Taehyung leaves his bedroom after taking one last peek towards Namjoon's empty bed, he visibly winces. He looks at the large wall clock in the corridor and clicks his tongue. It's nearly 7 a.m. and Namjoon is out of his bed and no one has woken him up as usual, what's going on? He reaches their shared bathroom and then it clicks. Oh, oh yes. They're on break for five months after this year's last Love Yourself world tour, the members are working on new songs and some even went on a few vacations, visiting their hometown or going sightseeing.
It's almost 2 weeks into their break, and Taehyung's still not used to not being woken up super early for practice or spending the entire night actually sleeping like he did today, unlike those exhausting all-nighters since their debut days. The whole 'Taking breaks to chill' is relatively new to him, he's sure the rest of them feel the same way.
You can't really blame Taehyung at this point, since this break season doesn't actually seem anything near vacations for the members. They're still at it, Namjoon and Yoongi usually drowning in the studio while Jimin, Hoseok and Jungkook make new choreographies and practice them for reasonable hours to be on the road to perfection, also known as, trying to meet their lovable Army's expections.
Seokjin and Taehyung are the only members who actually visited their hometowns and made the best of the first week of their much deserved vacation. This doesn't mean that they neglected their responsibilities as world-class idols, Seokjin made up for his absence by actively participating in the activities happening both in the studio and practice rooms. Taehyung, on the other hand, is yet to catch up with the new choreography that hoseok and their professional choreographer have brilliantly made!
(That is according to Jimin, and Taehyung does not doubt Jimin.)
However, the members and staff have let him be. There is still plenty of time, four and a half months to be exact, until their much anticipated comeback. So Taehyung is extremely glad that they have given him some time to do whatever he wants and go where ever the hell he wants to go.
With their manager always by his side, of course.
Still, he plans on spending atleast 3 weeks in the beginning to just relax and catch up with his friends outside his members.
They do have interviews, attending award shows, filming Run BTS and other events in schedule until their new comeback, but the other days? He can chill.
(He learned that word after he found it being used by ARMY's all over twitter, it's pretty chill, really.)
Taehyung walks out to the living room, it's awfully quiet. He frowns to himself, any trace of his sleepiness slipping away as the ticking of the clock drowns it.
"Jin hyung, Kookie?"
Taehyung's frown deepens by the moment. Are they all scattered in the studio or practice rooms, again? Why didn't they wake him up and take him with them like yesterday? Taehyung should probably check his phone, they must have left him some sort of message, for sure. He turns around and slowly paces back towards his room to fetch his smartphone, but not without stopping by their kitchen first, did Seokjin leave some food for him?
Taehyung stops before the gigantic refrigerator with disbelieving eyes, seriously? A large pink post-it note, in this age and era, on the refrigerator? (Leaving aside the messy handwriting.)
Goddammit, Kim Seokjin.
"Taehyung! we didn't have the heart to kick you awake, despite Yoongi's suggestion. You were fast asleep, Jimin said it's probably because you stayed up late playing on your phone? We shall have a word about this, you brat.
Also, Hyung's meeting with HITMAN BANG to talk 'bout my role distribution in our comeback songs, JK and the rest are in our company's new practice room. Get ready and Join them (breakfast in the microwave) see you soon xoxo!"
Taehyung blinks once, twice and thrice as he stares at the pink note of life which he holds in his hands with plain disgust. Is it really going to kill them to simply drop a text to Taehyung? Just an basic Come to dance studio at 8 a.m. would do just fine. Seokjin should really stop watching those overly-romantic japanese dramas.
Taehyung sighs, though he finds it difficult to get rid of the huge smile plastered across his face. He takes the note with him to his bedside shelf. He opens one of his favorite novels and sneaks the post-it inside, settling it along with the other post-it notes he has collected ever since Seokjin brought those pink papers which Yoongi hyung hates so much, in Malta.
Because despite the fact that this whole exchange of paper notes is old-school and ridiculous, Taehyung treasures the little extra things that they do, including the efforts that their eldest hyung puts into the notes while he thoughtfully writes them.
Taehyung finds his Phone and powers it on while stifling back a loud yawn, he grimaces at himself when the smell and taste of bad morning breath washes over him. The grimace on his features turns into simple amusement when he opens their groupchat and scrolls past the spam his members have decided to bless him with. Most of the texts asking him to be there for dance practice by 10 a.m., he ignores Yoongi threatening to lock him out if he's late by a minute and Jungkook torturing Hoseok with infinity war spoilers.
Taehyung powers off his Phone after he gets a reply from Namjoon for his request of having their manager Sejin pick him up from their dorm at 8 a.m., Taehyung wants to do some grocery shopping in the high-end supermarket on the way to their company building, which is the usual go-to for all the members who frequently travel between the company and their dorm. Taehyung is sure that the members will appreciate some tasty snacks and energy drinks after an intense workout or dance routine.
