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I Can Be Your Hero, Baby

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Jungkook makes a promise to Taehyung when they’re still in elementary school.

It’d taken him quite a while to realise what was going on. Maybe it was partly because of their age difference (whilst two years didn’t feel like much at home, it practically made them different species at school) but it was also likely due to the plain fact that Taehyung was good at hiding it.

And Jungkook noticed the bruises, of course. It was sort of hard not to when they would swell up purple and demanding attention on his skin. Maybe his elbow or shin, maybe his arm, even his face, occasionally - and Jungkook would always question it, naturally. He was already an inquisitive child, but he knew something was weird about the way his hyung had a new cut or bruise almost everyday.

But anytime he asked about them, Taehyung would smile something false (still warm, but false nonetheless), covering the spot with his hand and leaning down a little to diminish their height difference. Then, he’d say he had gotten it from falling over or bumping into something and that Jungkook couldn’t tell anyone. Not his parents, not Taehyung’s parents and certainly not any teachers.

Jungkook agreed, obviously. He always did what Taehyung asked.

But, eventually, Jungkook found out the truth.

It’d been about a year since the whole ordeal had started, and Jungkook had almost gotten used to having to hug Taehyung gently, observing the splash of ugly colours ruining the beauty of his skin tone.

Usually, Jungkook would wait in the playtime after school club for Taehyung to come pick him up and walk him home, since the elder finished thirty minutes after Jungkook.

But one day, Jungkook had been waiting an hour… and still there was no sign of the boy.

He tried to remember Taehyung telling him he was going to an afterschool club, but nothing sprung to mind. Taehyung didn’t like any of the clubs on offer, but after that day, Jungkook began to wonder if he in fact just didn’t like his peers.

It was nearing four o’clock, and even the teachers watching over the club were getting concerned.

Jungkook was rather perceptive for his age - in all departments except the incident with Taehyung, apparently - so he got the feeling that alerting the teacher’s that this was highly unusual, and that he might even have an idea what’s happened to Taehyung would probably not be what the elder wanted.

So, Jungkook asked if he could have the toilet pass to go to the bathroom.

They let him, but not without a lingering gaze of vague suspicion on him, as the boy toddled out of the classroom with the laminated sign around his neck, oddly unaffected by the lack of appearance by his best friend.

Jungkook was an emotional child. It was certainly unusual for him to appear so calm, but he had a reason to be strong, then - Taehyung might need him to be.

Quite often, he had heard utterances of ‘the bike shed’ and what went on behind it. He’d even noticed how occasionally when it was mentioned, Taehyung would flinch slightly. Yet,Jungkook couldn’t ever figure out why, and the elder always brushed it off as nothing if he’d ask.

As Jungkook approached the small structure, he began to get an inkling of some kind of dread along with it, which made him realise how Taehyung probably felt about it, too. When he heard soft, muffled crying the closer he got, he started to understand why.

When Jungkook turned the corner, Taehyung was sitting there, knees drawn up to his chest, sniveling into the cotton of his shorts. He barely even noticed when the younger boy sat down beside him until he poked his cheekbone, the only part of his face visible to him, and said, “Hyung, what happened?”

Taehyung immediately stilled, no longer shaking with quiet weeping.

“Nothing, Kookie,” a loud sniff, “M’fine. Don’t worry.”

He was clearly not fine. That much, Jungkook knew. He coaxed him to move his arms away from his face, and when he did, he saw exactly why he’d been hiding.

His nose was brandished red and swelling, blood trickling out from his nostrils. Jungkook almost leapt back in shock, having never seen more than a bruise or a graze on the boy, but he kept his shock inward to not upset him further.

“Don’t tell anyone, okay?”

Jungkook hadn’t wanted to say okay, but he didn’t want to annoy Taehyung either, as if it was in the childhood code not to let adults in on their secrets. But this wasn’t just any secret, and even though he agreed, Jungkook regretted doing so for the entire duration of the elder’s elementary school days.

Things cleared up when he got to high school. Taehyung was widely accepted into it and well-liked because of his friendly attitude and welcoming aura.

But behind the bike shed, that day, Jungkook made another promise. He knew he couldn’t do anything for Taehyung then, but he wanted to make sure that when he could, the boy knew he would .

“Hyung, when I grow up, I’m going to protect you.”

Taehyung had chuckle softly at him then, but neither of them really knew how true Jungkook’s words would turn out to be.

~Many years later~

Jungkook is in the process of adding a few very precise drops of sulfuric acid to his solution, and, like everyone else, his concentration on the toxic substance is immense.

So, when the lab door crashes open with a cry of “Jungkookie!” he’s pretty sure the entire class wet themselves just a little bit.

Jungkook’s flinch makes his test tube falls over and he yelps, leaning back from it so suddenly that he falls straight off of his stool, landing on the floor with a loud thud.

Jungkook’s class (and professor) are well used to this sort of disturbance by now, having to deal with it all last year as well, so when Taehyung comes to a halt, hovering over the man still laying on the ground in a daze, nobody bothers to actually ask if Jungkook is okay.

Jungkook slips his goggles off of his face, staring up at his best friend dreamily.

“Hi, hyung,” he wheezes, “be careful of the acid.”

Taehyung, whose arm had been leaning on the table, mere inches away from the spreading liquid, makes a tiny noise of disgust, and moves to crouch down over his best friend, red hair shining in the bright lights of the laboratory while he beams at him, camera swinging from his neck.

Jungkook isn’t sure if the tingling all over his body is from his fall, or Taehyung. Probably both.

“I got the email!” He gushes, not bothering to even keep his voice down. The entire class has now been informed that Kim Taehyung has, in fact, received an email.

But Jungkook knows what that means, and he sits up on his elbows, smile stretching across his face as he says, “So you got it?” Because he knows exactly what email he’s talking about - the one regarding his internship at The Daily Bugle - and if he’s so excited then he must’ve already opened it and saw that he-

“I don’t know I haven’t opened it yet!”

Oh. Well.

Jungkook shimmies up to try and stand, the older man immediately holding out a hand to pull him off the lab floor, sticky with something unknown and probably toxic.

“I wanted to open it with you,” Taehyung reasons, and he’s quite touched at that. When he asks him why, the man tells him, “I need you so I can hug you if I get it and need to celebrate or if I don’t and I need someone’s shirt to sob on.”

Jungkook swallows. This is a nice shirt, he doesn’t know if it can take his best friend’s tears and snot again .

Last time he was crying over the fact that the boy he liked told him he didn’t like him back ( fool ) Taehyung cried for at least two hours, and by the end of it, Jungkook’s lovely white shirt was permanently stained with the makeup the elder had been wearing that morning. Now it’s white with a black and glittery shoulder in the vague shape of a very beautiful face.

Please let him get this internship. For many reasons such as the general happiness of the man that means the most in the world to me- but also the fate of my favourite Haikyuu shirt.

Taehyung, of course, promptly yanks him out of the lab, Jungkook barely having time to shrug off his lab coat and throw it onto the hanger before they’re propelling down the hallway, the older man skipping with glee as he tugs on the younger’s wrist. Jungkook’s heart is thumping but it’s nothing to do with the pace, he’s just weak . His brain very kindly reminds him that it’s for his best friend.

They get outside, and Taehyung lets go of him, his wrist now feeling very subpar without the man’s hold, and when they come to a halt, Taehyung whips out his phone, swiping it open without hesitation.

There’s a few seconds of silence, Taehyung muttering to himself as Jungkook cranks his head at an unnatural angle to try and read along with him. His mouth tips into a frown and Jungkook feels his heart sink.

“Tae…” He starts, hand already hesitantly brushing his shoulder as he soothes, don’t worry, okay?” Because Kim Taehyung crying is both heart wrenching and terrifying and he promises, “It doesn’t mat-,”

But before he can even lie, he’s tackled into a bone-shattering hug, and Jungkook’s arms fly to the man’s back, rubbing up and down to try and comfort him because any minute now he’ll start sobbing and-

Wait… wait is he… laughing?

Jungkook’s never faced a laughing while crying Taehyung, and if he’s honest, he’s just a tad bit frightened.

But Taehyung pulls back and he can see his face. There’s no tears, just a blinding smile and a rosiness to his cheeks that makes Jungkook swoon.

“I got it,” he utters, “I actually got it!” like he somehow can’t believe it despite how absolutely amazing his photography is. Taehyung’s been snapping pictures since he first snuck into his mom’s handbag and took out her camera to play with when he was five years old. If they hadn’t taken him, Jungkook would’ve had to write a very strongly worded email.

Maybe even with light profanity.

“Of course you did, Tae,” Jungkook mutters into his shoulder, “You’re incredible.”

Taehyung laughs gleefully, pulling back with this sort of cocky smirk on his face as he says, “Yeah, I know,” but Jungkook can see the disbelief still swimming in his gaze as he looks down at his phone, the overwhelmed stretch of his lips and knows that he’s just pretending.

