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ƬΉΣ ƬΉIΣF θF ΉΣΛΓƬS

Chapter Text

 

Running.

Running was something Jeongguk was extremely familiar with, he lived for the oh so well-known feeling of the jagged ground beneath his feet, the dusty rocks and the muddy soil were always ready to spur him on, challenging him to move faster and faster...

He had been running for his whole life and yet, he had never got tired of the wind ruffling his hair, playing with the charcoal strands with the same tenderness a mother would devote to her son.

He had been running for his whole life and yet, his robust legs had never relented, had never ceased to chase the infinity that extended all around him.

He had been running for his whole life and yet he, somehow, was not fast enough to escape the white stallion that was proceeding at an alarming speed towards him, its cavalier shouting furiously at the other guards who were following close behind.

 

 

The king's men had found him. His heartbeat fastened. 

 

As the imposing animal stopped quickly on his tracks, as his rider dismounted from it and skillfully landed on his feet, as everything around them grew silent, Jungkook knew he was royally screwed.

And the pun was definitely intended.

Chapter Text

Strong hands tightened a rope around both his wrists.

"General, we caught him".

Someone hummed slowly, Jungkook felt his own pulse ring in his ears.

"Good, the king will be pleased".

 


𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁 𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁

 


The previous night

 


Jungkook thought of himself as a lost person, not physically, but rather spiritually.

He found it poethic, also kind of melancholic; Not knowing who he was had never really thrilled him.

His father had always been his guide, the one who taught him the ways of the painful game of Life.

As a kid, he used to have delightful memories of his kind parent; The man's calloused hands felt soft when they held Jungkook's smaller, tender ones, and when they caressed his son's rosy cheeks.

For the last 15 years, however, every time he dared to think of his father, a distorted image of the raven-haired man's broken cervical vertebrae emerged from the depth of his mind, leaving him repelled and gasping for air.

He would always try to shrug it off as fast as possible, but it was hard to run away from the ghosts that haunted your head and, in his case, the evil spirit that daily consumed his insides and pierced through his skull, Jungkook thought to himself, was a damn persevering one.

Very professional, for its part.

Truth was, wounds don't heal if we don't let them breathe, and Jungkook had tried to suffocate his' with every last bit of strength, ending up losing pieces of himself along the way.

It tasted bitter, the feeling of solitude.

Complete alienation from the rest of the world, from reality and from his own corrupted brain.

Fuck it, he needed a drink.

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Alcohol was said to be many things, it had many names, but to Jungkook, it could be perfectly described with two words.

The first: disgusting.

The taste was agonizing and it lingered in one's throat, leaving a trail of liquid fire behind itself. It burned and it went up too fast to the head, making it spin and blurring one's vision.

The second: sincere.

It made people real, and for that Jungkook was thankful. It made him real.

When inebriated he would do the most spontaneous of things, like dancing on oak tables or laughing over some lame joke another drunken man had blurted out at the tavern.

And of course, he would steal.


No one really paid attention to him when he looked like a simple, tipsy kid with wobbly knees at the back of the room; They would always let him be and, as if it were a spontaneous action, his hands immediately reached out to grab something, out of a pocket or a shelf, from a table or a room.

In the daze of the bitter poison he had gobbled, Jungkook would always steal the weirdest things.

He had once found a tiny wooden statue in one of his back pockets, one of the ugliest, most grotesquely hewn items he had ever seen. He didn't even remember where he took it from, but it amused him to no end.

He must have kept it somewhere he couldn't remember.


However, although drunk-robbing was a great hobby, nothing would ever entertain him more than robbing someone who was drunk.

The way their movements would be slowed down always made the ravenette cackle. Their brains would be incapable of comprehending simple actions and Jungkook could simply slip two or three fingers in a bag and the deed was done. Just as easy as that.

It was just hilarious. And hilarity was exactly what the young man needed that night.

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The loud noise of chatter and clinking glasses greeted him as soon as he stepped foot in the malodorous inn.

He smirked. This was his battlefield.

He walked skillfully through the crowd, avoiding the stinky mass of people involved in heated arguments or conversations; he got almost hit in the face by a couple of swaying limbs.

Typical. People got quite wild at the tavern, especially after downing a couple of beers.

He started pickpocketing here and there, hands slick and adept, just as usual, and fast to get the work done.

