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sweetheart (what have you done to us?)

Chapter Text

~

The next day was pretty dull for Jeongguk, like any Sunday is. He studied, he made shit food, he hid in his room as Hoseok and Namjoon hung out obnoxiously loud, completely normal and average, with the added small text exchange with Taehyung. However, when the next week came around, it was a lot more eventful than the life Jeongguk was used to.

When he woke up, despite knowing Taehyung would be most likely fast asleep, he sent him a good morning text and wished him a nice day. Politeness was Jeongguk’s reasoning. Nothing else, absolutely nothing else.

Monday morning lectures were always the worst, and even with his far too sweet hot chocolate, he still felt terrible, too tired to ever feel bright and ready to learn. In spite, Jeongguk glared at the students in the front row that were already making him feel inadequate with their eagerness.

But, at least Jaehyun felt the same, sitting down next to Jeongguk with a huff and his head instantly hitting the table. “How am I still hanging from Saturday?” He groaned. Maybe Jaehyun felt even worse than him. Silver linings.

“I don’t even want to know how much you had to drink.” Jeongguk wasn’t against drinking, he just preferred to sit in bed on his laptop as opposed to getting drunk and losing all control of oneself. He put it down to bad experiences.

“It wasn’t my fault, someone kept filling my glass and it had to be drank!” Jaehyun replied, making Jeongguk giggle at how defence he sounded. “I bet you’d knock out after one drink.”

Jeongguk shook his head. “Not true.”

“Then prove it.” Jaehyun had a big smirk on his face, Jeongguk had fallen straight into his trap. Luckily, the lecture started right that second, saving Jeongguk the effort of wriggling out of that one. Although, on the other hand, he now had to put up with his lecturer’s boring droning voice for a couple hours.

Jeongguk was in the middle of sketching a cherry blossom tree when he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. Quietly, and trying to prevent gaining Jaehyun’s attention, he slid his phone out and looked down at the lockscreen.

My #1 Handsome:
good morning ggukkie!! i hope you slept very well and have an amazing day today bc u deserve it cutie
what u up to today?? >.<

Jeongguk wasn’t blushing. Nope, definitely not blushing from receiving such a cute text. A quick glance at Jaehyun let him know his friend was way too out of it to notice, let alone tease him, so, he replied.

Jeongguk:
in lectures now and then im working :((( mondays shouldn’t be this unfair

My #1 Handsome:
right!!! well, i shall speak to you soon cutie, pay attention to ur lecture!! <3

Jeongguk smiled to himself, his phone going away once more. Instead of resuming his sketch, he focused himself as much as he could to the lecture, totally not because Taehyung had told him to. No, he was being a good student. A good student with a constant small smile lingering on his lips.

“You’re too happy for a Monday.” Jaehyun huffed, but that was all that Jeongguk heard of it. Jaehyun was right, he felt happier than he did when the lecture started, but couldn’t put his finger on what it was, he’d figure it out later.

Once the lecture had finished, he had a small seminar to go to, and after that, it was his shift at work, which was one of the most irritating shifts he had ever done. It was like whenever he thought he could have a quick break and grab something to eat, someone else came to the counter and required his service. It wasn’t like he wasn’t used to it, it was the fact he had skipped lunch like a rookie. He’d made his mistake, and now he had to deal with it.

He was good at his job, though, never let his hunger get in the way. He happily served the middle aged man, despite his horrid attitude towards Jeongguk. He’d heard all the complaints before, about how the youth these days were useless, it didn’t faze him. However-

“You should learn to be more polite. Bet you couldn’t do that job no matter how hard you tried.” The person behind the man in the queue said with a harsh tone, and Jeongguk looked over the man’s shoulder to see Taehyung’s wide grin in his direction. His smile was replaced with a scowl as soon as the man turned around, shoving past Taehyung to leave. 

“Fucking kids-”

Taehyung grabbed the man’s elbow, pulling him closer to whisper in his ear. Jeongguk didn’t know what Taehyung had said, but whatever it was, it made the man leave the store even faster than he first intended.

“Sorry about that, Ggukkie.” Taehyung grinned, placing his items down on the counter. “Has your day been good?”

“Just a normal day, nothing special.” Jeongguk shrugged, picking up the fizzy drink and chocolate bar to scan. “Thank you for standing up for me.”

