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The Truth Will Set You Free

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The mountain air is cool and refreshing, sweeping over her face as she looks out across the valley below. She feels reinvigorated, a new purpose within her.  The view is breathtaking, and the only manmade thing marring the landscape is a road winding through trees that dot the horizon.

She watches as a lone car appears, driving towards the mountain before disappearing from view beneath the trees. The sun sits low in the air, still rising from its resting place to grace the earth with its warmth and beauty.

The sunrise is captivating, inspirational in its beauty and humbling in its majesty. She’s so focused on soaking it all in that she misses the sound of footsteps behind her, drawing closer until a figure stops behind her and reaches for her elbow.

She jerks, startled for a second and spinning to face the unannounced visitor. She lets out a sigh of relief, heart racing from surprise first and then anticipation as she drinks in the sight in front of her. A smile graces her lips, but she doesn’t say anything, just turning back to her original position.

“I was beginning to think you weren’t coming,” she says softly, not turning away from the overlook even as she initiates a conversation. “You almost missed the sunrise.”

She’s gentle in everything that she does, even when she’s making an accusation, hurt and insecurity in her tone. She isn’t running away despite her knowledge, though, and that makes it easier.

“It was harder to get away than I thought it would be. I’m sorry, my darling.” He wraps his arms around her, careful to leave them well above her waist. “And I’m here now. You don’t have to worry.”

She finally turns then to study his face, concentrating as she thinks over his words for a few long moments, her lover tense as he holds her slightly away from his body so she can’t press them fully together like she used to.

“You’ll tell her soon, won’t you?”

He keeps his expression carefully blank at first, nodding as quickly as he can while feeling trapped despite being the dominant person in the exchange. She’s sharp, quick on her feet and quicker in her mind. That’s one of the things that drew him to her, apart from the obvious physical attraction. Her intelligence is what motivates him, as it’s only a matter of time before she realizes the truth.

“Of course, my love. This weekend. I promise.”

She smiles gently, eager to believe his carefully spoken words. She’s beautiful. Kind. Gentle. And so, so naïve, for he has no intention of ever making good on this promise.

Over his lifetime he has kept many promises, and broken many others. The balance and his ultimate decision lies in what he has at stake, and he simply has too much to lose.

“Let’s eat,” she insists, stepping back and breaking the loose circle of his arms, reaching for his hand to guide him to where she’s set up a picnic on a blanket near the overlook. He goes willingly, lets her sit him down and feed him, lets her hold his hand and lets her guide his head into her lap. Lets her run her hands through his hair and lets her tell him all of her plans, for them and their future.

For a brief moment, he feels regretful, guilty. But it’s gone just as quickly, wiped away as she presses their lips together in a sweet kiss that is the complete opposite of their first encounter.

He kisses her again as they pack up, slowly. A gentle goodbye. She decides to stay for a while longer, nothing in her schedule for several more hours, just as he knew she would.

He gets into his car and drives away, careful on the steep mountain road, wary of the sheer cliff to his left and the flimsy guardrails that would do little to stop a runaway car. He drives straight to work and arrives early like usual, just as he planned.

She waits until the sun is higher in the sky and the forest has come alive before she gets into her own car, just as he planned. She starts down the steep mountain road with a song in her heart and a smile on her face.

She never makes it home. Just as he planned.

***

Taehyung kisses his way along Jeongguk’s jaw, nipping at the skin below Jeongguk’s ear to hear the younger man gasp softly. Jeongguk’s stubble burns, rubbing harshly against the smooth skin of Taehyung’s cheek, but Taehyung loves it.

It’s quiet in the building, nearly all the employees gone for the night when Jeongguk had entered the building, but he knew Taehyung would still be in his office. Taehyung is the type to stay behind and tie up loose ends, even if there’s not much to do.

Taehyung trails his hands down, tugging Jeongguk’s shirt out from where it’s tucked into his pants so he can slip his hands inside and tease at the hot skin of Jeongguk’s abdomen. Taehyung’s fingers trace the ridges of his stomach, a testament to all the time that Jeongguk claimed to be spending in the gym as of late.

“You weren’t joking about working out, huh?” Taehyung murmurs straight into Jeongguk’s ear, letting his lips graze the shell gently. Jeongguk snorts, his hands tightening where they are caught up in Taehyung’s messy hair, keeping him close.

“Why would I lie? ‘s not like I need to impress you of all people,” Jeongguk drawls, sounding wholly unbothered, even though the way he’s pressing down onto the thigh Taehyung wedged between his legs certainly says otherwise.

It’s always like this between them, has been for years. An explosive kind of tension. They are dynamic in their own right, both cocksure men at the top of their fields with bank accounts to prove it. People hesitate to cross either of them. In fact, the only people who challenge them are each other.

Jeongguk thinks that neither of them would be where they are without the constant competition between them. It’s actually an interesting phenomenon. Usually remarkable people, especially in the athletic world, come in pairs; two rivals battling it out for the top spot and breaking records as they keep their eyes on each other. As one reaches an important milestone, it pushes the other to excel, to push themselves outside of their boundaries and reach new heights.

As much as Jeongguk would love to claim that he’s the top dog in the city, he can’t. Taehyung is a brilliant lawyer, diligent in the way that he digs for information, methodical in the way that he builds an airtight case, and ruthless when he steps into a courtroom. He’s dismantled several cases that Jeongguk and his office were behind, pointing out huge gaps in logic or timelines that Jeongguk somehow missed until they were being shoved in his face by an attractive suit-clad asshole.

It only took a few run-ins with the older man and his sharp tongue before Jeongguk purposefully caught him during a recess to ask what his problem was. Taehyung had just laughed, and Jeongguk can still see his face, can hear his voice as he deadpanned, “My problem is how bad you are at building cases to convict the wrong person,” before leaving.

Jeongguk had been livid. It wasn’t even the fact that Taehyung was cocky about his victories either, it was the fact that he wasn’t wrong. Jeongguk isn’t perfect. Sometimes he lets his guard down and slacks off a bit, and it seems like every time he does, Taehyung is there to call him out on it.

Jeongguk isn’t always wrong either. Taehyung’s company often takes on corporate cases where the parties involved are simply too dirty to get out of a sentencing, and Taehyung gets stuck with the job of making a case for a guilty defendant to lighten the sentence. Those count as wins in Jeongguk’s book, even if Taehyung manages to wiggle his clients out of some jail time in the end.

And, of course, the friction between them isn’t even confined to the courtroom. One of the first lessons that they were taught as first year law students at Harvard was to learn how to leave your work in the courtroom. He remembers it clear as day, the old distinguished professor standing in front of the class to exclaim:

‘Your family, your social life, and your health will all suffer if you don’t learn to make a distinction between yourself as a lawyer and yourself as a person. Opposing lawyers are not your enemies.’

Of course, at the time Jeongguk and Taehyung had absorbed every word, eager to soak up all the knowledge they could from the older man. But back then, they didn’t know each other- the good, the bad and the ugly- and they weren’t constantly clashing regardless of the setting.

Jeongguk has never been great at following the rules, but he’s pretty sure that that’s the only rule Taehyung has ever broken in his life. Not that Jeongguk is complaining though; if Taehyung didn’t hate him as a person, Jeongguk doubts that he’d be having some of the best sex of his life on a semi-regular basis.

Taehyung buries his face in Jeongguk’s neck and bites down softly, muttering “asshole” against Jeongguk’s skin before kissing it in apology. Jeongguk tugs sharply on Taehyung’s hair, making him hiss lowly, but Jeongguk can also feel the way his cock twitches in his pants from the pain.

“Working on any new cases?” Taehyung asks conversationally, as if they are friends and not rivals getting ready to fuck each other’s brains out. Nonetheless, Jeongguk humors Taehyung. After all, Taehyung is so much more responsive if he’s in a good mood as opposed to genuinely pissed at Jeongguk.

“Nothing interesting,” he mutters, expertly popping the button of Taehyung’s dress pants with one hand and dragging down his zipper, “just a routine B&E turned homicide that a kid confessed to. Other than that, nothing.”

Taehyung hums, nudging his hips into Jeongguk’s fingers as he grazes them along the line of Taehyung’s clothed cock. “He confessed?”

Jeongguk shrugs, freezing after Taehyung makes an aggravated noise when the movement causes him to lose his grip on the buttons on Jeongguk’s shirt that Taehyung was working open. “Well, he confessed to the B&E” Jeongguk elaborates, “and we have enough to put him away for the murder too just because we can place him in the house.”

Taehyung doesn’t react right away, and Jeongguk is perfectly fine with moving on. Taehyung pulls Jeongguk’s shirt open and then shoves it off, thin fingers moving fluidly over the expanse of Jeongguk’s chest, mapping it with his fingertips and his eyes. Jeongguk lets his head fall back, eyes dropping shut as Taehyung traces biting nails over his nipples.

“Any video cameras in the house?” Taehyung’s voice almost startles Jeongguk, low and raspy, arousal clouding his vocal cords, but his eyes are clear and sharp as they pin Jeongguk down in a way that makes Jeongguk feel as if he’s the one on trial.

Jeongguk shakes his head, “Yeah but the tapes were wiped. He knew what he was doing apparently.”

Taehyung drops his gaze, pushing Jeongguk backwards towards the couch along the far wall of the room. Jeongguk goes willingly, content to let Taehyung lead for now.

One of the many interesting things about Taehyung is his struggle between his desire to be dominant and his desire to be cared for. Despite the fact that Jeongguk knows embarrassingly little about Taehyung apart from his bedroom habits, Jeongguk seems to be the only person that Taehyung is able to let go with.

Taehyung loves to tease.

He’ll drag his fingers up and down Jeongguk’s body, finding sensitive areas that Jeongguk didn’t even know he had.

He’ll back Jeongguk against a wall and suck marks down his chest, leaving a rainbow of bruises and bite marks in his wake.

He’ll suck Jeongguk off so, so slowly, to the point that Jeongguk almost thinks Taehyung is getting off from just have his mouth occupied for extended periods of time. Bringing Jeongguk close to tears and edging him is probably just a bonus.

But surprisingly enough, when he gets in that kind of mood, where he’s rough with his hands and possessive with his mouth, it only takes a few well-placed touches before he’s quietly asking for Jeongguk to take control, to make him forget about his job and his responsibilities, if only for a few minutes.

And Jeongguk gets it, completely understands that need to get out of your own head and just feel instead of overthinking everything. Getting caught up in your own mind for too long makes you do things you never thought you would do. And Jeongguk knows that better than anyone.

And so, despite their fierce rivalry, Jeongguk always gives Taehyung what he asks for. Heaven help Jeongguk if Taehyung figures that out.

Taehyung shoves Jeongguk down onto the couch, Jeongguk bracing himself for impact only to find himself with a lapful of Taehyung moments later. Taehyung is ethereal in the light of the evening, the moon combining with city lights to illuminate the office and cast a soft glow on his features.

Jeongguk looks up at Taehyung from under his lashes as Taehyung braces his hands on Jeongguk’s bare chest for just a moment. Jeongguk reaches up to pull Taehyung’s shirt open gently, leaning forward to slide it off of Taehyung’s shoulders. It falls, joining Jeongguk’s shirt and their shoes on the floor.

Taehyung dips his head, pressing a kiss under Jeongguk’s ear and then drags his lips across Jeongguk’s skin until he finds his way to Jeongguk’s lips. Taehyung’s mouth is plush and hot, and he kisses Jeongguk like he’s suffocating and Jeongguk’s lips are the only oxygen left in the world.

Jeongguk doesn’t get a chance to appreciate it though, because Taehyung is moving again, pulling backwards to slide off of Jeongguk’s lap and onto the floor, spreading Jeongguk’s legs to rest between them.

He’s agitated, that much is clear by how spastic his movements are, how he can’t seem to stay in one place for more than a minute before he’s itching to move. Hyperactive is often synonymous with Kim Taehyung, but when he’s truly worked up, it reaches another level, much like now.

Taehyung unbuttons Jeongguk’s pants, dragging the zipper down and tugging until he has room to nuzzle up against the bulge in Jeongguk’s boxers. Jeongguk sucks in a breath as Taehyung kisses his clothed cock gently near the base before licking a strip up towards where the tip is peeking out from the lip of his boxers.

“Did he have any prior record?” Taehyung asks, but he doesn’t look up, and Jeongguk almost thinks he imagined Taehyung speaking, because there’s no way Taehyung is trying to discuss Jeongguk’s lame case while sucking his dick. Taehyung kisses at the head, flittering touches that send a shiver down Jeongguk’s spine.

Apparently there is a way though, because Taehyung pulls back and flicks Jeongguk’s thigh, the mild pain enough to draw Jeongguk’s attention away from Taehyung’s lips.

“Jeongguk,” Taehyung sounds annoyed, and Jeongguk is slowly joining him in that regard. “Did the kid have a record?”

“What the fuck Taehyung,” Jeongguk groans, scrubbing a hand down his face in exasperation. He wracks his head, trying to remember all the details of the case. To be honest, it’s not memorable at all. A kid looking for some easy cash and an unfortunate maid that got caught in the crossfire. The kid panicked when he realized her wasn’t alone, knocked her over the head, opened up the safe to steal some jewelry and split.

“Nope, he was clean. But he confessed so what does it matter?” Jeongguk just wants Taehyung to move on, because he’s definitely getting into the stage of stress where everything about a case is suspicious, and that won’t be fun for anyone.

Taehyung shrugs, pretending to not care but Jeongguk can see the questions swirling behind his eyes even as Taehyung pulls down Jeongguk’s boxers enough to free his cock. There is a minute of blissful silence, where Jeongguk lets out shallow breaths as Taehyung swallows around him before Taehyung pulls back and opens his mouth.

Jeongguk is ready for him though. “Ah ah ah,” Jeongguk presses a finger to Taehyung’s lips, silencing the question that’s getting ready to leave his mouth. And Jeongguk’s had quite enough for tonight. It’s time for Taehyung’s brain to give it a rest. Jeongguk nudges Taehyung back with his knee and slides off the couch to perch in Taehyung’s lap.

“Just relax babe, let me take care of you, yeah?” he murmurs in Taehyung’s ear, reaching between them to rub at Taehyung’s cock.

Taehyung gasps gently, and Jeongguk catches it with his mouth, pressing their lips together for a minute before Taehyung lets Jeongguk guide him to lay back on the floor. Jeongguk strips them both efficiently, retrieving the lube from where it’s tucked into Taehyung’s bottom drawer.

The only things that come out of Taehyung’s mouth for the rest of the night are moans, curses, and Jeongguk’s name.

***

Jeongguk wakes up the next day to the news that Taehyung has taken on the case of the kid, to oppose Jeongguk and prove that he isn’t a killer.

To say he’s pissed beyond belief goes without saying, but somehow he thinks that he should’ve seen this coming.

*****

Taehyung thinks he’s a pretty level headed guy. He does his best to be polite to everyone that he comes into contact with. He tips generously, holds doors open for people even if they don’t ever thank him, and helps little old ladies across the street on a regular basis. He’s learned how to not let minor inconveniences bother him anymore, and he’s very flexible with his schedule considering how rigid the law curriculum can be.

He could list out a hundred of his character traits, though, and not one of them would explain the all-consuming rage that he feels anytime he crosses paths with  Jeon Jeongguk aka his arch nemesis.

Jeon is one of his classmates, and Taehyung will begrudgingly admit that the younger man is intelligent as fuck if Taehyung’s slightly tipsy. And he may or may not rant about it as he becomes progressively more drunk too, but in an aggressive your-intelligence-is-sexy-but-also-annoying-as-hell kind of way. Taehyung’s roommates think he’s a bit obsessed, but he’s not.

He just can’t stop thinking about the younger man for some reason, and he can’t decide if he wants to shove him through a wall just so his hair finally gets messed up, or pin him down and suck him off until he stops answering all the questions in class to show off.

He can still remember the first time that he ran across Jeon. It was on the first day of their Intro to Law class, and Taehyung was up bright and early, ready to take the first step into his future. He stopped by a café to grab a cup of tea before class, waiting in a fairly long line to order.

Just as the cashier motioned for him to move forward, a professionally dressed man with jet black hair stepped in front of him, his heel coming down and scuffing the tip of Taehyung’s dress shoes. The man glanced down at Taehyung’s foot, and then up at his face briefly, eyelashes grazing his cheeks before muttering, “Watch where you’re stepping.”

Taehyung had clenched his fists in annoyance as he watched the man order and then step off to the side to wait. He hadn’t been running short on time, but the nerve of the other man has just gotten under his skin in a record amount of time, and Taehyung found himself glaring at him until he retrieved his order and left.

Of course, that rage also increased exponentially when Taehyung took a seat at the front of the lecture hall fifteen minutes later and looked to his right only to see the same asshole spreading out his laptop, notebooks, and pens all over the table.

The way that he scooted everything three inches to the left when he realized that he had a neighbor seemed unnecessary, and almost deliberate, but Taehyung carefully held his tongue, even as a notebook was shoved straight into his personal workspace.

‘First days can be stressful. He’s probably just nervous and it’s coming across as rude,” Taehyung thought to himself, not eager to burn any bridges on the first day of class.

The man didn’t seem to share Taehyung’s concern though, because he looked over, a sneer marring his annoyingly attractive face to say, “I didn’t realize they let puppies in this program. I hope you aren’t as much of pushover in the courtroom as you are in a coffee shop, or you’ll be a shit lawyer.”

Taehyung’s jaw had dropped open, rage bubbling in his blood, and he was two second away from either lecturing this jerk wad on human decency or just clocking him in the jaw when the door had slammed open and the professor had entered.

The man, Jeon Jeongguk, Taehyung had learned during roll call, was the epitome of attentiveness, soaking up every word of the lecture, but Taehyung remembers being too distracted by the sheer nerve of this complete stranger to be as attuned to the professor as he wanted to be.

Jeongguk had smirked at him after the class ended, packing up quickly and murmuring, “see you around, Taehyung,” with a wink that put Taehyung more on edge than any of his other actions.

Taehyung left his first day of law school feeling unsettled and on edge, basically the complete opposite of what he had hoped for.

As time went on and he adjusted to Jeon’s crude sense of humor and his fierce competitive streak that clashed with Taehyung’s own desire to be the best in his chosen field, Taehyung realized just how pretty the other man was.

He’s all pouty lips and sharp cheekbones and smooth, soft looking hair. He seems to have a never ending supply of patterned dress shirts that he tends to wear with the sleeves rolled up his forearms, revealing thick veins and putting his long fingers on display.

His eyes are large and intense, calculating everything in his surroundings, and Taehyung has caught himself staring at the delicate long earrings he often wears, mesmerized by the way they sway slightly as he jots down notes, twirling his pen in between his fingers absentmindedly.

How someone so beautiful, almost angelic, can have the personality of a demon and the tenacity of a tiny bulldog, Taehyung doesn’t know. But needless to say, he is very conflicted, and stressed, and horny pretty much all the time. Just like every other college student, probably, but Taehyung’s problem is specifically centered on one first-class asshole with the looks of a model and intelligence that rivals Taehyung’s own.

Still, his whole life has been a series of solving problems, and Taehyung is sure he can tackle this one as well. Whether it will be Taehyung finally holding a civil conversation with Jeon, or Taehyung physically wrestling him to the ground and choking Jeon to death, he can’t say for certain. Either way, it’ll undoubtedly be an adventure.

***

Taehyung can just feel that there is something off about the case that Jeongguk described. Of course, his weak attempt at pillow talk with the older man somehow caused him to stumble upon a case that he hadn’t planned on taking.

It’s been a couple months since his last freelance case closed, and Taehyung has been far too busy with a large corporate case to consider taking on anything else until just the past week when the suit settled outside of court.

His boss had congratulated Taehyung for his tenacity, bragging to the client that his lawyer managed to compile enough evidence to show that there was no negligence as claimed in the suit. In fact, Taehyung’s boss was so impressed that he insisted that Taehyung take a break.

“I don’t want to see you back here for at least a couple weeks, Kim,” he’d said, “you deserve some time off.”

Of course, Taehyung isn’t the type to listen, but he knows not to push his luck too much. Going in after hours or when he knows his boss is across towns will only work for so long. It’s probably time to give it a rest.

And that’s how Taehyung finds himself on his first vacation in almost two years and it’s just his luck that he found someone in need almost instantly.

He calls his friend who works in down at the police station first thing in the morning to get more details on the case. Yoongi hadn’t been able to tell him everything, but from what he was able to reveal over the phone, Taehyung is even more suspicious.

A local teenager had broken into the home of a wealthy businessman early in the morning. The businessman and his wife were out of town for a vacation and their son was away at a conference, so it’s assumed that the teen knew they were gone and planned the break in to coincide. What the teen didn’t take into consideration was the family maid. The police report said that the teen must have been surprised by the maid in the kitchen when he was making his way through the house towards the master bedroom. There was a brief altercation in which there was a struggle before he stabbed the maid twice. He then continued through the house, opened up the safe and removed roughly four million dollars’ worth of jewelry and cash, and then exited the way he came. The maid’s husband realized she was missing and found her late that evening.

“What I don’t get is why the kid was even in the kitchen though,” Yoongi says, confusion laced in his tone, “I checked the blueprints of the house and the kitchen is in a completely separate part of the house. It’s completely out of his way to go through the kitchen from the place he broke in.”

