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Fake Sugar

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So, he walks. 

The breeze rolling in from the sea is warm, heavy with salt, as the bottom of the sun begins to dip below the horizon. Jin’s not panicking. He thought he would panic. He keeps waiting for himself to panic. Instead, he's overcome by a sense of melancholic calm as he strolls down the shadowy shore, his feet squeaking in fine sand. Acceptance must be what he’s feeling, but he’s a little concerned with how quickly he’s embraced the worst-case scenario, how unwilling he seems to be to fight it. Maybe it’s the tiredness that’s sunk deep into his bones, not the kind of tired a good night’s sleep would cure. He’s not exactly sure what would cure this kind of tired.  

Once he’s a suitable distance away from the resort and from humans and especially from Jungkook, he plops down unceremoniously into the sand, the packed surface harder than he had anticipate. Jin digs into his pocket and grabs his phone, sniffing hard and wiping his nose as he scrolls down through his contact information until he finds what he's looking for. After a moment's hesitation, he taps the word Mom and brings the phone to his ear. 

It rings and it rings, and just as he's convinced himself that she's not going to pick up, he hears a soft "Hey sweetie." 

"Hey mom," he says, voice thick as he digs his feet into the sand. "How are you?" 

His mom sighs on the other side of the line. "Fine, I guess. You aunt is being a bitch again, but what's new?" 

"Mom!" 

"What? It's true!" She assures him. "She keeps talking about her brat of daughter like the sun shines out of her ass." 

"You know you do the exact same thing to her, about me.” 

"Yes, but you're actually great," she tells him without an ounce of shame. 

"I’m not that great,” he confesses, feeling a twisting regret in his stomach. He doesn't feel like a good son. 

"What about you?" She asks then, "Trip going okay?" 

Jin bites his bottom lip, slightly concerned his voice might crack. "Of course. I’m in paradise. Just wanted to hear your voice." 

"Well now you’ve heard it. So get back to paradise. Oh!" She suddenly remembers, "Wait, have you heard from Coke?" 

Jin swallows hard and clears his throat, shifting on the hard sand. "Not yet." 

"Well, of course they'll want you," she assures him, like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. "How could they not?" 

"I’m not so sure," Jin admits quietly, grip tightening on this phone. It’s the perfect opportunity to warn her, to give her a heads up of some of the things she might be reading about him in the next few days, but his throat sticks stubbornly shut as he tries to continue.  

"Sweetie, you’ve got to have more confidence. You’re amazing," his mom assures after a moment. "I'm proud of you." 

"Mom, don't-" 

"No, I know, I’m your mom and I don’t count. But listen," she insists, and Jin has no choice. It’s not often they talk like this, in specifics. The vague sentiment of love is always there, but whenever it gets more specific than that, both of them tend to shy away. "I’m so proud of you. You've been up against a lot since day one, we both have. But you never let it stop you from doing exactly what you want to do, even if it wasn’t the safe option. You took a chance. And look how it’s paid off.” 

"Mom..." he croaks out, throat impossibly tight as his eyes burn with shame. 

"You’ve done such amazing things. I wish I could be strong like you.” The end of the sentence sounds choked, and she sniffs quickly. You are, Jin want to argue, but he seems fully incapable of speech as she continues. “So, you deserve this. Let yourself be excited.” Jin’s throat is so tight that he can barely breath, much less speak. So he doesn’t. Luckily she fills the silence for them. “Plus, I can’t wait to shove it in your aunt's face," she says with a watery cackle.

"I love you, mom," Jin tells her once her laughter has subsided. 

"Love you too, sweetie. So much. See you at Nationals?" 

Jin nods, even though he knows she can't see him. "See you at Nationals." 

After he hangs up, he sits there in the night-blue sand, watching the waves roll up quietly onto the shoreline and lets himself cry for a few minutes. He doesn’t see a way out of this.  

He could release his own statement, say what he had with Jungkook was real. But it would still be his word against theirs. Against his dad’s. Against the words of several very rich very powerful men. Even if people did believe him, it wouldn’t be enough. The damage would be done. Sponsors don’t like drama. 

If he did deny everything, denied that he was paid for the arrangement, he wonders what Jungkook would say. He thinks back to when they first, what Jungkook had wanted of him. It wasn’t a boyfriend. It was a status symbol. He didn’t pay Jin for real.  

Even amid all the murkiness and uncertainty, one thing is abundantly clear. They can’t keep this up. Continuing as they are will only confirm suspicions, especially with the nature of their interactions at Jungkook's work events. Everybody at his workplace would be able to corroborate the news story, of course. That was the whole point of their arrangement. It might be a little late in that sense, but at least he can do damage control.  

He groans, shaking his hands and wiping his eyes on his shoulder. “Suck it up,” he mutters to himself, sniffing hard.  

For now, he reasons, they're on this beautiful island, in the lap of luxury, for one more night. He may never be anywhere like this ever again. So he will go to this damn party, and he will enjoy it.  

When he tentatively cracks open the door to their suite, he fully expects Jungkook to be there and to bombard him with questions or apologies or solutions. What he finds instead is an empty room. He steps inside, tossing his phone on the couch as he stoops to read a note on the table in Jungkook's handwriting.  

 

Had to pop into town for a bit. I'll be back before the party. Don't worry! We'll fix it. 

 

Jin just sighs and pours himself one glass of wine, then another glass of wine to clutch in his other hand, then he flops back onto the couch in a defeated heap. At some point he simply sheds his clothes and grabs one of the fluffy white robes from the bedroom before flinging himself once again onto the couch.  

It's here he stays for the next hour and a half, until he hears the door click open and Jungkook's shuffling footsteps in the entryway.  

"Jin?" He calls to the room not immediately noticing Jin there on the couch.  Jin, four glasses of wine deep and extremely demotivated, does not make to move or answer. "Jin?" He sounds a bit more frantic this time.  

Jin groans from the couch, trying to sit up and sloshing wine all over himself in the process. Jungkook jumps at the sound as he finally takes notice.  

"Jesus!" He says, bringing a hand to his chest. "You scared me. I thought you were…” He trails off, hesitant.

"A sexy ghost?" Jin provides for him with a hiccup, hands swiping uselessly at the red stain on the white robe.  

"Gone," Jungkook finishes quietly as he approaches, setting down a high-quality paper bag on the table. 

"Nope. Still here, still queer," Jin tells him, setting his wine glass down carefully on the table. It takes him several tries.  

Jungkook helpfully pushes the wine glass away from the precarious edge of the table. "Hey, listen, I know I said we didn’t need to go to this party, but-” 

"Excuse me, I am going to this party! You think I'm gonna spend this last night in paradise in my room? Fuck no, I'll never be anywhere this nice ever again." 

Jungkook hesitates. “Uh. Good. It’s just, I think I might have a solution. And we need to go to this party for it to work.” 

His words tug Jin briefly out of his happy place, sobering him like he’s been pulled underwater. “I don’t want to talk about that.” 

“But we have to do something,” Jungkook argues, leaning forward in his enthusiasm. “Like, now.” 

“I said don’t want to talk about it,” Jin says more forcefully, pushing down the terrible raking anxiety that claws up his chest. It’s stupid. He knows he’s going to need to face this, just, not now. Jungkook’s eyes dart down to Jin’s hands, which are curled into claws on his thighs, nails digging into his flesh. “There’s nothing we can do, so I don’t want to talk about it.” 

“I… okay,” Jungkook allows, perhaps noting how close Jin is to breaking down completely. “That’s fine. We won’t talk about it.” 

“Okay,” Jin says, relaxing a bit into the couch behind him. “Good.” 

Jungkook eyes him carefully.  “But Jin, I’m gonna do something.” 

“Do whatever you’d like,” Jin says primly, crossing his legs.  

“It’s going to affect you.” 

“Yeah, well, shit can’t get worse than it already is,” Jin tells him lightly, taking a large sip of wine. “So fuck it all. Do what you want.” 

Jungkook observes him carefully for a few moments. “You’re sure you don’t want to know.” 

“Positive," Jin tells him, settling back into the soft couch and nuzzling against it as he enjoys the fuzziness around his thoughts and the heaviness of his limbs. “Nothing matters! I have no control over my destiny! What happens, happens.” 

“Jin-” 

"Now, dress me!" 

"What?" Jungkook scoffs, though he looks slightly concerned. "Are you serious?" 

"Crystal," Jin confirms, then he pauses. "Wait, did you ask me if I was clear?" 

"No..." Jungkook says, concern obvious in his tone as he eyes the bottle of wine.  

"Oh," Jin remarks, scrunching up his face in careful thought. "Did you ask me if I was drunk?" 

"No." He quirks an eyebrow. "Are you?" 

"Yes," Jin admits without hesitation, sprawling back on the couch in a way he knows is slightly suggestive. "Which is why I need you to dress me." 

Jungkook’s eyes are dark as he looks at Jin, whose robe has ridden up around his thigh. “Fine.” 

Jin's not quite sure why he's building it up like this in his mind. Why he's allowing himself to lean into Jungkook's touch as gentle hands run a brush through his hair, steadying Jin's head tenderly. He certainly doesn't know why he's allowing himself to lean forward and stare unabashedly at his face as Jungkook slowly pushes his robe down from his shoulders and slips his arms into a shirt, fingers skimming lightly over his torso as he does up the buttons. He can tell that Jungkook probably feels his gaze heavy on his face, but he’s very pointedly ignoring it as he focuses his attention on readying Jin.  

“Things are pretty fucked, aren’t they?” 

Jungkook’s fingers still around Jin’s ankle as he rolls on a sock. “Yeah. I guess they’re pretty fucked.” 

Jin abruptly draws back his leg, dragging Jungkook’s hands and consequently his entire body with him. Jungkook lurches forward with the force of the tug, arms planted on either side of Jin, who sprawls out beneath him, trying to look alluring. “Do you want to fuck them a little worse?" 

Jungkook hovers over him for a moment, lips parted and eyes dark, before scrambling backwards, standing up and gluing his hands to his sides. “You can finish getting dressed.” 

The wine dulls the burn on the mild rejection, heat flushing to his face. “Like I’d fuck you anyway,” Jin mutters under his breath, knowing how ridiculous he sounds even without Jungkook’s judgmental quirked brow.  

“We’re leaving in ten.” 

 

 


 

 

 

 

For better or for worse, Jin has sobered slightly by the time they reach the ballroom, the back wall of which is a series of floor-to-ceiling windows that are open to the temperate night beyond. On a raised stage in the corner, there’s a live band playing soft jazz. It should be relaxing, the sea breeze, the easy listening, the free booze, but given the context, the atmosphere is slightly eerie, almost unsettling.  

“If I see them here, I can’t guarantee I won’t throat punch them,” Jungkook mutters in his ear as they survey the room.  

“Is that your big plan?” Jin asks, grabbing a glass of champagne from the tray of a passing waiter. “Throat punching? Because I’ve got to say, I like it, but I don’t know what it'd do for our PR.” 

Jungkook heaves a disappointed sigh as he looks around the room. "Fine. I won’t punch anyone.” 

“You sure about that?” 

And it looks like it pains him, but Jungkook nods. “Yes.” 

“I can’t promise the same,” comes a voice from behind them, and Jin turns to see Hani, looking resplendent as always, even in an unimaginably tacky tropical print dress. “How are you guys holding up?” 

“Me? I’m juuust fine,” Jin assures her, going to take another large swig of champagne. Jungkook snatches it from his hands before the rim of the glass reaches his lips.  

Hani eyes him strangely. “Are you drunk?” 

“Crystal,” Jin confirms with a charming smile and an overzealous wink. She rolls her eyes.  

“So it’s going to be that kind of night.” 

“Hey, Hani,” Jungkook says quietly, reaching out to gently touch her arm. “I might need a favor later. Oh, and have you seen Petra?” 

She nods, pointing vaguely at the other end of the expansive room. “She’s busy with the ‘ugly men.’” 

“Cool,” Jungkook says distractedly, craning his head. The posture accentuates the sharpness of his jawline, and Jin finds himself licking his lips and leaning forward slightly.  

“Well,” Hani says significantly, eyes darting between the two of them, “I’ve got to go pretend I don’t want to vomit at the sight of my date. I’ll leave you two to it?” 

“Thanks, Hani,” Jungkook tells her, tugging Jin over to one of the round tables to sit. The world tilts on an axis for a moment before it rights itself as Jin plops gracelessly into the seat. Jungkook reaches to the center of the table to grab a basket of covered dinner rolls, plopping the entire thing in front of Jin unceremoniously. “Eat.” 

