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What If, Maybe?

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“Give me a kiss to build a dream on
And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss
Sweetheart, I ask no more than this.”
A Kiss to Build a Dream On, Louis Armstrong
from Taehyung’s Spotify

 

22 February 2017

In the haze of his eagerness, Taehyung slips on the shower tile, catching the door latch with the meat of his buttcheek. Yet as he prods the spot in search of injury, he glimpses himself in the mirror. His damp hair sticks in disheveled spikes to his forehead, but by far the most dominant feature is the idiotic smile on his lips.

Taehyung twists sideways, contorting himself to inspect his skin. He grazes the raised welt with his thumb and sucks air through his teeth. It'll be tender tomorrow, but if Seokjin's text is any indication, that won't be the only part of him that’s sore.

Dragging on his robe, he slings into the cozy hotel room, grabbing up his phone as he rounds the bed. A dozen messages scroll up his screen, but he ignores them as he adjusts the volume on the Bluetooth. Louis Armstrong bumbles out a warm, sweet melody, and Taehyung shuts his eyes to draw it in.

When he arrived at the Alcazar a half-hour ago, he'd texted Seokjin, asking if he wanted him to order food. Seokjin responded with an enticingly enigmatic answer: I thought we'd try something different tonight.

Different, Taehyung has long believed, is good. Different fills his insides with a sparkling like champagne. Different makes him dizzy, which also causes him to bust his ass in the shower.

Taehyung riffles through his overnight bag, scrabbling through their various toys and lubes, searching for the jar of Seokjin's family-recipe muscle cream. Yes, it smells like a dental clinic, and yes, it's greasy as barbecued pork. And though they tease Seokjin endlessly every time he uses it, Taehyung knows how well it works.

Thus Seokjin finds Taehyung, half-robed and groaning as he swabs his ass with grease.

From the door, Seokjin muses, “Getting started without me?”

“What? No.” Taehyung whips upright, hiding the jar of ointment behind his back.

Seokjin heels the door shut behind him, a bemused smirk on his chapped pink lips. “One might argue you started earlier on the broadcast...”

Taehyung squawks in protest, but Seokjin closes the distance to press his mouth with a kiss. It’s in that moment Taehyung learns that Seokjin's lips aren’t chapped, but laced instead with a sugary glaze... very much like frosting.

Taehyung angles back to gaze at Seokjin.

“Since you so clearly wanted it earlier,” Seokjin says.

“That,” Taehyung murmurs, “was an accident.”

“Hm,” he says. “We'll see.” He pushes a paper sack into the bend of Taehyung's arm.

“What's this?” But a knot of hunger knuckles into his belly at the smell of them. “Burgers?”

“Only the very best burgers in Seoul,” Seokjin grins.

Taehyung steps back, jostling the bag to read the logo on the side. For a moment, he wrestles with conflict, because he definitely needs more of Seokjin's sugar-coated lips, but after their performance at the Gaon Chart Awards and Seokjin's mini-graduation, Taehyung is starving.

He struggles, and Seokjin nods as he watches. He glances at the blue jar of liniment cupped in Taehyung's palm. Then he edges Taehyung onto the bed, primly pulling the hems of the robe over his thighs. “These won't be any good cold,” he explains, placing one of the massive, paper-wrapped cheeseburgers into his lap.

Seokjin looks so pleased with himself and seems so excited about their meal that Taehyung relents, succumbing for now to the most basic form of hunger.

 

Not even fifteen minutes later, Seokjin tosses a half-nibbled fry onto the pile. “I can’t,” he moans. “I’m done.”

Taehyung stares through heavy-lidded eyes at the paper bag they’ve spread like a picnic blanket between them. For a moment, they can only stare at it as they survey the damage. All that remains of Seokjin's burger is a lone scrap of onion caught in a drizzle of sauce. Taehyung piled his lettuce to one side, but now he's wondering how harshly Seokjin will judge him if he licks the seasonings from the leaves.

Seokjin reclines against his pillow. He groans, “Two things you can never have too much of in this world, Taehyung-ah: Love, and cheese.”

“Ah, jagiya. We have both,” Taehyung agrees.

Seokjin lifts his fry again, considers it, and flicks it back down. “Well you know what they say,” he says. “If you eat when you're happy, the food has zero calories.”

You say that.”

Seokjin rolls his shoulder. “It's a scientific fact.”

Taehyung cuts his eyes to Seokjin, observing that while he is naked beneath his robe, Seokjin remains fully dressed, right down to his socks. Then Taehyung snorts a laugh when he notices the gaping hole in the left heel.

Seokjin follows his line of sight and wrinkles his nose. “Dancer's socks,” he sighs.

Ahjussi socks,” Taehyung counters.

Seokjin clutches his chest in mock offense. “You said I’m at a blooming age.”

“Yeah, not your socks.”

“Ha,” Seokjin grunts. “Anyway, you're one to talk.”

“Uh, why?” Taehyung asks.