“Maybe he heard a noise or something?” Taehyung offers, not entirely sure himself.

“Maybe,” Yoongi said, but he sounded skeptical. “I’ll mention it to my supervisor again, but I doubt they’ll look into it now that the DA has ahold of it.”

“Just see what he says, yeah? If you’ve got something, I can get the DA to slow down. The last thing they need is to be wrong and have a murderer on the streets.” Taehyung says, and Yoongi hums in agreement.

Taehyung is pretty sure that Jeongguk will listen if he explains himself. The younger man will probably be ticked when he wakes up and gets the word that Taehyung will be opposing his office, but that comes from a part of Jeongguk that hates to be questioned or challenged.

And Taehyung knows that Jeongguk prefers to be sure before heading to court, especially considering cases in the past where Taehyung has called Jeongguk out on his lapse of critical thinking and logic in front of a jury. Just hinting to the fact that there is more to the case than meets the eye should be enough to pique the other man’s interest because of his wariness towards Taehyung.

If all else fails, Taehyung isn’t above using special tactics to get Jeongguk’s attention and buy them more time to build a case. Jeongguk may be a vicious lawyer, but he’s also a man, and Taehyung knows all of his weaknesses.

“I hope you’re right, but sometimes I think this department cares more about clearing cases from the roster than solving them. Makes the whole ‘junior detective’ business less appealing to be honest.” Yoongi sounds forlorn, as if he’s embarrassed by his occupation.

“You’ll be better than them, though,” Taehyung insists. Yoongi is one of the most trustworthy detectives that Taehyung has worked with over the years. He’s quick on his feet and sharp, pointing out things that most of his superiors overlook or disregard as coincidences. He’s single handedly solved three cold cases in the past eight months, and Taehyung is sure that he will be promoted to senior detective in the next year despite his lack of overall time in the department.

If Yoongi thinks there’s something wrong here, then Taehyung isn’t going to write off the oddities either. The first thing he needs to do is actually interview the kid and see if he’s willing to cooperate. Most likely the public defender didn’t put in a ton of effort on the teen’s behalf if he made a confession.

“Listen Yoon, I’ve gotta go but can you send me those blueprints when you get a chance? I’m going to head to the jail and talk to the kid.”

“Sure thing,” Yoongi replies, “go do your lawyer thing. Want to meet for dinner tonight and discuss?”

Taehyung agrees quickly, eager to know more about the case. Hopefully the kid will have some insight to share as well.

***

Kim Yugyeom is small. Tiny, if Taehyung is being honest. He stands maybe 5’4”, coming up to Taehyung’s collarbone, and he can’t weigh more than ninety pounds. His arms are skin and bone, and he’s drowning in the ugly orange jumpsuit that is standard issue at the jail.

‘This is the cold blooded killer who stabbed a woman to death?’ Taehyung thinks in disbelief. He can’t be more than 16, and he’s clearly terrified. The gate buzzes and slides open, allowing Taehyung to step forward into the room where the teen is sitting nervously at a table.

“Hi,” Taehyung says, offering a smile as he sets his briefcase down on the table in between them. He pops it open, pulling out a small stack of papers and a notebook. “I’m Taehyung. Is it alright if I talk to you for a bit?”

Yugyeom shrugs, eyes on the floor, and Taehyung takes it as a positive response.

“I’m a lawyer,“ Taehyung begins, “and I’d like to ask you a couple questions about why you are in here. I’d appreciate some cooperation. I promise, I’m as close to a friend as you will find in this place.”

Yugyeom just snorts. “I don’t have any friends anymore apparently. No need for them in here.”

“What about outside of here?” Taehyung asks, and Yugyeom looks at him blankly. “You don’t have to be stuck in here forever. Not if you tell me the truth about what happened.”

“Look man,” Yugyeom begins, running a hand through his hair nervously. “I already told the cops everything. I broke in, stole some jewelry and left. I didn’t kill anyone, but no one is interested in listening to me, so I stopped talking.”

Taehyung can see the desperation underneath the resignation on the boy’s face. He doubts the police were kind when telling him how to act or how much time he’s up for.

But most importantly, Taehyung can also see the honesty in his eyes.

“Who did, then?” Taehyung asks, and he can tell that the teen is caught off guard by the quick turn about, especially after the easy way that Taehyung accepted his story.

Several emotions flicker through Yugyeom’s face: surprise, confusion, contemplation, before he settles on a muted form of anger. “Believe me, if I could give you a name we wouldn’t be here.”

“So you have an idea then?” Taehyung presses. Normally he’d be biding his time and getting to know his client a bit more but he’s short on time and the kid is obviously hiding something. It’s a stupid thing to do in his position, but Taehyung is sure that the kid has a reason. Not a good one, most likely, but a reason nonetheless.

Yugyeom shrugs again, holding eye contact for a few seconds before dropping his gaze and hunching forward in his seat, closing himself off. Taehyung wants to kick himself.

“Yugyeom,” Taehyung says gently, warily, “you have to know, I am doing my best to keep you out of here for a long, long time, but I need you to work with me. We both know you didn’t kill anyone. If you know something that can help me figure out who did, I need you to tell me.”

The teen looks conflicted, and Taehyung is begging him internally to give in and spill whatever he’s hiding. It’s so much more difficult to have to deal with missing pieces to the already jumbled puzzle.

Before Yugyeom can say anything else, though, the buzzer goes off, indicating to Taehyung that his visitation time is over for the day. Damn.

“Listen Yugyeom. I have to go now, but I will be back to visit soon. In the meantime, I need you to think really hard about who could have been in that house besides you.”

Taehyung reaches into his wallet as he says, “Here’s my business card with my personal number. If you think of anything at all that could help me, please call me. The jail allows you to call your lawyer at any time up until your trial.”

Taehyung rises, gathering up the files he didn’t even have time to address and stuffing them in his briefcase. He stands there for a moment, straightening his suit jacket before offering a hand to Yugyeom to shake.

“Keep your head up, kid,” Taehyung says, before he turns and leaves. Yugyeom’s eyes burn into his back as he exits the room, his gaze weighted with hidden knowledge and sorrow beyond his years.

***

“So he didn’t give you anything then?” Yoongi asks, covering his mouth that is half full of hamburger.

Taehyung wrinkles his nose up, still a bit disgusted by his friend’s lack of manners when it comes to fried pub food. “Nothing directly, but he’s hiding something. I told him to call me if he wants to talk.”

“Even if he doesn’t talk, we can still go walk through the house and look for anything we missed the first time around. Something is not adding up and it’s bothering me.” Yoongi looks determined, the dim lighting of the pub making him look less like the self-conscious junior detective that Taehyung knows and more like an experienced professional who can and will get to the bottom of things. Taehyung is glad to have Yoongi on his side.

Taehyung nods. “I’m off for the next couple weeks so I can go whenever you have time. Preferably as soon as possible.”

“Tomorrow morning?” Yoongi offers, “I have the afternoon shift tomorrow so I can swing by before heading to the station if you want to meet me there.”

Taehyung agrees, and they settle into a comfortable silence, both men glancing around the crowded room observantly. The bartender seems a bit flustered by the amount of people trying to get fresh drinks, but it’s nothing uncommon for a Thursday.

“Have you talked to Jeongguk about getting an extension yet?” Yoongi asks offhandedly.

Taehyung shakes his head, taking a sip of his drink. “Think I’m gonna do that later tonight actually.”

“You do that,” Yoongi says, raising an eyebrow in a way that tells Taehyung he’s not being subtle with his tactics at all. Oh well, subtlety is for people who care, and that isn’t Taehyung.

*****

“What the fuck is your problem?” Taehyung snaps, shoving Jeongguk away from him.

“My problem? You were the one asking to change partners in front of everyone like I have some kind of disease!” Jeongguk shoots back, anger coursing through his veins.

“Well maybe you do, or maybe you’re too preoccupied with the giant stick up your butt to stop being a dick.”

Jeongguk rolls his eyes, half-heartedly waving his hands. “Ooh good comeback.”

“Do you ever shut up?” Taehyung hisses, stalking away from Jeongguk towards the back staircase. Jeongguk, ever the masochist follows him.

“Are you ever going to stop trying to be better than me?”

Taehyung doesn’t even pause, just keeps descending with Jeongguk hot on his heels. “I don’t have to try.”

“Oh my God, shut up.” Jeongguk groans, as they turn out into a hallway that Jeongguk’s never been down before. Taehyung could be bringing him down here to murder him for all Jeongguk knows, but he can’t find it in himself to care all that much.

“Why don’t you make me,” Taehyung challenges, turning around suddenly to face Jeongguk.

And Taehyung is almost positive that Jeongguk is going to punch him right there, just lay him out on the floor of this dingy hall, where few people wander. It’s far more private down here, which was Taehyung’s intention when he led Jeongguk away from the curious eyes of their classmates. But now Taehyung isn’t sure if he brought Jeongguk down here to hash it out with their fists or otherwise.

Jeongguk chooses for him.

His hands move towards Taehyung at a surprisingly quick pace, and Taehyung barely has time to flinch and throw his hands up in self-defense. Jeongguk isn’t trying to punch him though. Instead, he takes two fists full of Taehyung’s shirt to yank him forward, straight into Jeongguk’s very personal space.

Taehyung’s eyes are wide as he stares at his acquaintance up close and personal for a few moments. He can see each of Jeongguk’s eyelashes, and the freckles lining his nose, and the way that his eyes seem to be attempting to burn a hole through Taehyung’s face.

He doesn’t get any more of a warning before Jeongguk is dragging him even closer to claim his mouth in a bruising kiss. He gasps into Jeongguk’s mouth in surprise, and Jeongguk takes the opportunity to lick into Taehyung’s mouth fervently. The sensations send a chill down Taehyung’s spine, and he shudders, suddenly all too aware of how he’s pressed fully against Jeongguk.

Taehyung loses track of time, unsure of how long they spend tangled together in the middle of the hall, fighting for dominance with their lips, hands roving between their bodies to touch any available skin and tug at hair.

He’s brought back to reality by the jolt of pleasure he feels as Jeongguk wedges a leg in between his own thighs, letting him grind against Jeongguk’s hip to relieve some tension. He becomes painfully aware of the fact that they are basically dry humping in the middle of a public building then, leaning back from Jeongguk almost instantly.

Jeongguk isn’t willing to let him go all that easily though, chasing after his lips and latching onto his neck when Taehyung cranes his neck to keep his mouth away from Jeongguk’s. His hands never leave Taehyung’s waist, holding the older man firmly in place as he licks along the smooth column of Taehyung’s neck.

“Jeongguk,” Taehyung mumbles. “We can’t here.”

Jeongguk groans against his neck. “But we can?” he asks, his voice hopeful, lips grazing Taehyung’s throat and making him shiver.

Taehyung nods. “Just not here.”

Jeongguk straightens up then, adjusting himself. He’s breathing heavily and he looks thoroughly debauched, lips pink and swollen and hair wrecked from Taehyung’s fingers. He circles two fingers around Taehyung’s wrist to keep him within reaching distance and reaches out to try the nearest door. Locked.

The next two are locked as well, but Jeongguk seems determined, pulling Taehyung behind him as he tries every door they come across. Finally, at the end of a short, barely lit hallway they are successful. Jeongguk drags Taehyung inside, flicking on the lights and slamming the door behind them.

Taehyung takes in the sight of an unused laboratory, a thin layer of dust covering almost everything as Jeongguk locks the door and turns his attention back to Taehyung.

Taehyung feels like prey, being stalked by a dangerous predator. Jeongguk looks sharp and fierce in the dingy lighting, like he wants to eat Taehyung, and Taehyung isn’t planning to stop him.

Jeongguk cups his cheek, almost tenderly, his other hand settling low on Taehyung’s lower back to tug him in. He tucks a leg in between Taehyung’s, their position almost identical to the one they were in in the hallway, but this time, with the promise of privacy, the urgency has diminished, no longer threatening to consume them.

Jeongguk kisses him gently at first, before biting down on Taehyung’s lower lip roughly, almost like a punishment. Taehyung hisses in response, nipping back at Jeongguk.

His eyes are dark, hands possessive, and Taehyung can feel Jeongguk’s cock digging into his hip. He reaches down in between them to palm at Jeongguk, feeling smug at the sharp intake of breath when he makes contact. He has no clue what they are doing, but he doesn’t want to stop. He wants to take it farther.

“Can I suck you off?” Taehyung asks breathlessly, nudging his hips forward.

“Fuck yeah,” Jeongguk breathes. Taehyung takes a step back and drops to his knees, not caring about the dust that will coat his pants.

Jeongguk almost whimpers as Taehyung unzips his pants and palms him through his boxers, and Taehyung quirks an eyebrow up at him.

“You ever done this before?” he asks dryly, and Jeongguk scowls.

“Fuck off. It’s just been a while and I’m always on edge around you.”

“Because you want me to suck your dick?” Taehyung wonder aloud, a bit amused.

Jeongguk slides a hand into his hair and tugs sharply, drawing Taehyung closer. “Can you blame me? Looking like you do.”

“Like I do,” Taehyung echoes in question, breathing out hot air across Jeongguk’s cock, bringing his hands up to roll Jeongguk’s waistband down.

“You know,” Jeongguk moans softly as Taehyung suckles at his head, tonguing at the slit in curiosity. “All innocent and cocksure. Your lips give me fits in lecture.”

Taehyung hums, taking Jeongguk deeper, letting his lips stretch out as Jeongguk sings his praises in an abstract way that he never would have expected.

“Ah, fuck,” Jeongguk mumbles. “Sometimes you suck on the end of your pen when you get really focused. And it’s so fucking distracting.”

Taehyung pulls off, thumbing at Jeongguk’s slit and smirking up at him. “My apologies,” he murmurs, voice already gravely. Jeongguk curls his hand around Taehyung’s cheek, rubbing his thumb across Taehyung’s bottom lip.

“You tired already? Cock-sucking lips without the stamina. Truly a shame,” he snarks, watching Taehyung’s eyes go a bit darker in annoyance.

 Taehyung doesn’t come up for air again until Jeongguk has come down his throat, gasping and scrambling for purchase somewhere to keep himself upright. In the end, he clutches at Taehyung’s shoulders and falls back slowly until he lands firmly on his ass with a thump.

He jacks Taehyung off there, sitting on a dusty floor in an abandoned lab, watching in amazement as the older man falls apart in his hands, his calm collected demeanor dissolved and replaced with desperation and lust.

It’s probably the hottest thing Jeongguk’s ever done, even though he’d never admit it to Taehyung himself.

***

The room is dark, a sheer curtain covering the floor to ceiling windows framing two corners of the room, only the moonlight shining in to illuminate pure white sheets and their occupants.

Taehyung thinks that Jeongguk looks ethereal, especially in this light. He’s always looked other-worldly; almost too beautiful to be human, and definitely too attractive to spend many nights alone, if any. An angel with a sharp mind and a sharper tongue that he puts to use in many ways, all of which Taehyung is familiar with. A devil with permanent bedroom eyes and impeccable control over his emotions and expressions. Sweet with his words and harsh with his hands.

A dangerous paradox, one that threatens to ruin Taehyung, to consume him from the inside out.

Taehyung is under no illusions that Jeongguk has any shortage of willing partners with which to spend his evenings. And while Taehyung doesn’t choose to indulge himself outside of Jeongguk’s company, he knows that Jeongguk owes him nothing.

That knowledge doesn’t stop a pit of jealousy from forming in Taehyung’s stomach as he imagines another person, nameless, faceless, shapeless, in the same place that Taehyung is in now.

Perched comfortably astride the younger man, hands gripping his thighs as Taehyung grinds down against Jeongguk’s hips, pressing his body further into the soft sheets.

Jeongguk’s hair is fanned out around his head, a black halo against the stark white, and his eyes are wide, pupils blown as he looks up at Taehyung and bites his lip. His chest is covered in thin sheen of sweat, all clothes left strewn in their path as they tumbled their way to Jeongguk’s bedroom.

“Fuck,” Jeongguk whispers, eyes slipping closed as Taehyung sinks down slowly, his fingers white where they’ve moved to grip at Taehyung’s hips to try and control the pace. His biceps shift as he pushes up, slowing Taehyung’s pace as if he can’t take it, but his hips lift at the same time, betraying him.

One of Taehyung’s favorite things is watching Jeongguk come apart in the first few minutes. Truthfully, it’s one of the only times that Taehyung thinks he sees the true Jeongguk. Regardless of how many times they’ve slept together, Jeongguk always loses himself for a bit, struggling to maintain his unaffected exterior as he gets caught up in the pleasure. Taehyung relishes in the unadulterated control that he has over the younger man in those moments, before he regains some of his standard dominant cockiness.

If Taehyung didn’t know better, he’d think that Jeongguk’s reaction is sweet, almost innocent.

And it is, in the same way that a stolen cookie tastes amazing, until the baker catches up to you. Short-lived pleasure, but pleasure all the same.

Taehyung swivels his hips, leaning forward to brace his hands on Jeongguk’s chest, relishing in the heat that he finds there and the steady thumping of Jeongguk’s heart under his right palm. He can’t find it in himself to lift up just yet, too sensitive to trust the strength in his thighs to hold out.

Jeongguk doesn’t look much better though, as he nearly gnaws through his lower lip, breaths ragged and a crease between his eyes as he tries to get ahold of himself. Jeongguk lifts his hips off the bed slightly, pressing more firmly into Taehyung for a moment before crumpling back to the bed, his cock twitching inside Taehyung.

They are like a wave. Peaks and valleys, polar opposites but joined by a middle ground, an equilibrium that they both share despite their difference. A need for release, a willing body and an understanding mind that won’t ask questions.

One of them pushes away and the other allows it, just for a while, until it becomes too much and they have to pull back, to tug them back to the center and rein each other in.

Tonight they are more worked up than usual, and they can’t even blame it on being apart for too long. It’s been a day, twenty four hours, and that was enough time to make them both desperate, starving for touches, attention, and release.

Taehyung truly hadn’t meant for the evening to turn out like this. He was more than willing to talk to Jeongguk, one professional to another, to plead the case of the teen from a respectable distance. He should have known that it never works like that when Jeongguk is involved though. Jeongguk is Taehyung’s weakness, his Achilles’ heel in way.

Taehyung isn’t afraid to tell Jeongguk to fuck off when he barges into Taehyung’s office uninvited, or to rip him apart in a courtroom, but behind closed doors, when no one is watching, you would be hard pressed to find something that Taehyung isn’t willing to do for Jeongguk.

More often than not, all that Taehyung can do is Jeongguk himself.

He clenches down, curling his hands to scrape nails down Jeongguk’s chest as he raises up an inch, relaxing as he drops back down to meet Jeongguk’s hips with a soft sigh. Jeongguk feels good, scorching hot and unrelenting where he’s nestled inside of Taehyung.

He settles into an easy rhythm, tightening as he flexes his thighs and lifts up to hear Jeongguk groan before dropping back down. The air in the room is chilly, nipping at Taehyung’s back and making him shiver as he stays high above the younger man.

Jeongguk’s hands tighten again, his thumbs pressing harshly into the skin of Taehyung’s hips before he releases Taehyung altogether and pulls back to prop himself up on his elbows. He tips his chin up towards Taehyung, eyes teasing and challenging, and Taehyung can’t help but lean down to press their lips together.

Taehyung reaches a hand behind Jeongguk’s neck to hold him in place, keeping him close enough for Taehyung to lean down and lick into Jeongguk’s mouth. Jeongguk pushes up, letting Taehyung claim his mouth while slowly rising until he’s sitting up and Taehyung is perched neatly in his lap. Jeongguk breaks the kiss, surging forward to latch onto the smooth skin of Taehyung’s chest that was out of reach before and wrapping his arms around Taehyung’s waist to keep him close.

Taehyung tips his head back and to the side, revealing the tanned, unmarred skin of his neck and offering it up to Jeongguk’s ministrations, rolling his hips slightly, almost subconsciously. His mouth falls open and eyes slip closed as Jeongguk sucks at the base of Taehyung’s throat, biting softly and then pressing gentle kisses over the abused skin in apology.

“Feel good, babe?” Jeongguk asks, voice gravelly and accent thick with arousal.

Taehyung hums in agreement, bending forward to rest his forehead against Jeongguk’s shoulder. Jeongguk accepts his weight gracefully, keeping one hand resting at the base of Taehyung’s spine and the other moving back to brace himself on the bed behind him so he can fuck his hips up.

Taehyung’s groans, scrambling to latch onto Jeongguk’s shoulders as the younger man sets a quicker, unforgiving pace.

“Trying to prove a point, Guk?” he mumbles, biting down on Jeongguk’s shoulder petulantly.

Jeongguk snorts, barely sounding out of breath despite the harsh slapping of his hips when he says, “I’m not the one trying to prove something.”

Taehyung stiffens briefly, a chill running down his spine at the cold tone in Jeongguk’s voice and the implications behind his words. He lifts his head up to look Jeongguk in the eyes, a bit startled to find a trace of anger along with lust in his eyes.