“I’m not that drunk,” Jin tells him but grabs a roll nonetheless.  

“I’d prefer you were sober for this,” Jungkook tells him, eyes darting round the room as he does.  

Jin tilts his head, observing the subtle downturn to Jungkook’s mouth, his drawn brows, his clenched fists. “Are you sure you’re not going to fight someone?” 

Jungkook’s wide eyes find his. “What? Of course, I’m sure. I have self control, Jin."

They sit there, nibbling on dinner rolls, Jungkook kindly waving away the servers that stoop down to offer Jin more champagne. The room gradually continues to fill, and several couples have taken to the dance floor to sway softly to the gentle jazz. Jin and Jungkook watch them, perhaps a bit stiffer than usual, Jin very conscious of the space between them. But then they see movement at the double-door entrance, and Lee strolls in shoulder-to-shoulder with Rosencrantz. There’s an unpleasant contraction in Jin’s gut, like his body is physically trying to curl in on itself. He stuffs an entire bread roll in his mouth and glares, chewing quickly as he dusts off his hands and jumps to his feet.  

“What are you doing?” Jungkook asks, eyes wide as Jin takes his hand and pulls him out of his chair. 

We are dancing,” Jin informs him, tugging him towards the dance floor where couples are swaying slowly to the music. 

A tiny crease appears between Jungkook’s brows as he drags his eyes up from Jin’s hand to his face. “But we're…” He whips his head around to take in the surrounding couples, and Jin knows which anxious little gears are turning in his mind. 

“We’re what, Kook? Men?” 

Jungkook nods slowly, looking slightly ashamed that he’d even had the thought. 

“Well, believe it or not,” Jin says, putting his hand on Jungkook’s waist and grabbing his hand with the other, “heterosexual couples do not have a monopoly on dancing. And I, for one, am going to do whatever the fuck I want to do tonight.” 

Jungkook hesitates before snaking his arm around Jin's waist and stepping closer, though not close enough for Jin, who yanks him the rest of the way forward so that their noses almost touch. He can feel eyes on them, and his ears burn a little the way they always do when he does something brave, holds a man's hand in public or casually comes out to a stranger, but the proximity is worth it as he and Jungkook sway in unison to the music. 

And Jungkook settles into the rhythm of things remarkably well, as he has a tendency to do. Hesitant at first, sometimes needs a push, but then he takes to it like he’s been doing it his whole life. It feels like he’s been dancing with Jin his whole life, that he's been gripping him with strong, sure hands, holding him close, staring calmly and sweetly into his eyes without even the slightest sense of hesitance. 

Something about it, about his sure, intense gaze, flusters Jin immensely, his stomach flipping lightly in his gut. 

"Hey. Why are you looking at me like that?" Jin asks suspiciously, subconsciously pulling him closer as the song plays on, all soaring and romantic trumpet and sweet tinkling piano. 

"Like what?" Jungkook asks, steady gaze never flickering for a moment. 

"Like you're in love with me." 

Jungkook's gaze is surprisingly steady, the only movement of his eyes is down at Jin's lips, then back up to his eyes. "Acting. Remember?” 

Jin tilts his head to regard him more closely, their faces inches apart.“ I don't think you're supposed to fall in love with the sugar baby," Jin says, tilting his head closer all the while. "I think that's where things go bad." 

"Good thing it's just pretend then," Jungkook says, pushing Jin away slightly to spin him outwards. A moment later, Jin is spinning back in towards him, and his face is closer than it was before. 

“Good thing. Fake you is kind of fucked.” 

Rather than leaning away, Jungkook just kind of tilts his head, like he's considering kissing him. Jin starts forward for a moment, like he's expecting a kiss, and Jungkook smiles good-naturedly. "Fake you is looking a little shaky, too.” 

They dance like that for a while, pressed flush, held tight in place by the thickness of the air that envelops them, a kind of barrier between them and the rest of the room.  

"You know, if you’re not careful, these guys are going to start getting the wrong idea," Jin tells him eventually. He hates it even as he says it. "What was it you told me that first night at the bar? Fucking hot people with no emotional attachment?" 

"Something like that," Jungkook admits distastefully, eyes unwavering on Jin's face.  

"So, doesn't this go against the whole plan?" 

Jungkook smiles nervously, and now they’ve stopped swaying. "Nah. I guess the plan just changed.” 

Jin swallows hard, and he's sure the sound of it is audible over the gently swelling music.  

“What does that mean?” 

Jungkook regards him carefully for a moment, biting his lower lip. "Jin, do you trust me?" 

"What? Why?" 

"Do you?" 

Jin considers for a moment, but the answer is disconcertingly obvious. "Yeah." 

“Don't freak out okay?” Jungkook says, feet stilling as he put pulls away slightly. “We needed to act fast, and we needed witnesses. Don't worry, it’s not real.” 

"What..." Jin starts, but he stops abruptly when Jungkook reaches into his pocket and slowly sinks down onto one knee in front of him. A couple of shocked gasps go up around him as the music plays on like nothing world-upending is happening. “What are you doing?” 

Jungkook flips open a small black leather box with surprisingly steady hands. Inside is a simple but stunning gold ring. "Fixing it.” 

As hard as Jin tries to make sense of the situation in front of him, there are only squiggly lines and static in his mind. 

"I..." Jin starts, and he very genuinely does not know what the next words out of his mouth were going to be, but they’re nowhere to be found, evaporated into the air around them, air that is filled with other words, soft whispers and shocked exclamations. 

“Let me take care of you,” Jungkook asks earnestly, quiet enough that only Jin can hear, and Jin’s chest is so, so full that he can hardly expand his chest to breathe. “Just this once. Just until things blow over. You’re free to go without question whenever you want.” 

Jin only grapes for a moment, and he's honestly not even sure what his answer is before it comes out of his mouth. “Okay.” 

“Okay,” Jungkook mumbles with a crooked smile, springing to his feet to slide the ring onto Jin’s finger. Jin feels this happening, but he can’t look away from Jungkook, who cups the side of his face, dragging him in for a kiss. The hoots and hollers around them only escalate. And Jin feels so many things in the moment, but the main thing is fond. Overwhelmingly fond of this dumb, wonderful kid who just did a dumb, wonderful thing.  

Suddenly there is a weight on his back and Hani is screeching in his ear as she clings to him like an incredibly gangly koala. 

“I got the whole thing on video!” she half-yells, pressing a slippery kiss to Jin’s cheek, and he vaguely realizes he must be lipstick marked now, but he still can’t look away from Jungkook, who is looking back at him with a guarded kind of hope. “You perfect, beautiful boys, oh my god.” 

She hops down from Jin’s back, reaching forward to grab his hand in excitement. 

“Hey Hani,” Jungkook says, tearing his eyes away from Jin for a moment. “Go post that on Instagram? Like ASAP? And if you can get anyone else to do the same-” 

“Already on it,” she assures him, fingers flying on her phone. “You know, I know the girl who does engagement announcements in the New York Times. You want me to give her a call? Try and get you in for tomorrow’s paper?” 

“Please,” Jungkook says with pleading eyes. 

He looks at Jungkook, who looks back. There’s not a trace of regret in his eyes, even as a group of his co-workers snicker and shake their heads from a corner. Jin whips his head around, eyes searching for a tall figure. He finds Lee, paused in conversation, glare boring into the back of Jungkook’s head. His knuckles are white around the whiskey tumbler in his hand, and his expressions is contorted in rage. Jin shudders, turning away abruptly.  

“Let me get a picture of the happy couple!” Petra says, eyes twinkling with knowledge. She’s believed that they were engaged for months. If she really wanted to, she could throw some uncomfortable questions their way, but as she gently tugs Hani aside and raises her camera to capture the two of them, her smile says she won’t. 

“Hey. Let’s go,” a gruff voice says from behind Hani, and then there’s another hand on her arm, a thicker one. 

Hani turns to regard Rosencrantz with thinly veiled disdain. “I want to say congratulations.” 

“You just did. I’m ready to leave, so come on.” He pulls her arm, which she wrenches away.  

“No.” 

“Excuse me?” Rosencrantz asks, clearly stunned at the display of resistance. 

“I want to stay here with my friends,” Hani says bravely, taking half a step back from him. “You can go. I’ll be there soon.” 

“You-“ 

Jin is standing in front of her before he can finish his sentence. “She’ll be there in a few minutes. We won’t keep her long.” 

“This has nothing to do with you, so why don’t you keep your dirty mouth shut.” Rosencrantz snaps at him, taking a step forward, very much in his space.  

“His what?” Jungkook shouts, suddenly right beside Jin. 

Rosencrantz leers unpleasantly, his artificially white teeth shining ominously in the dim light. “His dirty... whore... mouth.” 

Jin glances around to see if they’ve attracted an audience, which they have. The music still plays on, but several of the nearest tables are watching with rapt attention. When he looks back, he sees a muscle in Jungkook’s jaw twitch. 

“Apologize,” Jungkook grits out, hands balled at his sides. 

“No,” Rosencrantz smirks, leaning even closer. “Just because you put a ring on it doesn’t change what he is. And it sure as hell doesn’t make him love you, Jeon. Everybody knows that if the money was gone, he would be, too. You don’t have anybody fooled. God, I really can’t believe you fell for the whore.” Then, he pauses, considering. “Actually, you know what. It’s you, so I can believe it, you little pus-“ 

He's silenced by a resounding crack, which Jin will realize later, was his nose, and Hani is standing over him as he’s sprawled back on the floor. She cradles her fist, which must be smarting from the impact with his hard face. 

“A dirty whore, huh?” she screams, lunging for him again. Petra catches her arms and pulls her back, but it does nothing to silence her. “Is that what I am, too? How about the pathetic fucker who has to pay the whore for sex? How about the sad little jackoff who would be a complete fucking loser without his daddy's money? How about that?”  

“You crazy bitch!” Rosencrantz splutters from the ground, clutching his bleeding nose. 

“Hey,” Petra snaps at him, eyes flashing as Hani lunges again. When it’s clear that she’s not getting anywhere in Petra’s vice-like grip, Hani does the next best thing, spits at him instead  “Calm down, dear,” Petra says quietly into her ear, arms still wrapped around her. 

“No!” she yells, kicking out at him since she can’t reach with her hands. “Do you know what he's put me through? Do you know the shit he’s done?  And he has the nerve,” she huffs, eyes murderous, “to call us dirty? To walk around like he's better than us? Well, I’ve got news for you, sweetie. You’re paying me. Because someone like me would never give you the goddamn time of day if you weren't, you fucking garbage."

Rosencrantz gapes at her, opens and shuts his mouth several times before he manages,”Yeah? Well. I’m not paying you anymore. You’re out,” Rosencrantz says from the ground, wiping his face angrily. “You’re done. Good luck paying for shit now. Consider yourself evicted. Enjoy life on the streets, slut,” he says with a bitter smile, teeth a menacing red. He must have bitten his lip with the force of the punch. 

"Fine," Hani says haughtily, shaking her hair out of her face. “Anything’s better than sucking your gross dick again."

Petra speaks up, grip still tight on Hani. “No need to worry about any of that, darling.” 

Hani's body goes relaxed as she twists around to glance back at Petra. “Huh?” 

“I’ll take care of you,” Petra assures her kindly, releasing one hand to smooth Hani's wild hair. “If you’d like.” 

“Excuse me, who the fuck are you?” Rosencrantz asks, getting to his feet slowly to glower at the two of them. 

Petra releases Hani now, stepping between the two of them, straightening herself up to her full height. She can’t be taller than 5’5” but she seems immensely big as she glares up at him.  

“You. Do not ever speak to me,” she says coldly, taking a step closer so that he has to take a step back. “I could buy you twice, little man.” 

Rosencrantz gapes in silence as Hani looks on with stars in her eyes. 

“I’ve never been attracted to a woman, but this is the closest I’ve been,” Jungkook whispers in Jin’s ear, his eyes darting back and forth between Petra and Rosencrantz. 

“Now come, dear,” Petra says, reaching for Hani without breaking eye contact with Rosencrantz, who looks a little dumbstruck, pupils trembling as he struggles to hold her gaze. “We’ll get your stuff from ugly man’s room and get you a new room for tonight.” 

Hani glances over at Jin and Jungkook, face mostly blank in shock, but there’s a little smile tugging at the side of her mouth. “O...kay.” She waves to them dreamily as Petra takes her hand and leads her away with a gentle smile. Even in her shock, however, she manages one last half-hearted lunge at Rosencrantz. Petra’s grip on her hand tightens as she rolls her eyes affectionately.  