He makes his bed, takes a refreshing, warm shower and eats the breakfast Seokjin has lovingly made for him (despite complaining about how no one in the dorm helps him).
By eight o'clock, Taehyung is making his way down their lobby after being alerted about their manager waiting in the company's car downstairs. Taehyung has dressed himself in typical idol disguise which all of them have mastered over the course of the years.
(Whether it's effective in hiding their identity or not is another story.)
He's wearing expensive clothes from brands like Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton sunglasses, even his black mouth mask is from a famous french designer brand and Taehyung can't pronounce its name quite yet, but same old korean-celebrity disguise that no one questions whether the general crowd recognizes them as idols or not.
Taehyung grins from underneath his mask as he furiously waves his hands towards their manager, who smiles and waves at him just as enthusiastically. Taehyung settles in his seat and grins in pride and satisfaction as a famous radio server starts to play one of the tracks from their last album. Taehyung increases the volume of the SUV's speakers and sings along with content to Anpanman. Would listening and jamming to their own songs ever get old? Never.
Soon after the playlist carries on for about 12 minutes, manager Sejin pulls the car over in the parking lot of the supermarket slash shopping mall which Taehyung and the members have familiarized themselves with, seeing that they cross this flashy building almost everyday as they travel between their dorm and their company, it's inevitable that they stop by for a little treat every now and then.
Taehyung is religiously dabbing to Seventeen's THANKS when his manager chuckles and reduces the volume. Taehyung juts out his bottom lip and pouts because the chorus was just about to drop! Before he could unleash the ultimate puppy dog eyes for no relevant reason, Manager Sejin speaks. "Taehyung-ah, we've got one hour before you're required for practice. You can go shop, be back in the car soon and call me if you need me, alright?"
If Taehyung is surprised that their usually-protective manager is letting him out of his sight for an whole hour, he doesn't show it. Taehyung's pouty expression turns into a frown as he carefully inspects the dark circles around the older hyung’s eyes.
Manager Sejin looks awfully tired, but that's no surprise. He goes everywhere with the members, back and forth between the company and the dorm or wherever they go, he is always with them. And the before-comeback season is especially stressful for their manager, as he has to personally look after each member and care for them and their needs.
Taehyung considers this, it's for the best if their manager rests in the car for an hour afterall, he could use all the time he could get. So Taehyung settles with grinning widely instead of questioning their manager’s actions, showing his excitement in grocery shopping.
"Okay, i understand!"
Taehyung has no problem getting inside the mall with a smile plastered within his mask, even as he bows to all the known faces he passes by. Having known almost all of the shopkeepers, cashiers and owners here from Bangtan's frequent visits, he leisurely walks inside the small, busy convenience store on the fifth floor.
Taehyung gathers the snacks first (their manager asked him to buy healthy snacks, but of course, the members would like the other kind), later the soft drinks, specifically banana milk for Jungkook, a loaf of freshly baked bakery bread, mixed-fruits jam and Some chicken, bacon and ham sandwiches. This much will have to do for lunch and dinner, since he guesses they might spend the entire day in the company building today.
Taehyung pouts as he hands out his credit card to the cashier, even on their days off, the members take little to no rests. Always working hard on dancing, producing, singing and all the stuff that pulls exhaustion on their bones and minds, but they drift off to sleep with a smile across their features. Whatever they do is all from their Army, the love of their lives. Taehyung's pout reforms itself into a warm, fond smile as he scurries outside the convenience store with two heavy bags held by his hands. At the thought of their fans, he's more determined to reach the company super fast to start practicing their new dance routines.
Being lost in his own thoughts as he makes his way to the elevator, Taehyung doesn't notice the footsteps that follows after him, atleast not until he focuses on the sound of it. The footsteps are matching his lazy pace, it seems like each step is carefully calculated and focused - he frowns. Did someone recognize him? But how, he's basically covered from head to toe— is it a fan? Or is it just some stranger heading for the elevator aswell?
Taehyung manages to sneak one glance back as he rushes inside the elevator, he didn't know when he had started running, he didn't realize it until he was inside the confined space and pressing the ground floor button repeatedly in panic, but he was panting hard.
Taehyung rests his hands which tightly held the grocery bags on his knees as he tries to steady himself and calm his raising panic. Taehyung stares with an pounding heart at the stranger who's in a good distance from the elevator, wearing all black, wild hair covering the upper half of his face, his hands tightly clenched in his sides. Taehyung watches in horror as the stranger takes two steps back, as if readying himself to sprint towards the elevator which announces its departure.