“You… wanna come get some food to celebrate?” He asks, looking over to Jungkook through the fan of his eyelashes, cheeks flushed with joy and Jungkook’s heart rules over his brain on this one, despite the thing going HEY WAIT YOU HAVE A LAB PROJECT TO FINISH! Because, well, Taehyung.

He figures that’s a good enough reason.

Jungkook has probably the worst timings in the entire superhero universe. Honestly, Iron Man… Captain America… Black Widow - they’re all pretty cool. Professional, even. But Jungkook?

Well, this is the kind of thing that happens to Jungkook.

He’s literally in the middle of fending off Venom and his stupid fucking tongue on a rooftop in the middle of the city, when the headset he had built into his suit (bad idea) starts ringing.

Now, his wouldn’t be such a problem if not for the fact that exactly as soon as it started ringing, Jungkook had just pushed his enemy off of him, swinging up to a higher part of the roof as he asked, “ Why do you never give me a proper answer?

And of course… technology these days - it hears ‘answer’ and immediately connects the call.

“Hi, Jungkookie! I’m on my lunch break!” Taehyung sing-songs into the speaker and Jungkook’s insides melt. For a multitude of reasons, but mostly because this is how he dies.

God, he hopes Venom can’t hear the-

“Did you just answer a phone-call?” The villain growls from below his hiding spot leverage and yep, this is how Jungkook dies.

Jungkook ignores him and instead opts to answer his best-best friend in the entire world as chirpily as he can, cutting out the yelling he wants to do as Venom swings himself up to the same ledge and starts repulsively stalking towards him.

“Oh, that’s great! How’s it going?”

Jungkook rolls to the side, narrowly missing it as the villain launches a whole pillar at him, and he just really hopes the building doesn’t need that for any support. Taehyung, of course, hears the crash of stone.

“...Hey what’s that noise?”

Jungkook sincerely hopes the man misses his muffled yelp as he momentarily forgets about the fight and barely dodges another projectile.

“Oh, nothing! Don’t worry,” he heaves , jumping down again from the ledge to try and get some scope on the situation. He can’t exactly leave Venom here, can he? That’s not very Spider-Man of him.

But, at the same time, it’s very Jeon Jungkook.

“Hey, Kook-“ Taehyung says slowly, and Jungkook feels more dread than he already had piling up in his stomach. “Why are you… breathing so heavily?”

“I’m not!” He immediately fires back, shooting a web at one of the pillars that’d kindly missed him moments ago. It’s just as he’s saying, “Don’t worry about it,” that he heaves the stone in the direction of his enemy, and happens to let out a small grunt at the same time. It misses the slippery bastard, and Jungkook swears under his breath.

But it’s only after Taehyung’s quiet for a good thirty seconds that Jungkook realises just how… weird that probably sounded.

Because then he asks, “Are you… are you like hooking up right now? Oh my god.”

“No!” Jungkook gasps, making a run for the edge of the roof because this isn’t going well at all. “No that’s not it- fuck.” He swears again as Venom blocks the way with his gross black webs. Jungkook turns his head to look at the villain in question who simply gives him a small shrug of his shoulders, as if to say ‘hey, what can you do, you know?’

Well, number one: don’t try to kill him for no reason. Always a viable option.

Actually don’t try to kill him at all.

But it’s only then that he remembers Taehyung again and this is why superheroes aren't meant to have friends- especially not crushes , because the elder seems to freak out a little as he… imagines the situation, and he rushes out, “Oh my god, okay. I’ll call you later have… uh… fun ?” and before Jungkook can even defend himself again, the line goes dead.

“Well I hope you’re happy with yourself,” he tells Venom, who pokes his grotesquely long tongue at him like he absolutely is.

--

Jungkook unlocks the door to their dorm and practically throws himself inside. The TV isn’t on, there’s no smell of spaghetti hoops and Mariah Carey is not blasting from any of the rooms, so Jungkook quickly realises Taehyung musn’t be home yet which is great. So, he flings himself down on their tiny uncomfortable leather couch in the centre of their cramped living room and picks up the magazine slung over on the table, pretending that he is just so engorged in… caravan… monthly .

(Taehyung went through a phase where he said he was gonna buy a caravan but Yoongi knew he’d regret it and told him he couldn’t legally own one until he read all two hundred and forty issues of the ‘official magazine.’ Needless to say, Taehyung only got through three and a half before he gave up and said he’d buy a moped instead.)

If Taehyung was already a little weird with him today, when he comes in and sees the younger reading the shitty magazine they’ve been using as a coaster for the past three months, well, he’s just that much more ‘ ???’

“Hey…” he says slowly as he sets his bag down beside the door, approaching him with caution as if his best friend’s been cloned and replaced by this Jungkook that’s into middle-aged suburban white couple activities now. “Did you… uh… just get here?”

Jungkook pretends that he was so engrossed in the magazine, he’d barely registered his friends entrance, and he shuffles his feet up on the sofa, bending his knees awkwardly so the elder can sit down, just as he replies, “No,” out of instinct. Then, he realises his bag is still packed and he’s sitting with his socks on (he never sits with his socks on) so he quite obviously just got home, and quickly corrects himself with, “I mean yes. Yeah. Just got home.”

Taehyung doesn’t sit down immediately despite the space the younger so graciously created. Instead, he leans a hand on the back of the couch and gauges Jungkook carefully (which always makes his tummy halfway nauseous and halfway fluttery) before countering, “Weird, cause Mingyu said you didn’t come to lectures today. I came to see if I could find you at lunch but…”

Shit. Mingyu why?

“Yes, I have been here all day,” he says and christ, does it sound robotic. What if he really has been replaced by a clone and he hasn’t even realised?

While Jungkook’s panicking about that, he almost misses the quiet confliction brewing on Taehyung’s face; as if he doesn’t really know if he wants to say something or not.

“Like…” he prompts, voice meek and hesitant, “with somebody or…?”

The phone call from earlier. Right.

It shouldn’t even matter for either of them. They both have hookups from time to time - though, granted, every time Taehyung comes back with hickies lining his neck and his hair all tousled and matted Jungkook chugs a litre of milk and cries himself to sleep (because he’s a big boy.) But it shouldn’t matter. So, the tension in Taehyung’s shoulders is a little perplexing to Jungkook. The way his bottom lip is caught between his teeth, too. He doesn’t want to agree, but he can’t think of a better explanation for… any of this, really. He never skips classes, and he can hardly say he was just beating up a rando.

“Yeah,” he says softly, and, like magic, the tension in Taehyung’s stature is gone. He straightens up, arms folded defensively over his chest as he very firmly tells him, “Don’t skip school for sex, Kookie,” and he totally feels like he’s getting scolded (not in a hot way.)

Now, here, Jungkook makes the mistake of leaning over to the coffee table to sling the magazine back to where it belongs to try and give this interaction some more normality again because they’re never awkward but, right now, it’s practically suffocating. But it’s when he leans over, that his t-shirt decides to slip down a little bit and Taehyung’s eyes lock on to the deep purple bruise blooming on Jungkook’s chest, right below his collarbone and- yeah, that looks risque.

When Jungkook sits up again, his face catches the dwindling evening light pooling in from the window, too, and, like a spotlight, it must shine on the whopping bruise on his jaw, too, because Taehyung’s eyebrows rise well above his hairline (maybe off entirely) and he gasps, “How rough did you go? My God, you have a bruise on your face.”

Jungkook hates his life. All he wanted was a lovely little friends to lovers experience with his life-long bestie Kim Taehyung. But then he had to go and get bit by a stupid spider on some field trip he didn’t even want to go on.

Webs gross him out too. He’s literally the worst candidate for this.

“You know how things… h-happen,” he says drearily because Jungkook absolutely does not know how these things happen. He’s never been punched in the jaw during sex, thankfully. Taehyung, on the other hand, seems to take this in a weird sexual-kink way (which, fair play to him is probably the only way he could take it) and pales significantly, backing away from the sofa all together as he mutters, “I think I’m gonna take a nap.”

Jungkook internally cringes.

That definitely could’ve gone better.

--

The next afternoon, Jungkook’s pleasantly free of much work for the day, and Taehyung’s on an extended lunch break after the office’s printing machine malfunctioned and inked the entire first floor, so they wind up having lunch with all of their hyungs in one place, for what feels like the first time in forever.

And it should be a nice event, if not for Taehyung’s aura killing every single inkling of any friendly enjoyment at any moment possible. If this were a cartoon, Jungkook knows for sure he’d have those black and purple squiggles and swirls radiating off of him.

But Namjoon’s a braver man than any, and therefore, he tries to rectify the strange, unexplained atmosphere by asking, “So, Tae - how’s work going?”

Which reminds Jungkook that he… never actually asked Taehyung that yesterday.

“Alright,” he answers shortly, and Namjoon winces a little bit, clearly thinking better of the moment and deciding to talk to Jungkook instead, the other member of their group that’s acting a little weird except, this time, it’s just that he can’t stop awkwardly jittering.

“And Kook,” Namjoon begins, more than a little reluctant than he probably should be asking such a simple question as, “what’s been going on with you?”

