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I Will Follow You (‘Cause I’m Under Your Spell)

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“Let’s go, get up,” Taehyung orders Jeongguk through gritted teeth, ripping the covers off him. He’s in no mood to deal with the singers shit today, so when Jeongguk opens his eyes to look at Taehyung, scoff, and close them again to go back to sleep, Taehyung loses it. “Jeongguk,” he grabs the singers ankles to pull on them roughly, attempting to tug him off the bed with a struggle. 

 

Fucking stupid gym rat, all those muscles just to show off.

 

Jeongguk is halfway off the bed now, his own temper flaring at being woken up like this. “What the fuck do you want, Kim?” he snaps angrily, attempting to crawl back in the middle, but Taehyung grabs onto his leg once again, making the younger fall flat on his stomach.

 

Get. Up. You’re already ten minutes late.”

 

Jeongguk glares at him from over his shoulder, kicking at Taehyung’s hand that’s still wrapped around his ankle. “Why didn’t you fucking, oh, I don’t know, call before you came marching in here?”

 

“I did,” Taehyung hisses, “but someone turned their phone off, so I had to drive myself here and personally wake you up,” Taehyung is already riled up, he doesn’t need Jeongguk’s eye roll, nor does he need the mumbling of protest. 

 

Jeongguk isn’t the only one that’s tired, for fucks sake.

 

“Whatever,” Jeongguk huffs out, knowing he’s lost that battle. He rolls onto his back and stares at the ceiling all dazed out, not caring for Taehyung’s impatient foot tap. His eyelids start drooping closed again, and no, Taehyung really can’t deal with this shit right now.

 

“Jeongguk, so help me god—”

 

“You work for me, Kim,” Jeongguk speaks gravelly, his eyes still closed, so Taehyung takes that as an opportunity to flip him off, releasing his pent-up frustration. “So watch who you’re speaking to.”

 

“I’m only helping you, Jeongguk. You’re supposed to be in the van by now, heading to Jimmy’s.”

 

“Tell them to reschedule.”

 

“Because you were too lazy and tired to get up and work like an actual adult?” Taehyung mocks, taking out his phone from his slacks to fake-dial Jeongguk’s booking agent. “Surely your fans that had already bought tickets to see you wouldn’t want to hear that.”

 

Jeongguk’s eyes snap open. He stares at Taehyung for a few seconds, watching how his manager pauses on calling them. He knows it’s a bluff, obviously, but his manager is right—and god, there’s nothing more that Jeongguk hates than his manager being right. 

 

“Fine,” he sits up and rubs his tired face with both hands. “Fine. Shut up and get out so I can get ready.”

 

“Do you think I’m stupid?” Taehyung pockets his phone and crosses his arms across his chest, holding his ground. “You’re just going to fall back asleep.”

 

“No, Kim. I’m not.”

 

“Well, I don’t trust you.”

 

“And I don’t want you in here while I get dressed, so,” Jeongguk gets off his bed, walking up to his confused manager. He grabs ahold of the elders shoulders, turning him in the direction of his closed hotel room door. He gives him a light push, waving sarcastically when Taehyung looks behind him with narrowed eyes. “Goodbye now.”

 

“If you’re not ready in ten minutes, I will barge back in here. I have the spare card. I don’t care if you’re indecent or not,” Taehyung threatens lowly, walking towards the door himself.

 

“I bet you’d like that, wouldn’t you,” Jeongguk says it like it’s a statement, and it makes Taehyung clench his jaw, his patience getting tested yet again.

 

“Oh, bite me, Jeongguk. I’m not like one of your little fans that fawn over you—”

 

“And you’re still here preaching about shit I didn’t ask for,” Jeongguk cuts him off with an eyebrow raised, crossing his arms across his chest now. 

 

Taehyung curls his lips inside his mouth, mentally counting to ten inside his head to get himself to calm down. He doesn’t have the time for another argument with the worlds brattiest, most irritating, singer.

 

He really doesn’t.

 

“Ten minutes,” he repeats, walking out and slamming the door shut behind him.

 

 

 

 

 

“So, I got a call back from Conan and he’d love to have you on his show—but a few days before you release your album, so we can get the fans hyped up for it, plus, the promotion for it would be skyrocketing.”

 

“Mhm.”

 

“Are you even listening to what I’m saying?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Jeongguk.”

 

“Sure.”

 

Taehyung snatches the phone right out of Jeongguk’s hands, disregarding the exasperated expression on the singers face. “Listen,” he orders, holding the phone out of Jeongguk’s reach when the younger leans over him to grab at it.

 

“Give me my phone back. Now, Kim.”

 

“This is important, so listen—”

 

“Look, you’re my manager for a reason. You worry about all this shit for me and then I just show up—”

 

“You don’t just show up because there’s more we need to discuss—”

 

“Okay, we can once you give me my phone back,” when Taehyung shakes his head no, Jeongguk takes a deep breath, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Kim,” he growls out, nostrils flaring. He tries to reach for it once again, but Taehyung dodges him and doesn’t think twice before he’s shoving it down the front of his pants. Jeongguk stares at him, unblinking, unmoving, and—“did you just put my phone in your fucking pants?”

 

Now that Taehyung can calm down, he belatedly realizes that could’ve gone better. And by better, he means it could’ve been settled in a more mature, professional way. 

 

Flushing a bit, Taehyung tries to remain nonchalant about it all, like he doesn’t have Jeongguk’s phone currently in his pants, and oh god, he really doesn’t think, does he? “Now, like I was saying—”

 

“You think I won’t get it?”

 

“W-what?”

 

Jeongguk’s gaze is unwavering, face set in stone. “You really think I won’t reach into your pants and take it out right now?”

 

Taehyung feels his heartbeat quicken, breaking out into a mini panic attack. “I can get you for sexual harassment,” he weakly encounters, subtly flinching when Jeongguk abruptly turns in his seat to face him properly.

 

“Yeah? And I can get you for unprofessional behavior. I can guarantee you’d hardly find another job after this when you have the words ‘shoving stars phone down pants’ on your reasoning for being fired,” Taehyung cringes, knowing Jeongguk’s annoyingly right. Jeongguk may be the most intolerable person he’s worked with yet, but if Taehyung had done this to anyone else, he would’ve been fired on the spot and kicked to the curb, no questions asked. “So, either you just give me my phone, or I get it myself.”

 

“Fine,” Taehyung grumbles under his breath, his hands on the waistband of his pants. He looks at Jeongguk, who’s still staring at him with tightly pursed lips. Feeling suddenly embarrassed, Taehyung clears his throat. “Can you look away? So I can take it out.”

 

“How hard is it to just shove your hand in there and pull it out? You had no problem throwing it in when I was looking.”

 

Jeongguk,” this isn’t helping Taehyung’s case whatsoever. His cheeks tinge a faint pink and is this how it feels to want to die from mortification? “Just, please. Look away.”

 

“Whatever,” he scoffs, turning back around to face the front of the moving van. “Fucking child,” he mutters under his breath as an afterthought. Taehyung would retort back with something as equally agitating, but he has a task at hand—and that’s take Jeongguk’s phone out of his pants.

 

He slips his hand in and grabs it the same exact moment it decides to loudly vibrate with incoming notifications. Jolting in surprise, he pulls it out quickly before Jeongguk can suspect anything, but the singer looks over as soon as it happened, confused.

 

It’s oddly silent for a few seconds before it dawns on the younger and he’s laughing obnoxiously. “Shut up—” Taehyung warns, but it falls on deaf ears.

 

“If you wanted to pleasure yourself so bad, you should use a vibrator next time. Not my phone.”

 

Oh my god,” Taehyung turns around so his back is to a still cackling Jeongguk, ignoring him and remaining quiet for the rest of the car ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeongguk nods his head along to the beat his producer, Yoongi, had made—especially to his request. 

 

Usually Jeongguk would have a mix of R&B and alternative beats, but for this era, he’s switching his style entirely up. He’s focusing more on rock and hardcore influences, concept more bad-ass and loud. 

 

He’s beyond nervous to see what his fans will think—he just hopes they’ll be as excited as he feels about it all.

 

“I was thinking you could add some background vocals to this part,” Yoongi plays it to show him. Jeongguk hums in response, highly taking it into consideration. Then Yoongi’s pausing and fast forwarding the song until it has only about thirty seconds left. “And here, you could add an interlude of some sort. Say some cheesy shit, something that’ll have your fanboys and fangirls creaming themselves.”

 

Jeongguk snorts. “Like what?”

 

“I don’t know,” Yoongi shrugs, pressing a few keys on his laptop, alternating the beat a bit and messing around with the sound. 

 

Jeongguk doesn’t get any of this producing music shit and it kinda sucks seeing as he wanted to be involved with this album as much as he can—and that includes producing a few of his own songs. 

 

But, there’s always a next time.

 

“How are you gonna suggest the idea, but have no idea what I can say.”

 

“Because you usually have girls throwing their bras on stage by a simple fuckin’ hi,” Yoongi drawls, rolling his eyes unimpressed. He’s not lying either. Just last week, Jeongguk had about a whole Victoria Secrets collection worth on his stage. “You could just breathe heavily into the microphone for the rest of the song and that’d be enough.”

 

“That actually doesn’t sound like a bad idea.”

 

Yoongi gives him a deadpan expression, waving a hand around when Jeongguk wiggles his eyebrows. A clear gesture that states I really don’t care what you do. I just make the beats.

