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Taehyung plops down in the seat opposite of him with a sigh, Gucci sunglasses sliding down his nose in the process. He looks tired, probably a little hungover, but still effortlessly classy and well put together, as always. It’s a stark contrast to Jeongguk’s plain black hoodie, distressed jeans, messy hair and horn rimmed glasses. In Jeongguk’s defense, he’s running on two hours of sleep and three cups of coffee after staying up all night to write a paper. Taehyung likely had a vastly different sleepless night.

“I want 26 pastries,” Taehyung announces, lips pushing into a pout as he puts his elbow on the table and rests his chin in his hand.

Jeongguk raises a brow, amused, “I can afford to buy one,” he pauses. “- that we’ll have to share.”

Taehyung huffs out a laugh, “Oh, don’t you worry. Lunch is on me, silly.” He slips his hand into his pocket and pulls out a platinum credit card, holds it up between his index and middle fingers. “Or- I guess I should say it’s on Seojoon.”

Park Seojoon - Taehyung’s latest fling and the bane of Jeongguk’s existence.

He’s tempted to refuse to accept any food bought with Seojoon’s money, but 1) that would raise a red flag with Taehyung and 2) he’s not petty enough to turn down free food, even if it’s bought with money from one of Taehyung’s sugar daddies.

“Card instead of cash this time?” Jeongguk leans back in his seat and taps his open book with his pen. “He must really have faith in your ability to restrain yourself. That or he’s even richer than the last guy.”

Taehyung shrugs, and his lips stretch into a smug smile. “You can get a guy to do just about anything if you give him mind-blowing head in his car.”

There’s an immediate sting in Jeongguk’s chest that he struggles to push away and ignore. Taehyung has always been painfully open about his sex life - as one usually is with their best friend. The problem lies with Jeongguk and his jealousy.

He snorts in response, because he can’t bring himself to outright fake a laugh, but the forced half-smile on his face feels more like a grimace. He prays that Taehyung doesn’t notice.

Thankfully, Taehyung is too engrossed in the menu at that point to pay much attention to Jeongguk’s forced reaction and Jeongguk is given the opportunity to change the subject.

“You done with your project yet?”

“Nope, I was planning on working on it today actually.” He lowers the menu and slips off his sunglasses to give Jeongguk puppy eyes. “You wanna come with me to the studio? I don’t want to be stuck there alone all day.”

He gives Taehyung a look . “Hyung...I still have two more papers to write.”

Taehyung nibbles at his bottom lip as he intensifies the puppy eyes, and Jeongguk can feel himself melting. “You can work on them there. I won’t bother you. I’ll be quiet, I promise.”

Doubtful. Even if Taehyung does manage to stay quiet, Jeongguk will still find himself staring at Taehyung while he paints, instead of working on his papers like he’s supposed to. It’s difficult for him to concentrate on anything else when Taehyung is in a room with him.

“Please?” Taehyung whines, dragging out the word. “I’ll buy you dinner, anything you want.”

“Okay, okay,” Jeongguk does the inevitable and gives in. If there’s anything he’s weak to, it’s Taehyung’s puppy eyes and the offer of free food.

Taehyung does a funny little celebratory dance, “You’re the best Jeonggukkie,” he says with a smile as bright as the sun.

Jeongguk tries to seem annoyed but he finds himself smiling in return, Taehyung’s happiness so incredibly infectious.

 

 

 

 

Jeongguk meets Taehyung when he’s five years old, on his third day of kindergarten, when he has a mouth full of dirt.

It’s cliched, really, how they meet.

Jeongguk is a painfully shy, timid child who cries every day for the first few days when his mom drops him off. He’s the perfect target for bullies, the exact kind of kid that the mean older children just love to push around.

He’s playing by himself at recess when three second graders approach him and knock him over, causing him to drop his toys and scrape his knees and palms on the ground. “Get lost, brat. We wanna play here.” And he immediately curls into himself, tears springing to his eyes from the sting of his scrapes and the fear that hits him.

He wants to get up, wants to run away, but he’s scared .

One of the boys kicks him, the tip of his shoe colliding with Jeongguk’s shin, and that’s all it takes for the other two to join in. Jeongguk curls further into himself, whimpering at the pain and silently crying for his mother to magically show up and save him from these mean kids.

“Hey! Stop that!”

There’s a scuffle of movement and then-

The hitting stops as fast as it began.

Jeongguk is still too afraid to open his eyes, so he stays curled up in a ball with his arms over his head, just in case the boys decide to start hitting him again.

“Get away from him, you jerks!”

The voice of another kid, seemingly right in front Jeongguk, catches his attention and he peeks one eye open to see who it is.  

There’s a boy with shaggy dark brown hair and a bright green shirt standing directly in front of him, arms stretched out as though to keep any danger away. He looks a little older, maybe the same age as the bullies. Jeongguk doesn’t recognize him, but in this moment he could care less. The boy is already a hero in Jeongguk’s eyes.

Jeongguk slowly uncurls and sits up to watch the confrontation with wide eyes.

“Go away, freak! Why do you care?” The bully spits at the boy, and Jeongguk is amazed that he doesn’t even flinch. He stands his ground, not even a little bit scared.

“Leave him alone or I’ll tell Ms. Cho and you’ll be in big trouble again.”

The bully goes red in the face, balling up his fists at his sides. He gives the boy a nasty look before he turns around and stomps away, his friends following close behind him.

Jeongguk stares at their backs as they walk away, shocked that that actually worked. He doesn’t move from the ground, just sits there with his bloody knees and dirty tear-streaked face.

The boy finally turns around when the bullies are out of sight, and crouches down right in front of Jeongguk. “Hi, I’m Taehyung!” He sounds unusually bright, as if he hadn’t just faced off with three mean big kids, and his smile is blinding and oddly rectangular, with one front tooth missing. He looks a little funny, with ears too big for his head and a freckle right on the top of his nose, but Jeongguk finds that he sort of likes it. “What’s your name?”

Jeongguk is too stunned to answer immediately, but Taehyung simply stares and waits with a patient smile. Finally, he moves to wipe the tears from his cheeks and sniffles, “I- I’m Jeongguk.”

“Jeonggukkie!” Taehyung says brightly. “Why don’t we go to the nurse so she can fix your boo-boos?”

He offers his hand to Jeongguk and Jeongguk looks from his soft smile to his outstretched hand. Jeongguk has never had a real friend before, he hasn’t interacted with other children much at all until coming to school, and Taehyung is the first person to be so nice to him. He’s the first person to make Jeongguk feel safe and warm and welcome.

So, Jeongguk smiles up at Taehyung, takes his hand, and never lets go.

 

 

 

 

The sound of the door opening brings Jeongguk to partial consciousness, but his eyes still feel too heavy to open and his mind is foggy with exhaustion.

There’s a slight jingle of keys falling in the bowl beside the door, then the shuffling of feet, and even through the haze of sleep Jeongguk can recognize that it’s Taehyung. Not that it would be anyone else with keys to their apartment, coming in at ass o’clock in the middle of the night.

He hears Taehyung mumbling to himself, something the older boy does quite often that can be both annoying and endearing.

He must spot Jeongguk soon after he walks in the door because the mumbling come to a halt and then there’s a sigh. “Sleeping on the couch again,” Taehyung states out loud, feet swiping softly over the floor as he steps closer.

There must still be stuff in his lap - probably his laptop or books - because a clutter of items is moved off of him with a gentle hand. There’s more movement and then Jeongguk feels something soft being laid over him. A blanket. Taehyung even goes as far as to reposition his head to put a pillow under him.

The jostling has brought Jeongguk to full consciousness but he can’t bring himself to let Taehyung know he’s awake. His hands are so gentle and the simple actions make something in Jeongguk’s chest flare up.

He feels Taehyung remove his glasses and then the soft touch of him carding his fingers through his hair. Then-

A press of lips to his cheek.

There’s a slight brush of air as Taehyung walks away and leaves the room, but Jeongguk is still too caught up on the feeling to notice he’s left, his heart hammering in his chest.

It’s not as though Taehyung has never kissed his cheek before - he’s affectionate with friends, especially when he’s tipsy. But this felt different - private and holding something deeper.

Jeongguk lays there with his eyes closed for a few minutes, trying and failing to fall back asleep. There’s no way he can now.

Much to his surprise, he hears Taehyung rummaging around in the kitchen, instead of in bed like he assumed. He sits up, pushes the blanket onto his lap, giving up on sleep for now. His body already aches from laying on the couch for too long, and when he checks his phone for the time, he sees that it’s nearly 3 AM. He’s still exhausted to the bone, but he probably won’t fall back asleep until he’s in his bed.

Taehyung steps into the living room a few minutes later, two steaming mugs in hand and a package of makeup removing wipes held under his arm. He’s changed into his pajamas - short, satin peach-colored shirts and a t-shirt two sizes too big that hangs off his shoulder slightly. He’s so cute , Jeongguk almost audibly groans.

“I knew you’d wake up,” Taehyung says, smiling as he makes his way over to the couch. “I made hot cocoa,” he places the mugs on the coffee table before sitting down beside where Jeongguk is still slightly slumped over. “Thought it might help you fall back asleep.”

“You’re an angel,” he says, voice raspy with sleep. He reaches for the mug and inhales the sweet smell as he lets it warm his hands.

“I’ve been told,” Taehyung teases. Now that Taehyung is sitting beside him, he can see the coat of mascara still on Taehyung’s eyelashes, and the glitter around his eyes. He hasn’t showered or even washed his face yet.

Jeongguk takes a sip and Taehyung reaches over to brush hair from his forehead. “You work too hard, Jeonggukkie. Look at those dark circles. You need more sleep.” Taehyung brushes his thumb under Jeongguk’s eye and Jeongguk almost chases the touch when he pulls his hand away.

“‘m fine,” he mumbles, mustering every ounce of self-control that he can. “Things should slow down once I’m done with this last paper. I’ll sleep for a week once it’s done.”

Taehyung chuckles. “I’ll hold you to that.”

He then pulls open the package of makeup removing wipes in his lap and pulls one out. Jeongguk watches him rub the wipe across his face without much care. While Taehyung is a pro at applying makeup, he’s always been rough with removing it, especially when he’s too lazy to care at the end of the night.

Jeongguk sighs as he sets his cup back down on the table, and then reaches over to take the wipe from Taehyung. “Gimme,” is all he says, and Taehyung relents his grip on the wipe with a sheepish smile.

“You’re gonna pull out all of your eyelashes like that,” he scolds as he gently wipes the mascara from Taehyung’s lashes.

Taehyung laughs, warm and fond, “You’re so cute, Jeonggukkie.”

Cute . Huh. Yeah, that’s all he’ll ever be in Taehyung’s eyes. His younger, cute best friend.

Jeongguk shakes away the bitter thought and focuses on the task at hand, taking Taehyung chin in one hand to maneuver his face to the side. He starts on the foundation when he’s done with Taehyung’s eyes, wiping away the product to reveal a few faint blemishes and an adorable flush across his cheeks and nose. He looks softer without makeup and flashy outfits. It’s not any better or worse - Taehyung looks beautiful no matter what - but there’s something so intimate and domestic about seeing Taehyung in his pajamas, with no makeup.

“So, how was your night? What grand event did your guy take you to?”

Taehyung shrugs, “Nowhere special, we just had dinner and went to a club. He’d never take me to anything too fancy - nowhere where people he knows could see us, anyway.”

“Sounds like an asshole,” he bites out before he can stop himself.

Taehyung breathes out a laugh, and there’s a hint of bitterness in it that Jeongguk barely catches. He’s not as unbothered by this as he lets on, and he should know by now that Jeongguk can see right through him. “A lot of guys like to keep me their dirty little secret, especially guys like him. I’m used to it.”

“You shouldn’t have to put up with that, Hyung.” He throws the wipe on the coffee table when he’s finished, maybe a little more aggressively than he meant to.

“Jeonggukkie...,” Taehyung sighs. “It’s fine. It’s not like we’re in an actual relationship. It’s just supposed to be fun. We’re both getting things we want out of it.”

They’ve had this discussion one too many times, and it never really gets them anywhere. Taehyung knows that Jeongguk doesn’t exactly like what he does with these older, powerful men - it’s dangerous and he doesn’t like the way some of them treat Taehyung - but he doesn’t know that it runs even deeper than Jeongguk worrying about him. Jeongguk plans to keep that way, so he cuts the conversation short. “Just be careful.” It’s something Taehyung has heard from him a million times.

“I always am,” Taehyung promises, and Jeongguk never fully believes him. Taehyung is never as careful with his own heart as he should be. “Now finish your cocoa so we can get some sleep.” He picks up his own mug and takes a generous drink, and Jeongguk does the same.

They have a much lighter conversation as they finish their drinks, and then Taehyung helps him pick up his things before they head off to bed.

“Goodnight, Gukkie,” Taehyung whispers, his hand on Jeongguk’s arm and his gaze lingering on his face.

“‘night, Hyung.”