Jungkook turns his attention away from the foaming latte sitting at his table to answer, “Well-,”

“He’s got a sadistic lover,” Taehyung chimes in out of nowhere, and all six of them look at the man with varying degrees of horror whilst Jungkook can manage no more than an, “ Uh-,”

Namjoon, poor Namjoon… looks affronted that he even asked.

“A… what ?”

Taehyung looks a little pleased with himself at their reaction, and goes right back to staring moodily at his untouched bagel while Jungkook has to try and eye-communicate that this is not the case without Taehyung seeing.

At least Namjoon and Seokjin should understand that something’s not quite right about that statement. They’re the only ones that know about his identity in their group, so surely-

Oh, no, they are definitely staring at him like he’s just told them all he’s into vore.

He isn’t sure what’s worse. That, or the fact that Hoseok winks at him.

Once they’re finally free from that… shamble of a get-together, Jungkook pulls Taehyung aside as the rest of them are waiting by the door for Hoseok to stop chatting up the waitress.

Taehyung looks at him with feigned ignorance as Jungkook asks him why he would tell their friends he’s a masochist.

“Oh,” he says airily, “I didn’t realise it was a secret.”

“It’s not a secret. It’s not true, I-,” Jungkook sighs, guessing by the playfully superior gaze the elder’s giving him that he can’t argue his case here successfully. Instead, he decides to be the bigger person here and apologise for something he didn’t do to save his own superhero secret identity.

You know, standard stuff.

“Okay, I’m sorry for skipping class, it won’t happen again!” he promises, though, he knows that’s a total lie. Far too much crime happens between the convenient hours of 9am and 12pm when most of Jungkook’s lectures are.

Taehyung remains stoic and indifferent, until Jungkook realises he’s going to have to dig deeper into this lie to get himself out.

“And I’m… not even seeing that person anymore,” he tells him reluctantly, to which Taehyung tilts his head at in curiosity.

“You’re not?”

No. No he’s not.

Eventually, though, Hoseok’s dragged away with a number written in swirly black ink on his hand, a heart printed near his thumb knuckle, while Yoongi grumbles about how he hit on a dude that was working there last week as well and if he doesn’t stop sleeping with and ultimately breaking the hearts of all the staff they’re going to get banned from the only place that can tolerate the seven of them at once.

Yoongi has a point. Most places don’t really enjoy their loud discussions of the best ass they’ve ever tasted and their acapella renditions of careless whisper.

Which is fucking fantastic , by the way.

--

Jungkook’s knees crack as he’s walking up the stairs of their dorm building, and he distantly wonders if he’s already getting to old for this life of crime-stopping before he remembers his number one hero and MCM every day of the week, Tony Stark aka Iron Man and decides he has another couple of years in him yet.

At least until he meets the guy and they run off on a romantic long weekend getaway to Hawaii and it’s out of his system.

He hauls the gym bag holding his suit up from where it slipped a little off his shoulder, and opens the door, knowing that Taehyung never locks it, even when he’s gone to bed which he probably has because it’s like 3am-

Taehyung is curled up on the couch, laptop resting on his knees, typing furiously away until Jungkook enters the room. Then, he looks up, an air of confusion about him as he takes in Jungkook’s dishevelled appearance and gym bag.

Taehyung and him have been pretty okay again these last few days, but now, that air of accusatory suspicion is back as he ponders Jungkook’s entrance at 3am.

“I didn’t know the gym was open so late,” he comments casually, eyes flitting back to his laptop as he pretends to type (Jungkook’s known him long enough to know that that is not the sound of his typing.)

Jungkook hates lying to Taehyung. Regardless that he’s been doing so for years but there’s been a serious influx of it lately because Taehyung just keeps catching him out. Ever since he got accepted to the Daily Bugle Jungkook’s been getting caught out. And Taehyung hasn’t even seen Spider-Man yet.

“I found a 24-hour one,” he tells him, and it isn’t that much of a stretch - there definitely is one of those somewhere in the city, but it is admittedly still absurd that he’d go to it until 3am. However, like he often doesn’t, Taehyung doesn’t question it any further, just opens up his arms and says, “Well, I can’t smell you from here so you can’t be too bad - come give me huggles.”

And who is Jungkook to deny a man so divine his huggles?

He shimmies down into Taehyung’s embrace who’s since abandoned his laptop on the floor, and happily wraps his arms around him, the younger resting his head against the elder’s chest after a long night of chasing car thieves around the city. He is thoroughly webbed out, and sighs contently into the man’s shirt as he starts to comb his long fingers gently through Jungkook’s matted hair.

Then, suddenly, Taehyung’s fingers stall.

“Is this… rubble in your hair?”

Damn it. He knew he should’ve checked the damage after he knocked that gargoyle over on a roof ledge.

“Uh, there was… construction work.”

To Jungkook’s complete and utter surprise, Taehyung actually hums in understanding, saying, “Oh, I know the one - they’re working on installing a Chipotle on the top floor, right?”

Oh my God what.

“Yeah, that’s the one,” Jungkook says as if he had prior knowledge of this development.

(Spoiler: he did not have prior knowledge of this development.)

Who the fuck builds a Chipotle in the top floor of a gym?

Jungkook is happily ( well ) writing down notes on the lecture going on right now about Membrane Transport, when his phone starts going ham in his pocket, enough to make Jungkook jerk so hard he bangs his knee off the desk and lets out a yelp that makes everyone in the hall look at him. He awkwardly slips his phone out of his pocket, nodding at the lecturer in a half-apology before he legs it out of the hall, seeing Namjoon’s name flash on the screen and only waiting until he’s out into the hallway before picking up. He doesn’t stop to see why the man’s calling him, since he rarely calls him for any other reason than the city being in peril.

However, there have been a few instances where Jungkook’s dropped something vaguely important he was doing (job interview, date with someone to try and unsuccessfully forget the beauty that is Kim Taehyung, a whole final ,) only to find out all Namjoon was calling for was to ask if he could borrow some eggs or if he was free to meet up for a spontaneous milkshake trip.

The latter he always made time for, regardless.

But, this time, he finds out he was right to be hasty, because Namjoon’s already yelling, “Big problem, big robbery, big vehicles, go go go!” before Jungkook even has a chance to say hello.

“Okay, say all of that again, but with actual information.

Namjoon groans into the speaker as if Jungkook was somehow the one at fault here, and as the hero’s scrambling out of the lecture hall building to find a corner in which he can conveniently take off his clothes and reveal his suit, his friend actually explains.

“Down on Thompson Street, a bunch of jackasses are holding up the bank tellers - get down there now and kick some human butt, arachnid man.”

Jungkook rolls his eyes at him. Him and Seokjin get a kick out of calling him that - and that’s not even mentioning the thousands of spider puns he gets a week. Sometimes he regrets telling them, but then he remembers that it’s down to Namjoon’s (borderline weird) interest in criminology that he ever knows about these situations since the elder’s tapped into police radios and CCTV for ‘research.’ And it’s thanks to Seokjin’s extensive experience in fashion design and his personal love of lycra and the science between supersuits that Jungkook has something more than a red ski mask with a questionable spider decal on the forehead of it to roam about (and kick human butt) in.

It’s just as Jungkook’s telling him that he’ll be there as soon as he can - he’s off campus now so once he finds an alley to rip off his things at, he’ll be able to get there in a few minutes with his webs - that he is frozen to the spot by the love of his life.

No, not Iron Man. Or Frozone, he guesses.

No, no, the real love of his life, who calls out, “Jungkook! Wait up!” behind him, and Jungkook knows that even if he had planned on sprinting away as fast as superhumanly possible he wouldn’t be able to.

So, instead, he slowly turns around, etching a wide grin onto his face as if he hadn’t just been totally caught out, and his voice is a little higher than it should be when he says, “Hi, Tae! What- whatcha doing here?”

Taehyung looks understandably slightly incredulous as he catches up with his best friend. He regards him curiously, as if looking Jungkook up and down will result in some kind of answer. Then, he just meets his eyes again and says, “Hey, Kookie… where are you going? I thought you had a lecture - what are you heading downtown for?”

Curse his best friend nature in which he knows every detail of the younger’s timetable even though Jungkook still doesn’t.

Jungkook forces his smile a little wider, giving a choked sort of laughter along with it because his on the spot lying is still as shit as it has been lately, and he just tells him the classic age-old lie of, “It got cancelled.”

Well, could’ve been worse. He could’ve accidentally inferred he was going to hook-up with someone imaginary again.

Taehyung tilts his head at him and it’s then when Jungkook realises the camera hanging around his neck, over the light peachy shirt with little speckles of flora that he’d gotten distracted by because it looks so gorgeous against his skin.

“Where are you… heading with that camera there, Tae?”

He knows exactly where he’s heading.

Taehyung’s eyes flicker down to the device bumping against this chest anytime he moves too suddenly, and says, “There’s a robbery going on down at Thompson Street… I’m gonna see if Spider-Man shows up - it’s my first opportunity since I got accepted, I don’t wanna disappoint.”