“Don’t thank me, some people don’t have any respect.” Taehyung smiled, one arm leaning on the counter as he spoke to Jeongguk. There was no one behind him in the queue, so Jeongguk felt in no hurry to serve him fast.

“Still, it was very kind of you. And to come see me in here. I feel like you’re checking up on me.” Jeongguk smiled shyly, pulling his sleeves down over his hands. Why did Taehyung have such an intense stare? It wasn’t fair.

“I needed my dose of cutie.” Taehyung answered with a shrug, like it was simple and obvious, not caring what it would do to Jeongguk’s insides, which were now doing all sorts of somersalts. “Oh, and a packet of cigarettes, please?”

Jeongguk only nodded, scared if he used words he wouldn’t make a sentence. He turned back to the shelves behind him, and as he picked out a packet of cigarettes for Taehyung, he felt the other’s stare bore into his back. It was unsettling in a sort of flattering way.

“Here.” Jeongguk placed them down next to the drink and chocolate bar. Before he could tell Taehyung the price, the other had put down a note far too much for what he was buying, grabbed only the cigarettes and turned to leave. “Wait! You forgot your stuff!” Jeongguk called out, holding the two items out so Taehyung could take them. But he didn’t.

“All yours.” Taehyung said, opening the shop door and giving Jeongguk one final smirk before he was sauntering out the door, cigarette being placed in his mouth as he did.

Jeongguk was speechless, staring down at the chocolate, drink and money, then back at the door where a woman and her kid were now entering. Taehyung really was an interesting man.

With a sigh, he sat back in the chair behind him at the desk, opened the drink and took a huge gulp of the sugary liquid, preparing himself for the rest of his shift. But at least now he had something to keep him a little more alert and a chocolate bar to look forward to eating when he finished. If he was allowed his phone on him while working, he would have texted Taehyung his gratitude a million times over.

Jeongguk didn’t know if the promise of chocolate made his shift go faster or slower, but regardless, when the next worker showed up to swap, he couldn’t have been out of the shop faster. And as soon as he was outside and further down the block, the only thing he could do was rush to open the chocolate bar and take a huge bite out of it.

“Is it good?”

Jeongguk nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard the voice behind him, turning around to see Taehyung leaning against the wall, usual smirk on his face.

“Were you waiting for me?” Jeongguk asked, narrowing his eyes. No, it had been hours since Taehyung had come into the shop, that would have been impossible. No one would wait that long for him, would they? Besides, he wasn’t even right outside the shop, it could be coincidence, couldn’t it?

“Nah, was just around the area.” Taehyung said with a shrug, stepping closer to Jeongguk. “You didn’t answer me, is it good?”

Jeongguk had to glance down at the chocolate in his hand to remind himself what exactly he was talking about before nodding. “Yeah, ‘s good.”

“Good!” Taehyung exclaimed happily. He checked his phone for a second before his attention was fully back on Jeongguk. But, now they had an awkward silence around them as Taehyung shifted his weight from foot to foot and Jeongguk quietly ate the chocolate.

“Hey, um-” Jeongguk started once he had finished eating, having to pause for a second to get over Taehyung’s dark eyes looking right back at him. “I really wanted to just go home after my shift, it’s late, I’m tired and I’m up early tomorrow.” It was subtle, but Jeongguk swore he could see Taehyung’s smile drop the tiniest bit. Fuck. “But you can walk with me if you like? Wait, you’re probably busy yourself, what am I thinking, oh my god, shut up Jeongguk-”

“I’d love to walk with you.” Taehyung’s reply cut off Jeongguk’s sentence, and the big boxy smile eased him too. “Come on, you know where you’re going.”

It took Jeongguk a second to start walking, but when he did, Taehyung assumed the position right next to him, the two shoulder to shoulder, the two bumping into each other every now and then. If Jeongguk’s face was red, it was the cold weather, nothing else, he swore.

“So, Jeongguk, apart from that shop job, what else do you do?” Small talk. Taehyung had started small talk. That was good, Jeongguk was good at small talk.

“I study psychology at uni, which is the early morning lectures.”

Taehyung’s eyes got wider. “Really? Does that mean you could analyse me, or something?”