Rosencrantz stumbles off in the opposite direction, clutching his nose. Lee, upon seeing his approach, rolls his eyes and turns away from him in disgust.

“What the fuck is in the air tonight?” Jungkook mumbles quietly, taking Jin by the elbow. “Hey, why don’t you head back to the room before anything else happens? I have to make a few calls and then I’ll be right there.” 

"Hani’s not in trouble, is she?” Jin asks quickly, watching her retreating figure.  

Jungkook shakes his head minutely. “I have a feeling she’s got too much shit on him for him to even consider pressing charges. I don’t think she would have done it otherwise.” 

“Okay,” Jin says reluctantly, glancing around the room. There are still too many pairs of eyes on them, and suddenly going back to the room seems like an excellent idea. “You’ll be back to the room soon?” 

“As soon as humanly possible,” Jungkook assures him, already pulling his phone out from his pocket. Just as he goes to turn away, Jin catches his sleeve. Jungkook pauses, looking back at him with wide, curious eyes as Jin leans in and presses a gentle, purposeful kiss to his cheek. If anything, Jungkook’s eyes go wider, his ears going a violent red.  

As Jin exits the ballroom into the lobby, the adrenaline that has kept him going for the last 30 minutes rapidly disappears, and his legs go weak. So instead of heading straight up to the room, he makes an abrupt left towards the seating area in the lobby, sinking down into one of the large high-backed armchairs and burying his head in his hands.  

“What the fuck?” he murmurs to the empty room, to the ceiling-to-floor wall of glass revealing the sparkling night beyond. He observes the ring on his finger quietly, watching the smooth gold catch the diffuse light of the chandelier above. He sits for several minutes there trying to calm himself and muster the energy to make it back to the room. 

The sound of the ballroom door clattering open has him shrinking up in the armchair, which is faced away from the door, hiding him from sight.  

“That was a new low for you,” Jungkook mutters with barely-contained rage. “What did he ever do to you?” 

“Well,” Lee’s calm voice echoes behind him, “He chose you.” There’s a moment of stunned silence. "Not that he was of any sort of consequence. Just pissed me off. 

"You’re really fucked up, you know that? Truly fucked up.” 

“Oh, you just don’t know how to have fun, Jeon. You never did,” Lee teases, and suddenly there’s a slapping sound and a laugh, like someone has just smacked a hand away.  

“This is somebody’s life,” Jungkook spits angrily, further away now. “This is serious. You’re acting like this is a game.” 

“Jeon, when you’re as rich as us, everything’s a game. Nothing is serious,” Lee tells him lightly. “We’re gods. Untouchable. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you ditch that sloppy, boring plaything of yours, the sooner we can start having real fun.” 

"I-" Jungkook starts to say, then stops abruptly. "What are you talking about?” 

“You and me, Jungkook,” Lee says smoothly, and there are slow, steady footsteps. “Haven’t I done enough to get your attention?” 

For a few moments, all Jin can hear is his heartbeat pounding inconveniently loud in his hears, and he’s almost afraid he’s missed it.  

“There’s no you and me, Lee,” Jungkook says finally, and there’s an edge of pity to his voice. “There never has been.” 

“Don't be stupid. There’s always been a you and me,” Lee tells him, and he sounds infuriatingly cocky. Jin seethes. “You think I didn’t know about your little crush in college? Well, this is your chance. The only one you’re every going to get.” 

Jungkook scoffs powerfully. "What the fuck are you saying? You and I are the closest thing to arch-nemeses that a 21st century person can get. You hate me. And I despise you."

"I like view our relationship as... a passionate one. Why do you think I like riling you so much?" Lee reasons, undeterred. "No, we'll be good together, Jeon."

Jin can visualize with striking clarity the look of utter incredulity on Jungkook's face. "Lee, I literally just asked that man to marry me. I love him.” 

He knows Jungkook is just saying it to sell their story, but his chest positively aches at the words. 

Lee clears his throat. “So you’re really choosing him over me?” 

“It’s… not even a choice,” Jungkook tells him, sounding completely bewildered.  

“You know he doesn’t love you, right? You’re throwing everything away for someone who doesn’t love you.” 

“Yeah, I know.” 

Jin fidgets in the ensuing silence, feeling the awkwardness in the air even from his removed position. 

When Lee speaks again, his voice is more formal, perhaps to hide the underlying embarrassment. “You’re going to regret this, Jeon. You may have saved his career but there’s jack shit you can do to save yours. Especially after that stupid little display in there. You’re finished.” 

Heavy footsteps fall one after the other against the slick tile, then the ballroom door opens and closes again, and he hears Jungkook breathing slowly and deeply, perhaps trying to calm himself.  

A few moments later Jin hears, “Hoseok?” A pause. “You saw the video already? God fuckin’ bless Hani. With the night she’s had, too.” Jin hears footsteps, and Jungkook’s voice gets quieter and quieter as he makes his way to the hotel exit. “Yeah, I’m about to call them to give them a statement.” 

When he hears the automatic doors slide open, Jin slumps in the chair, peeking out from behind the high back before scrambling away to the elevator and up to the room.  

 

 


 

 

 

The water scalds the skin of his back as Jin scrubs his face, scrubs every inch of himself raw trying to drag his brain back into the land of the sober. And when he steps out of the shower, he does feel both incredibly sober and incredibly aware. He dons the fluffy white robe again, sits on the couch next to the empty wine bottle from earlier. He waits like that.  

It’s twenty-three minutes before he hears the doorknob turn, and Jungkook comes strolling in the room, phone sandwiched between his cheek and his shoulder.  

“Of course, I buy him nice things,” Jungkook assures the person on the other side of the line in his most ingratiating voice. “He’s the love of my life. How could I not buy him everything his heart desires?” 

There are a few seconds of silence as he nods to himself, slipping off his shoes in the entryway. He laughs then, unnaturally high, obviously forced.  

“Yeah, today was just kind of the icing on the cake. We’ve actually been unofficially engaged since March. I’ll send you the pictures from our engagement shoot a few months ago. You know Petra, right?” 

There’s another pause as Jungkook stands there, a hand on his hip, nodding.  

“Yeah, she’s a good friend of ours. She was one of the first to know about the engagement. I’ve spoken to her, and she might even give you a quote for the article.” 

Jungkook catches Jin’s eyes then, his gaze changing as his eyes dart down to the wide expanse of skin where Jin’s robe gapes open. 

“Yep, I’ll send it all over to you tomorrow. Thanks, Annie.” 

When he hangs up the phone, Jin rises from his place on the couch and takes a few tentative steps towards him.  

“I think...” Jungkook starts quietly, forgoing the pleasantries as he pockets his phone. He’s still in work mode. “I think we're ok. We’ve got an engagement announcement in the New York Times and two other articles coming out this week stating we’ve actually been engaged since March. Petra’s on board. My lawyer’s already in contact with the other publication about a libel suit if they so much as think about publishing the original article. Hoseok’s also pushing the vetting process forward just in case the original article drops anyway. But I think since we were able to get ahead of it and since we have Hoseok on our side, we would be fine with Coke even if it did.” 

Jin nods dumbly, taking a few more careful steps forward, moving like he’s being pulled.  

“We just...” Jungkook continues softly in the silence, looking away as Jin approaches him. “We just have to pretend for a while.” A wry smile. “We should be good at that.” 

”What-” Jin starts as he takes in Jungkook flushed face and fidgeting hands, but he’s lost for words again for the second time that night. "Why did you..." 

Jungkook’s chest continues to visibly rise and fall as his eyebrows crumple in confusion. "Why did I what, Jin? Try and fix the mess I got you into? Try to save your career that I almost single-handedly ruined?" He looks less nervous now, almost angry. "Are you kidding me?  My stupid pride versus your entire life? That's not even a fucking choi-” 

The last word dies in the air between them as Jin surges forward and crushes his lips against Jungkook's, backing him into the door with the momentum of it. Jungkook stands shocked for only a moment before he's twining his hand in Jin's hair, tilting his head to slot their mouth together more completely and licking into his mouth. Jin lets out a little gasp as the fingers tug at his hair and pull him even closer so that their chests and hips are flush. 

Jungkook’s body is so solid against him, and as Jin runs his hands down the surface of his back, he feels the muscles flex and tense beneath his fingers. He digs his nails in hard to the flesh there, and his dick throbs when as Jungkook positively growls, sinking his teeth into Jin’s lower lip and tugging at it gently. 

Jin presses him further into the door, prying Jungkook's legs open with a knee and pressing up just so slightly into his crotch, enjoying the way that his mouth goes slack against Jin's. Jungkook exhales shakily against his lips, eyes fluttering open to look at Jin, who looks right back. Jin presses up a bit harder, and Jungkook's head falls back against the door with a dull thud, a breathy little sigh on his lips. He leans forward to bury his face in Jungkook's exposed neck as he drags Jungkook's hips forward, feeling the outline of his stiffening cock through his pants grinding against Jin's thigh, and with his nose pressed to the warm skin of Jungkook's throat, he can feel the vibrations of the deep, velvety moan as it leaves his mouth. 

“Shit,” Jungkook utters to no one in particular as Jin reaches over to start unbuttoning Jungkook's shirt, pressing open mouthed kisses to his neck.  “Are we…” He trails off as jin's lips go still against his throat. 

“What?” Jin mumbles, lips moving against his neck, and Jungkook shudders at the featherlight touch. 

Jungkook breathes heavily for a few moments, hesitating. “Doing this?” 

Jin gets the feeling that it’s not the thing he really wanted to say. Jin pulls back and looks him in the eye, subtly rolling his leg up into Jungkook’s crotch again as he does. Jungkooks eyelids flutter lightly as his jaw falls slightly open. 

“If you want to.” 

Jungkook musters enough control over himself to manage a scoff.  

“Of course I-," He pauses, clenching his jaw and running his hand down the side of Jin's face to cup tenderly at his jaw. “Of course, I want to. Do you?” 

Jin swallows thickly and nods. “Please.” 

Jungkook’s eyes widen slightly, then he’s nodding too, just nodding in acknowledgment though his expression betrays his lingering disbelief. Jin smiles and reaches up to cup at Jungkook's face too, smoothing his thumb lightly over the thin scar on his cheek. Jungkook stops the senseless nodding at his touch.  

“Please?" Jin repeats intently, and Jungkook just nods more vigorously, hands coming up to rest on each side of Jin's face. He leans his forehead against Jin’s as he breathes raggedly against his mouth. The fingers on Jin’s face tremble lightly as they brush tenderly over the skin there, so he reaches up to steady Jungkook’s hand. Reaches down to hook a finger in his belt loop. Tugs.  

Jungkook stumbles forward, a surprised gasp on his lips as he allows himself to be pulled. His hands slip reluctantly from Jin’s face when Jin breaks eye contact and turns to lead him towards the bedroom.  The engagement ring on his finger sits strangely against Jin’s flesh, his other finger still tangled in Jungkook’s belt loop as he strides forward with exaggerated confidence, as terrified as he is eager. 

“Are you okay?” Jin asks, hands clutching at Jungkook’s waist as he backs him towards the bed. There is uncertainty in the lines of Jungkook’s face, and it makes him young and vulnerable. 

“Yeah,” Jungkook assures him, determination knitting his brow even as he trembles lightly beneath Jin’s hands. Jin gives him one last push, tipping them both back onto the bed as Jin catches himself on his hands to hover above Jungkook, whose breath comes in shaky waves now. Jin reaches down to gently cup his cheek for a moment before dragging his fingers back to thread through his hair. 

When he dips back down to press their lips together, he can sense Jungkook’s hesitance in the way his lips move just a millisecond behind Jin’s, in his hovering hands and distracted squirming. After a few frustrating moments of trying to coax him out of it with increasingly deeper, wetter kisses and subtle little grinding movements, Jin sits up, straddling Jungkook’s hips as he easily drops the robe, completely naked underneath. His eyes never leave Jungkook’s face as he tosses the robe aside, and he loves what he sees in his expression.  

A little crease appears on Jungkook’s forehead as he draws his brows, eyes skimming the entirety of Jin’s body. He reaches up to touch, tentative at first as he drags his hand up Jin’s torso. Jin shudders, goosebumps erupting on his skin as Jungkook’s fingers reach his nipples, swiping purposefully over them and sending a pleasant little tingle of electricity down to his groin. He bucks down against Jungkook, whose hands falls to rest on Jin’s bare hips, his grip more certain as he gazes up at him.  