Shit, now he’s been unknowingly guilt-tripped into letting him have these pictures.

Jungkook acknowledges that he has to get out of this situation in order to fix the other situation, so, he starts to back away from his friend, gesturing blindly over his shoulder as he tells him, “I’ll uh… be going back to class now…”

Taehyung’s eyebrows rightfully furrow.

“I thought it was cancelled.”

“It’s not.”

“Then why-“

“Good luck getting your pictures, hyung!” Jungkook blurts out, turning around and bolting back to campus.

He never calls Taehyung ‘hyung.’ That totally gave him away.

Yes, Jungkook’s brain says, that’s what gave you away.

He’s glad it agrees.

Once he gets in the gates, he hides behind the wall and crouches down, just in case Taehyung comes chasing after him. Then, he shoots Namjoon a text.

Well, some help he is.

Jungkook runs out of campus again, thankful that his best friend likes to take his leisurely time when walking to and from places because he’s so leggy that if he didn’t he’d be four blocks away by now. It only takes him a minute or so of jogging before the gentle blonde tresses come into view, dandering down the street surprisingly content for someone who just got suspiciously ditched, and Jungkook takes a moment to thank the gay gods for the Daily Bugle’s dress code because those slacks hug just right to Taehyung’s thighs and no he’s not staring at his ass it just happens to be in the way and- oh, he turned around.

“Jungkook? I thought I heard you quietly sniffling.”

Jungkook runs his hand under both of his eyes.

“Allergy season.”

He wasn’t crying over his best friend’s ass, definitely not.

Jungkook decides to move on quickly, past Taehyung’s arched eyebrow of judgement, as he over-chirpily says, “You wanna hang out?! It’s been ages since we’ve hung out!”

Taehyung’s brow arches just that little bit more.

“We hang out all the time, Jungkook. We live together.”

He’s not wrong.

Outside.

“We got Chipotle in that 24-hour gym last night.”

For the record: fantastic Chipotle. And oddly enough, very busy. He’s starting to see why they might have a fast food joint in a place where people are likely trying to boycott fast food. They could smell it on the ground floor; he’s pretty sure they’ve stuffed a whole burrito bowl in the air vent.

“Besides,” Taehyung continues, “Don’t you have a class?”

Is he really about to use this excuse again?

Yep.

“It was actually cancelled! Mingyu was messing with me, ha…”

Taehyung peers at him, silently for a few seconds until he suddenly beams and says, “Right! He’s such a prankster. Let’s go then, Jungkookie!” and he holds out his arm for Jungkook to hook onto, and perhaps a weaker man would blush at the gesture.

Jungkook is the weaker man, but he hooks on anyway.

The closer they get to the city, the more Jungkook begins to frantically scramble for a way out which sounds a little rude but he’s got a city to save. He can’t let his gay-ass prioritise that this time.

Taehyung begins to get a little jittery with excitement when he hears people screaming and general commotion, latching on tighter to Jungkook as he mutters, “Oooh, we’re close!” and, again, it might sound a little strange but he suppose he has a newspaper article to provide photographic evidence with.

Jungkook comes to a halt right when he sees a clothing shop advertising a convenient private changing room and Taehyung snaps forward, unaware the younger was planning on stopping, and as Jungkook unlinks them and begins to veer to the store as if by magnetism, Taehyung impatiently asks, “Where are you going now?

Jungkook feels like he looks like a whole fawn caught in the headlights when he realises he, once again, has to think of a lie up on the spot. He should really practice this with someone masterful at it. Maybe Yoongi’d help him out. He’s the master of on-the-spot bullshit. He’s managed to get out of six meetings at the fashion magazine he works at, even though he’s the editor, and there’s only been seven this year.

He looks at the sign of the store he’s heading for and says, “I need some… new clothes! Yeah, you go get those pictures of Spider-Man! I’ll be a while.”

Taehyung looks hesitant until he mentions Spider-Man, then, there’s a twinkle in his eye that Jungkook knows is his determination spark (they have the same one) and he takes one last look at his best friend before relenting with a drawn out, “O...kay.”

So, Jungkook takes that as incentive to speed off once again, darting into the shop and grabbing some random article of clothing before he heads for the changing rooms, ignoring the shop assistant’s “Can I help you with anything today sir-” as he picks the nearest stall and shrugs off his hoodie and jeans, stepping out of his shoes too. He slips on his mask, leaving his belongings in the stall, and heads for the nearest window. He opens it wide enough for him to step out, and hopes he doesn’t take too long otherwise he’ll have a hard time explaining to the curious shop assistant just how long it took him to get out of that tank top.

Once he’s out on the street, he scales the next building over and from there, jumps across from roof to roof, until he gets a good eye on the bank robbers. Sure enough, as Namjoon had said, there’s a helluva commotion going on inside. And big vehicles.

He takes a quick scan of the surrounding area for Taehyung, and spots the blondish curls framing a sophisticated camera fairly easily since most people are either fleeing the scenes or staying well back in a crowd behind police barricades. Taehyung’s obviously flashed his ‘press’ lanyard at them.

The elder seems to tense up a little when he notices Spider-Man looking his way, but he shrugs it off and snaps his first photo. Jungkook can guess it won’t be a very good one from so far away, so he shoots a web on the nearest lamppost and gently lowers himself down to the street, jogging over to the police officers huddled behind their cars, guns pointed warningly at the front of the bank.

Taehyung doesn’t come any closer (probably isn’t allowed to) but Jungkook still makes sure to stand at a good angle for him to get some decent shots. As far as Jungkook knows, nobody’s ever actually gotten a good picture of Spider-Man, so of course he’ll let the love of his life be the first.

The policeman ease up a bit when they see him approaching, as if they’re all thinking ‘oh good now we don’t have to do anything’ and they’re partially right. Jungkook gives Taehyung one last glance to make sure he hasn’t gotten too bold with where he’s standing before he goes in.

He misses the way Taehyung slowly lowers his camera, staring curiously at the masked hero who’d gazed at him too many times for it to be accidental.

--

After Jungkook’s finally done and dusted and ran back to the shop to get his regular clothes on again before putting the tank-top back and walking out (as expected, the sales assistant was extremely confused) he meets up with a slightly flustered-looking Taehyung, flicking through the gallery on his camera over and over again.

“Hey,” Jungkook calls, alerting the elder who looks up with a glazed look in his eye, “Are those your Spider-Man pics?”

Taehyung gives a slow nod, murmuring a quiet ‘mm hm’ before angling the camera so his friend can see too.

Jungkook watches him flick through the gallery and sure enough there’s some surprisingly artsy shots in there. Even the one from the roof he was sure would be too far to look good makes him seem mysterious and aloof and actually cool. None of the pictures are telling of his identity, no slip of his mask or notable curve of his body, so he hums in approval and says, “Yeah, these are amazing, Tae!” to which the elder chirps a thank you.

“Did you get any new clothes?” He asks, obviously confused as to why Jungkook is empty-handed. The younger pauses, brows knitting together as he dumbly asks, “New clothes?”

He has no idea what he’s referring to.

The next morning, Jungkook peels himself out of bed to shower because damn if he doesn’t smell like justice. And sweat. And a little bit like the inside of a locker room because he slept in yesterday’s hoodie and that changing room was not the cleanest.

But it’s only once he hops out, spaceship-printed towel wrapped securely around his waist, that he realises he probably should’ve put his gross hoodie back on because Taehyung’s standing outside the bathroom door, waiting to go in after him, but he looks Jungkook up and down with vague horror in his eyes when the younger steps out

“What’s up Tae-,”

“I thought you weren’t hooking up with them anymore.”

Jungkook stalls, glancing down at his torso which, clear as day, is littered with tiny bruises and scrapes that again look absurdly incriminating.

At this point he might as well be getting laid by one of his arch enemies. That would explain the viciousness at least.

“I’m not,” Jungkook answers solemnly, “It’s uh… it’s a different person.”

The thing is, up until now, Taehyung’s just brushed off his lies with an air of incredulity and a lot of confusion, but this time, Taehyung’s mouth works into a thin line and all he says is a tight, “Okay.”

He doesn’t go into the bathroom, he trudges back down the hallway, and Jungkook watches him pick up his camera bag with vague concern.

“Tae, work doesn’t start for almost an hour - where are you going?”

Taehyung doesn’t even look over his shoulder when he replies, “I’ve got things to do before.” Their dorm succumbs to uncomfortable silence once the door clicks shut.

Sometimes, Jungkook wonders if it’d just be easier to tell Taehyung the truth. It’s something he’s been considering for a long, long time now. But there’s so many ways the man could react and, in Jungkook’s head, none are particularly good. He’d probably be pissed at him for keeping it for so long and if he knows his identity that could put him at risk of leverage from all Jungkook’s enemies.

Jungkook sighs, knowing he’ll have to deal with this eventually. But for now, he just goes to find a hoodie that doesn’t smell like sweaty high school quarterbacks.