Jeongguk chuckled quietly. It was an annoying question he got a lot, but when it was coming from Taehyung, it was far more cute than annoying. “I guess so, but I try not to. It’s kinda invasive, especially when people don’t ask.” There are occasions when, especially after extensive studying, his mind does it automatically, but it’s very rare.

“That’s thoughtful. Okay, so you’re cute and kind, what else?” Taehyung chose that precise moment to close the space between them again, Jeongguk’s winter coat rubbing against Taehyung’s leather jacket.

Jeongguk shrugged. “I go to the gym a lot, I guess. But you already kinda know that, we first spoke outside the gym.”

“Aww.” Taehyung started cooing, his arm now being slung over Jeongguk’s shoulders to pull the younger closer. “You remember when we first spoke!”

“I- yeah- uh-” Jeongguk stammered, his brain not supplying anything else in this situation. But as Taehyung’s arm remained around Jeongguk’s shoulders, he felt himself lean more into his hold. It was nice. Comforting.

“You’re so easy to tease, cutie.” The hand resting on his shoulder squeezed him comfortingly. “If it makes you uncomfortable, I can stop?”

Jeongguk was quick to shake his head. “No, don’t worry. I don’t mind it.” He gave Taehyung a reassuring smile to confirm it, but felt he should shift the conversation just in case. “What about you?” When he only got a quiet hum back, he continued. “What do you do?” Albeit, it wasn’t the best topic to change to.

Taehyung slowed down walking, and consequently, so did Jeongguk, the two turning to face each other. Taehyung’s arm remained around Jeongguk’s shoulders, so it couldn’t have been that bad, he hoped.

They both locked eyes. Taehyung knew Jeongguk knew exactly what he does, and Jeongguk knew that Taehyung knew he knew too. It was now a guess of what Taehyung’s reply would be. And Jeongguk was scared. He had heard what everyone says about the other, but he had yet to see it himself, maybe he hoped it wasn’t true, but he’d seen the bruises, seen him with the group of men, knew in the back of his head that yes, Taehyung is a gang member, but to Jeongguk, he’d been nothing but nice, if that was a way to put it.

He didn’t even know why he had asked it. Perhaps self consciously he wanted to see what Taehyung would say, if he would lie or tell the truth. And if he was honest with himself, Jeongguk was scared of either option.

Taehyung swallowed, breaking the eye contact to look down. “I- uh-” Jeongguk never struck him as someone who could be rendered speechless, yet here he was. “Ggukkie, do you want me to answer that?”

Jeongguk nodded slowly. “Tell me your hobbies, what you like to do, that sort of thing.” He defused the situation, feeling good to see Taehyung relax again. And after that, it was like that tense moment between them had never happened.

“I used to paint a lot when I was little, but I haven’t done much in a while. And I like watching old movies, I guess.” Taehyung spoke casually, but less confident than usual. Afraid of being judged.

Jeongguk was surprised. Out of all the things he could have guessed, those two things would never have crossed his mind. “You should paint again if you want to, being creative is good for emotions.”

Taehyung hummed quietly. “I’ll think about it, it’s just difficult to find the time.” 

“I find that too.” Jeongguk agreed. “But if you ever do, I’d be honoured to see one of your paintings.” He was being genuine too, he had a feeling he would be a brilliant artist, and seeing the happy smile on his face made him warm even in this cold weather. It was a shame they were now approaching his apartment. 

“Thank you for the walk, Tae.” 

“It was my pleasure.” For a second, Jeongguk thought he was about to walk away, but he was more than wrong. “Oh!” He spun back around, like he had forgotten something. “Are you working tomorrow?”

“No, why?”

“Good, I’d like to take you out, if that’s okay with you?” 

Jeongguk was speechless, mouth moving without any sounds coming out as his mind processed what he had just said. It was like Taehyung had knocked the wind out of him with that one question. “L-like a date?”

Taehyung nodded. “Yes, Ggukkie, a date. If that’s what you’d like?” Jeongguk was speechless again, just staring at the other, his brain short circuiting. “Don’t leave me hanging.”

“Okay.” Jeongguk managed out eventually, hand fiddling with the sleeve of his coat. He couldn’t remember the last time someone asked him out on a date.

“Great, text me what time you finish uni and we can arrange when and where to meet.” Taehyung was in front of him one second and then the next he had leaned forward to give Jeongguk a tight, but unfortunately short, hug. “And wear something warm!” He gave him a pat on the shoulder and then he was off, walking with those big strides and confidence that would make anyone weak at the knees. And Jeongguk had a date with that man.