There’s that familiar urge to follow Taehyung to his room as he watches him walk away, the desire to climb into bed with him and just hold him, show him how he should be loved.

Jeongguk turns away and goes to his own room, shutting the door on those thoughts.

 

 

 

 

Jeongguk finds out Taehyung is gay when they’re in high school. Jeongguk is fifteen at the time, Taehyung seventeen, and he finds that Taehyung keeps secrets from him more and more often. Yes, he’s young, but he’s not that young. He doesn’t need to be protected or kept in the dark like a child. He wants Taehyung to trust him, to confide in him.

He knows Taehyung is sneaking around with someone, but he doesn’t know who it is or why Taehyung feels the need to brush it off every time he asks about it.

It takes three weeks for Jeongguk to find out what’s going on.

They usually walk home from school together but Taehyung is not in their usual meeting spot after school, and Jeongguk immediately knows something is up. He waits for an extra ten minutes, just in case his gut feeling is wrong and Taehyung simply got held back by a teacher. But when Taehyung doesn’t come, he practically runs to Taehyung’s house from school.

Taehyung’s mom answers the door when he knocks, looking just as worried as he feels. “Jeongguk,” she greets with a strained smile. “Do you know what happened? Taehyung looked so upset when he came home and now he’s locked himself in his room and won’t talk to anyone.”

Jeongguk steps into the house and toes off his shoes, “I’m sorry, Mrs. Kim, I don’t know. Can I go up and try to talk to him?” He eyes the stairs eagerly.

“Of course, honey.”

He tries not to bolt up the stairs after she says it, but he still goes so fast he almost trips up a step.

Taehyung’s door is indeed locked when he reaches it, and he wonders if anything he says will convince Taehyung to open it.

“Taehyungie hyung,” he tries, knocking softly. “It’s Jeongguk. You didn’t meet me after school and your mom says you’re upset...” he pauses but there’s no noise from the other side of the door. “What happened?”

Silence.

“Come on, Hyung. You know you can talk to me. I’m not going anywhere until you open this door.”

True to his word, Jeongguk sits down in front of the door and leans his back against it while he waits. Taehyung can’t stay in there forever.

He starts to feel a little anxious after ten minutes of nothing. His imagination runs wild with what could’ve happened, and he wonders how bad it would be that Taehyung wouldn’t want to talk to him about it. Sure, he’s been a little secretive in the past month but he’s never kept anything important from Jeongguk.

Jeongguk feels a jolt of panic when he considers that Taehyung could be seriously hurt, but he tries to calm those worries before they spiral out of control. He doesn’t think Taehyung would lack enough self preservation to not tell someone if he had gotten hurt.

He moves to knock one more time, because Taehyung might not know that he’s still there, but the moment he goes to move, the door opens and he goes sprawling backwards.

“Wha-?”

He stares up at Taehyung from where he’s now laying back on Taehyung’s feet, shocked that he actually opened the door without more convincing. Taehyung stares right back down at him, blinking red-rimmed puffy eyes.

He’s been crying.

Before he can speak, Taehyung whips around and walks away, pulling his feet out from under Jeongguk. “Shut the door, please,” is all he says, and his voice trembles.

Jeongguk scrambles to get up and shut the door behind him as he steps fully into the room. He spots Taehyung sitting cross-legged on his bed, turned away from him, and he aches with the need to comfort him. Taehyung has never been one to cry often, not even as a child. He always bulldozes head-first into things, and laughs it off and picks himself up if he falls down.

Jeongguk steps over to the bed and sits down, leaving a comfortable amount of space between them. But he still places a hand on Taehyung’s back. “Taehyung hyung...what’s wrong? You can tell me what happened.”

Taehyung is silent for a moment, then he sniffles slightly. “I can’t tell you. You might hate me.”

“What?” Jeongguk says incredulously. “I could never hate you, Hyung.”

Taehyung shakes his head wordlessly.

“If I didn’t hate you when you broke my Nintendo, I don’t think anything could make me hate you,” he jokes, hoping to lighten the mood.

It works, Taehyung chokes out a laugh, and Jeongguk feels a little lighter.

Taehyung goes quiet again, and Jeongguk wonders if he’s messed up, but then Taehyung turns around very suddenly to face him. His expression is tight and his eyes are red from crying, but at least he’s looking at Jeongguk now. He brings his knees to his chest and wraps his arms around his legs, curling into himself. He wipes his nose on the sleeve of his shirt, “I’m just gonna blurt it out because I don’t know how else to tell you, okay?”

“Y- Yeah,” Jeongguk nods, suddenly feeling nervous for whatever Taehyung is about to say.

Taehyung takes in a deep breath to steady himself, and releases it slowly, clutching at his pants.

“I had sex with Park Hyunsik.”

Jeongguk jolts, eyes going wide as he stares at Taehyung without a word, part of him waiting to hear that Taehyung is joking. When only silence follows, he realizes that Taehyung is dead serious, and he’s still not sure what to make of that information.

“P- Park Hyunsik? Captain of the soccer team? That Park Hyunsik?”

Taehyung nods as he eyes Jeongguk anxiously, probably searching for any reaction other than shock. But shock is really the only thing Jeongguk can process at the moment.

“B- But I didn’t even know you were-“

“Gay?” Taehyung finishes, huffing out a hollow laugh. “Yeah I didn’t either, but when we started talking I just- it felt right. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but he just kind of confirmed it.”

Jeongguk nods slowly, stares down at the bed as he tries to let all this information sink in. It stings a little, that Taehyung wouldn’t keep him in the loop with this stuff and he’s only now finding out, but Taehyung probably has his reasons. And maybe Taehyung not telling him is his own fault? Maybe he did something to make Taehyung feel like he couldn’t tell him?

“So, do you hate me for it?” Taehyung asks, his voice so uncertain, so fearful, it causes something in Jeongguk’s chest to ache. When Jeongguk looks up, Taehyung has fresh tears welling in his eyes, and he’s looking at Jeongguk with a hint of fear. Taehyung has never looked at him like this before. “F- For being gay? For any of it?”

“No, Tae, no. Absolutely not,” he takes Taehyung’s hand, prying his fingers away from where he’s been clutching his pants so tight his knuckles were turning white. “I could never hate you, especially for something like that.”

Taehyung searches his face for something, then lets out something that sounds like a mix between a sigh and a sob, and his whole body relaxes. “Really?”

“Of course,” he says with certainty, settling their entwined hands on the bed and lacing their fingers. All of this comes as a complete surprise to Jeongguk, but it doesn’t change the fact that Taehyung is still his best friend. Taehyung is Taehyung.

“Good, that’s good.” Taehyung gives a lopsided smile and then settles his forehead. “Sorry, I just kind of threw that at you. I was just- scared.”

“It’s okay,” Jeongguk insists. He gets it. Taehyung has every reason to be scared to talk about something like this. Maybe he’s a little miffed about being kept in the dark for so long, but this isn’t about him. He’s not taking it personally.

“Is that why you were so upset? Because you were that scared to tell me?” He can’t help but ask. Taehyung seems so horribly upset, and he isn’t sure what triggered the breakdown.

“No, no,” Taehyung lifts his head and shakes it. “I mean yeah I’ve been really scared, but that’s not why I’m a mess today.”

“Then what is it?”

Taehyung squeezes his hand as he stares down at the bed, spacing out as he thinks about whatever it is. It takes him a moment to answer. “Hyunsik won’t talk to me now,” he admits, a few tears sliding down his cheeks when he begins to cry again. “We talked for weeks and now that we’ve had sex, he wants nothing to do with me because he’d never live it down if his teammates found out he fucked a guy,” he scoffs, bitter and hollow.

“Oh, Tae...” Jeongguk doesn’t know what to say. His blood is boiling , he’s pissed beyond belief, but he’s trying to reign it in because that’s not going to help Taehyung right now. He’s never felt this angry before, this fierce need to defend Taehyung from the rest of the world. Taehyung has always taken the role of his protector. Taehyung treats him like an equal but he’s always taken pride in being a good Hyung and defending Jeongguk at every corner.

This feels different. The roles have shifted and Jeongguk wants to hide Taehyung away and protect him because the world is too cruel to for someone as kind as Taehyung.

For now, all he can do is pull Taehyung into his arms and comfort him while he cries. Taehyung welcomes the embrace, practically crawls into his lap as he latches on and buries his face in Jeongguk’s neck. Hearing Taehyung cry, feeling the warmth of Taehyung’s tears in his skin, physically pains him.

“It wasn’t even good, Jeonggukkie!” Taehyung exclaims with a bitter laugh, voice slightly muffled. “We didn’t know what we were doing and it hurt but he didn’t even care. He just- finished and then left .”

Jeongguk feels another flare of anger, stronger this time, hot as it courses through his veins, but he keeps it under control because the last thing Taehyung needs is for Jeongguk to have an emotional outburst. “I’m sorry, Tae. You don’t deserve that. He’s an asshole.”

Taehyung laughs through his tears, “Yeah, he is.”

Jeongguk’s sticks to Taehyung’s side, holds him through his tears, listens as he rants and spills out his worries.

And then, when school comes around the next day, Jeongguk gets into his first fight.

Hyunsik may be older, bigger, and stronger but Jeongguk is pissed and running on pure adrenaline. He doesn’t even think about what might happen to him, all he can think about is how much Taehyung cried, how broken Taehyung sounded. Hyunsik deserves to to know how much pain he put Taehyung though, deserves every punch thrown his way for hurting Taehyung so deeply.

Jeongguk gets suspended, grounded for a month, and suffers a busted lip and a bruised jaw but it’s worth it. It’s so worth it when he gives Hyunsik what he deserves, when he finds out he broke Hyunsik’s nose.

Jeongguk has never been a violent person, and maybe it’s wrong for him to feel satisfaction for getting revenge on Taehyung’s part, but he doesn’t care.

For the first time, Jeongguk feels like he can protect Taehyung the same way Taehyung has always protected him.  

 

 

 

 

Jeongguk is scrolling on his phone and watching an anime when Taehyung slumps down onto the couch and immediately lays his head in his lap, long pink hair splayed out on Jeongguk’s black jeans. “I’m bored,” he pouts for dramatic effect and Jeongguk instinctively pokes his cheek.

Affection like this used to cause Jeongguk to freeze up, but he’s grown accustomed to the casual touches, enough that he can concentrate on staying relaxed and even respond if it doesn’t cause him to completely short-circuit.

He finds his gaze traveling down Taehyung’s body, and sees that he’s wearing a white cropped hoodie and matching high waisted sweat pants today. His tummy is on display, soft and tan and pretty, and Jeongguk can’t help but wonder how it would feel to put his lips on that skin. Taehyung’s navel ring, a intricate golden snake, glints in the light and Jeongguk swallows thickly, looks away before his thoughts spiral out of control.

“Thought you were hanging out with Seojoon today?”

“He’s being a dick,” Taehyung spits, practically tossing his phone onto the coffee table.

Jeongguk can tell there’s more to it, but he doesn’t ask because he knows when Taehyung is and isn’t in the mood to elaborate on such things. He’d rather have a distraction and talk about it later, when he’s ready.

“There’s nothing to do,” Taehyung whines, kicking his feet that hang off the arm of the couch.

“Let’s go somewhere,” Jeongguk suggests.

Taehyung looks up at him through his eyelashes and Jeongguk almost chokes on air just from seeing Taehyung at this angle. Taehyung is already dangerously close to his crotch and now he’s looking at him with those pretty eyes and Jeongguk’s heart is too weak today.  “Where is there to go at 1 PM on a Sunday?”

“I don’t know. Somewhere.”

Taehyung reaches up to smack his pec, “Smartass,” he growls playfully.

Jeonggguk smirks down at him and shrugs.

“How about the movies?”

“Ooh yes! Movies! Lazy entertainment, just what I need,” Taehyung pats his chest, right where he smacked him seconds ago, and then pushes himself up and leaps off the couch. “Let me get my wallet and we can go.”

Taehyung grabs his phone and takes off toward his bedroom, and Jeongguk gets up to grab his own things while he’s gone.

When Taehyung steps back into the living room, he’s smiling down at his phone as he types out a message.

He looks up, “Jiminie is coming too!”

Jeongguk deflates.

He loves Jimin, is normally always excited to hang out with him, but maybe a small part of him was excited go to the movies with just Taehyung. Like a date. Very much a friend date because Jeongguk is very much friend-zoned but still - a date.

“Cool,” he says, keeping his voice level. “Is he meeting us there?”

“Yep!”

The movie theater is a few blocks away from their apartment, so the walk is only ten minutes, and the weather hasn’t gotten too cold yet, so it’s nice. Taehyung seems to have perked up, much to Jeongguk’s relief. He hates seeing Taehyung mope around the apartment, especially over an asshole like Seojoon.

Jimin is already at the theater when they arrive, and they all stand in front of the movie posters and bicker about which movie to see.

“Hyung, we’re not watching It . You hate scary movies. Why do you even want to see it?” Jeongguk turns to Taehyung, exasperated.

