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“You’re quitting?”

 

From the other side of the phone, Jimin speaks.

 

“It’s more like I can’t work until March. I’ll be overseas. In Tokyo.”

 

In Tokyo. The words echo around Taehyung’s head, as if Jimin had said them to irritate him, to rub it in his face.

 

In Tokyo, while Taehyung is cemented down in North Moreno.

 

“My portfolio is due in the beginning of March.” Taehyung rubs his eyes. “I won’t have time to find another model.”

 

“Sorry Tae. I know it was really sudden. But I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to find someone before your deadline.”

 

But that’s not what he’s worried about. He’s sure he can find someone but it’s just going to take a while. Adjusting to a new model, switching up all the clothing sizes takes a month all on its own. And he can’t ask for an extension from the higher-ups, either.

 

He’ll figure it out though.

 

“Alright, thanks. Have a safe trip, Jimin.”

 

“Good luck! Keep in touch!” Jimin chirps. He hums in response and the line clicks. Troubled, he sets his phone down on the table, but not even a moment later, it buzzes with an unknown call.

 

He knows who that is.

 

Swiping to the red button, Taehyung sets his phone face-down on the cafe table. He rubs a hand over his eyes, soothing the burn of them from being open for too long.

 

Just like fate, the door chimes.

 

In walks a kid with a bandage on his cheek, a Jansport bag slung over his shoulder, and enough youth—something no one here sees often—so that it draws everyone’s attention to him. Dark brown dart around cautiously. They sparkle with every movement.

 

With just one glance, Taehyung knows he doesn’t fit in.

 

His physique—Taehyung immediately deduces that he’s from further south, maybe east. The kid’s hands fidget with his bandage when he greets the waitress. With those big sparkling eyes and muscles that bulge against his white shirt that juxtapose each other—it’s obvious that he’s seen things he shouldn’t have at his age, however old he is.

 

When the person is seated, he orders immediately. He must come here often. Taehyung wonders why he’s never seen the kid before when Taehyung comes here nearly every single day.

 

“Hot chocolate and an omelette, please,” he says. His voice is light, but with a solid timbre to it. It reminds him of shy confidence. Taehyung leans forward curiously.

 

The lights overhead swing slowly. The heaters buzz. The boy looks like he’s glowing even when he’s shifting in his seat, holding his bag close to him protectively.

 

When the hot chocolate comes, the signature lotus marshmallow placed on top unfurls. The boy stares at it, fascinated before taking a sip. The whipped cream clings to his upper lip. A pink tongue darts out to lick it off. Taehyung’s eyes follow the movement.

 

The boy stills and turns to Taehyung and blinks at him. Taehyung stares back unabashedly. Then the boy ducks his head quickly, shy, and looks back towards his drink.

 

His entire demeanor is so timid, like he’s trying to make himself seem a bit smaller than he really is, but with heavily pierced ears and his buff figure, Taehyung, despite being a people person, is having a lot of trouble trying to size the kid up. He’s a bit like a deer stuck in headlights.

 

The waitress comes by carrying the kid’s omelette. When she sets it down, Taehyung waves her over.

 

“Put this down for him,” Taehyung says to her. She pauses. He takes out his black card and places it in front of him. She bows, seeing the gold lining on his card, and heads to the back.

 

Taehyung resumes staring at the boy, but realizes he’s trying to sneak a glance at him too. He cocks an eyebrow, amused, and the kid averts his gaze again, flustered.

 

The waitress sets down two checks for Taehyung, the kid’s and his. He signs both with his card and leaves.

 

Not a minute later, through the bustling streets of North Moreno, through the cold stinging his cheeks, he hears the door chime behind him and footsteps hurriedly resounding on the pavement.

 

He smiles when the boy can’t find him.



 


In Moreno, there are three sides. Essentially.

 

There’s the north, where Taehyung resides. It’s rich, upscale, the clean metropolis you’ve always dreamed of. Crime-free, grime-free, poor-free.

Then you take the bus east, and there you see grass as dry as hay. Houses so broken, like they don’t have growing families living in them. Cheap motels that people call their apartment complexes. Fighting over turf, fighting just to eat, fighting just to fight.

 

Streets with fences so broken and jagged, you could impale someone on them, a common practice.

 

Go south a little and you end up in the slums. There, you see people who failed at everything. The inept. The ones who can’t even use their bodies for money even when it’s all they have left. The people who stare at you with envy as you walk by.

 

This is where all the poor is flushed to.

 

No one knows how it got to that point, one city so divided. Like separate continents entirely.

 

Winter is a hard month for them all. In the south, people die. In the middle, people scrape by, holding everything together to not slip down. In the north, it means paying your accountant to manage your loads of money for you, tapping into your account to pay for heating expenses. Division of wealth.

 

Now, Taehyung stands outside Monet’s, a vintage diner in name, but holding the atmosphere of a cafe. He spots the boy sitting inside, eyes roaming around restlessly. Probably looking for him. He’s grateful for his scarf, resting snugly on his shoulders as the cold nips his nose. He wonders if it’s going to snow this year.

 

The boy leaves his seat and Taehyung rushes inside. He eases into his booth and replaces the boy’s cash sitting on the check with his card. He signs it and hands it to the waitress.

 

The boy bursts out of the restroom and stalks up to Taehyung and huffily collapses into the seat across from him.

 

“I didn’t need you to pay for me,” he snaps.

 

“A ‘thanks’ would’ve worked,” Taehyung says, amused. He lowers his voice. “You’re from East Moreno aren’t you?”

 

Taken aback, the boy balks. “No,” he says quickly.

 

At this, the man laughs. The boy smiles tightly.

 

“What?” he asks incredulously. “What do you want?”

 

“Let’s go outside of this cafe, yeah?” Taehyung smirks.

 

“What—why?

 

“Customary. Don’t wanna loiter. No one likes loiterers.”

 

He sighs. Makes sense in his head, probably. “Fine.”

 

“By the way, Kim Taehyung,” he says, as soon as they leave. He extends his hand.

 

“What?”

 

“Aren’t you going to shake my hand?”

 

“Why would I?” the boy asks petulantly, cocking his head to the right. It’s his turn to smirk.

 

“You’re leaving me hanging here. Even after paying for your dinner. Twice.” Taehyung wiggles his fingers.

 

“Jeon Jeongguk,” he smiles decidingly. He knows he’s attractive. Wants to make himself seem as if he doesn’t owe a debt to Taehyung.

 

Taehyung’s grip is slack when he grasps his hand, but tightens after a moment. Two pumps.

His eyes slowly look Jeongguk up and down and Jeongguk smiles.

 

“How old are you, Jeongguk?”

 

“Younger than you think,” he answers evasively.

 

“You at least eighteen, yeah?”

 

Not stopping with the questions, huh.

 

“...Yeah, ‘m not that young.”

 

“Great. Don’t take this the wrong way, but,” Taehyung pauses. He waits for the green pedestrian light to start flashing before he continues. “Would you mind modeling for me?”

 

Jeongguk balks. “I’m sorry? ” He’s trying hard to make himself seem confident but he has no idea what to say.

 

“Like, not like nude modeling, but it’s just that I make clothes—design them—and my model just quit a couple days ago. And I need someone new.” There’s something here that Jeongguk’s supposed to catch.

 

He replays Taehyung’s sentence in his head searching for the implication, but blanking out.

 

“Uh—”

 

“My previous model looked a lot like you and you’re not that bad looking—I just need to finish up my portfolio by March and I barely started. All you have to do is wear some clothes and pose for a couple minutes and that’s it,” Taehyung says. “Oh, and you’d get paid too. Like twenty or so per shoot, per hour, but like more if it goes for a longer time. We can work the details out if you’re interested, uh later, but if you’d like—”

 

“You got a portfolio?” Jeongguk is far more interested in the money, though.

 

“Yep. Here’s my business card.” He hands over his card. A picture in the corner, a number under a name. It’s plain.

 

“Can I come tomorrow?”

 

“Yeah, it’s got my place on it. I’ll need your measurements. Same time?” He asks as confirmation.

 

“Alright.”



 


“Hold still.” Taehyung stares intently at the measuring tape wrapped around Jeongguk’s waist. Then he looks up. “That doesn’t mean to stop breathing.”

 

Jeongguk lets out a breath.

 

“90 cm? Are you eating right?” Taehyung types it into his Mac. He removes the tape from his waist.

 

“I fight sometimes,” he says simply. Taehyung raises an eyebrow but Jeongguk supplies no further explanation. “And do I gotta strip for this? You said no nude modeling.”

 

“Yeah, I said no nude modeling. ” Taehyung winks and kneels down in front of Jeongguk. He blushes adorably, face flushing and two large front teeth peeking through his pink lips as he opens his mouth to speak.

 

“Chill,” he says when he sees Jeongguk stumbling back against the table, gripping it with his palms. “I’m not gonna blow you.” Jeongguk’s legs tremble. Taehyung cocks an eyebrow.

 

Jeongguk swallows. “Whatever.” The image is a lot to handle.

 

Taehyung smiles smugly. “I’m gonna measure your thighs. Stand up straight, champ.”

Jeongguk shifts and stands at his full height, towering over Taehyung.

 

He leans in close when he reaches behind to strand the tape around Jeongguk’s thigh. “I said not to stop breathing,” he frowns.

 

“Your face is right in my crotch.” Jeongguk coughs. “Watch it.”

 

Taehyung clicks his tongue. “Deep breaths, Jeon,” he says. “Damn, you got thick thighs.”

 

“How many cm?” Jeongguk asks curiously. He says it like see-em. Taehyung just raises his eyebrows.

 

“Let’s move onto your chest.”

 

“Whatever,” Jeongguk says.

 

“Don’t forget to breathe,” he jokes. Jeongguk rolls his eyes.

 

He stands up and realizes he’s a tiny bit shorter than Jeongguk, who raises his eyebrows. “You realizin’ you gotta look up to see me?”

 

“There’s not that big of a difference. Don’t get cocky, Jeon.”

 

Jeongguk laughs breathily. “Same for you, Kim.”

 

“Witty.”

 

“Shut up.”

 

Taehyung strings the tape around Jeongguk’s slim back to the front of his chest, brushing over his nipple.

 

“God, stop holding in your breath—it’s making this a lot longer than it needs to be,” Taehyung chides. But his tone is smug.

 

Fucking bastard, Jeongguk thinks.

 

“Stop touching my nipples then.”

 

“What? You sensitive there?” Taehyung smirks again. Jeongguk scowls. “I’ll keep that in mind. For future reference.”

 

He turns away and loosens the tape without another word, typing in more information into his

Mac, the image of Jeongguk both blushing and cocky ingrained into his head.



 


“Split lip from fighting today. Sorry,” Jeongguk says, throwing his backpack onto the white couch he sees as he walks in.

 

“Nah, makes the aesthetic pop out more. The tough guy wrapped up in expensive clothes and gold, shit, like, that’s hot as fuck,” Taehyung says, holding up his fingers in a rectangle to frame Jeongguk’s face. “Business presentation at three and back alley beating at four.”

 

Jeongguk peers through the small window of Taehyung’s fingers. “Huh?”

 

“Get changed, Jeon.” Taehyung tosses the suit hung up on the knob of the kitchen cabinet towards Jeongguk.

 

“I had to buy that material so don’t rip anything.” The dining table is pushed off towards the living room, leaving the empty, polished white kitchen as the backdrop. Taehyung hooked up strobe lights on tripod looking things that look way too expensive for Jeongguk to really know much about, since really he doesn’t have to in the first place, either.

 

He lifts his shirt over his head and flings it over to where his bag is.

 

“You changin’ here?” Taehyung’s voice rings out. Jeongguk notices that he sometimes speaks with that east-ish vernacular.

 

“Yeah?” Jeongguk grabs the white dress shirt and slips the fabric on, see through and all. He looks up and sees Taehyung staring at him.

 

He doesn’t look away, eyes trained on Jeongguk’s lean figure. And especially how his thighs bulge in the tight slacks. Taehyung’s pleased. He really outdid himself on this outfit.

 

Jeongguk smirks and leaves his shirt unbuttoned even when he dresses into the rest of the outfit.

 

“Button up, kiddo. Save those muscles for after the shoot,” Taehyung again sweeps his eyes slowly over Jeongguk’s body, over his abs, muscled thighs. “Actually, that ain’t so bad.”

 

“Nice eye,” Jeongguk smirks. He shrugs on the blazer.

 

Taehyung scoffs then licks his lips, quirking an eyebrow. “Leave it unbuttoned.”

 

He looks up, eyes fluttering. “Hm?”

 

Pursing his lips, Taehyung breathes in. “We’ll shoot like this first,” he says. “Put these on.” Taehyung tosses gold-plated brass knuckles at him. Jeongguk catches it with ease and slips them on as if it were second nature.

 

“Now get on over there in that white backdrop.” Taehyung gets behind his tripod.

Jeongguk gets in the middle of the backdrop and stands, hands in his pockets because he isn’t quite sure what else to do with them.

 

“Stand at an angle. Tilt your head—yeah, like that.” Taehyung hums and snaps a picture, sudden flash nearly blinding Jeongguk.

 

“Man, that’s bright.”

 

“It’s bright alright. Do whatever feels nice and I’ll just snap pictures.” Taehyung fiddles with a couple knobs before turning back to the camera.

 

“‘Kay.”

 

Jeongguk spends the next ten minutes posing. He shrugs off the shirt and unbuttons his dress shirt, baring all his scars to Taehyung and Taehyung’s camera. The cold makes his skin rise.

 

“Okay now, increase the bad boy vibes in this one,” Taehyung shuffles behind his camera and taps on his Mac with so many cords plugged in, it looks like a patient on life-support. “...I’ll get you some coffee later.”

 

Jeongguk’s bare skin tingles.



 


There isn’t much to talk about.

 

And Jeongguk hates coffee.

 

But, on the contrary, Taehyung loves his coffee, but at this point, it resembles milk. He dumps another packet of sugar into his tiny coffee mug. It looks like the Swiss Miss hot chocolate that his mom used to make for Jeongguk.

 

Jeongguk looks on with mild disdain. At both the size of the mug and the amount of sugar presumably in the drink by now.

 

“Can’t handle bitter stuff,” Taehyung states, sipping from his mug gingerly as to not burn himself. Taehyung eyes Jeongguk’s mug. Jeongguk is halfway done with his black coffee.

 

“You should just order milk. More than half of that is cream, anyway.” Jeongguk only speaks facts.

 

“I need the caffeine boost.” Taehyung stirs listlessly with a fancy spoon, staring into his mug. “I have a business meeting later.”

 

“You’re going to have a sugar crash at that rate,” Jeongguk says. “It’s nearly ten o’clock and you’re trying to tell me that you’re going to have a business meeting in non-business meeting hours?”

 

“City that never sleeps.”

 

“That’s New York. And we aren’t in New York.”

 

“Damn wish we were,” Taehyung sighs.

 

“It’s alright. An alright place I mean.”

 

“You’ve been?”

 

“When I was younger.” And better , he thinks. The cuckoo clock starts chiming. The kitchen bustles. The shops across the street shut off their lights.

 

“You’re a rich kid?”

 

“Obviously not anymore,” Jeongguk scoffs.

 

Taehyung leans back. He doesn’t know what a defensive Jeongguk might be like. He chooses not to pry. “Vegas sounds nice too.”

 

“For you, it’s probably the hookers. No, you’re more of a showgirl kinda guy. I bet you’d visit Fremont Street just to see the Gentlemen’s Club and ignore that weird light show they put up, eh?”

 

“You’ve been there too? You’ve been over the entire world or what?”

 

“Anywhere’s better than here,” Jeongguk says into his empty mug, avoiding the question entirely.

 

Taehyung wants to put an ice cube in his coffee.

 

“I’d have to agree with you.”



 


Jeongguk barges into Taehyung’s apartment without knocking, with fresh bruises spotting his skin. Taehyung looks up from sewing.

 

“You look like a mother of two when I see you doing that,” Jeongguk states.

 

“And you look like a giraffe with those spots,” Taehyung retorts. He glances at Jeongguk’s legs, then focuses back on sewing something made out of a bright blue fabric.

 

“It’s your first time seeing me sew. Don’t get too excited. I’m almost done with it so you can wear it for this shoot. Give me a moment.” Taehyung weaves the needle through the cloth, his bony knuckles weaving around the cloth.

 

“How am I gonna fit into that? It’s tiny,” Jeongguk stares pointedly at the pair of tennis shorts, shape coming further into form.

 

“It might be tight. But that’s the point. We gotta let your thighs pop.”

 

“You got a thigh fetish, Kim?” Jeongguk plops heavily next to Taehyung on the leather sofa. “How is this comfortable at all?  This couch literally sticks to your skin.”

 

“I hate this sofa too.”

 

“Then why do you still have it?”

 

“I have,” Taehyung pauses. “Guests over often.”

 

“What a ladykiller.”

 

“I talked about sucking dick in front of you. You’ve would’ve thought I’d have thrown out enough signs for you to know I’m gay. And that wasn’t what I was referring to,” Taehyung looks at Jeongguk quizzically.

 

“Do you have an ulterior motive or something?” Jeongguk asks randomly. Taehyung takes it in stride and shrugs.

 

“Still. I bet you charm your way into rich people’s pants all the same. And their rich wallets. God, I’d love to.” Jeongguk says enviously.

 

“We don’t do that here, unfortunately.” Taehyung’s hands deftly sew through the blue fabric. His slim tan hands craftily weave their way around the cloth. “We’re too uptight.”

 

“Regretful. You should move south.”

 

“No thanks,” Taehyung laughs.

 

“Understandable. Who would want to? Why would someone ever want to when they have this ?” Jeongguk sweeps his entire arm around to gesture at the clean minimalist apartment. “All white shit. You fucking spill some coffee or something and you have to replace the entire thing. Paying for pretty shit. That’s the life.”

 

Taehyung hums. “You pay for an expensive life to get by. It’s whatever,” he says, resigned. “We survive differently. All about appearances here.” He puts down the needle.