“You’re actually mad at me?” Taehyung asks incredulously, his voice raising up a few pitches, because fuck no, Jeongguk is not going to make him into the bad guy in this situation. Jeongguk rolls his eyes and finally stops moving as he realizes that Taehyung isn’t going to let him get away with being bitter about this.

“Well, Taehyung, I don’t see anyone else here who is actively trying to humiliate me in front of my whole department,” Jeongguk deadpans, annoyance clear in his voice and his facial expression.

Taehyung scowls, shoving at Jeongguk to make him fall back into the mattress.

“I’m not trying to screw you over!” he exclaims, looming over Jeongguk with fire in his eyes. “I’m trying to stop you from convicting the wrong person and leaving an actual killer on the streets.”

“Fuck off,” Jeongguk hisses, “you’re grandstanding. You fished for information last night when I was distracted because you constantly feel this need to be better than me. And I’m tired of it.”

“Grandstanding? I talked to the police and they said your evidence is circumstantial at best. And any good defense lawyer could rip apart your case. Don’t blame me for your laziness,” Taehyung spits out, fists curled by his sides.

“Laziness?” Jeongguk chokes, partially because of how exasperated he is, and partially because Taehyung is a bit tense and clenched down around him. “That’s rich. As if I didn’t work my ass off to become the DA of this city.”

“Maybe you’ve gone soft in your old age then?” Taehyung taunts, leaning over further to pin Jeongguk’s hands to the bed. “Got too comfortable with your shiny title and fancy office and forgot how to actually do your job?”

“Fuck you!” Jeongguk rips his hands out from Taehyung’s and bucks his hips up, causing a spark of pleasure to shoot through Taehyung at the sudden movement. Jeongguk uses his distraction to flip them, Taehyung landing on his back with an annoyed growl.

“Lee himself handed me that case and told me it was solid. I haven’t even had the time to look through it, so I only told you what he told me. And I haven’t been in the office for the past two days because of meetings and legislative bullshit down at city hall. What the fuck is your problem?”

Taehyung glares up at Jeongguk, looking as menacing as possible despite his sprawled legs and flushed cheeks. 

“My problem is how you always ignore me as a lawyer when we fuck. It’s like I’m just another warm body to you. Just a nice regular fuck. Have you ever considered the fact that I have emotions that extend beyond overthinking and being horny?”

Jeongguk looks shocked, the anger melting off of his face as Taehyung’s words sink in, but Taehyung isn’t done yet. He can’t stop himself, the words just spilling out of him, overflowing from a place deep inside that Taehyung has been ignoring for a while. It’s quite ironic, too, that the very person that Taehyung goes to when he needs to get out of his head has created a new reason for him to get caught up in his own thoughts.

“Yesterday, if you would’ve let me speak, you would’ve known that something is off with that case. Nothing is ever that simple. There’s a good chance the kid had a partner, willingly or not. I doubt the kid could get his hands on the equipment needed to open up that safe, much less know how to operate it. He was tiny. Not to mention, trying to pull off a job of that level with a lack of previous experience and no backup is suicide. There are easier places to rob. I think the kid got set up, and now I’m going to prove it, with or without you.”

Jeongguk’s mouth hangs open, and Taehyung feels a tiny bit of satisfaction in his ability to knock the younger man speechless at times, in and out of the bedroom. The fire burning in his veins on behalf of this kid is more than enough to push Taehyung into full-on lawyer mode despite their current situation.

Taehyung appreciates Jeongguk’s ability to pull him out of his own head, to press his reset button so to speak, but sometimes Taehyung feels that Jeongguk underestimates his abilities as a lawyer. And it’s not that Taehyung is complaining about the mind blowing sex; it’s just that Taehyung is capable of both thinking critically and sucking dick at once. Taehyung is an excellent multitasker.

“The thing is, I really don’t need you to cut me off every time I try to talk about work. We’ve slept together almost every day this week, so it’s not like I’ve got any built up tension for fucks sake. If you want a partner with no emotions, go buy yourself a toy. I’ll find someone who will listen to me.”

Taehyung’s had enough. He shoves at Jeongguk, pushing him back and completely off of Taehyung, and despite his frustration, he feels empty and alone when they separate. If the room was chilly before, it’s freezing now, and Taehyung isn’t sure if it’s the temperature or the tension in the room that sends a shiver down his spine.

He rolls off the bed, away from Jeongguk, unable to look at him and see the pity in his eyes. Truth be told, Taehyung would be too weak to resist the warm temptation that Jeongguk and his bed offer if he stays for any longer. Taehyung is strong in a lot of ways, but everyone has their weakness.

The floor is cold beneath his bare feet, the room feeling far too large as he stands to make his way towards the door. Jeongguk stops him with a gentle hand on his wrist, wrapping his fingers around and pressing them into Taehyung’s pulse point firmly. Taehyung’s heart is racing for no particular reason and Jeongguk can probably feel it, but Taehyung can’t seem to care.

“Taehyung,” Jeongguk’s voice is soft as it curls around the syllables of his name, caressing each of them, all traces of anger and bitterness replaced with something that Taehyung can’t understand. “Don’t go.”

Taehyung’s eyes slip closed, and stays still, doesn’t tug away from where Jeongguk’s fingers sear at his wrist, but he can’t bring himself to turn around, the bitterness that Jeongguk lost welling up inside Taehyung instead.

“Why?” he mumbles, “because you weren’t done fucking me?” Jeongguk’s fingers tighten slightly as he inhales sharply, and Taehyung can picture the frown on his face without having to look. He’s waiting for it, for Jeongguk to reduce him to a fuck buddy so they can both move on, but it doesn’t happen.

“It’s late,” Jeongguk murmurs instead, gently as if Taehyung is a wild animal that might be spooked by anything louder than a whisper. “We’re tired. Stay, and we can talk about this in the morning, if you want.”

Taehyung is tempted, so so tempted, and almost as if Jeongguk can sense his hesitation, “or I can blow you and make you breakfast, and then you can leave. Either way, I’d feel better if you’d stay.”

His fight or flight instinct is screaming at him right now, telling him to make a quick getaway or go down swinging, but Jeongguk doesn’t want either. Jeongguk wants Taehyung to stay with him. Together, without any fornication of any sort. Just two bro dudes hanging out in the same bed.

Taehyung can do that.

Jeongguk loans him a fresh pair of boxers and gives him a new toothbrush, and they take the time to pick up their clothes from earlier before they curl up together on Jeongguk’s pure white sheets, Jeongguk plastered to Taehyung’s back. His breath is warm on the nape of Taehyung’s neck and it makes Taehyung shiver.

“ ‘m sorry,” Jeongguk whispers after they’ve settled in, thumb rubbing at the skin of Taehyung’s stomach where it’s resting to keep them close. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“I know,” Taehyung replies softly, feeling sleep come for him as he shifts backwards to press fully into Jeongguk’s hold, allowing himself to melt into Jeongguk’s body. Jeongguk’s lips graze the top of his spine as he drifts off.

*****

Jeongguk doesn’t think that anyone on the planet could possibly be more beautiful than Taehyung when he’s angry.

He becomes a mixture of soft and hard, body tightening in some places and going lax in others to create an intoxicating paradox.

At first, his full cheeks flush a rosy red, and his jaw tightens as he clenches his teeth in annoyance to bite back any rude comments on the tip of his tongue. His lips pout out slightly as a result, leaving him to look like an interesting cross between a petulant child and an annoyed adult. He usually stiffens, back arching slightly and shoulders square, making him look broader, like a more intimidating presence than normal.

His eyes go darker, more calculating, and you can actually see the shift from trusting to distrustful as he makes careful observations for weaknesses. Taehyung assesses the situation, compiles data, formulates a game plan, and then carefully executes it to absolutely roast anyone who has managed to piss him off. Usually this takes the form of a well-constructed insult that pinpoints either an area of insecurity or an area that needs improvement. Jeongguk has been on the receiving end of both types multiple times.

He loses his calm exterior and fumbles for words, losing his polished polite nature to reveal something much more genuine, rawer, that’s usually hidden under the surface. Jeongguk loves it when his accent gets a bit thicker and he loses the modernized city sound that he must have picked up during his time as an undergraduate.

It’s almost a delight, to be able to get under the older man’s skin in a way that nothing else seems to.

Truthfully, Jeongguk has never seen Taehyung angry at another person, but Jeongguk thinks he has enough firsthand experience to decide that Taehyung getting pissed off and consequently going off on him is hot as fuck.

And it’s pretty funny, in Jeongguk’s opinion, that he had already decided which version of Taehyung was his favorite before they even started hooking up on occasion.

He knew from that first day, when the man that he butted in front of in the coffee shop turned out to be in his law and ethics lecture as well that working Taehyung up was going to be one of his favorite pastimes. If nothing else, Jeongguk enjoys making ridiculously attractive people flustered, just so he knows he’s still got it.

Of course, that isn’t all Jeongguk gets out of it now, either.

Apparently being in law school is stressful, and everyone winds up needing some kind of relief. Some people find it in alcohol, others find it in drugs, and still others find it in a casino. Jeongguk thinks it’s safe to say that he’s one of only two people who destresses by picking at someone else until they snap and pin them again the wall.

“What the fuck is your problem, Jeon?” Taehyung spits in his face, hands grabbing harshly at his biceps to keep him from moving. “You just made me look like a complete idiot in front of the entire class.”

Taehyung is being a bit dramatic, in Jeongguk’s opinion. Their presentation was good, very high quality, but Taehyung’s panties are in a wad because Jeongguk included a picture of him asleep on top of a textbook in the library at the end, and Taehyung had been too busy summarizing to wonder why the whole class, including the professor were chuckling at him. It wasn’t until he turned around and saw the slide that understanding slid across his face. He had blushed first, hurrying to shove Jeongguk out of the way and end the presentation. The way that he had gripped at Jeongguk’s wrist behind the podium, digging his fingers into Jeongguk’s skin with a tight smile on his face and danger in his eyes had sent a thrill of excitement through Jeongguk.

He had gone willingly when Taehyung tugged him out of class, grabbing both of their bags in his free hand and dragging Jeongguk behind him. He’d led them through the winding halls of the older building and down a flight of stairs, throwing open a door to an old rarely used physics lab that they’d been to before and yanked Jeongguk inside with him.

Jeongguk was slammed against the wall, caged in by Taehyung’s body and held there with an unforgiving grasp. Taehyung is pretty mad, all things considered, but he’s still not quite where he needs to be. Just needs a tiny push, Jeongguk thinks.

“Well maybe if you weren’t such a goody two shoes, you wouldn’t care about what people think about you.”

“That doesn’t give you the right to mock me in front of our peers!” Taehyung exclaims, “maybe if you weren’t such a know it all, you’d be less butt hurt about people paying attention to someone that isn’t you.”

And let it be known that because Jeongguk has no preservation instincts, he willingly tosses himself in the line of fire on the off chance that he’ll get what he wants. This includes saying things that he shouldn’t say and implying things that he shouldn’t imply, especially when he’s trapped in a place where no one could hear him scream. Still, he’s willing to take the risk.

“Oh as if this is my fault; you love sucking up to professors and letting them kiss your ass. I bet you’d actually let them kiss your ass if they asked, too.” Jeongguk flutters his eyelashes dramatically, ‘Oh Doctor Jones, is there anything I can do for extra credit? Anything at all?” He simpers, in a voice that’s reminiscent of a bad porno.

“Fuck off,” Taehyung growls, slamming Jeongguk back more firmly once in annoyance. “You really don’t know when to shut up.”

“Why should I? You told me you love my voice, remember?”

Taehyung’s smile is sharp, predatory. “Yes, I do remember. I told you that right after I fucked your mouth and almost made you cry. You want me to make you give me a repeat demonstration?”

He quirks an eyebrow at Jeongguk, and Jeongguk rolls his eyes.

“Please, as if you could make me do anything.”

“I can make you beg,” Taehyung murmurs. “Do you want to bet?”

“Sure, I’m always in the mood to win. What’s in it for you?”

“I want to dye your hair pink,” Taehyung says, catching Jeongguk off guard. Jeongguk was thinking more along the lines of sexual favors to be honest, but he isn’t one to shy away from a challenge.

“Fine. If I win, I want you to wear a crop top to lecture next week, and then suck me off after class.”

“Sure, whatever,” Taehyung agrees, finally relaxing his hold on Jeongguk to pull him backwards through the lab, towards the small abandoned office that’s tucked into the corner.

Apparently the professor who used to run this lab retired pretty suddenly, leaving everything almost entirely intact. In the past year no one has replaced him, leaving the lab unoccupied apart from the occasional experiment that needs some overflow room. Jeongguk can’t be bothered with the lab itself, but the office is another story.

Somehow Taehyung had gotten his hand on a key to the door, meaning that they are two of the only people in the building that has access to the small office. After they realized that their little scuffles would become a regular thing, Taehyung decided to clean up the room so at least they can be sanitary and private when they fuck each other’s brains out with rage after class.

There’s a long couch covered with blankets along one entire wall, just the perfect length for their bodies, and a functional desk chair and accompanying desk, all of which have been utilized in the past for purposes beyond their intended use.

Jeongguk thinks his body has almost a Pavlovian response to the office at this point, his body heating up with arousal as soon as he crosses the threshold.

Taehyung shoves him towards the couch, with a single word, “strip,” that sends a shiver down his spine. It isn’t often that Taehyung gets into this particular mindset, but Jeongguk won’t look a gift horse in the mouth. He fumbles with the buttons on his shirt, pulling it open and off quickly and reaching for the clasp of his pants as Taehyung stalks to the desk and tugs out a bottle of lube and a half empty box of condoms.

They’ve been a bit more stressed lately with finals coming up and being on edge has made them both prickly and easy to set off. Subsequently, they’ve been finding themselves down here almost every other day, if not every day, just to relieve a bit of tension at the other’s expense.

Jeongguk plops down on the couch after throwing his clothes onto the desk, left in only his boxers as he watches Taehyung rid himself of his own clothes quickly and efficiently.

Jeongguk is greedy when it comes to Taehyung, eager to take anything he can get from the other man, whether it be physical or otherwise. It makes him a bit of an ass at times, he knows, to be such a slut for Taehyung’s attention that he’ll do anything to get it, but he can’t find it in himself to stop. Especially not when he’s regularly rewarded with the sight of Taehyung’s body and the feeling of Taehyung’s hands on him.

Taehyung isn’t gentle as he moves Jeongguk where he wants him, propping his head up on the bundle of blankets at the end of the couch and spreading his legs to make room for Taehyung to settle between them. He tugs off Jeongguk’s boxers unceremoniously, throwing them in the direction of the desk while complaining about their presence.

“Can’t even get undressed all the way when I tell you to,” he chides, slicking up his fingers.

Jeongguk rolls his eyes, but doesn’t bother trying to comment as Taehyung nudges at his hole with one slick finger. He sucks in a sharp breath as Taehyung presses inside, careful but not slow. He isn’t trying to hurt Jeongguk, but he isn’t going to make this easy.

Jeongguk wouldn’t want it any other way.

He thinks he zones out for a bit, too caught up in the feeling of Taehyung’s fingers curling inside of him, scissoring and stretching him out quickly to register Taehyung’s words or do anything rather than lay there and take it. Jeongguk can feel himself getting hard, the intense concentrated pressure on his prostate impossible to ignore.

The sound of Taehyung unwrapping the condom makes him focus, his eyes locking onto where Taehyung is rolling the latex down his cock. He gives himself a few slow pumps, at first just to coat himself in lube. When he realizes Jeongguk is watching though, he smirks, exaggerating his strokes and showing off.

Jeongguk rolls his eyes. “Get on with it, will you,” he says lazily, stretching his arms above his head to accent his thin waist, thighs still splayed open atop Taehyung’s own.

Taehyung doesn’t deem it necessary to comment on Jeongguk’s sass though, choosing to shut him up with his dick, which is exactly what Jeongguk was hoping for. He’s going to milk dominant Taehyung for as long as he has him.

“Tight,” Taehyung mutters, easing himself in until his hips are flush with Jeongguk’s. He holds there, giving Jeongguk a minute to adjust, which is more than Jeongguk probably would have done had their positions been reversed. He can see the fire in Taehyung’s eye, tucked behind his gentle demeanor and threatening to make an appearance.

Taehyung sets a nice, easy rhythm, nothing too crazy because Jeongguk is sure that Taehyung has a solid amount of frustration to take out on him, and that usually means he’s going to drag it out. That doesn’t stop Jeongguk from working his hips back to meet Taehyung’s thrusts though, encouraging him to speed up.

Taehyung shoots him a sharp look, putting one hand on Jeongguk’s navel to stop him from lifting his hips.

“You don’t get to have control over this. So stop it,” Taehyung commands, and Jeongguk petulantly listens, pouting but going slack and Taehyung continues his lazy rhythm for several long minutes.

Eventually he reaches his breaking point though, heat simmering under Taehyung’s hand, pooling in his navel and threatening to overflow. Jeongguk reaches down to get a hand on himself, and manages to get in a few tugs before Taehyung is clamping down on his wrist and pulling his hand away.

Jeongguk whines in frustration. “Make me come,” he demands, throwing an arm across his eyes and rubbing his other hand across his own chest absentmindedly.

“Hm, I don’t think I will,” Taehyung says, conversationally, never stopping the movement of his hips.

“What?” Jeongguk’s voice is sharp, a tinge of annoyance creeping in.

“You’ve done fuck all to earn it.” Taehyung replies lowly, slowing his thrusts even more and pinning Jeongguk down to make him pay attention to his words and not his hips.

“You made me look like an idiot just for the fun of it. You just laid there while I fingered you open, didn’t even bother to help. Why should I let you come?”

And that prickles something in the back of Jeongguk’s neck, because dominant Taehyung is one thing, and dominant Taehyung abusing his power and pretending like he’s actually in control of this situation is something entirely different. Jeongguk wiggles a bit, propping himself up on his elbows so he’s no longer lying supine beneath the other man.

“Because my ass is the best thing you’ve ever felt and if you want to keep feeling it, you’ll let me,” Jeongguk basically hisses, indignation pouring out of him.

Taehyung just chuckles, Jeongguk’s threats nothing but empty words that he’s promised dozens of times. He always comes crawling back eventually. They’re addicted to each other, for better or worse.

But Taehyung is a nice guy, and he decides to humor him.

“Sure thing baby,” Taehyung says, condescendingly. “How about this: you can come, after you make me come.”

Jeongguk tightens up reflexively around Taehyung, making him hiss. “And how would you suggest that I do that?” Jeongguk asks, voice monotonous, almost casually bored.

Taehyung pauses to think for a minute, rolling his hips a few times to make sure they were both still interested. As if there’s a world where they wouldn’t be.

“Ride me,” he decides suddenly, grabbing Jeongguk’s forearms to yank him up. Jeongguk goes rather easily, limbs heavy as he settles on top of Taehyung, perched more firmly on his cock. He moans softly, swiveling his hips as it hits at the right places deep inside.

Jeongguk rises up shakily, dropping back down quickly, starting them off on a breakneck pace that’s guaranteed to make them both come in a few minutes, and Taehyung lets him work himself up for about a minute before he grasps at Jeongguk’s hips to slow him down.

“Calm down,” Taehyung instructs, using his arms to guide the pace to something more sustainable. Jeongguk feels like his body is on fire, getting ready to dissolve into nothing but ash as Taehyung’s hands pull his hips down and to the right just a tad, the head of Taehyung’s cock nudging right against Jeongguk’s prostate.

He holds them there for almost a minute, the pressure unbearably good, to the point that Jeongguk thinks he may actually start coming right then and there, untouched. He whines out, and Taehyung moves, relieving the pressure as if he has a sixth sense for when it’s too much for Jeongguk to handle.

He finally picks up the pace again, helping Jeongguk rise up and thrusting up to meet Jeongguk’s hips when he drops back down, making Jeongguk gasp.

“Feels good babe,” Taehyung mutters, his voice tight from the effort, and Jeongguk hums in agreement.

“Wanna come,” he mumbles, slumping forward to tuck his head into Taehyung’s shoulder, letting Taehyung take over completely.

“Not until I do,” Taehyung reminds him, and Jeongguk whines again, quietly.

Taehyung tips them back over, spreading his legs even wider to fuck into Jeongguk more firmly, the fluidity of his thrusts almost an art form in Jeongguk’s opinion.

But there’s a time and place to appreciate art, and this is not is.

“Please just come,” he whispers, “please.” Admitting defeat is easier when the reward in the end will be so sweet.

Taehyung groans at the pleading, speeding up against, his thrusts going from controlled, deep, and smooth to shallow and jerky. It’s only a couple more minutes until he freezes over Jeongguk, his cock twitching, and Jeongguk almost sobs at the feeling as Taehyung collapses down from the intensity of his orgasm.

Jeongguk is so sensitive, wiggling his hips and shoving a hand between them to tease at the head of his cock, but it’s not enough.

“Taehyung, make me come. Please,” he begs, probably sounding pitiful, but it’s enough to rouse Taehyung to action. Taehyung pulls out, and Jeongguk hisses quietly as he tucks two fingers back into Jeongguk’s wet heat, crooking them just right.

He ducks down, using the other hand to stroke at Jeongguk’s cock for a minute before he suckles at the head gently, digging his tongue into the slit. Jeongguk shudders, gasping loudly into the room as he comes into Taehyung’s mouth, some of it splashing out to trail down Taehyung’s chin.