Jin chokes on a moan, and embarrassing sound, as Jungkook’s fingers curl into his flesh, rolling his hips up into Jin in the same motion. A hot flush spreads unevenly across his chest as he stares down at Jungkook through hooded eyes, and the fingers clutch harder at the meat of his ass, the short nails digging blunt marks into Jin’s skin. And the uncertainty is gone. The wide, insecure light in Jungkook’s eyes fades to an intense kind of darkness, brow casting a shadow and pupils dilating big and black as he looks up at Jin, flushed and naked and biting back a throaty whimper.    

Jungkook rolls out from underneath Jin, gets to his feet, calmly starts stripping himself of his clothes, first his tie, then his crisp white button-down, then- god- his pants. And soon enough he’s standing over Jin completely naked, shadows thrown across the dips and divots of his musculature, a light sparking sheen on his chest. Jin squirms on the bed, beckoning him desperately back down. Jungkook obliges, leaning down to hover over him, and Jin’s back arches off the bed as Jungkook presses hot, wet kisses into his skin, down his neck, his chest, his torso. He scrapes his teeth against the soft skin of Jin’s hipbone, fingers kneading into the muscle of his thighs. When there’s a pause, Jin looks down and catches Jungkook’s eyes, arousal surging in his gut at the feeling of being watched like this.  

“What do you want?” Jungkook asks, voice husky as he nuzzles Jin’s inner thigh with his nose then gentle nips at the skin there. He drags his tongue wetly over the bite, then higher, and higher, and then he’s licking a hot stripe up Jin’s cock. He pulls back to look up at Jin. 

“Your mouth,” Jin replies shamelessly, bucking his hips up towards Jungkook's face. Jungkook nods as Jin tangles his hand in a head of very soft hair, directing Jungkook’s mouth to where he wants it most. Obligingly, eagerly, Jungkook takes the tip of Jin’s cock in his mouth and sucks gently, tongue swiping over the slit.  

“Can I...” Jin starts vaguely, before tightening his grip in Jungkook’s hair and pulling, trying to make the implication clear. Jungkook doesn’t remove his mouth from Jin’s length as he nods, the movement bobbing his mouth up and down on the head of his cock. Jin moans softly and tugs Jungkook’s head back up off of him, watching in wonder as a string of precum and spit stretches from his lips. Jungkook dives back down eagerly, wrapping both of his arms around Jin’s thighs and lifting his hips off the bed so that he can more effectively fuck Jin’s cock into his mouth. Jin’s fingers fall slack in his hair in surprise, hand slipping onto the bed to scramble for purchase as Jungkook manhandles him, keeping his own head still as he repeatedly yanks Jin’s hips upward, cock sliding between his spit-slick lips. And something about it has Jin feeling more wanted than he’s ever felt. Something about Jungkook so single-mindedly focused on making him feel good, it ignites that burning coil of heat in his stomach, and he feels himself dribble more precum into Jungkook’s mouth as his ass is yanked completely up off of the bed, knees hooked over Jungkook’s broad shoulders.  

He could easily cum like this, almost does, in fact, when Jungkook eagerly laps up the precum, working his head over the sensitive ridge on the underside of his cock. But then, Jungkook tugs his legs apart to better position his head between Jin’s thighs, and Jin feels his hole clench in hopeful anticipation. He reaches down gently to uncurl one of Jungkook’s arms from underneath his ass, sees the confusion in his eyes, then the understanding, as he slowly guides Jungkook’s hand down, one finger dragging over his balls, then lower, across his hole. He feels himself clench again against the pad of Jungkook’s finger.  

He watches Jungkook lick his tongue over his lower lip as he gazes up at Jin, delicate lips swollen red. “You want me to fuck you?” Jungkook drags his finger up and down across Jin’s hole a few times before circling the rim and pressing just the very tip of his finger inside.  

Jin nods, hair dragging against the pillow as his fingers curl into the sheets at his sides as he tries to press himself down against the finger. “I really want you to fuck me.” 

There’s another wet kiss to his thigh, and then Jungkook’s warmth is gone, bed creaking as he pushes himself up. Jin watches him appreciatively as he walks over to the closet, wrenching it open and digging through the little basket there, his tight, tan backside on full display. After a few moments of shuffling around, he turns around and strides back to the bed, sizable cock bobbing with the movement. Jin’s gut gives an excited tug, because he’d almost forgotten how big he was.  

The bed dips as Jungkook settles himself back between Jin’s thighs, face even with his cock once more, but Jin tugs him up so that they’re nose to nose, locks his arms around him to keep him there. 

“Stay here?” Jin asks quietly, and Jungkook nods, large eyes fixed on Jin’s face as he feels blindly for the small bottle and flicks open the cap. Jin watches him warm the lube on his fingers before reaching down to gently trace a slick finger around Jin’s rim, spreading the lube around his hole before slowly pushing in. Jin’s mouth falls open, and Jungkook’s lips are instantly there against his in a dirty, deep kiss as he presses in all the way to the third knuckle. Jungkook groans into his mouth as Jin presses down against his finger, so he does it again. This time when he does, he feels Jungkook’s slick cock on his thigh, desperate for friction.  

Jin’s partners have always fingered him like it was a means to an end. To stretch him quickly and efficiently to prepare him for the Big Show. So it’s foreign and strange to him, at least at first, the way that Jungkook watches him so intently as he slowly fingers him open, watches every little twitch of his body, every little quirk of his brow, drinks up every soft gasp. Like he wants to take Jin apart, disassemble him completely and figure out how he works, before carefully, tenderly putting him back together. Like he just wants to make him feel good and doesn’t care how he does it, doesn’t care if Jin comes before he’s gotten his dick into him. There’s no rush.  

When there are three fingers sliding in and out of him with little resistance, Jungkook presses one final kiss to his lips and slides behind him on the bed, spooning him, his hard length dragging a trail of precum down Jin’s ass. Jin pushes back into it, burying his head in the pillow. He hears the plasticy crumple of a wrapper and a soft little groan from Jungkook as he presumably drags his hands down his cock to position the condom. Then there’s a tender kiss pressed to the back of his neck as every inch of the front of Jungkook’s body presses perfectly into the back of his, his cock sliding purposefully, almost teasingly, between Jin’s cheeks a few times before catching on his hole.  

When Jungkook pushes the tip of his cock into him, there’s a stuttered little breath against Jin’s ear as blunt fingernails dig hard into the skin of his hip. Jin presses back against him, taking Jungkook an inch or so deeper, and the nails on his hips might break skin.  

“Fuck,” Jungkook breathes into the back of his neck. He hitches up Jin’s leg, resting the back of his knee in the crook of his elbow, as he presses further in, about halfway now. Jin’s head falls back against his shoulder, back arching as he’s stretched open just like he wants. Jin reaches back with his free hand, the one that’s not bracing him on his side against the bed, and tugs Jungkook’s hips forward the rest of the way so that his front is flush with Jin’s ass. They groan in tandem as he bottoms out.  

The room is quiet except for their ragged breaths as Jungkook falls still, letting Jin work his hips back in little circles to adjust to the stretch. He gropes his hand back to clutch at Jungkook’s ass, fingers digging into the flesh as he pulls him forward to meet Jin’s backwards movement.  

“Come on,” Jin urges him, resting his head sideways on the pillow for a moment.  

Jungkook’s hand tightens around the back of his knee, hefting his leg higher into the air to better spread Jin out. Then he pulls back, cock sliding out of Jin slightly before he rolls his hips smoothly forward. Jin whimpers, feeling so full and so absolutely immersed in Jungkook, whose frame drapes heavily around him, limbs and skin and scent. He hears Jungkook sigh softly into his hair as he thrusts forward in earnest now, hips meeting the skin of Jin’s ass with a loud smack. Jin’s arms almost collapse out from under him as he struggles to keep himself upright. After a few thrusts, he just gives up, shoulder to the bed now as he leans back against Jungkook’s chest, enjoying just letting him pound into him.  

When Jin’s chin starts to loll against his chest, there are fingers in his hair, tugging his head back up and exposing his neck. He arches back into Jungkook as he feels teeth and lips on the tender skin of his neck.  

“Ahh-” Jin moans, the noise punctuated noticeably as he’s jostled forward with the force of Jungkook’s thrust. 

“Fuck,” Jungkook murmurs breathily into his ear, breath heavy on Jin’s neck as his hips stutter slightly. “Can we...” he breaks off with a slow, purposeful thrust before he pauses, obviously collecting himself. “Can I see you?” 

Jin nods frantically, slowly pulling away from Jungkook, hole clenching around nothing when Jungkook slips out of him. Without hesitation, Jin turns around and presses Jungkook back into the bed on his back, clambering on top of him and positioning his cock back at his hole. He gazes down at Jungkook as he slowly sinks back down on his cock, and fuck he’s glad he gets to see this. Jungkook has never looked so beautiful, thick brows drawn in concentration, hair tousled, small petal lips bitten red. There’s a fine sheen of sweat on him that almost makes him glow as he fills Jin up again, hands tight on Jin’s hips.  

Jin rides him slow and smooth, bracing himself on Jungkook's chest. His fingers curl when they final get the angle just right, nails leaving little white crescents in his tan skin. Jungkook’s hands rest on his hips, thumbs occasionally rubbing reassuring little circles into his hipbones. When Jin throws his head back, riding him harder, he feels hands trailing up his chest, then back down his torso to his thighs, all over, and when he looks down, Jungkook’s attention is rapt on his face. Jin’s hips slow as he stares right back at him, the tenderness of it all glowing warm, bubbling inside his chest.  

Jungkook sits up then, one arm behind him bracing himself on the bed, the other coming up to cup Jin’s cheek with the gentlest ghost of a touch. Jin leans forward, tilts his head, and kisses him softly, almost tentatively, but it still feels like he’s stealing the air right from Jin's lungs. Something about it has Jungkook moaning unguardedly into his mouth, lips parting eagerly around Jin’s.  

It's the kiss that works them up most, that has Jin chasing the barely out-of-reach feeling of perfection as he fucks himself down onto Jungkook’s cock, lips sliding together messily. His fingers tangle in Jungkook’s hair, pulling, angling his mouth exactly where it needs to be.  

A moment later, Jungkook’s hand is on him, around his dick, slowly jerking him off in time to the movement of Jin’s hips, giving him something fuck up into. Fire builds hot in his belly as he whines against Jungkook’s lips.  

“Fuck,” he pants out, reaching out to brace a hand on Jungkook’s sturdy shoulder. “Gonna cum.” 

Jungkook nods, thrusting up into him evenly as his eyes hover on Jin’s lips. For a moment it looks like he wants to say something, but instead, he chases Jin’s mouth again, pressing their lips together hard as his grip tightens around Jin’s cock.  

A needy sound comes from somewhere in the back of Jin’s throat as he releases his tether to reality, floating away in the tingling warmth that floods his body as Jungkook holds him close and swallows his little noises with gentle kisses. He vaguely feels Jungkook’s movements go slightly irregular, and then there’s one final long, drawn-out thrust, and Jungkook is gasping against his lips, fingers almost painfully tight around Jin’s waist as he comes, dragging Jin back down to earth with his desperate, grounding touch. 

He’s stopped moving by the time Jin’s high has faded, slumping down over Jungkook’s frame and breathing hard. Jungkook’s grip slackens against his skin, featherlight again as he traces soothing shapes into Jin’s sides with his fingertips. Jin draws his arms closer around Jungkook, hugging him tight and burying his slightly damp face in Jungkook’s slightly damp shoulder.  

They sit there for a few moments before Jungkook shifts under him gently. “Hey, let me get the condom off real quick?” 

Jin just grunts in what he hopes will be understood as a ‘fuck no,’ clinging tighter to Jungkook, who he feels stifle a chuckle.  

“It’s gonna leak all over me,” Jungkook whines, but he presses another kiss to Jin’s shoulder nonetheless. “Just one second, I swear.” 

Jin sighs, relenting as he slowly pulls off of Jungkook, stifling another gasp as he does.  True to his word, Jungkook quickly removes the condom, chucks it in the bin, grabs a towel, and returns to wipe the both of them down.  

“You okay?” he asks lightly as he gently drags the towel across Jin’s stomach, where some of his own cum drips.  

“Never better,” Jin assures him with a small smile.  

“Good,” Jungkook nods, though his voice clings tight around the words. He tosses the dirty towel in the corner of the room, then takes his place on the bed beside Jin. They lay there face to face, not touching, about a foot of empty bed between them. Jin’s the first to bridge the space between them, drapes a tentative arm around Jungkook’s waist.  