 

“Alright, this is pretty much done. Put on that shirt,” Taehyung points to another sheer t-shirt sitting, folded prettily on the coffee table. “And these shorts.” They look much smaller when Taehyung’s huge hands are holding them.

 

“I won’t rip them?”

 

“They’re elastic. The point is that it’s tight. Got you lookin’ like a snacc.” Taehyung chuckles and leans his head back against the sofa and closes his eyes tiredly. “Won’t look. Hurry and change, we gotta get started. I hooked everything up already in the kitchen.”

 

Jeongguk easily shrugs off his shirt and tosses them at the sofa, near Taehyung, who opens his eyes.

 

“Thought you said you wouldn’t look, Kim.” He raises an eyebrow and drops his pants to the ground. “Too tempting for you?”

 

“Shit man, you wish,” Taehyung replies. But his eyes stay open, roaming all over Jeongguk’s naked chest and stopping at his boxer-briefs, then dropping lower. “You got bruised on your thighs too?”

 

“I got bruised everywhere today. I went against some heavyweight champion or something. He fucking tackled me to the ground. My head still hurts.” Jeongguk frowns and presses a hand to the back of his head. He mutters something inaudible.

 

“How much do you make per fight?”

 

“About a hundred or two, if I win against someone good. Depends on the night.”

 

“That’s not bad.” Taehyung watches Jeongguk pull the shirt on over his head where it hugs every detail of his body.

 

“Bad price to pay,” Jeongguk says pointedly. “Shit, I’m so glad you have a heater. I would be freezing my ass off without it.”

 

He pauses to slip on the thin shorts which thankfully don’t rip. But they’re the same exact size as his underwear. And he could be wearing nothing but his underwear and it would look exactly the same. Maybe that was Taehyung’s point.

 

He looks at Taehyung smirking on the couch.

 

Most definitely his point.

 

“You shave your legs?” he asks.

 

Jeongguk looks at his legs like he forgot he shaved them. “When I can,” he says nonchalantly, but the pink in his ears say otherwise.

 

“That’s sexy.” Taehyung grins and gets up. Jeongguk flushes. “I’m gonna do your makeup today. Let’s get to the kitchen.” He grunts as he stands up.

 

“Makeup?” Jeongguk pads over to the bare kitchen. “Do you even cook here?” His eyes flit around the room.

 

“Nah, I always eat out. It’s like,” he pauses as he fiddles with the light switches, turning them on, making Jeongguk wince. “A status symbol or something. Who knows. The elevator is nice to ride whenever I leave my apartment to go eat instead. I like the music.”

 

“Shit music taste,” Jeongguk states as he perches on the newly placed sofa.

 

“Nah, they started playing Christmas-y jazz. I am so here for that.” Taehyung dims the strobes, to Jeongguk’s appreciation. “Now give me that sultry ‘I just beat you in a tennis match where we bet on sex’ look. It’d look so good with those hickey lookin’ bruises. Angle your head—yeah like that. Fuck, you look nice.” He leans down and snaps a picture. “Okay, got it. I know what I gotta do.”

 

Jeongguk looks up quizzically.

 

“I’m gonna muss up your hair a bit—add some curls. And some gloss,” Taehyung says more to himself than to Jeongguk. He fumbles through a kitchen drawer of makeup, placing a tube of pink gloss, hairspray, a huge eyeshadow palette, highlighter, and a bunch of poofy looking brushes.

 

“Jesus, that looks like it’s gonna hurt.” Jeongguk readjusts his posture on the little sofa. Thankfully it doesn’t wiggle. “Did you glue this?”

 

Taehyung comes over carrying the makeup and a clicker. “What, the loveseat?” He pauses to set it on the ground. “I hot glued it to the cloth, though in hindsight that wasn’t really a good idea. This isn’t gonna hurt but keep your eyes shut.”

 

“‘Kay.”

 

He tenses when he feels Taehyung’s body heat radiate over him, warming him up in the cold apartment. Goosebumps rise on Jeongguk’s skin as he tries not to lean into his touch.

 

Deliberately, Taehyung places a heavy hand on Jeongguk’s neck and rubs his skin with his thumb subtly, barely grazing over a sore bruise. Tease, Jeongguk finds himself thinking. The soreness is barely tangible to Jeongguk, just so slight with the pressure that he applies, just so that Jeongguk wants to feel a little more.

 

The brush comes up and dusts at his eyelid. Jeongguk flinches.

 

“Hold still.” Taehyung chuckles. “I’ve gotta say that all the time, huh?”

 

“It was just kinda scary at first, jeez. I had no idea makeup would feel like that.” Jeongguk sighs.

 

Taehyung resumes, light touches skimming over Jeongguk’s face. It makes him itch a bit. He holds his breath.

 

Something wet dabs at Jeongguk’s eye and he forces himself to keep still. Taehyung’s hand is starting to press into one Jeongguk’s bruises on his neck. Despite the flickering of pain, Jeongguk keeps still and still restrains himself from leaning in, giving into the feeling.

 

“Almost done,” Taehyung says, whisper soft. His warm breath sends a wave of tingles down Jeongguk’s body, as if he were especially sensitive to him, as if his body was greedily taking in as much as it could. His eyes flutter and a small sigh leaves his lips.

 

“Hold onto this really quick.” Taehyung hands Jeongguk the photo clicker. He opens his eyes tentatively. “I’m gonna take a couple behind the scenes photos before we shoot, but I can’t hold onto it while—yeah. When I ask you to take pictures, just click on it and it’ll countdown from three seconds.”

 

“M’kay.” He closes his eyes again.  

 

Taehyung’s big hands start running through Jeongguk’s hair, tugging it and pulling it back, and it suddenly becomes hard for Jeongguk to not think about this a lot more than it needs to be thought about. The small darts of pain flicker throughout his body, but sink lower and melt in his stomach. He feels himself shift.

 

Taehyung’s teasing him.

 

The hair chemicals get sprayed all over his hair then further tousled. His hands begin to run through Jeongguk’s hair more forcefully, as if he was yanking it. The pain shifts to pleasure and Jeongguk feels himself tilt into each movement. He squeezes his legs together to alleviate the pressure pooling in his crotch. He purses his lips to keep himself silent.

 

“Stop moving, Guk,” Taehyung puts a hand on his neck and holds Jeongguk still firmly, fingers digging deeply into his bruises. Jeongguk lets out a heavy breath and can consciously feel the pleasure begin to form into something more tangible.

 

“Guk?”

 

“A nickname,” Taehyung says simply. “Would you mind clicking?”

 

It takes a moment for Jeongguk to remember what he’s referring to. “Huh? Oh, yeah.” The strobe lights flash when Jeongguk presses the button. “Cool.”

 

“Ain’t it?” His fingers start to massage Jeongguk’s bruises, pressing down in circular motions. Jeongguk wishes he dodged his opponent’s chokehold today. His breath comes in a bit shaky as he inhales, thighs pushing against each other. He tries to keep still, then Taehyung just tugs on his hair and Jeongguk gasps throatily, eyes opening and tilting back. Jeongguk’s cock plumps up against his thigh in interest, getting more and more visible.

 

He’s a lot closer than Jeongguk anticipated, lean figure towering over Jeongguk sitting on the loveseat. He licks his red lips and places a hand on Jeongguk’s knee. “Take a picture.”

 

Jeongguk snaps to attention, presses the button. Flashes go off.

 

“Spread them,” Taehyung directs. He slides his hand up the outside of Jeongguk’s bare thigh, staring deliberately at the tent in his crotch. “Do you think we can shoot when you’re like this?”

 

Jeongguk swallows. “You’d have to take responsibility, so we can start shooting, don’t you think?”

 

Taehyung frowns, expression unreadable. Takes a step closer, between his thighs. Rendering him unable to find any friction to ease his erection. But he just has to take it. Knows he has to because of Taehyung’s dark eyes, his big hands that wander possessively around his thick thighs.

 

“C’mon,” Jeongguk tugs at Taehyung’s loose t-shirt insistently, trying to pull him down but lacking the space to do so. His arms circle around Taehyung’s waist, telling him to lean down. Taehyung’s hands come up to tug at Jeongguk’s hair, tilting his head back before he finally leans down, lips parted. He tugs him even closer for a kiss. Jeongguk’s heart skips a beat, anticipating.

 

Taehyung opens up Jeongguk’s mouth with his tongue, licking past his teeth and pushing his tongue against Jeongguk’s own stubborn one. Jeongguk groans and his hips jerk.

 

Jeongguk tastes like a soda left out on a hot day on the tip of his tongue, warm, and youthful.

 

Taehyung’s hands stop moving. “How old are you really?”

 

“Hmm?” Jeongguk looks up distractedly, unexpected question giving him a lapse of proper judgement. “Didn’t I already answer for you?” He smirks.

 

“Vaguely.”

 

“Just turned twenty-two,” Jeongguk says, eyes dropping from Taehyung’s gaze. It surprises him, though Taehyung doesn’t know what he was expecting.

 

Maybe something younger, considering the way he carries himself, the way he makes himself smaller, in times like these, but how his muscles easily flex, the cocky tilt of his jaw when he surrounds himself with that air that tells him otherwise.

 

Then he looks back up, gaze a little unfocused and lips a deeper shade of pink, shiny with spit, completely doe-eyed. Too innocent especially compared to the context of what they’re doing.

 

“How about you?” Jeongguk asks.

 

“Older than you think,” Taehyung says coyly.

 

“Ass.”

 

“I’m twenty-four. Take a picture.”

 

Jeongguk leans forward to try to kiss him but Taehyung backs up. Jeongguk pouts cutely. “Are you gonna keep this up the whole time?”

 

“For my portfolio, c’mon.” Taehyung grins and threads his fingers through Jeongguk’s hair again, stopping to cup his chin. “You look good, why’d you think I wanted you as my model?”

 

“I dunno. Probably to fuck me?”

 

Taehyung chuckles. The lights flash when Jeongguk presses the clicker again. Jeongguk is really such a sight to behold, face flushed with pleasure, pupils dilated, hair a mess, lips shiny, and blue fabric tenting up so much that the wet spot at the front of his shorts are even more visible.

 

He’s so cute.

 

“Jesus it’s so bright.” Jeongguk blinks, a bit frazzled.

 

“Do you want me to go adjust it?” Taehyung offers, partly ‘cause he knows Jeongguk doesn’t want him to go.

 

“No—mm, stay.” Jeongguk tries to pull Taehyung closer, who leans down and kisses him again, feeling the wet heat with his lips. His lips twitch when Taehyung’s tongue pushes to the back of his throat. A soft mewl stops short in his throat where Taehyung licks behind his teeth and parts, lips as red as a ripe cherry. His breath comes in shallow when Taehyung parts their lips. He’s driven by the sheer need to feel something on his cock.

 

“C’mon—don’t make this draw on for so long,” Jeongguk squeezes the sides of Taehyung's legs with this knees, hands digging into the base of Taehyung’s spine. He wishes he wasn’t standing there for the tenth time.

 

And Jeongguk looks a bit like a mess, he knows this. Frustratingly, Taehyung still looks impeccable, dyed grey hair neatly parted down the middle and red-button up, open, exposing his tan collarbones. Earring dangling playfully, teasingly. The only hint of his distress is how red his lips are—that, and the dark of his eyes. His breaths are just barely short.

 

Taehyung takes a step back and Jeongguk, for a second, fears that he’s just going to leave him like this, with precum leaking through his shorts and cock painfully erect. But he kneels down in front of him, mouth right in front of the tent present in his shorts. He feels blood pound in his ear and how his legs instinctively strain to close, if it were not for Taehyung’s hands forcing them apart.

 

Taehyung reaches forward, lightly grazing over Jeongguk’s cock, sensitive and straining for friction. The light touches do nothing but make his fists clench.

 

“God, just—stop teasing.” The huge tent is so embarrassing to look at. His body just aches for Taehyung’s warm touch. And it shows. God, does it show in his needy breaths, soft moans escaping his mouth as he tries to stifle it, how his body responds so eagerly to the way Taehyung touches his body.

 

“Mm, you’re so cute like this though,” Taehyung looks up from staring intently at Jeongguk’s crotch. He holds his gaze steadily. Jeongguk’s gaze darts away, face a deep shade of pink.

“Whatever, just get on with it,” he says.

 

Taehyung chuckles and leans close, hot, hot breath aimed right onto Jeongguk’s dick, through thin layers of fabric. He finally palms it.

 

Jeongguk’s cock jumps and a drop of precum squeezes out of his tip, he can feel it. His thighs twitch, but Taehyung keeps forcing them apart, keeping his left hand on the inside of Jeongguk’s muscled thigh. Mouthing gentle at the sensitive skin on Jeongguk’s thigh, he really does seem to have a thigh fixation.

 

“Jeez, it’s so cold,” Jeongguk mutters.

 

Taehyung looks up quizzically. “I mean it’s winter, what would you think it would feel like?”

 

“It’s cuffing season,” he comments off-handedly.

 

“What? Like handcuffing? Are you into that?”

 

“No—like a summer fling but in the winter and softer—mmf,” Jeongguk stops speaking as his hips jerk up in response to how Taehyung bites into his thigh.

 

“Why are you asking if you’re not even going to listen?” he bats at Taehyung’s head.

 

“No, I’m listening babe. Love your voice. Should use it more,” Taehyung smirks.

 

“Wh—shut up,” Jeongguk flushes. “Just—get on with it.”

 

“With what?” Taehyung leans back coyly.

 

Jeongguk cannot believe this. “With…what you were just doing?”

 

“What was that? What was it that you wanted?”

 

“You know…”

 

“Yeah?”

 

Jeongguk just wishes he was at least leaning a bit closer because his thighs are slick with spit and the red lip gloss that Taehyung had put on—that and he’s literally freezing.

 

“I’m not gonna do anything unless you tell me to, Gukkie.”

 

“Gukkie?”

 

“Nickname. Or do you prefer ‘babe,’ babe?” Taehyung winks.

 

“What? It doesn’t matter,” Jeongguk frowns. His smile says differently. “Can you just…”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“I dunno. What were you gonna do?”

 

“Anything that you want.”

 

“Jeez. Shut up.” Jeongguk sighs. He’s still painfully hard. “A...blowjob?”

 

“Damn. Straight up yelled it out. Big balls. Stone hard balls.”

 

“You’ll see my stone hard balls once you take my pants off can you please ?” Jeongguk says impatiently.

 

“Will do, babe,” Taehyung playfully salutes. Winks.

 

Jeongguk pouts when Taehyung doesn’t make any movement. “Like now?”

 

“Soon.”

 

Jeongguk huffs, but it turns into a gasp at the same time when Taehyung mouths hotly at his dick. He almost chokes.

 

“You leak a lot, huh,” Taehyung mutters, more to himself. Embarrassed, Jeongguk tries to clamp his legs together again but Taehyung, frustratingly so, remains standing between his legs.

Taehyung’s breath leaves a warm, wet mark on the fabric of his shorts. They’re too painfully thin, Jeongguk thinks, for probably the thousandth time. His hips twitch. Taehyung’s dick pulses.

His cock pulses and jumps so often it’s embarrassing. The fabric shifts to each twitch of his cock, whenever Taehyung breaths out a hot puff of air.

 

He pats the bottom of Jeongguk’s thigh, signalling to move his hips up. Jeongguk’s heart flutters in anticipation of finally being able to bare himself to Taehyung.

 

The first layer comes off, the blue shorts peeling off easily, leaving the boxer-briefs that outline the shape of Jeongguk’s cock, and especially highlights the growing wet spot.

 

“Take these off too,” Jeongguk wiggles his hips a bit, teasing Taehyung but more pleadingly so.

 

“Anything for you,” he grins. Jeongguk scowls, but his expression softens as he bites his lip when his erection is exposed to the cold air and Taehyung’s hot breath.

 

Jeongguk’s cock is plump, with angry veins running down the side and a dark red tip oozing out precum that drips heavily. Taehyung taps a finger on Jeongguk’s tip, watching the precum stretch between his index finger and Jeongguk’s cock.

 

The next thing Taehyung notices is how trimmed Jeongguk is. His body is achingly feminine, the air around him is gentle, his stare sweet, but his body is also full of chiseled angles, the silent dominance hidden behind his large innocent eyes.

 

Then Jeongguk’s hands thread through Taehyung’s grey hair and toy with his earring, and he stops thinking about who Jeongguk might be and starts thinking about the Jeongguk he knows.

 

And, after all, he thinks it’s a fair deal to keep secrets from each other. Especially if it’s mutual.

 

Jeongguk presses insistently at Taehyung’s nape. “C’mon, what’s taking so long?”

 

“No, take a picture first. Without me in the frame.” Taehyung smirks. “Would you do that for me, babe?”

 

“What? You want me to right now?” Jeongguk’s cock jerks. More precum leaks out, gleaming a pearly white in the lighting.

 

“You’re into this exhibitionist shit, right? Love showing your sexy body to my camera, immortalize your beauty for me, now doesn’t that sound nice?” He steps out of the white backdrop, leaving Jeongguk completely in the cold.

 

Jeongguk swallows, eyeing the visible tent in Taehyung’s pants dazedly. He presses the button, immediately slipping into a more smoldering gaze, tilting his head down and staring into the camera seductively, subconscious or not. His erection is on full display, the redness a stark contrast to the paler skin of his abdomen.

 

“God, you’re too much, Jeon,” Taehyung says, stepping back next to Jeongguk. He plants two big hands on the insides of Jeongguk’s thigh, spreading him apart and warming him up, running his hands all around Jeongguk’s legs. “Thick bitch,” he comments. Jeongguk flushes and feels himself loosen up in Taehyung’s touch.

 

“Please, I’ve been waiting since forever, just—mmh,” Jeongguk breaks off in a small mewl when Taehyung finally grabs his cock and closes his lips over Jeongguk’s slick tip. Taehyung’s cock aches when he hears Jeongguk’s soft noises.