 

A sharp ringtone echoes throughout the studio, vaguely startling the singer and producer. “Who’s that?” Yoongi distractedly asks, all his attention and focus back onto his laptop.

 

Jeongguk groans at the caller ID, debating on answering or not. His day was going so well, so far, too. “Taehyung,” even his managers name tastes like acid on his tongue.

 

Yoongi doesn’t see the problem with that because he just sniffs and replies with a solemn, “okay. Are you gonna answer it or not? The ringing is annoying.”

 

Jeongguk presses the answer button before it can go to voicemail. “What.”

 

Where are you?

 

“Does it concern you?”

 

Seeing how I am your manager, yes. And I need you to be here in fifteen minutes. We got lots to discuss.

 

“Why can’t we just do it over the phone? Or even facetime,” Jeongguk paces the studio, his hands lightly skimming everything he comes across.

 

Yoongi grabs the balled-up napkin from this mornings breakfast, hitting Jeongguk in the head with it. Stop touching my shit he mouths at him when Jeongguk looks over, puzzled.

 

Because you never listen over the phone,” Taehyung explains with a tired sigh, like it physically wears him out having to verbalize it. “Just be here in fifteen, okay?

 

“Sure.”

 

Jeongguk, I mean it.

 

“Yeah.”

 

Jeongguk—”

 

Jeongguk hangs up with a grimace, clicking the side ring switch off so it’s on vibrate now. As expected, Taehyung calls back not even thirty seconds later.

 

“You put him through hell,” Yoongi laughs to himself, shaking his head. He turns around in his swivel chair, leaning back comfortably with his hands folded on his lap. “You gotta cut him some slack.”

 

“When he cuts me some I will.”

 

“He’s just doing his job, Guk.”

 

“So are you, but you don’t annoy me. So is Namjoon when he’s booking my performances, but he doesn’t annoy me,” Jeongguk deliberately ignores the second incoming call coming from Taehyung, pressing on the wake button twice. “There’s just something about him that gets me riled up.”

 

“Have you ever thought maybe he’s an ass to you because you’re one to him?”

 

“Ugh, come on,” Jeongguk feels his phone vibrating in his hands once again and he’s a millisecond away from throwing it across the wall so hard it shatters from the impact. Taehyung doesn’t know when to call it fucking quits. “Who even likes their manager?”

 

“Plenty do. And you can, too, Guk.”

 

“Over my dead body,” he scoffs, pressing the button once again. Before Taehyung even has the chance to speak—more like reprimand him some more—Jeongguk speaks up. “Yes, I heard you. I’m coming in fifteen minutes, now stop calling before I fire your ass.”

 

When Jeongguk hangs up, not even giving Taehyung the privilege to respond, Yoongi laughs some more into his curled fist. “You know, I’m starting to think you’re bluffing,” when Jeongguk simply looks at him to continue, Yoongi sits up straighter. “You won’t fire his ass. You’ve been saying this for the past like, what? Five months?”

 

“I will. Where do you think Mark, Brian, Lucas and Danny are? Oh, that’s right, fired.”

 

“Kid, you go through managers like water,” Jeongguk scowls at Yoongi still having the habit of calling him kid—as if he’s a decade older and not by a few years. “It’s a miracle Taehyung even lasted this long. Actually, he’s probably the longest manager you’ve had in your entire career.”

 

“Yoongi, let’s not be ridiculous now.”

 

“I’m serious. You’re so damn high-maintenance, you know only Taehyung knows how to put up with your ass, so you keep him around,” Yoongi grins mischievously now, a knowing look in his eyes, and Jeongguk knows he’s not going to like what he’s going to hear next. “I heard from a little birdie that he shoved your phone in his pants.”

 

“How the fuck—”

 

A little birdie,” he repeats it as slowly as he can, “If Charlie, your other ex manager, tried that shit, you would’ve fired him immediately.”

 

“I’m not having this conversation with you,” Jeongguk grumbles, turning on his heel so he doesn’t have to look at Yoongi’s shit eating grin any longer. “I gotta go.”

 

“Fucking it out would probably help all that tension and frustration, my friend.”

 

“Same goes for you and Jimin,” Jeongguk shoots back without giving it much thought, opening the door to leave the studio.

 

Yoongi chuckles some more, “Who says we haven’t?”

 

And Jeongguk leaves with a mock gag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I personally think Mantra shouldn’t be the single for this album.”

 

“Your opinion is heard and it’s irrelevant.”

 

“Jeongguk, I’m serious.”

 

“Yeah? So am I.”

 

“Do you not see the problem with this?” Taehyung presses on and on. It’s already two am, Jeongguk is in his hotel room, half asleep on his bed, ready to call it a fucking night, but that’d be asking for too much when having Taehyung as his manager.

 

“What’s the damn problem? It’s the direction I’m going in with this new album, so it’ll give the fans an idea of it,” he slurs tiredly. When Taehyung sucks his tooth in disapproval, Jeongguk just knows that means he’s in for another one of Taehyung’s rants about why he believes his ideas are better than Jeongguk’s.

 

“How do you go from like....Christmas to Halloween?

 

Jeongguk picks his head up from his fluffy pillow, glaring at Taehyung like his managers lost it. Maybe he’s just sleep-deprived—and hey, would you look at that, Jeongguk can sadly fucking relate. “What?”

 

“Like your music genre just did a whole one-eighty. If you want this album to be successful, you need to start thinking outside the box. Start thinking tactics, Jeongguk.”

 

“I’m thinking sleep.”

 

“Jeongguk—”

 

“Look, it’s two am, okay? We can finish this when I wake up. I’m too tired for this crap,” he yawns, falling back against his pillows. Sighing in contentment, he reaches down to pull the blankets over him. “I have an early meeting tomorrow and then I have to meet up with Hoseok for the choreography. I am done for tonight.”

 

When Taehyung doesn’t argue back, or disagree for once, Jeongguk smiles to himself because finally.

 

“Alright. Make sure you set your alarm. If not, I’ll call you before driving over since I have to bring you myself.”

 

It doesn’t register in Jeongguk’s head until he hears Taehyung opening his room door with a soft click. “Wait,” he abruptly sits up, stopping Taehyung from fully walking out. “What do you mean driving over? You’re not staying at this hotel?”

 

Now getting a good look at Taehyung for the first time this night, he can see how exhausted the elder looks as well with dark circles under his eyes.

 

“No,” Taehyung looks down at the clean beige carpet before looking back up at an awaiting Jeongguk. “They ran out of rooms here.”

 

“Where do you plan on going?”

 

“Not sure. Hopefully somewhere close enough so I don’t have to drive like a half hour back and forth.”

 

Jeongguk bites his lip in thought. He’s an asshole to Taehyung, sure that much is obvious, but he’s not going to have the elder driving around the city on the brink of sleep, looking for a place to sleep tonight. “Stay here.”

 

Taehyung looks taken back by the request, knuckles turning white from where he’s still gripping the golden doorknob. “Um, what?”

 

“Stay,” he encourages. “It’s already late. You shouldn’t be driving around when you’re this tired, it’s dangerous,” upon realizing how that sounded, Jeongguk tries to play it off like it meant nothing. A witty, “How would I explain it to my fans and the public that my manager died because he was being careless and stupid?” 

 

Taehyung gives a soft smile at that, totally disregarding the last thing Jeongguk said. “Are you sure? I’ll take the couch—”

 

“No, it’s fine. I have a king size anyways, so,” Jeongguk shuffles over so he can leave enough room for Taehyung when the elder shuts the door, toeing off his shoes. “Make yourself at home, or whatever. I’m going to bed.”

 

Offering your manager to room with you is weird enough in Jeongguk’s opinion. 

 

Offering your manager to share the same bed with you, is where boundaries are beyond crossed. 

 

But Jeongguk knows the guilt of knowing Taehyung was out driving for a place to stay would’ve prevented him of having a goodnight, well rested sleep—so obviously he did it for himself.

 

And most definitely not for Taehyung’s smile and gentle whisper of a goodnight.

Chapter Text

 

There were two problems when Taehyung woke up.

 

One being, he was late and ever since he’s started this job five months ago, he’s never been late once. He’s been punctuational as hell, so he’s scrambling around the hotel room, mind a damn mess.

 

And two, he had quite literally woken up in Jeongguk’s arms. If that wasn’t already questionable and embarrassing enough, him cuddling even closer sure the hell did it—and really, A Sleepy Taehyung is an affectionate one, so sue him for being half asleep and yearning for morning cuddles.

 

He pretends he doesn’t see Jeongguk’s smug smirk, the youngers heavy gaze practically burning a hole into the back of his head with how unrelenting it is. “Can you please get ready? You’re not staying here all day.”

 

“You’re going to wear the same clothes as yesterday?” Jeongguk asks instead.

 

Sighing out, Taehyung runs a hand through his ashy disheveled hair. He needs to get a trim soon, his hair is getting way too long for his liking. The whole hair-falling-in-front-of-the-eyes aesthetic was cute and worth it at first, but now? It’s a pain in his ass. 

 

“Obviously. I didn’t bring my suitcase with me.”

 

“Where is your brain half of the time?”

 

“I didn’t expect to be in your hotel room with you for hours talking about your single,” Taehyung snaps, irritable. He slips on his sock, hopping on one foot while he puts the other on next. “Just get dressed. You have ten minutes before I leave.”