Taehyung’s hands are basically itching as they clutch his camera later that afternoon. The whole day has been shit, to put it lightly. He can’t even really explain the simmering in his stomach (well he can, but he’s hardly going to put it into words lest he spiral into a slump of :( eugh) and the only thing he’s found that’s gotten him through the day of photocopying reports for review, setting up mass prints of the paper and ordering a filing cabinet that hasn’t been touched in three years is his boss’ promise halfway through the morning that if any commotion happens in the town today, Taehyung’s free to go chase after their Spider-Man, since his shots were surprisingly decent from the other day.

It wasn’t much of a compliment, but Taehyung’s pride still rose a little in his chest.

Now, though, his boss has let him go after there were brief sightings of the hero darting about the cityscape just minutes ago, and Taehyung ran all the way from the office to the considerably more rundown part of the city, where he’d last been sighted, hands gripping onto the object around his neck.

He halts when he hears an inkling of trouble coming from one of the nearby allies, and hides himself behind one of its walls, peeking over it to see what’s going on.

Just then, his phone buzzes in his pocket, and Taehyung jolts slightly, rushing to put it on silent instead. He sees the message that triggered it. It’s from Hoseok, asking if he’s seen Jungkook since he’s supposed to be re-taking a test he missed last week right now, and something about that makes Taehyung’s blood boil all over again.

He knows exactly where he is. With whoever his new lover of the week is. Taehyung rolls his eyes subconsciously at the thought.

Well, if he wants to fuck up his education for some meaningless sex, he can do it.

And with that, Taehyung forgets caution all together and practically stomps down the alley. Once he gets close enough, he sees his muse for the day fending off a group of masked men that definitely don’t look like they want to band together for some masked-heroes super group - and he raises his camera.

“Smile, spider-boy!” He calls out, and the hero looks over at him with what looks like utter shock - or as much as it can with someone who’s covering their entire face with a mask - and he almost gets punched right in the face until he ducks last minute. Taehyung gets a lovely action shot of it.

“Who’s the kid?” One of the bad guys ask, and Taehyung gives him an enthusiastic wave of his hand, before snapping another shot of Spider-Man completely flipping over a person twice his size.

“Leave him out of this,” the hero growls, “Focus on me,” as he pulls one of their collars to collide harder with his fist. Somewhere, deep in his chest, Taehyung’s heart stutters.

He’s wiped out the crowd in a matter of minutes, Taehyung standing back to get all the pictures he can before the hero probably storms over to him to make him delete them.

But, to his surprise, he doesn’t. He wipes his gloved hands on his thighs (and what thighs they are…) and glances over at Taehyung with a short sigh leaving the confines of his mask.

“Why were you being so reckless? You know you could’ve gotten seriously hurt, right?”

Taehyung hadn’t exactly expected to get scolded by a stranger today. He lowers his camera and looks on at the hero’s tense, irritated form with intrigue.

“I wanted a shot-” He tries, but the hero cuts him off, snapping, “You got your shot the other day. Why do you need more?”

Taehyung tilts his head at him, tiny, barely audible gasp leaving his lips.

“You… you remember me?”

The hero folds his arms over his chest, jutting out a hip with an agitated scoff.

“You’re not exactly forgettable.”

Taehyung falls utterly silent at that. His hands reach for his camera again, but he doesn’t go for another shot, just fiddles with the buttons aimlessly for something to keep himself from squirming under the hero’s powerful aura.

He’s not gonna lie, it’s a little hot.

“Promise me you won’t put yourself in anymore danger just to snap a few photos. You can have all the photos you like, just don’t put yourself in danger.”

Taehyung finally glances up then, lips curling into a bemused frown.

“I thought you didn’t do photos.”

It’s been a well known fact for a number of years now. Any photos produced have been blurry. Taehyung’s the first to get crisp, real pictures of him - and he thought that was just luck.

Now, he’s not so sure.

“I’ll endure a couple measly photographs for a civilian’s safety.”

Taehyung blinks a few times, keeping his gaze focused on the person opposite of him for a reason he can’t even quite figure out himself.

He realises then that, maybe, the city’s hero is a little more than just a masked man running around and beating up criminals for the hell of it.

“Okay, yeah,” Taehyung says slowly, “I’ll keep out of danger.”

—                 

Fuck, he hadn’t meant to talk to Taehyung doing this. Like, ever. Actually, he never wanted Taehyung to have anything to do with this at all.

Jungkook’s walking back to campus, limbs achey from the fight and chest tight from Taehyung until he hears his KKT sound off with the sweet dulcet tones of Obama and he pulls it out to see a message from Taehyung asking him if he wants to meet up somewhere since he totally met spiderman (yikes) and really wants to tell him all about him (double yikes.)

Regardless, Jungkook is completely and utterly whipped for one Kim Taehyung and so he rapid-fire shoots back that he’ll meet him after class.

However, after class is roughly about now and as Jungkook’s making his way to his campus building, he gets another notification but this time it is not Obama - just a little bleep that lets him know that Namjoon is on panic mode about something again and when Jungkook checks, it’s with a heavy heart that he hears about another commotion going on downtown - this time some sort of precarious street gang causing some terror.

He texts Taehyung back to tell him he has to cancel, his professor wants to speak to him, and he can practically feel the disappointment from the man’s choice of sticker (it’s the one where Frodo’s laying on the floor with a completely blank face, contemplating life.)

Then, he gets into a corner between two random cafes (there’s about fifty on this block - all claiming to have the best cup of coffee in the world) and pulls on his mask, shrugging off his dumb clothes again and why did he think a nice-fitting hoodie and tight pants were a good idea today, anyway?

He leaves his things there, hoping no one decides to steal it but it is New York - it’s more likely than it should be - and scales the wall, looking for the place Namjoon was talking about.

It’s not exactly hard to miss - what, with the flashing red and blue lights and distant yelling - so, he shoots his first web and makes off, thankful for the breeze he gets swinging through the streets because Christ, it’s hot today.

Jungkook gets home a little over an hour later, hoodie tied around his waist because it’s still too damn hot, especially after you fight like thirty guys in the space of a few hours as the season’s still hanging onto summer heat, and he almost nuts on the spot when he smells the heavenly scents of a Pepper’s Pizzeria Pizza. Large, with barbecue base, cheese-stuffed crust, extra cheese, meatballs, peppers (mostly green), red onions well done, ham, bacon and chicken.

Seriously, why can’t he just marry Kim Taehyung already?

“Hey, Kookie!” Taehyung greets, gesturing to the box on the table as he says, “I got you some food since Mr Song kept you back. I know it’s your favourite, so-,” Taehyung’s voice trails off and Jungkook tears his eyes away from the box to look at his best friend, whose gaze is-

Oh… there’s… another bruise isn’t there?

Taehyung’s eyes are fixated on Jungkook’s neck and, god , that has to be the worst one yet.

“Tae, I can explain-”

“Did you like… ditch me for a hookup?” He tries to laugh, as if he finds it somehow funny but it doesn’t take a non-idiot to hear the hurt in the sound.

“It’s… it wasn’t like that…”

Taehyung shrugs, gives a tiny, miniscule smile, and pushes the box towards him, saying, “I have photos to send to my editor. Enjoy your food, Kook,” and Jungkook barely even has time to breathe nevermind explain himself before Taehyung’s out of the room.

Fuck - how is he fucking this up so badly all of a sudden? He kept this all under wraps for years and now they meet once and suddenly everything’s a shit show?

The pizza doesn’t taste as  good without Taehyung pestering him to let him have a bite.

Jungkook doesn’t actually see his best friend the next morning. He’s already left for work by the time he’s awake.

Actually, Jungkook doesn’t see or hear from him until he’s stopping Doctor Octopus trying to steal more shit in order to pay for - what, platinum gold plates for his stupid octopus arms?

Because suddenly there’s another click and flash of a camera, and Jungkook almost groans out loud when he hears the Doctor say, “Oh, and what do we have here?”

Taehyung may be a genius, but he’s also a dumbass.

Jungkook glances down at the ground below and yep, there he is, camera ready and a cheekily little determined look on his face that is slightly infuriating.

Naturally, Jungkook leaps to his rescue when one of Doctor Octopus’ tentacles reach out for the photographer, and he grabs the limb, twisting it back as best as he can to stop it from clamping down on his best friend.

“Get out of here!” He snarls, but Taehyung just takes a step back, hesitant for whatever reason to leave, even as Jungkook’s busting his ass to knock away all of Doctor Octopus’ attempts. He swings another arm and Jungkook shoots a web to hold it back, feet slipping along the tarmac as he tugs. But then he just raises another, and suddenly Jungkook’s arms are criss-cross as he has a web holding back on either size, squeezing his limbs together very uncomfortably.

“You know, I’m not too up on yoga.”

The villain doesn’t even give him a sarcastic snicker.

So, instead, Jungkook tries a new approach. He lets go of both webs, the enemy’s tentacles flying loose and sharp-shoots out enough to stick the metal limbs to the ground, the villain grouching at him as he tries and pulls his weapons free.