 

He licks feverishly over Jeongguk’s dick, hot breath enveloping him wetly. Jeongguk shifts on the couch, pushing against Taehyung’s head and moaning. Taehyung starts to bob his head, up and down, all the while licking around and against Jeongguk’s cock.

 

His thighs strain to clamp shut, but Taehyung’s hands force them apart. He then pumps Jeongguk’s cock, up and down, lewd, wet noises resounding in the apartment.

 

“F-fuck, yeah, like that, just like that,” Jeongguk says, breath catching in his throat.

 

More precum drips from the tip when Taehyung backs off to take a breath, slicking up Jeongguk’s length even more with his hand, making it an easy glide. He runs a thumb up a big vein on Jeongguk’s cock, relishing in the way it makes his cock jerk and hit his abdomen, leaving a wet stain on his bare skin where his tight shirt rode up.

 

“You good?” Taehyung asks, clenching his fist tightly on an upstroke. Jeongguk twists and nods feverently, hands pulling insistently at Taehyung’s hair a bit harder than he likes.

 

“Shit, relax.” Taehyung winces when Jeongguk tugs particularly hard.

 

“A-ah, sorry,” Jeongguk apologizes, though the words melt into a lengthy moan when Taehyung starts blowing him again, going a lot faster than before, sucking incessantly at Jeongguk’s sensitive tip that squeezes out even more precum, leaving a bitter taste in Taehyung’s mouth when he swallows. Jeongguk both arches into his touch, accidentally jerking roughly into Taehyung’s mouth, hips rising off the couch, but also struggles to restrain himself.

 

“Do you like that?” Taehyung asks, in response to Jeongguk’s soft groan, he hollows out his cheeks and sucks hard, pulling off with a pop for a moment to speak properly. Jeongguk whimpers and tugs on Taehyung’s hair. He’s so painfully hard, his foreskin stretched all across his girth as his erection grew.

 

“Like what?” Jeongguk impatiently asks. “C’mon, please,” he begs, hips jumping into nothing.

 

“Face-fucking.” Taehyung raises an eyebrow. His lips are as red as Jeongguk’s cock, shiny with his fluid. “You into that? Fuck my face,” Taehyung says without skipping a beat.

 

“Y-you sure?”

 

“Safe word, uh, foliage,” Taehyung rushes. “You’re clean? Just for future reference?”

 

“Yeah, uh, I don’t really fuck a lot of people. And you are?”

 

“Yeah, I got tested a while ago but I don’t get laid here since you know, the North,” Taehyung laughs, voice hoarse. He clears his throat. “You wanna do this? It’s on you Jeongguk.”

 

A drop of precum beads at his tip. “Y-yeah?”

 

“I wanna taste all of you, baby,” Taehyung grins and puts his mouth on Jeongguk’s wet dick.

 

He goes up and down, sucking hotly at Jeongguk’s cock, while his own is straining almost painfully against the zipper of his jeans. Taehyung swallows around Jeongguk, who jerks up and pants.

 

“Yeah, mm, just like that,” Jeongguk grabs the sides of Taehyung’s head and holds him in place with extreme force. His hips thrust in violently, until Taehyung can feel the tip of his erection pressed against the back of his throat, shoving it all in, until Taehyung honestly can’t breathe, and he’s loving every second of being so affected by Jeongguk. He picks up pace, Taehyung relaxing his throat and eagerly sucking him all in.

 

“Haah, f-faster,” Jeongguk pants, standing up, completely fucking Taehyung’s throat in earnest, purely using him to chase his pleasure. He loosens his throat with the intent of taking all of Jeongguk.

 

“Yeah, so good, Tae, so good,” Jeongguk mewls. The restrictment of Taehyung’s pants are almost unbearable. He palms it and a groan escapes him. Jeongguk yanks Taehyung’s hair when he feels the vibrations travel up his cock, collecting in the pit of his stomach until it starts to get painful.

 

Jeongguk lets out a low groan and keens, body curling over, abdomen twitching, heat unfurling in his crotch. He barely has time to spit out “Coming— oh ,” before he does, jerking his cock back clumsily. Taehyung gets the hint and smushes his lips together, waiting for Jeongguk’s release, closing his eyes in case it gets in there. Jeongguk’s cock jerks, ever so responsive, as he shudders and presses his wet tip against Taehyung’s mouth as he comes.

 

His cock bobs heavily as he releases, white oozing out of his tip as it paints Taehyung’s red glossed lips white, dick so red and angry it’s practically weeping as he drips all over Taehyung, drips over the ground making a small puddle. He doesn’t really spurt, but he more so oozes.

 

“Sheesh,” Taehyung says, voice raspy, “”Yeah, there you go,” he rubs the insides of Jeongguk’s thighs in approval. He licks his lips a bit, wrinkling his nose at the taste. Jeongguk pants, watching the dart of his tongue. He wipes off the rest of his cum off his chin.

 

“You-you—I wanna help,” Jeongguk says, a bit disoriented. “Can you get on the couch?”

 

“You sure?”

 

“Y-yeah, please, you’re so hard.” Jeongguk wiggles Taehyung’s jeans lower on his hips and pulls down his briefs, a wet stain evident through the white fabric. “Sorry I made you wait this long.”

 

“Mm, don’t worry about it,” Taehyung smiles and ruffles Jeongguk’s hair tenderly.

 

Jeongguk grips Taehyung’s cock and spreads the drop of precum around his length to slicken up his erection. “Mm, pretty, Tae,” he says, barely noticing how that sounds, but more focused on the way Taehyung’s foreskin stretches over his tip, pulling it and pushing it back.

 

“You don’t normally say that about, you know, dicks, but thanks, babe.” His body arches into Jeongguk’s touch, who runs his hand up and down Taehyung’s length. He growls, when Jeongguk presses into his tip.

 

Jeongguk’s taste in his mouth, Jeongguk’s body heat enveloping him, Jeongguk’s hands on Taehyung’s body—

 

“Fuck, I’m gonna come soon,” Taehyung warns, heat pooling in his gut, tightening. His hands tighten on Jeongguk’s waist, pulling him closer. “God—”

 

“Cum all over my hand, like a dirty boy, come all over me, your expensive minimalist couch, your expensive backdrop, stain it with your come,” Jeongguk licks his lips, eyes a shade darker, grip growing tighter.

 

“Jeongguk—Jesus, shut up,” Taehyung growls. The dominance comes as a surprise, more so the speed and ease of his switch, not so much a heavy presence. Jeongguk twists his wrist around his tip and feels the throb of his dick. He brings his free hand from Taehyung’s waist and rubs his palm over Taehyung’s tip—the most sensitive part. In response, he twitches violently and growls, twisting away from Jeongguk’s touchiness.

 

Coming, ” he hisses, balls pulling tight to his body, stomach clenching tight as he releases white spurts of come all over Jeongguk’s fist, spilling onto his clothes and some getting on his couch.

 

It’s gonna be a bitch to clean.

 

Jeongguk kittenishly licks the tip of his index finger. It’s painfully sexy, but Taehyung chuckles when Jeongguk wipes off the fluid off his hand as expected. He still feels a little jittery, a little high, but more serene.

 

“What?” Taehyung asks.

 

“Dunno what I was expecting. Not the blowjob, that was pretty good, but the taste of...that,” Jeongguk confesses, while collapsing onto Taehyung.

 

“Jesus, there’s literally not enough room for both of us here,” Taehyung grunts under the weight of Jeongguk.

 

“You fit fine when I was jackin’ you off,” he mutters.

 

“Okay, but you’re heavy,” Taehyung says. He sits up, making Jeongguk scooch over. “You wanna borrow my shower? I have spare clothes, they should fit you.”

 

“Cool, yeah, sure thing,” Jeongguk gets on his feet, thighs trembling a bit, then easily hops off to the bathroom.

 

Taehyung smiles fondly. With his own come drying on him, the prospect of showering first sounds nice, but he lets Jeongguk go first. He digs through his closet to find some big sleeping clothes for Jeongguk, wanting to hint that he’s welcome to stay overnight.

 

“Coming in!” Taehyung announces as he opens the door. The shower is on full blast, the hot air hitting Taehyung hard. Jeongguk switches it off when he’s done.

 

“Thanks, Tae,” Jeongguk grabs one of Taehyung’s towels off the rack and wraps it around his waist, then stepping out. He tries to suppress his smile at how plainly cute he is. And then he really looks at the chiseled muscle on his body and then he’s lost again.

 

“My turn,” Taehyung says, then pulls his clothes off and steps into the still warm shower.

 

“And there’s a toothbrush in the bottom cabinet. I keep spares for myself.” He hopes that Jeongguk catches his hints, he doesn’t want him to run out on him, he wants him to know he’s special.

 

“Yeah, found it. Thanks,” Jeongguk says.

 

Hot water runs over him as he scrubs quickly at his body. He steps out and dries himself on a spare towel and throws on his sleeping clothes as well.

 

Jeongguk is just finishing to brush his teeth. They’re the picture of domesticity. He laughs a little.

 

They sit on Taehyung’s bed together, a king size, more than enough for Taehyung, far more than enough for Jeongguk to share half. And it’s still so, so warm under the sheets.

 

“Tomorrow morning,” Jeongguk rolls over to face Taehyung, “Yeah?” In the dim lighting by the moon, Jeongguk looks especially soft and fragile. Taehyung just wants to hold him, kiss his big  nose, watch him fall asleep as his fluttering eyelashes close.

 

Taehyung groans and rolls over, throwing an arm over Jeongguk, falling asleep.



 


Jeongguk wakes up alone, wrapped up in heavy layers of blankets.

 

He’s taken aback by how relaxed he feels. He rolls out of bed and shivers when his feet touch the cold ground, so he takes the nearest blanket with him as he walks towards the bathroom to brush his teeth.

 

The air is now warm, cozy. He feels soft all bundled up in Taehyung’s blanket. He sees him sitting on the couch, clicking through his Mac. Taehyung looks up when he sees Jeongguk and smiles, waves him over. Jeongguk plops down heavily, wrapping himself up tightly in the grey blanket.

 

“These are from last night,” Taehyung says, angling the laptop so that Jeongguk can see the pictures. “You want some bread?” he asks, tossing over a packaged croissant before Jeongguk replies. Tearing open the loud plastic wrapper, Jeongguk bites into the bland pastry.

 

There’s one of him perched on the couch, posture relaxed. The next one has Taehyung standing behind him, hands threaded in his then-wavy hair. Jeongguk’s blissed out, eyes closed and lips upturned in a slight smile.

 

And in the next one, Jeongguk’s sitting on the couch, head tilted back in pleasure, eyes dark and lips shiny. Jeongguk swallows and swipes left.

 

“Oh, this one’s my favorite,” Taehyung says. He drapes an arm on Jeongguk’s shoulders and leans over to see. Jeongguk crumples up the loud wrapper and balls it up.

 

And, wow, Jeongguk can see why. His gaze is dark, head tilted and his red cock is entirely on display, veiny and huge. He’s obviously worked up, his thighs are spotted with pink hickies and his shirt is riding up, exposing pale, muscled skin, in contrast to the red of his dick. He looks sexy and confident, maybe that’s why it looks so nice.

 

He really does look so good.

 

“Oh, wow. I barely remember taking this,” Jeongguk flushes. He shifts in his seat.

 

“Really? Then you must have so much talent, Jeon.” Taehyung leans his head back on the couch.

 

“We haven’t finished the shoot, but I have a different outfit Jimin wore before,” Taehyung says, forcing himself to change topics.

 

“Jimin?” Jeongguk asks the same exact moment he infers that Taehyung is referring to the previous model. He slides the laptop back over to Taehyung.

 

Taehyung takes his Macbook and taps around, removing his flash drive. “Yeah, he’s the model who quit ‘cause of travel. He worked for me before you.”

 

“Are you down to shoot? Or later?”

 

Jeongguk can’t help but to think whether or not Taehyung treated Jimin the same way. But he abandons the thought. It’s not his to think.

 

There’s so little he knows about Taehyung. But they’re still just employee and employer, right?

 

He doesn’t need to feel out of the loop.

 

“Yeah, sure, now’s good, what do you have?”

 

“I’ll bring it over, one sec.” Taehyung gets up and pads over to the other side of the room. “You can take a look at my portfolio! You haven’t seen it yet—you can tell me if there’s a anything you wanna wear.” He passes a thick white binder over to Jeongguk who takes it and flips through the plastic sheet protectors, thumbing through photos of a quite cute man who has heart-shaped lips and heart-shaped eyes.

 

There are pictures of this cute man in rugged clothes, leather jackets, somehow complementing his soft features well, then others in big sweaters.

 

He looks like a professional model.

 

Taehyung rustles through his closet. “Oh! Found it, here, Guk,” he says, tossing the outfit over to Jeongguk.

 

The first thing he notices it how it’s actually not really an outfit. Taehyung paired together a huge, baggy periwinkle hoodie with similarly colored blue and yellow striped thigh-highs. And that’s it.

 

He looks up. “No pants?”

 

“Nah.” Taehyung sits back down on the couch expectantly.

 

“Your ulterior motive is showing,” Jeongguk jokes. “You bet I’m gonna rock this.”

 

“You’d look good in anything, Guk.” Taehyung cocks an eyebrow. “What should I try next, I wonder.”

 

“Yeah, well, you’re definitely right about that.” Jeongguk leans over to the side of the cough to throw away the empty pastry wrapper, stands up and takes his loose sweater off teasingly, peeking at Taehyung from the corner of his eye.

 

Taehyung has time to really appreciate Jeongguk’s beautiful body, chiseled in all the right places and soft in the best ones. He’s a bit surprised by how broad his chest is, though he really shouldn’t be now that he knows Jeongguk fights. Maybe it’s how cute he looks, with puffy cheeks and a big smile. Maybe that’s why he’s so enamored.

 

Then Jeongguk pulls the hoodie over his body and cuts off Taehyung’s line of sight. He doesn’t really mind it once Jeongguk slides his sweats off.

 

From yesterday, there’s still faint pink spots on the insides of his thighs, maybe a bite mark if he’s looking close enough. The fact that he left a mark on someone as beautiful on Jeongguk gives him a rush.

 

Jeongguk catches his eye and smirks.

 

Taehyung feels something twist in his gut. He actually needs to finish his portfolio and getting distracted isn’t going to help him meet the deadline, not that Jeongguk is just a distraction.

 

That’s not it.

 

Jeongguk tries to pulls on the thigh-highs with a fair bit of struggle, his big thighs making it a really tight fit. He shivers—he wants the blanket back now that his legs are bare.

 

“Let me help you with that, yeah?” Taehyung scoots over to Jeongguk and looks at him for approval.

 

Jeongguk nods and raises his leg shyly. Taehyung’s hands glide over Jeongguk’s smooth skin as he leans forward and shimmies up the sock, gathering up all the fabric with his thumb. He wiggles up the sock slowly until it’s settled nicely on his thigh.

 

The sock is tight—it’s especially tight around Jeongguk’s thigh, squishing the flesh there, making his thigh bulge. The sock makes his leg slimmer, until it cuts off at the top of his thigh where the strip of bare skin is protruding beyond the sock.

 

“Too tight?” Taehyung asks, watching how Jeongguk flexes his thigh when he brings his knee close to his chest.

 

“‘S good. Might leave a mark though,” Jeongguk says, setting his leg down. “Are we shooting on the couch?”

 

“Yeah. Though I gotta clean it up.” Taehyung winks, his lips turned up in a smile. “Give me a moment.” He pads into the kitchen and brings out some wet wipes. Jeongguk follows him.

 

“‘Kay. It’s clean now, go ‘head and hop on, Guk,” Taehyung jerks his head at him.

 

“Stay consistent with the nicknames, Tae.” Jeongguk perches on the backrest of the loveseat, feet planted in the cushions. “How are we shooting today?”

 

“Mmm, going for something cute.” Taehyung peers at Jeongguk through the tiny viewfinder in his camera. He twists a knob on one of the strobe lights, making the room dimmer. “Can you cross your legs and—yeah like that, good.” Jeongguk beams under the praise. The lights flash unexpectedly.

 

“Woah,” Jeongguk blinks. His eyes take a moment to adjust, the light almost blinding.

 

“Sorry if that was sudden. You looked really cute just then—thought it fit.” Taehyung looks at the photo on his laptop. “Yeah, really cute.”

 

“Can you settle on the sofa, sideways, and tuck your right knee to your chest? Yeah, and look here,” Taehyung directs. He snaps another picture.

 

“Pretend you’re stretching.” Lights flash.

 

“Can you stand and pull down the hem of the sweater? Yeah, perfect.”

 

When they’re finished, Taehyung brings his laptop over to Jeongguk, letting him click through the photos as Taehyung sits close to him, his body pressed against him warmly.

 

Taehyung watches how Jeongguk’s eyes flutter with every blink, how the light of the laptop reflects in his eyes as he swipes through, giving every picture a solid nod.

 

“Here’s your—” Jeongguk begins to say, but interrupted by Taehyung’s intense gaze on him when he looks up.

 

A breath catches in his throat when he meets his eyes, weirdly put off guard by the emotion in them. It’s dark, but with hidden longing, like desire. But he doesn’t want to get his hopes up just yet.

 

Taehyung’s warm breath tickles his nose. Jeongguk barely breathes out, each exhale, each inhale too loud in his ears. His thumping heart beats a little faster when Taehyung leans closer.

Jeongguk closes his eyes.

 

When their lips touch, it’s almost overwhelmingly warm. Jeongguk melts in his hands, pliant and eager, like putty. Taehyung slides the laptop off his lap and inserts a knee between Jeongguk’s bare legs, nudging the soft flesh of his thigh as he cups Jeongguk’s face with one hand and slides another up his huge hoodie.

 

“Mm,” Jeongguk breaks the kiss to breathe, then leans back in. A warm hand glides over his cold stomach, warming him, making him shudder against the cold of the apartment. It leaves him to wonder why Taehyung doesn’t turn on his heater more often.

 

They’re silent except for each breath of air and rustling of clothes as Taehyung snakes his hands up Jeongguk’s body further, brushing his nipples with cold hands.