 

“What’s with you and ten minutes?”

 

“What’s with you having a snarky response to everything I say?” Taehyung grabs his shoes that were still messily strewn by the door. He unties the laces, loosening them up a bit before putting them on with a small grunt. “I’m warning you, ten minutes.”

 

“Sir yes sir,” Jeongguk mock salutes with an eye roll.

 

 

 

 

 

Being in the process of a new era, new album productions, new artists to work with and hints of a new upcoming tour—Jeongguk barely has any time for himself. Barely any time to sit down and relax, to just think, and it’s tiring. 

 

It’s even worse when Taehyung doesn’t cut him some slack.

 

“You should work on Dance In the Dark. It’s a different change to your old sound, but it still has that pop feel to it. It won’t throw your fans for a complete loop.”

 

“Taehyung, I already told you. I’m sticking with—”

 

Mantra, yeah, I know. I just think it’s a terrible idea,” Taehyung sorts through the files he had brought with him, pulling out a single sheet that had terrible handwriting written all over it. Honestly, Jeongguk could barely decipher the words when it was handed to him. “I already started the song for you—”

 

“Woah, woah. You’re my manager,” Jeongguk says it like that much should be obvious, in which it is. Taehyung rolls his eyes in return.

 

“Yes, I’m aware.”

 

“So why would I have my manager helping me out with my songs?”

 

“Jeongguk, it’s not that big a deal.”

 

“No, absolutely not,” Jeongguk scoffs, handing the paper back without so much as a glance at it. Taehyung doesn’t grab it back either, he just squints his eyes and lets it fly down onto the floor. “I’m not letting you write my songs for me.”

 

“It’ll be co-writing, Jeongguk. Look, you can use the help, okay? You need to send a rough draft by next week to Seokjin anyways, so it’ll work out perfectly—”

 

“No, if you really wanna help you’d support me on releasing the single I want,” Jeongguk grits out, opening his laptop to start it up. Taehyung breathes out through his nose heavily, running his hands down his face so hard he sees white spots behind his eyelids. 

 

Jeongguk doesn’t pay his manager any mind, opening his word documents with a double tap on the mouse pad.

 

“I am supporting you by helping you out in the long run.”

 

“Artists take risks, right?” Jeongguk argues, going through a few files before he finds the one he’s looking for. Taehyung bitterly realizes it’s a half-written rough copy of Jeongguk’s single—the one he strongly disagrees with. “So, let me take this chance.”

 

“You’re only three years fresh into the industry. Your name can become irrelevant before you can even blink,” Taehyung stresses. Jeongguk looks up from his laptop, face contorted into something akin to arrogance and mild offense. “Competition is tough, Jeongguk.”

 

“My face is all over the TV’s. I’m even posing for many famous name brand photoshoots. Which speaking of, tomorrow I have one with Calvin Klein,” Taehyung opens his mouth to say something, but Jeongguk beats him to it, voice more terse and cold. “And just last year I was nominated for a fucking Grammy. So don’t tell me my name’ll become irrelevant.”

 

“I wasn’t saying this to bring you down. I’m just helping you realize you can lose all this if you don’t play your cards right. You only have one album out, Jeongguk—an album, like you said, that got you nominated for a Grammy.”

 

“So, who knows? Maybe this new album of mine will help me actually win one this year.”

 

“Why are you being so difficult,” Taehyung whines, actually whines. Jeongguk shrugs solemnly, like he can’t be bothered to answer that, typing on his laptop with thinned out lips.

 

He doesn’t know exactly what direction he’s going for in this song, but his fingers seem to have a mind of their own and if there’s one thing Jeongguk’s learned as an artist, it’s to never question himself when inspiration strikes him—even at the oddest times. 

 

Jeongguk.”

 

“Can’t talk. I have a song I need to finish by next week, remember?”

 

“Why can’t you just, for once in your life, agree with me on this?”

 

“I wouldn’t agree with you even if I was being buried alive six feet under,” Jeongguk counters. He even throws in a little triumph smirk, like that was supposed to be funny. “If you’re done here, because I am, you can go,” he stops typing, throwing a thumb over his shoulder. 

 

Taehyung’s eyes follow his hand and resists the urge to scream and beat the living shit out of a still smug Jeongguk.

 

And Taehyung knows he’s lost this one. His pride is badly wounded, too. “Just send me the rough draft when you finish it,” he sneers out of defeat, stomping out of the singers house.

 

 

 

 

 

After about three cups of coffee, two cans of Red Bull, and dozing on and off on his couch despite being high on a caffeine overload, Jeongguk finally finishes the rest of the song.

 

He was feeling a bit nervous about it when he sent out the email to his team around seven in the morning. He knows it could be better if he spent another day on it or so, but this is the very first song he’s ever written without the help of others and he’s feeling way too proud of himself to let it deflate his confidence.

 

He gets his response by afternoon, a few telling him to fix the first verse and mix up a few things here and there, but most were supportive and happily agreed it could work for his new single. 

 

Jeongguk, being the ass he is, screenshots the positive replies, messaging it to Taehyung with the condescending text you were saying?

 

He’s planned to record the song in about a week—which can take a few days to complete, the most, because there’s always something wrong when recording. Whether Jeongguk’s voice comes out too high-pitched, or sounds too nasally, or he doesn’t sound genuine enough, or he can’t hit a certain note without it falling flat. And as much as Jeongguk enjoys his job and fucking enjoys singing, recording is probably his least favorite part. 

 

He is his own worst critic, after all.

 

But once he gets that packed down, he’ll head into the dance studio with Hoseok to practice the choreography—which can also take another few days to complete, too, since Jeongguk plans on perfecting every single move, he can do it in his sleep.

 

Then comes the release date, snippets of the single to tease fans with, and lastly, shooting for the music video. Jeongguk is going to be super busy this week, no, this month. 

 

He’s probably not even going to be able to catch a break, or get a wink of sleep, but it’s okay because the adrenaline pumping through his veins from how excited he is for this era to start is overpowering the need to.

 

 

 

 

 

“Can you try that one more time for me, please?”

 

“What?” Jeongguk sighs, frustrated. “That one sounded good to me.”

 

“The vocals sounded kinda shaky to me.”

 

“You don’t even sing, you rap. What do you know about vocals,” Jeongguk mumbles into the microphone, fully aware Yoongi can hear everything. His music producer just continues looking at him with his eyebrows raised. “Fine. Whatever.”

 

He does it five more times, repeating the same damn line over and over before he’s cutting himself off abruptly, shaking his head in disapproval. 

 

Yoongi seems to be satisfied with it, but this time, it’s Jeongguk’s that’s not. “What’s wrong? It sounds great.”

 

“I sound like shit. My voice is coming out strained.”

 

“Well, we have been at it for hours,” Yoongi gives a tired smile. “Let’s take a break—”

 

“No, no,” Jeongguk stands up straighter and adjusts the headphones on his head. He gives Yoongi a quick head nod, lips set into a thin line. “Let’s take it from the top.”

 

“Jeongguk—”

 

“Yoongi, don’t start.”

 

“I’m not starting, kid. I just don’t need you overworking yourself.”

 

“I’m not,” he snarls. His stubbornness rubs Yoongi the wrong way, making his music producer scoff in return and push away from the studio equipment. He stands up from his chair, pointing to the door, indicating he’s taking five whether Jeongguk likes it or not.

 

Jeongguk silently watches him through the glass as he walks away with hardened eyes and visible taut shoulders. He angrily pulls off the headphones with a scowl, throwing them onto the mic. He knows he needs to calm down before Yoongi comes back in, or else they’ll just bump heads again and he’ll never get this song finished by tonight. 

 

He can hear Taehyung’s encouragement of you still have a few days, don’t rush it running through his head, but his team must not know him all that well if they think Jeongguk can just up and head home without perfecting it on his first try. It’ll leave him unsatisfied, beating himself up the entire night when he knows he could’ve done better—could’ve given it his all. 

 

He looks up when he sees the doors open, thinking it’s Yoongi, but instead, it’s quite literally his worst nightmare in human form. 

 

Fucking Taehyung.

 

Taehyung notices the face he makes, but disregards it as he holds down the button, talking to Jeongguk through the soundproof glass. “Jeongguk, we want to discuss the music video with you, about the castings and all. The directors are in Seokjin’s office right now.”

 

“That’s great,” Jeongguk can distinctly hear Taehyung speaking through the headphones without having to put them on, so he doesn’t bother. “I’m in the middle of something.”

 

“Yoongi said you were free to go for the rest of the day.”

 

“Yeah, his words not mine. I’m not leaving.”

 

“Do you always have to pull this shit? Just come on. You can finish up tomorrow.”

 

“No.”

 

Taehyung rolls his eyes and let’s go off the button that allows him to communicate with the singer. Jeongguk thinks okay good that was it, he won, but then Taehyung is walking up to the door that leads into the vocal studio booth with curled lips. 

 

Jeongguk doesn’t bother quieting his pissed off groan when Taehyung steps in, slamming the door shut behind him. “Jeongguk, can you just cooperate?”

 

“I need to finish this first.”

 

“With the way you’re a perfectionist, that won’t happen. Let’s just go. They’re waiting.”

 

“Why must you make my life a living hell?”