Still in shock, he entered his apartment building, and eventually his apartment, Hoseok watching some tv show on the sofa. Jeongguk didn’t pay him much attention, just a wave as he entered his bedroom.

His mind was filled with many questions, with one main prominent one standing out. Warm ? What the hell was Taehyung planning and why did he have to dress up warm?

~

It took Jeongguk triple the time to get ready than usual, and even then, he didn’t feel confident in himself. Taehyung was attractive, very attractive, Jeongguk wanted to look good next to him. If he had more time, he would still be getting ready, but he had his lectures to attend.

He had tried to sneak out quietly to avoid any questions with Hoseok, and was almost successful, even let himself relax a little as he reached the door, but Hoseok appearing behind him ruined it all.

“Are you working tonight?” Hoseok asked, no ill intentions at all. Why did he have to be so thoughtful? It made Jeongguk feel even worse about going behind his back.

“No, but I might go to the gym or hang out with Jaehyun, so don’t expect me back until late.” Jeongguk was trying to be quick, and it worked, as Hoseok didn’t bother asking any more questions despite the worried expression on his face. 

God, Jeongguk felt bad as he walked to uni. He knew Hoseok was still concerned about the whole gang situation and Jeongguk’s safety, but he could look after himself, he wasn’t a child. And he could see who he wanted, he didn’t need someone controlling and parenting his every move.

From his indecisiveness and insecurities earlier in the morning, Jeongguk arrived at the lecture when it had already started, prompting him to move as silent as possible to a seat next to Jaehyun. Unavoidably, people glared at him as he did so.

“Hey.” Jaehyun whispered out of politeness, but didn’t speak again until near the end of the lecture, saying, “Fancy getting lunch with me and some others?”

“Can’t.” Jeongguk answered, closing his notebook in his eagerness for the lecture to end sooner and for him to be out of there faster.

“Why not?”

“Oh, um, I have a date.” Jeongguk didn’t want to make a big thing of it, but from the wide-eyed expression Jaehyun now had, he wasn’t going to get what he wanted.

“What? With who?” He paused for a second to sniff. “Is that why you smell so… strong?”

Jeongguk now was the one with wide eyes as he brought his top up to his nose to smell it. “Is it too much, oh god-”

“Gguk, it’s fine, I’m taking the piss.” Jaehyun eased him, patting his shoulder gently. “Who are you trying to impress so much?”

Jeongguk shifted in his seat uncomfortably. He definitely couldn’t tell Jaehyun considering his obsession with that stupid gang. In an ideal world, the lecture would have ended right then and given Jeongguk an escape, but it didn’t, of course it didn’t.

“I- it’s no one.” However, the warmth and presumable redness in his face would make anyone assume otherwise. And Jaehyun’s narrowed eyes proved this. Jeongguk could practically read his mind, it teeming with curiosity. But Jeongguk wouldn’t cave, couldn’t cave.

Finally, the lecture was over, and as Jeongguk joined the students so very eager to leave, Jaehyun yelled after him. “Don’t forget to use protection!”

Jeongguk, although flashed his middle finger in his friend’s direction, couldn’t help but laugh a little. His date with Taehyung wouldn’t get that far to need a condom, would it? Well, he had one just in case.

Jeongguk:
hey tae, lecture just finished

Jeongguk cursed their planning skills. Their date was practically upon them now and he still didn’t know when or where he was meeting Taehyung, let alone what the date actually was. He didn’t mind surprises but he had no idea what to do at that moment so found himself standing around awkwardly, like a lost puppy.

My #1 Handsome:
ah good timing, come to the bus stop outside the nearest bookstore to the uni

Jeongguk frowned. Bookstore? He opened the maps app on his phone and searched for bookstores nearby, many of them showing up, but went for the nearest one like he was told, hoping he was right, the fear of going to the wrong place only adding to his nerves. Fuck, by the time he would get there he would probably be shaking from it all.

Luckily, it was the right bus stop, as Jeongguk could see the Taehyung in his trademark leather jacket and his black hair styled messily but attractively. He was sat similar to how he was outside the hospital a few days ago, slouched over and phone bouncing against his knee. He was nervous. That was slightly reassuring to an equally, maybe even more, nervous Jeongguk.

