"Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won't have a title until much later" - Bob Goff"
- ♡ -
Taehyung smiles, reaching his hand up to gingerly intertwine his fingers with the familiar hand that stretches through the bookshelf from the other side. A blush heats upon his cheeks as he takes the hand in his own, smiling at the warmth he holds within his hand.
"Only by a few seconds" he smirks at nothing in particular.
"A few seconds is still too long" the familiar, soft voice wistfully cracks back.
Taehyung knows it isn't meant to make him feel guilty, in fact, quite the opposite. He knows that Jeongguk's words having merit, intention. That he's genuinely upset to have missed out on even a few seconds of time where he should have been (could have been) holding Taehyung's hand.
"Well then, I guess I'll just have to stay a few seconds longer today, huh? " Taehyung replies, wide smile stretching along his cheeks as he plays with the hand held in his own.
"I'd like that" Jeongguk replies happily.
Taehyung's cheeks heat up, palms a little sweatier than he'd like to admit. He wipes his free hand on the upper thigh of his jeans, hoping that Jeongguk doesn't notice how clammy the one he's holding is getting against his own. "Me too."
"So how was your day today? Anyone give you a hard time again today?"
Taehyung's looks down to their hands with a sad smile, wondering if Jeongguk might be frowning on the other side of the bookshelf. It sounds like he might be.
"Not today" he says in a small voice, playing with the fingers that line his hand.
"Good" Jeongguk responds quickly, voice strong with a certain sense of security, as if he might have been upset had Taehyung said otherwise.
"It's not a big deal" Taehyung begins saying, voice shaky and low, as if he's unconvinced by his own words.
He looks down past their hands to his feet, bottom lip caught between his teeth as a bitter sense of hesitation continues to pester his vulnerability, reminding him of all the instances of bullying that he hasn't told Jeongguk about. All the times he's let somebody push him around, twist his confidence into a knotted web of self-pitty.
He doesn't want to think about it.
He clears his throat, hearing Jeongguk groan disapprovingly from the other side of the books having sensed the uncertainty in Taehyung's voice.
"Really, it's nothing" he tries again.
"It's not nothing" Jeongguk contends, squeezing Taehyung's hand a little tighter to reassure him of his words. "People shouldn't be giving you a hard time just because you're, like, incredibly smart or whatever."
Taehyung smiles against his own shoulder, trying not to giggle too noticeably at the remark. "Yeah? You think?"
"Yeah. That's just not fair. They should be kissing your feet instead" Jeongguk says with poise, running his thumb along the outside of Taehyung's hand.
Taehyung grasps Jeongguk's hand a little tighter, pleasantly calmed by the latter's soft, but blissful tone. The airy sound of his voice, carried smoothly by the genuine care laced within his words. "Thanks" he ends up saying, blushing yet again for what feels like the tenth time in a matter of seconds.
"They don't even know you. It's just not right I guess."
Taehyung hesitates before replying, unsure if he wants to say the words sitting at the edge of his tongue. "You don't know me either."
There's a short beat of silence before Jeongguk gently squeezes Taehyung's hand again, the warmth radiating between their palms like the rays of a bright sunny day, basking passionately within their hands.
"I know you. Well, sort of." Jeongguk replies, realizing Taehyung's point.
"Sort of" Taehyung responds softly, bringing his other hand up to trace over the ridge of Jeongguk's knuckles, fingertips running along every curve and smooth patch of skin that covers his hand. "Do you ever wonder?"
"About what?" Jeongguk asks in a soft, gentle voice.
"About me. About who I am" Taehyung smiles, hoping that he does.
"Always" Jeongguk responds immediately.
Taehyung smiles. "So, why haven't you come looking for me yet?"
There's a short beat of silence, Jeongguk's hand fidgeting to grasp Taehyung's more firmly.
"Because I like what we have going right now. And-" Jeongguk's adds a slight bit of pressure to either side of Taehyung's palm and the pauses. "-and I guess I'm afraid"
"Afraid?" Taehyung crunches his nose. "Of what? Little ol' me?"
Jeongguk chuckles from the other side of the shelf, voice muffled slightly by the books blocking space between them. If Taehyung just moved one single book, he thinks he might be able to see Jeongguk, at east part of him.
Not yet, he tells himself. He know's they both aren't ready for that.
"No silly, not of you. I'm afraid-" Jeongguk loosens the grip on Taehyung's hand before playing lightly with his fingers, tracing the empty spaces between his digits "-of what you might think, about me."
"I already know you Jeongguk-"
"Right. Sort of" Taehyung agrees, carrying their banter back to the previous realization that, neither of them really know each as much more than a pair of hands between a bunch of old books.
Jeongguk sighs, purposefully tickling the back of Taehyung's hand before playing with one of the rings on his middle finger. "I just don't want to ruin this, what we have right now. I'm kind of a fuck-up, and I'm scared you won't want to know me if you-"
"Hey! Jeongguk, stop it" Taehyung cuts in, folding his palm over the top of Jeongguk's hand to clasp tightly around it in a reassuring manner, feeling the warmth in his own as he begins rubbing soothing circles against Jeongguk's knuckles beneath his thumb. "I don't care who you are, okay? About what you think you've done in the past, that's apparently so incredibly unforgivable. But, if you're not ready to meet yet, that's okay too."
"We will. I promise just-just not yet" Jeongguk says, a humble sense of apology laced beneath his tone.
Taehyung can hear the reserve in his voice, his usual energetic quality of energetic tonality dropping into an elongated drawl as he tries to reassure Taehyung of his words.
Taehyung pouts but then remembers that this is already a unique situation and he doesn't want to be too greedy, doesn't need to ask for more when he's already more than content with whatever this is, the anonymous amicability they've managed to somehow effortlessly build up over the past few weeks.
"Okay. Not yet" Taehyung smiles, brushing along the top of Jeongguk's hand, feeling the warmth his skin offers as he intertwines their fingers, feeling content.
"I should probably get going" Jeongguk eventually says and Taehyung frowns at that, realizing just how quickly the time seems to pass whenever they're together. "I have to get to work soon, but-same time tomorrow, right?"
There's a hopefulness to his voice, something Taehyung's become very good at picking out from his various tones of elation. He sounds so genuinely comfortable, like it just might be the one thing he looks forward to every day.
It is for Taehyung.
"Yes" he smiles, giving Jeongguk's a little squeeze. "Same time as always. 4pm sharp."
Taehyung smiles, thankful that Jeongguk can't see the steady blush that's spreading up along his neck and face as the heat radiates between their hands and straight toward his heart with the prospect of meeting with Jeongguk again tomorrow, like they always do.
"Just, try not to be late tomorrow, ah?" Jeongguk teases.
Taehyung lightly smacks the top of Jeongguk's hand, gasping sarcastically at the remark.
"How dare you question my dedication?" Taehyung deadpans, clicking his tongue playfully as a smile spreads across his cheeks when he hears Jeongguk snort in response, clearly amused by the reaction he's provoked.
It feels nice to smile like this, although it's a familiar feeling by now with how often Jeongguk makes his cheeks hurt, even though they haven't actually met in person yet.
But it doesn't matter. Not when he has Jeongguk's hand held tightly against his own, fingers laced reassuringly to remind him of what they have, what keeps him eagerly coming back for more.
One day, Taehyung reminds himself. One day, he'll be able to match a face to the soft and gentle voice he's become questionably fond of over the past month.
"I didn't mean it like that" Jeongguk chuckles, a gentle sigh sifting from behind thick, dust littered books.
"I know" Taehyung smiles.
He feels relief when he hear's Jeongguk snickering from the other side of the shelf, giving his hand one more comforting squeeze before slowly pulling his hand back through the books and out of his line of sight.
"So, I'll talk to you tomorrow then I guess."
"Yeah. Tomorrow" Taehyung smiles to himself, hopeful for tomorrow.
He smiles as he watches Jeongguk's hand disappear completely, listening for the familiar shuffle on the other side of the shelf.
He waits patiently, following the same routine they'd played out over the past month, waiting a few minutes before exiting the isle to give Jeongguk enough time to leave so that they don't run into each other just yet and just like every other day, Taehyung can't wait for tomorrow...
"What do you mean it was nothing?" Jeongguk asks in a fury, angry with intention after what Taehyung's told him. "I swear to god I'm gonna-"
"-Nothing! You're going to do nothing!" Taehyung cuts him off, rubbing his thumbs gently along the soft flesh of Jeongguk's hand. "It's nothing serious, okay?"
"He threw your books off the table Taehyung. On purpose I bet-"
"You don't know that. He probably just knocked them over by mistake. Really, it's-it's nothing."
Taehyung frowns at their hands, watching as Jeongguk's grip tightens slightly between their fingers. He can only imagine what's going through his head right now, what Jeongguk is thinking and how angry he sounds with this new found information.
It's nothing new at this point, at least not for Taehyung. He's used to shoving it off as typical zealous behavior, something he's gotten used to unfortunately expects to happen at least twice a week.
Jeongguk sees it as malicious intent. It angers him and Taehyung doesn't understand exactly why or to what extent seeing as he barely even knows him, but it makes him feel important. Looked after in a way, cared for, like he has someone looking out for him, even if it's not entirely true.
"Taehyung you know this isn't okay?" "It's fine. Calm down-"Jeongguk's hand squeezes Taehyung's again. "I'm just worried. What if they do something worse. Worse than-than-" "Than shoving my books on the ground? Jeongguk relax."
"Taehyung you know this isn't okay, right?"
"It's fine. Calm down-"
Jeongguk's hand squeezes Taehyung's again. "I'm just worried. What if he does something worse one day?"
"Than shoving my books on the ground? Jeongguk relax, it's not that big of a deal" he says, trying hard to keep his voice steady.
Taehyung clasps their hands tighter, thumb rubbing gentle circles along the side of Jeongguk's palm, fingers gliding over his knuckles as he glances down toward them. When did they turn white?
"Jeongguk seriously, it's okay. Please, calm down" Taehyung says in a soothing voice, pressing his thumb harder into the skin in an attempt to soften out his anger and replace it with his touch.
He can feel how tense Jeongguk is by the clench in his hand alone, only to feel it diminish entirely within his comforting hold, how the tension melts away when Taehyung adds pressure with his fingers, gently massaging away the stress.
"I'm fine, okay?" he adds, digging the pad of his thumb against soft skin.
There's a silence, and Taehyung wonders if Jeongguk is pouting on the other side.
"Okay" Jeongguk eventually mumbles, giving into Taehyung's benevolent charm.
Taehyung clasps Jeongguk's hand, using his free hand to run his fingers along the top of Jeongguk's hand, aimlessly drawing circles along the surface, just barely grazing the skin as a smile sets upon his lips.
He wonders why Jeongguk gets so worked up over hearing about him being bullied. Why it affects him so much when Taehyung barely bats an eye, continuously shoving it to the back of his mind.
He doesn't understand why it upsets him so much, when it doesn't even involve him. Why anyone (other than his best friend of course), would get themselves so worked up over something so juvenile, but he appreciates the concern.
"You know, you're cute when you're worried" Taehyung carelessly let's slip, mentally scalding himself when it's too late to shove the words back down his throat.
He immediately loosens his grip on Jeongguk's hand as a rush of dilemma sets in, fingers loosely slipping away.
"I mean. You. I-" he stutters sheepishly, just barely hanging on to Jeongguk's hand because he doesn't know if that was maybe too much.
"Well, you're cute when you're flustered" Jeongguk says, grasping Taehyung's hands tightly. "Don't be embarrassed."
Taehyung smiles, thankful that Jeongguk can't see through the thick stack of books that separates them, the large shelf they'd delegated as their meet up spot.
Jeongguk thinks he's cute.
That resonates with Taehyung for some reason. He doesn't think he's ever had anyone actually tell him he's cute (besides his best friend, Jimin, who's obligated to tell him so), let alone show him any sort of interest, besides sheer humiliation.
Jeongguk thinks he's cute. But then he remembers, "You don't even know what I look like!"
Jeongguk snorts a giggle and then sighs. "I don't need to, Taehyung."
"What if you're wrong?" Taehyung frowns, words slipping down into a deepened hole of raspy hesitation.
Jeongguk grips his hand firmly, lacing their fingers together as a groan vibrates from his throat. "I don't need to see you, to know you're cute. I already know it because of who you are. I already know what a sweet and genuine person you are."
Taehyung feels hot, a tingling sensation burning up beneath his skin that prickles just below the surface. His cheeks are burning affection, lips curling up into a tight lined grin of infatuation.
"Plus you're apparently a nerd, and honestly, that's kind of hot too" Jeongguk adds mirthfully.
"Oh, there it is-" Taehyung scoffs with a blush, rolling his eyes at the comment that was so obviously meant to derive and distract his attention from Jeongguk's genuinely soft sentiment.
"I'm kidding! Okay, let me rephrase that" Jeongguk says, reaching his other hand through the books the grasp both of their hands.
Taehyung watches as strong arms with extraordinarily lean muscles and toned biceps protrude from between the books to grab for his hand.
Jeongguk is strong, Taehyung realizes as he melts beneath his touch but something else settles in the pit of his stomach, tugging at his clarity. An uncertainty, that if Jeongguk knew who he was, saw what he looked like or realized how fundamentally unpopular Taehyung is, that he might not be saying all of these things.
It's not that Taehyung is unattractive or anything like that, he knows he isn't and he's rather confident in his appearance. But based on the sort of person Jeongguk's portrayed himself to be attracted to, the type of person he tends to associate with - popular, well liked and extroverted - Taehyung fears he may not live up to his expectations.
"I think you're cute because you have a fucking sexy brain."
Taehyung nearly chokes on his spit, completely expectant of a response like that but still impeccably amused "Ew Jeongguk-"
"No I'm serious! You're the smartest person I've ever met Taehyung and, well, I've technically never even met you!"
Jeongguk's hands tighten around Taehyung's, thumb rubbing into the fleshy side of his palm to soothe away his worry, relax him of his anxieties and it's working.
God, it's fucking working.
Taehyung's giggles and tightens his grip on to Jeongguk's hand, watching the veins of his arms flex whenever he adds just enough pressure to the sides of his hand.
Taehyung likes it.
"I mean it. You're amazing" Jeongguk declares in a gentle voice.
"I feel like 80% of our time here together, is just you complimenting me" Taehyung murmurs, lips turning up into a thoughtful grin as he continues to caress Jeongguk's skin.
"Well, you deserve every word" Jeongguk replies sweetly and Taehyung would guess that he's smiling right now.
He wishes he could see.
Wishes he could match the face to the beautifully calming, angelic voice that seems to soothe him so effortlessly, more than anyone else's can. He wishes he had the courage the just round the partition of books, overcome this wall of words and paper that keep them apart and finally lay eyes on the hands he's been holding so dear to his heart.
But he'd never force Jeongguk into meeting him. Not if he wasn't ready, and Taehyung doesn't even know if he's ready himself.
He looks down to their clasped hands along the shelf as Jeongguk runs his thumbs along the side of his hand. "You're too good to me" he mutters with a smile.
"I want to be" Jeongguk responds, sending Taehyung's heart into a frenzy. "I like it when you're happy."
"How do you know I'm happy?"
"I can hear it in your voice and, I'm not sure if it's because of me but-"
Jeongguk pauses, turning their hands so he can slide his hand over the top of Taehyung's as he speaks. "-But I want to be one of the reasons you smile."
Taehyung is lost in a sea of wonderment. Bliss. Wistfulness.
He wants that too, even if he knows it to already be true.
"You already are" he ends up truthfully blurting out.
Jeongguk chuckles softly, causing Taehyung's heart to further turn into mush with how cute his laugh is. "I'm glad."
Taehyung's entire body freezes as he waits for a response, holding on to hope as he waits to hear the voice that carries him through his days, keeps him pushing forward to an unknown destination.
"Soon" Jeongguk reassuringly squeezes his hand.
- ♡ -
"Why do you think people take advantage of you?"
Taehyung's lips twist to one side to curl downward, brows furrowed as he reiterates Jeongguk's question mentally and tries to make sense of it.
"I wouldn't say people take advantage of me honestly...More like, they enjoy using me."
"Taehyung," Jeongguk says expectantly, giving Taehyung's hand a light squeeze. "That's the same thing."
"No, it's not" Taehyung brushes his thumb over Jeongguk's knuckle, trying to process in his mind the easiest way to explain so that Jeongguk fully understands without it being too convoluted.
"Like, okay. If someone was taking advantage of me right?-"
"Right..." Jeongguk echoes curiously in response.
"I might not necessarily know it at the time, but I'd have an idea about it later on after giving it a bit of thought. And I probably wouldn't have noticed until later anyway, which makes it seem a lot worse than it probably is, right?"
Jeongguk's hand tightens around Taehyung's, fingers delicately fidgeting between the latter's long and slender ones. "Okay, I guess so, but how is that any different from someone using you?" he asks tentatively.
"Because" Taehyung responds with certainty. "Usually when somebody wants something from me, I can tell right away. Whether or not I give it to them, is my decision from then on."
"So, you let them take whatever they want?" Jeongguk asks, a little perplexed.
Taehyung groans. He's not explaining this how he wants to.
"No. Well, yes. Sometimes I guess. If it makes things easier on myself and gets them to move on when I know they have malicious intent then yeah, I guess so. I just don't like confrontation."
Jeongguk hums in response, a short little 'huh' when Taehyung finishes speaking. He can hear the disapproval in Jeongguk's tone, the obvious disagreeable drawl in something as simple as a muted huff behind a wall of books. He's unsure how he feels about the current silence set between them, but guesses Jeongguk is thinking about what to say.
"What's wrong, I can practically feel you vibrating through these books" Taehyung teases, gripping the sides of Jeongguk's hand to pull him back to reality - their reality - and out of his bubble.
"Nothing I just...You shouldn't let people take advantage of you Taehyung" he says again, voice gruff with hesitation, as if he has more to add to that.
"I told you. It's not the-"
"But it is the same" Jeongguk fights back and Taehyung can hear the conviction in his tone. Can hear it clearly, even with a wall of books separating them. "Somebody else gets something that they wanted from you so easily, while you-you get nothing in return. That's not right. It's not fair to you."
Jeongguk is such a sweetheart, Taehyung notes. He smiles, snickering softly to himself as he glides his other hand over the top of Jeongguk's hand to hold.
"Life's not fair then I suppose" he says, loving the way their hands seem to fit so perfectly together as he admires the porcelain complexion of Jeongguk's hand compared to his own sun kissed one.
"What about you?" he asks, changing the subject.
Jeongguk hums inquisitively again, as if he doesn't quite understand so he clarifies.
"I mean, what about you? Like, why do you think people give you such a bad rep?"
He knows the few details Jeongguk's spared him about his life. Like how he often gets into trouble with fellow classmates or professors, how he's generally considered the 'bad boy' type and is often late for class - the type of person Taehyung would usually steer clear of if he's being honest with himself.
That's also why it's never struck Taehyung as odd that he'd never heard the name Jeongguk before around campus, seeing as they seemingly come from very separate worlds.
He knows well enough what type of people to stay away from, to not associate with on his own accord yet, here he is, conversing with the very same type of person he tells himself he won't, confused as to how someone like Jeongguk could have such a bad name for himself when he knows him to be such a sweetheart. How anyone could dislike him.
That being said, he also knows it's nobody's fault but Jeongguk's own for making these types of decisions, the ones that get him into trouble and keep him on the edge of hardship.
To skip classes like he says he does, or pull meaningless pranks on his professors - the people who are supposed to be there to help him - just because a friend dared him to do so.
He doesn't understand, and it's a little scary to think about how different they really are. How very far apart their lives and values might be, but maybe that's what keep Taehyung coming back for more.
A sheer curiosity in somebody so opposite to him, a sense of skepticism that gives him trusting of Jeongguk's character.
That there might be more than meets the eye, something festering deep down that no ones bothered to look for and Taehyung knows he's only scratching at the surface but he let's himself look past the negativity.
Hopes Jeongguk will prove him right.
Jeongguk's made it very clear how disliked he is around campus, has told Taehyung stories, shared his troubles, voiced his concerns but those are just words. Taehyung can feel the spark that lights Jeongguk's passions, can sense the fire in his heart.
And Jeongguk is never late for Taehyung.
Has never been callous or crude with his intentions. He's always been candid and open about his life, even if it doesn't put him in the best light. Jeongguk has always been genuine - or so Taehyung hopes - so why would he lie about being misunderstood?
Jeongguk groans, shifting a little and Taehyung can tell he's maybe struck a bit of a nerve by the falter in his hands clutch. "I'm sorry Jeongguk, you don't have to answer that if-"
"Because it's all true" Jeongguk cuts in, tone a little flat.
Taehyung can tell he's uncomfortable by the deepened drawl in his voice and the cold touch of his hands as fingertips loosen around his own.
He grips Jeongguk hand tightly. "It's not all true."
Jeongguk hums in response but Taehyung can tells he's obviously on edge. "How do you know?"
Taehyung frowns. "I know it, because I believe that you aren't just some punk or heartless troublemaker everyone labels you to be. I know it because I get to know the real you, or, at least whatever you feel comfortable sharing with me." Taehyung tightens his grip, squishing their fingers together tightly. " You don't need to be the person that people say you are. It doesn't have to be your reality Gguk."
Taehyung thinks that Jeongguk's never been told he's not the bad guy, that no ones ever cared enough to look past the behavior and tell him he's an amazing person, inside and out.
"It's kind of hard to not be, when everyone already has this idea about who I am, before they even know me" Jeongguk replies and Taehyung can hear the sadness in his words, can feel his heartbeat in his hands.
He physically feels nervous.
"You don't have to be that guy" Taehyung says as he begins playing with one of the rings on Jeongguk's fingers, a small smile creeping along his lips when he think about the person Jeongguk has the potential to be. "You aren't a bad guy Gguk. You don't have to be."
Jeongguk exhales, brushing his thumb over the fleshy pad of Taehyung's hand when he turns their hands to caress his palm. "I like it when you call me that" he says quietly - nearly a whisper - and if Taehyung didn't already have to listen carefully because of the books between them, he might have missed it.
He tightens his grip a little more, smiling when he notices the small freckle on the top of Jeongguk's index finger, right in the middle. "You're not the monster everyone makes you out to be. At least not to me."
"Thanks Tae...It's just-it's whatever I guess-"
"No. I need to hear you say it" Taehyung counters, pressing his fingers into flesh.
He needs to know that Jeongguk knows it, understands what he means, what he's trying to say.
Doesn't understand how anyone could ever say such horrible things about someone like Jeongguk.How anyone could dislike the kind, gentle and kindhearted soul he's become rather fond of.
"Okay fine." Jeongguk smiles. "I guess m'not that bad" he teases.
Taehyung smiles, watching Jeongguk's hand play with his fingers carefully.
"You're not bad at all."
There's a short silence that follows Taehyung's words and he wonder's if he's made Jeongguk uncomfortable until-
"You make me better though" Jeongguk says quietly and Taehyung melts even further into the ground where he'd stood.
- ♡ -
"That's such a cliche question Taehyung" Jeongguk muses with a short giggle, wrapping his fingers around the latter's.
Jeongguk snickers again from behind books and Taehyung can only imagine how cute he looks laughing because of how adorable his laugh already sounds, how effortlessly it resonates within his piece of mind.
"So what? Who actually asks that in real life?" Jeongguk chuckles again, thumb poking into the side of Taehyung's hand.
"Gguk this is real life. It's a real question, just answer it! C'mon!"
"The meaning of life huh?" Jeongguk hums, contemplating his words. "Hmm..."
'What do you think the meaning of life' is what Taehyung had asked him.
Only Taehyung would ask that, Jeongguk thinks studiously as he mentally prepares an answer that might elicit the type of response he's looking for, instantly rushed with a thought;
"I think the meaning of life," he starts with genuine intention and Taehyung thinks he might actually have an answer, as if maybe he's thought about it before even if he's laughed at first. "Is essentially meaningless."
Taehyung's brows furrow, cinched in the middle of his forehead.
Okay never mind.
"You heard me" Jeongguk boasts, giving Taehyung's hand a little squeeze.
"What-what do you mean meaningless?"
He's almost positive Jeongguk is fucking with him now.
"I mean exactly that. It's meaningless. A meaningless construct of self-awareness."
Taehyung snorts. "Since when did you become all philosophical, huh?"
Jeongguk squeezes Taehyung's hand a little tighter in hopes of evoking a slight gasp before soothingly stroking his thumb along his knuckles.