Jungkook’s eyes are intent on his face, hands curled up safely beneath his chin. It makes Jin wonder a bit. 

“So. That was a long time coming,” Jin murmurs, trying to scoot closer to Jungkook, who just nods. "We should probably talk, shouldn’t we?”  

Something like fear flashes in Jungkook’s eyes before he snuggles forward to bury his face in Jin’s shoulder. “Tomorrow,” he mumbles against his skin. “’M tired.” 

“Okay,” Jin agrees reluctantly, wrapping his arms around Jungkook and pulling him close. His chest is full to bursting with excitement and love and affection, and he doesn’t know if he can wait until tomorrow. But Jungkook doesn’t ask much. He never does. So Jin just sighs as he gently strokes the velvety skin around Jungkook’s shoulder blade with his thumb.  

“Hey,” Jungkook says quietly, tugging a blanket over them. “You know everything’s going to be fine, right? We fixed it.” 

“You fixed it,” Jin corrects him, bringing a hand up to drag his fingers across Jungkook’s thick eyebrow, down the bridge of his nose, across his cheekbone. He watches Jungkook’s eyelids flutter shut under his gentle touch. “Thank you. You didn’t have to.” 

Jungkook just grunts softly, lips barely moving as he mumbles, “Yes I did.” He snuggles into his pillow, hands still tucked up beneath his chin. “It’s you. ‘f course, I had to.” 

Jin swallows hard, squeezing Jungkook affectionately. “We will talk tomorrow, right?” Jin waits for a response, but there’s no answer. Whether Jungkook has actually fallen asleep or is just pretending, he doesn’t know. So he just pulls Jungkook closer into his chest, pressing a kiss into his hair as he tenderly strokes the soft skin of his back in absentminded, swirling patterns. Jin’s fingers still momentarily when he thinks he hears a small, satisfied sigh, and then there is a warm hand on his waist. He smiles. 

 

 


 

 

 

But it’s not tomorrow yet when they’re jolted awake by the loud, insistent ringing of Jungkook’s phone. Jungkook whips his head up, nearly head-butting Jin as he does, and gropes blindly for his phone on the bedside table. Realizing it’s still in his pant pocket, he half-dives off the bed to grab it from his pocket. He squints at the screen. 

“Shit!” Jungkook exclaims, scrambling out of bed, still completely naked. Even in his hazy half-consciousness, Jin spares a few seconds to admire the view. “Hello?” Jungkook answers, voice still thick with sleep.  

Jin strains his ears, but he can only hear the echo of a vague, shapeless voice through the receiver.  

“You did?” Jungkook asks, his voice cracking in surprise on the second word. “No, that’s... that’s perfect. It’s just, the timing and everything. A lot of shit happened tonight. But No, I’m glad you found it. Jesus, seriously good work. You know where to send it, right?” There are a few seconds of pause. “Yeah. The address is in my contacts. Make sure not to do it on the work computer, okay? Do it from my house, from my personal computer.” 

Jin sits up a little straighter, immediately on guard at the seriousness in Jungkook’s voice.  

“She wants to meet tomorrow?” Jungkook continues, checking the time on his phone. “I don’t think I can make it back by then. Our flight doesn’t leave until 4pm tomorrow here.” He runs his hand through his hair. “Is there a redeye?” Jungkook pauses, looking around the room wildly. “Yeah, book it. I’ll be there.” 

He hangs up the phone, wheeling around to face Jin, eyes wild.  

“Are you leaving?” Jin asks, voice scratchy as he squints at Jungkook from bed.  

“Uh. Yeah,” Jungkook says sheepishly, fidgeting with his phone before pulling some boxers on. “Sorry. It’s... important. That was my assistant.” 

“What’s going on?” 

“I can't talk about it. Legally,” Jungkook carefully tells him. “For now.” 

“Are you in trouble?” Jin questions him, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. 

“I don't think so. At least, I hope I won't be,” Jungkook replies uncertainly. “But don’t worry. It has nothing to do with you.” 

“That absolutely doesn’t mean I’m not going to worry,” Jin says quietly, reaching out to take Jungkook’s hand. After a moment’s hesitation, Jungkook’s fingers close around his. 

“Shit, I need to leave like, now,” Jungkook tells him reluctantly as he checks his phone again. “I’m catching an earlier flight out. I’m really sorry.” 

“It’s okay,” Jin tells him, mustering a smile. “We can talk later.” 

Jungkook smiles uneasily and squeezes his hand before bustling off to start gathering his belongings.  

“Is there anything I can do?” Jin asks as he plops back down onto the bed, tucking his legs up beneath him.  

“Uh, I don’t think so,” Jungkook tells him as he haphazardly tosses some shirts into his suitcase. "Just make sure you wear that ring from now until nationals, and maybe make some social media posts about the engagement. You may get some calls for interviews, but don’t agree to anything unless it’s coming directly from either Hoseok or me.” 

Jin just nods from the bed, slipping a large t-shirt over his head. “Well, if anything changes and I can do something, I’m here. Just say the word.” 

Jungkook nods with a tight, rushed smile as he continues to pack and dress. Jin reclines on the bed and watches him, stomach fluttering in uncertainty even as his eyelids grow heavy with exhaustion. 

When he blinks, Jungkook is still half-dressed and half-packed, but when he opens his eyes once more, Jungkook is quietly shaking him awake.  

“Hey, I’m leaving,” he says softly as Jin stretches his limbs like a cat. “A car is coming to take you to the airport at 2, okay?” 

“Okay,” Jin echoes, sitting up on the bed and wrapping his arms around Jungkook to pull him between his legs. “Text me when you get there?” 

“I will,” Jungkook promises. He hesitates for a few moments as Jin holds him. “Hey, I’m probably going to be a bit unavailable when we get back, just so you know. While I resolve all this shit.” 

“That’s okay,” Jin assures him. “I’ll be here when everything is settled.” 

Jungkook pulls back, eyeing him analytically. “Will you?” 

Jin nods, and Jungkook’s resulting smile is a little more natural. He still looks uncertain though, uncertain in the same way the he had looked in Jin’s bedroom that night, unsure of their newly forged boundaries. He stares at Jin for a few moments, eyes darting down to Jin’s lips before licking his own. Clearing his throat, he turns to leave, but Jin catches his hand.  

“Jungkook?” Jin asks quietly, fingers curling around his waist.  

“Yeah?” Jungkook responds quickly, looking terrified. Jin swallows the fear in his own throat, feels it drag its slimy fingers down his esophagus as he does. He shakes it off, manages to keep his head above water.  

“Kiss me?” 

The question sits lightly on the thick air between them as Jungkook continues to look at him, eyes unwavering  A stupid question after everything they’ve done, just as silly as it was last time Jungkook had asked it in Jin’s childhood bed. And yet, Jungkook blinks, and when he reopens his eyes, they’re shining slightly, and he’s biting his bottom lip hard. 

“Okay,” he says thickly as Jin reaches forward to cup his face, running his thumb over Jungkook’s pouty lower lip.  

He leans forward to press their lips together, Jungkook’s small and soft beneath his. He keeps it light, gentle and chaste as he hooks an arm around Jungkook’s neck to stroke at the short little hairs there. He pulls back only to lean forward again and press one last sweet kiss to Jungkook’s lips.  

“I-” Jungkook starts, breaking off as he stares at Jin. “Bye,” he decides quickly, ducking his head and turning on heel.  

Jin barely has time to respond with a hurried “Bye!” before Jungkook has grabbed his bag and hastily launched himself through the door. 

 

 


 

  

 

There’s a self-admitted bounce to Jin’s step as he exits the elevator into the lobby to check out. Things are... okay. Good, even. His career is back on track, he got laid last night, and he and Jungkook are well on their way to considering possibly talking briefly about their feelings in extremely vague terms.  

As he rounds the corner after he’s checked out, he feels his short-lived euphoria burn up inside of him, replaced with fiery indignation. His body’s automatic reaction to seeing his father.  

His feet shuffle to an abrupt halt, and he almost considers turning on heel and heading back upstairs. But he’s tired of letting this man dictate any of his decisions. So he musters his courage, and he continues on, strolling right past him. He’s almost to the door when he hears a voice.  

“Jin!” 

Taking a deep breath, he slows his walk and eventually stops, turning to see his father jogging after him. He’s slightly out of breath by the time he reaches Jin, the harsh natural sunlight of the place highlighting every wrinkle on his face. Making him look old.  

“I was hoping I’d catch you before you left,” his father tells him. “I hear congratulations are in order.” 

Jin bites down hard on the inside of his cheek. “I wouldn’t hold my breath for an invitation."

His father considers him carefully. “You know, I know you won’t believe me, Jin, but I’m happy it worked out this way. I got what I wanted, and you got what you wanted. It was really the best solution.” 

Jin gapes at him. “You... you sold me out to that newspaper. You said terrible things about me and about Jungkook. You almost ruined my life.” 

“Yes. Well,” his father allows without a visible ounce of shame. “That was Lee’s deal, the only way he’d fund my campaign. It wasn’t my choice, you know.” 

“You didn’t have to agree to it!” Jin explodes, taking a step closer. “I’m your fucking son.” 

“Jin,” his father starts, massaging his temples with his hands, expensive rings glittering on his fingers. “You really have no clue how selfish you sound, do you?” 

“I'm sorry, what?” Jin spits indignantly, fire stirring in his belly once more.  

“We’re family, Jin. All of this could have been avoided if you and your little keeper would have just been a little more willing to help. It would have been good for the both of us. So in all honesty, you brought this on yourself,” his father tells him seriously, and Jin is too shocked to respond. “But now that I did my part for Lee and got my money, and now that you found a way to ruin his stupid little plans, we’re all happy. So why don’t you start being a little less ungrateful?” 

Jin stares at him, mouth hanging open as his backpack strap slips down his arm. He makes no move to adjust it. “There’s really no salvaging any part of you, huh?” 

Jin’s father sighs heavily, the action laden with tangible disappointment. “I don’t know what you want me to say.” 

Jin shakes his head. “Nothing. No, this is good, I think,” he reasons, more to himself than to anyone else. “I think I’m good. I think I’m done with you forever.” 

He watches his father’s jaw flex as he grinds his teeth. “If that’s how you feel.” 

“Yeah. It is,” Jin says, confused as he feels a smile tug at his lips. He looks up and claps a hand on his dad’s shoulder. “Fuck you.” 

With that, he turns away, hefting his bag up onto his shoulder as he heads for the waiting car. And the tiny little part of him that had been holding onto hope that one day his father would apologize or come around or change, is snuffed out for good. He breathes a giant lungful of fresh, ocean air, his chest light and full in a way it hasn’t been in a long time.  

 

 


 

 

 

For once, it’s Jin that shows up at Jimin’s door unannounced at 2am, rather than the other way around.  

“The fuck?” Jimin asks as he peeks out of his door at Jin before opening it to allow him entry. “Am I dreaming?” 

“I love Jungkook,” Jin says, slinging his bags on the floor and turning around to face Jimin with mussed hair and wild eyes.  

“Yeah, no shit,” Jimin says, kicking his bag aside as he makes his way to the couch, blanket slung around his shoulders. “Did you just get back?” 

“Uh. Yeah, I haven’t been home yet. I just had to tell you.” Jin pauses. “Oh and don’t freak out, but we’re no longer fake dating.” 

“Thank god,” Jimin breathes, plopping down onto the couch cushions. “It’s about time.” 

“We’re fake engaged.” 

“I hate you guys.” 

“Long story, but Hoseok will fill you in, I’m sure.” Jin also collapses on the couch, slinging his legs over Jimin’s lap. “How’s that going by the way? Any change in a week?” 

“Well I’m not riding his dick,” Jimin sighs, yawning massively. “But I did suck it.” 

Jin nods, looking impressed. “And how does Taehyung feel about that?” 

Jimin picks violently at a loose string on his blanket. “What do I care?” 

“I mean, a lot. You definitely care a lot.” 

Jimin sighs, burying the lower half of his face in the blanket. “He doesn’t love it,” Jimin admits, his voice muffled by fabric. “But that’s only because he has a big stupid crush on Hoseok.” He scowls at nothing. ”Fucking dick.” 

“What about your big stupid crush on Hoseok?” Jin asks, tugging a throw blanket from the back of Jimin’s couch. “How is that any different?” 

Jimin closes his eyes, snuggling down into the couch. “I’m tired. Stop talking.” 

“Fine,” Jin says, wrapping the blanket tighter around him and resting his head on the armrest. “Goodnight jackass.” 

“’Night dumbfuck.” 