With a deep breath, Jeongguk summoned as much confidence as he could and continued walking closer to Taehyung. As he approached, the other seemed completely in their own mind and it took Jeongguk clearing his throat to pull him back to reality.

Taehyung was instantly on his feet, face full of happiness as he closed the gap between him and Jeongguk. “Hey, Ggukkie.” He leaned over and gave Jeongguk a short hug, yet again not giving him the chance to hug back. “Did you dress warm like I asked?”

“I did.” It wasn't entirely true. In his panic to dress to impress, Jeongguk hadn't picked one of his warmest jumpers, however, he had his hat and gloves on him, so it couldn't be that bad, could it? Taehyung wasn't dressed warm at all, in his usual attire, if he one day got hypothermia Jeongguk would not be surprised.

“Oh, right on time!” Taehyung exclaimed as he saw the bus coming, stepping out to signal it over. Jeongguk sheepishly followed, after all, he had no idea where he was going. This bus could take him god knows where.

They got on the bus together, Taehyung paying for both their tickets and then leading the other down to the back of the bus, sitting right next to Jeongguk, their arms and thighs squished against one another.

Taehyung was fiddling with the rips in his jeans, tugging at the loose threads, and Jeongguk couldn't help but reach across and grab his hand to stop him. In shock at the fact he was now holding Taehyung’s hand, his face went bright red.

“Y-you'll ruin your jeans and get even colder.” Jeongguk weakly explained, taking his hand back and looking out of the window next to him, cursing himself for being so impulsive.

“Hey, stop being so nervous, I don't bite.” Now it was Taehyung reaching across to grab his hand, and he did not let go, giving it a squeeze. 

“I can't help it.” 

“Well, that's something we’ll work on if you like.” Taehyung gave him a reassuring smile, leaning even closer to him. One wrong move and their noses could bump, but Jeongguk didn't mind it, it was comforting to have someone that close.

“Are you going to tell me where we are going yet?” Jeongguk asked, hoping he would get an answer so he could mentally prepare for what he assumed would be something very over the top, but Taehyung shook his head. 

“Nope.” He replied, popping the p as he raised one leg and rested it on the back of the chair in front. Typical. Some of his mannerisms were so… predictable. It was things that used to annoy Jeongguk about people, however, now, he found it attractive in a way.

“Please?” He tried begging now, resting his chin on Taehyung’s shoulder and giving his best puppy dog eyes. 

“The answer’s gonna be no, no matter how cute you look.” Taehyung said, rolling his eyes affectionately before booping Jeongguk’s nose. “And I have to say, you're looking extra cute today.”

Jeongguk opened his mouth to reply, something along the lines of denying what Taehyung had said, but a sound from the other side of the bus gained all his attention. A woman with a small child sat next to her was glaring at them, and from the way Taehyung suddenly tensed next to him, Jeongguk wished he hadn’t noticed and let their attention sway.

“Got a problem?” Taehyung asked, voice harsh as he glared back at the woman.

“Yes.” She moved her child behind her body more, implying that Taehyung and Jeongguk were a threat to her. “Stop acting so impure in front of my child, no one wants to see a pair of fags behaving so disgusting.”

Jeongguk blinked. It took him a second to process what she had just said to them. He didn't know what to do, unlike Taehyung who had lowered his foot from the chair in front, letting it hit the floor loudly, the sound echoing.

“What the fuck did you just say?!” 

Jeongguk could feel Taehyung’s anger radiating off of him. He had somewhat taken in what was happening, and when Taehyung balled his fist and made a move to get out of his seat, he quickly grabbed his arm, pulling him back down. “She's not worth it.”

Taehyung didn't seem convinced, however, and tried to move up again, only for Jeongguk to tighten his grip. “Gguk-”

“No. Ignore the hag and feel sorry for her kid for having a mother like that.” Jeongguk said, being firm for the first time in a while. And it worked. Taehyung sat back into his seat, his anger hadn't faded at all but at least he wasn't charging across the bus.

The two didn't fully relax until the woman had gotten off the bus at the next stop, and even then, there was still tension in the air. Jeongguk just hoped this wasn't foreshadowing what was to come for their date.