Taehyung swallows, kissing Jeongguk’s navel before crawling fully onto the couch and flopping down on top of Jeongguk.

Jeongguk freezes, unsure of how to react. He tries to wiggle free and slip out from under the older man, but he’s stopped by a hand on his waist.

“Don’t. Not yet. Just,” Taehyung’s voice trails off, fatigue evident. Dominant Taehyung seems to be gone, replaced by the version of Taehyung that Jeongguk sees the most; a version that isn’t afraid to hurt him, but prefers to be held rather than to hold.

It’s one of Jeongguk’s favorites, one that surprises him pleasantly every time. He brings a hand up to drag through Taehyung’s hair, scratching at his head and then tugging at the longer bits at the nape of his neck.

They rest together, falling into a silence that should be uncomfortable but somehow isn’t. It stretches for several long moments as their heart rates drop back down to normal levels and their hormones settle, endorphins flooding their bodies and making the pliant and a bit sleepy.

“You know,” Jeongguk says, slowly, testing the words in his mouth as he looks at where Taehyung is lying on his chest, eyes closed. “You’re pretty cute when you’re sleeping. I’m sure Doctor Jones would agree with me.”

Taehyung groans loudly, sitting up and shoving at Jeongguk’s shoulders. He stands, tying off the condom and dumping it into the trash before reaching for the wipes they keep in the drawer. He wipes down his stomach and fingers before tossing the package at Jeongguk, declaring,

“You are the biggest asshole I’ve ever met in my life.”

“Really? I thought I was oh so tight,” Jeongguk teases, voice light even as his backside twinges in protest as he wobbles to his feet. “That isn’t how it works, so you better make up your mind.”

“Fuck off,” Taehyung grumbles, stepping into his pants, and Jeongguk just laughs.

He isn’t laughing when Taehyung remembers that he won the bet though, and he definitely isn’t laughing when he goes to class for the next week with temporarily pink hair.

Taehyung is a smug fucker for the whole week, and it makes Jeongguk’s blood boil to the point that he has to drag him back downstairs to the lab, and the vicious cycle continues.

***

Taehyung is startled awake by the piercing sound of his phone, flinching where he’s curled up on his side, feeling warm and sated. At first, he doesn’t remember and reaches out to feel for it on the nightstand. It’s not where it normally sits during the night though, and suddenly the events of the previous night come flooding back in.

He rolls over and leans up slightly, glancing to the side to see Jeongguk sleeping soundly on his stomach with his head turned towards Taehyung and his lips puffed out in an adorable pout. He has one arm slung over Taehyung’s middle and he looks so much softer when he’s asleep, alluring in a different way that is no less attractive to Taehyung.

Taehyung’s phone is still chiming across the room where he left it to charge on Jeongguk’s desk, and Taehyung furrows his brow in confusion, because he doesn’t remember setting any kind of alarm for this morning. Still the sound is annoying as fuck.

He’s hesitant to leave the warmth of Jeongguk’s bed, tempted to just lay back down and wait for the alarm to snooze itself, but the noise is slightly too irritating for him to ignore, so he kicks off the covers and begins to roll away. His getaway is stopped though, as Jeongguk’s lax arm suddenly tightens, holding Taehyung in place.

Taehyung freezes, not expecting Jeongguk to be awake. He’s not though, not completely anyways. The younger man makes a few grumbly noises, rubbing his hand across the bare skin of Taehyung’s hip before turning onto his side and scooting firmly against Taehyung.

“Stay,” Jeongguk’s voice is gravelly, pitched low from sleep, and Taehyung rolls his eyes despite his own exhaustion. Of course, Taehyung is fucking around with a possessive cuddle monster. Fabulous.

“I’m just turning off my alarm.” Jeongguk’s arm tightens even further, and he tries to throw a leg over Taehyung’s, shaking his head once before pressing his forehead to Taehyung’s neck.

“Leave it,” Jeongguk says slowly, still mostly asleep. All he seems to have registered is the fact that Taehyung is trying to leave the bed, because if he could actually hear Taehyung’s phone, he’d realize how annoying the high pitched ringing is.

Taehyung huffs out “Let go,” before shoving Jeongguk’s arm off of his middle and rolling off the bed. Jeongguk flops over back onto his stomach, his weight betraying him as he loses the resistance of Taehyung’s body. Taehyung pads across the floor, the hardwood cool under his bare feet. He stops in front of the desk, his bare feet digging into the plush rug that sits there as he turns over his phone to mute the alarm.

It isn’t an alarm though. It’s a phone call, from an unknown restricted number, and the duration of time that the other caller has remained on the line instantly puts Taehyung on edge.

It’s four in the morning, and most people who dial a wrong number don’t sit around for two minutes waiting for you to pick up; unless they are sure they dialed the right number and they have a really good reason to call.

It doesn’t take too long for Taehyung to put the pieces together.

Taehyung presses the button on the side of his phone to mute the ringer and moves swiftly through the bedroom, leaving the door cracked behind him as he heads for the living room. As soon as he’s out of earshot of Jeongguk, he answers.

“Mr. Kim?” The voice is low and timid, tinged with urgency and apology. “This is Yugyeom.”

Taehyung hums, his suspicions confirmed, before greeting the teen. It didn’t take long for him to crack then. Apparently the prospect of going to jail for the rest of his life is a pretty motivating incentive to tell the truth.

“I’m sorry for calling so late, but I really need to talk to you. About earlier. The warden didn’t let me have my one call until I explained that I didn’t get it when I was brought it. And he forgot to tell the guy in charge of my cell block so I didn’t get the chance until the guards changed twenty minutes ago.”

“Don’t worry about it Yugyeom,” Taehyung reassures, his voice a bit rough but hopefully soothing enough to settle the teen’s nerves.

“What did you need to talk to me about?” Taehyung settles down on the couch, bringing his knees up to his chest so he can rest his forehead against them.”

“I- I lied earlier when I said I didn’t know anything. The whole thing was an initiation dare for this gang I’ve been hanging out with for the past few months.”

“A gang?” Taehyung asks, mind sharpening with the new piece of knowledge.

“Mhm,” Yugyeom confirms. “My family is broke and I needed more money than what I can make at the grocery store I work at. One of the guys I go to school with told me that he makes almost a grand every week and said that he could get me in if I wanted. It was impossible to pass up.”

Taehyung shifts, feeling restless, and he stands to pace back and forth in front of the glass doors that open to the balcony.

“They made it sound so easy. Break into this rich couple’s house, steal something expensive to prove I actually went inside and then leave without anyone noticing. And I did it. I went in through the back door, went to the bedroom and took a necklace from the old lady’s dresser and left. I showed the necklace to the leader the next day and he said I was in, and he didn’t even take it from me or anything.”

Yugyeom sounds rattled, young and scared as he continues. Taehyung can imagine that this whole situation has been nothing short of traumatic.

“When the police picked me up, I panicked. They told me there were no cameras but the police said they had a witness that someone saw me going into the house and that if I would confess, there was chance I’d get a lighter sentence, so I did. It wasn’t until I got here that I realized I was arrested for murder, not just stealing a fucking necklace, but by then no one would listen to me.”

Taehyung pauses, staring out the window towards the skyline filled with skyscrapers and bright lights, so focused on the teen’s explanation that he doesn’t hear the footsteps coming down the hall. He startles slightly when arms snake around his waist, but he relaxes into Jeongguk’s hold as Yugyeom complicates the situation. The younger man hooks his chin over Taehyung’s shoulder, just resting there, still half asleep but unable to drift back off without Taehyung in bed too.

 “I figured I would just have to keep talking until someone believed me, but then a guy from the gang visited me the day after I got here. Said they’ve got eyes on my mom and baby sister, and they’ll kill them if I rat them out to the police.”

Jeongguk pulls away, spinning Taehyung around gently to quirk an eyebrow in his direction before shuffling off towards the kitchen. Taehyung watches as he flips on the light and begins to clunk around before tuning back into the conversation.

“So yeah, that’s why I lied. I’d rather rot in jail than let something happen to my family but I don’t want to be here if I can help it. When I realized that you don’t work for the police, I asked to call right away.”

Taehyung waits for a few moments just in case Yugyeom has anything to add before admitting, “It was very smart of you to be cautious. I wouldn’t risk my own family either.”

He strides into Jeongguk’s office, flipping on the lights and plopping down at his desk. He opens a drawer to pull out a legal pad and a pen. “I have a few questions for you if that’s alright?”

“Anything,” Yugyeom insists, “I only have a few more minutes.”

“Okay, first off, I’d like your mother and sister’s names, phone number, and address. I’ll put them in touch with a colleague of mine that helps with relocating witnesses and their families prior to trials.”

Yugyeom rattles off two names and an address from a part of town that Taehyung isn’t familiar with, but he has a feeling that it’s probably not the nicest neighborhood. He writes the information down, making a note to call his friend from witness protection first thing.

“Next, I need to know about this gang. Anything you give me is helpful. The name of the gang, the leader, how many members, where it’s located, where they usually run, anything.”

“It’s called the Black Cobra,” Yugyeom begins, his voice low, “and the leader is a guy who just calls himself Snake. Nobody used their real names around me.”

 He sounds sheepish, maybe because his information isn’t super specific, but it’s better than nothing. Taehyung hums to encourage him to continue.

“They run in District Nine, around where my family lives. I’m not sure how many members exactly. I’ve only been in the main warehouse once and there were maybe twenty five or thirty guys? Most of my time was spent in some of the smaller houses on the edge of their territory.”

There’s a pause and Taehyung can hear another voice in the background speaking, but he can’t make out what it’s saying. Yugyeom seems to have lowered the voice to listen though, and when he speaks again it’s to tell Taehyung that he only has two minutes left.

“That’s okay,” Taehyung reassures, not wanting the teen to panic and get scatterbrained. “I can always come visit you again later if I need anything else. Right now I just have one more question I think.”

“Shoot,” Yugyeom says, and Taehyung pauses to think of the best wording.

“This might seem like an odd question but it might be important. Do you remember the names of the officers who told you to confess? Specifically the one who told you there was a witness.”

Yugyeom pauses for several long seconds, wracking his brain.

“One of them was named Young. I remember him because he was a lot larger than the rest of them,” he finally answers slowly.

“Is that the one who told you to confess?”

“No, he was just around a lot. There was another guy. Tall, gray hair, kinda stiff looking. Like he couldn’t move his face properly? I can’t remember his name but if I saw him I’d know him.”

Taehyung scribbles down the description, a name coming to mind, but he decides to leave that for later. He offers, “I can bring some pictures by if you want to try to pick him out?” and Yugyeom agrees quickly. Taehyung straightens his notes, glancing through them quickly.

“I think that’s all I need from you right now, but I’ll probably come to visit you sometime in the afternoon tomorrow. I have appointments in the morning, but if you think of anything else, just tell them you need to talk to your lawyer and you should have no problem getting through to me.”

Yugyeom thanks him, and then hands the phone off to the officer. Taehyung informs the officer on phone duty that he’s compiling a case in Yugyeom’s defense and that he will need complete phone access until further notice.

“My office will send you the proper written documentation as soon as my secretary is in,” Taehyung assures. “Thank you for your cooperation.”

Taehyung hangs up the phone and slumps back in his chair, staring off into space as he begins to absorb the information and paint a picture in his head.

His mind is swirling. First of all, it goes against the teen’s rights that no one even told him what he was being charged with before telling him he had to confess. Taehyung desperately tries to remember the details that Yoongi told him. Circumstantial evidence meant that no one could definitively prove that the kid was in the house; in other words, there was no eyewitness. Yoongi definitely would’ve mentioned that tiny detail if it was true.

So why did the men in charge of the case lie?

“Thought you made a run for it before I realized your clothes were still on the dresser,” Jeongguk’s voice is soft as he enters the office and makes the admission while handing Taehyung a steaming cup of tea. “Was that the kid?”

Taehyung nods, blowing gently to cool the liquid before taking a sip. “If he’s telling the truth, we’ve got a mess on our hands.”

Jeongguk quirks an eyebrow as he sips at his own mug. “How so?”

Taehyung spends a few minutes filling Jeongguk in, interjecting his own thoughts about the validity of the story in certain places and voicing his concerns about the legality of the teen being tried on the basis of a coerced confession.

“Gray hair and an unmovable face, huh? Lee?”

“That was my first thought too,” Taehyung says grimly. “I know Yoongi said he’s used some questionable interrogation strategies in the past but this is different than roughing up a hardened criminal. He’s a kid, he was probably scared shitless, and they didn’t even give him a lawyer?”

Jeongguk’s face is the picture of intensity, brow furrowed as he stares off into space and processes. He looks a bit shocked and troubled; Taehyung can relate.

“Lee was the one who gave me the case too,” he murmurs slowly. “Was very insistent that it was open and shut, and that I should prosecute as soon as possible.”

And that thought opens up a whole new world of problems.

Taehyung sets his mug down on the desk and leans forward to brace his elbows on his knees, rubbing at his forehead with one hand. Between the stress of his fight with Jeongguk, the confusion from the new details about the case, and a general lack of sleep, Taehyung can feel a major headache coming on.

“So the question is, was Lee just being lazy or is he trying to cover something up by pinning the whole thing on this kid?” Taehyung mutters.

Jeongguk sighs heavily, sliding down the wall to sit with his knees bent and arms resting atop them.

“Lee is a good detective. A snake, but a good detective. I can’t imagine that he’d miss something as obvious as the fact that the kid was never in that part of the house. Hell, we’re lawyers, not detectives, and we figured that out.”

“And the kid not confessing to murder is just a huge red flag,” Taehyung agrees. “But we can’t ignore the gang involvement either. If one of those guys was in the house, it wasn’t for nothing. We need to look at what the owners reported to be missing and see if it lines up with what they found with Yugyeom.”

Jeongguk nods, standing to lean over Taehyung and shuffle through the papers on his desk until he finds what he’s looking for and makes a noise of triumph. He slides an evidence list forward and Taehyung picks it up to examine it. “This is all the jewelry they found at his house. A couple necklaces, four bracelets, a pair of earrings and two matching rings worth over five million in his backpack and then a locket in a box at the back of his closet that’s worth about five grand.”

Taehyung makes a noise of confusion. “Wait, he used two different hiding spots? That’s a bit odd, especially with how he stashed the more expensive pieces in a way more obvious place.”

“I thought so too, that’s why I made a copy to look over here.” Jeongguk looks a bit sheepish “I left the full file in my office though, so I don’t have the full confession or any of the transcription from the arrest. But I’ll call my assistant and have her fax us the complete police report.”

Jeongguk pulls out his phone, but he’s stopped by a gentle hand on his wrist. He glances up with a question in his eyes. Taehyung looks amused, eyes tired but he’s smiling that gentle smile that Jeongguk absolutely adores.

“You might want to wait until she’s actually up, yeah? It’s only half after four right now so I doubt she’s in the office to man the fax machine immediately.”

Jeongguk reddens, embarrassed that he didn’t think about the fact that it’s still the middle of the night. “Right, I’ll call her in a couple hours then.”

Taehyung nods, looking back at evidence list as Jeongguk leans back to rest against the edge of the desk. He kicks at Taehyung’s chair until he rolls back, and then scoots over to hop up on the desk so they can face each other, his legs dangling.

“Are we sure that this is all that was taken from the house?” Taehyung shakes the list slightly, “I mean, this is all they found at Yugyeom’s place, but did anyone make sure the owners went through the rest of the house?”

“I did talk to Lee about that actually. He said that the wife went through all her jewelry and there was nothing else missing.”

“That doesn’t mean the rest of the house was untouched though,” Taehyung points out. “They might not have checked everything else as closely.

Jeongguk hums in agreement. “We should have Yoongi call them and tell them to look through their belongings again just to be sure. The jewelry could have just been a cover-up if they were using the kid as a decoy in the first place.”

Taehyung rests his note pad on Jeongguk’s thigh and jots down a reminder to call Yoongi first thing in the morning, and then starts a list of things he’s needs to ask Yugyeom next time he visits.

“I also need to double check Yugyeom’s statement. I don’t remember him saying anything about taking that much jewelry; he said he took one necklace.”

“Only one?” Jeongguk looks surprised, and Taehyung nods. “Did he have his backpack with him? He would’ve needed a bag or something to carry out all the stuff they found.”

“He didn’t mention anything but I didn’t ask. He’s on a time crunch for some weird reason. The whole jail thing I guess,” Taehyung jokes, adding to his list before letting the fingers of his right hand dip in between Jeongguk’s thighs to tease at his bare skin.

Jeongguk’s laugh is a bit strained as he suddenly becomes very aware of the fact that both of them are naked besides their underwear. Taehyung isn’t known for his shame, and neither is Jeongguk, but it’s a bit odd for them to be working so seriously when they are practically in the nude.

Taehyung doesn’t say anything though, and Jeongguk isn’t even sure if he’s aware that his fingers are rubbing up against the sensitive skin of his inner thigh while he studies the list.

‘It’s my own fault for sitting like this,’ Jeongguk thinks to himself, regretting all of his previous life choices. But also not, because he’ll never regret having Taehyung’s hands on him.

Taehyung’s eyelids are drooping slightly, and Jeongguk shifts his thoughts, remembering that they were interrupted in the middle of the night and probably only got a couple hours of sleep at the most. He watches as Taehyung yawns, rubbing at his eyes with his fists and Jeongguk has seen enough.

He hops off the desk, almost directly on top of Taehyung, and gently pushes Taehyung backwards, ignoring his confused “what?” in favor of spinning the chair around so that Taehyung faces the door.

“Come on,” he says, reaching out to tug Taehyung up out of the chair. Taehyung goes willingly, which is how Jeongguk knows he’s exhausted. “We can figure out everything else after we’ve gotten a few more hours of sleep.”

They shuffle through Jeongguk’s living room, abandoning their notes and drinks to make their way back to bed. Taehyung flops face down into the sheets with a tiny groan, and Jeongguk chuckles, covering up the older man before walking around the bed to slip under the sheets.

Taehyung’s eyes are still open and they lock with Jeongguk’s in the dim light of the room. They haven’t talked yet, and they really need to, but this case will take priority for a while. Thankfully, the tension from a few hours before is gone, replaced with a lethargic mellow feeling that simultaneously calms Jeongguk and puts him on edge.

“ ‘m meeting Yoongi in the morning at the house to look around,” Taehyung mumbles, breaking the silence. “You can come if you want.”

“Sure thing,” Jeongguk murmurs softly. “I’ll call in first thing in the morning.”

“It’s already the morning though.”

Jeongguk rolls his eyes at the appearance of Taehyung’s sassy side. “You know what I mean, jerk.”

Taehyung’s lips quirk up into a sleepy smile, and he shifts enough to grab for Jeongguk’s hand, fingers finding his forearm and then sliding down to rest the back of his hand on top of Jeongguk’s. Jeongguk laces their fingers loosely, squeezing once and watching as Taehyung’s eyes slip shut.

He’s asleep minutes later, snuffling into the pillow, and Jeongguk takes the chance to study him unhindered until sleep claims him too.

*****

The house is still and eerily quiet as he slips in through the back door, using his gloved hand to reach through the busted glass panel and turn the knob. He steps carefully around the shards of glass that liter the floor and makes his way swiftly towards the staircase. Following the map that’s seared into his mind, he easily locates the master bedroom and the safe that’s tucked behind a hideous painting. How original.

He slips the bag off of his shoulder, opening it up to pull out his setaline torch. It takes him almost an hour of repeatedly heating the metal and then rapidly cooling it with a special mixture of water and liquid nitrogen for the safe to give way. He uses the end of a hammer to tap at the weakened metal until he can see inside.

The safe is filled with jewelry, millions of dollars in precious gems and unique craftsmanship, and for a brief moment he’s filled with an undeniable lust for riches, but he squashes it down almost as soon as it rears its head. He reaches inside carefully to pull out a handful of pieces, not all that interested in exactly what he grabbed. He tucks them into the side pouch of his bag, putting away his tools quickly and leaving the room.

He retraces his steps to the staircase, heading back to the main floor. He finds the door that connects to the rest of the house with ease, stepping through into a large modern kitchen, just as he planned.

What he didn’t plan, however, was the woman standing near the stove, scrubbing at the burners with a sponge and listening to music loudly through her headphones.

She clearly didn’t hear the door open or close, and he briefly entertains the idea of sneaking past her, but its short lived as she turns around the clean out her sponge in the sink. Her body stiffens as she spots him, and she yanks out her headphones quickly, hands trembling.

“Who are you?” she demands, her voice a bit shaky. “You aren’t supposed to be here.”

“Neither are you,” he murmurs, deflating a bit, because he didn’t mean to get anyone involved, but she’s seen his face. His motions are quick and sure, not answering her as he strides into the kitchen while she backs away slowly.

People never seem to run from him, even when they really should. It’s probably because he’s got a baby face that makes him look far more innocent than he is. It makes his job easier when he doesn’t have to chase though, so he isn’t complaining.

He thinks it’s interesting. TV makes murder out to be some grand, ritualistic act. All passion and fire and hate, brutality mixed with rage as the life drains out of the victim.