“I know I usually hate them, but this one looks good. I promise I can handle it!”

“That’s exactly what you said about The Conjuring and then you had nightmares for a week.”

“Yeah but you kept me safe from the monsters, right, Jeonggukkie?” Taehyung teases, patting his cheek. Jimin immediately looks to him from the other side of Taehyung, raising a brow at him and smirking.

Jeongguk rolls his eyes, ignoring the comment and Jimin’s expression. They both like to torture him. They really do.

“Fine, we can see it. But don’t whine to me when it scares you half to death,” he tells Taehyung, knowing damn well Taehyung will whine anyways.

“I’ll be fine,” Taehyung insists, waving off Jeongguk’s concerns as he walks into the theater.

Jeongguk snorts, “Suuure.”

Jeongguk can feel Jimin throwing him looks as they make their way inside, but he does his best to ignore it. He’s really not in the mood to get into things with Jimin, but Jimin never fails to bring it up any chance he gets.

They buy tickets and head to the theater, where they pick a back row and Taehyung plops down in the seat in the middle. It’s still another 15 minutes before the previews even start, so they sit back and chat and sit on their phones until Taehyung announces that he’s going to the bathroom.

“I’ll grab some snacks, too,” he says as he stands. “I’ll get you a blue slushee, Gukkie,” he promises, before Jeongguk can even ask. “You want anything, Jiminie?”

“Popcorn and a Coke please?” Jimin looks up at him with a smile, watching as he nods and walks down the aisle.

As soon as he out of the theater, Jimin turns to him and leans over Taehyung’s seat. “So?” He asks, eyes shining with mischief, and Jeongguk throws his head back and groans.

“Can we not do this right now?”

“Do what?” Jimin feigns innocence.   

“You interrogating me when you know damn well that nothing has changed.”

You kept me safe from the monsters, right, Jeonggukkie? ” Jimin lowers his voice slightly and puts on that cutesy tone to mimic Taehyung.

Jeongguk rubs at his temple, feeling an oncoming headache. “You act as if Taehyung being flirty is anything new.”

“Come on , Jeongguk,” Jimin grabs his arm and shakes him. “It’s been years and you haven’t done shit. How many more assholes does he have to go through before you confess and you guys live happily ever after?”

Jeongguk shakes his arm out Jimin’s grip and gives him a look. “That’s not exactly how it goes in my head.”

“That’s because you’re dense and completely oblivious to how much Taehyung loves you.”

“Not the way he loves those rich older men,” he retorts, giving Jimin a sarcastic smile before looking away.

Jimin sits back in his seat with a huff. “You’re both hopeless,” he mutters.

Jimin has always known about Jeongguk’s feelings for Taehyung. Jimin met Taehyung in their first year of college, and Jeongguk hates to admit how jealous he was back then. He didn’t know whether Jimin was taking his best friend spot or if they were dating, but either way, Jeongguk felt threatened. But then they met and Jeongguk started attending university with them and Jimin just immediately knew . He pulled Jeongguk aside the first time they met and asked why the hell him and Taehyung weren’t dating, and ever since then, Jimin has been on his ass about confessing. As though he’ll just sweep Taehyung off his feet and they’ll ride into the sunset together like some cheesy rom-com.

It does feel nice to have someone on his side, someone rooting for him. He just doesn’t see things working out the way Jimin thinks they will.

Taehyung comes back less than a minute later, struggling to balance all the snacks and drinks in his hands. They both get up to help him and then sit back down with their snacks.

When Jeongguk glances to Taehyung, who’s shoveling Jimin’s popcorn into his mouth, his eyes fall to the blue mark staining Taehyung’s white cropped hoodie. “Shit, Hyung,” he says hesitantly. “Your shirt...”

Taehyung looks down to where Jeongguk is gesturing. “Oh,” he rubs at the spot with a napkin but it doesn’t budge. “It’s okay,” he shrugs, completely unbothered, and goes back to eating his popcorn.

Jeongguk blinks. That outfit has to be worth hundreds, maybe thousands, and Jeongguk feels horrible at the thought that his drink has stained the white material. “Will it come out?”

Taehyung shrugs again, “I’ll have Seojoon dry clean it. Or I’ll make him buy me a new one.” He pats Jeongguk’s knee and smiles. “Don’t worry about it, Jeonggukkie. It’s not a big deal.”

Right. Seojoon. How could he forget.

The bitter feeling lingers until the previews start, and Jeongguk tries to shake it away so he can focus on having a good time. There’s no point in sulking right now. Taehyung is with him right now, not Seojoon. Taehyung never forgets to make time for him, even when he’s dating, but it’s inevitable that Jeongguk would see him less when he’s busy with one of his sugar daddies. So, he cherishes the time they do get together.

Taehyung is fairly calm at the start of the movie, but the moment Pennywise shows up, Jeongguk feels him go stiff in his seat. Jeongguk has to resist the urge to roll his eyes. This happens every time. Taehyung has always had a strange fascination for horror movies, despite how much they frighten him. He’s never handled them well but he’ll force himself to sit through them anyways. Jeongguk can’t count the amount of times they watched horror movies when they were younger and Taehyung made him stay over at his house all weekend because he didn’t want to sleep alone.

When the eerie music sets in, Taehyung grabs his wrist, long fingers clutching it in a shaky grip. Then, the jump scare happens and Taehyung’s squeak of surprise makes Jeongguk jump more than the movie does. Taehyung covers his mouth, squeezes his eyes shut and turns to hide his face in Jeongguk’s shoulder.

When Jeongguk chances a glance at Jimin the older boy has his eyebrow raised and a smug smirk painting his lips. Jeongguk rolls his eyes and glances to the top of Taehyung’s head and then back to the screen, trying to ignore the looks Jimin is throwing their way.

Maybe part of him enjoys this, soaks up the physical contact and the feeling of Taehyung needing him, but it’s also torture on his poor heart.

“Is it over?” Taehyung whispers.

“Yeah,” he whispers back, a hint of laughter in his voice.

Taehyung sighs and relaxes, pulling away from him with a sheepish laugh and going back to watching the movie. Jimin elbows him, fighting back laughter, and Taehyung elbows him right back.

Variations of this happen throughout the rest of the movie; Taehyung gets frightened by every jump scare and clings to Jeongguk in some way, Jeongguk’s heart stutters and his lungs feel constricted, and he tries to ignore both that and the smug look on Jimin’s face.

By the time the movie is over, Jeongguk feels like his heart will burst and his wrist might fall off from how hard Taehyung was gripping it.

They make their way out of the theater with Taehyung rambling on about how good the movie was, and Jimin chiming in to voice his opinion.

“What did you think, Jeongguk? Did you like it?” Taehyung asks, turning to him.

“Yeah, it was really good.” What he managed to catch was good, anyways. It was difficult to pay attention with Taehyung clinging to him every few minutes.

Taehyung eventually runs off to get a refill on his drink while he and Jimin head to the restroom. With Taehyung gone, Jimin immediately turns to him with that look .

“Shut up,” he growls.

“I didn’t say anything,” Jimin sing-songs, obviously amused.

 

 

 

 

Jeongguk realizes that he’s in love with Taehyung when he’s sixteen, and Taehyung is preparing to go off to university while he’ll still be stuck in high school. They’re only two years apart but Jeongguk has never felt how big that gap really is until now.

Falling in love is a slow process for him. There are signs here and there in the years before that, feelings that crop up when Taehyung touches him, when he finds himself staring at Taehyung for long periods of time just to count his eyelashes, or when he realizes how content he is to just sit and listen to Taehyung talk about anything and everything.

But Jeongguk doesn’t truly pull himself out of denial and accept it until he’s having sex with a girl for the first time and all he can think about is Taehyung.

It isn’t as though he isn’t attracted to girls - he very much is. In fact, he’s found that he’s attracted to people of any gender in the past few years.

No one makes him feel the way Taehyung does, though. Taehyung has made a home in his heart and no one can take his place. Jeongguk has just been so deep in denial that it’s taken a long time to realize where exactly Taehyung belongs in his heart.

Things are awkward as they lay in Jeongguk’s bed, silent and uncomfortable and confused. They stopped in the middle of doing things because it wasn’t working no matter what they tried. His parents are out of town and Taehyung is at home packing and this just sort of happened .

“Are you okay, Jeongguk?” Seulgi asks, hesitantly breaking the awkward silence. She seems apprehensive, insecure after things went downhill.

Kang Seulgi; cute, sweet, smart and talented. They’ve worked on a few projects together in class and she’s always been nice to him, always shown a slight interest. She’s experienced, obviously more so that Jeongguk, and yet they couldn’t make this work.

Because she’s not Taehyung.

“I think I’m in love with Taehyung,” he blurts out.

He’s an idiot, he knows he’s stupid for saying something like this to Seulgi, someone he isn’t sure if he can trust with such information. Not to mention the fact that he tried (and failed) to have sex with her moments ago and now he’s talking about being in love with someone else.

But he can’t help it, his heart feels so heavy and the words just tumble out of his mouth.

Seulgi blinks, unable to hide her shock as she stares at him. “O- Oh.” She pauses. “Okay, then.”

Jeongguk shakes his head, ruffles his hair in frustration. “Sorry. I’m sorry. That was stupid. There’s nothing wrong with you. I mean, you’re perfect . I’m just- I’m such a dick. I-“

“Jeongguk, it okay,” she cuts him off. “I mean yeah it probably wasn’t the best time to say that, but I’m not mad. You just shocked me.”

She sighs, runs a hand through her long hair, “I mean at least I know it wasn’t anything I did,” she breathes out a soft laugh.

“Of course it wasn’t,” he assures her. He waits anxiously for her to say something else because he has no idea what else to say. He’s still reeling from his realization and beating himself up for being so insensitive toward Seulgi.

“I knew it wasn’t right,” she finally says, glancing to him. “I could tell you weren’t completely into it and- it felt weird for me too.” She gives him a sad little smile, and shrugs. “I like you, you’re really sweet. You’re a good guy, Jeongguk. But we tried stuff and it didn’t feel right and that’s fine.”

Jeongguk nods dumbly and watches as she climbs out of bed. He has the courtesy to look away while she gets dressed, and he tries to think of something to say to her because he still feels like a jackass.

“I know you’re not mad, but-“ he pauses, pulls the blankets up higher. “I’m still sorry. And I don’t want you to think you were some- experiment for me or something. I wasn’t using you. I’m just a dumbass who can’t figure his shit out.”

Seulgi laughs as she sits at the edge of the bed. “I know you’re not that kind of person, Jeongguk,” she assures him. “I think you’re just...lost.” She pats his blanket covered leg sympathetically. “I’d like to still be friends, if that’s what you want too.”

Jeongguk is in awe of her maturity. Here he has a cute, kind girl who likes him and was willing to give herself to him, but Jeongguk can’t bring himself to accept her. And then she so easily forgives him after he disregarded her feelings for his own.

“Yeah, of course.”

She pats his leg one more time and gives a smile before she stands up.

“Seulgi,” he calls, stopping her before she can leave. “You won’t tell anyone, will you?”

“Of course not,” she promises. “Your secret is safe with me.” She turns to smile at him again, “Good luck, Jeongguk. I don’t know how much help I can be but- you can always talk to me about it if you need to.”

And with that, she leaves his room and shows herself out the door, leaving Jeongguk alone to process everything that just happened.

He’s in love with Taehyung.

He’s in love with his best friend .

 

 

 

 

“Don’t you have class tomorrow?”

Yoongi looks hesitant as he places a shot in front of Jeongguk from the other side of the bar.

“Cancelled,” he tells Yoongi before he takes the shot. It burns when it goes down but Jeongguk has taken enough shots to not let it show on his face by now. “You know I stopped drinking on nights before class after my first year.”

“Just checking,” Yoongi assures as he prepares another drink. “I never see you in here on Thursdays.”

Yoongi bartends at one of the only gay bars in town, co-owns it with his boyfriend, Hoseok, and Jeongguk likes to frequent it occasionally. He doesn’t party much, especially with the workload he has, but he comes with Taehyung sometimes, and when it’s not busy he likes to come by himself.

The dance floor is still a little wild tonight but at least the bar isn’t as busy. It’s nice to come drink and talk to Yoongi when he needs a break from school and clubs and hopelessly pining after Taehyung.

“You doing okay?” Yoongi asks. “You only come here by yourself when you’re desperate for my guidance.”

“Ha ha,” Jeongguk replies sarcastically. “No one is asking for your guidance, Hyung. Can’t I just enjoy a drink or two on a Thursday night?”

“Sure,” Yoongi drawls, giving Jeongguk a teasing smile. “I’m just messing with you, Guk. Talk away, if that’s what you need.”

“No thanks,” he slumps in his stool, laying his arms across the bar and resting his cheek against it. “I’d rather just drink and mope.”

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Who knows how many asses have been on that bar.”

Jeongguk sits up and glares at him. “Go ahead, kick me while I’m down.”