After a while, Taehyung turned to look at Jeongguk. “I didn't realise you had a stern side, Ggukkie. It's hot.”

Jeongguk shook his head, a small smile on his face. “It's not, I don't like raising my voice but, yeah. Sorry.”

“Don't apologise!” Taehyung’s hand was suddenly cupping his cheek, thumb gently stroking his soft skin. “We’re going to have a good date. That woman was just jealous she couldn't have you to herself.”

Jeongguk very much doubted that that was true, but didn't argue over the compliment, just tried to forget the whole situation every happened. He was so happy before the woman interrupted, he wasn't going to let someone like that win.

“I think it's our stop soon.”

“Don't ask me, I don't know where we’re going.”

Taehyung laughed at that. He had a really nice laugh. Jeongguk found himself staring at him as he laughed. “Very clever.” With that, he was standing up and offering his hand to Jeongguk. “Come on, our date awaits.”

There was a small walk once they had exited the bus, and, annoyingly for Jeongguk, it took him until they were outside the building to discover what their date would entail.

“Ice skating?” Jeongguk exclaimed, looking at Taehyung with wide eyes.

“Are you happy or sad? I can’t tell.”

“I-” Jeongguk wasn’t sure either. He had mixed emotions. It was such a romantic idea for a first date, but- “I’ve never skated before.”

Taehyung let out a gasp like it was a crime. “What? We definitely have to change that now.” He dragged the nervous Jeongguk into the building, knowing exactly what he was doing. It made Jeongguk wonder how often he came here.

Jeongguk only spoke when he was asked what his shoe size is, the rest of the time it was him standing behind Taehyung, letting the other do everything. He was very efficient, and clearly excited. Jeongguk felt bad for not being able to match his excitement.

Jeongguk was still quiet as he put on his skates, Taehyung helping him a bit. Taehyung was gentle as he helped tighten them, and even rubbed his leg soothingly. 

When he first stood up on the skates, he almost fell over there and then, and if not for Taehyung catching him, he would have done. Maybe this was the reason for ice skating as a date, an abundance of excuses to hold each other.

Taehyung was reassuring as he held Jeongguk until he had gained his balance back, keeping a tight grip on his hand to let him know he was there. And Jeongguk was doing well until they got to the edge of the rink.

“Don’t worry, Ggukkie, I’ve got you.” Taehyung squeezed his hand harder and Jeongguk wished he wasn’t wearing his gloves so he could feel Taehyung’s skin against his.

“Don’t let me fall.” Jeongguk practically begged as Taehyung stepped onto the ice, leading Jeongguk with him. It only took one second for him to almost fall, but strong arms wound around his waist and held him in place.

“Let’s go around the edge first, get used to it.”

Jeongguk nodded, he liked that idea. One hand on the barrier, one hand in Taehyung’s. Safe.

The cold air of the rink was making his face red, Jeongguk was sure of it. Taehyung’s face was red too, the other must be freezing not wearing warm clothes like him. But he didn’t show it, the only thing he showed was warmth for Jeongguk.

They got around the rink once without falling over, and Jeongguk felt a lot more at ease, especially with Taehyung praising him with every stride. What he didn’t expect, however, was Taehyung to let go of his hand and start skating off away from him at a speed Jeongguk couldn’t match.

“Tae, come back!” Jeongguk yelled at him, hand on the barrier tightening.

Taehyung giggled and shook his head. “You come over here!”

Jeongguk hated him, he really did. He couldn’t stay glued where he was, someone else was catching him up. He had no choice but to move off on his own. He was slower than Taehyung, but he was doing it, he was skating on his own. He couldn’t help the large smile growing on his face when he finally reached the other.

“Well done!” Taehyung grinned, resuming holding his hand. “Now you can skate with me without the barrier.”

Jeongguk opened his mouth to protest but didn’t get the chance, Taehyung was suddenly dragging him out further into the rink. Jeongguk panicked, not knowing what to do with his legs and before he knew it, they were sliding out from under him. Taehyung moved to try to catch him, but just ended up being dragged under him.

They landed on the ice together hard, Jeongguk’s face in Taehyung’s chest. He would’ve loved this moment if not for the fact Taehyung had hit the ice, breaking Jeongguk’s fall. He could be hurt .