There’s nothing special about the clinical way that he grabs a large knife from the set that’s resting on the counter, bashing the woman’s head against the counter to knock her unconscious, holding her up and facing away from him so he doesn’t get any blood on his clothing when he drives the knife into her neck and then her hip. She’ll bleed out in minutes, with two major arteries severed. As painless as possible, because he’s not a monster, just a man with a mission.

He lowers her body to the ground quickly and steps away to avoid the puddle of blood that’s forming to undoubtedly stain the floor, setting the knife in the dishwater resting in the sink as he exits the room. He strips off his gloves as he walks, another pair of thinner ones underneath. Double gloving always comes in handy.

The office is easy to find, and this safe is far easier to open than the first. In fact, he’s able to crack it without the use of his tools, which will please his employer. He shifts through the files quickly, taking papers at random from every file and pulling out the two that he was told to retrieve, tucking them into his bag carefully.

Why these files? He isn’t sure, but he isn’t being paid to ask questions. He’ll do the job, and he’ll forget about it and enjoy his reward. 

He closes the safe, spinning the dial and replacing the painting, careful to leave the room exactly as he found it. With any luck, the old man won’t even notice anything is missing.

His journey back through the house is a blur, passing through the kitchen without sparing a glance at the body he left behind. His last stop is the security room, where he methodically wipes the tapes from the past six hours just to be safe.

He steps over the pile of glass in the doorway, pulling it shut behind him and flipping the deadbolt before disappearing into the trees that line the edge of the house like he was never there to begin with.

Mission accomplished.

***

The house is every bit as extravagant as Jeongguk assumed it would be, if not more so. Taehyung mutters that ‘house’ isn’t the word he would use to describe it, and Jeongguk completely agrees. Mansion might do it. Palace is a close second.

It stands three stories tall with four separate wings connected by a kitchen that branches off into a communal area that was designed for entertaining large groups. It almost reminds Taehyung of a restaurant where you can sit at the table and watch the chef prepare your food up close.

Mr. Kim and his wife both have their own separate wing for their personal hobbies. There’s a private office, an indoor swimming pool and a room dedicated to musical instruments in Mr. Kim’s wing, along with a putting green and practice driving range. Mrs. Kim’s comes complete with three different rooms for various types of needlework, a room for entertaining guests along with a full kitchen, and a greenhouse on the top floor with a skylight to let in the sun.

The third wing is dedicated entirely to the couple’s pets. There are several dogs running around on the entirety of first floor, eager to greet guests when they visit. There’s a revolving door leading to a large fenced in garden for the dogs to exercise in. The second floor is home to several sleepy cats, who also have access to the garden via a nifty enclosed walkway that wraps around the outside of the wing with an opening too small for any of the dogs. The third floor is for whatever sundry pets that the owners have taken a liking too. The Kim’s son, Namjoon, is giving them a tour. Apparently, he’s finishing up his last year of residency, and within a few months he’ll officially be a cardiac surgeon, a fact that the older man seems very proud of, for good reason.

Namjoon walks them through the third wing quickly, and explains that they’ve had everything from mice to salamanders to a cockatoo hanging around, the latter of which lived for almost 25 years before he got too excited with a female companion and bit the dust.

“Mom was distraught for weeks, but the rest of us were ready for some peace and quiet. Especially poor Dad,” he confides. Taehyung and Yoongi chuckle and Jeongguk smiles indulgently. Namjoon seems like a decent guy, but a tour of the entire house could take a week and he doubts that the gang members would be interested in cats or fish.

The fourth wing is the one that Jeongguk finds to be the most important. It’s where the couple and their son spend a majority of their time together, and therefore it contains a lot of their more valuable possessions. The master bedroom in particular is of interest.

“This is where mom keeps her jewelry,” Namjoon says, pointing to a safe on the wall that has a small hole blown into it near the latch. Yoongi steps forward to examine the safe with Jeongguk, but Taehyung scans the rest of the room.

“Is that the only safe in this wing?” Namjoon nods in affirmation.

“Does she ever leave jewelry anywhere other than the safe?”

“She’s usually good about returning her valuable jewels to the safe as soon as she returns home from events. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen her lounging around in anything expensive. She just wears her wedding rings most days.”

Taehyung hums, moving towards the dresser. There’s a small wooden jewelry box on top with intricate swirls decorating the lid. He lifts it up and a light tune begins to play. Inside there are several necklaces and bracelets that look far less expensive than those that were taken in the robbery.

“Is this always sitting here?”

“Yeah I think so,” Namjoon says slowly. “That’s what she calls her ‘every day collection’. It’s mostly just souvenirs that Dad has purchased from different places around the globe and a few things she had before they got married.”

“When your parents return, can you ask her specifically which pieces were taken from where? I just need to know if anything that was stolen came out of this box.” Taehyung requests.

“Absolutely,” Namjoon nods, and Taehyung smiles in thanks as Yoongi and Jeongguk’s conversation tapers off.

“Did you know the maid that was killed?” Taehyung asks, wincing at how insensitive he sounds. Namjoon seems pretty affected, his face dropping and eyebrows pulling together in distress.

“No, she wasn’t one of the usual staff members. When Dad goes on vacation he insists that the staff either go home or accompany him. He hires people from an outside company to clean and maintain the property while everybody is gone, and I was out of town speaking at a research conference so I didn’t meet any of the temporary staff this time.”

Taehyung frowns. That all but rules out the possibility of the murdering being personal. Most likely the killer was surprised by the maid and attacked her to keep her from speaking. The break-in being an elaborate cover up for a murder was a long shot initially; there are far less conspicuous places to get rid of a maid, and her temporary position cements that idea.

“What does your dad do for a living, exactly?” Jeongguk asks, glancing around the massive bedroom.

“He’s a businessman, deals mostly with investment. And he owns a chain of hotels. And a chain of restaurants. And several car dealerships. And a few museums,” Namjoon lists off.

“And don’t tell me, the continent of Antarctica too,” Taehyung deadpans, and Jeongguk huffs out a laugh. Namjoon doesn’t seem phased, chuckling easily as he continues to answer.

“Well, he is planning to write an autobiography about all of his different ventures as well, to talk about what went well and what didn’t in each industry. In his spare time he likes to golf, swim, and carry shopping bags for my lovely mother. Oh and sometimes he tries to solve old cold cases as a freelance private eye.”

Taehyung raises his eyebrows, looking at Yoongi who shrugs.

“I guess he goes way back with the first Commissioner Jung and he gives old cases to Mr. Kim to look over in his spare time. Ya know, when he isn’t busy by the pool or flying somewhere in his private jet.”

Jeongguk snorts. “So does he have those case files lying around here somewhere then?”

“Probably in his private office in his wing,” Namjoon offers. “I know he usually keeps them under lock and key so I doubt we could get to them though.”

Taehyung’s brow furrows. “Mr. Kim’s wing is in the opposite corner of the house, isn’t he?”

Namjoon nods. “So we’d have to go through the main area with the kitchen to get to his wing from this one, wouldn’t we? There are halls connecting us to the other two wings, but not to that one.”

“That would be the most direct route, unless you were familiar with the house and chose to use the secret staircase in the second pantry that leads to the second floor walkway. But most people don’t think to look in a closet for a staircase.”

Taehyung locks eyes with Jeongguk and he can see the wheels turning in his head too. Taehyung turns back to Namjoon.

“When your dad gets back, I need you to ask him to go through his case files and see if there are any missing. Please let Yoongi know as soon as he says anything, one way or the other.”

“Of course,” Namjoon agrees easily, glancing at Yoongi with a small smile that suggests it won’t be much of a hardship. Yoongi flushes, and Taehyung smirks.

They spend a few more minutes looking through the rest of the main living wing, checking out Namjoon’s bedroom, the small kitchen for late night snacks that’s just down the hall from the master bedroom along with the two separate walk in closets for the couple. The first floor of the wing is set up to entertain in a far more casual way, complete with a bar, a pool table, and a section of sliding glass doors that open out to a large patio with a grill and outdoor seating area. Those were the same doors that Yugyeom entered when he broke in, but they’ve already been repaired with shatterproof glass.

“Apparently these were the only doors in the entire building that were not made of shatterproof glass because Dad didn’t want to obstruct his guests’ view of the garden,” Namjoon explains as he escorts them back to the main entrance. Jeongguk makes a note of it and then they say their goodbyes. Namjoon shakes Yoongi’s hand for longer than necessary, but Jeongguk and Taehyung make it a point to say nothing of it. For now at least.

“I think I’m going to head over to the office for a bit to pick up the files and look into this gang.” Jeongguk decides.

Taehyung nods. “Can you drop me off at my place? I’m going to head to the jail and talk to Yugyeom again.” Jeongguk nods, reaching for his keys to unlock his car.

“Yoongi, would you mind looking into the cold cases that Kim may have had access to? See if there are any common denominators. We can meet back at my house in a few hours?”

“Sounds good,” Yoongi agrees hastily, his cheeks still tinged pink, and he leaves them to climb into his own car.

Taehyung settles into the passenger seat of Jeongguk’s car, mind spinning. They have a lot of work to do.

***

It turns out that Yugyeom’s statement as transcribed by the police correlates perfectly with the one that he relays to Taehyung.

He broke in near the back door ‘by the grill’, went to the master bedroom, took a necklace from a wooden jewelry box that was sitting on the dresser, and left the way that he came. In and out in minutes, and no mention of travelling anywhere else in the house.

Jeongguk and Taehyung pour over the file, looking for any inconsistencies between it and the recorded version that Taehyung recorded when he visited Yugyeom earlier, and they come up empty handed.

“Well he’s got his story straight, that’s for sure,” Jeongguk says, leaning back in his chair to stretch. Taehyung hums in agreement. “And he identified Lee as the officer in charge too.”

“The real question is does it line up with Mrs. Kim’s story though. I wonder when Yoongi will be back.”

Jeongguk checks his phone, mentioning “he said that he was on his way back almost half an hour ago so I’d imagine he’s almost here.”

Taehyung hums, rising to his feet slowly and stretching, lifting his hands over his head and groaning as his back twinges in discomfort. “I think I’m going to make some tea. Want some?” he asks as he walks towards the kitchen.

“Is that even a question you have to ask?” Jeongguk chuckles, and Taehyung sticks his tongue out before disappearing around the corner, shuffling his feet slightly.

He goes on auto pilot mode as he brews two cups of tea and starts a pot of coffee for Yoongi. He mixes in sugar and adds a splash of milk to both of their cups, making his way back to where he left Jeongguk on the floor by his coffee table in the living room. There are papers spread out all around him, one Taehyung shaped hole left in the middle of it all.

Jeongguk accepts his mug grateful, gulping down the hot drink as if he’s been starving and thirsty for years. Never get between a man and his tea.

Taehyung carefully climbs back into his spot, wary of disturbing Jeongguk’s stacks of papers.

He thinks it’s intriguing to see the way that the younger man works. Despite going to school together and practicing in the same city, sometimes even in the same courtroom, Taehyung has never actually seen Jeongguk research in preparation for a case, and it’s fascinating in an odd way.

Where Taehyung is all neat lists with bullet points and alphabetized stacks of files, Jeongguk is organized chaos. Stacks of papers lie around with no clear pattern, and he has different colored post it notes stuck to various sheets throughout. Taehyung isn’t sure what’s going on, but there’s clearly a method to his madness, because Jeongguk is able to produce anything that Taehyung asks for in seconds.

Sometime, when there isn’t a killer at large and a semi-innocent teen getting ready to be convicted for crimes he didn’t commit, Taehyung thinks it would be interesting to sit down and make Jeongguk explain his system and how it came about.

Taehyung remembers seeing him in the library more times than he can count, and he never saw anything like this.

Of course, that Jeongguk also wasn’t barefoot with product-free hair; nor was he curled up in Taehyung’s home in the middle of the floor. (And Jeongguk will deny it if Taehyung says anything, but he’s pretty sure that Jeongguk insisted on using the floor because the sun is shining in and illuminating the living room. He’s a cat in a human body, confirmed.)

The front door bangs open out of nowhere, the sound echoing through the house, and Taehyung perks up as he hears Yoongi kick off his shoes.

“Oi fuckers, where you at?” he calls, and Taehyung yells out “in here” just as Yoongi rounds the corner, two pizza boxes in his arms.

Jeongguk looks up, grinning at the sight. “Bless your soul.”

“You only want me for my pizza, Jeon.”

“And?” Jeongguk raises an eyebrow at Yoongi, holding out a hand in his direction in a not-so-subtle demand for the food. Yoongi hands over the top box with an unamused look.

“Thank you so much Yoongi. I can’t believe you are so thoughtful Yoongi. I wish I could be as generous and caring as you Yoongi.” The older man rattles off mockingly when it becomes clear that Jeongguk isn’t going to acknowledge him.

Jeongguk snorts, settling the box on his lap. He flips open the lid while waving his other hand vaguely in Yoongi’s direction. “Yeah yeah, thanks.”

Yoongi plops on the couch, muttering something about disrespectful punks that Taehyung doesn’t quite catch, but the general feeling of playful annoyance is well-communicated.

“Thanks Yoongi,” Taehyung smiles at the younger man who smiles as he digs into his own pizza. Jeongguk passes Taehyung a slice, and they all munch away in silence for a while, lost in their own heads.

Jeongguk’s voice is the one to break the silence. “Did you hear from the Kim’s, Yoongi?”

Yoongi nods, swallowing his last bite and licking the grease off of his fingers.

“Namjoon actually just had them call me when they got back from the garden party they were at, and I spoke to both of them.”

Yoongi wipes his fingers on his jeans before reaching into his pocket to pull out a few papers. He shuffles through them, making a tiny sound of triumph as he finds his notes.

“Okay, first I talked to Mrs. Kim about the jewelry. She said everything came from the safe apart from one piece. Any guesses?”

“The locket that Yugyeom admitted to taking?”

“Ding ding ding, give Mr. Kim a prize,” Yoongi says in his best game show host voice, and Taehyung shrieks quietly as if he’s a winner on one of those cheesy daytime television shows.

“She said the locket was a gift from her grandmother, and it was the piece she was most upset about losing. It was the most sentimental for her because it reminded her of her family. She generally keeps it in her dresser; usually she wears it but she accidentally left it behind when they left for their vacation.”

Jeongguk reaches for a stack of papers in front of Taehyung, shuffling through them before pulling one out to scribble something down.

“I know it’s circumstantial at best, but the fact that all of the items bar one came from the same place, and the main suspect only actually admitted to stealing that one piece in his statement.”

Taehyung adds, “I think it’s worth looking into further. I’m still not over the fact that he had supposedly had millions of dollars in jewelry and the gang members didn’t keep a single piece for themselves when he had to present the proof that he was in the house. That seems like the kind of thing that they’d confiscate and hide until it cooled off enough to sell.”

“Yeah. Weird,” Yoongi agrees.

“But anyways, after I finally got Mrs. Kim to stop talking about the herbs she recently planted in her greenhouse, I talked to Mr. Kim about his files. He isn’t entirely sure which cases are missing but there are at least two full ones. He said he had seven and now he only has five. Some of his notes in those files might have been tampered with too.

He actually called me back when I was on the way over here to let me know that he told Commissioner Jung, and his secretary will be calling us, most likely to fax the files over once they figure out which ones were removed. Luckily the Commissioner was proactive about handing out complete files for cases that weren’t in the online database, so he made copies.”

“That’s definitely a lucky break,” Jeongguk says, nodding. “Did you manage to dig up anything on the gang?”

“Not a ton on the gang itself. They seem to run a pretty small operation, not a lot of run ins with us so far. Their leader, Snake aka Park Jaeho deals mostly with petty thefts and drug distribution. Small time overall, short rap sheet compared to most of the higher ups in gangs.”

Yoongi leans forward, turning over the page.

“But this is something interesting. I was curious about his finances so I pulled his bank records. He has a couple decoy accounts and then two accounts that funnel into one Swiss account. Obviously I can’t see those numbers but had some pretty substantial funds deposited into his second account from an off-shore account that’s untraceable.”

“How substantial?” Jeongguk asks, and Yoongi smiles smugly.

“Five million dollars.”

Taehyung and Jeongguk both look at each other rapidly, pieces falling into place.

“He was paid off?” Taehyung asks, just to be sure.

“It looks that way,” Yoongi agrees. “The dates didn’t coincide with the actual robbery or murder, so we can’t make that direct correlation, but I think it’s pretty damning that the money was sent the same day that your little buddy was picked up and interrogated.”

Taehyung scrubs a hand down his face, holding his mouth in a muted form of elated disbelief. He stares off into space for a few seconds before murmuring,

“So someone paid him off to steal the files then. Otherwise I doubt he would’ve left all the jewels to Yugyeom. They weren’t the target and he knew he’d be making his money elsewhere, so he didn’t bother. Yugyeom was supposed to be the fall guy.”

Jeongguk nods, reaching out to squeeze at Taehyung’s thigh, rubbing his thumb along the outer seam of Taehyung’s jeans gently. “You were right,” he agrees.

“I was right,” Taehyung echoes.

Yoongi watches the two of them for a few moments, and when neither of them speak, he rolls his eyes.

“I hate to break it to you guys, but just because we know we’re right about the kid doesn’t mean we can pack up and have a party.”

Yoongi stands up, moving behind to house to pace back and forth as his lists, “We don’t have any actual evidence to convict the guy who really killed that maid. And even if we did, we don’t know who paid him to steal those files or why they’re so important.”

“Yoongi’s right,” Jeongguk’s voice is quiet, his hand still resting on Taehyung’s thigh. “It’s good that we can counter all the circumstantial evidence and prove Yugyeom’s innocence as far as the murder conviction goes, but we still have a lot of work to do. I’ll get my office to drop his case on the grounds of a coerced confession but we can’t stop there.”

“We need to get a look at those files as soon as possible and see if there’s anything in them worth killing for,” Taehyung mutters. “If they were the real target, and Park was given instructions to extract them at any cost, they must be hiding something important.”

“I’ll call the Commissioner’s office and see if they’ve made any progress. I can always run over there and pick up the files myself,” Yoongi offers. “Sitting around here makes me antsy.”

“Sitting anywhere makes you antsy, Yoon,” Taehyung chuckles. “You are the laziest person I know until there’s a crime to be solved.” And then Taehyung has to duck to the side to avoid the pillow that Yoongi lobs at him from across the room.

“Yeah well my lazy ass is actually getting somewhere so I don’t want to hear any complaints from you two.”

Jeongguk pinching his fingers together and mimes zipping his lips, a tiny smile on his face as he nudges Taehyung until he does the same. Yoongi sits back down, satisfied as he nods before pulling out his phone to call.

***

In the end it was easier for Yoongi to run and retrieved the files, rather than waiting for Commissioner Jung’s secretary to get out of her afternoon meetings and scan all of the documents in to be faxed.

While he’s gone, Taehyung drags Jeongguk up from the ground and shoves him down onto the couch, clambering on top of him with a cheeky smile on his face.

Jeongguk laughs, “Really? Now?” with a disbelieving look on his face, as if he’s not reaching for Taehyung and pulling him closer as he speaks. They’ve both been a bit tense for the whole day, carefully ignoring the elephant in the room in favor of working on the tasks at hand. Now, with all distractions put to the side, though, the elephant has taken main stage and both Jeongguk and Taehyung are willing audience participant.

Taehyung leans down to connect their lips, nipping at Jeongguk’s bottom lip and soothing over it with the tip of his tongue. “I can’t help it, you look hot as fuck when you’re being all intelligent and professional.”

“It’s literally my job. Our job. You can’t have a lawyer kink when you are a lawyer.”

“Why not?” Taehyung asks, teasing his fingers under the collar of Jeongguk’s shirt to graze at his collarbones. “I’m going to have to ask you to send my secretary the exact clause in my life contract that says that.”

Jeongguk rolls his eyes. “Life contract? Really?”

Taehyung smoothly ignores him, “But until then, I think we could spend our time a bit more, ahem, efficiently.” He waggles his eyebrows in a way that should be ridiculous, but is somehow so inherently Taehyung that Jeongguk can’t help but giggle.

Jeongguk couldn’t agree more, sitting up quickly to flip them and pin Taehyung down on the couch, catching his wrists gently.

Taehyung gazes up at him, eyes wide and expression slightly startled, and he laughs softly when Jeongguk leans down to rub his stubble against his jaw, trailing his lips behind Taehyung’s ear and down his neck, palming at him through his jeans.

Jeongguk smiles against Taehyung’s skin as he gasps, and wonders when he went from wanting to strangle this man every five minutes in law school to wanting to wrap him up and keep him in his home for forever. It’s funny, how time changes people. He wonders if Taehyung is different now than the young indignant man he met in that coffee shop before their first law lecture, or if Jeongguk was the one to change.

Or maybe they both shifted, little by little, until somehow their paths collided, and now they orbit around each other.

When Yoongi returns, they are sitting respectfully on opposite ends of the couch, each holding a random page of notes and studying them intensely, and there’s no sign of what had transpired. But if they’re wearing each other’s boxers, no one has to know.

***

It’s been hours, and Taehyung thinks if he reads one more page of old handwritten police notes or old type-written ones, he might actually scream.

There are two separate cases, unrelated as far as they can tell. The closest thing they share in common is the same year. They both took place within the span of two weeks, almost thirty years ago.