“Aww come on, I’m just messing with you, kid,” Yoongi means forward to ruffle his hair. “Really, what’s up? How’s life?”

“School is slowly killing me and I’m worried about Taehyung, but what else is new?”

Yoongi holds up a finger to tell him to wait and steps away to make a drink for someone. He’s back in less than a minute, throwing a towel over his shoulder and leaning against the bar. “Worried about Taehyung? Why?”

“I don’t know,” Jeongguk shrugs, then props his elbow up on the bar and rests his chin in his palm. “It’s nothing major. He just seems bothered by something but he’s not talking about it. And I don’t like his latest boyfriend- sugar daddy- whatever the hell he is.”

Yoongi raises his brow, “Do you ever?”

“No, but this guy seems extra dick-ish.”

“Have you tried talking to him about it?”

“Kind of,” he shrugs. “He knows I never like these guys so he usually shuts down the conversation before it can go anywhere.”

Yoongi sighs as he places a beer in front of him, “Well, at least you know it won’t last long. They never do, right?”

Jeongguk nods, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

The thought does give a little more peace of mind. Taehyung usually doesn’t stick with them for more than six months, and the most he’ll do after that is contact them occasionally for a quick fuck and more money or shopping sprees.

And of course Jeongguk is jealous, he can acknowledge that. He’s jealous of every guy Taehyung is with. But putting these feelings aside, as Taehyung’s best friend, he doesn’t think any of the assholes Taehyung dates deserve him. Sure, they spoil him with gifts and money, but they don’t cherish him the way they should.

He’s only met Seojoon in passing, but the guy seems like the worst of them. He can tell just by the way Taehyung has been acting. He’s been distracted, sad under the surface of forced happiness, and even struggling with his art. Taehyung has always been the type to keep his problems to himself, because he doesn’t want to burden others. He’s gotten better about it in the past few years, learned that it’s okay to rely on others, but it’s still something he struggles with. Jeongguk has to drag it out of him sometimes.

“Speak of the devil,” Yoongi says, pulling him out of his thoughts. Jeongguk looks up to see Yoongi staring at something behind him, and he whips around, only to see the very thing he’s been trying to avoid.

Taehyung and Seojoon are at the entrance, Taehyung looking effortlessly sexy in a mesh top, a harness with chains, tight pants and platforms. Seojoon has an arm around his waist as they walk in and make their way to a booth.

Jeongguk quickly turns back around and buries his face in his hands, groaning out loud. “Why? Why is the universe against me?”

He feels Yoongi give an awkward sympathetic little pat on his head, and all he really wants in that moment is for the ground to swallow him whole.

Of course he’s fine with running into Taehyung, but Seojoon? Absolutely not. Seojoon and Taehyung together? Even worse for Jeongguk’s poor heart.

“Incoming,” he hears Yoongi say, and he barely has time to lift his head before he feels arms around his shoulders.

“Jeonggukkie!”

Taehyung’s voice is fond and his arms are pleasantly warm around Jeongguk’s shoulders. Even through the dread of seeing Seojoon with Taehyung, he still feels a sense of happiness in Taehyung’s presence. It’s instinct.

Jeongguk spins around in his chair and Taehyung steps back, his eyes shining and his smile beaming as he stares at Jeongguk. Jeongguk can tell by the slight flush in his cheeks and the look in his eyes that he’s already slightly tipsy.

Seojoon is a stark contrast by his side; stiff and stoic, hands in his pockets and his nose high in the air as he avoids looking at Jeongguk. Jeongguk isn’t sure if the guy hates him on principle or if he’s just a stuck up asshole. Could be both.

“Taehyung hyung,” he greets with a smile.

“What are you doing here? You have class tomorrow!”

“Cancelled.”

“Really?” Taehyung asks, genuine excitement in his voice. “Good! You need a break, Jeonggukkie.”

Taehyung turns to Seojoon then, latches onto his arm and practically pulls him into the conversation. “This is Seojoon. Seojoon, this is Jeongguk. I don’t think you guys have ever officially met.”

Seojoon doesn’t do much to hide his irritation and it irks Jeongguk to no end. He could care less if the guy likes him or not, but the way he interacts with Taehyung doesn’t sit right with him. Taehyung can be a silly when he’s tipsy, sometimes a little overbearing or annoying, but that doesn’t give Seojoon the right to look at Taehyung like he’s an irritating child who won’t stop pestering him.

“You’ve talked about him,” Seojoon nods in acknowledgement, but says nothing else. Jeongguk nods in return, and at least tries to give a forced smile, for Taehyung’s sake.

“And that’s Yoongi hyung,” Taehyung says, cocking his head to look past Jeongguk and smile in Yoongi’s direction.

“Hey, Tae,” Yoongi says, then nods at Seojoon.

Taehyung pulls away from Seojoon to step closer to Jeongguk, putting his hands on Jeongguk’s thighs and leaning on them, sending Jeongguk’s heart into a frenzy. “Dance with me, Jeongguk? Seojoon will never dance with me.”

Before Jeongguk can even answer, Seojoon grabs Taehyung by the arm and pulls him away. “I don’t want to be here long, Taehyung. I told you that.”

Taehyung rolls his eyes and pulls his arm out of Seojoon’s grip. Seojoon looks irritated by the action but he doesn’t push it. He backs down and glares at Taehyung as Taehyung turns back to Jeongguk.

Jeongguk is ready to pounce if he touches Taehyung like that again. Taehyung doesn’t seem fazed by it, not threatened in the least bit, but Jeongguk doesn’t like it. Taehyung is not made of glass, Jeongguk knows that, but he should be treated with respect.

“Calm down, it’ll just be one song. Right, Jeonggukkie?”

“Yeah,” Jeongguk isn’t in much of a dancing mood, but if it’ll get them away from Seojoon, he’ll take it. He doesn’t think he could say no to a pouty tipsy Taehyung anyways.

He abandons his drink at the bar and stands, his hand falling to the small of Taehyung’s back. Taehyung is a few inches taller than him in the platforms, so he has to look up when he smiles at him.

Seojoon watches them closely, his eyes falling to where Jeongguk’s hand is, and then up to their faces again. He’s visibly irritated, but he says nothing. Jeongguk glances at him, unable to hide the challenging look he gives, daring Seojoon to step in.

Seojoon may be older, richer, more powerful, better than Jeongguk in every sense, but at least Jeongguk genuinely cares for Taehyung. Jeongguk would go toe to toe with the devil in defense of Taehyung.

Taehyung asks for a shot from Yoongi before they go, and he swallows it down with ease before returning to Jeongguk’s side, giggly and flushed.

Taehyung takes his wrist, but before they can walk away, Seojoon grabs Taehyung by the arm again and leans in to whisper something in his ear. Jeongguk eyes the hand on Taehyung’s arm, his blood boiling. The grip isn’t bruising, he’s not harming Taehyung, but Jeongguk still doesn’t like it.

Seojoon walks away after he’s said what he needs to say, turning his back on them without another word. Jeongguk isn’t sure what was said, and when he looks to Taehyung, the expression on his face doesn’t give anything away. Taehyung simply shrugs it off, paints a smile on his face, and drags Jeongguk to the dance floor.

Jeongguk wants to question him but Taehyung doesn’t give him the chance, and the music is too loud to talk as they get closer to the dance floor. He heaves a sigh, resigned to the fact that Taehyung is determined to avoid opening that can of worms.

They step onto the dance floor and weave through the crowd to get closer to the middle. When they reach a spot that Taehyung decides is good enough, he turns around and throws his hands in the air, dances freely, brushing against Jeongguk as the crowd pushes them closer. Taehyung’s movements are loose and easy, with no real skill but still a certain sensual vibe that draws people in. Jeongguk moves along with him, lets his body move naturally as his gaze stays locked on Taehyung. He can’t help but stare when Taehyung is right in front of him like this, so pretty and all his .

Taehyung’s long hair is styled in messy waves and some of it sticks to his sweaty temples. His eye makeup is subtle, but still dark and smoked out around his eyes, with his lipgloss almost completely faded. The thick choker that’s part of the harness looks more like a collar than a necklace, and the mesh black top doesn’t leave much to the imagination. It rides up as he dances, revealing the softness of his tummy and the navel ring with tiny handcuffs hanging from the bottom diamond stud. Taehyung presses close to him, eyes closed, a small smile gracing his lips, and Jeongguk’s heart lurches. The warmth of Taehyung’s body against him leaves his fingers tingling with the urge to touch, but he holds back, let’s Taehyung make the movements.

The hesitation reminds him that Taehyung will never truly be his in the way that he wants. Moments like this are bittersweet torture. Taehyung feels so close, like they’re the only two people in the world, and yet in the back of his mind, Jeongguk knows the moment is a delicate illusion that will soon shatter.

He ignores the thought, not ready to be brought back to reality, and lets himself get lost in the music and the movement of their bodies.

Screw being careful. If he wants to enjoy being with Taehyung like this, he will. It feels nice to let loose with him, to just dance and have fun and be close. They used to go to karaoke, just the two of them, and they’d sing and dance and laugh so hard that they’d fall into a pile on the floor together. Things are different now, they're both a little more grown up, but Jeongguk loves him just the same.

Someone bumps into Jeongguk’s back and he trips forward, falling into Taehyung. His hand falls to Taehyung’s hip on instinct, steadying him so they don’t fall, and they both collapse into a mess of giggles. Taehyung leans forward, resting his forehead on Jeongguk’s shoulder, and Jeongguk catches the tail end of his laughter tinkling softly in his ear as the song ends.

Jeongguk takes him by the wrist so they don’t lose each other as they weave through the crowd to get off the dance floor. They step away, toward the back, near the bathrooms, where the music isn’t so loud. Jeongguk leans back against the wall, pulling Taehyung along to stand in front of him, and they’re both still recovering from the dancing and laughing fit.

“I knew I could count on you for a good time, Jeonggukkie,” Taehyung smiles that cute boxy grin, eyes turning into crescent and cheeks flushed a soft pink. Jeongguk’s stomach swoops at the sight. He’s so cute, fuck .

“Anytime,” Jeongguk chokes out, smiling in return.

He can feel Taehyung start to pull away, see the way Taehyung prepares to tell him he’s leaving, so he cuts in before Taehyung can speak. “Why don’t you come home tonight? We’ll order in, sober up, watch a bunch of movies.”

Taehyung lets out a huff and it sends a strand of his fringe flying up. “I can’t,” he cocks his head, his expression apologetic. “I promised I’d spend the night with Seojoon.”

Jeongguk feels a spark of irritation, dampening his good mood from earlier. Reality is setting in quickly this time. “Come on, Tae. Are you really having fun with him?”

“Well, he’s being an ass now but he’s not always that bad.”

Jeongguk looks away, but doesn’t try to mask the frown on his face. “Yeah, only most of the time.”

Taehyung raises an eyebrow, taken aback by the attitude. He pulls his hand out of Jeongguk’s grip, and it still stings even though his mood toward Taehyung is souring. “I’m not going to get into this right now, Guk. Don’t be like this. We were having a good time.”

“Yeah, and now you have to listen to daddy’s orders and run back to him.”

Taehyung’s jaw clenches, his expression hardening. He knows he’s crossed a line with the comment, but he’s too pissed off to care. “Why are being such a dick all of a sudden? You don’t even know him, just chill out.”

“I know enough about him to know he doesn’t respect you,” he snaps before he can stop himself. He hates this, hates how fast the night has gone downhill, but it feels like everything has come to a boiling point. Taehyung has brushed him off one too many times when he’s tried to voice his concerns about the men he dates, and he’s beyond sick of it. And maybe dancing with Taehyung made him feel better than he has in a while, lifted his mood, but he was so abruptly yanked back down right after the song ended, reminded of the fact that Taehyung would rather run back to some rich dickhead than spend time with him.

“Wow, okay,” Taehyung blinks, then releases a frustrated sigh as he pinches the bridge of nose, as though Jeongguk is giving him a headache. “I’m not having this argument with you right now. Yeah, Seojoon is being a asshole but that doesn’t give you the right to act like this. I’m going home with him tonight and he’ll ease up, stop freaking out.”

“Yeah I’m sure getting on your knees for him will put him in a much better mood.”

Jeongguk knows he’s messed up the second it slips out of his mouth. Taehyung goes utterly still and silent, staring at Jeongguk with wide eyes before his expression shifts into something cold and angry.

“Fuck you,” Taehyung spits before he storms away.

Jeongguk turns away and stomps off in the opposite direction, resisting the urge to run after Taehyung. The seething anger at the forefront of his mind makes it easier to swallow back the guilt.

 

 

 

 

Jeongguk doesn’t find out about the sugar daddy thing until Taehyung is a year into university and Jeongguk comes to his apartment for a visit.

They have a long weekend and Jeongguk decides last minute that he’ll surprise Taehyung and stay for a few days. Taehyung isn’t home when he arrives but he knows where the spare key is, so he lets himself in and waits. He’s jittery, excited to see Taehyung after months of only texts and skype calls.