"I just-I don't understand what you mean-" Taehyung responds honestly.
"Just hear me out okay?"
Jeongguk goes on to explain how if there were any precise meaning to life, then nobody's life would matter at all.
If everyone had a single purpose, then what's the point of it all when everyone's basis on life would have the same meaning - to find that one thing that makes them happy. Nobody is constantly following that single directional desire on a daily basis and everyone's lives would be boring if everyone searched for the same things in one another, in the only things they think will bring them happiness, the things that let them down and keep them looking for more - wanting more.
No one would be unique to themselves and every person's individual set of goals would overlap into empty handfuls of ambition.
Everybody would be after the same things, the same fruitful materialistic delights, and nobody would ever be happy with what they already have, or the way their lives turned out because they'd constantly be after that one thing they think will give their lives purpose. The one thing that makes them successful under an artificial pretense of security that holds no genuine merit.
Therefor, none of it matters.
What matters, is how you live your life and how it affects you personally as an individual, to the set of standards and destinations you've set for yourself.
The people you allow to willingly nestle themselves into the web of your lives independence. How they affect your heartfelt obligations and support you unconditionally. How you let them influence with your destiny, guide your aspirations. How you let them inspire you.
What matters, are your own naturally developed opinions and galvanized motivations. How you interact genuinely with the people in your life, how close you let them get and how many walls you let them tear down.
"It's all a construct of intuition-" Jeongguk reiterates. "-How deeply you value your own self-worth and how you manage your life without letting someone else's depiction of happiness sway you. it's all about how you define loving yourself. How hard you love other people regardless of their flaws. How you live your life to the fullest, or something like that..." he trails off.
Silence fills the books between them as Jeongguk drags his fingers along Taehyung's palm.
"I guess that's how I see things" he adds when he doesn't receive a response from Taehyung, who's staring at the books in front of his face with an absurd dumbfound expression.
"Hey, you there?" Jeongguk gives Tae's hand a gentle squeeze.
Jeongguk hears a quiet sniffle, muted by the rows of literature between them.
"Taehyung, are-are you cr-?"
"No!" Taehyung blurts out, not willing to let Jeongguk finish what he's about to ask, what they both know is true. "I'm just, there's something in my eye."
Jeongguk tightens his grip around Taehyung's hand. "Hey, I'm sorry. Did I say something bad?" he worries.
Taehyung exhales a heavy breath along with a short chuckle, wiping his eyes with his free hand as he lets out a dignified sigh filled with all kinds of fondness.
"No Gguk, you didn't say anything bad."
"Then what's wrong?"
"Nothing" Taehyung replies calmly. "Absolutely nothing."
"Then why are you-"
Taehyung's grip tightens around the sides of Jeongguk's hand as he gives it a reassuring squeeze, a small sniffle erupting within his nostrils before he's lacing their hands together and interlocking their fingers as a sense of comfort washes over him. "Because that was beautiful."
"Oh" Jeongguk blushes, happy that Taehyung isn't able to see his reddening face.
"Is that really how you feel about life? About, everything?"
"I guess so" Jeongguk realizes, suddenly very in tune with the fact that all of what he'd just said had essentially came out of nowhere in particular, spewed from a place of inner belief, unbeknownst to himself.
He's never actually really thought about the meaning of life, the question itself feeling a little to heavy to ponder on his own. It all felt a little bit pointless to brood over, to worry about and concern himself with, so he'd never really given it much thought past the obvious "you lie and then you die."
But when the question was coming from Taehyung...When Taehyung had asked, for some reason it all just came to him. As if it'd been sitting at the edge of his mind this whole time, just waiting to be unraveled.
"I've never really thought about it much before-before you asked me just now" he admits.
"Wouldn't have guessed" Taehyung teases, gripping Jeongguk's fingers as he watches the latter's veins protrude slightly along his hand and wrist.
Taehyung likes Jeongguk's hands, thinks they're very attractive, quite appealing and if he didn't think he had an attraction to hands before - he does now. To Jeongguk's hands specifically.
"I seriously don't know where that came from" Jeongguk says, sighing behind thick books that probably haven't been touched in forever given the light cover of dust that sits on top of them, coating them with a thick layer of abandonment.
Taehyung snorts again, a smile curling upon his lips. "You're telling me, that you just pulled that out of nowhere?"
"Yes! Really, I've never actually thought about it before!"
"You're full of shit. An answer like that doesn't just come to you out of nowhere" Taehyung snickers, voice pulling up into an elated series of inquisitive giggles that has Jeongguk laughing happily in return.
There's a calming bit of silence between them once they've stopped giggling that comfortably sits between them.
But Jeongguk is bold if not brave as he says the first thing that comes to mind when he hears Taehyung settle down. "What if-" he begins, squeezing Taehyung's hand gently. "What if maybe, you were meant to be in my life" he continues, voice light and airy, words intentionally placed. "Like, maybe we were meant to meet?"
Taehyung can't help but smile at their clasped hands, nose scrunching up with a giddy sense of security."You're so fucking corny" he giggles, soothing his thumb along the fleshy side of Jeongguk's hand. "But who knows? Maybe you're right."
"I hope I am."
- ♡ -
"We don't have to talk about it if you don't want to" Jeongguk offers a little hesitantly, as if unsure whether or not he'd struck a nerve by asking about Taehyung's love life.
"No it's okay. I don't mind, I just-haven't thought about it in a while." Taehyung responds, thoughtful of how long it's been since he's been in a relationship or anything remotely romantic since dating Taemin.
"Are you sure? I didn't mean to-"
Taehyung squeezes Jeongguk's hand, cutting him off. "Really it's okay Gguk! I don't mind talking about my ex."
"Okay" Jeongguk hums, soothing his thumb along the top of Taehyung's knuckles.
"So what do you wanna know?"
Jeongguk hums in thought, licking his lips as he ponders what it is he really wants to know about Taehyung's past relationships, more intent on finding out how someone like Taehyung is single in the first place."Why are you single?" he ends up asking bluntly.
Taehyung snorts from the other side of the bookshelf, his grip faltering slightly as he almost pulls away, but Jeongguk grips his hand before he can slip away.
"What's wrong?" he asks.
"Jeongguk, if I knew that, I probably wouldn't be single" Taehyung responds with a soft chuckle.
"Well that's not true! Maybe you're single by choice-"
"I'm not" Tae cuts in with short giggle, poking the top of Jeongguk's hand.
"Okay, well-then why are you single?" the latter asks a little more confidently now that he has a little more information to go off of, albeit not very much.
Taehyung purses his lips, nibbling at the inside of his cheek as his eyes trail up the wall of books, absentmindedly thinking of a good explanation but all he can come up with is the truth - as harsh as it may be. It's not like he necessarily wants to be single.
"Because my ex cheated on me."
"Shit" Jeongguk blurts out in the form of a soft exhale, a little thrown off guard but clearly disappointed in Taehyung's response. "I'm sorry."
"Not your fault" Taehyung replies. "Something about not being a fan of my ever-so-constantly changing hair colors or something like that."
"Well that's bullshit" Jeongguk offers.
"Yep. Honestly, I think he was seeing someone else and just needed and excuse to end things" Taehyung adds, rolling his eyes.
"Oh. How do you know?"
The fact, is that Taehyung doesn't know. That's the hardest part about it. He doesn't know whether or not Taemin had been seeing someone else for sure, whether he'd stayed faithful or cheated on him before they ended things.
There were signs, questionable fits of uncertainty that lead Taehyung to believe Taemin was up to no good behind his back, but that doesn't change the fact that he simply doesn't know for sure.
He'd never bothered to ask, because he didn't really want to know. But he thinks it could very well be true, the many small things pointing in the direction of disloyalty flashing behind his eyes.
Taehyung's glad to have gotten himself out of that mess before it got worse and if an excuse was what Taemin needed to end things, then he's glad.
"Well fuck that guy then. Or girl" Jeongguk quickly corrects himself in a panic, a little flustered. "I mean fuck that person..."
Taehyung giggles, bringing his free hand up to play with the ring on Jeongguk's finger, the same one he wears nearly everyday, simply thick silver band with a red band along the center.
"It was a guy" he says.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to assume-"
"It's okay" Taehyung grips Jeongguk's hand. "It's not like you knew, don't be silly."
"But I shouldn't have just assumed-"
Taehyung flicks the top of his hand, smirking to himself and the book in front of his face. "It's okay" he smiles, absentmindedly reading the sideways text along the spine of the book.
"I still love it when you call me that" Jeongguk says in a small, calm voice.
Taehyung blushes, trailing his finger along Jeongguk's knuckles as a sense of tenderness itches along the surface, tugging at his heartstrings. "Then I'll keep doing it" he smiles.
"So what about you?" Taehyung asks but suddenly Jeongguk pulls his hand away and back between the books with a gruff laugh, out of the ordinary for his light and airy voice. "Gguk?" he tries again.
There's a short beat of silence, a bit of a muffled noise from the other side of the shelving as Taehyung furrows his brows in confusion, listening as eagerly as he can for anything to suggest Jeongguk still being there until a familiar hand is slipped back between the shelves and reaching for him again.
"Someone was walking down the isle past me" Jeongguk says a little apprehensively, as if he's afraid to admit it.
"Really?" Taehyung asks, a little shocked. No one ever really comes back to this section of the library.
"Yeah. I uhm, didn't want them to think I was crazy or something..."
"Right" Taehyung agrees, but his tone suggests conflict within his sentiment and Jeongguk doesn't miss a beat in squeezing his hand a little tighter to reassure him.
"Hey, you okay?" Jeongguk asks, concern evident in the tone of his voice when he realizes he might have offended him. "Just thought it might look a little weird...I'm sorry."
Taehyung wants to say yes, feels a little silly for being bothered even though he'd probably have done the exact same thing had that person walked down his side of the isle instead.
Jeongguk pushes his other hand through the books to firmly grasp Taehyung's in a warm embrace. "Tae?"
"Yeah," Taehyung shakes his head, "so what about you? What was your ex like?" he deadpans, trying to change the subject. He feels silly.
"Oh. Well, she was awful I guess you could say. Treated me like crap, expected me to be a whole Prince Charming and what not."
Taehyung hums in response, unsure whether he's more compelled to ask about the fact that Jeongguk had said 'she' or if his response was telling in the way he likes to be treated in a relationship.Probably both, but he also feels bad for assuming Jeongguk might have been gay in the first place given their circumstance.
"I know what you're thinking" Taehyung suddenly hears, playfulness laced within Jeongguk's tone as his hand is squeezed lightly on either side.
"Oh?" he muses.
"You're wondering about my sexuality, aren't you? " Jeongguk says bluntly.
Taehyung clears his throat. "I- "
"You can just ask you know. I don't mind."
Taehyung realizes he's taking too long to respond and runs his fingers along the side of Jeongguk's hand before flipping them over to examine the lines that run along the inside of his open palm, tracing them lightly with his index finger, heart beating a little faster in his chest.
"So are you-you're bisexual?" Tae asks reluctantly, as if asking might be offensive. He doesn't know what is and isn't nowadays. "I don't mean to assume or ask, I just-you're here with me every day and...she was a girl and-"
"Hey, I said you could ask, didn't I?" Jeongguk grips his hand reassuringly. "But I guess you could say that, yeah. If you wanted to put a label on it, maybe I'm pan?" Jeongguk suggests. "I don't really care honestly, I just like people."
Taehyung tilts his head curiously. "Huh" he exhales. "So you don't care if someone is male or female?"
"Nope. Straight, gay, bi, male, female, trans, alien-I don't care. If I like you, I like you" Jeongguk responds with a confidence within himself that Taehyung finds very attractive, very admirable and exquisite in the sense that he seems to know exactly who he is.
"And your ex? Why did that end?"
"Because she too, cheated on me" Jeongguk says and Taehyung feels as though he's been punched in the gut a second time for no apparent reason.
He wonders how anyone could cheat on someone like Jeongguk, could intentionally hurt someone like him.
"With my best friend" Jeongguk adds nonchalantly, but the spite in his voice is very obvious as he tightens his grip around Taehyung's hand ever so slightly, fingers pressing in gently.
"What a fucking bitch" Taehyung blurts out.
Jeongguk laughs, smiling from behind thick dusty books as he soothes his hands around Taehyung's to hold it tightly, lacing their fingers together in a familiar tangle of limbs, the familiar abundance of warmth that radiates between their palms. "Total tucking bitch."
"Well fuck her then. She didn't-doesn't deserve you anyway" Tae says, cheeks blaring hot with embarrassment when he lets his words slip. He'd been thinking them, but hadn't meant to actually say them out loud. "I-uh. I just mean that you-"
"It's okay" Jeongguk says sweetly.
"Okay" Taehyung smiles.
"I prefer colorful rainbows anyway, a bit of color in my life" Jeongguk teases and it takes a second for Taehyung to realize he's referring to what he'd said earlier about his hair before his cheeks are buzzing hot, heart hammering in his chest.
"You're silly" he mutters, clearly flustered by Jeongguk's remark.
Taehyung realizes and decides right then and there, without an inkling of doubt that he likes Jeongguk's witty personality.
Taehyung likes silly.
Taehyung likes Jeongguk.
- ♡ -
Taehyung is early. In fact, he's probably a good twelve minutes early to be exact, enough time to quickly check in and return a few overdue books he'd taken out weeks ago and forgot to bring back before going to he and Jeongguk's usual spot.
They have a system that hasn't failed them yet. Taehyung enters from the main entrance while Jeongguk enters from the side doors that conveniently face his side of the isle, so that they're always on opposite sides of the library when they enter and don't have to worry about running into each other.
It's hot today, sun gleaming down on Taehyung a little too brightly for his liking as he squints toward the doors and jogs up the concrete steps in the heavy sweater he suddenly regrets wearing, fumbling a few books in his hand under one arm so he can grab for the door with the other.
There's a bright ray of sun that reflects off the doors, blinding him slightly as he ascends the steps until the overhead roof finally covers the bright light and he can see again without straining his eyes.He's about to grab for the door to go inside when he sees a girl to his right drop all of her belongings to the ground.
He quickly looks around, noting the few other students that are closer to her across the steps, but none of them seem eager to help so he rushes over, smile on his face as he sets his things on a ledge and happily helps pick up her things.
"Ugh, thank you. You really don't have to help" she blushes.
"It's really no big deal" Taehyung grins, placing a book on top of the huge pile she's reformed in her arms. She tries to bow when he leaves but Taehyung just smiles and tells her to have a good day before grabbing his own things again and clearing his throat with a pleasant sigh, pleased with his good deed as he watches the girl rush through the doors in front of him.
He fidgets again, rearranging all of his belongings beneath one arm so he can grab the door as he paces toward it before it can shut in his face, but before he can do that for himself, someone is rushing up behind him to hold it open instead.
Glancing over his shoulder, while awkwardly bowing as he enters the door, he can't help but take a double (maybe even a triple take) at the handsome man holding the door open with one of the most beautiful, dashing smiles he's ever seen (not to mention those piercing piercing doe eyes.) The prettiest eyes he's ever seen; a light shade of hazel with auburn flecks that accent his pale complexion wonderfully.
He's never seen him before - the raven locks of hair that frame his face perfectly along his face, the neatly tidied undercut along the back of his nape beneath wavy strands of the softest looking hair he's ever seen, plush pink lips rounding out into a friendly smile - but damn is he glad he'd seen him today.
He realizes he's staring when the guy gives him an amused grin, smirking to himself and that's when Taehyung notices he's also blushing, feels the tips of his ears and the apples of his cheeks buzzing with heat and he's embarrassed. He quickly turns around to look away, clearing his throat as he tries hard not to turn around again, until he realizes he hadn't said thank you, and needs to do so.
Reluctantly, he turns around after stepping inside, hugging his books to his chest as a wave of bravery washes over him but when he does, the man is already gone.
He looks around for the guy that seemingly took his breath away without giving him a chance to take it back, threw him off guard without notice...but he's nowhere to be seen. He makes his way toward the main desk, dropping his books in the check in bin as they crash to the bottom, relief washing over his muscles now that he's not carrying them all at once.
Taking out his phone, he realizes just how fast time had passed since helping that girl, deciding to make his way to he and Jeongguk's usual meet up spot with a new found excitement.
He's excited to see Jeongguk today.
Really excited actually.
He's not sure why, but suddenly the entire day seemed - brighter.
He makes his way to the back of the library, smiling to himself as he replays the short glimpse of the guy that held the door for him in his mind. He was attractive - tall, and very handsome.
And that smile...
He wonders about him for a moment, if he'll ever see him again or if he was just lucky today having come slightly earlier than normal. Ether way, he hopes to see him again but decides not to get his hopes up seeing as he'd never noticed him before.
That, or he just wasn't paying enough attention to who else visits the library besides himself, too busy most days with the excitement he feels any time he's about to meet up with Jeongguk.
Jeongguk's hands are nice, Taehyung randomly recalls, as he makes his way down toward the end of their usual two deserted isles, throwing his bag off his shoulder and down on to the floor.
He shakes his head, instead deciding to refocus his attention on Jeongguk (and not just his hands).
He knows Jeongguk isn't there yet because, well, he doesn't see his hands, and it's way too quiet on the other side of the bookshelf. Jeongguk is not very graceful in his movements, Taehyung smiles to himself, as he thinks of every other time they'd met.
Every day is the same.
Taehyung usually gets there first (sometimes early), aimlessly reads a few book covers that surround him in the off chance that something catches his eye. It's quiet and really offers a true moment of silence to himself before Jeongguk inevitably comes hurdling down the other side of the isle as if he's made Taehyung wait hours.
He can always hear when he's coming, loud footsteps and a bag crashing to the floor as Jeongguk unceremoniously shoves his hands through the bookshelf with a bit of an exasperated breath, as if he'd been running to get there in time.
Taehyung sometimes wonders, why he doesn't just leave a little earlier from wherever he's coming from, but then again, he doesn't mind when Jeongguk is late. As long as he comes.
There's a book on a nearby shelf across from him that's titled "The Chaos In Those Who Comfort Us" that catches Taehyung's attention.It's sleeve is bright red, neon yellow writing in a bold blocky font. If the title alone wasn't already captivating enough, the bright colors are definitely obnoxious enough to catch anyone's eye.
Taehyung grabs for it, pulling it down in to his hands before brushing away some of the dust along the sides and front cover. He looks back over toward their usual spot, listening carefully before turning his attention back toward the book in his hand when he realizes Jeongguk isn't there yet.
He flips the book over in his hands, reading the back page.
"Your life should covet that of an eternal glory. Not the kind that most aspire to gain from meaningless interactions, or the kind they search their entire lives for but the kind that only you can obtain from deep within your soul."
Taehyung snorts, surprisingly amused by something so philosophically branded as an obvious attempt at psychological guidance, a bland statement held behind big, juicy words meant to draw the reader in. As if there weren't enough books like this, yet, for some reason he keeps reading.Usually he might consider something like this unreadable, not really his style, but not today.
Not when he continues to read the words and all he can think about is Jeongguk's little spiel on the meaning of life from last week. It makes him smile, and just as he's about to flip the book open and read more, he hears a familiar abrasive hurdle of footsteps in the next isle.
"Sorry I'm late" Jeongguk exhales heavily, lightly gasping for air as Taehyung hears his backpack thud against the ground and watches a pair of strong, familiarly soft hands shoot through the books. "One of my professors held me up after class."
"It's okay!" Taehyung smiles, because everything really does feel more than okay with Jeongguk. "Glad you could make it" he teases, tossing the book down on top of his bag.
He might read it later.
"I'll always make it" Jeongguk reassures him, making grabby hands in Taehyung's direction, which only makes him gush even more.
"Good to know."
- ♡ -
"Are you sure you're okay Gguk?"
"Yeah. I'm sorry. Just ignore me" Jeongguk mumbles, grasping Taehyung's hand a little tighter than normal.
It throws him off, the tension he feels within Jeongguk's grasp, the light sweat of his palm.
"I'm not going to ignore you" Taehyung replies humorously. He can tell something is wrong and he doesn't want to be pushy but still, he could never ignore Jeongguk.
"I'm fine. Really" Jeongguk further claims but Taehyung's not having it.
"I don't buy it" Taehyung comments, letting his hand cover Jeongguk's fully in his own to comfort him, reassure him of his supportive intentions. "But that's okay."
Jeongguk sighs from the other side of the isle, his hand fidgeting loosely with the ring on Taehyung's finger when he turns their hands over so that Taehyung's palm faces the ceiling.
It's worrying Taehyung because he can tell something is rattling Jeongguk's focus immensely, but he doesn't want to force it out of him. Doesn't want to push too hard.
Jeongguk doesn't say anything for a minute, which is okay with Taehyung because they haven't been rushing things and that's just how they made thing's work between them.
Their meet ups had been growing in time, ten minutes turning into twenty minutes about a week ago, to now, where they were lasting anywhere from thirty to forty minutes on a good day, which Taehyung is grateful for having integrated into his daily routine. A few extra moments of patience on his end won't affect either of them or take away from the time they share together.
"You don't have to say anything. Please, just know that I'm always here for you Gguk. Even if I'm not the first person you'd like to talk to-"
"You are" Jeongguk cuts in with a stubborn grumble, twisting Taehyung's silver ring a little anxiously.
"Oh" he blushes, lips curling up into a crooked smile as he admires how gently Jeongguk reassures him of his words by caressing the side of his hand, careful not to add too much pressure.
"I mean...you are lately. My first choice I mean-" Jeongguk confesses and it has Taehyung inhaling a sharp little breath of excitement.
Jeongguk tightens his grip around Taehyung's hand, linking their fingers together comfortably. "I'm sorry. I'm not making any sense today."
"It's okay" Taehyung replies softly. "Sometimes things just don't make sense."
"I'm just-I'm really fucking stressed out. I don't know what I'm even saying half the time. Thing's just come out a jumbled mess, or not at all."
"You shouldn't hold things in too long. That's how thing's become stressful."
"I don't really have anyone to talk to about my problems" Jeongguk says after a beat of silence, voice low and quiet behind the shelf.
It breaks Taehyung's heart to hear the conflict written so clearly within Jeongguk's words, the strain in his voice, the literal stress that spews from deep within his tone. Taehyung hates knowing Jeongguk feels like this, that he feels this way often, but he doesn't really know what to do to take it away - to make it better.
He wishes he could makes things better for him.
"Is there anything I can do to help?" he asks, unsure what he's really offering. "I mean, I don't mean to intrude but-"
Jeongguk huffs from behind the wall of books, running his thumb along Taehyung's knuckles, the action pulling Taehyung from his train of thought as he relishes in the familiar touch.
"I really don't think there's much you could do besides what you've already done for me. Coming to talk to you has been helping a lot I think" Jeongguk admits.
Suddenly Taehyung remembers a prior conversation they'd had where Jeongguk had been seriously on edge to the point of near tears (even if he wouldn't admit to it, it wasn't hard to tell), when Taehyung had simply asked how his day was. Little did he know it would spiral into a very personal conversation about his home life.
His stomach flips and he's instantly brought back to a conversation he felt was a little imposing to have with someone he barely knew, worried he might be slipping back into jaded territory once again, but welcoming whatever it was that was bothering Jeongguk with open arms.
He didn't understand why, or when Jeongguk had decided to trust him with something so personal, but he knows he'd never take that kind of faith for granted.
He guesses it's probably because of the giant wall of books between them that adds a level of protection to his wits, keeps him feeling guarded by anonymity.
And the fact that they've never actually met could also have something to do with the unique level of comfort they feel toward each other, never having to worry about certain opinions that tend to come from the people who are supposed to know everything about you. It's all he can come up with right now.
What other reason is there to trust a complete stranger with something you might not even tell a close friend.
"Jeongguk" Taehyung starts hesitantly, because he doesn't want to pry but, he wants to help. "Does this by chance, have anything to do with your dad again?"
Jeongguk shuffles uncomfortably, swallowing a thick bubble of annoyance as he grasps Taehyung's hands a little tighter, giving away his answer.
He clears his throat, humming in response and Taehyung worries he's struck a nerve.He's not annoyed with Taehyung for asking, in fact, he appreciates the fact that he'd remembered at all. He's annoyed because of his dad, and Taehyung just happened to hit the nail on the head.
There's another beat of silence, Jeongguk pondering his response while Taehyung patiently waits for him to reply.
"Fucking prick wants me to start going to he and my moms damn therapy sessions with them, like it's my problem they don't love each other anymore."