The first was initially ruled an accident. A young woman in law school was driving back from a picnic on a mountain hiking path when she ran off the road and off the side of a cliff. She died on impact and was later found when she missed several days of classes without contacting anyone. Her family insisted it wasn’t an accident and upon further examination the police realized that her breaks were cut before she returned. It had rained for two days before they found her vehicle, which eliminated a majority of the evidence that could have been collected. With nothing else to go on, they quickly moved onto cases with higher acuity levels.

The second case involved a midwife in a birthing clinic who appeared to be murdered for access to the medication on hand. She was stuck with a hard object that left a laceration on her forehead and she bled out. Because it happened after hours, no one saw anything and they didn’t discover the body until the following morning. They assumed the murder weapon was something from the scene but never identified it or recovered the object. The coroner determined that the eyes were closed posthumously, most likely in an act of remorse by the killer, and they did find traces of DNA on her body. They also found the same DNA on the medication cabinet and a few bottles that were left behind, but it didn’t match anyone in the criminal database.

“There has to be something here,” Jeongguk mutters, holding his head in both hands as he stares down at the file in front of him. “I feel like I’m looking right through it.”

Taehyung echoes the sentiment, feeling as defeated as Jeongguk sounds. They are cold cases for a reason after all, but between the three of them, Taehyung thought for sure that they’d have made some progress by now. Alas, the most they’ve accomplished is eating their way through two separate orders of Chinese takeout. The sun set long ago, the moon high in the sky, but none of the men seem to register that hours have passed.

“Maybe we’re looking too closely at the details,” Yoongi says suddenly. He’s been quiet for a long time, and Jeongguk had begun to wonder if he was nodding off.

“What are the big points of the cases?”

“Two women were murdered. Different MOs, different setting, different time of day. One seemed to be intentionally targeting the victim, the other was probably a crime of happenstance. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Taehyung lists, fatigue in his voice.

Jeongguk picks up where he leaves off, “There was no evidence from the first and unidentifiable DNA from the second. Not a lot of notes about the investigations in either but I guess that was customary for the time.”

Yoongi nods. “Who investigated and who took notes? Maybe they remember something that didn’t make it into the file.”

Jeongguk flips through the first file quickly. “The senior detective was Woo and Rookie Lee accompanied him. Hmm.”

“Like, the same Lee that arrested Yugyeom?” Yoongi asks to confirm, and Jeongguk nods, his brow furrowing.

Taehyung turns to find that “The senior detective was Park. Rookie Chung accompanied him.”

Jeongguk sighs. “So completely different teams even. There’s nothing to go off of.”

“Lee being present for the one is interesting,” Yoongi offers, not as quick to give up, his optimistic attitude shining through even as Jeongguk begins to shut down.

“It is,” Taehyung agrees. “I still think it’s weird that he had Yugyeom sign a confession that he didn’t actually make in his statement.”

“You really think Lee how something to do with this?” Jeongguk asks skeptically, and Taehyung shrugs.

“It’s worth a shot. We should probably look into his background.”

They both turn to look at Yoongi, well aware that the other man is going to have to go back to the station again to dig up some information.

“I think you meant that I should look into his background while you lay around here and make out. Yes, I’m aware, you fuckers.”

Taehyung blushes deeply and Jeongguk averts his eyes quickly, as if Yoongi is going to scold them or something. Jeongguk hates the tiny bit of guilt and shame bubbling in his stomach, because there’s nothing wrong with his relationship with Taehyung. It’s not illegal, so why does he feel like he just got caught committing a crime when someone points it out?

“Anyways, if I have to go look up all this stuff I’m going to swing by my place and get a few hours of sleep and some fresh clothes. I’m tired of looking at you idiots,” he mutters as he stands, stretching slightly and slipping on his shoes.”

He eyes the pair carefully, noting the deliberate lack of eye contact and the way the tension in the room skyrocketed at his initially statement. These two need to get their shit together.

“I don’t care what you do when I’m not around, but for fuck’s sake, don’t let it get in the way of this case. I’ve lost enough sleep already, and I need you both to be at the top of your game tomorrow. I’ll call when I’m on my way over tomorrow.”

Jeongguk and Taehyung both stand to wave him off, awkwardly hovering in the doorway after he’s gone.

“I guess I should be going too,” Jeongguk murmurs, but he makes no move towards the door himself, and it’s easy for Taehyung to insist that he just stay over.

“It’ll save you time in the morning if you’re already here,” and Jeongguk can’t argue with that logic, so he follows Taehyung through the house towards his bedroom.

They get ready for bed in near silence, brushing their teeth side by side in the couple’s sink in Taehyung’s bedroom, and then stripping down to boxers to crawl under the sheets. Jeongguk sighs as the cool fabric grazes his overheated skin.

It’s weird, being this close to each other in the same places they usually are, but in a completely different context. There’s nothing remotely sexual about the way that Taehyung curls around Jeongguk, fingers finding their way to the dip in his waist, but it feels just as familiar as being touched with more intent.

It’s pleasant in a different way, to be held and touched outsides of the throes of sex, and it makes a place deep in the pit of Jeongguk’s stomach stir when Taehyung mumbles incoherently into his ear, lips grazing the shell for a few seconds before falling silent and going slack with sleep.

Jeongguk’s never been an overly touchy person, content to hold conversations from afar and make physical contact only when absolutely necessary, but somehow, he doesn’t mind so much when he’s got Taehyung’s hands on him.

He wants to explore this feeling, sometime when they aren’t holding the life of a teenager in their hands, just to see what it stems from and what it means for them in the future. Now isn’t the time or place, but someday soon it will be, and Jeongguk isn’t sure if that excites him or terrifies him.

Probably both.

But some of the best things in life come from overcoming your fears and chasing after what you really want. And it seems that what Jeongguk really wants is Taehyung.

***

They are woken up several hours later by Taehyung’s phone ringing obnoxiously loud into the silence of the bedroom. It was far too reminiscent of the phone call that started them off on this wild adventure.

Jeongguk groans softly, scooting backwards into the warmth that Taehyung’s body offers, chest firm against his back as he makes a mental note to turn off Taehyung’s ringer the next time he spends the night. This kind of thing doesn’t need to become a habit; Jeongguk needs his beauty sleep.

Taehyung pulls away, mumbling something that Jeongguk doesn’t quite catch as he fumbles around behind him to answer the call. Jeongguk tunes out the conversation, doing his best to drift back off into dreamland, but it’s not meant to be.

Taehyung hangs up at some point, sliding back into place and circling his arm around Jeongguk’s waist gently. He kisses at the side of Jeongguk’s neck softly, his lips hot and wet. Jeongguk wiggles back even further to press them together completely.

“We need to get up, Guk,” Taehyung murmurs, his voice an octave lower from a combination of exhaustion and sleep. Jeongguk whines in protest, clamping a hand around Taehyung’s forearm to stop him from pulling away.

“Not now. Wanna sleep.”

“I know you do,” Taehyung laughs, using his free arm to stroke at Jeongguk’s hair, brushing it back off of his forehead and scratching his fingers against Jeongguk’s scalp. Jeongguk practically melts into the mattress from the attention.

“But Yoongi is going to be here in fifteen minutes and he said he’s got a lot to share. I guess Lee’s background check came up with some interesting details.”

And now Jeongguk is torn between wanting to stay curled up in bed now, but with the possibility of losing his personal space heater slash teddy bear aka Taehyung, or getting up and solving this fucking case so he can spend several days in bed recovering from all this lack of sleep, preferably with Taehyung. Decisions, decisions.

In the end, he lets Taehyung drag him out of bed and shove him into the shower with a fresh pair of sweatpants and a loose t-shirt to change into afterwards while Taehyung wanders off into the house to make them something to eat.

He’s towel drying his hair in the bedroom when he hears the doorbell ring, Yoongi’s voice echoing through the house as he greets Taehyung shortly after. Jeongguk snorts, tying the string of his sweatpants before shuffling towards the living room.

Yoongi is lounging in the recliner that sits in the corner of the room, leaving the couch open for Jeongguk to plop down onto.

“Morning,” Yoongi greets loudly, and Jeongguk grunts in return, curling in on himself to smother a yawn while seriously wondering how the other man manages to stay so happy when none of them have slept decently in days. Maybe he’s just more used to it.

Taehyung appears a minute later, balancing three plates of scrambled eggs and bacon. He hands one to Yoongi and then takes a seat beside Jeongguk on the couch, passing the younger man his plate. Jeongguk mutters his thanks before digging in.

They inhale their food in near silence, the only sounds in the room being the scraping of forks against the ceramic plates and the crunching of bacon. Yoongi finishes first, politely waiting for Jeongguk and Taehyung to catch up and grab their notes.

He produces a file seemingly out of nowhere, opening it up to find a page filled with handwritten notes attached to several more print outs.

“Alright, hit me with it.” Jeongguk murmurs, scratching at his jaw.

“Okay, so Lee Junsu, 55. Works as a senior detective on the city police force and has been for the past twenty three years. Before that he was an intern and then a junior detective, all at the same force. In his career he’s assisted in solving over one hundred major crimes in one facet or another, which is impressive for a man under sixty. He was at the top of his class at the police academy, though, so apparently it is no surprise.”

Taehyung hums. All of that is fairly basic information.

“Personal life wise, he’s married to a very wealthy aristocrat’s daughter. He and his wife stand to make a fortune when her parents die, and even now she lives off of their money and uses it to fund her particular lifestyle. All he has to do is keep her happy, apparently, and he can have anything he wants. She’s gone more often than not with her different philanthropic organizations.”

That’s a little less basic, and a lot more interesting. Lee is the adult alpha male version of a sugar baby? Who could have guessed? 

“His record is fairly clean. No violations of any of his duties. He’s never been written up or accused of anything in conjunction to one of his cases, but people on the force have filed complaints in the past about his terse behavior.”

“No surprise there,” Jeongguk mutters. He’s definitely not the most pleasant cop that Jeongguk’s worked with, but he’s usually professional and he’s never had any problems with the guy personally.

“His only actual offense happened,” Yoongi brings the paper closer to his face, squinting, “three weeks ago, actually. He was pulled over with a blood alcohol of 0.16, which is double the legal limit. He spent a night in jail in the next county over, and then paid his bail in the morning and went on his way. His court appearance happened last week, he pled guilty and was sentenced to community service, which is customary when law enforcement officials get DUIs. Nothing too crazy.”

“A DUI,” Jeongguk echoes slowly. There’s something about it that pings Jeongguk and sets off alarm bells in his head, but as he reaches for the answer in his mind, he comes up frustratingly empty.

“What about financial records? Bank accounts?” Taehyung asks.

“Ah, yes.” Yoongi shuffles through his stack of papers. “He and his wife are investors apparently, so they have multiple bank accounts attached to different projects. I had to call my friend Seokjin from IT to pull a complete list.”

Taehyung takes the offered list, glancing at over twenty accounts, some in her name and some in both of theirs. Only one is solely in Lee’s name.

“Did Seokjin from IT run a scan for suspicious transactions in the past couple months?”

“What, do you think I’m a rookie?” Yoongi scoffs, revealing another piece of paper. “Turns out Lee has been busy.”

Taehyung whistles, tugging at Jeongguk’s arm to drag him closer so he can see the sheet too.

“That’s a lot of deposits,” Jeongguk remarks, and Yoongi nods. In total, at one point the account held over six million dollars.

“Twelve deposits to be exact. One from every account that he shares with his wife.” Taehyung raises an eyebrow.

“So he moved a bunch of money two weeks ago, but then it was all withdrawn in two separate payments. One for five hundred grand a week and a half ago, and one four days ago for 4.5 million. Sounds like he’s paying for something big. Or maybe someone.”

Yoongi hums. “That’s what I thought too, so I had Seokjin look into the account itself to see if he could figure out who the recipient was. The only thing he could tell me was that it’s a Swiss account with a few firewalls preventing access without a subpoena.”

“A Swiss account with five million dollars that was wired on the same day that Yugyeom was arrested. Sounds like Park to me.”

“Agreed. It’s not concrete but it’s more than a coincidence, that’s for sure. If Lee is paying off a gang leader to do his dirty work, he’s clearly got some skeletons in the closet. But we still have no motive behind any of this.”

Yoongi’s voice is frustrated, a product of going in circles for the past two days trying to make heads or tails of this complex mess, and Taehyung understands completely.

They fall into silence, contemplating all of the information that they’ve acquired thus far. They have a teenager falsely accused of murder with a coerced confession, and two separate robberies, one meant as a distraction for the other. Those lead them to two cold cases with no connections other than the fact that they occurred within two weeks of each other, and no concrete leads to go off of. And somehow Lee is tied into every part of it.

“What are we missing,” Taehyung whispers, his voice weak, burying his head in his hands to tug at his hair in frustration. Jeongguk watches him silently, reaching out to squeeze at the top of his spine and then dragging his fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck. Yoongi watches them both, eyes curious but also knowing.

The tension in Taehyung’s body seeps out of him, and Jeongguk feels himself relaxing a bit too, just from the single point of connection. He takes advantage of the moment of clarity to turn his thoughts back to the case.

He runs it all in his head again, skimming over the more recent knowledge and turning his thoughts to parts they haven’t explored as much. Something is wrong. Something big. Something that should be obvious to him, but he can’t seem to put his finger on it.

Until suddenly it clicks.

The DNA.

“Oh my God,” he breathes, his fingers freezing where they are tangled in Taehyung’s hair. He stares off into space as another piece falls into place.

“What?” Taehyung inquires, having tilted his head to glance at Jeongguk from the side.

“The DNA. That’s what all of this has been about,” Jeongguk exclaims, pulling away from Taehyung to run a hand through his own hair. He stands up to pace around the room, aware that he probably isn’t making much sense, but in his head,  he feels as if he’s just put together a massive puzzle. Right now he’s the only one who can see the picture, but damn, it looks good.

“What DNA?” Taehyung’s interest is piqued, his eyes brighter as he watches the younger man stalk back and forth, eyes open but unseeing.

“The sample from the clinic. From 1988. That’s why he had to get those files back. I can’t believe I didn’t realize it before.” The revelation almost makes him giddy.

“Jeongguk, you aren’t making any sense,” Yoongi says slowly. “I think I speak for Taehyung and myself when I say that we have no clue what the fuck you’re on about.”

Jeongguk turns his gaze towards Yoongi, locking onto the older man with such intensity that he almost looks possessed. Taehyung stays silent, but he dips his head, prompting Jeongguk to get on with it.

“You said Lee was arrested for a DUI, right? And that he spent a night in jail?”

“Right,” Yoongi agrees.

“Well if he spent a night in jail, they would’ve taken a DNA sample and put him into the database, correct?”

Yoongi pouts his lips out slightly in thought, nodding and scratching at his chin.

“Well normally there would have been no immediate threat to him, because they don’t go looking at old evidence on a whim.

So he’d be safe, unless, for some reason they decided to open up a case from twenty five years ago and rerun the DNA against the current system. Can you guess what that reason would be?”

And he can see the lightbulbs going off in their heads as everything slides into place.

“Kim,” Taehyung breathes, and Jeongguk nods, grinning.

“Kim would have suggested that they run the DNA against the database to the Commissioner, and when he did, they would have been able to identify Lee’s DNA at the crime scene. He didn’t work that case, so if his DNA was matched to the victim’s body, he’d be convicted and tried for murder.”

“Oh my God,” Taehyung exclaims, shooting up from the couch in excitement. “So that’s why he needed to get those files. Because he didn’t want anyone suggesting that they try to find a match with the updated system.”

Jeongguk nods, and Taehyung feels like for the first time in two days that they actually are getting somewhere. Yoongi has been suspiciously quiet this whole time, and Jeongguk probably should’ve expected him to come back with some statement to crush the mood. After all, he’s the actual detective who does this sort of thing for a living. Taehyung and Jeongguk have just stepped in for this case because the actual police weren’t doing their jobs, for obvious reasons.

“So we know who, but not why,” Yoongi says flatly. “If we’re going to push this to Commissioner Jung, we need a motive.”

The room falls silent again, Taehyung and Jeongguk still standing as they think about how to move forward.

“Well,” Taehyung begins slowly, “I think we should try to go back to the clinic and see if they have any records of the midwife’s patients at the time of her death. I’m sure he didn’t actually kill her for pain medication, and he’d have no business in a midwife clinic unless he was related to one of the patients in some way.”

A small smile graces Yoongi’s lips, and he nods, declaring “I’ll make detectives out of you two before this is over.”

And that’s how they find themselves spending a couple hours digging through boxes in the basement of the clinic alongside a chirpy assistant named Jimin.

Apparently, the old clinic was completely demolished and rebuilt about ten years before, but they made sure to save all the records they had when they went through the long process of moving out of their old facility and into the new one. The more recent patient files are kept on an online charting system, but the old ones are still in paper form and are stored in the basement to save usable space upstairs for patient care.

“You know, when I went to law school I didn’t ever picture having to do something like this.” Jeongguk gripes, setting a box down and squinting at the side of it to look for a year.

Tax records, 1963 it reads, which is decidedly not what Jeongguk is looking for. He groans rather loudly in frustration.

“Oh, so the poor spoiled rich boy is tired from lifting all these heavy boxes,” Taehyung pouts at Jeongguk, his tone faux-sympathetic. Jeongguk fumbles around for a second before tossing an empty water bottle at his head, Taehyung ducking to avoid getting hit.

“Fuck off, you’re just as rich.” Jeongguk points out.

“But I’m not complaining, now am I.”

“I literally hate you,” Jeongguk deadpans, but there’s no heat behind his words, like there used to be. It’s more of a reflexive thing for him to say, and it’s definitely lost its sting if the way that Taehyung snorts with a small smile on his face is any indication.

It’s another fifteen minutes of digging before Jimin pipes up. They had told him he could stay upstairs after he led them to the record room, but he had declared that he wanted a change of scenery anyways. Taehyung had rolled his eyes. Maybe change of scenery is code for ‘wants to eye fuck Jeon Jeongguk’ in her language.

“Good thing we didn’t wind up throwing these out like we planned to during spring cleaning. We were going to but Mrs. Yi is paranoid about throwing anything away. I think she’s a bit of a hoarder myself.”

Yoongi snorts. “Keeping records and files is just an old adult behavior, I think. My parents do it too.”

“Mine too,” Taehyung agrees.

Jeongguk tunes them out, trying to find a method to the madness of the boxes and coming up short. He turns away from the stack that he’s been digging through and heads off into a corner no one has touched yet.

It only takes another ten or so minutes for him to strike gold, in the form of an old cardboard box labeled Patient Files: 1988. Bingo.

‘God bless hoarders,’ Jeongguk thinks, moving boxes aside to pull out the one that he wants.

“I think I found it,” he calls out, hefting the box and heading back towards the middle of the room that is better lit. The search party gathers around as Jeongguk tugs off the lid of the box, dust scattering into the air and fluttering down, illuminated by the awful florescent lighting. The box is organized chronologically, so he flips to July, looking for anything that resembles a compiled list of names, but a majority of the papers are handwritten progress reports or copies of documentation of a birth.

“Is there anything that looks like a planner?” Taehyung suggests, crowding close. Jeongguk can feel the heat of his body against his side, and it’s enticing. “Maybe she kept it all together in a calendar or something.”

There’s nothing in the July tab, or any of the tabs before that, but he flips to the very back on a hunch and is rewarded with a small leather bound book. He cracks it open carefully, wary of its age and lack of use, and they are met with the site of a week-to-week planner.

“Is that what you need?” Jimin asks, and Jeongguk startles a bit, having forgotten that he was even in the room. He nods, and Jimin claps his hands together once happily before excusing himself to go back up and run the front desk. They call out their thanks to him as he goes.

They study the planner carefully. The front is a calendar, complete with patient appointment times as well as meetings with different agencies and other healthcare professionals. The back is full of notes, some for specific appointments, and some master lists. There are no lists of patients unfortunately, but there is a list of all the babies born from the beginning of the year up until the midwife’s death.

It’s organized by date, and only the baby’s name is written alongside their birthdate. In total, there are around twenty five names.

“Let’s look at the moms of babies born in July,” Yoongi suggests. They come up empty handed though, nothing immediately of interest in any of the names. Yoongi makes a note of them anyways.

None of the other babies or mothers stand out either, and after several long minutes of just flipping back and forth through the book to see if anything looks suspicious, they resign themselves to having to take it to Seokjin so he can run the names one by one.

Jeongguk bets that he’ll love having to look up a bunch of average middle aged women to see if there’s anything juicy in their pasts.

“Wait.” Taehyung slams his hand down on the ledger, pointing out a name penciled in for an appointment on a Tuesday near the end of June, just a week and half before the midwife died. “She’s. She’s the victim from the second file. From the car crash.”

Jeongguk pulls the book closer to read the small writing. 20 week checkup, ask about partner.

“She was pregnant?” Jeongguk whispers, the shock and horror in his voice mirrored on the faces of Yoongi and Taehyung. That little tidbit definitely wasn’t in the file, and it complicated things.

“I bet they didn’t do an autopsy on her body because there was no reason to suspect anything was done to her directly if her car was tampered with, but damn. And I bet her family didn’t know. Do you think that’s why..” Taehyung’s voice trails off but Yoongi and Jeongguk can fill in the blanks. Why she was killed. It’s an awful thought, and all too real of a possibility.