 

Me?” Taehyung asks incredulous, even pointing to himself with his index finger, mouth parted open and eyes a fraction wider. When Jeongguk nods, face pulled in a well obviously kind of manner, Taehyung laughs all dry and humorless. “Look who’s talking—”

 

“I don’t have the time to argue about who annoys who, I have a song to finish.”

 

“And you also need a music video to discuss, so let’s go,” Taehyung waits with his arms folded across his chest, eyes slit into narrows, and his expression challenging. Jeongguk would’ve laughed at his manager thinking he’s supposed to be intimidated by that if he wasn’t so exasperated.

 

“Well, looks like Seokjin is just going to have to drag me there, isn’t he.”

 

 

 

 

 

Seokjin doesn’t do that, but he does threaten Jeongguk over the phone about how he’ll have Taehyung cancel his collaboration that was scheduled with Calvin Klein.

 

That was enough to have Jeongguk begrudgingly stomping his ass out the studio like a little kid with Taehyung hot on his heels. Jeongguk pretends he didn’t see Yoongi’s delighted smirk—it’ll flare his temper even more if he just thinks about it.

 

When Jeongguk walks into the conference room, Seokjin is patiently waiting with his hands tightly clasped in front of him on the table. On the outside, he looks tranquil, smile all vibrant and demeanor pleasant—but if you knew him like Jeongguk does, you would know the Music Attorney is ready to start screaming about how Jeongguk is the biggest pain in his ass.

 

As expected, they jump straight into business. Even though Jeongguk had at least another three weeks before the filming of his music video began, they wanted to get down the exact location, rent out the place and hire the actors and actresses that had agreed to be apart of it. 

 

Thinking ahead, in case one of them can’t make it and we don’t have a back-up, Taehyung had explained.

 

“Sooyoung had already said she’d do it.”

 

“Are you sure her company would let her? The lyrics are kind of mature, so that means the video would be mature as well. That’s different than the image she presents herself as,” Seokjin points out.

 

“Everyone grows up someday,” Jeongguk drawls out of annoyance. Taehyung doesn’t put his two cents in for once—but he looks like he wants to disagree. He also knew Seokjin would go against his own idea because his team are sadistic fucks that won’t allow him to be creative. Hell, Sooyoung even offered herself to be in the music video, too tired of the whole innocent bubblegum pop sound and squeaky-clean image her company had forced on her. “The fans will love it.”

 

“Not everyone is as brave as you,” Seokjin gives Jeongguk The Look. His music attorney looks over at the directors, smiling kindly—a complete contrast to the look he was just giving Jeongguk. “We’ll give you a name by next week.”

 

“No need,” Jeongguk’s attitude is all clipped and gruff. Seokjin subtly rubs his temple while Taehyung looks down at his lap, remaining quiet about Jeongguk’s ideas for possibly the first time* in his life. “It’s gonna be Sooyoung.”

 

“We’ll keep in touch,” Seokjin tells the directors anyways, giving them polite shakes goodbye when they stand up to leave. Once they’re out, Seokjin throws himself down onto the chair, groaning loudly. “Jeongguk, it’s not happening and there’s no room left up for discussion.”

 

“Have you even contacted her company?” he stresses, not dropping this, and really, when does he ever when it comes to things he wants? That might be the high-maintenance part of him talking, but he doesn’t care. His vision for this music video, this whole album—this era, is going to be his best one yet. 

 

He can practically taste it already.

 

“No—”

 

“So, until Taehyung does, she’s in, and whoever you have written down isn’t hired,” Jeongguk stands up, like he’s the boss here. He can see Seokjin’s eye twitching out of anger, while Taehyung looks back and forth between the two, unsure. “Are we done here?”

 

“We’ll talk to her company tomorrow morning,” oh, good. So he’s finally negotiating, just like it says he‘s supposed to do in his job description. “If she isn’t allowed, then she isn’t and you’re going to drop it, Jeongguk,” Seokjin speaks up louder before Jeongguk can get his foot out the door. “Or I will put your comeback on hold until you learn to respect those around you. Don’t push me.”

 

Jeongguk pokes the inside of his cheek with his tongue, staring at Seokjin harshly. He knows he doesn’t have the authority to do that, but then again, Seokjin is powerful as hell and he will somehow make that happen just to teach the singer a lesson.

 

So after not saying anything for a few long pauses, Jeongguk brusquely says, “Fine,” and marches out of the room.

 

Seokjin groans, throwing his head back to stare up at the ceiling. Facial expression akin to exhaustion and just—blank. “That kid is going to be the fucking death of me.”

 

Taehyung chuckles quietly, although it’s more out of sheer agreement. “Me too, Jin. Me too.”

Chapter Text

 

It’s been a few days, give or take, and Jeongguk’s team still has yet to hear back from Sooyoung’s manager. 

 

The petty side of Jeongguk hopes they allow her to be apart of his music video just to be all ha ha, I told you about it and the other half of him just genuinely wants her in it.

 

Seokjin won’t stop making ‘the time is ticking’ kind of gestures every time he comes across Jeongguk in the company’s buildings hallways—and it’s frustrating the singer.

 

“Can’t you get him to hold off for a bit longer? I still got three weeks until shooting begins,” Jeongguk complains, playing with the pen they had on the table.

 

Taehyung bites his lip, knowing the singer isn’t going to like what he’s going to say next. “Seokjin does have a point. What if they say no, Jeongguk? And we waited all this time for what?”

 

“They won’t say no.”

 

“How are you so sure?” Taehyung urges with a strong tone and raised brows, and it has Jeongguk getting annoyed with his manager—as usual. “Seokjin is thinking ahead.”

 

“I already told you both Sooyoung said yeah.”

 

“Just because you do your own thing and act out doesn’t mean every artist is like you when it comes to listening,” Taehyung snaps, getting fed up with Jeongguk’s attitude and stubbornness.

 

“What the hell is that supposed to mean, huh?”

 

“It means if her manager says no, then we move on. I’m sure Sooyoung knows better than to go against her managers wishes unlike others.”

 

Jeongguk looks at Taehyung and squints his eyes, dropping the pen from his hands. “Wow, you’re so subtle.”

 

“I’m serious, Jeongguk,” Taehyung is aware he’s going absolutely nowhere with this argument because Jeongguk never likes to compromise. “We need to put a deadline on this.”

 

“Yeah, the deadline is in three weeks.”

 

Taehyung pinches the bridge of his nose, closing his eyes momentarily. When he opens them, the singer is already looking at him, just as annoyed. “Why do I even put up with you.”

 

“I ask myself the same question, Kim.”

 

Taehyung wants to scowl. “Since you won’t listen to me, your damn manager, I’ll just leave it all to Seokjin since he tends to put you in your place when it comes to decisions.”

 

“Wow,” Jeongguk mock sighs, propping his legs on the table, crossing them at the ankles. “Pretty sad that Seokjin does your job better than you can.”

 

“No, you’re just a fucking pain in my ass that can’t listen and respect others.”

 

“Maybe if you all just listened to my ideas for once, I’d actually cooperate,” Jeongguk shrugs, folding his hands on his lap, slanting his head all tauntingly. 

 

“We are and we’re telling you, what if it doesn’t work out? Sooyoung’s manager hasn’t gotten back to us and it’s been days.”

 

“She’s a busy woman with a busy schedule,” Jeongguk emphasizes, speaking all slowly. “Give it time. Why do you all feel the need to rush things when there’s plenty of time?”

 

“You know what,” Taehyung stands up, walking to the door that leads to the hallway. He gets it open and waves his hand dismissively—showing the younger that this conversation was over. “I’m done talking about this. You only have a week left, if not, Seokjin is taking over and hiring whoever he pleases.”

 

Jeongguk grimaces—not liking that idea one bit. He doesn’t say anything more because his bitter expression said more than enough. 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeongguk prefers shopping online since he doesn’t have to worry about piercing screams and being seen by fans. Don’t get him wrong, he loves his fans dearly, but sometimes he just wants to blend in with everyone and shop without being interrupted to sign a few autographs every few minutes.

 

And yeah, while he’d much rather shop online, he was too bored to stay home and do so, so he had took his car and drove to the mall. 

 

Since the BBMA’s are coming up soon, he needs to shop for a new suit—although he’s not too keen on wearing one and going anyways. Since he hasn’t released any new music in over a year, he knows he’s not nominated for anything, nor is he going to perform, which makes his appearance on showing up that much more tedious.

 

If he’s being honest, the only best part about award shows is performing (and of course, winning if he gets nominated.) Still, he knows fans are expecting his arrival, so he doesn’t want to let them down. Plus, the after party is fun enough for him to voluntarily show up.

 

Sighing, Jeongguk feels the pants fabric between his thumb and index finger, pursing his lips. He had been looking in the same section for a good ten minutes now, unsure on which outfit he wants to settle on purchasing and it’s bugging him.

 

The worker keeps looking at him, watching his every move with hawk eyes since he hasn’t bought anything yet—probably afraid he’s going to run out and steal.

 

Jeongguk supposes he can understand her suspicion since he’s wearing a cap, the brim low enough to cover his eyes, along with a black mask over his face. A fan would be able to notice him despite his half assed disguise, but the worker doesn’t seem to know who he is—or maybe she doesn’t care because no sign of recognition shines in her eyes when he catches her staring yet again. 

 

Jeongguk is growing tired of remaining indecisive as hell, so he takes out his phone, calling the first person that comes to mind.