Taehyung can hear the spite in his words, but waits for the latter to continue on his own instead of asking. He runs his hand along the side of Jeongguk's palm to offer him some level of reassurance before lacing their fingers together and giving a them a light squeeze.
"I don't want to go" Jeongguk continues, voice heavy with irritation as he stares at the books in front of him along the shelf. "I shouldn't have to go. Who actually wants to sit through someone telling them just how fucked up their parents own marriage is, just because they can't figure their shit out."
Taehyung frowns upon hearing the turmoil in Jeongguk's voice. "Do you have to go?"
"They want me to. Well, my mother does. Dad is just playing the bad guy. Says if I don't, they'll take the car away."
"Oh" Taehyung hums in response, a thoughtful expression that probably doesn't offer much consolation.
He just really doesn't know what to say, has never really had to deal with anything like this personally. His parents are happily married, have been for 29 long years and have never shown any visible signs of despondence within their marriage and if they had, they were definitely doing a damn good job keeping it secret from him and his brother.
He doesn't really know what type of response to offer Jeongguk right now, a little pestered by the tugging longing to just hug him instead of comforting him through old books, tell him that everything is going to be okay. That he's strong, and resilient, and can get through anything if he just accepts it within his heart.
Soon, he tells himself.
He's unsure what to say that might help put Jeongguk at ease seeing as he really does not understand what he's feeling, what he must be going through. He can only imagine how stressed he is, and try to understand.
"I'm sorry Jeongguk. I can only imagine how frustrating this must be" he offers with good faith. "But I really...I don't know what to say" he adds truthfully.
"It's okay. I don't expect you to say anything-"
"I want to though. I mean, I wish I could give you the answer but...I just don't know what you're going through, if I'm being completely honest" Taehyung says candidly, hoping the latter understands how much he truly means it.
"You do help me, you know..." Jeongguk ends up saying ,voice soft and light with conviction. It sounds as if he's smiling.
Taehyung tilts his head a little confused, pressing his thumb into the side of Jeongguk's hand, cheeks radiating heat when Jeongguk squeezes his hand back. "Huh?"
"You do help me" Jeongguk says sweetly and Taehyung can't help but grin at the sincerity of his voice compared to the raspy drawl from before.
"You might not think you do but, just coming to talk to you every day has given me something to look forward to. To enjoy having, that belongs to me alone and no one else. At least I hope no one else-"
"There's no one else Gguk" Taehyung says quickly, gripping Jeongguk's hand.
There's a soft hum from the other side of the books and Taehyung hopes that his answer holds enough merit for Jeongguk to understand what he's implying. He feels excited, hearing Jeongguk speak so highly of their relationship...or whatever this was...
"Really? I thought you had like, a million library boyfriends, and I was maybe just your favorite" Jeongguk teases, quickly realizing the poor choice and is instantly flustered, sputtering nonsense trying to correct himself. "I-I didn't mean b-boyfriend. Tae I-I don't-"
"I know what you meant" Taehyung chuckles, holding Jeongguk's hand tightly with confidence, saving him from embarrassment. "You worry so much."
"I know. I just don't want to scare you off" Jeongguk admits, and Taehyung would guess he's pouting based on the softened muffle in his tone.
Taehyung smiles, staring mirthfully at their clasped hands, feeling his heart do that familiar little ump inside his chest anytime Jeongguk says something remotely adorable.
"I don't think you could at this point."
- ♡ -
"Wait, you did what??"
"You heard me" Jeongguk boasts, playing with the ring on Taehyung's index finger, a thin silver band that he twits in circles as he laughs.
"Okay but-what happened?" Taehyung asks curiously.
"Well obviously we booked it the hell out of there!" Jeongguk laughs, voice picking up slightly with amusement. "It wasn't even my idea to begin with!
Taehyung can't help but laugh along even though he knows he shouldn't, looking back and forth between either end of the isle to double check there's no one else there with him (not that there ever was).
All he sees are books. Hundreds of unwanted and forgotten books that are probably back here for a reason, left to sit untouched and left to collect dust. Poor books, Taehyung thinks.
The funny part, is that Taehyung still ends up reading half of them, telling himself that they hold a certain quality in character, something no one else takes time to notice, much like Jeongguk, he thinks.
He's not sure why he feels the need to take a glance over his shoulder every now and then to make sure no one is there to see him blush, to see how even the smallest bit of information about Jeongguk's day, fills his heart with joy. He feels so weightless, and he enjoys every giddy moment.
It's like having a crush all over again and Taehyung is so smitten.
"I can't believe you" Taehyung giggles back.
Jeongguk continues playing with his ring, sliding it up and down Taehyung's finger.
When Taehyung comes back to reality and realizes what it looks like, watching the ring slide down the length of his finger and hug his finger tightly upon being pushed back up, he's suddenly he's a little bit flustered.
His heart thrums in his chest, heat coiling heavily in the pit of his stomach, the tips of his ears turning bright red with heat and he's glad Jeongguk can't see him because he must look like a tomato.
"Stop that" He says sheepishly, playfully smacking the top of Jeongguk's hand.
He's not sure why seeing Jeongguk slide the ring along the length of his finger has his thoughts instantly turning dirty, especially since all they were talking about was a silly prank Jeongguk had decided to pull earlier in the day with some friends on his psychology professor.
Taehyung will admit, he's been rather ornery lately having had little to no sexual prowess other than the casual hand holding he and Jeongguk share daily that's starting to mess with him, but he can't help his mind from running.
Running wild with a natural desire, a sense of avidity that courses through his body, reminding him that he's only human after all. Running, with the thought of having those very same hands caress more than just his hands. The thought of strong, warm hands inching toward the center of his body, the middle of his chest, reaching around his waist to pull him close, press him against the wall.
The thought of Jeongguk's hands grabbing at his skin and-
"Stop what?" Jeongguk interrupts (thankfully) with a smooth and intentionally playful simper, grabbing Taehyung's hand again to fidget with the ring on purpose, sliding and twisting it around his finger slowly. "This?"
Jeongguk starts playing with Taehyung's ring a little more intentionally, sliding it up and down his finger slowly to test the waters when he doesn't receive an immediate response before moving a little bit quicker, eventually earning a slight gasp from the latter on the other side.
"Yes! That!" Taehyung flinches, pulling his hand away completely (even if he doesn't want to).
He's just a little overwhelmed with both avidity and temptation. And Jeongguk's hands, paired with the raspy lewd tone of his voice just now isn't helping. Curiosity and embarrassment pool deep within Taehyung's stomach, his heart fluttering with a tepid rush of adrenaline.
He clears his throat, forcing himself not to think about what Jeongguk's actions implied, even if he was just teasing, but now it's all he can think about now.
"Okay! Okay! I'm sorry. Please come back?" Jeongguk's says, re offering his hands to Taehyung, palms up and arms shoved all the way through the books while making grabbing hands in search of the latter's touch.
Taehyung hums, observing Jeongguk's attempts at reaching for him, unable to reach his hands forward because he feels a little flushed, rushed with a n invasive cloud of lust.
He wants to grab for Jeongguk's hand again. They're right there. They look so, so soft. So comforting, and all he needs to do is raise his arms and link their hands together again in order to feel his warm caress, but he also feels the need to protect his vulnerability.
"Tae, I'm sorry. I didn't mean anything by it" Jeongguk tries, his voice sounding sincere mixed with a tinge of playfulness that doesn't sit right for some reason. "I was just playing."
Is that What Jeongguk is after? Taehyung asks himself as he stares at Jeongguk's waiting hands, a thick cloud of worry washing over him. He doesn't like how it makes him feel.
"Are you sure?" he asks, unsure as to why exactly he's so bothered by it, but he wants to know, needs to know, because there's no questioning the slight sexual tension that's been silently budding between them for weeks.
"What? Of course!" Jeongguk replies, gripping one of the books beneath his hand when he realizes Taehyung isn't going to take it back just yet.
Taehyung frowns at Jeongguk's hands, shifting in place in his lonely isle of books. As much as he thinks he likes Jeongguk, he doesn't want meaningless sex, the exact thing his last relationship had turned into toward the ending and if this is Jeongguk's way of going about getting that (spending months buttering someone up like a cruel joke), then Taehyung's not interested.
There are enough people out there that like to use Taehyung's kindness and mistake his generosity as free will to get what they want from him.
That's not what he's after, at least not the only thing and if Jeongguk is half as troublesome as he makes himself sound some days, Taehyung has every right to wonder about his intentions.
To want to protect himself.
"Tae, I'm sorry-" Jeongguk whines, waiting for Tae's hands. "Please just, give me your hand. I didn't mean anything by it. You know I'm not like that."
Taehyung can hear in is voice that he means it...but he's still bothered by something tugging at his conscience.
"I think I'm gonna go" Taehyung ends up saying, unable to look at Jeongguk's hands because he feels a little embarrassed for having such a lewd thought. He feels silly getting worked up over something that was probably meant as nothing more than a joke, but it threw him off and he doesn't understand why.
That's what bothers him the most.
"Wait, why?" Jeongguk worries, fingers clutching tighter along the row of books.
"I uh, I have an essay to work on" Taehyung lies, looking down at his bag, bottom lip caught between teeth as he contemplates if he really wants to leave like this.
He doesn't, but he feels like he should, even if he really doesn't want to.
"Taehyung" Jeongguk says in a low voice, concern evident in his tone, finger tapping against one of the covers. "Come on, I'm really sorry but I mean..."
Taehyung's eyes flicker up to meet Jeongguk's hands again when his words catch his attention.
He wants to grab them...
"I mean...Fuck, this is going to come out wrong or sound bad but. I just-I need to know that you actually intend on meeting me" Jeongguk continues.
Taehyung squints at his hands. "Of course" he mumbles. How could he ever think otherwise?
"Okay but...you know I didn't mean anything by that, right? You know I'm not like that, right?"
Taehyung deflates, shoulders dropping as he frowns at Jeongguk's hands before stepping forward to grab them, letting his heart tell him exactly what he needs to do in that moment.
"Of course not. I just-" He doesn't know what he just. "It threw me off a little bit" he admits.
"But you know I'm not that kind of asshole right?"
Taehyung squeezes his hand to distract himself, unsure how to respond, because he doesn't actually know Jeongguk. Not very well anyway, but at the same time, he knows so much about him.
More than most, he guesses.
"Is there a reason we haven't met yet?" Jeongguk asks a little hesitantly, albeit candidly, because he needs to know why the idea is always shut down whenever it's brought up.
Taehyung's attention is quickly back on Jeongguk's hands, giving them a tight little squeeze before he begins absentmindedly playing with his thumb.
"Tae?" Jeongguk asks, gripping his hands gently.
"I'm afraid" Taehyung finally admits in a small voice, much softer than his normal tone.
Jeongguk frowns, but Taehyung can't see it.
"Afraid? Still?" he asks and Taehyung can hear the reserve in his voice, wonders if he's frustrated from being told 'not yet' over and over, or if he's concerned.
"I'm just afraid that once you meet me...once you know me for real, that you won't want me anymore. You'll realize how different we are and-"
"What does that even mean?" Jeongguk chuckles. "I don't see how you looking a certain way, would make me think poorly of you."
"That's not really what I...what if you don't like me anymore after we meet?" Tae mumbles.
"Taehyung, I like you a lot. I'm rather fond of you in case you haven't noticed, and for the record, I'm not just after sex if that's what you were thinking-"
"You like me?" Taehyung blurts out, cheeks burning hot with ambition.
"Well yeah, I do. God, this feels so childish but, do you like me too?" Jeongguk chuckles and Taehyung's heart does a little flip.
Yes, he does.
"I think so, yeah" he whispers, tracing his fingers along Jeongguk's knuckles as his cheeks bubble up with fondness and he cant stop himself from smiling.
"Taehyung, you know I'd never rush you, if that's what you thought" Jeongguk finally says when he doesn't receive a response.
"Hmm?" Taehyung hums.
"I mean, like, if we ever met-"
"-WHEN we meet" Taehyung corrects him.
"Right," Jeongguk smiles to himself. "When we meet...I wouldn't rush you into anything. I hope you didn't get that from me playing with your ring like that...I really just wasn't thinking."
Taehyung feels a little silly now, but he wants to know what else Jeongguk has to say so he squeezes his hand lightly to let him know that, yes, that was indeed exactly what he was thinking, albeit nervous for his reaction...
"Oh god, I'm sorry! No I didn't mean anything by it, I was just playing...and..." Jeongguk tries to reconcile a little frantically. "Shit! Taehyung I-"
"Jeongguk, it's okay!"
The grip on Taehyung's hand tightens, Jeongguk's thumb pressing lightly into his skin with added pressure.
"No, it's not okay, I'm sorry. I won't joke about that..." he offers, rubbing Taehyung's hands between his own, caressing his palm gently. "...Even if it has crossed my mind multiple times, what it might be like to actually hold your hand for real. Or even, to hold you instead."
It's warm, so warm and Taehyung feels all tingly, like his skin is itching, but in no particular location, his heart is hammering ardently in his chest, vibrating along his rib cage.
"This is so high school" Taehyung giggles, realizing the hilarity of the situation. "We're kind of lame, aren't we?"
Jeongguk snickers, pressing him thumb into Taehyung's hand before gripping it firm, fingers clasped comfortably tight. "A bit, yeah. But I like it."
"Me too" Taehyung blushes. "But, I should actually be getting home soon."
"We're good though, right?"
Taehyung snorts. "Yes. We're good Gguk. I'm sorry I freaked out-"
"No, don't apologize. I'm sorry for making it weird."
Taehyung smiles, knowing he may have overreacted slightly, but he also feels content knowing they'd unintentionally had that conversation.
"You didn't make it weird. I think I did" Taehyung says playfully.
"Regardless. So, see you tomorrow?" Jeongguk asks hopefully. "Well, I guess not see you but-"
"Of course. Yes. I'll talk to you tomorrow Ggukie."
Taehyung smiles at his own words, loving how the nickname rolls so effortlessly from his tongue, accompanied by the cute little snicker he ears on the other side of the bookshelf.
"Can't wait" Jeongguk replies happily.
"Tae? Do you think it's weird that we don't just text?" Jeongguk asks before Taehyung can pull his hands away.
He purses his lips in thought, smiling to himself upon realizing his answer, seemingly clear as day. "No. Because then what we have wouldn't be unique" he replies.
"How so?" Jeongguk asks curiously.
"Because! Then we'd be like every other person in the world who texts what they're feeling instead of talking. I like talking to you. I like your voice."
"I like talking to you too...Fuck phones then."
Tae snorts. "We can text if you want..."
"No! No, you're right" Jeongguk squeezes his hand. "I don't want to be like every other person who gets to know someone through a screen."
"Well, good then." Tae smiles, thankful for how this whole conversation had turned out, even after getting himself so worked up.
It just always seems effortless with Jeongguk, no matter what they talked about.
"But, I do however-" Jeongguk starts, linking their fingers tightly. "-want to get to know you in person Taehyung. I wanna know the face that matches these hands."
Jeongguk runs the palm of his other hand flat along the top of Taehyung's, warmth radiating between them as he caresses the skin. "And that voice..." he adds and Taehyung is right back to square one, butterflies assaulting his stomach as his heart thrums wildly, his mind doing back flips trying to work everything out at once.
"Soon" Taehyung replies in a small voice.
"Promise" Taehyung affirms with heated cheeks and a shiver that runs up his spine.
He means it.
Maybe sooner than he thinks...
- ♡ -
"So, what do your friends think about you coming to meet me everyday?" Taehyung asks Jeongguk, smiling down at the familiar pair of soft hands that caress his own.He runs his finger along the grooves of Jeongguk's knuckles before drawing circles along the back of his hand.
Taehyung smiles. "Cute."
Jeongguk squeezes his hand reassuringly. "Well, they obviously think it's a little funny to be holding hands in a library with a complete stranger" Jeongguk chuckles.
"As one usually does" Taehyung offers in response, sarcasm laced within his tone.
"Exactly." Jeongguk smirks, relishing in the warmth that Taehyung's hands hold. "Anyway. One of them have actually been pretty supportive about it. Something about good on me for actually talking to someone face to face for once."
"See, he gets it" Taehyung teases, twirling the ring on Jeongguk's index finger, watching as the silver metal flickers with the reflection of the libraries bright florescent lights.
"Yeah. Yoongi's a bit weird like that. Doesn't really believe in modern day technology, or something like that." Jeongguk laughs.
"Wait, Yoongi? As in a Min Yoongi with the fluffy bleached blonde hair, cat-like eyes?" Taehyung cuts in excitedly.
"Yeah. You know him?" Jeongguk asks curiously.
"You could say that," Taehyung smirks. "I think he's dating my best friend."
"You know him??" Taehyung squeezes Jeongguk's hand.
Jeongguk snorts from the other side of the books. "One could say that. He's, uhm...rather loud" Jeongguk says in a small voice, as if weary of his words and the context they hold.
He shifts a little, thumb pressing into Taehyung's hand as he clears his throat. He hopes Taehyung understands what he'd meant without having to go into further...detail.
"What do you mean he's loud-oh. OH."
Taehyung snorts abruptly before bursting into a short fit of laughter, covering his mouth with his free hand to mute his amused cries.
This is a library after all...
"Yeah..." Jeongguk smiles, loving how airy and wonderful Taehyung's giggles make him feel.
"Oh my god!" Tae laughs, playfully smacking the top of Jeongguk's hand. "Rude! "
"What? It's true! I live with Yoongi and our friend Hoseok and hes over all the time, and let's just say, they aren't overly courteous sound-wise whenever Jimin comes around."
"I guess he is kind of loud and whiny in general" Taehyung teases, smirking to himself when he think about how boisterous Jimin can be.
"That's one way to put it" Jeongguk replies.
"Well I apologize on his behalf" Tae chuckles, going back to playing with the ring on Jeongguk's finger.
"It's okay. I usually just go for a walk whenever they're uh-you know..."
Taehyung grins when he gets an idea, grasping his ring between fingertips before sliding it up and down his finger playfully, the same way Jeongguk had done a few days ago.
"Yes. THAT" Jeongguk snorts.
"Well I'm sorry you have to deal with my crazy ass friend and his lewd noises. Guess I'm lucky he never brings Yoongi home with him."
"Lucky is an understatement" Jeongguk chuckles.
"So you've met Jimin then?"
"Well, not exactly. I've seen him running out of the apartment in the morning, or sneaking in at night when he doesn't realize I'm there."
"I see" taehyung giggles.
"They think they're slick but they aren't. I see everything in that house."
Taehyung smiles at their hands, absentmindedly twisting the ring around Jeongguk's finger with his own as their hands stay locked together, loving ho perfectly their hands always seem to fit together.
"Funny how our friends are like, dating or whatever they're doing, and we've never met yet."
"Small world I guess."
"Guess so" Taehyung smiles brightly, sharing a similar sentiment,
Small world indeed.
Small enough, that their friends knew each other and yet, the two of them had never heard of each other before meeting.
Small enough, that Taehyung happened to accidentally touch the random hand that reached through the shelves above a book he was about to grab for.
Small enough, that Jeongguk had luckily decided to complete his volunteer hours for some childish prank he and a friend had done weeks ago in this very same library, instead of cleaning the campus gym like most would choose over book duty.
"Remind me again, how many hours you have left to do here for that stupid prank?" Tae suddenly asks, changing the subject letting his thoughts guide his words.
"That's pretty random" Jeongguk giggles, gripping Taehyung's hand tighter in response.
"I just thought about it. You've been coming every day now, haven't you? You must be done soon" Tae says thoughtfully.
Jeongguk clears his throat, fidgeting with Taehyung's hand."Yeah-uh. Well, I actually haven't had to do them for a while. I only needed to do 30 days..."
Taehyung furrows his brows. "Oh? So you've been coming to meet me-"
"Because I want to, yes" Jeongguk finishes his sentence, reading Taehyung's mind as he tightens his hold on the latter's hand, squeezing gently to reassure him of his words.
"Oh." Taehyung blushes, cheeks buzzing warmth as the tips of his ears tingle with heat and a chill runs up his back.
"Actually...if you must know, I've been done my hours for a while now" Jeongguk admits sheepishly, voice small as he taps his thumb against Taehyung's hand.
"Wait, what? How long?" Tae gasps. He thought Jeongguk had continued to come meet him because it was mostly convenient, not just because he sincerely wanted to.
It makes his heart feel warm.
The realization dawns on Taehyung, that Jeongguk could have stopped coming to meet him here long ago if he really wanted to, without any explanation and Taehyung would probably never know who he really was. But he didn't.
Tae's eyes instantly lift up to look at their clasped hands upon hearing Jeongguk's soothing tone, feeling the warmth his hands provide as he watches and feels the latter press his thumb into the fleshy side of his outer palm.
"I don't know what to say" he admits, blushing even more than he already was.
He's flustered, a little flattered and definitely happy. But mostly flustered.
"You don't have to say anything" Jeongguk replies, his gentle voice easing Taehyung into a content sigh as his shoulders deflate and he relaxes completely. "I wanted to come."
"I'm glad you kept coming."
"How could I not?" Jeongguk questions playfully, squeezing Taehyung's hand. "Why would I willingly give up coming to hold such soft, beautiful hands every day?"
Taehyung's mouth parts slightly as he watches Jeongguk's hand slowly glide up his arm until he's loosely grasping his wrist and massaging the skin with his thumb, gently pressing in to offer his reassuring touch.
"Why would I stop coming to see you before I even got a chance to meet you?" Jeongguk adds, voice smooth with sentiment.
"Oh..." Taehyung smiles again, cheeks dusting an even deeper shade of pink, a heated display of affection. He feels giddy and tingly all over, heart thumping wildly in his chest as Jeongguk continues to caress his skin.
"What kind of man would I be, had I not kept my word after promising we'd meet?"
Taehyung smiles uncontrollably. "I guess not a very good one, huh" he mumbles, swallowing the regrets from a prior state of mine, the words leaving his lips on their own before he has a chance to think them through.
Jeongguk smiles from ear to ear on the other side of the books as he pulls his hand back slightly to lace their fingers together. "Exactly."
Taehyung is frozen again, doesn't quite know what to say. His tongue feels heavy in his mouth and he wants to say something - anything - but he's afraid his voice might crack along the way, leaving his words to come out in a befuddled broken fit of embarrassing stutters.
"What's today? Wednesday?" Jeongguk suddenly says when the silence stretches too long past a few seconds.
"Yeah" Taehyung says without even having to think about it, staring at their hands with heated cheeks.
He knows it's Wednesday because he'd completed a mid term exam earlier that morning, that he thinks he did fairly well on.
"How about Friday?" Jeongguk asks.
"What about Friday?" Taehyung responds, Jeongguk's words not having registered just yet...that is, until it clicks half a second later and Taehyung's eyes shoot open wide. "Oh..." he blushes.
Friday is only two days away, Taehyung realizes.
"Only if you're ready of course!" Jeongguk squeezes his hand. "I don't want to rush you or anything-"
"Yes!" Taehyung blurts out, tightening his hold around Jeongguk's hand. "Friday. Yes. Let's do it!" he smiles, nibbling the inside of his cheek nervously.
"Great" Jeongguk murmurs, cheeks sore from smiling so big, glad Taehyung can't yet see just how silly and overjoyed he makes him feel all the time. "So, then Friday it is. e're finally doing this huh?"
Friday is only two days away, Taehyung repeats silently to himself, lips curling into a cute little smile.
"I guess we are" he says, swallowing the thick bubble of both fear, paired with excitement when he thinks about the end of his week. About Friday, when he finally gets to meet the mystery man behind the books. The angelic voice that cams him like no other.
"I can't fucking wait" Jeongguk mumbles, nearly a whisper, as he runs his thumb along Taehyung's hand in languid motions, pressing ever so lightly.
It calms Taehyung more than he'd like to admit, has his feeling warm all over, relaxed and mortified, all at the same time.
"Me too" he ends up saying, scrunching his nose with endearment.
He really can't fucking wait.
- ♡ -
"What the actual fuck is your problem Jungwoo?"
Jimin is fuming, eyes framed crimson red along the edged with dark,dilated pupils as a blood boiling rage fuels his sudden outburst.
He's fucking livid - rightfully so.
There's enough hatred fuming from every pore of Jimin's body to spare for both himself and Taehyung combined, not to mention their professor when he arrives to see what Jungwoo's done for seemingly no reason, other than the fact that he loves making Taehyung's life a living hell.