“Shit, Tae.” He put his hands either side of Taehyung’s head as he pushed himself off the ice, staring down at the other in worry. “Are you okay? Are you hurt? Are you-” Jeongguk was cut off by loud laughter. Taehyung’s laughter.

“You look so worried.” Taehyung said through his laughter, his hands resting on Jeongguk’s hips. “You have to fall at least once before you can skate confidently.”

Jeongguk glared at him for that. “You promised to not let me fall.”

“Ggukkie, don’t pout, I might just have to kiss those lips. Come on, let’s get off the floor.” Taehyung spoke about kissing him so casually, it shouldn’t have been allowed. It did things to Jeongguk’s heart that shouldn’t happen.

Jeongguk slowly stood up with Taehyung and now when they skated around, Taehyung wasn’t dragging him at a ridiculous speed, instead it was a manageable one as Jeongguk got more and more comfortable on the ice. It turned out after a while he was quite good at skating. His increased ability at the sport gave Taehyung the excuse to let go off his hand and start showing off, doing a bunch of spins and twirls, looking extremely hot while he did it.

“You’re so good.” Jeongguk told him when he returned to his smile, panting slightly. The fast movement must have warmed him up, and that eased Jeongguk.

“You can be good too.”

Jeongguk didn’t have time to question it, another one of those situations where Taehyung did something spontaneously. This time, he grabbed both Jeongguk hands and started spinning round with him. Now that he was more confident on the ice, he didn’t feel scared. In fact, he felt carefree. There was something about the world spinning around him and the only thing he could focus on being Taehyung, it was mesmerising.

Taehyung pulled him closer, a hand now moving to his waist as they span, eventually slowing down but not moving away. “Was that fun?”

Jeongguk nodded, looking at Taehyung, their faces so close just like on the bus. “Yeah, it was.”

“Good.” Taehyung was speaking quieter, and Jeongguk couldn’t help his eyes going to his lips, staring at the slightly cracked lips and holding back the urge to just-

“Time’s up, off the ice!”

Was that it? They’d had their time on the ice, did that mean their date was over? It had gone so quick, Jeongguk felt a crushing feeling inside him. He didn’t want it to end.

Glumly, he left the ice with Taehyung and changed back into his normal shoes. He expected that to be it, so say their goodbyes then. Oh, how wrong he was.

“Right, there’s a pub next door, let’s go.” Taehyung spoke, straightening out his jacket a bit as he started walking away, pausing when Jeongguk didn’t follow. “Ggukkie, you okay?”

“Yeah, sorry.” Jeongguk said, giving him the best smile he could as he caught up with him. He hoped it would be dropped but he could still see the slight worry in Taehyung’s eyes, even as they entered the pub. “It’s a bit early for drinking, isn’t it?”

Taehyung shook his head. “Nonsense, it’s late afternoon, perfect drinking time.” And that was that. Taehyung was ordering them two pints and Jeongguk didn’t see much use in arguing back. Something he had learnt was that Taehyung did what he wanted. “Let’s sit down.”

Jeongguk nodded, picking up his drink and following Taehyung to a quiet corner where they sat next to each other. As Jeongguk was taking off his big coat, Taehyung had already started drinking his beer, and at an impressive speed.

“Woah.” Jeongguk accidentally let come out of his mouth as he watched Taehyung, particularly when his adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed.

“Was thirsty.” He explained back, grinning at Jeongguk. “Do you drink often?”

“Not really, I rarely drink if I’m honest.” Jeongguk replied, now looking down at his full beer glass.

“Shit, shall I buy you a different drink, then?”

Jeongguk eyes widened. “No, you don’t have to!” Why was Taehyung so kind? It was like he was so scared of going wrong and would do anything to make sure Jeongguk was happy. It was so charming.

“The offer is there if you change your mind.”

Jeongguk smiled. Taehyung was so thoughtful, it was refreshing. He sat back in his seat a bit and enjoyed the silence for a little while. It was nice to just sit quietly and sip his drink, knowing that he was with someone he felt comfortable with. 

Throughout the rest of the date, Taehyung did most of the talking, casual things as he subtly moved closer to Jeongguk while also initiating moments of contact, whether it be bumping of shoulders, a hand on a knee or even a stroke of his cheek under the guise of removing a fallen eyelash. And after every incident, Jeongguk became less and less nervous and flustered by them, to a point where he started them himself, moving to lean against Taehyung’s side.