 

Jeongguk gasps, breaking off the kiss, some of Taehyung’s red lip gloss smeared on his lips. Goosebumps rise on his skin as his nipples stiffen when Taehyung brushes across them again.

 

His cock plumps up against his thigh, he shifts in his seat, reaching for Taehyung again when his leg accidentally bumps against Taehyung’s dick.

 

“C’mon,” Jeongguk says before his lips brush against Taehyung’s. His heart pounds. He opens his mouth, letting Taehyung lick inside, behind his teeth, sliding his tongue down his throat. Jeongguk whines, subconsciously scratching down Taehyung’s clothes back. “Stop interrupting me,” he says petulantly.

 

“Sorry, babe,” Taehyung smirks and kisses the tip of his nose. “Bedroom?”

 

“I was gonna say that,” Jeongguk huffs but gets up and follows Taehyung, hand clinging to the hem of Taehyung’s dress shirt.

 

Taehyung sits down first and Jeongguk climbs onto his lap eagerly, grinding his erection against Taehyung’s and kissing him wetly before pulling away.

 

“Are we gonna—” Taehyung begins to ask.

 

Jeongguk nods, “Please fuck me.” The openness behind his words—Taehyung really can’t take how Jeongguk keeps surprising him. Taehyung leans over to take out lube and a condom from his nightstand, the mattress sinking with his weight.

 

“Do you wanna finger me?” Jeongguk says unabashedly. There’s something about the way he holds his body with such confidence that Taehyung really likes. And then other times he gets adorably bashful, eyelashes fluttering and pink dusting across his cheeks like a fairy.

 

He can’t get enough.

 

“You’d be down?” Taehyung pushes Jeongguk off him and onto the cushy mattress. “Wouldn’t you be better off doing it for yourself?”

 

“Your hands are long. They look so nice. Probably be able to get in so much more.” Jeongguk eases to Taehyung’s side of the bed and gets on his knees, hands planted deeply in the bed, amidst all the blankets. “I mean you sew, so you gotta finger well.” He shrugs. Taehyung chuckles in response.

 

“C’mon. I’m so hard.” And it’s really true, Taehyung can see how his erection pulls the fabric of his briefs to the front. He peels them off fluidly, the cold air hitting Jeongguk’s bare cock suddenly. He gasps softly and rocks forward, completely exposed to Taehyung, cock kicking up at the thought. Blood pounds in his ears. He wonders if Taehyung could hear it if he had pressed his ear to Jeongguk’s chest.

 

“Hoodie?” Taehyung slides his hands up Jeongguk’s skin under the hoodie insistently.

 

“Oh yeah,” he mutters. He sits back and pulls the loose, . huge hoodie easily off and gets on all fours in front of Taehyung, gripping one of the pillows with one hand and the bedsheets with the other. Wiggling his ass high in the air, Jeongguk feels exposed but cute with the thigh-high still squeezing his legs, decorating them, in the way he assumes Taehyung would like.

 

A click resounds and a cold, wet finger presses against his rim.

 

“Fuck, holy shit, that’s so cold,” Jeongguk whines and lurches. “Can you warm it up a bit?”

 

“You’re so picky,” Taehyung says, but does so anyway, holding the bottle in his hand waiting for it to warm up. Jeongguk looks like a princess, carries himself like one, and the only part Taehyung needs to do for him is to treat him like so.

 

“Ready?” Taehyung asks.

 

“Yeah, bitch, hurry up—ugh I wish it wasn’t so cold—mm—c’mon,” Jeongguk babbles, hips circling around Taehyung’s finger lightly tracing over his rim.

 

“You’re so mouthy,” Taehyung grins.

 

“Hurry up ,” Jeongguk complains, drawing out the vowels and pushing back on Taehyung’s finger, still just barely touching his rim.

 

“You’re sure about this, right?” he asks one more time.

 

Jeongguk huffs. “Yeah, please, Jjesus.”

 

Taehyung sinks in his finger into Jeongguk’s ass, heat almost shocking in comparison to the freezing cold of his apartment. Jeongguk groans. His cock throbs heavily as another drop of precum drools out.

 

He wraps his other lubed up hand around Jeongguk’s thick, red, veiny cock, and strokes twice. His thighs shake, unsure of which way to rock. Taehyung slaps Jeongguk’s thigh with a wet hand, relishing in the way it jiggles for a good two seconds. His finger slides in and out of Jeongguk’s hole and begins to build up a steady rhythm, as his breathing evens out.

 

Teasingly, Jeongguk clenches around Taehyung’s finger, loving the way Taehyung breathes in sharply. He wants him to know how good he can be.

 

“Two, please,” Jeongguk asks.

 

“So polite,” Taehyung smiles. “Of course. What a good boy.” Jeongguk’s cock jumps at the nickname, then he hides his blushing face. “You’re so cute, God.”

 

“Ugh, just—yeah—haah,” Jeongguk starts to fuck himself back on Taehyung’s fingers, the stretch becoming more tangible and more pleasant. “Mm,” he moans thickly.

 

“You good?” Taehyung asks, other hand coming up to knead at Jeongguk’s meaty thigh.

 

“Yes, I’m good,” he sighs exasperatedly. “You got something with my thighs, huh, Tae,” Jeongguk hums, pronunciation of his words all jumbled up.

 

“Yeah, I love how they jiggle when you slap them,” Taehyung praises. Jeongguk giggles, cock kicking up again, precum dripping onto the sheets.

 

“Was this your ulterior motive?” He grinds down on Taehyung’s finger, egging him on.

 

“You just looked so good when I first saw you, I needed to know more,” Taehyung enters another finger without warning. Jeongguk mewls softly, making cute little happy noises in the back of this throat.

 

“Yeah, you take it so well,” Taehyung slaps his thigh again, watching how it keeps shaking. He grabs his ass and pulls it towards him, making his fingers enter Jeongguk even deeper.

 

Jeongguk is so sexually responsive, loud. He adds more lube, enjoying the way it squelches wetly when he rubs it against his rim.

 

“Four, I can take four,” Jeongguk insists, even before his posture evens out. “C’mon, please, please ,”  he pleads.

 

“Only when you’re polite, babe,” Taehyung slides in another though, four fingers working in and out of his rim. His erection twitches in his loose sweats.

 

“My good boy,” he leans in close to Jeongguk next to his ear. Jeongguk whimpers as his cock jumps.

 

Four fingers slide in and out fluidly, to the rhythm of Jeongguk’s increasingly loud whines. He feels a drop of sweat roll down the side of his neck. Lube drips ticklishly down his thigh. Unable to touch his dick, Jeongguk’s grip on the pillow gets stronger until he might actually rip it. Taehyung’s hand comes back around to wrap around his cock, rubbing his thumb over an angry red vein. Jeongguk shudders, feeling the pleasure pool heavily already this early on.

 

“Out, out, before I come,” he wiggles his ass. Taehyung chuckles and pulls out his fingers, loving the way Jeongguk’s rim gapes open for a split second before closing. He wipes the wetness of his hand on the bedsheets. He briefly wonders how Jeongguk comes, if ropes of white spurt out of his tip or if it dribbles out of his cock like like the way precum oozes out. Taehyung subconsciously bites down on his lip at the thought.

 

“You’re so  fucking made for this,” he says, pulling his sweats down to his knees, then unwraps the condom. Jeongguk feels the cold come back the moment Taehyung pulls away. He wants to pull him close.

 

“I don’t—you don’t have to use that,” Jeongguk cranes his neck to see the condom rolled onto Taehyung’s dick. “Aren’t we both clean?”

 

“You sure? It’s your call,” Taehyung says hesitantly. “I might’ve not had like, intercourse? But still we should be careful, I mean—”

 

“Ugh, fine fine, just hurry up please,” Jeongguk insists, wiggling his ass, decorated with thigh-highs, up in Taehyung’s face. His legs are wrapped like a present with the softly colored socks.

 

“You’re so worked up,” Taehyung says as he slaps Jeongguk’s ass, watching his body bounce, revelling in the way his hand leaves a faint pink mark.

 

“Stop with that, ugh,” Jeongguk frowns. In response, Taehyung pulls on the condom and lubes up his dick and presses his blunt tip to Jeongguk’s rim, refusing to push in despite how Jeongguk’s warmth can be felt on the very tip of his dick.

 

“You look so nice, don’t even doubt it,” Taehyung grins, close to Jeongguk’s ear. He nibbles on his pierced ear, licking around the small ring. “You’re so sexy,” he says. Jeongguk’s dick jerks, another drop of precum oozes out of the tip.

 

“Hurry, please, please,” Jeongguk rocks back, loving the thickness, the girth, of Taehyung, and he only wishes to be able to feel him inside.

 

Taehyung finally slides in, Jeongguk feels his insides stretching and being filled with Taehyung’s cock so achingly. His rim somehow manages to accommodate such a big thing and just the feeling alone, of being so full, already pushes him far closer to his climax already. Jeongguk groans, face planted in the bedsheets.

 

Taehyung bottoms out, completely buried in Jeongguk’s plush ass. Jeongguk gasps. His hands tighten, muscles hurting. The dull ache is so pleasant, a heaviness that makes his entire body buzz with the knowledge that Taehyung is inside of him.

 

There’s so much that Jeongguk loves about the feeling of being so filled up by someone’s cock. But this time it’s Taehyung’s, which makes it so much more different. Though he’s not sure exactly why. And he can’t really dwell on it when Taehyung pulls back, the dull ache following his cock. His thoughts short circuit with every small movement.

 

He feels his insides spread apart to make way for Taehyung’s wet cock, his body clenching instinctively on Taehyung’s. He curses, pushing the pillows out of the way in order to grip the bed sheets with a better hold, and to wipe his sweaty hands on his bed. Once Jeongguk relaxes again, Taehyung speeds up, the sound of smacking of his balls on Jeongguk’s perineum resound to the pace of his increasingly fast thrusts.

 

“Yeah, yeah, mm,” Jeongguk moans. “F-fuck, yeah.”

 

“Yeah? You like that?” Taehyung’s body leans over Jeongguk’s reaching down to stroke his wet cock, “My bitch loves everything I do, right?”

 

Jeongguk yelps, lurching forward violently and arms giving out, drool leaking out of his mouth, “Mm, yeah, love it so much, Tae, I’m oh, ” he hiccups. He’s climbing so fast, it’s almost blinding. Taehyung revels in the way Jeongguk’s ass and thighs bounce each time he thrusts in. He wrestles with his thigh-highs, trying to push the left one down with his right.

 

Somehow, Taehyung hits the sweet spot in his body, his prostate, just right and it sends Jeongguk off the end of his line. His body completely gives out as he twitches violently, his sensitivity going haywire.

 

“I-It feels—I’m—” he hiccups, his body clenching and unclenching on Taehyung’s body. “A-again,” he pleads, voice watery.

 

Taehyung growls, voice deep. “You like that? Was that your prostate?”

 

Jeongguk mewls and nods feverishly, “Please, please,” he breathes. The pull of Taehyung’s cock, his thickness, the girth, Jeongguk’s mind shorts out like an electric wire when he feels Taehyung’s warm breath on his ear again as he nudges against Jeongguk’s prostate again and again. Jeongguk feels more and more wound up with every drag of Taehyung’s dick.

 

“Are you gonna cum, babe? Are you gonna cum with my dick in your ass?” Taehyung slaps Jeongguk’s ass with his free hand, hand incessantly pumping Jeongguk’s dick. His breathing stutters and his body stills.

 

“I’m—oh, Tae—I’m cumming, ” he whines. He stumbles into his orgasm with barely any warning, the string of tension finally pulled tight and snipped as his entire body goes lax. His eyes see white and his balls pull tight against his body as thick ropes of come gets fucked forcefully out of him as Taehyung strokes him through it, not daring to move with how Jeongguk’s body is all locked up around him.

 

This time Taehyung can really look at the way he comes and Jeongguk's first spurt comes to him more powerfully, wringing his lungs as air as he keens, come painting Taehyung's stomach, the rest oozing out like he's dribbling—like he can’t keep it in. His dick jerks up hard, spurting some more come on his stomach then slowly dribbles down his shaft, down his body, drools all over his stomach and the bed, mixing in with his sweat as it keeps dripping and dripping. More come oozes out of his tip, like honey dripping from a wand, collecting in a little puddle on Taehyung’s bed, drowning his bedsheets with his scent.

 

Taehyung finds it adorable.

 

Slowing down, Taehyung slows to a stop as tremors wrack Jeongguk’s body.

 

“W-why’d you stop? Keep going,” Jeongguk pants, trying to unclench to make it easy for Taehyung to move. His body just won’t listen  and he keeps trying to loosen up.

 

“Aren’t you sensitive?” Taehyung asks. “You’re so tight right now.”

 

“But you haven’t come yet,” Jeongguk whines. “It’s not fair.” He finally manages to loosen up a bit as the last of his come is pushed out, his body so lax and pliant, but the pressure is most definitely there.

 

That pleasure gets increasingly more painful as Taehyung keeps going against his throbbing insides that squeeze relentlessly against Taehyung’s cock. He lets go of the bedsheets completely, his face collapsing into Taehyung’s pillow, letting his voice destroy his throat as he cries out, his cologne, his smell, everything. Taehyung invading his senses.

 

“What a good boy, so much come just for me, babe,” Taehyung growls in his ear, pulling Jeongguk’s body closer to his by grabbing a handful of his ass and forces him still, smacking his ass. Jeongguk writhes, trying to crawl out of Taehyung’s grasp, tears forming from the over-stimulation and loud mewls, so fucking loud, that echo around the apartment. The neighbors can hear for sure. They’re probably lucky though, Jeongguk knows he sounds good.

 

“Oh—Tae, please, please, ah, ” Jeongguk whines, collapsing onto the bed, arms giving out.

 

“Did you forget, babe? I didn’t come yet, we don’t stop until I cum, babe,” Taehyung hands grip Jeongguk’s waist, thankfully giving his flaccid dick a break.

 

Taehyung wrestles with Jeongguk’s body to keep him still, holding his waist down with two big hands. He slaps his plush ass and shushes him.

 

“You’re being too loud,” Taehyung growls. Jeongguk grips the pillow under him with tight fists, burying his face into it in an attempt to hush himself and more so please Taehyung.

 

His free hand snakes back around Jeongguk’s waist and tugs his twitching cock. Jeongguk yelps, lurching forward and panting loudly, body like a sack of sand as Taehyung jostles his body to his liking, plainly just using his body to take as Jeongguk gives .

 

“Ah—fuck—you take it so well, like you were made to take my thick cock,” Taehyung spits, stiff balls smacking against Jeongguk’s lube-soaked perineum. “You’re drooling, do you like my dick in your ass that much?” he hisses.

 

Jeongguk cries, sounding completely wrecked. His breath comes in gasps as he tries to make a proper sentence. He twists and his body jumps. Taehyung slaps his ass and grapples with his body to force him still.

 

“Y-yeah—ah,” he hiccups. “You—Your cock feels—” he lurches forward when Taehyung somehow aims just right and hits his prostate.

 

He wails, a stray tear running down his face as his entire body tightens up so bad that Taehyung has to slow down his pace. His blubbering is completely unintelligible, but he still tries so hard to please Taehyung. His dick jumps, his entire body jolts. Taehyung again grabs his waist with sweaty hands and tugs him to his body, despite Jeongguk’s mewls of protests. He clenches the sheets, rubbing his dick into the mess of come and sweat and lube all over the plush mattress.

 

“You make such a mess, babe,” Taehyung whispers lowly.

 

“You’re so pretty when you cry, I wanna see more of you,” he says as he flips Jeongguk’s body over so he’s facing him. “So beautiful,” he says, thought escaping his mouth.

 

From here, Jeongguk can really see how dark Taehyung’s expression is, tainted with lust, pink tongue darting out to lick his red lips when he sees Jeongguk’s eyes full of tears and blush dusting his cheeks, mouth open, panting, drool leaking down the side of his face. The sock that hangs barely on his big toe gets thrown off when Taehyung hits his prostate again and again, making his body twitch so bad his entire body jerks. He barely realized how much he squirmed and moved until the sock is completely gone.

 

Jeongguk’s body is pale with dark purple bruises decorating his perfect body. His face is screwed up from indistinguishable pleasure, tears, sweat, drool, all leaking down his face, body, God. His beautiful eyes are screwed shut as another mewl gets drawn out of him. Taehyung slides his hands down Jeongguk’s thighs, folding him open like a flower so that his feet are high up in the air, then he leans down and licks at Jeongguk’s nipple, tonguing the sensitive bud and sucking it, feeling the skin pucker and skin rise in goosebumps.

 

“A-ah, you feel so—ah—good, don’t—please,” Jeongguk babbles, his body already being pushed back into a fiery pit of pleasure. He grabs Taehyung’s pillow and smothers himself, partly to hide his face, but more so because he loves how Taehyung smells, love how it chokes him.

 

“Yes, babe, my good baby boy, taking my cock so well,” he hisses. Taehyung presses into a bruise on Jeongguk’s abdomen, watching the way his body responds eagerly. He fucks ruthlessly into Jeongguk’s ass, breaths punctuated with the sound of wet squelching. Jeongguk sobs loudly, hopelessly rocking into Taehyung’s cock, his ass jiggling every time skin meets skin.

 

The pleasure building in Taehyung’s crotch becomes hotter and hotter as it threatens to spill over in tandem to Jeongguk’s tight ass. He leans forward, body enveloping Jeongguk’s.

“Coming,” he growls as he pushes forcefully into Jeongguk one more time, smacking his bony hips into Jeongguk’s plush ass. His cock jumps so violently that Jeongguk can feel it shifting his twitching insides, gushing come into the condom. He wishes again that the condom wasn’t there. He wants to feel the veins of Taehyung’s cock and his thick come gush into him—he wants to feel it leak out of him when— oh.

 

Taehyung quickly pulls out and peels off the condom, throwing it into a trash bin, leaving Jeongguk’s rim clenching painfully around nothing for a split second.