Seokjin arches his brows at the blue jar of muscle cream. “What’d you do?” he asks.

Sulking, Taehyung goes, “Nothing.”

Seokjin scowls, communicating once more with only the arch of his brows.

“Fine, I slipped in the shower,” Taehyung answers. “Happy?”

“No,” Seokjin balks. Shoving the ruined packaging aside, he grips Taehyung's forearms to stare into his face. “You should be more careful. People get hurt in showers all the time.”

It takes all of Taehyung’s willpower not to roll his eyes at this .“I didn't get hurt,” he says. “Except… I bruised my butt a little.”

Seokjin brays a soft chuckle. “Here,” he says. “Lemme see.”

Taehyung pouts, but he submits. Seokjin's palm finds the tender spot where the cold metal of the handle gouged his hip. Seokjin reaches for the muscle cream and smooths a generous dollop into Taehyung's skin.

Taehyung winces, gurgling disgust in the back of his throat. “It's official,” he groans. “We are no longer a hot, young couple.”

“That's not true, Taehyung-ah,” Seokjin says. “You licked frosting off my lips not six hours ago.”

Taehyung launches into an apology; Seokjin cuts him off.

“My Mom saw the video,” Seokjin laughs.

“Oh did she?”

Seokjin chuffs Taehyung's arm. “She said, That's the one you've been dating, right? He’s so handsome, well done.

Taehyung gushes, “Eomma Kim!”

“I’ll call it progress. It almost makes up for them not wanting to attend my graduation.” Seokjin shrugs, still grinning. “Anyway, I'm not mad. A year ago, maybe. But now...”

Taehyung sighs. “That's just what I'm talking about,” he says.

“No, I can't see how that’s a bad thing...”

Frustrated, Taehyung interrupts. “Remember on Friends , when Ross and Rachel got upset because Chandler and Monica were the exciting new thing—”

“—No,” Seokjin cuts in. “It was not Ross and Rachel.”

“Yes, it was. Monica and Chandler had just started dating.”

“No,” Seokjin insists. “It was Phoebe and that gangster guy, the one with the gun.” He slathers another gram of cream onto Taehyung's wound, gently kneading it into the muscle.

“That's dumb,” Taehyung grates through his teeth. “Why would Phoebe date a guy with a gun?”

Jagiya , listen,” Seokjin says. “It was Phoebe and... someone, and Monica was scared because she and Chandler weren't the sexy, hot couple.”

Taehyung cranes sideways, reaching for his phone. “I'll just ask Namjoon,” he says.

“Go ahead, ask him,” Seokjin says, his voice all lofty and smug.

But when Taehyung taps the screen to wake his phone, he's greeted by an onslaught of Kakao notifications. Feeling heat in his cheeks, he looks up to find Seokjin glaring.

“The Hwarang hyungs?” Seokjin asks. When Taehyung says nothing, Seokjin snarks, “Oh, be sure to tell them you love them.”

Exhaling slowly, Taehyung goes, “I'll just mute the chat.”

“Yes, do that,” Seokjin agrees.

A prickly silence slinks between them. Seokjin continues to massage Taehyung's upper thigh as Taehyung thumbs a message to Namjoon. The playlist switches from Dean to Daniel Caesar, and Seokjin hums along to fill the quiet. Namjoon responds with blinding quickness, and Taehyung reads the text aloud.

“According to Joon-ah, the hot couple was Phoebe and some guy named Gary,” Taehyung relays. “Gary?”

“The mobster,” Seokjin affirms.

“Monica and Chandler were the old couple, and Monica felt sad because... blah blah blah.” Taehyung continues, “Then Phoebe broke up with Gary because he shot a bird.”

“Told you he had a gun,” Seokjin says. “Why is Namjoon even awake right now?”

“America’s weird.” Taehyung mumbles. “Anyway, I was right. We're not the hot couple any more.”

“You were not right,” Seokjin groans.

“Jinnie, we just chose burgers over sex.”

“But those were damned good burgers,” Seokjin says. “Wait, does that make Jimin and Kookie the hot couple?”

Taehyung heaves a sullen sigh. “I don’t wanna be old and boring,” he says.

Seokjin glowers. “Do you not recall our Valentine's Day? The treasure hunt? The handcuffs?”

“Yeah,” Taehyung answers, sounding sheepish. “I remember.”

“Okay, so, we were really hungry, and we’re exhausted. It's been non-stop since our comeback, and we don't have any kind of break for—”

“—Months,” Taehyung agrees.

“So shut up and kiss me,” Seokjin says.

And Taehyung does. He revels in the sandy-sweet texture of the sugar balm that has, somehow, clung to Seokjin's lips. They make out for a delicious stretch of minutes, long enough for Taehyung to get Seokjin out of his clothes. There’s some frisky cupping and nuzzling, but in the end, exhaustion wins out, and feeling warm and full, they fall asleep in a heavy tangle of limbs.