Jungkook never really looked at the people he stole from, not because he was ashamed of his acts, but because he just didn't care enough.

He was and had always been a great appreciator of beautiful things; Whether it be an object or a person, he would remain enchanted, almost frozen in place, if their beauty was enough to catch his eyes.

Popular inns weren't the best place to find the type of allure he fancied, hence the reason he didn't waste his time gazing at his targets.

But he seemed to be very, very mistaken, because the minute he lifted his gaze, as he was struggling to reach the other end of the room, he was met with the most breathtaking pair of eyes he'd ever had the pleasure to gaze into.

Dark, deep as the infinite woods and full of thousands of dancing stars.

Elegantly slanted downwards, one being different from the other in the way the lids had been created. It was like the artist had got bored midway through the creation of his masterpiece and had decided to leave it incomplete.

Jungkook thought that, if everything unfinished bore this fairness, then he would have to never, in his life, own anything fully-made.

He then noticed the little drop of paint that must have dribbled from the artist's brush, that was now just beneath the doll's right eye, in the form of a delicate mole.

Ethereal. 

Jungkook was visibly staring, but he couldn't care less, not when those onyx orbs were still there for him to admire.

For the first time ever he felt like being lost wasn't that bad, after all.


But like every good thing, this moment needed to end, and in the worst way possible, he shall add.

Jungkook felt his arm being yanked with force. He stumbled, but managed not to lose his balance.

As he turned around to face his opponent, the stingy word was already on everyone's mouth.

"THIEF".

He didn't know how he got caught, but it didn't matter, the only thing that mattered in that moment was escaping. Jungkook was, luckily, a master of the art of fleeing. 

And so he did. 

He jumped on the tables, toppling and overthrowing everything from the wooden surfaces, and reached the door, although with much fatigue.

The cold, harsh wind of the night hit his face and tousled his hair.

As he ran, breath uneven and feet aching, he noticed that the sky was devoid of stars.

It must have given them all to the boy at the inn.

𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁𐄙𐄁

Present time

"Kim, come here".

"Yes, general".

Jungkook watched from the ground, where he had been forced to lie on, hands still tied fast behind his back, as a young boy walked up to the older man who everyone referred to as 'General'.

"You'll be escorting this scum to the royal palace. I trust you and your knowledge of the woods and its paths. You shall not disappoint me."

The boy respectfully bowed his head and nodded.

"And I will not, General".

"Very good". The older man's tone was assertive, it resembled the roar of an untamed beast. The boy's voice, on the other hand, sounded smooth, honey-coated. Jungkook decided he liked it.

Another solider grabbed Jungkook's bound wrists and 'helped' him up, basically pulling him roughly in an upright position.

The surprise was evident on the thief's face as he recognized the boy with the suave timbre, however, it quickly turned into one of his signature smirks as he spoke.

"Fancy meeting you again, Doll".

Chapter Text

"So, how long will it take baby doll?".

"Don't call me that".

"Well you should tell me your name then" Jungkook added playfully, wiggling his eyebrows.

Silence.

"Alrighty! Baby Doll it is then! It suits you, you're just as pretty as one of those porcelain-" the brown haired thief was silenced by the sharp look the other male gave him.

"Walk faster and speak less. It should take us 15 days to get to the capital and I don't want to have listen to your useless chatter for all that time."

The Royal Guard and the Thief had only been walking for two hours but, to the ravenette, it felt like days had passed. Jungkook huffed, lips forming a childish pout accompanied by a whine.

"This is gonna be SO boring, you won't talk to me and now you're saying I can't even talk by myself?? It's true that the prettiest ones always have the worst personalities."

If looks could kill, Jungkook would have probably already died at least ten times by now.

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"So none of us gets a horse?"

The brown-haired guard rolled his eyes.

It must have been the fourth or fifth time he did that. Jungkook was starting to get worried they would get stuck at the back of his head.

"No, thief. None of us gets a horse. We're walking. We'll walk to the capital and that's it."

"I don't get why you insist on calling me thief, you have the privilege of knowing my name, unlike some other people. A.K.A me. C'mon why won't you tell me yours?". 

Silence.

"Alrighty then, Mister Stoic, keep your secrets. But, as I was saying, you could actually use my name instead of some vile epithet. Jungkook sounds nice, doesn't it. It's got some sort of musicality in it that-".