 “I-,” Yoongi hesitates. “I can’t say for sure but it’s pretty odd. I think we need to know more about her, and her death.”

“Back to Seokjin from IT?” Jeongguk asks wryly, and Yoongi nods.

“But this time, you two are coming with me. No making out on a couch while I work until we solve this case.”

Taehyung and Jeongguk whine in protest, but it falls on deaf ears.

*****

She closes the doors promptly, turning the deadbolt and flipping the sign from Open to Closed. It had been a busy day, appointment after appointment piling up on top of each other. It feels like she hasn’t had a chance to sit down all day.

And her day’s not quite over yet.

She glides through the clinic with ease, stopping at the front desk to take a quick drink of her coffee and pushing a stack of hardbound files towards the back. She needs to remind her secretary to put them away first thing in the morning. She runs a tight ship, and disorganization is unacceptable.

Straightening her blouse, she moves towards the very back of the clinic, where her personal office sits next to two patient rooms. She passes the patient rooms, glancing in each to make sure everything is set for the following day before knocking gently on the third door before entering.

“Sorry for your wait. Business has picked up recently and we are still trying to hire enough staff to keep up.”

“It’s not a bother,” the man insists, his tie loosened but otherwise looking just as he did when she led him to her office nearly two hours before in between her scheduled appointments as he rambled on about changing doctors and needing files. “I should have thought before stopping in without calling ahead.”

She smiles tightly, in response, taking a seat behind her desk to place some space between her and the man. Her secretary had to leave early to pick up her son, leaving them completely alone.

“What can I do for you, then?” she asks as she settles herself, shuffling through a couple papers to keep her hands busy. His stare is intense, almost piercing.

“Like I said before, I just came to pick up those files so we can get her switched over as soon as possible.”

She nods thoughtfully. “What doctor is she planning to see?”

“Uh, I believe she said Doctor Jung? Actually I’m not entirely sure, she just asked me to stop by after work but she didn’t give me all the details.”

He looks a bit flustered, fumbling with his words even though his voice itself is smooth and even. His hands are clenched tightly around the armrests of his chair as he speaks, knuckles white.

“Well normally clients who choose to change providers come in to ask for their paperwork themselves,” she says, eyeing the man in front of her with caution.

She knows they aren’t married, and legally she can’t hand over files without her patient’s explicit permission, specifically without her signing off previously or a verbal consent. She has neither on hand.

He looks sharp as he watches her, poised on the edge of a knife, overly agitated considering the situation. It would be one thing if she was nine months in, but the woman in question is barely four months along. Switching providers doesn’t have to be instantaneous, and it should be this distressing for her partner. But nonetheless, it feels like if she makes one wrong move he might fall off the edge of that knife and put her at the end of it instead.

“She’s been feeling a bit under the weather.” He explains quickly, voice tight. “That’s why she decided to go for a more medical approach to things. She doesn’t want anything to happen, and I’m inclined to agree with her.”

“Is she at home?”

“I believe so, yes. She was when I last checked.” He lies well, she thinks, if not for the slight twitch in his jaw. She wonders where she really is.

“Oh, well then I’ll just give her a call to get her verbal consent. It won’t take more than a few minutes,” she assures, rising to leave the room. She scurries to the front, digging through her files to pull out one in particular and flipping it open to punch in the number at the telephone at the reception desk. It rings, once, twice, thrice before it cuts off with a message she’s never heard before.

“The number you tried to reach is no longer in service. Please try again later.”

She hangs up, furrowing her brow in confusion and then understanding. Panic sweeps through her and she reaches for the phone again, dialing quickly. The phone rings once and then goes silent. She freezes, aware of the presence at her back, and turns slowly to see the man standing with the telephone cord dangling from his hand.

He looks disappointed, resignation with a malicious undertone marring his handsome face, and that scares her to her core.

“You had to go and make things complicated, didn’t you?” he asks slowly, tone deceptively calm even as his body language broadcasts danger and makes her hair stand on end.

“I didn’t want to have to do this,” he mutters, dropping the phone cord and reaching for the file, brandishing the hard plastic like a bludgeon.

She screams raising her hands up in vain as he brings it down forcefully, striking her once on top of the head and making her topple to the ground still screaming. It only takes two more strikes for her to fall silent, a trickle of blood running quickly from a deep gash in her forehead to pool beneath her on the floor.

He stands there over her, breathing heavily and holding the file until she takes her last breath and falls eternally silent. He looks down at her, and in a brief lapse of judgment he closes her eyes, ever respectful of the dead, even when he was the cause of death.

His movements are swift then, removing his shoes to retrace his steps into the office and retrieve his bag. He wraps the bloody file in two towels that he finds in one of the patient rooms and tucks it away before returning to the main room, taking a third towel for his shoes.

Carefully, he steps around the body towards the medication cabinet. He pulls out bottles of pills, picking out a few pain medications at random and scattering several more on the floor and then retraces his steps to retrieve his shoes. He wraps them in the towel and heads for the door, unlocking it by using the edge of the towel and letting it shut softly behind him, leaving chaos and death in his wake.

***

Seokjin from IT is not at all what Taehyung was expecting.

In his experience, most of the time IT guys are balding in their late thirties with some serious hygiene issues, snack good addictions, and little to no social skills.

Seokjin completely destroys that stereotype though. His office is quaint, and there isn’t a single chip bag or cookie in sight. The closest thing to food is a bottle of water with something floating in it that looks suspiciously like fish eggs. He doesn’t get close enough to investigate.

He’s dressed in designer clothing, despite the fact that he works alone in an office, and he smells like leather and vanilla, probably a very expensive cologne but one that Taehyung can’t place. He has a row of tiny piercings up both ears, with delicate chains hanging down and contrasting with the masculine lines of his face.

Taehyung stands in the doorway, watching with an unamused expression as Seokjin rises to hug Yoongi and then shakes Jeongguk’s hand for an extended period of time. His voice is low as he compliments Jeongguk’s choice in profession, stroking his thumb over the back of Jeongguk’s hand like he owns it, and it makes Taehyung want to shove Yoongi out of the way and yank Jeongguk out of the room, away from this enigma and his scented candles and unbelievably tight pants.

And Jeongguk just stands there with a small smile on his face, as if he’s enjoying the attention. Taehyung is pretty sure he’s blushing, the unprofessional fucker.

Yoongi doesn’t seem all that urgent, letting Seokjin drone on about skin care regimens and jewelry that would suit Jeongguk’s facial structure amongst other things that Taehyung doesn’t bother himself with until Taehyung is all but boiling with rage.

“Not to interrupt,” he bites out, “but we are trying to catch a murderer here, so a little bit of focus would be appreciated.”

Yoongi glances at Taehyung in amusement, winking at him, but Taehyung ignores him in favor of watching Seokjin’s head snap to the doorway, acknowledging Taehyung for the first time. He expects the other man to get annoyed at Taehyung’s interruption, so when Seokjin drops Jeongguk’s hand with a smile on his face, Taehyung is caught off guard.

“Seokjin, this is Taehyung. Also a lawyer,” Yoongi introduces, not bothering to hide his smirk.

“You brought me two pretty lawyers, Yoon?” Seokjin sounds elated as he shoulders past Yoongi to shake Taehyung’s hand. “I must have done something right in my past life.”

Having Seokjin’s full attention on him is an odd experience. Taehyung doesn’t think he’s a dainty guy by any means, but Seokjin is taller, and his hands are far larger, and it stirs up something weird in the pit of his stomach to have big smooth hands locked around his own.

Seokjin oozes sex appeal and charisma, clearly confident in his own skin if the smirk plastered to his lips is anything to go by. Taehyung thinks he probably looks like a deer in the headlights as Seokjin sizes him up and promptly compliments his shoulders.

“Do you work out?” he asks, and Taehyung finds himself blushing, rubbing the back of his neck with his spare hand as he admits that yes, he usually goes to the gym a few times a week after work.

“Me too,” Seokjin exclaims, a broad smile replacing the smirk. “We should go together sometime!”

Taehyung doesn’t get a chance to respond to the suggestion though, because Jeongguk’s voice rings out, clearly annoyed.

“How about you guys make plans after we catch the murderer.”

Seokjin releases Taehyung’s hand and turns around to fire up his computer database quickly, apologizing profusely. “It’s just that I don’t get a lot of visitors, especially not my age, and I usually forget that people don’t just come to hang out.”

Taehyung is hit with a pang of pity, but Jeongguk looks unmoved, his expression carefully blank to the casual observer. If Taehyung looks closer though, he thinks he can see traces of annoyance in the tightness of his mouth and the rigidity of his posture. Interesting.

Jeongguk slides Seokjin a paper with the victim’s name and birthdate. “We’d like to know anything you can tell us about her. Particularly anything that could overlap with Lee’s history if possible.”

“Sure thing,” Seokjin chirps, his fingers a blur over the keyboard as he goes through various databases.

“Is someone taking notes?” he asks suddenly, and all three men hum in confirmation.

“Okay here goes. She was born in 1964, making her twenty four at the time of her death. She graduated from high school in 1982, attended community college for four years to obtain as degree in psychology and then applied to law school. She had finished her second year two months before her death and was reportedly at the top of her class.

 She was unmarried and did not have a boyfriend at the time, according to her family. Her mother and father are both deceased from chronic illness, and her only brother died from a diving accident in 1994. She has no other family.

There’s a couple articles about her in various newspapers. She started a soup kitchen for the homeless and ran it almost single handedly during her summer breaks. She volunteered at the local hospital and the local jail, and she helped organize several benefits for the police station.”

“Any pictures from those benefits?” Taehyung interjects.

Seokjin hums, tapping out a few lines of code and then pulling up a grainy picture that looks like a scan of an old newspaper.

“This is from a community picnic that she organized to thank the police force for their service. She’s there in the center with the police chief of the time.”

He taps a key and the screen shows a new picture, this one of a large group. “And this is the entire staff from that time, apart from two officers who were on duty. She’s still in the middle.”

They study the picture intensely for a bit, until Yoongi hums, pointing carefully at one head near the back of the group. It’s an old picture with poor resolution, but the man is undeniably Lee.

“He probably knew her if she was around a lot,” Yoongi mutters.

 Seokjin flips to the next picture, which at first glance is nothing interesting. The chief and the mayor are posing in front of the seating area with a check that was meant to buy the force a new patrol car. There are people seated all behind the two men, and Taehyung does a double take as he squints to make out faces in the background.

“Can you zoom in at all?” he asks urgently.

“Sure, on which part?”

“The table to the left of the chief. I just-“

Taehyung cuts off as Seokjin magnifies the picture. Like the last one, it’s very blurry, but undeniable. There, seated across from each othe,r is their leading lady and Lee, hands joined on top of the table and large grins on their faces.

Jeongguk sucks in a sharp breath. “Fuck. We were right. He did know her. When were these taken?”

Seokjin taps a few keys. “August, 1987.”

Yoongi nods grimly, murmuring “I’m going to need all of these pictures printed out, Jin.”

“No problem. Anything else?”

“Could you go back through pictures from the other benefits, and anything else from around this time involving the police department? See if you can find any other proof that she and Lee knew each other.”

“I’m on it,” Seokjin promises. “I’ll let you know if I dig up anything else.”

He turns back to his computer, popping in his headphones and typing away. The screen looked like gibberish to Taehyung, but it’s clear that Seokjin is very good at his job.

“So what’s our next move?” Jeongguk asks Yoongi. “You’re the expert here. Taehyung and I are a bit in over our heads I think. Normally all of this is done when we get handed the case.”

“Yeah, lazy fuckers, the lot of you,” Yoongi teases, and Jeongguk smacks him with his notebook repeatedly until Yoongi begs for mercy. Taehyung watches on fondly, a tiny smile on his lips.

“Now that we have proof that they knew each other I think we need to talk to Detective Woo. I know it’s been a long time, but if he can remember anything about the scene or Lee’s behavior it could be helpful. If they knew her, they were probably affected.”

“Do we have any contact information for him?”

“No, but Seokjin can look him up. Seokjin,” Yoongi taps him on the shoulder, and Seokjin pulls out one earbud.

“Jeez, I can’t even work for a full minute without you crawling back to me for more help,” he jokes.

“Shove it and look up Woo Jaesun. He was the lead detective for the car crash case. We need current contact information.”

There’s a tense few minutes of silence while Seokjin works in which Taehyung prays that this guy isn’t already dead. It’s been 30 years, and the guy was probably at least forty at the time.

Seokjin rips off a piece of paper from his notepad, scribbling down a number and an address and handing it to Yoongi, turning back to his computer and popping back in his earbud without another word.

“Alright boys. Let’s go interview a witness,” Yoongi says, his voice overly dramatic, looping an arm around Taehyung’s neck as he leads the way out of the office. Taehyung cheers quietly, clapping his hands where he’s tucked into Yoongi’s side, and Jeongguk rolls his eyes, following the pair with an amused smile.

***

It turns out that Woo moved to Arizona when he retired a decade ago to take up golfing full time, and while Jeongguk would love to visit, it’s not exactly feasible with their current schedule. Luckily, he answers his phone on the first ring and is quick to agree to help in any way that he can.

“Thank you so much, we really appreciate it,” Yoongi says. “Just to let you know, I’ve got you on speaker phone with two lawyers who are helping me on this case.”

“That’s fine. Ask away, son.”

“Alright I need to ask you about a case that happened back in 1988. At first it was ruled an accident. A car ran off the side of a mountain. It was a young woman whose breaks were cut. And you were accompanied by Rookie Lee Junsu.”

Woo remains quiet for a few moments, before humming, “Ah yes I remember. It had rained a lot that week, and was pretty gloomy. Lee drove us because I had to fill out some preliminary paperwork. That’s how we did it back in the old days.”

He chuckles, eyes distant as if he’s remembering all of the different things he did over the years. He’s staring off into space when he speaks again.

“It was the funniest thing too. The coroner’s office couldn’t find the road. Said they passed it a few times and then they called us on the car phone to ask us to come wave them down. It was just a little dirt turn off that looked like nothing, to be honest. No sign or anything. Never quite figured out how he knew where it was.”

His voice trails off, “The guys at the station were devastated when they heard the news. Apparently, she was around a lot. Nice girl. I had just transferred in and I guess she was really busy with school so I never met her, but I remember there was a memorial service at the station.”

“How did Lee react?” Taehyung asks.

“Honestly, I don’t remember him acting any different,” Smith sounds like he’s frowning in concentration. “He was very composed, especially for a rookie cop. He acted like he’d been in the business for decades. No tears, no exclamation, no sympathy. He took a couple days off, which was kind of odd, but he never mentioned knowing her.”

“Did he come to the memorial service?”

“No, I think he said he was going out of town.”

Yoongi writes down a few notes. “Is there anything else you can remember about the case specifically or Lee in general?”

“Just that he was an odd bird. He was always caught up thinking about his bank account rather than the cases we worked on.”

“Hmm,” Yoongi makes a note of that as well. “Well that you for your time Mr. Woo. We may be contacting you again in the future so please try to keep this line of communication available.”

“Of course, not a problem. Good luck on your case boys.”

He hangs up with a click, and Yoongi adds his latest note sheet to the pile of others that he’s been making along the way. He studies the stack for a few moments, carefully assembling them.

“I think it may be time to take what we have to the Commissioner. We’re reaching the end of what we can do, and we have a lot of circumstantial evidence. It’d be nice to get a second opinion before moving forward and trying to assemble charges.”

Jeongguk agrees, “We should try to catch him today if possible. I think he’s in his office until four on weekdays, right?” and Yoongi nods in affirmation.

“Can we get something to eat first?” Taehyung speaks up. “We’ve been running around all day.”

And as if on cue, Jeongguk stomach growls loudly as he becomes acutely aware of the hunger pangs coursing through him. Taehyung giggles, stifling it in his hand when Jeongguk glares at him.

“Point taken,” Yoongi says. “We can swing through a drive thru on the way to his office.”

***

Commissioner Jung isn’t free to meet them until much later in the evening, long enough for Yoongi to have called the lab to ask them to run the DNA.

He’s surprisingly young, having taken over the position for his father when his health began to decline, but nevertheless, he puts Taehyung on edge. He assess the group as they enter, eyes cold and calculating before they settle on Yoongi, causing a smile to break out on his face. After that he ushers them in and offers them sweets from a bowl on his desk. They all politely decline, and he makes them promise to grab something before they leave.

“And please, call me Hoseok,” he insists, gesturing to the chairs in the room.

“Now,” he says, after all three men are seated in front of his desk. “Yoongi, you said this was an urgent matter?”

“Yes, very,” Yoongi agrees, proceeding to walk the other man through the entire case, offering him evidence and notes when applicable.

He explains how Taehyung had chosen to represent the teen when he suspected something was wrong, and even risked his friendship with Jeongguk to do it in the process.

“That was very bold of you, Taehyung,” he says, with a nod of approval, and Taehyung smiles weakly under his gaze. “Most people wouldn’t bother if they were in your position.”

Yoongi explains how investigating the house suggested that more was taken than just the jewelry that was discovered initially.

“And that’s what led us to realizing those files were missing.”

Hoseok nods in understanding. “Go on,” he encourages.

“After investigating the files, we questioned why anyone would want those ones specifically, because there were no clear connections. After looking into Lee’s background, we realized he was recently arrested for driving under the influence, and his DNA was inserted into the database, so if we ran the DNA from the case with the midwife, it might come back as a match.”

Yoongi slides a piece of paper across the desk. “I had the lab run it a few hours ago, and it was a perfect match. I think this alone is enough to convict him for second degree murder.”

Hoseok studies the report from the lab, an impressed look on his face. “What made you suspect Lee?”

Yoongi looks at Taehyung, and motions for him to explain. “When I talked to the defendant, he told me that he didn’t confess to the murder, just the breaking and entering charges, but when he signed they told him he just confessed to both. His confession was coerced, and he identified Lee as the officer who was in charge during that time. Lee isn’t the type to be that careless.”

“He also gave the case to my office with assurances that it was airtight. I barely looked over it before Taehyung got ahold of it, but he made it sound like there were no inconsistencies whatsoever. After we took a closer look together, we realized that there are a lot a holes in that case. In my opinion, he wouldn’t have been able to miss all of them, unless he was consciously ignoring them.” Jeongguk adds.

“And how does this other case tie in?”

Yoongi looks down at his notes. “We aren’t entirely sure yet, but we’re pretty sure they are related. At the very least, the victim was a client at the midwife clinic, and there was no partner on record at the time. Our best guess is that she had an affair with Lee and Lee killed her to keep her from telling his wife.”

“Any proof?” he asks, looking even more intrigued by the theory.

“Nothing concrete. We know they knew each other based off of these pictures we found in an old newspaper. She was active with the police department and organized several events on their behalf in the year leading up to her death.” Jeongguk explains.

“Lee also was one of the responding officers to the scene. She died at the base of a mountain that could only be accessed by an unmarked road, and Lee knew exactly where it was according to Detective Smith. He also said Lee was emotionless, which we thought was odd considered the fact that the clearly knew each other, “ Taehyung adds.

“Interesting,” the Commissioner says slowly, staring down at the pile of evidence in front of him. “You boys have been working really hard, and it’s paid off. I think the least we can do is bring Lee in for questioning. Maybe we can get him to confess if we tell him about some of this evidence you’ve compiled.”

“My thoughts exactly, sir,” Yoongi agrees hastily. “All we need is a warrant.”

“I’ll take care of that,” the other man assures, reaching for his phone. Jeongguk and Taehyung exchange a triumphant glance as he dials.

“Hello? Bogum? This is Hoseok,” he hollers into the phone, startling the three men in the room. Hoseok chuckles at them, covering the receiver briefly.

“Sorry should have warned you. He’s hard of hearing so this will be a bit loud.”

Taehyung struggles to maintain a neutral facial expression as he listen to the older man shout about needing a warrant and then explaining for whom and why. The whole process is lengthened just because Hoseok has to say everything at least twice if not more before ‘Bogum’ actually hears him.

By the time he hangs up, the Hoseok looks fondly exasperated. “I keep telling him to get hearing aids, but he’s a stubborn one. Or maybe he just can’t hear my suggestions,” he chuckles.

“Anyways, his secretary is faxing your warrant to my secretary now, so you can pick it up outside. I expect a full formal report on all of this when you’ve wrapped up the case, Min.”

“But sir, I’m not qualified to do formal reports yet, I’m only a junior-“

“Did I stutter?” the man interrupts, eyebrows raised, daring Yoongi to challenge him.

“No sir,” Yoongi replies quickly.

“Good man.” He rises, reaching out to shake hands with Yoongi, Taehyung and Jeongguk. “Go get em, boys. And don’t forget your candy.”

They each grab a treat and file out of the room quickly, stopping by to pick up the warrant. Taehyung bites into a mini Three Musketeers bar as they climb back into Yoongi’s car, and Jeongguk hands over his own candy bar to Taehyung with a shy smile.

“Time to teach you how to arrest a criminal,” Yoongi says dramatically. Jeongguk and Taehyung exchange a look.

“Yoongi, you do know that we aren’t training to be police officers, right?”