They’re quiet for a few moments as they both presumably settle into sleep. But from the silent darkness, Jin hears Jimin’s voice murmur, “Hey dumbfuck?” 

“Yes, jackass?” 

“Spoon me?” 

“Obviously.” 

 

 


 

 

 

To Jungkook's credit, Jin does hear from him at least once a day. Usually just a quick, “Hey how are you” text that lights up his phone in the wee hours of the morning when he’s deep asleep.  

“I don’t think he’s been home in days,” Yoongi tells him when he’s hanging out on Namjoon’s couch a week after the trip. 

It’s also the night before Nationals, a fact that Jin is currently choosing to ignore.  

“I dropped off some food on his doorstep, and it was still there when I went back a few days later,” Yoongi continues, stuffing a handful of popcorn into his mouth. 

“What the fuck is he doing?” Jin asks, whipping out his phone to skim though his scant messages from Jungkook over the last week. 

“Work shit, I guess,” Yoongi shrugs, turning his attention back to the television. “Though I’ve never seen him quite like this.” 

Jin screws up his face as he glares at his phone, at his last unread message to Jungkook. 

“So did you two like, work it out?” Namjoon asks casually, offering the bowl of popcorn to Jin.

“Yeah! I think so,” Jin says, reaching in with both hands to scoop out a giant pile of popcorn. 

“I don’t believe you,” Namjoon challenges him, looking longingly at the half-empty bowl of popcorn.  

“What do you mean you don’t believe me? I was very clear.” 

“No you weren’t. He thinks you’re going to dump him,” Yoongi tells him, tugging the popcorn bowl away to shelter it between him and Namjoon.  

“What?” Jin asks in shock. “Why? We fucked!” 

“He thinks you were just pity fucking him as a thank you.” 

“What!” Jin demands, heart pounding in his chest, “But I even asked him to kiss me!” 

“You... asked him to kiss you,” Namjoon repeats, face skeptical as he regards Jin. 

“Yes!” Jin confirms emphatically. “After we fucked!” 

“So let me get this straight. Even though you two have messed around before, no strings attached... and even though you made no verbal clarification that this time was any different... somehow, asking him to kiss you is supposed to relay to him... that you love him.” 

“Yes!” Jin repeats, looking desperately between Yoongi and Namjoon. As he takes in their unamused expressions, a sense of dread envelops him and pulls his body back into the couch where he slumps. “Shit.” Jin stares at the wall for a few moments, remembering Jungkook’s fearful expression and reluctance to talk. “In my defense, I did want to talk. We just didn’t get a chance before he left.” 

“Well I would recommend talking sooner rather than later,” Yoongi tells him.  

As he says it, Jin’s phone lights up with a text message.  

 

Kook: See you tomorrow! I’ll be in the stands cheering  

Kook: Kick ass! 

 

Jin exhales a relieved sigh, clutching the phone to his chest.  

“I will,” Jin assures them. “Tomorrow. After the contest. I’ll tell him then.” 

“You’d better,” Namjoon tells him in his most intimidating voice, curling nonthreateningly into Yoongi’s side. He raises his large palm in a weak imitation of a looming slap. “Or else you might meet this guy again.” 

 

  


 

 

 

The morning of the contest, the very air seems to crowd him with a heavy, uneasy hyperclarity, a constant obnoxious buzz.  Time moves too fast, and yet he’s unpleasantly aware of every millisecond of it as the contest draws closer. He had texted Jungkook back that morning, asked him where he would be, if he would have some time to hang afterwards, but he hasn’t heard back. He’s trying not to worry. 

The National Hotdog Eating Contest is a nationally televised event, and as such, Jin is currently having his nose forcefully powdered backstage by a fidgety Jimin.  

“You do realize I will have the full-blown Meat Sweats in less than an hour, thus rendering all of your powder completely useless right?” 

“We’ll have about 5 minutes before you start stuffing your face to make the people fall in love,” Jimin tells him, stepping back, powderpuff clutched in his hand. “We will be using each and every one of those 300 seconds.” 

 An insistent buzzing in Jimin’s front pocket has him rolling his eyes, sliding the powder puff from his hand as he reaches forward to tug the phone out of his pocket. As his eyes scan the screen, they go wide, exposing more of his whites. His jaw drops briefly before he snaps it shut again, eyes fixating on Jin’s face.  

“Um. Okay, you look great,” Jimin says distractedly, packing up his stuff in an apparent hurry. “Totally ready to go. So I'll just take all of this stuff, and I’ll hold your bag for you, and OH, let me just grab that phone-” he quickly snatches Jin’s phone from his hand.  

“Hey!” Jin protests, grabbing unsuccessfully for the device, “I was waiting on a text from Jungkook.” 

“Oh!” Jimin says quickly, “I’m sure he’s fine! Uh. Let’s just-” he breaks off, darting to the other side of the greenroom, switching off the television there before her turns to Jin with an artifically bright smile. “No distractions, you know?” 

“Why are you being weird?” Jin asks suspiciously. “Give me my fucking phone back.” 

“Not until after you’ve won,” Jimin says, though he adamantly refuses to meet Jin’s eyes. “Um,so. I’d better get out there.” He goes to leave, then he’s back in Jin’s face, bracing his hands on Jin’s knees. “No distractions. No TV. This is your time. Kick ass. I love you. And I mean it. NO distractions. Okay?” 

Jin eyes him strangely as he slips out the room, pocketing Jin’s phone as he does. It doesn’t sit well with Jin, whose stomach already roils and aches with anxiety. He gets to his feet, peeking out of the door to make sure that Jimin is out of sight, before he sneaks over to the television and switches it on.  

A fluffy morning news show plays, where two anchors are currently watching and applauding a dog do flips. Jin’s eyes scan the scrolling text at the bottom. It takes him a few minutes to see it.  

“TOP EXECUTIVES AT LOCAL HEDGE FUND ARRESTED FOR FRAUD.” 

Jin’s legs go numb, fingers shaking as he switches the TV to a news channel, one that focuses more on hard news.  

“-reaking news, several executives at Epstein and Brown, one of the nation’s top hedge funds, have been arrested this morning.” 

The news footage cuts to the outside of Jungkook’s building where police lights flash. Jin’s hearing goes wonky as he gapes at the screen, his heart beating disconcertingly fast in his chest, his throat, his ears. He shakes his head, trying to tune back in.  

“-ames yet, but CNN sources say that the company's Director of Trade was arrested earlier today. According to the company’s website, Jungkook Jeon has been with the firm since 2015. The executives, Jeon included, have been accused of misrepresenting the company’s value to boost profit, mis-allocating funds, and violating federal trade regulations. No word yet from the company itself, but we will be tracking this story as it develops.” 

An ugly prickling feeling crawls over every inch of his skin, limbs hollow and tingling as he stumbles away from the television. He gropes in his pocket for his phone before remembering that Jimin stole it. Probably for this very reason.  

“Fuck,” he mumbles, running his shaking hands through his hair. “Fucking fuck.” 

Jungkook is in jail. Jungkook may be in jail for a very long time, just like his father was. His father belonged in jail. Jungkook doesn't. Lee put him there. Lee did this. Lee belongs in jail. How does Jin un-do this? He can do something. What can he do? 

He glances at the clock. It’s less than 30 minutes until the live broadcast starts. If he leaves now, there‘s no doubt that he’s going to miss it.  

He’s already out the door before he can reconsider.  

Backstage at the contest is a series of trailers, wires, mics, equipment, and staff spread haphazardly across shut-down city streets. Jin weaves carelessly in and out of them as he makes his way towards a main street, any main street. He’ll catch a cab to the nearest precinct, he’ll tell them he needs to make a statement. Surely he’s heard something or seen something useful in his time with Jungkook. 

The guilt weighs heavy on his chest, making it hard to breath as he sets off at a half-jog now. When Jin had been in trouble, Jungkook had been willing to give up everything to fix it. As he rounds the corner, Jin resolves that he’s willing to do the same.   

“Jin?” 

And even though he's absolutely convinced that he’s imagined it, Jungkook’s voice, his automatic reflex has him whipping his head around regardless. He stares at him for a solid three seconds before he collapses into an unsteady squat right in the middle of the sidewalk.  

“Jin?” Jungkook’s voice sounds very far away as Jin buries his head between his knees, limbs sapped completely of their strength. ”Shit, Jin are you okay?” 

There are hands on him a moment later, steadying his shoulders, and when Jin looks up, sure enough he sees Jungkook’s concerned face looking down at him. He stares for a second before he musters every bit of strength left to punch Jungkook as hard as he can in the arm.  

“Am I okay?” Jin yells, weakly reaching up to punch him again. “Me?” 

“Ouch! Um. Yes?” Jungkook answers uncertainly, rubbing his arm gingerly.  

“Am I okay?” Jin repeats, swallowing a sob. “You just got fucking arrested!” 

Jungkook quirks his head. “Uh. No, I didn’t.” 

Jin clicks his tongue in exasperation. “I just saw it on the news. It was your name!" 

A look of understanding dawns on Jungkook’s face. “Jesus Ch- The FBI hasn't even released names yet, just positions.” 

“Huh?” Jin asks, very confused now.  

“Lee got arrested, not me. I haven’t been the Director of Trade since Wednesday, Jin. They told me to quit before the raid. The media must not have gotten the memo. Probably just googled. Badly."

“Lee got arrested?” Jin asks as the feeling slowly returns to his legs. People brush around them on the busy sidewalk.  

“Lee, my boss, their little henchmen, all of them,” Jungkook tells him with a little, satisfied smile. “That whole place is done for. That’s where I’ve been this week. I took everything I had to the feds, all the sketchy shit they’ve been doing to make those numbers. Apparently the FBI had been investigating anyway.” 

“You...” Jin starts, but Jungkook cuts him off.  

“Look, we can talk about this later. Where the hell were you going?” Jungkook asks, helping Jin to his feet. He struggles. “I was just headed to the stands to meet your mom.” 

“I... was going to get you,” Jin replies simply, still not fully comprehending the situation. “Jimin took my phone so I was just. Going to find you and fix it. Or something.” 

Jungkook stares at him like he’s trying to work something out. “The contest starts in twenty minutes.” 

Jin stares back at him, and when he blinks he realizes his eyes are wet. “Yeah.” 

And Jin is surprised to see that Jungkook actually looks angry. “Jin, what the fuck? This is... everything to you. How could you-” 

“It’s not everything,” Jin clarifies quietly, reaching out to twine his fingers with Jungkook’s. Both of their palms are sweaty this time. Jungkook looks down at their joined hands, then up at Jin. “Not even close.” 

“Huh?” Jungkook tilts his head like a puppy trying to understand.

“Just... Later," Jin deflects, trying to calm himself enough to allow his brain to shift back into competition mode. "But to clarify, everything is... okay?"

“Everything’s fine,” Jungkook assures him with a kind smile and a gentle squeeze of his hand. “Couldn’t be better.” 

Jin clears his throat, swiping at his eyes and wishing that Jimin had left the powderpuff behind. “Shit. I should go. They've probably got a million poor assistants out looking for me. But you'll be here when I’m done?” 

“Nowhere on the planet I’d rather be,” Jungkook promises with a soft, lopsided smile.  

Jin nods, taking a very deep breath and composing himself as best he can. Jungkook is safe, he’s here, and in an hour or two, he'll be Jin’s.  

“Good. Now watch me kick some ass.” 

 

 


 

 

 

It comes down to who wants it more, Jin thinks. His main competitor, the only one who really stands a chance of beating him, is a tall Midwestern boy who clearly wants it, badly. But Jin needs it. After everything they’ve been through, after everything that Jimin and Namjoon and Taehyung and Jungkook and Hoseok and Yoongi have done for him, losing isn’t an option. So he clears his mind of everything that isn’t shoveling hotdogs hand-to-mouth, tunes out the crowd around him, forgets about the stress of the day, and he eats.  

It’s a painful ten minutes, jaw aching, throat sore, stomach uncomfortably full, but the time goes by mercifully fast, the timer racing towards zero before he can even realize it’s happening. And when the buzzer goes off and Jin looks around, he sees the number 75 staring down at him from his scoreboard. If Jin’s not mistaken, that’s a new world record.  

The crowd is wild, raucous. He’d known he was a favorite among the fans, knows that a large portion of the audience was rooting for him, but there’s a small section of the crowd, his section, that is absolutely riotous. There’s Jimin standing up on his chair and beating his chest like King Kong, Yoongi and Namjoon jumping up and down clutching each other, Hani launching hotdog after hotdog into the air like confetti much to the disdain of those around her, Hoseok holding onto Jimin’s legs as he claps politely, Taehyung beside him with his finger glued to the trigger of a bullhorn. And there’s Jungkook, whose calm, beaming smile is loudest of all. He’s holding hands with Jin’s mother, who has completed her elegant outfit with a ridiculous plastic hotdog-topped baseball cap. 

