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taehyung is beginning to get tired of getting in the backs of taxis in neighborhoods he’s not very familiar with, just in the name of entertaining his friendsᅳand thinking to himself that he didn’t even want to go to a club, and what even is the point of going to clubs when you can just get wasted at home?

“you’re going to have to repeat that for me, sir.”

taehyung fidgets in the taxi seat, leaning forward a bit so the driver could hear him better. “uh, see, my friends told me the club was called wonderland,” he says, embarrassed. “but they didn’t know the address, so i figured you could google itᅳor something?”

the taxi driver stares at him curiously. he’s an old man, crow’s feet peeking from behind his thin framed glasses. the look isn't patronizing but taehyung feels like it is. “so you’re one of those, aren’t you?”

taehyung has absolutely no idea how to respond to that, so he just shrugs and plays with the hem of his sweater. it's baby blue and way out of his comfort zone but jeonghan had insisted on him buying itㅡit has a choker neck that despite it being loose, taehyung still feels like he couldn’t breathe.

without much more conversation, the taxi sets off, which taehyung finds surprising due to the literal fuck-all directions he gave to the driver. it’s about ten pm at night, which isn’t necessarily his curfew but still out of place for someone like taehyung.

it’s rinse and repeat, these sorts of things. taehyung forcing himself to go out to fit in with the other youthful twenty-somethings in his friend group, sit at the bar and watch other people have fun until he has to be designated uber-caller to take them all home in the waking hours of the morning. taehyung doesn’t like it and doesn’t know why he still does it.

regardless, he still gets out of the taxi to face the newest club his friends have discovered, mumbling his thank-yous to the driver that drove him out into the hidden part of the city that has taehyung’s heart lodged in his throat.

the doorway is made of clean white chrome, lights providing a bright green contrast. wonderland is displayed overhead with twisted neon letters, overgrown plants littering the exterior, crawling out from the inside.

there's a girl sitting on some decorative rails beside the door, her leg up against the wall, as if she were guarding it. her hair falls like liquid down her back, and her eyes, lidded and sharp, cut straight through taehyung like a knife. he feels like a trespasser.

“what's the password?” the girl asks, tilting her head at taehyung. he swallows, taking a step back.

“o-oh, my friends didn't tell me about a passwordㅡ”

the girl laughs, the sound having an unnatural resemblance to the sound of windchimes. “i'm joking, man. c'mon in.”

taehyung lets himself relax, tries not to let his skin crawl when the girl watches him walk in. as soon as he enters, he feels the bass reverb through his whole body, the room getting darker as the lights get brighter. down the rabbit hole, he thinks, the ferns and flowers only accumulating the farther he goes in. it's more like they built the club around the plants rather than putting them inside it.

taehyung pulls out his phone, meaning to text seungcheol when he accidentally bumps into someone, mumbling a quick sorry before he looks up and meets eyes with themㅡ

two girls stare at him curiously, and it's strange to him, the way they move and lookㅡthough they look like just any other people, their eyes are deep and they walk like the floor moves for them.

they smile at him, bow apologetically and continue on their way. taehyung blames it on the alcohol, shaking his head as he moves toward the bar.

he realizes he hasn't had anything to drink.

slipping into the nearest barstool, he orders a martini, clicking on his phone to swipe open the group chat.

ᴛᴀᴇʜʏᴜɴɢ     where u guys at ??
                            sᴇɴᴛ 9:57 ᴘᴍ.

taehyung frowns at the message not even being read, clicking off his phone as the bartender sets his drink down silently. taehyung looks over his shoulder anxiously, noting that the club’s energy is more tame than some of the other nightclubs he’s been to. it’s lazy and drunk and low and taehyung is about as scared as he is lonely.

sooner or later, someone aims to sit next to him, casually slipping into the bar stool like he’s experienced at the motion. taehyung is experienced, he assures himself, just not practiced.