The pretty guard apparently had a habit of interrupting him mid-speech, or maybe Jungkook just spoke too much. It didn't really matter, though, because the ravenette loved hearing the other's honey coated voice, even if all it did was cut him off or address him in hostile ways.

"I don't care about your name, I don't care about any of that. You're a criminal and I'm just trying to do my job so please, for the millionth time, be quiet."

"Okay, okay, all right. I'll shut up." Jungkook put his arms up as a sign of resignation. The other male just nodded.

For a while the only noise that could be heard was the rustle of the leaves as they were being stepped on by the pair. Both of them knew though, that it wouldn't last. Jungkook's goddamn mouth wouldn't stay shut if an otherworldly creature itself ordered him, how could Taehyung think he, of all people, would manage to silence the thief?

 

"No but really how old are you? You look so young. Are you the son of a soldier or something? You can't be older than seventeen, can you? Definitely not. Alright, my guess is on seventeen."

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"Doll, it's getting quite late, can't we stop by a hostel for the night? Or do you want to keep walking 'til the morning? You're a brave one if you think you can survive in the woods with no-"

There it was again, the brunette speaking over him.

"I don't plan on staying in the forest during the night, we just have a thirty minute walk ahead of us and then you will be able to see the inn we will be resting at."

Jungkook smirked cheerfully. He must admit, the perspective of being eaten alive by some beast in the depth of the timber wouldn't really thrill him.

The pair reached the 'Brave Sailorman' (awfully trivial name for an inn) in thirty minutes, just as Taehyung had aforementioned. A chunky lady, with bright red cheeks, welcomed them and, after receiving some golden coins by the guard, accompanied them to their room. It didn't take long for both of the boys to fall into a deep slumber.

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Jungkook wasn't used to being awoken with caresses or kisses, but he'd undeniably chose them over a cold bucket of water.

Too bad Taehyung didn't really care about that preference.

The freezing liquid cascaded on the dormant thief who, as a consequence, jolted awake.

"What the hell was that for??".

The other male always kept a stern expression but in that moment Jungkook could swear, he saw his full, delicate lips curve upwards, showing the slightest hint of a teasing smile.

It lit the thief's hearts to flames.

"I tried to wake you up twice but you seem to sleep like a dormouse. But look at the positive side of this, now you're already showered and ready to go".

Jungkook scoffed, mumbling the world 'jerk' under his breath. Taehyung didn't hear him, or pretended not to.

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"Are we just going to walk forever? I will die of boredom".

"What do you expect us to do?", asked the guard in a bored tone. 

Jungkook wiggled his eyebrows suggestively and the smirk that Taehyung found so irritating(ly attractive) made his way on the ravenette's face.

"Plenty of other things, fun things".

Taehyung scoffed and picked up his pace again, leaving the other to trail behind him like some puppy following its owner.

"Pig"

Jungkook's eyes widened, almost comically, at the insult and his jaw fell open.

"No! Wait! Doll I wasn't referring to that, I was just... I wasn't insinuating anything!"

Taehyung, who was now barely two feet ahead, was silently chuckling. He had to admit, teasing the dark-haired boy was endearing, gratifying almost.

"Yeah sure, as if I'd believe you."

"No! I promise I wasn't, I was thinking of.. I don't know... playing chess maybe or-".

Taehyung was now having a hard time trying to contain his laughter, but he decided to keep the teasing. He, too, deserved to have some fun.

"Playing chess? That's what you youngsters call it these days?" he faked sighed and proceeded "Aaah these kids".

Jungkook felt humiliated, misunderstood.

He would have never hinted at something sexual in such a vile way, he was a thief not a miscreant.

His face was just as red as the ripest tomato one could find in the marketplace on a Sunday.

When he looked up it all vanished though, because in front of him stood Taehyung, hair ruffled by the wind and a glint of playfulness in those perfect eyes of his.

And he was smiling.

Glorious, in all his beauty, and that bright smile did nothing but hit Jungkook straight in the chest, making his heart skip a beat or two.

It was contagious, the guard's mouth looked almost box shaped, unique in his own way just like the rest of the boy's features.

Jungkook then smirked too, and just played along.

At night as the other was sleeping soundly, the thief couldn't help but relish his moment of glory. That was the first time he, although not purposely, had made the brunette smile and he swore to himself that it would not be the last.