"You're a literal maniac! What makes you think that's okay, you dickweed?" Jimin spits at Taehyung's bully, fully aware of Jungwoo's usual malicious intent.
He does it on purpose, and they both know it to be true. Everyone in the room knows it to be true.
Everything had spiraled too quickly for Taehyung to truly register what had even happened, before Jimin is practically hurling himself across the room at Jungwoo, threatening to kick his head into the concrete with his black leather boots if he doesn't explain himself this instant.
"Fuck you, Min" Jungwoo curses, snarling at the tiny blonde with an affluent storm of rage that's spewing comically from every inch of his body, right with distaste.
Taehyung wonder's how anyone could ever hate Jimin, and then why they might hate him as well.
"Fuck you asshole!" Jimin wails back, stepping around a desk before nearly lunging himself at Jungwoo and that's when Taehyung has to force himself into a much delayed response.
He grabs for Jimin's arms without hesitating, stopping him from doing something he might regret. Before he stoops to Jungwoo's level.
Taehyung's not even sure why Jimin is so angry right now. It wasn't his work that had been ruined and burned to ashy shreds. It isn't his life that Jungwoo loves tormenting, but he appreciates his best friends efforts in helping defend his sanity.
"Jimin, he's not worth it" Taehyung murmurs, words faintly spoken, as if he's not as affected by what's happened (at least not as much as Jimin seems to be) while using his strength to keep his friend in his grip as the classroom look on in horror - and almost certainly amusement.
"You're damn right he ain't" Jimin yelps, lips twitching into an angry grimace, glaring daggers at Jungwoo. "But he can't just ruin your fucking work like that!"
Jimin fights Taehyung for his freedom, wiggling his body to get free. Taehyung struggles to hold the blonde back while Jungoo stands there with his arms crossed over his chest, an amused grin spreading across his stupid fucking face.
He looks so fucking proud of himself.
Like he probably enjoyed ruining Taehyung's many hours worth of hard work.
He's not even really mad about the artwork being torched per say. In fact, quite the opposite.
Taehyung could care less about the actual paintings themselves because they're a mere physical representation of creativity. He can remake them, repaint something new.
He's more annoyed and frustrating with the fact that he should have expected something like this from Jungwoo, and yet, he didn't.
What with the amount of turmoil the asshole has caused him thus far in the semester for seemingly no reason, and if there as one, Taehyung has no fucking idea what it might be.
"What are you gonna do about it huh?" Jungwoo taunts Jimin, winking toward the both of them through a darkening set of hazel eyes. "Fucking pretty boy like yourself gonna hit me?"
A deep and reverberated laugh vibrates from within his chest that cuts straight through Taehyung's nerves before he's circling his arms tighter around Jimin's body to keep him back, feeling him struggle even harder to break free after watching Jungwoo laugh condescendingly.
Taehyung almost wants to laugh because he knows Jimin could take Jungwoo honestly, but now isn't really the time to let his guard down.
"Awe, you think I'm pretty?" Jimin taunts with a sly lick of his lips, cocking his head to the side, sparing Jungwoo a mockingly seductive wink.
"Fuck off" the latter grunts, showing teeth as he snarls at Jimin.
"You wish" Jimin tuts, shrugging his shoulders, pouting his plump lips as Taehyung feels him begin to squirm again.
Even though this is all happening right in front of Taehyung, it's all very real and very frustrating, the way Jungwoo so easily gets under their skin and he still hasn't fully come to terms with the reality of the situation.
Jimin reminds him by cursing Jungwoo's name on his tongue, puffing his shoulders up for Taehyung to feel just how agitated he is, before he's groaning miserably at him to let him go. Taehyung only holds him tighter.
"You fucking prick! Why can't you just leave him alone? What has he ever done to you, for you to fucking torch his paintings? You're despicable, you know that?"
Jimin is breathing heavily now, head lolling around as he looks around to observe their fellow classmates looking on to watch the spectacle he's created (not that he cares in the slightest).
Taehyung swallows his anxieties, holding his irritation back as best he can given his best friend is currently losing his fucking mind in front of him and he really doesn't want to make this any bigger of a deal than it needs to be.
Although he is pissed, he just want to leave.
His professor will be here shortly (he hopes), and every person in this room knows what happened. They'd testify against Jungwoo on behalf of Taehyung and Jimin's word, right?
Taehyung's not so sure based on all of their tactless expressions...
"They were fucking trash anyway," Jungwoo comments, leaning his weight against one of the easels as a few of the students begin to giggle behind him, causing him to smirk pridefully. "I was simply putting them where they belonged."
Guess not, Taehyung realizes, scanning the room with a disappointed frown as his classmates snicker and whisper among themselves.
Jungwoo pushes off from the easel, stepping toward the two of them with a dark glare as he gives Jimin a quick once over before eyeing Taehyung behind him, offering a grunt as his lips curl up into an amused grin.
Taehyung stays put behind Jimin, arms wrapped around his body while stepping back as Jungwoo approaches, trying to keep a fair bit of space between them.
Honestly, he's kind of hiding behind Jimin. That, and he doesn't trust Jimin not to keep his arms to himself if Jungwoo get's too close, knowing his friends temper could burst at any given moment.
But mostly hiding..
Hiding from the animosity that's bubbling up from deep within the tiniest corners of his existence.
He's so fucking beyond done with Jungwoo's bullshit and has been for the longest time, but this. This really takes the fucking cake and he doesn't know how to react without totally blowing his cool.
So he stays silent - for now.
He doesn't want everyone to see how awful he feels, how badly Jungwoo's antis affect him, given how hard his heart is pounding in his chest, his mind continuously chanting 'let it go, just let it go' over and over.
As if on queue, Jungoo raises a brow in Taehyung's direction, tilting his head, taking another step forward when he notices his discomfort. He's taunting him. That grisly, shit-eating grin that spreads across his dumb face.
Taehyung wants to just smack it right off of his fucking mouth.
If he had to guess, he thinks that maybe Jimin does too. And he thinks about letting him do just that. All he'd have to do is let go of him, let him have a go at Jungwoo but he knows that's not the right thing to do so he keeps a stern hold around his chest.
"What's the matter Tae?" Jungwoo rumbles deeply in a disgusting tone, crooked grin curling upon his twitching lips.
He's loving this, Taehyung can see it in his eyes.
"Can't fight your own battles, huh? Need your little boyfriend to fight them for you?" He sneers, sparing Jimin another glance before snorting judgmentally, snickering to himself. Like he could do anything anyway."
"Fuck off Jungwoo" Taehyung finally brings himself to growl back, gripping Jimin's arms a little tighter than intended as the words fall from his mouth too quickly for him to shove back in.
Jungwoo cackles at him, throwing him an amused sneer. "Pathetic."
It makes Taehyung feel sick to his stomach, the way he speaks to people, talks down on everyone as if he's better than everyone else.
He can ignore how Jungwoo treats him for the most part, unless he's directly affected by it but messing with Jimin for no reason other than the fact that he's close to Taehyung, just to get on his nerves? It makes his blood boil hearing the way Jungwoo addresses them, especially because he's technically younger than both of them.
The respect is non-existent, but the again, Taehyung thinks that maybe Jungwoo is lacking in more than one area of character (and sense).
"Fuck you, scum" Jimin spits like fire, nose curled up into a nasty snarl, eyes dark with a warning.
"Jimin" Taehyung begins in a cool tone, trying his best to soothe his best friends rising temper.
He can feel Jimin's body vibrate against his chest, eager to throw himself at Jungwoo with no remorse and for another half a second, Taehyung contemplates allowing him to do so. But he doesn't...
"Yeah Jimin" Jungoo imitates humorously, raising a single brow in addition to the ugly grin spread across his face. "Listen to your little boyfriend."
Jungwoo beams devilishly, winking at the both of them as a snide chuckle vibrates within his throat and that's enough for Jimin to fully lose his temper. He's had enough.
"You fucking wish Taehyung was your boyfriend, asshole!" Jimin retorts, clenching his fists along his sides.
Taehyung can feel his muscles tensing.
"What's the matter?" Mad he doesn't want your nasty ass, so you have to pretend you hate him?" Jimin asks rhetorically.
"Cut the shit" Jungwoo growls, voice low and delirious with conviction as Taehyung notes the clenched fist forming along his thigh. "I'm warning you."
"That's it, isn't it?" Jimin laughs, throwing his head up to cackle into the air before glaring at Jungwoo with a more serious intent.
"I fucking mean it Jimin" the latter grumbles, stepping forward again as knuckles crack under the tense grip of clenched fingers.
"Jimin, stop" Taehyung whispers next to his ear, sensing that if he doesn't put a stop to this right now, its going to escalate too quickly for him to do anything at all. "Let's just go."
He almost doesn't recognize Jimin's ton when he snaps back at him, turning to face him.
"Fuck that! He deserves to know he's a piece of shit" Jimin comments, shooting Jungwoo one final glower before the latter is surging forward toward them, smacking him across the side of the face in a bitter response to his snide remark.
"You just don't know when to keep your mouth shut" Jungwoo murmurs, inner palm slapping Jimin right across the cheek without warning.
Taehyung leans back in response, trying to pull Jimin away with him before contact is made but it's too late.
Jimin's body tenses when Taehyung let's go of him, small hand coming up to cup his face as a sharp sting permeates his cheeks, skin flaring up into a tingly little flutter of pain.
He looks at his hand in shock, mouth parting to let out a slight chuckle and that's when Taehyung is both confused, and scared.
Taehyung know's that laugh - know's when Jimin is mad, past his breaking point.
"Did you just fucking slap me?" Jimin laughs, turning his gaze to face Jungwoo's seemingly surprised expression.
Jungwoo gapes at him, "Shit, Jimin. I didn't mean to-"
"You homophobic piece of shit" Jimin spits like acid with a finality that terrifies Taehyung, rage fuming from his small but strong frame as he steps forward, cutting Jungwoo off completely to throw a fist in his direction, clipping him square in the jaw as the classroom groans in response.
Taehyung swallows an instantly thick bubble of fear that swells at the back of his tongue, watching Jungwoo stumble back wards.
Jimin groans, grasping his own hand painfully, wincing as he glares down at Jungwoo who's stumbled to the floor in front of them.
While he appreciates the concern, Taehyung frowns, worry flooding his mind with a menacing headache because Jimin shouldn't need to fight his battles and get into scraps that don't concern him.
He knows he'll never hear the end of this.
That, or he'll feel like shit about it until something else happens for Jimin to throw himself into that will make Taehyung forget about this moment completely. Although, he doesn't think he'll ever get over how much he thoroughly enjoyed watching Jungwoo eat shit in the form of Jimin's tiny fist, he'll admit that.
Even so, he feels like they really need to get the fuck out of there, out of that classroom and out of Jungwoo's presence.
Taehyung already can't wait for today to come to an end, for a a few reasons;
One, he's just done.
Done with Jungwoo's relentless shit. Done with listening to Jimin get angry and combative on his behalf when he's usually the most bubbly, happy person Taehyung knows. Done with his classmates never giving a damn about him, or what people do to him for no fucking reason.
And two, he just wants to go talk to Jeongguk.
The day is barely over and he already can't wait for 4 pm to strike when he can head to his usual comfort zone and just live in the moment with Jeongguk, forget this morning and this moment.
At this point, the only thing he has to look forward to is the fact that at the end of the day - when all of this is hours behind him and he's had time to cool down - he can still go to the library and hold the only person's hand he craves as comfort.
The only person he wants to converse with, the only one he needs to talk to. The only person he knows can truly clam him down, help him forget today even happened.
Just a few more hours, Taehyung tells himself.
Jimin turns around to grab for his arm, pulling him to pick up their bags, offering a pained expression as he hisses a tiny "ouch" and that's when Taehyung notices the cut on his swollen bottom lip.
He glances down to the ground to where Jungwoo clutches his jaw painfully, cursing under his breath as he shoots them a fiery grimace, surely fired up and ready to chase after Jimin.
"Couldn't do anything, my ass" Jimin spits sarcastically, grinning pridefully as he drags Taehyung along toward the exit. "That fucking hurt" he whispers, shaking his fist in front of him as they exit the room swiftly before Jungwoo has a chance to react.
Taehyung's still a little shaken up from watching Jimin literally punch his bully square in the face, hands trembling slightly while his heart continues to pound in his chest, reminding him that he's very much alive as adrenaline rushes his veins with a searing hot avidity.
Jimin leads them out into the hallway to remove themselves from the situation and more importantly, get away from Jungwoo but everything quickly simmers back down to a manageable reality once that asshole is out of Taehyung's sight.
He's so done with today...
'You good?" Jimin asks calmly, as if he hadn't just been slapped and he didn't just throw a furious punch at someone's face.
"Yeah" Taehyung frowns, eyes wide, brows furrowing suspiciously, as if he's not even managing to convince himself of his own words.
Jimin's cheek is bright in color against his usual pale complexion, the corner of his eye is a little bit red and his bottom lip is definitely busted. It makes Taehyung pout, concern burying itself heavily just below the surface as he contemplates Jimin's words.
He doesn't actually feel okay.
Right now, he feels like his heart might fly out of his throat and his legs might give out, his brain might explode with how hyper aware he is having just witness that and suddenly, it's replaying in his mind - the moment Jimin's fist connected with Jungwoo's face - and he feels frantic.
"You-you just punched him..."
'Yeah. And he deserved it" Jimin smirks. "Listen, you're okay, right? Cause we gotta leave, like right now, before he comes after me" he says with an alarming certainty as he grasps Taehyung's shoulder's, giving them a little shake to pull his attention away from his thoughts. "Taehyung-"
"-What? yeah, okay" he stutters in response, looking back over his shoulder toward the art room. "Let's get the fuck out of here."
Jimin nods and they run down the hall toward the closest exit, out along the building's outer walls until they feel as though they've gotten far enough to walk and can actually breathe again.
"I uhm, I actually need to go for lunch with someone. You'll be okay if I leave?" Jimin asks tentatively, fidgeting nervously with his hands before running one up to card through his hair.
Taehyung knows he normally does that hen he's agitated or uneasy, noting the way his eyes dart back and forth behind them, as if wary Jungwoo might be chasing after them.
"Who are you meeting?" Taehyung asks.
He doesn't mean to pry, he's just curious.
"Uh, Yoongi. You don't know him" Jimin says a little fussily before glancing down toward his feet.
"Actually, I kind of do."
This catches Jimin's attention as eyes shoot back up toward Taehyung's gaze.
"Well, not really. Jeongguk knows him I guess" he adds.
"Oh" Jimin exhales before laughing sheepishly. "Oh yeah. I forgot they live together."
"I still can't believe you've never met Jeongguk with how often you're over there" Taehyung grins, nudging Jimin playfully on the arm.
"Hey, it's not like I'm over there to make friends with his roommates" Jimin shrugs. "Let's just say, I'd prefer if they didn't see me sneaking in at midnight and leaving in the morning with my hair an absolute mess" Jimin winks.
"Too late" Taehyung snorts. "Jeongguk has seen you leaving."
"Whatever" Jimin blushes, kicking at the sidewalk as his cheeks flare a rosy shade of pink, his whole face thoroughly matching his already reddened cheek where he'd been slapped.
"Jimin, I'm sorry. You got hurt" Taehyung apologizes, glancing toward Jimin's cheek with a contrite frown.
"Hey, don't sweat it, okay? I'm so tired of that asshole fucking with you" Jimin smiles, grasping Taehyung's shoulder reassuringly. "Really, it's nothing."
"-Got absolutely decked by my tiny fist, okay? Good enough for me" Jimin boasts with a pleased smile.
"Jimin, your lip" Taehyung says, eyes faltering down toward Jimin's angry bottom lip, puffy and swollen with an angry red tint.
Jimin brings a hand up to touch his bottom lip, wincing as he looks down at his hand to see the small speck of blood on his fingertip. "Oh. Whatever" he shrugs, offering Taehyung a carefree smile, pulling out his phone to check the time. "Shit! I'm sorry, but I gotta go. I'll text you later, okay? You sure you're good?"
Taehyung nods. "Yeah, I'm fine. Go have lunch with your boyfriend" he teases, smirking at Jimin with knowing grin.
"He's not my boyfriend" Jimin whines.
"Yeah...okay. Whatever you say " Taehyung coos mockingly before turning to walk away once they've said their goodbyes.
Just a few more hours, he reminds himself.
He wonders what Jeongguk's day has been like thus far - surely not as eventful (or shitty) as his has been he guesses.
At least, he hopes not.
— present time;
Taehyung glances up at the libraries entrance as he steps up the concrete stairs, each trudge forward seemingly lessening the frustrations of his day beneath each step, every time the sole of his shoe hits the ground he relaxes just slightly.
He'd done pretty well throughout the rest of his day, up to maybe about an hour ago, when he started to feel restless just aimlessly roaming campus, weary of running into Jungwoo. Perhaps a little paranoid at times, looking over his shoulder every now and then but, wouldn't you?
He's still hyper aware of his surroundings, observant of those who pass by along with the voices of strangers he picks up on with every group he walks past. He's on edge, half expecting to maybe hear Jungwoo's voice mixed in with them.
He's so done with today, but he'd done it. He'd successfully made it to 4 pm, the only time he cared about. The only thing he'd been looking forward to since leaving the library yesterday after making plans with Jeongguk to finally meet tomorrow.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow is Friday.
His heart flutters, a sheepish smile blushing upon his rosy cheeks as he opens the library door and enters the building, acknowledging the woman at the front desk that greets him on the way in. He makes his way toward the back of the library, passing a few large circular tables along the way that line the outer walls and fill the large empty spaces.
He glances up to meet a few familiar faces along the way, a few students who'd been in class with him this morning. They weren't laughing along with Jungwoo fortunately, but seeing their faces - staring at him like he were some kind of spectacle to be gawked at - makes him uneasy.
His mind is quickly flooding with thoughts of this morning after working so hard all afternoon to get rid of them.
'Jeongguk' he tells himself. 'Don't think about this morning. You'll be talking to Jeongguk soon.'
He steps into his usual isle, throwing his bag down to the ground with a thud. He leans back against the stacks with an exhausted sigh, pulling his phone out to look at the time.
He sighs, looking down his bag thrown carelessly to the ground with a blank expression, shoving his phone back into his pocket as he relaxes considerably now that he's here. He can't wait to hear Jeongguk's voice, to feel his hands, to finally feel at ease after being on edge all day.
That's how Jeongguk makes him feel every time their hands touch. Relaxed, calm, serene and so, so happy.
He nibbles the inside of his cheek, anxiously awaiting Jeongguk's arrival as he looks down to his feet, eyes glazing out of focus when he lets his mind run wild for a moments time, images of Jimin's fist colliding with Jungwoo's face eagerly filling his memory with dread.
He imagines it for what seems like the hundredth time today since actually witnessing it happen this morning. He remembers it clearly, seeing his paintings trashed to bits in the large sink at the back of the art room, canvases kicked in and burnt to pieces.
Honestly, he doesn't care about the paintings. He cares about Jimin and himself, and Jeongguk. His paintings and final projects can be redone. Maybe not the same, or to the quality he'd been able to achieve the first time around, but it's not that big of a deal.
He'll get over it, in fact he already has.
He's so stuck in his thoughts, moments passing by seemingly out of nowhere that he's completely startled when he hears the familiar storming hurdle barreling toward him from the other side of the books, Jeongguk's voice calling his name and quickly pulling him back to reality.
"Taehyung?" Jeongguk calls, feet clobbering toward their usual location before Taehyung can hear his bag being thrown on to the floor and his hands are instantly reaching through the books. "Tae, you there?"
He instantly feels calm.
"Yeah. Yeah I'm here."
"Are you okay?" Jeongguk asks frantically, twirling his hands impatiently for Taehyung to grab them.
Taehyung tilts his head, brows furrowing curiously as he steps forward, quickly taking Jeongguk's hands in his own as a baffled frown curls upon his heart shaped lips. "Huh? "
Why would Jeongguk be asking him if he's okay?
"What do you mean?" he asks, genuinely confused as to why Jeongguk is asking him such a question unless...
"I heard what happened this morning" he adds and suddenly it makes sense.
"How did you-"
"Jimin told Yoongi, and Yoongi told me" Jeongguk explains, grasping Taehyung's hands with a reassuring warmth that radiates all throughout his entire body once their hands are finally clasped and Taehyung feels at home, like he's right where he needs to be.
"Oh. Yeah I'm-" Taehyung pauses, glancing down toward their hands, slowly running his fingers along the ridges of Jeongguk's knuckles. He doesn't know what he feels honestly. "I'm fine" he ends up saying.
"Are you sure? I heard there was a fight?"
Jeongguk's voice sounds worrisome, concern written all throughout his tone as he holds Taehyung's hands a little tighter than normal , a little more comfortingly.
It makes Taehyung feel so warm all over.
"What do you know?" Taehyung asks selfishly, curious as to whether Jeongguk is simply giving him pity because he knows Jimin had punched Jungwoo in the face instead of him being the one to do it, or if he sincerely cares about Taehyung's well being.
He hopes it's the latter.
"I know that some asshole was giving you problems this morning. I don't really know what happened though, Yoongi just said Jimin was really shaken up."
So he doesn't know.
"Jimin and I got into a fight with someone this morning" Taehyung says simply, swallowing his thoughts while pressing his thumb into the side of Jeongguk's hand, nervously waiting for his response.
"What kind of fight?" Jeongguk asks.
Taehyung can hear the clear interest in his tone, can feel the tension in his hands clutch.
"Jimin punched someone" he admits, smirking slightly to himself when he says it out loud, the image of Jimin giving Jungwoo what he fucking deserved flooding his memory.
"Oh" Jeongguk sighs, giving Taehyung hand a gentle squeeze before continuing. "Tae...was it the same guy as before?" he asks hesitantly as his thumbs rub soothing circles into the back of Taehyung's hand.
"It's always the same guy" Taehyung admits, voice dropping down into a low and deepened drawl, as if he's for some reason afraid to admit this.
Jeongguk frowns, wondering what Taehyung must be thinking. Wonders what Jeongguk looks like, what kind of facial expression he's making right now, what he might be wearing, what he wants to say.
Taehyung pouts at their clasped hands, brows furrowing into a mild state of miffed hesitation. He doesn't really want to say his name. Doesn't want to verbally admit to Jeongguk that he's being bullied yet again.
He's just so sick of it all.
"Don't worry about it, he's a no one" he ends up saying, anxiously biting at the inside of his cheek and bottom lip until he feels the warmth of Jeongguk's hands enclosing fully around his own.
"He's not just a no one. He's an asshole and he's been fucking with you for no reason" Jeongguk says, giving Taehyung's hand a little squeeze before he's asking the same question again with a more deliberate tone. "Who is it Tae?"
"His name is Jungwoo" Taehyung finally lets himself say. "You probably don't even know him-"
"Fucking Jungwoo. Of course" Jeongguk groans, half growling behind the row of books as he tightens his grip around Taehyung's hand, pressing his fingers into the skin.
"You know him?" Tae asks immediately.
"Are you kidding me, of course I know that asshole. Used to pester me in Psychology every morning until he was removed from the class. I don't know where they put him, but one day he just kind of stopped coming and I was fucking thankful for it."
Taehyung's eyes widen, recalling the beginning of the semester when Jungwoo had come into art for the first time, a few days late to the semester's start. He'd mentioned having been moved from another course, something about not meeting the standards or having the right pre-requisites.
"Fuck" Taehyung mutters to himself, unaware of his quiet outburst until Jeongguk is giving his hand a little squeeze.
Taehyung's brows cinch along his forehead, lips pouting out in annoyance. "He...I think he came to my class instead."
"What?" Jeongguk asks in a muted, monotone voice. "No he, wait. Why do you say that?"
"I think he transferred from your class, to mine" Taehyung explains, spelling it out for the both of them as his mind comes to terms with the reality of the situation.
'Small fucking world' he thinks to himself, heart clenching in his chest until Jeongguk is gripping his hand reassuringly to calm him, as if he can sense Taehyung's restlessness through just his touch alone.
It makes Taehyung's heart rumble with affection.
They talk for another half an hour until Taehyung is feeling a little too on edge with the whole day playing over his thoughts, fidgeting with Jeongguk's hands a little too often for his own liking and he knows the latter can feel how anxious he is.