“are you looking for somebody?” the man asks, smiling at him. his lips are plush and red and his hair looks black but the lights make it look like it’s fifteen different colors. he makes taehyung nervous.

“y-yeah,” he breathes, too quiet for the other man to hear but he does anyway.

“is it me?”

taehyung flushes deeply at the words, not used to such blatant flirting. shyly, he takes a sip of his drink, sweet and warm like the man’s eyes.

“my name’s jin,” he says, his hands resting gently on taehyung’s wrist, his light touch not too casual, almost teasing. “do you want to dance with me?”

“i don’tㅡ” but jin’s eyes are so big and curious and inviting that taehyung finds himself nodding anyway. “i don’t normally dance,” he starts up again, as jin pulls him away from his seat and closer to the dance floor.

“that’s okay,” he says kindly, and his arms are around taehyung’s waist and he feels like he’s about to melt. “there’s a first time for everything.”

the music doesn’t blare like it does at the clubs his friends normally drag him to, more so it carries itself through the air, lets taehyung drown in it. jin’s only a little bit taller than him, his chest pressed to taehyung’s and he’s staring at him like he’s the prettiest thing on the planet.

taehyung feels like he’s falling.

jin lifts his hand to cup taehyung's cheek, and for a panicked second he thinks that this beautiful stranger is going to kiss him in the club, but he only traces his thumb gently across his skin. taehyung's nerves are electrified, but in a good way.

“see, this isn't that bad,” jin whispers, the bass pumping to the beat of jin's heartㅡhe can feel it through his fingers, through his chest on his. “what's your name?”

“t-taehyung.” he bites his lip. “i've never been here before.”

“i can tell,” jin hums, and his hand slips from his cheeks to his lips, pulling down on the bottom one with his thumb. “pretty boys like you shouldn't be coming to these sorts of places.”

taehyung swallows. “i'm sorry?”

“never mind,” jin says, smiling. “are you alone?”

taehyung pauses before responding. “yes,” he says, cautiously. he doesn’t know whether or not he should’ve told him that, but there’s a different type of trust that lies with strangers that taehyung takes the opportunity to cash in. 

“do you wanna…” jin runs his tongue across his bottom lip, more confident than predatory, “wanna get out of here with me?”

taehyung’s eyes widen, opening his mouth to protest but finding that he doesn’t want to. jin raises his eyebrows at taehyung’s hesitation, and taehyung knows better than to go home with a stranger, because he’s never hooked up with anybody before, and he isn’t even sure if he’s readyㅡ

but he finds himself nodding anyway, half for himself and half for the sweet little smile that spreads across jin’s face when he agrees. his heart’s pounding in his chest as jin takes his hand, leading him through the crowd of people on the dance floor. he feels like he should be waiting for his friends, or at least telling them where he’s going, but jin’s hand is so warm and soft and every breath he takes in wonderland feels intoxicating.

taehyung hears whispers of conversations as he passes by and it kind of sounds like they’re speaking in different languagesㅡhe blames it on the alcohol but the looming sense of uneasiness he feels when they look at him seems justified.

he’s only had one drink.

when they go through the front door, the girl taehyung saw isn’t there anymore. the street doesn’t look the same either, the roads older and cracked and the buildings in different places. 

but it had been his first time on that street, he didn’t know it very well, and he almost hadn’t noticed the changes. besides, he’s starting to get a little tiredㅡmaybe before or maybe after jin asks him if he isㅡbut that’s about as much of the night as he can remember.

he doesn’t remember how they got to jin’s houseㅡhardly remembers what it looks like. screenshots of memories are all he has to go on. he remembers the front door, large and offering a feeling of grandeur, almost exclusive in its domineerance. he remembers someone elseㅡjiminㅡgreeting him when he was led into jin’s room. and he remembers the sense of premature adventure he felt as the night went on. going home with a stranger, meeting his … roommate? falling asleep in his bed.

he’s out almost as soon as his head hit the pillow.