staring at him in disbelief and wonder. “But wouldn’t it have been for those mistakes I wouldn’t be standing here. I wouldn’t be able to tell you that I had been happy – really and fully happy in the last months.” He could see Jimin wincing in the crowd, a pained expression on the smaller’s face and it stings. It stings right behind Taehyung’s eyes but he has cried enough. This isn’t the time to cry, this is the time, to tell the truth.

“The scandals threw me out of the business in the blink of an eye. I had wasted all my money and my parents were so ashamed of me, so disappointed that they decided it would be better to burn every connection they had to me. They threw me out, out on the streets without caring about the consequences. And there… I met him. The reason for the way I am now.” He holds Jimin’s gaze now and he sees the anger melting away from the other. He knows Jimin can hear it, see it and maybe even feel it. Feel how much Taehyung always loved and still loves Yoongi just by the way he’s talking about him.

“A boy – a man so special that I can’t even describe it. Words don’t feel like they give him enough justice. He’s kind, hardworking, loving, amazing, talented, passionate – he’s perfect in my eyes. He took me in. He took me in despite me having been a major asshole to him the first times we met. He took me in despite living in bad conditions,” He chuckles, no idea why but it sounds more like he just breathed out. “He lives downtown, in an apartment building where the doors are being left open because your neighbors are your friends, your family who you trust because there, you help each other. I hadn’t known things like that before. He taught me a lot of things. He taught me that despite being poor, despite seemingly having nothing he had more than I could have ever dreamt of in my previous life.”

Jimin is crying now but there’s a smile on his lips. The reporters around him are all looking at him weirdly but the small male doesn’t seem to mind. Taehyung would love to go down there and hug him, he only had caught about two or three glimpses of the older boy when he watched Yoongi and he missed him almost as much as the eldest. After all, Jimin is one of the first real friends he made and when he lost Yoongi, he lost everyone else too. All of that hurt and still hurts. “He let me live with him and his family despite not having the capacity for me. They all took me in without resentment, without question like it wasn’t even something weird to help people and not getting anything in return. I didn’t know the world could work that way,” He whispers.

“They took me into their home. His aunt and uncle don’t have a bed to sleep in, they sleep in the living room of their rundown apartment. His three little cousins share a room and he sleeps in another one on a mattress on the floor. He provides for his family almost alone and he’s happy. He loves and he’s being loved. Things I never knew about. Things I never experienced before.” By now Taehyung has completely forgotten about the question and almost about all the people around him too. The more he talks the more he imagines Yoongi standing in front of him. Yoongi with his dark hair standing up in every direction because he just woke up, eyes only half opened and dried drool on his lower lip. He imagines him right there, listening to Taehyung as he explains everything and tries to apologize.

“He taught me to live… He taught me to love and I’m so sorry. So sorry because I disappointed him – I disappointed you, Yoongi. I never planned on dropping you. I never thought things would quickly escalate like that. I’m here, talking today, to clear the misunderstandings up. The contract – I didn’t know about it. My father put it together in my name, he threatened to harm you and your family if I wouldn’t do what he wanted from me. And I’m sorry but that was staying away from you and be successful, famous,” His voice breaks a little at the end but he forces himself to push through with everything.

“I know that you probably don’t even see this but that’s alright,” He smiles sadly, “I also know if you do see this that there’s no way you would forgive me again. I’m sorry for all the hurt and difficulties I gave you and hope that you’ll continue living in happiness without me…And I’m sorry that I didn’t say it when you asked me to. I don’t have an explanation for that, I just – froze. I’ve never seen you like this before but let me tell you and I hope you believe when I say that I really love you, Yoongi.”

The murmurs start again but Taehyung continues to ignore everyone around him in favor of imaging Yoongi in front of him. Yoongi who listens to him with a sad smile on his lips. “I have just one more thing to say… I hope you make it. I hope you will find a way to live your own life. You always told me that making sure your family is well is the only thing mattering to you. Okay but the only thing mattering to me is that you are fine, that you are happy. I hope you’ll be able to live your dream one day. I wish I would have been able to watch the stars with you. I’m sorry I broke that promise – even if I’m not sure that you still remember it.” His voice is getting quieter and quieter, the Yoongi in his imagination isn’t sitting anymore. He’s standing up, ready to leave because Taehyung doesn’t really have anything more to say.