He's trying to ignore the invasive thoughts that filter in and out of his mind, tries hard to focus on the sound of Jeongguk's voice, but he just can't seem to ignore the immense feeling of remorse he feels toward Jungwoo. How heavily he could dislike one single person. How rash his reflections have become, how he wishes it as him that had punched Jungwoo in the face instead of Jimin.
He feels guilty and somewhat self-indulgent, but also liberated thinking about it.
"Teahyung, I can tell you're still upset" Jeongguk eventually says, gently soothing his thumb across the latter's knuckles between every groove, making sure to move slow enough so that Taehyung knows he means no hurry. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"Okay. But just remember, I'm here if you change your mind."
"That fucking prick had the audacity to slap Jimin" Taehyung finds himself interrupting Jeongguk as irritation boils deep within the pit of his stomach, skin flaring up to the touch and he's certain Jeongguk can definitely feel it too.
"He slapped Jimin? Fuck, no wonder Yoongi was so pissed off when I talked to him earlier."
"Yeah. He fucking slapped Jimin across the face" Taehyung groans, biting his bottom lip as he replays the incident in his mind, yet again. "He slapped him, instead of me. It should have been me-"
Jeongguk tightens his grip, gently digging his thumb into the side of Taehyung's hand with the added statement. "Wait what?" he asks, confusion laced within his tone. "What do you mean instead of you?"
"Jimin was only defending me. I don't even really care about what he did. I'm already over it, but Jimin. He was fucking furious. He-"
"Wait. Taehyung, what did Jungwoo do?" the latter cuts in worriedly, gripping Taehyung's hands for a response.
"It's nothing. I'll get over it. I can just remake them" Taehyung insists, frowning at their hands in front of him. "They're just paintings."
"What did he do to your paintings?"
Taehyung pouts, lips fattening out into a disappointed plump. "He ruined them" he finally says with a meek sigh, swallowing a thick bubble of frustration as he feels Jeongguk's grip on his hand tighten.
"He fucking did what?" Jeongguk asks in an icy tone.
"It's not a big deal Jeongguk" Taehyung tries to content. "I can remake them."
"Taehyung, that's kind of a big fucking deal. How many did he ruin?"
Taehyung rolls his eyes in thought. If he had to guess, probably about five or six fully finished paintings, maybe two half completed?
"Maybe eight in total?"
"What a fucking dick" Jeongguk cusses, low enough that Taehyung nearly misses it.
He gives Jeongguk's hand a little squeeze. "Really, I'm over it. I'll just have to remake them in the coming week to be able to turn in for my finals" he adds, shoulders dropping into a defeated slump. "It will only take me a few days to complete."
Jeongguk groans, running his thumb along the smooth skin of Taehyung's hand as he laces their finger's together sweetly. "Tae, if you need to work on them tomorrow instead, we can meet another time if you-"
That's the last thing he wants.
He needs to meet Jeongguk. Needs to feel his touch, see his face, hear his voice. He doesn't think he can get through tomorrow, having to see Jungwoo's face in his third period lecture again if he isn't going to be able to see Jeongguk and finally meet as planned.
Especially not after what happened this morning. He knows Jungwoo almost definitely has it out for he and Jimin.
"No, I want to meet you tomorrow" he says with finality, grasping Jeongguk's hand tighter to prove his integrity.
Jeongguk strokes his hand, playing lightly with the ring on his finger as a smile curls upon his lips "Okay. Me too."
"I can't believe he did that. Someone outta' put him in his fucking place."
Taehyung laughs. "Jimin kind of already did."
He feels a little more at ease now knowing tomorrow is still a go, and being able to joke about this morning with Jeongguk makes him feel a little more composed.
But he also sort of wants to go home, feels the need to just put an end to today. As much as he wants to stay here, holding Jeongguk's hand all night long, listening to the soothing tone of his voice while he reassures him that everything will be alright - he just wants to curl up in bed with his sweet puppy and relax the stresses of his day away.
"Jeongguk, I think I'm going to go home. I've had a really long day"he finds himself admitting honestly.
"That's okay. Fuck, I just can't get over this...What gives him the right to-"
"Gguk-" Tae cuts in, clasping Jeongguk's hand firmly in his own. "Forget it, okay? I already have."
He hasn't, but if it's what they both need to hear - then maybe he has. For arguments sake.
"Okay, if you say so" Jeongguk chuckles as Tae pokes at the back of his hand before giving it a final squeeze and leaning down to absentmindedly press his lips to the top of his hand, completely thrown off guard by his own actions until he leaning back, eyes wide and confused as to why he'd just done it.
"Oh my god. I don't know why I just did that..."
"Did you just kiss my hand?" Jeongguk cuts in, surprise evident in his airy voice as Taehyung stares down at the hand he'd kissed.
"I 'm sorry, oh my god. I don't know why I-"
"Hey! Taehyung. Hey-," Jeongguk grabs for Tae's hand, clasping his own large hands fully around the latter's in a warm embrace. "It was cute, okay? I liked it" he admits and his voice sounds so, so calming.
It takes a few more minutes of the both of them timidly confessing their admiration's toward each other, a few mentions of tomorrow and how they're finally going to meet as well as many more lingering moments of clasped hands before they finally decide to call it a night.
"So what are your plans tonight?" Jeongguk asks and Taehyung really doesn't have a solid answer.
"Honestly, nothing. Just waiting for tomorrow to finally come. Planning my art project all over again I guess. You?"
Jeongguk is suddenly silent and Taehyung can sense a quick approaching tension that lingers along the books between them, a thick cloud of vexation sifting through the air.
"I don't know yet" he replies calmly, throwing Taehyung slightly off guard by the shift in his tone. "Haven't decided."
"Oh. Well, whatever you get up to, I hope you have a good night" Taehyung replies, trying to ease up the tension, feeling Jeongguk's palm heat up with every passing second.
"Yeah. You too Taehyung. I hope you have a better night than the day you've had" Jeongguk says warmly once he's shaken off the feeling of frustration. "Please, go home and relax, okay? You deserve it."
Taehyung swoons, heart fluttering rapidly as little butterflies make their way from his stomach to his chest and he feels light as air.
"I'll try. And I'll see you tomorrow. For real this time."
Taehyung smiles, feeling a lot more at ease with his day now that he'd spent his evening with Jeongguk, a lot longer than he'd planned to be honest but he's not complaining - not one bit.
"Yes. For real. I can't wait!"
And so they part, for the very last time until they finally meet in person tomorrow. But not until they've held each other hands for another few moments of course.
Taehyung waits a few moments before exiting the library, deciding to check out a book he'd been meaning to read from a few weeks ago, figuring it might be a good way to relax later until he's sleepy enough to just crawl into bed and call it a night.
When done, he makes his way toward the front exit, smiling to himself at the thought of finally meeting Jeongguk.
It's all so new to him (meeting someone this way), and it was very unexpected to begin with but he figures this is the universe telling him that not everything has a particular rhyme or reason. As Jeongguk had put it, there really is no contrite meaning to way we live our lives.
Everything just sort of happens and you have to roll with it, with the unexpected punches in order to adapt and succeed. To do what's best for you in the long run.
It sort of made sense to him now, what Jeongguk was saying before. It makes him smile, feelings of pure fondness creeping up on him as he steps outside into the chilly evening breeze, eyes turned down to his feet as he thinks back on every day leading up to this moment - every day he'd spent getting to know Jeongguk.
Finally, it was all about to be worth the wait...and he can't fucking wait.
As he's walking down the steps of the library, his eyes catch the quick sprint of someone frantically dashing across the parking lot to his left and out on to the road, running quickly down a neighboring street but before he can even register who it was or where they're headed - they're gone.
"Someone's in a rush" he mumbles, dropping the new book into his bag before shrugging it over his shoulder and beginning his short trek home.
He does, however, note that the guy running looks vaguely familiar. A face he'd maybe seen before in passing but nothing really stands out so he shoves the thought to the back of his mind.
Finally. Tomorrow is Friday.
Tomorrow, everything changes.
- ♡ -
Taehyung walks the halls a little anxiously, aimlessly eyeing the people that pass him, paying no attention to anyone in particular as his mind is runs thick with worry.
Unfortunately, Jungwoo is in his final lecture this afternoon and he's obviously not very thrilled about it, wondering whether or not he'll try to start something after yesterday's incident. He knows Jungwoo isn't going to be thrilled to see him either, which somehow comforts him. The fact that they hate each other equally, levels the playing field tremendously.
Taehyung stands outside the door to his final lecture, tightly hugging a textbook to his chest. His eyes wander the halls nervously before he heads inside, anticipating Jungwoo's untimely arrive because the universe seemingly loves to fuck with him. But he doesn't.
He slips inside the door, making his way to the back of the room to one of the many available seats. Normally he'd opt for sitting in the middle of the room, but not today. Not when he knows Jungwoo is almost certainly out for him, probably pissed off about yesterday and more than likely holding a mindful grudge that will only continue to make Taehyung's life a living hell until the semesters end.
His lecture is about to start, students piling in last second before their professor steps through the door and silently places his things on a chair in the corner along the front wall. Tae watches him shove off his coat before fixing his eyes back on the door - waiting. Waiting for his heart to drop, his mind to spiral and his breathing to whiplash the second Jungwoo arrives.
He anticipates the feeling of dread, annoyance bubbling up in the back of his throat as he swallows it away, trying harder than normal to calm his nerves.
But Jungwoo isn't my there yet, which confuses Taehyung because he knows that the guy has some sort of deal with the university, some kind of probationary contract he needs to uphold, therefor everyone knows Jungwoo can't miss any classes.
He also knows Jimin hadn't hit him hard enough to miss class.
His brows furrow as he watches his professor settle in, hitting a few papers against the top of the desk at the front of the room before explaining the assignment they'll be expected to complete in the coming week. Taehyung is only half listening, eyes focused on the closed door as he anxiously waits for Jungwoo to come barreling through. He looks at the clock on the wall. Jungwoo is late...
As much as Taehyung hates him (wishes he didn't have a single class with him in the first place, wishes he'd never met him at all), he wonders where he might be, a bitter sense of concern bubbling up in the back of his mind. Not that he cares...
Okay, maybe he cares a little bit.
But only because he's a little paranoid that Jungwoo is just waiting to sneak up on him, take him off guard. That, and maybe Taehyung just cares a little too much about other people (even if he hates their guts),he'd just never admit it.
Taehyung looks down at his phone on the desk, fingers tapping anxiously against the side of his seat as he glances back and forth between the door, to his teacher, and back down to his phone before pressing the home button to check the time.
How had 15 minutes already pass by?
He eyes the room until his eyes settle on Jungwoo's usual spot - now an empty chair. He should be relieved right? Glad he doesn't have to face that asshole. Happy he's able to sit in his class for the first time ever and not worry about the kind of snarky comment Jungwoo might toss his way.
It should be gratifying to not have to worry about bumping into him when class ends, only to gain an incredibly intentional passive-aggressive remark about how he 'should watch where the fuck he's going', even if Jungwoo had stepped in front of him on purpose to rile him up.
But he isn't.
Doesn't feel that way at all. In fact, he's kind of worried. For himself, for Jimin, for...Jungwoo?
Taehyung rolls his eyes, mentally scalding himself for giving a damn. Instead, he fidgets with his phone, pulling it down into his lap and out of sight to send Jimin a text, telling him Jungwoo isn't here and to ask if he's maybe seen him.
Suddenly Tae remembers what Jeongguk had said yesterday. About how Jimin was 'pretty shaken up' when he'd gone to meet Yoongi. He didn't look shaken up, Tae frowns. In fact, he looked quite the opposite and had very candidly insisted he was perfectly fine, just moments after colliding his fist with Jungwoo's face.
Perhaps Jimin was being modest, like he usually is.
The again, Jimin's never been the type to admit defeat or entice his weaknesses. He likes to keep his eyes peeled, eyes up and head down.
It's safe that way. Let nobody in who could potentially hurt you, while keeping your eyes open for trouble. Jimin is kind, much kinder than most people Taehyung knows...but only if he respects you and appreciates your friendship, or you give him a reason not to. Otherwise, you better run.
But Jimin is also stubborn as hell, Taehyung reminds himself, fingers tapping the screen to open his messages with Jimin before he begins quickly typing out a message, glancing up and down to make sure he doesn't get caught texting in class.
He's curious, maybe a little too concerned if he's being honest with himself, but he knows Jimin would never admit to actually being 'shaken up' - even if he was. He also knows, that if anyone knew where Jungwoo might be - it would be Jimin.
He knows everything about everyone.
Hey Jimin! Never heard from you last night, you okay?
Also, sorry again for letting you punch Jungwoo :(
You're apologizing for letting me punch that asshole?? Really Taehyung? LOL
I guess so, yeah haha
He had it coming...It'd do it again honestly.
And I'm fine. Fist kind of hurts but nothing a little ice can't soothe. Totally worth the pain.
Also, aren't you in class? You always bitch about me texting you in class, lol...
Yeah I am but...I have a question. Have you seen Jungwoo today?
Why do you care so much?
And haven't you heard?
I don't care...
You DO care, because you care about everyone Tae :P
But I'm surprised you haven't heard, it's like all over campus.
Heard what Jimin ?!
He apparently got the shit kicked out of him last night
Wait what?? By who!
No idea, but whoever did it, was clearly pretty mad. Messed him up real bad...more than I did, and you saw the look on his face after I punched him
I'll never forget it
You're crazy, you know that?
I know :)
Well damn. I wonder who it was then. Must have been someone who really hated him...He's not in class. Someone must have had some major beef with him.
Or someone just finally gave him what he was asking for...Was bound to happen eventually I guess lol
I guess...Hey, did I tell you Jungwoo used to be in Jeongguk's class??
Yeah, before he came to art at the beginning of the semester. Remember?
Damn, yeah I do...our luck huh?
You're telling me...
It's time. It's finally time. Taehyung replays this single detail in his thoughts with finality the entire way to the library, deciding to quickly duck into a close by washroom last second to calm his nerves along the way.
He's nervous, heart thrumming ten fold like the beat of a drum. He's unsure how he's even managed to get from his last lecture, to the spot he's at now - bracing himself against the inside of a washroom stall in order to catch a single breath before finally meeting Jeongguk.
Inhaling a deep breath, he's conscious of how much air filters throughout his lungs before exhaling slowly in an attempt to calm himself down. A few deep breaths against the stall's cool metal walls, and he's feeling a lot better already.
And having not seen Jungwoo today was definitely adding a level of security to everything.
After Jimin had punched him in the jaw, he'd half expected (if not fully) for Jungwoo to fully be out for his sanity, ready to terrorize him the very next day, cause him nothing but angst and grief in the following week until the end of the semester.
But he'd gotten lucky...
Someone else, besides Taehyung and Jimin, had seemingly had enough of Jungwoo's shit.
Someone else, was happy enough to put him in his place, show him a little tough love, and Taehyung wonders who it was. Who had the balls to stand up to such a nasty individual such as Jungwoo.
Regardless, he's selfishly thankful for whoever had done it. Not that his first resort to anything was violence. In fact, he has nearly half a mind to scold Jimin for resorting to such force in the first place, but Jungwoo had hit him first, so, it cancels out...right?
That's what he tells himself anyways. What he's been telling himself the past 24 hours in order to forget the disgusting look on Jungwoo's face right before he'd slapped Jimin across the face. Right before Jimin had sprung back, fist clenched and swinging.
It made it easier.
But that's yesterday's news. What Taehyung's really struggling with now, is the fact that in 15 minutes, he's going to finally meet Jeongguk.
The hands he'd been holding firm over the last two months.
The hands who've helped reassure him of any worry he's bottled up unknowingly, happy to hold his hands through it all.
The comforting voice that's kept him sane, given him something to look forward to everyday (rain or shine), and that alone is enough for Taehyung to clear his throat and smile with conviction, stepping out of the stall and into the washroom to face himself in the mirror.
This should be easy, he tells himself.
This should be the easiest thing he's done all year, besides completing his midterms. Those were pretty fucking easy.
But this. This should be effortless, exciting and just - easy.
Meeting Jeongguk should be effortless, because getting to know him this far has been a piece of cake and for as long as Taehyung can remember, he's always been a fan of sweet things.
Taehyung smiles at himself in his reflection, small smirk curling upon his lips at the thought, the cheesy joke doing wonders to his rationality, balancing him out into an eager ball of excitement.
He's giddy, skin tingling as goosebumps that flay beneath every inch of skin, sending a shiver up his spine.
He's excited, elated. Ready. Terrified, but so ready.
He lets a hand card through his hair, fluffing it up between his fingers to style lightly until he's happy with what he sees. He'd already put on a light touch of makeup this morning, not enough to really be noticed, but enough for him to feel a lot more confident in facing Jeongguk for the first time.
He hopes he likes it.
He pouts in the mirror, applying a thin layer of liptint before puckering his lips, eyes wandering his reflection to make sure he looks presentable.
He looks good. Great even. He's a little nervous for Jeongguk to see him, to observe his slightly prepped appearance and put-together attire, worried he might get the wrong idea. Most people do...
The fact that he perhaps comes off as the 'nerdy' type (as one might describe him) worries him slightly when he thinks about how the latter may perceive him, but then he remembers how non-judgmental and honest Jeongguk's always been with him and he feels silly for doubting himself.
Silly for assuming, expecting, preparing himself for the worst.
He's quickly pushing the thought to the back of his mind, reminding himself that Jeongguk's been nothing but kind to him. Always there for him, regardless of the weather, or his own sensitivities.
He always made it.
Always made time in his day for Taehyung.
Tae quickly realizes this, thinking back on how Jeongguk could have stopped coming to meet up with him at any point over the last two months since the first day, and how he hadn't. How he'd instead chose to make it part of his daily routine, the same way Taehyung does without even questioning his intentions.
Everything was just so easy with Jeongguk.
And maybe it's because of the nerves coursing thick through his veins like a ticking time bomb, just bursting to explode at any given moment, but Taehyung's also very enthusiastic. A sudden surge of energy riling up his heart and suddenly, every little worry he'd had seems frivolous - meaningless and utterly unnecessary. Jungwoo's not around to tear him down, no one is there to feed his denial.
It's just him and his thoughts, and soon it will be him and Jeongguk.
Soon he'll be able to hold the warm, familiar pair of hands that comfort him daily. Soon, he'll be able to finally match the soothing voice and the friendly face that accompanies the lasting impressions he's built up in his mind thus far about the person he's come to know as Jeon Jeongguk.
Soon, he'll meet Jeongguk for real and everything will be different, yet somehow, naturally mundane and comforting in the way that they finally get to speak - face to face.
Finally get to see each other through curious eyes, instead of a bunch of old books and dirty shelving.
Taehyung smiles confidently, stepping back out into the hallway to make his way to their usual meeting spot with a new found tenacity, eager to meet the only person he's developed feelings for in years. The only person he's shared a unique bond with that wasn't platonic (like Jimin).
He's more than ready, hoping Jeongguk feels the same.
Friday has finally come.
They're finally about to meet, Taehyung's heart doing little flips inside his chest when he realizes this information and finds himself beaming with excitement.
Just a few more minutes...
- ♡ -
Jimin texts Jeongguk...
You better not hurt him...
Not my intention...
Well good...You'll be there?
Things didn't go as planned...I'm trying my best Jimin
Fuck that, what you did is great and all, but if you hurt my best friend...
I would never Jimin...
Then you better be there
- ♡ -
- great happiness and exhilaration.
Not by much, but he figures Jeongguk won't come right on time anyway seeing as his last class is all the way across campus and it takes him a few minutes to sprint from building to building as he's mentioned before. He'll take whatever time he can though.
He figures, he can probably use the few extra moments to calm himself a little bit more, breathing in through his nose and out through his mouth to soothe his growing nerves now that he's actually here.
The first thing that pops in his mind, is how they're going to do this. Are they going to start out how they normally do, hands clasped and a bit of calming conversation before finally stepping to the ends of the isles to meet in person?
Should he just be waiting at the end of the isle to start?
Is Jeongguk going to come over to his usual side?
They hadn't really talked this through, which the more he thinks about, he realizes it really isn't that big of a deal - he's just really fucking excited.
Elated to finally be in this moment, eager to meet Jeongguk and ready for whatever - whoever - is about to walk into his life.
- the action of anticipating something; expectation or prediction.
Taehyung is bouncing with an eager enthusiasm that swirls in the pit of his stomach like a storm of trapped butterflies, heart hammering in his chest as he paces the isle.
He's excited...and terrified.
And nervous, but mostly excited.
Any moment, Taehyung expects to hear Jeongguk hurdling down the opposite isle to their normal spot. He's still unsure how this is going to work, how it's about to go down but he's ready to roll with the punches, half expecting to swim in a thick lake of tension - at least in the beginning.
He's unsure what to expect, too caught up in the moment to really give it much thought besides tapping his foot anxiously on the dark red library carpet, inhaling a heavy breath only to exhale quickly and repeat the action over and over.
He can practically feel his heartbeat in his feet and hands, the tenacity he holds deep down in the core of his being giving him an encouraging pep talk, telling him to not run away and hide, even if it's what he desperately wants to do right now.
Taehyung glances down at his phone.
It's okay. Jeongguk is usually a minute or two late anyway, why would today be any different?
Taehyung tries not to let the feeling of uncertainty edge it's way up onto the surface of his mind. He's just so hysterical, and it feels like the seconds are literally eating away at his patience.
He paces the isle a few feet at a time, sighing as the time passes way too slowly now that he's waiting, utterly eating away at his fortitude. He's shaking his hands as if there might be a prickling tingle in the tips of his fingers, eyes following along the shelving, absentmindedly observing book titles that mean nothing to him right now.
There's nothing to worry about.
Jeongguk will be here, he's just running late.
It could be anything...
He could have been held up in his lecture, or stopped on his way here by someone he knows.
It could be anything.
It's only a few minutes, Taehyung tells himself.
Taehyung glances down to his phone, heart still racing wildly in his chest.
He's just late - it's not a big deal.
People are late all the time.
Taehyung anticipates Jeongguk's arrival, feeling the adrenaline coursing through his veins like thick molten lava.
He'll be here.
He always made it, always made time for Taehyung.
And today was important. Today meant the end of a curious cycle and the start of something new, hello to the unknown ( or so he hoped).
So Jeongguk has to be here...needs to be.
Taehyung tugs his bottom lip between his teeth, brows furrowing with distress as he glances down at his phone again before anxiously shoving it back into his pocket, heart pounding just as steadily as the moment he'd arrived.
Jeongguk isn't here yet.
Jeongguk...is really late.
- give way to anxiety or unease; allow one's mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.
Jeongguk is late.
Very late, in fact he's an hour and 3 minutes late Taehyung notes, frowning down at his phone yet again, before tossing it down on the top of his bag that's been thrown against the bookshelf at his feet.
It lands face up, the screen lighting up the second it makes contact. His eyes are quick to shoot in the direction of his phone, widening with anticipation the second it lights up to catch his attention. He knows it wouldn't have been Jeongguk though, he doesn't even have his number. It must have just tapped the power button when it hit his bag...
Suddenly the realization that he and Jeongguk had never even exchanged phone numbers numbs his thoughts.
Jeongguk is over an hour late. They've never corresponded outside of the library, and if Jeongguk were going to be late, there's no way he could have told Taehyung ahead of time.
His facial expression cinches along his brow bone, lips pouting as a worried furrow lines his forehead. What if something happened? He would have no idea. What if Jeongguk got into an accident, or got into some kind of trouble?
Taehyung allows himself to ponder the possibilities, endless explanation after the next as to why Jeongguk might not be there as a wave of concern wages over his conscience.
He wonders if Jeongguk would be late on purpose maybe, even after he'd spent so much time getting to know Taehyung.
Why'd he'd simply not show up after months of reassuring him of his intentions, reminding Taehyung how endearing every little moment they'd shared together was and just how much they meant to him.
How much time he spent offering Taehyung his unconditional support.
How soft and comforting his touch has always been, and why thinking it all meant nothing to Jeongguk felt so completely wrong to examine. It would be silly to think Jeongguk was blowing him off, so he pushes it to the back of his mind.
Taehyung's shoulders slouch as he lets himself slink down the bookshelf to the floor next to his bag. He reaches next to him to touch the home button on his phone, screen lighting up to show him the time as if taunting him more than his vulnerability already was.
Jeongguk is late and Tae is uneasy.
He could get Jimin to text Yoongi to see if maybe he knows where he is, that wouldn't be too hard to do, but honestly, he shouldn't have to do that.
Feels as if maybe that's imposing, given they've never met. He shoves the thought away, ignoring it for now.