 

“No, no—I haven’t—it hurts, Tae, oh,” he babbles, making grabby hands at Taehyung’s body.

 

Taehyung then leans downwards and presses his hot tongue against Jeongguk’s sensitive hole. The feeling is so bizarre for something so soft and wet to be prodding at his abused muscle. But he loves it—voice reaching to high pitched keens as he arches into the feeling. He’s so loose.

 

He gasps then melts into his touch, the warmth of Taehyung, who then makes way to start sucking his cock, opening his mouth wide to fit the girth of Jeongguk as he reaches into Jeongguk’s loose hole and fingers him until Jeongguk’s moaning again.

 

Taehyung licks up all the leftover come on Jeongguk’s cock from earlier, then pops off to suck at Jeongguk’s thigh, nibbling the skin. He fondles Jeongguk’s balls and plants a firm hand on his thigh which strains to close on Taehyung’s head, and the other inside of him, pushing at his insides, searching for his prostate.

 

And when he finds it, Jeongguk’s breathing gets more erratic as the pressure begins to build in his crotch again. Pained whimpering escapes his mouth, body insanely sensitive. He arches up several times, whining “coming,” before he does, back arching and hips thrusting up, once, twice violently as he desperately chases his release. His dick weakly spurts come before it trickles white down slowly down the side, like milk dripping down a cup. Come puddles onto his body, decorating the base of his cock with white as Taehyung plays with his balls, easing him through it.

 

Jeongguk’s body loosens up on the sheets when Taehyung finally lets go. He collapses onto the sheets, out of breath, body splayed out from exhaustion, a sheen of sweat glistening from the sunlight. His come drips onto his sheets. A small pink circle blooms around his right nipple, though lighter than the hickeys on the insides of Jeongguk’s thighs. Maybe from last night, some from today.

 

“C’mere,” Taehyung says, grabbing Jeongguk’s hand and tries to pull him over, but fails. “Why are you so heavy, jeez.” He peels off Jeongguk’s left sock for him and tosses it into the small heap where his other clothes are all piled up.

 

Jeongguk hums thankfully, “You’re just weak.” He crawls over to Taehyung’s side and flops onto Taehyung’s pillow, pulling the blanket over him.

 

Taehyung gasps, affronted. “You’re taking up all of the blanket, Jeon.”

 

He sighs, snuggling into the bed, into Taehyung’s warmth. “It’s cold. I’m naked. You should’ve left the heater on. And you don’t need the blanket, you still have your sweater on.” His eyes flutter shut.

 

Taehyung barely minds. His thumb comes up to stroke Jeongguk’s cheek.

 

“You should shower. You’re gonna wake up feeling grimy as fuck.” He says, but drapes an arm around Jeongguk’s sleepy figure as he yawns.

 

“Mm, I’m tired,” Jeongguk pouts, already drifting off. He tangles Taehyung’s legs around his and leans inwards, head pressing against Taehyung’s chest. Who is he to argue?

 

“Happy birthday, by the way,” Jeongguk says.

 

He chuckles. “How’d you know?”

 

Yawning, Jeongguk’s answer comes back jumbled. “Saw it online somewhere.”

 

Taehyung’s hand roams over Jeongguk’s side, resting on his hip as he puts his chin on the top of Jeongguk’s head, brown hair tickling his chin. He can feel him smile.

 

“You can consider this my present,” he giggles.

 

“Cheapskate.” Taehyung jokes back, running his other hand through Jeongguk’s loose tufts of brown hair. “I wanna give you the whole world,” Taehyung says. “You’d look so beautiful, your silhouette against the setting Kyoto sun, the white walls of Greece, I feel like you deserve more than I can give you.”

 

Jeongguk sighs. “I wanna get out of here so bad. Fuckin’ sucks. I’d love to see the world with you.”

 

Humming, Taehyung strokes the soft strands of Jeongguk’s hair, matted with sweat. He seems so young, like a teen out playing sports in the hot sun who just came home with rowdy bruises littering his body. His heart feels full. “Me too. Travelling seems so nice.”


“Why don’t you have any pictures of you, or anyone, in your house?” Jeongguk asks, voice laced with sleep.

 

“What?” Taehyung stutters, taken aback.

 

“Just askin’. Don’t people like their families?” he yawns.

 

“Why did you notice?”

 

“Noticed it the first time. Something missing.”

 

“Why families?”

 

“You only have those bland flowery pictures.” Jeongguk scoots back to look at Taehyung. “Why not families? Or of you?”

 

“Kinda personal.” Taehyung pauses. They still feel a bit too unfamiliar to ask about this, though neither of them are sure why. It feels like Jeongguk is venturing into uncharted territory, with no knowledge on whether or not each step results in cracks that spread for miles across the ground.

 

But he still took the first step.

 

“Yeah,” Jeongguk nestles back into Taehyung’s chest warmly. “Don’t need to tell me about it. Was just askin’.”

 

Just asking.



 


Jeongguk is standing in his doorway on New Years’ Eve, cheeks wistfully pink and eyes yearnfully sparkling, beaming. It feels foreign for Jeongguk to come without the premise of “work” but Taehyung is eager to accept his presence.

 

“Hey, Tae!” he giggles, kicking off his shoes and hopping into Taehyung’s living room. “Happy New Year!” He throws a small gift bag on Taehyung’s white coffee table. He’ll open it later.

 

Dumbfounded at the sight of Jeongguk, Taehyung’s both rooted to his spot and tongue-tied at the gentle beauty that Jeongguk seems to radiate.

 

“Are you,” Taehyung’s about to say drunk, but the word sounds crude on his tongue all of a sudden. He licks his lips. “Intoxicated, Guk?”

 

He’s splayed out on Taehyung’s uncomfortable couch. “Nope, just happy. And maybe I am,” he laughs lightly, then lifts up his arms. “Tae-tae, come here,” he whines, grabbing at the air.

 

Taehyung catches himself too quick to run his hands through Jeongguk’s, pushing him up to sit.

 

“But not too drunk, right?” Taehyung teases.

 

“Mmm,” Jeongguk’s eyes flit shut as he leans into Taehyung’s neck, breathing in the scent of his body wash, greedily, hands staying intertwined. Lightheaded, Jeongguk’s head clunks heavily on his shoulder, breath tickling Taehyung’s bare shoulder where his loose sweater stretched away from. A part of his sweater sleeve is in their palms as Jeongguk grips tighter.

 

“Too drunk for what?” Jeongguk mumbles, hair lightly dusting Taehyung’s skin as he lifts his head up. His neck feels cold without Jeongguk there. The lighting is suddenly too dim, as the eyes that Jeongguk peer at him with are breathtakingly dark, the pink pouty lips when Taehyung refuses to answer and his thoughts short out.

 

He was muddled from the beginning.

 

With tangled hands pressed against Jeongguk’s chest, Taehyung, unable to resist, leans forward tenderly and kisses his lips, just to feel it the soft press of them.

 

With Jeongguk’s heart jumping up to his throat, he gasps. Their hands fall apart, with Taehyung softly cupping his cheeks to kiss him with fervor, with Jeongguk’s hands hesitantly resting on Taehyung’s waist. Jeongguk’s head is swimming, a foggy mess of thoughts, hazy from alcohol and Taehyung, but his brain simply just thinks about Taehyung’s warmth, his lips, his hands on him.

 

His tongue prods into Jeongguk’s mouth, tasting the faint alcohol and sweet chocolate. Jeongguk whines, high-pitched, when Taehyung pulls away.

 

“You wanna stay over tonight?” Taehyung asks, hand falling to Jeongguk’s neck.

 

A breath catches in Jeongguk’s throat, Taehyung can feel it.

 

Then he shakes his head, and the hope inside Taehyung falls a bit. “Can’t. Sorry. I have somewhere to be tonight. I wanted to drop by to say hi, though,” Jeongguk smiles brightly and Taehyung feels his heart stuttering.

 

One step forward, two steps back.

 

He’s leaving a lot of footprints all over Taehyung, with their own indeterminate cracks that stretch for an unknown distance.

 

He lets him go. “Rain check, then?”

 

Jeongguk knocks his head against Taehyung’s. “Sure, Tae. I hope you like my gift!”

 

“Oh, I didn’t get you one,” Taehyung realizes.

 

Their heads stay pressed together, breathing in each other’s air. “Don’t worry about it, really.”

 

“I’ll have an outfit ready by the next two weeks. Drop by sometime and I’ll have it ready for you. Both the outfit and the gift. And your paycheck.”

 

Jeongguk blinks and breaks away. “...Thanks, Tae.”

 

Taehyung watches him go. When he opens the gift, he finds that it’s a small box of chocolates with a thank you note attached.

 

He sighs.



 


Money doesn’t fall from trees and Jeongguk’s learned this the hard way.

 

Music blares in the background, bassline so deep and loud it reverberates in Jeongguk’s skull, drowning out the noise of shouting and jeering and blood splattering on the ground.

 

“20 on tattoos!” There’s jostling and another bet on Jeongguk. No one’s dumb enough to waste money on that other one.

 

“10 for the blonde!” Except for the newbies trying to make it back from the slums. They’re fresh meat—their money is fresh meat.

 

It’s all the same.

 

The kid comes at him with inexperienced steps, quick, but unpracticed all the same. Jeongguk dodges, grabs the kid’s head and bashes it against his knee, fast, so that he can barely feel it.

 

He raises his fist, fully with the intent to fight, and spits out red saliva, then promptly collapses.

 

The shouting intensifies.

 

This is how he gets by. Even so, if you told him that he, a kid from the North, would end up throwing his fists for money in his twenties, Jeongguk would’ve laughed at you and shown you out of his golden-plated double doors.

 

You choose the west or the east, you end up with blood on your fists all the same no matter what people say.

 

This place used to be a rollerskating rink, back in the 50’s where this town was more than just money and abandoning the weak. All the hot dog machine are stolen, along with the grimy nacho tubs. Stolen, even if they were all broken.

 

Jeongguk was relentlessly chased, shoved. Into this life. He nudges the kid with his foot wordlessly and turns him over to his back.

 

The air hitting his knuckles when he unwinds his bandages brings along with it a sense of vulnerability. He feels the need to wrap himself up again. Jeongguk gets his share from the collector and he’s on his way. He doesn’t count it until he’s fully out of sight.

 

After collapsing onto the bus bench—overhang long gone—that’s when he flips through them.

He’s makin’ bank. A whole two hundred in one night. He’s finally making a name for himself.

His eyes burn when he closes them. Jeongguk tilts his head back and sighs, feeling the tension from his shoulders escape up into the sky.

 

The money goes into his backpack. Trusty Jansport. Dark red but more blood than red. Fucking grimy. Yoongi had recommended red since blood stains don’t wash out easily.

 

One of the only people he trusts, since he’s been long into this fighting bullshit. Obvious how his rough edges were worn down after breaking his arm in a fight with some other kid ‘round Jeongguk’s age. Yoongi’s out of it now though, the fighting. Jeongguk still catches him working some odd jobs here and there after shattering his arm.

 

He’s grateful for Taehyung in more ways than one, for the money and more. It offers a bit of cushion that boosts him up from falling down even more.

 

Jeongguk looks up at the loud creaking sound of the bus stopping. All rusty and gassy, worn down like the trucks that pass by here, but never stop. Never would risk stopping in such a place.

 

Coming up the stairs into the bus, he nods at the only driver. He slides in some loose change into the slot, hearing the satisfying clink of the coins hitting the metal bottom. He sits in the back even though the seats are completely empty, save for one homeless dude.

 

Sometimes he’d prefer walking, but today was a pretty good day. He likes taking it easy sometimes. Stop by Monet’s today. Only after cleaning himself up. The only good places are higher up, and walking into a north diner with dried blood over a worn shirt only means a more expensive bill. There’s a whole system he’s gotta live by.

 

The borders of Moreno are easy to cross, but they aren’t easy to stay in.

 

Prejudice is heavy.

 

It’s dusk, Jeongguk notes. His favorite time of day when everything looks blue in some way.

 

Trees look more black than green. Crows look blacker than black against the faded navy of the sky.

 

Considering how slowly the streets pass by, Jeongguk often wonders if he can outrun the bus. There’s only one bus driver for this route. And there’s also only one route. Why the driver can live sitting down for hours and hours on end for cheap pay—Jeongguk knows.

 

Better this than rotting off in the slums.

 

Truth be told, anything’s better than that kind of life. He stares out the window listlessly. Little changes about this town other than what else gets broken.

 

Streets are full of rusty, jagged fences. Most of them have a huge gaping hole where a wild dog chewed them out. Or maybe where a fight broke out and some dumb kid got his head jammed into the holes of the fence that were bent purely out of brute force.

 

Grass as dry as hay. Houses so broken, like they don’t have growing families living in them.

He’s not much better off, in the second floor of a three story motel. It’s crowded despite being a single bedroom, single bath, single everything. The north took up most of the space, leaving nothing for the rest of them.

 

Absently, he runs a finger over the scar up high on his left cheek. He spots a couple strays—cats—running in pairs in the intersection between Magnolia and Crescent. One’s a calico.

 

The bus stops and he gets off, walking half a block to his shit motel. As it comes into view, he more so notices the yellow tape around the entire building. There’s a police officer standing in front of his car, looking more bored and disinterested than a good justice enforcer should be. He lights a cigarette and puffs on it.

 

“Sir?” Jeongguk approaches him, keeping a hand on his bag strap. The cop turns to him. “What happened?”

 

“Four people killed—think it was an attempt on a mass shooting since it was in the lobby. Probably high on something, but not a lot of people in the lobby, anyway. But long story short, no one’s allowed in until we clean this up,” the cop sighs. But there’s only him on the site, no other officer around.

 

Jeongguk almost doesn’t even want to ask. “How long is it gonna take? I live here.”

The officer scoffs. “How long? Man, I dunno. I’m the only one on patrol and that means that nothin’s gonna get done. No one’s gonna come down from the station to help out, I’ll tell you that. You’re gonna have to find somewhere else to stay tonight.”

 

“I can’t go to my room at all?” He’s not even sure he wants to. He doesn’t even know if the shooter’s dead.

 

“Protocol, kid.”

 

“Can I at least get my stuff?” Jeongguk asks.

 

“Nope, sorry.”

 

He sighs. He could probably try to avoid the cop and get in through the back or something.

“Don’t even think about hoppin’ in. I’ll have you flagged as an accomplice if you do,” the cop says, puffing on his cigarette. He throws the burnt up cig on the ground and grinds on it with his heel, then takes out another. Jeongguk turns away before he sees more—he really doesn’t need to.

 

He already feels disgusted enough.

 

Spotting the nearest payphone, he slides in some coins and jams in Yoongi’s number. The line clicks, thankfully.

 

“Hey, Yoongi. It’s Jeongguk. Do you mind if I stay at your place today? Really need somewhere to stay since my complex is like, closed or something. Murders happened. Real shaken up.” He tries hard to ignore the cop’s stare burning into his back.

 

“Sorry kid. I’m out tonight. I went to pick up some stuff to stock for the store I’m workin’ for. I don’t keep spares out, so you probably gotta find some other place to crash. Wish I could help,” Yoongi says on the other side. He does sound regretful but unfazed.

 

“Oh. Oh, okay, alright.” Jeongguk clenches his fist. “Uh, thanks. Come back safe.”

 

“Will do, Jeon. You too. See you tomorrow, yeah? Drop by and I’ll give ya something from the store as an apology. On me.”

 

“Really, no need, Yoongi. Don’t worry about it. I don’t mind. Really. See you tomorrow,” he says and hangs the grimy black phone up.

 

He inwardly sighs. He doesn’t wanna impose on Taehyung, but it’s really his last option. Who knows what might happen if he just sleeps outside with cash in his bag? He really doesn’t wanna find out.

 

Jeongguk reaches into his bag and pulls out Taehyung’s card, stares at it. He clicks on the numbers before he lets himself dwell for too long. Neither option is appealing but, hey, survival first, right?

 

He’s not being selfish, right?

 

“Hey, Tae. It’s Jeongguk. I know you’re not expecting me right now, but—uh, I need a place to stay. People got murdered in my building today. They closed the building. I can’t go inside.”

 

On the other end, Taehyung breathes out a shaky breath, as if he was expecting something worse. Jeongguk doesn’t think its place to wonder.

 

“Really? That’s kinda freaky. I can’t imagine.”

 

In response to Taehyung’s statement, he wants to laugh. He wants to slam the phone on the register and hear it break. He wouldn’t have imagined it either if he was back where he was before. Before everything. If he was ten again, eleven even, he’ll take. Anything but this. Four people killed, four lives lost and they probably didn’t even mind, didn’t care that they died. He knows he wouldn’t. He clenches his teeth.

 

“...Jeongguk? Are you okay? You’re breathing kinda hard,” Taehyung says hesitantly.

 

“‘M good,” Jeongguk replies quickly. He almost didn’t notice.“‘S all good.” His tongue feels thick.

 

“Sorry if I said something wrong. You’re welcome at my place, anytime. Don’t worry about it. It’s the least I could do, really.”

 

Jeongguk purses his lips. “You sure?” He might be okay with being slaughtered out in the cold, on second thought.

 

“Yeah.”

 

Was Jimin welcome to your place too?

 

Jeongguk feels nauseous.

 

“Thanks—” he begins to say, but the line cuts out. He ran out of time. He grips the phone in his right hand and slams it into the register. The cord dangles loosely. He slumps down against the machine and closes his eyes for a moment, feeling how it burns. The officer stares.

 

Tears well up in his eyes, maybe from the sting in his eyes, maybe from other things. He pegs it as the former and gets up to wait for the bus.



 


“Hi,” Jeongguk says, standing outside of Taehyung’s door with a tattered red backpack on him.

Taehyung sees the pink in his eyes but chooses to ignore it. He looks worse for wear, a huge purple bruise on his cheek, lip cut, ridiculously frazzled.

 

“Hi, yourself.”