“I don’t know if you received my texts and this here is my last try. After that, I’ll be staying out of your life forever no matter how hard that might hurt. I know I hurt you more.” He takes another deep and calming breath, the Yoongi of his imagination has already turned around to leave him behind for good now. “You are one of a kind and I’ll hate myself forever because I let you slip through my fingers. The only thing that ever really mattered to me. I’ll keep you forever in my heart. Thank you for teaching me how to fly.”

It seems like the whole room is kind of stunned into silence after Taehyung leans back from the microphone. No one even dares to draw in a breath. The tension in the air lasts for about a minute until the whole room suddenly explodes into shouts, reporters yelling their questions as loud as they can as they scramble to push to the front to get noticed by Taehyung and picked to ask him their question. But the male feels like all the energy has been drained from his body and just slumps back against his chair. It’s Bogum who grabs his microphone to calm the people down.

“Taehyung won’t take any more questions tonight,” He says and everything erupts into protest. During that Taehyung could see Jimin pushing through the mass of bodies to the very front, right opposite of him. “Even not from me?” He asks and Taehyung can’t help but get choked up again. Those brown eyes which held so much anger and resentment when he looked at them the first time today have become their usual soft self again. There’s something like hope swirling in those brown orbs and Taehyung couldn’t help but respond.

“Jimin…” The name leaves his lips like a whisper, barely caught by the microphone but loud enough for Jimin to take it as permission to ask his question. It has calmed down again, the other’s probably hoping that Taehyung will answer more questions after this one.

“I’m here to – well, obviously I’m here because I work for the press but I also originally came to yell at you. Like, you hurt Yoongi so much and I just couldn’t understand how you could have done something like that but now I’ve heard it. And I changed my mind, I’m here to tell you that you might still have a chance. It’s a small one and won’t be there for long but I beg you to take it.”

 

-

 

It’s not like this is a particularly busy day. The only problem is that it isn’t a particularly slow day either and Yoongi is alone at his shift and the stupid coffee machine broke again and he can’t find the motherfucking screwdriver. He hasn’t slept all night after coming home from Hoseok’s apartment where they watched the stupid movie premiere of Kim fucking Taehyung.

What the hell does this imbecile idiot think he’s doing? Confessing stupidly in front of the whole world – South Korea – but not having the guts to come and face him like a man? Huh? Where’s his confidence now when he can’t hide behind a camera?

Yoongi ignores the little voice inside of his head who keeps telling him that he cried after he heard everything, the voice telling him that he should unblock Taehyung, that he should make anything, after all, that happened. Taehyung said he would let him go and he wants that right?... Right?

He spent the last months talking himself into this belief. He doesn’t want to be loved by Taehyung, he doesn’t want to love him, he doesn’t want him back but the problem is that he does. Yeah, he can hide behind the pain the younger caused him most of the times but now… now with the explanation – which could be another lie for all he knows! (He just reminds himself) – he can’t even hide behind that anymore. Because if – if Taehyung has been telling the truth during the broadcast then Yoongi understands. Kind of. Maybe. A bit.

With his head still ducked under the counter to look for the screwdriver he hears the door opening with a jingle, steps approach the front of the café and Yoongi tries to continue searching and serve the customer at the same time.

“One moment,” He calls out, hoping not to scare him off – Oh! There it is. He tries to reach behind all the other things stacked down there, someone should really clean the drawers. “What would you like to have?”

“The sweetest thing on your menu with extra sugar,” The voice asks timidly and the familiar tone makes Yoongi jumps so hard that he hits his head against the counter while trying to get off the floor as fast as he could. That’ll probably be a bump and it hurts like a bitch but he ignores the pain because right in front of him is really Kim Taehyung. A timid smile on his lips, face mask pulled under his chin and making his cheeks look extra squishy.