He's confused, maybe a little disappointed as well, because he thought Jeongguk was different.
He's not so sure anymore.
But more than anything, among the many feelings of doubt cramming up the corners of his mind, he's worried.
He hopes Jeongguk will come, because if he doesn't, he knows he'll feel like a fool and Kim Taehyung is no damned fool.
So, he has hope.
He believes in Jeongguk.
- the state of being annoyed, frustrated or worried.
Taehyung is growing annoyed. Yeah, he's worried (definitely concerned and very confused), but he's also a little bit ticked off.
Where the fuck is Jeongguk?
He was supposed to be here two hours ago.
Taehyung glances up at the usual spot Jeongguk's hands poke through. Nothing.
Taehyung's heart has settled slightly, thumping only mildly in his chest at a considerably normal rate, his arms crossed irritably against his chest. He's pouting (rightfully so), at the fact that Jeongguk isn't fucking here.
Was this all a game to him?
Was he maybe just some type of conquest to amuse his broken home life and keep Jeongguk occupied? Keep him busy with something - someone - to mess around with until he felt a little better about himself?
Taehyung scoffs at the thought, mentally scolding himself for even thinking it.
That's not it.
He knows that's not the truth, far from it. He knows Jeongguk would never do that, would never act that way. He's just annoyed, irrationally telling himself whatever excuse he can to numb the baffling reflections that flood his mind with suspicion.
Any excuse will do honestly at this point.
It's better than thinking of the latter. Of all the endlessly hurtful explanations as to why Jeongguk might have stood him up. The ones where Taehyung's fears come true, his doubts come to life. Maybe Jeongguk had changed his mind?
Maybe he found out who Taehyung was, or what he looked like, and got cold feet? Maybe he decided he wasn't ready to meet after all.
The most frustrating part about everything, is that Taehyung just doesn't know and he's annoying himself with his own uncertainty.
Did Jungwoo have something to do with this? Maybe that's it!
Maybe - and he knows this is a long shot, but maybe - this is Jungwoo's way at getting back at Taehyung?
At this point, Taehyung ponders every possible corner of explanation because he doesn't know what to think. Vexation pools deep in the pit of his stomach, making its way to the surface as a thick bubble of skepticism sits at the back of his throat.
He's annoyed. With Jeongguk, or Jungwoo, or both (he's still unsure), but he's definitely bothered, he knows that for sure.
Annoyed with himself for letting Jeongguk play with his heart.
With Jeongguk, for getting his hopes up only to literally leave him hanging.
Annoyed with the carpet for being such an ugly shade of red, as he smacks the bottom of his shoe against the floor in a huff.
His thoughts are interrupted by the sudden buzz of his phone, pulling him from an unsavory feeling of sheer rejection that's started to spin itself in a web of his reality. He grabs his phone in a rut, noticing Jimin's sent him a few messages, pouting at the screen.
I'm sure your library Prince Charming has surely arrived and swept you off your feet and you two are canoodling in the books by now but TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT LATER! LOVE YOU!
Wait...why are you texting me back.
Don't tell me he didn't fucking come
He didn't come.
I'm actually going to kill him...
Wait it's been two hours...are you still there?
- ♡ -
Jimin texts Jeongguk again...
Consider yourself a dead man Jeongguk...
I'M ALMOST DONE!!!
YOU HAD ALL NIGHT WHAT THE FUCK
HE'S WAITING THERE YOU KNOW
NOT MY FAULT JUNGWOO IS AN ASSHOLE!! SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE! IM JUST RUNNING A LITTLE BIT BEHIND
ILL BE THERE SOON!
You're not starting out on a very good note dude...You better get there NOW.
He's probably going to leave soon...
Please, Jimin I'm on my way!
YOU OWE ME
WHATEVER YOU WANT
JUST KEEP HIM THERE
IM BEGGING YOU
Only because I love Taehyung with my whole heart...
You better not make me regret this...
- ♡ -
- lack of knowledge or information.
Taehyung pushes himself up off the ground, using the bookshelves as leverage as an exasperated sigh falls from his mouth.
He's done waiting.
He knows he shouldn't have to wait for someone to want to be there with him. He knows he worth being on time for.
He doesn't know what happened to Jeongguk or if he'd done something or how they've gotten to this point but he knows he's done waiting. Tired. Better than this, at least he hopes so.
He wonders — no. He shouldn't do that.
He's done wondering.
He's made his decision.
Begrudgingly, he checks the time once more before shoving it back into his pocket, leaning down to grab his bag and shrugging it over his shoulder with a sigh.
He stands there a moment, facing away from where their hands usually meet. He wants to turn around and look. To steal a glance at the spot of books that brought him such joy over the last two months, but he can't.
Can't bring himself to hurt any more than he already does, completely oblivious to what Jeongguk's true intentions might have been because right now, all he feels is rejection.
He waits another moment, closing his eyes to inhale another deep breath before turning off into the direction of the main entrance, not even bothering to look at their usual spot again. He can't bring himself to do it.
It's hard, but he knows that if he does look, he'd only stay longer.
He walks the isle slowly, aimlessly reading the various titles of books as he passes, all of which seem to be very mismatched and out of place.
"How to: Gardening"
"The Art Of Symmetry"
"How To Tel If Your Child Is Addicted To Porn"
That last one makes Taehyung snicker.
He watches his feet, cringing at the awfully disgusting shade of red beneath his shoes as he walks the isle slowly until he looks up and his eyes catch on a book near the end.
"A Date With Fate"
For some reason it stings a little. The title, that is.
Maybe it just wasn't meant to be...
So why does he feels so let down? He's never even met Jeongguk. He's only ever heard his voice and held his hands. He doesn't know Jeongguk personally, has never wiped tears from his eyes or offered a shoulder for him to personally lean on when he needed one.
He's never seen him smile, or had the privilege of learning when to tell the difference between whether he's sad and happy based purely on the shifting flat line of his lips or the broadening of his shoulders.
He doesn't know these things, because he's never even seen Jeongguk in person.
"A Date With Fate" he says out loud, the words searing holes through his heart as he lets his hand run along the spine of the book, dust collecting on his fingertips. He shakes it away, as quickly as he shakes away his grief.
He knows exactly why it affects him so much...
Because Jeongguk isn't just some dusty forgotten book laying in the back of a library in the unwanted isle of reading materials.
He's a kindhearted, supportive and thoughtful human being. Someone Taehyung's grown rather fond of, regardless of having a face to match the gentle voice or not.
He knows exactly why it bothers him that he's found himself in this situation.
Because no matter how badly he wishes Jeongguk was here right now instead of blowing him off, wherever he might be...Taehyung knows he'd probably still forgive him for this.
He knows he'll get over this, get over the lump in his throat that tells him he's feeling capsized, like a message in a bottle floating through a sea of heartache. He knows he'll eventually give Jeongguk a chance to explain - maybe not right away - but he will.
He knows, because deep down, he reminds himself of Jeongguk's good character, even though some of his choices may be questionable at times (the pranks he plays on his teachers, the people he associates with), he knows Jeongguk is a good guy.
He just doesn't understand why he'd leave him here to wonder these things in the first place. He could have just said he wasn't ready to meet - or didn't want to - and Taehyung would have understood. Given him more time. Heck, it was his idea to finally meet in the first place...
The library is awfully quiet he realizes, not a single person even sitting at the round tables that fill the large open space between where he's stood and the front desk across the way.
He assumes it's because it's a Friday night, everyone wanting to get the fuck home. He can't really blame them though, because right now, that's all he wants to do too.
Forget this even happened.
Forget he ever let himself get this caught up in a strangers hands...
When he gets to the end of the isle he pauses, standing there for a moments time, hands clasped at the edge of the shelving unit as he carefully contemplates his next course of action. If he can even do what he's thinking of doing right now, which might just be, to explore the other side of the books.
But before he can ponder the thought further, his phone is buzzing in his pocket, starting his heart into a quickening thrum as he nearly jumps out of his skin. He pulls it out of his pocket.
"For fucks sake" he sighs, flushed cheeks burning hot with exhilaration. It's Jimin.
Don't leave yet!
Why Jimin...He isn't coming...
But what if he does?
It's been 3 hours. He's not coming.
It's okay, I'll just go home and cuddle Tannie and watch The Notebook or something...
Ugh... I'm sorry Tae :(
Want me to come meet you?? I don't mind
No, it's really okay. I'll be fine...
I can practically feel you pouting through the phone...
I'm on my way!!
You really don't need to come
WE'RE GOING TO GET ICE CREAM
- ♡ -
JIMIN TEXTS JEONGGUK ONE LAST TIME...
You have exactly two minutes to get there before Taehyung leaves broken hearted...and I sick Yoongi on your ass :)
- ♡ -
Taehyung sighs, a heavy exhale falling from his tongue, shoulders dropping as he lets his phone slip back into his pocket.
Well, guess he's waiting for Jimin now. No reason to leave just yet.
He leans against the end of the isle between the two sides, one being the usual side he'd go to everyday like second nature - or at least used to go to. He won't be coming tomorrow, which is sort of a weird thing to think about having gotten so used to doing it every day.
Jimin usually takes longer than he needs to, to get anywhere really. It's a wonder he's actually on time for classes when he's generally late for literally everything else. Regardless, Taehyung figures he's got a few extra minutes seeing as Jimin only lives down the road.
It's quiet, a little unnerving but then again, it is a library. Taehyung bites the inside of his cheek, tapping his foot impatiently against the ugly red carpet.
Taehyung scoffs, rolling his eyes to his right to see the light hazy glimmer of an exit sign above a door. The door he guesses Jeongguk uses to get to his isle...
He wants to know what time is it, wonders how long he'd actually managed to wait for Jeongguk before leaving, but he doesn't want to look. The door, however, does keep his attention somewhat sated.
It's right there, staring at him, tugging at his intentions and pulling him in the direction of the foreign book isle behind him.
Ah, fuck it, he sighs.
What could go wrong now?
He slowly steps to his right, peaking around the corner of the isle and into Jeongguk's usual side. His heart is hammering in his chest with a tranquil sense of anticipation when he looks down the empty isle, exhaling the heavy breath caught between his lips.
He's not really sure what he was expecting to see, why he's so worked up. Jeongguk maybe? No. That would be silly.
All he sees is an empty isle. A lonely isle of lonely books and there's no Jeongguk. It's just him and his thoughts.
He looks behind himself wearily, feeling almost as though he shouldn't be there, which is weird because, well, it's a public library. Jeongguk doesn't own the damn isle but for some reason, it just feels wrong being on his side. But he continues forward...
He gets to what he thinks is the spot Jeongguk probably stands, observing the surrounding books aimlessly until his eyes sort of fall out of focus. He's not really reading the titles, sort of just taking in the fonts and colors of the books as he lets his gaze wander.
That is until his brain starts to form words with the letters his mind comprehends, realizing the ironic book titles that surround the open space made for Jeongguk's hand and Taehyung heart nearly stops beating, breath catching in the back of his throat.
"You and I"
"Once Upon A Love Story"
"This Is What Happy Feels Like"
All romance novels...
It might be a coincidence, but they look oddly categorized and strategically placed in the same vicinity. That, and almost EVERY spine of intentionally placed books are either red or a light shade of pink and together, they form an imperfectly commendable heart on the shelf...
It has to be on purpose. Books don't just coincidentally make the shape of a heart on the shelf. Jeongguk had to have done this... Taehyung's heart beats faster, the thought alone spinning a hopeful web of ambition in the depths of his optimism.
Where the fuck is Jeongguk?
Taehyung's phone buzzes in his pocket again, startling him for what feels like the tenth time today. He quickly rushes to shove his hand into his pocket to dig out his phone, noticing the time when the screen lights up before him.
It's Jimin, and it's 7:16pm.
I'm outside! Let's get that ice cream! :)
Taehyung smirks lightly, lips curling up into an appreciative smile.
Oh Jimin. Always on top of things. Knows exactly what Taehyung needs before he even does himself, knows the quickest way to his heart, how to make him feel better in any situation.
Suddenly, Taehyung could go for some ice cream...
He smiles, shakes off the thought of utter disappointment as he throws his bag loosely over his shoulder and makes his way to the front entrance. Honestly, he knows seeing Jimin will make him feel better.
Jimin makes everything better.
He knows the second he swings open those doors, rushes out into the familiar embrace of his best friends arms, everything will be okay and he can forget about tonight for just a moment at least.
Ice cream sounds good.
Ice cream makes everything better.
He knows everything will be just fine when he runs out the approaching doors, just as he's currently doing, hand on the glass window to push it open as he yells out, "Ice cream sounds like the best thing in the—"
Except, Jimin isn't standing outside when Taehyung bursts through the libraries front entrance into the evening breeze, heart immediately pounding in his chest as he slowly stumbles out into the chilled evening, eyes wide as confusion sets in.
Jimin is definitely not here.
But someone else is...
It's the handsome, smiley raven haired cutie that held the door open for him weeks ago, the very same guy he'd thought he'd seen running across the parking lot yesterday, standing there with a single red rose.
He likes this shade of red, unlike that awful carpet.
He's is confused, mind caught in a swirl until he hears the man speak and his stomach is tightening, heart hammering against his rib cage as avidity sets in, deep within his soul.
His skin tingles, prickling hot at the surface as he meets the strangers big, beautiful doe eyes.
"I'm so sorry I'm late..."
The familiar soothing, and yet somehow remorsefully conscious voice, metaphorically punches Tae in the gut as all prior agitation from before wells up on the tip of his tongue.
He stares blank daggers at the comforting gaze that bores back at him. "J-Jeongguk?"
"Hi" big doe eyes beam back at Taehyung.
He's so handsome, so fucking good looking.
Taehyung knows he's in trouble...Because even though he was mad a second ago, his heart feels as though it may burst through his chest as he lets his eyes wander Jeongguk's face thoroughly. He's blown away, not at all expecting to have those gentle eyes be the ones that greets him, paired with the warm and familiar voice he'd gotten so used to, so fond of.
The only difference now, is the apologetic tone he's picking up on and it makes him wonder;
Why was he so late?
What's his excuse, his reasoning? What possible explanation could there be for being 3 hours late? More importantly, Taehyung also questions why'd he'd let himself wait for so long anyway...
"Hi" Taehyung finally says, voice small and hesitant.
Jeongguk is staring back at him, standing at the bottom of the libraries front steps with that big and beautiful rose in his hand. Taehyung eyes the rose, following the familiar set of hands that have been holding his for weeks. But they're mostly covered by the black long sleeve shirt that's pulled down out from his jacket's arm to hide them, so he can really only see the his fingertips.
He wants to be mad, feels like he should be, but he can't find it in himself to be angry now that he's here. All the rejective thoughts that plagued his mind moments prior, seemingly washed away at the mere sight of Jeongguk.
It scares him a little, to know that a stranger has that kind of affect on him but he knows he's confident, if not resilient, in the way that he accepts his fate.
And Jeongguk is patient, Taehyung notes, as he lets him take his time in looking him over.
Taehyung's gone static, completely thrown off guard. He'd expected to walk outside and see Jimin standing there with his boot up against the brick wall, hands shoved in his leather jackets small pockets while he waited for Taehyung to come out.
Instead, he'd walked out into the unknown - into Jeongguk.
His nose scrunches up, eyes fluttering their way up Jeongguk's arms to explore his broad shoulders and confident stance. Even under his jacket, Taehyung can tell he's quite fit, undeniably attractive and definitely his type, which takes him by surprise, even though he wasn't sure what to expect anyway.
He lets his gaze follow Jeongguk's features. His chiseled jawline and plush rosy pink lips, slightly plumped into a pout as he waits for Taehyung to address him further, brows cinched along his forehead.
Taehyung notices the slow forming frown, wondering why he suddenly looks worried. It makes Taehyung feel inexplicably bothered by nothing in particular. He doesn't even know this man, having literally just met him right now for the first time after being stood up by the very same person, yet he's worried about his nervous energy more than anything right now.
It makes him feel culpable, like maybe he's taking too long to come to terms with what's happening around him.
He should start by replying he decides. That's a good place to start.
Jeongguk sets a foot up on the next concrete step, shifting his weight slightly, the light from the lamp post that borders the sidewalk casting a soft beam across his defined features as he waits to be addressed further.
Taehyung clears his threat, unintentionally saying the first thing that comes to mind when he bores into Jeongguk's attentive gaze, his verbal filter failing him in an instant.
"I know you" he blurts out before he has a chance to shove the words back into his mouth. Oops.
That's not what he meant to say...at least not like that.
"Huh?" Jeongguk offers Taehyung a confused grimace. "You know me?"
"That's not—no," Taehyung chuckles lightly, his nerves creeping back up on him and it's hard to hold Jeongguk's gaze as he feels his cheeks heating up.
"That's not what I meant."
He's not sure what he meant exactly. In a weird way that he can't really explain, he feels as if he does know Jeongguk, but not in the way he thinks.
In a secluded and slightly more intimate way, unique to their peculiar situation.
"I-I saw you" he corrects himself. "You held the door for me" he adds in a small voice, earning another curious grin from the handsome, raven haired man looking up at him from the steps below.
God, he's so easy on the eyes, Taehyung wants to melt.
"I did? When?" he responds, and Taehyung holds back a frown.
He doesn't want Jeongguk to know that it stings to think he hadn't made an impression on him in the same way that he had on that day, some time ago. It's silly, he knows it.
People hold doors open for strangers all the time, it's polite and a totally normal thing to do. But he also knows that he'd never forget a face like Jeongguk's and part of him had sort of hoped the latter had maybe felt the same way that day.
And now that he knows it was Jeongguk all along, it's comforting to think that maybe he had?
Or not...Taehyung is confused.
He knows he shouldn't feel disappointed that Jeongguk doesn't seem to know the exact moment he's referring to. But then-
"That was you?" Jeongguk suddenly asks, head tilting with a curious pout as he quite obviously checks Taehyung out from head to toe with a budding grin spreading upon his cheeks.
Oh? Maybe he had noticed him?
"Yeah-wait. You remember that? You...remember me?" Tae asks with a hesitance that's clearly evident in his softening tone, wondering if maybe Jeongguk is just saying that to save face.
"Yeah! That poor girl dropped all her things." Jeongguk smiles. "You helped her though. That was really good of you" he beams in a gentle, reassuring tone, offering another affectionate gleam.
It makes Tae swoon.
Those big beautiful eyes, the kind and receptive look on his face...It almost makes Taehyung forget that he's 3 hours late. That he'd left him here to wonder, to worry, to assume.
"Thanks" he blushes, looking away from Jeongguk to his feet when he realizes that he'd indeed successfully caught his attention that day. That Jeongguk remembered him...
That is until he looks back up to see Jeongguk blush when their eyes lock, bringing a hand up to scratch the back of his neck, his sleeve pulling back to reveal the faint reddish-purple tint to his hands.
His heart stops - shock mixed with fear and observation bubbling up deep within his gut.
It's hard to tell from where he's stood but, they definitely look bruised...or stained. No, they're definitely bruised. Fuck, he can't tell.
It doesn't sit well with Taehyung, a ruthlessly naive assumption boiling it's way up in his stomach.
"Jeongguk, y-your hands.."
"My...hands?" Jeongguk glances down at his hands with a perturbed grimace, palms faced up to the darkening nights sky only to see exactly what Taehyung's referring to. Oh...Shit.
"Yeah...your hands" Taehyung repeats, raising a guarded brow in question as he watches Jeongguk study the tops and insides of his own hands, turning them around as he glances back and forth between them to fully see the red and purple hues that littler his pale skin. "They're red.."
Jeongguk swallows his uneasiness, panicking slightly as a frenzied wave of hysteria sets in while he quickly pulls his sleeves down to cover and hide his hands from Taehyung.
He can feel his skin flaring up at the realization of Taehyung noticing the mess he'd made of his hands. He knows he needs to come up with something fast, trying hard to hide the dismay in his voice when he looks up to face Taehyung's patient gaze with dilated pupils and a panicked state of mind.
"Oh..uh, that's nothing. I forgot to wash my hands I guess" he finds himself saying.
It's the truth honestly, but he hopes Taehyung won't ask more about it.
Unfortunately for Jeongguk, Taehyung is persistent and slightly stubborn in his tenacity.
"What happened to your hands?"
Jeongguk shifts uncomfortably, letting Taehyung know that something isn't right here.
Something in the way Jeongguk is currently carrying himself makes Taehyung feel a little uncomfortable, like he's hiding something and he's doing a bad job doing so,
Jeongguk straightens his posture, looking down at the rose in his hand with an unnerving groan before meeting Taehyung's gaze, outstretching his hand just high enough to present the rose for Taehyung to better see from where he's stood..hoping that maybe it will distract him.
"Nothing happened, I uhm. Really Taehyung, I'm so sorry I'm late" he begins, voice gentle and honest as he watches closely for any change in the latter's expression before giving the rose a shake and raising it slightly. "I got you this-"
"Jeongguk, what happened to your hands?" Taehyung persists, facial expression dulling into that of concern.
Jeongguk doesn't understand why, until the latter is continuing, leaving him shocked and utterly speechless.
"Did you beat up Jungwoo?"
Taehyung's eyes bore deep into Jeongguk's soul as he waits for an honest answer. knowing he's probably being a little intense (or maybe not intense enough), but it just sort of slipped out and honestly, he needs to know. Needs to know if it was Jeongguk...
His heart is racing, anxiety written all over his face as Jeongguk tilts his head and furrows his brows tremendously, giving him a very distressed grimace.
"Did I...Wait WHAT?" he barks back, face contorting into that of sheer confusion. "I-"
He really doesn't know what to say. He's speechless. Completely distracted by Taehyung's blunt line of questioning.
What the hell does Jungwoo have anything to do with he and Taehyung's encounters?
"Taehyung, I-really don't know how to respond to that" he says truthfully, brows furrowed heavily.
"Jungwoo" Taehyung repeats as clarification, giving Jeongguk a very fixed but hesitant frown, crossing both arms over his chest and shifting his weight to one leg as if he'd already decided Jeongguk's fate. "He was beat up last night some time after we both left the library-"
Taehyung glances down at Jeongguk's hands again, now covered by the black fabric of his shirt beneath his jacket sleeves, fingertips just barely poking out from the seams as the latter shifts uncomfortably and begins tugging at his sleeves.
Jeongguk feels small right now, like he's under a microscope.
If only Taehyung really knew why his hands were dirty, Jeongguk thinks.
Their eyes meet as Taehyung continues, making sure that Jeongguk knows the severity of the situation, as if he didn't already know what Taehyung is getting at. Why else would his hands be all bruised and red and purple? At least, they look that way from where hes stood.
He now knows he saw Jeongguk running across the parking lot last night.
He knows Jungwoo got his ass beat and right now, Jeongguk looks a little suspicious after coming 3 hours late to meet him, showing up right when he's about to leave with what looks like injured hands.
None of it makes any sense.
"He was beat up pretty badly Gguk" Taehyung says, voice dipping into a low, disapproving drawl while glancing down at Jeongguk's hands again to further prove his point, making sure Jeongguk know's what he's asking.
What he's insinuating.
Suddenly, it all clicks for Jeongguk.
He frowns at Taehyung from the bottom of the library's steps, lips curling down into a flummoxed sulk as his grip on the rose tightens ever so lightly before looking down to his hands, noting the reddish and purple hues that cover his flesh. Oh.
"Oh my god! No! What?" he panics, realization setting in as quick as his heart begins to hammer in his chest against his ribs, eyes wide with horror when he finally puts two and to together.
Taehyung must think that HE beat up Jungwoo.
"Tae, you know I could never do something like that! You-you think I did it? That I'd..do that to somebody?"
His eyes are bared, wide and searing through Taehyung's suspicions with a concern that only reads that of misery, like he's genuinely offended.
Taehyung can see it in his eyes now, those big bright, gentle doe eyes. The way he offers that pleading interpretation of what Taehyung can only assume is hope.
He didn't do it.
He didn't touch Jungwoo, and Taehyung had basically just insinuated he had, accused him of doing so. He knows Jeongguk can have a bit of a temper and yeah, maybe his pranks can get a little out of hand sometimes but...he hadn't really thought about him ever actually hurting anyone, doesn't think he could.
"No! I just... I don't know. Now that I know who you are, I just-"
He doesn't really know what to say. He's confused and a little panicked, feeling the heavy stampede of affliction that washes over him now that he realizes what he's just accused Jeongguk of doing without merit.