Taehyung isn’t in class this late, so Jeongguk assumes he’s probably out with friends. He’s not sure how long he’ll have to wait but he’s determined to not fall asleep.

An hour goes by and he perks up when he hears the sound of a car outside. He pockets his phone as he stands and makes his way over to the window, hoping he’ll spot Taehyung coming into the building. Taehyung doesn’t own a car but he’ll probably be dropped off by a friend or an uber, and there hasn’t been much noise from outside until now.

He raises a brow when he immediately spots the sleek black Lamborghini parked right outside the apartment building. Taehyung only lives on the second floor, so Jeongguk can see clearly out the window and down onto the sidewalk, where two people are up against the side of the building.

The shock of Taehyung’s blond hair is the first thing he takes note of, and it takes a moment to register what’s happening. There’s a man - taller and broader, pressing Taehyung up against the wall with a hand to his throat, kissing him furiously, his other hand out of sight.

Jeongguk immediately sees red, feels a spike of adrenaline as he rushes out the door and down the stairs. He doesn’t think, doesn’t stop to contemplate what’s happening, because all he can see in his mind is the image of Taehyung being assaulted by this man, unable to get away.

He bursts out the door and sprints over to where the man still has Taehyung pressed up against the wall, a large hand still around Taehyung’s neck. Without hesitation, he grabs the guy by the back of the shirt and pulls him away, then throws a punch so hard it knocks him to the ground.

“What the fuck ?” The man spits furiously at Jeongguk as he holds his bloody nose. Jeongguk stands ready, body rigid and every muscle tense as he heaves breathes through his nose.

“Jeongguk!?” Taehyung exclaims, stumbling away from the wall from the force of Jeongguk pulling the man off. His throat is red where the man had been holding him and Jeongguk has never felt more murderous than he does now. “What the- What are you doing here?”

“Stopping this asshole from assaulting you, apparently!” Jeongguk stands with his fists balled at his sides, blood still hot in his veins, and he doesn’t take his eyes off of the man as he speaks. His knuckles are throbbing, but he hardly feels the pain.

“Assaulting? Wha-“

The man scrambles to stand up and tries to rush at Jeongguk but Taehyung steps between them, pushing both hands against the man’s chest. “Hey, no! Stop! Jihan, stop!”

“Fuck that! This little punk just hit me! Who the fuck does he think he is!?” He points an accusing finger at Jeongguk, face bloody and twisted in rage. Despite the mess of blood, his nose doesn’t look broken, unfortunately.

Jeongguk stands there, adrenaline still coursing through him, confusion settling in his mind. Taehyung knows this man’s name?

“I said stop!” Taehyung commands, grabbing the front of Jihan’s shirt. “Calm down!” Jihan huffs and stares at Jeongguk over Taehyung’s shoulder, fury in his eyes, but doesn’t move to push Taehyung out of the way. Taehyung takes a deep breath, and loosens his grip on Jihan’s shirt. “He’s my best friend. He thought you were hurting me, you idiot.” Jihan says nothing, just continues to glare at Jeongguk as though Taehyung hasn’t spoken.

Taehyung turns around, gaze steely as he points to Jeongguk. “You. Stay here.”

“But-“

Taehyung fixes him with a look that dares him to disobey and he clamps his mouth shut.

“And you,” he turns back to Jihan and reaches into the inside of Jihan’s jacket to pull out a handkerchief and press it to his bleeding nose. “You need to go home.”

Jeongguk watches in mild shock as Taehyung walks Jihan over to the Lamborghini, mumbling apologies on Jeongguk’s behalf. Jihan still looks furious, and his expensive suit is speckled with blood, but he doesn’t try to turn back when Taehyung leads him to the driver’s side and urges him to get in. He listens, opens the door and gets in, and when Taehyung bends down, Jeongguk can’t hear or see what’s going on for a moment.

Eventually Taehyung steps away from the car and back around to the sidewalk, rolling his eyes as Jihan revs the engine and takes off.

Jeongguk stares, stunned and confused, as Taehyung makes his way over and takes him by the arm to drag him back to the door. “What the hell was that?” Jeongguk asks when he finally finds his voice. “I thought-“

Taehyung groans as they reach the stairs. “Can the questions wait until we’re at least back in my apartment?”

Jeongguk clenches his jaw to stop the flood of questions he has and lets Taehyung lead him up the stairs and into his apartment, where Taehyung takes off his shoes and sits on the couch with a frustrated sigh. Jeongguk follows, but stand by the side of the couch, still feeling lost.

“What are you doing here?” Taehyung has never not wanted him there, so the question stings a little.

“I came to stay a few days. Thought I’d surprise you,” he answers curtly as he steps over and finally joins Taehyung on the couch.

“And why the hell did you do what you just did?”

“I looked out the window and saw some random guy choking you! What the hell was I supposed to think!?” He asks incredulously. He still can’t wrap his head around what happened - who the hell the guy is and why Taehyung seems to know him.

Taehyung groans again as he lowers his face into his open palms. “He wasn’t hurting me. Not in a way I didn’t want anyways,” his voice is muffled but Jeongguk still catches what he says.

“...What the hell does that mean?”

Taehyung rolls his eyes when he lifts his head, and his cheeks are tinted a slight pink from what Jeongguk can only guess is embarrassment. “It means he wasn’t hurting me. I wanted him to do that to me and I wanted him to kiss me.”

Jeongguk pauses for a long moment, “Oh…,” realization dawns on him and he feels a wave of shame. He’s such an idiot . People do that kind of stuff. It’s fine - common. There’s nothing wrong with Taehyung being into it. But he’s still slightly confused. “So...what? Is he your boyfriend or something? You’ve never not told me about boyfriends. And he looked like he was forty or something,” he tacks on, remembering the guy’s features and his expensive clothing. He was undoubtedly good-looking, but definitely much older. Did Taehyung hide him from Jeongguk because of the age gap?

Taehyung purses his lips, “Not exactly.”

“A one night stand?”

“No.”

“So?” Jeongguk drawls, hoping Taehyung will continue. “What’s going on, then?”

“It’s- complicated,” Taehyung props his elbow up on the arm of the couch and averts his gaze. “We have an agreement.”

“An agreement?” Jeongguk pushes, still lost as to what Taehyung is trying to explain. He shifts uncomfortably on the couch, not liking where this is going. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s mutually beneficial,” Taehyung shrugs, does his best to sound nonchalant, but he still isn’t looking at Jeongguk. “He has a lot of money. I’m young and he likes me.”

Something clicks in Jeongguk’s mind then. He remembers all the times in the past year that he has questioned the expensive clothing Taehyung wears, how he affords to pay for so much on the measly amount of money his parents send him for his apartment. “So, what? Are you like…a prostitute?” Jeongguk chokes out, because it’s the first thing he thinks and he can’t stop himself from asking as soon as it invades his mind.

“That’s not the term I would use,” Taehyung replies, pulling at a loose thread on the couch. “More like...a sugar baby, I guess? As silly as it may sound.”

Jeongguk goes silent and sits back, tries to process what he’s just been told. Taehyung has always gone for guys a little older than him, much to Jeongguk’s disappointment, but never this much older. Does Taehyung need the money that bad? Does he feel like he has to do this? “Why?” Jeongguk finally asks. “Why are you doing it? And why didn’t you just tell me?”

“Because I want to,” Taehyung replies simply. “I didn’t go searching for a sugar daddy, but a man gave me an offer a while back and I liked the sound of it, so I went for it.” Taehyung pauses and scoots closer to him, softly touches his arm. He’s finally looking at Jeongguk, but Jeongguk is still too preoccupied with processing this to look back at him. “I didn’t mean to keep it from you. It was just difficult to explain and I never found a chance to bring it up.”

“This could be dangerous,” Jeongguk voices his immediate concern. “These guys are so much older than you, Hyung. You don’t know what-“

“Hey,” Taehyung stops him, voice firm. “I get why you’re worried. I do. But I can take care of myself. I’m not stupid.”

He finally looks to Taehyung, brow furrowed and mouth set in a frown. “I know that,” he says, and he does, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t still protective. “Do your parents know?”

“Of course not,” Taehyung scoffs. “It took long enough for them to accept that I’m gay. I’m not throwing this at them too. It’s not something they need to know.”

“Tae…”

“I like these guys, okay? I’m an adult and I’m not doing anything I don’t want to do.” Taehyung props his arm up at the top of the couch and rests his cheek on it. “You don’t have to worry. I get them wrapped around my finger and they do anything I want,” he smiles, tries to lighten the mood, but it doesn’t break through Jeongguk’s sour mood.

He still doesn’t like the idea of Taehyung putting himself in such a risky situation. The picture Taehyung paints with his words seems ideal, but Jeongguk isn’t stupid enough to think that these situations are always so perfect. And maybe a part of him feels annoyed about being kept in the dark, like a child, once again.

He doesn’t even want to address the bitter taste of jealousy in the back of his mouth. That, he’ll leave to mull over later.

“I still don’t like it,” he admits, because Taehyung would see right through him if he lied.

“I knew you wouldn’t,” Taehyung sighs. “It’s okay, I never expected you to accept it quickly.” Taehyung scoots closer, until he’s pressed close to Jeongguk’s side, and rests his head on Jeongguk’s shoulder as he latches onto his arm. Jeongguk feels himself melt, relaxing into Taehyung’s side. “I really am okay. I’m not doing this because I feel like I have to, or because I’m being forced into it. I wouldn’t lie to you about that.”

“I- “ Jeongguk takes a deep breath, swallows the words he feels the urge to say. Taehyung is set in his ways, and there’s no changing his mind at this point. He trusts Taehyung, more than anyone, but that doesn’t erase the countless reasons why he doesn’t like this. “I know you wouldn’t.”

“Good,” Taehyung squeezes his arm, content with the civil outcome.

“I’m still mad that you didn’t tell me,” he tacks on, because yeah he’s bitter and a petty part of him wants Taehyung to know it.

“I’m sorry, Jeonggukkie,” Taehyung whines adorably, nuzzling into his shoulder. “But you just gave Jihan a bloody nose and I’ll never hear the end of it, so can we just call it even?”

Jeongguk can't fight the smug smile that tugs at the corner of his lips. The two don’t exactly correlate but if Taehyung can be so forgiving about him punching Jihan, he can get over Taehyung keeping a secret. “Hmm I guess.”

Jeongguk runs into Jihan a few times after that, when he’s with Taehyung, and he finds that even after getting to know Jihan, he still doesn’t regret punching him.

As time goes on, Taehyung falls in love with the expensive lifestyle, the idea of these older men, and Jeongguk feels like his chances of ever holding Taehyung’s heart slip away a little more each day. He’s reminded that he’ll never be someone that Taehyung will want. He’s not rich, he’s not powerful, he’s not older, he can’t give Taehyung everything he wants.

He's just the best friend, the kid that follows Taehyung around like a lost puppy.

He’s just Jeongguk.

 

 

 

 

It doesn’t take long for Jeongguk to calm down once he’s home.

The silence in the apartment is heavy, reminds him that he’s alone and it’s his own damn fault. He already misses the sound of Taehyung clambering around in the kitchen or singing loudly from his room as he cleans.

Jeongguk throws off his shoes and tosses his keys across the room with an angry grunt, then stumbles over to the couch so he can collapse face first onto it.

He’s such an idiot.

He just got so angry in the moment, after years of letting this build up. He’s still angry, but he’s clear-headed enough to know that he went too far. A horrible part of him wanted to give Taehyung a taste of the pain he feels, but seeing the hurt in Taehyung’s expression hasn’t helped him feel better at all. He feels exponentially worse. Not only has Taehyung been hurt, but Jeongguk was the one to inflict the pain.

He replays the conversation in his head over and over, and the guilt leaves a bitter taste in his mouth.

Taehyung doesn’t come home that night, or the next, and Jeongguk is left to wallow in his misery. Taehyung doesn’t answer his calls or texts either, not that he’s very surprised.

He hangs out with Yugyeom on Friday, because he can’t stand to be alone and trapped in his thoughts for another night. It helps a little, gives him a bit of a distraction, but the apartment still feels painfully empty without Taehyung there and having Taehyung stay mad at him for so long makes him feel sick.

They’ve had their fair share of fights through their nearly fifteen years of friendship, but they rarely have any that are this serious.

It isn’t until Saturday that he hears from Taehyung.

He left to grab something easy for dinner at the convenience store down the street and when he comes home, he’s shocked to find Taehyung sitting on the couch and he freezes at the doorway.

“Hyung,” he calls out, and Taehyung jolts, as though he hadn’t even heard Jeongguk come in.

“J- Jeongguk, you’re home,” Taehyung turns away as he says it, but Jeongguk can see him wiping his face with the sleeves of his shirt, and he can hear the tears in his voice.

Jeongguk feels his heart drop. Taehyung never cries.