 

He opens the door wider to let Jeongguk step in. As Jeongguk shuffles his shoes off, he quietly thanks Taehyung.

 

“Like I said, don’t mind it,” Taehyung says and puts a hand on Jeongguk’s back. “I’ll get some clothes out for you—go ahead and use the shower first, Guk.”

 

“Sorry.” Jeongguk doesn’t really know what else to say.

 

“Don’t say that. Things happen. Your toothbrush is still on the sink,” Taehyung gently pushes him towards the bathroom. “Go ahead.”

 

Jeongguk steps into the shower and turns on the water. Taehyung can hear him hiss inside. Maybe the water stings when it hits his wounds. Taking out the first aid, he brings that along with new pajamas into the bathroom to set on the sink counter, neatly folded.

 

He brushes his teeth quickly and steps outside to give Jeongguk some privacy. He seems like he really needs it.

 

The water shuts off. “Tell me when you’re ready for me to come in,” Taehyung calls.

 

Jeongguk stays silent, but opens the door after a moment. His eyes are redder than before and there’s three red marks on his neck, presumably where he scratched himself in the shower. The rest of his body is covered in big grey clothes.

 

“You don’t have—” Jeongguk’s voice is raspy and worn. He coughs, embarrassed. “You don’t have to do first aid, I’m fine. I’ve had worse, Tae.”

 

“Just because you’ve had worse doesn’t mean you should bear with it, you know?” Taehyung asks him to sit on the closed toilet seat. “I’ll try to do my best.”

 

“...Okay,” he says softly.

 

Taehyung kneels down. “Where does it hurt the most?”

 

“Where…?” Jeongguk repeats, as if it takes a moment for his question to register. His expression is carefully, painfully blank and it says more than any frown ever could. “Oh. My cheek. I think he punched me on my cheek but I barely noticed in the moment but it hurts more now. And uh, here, too,” Jeongguk says, raising the back of his hands to show his bruised knuckles, slashed with open wounds.

 

“‘Kay.” Taehyung brings out an antiseptic spray. “It might hurt,” he warns. Jeongguk just nods but clenches his fist tighter when he sprays it on, refusing to make any noise.

 

Taehyung then rubs some ointment on Jeongguk’s knuckles, taking care of every scratch, every mark, then unwrapping bandages and gingerly putting them on.

 

“Cheek?” Taehyung asks, looking back up at him. Jeongguk nods. There’s a cut there, small, but Taehyung puts a bandage and ointment on it anyway.

 

“Do you want ice?” he asks. Jeongguk shakes his head after a moment. It’s evident that  his head is elsewhere. Taehyung couldn’t blame him.

 

The cut is still there on the bottom of his pink lip. It’s a little worse than he saw it earlier, maybe because Jeongguk chewed on it in his shower.

 

Taehyung meets Jeongguk’s gaze. “Would you mind?” he says, dropping his eyes back on Jeongguk’s split lip.

 

Jeongguk stays silent, a little wide-eyed. He closes his eyes.

 

Taehyung squeezes a bit of ointment on his ring finger, because the other fingers have already touched other wounds. He raises his hands to Jeongguk’s face, left hand cupping his jaw gently, thumb under his eye, the other one shakily coming up to dab at Jeongguk’s lip.

 

His finger sinks into his soft lip much easier than he anticipated. Taehyung swipes some of the shiny ointment off, making sure not to leave an uncomfortable excess.

 

“Is that good?” he whispers, throat a little more dry than he realized.

 

Jeongguk’s lower lip trembles, almost unnoticingly. Taehyung keeps his left hand cupping his face.

 

He nods slightly, head tilted at a bit of an awkward angle.

 

Then Taehyung pulls away, leaving nothing but the steam of the shower to replace his hand. Jeongguk previously thought the steam was suffocating, but now it’s cold and unwelcoming. He feels out of place.

 

Taehyung stands up to wash his hands and dry his hands on a towel. He clicks the first aid kit close, with Jeongguk following his every movement.

 

“You good?” Taehyung looks at him.

 

“Peachy,” Jeongguk says dryly.

 

“Great. Let’s get you up,” Taehyung says, setting the kit in the kitchen drawer. He holds out a hand for Jeongguk, who grabs it after a moment and leads him into his bedroom.

 

Underneath the warm comforters and blankets, their legs are tangled up. It’s a lot like a couple days before, when Jeongguk was tucked up against Taehyung’s chest, but now they’re eye to eye, noses barely brushing.

 

When Jeongguk closes his eyes, he looks so tender, face full of soft curves. Taehyung had never noticed how vulnerable Jeongguk could be before.

 

His breathing evens out, lips parted peacefully.

 

He’s probably asleep, so Taehyung deems it okay to scoot forward and put a hand on Jeongguk’s back to push him closer.

 

“Do you think we have anything in common?” Jeongguk asks, eyes still closed.

 

Taehyung, surprised, keeps himself still. He draws little circles on Jeongguk’s back. “Yeah.”

Jeongguk remains silent so Taehyung goes on.

 

“Well to start off,” Taehyung smiles. “We’re from humble roots.”

 

Inquisitive, Jeongguk blinks up at him.

 

“Yeah, well. I got up to where I am now because I was alone. No denying that,” Taehyung shrugs. Jeongguk opens his mouth to ask more, but the look in Taehyung’s eyes suggest otherwise.

 

“We’re both artistic. I like photography and fashion, and I’ve seen you looking at the flowers in Monet, as if they were the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. I think you’re independent. You didn’t want me paying for you. I think we’re both used to doing things alone.”

 

“I think you’re really fragile,” Taehyung says, going off-topic. “You keep up that aloof attitude, but I think it might be because you’re awkward,” he smiles. “I think you’re a bit at a loss. What you’re doing isn’t who you want to be. Fighting, maybe even helping me, that’s not what you want. You deserve more than what life has given you.”

 

“I don’t think our backgrounds should determine who we are. Who we can be.” Taehyung looks at the wall behind Jeongguk. Self-reflecting. It’s not fair for Jeongguk. He’s so gentle inside, like he’s in his teens instead of twenty-two. He doesn’t want to think if he’s feeling more for him.

 

But when he looks back at Jeongguk, his beautiful brown eyes are full of tears. Taehyung’s breath catches in his throat when he sees the tears glistening in his eyes.

 

Jeongguk folds the blanket over his head, shielding his face from Taehyung.

And the way Taehyung feels when he sees that is definitely the more he wanted to avoid for such a long time.

 

“I—four people were killed today, in the same building where I s-sleep in,” he says, voice breaking. Taehyung feels the need to cradle him. “Just like that. Maybe they didn’t have anyone but they might’ve also had families. The motel was so cheap, m-maybe they were there looking for better places for their kids to sleep in. Maybe they were deliverymen. Maybe they were seeing a friend,” he hiccups. His heart is so gentle. Taehyung gently rubs Jeongguk’s back.

 

“W-when I was eleven, my mom got some kind of sickness that the doctor diagnosed as flu, but she passed away. In the same day, my dad just up and left. My uncle claimed all the life insurance money, everything, she didn’t even have a will b-because who would’ve thought she was going to d-die ?” Jeongguk takes a deep shaky breath. Taehyung’s head is reeling. There’s so much he already wants to say. But he lets Jeongguk go on.


“I couldn’t live here, no one wanted to take care of me because I was just another person to feed, another p-person holding them back from being rich. So eventually I ended up in the east, trying to train myself so I could make money to fucking eat , after being spoiled my entire life.” Jeongguk inhales, gasps for air, and wipes at his tears with Taehyung’s grey sweater. Taehyung feels his entire heart wrench. He keeps his hand on Jeongguk’s back.

 

“That was how I got by,” he says after a moment. Taehyung gives him time. “I used to enjoy watching people like me who fought for money.” He hiccups loudly, then tries to calm himself down.

 

“They didn’t deserve that. No one did. My family, my uncle with the money. Even after the destruction of a family, they just covered it up because the North isn’t supposed to have any crimes here. I don’t even know why. I can’t know. How am I s-supposed to know? I can barely afford to get by.” His muffled hiccups pierce the silence in the room.

 

Taehyung doesn’t say anything but reaches to hug Jeongguk’s blanketed body tightly. Quiet shudders turn into sobs as they lean into each other, Taehyung stroking his back comfortingly.

 

“I’m sorry,” Taehyung whispers, at a loss for what to say. He can’t feel for him. He knows he can’t feel what Jeongguk’s feeling, but he wants him to feel secure in his arms while he weeps.

 

“I’ve got you, it’s okay. You’ll be okay, just breathe.”

 

Jeongguk is the first to fall asleep this time, all his energy cried away, tucked under Taehyung’s chest.



 


In the morning, Taehyung is the first to wake up.

 

Despite not being a morning person, he’s glad he did.

 

Jeongguk’s hair is fanned out, light brown hair catching the glint of the sunlight peeking through Taehyung’s curtain. Gold splayed around his head, like a halo. He’s grateful for this chance to see Jeongguk sleeping, cheeks puffy, white teeth poking out of pink lips, body looking a ton smaller than it did the day before. Taehyung wonders for a flicker of a second if Jeongguk always looks this pretty in the morning.

 

He stirs.

 

“Good morning, baby,” Taehyung greets. Jeongguk’s eyes pry open, lips pouty and eyes squinty.

 

Even though they’re all puffed up from last night, he still looks so cute and vulnerable. Sitting up, he stretches, looking especially soft in the biggest of Taehyung’s sweaters, comforter pooled around his waist.

 

Taehyung’s eyes roam all over Jeongguk’s lithe body, bathing in the glowing light. He hums as he pulls his arm over his head, joints cracking, sweater riding up, exposing a strip of bare skin and the bruise on his waist.

 

“You good?” he asks.

 

“Mm, yeah,” Jeongguk drops his arm and swings over on top of Taehyung, settling his weight on Taehyung’s thighs. He can feel the heaviness of Jeongguk’s cock resting between his thighs.. “Are we gonna fuck?”

 

Taehyung’s hands push up his sweater revelling in the way his hands dip inwards when he grips Jeongguk’s smooth waist. His first instinct is no, but he wants to say yes.

 

He sits up and presses his lips the tip of Jeongguk’s nose and it feels too tender, so he inwardly chides himself, but kisses the edge of his lips anyway. Jeongguk catches his lips and tangles his hands behind Taehyung’s neck, bringing him close, kissing him. He moans softly when he grinds down on Taehyung’s thighs.

 

He takes in Jeongguk’s puffed up eyelids, swollen and almost half of their original size, Jeongguk’s fuzzy sleepiness, the bandaid on his bruised cheek, and all the pent up sadness behind his built-up confidence, and suddenly Taehyung feels like he’s exploiting something pure, and he decides against letting himself go.

 

“No, I don’t think we should—”

 

“Why not?” Jeongguk leans forward, grinding himself down on Taehyung’s body, watching how his eyes sweep over his body again. “Is it about yesterday? You don’t need to worry about that—I don’t mind.”

 

Taehyung shakes his head, attempting to refuse Jeongguk’s advances. He knows that’s not true. He knows it matters. It’s Taehyung’s turn to venture into a grey area, leaving behind heavy footprints in the ground as he treads forward.

 

He’s worried that if he does take the step, it’ll tread over Jeongguk’s feelings. And where would that leave them?

 

Taehyung feels like he’s taking advantage of Jeongguk’s vulnerability as he takes in the bandage on Jeongguk’s cheeks and hands. He looks too tender, too soft, and Taehyung’s guilt rises to his throat like bile.

 

“C’mon, Tae,” Jeongguk says, grabbing Taehyung’s bare hand and sliding it down his stomach. “Please? It doesn’t have to be—”

 

His hand stills when Taehyung doesn’t respond. Jeongguk’s gentle grasp loosens even more, until he drops his hand.

 

“Alright, alright,” Taehyung gives in, kissing Jeongguk’s jaw, feeling him relax in his hold. “But no fucking,” he says, Jeongguk pouting in response.

 

A small whine escapes Jeongguk’s mouth when Taehyung pulls away, trying to wriggle back into a kiss. His hand further inches down Jeongguk’s stomach, under his sweats, to grip his bare cock, feeling the veins. A small shiver shoots up Jeongguk’s spine, cock twitching when Taehyung brings it out of the confines of his sweats.

 

Strong hands grip Taehyung’s shoulders when he stretches and pulls the foreskin over Jeongguk’s tip, watching a drop of clear precum bead, reflecting gold in the sunlight, at the tip.

 

“Haah, that’s nice,” Jeongguk pants, cock kicking up, almost fully hard despite the initial sleepiness. His sweats shimmy down his thighs as Jeongguk insistently wiggles into Taehyung’s touch.

 

Taehyung spreads the precum down his shaft, slicking up his cock for an easier glide. Chafing never feels nice. Jeongguk nestles his head into the crook of Taehyung’s shoulder and neck, grip tightening as Taehyung thumbs at the tip.

 

“Do you like that?” Taehyung whispers huskily into Jeongguk’s ear, licking his piercing while he’s at it. Squirming, he hums in response, hips twitching into his touch.

 

The foreskin pulls up over his shaft, milking out another drop of precum that Taehyung rubs over Jeongguk’s cock, knowing exactly how he likes it. Another moan escapes his mouth as he leans into Taehyung, letting go of his shoulders and crossing his arms behind Taehyung’s neck and breathing into his neck wetly.

 

He strokes him faster until Jeongguk’s hips stutter, relishing in the slight squelching of his fluid on his cock.

 

Muffled, Jeongguk pants into Taehyung’s neck and drives his hips forward one more time before he’s pushed to the tip of his climax, barely hissing out “coming,” before white fluid oozes out of his tip and drips down his shaft, Taehyung greedily stroking him through it and rubbing all the come over his dick. Still, Taehyung really thinks the way he comes is adorable, the way his come dribbles out like his dick’s drooling for his touch, the way his veiny, red cock twitches hard before he it pours out come, it’s like it’s got a mind of its own.

 

His hips twitch violently as Taehyung goes on, and finally bats his hands away.

 

“O-oh,” Jeongguk says, dick flopping a bit now once Taehyung lets go. He shudders once more and relaxes again, gently pushing Taehyung down onto his back, staining his come on Taehyung’s sweats. So messy. Taehyung can feel his own arousal poking up through his sweats.

 

“Jeez, you’re so heavy,” Taehyung comments mindlessly. Jeongguk tuts.

 

“You’ve already said that before,” he pouts, then grinds down on Taehyung’s dick again.

Chuckling, Taehyung sits back up. “Alright, you go shower,” he says, patting the side of Jeongguk’s ass, not exactly pushing him off, but not exactly encouraging him either. Though Jeongguk gets the hint.

 

“I left spare clothes in the bathroom,” Taehyung says once Jeongguk slides off his lap. “Don’t worry about that, Guk.”

 

Hesitating, Jeongguk stays firmly rooted to the bed. “Are you sure? I can just wear my clothes from yesterday—yeah.”

 

“Don’t worry about it. It’s the least I could do.”

 

The unspoken question of “ for what? ” hangs heavily in the air. Jeongguk decides against asking him and goes off to the bathroom.

 

Taehyung leans back heavily against his bed frame, body clunking against the wooden frame as a deep sigh escapes him. He doesn’t feel like he’s doing anyone a favor, really.

 

Jeongguk feels off-limits, untouchable, and shrouded in his own mystery. It’s even more frustrating how Taehyung feels like he knows him less than he did yesterday every single day, especially from last night. Frustrating how Jeongguk switches his guards on and off so often that Taehyung really doesn’t know the real him. Loving how Jeongguk can do that, has that control over him. His thoughts belong to him. Maybe even more so that he wants to, even if he feels like he doesn’t deserve to.

 

With Jeongguk’s come drying on him, Taehyung feels even more guilty than usual.

Then his phone lights up, buzzing a call from an unknown number, and Taehyung’s thoughts are immediately casted away.

 

Never a good sign.



 


The ground underneath his feet creaks too loudly whenever Jeongguk feels like he’s intruding.

 

His breathing too loud, his presence too loud.

 

“Why would I? After you left me Just— how does this make sense to you in your head?” Taehyung says into the phone, voice horribly tight with anger, so normally full of praise. He’s silent for a moment before bursting out, “Do you realize how ridiculous you’re being?”

 

Jeongguk walks up, but falters as his hand raises. He doesn’t know. He doesn’t know what’s right to do, if it’s okay for him to talk to Taehyung, if it’s okay for him to even listen in.

 

“No—no, I don’t want to talk about this. You’re just selfish as you’ve always been. You-you— Jesus. ” Taehyung’s fists are tightly clenched, face hidden away, body angled towards the curtained windows. He paces around, free hand stiffly at his side.

 

“You can’t expect me to let you back into my life after what you did? Claiming you’re my parents? What a load of bullshit, ” he lashes out. Jeongguk’s hand falls completely. Now it makes sense why Taehyung closed off after he told him about his parents. Now…

 

“You’re serious? ” Taehyung half shouts, voice rising in pitch and breaking off at the last syllable. His hands clench and unclench restlessly. “You ask me about if you can so often and my answer never changes. What makes you think my mind suddenly changed after a week?

 

He’s silent except for his heavy breaths.

 

“Y-you know what?” Taehyung breathes in sharply as if steeling himself. “Don’t ever call me again.” Taehyung turns his phone off and throws it haphazardly behind him to land on the bed. “Jeez,” he mutters, sounding a lot more weary than he did over the phone, collapsing onto his bed, putting his head into his hands, smoothing over his furrowed brow with two fingers.

 

Jeongguk steps closer to Taehyung tentatively, floorboards creaking. His head snaps up, seemingly broken out of deep thought.

 

“...Tae?” he says, voice coming out almost as a whisper.

 

He sighs again, rubbing his eyes. “Guk? God….” His hunched figure looks like he’s crumbling down. “Sorry about that.”

 

“It’s okay, Tae,” Jeongguk consoles, but doesn’t sit down next to him. “Why… why won’t you talk to your parents?”

 

Taehyung scoffs, his posture tight. “They literally give no shits about me, just my money. I don’t wanna talk to people like that. Fucking disgusting.”