“Taehyung…” The name rolls off his tongue for the first time in months. He has refused to call him by his name because just saying it often hurt too much.

“Surprise…” The younger laughs quietly and he looks so awkward standing there, all long limbs and not really knowing where to go. His gaze keeps jumping from Yoongi to literally anywhere else in the room like he’s too afraid to look at him for longer than a second. “Your hair is different,” He says, one of his hands vaguely gesturing towards his head of blonde hair and staying in the air even after Yoongi nods.

“I – Yes… “ Yoongi shakes his head with a small smile. It feels like it’s been forever since he’s seen him even though he just remembers catching his face on one of the promotional posters of the movie just this morning not to forget he watched the press conference yesterday evening.

It feels like oceans have been between them the last months and still rush between them right now but he pictured this encounter a million times. More than a million times. In a million different ways and no scenario could have prepared him for this. Taehyung stands there, looking like he never left. He still has those gentle brown eyes which enchanted Yoongi’s gaze, the eyes which had looked at him like he hung the stars in the sky but also the same eyes which held nothing but emptiness as he had turned around to walk out on Yoongi like he never meant anything to him. But now they’re as full of emotions as Yoongi remembers them. His skin looks still soft, almost fragile like a flower but hasn’t lost its unique tan which always contrasted so well with his own pale skin tone. His hair is slightly different, another shade of brown, bangs hanging in front of his eyes but he looks as stunning as always and Yoongi’s stomach does a somersault.

He pictured this in a million different ways and being left speechless was in none of his imaginations. He imagined himself yelling, shouting, being angry at him some more, disappointed, frustrated, desperate – even completely over him, calm but still telling him what a despicable human being he is but looking at him right now… The only thing in his head are the words Taehyung said yesterday on Tv. They keep replaying in his mind. I really love you. I’ll be staying out of your life after this. So… Why is he here?

The silence between them stretches and Yoongi doesn’t know if he wishes this had been a fast day at the café so that Taehyung would be forced to hurry up with what he wants to say or if he prefers it this way, being thankful for the slowness and that besides them there is only one couple engrossed in a conversation in the back of the café and no queue behind Taehyung. He knows he’s staring at the younger but he just can’t help it. It’s been so long since he’s seen him, really seen him, in person and not through the screen of some Tv or being caked with make-up and styled on a poster.

“I never apologized in person,” Taehyung finally says. The scared expression back on his face but Yoongi could swear that there’s a glint of hope somewhere swirling in his brown eyes. So, that’s what he wants. Apologizing in person. Somehow it disappoints Yoongi. He can’t really say why, it’s not like he doesn’t want the younger to apologize – he deserves it – but he… what did he even expect from him?

“No, you did it on fucking national television,” He chuckles but the cheerfulness in his voice sounds as fake as it is. It’s more than awkward, hanging alone in the air because Taehyung doesn’t laugh along but rather pulls a grimace which could pass as a smile if you look at it with a lot of imagination.

“Yeah… You’ve seen it?” Taehyung hums, eyes boring into the elders and somehow he’s the one getting shy now.

“Like there would have been any way to avoid this,” He mumbles, averting his eyes from him as he recalls the time when his family basically forced him to take them to Hoseok so they could watch the press conference on Tv or the way Jimin basically threatened him not to chicken out in the end. In the end, he is thankful for that. I really love you, Yoongi. “My family wanted to see you. Jimin almost threatened me to turn on the television.”

Taehyung looks down again and it seems like he’s gathering his courage or something. He hears him taking in a huge gulp of air before his sudden intense gaze pins Yoongi to the spot, unable to look away even if he wanted to – he doesn’t though. “I’m sorry… I don’t think I’ve ever felt like this before – so regretful, so sorry.”

“I missed you…” Yoongi whispers and his voice doesn’t sound like his own. The tension between them increases tenfold and there’s that pull toward the younger, the only thing hindering Yoongi from jumping in the other’s arms is the counter and the last part of his sanity living in the back of his head. I really love you, Yoongi. But does he really? Can he trust what the younger said on Tv?