“What’s wrong? Are you okay?” He immediately makes his way over to the couch, chest tight with worry, and throws his food on the coffee table before sitting down beside Taehyung. Any relief he felt over finally seeing Taehyung home has been dampened at the realization that Taehyung is crying .

“It’s nothing, I’m fine,” Taehyung insists, sniffling slightly as he continues to wipe his face. “I’m fine.”

“Tae, you’re not fine,” he places a gentle hand on Taehyung’s arm, urging him to turn around. Jeongguk grows more concerned when Taehyung says nothing, and he can feel the older boy shaking under his hand. There’s hiccuping breathes that become increasingly rapid, as Taehyung struggles to hold back his crying.

“Hey, it’s okay, come on,” he gives a gentle tug at Taehyung’s elbow, and finally, Taehyung turns around. He immediately buries his face in Jeongguk’s shoulder, curling his fingers into the fabric of Jeongguk’s hoodie with trembling hands. His chest heaves as he finally begins sobbing, whimpering as he collapses into a crying mess. Jeongguk wraps his arms around him, pulls him close, practically into his lap, and whispers words of comfort into his ear.

Seeing Taehyung like this, holding him as he full on sobs, makes Jeongguk feel as though there’s a vice around his heart, squeezing until it becomes hard to breathe.

“You w-were right,” Taehyung stutters and hiccups through his tears. “You were right about everything and I’m so stupid for getting mad at you and I’m so sorry -“

“Hey, no, don’t-“ Jeongguk pulls away so he can cradle Taehyung’s face in his hands, tilt his head up to make Taehyung look at him. “Don’t apologize. I’m the one who should be apologizing. I was an asshole that night and you didn’t deserve that.” Taehyung looks away, doubt in his expression. This is the first time Jeongguk is getting a good look at his face and it hurts to see someone so strong and confident falling apart like this. His cheeks are flushed and wet with tears that are still trailing down his face, and his mascara has rubbed off under his eyes. He looks defeated.

Taehyung shakes his head. “No,” he retorts. “You were just telling it like it is and I got pissy because I couldn’t handle the truth.”

“Tae, no-“

“We broke up,” Taehyung cuts in before he can protest further.

Jeongguk is silent for moment, wipes at a tear that falls to the top of Taehyung’s cheekbone. “I’m sorry, Hyung.” He still doesn’t quite understand the tears. Taehyung has had some messy breakups but he’s never seemed this upset.

“He got upset because I apparently wouldn’t shut up about you,” Taehyung snorts, fingers curling tighter around Jeongguk’s hoodie. “Asshole. As if he has any say in my friendship with you. He doesn’t own me.”

“Was it- Did it happen because of me?” Jeongguk asks, stunned. He’s wanted Taehyung to leave Seojoon for a while, but he didn’t want to be the cause of this .

Taehyung shakes his head, “It was just...a lot. That’s where the argument started, I guess, but there’s more to it.”

Jeongguk moves his hand to stroke his fingers through the back of Taehyung’s hair. “Wanna talk about it?”

“He-“ Taehyung starts, and Jeongguk’s heart clenches when his lip wobbles and tears well in his eyes again. “He told me to keep my mouth shut and just sit there and look pretty like I’m meant to.”

“Tae, what-“ he growls, then cuts himself off because he isn’t even sure what to say. His shoulders go stiff and he can feel how hard he’s clenching his jaw as Taehyung continues.

“He says that kind of stuff all the time. Says I’m fucking weird and annoying and the only reason he put up with me was for a good fuck,” Taehyung laughs bitterly, tears clinging to eyelashes as he looks away. “As if I don’t already know all of that.”

What the fuck . Jeongguk has to stop his hands from clenching tighter as Taehyung’s words send a burning fury flowing through his veins. “Tae, what the hell, that’s not true,” he tilts Taehyung’s face up again to urge him to look into his eyes, and Taehyung reluctantly looks up, snot and tears smudged all over his face. He’s still the most beautiful person Jeongguk has ever seen, even like this. “You’re the most amazing person I know,” he says firmly as he wipes away Taehyung’s tears before they can fall. “You’re funny and kind and caring and so smart.”

He aches with the need to make Taehyung realize how perfect he really is, how he’s way too good for every asshole he’s dated. His own one-sided romantic feelings aside, Jeongguk has always looked up to Taehyung as a person, admired how amazing and strong he is. He’s been both an inspiration and a reason for Jeongguk to become stronger in every aspect. “Please don’t believe anything he said. He’s a selfish dick who was just trying to use you and hurt you, and you’re too good for that.”

“Am I really, though?” Taehyung chokes out, a fresh wave of tears welling in his eyes. “I’m so stupid for letting him treat me like garbage but I don’t know if I even deserve anything better. Am I really useful for anything other than a good fuck and spending all your money? I don’t know anymore.” He’s getting close to hysterical again, his breath hitching in his chest as he struggles to get the words out and his hands trembling as he uncurls them from Jeongguk’s clothes and tries to pull away.

“Taehyung, please -“ Jeongguk reaches out to keep him close, chest aching from the pain in Taehyung’s voice. Seojoon got in Taehyung’s head more than he thought, digging and digging until he planted enough insecurities to make Taehyung believe he deserved to be treated like that. Jeongguk burns with the desire to find Seojoon and beat him within an inch of his life, make him feel even an ounce of the pain he’s caused Taehyung, but Jeongguk can’t leave now. And logically he knows it wouldn’t do much good, wouldn’t reverse the damage done. “You deserve to have the entire world at your feet,” he strokes a hand through a Taehyung’s hair, smooths the back of his fingers against Taehyung’s damp cheek, anything to soothe him. “You’re perfect in every way. Don’t you think I’d know better than him?”

Taehyung doesn’t reply, he just looks down, a stray tear falling from the end of his eyelashes and landing on Jeongguk’s arm. He looks so beaten down, so horribly sad, and Jeongguk doesn’t know what to do or say to make it right.

He doesn’t even think before he acts, doesn’t ponder the consequences before he tilts Taehyung’s chin up and leans forward to press their lips together in a soft kiss. He just knows that he has to do something to convince Taehyung of his words.

Taehyung goes rigid, lips still against Jeongguk’s, and then he relaxes, melting into Jeongguk’s arms and moving his lips against Jeongguk’s.

The kiss tastes like tears, but Taehyung’s lips are just as soft and warm as Jeongguk has always dreamed of. Jeongguk kisses him like the treasure he is, gentle but still eager. His heart stutters, then feels like it’s soaring through the clouds, light and pleasant.

Then Taehyung rips away from him and it feels like a bucket of ice cold water has been dumped over his head.

Taehyung pulls away so fast, stumbling as he lifts himself out of Jeongguk’s lap and away from the couch. Jeongguk’s heart sinks to his toes as he watches Taehyung back away with a hand over his mouth, eyes wide and filled with tears again. “Jeongguk, I-“ he chokes, cuts himself off, and Jeongguk feels the back of his eyes sting. Fuck , he’s messed up so bad.

“Tae, I’m sorry, please just-“ his voice is trembling and when he tries to stand up, his knees feel weak.

“I can’t do this,” Taehyung whispers, expression pained, and then he turns around and hurries down the hall to his room.

“Taehyung!” Jeongguk goes after him but he doesn’t reach the door in time, and he’s left in the hallway by himself, feeling a dreadful coldness spreading through him as he knocks on Taehyung’s door.

He’s ruined everything.

“Tae, please open the door! I’m so sorry! Just talk to me, please?” Taehyung doesn’t open the door, doesn’t speak, but Jeongguk can hear his muffled crying and he knows he’s made maybe the worst mistake of his life.

He can’t do this, can’t be here right now if he has to listen to Taehyung cry because of him. He goes back down the hall, a sob catching in the back of his throat as he grabs his keys and wallet and walks out the door.

 

 

 

 

Jeongguk almost goes to Jimin, but he stays at Yugyeom’s instead because he doesn’t think he can handle the pity in Jimin’s expression. He hopes one night away is enough, because he can’t stand to leave this hanging for any longer.

The pain of his mistake, of the rejection, lingers in his chest, but at least he can reign it in now. He’s always known how this would go, and yet that knowledge still never quite prepared him for the pain. He mostly feels numb after a night of crying himself to sleep, resigned to the fact that nothing will ever be the same.

But he’d rather get it over with quickly, know now rather than later if Taehyung wants to cut him off completely.

So he musters up the courage to leave early in the morning, shooting Yugyeom a text because he’s still asleep and Jeongguk doesn’t want to bother waking him.

He walks home in a haze, opens the door to his apartment and slips off his shoes on autopilot. The apartment is quiet, Taehyung isn’t in the living room or kitchen, so he must still be holed up in his room. Jeongguk goes to his own room before he tries talking to Taehyung again. If Taehyung is still asleep, he doesn’t want to wake him and confront him when he’s still half asleep.

When he opens his bedroom door and sees a lump of blankets on his bed, he has to do a double take. Messy pink hair peeks out from the top of the blankets, and there are toes sticking out from the other end.

Taehyung is in his bed.

He stands at his doorway, stunned and confused, and before he can even speak, Taehyung pushes the blankets off of his head and looks up. “Jeongguk?” He says, voice weak and thick with sleep. His eyes are slightly swollen from crying, and his hair is a frizzy mess. Jeongguk probably looks similar.

Taehyung sits up and scoots to the top of the bed, probably hugging his knees under the blankets. “Sorry, I fell asleep waiting for you. I thought maybe you’d come back last night.”

He looks hesitant, expression guarded and neutral, and the air between them is more awkward than it’s ever been. It bothers Jeongguk that he can’t read Taehyung at all. The only thing he feels is the tension in the air.

Jeongguk clears his throat. “It’s- Its okay. I fell asleep at Yugyeom’s.”

“We need to talk, Jeonggukkie,” Taehyung says, patting the empty area on the bed to encourage Jeongguk to sit down. Jeongguk usually feels endeared by the nickname, but the only thing he feels as he sits at the end of the bed is a dreadful emptiness. He isn’t ready for what he knows is coming.

Taehyung is silent for a long moment, pretty lashes fluttering as he stares down at the blanket, and Jeongguk can’t take the silence for much longer so he speaks first. “I’m sorry,” he blurts out. “I’m such an idiot. I shouldn’t have thrown that at you when you were already upset and in a bad place.”

Taehyung shakes his head, presses his lips together before he speaks. “No, I’m sorry. I was a coward for running off and ignoring you. Both times,” Taehyung scoffs bitterly. “I just-“

Taehyung stops, averts his eyes and goes still as he waits for the words to come to him. It’s not often that Taehyung is so unsure of himself, especially around Jeongguk. He seems strangely nervous, fingers jittery and his teeth chewing at his bottom lip. The longer he’s quiet, the more anxious Jeongguk gets. If Taehyung wants to kick him to the curb, he just wants it to be over fast.

“I only ran away because I panicked,” Taehyung finally blurts out, looking back up at him. “I was a pathetic mess last night and I knew the kiss was just an act of pity. And after- after years thinking I didn’t stand a chance with you, I couldn’t handle that. But it’s okay, I’ve calmed down and I get why you-“

“Wait wait wait!” Jeongguk jolts up, mind coming to a stuttering halt as Taehyung’s words finally register. “After years of what ?”

Taehyung lowers his forehead onto his knees and sighs, weary and tired. The silence that follows is tense, and Jeongguk heart races. He won’t get his hopes up. He won’t . He had to have heard wrong.

When Taehyung looks up again, he gives a small smile, sad around the edges, as though he’s expecting something terrible and he’s just accepted it - much like Jeongguk has been feeling. “I’ve always been in love with you, Jeonggukkie.”

Time feels as though it comes to a screeching halt.

Jeongguk’s mind goes completely blank, every thought disappearing to be replaced by the echo of Taehyung’s words. It’s like he’s trapped in his own head, the environment around him fading into a far away blur, as though he’s dreaming.

“Jeongguk?” Its Taehyung’s voice that pulls him back to reality, and he realizes how long he’s been silently staring at the floor, gripping his pants. “Say something. You’re scaring me,” Taehyung says with a nervous, humorless laugh.

“You can’t- I mean, it’s not-“ he struggles to find the words, his brain now dealing with the flood of confused thoughts. He’s still a little numb with shock. “Wh- What about all the guys you dated?” He finally asks. “Why did you-?”

“Dating them was the perfect way to try to forget about how much I wanted you. They were nothing like you.” Taehyung’s shrugs, and his eyes are sad, regretful as he looks to Jeongguk. “At first I just thought you weren’t into guys, and that sucked. And then when you figured out you were bi, I thought you would still never be into... me .”

Jeongguk groans as he buries his face in his hands, his head a mess of racing thoughts. This is ridiculous. Unbelievable. He has to be dreaming. “You’re not fucking with me, are you?” He asks, voice slightly muffled.

“What?” Taehyung sounds slightly offended. “Of course not. I wouldn’t lie about that.”

There’s a beat of silence, and then Jeongguk feels something hysterical build up in his chest and burst out of him in a choked laugh. He dissolves into a fit of laughter, and he can’t seem to make it stop.