***

Yoongi calls ahead to the station and they inform him that Lee is in his office, working on paperwork.

“Keep him there until we get there, please,” Yoongi requests, hanging up. The trip to the station is only a few blocks from the Commissioner’s office, so Yoongi doesn’t bother using his lights. It takes longer to find a parking spot than it does to drive over, which Taehyung thinks is hilarious.

“Stop laughing,” Yoongi gripes as Taehyung giggles into his hand. “You’re ruining the vibe.”

Yoongi leads them through the station towards the back, where the detectives each have their own private offices to debrief and work on paperwork. They stop in front of Lee’s closed door, freezing for a few moments to collect themselves

This is it. The moment they’ve been waiting for since they began investigating. Jeongguk thinks that it’s less cool than it looks on TV.

Taehyung steps forward to knock. “Not now, I’m busy,” a voice calls from inside. Yoongi opens the door anyways, and they are greeted with an annoyed look from Detective Lee.

“Min, are you deaf?” he snaps. “I said I’m busy. I have deadlines to fulfill. Not that you’d understand what it’s like to be an actual detective.”

Jeongguk bristles on Yoongi’s behalf, but before he can say anything, Taehyung is already speaking.

“Well your deadlines are going to have to wait, detective,” he simpers, plucking the warrant from Yoongi’s hand and tossing it on top of Lee’s computer. “You’re going to be a bit busy. I hear that being arrested for murder really puts you behind schedule, but I’m sure your superiors will understand.”

Jeongguk wishes he could have filmed the exchange, because the look on Lee’s face when he realizes that Taehyung insulted him while assisting in his arrest is priceless. His jaw drops, color draining as he examines the warrant and realizes that it is in fact a legitimate document with his name on it.

“Nothing to say, Lee?” Jeongguk asks, raising an eyebrow. Lee seems to finally realize that Jeongguk is in the room too, confusion clouding his face for a moment before understanding washes over his expression, quickly replaced by rage. “Oh well, I’m sure Yoongi’s got something to say to you.”

Yoongi steps forward. “I don’t want to have to handcuff you in these circumstances, so I’m going to ask you to come with me without struggling. If you resist, I will be forced to bring in backup, and it will make this whole situation far more painful for everyone involved. Are we clear?”

Lee nods, jaw clenched, but he’s clearly interested in maintaining whatever shred of pride that he can.

“Good. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just stated to you?” Lee nods. “With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?” and with the shake of a head, Yoongi is escorting them out of the room towards the holding cells.

***

Jeongguk and Taehyung aren’t allowed to be in the room for the actual interrogation, so they watch from the other side of the one way glass as Yoongi performs magic. He explains the charges to Lee, pointing out evidence that will lead to a definite conviction in one case.

“Did you know this woman?” Yoongi slides a picture of the first victim across the table to Lee.

He glances down at the picture, before responding with a terse, “no.”

Yoongi hums, having anticipated the answer. “That’s interesting, because I have several photos of the two of you together.” He pushes those pictures across too. “Your old superior, Detective Woo said that the two of you were close before Roseanne’s death. I can’t imagine why you’d lie to me.”

Lee looks haunted as he stares down at the picture from the newspaper, taking in the bright smiles and intertwined hands. Happiness radiates from the picture, but its tainted sour by the only surviving member.

“I already talked to the DA’s office, and they are willing to lighten your sentence if you are willing to give a confession and plead guilty. I’ll let you think about it.” Yoongi says, rising from the table.

He doesn’t even make it to the door before Lee is calling him back. Jeongguk and Taehyung lean forward with bated breath as he says, “I don’t need time to think. I’ll confess.” His eyes still haven’t left the picture.

Yoongi clearly was clearly not expecting that to be what came out of Lee’s mouth, and Jeongguk doesn’t blame him one but. He’s shocked that it was this easy. Well, relatively speaking. Running around town digging around in basement and reading endless amounts of files while sleep deprived and hungry wasn’t exactly easy, but he was still expecting a bit of resistance from this step.

Yoongi sits back down at the table, pulling out his notepad and a small tape recorder. Taehyung reaches out and takes Jeongguk’s hand, lacing their fingers together and squeezing tightly as Lee begins to talk. Jeongguk tugs him closer, curling an arm around Taehyung’s waist instead as they listen.

“Roseanne and I were close. Too close,” Lee begins, his eyes shut tightly, voice weak and thick with emotion. “I never meant for it to happen. Any of it.”

He pauses, collecting his words for a moment. “She was beautiful. Smart, witty, and so kind. She was trusting to a fault, and always saw the best in everyone. It was probably her worst quality, because she saw the best in me, too, and I certainly never deserved to breathe the same air as her.”

“We met a year after I married my current wife. Rosie was very active in public service, and she came around the station a lot before she left for law school. When she came back, she was even more alluring to me. I knew her for two years before I realized that I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to be with her.”

“She was the epitome of innocence. An idealist, if I’ve ever met one. I was unhappy in my marriage almost from the very beginning, but my wife is very, very rich, and I was already accustomed to a certain lifestyle, so I decided to try to have both.”

“Rosie knew that I was married, but she also could tell that I was unhappy. It didn’t take a lot to convince her that I was planning to leave my wife. And it worked for a while. My wife is gone a lot, travelling for work and pleasure, and I know she’s not faithful to me, even now. But that was one of the only things she asked of me when we got married. I thought, and still think, it’s unfair, that I am left alone and she can be with whoever she chooses, but she’s the one with the deep pockets and I’m a greedy man.”

There’s a long pause before Lee speaks again.

“But it all went wrong when Rosie came back after her finals and told me that she was pregnant.” Lee hangs his head in shame as he mutters the words.

“I visited her during Valentine’s Day, and she said that it must have happened then. I thought she’d be furious and maybe want to get rid of it, because it really would have made law school a lot harder for her, but she was so excited. She said she’d been making plans, and she was just waiting for me to tell my wife, so we could be together. I can still see her face when I think about that moment.”

“At first, I planned to leave my wife, but every time I went to tell her, I froze. I thought about how disappointed my parents would be, that I couldn’t even hold together my own marriage that I was so lustful that I chased after another woman. And I thought about dear, sweet Rosie. She’d love me, probably for forever, but I had essentially ruined her life. Even if we got married, she’d forever be scorned by having an affair and getting pregnant outside of marriage. And somehow, in my twisted mind I thought that it would be easier to just,” Lee pauses, “get rid of her. Of the problem, rather than making waves in every other area of my life.”

“I’ve never regretted anything more.” And Taehyung truly believes him.

“I met her on the mountain that morning and we had breakfast and watched the sunrise. I was late, because I didn’t want to go. And I wish I hadn’t. I cut her breaks and left for work, and three days later I was assigned to her case. I wanted to die. I took time off of work and seriously thought about ending my own life. Nothing has been worth it ever since. And then I realized there was the chance that someone else knew about her and me. The midwife knew who I was, and she seemed suspicious. I didn’t want to kill her either, but if I would have let her live, and I went to jail anyways, it would have made Rosie’s death for nothing. And then, when I realized that Commissioner Jung’s friend was investigating old cases from the 80s, I panicked again.”

He shakes his head, eyes unseeing as he stares at the old newspaper clippings on the table, displaying a couple that was destined for tragedy.

“I lived on for her, in some kind of twisted way. I pushed myself to be the best detective I could be, just to try to make her proud. To make our child proud. But it’s not enough. It’s never enough. And I’m tired of running from it.”

And Lee bows his head in acceptance of what’s to come.

***

It takes several more days for the police to finalize the details of the case and turn it over to the district attorney’s office for Jeongguk to examine.

Park was arrested after Lee confessed to hiring him, and made a confession of his own. He will be tried for breaking and entering, burglary and second degree murder, and it is likely that his gang will disband in his absence due to the heavy police presence in the area.

Yugyeom was charged with breaking and entering, but Mrs. Kim insisted that they drop the burglary charge. He is expected to testify in the case against Park and will most likely serve no jail time thanks to his cooperation. Taehyung goes to visit him a couple days later, and they agreed that a majority of his community service time will be spent reflecting on poor past decisions. Jeongguk has already marked the date for Yugyeom’s high school graduation in his calendar. Also, Yugyeom’s family was also permanently relocated to a much nicer part of town, courtesy of donations for families of the victims that they gave to Yugyeom for being the catalyst of the whole case that finally gave them closure.

Lee’s confession was documented carefully, and he agreed to plead guilty in exchange for the removal of the death penalty. He will be serving a life sentence for first degree and second degree murder, as well as additional time for coercion of a confession under false pretenses and supplying information and money in exchange for the burglary of the Kim’s home. His wife was appalled by his behavior and immediately denounced him, filing for a divorce one day after his arrest and confession. Lee said that he’s never felt freer.

Yoongi is going before the board sometime in the near future to interview and be considered for the replacement for Lee’s position, and due to his shining recommendations from the district attorney and the Commissioner, he’s almost guaranteed the job.

He’s understandably ecstatic, exemplified by the way that he calls Jeongguk in the middle of the night to drunkenly cheer for himself. Jeongguk has to fight to not burst out laughing, trying to keep his comments quiet where he sits in his bed.

“’m really proud of you, Yoongi,” he whispers. “Why don’t we go out for lunch tomorrow to celebrate?”

And that sets Yoongi off on a tangent about popcorn chicken and potato wedges. Jeongguk lets him ramble for a couple minutes before calmly suggesting that he should drink some water and go to bed.

“So you aren’t late tomorrow for the popcorn chicken,” he says pointedly, and that gets Yoongi’s attention really quickly.

Jeongguk is still laughing to himself when Yoongi finally hangs up, setting his phone back on the nightstand. He looks to his left, expression turning a bit sheepish when he sees Taehyung’s eyes open, looking at him blearily.

“Sorry babe,” Jeongguk murmurs, sliding back down in bed and opening his arms to let Taehyung burrow into his side. “Yoongi needed someone to talk to. Think he’s pretty excited about his promotion.”

“He deserves it,” Taehyung mumbles, voice low and rough with sleep. He’s warm and cuddly, lips grazing Jeongguk’s chest as he cuddles in further.

“You know, we make a pretty good team all things considered.”

Jeongguk hums, “I guess. I mean,” he pauses, smirking down at the unsuspecting man on his chest. “I did have to carry the group for a while, but it wasn’t anything new. You can’t be pretty and smart all the time, can you?”

Jeongguk tenses in anticipation as Taehyung freezes for a bit, but he doesn’t rise to the bait in the ferocious way that Jeongguk expects. Instead he just bites at Jeongguk’s collarbone, his voice soft and petulant as he declares,

“I hate you.”

Jeongguk chuckles, letting Taehyung nip at his skin, probably leaving a mark. It’s probably a worthy punishment, to be honest, which is why Jeongguk doesn’t bother putting up a fight. The little jolts of pain somehow excite Jeongguk even as they calm him down. Just like Taehyung himself, Jeongguk thinks. Taehyung works him up in the best way, frustrating him to no end, but at the end of the day there’s no one who can ground Jeongguk like Taehyung.

“You know, I don’t actually though, right?” Taehyung’s lips graze the sensitive skin as he speaks, and Jeongguk shivers.

He hums in question, and Taehyung huffs, rising up a bit to look Jeongguk in the eyes.

“I don’t hate you.”

“I know darling,” Jeongguk answers gently, because even though they definitely hated each other at the beginning, they are miles away from that now, and he honestly doesn’t understand how he ever disliked this beautiful man. Taehyung, who is selfless, intelligent, well-spoken, and above all else, loving.

It’s evident in the way that he memorizes Jeongguk’s schedule and brings him food if he knows that Jeongguk is having a really long day, showing up at his office with takeout to fill his stomach and a blowjob to clear his mind.

It’s evident in the way that he started to buy Jeongguk’s favorite brand of tea after they fell asleep together on accident one night and Jeongguk had to grimace his way through a cup of Taehyung’s brand. (It’s so interesting, because Jeongguk thinks it tastes amazing when he’s licking it out of Taehyung’s mouth, but not if he’s drinking it out of a cup)

It’s evident in the way that Taehyung touches Jeongguk so carefully sometimes, just skimming his fingers along Jeongguk’s skin and tracing it with his eyes, reverence in his face and awe in his eyes, as if he can’t believe that he gets to touch and hold and feel with Jeongguk.

But most of all, it’s evident in the way that sometimes, when they are exhausted to the bone, or overwhelmed with pleasure, Jeongguk can see Taehyung catching himself, words forming on his lips only to swallow them down with a shy smile that Jeongguk always returns immediately.

He doesn’t have to say it for Jeongguk to know.

Taehyung studies Jeongguk’s face, looking for something for a few long moments, and Jeongguk can’t help but smile up at the younger man fondly. He’s gorgeous, and Jeongguk doesn’t deserve him, but he’ll do anything to keep him.

“In fact I think I might be a bit in love with you,” Taehyung holds eye contact as he whispers the words like they are a forbidden secret, something private for just the two of them.

Jeongguk wants to scream it to the world, but he’s content in this moment, with his boy and his beautiful confession.

“I know,” Jeongguk repeats, sure that love is shining through in his eyes.

There’s silence for a bit, Taehyung watching him with an unamused expression while he waits for Jeongguk to reciprocate, or elaborate at the very least, but Jeongguk just closes his mouth and smiles innocently up at Taehyung. Taehyung narrows his eyes.

A smack echoes through the room then, Taehyung’s hand thumping down on Jeongguk’s bare chest in frustration, and he growls as he tugs away from Jeongguk to flop down on his back, throwing a hand over his eyes.

“Seriously, you ass, you aren’t even going to say it back? You are the worst.”

Jeongguk giggles, the sound bubbling up in him just like the love he feels bubbling in his veins. He’s sure that his smile probably looks manic, but he can’t find it in himself to care.

He rolls over, tugging half-heartedly at Taehyung’s arm. When he doesn’t budge, Jeongguk resorts to alternative methods, namely begging for forgiveness.

Jeongguk crawls on top of Taehyung, plopping down with all his weight and perching his chin on his hands on top of Taehyung’s stomach.

“Taehyuuuung,” he pouts, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. You know, you’re really beautiful when you’re angry.”

Taehyung moves his arm slightly to peek down at Jeongguk with one eye, sighing heavily.

“Is that why you made it your life mission to piss me off in law school?”

Jeongguk kisses at Taehyung’s abdomen, moving up his chest slowly and laying his love and affection across Taehyung’s chest with his lips. He nips at Taehyung’s neck teasingly, and Taehyung pulls his head back to give Jeongguk more room to work.

By the time he makes his way to Taehyung’s lips, Taehyung is plaint underneath him, letting Jeongguk do whatever he wants, so trusting and openly soft which is rare for the younger man.

“Maybe,” Jeongguk murmurs against his lips with a smirk, and Taehyung huffs, rolling his eyes.

“Ugh. I hate you.” Taehyung’s actions and his words are complete opposites, though, because he’s grinning so widely, eyes sparkling up at Jeongguk and he’s looping his arms around Jeongguk’s back to keep him close. Jeongguk smiles back softly, planting a chaste kiss to his lips and reaching up to smooth the hair off of Taehyung’s forehead so he can press another kiss there.

“I love you too, Taehyung.”

*****

Taehyung wakes up slowly, warmth seeping into his bones and pleasure settling in his stomach. It takes him a few seconds to realize the warmth is coming from the sun shining in through the sheer curtain covering the window, and a few more seconds to realize the pleasure is coming from the lips that are mouthing at his dick beneath the sheets.

He cracks open an eye to glance down at the body shaped lump settled onto his lower half, flexing his feet to let Jeongguk know that he’s awake. Jeongguk hums softly, kissing gently at the head of Taehyung’s cock, making him gasp gently as he wraps his lips around the tip to suckle at it. Taehyung’s fingers clench into the sheets, unable to grasp at Jeongguk’s hair because he’s buried, both beneath the sheet and in between Taehyung’s thighs.

“Hey,” Taehyung croaks as Jeongguk swirls his tongue lazily, like Taehyung’s cock is an ice cream cone and he’s trying to make a beautiful spiraled pattern.

“To what do I owe the pleasure,” Taehyung mumbles, pushing at the sheets to try and find Jeongguk’s head. Jeongguk sucks one last time before popping off and kissing at the bottom of Taehyung’s stomach. He emerges from beneath the sheets gracefully, sliding up Taehyung’s body until he’s hovering over the younger man.

Taehyung tilts his head up slightly, asking for a kiss wordlessly, and Jeongguk obliges, sealing their lips together in a chaste kiss, mindful of their morning breath as he pulls back quickly. Taehyung wrinkles his nose, because it’s not as if they haven’t done grosser things in the past.

Jeongguk shrugs, murmuring “I woke up early and thought you looked beautiful in my bed,” before leaning back in to kiss Taehyung more deeply. He must have come to the same conclusion as Taehyung, because he wastes no time in licking into Taehyung’s mouth, tongue possessive as his hands skim along Taehyung’s bare arms before settling on his waist.

Taehyung pulls back, breathing a bit more heavily. “And that made you want to suck my dick? Weirdo.”

Jeongguk grumbles, biting at Taehyung’s lower lip a bit harshly before sliding back down and disappearing underneath the sheets, muttering something that sounds suspiciously like “ungrateful brat.” Taehyung doesn’t care though. He can call Taehyung anything he wants as long as he keeps his mouth where it is.

Taehyung follows Jeongguk with his hands to tangle his fingers in the soft strands of his hair and hold him in place as he kisses all the way from tip to root and back up. Taehyung’s toes curl at the sensation of the hot lips and the stubble on his sensitive thighs.

While it feels amazing though, he can’t help but whine in frustration at the lack of a visual. There are few things hotter than watching Jeongguk worship Taehyung’s body with his hands and his mouth, and Taehyung feels like he’s being deprived of something very important. With that in mind he grabs the sheets where they sit just above his nipples and throws them down to reveal Jeongguk’s head and upper body.

“Heyyyy,” Jeongguk pulls off of Taehyung’s cock abruptly to protest, “my back is cold, you ass.” He reaches a hand back to grab the covers and tugs them back over top of himself, the sheet settling over Taehyung’s hips as Jeongguk goes back to suckle on the tip, taking Taehyung deeper every few strokes.

Taehyung closes his eyes, gasping slightly, because damn, Jeongguk is nothing if not talented with his mouth. Apparently being quick witted in the courtroom translated to giving fantastic head in bed.

Taehyung isn’t having it though. Jeongguk is almost always cold, and it’s not going to stop him from enjoying his morning blowjob to its full potential. He shoves the covers off again, and Jeongguk glares up at him, looking about as annoyed as he can with his mouth full. Taehyung glares back, unamused and unaffected. Years of messing around on and off has made him immune. 

“Well then cover up your back and let me see your face.”

Jeongguk rolls his eyes, pulling back to tease “Ooh you like watching me, Kim?” in the most ridiculous high pitched voice, propping his chin up on one hand and batting his eyelashes at Taehyung in an overly flirtatious way.

Taehyung snorts, but he can’t help the smile that blooms on his face because this version of Jeongguk is one of his favorites. “You know I do, Jeon. You’re the fairest of them all, love of my life, blah blah blah, can we get back to you sucking me off please? We actually can’t spend all day in bed this time.”

“Only because you asked so nicely,” Jeongguk concedes, taking Taehyung back into his mouth.

***

There’s a thin line between love and hate, one that they’ve walked together for years, balanced precariously on either side but never truly falling into one or the other.

They dip their toes in and out of both, using the fluctuating environment to fuel their relationship and move forward rather than lingering on insults of the past. One day they are at each other’s throats, fingers leaving bruises and teeth breaking the skin as they battle for dominance in some kind of twisted ritual. The next, they are teasing, slowly coaxing each other back from the edge of the abyss into a safe place; one where they can let their guard down and forget about the pressures of their chosen lifestyle.

It shouldn’t work. They are formidable alone, but together they are downright explosive, and it should be only a matter of time before they are destroyed by the fire burning within them, around them, between them.

They fight, about everything from the best flavor of ice cream to which position in the bedroom is the most pleasurable. They scream at each other, letting their words rip into the other when bruises and scratches aren’t enough to quench the bubbling rage under their skin.

And they makeup, with soft words and softer touches, laughing about odd things that happen to them throughout the day and curling up to talk about their deepest hopes and dreams under covers in the dead of night.

It shouldn’t work. It should be too volatile and frustrating. And they know it.

Taehyung thinks they are like a volcano.

Destructive, all-consuming and dangerous when they explode, covering everything around them with the ash of their anger and frustration.

And when the smoke clears, they leave behind their arguments refreshed, with new potential. Starting from the bottom, with far more room to grow, and a better understanding of how to work together in the future.

No matter how angry they get, or how cruel their words can be in the heat of the moment, they make sure to get in bed together each night.

Some nights they can’t bring themselves to hold each other, too tense and hurt from their fight, but they make a promise to always hold each other’s hand, even if they don’t want to talk or touch. And somehow, every time they fall asleep angry and wake up still holding hands in the morning, it’s hard to remember why they couldn’t compromise.

Going to bed angry is actually okay, he finds, as long as they go to bed angry together.

They aren’t perfect, he knows, but they’re trying. It’s getting better. And they’re happy.

Neither of them could ask for anything more.

*****