Ah, he did a good job strengthening his webs up. He needs to remember to thank Seokjin for getting them to fit right in his suit.

Jungkook turns his attention away to his best friend instead, grabbing onto him with a muttered, “Hold on to me,” which the elder immediately does, arms wrapping around his neck as Jungkook steadies one on his waist. He aims the other hand out to the surrounding buildings and shoots a web at the ledge of the highest one. Then, he kicks them off into a run, tugging hard with a slight jump to pull them up almost effortlessly as they land cleanly on the rooftop. As Jungkook lets Taehyung go, he checks over his shoulder once for Doctor Octopus and when he sees the villain’s still a little occupied, he turns to his best friend again.

“What do you want?” he asks shortly, and Taehyung looks even a little stunned at it. “A picture? An autograph?”

But, miraculously, the elder shakes his head, earnestly blinking up at him as he says, “No… no I kinda just wanted to see what you were, like… up to, I guess.”

Jungkook snorts at that. How Taehyung.

He hates being mean to him - sort of thinks it might be the suit ego Seokjin always tells him off for having - but they can’t become friends in this persona too. Jungkook’s not good at hiding things.

“I’m saving the city,” The younger replies, and Taehyung actually giggles at him for it as if he’s joking. However, when Taehyung makes no move to leave, Jungkook gives a small sigh.

“Okay, let me just take care of that-” he gestures to the villain, finally free and waving his metal arms in the air like spaghetti (though he thinks he’s trying to intimidate) and Jungkook promises, “Then, we can talk for a bit. Exclusive for your paper, even.”

Taehyung’s eyes shoot open.

“How did you know I’m from a paper?”

Damn it, Jungkook uhhh… look around… think of something…

His eye catches the accessory hanging around his neck.

“Oh, the… your lanyard. Your lanyard says press.”

Nice .

Taehyung looks down at the object around his neck and nods to himself, understanding, a light tinge of red on his cheeks whilst he mutters, “Ah, yeah that makes sense.” Jungkook’s just about to skip off again when Taehyung calls him back for a second, almost sheepish when he says, “Hey, um… thank you for saving me. Again. I promise not to get in your way next time.”

If Jungkook hadn’t already fallen for him long ago, he’d be on his way with that. Spidey might be falling, let’s just say.

Wait, no they can’t be friends in this persona - damn it, Jungkook.

Jungkook’s catching up on all the lab work he’s missed in the last few weeks (as it goes with him every semester) under the watchful eye of his allocated grad-buddy, best hyung and beer pong partner since Freshman year, Jung Hoseok, when he overhears a few kids talking about the latest Spider-Man sighting. Jungkook smiles inwardly as they gush over his heroics.

He always loves that. At the start, to launch his career as the city’s hero, he used to post little clips of him anonymously on social media (which both Namjoon and Seokjin hated - as his unspoken managers) and he’d always get a certain rush reading about people talking about how amazing and brave he is.

As opposed to everyone in university and high school… and middle school… and elementary - that all just think he’s a huge nerd with a raging crush on Kim Taehyung who’s far out of his league.

Which they’re not… wrong about - but he’s cool too!

He glances at Hoseok whose brow is knotted with concentration as he writes notes he’s forced to take on Jungkook’s experimenting to evaluate him… and he decides to try a little something.

“Ah,” he says, putting down his apparatus with a slow, dreamy sigh, “that Spider-Man… isn’t he so cool?”

Hoseok looks up from watching Jungkook’s experiment, frown on his face that says ‘get back to work’, but he doesn’t actually say it. No, it’s actually much worse - instead he snorts and says, “Nah, he’s hella lame.”

Jungkook’s heart shrivels up a little. And he can’t even be mad at him.

“Is that so?” He mutters quietly, going back to writing down the results of his first test for catalase activity in his sample enzyme, whilst Hoseok hums in confirmation.

“Yeah,” his friend says unashamedly which is so rude. “His suit’s lame, his powers are eh and- well, he really just sorta does what the cops are too lazy to do right?”

“He does way more than that!” Jungkook argues vehemently because he busts his ass thank you very much. “Plus, if he didn’t do that the city would be in shambles and his powers are great and way better than, like... Hawkeye’s. What can Hawkeye even do, you know?”

“I don’t-”

“And furthermore, his suit is actually really nice and it was made by a close friend so it’s not fair to say it’s lame.”

Hoseok stares at him for a second, lips parted ever so slightly with the most perfect expression of what the fuck are you talking about.

Jungkook fakes an awkward laugh, tugging on the collar of his shirt as he pretends to scan around the classroom for something instead saying, “Or, uh… so I’ve heard, anyway…”

“Right,” Hoseok says slowly. “God, you’re almost as passionate as Taehyung is about him,” he laments and Jungkook’s face alerts into what his friends like to mimic through text as being an O J O. “He’s ass over heels for him, seriously . I caught him just… smiling at a picture he took of him yesterday. Just… smiling. Creepily. Like it wasn’t cute at all it was weird-”

Jungkook blocks out the rest of Hoseok’s claim because his mind is already going hMMMMMMM…

This could be good for him.

Jungkook decides to meddle a little. Just a little. Just to see , okay?

He’s watching Two and a Half Men reruns with Taehyung one night and is so horrifically bored that the idea just pops into his mind and he definitely hadn’t been waiting for the perfect opportunity for days on end now.

“So, you never told me about meeting Spider-Man…”

Taehyung’s eyes light up as his head whips around to him. It’s more of a glint but Jungkook doesn’t know what that means. Uh, Hoseok might’ve been a little bit right about it being slightly creepy - only one half of his face is lit up by the TV.

“He’s amazing, Jungkookie!” The elder declares and Jungkook’s heart clenches because hell yeah that’s him. “He’s so hot,” ooo , “and sweet and funny and he’s saved me twice now and. Ugh. Honestly, Kook he’s just... Wow he’s just incredible.”

He has no idea how he’s managed to whip his friend this fast with his alternate persona when he’s been pining after him for literal years in his regular Jungkook body, but he’s certainly not mad about it.

He smiles gently, holding back the urge to full-on grin, telling him, “That’s cute, Tae, I’m glad-”

“His body is banging too like, fuck, have you seen his thighs? I have. In HD, my friend. H. D.

Uh .

Okay, that’s… well that’s a little strange to hear, but-

“I’m not gonna lie to you, Kook, I would happily do bad things to get him to put me in my place. No shit, he could put my ass to justice anytime.

Holy shit.

Does Jungkook choke at the words?

Yes, yes he does.

Actually, he springs up right out of his seat, episode unfinished and everything (no great loss, really) and Taehyung just looks at him in extreme confusion as Jungkook stumbles away, mumbling something about showering or maybe cleaning or something he isn’t really sure himself he just needs to get the images of Taehyung’s ass and him and them and Taehyung’s ass out of his head - whether that be with hot (maybe cold) shower water or bleach.

In retrospect, meddling was a bad idea, but Jungkook never listens to his brain because it sounds way too much like Seokjin. But maybe this time Brain-Jin was right.

Or so a wiser man may say. The way Jungkook sees it, he now has a way in.

Operation Get My Best Friend To Fall In Love With Me By Making Him Fall For My Superhero Persona is go.

Yeah, he might have to abbreviate that one.

Over the next month or so, it’s quite easy to fall into this routine for Taehyung.

It’s strange, really. At first, it was as if Spider-Man wanted nothing to do with him at all - Taehyung thought he was just thirsting real hard - but now, it seems like the hero genuinely enjoys their conversations. It’s nice to just talk with someone every once in a while. Especially when its on a rooftop with a masked man who just beat up twenty low-life criminals while posing for your pictures every chance given like a dumbass.

He would consider them friends now. Not sure about what Spider-Man thinks, but Taehyung most definitely sees the guy as his friend. A friend he thirsts after.

Not that that is anything new, is it?

Taehyung sighs. He must be cursed.

And Spidey picks up on this sigh, tilting his head with inquisitiveness from where the two sit, dangling their legs off of the roof of one of the tallest skyscrapers in the city. It’d been a feat getting them up there, Taehyung clinging onto the hero for dear life as he somehow managed to scale the building with the man in his arms.

Yeah, they’re not trying that one again anytime soon, but the hero had insisted the view from it was breathtaking and was almost affronted when he heard that Taehyung had never seen it.

He can’t climb walls. Of course he hasn’t seen it.

“Something up?” the man asks him now, and Taehyung looks to him with barely-hidden surprise. For whatever reason, he hadn’t really expected him to ask. Sure, they’re friends, but it’s more of a ‘you’re kinda stuck saving me whilst I take pictures of you for my job and push your buttons in a vaguely flirtatious way because I’m Sad And Alone’ sorta friendship. Pretty standard.

Talking about feelings? That’s uncharted territory. Taehyung shifts on the ledge (but not too much lest he fall off) and clears his throat.