“What’s so funny about this?” When he looks up, he sees Taehyung’s eyebrows drawn together in confusion, and his expression painted with hurt.

Jeongguk sobers quickly at that, wiping the tears out of his eyes as his laughter dies down. “No, fuck, I wasn’t laughing at you,” he quickly explains. “I was laughing at us because we’re both idiots.”

Taehyung says nothing, just stares at Jeongguk with even more confusion, his stance slightly guarded, as though he isn’t sure if he believes it entirely.

Jeongguk scoots closer, leaning forward onto the bed. “I’m in love with you, too. I have been since I was sixteen. Probably longer and I was just too dumb to realize it.”

The words are like a breath of fresh air, a weight off his shoulders. The feeling in his chest is light, almost giddy with happiness. He can’t help but feel sad for lost time, for years of pointless pining, but it doesn’t even matter because Taehyung loves him .

Taehyung blinks wide eyes at him, says nothing for a long moment, then his expression relaxes into something still slightly hesitant. “The kiss...I thought you only did that because you felt sorry for me.”

“I kissed you because I love you and needed you to know that everything I was saying was true. And because I have really shitty self control,” he admits with a half smile, shrugging.

Taehyung finally cracks a smile, breaking through the guarded expression, and Jeongguk feels a flood of relief. “Really?”

“Yeah, really.”

Taehyung pushes the blankets off and moves up to practically throw himself at Jeongguk, wrapping his arms around his shoulders and pressing close to him. “We really are so stupid,” Taehyung says with laughter in his voice.

Jeongguk feels the back of his eyes burn, but he fights the tears as he curls his arms around Taehyung’s waist and presses a smile into the warmth of his skin. “Yeah, we definitely are.”

Taehyung pulls away slightly, their cheeks brushing as he lifts his head, and Taehyung slows there. Jeongguk’s pulse races when he feels Taehyung’s warm breath on his lips, and their noses brush as Taehyung turns his head slightly. The moment is pleasantly intimate, skin against skin, the air alight with a soft buzz leading up to a kiss. Then, their lips meet and Jeongguk feels like everything has fallen into place.

The kiss is gentle, much like their first, Taehyung’s soft lips moving slowly against his own. Taehyung tangles his fingers in the hair at the back of Jeongguk’s neck and Jeongguk spreads his palm on Taehyung’s back, feeling each breath he takes.

Taehyung pulls away, presses their foreheads together, leaves their lips only centimeters apart. “You sure you want this? What if I just ruin this like I’ve ruined everything else?” His voice trembles slightly, insecure and a little breathless from the kiss.

Jeongguk’s heart clenches painfully, and he moves to cradle Taehyung’s face in his hands and look into his eyes. “You’re not the problem, Tae. You’ve never been the problem. Don’t put that all on yourself.”

Taehyung nods slowly but he doesn’t look entirely convinced, so Jeongguk leans in to kiss him again, hopes it’ll do more than words can. The way Taehyung’s mouth fits against his own is perfect, so beautiful that it hurts. Jeongguk pours everything he has into it, kisses Taehyung like it’s their last, holds him like he could disappear at any moment. Then, Taehyung nibbles at his bottom lip and slips his tongue in Jeongguk’s mouth and it shifts into something more heated. Taehyung kisses him like a starved man, lips and tongue soft and slick against Jeongguk’s mouth.

Jeongguk’s hands slide under Taehyung’s big t-shirt, thumbs stroking his hips bones, palms sliding over his sides until they reach the small of his back. Every slope and curve of Taehyung’s body feels heavenly against his hands. He takes two handfuls of Taehyung’s ass and Taehyung moans against his mouth, lifts himself up so Jeongguk can get a better grip. He can feel the soft silk of Taehyung’s panties against his palms, the swell of his ass, and there’s a deep rush of heat that hits him right in the gut. Taehyung’s arms tighten around his shoulders, fingers curling into his hair, and fuck it’s so hot.

He still can’t believe Taehyung is in his arms right now, touching him, kissing him, in love with him .

He moves to climb completely onto the bed, lay Taehyung down, and they both chase each other’s lips as they try to keep kissing when they move. Jeongguk has to sit up to yank his shirt over his hand and pull his pants off though, limbs jittery with excitement, skin hot and tingling.

He immediately leans back down to press his lips to Taehyung’s again, before lowering himself to mouth at Taehyung’s neck, sucking softly at the skin. A breathy little gasp slips out of Taehyung’s mouth as he pushes Taehyung’s shirt up and starts kissing down his chest, to his stomach. Taehyung’s belly button ring is a simple soft heart stud, nothing flashy, and fuck it turns him on so much every time he sees it. It’s so pretty against the soft, tan skin of his tummy. He grabs Taehyung by the hips and looks up as he drags his tongue along the piercing, watches Taehyung’s eyelashes flutter, feels the way his body shivers under him. The sensation of metal and flesh on Jeongguk’s tongue has every ounce of his blood running south.

“So sensitive,” Jeongguk murmurs, brushing his thumb along Taehyung’s hipbone and watching him shiver slightly, so responsive to the soft touch.

The head of Taehyung cock peeks out from his silk panties, flushed pink and pressed against his lower stomach. Jeongguk reaches down to stroke him through his panties, running his hand down the hardness, and a low, gravelly moan slips from Taehyung’s lips. He teases Taehyung again, traces his thumb along Taehyung’s dick through the silk, but this time Taehyung’s moan is muffled and choked off.

He looks up to see Taehyung’s hands over his mouth, eyes squeezed shut, cheeks pink, as though he’s embarrassed.

“Wanna hear you,” he tells Taehyung, reaching up to gently coax Taehyung’s hands from his face.

“S- Sorry,” Taehyung whispers, voice laced with shame. Jeongguk is concerned now, that it runs deeper than just shyness or embarrassment.

“Hey, no, it’s fine,” Jeongguk reassures. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I just- “ Taehyung hesitates, his expression conflicted, gaze flickering away to avoid Jeongguk’s intense stare. Jeongguk is ready to back off, ask Taehyung if he really wants this right now, but then Taehyung finally continues. “Seojoon always said my voice was ugly. Too deep,” there’s a nervous scoff. “He’d cover my mouth when we had sex.”

Jeongguk feels a flare a rage, a pang in his heart as he stares down at the insecurity written all over Taehyung’s face. “What the hell?” He says through his teeth, because he can’t fully contain his anger.

Taehyung goes tense under him, his expression flooding with regret, and Jeongguk immediately feels guilty. He takes a deep breath, pushes the anger down.

“Sorry, I shouldn’t have-“

He holds Taehyung’s jaw in his hand, cuts him off and urges him to look up. “Do you really believe that, Tae?”

Taehyung shrugs. “I don’t know,” he mumbles, but his eyes say that he does.

“Your voice is beautiful. I love how deep it is. There’s nothing wrong with it.” Taehyung still looks doubtful, so he leans down and presses a kiss to the other side of his jaw. “I could listen to you talk about anything for hours.” A kiss to the side of his neck. “Love hearing you sing in the shower.” Another kiss to Taehyung’s collarbone, and Taehyung shudders softly. “I want to hear every sound you make when I touch you, okay?”

“Okay,” Taehyung buries his fingers in Jeongguk’s hair, voice shaking slightly.

Jeongguk sits up and takes a moment to appreciate the beautiful sight of Taehyung lying under him. Taehyung’s gaze is heavy as he stares back, lips slightly swollen and shiny, cheeks colored a pretty pink. His pink hair is messy and splayed across the pillow under him. The big t-shirt Taehyung is wearing (Jeongguk’s t-shirt, he realizes with a hum of pleasure) is pushed up to his underarms, revealing his soft stomach and pretty pink nipples.

He wants to worship the man under him, devote all of his time and attention to Taehyung and make him feel like he’s the only person in the world who matters.

He moves to help Taehyung pull the shirt over his head and throw it on the floor, leaving him in just his silk white panties. “You’re so fucking gorgeous, Tae,” he leans in to kiss Taehyung, and Taehyung groans against his mouth as he reaches down to sneak his hand into Taehyung’s panties and wrap his fingers around his dick. He pulls away to watch Taehyung’s face as he strokes him, “You look so cute like this,” Taehyung mouth drops open with a stuttered whine as Jeongguk brushes his thumb along the sensitive underside of his cock. “Love watching you, hearing you moan when I touch you.”

“Jeongguk,” Taehyung whispers pleadingly, and fuck Jeongguk never thought he’d hear Taehyung say his name like that. “My name sounds so pretty when you say it, Tae. Fuck, I love it.” Taehyung throws the back of his hand over his eyes, flustered by the praise. Jeongguk quickly pulls it away, “Wanna see your face, baby,” the pet name slips off his tongue so easily, and Taehyung seems to like it, trembles slightly under him, eyelashes fluttering.

There’s something so intimate about Taehyung being vulnerable with him, but it’s sad that Taehyung doesn’t hear these kinds of things all the time, from the people who were supposed to care for him. Taehyung has always been this confident person, but everything he’s been through has made him feel like he isn’t worthy of genuine love. Jeongguk doesn’t mind taking on the task of replacing every insult with praise, every harsh touch with something gentle and loving, every bad memory with a pleasant one.

He presses his lips to Taehyung’s forehead and looks into his eyes, “You want this, Tae?”

“Yes,” Taehyung whispers immediately, body arching up, hands gripping his shoulders. “Fuck me, Jeongguk, please?”

“Anything you want.” Jeongguk wastes no time in grabbing lube and a condom from the drawer in his bedside table and setting it beside them on the bed. He slips off his briefs and helps Taehyung out of his panties, slipping them down his smooth legs. Fuck, he must shave, probably even waxes. And it’s not just his legs that are free of hair. Jeongguk has never minded body hair but holy shit Taehyung’s skin is so smooth and beautiful.

“Even your dick is pretty,” he says out loud, taking Taehyung’s cock in his hand. “You’re perfect, Tae. You have no idea.”

Taehyung whines, just a soft breathy sound, and tries to thrust into his hand, chasing the touch. Jeongguk strokes him, slow and torturous, for a moment, while he presses his lips to his skin, kissing up his stomach and chest until he’s reaches his shoulder.

He has to pull away to grab the lube, and Taehyung whines, lips jutting out into a pout when Jeongguk stops touching him. “Cute,” Jeongguk smiles. He slips a pillow under Taehyung’s lower back and leans down to kiss his pouty lips. “You’re the cutest.”

“Cuter than you, huh?” Taehyung asks, eyeing Jeongguk’s hands as he pops the lid open and pours the lube onto his fingers.

“Definitely.”

He hikes Taehyung’s legs up and takes Taehyung’s hip in one hand, then presses his other fingers to Taehyung’s entrance, feeling the way it flutters against his touch and watching as Taehyung’s mouth drops open.

He pushes the tip of his two fingers in, slowly inserting them, giving Taehyung time to adjust. Taehyung bites his bottom lip and groans, tries to move his hips but Jeongguk has a firm grip on him. “More, more, more,” Taehyung chokes out, impatient.

Jeongguk pushes further in and begins a slow pace of thrusting, scissoring his fingers a bit. Taehyung squirms underneath him, shyly tries to press his thighs together.

He strokes Taehyung’s cock in time with his thrusts, and leans down to suck on the head, drawing a startled moan out of Taehyung. He feels Taehyung curl long fingers into his hair, his grip just tight enough to send a little shiver down the back of Jeongguk’s neck.

Jeongguk’s own cock is rock hard and aching between his legs, but he doesn’t mind being patient, not when he gets to see and feel Taehyung come undone beneath him like this.

He eventually pushes a third finger in and presses against Taehyung’s walls, stretching him open slowly, brushing against his prostate. He pulls away from Taehyung’s dick and sits up to watch the way Taehyung trembles from his fingers alone.

“Oh god,” the words slip out of Taehyung’s mouth in a whispered moan. “S- So good. You’re so good at that, Jeonggukkie.”

“Yeah?” Jeongguk’s chest swells with pride and he presses into Taehyung further, curls his fingers, feeling Taehyung’s clench around them. “You deserve nothing but the best, baby.”

He presses little kisses to the inside of Taehyung’s thigh as he continues stretching him open, sucks marks into the sensitive skin, and Taehyung quivers, mewls softly.

“Hurry up, p- please,” Taehyung begs, bringing his hand to his mouth to bite at his finger. Fuck, he sounds beautiful when he begs.

Jeongguk lifts his head. “You need my cock, Hyung?” He moves up and bypasses Taehyung’s dick to press a kiss to his navel ring, teasing him. Then, he curls his fingers right against Taehyung’s prostate.

“Ah f- fuck, yes please I need it! I need your cock, Jeongguk!” Taehyung arches off the bed, hands falling to his side to grip the bed sheets. His chest shudders with each heavy breath he takes.

“Good boy,” Jeongguk praises, his cock throbbing and hot between his legs at the sound of Taehyung’s plea. “So perfect. You sound so pretty when you’re desperate like this.”