“Me too. I’m – How couldn’t I? You changed my life, you changed me –“ There’s a shiver running down Yoongi’s spine. “– It’s all thanks to you. You came into my life, you’ve been kind and loving. You showed me the world and when I look at you I forget everything I deemed important before. Status, friends, money, fame – it’s all nothing compared to you.” The spark in the air between them ignites like a fire and Yoongi unconsciously leans a little forward, captivated by Taehyung’s voice. Longing to hear those three words from him again, ready to understand him after he explained everything yesterday – if it’s true. He presses his nails into the palm of his hands, bringing himself back to reality a bit.

“Is everything you said on TV true?” He asks, voice a little breathless. Desperation showing in the slight tremble. He hopes, he prays it’s true. He hated him, yes he did, he did with all his heart but never – never has this decreased the level of his love for him. No matter how long he believed that Taehyung lied to him – somehow he could never stop loving him. Yes, yes he hated him but he loved him at the same time. He really did.

“Every single word,” Taehyung says, his lashes fan over his cheeks and create a crescent shadow as he looks down at the only thing between them. The counter but Yoongi sees so much more than the plain counter. He sees the ocean between them and he can see how the crushing waves preventing them from crossing it calm down slowly. “I meant every word I said. And I… I’m sorry for leaving you behind like this. I just – My mind just shut down and I couldn’t… couldn’t form any words. I went to see you…”

“When?”

“I watched you work in the café a lot. Through the window – I felt like a stalker but I – I couldn’t just go and talk to you, my father, he would have destroyed you. He said, he said he would get you back in jail –“ Taehyung gets interrupted by a breathy chuckle of Yoongi.

“I’m not involved with anything illegal anymore,” The elder says with confidence, hoping it would reassure the other but Taehyung’s pained expression doesn’t change at all.

“That’s not important,” he explains, “My father doesn’t need someone to be involved in anything illegal to get them locked up for a long time. It doesn’t matter if you’re innocent or not. He has enough money to send you away for good and for no one to question it. Wouldn’t be the first time he did that and I just couldn’t risk it. He threatened to close up the café too, get all of my friends involved if I wouldn’t do as he says and one condition was leaving you and everyone else.”

Yoongi just stares at him. It’s strange, somehow the story sounds like it comes straight out of a drama but the desperate expression on Taehyung’s face tells him everything is real and suddenly guilt is clawing at his insides. He hated the younger for something that he couldn’t have changed in the world, no matter how much he really wanted to. “But…” Yoongi sighs, biting his lips as he looks down at his slightly trembling hands. “Why… You could have told me about the meetings with that girl and the guy… Why didn’t you say something right from the beginning? Why did you keep it a secret?”

“I… Honestly?” Taehyung chuckles to himself a little and his lower lip trembles as he sucks it into his mouth, eyes glazing over a little. “I honestly don’t know. I was scared? I think – I think I was too scared that you’d think I would leave you for my old life. Paradox, right? Because I didn’t tell you exactly that happened, even though I wanted to prevent it. It was stupid, I know and I’m sorry. But I – I couldn’t say it. I wanted to – so many times but I really was just… scared.”

Yoongi nods and he feels his heart hammering against his ribs like it’s trying to break through. “You could have prevented all that if you told me from the start…” He says, biting his bottom lip. He knows it’s not the best to still accuse Taehyung of it, especially because Yoongi thinks he would have done the same. He faced a lot of troubles because he kept things to himself for too long.

“So could have you if you would have just let me explain but that’s in the past,” Taehyung whispers with a slight waver in his usually strong voice, “It’s in the past and it happened and we can’t change the past, just the future. Why… Why did you never cash in one of the checks I sent you?”