 

Yoongi's voicemail pops up, causing Jeongguk to groan and hang up. He tries Soyeon next, but she sends him one of those automatic texts that read ‘I’m busy.’

 

Not wanting to call Taehyung, but also wanting to decide on an outfit already, Jeongguk just sucks it up and clicks on his managers contact. 

 

It takes four rings before the line stops ringing and Taehyung’s voice crackles through the speakers. “Hello?

 

“I need help.”

 

Um. With?” Before Jeongguk can answer, Taehyung sighs, long and disappointed. “Did you get yourself caught in some scandal again? I told you, stop taking these girls from the clubs home. You already had two pregnancy rumors. And that’s not including the one where that one guy—”

 

“Kim, shut up, no,” Jeongguk growls out, rolling his eyes. Great. Now he’s already regretting calling up his manager and it’s been, what? Five seconds in? Ridiculous. “I didn’t do shit.”

 

So why are you willingly calling me to ask for help? You only call when you’re in trouble.”

 

“I am in trouble,” Jeongguk stresses. “I need help picking out an outfit for the BBMA’s.”

 

“....Seriously?

 

“Yes, serious,” Jeongguk looks over and the worker whips her head around when he catches her gaze yet again. “How fast can you come to the mall? I’m in Banana Republic.”

 

Jeongguk, you can’t be serious. Why do I have to go in person? Just send a photo?

 

“I am serious. Photos suck, just come here—please,” he adds as an afterthought.

 

I can’t. Right now I’m discussing things about your music video with the directors. I had only excused myself to answer your phone call, but the meeting isn’t over yet.

 

“Discussing what,” Jeongguk’s fingers tighten on his phone, feeling himself getting angry at them talking about the video without him there. He still had time for Sooyoung, so Seokjin better not have hired another actress.

 

Don’t worry,” Jeongguk can hear the eye roll in Taehyung’s tone. “We haven’t changed anything. Well, except maybe the location. We’re trying to find a good day to record since it’s going to be raining the entire week we start.”

 

Jeongguk breathes a sigh of relief. Location changing is fine with him. “Alright. So, how long do you think it’ll take for you to come?” He asks, like Taehyung didn’t just imply he’s busy. 

 

Taehyung grumbles under his breath. “Give me fifteen minutes, Jeon.”

 

 

 

 

 

Taehyung does show up around the time he had said. He looks pissed off, but Jeongguk acts like he can’t see it since he’s been standing in this store for a good half hour and he’s just ready to go home himself.

 

“Is this decent enough?” he says, getting straight to the point.

 

Taehyung’s features soften upon observing both shirts that are in Jeongguk’s hands, tilting his head a bit. “I think this one,” he points to the one on the left. The navy blue button up.

 

“Perfect,” Jeongguk sets down the white button up he also had. “Now, for pants,” he walks over to where a mannequin was wearing some. “Settle for these plain black ones, or ripped denim?” 

 

“You are going to an award show, Jeongguk.”

 

“Yeah, so? What’s the answer? Plain or ripped?”

 

“A suit would have been the better option,” Jeongguk gives him a knowing look and Taehyung sighs for the nth time. “Black slacks.”

 

“I didn’t say that as an option.”

 

“Trust me. Black slacks would look nice.”

 

So Jeongguk and Taehyung search the store some more for slacks and the singer nearly cries in relief when he finds the perfect size. He asks the worker if he can try them on and she looks like she wants to say no, but knowing she has no real reason on declining him on doing so, she unlocks the door for him.

 

He steps into the dressing room, stripping himself out of his clothes as quick as he can and trying on the slacks and navy blue button up. He tucks the shirt in, unbuttoning his left cuff to roll it up a bit, some of his tattoos showing. 

 

Jeongguk isn’t really into suits—as cliché as it can get, he’s more into leather jackets, ripped jeans and combat boots, but he can admit, Taehyung surprisingly has nice taste. Everything goes well together, he’s impressed.

 

“Ready for the final result, Kim?” He says from inside the small room.

 

“Ugh, just hurry and come out, Jeongguk—”

 

Jeongguk opens the door and steps out with his hands tucked in his front pockets. He holds back a laugh at how a glimpse at his attire shut a snarky Taehyung up so quick.

 

“So?” He wiggles his eyebrows knowingly, his confidence high and attitude smug. “What do you think?”

 

“It, um,” Taehyung cuts himself off as he swallows, nodding. “It...looks good,” he lamely finishes. Tone flat, but his expression says otherwise.

 

Jeongguk, just to tease Taehyung a bit more, runs his fingers through his red hair. He can’t help the grin spreading across his face when Taehyung subconsciously bites his lip. “Just good?” 

 

“You look really good,” Taehyung sounds irritated at being teased, it makes Jeongguk laugh into his hand. “There, happy?

 

“Very,” Jeongguk replies, noticing the high blush on the elders cheeks. That’s a first. “Thanks for the help, by the way. Who knew your ass had such nice taste.”

 

And just like that, Taehyung is scowling again.

 

 

 

 

 

As expected, the BBMA’s are boring.

 

Nobody Jeongguk is interested in performs, making the show drag on that much longer. Still, he didn’t want to come off as disrespectful, so he nodded along to a few songs and cheered.

 

The show was only two hours long, but it felt like six before it’s finally over and he’s making his way backstage with his two close friends, Soyeon and Jooheon. 

 

“Going to the after party?” Soyeon asks, making way for a group of people that rush by. The buzz of chatter is everywhere, everyone catching up and others congratulating those on their awards. 

 

“Yeah. You?”

 

“If you do,” she shrugs solemnly, leaning all her weight on her right hip. “It’s not fun when you go without knowing anyone.”

 

“Hey, I already said I was going,” Jooheon pouts, tone offended. “You know me.” 

 

Soyeon laughs, standing on her tippy toes to throw an arm around Jooheon’s shoulders. “But you always end up leaving me to go chat up your other friends.”

 

Jeongguk looks amused at how that got Jooheon to stay quiet, knowing full well Soyeon was right. “Anyways. I’ll be there, but can’t stay too late.”

 

“Curfew?” Jooheon taunts, like the ass he is.

 

Jeongguk punches his arm with the suck of his tooth. “Shut up. If I don’t wake up in time, I’ll just have Taehyung waking me up in the most annoying ways ever.”

 

“So, it’s settled,” Soyeon grins, sliding her arm off Jooheon. “Let’s go have some fun and party.”

 

 

 

 

 

Jeongguk doesn’t bother changing up his clothes, showing up to the after party in the same outfit. Soyeon, on the other hand, had changed up everything—starting from her makeup down to her clothing.

 

Everyone already seems to be there, the place packed with lots of celebrities he knows the names of, but has yet to introduce himself to. 

 

A few people look buzzed, well on their way to being drunk. Jeongguk secretly wishes that was him, but he knows he can’t get drunk since he had agreed he’d be the designated driver. 

 

Soyeon comes over all happily, two shots in her hand. “One for you,” she sing-songs, thrusting it in his hands. “And one for me.”

 

“What’s this?” Jeongguk asks, lifting the shot glass to his nose. He crinkles his nose when he gets a whiff of it. “Vodka? I’m not planning on getting drunk unless you wanna be the DD.”

 

“Just one,” she waves it off hastily. “You have a good tolerance for alcohol,” she explains while she holds up her glass. Jeongguk gets the message, lifting his up as well to clink them together.

 

They both down it at the same time, lips curled in distaste and face scrunched up. “God, that shit is strong,” Jeongguk complains.

 

Soyeon sticks her tongue out, but laughs in agreement. “So strong, but it’s just the beginning.”

 

“Maybe for you,” Jeongguk chuckles at Soyeon’s small pout. “Where’s Jooheon?”

 

“Already talking to his other friends like I guessed,” Soyeon sets her empty glass down on a random table. Jeongguk does the same. “He can’t even order a drink without coming across his friends.”

 

“Wow, imagine being that popular.”

 

Soyeon whistles. “Yeah, can’t relate.”

 

Jeongguk feels his phone vibrate in his pocket, but he ignores it. He has a good feeling on who’s trying to call, and he really doesn’t wanna talk about business at a party.

 

Talk about a buzzkill.

 

Soyeon grabs the singers wrist and drags him over to the crowded dance floor, swaying her body left to right. “Come on, loosen up! You still seem so damn tense.”

 

Jeongguk knows she’s right, so he ends up downing two more shots before he starts dancing with her. They’re not even following the beat of the songs, doing silly dances, laughing over the music and each other. 

 

Along the way, Soyeon ends up getting too drunk, Jooheon looks close to passing out and Jeongguk was nearly tipsy, so he had left the party, hauling both of them out and into his car with difficulty, driving back to his place with caution.

 

 

 

 

 

When Jeongguk awakens, it’s to the sound of his phone. The ringing seemed louder than usual, it made the singer groan in annoyance. He blindly reaches for his phone on his pillow to shut the ringing off. 

 

He squints his eyes open to see Taehyung’s name pop up. His eyelids felt too heavy to keep open, he was close to falling back asleep—but he knows his manager must be concerned on where he’s at since Jeongguk’s been ignoring the elders texts all last night.

 

Pressing on the green button before the call could end, Jeongguk clears his throat, hating how dry it feels. “Yes?” He rasps, rubbing his eyes.

 

Where are you?

 

“Home. Where else?”

 

Did you see the tabloids yet?

 

“Considering you just woke me up, no.”