Jeongguk loves this, loves that Taehyung has let him take the lead, let him take care of him and tell him how perfect he really is.

“Ready for me to fuck you?” Jeongguk asks softly, pulling his fingers out slowly.

Yes ,” Taehyung practically sobs, biting his lip as he looks down at Jeongguk with pleading, pleasure-clouded eyes.

Jeongguk sits up and rips open the condom wrapper, then hisses through his teeth as he carefully slides it onto his aching dick. After he’s slick with lube, he leans down and props Taehyung’s legs up around his waist, lining himself up with Taehyung’s entrance. He slides into the tight heat, little by little, giving Taehyung time to adjust. He groans, grunts Taehyung’s name, holds Taehyung’s hips in a firm grip as hot arousal settles in his groin.

Taehyung digs his nails into the muscles of Jeongguk’s shoulders and pants, soft gasps falling from his mouth as Jeongguk bottoms out. “Y- Yes, yes, ah- Jeongguk- “

Taehyung is so tight, walls clenching around Jeongguk’s cock, and his body quivers beautifully in Jeongguk’s hold. Jeongguk waits a moment, gives them both a second to breathe as they adjust to the stretch and overwhelming rush of bliss. The sensation sends little tingles all through his body, setting his skin alight.

He works his hips in a smooth motion, pulling out and giving shallow thrusts until he works up a more intense pace. Taehyung pushes his ass against Jeongguk’s hips, little whines leaving his swollen lips, and Jeongguk drinks up the sweet sounds like a starved man.

He elevates Taehyung’s hips slightly, lifting him up to get a better angle, speeding up his thrusts and gaining depth. A desperate, startled moan rips from Taehyung’s chest when he finally brushes against the sensitive bundle of nerves, and it only encourages Jeongguk to go harder.

He leans down until they’re chest to chest, wraps his arms around Taehyung’s middle and buries his face in the side of his neck with a low groan as he pushes deeper inside the warmth of Taehyung’s ass. The sensation of Taehyung’s blunt nails on his back makes him dizzy with pleasure. “Ah- ah- you’re s- so deep, Gukkie- feels so good- “

They’re both panting as Jeongguk lifts his head enough to press their cheeks together, pulling out far enough each time to thrust back in deeply, hips pushing against Taehyung’s soft ass. Taehyung arches against his form, gasping. “God, I just want to do everything with you, see how pretty you look when I touch you everywhere, hear every cute sound you make. Wanted- wanted to do this for so long,” he rambles, soaking up the mix of low moans and high-pitched whines that Taehyung spills into his ear.

Their lips brush as he turns his head, and Taehyung feeds pretty little whimpers into his mouth when he kisses him. Jeongguk feels delirious with pleasure, mind cloudy as he fucks hard and deep into Taehyung’s wet heat. He slides his hands over the soft panes of Taehyung’s skin, eager to touch and cherish every inch of him, to make a map of Taehyung’s body in his mind and memorize it.

Jeongguk’s pace grows frenzied and desperate, and Taehyung’s body is jostled with each fierce thrust, loud cries spilling from his lips. He can feel himself getting close, the arousal flaring and then building until it snaps and he’s coming into the condom. He nuzzles into Taehyung’s neck with a deep moan, his skin tingling as he rides out the orgasm, pleasure hitting him in waves.

He tries not to rest all of his weight on Taehyung as his body goes lax, limbs weightless and his mind cloudy but blissful.

They both breathe heavily for a moment, and he can feel the way Taehyung’s rib cage moves against him with each breath. It’s blissfully intimate, being pressed so closely to Taehyung, be inside of him, in the aftermath of an intense orgasm.

His arms feel a little shaky as he lifts himself up, and Taehyung squirms when Jeongguk pulls out. He pulls the condom off to tie it and throw it away, then looks back down at Taehyung, who has yet to come.  

“Gonna take care of you, Tae, I promise.”

Taehyung nods, licks his lips as he stares up at Jeongguk, his gaze electric. “Yeah?”

“Of course,” he assures. “Want me to eat you out?”

“Ah fuck,” Taehyung’s voice quivers. “Yes, p- please. No one has done that in years. He hated it.”

“Well, I sure as hell don’t,” he leans down a presses his lips to Taehyung’s collarbone, then kisses up his neck, speaking between each kiss. “He didn’t deserve you. Didn’t know how to worship an angel like you.”

“I should- I should stop talking, sorry,” Taehyung’s breath stutters, but he tries to level his voice. “I’m killing the mood.”

“Fuck that,” Jeongguk growls softly. “I want you to say whatever you feel like saying.” He strokes messy hair out of Taehyung’s face and looks down into his eyes. “Tell me all the shitty things he did so I know exactly how to show you how you should be treated.”

Taehyung blinks, and his glossy eyes portray a hint of surprise as he stares back up at Jeongguk. Then he nods, the corner of his lips quirking up into a grateful half smile before he pulls Jeongguk down for a kiss. “You don’t even know how perfect you are, do you?” Taehyung says against his lips, between kisses.

“Look who’s talking,” Jeongguk pulls back with a little smirk, trails his hand down Taehyung’s chest to his stomach. He brushes his hand over silky skin, teases Taehyung’s navel piercing with the tips of his fingers, then stops right before he reaches Taehyung’s hard cock. “Think you can come from just my tongue? Without me touching you here? Hmm?”

“Ah fuck, maybe?” Taehyung tries to arch into his hand, eager for friction, but Jeongguk presses the hand to his stomach and holds him still.

Taehyung quivers under his hand, struggling to hold back as the urge to come makes him desperate. “I told you I’ll take care of you, baby,” Jeongguk tells him.

Jeongguk does as promised, and moves down to push Taehyung’s legs up, spreading his ass to reveal his fluttering entrance, still wet with lube. Taehyung squeaks at the movement, shivers when he feels Jeongguk’s breath on him.

He kisses the inside of Taehyung’s thigh first, nibbles on the supple, sensitive skin, “Love your thighs,” he mumbles into Taehyung’s skin. “ Just as pretty as the rest of you.”

“Ah! I- I don’t- don’t like them. They’re too thick- “

Jeongguk doesn’t know if this comes from something Seojoon said or if it’s an insecurity Taehyung has always had, but he doesn’t ask Taehyung to elaborate. “They’re beautiful,” he insists. “And I like how thick they are. Feels nice to grab them,” he presses his thumbs into the inside of Taehyung’s thighs, tightens his hold on them to prove his words, and hikes up his legs up even further, to the point that his knees are almost pressed to his chest.. Taehyung whimpers, instinctively tries to press his thighs together, but Jeongguk keeps a firm hold on them.

“You look gorgeous, spread out like this for me,” he caresses soft skin with his thumb as he kisses down Taehyung’s leg. “Can’t wait to get my tongue inside of you, make you scream.”

Taehyung’s whole body jerks when Jeongguk’s tongue is finally on him, flat and wide as he licks the outside of his hole. He whimpers, tries to press down against Jeongguk’s mouth, and Jeongguk feels a simmer of arousal in his groin at the sound. He relishes in being able to pleasure Taehyung to the point of desperation.

He gives Taehyung what he wants and presses his tongue forward again, rimming the tight ring of muscles before he finally delves in. He massages his thumbs into the softness of Taehyung’s thighs as he curls his tongue, trying to find the spot that will make a Taehyung scream.

He’s only done this a few times, but if the cries slipping out of Taehyung’s mouth are anything to go by, he’s doing something right.

“Ah! Jeongg- your mouth- your tongue- ah- feels so good- “ he sounds close to tears, breathes coming short and desperation lacing his voice.

He drags it out as long as he can, changes the pace and the movement until he finds exactly what makes Taehyung scream the loudest.

Jeongguk feels like he could almost get hard again, with Taehyung’s soft quivering thighs in his hands and his pretty ass on his mouth, but he focuses all of his attention on making Taehyung come.

He knows it’s happening when Taehyung chokes on a loud moan and his legs go stiff, muscles tightening in Jeongguk’s hold. He clenches around Jeongguk’s tongue as he steps over the edge, dick untouched, and spills come all over his stomach. Jeongguk continues stroking Taehyung’s walls with his tongue as Taehyung rides out the orgasm. Taehyung jerks his hips and thrusts toward Jeongguk’s mouth as he comes, overcome by the intensity.

Jeongguk doesn’t pull away until Taehyung has gone completely lax in his hold, legs falling forward on each side of Jeongguk, chest heaving as he tries to catch his breath.

Jeongguk wipes wetness from his chin as he sits up, and feels a wave of satisfaction when he sees how wrecked Taehyung looks - eyes glazed over, cheeks flushed, hair a ruffled mess on his pillow, and his stomach painted pretty with his own come. Jeongguk commits the sight to memory. “So perfect.”

Taehyung smiles lazily. “How many times are you going to say that?”

Jeongguk moves up to lean over him, “Until you believe it,” he replies, fighting a smile as he kisses him.

“Stay here,” he says when he pulls away, then he steps off the bed and goes to the bathroom to clean up. He wets a washcloth and brings it back to the bedroom with him to help Taehyung clean up a bit too.

“Let me,” he says, as Taehyung tries to sit up when he climbs back onto the bed. Taehyung lies back down and Jeongguk takes his time cleaning Taehyung up, wants him to feel pampered and taken care of.

When he’s finished, he throws the washcloth on his table and Taehyung wastes no time in wrapping his arms around his neck and pulling him down next to him to throw the blankets over them and cuddle up to him.

“Should we shower?”

“Hmm later,” Taehyung replies, nuzzling into his side, warm and soft. Jeongguk can feel his fingers on his shoulder blade, barely stroking the skin of his back.

Jeongguk holds him close, noting the way their bodies fit together so beautifully. It feels like he’s in his own personal heaven, and he never wants to leave. He wishes this moment could never end.

“I still can’t believe this is real,” Taehyung says in a dreamy voice, practically echoing Jeongguk’s thoughts.

“Me too,” Jeongguk breathes a deep content sigh, stroking the slope of Taehyung’s waist.

“This took too long to happen. I was so dense,” Taehyung huffs. “I’m sorry. For everything. I practically shoved every guy I dated in your face.”

“I was just as stupid,” Jeongguk assures him. “I think we already established that we’re both idiots. Jimin will have a field day with this.”

“Right, very true,” he laughs, presses his smile into the skin of Jeongguk’s shoulder. He hesitates for a moment before he speaks again,“Were you jealous?”

“Always,” Jeongguk admits. There’s really no point in sugarcoating it. “It was torture.”

“‘m sorry. Again,” Taehyung mumbles. ”I didn’t know. I just thought you didn’t like them,” he nuzzles his face into Jeongguk’s neck and presses an apologetic kiss there. “You know now that you’re the only one I’ve ever wanted.”

“That’s still a little hard for me to believe after years of thinking you’d never go for me.”

“I guess I was a little too good at pretending, huh? Or maybe we’re just both painfully oblivious?” Taehyung says with a short laugh. Then his voice sobers. “I want you, Jeonggukkie. I always have.”

“Even if that means giving up all the money and the clothes and fancy dinners?” He’s mostly teasing but part of him feels insecure about not being able to give Taehyung everything those sugar daddies always have. He knows for fact that he’ll treat Taehyung better than any of them did, and he can shower Taehyung with endless love and praise, but he still worries if it’ll be enough. He almost feels guilty that Taehyung has to give up an extravagant lifestyle for him.

Taehyung lifts his head to rest his chin on Jeongguk’s shoulder and gives him an affronted look. “Jeon Jeongguk.” The seriousness of his gaze is slightly ruined by his fluffy bed head that’s sticking up in all directions, but Jeongguk finds it painfully endearing. “I’d choose you over anything and everything. You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Why do you think I held on so long even when I thought we’d never be together? Did you miss the part where I said I’ve always loved you?”

Jeongguk can feel himself smiling as a warmth blossoms in his chest. “Okay, okay, I’m sorry for doubting you.”

“Good,” Taehyung huffs playfully. “Besides, if you can dick me down like that every day, who needs fancy things?”

Jeongguk snorts in amusement but he can’t ignore the rush of satisfaction and pride he feels. He digs his fingers into Taehyung’s side to distract from the blush on his cheeks, diving right into a tickle fight.

“Wait, J- Jeongguk! No, no, stop!” Taehyung dissolves into a fit of giggles as he squirms in Jeongguk’s hold. Taehyung tries to pry his fingers away but Jeongguk only keeps at it because he doesn’t want Taehyung’s cute, deep little giggles to stop.

There’s a small struggle, until Jeongguk finally gives in and lets Taehyung escape the tickling. Taehyung throws his legs over Jeongguk and straddles his hips, breathless and smiling.

Jeongguk stares up at him, terribly soft for a moment.

“We could’ve been doing this for years,” Taehyung says, his voice slightly wistful.

“We’ll just have to make up for lost time, huh?”

Taehyung smiles, bright and beautiful. “Yeah,” he whispers, leaning down for one of many future kisses.