“I’m okay, it’s just… one of my fri- my best friend is kind of… complicated lately. I kinda just wish he could tell me what’s going on, you know? I know he’s hiding something from me… and everytime I ask around his classmates and his friends to see if they know what’s been going on they give me different answers to what he’s said.”

Spider-Man hums, and Taehyung gets the feeling that if he could see his face, he’d be looking rather sympathetic by now.

“That sounds tough. But… maybe he’s just afraid of what you’d say? Or maybe he’s trying to protect you from something?”

Taehyung gives a small chuckle, looking off to the skyline as he muses about how right Spider-Man might just be. Hero of the city and a personal advice column? What a catch.

“That sounds like him,” he replies wistfully, “He’s always tried to protect me, ever since we were kids. It’s like it’s all he’s wanted sometimes but- the thing is… I don’t think he realises that whatever he’s trying to protect me from, it’s-” Taehyung cuts himself off, even rolling his eyes as his mouth plummets into a frown. He hates whining, and he hates sounding dramatic.

But, to his even further surprise, Spider-Man’s hand finds its way to his shoulder, and he pats reassuringly, as if telling him to go on and-

Christ, this is such a weird situation.

“It’s hurting me anyway,” he confesses flatly, “I miss feeling close to him, and I hate feeling like he’s hiding something from me. I thought I’d figured out what it was but I dunno... It just doesn’t seem like him, you know?” Taehyung laughs at himself a little when he realises what he just said, correcting, “Well, obviously you don’t- it’s not like you know him, but… you understand where I’m coming from, right?”

Spider-Man gives one slow nod.

“I do, Taehyung. It sounds like your friend is a really big idiot.”

Taehyung snorts, smiling admittedly wide at the observation.

“He is, kinda. A lot of people tell me that. But he’s my idiot.”

Spider-Man laughs too, stretching out his arms above his head as the sun goes down, and Taehyung unashamedly watches how the fabric of his suit clings to each muscle in his torso.

“Well, unfortunately for you, I’m kind of an idiot too. Do you attract those?”

“Guess so…” Taehyung says with a small shrug, until he looks at the hero with a hazy look of flirtation. “Have I attracted you?

The man’s silent for a few seconds, before he nods.

“Ever since I saw you in those slacks, being a dumbass and risking your safety to get a couple of stupid photographs.”

Taehyung doesn’t really know what he feels about the revelation. His heart flutters, but it also feels so much heavier .

Some time later, Spider-Man gets up to his feet again, telling him, “Okay, you should go before every villain in New York is after you,” and he reaches out a hand to him to help him up off the ledge, which Taehyung takes. Not because he needed it, more because his mind had done it all on its own.

They’re close, standing together. Practically pressed up against one another from poor (or perfect) judgement on the hero’s part, and if Taehyung didn’t know any better, he’d say this was a little too intimate for what they are. Barely more than strangers, really. But why does it feel like he’s known him forever ? Taehyung doesn’t have the sense to back away, no matter how pained his chest feels. He wonders if it’s possible to be attracted to someone you don’t even know the face of.

With their proximity, Taehyung opts to take advantage of the situation.

But not in the way literally anyone would expect.

“Can you show me how to swing your web before I go?”

It’s not an innuendo.

Spider-Man giggles, probably not expecting that to have been what Taehyung was going to say, judging by the tilt of his head and it’s sort of endearing.

Really endearing, actually.

“Sure thing, Tae.”

Taehyung starts slightly, eyes flicking to the hero as his brow pinches together because something about that…

“What’s wrong?”

Taehyung shakes his head, shaking the feeling off, and he garners a smile, easily telling him, “Oh, nothing. My friend just calls me that.”

But there’s something more than that about it which caught his attention, he just can’t figure out what.

Spider-Man gives a nod of acknowledgement, and then turns to the street across from them. He raises his hand to the farthest lamppost, looking over his shoulder at Taehyung again as he explains, “Anything around street lamp height is a good place to start.”

Taehyung nods, intrigued, asking, “Okay and then what?”

“You shoot-” the web flies out from his wrist, sticking to the top of the post securely, “And you swing.”

“Wait what do you mean swing- AAAAAH

Suddenly, Spider-Man has looped an arm around his waist and is telling him to hold tight as he propels them both off a fucking building.

Taehyung’s yelling at the top of his lungs, clinging onto the hero with all of his might as they’re plummeting towards the ground after he lets go of that post. Then, last minute, he shoots another web, pulling them right back up into the sky, overhead of half the buildings around them, and there’s a few lovely seconds where they’ve reached maximum height of the swing and Taehyung can see most of the city as they practically float in air.

Before they drop straight back down.

This process repeats for far too long until Taehyung’s drastically regretting his decision and he’s basically squeezing the hero to death in hopes that he’ll relent and get them back on solid ground where humans are supposed to be.

Seriously, even spiders don’t jump around like that.

Taehyung’s internship is going quite well, if he’s honest. He doesn’t even really need that many pictures of Spider-Man anymore - he’s gotten a dozen impeccable ones that no one else could ever hope to replicate but, then… Spider-Man doesn’t have to know that, does he?

Something about him makes Taehyung want to see him again and again. There’s something that draws him. And that kind of annoys him a little bit.

The man just feels so familiar, so easy to talk to. And while his best friend is being so complicated it seems like the perfect temporary replacement.

And yet, Taehyung can’t see either of them without feeling guilt rise up in his stomach.

Jungkook’s barely been around lately. He’s cancelled plans and bailed half-way through more times in the past month than he has in their entire friendship, and Taehyung just doesn’t know what’s changed.

Today’s one of the days he actually manages to catch the man before he disappears, and Taehyung finds he barely even knows what to say now that he gets a chance.

So, being the pettiest bitch alive, he talks about his new hero friend instead of actually sorting out their problems.

“I’m pretty much done with my Spider-Man pictures for awhile…” he says innocently, and Jungkook looks up from where he’d been tiredly shovelling cereal into his mouth, eyes flitting with confusion.

“Doth that meen your noth gohna thsee him anymore?” He sounds a little sad which is… not what Taehyung was expecting. He shouldn’t be sad, he should be happy! He would get his best friend back then! Taehyung huffs quietly as the man spoons in some more.

He shouldn’t be so damn cute. He’s got his cheeks filled with cereal it should be gross why is it cute.

Taehyung’s in too deep.

Which he’s, of course, known for millennia .

“No, I still want to see him. Just for fun,” he says and when Jungkook makes no further reaction, he saccharinely adds, “I like him a lot .”

Jungkook blinks in quiet wonder at why his best friend is acting so weird, mouth chewing contently.

Wow, he… does he seriously not care?

“He’s really fun to talk to and- and I think he might even be into me.”

Well, he doesn’t know that for sure but he’s, like… pretty certain if all the light touches and flirtatious cues are anything to go by.

“He is?” Jungkook asks, spoon dropping back to his bowl as he seems to try and process this information, mouth working double-time to condense his food. His eyebrows pinch together, and he frowns.

Taehyung gives a triumphant nod.

But then, suddenly he’s smiling at him, announcing, “Then you should go see him, Tae!”

Outwardly, Taehyung grins and agrees and tells him he absolutely will.

Inwardly, however, Taehyung’s heart might shatter a little bit. Can something shatter a little bit? Or does it just feel like that?

Jungkook goes back to rapid-eating his mush of cereal, and the elder sighs deeply.

Why Taehyung’s so in love with that kid, he’ll never understand.

--

Things follow on rather normally after that. Taehyung bitterly takes his best friend’s advice, and goes to see Spider-Man anyway, even if his heart isn’t really in the right place.

And things are normal then too. The hero kicks ass, Taehyung gets photos he doesn’t really need and they talk for a little while. They can’t talk too long though because Spider-Man has supposed places to be and Taehyung’s using his lunch break to see him now, since his boss has other things for him to do now that they’ve got enough Spider-Man pictures for eight years.

In fact, they’re just saying goodbye - and everything’s normal, the hero climbing his way up the wall with Taehyung starting to walk away until he suddenly calls down “Hey, Tae, before I go!” and in a flash, he’s dropped down from the wall, hanging upside down and perfectly in range of Taehyung (maybe his judgement for these things is good, after all.)

“What is it?” Taehyung utters, face barely a few inches away from the man, who doesn’t say anything in reply. Instead, he pulls down the bottom of his mask, and before Taehyung can even realise what’s happening, their lips are pressed together, slow and sweet and if Taehyung had a better mind he’d understand why all his heart beats feel like a dull ache.

He grabs the hero’s face, pulls him closer, deepens the kiss like he’s searching for something in it, and only when they stop for a breath, both panting, lips glistening and red, does he ask himself what the fuck he’s doing.

Even Spider-Man looks shocked with his lips parted like that, as if he hadn’t expected anything more than a peck.

“See ya,” Taehyung says quietly, backing away whilst the hero clumsily puts his mask back in place. When Taehyung looks over his shoulder again he’s already gone.

Taehyung gently touches his mouth. The guy’s a good kisser.

Fuck , he’s a disaster.

Jungkook is a disaster.