And Jin's heart is so full.  

 

 


 

 

 

There is a torturous hour of interviews and awards and general wrapping up before they let him go. He’s worried they’ll all have left by the time he’s finished, but surprisingly, when he emerges from backstage into the crowded street, he’s greeted by a chorus of familiar cheers. 

As his friends all go to rush him, Jimin immediately inserts himself between them and Jin, waving his arms protectively.  

“Hey! Everyone, back off. For the next 24 hours you do not want to squeeze, crowd, or shock him in any way.  He’s currently got 75 hot dogs pressing on his internal organs, and they can vacate the premises at any time. Believe me, I know.” 

“You’re never going to let me live down,” Jin mumbles, pushing past him to give his mom a gentle hug regardless.  

“I knew you could do it, baby,” she says, reaching up to cup his cheek. “You’re going to look so good on a billboard.” 

Jin shakes his head modestly. “It’s still not a sure thing, mom.” 

“Actually,” comes Hoseok’s voice from the back of the group. Jimin and Yoongi move aside to let him though, and he passes his phone to Jin. “As of half an hour ago, it is.” 

Jin’s eyes scan the email carefully, but he doesn’t really feel like he’s absorbing any of the words.  

“I pushed through your vetting last week, and as long as you won today, they said you were good to sign.” Hoseok beams at him, clapping a hand on his shoulder. “Commercials, billboards, boxes, even a Christmas campaign. I’ve got the contract in my car.” 

Hani squeals and claps, lunging forward to give Jin a vice-like hug. His stomach gives a huge, noisy lurch, and he swallows loudly. She carefully removes her arms and steps back, hands in the air.  

“Wow, Jimin wasn’t kidding, was he?” she asks cautiously, stepping out of the apparent splash zone. Jin shakes his head, waiting for his stomach to settle again.  

“How about we celebrate?” Namjoon asks the entire group, clapping Jin on the back. “Free drinks at the bar for everyone.” 

Honestly, Jin wants nothing more than to go home, lie down, and digest for the next 48 hours. But as he looks around at his friends faces, at his mom’s face, he smiles. “Sounds perfect.” 

“I can fit five in my car,” Hoseok announces happily to the group, eyeing Jimin and Taehyung hopefully. 

“Shotgun!” Jimin and Taehyung yell simultaneously, meeting each other’s eyes in a brief but fierce glare not a moment later.  

“Joon and I can take the rest,” Yoongi says, digging his keys out of his pocket.  

“Actually, you guys go ahead,” Jin tells him, latching onto Jungkook’s wrist. “We’ll catch up.” 

“We will?” Jungkook asks, voice cracking as he whips his head around to stare at Jin.  

“Yes. We will,” Jin confirms, sliding his hand down to twine his fingers with Jungkook’s.  

Jimin raises his eyebrows as the group stares at the two of them, and then he’s shepherding everyone except Jungkook and Jin towards the exit. 

“Move along, people,” Jimin tells them, tugging a reluctant Hani away. “Just months of emotional and sexual tension culminating in a single moment. Nothing to see here.” 

Jin flushes deeply, swallowing down the nerves that creep and crawl up his throat from his stomach.  

“So uh,” Jungkook asks casually, eyes darting around the street. Possibly looking for escape. “What is this about?” 

“We’re gonna talk,” Jin insists, tugging him over beside the wall of a building where they are slightly less in the way.  

“Oh, we can do that later,” Jungkook tells him nervously.  

“Last time we said that, we barely spoke for a week and I thought you would go to prison for the next decade without us having figured any of this shit out. So no. We can’t.” 

Jungkook sighs, scuffing his shoe on the sidewalk. “Fine.” 

“Why don’t you want to talk?” 

“Because... I’m scared of what you’ll say,” Jungkook mumbles, unable or unwilling to meet Jin’s eyes. 

This isn’t at all how Jin wanted to do it. He feels so disgusting right now, ugly and sweaty and wrong, but he’s not missing out again. And he knows he needs to take the first step. He’s been pushing Jungkook away for so long that Jungkook is going to respect those boundaries until Jin tears them down first.  

“Well, you shouldn’t be,” Jin starts gruffly, psyching himself up as he takes a tiny step forward towards Jungkook. “Because I like you.” 

Jungkook’s eyes are wide and unblinking. “Uh. What?”  

“I like you. A lot.” he repeats, trying to keep the quiver out of his voice as panic floods his body, a tingling warmth trying to persuade his limbs to run. He suppresses the panic, cringing as he feels a surge of bravery. “God, you know what? Fuck that. I love you.” 

The murmur of the crowded street fades into the air around them, dwarfed by the words as Jungkook regards him carefully, like he’s still got his guard up. 

“You love me?”  

“Yeah,” Jin confirms simply, snaking his arms around Jungkook’s waist and pulling him close. Jungkook’s breathing is rapid against his neck. “I really fucking do.” 

“Are you sure?” Jungkook mumbles into his shoulder. His voice is so small and uncertain when he says it that Jin hates himself for a moment. 

He nods, trying to control the racing of his heart. “What was it that you said last week? Everything is better with you. Coke or no Coke, money or no money, everything is so much better.” Jin pulls back to lean his forehead against Jungkook’s, and he takes a deep, bracing breath. It’s getting easier to say. “I love you. And I’m sorry I was an idiot.” 

“That’s ok,” Jungkook assures him, a smile creeping onto his face. “I’m the dumbass who fell in love with an idiot. I knew what I was getting myself into.” 

The city slowly comes to life around them once more as they smile at each other, cracking the occasional giggle at the utter ridiculousness of the situation.

“So," Jin ventures quietly, completely uncertain about this part, confidence waning now. "What do we do now?"

“Well. I guess we just... be together?” Jungkook suggests, a gleeful twinkle in his eye. “I don’t think all that much will change, honestly. You know, except, we’re actually going to bang all the time instead of just pretending to bang.” 

“Nice. Oh, and you can’t buy my groceries anymore," Jin adds, putting his foot down. “Especially now that you’re out of a job. Hell, maybe I’ll buy your groceries now,” Jin says, pulling Jungkook even closer so that their bodies are flush. “I’m about to come into some money, you know.” 

“Aw babe. That’s sweet,” Jungkook tells him, eyes sparkling gleefully. “But you do know that I have like $100 million in the bank, right?” 

Jungkook just barely keeps Jin from eating floor when his knees give out. 

 

 


 

 

 

“We have gathered here today,” Jimin says loudly over the general din of the dining room. Everyone hushes quickly when he starts to speak. “To celebrate the termination of the engagement of one Jeon Jungkook and Kim Seokjin.” 

All eight voices in the room cheer, Namjoon clinking his fork against his glass. Jimin holds out his hand expectantly to Jin, who smiles fondly as he slips the ring from his finger and passes it over to him. They all watch as Jimin slips in back into the original box and shuts it with a triumphant snap. The table cheers again, but Jungkook is noticeably silent beside him. Jin gives him a small smile and reaches under the table to take his hand. Jungkook meets his eyes and smiles, gripping Jin’s hand a bit tighter.  

“Although the drama of these last few months of fake wedding planning, interviews, social media manipulation, and elaborately staged candid photos was admittedly entertaining for a time,” Jimin continues loudly, “I think we can all agree that we are sick of the world revolving around these two fuckers who are now just normal, uninteresting, real-life dating squares and are not special in the slightest.” 

Normally, Jin would probably launch something at Jimin for the implication that he was not special, but after the year he’s had, his shoulders sag with relief instead. 

“With the final release of this statement,” Jimin waves his phone where an email is pulled up, “to the press, confirming that the two are no longer engaged but are still, in fact, dating, this entire ordeal will be behind us. So,” he continues, picking up his champagne flute, “Let’s raise a glass. To the dumbest motherfuckers alive. How they actually ended up together, with all of their inherent dumbassery and lack of communication skills, is completely beyond me. But, here we are. To Jin and Jungkook.” 

“To Jin and Jungkook,” seven voices echo around the table. Glasses clink together cheerfully for a few moments before silence falls as they all sip.  

“So, speaking of the world not revolving around Jungkook and Jin anymore,” Namjoon says, wrapping an arm around Yoongi and fixing him with a tender smile. “Yoongi and I have an announcement to make.” 

“Ooh, let me guess,” Jimin says, gingerly setting down his glass of champagne. “You spanked him again.” 

Yoongi whips his head around to Namjoon, eyes huge and accusing. 

“Uh. No,” Namjoon says stiffly, pointedly ignoring Yoongi’s piercing gaze. “We-” 

“-kissed on the mouth in public,” Taehyung supplies, leaning forward eagerly.  

“What? We... still do that,” Namjoon says uncertainly, glancing to Yoongi now, who is still glaring. “Don’t we?” 

“No,” Jimin replies simply. “Oh! You tried ribbed condoms!” 

“No!” Namjoon says in true exasperation, burying his head in his hands before straightening up abruptly. “I mean. Well. Yes. Those were a game changer, actually. But that’s not the announcement!” 

“You know what?” Yoongi says, turning his glare on the rest of the table now. “Don’t tell them.” 

“What? No!” Taehyung scrambles, leaning further forward now. “I want to know.” 

“No, no,” Yoongi says, turning up his nose now and draping a thin arm around Namjoon. “Clearly we’re too boring for you guys. So don’t worry about it.” 

“I’m sorrrry,” Jimin pouts, looking devastated. “We do really want to know. We’ll shut up.” 

Yoongi sighs. “Fine. So Joon and I are-” 

“-changing accountants?” 

Namjoon stands abruptly, scooting his chair back as he lunges for Taehyung. Yoongi holds him back.  

“Oof, and he’s back,” Jimin purrs from his seat, looking extremely pleased as the reaction he’s evoked as he observes Namjoon, whose face is contorted in fury. “Let him go, Yoongi. I can take it.” 

“You guys are so weird,” Yoongi mumbles as he forcefully maneuvers Namjoon back into his seat.  

“You are,” Taehyung shoots back, briefly meeting Jimin's eyes and almost cracking a smile before they both look away, embarrassed. 

“So this is still a thing?” Jin asks, nodding to Jimin and Taehyung, who are seated at opposite ends of the table. “You two not directly speaking? While still managing to fuck? With near-violent vigor?” 

“Mind your own business,” Jimin huffs, taking a large sip of champagne. “Everything’s fine.” 

Taehyung chuckles bitterly from his end of the table. “Imagine that.” 

Jimin immediately bristles, turning to face Taehyung. “Imagine what, Tae?” 

“Nothing,” Taehyung says primly, staring at the nails of his left hand. “Just you shutting people out because you don’t want to talk about something uncomfortable.” 

Jimin musters an ugly, indignant scoff, and Hoseok’s eyebrows shoot up into his fringe beside him, like he knows what’s coming. “You know, that’s pretty fucking rich, coming from you of all people.” 

“What is that supposed to-” 

“Excuse me! This is a nice fucking family dinner!” Hani interrupts them, slamming down her fork as her intense gaze flits between Jimin and Jin. “Okay? We are celebrating these two dumbasses living happily ever after, and me getting a new job, and those two-” she motions to Yoongi and Namjoon “- doing... whatever it is that they do, so knock it off!” 

A hushed silence falls over the table as they all tuck into their salads, slightly shame-faced. They eat like that for a few moments before someone’s voice breaks the spell of quiet. 

“You’re just bitter that I sucked his dick first,” Jimin mumbles into his salad. 

“Jimin!” Hoseok snaps at him with a glare, turning to Taehyung, but he’s already sprung to his feet, slamming back his chair and stalking angrily from the room. Jin hears his own bedroom door slam shut, and Hoseok flinches. “Shit. Sorry. I should probably... go take care of that. Please go ahead and eat without us,” Hoseok says quietly, dabbing his mouth with a napkin and placing it gently on the table. He stands up and turns to face Jimin, hands on his hips. “Well? Come on.” 

“Me? What does this have to do with me? It’s not my fault he’s jealous. What do I care? I don’t,” Jimin maintains, crossing his arms petulantly. Hoseok just cocks his head, staring Jimin down until he sighs and relents. “Fine.” He tosses down his napkin on the table and scoots back his chair, following grudgingly along behind Hoseok.  