Like all good things, the date was coming to an end, the time easily flowing past them until the sun had set and the pub’s atmosphere started to change from casual afternoon drinking to night time rowdiness. 

They were back on the bus in no time at all, sat at the back yet again. Luckily, this time, there were no rude homophobes around. Jeongguk felt comfortable enough to rest his head on Taehyung’s shoulder, the long day finally hitting him as he began to feel tired.

“So, what’s my feedback?” Taehyung asked after they got off the bus, the cold evening air hitting them harshly. Jeongguk pulled his coat closed quickly to keep his warmth in, Taehyung of course not seeming too phased.

“Feedback for what?” Jeongguk questioned back, hands shoved into his pocket as they started their walk back to his flat.

“The date! Have I done enough to win your heart?” Taehyung teased, big smirk as usual. Jeongguk rolled his eyes whilst also letting out a quiet giggle. He was terrible at hiding his emotions from Taehyung, it seemed.

“Was that your goal? To win my heart?”

Taehyung shrugged, trying to seem casual but Jeongguk could see the light blush starting to form on his cheeks. Jeongguk called this a win.

“You didn’t answer my question.” 

“You didn’t answer mine.” Jeongguk replied, being able to give Taehyung’s smirk back to him. Except, when Taehyung started to pout, he crumbled. “Yes, Tae, it was a really good date.” 

Taehyung’s pout didn’t go away. “Only really good?”

“The best one I’ve had.” And that was the truth, and it would remain the truth even if he had been on hundreds of dates before this one. He really liked today. And maybe, Taehyung really had won his heart.

“That puts pressure on me next time, don’t you think?” 

Next time. Next time . Jeongguk’s stomach did a flip. “I guess so.”

Taehyung opened his mouth to say something, but cut himself off, mind instantly distracted by his phone going off. It seemed urgent, as he fully stopped walking as he answered it. “Jimin?” He said into the phone as Jeongguk awkwardly stood next to him, not hearing the other end but trying to guess what was being said from Taehyung’s facial expressions. From what he could tell, it wasn’t good.

“Shit, okay, I’ll be there in five.” Taehyung replied, quickly ending the phone call, looking worried as he turned his attention back to Jeongguk. “I’m sorry, Ggukkie, I wanted to walk you home but something’s come up. Text me when you get home?”

Jeongguk didn’t have time to reply, Taehyung was quickly giving him a hug then practically running off in the other direction. He watched the other go, pondering to himself. He was only going somewhere five minutes away, a little detour on the way home wouldn’t hurt, would it? He wasn’t in any rush, and his curiosity was growing by the second.

So, he had made his decision. He followed Taehyung. He made sure to stay back far enough to not be noticed, but close enough to see where he was going. The walk felt longer than five minutes, but Jeongguk put that down to nerves and his conscience. He probably shouldn’t be doing this, but fuck it, he was here now.

He could hear a lot of shouting, but didn’t realise the true extent of it until he rounded the corner. It was chaos, similar to the incident outside the bar before but perhaps even more people this time. Jeongguk didn’t know where to look, so much was happening in what seemed like a mosh pit of fighting, the yells of pain and anger enough to scare anyone away yet Jeongguk remained standing there.

His eyes scanned the crowd until they landed on Jimin. He recognised the small man instantly, and eyes widened as he watched him get someone in a chokehold, kneeing them in the back without any hesitation. But then, Jeongguk got distracted by his own date.

Taehyung had no mercy. As a man went to punch him, he grabbed him by the hair, lowering his face so his other hand could punch him instead, hard. The man toppled back from the blow, but Taehyung didn’t stop there, landing another hit on his stomach.

Jeongguk was glued to the spot as he watched Taehyung’s lethal side come out. It was just like everyone had said. He didn’t hold back as he fought with people, and if someone hit him, he’d hit right back ten times as hard. Jeongguk was overwhelmed, this felt like an entirely different person than the Taehyung he had gotten to know.

It was when Taehyung was digging through a man’s jacket as someone else held him against the wall, pulling out his wallet and pocketing it for himself, that Jeongguk came to his senses. Seeing it for himself made everything real. Taehyung was just like everyone had said, and from the way his heart ached, he’d been idiotic enough to fall for someone like that.

~