 

You got involved in another scandal.

 

If Jeongguk wasn’t so tired, he would’ve rolled his eyes, but he’s too exhausted to even react properly. “With who? I came home with Soyeon and Jooheon.”

 

That’s exactly who. Everyone’s saying you and Soyeon slept together. This morning, the paps caught her leaving your house.”

 

“Ugh,” Jeongguk turns on his side, peeking around his empty bedroom. It’s just him there. The last thing he remembers is crashing face first on his bed with Soyeon already passed out right besides him. “Boo-hoo, we went home together. I’m so sick of rumors. We’re just friends. We didn’t even sleep together.”

 

Well, the tabloids are going crazy on this story. I suggest you both clear this up. You don’t need a scandal right before the release of your single.”

 

“I know. How was I supposed to know they’d come up with this shit? Me and Yeon have been friends for years.”

 

I don’t know,” Taehyung rushes out. He sounds like he’s distracted, loud chatter and cars honking in the background. “But get rid of this rumor fast. And meet me at the company building in twenty.”

 

Ugh,” Jeongguk repeats, hanging up without a goodbye. It’s too early to be listening to demands from his manager—especially about something he is in no mood to deal with.

 

Jeongguk forces himself off his bed, heading to his bathroom. Working early the next morning with an apparent scandal going on isn’t ideal at all and Jeongguk just knows once he steps out his house, he’s going to be bombarded by nosey paps. 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeongguk didn’t bother getting dressed up. He had shown up at the building in sweats and a hoodie, red hair disheveled and body filled with fatigue. 

 

Taehyung doesn’t seem shocked, almost like he expected Jeongguk to show up looking half dead. 

 

Seokjin, that sadistic fuck, had loudly greeted him with a slap to the back, grinning. “Good morning, Jeongguk.”

 

Jeongguk glares up at him, watching his music attorney take a seat across from him. “Yeah. Sure.”

 

“So, Friday is the official release of your single,” Taehyung explains once everyone’s seated, taking Jeongguk’s silence as a reason to continue. “That gives us about two days to clear this rumor up.”

 

“So what? Just let people think what they want.”

 

“It’s bad press,” Seokjin steps in next, like always. “Everyone will assume you both did it to promote your single and she did it to boost her career.”

 

Jeongguk knows Seokjin is right. But he’s too tired and stubborn to ever admit whenever someone’s right. “So. How do I clear it up? On Twitter?”

 

“That’s a start. Just keep it, you know, real with the fans.”

 

“If I bluntly tweet: me and Soyeon aren’t dating, fans will think that’s also a coverup. No matter how real I keep it, someone’s going to think differently.”

 

“Then be more sincere with it,” Taehyung says—as if clearing up rumors is as easy as one, two. “You don’t need bad press before your single.”

 

“I’ll figure something out,” he promises, yawning, but he doesn’t sound like he’s taking it into consideration. “Anything else?”

 

From there on they start going into detail about other things Jeongguk didn’t bother listening to. He kept blocking it out by nodding off every once in a while, which made Seokjin speak louder and slam his hands down onto the mahogany table to startle the singer awake. 

 

(Jeongguk’s murdered Seokjin about twenty times in his head.)

 

He didn’t necessarily care for anything else—only about his single that’s going to be released and Friday can’t come soon enough.

Chapter Text

Three fortunate things happened to Jeongguk. 

 

One being, fans had gone crazy over the single, preaching about how much they loved this new side of Jeongguk, making his single a success. The second one was after many days later and deals made, Sooyoung was given permission to be apart of the music video. And lastly, Soyeon had shut down any rumors they had going on by giving the: men and women can be friends without them hooking up, you ignorant fucks kind of speech. 

 

It was finally time to start filming and the first location they were recording at was in the middle of a desert. It’ll just be him for the most part, a few shots of him driving and drifting in the sand looking Cool™. 

 

(It would’ve been more cool if the sun wasn’t sweltering and he didn’t feel like he was going to collapse from a fucking heatstroke.)

 

Since the car was just a rental, he wasn’t allowed to do anything but use it strictly for the music video—in case, god forbid, something happens to it, his company would have to pay the bill. But frankly, Jeongguk is burning the fuck up with these hot leather seats and the harsh sun beating down on him through the windshield.

 

So, when he had rolled up the windows and closed the doors, turning on the air conditioner to cool himself down, he rolls his eyes when he sees Seokjin running over in quick strides, demanding he turns it off. 

 

He doesn’t understand what could possibly go wrong with him turning on a fucking AC, but he surprisingly listens without any bratty complaints and gets out the car instead. 

 

He was in no mood to deal with Seokjin breathing down his neck about how he doesn’t listen in this unbearable heat. He gives him a blank look when the elder gives him a pointed one in return. 

 

Jeongguk walks away to step under the steel pop-up tent they had set up for the crew. 

 

Taehyung was already sitting under it, blazer off so he was wearing his white button up. He had a few buttons loose, so some of his damp chest was exposed and his sleeves were neatly rolled up to his elbows. 

 

He even had this white thick headband to keep his long hair from falling in his face, looking so boyish, and not like Jeongguk’s pretentious manager with the usual Gucci suit and tie.

 

“Something on my face, Jeongguk?”

 

Jeongguk was too tired to even retort back with something witty, so he just gives a noncommittal grunt, sitting down across from his manager. He takes off his leather jacket, grimacing when the white t-shirt he was wearing underneath uncomfortably sticks to his skin. 

 

“Why did I think recording in a desert in nearly one hundred degrees was a good idea?” he moans, hiding his sweaty face in his hands. His makeup practically melted off with how much he’s sweated—and the amount of times they had to touch it up was ridiculous.

 

“When are your ideas ever good?”

 

“Shut up because we still have two more locations, and one of them involves a pool.”

 

At that, Taehyung looks a bit more skeptical, sitting up in his seat to eye Jeongguk, even though the younger can’t see. “I wasn’t aware of this?”

 

“Because when do I ever run things by you anymore?”

 

“Right,” Taehyung dryly retorts, used to this kind of behavior. Sometimes he feels more like the singers babysitter rather than his damn manager. 

 

Jeongguk lifts his head back up when the heat from his palms only makes him more hot, more agitated. He looks at his manager when the silence drags on. “You gonna go in the pool?”

 

“Would we even be allowed to? I just heard Seokjin yelling at you for turning on the air conditioner.”

 

“You can’t break a pool. And even if we aren’t allowed, you really think I’m not going to go in it?”

 

“Right,” Taehyung repeats yet again, tone less sharp and more taunt. “Mr. I’m-Too-Cool-To-Follow-Rules.”

 

“Or, Mr. I’m-Going-To-Die-In-This-Heat-If-I-Don’t.”

 

“Dramatic.”

 

They both sit in silence, enjoying the faint coolness the shade provides for them since there’s barely any breeze to help keep their body temperature cool. 

 

Jeongguk groans when the directors tell him they need him again to start shooting the scene where he has to wander around the desert. Taehyung chuckles under his breath, wishing him a sardonic good luck, and Jeongguk flicks him off in return.

 

 

 

 

 

After twelve long hours of shooting for the first part of his music video, Jeongguk and his crew all decide to go out for dinner—a little celebration for his newly upcoming era and the success of his single so far. 

 

Along the way there, a few fans had stopped him and asked for autographs before he could step into the restaurant. Jeongguk didn’t notice how Taehyung had stopped as well, watching with curious eyes as the singer easily smiled for all the pics without any complaints, signed a few autographs and genuinely thanked them for their love and support. 

 

When the fans leave, shaky hands and tears in their eyes, thanking him, Jeongguk finally sees Taehyung there, standing by the side. 

 

“Wow,” Taehyung mockingly replies with the tilt of his head. At the quirk of the singers brow, he continues. “So this is the side of Jeongguk I knew existed under that bratty, cold attitude.”

 

Jeongguk rolls his eyes at that. “This is who I am, regardless. I love them, of course I’m not gonna treat my fans like shit.”

 

“But treating your team like shit is better?”

 

“I don’t treat my team like shit.”

 

“Oh, that’s right. My apologies. I just meant me.”

 

Jeongguk narrows his eyes. There was no paps around for once, and the singer wanted to take advantage of that. He didn’t want to be noticed by them—and he might end up being spotted if he stood out here any longer.

 

“I’m not having this conversation out here. Can we just please go into the restaurant?”

 

Taehyung drops it, but he grumbles something under his breath that Jeongguk didn’t care enough to decipher. 

 

 

 

 

 

The celebration dinner ends up being fun. They had to go to one of the VIP rooms, but it wasn’t uptight and quiet—and that most definitely has to do with the fact he has such a loud, crazy team.

 

Seokjin cracks his usual dad jokes, which were quite funny, but Yoongi’s frustration and lack of expression was more hilarious than the jokes. Then on the side of his music prouder, he had Namjoon explaining the jokes—as if that’s the reason Yoongi chose not to laugh at them. 

 

It only made Jeongguk laugh louder, throwing his head back, dragging more attention to their table.

 

Soon enough their food comes and things quiet down significantly. Everyone was too occupied on stuffing their mouths to say anything—and when they did talk, it was solely to compliment on how good the food taste. 

 

Taehyung was seated across from him, a wine glass in his hands, half empty. Jeongguk looks down at his still untouched food and frowns a bit, confused. 