"I saw you running across the parking lot yesterday and you looked to be in a rush. And then I heard about Jungwoo and-" he sighs, cutting himself off.
His skin is hot, flaring up under his jacket and all over his body as a prickling heat sears beneath his flesh, just below the surface with guilt. He can see in Jeongguk's eyes that he's insulted his character, damaged his pride and potentially ruined his mood based on the way his eyes fall short of affection, lips curling down into a melancholic frown.
He looks like a hurt puppy dog. Taehyung needs to fix this-right now.
"Jeongguk, it was right after I told you what he did and-oh my god, I didn't mean to assume I just...I saw your hands and you're so, so late and I just assumed the worst. I'm so sorry" he apologizes.
They're not really getting off to a great start here, he realizes.
He almost wants to laugh at the idea, the fact that after all this - after all the moments they've shared - here they are standing on the steps of the library they'd been meeting at for two months, having a literal quarrel over whether or not Jeongguk has beat somebody up for him.
This is so silly he realizes, hoping they can get past this quickly because now that he knows it wasn't Jeongguk and he's finally standing here in front of him with a fucking beautiful red rose, the tension is sliding right off of Taehyung's shoulders and all that's left is reverence.
"So you didn't then? Just to clarify..."
Taehyung blushes, suddenly feeling the weight of the world and all his problems lifting from his shoulders.
It wasn't Jeongguk.
Taehyung sighs admirably. That's all he cares about.
"No, Taehyung. I didn't beat up Jungwoo" Jeongguk snickers, offering a slightly amused grin as he shifts to his opposite leg and looks at the rose in his hand before meeting the latter's growing optimism. "I'd never harm another human being."
Taehyung feels a lot lighter now, having cleared the air.He feels comfort in knowing that Jeongguk hadn't done that. Hadn't stooped that low. Hadn't stooped to Jungwoo's level.
He feels...Fuck, he feels kinda bad now.
"I'm sorry" he supplies, bottom lips frumping up into a cute little contrite pout.
Jeongguk smiles, meeting Taehyung's gaze with a softening grin until his eyes are quickly darting away, brows abruptly cinching along his forehead as if he'd just realized something.
Taehyung is confused all over again until Jeongguk looks back at him with an elated smirk before looking up to the sky to let out a loud chuckle, mumbling something under his breath that Taehyung can't quite make out. "What?" he asks curiously.
"Oh my god. I think I know who might have beat him up..." Jeongguk says so simply, as if the information was something Taehyung should already know. "Oh man, I can't believe him" he trails off, sighing whimsically at a thought.
Yep. Taehyung has no idea what he's talking about...
"What? Really? Who do you think it was then?" Jeongguk sighs, an amused grin spreading over his cheeks.
"Fuck, no wonder Yoongi was so angry last night!" Jeongguk shakes his head, a smile spreading across his cheeks when he looks at Taehyung and grins blithely.
It seems as though Jeongguk's already forgotten their prior exchange of angst, looking a lot more at ease with the whole situation and if Taehyung's being honest, he-
Wait! Did he just say Yoongi?
"Yoongi?! As in, my best friends boyfriend and your roommate, Yoongi??" Taehyung blurts out, eyes wide and mouth hung open.
"Yeah, oh my god, it kind of makes sense? He was pretty damn pissed about Jungwoo hitting Jimin when he came over last night with that busted lip. Stormed out of the house, left me and Jimin there wondering where the fuck he went off to!"
Taehyung takes that in, remembering Jimin's swollen bottom lip after Jungwoo had hit him, realizing that it does kind of make sense. In fact, it makes more sense than anything else does right now...
He doesn't know Yoongi personally, how he might have reacted in situation like that, but given how sore and ugly Jimin's bottom lip looked yesterday...then yeah; Taehyung thinks that anyone might have done the same.
"I see" he replies blandly, processing the information.
"Please, you gotta believe me Tae! I wouldn't do that" Jeongguk pleads, taking another few steps towards Taehyung on the stairs, eyes wide with a begging warmth. "All I did was tell him what he already knew. What everyone already knows; that he's a complete fucking douche bag."
"Oh" is all Tae can respond with, a little surprised at this sudden wave of information.
This is a lot to take in all at once. Jeongguk arriving late, Yoongi potentially having beat Jungwoo up, Jeongguk's suspiciously stained hands andthe fact that he'd apparently also told Jungwoo off?
Wait, so you did talk to him?" Taehyung asks, piecing together what Jeongguk's said.
"Yeah" Jeongguk says, stopping half way up the steps, giving Taehyung the space he feels he might still need. "After I left here...I just wanted him to know what a complete dick he is" Jeongguk clarifies.
It makes Taehyung snort. "He really is, isn't he?" he agrees, cracking a soft smile in Jeongguk's direction.
This feels better. Things aren't as...heavy as before.
Jeongguk is blushing, cheeks dusting a soft rose colored pink as he glances up at Taehyung again."I uh, also might have told him to lay off and to stay the fuck away from you" he mumbles timidly, looking down at the rose in his hand before dropping his gaze to his feet, the tips of his ears burning red as he kicks a stone across the step he's stood on.
Taehyung stares at him with wide set eyes, mouth slightly agape when he realizes what Jeongguk's just said.
He's so handsome...It's very distracting. Makes it hard to be mad at him for being so late, damn it.. "You-you did that?"
"Yeah. I don't like that he treats you like that. I hate knowing you're hurting and-"
"Thank you" Tae interrupts, heart pounding in his chest when he looks up to meet Jeongguk's gentle, endearing gaze.
"Don't mention it" he smiles back, biting the inside of his cheek.
"Wait, so you talked to Jimin too then?" Taehyung realizes.
Jeongguk clears his throat, looking away again. "Sort of."
He looks nervous as he brings a hand up to scratch the back of his neck again, avoiding eye contact and Taehyung can see him nibbling the inside of his cheek. He looks as though he's still not telling him everything, like he knows something Taehyung doesn't but he decides not to push it.
If it were important, he feels as though Jeongguk would tell him - at least, he hopes so.
"So, what's with the hands then?" Tae asks, gesturing toward the hidden pair of hands at Jeongguk's sides to further demonstrate his curiosity.
He catches a glimpse of the rose again and it makes his heart thrum wildly in his chest as he tries to conceal his smile. He tries to refocus his attention on Jeongguk's hands, but he still can't quite see what the coloring might be, his sleeves covering most of his skin leaving nothing really visible besides bare fingertips and bitten nails.
Jeongguk noticeably shifts in demeanor, eyes turning up to lock with Taehyung's as he takes another step forward, making sure to move slowly so as to not scare Taehyung or make him uncomfortable by any means. That's the last thing he'd ever want...
"Well...That's kind of why I'm so late" he says, gripping the rose in his hand. "But...Can we start over?" he adds, looking at Taehyung with a genuine bloom of affection that hits him like a truck.
Jeongguk's eyes are like fire, suffocating Taehyung in a ravaging smokey inferno, smoldering him with the ashy remnants of his hearts content. It feels amazing having Jeongguk look at him like this instead of just seeing his hands through a bookshelf.
It feels warm.
Jeongguk takes Taehyung's silence as a yes, deciding to be bold and take another step up the stairs until he's standing on his level, making sure to leave enough space between them in case Taehyung changes his mind.
He hopes he doesn't...
"Hi. I'm Jeongguk, and I'm an asshole" he says so willfully, throwing Taehyung off guard as he extends a hand between them in greeting.
Taehyung furrows his brows, tilting to head to the side with a sudden "huh?" falling from between his parting lips.
His words feel so heartfelt, intentionally placed and Taehyung wants to reach down and grab his hand, shake it, hold it, bow - do something - be cliche and start over as mentioned but he's confused. Did Jeongguk just refer to himself as an asshole?
"You're a what?" Taehyung retorts, confusion spreading across his soft features, heart shaped lips turning down into a puzzled frown.
"You heard me" Jeongguk smirks while stepping closer, hand still extended between them. "I'm an asshole for making you wait like this."
Taehyung searches for any sign of betrayal, anything that might let him know that Jeongguk is messing around right now. Deceit, distrust, deception, anything - but there's absolutely nothing but genuine apology.
No sign of dishonesty and it makes him feel undeniably safe.
He can't help but notice just how sincere the glimmer in Jeongguk's eyes seemingly glows brighter now that he's standing so much closer, the light from the library's front entrance casting a delicate shadow across his gorgeous and near perfect features.
"Hi" he mumbles, feeling Jeongguk's heated gaze tear him apart. "I'm-"
"Kim Taehyung-" Jeongguk says for him with a smile as he reaches down to gently grab one of Taehyung's hands, heat instantly building up between their clasped palms. "-and I don't deserve you but..."
Taehyung is going to melt. He's sure of it, he fucking knows he's going to melt into a giant puddle of mush, right here and now, because Jeongguk's touch is just so intense, yet so comforting in the way he holds Taehyung's hand like it might be his last.
"If you'll give me another chance," he says, bringing the rose up between them to offer Taehyung, "I have something I need to show you."
Taehyung is frozen, completely compelled by whatever it is Jeongguk is saying. He can hear him, the words are registering in his brain and his hand feels so warm but he's unsure how to respond because he's torn between standing his ground and giving in to his heart, and Jeongguk's voice is very pleasant to listen to...
He takes the rose from Jeongguk, giving it a gentle sniff when he brings it up to his nose.
Jeongguk smiles, tightening his grip around the latter's hand ever so slightly as he steps a few inches closer into Taehyung's personal space, weary of making him uncomfortable.
He is still a stranger after all, although, it doesn't feel that way in the slightest. Not with how pleasant and balmy Taehyung's skin feels against his own, blissfully drawn to the way that he blushes unknowingly when he inhales the roses sweet scent.
Standing here now, finally together, hands clasped tight - Jeongguk's never felt more at home.
"Do you trust me?" Jeongguk asks when they're standing a mere foot apart, eyes boring confidently into Taehyung's soul, watching for any sign of vexation as he offers the latter a comforting grin.
Taehyung stares back into his eyes, hesitation blooming from somewhere hidden deep down.
He wants to trust him.
So, so badly.
"I want to" he admits, voice soft and airy between them as he stares into Jeongguk's eyes with a lustrous glimmer of affection. "But I'm scared.."
"Scared of what exactly?" Jeongguk asks in a smooth drawl, stealing a glance at Taehyung's plump lips, hoping he won't notice because he can't help himself now, seeing just how fucking gorgeous he is in person.
"Of you" Tae sighs quietly, feeling small under Jeongguk's heated stare.
"Me?" Jeongguk asks, lips curling up into an amused simper as he gives Taehyung's hand a gentle squeeze.
He's missed these hands...even if it'd only been a day.
"Yeah. Of you...of getting hurt" Taehyung admits, breaking eye contact to look down at the rose again.
"I'm really sorry I was late" Jeongguk suddenly says, gripping Taehyung's hand tightly to regain his attention. His voice is so smooth and comforting, reassuring in the way he holds Taehyung's gaze firm. "But I promise it was never my intention to hurt you. I just-I needed to be somewhere."
Taehyung looks into his eyes, unsure what that means but the way Jeongguk looks back at him (as if his eyes hold the entire world in them), has him careless to his prior reservations.
"Have you ever read a sad book?" he asks, throwing Jeongguk off as he watches his brows furrow along his forehead.
Jeongguk tilts his head curiously, thinking carefully about how he should answer. "Yes. I suppose I have" he replies, swallowing a thick bubble of regard, wondering where this is going. "What does that have to-"
"I'm afraid this is going to turn out like one of those sad stories...That someone will tell me not to trust you like I want to, that this is going to hurt me in the end. I want to trust you...but I'm afraid" Taehyung admits, cheeks buzzing warmth when Jeongguk studies his face. "Does that make any sense?" he chuckles, realizing he's probably just further confusing Jeongguk. "I'm not making any sense am I?" He rolls his eyes. "I'm sorry, that was stupid. I don't know what I was-"
"So let's write our own story then."
Taehyung freezes, eyes fervently darting back at Jeongguk. Did he hear him right? Because if so, Taehyung is only falling further into this deepening hole of fond admiration, more so than he'd ever imagined and he's so fucking smitten.
His heart is pounding in his chest, so hard that he fears Jeongguk might be able to hear it. His skin feels warm, hot to the touch even, especially where Jeongguk is holding his hand so firmly.
It makes him feel safe, secure. Warm. Like his heart's been re-validated.
"W-what?" he stutters, nibbling the inside of his cheek when he feels Jeongguk gve his hands a pleasant little squeeze.
"Give me another chance?" Jeongguk asks, beady eyes glistening in the night.
Fuck. How can he say no?
"Okay...I trust you."
- in a state of peaceful happiness.
The walk is quiet, albeit far from uncomfortable. Taehyung appreciates the silence as they walk the sidewalk illuminated by dull streetlights that lines the way. He's not paying attention to where exactly it is that they're headed, but he vaguely registers his surroundings.
Sort of recognizes the shapes of buildings. Knows he must pass them every day, and almost he misses the English Hall as they stride past slowly.
He feels as though times been slowed down, yet somehow, everything around him is moving too quickly for him to see clearly.
Everything, except Jeongguk.
He knows he isn't being subtle in the way he shamelessly admires Jeongguk's features, but he doesn't care. He loves the little curl of lips Jeongguk offers, paired with the tiniest of observant glances every time he catches Tae looking at him. He loves the slight blush that spreads across his cheeks whenever Jeongguk notices his curious eyes wandering.
It warms Taehyung's heart to see that Jeongguk feels close to, if not the same, amount of elation that courses through his body the longer their hands stay linked.
Its endearing, if not comforting in the way Jeongguk squeezes his hand a little tighter any time he catches him staring maybe a little too long and it makes Taehyung's heart flutter wildly.
It's a little overwhelming.
He feels resilient, overcome with a giddy sense of wonderment because he finally has a face to match the familiarly warm and the angelic voice that's held his attention for months.
The adorable laugh that's kept him wanting more, eager to pull out as many little giggles as he can.
He feels free, like he's more than welcome to steal these glances and he has a feeling that Jeongguk likes it too based on the lingering touch of fire that continuously shoots up his wrist from their clasped hands - almost like Jeongguk is somehow reminding Taehyung to stay calm.
He is calm.
But he's also kind of freaking out. He hopes Jeongguk doesn't notice, although he feels it might be too late for that. He know's he should be watching where Jeongguk is taking them, should probably be responsible and keep his guard up, but it's hard when he feels like jelly, shaping into the mold of Jeongguk's palm and taking form.
It's hard to concentrate on anything other than the spreading warmth Jeongguk's touch offers as they walk hand in hand, even though they've just technically met and under rather unusual circumstances at that.
Of course he's a little wary, it's just clouded over by sheer admiration.
There's a mirage of lingering thoughts that continue to itch at the back of Taehyung's mind and he's still very conscious of them. The ones where he can't help but wonder why Jeongguk was three hours late, and why he hasn't explained himself yet.
Why wherever he's taking Taehyung, has to do with that reasoning and if it will be clear to him when they arrive. He's curious, a little nervous but mostly confused...
What does Jeongguk want to show him right now? Why right now?
He's also still lingering on the fact that Jeongguk had apparently threatened Jungwoo to stay away from him? (Cute) And that Yoongi, his best friends unofficial boyfriend, might have been the one to beat him up.
It's all a very confusing circumstance and Taehyung is weary. Not because Jeongguk makes him uncomfortable (he doesn't), but because it's a lot of information to take in at once after he'd pretty much expected to meet Jeongguk without any issues.
He never had a reason to worry. Jeongguk had always been successful in reassuring him of that.
He wonders if he was maybe a little naive for thinking it would go as smoothly as planned, for trusting a total stranger in such a peculiar set of circumstance. But he wanted to trust Jeongguk.
He still does...
Then again, there was really no indication that he should have at all been the least bit skeptical, which leaves him absolutely blundered as to how they'd gotten to this point.
Regardless of the moments leading up to now, Taehyung feels overwhelmingly content. Unsure if it's because of the hand wrapped around his own, holding a familiar heat that radiates between their clasped palms, or because he feels as though he's known Jeongguk forever.
But Taehyung is content. More than content.
He feels safe.
"Where are we going?" Taehyung finally asks in a small voice, eyes trained on Jeongguk as they approach the side of a building lined by dark red brick and a single green door where they stop.
He has no idea where they are. He probably should have been paying more attention...How had they gotten here after what seemed like such a long time walking without him even noticing where the fuck they even were.
Taehyung eyes the door wearily before glancing back at Jeongguk. Their hands are still clasped when they face each other, the rose held tight in Taehyung's right hand when he gives Jeongguk a questionable frown.
"You're not going to kill me are you?" he asks, only half joking, because he genuinely has no idea where they are right now.
Jeongguk snorts, giving his hand another generous squeeze. "No Tae, I'm not going to kill you" he replies in jest, trying to hold back the smirk on his adorable face. "But I do need you to do something for me and it might make you a little nervous."
"Uhm" Taehyung replies timidly, brow furrowed in Jeongukk's direction, his back stiffening slightly. What the fuck does that mean?
"Do you still trust me?" Jeongguk asks, taking both of Taehyung's hands in his own as he steps forward so that their feet are nearly touching.
He's so close, standing mere inches apart from Taehyung and it's definitely affecting his sense of stability because he can barely concentrate on anything other than Jeongguk as he bores into his eyes. Those big and beautiful darkening doe eyes that stare right through his soul.
It's so intense and for a moment, Taehyung forgets what Jeongguk's even said to him until he feels the remarkable heat that burns pleasantly between their hands, spreading fervently up the length of his arms and he's right back to staring into Jeongguk's patient, curing eyes.
"I think so, yes" he replies.
He does. He has no reason not to and they've already come this far.
He know's they're still on campus, so whatever Jeongguk has to show him can't be too far fetched, right?
He wishes he'd paid more attention to where they were going. He was too caught in the moment, too absolutely stunned by Jeongguk's beauty. Damn him for turning out to be so beautiful but also, hallelujah?
Why couldn't he have been a little more subtle in his obvious admiration, Taehyung scolds himself. He's trying so hard to suppress the rosy blush that's creeping upon his face and neck as he looks down to their hands, but it's useless. He gives himself away and he knows it.
"Hey," Jeongguk let's go of one of his hands to cradle his chin and point his gaze back up so he can look into Taehyung's eyes. "I promise, I mean you no harm-" he says in such a smooth reassurance that Taehyung nearly loses his balance.
He feels like he's floating, like Jeongguk's just swept him off his feet. Jeongguk's hand is so warm on his skin, electrifying his senses earnestly, so remedying of doubt as he leans into his touch without really thinking twice about it.
He just wants to feel more.
"-But I do need you to trust me Tae" he adds, offering Taehyung a sedative grin that instantly soothes out the bitter reluctance that tugs at the back of his mind. "I want you to trust me..."
What's the worst that could happen, right?
Taehyung's heart pounds mightily, as if negating his flustering fears once and for all as he feels himself feeling a little bolder, a little more confident in his expectations, willing to give Jeongguk his unconditional trust.
That is, until he gives him a reason not to...
"I do" he replies quickly, beaming at Jeongguk as good faith courses through his blood. "I trust you Gguk."
Jeongguk smiles dumbly as relief sets in, thumb smoothing gently along Taehyung's jawline as he admires the soft touch of his flesh against his own. He takes a second to relish in every distinct and gorgeously unique feature on Taehyung's face - noting the small freckles on his bottom lip and tip of his nose, how he has one double-lidded eye while the other is mono lid and how stunning they both look in their own ways.
How soft and flawless his honey toned skin looks under the moonlight, mentally sighing at how badly he wants to keep touching his face, run his fingers along his skin and feel the radiating warmth his body offers plentifully.
But he can wait...
"Then I need you to close your eyes and let me guide you" Jeongguk says, slightly throwing Taehyung off guard but the look of confusion quickly simpers into a relaxed smile as Taehyung's cheeks plump up into soft little crescents and he squeezes his other hand in response.
Jeongguk smiles, letting go of Taehyung's hand and face to open the large green door and throw his leg forward, keeping it open with his knee while slightly stepping behind Tae. He leans around him, tentatively holding his hands on either side of his face as they lock eyes.
Taehyung swallows his doubts, reminding himself that he wants to know what's through the door, whats down the dark hallway that stares back at them as temptation creeps along his resistance. He stares into Jeongguk's eyes over his shoulder as the latter offer's a hesitant pout. His eyes are sparkling with incentive, something Taehyung can see clearly as he glances back and forth between his wishful gaze before mistakenly looking down to his lips, nodding unconsciously because he wants to trust those plush lips...those doe eyes...that face...that voice...
"Okay" is all he manages to mumble, watching Jeongguk's lips twitch into a comforting grin as they lock eyes again while Jeongguk brings his hands forward in front of his face.
"Is this okay?" he asks, nodding toward his raised hands that linger in front of Taehyung's line of sight.
"I'm scared" Taehyung responds truthfully.
He's terrified of getting hurt is what he means.
"Don't be scared" Jeongguk says, using one of his hands to brush the hair out of Taehyung's face as a softening smile spreads across his cheeks before searching for Tae's eyes again. "I don't want you to ever be scared of me" he continues, swallowing anticipation, hoping Tae will afford him the chance to prove himself.
He doesn't have to wait long until Taehyung smiles, nodding his head lightly.
"Okay" he replies in a small, gently voice, eyes baring affection.
Jeongguk smiles back, "Okay" he says as he steps behind Taehyung to fully cover his eyes, palms resting gently over the sides of his temples as fingers cover the top half of his face, blocking his vision completely and all Taehyung sees is black. "I got you okay?"
Taehyung trusts Jeongguk. "Okay."
He can feel his heartbeat banging rapidly against his ribs as they walk, ringing loudly in his ears and for a moment he wonders if Jeongguk can hear it too or even feel it with his chest pressed against his back as he guides them in whatever direction he pleases.
Their strides are sloppy, a little messy in pace as Jeongguk urges Taehyung forward with his body, keeping his hands held firm but gentle against the sides of his head.
"Why can't I see where you're taking me?" Tae asks with a timid grin twitching upon his lips.
"Because it would ruin the surprise" Jeongguk says confidently, turning them to walk down another hallway, slightly offsetting his balance. "Left" he says and Taehyung sloppily turns left in Jeongguk's hold.
Where the fuck are they going?
Taehyung feels completely at Jeongguk's mercy, no idea what the expect as he lets Jeongguk walk them in whatever direction he desires.
"Almost there" he says right next to Taehyung's ear, his breath brushing past his cheek. He feels so close to him.
It sends a chill up his spine, Jeongguk giggling softly against his body as the soothing sound of his voice echoes pleasantly against Taehyung's eardrum. He must have felt it...
"Turn right...one more corner" he says in an amused drawl, urging Taehyung to turn left with his body as he guides them another few feet before stopping them completely. "Keep your eyes shut okay? I need to open a door."
Taehyung nods, swallowing a thick bubble of anticipation, eager to see where it is that Jeongguk's taken him.
He feels when Jeongguk removes one of his hands and leans forward to open a door, Taehyung following through with his promise as he keeps his eyes shut, hearing the door hinge creak before Jeongguk is covering his eyes again and urging him to enter an unknown room.
He has no idea where they are now, where they were headed to begin with and now Jeongguk is pushing him gently through a door into the unknown with hands held over his eyes. Everything about this should be ringing alarms in Taehyung's mind, but somehow he still feels calm, safe.
He could have peaked if he wanted to, could have squint when Jeongguk removed his hand but he didn't want to. Part of him likes the exhilarating feeling of sheer intrigue that wracks his body with avidity.
He has no idea what to expect, and he likes it.
Jeongguk walks them forward a few steps before bringing them to a full stop, angling them in what seems like a very particular position before leaning forward to speak next to Taehyung's ear, voice just above that of a whisper and Tae can't help but smile feeling so close to him.
"I'm going to remove my hands and go turn on a light but...do you promise not to open your eyes yet?" Jeongguk asks.
Taehyung smiles. Fuck it. He thinks he might promise whatever Jeongguk asked of him right now... "I promise I won't look."
"Okay good...I'll be right back."
Taehyung feels Jeongguk's hands brushing away from his face, the lingering touch tingling along his temples until it disappears completely and he's missing the familiar warmth against his skin. He already feels a little lonely standing in the middle of the unknown as he listens to the sound of quick moving footsteps that move away from where he's stood, waiting for Jeongguk's return.
He keeps his promise, keeps his eyes shut tight as he stands there with nothing but a rose and sheer anticipation to hold on to.