“Why can’t any of us just like, resolve our shit in private?” Jungkook groans, taking another sip of his drink.  

“Well, I mean. We do,” Namjoon says primly, with a fond little glance at Yoongi. Jin rolls his eyes.  

“How long do you think they're going to be at this?” Hani asks, glancing down the hallway in the general direction where the three of them had disappeared.  

“If they’re finally talking shit out?” Jin asks, mentally calculating, “Could be hours. If they’re fucking? Days.” 

Hani raises her eyebrows, nodding as she reaches for the champagne. “Hope you have more booze, then.” 

“So how’s Petra?” Jungkook asks politely as Hani refills her glass.  

She smiles affectionately, tucking her hair behind her ear. “She’s good. Off in Japan right now for a photo shoot. But I finally got all my shit moved into her place like, last month?” 

“That’s great, Hani,” Jungkook tells her, eyes adorable crescents as he reaches forward to pat her hand. “I’m happy for you two.” 

“It’s pretty great,” she confirms before she jumps, leaning forward. “It’s weird, you know. I think she actually likes me.” 

Jin rolls his eyes. “She’s head-over-heels for you, Hani. She bought you an island.” 

Hani looks very pleased with herself, smoothing her shirt. “Yes. Well.” A moment later her eyes bug from her head, and she slams her fists on the table. “Oh! Did you see that Kyle’s trial is coming up?” 

“Who the fuck is Kyle?” Jin asks, the name leaving a foul taste behind in his mouth.  

Hani looks concerned as she sets down her glass. “Jin. The asshole I punched in the face for you. The jerk who treated me like shit for months. The little underling who plotted with Lee to bring down Jungkook. Kyle.” 

“Oh!” Jin realizes, eyes lighting up in recognition. “Rosencrantz.” 

“What?” Hani and Jungkook ask, eyeing Jin skeptically.  

“Nothing,” Jin assures them. He cringes. “No wonder I could never remember his name.” 

“Anyway,” Hani continues, undeterred, “They’re calling me as a witness. The DA seems pretty confident in her case with everything I have on him and Lee. Can’t wait until he hears some of the recordings I have. I saw they were calling you as a witness too, Kook?” 

“Yep,” Jungkook says lightly, and Jungkook gives him a reassuring squeeze on the knee. Jin knows he’s more nervous than he lets on, eager to be done with everything. “I was the whistleblower, after all. They called me for both Kyle and Lee, so. That’ll be interesting.” 

“May they both rot in hell,” Jin says, raising a glass which Hani enthusiastically clinks. Jungkook smiles gently beside him, probably still swallowing down some nerves.  

As Jin dishes up the extensive array of take-out food that they had ordered, everything from Curry to Lo Mein to Pizza, he feels Jungkook’s eyes following his actions carefully.  

He sighs heavily, turning to look at Jungkook. “What?” 

Jungkook raises his eyebrows as he glances at Jin’s heaping plate. “Don’t you have a commercial shoot tomorrow for Coke?” 

“Yes. And?” Jin asks, turning to face Jungkook completely.  

“That just... looks like a lot of sodium. And you probably... shouldn’t...” 

“Shouldn’t what?” Jin prompts gently, daring him to say it.  

“Shouldn’t...” Jungkook continues uncertainly, desperately trying to read the right answer in Jin’s eyes, “...worry.... because of course you don’t... bloat? You beautiful superhuman?” 

“Exactly right,” Jin says, leaning forward to press a quick peck to Jungkook’s relieved smile. His ears flush a pleased pink, and Hani reaches across the table to coo and tweak his ear.  

“Look at you, still blushing like a virgin, even after all the mutual defiling,” she teases him as he swats her hand away.  

Namjoon cranes his head to try and look down the hallway.  “It’s really quiet in there. That’s not normal for them. Do you think they’re dead?” he asks, leaning back in his chair to look down the hall.  

Jin sighs, tossing his napkin on the table and getting to his feet. “I’ll go check on them.” 

It really is eerily quiet as he makes his way down the hall. He’s almost positive that they aren’t having sex, because he’s heard Taehyung and Jimin having sex, and so he knows that if they were getting it on, everyone on the floor would know.  

He tentatively approaches the door, knocking gently. “Jimin?” he calls softly, pressing his ear to the door. 

There are a few seconds of pause. “Yeah?” Jimin’s voice comes from the other side of the door, quiet.  

“Can I come in?” 

“Yeah. Sure,” Jimin answers, surprisingly accommodating given the mood that he was in when he had left. “If you want to.” 

Jin opens the door.  Peeks inside. Stares. Sighs. Closes the door. 

He returns to the table with impressive control of his expression, sitting down without a word and grabbing a piece of pizza. He stuffs the entire things into his mouth as he ignores the four sets of eyes affixed on his face.  

“Well. Are they okay?” Namjoon asks, freezing with his pizza halfway between the plate and his mouth.  

“They worked it out,” Jin manages to say primly around the massive bite of pizza. 

“They’re not...” Namjoon trails off suggestively.  

“They worked. It out,” Jin repeats significantly, already reaching for a second piece. 

“They’re having sex?” 

Jin nods. 

“All of them?” 

Another nod.  

Namjoon’s eyebrows crumple in genuine confusion. “But, it's so quiet. They’re never quiet. You’re sure?” 

“Positive. Hoseok seems to be mediating successfully. With his dick,” Jin says, shuddering lightly. “I’ve never seen such heart eyes in the middle of such a disgusting sex act.” 

"Oh? Not even when you gave Jungkook the world’s angstiest hand job in your teenage emo cave instead of just, you know, telling him you loved him?” Hani asks lightly, eyes large an innocent as Jungkook dribbles a mouthful of champagne onto himself.  

“I hate this family.” 

 

 


 

 

 

When Jungkook left his old workplace, he’d also decided to leave a lot of his old things behind. Some of his suits, a couple of cars, a few people, and his old apartment. He’d put it on the market and purchased something more moderate on the trendy south side of the city. 

Jin likes his new place better. It’s less stark and white, less empty for sure. It’s filled to the brim with things Jungkook had chosen himself, things they’d chosen together.

Jungkook cuddles into Jin’s chest as they sit on a sofa they’d picked out from the Ikea where they’d almost been kicked out for too much canoodling. It’s a cheap thing, comparatively, but Jungkook has scaled back immensely in the past few months. He tells Jin it’s because he has to be careful now that he’s looking for a job, now that he’s living off his savings, but Jin knows that Jungkook has enough saved to last him a lifetime. He thinks that maybe Jungkook feels guilty, for his living the life he used to live, for whatever part he played at work. 

“I like the couch,” Jin notes, pulling Jungkook closer into his chest as he does. “It’s squishy.” 

“Too squishy,” Jungkook disagrees, poking it moodily. “You almost fucked me into the crack yesterday.” 

“You should have let me,” Jin maintains, reaching back to stick his hand between the place where the seat cushions meet the back of the couch. “It’s huge. Could be fuckin’ Narnia in there. We don’t know.” 

“You’re so weird.” 

“Yeah. Do you love me anyway?” Jin asks him, making ridiculous kissy lips at him and leaning close.  

Jungkook pretends to cringe, the illusion shattered by an errant giggle as he leans away from Jin. "Tragically.” 

Jin chuckles and relents in his attack, instead draping himself across Jungkook’s chest. He feels a hand thread through his hair, tenderly playing with the soft locks as they sit there. He thinks back to the dinner, to Jungkook’s quiet smile as they’d retired the engagement ring to its old box.  

"So,” Jin starts, snuggling closer into Jungkook’s chest. “That dinner was something.” 

He feels Jungkook nod, though his fingers go still in Jin’s hair. “Wouldn’t expect anything less from our friends.” 

Jin hums affirmatively, reaching down to fidget with the edge of Jungkook’s shirt. “Are you... good with everything?” he asks quietly, chancing a glance up at Jungkook who meets his gaze. “With us?” 

Jungkook’s brows draw downward in confusion. “Of course,” he affirms quickly, his voice high. “Why wouldn’t I be?” 

Jin shrugs. “You seemed a little quiet when I took the ring off,” he notes, trying to keep his tone light and observational.  

“Oh.” Jungkook flushes, but he doesn’t look away. “I guess.” 

Jin braces himself on Jungkook’s chest so that their faces are eye level. “Any particular reason why?” 

Jungkook finally averts his gaze, shifting slightly beneath Jin. “Not really. I just...” he trails off, reaching up to nervously scratch his nose.  

“Just what?” 

Jungkook meets his eyes again. “I liked the ring.” 

Jin smiles gently, poking him in the side. “You liked the ring.” 

Jungkook jerks away from his prodding fingers, fighting a smile now. His ears are a brilliant red now. “On you,” he admits finally. “I liked the ring on you.” 

Jin’s chest clenches pleasantly in the way that only Jungkook can make it do. He smiles softly, reaching up to stroke Jungkook’s cheek gently.  “I liked the ring, too.” Jungkook’s smile fades to something gentler, more affectionate.  

“Yeah?” Jungkook asks quietly, petal lips parting around a shy, toothy grin.  

“Maybe I can wear it again someday,” Jin says casually, and Jungkook’s grin is unbearably bright now, eyes lovely crescents. “You know. If you’re lucky,” Jin continues haughtily, trying to keep his face stony as he turns his face away. Jungkook swiftly lands a sweet kiss on his cheek, and Jin cracks within seconds.  

He leans in to press a quick kiss to Jungkook’s neck, relishing the way that Jungkook tilts his head to expose his neck further and the way groans in disappointment when Jin laughs and pulls away.  

“Really? Again?” Jin demands as Jungkook makes grabby hands for him. “We just fucked this morning.” 

“I’m young and virile, you wouldn’t understand,” Jungkook groans, tugging Jin onto his lap and subtly rolling his hips up into the undersides of his thighs.  

“Oh, I wouldn’t?” Jin asks, swinging his leg over Jungkook’s lap to straddle him as he winds his arms around his neck. He leans down to press a lingering kiss to Jungkook’s lips, which part easily under his. Jin tilts his head to deepen the kiss, running his tongue along Jungkook’s lower lip. He pulls back. “Guess I’ll just go to bed then.”  

“Nooo,” Jungkook whines adorably, arms locking around Jin’s waist and holding him there. “I wanna fuck.” 

Jin rolls his eyes. “Wow. The absolute height of romance, you are.” 

“Romance?” Jungkook demands, looking indignant. “You want romance? I’ll give you fuckin’ romance. I’ll romance you so hard you feel it for weeks.” 

“You’re so aggressive.” Jin rolls his eyes, pretending that he’s not settling himself deeper on Jungkook's lap so that he can drag their crotches together.

“When it comes to my love for you? You bet your sweet ass I am,” Jungkook says, slapping Jin’s ass lightly and trying to shift him off of his lap.  “Hop up for a second. I want to get something. God I'm gonna woo you so hard.” 

As Jin rolls onto the couch, Jungkook stands up and darts away, leaping unnecessarily over the coffee table and around the corner, down the hall towards his bedroom. Jin hears him rummaging around for a few long moments before he reappears, one hand behind his back.  

“What do you have?” Jin asks suspiciously, drawing his legs up on the couch to assume a defensive position.  

Jungkook pauses, cocking his head. “Stop looking so scared.” 

“I am scared. You have your imp face on. I know to be scared when you have your imp face on.” 

“I do not!” Jungkook insists, bringing his hand out from behind his back and uncurling his fingers from around a small object. A box. “I’m being romantic.” 

Jin’s eyes bulge, fixating on the box -a ring box now that he sees it closer- and he swears his heart stops completely before it resumes its rhythm at double pace. “What the fuck are you doing?” 

“Kim Seokjin...” Jungkook starts as he advances on him, gaze steady and determined on Jin’s face.  

“No. Nuh uh.” Jin says, curling up into a tighter ball on the couch. “We just got out of that mess!” 

“Kimberly. Seokjin. Jinbert.” He continues, undeterred as he comes to a stop in front of Jin. He lowers himself to one knee.  

“’Someday’ does not mean ‘next week,’ Jungkook!” 

“Will you make me the happiest man alive?” He flips open the box. Jin snorts as the diamond-encrusted cock ring sparkles up at him. “Will you allow me to ride your beautiful dick until I cry?” 

“Oh, baby,” Jin says, his adrenaline spike fading abruptly as his body senses that the danger has passed. "My love. My life." He leans in close to cup Jungkook’s cheek as large eyes still sparkle up impishly up at Jin. “I am going to throttle you.” 

“Sexy.” 

“Literally stop hanging out with Jimin.” 

“No!”