“I just… I didn’t want to accept anything from you,” Yoongi explains. He remembers the first check waiting for him, pushed into the apartment from under the closed door. The white envelope sitting there so innocently right in front of him and the second he laid his eyes upon the contents he wanted to throw up. It made him so mad, so furious because how could Taehyung think that money would make up for his mistakes. “I hate taking money from others but with you, it was a different reason. Something like pride and spite. As if I would want to have anything from you after all that happened. I hated you and I didn’t want your filthy money. I never understood why you kept trying with the checks… But then… Then I thought, well, maybe that’s the financial compensation but it wasn’t because after the first months I received it on my bank account but the checks still kept coming.”

Taehyung bites his lip, eyes cast downwards. “It’s because it was the only thing I could do to support you,” He says and his eyes shine a bit like he’s going to start crying, “Talking to you was too risky, doing anything else than watching you from afar was too dangerous but I felt – feel so guilty that I needed to do something for you. To do anything to support you because… because it wasn’t true what you said about me.”

“What do you mean?”

“I changed.” Yoongi freezes in his spot, locked into place by the intense gaze in the other’s eyes. The breath gets knocked out of his lungs and he’s once again reminded why he fell in love with the other. His eyes are one of his most prominent and unique features. It doesn’t surprise him that the actress always freezes on the screen whenever Taehyung stares at her in the movie. It’s understandable. “You changed me in more ways than one and I never wanted anything more than proving that to you. I made mistakes, god, I made so many and so bad mistakes but I am only human too. I make mistakes, I regret decisions and I learn from the past. That’s normal. I am not the same person I was before I met you nor the one after the first few weeks living with you nor the one who fell in love with you nor the one who kissed you the first time nor the one who was forced to leave nor the one who shot the movie all these months – I am me right now. I am all these things and none of them at the same time. I changed and… and I still, I still love you so much.”

His smile wobbles, his eyes shine with unshed tears and so much hope in them that it almost tears Yoongi’s heart apart. Tears it apart in the best way possible and this is what Yoongi has been waiting for all along. His heart beats in his throat and a small smile spreads his lips, something warm and nice starts coiling in his stomach and he feels a little lightheaded. “Since you’ve been gone I couldn’t smile,” He says, holding Taehyung’s teary gaze.

“You know, I didn’t want to fall in love, especially not with you,” He chuckles a little airily, pushing his hair out of his face, “I mean, you were a pretentious dick and someone who didn’t know anything but then, one time, you smiled at me and – and I just fell. So hard and I was never able to get up again.” His voice cracks a little at the end but there isn’t the telltale burning behind his eyes but rather an acceleration of his heartbeat.

“I – really? Can you – please tell me?” Taehyung stumbles over his words, his hands have crossed the literal barrier between them and have grasped the hands of the elder which have been laying on top of the counter. His hands are clammy but Yoongi feels the same, squeezing Taehyung’s hands tightly as his smile gets even brighter than before.

“I’m not only forgiving you for your mistakes of the past but I’m also –“ He takes a deep breath, eyes slipping shut as he smiles as wide as possible, “I also love you too. So much. And even though I tried hating you and even succeeded for quite some time, I never stopped loving you.”

He hears the younger giggling, holding his hands a little tighter than before and Yoongi thinks once again, that’s the man he loves. He opens his eyes and looks at him. Really looks at him for the first time in months and it only serves to take his breath away. Taehyung has been and will always be the most beautiful person in his mind. The bright eyes, his unique smile, the deep rumble of his laugh and just – just everything about him makes Yoongi wants to kiss him right here. Well, there’s nothing really stopping him, right?

 

“Just shut up,” He laughs as he wrenches his hand out of the other’s iron grip and pulls him half over the counter by his collar. Their lips meet in the middle and it’s not like fireworks but it feels like coming home.

Like coming home and finally finding the last piece to fill the hole in his heart created by loneliness, depression, anger, fear, loss but with Taehyung it feels like all those things are replaced by the sudden feeling of everything maybe being not so bad after all. It feels different than before, he feels the difference in Taehyung. He changed. He’s free, out of his cage and Yoongi can’t be happier than in this moment right here.

Home. Yes, he’s home.