He wonders what it is he's about to face, hears the flicker of a light switch off in the distance that sadly gives him no indication of where he might be.
"Right here" the latter responds, voice quickly closing back in on Taehyung's personal space as Jeongguk returns to stand behind him and cover his eyes again.
Immediate warmth spreads across Taehyung's skin when he feels Jeongguk's palms cover his eyes again, his back pressed lightly against his chest.
He gets an idea. He wants to lean his head back against Jeongguk's shoulder, guesses it's right behind him and he could easily do so. It just feels like something he should do (wants to do), ignoring the fact that they've just met only 15, maybe 20 minutes ago.
He doesn't care - he craves to take a chance on Jeongguk. To give him the chance he'd asked for and right now that's what he wants to do.
So he does.
Taehyung leans his head back blindly, feels Jeongguk's broad shoulder capturing the back of his head in a comforting embrace as he lets it fit into place.
"Oh" Jeongguk breathes out, a little thrown off guard by Taehyung's sudden boldness.
He wasn't expecting that at all...
He stares fondly at the side of Taehyung's face, completely pulled into a trance as the latter smiles with his head resting comfortably against his body.
"You're comfy" Taehyung admits cutely, earring a short chuckle from Jeongguk, feeling his chest puff up against his back. It feels nice.
"Don't get too comfortable" Jeongguk teases, nudging his shoulder forward lightly.
Taehyung pouts lightly when he begrudgingly pulls away from his shoulder and stands straight again. "Fine" he mutters.
"You can have my shoulder later if you want it...but concentrate" Jeongguk teases, pressing his thumb gently into Tae's temple.
"I don't know what I'm concentrating on!" Taehyung whines, nibbling at the inside of his cheek.
Jeongguk notices, but keeps it to himself. "You'll see" he replies, shifting his weight.
Taehyung hears him swallow, can tell he's nervous just by his touch and the uncertain pause in his voice, the twitch of his hands against his face.
"Im sorry I was late but-" Jeongguk clears his throat, groaning a little as he ponders his words carefully. "-I was kind of busy doing something-"
"Doing what?" Taehyung cuts him off but Jeongguk notes the genuine curiosity that carries his voice, no sign of distress. Just pure intrigue.
"I'm going to show you" he says, fingers twitching against Taehyung's eyes. "Ready?" His voice is smooth, comforting and Taehyung feels so snug against his chest.
"Yeah" Tae replies calmly, swallowing his own little bubble of mystery.
"I hope you like them..."
Taehyung is confused, but when Jeongguk removes his hands from his eyes and he has a chance to adjust to the light of the room squinting at the bright florescent lights above them, everything suddenly makes sense and Taehyung is absolutely speechless yet again.
"W-what did you-" Taehyung sputters in disbelief, lips parting to breathe out the unsteady huff of air that suddenly fills his lungs. "You-you...these are-" Taehyung is absolutely speechless, eyes darting back and forth to follow the wide variety of colors staring back at him.
There's color attacking him from every which way he looks, larger shapes and smaller circles, bigger squares and huge dashes of bright red and purples mixed together to form a deeper hue on canvas.
He's having a really hard time forming words because he's rather amazed.
Okay, scratch that, he's astonished while till incredibly puzzled.
As far as he remembers, Jungwoo had ruined his artwork...
Burnt and torched it to shreds of frayed canvas and unsolicited disappointment.
But how can that be, when Taehyung is standing here, right now, looking at his ruined paintings?
Well, they're not his paintings...They look like his paintings, but these aren't his paintings.
He didn't make them and he can clearly pick out all of the little differences in technique that are right in front of his eyes, can recall all of the mistakes he'd managed to fix in certain areas on the originals that don't appear on these ones.
These are different and he recognizes the error in a lot of the visibly failed brush strokes, as if whoever painted these was nervous or trying to copy something exactly but these are definitely still a pretty accurate depiction of the paintings he'd spent hours, no, days making.
Taehyung steps toward a largest canvas in the middle of the room against the wall, raising his hand to lightly touch the thick red stroke of acrylic paint that covers the surface in large strips of color. It's thick, a nice bright crimson red, similar to the one he remembers mixing some days ago.
He trails his fingers along the brush strokes, noting the different tools that must have been used to achieve such detail and texture. Palette knives and large bristle brushes he assumes, maybe some sponge paint rollers...the same ones he'd used the first time round.
His heart is racing, mostly because he's a little shocked to see HIS paintings alive and staring back at him - well...not his paintings.
"D-did you..." Taehyung turns around quickly to meet Jeongguk's anxious gaze. "Did you make all of these?" he asks tentatively.
There's a smile on Jeongguk's mouth that reads pure solitude, like he's proud of himself and it makes Taehyung's heart flutter. He glances back to the paintings, the realization that Jeongguk had done all of this for him setting in before turning back around, eyes wide.
"How did you-"
"I know they're not exactly the same," Jeongguk says, swallowing his nerves as he stares at Taehyung with rosy cheeks and burning avidity. He can see the shock value in his expression and he so badly wants to soothe away the frantic glare of confusion setting in his eyes. "But I hope you-"
"You did all this?" Tae interrupts, staring deeply into Jeongguk's eyes from a few feet away as a familiar fondness sets in his heart. "You did this, for me?"
He's a little dumbfounded still, wondering why someone would go to such lengths to recreate his destroyed paintings. He wonders how Jeongguk had even managed to do all this, knowing he'd almost certainly never seen the finished paintings before they'd sadly met Jungwoo's unfavorable wrath.
"Yeah" Jeongguk blushes, grasping the back of his neck as a timid smile spreads across his face.
"But how did you even-"
"Jimin helped" Jeongguk smiles. "Well kind of. He gave me a pretty detailed description of all of your paintings...was very adamant on the colors I used..."
Taehyung thinks about that for a moment, the weight that sentence holds baring heavy in his heart. Not only had Jeongguk recreated his paintings from scratch, pretty accurately at that, but he'd contacted Jimin to do so?
His best friend had been on board this whole time and didn't tell him? Wanted him to be surprised? That, or he had no idea and he just — no. He had to have known what Jeongguk was up to.
Warmth settles deep within Taehyung's stomach, an uncontrollable appreciation growing hot beneath his skin.
He'll have to thank Jimin for this later...
"I tried really hard to be an artist" Jeongguk smiles, "I'm not sure if it worked but...I tried my best, honest to god, I really did."
Taehyung snorts, cheeks buzzing affection as he watches the mirth in Jeongguk's face morph into that of sentiment. It makes his heart dance.
Jeongguk steps forward, closing a short bit of space between them. "I know they aren't exactly what you had done, in fact-" he blushes, "-they probably suck compared to your original work and-"
"They're perfect" Taehyung cuts in, facing Jeongguk elatedly.
Jeongguk perks up then, tilting his head slightly. "But-"
He wants to argue. To tell Taehyung that based on the description Jimin had given him (how beautiful and breathtaking his artwork had sounded based solely on a friends wordy depiction of beauty), that there's no way his work compares even in the slightest.
"They're beautiful Gguk" Taehyung consoles with a quiet exhale, cheeks blazing red as Jeongguk steps closer, leaving only a foot or so between them.
"Really?" the raven haired beauty asks, voice dropping low as he reaches out for Taehyung's hands and closes the remaining space between them.
"Absolutely" Tae breathes out, suffocating in the tenderness he feels wracking his body, hankering his intentions with lust as he feels Jeongguk link their fingers together. "I can't believe you did this for me. Why did you do all this?"
Jeongguk bores back at him with abating eyes. Affection radiates between them, a reassurance that Taehyung's only ever felt while holding Jeongguk's warm and tender hands.
"Because I wanted to make you happy...and I could tell how heartbroken you were about this. It killed me to hear you sound so crushed while talking about it.."
"Oh" Tae breathes out, eyes flickering back and forth between Jeongguk's dark but softening gaze.
He's still speechless, completely blindsided by such a selfless and remarkably endearing gesture. No ones ever done anything like this for him. It tickles his heart with joy.
"I'm sorry I was late" Jeongguk interrupts his thoughts in a gentle, smooth drawl, set on watching the irises of Taehyung's eyes dilate wildly.
Tae glances down at their clasped hands to slowly push up the fabric of Jeongguk's sleeve, just past his knuckles, curiosity poking at his mind. He needs to check...
Just as he thought...
"This is what you were doing," he says quietly, running his finger along a patch of faded red and purple paint that litter Jeongguk's knuckles and fingers, eyes watching intently as the latter's veins flex beneath his touch. "You were making these for me..not blowing me off."
"I'd never blow you off" Jeongguk swiftly remarks, swallowing the bubble of melancholic distaste that such a thought exudes. He could never blow off Taehyung. "And I'm sorry I made you wait but, I just felt the need to do this for you...to make things better. To fix this."
"You have no idea what this means to me" Taehyung admits, glancing down at Jeongguk's lips to watch them curl into a shy smile.
"I think that's a good thing" he replies, cheeks dusting pink as he squeezes Tae's hand a little as reassurance.
"It is" the latter replies, feeling small.
Jeongguk steps closer, glancing down to exhale a shaky breath before looking up to meet Taehyung's lustrous gaze.
"Taehyung" he says softly, tugging at their hands before stepping even closer, leaving a mere few inches between them, taking Taehyung's lack of dismissal as approval. "I'm really sorry this didn't go like we planned," Jeongguk swallows his fears, gripping Taehyung's hands firm. "Can you forgive me?"
Taehyung stares into his eyes, can feel Jeongguk's patience seeping through the cracks, can feel a light airy breath fanning across his face.
He appreciates the incentive, the motive behind Jeongguk's drive and it's almost as if he'd forgotten Jeongguk was even late, the moment he'd laid eyes on those paintings and his face.
He realizes, without even having to think twice; that he'd be stupid to say no.
"Gguk," Tae says, lips curling into a sheepish grin of delight, "I forgave you the moment I saw you. I knew you'd come..."
"So you like them then?" Jeongguk's voice is low, deep with a settling rasp that rings vividly in Taehyung's ears.
It sounds so damn good.
"I like you " Taehyung says, his soft honey-toned voice deepened by the lump in his throat as he eyes Jeongguk's lips before relishing in the little galaxies that float beneath his lashes, fluttering beautiful beneath his pupils. "But yes, I love them. Thank you."
It's as if time stops when Jeongguk untangles their clasped hands, bringing one up to caress Taehyung's cheek, fingers lightly grazing along his rosy cheekbone while the other finds purchase along his waist, Jeongguk's eyes never leaving Taehyung's as he gently pulls him closer.
The lingering warmth that's been radiating raw passion between them is quickly turning to a searing hot mist of lava that drowns Taehyung's senses with avidity, tangling his desires in a twisted vat of excitement that he's near positive he hasn't felt for a really long time.
"You're so beautiful" Jeongguk suddenly says, brushing the hair out of Taehyung's face and eyes before gently grasping along the back of his neck, thumb caressing his cheek while fingertips toy with the short strands of hair along his nape.
Taehyung is frozen, half aware of his gaping mouth when he feels how chapped his lips are, worried they might crack and bleed as he runs his tongue out along his bottom lip to wet it, pulling Jeongguk's attention toward his mouth.
He feels drawn to Jeongguk like nothing he's ever felt before. He can't quite explain it.
"I knew you'd take my breath away, but-" Jeongguk lightly presses his fingertips into Taehyung's hip before snaking further around to hold along the small of his back when Tae thankfully steps closer on his own merit. "-I never imagined you'd look like this"
Taehyung can feel the large hand along his waist that's keeping him close, but not forcefully so. There's enough slack against his back beneath Jeongguk's palm that makes him feel as if he still has control over the situation, for now anyway.
He appreciates that.
"Like what?" Taehyung asks in a rasp without even thinking of what Jeongguk might respond with, certainly not prepared for the response he gets.
"Like the man I've fallen so fucking hard for these past few weeks..." Jeongguk gushes shamelessly, tugging lightly at Tae's shirt.
Hearing Jeongguk's words only solidifies his intent.
He likes Jeongguk — a LOT. He knows that for sure. Forget him being late. Forget Jungwoo and everyone else who's ever wronged him.
Right now, all he cares about is Jeongguk, the way his hands holds firm against his body.
The same hands he's devotedly held in his own for seemingly no other reason at first, than comfort and some kind of companionship - even in that of a stranger.
But Jeongguk doesn't feel like a stranger anymore, even if they had only just met today. It doesn't bother Taehyung that it took this long for them to meet because now that they have, it just feels so fitting. Legitimate and real.
He feels sufficient in Jeongguk's eyes - unlike anything he'd expected and for the first time in a long time, he feels accepted. And most importantly, it feels reciprocated.
Like his feelings are validated by the soothing drawl in Jeongguk's voice when Taehyung's name slips from his tongue or the intentional hold against his back that keeps him close while still offering him space to feel comfortable.
He feels wanted - like he fits perfectly in Jeongguk's hesitant yet confident clutch.
The butterflies are back, a swirling mess of admiration that fills his gut with hope. Except this time they feel curing, inspiriting in the way they're fluttering relief all throughout his body.
He feels — prosperous.
And so, so damn captured by the dark hazel galaxies that stare deeply into his soul, a familiar sense of attachment he can literally feel emanating between them.
He can only assume (and hope) Jeongguk feels the same.
"Yes Gguk?" Taehyung mumbles beneath his breath, nearly a whisper as Jeongguk pulls him slightly closer, thumb caressing the side of his cheek with a burning swelter that prickles his skin wonderfully.
They're so, so close. Taehyung knows what he wants to happen. Can feel the desire beaming back and forth between them, can see the fruition in Jeongguk's eyes - his gorgeous features illuminated by the bright fluorescent lights.
"Would it be too soon for me to want to kiss you right now?" Jeongguk asks, eyes bouncing all around Taehyung's face before settling on his glimmering daze.
Jeongguk wants to kiss him...
Taehyung's heart floods his chest with an unsteady pounding of carnality.
Yes, he knows.
"Probably" he ends up saying, tentatively fighting his mind before saying—fuck it, and throwing his arms around Jeongguk's neck, chests pressed together.
Jeongguk's lips curl into an affirming grin, a glint of wonderment flashing beneath his lashes as Taehyung latches on to his shoulders with a confident smirk, assertively pressing their bodies together.
He feels so fucking hot, like his skin is burning, but in the best way possible.
"But this is our story, remember?" he follows with, eyes offering Jeongguk the chance for rejection but he doesn't. He only holds Tae closer, both arms wrapped around the small of his back to accommodate his presence.
He can feel Taehyung's heartbeat pounding against his chest.
"You're right" he smiles, their faces so, so close as they bare into each other's glistening eyes.
"So we can write it however we want-"
"I want to kiss you" Jeongguk blatantly states, glancing down at the plush heart-shaped lips that face him, hands pressing firm against Taehyung's back.
Taehyung's lips twitch at the confession, heat pooling in the pit of his stomach as he threads his fingers gently through Jeongguk's hair along the back of his neck, feeling the prickling skin beneath his fingertips as a shiver runs up Jeongguk's spine.
It feels so good.
"So do it then" is all he manages to whisper before Jeongguk is surging forward to capture his lips in a willful embrace. A hungered display of affection, gently pressing his lips forward to guide their mouths in motion, lightly sucking at Taehyung's plush rosy bottom lip, holding him as close as possible.
The kiss is slow, nothing more than a soft nudging of lips at first as Jeongguk brings one of his hands up between them to hold Taehyung's face gently in his palm, fingertips pressing lightly into his jawline to suede his intentions, to guide him through the passionate notion with the utmost care.
Jeongguk's lips are so soft. So gentle and inviting in the way they continue to press smoothly against his own, moving in a slow, fluid flux of tender care as they follow one another's movements.
Tae sighs against his lips, tugging at the short strands of hair that line the back of Jeongguk's neck, feeling a familiar set of large hands graze just above his bum but never dipping lower than the pockets on his jeans as those very same hands tentatively explore his body.
Jeongguk is patient. Very patient, and Taehyung appreciates this tremendously - more than he'll probably ever know. Another detail Taehyung notes about Jeongguk that he likes, as their lips slide along in a slow but intentional graze, bodies melting together as little breathy gasps of air are shared between slightly parting mouths, lips wet with saliva and blossoming with trust.
Hes nervous, a little taken aback by how careless one might see this to be - kissing a stranger in an empty classroom across campus, far from where they'd originally planned to meet - but he's definitely not ashamed to admit he loves it.
Loves the way Jeongguk's lips feel pressed against his own as they languidly smother each other with affection, the attention to detail Jeongguk effortlessly pays to Taehyung's comfort levels, taking every little bit of body language into consideration as he deepens the kiss.
Then again, Taehyung's not really giving him anything to suggest he's uncomfortable, too swayed by the warm breath that lingers between them any time Jeongguk tilts his head to engulf his mouth with avidity or gently nibble at his lower lip, eager for more.
He also appreciates how Jeongguk takes lead, groaning faintly against his lips whenever Taehyung grasps the back of his neck gently to deepen the kiss in his own way, leaning into his touch to follow his movements, parting his lips ever so slightly to allow Jeongguk's tongue access as he licks into his mouth behind his teeth.
When they do finally pull away, it's as if Taehyung's lungs had somehow inhaled more air while kissing Jeongguk than on his own while breathing normally in his day to day life and he feels like a balloon, just waiting to float away but Jeongguk's touch keeps him grounded. Something about Jeongguk just makes him breathless, nearly gasping for air, even if half the time it was meant metaphorically.
Jeongguk's hands fall along Taehyung's hips as they slowly pull apart, still so close and flushed in each other's comforting embrace.
Taehyung's eyes slowly flutter open, a smile tugging upon his lips as he nibbles the inside of his cheek when Jeongguk's lips disappear, looking into the half-lidded eyes that stare back, wondering if he looks just as dazed and content as Jeongguk does right now.
He certainly feels that way...
His lips are tingling, heart raging a storm of delight as he tastes Jeongguk on his tongue, mind chanting loudly nothing but 'Jeongguk Jeongguk Jeongguk' as a sense of contention soars throughout his body, still a little airy from the after effects of their kiss.
"So" Jeongguk mutters, leaning in to successfully steal another quick peck from Taehyung's lips.
His heart flutters madly, loving how domestic and consolidated he feels in Jeongguk's hold, how utterly weightless he feels in this moment, how frantically drawn he is to this man.
"So" he sighs in response, smiling mirthfully at Jeongguk through a bashful grin, unable to hold back the smiles.
"Now that I finally got to do that...can I take you on a real date?" Jeongguk asks, gently pushing a few strands of hair away from Taehyung's forehead as they fall, admiring him carefully.
Taehyung forgot that's what people usually do when they first meet...
They go on dates. Not just kiss...
"You want to take me on a date?" Taehyung stutters, even though he should have expected it. It's literally what they set up to do in the first place.
"Well yeah, of course I do...and as much as I'd love to stand here and kiss you all night," Jeongguk admits, pulling Taehyung's closer against his chest as strong arms sweep around his waist to hold firm along his lower back. "I'd also love to take you out."
"Hmm," Taehyung hums. "But kissing is nice too" he smiles, leaning forward to peck a quick kiss to Jeongguk's lips, feeling the appreciative groan that vibrates against his mouth from within the latter's throat.
He guesses Jeongguk agrees.
"I don't think kissing qualifies as a date, sadly" Jeongguk mutter's against Taehyung's mouth, pressing a more intentional kiss to his plush and slightly swollen lips, unable to stop himself from doing so.
"Hmm...I guess you're right."
Taehyung chances pressing one more quick peck to Jeongguk's lips before stepping back, forcing himself to remove his body from being latched to Jeongguk's - hopefully not for too long he decides. He likes it too much.
"I'm always right" Jeongguk jokes, grinning through a dazed complexion, cheeks buzzing red as he successfully reaches out for Taehyung pulling him back against his chest, earning a cute gasp from he latter as he bares into his soul with big doe eyes.
"I thought you wanted to-"
Jeongguk leans in, breath fanning across the left side of the latter's face as he gets closer, slowly crowding Taehyung's personal space, lips brushing gently against Taehyung's plump ones. He lingers for a moment, lips twitching into a mellow grin when he feels how heavily Taehyung is breathing, feels his skin warming instantaneously, eyes wandering his face to take in every gorgeously unique feature as hands are quick to find their place back along his waist.
Just when Taehyung thinks (or rather, really fucking hopes) Jeongguk is about to finally kiss him again - press those plump, rosy pink lips against his own so he can taste the affection for himself yet again - Jeongguk turns away to nudge his throat, nosing playfully at his jawline while nuzzling along his skin.
"I heard you saying something about ice cream earlier at the library" Jeongguk says in a deepened smooth drawl, pressing a single soft kiss against Taehyung's jawline before turning up to meet his gaze dead on, the darkness in his eyes pulling Taehyung apart, driving him crazy.
There's a constant prickling of heat that spreads beneath his skin, spiking up the second Jeongguk's words finally break through the thick cloud of lust that's formed between them, pulling him back to reality as he notes the musing grin on Jeongguk's face before smacking his arm lightly.
He's being such a tease...
"You're awful" Taehyung yelps cutely offering Jeongguk a small pout as a deep blush creeps upon his neck and face, forcing him to replace it with a smile. "Don't tease!" he whines.
Jeongguk smiles, shaking his head playfully before stepping back to finally give Taehyung his freedom, feeling as thought he's played his senses enough - for now anyway.
He can't wait to kiss Taehyung again, but he figures it should wait...sadly.
"Okay fine, I'm sorry" he smiles. "But I'm serious. Do you want to go get ice cream? I can help you move these somewhere tomorrow if you want" Jeongguk nods towards the paintings behind them, Taehyung following his gaze as he gestures with his hand.
Oh yeah. He honest to god forgot about those already, his only focus for the past few moments being that of Jeongguk...and how soft his lips feel against his own...how searingly hot his touch is, even through fabric...how comforting his eyes feel, sort of like home.
Jeongguk offers his hand for Taehyung to take, palm facing upward as the latter glances down to observe it carefully, noting the familiar set of fingers that stare back at him only this time, they look a lot more inviting than all the other times he's held them.
They look perfect.
Perfectly fitting for Taehyung's hands, as if made specifically for him to hold. By Taehyung, and Taehyung only.
So strong and eagerly held in place as they await Taehyung's reassuring touch. He remembers the familiar warmth they'd never fail to offer whenever he's held them in the past, even moments ago as Jeongguk held his hands so confidently in his own. It feels so natural.
Taehyung takes his hand without even having to second guess himself, an avid smile curling upon his flushed lips as he let's Jeongguk not only take his hand and lace their fingers together - but also his heart.
"Of course I do...Who says no to ice cream?"
"My treat" Jeongguk states proudly, but is quickly shut down by Taehyung's stubbornness.
"No, my treat," Taehyung raises a firm brow in Jeongguk's direction, swiftly linking their hands together as they make their way toward the door to leave. "Plus, you're already sweet enough as it is so...No need to go overboard" he winks at Jeongguk.
The latter rolls his eyes, but decides to take the compliment instead of responding sarcastically, loving how Taehyung seems so proud of himself with his comment.
Taehyung feels like he could get used to this, the casual banter, the playful remarks.
"You're too cute" Jeongguk mutters under his breath, settling another blush to Taehyung's cheeks as he lets him pull them out the door and in to the hallway.
He think he might let Tae drag him anywhere.
"What was that?" Taehyung smirks back at him.
"Nothing" Jeongguk smiles, offering an amused grin, relishing in the spreading warmth between their palms.
He never wants to let go.
Taehyung smiles, rolling his eyes as affection seeps freely from every pore spread all over his flesh, strangling every breath of air held tight within his lungs, wrapping itself firmly around every bone in his body. "And you're a total sap."
Jeongguk snorts. "Yeah...A total prince charming" he teases, squeezing Taehyung's hand.
"We'll see about that" Taehyung says with merit giving Jeongguk's hand a reciprocated squeeze of endearment. "Although, you've already managed to win me over with that adorably lame 'let's write our own story' comment."
"You liked it, don't even try to deny it."
Taehyung scoffs, cutting into Jeongguk's argument, heart clutching happily in his chest as they make their way through the hallway toward the exit, on their way to get ice cream and technically go for their first real date.
Jeongguk blushes and tugs Taehyung closer as they walk in stride toward the door, hands clasped and definitely held right where they're supposed to be - on to each other's hearts.
"I loved it...don't worry."
He really did.