As the elevator closes, Taehyung doesn't miss the way the stranger's lips curl into a ugly smirk. That's the last of him he sees as the elevator finally closes, and that's a traumatic image in his mind. Only when the elevator starts moving floors down, does Taehyung release a shuddering breath which he wasn't aware of holding in. He straightens his posture and sighs again, much in confusion than anything else.
Paparazzi, stalker, their Sasaengs, media— that person was a male, so maybe a jealous hater?
Taehyung remembers that one time a male student charged at them after-concert hours because his girlfriend loved Bangtan more than him. The members had their share of male haters for such reasons. What category was this guy? Taehyung nibbles on his lips as he gets off the elevator, he warily surveys the area after removing his sunglasses. Once he was sure there wasn't any person who was waiting for him or something, he hastily starts to jog down the parking lot - his mind is rushed with overwhelming relief when he spots their manager dozing off holding the steering, Taehyung smiles.
"I'm back, Sejinnie hyung!"
Taehyung is sprawled across the dance floor like a starfish, cursing at the person who created dancing, but then he immediately takes it back because no, his members and parents did not raise an vulgar person.
(He always tells himself that, but ends up cursing anyway.)
A water bottle meets his head with a bounce, he instinctively turned sideways and glared at whoever— yeah okay, it's just Jungkook being a brat.
Is Jungkook being bratty an frequent occurrence?
Is it endearing?
So he scowls, "I bought you banana milk, fed you special chicken sandwich and gave you some fried squid chips, is this how you should be treating me?" Taehyung halfheartedly threatens the younger, who's leaned against the mirror with an playful smirk, he looks only about half as exhausted as the rest of them. Taehyung's right eye twitches - tch, to be young.
"I'm just helping you V hyung, you look like you're about to dehydrate yourself."
Jimin snorts from the other side of the room, "'Dehydrate' would be the longest word Kookie uses this entire year." Jimin finishes with an low whistle, impressed.
Jungkook snatches the water bottle from an tired Hoseok, who was leaned on the mirror beside the younger, he ignores Hoseok's whines as he narrows his eyes at Jimin, "If shorty hyung could repeat what you just said, i'd supply some water for you too!"
"Yah, you brat!"
Taehyung giggles as he watches the silly banter between his members, Namjoon snorts from being situated next to Taehyung, massaging Yoongi's slumped shoulders.
When he arrived earlier, Taehyung contemplated on talking with manager Sejin or Namjoon about the weird encounter between him and the even weirder black-haired man from before, but decided against it.
They've all had a justifiable share of such terrifying incidents, and besides, all that person did was follow him until the elevator and nothing more, it wasn't even something of significance? It's totally stupid, he'd bother their exhausted manager if he reveals anything about it, their manager hyung will only become more protective of them and Taehyung could no longer have opportunities to shop alone. He decides it's for the best to forget about the whole interaction between himself and that person.
However, forgetting about it may take a little bit of time than he'd expect or prefer, since the image of that person's daring smirk as the elevator door closes is right behind Taehyung's eyelids, just waiting for him to think about it so that it could frighten him. Taehyung visibly shudders as his mind unhelpfully supplies him that horrible mental image.
Seokjin notices Taehyung's discomfort on his face and his shaking form from his own place against the air-cooler near the door, he frowns in concern.
"Taehyunggie, you okay?"
Taehyung snaps out of his unpleasant daze as he hears everyone repeat the same question in their own versions. He adjusts himself to sit cross-legged as he faces Seokjin, Taehyung grins.
"Of course, Hyung! Just that my limbs are very tired." Taehyung pouts, which earns an eye roll from Yoongi and an incredulous snort from Hoseok, since Taehyung has only gotten here roughly about 4 hours ago.
Seokjin nods in acknowledgement and turns to face the air-cooler after promising the younger that he could (along with the rest of them, of course) sleep for a good few hours when they return to their dorm later.
Taehyung perks up and stretches against the wooden floor, excited to spend the rest of the day working hard so that he and the others could watch a movie and take a few cuddling naps tonight. It's been forever since they had some off-camera bonding sessions, he was determined to make the best out of today and reward himself by spending some quality time with his members as much as he can make do. It sounds like an agreement with himself, which he has no problem making.
Taehyung, with absolute resolve, jumps back on his feet to stand straight— successfully startling Namjoon and Yoongi out of their grasps.
"Alright you lazy hyungs and silly maknae, get up, let's practice again and perfect this for our Army!" Taehyung declares, earning an impressively coordinated series of grunts and sighs from the members.
Taehyung smiles as he dramatically swings around to pull the nearest person - Yoongi, target changed - Jungkook up. Taehyung feels happy at the moment, unaware about those who're watching, innocent to all that the future has for him.
Oblivious to fate's written fact that this is the last time in a while, where he can grin without a care in the world.