 

Jeongguk grits his teeth. He has no idea what it’s like to suffer, to scavenge for money, for food, for anything so that you could live another day.

 

“Like that ? Like me? Is that what you mean?” Jeongguk clenches his jaw tightly.

 

Taehyung balks, realizing his word choice. “No—that’s not what I meant, that’s not the point.”

 

“Then what is?”

 

Taehyung wouldn’t understand. Even still, there’s no reason why he should be such a prissy shit about it.

 

“They’re your parents . You don’t know what it’s like to lose them,” Jeongguk says in the silence, but it comes out harsher than he expected.

 

Just like that, Taehyung’s voice gets steely cold again. “Yeah, maybe so, but I know what it’s like to not have them.”

 

That hit too close and Taehyung knows it.

 

“You’re bullshitting me. You’re lying and you know it. Your parents called you because they miss you, not because they’re looking for money, especially if they’re in the North, ” he hisses.

 

“You don’t know anything, Jeon. They’re from the fucking South. Why do you think I told you that we’re from humble beginnings? Independent? Did everything on my own? Because I did . I was left on the streets to die in the South, because they didn’t give a single fuck about me and I somehow managed to climb my way here, tooth and nail, and you—you—” Taehyung breaks off abruptly, sharply inhaling a breath of air before continuing.

 

“You have the fucking gall to tell me to let the people who were supposed to care for me who ended up abandoning me into my own home? Where every time I think of them, look at them, I think of how useless I am?” Taehyung sucks in a breath. Then exhales tightly, like he’s trying to flush out his anger, but there’s too much for him to let go of.

 

“No, I can’t do that, even if they gave birth to me, I can’t.” Taehyung finally stands up and faces Jeongguk, eyes red. The sight sends a wave of regret through Jeongguk’s body. He...didn’t know Taehyung was this torn over it. He should’ve backed off.

 

He shouldn’t have meddled since the beginning.

 

“Look, I’m sorry for meddling. I just think…” he chooses his words carefully. “You should talk to your parents about it. Maybe why they did?”

 

“Jimin was getting on my case about it, too, damn. You too, Guk?” Taehyung shakes his head. “Don’t pity me.” He knows Jeongguk is probably just projecting his own situation on him. Taehyung doesn’t listen to him. He won’t.

 

And— fuck —for a moment Jeongguk sees red. His heart wrenches painfully, making him almost choke on his own breathing. An undeniable anger bubbles up to Jeongguk’s surface, scalding him as it spills over. “ Jimin? What does he have to do with you ? With me?”

 

Why does he matter to you?

 

Taehyung steps up close to Jeongguk, about to burst with the thoughts clamoring inside his head, not giving him a chance to think . His warmth, his body that Jeongguk’s grown to be so familiar with throws him for a loop, his familiarity and something more overwhelming his anger.

 

He has to remind himself why he’s mad.

 

“Why’re you so mad? Huh? ‘Cause he’s more important than you? ‘Cause there’s nothing between us? And you want there to be, Jeon? Am I right?” he bites back, hating himself for every single word he’s thinking, wanting to take them back even more when he hears them come out of his mouth. And he hates it because he’s the one who hopes to have Jeongguk when he knows he isn’t his to have. The guilt for making Jeongguk so upset—it twists his stomach and makes his throat constrict. Just last night—

 

“Y-you can’t—” Jeongguk glares at Taehyung.

 

Seeing the red rimming Jeongguk’s large pretty eyes, it makes Taehyung’s head spin. “No-no, Gukkie. That’s not what I meant,” he scrambles and grabs onto Jeongguk’s waist as he turns away.

 

For a moment, Jeongguk freezes, expression unreadable. Taehyung hopes that he stays long enough for him, and with the posture that Jeongguk is in, maybe that hope isn’t stupid.

 

Then Jeongguk snaps back and coils in on himself like a spring ready to pop.

 

Fuck you ,” he hisses before storming out of Taehyung’s apartment before he can apologize,  traces of him all over his bed sheets.

 

Taehyung is left to stand, stewing in his own regret, feet nailed to the ground when he could’ve gone after him. Then he takes his sheets to the laundry room to wash it of Jeongguk’s scent.



 


Taking in the rusty blue metal, Jeongguk feels in a bit unfamiliar in a place he used to frequent.

 

Neon letters are placed vertically on the metal arrow to spell out the words “Mike’s Liquor,” still not on despite the setting sun casting a dim orange glow on the town.

 

“Hey, Yoongs,” Jeongguk says, swinging open the door, half expecting a chime. The store feels empty without one, dim and dusty, except for the one figure behind the register that holds his arm a little too gingerly.

 

“Too accustomed to the North, hm?” Yoongi cracks a joke, noting how Jeongguk does a double-take at the door like he expected a chime to be hung on the top. They only have these things in the North. “That’s where you’ve been?”

 

Scowling, Jeongguk ignores the dozens of packaged foods hanging up on metal poles and racks coming up to the register, tapping at the packages of beef jerky under the dirty counter. “Not that much.”

 

“Enough to be noticeable. Once I saw you walk in with that face, I knew somethin’ was up. You’ve been so disgustingly happy this week, Jeon.” A pepperoni flavored pack gets thrown at Jeongguk. “On the house,” Yoongi says when he notices Jeongguk reaching for his backpack.  

 

“Somethin’ go bad?” He pushes away his money stubbornly when Jeongguk offers it.

 

He hums, not sure how much to really divulge. “I had a...job?” shrugging, he continues. “I had a job up there with some weirdly handsome man. Kind of a mess, now that I think about it, but I wore the clothes he designed and posed for pictures and got money. He was weird.”

 

“Bet he had an ulterior motive,” Yoongi snickers.

 

Jeongguk laughs dryly, ripping open the packet and offering some to Yoongi before he takes any. Yoongi shakes his head, but encourages him to go on. “Well, he did. We did some shit.”

 

“Like friendly shit like eating together or each other ,” Yoongi wiggles his eyebrows.

 

“Both,” Jeongguk smiles, even if he doesn’t really feel it. “We did a lot. I went to his place on New Years’ instead of hangin’ with you and Hobi.”

 

Yoongi tuts. “So that’s where you went. Fuckin’ vanished and took off in the middle of eating those expensive chocolates you got for us. You got some for the dude, too?”

 

“Mm, yeah. Dunno if he ate it though, or even opened it.” Jeongguk shakes his head again, popping another piece of jerky into his mouth. “Really. We got into an argument. Kinda stung. You know the story. My family. I told him.”

 

Yoongi hums empathetically, but surprise registers on his face. “I didn’t expect you to tell much of anyone else, to be honest.”

 

“Yeah well, his parents from the South wanna come back into his life and he’s really not havin’ it. Still dunno why. Makes no sense. I guess it’s a North thing,” Jeongguk says more to himself than to Yoongi.

 

“You’re saying that like you don’t believe it. You know that’s not true.”

 

Jeongguk stays silent.

 

“You know… there’s probably more he told you, right?”

 

“Maybe. I can’t think of much though.”

 

“Then you should think about that more. Why he doesn’t wanna, yeah?”

 

Yoongi ruffles Jeongguk’s hair. “You’re a smart kid. You’ve made it this long. Definitely deserve more, but life’s unfair.”

 

He grins. “You’re gonna survive, though. Don’t you worry.”



 


“Fuck you, man!” someone shouts at Jeongguk when he walks away with his winnings.

 

“You’re fucking cheating or some shit—making me broke as hell—I ain’t havin’ it!” The man runs up to Jeongguk, unstopping. He recognizes the violent intent behind the footsteps and Jeongguk whirls around, promptly grabbing the man’s fist inches away from his face. His heart skips a beat.

 

“Then you shoulda bet on me,” Jeongguk says coldly, twisting the man’s arm and pinning it against his back. “Don’t come picking a fight unless you’ve got the money.”

 

“You fucking pussy!” he shrieks, struggling relentlessly. “Fight me, goddammit!”

 

Jeongguk’s head is hurting, he misses the quiet. A lot more than he’d admit. He misses the things that come along with the quiet.

 

Just as he’s thinking about him, a mop of grey hair appears behind the jeering crowd.

 

Jeongguk’s mind shorts and he drops the man like a sack of heavy rocks. He pushes past people running after his figure.

 

But there’s nothing there. No one there.

 

Jeongguk chides himself and leaves the building.

 

When he opens his backpack later, an envelope full of money with his name on it is inside. His pay for the months of work.

 

So Taehyung was there.


 


 

 

 

“So, Gukkie,” Hoseok slides up next to Jeongguk’s side and throws an arm over his shoulder.

 

“When was the last time you did something emotionally constructive other than talking to Yoongi while he’s at work?”

 

Yoongi laughs, suddenly all cheerful now that Hoseok swung by. “Literally never.”

 

Jeongguk scowls, but doesn’t shrug off Hoseok’s arm. His arms are resting on the bulletproof glass display case, wondering if he should eat another pack of jerky. “I am a very healthy person.”

 

“You’re just as emotionally distraught as Yoongi when he saw those turtles tearing apart that goldfish.”

 

“Okay, but they were really violent with it,” Yoongi protests, tapping on the glass with his fingernails.

 

Hoseok snickers, then turns to Jeongguk. “Let’s hit up someplace tonight. My friend Joon knows someone who works at this nightclub, a bit further up north. You good with that, Gukkie?” he asks, knowing that Jeongguk’s reluctant to go back up north, out of the slight chance that he might see Taehyung.

 

But still. He doesn’t want to be a drag.

 

“That sounds good. You know where right?” Jeongguk agrees.

 

“Yeah—let’s leave soon. Yoongi, your shift is done soon right?”

 

Yoongi checks the clock. “He’ll be coming in soon, yeah.”

 

A while later, Hoseok drives them up in his rusty old Accord, streetlights and dim skies streaming by a dusty scenery.

 

“This car is hideous,” Yoongi comment, punching the roof of the car.

 

“Hey—bitch—easy. She’s old. Older than your fat ass.”

 

“You tellin’ me to respect her?”

 

Hoseok laughs and shakes his head. They pull up to the club, sleek and clean, in stark contrast to five minutes ago where you saw more weeds than houses. With it being right on the border of north and south, it looks like a perfect mix of both. Eclipse is written in a red neon cursive on the black building.

 

Music filters into their car, heavy beats melding together as they step out, red lights already making Jeongguk’s head spin. He feels anxious.

 

Hoseok heads in, surprisingly no bouncer, no line, but club seemingly full when he swings the door open.

 

“Have fun, Gukkie! I’ll be headin’ off! Call me if you need anything—I’ll be at the bar,” he grins and pulls an unsuspecting Yoongi with him, but eagerly follows Hoseok anyway. Ulterior motive much?

 

Suddenly he gets reminded of Taehyung and his mood sours. He doesn’t really want to head to the bar even if it might help; he doesn’t really wanna do anything.

 

“Rough night?” someone next to him says into his ear. He jumps, really wanting to leave but changing his mind once he sees the person.

 

Wow. Blonde hair, dark eyes, and the prettiest pair of pink lips he had ever seen.

 

“So-so,” Jeongguk shrugs, leaning against the wall behind him. The music feels irritating. He wishes he could shake it off. He initially came excited and anticipating, but that kinda slid off him.

 

He hates thinking about Taehyung. “I’m just suddenly not in the mood for this.”

 

The man sighs. He can’t hear it, but he can see it in the way his broad shoulders loosen. “My name’s Jin. For short.”

 

“I’m Jeongguk.”

 

“Say. I’m not really into this kinda scene. You wanna get a coffee or something?”

 

Jeongguk suddenly. He doesn’t know. “Sure.” He decides to take a chance, even if it’s juvenile.

 

Jin raises his eyebrows in surprise, but smiles anyway. “Sure thing, Jeongguk.”

 

They leave and Jin drives them to a cafe. It’s not the smartest thing to get into a stranger’s car this late at night, but he seems harmless.

 

They order their drinks and sit down, the atmosphere ambient but empty and plain above all. It’s not lively or homely like Monet’s.

 

“Hey, you look a bit pensive,” Jin says, folding his fingers together and leaning his chin on them. “What’re you thinking about?”

 

Jeongguk doesn’t know why he came here. He doesn’t even like coffee; he doesn’t like the forced company with coffee, especially not this time.

 

“I dunno,” he says, dragging his vowels together. “I don’t even know why I went out to, uh what was it called, ‘Eggsy’?”

 

“It’s Eclipse,” Jin smiles.

 

“Yeah, well. My friends wanted to take me there. It’s nice and everything but I’m not one for that. I never am. Especially considering that I’ve been getting massive headaches recently. I dunno why.”

 

Humming, Jin takes a sip of his latte. You should never have caffeine this late, Jeongguk thinks, which is why he ordered a steamed milk. Maybe Jin has to stay up for something.

 

Maybe he has an ulterior motive too.

 

“You know, I’m not really feeling this either.” Jeongguk stands up, taking his cup with him. The warmth is pleasant against the tips of his fingers so he holds it closer than he really needs to. “Sorry, thanks. Budding headache.”

 

“Before you go,” Jin says, slipping a card out of his wallet. “I’m an artist. I have an exhibit coming up but I haven’t decided on a centerpiece yet. Call me if you’re interested for modeling.”

 

Jeongguk feels mildly disgusted. Jin isn’t a bad person, he knows he’s not. But he feels so nauseated, all he can think is of— “No thanks.” Maybe it’s the ambiance in this cafe that feels all wrong, the sweet smile that Jin gives him that reminds him too much of Taehyung, or something else, but he really wants go to home and cry. He takes the business card to be nice and hurries out into the cold night.



 


“You look worse for wear,” Yoongi says, leaning his head on his open hand. “You’ve been eating? Sleeping?”

 

“Yeah,” Jeongguk mumbles, half-distracted. He turns over his room key in his hands, thinking about how the metallic scent, so similar to blood, would etch itself into his flesh. “Huh?”

 

“You haven’t been sleeping,” Yoongi states.

 

“Wait did you ask something earlier?”

 

“Yeah, but I got the answer to it now.”

 

“Oh. Hm,” Jeongguk’s gaze drops back down to analyze the grooves in the key. “I haven’t been sleeping, yeah. But I’m good.” He doesn’t wanna sound like he’s complaining.

 

“Dude. You don’t gotta feel guilty for telling me what the fuck is goin’ on with you. I’m really worried,” Yoongi laments. Jeongguk pays attention to him, Yoongi’s tone stirring up guilt.

 

Shoving the key into his pocket, out of sight, out of mind, Jeongguk looks up at Yoongi. “I’m fine. I promise. It’s not like last time.”

 

“If you pass out on me again,” Yoongi jokes drily, leaving the thought there to hang.

 

“I won’t. I promise,” Jeongguk smiles, doing little to reassure Yoongi.

 

“At least eat this before you go,” Yoongi says, tossing a bag of cookies over the table. “Would give you jerky but Hobi and I ate them all,” he nods.

 

“I feel bad accepting free food from you all the time.” Jeongguk stares at the bag.

 

Yoongi shrugs. “Just take it. You don’t have to, but I know you like these.”

 

Jeongguk stands. “I do. Thanks.”



 


The person in front of Jeongguk keels over.

 

Even so, Jeongguk doesn’t stop. Until he’s on the ground with bloodied teeth and bruised legs.

 

He’s in a particularly bad mood. Kicking people doesn’t really help, he’ll be honest. He hates himself even more every time he enters the building, sees the people inside, sees anything reminding him of who he is, really.

 

His stomach itches, somewhere where his fingers can’t reach. His opponent stands up and the world spins. He gets a fist to his stomach and suddenly there’s a hollow pain, then the unexpected pangs that almost seem to reverberate in his head.

 

Nausea rises to his throat. The ground starts spinning as the people in the background, their jeers, turn into ambiguous white noise. Suddenly, the ground comes rushing up at him, and for a split second, in his confused daze, he thinks that the stupid wooden planks are trying to swallow him whole, until his face collides solidly on the floor.

 

Feverish, the coolness of the skating rink ground feels almost soothing against his face. His skin feels hot, his brain feels loud. People are too loud, he wishes he could fall asleep here.

Someone with antsy hands flips him over onto his back, peeling his cheek away from the soothing coolness. Annoyed, he wants to bat the hands away, until he peels his eyes open.

Above him is standing a handsome grey-haired man with that trademark earring dangling from his ear.

 

Oh.

 

“Jesus—Jeongguk, what the hell—the fuck’s your problem?” Taehyung says, fumbling with his words, gripping the front of his shirt tightly, shaking him.

 

Jeongguk’s head rolls to the right tiredly. “You really a stalker...”

 

And then he either falls asleep or blacks out. He’s not sure.



 


When Jeongguk comes to, he’s still lying on the rink floor, with a thin jacket draped over him, Taehyung’s jacket. He knows that cologne.

 

It takes a moment for him to actually understand what the hell happened. Taehyung’s sitting slumped with his back propped against the rink wall, maybe asleep, the grey pinstripe dress shirt he’s wearing all wrinkled. He’s glad the rink emptied out.

 

Groaning when he sits up, all parts of Jeongguk’s body protests against him, knee popping uncomfortably when he bends it.

 

“I hate sleeping on the ground, jeez,” he mutters to himself. Half of him, the bitter half that wants Taehyung to hurt, wants to leave Taehyung there, but the openness of his expression, the vulnerability that Jeongguk hasn’t seen before persuades him to stay. There’s more to that than he’d like to admit, though. He already regrets thinking that.

 

Taehyung holds so much charm in his existence. He’s fashionable, hardworking, passionate, and most of all, it makes no sense why he’d ever give someone like Jeongguk the light of day.

He’s kind. And yet, he won’t talk to his family.

 

Plopping himself down next to Taehyung in the corner of the slight blood stained rink, he lets his head rest on his shoulder, smelling the familiar cologne that he loves. He lets himself relax a little, still tired from sleep-deprivation and overwork all in a single shot. Despite Taehyung’s thin frame, his shoulder feels comforting instead of bony. Closing his eyes, Jeongguk’s world empties out until it’s just him and Taehyung.