 

“Not hungry?” he asks as he dips his fry in buffalo sauce, taking a bite.

 

His manager seems shocked he noticed—or, from him even asking, but he shakes his head. “Thought I was. I’ll just get a box and take it to go.”

 

“We’ve been filming for my music video all day.”

 

“I know?” Taehyung answers, tone bemused, taking a small sip from his wine as he holds eye contact. 

 

“It was twelve hours long,” Jeongguk continues slowly, like Taehyung was oblivious on his own schedule. 

 

Taehyung breathes out, impatient. The urge to roll his eyes increases when Jeongguk doesn’t quit on giving him a hard, knowing look. 

 

“I’m not dumb, Jeongguk. I know. Why are you telling me this? What’s the point?”

 

“You’ve been with me since this morning. You haven’t eaten all day,” Jeongguk points out, picking up his napkin to wipe off any salt from his fingers. “You have to be hungry.”

 

“Eh,” Taehyung shrugs, setting down his wine glass. “Must be the heat getting to me. My stomach doesn’t feel too great.”

 

Or,” Jeongguk drawls, looking at his drink all pointedly. “It could be because you’re drinking on an empty stomach.”

 

“Don’t worry,” Taehyung sarcastically smiles. “I don’t need you,” he does air quotes, “caring if you’re gonna be an ass about it.”

 

“I’m not—“ Jeongguk stops himself. He’s too tired to argue about this. “It’s true, Tae. Just eat something. You’ll feel better.”

 

Taehyung raises two brows, mouth vaguely slacked. Jeongguk looks at him with a bored what? expression, so the elder blinks, clearing his throat. “You called me Tae,” he mumbles.

 

It shouldn’t be a big deal, at all. Everyone calls someone by their nicknames after working in the same team for so long—but it’s Jeongguk.

 

Taehyung has been working for him for almost half a year and Jeongguk’s only ever managed to call him by his last name or his first name. No nicknames, ever.

 

“Oh,” Jeongguk’s eyes dart everywhere. And if Taehyung isn’t hallucinating, he swears he can see the tips of the singers ear turning pink. “Well. Yeah. Uh, just eat,” he replies, focusing his attention back on his fries awkwardly.

 

It causes Taehyung to pick up his wine glass again, only to hide his amused growing smile.

 

 

 

 

 

Day two of the shooting is much better than the first. And that might be because he’s in a LED purple-blue pool, surrounded by a bunch of beautiful women and men in bathing suits. 

 

Okay, that’s most definitely why.

 

He drinks in all the attention the actresses and actors were giving him. They eye his body, some with bashful expressions when they’ve gotten caught—and some even indulging in it with bitten lips and winks.

 

He swears he even spots Taehyung’s eyes rake over his tatted body for a few seconds—longer than usual. For some odd reason he can’t even understand, it made him complacent, purposely flexing whenever Taehyung would look his way.

 

Sooyoung had shown up an hour earlier than the scheduled time, pleasing the directors and Seokjin, even. They had gotten her dressed in a skimpy black dress, dark erotic makeup and began recording her single shots by the pool. They yell cut, she strips into a bathing suit, and they record her shots in the pool next.

 

If Sooyoung wasn’t a good close friend, and well, wasn’t in a relationship with Seulgi, he would’ve dated her if the opportunity had presented itself. She’s sexy, fun, amiable and confident. Who doesn’t love that? But he ignores it all, pushing it to the back of his mind when the two record their scene next, together in the pool, breaths mingling and hands wandering.

 

 

 

 

 

“You’re not going to go in?” Jeongguk asks his manager, drying his damp hair with a towel he was provided by the staff. 

 

Taehyung was lounging on one of the beach chairs they had set up, his eyes closed. The hem of his slacks was a bit wet, so Jeongguk assumes he might’ve at least dipped his feet in at some point.

 

“Didn’t bring an extra pair of clothes to change into.”

 

“I told you we were gonna film at a pool.”

 

“I must’ve forgot,” Taehyung shrugs. “I’m cool here though,” he opens his eyes and sees Jeongguk already staring down at him. “I’m getting tired of your song, by the way. I can sing the whole thing in my sleep with how many times I had heard it these past few days.”

 

Jeongguk snorts. “Perks of being my manager,” he looks over at the pool and at an oblivious Taehyung, who had closed his eyes yet again once the conversation was dropped. A mischievous glint flashes in his eyes, biting his lip to hold back his laughter. He sets the towel down and bends, picking Taehyung up, making the latter snap his eyes open and gasp out of shock.

 

“What the? Put me down!”

 

“I think you should enjoy the pool.”

 

“No!” Taehyung panics, clinging himself onto Jeongguk by tightly wrapping his arms and legs around him. Due to the commotion, a few of the staff members look over in alert, confused, too, before a chorus of laughter drowns out Taehyung’s pleas to be put down.

 

“Why not?”

 

“Because I’m not dressed properly, you idiot!” Taehyung screeches when they get closer, hiding his face in Jeongguk’s bare neck. “And I don’t want to get wet!”

 

Jeongguk tries to ignore the way his heart rate picks up at the feeling of Taehyung’s lips brushing against his skin. He stands at the edge of the pool, gaining himself an amused audience. Grinning, he nudges Taehyung with his shoulder, but the elder doesn’t bother looking up. “Any last words, Kim?”

 

“I fucking hate you.”

 

“Thanks,” Jeongguk knows just trying to throw Taehyung in would be close to futile seeing as how the elder is currently holding onto him like his life depended on it, so he counts to three out loud—nice enough to give Taehyung a heads up—and holds his breath, jumping in with Taehyung still in his arms.

 

Jeongguk expects Taehyung to let go when they surface from the water, but he doesn’t. If anything, he hangs on even tighter, coughing a bit at the taste of chlorine in his mouth. “You’re the worst,” he rasps, body trembling in Jeongguk’s hold, and the singer wonders if it’s from the temperature of the pool.

 

“Yet here you are, still holding onto me.”

 

“Just let me out.”

 

“Again, you’re the one holding onto me. You’re free to go now,” Jeongguk starts to let go of Taehyung’s waist, but the elder immediately gets worked up again when he feels Jeongguk’s hands leave his body, shaking his head frantic.

 

“D-don’t let go,” he stutters out in urgency. Jeongguk continues holding on, although baffled. Taehyung swallows thickly, leaning in even closer so his quivering lips brush against Jeongguk’s ear. “I can’t swim,” he admits in a whisper, pulling back so he’s looking at Jeongguk again, shame written all over his face.

 

“You’re joking.”

 

“Do you think I’d be willingly hanging onto you right now if I was?”

 

And ah, he makes a good point. 

 

Jeongguk is feeling so guilty by this entire situation. If he knew his manager didn’t want to come in because he couldn’t swim and not because he had forgotten to bring a spare change of clothes, Jeongguk would’ve never thrown Taehyung in. He’s not that cruel. 

 

“Terrified out of your mind, yet you still find the time to sass me.”

 

“Just get me out of here before I die.”

 

Jeongguk nods and swims them over to the edge. He bites his lip and sighs repentantly at Taehyung still vaguely shaking in his arms. “Hey, I’m really sorry,” he even gives Taehyung’s waist a little squeeze. “I didn’t know.”

 

“I know,” Taehyung manages to give him a tiny smile. Jeongguk feels his own lips involuntarily quirk up. “If you did, I know you wouldn’t have thrown me in,” then he purses his lips, “Or, so I like to think you wouldn’t.”

 

“I wouldn’t of,” he easily agrees, no trace of teasing in his voice. He lifts Taehyung up, setting him down outside the pool before he’s pulling himself out as well. “Do you need clothes? I’m sure my stylist brought a shit ton.”

 

“Ugh, please.”

 

 

 

 

 

Jeongguk pulls up in front of Taehyung’s house, picking up his phone that was placed in the cup holder. He clicks on the elders contact name (TaehELL. Don’t judge, it was clever and funny when he had first made it up five months ago) when he gets his phone unlocked. 

 

He taps his fingers rhythmically against the steering wheel while he waits for his manager to answer.

 

Hello?

 

“Come outside.”

 

Um. Why...” Taehyung answers warily. Looking over, Jeongguk can see Taehyung flipping on his bedroom light, not so subtly peeking through his blinds curiously.

 

“Just come.”

 

Are you planning on kidnapping me?

 

“No. I plan on taking you somewhere secluded, killing you and then dumping your body in a river.”

 

A very long pause and then, “Goodbye, Jeongguk.”

 

“Wait! Wait. Seriously, just come down. I’m not gonna hurt you, obviously,” he rolls his eyes when he says it, too. Like, did he really have to confirm that out loud for Taehyung to believe he won’t actually hurt him? The hell

 

But for whatttt?” Taehyung drags out the word, whining. It’s kind of cute. “It’s already midnight. Shouldn’t you be, I don’t know? Asleep? You’ve been up all day shooting for your music video, and I’ve been up all morning as well.”

 

“It’ll be fun, I promise.”

 

I don’t trust you.”

 

“Well, you should. Come down in five minutes, or I will personally go up there myself and drag you out.”

 

I’ll get you for breaking and entering.”

 

Jeongguk shakes his head, holding back a laugh. “Five minutes.”

 

 

  

 

 

“Why the hell are we back here?” Taehyung asks cautiously while walking in where the pool was at. He gasps loudly, turning around so abrupt he nearly bumps heads with Jeongguk. “Oh my god, you are going to kill me by throwing me in this pool and leaving me to drown!” he runs to the other side, far away from a bewilderment Jeongguk. “I knew you couldn’t be trusted with secrets!”