Taehyung kissed him but - but he kissed Spider-Man not him and he can’t say anything to him which aches because all he wants to do is hold him tight and kiss him senseless. From a better angle.

But he can’t do that - he can just sit quietly on the couch, flipping through the next issue of Caravan Monthly (he’s gotten weirdly hooked - maybe he’ll by a caravan soon) while he waits for Taehyung to skip in through the door, humming sweetly to himself.

Except, Taehyung just looks very very conflicted when he comes in - and that amplifies when he sees Jungkook, face falling stoney and weirdly blank as his best friend greets him.

“Hey, Tae… what’s up?”

Taehyung shakes his head rapidly.

“Everything’s up, everything- we’re all… perfectly upright in this situation no upside down makeou- moments. No upside down moments.

Holy shit. He’s broken his best friend.

“Did you see Spider-Man today?”

Taehyung pales immediately. Like he just took a faceful of flour from a poltergeist.

No! ” he says, “Nope, I didn’t see him. How are you doing, Kookie? What are you reading? Do you wanna watch a movie? Did I tell you about the one Jimin sawlastweekwherethegirlgoestoavillagelookingforthestoryo fherancestorsbutthenshemeetsthisguyinsteadwhoseemstoknowwaytoomuchabouttheplacetonotknowa boutherfamilytoobuthehidesitfromherbecauseshesactuallyawitchandshe’sno tmeanttoknowbutonceshefindsoutshesfuriouswithhimfornottellingherandtheyresortainlovebythatpointbecaus ehollywoodbutoncesheuseshermagictodefeatwhateverdarkforceisthreateningthevillageh edidsomethingtosaveherassandsheloveshimagainandtheygetmarriedandhaveliketwentychildren. Do you wanna watch it even though I just spoiled the entire plot?”

Jungkook is... speechless… actually speechless.

“Uh, you know what? Maybe we shouldn’t do that.”

“That’s fine!” Taehyung chimes, and before Jungkook knows it, he’s throwing himself into the younger’s lap, cuddling up to his neck as his hand grabs for the remote and starts searching through channels so quickly that there’s no way it’s humanly possible for him to catch them. Jungkook can’t even catch them and his spider-sense literally gives him superhuman reaction times. .

The only sound in the room is the incredibly fast clicking of Taehyung’s thumb on the remote, and somewhere in between, Jungkook finds himself wondering about them .

It’s been a while since they’ve hung out as Taehyung and Jungkook. There’s been a wild influx of crime lately, Jungkook’s barely had time for class either and any time he’s not fighting crime, he’s catching up - so his and Taehyung’s friendship has taken a serious hit.

It’s not that they’re any less close. It’s just, it feels like they haven’t been around each other in forever - which leads to weird situations like this where one of them’s highly strung and trying too hard.

Though, he definitely thinks this is 95% due to the kiss. Just a hunch he has.

It’s nice to see Taehyung happy and smiling, though - even if he’s freaking out on the inside, and it makes Jungkook realise how much he missed it. And also how much it was undoubtedly his fault.

“Tae?” He says softly, and the man in question looks up at him with wide, pretty eyes. Jungkook’s heart leaps; he’s so gorgeous.

“I’m sorry for standing you up so much lately. Don’t think I don’t want to be around you all the time, okay? I do. If I could spend every minute of the day with you I would,” It’s not even an exaggeration. He’s that bad. “I’ll try harder from now on.”

He expects, perhaps, some kind of mushy smile. Or maybe for the man to just hum and go back to cuddling.

What he does not expect, is for Taehyung to jolt like someone just blew an airhorn in his ear, and for him to scramble out of Jungkook’s lap, landing on his ass on the floor, before crawling like some sort of creature from a horror film (the grudge, he looks like the grudge ) out of the room with no other explanation than “Uhhhhhhhhh-” and something about a dog he has to feed.

...He’s allergic to dogs.

But, getting over that blip (i.e. once Taehyung’s able to be in the same room as him without sweating again), a few days later, Jungkook takes Taehyung out for frozen yoghurt when they’re both free, and the man’s so overjoyed he won’t stop smiling the entire time they walk to the place.

Jungkook’s smiling too, just basking in the warmth that is Kim Taehyung, and when the man even jokingly holds his hand, talking about how they’re finally ‘going out, wink-wink’ Jungkook’s heart turns itself inside out just so it doesn’t have to look at how keysmashing incredible he is.

However, just as they’re about to go inside, Jungkook’s phone makes that urgent little blip sound that even Taehyung knows by now is Jungkook’s ‘gotta go!’ tone. Jungkook takes a look at the message - something about the monthly market being disturbed by some rough folk , and then to Taehyung, who’s got one hand on the door of the frozen yoghurt place, and other still interlocked with his, staring on sadly at him as if he’s waiting for his disappearance any moment now.

Jungkook shoves the phone back in his pocket, and pushes the door open for Taehyung to go in first.

The man barely even seems to believe that Jungkook’s still here, but once he does, his smiles amplify by about forty in both warmth and beauty and he doesn’t let go of his hand for anything ; even when the have to carry their treats and their drinks and it gets a bit inconvenient.

In Jungkook’s head, it’s totally a date. To anyone else, it’s probably just one very whipped man fruitlessly pining over Spider-Man’s new boo.

To Taehyung…? He wonders what it means to him.

Taehyung has decided something the next time he goes to see Spider-Man.

He catches him around a little disturbance going on downtown - hardly anything even worth his time, really, just a few dealers in a scrap or something - and the man wastes no time when he sees him again, already leaning in, mask turned up to greet him as he holds his waist to pull him closer, but Taehyung recoils at the last second, and the hero let’s go of him immediately.

“I’m sorry,” Taehyung gasps, leaning away from the man with an air of sympathy, “I’m sorry, I- I like someone else, don’t kiss me again please.”

The man flushes, just visible underneath the mask as he stammers, “ Oh . Oh, I’m sorry, Tae-“

“Don’t be!” he rushes back, making wild hand gestures as he says, “I shouldn’t have led you on-“

“No, no you didn’t!” The hero freaks back, “I shouldn’t have kissed you without your permission!“

They both stop, grins lighting up their faces (well, as much as Taehyung can see of the other’s) and Spider-Man pulls his mask back down, leaning up against the wall with his arms folded across his chest as he gives a slow sigh, half amused as he asks, “Okay, then- spill. Who’s the lucky guy?”

Taehyung shrugs, a little shy somehow as he joins the man in his wall-leaning. They probably look a little ridiculous, just leaning up against a random wall while the city swarm around them after the whole commotion that went down, giggling about crushes .

“He’s my best friend- you know the one I was talking to you about?”

“The complicated one,” the hero recalls with a smirk in his voice and Taehyung hums gleefully, explaining, “We’ve known each other since we were kids… we live together now, too while he’s finishing college but I think we’ll get an apartment once he’s done.”

The hero’s suddenly oddly silent as he listens to him. Still, even, as if something’s just dawned on him.

“He’s ridiculously handsome. Like, all sharp angles and smooth curves and his body. Christ, you’re the only person I’ve seen match it. Everytime I see his thighs my heart clenches a little more - one of these days it’s gonna just shut if he doesn’t choke me with them already.”

The man splutters on air, but Taehyung’s in too deep to even realise.

“But it’s his eyes, Spidey. They’re so beautiful. Round and sparkly - like the entire universe shines in them. And his nose- it’s so cute and big! I wanna kiss it so bad.” He sighs like a middle schooler with their first crush (of course, Jungkook was his middle school crush.) “And his mouth! Pouty lips, pretty and red all the time. And he has these bunny teeth that make me want to give him the whole world. It’s just, he looks so irresistible half the time but then he smiles and I swear he’s the purest thing that’s ever existed…”

“B-but you still want him to choke you with his thighs.”

Undoubtedly.”

The man breathes out, shakily, and Taehyung swears he’s slinked down the wall a little bit, knees now bent and shaking ever so slightly. He swallows hard enough that Taehyung can catch it through his suit.

“Wh-wh-why don’t you tell him that?”

Taehyung frowns.

“That I want to be choked by his godly thighs?”

“S-sure.”

He clicks his tongue, shaking his head softly at the hero as he says, “Because it’s more than that, Spidey. I like everything about him. Actually, I’m in love with him,” he says neatly, as if it’s the simplest thing in the world.

“I have been for years. And I know, Spidey, I should tell him that, too- I know what your silence means. You’re shocked I haven’t told him after I just poured my heart out, but it’s just… lately he’s been giving me mixed signals, you know? One minute he’s there and next he’s diving out a window.” He pauses to look at the man with a severe sort of seriousness.

“Like, literally.

Spider-Man gives a weak snort.

“I think I’ll just have to wait until he gives me an actual sign. He’s so confusing, Spidey, you’ve no idea.”

The hero makes a vague, muffled noise - like a squeak that comes from his throat - and mutters, “Yeah. No idea.”

Taehyung doesn’t ask why he’s acting so weird - probably just heartbroken, the poor thing.