 

Taehyung’s skin under his thin shirt. His heat, his smell, his breathing.

 

Maybe Jeongguk can fall back asleep.

 

Then Taehyung stirs, Jeongguk jerks up, feeling like he intruded on his personal space. His heart races.

 

“Jeongguk?” Taehyung murmurs, rubbing his eyes with his long sweater sleeve. “It’s so cold.”

 

“Put on your jacket, then.” Jeongguk pushes his jacket into his hands.

 

He blinks. “Oh, oh yeah, thanks.”

 

They’re silent for a moment, Taehyung making no motion to put on the jacket and Jeongguk too concentrated on how his heart keeps racing. For no absolute reason.

 

“Look…” Taehyung sighs. “Part of me knows you’re right, I should try to talk to them. But I know I can’t. They left me when I was just a kid. Seeing them, thinking about them really hurts me, you know?”

 

Jeongguk shakes his head, “It’s okay, Tae. You don’t need to apologize.”

 

“No, I don’t really expect you to understand. Your parents loved you and they were gone just like that. It makes sense why you’d want me to talk to them. I’m sorry, but I can’t. I won’t.”

 

Jeongguk tries to swallow the lump in his throat. He feels a flare of anger when Taehyung says that, but he lets Taehyung go on.

 

“I wasn’t that sensitive to your feeling either. I bought up Jimin, I knew it would piss you off, but we never had anything. It was strictly just him as my model. We barely ever spoke.”

 

“And then there you were. You really captivated me. You were so beautiful, no, you are. Around that time, my parents started bugging me, and I was really losing motivation. I was struggling a lot, especially when Jimin quit. I felt like I really needed you. It was more than a coincidence that you became my muse—it’s like fate.” He swallows.

 

“I guess what I’m trying to say is,” he rubs the back of his neck, eyes dropping away from Jeongguk. When he looks back, his gaze, the unguardedness in them, Jeongguk’s heart clenches painfully.

 

“I want to be sincere and say I’m sorry. For a lot.” Taehyung leans his head back against the cold rink wall, letting out a weary sigh. His tan collarbones fully on display as his Adam’s Apple bobs.

 

In the silence, Jeongguk feels like he can speak. “Well, you kinda pulled a shit move bringing up Jimin,” he agrees.

 

“I said I was sorry!” Taehyung says defensively.

 

“Do you know why that made me mad?” he asks coyly, leaning exceptionally close to Taehyung to emphasize his point, letting Taehyung’s scent invade all his senses, making his head spin full of butterflies. He stares at him intensely, eyes fluttering. Taehyung flushes, taken off-guard with Jeongguk leaning so close, his young, boy scent completely deluding him to think that maybe this isn’t so one-sided after all.

 

Love isn’t on the mind of these two, but Jeongguk knows that he might’ve fallen.

 

Satisfied, Jeongguk smirks and backs off. “Wasn’t that big of a deal to begin with,” he says. And he means that truthfully.

 

“Fuck.” Taehyung says, closing his eyes.

 

“But why do you see our world like this? Just white and black?” Jeongguk plants his forehead on Taehyung’s shoulder, relishing the heat he radiates.

 

“You mean like North and South Moreno?” Taehyung asks, lowering his voice intimately.

 

“Hmm, yeah.”

 

He shifts over to face Jeongguk who leans his head back. “It’s probably just because it’s different.”

 

“Not ‘cause of your parents?” Jeongguk blurts before thinking.

 

Taehyung is silent for a moment, building a tight fear in Jeongguk’s heart before he speaks.

 

“Probably, yeah. Might be. Dunno. I don’t wanna be associated with them.”

 

“Still?”

 

“...Look. You have a different life, been having one, that’s different from mine since birth. You still love your parents. I don’t think I ever could,” Taehyung says, breathing out a heavy breath from his nose. His shoulders fall.

 

Jeongguk breathes. “Yeah. I think I get it. Yeah—I do.”

 

“Thanks,” Taehyung says. “There really wasn’t much to get, but thanks anyway, Guk,” he smiles.

 

Jeongguk’s head lifts from his shoulder. “No problem. Do you wanna come by?”

 

“Your place?”

 

Nodding, Jeongguk stands up and pulls Taehyung to his feet, his strength firm and surprising. Steady.

 

“Yep.”

 

They take the bus to Jeongguk’s apartment, hand in hand, Taehyung receiving leers for his expensive gold watch, but they know to keep their hands off because Jeongguk has already built a reputation for himself.

 

In the east, Jeongguk is like a completely different person. Poised, confident, and sure, in his element.

 

They get off as dusk begins to cover the sky, Jeongguk’s favorite time of day. When everything seems to be doused in blue, when green trees are black, when the ground beneath their feet is a murky grey instead of a dirty grey.

 

It’s the small things like this that make a difference.

 

Sliding the key out of the slot, they step in and Jeongguk steps back towards Taehyung, towards the door, and backs him up against the thin wooden door.

 

He cups his cheek and leans in, warm breath on his lips.

 

They kiss full of intention, but without knowing how to approach it this time. Something feels different this time around, Taehyung can feel it in the way Jeongguk strokes under his eye with his thumb, in the way he kisses him until he feels out of breath, until he’s dizzy, until Jeongguk has to pull away like he doesn’t want to, but most of all in the way that Jeongguk slots a thigh between his legs that he too easily gives up, pliant and hands roaming down his back.

 

“Can you—can we—” Jeongguk stutters, his forehead leaning against Taehyung’s. “Do you wanna go to the bed?” he asks, wonderfully timid and so, so gentle.

 

“Yeah, c’mon, take off your shirt,” Taehyung says, upon reaching the gloomy bedsheets and pulls his turtleneck over his head, surprisingly nothing underneath but expanses of tan skin and a slight bruise on his ribs.

 

“Did you get hurt there?” Jeongguk asks, tugging off his t-shirt despite how goosebumps rise on his skin from the cold.

 

“I accidentally walked into a table,” Taehyung laughs, his smile wide and bright. It makes Jeongguk’s heart skip as he lays Taehyung down beautifully, his body stretched out beneath him as he leans over him to kiss him one more time, this time harder, the intention glimmering right behind his lips. This time, Jeongguk is the one who slips his tongue into Taehyung’s mouth, licking behind his teeth, the feeling far more intimate than he anticipated.

 

But maybe it’s just because it’s Taehyung.

 

Taehyung and his pretty hair that falls into his eyes, his lips like flower buds when he parts them, tan skin that glows even if it’s in Jeongguk’s cheap apartment, the dusk filtering in through the grey curtains, making everything hazy and until the whole room is flooded with a dingy fuzziness so that the only thing Jeongguk really can see clearly is the bright in Taehyung’s eyes.

 

“Do you wanna finger yourself?” Taehyung says, bashful despite all they’ve done together.

 

A slight shiver runs down Jeongguk’s skin as he strips. “Can you finger me?” he breathes shyly. His pants come down easily, exposing his white boxer-briefs, Jeongguk pulling those down too, exposing his pretty asshole and the backside of his balls. Heat rises to Taehyung’s ears, blushing as he takes in how cute Jeongguk is, messy brown hair and soft eyes.

 

“Lube?” Taehyung asks.

 

“Oh!” Jeongguk fumbles and reaches over, rustling through his nightstand to pull out a bottle of lube and a packaged condom. “Sorry, I forgot,” he says upon returning.

 

Chuckling, Taehyung dumps out some lube on his fingers, the globs coating his bony knuckles. He knows Jeongguk likes it wet. “It’s fine. You good?”

 

He blushes in response. “Yeah.”

 

“‘Kay.” He slides in a finger, breathing out when he feels Jeongguk’s body open up to him once more. Warmth tingles through his entire body, all from Jeongguk.

 

“You’re so pretty,” Taehyung mutters, in awe.

 

Jeongguk shudders out a breath. “God, please.”

 

After a moment, Taehyung slides in another finger slowly, Jeongguk’s rim stretching to accommodate it. “I— hngh ,” he groans, feeling the dull ache. His cock bounces.

 

“Gukkie—You’re so, so perfect,” Taehyung says, his hand coming up to hold Jeongguk’s left thigh to keep him from trembling.

 

“Y-you think so?” Jeongguk breathes hazily. He slips his fingers in and out slowly, his rim widening and closing in tandem.

 

“Yeah, Tae, c’mon,” Jeongguk says, impatient.

 

Taehyung slips in the third, the stretch becoming more straining and difficult to accommodate, but the dull throbbing turns into a pleasing tension nevertheless. That’s Jeongguk’s favorite part.

 

Taehyung’s hands roam over Jeongguk’s smooth skin, caressing every bit available, revelling in the way Jeongguk trembles under his touch, the way he strokes his back soothingly.

“Can I—can you put in another finger?” Jeongguk asks, craning his neck around to look at him, eyeing the tent in his crotch.

 

“Yeah, you want me to, yeah?” Taehyung says, flipping open the cap, Jeongguk trembling with anticipation when he feels Taehyung’s body heat back on his sensitive, cold skin.

 

“Yeah—yes please, Tae,” Jeongguk whispers, voice wonderfully raspy. Oh, how he whines during sex.

 

Taehyung feels the cool lube slide over his index and middle finger as he pulls Jeongguk’s asshole with his thumb and pinky, stretching him open so his pink, shaved asshole is fully exposed. Taehyung playfully blows on it and watches Jeongguk’s rim strain to close as his thighs shake and more moans spill out.

 

Mmn —cut it out,” Jeongguk breathes.

 

He circles Jeongguk’s rim with his index, watching how Jeongguk whines deeply into his pillow, hips jerking forward.

 

“Yeah, you like that?” Taehyung says, gripping the plush of Jeongguk’s ass with a firm hand. He slides in three fingers at once. It’s like he’s sucking him in, his warmth and heat intense in comparison to the unheated room of Jeongguk’s apartment. It’s like he was made for this.

 

Jeongguk hums, his body shaking. Impatient, Taehyung prods at his rim with his pinky his cock straining against his jeans. “Can you take another?”

 

Jeongguk nods fervently, ending in a small groan when Taehyung scrapes against his prostate. Seizing up, Jeongguk’s body trembles as he keens again.

 

“Hurry,” Jeongguk whines.

 

“Fine, fine,” Taehyung says, grabbing onto his wrist with his free hand to keep him still.

 

“Yeah?” he prompts once his finger is in, the warmth and tight heat enveloping him, his blood rushing south.

 

“Mm, Tae, you already feel so good,” he breathes, body inching closer to steal his heat, his breath away.

 

Taehyung’s dick kicks up. “You ready?”

 

“Yeah,” Jeongguk breathes airily. He coughs, ears pink. “Yeah.”

 

“Face me,” Taehyung asks, wiping his hands on the sheets and holding onto his cute waist. “”You good?”

 

“Stop asking—you know I am,” Jeongguk turns himself over and lays on his back. A sheen of sweat decorates his forehead, eyes dark with lust and bright with longing. His lower lip trembles as he takes in how Taehyung looks at him—with love. “Make love to me,” Jeongguk blurts out before thinking, flushing. “I—uh—”

 

Taehyung smiles, his left hand coming up to brush the bangs out of Jeongguk’s eyes. “I’d do anything for you.”

 

Heart pounding, Jeongguk really knows he’s in love. Maybe they’re moving too quick, the jealousy, professional setting abandoned, but not like it was there in the first place. The professionalism.

 

They’re too sweet for the given situation. He swallows nervously, then Taehyung leans down and kisses his Adam’s Apple gently, a mere press of his pretty lips to the most vulnerable part of Jeongguk’s neck. “I’ll never let you go, Gukkie,” he breathes.

 

Jeongguk nods, glancing at Taehyung’s eyes furtively and blinking away. “Y-yeah, same here,” he whispers. “Can you—I don’t want you to use a condom—I mean if you don’t want to.”

 

“You sure?” Taehyung murmurs between kisses. “I love you.”

 

Jeongguk blushes again. “D-don’t spring that on me!” he says petulantly. “I love you too,” he mutters anyway. “Fuck you. And yes I’m sure.”

 

Is this love? Are they moving too fast for love?

 

“Okay. Just makin’ sure,” Taehyung chuckles and pulls back, sliding off his pants and his boxer-briefs. He drips a copious amount of lube over his dick, humming from the cold. “You still good right?”

 

“Oh, God. ” Jeongguk’s breath catches in his throat, feeling the blunt, wet tip easing into his hole, opening him up. “W-wait,” Jeongguk startles, surprising Taehyung.

 

Taehyung immediately jerks back. “What? What’s wrong?”

 

“No, nothin’. But can I—would you—c-can I ride you,” he sputters, ears red. Jeongguk’s sudden displays of bashfulness are the cutest things in the world. Taehyung feels a dart of fire run through his veins.

 

“Y-yeah, for sure,” Taehyung says, throat a bit dry. Jeongguk scoots up and Taehyung lays on his back, thin sheets uncomfortably folding under his bare skin.

 

Jeongguk breathes in, planting two strong hands on either side of Taehyung’s hip bones, using it to keep him up, his feet keeping him steady.

 

He eases himself down, slowly inching Taehyung into his body. A heavy breath leaves him, shaky and deep as his dick jumps when his butt presses into Taehyung’s hips, body swallowing him whole.

 

“Hngh,” Jeongguk breathes, his cock bouncing when he takes in all of Taehyung. “God,” he groans, the ache dull and prominent at the base of his spine.

 

“Good?” Taehyung murmurs lowly. His hands ghost along Jeongguk’s waist and ass, as if itching to pull him down and jostle him and manhandle him until Jeongguk cries. Jeongguk nods, biting his lip, feeling Taehyung’s cock kick up inside him, shifting his insides. “So cute,” Taehyung whispers. Jeongguk blushes fiercely.

 

Every slight movement is amplified: the skin on skin, the slow drag of Taehyung’s cock in his body as he pushes himself up, thighs shaking with the effort. Taehyung holds his waist with his two big hands, making him feel small, helping Jeongguk stay still and keeping him from falling. Jeongguk lowers himself and feels the ache subsiding into a heavy pleasure in the bit of his gut.

 

Taehyung hums, “Yeah, baby, just like that.” Jeongguk’s shaking hands curl into fists, clenching and unclenching like a sea anemone. “So good.” His pink tongue comes up to lick at his glossed lips. Jeongguk watches  the movement, mesmerized, as he pushes himself up again, eyes glazed over.

 

The brush of his cock is so familiar to Jeongguk, it sends tingles down his spine, his lips falling open. Whining with every push, every twitch of Taehyung’s cock inside him, Jeongguk feels hypersensitive to the warmth that Taehyung gives off.

 

“Yeah,” Taehyung groans, hands in the dip of Jeongguk’s waist. He breathes deeply, his voice gasping and open with the pleasure that Jeongguk gives him. “You’re doing so well,” he says, visibly straining to keep his body still, judging from the erratic twitches of his hips, his shaking hands, and fluttering voice.

 

Jeongguk starts to ride him earnestly, his body instinctively searching for his prostate and when he hits it, his thighs squeeze, the sensitivity overwhelming everything else.

 

“Fuck,” he murmurs, eyes slipping shut and body rocking on Taehyung’s cock like it’s the only thing grounding him. He groans lowly, grinding down and hands pressing bruises into Taehyung’s hips.

 

He sees stars in this grey hazy room.

 

A heavy breath escapes his lips. “C-can you touch me,” Jeongguk asks.

 

Taehyung doesn’t respond, but his hand snakes from his waist to Jeongguk’s hard pretty cock, red and veiny, foreskin pulling over the head. In response, Jeongguk’s body squeezes and he slows his pace, legs shifting around him.

 

“So beautiful,” Taehyung whispers, admiring the way Jeongguk’s neck is thrown back to reveal pale, milky skin, so clean and blank like a canvas. Jeongguk whimpers softly, revelling in the praise as he resumes bouncing on Taehyung, ass jiggling with every movement. His pace is faster, and Taehyung matches it with his strokes, Jeongguk crying out as he wiggles his body in response to Taehyung.

 

Jeongguk guides Taehyung’s cock to his prostate and his body locks up around Taehyung’s cock, squeezing and shifting as tremors wrack his movements, as if Jeongguk’s body was trying to milk Taehyung of all his cum. Heat unfurls in his lower belly, muscles contracting violently, breath caught and staggering in his throat.

 

“G-god,” he pants, orgasm hitting him. His cock spills out white onto Taehyung’s stomach, dribbling and jerking, weeping and aching. Taehyung now takes more control, stroking Jeongguk’s cum back onto his dick as lube and other hand grappling with his waist to keep him still as he fucks up into Jeongguk’s body, chasing and chasing. All the while admiring how beautiful Jeongguk is, his head lolling to the side and staccato whines leaving him. So, so pretty.

 

With a deep groan, Taehyung’s cum fills up Jeongguk’s insides, splattering them. Jeongguk gives a small twitch before he lifts himself off, Taehyung’s cock flopping onto his cum stained abdomen. Some cum drips out of Jeongguk as he gapes uncomfortably for a moment, ticklish as it makes its way down his inner thigh.

 

Wordlessly, Jeongguk settles next to Taehyung, lightly sweaty, but comfortingly soft all the same.

 

“You good?” Taehyung murmurs, fingers threading into Jeongguk’s pretty hair.

 

He nestles his sweat-matted hair into Taehyung’s naked shoulder, where Taehyung turns over and hugs him close. “Better than ever,” Jeongguk mumbles back, eyes closing.

 

“Mm,” Taehyung breathes into Jeongguk’s hair.

 

As his breathing slows, Taehyung’s does too. Too sleepy to think of a conversation topic, he drifts off.

 

And another day passes with Jeongguk wrapped up in Taehyung’s arms, a fleeting promise of eternity on the edge of his lips whenever they speak.

 

An eternity where Taehyung pushes away his demons in favor of a sweet, sweet boy who comes with his own side effects. A syndrome so lovely that there’s nothing left for Taehyung to do, but to keep.