 

“Taehyung, can you stop and relax? I brought you here to teach you how to swim.”

 

What?

 

“You said you didn’t know how and I do. So, I’m going to teach you.”

 

“Why...” Taehyung places his hands on his hips, squinting his eyes in accusation. “Why would you willingly help me learn? Are you getting paid for this? Are you pranking me?”

 

“No, no,” Jeongguk closes his eyes for a second, his loud sigh reverberating in the pool room. When he opens them, Taehyung is still looking at him like he’s slandered his entire family’s name. “I just want to help you, is that so hard to believe?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Okay, so maybe it is, but I promise. I have no ill intentions.”

 

“I didn’t bring any spare clothes. And I really mean it this time.”

 

“It’s fine,” Jeongguk shrugs, peeling off his shirt and throwing it far away from the pool, on the ground. “We’ll just go in half naked.”

 

“If this was your subtle way of showing off your body to me, Jeongguk, it’s not working,” Taehyung doesn’t take off his clothes, just standing there, watching the singer unbuckle his belt—and wait, why is he watching the younger get undressed? He tears his eyes away, staring at the pool that’s still lighted up with purple LED.

 

“It’s okay. I already caught you staring enough times today,” he says it so composed, too, while he takes off his shoes and socks next. Taehyung tries to stammer out a plausible enough excuse, but he’s left with nothing but burning cheeks. Jeongguk chuckles, diving in the pool when he’s only left in his black briefs. He swims all the way over to where Taehyung was still standing, rising up from the water to lean over the edge of the pool. “Come on.”

 

“How are you going to possibly teach me? You aren’t a swimmer yourself and there’s not even any floaties around!”

 

“Just hang onto me.”

 

“Jeongguk.”

 

“Come on. I won’t let you drown,” he says it with so much sincerity, it has Taehyung exhaling out of indignation, looking at Jeongguk dubious. “I’m giving you free swimming lessons. Pretty good deal if you asked me.”

 

“And what if I accidentally drink too much chlorine and end up choking?”

 

“Why the hell would your mouth be open that long to drink that much chlorine?”

 

Taehyung grumbles, slipping off his adidas sandals and socks. “It was just an example.”

 

“A bad one. Just get undressed.”

 

Taehyung scowls at the younger demanding and rushing him—and it’s about taking his damn clothes off, what are the odds? “I have to get my underwear wet?” Taehyung asks in irritation when he’s pulling down his sweatpants, exposing his legs to the cool air, but his face feels hot at the way Jeongguk’s eyeing him.

 

“Unless you want to come in here naked, do what you please,” Jeongguk quirks a brow, lazily swimming around while he waits for Taehyung to get in.

 

“You’re so annoying,” Taehyung mumbles under his breath, hastily pulling off his shirt. He sets his clothes in a pile, far away from the pool in case Jeongguk plans on doing something stupid—and Taehyung wouldn’t put it past him—like splashing Taehyung and accidentally wetting his clothes.

 

He walks over to the stairs, stepping down them slowly, shivering at the cold water that’s licking at his ankles. “Even I could swim, how the hell do you just jump in? It’s too cold,” Taehyung complains, getting down to the last step, the water now up to his waist.

 

“Come on.”

 

“Um, no.”

 

“No?” Jeongguk repeats amused, floating on his back.

 

“Are you idiotic? You’re like a whole six feet away from me.”

 

“You’re in the five feet end. Just come.”

 

“No.”

 

“Oh my god,” Jeongguk huffs out. He swims over to Taehyung and then ends up walking in water when he reaches the five feet end. 

 

Taehyung looks a bit sheepish, but stays in the same spot—like some prince. When Jeongguk reaches him, he wordlessly holds out his arms and Taehyung raises both eyebrows, inquisitive.

 

“Turn around.”

 

“What?”

 

“Aren’t I gonna go on your back?”

 

“Okay, runt, and how would that work? I need to see you to help you.”

 

Taehyung glares at the insult Jeongguk had called him. “Fine, whatever,” he enunciates the two words deliberately. He latches himself onto Jeongguk, and it feels weird now that they’re not separated by thin pieces of clothing. He wraps his legs around the youngers waist, just like last time, but this time, he’s more than well aware of the singers faint abs brushing against his own soft stomach.

 

“Now, I’m gonna let you go,” Taehyung tightens his hold at those words, making Jeongguk laugh softly. “Let me finish,” he pinches one of Taehyung’s thighs, making the elder yelp in surprise. “What I meant is, I’m gonna hold you up by your stomach while you doggy paddle.”

 

“Starting off difficult, I see,” Taehyung quips in a dry voice. 

 

Jeongguk slants his head mockingly. “If you want, I can just let you go now and see how good you are.”

 

“Wow, your idea is so smart. I love it. You should totally open a class to teach swimming lessons, Jeongguk.”

 

Jeongguk rolls his eyes at Taehyung’s evident sarcasm. “Ready?”

 

Taehyung looks at the high water that’s surrounding them, biting his lip nervously. “Yeah,” he takes a deep breath, looking at Jeongguk determined. “Let’s do this.”

 

And by let’s do this, Taehyung actually meant freaking out once the front of his body floated on the water for a millisecond. He had flapped his arms and legs in a feeble attempt to keep himself afloat, nearly knocking Jeongguk out and drowning them both in the process.

 

So, Taehyung was instantly back in Jeongguk’s hold, chest to chest and arms in such a vice-like grip crossed on Jeongguk’s neck. 

 

“Is there like a tragic backstory I should know about?” Jeongguk muses, swimming around with Taehyung when they both calm down—well, more like once Taehyung does.

 

Taehyung tilts his head, confused. Their faces are closer than before, close enough to where Taehyung can count the lashes on Jeongguk’s eye if he wanted—and no, totally irrelevant. “What do you mean?”

 

“I never seen someone so terrified of a pool before—especially in the five feet end. Did your friend, or I don’t know, some family member try to drown you in one before?”

 

“No, but I did almost drown in one when I was like, eleven.”

 

“So, is that why you’re so afraid?”

 

“Probably? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I know I can’t swim, so there’s that constant fear of drowning,” Taehyung explains. Then he smiles apologetically when he remembers the chaos he had caused earlier. “Sorry for almost killing us.”

 

“Ah, it’s fine. I’m the one that kinda forced you to get in the pool.”

 

“Because for once in your life, you offered to do something nice for me. I had to take advantage of that, to be honest.”

 

Jeongguk laughs. “And it almost cost us our life. Maybe it’s a sign I gotta keep being the biggest pain in your neck.”

 

Taehyung sighs wistfully, shoulders slumping dramatically. “It was good while it lasted,” he frowns, but then grins when he sees Jeongguk shaking his head with mirth written all over his face.

 

They continue swimming around—or at least Jeongguk does, still holding Taehyung up like he weighed nothing—and since he was in the water with nothing on but his briefs, he did feel lighter. 

 

Taehyung doesn’t register he’s staring at Jeongguk until said male clears his throat knowingly.

 

Taehyung blushes at getting caught, staring down at the water to avoid Jeongguk’s gaze. “Something on my face, Taehyung?” he teases his manager with the same exact line the elder had used on him just yesterday. 

 

Taehyung resists the urge to splash Jeongguk, so it’ll wipe off that stupid cocky smile, but he also knows he’ll be starting a war he won’t be able to finish.

 

Jeongguk swims to the edge of the pool, trapping Taehyung between his body and the wall. Taehyung subconsciously tightens his legs around the singer, releasing shaky breaths at the proximity between the two slowly decreasing. 

 

A few seconds pass, both knowing what it is they want—they’re just too afraid to take that chance. Too busy wondering what’ll happen next if they do.

 

Lightly knocking their foreheads together, Taehyung ghosts his lips over the youngers in a barely-there kiss. “Are we crazy?” he whispers, his lips accidentally brushing the singers from the movement.

 

“Maybe,” Jeongguk lowers his face, hiding his face in Taehyung’s bare neck with a sigh. He wasn’t kissing him, but the feeling of his warm lips being pressed against his skin was enough to have Taehyung’s heart racing.

 

He should be pushing the younger away. He shouldn’t want this—whatever the hell that’s happening between the two. Was it tension, maybe? 

 

Taehyung hates himself just a bit for wanting to kiss Jeongguk, to feel the singers lips on his own. He wants to hate Jeongguk even more because how is the younger doing this to him? How can he make Taehyung hate him and his attitude, then the next, disregard it completely, like right now?

 

The elder won’t allow himself to cave in that easily. No. He knows he has more self control than that. 

 

So when Jeongguk lifts his face up, looking at him with dark searching eyes, Taehyung avoids his stare, swallowing thickly.

 

“W-we should get out,” the elder shakily suggests, distracting himself from the singers heavy gaze by looking down at the pool once again. His feels a bit of relief when the younger doesn’t question it, just nods and answers with a quiet ‘yeah.’

 

Jeongguk let’s him out first before he pushes himself out next. They quietly, but quickly get dressed, not caring that their still soaking with chlorine.

 

Taehyung knew if he didn’t get out of that pool, it all would’ve became more complicated with where it was so obviously heading and they both don’t need that. 

 

Or, at least Taehyung thinks he doesn’t.